Chagrin River Review www.chagrinriverreview.com
Issue 1 Fall 2012 Fiction by: Joann Smith James De Monte JĂŠanpaul Ferro Poetry by: Mercedes Lawry Barbara Brooks William Greenway Sean Forbes David Oestreich Joan Colby Susan Grimm
Chagrin River Review Issue 1 (Fall 2012) Fiction Joann Smith.......................................................................................... 4 Tuesday Night at The Shop and Shoot James B. De Monte .............................................................................. 12 Tiendas Latinas Jéanpaul Ferro ...................................................................................... 13 You Get So Alone At Times It Just Makes Sense
Poetry Mercedes Lawry ................................................................................... 22 Point of Departure Curious Joys Use Your Words A Small Bravery Barbara Brooks ..................................................................................... 24 B Heatr On Productivity William Greenway ............................................................................... 26 Chagrin Falls, Memorial Day A Feeling’s Like a Face Blind Hearing Ear Dog On Buying a Watch Online for My Birthday Late Show, All Hallows Sean Forbes .......................................................................................... 31 Haiku: Winters in South Side Jamaica, Queens
David Oestreich ................................................................................... 34 Upon Finding a Dead Turkey Beacon at Marblehead, OH After the Fact Just Another Blueeyed Boy Joan Colby ............................................................................................ 38 Pheasant Woodland Fire on the Slope Bezoar Susan Grimm ....................................................................................... 42 Crumble and Air Mareâ€™s Nest Contributor Notes ............................................................................... 45
Artwork: Paula Blackman Blackbird Fine Arts
Chagrin River Review The Online Literary Journal of Lakeland Community College
Issue 1, Fall 2012 Editorial Board and Readers: Robert Coughlin Thomas Hyland Tobin Terry
Angela Weaver Suzanne Ondrus Ellen McHugh
ÂŠ 2012 Chagrin River Review acquires first rights for publication. Subsequent rights revert to the author.
Tuesday Night at The Shop and Shoot “Damn, I look good,” Damian says, as he checks himself out in the mirror in the locker room. White pants and shirt. White tie. White jacket. Mort kind of rolls his eyes the way he always does when Damian says this. But I nod and say, “You do,” because Damian does look good. He takes his appearance seriously and I respect that. Then he turns and gives me a fake punch—a kind of hard fake punch—and says, “Someday, my man. Someday, you’ll wear the jacket, too.” I nod again. “You know it,” I say. I’m still a Buddy and the Buddies don’t get to wear the white jacket. It’s only when I get promoted to Master Buddy that I’ll get the jacket. “I’m with you tonight in orientation,” I tell Damian. “Good. Watch and learn. Watch and learn.” He always says this and Mort rolls his eyes again. Damian just shakes his head like there’s nothing to be said or done about Mort then he heads upstairs for a vanilla milk shake; he always has a shake before his shift. We’re all allowed two free snacks a night. Of course, the Master Buddies’ list of approved snacks is more extensive than the Buddies’ list. But we’re allowed shakes, too, only a smaller size. “He’s such a jerk,” Mort says. “Yeah, but he’s good at his job,” I say. “He’s still an asshole.” I like Mort. He’s funny and he’s a good Buddy but I don’t think he’ll ever make it to Master Buddy. He just doesn’t have the drive. What can I do but shrug? Then I look in the mirror. I think I look good, too, but I don’t say it because I don’t want Mort thinking I’m an asshole, too. “Welcome to The Shop and Shoot,” I say into the mirror. “You going to practice the Guidelines, again?” Mort asks. “You want me to listen?” The Guidelines are the instructions for The Shop and Shoot, and it’s the Master Buddies who get to take the customers into the orientation room and tell them the Guidelines. There’s a script that the MBs have to memorize and they have to be really enthusiastic and dynamic and Damian is a Master at that. “Nah,” I decide looking at the clock. I like being on the floor early. CRR 4
Upstairs Mort and I split off—he pulled The Shop tonight; I’ve got The Shoot. The Greeters have already registered the new customers, charged them their membership fee and taken a photo for their I.D.s. I direct them to the orientation room and get them seated, then go back out and pick up their I.D. cards, which I’ll give out once they’ve listened to the Guidelines. Damian comes in like he’s a rock star jumping onto the small ‘stage,’ all energetic and cool. He starts right off. “Welcome to The Shop and Shoot,” he calls out, and then he applauds and the people start applauding. It’s Tuesday so it’s a quieter crowd than we get on the weekend but Damian stills get them going. “I want to get you good people out into the aisles and onto the range as soon as possible, so if you’ll just listen up, I’ll go over a few Guidelines to make your time here as satisfying as possible. Now, the most important Guideline is that everyone must carry a gun.” He claps a couple of times again. “That’s right. Everyone three and older carries a gun at The Shop and Shoot. Even you folks who are planning on going to the Shop section . . .” The MBs don’t say ‘you women who are going to The Shop section’ because Mr. Watsom, the owner and my boss, says that would make the women feel that they were being stereotyped as shoppers. “You may think you don’t require a gun. But, remember, just when you’re bending down to get that 30-pack of Doritos from the bottom shelf, ‘someone’ may appear right in your face, blocking your way. Or maybe when you’re on line, ‘someone’ jumps in front of you. Wouldn’t you like to . . . well, shoot that ‘someone?’” Damian smiles and nods and claps some more. “Come on. Admit it. There are plenty of times when I want to shoot people. And that why we have The Shop and Shoot.” I nod and clap to encourage people and they start to look at each other and nod, too. I can tell they’re starting to get really excited, except for maybe one guy who looks a little unsure and won’t meet anyone’s eye. Sometimes we get people who come but then think they don’t really want to be here. But deep down he knows why he came, just like everyone else knows why they came and that’s the genius of this place. It gives people permission to admit what they really want. “Now me, personally,” Damian continues, “I think that sometimes The Shop is more challenging than The Shoot. That’s where your targets are unexpected and you have to be alert.’ Here a woman nudges her husband or boyfriend and says, “See.” “But you shoppers, you do what you want---shoot all the targets that pop up or ignore them all, and just shop. And there’s plenty of shopping to be done—from cars to tomato paste, we have it all. Aisles 1-72. And there are plenty of restrooms and snack bars along the way, and plenty
