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Gold Dust

issue 35 summer 2019


Twice-yearly magazine of literature & the arts Issue 35 summer2019

golddustmagazine.co.uk

Editorial Welcome to our readers, both New and Seasoned. Another issue of Gold Dust, done and dusted! Issue 35 is in fact, a breakthrough issue in that not only are our choices of prose, poetry and review as rewarding as we always strive to publish but, besides the art and photography of our graphics team members, it also contains the actual written work of every other GD Team member as well; truly a joint effort. Most of us may agree that in a world where disappointment is to be expected, where hard work is not always appreciated, devotion not relied upon for faithfulness, in which trusted colleagues may slander us and respected associates belittle our efforts, it's refreshing to know that some things truly do remain the same. As poet Robert Frost once said; "In three words, I can sum up everything I've learned about life. It goes on." ... And so does Gold Dust. Wishing all of our followers the joy of literary sharing by which GD will continue as we have, well into our second decade. Both through reading our pages and by submitting your very best work to us, it's by your efforts that Gold Dust endures.

Adele C. Geraghty Poetry Editor

Gold Dust Team

Gold Dust Online

Founder: Omma Velada

http://golddustmagazine.co.uk/

Prose Editor & prose layout: David Gardiner

YouTube: youtube.com/user/golddustmagazine

Poetry Editor & poetry layout: Adele C Geraghty

Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/golddust

Photographer: Eleanor L Bennett (all photographs unless otherwise stated) Illustrations: Slavko Mali Marina Krajski Belovjev (Page 14) Co-Features Editors: Nansy Grill & Stascia Lynne Social Media & Marketing: Megan Chapman & Abigail Wright Cover picture: Slavko Mali

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoldDustMaga Issuu: https://issuu.com/golddust Founded 2004 We select solely on merit, regardless of the age, gender, reputation or prior publication history of the writer


Contents Features & Reviews Continued

Regulars

1 50

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Guest Editorial About the authors

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Review: Jean Duggleby

Review: Adele C. Geraghty

Features & Reviews

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Review:

The Gold Dust Team

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Review:

19 26

Review:

Gold Dust

extract) 6 (novel Lynn Braybrooke

Rule Britannia

12 Victoria Dowd

Adele C. Geraghty

Review: David Gardiner

43 45

After the Loving

Omma Velada

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31

Short Stories

Curtain Call

15 Darcy Lin Wood 23

Nancy Grill

Helen O’Neill BEST PROSE 27 Kay Lindsay Boyd 32 That Others May

Books in Colour Omma Velada

Review:

Live

David Gardiner

Carter Nipper 40 Toil and Trouble

Review: Robert Dunsdon

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The Door That Holds the Secrets In

Jean Duggleby 4


Poems

5

Shattered Promises

9

Mersey Forgetting

18

Poems continued Last Trick 25 The Les Wicks

Christine Tabaka

Kristy Kerruish

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20 21

Holly Day

Bleeker Streets Than Wall or Madison

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Guatemalan Trilogy

44

Try Treachery

Ingrid Bruck

Gerard Sarnat

Colin Richard James

Corporate Icons Versus Iqs Gerard Sarnat

Septuagenarians’ Dialogue Devolves Back Toward Teenhood?

Flash Fiction

Gerard Sarnat

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Robert Dunsdon

Why I’m Still Her(e)

Wit Whimsy & Satire

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Little More Than an Idea BEST POEM

14

A Ball

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Dreamscapes

For One Day Only Liam Martin

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Slavko Mali Slavko Mali Halong Vietnam Gold Dust issueBay, 35 summer 2019


