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east coast ink issue 011 | MELT


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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . T h e S e c o n d P l a t e o f t h e M u s c l e s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .................. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .................. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Additions. coffee thoughts Summer Breath A Fever Redcurrant Memory Clearwater Court Rendezvous A Solution to Illiteracy White Heat I Hinder the Birds Untitled Anthem Script

F I C T I O N 2 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . M e d i e v a l T i m e s .................. The Birthday Girl .................. The Martian Invasions

M I C R O F I C T I O N 3 7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . T h e R i v e r b a n k

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . W h e n t h e W o r l d E n d e d , I L e f t Yo u

N O N F I C T I O N 4 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C o l o g n e

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Te l l i n g C h i l d r e n A b o u t S e x

A r t i s t S p o t l i g h t : J e n n i f e r A l l e n 5 3 e a s t c o a s t E V E N T S , s u m m e r 2 0 1 6 5 9

c o n t r i b u t o r s 6 5

ISSUE 011 EAST COAST INK Summer 2016


eci staff owner, editor-in-chief Jacqueline Frasca associate editor Austen Wright fiction editor Erika Childers nonfiction editor Jill Shastany

East Coast Ink Issue 011, Summer 2016: Melt . Copyright © 2016 East Coast Ink ISBN 978-1-365-23090-5

Cover image by Jennifer Allen of Bone and Ink. Images inside front cover, inside back cover, and on pages 9–10, 34, 41―42, 48, 52, and 59–64 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 ’ ve b e e n t re a d in g wa te r in th e inc redibly inspiring riptide of Sylvia P lat h’s l ife la te ly, a s I o f te n d o . A d a nge ro u s prac tic e, no doubt . My c opy of Le tte rs Ho m e — a co l l e c t i o n o f a ll th e le tte rs s h e wrote her m other and brot her from the t im e s he b e ga n c o l l e g e a t Smith u n til a week before her suic ide—is yellowed, torn, f ray ing , and s o we l l - love d th a t it’ s b o th a terrible sham e and a tot al indulgenc e to tur n ea c h p a g e a nd b e pa r t o f it . Eve ry tim e I reopen my obsession wit h P lath a nd he r re l a t i o n s h ip s (th is is mayb e every two years, c onservat ively), it t hrows me co m p l e te ly into my wr iting. I’ m working on a poem about t his, but , in lieu o f s pa ce , I ’ l l a t te m p t to d e s crib e it in s te a d. T h e Atla ntic a n d I jo ine d a gain for t he first t im e in five years, and w ith eve r y wave t h a t ros e ove r my h e a d , s u c king m e in c loser as it c urled, c om pulsio n s urg e d i n me . I n c re d ib le pu r p os e . I d ove and c arved my way fart her out , and not hing b ut wa te r s t a re d b a ck, a n d noth ing but water touc hed m e, and the 10 perc ent o f my b o dy t h a t d o e s n’ t b e lon g to th is elem ent —t he dust , t he nostalgia, the c art il a g e p ro ba bly— wa s a lie n a n d g on e , a nd I was hom e. The way liquid fills the sp a ce o f i t s c o n t a i n e r, th e d rop le t o f wa ter I am was wholly absorbed by it s likeness , a nd t h e bu rd e n o f b e ing a n ind ivid u al m elted away. Then my friends c alled m e b a ck to sh o re . To m e lt is a f u ll-b ody, o r even lac k- of- body, sensation—and when a pe rs o n m a ke s yo u me lt , it’ s like s ome th ing anc ient st irring and t aking c ontrol, beca us e yo u j u s t c a n’ t ke e p yo u r h e a d a b ove it . So you dive—it ’s not always best , but d a mn i f i t i s n’ t n i c e not to th ink fo r a spell. Sum m er c an m elt us in a m illion ways , a nd ca n be t h e j oin in g o f mind f u ln e s s and m indlessness. Relinquishing c ont rol is so m e t h i n g I s e ld o m d o in a ny a rea of my life, whic h is why the experienc es tha t m a ke a p e r s on me lt a re s o e n ticing to m e. We re a ch e d ou t to wr ite r s and artist s all along t he c oast and asked t he m to sh ow u s wh a t th is fe e lin g evoke d for t hem . I n these pages you’ll find sum m e r y p h o to s a n d pa intings , s e ns u a l p oem s, and vivid prose. We are stunningly excite d to have f re qu e n t co ntr ib u tor a n d cover artist Jennifer Allen feat ured as this s umme r ’s A r t i s t S p o t l igh t , wh ich ca n b e fo und on page 53. We also enc ourage you to ta ke a t ri p ( o r te n , re a lly, b e ca u s e it’ s sum m er) to any of t he inc redible E ast Coa s t eve nts t a k i n g p l a c e in th e n ex t fe w mo nt hs. For details so you c an get st arted on yo ur ve r y own L i te ra r y Ro a d Trip 2 0 1 6 , f lip to page 59. B e fo re I s u r re n d e r mys e lf in every sense of the word to Lake Winnip e s a uke e fo r t h e fo re s e e a b le f u tu re , I wa n t to rem ind you that our #m akesm em elt so cia l m e d i a c o n te s t is a b o u t to b e gin . Follow @ec im agaz ine on Twit ter and I nst a g ra m fo r m o re d e t a i l s, a n d s h a re a s mu ch as you possibly c an. We want to live vic a r io us ly t h ro u gh yo u .

Jacqueline Frasca




“It Was As If The Buildings Wept,” Jack Savage

[ poetry ] the second plate of the muscles Holly Day

Even without his skin, he is beautiful, curves marked with letters Rippling as he strides purposefully to the left Of the page, eyes turned towards Heaven, hands beckoning to something Cut off by the book’s seam, he radiates pleading, perhaps Calling his billowing skin down from the clouds. The palazzo lies in ruins just behind him, perhaps symbolic Of the man whose skin was ripped from a still-pliable carcass, Perhaps not . Trees have dug their roots in between the arches of Crumbling stonework, prying apart the clay bricks as efficiently as The round, metal lobes of a sternum retractor.



Margaret Mar y Riley Ask me nobody ever remembers their questions I like to look in the mirror, don’t you, I want to make sure I’m still here once I shriveled into the wall my fingers curled tight into fists they burrowed into my stomach

they want to know what I am is your skin designer made where did you buy your eyes no no no these aren’t the questions I wanted I’m tired the popcorn munching man drools on my feet you can sit it’s okay he doesn’t want to sit he just wants to prove I’m real he can do this through science he adjusts his glasses and wipes spittle from the corners of his mouth yesand his fingers stutter down my skin I just need to do a detailed survey okfine he won’t stop clearing his throat just stop clearing your throat

occasionally I think about the time you curled into your mind and I had to pry your fingers from your eyes and you spit on my feet not really sure how to feel about it you bit your lower lip and hissed I’d like to curl inside your mind and disappear, I tell you this over coffee, and you smile he wants to stay canItouchcanIstrokecanIgetcloser yes okay his drool puddles on my stomach, he wipes his mouth on my neck, checkchecking boxes if it’s scientific do you ever want to subtract your emotions—take them out and file the fevers for a later date, shoved in a mental card catalog, no, I’m not sure how to feel about it , when I see you alone I want to crush my head between my hands.


coffee thoughts Kate Ciavarra

the streets are stone and sleek like the people. handsome men and lovely ladies walk by like whispers in tall, tall heels. the city is too big and i’m so small my hands aren’t pretty and my God my heart’s got so hard

kate galloway


summer breath Steve Klepetar

I know you hate the heat , hate the way it sucks at your lungs, how it twists your beautiful hair into sweaty strands.

I know the sun tears at you, and how you crave the smallest pools of shade. I have seen your eyes blur in this brutal

light , and felt your hot hand, though on days like this you don’t like to touch or talk or even move through this humid

summer breath. I know that if you could open the day, slit the air and peel it back to create a space to slip through to a world

where gray northern winds carry snow and chill you would return to yourself, wrap up and let me hug your body back to warmth.


a fever

Grace Hoffman delivered you to my sweaty sheets; I can’t close my eyes because a single blink will cause you to disappear— I must have imagined the steady inflate of your belly against my back, and the plush of your mouth on the nape of my neck. You sleep soundly, and I burn up bringing your knuckles to my lips aching to chew them, then spit them out shiny as nickels.

You won’t feel a thing. I’ll bite down to bone, and you’ll still dream. I shiver and push closer to prove I’m not a glittered haze—a gauze curtain to simply slip through before racing back into the night . “Did you sleep at all?”

Weak sunlight peers out from under my blinds. You’re putting your glasses on and lightly touching black half-moons under my eyes, and in my delirium, I lie.




redcurrant memory Giulietta Schoenfeld

Pressing the bucket tight To the girl’s chest , nudging her granddaughter out of the house Towards the garden, the grandmother is enveloped In the blossom of marigold, where the petals unfurl Into brittle photographs, dog-eared, yellowing— A summer scene blistering in memory For seeping from sepia photographs, percolating White frothy layers of cream topping off milk warm From the family farm, rich on the tongue But satisfying to a pair of young girls Stooping to yank weeds from the garden, scrambling After rabbits feasting on cabbage— One sister flies Down the ladder, grinning, twirling in her lacy frock, swings A basket full of currants, laughing At the younger sister swatting flies away— The fruit bounces, spills Over the sides like red tear drops, rolling to the ground Where the younger sister scoops them up Before lying in the grass With her sister, tangy juice from currants running, Intermingling with sweat dribbling Down their chins, untroubled By red splotches blooming on aprons, unbothered By tickling grass that scratches their legs, Or the buzzing halo of flies above, content With redcurrants, as the scene fades To a dusty window And the weathered state Of the garden Sharpens into view, as the grandmother waits For the granddaughter To hoist the bucket on her arms, grip The battered rungs Of the old ladder, and climb.