of Buddies to help you out with anything you need help with. We believe in service here. And we don’t just say that; we mean it.’ That’s another thing I admire about Mr. Watsom. He knows people are sick and tired of snotty cashiers and serve-yourself-everything-stores. He knows people want service, and so he gives them service. “Okay,” Damian continues. “So you’ll all get a directory and a map, and if you want to, you can stay here after the Guidelines and we’ll give you a 3D virtual tour. Okay? Now, let me tell you how The Shoot works.” Now people sit forward. “When you go onto the range, you’ll be directed to a booth. There you’ll see a list of targets. The name of the target is printed there; there’s also a picture for those of you who don’t speak English. We don’t discriminate here at The Shop and Shoot. You’ll also notice that the targets are color-coded. The first grouping is coded a light pink. Now, these targets won’t get you very many points, but they will get you some practice. Yes, we do keep track of points here at The Shop and Shoot and that’s for your benefit because the more points you rack up, the closer you come to earning a free target. Okay, so the pink targets include paper targets, cans on stumps, the side of a barn, etc. Inanimate things--non-living. Okay? Then we move onto the light blue targets, and the points go up a bit. Here you have your raccoons, birds, rats, mice—all those annoying little critters who won’t stay out of your yard or who crap on your car.” Laughs and nods. “In the next group, you’ll find dogs and cats. Now, I know you all love your pets, but hasn’t there been a time when someone else’s dog has torn up your yard, or barked all night and you wished you could . . .” Damian pauses here and puts his hand out inviting the audience to shout back, “Shoot it!” “Well, now’s your chance. And what about your boss? Let’s talk about the green targets. Haven’t we all wanted to kill our bosses?” The truth is, I’d never want to kill Mr. Watsom. I have too much respect for him, but I give him credit for knowing that people often do hate their bosses, and I admire him for not being afraid to make himself a target, so to speak. “And now forgive me, you teens out there, but hasn’t there been a time when everyone has wanted to kill a teenager? The loud music, the bad attitudes. I know there were a few times when my mother wanted to kill me. On the other hand, you teens, come on, I know, believe me I know, I was a teenager up until a year ago, haven’t you wanted to kill your mother? Or your father? Go ahead, admit it. And let’s hear it for husbands and boyfriends. I know we’re impossible. And sorry ladies, but guys . . . don’t you just want to kill them sometimes?” CRR 6
Now everyone except the quiet guy is riled up, smiling, laughing, pointing to one another, saying “I’m going to kill you tonight.” “Okay, So, you can choose Generic Male or Generic Female or you can get really specific and move onto the red targets where you can choose people by race or religion: Chinese, Jewish, African, Catholic, Dominican, Indian, Irish, whatever. We put Gay in that category too because, well, where else would you put it? Okay? So, go for it. Express yourself. And remember, the target doesn’t have to be someone you know. “So, that about does it except for the Scenarios and the Taboos. The Scenarios cost a little more, actually, a lot more, but believe me they’re worth it. You pick the place: a park, a movie theatre, a train, a school. We have a whole list you can choose from. You pick the place and we’ll load it up with people. And then,” he pauses for effect, “shoot away. And as far as the Taboos go, well, I don’t want to give too much away, but you smart people know what a taboo is, right?” Here, Damian is a real Master. He gives a definition for those who don’t know but don’t want to look stupid by asking. “It’s something you’re really not supposed to do. For example, some people think it’s taboo to kill an infant. Others might think it’s taboo to shoot at a crucifix. You see what I mean? Anyway, push the button under the word Taboos—that’s the lever with the big black X--and see what comes up. You have to be a little daring, I’ll admit, because you don’t know what you’ll be asked to shoot. All right. Let’s get out there.” Damian used to ask if people had any questions but there was almost always one woman who would ask too many and that would get the others impatient or hesitant. So, now he skips it and just reminds people that there are Buddies and Master Buddies on the floor to answer any questions. I hand out the I.D. badges and tell people they have to wear them while they’re here. I add, “We like to know that everyone at The Shop and Shoot belongs here.” The people like that. It makes them feel like they belong to a special group, which they do, and it makes them feel safe. Damian shoots me a look then gives a slight nod toward the quiet guy. That’s my signal that he wants me to follow him. Damian always gives me the ones who look like they’re not sure about The Shop and Shoot. He likes to take the ones who seem like they’ll spend big. I understand; the MB who signs up the most targets per month gets a bonus. So, I introduce myself. “Hey, I’m Zed.” (That’s not my real name; we all have names we use on the floor. “Luke,” he says back. “What kind of target are you interested in, Luke?” “I guess it’d have to Generic Male,” he says.
So, I set one up for him and he hits it, and I ask him if he wants to try something else. But he doesn’t. He shoots another five GMs and that’s it; he’s done. I don’t know why but I think of him for the rest of the night. I’m not gay or anything; I wasn’t thinking about him like that. But there was something about him. **** Over the next few weeks, Luke comes in every Tuesday—same day, same time, same target. I feel like we’re getting to be friends even though he never says much. Most people like to tell you who they’re shooting. We’re not supposed to ask people about that; we don’t want to make them feel selfconscious or guilty. But people like to tell. Last Friday, I got a girl in here maybe sixteen years old who said, ‘I’m going to blow my boyfriend away,’ right after I greeted her. ‘He’s Puerto Rican and Irish. You got a target like that,’ she asked. We don’t have one like that but I let her look at the Puerto Rican Male target and the Irish Male target, and she said the Puerto Rican target looked more like him than the Irish except that he had blue eyes. She shot 25 PRMs. But not Luke. He doesn’t come in angry and he doesn’t say who his GM is and he isn’t interested in any other target. I have to admit I find something pure in the way he sticks to the one target. Another thing I like about Luke is that he’s what we Buddies call a Lone Shooter. We’re of two minds here at The Shop and Shoot. Some of us like the weekend crowds; others prefer the weekday customers. Mort and I diverge on this issue. He’s a weekend man. The weekend crowd is always primed. They come here knowing what they want—they want it all. They come in groups and on dates. Almost no one comes alone unless they’re meeting someone here. Last Saturday we had a group of guys who kept yelling over to one another, ‘This is you, dude,’ as they shot at their targets. They were BitchKillers, too, as we call them. We always get a group of them on the weekend. ‘Hasta la vista, bitch.’ But I prefer the weekdays. People who come in during the week are more likely to be particular and thoughtful about their choices. Plus you get your regulars and your Lone Shooters like Luke, and it just seems more civilized to me. Tonight, I start looking for him at regular his time--10:00—and there he is. “Hey, Luke.” “Hey.”
