Metamorphoses A Journal of Literature and Art 2012
Shawn Aprill Sarah Becker Melinda Carroll Devon Dani Draig Magaera Halter Megan E. Lilly Michael McEvilly Angela Rose Andrew Shelley Davide Trame Magan W. Sterling Warner
M. Batty Pentapus Donna Fitch Candace Hawkins Aunia Kahn Lori Lee Michelon Aydasara Ortega ashley reaks Jeani Yoho Sunday
Fiction by Liliana Blum (translated by Toshiya Kamei) Kevin Coyle Angela Rose
Essay by “Big” Josh Simpkins
ISSN: 1931-1982 ISBN: 0-9785201-1-4
METAMORPHOSES A JOURNAL OF LITERATURE AND ART 2012
A Journal of Literature and Art 2012
Metamorphoses A Journal of Literature and Art 2012
Creative Writing Community Cerro Coso Community College www.cerrocoso.edu/metamorphoses
Metamorphoses is published annually by the Creative Writing Community at Cerro Coso Community College and features both established and emerging twenty-first century voices and visions from a variety of perspectives. Met publishes poetry, short stories, creative non-fiction, reviews, literary criticism, and fine art in any medium reproducible in print. Special consideration is given to Cerro Coso students, alumni, and community members and to pieces which highlight in some way the Eastern Sierra, Indian Wells Valley, Mojave, and Kern Valley regions of California. Submissions are welcome year round. To submit writing or art, visit www.cerrocoso.edu/metamorphoses ISSN: 1931-1982 ISBN: 0-9785201-1-4 ÂŠ 2008 Cerro Coso Community College All rights revert to authors and artists upon publication. Published by Cerro Coso Community College Visit the following Cerro Coso educational programs Fine Arts http://academic.cerrocoso.edu/art/ English http://academic.cerrocoso.edu/english/ Media Arts and Web Design www.academy-webdesign.com/
Publication Coordinator Faculty Literary Editor Gary Enns
Student Literary Editors Devon Dani Draig
Candace Hawkins Aeron Hicks Angela Rose Joshua Simpkins
Student Art Editor
Student Designer Chris Kasper
Faculty Design Consultant Suzanne Ama
Faculty Art Editor Lisa Darty
unding for Metamorphoses is provided by the Communications Department and the Creative Writing Community of Cerro Coso Community College and in part by generous donations from the following individuals and organizations:
Joe Brassell Anita and Bill Fulkerson The Furniture Store Candace Hawkins Nia Hawkins The Harris Family Michelle Kent KRV Art Association Karen Kuster vi
Angela Looper My Place Restaurant Nadine Ortiz Protec Carpet Care Rich Palletreau Gallery Rivernook Campground Margaret and Richard Varela Will Bundy Real Estate Cathy Woody
Contents Termination Winds............................................................................12 Rousing The Whirlwind.....................................................................13 Walking the Tree Streets...................................................................14 Benefits (Sometimes) of Living in the Boonies....................................17 Haiku Number 1...............................................................................18 Haiku Number 2...............................................................................18 Night Light.......................................................................................19 Train Stations and Bus #1.................................................................20 vii
Dreams of the Wild West...................................................................22
The Button Factory............................................................................53
The Book Can Still Be Mended...........................................................26
I’ll See You When..............................................................................34
Boys of Summer................................................................................56
State of Emergency...........................................................................35
By the Gods: Power’s Corruptive Abilities..........................................36
All Six Of Us Were Lost......................................................................45
The Masseuse...................................................................................86 ix
Outside My Window, I Have a Clear View of the Power Lines............108
Echoes of Sun...................................................................................88
Tunnel of Secrets..............................................................................90
A Hummingbird’s Reply..................................................................110
Love Is A Warm Gun….......................................................................91
Sonnet as Mnemonic-Trigger: Up All Night, Cramming for an Exam......111
A Pair of Feet..................................................................................115
Desert Dreams 2.............................................................................116
Putting Down My Rake, I Take a Moment to Think About Getting Older........117
Victorian Self Portrait .....................................................................107
Rousing The Whirlwind
Termination Winds By Magaera Halter The wind's been blowing forever, moans my friend. How do you stand it? Been blowing since a week ago Wednesday, I reply. Close enough to forever, we agree, as we sip coffee coated with dust. I drive home through a sandstorm, able to see no further than my hood. A roof shingle skitters across the windshield and disappears. Sand and grit are in my hair and clothes and mouth.
Rousing The Whirlwind By Aunia Kahn
The mulberry tree in the back yard rocks in the wind, lashed into calisthenics it cannot sustain. Crack! during the night. Was it the mulberry? Leaves clatter on pavement, punctuating the sea-roar of wind. The next morning the mulberry, unharmed, still swings in the wind. That afternoon my friend says she's leaving. She's had enough.
Digital Mixed Media - 24â€? x 36â€?
Walking the Tree Streets By Melinda Carroll It doesn’t really matter where the day began… when I walk Bakersfield’s Tree Streets my mind gets lost.
Walking the Tree Streets Lost in the wind and the roar of cars rushing copiously by on Palm Street. Like babies sucking mama’s milk, drinking in as much of the world as they can with their gas guzzling mechanical engines. Stop! Don’t rush! I want to scream. Instead I whisper… “Live this moment, it’ll be gone in the next breath.”
Lost in the light shining through the Weeping Willow tree cascading from the sky to the pavement on Cypress Street. I raise my arms to the sky as if on a roller coaster ride and walk through its bittersweet joy. “I forgive you!” I say out loud to the day and all that came before.
Lost in the innocence of laughter as a boy and his father wrestle in their front yard on Pine Street. The boy’s a giggle-box I want to carry in my pocket, hold dear, and take out when the day’s been wearisome. A vulture, ominous, swoops low in the sky as Darren Hayes sings about selling your soul for popularity on my IPod. Is innocence in danger of being lost? I wonder.
Lost in the feel of the pavement beneath my feet and my favorite pop music ringing in my ears as I count cats on Cedar Street. Seven cats in that yard, five over there, three in the street. The neighborhood’s infested with felines! Are they taking over the world?
Lost in the power of suggestion as yards are lined with Youngblood for Sheriff political signs on Beech Street. “You want one for your yard?” The sign guy asked. “No thanks. I vote, but I don’t get all political in my rented yard.” LOVE WINS that’s the kind of power I’d like to see suggested in Bakersfield yards.
Metamorphoses 2012 Lost in the quiet voice as giant old trees speak wisdom to those who will listen to the rustling of leaves overwhelming the silence with the secret to the life I strive for. It’s in the history of Bakersfield’s oldest subdivision, it’s in every house I walk by on the Tree Streets… individual, unusual, original.
Benefits (Sometimes) of Living in the Boonies
Benefits (Sometimes) of Living in the Boonies By Shawn Aprill Lake-blue skies: Cloudless. No smog. No traffic. No fuss, Except for—chainsaws….
Haiku Number 1 By Magan W. In parched desert sun, owl dreams of soft night and leaf cries, waiting for rain.
Night Light By Lori Lee Michelon
Haiku Number 2 By Magan W. Dreams drifting across the moon sing songs so haunting I cannot listen.
Reduction Woodcut - 24â€? x 24â€?
Train Stations and Bus #1 By Michael McEvilly The two are the same. I swear we belong with that solemnity a bus ride alone can offer— did I ever tell you how much I loved train stations? Gray geometry, silver surfaces: Implore me to steal one more glance. Your profile captures every essence of this encounter; the way the lights always blur against an off-black backdrop, as if searching for a drop of oil in the ocean using a flashlight. I wanted to touch your hand, if only for a second, but I was afraid this gesture would turn your face away from the world outside: From thick-fog factories encapsulating aeroplanes with awe, from the possum bled more honest than these words, from his entrails or his hushed breathing or his solemn, glazed eyes. Just finish the job. Finish the sentence. And we’ll ride on, a few miles at a time, pillowing this relaxation with a thousand memories, a thousand destinations; did I ever tell you how many times a vacant train station brought me to wonder about vacant eyes or the moment right before life is swept away by a hesitant hand: It will either hold your fingers carelessly or strangle the carcass carefully. Either way my palm will sweat and I will wonder: What the Hell am I doing here tonight?
Entradas By Donna Fitch
Pencil on Paper - 11” x 14”
Dreams of the Wild West By Sarah Becker From the second floor window in the back of the house I can see the desert. From the first floor I can see only the backyard wall. We have one tree. I am standing inside my house, watching its twilight leaves dancing, but I can’t hear the wind over the air conditioning.
Dreams of the Wild West a freckle face girl with legs swinging from the back of a wagon, only she could probably shoot a gun and make a fire. And I’m not even sure if the wagons came this way. I wish I could ride a horse. I am looking out over sagebrush and sand, thinking there is a kind of peace in it. A truck rips by, leaving dust rising in its wake. I am thinking the West maybe wasn’t so wild in those days before the lake went dry, in those days before it went tame, unless by wild I mean free.
My hands feel uncommonly smooth. I am wondering if I have ever been strong, or anyone in those days since the lake went dry, in those days since the West went tame. I am watching the Sun ease into its bed behind the mountains, thinking maybe someone else watched that same sunset,
Wrong Turn By Devon Dani Draig Above was black in the desert Dry curtain fell over the Sun I untied the road ribbon The Far gave the Near Same as the Sides got One cloud above Somewhere Made a nest for the water Fleeing through My veil of skin Step off the road Sand will slip Under You feral creature But Sand floats Staghorn hoofs Bearing Mescalito Rattler breaths between fossil crystal Indoctrinate your ambling
With embedded fang epistle Weeping she jeers then loses grip Continue on your spirit trip Son of Thorn will pierce your hide Melt your soul into Dreamworld tide Rust ponderously unfangs the barbed chide Your form has burned away to spirit Unending happens down front near it Weariness makes you start out old But one step off the new road Sways a rogue chance Chase its Forward Could be your Return Could conceive If you can stop the burn
Maternidad By Aydasara Ortega
Collage - 4â€? x 6â€?
The Book Can Still Be Mended By Liliana Blum (translated by Toshiya Kamei) That cloudy afternoon, after spotting a couple of scorpions inside the saucepan for quince jelly, María de las Maravillas realized she would go blind. For sixty-five years, her eyesight had never failed her. But as her glance traveled to the scorpions’ orange backs, she was so certain that she would lose her eyesight her limbs began to quiver, her back went numb, as if she’d been fatally poisoned. She dropped the saucepan, and it rolled on its edge like a hula dancer’s hips. The scorpions hid inside wall cracks behind jars of peaches in syrup. She didn’t try to kill the scorpions or scream for help. She didn’t run away or try to understand. She just stood there. She couldn’t have said how long she was there, whether it was a few minutes or hours. No one missed her, or rather everyone took her for granted. Twilight, the dark beetle crawling, began to bring in chunks of shadows through the pantry window. She smoothed her apron down and left. Feeling empty inside, she wondered if Noah had felt the same when he learned about the upcoming flood. Or Lot. Revelations are always devastating. Not knowing the future is bliss. It seemed much later, but the sound of the church bells reminded María de las Maravillas that it was almost seven. Soon her soap opera would come on, so she headed for the TV room, as always. On the recliner, her husband was reading his third or fourth book of the week. In her case, it wasn’t women or vices that snatched her husband’s affection away from her, but literature. This silent lover not only kept her husband away from María, but also lived in the house, slowly overflowing the bookshelves. She thought his books would end up forcing them out of the house one day, as in
The Book Can Still Be Mended a story she forced herself to read many years ago in her attempt to please her husband, or rather to seduce him, following the advice she read in a women’s magazine. She’d heard him talking to a friend about a story by someone called Cortázar. She had no problem finding it on the bookshelf, almost professionally ordered. Even though María de las Maravillas had read the story and tried to discuss the dark relationship between the characters, Don Buenaventura didn’t appreciate her efforts. He didn’t jump up with joy. Nor did he become more attentive to her. His regard for her didn’t increase either. Instead, he told her that she was interrupting his reading. Besides, he added, this kind of book wasn’t appropriate for women. Find out his interests. Do research, learn, and have an intelligent conversation with him. This will make him want you more than ever. There’s nothing quite like a smart brain to rekindle the flame in your marriage. Men prefer smart women. That same afternoon María threw away the magazine and its advice along with leftovers and promised herself she’d never follow someone’s advice to try to light up her marriage. It would be better if her marriage went up in flames once and for all so that she could sweep the ashes under the rug. “María, can you turn on the lamp?” “I’m going blind.” “What?” “I’m going blind.” “That’s why, woman, turn the light on. It’s already dark. I don’t want to strain my eyes.”