“Bathwater No.2,” Chandelle Heffner



Nate Totten


Clearwater court Celia Lechtman

I wish we were eight together and you could catch the fireflies that blink­b linked hovering and spare on the tip of your broke­n ailed finger I could laugh when you crushed their phosphorescence against your face, round and peach­c heeked sweating through the thick air aftermath of a southern summer thunderstorm

I wish you’d go to the block parties but not all of them so I could wait for you with a Chinet plate of Miss Debbie’s crock­p ot meatballs while the parents played Trivial Pursuit and I counted your absence through the whirr of the VHS­t ape­r ewinder in the neighbor’s basement that smelled like popcorn and sweet must and felt like a ceramic thimble scraping against my teeth Maybe you’d ride my school bus when the roads were still unpaved and I could stare at the dirt­i nches coating the bottom of your sneaker Maybe you’d give me marbles instead of valentine



Joan McNerney That was the name of a paint can from J&M Hardware. With sweat lingering on her face, she colored her room.

Tinted now like insides of ripe plums, like perfect grapes. When the sizzling lemon sun dropped from heaven... night became moist and black.

Her fan whirled thick air stained with cigarettes coffee, turpentine, white wine.

She sank into her wicker couch as fog horns trail the horizon.

Lotus screech relentlessly for water always wanting more more more water. Closing her eyes, remembering him now tasting the feast of his smile.


a solution to illiteracy Holly Day

Pope Boniface VIII made it illegal to boil the bones of any man who had died abroad, so during his criminal papacy, all corpses had to be carried intact , or in bloody pieces from whatever holy battlefield they met their end.

Anatomists of the day had to make their drawings of bones of skeletons from the burnt or impaled corpses of criminals interred above ground as a warning to their countrymen, pieces ripped clean from their dangling corpses, of what sort of end

waits for dissenters, an end written in the lengths of exposed white bone in the scattered pieces of criminals left at the crossroads leading out of town.

White Heat

Joan McNerney This dry moment we lay in sweat beds. Limp flowers turned into themselves.

Lightning scorches skies with hot zigzags. Will it ever rain, when will cicadas be silent?

Memories of a white room burning pains‌ shunts, stains. A bottle bursts filling the sidewalk with rancid beer. Throat of bird swollen, screaming.


i hinder the birds Jacqueline Frasca

I fear we’ll fall through the decades’ wear on the dock, paint chipping away the feet that ran here, tested early summer chill and dared to dive in. Wilder now.

This is not my lake— these are not my emerald mallards— and the erosion was not made by a joy I can claim. The creatures are having their run of the water, undisturbed by swimmers— skimming the surface to lay their ripples skyward before they dive deep, splashing, viciously deeper with strong wingbeats, fighting for an ounce of flesh. I can’t shake them out . I am glassy, meeting the years sans volition, as everyone beneath disturbs my ground, the shallows and the dark mask pocketing the west banks, and everyone on top of me wrestles their way in. Inhale before the plunge— I contain multitudes of those I have drowned and those who have drowned me. The water fowl offer their designs to the clouds I reflect .


untitled anthem Pascale Jar vis

April is the cruelest month, bred from acidic bread crumbs

the window has nothing to hold on to there is no god. I promised my momma that these months devoid of self-care were just self-exploration; I promised my dad I would quit hiding my red madness behind curtains of ash, but quitting is a life-long commitment and my feet have never quite mastered the Art of Thaw i was half-asleep, coked out , dead— i didn’t even land in my chair.

This life of fire This life of stone This life of Golden Twilight and moments spent face-first in thunderstorm, tasting lightning on our fingertips, leaves us Concentrated: reduction. Boil me into neurotransmitter Bliss, let me simmer in honey-sweet human connection but where did you land?

Our world is stone-soft , sharp-lock, picked-shock: gaze me into sky unlock the breathing behind my eyes goosebump soundwaves through my mind.


We break each other whole and stitch our shattered until we gleam: she tells me about rose quartz, her pants are the color of self-love. i caught myself.


Giulietta Schoenfeld S cene 1. to pry open loneliness in the inkblots. and assess mistake

S cene 2. II. acting now with cellulose curiosity the red wax melting oxygen

S cene 3. and watch their hands. clap for metamorphosis.

S cene 4. inside there’s the same heavy haze, the same stage whispers: return to the script


S cene 5. your hands scrunch the paper; there is always doubt behind balance. but you stay here at the front . anger’s a fire you’ll burn out soon because the truth in shadow is waiting for you to exist



“festival,� kate ciavarra

w e n d y v a n c e


[ fiction ] medieval times D ylan Young

I know the exact moment I lost you. We went to Medieval Times for date night , you’d been wanting to go for a while. It was never really my thing, but you were very into it , and you always had a way of getting me to have fun when you were. I suppose I just liked making you happy. We sat down at those long wooden tables, stuck between the family from Michigan that had dressed up, and the foreign couple that were extremely confused. We watched the jousts and ate our turkey legs, clapping along as the Green Knight unhorsed the Red, cheering as the Prince vanquished the evil Black Knight in single combat . For the finale, the King asked if anyone thought they could unseat him in a joust , and you looked at me. Your eyes burned with a fire I had seen only once before, and as your hand shot up, something inside me knew it . Though you didn’t get picked, it was still that moment when you realized you might be. You fashioned lances out of brooms and made me joust you in our living room. You knocked me down time after time but insisted you needed to practice more. There was about a week that I was determined to best you, and I did once. It was my hope that you’d get one taste of defeat and give up that foolish quest , but it only strengthened your resolve. You’d stay up all night watching jousting videos and, not wanting to disturb me when you went to bed, we started sleeping in different rooms. Every weekend you’d beg me to take you back there, and I, powerless to turn you down, would every weekend take you. Each night the king would ask if anyone was brave enough to joust him for the throne, and each night you would hold up your hand. Each night you were passed over, and each week we’d begin again. Training, bruises, studying, drive to Medieval Times, repeat . Three months went on like this, an entire summer of watching you slip slowly into your obsession. That was the summer the tornado hit . It came in the night and ripped through half the town, destroying homes, destroying lives. It took weeks to rebuild everything that had been damaged. Time stopped still for our little town. Yet in this disaster you saw opportunity, your chance to seize what at this point you’d felt was owed to you. Surely no one would be going to Medieval Times. You were beyond asking at this point , so of course we went . The usual crowd was whittled down to about seven. You barely touched the mutton pie and didn’t even look at your Castle Bread. Your eyes were on the King the entire time. The contractually obligated games that night were lackluster. No one likes performing for seven, especially on the tail of a natural disaster. When the


Green and Red Knights squared off, the vigor and pomp that had been there before was gone. I found out later the Green Knight had been outside with his daughter when the twister touched down. He called out to her halfway across the yard to come back into the house, but being an inquisitive six-year-old she ran towards the twisting eye of the storm. “Look Daddy, I’m flying!” she called as the tornado winds lifted her up into the sky. She was carried off giggling with the pieces of Joe’s Corner Liqour store. The Green Knight lost his joust that night . After the food was cleared and the final joust had taken place, the King asked if there was anyone who would like to joust him. Yours was the only hand. You kissed me for the first time in weeks, and the last time, as you were called down to the pitch. You geared up and I watched you mount the horse. You squared up the lance like I had seen you do a million times before. The officiator counted down and you drove your horse on, each step taking you closer to victory. You gripped the lance with a determination that I’d never seen before, and it frightened me. You shoved aside the King’s lance with your shield, your own making contact with his sternum, knocking him clear off his horse. The King hit the ground with a crunch of metal and the crowd of six fell silent . Even the royal court was in awe. The King lay on the ground for a moment before getting up. He declared you the victor, and by right , the new ruler of the court . The crowd of six cheered, my own voice loudest among them. The duke brought out the crown and asked you your name. He declared you Queen Shannon, the First of Her Name, and you took a moment to savor everything you had worked for. I could swear in that moment you were crying. Your first act as Queen was to have the old King beheaded. He still had friends in the court , and you didn’t want to give him a chance to usurp your throne you’d worked so hard to get . The guillotine was wheeled out as he begged for mercy, and before everyone present you took his head. His daughter cried, but you threatened her with the same fate should she or anyone else ever go against you. Then the night was over. I was asked to leave, and that was it . I waited around for you in the parking lot , but after three hours I drove home. Every now and then I wonder how you are, or how things might’ve been had that tornado never hit , but it’s probably for the best . Sometimes when I feel alone I’ll go to Medieval Times to watch your newly imposed joust to the death. Sometimes, when I feel like dying, I’ll raise my hand. I’ll see you see me as you scan the crowd, and what I think is sadness flashes across your face for a moment , but you never pick me. You know how to spot the fever in the eyes of the determined, for that was once you, and you always cull them before they have a chance to train. I’m treated once more to watching as your body count rises by one more foolish soul that thought they could handle you.