I think he lives alone; I just get that impression. He’s also pretty thin, so maybe he jogs. He’s about 35 or 40 but I’m not a good judge of age, and tonight he looks even older. He’s starting to get dark circles under his eyes. Definitely not sleeping. “How’s things?” I ask. “Great.” “Want to do a Scenario tonight?” I feel like I have to try to persuade him even though I don’t expect him to give in. “You could do a Generic Male Scenario. We could arrange that.” I’m starting to think that a change might do him good, so I add, “Shake up the routine a little bit.” “Nah,” he says. “But thanks.” I walk him over to his booth, watch him push the button for Generic Male, pick up the gun, outstretch his arms, cup the heel of the left in the right hand—he’s a leftie-- settle into his aim, pull the trigger, slowly draw his arms down. He looks at the target in the near distance for a moment, then puts the gun down, and pulls the cord to draw the target closer so he can see where he hit him. Over the left eye. Luke nods once, then turns to go. “That’s it?” I ask in surprise. He usually shoots at least five Generic Males. “That’s it,” he says. I think about Luke for the rest of the night. I’ve never seen anyone shoot just one target. Never. After my shift, I’m allowed five targets on the range, categories pink through red--no Scenarios or Taboos until I become a Master Buddy. Tonight I pull Generic Male. I plan on doing just the one target like Luke did to see how it feels. But I’m just not satisfied after the one target. So, I press on Generic Male again and wonder why Luke doesn’t choose a target of race or religion. Who is it that he shoots who has no race or religion? Is Luke gay, and is he shooting a lover who left him? But he doesn’t strike me as gay, and he doesn’t choose a gay target. I take another shot. Is it his father? But then why not The Father target? And why no nationality? I set up my third target, seeing Luke as he would set it up. Determined. Eyes narrowing. Face set. Thin face. Pale. I begin wondering what nationality Luke is. Something white. Irish? Maybe. Polish? Maybe. Nothing distinguishable. Just white. I take my shot and then it hits me. Generic Male. Luke is Generic Male. He’s shooting himself. Every week, he’s coming in here and shooting himself. I think about running after him, but what could I say? It’s against all the rules to make any comment on a customer’s choice of target, even if the target is himself. No I just have to be here for him when he comes in again next Tuesday, be here but say nothing about what I know because I CRR 9
can’t risk making him self-conscious; he might stop coming to the Shop and Shoot. And if he can’t shoot himself here, where can he shoot himself? The following week, I’m really anxious to see him, but he doesn’t come. 10:00. 10:30. 11:00. No Luke. Next Tuesday: No Luke. I try telling myself that he just got stuck at work, or that maybe he’s catching up on some sleep. But in my gut, I know what happened. Luke shot himself. I know it isn’t my fault, but I start feeling a little guilty about it, like I should have done something, like I was Luke’s friend and he was reaching out to me in the way people who are going to commit suicide do, even though no one knows they’re reaching out until it’s too late. Then I start thinking that maybe he never should have come to The Shop and Shoot in the first place and that if there was no Shop and Shoot, maybe he would never have gotten the idea to really shoot himself. I don’t like thinking this way and when I tell Mort about it he sets me straight. First, he says, “Hey, you don’t know that he’s dead. He could have just moved or got a girlfriend and he’s busy getting laid.” “I don’t think so.” Then he says, “Don’t torture yourself. This guy’s got to take responsibility for his own actions. You know that. You know the rules. Don’t force anyone into a target they don’t want to do. Did you force this guy?” “No.” “Right. We suggest, but we don’t force because Mr. Watsom says we’re not doing anyone any favors if in the end they don’t take responsibility for their own targets, right?” I start to feel a little less guilty. “He came in here knowing what he wanted. And he gave himself what he wanted. That’s the whole point of The Shop and Shoot. Just keep practicing your Guidelines. I hear there may be an opening for a Master Buddy soon.” Maybe Mort understands The Shop and Shoot better than I do. Maybe he should start practicing the Guidelines. Anyway, I take Mort’s advice. But Luke is still on my mind as I practice that night. I know he’s on my mind because I do something I’ve never done before. It’s right after I say, ‘The most important Guideline is that everyone must carry a gun.’ I hold my fingers like a gun and point it at the mirror, at my reflection. At me. That’s when it comes to me. ***** My meeting with Mr. Watsom goes well. He likes the idea of a suicide target. He says he might even create a High Taboo category for it. I suggest that we use the I.D. photos. Those images could be blown up and applied to the body of the appropriate target—GM, Latin Female, whatever. Then, if a person went into the High Taboo category, up would come a CRR 10
target of him or her. What a rush, I told Mr. Watsom it would be, to see one’s face come up on a target. ‘It’s the ultimate Shop and Shoot experience.’ I get so excited that my mind starts working really fast, and I suggest that we could even have self-targets appear in The Shop section, maybe in the dressing rooms when people are trying on things that don’t fit. He laughs at that one, says it’s brilliant. He says he loves a Buddy who is always thinking, and clearly, I am thinking. He tells me to brush up on my Guidelines because an opening for Master Buddy will be coming up, and he wants me to be ready. Ready, I’ll be. ‘Welcome to The Shop and Shoot.’
James B. De Monte
Tiendas Latinas Go to a Latin corner store in eastern Ohio and understand the other patrons are Guatemalan, not Mexican like the store owner and certainly not Italian like you. Buy a glass bottle of Pepsi, since you can’t find them like that anymore. Consider that someone with your same blood might have busted one like it over a scab’s head some decades past and understand that the Guatemalans at the chicken farm are organizing today. Imagine the bottle’s writing were in Sicilian. Wonder if there’s still a deposit on these; that’s what your grandfather might have wondered had he lived to enter Bodega Mexicana. Ask the clerk, ¿Puedo a practicar Español? When he responds, Can I practice my English? continue in your first language. Tell him that you enjoy his store; that you’re reminded of other import stores in coal towns nearby that have been there half a century and are run by very old men; that Eastside Imports is operated by a Greek and that the original owner, a paesan of your grandfather who had a name like Salvatore or Gian Mario or Carmine, was imprisoned for killing a man with a pickaxe; say, That man had it coming. Try telling him all that in Spanish: Las tiendas de importación. . . Notice how he minds his store and not your stressed syllables. A woman comes and points to phone cards. ¿Guatemala? the clerk asks her, grabbing a card. Gracias. When she walks to las frutas, he tells you hers is really a Mayan tongue. Lock eyes with Pope Benedict, against the wall beside the lotto tickets. Try again. ¿Eres Católico? Obviously, Sí. Ask, ¿Es la otra gente Latina aquí Católica también? and then try to remember the last time you’ve held a rosary or confessed your sins or even genuflected. When he shrugs, drink from your bottle and decide whether or not his was an English or a Spanish shrug. A lot have become Evangelical, he finally says. Palm a soccer ball at the front and ask about deportes, if he plays them. This time his No will be plain American-English. Start to exit and see the Mayan woman’s little girls, probably four and three and with names like Rosa or Mariana or Liliana, pull on their mother’s dress and point to dulces. Bend, smile, and say Hola, waving your fingers. Watch them turn away back into their mother, her pallet of a face not cracked. Leave and finish what’s left of the Pepsi, still searching for something forever gone, looking off beyond dead coal hills in the distance.
