Chagrin River Review Issue 2, Spring 2013 The Literary Journal of Lakeland Community College Published by Chagrin River Review
Cover Art: Mark Brabant Cover Design: Amy Peck Editorial Board and Readers: Robert Coughlin Tobin Terry Suzanne Ondrus
Thomas Hyland Angela Weaver Ellen McHugh
ÂŠ 2013. Chagrin River Review acquires first publication rights. Subsequent rights revert to author.
Issue 2 (Spring 2013) Fiction J. Malcolm Garcia "Fledgling” ..............................................................................................4 Audra Martin D’Aroma "Hurricane Market".........................................................................12 Lowell Mick White "Baby Never Grew" ...............................................................................19 Jesse Falzoi "Bremen, Ohio" .................................................................................................21 J.A. O'Sullivan "Small Mark" ................................................................................................26
Poetry Frank Paino “Cosmology,” “Candlemas, 1933,” “This is Not the Poem,” “Until the End of the World,” “The Left Hand of the Devil” ......................................................................31 Gabrielle Freeman "As the Story Goes" ................................................................................43 Michael Salinger "In a Borrowed Cabin" ..............................................................................43 T. M. Göttl "Abduction in the Month When God Goes Walking in Bear Hide Boots" ........46 Robert Vivian "Looking into Wolf Creek" and "River Stone" ..............................................48 Ace Boggess "Flotsam" .........................................................................................................50 Anne Whitehouse "Excavations" ...........................................................................................51 Contributor Notes...................................................................................................................54
J. Malcolm Garcia Fledgling Flo points out the window. “There. What’s that?” Hank’s in the kitchen, she’s in the living room. Hank leans back in his chair and looks through the doorway that connects the two rooms, past Flo and out the window. It’s one of those hazy Miami days when he feels like he’s looking at everything through a cloudy glass. “Fuck if I know,” Hank tells Flo. “Nice language, Hank.” Language, shmanguage. Be offended. The point is Hank can’t tell what the hell she’s looking at. It moves a little. Maybe a squirrel. Or a mole in the grass. Not a mole. That would be too much like a mouse. Flo’d lose it. Hank doesn’t know what it is. Too far away to tell. Does he care what’s out there? Now that’s the question that needs to be asked. Why would he care? Hank goes back to reading one last job posting on Craigslist We are looking to expand our Brickell Avenue cleaning business. We are looking for a part time/full time worker who can drive. You will clean 2-4 homes per day. Hours are 8:30am-4pm, Monday through Friday and some Saturdays and possible evenings. We can give you 10-20 hours a week, minimum wage. and shuts off the computer. Flo has a daughter, Cathy. She’s fourteen. She wanders into the kitchen listening to her iPod and wanting a Coke. She’s wearing her soccer uniform. Blue jersey, white shorts, blue and white socks. Cathy’s on the Grapeland Park Community Center’s girls’ soccer team, The Tigers. She has a 7 o’clock game tonight. Every Wednesday for the next eight weeks. Hank’d rather not go. He doesn’t care about soccer boys or girls. But since he’s living with Flo in her house and Cathy’s her kid, he doesn’t have a choice, does he? “I want to see what it is,” Flo says of the thing outside. “What?” Cathy says. Hank’s about to explain that her mom saw something in the yard but Cathy skips off to her room jamming to whatever music she’s listening to without waiting for an answer. Flo walks out the front door and crosses the yard to the spot where the newspaper lands every morning just off the driveway. Neither of them really reads the paper. Hank doesn’t understand why they get it. He watches Flo, sees their neighbor Jeff parking his pickup across the street. He’s a Marine. He deploys to Iraq in the next week or two, his second time. He’s got on tan shorts and a green polo shirt that clings to him so tight he looks like he’ll bust out of it any second. He tosses a duffel bag from the pickup, unzips it and begins rifling through it. He takes out some rope and a harness. Hank doesn’t get it. Jeff’s going to Iraq and tonight he’s attending a girls’ soccer game. How’s that work? CRR 4
About a month ago, a little more maybe, Hank was out drinking with his buddies, Dan and John. They sat at the bar of this place called the Comeback Club on Biscayne and Eighth. Rain was falling hard, real hard, like Noah was getting ready to do a test run of the ark. Hank could just hear it through the thick windows but he heard it. A bus stop stood empty across the street. Nothing moved except some he-shes turning tricks with Coral Gables suits getting their freak on. It had started getting dark early. Mid-afternoon became night in a matter of hours, but it wasn’t late. Hank knew he and his pals had more time than they thought. That night was the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Dan and John didn’t care one way or the other. Dan was in the Army in the first Gulf War. Said he still dreams of burning oil wells. But that was before 9/11. No one was calling him a hero. “So what do you think,” Hank said. “Did 9/11 change your life?” Dan and John didn’t say anything at first. Hank let them think about it. He listened to an old man playing a video game behind him. The brother was rocking. Hank heard the pling, pling, pling of his scores like something rushing up on him. “Traffic was bad the night of 9/11 and some neighborhoods had gas lines,” Dan said. “Yeah, but that was that night,” Hank said. “How has your life changed since then?” “Look at airport security,” John said. “You hear on the radio that it’s a bitch to fly now.” “Yeah,” Hank said,” but if you don’t fly, how’s your life changed?” John shrugged, threw up his hands like what-do-you-want-from-me? He was coming off a weeks-long fantasy about a redhead and was in a shitty mood. He installs countertops. She was one of his customers in Indian Creek Village. John said she had an ass that wouldn’t quit. Said when she spoke his name, she had enough sugar in her voice to melt his gums. John did a lot of discount work for her but finally realized that beyond dreaming he never would come close to that ass. “What about the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq?” John said. “That’s all 9/11, dude.” “You’re not getting it,” Hank said. “I’m not in Afghanistan and Iraq. I don’t know anyone there. Do you, Dan?” “No, not really.” “What about you?” John said to Hank. “How’s your life changed?” “It hasn’t. That’s what I’m getting at,” Hank said. “What’d you think would happen?” Dan said. “I don’t know, man,” Hank said. “But it’s been ten frickin’ years.” And then wouldn’t you know it, a week after they all got together Hank got laid off. “It’s a baby bird,” Flo shouts at Hank. She goes in the garage and comes out wearing a pair of gardening gloves. She scoops up the bird and holds it out in her hands for Hank to see. It looks like a speck of gray fluff. Hank gets up and opens the living room window and leans out. It’s a baby bird, all right, a fledgling. That’s what it’s actually called, fledgling. Hank knows. His mother called them that. Almost old enough to fly. CRR 5
Flo bends down and lets the bird go on the lawn. Its head bobs and it opens its beak like it wants to scream. It leaps, flapping its small wings until it settles between two exposed roots of a tree. Hank glances up at the sky but doesn’t see any sign of its mother circling the way birds are supposed to do when a fledgling falls from the nest. He looks back at Flo. She’s staring at Jeff. He’s taking a chain saw from the back of his truck. He’s handy that way. Cutting wood for his fire place, maintaining the yard, fixing shit. Flo has a drawer full of tools. Screwdrivers and hammers and pliers and what not. She patches holes in the walls, puts up wallpaper, paints. She even cuts the lawn. Not Hank. He has allergies. He sweeps and mops the house, runs the vacuum. That‘s what he does. His contribution, so to speak. Flo smooths out her blouse and skirt. She’s a loan processor at Ocean Bank. She brushes her hair back from her face, shimmies a little to get rid of any remaining wrinkles in her clothes and calls to Jeff, asks him to come over for a second. He sets the saw down and walks toward her. “It’s called a fledgling,” Hank says, watching Jeff approach. “Must have fallen out of its nest.” Jeff moves like his chest is shoving away invisible objects, like Moses has nothing on him when it comes to parting waters. His legs eat up the street. Snap of a finger and like that he’s standing beside Flo. She smiles and takes a deep breath and her chest rises. She breathes Jeff in. She points at the bird. “What should we do?” Flo asks him. Jeff considers it for a moment staring at the ground. “Leave it alone,” he says. “It’s wild. Its mother will find it or she won’t.” “We can feed it,” Hank says. “I wouldn’t bother,” Jeff says. “It’s too little for bird seed.” Flo looks at him and nods and says, “I agree with Jeff.” Hank’s thinking she’s thinking, Jeff knows about birds because he’s good around the yard. Because he knows how to use power tools. Because he’s going back to Iraq. OK, but here’s the thing, when Hank was growing up, birds would slam into the living room window all the time. He doesn’t know if they did that at Jeff’s house when he was a kid but they sure did it at his. If they didn’t break their necks and drop dead, he and his mother would put a wire cage over them to protect them from stray cats until their brains stopped rattling and they could fly again. If they were little like this one, they’d soak bread in warm milk and dribble it into their mouths until a park ranger or someone who knew about wild animals would drive over and take the bird to a nature sanctuary. It’s not all about Jeff is what Hank’s thinking. He knows some things too. “You‘ll have to tell Cathy not to touch it,” Hank tells Flo. “It‘s not a toy.” “I think she’s old enough to know it’s not a toy,” she snaps. Hank looks at Jeff, but Jeff doesn’t offer him any support. He stays out of it. Hank doesn’t have children, that’s part of the problem. The idea that Hank, a guy without kids, would criticize or imply criticism of Flo’s daughter, a daughter she has raised alone for five years since her CRR 6