OK W O B VIE RE

All the Running You Can Do

by Tom Saunders

Reviewed by Omma Velada ness in 2009 and now All the Running You Can Do in 2018. The initial exposition of this novel risks appearing unexciting. It is a simple and well-trodden plot-line, the mystery small and as the clues and subtle references to things gone bad in the past mount up, you wonder whether all of the lengthy chapters with many paragraphs dedicated to the small town setting are going to be worthy of the great unveiling at the end. But perhaps that is not, in fact, the point of this novel at all. We are concerned with a middle-aged man, Ingram, who has unexpectedly deserted his wife, Paulette, although it is unclear why. He happens upon, as often befalls middle-aged men in stories by middle-aged men, a seductive younger woman who takes great interest in him. Although initially hostile, once he saves her from the roadside they quickly become close. She chooses to share far more with him than he with her, however. She tells him that her only son has run off and she has no idea where he is. The parallel with Ingram’s own desertion is clear, although he has not been quite so insensitive with Paulette, allowing her the odd phone call, despite the fact that his thoughts towards her seem quite disparaging. Both mysteries are easily and uneventfully resolved at the end of the novel; however, none of Hardcover: 250 pages this is where the joy of this story lies. Rather, its Reuben Books (1 Dec. 2018) pleasures lie in the small truths, the poignant met£20.00 aphors, the evocative parallels. Tom Saunders’ talent lies in brilliantly evoking feelings, sometimes at the expense of moving the story forward "Now, here, you see, it takes all the run- purposefully, but taken all together they serve to ning you can do, to keep in the same create a world where characters’ feelings are perplace. If you want to get somewhere else, fectly understood, the dialogue is believable and you must run at least twice as fast as that!" the characters will walk alongside you for the journey. And it seems to me that this novel is far Lewis Carroll, Alice Through the Lookmore about the journey than the arrival. ing-Glass If you like your literature more pacey, your suspense more wrought, your reveals more cataMany Gold Dust readers will already be very fastrophic, this is probably not one for you. Howevmiliar with Tom Saunders’ accomplished writing er, if you are in no hurry and like to wallow in the from his short stories, which have been widely half-buried agonies and ecstasies of the human published across the Literature magazine and condition and the ways in which we both torture internet creative writing scene, and which have and elate our fellow men and women, then this is a perfect gentle read to curl up with and enjoy it’s won many prestigious nominations and awards. However, alongside his three short-story antholo- acute observations of the world as they softly ungies to date, he also pens longer stories, the first furl. GOLD DUST being the delightfully entitled Inappropriate HappiGold Dust

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SHATTERED PROMISES By Christine Tabaka

He held my hand a very long time, before walking away. Kissing my sorrow goodbye, he turned and smiled. Grief poured from my eyes, down inflamed cheeks. Once a barrier of stone, now a broken dam. Shattered promises sent aloft to be dispersed among the clouds. Pain of old emotions trickle into being. Longings break free, fleeing their prison of doubt. Such times as these bear witness to the passage of our lives. From love to loss to healing, the pathway lays ahead. I trod warily onward, with lessons learned in hand.

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Gold Dust

issue 35 summer 2019


EL CT V NO TRA EX

After the Loving

by Lynn Braybrooke

The first chapter of a new novel by the author of the short story Assassin in Issue 33 of Gold Dust. Analyses a particularly nasty divorce from the man’s point of view and paints a vivid picture of the kind of woman who gives all married men nightmares. Both humorous and at times brutal, it’s a powerful debut novel which will soon be in search of a publisher. I was killing Rachel in my head again and knew it would have to stop. It was a mind game that kept me sane even though it was probably very unhealthy in reality. But there were times I’d have visions of being rid of her. I’d have images of life without her in it, and be momentarily calmed. I knew I couldn't murder her myself, but a fatal road accident held a lot of charm for me, and I was inclined to consider the prospect too often lately. Sad, because I don‘t usually allow myself to dwell on things I can‘t change. It’s a waste of time. Occasionally I can’t help it and thoughts crowd my mind and I wonder how I got to be in a situation I have no control over. These considerations are a big mistake, because all they do is rob me of sleep so I find myself being envious of all the young unattached men who have no ex-wives and no children to tear their hearts out. And I believe I would kill to be one of them again and free to make my own choices, so there I am, right back to killing Rachel. Relationships complicate everything. Why do we do it? We all fly unafraid into the arms of romance thinking we are blessed, yes actually gloating with self congratulation. Look at me I’m in love. And we can mostly get over a woman who leaves us. Eventually you get on with life and hope another love may come your way. All relationships have their own certain merit and place in our hearts so that we don't forget, painful though it often is. Life does go on and our selective memory mechanism allows us to remember the best bits and bury the mistakes. But the children are different. Those tiny bundles of life, you never stop loving them, even when they get to be demanding school children and mega-irritating teenagers. When do you give up on them? When does that love fade? As soon as they come into your life you wonder what life was like before them, and mostly you can’t remember. So my ex-wife has a new man, another new man, and my children must adapt and so must I, and even as I rage against the situation I know I am helpless. They must be supported by me whether I share their lives or not, and my fear for their safety is sometimes overwhelming.

