Volume 6, Issue 4 April 2015
The Bitchin’ Kitsch is a zine for artists, poets, prose writers, or anyone else who has something to say. It exists for the purpose of open creativity. All submissions are due on the 26th for the following month’s issue. Please review the submission guidelines on our Submissions page (www.talbot-heindl.com/bitchin_kitsch/submissions) before submitting your work.
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table of contents.
, Carl Scharwath
28-29 – Dancing, Stephen Mead
16-17 – Songs, Terry Barr
30 – Ashley
18 – The Hand That Torches Thomas Outlar
32-35 – Rogue Wave, Rita Buckley
20 – Freak, Dr. Mel Waldman
37 – endless circles in the crystal bubble cave of my face, Wlkn_ Fire
21 – Main Street 1910, Stephanie Jones & Adam Unger
36 – Hermit, Megan Mealor
38 – Silences, Sy Roth 40-43 – Sway Back Mules, Peabody Winston 44 –
Brian Hardie - pg. 9
, Kevin McCoy
45 – Essence, Carl Scharwath 46 - Donors and Index
On the Cover
48-49 - March Calendar Shot
My Enemy: The Monkey Jihane Mossalim
On the Back Cover
It’s All Gone Now W. Jack Savage
Jonathan Kelham - pg. 27
In This Issue 4-5 – Captain Nitro Returns, Jack Phillips Lowe 6-8 – The Girl, Adreyo Sen 9–
, Brian Hardie
10-11 – Michael Paul Hogan 12-13 – For Yuki, btr 14 –
, Bekah Steimel
22 – Circling Rabin Square, Gerard Sarnat 23 – Alive, Yes But Not With the Sound of Music, W. Jack Savage 24-25 – Weightless, Jon Beight 26 –
, Nels Hanson
27 – Willingly I-Impart My Things Ones, Jonathan Kelham
Wlkn_Fire - pg. 37
jack phillips lowe. Captain Nitro Returns By: Jack Phillips Lowe
The brightly caped and cowled figure surprised Ted, in mid-sentence, as the figure burst into the board room. All Ted could do was stare. “Hey Teddy boy,” said the masked man, chasing it with a shovelful of attitude. “Don’t remember me, do you? Well, this should refresh your memory!” The intruder pulled a long-barreled gun, seemingly constructed of multi-colored Legos, from under his cape. He aimed it at the wall behind Ted and squeezed the trigger. The gun discharged a red bolt that scorched a manhole-sized breach through the brick and plaster. Ted buried his face in his hands. “H-hello...C-captain Nitro,” he stammered. Coworkers gathered with Ted at the round conference table gaped silently. Finally, a gray-haired man seated next to Ted spoke up: “Theodore, an explanation is surely required. Is security, as well?” Ted peeked out from between his fingers. “Oh no, sir! Nothing like that! Please don’t be alarmed. This is nothing but a...big misunderstanding. Captain Nitro, meet my boss, Mr. Weatherly, and the billing department. Mr. Weatherly, and everyone, meet Captain Nitro. He’s my...uh, imaginary friend. From when I was a kid.” Captain Nitro, brandishing the gun, broke into a toothy grin. “Imaginary, my ass! Look at that hole. Good ol’ proton blaster! It never fails me. Unlike some sidekicks I could mention.” Ted, flop-sweating like a condemned man, tugged at his tie. “Mr. Weatherly, sir, I swear I’ll pay for repairs to the wall. Nitro, I am in a very important departmental meeting! What are you doing here? It’s been years—“ “Yeah, twenty years,” interrupted Nitro, “since you dumped me at Kazowie Comics in the mall, while you went dogging after that hoochie in the tight jeans who was into ElfQuest. Shinola, boy—I eat Wolfriders for breakfast, with a side of Sun Folk! Anyway, the store is closing now. Internet only. So here I am.” “Well, sorry,” Ted protested. “I’m an adult now.”
jack phillips lowe (con’t).