divorce, is something Flo can’t tolerate. Jeff probably would get away with it because he has a kid. A boy. Flo says his ex-wife complains that he’s too tough on him. That even though the boy turned eighteen last month, Jeff still expects him home before midnight on the weekends. Hank’d go further. He’d say, You’re not only eighteen, you’re out of the frickin’ house. But he’s Jeff’s kid, not Hank’s. And Cathy is Flo’s kid, not Hank’s. “She could be your stepdaughter if we married,” Flo used to say whenever Hank left himself open for her to take a shot. Then she stopped. She got the message. Hank doesn’t want to marry Flo. He didn’t move in with her to get married. He just thought it was time to do more than work and sit at home alone. By the time they met, he had worn a trench in the road walking from his 23rd Street apartment to his job at Target and back again. Then one day two years ago on his way to work, he saw this woman standing at the bus stop at Twenty-Seventh and Corral Way. Some change had spilled from her purse and he helped her pick it up. When she bent over her jeans framed her ass just tight enough. Her white blouse was loose and Hank followed her cleavage down to where it mattered. She thanked him. He saw her there again the next day and the day after that. They went from, “Good morning” to “What’s your name?” “I’m Flo.” “I’m Hank.” They shook hands and chit-chatted about the weather and work. They sized each other up. After a couple of weeks they exchanged phone numbers. Really, it was that simple. Hank thought, This‘ll be different. “I got to get going,” Jeff says. “I have to take care of a dead tree in my yard and a whole bunch of other chores before I go.” He doesn’t say where he’s going, doesn’t say, Before I deploy again to Iraq. He knows Hank and Flo and everyone else knows. Their street has gotten very patriotic. Small flags limp from the spray of water sprinklers line the edges of yards and it seems to Hank that everyone but him wears a yellow wrist band and thanks Jeff for his service. Jeff barely notices. He treats all the fuss as his due. He’s a fucking Marine. He considers people walking their dogs past his house like a military review. Flo smiles, raises a hand and wiggles her fingers goodbye. Jeff nods, goes without another word back to his house with that walk of his. Flo watches him pick up the chain saw. Hank flinches at the blast of noise it makes. Jeff raises the saw above his head and begins taking off a thick branch from a leafless tree in his front yard. Hank watches the branch dip and break with a sharp crack and bounce off the ground. Jeff shuts off the saw, walks around the fallen branch in a kind of crouch as if he expects it to jump up and throw down on him. Then he starts the saw again. Hank turns back to the bird. Here’s what he knows. Female birds regurgitate the food they eat into the mouths of their chicks so the chicks can digest the food. That’s how they eat. That’s how they grow. That’s why his mother softened the bread in milk. He doesn’t know where she learned that but that’s what CRR 7
she did. Jeff has a point, the bird’s mother will find it or it won‘t. Hank gets that. But he has a point too. The thing is, Hank knows people listen to Jeff. He is who he is and Hank is who he is. “Maybe I should not have moved it,” Flo says of the bird. “You didn‘t move it very much,” Hank tells her. “We can fix it.” He puts a hand on her shoulder. He feels the thin material of her blouse and her skin and bone beneath it. He imagines the two of them resemble a sculpture you might see in a park by a fountain surrounded by trees. They’d be part of some well-tended really green landscape where nothing is out of place. Two people carved from marble with permanent smiles on their faces staring down at a tiny bird that is looking up at them waiting for Hank and Flo to put it back in its nest. “How do you ‘fix’ a bird?” Flo says. “You don’t fix birds.” “I meant save it.” His hand slips from her shoulder. He goes into the garage and finds a hamster cage that had belonged to Cathy before she lost interest in hamsters. He takes out the bottom tray and walks back to the bird and sets the cage over it. It shifts its weight and lifts its wings but otherwise doesn‘t move. “You’re scaring it,” Flo says. “I’m protecting it,” Hank says. Flo looks at her watch. “Cathy‘s soccer game starts soon,” she says. “I don’t know who would schedule games for Wednesday nights,” Hank says. “People are tired after work. They don’t want to watch a girls’ soccer game at eight o‘clock at night. They’ve had a long enough day already. They have to get up the next day and work.” “What are you complaining about? You’re not even working,” Flo says. “Doesn’t mean I’m not looking,” Hank says. “Looking is a job in itself.” “See if you can get it to pay as well.” She’s got a point. Hank’s not looking that hard. He doesn’t have that get-up-and-go jobhunting spark. He first started working when he was in high school cleaning shit from dog kennels. People still used phones only to make calls then. He needs to take some sort of vocational classes at night is what he’s thinking. Target gave Hank the boot after thirteen years. You’re in good company, he was told. We’re letting go of a lot of great people we hate to lose. That was supposed to make him feel better somehow, but what he’s feeling now is taking some getting used to. No more talking about the merchandise. “Merch” everyone called it. The shorthand conveyed their knowledge of the job. Merch. When will Hank ever say that again? To tell the truth, he doesn’t think he ever will. He wishes he knew how he feels about all this. He can’t bring himself to toss his Target name tag. Why not? He doesn't know. He needs some time to himself is all. Before Hank got laid off, he would sometimes call in sick so he could be alone in Flo’s house while she was at work and Cathy was in school. He’d pop open a beer and walk around the CRR 8
living room, study, dining room, two bedrooms. Run his hands over the smooth hardwood floors, the faded furniture, the pictures on the walls. He liked the lived-in feel of the house, the sense of place. The fullness of it. He walked up stairs to his and Flo’s bedroom, set his laptop on the toilet across from the shower and clicked on porn hub. He scrolled down to blonde blowjob, clicked twice and got in the shower. He left the shower curtain open. The bathroom steamed and he soaped up and watched this blonde deep throating this guy who had shaved his pubes. Hank stroked myself thinking of her going down on him with her tongue and that mouth and not saying a word until his shit was hard as a log and his legs were shaking and just when he thought he’d burst, he came like a stallion. After he finished jerking off Hank stood under the shower and breathed deeply until his breathing slowed and he felt totally empty and desired nothing but to be left alone. The blonde understood. She was still polishing the guy’s knob when Hank shut off the water. She didn’t look up to ask if he felt better. She didn’t look at him at all but just concentrated on what she was doing. Up and down with her head, one, two, one two. Hank reached for a towel and turned off the computer. The computer made a zip sound and then went blank, and she was gone, bye-bye, just like that. Hank stood there and didn’t move. The bathroom faucet dripped. He listened to the slow plunk. . .plunk. . .plunk of the water and realized he could live alone in Flo’s house but not feel alone because it felt so lived in. But then by late afternoon Flo and Cathy would come home and that was the end of that. Hank leaves Flo outside and goes into the kitchen and takes a piece of white bread from the loaf on top of the refrigerator and puts it on the counter. Flo comes in behind him and runs upstairs to change. “You ready?” she shouts to Cathy. Hank warms a bowl of milk in the microwave and dribbles it on his wrist. Not too hot. He breaks the bread into small pieces and drops it in the milk. He squeezes the bread with his fingers, testing its softness. Spongy but not falling apart. Good. Taking the bowl in both hands, Hank walks back outside through the garage. He stops to get the gloves Flo wore when she picked up the bird. He notices Jeff stacking logs he carved out of the severed tree branch in a pile outside his garage. Jeff wipes an arm against his face smearing dirt across his forehead. He starts the saw again and approaches the tree. Hank puts on the gloves. What he’ll do is he’ll grip the bird in such a way that its head peeks out between his thumb and forefinger. He’ll hold bits of the bread a little ways above its beak with his other hand and squeeze the bread and let the milk drip out until the bird opens its beak. Then he’ll drop the bread in its mouth. He thinks fledglings eat every half hour. Something like that. He’ll stay up all night, if he has to, feeding it until its mother returns. If that means he misses Cathy’s game, he misses the game. He needs to see this thing through.
The fledgling is lying on its side. A thin gray film glazes its eyes. Staring down at it, Hank hears Jeff cutting into another branch. He kneels beside the hamster cage and puts the bowl of milk on the ground. “Is that the bird? Mom told me she found a bird. What happened to it?” Hank looks at Cathy standing above him. Her hair is pulled back in a ponytail and she holds a soccer ball under her right arm. “Cathy, let’s go!” Flo yells from the house. “We’ll be late.” “I’m ready already!” Cathy screams. “I’m outside with Hank.” She turns back to Hank. “It died,” Hank says. “It was alive but it died while I was in the kitchen. I don‘t know why.” “Oh. . .” Cathy says and her voice trails off. “I was going to feed it,” Hank says. “Bread. I soaked it in warm milk.” “How’d you know to do that?” “I just did.” “Huh,” Cathy says. “Let’s go,” Flo says from the garage. She’s got on a faded green T-shirt that doesn’t fully cover her stomach, some shorts, and a worn Marlins baseball cap with her hair pulled out the back of it. Her stomach is a little flabby but she’s not fat. A few situps would do the trick. In this getup she looks younger than she is. Hank stands up. He thinks she must be desperate. “The fledgling died,” he tells her. “The what?” “The baby bird.” “What happened?” “I don’t know. Shock maybe.” “Did you move it?” “No. You did earlier.” “Well, I didn’t kill it. It didn’t just die.” “Yes, it did,” Hank says. “I told you you were scaring it,” Flo says. She shakes her head and gets in the car. “Let’s get to your game,” Hank tells Cathy. Cathy half walks, half skips into the garage and climbs in the back seat. Hank hears a loud snap and looks at Jeff standing in the tree with his saw as a huge branch beneath him falls to the ground. He’s rigged himself up with the ropes and a harness he took from his duffle bag. He stands in the tree without his shirt looking out over the street. Flo honks the horn but Hank doesn’t move. He looks at the bird, at the black ants crawling over it. What went wrong? He knew what he was doing. What did he miss? There’ll be other fledglings, he’s sure. But he doesn’t think he should wait for the next one to fall. Maybe he’ll leave with Jeff. Not to Iraq, but just leave. Ask Jeff for a ride when he goes to the airport. He could drop Hank off some place on Highway 1. It wouldn’t matter where. CRR 10
Hank’d tell him what he knows about fledglings. Jeff would interrupt and start talking about Iraq and Hank would cut him off. Not now, he’d tell him, I’m talking. Jeff would back off. He’d shut the fuck up. Then after a while Hank would say, You got any questions? In a hesitant kind of sad voice like that of a little kid, Jeff would ask him why the fledgling died. Hank doesn’t know how he’d answer. But since Jeff isn’t leaving right away, Hank’s got time to think about it. If he’s lucky, he might figure it out.