María de las Maravillas took several steps toward the corner, stomping her heels against the speckled floor. She pulled the chain on the standard lamp, only thirty centimeters away from Don Buenaventura’s arm. He didn’t take his eyes off the page. As always, she puffed and panted, flaring his nostrils like a bull about to charge. Long ago, her gesture would have made her husband realize that she was annoyed, but now he didn’t even raise an eyebrow. His ability to feel for her seemed to have eroded, like the stones that become blunt with the constant clash of waves. “Didn’t you hear me? Of course, you never listen to me,” she said almost to herself and sank into the couch, throwing her head backward. She opened her eyes. At the upper corner of the wall, a shiny cobweb seemed to hold the entire weight of the old house. She looked up toward the ceiling and noticed flecks of paint peeling off, like the skin of her knuckles after washing the sweat-stained collars of Buenaventura’s shirts. “Yes, I heard you. You’re going blind. I’m not deaf yet. What you’re telling me is old news. With the passage of time, you’ll lose your senses, one by one, until you die. You’re not discovering anything new, María.” “I thought you didn’t hear me. Why didn’t you answer me?” “I heard you, but I have nothing to say. What’s the point in worrying about the inevitable? Besides, I’m reading. I need light. And peace and quiet. I want you to stop interrupting me.”
The Book Can Still Be Mended María de las Maravillas wanted to say that she would go blind very soon. Her mouth hung open for a few seconds, like a toad lying in wait for a dragonfly. Her intention vanished into thin air when she saw her husband immersed in the pages of his book. A long-legged spider came sliding down from the cobweb. It began crawling along the wall and hid behind Grandma Matilde’s portrait—a sepia photo of a woman with a rigid back, a tight smile, cold eyes, a tense jaw, a frown like a fan. The photo captured not only the woman’s image but also her unhappy life. María drew her brown shawl around her shoulders, rubbed her arms, and looked out the iron-barred window. Didn’t her face look like her grandmother’s? She watched the rain pour down, dragging the remains of garbage and memories, which would remain stuck in the sidewalk drains. The sky became tinged with dark purple, and she shivered. A flash of lightning illuminated her face, and the windows shuddered. For a second, her husband’s figure became a silhouette. Almost muted, the soap opera flickered on the screen, like a dying glowworm. “It’s seven thirty,” Don Buenaventura said, putting down his glasses and his book on the table. She got up in silence and headed for the kitchen. She heated milk and placed bread, sugar, and instant coffee on the table. The chime of the grandfather clock confirmed the time. She looked at the clock and remembered it was a wedding gift from Grandma Matilde. A slight headache throbbed at her temples when she tried to remember the clock’s age. She gave up and told her husband that everything was ready. They had snacks together and talked about nothing in particular, like every evening in the last forty-five years. But that rainy day, María de las Maravillas knew, inexplicably but surely, that she would go blind.
Metamorphoses 2012 *** It was still dark when the bells of San Agustín announced the six o’clock mass. The sacristan was sweeping the courtyard, shuffling orange peels, gnawed-up corncobs, cigarette butts, and the other garbage that the faithful, in their fervor and devotion, forgot to put in the trashcans. The broom raised a cloud of dust, which flew for a few moments and landed on the ground like homeless pigeons. Outside, on the sidewalk and the lay world, the view was worse. Besides the same kind of waste, the stink of urine floated up from the wall near the sacred ground. A bucket of water with chlorine and a brush would have taken care of the problem, but that was where the sacristan’s responsibility ended and City Hall’s duties began. One step farther, the iron gate drew a line between what belonged to God and what belonged to Caesar. The chubby man with a body shaped like an onion did no more than shove a pile of garbage toward the sidewalk. He crossed himself before going back inside as the service was about to start. The old women who covered their heads with dark shawls, salt and pepper, and blind faith, gathered inside the church. They moved their lips, asking their favorite saints for love, health, money, and miracles in exchange for small sacrifices in case their wishes were granted. A pair of bleary-eyed altar boys placed the instruments of rite and poured water over fresh chrysanthemums on both sides of the altar. With her chin buried in her collarbone, María de las Maravillas prayed in silence. Even though she pretended to join in the songs and prayers and listen to the sermon during the mass, she never stopped talking to her personal God. The smell of incense, fresh flowers, and old people who bathed only once a week mixed with the congregation’s out-of-tune voices joining in the morning prayer.
The Book Can Still Be Mended
In the confessional, María de las Maravillas hesitated in front of the dark curtain that shielded her from Father Girasol’s sour breath. Just as she opened her mouth to confess, she decided not to mention the revelation she had the previous afternoon. Instead, she rattled off her harmless sins and correctly guessed her penitence. She blocked out the priest’s voice and felt like leaving the church, walking around the city, and seeing everything for the last time. She left the confessional without any excuse. For several hours, she walked through the old district, which she had known as a girl, trying to engrave everything she saw on her mind. That morning she realized she could survive in the shadows. *** María de las Maravillas decided that once she lost her eyesight, she wouldn’t leave her home again. She was determined to use whatever time she had left to learn to live without her eyesight. She spent all her energy, all her sadness, all her time trying to commit to memory every detail of the house. Salomón, her cat, began to miss the warm afternoons spent on María’s lap while she knitted. Don Buenaventura missed his wife’s presence on the couch next to him. They didn’t talk to each other, but she was always part of the room. It felt as if someone had redecorated the room and it bothered him a bit. Lately María de las Maravillas did nothing but walk around the house with her eyes blindfolded. She would stop a million times in the hallways and touch every inch of the walls, of the bookshelves, of the doors, and of any object she found. She even stopped
Metamorphoses 2012 going to the afternoon mass and attended only the morning service. She said she wouldn’t make quince jelly or peaches in syrup or cakes until she felt sure that she could do it without seeing. When her soap opera came on, she would sit down in her usual place, still blindfolded, and listen to the dialogue coming from the screen, imagining what the characters were doing. This particularly annoyed her husband, but the worst was when she tried to serve snacks, feeling her way, spilling milk and instant coffee grounds on the tablecloth. He complained, but María said he had to get used to it because everything would change once she became blind. Don Buenaventura, who hated marital quarrels, chose to overlook his “blind” wife’s blunders. *** After practicing the art of blindness for almost a year, María de las Maravillas came to know even the remotest part of her house. She acquired the skill to make marmalade, preserved fruits, and even cookies. She managed the kitchen like the world’s best cook. She could make the beds, do the dishes, dry them, and put them in their places. She could wash clothes, iron them, and even mend them with her eyes closed. One afternoon, in the pantry, María de las Maravillas was looking for a sack of beans. She suddenly stopped as if an unfamiliar voice warned her of danger. Disconcerted, but curious, she slowly removed her blindfold and pulled the chain above her head to turn on the light. After her eyes adjusted to the light, she saw a large yellow scorpion near the sack. She didn’t need her eyes to dodge this danger. That day she knew she was ready to live without her eyesight. She stepped on the poor creature and left to shower kisses on Don Buenaventura’s bald head.
The Book Can Still Be Mended She told him that they would celebrate with hot chocolate and a fresh-baked apple pie. *** The next morning, María de las Maravillas got up, as usual, at five to attend the first mass of the day. She strode through the darkness, her bare feet touching the floor. She finished fixing herself up and still had half an hour before the bells of San Agustín began to toll. She decided to sit down and knit a sweater for her favorite grandson. When she thought it was time to go, she stepped forward, carrying her yarn and knitting needles to put them inside the basket in one corner of the room. She wasn’t blindfolded, but walked with her eyes closed. Just as she rested her weight on her right leg, she tripped forward and lost her balance. As she fell flat on her face, an intense breeze caressed María’s face for a fraction of a second. For the last time, she saw the white wall, the yellow yarn, the silvery knitting needles. Then everything went dark. Don Buenaventura left his room, grumbling. He’d had too much pie the day before and had heartburn. A muffled cry and a dull thud on the floor had woken him. He went into the TV room. His wife lay there with the knitting needle piercing through her right eye. Beside her body, a book with shiny pages lay open, slightly damaged. ‘I must’ve dropped it last night when I fell asleep,’ he thought. He hesitated for a few seconds. He picked up the book and tried to glue the torn pages together. “Maybe it can still be mended.”
State of Emergency
I’ll See You When.... By Angela Rose The time had come. You were to be born. Rushing to and fro. The ambulance horn. Quickly! they said. It’s almost time! Rushed to a room. Nothing to find. Why did you go? I don’t understand! Why deny me? This wasn’t planned! Was it something I did? Or something I said?
Forsaken I am! In this hospital bed! Rage replaced. The horror sets in. No sound but sobbing. Heartbreak within.
State of Emergency By Aunia Kahn
They say stillborn. That you did not live. I say they’re wrong. For me, you did. I felt you live. But never again. Goodbye my girls. I’ll see you when….