You Get So Alone At Times It Just Makes Sense The house sat in the middle of a tall grove of white pine in Western Coventry, Rhode Island. Looking beyond the porch you could see the surface of the pond down below the hill. In the summer months the water would turn this perpetual blue color. In wintertime it would turn a blackishgray, and then white as the surface froze on very cold Rhode Island nights. The dog had been missing for three days now. This particular dog had never left the eight acres of the property before. Phil Alden inherited this land from his father—Alston Alden. It had gone on being passed from Alden to Alden since the mid-1650’s when an Alden, whose father supposedly came over on the Mayflower, had bought the rights to the land from the Narragansett Indian tribe. Now it was three hundred and fifty-six years later and Phil Alden was still in Rhode Island, and he couldn’t find his son’s missing dog. Phil walked the property looking for the little ginger-colored Pekingese. The eight acres was a giant tree-filled peninsula along the middle of Johnson’s Pond. Black mirror-like pools surrounded the peninsula on three sides, white pine filling in the center, and Phil’s little red cabin sat out back. He let his older brother use part of one acre to store their father’s old Bermuda sloop. On another acre Phil let his brother warehouse his ’69 Dodge Charger, working on it and covering it over once in a while with a makeshift garage of plastic and boards. Phil walked quietly around the yard, gently clapping his hands and clicking his tongue to try and call out for the dog. It was still late winter and half the pond was still frozen. Here and there sat small white islands, either floating in the middle of the pond or jutting out along the edge of the shore. Phil didn’t want Brian, his four-year old, to hear him looking for his Pekingese. They had already lost one dog to the ice—a beautiful Belgian Shepard who had fallen through late last year. He began to look everywhere for the dog now—up on the old sloop, in back of the summer fireplace, beneath the dock that he had dragged up on land back in November. He had to get down on his stomach atop frozen muddied footprints in order to look under the Dodge.
“Where are you?” Phil half-whispered to himself. He got up and walked toward the back of his cabin. He gently squeezed his head in between the oil tank and the back of the wall where his bedroom was on the other side. When he looked under the tank there was nothing there but frozen earth. Three years earlier they had bought the Pekingese to keep the Belgian Shepard company. Phil’s wife, Brenda, had dubbed the little dog Gait, because he was always escaping from his pen. “Where are you? Gait! Get over here!” Phil yelled now. “Where are you, boy? Come on! Get over here!” Phil stood there and looked around. The pond and the surrounding woods went quiet in a winter stillness. Phil kicked his boots back and forth over the frozen ground just to hear a sound. He had a bad feeling inside. This is all my fault, he thought. Three days earlier the dog had dashed out the door as Phil went for his morning walk. The dog escaped outside, and Phil took his walk, and he thought the darn thing would come back on its own. He had to search along the edge of the rocky beach now. He wanted to see if he could find any trace of Gait at all. He walked for a good half hour around all the small coves, checking every neighbor’s yard, the old chicken coup someone kept in the woods, inside the old ‘54 Buick that had been abandoned along the shore for years. Phil mustered up some audacity and even walked over to the garage of that yuppie couple—the ones who always had the loud 4th of July parties. He listened with his ear against the garage door. …But there was no Gait to be found. Finally, he decided to head on back home, going up to the main road just to have a look around up there to be sure. He stood in the breakdown lane and looked up and down the road. There wasn’t a soul in either direction; only the oak trees and the leafy forest floor on either side of the road. He waited a moment, took a deep breath, and then headed back toward the cabin. CRR 14
When he walked through the front door he saw his wife standing there. Brenda Alden stood at the kitchen sink still cleaning the plates from breakfast. Her sleek long hair was pulled straight back and shifted in brown bursts behind her every time she moved with a dish in her hand. Phil noticed the creases in her forehead and the tips of her ears that were burning red coming out of her brown hair. She had the same look on her pretty face that his mother would get when she would be mad at him when he was a boy. “No sign of him, huh?” Brenda asked. Phil looked at his son who was at the kitchen table playing with a toy Hot Wheels car. He reached over to his wife and put his arm around her from behind, so that it rested around her stomach. He could smell the sweet redolence of bacon, sweat, and coconut oil on her. “I’ll find him,” Phil whispered in her ear. “Maybe we can get another dog,” Brenda said, and there was a kind of resignation in her voice. The melodious sounds of their boy playing with his toy car made them look at one another. And then came this hurried knocking on the cabin door. Phil kissed his wife and went over to the door. He slid the little orange curtain back from its window and he looked outside. “It’s your darn brother,” he said to his wife. “I guess Frankie is slumming on this side of the pond again.” Phil opened the door and waited for his brother-in-law to say something. But his brother-in-law kept trying to look past Phil into the kitchen. “Sis?” Frankie yelled. “Are you in there?” “What is it?” Phil asked. “If you need money… Look, this isn’t a good time. I’m on vacation for two weeks.”
“No, I don’t need no money,” Frankie said. He looked more nervous than usual. “I saw that fire in the port of Providence last week. Were you working that night?” “No. I was off,” he said. “But that was a big one.” “Yeah,” Frankie said. He jerked his head like he wanted Phil to see something in back of him. “I gotta show you something outside.” “What’s is it?” Frankie jerked his head backward again like Phil should be looking at something behind him. Phil had a bad feeling about this now. The two of them had gone to high school together, and they had once been in the same gym class. Phil realized that his brother-in-law had that same look when he would get the basketball passed to him and he would have to shoot and miss in front of everyone. He put his arm around his brother-in-law. “Are you alright?” Phil asked. “No. Come outside!” Frankie said a little bit more annoyed now. “Come outside!” He gestured like he was about to hitch a ride. “Outside!” he said again. Phil looked back at his wife who was still standing there in the kitchen. She shrugged, and so Phil stepped out onto the porch and closed the door to the cabin behind him. “Look, Frankie, I told you: We don’t have anymore money to let you borrow. We’re not a bank.” Frankie shook his head no, pointing out to the ice that went from the edge of the beach along the side of the yard out about a hundred feet into the water. “I don’t want any money!” Frankie insisted, and his hand pointed out to a rose-colored object that was sitting there beneath the ice out in the middle of the pond. CRR 16
“Out there! That!” Frankie said. Phil moaned as soon as he saw it. “Oh, crap!” He immediately looked back and saw Brenda who was watching him from the kitchen window. He nodded toward the ice that was just off shore. He could see the look on her face change. A second later she completely disappeared out of sight. “Oh, no,” Phil said thinking out loud. He looked at the frozen ground everywhere, and then off at his father’s old sloop in the yard, and then back at the tall white pines at the center of the property. “We’ll get him out!” Phil said. He walked over to his pickup and got out the only chainsaw he owned. “What are you doing?” Frankie asked. He nervously rubbed the back of his head and began to breathe through his mouth like he was sick. Phil backed up from his pickup, shook the chainsaw to see if there were any gas, and then nodded that he was ready. “Let’s go,” he said. Phil walked over to the edge of the pond with his brother-in-law in tow. He took a test step out onto the ice before he stood on it with all his weight. He lurched up and down on the ice with one foot. “We’re gonna walk out there?” Frankie chirped. “Well, I am,” Phil insisted, kicking at the ice. “It seems pretty solid now.” As the two of them began to walk out onto the pond, Phil saw the frozen waves going outward atop the ice where the dog lie beneath. He carefully started the chainsaw with one pull, laid the blade down on the ice where his dog was, and in about fifteen minutes he cut out a frozen, solid block with Gait completely frozen inside of that. CRR 17
The two men slid the ice coffin across the frozen pond until they got it all the way to the beach, where Phil struggled and then picked it up all at once and carried it across the yard over to the back of his pickup. He laid it up onto the open hatch, slide it inside, and shut the back of the pickup so no one could see. He walked around the side of the truck and looked back up at the cabin. When everything seemed clear, he turned back around and went to shake his brother-in-law’s hand. “Look, I’m sorry,” Phil said. “How ‘bout some coffee?” Frankie nodded his head no. He began to blow into his hands with his mouth. He smiled. “You don’t happen to have a twenty on you … do you?” he asked. Phil let out a breath, rubbed his cheek with his hand, and he reluctantly reached down into his pants pocket and pulled out a twenty-dollar bill. “This better not be for Foxwoods!” he told his brother-in-law. “I haven’t gone to the casino in three weeks!” “Sure you haven’t,” Phil said, and he quietly handed his brother-in-law the twenty and went back up to the cabin to check on his family. Inside, he found his wife and son sitting together on the couch in front of the fireplace. Phil was all hot in the face now. He went over and kneeled down in front of his four-year old. “I need to tell you something,” he said to him. He gently took his son’s hands and looked him straight in the eyes. “There are times when God wants us to be strong.” He nodded his head and tried to keep his composure. “You see, Gait, ran off the other day, and, I think, God wanted our little dog to keep him company at night. And now Gait has to be up in heaven with God from now on.” Phil watched as a troubled look came right up into the boy’s face. CRR 18
“Why did God want my doggie?” the boy asked. “I don’t want God to have him.” The little boy slipped out of his father’s grasp and ran down the hall. He cried all the way to his bedroom, and then they heard him crying even louder as he shut the bedroom door behind himself. “Should I go after him?” Brenda asked. Phil watched her lean back on the side of the couch and look down the hallway. “No. I don’t know,” he said to her. He hesitated, and then said: “Maybe not. I guess he’s got to learn. He’s got to learn about life sometime … no?”
