11.1 $0.00 PLAN BEE 2014
T E R 11 INTH LET
w Fishel by Andre April 2014
.1 “Plan B
TP &W ANTHOLOGY by Andrew Fishel
CRANDALL n there.” “Look, that way! It’s right dow ump Ba-bump. Ba-b . ump Whoosh. Ba-b ed. Who knows how long half-sec ond window had pass My n. agai it I had missed road again? it would be till Mom took this ted. “Did you see it?” exci ed My brother look to of me the pout that plagues every pho ring wea d, I sho ok my hea from thos e days. it next time.” He was he stayed upb eat. “You’ll see He looked disappointe d, but for my persistent moo diness. tive. He more than made up always goo d about being posi k we kept in a turned to the big, musty boo But my thoughts had already : A Pictorial History,” and ROMs. It was calle d “Morton woo den cabinet next to the CDe. It was a magic book that could first read its dense pros I love d it from the moment I d-over buildings on Main bustle around the dingy, side showed me what life used to Peoria and Bloomington rs ran their circuit between Stre et, and where the stre etca looked like when it was only showed me what my scho ol right in front of my scho ol. It l coats and caps crowded high, with boys and girls in woo a brick foundation four feet h for them— looking with w so well—AD 1929, still so fres around the cornerstone I kne . It showed me the factories sy eyes out at me, through time windchapp ed faces and glas disguise d as houses, and the churches that had sinc e been that had burned down and the a castle’s spire. watertower that looked like pidated woo den sign beside 183, there was a photo of a dila e pag on In this book, white sky. Barely legible ded by dirt fields and a hazy some railroad tracks, surroun neatly in capital letters: ace was a single word, carved on the sign’s weathered surf junction of two spurs of the ribe d its precise location at the CRANDALL. The caption desc oming switch. The name was to alert engineers of the upc Tole do, Peoria, and Western, went, he was able to attract n’s early history; as the story that of a major figure in the tow lements like New London, g us to win out over rival sett the railroads to Morton, allowin or something like that. my magic book, this of all the beautiful things in It didn’t matter to me, because to be untouched by the there, far enough in the country was the only one that was still de. My brother had seen it, rest of town into a concrete faca progress that had turned the desp erately so. I wanted to drove by. I wanted to see it too, and he saw it every time we n’t been lying to me. It was sure that the magic book had see it with my own eyes to be in giants. it told me. I wanted to believe plac ed there by giants of old, The countryside blurred by.
Next time, I thought to mys elf.
FONDULAC The bike rides always begin the same way. Bor edom, and a nee d to rel unlike a rubber band eas e energy, not stretched until it snaps. I slip on my sandals and hau of the she d. Without l my bike out a word to anyone, I ped al out of the driveway, the bike trail. up the hill, and on to The air is stagnant and hot, but on a tall bike, we aring ratty cargo sho an old t-shirt, it feels rts and like gliding through coo l water. The sun shone when it didn’t, like du constantly, except ring the violent evenin g storms that knocked pool and flo oded the branches into the cre ek while we cowere d in the downstairs bat could end up that wa hro om. Any day y. It was never about foresight, just how qu ickly you could react. The bike trail used to be a railro ad. The Illi nois Terminal. It carrie betwe en Peoria and Blo d people omington back when peo ple cared about Peoria and Blo omington. Its succes sor, Interstate 74, lies in full view of the tra neighborhood, opposi il just as it exits my te a cornfield with a bil lbo ard for a Perkins that’s for years. It’s similar been closed to the way the poles of the earth shift, or the change their course. wa y riv ers slowly Where I ride was onc e the center of a very filled in now, with asp different universe. It’s halt and white rock, but the long, thin sca forgetting impossible. r in the earth makes The hill is the best par t of the trail, at least in one direction. Wh the are a experienced ere as most of a sudden dropoff at the edg e of the Illinois River valley could ride a bike dow , here one n a very long, very gra dual slope for almost incredible spe eds. I dec a mile, exiting at ide to conduct an exp eriment: I pedal as har hill, pushing myself to d as I can down the the limits of my endura nce. Then I coast at the how far my momentu bottom to see m can take me. Past the eroded cliffsid es, the little old houses with horses and mules yard, the high-tension in the pylons that buzz when you listen closely. Ov bridges on loose plank er the old rail s that rattle under you r tires. It’s a beautiful summers when you’re thing, those old enough to be indepe ndent but not old eno responsible. Those are ugh to be summers spent wadin g in the cre ek, swimmi siblings, and looking ng with your for tre es to climb. Pas t the gre en caboose and playground. This is Fon the bro ken dulac, the bottom of the lake. There’s the cre concrete channel to col ek, cut into a huge lect runoff and preven t flo oding. The roads little buildings with here are loud. Squat ancient local business abound. Follow the cre ek until the trail runs out beh ind a Walgreens. Stare the city in the distan wistfully at ce, not really wanting to cro ss the river, but ste aling eve you can of the sights ry second and sounds of summe r before you have to return.