Digital Mixed Media - 24” x 36”
By the Gods: Power’s Corruptive Abilities By “Big” Josh Simpkins “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” Lord Acton once declared. But what would transpire if the head of a prestigious family was being corrupted by power, dishonoring the life of a beloved family member? What if the head of this family was also the king? In the Greek tragedy Antigone, originally composed in 441 B.C.E., the priest, poet, playwright, and public figure Sophocles addresses these matters, and many others, including how power can not only corrupt absolutely, but can also condemn, shake, and tear at the very foundations of a kingdom—especially in the hands of a foolhardy power-mad king. Antigone is a play that explores the political ideology of the individual versus the state. However, on a deeper level, Antigone is the story of what transpires when a fear-mongering, foolish, power-mad king squanders his power—and, as a result, the hard lessons with which the king becomes well versed. From the moment King Creon is introduced in this marvelous tragedy, Creon blatantly abuses his newly acquired royal power by coming to rash, unwise judgments, and by implementing ludicrous, honorless laws. For example, King Creon’s first royal “proclamation has forbidden the city to dignify [Polynices] with burial, [or] mourn him at all” (739)—while allowing full burial honors to be bestowed on Thebes’ fallen hero and Polynices’ brother, Eteocles. Perhaps Creon’s way is not the most regal— dishonoring the memory of one fallen nephew, while at the same time possibly over-dignifying
By the Gods: Power’s Corruptive Abilities the other—but as the leader admits: “The power is yours [Creon]…to enforce…the laws, both for the dead and…the living” (739). However, there is one lone member in this tragically dysfunctional royal family who will not sit idly by while her tyrannical uncle king misemploys his power. It is the brave, loving, and honorable Antigone—sister to the timid Ismene, and the fallen brothers Eteocles and Polynices; daughter of her brother/father Oedipus and Jocasta, their “doomstruck mother” (757). Antigone cannot abide King Creon’s irrational, impetuous, and injurious law. Honoring the laws of the gods over the laws of men, she is not afraid to defy a king and honor both of her fallen brothers—whatever the cost. Beautiful Antigone believes that King Creon’s edict does not hold the power to “override the gods, [their] great unwritten, unshakable traditions” (746). King Creon, on the other hand, has a very different interpretation of what his royal power allows him to do. King Creon comes to some rash, devil-may-care, unwise judgments as a result of the throne’s corruptive power. For instance, upon hearing the news that someone has given the body of Polynices “[its] proper rites” (740), Creon flies into a paranoid rage, turning on his faithful sentry. He blames “[e]veryone—the whole crew” (742) of taking a bribe and defying the king’s word, then proceeds to place on the sentry the burden of finding and producing “before [his] very eyes…the man who buried [the] corpse” (742)—or suffer a fate worse than death. Perhaps this isn’t the best way to treat a loyal subject, but as Creon continuously makes clear: “I now possess the throne and all its powers” (738). Though some would agree with Creon’s actions, others—including this literary scholar—agree with the sentry’s point
Metamorphoses 2012 that “it’s terrible when the one who does the judging judges things all wrong” (743). Now, if you think learning about Polynices’ burial rubbed King Creon’s rhubarb raw, wait until he discovers who the culprit happens to be. Deep within Sophocles’ Antigone, the Chorus of this wonderful play proclaims that “attacks on power never go unchecked, not by the man who holds the reins of power” (758). King Creon is indeed no exception. The legitimacy of this statement is clearly demonstrated when Creon strikes back at this attack on his power with all of his venomous might. After discovering that the culprit of this so-called “offence” is Antigone, King Creon sentences her—his own son’s fiancé—to death. It seems that in the midst of his foolish paranoia, stubborn arrogance, and power-driven pride, King Creon loses focus on what should be most important to him—his family. It is not until King Creon receives the advice and dreadful vision of the blind prophet Tiresias, that he experiences a grand epiphany. And although King Creon awakens to his own power-mad foolishness, it is, unfortunately, a bit too late.
By the Gods: Power’s Corruptive Abilities member not among the deceased just happens to be poor, sweet Ismene—the timid girl who had not the “heart [to] defy the city” (736), or “the ones who stand in power” (735). And there you have it: Antigone deciphered via this literary scholar’s bizarre brain. Please, continue to further research the great writings of Sophocles. You may just enjoy yourself. [Work Cited: Sophocles. Antigone. Making Arguments about Literature: A Compact Guide and Anthology. Schilb, John and John Clifford, ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2005. 733 71.]
In the end—after his niece, son and wife all take their own lives—King Creon comes to learn two things. Firstly, that during the entirety of his short rein as king he has been “[a] rash, indiscriminate fool” (770), who has been corrupted—bastardized even—by power. Secondly, that “[t]he mighty words of the proud are paid in full with mighty blows of fate, and at long last those blows will teach…wisdom” (771). Creon gains wisdom by becoming versed in some truly hard lessons, but at the expense of almost his entire family. The only family
Combing By Andrew Shelley I. Stilled dusk of washed-out louring light rain-tense day silted down to a black line of cloud on the horizon sense how everything goes quiet and freezes just before the storm crumbles and boils over cloud violently colliding with itself to crush and fracture the curdled light brighter feel how everything goes silent just before the fall of autumn or that of night see how a life goes still and turns in on itself at evening just before it ends as if viewed through a soundproof screen of doom-tinted glass/shade-stained glaze element stained to slurry with black ink cloud-streaks of blue-black aquatint whose sleek perspectives trailing back into the skyâ€™s past converged upon us and trapped us standing there at an odd angle to each other drawn across the landscaped page with a paint-drenched brush pressed firmly to the surface shot across the etherâ€™s sheet
Combing or dashed angrily in savage black against the feverish background grays held back beyond the dulled rim of the looming horizon ruthlessly planed down flush with the pert cut scar of your flat prim mouth slowly disintegrating like a jetâ€™s ragged wake as torn tares into the close-heated thickness of afternoon-muted light earth line brought so near as to be a gulch between us by the storm-borne air of haze-saturated heat/waterlogged lead heavy as tears in a pain-soaked skull-shell of scree and sand/sunburst earthhead rimful of intimate distance brimming with unshed, grey theatre rain yellow-purple bruise of sunset storm-sky just before it breaks in blood low-humming of near-pent water muted ominous booming threatening to bulge and burst out as the first or final flood retreating and retrenching to silt over the parched terrain to fresh growth teeming from black mud. II. Stiff, dry grass in the swamp-heavy air combed obliquely back and forth between green and paler matte lime I stood slightly slantwise on the uneven rain-thirsty plain rigidly ruled into plots by cotton twined round short planted stakes pock-marked with hollows and unburst shell-holes,
Metamorphoses 2012 I untangled your hair, as your bare face wept unraveled the knots in your clammy hair carefully washed out the matted strands of your hair in the river water pecked cloth-balls from your crummy clothes ruefully your baggy rumpled skirt and wind-shocked top while you cried, bare-faced, while ineptly you wept, your bald face wet a trickle of wincing tenderness seeped out through the cracks in our broken hearts vulnerable pulp or sap to salve the knife-cuts in the tree’s bark which slashed our sticky initials into the fresh white wood flesh such that they oozed glue but obstinately refused to adhere together separated by a thin line like a joy division sign like a flat cut pert mouth primly shut and silent me over you doesn’t go or leaves a remainder of precisely zero flung an 0 echoing down the deserted street of days in the bleak light of spastic dawn popped us like a plastic spit-bubble pricked to the shape of a flame-burnt scar-tissue heart by a red-hot needle hovering over our heads forever like a trembling speech-balloon empty but for an exclamation that twists itself up to the shape of a question mark or an illegible rune that bursts in a pretty tinkle of little spit-specks like a teardrop tree and vanishes into clean air, into lean air. I dried you, while you cried, your bare shame-face
Combing turned up to the sky which dropped a fine freckling of scattered rain-flecks upon the pale sliver-of moon opal thumbnail of your face’s plane, my finger chucking you lightly under the chin tilted the beaten-thin disc of your visage’s skin slightly to the grey light the grim sky like a jagged diamond turned slowly between fingertips in the hard light of exact appreciation, precise pencil-beam trained seekingly upon the smooth of your round moon-face fused first as pixel points of dense intensity into the surrounding dawnrise silence as you smiled a little in the hot pre-storm half-dark shattered blue of your eyes’ metalled crystal ovals faint against the stark zinc light like almond-facets of pastel quartz touched into the neuter pre-downpour twilight bleached colorless and drained off-white like strained rinds by a blunt thumb’s end dipped in stain. We stood slightly bent towards each otherI stood sagging in low-slung loose trousers at an awkward angle one foot higher than the other and skewed shoulders slanting sideways in the spitting pre-deluge drizzle
Metamorphoses 2012 on the stumpy marsh-land studded with clumps of hard sod crumpling into myself like a used tissue screwed up in a fat fist having absorbed all the snot and sweat and filth of the world you ran off over a fence, leapt like a lamb, heavy space weighed me down, drooping greens all around, early haze, pre-summer moist, rain-freighted shale while the vivid bright stile closed its colors.
All Six Of Us Were Lost
All Six Of Us Were Lost By ashley reaks
Pen and Ink on Paper 70 x 50 cm
By Sarah Becker
By Andrew Shelley
Strange, I like you better for not holding my hand today. Today you didn’t want to lie— in your touch even, you didn’t want to lie.
God it’s a long haul this night flight from the dark into the light and the dark lasts for iron ages— sundown, starless black, cruel twisted knife. They bring you food, coffee, there’s music but how long till the sun comes up? Will it ever again? And where do I begin? Will it ever end? You touch down very late on some windy vacant military landing-base with vast echoing hangars, little low corrugated huts
and small carefully designated petty officials whose function is difficult to specify but obviously so highly significant as to propel them back and forth very quickly from one to another block of the prefab shanty-town of mobile caravan-departments. Then you stand on that windy corner of the square bewildered and blinded under glittering floodlights a prize poem in your case and a book of rules of pronunciation in a completely unknown language folded between the towels, underwear, itchy new shirts and other assorted highly-packaged menswear. It’s that blue globetrotter suitcase you bought with benefits far back in some northern boyhood
Night Flight That and an extremely cheap portable manual typewriter you later swapped for a pen-and-ink drawing of Samuel Beckett’s head. They look at you with baffled pity in the seedy hotel foyer where you spend one of your many memorable nights like the one in a Naples room with a cane barking right in at you from the facing balcony, —the one in the dead man’s wife’s room full of rotting clothes and phials of ossified cosmetics, bottles of liqueur gone to solid sugar, his bedroom’s shelves stacked with jars of pills long, thin sliding wooden drawers of blank filing cards…an iron bar propped beside the bed. Behind the night there are glimpses of islands in light,
naked girls standing in whitewalled rooms with green-framed windows.
Back on the plane, after the entertainment’s been exhausted, there’s a drone of interminable night
These you galumph your trunk towards, lose your charity-shop suit when it gives you nightmares
It’s always so dark, and the views you hoped to see are just your own face in the silly little individual window,
of English offices in the eighties, stand in football shorts clutching the old man’s
with its cosily rounded corners and plastic shutter you use to exclude the specter hanging in mid air outside.
daughter’s child and let the black-haired, oval-eyed girl dress you up in her clothes and make love
There were glimpses of islands in light but somehow you’re still standing on that vacant corner of the square,
on a rickety iron frame, a single particle of sand embedded in your hand slowly killing you.
a cylinder of newspaper jammed under your arm slightly untoward, slightly bent over,
The suit burns off in that heat. And the case? some old girlfriend takes it away,
not knowing who to be or where to go.
it carries her things when she goes back to daddy— pens and knives and expensive fancy ornaments.
The Button Factory
The Button Factory
By Megan W. Some time ago, I heard a song. It was faint and familiar, Though it wasn’t long. A song of darkness, A tune without voice To sing of mornings When the air is moist. A song for singing, Not meant for ears, For as I listened It disappeared.
By Melinda Carroll With fragrant notes Dancing in air, The years passing, Catching my hair. Nothing was secret, Nothing concealed, When music said “Nothing,” and Nothing was real.
A drone, I sit beside the others pushing buttons, click, click, clickity click. A mindless task that requires a warm body, an ergonomic chair and an able finger. Click, click, clickity click. I don’t make buttons in the Button Factory. I push buttons that build communities. A meandering street, a cul de sac, click, click, clickity click. Track homes, a city park, click, click, clickity click. A bike path, equestrian trail, click, click, clickity click.
Metamorphoses 2012 I produce amenities for the masses. Cookie-cutter plastic fairy tale dreams assembled by a sequence of buttons. Click, click, clickity clack. “Work faster my little Button Factory workers. Push those buttons! I need more product to sell.” The metallic Master cracks his whip across our drooping backs. Click, click, clickity click, I respond in automation.
Big Alvin Lucy, you’ve got some splainin’ to do.” Click, click, clickity click. I frantically push buttons, rearranging plastic assembly line homes. “We’re building a community here!” Click, click, clickity click. I have a robotic smile as we’re building Bakersfield…. Life as it should be.
Big Alvin By ashley reaks
“Let her roll…” his tinny voice drones, pushing the conveyor belt button. Click, click, clickity click. Plastic Monopoly track homes pour faster than I can keep up. Click, click, clickity click.
