east coast ink issue 004 | bridges
C O N T E N T S EAST COAST INK | Issue 004 | BRIDGES
L E T T E r
f r o m t h e e d i t o r 2
P O E T R Y 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R e g r e t . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .................. .................. .................. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .................. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..................
A Poem My Father on the Bridge Bridge Burning at Both Ends The Art of Disintegration Lydia 9 Ways o f V i e w i n g t h e B ro o k ly n B r i d g e P o n t e Ve c c h i o Bridge Sonnet This Silence Between Meals The River and the Bridge
F I C T I O N 2 8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . O l d W a t e r C r e e k
.................. Beneath the Seam .................. Though Passion May Have Strained
M I C R O F I C T I O N 4 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . H i s t o r y R e p e a t i n g . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A i r
N O N F I C T I O N 4 7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . O n t h e P o r c h i n t h e L o w - l i t M o r n i n g . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . S o m e t i m e s W h e n I Wa tc h a S to r y . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . M a t c h e s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I s l a n d L i v i n g
B o o k R e v i e w s 6 0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C o l d S p e l l b y D e b V a n a s s e
e a s t c o a s t e v e n t s 6 3 C o n t r i b u t o r s 6 9
ISSUE 004 EAST COAST INK Fall 2014
eci staff owner, editor-in-chief Jacqueline Frasca associate editor Austen Wright fiction editor Erika Childers nonfiction editor Jill Shastany
reviews Laura Apperson editorial intern Danielle Behrendt Isabelle St. Clair
East Coast Ink Issue 004, Fall 2014: Bridg es. Copyright © 2014 East Coast Ink Cover Image by Jacqueline Frasca. Images inside front cover and on pages 6, 19―20, 23, 38―40, 45―46, 50―52, 56, 63―66, and inside front cover by Jacqueline Frasca.
East Coast Ink magazine is produced four times per year and is an individually owned and operated publication. For additional content , please visit ecimagazine.tumblr.com and connect with us @ecimagazine. Pitch us your creative nonfiction and submit fiction, poetry, micro fiction, book reviews, mixed media artwork and photography to ecimagazine@gm ail.com. Copyright of all materials reverts to the individual artists and authors. No materials may be reproduced under any circumstances without written permissions from the editorial staff.
letter from the editor I d o n’ t t h in k I’ m a lon e wh e n I say I c onsistently feel the bridges in my l ife a re f ra i l by n a tu re . I a m not th e type of person who is unwit tingly adventuro us ; I t h r ive i n s tru ctu re a nd o pe ra te at a low- grade of worry over t he founda tio ns o f wh a t I h ave b u ilt cr u mb ling. My relationships are very dear to m e, no ma t te r t h e ir ex te nt . I a m h a ppy to build bridges that are long, short , wo o d e n o r c o n c re te , I a m h a ppy to ma ke t hem as sec ure as I possibly c an. But whe n a b ri d g e s t ar ts to b u rn a t on e e nd, I ’m t he t ype to run ac ross and t ry to smo l d e r t h e f l a me s with wh a teve r re s ourc es I have to spare. I ’m t he t ype to sit al o ne o n t h e b ri d g e wh ile it co lla p s e s into whatever wait s far below. A l l t h in gs we ex pe r ie n ce are c onnec ted som ehow—and how we c onne ct to t h e p e o ple a ro u nd u s is b u ilt on a foundat ion of som e kind, be it an i mmova ble a nd mu tu a lly b e n efic ial c rossing or one t hat should have give n o ut l o n g a g o . So me p e o ple n e e d to let t heir bridges burn before they c an at te mpt to re c o n s tru ct a n e w on e ; oth ers will ham m er nail after nail to t ry and f ix wha t o n c e wa s a tr u s two rthy con n ec t ion to t he ot her side of som eone. This i s s ue is a l l a b o u t th o s e con n e ctio ns —both what brings us together and what kee ps us a p a r t . S o me b r id ge s a re not m eant to be c rossed. We a t East Coast In k a re pleased to bring you our first fall issue, Bri dges , a n d w i l l be ce le b ra ting th e magazine’s first birthday on Oc tober 18. Wh e n this t h e me wa s d e cid e d , we e nvis ioned a c ollec t ion of interpersonal c onnectio ns , l a rg e a n d s ma ll; wh ile wh a t we rec eived was m ostly literal, we always l e ave t h e c o n te nt o f th e ma ga zin e in the hands of the subm itters, and onc e aga in a re e c s t a t i c w ith th e ca lib e r o f a r t and writ ing our c ont ributors subm itted. T ha nk yo u fo r ma king th is a n d o u r three previous issues possible. This year h a s b e e n f i l l e d with th e mo s t a ma z ing c hallenges and what I hope will be stro ng c o n n e c t i on s to th e a r tis tic com m unity for years to c om e. T h i nk a b o u t a ll th e b r id ges in your life while you flip t hrough t his i s s u e . T h ere ’ s s ome th ing to b e said about all t he ways people c onnec t to o ne a n o t h e r, no ma tte r th e circu mstanc e. We hope you will help us c elebrate o ur a n n ive r s a ry on th e e igh te e nth and t hat you’ll keep spreading these issu e s fa r a n d w i d e . Eve ry a r tis t ins id e deserves their voic e heard, and we’re hap py to b e a l o n g fo r th e r id e .
“Argentina Views,” Kate Ciavarra
[ poetry ] regret
Shana Bulhan Haydock you bring me back to black and white in pink you are new and I am maleficent lasso me home, home, home—red at the edges your vegetable to my sour, red dress dance snap! purple gems falling, clench! paper rips at yellow. you thought holding my head like saran wrap would make me see but all I did was rage Sunday-style. dry words that hurt our hearts and smoulder eyes and my ma’s here, the candles are out and the clocks are spinning and I wanted to know, I wanted to know
baby you spin me like rust and if I could trust a dance this slow if I could speed me down speed like snow trying to get you inside, can’t make it anymore, lashing words, if you can’t hit then make your words hurt more than blood and god knows I’ve got words
in the tunnel, we were not echoes, and furniture wasn’t conspiring against us. in the tunnel, your body held the possibility of all translucence, desire, transition, filter through flying, make me fly, make us fly. in the tunnel, I looked cute as I just wanted to tumble dry, dry, dry, soak through the wet winter and fumble about , sad stones and tremor blues, terror blues
Amanda Clarkin I
I would rather listen to the J train barrel through your bedroom, the bullying bang of your breath against my ear, than the newly returned birds at the beginning of spring. II
Spilled ink tripped laces fingered cunt and belched beer. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m frothing at the mouth and all you can comment on is how pretty the shape of my lips are. III
The best way to describe what happened that day is to say you lost your mind because Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve had it hidden in my pocket this entire time.
My Father on the Bridge Steve Klepetar
where he meets a woman white as snow, white as whipped cream on a vanilla cone white as space
between words winding her white thread, singing cold as a wellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s deep bottom, conjuring tardy dawn wrapped in her pale cloak she shines white as a silver stallion, breath on a chilly day looms alpine
mountain blanched sugar and thick steam heap of salt on a table top voice of smoke rings and ash she
kisses him once on his gray lips and is gone
bridge burning at both ends Sarah Colona
fought and lost only flight left but youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve no wings at this story â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s end ashes cocoon propel forward waves clench you swim unseen
but Love without that place its names and hatred to shape you who is it that takes her first step onto the shore?
the art of disintegration Patricia P.
This bridge is falling apart at the gusts of the wind, its foundation: crumbling, slipping through my fingers; The horizon is extending its hand to me, but I am frozen beyond recognition. I plant one foot into the bitter air and my body follows through; I am falling into the ocean and I do not know how to swim.
” 1 2 , ” h o p e k a u f f m a n
Rinat Harel Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wrong, Lydia, the hunterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wife? Sitting alone in front of the hearth, A sock and needle in your lap, Staring at the fire, shadows of its flames Dancing on the walls of your one-room home.