Audra Martin D’Aroma The Hurricane Market Buddy Allicaster’s face flapped back like a man in a convertible thanks to the manmade wind, a testament to the omniscience of his condo’s architects. Buddy was looking at a fiveminute walk between the windstorm and his pad; it included front-lit jungle landscaping, a view of the iconic empty buildings of the Miami skyline, and Eastern prostitutes who competed viciously over being European. A couple of drunks were sleeping it off in the hallway, their faces still puckered into masks of belligerence. A girl lit up a cigarette in the elevator. There was a price exacted for living in paradise and Buddy had learned to take the good with the bad. He frequently ministered to those who didn’t know how that transaction worked, usually ex-New Yorkers like himself that were throwing street tiffs about getting their rental scooters towed or finding that they’d tipped extra on a check where the gratuity had already been added. Buddy lived on the fifteenth floor in a corner unit in an illegal sublet. He had lived in the apartment for sixteen months and even though many of the amenities had been stripped, his landlord had raised the monthly rent by fifty dollars. Buddy pretty much had the apartment to himself because his wife Patricia swung back and forth between the dinner and lunch shifts at a couple of restaurants. He didn’t know why she had panicked and done that but he guessed it was to prove a point. If she thought he was going to take the bait and jump on the first underpaid job that came his way, she was sorely mistaken. When Buddy had arrived in the tropics and seen all of the wasted time and resources, he had thought that if he were valuable in New York, he would be a commodity in Miami. He had actually entertained the notion that he might become rich doing something simple. But there was a tax imposed on giving up seasons that seemed to be paid on the backend and the riches seemed to be saved for the people that quoted Tony Montana and imagined that the world owed them year-round beach weather. Although he couldn’t say that he was completely happy, the thought of being forced to leave Miami made Buddy feel like killing himself. Managing paradise wasn’t simple and he had finally found something that was close to the secret, an algorithm that depended on the height of his wife’s heels, the quality of the prostitutes in his lobby, and whether he was roused from his sleep by trespassers who had jumped in the pool that was closed and the subject of a lawsuit. When Buddy thought about snow, he thought about two things, one real, and the other realistic. One scene involved getting up in his father’s face, shortly before he’d passed and yelling “A brain, scarecrow.” The other involved the closing of the Brooklyn Bridge due to budget cuts and the citizens flooding it by foot. Some mornings, walking along the closed shops on Lincoln Road, Buddy would get a whiff of a sharp reality, like passing a plumeria or jasmine tree, and it was made all the sweeter by the signs of empty consumerism that lay around him like unwrapped Christmas presents. Throughout the high season, Buddy tried to remain positive and, sure enough, he found a job just CRR 12
before the snowbirds left and the discount tourists descended on the barrier islands. People who didn’t have the pleasure of living in Miami Beach didn’t understand that any job that allowed you to stay on the island was to be considered a good one. Buddy gave tours on a hybrid boat and bus route. He had to dress like a turkey and gobble at pedestrians but he also had the best views of Miami four times a week. Plus, now he had business owners on the route offering to give him a cut if he’d send business their way. Buddy didn’t mind the turkey headpiece as much as he minded the sympathetic looks of some of his audience, usually from the Mid-Atlantic. Buddy was working on a plan to team up with his wife to start his own tour company. Witty banter came easily to them. He threw a few parties and stuck by her side and, sure enough, whenever they’d bicker people would howl with laughter. It wouldn’t make sense to buy a bus or a boat because he didn’t want to deal with the overhead. What Buddy proposed was finding a way to offer an additional service to his clients that wanted to see the real Miami. Before Buddy got a chance to flesh that out, he had a run-in with a fat guy in front of the Jackie Gleason Theater. The guy kept making the same joke, in Gleason’s voice, about an optimist starting a diet on Thanksgiving. Buddy made a crack about Rhode Island, things escalated, and Buddy issued a casual threat to push the guy over the edge of the bus. A light breeze passed as the bus rolled into the water and all was forgotten. Buddy descended from the bus laughing, telling the tour company owner about the incident. The Israeli took in Buddy’s imposing stance and bald head, the low New York accent, all of the things that made his information more trustworthy and increased the humor of him dressing like a turkey, and fired him on the spot. Buddy couldn’t go to the competing tour companies because they were owned by the same Israeli. For a few days, a restaurant manager paid him in wine to hang out at his restaurant, hoping that some of the week’s bus riders might recognize him. A shuttle bus driver felt sorry for him and gave him a deep discount on an empty seat on the Key Largo route. As Buddy passed through the swamp borders and was spit out into the Straits of Florida, something occurred to him. His landlord was a nasty man, drowning in bitterness about his neighbors not paying their condo fees. But if your neighbors are corporations in Henderson, Nevada or Vietnamese guys living in Seattle and you’re the one paying to have the elevators running and the pools chlorinated, breaking your bank while they’re waiting to pounce on you, who deserves to get their head broken? On the ride back to Miami, it became very clear to Buddy that he had been making his job search unnecessarily difficult by insisting on making money in the formal economy. As soon as Buddy allowed a change in his thinking, things began to open up for him. This literally happened the next day when he went down to the mini-market in his condo to buy a bag of pretzels. It was owned by a squat short-haired Peruvian woman who treated the store like a train depot in some far flung Russian province. The pretzels had no price on them and had fluxuated 75 percent within the arc of two days in the woman’s favor. Buddy opened his mouth to reprimand her but instead asked if she knew of anyone that was hiring. CRR 13
Wanda looked him up and down like a Russian woman inspecting a herring, her disdain seeking refuge under a thin veneer of Latin hospitality. For the first time since he’d arrived in Miami, Buddy felt that someone was truly and thoughtfully assessing him. “Maybe, just maybe…” she told him and then she asked him to return in one hour. An hour later, she wasn’t there but an hour after that one of her sons told Buddy to meet her at a bar on Washington Avenue that night, on the late side. The bar was a railroad style and had blue lights with a long faux-ice bar and white leather stools that looked rented. Wanda sat at the bar consoling the bartender, who had been offered a cut by a new line of vodka if he pushed it on fifty people. So far, it was only Buddy, Wanda, and the Russian representative for the vodka company. Wanda played mother figure to a whole host of tattoo artists, drag queens, and DJs. She turned her watch to show the bartender that it was only one-thirty. She bought Buddy a vodka drink and told him how she’d gotten started in business, hawking ceviche to local restaurants. She’d started on the outskirts of the city and, in a few months, had landed some of the famous hotel restaurants. The only reason she’d turned a profit was because she’d had a contact at a grocery store that let her know when expired fish was being dumped in the garbage. “Why ceviche is what you are thinking. Right Buddy? Why ceviche? Why I didn’t make fish sticks or fish fingers? Well let me teach to you something. One. Nobody comes to Miami to eat fish sticks or fish fingers. Two. Nobody thinks that they can’t trust a taste bud. With grilled fish, they take a shit in the morning and blame on the grouper. With ceviche, they say, if was bad, would taste funny.” She nodded to the bartender and sat back, leaving him to glean the ceviche lesson and apply it to his vodka problem. “But if people get sick from ceviche, they get serious food poisoning,” Buddy wondered aloud, in an exaggerated way to set up Wanda, a strategy that pleased her. “This is what I say to the manager of the restaurants. I say, tell the customer: ‘Madame, are you and your monsieur accustomed by ceviche?’” Wanda spun her hands around Buddy’s second vodka and rustled the ice; she was just using it for a prop because she herself wasn’t drinking. “Why you don’t turn on some music,” she asked the bartender, who responded by turning it up to its maximum volume, a throbbing that made conversation all but impossible although Wanda didn’t seem to mind it. “Here it is,” she finally said. “I need someone to unload some boxes for me three nights a week. It’s around three-thirty in the morning. Nothing much. Just some food for the market.” When Buddy opened his mouth, Wanda pinched his cheek. “How much you are going to pay me for this? This is what you are asking, is right? Well, I tell you. You go tomorrow night and you see that Wanda is a good friend to you.” She reached in her purse to pay for Buddy’s drink but somehow he ended up paying for it. The next day, Buddy set up camp on the most Southern part of South Beach, watching the hung over tourists roasting and gearing up for another night. This was the true nature of the city, CRR 14
