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Twice-yearly magazine of literature & the arts golddustmagazine.co.uk

Issue 32 winter 2017

Meet our four new team members... Nansy Grill Hello everyone. Writing has always been a huge part of my life, as a freelance, a newspaper journalist, workshop leader, author of user's guides and of many short stories. My work in progress novel is based on a true story. I’m joining Gold Dust as co-Features Editor with Stascia, a role that I think I’m going to love. Stascia Lynne Hello Gold Dust Readers! I am delighted to be joining the Gold Dust team and have the privilege of writing for the magazine in whose pages my poetry has been published. I reside in New York City, and happen to work in a Cultural Center co-founded by one poet and named after another. I have enticing access to writers, artists, actors, producers, directors and choreographers, and look forward to bringing you some of the delicious arts events I get to experience, and introduce you to the talented people creating them. Megan Chapman Hello readers! m 27 and a junior at college in the USA studying creative writing and film. I write poetry and short stories, one of which you’ll find in this issue. Soon I’ll be launching a fiction . Graphic art is another area in which I hope to contribute and I’ll be podcast, helping to streamline Gold Dust’s presence on social media. Abigail Wright Greetings Gold Dust Readers! I am very pleased to be a part of the Gold Dust Magazine team. I have gained a great deal of experience that I believe will be successfully utilised within my new role. In addition to my experience, I bring a great attitude and enthusiasm to the team.

Gold Dust Team

Gold Dust Online

Founder: Omma Velada

http://golddustmagazine.co.uk/

Prose Editor & DTP: David Gardiner

YouTube: youtube.com/user/golddustmagazine

Poetry Editor: Adele C Geraghty Photographer: Eleanor L Bennett (all photographs unless otherwise stated)

Illustrations: Slavko Mali Co-Features Editors: Nansy Grill & Stascia Lynne

Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/golddust Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoldDustMaga Issuu: https://issuu.com/golddust

Contributing Artist: Slavko Mali (all drawings unless otherwise stated)

Social Media & Marketing; Megan Chapman & Abigail Wright Cover picture: Michael Ralph

Founded 2004 We select solely on merit, regardless of the age, gender, reputation or prior publication history of the writer


Contents Regulars

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Editorial messages Contributors

Features & Reviews

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Interview with Diane Chamberlain ~ Nansy Grill

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Marginal by Lindsay Boyd – reviewed by David Gardiner

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The Woman Who Shed Her Skin A Hybrid Performance By Stascia Lynne

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Out of Thin Air by Allen Murray – reviewed by David Gardiner

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We All Dream Alone by Mikeverdi – reviewed by David Gardiner

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The Noiseless Dominion by William Bitters – reviewed by Stascia Lynne

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Short Stories

Poems

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Less is More – four poems

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Two poems by Robert Beveridge

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Respelling, Castng a Spell by William Doreski

When Cordelia’s Through by Jane Seaford

10 14 Post Mortem by Tom Larsen Dear 16 Mother by Jean Duggleby Scent of Acacia 28 The by Lindsay Boyd 32 Madrigal by Jude Brigley The Feather Clock 46 by D. M. Recktenwalt

Reflections by Maxine Rose Munro

Whimsy and Satire – 38 Wit, four poems

S DE LU T C N S I BE M E PO

ST BE SE O PR

Poems by Bray 43 Two McDonald Men Don’t 44 Dead by Barbara Ruth

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Flash Fiction

The Moguls of Materialism by by James G Piatt

27 36 40

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Writer in Texas by Megan Chapman Suspicion by Daniel Amoah Lost and Found by Devi

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Interview with Diane Chamberlain by Nansy Grill the Hickory library and began reading newspapers from that year. I learned so much about the town during the war years from those papers. There was rationing advice to homemakers, and the sometimes-grim news about the town’s men who were fighting overseas. And of course, there was information about the topic that concerned me the most: Hickory’s polio epidemic and the rapid building of the polio hospital by the common, yet heroic, townspeople. Then I toured the town with an historian who could fill in the blanks of what I’d learned. Finally, I educated myself to what the experience of polio and its treatment was like. NG: Who are your author friends and how do they help you become a better writer? DC: Authors are definitely drawn to one another and bonds are quickly formed. We’re all a little kooky from living in fictional worlds and we understand each other in a way other people can’t. My closest author friends tend to be Southern USA writers, since that’s where I live and the area I usually write about. Mary Kay Andrews, Margaret Maron, and Alexandra Sokoloff, who now lives in Scotland, are three of the seven authors I go on retreat with a couple of times a year and we help each other with our storylines, brainstorm problems we’re having when our characters won’t cooperate with our plots, and generally provide one another with support and friendship.

Diane Chamberlain is the New York Times, USA Today and Sunday Times best selling author of 24 novels published in more than twenty languages. Influenced by her former career as a social worker and psychotherapist, she writes suspenseful stories that touch both heart and mind. I met Diane on social media and own several autographed cover flats. After I read , Diane became one of my favorite authors. On her web page, Readers’ Guides are found for more than half her books. You can learn more about Diane at http://dianechamberlain.com/. NG: How has your writing process changed, since you published your first book? Nansy Grill: What was the biggest obstacle you faced while writing your latest novel, , was origiDC: My first book, , released October 5, 2017. nally written by hand, and then on a typewriter with carbon paper, so I guess the process Diane Chamberlain: The research was inhas changed a great deal! Also, I never outtense while writing I lined back then. I learned to outline during my third novel, , and that’s very helpwasn’t familiar with the setting--the town of Hickory, North Carolina--and I certainly wasn’t ful, even though I end up throwing much of it away once the characters “take over” the story. familiar with it in 1944, so I parked myself in

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The one thing that hasn’t changed is the worry involved: will this story idea I have work out? Can I turn it into something compelling for my reader? I guess I’ll always have that worry.

DC: I wish I had one! I could use the help sometimes.

NG: What is the most difficult part of your writing process?

DC: I have about five outlines that never turned into books, but I don’t have any unpublished complete or half-finished. I guess I’m very fortunate in that!

DC: The sense of pressure is the hardest part for me, actually. Knowing that I have a deadline getting ever closer and closer is unnerving. NG:What are common traps for aspiring writers? DC: Not writing. It’s as simple as that. I constantly hear from aspiring writers that they have the idea but they just can’t get it down on paper. I understand. Writing, especially getting started each day—or started at all—is the tough part for all of us, no matter how long we’ve been at it. Writers need to Just Do It. There’s no shortcut.

NG: How many unpublished or half-finished books do you have?

NG: What’s the hardest thing about writing male characters? DC: I wrote my first novel when I was working as a hospital social worker and my friend who read an early draft told me “your male protagonist sounds like a female social worker.” Since then, I’ve worked hard to capture the voice of men in my books. My partner, John, always reads the drafts for me to let me know when I’ve gone astray. It’s hard to think like a guy!

NG: What was the best money you ever spent NG: How many hours a day do you write? as a writer? DC: It depends on what point I’m at in the DC: I would say being able to give money to writing. Early on, I may just sit around thinkhelp my family or to charitable organizations ing about a story, jotting notes as ideas come has given me the most pleasure. I just made to me. About five or six months before a book a deal with my Facebook readers that I would is due, I’ll start actually writing, but perhaps match any profits from the sale of one of my only five or six hours a day. The closer I get to e-books for the month and donate the money deadline, the more hours I write until I may to an animal rescue organization working to be writing eighteen hours a day. I don’t love save pets who were abandoned after Hurrithat, but it seems to be the way I work best: cane Harvey here in the ‘States. Being able to under pressure. make that donation was a great feeling. NG: What are the important magazines for writers to subscribe to? DC: I don’t subscribe to any writers’ magazines. Instead, I subscribe to magazines related to topics I may want to write about. For example, I subscribe to a magazine called that has wonderful articles about North Carolina and its history--settings and topics I often write about. NG: As a writer, who or what is your muse/mascot/avatar/or spirit animal?

NG: How do you select names for your characters? DC: Sometimes names just come to me and then I “audition” them, to see how they feel in the story. For example, Tess in had been Beth and then Susan before she became Tess. Those first two names didn’t feel right to me. Once I began writing about her as Tess, though, she came alive. Occasionally I ask for help from my readers on Facebook. I tell them the age of my characters, perhaps some of their qualities, and where

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NG: What is the first book to make you cry?

and when they were born. I’ve gotten some great character names that way.

by EB White. It’s the DC: book that inspired me to write when I was just six years old and my teacher read it to my class, chapter by chapter, each day. It was so moving to me and I was amazed a human being could write a story that made me feel that way. I wanted to be able to do that, too.

NG: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find? DC: Ha ha, there is one in in the form of a minor character. Only someone who read my very first novel, , will recognize that person. It was fun to slip that character into the story. Usually, though, I want all my readers to ultimately “get” whatever secrets I’ve hidden.

NG: Do you have any writing Kryptonite? DC: Oh, how I wish I did! NG: How long do you spend researching before you start writing a book?

NG: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the negative ones?

DC: I start researching as soon as I have an idea, and I begin writing as soon as I have enough information to work with, but the research continues even through the final draft. I always want to make sure I get things right in the story.

DC: Many writers say they don’t read their reviews, but I do. I can’t imagine not. I’ve been fortunate in that the majority of my reviews are very good. The most negative ones I can usually disregard; I simply NG: What is your favorite motiassume the book didn’t vational phrase? resonate for that particular DC: “The mortgage is due.” reader. It’s the three-outof-five-star reviews I pay attention to. I want to know if there was something I did as a writ- NG: What is your favorite quote? er that bothered that reviewer. I learn how to DC: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with write better books from reading some of my your one wild and precious life?” from Mary reviews. Oliver’s poem, “The Summer Day”. I like it because it reminds me not to waste time. NG: Do you Google yourself? Photo: Pixabay

NG: What is your favorite movie and why?

DC: Not in many years. I believe I know all there is to know about myself by now. I do; however, Google reviews because I want to know how readers feel about my stories.

DC: I have many, but the one that pops up first for me is . I have an interest in it because of my mental health backNG: On average, how long does it take you to ground, plus it’s also a beautiful love story, plus the carefully plotted and stunning revelawrite a book? tions in the movie are exquisite. And the soundtrack is one of my favorites to write to. DC: The honest answer is that it takes me a year, because that’s what my contract calls for. Very emotional. If my contract gave me two years, it would take me two years. NG: What is your favorite book and why?

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, my third novel, DC: Of my own? because I finally figured out how to do it right. Plus, I love the story. Of someone else’s? , for the reasons I mentioned above. NG: As a reader, what is your favorite genre and what are you reading now?

NG: What do you think about book trailers? DC: When I first began living with my partner, John, we made trailers for my books, since he is a film producer. They were fun to work on, but I don’t think most readers watch them. Time is so valuable and readers would rather read. Trailers may be more effective in genres other than mine.

DC: I don’t really have a favorite genre. I read many different types of book, depending on NG: In what format are your books available? the particular story. I like stories that are a DC: I believe they’re available in all formats in little bit heavy, moving and believable. both the US and UK. NG: As a reader, do you prefer eBooks or traNG: Is there anything you want to add that I ditional paper/hard back books? did not include? DC: I’m generally an eBook reader because I travel a good bit and it’s easy to always have DC: Thanks for a lovely interview! a book with me. Also, I don’t need to wake my partner at night with my bedside lamp. And finally, I don’t need to build any more bookshelves in the house. GOLD DUST

Marginal by Lindsay Boyd - reviewed by David Gardiner Lindsay Boyd’s new novel is scheduled for publication by Pen It Publications early in 2018. Rather than a structured narrative what this novel gives us is a picture of a way of life – that of the wandering homeless who drift from one hostel to another, sometimes across continents, sometimes within a street or two of where they were born, neither expecting nor even particularly desiring permanence in any aspect of their lives. These are the ‘marginal’ ones of the title, who together with the staff of the institutions they pass through constitute the of the novel. From the detail, intimacy and authenticity of the writing we sense immediately that Boyd has lived this life himself and that his love/hate relationship with it is still fresh. Beginning with a violent incident outside a hostel for the homeless in County Cork, we are first introduced to Italian born Paolo Sapienza and his Argentinian girlfriend Maria, then to a plethora of other characters with complex interrelationships and paths that have

BO RE OK VI EW

crossed before, but unusually, at least for me, most of them become substantial enough to retain their identity and stick in my mind without any conscious effort to keep track. Deliberately I think, what Boyd doesn’t give us is narrative tidiness, the loose ends are allowed to remain loose and there are no neat resolutions to the conflicts or predicaments that he has set up. This is what life is really like. Where he succeeds superbly well is in showing the essential dignity and worth of all of our lives, which is something completely independent of the letters after our names, the balances in our bank accounts or even what Martin Luther King called ‘the content of (our) character’. See also Lindsay Boyd’s short story in this edition. Search on Facebook for ‘lindsayboydauthor’.

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Petal by Phil B. Vincent You, are a rose! A rose petal, For Me! In a morass of thorns.

