Issue #01, Summer 2008 CEllA's Round Trip

Page 1

#1: Tower Grove by Sarah Rogers. Sarah Rogers works as a freelance designer and videographer in St. Louis. She recently graduated with honors from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Her focus was in broadcast and video, but she has always had a passion for photography. She loves to “geek out” over plastic and toy cameras. Her favorites are the Holga 120, Diana lomo and multiframe camera. Tower Grove and Donuts (page XX) were taken with a Holga 120N, which is a light, primitive styled camera that was popular in China in the 1970’s.

Dear Readers, Viewers, etc.

Welcome to CEllA’s *first* Round Trip. Like any birthing experience, Issue #01 has turned out all gritty and surreal . . . After all this collecting and communicating and editing and promoting, we’ve been left a little sweaty and shaken. The work involved in putting together CEllA’s first go-round, the website as well as the print format layout, was monsterous, but it was time (lots of time) wellspent. CEllA’s first trip, Issue #01, is especially packed - “deluxe” perhaps - and will (hopefully) blow your mind. Please enjoy this gathered collection of submitted artwork, poetry, and flash fiction from talented creators around the world. We have an exclusive set of incredible photos by Mario Scattoloni. We have lots of funky collages, abstract paintings, sketches and even an exclusive comic strip. The writing contained within is diverse and

#2: Pripyat Ferris Wheel by Oscar Mannbro. Oscar Mannbro is a Swede living in Kiev, Ukraine and a dedicated photographer, specializing mainly in documentary and street photography. Professionally, he is a Senior Systems Developer and Project Manager for an IT-company specializing in mail order and e-commerce systems. When not in front of the computer or behind the camera, he enjoys walks along the wide streets of Kiev, art, music and an occational beer at any of the local pubs. NOTE: The ferris wheel depicted has never been used. The small amusement park in central Pripyat, located about two miles from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, north of Kiev in Ukraine, was scheduled to open on the 1st of May, 1986. However, less than a week before, reactor number four exploded resulting in the worst nuclear accident ever. Within 36 hours, all 50.000 citizens of Pripyat were evacuated, with a promise to be returned within two days. Pripyat and Chernobyl remain inside the “radioactive exclusion zone” where special permits are needed to enter. See more at the gallery:

moving. We’ve included a few feature stories: notes on a hypertext/fiction piece inspired by Milton Bradley; the story of an artistic couple from Columbia who share visions; and personal input from editors of the ever-erratic online journal, Dogzplot. This first trip has been adventure out the whazoo -- a learning experience for future CRT issues (which promise to be smaller). Please take the time to note the bios of artists and authors that interest you; check out their sites, blogs, etc. and support the hell out of them. Here, we have priorities: 1.) presenting the visual next to literary texts especially via leads allowed through the digital medium; 2.) giving artists - visual and literary - a little room to strut (if they need to do that sort of thing). ENJOY! ~ C.

Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz Alex Stolis Jeff Harrison

Haiku 35mm (a foreign film) Suzanne Frischkorn listens closely Roses on Toast

C.L. Bledsoe


William Soule


Elizabeth Kate Switaj Ava C. Cipri Jon Pineda David R. DiSarro Ava C. Cipri William Doreski Benjamin Nardolilli Kirsten Orser Michael A. Flanagan Philip Santa-Maria Valerie Fox Richard Garcia Arlene Ang Arlene Ang Gretchen Clark

Fire Words What Cedar Cannot Mary Magdalene . . . Silence Drunk Outside My Father’s House Anna Pavlova Lice (After Rimbaud) Nine Year Old Reads the Paper Hurrying Towards Betty: A Dee, Dee, Dee theatre Arturo from L.A. Eros in the Café . . . Missing One Addiction The Official Miss de Brough Letter to Stalkers An Arrangement of People and Things

Thomas Cooper

Photo Op

Vernon Frazer

Mission: Posture

Richard Garcia Barry Graham Sara Crowley Jon Pineda

The Alibi Room Too Private for Words or Fingers Steak and Beer No Shoulders, Or Considering Orpheus . . .

Summer 2008 * Issue #01 *

cella’s round trip

Sara Crowley


E.C. Messer

Round Trip Title, site, and logo is the property of editor & creator, Rachel Hartley-Smith, Pendleton, Indiana 46064 All materials are original creations. This publication may not to be printed, copied and/or distributed for profit. CEllA’s Round Trip is a nonprofit publication created solely for the purpose of sharing original artwork and texts between authentic artists and authors. Editors/staff: Rachel Hartley-Smith Sarah Chavez Sean Lovelace Benjamin Bryant Erik Crosier Credit for some interior clip images goes to: &, Some fonts downloaded at:,, ©2008-2009 CELLA’S ROUND TRIP (ISSN in progress)

Sarah Rogers / Tower Grove (cover); Donuts, p. 54 Oscar Mannbro / Pripyat Ferris Wheel (cover 2) Mario Scattoloni / airberlin, p. 2; Beach Dance X-Mas Day, p. 3; Nuits Mannequin and My Shadow, p. 9; Perfumed Roses, p. 16-17; Yellow House Lady, p. 23; Girl on the No. 17 Bus, p. 61; Ella Preggers with Dolphin, p. 67 Jee Soo Park / A Sequence of Events, p. 4 Christophe Casamassima / Solar Being and Time 4, p. 5; Solar Being and Time 8, p. 6 Matt Anserello / Date Due, p. 8; Whimsy is Happenin, p. 36 Nicole Jenna / Your Are the Bluest Light, p. 10; Picture This, p. 71 Vernon Frazer / From Random Axis, p. 15 Danny Glix / Chip, p. 19; Sliver of Mind, p. 20; Hand, p. 40 Jim Fuess / Evolution, p. 21; Maternal, p. 34; Phoenix, p. 50 Abstractus / Unthinkable Chronology 8, p. 25; Urban Expedition 1, p. 25; Silence Dissonance 15, p. 26-27; Certainty of Uncertain Future, p. 28 Nat Hall / Eat the Music, p. 31 Craig LaRotunda / Mephisto, p. 33; O Demonia Anatomia, p. 83 Lisa Schnellinger / Street Legal, p. 36 Paul Kelley III / Vicarious, p. 37; That Bullet, p. 80 John C. Dailey / Green Roof, p. 38; Wall Hanging, p. 53 Eva Forsten / The Traveler, p. 41; The Inventor, p. 48 Clyde Grauke / Beachcombers, p. 49 Glenn Gapers / Southwest, p. 56-57 Ahyicodae / Merlin’s Fiddle, p. 59 Cheryl Hicks / Attract Shun, p. 62; Sum Times, p. 63; Chorus Whine, p. 64 Peter Schwartz / are we the sea, p. 68-69 L. Manning / oilbusy2, p. 72 Jay Arthur Conley / Oxford Man Walks Through Pint, p. 75 Matt Day / Love WP, 76; typoexperiment, p. 84-85 Nich Angell / 3 Girl Montage, p. 86; Zigg, p. 86

Hypertext Ups the Ante

(an interview with Carrie Meadows, author of Operation VooDoo)

Feature: Abtractus Words from Dogzplot Digital Saves Paper. If you must print, recycle.

Sgt. Guntroon, episode ONE





by E.C. Messer

a sweet manna sigh boils windows of steamy eyes— eight sagacious grapes.

A Sequence of Events by Jee Soo Park

Jee Soo Park, age 16, hopes to continue studying Fine Arts and design. She has recently acquired a passion for Photography. She uses a Canon EOS 400D with only two kit lenses and likes to do a bit of post processing, mainly on Photoshop Lightroom.


whiskey and pears part the game. he can deny a house on assignment.

handful of held rooms— lavender beaches reach through each sailor-made blaze.

E.C. Messer is currently pursuing her MFA in writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She originally hails from California where she received a BA in Theatre from UCLA. Her work can be found in elimae and in At-Large Magazine. She also co-edits a weekly online literary mag, Lark(!) (



solar being and time 4

Christophe Casamassima is the editor/proprietor of the almost resurrected Furniture Press, and the Literary Arts director at Towson Arts Collective in Baltimore, Maryland. He also is the author of two collections of poetry: the Proteus (Moria) and Joys: A catalogue of disappointments (BlazeVOX).

solar being and time 8


35mm (a foreign film) by Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz

Date Due by Matt Anserello

The director yells action and the man takes off his head. Black coffee bursts from the hydrants, yet turns blood red as it fills the streets. The children are already smiling. Tomorrow there will be no butter nor will the hen lay fresh eggs. The woman with only a left eye carries a basket of tears the eye did not cry. The director yells cut. The day begins again.

Matt Anserello is from Indianapolis, Indiana.


