Poetry, short fiction, photography, art, interviews
Julie Dru, ‘windows’
IN THIS ISSUE... ArtStars* babe Nadja Sayej interviews Finnish surrealist
Poetry by... Walter Beck, Gail Ghai, Alex Linden, Robert Spiegel, Zakia Henderson-Brown, Ben Zucker, Dylan Carpenter, Jack Conway, Joseph Reich, Leah Marie Migriño Stephenson, William Doreski, Mark Jackley, Sarah Miniaci
New short fiction by Anne Baldo featuring photos by Jak Spedding
Short fiction by... Anne Baldo, Margaret ZamosMonteith, Jeremy Hanson-Finger, Joseph DeSimone, Kate Baggot, Guy Cranswick Art by... Lisa Stegeman, Kelly Evers Jackson, David Platt, Josephine Close, Grace Suwondo, Julie Dru
Poetry by Mark Jackley
Art by Kelly Evers Jackson
Photography by Greg Andruszczenko
cover art by
Photography by... Jak Spedding, Yumi Ichida, Christina Luther, Greg Andruszczenko, Meredith Holbrook, Matt Hannon, Julie Dru, Bea Sabino
photo credit: Jim Morrison IV (planetmorrison.com)
dear readers, As both an art creator and now an editor, I start this letter with what for me is the allimportant question: what is the purpose of art? This question has haunted me throughout the duration of putting together the first issue of Burner Magazine. And while I can’t claim any particular expertise on the matter, I can say that in the process of taking Burner from idea to issue, I have safely come to know what art means to me, and therefore what the impetus of Burner is at its core. Art is to make experience beautiful, relatable, and human, no matter what that experience may be. From the simplest to the most fantastical of human conditions, from the hyperrealist to the abstract, art is to take a moment and to give it a sense of context, compassion, understanding. In this issue, we find ourselves empathizing with an impossibly sympathetic robot woman (see Jeremy Hanson-Finger's Electric Company), knowing suddenly without ever having taken the trip myself what ferry rides into New York City can evoke in a man (Joseph Reich's Scenes from the Ferry), and experiencing the melancholy whimsy of a young French girl creating images from the world she sees around her (the art of Julie Dru). The institutionalization of art, via academia or other hierarchies, has damaged the process by which the most powerful of it is created and shared. At Burner, we hope to reverse this. We hope this issue makes you want to create something yourself, whether you have an education or experience or simply the most human of all desires: to communicate. We hope you find something in this issue that you want to read or look at over and over again. We hope to remind you: it's all in your hands.
Sarah Miniaci, Editor
Culture is a word often associated with a ‘refined’ understanding of the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement, as my ever-present Oxford Concise English Dictionary informs me. (For what sexy intellectual does not keep that invaluable accessory at hand, alongside of the floral fishnets, chili lipstick and iridescent eye shadow?) In our culture, culture is either ‘high’, as in bland, over-intellectualism that only the authors’ friends read, or it is ‘low’, like the sordid supermarket tales of botched cosmetic surgeries. Burner is here to burn down the canonized alibis and the commercial lies, and return culture to its roots (pun intended, of course). Culture is growth, human achievement, for everybody and by anybody. With Burner Magazine, the pop art eye is awakened and attuned to edginess, interest, insight. We do not have an anonymous submission process, but we do not read bios, nor do we care who you are. We check out your work − quickly − because even with our first issue, we are swamped with submissions. (And this being the twenty-first century, if you can’t catch us quickly, you won’t catch most people at all.) Is it interesting, insightful, outstanding? Can anyone enjoy this piece of art? If the answer is a resounding “yes”, you are a Burner babe. We hope you enjoy our inaugural issue. We hope it inspires you to dig deeply, to share it with others and to come back for more (pop art) culture.
Leah Stephenson, Editor
Slaughter of the Innocents by Walter Beck
Starry-eyed small-town sweethearts Grown plump on Disney diets Are seduced by pseudo-Greek Gods And sacrificed at the altar of Bud Light.
Lisa Stegeman, ‘Yummy’
Lisa Stegeman, ‘Baptism in Acid’
Sanctuary by Walter Beck
Spilled salt shakers and rotting lime rinds Litter the Programed Altar; With the choir moaned over, Their guts singing the Broken Bottle Blues. The Reverend pulls the electric syringe Out of his long-scarred arm. Loaded on flawed purity; Enter… Stage right.
to you, romance died with colour film. true passions were played out on black and white celluloid, old hollywood. the quirky courtships of hitchcock’s heroines – grace kelly, silk scarf knotted at her cheek, blonde hair flipped and cool, catholic and coy with jimmy stewart. you appreciate catholicism, too. the repetition, the obsession. the beauty in those low holy chants, that morbid
THURSDAY GIRL devotion to shrines. also their love for cradling relics of the dead – dark hanks of hair, the cold white fingers of saints, kissed and blessed. honourable, you kneel at the shrine of courtly love. all the medieval knights knew the truest love shone at a distance. you follow this creed with reverence, and only one minor tweak; unlike those knights on their white horses, you will one day touch her. this is why you follow her. your own sacred ritual. there is even a shrine, with votive candles and dead peonies snipped from the trellis at the side of her house. obediently, you model it after those shrines to the virgin mary – our lady of sorrows. after all, everyone always says you have a real artistic touch.
they also remark on your tendency to mumble, to always slur as if you were a little drunk. it’s when you get drunk, though, that this tripping tongue finds a new sleekness, a steady new certainty. on the city buses, you sit a respectful three seats from her, always. it is close enough to let your gaze wander. when she leaves her purse behind one day, you do what is scrupulous – as a gentleman would, you retrieve it. in windsor, there is always someone watching in the streets. you wait till you are inside your own home, doors locked, to spill the contents on your bed. here is what you find, the relics through which you will strain to form a communion with her, both intimate and divine. lip liner and lipstick, a spicy pink shade, a little tarty. a book of matches from the canada, a seedy neighbourhood bar defunct since last summer after yet another violation, another body smashed open on the pavement. the matches are still lined up in their prim twin rows, unstruck. half a package of chewing gum, vanilla frost. half a bottle of perfume, estee lauder. it smells like lilacs and lavender. you know it from the bus, she always trips by in a mist of it.