“’Well, sorry,’” mimicked Nitro in a sing-song voice. “Crime-fighting is a never-ending crusade against the forces of evil, buck-o, and you signed up for it. When duty calls, we must answer. Lord Misrule and his minions, Malice Incorporated, are back. I can’t fight them alone. I need my loyal sidekick, Thunder Boy.” “Thunder Boy?” giggled a brunette woman, two seats down. Ted blushed. “I was twelve years old, Karla!” Nitro holstered his gun. “I require two crucial favors of you, Teddy. First, I need me a new costume. This orange and yellow getup is a tad passé.” “Passé,” agreed Karla, nodding. “I said I was twelve, damn it!” Ted fumed. “New costume, check. Give me a minute and I’ll design and sew one for you, right here and now. What else? Spit it out, Nitro and then get lost so I can finish my report!” Captain Nitro produced what appeared to be a silver-handled penlight. He flicked it on and shined the light directly into Ted’s eyes. “Remember this, Teddy?” he asked. “Do not attempt to resist. It’s the Tractor-beam of Truth, which no mortal person can deny.” Ted’s face went blank. His eyes bugged. “Mr. Weatherly,” he said, in a voice drained of all emotion. “I cannot lie. In the recent past, I had sexual congress with your wife. And your daughter. Who wasn’t a virgin, by the way.” Nitro switched off the penlight. “There, doesn’t that feel better? We can’t have my loyal sidekick battling evil with a soiled conscience. Citizens, my mission here is complete. Thunder Boy, it’s ‘go’ time. Let’s say we bivouac at your mom’s house, six o’ clock sharp tonight. Don’t dare dawdle—because crime doesn’t either!” Flourishing his cape, Captain Nitro bounded out the door and was gone. Nobody spoke. Mr. Weatherly, his eyes burning, seemed to be chewing his tongue. Ted remained a wiped slate. Karla was texting her sister. ”I’m ADBB w/this f**ked up job,” she wrote. A monarch butterfly floated in on a breeze which blew through the hole in the wall. The butterfly landed and fluttered its wings at the center of the table. Nobody copped to dreaming that up.
By: Adreyo Sen
It is a rainy day in a city increasingly home to Despair. Despair writes its story on crumbling buildings and unkempt parks. The rain attempts to wash away Despairâ€™s charcoal writing, but never succeeds. You sit in your car impatiently. Your fatigue owes less to this long day than to the accretion of long days working in this city, days bookended by hours in ever-worsening traffic. You watch the rain dance on slender feet, performing its poetry on roads temporarily liberated from garbage. You notice one slender sliver of rain, a sliver that refuses to fade into nothingness, a sliver with nothing of the steady dance of its sisters. And you realize that that sliver isnâ€™t rain at all. It is a little girl with jagged hair and brown arms, a girl in a dress perhaps once patterned with flowers.
adreyo sen (con’t). She dances near the islands of sorrow that live under the bridge. Her dance, if not graceful, is ardent. Even as she picks up leaves from the road, leaves more substantial than she is, she never pauses. You are surprised and then pleased to feel for her. Perhaps the city hasn’t numbed you yet. But the light turns green and you move on. That night, the child continues to dance in your mind. You tell your husband about her and, over dinner, you speculate about her. You see the tiny creature walking home, past neighbors who scold her with worried love. You see her enter her little house, a house quaint despite the poverty of its inhabitants, and embrace her father and mother before sitting down to eat warm flatbreads slathered in sugar and butter. But this isn’t what happens. The child gives up her dance when the rain stops. By then, the streets are deserted and she is cold. She walks home soaked. Home is a sheet of tarpaulin over uneven bricks. Her mother, seated by the stove, looks at her, but says nothing. There is nothing for the child and she accepts this – food must go to her four older brothers, they are already earning. She goes to bed, holding the wooden owl her mother bought her at a fair five years ago. She has to wake up soon, to fetch water from the pump, and to help her mother make breakfast. The child’s eyes will always be bright and beautiful. But her mother will bemoan her complexion and that very birthmark on her cheek that renders her so piquant. An unhappy woman, she will take out her anger on the slender child who listens to her. That child will also be unhappy. But there will be days that usher in the rain, even in this city that is home to Despair, and the child will relinquish her sorrow in dance. In her spare moments, she will bestow her love on the autumn leaves she liberates from the ground, her
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adreyo sen (con’t). wooden owl, and little bits of patterned glass that were once bangles. And one day, she’ll gather her courage and ask the lady she will be sent to work for, to teach her how to read and write. In her twenties, she will be a small and slender woman with large, vivid eyes and a shy smile. Her simple clothes will bring out her earnest beauty. She will be a teacher in a government school and the smiles that return her greeting will always be genuine. In the quiet corridors of the school she’ll serve all her life, she will be loved. And her husband will be her dearest friend. But that is a long way away and the little girl who, an hour after you saw her, is still dancing her joy into the tempered joy of the rain, will continue to know neglect for years to come. Remember her thus – dancing, dancing, dancing in the rain. So that even when she’s closest to the grief she disdains with all the strength in her tiny body, she’ll be dancing in a tiny corner of a heart that knew to marvel at her beauty.