the birthday girl Matt Lowe

This negotiation isn’t going so well. There’s no body language to read, but I can tell the Haberdashers are angry, agitated. Their chitterchatterfritterfrattering voices have gotten louder, and even the whispers of their hats, brushing together as they move around their ship, have grown loud enough to cause some static on this call. I’d hoped to speak with just one Haberdasher, with just two or three handfuls of fingers flying around. Instead, I’ve a habit of them: porkpies, peachbaskets, fedoras, all milling about , signing in and out of the conversation. I breathe a prayer of thanks that Keener isn’t in the room with me; if I even mouthed the word “porkpie,” my Outfox-kit would be here in a scramble, somehow understanding any word, in any language, involving meat . And this is going badly enough without him. This isn’t how I wanted to spend my birthday. I’d rather spend it taking a walk in the Willow Cabin, the forest-chamber at the heart of my ship. I’d pack a picnic, whistle for Keener and Jean-Baptiste, and off we’d go, basking in the warm light of the Sunbeam running along the Cabin’s core. And if I can wrap this conversation up quickly, we might still get to do that . But the Write Arm on my Machiner broke yesterday. It quit making happy-printernoise and started making angry-printer-noise; then, nothing. Without a working Machiner, I can’t machine any spare parts I might need. And only the Haberdashers deal in Machiner parts. And out here, so far from civilization, you don’t run into Haberdashers every day. So I’m celebrating my birthday, negotiating with Haberdashers. I don’t mind the Habs. I don’t . It’s not like they ’re ugly—you never see their bodies or faces at all. I don’t even know if they have any. Nobody seems to know. All you ever see is their feet , poking out under their hats. Scaly feet , stumpy feet , webbed feet—sometimes more than two. And even more hats: not exactly Earth hat-styles, but it’s hard not to label them that way. Homburgs, pillboxes, boaters. Covering their bodies, except for those feet , and little windows that allow an arm to stick through or an eye to peek out . But otherwise, they ’re all hat . And feet . So looking at them isn’t the problem. Communicating with them is the real headache. Because they don’t talk—not in words anyone else understands. To each other, they make those chittering, frittering noises, like they ’re so cold that their teeth are chattering; or conversely, they ’re on the verge of overheating, and they ’ve got fans clattering away inside. With the rest of the Neighborhood, they communicate by sign language. With all those extra arms. Talking with Haberdashers isn’t really a conversation; more like a traffic jam of fingers. A busy mess of fingers, miming words and pictures from a language and culture that aren’t mine. So not easy. Not something I start lightly. But today, there’s no help for it . Happy birthday, Tillie. Even if you position your ship along a Haberdasher trading route, there’s no guarantee that a ship will show soon—the route is predictable, the schedule isn’t . But today, one came along: looking, as usual, like somebody tried to make a blindfolded collage of a spaceship and a castle. A spaceship-castle with double-



jointed cannon-cranes sticking out the bottom, like some long-legged marsh-bird. They accepted my Bluescreen call, and soon my screen was brimming with them. They tipped forward courteously (a tip of the hat , as a “good day to you,” seems to be universally inoffensive, even if your hat’s all you’re wearing), and I bowed, hatlessly, in return. I’d decided the direct route might be best . “My Machiner broke,” I said, deadlifting it from the floor, then making as if to drop it , or snap it over my knee, before setting it down. “I think it’s the Write Arm that’s broken.” I mimed a writing action in the air. I’ve no idea whether it helps them to speak aloud with my actions, but it helps me. Perhaps that wasn’t the best approach: suddenly they were all very excited, and not in a good way. Fritterfratter. Chitterchatter. Agitated hat static. Several sprouted arms, repeating my writing gesture back at me. Oh, dear, do they think I broke it on purpose? Or when I pretended I would drop it , did they take that as a threat? “I didn’t mean to break it ,” I explained, with a helpless shrug. Maybe I should’ve drawn them a picture. Now I wouldn’t have time. I’ve never seen them use their cannon-cranes before, but I was sure I didn’t want to. Haberdashers are weaponsmiths, not just tool-and-die guys. Maybe I should pay up-front . Then they ’d have to ask what I was paying them for—and maybe then they ’d stop repeating my writing motion and my shoulder-shrug, which were still popping and locking across their bridge, like a modern-dance disease. Haberdashers usually barter, but they also have their own currency: not quite like coins from Earth, but stackable tokens, minted to look like miniature caps. Most trade between Neighborhood races is just exchanging goods, trading one kind of treasure for another, without any money changing hands; one planet’s money isn’t worth much on another. But caps are accepted everywhere, their value doesn’t fluctuate, and they can’t be counterfeited. But they ’re not easy to come by. I’d rather not cash in the small stack of caps I’ve saved up, but I’ve got nothing that the Habs will want to trade, so it looks like I’ve got no choice. I put my precious stack of caps into the Bluetube capsule, close the capsule, and push it into the tube. There’s a soft fffoonk as the capsule disappears from my side of the pocket-universe, and I hear the answering fffoonk as it arrives on the Habs’ ship. A few of them go off-screen to see what I’ve sent—and there’s another explosion of hat-static and angry finger-waving. I can’t be sure, but it seems like the peepholes in their hats have narrowed, becoming angry little loopholes, as if they ’re considering shooting arrows at me. Have I insulted them? Do they think I’m trying to bribe them? Speaking to the porkpie in the middle of the screen, I try to explain— —and I’m tempted to revoke my earlier prayer of thanks: echoing down the corridors of my ship, I hear the pitter-patter of little feet . Keener’s coming to see what I’m up to. This is about to go from bad to meltdown. Last time someone saw the Outfox-kit on my Bluescreen, we got exiled. Now the Haberdashers will see him, and either they ’ll start shooting, or (worse!) they ’ll never trade with me again. Maybe they ’ve already decided: with a fffoonk, they send my capsule back, returning my money. But now the pitter-patter’s gotten closer, and as it rounds the bend in

the hall and comes tumbling into the den, it turns out the footsteps don’t belong to Keener, but Jean-Baptiste. Spilling into the Den in a tumbling ball of neck and legs, the ’proximate giraffe stumbles over and presses his head-knobs affectionately against my knee. Normally I’d respond by scratching the often-itchy spot in his knobby crown. But I’m distracted: first , by the Habs, and second, by the fact that I can’t feel Jean-Baptiste’s knobs quite as much as usual because he’s wearing my hat—Father’s hat , originally. It’s a wide-brimmed affair like European pilgrims used to wear; not a capotain, like the Puritans wore, but a proper pilgrim’s hat , its faded purple making quite a fashion statement against the space-giraffe’s folds of greenand-blue-plaid flannel fur. I also note that there’s a sizeable bite mark in the back of the hat’s brim, and I begin to guess that the hat may ’ve played an important role in recent games between Keener and Jean-Baptiste. Reminding myself to turn them both into kilts, I turn back to the Haberdashers—and I realize that their chitterchattering’s changed. It’s not an angry chittering anymore, but an excited frattering; with lots of fingers pointing at Jean-Baptiste. Why ’re they so excited about an immature Gafaelaf ? Sure, I thought he was exotic, the first time I saw him, but I’d never seen a Gafaelaf before, mature or otherwise. And with all the Habs’ trading, they should’ve seen their share of space-giraffes by now. So what’s caught their attention? Then, of course, I see: the hat . With all the different types on their bridge, there’s nothing remotely like a pilgrim’s hat; come to think of it , I’ve never seen one during any of my other conversations with Haberdashers, either. Jean-Baptiste may not matter at all to them. All they have eyes for is my antique hat—which is brandnew to them. And I’m guessing I just found out what the fix for my Machiner will cost me. I fold Jean-Baptiste up in my arms, and he cuddles up and scarfs around my neck, bleating in protest when I pull Father’s hat off. The Habs’ve gone quiet; I feel their unseen eyes on me as I lean forward, cradling Jean-Baptiste, and use my free hand to wad the hat into the Bluetube capsule. I shut the capsule and nudge it until the Bluetube fffoonks it over to the Habs’ ship. The Habs gather off-screen. I ease Jean-Baptiste down, noticing that he’s been putting on weight—a good sign that he’s growing comfortable here in his new home. Maybe I’m not such a bad foster parent after all. I hadn’t really planned on fostering various little alien orphans when I started this pilgrimage; but I hadn’t planned on being a pilgrim, either. Though I’m now a pilgrim without a proper pilgrim’s hat— —Fffoonk: the Habs have sent the capsule back again. Now I can conclude our conversation, install the new Arm, and be on my way. Maybe the Habs can give me some pointers about the install first—there’s a lot about Machiners that I don’t understand. I open the capsule: there’s the new Write Arm, all right . So they did understand! And (snuggled next to the Arm) a new, miniature version of my hat . Why—? Is this a memento, a souvenir, the Haberdasher-equivalent of spare change? I lean in for a closer look. So does Jean-Baptiste, craning his neck over the capsule in my lap, snuffling closer to the mini-hat . It’s finely sewn, beautiful craftshabship. I reach for it , to protect it from Jean-Baptiste’s nibblings—and it scuttles away from my hand. I look again: yes, there are two tiny, lizard-like feet underneath, as though the mini-hat’s a hermit-crab shell. They ’ve sent me a baby Haberdasher—or a tiny one, anyway. With its own


Hope Kauffman


K a t e G a l l o w a y


pilgrim-hat . I look up to ask about it—and they ’ve ended the call. Look, they ’re already moving away. This is permanent; or long-term, at least . I only wanted a fix for a broken piece of hardware, but instead, I’ve become a foster parent …again…to an alien thing that I know next to nothing about caring for… again. Happy birthday, Tillie. Later, as I’m disconnecting the broken Arm and trying to figure out how to install the new one, it sinks in that my new adoptee was deposited with me for a reason: Baby Hat notices my difficulty and overcomes its shyness in a hurry, scuttling out of the capsule, over to the Machiner, then inside it—from whence it extends a tiny arm to grab the Write Arm, pulling it into place behind it with a snap. And now the Machiner’s echoing with a soft but contented chitter-chatter, happy-printer-noise. Will I have to figure out what to feed it , lose sleep wondering whether it will come out at night and cause who-knows-what kind of mischief in my ship? Probably. But for right now, our new friend seems at home. Jean-Baptiste looks at me, at the Machiner, then back at me, and flaps his lips: food-time, Woman. “You’re right , Jean-Baptiste,” I say. “Go find Keener. Tell him it’s lunchtime. We’ll worry about the software tomorrow.”