inquisitively, you visited the glass and chrome makeup counters at sears till you matched the fragrance, sprayed it delicately on your own thick wrists. now you dab spots of the perfume on your throat, your tongue, inhaling her while you continue through her possessions. lip balms (mango, coconut), greasy and tropical. and a number fresh written in her own lipstick, on a grimy napkin from charly’s brew pub and grill. from the pieces of i.d. you glean your most valuable acquisition – her name (lucy) and other little particulars (her height, her need for corrective lenses). there is also her address, which you already knew through your diligence (she lives on pilette, by the tracks and before the river gleaming like a strip of blue chrome, a hard mirror which detroit lurks against, burnished in both sky and water). you call the number and hang up when a man answers, his voice coarse. in one final stroke of luck there is also a debit receipt printed neatly on glossy white paper for you, and dated last thursday. you are mildly horrified but more keenly perplexed that she would be at charly’s. and above all, a thursday girl. but devoutly you will make the pilgrimage tonight and meet her there. you would be an alcoholic if you had the money but you don’t and so here you are in a crowded bar, sober, while the music pumps
Photos by Jak Spedding (MUA - Laura Gingell) (Model - Miranda @ PHA)
up through the walls, pulsating through the floor like the hearts of the murdered in that story by poe. anyway this night is one you will want to remember without having to peel through the sodden layers of a liquored haze in the morning. on the walls is a cluttered collection of hockey paraphernalia, wrestling posters featuring women greased up in bikinis, and gritty photographs of old baseball teams. the air has a wet grainy smell, sharpened by sour sweat. and there she is, tripping through the men. she is obviously drunk, her eyes glazed bright and her grin stuck to her face. there’s no romance about her little yellow dress, one strap slipping down her shoulder. or the way the bartender makes his way over, sliding his hand over her skin as he passes by. you find the filmy glass she has left on a ledge, (vodka and orange juice). the rim crayoned with her lipstick, which you wipe away chivalrously with your finger. bright red, and it doesn’t suit her. the boys standing beside her leaning back on the bar don’t even try to disguise the way their gazes slide up her dress. you breathe in, slip out a side door to wait for her in the parking lot. your liberation of her will come as a welcome surprise. you have plans for her, beautiful things. after all, everyone always says you have a real artistic touch.
Anne Baldo is 24 years old from Windsor, Ontario, and currently working on her first novel, Marrying DeWitt Webb
Buda Pest by Gail Ghai
You are not here by the Danube, that wandering eastern river that kept Buda and Pest apart like lovers who yearningly gaze across its twisting burnt umber waters. Strauss’s blue river that ends in blackness. You are not here above Old Buda, 200 meters high on Castle Hill where autumn comes to me in gold leaves of silver birches that jewel the light of late September. Birches, silver as your sterling hair, indium fingers slithering through my blondness. You are not here by the Danube where I sip cappuccino and culture beside the Roman bathhouse, but I taste your presence in warm thermal bath air and cinnamon sprinkles— that March morning I made you breakfast, coffee and cinnamon toast with heaps of extra sugar as snow piled around us in clouds of coldness; (sastruga, the Russians call this snow mass) as your warm palms doubled into my skin. Your hands were full of healing. Drop-by-drop I swallowed your white metaphors, curative as spring changes heat, light, name of our loss. Here by the Danube, call me Night. It is where I live without you.
by Yumi Ichida
Divorce Through Metaphor by Alex Linden
I imagine you smuggled me, took me into your deepest cavities to pass some border we both created. I surfaced again and again during sickness or sex. We weren’t as simple as a song played through or a glass dropped to the floor. We resigned slowly, like melting ice. We were a record skipping on a word until it lost its meaning, until its meaning was death and only death, the needle inscribing us both. It started with a series of dreams in which I knew the world had reversed its tracks, in which we were nocturnal— your hair again touched your spine and I kissed you so hard residue piled between my teeth like ash. Or did it start with the spit on your neck, as misplaced as a sore? The spit was a beacon (it wasn’t mine) , the spit a dirty joke in a church— a Christmas carol out of season, a jester at a funeral. I have become a breathing contradiction— my name the euphemism for a million beaten rugs— the man bullies who stomp them.
Leaning Moonlike into the Gray by Robert Spiegel
An orange glass at the side of the bed – blue-edged windows, saving the best of the day for memory. Sleepwalking the foothills at dawn. Animal skins collect piecemeal, drawing flies. Escape velocity has failed, leaning moonlike into the gray. Her hand is welcome on my back, my head resting on her stomach, her t-shirt smelling of summer lawns, cedar chips, fireplace ash. The next moment promises less. She moves beyond ancient rock. Voices of children recede into the night, dispersing like dust. I would petition the angels, but the angels are gone. The blue air, icy on the skin, thins completely, leaving no room to breathe. I can’t hold anything in place. The day stretches through morning, by afternoon it snaps, pieces flying beyond reach, unfamiliar on the ground.
The King of
Kasperpedia An interview with Kasper Strömman by Nadja Sayej Finnish artist Kasper Strömman is the kind of guy who will press pause on some video art when talking about his own work in an art gallery – at least when interviewed for ArtStars* After tolling through Reykjavik, Iceland, I arrived in Helsinki, Finland to continue to uncover the 7 Unsolved Mysteries of the Art World as part of the ArtStars* World Tour – only to find a strangely self-boasting artist like Kasper Strömman in the world of evertimid Finns. We met at the Myymala2, an off-thebeaten-track basement gallery in the Uudenmaankatu design district where he was part of a group show featuring the latest crop of the storytelling-savvy Nordic art scene, riddled with an ever-abundant comic craze. Whether he’s painting eggs with markers or building lawn chairs from gargantuan playing cards, Kasper is a hovering tall hipster in safety glasses and plaid who could better be called a part-philosophic, part-mercurial gangster who has a knack for keeping it clever in an ever dim-witted art world.
N: Kasper, king of all things Kasperpedia, one work of art you have is called “A Solution.” You’re selling an idea for 9,000 Euros. We don’t have those kind of bones lying around for the full lap dance, but what great idea do you think the art world needs to electrocute itself out of its zombiepretentious coma?
K: Nadja, this is an easy one: When the art world once again starts producing more paintings as great as the one of the dogs playing poker we should be back on track. Because I must agree with you there: how can we claim to live in an era of high civilization and great artistic beauty when the art world hasn’t produced a piece as engaging and alluring in the last hundred years? For is not great art a thing that touches the heart, embraces the soul or boggles the mind – or in this case, all three of them at once? N: Ah, yes. That reminds me of a John Rushkin quote: “To see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion all in one.” And clearly, you crack me up. Now, what about your Kinder Eggs and your Cadbury Crème Eggs? You always seem to be making clever comments on consumerism in your artwork – and I assume that your tone of language on your site, speaking like a TV infomercial, is no accident?