Nuits Mannequin and My Shadow by Mario Scattoloni Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz is a fiction writer and poet. Her work has appeared in places. Visit her blog at


You Are the Bluest Light by Nichole Jenna


Suzanne Frischkorn listens closely by Alex Stolis

to every note of exile in guyville and when everything flies but the clock, she reminds herself of broken windows and the half moon eyes of her children watching her every move. she waits to see the lesson in the way an ash curves from an abandoned cigarette, reaches out to touch his arm, feels the cold snap of truth. snatches of new york conversation climb to the back of her memory, and there’s the sound of a dime dropping into an antique jukebox, the scratch as needle hits vinyl – a pop, a click and everything starts to sound like a divorce song. she falls back, disappears into herself without a trace.

Alex Stolis lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


Carrie Meadows worked in advertising

and marketing as a copywriter – that’s where she learned the nuts and bolts of print and web design applications. She was introduced to hypertext in the fall of 2007 when she took a course with an early writer of the medium, Ed Falco (read more on Falco: http://www.

Carrie said: I was immediately excited by the chance to work with visuals and creative writing, together, in one project. Hypertext ups the ante further by demanding reader interaction, something that makes complete sense in light of the popularity of blogs and sharing sites like Flikr and YouTube, where countless people, strangers, share ideas and interact with the ideas of others via online posts. Print is Carrie’s primary medium, and she writes both poetry and fiction. She experiments with flash fiction and prose poetry. C.D. Wright and Matthea Harvey are a couple of her current poetic influences, and she’s also a big fan of Alice Munro. Carrie said: I can’t say that my influences match up with my style completely, but I think my writing is often a good fit for hypertext, because I tend to think of my work, both in prose and poetry, in terms of small units creating a whole. Madison Smartt Bell calls this “modular narrative,” but others like Munro use the technique all the time, often creating stand-alone stories that gain additional power when placed alongside others. So writing a story like “Operation Voodoo” came as a result of these “modular” influences. At present, Carrie is working on a collection of poems and a novella, one


of which will serve as her MFA thesis at Virginia Tech. Carrie said: The real appeal of hypertext for me is the medium’s ability to attract a new kind of reader. I’m not sure that creating a hypertext piece enhances the reading experience for everyone, but it does help literary types to connect with folks who don’t spend a lot of time in the dusty stacks of libraries. Amazon’s new Kindle gets at this in a way, encouraging people to carry around books like they carry music, on a digital device. And mtvU did something similar when they named John Ashbery their poet laureate—they provide poems via video that, while not interactive, target a new kind of audience for a literary artist. I

a single line of poetry could be the start of the poem, the middle, the end, or all three? Most importantly, if hypertext gets more people excited about literature, and if it challenges literary artists to think beyond the black and white terms of books and pages, then it’s done our culture a terrific service. Carrie’s inspiration for “Operation VooDoo” was Operation, the Milton Bradley board game.

Carrie said: I found it while cleaning out a closet and, for some reason, the whole concept of the game seemed

. . . the interactive capabilities of hypertext suggest that poems and stories are not, as we’ve for a long time perceived them, fixed forms. say all this to get at what I think is key about hypertext: it delivers literature to a huge audience of readers accustomed to following their own search prompts and link choices to information, entertainment and communication online. For this kind of reader, watching or reading text isn’t enough, and the interactive capabilities of hypertext suggest that poems and stories are not, as we’ve long-time perceived them: fixed forms. The notion is, I think, a little postmodern, and I think it’s good for writers to give up some control regarding narrative sequencing, for example. I like that hypertext involves a lot of what if ‘s: what if the character didn’t know x before he did y, or what if

wildly macabre to me in a way I hadn’t recognized before. Also, my copy of the game had many missing parts, with random replacement pieces like the toothpick I mention in the story that replaces the game’s funny bone. I set out to create a story that plays with the notion of what a character might do if his human parts were replaced with foreign objects. I wanted readers to “build” a character with nonhuman parts and discover how that might affect daily life for him. Carrie used artwork from three different digital artists in this hypertext creation. continued next page . . .

Those words Jim said—Baby, I got to experience new things—burrowed out the loving parts of me, riddled my body with wormholes, echoes. New things, he said. New job, new city, new woman. When it was still Jim and me—me and Jim, we—we played Operation on nights too cold to leave the carpeted warmth of our apartment. We played even after we lost the funny bone—it must have slipped out of the box. Jim replaced it with the heart of a toothpick, pointed tips broken off. He left the ends splintered and frayed; I could never free it from its bone-shaped cavity without tripping the buzzer and lighting the patient’s nose. But I’ve been practicing. I’m hollow now, carved of my center, and Jim—he has no idea what I’ve learned to do. I’m a specialist of long-distance voodoo. I provide new organs for a man who craves new things. Transplants to help Jim understand what he lost when he left me. — Naomi



continued . . .

Carrie said: I think a medium like hypertext is great for collaboration— if I’m not good at one aspect of the project, why not bring in an expert to make the piece better? That’s my philosophy anyway. She did, however, create the rest of the artwork and construct the actual site without assistance. She had to make constant revisions to the text and design in order to make sure they “talked to one another in an honest way.” Carrie said: It’s not enough to convert text to hypertext; the content, design and interactivity must work together to create something bigger and better than each part. In thinking about the storytelling process, the medium challenges writers to consider design and interactivity as two additional elements of craft, just like character or point of view. Carrie used “chapters” in the story as “relics of old ways of thinking” about a story. She liked the idea of letting the reader build the narrative in any order he or she chooses. She didn’t write the chapters in a chronological order or following any sort of dramatic arc because she doesn’t expect readers to approach them in such a way.

Carrie said: And yet, the chronology builds, as does the dramatic tension; if, say, the reader first sees Jim’s police-ordered psychiatric evaluation then his altercation with the police— the sequencing implies that Jim has had more problems and is in bigger trouble than the narrative actually details. In this way, I’ve tried to work with the space around the text, the implications, suggestions and possible scenarios readers might imagine based on the order in which they read the story. I believe that the real interactive element of this hypertext is rooted in the reader’s imagination, in how he or she sees the narrative unfold beyond the text itself. That’s why the story has no ending in a traditional sense; I want the readers to supply it, based on the events and circumstances they’ve been given. Carrie said: I think hypertext is great for contemporary literature, for readers, and for writers. But, as an editor for an online journal of digital writing and art, I’ve become increasingly worried by pieces that feel like games, hypertexts that prioritize aesthetics and technology over good writing. Conversely, I’ve seen a lot of hypertexts that are nothing more than traditional, print text converted to a digital format. I

guess I’d hate for the medium to get caught in the entertainment trap— I’d rather see it challenge readers and writers to utilize all the new avenues the digital medium offers. Overall, I’m excited about the possibilities. We’ve always had cult writers who receive little or no critical attention in their lifetimes, but now, through digital mediums, writers can “publish” their work on a personal website or read a poem on YouTube. In many ways, I think we’re looking at a whole new way to publish. And while I don’t think the big houses will find themselves without book buyers any time soon, I am glad that the publishing world is becoming more multidimensional. I think it’s good for writers and readers. Carrie Meadows studies poetry and fiction at Virginia Tech’s MFA Program for Creative Writing. She is a winner of the Poetry Society of Virginia Award sponsored by the Academy of American Poets, and her work has been nominated for the upcoming edition of Best New Poets. Her publications include the hypertext collection of poems, (NON) sense for to from Eva Hesse, in The New River Journal of Digital Writing and Art, and fiction forthcoming in Fifth Wednesday Journal. •

LIVE ONLINE at: Vernon Frazer has published eight books of poetry, including the longpoem IMPROVISATIONS, and three books of fiction. His work has appeared in Aught, Big Bridge, Drunken Boat, First Intensity, Golden Handcuffs Review, Jack Magazine, Lost and Found Times, Moria, Otoliths and many other literary magazines. His most recent books of poetry are Bodied Tone and Holiday Idylling. His web site is Frazer is married and lives in South Florida.



from RANDOM AXIS by Vernon Frazer


Roses On Toast By Jeff Harrison

Jeff Harrison has publications from MAG Press, Writers Forum, Persistencia Press, and Furniture Press. His poetry has appeared in Sentence: a Journal of Prose Poetics, Moria, Otoliths, Big Bridge, and NOON: journal of the short poem.


Perfumed Roses by Mario Scattoloni

roses if roses had her green thumb her roses’ wares: roses, roses roses that, begging pain, scare roses roses, roses’ skulls like it with roses she roses sing might prison us roses roses three, she hair parts the yellow roses’ own parched please, roses, diamond roses, roses squeal on roses fused roses let pour, make public blind roses, blind roses slathered on toast roses clicking through ash scare roses eyes are roses to roses’ child, sweet, sweet yes sweet roses sound like snow roses’ suppertime, roses scarf roses’ toast roses’ teeth being roses planet moon dusk sends roses running raspy breathed.


