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Portland Review Fall 2014

EXCEPTIONAL POETRY AND PROSE SINCE 1956 Vol. 61 No. 1 Portland State University Portland, OR


Portland Review: Fall 2014 Copyright Š 2014 Portland Review Portland State University Portland Review Portland State University P.O. Box 751 Portland, OR 97207 USA http://portlandreview.org ISBN 978-0-9887407-7-8 Cover Art: Ira Joel Haber, Ron (Tiled) Cover Design: Erika Schnatz Interior Design: M.F. Corwin Printed in the United States of America


Staff

Editor in Chief

Alex Dannemiller

Managing Editor, Print

M. F. Corwin

Managing Editor, Web

Sabrina Parys

Fiction Editor

Cassondra Combs

Nonfiction Editor

Jacqueline Alnes

Poetry Editor

Ryan Mills

Art Editor

Erika Schnatz

Coordinator of Student Media

Reaz Mahmood


Volunteer Readers

Cassia Gammill Isaac Hotchkiss Grant Howard Joseph Johnson Alexa Mallernee Ariana Marquis Andrew Mitin Julia Mucha Mackenzie Myers Thea Prieto Leslie Slape


Editor’s Note

Sometimes at this time of year, when I take the bus across the Hawthorne bridge in the morning there’s a thin fog that follows the west hills and filters downtown Portland with a soft whiteness that could be the closest thing to snow we’ll get. On Portland State University’s campus the elm trees are neoning yellow and brown at their crests. Flowers around the city are mostly dead. If you’re from Portland then I imagine listening to a transplant describe the city to other people is something like hearing someone talk about how cool or strange your family is. I’ve only been here a year, which honestly is not that long of a time, so in some ways I have no clue what Portland really is. Many of the people I know are transplants, even those that have lived here for over ten years began somewhere else and migrated for work, school, or just to live in Portland. Certainly, there are people who were born and raised here or in the surrounding areas. There is, though, a Portland flavor to this mixture, informed by the overgrowth of moss, surrounding mountain landscapes, and overly white population. Describing aspects of a city’s identity can be difficult, and for a transplant like me, maybe even misinformed, because a city is shifting even while some things stay the same. Exploring the identity of a city, or ourselves, has value in finding the larger truths of who we are as humans. In our Fall 2014 issue, which you have here, there is a presence of questioning and exploring issues of race, cultures, places, and how they may speak to our humanity. While this is not an intentional theme, the natural emergence of these threads speaks to the subconscious or conscious choices made by our contributors and editors to seek answers or investigate aspects of identity, a topic


which seems to fluctuate in popularity depending on the times, but never truly goes away, whether one has origins in Portland or elsewhere. I suppose it isn’t surprising that we are at a high point of investigating the self when so much of digital communication involves sharing parts of ourselves. And it could be cliché, I guess, for a season of change to be associated with identity, but regardless, it’s here, as are other strands I’m sure will stand out in your own reading. And so, from here we go on, through fall and into winter, looking for places that could be home and in some way change with us. I hope you enjoy, and thank you for picking up this issue. Sincerely, Alex Dannemiller Editor in Chief


Contents

Ron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Photograph by Ira Joel Haber Hampshire Gray . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Fiction by Beth Sherman We Call Man an Insect Infinite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Poetry by Katie Prince Like An Angel On The Balcony . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Nonfiction by Kelsay Myers Calder Sculpture in Lincoln Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 Photograph by Charissa Che Beak Man and the Girl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Fiction by Rupprecht Mayer Crash, With Revisions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Poetry by Tod Marshall Alabama Fire Ants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Nonfiction by Davon Loeb Mongoose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Drawing by Ruth Irving On River Road . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Fiction by Courtney Bird


Andrew Zachary Defends His Good Name . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Fiction by Alex McElroy from Fragments from an Autobiography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Poetry by Peter Burzynski Blood Running . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Nonfiction by Sasha LaPointe Missing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51 Fiction by Savannah Johnston Molasses Sugar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Nonfiction by Lyzette Wanzer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 Poetry by Tod Marshall Where The Sea Meets The Spry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 Poetry by Peter Burzynski Low Landscape (detail) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 Mixed Media by Ira Joel Haber The Warrior and the Gerund . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 Fiction by Pablo Pi単ero Stillmann Poem In Which The Sun Is A Balding And Jealous Lover . 92 Poetry by Katie Prince Dead Brothers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94 Poetry by Anna Meister The Evening House . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95 Photograph by Christopher Woods