K: Fascinating words from a fascinating man, and in turn makes me think of a quote by John Lennon – someone widely regarded as a poet, prophet and religion in his own right: “My role in society, or any artist’s or poet’s role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.” But of course, he then went on to say “I am the walrus, I am the eggman”. And that just makes me confused. But I’d say it was the combination of these two quotes which “egged me” on to create my beautiful chocolate goods. But hold on now; my webshop sounds like an infomercial? See, I thought I was speaking the language of sophistication there. Dare I say... egg on my face, then? N: Now, now. Let’s not get scrambled, let’s keep it over easy. And let’s move onto the back patio on the lawn chairs. What’s with the playing card lawn chair? I mean, if you sat on that chair, you’d fall on your ass. What are you trying to say?
K: Nadja, I thought you would never ask. Well, I’m sure you are familiar with the Latin phrase “Ars longa, vita brevis” (Art is long, life is short)? I very much had this in mind when working on the Deck Chair since you could argue that the chair is pretty much going to outlive anyone who tries to sit on it, since it’s so incredibly flimsy and you’re bound to hurt yourself if you try. But did you know the original Hippocratic aphorism then goes on to say “experimentum perisculosum, iudicum difficile” (experiment dangerous, judgment difficult)? That pretty much sums it up, I guess.
Nadja Sayej is the host of ArtStars*, a travel show about contemporary art out to uncover the 7 Unsolved Mysteries of the Art World, one country, one art scene, at a time. Follow her @ArtStars and stay in the loop of all her up and comings at www.artstarstv.com
The Book Of You
by Margaret Zamos-Monteith
Christina Luther, “Top of the Rock 2”
Christina Luther, “Little Girl in the NYC Easter Parade” You hate this place. You will miss this place. You see its beauty. You fear its wrath. You meet interesting people. You watch them form groups. You are a part of a group. You hear gossip spread. You spread it too. You didn’t want to hurt anyone, but you hurt someone. You were trying to be who they want you to be, but you don’t like the same artists. You eat red meat. You don’t wear Converse sneakers. You believe in God, but only because you fear consequences. You speak up; say you don’t agree. You mean well, but the truth cannot always help them. They are not pleased. You say no. They are less pleased. You told them no worries. At that moment, you meant no worries, but now you have worries, large worries you’d like to discuss. They seem surprised; they feel misled. The rules have changed and you are not who they
imagined. You don’t drink as much as they assumed. You’ve slept with more people than you care to admit, but not in the way they think. They get angry, but you don’t know why. You never wanted to be in a clique. You wanted to be included, but you are not a pack animal in need of a herd. You thought of the community, tried to befriend them all. There are too many communities. You try to hide. You lay low and avoid all conflict. It manages to find you. Your errors get outlined: you’ve been misconstrued. You understand there are many truths, that yours is maybe wrong, but it is your truth. You defend yourself, but they won’t listen. You tried to listen and you probably failed. You get called mentally unstable. You might be mentally unstable.
Christina Luther, “Top of the Rock At Night” ” There are people talking about you and you don’t want to hear those words. They sound unfamiliar, like Swahili. You contemplate clever things you could say, how they might wince and grasp that they have wronged you. You say nothing because suddenly, you feel so depressed. Your anger is gone. You think you are stupid. You have made so many mistakes and they are all because you were stupid. But you will learn, you tell yourself. You will learn and not repeat the same blunders. You know you will. You contemplate suicide. Suicide! It would end all this pain. You know that it won’t. You think about drugs. You worry about side-effects. You pretend outwardly the worst never happened; accept that mistakes were made. You will learn to like this place in retrospect. You’ll let your cracks show. You’ll repeat some of the same blunders and realize that you can’t know the ending without ruining it, so you’ll stop trying to find it. You will laugh and be surprised to discover that you have grown used to side effects. Margaret Zamos-Monteith was once a kindergarten teacher, and while she can't quote Kirkegaard by heart, she did once win a round of drinks in a bar for being able to recite the beginning of Camus' The Stranger in both French and English. Selected as a finalist for the Southwest Review's 2009 David Nathan Meyerson Fiction Prize for her short story "Borders", she holds an MFA in fiction from CUNY/Brooklyn College, as well as a Masters from Columbia University. She is currently a Senior Writer for The Lo-Down, a community news website about the Lower East Side, as well as an editor and translator for Peeping Tom, a French art not-for-profit whose first journal about Berlin, The Chain, was published in spring 2009.
in response to a subway ad by Zakia Henderson-Brown
be cellulite free
weight and grow airbrushed in places that grew true and fearless, cut your appetite and work your way up to resembling a child. a newborn.
but middle aged.
tame the forsaken wild. be smooth. be thin and presentable
be the you
you never knew
you could be: impossible.
Lisa Stegeman, ‘Ladies in Waiting’
Greg Andruszczenko, “panty”
Electric Company by Jeremy Hanson-Finger
“What battery?” Lisa’s husband asks. He stands over her shoulder as she ponders the college-ruled page she has retrieved from their front door. “Maybe they saw the car’s lights on?” He looks out the window. “We haven’t used the car for a few days.” “I think it’s a metaphor. Someone’s looking out for my wellbeing, saying that I shouldn’t have accepted that promotion because it’s so stressful.” Lisa folds up the note and files it away in a green folder marked ‘Miscellaneous’.