Gold Dust

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And where does this irrational jealousy come from, that someone else may take my place? They might come to love him more than me because he's there all the time and I am not. I can’t think that I’m alone in this fear, surely we all resent the threat of being replaced by a stranger who did not love them from the beginning as we do still. Someone who will want his own children and will put them above our own in his heart, because he can’t help it. None of us can. Not so irrational then? Then there’s the question, how long will he last? Rachel said she is pregnant by him so maybe he’s going to be around a bit longer than the others. It’s bad enough that he may become more important to my children than I am, but suppose he's not good to them? How will I know, what can I do? Check him out? I sat in my best friend’s car, in the street where I used to live, and waited. I could see the house in the rear view mirror and knew that he’d be along at some point. It was Saturday night, a chilly October twilight that mirrored the night about a year ago when I had been asked to leave and had done so, thinking Rachel’s anger would pass. My own anger was another matter, and totally irrelevant in the face of a weeping woman. I often wondered what would have happened if I had refused to go. I pondered this in my mind, lingering over the past, sitting there in the car with nothing to do but watch, unable to stop the memories. Had it really been only a year? That hateful night truly seemed a lifetime ago. It wasn’t like Rachel to make a kind gesture so I suppose I should have known there’d be a sting in the tail, but I was too tired to care. Even she could see that. She was on the phone when I came through the front door at ten o clock. I was shattered – it had been a very long day. We had a deadline with the inevitable penalty clause, but between us we had worked non-stop and the job was finished. My partner Steve and I ran a small installations firm. We fitted racking and storage. Where needed we had two other men we employed, and we did all right. “I‘ll call you back," Rachel said and put the phone down. "Are you hungry Mike’? Shall I fix

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something?” I was surprised by her attitude. She usually got mad when I came home this late. "Hi," I said. “A sandwich would be nice. I’m beat. I need a bath." I headed for the stairs and looked in on the girls, both sound asleep, and as always my heart stopped when I looked at them sleeping. Wide awake they could be a handful, but there is something about a sleeping child that moves me beyond speech. By the time I’d finished in the bathroom there was a sandwich and a cup of tea on the bedside table ready for me and I was grateful I didn’t have to go back downstairs. There was no sign of Rachel but I could hear the TV, so I ate the snack and lay down, and I suppose I fell asleep for a while. I don t know what woke me to be honest, but the bedside clock told me it was past midnight and I could hear Rachel talking on the phone again. I remembered she said she’d call back to whoever it was she was speaking to, but it was late to be having a chat. On the other hand, I had learned that women can talk at any time of the day or night with consummate ease, pick up where they left off two days ago or two weeks ago as if nothing had disturbed the conversation. On my way to the toilet I heard Rachel say: "I get so exited when I see him, like I used to get with Mike only better." I stopped dead while she listened to the caller. “Well I know, but I can’t help myself. I Just can‘t wait to see him, I can’t stop thinking about him." She looked up then and saw me coming down the stairs. “I have to go," she said and put the phone down.

"Did you mean that Rachel? What you just said. Did you mean it?” For an instant her face looked so vulnerable and scared I remembered how I had once loved her. But it was a fleeting thing that vanished the moment she opened her mouth and became angry. “Well I’m sick of my life if you must know, all I do is look after the girls and this house and you, and you’re always at work. It’s pretty obvious we’re over." “Oh,” I mumbled, still in shock. So she wanted romance instead of, or as well as, all this that she once wanted? Rachel had said all she ever wanted was a nice house and a family, that‘s what she said, gazing at me at the time as I recall, and looking as if she meant it. And I provided that because I thought it was what she wanted. “Well I want a divorce Mike. I don’t love you any more and I know you don’t love me so there it is, I want you to leave." "What!" That stung me out of my stupor. “What are you talking about? Where do I go exactly?" "I don’t know but I want you out of here. You'll be impossible to live with now you know, and I wont stand it Mike, I won’t.” She started to cry, and as tired as I was I went back upstairs and packed an overnight bag, kissed my sleeping girls, and left the house in a daze. I really didn’t know where to go or what to do, I wasn’t even sure of what had just happened. Was it a row? Or had my marriage just ended? But I did need to get away from her at that moment. I remember that.