he thought to himself: nocturnal, informal, and felonious. This was a city where the CIA had set up hundreds of agents in fictitious pool repair shops that were never open. The guys that had made it a point to find a little patch of land in Brooklyn and force a garden on the patio were miserable. There had been a reason he’d come to Miami. At three o’clock in the morning, Buddy met one of Wanda’s sons in the parking lot of the condo. The son jumped out without removing his headphones and left the keys dangling from the ignition of a white shuttle bus. Buddy was disconcerted to see that the van was a stick shift but he quickly got the hang of it as he crawled through the Alton Road streetlights and sailed over the causeway. The empty skyscrapers shined violently to compete with the moon. He easily found the house in Hialeah that was painted in bright colors, a Haitian daycare. He pulled into the long driveway and loaded about fifty boxes. Two wiry men did not help him but observed him closely while smoking. It was about six in the morning when he backed into his condo and unloaded the boxes. Wanda handed him an envelope (more or less what he had been expecting) and pinched his cheeks. “For you to remember Buddy. Profit is what you can get after your expenses. The day you start to think is something fixed the profit, is the day in business, you die an ugly death.” Buddy thought that Patricia might mind the night hours and the secrecy about his income. But she began leaving him cold coffee and sliced bagels and trying to seduce him. The next three months were extremely happy for Buddy. He went back to Key West and this time he took Patricia. They stayed in a bed and breakfast and ate leftover fried conch fritters in the morning. He bought Patricia some expensive domed plants for the balcony and they threw a party in which they danced the tango. At the end of August, everyone began to track a tropical storm in the Gulf named Rainey that produced a bunch of intolerable jokes from people who were just learning the language. Wanda was nervous that it would peter out before at least threatening storm surge. “Hurricane’s arrival,” she said. “Big money for the market.” That night Wanda accompanied Buddy on his nightly excursion because they were visiting depressed areas where, according to Wanda, Buddy was likely to either be picked up by the cops or shot. She pinched his cheeks when she told him this and instructed him that, were they to be pulled over, she would start to cry and he would say they were going to find a niece of Wanda’s who had suffered a pulmonary embolism. At various stops between Hialeah and Sunset, Buddy played enforcement to Wanda’s ruthless bargaining. When they got back to the store it was eight in the morning and although Buddy was exhausted, Wanda asked him to help her stock the shelves. She had called the unsuccessful vodka salesman to hang around all day and act like he was panic shopping. “You tell people that you don’t know if I’ll take returns if the hurricane doesn’t come through,” she yelled to the shopkeeper. “You stress that. You don’t know. Pretend to try to call me on my cell phone. Pretend it goes to voice mail.” She disappeared temporarily and then brought Buddy a café con leche. Buddy declined because he planned to go home and sleep. When he said this, Wanda pinched his cheeks again. CRR 15
She always went for the same spot, and he sincerely believed that the sore on the side of his tongue might be a result of the consistent pressure of pinches. “No sleep for hurricanes Buddy boy,” Wanda said in the special maternal voice she reserved for him; everyone had a slightly different variation. “You’re going to do me a special favor. You’re going all day to do the stocking. To carry the boxes through the lobby for people to see and acting so tired that it is killing you. You help me do delivery tonight and then maybe you and your wife take a bus to a very rich man’s house in Palm Beach to ride out the hurricane in style.” Here was something, thought Buddy, here was a story that broke through the dregs of everyday life and surpassed the monotony of existence. Here was an earned luxury that could not be bought. That evening, it began to drizzle. Even though it purportedly came from an unrelated Northern front that had nothing to do with Tropical Storm Rainey, the tenants of Buddy’s building began to stock up their pantries. As the goods diminished, Wanda began to get nervous that her sales would go to a nearby chain store. She posted four signs in her window that said “We have for you ANYTHING”. That night, Buddy's eyes felt pickled, held up by toothpicks, and closed on their own agency. He sped through the dangerous inland underpasses to the neighborhoods where people took to the street often for the rumor that Fidel Castro had been assassinated. In Buddy’s exhaustion, everything seemed absurd and cribbed from the movies. He stopped at another bodega for their unsold coffee and macaroni and cheese. There was beer from a truck in a Wynwood parking lot and then it was off to Flagami to buy cigarettes. Things got ugly in Liberty City at a house flanked by two shaggy palms with machetes stuck in them. The windows were covered in yellow burglar bars and there were four over ground pools covered in blue tarpon. There was a sign on the door that said “Come in ONLY Buddy”, with another name crossed out and Buddy’s written in a different handwriting. Through the doors, Buddy noticed three details: a chandelier shaped like a handgun, a tiki bar, and a decorative aquarium tank toilet in the middle of the living room. A semi-attractive woman in a floral romper beckoned to Buddy to follow her to the backyard. She was having a heated phone conversation in a language that Buddy could not make heads or tails of. Lush landscaping in the backyard and three more pools set up in a semicircle. It seemed too Miami for Miami and, for some reason, made Buddy think of Singapore. The woman signaled for him to go the garage and pointed to about seventy boxes, about a mid-sized New York apartment. Buddy was not a mover. When he shared that, the woman glared at him, held a phone between her ear and shoulder, and said, in intervals of increasing agitation, something that sounded to Buddy like: “And frick and frack.” As Buddy was trying to understand what could possibly be happening, the garage door flew down, nearly shearing Buddy as he was backing out with one of the boxes. A tall Asian man rushed in and, thinking he was getting mugged, Buddy pulled out his wallet, which only got him CRR 16
a twisted ankle. The woman resumed yelling “And frick and frack” into the telephone, turning on her heels. Then she yelled at Buddy, in perfect English, “Call Wanda.” Buddy ran out, keys in hand, jumped into the car and gunned it. The tall Asian chased the van down the street, and Buddy might have heard a gunshot. Once he was safe, Buddy began to honk rhythmically, as if he were an ice cream salesman. He didn’t know another way to express his sheer exhilaration at having pulled off survival. The sun broadcast signs of setting and the causeways were bogged down by evacuation traffic. Buddy pulled into an empty parking lot under one of the city’s freeways and got out, for some reason, waving his hands in the air. He ended up in a low-lit bar in the round filled with an assortment of derelicts. Buddy saw a former neighbor and tried not to make eye contact. He patted the back of a mannequin with his head down, only to discover that it was a real man, either dead or sleeping. He ordered two tequila sunrises because that song was playing on the radio. A voice seemed to come out of the air conditioning ducts, and it vibrated. “You’re such a douche bag Alabaster.” The neighbor was wearing, as usual, a crooked sun visor and swimming trunks. He rose like a rooster, drinking straight out of a silver martini shaker. His lineage came slowly to Buddy; he’d almost been convicted for dealing drugs at a prestigious Manhattan school, and his parents had kicked him out of their vacation condo. When he’d moved in the adjacent apartment, he was going to DJ school and Buddy had called security on him often. When he’d been kicked out, he’d thrown a glass coffee table from his balcony, almost beheading a Russian tourist. Buddy, still high from the day’s events, tried to ignore him. He even offered a shot of tequila but the neighbor threw it at his neck, yelling about the noise complaints that had caused his eviction. Buddy ordered two more tequila shots, drank them, and then punched his former neighbor in the nose, watching the blood roll out and then striding out calmly as if he had shot him. But then he went back and ended up staying a few more hours. When he got back to the empty parking lot, he realized that Wanda’s van had been stolen. The next twelve hours were given over to wind, water, and transportation. There was a tall blonde gypsy driving a taxi and a near accident with a speeding yellow Ferrari. There was a carton of ice cream for Patricia that needed to be refrozen. When Buddy finally made it back to his condo, the sun was rising in a rejecting way, making fools out of those who had been carried away by the threat of the hurricane. And then Wanda was knocking violently at the door. “Where is the van,” she demanded, snarling, backed by two weight-lifting tenants. “The lawyers are coming. Be careful Buddy, because if the van is not back in a few hours, the lawyers will be twenty, not two.” Somehow, Buddy was out of money and as he did a combination of hitchhiking and walking over the McArthur Causeway, a cinematic scenario briefly played through Buddy’s head, in which he ratted on Wanda’s business practices and he somehow took down an entire corrupted city cabinet. The sun beat down now (no signs of the formerly impending hurricane) and Buddy CRR 17
had never before been glad to see the mainland portion of greater Miami. Buddy saw two hands waving at him across the desert of the parking lots. Buddy felt that he was dying of hydration. There was an animation of the hands that struck Buddy as familiar. The hands belonged to a middle-aged, African American man named Bill. He sat in the middle of the parking lot, in a plastic lawn chair with a hole drilled into the left arm to hold an umbrella. A prostitute with flabby legs and high cheekbones sat on the right arm, seemingly wanting to consummate Buddy and Bill’s relationship. It only took a slight head shake from Buddy for Bill to push the prostitute out of the picture and to give him his own hug. “There were eyes everywhere when you parked that van. You don’t know what I had to do to save it. You were lucky that there was a hurricane. You should have asked for me, for Bill. The Mayor of Overtown.”
Lowell Mick White Baby Never Grew We were out on the porch and Gran was talking about growing up on Grassy Run. The people who lived there then were all dead now, I never knew them, they were nothing but names to me. I was in the swing reading Catch-22, which I didn’t like too much. Didn’t dislike it enough to stop reading, but it wasn’t as funny as the blurbs on the cover said it was supposed to be. I didn’t get it. I kept on reading with mounting irritation I didn’t understand. Gran kept talking about dead people—Ramseys, Sleeths, Frosts. All just names. Then she said something about a dead baby. Somebody had a dead baby. It didn’t grow. What? “Huh?” I asked. “What?” Gran asked back. “About that baby,” I said. “What happened?” “Oh,” Gran said. “That Mrs. Fisher, Peg Fisher, she was a Frost until she married Matt Fisher. And then she had this baby that wouldn’t grow.” “What do you mean?” “It wouldn’t grow….” “What?” “That’s all.” “It died?” “Well, later,” Gran said. “But it wouldn’t grow. It just lay there in the crib and it wouldn’t grow.” That didn’t make any sense. Gran made it sound like the baby didn’t want to grow. Like it was a bad baby. I asked, “Why didn’t it grow?” “I don’t know,” Gran said. “It just didn’t” “Didn’t they take it to the doctor?” Gran laughed. “Nobody went to the doctor in those days.” “Didn’t they feed it?” “Of course they fed it!” There was a glint there. Gran was getting pissed at me. About what? She was the one who brought the damn dead baby up. I asked, “But why didn’t it grow?” “I don’t know!” Gran said. “It just didn’t grow and it later died.” “But—” I said. I was—I don’t know—shocked. I had this mental picture of a tiny monster bad baby. “But—that’s terrible.” “Why’re you wanting to know about that baby?” Gran asked. She was mad. “I don’t know,” I said. I was mad, too. “Why’d you start talking about it?” Gran didn’t say anything. She just sat there. CRR 19
I stared at the pages of the book. The words made no sense.