Finished Sentences in Dar es Salaam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 Nonfiction by Richard Prins Kangaroo Mouse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104 Drawing by Ruth Irving Reincarnation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 Fiction by Richard Weems Chicago: Four Half Dialogues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106 Nonfiction by Ben Merriman VHS Dream . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108 Poetry by Robert Duncan Gray Floor Pieces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 Mixed Media by Ira Joel Haber Contributor Biographies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .113


Photograph

Ron Ira Joel Haber


Fiction

Hampshire Gray Beth Sherman

The day after his death, Howie Sugarman stood in the foyer of his daughter’s newly rented apartment on the Upper West Side holding three Benjamin Moore paint chips up to the light. Hampshire Gray, Barley Harvest, and Taffeta Green, applied in weak thin strokes. Jessica and her fiancé, Andrew, hadn’t had time to select one, what with the wedding and the honeymoon and Howie and his wife dying so soon after both events. It seemed like a small detail. Paint. Howie preferred the gray. Such a goyishe name for a color. Gray was gray, right? Still, it was dignified, important looking. The apartment was small. But he liked it better than the one they’d looked at on East 12th Street, which didn’t have a second bedroom. Not that he needed to sleep anymore. It was just nice to know there was a separate area for him so he could give the newlyweds some privacy. When you entered this apartment, it was through the foyer, a long narrow space with barely enough room for a bicycle and a black table from IKEA that was supposed to be made of wood but wasn’t. It would serve as a backdrop for Jessica’s photographs, which were stacked on the floor in identical metal frames. Jessica had spent 10 months documenting his pancreatic cancer and Lynn’s breast cancer. Howie would have preferred she not do this, but he didn’t have the heart to say no, so he went along with it, permitting himself to be photographed in all sorts of intimate, messy moments, even striking brave poses and mugging for the camera. #FUI4IFSNBOt


He put the gray paint chip atop the two others, setting all three on the table – maybe Jessica and Andrew would consider it a sign – and wandered around the apartment. He was wearing what he’d been buried in: a white shroud, in accordance with Jewish tradition. It dragged on the newly waxed floor sending up a spray of dust motes. All the mirrors were covered in heavy dark cloth. The Rabbis of old had said that the soul of a dead person was hidden in the glass and if the living caught a glimpse of it, they too might be pulled into the world beyond. Lifting a corner of the fabric, Howie stared at the gaunt man on the other side. His skin appeared to have detached itself from his bones and flapped when he moved. Howie held himself very still as the man in the mirror leaned towards him, puckered his lips and spit onto the glass. Take me with you, Howie said. But no words came out and when the man started laughing, Howie put the cloth back over the mirror. He wondered where Lynn was. He’d always expected to share eternity with her, just like they’d shared everything else – a home, kids, cancer. She died three weeks before he did and her remains were in the grave next to his in Old Montefiore Cemetery in Queens. He’d paid extra for them to be under a tree in the shade. Why wasn’t she here? Maybe if he waited, she’d come find them. Drifting over to the window, he surveyed the city below. All those people rushing around with a purpose, with somewhere definite to go. He tried to raise the sash but it wouldn’t budge. The sun burned his eyes. The weight of his own sadness crushed him, heavier than the tiredness he’d experienced after chemo, heavier than the sound of the coffin closing with a final desperate click. He heard a key turn in the lock. Jessica and Andrew, back from their usual Sunday excursion to Whole Foods. Bracing himself, he stood in the middle of the foyer and waited. The door swung open. There was the rustling of plastic bags, the sweet lilt of Jessica’s voice, their bodies moving towards him, through t#FUI4IFSNBO


him. He could feel the air tingling slightly, reminding him of a night sixty years ago in Scottsdale, Arizona, when he’d gotten caught in an electrical storm. Atoms changing, rearranging, his life unspooling before him like a glorious silk ribbon. “You know,” Jessica said to Andrew. “I think I prefer the green. It really pops.”