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Gold Dust

issue 35 summer 2019


Now one year on I was waiting for a man to arrive and probably live in my house as all the others had for a time. Rachel had taken in three lovers so far, all temporary stays and no threat to my position as the girls’ father. She seemed to be auditioning and I wondered what had happened to the man she was speaking about on the telephone who was like she used to be with me only better. What happened to change her needs so much? I concluded I must have bored her to death. Perhaps all young women think they want home and family right up to the point where they actually get it. Rachel’s only human. And she was still a striking young woman, tall and slim with long dark hair and good regular features. Had she been disposed towards humour instead of melodrama her face could have been called beautiful. I remembered how she had wanted to be a dancer but she lacked the punishing work ethic that dedicated dancers must have to succeed. I think when we met the thing that she liked most about me was my height. I am taller than her, a big fellow who made her seem small. She liked that and I was clearly besotted with her. She liked that too, she probably liked that more than anything she saw in me. But it was easy to see how men were attracted to her Even with two small children she was still a bit of a trophy. I sighed and glanced in the rear view mirror and saw him arrive in a shiny new car. A Ford, but a top of the range Ford. But even so I knew there was no hope of Rachel getting rid of our Range Rover any time soon in favour of any car he might provide. Rachel is a self confessed snob. I got out of the car and walked towards him as if I was just passing. He locked his car and turned smiling at me, holding a bunch of flowers that must have cost him at least fifty pounds and a bottle of Champagne. “Evening,” he nodded, and I nodded back, and in that split second I worked out that he was a decent man who was in love. He spoke good evening to strangers in the street, he probably sang in the bath, gave huge tips to waiters and was generally nice to everyone in life because he was in love with my wife. I actually felt sorry for him. There again, he had to find his own destiny, I only wanted to protect my children and what I saw reassured me. I drove away after I’d written down his car registration number in case I missed him leaving in the morning. I knew he would be staying overnight. I followed him next day to a block of very upmarket apartments in Wanstead, where he clearly had his own parking space and was greeted by an elderly couple who were just going out to walk their dog. Yep, I thought, he lives here, but does he live alone or is he married and playing away? All of

Gold Dust

issue 35

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which was none of my business, what I really wanted to know was if he had any children of his own. He didn’t strike me as being like the last couple of Lotharios who had temporarily graced my wife’s bed, he looked decent and I wanted to tell him to run away as fast as he could, but I knew he wouldn’t listen. Instead I walked up to him as he approached his door and introduced myself “Hello there," I said, "I‘m Rachel’s husband and I’d like a word." His friendly smile faded and he became guarded. “Better come inside," he said. He lived alone, I could see that right away. No toys, no knick-knacks, nothing in his sitting room without function. He was a very orderly man, Rachel would love him for that alone. He was quietly handsome and dressed well, she‘d like that too. “Can I offer you some coffee?" he said. “No thanks, and I‘m not here to cause any trouble. I just want to know what kind of man you are because of my girls." ‘Well of course I can see that, I‘d feel the same," he said reasonably. “So you don't have any children or a wife tucked away somewhere?" I said. “Look I know it’s not really any of my business, Rachel and I are over and we’ll be divorced by this time next year, but since she threw me out, well, you’re not the first man I’ve had to check out. She asked me to throw one of them out who refused to leave a couple of months ago. She hinted that he was lecherous and she was worried for the girls. So I have to see for myself. Sad isn't it? But you might be different and I need to know. That is if you intend to move in?" He had been loading the coffee machine. He stopped what he was doing and turned to look at me. “I can see what you're trying to do," he said, “and it won't work. Rachel and I are in love. I hope one day she will live with me, and I have no agenda or wicked intent about your little girls. I have no wife and no children, OK’? Now leave, please." I looked at him and knew in that moment that she hadn’t told him about the baby she was carrying. I couldn’t believe she’d told me and not him, what was she thinking? I had actually felt sorry for him and he thought I was a mischief maker. Well I'd found out what I came to find out, he was no threat to my girls, I felt sure of that. He had no wife or children of his own, but he did have mine. "I’ll see myself out," I said.

GOLD DUST

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Mersey Forgetting by Kristy Kerruish Ferry runs wake-thrown tumbles after Sleep-passing frets are sudden landward spun Eddies brim dimples with their snow-smooth laughter Which end in pebbles where the tides began

I see your ghost as Donnelly spins embers Call to you that you might linger for a while Take up my hand and tell me you remember And still the fretting river with your smile

Dusk brings the fireflies on the dune-blown sand hills Swift arrowheads of barking geese in flight I see your figure on the dock-side waving I watch your ship glide soulless through the night. The Mersey tides have taken you away They take them all; the toll the land-bound pay.