Jesse Falzoi Bremen, Ohio I’d begun to ask myself, how did I get here, but I hadn’t yet realized that I was already on my way home. A man with a cowboy hat pointed to a sign saying: ‘No self-service’ and then filled my Coupe de Ville. He asked me where I came from. “San Jose,“ I said. “That’s a long way, young lady.” It was pointless to tell him that my way had been much longer. Instead, I waited for him to praise my car. More than twenty years old, it still looked like new. He started to clean the windshield and said, “Better get new wipers.” I remembered how I had first sunk into the red leather upholstery and how my hands had held the wheel and how my foot had pushed down the gas. “They’re gonna love it in the East,” I said. He laughed and I paid. Then I went to the diner at the other side of the road and ordered a double-cheese and a beer. The waitress asked me whether I was from Eastern or Western Europe. The Wall had been history for two years. Nevertheless, I answered, “West Germany.” A woman sat down next to me, saying, “I’m from Germany, too.” My heart skipped a beat. I hadn’t heard my mother tongue for such a long time. “Where from?” “I don’t remember.” She started to laugh. “From some one-horse town up North.” “Me, too,” I cried. “From the North, I mean.” And it turned out that I knew that one-horse town. She smiled as if I’d just shared a secret with her, then she said, “It ain’t like driving from Flensburg to Munich.” “Right,“ I said even if highways all around the world are grey lines that never end. To make things short: Her name was Karen, and she offered me a place to stay for the night. In her pick-up she led me along a dirt road, and I thought about all those stories and movies where that wasn’t a good idea. After what seemed like ages, she stopped, got out, and lightly closed the door. “Our little house in the prairie,“ she said, after I had parked my car. We sat on the porch to have a beer. Above us the sky dripped with stars. Karen asked me if I liked it here. “You mean at your place?” She grinned. “I mean in the States.” I thought of the first couple of months here. I’d felt so free I‘d even forgotten my birthday. “I feel lonely sometimes.” CRR 21
She had taken off her cowboy boots and put her feet onto the table. “Don’t you have a sweetheart?” “I got two,“ I said, “one here and one over there in Germany.” I was meant to meet Ben at his parents’ house in Baltimore the next evening. I had told him that it was an old dream of mine to drive from the West to the East. All by myself. “Usually, it’s the other way round,“ he’d said. Karen lit a cigarillo. “Then you haven’t met the right one yet,“ she said, watching the smoke. “What are you waiting for?” I tried to remember what she had told me at the diner about her husband, other than that he had died from cancer three years ago. “Waiting’s just a bad habit,” I said. She got up and returned with two more beers. “How old are you?” Old as the hills, I thought, and then said, “Twenty-two.” A German shepherd came out of nowhere and sat next to her. Observing me, it lay down beneath her chair. “She is just shy,“ Karen said and opened the bottles on the porch fence. “I was twenty-two when I came here. Then I met Ray. You can guess the rest.” I couldn’t but nodded anyway. “Don’t you have any kids?” She shrugged. “We were on the road all the time, then we were getting used to having a real home, and when I started thinking about it, Ray came back from the doctor’s.” The beer caps had left little marks in the wood, as if a child had sunk its teeth into it. “You still can have some,“ I said. She laughed. Then she sat there saying nothing for a long time. It seemed that she had forgotten about me. “And you? Aren’t you afraid?” she finally asked. The night before two kids had been jumping on the roof of my car while I was trying to catch some sleep at a parking lot. I climbed into the driver’s seat, turned the key, and hit the gas. “No,” I said. “It’s a big country,“ Karen said. “You easily get lost.” I remembered how lost I had felt in little Germany and asked her if she ever got homesick. “Ten years ago we were over there. Me and Ray. After a few days we went nuts.” She shooed away the cat that had been lying on a box in the corner and took a blanket out of it. “Claustrophobic,” she said, looking at my bare legs. “Nights are getting colder now.” The only jeans I hadn’t already cut off were buried deep down in my backpack. Unwashed. “We’re in the middle of nowhere,” I said. “What if someone robs you?” She pointed to the shotgun that was leaning against the wall like a broom. “Don’t worry, I haven’t touched it in years.” Then she wanted to know if I would like to see the stables. I was happy enough just to be sitting there on the porch, but the way she was looking at me made me get up again. “Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses the glory of being alone,” she said, undoing her hair. “Paul Tillich said that. He’s German, too.”
I had no idea who that guy was, but I could have listened to her for hours. Two days ago Ben and I had our first fight. I didn’t have a chance. I couldn’t keep looking at the dictionary, could I? Touching and petting the animals, Karen went ahead of me. She told me stories about each one: about her horse, about her husband’s horse, about the pigs. The oldest sow was supposed to go to the butcher’s the following day. “She had a good life,“ Karen said. “What about you? Any future plans?” I thought about Ben and his proposal. Over the last days I had tried to see myself working here in America, with kids going to school, and Ben sleeping next to me every night. “Gonna take a bath,“ I said. Karen laughed, and after a pause she said that she could use some help. She would pay me. Room and board included. She said that Tony hadn’t been well since Ray died, and I could take care of him. It took me some time until I understood that she was talking about the horse. “300 a week?” she said. I said, “Way too much.” She winked at me. “There’s plenty of work here. You’re not gonna drink that beer on my porch for free no more.” I wouldn’t mind having arms like her. “How’s winter here?” Karen bolted the stable doors and looked at the sky. I bet she could name every one of the stars. “Not as long as yours,” she said. The day before leaving San Jose I had gone to the beach. While Ben was at work. I sat down next to the sea and read a book I had brought with me from Germany. I’d like to think that it was Rilke, but it could just as well have been a stupid detective story. At some point I began reading aloud. It was great to listen to my voice being that fluent. Next to me there was a couple. The girl came over and said in German that she had been studying at the Freie Universität. She couldn’t believe that I had never been to Berlin. “It must be awesome,” she had said, “now that the Wall is down.” I followed Karen across the yard. We went past the vegetable garden and came to an old trailer. She turned on the lights. There was a Pullman kitchen, a table and two chairs, a couch and a king-size bed. There was even a small TV. “We don’t have one at the house. Ray and I came here when we wanted to know what was happening in the world.” She looked at the couch and said, “I’ll bring you some fresh sheets.” I sunk onto the mattress. “My sleeping bag’ll do just fine.” A bed just for myself. The first months I had given lessons in French and German to pay the rent, but then one pupil after the other had cancelled, and I had been happy enough to stay at Ben’s. “I don’t even know where I am.” CRR 23
Karen touched the map which was hanging on the wall. “We’re here,“ her finger moved up one inch, “that’s Dresden," then further to the left, “Hanover," then down again, “Bremen.” I had to think of the German Bremen and of my boyfriend who would never leave it. Karen opened the door. “We could have lots of fun.” Her dog was waiting for her on the stairs. It didn’t come in. It knew that she would be joining it in a while. “Definitely,” I said. We would take the horses for a ride. On Saturday evening we would hang about at the diner. I would dance with a lonely cowboy and let him beat me at pool. I aimed one of the wall lights at a picture and was taken aback. “Is that you?” It was as if I were looking into a mirror. Karen returned with a box and pointed to my worn-out Chucks. “You need boots.” I tried them all and ended up with some red ones. Blue seams. “Could I make a call?” She grinned, “Now?” “My boyfriend is waiting for me in Baltimore,“ I said. Karen started to laugh. “You’re almost there.” “No way?” “Hang on,“ she said. “Which Baltimore?” “Is there more than one?” “There’s one right here.” “Whatever.” I would turn Ben down the next day. I would send him a postcard in a couple of months. Maybe I would ask him to come by. It would all be different. I’d have a home and a job. My English would get better, and I wouldn’t be searching for words that long. “Back then we took our trailer everywhere,” Karen said, running her finger along the shelf as if to check if it needed cleaning. “When we didn’t like it anymore, we just hit the road.” There was a Polaroid of a man with long hair and a beard on the door of the fridge. I said, “That’s him, right?” It was two o’clock in the morning when I curled into my sleeping bag. I was looking at the boots. I tried to get the picture of me wearing them and sitting on the old tractor that I’d seen in the drive. Then I composed a letter to my parents. They would tell everybody that I would not be coming back. I thought of the night when I threw away my return ticket. I thought of sleeping in my first apartment in San Jose and of buying the Cadillac and driving around for hours afterwards. When I woke up it was still dark outside. As I left the trailer, I could see my breath. Quietly, I went to my car and opened the trunk to get the sweater that I had worn last time on the plane. Some time ago, our daughter was searching the basement for stuff she could use for her first apartment. She came up with my old nightstand. She unlocked the door and found the red boots. “Look at these,” she said. CRR 24
In one of them I found the letter Karen had left under the wipers. “I wish you a happy trip and a happy life,” she’d written. And I remembered how I drove back to the gas station to brush my teeth and how the man asked me why I didn’t want to stay at Karen’s for a while. And how I answered: “Two quiet people like us are better off being quiet alone.” I didn’t remember where I had heard these words, but I had waited for the perfect moment to say them.