Nich Angell

queen of the galaxy



by C.L. Bledsoe A being encounters conflict with other being/s, self, environment, etc. Conflict spurs movement either towards, away from, or alongside conflict. Movement resolves conflict or reveals it to be irresolvable, bearable or unbearable. Features of being. Implied sex roles. Descriptions of interiors of rooms, beings, thoughts, landscapes, also, symbolically representative of problem. Scenes tell stories or don't. Summary moves or bogs down. Adverbs hinder or help. Being ends journey or begins or refuses journey. Conflict is resolved or begun or accepted or refused. Descriptions of scenery become more pleasing or less so, changes denoting resolution or lack thereof. Being is at rest, or beginning to move, or in perpetual motion or unable to move. Conflict ends or becomes all consuming, never ending, is ignored or accepted.

C.L. Bledsoe is the author of _____(want/need) (available at: html) and Anthem. He is an editor for Ghoti Magazine ( Danny Glix struggles with the meaninglessness of existence and values cosmic wonder/ speculative theory of ultimate empirical purpose, as a worthwhile endeavor. Hobbies include tripping hard and playing with claydough, also staying indoors. See more at



Chip / by Danny Glix

Sliver of Mind by Danny Glix

William Soule is an emerging writer from the Rocky Mountain Regions of Utah. He has had works published in the Edinburgh-based publication, Read This Magazine, and also in Pens on Fire. He can be reached at: Jim Fuess has had hundreds of group shows and over 40 solo shows over his 32 year artistic career. Known for his vividly colored abstract paintings, he also has a series of black and white paintings which are an exercise in going back to the basics of form and structure. He is striving for grace and fluidity, movement and balance. He likes color and believes that beauty can be an artistic goal. A lot of his work is anthropomorphic. More of his work may be seen at



by William Soule

Caries . . . . . . . She threw up clay fingers again After potting wet handfuls Her torso—as skinny as those arms A mouthful of kicking legs Concave cheeks Bats.

evolution by Jim Fuess


Fire Words by Sara Crowley

In the black bonfirey night they stood, jacketed and swaddled. Cora sucked on a woolen mitten, gnawing at a loose thread, not liking the texture in her mouth, but enjoying the sensation that she might just retch. Jason was whooping. They watched as their father nailed a Catherine wheel to the brittle fence. Mum was baking the potatoes, frying the sausages, with the back door open so that the aroma encircled them all. Cora’s stomach growled. She was hungry. She felt forever empty no matter how much she consumed. She touched her stomach, large and round and stupid. If she were thinner the kids at school would stop teasing her, then she wouldn’t feel so hollow. This was the circle that spun in her mind as the Catherine Wheel twisted on it own sparking journey. She wondered when they could eat. It was later than usual; the hunger pangs had become rumbling jags inside her. Dutifully she oohed as the sky became fleetingly full of green stars and yellow sparks. “The sausages are burning.” “Well just keep them going for a bit can you?” said Dad. “Not for too much longer, else they’ll be black.” Dad looked up from where he was crouched on the ground, spearing a rocket stalk into the near frozen ground. “You look gorgeous.” He winked, and the children followed his gaze to the back door where, illuminated in a slab of yellow light, stood their mum, just their mum. Jason “wit whooed” and they all laughed. Except Cora, who stood, empty and lonely. And when Dad handed her a sparkler that fizzed and shook out a million white-hot stars, she wrote it in fire against the night sky, the echo of the taunts she heard every day. “Cora Marks is a fat bitch and must die.”


yellow house lady by Mario Scattoloni

Sara Crowley has had fiction published by Pulp.Net, elimae, flashquake and a variety of other lovely places. Her novel in progress was shortlisted for the 2007 Faber/Book Tokens Not Yet Published Award. She blogs at: .


abstractus abstractus is the coming together of Mauricio Vélez A. and Ximena Stevens, two young artists who have developed a junction of perceptions since early 2002. Essentially, their work draws from the use of collective thoughts and interpretations from life’s distinctive array of facets, comprised by emotional crossing motivated by their relationship (they are married) and distinct aesthetic experiences. Abstractus is the result of a spontaneous process, initiated 1995, when they first met and started developing their ideas in college. They followed different academic paths and acquired distinct experiences. Mauricio left college and advertising after working in a multinational agency, and Ximena received a Marketing and Advertising degree then worked in the financial market. Finally, they found each other again, both at similar points in life, both looking for a sense of identity. In 2000, they decide to start a new life together and ventured to Europe. They settled in Barcelona, Spain and began a shared exploration about their place and mission in this world through art. They traveled throughout Europe and came back to Colombia to reaffirm their roots. In 2002, they decided to condense all of their experimentation (personal and aesthetic) within a concept, and Abstractus was born, their own conception of life through art. It has been an evolutionary process.


As self-taught artists, they acknowledge the hard work and the struggle to find a place within the art world, especially in Colombia, but their efforts and the quality of their art have opened doors for them. They consider their work an endeavor that has allowed them to promote work around the world, and feel that with each Abstractus art piece purchased or donated, they leave a part of themselves. Abstractus’ technique is a result of years of material research. They mix conventional art supplies with industrial materials – a kind of “chemical formula” that allows for their own aesthetic identity. They take advantage of other contemporary art disciplines

of social and personal analysis and reflections through architectural reinterpretations have been recurrent. They claim: “Present human existence as a paradoxical fact is always the core of our themes.” Their artwork has allowed them to support themselves so that they may continue creating and working as they strive to bring their art to a wider audience. With an exhibition in New York (Chelsea) in 2005, they came to realize the potential of their art in the U.S. After some exploratory visits, they have decided to move to the U.S. and start a new stage. In the summer of 2008, Abstractus is all exploratory. •

- Angela Di Bello, Editor in Chief, ArtsisSpectrum Magazine, New York

such as c-print, photography, installation and performance. It is a complex process that requires them “to work on the inspiration.” They admire renaissance artists like Leonardo daVinci, but they have also been influenced by Dadaism, German Expressionism, and American post war abstracts, especially Franz Kline (for Mauricio) and Rauchemberg (for Ximena).Their love of modernist architecture has also influenced their work. Themes of Abstractus’ art are diverse, but a different kind

urban expedition 1 by Abstractus


unth inka b by A bstra le chron olog ctus y 8


silence dissonance 15 by Abstractus

Commentary on Abstractus from Margarida Guell Baró, art historian: “abstractus have understood that the artist doesn’t live only of inspiration, but also of constant work, deep and conscientious analysis of the surrounding world, the reinterpretation and rereading of all cultural and artistic tradition.”

abstractus Ximena Steevans & Mauricio VĂŠlez A.


certainty of uncertain future by Abstractus


What Cedar Cannot By Elizabeth Kate Switaj

Accept your hands do not dig through my skin and remove thin steal ropes when I was shorter than you

your hands pulled around me

Could not stand without them Taught me way to grow but died before you could remove the links I took for bones you cut from your hand and I know too late Skin’s grown over them

Elizabeth Kate Switaj teaches English at Shengda College of Zhengzhou University in rural China. Her photographs can be found on the covers of the 2006 Box Car Poetry Anthology and her own chapbook, The Broken Sanctuary: Nature Poems, which is available from Ypolita Press. She is the editor of Crossing Rivers Into Twilight ( For more information, see


Mary Magdalene— The temptation Nikos Kazantazakis whispered about into the ear of mankind by Ava C. Cipri


More than pure stillness:

His constant need to descend her dark humanness, along the leafy vine curled into an ear, weaving into collarbone through passages of breastplate, along her spine, stitching the heart, tying the inviting hips toward the pelvic shield, and finally pouring out from the birthing abyss to earth. Wanting to harvest with His hands: the ripened vegetable body, stemming toward his own human groin.


I put Catholicism on a shelf to recover: stop the not enough (chicken-pox-marks) not this (seat time boy)

Ava C. Cipri is a member of the Pittsburgh Artist Registry; she currently teaches at Duquesne University and facilitates writing workshops at the Pennsylvania Organization for Women in Early Recovery (POWER). Ava is armed with an MFA from Syracuse University, where she served on the staff of Salt Hill. Recent published and forthcoming work appears in 2River View, New Zoo Poetry Review, WHR and Whiskey Island Magazine, among others.


eat the music by Nat Hall

Nat Hall is a Shetland-based poet with a passion for words & visual arts who was educated on French & British shores. She post-graduated in Oxford and first taught in England. Yet her nomadic soul led her to the Highlands & Islands, where she and her husband elected their chosen home on the 60th Parallel. She is an active member of the Lerwick and Westside Writers Groups. She is currently working on two major projects: one, literary and the other, collaborative with "Garden2Garden" where verse turns into songs. Contact:


Silence By Jon Pineda

And if I tell no one, Will something live on inside my silence. - Larry Levis I don’t remember what she named it, so it’s better this way, the nameless joy my sister, the oldest, had held onto more than once, before returning it

of my Chucks. I walked outside, to first light, to feed the rabbit whose name I must have known then, whispered it on the way, calling to its cage, until I found what could

to its prison of plywood & wire, faded hay. I remember its droppings were round like little planets. They resembled toppled pyramids, fallen stones of the ancient

have been the heart, its flesh a brownish red, spread like a dough across the dusted grass. The longer I stared I couldn’t help thinking it might rise, this deflated ball, to become

structures, lost in the ground’s straw lattice. When our father had left on deployment, older boys in the neighborhood would come around tapping crooked thumbs

a piece of nebula spanning the gray foot, another in the distance, more scraps of fur, some burst of white, then its small, silly head. The eyes were frozen, each a pale yellow,

against the storm windows. Anxious, I’d awoken one morning to find the house dark, the rest of the world content to dream. I pulled on dungarees, patches our mother

twin suns in the universe of our dead lawn. I felt like a little god, mischievous with my catcher’s hands ungloved & nervous, choking up on the shovel. I paused each time I brought

had sewn on the knees, & wrenched my head through the neck of a jersey. I’d made All Stars the summer before, my fingers now catching on the stray laces

the blade to the dirt, connecting with clay. I smacked the earth, trying to assemble the animal, & instead, remade this anger. Years later, I think of those boys & of her, yet to wake, unchanged by it all, together.