The Martian Invasions Robin Dunn

ACT ONE (excerpt) [The Narrator sits down by the fountain. It is early evening]

NARRATOR Tell me what it was when you were there, I was kind of sitting there, in my tweed and in my sleeve, it was all that I could do―

University, and all my children, take me with you into the dark, I don’t want to see any more, I only want to feel. The universe is gone but my love is here, she’s near, and I am your key to here, this deep tie that is sentience and thrill, the coming advertisement ,

the chilling rendition of an awful villain who is ourselves:

It’s the end of the party and the beginning of the new, so let me take me with you, Into your floor,


It’s sad and it’s in love, it’s alcohol and drugs, it’s folded timespace and it’s muggy in the San Diego streets, 1978, or 2002, it’s how I’ve come to be with you, this fuel and then this drill, I know your slang: Come with me I am here.

“What is that man doing?” someone says.

The party is a success and the neighbors gather round the psychedelic apartment to inspect the winnings, and to meet the hot girls. Inside the generator is all that I have kept , all that you have needed. “What was that , Robin?”

We’re bringing it inside:

The dancers they are dancing and they ’re climbing on the table, holding onto each other’s legs and hands. They rise slowly from the masts and baseboards of their couches and their yoga mats, climbing the table like Everest , looking into each other’s eyes, their hair glowing and the sunset approaching, its’ beautiful but worse, it’s true, for I am coming through to you, at last , they change because they need it and the ascent of the coffee table in the living room summons the gate, summons the gate, it is spectacular serene and I am here, you bastard, I am here, and I shall change your wax and I will change your doors and I am keeping score, motherfucker, with my pencil and my hat , Stetson, and a miter all my own: Jerusalem is coming, but more than that , Mars: [Wendell enters]

WENDELL THE MARTIAN I am Wendell from the Ocean Bark My name is unimportant but I trail a horde of mendicant friars, We call them wolves you call them politicians, I have brought them in my sack I need them To understand the meaning of these times They ’re gonna bleed o’er both my sins and yours, They ’re cheating cause they ’re greedy and cause they ’re yours So come with me, a tragedy of course, I am Wendell from the ocean bark Atreu Mapped sparked sanded and delivered to you, For you’re gonna need it when you see the changes coming. I am Wendell from the bark Atreu with my hands bloodied and caressed inside hers.


I am Wendell, but my name is love. All I ever knew is true but you won’t believe Unless I kill you, so kneel down, Kneel down, you clown, And I will show you something different From your shadow at morning Rising to meet you Or your shadow at evening, Falling away into the sky I will show you deliverance, Inside a superjet , inside your heart . I am Wendell.

CHORUS Welcome Wendell.

WENDELL I am come from Mars.

A Martian invasion can only be preceded by the revelation inside, The burr that whirrs under your sock, A tickle on your tongue. The times are needy for your sword, and for your words, A tragedy of course, But what kind? Whose goat and what the song?

Over the coffee table the people climb like mountaineers, The fears silent for a time to allow the shaping of our chips and chaffs, Our whips and grafts and gaffs, I am deliverer I am collaborator. I am a Zionist but the City of David is in the sky, And if you’d be etherized upon the table we can make it happen, But better to die— Die for me, At your appointed time: CHORUS Welcome, Wendell.


WENDELL You have bid me welcome and I welcome it , For I am justice and I’m serene. I bring a bailiwick inside my hand Its name is Turpentine so lay you down:


You’re gonna drink it down just like I want . You have bid me welcome and it is just For I am deliverance. I am a man from Mars! I bring everything you wanted and I bring more I bring the explanation, I bring: I bring: NARRATOR What don’t you bring, Wendell?

WENDELL No. No, no! Don’t you see? These are the times. These are the times and the times. And I will deliver you If you’ll deliver me. But this tragedy is inside, It’s inside and you’re out , so come on in: Your democracy has faded (though it never was), And in the aftermath I see a vision Of a mountain and a man and a lion and a savage, Zion and David, cat and ape, the mercury, To hurry thither on his mission to my eyes: My name is Wendell and I am arrived. My name is Wendell and I am arrived!

[they fight , the partygoers and the Martian]

WENDELL I am invincible! I am in love. Tell me, is it so with you? I tremble on the edge of despair. I am so near to you it frightens me. Though I am alien I’m human too, And I would know: Is it true That you have bloodied every ditch with the poor? That you’ve choked every grandmother, Jewish and gentile, the work the earning Of your pork bellies your hurt , Is it true that you have sunk into the Eglantine sea, and that my mercury who courses to your heart is freedom for your death? Since I kill you as you knew I would, Is that justice, what you wanted?

[from the bloodied Everest-climbers on the coffee table, a woman rises.]


SARAH I am a woman I am free. My name is Sarah.

WENDELL Sarah means princess.

SARAH If I am a princess will you be my prince? WENDELL First I must destroy you.

SARAH Destroy me then! As every man destroys every woman! In the bedroom. [they make love]

NARRATOR I am the narrator and my name is Wax, For I merely mark the tax and the equator Of the new planetoid the Earth with little marks, a code or a cadence to calm the rolls and charm the tax evader the equator of my Great Seal across your scroll . . . My name is Wax and this is history. Though it was so before it’s more so now: After the UFOs from Mars made denizens Inside our thoughts, over our walks, Within our hearts, throughout the chalk marks Of our murthered bodies, the colonizers:

O Colonizer Martian With your Headache and Your Lime! Come let me set to thee, Wimple ash and tablecloth in hand, Warm murky river of my handcloth to settle your dreams o’er your forehead, Come, let me come to thee, And I will show you something different from your shadow at morning, a terrible Shakespeare, or your shadow at evening, a Milton honor and a corridor entire, I will show your fear, on your daughter’s face, and in your coward’s heart , I will show you fear in a handful of dust . Fear in a handful of dust! Fear in a handful of dust! [they chant]


[ micro fiction ] The Riverbank Benjamin Blake

Our sister drowned in the swimming hole that summer. We were over in the barn, trying to convince Janie Winterson to pull down her dress and let us see her breasts. She didn’t concede. By the time we eventually gave up and sulked down to the river, she was floating face-down in the murky water, her blonde hair fanning out around her head. Janie screamed, and covered her eyes with her hands, as us boys jumped in fully-clothed. We dragged our sister to the muddy bank, and laid her down on her back, but we were too late. There was nothing we could do. She just stared at us with pale, lifeless eyes. I reached out , and closed her eyelids with my thumbs, like I had seen our preacher do the time old Ruth dropped dead one Sunday morning. We never had any trouble seducing Janie after that day.


“thaw,” alan clark


” a r g e n t i n a l o v e , ” k a t e c i a v a r r a


when the world ended, i left you Emma McPherson

He spit a few teeth out onto the ground. They were not his own. The feral cat in him growled as he hunched and paced, as though his skin burned with fever, his clothes agony against it . When he finally escaped the VR, long after I lost myself trying to wait for him to come back out , the weight of gravity and wind tore at his nerves, undisturbed for months in his autopilot chamber with the rest of them. His eye never left mine, and I stood a mere lifetime away, muscles at ease, having accepted this effect I’d inspired. After all these years, it was likely he thought I was truly a ghost come to life—that to touch me and actually feel something tangible would destroy his mind. The rebels were down the block, looking for him; like a popped grape, the right eye weeped down his face, lingering on his cheekbones to cut sharply into the dirt . He’d barely escaped them and took off into the night , when I found him, out past curfew like a living nightmare. More than to protect him from being forced back inside his virtual utopia, I wanted to see for myself what activating his senses would do to him after his hibernation—see if the first thing he wanted was to remember what my skin felt like, what feeling felt like. And he sounds insane, but he glowed like live wires in a tango when he saw me, clashing and clanging with electricity, sizzling the humidity clean out of the air between us. Two beads of sweat rolled between my shoulder blades as I waded in his fight or flight , smelling the adrenaline surge as the sirens rang louder. They would find us soon, or they would find me soon. Gripping his rust blood shirt in agonized twists, his grimace told the wind I never had the nerve to run. Then he ran, like he’d fled into their VR. Left me to the sharks.




[ nonfiction ] Cologne

Christine Choi


She found herself facing a statue in the middle of a relatively empty square called Alter Markt . In its center stood a statue of Johann von Werth, the victorious general of the Thirty Years War. As she stared into the statue’s eyes, a voice behind her said, “Excuse me. Where can I find the Dom?” She turned her gaze away from Johann and toward the voice, which belonged to an elderly gentleman. His sudden presence caught her by surprise and left her speechless. He repeated his question. “It’s over there,” she replied, gesturing her left hand towards the black spires of the Dom peeking out above the rooftops. The two stood squarely facing each other. He was an old man, but his smile retained the youthful joy that was unusual for someone his age. He possessed all of the right creases on his face, with snow white hair that was recently groomed. A crisp, white button down peeked out from beneath a tan, zipped-up windbreaker. She looked past the thick lenses of his glasses into his clear, blue eyes and saw the joy live in them too. “Oh, is it?” “Yes, just over there.” She was still pointing, giving directions to a man whose intention was not to go anywhere. “Hello. My name is Peter. What is yours?” “I’m Christine.” She lowered her arm. “It is very nice to meet you, Christine. Tell me. Are you from around here?” The absurdity of his question stunned her, and she produced a singular, “No.” “Where are you from?” “Los Angeles.” “Oh, very nice. I hear it is warm in Los Angeles.” “Yes, it is.” “Christine, would you be willing to take a coffee with me?” The abruptness of his invitation made her take a step back. He didn’t move an inch. She looked at him, unsure of what to say. “We can just sit in that cafe. There.” He pointed to one of a series of cafes lining the square. Residential buildings bordered the remaining three sides. She scanned the square. For a Sunday, it was busy. Many people huddled in the warmth of the cafe out of the late afternoon drizzle. “Okay. Fine.” She started leading the way as if it were her idea and chose an outdoor table that had a parasol to shield the two of from the falling mist .