Three long days passed. Three long days with waves crashing to shore. The boy refused to eat or drink or sleep, and he kept going on like this. His parents never saw him act this way before. It was only a day after the other dog had died that he was back to normal. Phil tried to listen to his wife when she explained how it was their responsibility to protect the boy. They would always know better than he would. He should grow up innocent. This is what their parents had done for them, and their parents before that. On the fourth day of the waves the very appearance of the boy began to change. Phil noticed his face becoming ashen, and he refused to get out of bed, and he felt hot on the forehead and neck like he was sick. The family had been using the same local pediatrician since the day Brian was born. Everyone in town with a kid went to Doctor Gildon. Unfortunately for the doctor he was enlisted in the Ready Reserve and there was a war going on in Iraq now. At fifty-one years of age he was called up to active duty, and with a stiff upper lip he shipped out to serve his one-year in Baghdad. Doctor Belliard was a close personal friend of Doctor Gildon. Being that they had been friends since med-school, the former took over the latter’s practice for him; and the Alden’s had to call Doctor Belliard to look after their son.
When Phil called the doctor, his receptionist explained that the doctor usually didn’t make house calls. Phil used his I’m with the fire department card for the first time and the receptionist told him that the doctor would come as soon as he could. Doctor Belliard was an older looking man compared to his friend, Doctor Gildon. Doctor Belliard had white hair with patches of yellow that may have been blond at one time. He had a bulbous nose, a bushy, white mustache, and a face scarred with the pockmarks of severe childhood acne. Doctor Belliard sat in the bedroom with the boy for over an hour. Phil paced back and forth in the living room while Brenda kept trying to reassure him. “I buried him,” Phil said, motioning his arms like he was holding a shovel. “He melted in the back of the truck and I found some soft ground.” “That’s good,” Brenda whispered. The sound of the doctor’s gentle voice could be heard from the living room now. When Doctor Belliard finally came out of the bedroom he was holding the boy who was sobbing with tears coming down his face. The doctor gently handed the boy over to his mother who took him and wrapped him up in her arms. “He’s going to eat something now,” Doctor Belliard promised. Phil watched his wife stroke their little son on the back while he cried violently against her breast. “It’s alright now,” she whispered; and the boy began to sob even harder. “What is it?” Phil asked. “Is he alright? Is he going to be sick? Is everything going to be okay?” Doctor Belliard walked over to the kitchen sink and carefully washed his hands with some soap and water. When he was done, he turned and addressed the parents, drying his hands with a paper towel as he spoke. He looked at the young family standing there all together.
“There’s nothing physically wrong with him at all,” the doctor said without parsing words. Phil stood there dumbfounded. “There’s nothing wrong with him at all?” he asked. “No,” the doctor said. His blue eyes looked down at the kitchen floor, and it looked as though the floor might swallow him whole if he did not speak. “He’s perfectly okay.” “Then why won’t he eat? His temperature? Did we make him?— You know?” Brenda asked. Doctor Belliard shook his head no. “It’s like when you’re mother tells you: if you eat your vegetables you’ll live a long life!” the doctor said very sarcastic. He paused, and then said: “The boy told me he wanted to jump off his roof and kill himself.” Phil shrugged his shoulders: “Why in the world would he do that?” Doctor Belliard let out an exhausted breath. “So he could be with his dog up in heaven,” he told them. “So I had no choice but to tell him the truth.” Phil looked over at his wife who was holding their son in her arms. He looked at the doctor standing in his kitchen and then out of the living room window at the ice that was starting to melt along the edges of the pond. He could still make out where the dog had fallen through. Now there was just a hole there, where it had been cut in a square to get him out; and the opal color of the sky was reflecting blue on that one small spot atop the pond, where it was shining down and holding itself there even if it were only for another second.
Point of Departure under the wet song of November dark as a blood spot, no hovering of wing, great sacks of gray in the sky as all fury at stolen hope startles the last silence of a world where language has escaped, where shadows lie against the ground like small deaths, the cry of a lone hawk shears the crush of silence like the intake of breath at the point of departure
Curious Joys Pardon the furniture arranged to perfection, interior mirror of calculated space with horizontal mimicking the serene and vertical, an anchor of self in nothing. Guarded, she steps and sits, lifts and exhales, measuring her accountability. How close are the floodwaters? Wind at window and darkness on its way. She will not wither or plead. Place is how her soul endures, natural disasters kept at armâ€™s length with a glib phrase. Her own caustic journey seeps across the floor. Marking shadows, she feels a gladness, slow transformation of the pale greens sufficient as the hours and her own instinct to inhabit. CRR 22
Use Your Words Pause, end of pause. Attempt at language. Breathe shallow, breathe deep. Disturbance, as if a page had been torn from a book. Ruthless, this theft and those helping with the getaway, those sentence demons licking at the punctuation. Take sound, swallow meaning. Even if the rain is scribbling at the window, the readers will not look up. Clues on the shelves, string them together and slip them into your bones. Glean story from absence. Word, no word, all words in hazardous commotion.
A Small Bravery The ragged wind stirs slightly. No indication of the lost returned. Words break apart, a uselessness of sound, then silence. This too is the great death mocking what we know. Salt and roses, twigs and clay. The headiness of a river down a mountain, that cold water a force and loud. What travels on the earth marks an absence. We are elusive and might deserve forgiveness. Whether we pause among the trees or continue weeping into the morning.