Picture: Eleanor L Bennett

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Gold Dust

issue 35 summer 2019


UR T A FE

E

The Gold Dust Team – What Makes Us Tick?

Omma Velada: Gold Dust founder I set up Gold Dust 15 years ago from my spare bedroom, as a one-woman band. I had created magazines before, the most notable one a party magazine for Freshers’ Week, which was painstakingly typed on a typewriter, then printed on a black and white photocopier. It wasn’t the slickest product and so, in 2004, as print-on-demand was now available, I decided to give it another go. I advertised for submissions and they came in quickly – many keen writers out there! I chose the best ones, selecting both short stories & poems and laid it all out in Quark. Then, using the Lulu print-on-demand website, all I had to do was upload the end result. Lulu didn’t just print, they took care of the distribution too, so, despite the big chunk of cash they lopped off the profit, it was worth it, as it was just so simple to upload the magazine and let Lulu do the rest. The magazine they printed had a glossy full colour cover and professional-quality printed pages and anyone could order a copy and have it sent to their home. So, despite occasionally discussing self-production, we have kept using this website ever since. About 3 issues in, I realised I wasn’t going to be able to keep it up. I’d just had a baby and had a lot less time, so I advertised on writers’ forums for help. This is when David came on board, along with a team of fellow writers. Gold Dust went from strength to strength at this time, with a strong core team marketing and managing the content. We found we were getting 3,000 readers per issue and over 100 submissions for short stories alone. We began to publish other creative writing to include plays, flash fiction & novel extracts. We interviewed well-known writers and included reviews and other writing-related articles. We even released a few anthologies of Gold Dust short stories. Then my kids got big, I got divorced, and started working full-time. Suddenly life was filled with office hours and supervising homework & music practise. There was no time left over for putting a magazine together. David, who has stayed since that first year, took on a much more active role from this point – he is now managing the content and doing the layout, as well as being the short story editor. Adele, our poetry editor, is another loyal and long-standing team member. Meanwhile, all I have really been able to contribute to the last few issues has been my opinion on the occasions

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it has been canvassed! But I still hope to come back to having more input in the future and will always want to be part of this magazine that has been a wonderful creative outlet for me and helped launch so many new writers over the years. Prose Editor: David Gardiner I first met Omma around about the time of the new century on a writers' site called UKAuthors.com, which is still there but in a much diminished form. What distinguished it from the other big British site of that era, ABC Tales, was that under each story or poem was a comments box where feedback and discussion of the piece could take place. This was almost unique at the time, and meant that UKAuthors became a workshop site for writers to hone their skills and tended to concentrate on the craft side of writing rather than simply displaying finished work. Certain writers took the whole business a lot more seriously than others of course, and Omma and I were among those who wanted to take our writing as far forward as we could. She founded a magazine (Gold Dust) in 2004 to publish mainly the best of the UKAuthors poets and writers, because that was the main place where the venture was talked about and advertised, although submissions were of course welcome from anyone. I was very committed to short story writing (not to say obsessed) at this time, having had success in the (Irish) Fish short story competition in 2002 and my first short story collection The Rainbow Man published a year later, and so I submitted a story called Light of the World to Issue 1, the only piece of fiction of mine that has been published in Gold Dust, on the basis of which Omma kindly asked me if I would like to take on the responsibility for looking after the prose side of the magazine. This invitation I enthusiastically accepted. The first edition is still available to buy in printed form from our Lulu sales page, but is probably just of historical interest to the people involved now. It had over 100 pages and the inside pages were black-and-white text only (no graphics). The evolution that took place both in the appearance, content and management of the magazine since then has been dramatic and I will leave Omma to talk about it. Two things however have remained constant. One is that we select our content purely on the basis of merit, the reputation