FARMDALE The two tracks lea ve East Pe oria ap art, and they se em meetings will oc determined to en cur. The cliché of sure no future es tranged lovers fit akin to saying go s, but it always str odbye to a perso uc k me as more n, only to run in pretend they aren to them later, an ’t there to pres er d being force d to ve the sanctity of your farewells. The valley se em s unsure of its loc ation in time. Be hous e with single side the tracks, a -pane windows tiny brick sp orts a barn, a siz of chickens strut ab le ve getable garden, an ting ab out, all on d a host a tiny sliver of pr embankment an op erty sandwich d the odd, windin ed between the g ro rail ad . Ye t looming behind over mountain wi it is the landfill, th pip es sticking a greene dou t. An d be hind that, a mas reservoirs ensure sive system of da s that the fickle Fa ms and rm Creek can’t wa once frozen in a sh out East Pe or simpler time and ia again. It is at en gin ee re d so heavily that on pass through. e hardly notic es as they The road is unlik e any other. It ne go tia tes the cre ekside cuts back and for in gentle curves th across the railr , then oad tracks, going your stomach an over bumps big d around turns so enough to turn su dd en , yo u path. They do, of wonder how mor course; one nigh e pe ople don’t los t as we drove to e the ambulances and dinner in East Pe polic e cars infor oria, a gathering m ed of us of a m otorcyclist who and plunged fifty faile d to negotia fe et into the cre te ek a cu . No rve on e ev er argues to straig more safety rails . It simply is, as it hten the road or alw ad d ay s ha s be unquestionable en. It follows a log by nature. ic long since expir ed, Of all the wide va lleys that cut thro ug h most se crets. It is my home, it is th is one that holds oddly transition al, neither here no the se emingly untouc r there. The wo od he d, yet they hide s are de ep and th e re m ain Roads built for he s of ruste d-out Ch avy earth movin evys and Studeba g equipment are kers. meadows, criss cro tranquil paths in sse d with power to cre ekbe ds and lin es . Na rro w between ancient walking paths wi piles of tires. Th nd around gullies is is the land you and se e. It is the subs know is there, bu trate through wh t which you neve ich the pip es and r pass, pres erve d by rails and cables of thos e forgotten our civilization and lonely outp os million stories, ea ts of infrastructu ch of them uniqu re. It hides a e, and I long to re ad them one by one.
OAKWOOD ge d His expression chan “What’s this, Dad?” , sweat on his brow. ion ect dir my in hand. He glanc ed back aluminum foil in my crumpled pie ce of ge, an str the ing up on see ties. tween the railroad “Put that down.” g the white rocks be on am it ing cks, pp tra dro I did as I was told, path to the railroad . Dad showed me a rk Pa d oo ek, kw cre Oa at ring s a bridge over the We had be en explo ar the trail, there wa Ne e. for be it t ou ab own perhaps he had kn t thing to investigating. en tak d ha . I didn’t know tha we which things I didn’t know of lot a re we s, or re wa In my defense, the ow what a stoner e stoner. I didn’t kn som by d hin ed be rri t wl lef stern tone and wo was a makeshift bo ead of me. But Dad’s ah ars ye s grow wa u yo ge owled reprehensible. As marijuana. That kn a trace of something red ve co nk dis dri d d ha I an that ns who get high expression told me l of those “co ol” tee Al s. ng thi se the t e. s ab ou ed. I playe d it saf up, you hear storie , you’re told. I listen unity. n with that crowd ru n’t Do l. oo ve Christian comm sch t ati and cu nt vic e in a cons erv sce ole ad of for, t ve cke (sa The bridge is a po y vehicular traffic d far away from an an es ey ing It’s . pry e?) of fre e what do they car It’s a lawless zone, uple of we eks, and ed t come by every co tha ins tra the cheap be er, smash se, of s ur of co n wild. Empty can ru s lse pu im The ir d. be the ek le let a litter the stony cre where young pe op drug paraphernali d an rs, s pe tie ap ivi wr act om rec ord of the illicit liquor bottles, cond rete, shows a ne on nc co ssy of mo ion ell the on y of a silent reb graffiti, layers de ep They bear the histor here over de cades. ce pla en tak ve . ha that n for generations ll never ed at the edge of tow stone d at all. I’ve sti youth that has fester the bridge, or to get at d ne sto get leave to y e I was never on glass and latex the the aluminum and ly on re, the gs rin he seen one of their gat better off. ow, but I think I’m kn I e, lam I’m d. behin
THE MECHANICAL CURATOR Selections from the British Libraryâ€™s Digital Collections
NOT POISONOUS DEFINITE LY N O T S POISONOU
Published on May 5, 2014
Published on May 5, 2014
A personal exploration of form and content based on on submissions to Ninth Letter, a literary arts journal published by the University of I...