J.A. O'Sullivan Small Mark Joaquin shifted his weight but the elevator smelled like grape and he couldn’t focus. It bumped, too, when it stopped at each new floor. He could work only in thirty second bursts. There was the matter – prominent today – of the passengers, their puzzlement. On the first two days, he’d tried to explain. But his sentences flickered like string lights battling a wayward fuse: sparks of coherence, but no illumination. This, he thought, is why only poets should speak. At rush hour the elevator crammed up, and strangers jostled his equipment. Tonight, he gave up and went to scrounge for dinner. As he ate in a sleazy diner car down the street, Joaquin reviewed his progress. The building manager snuck away on a two-week vacation. With six days remaining, Joaquin felt confident he could finish his work. A small mark, his masterpiece, but he’d imprint a smudge of beauty in a depressed building in the center of a city struggling with despair. The elevator constantly smelled like grape now, all because of a disastrous child. This disastrous child tore open a juice box with his little kid incisors. Joaquin came to recognize the disastrous child during the elevator’s frequent lobby stops. One time, he saw the disastrous child sit on a stranger’s puppy. Another time, disastrous child tore up letters from a postal box that had been left open. Not yet 10 years old, he was a man who left whatever he found in shambles. On the day of the grape incident, the disastrous child stood on the elevator jamming a straw into his juice box. The movements on Joaquin’s periphery annoyed him just enough to stop work until the child exited. The straw would not penetrate the box. Teeth were recruited. The elevator floor became grape, a stained floor mirror to compartment’s water-damaged ceiling tiles. On his walk to the diner car, Joaquin discovered wine-like stains on the cuffs of his jeans. The recognition cost him. As he looked back up to the street, Joaquin found a shouting bicyclist in his path. He lurched into the street, where a passing bus nicked his easel and sent it flying. Needless to say, the elevator’s grape aroma offered no fond reminisces. One woman, Joaquin called her grandma, rode the elevator with him every day, her face wrinkles shining like cracks under the half-cocked florescent lighting. She looked too old for a job and her family must all have died or forgotten her, because she had nothing to do. Three or four times a day, she’d lug a folding chair from her apartment into the elevator and then go sit on the sidewalk. She’d wave and smile at pedestrians too rushed or stoned to reciprocate. After an hour or so she’d toddle back in, ride the elevator upstairs, and repeat the journey later in the day. Grandma never asked Joaquin about his work. She never even spent much time staring at him. Once, when a brush slipped from his hand and skittered across the floor, she labored to retrieve it. Joaquin stood frozen, not knowing whether he should accept this generosity or help the old woman. Like a crumbling building, she became gradually smaller until she reached the floor, picked up the brush, and still kneeling, returned it to him. CRR 26
Joaquin decided to dedicate his project to this old woman. Other elevators might have made better canvases. But Joaquin remembered having been to a rent party here, and checking on it, found the front door lock broken. The painter lacked a proper job, and so his project proceeded in steady fashion. Each day, he set up his easel on the side of the elevator not given over to buttons. He set the print replica on the easel and thumbed squares of putty on the back to affix it to the stand. Due to the squeezed space, he put only three colors on his palette at a time, so Joaquin often thought out what he’d be working on each day. Because he could not reach it, the top edges of the painting remained the elevator’s original color, a cantankerous eggshell. One day a man boarded the elevator that Joaquin did not recognize. The man glared at the buttons, pushing the top three, and then glared at Joaquin. Joaquin did not like being glared at. And he did not like the overabundance of stops and starts the elevator would now be making. But knowing his words could jeopardize his vision, Joaquin said nothing. The list of people who could potentially, theoretically, possibly, arguably put an end to Joaquin’s project numbered just over seven billion: everyone on earth but him. The man glared some more and left the elevator at his first stop. Joaquin resumed painting. [How does a man painting an elevator wall sense a passenger’s glance? Raised hairs on the neck? Goosebumps? That ghostly bubble in the stomach? No. Joaquin simply observed the reflections in the junky metal handrails.] Not more than a few well-placed strokes and the code man returned. This time, Joaquin’s stomach possessed the ghostly bubble. The man identified himself as Larksmith, Code Enforcement. He began to ask questions: Who directs you? Where is your permit? Why bother? Joaquin ignored him and kept painting until Larksmith demanded identification, whereupon Joaquin offered up the meager amount of money in his wallet. Larksmith, disappointed with Joaquin’s poverty, took the bills and exited the elevator at the bottom floor. Robbed of his dinner, Joaquin tried to – to no avail – to herd his mind back around to the masterpiece. This grapey, shabby elevator suddenly felt like a mausoleum, and he a ghost on the wrong side of the wall.
Sometimes, in the pit of the waking world’s workday, the elevator sat empty on the ground floor, doors open. The mausoleum vanished, and Joaquin in his airy solitude believed in beauty and happiness for his city and hope for a beautiful non-grape-scented prosperity. With the swarm of an eager acolyte, Joaquin imbued the elevator with thousands of swirling, mottled brushstrokes. He dashed long arcs of wildfire orange and luminous blues, pulled back during the delicate tasks, like the sun-tint off the wooden bridge, the bridge that wanders into the background like the tail of comet forgotten for its cousin, the luminous core. It was one of the open-door days, a clock-orbit of serenity, when Larksmith next appeared.
Nearly finished with his masterpiece, Joaquin painted. Larksmith pushed half the buttons on the plate. Larksmith glared. Joaquin painted. Larksmith edged closer, glared harder. Joaquin painted. He backed off, glaring from a fisheye distance. Joaquin painted. By Joaquin’s count, Larksmith left the elevator seven times and returned eleven times. Joaquin’s ghostly stomach bubble ballooned near bursting. As they crawled back down to the lobby, Larksmith began his questions. Who directs you? Where is your permit? Why bother? Joaquin painted until Larksmith demanded identification. With no money, Joaquin waved his hands. Larksmith persisted. As he walked off the elevator, he hefted Joaquin’s easel, disappointed with its lightness. When you undertake to make the world beautiful in a unique way, the world makes sure it will cost you. Joaquin had no money. Joaquin had no easel. Joaquin had a day before the building manager returned from vacation. The next morning, he arrived without an easel. For an hour, he tried to hold the replica in one hand while balancing his palette on his forearm and painting with the other hand. More paint dripped across the grapey carpet than his canvas wall. The second hour, he wedged the replica on the shabby elevator rail. It stuck for a moment or two each time, before jumping to the floor. Joaquin sighed, sick of being poor, sick of grape fumes, sick of painting someone else’s work. As he rested against the back wall, the doors opened to present disastrous child. He straddled no puppy, wrestled with no juice box yet, and stared at Joaquin, who for the first time actually faced him. Why do you paint a screaming man who covers his ears from his own scream? The child asked. People only think he’s screaming. But he’s really gasping at the screams that come from the world. What is screaming around him? Everything. Joaquin thought for a moment. Is that really what this painting was about? And even if, did it matter? And then: this child is about the height of an easel, no? Would you like to help me finish? Yes, said disastrous child. Joaquin handed the replica to disastrous child and returned to a capable way of painting, adding strokes of wildfire and even twisting his body to its edges to fill in some of the top. Fifteen minutes into the arrangement, disastrous child began to gnaw on the replica. Joaquin pushed on, his hands oriented as much by guesswork as his masterpiece filled in and his replica disappeared. Nothing would stop him. CRR 28
Not disastrous child. Not Larksmith. Not the building manager. Speaking of . . . Not long after the child-easel began eating the replica – he’d munched away about a third of the painting – Larksmith appeared, followed in by the old woman Joaquin called grandma. Larksmith glared, disastrous child munched, grandma ignored all. Joaquin painted. The last brush strokes flared in his mind, already applied in that sense. All he needed was for this clunky physical dimension to catch up. Soon, as they shuttled up and down from grocery stores and clerk jobs and doctor’s offices and back to their rectangle dwellings, these elevator goers would feast on a shred, a ligament, of humanity. Larksmith began his questions. Who directs you? Where is your permit? Why bother? Joaquin stopped painting. I have nothing to offer you. Larksmith glared. Who directs you? Where is your permit? Why bother? Empty your pockets. Disastrous child chomped away at the replica’s bracing protagonist. The old woman stood her ground, folding chair in hand. Joaquin looked at his painting. A few strokes missing up toward the top, but the painting soared and something screamed and the man held his ears. Completion. It would be ok to be broken now. I have nothing for you. The code official snatched Joaquin’s palette. He was reaching for the brushes when the seat of the folding chair smashed into his chin. ::Gasp:: The old woman could swing. And then in a pique of vigor, she opened her voice. I direct him. I am this building’s manager. And you are not a code official. Mr. Smythe is the code official and he won’t look kindly on your deceptions. You will leave now and never return. Larksmith, dazed and refused, stumbled off the elevator. Joaquin tried to digest his turn of luck. Or was it luck? How could this woman be the building manager? Why had she not thrown him out? Because you are creating beauty, she said simply. But I heard all the lobby people talking, they said you were on vacation for . . .
Oh yes, Iâ€™ve been on vacation every day. She gestured to the sidewalk. Come have a cup of tea and Iâ€™ll tell you about it. May I have just another moment? Joaquin took the folding chair, stood on it and spent the last few strokes of his brush near the top of the painting. Then they rode the elevator up and the old woman took him to her apartment. The disastrous child remained in the elevator, munching on the replica of the real thing in the shadow of a small mark of beauty.
Frank Paino Cosmology (for my mother) Once you were a star, so the scientists say-as were we all, though tonight I only want to consider you—a former orb of light & flame & great draughts of luminous gas consumed & all consuming. A sphere that winked its story across the almost interminable, airless dark to be read by those who came before as a hundred tales of earthly genesis. Life from light. Let’s say that star, your star, went supernova & you came to settle here, on this watery planet, nothing more than a speck of dust which, for the sake of this poem’s deduction, was swallowed in a glass of wine shared by your parents years before they became your parents, leaving you a thing divided. Half father. Half mother. The exact riddle that eventually solved to you. Born. Named. You grew & later gave birth to other stars incarnate, before your own light began to dampen: faltering heart, breathstarved flesh & bone the doctors began to cut like spent blossoms—a wedge of calf gone black, one toe…another, & next would have come the spreading metatarsal wound. Instead, one winter evening, you left as softly CRR 31
as you’d come. What remained in that narrow bed with the silver rails was not you. Only the husk of a star, its bright wick extinguished. What they slid in to the retort’s brick gape also was not you. That quiet, uncomplaining shape could not hear the serpent-hiss of gas, or the muffled gasp of ignition, everything charred, I’m certain, in an instant… the sweater we chose with the brilliant yellow smiling face you’d ironed on, & the simple brown pants with their tired, elastic waist. Forgive us. We forgot your shoes. Though you could fly, of course, & had no need of shoes. Nor of the body itself which we gave back to the vault of heaven in a baptism of fire, a rush of cinders that climbed the stack & glowed a moment. A fistful of stars against the darkening sky.