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or publication history of the writer does not enter into the equation, nor does their age, gender, nationality or anything else. We simply look for the best of the best and print it. Secondly, we have tried hard to make every decision a team decision. Practically every email within the team concerning content or policy ends with some version of 'What do the rest of you think?' It isn't so much a rule as a very important part of the ethos of Gold Dust, and one of the many things that have kept me committed to the magazine for 15 years. Poetry Editor: Adele C. Geraghty I was familiar with Gold Dust since its inception more than a decade ago, when David Gardiner, Omma Velada and myself were all members of the online writer's community UK Authors. I'd always imagined I'd like to be involved with a literary magazine but the opportunity never happened. That is, until 2013/2014, when then Poetry Editor David Turner, who planned to step down, asked me if I was interested in taking over his position at Gold Dust. I was very happy to oblige! I'd published a collection of poetry in 2010, Skywriting in The Minor Key: women, words, wings, which had been well received. My work was also published internationally and performed on radio in the US and the UK and though I write short stories as well, poetry has always been my main means of literary expression. David Turner was aware of my background and familiar with my work, and I was grateful for his faith in me. But though I'd written a regular comedy/satire column for a newspaper in New York, I'd not worked as a poetry or literary editor for a long time. Now, I felt that the time was right to branch out and I was looking forward to the challenge once again. I knew that Gold Dust's image had evolved over the years, having benefitted from the remarkable art of Slavko Mali and the Photography of Eleanor Bennett. I knew also that I would be the fourth Poetry Editor to hold the position and I considered how each one of these talented people had managed to bring their own personal touch to the GD pages. I also wondered what I might bring to GD. First and foremost, I didn't want my personal preferences to make my choices for me. Everyone has a style or type of poetry which appeals to them more than others but, as Gold Dust has always accepted work based on creative merit alone, this would hold true for form and content as well. I wanted to bring to Gold Dust as eclectic a collection of poetic styles as possible, giving a wide

range of expression to our diverse poets. Also, to accommodate the amount of submissions I received regularly, which can easily amount to hundreds, I needed to change the layout somewhat. When I began editing, we were only accepting about ten poems per issue. Though some of our submitters loved having a full page for one of their poems, I could see that this was something I needed to reserve for poems which would fit no other way. Several poems to a page and some of these paired with others of like style or content would allow for many more authors to be published. That's when I created the 'Less is More' page, obviously for shorter poems and the 'Wit Whimsy and Satire' page, again for the obvious. These pages proved to be the first filled in every successive issue and have became an established sub-venue, for quality poetry which otherwise may have been neglected. Whole pages are now reserved for longer poems and the layout has worked for all concerned. It is now possible for Gold Dust to publish approximately 18 to 20 or more poems per issue. One of the greatest highlights of being Poetry Editor is receiving messages from happy readers and submitters, who are pleased to have had their work accepted for the first time, or enjoy the presentation of their poetry on our pages or who simply like the content which they read there. And there is nothing that satisfies me more than publishing the work of an emerging poet and seeing how complimentary their work appears on the same pages with our seasoned poets. This equality of promotion is what Gold Dust was created for. At present, I'm in the process of beginning work on our next Poetry Anthology, 'Capella: Gold Dust Stars' which will be an exciting venture. I'll be contacting as many poets as possible who we've published during the last five years. Being Poetry Editor during those five years has been a labour of love for me. As we begin our 35th Issue, I'm looking forward with the rest of The Gold Dust Team to many more years of continued success, all of which will be made possible by new waves of poets and writers sending us the very best and most diverse of their works, to the continued enjoyment of our readers. Illustrator: Slavko Mali Maybe we all walk on the golden dust, but we are not aware of it. Life would not make sense if all that exists is ordinary dust from the earth. Nature closes your eyes when the wind blows. When a storm comes, gold dust flies into space. It creates a golden road.

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Gold Dust

issue 35 summer 2019


No, there is no Milky Way. It is in fact a golden path with the wrong name. I walked a long way on earth dust. And I did not see anything. My eyes were muddy. Then one day I sent my works to an interesting artistic magazine. I found an email on the Internet. That was a smart magazine, with smart editors. I did not have to fill in various complicated questionnaires and repeat the given code to prove that I'm not a robot, a monkey or an armadillo ... Оmma, David G. and Dave T. opened the door for me and showed me the way of gold dust. The year was 2012. Since then, I've been getting closer to the stars, which give me the strength and inspiration for my work. Yes, I am an illustrator of "GOLD DUST" magazine. Sometimes a writer. But also the man who found another self on its pages. Under the splendour of the stars, I walk in the golden way.