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When Cordelia’s Through by Jane Seaford

Cordelia lying on her back on the lawn, arms stretched at right angles to her body, legs in a V-shape, stared at the sky and thought about what she wanted in her obituary. And what she didn’t want. Clouds moved across the sun and the temperature lowered. She sat up, leaning back on her elbows and looked at her big black boots pointing upwards. They had belonged to her father and Cordelia had stuffed the toes and sides with tissue paper to stop them flopping about when she walked. Her feet, like the rest of her, were long and bony. ‘Cordelia Spragg, the celebrated painter who died recently, liked to wear her father’s clothes and shoes. She loved a pair of his old black boots and polished them regularly.’ That would be a good opening, she thought, which she would prefer to comments on her inability to cook or the guilt she felt at losing her mother when she was young. Both her father and her sister, Emmanuelle, had had obituaries in the local paper. Emmanuelle hadn’t liked their father’s. She’d phoned the editor to complain, wanting a re-written version in the next edition; they’d shouted at each other before Emmanuelle banged the phone down. When a man came around a few weeks later muttering about writing a biography of their father, Emmanuelle had told him to, ‘eff off’. Cordelia went inside, through the cluttered kitchen and into the living room. An old roll-top desk sat against one wall. She opened a drawer, peered in, made a face, closed it, opened another and found what she was looking for; a folder with ‘Emmanuelle’ written across the front in big wavery letters. She sat on the sofa with the folder and opened it. An hour or so later, having read through letters, scrawled

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notes, news clippings and a couple of catalogues for Em’s shows, she found the obituary. The cutting from the local paper had become yellow and creased. Cordelia smoothed it out with her fingers. ‘Emmanuelle Spragg, a local woman, well known for her production of colourful and unusual jewellery died last week. She was sixty-two and part of the creative West Country Spragg family, her late father, Terence, a sculptor and artist, her sister, who survives her, a renowned painter….’ So it went on. Boring, Cordelia thought. Also, she didn’t like the word ‘renowned’, Open source wouldn’t want such nonsense in her obituary. Or her biography. She sighed. The man who had come around wanting to write about her father’s life had knocked on her door again last week. Or if not him, someone like him, wanting to produce a book about her, Cordelia. She hadn’t told him to ‘eff off’ but she hoped she’d convincingly conveyed her reluctance to help him. Recently, Stella had had an obituary in The Guardian. Cordelia shuddered. When she’d read the piece she’d wondered how the description of someone’s life after their death could become a story so different to how they’d really lived. In Stella’s case it was complicated because the police had arrested her for murdering her husband, Teddy, shortly before she died. Stella had killed him because he had told everyone he would be leaving her for a young girl. Cordelia stood up, lit a cigarette, went to the phone and dialed. ‘Alice, it’s me…. I need…’ Cordelia stopped. Breathed in a lungful of smoke. Exhaled. ‘I

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In the afternoon she worked in the studio need your help. I don’t want to have the wrong and thought of those times others had called obituary.’ her madness and which she saw as being a ‘Um,’ Alice said… ‘You’re not… You’re period when she struggled to make sense of OK?’ ‘Fine, fine. It’s just I’ve spent time reading all the things happening to her and around her. Mainly to her. That was the problem. Once the stuff. And thinking, too.’ world started to evade you, slipping and sliding ‘Mistake,’ Alice said. around without control you had to focus on ‘What? Why?’ yourself, yourself entirely if you weren’t to fall ‘Joke.’ so completely over the edge no one would ev‘Ah. You know I’m not good at humour. er find you again: worse, you could never find Can you come down for a weekend? Or lonyourself again. She knew, she wasn’t sure if ger. Dan, too. Or not. Whatever.’ everyone knew, but she, Cordelia knew, that Alice said she’d love to come for a visit. Said she’d talk to Dan. Would call back soon. nothing stayed fixed, nothing remained safe. Cordelia, sitting at the table in the kitchen re- What you saw, you saw as you. She’d learnt these lessons early in her life. How she could read the headline that had struck her earlier: stare at the colour and swell of the sea while ‘Gorgeous Gussie frilled the masses’. She her father looked for dark shapes beneath the loved the phrase, the title of an obituary for a water – big, hidden fish, maybe – and Emmantennis player who had shown frilly knickers uelle focused on white birds flying, far away, when playing at Wimbledon. Would Gussie, heading out or heading back; which way she Cordelia had thought, have wanted these couldn’t tell. Her mother’s concerns would be words as the first thing mentioned about her after she’d died? She’d pondered this and de- how the coldness of the sand meant they cided that the sort of person who revealed her couldn’t sit down to eat, they should have brought a rug, and had she made enough underwear in public would probably be the sandwiches. And would her girls grow up propsort of person who would delight in having erly when she was no longer with them. such stuff remembered. And then Cordelia Cordelia had made up the bit about her had decided that she wanted that sort of obituary: one that focused on what had mattered to mother. She remembered herself as a little girl when her mother had gone, too young to know her not what might seem significant to other about her and what went on inside her. If she people. She wanted her obituary produced before she died. So she could check what was wrote her mother’s biography it would be her, Cordelia’s, story not her mother’s. And as for said about her. Once dead you couldn’t coran obituary could there be a truthful one? Too rect what others said about you. Recently she’d read a book about the lives of three gay raw, too sad, too late. Nonetheless she would women and she hadn’t liked the suppositions try. ‘Martha Spragg became the wife of Terthe author had made. If ‘this’ and ‘this’, then ‘that’. Who knew if ‘that’ had followed ‘this’ and ence Spragg, who made wonderful objects but couldn’t see beyond them into the heart of the ‘this’? Who knew why ‘this’? woman he loved. As the mother of Emmanu‘Dreadful,’ Cordelia said aloud. Someone could take the known facts of her life and pro- elle and Cordelia, she loved them dearly and they treated her cruelly because she was munduce a story that didn’t tell what she had felt, dane, ran the household and could not do magwhat she had thought, the meaning of what she had done. ‘Dreadful,’ Cordelia said again ic. That’s what they learned growing up in their feeling a swell of panic. She stood up to make father’s house. So one day Martha left them. She thought she wasn’t wanted and will never coffee. Afterwards she’d go to her studio and work on her latest painting. Maybe start a new come back.’ That would do, Cordelia thought. She paintone. Or a series that would become her biograed the words onto the canvas in yellow. Later phy, the last in the set being the obituary. when they dried, she would zigzag black over They could print the picture in the paper inthem so that no one could read them. She, stead of all those constructed words trying to however, would know they had once existed. tell the tale of an ended life. Words, Cordelia Cordelia put the brush down when the phone had always known, have a troubled relationrang and rushed to answer it. ship with meaning.

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‘Yes, yes,’ she said, sure it was Alice. ‘Yes, yes,’ Alice replied laughing. ‘I’ll come on my own, I’d rather. Next Friday if you like.’ ‘Yes, yes,’ Cordelia said. ‘Yes please.’

a joint. I don’t smoke dope often but I have a supply for emergencies.’ Alice laughed. ‘Do you think we’re the first generation never growing up?’ ‘Haven’t we grown up?’ Cordelia asked. ‘I don’t know what to say. Commission a biogra- She looked at her hands as she stuck cigarette papers together, noting the mottled and wrinphy from someone you trust if you’re…. concerned about what others might say about you kled skin, the enlarged finger joints: the hands after you’re dead. Or you could write an autobi- of a woman in her sixties. When she’d finished ography,’ Alice said. Friday evening. A second she lit up, drew in a deep breath and passed bottle of wine, bread, dips and deli-bought sal- the fat cigarette to Alice. ‘At eighteen I moved into a tumble-down ads on the kitchen table. house in London with a group of others, mainly ‘I can’t write stuff…’ Cordelia said. ‘So I’m students at art school, drama school and unipainting my autobiography. As for someone I could trust I thought in case words are neces- versity: an incredibly scary time. We all drank too much, did drugs and… had sex. First I had sary you could provide them. At least for the sex with Teddy, who was in love with Stella, so obituary.’ he abandoned me. Then I had sex with Dan ‘I’m not a writer.’ ‘Once your plan for the future was to write, and I thought we’d be together for ever. Later he, too, slept with beautiful, talented, disdainful when we were all young and students in London. You and Dan and me and Stella and Ted- Stella and once again I became second best. Dan slept with you, Cordelia, as well, before dy and all the others. Living together.’ ‘I’ll say the wrong thing. Just like everybody he came back to me.’ ‘I didn’t mean it like that,’ Cordelia said. else,’ Alice said. ‘I’ll say what I see. And…’ ‘I know,’ Alice said. ‘Let me carry on. Stella She shrugged. wrote poetry none of us understood and she ‘Yes,’ Cordelia said. ‘It’s impossible isn’t it?’ starred in a couple of seedy porno films; Teddy ‘Depends… We could work on the obituary. won a literary prize. They spent their lives tryI could check every sentence with you before ing, and failing, to become famous or at least going on to the next one,’ Alice said. notorious writers while having affairs with other ‘Or every word,’ Cordelia suggested. ‘But people, eventually marrying. All of us living in then they do wiggle around, words. You get that house wanted to become well-known writone to make sense and then you add another ers, painters or actors. The one who succeedand the sense goes backwards.’ ed was you, Cordelia. We tried to act ‘Or forwards,’ Alice said. ‘We used to say differently, unconventionally. You didn’t have those sorts of things when we took acid.’ to try. You wore wonderful clothes and while ‘A long time ago,’ Cordelia said. the rest of us talked about stuff we would do ‘Will you include the drugs in the obituary?’ one day, you got on and did it.’ ‘Maybe. In the biography for sure, if we do Alice paused, sucked on the joint, exhaled. one.’ ‘Those are the facts, sort of, but they don’t capAlice nodded. ‘And all the drinking and the ture what it felt like for us then or now. ’ sex and betrayals?’ ‘No. Words make difficulties. You’ve told ‘Of course. But… how will you explain the the truth. More or less. I did try, by the way,’ texture of those times. The way everything felt Cordelia said. and smelled and… the danger… how we didn’t ‘To behave differently?’ choose and yet we did. How we look back and ‘No. To… understand. To take part in the things seemed one way then, but maybe we action. To join in. To… Well I had sex with a lot misunderstood. How what Stella did to Teddy of men and women. Not so much because I has somehow changed our past,’ Cordelia said. wanted to, but to see if I could get into some‘I tell you what; shall I talk about my experi- one else’s skin.’ ence of those times first? And then you tell me ‘Did you?’ Alice asked. yours. We’ll see what happens.’ ‘I have no idea. No idea. I can only live like ‘All right,’ Cordelia said. ‘More wine first.’ me and….’ She replenished their glasses. ‘And I could roll ‘Of course. You do that pretty well.’

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Open source

‘It’s not easy. All those times… you know… ‘So… Do you want everyone to remember You came to visit me in the psychiatric hospital. you for what you wore under your clothes?’ A drab place. That’s how I think of it. Because Alice asked. Cordelia thought. ‘As long as it’s true. I they gave me drugs that sat between me and wouldn’t want you to describe me as wearing a the world so I went even further away from thong because I never have.’ where I wanted to be.’ Cordelia paused, reAlice nodded as if she understood exactly membering being imprisoned by a strong but what Cordelia meant. invisible, untouchable, movable screen that The next morning they lay on their backs she couldn’t get through. Everything and every- on the grass outside the kitchen because, as one was on the other side. She remembered Cordelia explained to Alice, this was where not being able to understand what she felt. she’d started thinking about her obituary. ‘Where did you want to be?’ Alice asked. ‘All right,’ Alice said after a while. ‘I know ‘Where everybody else was,’ Cordelia said. how to begin.’ ‘Yes?’ Cordelia sat up. ‘I’m still not sure if… everything is real.’ ‘Cordelia Spragg liked to lie on the damp ‘Your paintings… They’re real,’ Alice said. grass outside her kitchen and stare up at the ‘Yes.’ They were, Cordelia knew. They desky.’ veloped the way…. She couldn’t explain it. ‘Perfect.’ Cordelia grinned with pleasure. ‘Maybe we’re too stoned, too drunk,’ Alice Alice had caught exactly what she wanted. said but she smiled and reached for her glass. ‘And my boots. Mention my boots.’ Alice needed to see Gussie’s obituary, ‘Of course,’ Alice said. ‘That is the headline. Cordelia realised and she started shuffling “Cordelia Spragg kicked the bucket wearing her through the untidy pile of papers at the end of father’s big black boots.”’ the table. She found the cutting and passed it GOLD DUST to Alice, who read the first paragraphs.

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Two Poems by Robert Beveridge This Little Girl for Alison Mosher Her mother saw nothing for years this little girl was too little to talk about it she didn't know the terms or the ways some time later her mother overlooked it for years this little girl was afraid to talk about it you know the drill scared he would kill her scared he wouldn't now she's old enough her mother doesn't understand why this little girl is making up for lost years as I hold her

H

Heredity

Cut the thread, hand the scissors to your brother— and he will know.

The thread holds your sanity (even in these whitened red walls) behind your fragile eyes.

Red knots in the bloodstained thread leave trails of sweat ever so gently over your naked, lithe body, even on this grey, rainy day.

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Only the thread leaves you whole on this dreary day.