Peter waited until Christine sat down before situating himself comfortably. He zipped up his jacket an inch further. “What would you like to drink?” His blue eyes fixated on her behind those lenses framed by skinny, matte black metal. “I’ll have a coffee. You?” “Yes. I think I will take a coffee as well.” The waiter came by after several moments of silence ensued between them. Peter motioned to him and said, “We will take two coffees, please.” “Why did you speak to him in English?” “I like to practice my English when I can.” And finally she understood. It had been a ruse all along. “So I told you where I’m from. You never told me about yourself.” “Well, I live about an hour outside of Cologne.” “So then why are you here?” “I came to run an errand. I wanted to buy a gift for my girlfriend.” The final word sat strangely on his tongue, as if he were tasting it in his mouth. “How did you meet her?” Their coffees arrived, and she nodded at him to continue. “Oh, well my wife died last year. It made me very sad to lose her. I felt lonely. So I began to go to the cafes in my town to meet people. I met Hanne in the bookstore about two weeks ago.” She was amused by his youthful pursuit of love, which had brought her to this city as well. Peter’s hands became animated. Christine watched as they flew and danced in the air. He explained how he and Hanne began talking in the bookstore, and how she had invited him to tea. They had spent six hours talking together that first day. “But ,” he leaned down and drew closer, “we have not had sex yet . Only talk.” He hurled that secret into the air between them, shattering the invisible wall of emotional boundaries, creating a destruction that prevented the restoration of any sense of delicacy or propriety. He finally attained what he had wanted all along. “Oh!” was all she could manage. Then, a moment later: “Isn’t it too soon for Hanne to be your girlfriend?” “Maybe. But we made another meeting for Tuesday. I think we will have sex then.” The presumptuous confidence of men emanated from him. “Are you sure?” “Yes.” He winked, and jolly mischief danced in his eyes. “That’s...good.” She sipped the last drops of her coffee and replaced the cup on its saucer. Looking into the square, she shifted in her seat . From afar, Christine noticed a young man jauntily approaching her end of the square. He made eye contact with her, then glanced at Peter. Now less than twenty feet away, she saw the smirk on his face. He wielded a bottle in one hand, out of which he took a very long swig. As he passed them and without taking a moment to pause, he looked into Christine’s eyes and said, “He is way too old for you.” It took a second for her to register what this stranger saw. “Don’t worry! We aren’t …” she looked back at Peter, “...together!” She shouted at his back, which was already vanishing into the corner of the square. He raised his bottle in the air. “Did you see that?” Christine turned back around to face Peter. He smiled. “That was interesting.” “But , he thought that we were…” “Why don’t we get a glass of wine inside?” She didn’t say anything.



“Just one glass. It’s nothing. Let me buy it for you, please.” There was no reason to act coy. She stood up. “Okay, fine.” He got up and they gathered their things. Inside, families huddled in booths, eating ice cream and drinking coffee. Peter and Christine took to the safety of a booth, sitting opposite from each other. “I will get you a nice glass of white wine.” With a flick of his wrist , he caught the attention of a waiter who leaned his ear towards Peter from the next table. “Ein Apollinaris für mich und Weisswein für die Dame.” His sudden German startled her and made her uneasy. She knew she inhabited a false world where her foreignness was accommodated and everyone around her adapted. Peter and Christine sat in silence until the waiter returned with their drinks. A fancy bottle for him and a glass of white wine for her. The cold vapor clung to the outside of the wine glass, creating a sharp line where liquid met air. “What did you order?” “This is sparkling water.” “You didn’t get wine?” “No. I do not drink. I have not drunk in many years. I used to be an alcoholic. My wife was very kind. She helped me to stop drinking. She sent me to the...what do you call it?” “A rehab center?” “Yes, perhaps. I drank for many years during our marriage. During her last two years, she wanted to help me stop. So she sent me to the rehab. Now, I have not drunk for a very long time.” “Not even after she died?” “No. Never.” “That’s great . You must have a lot of will power.” “Yes, you have to if you want to stop these addictions, you know.” She wiped the mist from the glass and took a sip. He watched her thoroughly. She waited for him to continue, but he remained silent . “Do you miss her?” “My wife?” “Yes.” “I do. But she will not come back. And now I’ve met Hanne and she is very nice. When I am talking with her I forget about my wife. You know, Hanne is older than me. She is seventy-two. I am sixty-eight . I have never dated a woman who is older than me.” He chuckled. “Do you want to know why I am in Cologne?” “Yes, tell me.” He eagerly awaited the effects of the wine. “I’m in love with a man. His name is Martin.” “Is he very handsome?” She smiled; hearing him utter the word “handsome” reminded her of how he had tasted the word “girlfriend.” “Yes, he is tall and smart and funny and everything I would want in a man. But I don’t think he likes me.” “That is impossible!” Both of his hands landed on the wooden table with astounding vigor. She had to hold down the table to stop it from rattling. “It is very possible. I made a date to meet with him tonight , so we will see what happens. But I do not think anything will happen.” A large gulp of wine rendered that truth less painful. “Christine, I will be honest with you. If I were your age, I would not hesitate to call you my girl immediately.” She tried to imagine how he would have looked at twenty

“ s t e l l a ’ s M e l t , ” L a r r y H o l l a n d

D a v i d D y t e


years of age: presumably still thin with poor eyesight . Or, equally plausibly, fat with perfect vision. But she knew that the fire in his eyes had always been there. No matter how hard she tried, she could not imagine herself with his younger self. She could barely even picture what the two of them looked like to those around them. There could be no Christine and Peter holding hands in a movie theater or picnicking on the grass. Their shared interaction would only last for a brief moment in space and time, so that any fantasy would have to come later as a result of the future distortion of her memory of him and this moment . Only nostalgic freedom could give way to romantic fantasy. “That’s very nice of you to say Peter.” “I mean it .” She smiled wistfully at him, while he emitted sparks from his eyes. “I know you do. Look, I need to go to the bathroom, but I’ll be right back.” She slid her bottom across the booth, and at the very last possible moment , discreetly grabbed the handle of her purse. Down the stairs she went , clutching the railing with one hand. The stall reduced the commotion going on upstairs to a low murmur, and she enjoyed the gentle rushing sound in her ears that reminded her of listening for the distant sea in a conch shell. She went to wash her hands, all the while looking into the mirror for a sign of something special. She saw nothing. She climbed the stairs and took her position across from Peter again. On the table before her was a fresh glass of wine. “I thought you could use another glass,” he said, smiling. “Yes, I see that ,” and his liberty didn’t annoy her like it would have with so many others. She drank half the glass at once. “Christine, I thought about it , and I want everything to work with you and Martin.” He took her hands, and there they were connected across the wooden square surface: two disparate people whose parallel trajectories had happened to intersect . “You have been so kind to talk with me for the past three hours. You are a smart , sweet , beautiful girl and Martin will be very lucky to have you.” He released her hands, and as a consequence of his withdrawal lay in her right palm a one-hundred-euro bill folded neatly, twice. “Peter, I can’t take this.” She slipped her hand out from under the bill and shook it . “Christine, I just want you to take Martin out for a nice dinner so you can talk and enjoy together. It is what I want for you.” She stared into his eyes. He smiled, and so she smiled too. She knew that he expected nothing from her. His kindness was genuine. She wondered whether Peter’s desire for her to take the money made her special. She wondered if he had given other girls money before, or if she was the first . She decided that it didn’t matter. Casually, her hand landed gently on the table, and the cash came with her when she returned it to its pocket . “Thank you,” she whispered. “Please take my business card and write to me. My information is there.” He handed her a small slip of paper, which she placed into her wallet for safekeeping. “I’m going to finish my wine and then I have to go meet Martin.” “Okay, I will pay.” Within two minutes, they were standing outside before Johann who had brought them together three hours earlier. “It was nice to meet you Peter.” Both simultaneously leaned in for a hug, and he quickly retracted his arms to their places at his sides. “I hope you will write to me.” “Don’t worry, I will.” “Goodbye.”



telling children about sex Frances Donington

It’s the second grade and I’ve just learned about sex. Being a second grader with newfound knowledge about sex in the midst of the toddlers in my class, I did what any normal child would do: I told everyone. I used crude diagrams explaining how anatomy was as simple as a lamp post and donut intersecting. The images seemed to get my point across. Having scared most of my second grade class, I took my knowledge to my trusted companion Holly. While eating popcorn on a Saturday night sleepover, I asked, “Holly do you know where babies come from?” “The hospital, I think.” This response gave me a perfect platform to recite all of my glorious information. I spewed it all at her, using my then-classic donut and lamp post example. “And that’s what sex is,” I declared. “Oh, that’s what Omar did to me, and that’s why my mom kicked him out of our house.”