Your husband, the hunter, is not home tonight , As many nights before. He shall return in a few days with a deer or two splayed cold on his horses, And chilly air will enter the house with him. Will you offer him a warm cheek, As you have done since many years back, When you thought life begins here, far from home, With this broad-shouldered man, whose words are few, Yet his touch is tender, and his lips are seeking. Does routine nibble at you, Lydia, after twenty years of waiting? And your hopes are seeping out As plans to add a nursery are nearly forgotten. Perhaps you will rise at once! Wash the floors, Shine the silverware, light the candles, While humming a tune that rocks Like the waves in their tranquil hour. You will wear your dark wool-coat And leave the house for fresh air, flooded With dreams: travel far away, Visit exciting places, discover new people. Or you might return to your hometown on the coast , Where your parents are growing old In a large house filled with numerous rooms and books. But you can still remember how you detested The sounds and smells of the city, And your longing for the serene lands of the prairie, Which are now your home.
Wrapped in your cloak, you briskly cross the frozen field, Glancing at the longstanding couple of leafless trees at the far edge of your land, As you always do when riding the wagon on the road going up to the village.
You turn away from your home and walk fast , Your heavy grey dress sweeping the ground, Raising small clouds of glittering dust . Then you abruptly stop and Look back.
Why are you standing there, Lydia, the hunterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wife? Who are you glaring at , what do you see? You are all alone here. The night is empty, The fields are sitting barren in the cold. Is it me you are staring at? (This is impossible, I think to myself ) I am not a part of this tale, I say to Lydia. Go, go on your way. But she persists; her wild eyes dig into my mind, Her towering figure looms forward. Surprised, I find myself Shivering in the slicing wind, In this foreign land, Stumbling toward Lydia as she turns on her heel And renews her pace up the road. With a quickened pulse and trembling legs I follow her. But her steps are wide and confident , And she soon becomes one with the dark.
At once, I am all-alone in a night full of shadows, Glancing around in hopes of rescue. In this vacant , quiet place. Down the road sits the house of Lydia and her husband, the hunter. The windâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sharp claws dig into my skin. Choiceless, I turn toward the light , Enter the warm log cabin, Close the door To leave the night behind, And approach the fireplace. On the chair in front of it , a sock and needle. I pick them up so I can sit , put them in my lap, And hold out my palms to The flames; Listening to the chatter of consumed wood.
I examine the sock in my lap, but I am not keen on sewing. What shall I do with this needle? I look about: to one corner, a small table Set with two chairs. Dishes and books neatly stacked on sturdy shelves. At the room’s other side: An oval braided-rug over the wide-planked floor A wide bed, soft blankets covering white linen.
I add logs to the dying fire, Lean back in the chair and watch the frolicking flames. I rise to my feet and walk to the bed. Sink into the mattress. It accepts me like a mother’s bosom.
I recognize: this is my bed, these are my books, And my husband, the hunter, Will soon enter our home. His greying temples, his neck— Emanate intoxicating scents. My fingers will slide with feather-like touch On his skin, roughed by the summer sun And the winds that blow upon these open plains.
The logs crackle in the hearth, the flames are strong and steady. At last , I am warm. I, Lydia.
9 ways of viewing the brooklyn bridge Joan McNerney 1
from far away as if a child drew two bright triangles in the sky
rain sweeps through giant silver spider web
4 5 6 7 8 9
empty newspaper truck rattling over violet bridge
obscured by N train its metal doors reflect freight boats and painted containers tipping from side to side listening to loose tracks
passengers huddled in tight circles woolen gloves around steel pole one square of sunset in the sticky window
orange ball bounces beside bridge...slides into blue water white waves black sky black sea yellow moon climbs over buildings three foghorns
ponte vecchio Carly Feinman
Three little boys scuttle across your skin chasing an orange bouncy ball they trip over the uneven cobblestone of your jarring spine but with every bold stumble they pick up speed. Tiny reckless hands grab at the air before them, willing their way through this race of time, velocity, innocence they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t take their eyes off the ball.
It bounces at odd angles as if trying to defy some unseen magnetic pull but the boys are chasing still, running wildly with grins ecstatic and thick like juicy tomato slices.
The flux of their breaths, the kicking forward of knees they take frenzied leaps and throw their limbs ahead as though at any moment they will kick off and take flight . The river below absorbs the bursting sky burning itself awake like a phoenix like the moment a ripe orange touches thirsty lips like a message raw and round and clear and the boys are laughing now
because a pair of slippery hands actually caught the stubborn kinetic thing but in the same downbeat lost hold and let it go barreling onward and now I have a thought; that was no accident .
D a m a r i M c B r i d e
bridge sonnet Ann Welch
In this foreign Spring devoid of travel,
I prize my east to west bay twilight drives;
Alongside, the new bridge builds to full height , Its pinnacles dressed in brushed steel saddles Challenging the cables to unravel;
The grace of their sling, a jump rope alight
Brings me to your back, speed-bent to the bike;
And sloped to your curves, I’m wrapped astraddle As we blur past paint-balled Monet blossoms; Later, mapping you by hand, I recall
A blind man’s tale of charting a room, then
Living his mistake, (for he’d missed a wall); I’ve no room for error, my fingers thrum,
Brailling a bridge between time and again.
Emma McPherson Sometimes my mind is empty—conscious sleeping? Just staring without seeing, only the major organs moving. I guess you could say the heart is beating yes, I suppose every once in a while, the eyes blink. It scares me in her when on the edge of the highway she’s shaking and grinning, the lips are rapid with speech but the voice doesn’t cooperate— it’s clinging to the clothes on her back, to the tar in her teeth. Only loud sounds create this silence. Nothing else could— this is not the gradual night calm. Not a landslide in the valley, not an explosion of nuclear hate, not an eruption of old love letters. Just sounds as loud as cracking wrists— as loud as slicing knives.
As loud as this room in the dark, uninhabited, buzzing in echoes. It’s the disconcerting eyes, the lack of sound aches and quivers but I find it inside me, and the city, the poisons, the height of the bridge quell the chaos because if I’m out of control, let me lose control.
Between meals Steve Klepetar
For Joseph Lisowski Granola with raspberries and yogurt , coffee. Avocado salad, baguette and chardonnay.
Rusty Nail on ice and brie with morels and then stew with roast potatoes for dinner.
Between I wander Blakeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s crooked roads without improvement , measuring no hours. Skin tingling, I climb giant ferns, feel filigreed stalks and hear the din of cricket song. I scorch a desert with burning eyes. My horses leap into rivers, in frigid air my tigers roar
the river and the bridge Changming Yuan
over that little meandering river flowing anonymously from my boyhood there used to be no bridge
so, we rode a ferry boat in spring and naked-swam across it in summer when it became as dry as reeds and straw we trudged a trail like a small stream and when it was frozen with sand and gravel we walked on the thickest ice we could find although not knowing how to ski nor did we fear losing our balance between boyish dreams and the cold winter
since I left my native village long ago a bridge has been built and thus has become the only place and the only way to get to the other side of the river Birds at Risk your songs and calls all recorded your body well stuffed your genes being cloned your species digitalized
now we are living a posthumous life we have become shadows of ourselves among so much bustling and hustling we are dying, birds, dying
â&#x20AC;?granted asylum,â&#x20AC;? kate ciavarra
[ fiction ] old water creek D ylan Young
EXT. OLD WATER CREEK - DAY
SAMSON and ERNEST follow a dirt road through the forest until they reach the edge of the creek. The covered bridge that once spanned the creek has collapsed, and the two brothers come to a halt . The bridge has sunken in at the middle, and the roof that once protected travelers from the sun has fallen entirely. SAMSON Oh dear. ERNEST Oh my.
The two brothers stand there in silence for a moment , staring at the bridge. ERNEST (CONTâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;D) It would appear that the bridge is out , dear brother. SAMSON It would appear so.
Ernest walks closer to examine the pile of timbers.
ERNEST Our way across is impeded, surely this is the end of our travels. Samson ponders for a moment .
SAMSON This is where I would disagree with you, dear brother, for this bridge,
and this spot was not our final destination upon departure.
Ernest sits beneath a nearby tree and sets down his backpack. ERNEST I hear you brother, and your logic is sound, but does not the impediment call for a halt?