#FUI4IFSNBOt


Poetry

We Call Man an Insect Infinite ,BUJF1SJODF

what I mean is, there are motions we have no words for – truly no one said we needed this – this is to say harm, or nostalgia or all the ugly words for what we are more or less than. a rib or a cock or a drink in arm. upon sad deflating breast. listen, in the world outside I am in lust with so many uncut wrists – or, let’s say, the oxidized unseen back half of a face. we call man a scabbed and seeping mess. what I mean to say is, a bone fragment came loose from my skull and landed on my tongue today, felt hard but smooth like cut glass. rounded, I think, against an excess of blood flow. say but I have no blood left in me. say in space I boiled under, through skin: sweat sex and plasma in the void. I can taste the hole I left t,BUJF1SJODF


with my tongue. say it leads to the brain, say bugs are crawling in or out or down. when it’s warm at night I dream about earwigs burrowing into soft tissue – then wake and spit small bodies in a tin. let’s call it what it is, somebody says. alien implantation. or – a rejected host. for isn’t this the briny taste of man? of my own brain? call it somehow short of human or somehow far, what happens to a body loose in space – first boiled, then clotted then expanded, frozen, and swept away. to cross uncounted miles. and here I am a year from leaving. what I mean is from breaking out. what I mean is a face bloated with fluids – but will the head still swell if the mouth is full of holes? ,BUJF1SJODFt


I excavate myself with a foreign tongue. listen. I slid the bone fragment against the edge of my desk, laid it down to decompose. I am afraid to dispose of my skull. we might call this molting, or building a new self out of unusable parts. say I am a woman playing with her own stones. say I am searching for Space A in which to place Bone B. look, this is nothing unforeseen. what I mean is, we call man a broken down machine.

t,BUJF1SJODF


Nonfiction

Like An Angel On The Balcony ,FMTBZ.ZFST

Autoamerican was the first record I bought at one of the vinyl stores in Nashville my friend, Natalie, and I used to frequent that was not The Great Escape. The cover art—with Debbie Harry leaning back against the balcony in muted colors, the New York skyline behind her, and the rest of the band vanishing into the background—is faded but familiar. The echo of something—a youth, or a memory, or a life—that is gone but not forgotten. Blondie was one of many bands passed down to me from Natalie’s music collection. One night, we rode down Broadway in her indigo Volkswagen bug, past Union Station, Eat to the Beat playing on her iPhone. It was the first time I’d heard of Blondie, and we both laughed because we passed Union Station as “Union City Blue” came on. It’s funny how tied Blondie is in my memory to Nashville when their music is so New York. I ran away to Nashville when I was twenty-three. Natalie lived in Nashville and my other best friend lived in New York City, but she hesitated. That’s how I ended up in Nashville, five hundred and twenty-nine miles south of Di, the woman who once saved my life. ! Everyone wants something from her. They want to talk to her. They want her advice. So I’d wait by the door, standing beneath all the old classics in literature, because all I wanted was her, and ,FMTBZ.ZFSTt


one by one they’d go until it was just me and Di, and we’d walk out together, wanting to talk to each other, and so we prolonged the moment when we’d both have to drive home. “I’ll take you to your car,” she’d say, which is what I wanted her to say, so I’d agree, and we’d sit in her black Volkswagen bug with all of its feminist political bumper stickers and talk and stare out of the windshield, or at the mess of papers and poetry books littering the inside of her car, or at the open red plastic tote I had bought her at a vintage shop in Nashville with a black imprint of Frida Kahlo on both of its sides. We’d look at all of this mess instead of at each other, and we’d do this all the time. ! One time, in the summer I moved back from Nashville, we sat with the air conditioner blowing and the engine running, not going anywhere, and Di turned to me and offered me a piece of bubble gum, so I took one, and she took one, and we both popped them into our mouths and chewed. As we chewed, she asked me if I remembered that episode of Seinfeld where they just sat and chewed gum. “No,” I said. “I never liked Seinfeld. I was the only person in this country who never got into that show.” “Well, that’s what I think of as true friendship,” she said. “Just sitting and chewing gum.” I nodded, and we continued to sit and chew and not say anything because nothing else needed to be said. I never told her that in the silence, I thought about my high school English teacher, Mrs. Swift. The afternoon that I saw her light on long after everyone else had already left school, I walked by her door at least fifteen times before getting up the nerve to walk inside. I was sweating under my black pea coat and backpack, and my heart was pounding, and I was sure she was going to tell me to go home and leave her alone, but instead, she looked up from the stack of papers she was grading. Her red t,FMTBZ.ZFST