B Heatr He is here again, his white van and a butterscotch light for warnings. He has come to see the heat pump. Yesterday he came twice. Maybe he needed a part. He kneels by the metal lungs of the heat pump, doesn’t disturb the wood thrush singing its E-OH-LAY. Or the wrens ferrying insects to the nest in the dryer vent. Lifting the panel, he kneels in front, an altar of temperature. I can’t see what he is doing, spring leaves block my view. He has removed the pump’s cover. It is sitting in the drive. I didn’t see him bring a new one, besides he is alone. A new one is too heavy for one to carry. It’s 2 pm, he is packing up. He gets out, monkeys with the For Sale sign at the end of the drive. Puts it in his truck. The house has been empty for a year, its previous owners gone north. On the deck, I listen, a yellow-throated warbler, it will be leaving soon.
On Productivity The Holsteins salt and pepper spring-green grass. It’s the early morning cud chewing, they rest under the warming sun. Heat waves begin to shimmer the pavement as I drive to evaluate Ms. Smith. Drop by drop, the cows’ udders swell. Milk bags sway between their legs. Time to enter the milking shed. Each tag read, logged into the record, the day’s production tallied. Daily, a computer calculates my quota, need twenty-eight visits. Number 50 is dropping off, probably due to age. An old milk cow isn’t much good for anything except dog food.
Chagrin Falls, Memorial Day If there were no dead we would create them, we-walking-by-the-river-namedfor-failure, hands full of each other, custard, balloons, see them before us stratified, water pouring over a blessing too late, watch steps down slick rock, every second maybe an edge. Chagrin falls, yes, but does it rise again, like spray, like plasma shuddering free, and like winter breath into night sky, does it gell in cold space? Lovers add a germ that flies a comet's tail, and a yolk begins to pulse in endless dark, iambic, like a heart of hope and fear.
A Feeling’s Like a Face A feeling’s like a face that fades with time from the mind and memory can’t replace the frame of empty space where a lover’s eyes once shined, and a feeling’s like a face. We remember every place where face and feeling chimed but memory can’t replace the first nor final fierce embrace when soul and body twined for a feeling’s like a face CRR 26
that other, later loves erase what once was so defined and memory can’t replace what time and loneliness deface when love and loveliness decline, for a feeling’s like a face that memory can’t replace.
Blind Hearing Ear Dog I try, by pat and paw, to translate siren shriek, smoke alarm, warning jingle of the ice cream truck, but all he really wants to hear is what I get unwanted all the time: aren’t you cute, what a sweetie, though how would I convey such pap? Rub of fur, nip, lick, or nuzzle? Just because I can’t see what he sees— colors, the ray-shot ocean depths, maybe even angels— he feels superior. But deaf as a whole range-line of fence posts, he’ll never know what I hear: strange words that sift down from other worlds, bat squeak, hawk whistle, mouse rustle, the scrape and lisp of fallen leaves, and the sudden sounds of hidden things like the flap and whisper of white wings.
On Buying a Watch Online for My Birthday Iâ€™ve tried to live with the digitals, those cyber soldiers who claim to be advancing, goose-stepping toward some future place, but really standing still, mute beefeaters at the palace gate. I prefer hands moving almost imperceptibly, creeping up on whateverâ€™s waiting. An illusion, sure, but not so abstract, not ciphers beamed by satellite, but figures on a real road (albeit round) you get to trail on the way to what lies ahead, where the movement on your wrist, literal or analogous, will continue without you, morphing or marching moment to moment, surviving your cells and the ticking of your doomed heart toward some zenith, high noon or midnight that tolls to tell, your time is now.
Late Show, All Hallows The whole problem of life is to become transparent to transcendence. —Karlfield Durckheim
On almost every channel someone is weeping, about a mother, a sister, a wife, a life, a cancer. Is there no other fear on tonight outside of ourselves? Let’s see: murder. Gangsters. Crime scene. Intervention. Murder. Not even monsters, Godzillas frozen at the bottom of the world that thaw when something radioactive tumbles off a ship, blows up, slips off a sandy shore into a black lagoon. No mad doctor whipping up something nasty with a teaspoon of toxicity, a dash of lightning, a soupçon of rotting flesh. Okay, just more metaphors for the human condition, I get it. Too bad we can’t project a little better, get whatever gnaws away at our innards out, give it a gentle face, show it on some screen other than the strung-up, wrinkled bedsheet of our lives.
Or flip to The Transparency Channel showing what might be on the other side, or at least could have been if weâ€™d sprung for the higher tier, instead of reruns of series seven of What Weâ€™ve Settled For, starring Fur and Fangs, wearing the masks of our reflections.
Haiku Winters in Southside Jamaica, Queens 1 My grandmother praised the deep silence of winter: drug deals forced indoors. 2 No summer drive-bys or innocent neighbors lost to dull black semis. 3 We live on a block of ten row houses, can hear every goddamn sound. 4 Eight in the morning. My boots should crunch snow instead of pink topped crack vials. 5 Hey, yo, curly top! You gotta sister? Bet sheâ€™ll gimme some fine trim. 6 Grandma prays for me to fail the ghetto before puberty begins. 7 Damon approaches me. Asks if I want to make a large roll of cash.
8 Christmas Eve. Best friend shot dead. Closed casket. Barely a face left on him. 9 Morning, purple sky. Two drug dealers escort Mom to the train station. 10 Damon slams me up against a brick wall. Whispers he likes boys my size. 11 Boy, you betta get your hide home. Your Grandmama worried sick ‘bout you. 12 Grandma delivers plates of ackee and codfish to every drug house. 13 Spark of a fired gun in cold night air. Damon holds my trembling right hand. 14 Grandpa spends every winter with his lover in Providencia. 15 Neighbors wonder why we’ve never been robbed, even though Grandpa’s not here. 16 Undercover cop busts Damon. Twenty to life, that’s the word at church. CRR 32
17 She dreams he takes his woman to secret islands deep beneath the sea. 18 Grandma holds a lunch. Tells neighbors to befriend those kids they fear the most. 19 The blare of sirens, helicopter high above. Sounds I heard all night.
Upon Finding a Dead Turkey Brother, you are fallen, wrecked, but worth your weight in sparrows to the flies that thrill your final flight toward wickerwork of quill and bone. Shrouded now by Queen Anneâ€™s Lace, the shade of vultures wreathes your head (beaded red and blue in death as life). Your chestnut fan and soot brown maille hang limp, askew, and trailing remnants of a wing suggest coyoteâ€™s tracks. Who was ever grateful for you that is not grateful now? And who will note your loss but has not found you yet? Or who will say one prayer for us?