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Respelling, Casting a Spell by William Doreski When will I respell my name so powerfully stars will prolapse in its wake, earth-forms will bulk with post-glacial pride, and cities will light up in honor of runes scored into the quick of the ether? No one will know that’s me, but suicides dangling from ropes will flash a moment of clarity, senescence will postpone itself, and that vicious Mideast war will indulge a truce for mourning. Not even my closest friends will realize thunder pronounces my respelled name in bass tones that could become my legacy to marshland smelting in mist and mountains I love more than art. The public will never read books modelled by my smirking intellect, but lounging undressed by the sea it will allow my name to lather the atmosphere, sparking lust in adolescents working on tans. But I may never learn the correct and most compelling runes, those that hack themselves into stone and slaughter bits of papyrus and bleed into cringing parchment without much human volition. They have to appear in dreams, so I’ll remain anonymous until floods expose stones inscribed with the new spelling to render me in earth tones aggressive enough to suppress the ambient noise.

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Mother Dear by Jean Duggleby

Whiskey, the cat, was well and had kittens, and Mother was buried with her husband as she that the people next door had given her some had requested. She had died on a beautiful sunny day but the day of the funeral was suita- cake, wasn’t that kind. She’d had a harvest basket from the local school. She almost heard bly gloomy and grey. Sophie, her daughter, frequently went with her mother say, “That’s nice, dear. I hope that fresh flowers to tend the grave, which was in a you washed the fruit and vegetables.” “Yes, mother, I did.” remote and rather wild part of the cemetery She left her little chair permanently by the with brambles, saplings, nettles and bindweed grave, and one day whilst sitting on it she nodgrowing all around. “We were very close,” she had told the few ded off, only waking when she felt something prickly around her ankles. It was a thorny people at the funeral. “People said that we bramble sucker that must have taken root in looked more like sisters, which of course delighted my mother and I didn’t really mind that the grave and then blown across her feet. As she pulled it off it made a cackling noise rather much. We told each other everything.” Now she was on her own and she had no like a laugh. For the next few days it was very rainy so siblings or cousins. In the last few years her she only stayed for a few minutes. A crack of friends had dropped off as she was so occuthunder sounded like a shriek: “Don’t leave pied looking after her mother. me!” “It’s good that you’re here, dear,” Her The nettles were also growing thickly and mother assured her. “Look at your friends who married, and their awful divorces and struggles sometimes stung her hands and legs. She must being a single parent. You’re so lucky that you remember to bring secateurs and thick gloves. People had sometimes remarked that mother never married. You’re much better off than had a sting in her tail and her star sign was them. I always knew what was best for you. Scorpio, though Sophie didn’t believe in that You’ll never leave me, will you?” sort of thing. “No mother dear. I will never leave you.” The weather cleared and it became warm But now mother was gone and she was a and sunny. Sophie decided to take a picnic and middle-aged woman with no husband’s shoulder to lean on, no children to pop in, no grand- stay a bit longer. “Sorry that I had to rush off. It was too wet to hang around. Look, I’ve children to look forward to; just a grave to made a picnic with all your favourites – chocolook after. late cake and lemon tarts.” Suddenly there was Weeks later as Sophie tended the grave she noticed that the blackberries had become a whoosh of wind which seemed almost like a ripe. Would it be sacrilegious to pick them? No, voice: “Ooooh.” It blew the brambles around her, catching onto her clothes and tearing of course not. Mother would have wanted it, and always said that her blackberry and apple them as she pulled away. Weeks passed and the blackberry bush crumble was the best. The next day she grew bigger and denser. The roots must have brought a can and collected them. She noticed that the brambles were grow- gone down to mummy and daddy. She’d have ing over many of the other graves and found it to prune it some time. On December 23rd she went to the cemedifficult to keep this wild part of the cemetery in order. No-one ever came here. She brought tery but when it was time to leave the gates were locked. Then she noticed that there was a little patio rose and planted it on her a sign saying closing time was earlier that day mother’s grave. The months went by. and the cemetery would re-open on December One warm Autumn afternoon she brought a 28th. She tried shouting but no-one heard. She fold-up chair so that she could sit and imagine tried to climb over the gate and walked around conversations with her mother, telling her that the perimeter looking for gaps in the fence but

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to no avail. If only she’d bought one of those new-fangled mobile phones. Even the chapel was locked. What could she do? Nothing. There was water and she had put on warm clothes but that was all. She went back to the grave and sat on her chair shivering. It got dark and very cold, but finally around 4 am she dropped off to sleep. She dreamt that mother was rocking her and stroking her soothingly. Streaks of light woke her. The brambles and bindweed had curled round her body and the chair like a wire jacket, fixing her arms so that she could hardly move. The nettles that she had never managed to cut down blew onto her face, stinging so that her eyes wa-

tered with pain. She shouted again. “Help me! Help me!” What was that? A voice? She shouted again. Someone was coming. Thank God. But it was saying, “Come to mummy and daddy. We’re lonely, Sophie. We want you to join us.” In horror she realised that the voices came from the grave. She struggled but the brambles held her tighter. They found her body seven days later. On the grave bloomed the little bush, covered in blood-red roses.

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RT O Y SH OR ST

Post Mortem by Tom Larsen

The grim circumstances surrounding my death were of little interest to the bulk of the departed – understandable, given the permutations. At first I felt slighted by the lack of interest. After all, my life had been cut off in its prime. I was healthy and productive and my prospects were rosy. But life isn’t fair and neither is death. Compared to some, mine was a walk in the park. Rankin, for instance, crushed by a Panzer tank at Tripoli. I found mom and dad back in Hackensack. They were staying at our old house while the old man made the transition, six years now, but in heaven who’s counting? “You were driving too fast, as usual,” Mom scolded me after a kiss on the cheek. “I wouldn’t mention the accident to your father if I were you. He was furious.” “I don’t get it, Mom. How come nobody was there to meet me?” “We thought your Uncle Louie was going. I had to meet Mrs. Feller.” “I’m your son! Mrs. Feller wasn’t even related.” “Honey, she’s 85 years old! It was her dying wish that I meet her.” “What about Dad? Jesus, it’s not like I was coming home from college for a few days!” “Your father had his heart set on the Masters. Besides, you had your friend here.” “He’s not my friend. I never met him until today!” Rankin winced. “I’m afraid he thought the reception would be bigger,” I could feel the looming presence of my father. “You were speeding, genius. A half a mile an hour slower and that truck would have missed you.” “Hello Dad. How was Augusta?” “Never mind Augusta, who’s the hippy?” “That’s Rankin, he was just leaving.” “Listen to me, lead foot,” the old man growled. “You left things a mess back there. Those two boys of yours are headed down the road to ruin. You were always too busy to give them what they need.” “Which is?”

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“Discipline!” Mom and I mouthed the word along with him. “Kids these days need direction. I might not have been the world’s best dad, but by God my kids were disciplined.” “That’s right dad. You could still bounce a quarter off my bed.” “I see those boys on the weekends driving around doing drugs and I just want to spit!” “Kids do drugs,” I shrugged. “I didn’t make the rules.” “That’s the trouble! Parents today let the kids raise themselves. No wonder they can’t read or write. Wait until they have to earn a living. Hah! The middle one hasn’t been awake before noon in months.” “His name is Brad, Dad,” I looked to Rankin who seemed to be enjoying this. “Brad just needs to find himself.” “He’ll find himself on the street if he’s not careful. You’d never catch my kids doing that cocaine.” “Actually, I was quite the fiend in my day.” “Walking around with their pants falling down, what the hell is that anyway?” Mom stifled a groan. “Oh Earl, this is supposed to be a happy day. Why must you always be such a grouch?” “That’s right, gang up on me. I offer a little fatherly advice and right away I’m the bad guy.” “Well, at least I never hit my kids,” I gave him my best shot. “See? What’d I tell you? He’s here five minutes and already he’s throwing that in my face. Like everybody wasn’t doing it. Jesus Christ, give a kid a little slap these days and you find yourself in court.” “Enough!” mom snapped. “I told myself we could forgive and forget, but you two are impossible. Earl? … Oh dear, your father’s gone off somewhere.” “The hell with him. If he thinks he can bully me through eternity he’s got another thought coming.” “Oh Freddy,” mom’s face went soft and pink. “He just wanted what was best for you. He was only human, you know.” “Yeah well, sometimes when I think back I get so angry I could scream.” “Your dad’s right about one thing, Fred,” Rankin’s voice seemed to come from a great

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distance. “You’re taking your childhood out of its historical context.” “Jesus, will you please butt out?” Mom took my arm and led me into our former dining room. Hardwood floors had replaced the old carpeting. The walls were a dull rust color trimmed in light gray. The only furniture was an exercise machine and an upright piano. “You’ll like the Caldwells, Freddy. They’re a young couple from the South. Charleston, I believe. I just love those genteel accents.” “Not much on decorating, are they?” “The husband, George, just got a promotion. Georgiana had designers in all last week. I can’t wait to see what they came up with.” “George and Georgiana? Sure they’re not from Georgia?” “No Charleston. I’m sure of it. It’s in the Carolinas. I can never remember which one.” The Caldwells were in the living room watching Seinfeld reruns. Two young boys bored out of their skulls, mom on the cell and dad out cold in his Lazy Boy. We passed right though them on the way to the stairs. “Wait till you see what he’s done to the attic. I was always after your father to renovate, but I had no idea what you could do with that space.” “Listen mom, hold up for a second.” She turned to face me. The light caught a fine web of wrinkles and her body looked thin and shapeless. I didn’t want to see what some stranger had done to our attic. I wanted my mother to talk to me. “Did you miss me?” “Of course, Freddy dear,” she looked surprised. “Naturally, I could

see you whenever I wanted to, but I missed our little chats.” “I wish I could have spent more time with you in the hospice, but things were so hectic. “I know,” she smiled her forgiveness. “I’m afraid I wasn’t too with it there towards the end.” “Are you happy here?” “It’s funny about happiness, Freddy. So much of it is based on things of a temporal nature,” she rubbed the ends of her hair with her fingertips, a thing she did when she was feeling self-conscious. “Life is transitory. What makes happiness so special is we know it can’t last. Does that make sense?”

Michael Ralph

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Coming from someone else, possibly, but my mother was as likely to voice such a thing as she was to break into a tango. “Who told you that?” I demanded. Mom lowered her eyes and blushed. “You’ll laugh.” “No, tell me. It might help.” “Well, I’ve been reading up on Buddhism, Hinduiusm, of course Confucius,” she gazed off, as if reading a teleprompter. “But Rankin said there is no God.” “Well, no. But the precepts of most religions are still valid.” “Valid?” I cried. “Mom, listen to me. If you polled everyone as to how they got here religion would head the list.” Her eyes shimmered with concern. “Not religion, Freddy, people. At the core, all religion asks of us is to be good. It is and will always be a noble concept.” “This is unbelievable! My mom the Buddhist! That just wouldn’t happen.” “It’s really your fault, you know. Remember Doris?” mom stiffened as the Caldwell boys bounded past and up the stairs. “Doris? Robertson? She’s dead?” I hadn’t seen Doris since we dated in high school. “No, not for years yet, but she would stop by now and again after you moved away. We would talk. She was always going on about Buddha and that little guru what’s his name. The Perfect Master?” “Doris was a fruitcake, mom! She thought the moon was made of green cheese.” “I know, but it always made me wonder. The strange things people believe. I thought I might look into it when I had the time.” “So how do you read with no hands? Huh?” “Oh, that’s easy. You just slip between the pages.” “Oh come on, it must be pitch dark in there.” Mom looked puzzled for a second. “I suppose it is. It just doesn’t seem to be a problem here. You should ask your friend, Mr. Rankin about that.” “It’s just Rankin, mom. One name, like Liberace.” “Yes, well. It’s probably very easy to explain. I just …” she seemed to lose her place for a moment, then brightened into a smile. “Anyway, how do you feel about all this?”

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“This? This is all a dream. I’ll just pinch myself and wake up home in bed.” “Think of it as a chance to get to know yourself, Freddy.” “Don’t mom.” Back in the living room the lights clicked off as the Caldwell clan called it a night. First the cat, then the Misses and finally dad, after peeing in the kitchen sink. The next evening my father and I surveyed the grounds and I found him as badly disposed to the hereafter as he had been to the here and now. “There’s nothing to do!” he kicked at a clump of dandelions. “Look at this! When I lived here there wasn’t a weed on the property.” “How can you think of weeds when you have the whole world at your fingertips?” He looked at me like I was crazy. “What fingertips? The other day I saw a ten dollar bill lying on the sidewalk and I couldn’t pick the damn thing up!” We stopped at the spot where he used to pitch me whiffle balls. I could see where the spirit world might be a problem for him. “You can see the things you always wanted to. What about the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown?” “What a gyp!” he snarled “Those plaques are half the size I thought they’d be. You know what they get for a hot dog up there?” “What do you care? You can’t eat.” “It’s the idea. What are you paying for gas these days?” “You should try to be happy, Pop.” “Doing what?” “Widening your horizons. Cultivating interests.” “Listen for a minute, will you?” he looked at me like I just might. “You know me, right? I’m a hands-on guy. Stick me someplace where I can’t fiddle around with things...” “ … You were never handy, dad.” He recoiled and I felt myself wilt. We were doing what we’d always done in the years since mom died. Whatever was wrong between us might someday be resolved, but I wondered if eternity would be long enough. Mom appeared suddenly beside me. “Don’t trouble yourself, Freddy dear. You have all the time in the world to work things out.”