hair with chunky blonde highlights was short and spiked, so it didn’t fall across her face like mine did. She was eating a lemon drop, and she held the bag out to me as an offering. I reached my sweaty hand into the bag and took one, and after we finished sucking on lemon drops, we became inseparable for two years. That was six years before Di. ! Another time, in the middle of winter, Di and I sat in that cold black car blowing on our fingertips with the engine running and the heat on but not coming out fast enough, and she turned to me and wondered what it was like to be me. Freezing cold, I looked at her and wondered why she wanted to know. The air was so cold that our breath made circles, like the smoke from a cigarette, though she’s never been a smoker, and it had been years since I smoked with any regularity. “I’m just me,” I said, which is what she usually said to me when I told her she was my ideal. She rolled her eyes and said that she was just her, nothing special, but she is special, and when she would tell me that she’s only human, I nodded because that’s what I loved about her. But now, she wanted to know what it was like to not have to worry about money because her whole life has been defined by not having enough. She wanted to know what it was like to be a fan because she doesn’t have that anymore. Life has taken that out of her. She’s post-love now and that means post-fandom, but she remembered waking up in the middle of the night when John Lennon was assassinated and just staring at the television set. It was right after she left New York City. She always slept with the television on in the background. She still does. She had run away to New York with her boyfriend, and once there, she danced at Studio 54 with the Rolling Stones and made out with Debbie Harry at some dive in the city. What I would give to make out with Debbie Harry! She thinks nothing ,FMTBZ.ZFSTt


of it. She was known as “the girlfriend” in William Burroughs’ circle, and when she was my age, she thought Kenneth Koch was amazing, so when he asked her to be his assistant, she said yes, but when she came over to his house, he attacked her and when she tried to get away, he pulled her hair so hard that her head snapped back, but she fought him off and ran away and never forgave him. “Why don’t you write about that?” I asked her. “I’d be the most reviled woman in poetry,” she said, and it’s probably true, but what I really wanted to know was what it was like to be her. No idealization, no ideals. “Just grief,” she’d say. ! I know because when we were actually driving around one day in the middle of spring, we tried not to cry in front of each other. We were depressed for different reasons, and Di said, “My whole life is about grief. If you gutted me like a fish, grief would pour out,” and I didn’t say anything because there was nothing to say. She never really knew her father, a World War II veteran who flew over Hiroshima the day after the atomic bomb was dropped and had been dying her entire childhood from the radiation exposure until she was seven or eight or nine, and then her best friend died of AIDS in San Francisco when she was in her early twenties. She flew out once to see him, and she knew it would be the last time they ever spoke, and when his boyfriend drove her back to the airport, speeding down the mountain roads in his sports car, she screamed like she’d never screamed before and never saw either of them again. And her boyfriend in New York bought a gun and showed it to her under a table at Veselka’s, and she took it and threw it into the East River, and that was when she decided that she had to get the hell out of New York. Her mother bought her a plane ticket back to Niles, Michigan, and she left all of her poetry behind in the apartment t,FMTBZ.ZFST


in the East Village, and years later they started to talk again and then he O.D.’ed out of the blue, and her husband left her after seventeen years of marriage, and for years when she’d see their house around the corner after coming home from a walk, she’d think, “He left, and I stayed,” and just last year she had to talk their son, who is my age, back into the land of the living when he O.D.’ed and turned blue. She begged him to come back, so he did, but now he was leaving for St. Louis with his fiancée, and I was leaving to go to California, and she felt empty. Everything was an absence, but she knew what it was like to be me because there was a hot gay doctor on As the World Turns she couldn’t stop watching named Reid Oliver. She was drawn to his story: hot gay doctor comes to town, gets on everyone’s nerves with his sass, falls in love with his young coma patient’s boyfriend, and the walls he built around his heart over the years begin to fade. She became so addicted to this story that she read Fan Fiction on Livejournal, all of his interviews online, scoured the Internet for any of his other film and television credits and sat in front of the television every day at two p.m. to watch a dying character on a dying soap opera. “This is your fault,” she texted me. “You better watch it.” So I did. And I became addicted, too, because there was a hot adopted mother figure named Lily Walsh Snyder, and I was drawn to her story. She was strong in her own way, and beautiful, so I watched two years of back-to-back episodes online and saw her on-again/off-again husband cheat on her with her best friend. She felt betrayed by her adoptive mother, too, and for the first time, I cried and cried and cried because it was so sad, and I was reading all of these books on adoption loss and suffering, and it seemed like my whole life up until that moment was about the inability to grieve. I never really knew my birthmother. I was promised to my parents before I even came out of the womb, and that initial separation amounts to a loss so deep that some adoption psychologists claim I will spend the rest of my life mourning. My aunt ,FMTBZ.ZFSTt