Frank Paino Candlemas, 1933 (The Papin Sisters) Now that we have sluiced the blood from our bodies…now that we have put away the hammer and kitchen knife, set the pewter vase back on its tapered pedestal, come lie beside me in this darkness that gathered around the burnt glass fuse and filled these sterile rooms, first with evening’s half-light, and now with black the colour of our maidservant clothes. In a handful of hours the vendors will push their carts along the cobblestones. Monsignor shall bless the tallow and wicks that will illuminate the coming year. He will pray to the Virgin who once more enters the Temple, rendered pure by forty days of solitude and no touch from Joseph’s hand. Lea, in another life I was your husband and you were the girl who drove me to my knees. How odd is Fate to send me back your sister-the one who waited seven years for you to grow round beneath Mother’s tattered gowns. And now we have labored that same measure under this slate and copper roof. You on your hands and knees before the silk hems CRR 33
of that simpering brat, your beautiful mouth stitched with pins and winking silver needles, while I stooped over gas jets, the stench of fish and onions in my nostrils. And everywhere the polished silver bells to summon us from each other…a bejeweled finger stabbed here or there to spare them from having to speak so much as a syllable to their mute handmaids, the two of us supposed to smile as if we might pray each day to kiss the soles of their sleek Parisian boots. Tonight, when your iron scorched its shadow across Mademoiselle’s favourite blouse and the house fell to its sunset gold after a shower of sparks at the wall-plate, we knew without having to say a word there would be nothing left to do but what we had to do. They would have broken you with kicks and curses and the strap that hangs behind the pantry door, sent us into savage streets with no letter in hand, the coins we’ve earned locked fast within their cellar safe. Lea, I could never let them touch you again. You are safe now, my Precious One. There is nothing between us but our own
scrubbed flesh. Let me hold you one more time inside the narrow space of this attic bed. Let me swallow you like salvation. Soon enough the world will rush around us like so much water from a cleaning pail. Soon enough they will understand what we have always knownâ€”behind those lovely, painted faces, there was nothing beautiful at all.
Frank Paino This Is Not the Poem... I intended to write, but here I am again in this heartland where I wake on stagnant nights with thoughts of how your hair would trail in the air like spilled water as you’d run ahead of me to some new, inviolate, place you wanted us to share, and you’d lie down with me, the gauze of your dress pooled above your waist. This is not the poem I intended to write, and today is not any anniversary we would have raised a glass to, except that every day since we entered the cool shallows, kicked away from that canted, wooden dock, is like another bead tugged through my fingers on a string that reaches down to my last breath…spiraled decades wondering how I let you move so far beyond me in that lake gone dark with gloaming, where each stroke of your winter-pale arms pulled you closer to that slick confusion of sunken limbs with their heartless, unbreakable grasp, and me swimming past –a few breaststrokes between us-and no hint of your sudden stillness beneath the implacable waning moon.
This is not the poem I intended to write, but then again, neither am I the man I intended to be, the one who would have found you in those airless woods, dragged you back into the starlit world where your hectic breath would slowly slow again... or at least the one who could have taken your tangled place in that panicked, weightless dance. I am only the man who slumped on shore, washed in frenzied waves of blue and red light while divers with their hissing tanks rose and fell, rose and fell, until, at last, they brought you back to the dawn-splashed shore where you would be transmuted, in the numb days ahead, into a creature of fire and smoke and air.
Frank Paino Until the End of the World (Dom Pedro & Ines de Castro: Alcobaca Monastery, Portugal)
After the assassinâ€™s hearts are torn from them, after the new king feels their blood sluice down his throat like a benediction of copper and fire, he lays aside his crown and bends to kiss the burnished mouth of his queen, whose brocade hem lifts like that of a shy girl or an early summer morning to expose one fragile ankle looped three times with gold. Crowned and jewel laden, her veiled head appears to float above a coronation gown beaded with the yellow wax of smoky candles clutched in the uncertain hands of altar boys. Her lips, frozen in a two-year rictus that might be pain or aching pleasure, open onto a toothless black beneath which lies the greater blackness of her gaping throat. After so long a separation that first kiss is like swallowing light, the way heâ€™d once sworn he could taste the sun in the purple flesh of a freshly plucked grape. Clutched in his hand is the rosary upon which he has counted the days that have passed and those which are to come, each bead offered not to the Virgin but to the woman who was first CRR 38
his mistress and later his secret bride. And though the gathered bishops turn in shame from Dom Pedro’s sacrilege, they lurch forward
on his command, crimson miters tucked beneath sweat-stained arms as they kneel to kiss the ring that rattles against their new queen’s stony finger, the air around her dark with the odor of earthworms and torn roots, though Dom Pedro seems to take no notice as he presses his mouth one final time against her quiet lips, smoothes the scarlet veil which falls like bloody water around her wasted shoulders. And when, at last, he watches her marble likeness push shadows across the face that he adores, he scatters the beads before the gilded altar and curses the god who hides behind two doors of beaten gold. Six years later, Dom Pedro will lie down in death across from his bride so they may rest, as the words he had inscribed upon his tomb proclaim, “Until the end of the world,” toe to marble toe, their bejeweled heads like cardinal points on a mortal compass—his to the north, hers to the south-defiantly turned from the promised Second Coming, their extravagant sleep testament to the permanence of a purely human faith which declares what matters is beyond the reach of mere decay. What’s left of love might be long as a femur or CRR 39
brief as a handful of ash. On the day of resurrection, when flesh is once again woven over sinew and bone, the wound in Inesâ€™ throat will be no more than a memory. The lovers will wake in darkness, holding a first thought which was long ago their last. They will thrust aside the great weight of their polished stones and open their eyes against sudden brightness
that will shimmer toward a vision of each other more divine than the sallow light descending from the east to catch up those who put their faith in a love that finally saved them only from themselves.
Frank Paino The Left Hand of the Devil (Niccola Paganini 1782-1840) Darkness. Fever moons on his gums wax in the slim vault of his mouth which is bandaged tight against death’s gape. To his left, a woman he cannot see weeps over a drone which reminds him of honeybees drugged by smoke but still hauling their impossible plunder of sunlight. Darkness and darkness. Click of rosary beads like water on the forehead of a prisoner, then a censer of frankincense to entice archangels down from heaven, though it is the Devil’s feral wings that graze him, rough as bull thistle across open palms, sharp enough to fill the pink sails of his lungs, to pull him up from stifling black and make his boyish fingers flutter in the manner his father had shown him night after interminable night, stroking the whorled neck of a violin until flesh and wood became one seamless note upon another. It takes him only two days to rise from the dead though decades to ascend Europe’s gas-lit stages, face gaunt as the waning moon, his body’s hunger for anything but music an abomination as he forces one solitary string to sing for the broken throats of its three lost sisters, his fingers stretched beyond mortal constraint, tearing at the notes as if they are satin under the polished dome of hell he’d once been crushed beneath, the music itself a talisman meant to outpace the black coach that forever races behind, steel-shod hooves of Friesians sparking against cobblestone, against that yawning invitation which finally seals the legend of his grand impenitence, pallid face turned from the priest’s white wafer CRR 41
even as Death leans over the Battenberg pillow to press another cold finger to the knot in his throat where cancerâ€™s taproot feeds its deadly flower. Knowing what he does of winding sheets and shadow, how can he do anything but stop his lips against that diminutive moon? He will not offer himself to silence. He will not kneel before Death and swallow him whole.
Gabrielle Freeman As the story goes Green flags meant gas the year before I was born. Red flags meant sorry. When the flag was green, cars stretched down Compton Boulevard until taco trucks planted themselves in center medians. When the pico de gallo ran out, street fights started; bookies were born on the hoods of Impalas. Enough people bet and lost their gas money that mobile pawn brokers set up shop. One woman sold her hair, fine as spun gold, long as the bench seat in her Duster, for enough gas money to get to work at the factory where she assembled timers for bombs. The broker butchered it right there with a set of pawned garden shears. He wrapped her hair around his neck, secured it with someone’s grandmother’s jade comb. My mother went into labor at midnight about ten car lengths away from the pumps. A good man about to pawn his mother’s best rosary heard her cries and delivered me right there in the right hand turn lane. The cross resting between my mother’s heavy breasts is suspended from a string of smooth garnet beads, tiny spheres of blood against her sun-browned skin. My mother curls my hair behind my ear, whispers me a world.
Michael Salinger In a borrowed cabin You don't want a bear in the kitchen they make a terrible mess so said the neighbor on the phone a tiny electronic voice of caution whose ring we almost didn't answer because we were so sure it couldn't be for us this not being our home it's not their fault, you see they are so hungry this time of year having drowsed through most of the winter and all and this one's pretty aggressive busted right into the house across the creek from you be careful What does one do? when ones place in the food chain has been threatened by 328 pounds of groggy louse infested Ursus Americanus claws capable of raking through a refrigerator's skin as easily as if it were the cake's frosting the beast smells hidden behind magnetic weather-stripped doors canines the size of of a human forefinger implanted in jaws endowed with twelve hundred pound per square inch bite force tiny squares of glistening safety glass from an exploded patio door diamond dusted into matted fur sparkling like snowflakes in the silent moonlight do you go onto the deck? CRR 44
beat pans and pots together turn off the lights hide in the closet amongst the snowshoes do you pray? and to whom what does one do? when reason and logic and your masterâ€™s degree in 16th century literature are rendered useless by a confused and frightened carnivore scratching at the kitchen door?