Jon Pineda is the author of THE TRANSLATOR’S DIARY (New Issues, 2008), winner of the Green Rose Prize, and BIRTHMARK (Southern Illinois, 2004), winner of the Crab Orchard Award Series Open Competition. For more information visit:


Craig LaRotonda was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. He studied with the internationally renowned illustrator, Alan Cober, at The State University of New York at Buffalo where he received his B.F.A. in Art in 1992. Craig currently works as professional illustrator, painter and sculptor, dividing his time between each endeavor. His paintings and sculptures incorporate mixed media and aging techniques ultimately creating surreal figurative works with a dark narrative and a grotesque beauty. His distorted subjects and creatures are captured in a timeless space surviving the brutality of existence. Craig’s artwork graces the walls of famous homes including collectors in France, Germany, Norway, Mexico, France and Canada, as well as a host of collectors in the U.S. His distinctive art appears published in 3 feature-length motion pictures through his relationship with Film Art LA including the Academy Award wining film Traffic (dir. By Steven Soderbergh) as well as numerous publications such as Time Magazine, The Washington Post, The Village Voice, Juxtapoz and The New York Times. His work has been honored by the Society of Illustrators in NY and Los Angeles as well as Communication Arts and Print Magazine. Craig’s exhibitions include solo shows in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Paris as well as inclusion in group exhibits nationally and abroad.

For more info visit:

Revelation Studios

Mephisto by Craig LaRotunda


Street Legal by Lisa Schnellinger

Lisa Schnellinger worked as a reporter, editor and overseas journalism trainer for 27 years and spent the last five years of that career in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Timor-Leste. She came to feel betrayed by the manipulation of words, and for the past year turned full-time to what had been a sideline, photography. She specializes in interpretive natural and cultural portraits - from the streets of Asia and Africa where she worked, to the Appalachians where she now lives. More of her work and her contact info is on her web site, and special galleries are posted at the evolving


Vicarious by Paul Kelley III

Anna Pavlova By Ava C. Cipri

Stage light slides into Anna’s curved arms, contained is a universe of spinning gears, and burning stones. The ballet solo tangled in my ribcage . . . Listen to me as I tell you I am her, the dying swan: between these two worlds. I died a hundred years ago, waving urgent feathers in your face. I’m back, after you turned the soil over. The lilies are witness. Bend your elbow on the ground.

Paul Kelley III is an illustrator and graphic designer descended from Western European immigrants who settled in Boston, Massachusetts in the early 20th century. He is a member of the Breed Art Collective and a contributor to the Pornsaints Church. In his art, he trys to blend his primary interests: baseball, rock and roll, pin-ups and politics. He runs his own site at


Green Roof by John C. Dailey

John C. Dailey received his Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Missouri Columbia in 1998. His primary creative efforts lie in the area of psychoergonomics. In particular, he is interested in the design of multimedia environments which communicate in interesting yet comfortable ways. John’s creative interests include: interaction design, interactive storytelling and writing with light. Prior to his career as a college professor, John spent over twelve years working in live television production serving in every capacity from studio camera operator through electronic graphics artist to on-air director.


Lice (after Rimbaud) by William Doreski

Fever makes me numb, impersonal as the surf at Point Lobos where the cypress bleach to a shade of bone I've never seen anywhere else. Why I should look, even for a moment, beyond the snowy fields to California is a mystery surely born of disease. The slur of tires on the highway and the tick of a battery-powered clock remind me that my words originate in some world deeper than flesh. Pneumonia alone can't explain the distinction between landscape and action that has alienated me from places I've tried to love. Who believes in simple correspondences? Not enough people in my life: the two avid fans I met in San Francisco, goggle-eyed and eager, like me, to please; the woman in the subway whose hands, gnarled with arthritis, were the roots of the same cypress Edward Weston photographed before I was born. Only the physical world, a panting dog, leaves its wounds open and begs to be kissed. My fever rises and falls like Mahler, leaving me pinned to the window where I watch the wind tickle tall, red sequoias, combing snow from the branches the way sisters of famous French poets once combed lice from their stormy hair.

William Doreski’s poems and essays have appeared recently in Harvard Review, Notre Dame Review, Natural Bridge, and other journals. His most recent collection is Another Ice Age (AA Publications, 2007). His personal blog is at He can be reached at


Benjamin Nardollili is a twentytwo year old writer currently studying creative writing, history, and philosophy at New York University. His work has appeared previously in the Houston Literary Review, Perigee Magazine, Canopic Jar, Lachryma: Modern Songs of Lament, Poems Niederngasse, and Perspectives Magazine. He is the poetry editor for West 10th Magazine at NYU and maintains a blog at


A Nine Year Old Reads the Paper By Benjamin Nardolilli

Mr. Gonzalez is under Three American soldiers were killed Now for a limited time only, Fire for failing to remember Outside Baghdad, another Boots and handbags A conversation between Was seriously wounded by a bomb Are fifty percent off, Him and a deputy attorney And remains in critical condition, This Thursday from six to ten Three months ago, when His family is holding a vigil back home At Morton’s discount basement He learned of the resistance Hoping for his recovery, Off third and fifth, there To prosecuting those cases. The army has not released any names. Is no minimum, come and beat the rush.

Hand by Danny Glix


The Traveler by Eva Forsten


Hurrying Towards Betty: A Dee Dee Dee By Kirsten Orser

i. swoon squares at night * there must be tea in between parts * Betty appears with a giraffe the throat * you must be asthmatic by now


scrabble games and days spent in bed * boy who liked you deadpan * I can’t help it this is you

there must be a window * * between salt and sugar



I don’t want to hear all those some warm compress around too many recombinations *

in a bloomfield with all your synapses connected by safety pins


if you wrap a gift

with more than four pieces of tape you are doing it wrong, but if you don’t taproot * root, root, and drag your knuckles along a wooden fence, * that is more wrong * a good girl smells like eucalyptus will yell *


a good girl sits in the ear of a fairy

and a *



and the fairy



ii. like a nonverbal girl * everything I want to say no longer occurs in standard English * sublunary * old, really antique you know? * the eclipse on the radio * the action of the wind * it weighs heavy * on my toes * with a couple who look like plastic trashbags * shut the blinds when you go * Betty started buying stones shaped like stomachs * began drinking warmed milk and still the wind continued * Betty outgrew all her clothes * deprived herself of anything but spoonfuls of honey boar * a bad boy

* the heart of a wild

pulls his boxers up to his armpits



plays horseshoes in purgatory

funny how often people cry at the very thing they shouldn’t be crying about syllables * blow against spines * crawl out of bed you must always mention bed * the whole hour of it * man in a double-breasted suit or else day will be lonesomely sunny * * for an equation write ABSENCE=PRESENCE

it’s painfully * collecting

never blink at a neat the absence of Betty


stop! * something new is happening to the brain * pull plugs from the wall and insert some LED Christmas lights * leave them in all year * like those families in South Buffalo do * and everyone trick-or-treats in a neon glow *


iii. Cattaraugus and so forth * just look at your face * no eyes * might as well a small brown rabbit * matter of fact * two or three old fashioned Betties *

no eyes * all day, sheer stockings * as a the first time cattaraugu

Betty moved her toe, the walnut in other rooms * well below her neck * even my own desire is hypothetical: all * ears whooshed, legs went on as before * burned the negligee right off me


a murmur crawled into bed


mine is a wooly caterpillar

* syllable as wrong as it could be without getting too crowded * rose hued * ring for Wooly * how well the day goes * wind watch * titles of really serious books * this might be the night after * wink * into his bed * hands hold an echo * all hell * Betty * when he went to sleep * much mind * much to my surprise * lots of room for wild * digging indeed, I dare say just about * every conceivable position * Non-mysterious * either it does or does not exist * three questions feel like visual * viruses let me briefly touch top down bottom up