It’s my sophomore year of college and I’ve just completed a short story for an assignment . I haven’t written fiction since middle school—I’m nervous it won’t be received well. The plot is about convoluted vampires… but it’s really about modernity and people. But I’m afraid no one will see past the convoluted vampire conflict , so I pull up the story and email it to my third grade teacher, Mr. S. I found his email through a moderately intense search of my middle school’s website archives. I hover the mouse cursor over the send button on my Gmail page. I haven’t spoken to him in ten years. The last story I sent him for editing was about kittens. I open up the file and scan through it once. The word “pussy ” comes up three times, the word “cunt” twice, the word “cock” once. I attach the file as-is and send it . A decade and four states between us comforts me as I question if I’ve gone too far. I’m in eighth grade and I haven’t eaten my lunch in four months. I’ve started waking up an hour before school to straighten my hair everyday. I’m experimenting with makeup. Mascara I’ve gotten down, but lipstick still presents a broad spectrum of mistakes I’ve yet to make. I like to wear big earrings and listen to big-haired 80’s bands. My favorite shirt in my collection of middle school uniform shirts is the low-cut one with three buttons. I keep them all open. The elastic cotton hugs the bumps on my chest that are perkier than they were last year. Last year, I ate my lunch every day with a snack. The only makeup I wore was chapstick. My favorite shirt had Snoopy and Charlie Brown on it because it was the largest I owned. On the bus ride home, James Cross used to tell me it looked like I swallowed a planet . But it’s eighth grade recess time and I’m sitting in Mr. S’s classroom. He teaches third grade, but the kids aren’t there—they ’re in science class, in the lab in the basement . I vouched out of recess ever since the fourth grade; the sweat and woodchips and doubledutch tournaments bewildered me. I liked to talk in air-conditioned settings about books and movies too mature for me to wholly grasp. Mr. S and I developed this relationship when I was eight years old—me opting out of recess and him sharing his lunch time with me to discuss The Graduate or Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. We both agree that the line


“They call me Mr. Tibs!” gives us goosebumps. In fifth grade when I got wire-rim glasses and my doctor kept telling me to keep off the carbs, Mr. S would drive me home from school and give me free guitar lessons when my mom couldn’t pick me up. She would walk in halfway through to me strumming an oversized acoustic in our kitchen and say “Hi Matt!” and offer him coffee. Then we would all agree that the line “They call me Mr. Tibs!” gave us goosebumps last night on AMC’s showing of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. But it’s eighth grade and I’ve stopped eating my lunch everyday—stopped eating everything really—and started wearing lots of makeup and straightening my hair. I have to start getting a pass signed by my homeroom teacher to visit Mr. S during recess. I’m called out into the hallway to explain myself when a note I pass to my friend Ava was recovered in a trashcan, reading: Hey Mr. S is coming over tonight , want to join? It was a Wednesday, my weekly guitar lesson, and Ava wants to learn guitar too. But my homeroom teacher looks angry when I explain this to her. I’m sitting in Mr. S’s classroom waiting for him to finish microwaving pasta his wife packed him. I’m sitting with my legs folded on a desk, staring at nothing—the same spot I’ve been sitting in during recess for four years. I’ve experimented with neon-blue eyeliner for the day. Mr. Worster, my fifth grade teacher, appears in the doorway. “You have to get out of here. You can’t keep hanging around here everyday.” “What do you—?” “You hear lots of crazy things in the news nowadays and all of the teachers are starting to gossip. You’re putting Mr. S in a tough position.” News? “I—” “It’s weird is all I’m saying. Even his wife is starting to get weirded out . Give it a rest , you’re too old to just be hanging out here all the time.” The next day in gym class I’m sitting on the sidelines after being hit with a dodgeball. Mr. S’s face appears in the tiny window on the door. He opens it and walks over to me in a folding chair, taking a seat on the plush cushion beside me. In a hushed and frantic tone—one I never heard him use before—he says, “We can’t have guitar lessons anymore.” “But why?! Is it because of the note?” “Fran, you don’t understand, that note got me… My wife is starting to get concerned… You can’t pass notes like that ever again.” Your wife? The one I knit a baby blanket for in Home Ec. class when your first son was born? “That not fair! I don’t understand what I did wrong! The other day Mr. Worster—” “I’m in a bad position. You’re getting older now… we just can’t hang out as much anymore.” It’s my sophomore year of college and I’m revising an essay for my writing class. I’m editing a memory: a time in the fourth grade when there was an abrupt and unexpected knock on my door. It was Barbra, Holly ’s mother. I visualize her standing opposite my olive green wood against the grey backdrop of December. It was a curious and uncalled for visit . My friend Holly had moved and gone to a different school. I hadn’t seen or heard or thought about her family in months. “Please Amy, I really need fifteen dollars. Could you lend me that , please?” Barbra asked my mother.


I recall how Barbra looked… extinguished. How her pupils seemed hollow, like they spiraled inward eternally. They didn’t seem sad, or aged, or angry, just worn out from within. The place where there was once an abundance of radiance was now impregnated by simply time and space. It’s like a light went out and all that was left was dullness. And I realized what that look was—I had seen in it before. It was the look of a lack of something, which turned out to be happiness. The look people adopt when they ’ve suffered greatly, the look that creeps into your body and smears itself across the surface until you’ve accepted it as your reflection. It’s the look of implacable difference.

I’m trying to find a place to park on my street over Christmas vacation during my freshman year of college. The street is usually empty, but now every non-fire hydrant spot is taken up. The pavement is littered with double-parked SUVs. I’ve just flipped someone the bird for honking at me. The soup kitchen across from my house is causing all this. It’s called Norma Todd’s Lunch Break, run by Mrs. Norma Todd herself. It never used to be busy, before it got taken over by government sponsors. People in white uniforms come to pass out the mashed potatoes and winter jackets. I don’t recognize any of their faces. Old Norma Todd died two years ago, but they kept her name on the sign. I find a place to park a block over. It’s in front of a grey two-family house. The house used to be painted a royal blue color, which I thought was magnificent at seven years old. My friend Holly had lived there, and now it was boarded up completely, the front door a rotted plank. I walk with frustration to my house, fueled up by the indignation of having to walk. My mother is inside, opposite the olive green door. She’s holding a brown paper bag with no label on it . “Went over to Lunch Break to get some stuff.” She pulls out a box of rice, a can of fruit , no-name peanut butter, a few zucchinis and a frozen pie crust . “Dammit ,” she says, “No cat food in this bag. It’s up to almost thirteen dollars at Petco.”


It is my junior year of high school. I’ve just gotten my license and the first thing I plan to do with it is buy drugs. I’ve texted a greasy senior from gym class inquiring where I can purchase them. He texts me a phone number—the phone number texts me and says to meet him in Neptune. I drive there going a comfortable five miles over the speed limit . I read the sign Welcome to Neptune! on the side of the highway. It smells immediately like sewer…or maybe it’s swamp. I listen to the condescending Google Maps GPS voice tell me to turn down a road full of mobile homes. The whole town is full of mobile homes and garden apartments with water-damaged basements. The town borders a bay, which is really more of a radioactive dumping ground. The only stores are convenience stores, a strip club, a twenty-three-hour, fried-chicken-and-fish restaurant , and a Big Lots. I turn into its desolate parking lot and wait for a pick-up truck with extra-bright headlights to drive up next to me. “You Franny?” “Yeah… I need an eighth.” He fumbles with a Ziploc bag and drops a few green nuggets into my palm. “Thanks.” He drives away. There is a NOBAMA sticker on his bumper. I say a silent prayer for the people of Neptune. Driving back on the highway I glance at the sign Thanks for visiting Neptune!

It’s the third grade and I’ve just gotten in trouble for being late to social studies class. It was only by ten minutes, but I still get detention. I plop down in my plastic desk wearing a hefty pout . My friend Holly walks in halfway through the lesson on the Civil War; the teacher smiles at her and only pauses briefly. The lines of my frown deepen as I try to figure out why Holly hadn’t received detention when I had. Halfway through the conversation on the Battle of the Bulge, our Spanish teacher, Ms. Delgado, excuses Holly from class. I know that she’s taking her to the girls’ bathroom. She’s going to wash Holly ’s hair with delicious-smelling shampoo and then braid it for an hour or so. Only Holly gets this special treatment . “Why do you get to come in late and not get in trouble?” I ask her when she returns from her salon session smelling like shea butter. “I stay with my uncle in Neptune, so I have to take a bus to school, and not the school kind. It takes an hour.” “Well… why does Ms. Delgado only braid your hair? Why do you get special favors?” “She always does me favors. She lives near my uncle. Sometimes she brings us soap and toothpaste when we don’t have any.”


artist spotlight jennifer allen Jennifer Allen came to this publication nearly two years ago with one of her most famous pieces: “Gentleman Buck.” Absolutely stunned by her line and ink work, we happily welcomed her work back into each issue she contributed to. When we asked her to be our cover artist for the MELT issue, it was more than fitting; there’s something extremely enchanting about the precision behind each piece she creates, from the hatch mark shading to the thick, bold blacks. Marrying the spooky, the whimsical, and the downright Wonderland, we are delighted to feature her in this issue of East Coast Ink.

We’ve had several readers comment on your art style and how striking your ink work is. What does your art history look like? When did you navigate toward ink as your medium?

Allen: I’ve always drawn, painted, or made some kind of craft throughout my

life. In high school I attended the Fine Arts Center in Greenville, SC, and learned a lot of the core principles of art . There I studied drawing, painting, and even metal working. Since then, I’ve mostly been self-taught and it was about four years ago that I started my journey to where I am today as an artist . I began exploring tattoo design and was fascinated by the mixture of different elements that were used to make a completely new composition. One day I began doodling in pen, drawing first a bird skull, then a camera shudder for an eye, a human heart for a body, and finally a rat tail. I fell in love. I loved the way the shadows fell on the planes of the skull, how the cross-hatching of the pen created contrast and depth, and how I now had a new creature never before seen. That was the day I began to draw what I liked and wanted to see, instead of what I thought people would like.

Are there other branches of art you dabble in?

Allen: My husband John and I started screen printing a few months ago. I love the idea of producing a product from start to finish and making my artwork accessible to everyone. We print my drawings on paper, note cards, wood, and t-shirts. I enjoy seeing the variations in each print depending on the pressure you put on the squeegee, what surface you’re printing on, and the type of ink you use.

How does art fit into your life? Is it your livelihood, your active hobby, your lifeblood?


Allen: Art makes me the person I am. It grounds me and helps me make sense of things. It connects me with family, friends, and new friends. It pushes my limits and tests my patience. It’s meditative and therapeutic. It’s inspiring and uplifting. Without it I would feel lost in this world.

Photo courtesy of ben mcKamey




What’s your creative process like? Is it a sort of “dream it awake” system or do you just see where the pen takes you?