open to reveal an ordered galaxy of wires and circuits and motors and pink fluffy insulation. He has never seen Naveed reach inside and slot a nickel-metal hydride battery into a cavity about the size of Hal’s stomach. If he had seen this bi-annual maintenance take place, he would understand the content of the note. But he still wouldn’t understand why Lisa needed a reminder on their door. ***
*** Hal has gone rock climbing with Lisa in Malta for their honeymoon and marveled at how far she could free-climb up the rock face before letting go and plunging into the Mediterranean. He has traveled with her to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, HeadSmashed-In Buffalo Jump near Calgary, and Wrigley Field in Chicago. They have been through two near-death experiences together: one canoeing in a thunderstorm and the other when the brakes on their U-Haul failed on the Interstate. Hal has not, however, been to the doctor with her. This is because she hasn’t ever been to the doctor, even though she says she goes every six months. Instead, she has gone to the repair shop where Naveed works arcane wizardry behind tottering stacks of Wired Magazine. Hal has never seen wispy-bearded Naveed peel back Lisa’s skin to reveal gleaming metal. He has never seen the panel of buttons that Naveed runs his elegant piano fingers over before flicking a switch to ‘off.’ He has never seen the silver art deco form, the life size Oscar award below her skin, clamshell
Three months later, Hal will inadvertently trigger a confession that will explain the whole situation. He will jokingly ask if she has ever changed her battery, because he will have come across the note while looking for last month’s hydro bill. She will start crying, huge racking sobs that shake her cold body. Then she will tell him that she is a sad robot. He will think she is kidding and say that now he understands why she never forgets the words for things. “I get the robot part,” he will chuckle, “but why are you sad?” She will tell him that she is not joking and that she is made out of aluminum and plastic and she goes to the repair shop on First Avenue once every six months to have her battery changed and her skin aged. He will think it strange that he spends every day working on a computer for human rights activist groups and yet he has failed to notice that his wife is not human. She will go on to explain that she has not been happy being a robot and that she would prefer to be human, and that she has been postponing her battery change because
for nearly six months at a time, she can forget she is a robot and be less sad. Hal will take this all in stride. He will think that since he has always loved her and she has always been a robot, nothing has really changed. But afterwards, he will experience a loss of libido every time they are in bed together. He will constantly obsess over the fact that at age 38, he has never actually had sex with a woman. Lisa will have been his only sexual partner, and the return of his virginity will bring him back to the first twenty-four years of his life, when he certainly felt like a sad robot, even if his insides were made of proteins and lipids and not exotic metals. She will be understanding because, being a machine, she can experience orgasm regular as clockwork even if his heart is not in it. Hal will stop being able to sleep, waking afraid from dreams of labyrinths and gears until he has sex with one of his clients – Eve, from Greenpeace. Although Eve will have too much metal in her face for his liking, he will realize what he’s been missing and sad Lisa will not be able to satisfy his desire. Although he truly loves Lisa, he will decide to file for divorce. In an attempt to keep their relationship alive, Lisa will tell him that she is okay with him sleeping with women who are not robots, but reminds him that not all women are women, and some of them are robots.
Hal will then only sleep with women who he has seen go to the doctor. So he will cruise walk-in clinics. Lisa will eventually tire of this parade of infirm women passing through their bedroom. She will fail to respond to Naveed’s next letter and will deactivate herself in the corner of the bathroom as Hal ejaculates into a woman with a stubborn crater of plantar warts in her left heel covered with duct tape. This woman, not being a machine, however, won’t experience an orgasm regular as clockwork and will actually be kind of disappointed; she will forget her disappointment when she opens the bathroom door and finds a motionless woman with her chest open to reveal gleaming metal and her finger on a switch marked “off.” She will scream and exit the house. Hal will bury Lisa in the woods behind the university. *** But right now, now that Lisa has folded up the note and put it away, Lisa and Hal make love and Hal ejaculates in what he believes is the slippery warmth of an actual woman with the electrical force of a lightning strike.
Jeremy Hanson-Finger is one of the founding coeditors of The Moose & Pussy, Ottawa, Canada's only literary erotica magazine.
Greg Andruszczenko, “love”
Kelly Evers Jackson, “Observation”
Kelly Evers Jackson, “Tech Garden”
Kelly Evers Jackson, “Assymetrical”
Not Our Fault by Dylan Carpenter
A woman, bent over the crates in the grocery store, feeling her way through the stacks of produce. Her gray hair streaked with brown fell across her forehead in shepherd’s crooks caressing her eyebrows and tickling the bridge of her nose. She wasn’t looking at the fruits or vegetables in her hands, but a little to the left and down. An artichoke in her right hand, her left touched the edge of the barrel, fingers brushing the metal band that fell around the top like a belt tightened too high, causing the green pile to almost topple over, leaves thick like tongues licking the fingers of curious boys and girls who don’t know that artichokes have hearts too.
Sign of the Times by Ben Zucker
Ma ben veggio or sí come al popol tutto favola fui gran tempo, onde sovente di me mesdesmo meco mi vergogno; A new tale: If Petrarch had been born in the twenty-first century, he'd have fawned from afar briefly, over Facebook photos, and proceed to get his Laura (at some party of a friend of a friend they don't know), crossing eight hundred years in a single phone call and make the most of him and her: hold and help and fawn and finger out text messages in pentameter emoticons What, then, if she was unreachable, fundamentally, but had? No longer an object of sought mysticism The poet is sorry-grateful; it's the little things you do together poetry is not little So afterwards he would describe how sad it was, in unrhymed freer verse, with an electric guitar or two
by Joseph DeSimone
Julie Dru, ‘pavement’
The hotel room overlooks the newly built park below. The strength of the sun makes the already white room blinding. White sheets on the white bed frame, white carpet, white drapes, white countertops and walls; in the middle of the room is a couch, on which sits a white man. In his hands is an old videogame controller. He is driving a bus through the desert. The closet door opens and another man steps out. How do I look? You look ready. Who knew you had such a nice tuxedo? No reason to wear it. Thought I might as well dress up today. The second man smiles and moves to the couch. He looks out the window for a moment, and then begins watching the screen. Neither speaks for half an hour. The second man looks at his watch. You’ve been driving that bus for thirty minutes. That’s the whole game. It’s called Desert Bus. You don’t do anything else? Every eight hours you reach either Tuscon or Vegas. Then you turn back around. There’s really no point playing. Why are you? They both pause for a moment. The first man gets up and turns off the game.
He adjusts his tie
and lies down on the bed. The digital clock on the nightstand is white. It reads 3:31. He turns on his iPod. An opera begins. I’m not feeling well. Are you sure… Do you realize you’re never feeling well? The second man stands. He moves to the bar and pours himself a drink. He sits on the edge of the bed and opens the nightstand drawer. The first man rolls onto his side, facing the second. It’s not so bad as that. What I wanted to say… You always say you want to say something, but you never do. Who is this? Wagner. Lohengrin. It sounds like procession music. The two are still. Music fills the room. Are you sure about all this? The second man looks at the clock. Time passes. He turns off the iPod and looks down at the first man. He smiles. The room is growing hot. The sound of children playing outside echoes through the walls, and the sky is an unusually deep blue.