Pen and Ink, Pastel and Collage on Paper - 84.5 x 59.5 cm
Boys of Summer By Kevin Coyle The sports car snarled down the narrow street, flying by house after sun-bleached house. Tires crackled in the thin layer of white sand swept over asphalt. At a dead end, the car slid to a stop, its bumper mere inches from a cinderblock wall. Through a gap in the wall, past a ticket booth manned by a bored teenager, the beach hugged the shimmering blue Atlantic. From the car’s leather passenger seat, a young blond woman asked, “Which house is it?” “I’m not sure.” The driver shifted the car into park and shut off its engine. Inspecting his reflection in the rearview mirror, he combed back his jet-black hair. “It’s been a while.” The couple climbed from the low-slung automobile and stood on the sidewalk. With an upraised hand, the woman shielded her eyes from the glaring mid-afternoon sun and scanned both sides of the street. Her companion, squinting, used a handful of his Hawaiian shirt to strip a sudden fog from the lenses of his mirrored sunglasses. “Tony, is that him?” The woman pointed up the street at someone emerging from a weather-beaten bungalow. The distant figure stopped in the postcard-sized front yard and waved.
Boys of Summer
Tony put on his sunglasses. “Yeah, that’s Bill.” Tony paced around to the rear of the vehicle and opened the trunk. Inside, along with the CD changer and a set of oversized speakers, were a box of bakery cookies and a case of imported beer. The woman threaded her slender fingers into the web of candy-striped string tying off the cookie box and lifted it. Tony balanced the case of beer under one arm and slammed the trunk lid. Then the couple strolled up the street toward Bill. Bill was tall and gaunt, with a mop of long brown hair that rarely felt the bite of a comb. He wore a wrinkled lavender polo shirt and a pair of polka-dotted swim trunks. Toes protruded from leather sandals. Perched in an upturned corner of Bill’s mouth was an unlit cigar. “There he is,” Tony shouted when he reached the rusty wire fence encircling the bungalow’s front yard. “The man, the legend, Tiberius the Great!” Bill scrutinized the couple. “My word! If it ain’t Tom and Daisy, Daisy and Tom.” With her eyes, the woman flashed a silent inquiry in Tony’s direction, which he failed to notice. He laid the case of beer on the tiny patch of burnt grass and the two men embraced. “Good to see you,” Tony said. “Same here. I see you still have that shirt.”
“Had to take it out of mothballs, but yeah. Of course.”
Susan asked, “And where’d Bill’s nickname come from?”
“And who’s this lovely flower of womanhood?”
Tony chuckled. “Animal House was huge with our crowd. Everybody was passing around the bootlegged videotape. Wishful thinking about college, I guess. Billy used to throw wild parties out here. When he got drunk, he’d strip the sheets from all the beds and insist that we wear them as togas, and then he’d break into his own rendition of Shout.”
“Susan, my fiancée.” At the mention of her name, Susan held out her hand to Bill. “Nice to meet you.” Bill disengaged himself from Tony. Instead of shaking Susan’s hand, Bill grasped her fingers, bowed, and kissed her knuckles. With much flourish, he crooned, “At your service.”
Bill grinned, the cigar bobbing. “Of all the names of Roman emperors you could’ve picked, why Tiberius?”
“Why’d you call me Daisy?”
“Bill was famous for his bad impressions of William Shatner.”
Susan wrinkled her nose. “I don’t get it.”
“It’s an old joke,” Tony answered for his friend. “Ever since we read The Great Gatsby in high school, Billy Boy’s used the names of those two characters as nicknames for me and whoever I happened to be dating at the time.”
Bill pantomimed with his open hands. In the earnest voice of a poor Shakespearean actor, he mimicked, “You must…not be…a Trekkie….You must have…gotten a…life!”
“I absolutely hated that book,” Bill declared. “When I’m not out here in Long Beach during the summer, I still live in Long Island City, where I grew up. ‘Valley of Ashes,’ my ass!”
Boys of Summer
“I still don’t get it.” Bill dropped the act. “And you never will, baby.” He returned his attention to his old friend.
Metamorphoses 2012 “Say, remember that rich bitch you used to bring out here, the one from Forest Hills Gardens with the beach house over in the East End? You used to call her ‘The Boot’.” “Oh, yeah…I remember her.” “I ran into her at the supermarket recently. Lemme tell you, she got faaat.” Susan placed her free hand on her hip and cocked her head to one side. To Tony, she said, “I don’t believe you’ve ever mentioned her.” Tony studied a seagull picking at a soda can lying in the street. “Well…you see….” In his own words, Bill finished the thought. “A ‘boot’ is a big metal clamp used to enforce the parking rules in fancy neighborhoods like Forest Hills Gardens. They attach them to the wheels of cars that don’t belong there. Tony gave her that nickname because he used to complain that her knees were clamped tighter than one of those boots.” Susan arched a wisp of an eyebrow. “Is that so?”
Boys of Summer
Susan coughed. She opened her mouth as if to say something, then closed it. Eventually, she replied, “I should hope not.” “Lucky man.” Bill punched Tony in the arm. Tony said nothing. “Lemme get that.” Bill retrieved Tony’s case of beer from the lawn. With a leer, Bill said to Susan, “Nice cookies.” “Oh.” She dropped her eyes to the cookie box dangling by the string from two fingers. Quickly, as if ridding herself of something distasteful, she presented the box to Bill. With his foot, Bill held open the screen door for the couple and they entered. The bungalow smelled faintly of mildew. In the living room, three other guests—two women and a man—lounged among the sunlit polygons on the faded green shag carpet.
“My brother stole all the furniture when he moved to Pittsburgh,” Bill explained. He released the door, which clattered against its frame.
“You’re not a rich bitch like her,” Bill said, his grin never wavering. “Are you?”
“Tony,” called a man with thinning red hair as he stood and approached. “How’s it going?”
“Not bad, Mike. How about you?” “Can’t complain.” For emphasis, Mike shook the half-full beer can gripped in the pudgy fingers of his left hand. “Long time, no see. Huh?” Tony cleared his throat. “Yeah, well, after graduation I lost touch with everybody. Going to college in Manhattan will do that. I wouldn’t be here now if I hadn’t run into this guy on the subway the other day.” He jerked a thumb at Bill. “When I shouted his name, he pretended like he didn’t hear me,” Bill said. “He thought I was a homeless guy or crazy or something. Scared the crap out of him.”
“I was miserable there,” Tony insisted. “Columbia was crawling with all kinds of lefty intellectuals and spike-haired punks. I was just a street kid from Queens. I didn’t fit in. I was planning on transferring out. But then I met Susan.” Susan waved to the group. “That’s me, by the way.” She glanced sideways at Tony, waited, then added, “Don’t expect Tony to introduce me. He has the manners of an ape.” Bill asked her, “So which one are you?” “Excuse me?” “Are you a ‘lefty intellectual’ or a ‘spike-haired punk’?”
“Weren’t you two supposed to be roommates?” Mike asked. “At SUNY Stony Brook?”
“Neither. I’m from Indiana.”
Bill chewed on the tip of his cigar.
“I dunno.” Bill stroked his unshaved chin. “I can picture you all decked out in leather and chains, hanging out at CBGB’s, waiting in the alley to party with the band after the show.”
“That was the plan, yeah.” Tony jabbed at the carpet with the toe of his new sneaker. “But then Columbia made me an offer I couldn’t refuse: a scholarship. It was a hard decision.” “Yeah, right.” Bill laughed. “Like anyone would choose ‘Stone Me Brook’ over the City.”
Boys of Summer
Susan smoothed out the wrinkles in her white cotton tank top, embroidered with crossed tennis rackets over her left breast. “You have an active imagination.” Mike stepped between Bill and Susan. Before extending his hand to her, Mike
Metamorphoses 2012 dried it on his pants leg. Breathlessly, he said, “It’s a real pleasure to meet you.” His face creased by an awkward smile, he gazed deeply into her eyes.
Susan rolled her eyes.
“Nice to meet you, too. Are you another one of Tony’s high school buddies?”
A petite woman who had sidled up unnoticed smiled at Tony and batted her big, brown eyes. In a little girl’s high-pitched voice, she asked, “Remember me?”
Mike blushed. “You mean he’s never mentioned me?”
Tony’s jaw dropped. “Chelsea? Is that you?”
“He must have.” Susan nodded, wagging her ponytail. “I probably just forgot.”
“I’ll put the beer in the fridge,” Bill said over Mike’s shoulder. “Anyone want a cold one?”
He enveloped her in a hug. “I’d know that voice anywhere. But you look so different, I didn’t recognize you.”
“Sure,” Tony said. “What else do you have?” Susan asked. “A can of ginger ale, a jar of maraschino cherries, and half a bottle of vodka,” Bill informed her from the small kitchen. “I’ll have one of those. I think I’ll need it.” “A saucy wench.” Bill began mixing the concoction. “I like that.”
Boys of Summer
“Hair coloring and a nose job can do wonders.” “How’ve you been? How’s that boy of yours? He must be six, seven years old by now.” “Eight,” asserted the other woman from where she remained on the floor. Wearing torn black jeans, a plaid flannel shirt, and a studded dog collar around her neck, she scowled at no one in particular. “That’s my friend Roberta,” Chelsea said. “She’s been helping me raise Nicky.” “Ohhh….” Tony slipped his hands into his pockets. “So do you see Carlo much?”
Roberta leaped to her feet so suddenly that Tony took a step back. She strode to Chelsea’s side and answered for her. “That asshole’s out in Idaho somewhere fucking sheep. No child support from him in years. I ever catch him, I’ll cut his dick off.” Chelsea shrugged and smiled. “Roberta’s got issues.” The group fell silent. Drawn by the activity in the kitchen, they drifted in and joined Bill. Bill passed out the drinks. “Now that the Prodigal Son is back, why don’t I fire up the grill? Mike, could you grab the boom box and take it outside?” “Sure.” Bill kicked open the side door, which squealed on its hinges. “Everybody else, go make yourselves comfortable.” Chelsea, Roberta, Susan, and Tony filed outside and down the alleyway to the back yard—a concrete slab screened from its neighbors by a wooden plank fence. Beneath an old propane-gas grill near the bungalow’s rear wall, orange streaks stained the concrete. Half a dozen mismatched metal folding chairs fanned out in a semicircle around the slab’s drain. The four guests sat down and waited.
Boys of Summer
“This place seemed so much bigger in the old days,” Tony observed. Mike, carrying a portable tape player and a stack of old cassettes, appeared in the back yard. “Def Leppard, Twisted Sister, Bon Jovi—it’s like high school all over again.” “Flashback central,” Bill, in the doorway, remarked over a tray of frozen meats. “I love Eighties music. The new stuff—that whole Seattle grunge scene—I just don’t get it.” “It’s nineteen ninety-four,” Roberta said. “Better get used to it.” “Kurt Cobain never got used to it.” Bill positioned the tray on one of the grill’s side shelves. “That skank of a wife of his—What’s-Her-Name—probably drove him to do it. There’s a lesson for you, Tony: Don’t get married! Run away! Run away!” Susan folded her arms across her chest. “I’m not sure, but did you just call me a skank?” Bill shifted the cigar from one corner of his mouth to the other. “You said it—not me.” “Hey,” Mike gasped. He dumped the tape player and cassettes onto a chair spattered with seagull droppings. “Don’t be a jerk, Bill. You shouldn’t talk to her like that.”
Metamorphoses 2012 Susan pivoted in her seat and faced Tony. With her fingernail, she rapidly tapped the side of her plastic cup like a telegraph key. “Aren’t you gonna defend my honor or something?” Tony threw up his hands. “Bill’s got a point there, Honey.” She stopped tapping. “Excuse me?” “I mean…I’m not saying…you’re not a skank—certainly not! I’m just saying…he didn’t actually call you that. That’s what…that’s the only point I’m saying he has. I mean….”