Untitled Brian Hardie Photograph
michael paul hogan. Still Life with Typewriter By: Michael Paul Hogan I
the thermometer reads 90 Vasari’s Lives has a cracked spine and even the sidewalks wear steel toecaps radio music hangs in the street like dirty laundry jesus, said the bartender, did you read the papers? two dead in Brooklyn four in Queens and 90 in Manhattan II
build me a bar on fifty-third and fifth a Tiffany window blaze of sparkling liquor staff it with models from a Ralph Lauren ad in white-pleated skirts and blue-striped sweaters & set me a table a plain square table in a well-lit corner facing the entrance a portable typewriter a stack of paper alive to the whole crazy throb of Manhattan
Remington Corona mas fina) with well-shaped breasts in a blue-striped sweater lipstick a Chesterfield Bill Saroyan The Time of Your Life eggs over easy legs crossed sheen silk sheen 8 in the corner the doors sw/ing open like a burst of laughter IV
a nickel thermos of dry martinis and a paperback copy of Death in the Afternoon you called it “Still Life: American Exile” and photographed it from twenty-four different angles in ‘thirties monochrome just remember, darling, who taught you to mix martinis: nine parts gin to one vermouth, my contribution to Modern Art
michael paul hogan (con’t). V
cold beer in the icebox the ceiling fan creaking pounding out words in crumpled shirt sleeves on a 1926 Imperial kids under front lawn sprinklers cops in Ray-bans my love my love laughing the lean-timbered boardwalk to shoot tin ducks at Coney Island VI
summer, goddamn the hot rich startling colors (like) flamenco dancers guitar music & Ava Gardner the old Hemingway number: writing at sidewalk tables, straw-colored marsala Say, why don’t we go to Pamplona? Cerveza RIOJA picnics on plaid rugs/ Lana Turner polished counters bronze cantinas bullfight posters HAYWORTH (Rita) the world turns over (like) a taxi meter
jesus, but this is a funny story took a leak once in a Village bar (re: Bill Manville Saloon Society) and on the urinal R. Mutt 1917 laugh? too fucking right I laughed in fact I pissed myself laughing VIII
when I’m old she said (lighting a pink and gold Sobranie) I’ll borrow your typewriter and write my memoirs a catalog of lovers, past and present, poets and artists mostly my mother’s been married for thirty-eight years to a guy she still worships can you believe that? I think about her sometimes, those hot summer nights you can’t sleep (you know how it is, Mike) the icebox humming, the ceiling fan whirring, the big yellow splash of headlamps across the bedroom I think yes, it could’ve been so different, it didn’t have to be this way at all…
btr. For Yuki By: btr
Sorry for the winter cold, my cold stare and irrational smiles. I’m sorry I didn’t say ‘hi’ to your mother at Christmas, and I’m sorry I didn’t sing ‘happy birthday’ to you when everyone else did. Yet you already got your revenge on me, toying and playing behind an English shield. demo chotto dake... uso tsuita, but this is not to apologize. but to tell you I had tried to hide from you, but still, I’m going to die by May in metastatic memories and permanent print, serialized but once. This is not a poem but an ending written by an isolated village and revised in sickness, drafts of (ir)rationality impossibly beautiful that smile that snows sleets and showers, printing wet braille on both our faces that we’ve feebly tried to eye. Just which of us is the protagonist? I laughed at your adorable love for carrots as you, too, hid your sweetness underground. With pointed tongue and temptation you are an oni and a mirage, a traffic light red and blue —”you look good in red” you said when I first met you.
This is all to carve wounds and barbs, before I drift into the frost, and seek revenge for making me believe love is rational. This is all to tear you into hopeless, isolated villages, impossibly beautiful that smile, that goddamn beautiful smile, a crystalline piece of vice, impossibly (in)significant, which you must wish would just melt and disappear just as I(t) inevitably will, in lavender and lost hope, so beautifully sad that smile will disperse my birth, reverse my childhood, my parents, my schools, my friends, my trips, my jobs, my work, my poems, everyone I have ever met, all books I have ever read, all songs I have ever heard or sung, and all people I never learned to love. That impossible smile will sing this all to sleep. But oh how I love(d) that impossibly beautiful smile.
By: Bekah Steimel The life of a poet is littered with paper cuts and criticism they both draw blood and while one is instantly forgettable we morph mosquitoes into vampires when our pride has been punctured
You Matter Carl Scharwath Photograph 15
Radios Playing Forgotten Songs
“Hey, Did You Happen to See?”
By: Terry Barr
I remember the day that AM radio first called me to life. It was June 1968, and I was eleven years old. The song I remember best on that day was The Temptations’ “I Wish It Would Rain.” Birmingham’s WSGN must have played it three times that afternoon. It was an especially tough year to be living in Birmingham: I knew people who laughed when Dr. King was killed and who called Bobby Kennedy a “nigger-lover” even after Sirhan Sirhan murdered him in a service area. The kids who laughed and rejoiced weren’t inherently ignorant, poor, or trashy. But they were hard on anyone who was shy or plain, anyone whose skin color was dark, anyone who didn’t fit into the crowd. It was difficult and usually impossible to buck these kids, that is, if you wanted to be part of the most popular group around.
terry barr (con’t).