Beacon at Marblehead, Ohio Beneath the lamp room; past the wires, the cans of kerosene; past steps still bearing whale-oil stains; outside the weathered door and window pane; beyond the brick and stuccoâ€” upon the relic shore (where no plaque frames a tidy paragraph) I kneel and read the bank of histories, written in shell ridges and the raised veins of once green leaves, now bound in sediment. By these light marks, set in this limestone shelf before the engineer carved his first blocks, my gaze may reach beyond this rocky coast, these bare islands, to the obscurity of ages.
After the Fact Something was wrong—that gear was missing and I was out back of the barn where we keep the plow blade and the stuffed manatee that sings Kissimmee, Kissimmee come on and kiss-a-me when you pull the lever on its back—anyway I’d gone out there because without that gear your love would never come back around and pulling that lever is no fun without you— I was one big reminiscence of Kissimmee ransacking bags of old clothes, cake toppers, programs from the symphony, and pictures of you the night of your solo up in Toledo—weird where you’d go after that—never saying bonne nuit when you left to remind me the night is a lady or waking me up when you came home—just sleeping in street clothes out in the old Lay-Z-boy—that’s back here too under a pile of aquariums, beer cans, and bath towels— a motel for anoles like the ones we kept finding on the wall in our room that night in Kissimmee— but that gear wouldn’t be under all that old crap— and now I’m starting to cry because I’m starting to think that the gear isn’t there and you’ll never come back much less will you kiss-a-me or ever remind me that men mistook mammals for mermaids and soon I’ll be blubbering my grizzled chin flapping like a manatee’s mandible mouthing the words to some stupid song only tourists have heard down in Kissimmee baby oh kiss-a-me baby oh baby what happened in Kissimmee?
Just Another Blueeyed Boy Who’d left the windows open that night? Thirty-one degrees that darkest hour and frost on all the picture frames. At dawn, the chill of vodka shouted as loudly as it had before we stalked sullenly to bed. I remember the quiet steps we made once, you and I, following a bloody trail, hoping not to spook the gut shot doe— one of many things dead but still able to run. I wore running shoes to your funeral, but still couldn’t get away. I stood there staring at the dark tear in the earth; my feet had turned to dirt, and, for a moment, we were both headed the same direction. If eyes are windows, they open on no more than a great blackness.
The fat cock iridescent As taffeta. Its scarlet eyepatch, Purple throat, green skullcap Brilliant copper breast fluted in black, Small autistic amber eye Posed against an imaginary snowbank, Flimsy shrub dangling three torn leaves, Corn stubble to the right and overall A layered lowering sky. The painting was complete. You were Still alive. Exercising the Thoroughbred in an October meadow, A pheasant flushed beneath his hooves. He reared straight up as if seized by the rapture, Then came down sunfishing. Fall mornings shotguns echoed. Flapping awkwardly out of cover Into the sheen of death, into the soft Mouths of Labradors. In yesterdayâ€™s snowstorm, Ornate as the one in the painting, A cock marched down our lane With strict military measure. A lone soldier Of fortune leaving its trinity signature. I havenâ€™t Forgotten you.
Woodland Photosynthesis unleashes an amorous greenery. Harsh burls and knots choke words that have arrived like tinder on a clean fire. Deciduous forest, second growth, conflagration of years we regret. Deadfalls, clearcuts, leaves burnished with dismissal. Almanacs of blizzard or drought. Jagged limbs groan beneath ice. How love circles the society of the downfallen. In the old tales, children escape to the forest. The maiden is lost. The wolves lurk. The witch steams in her hut.
Fire on the Slope The mountain was on fire, red and gold, a pall of smoke clearing suddenly as a stroke victimâ€™s apprehension, to invoke the genius of hell seizing the canopy pine by pine like damned souls. We watched from below waiting the order to evacuate. The little mining town built on a scheme of gold too difficult to extract in a brief season. The pass closed most of the year. Fire descended as if on ropes, brilliant aerialists swinging a trapeze of needles. Smoke homesteaded the foothills. I was twelve, excited by danger. Smoke-jumpers, men with axes setting backfires. Our house open to conflagration. I clutched the spaniel. Days later, embers still bolted like red animals, but most of the mountainside was ash reigned over by witch trees lifting brimstone hands to bless us.
Bezoar Famous stone Beloved by herbalists. A universal antidote. A thief accepted poison To test its efficacy And died in great distress. Still its powers extolled By alchemists and magicians Pulsing with the lore of faith. Under glass, on a shelf In the vet’s sanctuary, The largest one he has extracted. Formed in a horse’s cecum In concentric mineral rings The way a pearl surrounds an irritant. The horse refused its hay Stomped, groaned, lay down. A difficult diagnosis: choke. The enterolith Large as a cannon ball, Rare, extraordinary. A visitor declares it Disgusting. Freakish marble Of the bowel. The vet defends his prize. The body’s curious device Like everything: magical.
Crumble and Air There was a farm, a memory of a farm, where we didn’t grow anything. We nailed up boards, collected stuff in coffee cans. Then earthquakes, the ground breaking like pie crust. California fires. Thunder barreling across the land like a locomotive’s wheels. I who had been used to sweetness, knocked catawampous, held on. I who had been used to— not cream, which seems too rich, though Aunt H, knocking on her nineties, savors it poured in her cup— We had been skating on peanut brittle, crickets in shoes scratching towards our death. Like a pin in cork, like a tick sucking up dirt (there’s a sharpness there), I held on. A ferment sizzles about me, insidious, a yeasty bubbling within. Always eager to run up the stairs—shouldn’t I remember Kidnapped and its destination of crumble and air? The trouble is I want to be happy. The trouble is I want to be good. (What kind of poem is that?) In the parking lot of Heinen’s on my quest for a Swedish turnip and a couple of pears, a man shrieks from his car, “Why must I live in this world?” (I’ve edited that a little.) There are statistics older than me that could be presented, but I don’t have their handle. Like a pin hammered in cork, like a tick sucking up earth, (there’s a sharpness there), I hold on.
“a great number of things close together and in motion” Turning away from the mirror, I say to my soul, Think loud— galvanize: reduce the past to eraser crumbs, a pink cloud. The slow roll of the eyeball squinting inside like a spoon— the organs waver, the bones reach out like trees—no winged cloud. The un-eye blinks—virtues falter, inflate, agitate their vapor, marshmallow up a harp string cloud. If somewhere a self without features considers, combs its hair, hats up some ether, cool in a mink cloud? Or dispersed in some vastness and spread shining like jam—the stars trundle out—but gritty bits of self cling, cloud? Or rind or fruit—let me out of the garden now the leaves fall (this spiraling drain); yet the orchard returns, a succinct cloud? I cannot let go of this hand, my own, and all it can touch— soul, self thrust in this glove of skin until molecules blink, cloud.
Mare’s Nest Spicy, wild conundrum I’ve become—I’d like to think. Spotted lily with a brave and graceful throat! But that’s not the boat I’m in. My spine a ziggurat of ice. Walking through the darkened house. But worse than a dream. Clumsy enough to tip. Heavy enough to fall. Foreground footstool. Background rug. Mantle and igneous still swallowed inside the crust. Or driving down a street cum alley, Roman style. Narrowing. Cobbles and stones knackered together. There’s a terrible scraping sound. Where is my horsepill of happiness? Misery sifts in like regular dust. Which is why I say keep your lips mutinous. (In a trice takes a long, long time.)