T. M. Göttl Abduction in the Month When God Goes Walking in Bear Hide Boots The leopard swiveled clockwise under the down and wool of her bed. Three silver bells were tied to the leopard’s tail; he braided one into her hair, hooked one in each of her earlobes. He opened his mouth of pine forests, his throat full of ice, his tongue of lava, sandstone, and sulphur. His burning hide of black rosettes crushed her cold skin, crumpling stilt walks, a thin, windowless pelt. Philosophizing, this panther strangled her blood-stained collar, accepted no payments—only hot milk and tar flames filled his belly. Past the steam turbines and the nylon-cold winter, she spotted the germ of an orange advent. He opened his jaws, swallowed her whole with his mouth of pine forests, his throat of ice, and his tongue of ash and boiled mud. He stitched orchid lace into a quilt of no comfort and swallowed it with his mouth of smokestack fields, his throat of ice, his tongue of obsidian glass. Until he left her, on a rust-proofed abandonment, vulcanized rubber gratings to chew between her teeth. She walked back to town CRR 46
with grey hair and a wrinkled scar on the back of her neck. People in the banks and the supermarkets called her the widow, the widow of the dewclaws. A tooth the size of a thumb hung from a fishing wire tied around her neck, and sheâ€™d hold out her palm where the burnt likeness of white paws and pewter face stood, stamped into a patronâ€™s medal. And if, very early in the morning, if some jogger or bystander should cross her path and ask the truth, she will oblige, and bare the black rosettes showering the skin of her back.
Robert Vivian Looking into Wolf Creek Inside this wisp of slow-moving water another heart beats more deeply than my own, sounding the plumb bob center of every living thing that ever was or will be. I came down to its banks through long rusty grass to find something, but what it is only the falling stars can say. “Put some grass down in the creel,” my dead grandfather told me once in a dream, but he didn’t say why. He was standing in another creek eighty years ago with his rod tip held out above the water, and paradise was all around him in sunlight spoking through the trees and ripples so soft across the surface of the creek they must have been whispering something about forever. I tried to talk to him but I couldn’t get the words out, so now I say things I wish I could tell him, how a place like Wolf Creek is beyond all thirst and knowing or the power to name, how just standing on its banks is like a secret promise that’s already been fulfilled before a cold wind rears up like a horse and kicks my breath away.
Robert Vivian River Stone I went to the river to find a stone, something I could hold in my hand and believe in. The whole earth listened as I walked through the woods, every step a short lifetime between starlight and darkness and someoneâ€™s quiet voice talking about surrender in whispers I could barely hear. I hoped the stone would heal me of my grief and sickness, its smooth roundness taking me back to the river whenever I touched it, guiding me past this heartâ€™s profusions and the certainty of waste. As I walked I knew I would never do a more honest thing, that the stone would welcome me when I found it as one who was coming home after a difficult journey across dry lands with tide pools made of dust. Along the way I could almost hear my dead grandfather breathing as he listened to my footfalls, the bare, rattled wheezing of his smokerâ€™s throat as he slowly turned into smoke. He knew why it was important to go to a river to find a stone, why it had nothing to do with before or after or names written in a book, just a frayed thread of yearning born of broken origins so that when I found the stone I could return to what was left of my life, knowing it still had room for a few precious flowers.
Ace Boggess Flotsam Left to wonder of deeper meanings, red cells a layer below the visible, we watch what crosses the river’s skin: twelve basketballs, a tree the shape of a child’s casket, whiskey bottles toy boats that pirouette away from faster currents, beaver dams of bramble, twigs collected like the basket for a prince. Everything bobs along the bloated Ohio, full from two weeks’ heavy rain. The world passes, pauses, spins in place while cluttered happenstance of life & life’s disrepair in death race all around. Then the globe rolls off its axis. The current forms a chaos nexus, & we are scavengers for what the chaos claims.
Anne Whitehouse Excavations I Old bottles piled up in the hillside under a litter of leaves, brown, clear, green, and one, that wonderful deep blue of Saratoga. Strewn among them, rusted metal cans, jagged rake teeth, indeterminate pieces of plastic, rotted cloth, an old leather shoe crawling with worms. They shouldnâ€™t be here, and so they are going, carted in milk crates to the public dump. II Itâ€™s been a year of deaccessions, starting with two floods in the city caused by upstairs neighbors overflowing their bathrooms into ours. The renovations went on for months and in their midst came Climex lectularius, that human scourge, lodging in the cracks and crevasses of our habitation, forming a colony that fed on us at night, so light its weight could scarcely be felt, its bite a plague and misery. All of our belongings had to be examined, sanitized, fumigated-CRR 51
sofas, rugs, chairs, and carpets, bed frames and mattresses, even telephone jacks and electrical outlets.
Art was taken off the walls and treated, clothes and linens cleaned and packed away, closets, dressers, desks, cabinets emptied, shelves cleared of everything, as if we were moving. We were like pioneers camping out in our own lives, with two changes of clothes, underwear, a coat, and shoes, computer, cell phone, and purse. III The elm seeds whirled like dervishes in great gusts of an April wind. The music of the Aeolian harp was like a great vibration echoing through my heart as, perched high on a ladder, I sorted through books and other belongings: what to part from? what to keep? IV
In the beginning she was flesh of my flesh. All her growing was growing apart. A multitude of children have disappeared into the dark.
Sometimes I miss the feel of her soft little hand in my palm, four fingers curled around one of mine. Her eyes alone unchanged from childhood-their crystalline look of concentration, one blue iris with a fleck of brown.
V Climbing a column of air, the yellow butterfly fluttered like a ribbon in the breeze, while orange poppy blossoms fell soundlessly to earth, and the hill rose like a shield, leaning its dark shadow over us.
Contributor Notes J. Malcolm Garcia is the author of Khaarijee: A Chronicle of Friendship and War in Kabul (2009), and Riding through Katrina with the Red Baron's Ghost (2012). His articles have been featured in Best American Travel Writing, Best American Essay and Best American Nonrequired Reading. Audra Martin D’Aroma was born in Houston and is a graduate from The University of Texas at Austin. She has a lifelong obsession with the Gulf Coast and with hurricane culture. She has previously published work in theNewerYork and her novel The Galveston Chronicles was published by Rozlyn Press in 2012. She is currently based in New York City with her husband and son and is working on her second novel. Lowell Mick White is the author of three books: Last Educations and That Demon Life, novels, and Long Time Ago Good, a story collection. He has been awarded the Dobie-Paisano Fellowship by the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Institute of Letters, and until recently was the NEA writer-in-residence at the federal prison for women in Bryan, Texas. He is Assistant Professor of English at Pittsburg State University. Jessica Falzoi was born in Hamburg, Germany, and now lives in Berlin, where she teaches Literature and Creative Writing at a secondary school. Her stories, as well as her translation of Donald Barthelme’s “Sentence,” have appeared in Russian, German and Swiss magazines. She has just finished a writer’s guide that carries the essence of America’s creative writing programs. J.A. O’Sullivan is a journalist living and working in South Dakota's Black Hills, where he came after working as a reporter in Spokane, Washington, and central Wyoming. He practices boxing, zen, and writing in all disciplines. His fiction has appeared in 605 Magazine, Frostwriting, and The Squawk Back. Frank Paino's poems have appeared in a variety of literary publications, including: Gettysburg Review; The Journal, Iowa Review, The Antioch Review, Kenyon Review, Poetry Northwest and the anthology, The Face of Poetry. Recent work appears in Hunger Mountain, Catamaran and Ekphrasis. Other poems are soon to be published by Lake Effect. His first two volumes of poetry were published by Cleveland State University Press: The Rapture of Matter (1991) and Out of Eden (1997). He has received a Pushcart Prize and The Cleveland Arts Prize in Literature. He recently completed his third manuscript. A native of Southern California, Gabrielle Freeman has lived and worked across the United States, and she now resides in Eastern North Carolina with her family. Gabrielle teaches composition and literature at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. She earned CRR 54
her MA in English with a concentration in multicultural literature from ECU in 2001, and she is currently finishing her MFA in poetry through Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Gabrielle’s poetry appears in Clockhouse Review and Red Rock Review.
Michael Salinger is a father, poet, educator who travels the world promoting the use of poetry as a literacy tool in classrooms. T.M. Göttl’s most recent chapbook is “A Hurricane of Moths,” published by NightBallet Press. Among her readings in 2012, she performed poetry in Charlotte, NC at National Poetry Slam, and for the second consecutive year at Chicago’s VeganMania. Also in 2012, she received nominations for a Rhysling Award and a Pushcart Prize. She has a forthcoming full-length collection titled Unclaimed Baggage and Tax-Free Weekends to be launched in early 2013. She lives in Northeast Ohio, where she herds library books and three pet chickens. Robert Vivian's most recent book is a novel entitled Water And Abandon, just published this fall. He teaches at Alma College and in the low-residency MFA program at the Vermont College Of Fine Arts. Ace Boggess is author of The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled (Highwire, 2003) and, as editor, Wild Sweet Notes II, an anthology of West Virginia poetry (Publishers Place, 2004). His poetry has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, Notre Dame Review, Atlanta Review, RATTLE and many other journals. Poet, fiction writer, journalist, and critic Anne Whitehouse’s books include poetry collections The Surveyor’s Hand (Compton Press), Blessings and Curses (Poetic Matrix Press), Bear in Mind (Finishing Line Press), One Sunday Morning, and Fall Love (novel). Recent poetry and fiction publications include The View from Here, Art from Art (anthology), Istanbul Poetry Review, Pain and Memory (anthology), Yale Journal of Humanities in Medicine, Dew on the Kudzu, and others. She lives in New York City. ###
Thank you for reading Issue 2 of Chagrin River Review. Look for Issue 3, to be released Fall 2013. For more information or for Submission Guidelines, visit Chagrin River Review at our website or on Facebook.
Chagrin River Review is a literary magazine out of Cleveland, Ohio. The magazine's second issue (Spring 2013) features new fiction by J. Mal...
Published on Mar 23, 2013
Chagrin River Review is a literary magazine out of Cleveland, Ohio. The magazine's second issue (Spring 2013) features new fiction by J. Mal...