SAMSON Yes, a halt , but not a stop. Surely this is simply, for lack of a better expression, a road block in our travels.
Ernest produces a handkerchief and wipes a bead of sweat from his brow. ERNEST Dear brother, you must see though, that way across this creek is no longer accessible.
Ernest holds out the handkerchief to his brother who takes it and in turn wipes his own brow. SAMSON Mayhaps the most accessible crossing has been removed by a storm or fallen tree, but one would think that other ways across this creek still exist , for was there not once a time when man did not build, but simply existed? Ernest shakes his head and chuckles.
ERNEST I think you miss the point , dear brother. Life is not so ordinary as to have everything work out .
SAMSON So youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d have us be defeated then?
ERNEST I would have us adapt . Ernest reaches into his pack and produces a sandwich that he unwraps and begins to eat . ERNEST (CONT’D) ‘Tis still a nice day, why not enjoy it?
Samson laughs in disbelief, stepping away from his brother for a pace before turning towards him once more. SAMSON It’s the principle of the thing! ERNEST Which thing?
SAMSON The bridge! Our path! Your lunch!
Ernest looks down at his sandwich, then back to his brother. ERNEST I hardly think one would find cause to take up issue against my sandwich... SAMSON Then our locale!
Samson gestures towards the bridge.
SAMSON (CONT’D) When you and I set out today on this excursion, was it our goal to have our lunch besides an old sunken bridge? ERNEST I take no offe-
SAMSON Answer the question. ERNEST No. It was not .
SAMSON It was not . And do we find ourselves at the destination which we had selected at the beginning of the journey? ERNEST No but-
SAMSON No, we do not . So why then, dear brother, is it that you are eating lunch not at the designated area at which we had agreed would be a pleasant place for us to enjoy an afternoon meal together? A place that you and I would eat many a meal as kids?
Ernest looks towards the bridge, then back to Samson. ERNEST The bridge is out .
SAMSON There are other ways! Surely we can walk the shore until we chance a crossing! ERNEST â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Tis true whether by storm or fallen tree this bridge could have collapsed, but lack of maintenance is the sole cause of its deterioration. There is a silence as Samson looks at his brother. SAMSON So what are you saying?
ERNEST We did not know the bridge was out , nor do we know when it fell, but we know it now, and we can make steps
to repair it . But until such a time where we can cross the bridge to get to our intended destination, I will eat lunch here, and you may choose to join me or not .
Samson looks at the bridge, then back to his brother. He sighs as he sits down beneath the tree next to Ernest . Ernest unwraps and hands Samson a sandwich. Samson looks at the bridge as he takes a bite. Ernest looks from his brother to the bridge. ERNEST (CONTâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;D) In due time brother, in due time.
m i c h e l l e f r a s c a
beneath the seam Bob McCarthy
“You’re quiet .” He was elsewhere, his eyes wandering the waterfront , lost to the lengthening day, the growing shadows. She reached for her wine, her fingers lacing the stem, her palm cradling the bowl. But she hadn’t managed more than a sip, and still couldn’t . “I wish you’d say something.” He turned to her but then looked away, out the window that opened onto the harbor. The sun, slipping from a sky stained zinfandel and merlot , eased into the water, coloring it a vivid carmine. “Please say something. Anything.” He returned his eyes to the table, to the glass before him, the melting ice surrendering to the August air. Lips pursed, he went to speak but produced nothing except more silence. And so he reached for the glass, the vodka and soda, nearly gone. Another sip and it was done. He lifted his eyes and considered her. “You look beautiful.” But his voice was strained. She ran her hands over the hem of her sundress, then along the waist and the flat of her belly. A sterling daisy hung from her neck, coming to rest between her breasts. She clasped it in her palm, both hands closed around it in prayer. “It … it’s like nothing happened. We didn’t even know.” He wouldn’t meet her eye. “I know it’s freaking you out …” He shook his head. “That’s not it .” His voice was quiet , so incredibly quiet and soft . Not a whisper, a wound. A light wind blew off the water. Laced with salt and summer, it carried the faint cries of gulls. She reached across the table for his hand. “Nothing is different . Everything is the same.” A single breath leaving him, again he looked out the window. A young man, hands stuffed into pockets, ambled down the street , swaggering and swaying, laughing with friends. Making for another bar, another drink, the rise and fall of their voices filled the air with song. But with each step the music faded, drifting from the dwindling day, consumed by the approaching nightfall. Gently she squeezed his hand, calling him back. When he returned to her, when again their eyes met , she said, “Just tell me that you’re okay. Even if it’s a lie.” He nodded. “I am.” Descending deeper into the harbor, the sun colored the water in diffuse shades of red—a rich crimson at the horizon, a thin pink closer to shore. A greenway ran the length of the waterfront , lush with growth, spotted with shade trees and vibrant flowerbeds. Maples and marigolds, poplars and geraniums. A young couple pushing a stroller stopped to watch the sun sink to the ocean floor, to witness the last minutes of fading daylight . Over their shoulders, the first stars flickered in the pale glow of a waxing moon. She placed a hand to his cheek. “Nothing has changed.” Leaning over, she rested her forehead against his then kissed him softly. “Please, let’s enjoy the night . Like we planned.”
“Okay.” She exhaled and smiled, then got up from the table. The humidity had her hair in wayward curls that she pulled back, reveling the bloom in her cheeks. She checked her watch. “There’s still time for another drink.” Then she crossed the barroom, passing between the other tables, other couples—some engaged in intimacies and conversation, others separated by old rifts and new chasms—then disappeared down the hallway toward the restrooms. The waiter came and he ordered another vodka and soda. He looked outside, into the changing light , the oppressive afternoon transitioning to a clear, starlit night . A ship sounded its horn. The last of the trawlers and lobster boats were returning to dock, their churning white wakes rocking the paddlewheels embarking on sunset cruises. The waterfront was bustling with diners going to and from restaurants and cafes, shoppers browsing storefronts. Along the main thoroughfare, a footbridge spanned a stream that had powered the local gristmill. On one side, the sky glowed with the last vestiges of daylight; on the other, it sparkled with the first shimmer of twilight . Amidst those that crossed back and forth, a man paused beneath the seam that joined night and day. A silhouette, he leaned against the rail and looked out over the water, on the shifting wind and the changing tide.
They spent the day at the beach, swimming in the warm late-season water, then walking the sandbars when the tide retreated from shore. They were a quarter mile out and she was treading lightly, stepping carefully around broken shells and concealed razor clams. Stopping, she bent down and plucked something from the sand. “What have you got?” She turned her back, hiding the find, but peered over one shoulder and offered a coy smile. A moment passed and she turned around with her hand extended, displaying a toy ring. “Exquisite.” She considered it , cheap and plastic and ill-fitting. “When I visited Kate last week, she showed me her grandmother’s diamond. It’s going to be her engagement ring.” “Hopefully it’s a better fit than what you have there.” She grinned. “I tried it on. It fit perfectly.” He said nothing, and between them a formidable silence emerged. For a while she held him in her gaze. “It was beautiful.” She waited a moment longer, and when he said nothing she began laughing lightly. “Don’t worry, I’m not dropping hints.” “I didn’t—” “You should see your face, the terror.” He took her by the hand. “That’s not—” he started but could manage no more. When he went to try again, she doubled over, grimacing. “What’s wrong?” “I keep getting these cramps.” They returned to the hotel so she could lay down. When it seemed to pass, they cleaned up for dinner. Showered and dressed, he waited as she got ready in
the bathroom. The hairdryer stopped. “Should we get a drink first?” he called. There was no answer. “We don’t have to. But we’re going to be early for our reservation.” Again there was no response. The bathroom door closed shut . “Is everything okay?” He crossed the room and stood outside the bathroom. He raised a hand to knock, but the door opened. “Are you alright?” She struggled to speak. Looking past her, he could see the blood, the crimson suffusing the water. He went to step forward, but she took him by the arm. “I…I think I was pregnant .” “What?” She turned and glanced at the water, at the crimson, spreading, turning pink. “It must have only been a few weeks.” “You didn’t ...?” “No.” She held his eyes but , dazed, he couldn’t see her. He took an uncertain step backwards and leaned against the wall. Arms crossed, she bit at her lower lip. “It’s okay,” she said in a thin whisper. “It’s not a big deal.” Wordlessly, he shook his head. She stepped forward and took him by the hand. “Don’t worry, we’re not …I mean, I’m not—” He went to speak but paused, his gaze falling heavily to the floor. “But you were.”