Y and also


Y occurs without X


Betty traces a triangle on the table, says: the meaning is in here



iv. you mean everyone doesn’t think this way?


inside the head * house * once one moves inside the body * the so called blue column where Betty hears a bell ringing * we see in color for example * dry cranberries because * the answer is not easy, nor * biological heritage * the somatosensory cortex, the reticular * pricking a second pain * sensitive dorsal horn * phantom limbs are quite common * gods have steel hooks inserted under muscles * Betty sees a straight stick bent * external to our brain but internal to our body * puzzle gray region, a learned helplessness * do you drink? * this is a biography of Betty * Betty likes her eggs poached, she likes anything she doesn’t need a knife for * Mr. Wooly likes steak * there are human sized holes in Mr. Wooly’s strip * steak * accidented eight legs * a doll to swallow noise * there will be intimacy in this, at least * Betty

* with noise in her mouth * with wolfish * the only cold feet in the bed * two: foot each other * something vulnerable—pinky toe * Wooly is not very sensitive * how many anarchist does it take to put in a light bulb? Nobody takes Betty seriously and everyone asks if she is for real, if she is real even * eventualities are even less real * Betty

does more things * she tends to know if there’s a party but she tends to



she helicopters

v. it was easier when she lived at * Monday and Thursday, and occasionally pick up shifts * daffy drunk with a lemony feel * when Wooly talks the body of coffee, Betty adores * a totally different reality now that it seems war might be over * that whole thing * Betty likes the Iranian boy down the street, Betty likes the way she isn’t supposed to like him * the new story sounds a lot like the old story that’s really pissing me off

* the midget is the last to jump * is it Friday? * you can pick if you want to be a boy


or a girl, but you have to do it with feeling * the narrative keeps forgetting the character * but it was a little bit interesting * that’s what you get Betty: two shots and a vanilla latte * the neighbor’s built a bomb shelter * do you see any ghosty? * it’s exciting, exciting times

* Kristen Orser holds an MFA from Columbia College Chicago. She is on the editorial board for South Loop Review and Reconfigurations ( Her work has most recently appeared in If Poetry Journal, Indefinite Space, Ab Ovo, Cannot Exist, Columbia Poetry Review, and elsewhere.


The Inventor by Eva Forsten


Beachcombers by Clyde Grauke

Clyde Grauke is a digital artist, a photographer, and a writer of flash nonfiction and poetry. His art has been published in Cezanne’s Carrot and his poetry has been published in the Bitterroot International Poetry Journal. He likes to use powerful images to bring fresh perceptions and new insights to meaningful material. Clyde is a fifth generation Texan who works as a quality analyst and lives in the Dallas area with his wife. See more at: and


Phoenix by Jim Fuess



by Michael A. Flanagan the older kids stole an axe from the fire station and i left with them. we split the wood on the back door of the dewitt theatre. an addled nine year old classmate named john ruge told me we'd watch movies all afternoon, eat as much popcorn as we wanted. the building was condemned, a wreck soon to re-emerge as a fast-food franchise. there was nothing inside but a few mutilated posters. the older kids laid quick and menacing claim to them. on the 2nd floor they broke walls with the red fire axe. the floors groaned beneath our feet. i began mumbling about being late for dinner. no one paid much attention. i pretended to know how to inhale the cigarette they gave me. i listened to them brag about motorcycle gangs, about switchblades and chains, tried to believe there would be movies after all, that we'd find the screen and the red velvet seats, or at least the popcorn. i cursed ruge for his general idiocy, cursed the older boys for their boldness, cursed myself for imagining the racket of every police siren in town coming our way.

Michael A. Flanagan was born in the Bronx, N.Y. and raised in the New York Metropolitan area. His poetry has appeared in many small press periodicals across the country, including, most recently, Willard & Maple, Quercus Review, Cliffs Sounding, and Nerve Cowboy. Contact:


Arturo from L.A. by Philip Santa-Maria

I see you, Bandini, buying cheap sacks of oranges, old and almost rotten, but you're short on money. You peel them and wait for letters, responses, a contact. You stare in a mirror and try to reassure yourself. I see you stare at the milk truck driving by, licking your lips, Bandini. It's summer and the heat makes your shirt sticky. You smile and wave at children who never wave back. I know you sit in front of your typewriter at night waiting for the convulsions, the spew like a geyser in your hotel room, Bandini. It would knock the roof off above you. I sense what you would do without a roof, typing about the girl who got away, crying creation, acidic on your lips, Bandini. You'd capture it in a jar, scream it out to Our Lady. I see the way you turn your head when they drive by, those Ford Roadsters, Bandini. You turn and think about life washing onto beaches, onto shores, about life draining into pipes, into sewers. I want to approach you with all of my money and have you write about all your dreams, Bandini. Enough money to pay the rent and get a car. Enough to take you down to Mexico.

Philip Santa-Maria is a Cuban 22 year-old drummer and law student who currently lives in Miami, Florida. He’s had works published in George Mason University’s Hispanic Culture Review and online literary e-zine, Words on Paper. He has degrees in Sociology/Anthropology and English from Florida International University. He can be reached at:



Wall Hanging by John C. Dailey

52 Donuts by Sarah Rogers

Eros in the Café, Annotating His Non-Illustrated Dream Book By Valerie Fox Artist’s Model: Alone in a waterfront warehouse with damp cardboard and the smell of French ultramarine. (buy goats-milk, sugar)

Love Hotel: With an Alps theme, an identifiable person will be carrying a thermos in one hand and your hand in the other.

Ceiling and Shower Curtain: You will find pleasure at the expense of another.

More Fever: You will be disappointed by the scenes of Europe. You will be unable to appreciate the chance for a change in elevation and ventilation.

Corsican: Throw in a bit of Napoleon at year’s end. Fever: You felt awake (and insane) like there were 99 variables present and accounted for, just one remained. (it holds the secret to my cure)

Packaged Goods (assorted): To visit a bookshop indicates that you will earn little or no money. (I kept trying to turn the page, but it was the last one)

Germs: Like unknown wealthy relatives, they’ll squabble. It’s a snare. The godly and god-like are immune at this stage (I’m not immune). It was said how the people of one particular African city jealously guard their reputation for ill health, for the pallid face.

Rose: Here. In your teeth. (I’m personal slang) Whether garden or garden variety, must have a nice belly. (I’m cartoon) (I’m an urn) Their prickles serve a purpose.

Hare: And associates, numerous – blue, white, and black-tipped. (Check Classified Ad Section) Go ahead and sigh. By one month they (I) can fend for themselves (myself). They (I) can swim.

Underbelly: A hair here. A hair there.

Imaginary Friend: Called Jack. Keep him (in steps). Stay awake. It might mean sensory deprivation as relates to your future career.

Thermometer: Everyone has their temperature.

Venn Diagram: (these sum up my exposure to science) The overlap between model (me) and modeler (you) is fast asleep on the couch. Eros: They say Eros is some kind of god who lives in the woods and comes out, once a year, to see how we’re doing. (YES)

Valerie Fox’s books include The Rorschach Factory (Straw Gate Books, 2006), and Bundles of Letters Including A, V and Epsilon (Texture Press, 2008), co-written with Arlene Ang. Her poems have appeared in The World, Hanging Loose, sonaweb, West Branch, Phoebe, Poems Niederngasse, 5 trope, Feminist Studies and other journals. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughter.


Missing One by Richard Garcia

Missing one is not like paper or snow. Not the gray of what you wanted to say but did not. You lay missing one on the table. Pick up strawberry and sweet talk. But face it, missing one suits you. You’ve always been missing one. The one no one remembers in the photograph. Some say missing one is almost clear but slightly tinted white. That there are many like it. That there is even a missing two and a missing three. But Manuel, the housepainter, given to superstition, never speaks its name. He only refers to it by its number, -001. He has learned to ignore the elastic holes he sees opening and closing in the air whenever he pries open a gallon of missing one. He knows better than to believe what his senses tell him: no matter how appealing, missing one does not really smell like banana milkshake. He wonders if missing one has a sound. Would it be like the coin dropped into the abandoned mine shaft at Los Pozos, Mexico? A deep, deep hole inside a cave? No guard railing, no ladder? You toss a peso into the darkness and wait. And wait.


Richard Garcia is the author of The Persistence of Objects (BOA Editions, 2006). His poems have recently appeared in The Georgia Review, Crazyhorse and Ploughshares. Chickenhead, a chapbook of prose poems, is forthcoming from Foothills Press. His website is Glenn Capers says, "Photo communication has become a photo journal; it captures the soul of man and his purpose of finding an ever adjusting balance of existence between commercial aspects and the spiritual realization one learns from great documentation connected to needs of man expressed as editorial and photo illustration." Glenn likes to capture travel and lifestyle and document nature, landscapes and industry. Contact:

southwest by glenn capers


Addiction By Arlene Ang

Prying open the cat’s mouth. Over and over, the ceiling fan magnifies Carla. Her knuckles have been rounded off by scratches. Ferguson swings his flashlight into the cat’s throat. I saw a documentary on mammoths once. One woman pretending she was looking at the real thing inside the iceberg. How safe do you think it is in there? Everything diminishes in time. Father gave it fish heads to study the process of choking. He had this house all to himself. This cat was all he coveted. And it survived him. Yes. Like a love letter. Ferguson smells her fingers as they disappear down the cat’s throat. He is a foreign object himself. The look on his face may be the beginning of the universe or a dirty word. Outside, the whispering trees quiver reproductions of drizzle. If she fades into the wallpaper, will he find the correct heroin to take her into a picture of his father?