On Facebook today, these no-longer kids are the ones “liking” the “Duck Dynasty” family. I can’t lie. What they say still matters to me. But one of the great equalizers in our youthful era was the AM radio. In Birmingham, that meant WSGN, WVOK, and WAQY. These stations, contrary to other public institutions in Birmingham, knew no racial bias, at least not in their playlists. Neither did they discriminate among popular genres, playing healthy doses of Rock, Pop, Soul, R&B, and Country from Led Zeppelin to Marvin Gaye to Ray Price. Even the semi-classical theme from Love Story and Judy Collins’ version of “Amazing Grace” made it to mainstream Birmingham airwaves. And if no one in my crowd admitted to loving Judy or Marvin, or Lynn Anderson’s “I Never Promised You A Rose Garden,” then explain to me why these songs lingered in the Top Ten week after week? Hardly a day goes by when I’m not reminded of this era. I pass a fast food drive-in or sit in some carpool line; sometimes I’m even walking through the Prague airport and hear a piece of music I subjected my parents to. Or I read something about my culture, as I did last night when I picked up the latest issue of The Oxford American and ran across a beautiful, insightful journey into the history and fandom of Country star Charlie Rich. While the article should be required reading for anyone who cares about the 60’s, or the South, or rawboned music, what hit me was the first page, the lyrics to Rich’s most beloved song: “Hey, did you happen to see the most beautiful girl in the world?” Why do song lyrics, or just those words on a page, make me travel to certain streets—to houses that I saw frequently but never entered? Why, when I hear Rich singing those words, do I remember a girl I barely knew from my high school days?
scott thomas outlar. The Hand That Torches By: Scott Thomas Outlar
Dragging the bait across a metal apocalypse undertow, looking for the dumbest fish around to bite the hook that never feeds â€“ only eats, only torches, only roasts the flesh to a perfect state so digestion is ideal on the way to acidic reverberations in the stomach lining orchestra that sneezes in fits and coughs the black tar skyward to fill the end of days with a silent ominous portent of harbinger aspirations. Four dead horses with lowlife skeletal affiliations rattle their bones as they storm the open airwaves, sending stagnant vibrations into the antenna receptors of a pineal gland meltdown malfunction. A crash landing funeral signals the siren to toll the bell and usher home the God-forsaken survivors of this karmic roulette cemetery as they are shuttled back to the prison where a warm blue screen waits to envelop the last vestiges of awakened consciousness into a hypnotized fit of apathy. The coma is coming on fast. The morphine is dripping from the needle. The fat lady has begun to gag. The song has all but faded.
dr. mel waldman. Freak
By: Dr. Mel Waldman Outsider, freak in the ecumenical freak show, lost in the tempest, blind in the blizzard; Outsider, trying to find his way back, through the storm, freak on fire, freak on ice, knocking on every door, trying to come inside, searching for a place called home; canâ€™t find it, for heâ€™s a freak, the different one, drifting in the heavy rain, drowning in the flood, battered by the harrowing hail, & buried in the coffin of the deep snow; freak, wishing for love and sameness, a fugitive fleeing from his real self, the flower of his quintessence; freak, unwilling to celebrate his freak-hood, an efflorescence; freak, a.k.a. the other, afraid of who he really is, & oblivious of his true identity â€” the human opal, bathed in the celestial opalescence of the soul, a stranger who wanders interminably in the storm, searching for a place called home, always searching
stephanie jones & adam unger.
Main Street 1910 Stephanie Jones & Adam Unger Metal
Circling Rabin Square Submission scrubbed due to extreme sexual
By: Gerard Sarnat harassment and intimidation the submitter used
against publications’ editors. Circling lilyanother pads & the jagged Holocaust sculpture
where some foes waved bloody shirts but one adversary did more; I imagine the vitriol spewed by Yitzhak’s assassin — leave the scarecrow to be pecked away.
w. jack savage.