“I don’t think so.” Bill held up an uncooked hot dog and waved it about suggestively. “I can’t tell you for certain what’s in here, but I’m pretty sure it ain’t pork.” Roberta grunted. “What do you expect from a pornographer?” “What?” Tony and Susan exclaimed in unison. “Sure.” Roberta swallowed a mouthful of beer. “Bill, tell them what you do for a living.”
Chelsea howled with laughter. “Better quit while you’re ahead, Tony!”
“I’m in publishing,” Bill said evenly.
“I’m just saying…you gotta know Bill. He says stuff like that…just to get your goat.”
“Graphic design,” Tony offered. “Right? That’s what you were gonna major in, anyway.”
“Mmmm-hmmm,” Susan said. “See if you get any tonight.”
Bill added several hamburgers to the grill. “My employer puts out a bunch of magazines.”
“I got plenty of beef, if you’d rather.” Bill tossed a hamburger patty onto the grill and listened to it hiss. “U.S. prime, grade ‘A’ stamped guaranteed.”
“You mean stroke books.” Chelsea rocked in her seat and cackled.
“Simmer down there, Van Hagar,” Tony said. “Pig,” Roberta muttered.
Boys of Summer
“Whatever.” Bill shrugged. “My job is to touch up the photos, to airbrush out the scars.” “What scars?” Tony asked.
Metamorphoses 2012 “From all the boob jobs.”
Bill went inside to get the cheese.
Mike snickered. “Do they let you take home free samples?”
Having finished her drink, Susan fished out an ice cube and chewed on it.
Bill glowered at him. “It’s not like that. When you’re on the inside, seeing them day after day, there’s nothing erotic about them. They all start to look the same.”
Suddenly Mike materialized in front of her. “Can I get you another one?”
Chelsea snorted. “Speak for yourself.” “On that note, who wants cheese on theirs?” Bill asked. “Their burgers, of course.” Several hands rose. Bill thrust the spatula at Roberta. “Would you mind the grill, seeing as you’re such an expert on meat?”
Boys of Summer
“Yes. Thank you.” “What was that, exactly?” “I’m not quite sure. I don’t think it has a name. Let’s call it a ‘Twisted Shirley Temple.’” “Coming right up.” Mike hurried into the bungalow with Bill.
Roberta’s eyes flared.
Roberta flipped the hamburgers. Chelsea sauntered over and fashioned a crude puppet by poking her fingers into both halves of a bun. She made the puppet talk like a clamshell with a comic imitation of Bill’s voice. Roberta chortled.
But before she could respond, Chelsea cried, “And she’s not too shabby with fish, either!”
Tony leaned toward Susan and whispered, “So what do you think of my friends?”
The others laughed. Roberta allowed a half smile to flicker on her lips.
“Mike seems nice.”
Metamorphoses 2012 “What about Bill?” “Mike seems nice.” Tony nodded. “That’s just the way Billy is. He acts that way around all my girlfriends.” “How many floozies are we talking about?” “No…I mean my old girlfriends.” “So now I’m old?” Tony pointed at Susan. “See! Now you’re doing it!” Susan’s molars produced a loud crunch as she ground the ice cube. “How’s it feel?” “Sorry.” Tony fingered the pop-top of his beer can. “Just ignore him if he bothers you. That’s what I always did.”
Boys of Summer
Susan eyed Tony in disbelief. “How do you know?” “Mike’s a Dungeons and Dragons nerd—never had a date, as far as I can remember—so he was always that way with pretty girls. He would follow them around and act all smitten and servile, like a lost puppy. I noticed that familiar look in his eyes the minute he saw you.” “That doesn’t bother you?” “Should it?” Susan said nothing. “I didn’t think so. Let’s face it—he’s no threat. He’s kinda pathetic, really. You ever read Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises? Mike reminds me of that guy, Robert Cohn, the one who all the other characters didn’t want hanging around because he was so annoying.” “You’re awfully literary for an MBA. So if Mike is Cohn, who would that make me?”
“I’ve noticed. At least Mike has some manners.”
“Lady Brett Ashley, the object of his affection. But you don’t wanna be her.”
“That’s only because he’s got a crush on you.”
“Really?” Susan bit into another ice cube.
Bill held up a photograph of himself and Tony as teenagers posing near a water fountain surrounded by pigeons. Bill wore a white sport jacket over a pink pastel T shirt. Tony wore a similar outfit, but his jacket was charcoal gray and his shirt was a misty blue. Both teens bore a thin sheen of day-old stubble on their cheeks and chins. Tony’s face glowed with a deep tan.
Mike returned, and like a dutiful servant, delivered to Susan her drink without a word.
“Oh, my God,” Chelsea shrieked upon inspecting the photo. “It’s Crockett and Stubbs!”
“Thank you, Mike.” She heaved a languid sigh and crossed her legs, allowing her red pleated skirt to slide to mid-thigh. “Do you want my cherry?” She delicately plucked the stem from where it bobbed in the cool fizzy liquid. Lifting the fruit to her lips, she sucked it dry.
“Tubbs, actually,” Bill corrected her.
Mike wheezed. “No…uh, thanks.” He fled to the opposite end of the back yard and found an interesting pattern in the knotholes of the fence.
“Miami Vice was my favorite TV show back then. Never missed an episode.”
“She’s a slut.”
“You’re terrible,” Tony told Susan. “That’s why you love me.” She admired herself in the mirrors concealing his eyes. “I went looking for cheese,” Bill yelled as he burst from the bungalow, “and I found this.” The others gathered around Bill, near the grill.
Boys of Summer
“I can’t believe you two appeared in public in those costumes!”
“Hey, I remember that picture,” Tony said. “It was taken during the Spain trip. Right?” Bill nodded. “You went to Spain?” Susan asked Tony. “Yeah. It was our senior class trip.” “What a wild time that was.” Bill handed the photo to Mike.
Metamorphoses 2012 Without warning, Bill shouted, “¡Viva España!”
“What’s that for?” Roberta asked.
“Jorge!” Tony smacked his forehead with his palm. “Right! What about her name?”
“That’s what Tony screamed just before I saved him from falling to his death.”
“I don’t remember.”
Tony shook his head. “Embarrass me, why don’t you?”
“Me neither. I think it was Isabella or something. Anyway, the two of them went drinking with us. We were wandering all over the place, down all these twisting streets, singing and carrying on, and Jorge said he had to use the bathroom, but we couldn’t find one.” Bill took the cigar from his mouth for a moment and pretended to blow smoke rings. “So I taught Jorge some English.”
“It was in Seville.” Bill snatched the spatula from Roberta and topped several hamburgers with slices of cheese. “There was a swimming pool on the roof of the hotel, but the door was always locked. So one night, Tony used his library card to pick the lock and we took these two girls up there to have a party—the naked kind. Tony was showing off, he tripped over a lounge chair in the dark, and I grabbed him before he fell off the roof.” “Spanish wine is pretty strong,” Tony said, avoiding Susan’s gaze. “Remember Grenada?” “What about it?” “Billy Boy wouldn’t go to the bullfights,” Tony recounted for the benefit of the group. “Moral objections or something. So we hung around the city and got drunk. We met this guy and his girlfriend…What was his name?”
Boys of Summer
“Yeah! I remember that. You kept telling him, “Dice, ‘I gotta take a piss.’ So he started hopping up and down, clutching at his crotch, chanting over and over, ‘I gotta take a piss.’” “That’s not all that happened,” Bill reminded Tony. “Was it?” “No.” Tony stalled by finishing his beer. “While they were off looking for some dark alley where Jorge could relieve himself, I…well, I kinda made the moves on Jorge’s girlfriend.” “Man, do you have a gift for understatement.” Bill used the spatula to scoop each hamburger from the grill onto a bun waiting on the tray. “Jorge and I come back and
Metamorphoses 2012 we see Tony strolling up the hill carrying this señorita over his shoulder!” Susan glared at Tony. “I was young and I was drunk,” Tony pleaded, his cheeks flushed. “And I know what you’re thinking. She was into it. She didn’t object.” “That you know of,” Roberta snapped. “How fluent are you in Spanish?”
“Nobody wants to hear this part.” Bill forced a laugh. “Stop boring them.” Unable to break eye contact with his fiancée, Tony rambled, “Yeah, well, eventually we stumbled upon the Alhambra.” “What’s that?” Mike asked. Tony turned to Mike. “A big red stone palace built by the Moors.”
“Enough to know what it means when a girl grabs my cock!” Tony tried to catch his breath. “I may not be too swift on the uptake when it comes to signals, but that one was clear enough.”
Bill’s voice cracked like an adolescent’s as he said, “Enough with the history lesson.”
“So what happened?” Susan asked, her voice hard.
“Billy and I were laughing about what had happened.”
“Nothing—I swear. Jorge chased after us and he slugged me.”
“Get ’em while they’re hot,” Bill shouted, hopping from one foot to the other.
“Gave Tony a black eye,” Bill added. “End of story. Who wants a burger?”
“I broke the news about my scholarship.”
Susan continued to stare at Tony.
Bill waved the spatula between Tony and his audience. No one noticed that Bill’s face had drained of color. “Seriously, somebody better eat these babies soon.”
He swallowed the lump in his throat. “So Billy and I wandered off and got lost.”
Boys of Summer
“Then, all of a sudden, Bill got angry, and….”
Metamorphoses 2012 “That’s enough!” Bill flung the tray like a discus. Spiraling off its contents, the tray crashed against the fence and landed in the long-neglected shrubs. No one said anything for a long time. “Just like that, in fact,” Tony mumbled. Mike scowled at Bill. “What’s your problem?” “I’m sorry,” Bill said in barely a whisper. “I’m sorry…I….” “Well, it was nice meeting all of you.” Her voice quavering, Susan entwined her arm with Tony’s. “But we gotta go. We have work tomorrow. And it’ll be a long drive back to Hoboken.” “Yeah.” Tony gaped at two halves of a hamburger bun lying discarded on the ground. He seized Susan’s hand. “Let’s get outta here.” The couple went around to the front of the bungalow and down the street to their car. The sound of its engine revving as they sped away echoed among the cries of the circling seagulls. “But we were supposed to be roommates….” Bill let the cigar fall from his lips. “I know.” Chelsea approached Bill from behind and kneaded his slumping shoulders with both hands. “I know.”
October By Melinda Carroll “October and the trees are stripped bare of all they wear what do I care October” Jesse wrote in a text message. U2? I wrote referring to the band. But what I really wondered was… were those just lyrics or did he feel like I did? October. On the 1st it rained and felt like winter had crept up from out of nowhere. Today it still felt like summer in Bakersfield as I pushed long sleeves up my arms, pulled my hair off my face and licked an ice cream cone. October. It feels like fall. I can feel myself falling…. Falling in love, falling in life, falling into my own,
Metamorphoses 2012 changing colors like the leaves on the trees. October. The fuzzy couch blanket and sweatshirts have come out of hiding, its only days until Condors ice hockey and everything feels new as if it was spring. October. And all the trees are stripped bare of all they wear, what do I care. October. I love this time of year.
Boys of Summer
A Musing By Donna Fitch
Painting: Oil - 18â€? x 22â€?