Arlene Ang lives in Spinea, Italy. She is the recipient of The 2006 Frogmore Poetry Prize and serves as a poetry editor for The Pedestal Magazine and Press 1. Her chapbook, Secret Love Poems, is available from Rubicon Press. More of her writing may be viewed at www.


Merlin’s Fiddle by Ahyicodae

Ahyicodae is an aspiring writer and artist who is far less creative than her name. In fact she’s a bit boring. The bloke with the fiddle is much more interesting. His name is Merlin, and he lived with Ahyicodae for sixteen years until his unfortunate demise from kidney failure. He was very talented for a cat, though a bit of a harsh critic. As for his boring owner – she recently finished her creative writing MA, enjoys writing fiction, creative nonfiction, and children’s fiction, and still grieves for her lost critic.


The Official Miss de Bourgh Letter to Stalkers By Arlene Ang

Ah. I know you vaguely by your prison terms. Breaking and entering, they say, adds grit to the floor plan. Certainly, afternoons rank high among funerals. Did you really bury my pet radio in the Greater Cincinnati area? Ever since October 5th, I’ve thought of nothing else. First, they correct my grammar. Now you want the kitty litter. Greed sets an all too-human activity. Like wearing make-up. How long does it take you to wear out your cell in a dream? I wake up, and the mascara on my power tools turns green. Just when I thought it was safe to drink from the fishbowl. Ketchup is the only religion. But you didn’t get that from me. Last night, I cut up your longer sentences to make fancy paper dolls. Minor crimes, in the old days, led to minor saints. Naturally, the cat vomit becomes the carpet, the foot diva. Off the record, I admit my fake Welsh accent isn’t a good fake. Pubic and public eventually end up with the wrong noun. Quacks, for one, and acrylic paint lowlight bad postures. Reeking of cough drops, you’re not exactly my man Friday. Still, it bothers me when they say we look exactly alike. They also say imagination gives any letter its look of love. Under the bench, a hairball asking the wind for some change. Vacuuming may be part of my act, but it’s not jewelry. Wait. Some words from my sponsor: Flavia’s Music Bar. Xenolithic shadows will crawl your piano light years away. You asked what I had to do to get this far in life: Zoo-keep. Pile shit. Walk into cages. Like me. Like you.


Girl on the N0. 17 Bus by Mario Scattoloni


Attract Shun by Cheryl Hicks

Cheryl Hicks has had her poetry and creative nonfiction published extensively

and internationally. Most recently her work appears in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Shakespeare’s Monkey Review and Families: The Frontline of Pluralism. Hicks currently teaches journalism, photography and creative writing at the secondary level and is also a visual artist. Her art has been shown across Texas and in New York, and her collages have appeared in Anti- and Creative Soup. Her mixed media work will be featured at the Fort Worth Contemporary in July. Her work is showcased at the Image Warehouse in Athens, Texas.


Sum Times by Cheryl Hicks


Chorus Whine by Cheryl Hicks


An Arrangement of People and Things By Gretchen Clark

The Survival The painted, red-haired one with the seagreen eyes staring back at her on the museum wall, this is what she sees: A giant crystal ball. A clear world populated by a doctor, a skeleton, bubbles, naked women, a dog, an Indian with an ax, a cross, sands of time, a blackboard with equations, a lightening bolt, and Picasso’s Dream painted on a shield. The blond-haired one with the deep-sea blue eyes, this is what I know:

artwork coloring the walls, don’t have a drugfree mother to make them mashed potatoes, don’t have a crimson kiss on their forehead that whispers love you as they fall into sleep. The girls’ House Manager/Interim Mother takes me into the kitchen where I will set up for my Saturday morning art classes. She tells me about a girl who has gained twenty pounds in two months. The Interim Mother says this girl just loves food. I don’t say anything, but I think the food is trying to fill a giant dark pit in her because she don’t have.

A deep dark pit. A crater full of doctors, my body, needles, summer heat, a surgeon with a scalpel, watchful waiting, chart notes and speculation, thunder, running shoes and El Greco’s dark, purple-grey sky storming in my mind.

Gift Bearers

High Chairs

I used to want to know the answer to that question. Before, I would have wondered: animal, vegetable, mineral, human heart, carnival? It was all about ripping it open— package, person, problem—and digging in.

In this painting by Philip C. Curtis, there are no babies, only high chairs overturned, bleached out and broken, lying in a barren, desert landscape. In this living room, there is a baby but no high chair. She plays with the handle of a toothbrush, biting down hard on its green plastic finger. I ask her mother her name. “Tiaret,” she says. I’m not here for this little girl but for the other girls, the girls who don’t have a home, don’t have a father they can trust, don’t have their

In this painting by Philip C. Curtis, men in tan suits, top hats and stilts are standing before a cerulean blue sky. They all hold bubble-gum colored boxes in front of them begging you to ask, “What’s inside?”

But doctors holding folders close to their chests don’t make me curious. I sit with dread at the edge of an exam table to hear their “findings” as they point sanitized fingers to what they see in the test. I’m not eager to dive into this Book of Me. I fear El Greco’s clouds, full of thunder, hiding in those tan folders. I don’t want to be rained on or struck down by these white coats

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leaning against white walls who are too eager to answer the question: “What’s wrong?” Fish and Sky Curtis has painted the sky grey, overcast. Tall, white mountains are spotted with black polka dots and rest in the background. Iridescent fish swim along the bottom of this lake. They remind me of a hologram cover from a National Geographic magazine, one of hundreds in my Father’s vast collection, their bright sun spines beaming on the bookcase, between art books, sea travelogues, Harvard classics, and poetry. My Father taught me how to fish. He took me out on a small motor boat, showed me how to mold the neon-dyed bait onto silver hooks, how to cast my line, how to be patient until the slightest tug, how to eye the end of the pole as it curved, and how to hold myself steady as I reeled one in. My Father taught me how to fish. The lights were yellow. The ceiling was high. White paper dotted with black text shimmered along the walls. The library, this ocean, dazzled me by the neon-bright covers; one bite, cracked and inside, and I was hooked.

Escape This Curtis oil painting is titled, Escape. The wind is white and there are pink birds flying. The girl has dark hair and large eyes. Behind her, bolts of yellow, blue, green and purple fabrics are staked to the ground and look like sails on a ship. I would title this moment: Captive. It seems fitting because in this all-too-real moment my running shoes are tied tight but I’m running nowhere. Behind me, a sheet is laid out, giving the false impression of rest. But I’m not about to be tucked in, to take a little nap, to slip off into a dream vivid and fun as a Picasso. Nothing touches me in the CT scanner, and it doesn’t take long. Still. It hurts. These films that my doctors have been collecting for the past ten months are viewed carefully. They watch for conflict, the scary part of my body story. I close my eyes and long for that Footloose finish. I want Kevin Bacon to meet me on the front porch. To have him take my hand and tell me, You’re well. I want the dance in the barn that follows, the one with the glitter rain, the silver stars on the walls, and the string of star lights. I want to kick my feet through the balloons dotting the floor. I want the end, the happy. Because I don’t have.

Gretchen Clark holds a B.A. in English Literature. She co-teaches an online Lyric Essay course at Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Literary Mama, Hip Mama, Skirt, Blood Lotus, Flashquake, Foliate Oak, and Word Riot. She can be reached at:


Ella Preggers with Dolphin by Mario Scattoloni


are we the sea by Peter Schwartz


Peter Schwartz is a painter, poet and writer. He’s also an associate art editor for Mad Hatters’ Review and Dogzplot. His artwork can be seen all over the internet but specifically at: He’s had hundreds of paintings, poems, and stories published both online and in print and is constantly submitting new work as if his very life depended on it. His last show was at the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery in Chelsea NYC and went well enough for them to invite him back. Contact:


Photo Op

By Thomas Cooper They left the famous singer's mansion and were on the road again, heading out of Florida for the last time. The boy was chalky-faced with fevered eyes and said he had a stomach cramp. The mother pulled into a rest stop, and she watched the boy make a beeline for the restroom. When the boy returned, his baseball cap was darkened with sweat, and the mother could hear the rattle of his labored breath. "God, I should have never let you have all that cake and lobster," she said and buckled him in. Her hand brushed against his chest. She felt his heart beating like some skittish wind-up toy. "Are you going to be okay?" she asked. "Do we need to stop somewhere for the night?" "I'll be okay," the boy said. "Let's just get home." Twenty minutes later, they crossed the state line into Georgia, all clay and kudzu and pine. Sunset fell through pine tree branches and filled the car with stuttering light. The boy rested his head against the vinyl seat. His mother made occasional remarks about the musician and the mansion, attempting to work through the silence. "That swimming pool, right in the middle of the living room like that," she said. Then, a minute later, "I wonder if that pretty girlfriend is the one he sings about in all his songs." She didn’t mention the final awkward moment with the musician as the photographer had stood nearby. The musician had given the boy one of his famous hangdog smiles and said, "I'll be seeing you later, kid." Then the singer's face went red, but the mistake stayed mercifully unacknowledged. "Were you disappointed?" the mother asked the boy. "Would you have preferred that actress or that comedian?" "Not at all," he said and shrugged. "He was a good guy. You could tell." He stared at the road ahead so intensely she had to ask, "What are you thinking?" The boy said, "What now?"