died when I was eight, and then my grandmother when I was nine, after years of being worn down by a rare lung disease she got during the Great Depression, and although we were close, I couldn’t cry at her, nor any of my succeeding grandparents’, funerals, nor when my dog, Charlie, stopped eating the night before Thanksgiving. After seventeen years of saying I loved him more than anything else in the world, I sat in silence as he was being put down. And when my mother asked me during an argument if I would be this mean to my real mother, I froze, and in the moment between hearing her words and throwing my newly packed box of clothing down the staircase, I felt an absence grow inside myself from a place I will never be able to recall the origins. I screamed as I had never screamed before because everything had changed, and I finally knew what grief was. ! One time, late at night, when it was summer again and neither of us could sleep, Di started talking to me on Facebook Messenger about The Beatles. “What’s your favorite John Lennon song?” I asked. “That’s a tough one,” she said. “‘Dig a Pony’ makes me cry because it’s poetry. Not in a narrative way, but it’s so rich.” I looked for an emoticon that could express agreement or whimsy, but all I could find was :|. “How ‘bout ‘Don’t Let Me Down?’” she said a moment later, changing her mind. “That’s when he was fearful of loving so deeply.” “I like that too,” I said, and together on YouTube, we watched video footage from the rooftop concert in 1969 on top of the Apple building, even though U.S. Highway 131 separated us. “We’re nuts,” she said. “Sitting here in Michigan listening to a dead guy on a roof sing about the depths of love via electrical impulses.” But neither of us went to bed right away. t,FMTBZ.ZFST


! That summer, I went to visit my friend in New York again. Back then I visited her annually, staying in her various apartments in Brooklyn. Every time I went to New York, I stayed longer and hated it more. A woman I used to know who grew up in northern New York claimed that she’d never heard anyone complain about the New York heat as much as I did, but Di believes that Michiganders have a difficult time there. We’re too used to green fields, farmland and flat, excessive highways, so the endless concrete is hard on our feet, but she once walked fifty-two blocks to get an abortion in the middle of summer after fainting in a museum. This trip to New York would be my swan song to the city because I was moving to California, and annual trips out East would soon be a thing of the past. When my friend asked me what I wanted to do, I had a list: go to The Coffee Shop (I had discovered that the actress who played Lily Walsh on As the World Turns’ husband owned it); eat at Veselka’s, which was no longer “a greasy hole” but an upscale restaurant; and walk by Di’s old apartment in the East Village, which hadn’t changed much in thirty years, except now an A.C. unit is in the window. “It’s weird to see it,” she told me. “I have no pictures from back then. I had to leave my books and almost everything behind. I had five minutes to leave, or I never would have. I could only grab a few things that would fit in my bag.” Then she thanked me for the pictures. ! At the end of summer, As the World Turns had been cancelled and was going off-air. Two weeks before I left for California, Di and I were texting each other while watching it, and talking, or rather arguing, about adoption. She thought it was ridiculous to feel “abandonment issues” ,FMTBZ.ZFSTt


since there are other reasons why women surrender children. A friend of hers had done so in her teens, and it was out of love. She thought reading Joe Soll’s self-help book, Adoption Healing: A Path to Recovery, Jane Jeong Trenka’s autobiography, The Language of Blood, and Nancy Newton Verrier’s The Primal Wound were making me intractable to other perspectives on adoption, and she thought all of this from outside of the adoption triad. In the night I wrote her an email full of Joe Soll quotes like: “When an adoptee enters into a romantic relationship, she often seeks individuals who represent her idealized natural mother,” and, “There were 20% of adults (average age 32) who had never had any love relationships at all—no intimate relationship ever,” and then, “Another obstacle adoptees often face when searching for an adult relationship is the lack of any hopes for the future. Without a sense of the past, it is very difficult to dream of the future.” I told her I thought it would be a good idea if we took a break from each other because I was leaving anyway, and it was clear that she never really understood me to begin with, and maybe we should just have the space to go our separate ways. What I didn’t say was that I wanted no separation, no distance between us. ! If someone asked me what the defining moment of friendship was in my life, I would say this: the afternoon that I had nothing to do in my high school French class and wandered over to the other side of the building to hang out in Swift’s room during her free period. She sat in the chair at her desk in the office she shared with my former Social Studies teacher that I had called anti-gay in the school newspaper. She had to make a telephone call, so I sat on the other desk quietly waiting for her to finish. When the Social Studies teacher came into the office to get something, she t,FMTBZ.ZFST