Do you have everything? It’s all in the drawer. That’s good. You don’t see days like this very often. The first man gets up and moves to the bathroom. Only a clear glass wall stands between the two. He turns on the sink faucet. He washes his hands and face. The room is immaculate. I cleaned the house before I left. There’s a note on the fridge. What does it say? “Sorry about the mess.” Both men begin laughing. The more they laugh the more heartily they laugh. Time passes. The first man comes out of the bathroom. His cheeks are wet. The room is darker now. The sounds of children fade. The sun has begun setting. They pause and look at one another. What time is it? Nearly five. We should be heading out soon. You really don’t see days like this very often. The first man sits down on the couch and takes a cigarette out of his pocket, crumpled and worn. He dries his cheeks with his sleeve and unbuttons the cuffs. As he lights it the second man stands and pours himself another drink. He closes the drapes. Only an orange, diffuse light remains. So this is what it feels like. Yeah. Not exactly what I had expected. Bigger, stronger, more. It’s all so definite now. We’re about to become men. The second man reaches into the drawer and pulls out a small black box. He moves to the couch and places the box on the coffee table. He falls into the seat. You’re sure we haven’t forgotten anything? I’m not really sure there’s anything to forget. It’s all so big. I mean… I just want to make sure… We’ll be fine. Everything in its right place, right? Yeah. Everything in its right place. The sun sets. Only the unremitting noise of evening traffic breaks the silence. The cigarette goes out. The men sit in darkness. Time passes.
Joseph DeSimone is 20, young: a child, really. He has left two schools on good terms, one more favorable than the other, and was ejected from another forcefully. Time Passes is the first of his works to be published, for which he is thankful, and by which he confused. He currently lives in Manhattan, NYC, and hopes to move elsewhere when finally finished with college.
by Jack Conway
SURFING THE TSUNAMI
We dream dreams of being cool and fast, you know, surfing tsunamis and hang gliding over volcanoes. Everybody learns the early bird catches the worm, but somewhere out there a feral cat is on the prowl. When handing out prizes for this and that, we receive a tiny plaque commending us for using plastic wrap. Still, we dream dreams of being cool and fast, you know, waiting for the tides to rise and the wind to blow. David Platt, â€˜Emergenceâ€™
eyes shut in son’s rocker in corner being dragged out to brush drums of windy forest why can’t i remember birth? gruesome old sports injuries? long lost days in reno ruminating? mafia even ran the laundromats that would pump out less soap and lather to make a quick buck why just milfs? why not filfs? i see how some of them are looking at me there’s so much more life in the wind in the trees in the breeze than any of these so called human beings looking down at cell phones who don’t see a thing sandcastle cities eternally wrapped by the sea swathed in mystery in the mist of mountains sprinkled dappled in the deep transcendent shadows of seaweed mystically musty, mildewy alas can’t rinse out your sleeve almost as if living, existing deep within the conch shell the clam shell, the mollusc and magnificent view of the mediterannean knowing right there and then all of hell and heaven, life and existence all forms and illusions, secret senses, core derivation of language topless, erotic, self-conscience, neurotic whose bosoms of all different shapes and sizes move with the exact same rhythm and motion of the ocean the plain and palm trees and polizzia and orchard upon orchard of lemons and olives which makes up culture makes you lick your lips outside dripping liqueur patisserie windows those sooty sepia shutters embedded embracing the verdant entrance of splendid antiquity overlooking the periphery of poverty like some old black & white adolfe menjou edward g robinson humphrey bogart dusk to dawn film noire ash-stained soot-stained newsprint tenements splashed and sprayed in the spit of storms and oceans along with all the betrayal and bullshit of human nature
scenes from the ferry by joseph reich
Matt Hannon, â€˜ghosts on the waterfrontâ€™
its ragged rows of splendid silhouetted shadows on the outskirts of madness, the priests and cops taking their shots of espresso, young lovers zooming on the backs of motorcycles, rich kids and hustlers and drug dealers and dead dogs stalking tourists, the slut mother and daughter duo shaking their torsos in tight pants outside magazine stands passing down hand-me-down filthy traditions from generation to generation; whole cosmopolitans of women demurely and politely stuffed into shoe shops trying to idealistically and romantically live up, look good for their men beneath ancient looming mafioso mountains the young stud policemen searching for their mistresses while a tired bride and groom casually call it a day shuffling down decayed decadent drained cobblestone and disappearing to meet their destination and fate of stray runaways and gypsies and strolling violinists somewhere out at sea horrible vaudevillian slapstick comedians in rich foreign languages and crooning asians belt caruso in sequined suits for the sad and weather-beaten old sicilians who seem unimpressed and rather be dreaming in their barber chairs, sports column, or bosoms of young girls who have grown up and turned out to become beautiful young ladies you took ferries in and out of cities, countries just to try and find a way to be feeling opaque, obscurely out of place raped behind the fossils of rustling, anonymous, time-stained curtains where down-in-the-dump street urchins and wicked old women literally stoned you with the poverty-stricken customs and traditions of acquired violence and venom disguised as wisdom back to bridges and ipswitch shellfish and milk trucks and newspaper trucks and the ripe blushing field hockey girls with a tough even slutty side to them they’re calling for tornadoes out in providence, rhode island not to worry though just potential member used to remember the names of states by their shapes their capitals seemed so much greater rest your head in the lap of lapis-luzi lake
sucks having a kid who doesn’t like chocolate and wife with an eating disorder, sucks even more not being intimidated by anyone no more to look up to boys next door kick the shit out of each other fish back peddling in fish bowl o all those old girlfriends like radio stations kept on all day for when you come home like pressing your ear up against the wall of the soul of the gut of the internal organ of the cicada of the tree frog of the robin when they show up at dusk and start buzzing on your lawn whitman’s oars and pirate sails drift past playground into the whale nothing ever moves out here blue phone rings ‘neath housekeeper’s bed you’re the kennedy kid they failed to mention kept secretly hidden and conveniently forgotten catered by hysterical relatives at philanthropic luncheons with thousands of hats getting thrown in the ring in the hopes of being forgiven the hurricanes finally show up and come in the form of brats and bullies trying to make the moves on daughters who simply get instantly turned off and tape up their windows you find yourself contented flipping burgers in the hail with a mad smile far more real far more normal than any of these mechanical men strapped down to lawnmowers in their own worlds barely breathing with khaki shorts on pulled up to their belly buttons the exact same day exact same hour grasping onto their light beer like some unattractive non-seductive geisha girl manning fan without sex appeal all days should end in thunder with the squeal of summer bugs.