though passion may have strained Dee Travis
Mary kept a steady pace, partly to make good time, partly to keep warm. It was a crisp autumn even by Massachusetts’ reckoning. She had to reach Brimfield by nightfall. Brimfield would mean a fire, a meal, a bed, and the next morning, she’d continue on horseback. Each step she took brought her closer to her new life. To Jacob. With her few effects strapped on her back, Mary trudged up the hill and onto the old covered bridge, pausing for a rest . She had always loved this bridge. Its grayed, wooden planks smelled of childhood, and its windows overlooked a forest now ablaze with October’s oranges, reds and yellows. Smoldering leaves spiraled from the boughs of maples and elms, blanketing the ground in gold. Mary would miss that . Jacob had promised beautiful colors in Virginia, but what could possibly compete with this? The cocking of a rifle spun Mary ’s head to the left . A millisecond before Mary saw its owner, a face formed in her mind, a guess, and it was the right one. Hannah stood at the far end of the span, finger on the trigger, barrel aimed at Mary. “What are you doin’?” said Mary.
“I might ask you,” said Hannah, “if I didn’t already know. I can’t let’cha leave. It’d kill Mama, and the crops besides.” “It’ll kill neither,” said Mary. “You know I gotta do this.” “Why?” “Because I love him.” Hannah sounded her disapproval. “A damn greycoat , Mary! Turnin’ his back on us, on the whole country. Daddy would be ashamed of you.” That stung. “You don’t know what he’d think.” “I know your man’s goin’ to hell for givin’ up on the Union,” said Hannah. “All the Virginians, all them quitters. And you for joinin’ him.” Mary almost said, ‘You don’t know what God thinks, either,’ but she had a feeling Hannah was right , so she said again the only thing she could, the only truth she knew. “I love him, Hannah.” No response this time, only blossoms of breath in the autumn air. They stared at one another for a time, saying everything and nothing as only family can. “You gonna walk all that way?” said Hannah. Mary noticed with some relief that Hannah was holding the rifle a little lower, a little looser in her hands. “Going most of the way on horse,” said Mary, “if you’ll let me.” Hannah’s hands trembled, and her voice followed suit . “This damn war’s tearing the whole world apart . It’s tearing our family apart .” The boards creaked under Mary ’s boots as she stole one step closer. “It doesn’t have to.” Hannah stepped back and returned her rifle to chest level. “No, it doesn’t .” Mary tried her best to size up the situation and found herself unsure. “You capable of shootin’ your own sister, Hannah?” Hannah’s answer was soft , little more than a whisper. “Why don’t you take another step,” she said, “and find out .” Mary thought of the countless times they had walked these woods together—as countless as the leaves, as every other experience from childhood. They had hunted game with their father, played with dolls in dresses, played war games and hide and seek, talked of boys and growing up. That all seemed as far away as Virginia itself, or further; it felt like the world before the war wasn’t ever coming back. Hannah’s hands were shaking again. Mary looked back at the path behind, back to home, to the life she knew, and then turned and looked down the path ahead: the road South, the road to danger, maybe the road to hell itself, but also the road to Jacob. With a sigh that placed whatever faith she had left in love and family and her future, Mary stepped forward. And found out .
â&#x20AC;&#x153;argentina sol,â&#x20AC;? kate ciavarra
[ micro fiction ] history repeating Bart Van Goethem
Friday evening Jeff put young Michael back in his bed for the ninth time. He covered him with his Spiderman sheets, but Michael threw them on the floor once again, defiantly, shrieking his blond little head off. That’s when hate started scratching at the door. The scratching became knocking and the knocking became banging and the banging became pounding until the door caved in. As hate entered, the lights went out and everything changed. There was no more patience. There was no more understanding. There was no more reason. Hate ravaged through Jeff ’s head, submitting his brain to a controlled demolition. The chain reaction of synaptic explosions took away every resistance and incited the inevitable violence that was to come. With a flat sound Jeff ’s hand struck his son’s cheek. Young Michael erupted in tears. He squinted his eyes, howling loudly. He only opened them again to shoot a wronged look at his father. Jeff backed off immediately, realizing what he had done. On his son’s quivering face he saw the imprint of his hand. Five white fingers in a glowing red outline. And he just stood there staring at it , exhausted from a busy workweek, exhausted from the discussions with his ex, exhausted from life. He realized these weren’t excuses. This wasn’t the way he wanted to raise his boy. He wasn’t going to make that mistake. It took a while for Michael to settle down, huddled up in a corner of his bed. Finally, a big yawn interrupted the sobbing. He laid down with his back towards his father, who was still standing there, stunned by his outburst . Jeff took the sheets off the floor, covered Michael and tucked him in mechanically. Then he left the room. ‘I’ll never, ever do that again,’ he vowed.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;iceland storm,â&#x20AC;? kate ciavarra
Rinat Harel Brought here by the winds, blown from east to west , I traveled over the waters, the ocean blurring underneath me as I speared through the air, head first , pointing at the most farther land. I knew not , I felt not , I consumed the many miles almost blindly; a young woman of a fuzzy mind, of an almost crushed spirit . Caged as I was. A frail and frightened creature, really. And caged and airless, in this new land, I remained. Year, and another year. And hope was much like a broken television; turned on, the black screen fails to produce an image. Of any clarity. Peering into the dim monitor, year and another year, I remained here. Where my wings gained strength, by and by, until they grew large enough to break through the bars. And I tiptoed into new air. Crisp air. Open air. I began breathing; small swigs at first , deeper gulps at last . In this new land. In this new air.