Alive, Yes But Not With the Sound of Music W. Jack Savage Painting
By: Jon Beight
I can fly. I know I canâ€Ś The trail rises before me, straight and narrow. Its edges, skirted by brush, converge somewhere in the distance. I know this merging is an illusion for the path seems endless. Itâ€™s this path that leads to the towering mountain that will be my destination. There is no ambiguity in my insignificance as I approach it. The mountain, aware of my presence, maintains an omniscient silence.
jon beight (con’t). My pace is steady and I’m guided by consecrated spirits whose soft voices ride a gentle breeze that wends its way through the trees. They both lead and follow, escorting me and urging me to move ever forward. They alone understand my undertaking as they whisper their encouragements. It’s a waning gibbous moon that illuminates my way this clear night, two days beyond full. The generous illumination bestows countless shimmering images of itself on the foliage. It’s as though pixies have come to leap and dance in celebration of my passing by. In exchange for this lunar benevolence of glistening light and frivolity, the stars must be dimmed. But no matter as this night is not one meant for gazing. This trail, this narrow alley, will not tolerate a loss of focus. It has a single-mindedness that lives and breathes. The trees to either side serve as blinders that keep the periphery in a blackness so pure, no arguments contrary to my resolve can penetrate. Together they possess a tenacious will that demands commitment and allows no retreat. I carry with me the sum of my failures. They are hooked and lashed to me and stubbornly try to pull me down with a persistence greater than gravity. They are a constant reminder of the things I should have said and done, but feared to. They are with me every minute of every day, uncompromising and ruthless. I have ascended high above the trees and the trail finally disappears amongst the rocky debris below the ridge. Time has waylaid these rocks, broken their spirits and caused them to fall in defeat. They are in heaps, piled upon each other, wishing they could have been stronger. The wind, that started as a gentle companion at the beginning, now blusters and bellows like thunder. It is at my back, bullying me into going to the top. I obey as I lack the fortitude to defy this raging beast. I stumble and slide over the rubble, trying not to disturb and reawaken the abandoned dreams of others. Reaching the top, my insides want out and my lungs search for air that isn’t there. The narrow ridge feels like ice to the touch, but the footing is sure. I manage to stand upright in the chilling wind. I feel the knots of my failed years begin to loosen. Their weight would fall away, never to return, if only… I spread my wings and let the wind take me. I am aloft. 25
nels hanson. Auction
By: Nels Hanson Your attention please. The following items will be of fascinating interest to serious collectors, historians and any biologist who might be in attendance today. The bidding opens at a million even. First, a thick lock of our beloved president’s brown hair, then clippings from Einstein’s fingernails, splinter of a collarbone belonging once to revered Saint Clare, loyal friend to Saint Francis, from movie beauty Ms. Rita Hayworth of “Gilda,” “The Lady from Shanghai” fame the entire appendix, vial of blood collected after brave Chief Joseph was wounded in Canada, finally a hundred cells the Paris lab conducting Madame Curie’s skin analysis preserved. Lucky buyer may choose to separate these rare artifacts for individual sale or display them together or in part in a private or perhaps a public museum, to further tax avoidance strategies. The adept in new DNA techniques to aid our dying world well may ask, “Why not through careful cloning create the perfect angel we’ve all awaited so long as we founder in baleful History’s rising current?” Now, may I hear a million dollars? Yes? May I hear two?
Willingly I-Impart My Things Not Not-Willingly I-Accept Better Ones Jonathan Kelham Illustration
stephen mead. Dancing
By: Stephen Mead It wasn’t a Nureyev, Nijinsky or Baryshnikov, but purely physical, anonymous as perfection, a skin we’d love to name. What can touch identify? Nothing, I used to think, bodies blurring in the tango yet somehow washing up clear, clean, distinct. Separation defined everything: the putting back on of a face like clothes. These are his shoes, those, his keys, the essential break, then retrieval of a fit which felt true. I believed that’s what was needed, no sentimental shenanigans of come, stranger, stay while I had a function, say, of a shower stall or confessional. That use too was self-cleaning, effacement for the next time with only scars remembering the first: the ancient gangbang mirage.
stephen mead (con’t).
You weren’t there for that, only a partner the stage tossed forth & by then I’d brainwashed myself, poker-faced through it all, not intimacy, but a business. Know thyself by holding back. Change sheets like locations, a creed of extreme bleaching with paper to catch everything which fell between... I was best kept there, but you came inside, kept coming & no one asked, no one explained that colors would dance themselves out & continue to dance, that dancers must give entirely as we do, learning each new step, choreography by improv without even paper to record how lines disappear. Your skin’s torched the notebooks. In your face I forget pens. Though every finger scribbles rich as calligraphy, I lose names, words; I am lost in the finding, the strange heights which leap, embrace, & even sleep as gain.