promptly turned on her heels and went back into her classroom when she saw me sitting there. Swift hung up the phone, and when our eyes met, we both began to laugh. We laughed for a full minute, and our laughter was the same laughter. She gave me four books as a graduation present in high school: Chaim Potok’s My Name is Asher Lev, Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible, John Irving’s The World According to Garp and His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Ethics for a New Millennium. In each book, she inscribed a personal message she hoped I would take away, and she left me a five-page letter written with a blue Pilot pen, in which she imparted all of the wisdom she wanted to offer me for the rest of my life. She told me that I’d made her heart sing, and it was breaking now that I was leaving, and I didn’t understand why because I was just going to college, and I could always make time to come back and see her, and I did at first. But by the time I had come out on the other side of college, I was a different person, and years had passed where I turned my back on everyone who knew who I was before. That person was dead. She literally did not exist anymore. What was the point? ! “It takes a lifetime to understand someone,” Di said. “I respect your need for space, and I will give it to you, but I am in your life to prove to you that relationships are a journey that last a lifetime.” “I know myself better than you know me,” I said. “Well, I should hope so. You probably know me better than I do as well.” Maybe. But, I knew that two thousand miles was a hell of a lot longer than Highway 131, and it was breaking my heart to leave. ,FMTBZ.ZFSTt


! Two days before I drove to California, I sat at a coffee shop in Kalamazoo I never frequented as a student because the inside smelled of cigarette smoke. The coffee shop I did frequent (that had also smelled of cigarette smoke) had been closed for three years, the other coffee shop was now a gourmet restaurant, and this particular coffee shop had banana flavoring, unlike the other two coffee shops in town. I was reading a poem by one of Di’s colleagues that she thought I would like. I had just said goodbye to my psychologist, and I was finally leaving the place I would have killed myself in twice, had I not saved myself the first time, and Di not saved me the second. Everything was different now, even the coffee shop I was drinking my nonfat banana mocha in no longer smelled of cigarette smoke. When I met Di for dinner, she gave me a small black paper bag and said I couldn’t look at it until I got back to Lowell. I didn’t peek, and when I got home, I found a circle of wooden beads with a window inside and a card with a note that said: I only give away things I want to hold onto – and that’s you (to the world) and this (in the bag). It’s been on my altar since it was given to me. It’s from Korea – like you. Remember to look inside the bead w/ the window, the heart-window, the wound-window. So I looked through the window, but I didn’t know what I was supposed to find.

Sources:

Blondie. “Angels On the Balcony.” Autoamerican. Chrysalis Records, 2001. CD. Soll, Joe. Adoption Healing…a path to recovery. 2nd ed. Baltimore: Gateway Press, Inc., 2005. Print.

t,FMTBZ.ZFST


Photograph

Calder Sculpture in Lincoln Center Charissa Che


Contributor Biographies

Courtney Bird Fiction: On River Road . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Courtney Bird is currently completing an MFA at the University of Montana. Peter Burzynski Poems from Fragments from an Autiobiography . . . . . . . 46 Poem: Where The Sea Meets The Spry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 Peter Burzynski is a second-year PhD student in Creative Writing-Poetry at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an MFA in Poetry from The New School University, and an MA in Polish Literature from Columbia University. Charissa Che Photograph: Calder Sculpture in Lincoln Center . . . . . . . . .31 Charissa Che is a New York City native. She has obtained her Bachelor’s degree in English Writing and Literature from Pace University and her Master’s degree in Rhetoric from the College of Staten Island (City University of New York). She is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Utah in English, with a focus on Rhetoric and Composition, and is also an online English instructor for BYU-Idaho. Academics aside, Charissa has been working in broadcast, print, and digital journalism for over ten years. She is an Arts & Entertainment contributor for SOUNDS Magazine and Salt Lake Magazine, respectively. Robert Duncan Gray Poem: VHS Dream . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108 Robert Duncan Gray is an English artist currently living and working in Portland, OR. He is the author of Cabbage Language


(Housefire Books, 2013) and Ticklish Animal (Bone Tax Press, 2014) and a handful of ebooks littered around the internet. He curates and hosts À reading, a monthly reading series in Portland, OR. He makes music under the pseudonym COLDGOLD and likes to paint a lot. Find him at www.sillyrobchildish.com.