[ nonfiction ] on the porch in the low-lit morning MK Stinson
Yesterday, with coffee, on the porch in the low-lit morning, Peter told me that they painted over the scrawl on the train bridge beside Highway 7. He was saying this out of the corner of his mouth, through the dregs of sleep and over the top of the steam of his coffee, crossing and uncrossing his legs, restless, squinting across the road. We were watching cats fight on the wet tarmac of the still-closed auto shop. The air was cold, with sneaking syrupy light braiding its way toward us. I placed my coffee on the stoop and looked at him, his strange hair, and I didn’t want to know. Highway 7 runs for twenty-one kilometers between Kitchener and Guelph as a sad two-lane stretch of soft shoulders and weeds. There are farmers’ fields of corn, soybeans. There are two cemeteries and a trailer park. There are abandoned houses, a couple of gas stations, homes and businesses, an unassuming rub-andtug. But just before Kitchener ends and the tarmac throws you into the murkiness between cities, there is the train bridge, to your right , crossing the river, some monolithic and distracting thing. Someone wrote on the side in white paint , years ago: ‘TWAS NOW. When I was eighteen I had a death wish. I pretended I was not afraid. The boy I loved in high school left me and I sat on my parents’ roof at night and threw stones at the street . I did not sleep. I wore hoop earrings, large, then still-larger. I took the early bus home from class and smoked menthol cigarettes on the edge of town. I cried in the drug store, seething. I acted in a school play and one of the boys on the technical crew saw me naked backstage. He asked me to prom. On the last day of school we drank peach schnapps from my backpack and he told me to have a nice life. My eyes were ringed in black: dirt , and eyeliner. I was bad at makeup. I walked eyes-closed into traffic. I went on a date, and then another. I sent pictures of myself to a boy from the internet and we met underneath the overpass by my high school during third period. He took me to his house and we made out in his front hallway. The carpet was dirty and he put on Nine Inch Nails. I don’t remember his name. I met a man who made music and I took his picture. He took me for dinner, then drinks at his apartment . We were in another city. He told me he’d follow me to the East Coast . He promised me he loved me. He was six years older than me, and I changed my phone number. I met Michael at city hall, where I had a painting on display. He looked like
the singer of my favorite band, and that’s always how it starts. I forget if I asked him out , or if he asked me. He drove a purple RAV4 with a tape deck. He told me he had totalled three cars. I didn’t wear my seat belt . He taught me to drive standard by putting me behind the wheel and directing me to the 401. I stalled fifteen times before he took back the controls. He had been expelled from high school, but that didn’t make sense. He didn’t like music. The first time we went out we got lost in the country and I pissed in a ditch on the side of the road. On my second date with Michael I was wrecked. I was in heat , lucid, foaming at the mouth. The days were aching with wretched anxiety and I scratched at my skin, waiting for the burn to subside. We were wandering in his RAV4, reeling from the humidity. We drove out Highway 7 as though aiming to break free, but I was unprepared for the barricade of the right-side train bridge. We pulled over, cracked our backs, fell out of the car: knee-deep in goldenrod, shins rubbed raw from heat-rash and cat-grass. The bridge: It is still thirt y meters tall, concrete and metal, rusted deep orange, stretching across the river, parallel to the highway. It carries the main line in and out of Kitchener. There are no fences or barricades. The water underneath is shallow. All around it: nothing. Michael and I blow cat-grass as we pull one another up the hill, towards the rails. The night is falling quickly and edges me back to a slow simmer. I breathe clover, grease on the air. At the edge of the bridge I do not balk. The rails shine out before me like the arrow of escape, and I run. When I open my eyes I am half way across and the water below is a refracted, shattered sheen. The darkness is complete; the stars sear across my retinas and I keep running, watching how my feet hit each tie, stamping my existence onto each component used to carr y ten-tonne killing machines screaming over the fields, suspended thirt y meters over shallow, muddy water. At the other end I stop, breathe. I touch my face, touch the ground with my hands. The earth is warm. It’s shaking. Michael met up with me on the other side. He had walked, one tie at a time, across the bridge, praying all the while for each tie to be the last of the bridge. I found out later that night , over watery hot chocolate and stale bagels, that he was afraid of heights. He wouldn’t look me in the face. I tried to shrug it off, laughed, asked for more driving lessons. I chewed on my hair as he made his excuses, and he dropped me off at my parents’ place. I sat on the roof that night , unmoving. I slept , exhausted, on my bedroom floor. Now, I watch the sun swirl around Peter’s face and I remember our first summer. It was such a similar, feverish day. My shoulders were burnt and Peter’s hair was askew, as usual. I had spoken of running train bridges. We were untouchable; so why not? We flew on bikes with the wind at our backs and were standing, in no time, at the base of the train bridge. I remember looking up and seeing the words: ‘TWAS NOW. And, of course, it was. We waded through that familiar goldenrod, and my eyes watered with the heady smell of it . At the edge of the bridge: nothing. I watched those twin rails glisten in the flickering light . This time it was golden. Peter took one step, then two. When he took off running my stomach dropped, and I made him stop. I was not in heat . I was not exhausted. I no longer had a death wish. I could not bear to lose the newness in my days. He came back to me and I wanted to cry with relief. Yesterday, with coffee, on the porch in the low-lit morning: I cannot believe that the bridge no longer exclaims ‘TWAS NOW. It is. It always has been.
sometimes when i watch a story Emma McPherson
Sometimes when I watch a story, life is what feels artificial. Sometimes I wonder if I am simply surrounded by inauthentic people—I watch the long, knowing silences and observe the emotive touches, glances. These are carefully drafted, but they feel tangible. Life isn’t like that; it’s not full of these meaningful interactions. Then every once in a while you have one, and you realize that maybe it’s not simply those whom you’ve surrounded yourself with who are inauthentic. Maybe I myself have inauthentic experiences. Our perceptions are what link us to other people in life—these interactions hinge entirely on perceptions of what is real and what isn’t . Despite strong feelings and a clear ability to emote, I’m not sure I’ve ever been truly honest in my life. All I am ever sure of is wanting continuation in the form of other people. How I achieve that , and if I can, often has little to do with authenticity and everything to do with what the person in question needs from me. It’s different when I read a book. That feeling of being hung over from a book—how a book can leave you so empty and sick, can leave you sideways on the ground staring at its closed cover, lost as to how it could just end. How it ended is often irrelevant . Real life endings are exactly like the ending of a good book: entirely devastating. A girl came into our friend group once, sauntered in suddenly having just moved and started enchanting effortlessly with every loud laugh and kinetic ramble she contributed. She was, in a word, honest; she made no effort to hide the trials of her life, even the ones etched in her skin, but she was never a downer to be around. She could sit around smoking pensively as easily as she could animatedly scream and cheer on a game. Drunk or sober, she found her way to the center—we parted to let her trajectory succeed there. We wanted her there. She revealed that she preferred to be around people, that she was sad all the time unless she had people to please. I watched her and shook with unity, trembled my way out of my skin silently. One of the guys in our group, a teacher, confessed he loved her almost immediately after we introduced them, and made me promise not to say anything. She was taken and very devoted. Another friend confessed he loved her, too. The two stayed silent and I watched them every time we were all together, shoulder to shoulder, beer in hand, watching her wildly explain a story or opinion, laughs and curses peppered in, both of them with distant smiles on their faces. Authentic. I just watched. They spoke to me about her often, separately, venting about some small thing she did that made her something like a star, untouchable and dazzling. She made me feel listless to watch, despite my own affections for her; it felt more important to watch others watching her. Maybe I’m not honest enough to have authentic experiences, or maybe I don’t trust that anyone else is honest enough for anything to be real. I’m not always sure she’s real. Sometimes she’ll touch me— side by side on a sofa with six other friends, everyone talking but me, her knuckles
lightly bump into my arm with a grin. No one else is seeing it , like we’re invisible surrounded by people in another dimension entirely. Like we’re imagining them in the quiet passing between us. I think of what that grin would have meant to me years ago, when I was more insane. And when she does—I feel it connect . I want it to be real; it certainly feels real. I shake in the brink of something feeling true. Then I look around and I realize what’s plastered on my face is fixed income. Her knuckles graze me often. Between bouts of her taking center stage, a dull roar of the group around us picks up with smaller conversations and I watch and she’ll graze me. Sometimes she grins, sometimes she folds her lower lip under her teeth. I get more of her attention than they do, probably because I am not as loud. I’ve learned not to trust what comes into my head, let alone what makes its way out of my mouth. To be included, to observe is enough sometimes when I consider I don’t know if what I’m seeing is really happening. But I engage her less, I contribute to her less, so she is drawn to my silence and its potential disapproval. Drawn to my quiet communion and how it might mean she doesn’t have me. The more I watch her, the more convinced I become that this can’t be honesty. How engaged she is whenever anyone speaks to her, the curve of her body toward whoever engages her. No one person can be everyone’s girl, and there she is. Heart on her sleeve and a hand on every shoulder. Each day she contributes to
Olivia Dolphin I really thought it could have been forever, until that moment . The moment I drove through the familiar streets of our hometown, and put the car in park. You were already there. Waiting for me like usual, and usually smiling. But this time, it wasn’t usual at all. I really thought it could have been forever, until that moment . Until I saw the thin pursed lines that were your lips. The lips I loved on my neck, on my skin, filling me with a pulse that reminded me that I was young. Young, and foolish and in love. Reminding me that this could be forever. Could be. I got out of the car and opened the door to the back seat . The same back seat where we made love for the first time, so foolishly in love. I pulled out the can of gasoline and a single book of matches. That’s all it would take. And that was it . The End. Fin. You wiped your tears away and I dealt with mine. We stood in silence. I waved from the other side of the sudden space that now existed between us, as our rickety wood and rope bridge fell into the mess that we left behind. We could never return to this place. Some bridges are meant to burn. It’s easy sometimes, to drop the match and never look back. So I dropped the match. Just after the heat on my fingers became unbearable. I really thought it could have been. Forever. I really thought it was going to be forever until I came home that night , and went to your room like usual. Usually you were there, headphones on, leaned back so sweetly in your chair. Usually, I would toss myself into your lap, and demand the affection and attention I needed to survive. Though this time, I sat down on your bed. The bed where we made love so many times. It had been beautiful, for a while—our nightly routine, cooking dinner together, and making jokes that only you and I found funny, falling asleep next to you with my arms wrapped around my childhood pillow. It had been beautiful, for a while. Had been. For a while. “Do you even still love me?” The words spilled from my mouth before I could choke them back down—the aftertaste of regret strong on my tongue. “I don’t know.” The silence sat between us and here I was again. Again. Though this time, I didn’t cry and I couldn’t find the matches and I had left the gas tank where it belonged outside on the deck. Because I didn’t think that it would come to this,
that our conversation would lead us to this, and I honestly thought it could have been forever. Honest , I did. Because it felt different , and it felt final. Now, in that moment , I really thought it could have been forever. That I could be, would be, without you, forever. I had never been more wrong. We worked through awkward car rides, awful silence, and left over marks on my neck from someone else, marks that you were never meant to see. We worked through two feet of snow trapping us inside the same house for four days. We worked through me not knowing, in the slightest , what I wanted. It seemed like we would never get back to where we were. Yet , every time you made me laugh, I would inch closer to the edge. And every secret I told you was another bolt in the metal. Every time my phone lit up with a text from you was another steal rod welded into place. Every sushi roll shared, and every phone crisis you fixed for me was cable rope, harnessing the pieces together. Every time you tell me you love meâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;all part of the bridge that now holds us together. I wanted you. Some bridges are meant to burn. Some are meant to withstand any storm or earthquake. Some are meant to be torn down, lined with explosivesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;an audience eager for the destruction. Our bridge was meant to be rebuilt .