Too many times
By: Michael Ashley
I have watched the fly traverse the ceiling the reading lamp flickers green curtains breathe I consider closing my eyes but there is this pain it straddles sleep bony elbows sunk into the flesh seperating vertebrae the day the night turds in the litter tray my catâ€™s vicious tail swish the fly unperturbed by the ceiling fan
r.t ve se um lb
ta es at re
www.ta lb o t - h ei n d l . c o m r.c bl um om “Dancing Girls in Colourful Rays” Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
By: Rita Buckley
A rogue wave picked me up and slammed me into the sea wall, leaving me a twisted wreck, a pile of broken bones with a bloodstained face. I called for help, but my voice sounded like a distant yelp, whipped away by a sudden wind. An old man with stubble on his face and whiskey on his breath stopped beside me. He turned to see if anyone was watching, then poked me with his boot, hitting a spot right under my broken rib. I winced and cried, the tears mixing with blood. He shook his head, turned, and walked down the beach with a nip of Jack Daniels in his hand.
rita buckley (con’t). A panting dog, a mutt of some kind, half Lab, part something else, poked his cold, wet nose in my face. His owner was behind him, shouting at him to come. The dog sniffed my arms and legs. “Get away from there,” the man said in a stern voice. He stood nearby and looked at me. He seemed very sad. He tried to find out my name and what happened, but I couldn’t talk and he stopped asking questions. He threw a tennis ball into the water. The dog ran after it and dove into the surf with careless abandon. He returned and shook off his coat, splattering me with mud and icy water. He was panting and dancing, jumping around his owner’s legs. “Throw it again,” he demanded. “Throw it again.” The man did as he asked, moving down the beach, getting smaller and smaller, until he and the dog looked like tiny dots. I was hoping my sister Janie would show up and rescue me, like she always did when we were young. She was taller than me and strong, very beautiful. Her thick hair was dark brown; so were her eyes. Her teeth were white and perfect. She was four years older than me. One night I went to a beach party with a group of kids I was too young to be around. As the bonfire smoldered and the booze and drugs came out, Janie suddenly appeared by my side and put her hand on my shoulder. “C’mon,” she said, “it’s time to go.” We walked down the dark beach together, a trek I was too frightened to make alone. “Don’t be afraid,” she said. “Here, take my hand. Let’s go.” But she died young, and I was on my own; had been for years. I was trembling from the cold, my broken limbs shaking and jumpy. I called for help again and noticed a group of people gathered on the sidewalk, watching me from above. Someone took out a camera and snapped a picture. Another person was talking on her cell phone. I heard sirens in the distance, getting closer and closer. Then the noise stopped. Two police officers and a couple of firemen were at my side. They looked at me and shook their heads. “Help me,” I said, but the words disappeared. “I hate this shit,” one of the officers said, “it’s so sad.” The other agreed. “Without a doubt,” he said, “it sucks.” He took out his radio and called
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rita buckley (con’t). for an ambulance. “It looks like we have a floater here,” he said. “This one’s just as bad as the last, maybe worse; a real mess.” Floater? I’d heard the word before. “No,” I said. I had to show them that I was still alive. I tried to move my head, but it felt like lead and wouldn’t budge. Maybe I’d do better with a finger. I focused all my energy on my index finger and thought I felt it twitch. “Look,” I said, “my finger moved.” No one could hear me over the sound of the ambulance on its way, its siren shrieking at traffic to let it go by. “Help,” I whimpered. “Did you hear something?” one of the officers asked his partner. He shot him a quizzical look. Two EMTS walked down the stairs to the beach. They weren’t in any hurry and had no supplies. One of them bent down and put his fingers on my wrist, then my neck. “Help,” I whispered. The word landed on the sand and burrowed down until all I could see was the top corner of the letter “p.” The policeman moved an inch and stepped on it. Now I was frozen stiff. I wished someone would wrap me in a blanket, take me to a hospital, stitch the gash on my head, and fix the broken bones. The EMTs would do it. I knew they would. Maybe they’d even call in a helicopter to fly me to one of the big hospitals in Boston. Why were all these men in uniforms standing around doing nothing? I was dying and needed help. I cried but no one saw the tears. I tried to move, but couldn’t. The EMT stood and shook his head. One cop scratched his neck. A fireman kicked a rock down the beach. They seemed angry and upset. I didn’t know why. My pocketbook was six feet away, crumpled and wet. A policeman picked it up, shook off the wet sand, unzipped the bag, and rummaged inside. “I can’t find any ID.” I tried to say that it was in the front zippered pocket, stuffed inside with all the other cards, but instead of words, foam came out of my mouth. I knew what that meant.
“Okay, I found it. Shit. Twenty-eight years old. What a waste.”