Allen: A lot of times my drawings start with a single object or photo. I’ll find something that strikes a cord with me and then a flood of ideas come rushing in. For example, “Alynwick Vagary:” It started with a coat rack made from antique door knobs at my Mother-In-Law ’s house. I absolutely loved one of them, it looked like it should open more than just a plain old door. So, I drew it as if it was part of a tree. Then, I added the romance of flowers, as if they were growing around the tree to hide it and keep it secret . The tree bark at the top then began to make odd shapes, and looked more like a skyline than tree. I kept building them up and then envisioned that what you’re actually seeing above the door knob is what lies on the other side. An unpredictable fantasy world of castles, creatures, and adventures that await you.

“ A l y n w i c k V a g a r y ”

artist spotlight



“cthulu and his dog”

“gentleman buck”

artist spotlight


e a s t c o a s t e v e n t s summer 2016

Garden State Comic Festival July 9–10; Morristown, NJ

With more than 25,000 square feet and 200 tables and booths of favorite vendors, artists, and guests, the Garden State Comic Fest is one of the Tri-State area’s go-to events of the summer. Only go if you’re tantalized by comics, art, vintage toys, and pop culture items galore. gardenstatecomicfest.com

The Comic Book Connection Comic Book and Toy Shows July 9–10, Jacksonville, FL; July 30–31, Daytona, FL

Known as the place where comic fans and collectors come together, the CBC shows feature door prizes and giveaways, $0.50 comic blow-out sales, a Wheel of Comics to spin, and thousands of toys, action figures, and collectibles. They’re also seeking collections large and small, and paying top dollar (if you feel you can part with yours). thecomicbookcollection.com

Harlem Book Fair July 16; Harlem, NY

The Harlem Book Fair strives to create a platform of access to the transformative power of reading. Demonstrating a strong sense of community, they support literacy and literacy awareness through public programs, corporate partnerships, community participation, and in-school programs—all of which broaden and strengthen the vitality of the African-American community. The nation’s flagship Black literature event and the largest African-American book fair in the country, previous speakers have included Maya Angelou, Sonia Sanchez, Terry McMillan, and more. harlembookfair.com/

D.C. Zinefest

July 23; St. Stephens Church, Washington, D.C.

The D.C. Zinefest is an independent event organized to provide a space for zine makers, self-published artists, and writers to share their work with each other and the Washington, D.C. community. Their hope is to support a community based in do-it-yourself practices and ethics through providing the opportunity to expo, workshop, and hang out with zines. dczinefest.com

NE Authors Expo July 27; Danvers, MA


The largest grassroots literary event in New England, with more than 1,000 authors on its contact list.

Almost like a mini-comicon, attendees can anticipate horror, sci-fi, fantasy, comic book, and graphic novel authors, as well as illustrators and artists. newenglandauthorsexpo.com

Tampa Zinefest July 30; Tampa, FL

This celebration of zines, independent media, and DIY publishing invites zinesters and zine fans to share, trade, buy, and sell their creations and collections! Expect workshops on various aspects of the zinemaking process, work stations where you can start your own zine, and live music from Mave’s Arcade. facebook.com/events/608043322706846

City-Wide Friends of the Boston Public Library Book Sale August 6; Copley Square, Boston, MA

Book sales are on the first Saturday of each even-numbered month from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. at the Central Library in Copley Square. Book sales are in the Cushman Room, located on the third floor of the McKim building just off the Sargent Gallery. bpl.org

Postgraduate Writers’ Conference

August 8–14; Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, VT

The 21st annual Conference at Vermont College of Fine Arts, home of the acclaimed low-residency MFA in Writing Program, is designed for experienced writers with graduate degrees or equivalent preparation. This conference emphasizes craft and process through small-group workshops limited to five or six participants, and creates a supportive and non-hierarchical writers’ community. Faculty writers focus on poetry manuscript, nonfiction, novel, short story, and more. awpwriter.org

Young Writers’ Workshop July 11-28; New York, NY

The 92nd Street Y will offer three-week summer intensives with expert teachers and visiting authors. Students ages 15–18 may register for workshops focusing on poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. 92y.org/youngwriters

Boston Comic Con

August 12–14; Boston, MA

Did you know the Boston Red Sox sponsor the Boston Comic Con? This event takes over the entire city— as well it should considering the celebrity guests (Willian Shatner, Karen Gillan, Ben McKenzie, Caity Lotz, and more) who will be there this year. This con features a cosplay parade through the streets of Boston, a three-day film festival, a night at Fenway Park, a Drink & Draw with comic book artists, a comic art auction, and a cosplay harbor dinner cruise. bostoncomiccon.com


Writer’s Digest Annual Conference August 12–14; New York City, NY

Get everything you need to advance creatively and professionally as a writer—no matter what stage of your career. Brought to you by Writer’s Digest, they’re experts at nurturing and developing new writers for more than 90 years. Customize your experience by mixing-and-matching sessions among core tracks, with keynote speakers Kwame Alexander, David Baldacci, and Emily St. John Mandel. writersdigestconference.com

Baltimore Summer Antiques Show August 25–28; Baltimore, MD

Growing from a small regional event to the largest indoor antiques show in the country, this show features hundreds of international exhibitors. The show has evolved into a diverse collection which includes furniture, American and European silver, major works of art, Asian antiquities, porcelain, Americana, antique and estate jewelry, glass, textiles and more. baltimoresummershow.com

Decatur Book Festival September 2–4; Atlanta, GA

The AJC Decatur Book Festival is the largest independent book festival in the country and one of the five largest overall. Since its launch, more than 1,000 world-class authors and hundreds of thousands of festival-goers have crowded the historic downtown Decatur square to enjoy book signings, author readings, panel discussions, an interactive children’s area, live music, parades, cooking demonstrations, poetry slams, writing workshops, and more. decaturbookfestival.com


September 2–5; Atlanta, GA

Dragoncon is the largest multi-media, popular culture convention featuring science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in... well, the universe. The featured guests this year are too good to even try to list, and the art show and Comic & Pop Artist Alley are enough of a selling point. Get to Atlanta for Labor Day weekend. dragoncon.org

Brooklyn Antique and Book Fair September 9–11; Brooklyn, NY

One of the country’s largest regional antiquarian book fairs comes to Brooklyn each fall. This will be the third edition. BABF brings more than 100 quality antiquarian book and ephemera dealers from all over the United States, Canada, and Europe to the new Brooklyn Expo Center, easily accessible from all parts of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and beyond. abaa.org


Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair September 10; Rochester, NY

The Annual Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair is a great way to spend an afternoon with fellow bibliophiles from Rochester and the surrounding area. It is a wonderful opportunity to hold a piece of history in your hands and talk with the booksellers who have carefully researched and curated their collections. Books, paper, art, and maps galore. rochesterbooksellers.com

Slice Literary Writers’ Conference September 10–11; Brooklyn, NY

The Slice Literary Writers’ Conference walks writers through the professional publishing process, from the writer’s desk to the bookstore shelf. Panels, craft workshops, and agent meetings offer writers an insider view of the industry that is rarely seen by those outside of book publishing. awpwriter.org

Brooklyn Book Festival

September 12–18; Brooklyn, NY

The Brooklyn Book Festival (September 18) is the largest free literary event in New York City, presenting an array of national and international literary stars and emerging authors. One of America’s premier book festivals, this hip, smart, diverse gathering attracts thousands of book lovers of all ages to enjoy authors and the festival’s lively literary marketplace. “Bookend” the festival by attending some of the more than 50 unique literary events—literary parties, books-to-movies screenings, trivia, performances, and more— taking place in clubs, bookstores, parks, libraries, and other surprising venues throughout New York City. Plan your experience: brooklynbookfestival.org

NY Art Book Fair

September 16–18; MoMA PS1, Queens, NY

Free and open to the public, the NY Art Book Fair is the world’s premier event for artists’ books, catalogs, monographs, periodicals, and zines. The fair features more than 370 booksellers, antiquarians, artists, institutions, and independent publishers from twenty-eight countries. Last year’s fair was attended by more than 35,000 people. This year’s NY Art Book Fair includes an ever-growing variety of exhibitors— from the zinesters in (XE)ROX & PAPER + SCISSORS and the Small Press Dome representing publishing at its most innovative and affordable. nyartbookfair.com


September 21–25; Brooklyn, NY

PHOTOVILLE will be returning in a brand new location at Brooklyn Bridge Park, where attendees can walk amongst 60+ shipping containers filled with photography from artists and curatorial partners from across the world. One of the largest photographic events in New York City, PHOTOVILLE offers a heady mix of curated exhibitions running the gamut from seasoned photojournalists and high-profile print publications, to graduate student showcases and fine art practitioners. And beer. A veritable smorgasbord of beer. photoville.com


Baltimore Book Festival

September 23–25; Baltimore, MD

The Baltimore Book Festival features hundreds of author appearances and book signings, 100+ exhibitors and booksellers, non-stop readings on multiple stages, cooking demos by celebrity chefs, poetry readings and workshops, panel discussions, walking tours, storytellers and hands-on projects for kids, street theater, live music, and a delicious variety of food, beer, and wine. baltimorebookfestival.com

Library of Congress National Book Festival September 24; Washington, D.C.