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“But the world will end someday,” I pointed out. “What then?” “There will be other worlds. Life is a work in progress.” “So … this is the first world.” “Yes,” my mother nodded. “Then … forever has a beginning.” “Everything has to have a beginning,” dad scowled. “But everything that begins must end! It’s implied!” “By who?” they asked as one. My mother gave a glance to my father. “Death never ends,” he levelled with me. It was a lot to take in. Unless I wanted to end up like dad I was going to have to find a way to occupy myself. I’d had a number of lifetime pursuits, but nothing that could carry over. Golf was out and pornography held no further interest. For the first time since childhood the future seemed limitless and, once again, I had no clue what to do with it. “There is one thing I’ve become partial to here,” my father said, as if reading my mind. “You ever watch that NASCAR*?” “That’s another thing. Why does everyone say ‘here’ like it’s a different place?” I gestured to our vaguely familiar surroundings. “We haven’t gone anywhere.” My father pondered this for a minute. “How else could you put it?” A good point, I suppose, but it gave the word a creepiness it never had before.

rings of Saturn. On a personal note, my daughter Marcie ran away from home and is presently living with a performance artist in the Red Bank. My wife had a brief fling with Emerick, but broke it off when he got too clingy. Vern has followed his grandmother into the Far Eastern fog while Dave the deadbeat cycles in and out of detox. Granted it’s not what I would have chosen for any of them, but in the end what does it matter? And yes, I’m seeing someone. A former birthing coach from Seattle I met last New Year’s on K2. Like me, Nancy’s an old film buff and avid globetrotter. On our first date we took in a Hitchcock double feature in Athens with Greek subtitles. Funny thing is, without the pressures of sex and physical affection you can concentrate on the important things. Communication really is the key. So, there you have it, death in a nutshell. There’s nothing to fear and everything to learn.

Open source

You can see the world or not. Fame is enduring but fortune isn’t a factor. Time is on your side. You’ll find that your father hasn’t changed a bit while your mother is not the woman you thought she was. You can watch TV. And since, through some mutant cyber synIn the years since I’ve gone the usual route. apse, you’ve crossed wires with the afterlife, The celebrity fixation (it can’t be helped), look- you’re the very first to know. ing up ancestors, spying on friends, the dead Try laying it on the living and see how far it celebrity fixation (there is a way to get there gets you. from here. Rankin was kidding). Of course, travel keeps me busy. I’ve seen the pyramids along the Nile, watched the sunrise on a tropic isle and next summer I’m spending July on the GOLD DUST

* National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (USA)

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E FE AT UR

The Woman Who Shed Her Skin - A Hybrid Performance by Stascia Lynne

I had the privilege to work as an Assistant Producer for a unique piece of Theater produced by Two Tone Rambler this year, a hybrid performance piece entitled The Woman Who Shed Her Skin, which has shown both in New York City and England’s Brighton Fringe Festival. In an age of seemingly endless cosmetic obsession, The Woman Who Shed Her Skin reveals a story of the obsessive pursuit of the unattainable: female perfection. Two actresses, a dancer, and a digital goddess portray a woman at war with herself as she struggles to define her identity. I interviewed the Producer/Playwright, Chloe Hooton, the Director/Choreographer Noel MacDuffie and the Composer John LaSala about how they developed this unique piece from what was originally a poem. Stascia: My understanding is that this was a poem that you had created during a residency with the Lama Theater Company. How did it come about that you did something with a Theater residency that resulted in you writing a poem? Chloe: It was a writer’s retreat so the way it was structured was that we did theatrical stuff together as a group but were also given time to write our own things separately. I only had the title for a piece that I wanted to write, I had no idea the format I wanted to write it in. The first piece that I wrote under the title The Woman Who Shed Her Skin was a very visceral sort of fight scene in front of the mirror. That scene started as a collection of feelings of emotions and it later formed into a poem, but it started as an erratic collection of feeling and emotion and a visceral telling of this abrasive moment of this woman facing herself in the mirror. I knew it was a dramatic moment, but I didn’t know how I was going to shape the piece

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around that moment. The poem then came from a lyric that I wrote in tandem, the lyric ended up bookending the final piece. I wrote that to basically to try to condense the story in my mind, this sing song style juxtaposed this aggressive and graphic scene in the mirror. Stascia: The woman in the mirror, is this story about you and your experiences? Chloe: The mirror scene, yeah, it did come from my own visions, I never got to that point, but I feel as a woman we have all faced that point in the mirror where we feel disgusted by what we see, but I think there have been moments where we have feel that way because we don’t like ourselves, thinking we don’t look like how we should look, or comparing ourselves to others. It came from this urge to wipe the slate clean and start again, the need to take off layers of myself to explore myself. I got to explore that through words, that imagery, what it would feel like, sound like, how it would manifest physically,

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this action of revealing oneself, or peeling off one’s layers of skin. It was a personal journey. Then the character evolved away from me, I wanted to shape this girl and give myself distance from the character


so I developed her as a companion to myself. The character became a girl named Corrine, she came from the lyric. I imagined a girl who was younger than me going through this coming of age moment and wanting to find herself. She is a little brainwashed by the media and the cosmetic industry and began to paint herself with layers and layers of cosmetics and doll herself up to the point where she does not feel connected to the woman she sees in the mirror.

Noel: We started with a small segment, just 3 to 4 minutes. We were working with just two voices – Chloe as the external voice and a dancer moving as the internal. Chloe was doing both voices, but the internal voice was played as a voice over. The internal voice was talking to the external voice, but the external voice was definitely not talking to the internal voice. We needed to clarify that.

Chloe: I feel that dance and movement in theater can portray emotions in a way that words cannot express, and I really want to portray her deep emotional space and I felt like dance could enhance those words.

Stascia: It was not that you trimmed the linguistics, you changed them from being spoken or written to being performed.

Chloe: Stascia: The poem was written so that the character was Even though it started as a piece that was a reflec- aware of the reader, it was like a confessional but tion of your own experience, you really wrote to in the acting we felt like she needed someone to appeal to other people and their experiences? confess to. Chloe: Absolutely! I wanted Corrine to be that every wom- Noel: an character. Noel helped me specify who she was. Because she was revealing such intimate parts of I wanted to keep it vague so that people could put herself, we thought of a therapist because that would be a safe space for these revelations. We themselves in her shoes. brought in a responsive actor who could jump in Stascia: How is it that the two of you came together to turn and support the external voice and help move the action forward. Eventually I began to feel the main the poem into a theatrical piece? character had two voices. She was speaking to Noel: herself from different point of view. So I broke Chloe decided to turn it into a theatrical piece. Hila, her into another character - the digital character a woman whom we were both working with, knew that we named Omni. She was the ideal the cenChloe wanted to incorporate movement, video, and tral character desired to be. We found that having live music. Because I mixed movement and theater, Hila suggested Chloe talk to me and see if we got on. the dancer speak seemed to undercut the power of her emotional presence. So we came up with And we did “get on”! the idea that she is voiced off stage. The dancer Chloe: could respond to her own voice and the voice I was grateful for an outside eye. It ended up being could respond to the dancer. a piece of creative writing, so there were two voices Stascia: in the piece. The poetic style came from trying to The dancing in and of itself became its own dialogue, differentiate the voices. But I did want to get it into so that was like adding to the poetry but without a theatrical piece, but I didn’t know how. So Noel extemporaneous words? really did help to unpack those words and the story and repackage it in a more theatrical style. Noel: Yes, and that led to trims from the actual poem. Stascia: Chloe: You said that in the writing of it, that it had a sing Sometimes the dancer expressed physically what song style. Is that why you decided you wanted it the words were saying so we didn’t need to keep to be a movement piece so that it was movement all the lines and dancing, not just acting.

Chloe: Exactly.

Stascia: You said Noel really helped you turn it from a poem Stascia: into a theatrical and movement piece. Can we talk Chloe, you were the one who wanted a cellist? I am interested in that selection as a cellist gives a about that process? certain tone, because music is a language itself

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and it communicates a certain way with a dancer. So why did you particularly want a cellist? Chloe: I find the cello expressive and feminine in its sound. Also the range, you can hear lyrical and ethereal sounds and then also sharp and jarring discordance as well. I felt that would compliment the flip flopping between the two sides of Corrine.

Noel: In the end we decided that the cello was the voice of Within. Once that became clear, John pushed for more cello to flesh the world out musically. Stascia: We talked about juxtaposition to convey the conflict. I think it is very interesting that we went from the Cello to the song that you composed for the play,

The Original Poem in comparison to the Lyrics and Lines

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John: John, the song that everyone really liked, “Intoxication “ which is an entirely different style of Within’s lines are unchanged from the original pomusic with a different feeling. Why did you make etry. Those parts were written to be natural to the that choice and what was it conveying? poetry. For Omni, where it is manufactured, the type of verse you need to work in was not conduJohn: The cello it’s a single voice and very expressive and cive to the original poetry. So I focused on key phrases and nestled it into the structure. natural. When we are bringing in Intoxication, With this song, it called for a particular style. I had that’s the Omni character, the artificial. The song is to come up with the style first and then put everybroken up with intrusions and then the cello comes thing together. through and then has to retreat. Noel: The song was a dialogue really. Chloe: It was created from a scene.

Chloe: The song was the embodiment of Omni. Omni started rising out of the work and demanded a lot more attention than we originally thought she needed.

John: It was from a scene that was a club setting. It seems the song abstracted and became a music video concept.

John: That song is Omni unbridled!

Stascia: Some of the lines in the song are actually lines from the play or poem?

Noel: She took form which crystallized the metaphor. I told Chloe early on, “There is the poem and the theatrical event, they will be related but not the same thing.”

Chloe: A bit of both

John: That’s the nature of adaptation

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Stascia: Do you feel like prose allows you to explore the characters more? Chloe: Absolutely. Dialogue and moving a story forward needs prose. Noel: This was an emotional piece. Emotions, if you pin them down, they get diminished. So for dealing with the intensity of these feeling, poetry was really right, and the richness of the language was useful to translate into dance. But I wouldn’t limit myself to poetry. Stascia: But it is very interesting to turn poetry into performance because it is intense, about emotion, inviting others to feel what you are feeling and trying to get them to understand what you are feeling, which is the point of theater. That’s the intent of theater, it’s also the intent of poetry. That is why it was so enticing to work with you on the play, poetry has always felt to me like a way of inviting someone else to try to feel with what you are feeling, being able to convey the emotions in a different way. In my mind, as a person who writes poetry, who went to school for fine arts, and then people said my art looked like theater and a narrative which led to my Noel: involvement with theater, I had always connected That’s the nature of translating it into another medi- all three of them. so seeing you actually put my um. In poetry, a single emotional state can last for own ideas into a performance and being excited a long time and it is acceptable. But theatrically about how someone else turned their narrative into we needed a different timeline. We needed paus- dance and song was a privilege. All the compoes, realizations, frustrations. nents of this piece are language, various forms of language. Chloe: We needed moments where the characters take Chloe: stock of themselves, where the audience takes It definitely does inspire other mediums! Because stock of where the character is in that moment. we had to work with images, we were able to build Stascia: our own dialogue from those images, and dance Do you feel like there is more to look forward to in and music and a projection as well. developing these poems into theater? is that a possible avenue as a starting point to get to the story? Chloe: I feel like poetry is the first stage to writing an idea. I feel that visually I can express a feeling and emotion in a raw way through poetry that is slightly outside of reality but holds a lot of truth. There is not a strict way to turn text into drama. I think it’s a great approach to try again, but I would explore prose as well

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Photographs: Pam Wagner

GOLD DUST


Writer in Texas by Megan Chapman The storm raged and howled and wind tore at Ryan and Joe’s small brick house on their Houston ranch farm. In the comfort of their four walls and a roof nothing could not be heard. The only sign of trouble was the electricity, which had gone out sometime around midnight, forcing Ryan to break away from her writing streak to light candles and add another bag of ice to the freezer box they’d purchased in preparation for the storm. While Ryan sat at her kitchen table, Joe packed extra water bottles in their small storage room, lined their bedroom with extra blankets and pillows and boarded the windows from the inside (he’d finished the outside just hours before the storm hit). Ryan took a few breaks for drinks or to check the weather, otherwise she was busy, pounding away at the keys of her laptop, until her battery died around three in the morning Oil lamps lit the old farmhouse – at least two per room and four in the kitchen, where Ryan now sat with a notebook and a tidy row of pens. Absolutely nothing, especially a category four hurricane, was going to break her writing streak again. The two were perfectly safe in their ranch home on fifteen acres of farmland and Ryan was determined to finish her project. She’d been working on it for a little over a year now in-between driving her sick mother to hospital visits, taking her college son groceries and teaching him to do laundry. Ryan’s writing time had been cut in half. The storm was the perfect excuse to work without interruption. When the lights went out, Ryan was only two chapters away from being done. She knew the final chapters by heart. She knew every character as well as the sheep she fed every day while her husband worked at the mill, the ones locked on the top floors of their barns right now, to protect them in case the land flooded. She knew them just as well, maybe better. She could finish without the laptop and type it when power was restored. She knew she could do it. So she sat, the smell of gas from the lamps filling her nose as she saved Mary and Jose from the bandits led by

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Henry Wallace that had taken over the farmstead they’d built in Oregon. As the storm raged outside, Henry and Jose had their final showdown on the tiny farmstead. Ryan sniffled as a blood-soaked Henry, her favorite bad boy, dropped his gun in the sun-dried Oregon dirt and took his last breath at Jose’s hand. Mary was released from captivity and reunited with her husband. Twenty-seven pages later, a few minutes after daybreak, with a stretch of her cramped hand Ryan wrote the final “I love you” and signed her name in big scrawling letters with the date plastered beside. She was done. Two years of outlining and researching Oregon farms and western movies wrapped up in the span of four hours in the middle of one of the worst hurricanes Texas had ever seen. Ryan smiled, turning to see the bright August sun beating through the blackened clouds of the hellish storm, she smiled at the survival of their little farm in Texas. Despite the water that puddled into a mini-lake in their front yard, Ryan had no doubt that they would be fine in a day or two. After all, she had her story finish. And if she could finish a story in the middle of a hurricane, she was pretty sure anything was possible, and no matter how bad it was they’d find a way to get through. She yawned wide and stretched, blew out the flames in the oil lamps, and added another bag of ice to the ice box, then stumbled half asleep to the back bedroom where Joe lay fast asleep. Their bed was unbothered by the storm, like most of the house. She smiled at the sight of her sleeping husband and fell into her usual place in bed beside him, stretching out. He stirred for a moment, then grinned lazily at her and tossed one arm around her waist, pulling her closer. “Mornin’,” his words slurred with sleep. “’Night,” she replied. She smiled, kissed his cheek and nestled into the sheets next to him before drifting off into a peaceful sleep. Safe, secure, finished.