“No,” I whispered. I’m not ready for this. I have work to do, a very important manuscript on a major clinical trial. I’m in the middle of a novel. I need to write a speech, then an article for Scientific American. I have too many projects, no time to die. Clients were counting on me. I had to go back to work. Maybe I shouldn’t have taken a walk on the beach, so close to edge of the water. Maybe I should’ve stayed in my warm condo and kept on working. I was safe and comfortable in my shorts, T-shirt, and flip-flops.
rita buckley (con’t). If I’d never left, this wouldn’t have happened. But the sun was out after a string of grey snowy days and the ocean was clean and enticing, glittering blue. I wanted to run on the beach, feel the wind in my hair, breath in the salty air. The EMT stepped away and spoke to his partner. “Okay,” he said. “Let’s do our job.” The younger man walked up the steps to the street, where even more people had shown up. They strained to see over the concrete wall. I wondered what they were doing there and why. The cop took pictures of me from every possible angle. I could hear the camera click and whirl. The EMT returned with a backboard and a big rubber-lined black bag. “Put her in,” his partner said. A woman was coming down the beach in our direction. She’d make them stop and help me. She was tall, with thick dark hair. Suddenly, she appeared beside me. “Janie?” I asked. “C’mon,” she said. “It’s time to go.” “Janie?” I couldn’t believe my eyes. She kneeled down beside me and touched my shoulder. “C’mon,” she said, “let’s go. Here, take my hand.” I reached for her hand and the EMT saw it. “Stop,” he shouted. “This one’s alive. She’s still alive.” They snapped into action, sliding me onto the hard plastic board, wrapping me in blankets, slipping an oxygen mask on my face, putting an IV in my arm, and carrying me up the stairs. They opened the ambulance door, put me inside, moved me onto a stretcher, and strapped me down. A plastic bag was hanging from a pole. They attached it to my IV. Cool fluid went into my vein. The siren screamed and I felt the ambulance moving fast. One of the EMTs stayed with me. He cut off my cold, wet clothes, dried my skin, and put warm blankets over me. He cleaned the blood off my face, covered the wound, and stood nearby. I could sense movement, the transport weaving through traffic. Then it stopped, and he put his hand on my shoulder. “C’mon,” he said, “don’t be afraid. C’mon,” he said, “it’s time to go.”
By: Megan Mealor I have grown a little eccentric, a little more discontent, I suppose, since I moved my corner rocking chair to the very center of the den near the grinning, growling heater to cover the carpetâ€™s balding spot and began turning the volume to heaven to drown out the absence of snoring in the fireplace glow of yellow-orange and flashing tongues of turquoise. I must admit, I have also grown a little unnerved by the eerie reverie of snow-silent cats.
wlkn _ fire.
endless circles in the crystal bubble cave of my face Wlkn_Fire Watercolor on paper
sy roth. Silences
By: Sy Roth
Snapping turtles of silence, Those spiteful, grinning beasts Occupied our home. Truths bitten in half When heads removed themselves Interminably slowly from their hard shells. Secrets abounded in their Sphinxlike faces Twisted grimaces of desire to unfold their memories But swallowed them whole Where they rested warily in their dark niches Locked behind the snapping jaws. A million miles from us they stood. Frosty distances that could not be traversed, Uneasy Phyrric victory of the others. They wrapped us in a chainmail blanket, A shroud that we could only peep through, With not a peep of truth. They muffled realities that like a DNA It became us, Drowned us in its sadness. Buddhas silent in their temples, our eternity, A childish naivetĂŠ buried beneath a chestdrawer of lies, Watery silences borne in a Dromedaryâ€™s hump Across an endless desert of silences.
Sway Back Mules
By: Peabody Winston
The kids were coming close to the store when they heard, “Dammit, haul that up here you jackass! And hurry up!” Mr. Peabody of Peabody Winston and Sons Country Store and Bait Shop was standing on the front porch of his store, looking in the door, and yelling at his son. When he turned around, he got a little redder in the face. He didn’t like the kids to see his other side. The “got to kick some ass sometimes” side to keep a business running. For that matter, you got to kick some ass sometimes when you have kids. Not literally boot to ass, but close. Throw in a hug or two too. “Sorry about that kids. I’m kind of worked up today. One of my boys is really slow pokin’ and you got to use elbow grease, some panache, and you got to by God work like a mule sometimes.”