Ira Joel Haber Photograph: Ron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 & cover Mixed Media: Low Landscape (detail) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 Mixed Media: Floor Pieces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 Ira Joel Haber was born and lives in Brooklyn. He is a sculptor, painter, writer, book dealer, photographer, and teacher. His work has been seen in numerous group shows, and he has had nine one man shows including several retrospectives of his sculpture. His work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York University, the Guggenheim Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum, and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Since 2007 his paintings, drawings, photographs, and collages have been published in over 184 on line and print magazines. He has received three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, two Pollock-Krasner grants, the Adolph Gottlieb Foundation grant and, in 2010, he received a grant from Artists’ Fellowship Inc. He currently teaches art to retired public school teachers at The United Federation of Teachers program in Brooklyn. Ruth Irving Drawing: Mongoose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Drawing: Kangaroo Mouse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104 Ruth Irving is an artist living in Brooklyn, New York with a background in Architecture. Her current illustration work uses techniques in pencil, ink, and watercolor. Ruth has a love for creating synthetic pieces and uses what she sees around her, or finds dear, like small furry rodents, as subjects for this practice. More about Ruth and her art can be found at RuthIrving.com.


Savannah Johnston Fiction: Missing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51 Savannah Johnston has completed her undergraduate degree at Columbia University and is presently pursuing an MFA in fiction at New Mexico State University. She was recently awarded the Kevin McIlvoy Writing Fellowship. Sasha LaPointe Nonfiction: Blood Running . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Sasha LaPointe lives in Seattle Washington and is currently pursuing her MFA in creative writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is a recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s 2014 Graduate of The Arts Award. Her poems have been published in The Magazine, As Us, and Aborted Society’s online journal. She is working on a book of poetry as well as memoir focused on her experiences growing up on the Swinomish reservation in northwest Washington. Davon Loeb Nonfiction: Alabama Fire Ants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Davon Loeb is an MFA candidate at Rutgers University. His work has been featured in Portland Review, Kweli Journal, Duende Journal, Nomans Journal, Parable Press, MenoPause Press, PaleHouse, Midwest Literary Magazine, Penny Ante Feud, and Heavy Hands Ink, among other. Davon lives in New Jersey and is an English teacher. Tod Marshall Poem: Crash, With Revisions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Poem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 Tod Marshall lives in Spokane, Washington. “Crash, With Revisions” will appear in his third collection, BUGLE, forthcoming from Canarium Books.


Rupprecht Mayer Fiction: Beak Man and the Girl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Rupprecht Mayer was born near Salzburg. After some 20 years living and working in Taiwan, Beijing, and Shanghai, he recently resettled in SE Bavaria. He translates Chinese literature and writes short prose. English versions appeared in AGNI Online, Atticus, Blue Fifth Review, Connotation Press, Frostwriting, Gravel, Hobart, Mikrokosmos/Mojo, NAP, Nano Fiction, Ninth Letter, Postcard Shorts, Prick of the Spindle, Radius, Stymie Magazine, The Newer York, Toasted Cheese, Watershed Review and Word Riot. See chinablaetter.info/rupprechtmayer/. Alex McElroy Fiction: Andrew Zachary Defends His Good Name . . . . . . 44 Alex’s fiction appears or is forthcoming in Indiana Review, Gulf Coast, Diagram, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Tin House Flash Fridays, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, and more work can be found at alexmcelroywriting.wordpress.com. He is pursuing an MFA at Arizona State University and serves as the International Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review. Anna Meister Poem: Dead Brothers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94 Anna Meister is an MFA candidate in Poetry at NYU. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Sugar House Review, Bodega, The Boiler, and elsewhere. Anna is a finalist for the 2014 Coniston Prize from Radar Poetry. Born and raised in Iowa, she now lives in Brooklyn. Ben Merriman Nonfiction: Chicago: Four Half Dialogues . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106 Ben Merriman is a doctoral student at the University of Chicago and fiction editor at Chicago Review. Read more at benmerriman.tumblr.com.