Joseph Reich is a social worker who works out in the state of Massachusetts: A displaced New Yorker who sincerely does miss dissplace, most of all the Thai food, Shanghai Joe's in Chinatown, the fresh smoothies on Houston Street, and bagels and bialy's of The Lower East Side. He has been published in a wide variety of eclectic literary journals both here and abroad and his most recent books include, "A Different Sort Of Distance" (Skive Magazine Press) "If I Told You To Jump Off The Brooklyn Bridge" (Flutter Press) "Escaping Shangrila" (Punkin House Press) "Obscure Aphorisms On A Fine Overcast Day" (Lummox Press) "The Derivation Of Cowboys & Indians" (Poet Works Press) and "Drugstore Sushi" (Thunderclap Press)
Afte by r Kat
Josephine Close, “Night Tide 17” There are a million ways to describe the aftermath of a broken heart. Half of them are too inadequate and the other half are too truthful. All of them are painful to read. Among friends, it’s probably best not to describe the wreckage. Instead, you just tell them your heart is broken. “I know,” they will say with a sad nod of the head. It means both “I know what it feels like” and “I know how you feel.” Then, they will treat you more gently for some time and nothing more will have to be said. While you get too skinny or too fat from eating too much or not eating often enough, while you sleep for fourteen hours a day, or not at all, or while you laugh or cry or express no feeling of any kind, your friends will still know why. And, in your heartbroken state, you might throw yourself into your work or do nothing productive for weeks and weeks. You may take up yoga, or jogging, or self-pity or full-blown depression. You might drink hard and smoke and have sex with strangers or swear off those things once and forever – your friends will still know why. You may also do nothing. You may show no sign of being anything other than normal. And then, even though you told your friends and they said “I know,” they may forget and stop treating you gently. You may get angry with them for forgetting even though you were the one who wanted everything to look normal. Being angry with your friends will make it easier to go on feeling lonely in that indulgent way you may have, or you may not have at all. You may stop going out to visit your friends and use your time to make plans for your entirely new life that will be so full and busy with marriage and houses and children that there will be no room for such forgetful people. No one will know anything about you anymore.
While you are planning and plotting you will probably make some lists. You will make a list of all the happy marriages you have seen in your life and, after careful thought, strike your own parents, grandparents and all your aunts and uncles off of it. The only pair of names you will be left with are the couple you know who were born to be together. Maybe, you will remember how they met at a school dance when all of you were just fourteen. Maybe you will remember hearing, how, after fifteen minutes of nerves and nervousness and the second slow dance, they had decided they’d found it forever. Everything for them was happy. It went slowly, but the trajectory was traditional. You know that now she nags him a little and he rolls his eyes at her nagging but mostly does what he is told. He teases her about nagging him, about being his old lady. She teases him back about being lazy. It is light and funny and constant, but never mean and it never sounds critical. You know that he mows the lawn and takes out the garbage. She shops and cooks the dinner. They wash the dishes together every evening when the children are in bed and talk softly of work and the day and the people they know. They worry about money, but they are driven by the ideal of being rich in love. You know that ideal. You were raised with it, but it’s too late now. Maybe you were born too cynical or not cynical enough to recover from that first disappointment of not finding it right away. Now you have too much experience to believe in finding it, but not enough to come full circle and go back to the values you learned from your mother’s words and your father’s protection.
Josephine Close, “Now, Voyager”
Instead, you make more lists. Each list has seven items for luck. You make a list of things you will do to make yourself more desirable: 1. lose ten pounds 2. buy more alluring wardrobe 3. get hair cut 4. buy shoes with higher heels 5. adopt a stockings only policy 6. take up running 7. learn how to flirt like an ancient Greek huntress More lists cover more important things. You write down seven ways to spot a man who is ready and willing to marry that includes ethnicities that place a premium on marriage. You list seven ways to tell you will be compatible with someone before investing the energy required to get to know them. You know the seven traits you have to offer someone and the seven character traits someone else will have to have to balance them out. Although you don’t know it, you are not writing lists, you are writing a job description. You are drawing up boxes to tick, designing criteria and sorting beads into colour-coded piles. You do not know that you haven’t recovered. You do not know that your heart is still broken. You do not know yourself, but you know where you are headed. Everyone knows the convention for finding the ideal mate. You know it too. You make your list and promise yourself not to settle for anyone who does not fulfil every item on the list: 1. sense of humour (must have one) 2. good communication skills (must have some) 3. just as tall as you if not taller 4. solvent, or with minimum student loans left to re-pay 5. not insane, obsessive or controlling 6. good table manners (must have them) 7. cock longer than my little finger and thicker than my thumb (at least) I know. It’s terrible. I know. Having the lists, in your terrible state of mind, passes for emotional fortitude. With the list in your head, you show not one sign of heartbreak. And so, you go forth to take no prisoners. Well, truthfully, just one prisoner. 8. family-oriented (must be)
Kate Baggott is a Canadian writer living in Germany. “The Aftermath” is from her recently-completed collection Tales from Planet Wine Cooler. Links to other published pieces can be found at www.katebaggot.com
Telling the Tales of Many Names first name borrowed from a young man's crush on a tahitian princess middle name a french version of his mother's spelled in three country's tongues: maria, marie, mary mother's maiden name, magrino before the spanish imposed a ñ on its existence and the drunken small-town ontario immigrants, sons of stephen, and buried maki (finnish translated to hill
Keys, Cages, Causality words shot like bullets washed away by morning rain, moonrise reflecting on the lake, touching our shore. rattle the dust off our cages, fumbling for keys buried in bags full of memories, emptying everything on the floor then remembering how to travel through time. who needs keys or cages when the vastness of our lives is within reach? causality is not what it seems.
once here), kennedy (triggermen for capone, embarrassing underbelly of america's camelot), who knows what other names reside unearthed in this blood? a chinese merchant's junk, a spanish don's steeple, a polynesian poem? it's that space between sign and signified, that void within which everything exists. that's where the heart compels you, onto your feet, over the mountains, beyond the horizon, alluring until you meet and alight love knows no boundaries (borders are for soldiers)
Meredith Holbrook, “STOP war...” poems by Leah Marie Migriño Stephenson
Grace Suwondo, “Cole Porter”
travel by Zakia Henderson-Brown
her face is just beginning to prove it cannot go unwatered for this long. her body looks ready to buckle— with a slow song:
it looks like it’s time to head home. my mother’s powerful lilt
is alive with her impending trip and on the edge of each detail, a leaf lands in her lap until she is a portrait of autumn, skin spiced with the onset of tears, everything bared from the foundation. her father is beyond return from a trip he has been preparing to take all his life. his mind, in its eager manner, left long ago, left the limbs to find their own way— they are failing:
what good his body knows is in a long battle
with no longer knowing. my aunt is attempting to locate what's left him already her small smile, the compass, and failing. my mother is a fretful oak revving her wings what should i pack? her voice, a sapling; a magnificent black dress, an army of seeds, an armor
too. now each journey,
to cover him one last time, an army flag. the last time she went home, her mother left, a torture poised to croon.