Thomas Cooper’s short stories are forthcoming in Lake Effect, Beloit Fiction Journal, Bayou, Opium, and other journals. A 2009 Pushcart Prize nominee, he is at work on a short story collection and novel. More at:


Picture This by Nicole Jenna



Mission: Posture By Vernon Frazer Gender specific alabaster transitions particles. The late annuity fodder, steam branching a water parsing-graphic, manufactured annuities prevalent in matters of the indicate. Of its cunning, opposite detraction: a formulaic sketch, emotion in flight, or dancing plodders draining the refrain to dead music. The bartenders admire and style after pat schedulers cast in chance, raconteurs embedded with lusty ostrich manuals that lavender their crusty aftermath. An ambivalence pursued along gratings metallurgic as el gato’s eye turned flash point suddens the tightened splendor buttons panting their wet glissandi. Against oratorio screenings shortened where ambrosia ladders lean their tender sensorium output sneakers, vacillating curbstone manatee assets intoned mightily against lettered stretch-point hassocks carpentered into spring incantations. Harping a saw-toothed grin of bacillary brute thinner, piling bin cradles on essential adulation pits as warriors assemble. Gluten frenzy straws to ratchet the landscape’s audio perimeters beneath the clattering lute handles that caper sunset dialects before preening.

oilsbusy2 by L. Manning

L.Manning is from Jackson, MS, a sleepy Deep South town fueled by heat, hate and alcoholism. His work is an exploration into the realm of psycho-social discovery and surrealism. His is a quest for truth and justice amid this rapidly deteriorating backdrop of modern economic enslaved corporate catastrophe. His preferred media are acrylic, digital, and audio/video. L.Manning is a communist, a free-thinker and an artist.


Drunk Outside My Father’s House by David DiSarro

I leave concrete steps and stumble over the walkway to the yard; my father’s mole traps are buried and armed along the flower beds against the house. I relieve myself while I search the New England sky, when the muffled squeal of a mole emanates from beneath my feet and then the sound of my droplets on delicate petals stops.

Maternal by Jim Fuess


Whimsy is Happenin by Matt Anserello

David R. DiSarro is currently a graduate student at Ball State University, pursuing a Ph.D. in Composition and Rhetoric with a secondary concentration in Creative Writing (Poetry). He received his M.A. in Creative Writing from Southern Connecticut State University, where he was also a graduate research fellow, and his B.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Maine at Farmington. David’s work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in The Sandy River Review, The Albion Review, Folio Art and Literary Magazine, Third Wednesday, and Ugly Cousin.


The Alibi Room by Richard Garcia

A dog is sleeping at the entrance to The Alibi Room. As you step over him, you decide, no, he is dead. And he’s been dead for a few days. He was the stray dog. Now the town will need a new stray dog. Dr. Felsenfeld is sitting at the bar. Norris the bartender is lying asleep on the floor. His left foot twitching. Felsenfeld sits perfectly still. He reminds you of a photo you saw once of a bar in Lebanon after a terrorist attack. An attractive woman in an evening dress sat with a drink in front of her. One elbow on the bar. A cigarette in her hand. She looked as if she were signaling the bartender. But she was dead. If only the town was not named Lassitude. It could have been called Lassie Town. Or Attitude Town. If only The Alibi Room had not been named The Alibi Room. It could have been called Al’s bar. Or The Alabama. Or The Ali Baba. Dr. Felsenfeld steps over Norris and pours me a tall, cold one.

Jay Arthur Conley lived half his life in Texas, half in South Florida, taught a year in Asia and is now eating beans and rice and enjoying beauty in Costa Rica. He holds a BA in English/ Writing from Florida Atlantic University. He’s been considering buying a juicer.


Oxford Man Walks Through Pint by Jay Arthur Conley


Love WP by Matt Day

Barry Graham is a simple man, who writes about simple things, very simply. Look for him online at Storyglossia, Hobart, Pindeldyboz, Thieves Jargon, Wigleaf, Dicey Brown, and others. He is the fiction editor for the online lit journal Dogzplot ( Matt Day of England has been interested in colour and shape since childhood. He briefly explored watercolour landscapes, but to failed avail. It wasn't till many years later, when his mum brought home a copy of Photoshop 7, that he really explored. This disposable medium meant no paper cost, no sharpening pencil time, no letting paints dry. After several creative blocks and 3 years later, he has progressed somewhat to more traditional routes. He has taken a particular interest in making use of the old and composing it in interesting ways such as in the form of collage. He has also taken to 'finer' doodling, a particular favourite colour scheme being black and red. He still works in Photoshop occasionally, but only more recently for advertisement features for his new t-shirt company, set up in a further exploration of mediums as well as imagination.


Too Private for Words or Fingers By Barry Graham

We walked to Wilderness Park in the center of Dundee, beside the bridge, across from the Old Mill Museum. River Raisin cuts through and dams off and forms a waterfall. Along the bank, beside a gazebo, there's a small patch of grass between two oak trees. We took our clothes off and sat with our legs and feet in the water. The sky was starless and the traffic was light and the river was rushing over the waterfall. I could hear the water hitting the rocks at the bottom of the fall; bubbling and turning to foam. A mosquito landed on her arm inside one of her stretch marks. I watched it expand and fill up with blood, then I slapped her bare skin hoping to feel the thing pop open against my hand, but it didn't, so I licked most of the blood from my fingers, kissed her on the puff y pink bite the mosquito left and wiped the rest between her legs. "That's disgusting." She moved when I leaned in to kiss her neck. "Help me clean it off." "Get in the water." "No. It smells like dead fish. You get in." I did. I slid down and stood between her legs with my shoulders and head above the water. I buried my face between her tits and pressed them against my cheeks and quacked like Donald Duck. "You're so fucking crazy. I love you so much." "Do you? Get in."

She did. The river was shallow. We went further and further out until our hearts and our souls were completely submerged and only our eyes and lips were left above water. We held each other for minutes or hours or days, until her left leg buckled beneath her, and we both lost our balance and went under. The muddy water was thick and tasted like the bottom of a mop bucket. She closed her eyes, and I kissed her on both eyelids and asked her to marry me. We walked over to the sandbox still dripping wet and laid down side by side like fresh herring fillets tucked tightly in a tin can. There were crushed rocks and bugs and broken beer bottles mixed in with the dry sand. I grabbed a handful and let it fall slowly from my hand to my chest like an hour glass. I took two more handfuls and spread them across her body like a map of the Mormon Trail, then further, deeper into new territory, to secret places too private for words or fingers. I rolled over twice and covered myself head to toe with sand. She leaned into my dick and licked it, then sucked hard for a minute and a half until I came. I pressed two fingers against her throat and felt her swallow the spit and sand and cum, then she told me yes, she’d marry me. She kissed me on the cheek, and we both fell asleep. I woke up before she did and put my clothes back on. I set hers in the grass beside two dandelions just below her feet.


words from

on the digital medium . . . PETER (aka Art Editor): I’ll start by stating the obvious. Any journal, online or in print, is only as good as the taste of its editors. A lot of the print journals that have more prestige than their online counterparts have simply been around longer. There is also the question of effort. Putting out a print journal takes more time and energy so it follows that if an editor’s going to go through all that work, he/she will be more motivated to use only the best poetry, fiction, and art he/she can find. Some online editors seem like they’ll throw up any self-obsessed, sarcastic, snarky, little rambling. Please understand, as a poet myself, there is a certain amount of tradition I am not willing to throw out. When I see a poem with a single letter followed by eighteen semicolons, it puts me in mind of a rebellious infant smearing feces on the wall to anger mummy. Sorry, but that’s how I feel. Confessional, narrative journal-entry style poems also get my goat. The craft of poetry is so much richer than that, its reservoir so much deeper. Now as far as who can become an editor, there’s no test, no quality control for either medium.