Contributor Notes Joann Smith: Joann Smith has had stories published or accepted in Chagrin River Review, New York Stories, Literal Latte, Best of Writers at Work, Alternate Bridges, Image: A Journal of Art and Religion, So To Speak: A Feminist Journal of Language and Art, The Roanoke Review, The Greensboro Review, and The Texas Journal of Women and the Law. One of her stories was selected by the editors of Best American Short Stories 2000 as one of the one hundred notable stories of the year. Her novel When I Was Boudicca was published online in 2004 (before anyone was reading books online!). She has just completed a novel of contemporary fiction. She lives in the Bronx with her husband, daughter and Westie. She began thinking about “Tuesday Night at the Shop and Shoot” in 2001 after a shooting in a Wendy’s. She’s been toying with it since. James B. DeMonte: An Ohio native, James De Monte has spent the last couple of years teaching creative writing and developmental English courses at Columbus State Community College, where he also helps to advise the literary magazine, Spring Street. Previously, he taught similar courses at Central State University, English in Sicily and Sardinia, and writing workshops for the Wick Poetry Center, in addition to a number of labor jobs. In 2009, he graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in fiction writing from Kent State University and the NEOMFA program. Jéanpaul Ferro: Jéanpaul Ferro is a novelist, short fiction author, and poet from Providence, Rhode Island. An 8-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Jéanpaul’s work has appeared on NPR, Contemporary American Voices, Columbia Review, Emerson Review, Connecticut Review, Portland Monthly, and others. He is the author of All The Good Promises (Plowman Press, 1994), Becoming X (BlazeVox Books, 2008), You Know Too Much About Flying Saucers (Thumbscrew Press, 2009), Hemispheres (Maverick Duck Press, 2009) (Goldfish Press, 2009), nominated for the 2010 Griffin Prize in Poetry; and nominated for both the 2012 Griffin Prize in Poetry and the 2012 Kingsley Tufts Prize in Poetry. He is represented by the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency. He currently lives along the south coast of southern Rhode Island.
Mercedes Lawry : Mercedes Lawry has published poetry in such journals as Poetry, Rhino, Nimrod, Poetry East, Seattle Review, and others. She’s also published fiction and humor as well as stories and poems for children. Among the honors she’s received are awards from the Seattle Arts Commission, Hugo House, and Artist Trust. She’s been a Jack Straw Writer, held a residency at Hedgebrook and is a Pushcart Prize nominee. Her chapbook, “There are Crows in My Blood”, was published by Pudding House Press in 2007 and another chapbook, “Happy Darkness,” was released by Finishing Line Press in 2011. She lives in Seattle. Barbara Brooks: Barbara Brooks, author of “The Catbird Sang” chapbook, is a member of Poet Fools. She has had work accepted in The Oklahoma Review, Blue Lake Review, Granny Smith Magazine, and Third Wednesday, online at Southern Women’s Review, Poetry Quarterly among others. She is a retired physical therapist and lives in Hillsborough, N.C. William Greenway: Greenway’s tenth collection, Everywhere at Once, won the Poetry Book of the Year Award from the Ohio Library Association, as did my eighth collection Ascending Order. Both are from the University of Akron Press Poetry Series. His publications include Poetry, American Poetry Review, Southern Review, Georgia Review, Missouri Review, Southern Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, and Shenandoah. He has won the Helen and Laura Krout Memorial Poetry Award, the Larry Levis Editors’ Prize from Missouri Review, the Open Voice Poetry Award from The Writer's Voice, the State Street Press Chapbook Competition, an Ohio Arts Council Grant, an Academy of American Poets Prize, and been named Georgia Author of the Year. He is Distinguished Professor of English at Youngstown State University. Sean Forbes: Sean Frederick Forbes is an adjunct professor in English and creative writing at the University of Connecticut. His poems have appeared in Crab Orchard Review and Long River Review. He lives in Thompson, Connecticut.
David Oestreich: David Oestreich lives in Northwest Ohio with his wife and three children. His poems have appeared in such publications as Minnetonka Review, Eclectica, Hobble Creek Review, and Tar River Poetry. Joan Colby: Publications Books: The Lonely Hearts Killers, Spoon River Poetry Press; The Atrocity Book, Lynx House Press; How The Sky Begins to Fall, Spoon River Poetry Press; The Boundary Waters, Damascus Road Press; Blue Woman Dancing in the Nerve, Alembic Press; Dream Tree, Jump River Press; Beheading the Children, Ommation Press Periodicals: Over 900 poems published in journals including Poetry, Atlanta Review, GSU Review, Portland Review, Rockhurst Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Karamu, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, Mid-American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Kansas Quarterly, The Hollins Critic, Minnesota Review, Western Humanities Review, College English, Another Chicago Magazine and others. Awards: Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature; Illinois Arts Council Literary Award, Stone County Award for Poetry, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry. Finalist in the 2007 GSU Poetry Contest. Honorable mention in the 2008 and 2010 James Hearst Poetry Contest(North American Review), Finalist in 2009 Margie Editorâ€™s Choice Contest, Finalist in 2009 Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize. Illinois Arts Council Literary Award 2007. Colby has been editor of Illinois Racing News for over 25 years, a monthly publication for the Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Foundation, published by Midwest Outdoors LLC. She lives with her husband and assorted animals on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has three grown children and six grandchildren. Susan Grimm: Susan Grimm is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. In 2007, she received an M.F.A. in Poetry from the NEOMFA/Cleveland State University gateway. She is a former managing editor of The Gamut, Cleveland State Universityâ€™s general interest magazine, and a founding editor of Ohio Writer, a service newsletter for writers. She has taught creative writing at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland State University. Also, for three years she was the editor for the Cleveland State University Poetry Center.
Her poems have appeared in West Branch, Poetry East, The Seneca Review, The Journal, and other publications. In 1996, she was awarded an Individual Artists Fellowship from the Ohio Arts Council. Her chapbook, Almost Home, was published by the Cleveland State University Poetry Center in 1997. In 1999, she was named Ohio Poet of the Year by the Ohio Poetry Day Association. Her book of poems, Lake Erie Blue, was published by BkMk Press in 2004. She edited Ordering the Storm: How to Put Together a Book of Poems which was published by Cleveland State University Poetry Center in 2006. In 2010, she won the inaugural Copper Nickel Poetry Prize, and in 2011, she won the Hayden Carruth Poetry Prize. Her chapbook Roughed Up by the Sunâ€™s Mothering Tongue was published by Finishing Line Press in 2011.
Chagrin River Review www.chagrinriverreview.com
The inaugural issue of a literary magazine featuring new, quality writing from emerging and established fiction writers and poets.
Published on Sep 23, 2012
The inaugural issue of a literary magazine featuring new, quality writing from emerging and established fiction writers and poets.