,FMTBZ.ZFST Nonfiction: Like An Angel On The Balcony . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Kelsay Myers is an emerging writer and artist, currently living in Walnut Creek, CA. Originally, she is a Korean adoptee from the Midwest. She received an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Saint Mary’s College of California in 2012 and an MFA in Poetry in 2013. She currently serves as Vice Chair for the MFA Advisory Board at St. Mary’s and as CFO for the Association of Korean Adoptees, San Francisco. Her work can be found in the anthology, More Voices: A Collection of Works from Asian Adoptees, Caught in the Carousel, and she had a two-year column on Lantern Review Blog. Her interests are interrogating identity construction and persona, myth and reality, poetry and prose, and theory and form to explore the limits of personal history and narrative. For more information, please go to kelsayelizabethmyers.com. ,BUJF1SJODF Poem: We Call Man an Insect Infinite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Poem: Poem In Which The Sun Is A Balding And Jealous Lover . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 Katie Prince is an MFA candidate at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and an intern at Lookout Books. Her work has been published in Spork, Smoking Glue Gun, and Prick of the Spindle, among others. Richard Prins Nonfiction: Finished Sentences in Dar es Salaam . . . . . . . 97 Richard Prins is a New Yorker who sometimes lives in Dar es Salaam. He received his MFA degree in poetry from New York University and currently serves as poetry editor for the literary series Ink.ed MFA. His poems and essays appear in publications like Baltimore Review, Cimarron Review, Los Angeles Review, Rattle, Southern Indiana Review, and Transition Magazine.


Beth Sherman Fiction: Hampshire Gray . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Beth Sherman has an MFA in creative writing from Queens College last spring, and now teaches the English department there. She’s written articles for The New York Times, Newsday, The Seattle Times, and Harper’s Bazaar magazine. Her poetry has been published in Hawaii Pacific Review and in spring 2013 she was a writer-in-residence at The Louis Armstrong House Museum in New York City. She has also written five mystery novels, published by Avon Books, a division of HarperCollins. Pablo Piñero Stillmann Fiction: The Warrior and the Gerund . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 Pablo Pinero Stillmann was a Fiction Fellow at the Foundation for Mexican Literature (’08-’09) and a Booth Tarkington Fellow at Indiana University (’11-’12). His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Ninth Letter, Cream City Review, Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, The Normal School, and other journals. Lyzette Wanzer Nonfiction: Molasses Sugar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Lyzette Wanzer is a San Francisco fiction writer and essayist. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. A flash fiction connoisseur and essay aficionado, her work has appeared in Callaloo, Tampa Review, The MacGuffin, Ampersand Review, Journal of Advanced Development, Journal of Experimental Fiction, Pleiades, Flashquake, Glossalia Flash Fiction, Potomac Review, International Journal on Literature and Theory, Fringe Magazine, Aesthetica Magazine, and others. She is a contributor to The Chalk Circle: Intercultural Prizewinning Essays (Wyatt-MacKenzie, 2012) and 642 Tiny Things to Write About (Chronicle Books, 2015). Lyzette has been awarded writing residencies at the Blue


Mountain Center (NY), Kimmel Harding Center for the Arts (NE), Playa Summer Lake (OR), and Horned Dorset Colony (NY). She is the recipient of an Investing in Artists grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation (2012), an Individual Artist Commission grant from San Francisco Arts Commission (2013), and two Professional Development Grants from the Creative Capacity Fund (2012, 2013). With the support of the grants, Lyzette is currently at work on an essay collection entitled Gelatin Prints.

Richard Weems Fiction: Reincarnation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 Richard Weems’ first full-length story collection, Anything He Wants, won the Spire Fiction Prize and was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Award. He is also the author of a fiction chapbook, The Need for Character, and an eBook collection, The Cheap Stories Series. His stories have appeared in such magazines as The North American Review, The Gettysburg Review, Other Voices, The Florida Review, The Mississippi Review, The Beloit Fiction Journal, and The Crescent Review. Christopher Woods Photograph: The Evening House . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95 Christopher Woods is a writer, teacher and photographer who lives in Houston and Chappell Hill, Texas. His published works include a prose collection, Under a Riverbed Sky, and a book of stage monologues for actors, Heart Speak. He conducts creative writing workshops in Houston. His photographs have appeared in many journals, with photo essays published in Glasgow Review, Public Republic, Deep South, and Narrative Magazine, among others. His photography can be seen in his online gallery - http://christopherwoods.zenfolio.com/.


Profile for M F Corwin

Portland Review, Fall 2014, Sample  

A selection from the Fall 2014 issue of the "Portland Review"; the first two (blank) pages and pages 33-112 have been removed.

Portland Review, Fall 2014, Sample  

A selection from the Fall 2014 issue of the "Portland Review"; the first two (blank) pages and pages 33-112 have been removed.

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