Yet, as I said, print at least has the failsafe that if an editor wants to publish something subpar, he/ she at least has to be willing to sweat a little to make that happen. And I think sweat over time often inspires honesty, and more accurate evaluation. I would just encourage online editors to practice that same commitment. Do you really believe in the richness and depth of the poem you’re publishing? See, none of us in the small press is getting rich from our labors so it’s all the more important that we take pride in our work, that we present ourselves collectively as professionals. Basically, if we don’t take ourselves seriously, why should anyone else? That being said, there are of course some excellent online literary sites that publish work as good as anything in traditional print. This is of course merely my opinion but I’d include among those sites: Sein und Werden, Poems Niederngasse, Arsenic Lobster, Canopic Jar, and of course Cella’s Round Trip. There are many more great sites, too many to name, but I think these deserve high honors because the other side to all this is that the work on these sites actually gets read. Any print

journal obviously has a limited reach whereas with the Internet that reach is potentially infinite. So I have no problem with online literary sites. I’m a digital artist with my work on over 80 sites so, obviously, I believe in them. I just think that if you run an online journal you should do it because you can use the medium to do something great, because that medium fits what you’re doing specifically and not merely because it’s easier than putting out a print journal. Generally speaking, I have more respect for the artwork being published online than the poetry. There is some digital artwork that looks cartoonish and perhaps lacks soul, but there are also many legitimate artists being given spotlights that would probably be outright ignored if not for the Internet. Covers of print journals, interviews, gallery shows, these can be very elusive goals, and I say that from experience, having done those too. I’m rising faster as a painter than a poet, and I am not quite sure that’s entirely dictated by talent alone. I think the path from being an online publishing painter to becoming a real world one is clearer than the poetic equivalent

but I’m getting off track here. I’ll conclude with a final word about my own relationship with poetry. I’ve practiced the craft of poetry for over 20 years and sacrificed a great deal to follow that path purely. I have a respect for poetry that is not unlike my respect for God (indeed the two are inextricably intertwined) so I will leave by saying this for not just myself but for all the true scholars of poetry, those of us who not only write, but read and study poetry and take it as our calling: Don’t treat our church like a sandbox. Find Peter’s work on page 68-69, this issue. BARRY GRAHAM (aka Fiction Editor): I hate well thought out interview questions where I’m expected to say something smart, and I end up sounding ridiculous. This will likely be the same. I’m not so sure that the internet has affected creativity, I mean, people were creative long before the internet, and they will continue to be long after the internet is gone. And yes, that day will come, although I’m making no predictions as to its demise other than that it too shall pass. But yes, it certainly has affected publication, and I will not restate the obvious. Really, if someone reading an interview with an editor of an obscure online literary journal doesn’t get it… The most intriguing aspect of this question to me is where it’s all headed. 2008 in online literary publishing seems like the 2003 World Series of Poker where an amateur player took first place and $1.5 million after earning his seat into the tournament (cost for a seat is $10,000) by winning

an online poker tournament that only cost him $40. After that, Texas Hold’em poker exploded. It’s on at least three TV stations on any given day of the week, and any old knucklehead with access to a home computer can play and possibly win a million bucks. The number of WSOP contestants continues to rise every year. When will the bubble pop? I have no idea. Thus with online publishing, dot-coms, blogs, whatever the medium, anybody with access to a home computer can write something and stick it online, taking the gamble,

hoping for the payoff, whatever that means to them. New online zines, journals, blogs go up almost every week and likewise, I have no idea when the bubble will pop and how it all will end, or transform rather. I’m not a trendsetter. I simply reshape existing trends to fit my own personal likes and dislikes and hope people dig what I’m doing. Find Barry’s work on page 77, this issue. • Care to take up this conversation online? E-mail :

Dogzplot: Virtually Erratic by Colette Jonopulos

When the editors of Dogzplot say their lit journal’s content is “erratic,” they mean it. Erratic allows for short prose pieces, longer pieces, poetry, rants, visual art—whatever the writer/artist needs to put down in words or paint. There are no limits, no boundaries. If your Queen eats quesadillas in extra spicy pico de gallo sauce, she’s welcome here. If you’re theophobic (and aren’t we all just a little?) this is the place for you. Art in its abstractions, photography in shades of gray, poetry, flashes of fiction, and longer works can be devoured like expensive dark chocolate on one of the net’s more progressive literary sites. Visit Barry and Jamie and Peter in their erratic world of literature and art. You will find them eating pizza and drinking beer while reading over submissions and commenting on your sketches in the back room of their collective imagination.


Steak and Beer By Sara Crowley

That Bullet by Paul Kelley III


The walk from the station towards the beach was balm for my soul. The cold, grey waves and the screaming gulls matched my mood. Even in the summer, those waves never looked hotter than a chilly blue. That sea was full of shit, needles and condoms, but, walking down the road, it glimmered in the distance like something special. At work, they gave me an office chair held together with packing tape and a desk covered in chips and biro scribbles. I sat and input data from papers into an old computer. The chair squeaked. My back ached. The lighting was dim and gloomy. My eyes twitched. We called Mr. Jenkins, “Grade One” because he was a first grade asshole. We had to ask permission to take a smoke break. Permission to scratch. Permission to pee. There were three of us. Me, Suze and Roger. Suze came from a small village but spoke like she was city smart, thought she was cooler than the rest of us. Roger was a bear of a man. Hairy face, arms, chest. The look of a rugby player. He had run too fat a bit, but you could see he’d once been handsome. I wondered how good he’d feel shoved up against me in the stock cupboard. I told them I was a poet. “What are you doing here then?” said Grade One. But a poet doesn’t make any money. A few pounds here, then a few pamphlets published and some editor promising me more. That’s all it amounted to. I still had to eat. I took the shitty jobs to pay the rent. Buy food. Buy alcohol. On the dot of 5, I wheeled back my

chair, took my bag off the coat hook and made my way out into air. Just over the road was The Watson. Cozy lights and sticky carpet. Smoke fit to choke you. Optics at the bar, mellow amber liquids inside them. Ice in a glass, lots of it, and that smooth, good burn. Like a sigh. I was shapely enough that I was never alone for long. I wasn’t fussy about the company I attracted. I met a guy called Gary. He was one of those old punk types. Hair still long. Fat and middle aged. He had an air of sad that clung to his sagging body. He said he couldn’t afford to buy me a shot, but offered a beer. I took it and held the bottle lovingly. “Bukowski taught me how to drink beer,’ I said. “How’s that?” “You have to tip your head right back.” “Like this?” “Yeah.” I illustrated by holding the bottle vertically, up from my mouth. The cold liquid splashed down my throat. A bit dribbled out of my mouth as I pulled the bottle from my lips with a sucking sound. “And Bukowski taught you this?” “Yeah, it’s in his books. Beers and steaks, that’s what it’s all about,” I tell him. “You missed out on fucking,” he said. He pushed me into an alley made by the walls of the pub and the adjacent barbers. He pounded me, my back banging against the concrete, with his rhythm. “Yeah, baby,” I said, wincing. Bang, bang, bang. The alley stank of stale urine, and the cold air was sobering me up too much. It took Gary a long time to get off; it sometimes does with these old guys. He came with a loud grunt, and I pulled my knickers back up, desperate to get back to the warm of the pub.

There was Suze, perched on a bar stool, some spotty kid flattering her while she sucked on an Alcopop. “Ah, the poet,” she said. She thought she was so cool, so real. She knew nothing. “There once was a little bitch . . . “ I began, but didn’t finish. She’d get hers. I walked up the hill to the bus stop. Couldn’t miss the last bus. I waited in the cold, cursing my lack of jacket. Down in the town, lights twinkled like Christmas. I wished I had eaten; my stomach was empty but for liquids. The timetable showed the last bus had gone. I turned my back on the town’s lights and started the long walk home. I thought I heard footsteps behind me, but when I turned I saw nobody. I was quite alone.


No Shoulders, OR Considering Orpheus While Fishing The Chowan By Jon Pineda

Fins thin shadows near roots otherwise knotted & thick with a settled calm. Again, he slips an oar into water, gently pushes against the river bottom. He feels his breathing, running a palm over his chest that rises, quickly sinks on the surface. This time they hang overhead, canopy branches flecked with scales flailing in sycamore as one falls through the small space of sky, buries itself beneath the broken reflection, then surfaces, bodiless, only its head floating in his direction.



O Demonia Anatomia by Craig LaRotunda

typoexperiment by Matt Day



3grl Montage by Nich Angell

Nich Angell, age 22, is a comic-inspired illustrator as well as comic book artist. He likes earthshattering dynamic imagery, sci-fi epics and steam. His massive inspirations include the legend that is Moebius, Brandon Graham, Seth Fisher and Koji Morimoto. At this early stage of his career, he is stepping out keen and eager-eyed into a fantastic art-filled world, hoping/believing that he will make an impact. Check out Sgt. Guntroon – New episodes/pages will be posted online and in future issues.

Zigg by Nich Angell






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more stuff for Issue #02

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artwork by Nich Angell

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