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The Scent of Acacia by Lindsay Boyd In years gone by it had not been uncommon for motorists travelling the stretch of highway to slam on their brakes at sight of Jack ambling along the shoulder. They would thunder to a stop, shift into reverse or make a threepoint turn and draw level with the curious figure. Some gawped at the weather-beaten clothes and the grimy backpack. Others laughed out loud. A third group – foreign tourists for the most part – reached for cameras and in genteel accents inquired whether they might take his photograph framed against the hills. Mission accomplished, off they would go, regaining prodigious speeds and belching plumes of exhaust in the clear blue air. He had taken to the existence in his mid-twenties, before the dawn of the new millennium. Eschewing office life in suburban Melbourne, he submitted his notice and left the city, inspired by the tales his grandmother liked to tell of her upbringing on a spread in northern Victoria. Her anecdotes touched on dishevelled individuals who appeared out of nowhere on the front verandah with an entreaty for food in exchange for work. Growing up, Jack’s heart missed a beat whenever he contemplated their forceful independence. How quaint it appeared from the perspective of a modern era buttressed by speed and continual change, which allowed little room for the nonconformist. For a considerable time he made a point of sampling the richness of the wayfaring lifestyle by spending entire weekends trekking in cloistered parts of the countryside. He reckoned it must have been a harsh mode, a hand-to-mouth existence, irrespective of the acuteness of one's bush sense. The history books he studied at school tended to romanticise the itinerants while looking down on them as foolhardy and rash. The men who embraced the life had more in common with the natives who inhabited Australia upon its colonisation. They no more deserved trust than did the black fellas. In the initial years following his definitive break, Jack rarely left the settled areas far

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SH ST ORT OR Y

behind. He remained close enough to small country townships to hike there in the space of a few hours. Work came in dribs and drabs, at the behest of property owners willing to welcome him on a temporary basis. Once, a farmer offered him room and keep for three months. In time, Jack became cognisant of where to uncover work in the different seasons. He would have preferred to receive food as well as a bed as payment for the services rendered. But many of his employers could not offer three square meals and therefore he made do with shelter and the small amounts of cash they provided in lieu. During the periods when work fell away, his wiry frame became leaner than usual, his diet limited to what he unearthed in the country he roamed in. He became as skilled as an Aborigine at locating the edible flora. But for weeks on end his half-full stomach growled until a grazer consented to provide him several days’ labour and food that it would take him a while to become accustomed to after the protracted periods of want. His veneration for the bush intensified down the years, natural outcome of eating and drinking from it and living beneath the shelter of its protective domain. Of the native flora, dominated by the acacia, casuarina and eucalyptus trees, he revered most the acacia. They numbered around one thousand species, crowned with a ball-shaped blossom of bright yellow or yellow-green. The fragrance carried pungency no fainter than the eucalyptus. He never forgot the September day when he first beheld acacia in full bloom. En route to Sydney, he had crossed the border into New South Wales when fields of them loomed up. He drank in the shining glory, the yellow tone nestled in the broader greenery beneath the vault of cobalt blue. The cities at either end of the highway, Melbourne and Sydney, boasted mazes of tortuous suburbs. In heavy traffic it took hours to negotiate the labyrinths. The open roads farther on invited intemperate manoeuvres. Driv-

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Open source

ing with belligerence and at breakneck speeds, most knew nothing of the landscape or the subtle changes in light visible at every bend. To the north they disregarded the acacia or the hills east of Holbrook, portent of the Alps beyond. Hills, eucalyptus forests, sheep and cattle plantations – all slipped by unnoticed. For a long period of time he confined his roaming to the Gundagai / Holbrook area though he seldom ventured into town. The highway had bypassed the more illustrious Gundagai for decades. The residents of Holbrook, one of the few rural settlements on the route still dissected by the black asphalt, were proud of their anonymity within the scheme of things, as well as the uncluttered streets either side of the main drag. The hundreds who passed through daily did not touch them. Jack felt most at home in laidback towns like Holbrook and nearby Tarcutta. A , a far cry from friendly nod or a clipped the gruffness common in the larger townships, put him at ease and formed a favourable impression in a life of scant human contact.

During the hottest parts of the day he liked to rest in the shade of the casuarina, or she-oak, trees occurring as stands along the river courses. He marvelled at the cedar or conifer-like appearance of the large trees and dared taste the seeds, the sustenance of parrots. He learnt to distinguish the varieties of flora and fauna and discovered a way to extract and make use of the tea trees’ medicinal oil. He recognised the birds by their calls. Mother Nature awed, not least when she lashed out like a cornered snake. At times, the burning heat of summer made him giddy or winter’s cold and rain seeped through the down of his sleeping blanket. Unexpected tempests caught him off guard in every season. He kept a wary eye whenever they flayed the earth. As spectacular as they were, nothing in the world equalled the experience of bedding down beneath a sky black as ink except for the pinprick of constellations. Gazing at the night sky on those evenings, he conjectured about distant worlds. A sixth sense kept him attuned to the one he had rejected. His observations of the travellers on the highway that formed the west-

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ern boundary of his meanderings enabled him to ascertain much. There were more overt signs too. One September afternoon more than twenty years past, at a time when the speed of the modern world had reached dizzying proportions and fewer drivers bothered to stop and size him up at close range, he was lumbering along the highway shoulder at a point north of Tarcutta when a car screamed into view. The onrush of air near swept him off his feet. The vehicle careered out of sight round a bend before drawing to a stop with a resounding screech. Jack continued walking, blinking his eyes in the mild spring sunshine. The acacia trees had begun blooming late the previous month. The breeze blowing from the east enveloped him in their aroma. Jack halted several yards from a white Holden. Seconds later, the driver’s side door opened and a rangy man appeared. He stepped onto the two-lane blacktop and lit a cigarette, peering around him with a dazed expression. “I can’t believe it, man. I thought I was watching a movie when those towers went down.” Jack squinted at him. The mannerism had become pronounced over time, the upshot of years hiking in the bright light cascading over fields and plains. The driver stared straight at Jack but failed to register him. “My people are dying and I’m in the goddamn middle of nowhere,” he said, flinging the cigarette aside. More than two decades later, the new century yet remained in the bosom of youth. The blue-sky days of early spring had not changed but in other ways the world had. Jack reckoned it must have been more than a year since a motorist had interrupted his transit to appraise him. The vehicles had become sleeker, the speeds more frenetic, the drivers more reckless and unmindful of the appearance of a stranger in the wilderness. If they acknowledged Jack at all, they did so with horns blaring, ugly gestures or foul language screamed out open windows. He never flinched though it saddened him to think how it reflected on their world. One day he found himself in the vicinity of Gundagai, having drifted over to the highway from the hills in the east. Cars and trucks thundered by, much as they had always done,

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but on this particular afternoon the driving possessed a demoniac quality unlike anything he had encountered. The drivers and passengers who observed him craned their necks as if at an apparition. Jack progressed with his customary gait, poised in his passage, until another motorist blasted his horn in passing. This man had departed Sydney early in the morning, an hour after hearing the news the populace had feared for years. Central Sydney had been at fever pitch and it had taken him an age to negotiate the tentacle of western suburbs. Everywhere he turned in the tenuous light of dawn newspaper billboards broadcast gloom and doom notices pertaining to ‘the invasion’. Reaching the Tollroad, he poured on the speed. His trajectory had not slackened since, driven by fear of his world collapsing before he reached the western suburbs of Melbourne, where his wife and two children were sure to be already hunkered down in terror. He harangued Jack with the horn and buried his foot on the brakes. “Have you got a screw loose or somethin', mate?” he asked, throwing his door open. Jack stopped yards from the man and gave him a quizzical look. “Haven't you heard the friggin' news? They’re already in the country!” “Who are you talking about?” “Who do you think I’m talkin' about?” "No idea." Jack glanced round at the pristine nature. “Anyway, I wouldn’t think they’d bother me out here.” The exasperated motorist tossed his head. “Sink in your own shit then, for all I care.” Jack watched him storm off. He left the road a short time after this, venturing back toward the east. He estimated he had about three hours’ daylight left. He was sure to find a casuarina before the sun breathed its last in the west. Then, after filling his stomach as best he could, he would rest easy beneath the stars. If fortunate, the scent of acacia would impregnate his dreams.

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GOLD DUST


Out of Thin Air by Allen Murray Reviewed by David Gardiner

BO RE OK VI EW

attendant closes that big door at the sharp end of an aeroplane. This time, Allen talks more about his second (retirement) career as a professional musician in a touring band, and we learn more about his family life and hobbies. I am perfectly aware that such matters must seem extremely tame compared to piloting a jet fighter in a combat zone, or trying to cope with the prodigious quantities of urine unleashed by an elephant in the freight bay of an air transporter, but I for one was just as captivated by these more mundane anecdotes. To paraphrase Frank Carson, it’s the way he tells them. And there are still a few flying stories thrown in for good measure. People talk about an author’s ‘voice’, that indefinable something that makes you want to listen to whatever they have to say, and this is present in bucketfuls in Murray’s prose. A major theme is ‘Letters to Mr. McBride’ Amazon.co.uk ~ 2017 an imagined series of letters written by an Paperback ~ £5.50 airline Captain to the owner of the airline, This is a very entertaining book. I won’t claim ‘explaining’ the outrageous behaviour of himself and his crew in various locations around that it’s a literary masterpiece. the world. Slapstick, perhaps, but clever and Allen Murray, a retired airline captain with enjoyable. Which of us has never tried to all kinds of aviation experience, both military come up with an excuse for something that and civil, is the sort of man you would be delighted to run into in a pub. He is funny, articu- we know perfectly well was inexcusable? Murray writes with a very light touch, allate, self-deprecating and endowed with a though he is perfectly capable of suddenly genuine old world courtesy and charm that descending into genuine tragedy as well, as draws you to him in everything he writes. he does on a few occasions here, which , published in 2002, was a makes those stories all the more powerful because of their setting in the happy-go-lucky collection of mostly world that he has created. amusing, but in one Unusually, the book does not have page or two cases tragic numbers, but it’s of roughly average paperanecdotes from Murray’s forty years at back dimensions, and at £5.50 a copy I doubt the controls of every- if the author can be making anything on sales. thing imaginable that He’s in it for the love, not the money, and it had wings and one or shows. I think you’re going to love it too if you more engines. It gave give it a chance. us a fascinating insight into what goes GOLD DUST on when the flight