RT SHO RY STO

In August 2017, A Facebook post caught my writer’s eye. Gold Dust Magazine needs volunteer staff members. In an immediate response to David Gardiner, my email included a résumé highlighting my writing, editing, and publication credits. And, an enthusiastic desire to board ship. David responded with a brief Gold Dust history. He concluded “we’re in it for the love” and invited me to join the staff. The first issue was a rough road, as I battled a hacker living in my PC. David and other staff members were patient. I submitted an interview. And, one year and three Gold Dust issues later, my partnership with the Gold Dust Magazine and staff continues. Thank you David. I am in it for the love, too. GOLD DUST

Rule Britannia by Victoria Dowd

After the rain, we sat in our cold silence watching tears of water fall down the dirty glass. Blackston had taken another assault but she’d survive. She’d stood for five hundred years, through civil war and plague. She’d known worse chaos than this. We hadn’t. That first night when we saw Blackston’s silhouette clipped out of the dark sky, we cried. I knew I must look strong for my children, but after this journey the sight of our home drawn out on the page of the night sky was overwhelming. Johnnie curled into my side. I felt his thin frame wither with exhaustion. He tried to hide the tears as eleven year old boys do, but then he was an eleven year old boy who’d lost his father and walked past death himself in these last days. Christine had no such inhibitions and wept with a six year old girl’s abandon. I drew her close, instinctively smothering her wild cries. My eyes flicked down the road, searching the dead, black air. Nothing. No-one. Yet. ‘Move quick.’ My breath clouded in front of me. I hurried them up the great, gravel driveway. It’s hard to tread silently on such a bed of tiny, sharp stones. I cursed our frivolous choice. But they were frivolous times when we didn’t need to sneak into our home. Light pooled in a ground floor room. It eyed us steadily. It was the old sitting room. The dark arms of the trees drew us up the driveway. Rich abundance had turned to a fearful scramble of bushes. Branches and brambles ran across our path unchecked. Where once there had been a

Gold Dust

Co-Features Editor: Nansy Grill

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summer 2019

decadent display of camellias and hydrangeas, now it had slipped into a riot of overgrown desertion. Beauty had swiftly been engulfed in a vast tangle of neglect. We trod carefully between the roots as if stepping through an abandoned graveyard. Not everything here was dead. A shadow passed through the light in the far window. It paused as if watching us before furtively disappearing. The familiar panicked wings fluttered inside my rib cage. My fear was irrelevant now. We had nowhere else to go. It was here or nowhere. The bitter wind ran across our thin clothed frames as we leaned into the sharp night. We climbed the old steps bent like beggars at our own front door. The wood was wounded, smashed and gouged, but it had withstood. I fumbled in amongst the threads of the coat, not my coat but it had served its purpose. One thing I had kept tight to me during our ordeal was the key and it was still there. My raw, bruised fingers fumbled and finally I turned the lock. Slowly the heavy wooden door opened. I stared into the lost darkness. Nothing. But I knew there was something. We stepped gently into the solemn, grey light. The air was unused, mildewed with neglect but there was still a hint of what had been. A familiar scent sat behind all the foetid, damp air, as if the walls still had a little of the old home soaked into them. I stepped towards the sitting room and pushed the door. A light. A rat fast movement. But something bigger than a rat, much bigger. I ran forward, stumbling on an upturned chair. I grabbed at the trail of