Snow By Sterling Warner Smiles move across rooms Like light rays glancing off mirrors Heralding something specialâ€”the Grandeur of moist breath on windshields Morphing into geometric kaleidoscopes; A white silence floating upon Northwest winds Mt. Hamilton to Mt. Umunhum and beyond: South Bay Area snow Road wet, highway Slightly frozen Snow Cats at the summit Scrape black ice that Spins cars face to face, Slams multiple bumpers back to back Slaps cautious drivers side to side, with airborne Big rigs and compacts flying over embankments.
Indiscriminate, individual Frenzied flakes fall Briefly on Santa Cruz sand Decorating the beach boardwalk, Clinging to the Big Dipper among other Amusement park rides with Wafer-thin glacial blanketsâ€” Layers of water frozen resting, waning. Seagulls pick frosty feathers, Children rush onto the beach Roll salty sand granules and kelp with Melting winter wonderland flurries, Creating slushy snowballs Pelting each other as Local telecasters film the rarity: Weather, a lead story for the 11:00 news.
The Masseuse By Sterling Warner Face sticking through a padded white doughnut Closed eyes envision azure skies, Vermillion clouds, a comforting response to Unfamiliar, all too welcome caresses of A skilled expressive artisan whose Hands stroke every muscle imaginable Releasing tension, encouraging exaltation— Words, sounds—oohhs and ahhs uttered Only in moments intimate— Kneading, reshaping my back, body, thighs with All the subtlety of inner-city sidewalks Pressing against footsteps—casting Singular appreciation, undivided attention The deep tissue masseuse moves her Fluid fingers over a body tired Activating metabolic mysteries—an
Orgasmic ritual initiation into reflexology.
Electrifying limbs, stimulating senses From aromatherapy to Crackling chiropractics while mood music Filters through quadraphonic speakers Bounces off each dimly-lit wall— Thin blankets of dusk— Sails to the ceiling, lingers, then Drops like a thin threadless canopy, toe to head Becomes serenity’s uniform cloak
Hossies By ashley reaks
Exiting Optimum Health Management Feeling like a sculpture’s finest achievement I emerge as the masseuse’s masterpiece Each muscle at ease, every joint relaxed, Thirty-three vertebrae aligned, Sensual not sexual, body harmony Magical massage moments, Like a severely addictive natural narcotic, Leave an unquenchable hunger for more Mixed Media on Paper - 84 x 59 cm
Echoes of Sun By David Trame You raised the turntable lid, took the record out of the inside cover, kept it by its sides, with both hands, with only the least of it between palms and forefingers’ tips, gazed at its shine with a frown and a smile and blew slightly on the surface, first one side then the other, turning it with a nimble imperceptible swirl in your wrist, like a dance step you wanted to hint at. You laid it on the turntable, slowly, and more slowly lowered the turntable arm that set it off, stylus landing on the black, glittering pool of thin furrows with a wader’s foot’s touch. We relished the instants of buzzing and crackling like the first flames of a camp fire then the rock guitar solo burst in and took off, God’s grass in its roar.
Echoes of Sun Yes, it’s through this too that we could assess longing and stamina in our countenances, exchanging a few nods while listening was enough, waving an exulting fist, feet tapping the floor, the future a raw, puzzling star while we pretended to be strong with our gaze on tiptoe. Constant rites, a longer time. In echoes of Sun. Molding the map where we now stand.
Love Is A Warm Gun….
Tunnel of Secrets
Love Is A Warm Gun….
By Magan W.
By M. Batty
Late afternoon has dimmed with soft winds Stretching outlines up walls echoing murmurs, Under autumn arches of an evening bridge Where I have hidden to avoid the rumors. They slink swift and silent in grasses near Surrounded by shadows with darkening sound, Quickly swelling their ranks when they smell fear Closing in on me, the wolves gather ‘round. They scavenge gossip with lustful abandon They scurry together with each new breeze, Determining worth by class and position Their lies rattle harshly, like brittle dead leaves. Ruthless mongrels without courage or honor Whose breeding and status grant them first feeding, I let them speculate on scars that I bear To distract them from the truths I am bleeding.
Painting Oil - 20” x 36”
By Megan E. Lilly
By Devon Dani Draig
My best friend sleeps the villainous rest. My eyes do not weep for her. That would test
I am alone in my manâ€™s apartment Watching television with disinterest Ennui my bitter indulgence When a hallucination flickers by Seeming drug-induced faye Meandering in gauzy flight Twinkles upon the black scarf Draping the stereo receiver I fix upon an apparition Is it a cricket The television is forgotten Is it a mosquito Do I want to bother moving
My soul; bring my end. My build is big, Genetics has decided My job is to protect her. I keep close tabs on those trying to take My friend into the Labyrinth.
Do I want to end its existence Impelled to rise from my slouch Armed I stalk closer Aim the perennial blow Against the insect kingdom No it is not a mosquito Rice paper wings Jade body elegantly composed It does not appear a creature Capable of dissatisfaction I drop the weapon of destruction And sit down.
Immortelle By Michael McEvilly Who, so convincing, scattered these seeds among such an ensorrowed beauty? This rain, though thorough, will never sanctify this self-aversion (lest we forget, interpretation is up to the discretion of convenience).
Nocturnus By Candace Hawkins
And your eyes, spiraled with blue and green, remind me of every other contour a face is capable of, composed drop by drop. Still, like a circle, you affect this evaporation (if anything, the thought is, of its own nature, anhydrous). In the purest abstract I can conceive—I suspire to kiss you, Avelaval (Aesthesia never seems so sweet). Existence, infused by presence, is enough to satisfy, so let’s drink Her in and grow. Let’s grow like liquid, immortelle. I’d rather comfort your silent crying for one day than ever see the rain again.
Acrylic on Canvas - 11” x 14”
Embracing Shadows By Angela Rose On a gloomy day, the clouds are so low that I can almost touch them; I enjoy gloomy days. Today, the clouds are a mottled, dark gray like smoke from a chimney. I know it will rain any moment. I feel the weight of the clouds. This feeling reminds me that I am carrying a heavy burden with the hopes that I will soon be drenched. I love the rain. Rain always leaves a clean feeling in the air. Too many days in my life I stayed cooped up at home, praying for rain. Now, here I am, in the belly of the beast, waiting impatiently for the downpour. Suddenly there is a click. The rain is here at last. Click-clack, click-clack; the drops sound like beetles crawling across the cement. People begin to rush around in all directions, but I remain. I just don’t understand why people run from the very thing that quenches their thirst and gives them life. I am not one of them; I run from the Sun. This is probably why I now live in Seattle. My parents call often and they know that I am much happier here. They live in Bakersfield, California where the weather is too hot and sunny for my liking. I walk south on Lincoln Boulevard, enjoying the feeling of the rain soaking every inch of my clothes. People are in such a hurry to get out of the rain that they don’t even bother to stop and stare. That is okay. I don’t want to be stared at anyway. I
Embracing Shadows enjoy my life of seclusion. Usually I cling to the shadows, but today I walk down the center of the sidewalk, letting the rain wash down my face. Today, I belong here. I stop at an intersection, waiting for the crosswalk sign to flash, “WALK.” I see people everywhere, hiding under umbrellas, briefcases, jackets, and newspapers. I laugh to myself. Today is my turn to laugh at their feelings of inadequacy. I feel inadequate in the sunny days of summer, but the fall and winter is my time to shine. I return home around eight o’clock in the evening, soaked to the skin and feeling great about the day I just experienced. All of the lamps in my little apartment hold low-wattage bulbs, so the light does not hurt my eyes. I flick on the living room light and head to the bathroom to shower and change into dry clothes. I know I am different, but I long for love from a special someone. Being an albino makes the likelihood of a relationship seem hopeless. Nevertheless, I am twenty-eight years old, living alone, and not getting any younger. I take a long look at myself in the mirror. Sadly, not many people show interest in a person like me. I turn from the mirror, shower and dress. Tonight I am going out. I walk four blocks to Clark’s Tavern. I often come to Clark’s when I am in a good mood. The place is dimly lit, so people tend to stare less and everyone seems somewhat pale in the lighting. I walk inside and up to the bar where Joe is working. Joe is perhaps my only real friend in Seattle. He is a big, square man, chiseled out of a slab of granite. His looks are formidable, but his attitude is just the opposite.
Metamorphoses 2012 Joe says that the owners could save a lot of money if they would let him double as security while tending the bar. There are never any problems here anyway. So, why they bother to pay a bouncer is still as much of a mystery to me as it is to him. “Hiya Joe, how’s it going?” “Hey, Stevie! I haven’t seen you in a couple of weeks. Where you been?” “You know me—I wait for the rain.” Joe knows how I feel about my differences from the rest of the world. He even says that he admires my courage to face it. What a laugh! I am probably the most cowardly person I know. Nevertheless, Joe means well and he is always trying to say something nice. “What do you want to drink tonight, my friend?” “How about a White Russian?” “White Russian coming up.” He grins and turns away. He always looks so boyish when he grins. Kind of like an overgrown child looking for mischief. I really like Joe. I begin to survey the bar. I see some familiar faces and others that are not so familiar.
Embracing Shadows Henry and John are playing a game of pool, as usual. The two are said to be neighbors and best friends. They spend all of their free time here and not many respectful women want to find a serious relationship at a bar. So, they are both single and I sometimes wonder if they will remain single for the rest of their lives. Stephanie is standing in front of the jukebox in the corner, carefully selecting music, while Darla is talking to her. Darla looks very excited about something. “I Love A Rainy Night” by Eddie Rabbitt starts to play, but Darla continues talking over the music. Stephanie is swaying to the music and selecting more songs, while Darla goes right on talking about something. “How annoying,” I thought and laughed to myself. Dean is sitting down at the end of the bar, drinking his rum and coke and staring at Stephanie as usual. Everyone knows he has the hots for her, but he apparently thinks his feelings remain secret. Even Stephanie knows. This place is so predictable. Joe returns with my drink in his giant hand. He slides the drink across the bar and smiles. “So what have you been up to?” he asks. “Oh, not much. Same as usual. You know, just sitting around the house, watching T.V. and waiting for my life to change all by itself.” Joe laughs. “I keep telling you that you need to get out more.”