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RT Y O SH TOR S

Madrigal by Jude Brigley

The picture appeared on her Facebook page. It ing seats was a nightmare because she always was an old school photograph and she recog- lacked consistency so that she fluctuated between blocks; sometimes she lied to her parnised some faces immediately. At first, she ents about the situation as she could not bear scoured the three rows of the grainy, blackand-white image for her younger self. But, she the disappointment on their faces if they knew soon realised she wasn’t there. She took in the she had slipped to C block once again. The pressure to do well and get your 11 rival girls, the studious boys and the ‘beautiful’ people who had been her school contemporar- plus was overwhelming. Her parents spent money, they could ill-afford, on giving her the ies. It took her a minute to notice the title, ‘Madrigal Group 1967’. Only a selective school same opportunities as her peers. When she would have had a madrigal group who sang at was ten she would catch a bus after school to the start of assembly every morning. The girls the next village to be coached by a local Headteacher and rugby referee. It was the had been her rivals since the time spent in their segregated junior school when they had first journey on public transport that her parents had allowed her to take on her own; she all been jostling for 11 plus success. knew it was important. The other girls, from Every Friday morning they had practised tests in mental arithmetic, vocabulary and so- her class, arrived in cars, often sharing lifts, coming into the room happy and chattering called IQ problems; every Friday afternoon they had to sit in the order in which they had while she sat alone waiting for their attendance. The teacher’s house was detached with performed in the tests. Each block of desks was labelled A-E. Only those who consistently a driveway and lawn. In her limited experience only her Aunt Nell who lived on the promesat in the A and B blocks were likely to go to nade in Porthcawl, and whose husband had Grammar School. Mostly, she had sat in B gained money selling fruit and veg throughout block with one glorious onslaught into the A the war, had a posher house. Later, she would block, where sat the well-off, the conscienrealise that all the other girls in these sessions tious and the beautiful ( except for Dr. Saunlived in similar houses. ders’ daughter who would never be beautiful Their socks still annoyed her. There they in the way female beauty was judged in the were in the photograph, a neat row of ankle 1960s). She had never been well-off, conscientious socks even at 17. Since earliest childhood, she or beautiful but she liked to think that she had could not understand why their socks were pristine and neat like badges of belonging and her own kind of cleverness that came from reading, being creative and having a discern- hers were smeared or gaping or slipping into her shoes like disappearing handkerchiefs in ing mind that could see things other people mini magicians’ hats. She had been intimidated didn’t notice. She could see that Howard felt uncomfortable behind his jokes; she could see by this little pack which came and left together. that Maggie was never going to take Paul seri- They left her waiting on the street for the bus ously; she could tell when teachers had favour- home as they excitedly jumped into their parents’ Ford, Austen or Jaguar. She felt an outites and when adults were being ironic. sider. Then, one day their coach asked them She knew that the confident girls, so secure in their appearance and schoolwork toler- to define the word ‘gambol’ and one of the ated her because she could be funny and droll girls shouted out, ‘I know this. I know this. It’s but that she would never be privy to their whis- a sore you get in the mouth’. When she laughed spontaneously, attention fell on her perings and confidences . Finding that her comments, quotations and imitations of teach- and she readily said, ‘It is the action lambs do when they frisk around.’ After that the girls ers had an impact, she had played up to her role as class clown. That Friday ritual of mov- had been less dismissive. After that, she had Gold Dust

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not want to cooperate with them. Her music teacher had spoken to her; he challenged her saying that what she applauded in social construction, she kicked against in art. At the time she did not have an answer that could be articulated; she wasn’t even sure she understood Of course, she was not in the photograph. Her what he meant but felt mysteriously flattered friends would have thought her somehow disloyal and over-preening if she had volunteered that he thought he understood her. It would to sing in the Madrigal group. That was a pity have been especially difficult to depend on as she had always secretly admired the music, people who were considered to be part of a despite the mockery of those around her who rival clique. On such whims, teenage decisions thought anything pre-Beatles passé. At that are made. But, the Madrigal music would have

enjoyed vocabulary work and the beautiful sound of words such as ‘abundance’, ‘philatelist’ and ‘apiary’. She no longer minded waiting on her own for the bus back even when it was cold and getting darker.

time, she had still been taking piano lessons and her music teacher had been annoyed that she had not ‘contributed more to music’. By now she had made herself acceptable to her mean girls through being able to play hits such as ‘I’m a believer and ‘Stay with me baby’ in the lunch hour. At home, on the other hand, she was listening rebelliously to ‘Blonde on Blonde’ and ‘Aftermath’, and writing songs that were about mental illness, dark nights of the soul and the Polaris missile. In retrospect, perhaps she should have been in that photograph. But, there was something about singing in the Madrigal Group she had disliked, perhaps because it was about depending on others and playing a part that contributed to the whole. Maybe, she just did

suited her adolescent doldrums, ‘Semper Dowland, semper dolens’ and she had loved playing and singing along to ‘Greensleeves’. She was delighted when Leonard Cohenlater released his tortured version of the song. As she gazed at the picture, some faces came into focus like stones changing colour in rain and names came to her that she had not recollected or thought of in decades. Yet, here they were opening little windows into the past. Other faces stalled her thoughts; some she recognised but could not name while others seemed to sound no key of memory at all. Those who had been the school ‘pin-ups’ were hard to distinguish from those who had been

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over-looked. Being young seemed to have taken on its own glamour. Turning her attention to the young men, she saw that there were a surprising number of them in the choir. Some were serious-looking youths, often with horn-rimmed glasses. (It wasn’t until college that men and women started wearing gold-rimmed circles in the style of Lennon or John Sebastian). She guessed that their motives were all about showing how they contributed to school life; they were nerdy before it was fashionable to be so. The sportsmen and jokers, on the other hand were probably there to be closer to the girls and to show off. Everyone was in perfect school uniform despite being only one year off university entrance. It seemed ludicrous now to think of the commotion over the length of boys’ hair and girls’ skirts when in the photograph there was no sign of the cultural changes of the 1960s that they all lived through. Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were still alive, the Beatles were still together, flower power still had hope in ending a war and boycotting South Africa would lead to change. There was an institutional innocence on the faces of the young, a lack of self-consciousness that came from not having that many photographs taken. She compared it to her own daughter’s selfies; today every person in that photograph would have taken photographs of everyone else and this black and white commemoration would have been less precious as a record of frozen time. The photograph came from her town’s web-site and had been posted by a Robert Evans. Evans was a common name but she thought that she recognised his picture, even forty years on, as her old classmate. She and shortly she got a reply. clicked on ‘Well I never expected to see your name again. Remember that time in 1967 when we both went in for that competition where we had to improvise playing a tune on a theme. It was the longest minute of my life. I was awful and you were only marginally better. The adjudicator said he would not award first place and we were both joint second. LOL’. She had not remembered it until that moment and she could not, at first, work out why she was so stung by that memory. It was such

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a long time ago and anyway a half-hearted school competition should have no power over her after all these years. But, the memory did sting. She had expected to win. She had expected to win with no preparation, blasé attitudes and arrogance about her own abilities. It was a weakness that the incident brought into a Cecil De Mille size close-up. It was the beginning of a trend that she now recognised as a pattern in her life. She wanted to succeed but without effort, without sweat. True success was doing things with grace under fire. Now the day came back to her. The competition had been squeezed in between other musical items. She had walked over to the piano sure that this was something she could do and having been given the theme, she had paused, held her chin and scratched her head before beginning, gestures she had seen Dylan perform when asked to play one of his songs. She was acting out the rebellious artist up for any challenge. The establishment in the form of the judge, an old gentleman, already wearing gold spectacles, but sheltered from the storm of changing times, did not appreciate her attitude referring to her scratching her head as being rude to the audience. It was a chastening moment. She had believed this was something she was good at; all those clever girls in the madrigal group did not have her creativity and originality. Instead, she had failed in the only arena that mattered and she had cursed her lack of preparation. Life had offered her this early warning but she had taken no heed. Her subsequent life had continued this spiral; she had a good job and a family she loved but there was always gnawing away a feeling that she had not achieved enough, that her potential had never been fully tapped because of this flaw. Remembering the failure to win triggered the old song about herself that she had been smothering inside. The memory was contrapuntal, both interesting and alarming at the same time; a round which always came back to its beginning. She looked again at the photograph and thought it was right then that she graced it with her absence. What would it have meant if she had been there? That she belonged? That she was one of the gang? She

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small loyalties, school triumphs and disasters never had been and never would be one of were all about a concert that had already lost the gang and no amount of nostalgia would even its handbill. Carpe Diem as her music make her one. Looking at the photograph teacher would have said, if he were to speak again, she wondered what some people had from the beyond. The pictures of all those gone on to do with their lives. There were some she knew about – (civil servants, teach- young faces had an inevitable sadness to them. ‘Gather ye rosebuds while ye may’ they had ers, scientists) –and others for whom maybe sung in music lessons without understanding school provided the happiest moments; loud the words at all. She was grateful at least, that notes in an overture never to be replayed. Then she saw Mark, serious and bespecta- her music teacher, young and enthusiastic, had taught her to find the words and cadences cled in the back row. Her friends had teased her about him once, but her fondness for him that helped her to think about time if not to beat it. was not that sort. She had admired his serious She closed her computer, opened the lid purpose to become a doctor. Only recently, of her piano, let her fingers tinkle over the she had read of his death after a lifetime of notes and almost unconsciously she found service. It brought her up with a start to see herself picking out ‘Greensleeves’ which she his young, beaming face in the photograph. played and sang louder and louder with a After qualifying as a doctor, he was one of the kind of ferocious defiance. few people in the photograph to return to the valley and the people he had grown up with. They had contacted each other on Facebook and had meant to meet, but something, perhaps their own fear of change or memory, had held them back. They left it too late; she had read his glowing obituary in the local press. It seemed too soon when school days GOLD DUST could still be so fresh in the mind. Rivalries,

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H AS N L F TIO FIC

Suspicion by Daniel Amoah

The Botha family lived in a busy market town down the road and call daddy. Ask him when he near the river Swana in Botswana. Mr Botha was is coming home.” David loved errands like this as it made him well liked as an up-and-coming town councillor. feel big and adult-like. He shot off before his He was regarded by many as a bit flamboyant mum had finished speaking, almost forgetting to and mildly flirtatious but he did a good job as a councillor. Hardly a week went by that someone take the phone number his mum had written or other didn’t seek his help with their problems. down. Mr Botha had said in the morning before leavAt his first attempt at making the phone call, ing for work that Friday that he would be a bit David heard a female voice. He cancelled the call, late returning home, as a delegation of market convinced that he had dialled the number incorwomen traders were coming to see him at the rectly. office about the council’s recent increase in the He tried a second time and again, after sevmarket levy. eral rings, the same woman started saying something – and again David stopped the call. It was well past 6pm and Mrs Botha picked up On his third attempt, and feeling a bit flusher phone to call her husband to ask when he’d tered by now, he took his time, speaking the be arriving home from work so that his food numbers out loud while he dialed. would be warm on arrival, but then she discovBut again the woman responded, so he lisered she didn’t have credit on her-pay-as-you-go tened to the end without understanding what mobile phone. she meant. “David,” she called out to their seven year old son, while writing her husband’s phone number “Mummy, mummy!” he called out, standing in along the edge of an old newspaper she had torn middle of the sitting room panting for breath, “I called daddy three times and a certain woman off, “take this shilling coin, go to the phone box

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kept taking the call,” he added, with the factual “You are lying Mr Botha,” she snapped. “So simplicity of a child. how come you didn’t take my call, hmmm? Too Mrs Botha said nothing and took the money busy dealing with market women, I suppose? I back from David, but she was seething with sent David to call you. Three times he tried.” rage. “No, my phone has been dead since the after“He is at it again,” she muttered, slamming noon,” Mr Botha protested, “I forgot to charge it the shilling coin on the kitchen table. “My good yesterday.” for nothing husband is having an affair again. The argument got heated and louder, Mrs Wait till he gets home, and this time he is as Botha repeatedly yelling “Liar, liar, liar! You are good as dead!” cheating on me again!” She packed away the food she was warmDavid walked into the sitting room in his ing and marched David off to bed, despite his pyjamas, pretending to have been woken up by protestations that it wasn’t his bedtime yet. the noise, only to find his mum and dad standing “Remember, you have to go to school tomor- toe to toe and screaming at each other. row,” his mum insisted, firmly shoeing him to“What are you doing here?” his dad asked wards his bedroom. “Wear your pyjamas,” she sternly. ordered, slamming David’s bedroom door shut “I heard Mummy calling my name.” as she spoke. “Yes, David, come here,” his mum ordered. She went back to sit in the kitchen, holding “What did that woman say when you called your her phone and staring at it in anticipation of her dad?” husband calling her. “She said ‘The phone you are calling is switched off, please press one to leave a mes“Where have you been?” Mrs Botha queried ansage.’” grily when her husband had barely entered at the front door. “But I told you. That delegation of market women coming to see me, remember?” GOLD DUST

Reflections by Maxine Rose Munro Wipe the dust off the mirror and what does it reveal? Me, caught, slight embarrassment no one else sees. Trains of thought chug away before I catch them leave thoughts of thoughts I think I thought it interesting that the mirror, the face, the dust interacted to disconcert but only the mirror and dust are real. The face is light caught and bent in its journey across space. The mirror is still there, the dust will return. But the light has gone past the looking glass with Alice and I will never see it again.

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A GRUDGE

THE EDITORS

by John Tustin

by John Tustin If not for lonely angry fullhearted men Screaming at nothingness From stark rooms And women who Understand and sympathize with Lonely angry fullhearted men Who Scream at nothingness From stark rooms I would have Forever Remained Unpublished

DON’T DRINK WHEN YOU SUBMIT by John Tustin

I have such poverty inside That all I have to give Is a damn My garments are Perfect fits Of anger I put them on And They wear on you Slipping, falling All I have to hold Is a grudge

BEST POEM

Don’t drink when you submit. Too many things to remember. Too many things forgotten by the morning. My daughter’s princess stickers are not stamps. Editors tend not to accept submissions with tear stains. Typing the lyrics to the Rolling Stones’ song you’re listening to is plagiarism if they make it into the envelope (mental note: I did not write Child of the Moon.) The Atlantic does not want limericks. Gutter Eloquence does not want a poem about watching poesies grow. And where the hell did I put that poem about submitting when drinking? It wasn’t ready yet.