Snow Falls in Cambridge by William Doreski
All over North America hydrogen labs make gases required to keep us happy. Of course they affect the weather. That’s why snow falls in Cambridge this rotund June afternoon. The big wet flakes smack and hiss on the streets, kiss the magazines displayed at Out-of-Town News, lick faces of puberty-shocked runaways from the suburbs. We dodge to a Chinese restaurant where I explain my voyage on the canal boat via Kendall and Central Square. Replacing the subway with a canal seemed the economic way to remodel public transport and discourage frivolous travel among imaginary cities no one really inhabits. You disbelieve my account of large women poling the boat up the dizzy current sluicing from Winchester’s reservoirs. I tell you they sang with voices pure as Joan Baez, yet reedy as Coltrane’s spit-clotted sax. The snow has begun to pile up so we’re better off indoors. The restaurant smiles like a wake. We order lunch and recline so acutely in our chairs the world looks edgy despite happy gases falling from the sky to puddle in organs evolved especially for this function.
Somewhere in Central Siberia by William Doreski
A picnic by a tiny lake somewhere in central Siberia. A sausage that sings with garlic, a cheese that makes our eyes run, bread as crusty as lichen and a wine of deep garnet red. A hundred miles from a road or settlement, we eat and drowse in the tall sunlight, the clearing a patch of tundra ringed by old-growth evergreens. We share the last bite of bread and cheese and I explain my famous dream, the one about Wordsworth clinging to the running board of a carful of sheep dogs barking wildly. I drove that car, urged the poet to seat himself among the dogs rather than risk his reputation in the open air. You laugh because you replace Wordsworth with Tolstoy and suddenly the dream makes sense. The lake shudders as Arctic wind dances across it. Did we walk a hundred miles to get here? We can’t remember arriving, can’t imagine leaving, so relax in each other’s grasp and settle into the soft gray tundra, allowing the damp to embalm us. When dark crowds out of the forest to autopsy our simple remains we laugh because the stars laugh overhead, and the picnic we thought we had devoured now respectfully digests us without the faintest hint of pain.
Julie Dru, L-R, clockwise: ‘Winter Wonderland’, ‘Deadly Farendole’, ‘reaching’, ‘Mekong Mermaid’
Julie Dru, ‘refuge’
Adulthood veins on the back of the hand like tracks of a bird stopped cold in the dusk, wondering what happened to its wings
To my Daughter who Joined the Safety Patrol In fact, ever since you were born itâ€™s been safe to cross the street. My arms were your first station. I wore hope like a badge.
Bourbon Sunset in a glass. Flame we lap. I am swallowing the world as it swallows me.
poems by Mark Jackley
Bea Sabino, “Hue Bris”
Letters by Guy Cranswick
Here I am, twenty hours in the air, staring down a row of seats. My mind is a freeway: speed and light and thoughts. The journey should empty it. Everyone on this plane is full of food and drink and sleeping. Out of the window stretches vast endless space. I need a book to take my mind away. But along with the roar of the engines I have you for company. I read your letter slowly the first time; then I read it again. I have two more, still in their envelopes which I picked up at the last post office, with the contracts. On that afternoon I was late and frantic to leave, and the place was filled with slow pensioners. The mailbag was lost in the back room of the small post office. When I read your letter, again, I believed I had neglected you. It was something I read into your tone. Perhaps I have made that error too often, over many years. It is my mistake. I know: that is something that silts up between people over time. That feeling that I have neglected you is here with me on this plane. A little guilt can be good. By now I will admit that we only know each other now through mail. When I enter a post office I hope there is just one letter from you. This is the first time in four or five weeks I have had the space to read. I realize why you sent me a letter. If you had called me on the phone, I would have balked. Distance is made greater in a letter; a speaking voice can never be deceptive, even when full of lies. You say it was dawn when you wrote, and you want me to come home. Your letter is like a strained and ideal version of yourself. Maybe it is the subject that has erased you amongst the plans and lists of facts and statements. The day has come; the farm is going, the land and woods; the place where we grew up; the place where our parents lived until last year, and now it is going. You are clear about the contracts, the tax, the administration, the lawyer, and the other things too small and necessary to mention. It is all a burden. The land will be sold: then the buildings cleared and leveled to make way for the ever sweeping prairie of lawns and houses. The farm is imposed on who I am, it is native to me. I wish it was otherwise. I am angry, I am sad. Do not listen to me. With the page in my hand, I am mumbling your words under my chin and simulating one of our conversations. I remember the last time we spoke, before I caught the train, with minutes to spare. You spoke in a torrent and louder above the crowd as I listened, my arms crossed, unable to say anything to you and distracted by thinking about the train journey ahead. Is it seven, or just six months, since we last talked? In that time I have not been able to use a telephone.
Tangier Shibam Calcutta Chongqing Houston Airport Times Square French roads The Wannsee Belgrade The Bosporus You want me to come back but I cannot return, not for one last time. I can see the yellow light at sun up in the dark blue sky from my bedroom window, and the cold air of many childhood mornings is fresh again. It is impossible; I cannot walk the hall and enter the rooms, sit at the kitchen table and listen to the family. Not again; it is not my home. Once more around the old house, the rooms that need painting, still creaking doors that no one has repaired; the loose floorboards, the refrigerator that shudders, and now it is all unnecessary. If I was there I would be still and shiver. You understand now that I will not return. After the noise of the homecoming there is silence, restlessness fills a travelerâ€™s heart like mine. I keep moving. To where is not important but to places, far away. In the truly remote, there is only another traveler, like some ascetic priest finding the true self amidst thorns and rocks. The engines drone and the cabin stirs half-asleep. I have read all three letters now. I know precisely what is going on, and what has been said, and the mood and why it means the things you say. I understand everything, now that you have told me. Sights, sounds and the country are fixed with sharp definition in my imagination. I remember the day I got the scar on my forehead: the fire we lit, rounding up sheep, and running outside in the bone dry hot rain, the droplets evaporated the instant they touched skin. I do not have a good memory. Things make their own memory; I do not have a diary, I cannot record what I have done. And if I did, the contents would not be mine. I would have to imagine another person to know what they meant. I put myself in the place of the observed, I see myself as a visitor. I am booked for the next six months; nothing can be done to break the schedule. It is a pity: but I will sign and send the contracts back at the next stage. I have nothing to add, and if I become too involved in the sale of the farm, I would prolong the business: better to be done with it in a month than wait for me to come back. I do not mean to be distant, it is simple: I am always moving. And so it is easy to forget where I come from. Your letters bind us. One day, soon, we will talk. Until then, I have these letters; shared, joined with the past, but without them we might forget each other. And those memories are still in the hearth, which as the farm goes, like everything, will be unknown.