peabody winston (con’t). The kids got their usual snacks and gathered around the rocking chair. His son looked out the door at his pop; he was about to tell a story. Peabody looked back at him. Two stone-cold poker player faces, steeleyed, somber. His son went back in to get the stocking taken care of. Peabody cleared his throat, and used the occasion to teach the kids about various mules. He told them this: “There’s a reason that folks like me get grey hairs too soon, and there is a reason that mules become sway back. Let me tell you kids that you’ll hear this story, and most of you won’t get it. In fact, most of you won’t get it until you too have grey hair and are the sway back mules I am about to tell you about. Still, we elders have to tell you the stories to pass on. File it away, and bring it back out when the time is right. You won’t forget it. “When I was young, there was a neat story called ‘Brighty of the Grand Canyon.’ That is an Arizona tried and true tale. I think Dr. McBride, the former top Arizona History man at Arizona State University and Corona del Sol High School knew that one. “Anyway, let me tell you about mule number one. The first mule was at the end of his trail, so to speak. He had been hauling folks and goods up and down the Grand Canyon trails for his entire life. His parents had done it, and his grandparents had hauled in the GC, and his great grandparents too. This mule family had done their jobs to the best of their abilities. They did it with pride. They are etched in the mind of tourists from around this great big world. So many have seen the mules and burros taking the people and goods up and down the trails. Even if you just walked yourself, you probably kicked some of the mule manure that was on the dirt trails. “Mule number one had done his job. The humans knew he was getting older, but he was a sturdy cuss. Even in his old age, his demeanor was upright; his legs were sturdy. Mule number one knew it was time. He felt in his mule bones, that this trip down and up might just be his last. He kept up with the others, but he took it in with more wonder and more inspection than ever before. Every smell, every sight, each and every sound was like a brush with heaven to him on this last trip. Did he fear what lie ahead? No sir, because he was in the moment, like he had been
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peabody winston (con’t). his entire life: one step at a time, hauling somebody or hauling his or her things. When he finished he was proud of himself, and other folks were proud of him. He lived on in the memories of those he had let ride him. A mule’s job well done. “Mule number two is all of us dads and moms out there. We worked, and we worked hard. Our kids are basically on our backs. Our whole families are on our backs. These moaners and groaners, and spoiled pack that we haul, to get them to the other side of the canyon. We take them from being babies on one rim, to being young folks about to embark and carry their own loads on the far rim. The kids don’t notice us underneath, going grey, back swaying more and more as they grow in size and intellect. They require more and more, yet want to see less and less of us. All the while, riding on our backs. We feel the kick in the side, or hear the complaint about how slow we are taking them there. Their minds are not properly formed yet, so we just put one hoof in front of the other and get them to where they need to go. Parental mules hauling their children to the beginning of their lives, mule number two. “Mule number three is an educator and/or a coach. They haul you to something new. Then they make sure you are partaking of this thing, that you little student rider may not think is important. You want to run off and do something new before you have ‘seen’ or learned the thing properly. But the mule knows how long you have to circle that subject until you can say mastery, and ride on to the next subject, or beautiful thing that your eyes, mind and hands will see. “The coach and educator mule has the world on their backs, as they are like Atlas. Are they paid like the guy or gal that has the most important job in the world? Hell no. Do they leave the trail? Sometimes the mule pack does go on strike to get better hay and carrots, but usually they just continue to teach you. They get tested too much sometimes, and you would swear that little burro or mule back would actually break. But they never do. And rarely do the mules get to see into the future of where their rider will end up. They have their trail to walk on; the rider gets off and walks down their own. This is the story of mule number three. “Mule number four is interesting. An old friend from the back porch and dusty tennis courts, Ed ‘Tough Gut’ Wilson told me about carrying folks in tennis. When you play socially or at club settings, on teams, and even in tournaments, if you are a solid player, partners and teams seem to ride your back. Sometimes you ride the back of your partner; sometimes they ride your back. Good teamwork has two mules hauling the goods of the match equally, each with its own way of stepping and getting to the
peabody winston (con’t). end of the trail. It is a dance, with the dusty path shared. “Ed told me that for nearly forty years, he has had people riding his back, getting carried in matches, even when they had the goods to get off and get to work themselves. It gets tiring having to ‘carry’ folks. But, sometimes you can carry them to the water and try as you might, they still won’t drink. That is the story of mule number four.” “I don’t get it Mr. Peabody.” “I told you, you are too young to get it now.” “Are we like the mules, Mr. Peabody?” “Yes, in this lovely life kids, you got to mule up, and carry some folks.”
Waiting Room By: Kevin McCoy
i was born in the waiting room. time. life. look. magazines fanned. ding. alone in the waiting room. second hand is in no hurry to give up precious cargo. ding. doors whoosh. an unwelcome companion. i will die in the waiting room right before they call my name. silent faces. dull eyes. phone rings. cough from the guy next to me. he will die here, too.
Essence Carl Scharwath Mixed-media
donors, index. artists Ashley, Michael
Lowe, Jack Phillips
Savage, W. Jack
Hogan, Michael Paul
Outlar, Scott Thomas
Waldman, Dr. Mel
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...Maybe it is the drink, maybe it is me Standing on a layer of glass I am the master of the world And the thawing moon laughs Hear me howl See me beat my chest, old moon ‘I am immortal!’
Itâ€™s All Gone Now W. Jack Savage Painting
The Bitchin' Kitsch is a zine for artists, poets, prose writers, or anyone else who has something to say. It exists for the purpose of open...
Published on Mar 27, 2015
The Bitchin' Kitsch is a zine for artists, poets, prose writers, or anyone else who has something to say. It exists for the purpose of open...