Metamorphoses 2012 I know he is right, but the sunlight hurts my eyes and I don’t like being stared at as if I am some circus freak. “I know, I know. Now that the rainy season has started again, I will be able to go out more.” I smile. “Excuses, excuses. If you ask me, I’d say that you just need a little push out of the door. My offer still stands if you ever want to go to lunch.” Joe gave me that “so will ya?” look that he always gets. “I just don’t want people staring at me, it makes me feel all weird,” I said. “Aw, people won’t stare at you. They’ll all be too busy staring at me, silly.” Joe grinned again. “Besides, I bet they only stare because they’re all wondering how a guy like me gets a date with a beautiful girl like you.” “You really think so?” I said, blushing. Joe finally broke me and I agreed to go to lunch with him the next day. We kept talking for some time. Heck, we are known to talk about everything: Sports, weather, relationships, politics, and even the economy. I drink a few more White
Embracing Shadows Russians and I say goodbye to Joe. Walking outside, the wind’s wet hand whips me across my face. I don’t shiver. I stand outside of the tavern for a while, just enjoying the night air and the smell of the rain on the pavement. I start home. Halfway to my house, a sudden a chill runs up my spine. I don’t know how, but I know that something is about to happen that will change my peaceful existence. I want to turn around, go back to the bar with Joe and forget about this premonition of impending doom. However, I know that it won’t change anything. I have experienced premonitions before and I found that they were unstoppable. I’ll never forget the first time; I was twelve years old. I was walking home from school, when I suddenly got a real uncomfortable feeling. Then, just blocks from my house, three boys came out from behind a van and beat me until I was unconscious. I shiver at the memory and continue slowly home. Upon my arrival home, the first thing I notice is that my apartment door is unlocked. I do not want to do this! Even so, I turn the knob and step through the doorway trying not to make any noise. I peer into the kitchen on my right; nothing is there. I ease the door closed behind me with a barely audible click. Staying silent and cautious, I edge up against the wall and peek into the living room; the room is empty. Then I hear a noise come from the one bedroom further back in the apartment and to my left. The noise startles me at first. I guess I was in denial, hoping that my premonition would prove to be wrong for once. I return to the kitchen, searching for anything that might prove to be a useful weapon. I do
Metamorphoses 2012 not own a gun because I never felt any use for one. I am regretting that decision now. I grab the mop and hold it fast in both hands. I picture myself swinging the mop around clumsily and realize the mop is no good, so I discard it. I pick up a knife from the block on the counter. I shift it from one hand to the other, feeling its weight. However, the thought of stabbing someone is just too gruesome to bear, so I put the knife back as well. Then I pick up the cast iron skillet from the stove. It is heavy and strong. I decide the skillet is a much more reasonable weapon than my first two lame choices. With the skillet in my right hand, I peer into the living room once again. The room is still empty. I press myself as close as I can to the wall, wishing I could somehow become a part of it. I hold my breath, listening for any new sounds. The apartment is silent. A surge of panic washes over me. What if the intruder is just around the corner, sneaking up on me with a gun? Then another noise issues from the bedroom, sounding like a dresser drawer being opened. I let out my breath in a silent whoosh, relieved to hear the intruder once again. I stand, frozen to the wall, not sure of what to do next. Maybe I should leave the apartment, go to a neighbor’s house and phone the cops. On the other hand, my own insecurities outweigh my rational thought. I will do this alone. I slowly peer around the corner, trying to see into the bedroom through the half open door, but I can’t see anyone. I hold my breath and leap silently into the living
Embracing Shadows room, almost diving behind the couch. I just about break my neck in the process, but much to my surprise, I did not make a sound. I feel like an awkward and unskilled version of James Bond right now. I definitely lack the skill, sophistication, and confidence of the Bond character. To be honest, I feel like a bumbling idiot. If someone could see me right now, I’m sure they would be doubled over with laughter. It really is a ridiculous sight; me with my “dangerous” cast iron skillet, trying unsuccessfully to be stealthy like Mr. Bond and yet looking so scared that I might pee my pants at any given moment. I am embarrassed with myself. I stay in the living room for what feels like an eternity; I’m not sure what to do next. I think about sneaking into the bedroom, but that doesn’t seem like a very good idea. I mean, yeah, I can sneak up on the intruder from behind and take him out with the skillet. But, what if he is facing the door? I can’t sneak up behind anyone if they are facing me. What if he has a gun? I would not be much of a match with my big, bad, cast iron skillet. This is ludicrous! “Why me,” I thought to myself. After much debate, I finally decide that I will wait for him in the living room. I still possess the element of surprise. When the intruder starts to come into the living room, I can hit him over the head with the skillet. So, I stand against the wall that separates the living room from the bedroom. I raise the skillet up over my head, waiting for him to walk out of the bedroom. Several minutes pass by and the skillet
Metamorphoses 2012 becomes heavier and heavier as I stand there ready to pounce. All of the blood begins running from my arms and I am forced to lower the skillet. “What now?” I ask myself. “I can’t stand here, with the skillet raised over my head forever.” The intruder might be in the bedroom for a long time. Again, I feel stupid. I am accustomed to feelings of inadequacy, but this is ridiculous. Frustration and anger sets in as I am forced to feel insecure in my own home. I feel vulnerable enough on the street! I begin a mental argument with myself. One little voice says, “Sneak over and peek through the door.” The other voice responds, “Are you crazy? What if he sees me and shoots me in the eye?” Okay, this is dumb. I can’t go on doing this to myself! I will go crazy in the head if I don’t figure something out soon. Just then, another sound comes from the bedroom. I could tell by the sound that whoever is in there just opened the door to the adjoining bathroom. “Oh great!” I thought, “What is he going to do now, take a shower?” I turn sideways and press my ear to the wall, listening for any sound. Then another thought struck me. What if the intruder is using the bathroom? Gross! I jerk my ear away from the wall, disgusted by my own wild imagination. Then I hear cabinets and drawers being opened and closed. “Whew,” I thought, “at least I know that he is getting into stuff, so he can’t be intruding upon my private throne.” A few minutes pass and I hear the bathroom door close. Obviously the intruder is
Embracing Shadows confident of being alone in the apartment and he remains altogether unaware of my presence. I hear him enter my bedroom again; he is going through my things and I become angry. I feel violated! This is my domain! Many of my things are private to me. I don’t like the thought of some stranger going through my stuff. Rifling through my possessions is completely uncalled for; I don’t deserve to be treated like this! The more I think about the intruder’s blatant act of invasion, the angrier I become. I am not some rich jerk or perverted weirdo who stalks little kids on the Internet! My fear begins to subside and a rage that I never experienced before takes its place. The stranger grows silent once more and I ready myself for attack. I hear him closing drawers and cabinets in my bedroom. I hear the lamps beside the bed being switched off. I know he is coming. Adrenaline pulses through my veins at an alarming speed. I stand, prepared to strike, no longer afraid of the intruder. James Bond would be jealous of my newfound gumption. I am ready. The bedroom door hinges protest, announcing his departure from my bedroom. I raise the skillet high over my head, primed to take him out. For a brief moment, I worry that the blow to the head might kill him, but it was too late to turn back now. Now is the time to defend my home, myself—kill or be killed. Seconds seem like minutes and minutes feel like hours. Everything seems to be switched to slow motion. I can hear my heart beating; the sound dominates everything until it is the only thing I can hear. My heartbeat booms and echoes in my ears like drums beating at an
Victorian Self Portrait
Indian pow-wow. The intruder steps into view and I see the look of surprise on his face before I strike. I swing the skillet downward and with one swift blow to the head I knock him out cold. I drop the skillet, dizzy with pent up adrenaline and decide to call the cops. The intruder is face down in the carpet. I reach down to turn him over so I can see his face. “Oh my God,” I say when the intruders face comes into view. “What have I done?” I whisper. I can’t call the cops now. I need to think! This is bad, very, very bad. ***
Victorian Self Portrait By ashley reaks
Just when I am really becoming this “Stevie” character, the power goes out. The T.V. sits there with its dark screen mocking me, as if the T.V. was staring at me, waiting for a reaction of some sort. So, I stand up, stumble to the kitchen, grab a few candles, and light them. I leave one candle on the kitchen counter and carry the other two back into the living room. I set the candles down on the coffee table, reach over and pick up a Dean Koontz novel. I begin reading, letting myself become the character. “Good old fashioned literature,” I thought, “it never fails.”
Collage - 50 x 40 cm
Outside My Window, I Have a Clear View of the Power Lines By Shawn Aprill Unsheathed raven tok. Cabal of tok tok—talk of A murder. Of crows.
Shadow Forest By Pentapus
Painting: Oil on Masonite - 18” x 24”
Sonnet as Mnemonic-Trigger: Up All Night, Cramming for an Exam
A Hummingbird’s Reply
Sonnet as Mnemonic-Trigger: Up All Night, Cramming for an Exam
By Michael McEvilly Therein lies the buzzing we still call a hummingbird’s song. It oscillates, like the trembling of my hand, as I Cut rivers into this free form emotion; the motion alone is salvific. This space proves itself lambent and pure, as I Think upon all the times that were good, but not good enough to sustain themselves as an end. These shapes are projected—as wings Diverge to demonstrate this dilation of song (she still sings, so as to avoid speaking). Not everything ends the way we expect it to end, quasi fractures wait to be filled. In waiting, speak: That rainbow is not a reflection, the sun warms the colors, nursing it as a child,
By Shawn Aprill red and orange—di ectasis— Chalk-tears smear unnoticed. All the footprints that attest to its existence collapse like these self-satisfied promises, phasis of memory fail. I was a child, don’t listen: This expands, but everything must exhale, and we all draw pictures of our own, as you whisper: “There is nothing beautiful in these words.” So many things go unspoken; so many unspoken things comfort me in this moment, as I watch the last hummingbird die, realizing,
They will not leave me be: Jewish boneghosts shot by SS—JFK’s face shears away—Japanese outlines, silhouette-ash machete’d Tutsis rot, torsos limbs heads defile church tiles. These haunting strands of thought entwine, interweave—span the taut braids of brain. Yes, my spongy rope of memory tethers madness; not a van, dull and docked across the street, seen through the scope. My Civics teacher said, “Incite your mind’s eye,” to find a fugitive fact, like…a name. So, stick the rifle out into my eight-storied sky. Sight the van. Think, BUREN’S MARTINIZING. Pick a mark. Train the crosshairs. Klik! It’s evident: Martin Van Buren, 8th U.S. President.
that it was I who suffocated its song.
By Sarah Becker
By David Trame
When I am old and can see only within my mind I will not remember how
It never changes, the relief they bring, the mountains, appearing on the horizon in a break during the storm, their presence unveiled beyond the angry grey, swollen lagoon, the sparse bending trees, the airport pinpointing lights, the windows after windows of raindrops. And your eyes are the same as when as a child you felt your parents’ smile behind you on the train, touching your shoulder and pointing at “there”, at the mountains granting you their appearance, outlines breathing as if angels had just swayed. You took in the brushstrokes of white in the furious clouds’ metal grey as the aftermath of scarves of light, your eyes flying like ribbons over the massive, marble-like belt.
the rocks bruised my feet and the waves knocked me down how the sand burned my feet and the salt water made me choke I will merely gaze into my memory smile and say I have seen the ocean
Metamorphoses 2012 Up there, you sensed, the storm has been really supreme, a god’s business, far from your small irises, and the rocks you stared at were the gods’ knuckles at rest, they had come out, freed themselves from the clashes and were now settled and refreshed. You wallowed in unveiled rootedness. And you stare now, as then, at the carved meandering of lines, a pattern that’s a marvel for just being there, so you are relieved again sensing the stony sinews continuing behind like waves frozen in laughs of sky and an unfurling of bright chains.
A Pair of Feet
A Pair of Feet By M. Batty
Photograph - 11” x 14”
Putting Down My Rake, I Take a Moment to Think About Getting Older
Desert Dreams 2
Putting Down My Rake, I Take a Moment to Think About Getting Older
By Jeanie Yoho Sunday
By Shawn Aprill September leaves fall. Beige hand holds brown—see myself: Fragile. One more year….
Photograph - 11” x 14”
Melinda Carroll is an office manager for a civil engineering firm in Bakersfield, California.
culture defining and overly complex project. In the meantime he attends Cerro Coso Community College as a Fine Arts Major. Cheers!
She enjoys writing, reading, horseback riding, music, theater, Bakersfield Condors ice hockey, her family and friends. She has been writing since high school, studied Creative Writing in college, participating in the Cerro Coso creative writing community, and was the 2006 Mary Wong Lee Memorial Scholarship recipient. Publication includes work in the 2006 edition of Metamorphoses and Bakersfield College’s literary magazine Grapevine (now known as Eclectica). She writes a blog called One Bakersfield Woman’s Blog to Mankind (www.matildakay. com), which is regularly featured on Bakotopia.com. Her blog is an inspirational, eclectic and often humorous peek into single womanhood in Bakersfield, California and beyond.