The 15th Library of Congress National Book Festival will take place at the Washington Convention Center. Use the hashtag #NatBookFest to keep up with the 120 author presentations being given throughout the day—you just can’t physically see them all. But, feel free to try and prove us wrong. loc.gov/bookfest

Speculative Fiction Convention September 25–27; Orlando, FL

The Speculative Fiction: Southeast is an event for fans and icons of Speculative Fiction, a term encompassing horror, sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, and all things weird. Attendees can expect workshops, panels, editor one-on-ones, and other productive shenanigans. With panels titled “I Want To Verb Your Noun: How To Write a Sex Scene Without Blushing” and “You’re In My World Now, Grandma,” this event promises to be way too much fun. sfse2015.com

Teen Read Week

October 9–15; Worldwide

Teen Read Week, YALSA’s annual celebration of teen literacy, will take place October 9–15, 2016. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Read for the fun of it,” with an emphasis on services, programming, and literature for young adults who speak a language other than English at home. To get involved in teen literacy, please visit teenreadweek.ning.com.

east coast ink “uncanny valley” contest October; East Coast

We’re feeling spooky; to celebrate the fall 2016 issue of East Coast Ink, we created the hashtag #uncannyECI so you can show us your scariest photo manipulations, bumps in the night, and real-world terrors. We invite anything left of center, or “uncanny”—that feeling of dread and Fear with a capital “F” you get when something just isn’t right. Tag @ecimagazine to your photos, art, multimedia, poems, short stories, and more; 18-plus content allowed. Artists planning to contribute to the fall issue are welcome to resubmit works featured in the issue. Keep an eye on ecimagazine.tumblr.com and facebook.com/ eastcoastinklitmag or follow us @ecimagazine for more details.


Have an event for us to feature? Send it to ecimagazine@gmail.com or submit it to ecimagazine.tumblr.com/submit.


[ contributors ] melt, summer 2016


Jennifer Allen is a fine artist who creates pen and ink drawings of modern elements, found objects, and skulls with a vintage feel. It was with her research into tattoo design that she realized her love of skulls and the detail found on their surfaces. She’s also influenced by science fiction, fantasy, and anatomy. By utilizing cross-hatching and hard contrast, she likes for her drawings to have the appearance of old etchings. She enjoys crafting, traveling, and reading fantasy novels. Jennifer lives in Pendleton, SC with her silly husband John and two supportive dogs. To view her work, visit boneandink.com.


Benjamin Blake was born in the July of 1985, and grew up in the small town of Eltham, New Zealand. He is the author of the poetry and prose collections, A Prayer for Late October, Southpaw Nights, and Reciting Shakespeare with the Dead. He currently lives in a cabin, somewhere in the New Zealand countryside. Find more of his writing (and photography) at benjaminblake. com.


Christine Choi originates from Los Angeles and graduated with a B.A. in English and a minor in music from Wellesley College. She currently works in the fashion industry. In her works, she looks for personal narrative to drive inspiration for her pieces and hopes one day to write a memoir that will collect all of the useful knowledge she has learned over the years so other young women can benefit from it.



Kate Ciavarra is a 25-year-old princess. For the past month or so, she has been trekking all over Tokyo and making friends. Traveling is in her blood, and she can’t wait to save her pennies and fly somewhere else far away (Chile? Ireland? Poland? Who knows!). Ciavarra recently quit her jobs in order to travel, but looks forward to the daunting jobhunting process. She loves working with children, reading, laughing, eating, being from Massachusetts, her family, drawing, etc. She likes a lot of things, actually. You can find Princess Kate at evereverafterlys.tumblr.com, Ever Ever Afterly Creations on Facebook, and @evereverafterly on Instagram and Twitter.


Alan Clark is an artist and poet living in Maine, and often in Mexico. To date he has four books: “Guerrero and Heart’s Blood” set in pre-Conquest Mexico, “Where They Know” (poems), “In This World,” and “In Love and Wonder” (paintings). His poems have appeared in “Little Star,” “The Caribbean Writer,” “Adirondack Review,” “Wolf Moon Journal,” and others.


Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minnesota since 2000. Her published books include Music Theory for Dummies, Music Composition for Dummies, Guitar All-inOne for Dummies, Piano All-in-One for Dummies, Walking Twin Cities, Insider’s Guide to the Twin Cities, Nordeast Minneapolis: A History, and The Book Of, while her poetry has recently appeared in New Ohio Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle. Her newest poetry book,

Ugly Girl, just came out from Shoe Music Press.


Frances Donington is a 19-year-old studying Boston. She is pursuing her BFA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College. Frances has been published in Sun & Sandstone, The Underground, and online at Noise Medium. As a day job, she bartends at a Mexican tequila bar.


Robin Wyatt Dunn writes and teaches in Los Angeles. His first book of poetry, “POEMS FROM THE WAR”, is now available from Popcorn Press. robindunn.com


David Dyte is a full-time statistician and part-time photographer living in Brooklyn while striving hard to maintain his Australian identity. He aims to share his love of places by capturing unusual sights and angles that others may have missed. After running a successful Kickstarter campaign, he released his first book of photographs, “As Seen in Brooklyn,” in 2014. seeninbklyn.com


Kate is a photographer/adventurer. Photography is such an important medium in her world, as it has the ability to capture a moment forever. And not just the image, but everything that existed at that time and place— to capture the beauty, the feeling, the humid air, the smell of fireworks, the sound of people laughing, the piece of space and time. There are so many things she has yet to photograph, and she’s loving the adventure along the way.


Chandelle Heffner is an artist living and working in New York City. Her work deals with the process of overlap, fragmentation and situational

juxtapositions—creating a truer dialogue between reality and the subconscious. She received her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2015. During her time at RISD, she served as the Head of Graphic Design for the Intercollegiate Finance Journal, and interned at the Newport Art Museum in 2013 and Harper’s Bazaar in 2014. She is currently working for renowned sculptor and architect, Maya Lin, on her final memorial, “What Is Missing?,” which shows an in-depth ecological history of the planet.


Grace Hoffman is a recent graduate of Emerson College in Boston, MA where she majored in playwriting and dramaturgy. Her plays Blood Sun and Intimacy & Other Forgotten Things have both had workshop performances. She is also an alumna of California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA 2011) and Young Arts (Merit Award Winner for Short Story 2012).


Pascale Jarvis is a second-year student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where they study creative writing. When they aren’t huddled in a chair, scribbling in a notebook, they enjoy painting murals, climbing trees, and kickboxing. One day, Pascale hopes to pulverize the gender binaries of society armed with pencil and paintbrush, and maybe a cup of coffee as motivation.


Hope Kauffman is a US 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 Angles 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.


Steve Klepetar’s work has appeared worldwide, in such journals as Boston Literary Magazine, Deep Water, Expound, The Muse: India, Red River Review, Snakeskin, Voices Israel, Ygdrasil, and many others. Several of his poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize (including three in 2015). Recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and The Li Bo Poems, both from Flutter Press. His full-length collection Family Reunion is forthcoming from Big Table Publishing.


Celia is a professional dog person, educator, and occasional artist living in Cambridge, MA. She’s a good and constant listener with a penchant for the liminal and the paranormal and is inspired by her humid Virginia upbringing and fermented vegetables.


Matthew Forrest Lowe (Ph.D., McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton, Ontario) is a freelance writer, editor, and professor. Matt’s nonfiction work includes several articles, book chapters, and a book proposal that he’s patiently waiting to hear back about; his short fiction has appeared in Setting the Scene (Polar Expressions, 2012), as well as in previous issues of East Coast Ink, and he is working on a science fiction novel, with excerpts appearing here and in the recent “Warmth” issue.



Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as “Seven Circle Press,” “Dinner with the Muse,” “Camel Saloon,” “Blueline,” “Poppy Road Review,” “Spectrum,” three “Bright Hills Press Anthologies,” and several Kind of A Hurricane publications. She has been

nominated three times for Best of the Net.


Emma McPherson spends entirely too much time in the past, which can make the present relatively impossible. Though reality is largely lost on her, she won’t be found without something to physically write on. She wants to say she is a watercolor painter but it’s just not true. 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. emcfearson@gmail.com


Margaret Mary Riley is a disabled cyborg living in the American South. They are currently pursuing a PhD in Political Science, and have been featured in East Coast Ink, InPatient Press, and Typehouse Magazine. They spend the majority of their time arguing with their coffee maker and have a B.A. in Political Science from Agnes Scott College.


W. Jack Savage is a retired broadcaster and educator. He is the author of seven books including “Imagination: The Art of W. Jack Savage” (wjacksavage. com). Jack and his wife Kathy live in Monrovia, CA.


Giulietta Schoenfeld is a 22-yearold recent graduate from Bryn Mawr College. She majored in Spanish with a minor in psychology and significant amounts of coursework in the fine arts and creative writing (she can never make up her mind). While Giulietta has always expressed a passion for writing and telling stories, Bryn Mawr introduced her to writing poetry, with which she quickly fell in love. Aside from writing, Giulietta also enjoys animation, drawing, singing, fencing, and a good sense of humor. Her favorite pastime is hanging with friends and

watching silly videos. Though she likes making people laugh, beware her mischievous streak. She also harbors a passionate aversion to cilantro.


For seven years Nate Totten has worked in the field of video production creating content for unique people and businesses. His passion is telling stories about people. He is his his 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’s a digital world we live in now, and this process 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


Wendy Vance has always wanted to study photography ever since she first picked up a camera in high school. Her first experience in the darkroom was what uncovered her passion for the craft. With her career traveling in the Air Force and mothering two amazing daughters, her pursuit of photography was placed on hold until retirement in 2007. She is now in her final year at The Art Institute of San Antonio pursuing a BFA in Photography. She is drawn to photographing women and dogs and loves bringing joy to her subjects, not only in the experience, but in seeing the beauty captured in themselves. She hopes to continue to explore all facets of photography as she nears graduation.


Dylan Young is a screenwriter lost somewhere in the Los Angeles area. He takes breaks from writing scripts to write weird little stories, and the occasional haiku. He recently selfpublished a collection called “Bitter Poems for Heartbroken People,” available on blurb. Contact Dylan for literally any reason whatsoever [I’m not lonely, I swear]. dylanpresents@gmail.com




ea st coast ink | issue 011 | MELT