Kr ysten Trindade When my grandfather passed away, there was only a viewing. My grandmother is a staunchly pragmatic brand of Christian whose only concession to a traditional ceremony was making sure that my grandfather was dressed in his best suit for his cremation. “He’ll come up to those gates dressed well,” she told us as we huddled around a gurney in a small back room of the funeral parlor. Technically, as the parlor assistant had explained, what was happening was known as an ”identification.” In the worst case scenarios, it was the kind of thing that involved a police officer and a grief councilor and was meant to make sure that the body pulled from the car was actually your daughter/brother/husband/etc. For us, it was a clinical term for a private and hastily put together wake. We all acknowledged it for what it was. That was my grandfather, sure enough—that was the suit he wore to my brother’s wedding, those were the liver spots he’d had since I was a child. We observed, we made a few comments in line with our particular brand of family gallows humor, and through it all, we stayed separate. We were alone, together. We are a close family, but we are private. This privacy has never been more glaring to me than it was in the days after my grandfather’s quiet death. We are as islands, connected by a sandbar. We are close enough to communicate, but never close enough to touch unless we make the effort to wait out the tides and cross the sandbar. For some of us, the effort is exhausting. The tide seems to never leave, and the sand is always tricky, pulling us down, reminding us why it’s easier just to be alone. In that tiny room with the distracting glint of the lights on the metal gurney, the urge to cloister myself was nearly overpowering. The connections between us were tenuous, almost unstable. Someone must always make the first move, because to meet in the middle would be to crash. Simply crossing however, gave no guarantee of reciprocation – what if you braved the crossing only to be rebuffed, or to find that the other had left their island to seek the comfort of another’s? It is an act of capitulation, to acknowledge one’s need for another. For myself, and for my brothers and for my father, it was also one of bravery. To cross in search of comfort meant to acknowledge that yes, he was dead, and yes, our family dynamic had changed irrevocably. But we are, at heart , as pragmatic as my grandmother. We knew what it meant , we knew it had to be done. Gently, briefly, we joined in our grief. I trudged across the sandbar to say goodbye with my family. I gave my grandfather one last kiss on the cheek, and gave in to the need to retreat .
[ book reviews ] cold spell COLD SPELL by Deb Vanasse 224pp. University of Alaska Press. $15.95. Review by LAURA APPERSON It’s strange to think that a photo of a glacier pulled from the pages of a magazine could so deeply fascinate a woman from Pine Lake, Mn. For Ruth Sanders, the glacier is more than just a pretty photo framed on her bedside table; it is an opportunity to transport herself away from her broken home—and that is exactly what she does. Deb Vanasse’s Cold Spell tells the story of Ruth and her two daughters Sylvie and Anna after their father leaves them for a new wife (and a new life). After Ruth’s boyfriend Kenny, an Alaska man, decides he wants to return home, she decides she will pick up her small family and follow along, much to the horror of 16-year-old Sylvie. Anna, her little sister, feels the opposite; a move to Alaska is a grand adventure she can’t wait to make. Furious with her mother for moving to a place where finding friends and keeping them will be even more difficult , Sylvie feels as if no one understands her in Kenny ’s small Alaskan town. Though Vanasse captures Sylvie’s need for friends and security perfectly as the family makes the big move away from her Pine Lake companions, her character is often a mystery—as much to the readers of Cold Spell as to her mother. For example, Sylvie loves the epic poem Beowulf, comparing herself to the monster Grendel and periodically quoting memorized excerpts throughout the novel. Though an interesting fact about the troubled Sylvie, the Beowulf excerpts often fail to make an impact , as Sylvie recalls excerpts almost at random and there is often no translation from Old English. Though perhaps intending to be a beautiful characteristic, it ends up being a confusing one. Despite this, Sylvie’s
“For a long time she studied the glacier, amazed at how knowing and loving were so alike, and yet one didn’t always lead to the other.”
character presents a stunning picture of a teenage girl struggling to find acceptance at home, in Pine Lake, or in Alaska. The story compares Ruth’s desperation for a happier, more stable life with Sylvie’s desire to be loved and accepted by both her friends in Pine Lake and her own mother, who is too focused on securing a happy life than making a connection with her daughter. The two heartbroken women take paths that veer dangerously far away from each other, and, in the end, only a tragedy will shift Ruth’s focus away from Kenny and the glacier to her lost daughter desperate to be heard. Vanasse has a keen talent for showing the growing tension between mother and daughter, highlighting the awkward encounters within their own home in addition to their disagreements in public. Though written in third person, Vanasse changes the point of view from Ruth to Sylvie when appropriate, and it always feels like a natural shift . And as the pair try to fit in—Sylvie reluctantly, Ruth willingly—they find out in much different ways that maybe the glacier wasn’t quite enough to create a new, happy life in Alaska. Much more is required to live in the wilderness in a small, close-knit community. Vanasse paints a true picture of this isolation for both characters; her experience as a 21-year-old living alone in the Alaskan wilderness paved the path for this kind of writing. The glacier changes Ruth’s life for good, but maybe not in the way she would have expected. The reader gets to see a transformation in both characters that shows just how different life in Alaska is for the mother and daughter— and just how cold.
- Cold Spell by Vanasse
Vanasse has a keen talent for showing the growing tension between mother and daughter, highlighting the awkward encounters within their own home in addition to their disagreements in public. Though written in third person, Vanasse changes the point of view from Ruth to Sylvie when appropriate, and it always feels like a natural shift.