Sarah Becker never dreamed of living in the desert in California when she was growing
Kevin Coyle is an attorney raised and educated in New York City. He and his wife
Shawn Aprill is a graduate of two CSU campuses: Bakersfield and Sacramento. He is a resident of the Kern River Valley, currently pursuing a career as a freelance writer. M. Batty is currently working on a very top secret, world altering,
up in Indiana. (She never dreamed of marrying a Navy doctor either.) A former middle school English and special education teacher, Sarah is now considering attending medical school. She enjoys taking classes, being involved in her church, visiting her family, and hanging out with her husband, Rusty, and her pet hermit crab, Herman.
Liliana V. Blum was born in Durango, Mexico. She is the author of The Curse
of Eve and Other Stories, translated by Toshiya Kamei and forthcoming from Host Publications. In the U.S., Toshiya Kamei has published translations of her stories in Eclectica, The Pedestal Magazine, and storySouth, among others.
Amanda have two sons, Matthew and Michael, ages eight and six. He was published as the “Featured Writer” for the Spring 2006 edition of Ampersand. His stories have also appeared in Johnny America, Poor Mojo’s Almanac(k), the first two issues of moonShine review, Catfish Stew, and the fiction supplement to The Washington Square News. Three more of his stories have been accepted for publication in upcoming issues of Buffalo Carp, The Literary Bone, and NOVA Science Fiction Magazine. Recently, he was elected to the board of directors for the South Carolina Writers Workshop and appointed editor of the SCWW’s new and-improved literary journal, The Petigru Review.
Devon Dani Draig is a Freshman in the CC Online Humanities Program. She
Metamorphoses 2012 has professional writing experience as a screenwriter and technical writer, and has worked as a musician and artist. Her work focuses on the transformative effects of passing between the veil separating the normal and the supernatural worlds.
Donna Fitch began her life with art at 51 years old—a late bloomer by most standards.
She took her first painting class three semesters ago at Cerro Coso and, since then, says that her life has changed. Art is the center of her life now. Last year, Fitch won second place in the Kern River Arts & Review and is the Secretary of the KRV Art Association. She assisted with Cerro Coso’s participation in the KRV Open Studio tour, where she was also a participant. Fitch has recently been invited by Woodrow Wallace Elementary & Middle School, in conjunction with the Bakersfield Art Foundation, to instruct children in the after-school Art Smart Program for fine arts. She loves her new life in the Kern River Valley and at Cerro Coso College where she is currently an aide in the Art Department. Fitch enjoys studying under Sharon Gooch, who she considers to be her mentor in the Advanced Drawing class.
Megaera Halter is a student at Cerro Coso, exploring old and new interests. Candace Hawkins has lived in Kern River Valley for the past eight years. She graduated high
school in 2001 and began attending Cerro Coso Community College shortly thereafter. Hawkins is currently taking classes in and becoming very interested in the creative arts. She loves writing poetry and painting, and hopes to expand as an artist and as a person through these things.
Aunia Kahn considers herself to be self taught in the arts. She has been engaging in some form
of art/expression ever since she can remember. Kahn claims her inspiration from pure emotions; powerful and oftentimes personal, ranging from love, anger, betrayal and the scores in-between. She believes that honoring the human soul, spirit, and determination wholeheartedly breathes life into her creations. Kahn hopes that the images and expressions fuel the desire for life and walk a path of their own through each of her viewer’s interpretations. Kahn spends a majority of her time continuing her artistic endeavors, maintaining, and growing her skills with her brush and her need to express her life and feelings though music, performance, design and writing. Kahn’s creations have been showcased at many venues including, but not limited to: The Collectors Choice, St. Louis Artist Guild, MAD ARF, Mad Art Gallery, Woman’s Show, SWIC, and much, much more.
Megan E. Lilly is a student at Albion College in Albion MI, and involved with many different programs on campus, including the college literary journal, The Albion Review. Michael McEvilly is a sophomore at Washington University, St. Louis. Lori Lee Michelon is the drawing instructor at the Mammoth campus of Cerro Coso community College. She is a printmaker, having received her MFA from Cal State Long Beach in 2005. Michelon has exhibited in Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Francisco, Bulgaria, Korea, and locally as well.
Aydasara Ortega’s “Maternidad” is part of her collage series entitled “The Little People.” More of this series can be seen at her website, www.aydasara.com , under the category “Little People.” Ortega creates these collages by connecting pieces of pictures from various books. Each collage is unique. Neither the whole or pieces repeat, in itself or in any other, indicating something about infinite diversity.
Pentapus (Karli L. Bezanson) is an Aquarius. She evolved in various unremarkable activities. Pentapus is a student of Cerro Coso as well as the School of Hard Knocks. In her dreams she is a published author. Pentapus’s hobbies are: walking backwards, eating slime, and procrastination. She also cleans houses for skrillz.
ashley reaks is a London-based artist, musician, and “darkly comic” poet. reaks exhibits art in the U.K., U.S. and abroad, as well as donning a wolf’s mask to perform dark poetry/songs. His CD, Itchy Circus Odour, is available on his Myspace site. Angela Rose is 28 and lives in the beautiful Kern River Valley with her three sons and beloved pup, Stacie. She graduated from Cerro Coso last spring and currently attends Cal State Bakersfield. She held office as the President for the KRV Club ASC and is a member of the Creative Writing Community (CWC). She is also the former membership officer for the Beta Kappa Chi chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honors Society. Angela first discovered her love for poetry and writing more than 15 years ago, and that passion still thrives within her.
Andrew Shelley is a poet/critic born in 1962 in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England. He
took a First in English at Cambridge and did a Ph.D. on Samuel Beckett at Oxford, where he held a Research Fellowship (1990-92). He is a part-time teacher, and has lived and worked as a writer and tutor in Greece, Turkey and Italy. He has published academic articles and reviews in many journals, poems in various little magazines, webzines and anthologies, and has work forthcoming in various print venues. He also has material posted on the Internet in Thunder Sandwich #20, Aught #6 and #8 and Big Bridge #6, among other sites. Individual poetry publications include Peaceworks (The Many Press, 1996) and Requiem Tree (Spectacular Diseases, 2002). Thornsongs is a pamphlet of seven prose poems issued in the U.S. by Unarmed in 2005 and distributed free. He currently lives and writes in a rough but interesting area of East London.
“Big” Josh Simpkins is 29, a life-long student, husband, dad, juggalo, and literary scholar. He attends the KRV campus of Cerro Coso Community College full-time, where he spends most of his time gleaning knowledge from Professor Enns. He lives in the Kern River Valley with his beautiful wife Terra and two children. Besides his wife and children, “Big” Josh loves literature, the Juggalos, and his friends and family. Jeani Yoho Sunday is currently an art major. She hopes to obtain a Masters Degree in Art and to teach art at the community college level one day. Sunday was a licensed structural steel welder with a degree in Welding, but injuries forced her to choose a new path. So, she now creates oil paintings, found metal sculptures, poetry, and shoots and develops black and white 35mm film. Among her 123
Metamorphoses 2012 accomplishments, Sunday has had one poem, The Punisher, published by the Library of Congress.
Davide Trame is an Italian teacher of English, born and living in Venice, Italy. He has been writing poems exclusively in English since 1993. Since 1999, his work has been published in approximately 200 literary magazines in the U.K, U.S., and elsewhere. His poetry collection Re Emerging was published as an online book by www.gattopublishing.com in 2006.
Magan W. is a full-time student at Cerro Coso, President of the local chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and Vice-President of the KRV Campus ASB.
Sterling Warner is the author of Thresholds (© 1997), Projections: Brief Readings on American Culture (2nd edition © 2003), and Visions Across the Americas (6th edition © 2007). His poems have appeared in several literary magazines and journals, including Leaf by Leaf, inside english, and In the Grove. Recently, he wrote Without Wheels (In the Grove Press © 2005), a collection of his poetry, and he currently is at work on another. A Hayward Award winner (2000), Warner teaches composition, literature, and creative writing in the English Department at Evergreen Valley College, where he has been chief editor of the college literary magazine for the past 16 years.
Rousing The Whirlwind 13 Shadow Forest 109 State of Emergency 35 Victorian Self Portrait 107
A A Hummingbird’s Reply 110 All Six Of Us Were Lost 45 Andrew Shelley Combing 40–44 Night Flight 47–51
ashley reaks All Six Of Us Were Lost 45 Big Alvin 55 Hossies 87 Victorian Self Portrait 107
Angela Rose Embracing Shadows 96–106 I’ll See You When.... 34
Aunia Kahn Rousing The Whirlwind 13 State of Emergency 35
A Pair of Feet 115
Aydasara Ortega Maternidad 25
A Musing 83
Artwork All Six Of Us Were Lost 45 A Musing 83 A Pair of Feet 115 Big Alvin 55 Desert Dreams 2 116 Entradas 21 Hossies 87 Love Is A Warm Gun…. 91 Maternidad 25 Night Light 19 Nocturnus 95
B Benefits (Sometimes) of Living in the Boonies 17 Big Alvin 55 Big Josh Simpkins By the Gods: Power’s Corruptive Abilities 36–39 Boys of Summer 56–80
By the Gods: Power’s Corruptive Abilities 36–39
C Candace Hawkins Nocturnus 95 Combing 40–44
D David Trame Echoes of Sun 88–89 There 113–114 Desert Dreams 2 116 Destruction 93 Devon Dani Draig Destruction 93 Wrong Turn 24 Donna Fitch A Musing 83 Entradas 21 Dreams of the Wild West 22
Metamorphoses 2012 E Echoes of Sun 88–89 Embracing Shadows 96–106 Entradas 21
H Haiku Number 1 18 Haiku Number 2 18 Hossies 87
I I’ll See You When.... 34 Immortelle 94 Intangible Melody 52
J Jeanie Yoho Sunday Desert Dreams 2 116 Josh Simpkins. See Big Josh Simpkins
Index K Kevin Coyle Boys of Summer 56–80
L Liam 92 Liliana Blum (translated by Toshiya Kamei) The Book Can Still Be Mended 26 Lori Lee Michelon Night Light 19 Love Is A Warm Gun…. 91
M Magaera Halter Termination Winds 12 Magan W. Haiku Number 1 18 Haiku Number 2 18 Intangible Melody 52 Tunnel of Secrets 90
Maternidad 25 M. Batty A Pair of Feet 115 Love Is A Warm Gun…. 91 Megan E. Lilly Liam 92 Melinda Carroll October 81–82 The Button Factory 53–54 Walking the Tree Streets 14 Michael McEvilly A Hummingbird’s Reply 110 Immortelle 94 Train Stations and Bus #1 20 My Ocean 112
N Night Flight 47–51 Night Light 19 Nocturnus 95
O October 81–82 Outside My Window, I Have a Clear View of the Power Lines 108
P Pentapus Shadow Forest 109 Putting Down My Rake, I Take a Moment to Think About Getting Older 117
R Rousing The Whirlwind 13
S Sarah Becker Dreams of the Wild West 22 My Ocean 112 Strange, I 46
Shadow Forest 109 Shawn Aprill Benefits (Sometimes) of Living in the Boonies 17 Outside My Window, I Have a Clear View of the Power Lines 108 Putting Down My Rake, I Take a Moment to Think About Getting Older 117 Sonnet as Mnemonic-Trigger: Up All Night, Cramming for an Exam 111 Snow 84–85 Sonnet as Mnemonic-Trigger: Up All Night, Cramming for an Exam 111 State of Emergency 35 Sterling Warner Snow 84–85 The Masseuse 86
T The Book Can Still Be Mended 26 The Button Factory 53–54 The Masseuse 86 There 113–114 Train Stations and Bus #1 20 Tunnel of Secrets 90
V Victorian Self Portrait 107
W Walking the Tree Streets 14 Wrong Turn 24
Strange, I 46