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Heroes by Les Bernstein they laughed when their adult son brought in that huge jar of jellybeans when he set it on the counter next to the register below the no shoes no shirt no service sign when he hung the poster GUESS THE NUMBER OF JELLYBEANS win $100.00 a $1.00 a guess they laughed at the hapless and naive customers at those true easy marks with their childlike trust with their hope in luck and fortune at their source of new income at their ingenious son so clever and cunning so nobody's fool they laughed as they made their deli meat sandwiches smoothed mayo and mustard placed lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle even added a napkin they laughed so proud of that boy they said “hey, it's life... it ain't no contest there ain't no winners” they laughed echoes resounding in the hollow place their souls used to be $318.00 “hey, that's a hell of a take”

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Lost and Found by Devi

H AS FL TION FIC

In 2006, when I came to England for the first time, everything was new to me. I will never forget how strange it all looked at first. I was surprised to see notices tied to lamp posts about missing cats and dogs, some with photographs, giving contact details of the owners. I had never seen anything like that before. And they reminded me of something that happened to me many years before in my own country. There it is common to see posters not of missing animals but of missing persons, often with their photographs too, and every time I see one I remember a missing person incident that happened in my own family. All the pain, stress and fear that I suffered when I was a Year 3 schoolgirl aged seven comes back to me. I had one brother who was twelve at the time and had just started in a prestigious Secondary School in my city, the Indian capital New Delhi. He found it very hard to cope with

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the new school rules, teachers and classmates. Every day his teacher would put some complaint about him in his notebook, like not completing his homework or not concentrating hard enough in class. Mum and Dad were angry to read all these complaints and he was getting a lot of scolding and punishments at home as well as at the school. He often tried to hide away alone in his room so that he wouldn’t be noticed. On this particular day he was walking around alone in the school playground during break time. There were strict rules about not going out into the road beyond the school gates. But he saw a dog being struck by a car and lying on the road making a strange sound. He went through the gates and up to the injured animal to see if he could help. But as he stood near the dog he failed to notice break time coming to an end and all the children returning to their classrooms.

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Very soon the teacher noticed that he was missing and informed the head teacher, who started a search and quickly found him standing in the road. The head teacher was very angry and called my father in to the school to talk to him about my brother breaking the school rules. My brother was terrified, standing there and hearing his father apologize for his bad behaviour and promise that it would not happen again. After issuing a severe warning my brother was allowed to return to his class and my father to his work. When school was over my brother was frightened of returning home. He knew there would be severe punishment from his father that night. He didn’t want to go home but he couldn’t think of anywhere else to go. New Delhi is but one district of Delhi, the Indian capital, a city of more than 27 million souls. Every year about 40,000 children go missing in the city, snatched from the streets by the Beggar Mafia and forced into a life of slavery as labourers, beggars, prostitutes or ‘orphans’ for sale to foreign childless couples. What our family felt as we slowly began to realize that my brother was missing was beyond all description. My mother started crying and family members, neighbours and friends gathered in our house. People searched every room, and my father went to the local police station to start a missing person enquiry. Everyone was sure that he had gone to the house of a friend or a family member.

But by the next day it was clear that this hadn’t happened. The family started searching in a different way. They paid to have thousands of posters printed and posted everywhere in the town, on the trains, and even put notices in the national papers and made appeals on TV. As a result, after three days, we got a call from someone in Patna, a city none of us had ever visited, saying ‘We have seen your boy in the train station, and he is in a safe place at the Railway Police Station. Please come and collect him.’ My brother, we later learned, had walked nearly five miles from the school to New Delhi Railway Station, the busiest railway station in all of India, with links to 867 destinations, and got on to a train. He had no idea where the train was going. My father left immediately and travelled the 450 miles to Patna and found him safely. Now my brother is 40 years old and still living in the same part of town. Every time I see a missing animal poster I remember those three days of pain and anxiety. There are no words to explain what my family and I went through. I pray to god that the owner will find his cat or his dog soon.

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B R OO EV IE K W

We All Dream Alone A Journey Through Cancer by Mikeverdi Reviewed by David Gardiner

Lying awake, waiting for the wolves of winter. They come at night, hiding in the mist, at the edge of reason; on the outskirts of my life. I’m only dreaming, I think…. therefore I am. Soon, the fire in my blood will burn low, the light behind my eyes will dim. They will come. There are, I suppose, three elements to the narrative, the factual and detailed account of what is happening to the author’s body, his philosophical reflections on life in general and his own situation in particular, and his account of his inner emotional life, which is contained to a large extent in the poems. While we are talking about someone else and in the grip of youth’s delusion of immortality there is nothing to upset us in this volume: Available from Lulu.com. Search the title and it is the tale of a brave man standing up to the author. 2017 ~ Paperback ~ 88 pages ~ £4.99 onslaught of one of the worst predicaments to ‘After waking up, everything else is a bonus.’ which nature can condemn us. But in the still of the night, when you admit to yourself that What is the most uncomfortable subject you the wolves in one guise or another are waiting can think of to read about? Surely cancer for us all, you may have some trouble getting would come pretty high on most people’s list. to sleep. I find it hard to say whether Mikeverdi’s After an initial survival estimate of three chronicle of his ten-year fight against the disyears, Mike is still around after ten. ease is an uncomfortable read or not. If you To a large extent, this is a suspense story. are reasonably young and healthy I suppose it We are watching our companion walking along isn’t. You can adopt the observer perspective a narrow cliff ledge, waiting for the inevitable and enjoy the honest , detailed and at times stumble. Time and time again the ground beeven humorous descriptions of his experiences neath his feet crumbles and he is left clinging and his inspiring determination to go on living by his finer tips, but somehow he manages to a normal life to whatever extent is possible, regain the ledge. never giving in to depression, or worse still What the book really teaches us is just how despair, whatever the disease may throw at wonderful and miraculous ordinary pain-free him. Scornful of comforting superstitions, he life is. I know that’s trite. I know it’s a cliché. acknowledges throughout that the end is the But it also happens to be true. end. Throughout the book are scattered poems of GOLD DUST striking power:

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Ode to Jules Laforgue Raw along the razor sharp Two edge of now he squirmed. His pernicious needs were intrinsic cantles that leave deep scars when eluted from their compound to drift slowly down into the invisible depths of time. Fate continues to attenuate towards the nadir all he was fated and found. A picayune in a chest of gold or a fortuitous but fugacious bagatelle.

Poems by Bray McDonald

History They would like to tell you how it was, but they’re dead now, the ones who knew and could say almost truthfully what happened when, and how we all made it through that hard time that now only I recall. They’re dead now and cannot collaborate or explain the tale that now only I can tell. So you must believe it or not and accept or deny my words. They’d tell it like it was, but they’re dead now, and I’ll be dead soon too. And who we really were and what we did and why will be debated by those yet unborn who can only contemplate and wonder what happened when and why.

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Dead Men Don’t by Barbara Ruth

You’re sleeping much too long have you taken pills again? Should I wake you and chance your rage or tiptoe over stealthily feel for your pulse? I thought I heard you cough a reassuring sound. Dead men don’t. I’m really not feeling so well myself just now, and dare not give myself up to sleep she might perhaps decline to let me go. I thought I heard you mumble in your sleep my name your voice was ugly when you said it. Dead men don’t. I’m entering the bedroom and your eyes are opening with hate for me. The final reassurance, I can rest easy now. Dead men don’t.

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The Noiseless Dominion by William Butters reviewed by Stascia Lynne

BO RE OK VI EW

Intoxication This whiskey burns my tongue but not the way that you do Not the way like you kiss Biting hard on my mouth Tearing the breath out of me. Reading this collection allows the reader to be able to define moWilliam Bitters serves up a luscious treat of ments they have tasty metaphors in his poetry collection experienced, that . The reader will be drawn previously may in by his eloquent manner of expressing deep have seemed and intimate emotions with such intensity that difficult to comyou feel like you not only know the writer, but prehend, but his can feel the emotions he expresses as surely manner of illushe felt them in the memories he is describing. trating them linWilliam Bitters guistically allows He weaves you in and out of love and the reader to catheartache and gains and losses, entwining you egorize and embrace past experiences of their so keenly into this intricate tale that you canown, to finally taste that moment. Some are not tear yourself away. He more than satiates bitter, others sour, even a few spicy ones, and any desire you have to feel, and entices you a serving of sweet, but all are a luscious surto feel so deeply so that you want to burst prise, leaving you full at the end. with the outpouring you are experiencing. And he can deliver it in such few words, it’s seems almost incomprehensible to contain so much GOLD DUST with so little. Here’s a little bite: William Bitters can be purchased on www.blurb.com

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RT Y O SH TOR S

The Feather Clock by D. M. Recktenwalt

Jeannine sat at the table, staring out the bay window at the flock of cardinals that fluttered and squabbled in the shrubs just across the road. Never had she seen so many together in one place. More than a dozen pairs decorated the bare brown branches like droplets of blood, winged and crimson against the last of the disappearing snow. She sipped her tea, slowly, not tasting the cooling liquid, and wished that Carl were there to see them. On the other hand, she could appreciate the scene better than he could – or would. She grimaced, recognizing the unfairness of her judgment, and tensed her shoulders, hunching over as if to protect herself from the vagaries of emotions grown raw. Carl would laugh, derisively. “They’re only birds,” he’d say. “Where were you last night?” “At Marie’s,” she’d answer. “I spent the night.” “I knew you didn’t’ spend it here.” “And who did?” she would ask. “I saw the tracks of the car in the drive. I found the lipstick she forgot in the bathroom.” Her fury would be a cool fury, her justice fair. Her knuckles grew white with controlled anger, imagining the scene. She gripped the heavy mug as though she would break it into shards by will alone. Would will carry her through? Was will enough? The back door slammed. A man’s steps sounded, accompanied by the snick snick snick of a dog’s claws on bare wood. The border collie, tail wagging, pushed a cold nose into her hand, greeted her with soulful eyes. Carl’s footsteps sounded on the stairs. His boots thumped on the floor, the closet door closed with a bang. In stocking feet he stepped into the kitchen, glancing casually at Jeannine sitting at the table by the window. He turned his back to her, dumped the cold coffee from his mug, poured fresh, added sugar. All without a word. “I let the hens out,” he finally said, still not looking at her, “and turned the ewes into the upper pasture.” Not the easy familiarity of long association; merely facts. “Good.”

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B PR EST OS E

There was a long silence as he leaned back against the sink, sipping his coffee, pointedly not looking at her. Jeannine remained in her chair, one leg bent beneath her, hands curled about the strengthening warmth of the cup. The dog lay down, precisely half way between them, head down on his paws, eyes alert. “Carl,” Jeannine finally found the voice to say, “we need to talk.” “Thought we were.” “About us.” Her voice was very small, but there was steel beneath it, at least for now, belying the tears that threatened to spill over any second. She didn’t know if Carl could see how vulnerable she was, how much of herself, her life, she risked in this. “Yes,” he sighed. “I suppose we do.” “Now?” “All right.” He padded to the table, pulled out a chair opposite her, sat down. “So talk.” Jeannine drew a deep breath, gathered her fear and her courage firmly about her, and began. “I went to Marie’s last night,” she said, the words not at all those she had meant to use, nor the message either. But they were what came out of her mouth, untrustworthy as it was. “I figured that.” “I went because I was angry,” Jeannine continued, “so angry that I couldn’t even bring myself to sleep next to you last night.” The admission elicited no response, although Jeannine watched carefully. Carl simply looked at her, his expression bland. “Don’t you want to know why?” Jeannine finally asked. “Not particularly. Are you angry now?” “No... That is, I’m angry, yes, but I’m more hurt. Carl – what’s happened to us? All of a sudden it seems that I’m always hurting, always ready to cry at a moment’s notice. It seems you’re never here. It seems that you’re using this house as a hotel and me as a personal maid, valet, babysitter and farm manager. Even when you’re home you’re not here.

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You’re out carousing with your buddies. And when you do come home –” Her voice threatened seriously to betray her, but Jeannine resolutely went on – “you treat me like a piece of furniture. That hurts, Carl –” This time her voice did quaver. She looked at him, looked hard, willing her face to stillness, her eyes filled with unshed tears, unvoiced pain, seeking – reassurance? Concern? What remained of love? All that was reflected in his eyes was unwilling tolerance, tinged with evasion. “Once you’d come home glad to see me, happy to be home again. You’d call to let me know you were on your way, and you’d arrive when you said you would. We’d argue sometimes when you came home from a trip, but we were happy! Now you avoid me, and when we’re in a room together you act as though I’m not there. Where did it go, Carl, that love, those good times?” “I don’t know,” he answered after a measured, almost thoughtful beat. He glanced down, to where the dog lay, alert and waiting. “I don’t know. But you’re right. It’s gone. I don’t know why, I don’t know where, and I don’t know when, but it’s gone. I want a divorce, Jeannine.” The word, so calmly, so simply voiced, as though he were telling her that he wanted a new car, or a new piece of furniture. The demand caught her off guard, hit her like a sharp right cross to the solar plexus. She felt the way she had felt once, when one of the rams battered her against a wall – all suspended, as though time stood still, out of breath, out of anything except the realization of being stunned and helpless. After a moment the helplessness passed, Jeannine could breathe again. She managed to regain her voice. “I don’t, Carl. I don’t think

we’ve slipped that far, and I don’t want a divorce. I think we have something well worth saving. I’m ready to work and to fight for it, Carl, for what we had.” Carl simply stared at her, a half bemused, half secret twinkle just barely visible at the corner of his eyes. “I’m not,” Carl said. Jeannine hadn’t realized that she was holding her heart in her mouth until it dropped, plummeting dizzily like cold lead into the pit of her stomach.