“ a l a s k a c r o s s i n g , ” K a t e c i a v a r r a
e a s t c o a s t e v e n t s fall 2014
poetry spoken here
First Monday of Every Month; York, PA
Calling all Pennsylvanian poets! Don’t worry! “Poetry is very much alive in York, PA.” These monthly events are open to poets, poetry lovers, and, of course, the public. yorkcity.org/poetry
books at noon
Wednesday from Now until November 9; New York, NY
Writers and readers, rejoice! Come hear established authors, like Jane Smiley and Martin Amis, read excerpts from their stories in New York City’s beautiful public library. You might even get the chance to ask your question at the end. nypl.org/events/booksatnoon
Anhinga Press 40th Anniversary Celebration October 9–10; Tampa, FL
Poets don’t get many chances to come together in a big way, so for those in Florida, we have good news. To celebrate their 40th Anniversary, Anhinga Press (an independent poetry press) is putting on a festival with readings, discussions, and prime networking opportunities. According to their website, “Featured poets include David Kirby, Earl S. Braggs, Erika Meitner, and Frank X. Gaspar. Tampa Bay area poets include Don Morrill, Silvia Curbelo, and Rhonda J. Nelson.” With panel topics like “The Poet’s Sense of Place” and “View from the Editor’s Desk,” this festival promises to be both educational and fascinating. $25–75; anhinga-press-poetry-festival.org
new york comic con
October 9–12; New York City, NY
We don’t need to explain Comic Con to you, do we? We didn’t think so. Instead, we’ll just list some of the amazing guests: Jeff Kinney, Margaret Stohl, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Max Brooks, Babs Tarr, Aisha Tyler, Andrew Lincoln, Bill Nye, Brad Bird, Adam Horowitz, Chris Parnell, Dan Harmon, Danai Gurira, H. Jon Benjamin, Jessica Walter, Judy Greer, Kristen Schaal, Hodor, Patrick Stewart, Norman Reedus, Randall Munroe, Seth Green, William Shatner, Tom Kenny, Billy West… (want us to keep going?) $35 single-day tickets available; newyorkcomiccon.com
2014 Maryland Conference on Academic & Professional Writing
October 10–11; College Park, MD
For those of you interested in the theory, research, and practices of university academic and professional writing courses, participate in this conference. National and international writing scholars will be there to guide the conversation. arhu.umd.edu/2014UMDwritingconference
Open Mic Poetry in Washington D.C.
Want poetry all day every day? Here’re some events for you!
• Every Monday of Every Month: Mic Check, a place to “check” in with reality. poetry247.com/miccheck/ index.html • Every Thursday of Every Month: Spit Dat, one of the longest running open mics in Washington D.C. poetry247.com/spitdat/ • Every Friday of Every Month: Heard Through the Grapevine, a good combination of wine and poetry. poetry247.com/grapevine/index.html
Fact into Fiction: Writing the Historical Novel
October 16–19; Honesdale, PA
Historical fiction is hard—but it could be easier. Come to this four-day workshop and learn how to balance historical facts and character plots. highlightsfoundation.org/workshops/fact-into-fiction-writingthe-historical-novel
red clay writers conference
October 18; Kennesaw State University, GA
The Red Clay Writers Conference has been held every year since 2009 by the Georgia Writer’s Association in order to inspire, teach, and bring together writers across the state. This year’s keynote speaker is Lynn Cullen, a prolific author who will speak about historical fiction. In addition to Cullen and various panels, writers will be able to submit manuscripts for group critiques—a fantastic opportunity to get input from fellow wordsmiths! redclayconference.org
fall festival on ponce
October 18–19; Atlanta, GA
Experience a fall festival in one of the most beautifully landscaped parks in Georgia. There will be an unbelievable display of 125 arts and crafts! festivalonponce.com
NINE: Lens Masters
October 18–November 21; Atlanta, GA
Love looking at photographs? Visit the pb&j Gallery and see the works of nine talented photographers capture all sorts of images from many different genres. In conjunction with Atlanta Celebrates
Photography, featured photographers include Bob Burkhardt, Lorrie Dallek and Joey Potter. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served and admission is free. pbj-gallery.com
Autumn Poetry Retreat and Workshop
October 19–23; Honesdale, PA
What could be more picturesque than rural Pennsylvania in the fall, surrounded by notebooks, writing, and creative thinkers? If this sounds like heaven to you, then consider this retreat. Participants will be given one-on-one time with instructors, as well as solo and group time to work, discuss, critique, and learn. Students will be immersed in poetry—how to create it, how to improve it, and all its different types. This is an amazing chance to learn about the craft and meet what are bound to be some great people. $995; awpwriter.org/programs_conferences/wcc_entry_view/1291/autumn_poetry_retreat_and_workshop
Colrain Classic Fall Poetry Manuscript Conference in Vermont October 24–27; Wilmington, VT
Poets in Vermont can have a similar experience to those in Pennsylvania this fall. This conference takes a select few talented artists and hosts them in a beautiful Victorian inn for three days. Participants will be taught and led by experienced and successful poets, eager to instruct the next generation. The focus of this conference is preparing and perfecting manuscripts, so this is great for writers who already have a book-length work in progress for which they need counselling. $1,375; colrainpoetry.com
Augusta Photography Festival
October 24–November 2; Augusta, GA
If you’re an avid photographer, check out this ten-day celebration of photography. Besides galleries and exhibits, there will be many different workshops to participate in and help you build your photography skills. augustaphotofestival.org
boston book festival October 25; Boston, MA
If you’re in Boston, this free festival is a wonderful chance to immerse yourself in the written word. There are panels and discussions scheduled for all kinds of genres and age groups, as well as instructive seminars to teach the nitty-gritty—and on top of all of this, a street fair which will take place in Copley Square with live music from Berklee College students. Presenters include investigative journalist Geeta Anand, fantasy/YA author Holly Black, Beacon Press director Helene Atwan, Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam, and many more.. bostonbookfest.org
national novel writing month November 1–30; Everywhere
If you’ve been struggling to get that novel written, the time has come to buckle in to the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) method. NaNoWriMo begins and ends with November and challenges you
to do one simple thing: Write a 50,000 word novel. Track how many words you write every day, lament about common writing issues, and embrace the community of writers all around you. nanowrimo.org
Steam Cleaning Your Poetry or Prose Manuscript November 1; Florence, MA
Need some help identifying your bad writing habits? Maybe you could check out Diana Gordan’s writing workshop and learn how to find these bad habits and figure out what to do with them. strawdogwriters. org/events/
Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair November 14–16; Boston, MA
Do you love old and rare books, or hunting for one-in-a-million first editions? Then get a ticket to the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, because you’ll be in paradise! For those new to the game, BIABF describes an antiquarian book as being “valued as a unique physical object”—so this is a setting where you’ll be surrounded by valuable literary treasures! More than 90 vendors will be showcasing their wares, so even if you don’t have a first edition budget, the window-shopping should be more than satisfying. bostonbookfair.com
Miami Book Fair International November 17–23; Miami, FL
Leave it to Miami to create an eight-day party based on books and all things literary! The Miami Book Fair will feature six nights of its Evening With… series, a street fair, a Festival of Authors, and a Children’s Alley schedule of activities. With more than 250 vendors and publishers and hundreds of thousands of guests, this is the place to be if you’re looking for a lively, bookish time. miamibookfair.com
North Carolina Writers’ Network 2014 Fall Conference November 21–23; Charlotte, NC
Come hang out with hundreds of other great readers and writers from around the country! This Fall Conference has everything an aspiring writer could want: readings, keynote speakers, open mike sessions, and one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents. ncwriters.org/2014-01-07-18-05-50/conferences/5962-fall-conference-2014-charlotte
The New Jersey Vintage Book and Ephemera Fair November 28–29; Totowa, NJ
The ABAA hasn’t forgotten the Garden State! If you’re in New Jersey, head on over for a similar experience to Boston’s show. You’ll also be able to meet with John Bruno, star of Market Warriors, for an appraisal if you have something you think might be valuable. abaa.org/events/details/the-new-jersey-vintage-bookephemera-fair Have an event for us to feature? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or submit it to ecimagazine.tumblr.com/submit.
[ contributors ] bridges, fall 2014
Michael Alexander is a freelance photographer based out of Miami, FL. He has worked professionally with some of the biggest names in fashion, such as Vogue, Bazaar, Glamour, InStyle, and Victoria’s Secret. Inspired by his involvement in the industry, he made a natural transition into shooting. He enjoys capturing and manipulating light. He shoots commercially as well as fine art, landscape and travel photography. michaelalexander.photography
SHANA BULHAN HAYDOCK
Shana Bulhan Haydock is a young South Asian American poet. Their writing embraces the duality of the personal and the political, weaving narratives of queer experience and cultural dissonance with themes of disability, heartbreak, and survival. Aside from intellectualizing the everyday nuances of existence and revolution, they also consume and analyze copious amounts of pop culture, wistfully long for feline companions, and collate exciting new fashion trends. For more information, visit their website: cruxate.com.