complete and carefully constructed waves. we can talk about them, we can talk about anything we want (or don't) at all but what
(what?) could any of our words possibly mean when matched with collarbones, long-sleeves, more broken glass in an[other] kitchen not without each and of their own problems or candles or ashtrays or work cancellation calls travel cash coffee runs? (I hate all my talk.) run. run. burning post-war charred lungs atop a wet sidewalk. ...and when I'm caught back, trapped in your acquisitions and rations on mornings like these? wait. oh, time. I'm just calculating the check-ins of terrors made of film and nothingness through my champagne filled belly in the scarcely noticed dark.
a highway of garbage mountains and summer sunset
split white paint and expansive slick and fuzzy grey (as told to me by the greats: the Bukowski's; The Burroughs'; and, of course, all The Freewheelin' Bob's; my father in a 1978 gunmetal Cadillac. the raised handwriting of the beast glamorous to seven year old eyes) tenuous and too sore to be tense my breath is full of organic overpriced grapes and the salt of guilty pleasures and, still. how thrilling it is, to pretend to live on garbage mountain (no longer nor shorter than a story on a thirty two dollar drive) poems by Sarah Miniaci
Meredith Holbrook, â€œalive parkingâ€?
ALEX LINDEN is currently an MFA candidate at Oklahoma State University. "Divorce Through Metaphor" was the last poem she had work shopped by the late and wonderful poet Ai. She hails from the desert of Tempe, Arizona, where she received her BA in Creative Writing.
BEA SABINO was born and raised in the outskirts of Manila, Philippines. Her migration to the urban quarters of Jersey City, NJ at the malleable age of 15 has proved to be metamorphic. The ordeal stirred in her an interest in the unconventional; inspired a sense of community amidst a selfabsorbed world; and sparked stray outbursts of creative tendencies. She is currently in school for Nursing, and quite possibly, a minor in Sociology.
BEN ZUCKER is a musician and writer finishing his last year of high school in Lafayette, California. He would write in freer verse if he could play the electric guitar.
CHRISTINA LUTHER lives in Frankfurt, Germany where she enjoys reading, writing, staring off into random space and dabbling around with whatever lomographic devices she can get her hands on.
GUY CRANSWICK has lived in various cities. He has written screenplays, a novel, My Wife, My Job, My Shoes, and a collection of stories, Corporate. His short fiction has been published in many countries.
JACK CONWAY is the author of a dozen books including King of Heists, Breaking Through the Bared and Bended Arm and American Literacy. His newest book, The Big Policeman, is scheduled for release by Globe Pequot Press in November 2010. His poems have appeared in Poetry, The Antioch Review, The Columbia Review and The Norton Book of Light Verse, among other publications. He teaches English at Bristol Community College in Fall River, Massachusetts and the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth.
JOSEPHINE CLOSE is a freelance graphic designer, art director, illustrator, professional photographer, painter, artist, foodie, cook, traveler, reader, dog lover, scuba diver, swimmer, aspiring sailor, bad driver, ridiculously bad singer, wine connoisseur and bird smuggler living in Los Angeles, California.
JULIE DRU is a compulsive photographer, painter and writer from Paris, France. Her work has appeared in publications across North America and Europe.
DYLAN CARPENTER lives in Colorado and is currently attending the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, pursuing his BA in English. He can think of nothing better to do with his time than to write and climb. This is his inaugural publication.
GAIL GHAI is a poet and high school teacher. Her work has appeared in Descant, JAMA, Kaliope, Poet Works, Shenandoah and Yearbook of American Poetry. Awards include a Pushcart Prize nomination and a Henry C. Frick scholarship for creative teaching. She is the author of three chapbooks of poetry and a Color Thesaurus poster, â€œPainted Wordsâ€? that can be found at www.artpoetica.com.
KELLY EVERS JACKSON is a normal person with an active imagination living in NYC. She finds the modern day virtue of workaholism to be unreasonable, unhealthy and neurotic. Her motivation to make work is a delicate balance of pleasure and compulsion. More of her work can be found at www.happinessisland.com
LEAH STEPHENSON is a jack of all trades, master of many. With ongoing practice, she has acquired the uncanny ability to meditate in action. When asked, Leah loves making people guess her ethnicity. (They always pick their own.) She lives by Lake Ontario in Toronto.
MARK JACKLEY is the author of four chapbooks, most recently Lank, Beak & Bumpy (Iota Press) and a full-length collection, There Will Be Silence While You Wait (Plain View Press). He lives in Sterling, VA.
MATT HANNON’s work has been described as "voyeuristic (in the best possible way)" and "capturing moments on film that people take for granted". He is constantly looking for details that others have looked over. He remembers things for other people with his photographs. Never leaving the house without at least one camera (film, preferably) Hannon pushes himself to portray the realities of the local arts and music scene in the post-industrial landscape of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pennsylvania metropolitan area. His work is currently on display at the Crimson Lion Hookah Lounge, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
MEREDITH HOLBROOK is a photographer from Toronto who uses the professional name Merry Somers. She is a new member of the Vancouver music and nightlife scene who has most recently photographed the group LMFAO and Djs: Dirty South, John Digweed, Pendulum, Avicii, Klaas, Congorock and Diplo. Merry works with artists to capture their creativity, artistic style, and unique personality on and off the set. She also is a progressing press photographer based in Israel during summers.
ROBERT SPIEGEL is a freelance writer in New Mexico who lives at the foot of some very rough and rocky mountains. He has had articles, poems or short stories in such diverse publications as Rolling Stone, Automation World and True Confessions. He has a very friendly border collie who spends the day watching him write.
SARAH MINIACI is a 20-something writer based in Toronto, ON, where she dropped out of university to live in the heart of the nightclub district and play tambourine into the wee hours. She has a tendency to think too much about everything. Her poetry has appeared in various publications throughout North America, and she has recently completed writing her first novel, “Nightgowns & Cigarettes”.
WALTER BECK is from Avon, IN and is currently a graduate student at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, IN pursuing a Master's Degree in Poetry. His works have appeared in the ISU Tonic, subTerrenean, Vincennes University Tecumseh Review, Paradigm and most recently, Camp Chase Gazette. In addition to poetry, he has recently finished his first creative non-fiction book, The Smell of Fear and Doughnuts.
WILLIAM DORESKI lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. His latest collection of poetry is Waiting for the Angel (2009). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell's Shifting Colors. His fiction, essays, poetry, and reviews have appeared in many journals, including Massachusetts Review, Notre Dame Review, The Alembic, New England Quarterly, Harvard Review, Modern Philology, Antioch Review, Natural Bridge.
Meredith Holbrook, “today”
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