So it began, the long, slow flight from a dozen years of shared dreams and common memory, a dozen years of life as a couple. It had never really been easy, she reflected later, when her sense of balance was partially restored, when all the legalities were done and the belongings sorted out, the equity of their married lives shared and parceled out

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by the courts. Carl had never been an easy man, with his oversized and strangely fragile ego, his hale and hearty live-to-the moment verve, his unwillingness to grasp the most basic economic necessities. Despite both their flaws, they had been happy, they had led `rich, productive lives’. From a distance now, she could recognize that. Could recognize, too, that it takes two to make a marriage, but only one to make a divorce. In some ways, she supposed, she was as much to blame as he, but her mind shied away from detailing her own failings. Simpler, more just, somehow, to blame Carl’s insecurity, his lack of sensitivity, than her own insecurity, her own fears and her need for control, for order. That must wait – later she could address the failings of her own soul. For now, it was all she could face to deal with this very real and immediate pain that seared through her like lightning, and would not go away. There had been, afterwards, a wealth of long, lonely nights. A plethora of tears and accusations never spoken. A dearth of kind words, although many stiffly civil ones, between them. Carl had blissfully wandered on to his new and waiting wife, while Jeannine had gone in search of herself, and within herself, a place of peace, of healing. And in all those months of lists and lawyers, courts and accountants, all those months of endings and anger and grief, the only item they had truly, actively fought about, was a clock. They had bought it, on a whim, with money they could not at the time afford, delighted by the find. Carl had taken little convincing; he was as taken as she with the craftsmanship, the subtle elegance and warmth of the carved curly maple, the subtle blues of the layered pleasant neck feathers that had made up its face. For all the years since, the clock had hung in a place of honor in their house. It was an item she wanted to keep. But Carl wanted the clock too, and said so, politely, but very firmly, making it clear that this, at least, was something from which he would not back down. It was one of the very few items he had specifically demanded. And he had been so civil – too civil, Jeannine thought sometimes, wondering what assets he had

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been hiding for how long, preparing carefully for this day, covering his tracks and his assets so that she would not find them now – about all the rest of it, selling the livestock, breaking up the house, the tension-filled situations when one of them had to be some place where they knew that the other would also be. Life, and love, and friendship, are like that sometimes. “I want the clock,” he said, and since he had already acceded to her demands regarding moving times and arrangements, her reluctance to depart her house until her apartment was entirely ready, she let him have it. A clock, she thought now, listening to a purple finch sing out its passion from the maple tree in front of this new, different house, this house that was not yet hers, but that would in time be home. Loss of a clock and the whole world crumbles. Now, she could buy a dozen such clocks and not wince at writing the check. Now she could face life alone and not quail. Then, it was the end of a world, the end of a dream. But the mind is made for dreaming, and the world for living in. She had survived, even as he had. Life would go on. She would learn to love this place, even as she had loved the other, and her view of blood red cardinals in the winter snow. Jeannine smiled sadly then, put her cup on the counter, and went out to tend the greening roses in this, her new garden.

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The moguls of materialism by James G Piatt

The moguls of materialism‌ hunters of command and control over men, have in the past varied in name, but are all, alike. They live Arrogantly in the shadows of the light, pilfering the paltry hopes of the humble, abandoned, and sad, painting their lives of hopelessness with crimson dust, and causing their circumstances to be unbearable. Men of sated prosperity, constant seekers of possessions, have souls of ash, shapeless minds unaware of that which is truly beautiful in life. Unable to find tranquility they desire more, and more golden trinkets. Their need for Hedonistic amusement unfathomable: But they are but drops of water in the vast ocean... these meaningless vessels of wantonness. Like twisted limbs of driftwood,the seekers of absurd wealth, with their unchecked appetites for pleasures and power, turn into ashen pieces of misshapen wood, of little worth, of little merit. They strive to live forever in luxury but like all humans end up in oaken boxes buried under the earth.

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About the Contributors

Poetry

relatives, John James Piatt and Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt, were prolific poets who wrote their poetry in the eighteen hundreds. Their Les Bernstein’s poems have appeared in jour- poetry has inspired much of his style of poetry. nals, presses and anthologies in the U.S.A and He has published 3 collections of poetry, Europe. Her chapbooks , (2012), (2014) and have been pub- and (2016), as well as over 900 poems lished by Finishing Line Press. She lives in Mill in magazines such as , Valley, California. lessieb13@yahoo.com , , , , , , Bray McDonald is a graduate of the Universi, , , , ty of South Alabama and studied poetry under , , and numerous Sue Brannan Walker and Walt Darring. Mr Mcothers. jimp8164@gmail.com Donald has been published in many journals recently, including , John Tustin is the divorced father of two per, , , fect children. He graduated from nowhere, , , edits nothing and has no awards. His humor, , , , and erotica, Haiku and prose poetry have been braymcdonald@hotmail.com published in many disparate magazines and Barbara Ruth is an old, arthritic, tree-loving, blogazines since he began submitting to them almost ten years ago, including hypertensive, lesbian, epileptic, fibromyalgic , and . He has Potowatomee, Ashkenazi Jewish, Welsh, chemipoetry online at fritzware.com and you can cally hypersensitive, neurodivergent daughter of Yemaya, spoonie, writer and photographer. check out ‘Poetry of John Tustin’ on Facebook for publication updates, as well as the poetry She lives in San Jose, California USA in abunof those who have influenced him yesterday dant poverty with one woman and one cat, and today. johnhtustin@yahoo.com both adorable. Her work has been published extensively in feminist, lesbian, queer, disability Phil B. Vincent is a writer and researcher and literary publications. from the UK. Phil's work has appeared in the manymodes@gmail.com magazine . Hugh McMillan is a poet from south west Scotland, an award winner in several competitions including the Smith/Doorstep Pamphlet Prize, the Callum MacDonald Prize and the Cardiff International Poetry Competition. He has also been shortlisted for the Michael Marks Prize, the Basil Bunting Poetry Award and the Bridport Prize. He has been published and anthologised widely. His Selected Poems were published by Luath Press in July 2015. steamboatsmcmillan@hotmail.com

Robert Beveridge makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry just outside Cleveland, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in , , and , among others. 17833 Whitney Rd. Apt. 523, Strongsville OH 44136, Tel. 2169707781 xterminal@gmail.com

Maxine Rose Munro is a Shetlander adrift on the outskirts of Glasgow. Her work has ap, and James G Piatt is a retired professor and octo- peared in and magazine, genarian, a pushcart and best of web nominee, among others. Search ‘maxinerosemunro’ on and his poems were published in Facebook. maxinerosemunro@gmx.co.uk and of 2014 Anthologies. His Gold Dust

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William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire, in a small house in the woods. He taught at Keene State College for many years, but has now retired to feed the deer and wild turkeys. He has published three critical studies, . His including essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals and several smallpress books. His forthcoming book of poetry is (Salmon Press . wdoreski@gmail.com Timothy B. Dodd is from Mink Shoals, West Virginia in the heart of Appalachia. His , poetry has appeared in , ,B , and elsewhere. He prefers caves and cenotes to cell phones and cough syrup. timofeev@hotmail.com

and

. His novels are available through

and Amazon.

Wayne Dean-Richards has had over a hundred stories published in magaziines, in anthologies – including 's own – and in two – is still availcollections, one of which – able as an ebook from Amazon. He says that like Charles Bukowski, the words he writes keep him sane. Wayne’s homepage is at www.waynedeanrichards.com.

Daniel Amoah is in accountancy but during the course of his career has reinvented himself and qualified as a Microsoft Certified Professional, and now IT and photography are two of his other passions after reading. He has always wanted to write his own story, but didn’t know how or when he would find the time, but when the community library in which he volunteered started a Writer’s Group the possibility seemed a little more real. The many people he has talked to during his work sessions at the library have left him in no doubt that every perDevi is a married Indian lady living in London. son has a story to tell, but that few manage to This is the first piece of work that she has had do so. He hopes his short stories will be the published. first step to fulfilling this ambition.

Prose

Jude Brigley has been a teacher, an editor, a performance poet and a coach. She has edited two books of poetry and has had a chapbook published. She has published various poems in magazines and is now writing more prose.

Lindsay Boyd is a writer, personal carer and traveler still waiting for his boat to come in. Originally from outside Melbourne in Australia, he has published and self-published, poetry, articles, stories, memoirs and novels. He also writes screenplays and has made a number of Jean Duggleby is a retired primary teacher low-budget films. When not emulating his poetwho eventually specialised in teaching deaf ic heroes, among them Dos toyevsky, Hesse, children, and started writing short stories only Kazantzakis and Cavafy, he likes to about three years ago after becoming inspired rub shoulders with marginalised people and at a Creative Writing course which she attend- look after gardens, pets and houses he does ed originally in order to make the tea (!). She not own. While no reflection on his attention lives with her partner in east London and has a span in maths classes at school, he long ago married daughter and baby granddaughter in lost count of his publications and the number New Zealand. She has lived in east or north of countries he has been in. London all of her life except for three years in Hong Kong as a young woman. She likes read- Jane Seaford’s novels, ing, walking, gardening, travel and cinema, and and her and teaches Circle Dancing. short story collection, have received excellent reviews. Tom Larsen has been a fiction writer for fifSeveral of Jane’s stories have been placed, teen years and his work has appeared in highly commended or short-listed in interna, , tional competitions. Many have appeared in

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anthologies or magazines. Others have been broadcast. As a freelance journalist, she had a column in a magazine called and sold pieces to the , the and other British publications. She is the joint fiction editor for , a New Zealand literary magazine. janeseaford.com

'Skywriting in the Minor Key', a poetry collection. Adele is a member of the New York ensemble 'The Arts Soire' and the writing site UKAuthors.com. She is Publisher and Editor of BTS Books and creator of 'Between These Shores Literary & Arts Annual'. Adele's work has been published in numerous anthologies, magazines and journals, and performed on radio in both her countries. Donna Recktenwait, a retired graphic artist facebook.com/BTSBOOKS who writes, knits and crochets (often with her David Gardiner – ageing hippy, former teachown hand-spun yarn, and with the "help" of er, now retired, living in London with partner her two cats) is originally from central New Jean. As well as stories in magazines, antholoYork but currently resides in southwest gies and newspapers he has four longer pubOhio. She's a gardener, both indoors (orchids) lished works, (a science fiction novel), and out (flowers and vegetables), and early on (short earned the nickname "Weed Lady" for her habstory collection), it of collecting natural materials for dyeing (short story collection) and yarns. She's a voracious reader with eclectic (novel). The latter has been used as tastes and a variety of interests. She is an the basis for a stage musical whose creation editor/writer/contributing author for was described in the last issue of . several newsletters. Her short stories have Interests include science, philosophy, psycholoappeared in several anthologies and numerous gy, scuba diving, travel, wildlife, cooking, IT, small press publications. Among her non-ficalternative lifestyles and communal living. tion credits are such specialty magazines as Large, rambling homepage at Fiber Focus (handspinning); Tropical Fish Hobdavidgardiner.net. byist (aquaria) and Bird Watchers Digest. She has authored two e-novels and is currently Nansy Grill is Co-Features Editor for As a freelancer, she writes short stories, working on another. book reviews, and interviews. Nansy is a traveler touring nearly half of the US states and five foreign countries. She lives in Tennessee, USA with her two Pomeranians, Buddy and Jazzi.

Gold Dust Team

Omma Velada read languages at London University, followed by an MA in translation at Westminster University. Her short stories and poems have been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies. In 2004 she founded magazine. She is a member of the writing group Storyshed and her first novel, (UKA Press, 2004), received critical acclaim. She has also published a short-story anthology, (Lulu Press, 2006).

Stascia Lynne is a visual artist residing in New York City. Her poetry can be found in 2001, S 2010 and 2014; her short stories have appeared in 2011. Megan Chapman is a 27 year old junior in college studying creative writing and film. She writes primarily fantasy and is also creator and co-writer of the fictional podcast The which will be premiering in January 2018.

Abigail E. Wright’s work has appeared in Adele C Geraghty claims dual citizenship in : , both the US and the UK. Beside a lifetime dediincluded in the 2017 Poetry Circus Event and cation to the written word, she is also an illus. Her first mini-chapbook, trator and graphic designer. She is the is forthcoming and she lives recipient of the 'US National Women's History in Jamaica. Award for Poetry and Essay' and author of

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Gold Dust – Issue 32 – winter 2017  

Issue 32 of Gold Dust, the twice yearly magazine of literature and the arts. This is the full colour version. the magazine is also available...

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