Kate Ciavarra is a 23-year-old graduate who loves being artsy. This includes singing, writing, painting, drawing, eating and all that fun jazz. Having recently conquered crow pose at the Easton Yoga Center, Kate considers herself quite the yoga enthusiast. That being said, she is also a goober; an amalgamation of Rapunzel, Anna, Elsa, Belle, and Vanellope. She is currently
a bookseller at Barnes & Noble in Bellingham, MA where she has worked for seven years. She lives in Yarmouth, MA with her parents, pets, and a billion books. evereverafterly.tumblr.com
Born in New York and an initially reluctant Georgia transplant, Amanda Clarkin fell in love with the written word because of a lazy-eyed English teacher in high school. Moving back to the city at seventeen, she cultivated that love and earned a BA in Literature with a focus in creative writing through Pace University. Now she skulks the streets of Bushwick/ Bed-Stuy with her tabby cat Murdoc by her side, while learning about how much of a beautiful bummer life really is at twenty-two and how many dreams really do get steamed away in milk when working at a coffee shop because writing just doesn’t pay the rent.
Sarah Elizabeth Colona lives and teaches in her home state, New Jersey. Her first poetry collection, Hibernaculum, was published by Gold Wake Press. Thimbles, a chapbook, was released by dancing girl press in 2012. Sarah’s poems appear in the anthology Unruly Catholic Women Writers: Creative Responses to Catholicism (SUNY Press). Follow this link to an interview/sampling of her poems on The Storialist: thestorialist. blogspot.com/2014/02/on-creativitysarah-e-colona.html
Olivia Dolphin is a graduate student in the Publishing and Writing program at Emerson College. In her spare time, she is the Senior Volunteer Coordinator for LeakyCon, a Harry Potter conference, and GeekyCon, a multifandom weekend celebration. Important things to know about Olivia are the following: She is obsessed with her cat Hazel; she only downloaded the QuizUp app for the Harry Potter trivia; she loves carrots but isn’t a fan of carrot cake. You can find her down at the Toshi Station picking up some power converters. @lividol
Carly Feinman is a tea-drinking, poetry-loving free spirit who strongly believes in the power of storytelling. She is currently studying Creative Writing at Wesleyan University. You’ve probably seen her at a coffee shop somewhere. email@example.com
MICHELLE FRASCA RINAT HAREL
Born and raised in Israel, Rinat moved to the U.S. in 1991, shortly after graduating from college. She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine arts, and is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at Emerson College, where she is developing a short-story collection that centers on life in Israel; her reply to her homeland’s multifaceted reality, and the sense of deep concern it evokes. To learn more, please visit her literary blog at rinatharel.blogspot.com
Liz Hibbard has lived her entire life in New England and works in the pharmaceutical industry, but painting and photography have always been her passions. Once she became a mother, finding the time
to paint became a challenge—so you could say her son Mickey inspired her to begin carrying a camera everywhere and snapping shots when she could. Though she is a Massachusetts native, her father’s family hails from South Carolina and the landscapes of the two states always inspire her work. firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope Kauffman is a U.S. born photographer and fine artist. Raised an East Coast kid, Hope completed her studies at Emerson College in Boston. She then assisted celebrity photographer Adam Brown in Los Angeles and trained under world-renowned fashion photographer Russell James in New York. Now, she wanders the globe collecting stories using her camera, her canvas, or even her iPhone. She can be found shooting seasonally between Miami, FL, and Whitefish, MT. hopekauffmanphotography.com
Steve Klepetar’s work has received several nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Three collections appeared in 2013: “Speaking to the Field Mice” (Sweatshoppe Publications), “Blue Season” (with Joseph Lisowski, mgv2>publishing), and “My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto” (Flutter Press). An e-chapbook, Return of the Bride of Frankenstein, came out in 2014 as part of the Barometric Pressures series of e-chapbooks by Kind of a Hurricane Press.
DAMARI M C BRIDE
Damari McBride is the founder of Philotography Images and is located in New York City. He based the name of his company around two things that he really loves: philosophy and photography. His
focus of photography includes fine arts, food, headshots, and editorials (mainly musicians). Damari loves getting his inspiration from simply living life, to create stories and then lose himself in creating those with the unlimited techniques of photography. email@example.com
Bob McCarthy is a resident of Whitman, MA. In the tradition of writers everywhere, he has made rent waiting tables, digging ditches, hawking kitchenware, driving a forklift, tending flowers and delivering laundry. He enjoys black coffee, red wine, dark beer and outdated phrases. @bobmccarthy64
JOAN M C NERNEY
Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Camel Saloon, Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Blueline, Spectrum, and included in Bright Hills Press, Kind of A Hurricane and Poppy Road Anthologies. She has been nominated three times for Best of the Net. Poet and Geek recognized her work as their best poem of 2013. Four of her books have been published by fine small literary presses and she has three e-book titles. firstname.lastname@example.org
EMMA M C PHERSON
Emma McPherson spends entirely too much time in the past, which can make the present relatively impossible. She has approximately 20 half-filled notebooks and won’t be found without something to physically write on. Her ideal form of escapism is a bottle of wine and a good book, a.k.a. someone else’s life. Ultimately, she aims to work in children’s book publishing. email@example.com
Patricia P. hails from the Philippines. She spends more time writing story outlines in her head than actually writing the story. This is due to the fact that she is constantly lazy and unwilling to do anything besides read books and drink coffee in bed. You can contact her and find more of her work at pennilesspoet.tumblr.com.
MK Stinson is a twenty-something woman living in Kitchener, Ontario. She is mostly interested in coffee, lichen, and swimming in rivers. While applying to graduate school for Neuroscience, she decided instead to study plants and is currently trying to figure out a way into a biology program. She writes and performs vocals in the powerviolence band Two Crosses and has recently selfpublished a zine of prose and short stories, titled unlearnings. All of this is very confusing. Questions about her present/future are terrifying but will be kindly fielded on Tumblr, under the username deusant. Don’t be shy.
For five years Nate Totten has worked in the field of video production creating content for unique people and businesses. His passion is telling storyies about people. He is his my own worst critic and uses that as a strength. In January 2014, he began a new journey as an artist, learning the first form of photography called Wet Plate Collodion. It is a digital world we live in now and this forces you to slow down and really focus on the art and create a one of a kind piece that will last longer than most of us. rottenphotography.com
A lifelong lover of great stories, Dee grew up reading books of all sorts but was especially drawn to the imaginative writings of Tolkien, Asimov, Bradbury, and others. He began composing film criticism in grade school, and while he still enjoys reviewing movies, his attention has turned increasingly to fiction. Dee has penned numerous short stories and recently completed his first novel. He would be delighted to hear from you at dee.travis@gmail. com.
Krysten Trindade is not an artist, but she spends a lot of time with artists of every nature and occasionally pretends to be like them. She is a student of history who resides in New York, collecting books and experiences whilst trying in vain to escape the service industry. This is her first foray into published writing. firstname.lastname@example.org
BART VAN GOETHEM
Dylan Young, an up-and-coming screenwriter currently residing in Baltimore, MD, enjoys long walks on the beach, writing about himself in the third person, and petting other people’s dogs without asking. While interested in multiple genres, Dylan’s specialization is comedy, which has a way of working its way into anything he writes. email@example.com
Changming Yuan, eight-time Pushcart nominee and author of Chansons of a Chinaman (2009) and Landscaping (2013), grew up in a remote village, began to learn English at 19, and published several monographs before leaving China. Currently, Yuan tutors and co-edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan in Vancouver. His poetry appears in 899 literary publications across 30 countries, including Asahi Shimbun, Best Canadian Poetry (2009;12;14), BestNewPoemsOnline, Ginyu, London Magazine and Threepenny Review. poetrypacific.blogspot.ca
Father. Copywriter. Drummer. Author of Life’s Too Short for Long Stories, a collection of micro-fiction (2012). More than 40 one-sentence stories have been published in print and online, as well as five flash-fiction stories. Follow him @bartvangoethem.
Ann Welch is an East Coast native who lived in New York for 30 years. She is a lover of words and has written extensively in her field of work, which, sadly, is unrelated to literature and poetry. She continues to live near bridges and water, now on the West Coast, where— among other things—she teaches, reads, sings, and writes. She can be contacted at anniewriterw@gmail. com.
ea st coas t ink | issue 004 | brid ges