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fabric as it past. The body fell to the stripped bare boards with an old cry. ‘Who are you?’ I shouted. I widened my eyes to the children, warning for them to stay back. ‘Speak!’ I wrapped my fingers harder into the leg. ‘It’s me, Mad’m.’ The voice was reedy and dry. ‘It’s me, Wendy.’ My fingers unfurled. The dim lamp light touched her gauzy skin. I saw myself reflected in her grey marbled eyes. She held her face towards me but her bone white pupils saw nothing. ‘Wendy,’ I breathed. ‘Your eyes.’ ‘One sight has left me, a new one is in its place.’ I looked at her in confusion and held a hand out to the children. They ran to me and fell around us. ‘I saw you coming, Mad’m,’ she whispered. She was bird thin with wisps of silver hair floating from her head. In the shadow light, she could have been some spirit sent to find us. ‘I saw your fearful journey, Mad’m. I saw you run from London and the rough sea bring you down here to Devon.’ She held my hand with wasted fingers. ‘I saw him fall.’ I closed my eyes. Warm tears pooled inside my lids. John, my rudder in all this chaos. His government post had tied him to London and he’d stoically refused to leave when the crisis grew. Armed gangs took to the street. He’d stood firm. We needed government more than ever, he’d said. The rioting and looting became more organised, frightening in its systematic destruction. Factions rose up and those who should never have power took control. New armies took to the streets and raged and burned and devoured everything in their path. We got out on one of the last lorries to the coast. John refused to go. His country needed him, he’d said. He hadn’t realised there was no country left. When we’d fallen into the night on the beach, I could barely understand what we saw. Waves of bodies washed in on the night sea, dinghies lay like deflated children’s balloons and floated out on the dead waves. Desperate people trying to escape, to find freedom, peace, life. I’d found an old boat, abandoned and knew I had to get to Blackston. ‘Mummy?’ Christine whispered, ‘are we safe?’ Johnnie’s thin body shivering beside me. ‘No,’ Wendy said. Her milk eyes seemed to be looking at something on the ceiling. ‘They’re in the trees. They’re coming,’ she breathed. There was a moment, my mind struggling to process what she’d said, before my body sparked into life. ‘Johnnie, your father’s gun, it’s in the cellar.’ He looked at me. There was something new in his face, a steely look. He nodded. ‘Go now.’ I squeezed his hand as if to gift him some of my strength. Then he ran.

I lifted Christine onto the old woman’s lap. ‘Wait here.’ A loose tear fell on her little cheek. I ran into the hall, the hard stone cold beneath my thin shod feet. The dark walls watched through empty holes where pictures had once hung. Weary, old determination seemed to trace through the damp air. A swift pale movement caught my eye at the end of the corridor. Then it was gone. Ghosts? Some spirit come to my aid? The weight of time was on me. We must survive. This house must survive. I rammed myself against the heavy wood settle and shoved. It slid slowly across the great wooden door. There was no time to cover the windows. Then I heard their feet, heavy and rude on the gravel. They were close and fast. Their rough, loud voices travelled on the brittle winter air, laughing drunkenly. Wendy and Christine stood in the hallway. ‘Take Christine upstairs,’ I mouthed. ‘They’ll come through the sitting room window, Mad’m,’ Wendy said slowly. Their rough fists pounded on the door. ‘Madame.’ The laughter fell into sickly coughing. ‘We just want to say hello.’ I crouched against the thick wood, feeling it vibrate with every strike. I could hear their whispers on the still night air. The banging stopped. The thick crunch of the gravel moved in a path I traced out in my mind. The sitting room. I scrambled, slipping on the slick stone. The window shattered and the crunch changed from coarse gravel to the purer sound of crushed glass shards. ‘Little pigs. Little pigs.’ Their vicious mouths spat out the words. Their laughter violent and impatient. I swung round the door. The air flared white, once then twice. Two sharp cracks cut through the air, the note lingering. As the white mist fell, I saw the outline of Johnnie in the smoke, holding the gun. Two shots. Two men on the floor and silence. There was a pause before the dark pools seeped out. I ran to Johnnie and held him. He was very calm and still. ‘She said they’d be at this window so I waited.’ He said coolly. We did what was necessary and, as dawn clipped the top fields, we settled. I watched the silver light flicker across the clouds. A single rook sat on the bare bones of the apple tree. Amongst the old lichen there were the beginnings of buds. Spring was far off, winter would be long. There had been many hard winters at Blackston and there would be many more. We were ready.

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GOLD DUST

Gold Dust

issue 35 summer 2019


OK BO VIEW RE

Arthur’s Garden

Reviewed by Adele C. Gerachty

ISBN 978-0-7549-8044=7 Published by Lion Books Available from Amazon ~ £14.99

Pam Rhodes, novelist and television presenter, best known as 'the face of BBC Songs of Praise', has written what may well become her most beloved publication in 'Arthur's Garden', a beautifully compiled collection of vignettes depicting the life and times of her own family member. Covering the years between 1906 and 1986, Uncle Arthur's life is set forth in a series of vivid, stand-alone scenes, all taking place within or being connected in some way to the tiny garden of his small, terraced house. It is here that the greatest defining moments of his lifetime, of those closest to him and ultimately of his nation and the world are played out like concentric circles on a rippled pond. Accompanying each of these charmingly written and easily identifiable scenes are an admirable collection of more than a century's garden related songs, proverbs, poems, and ages-old advice. Reflecting a period in time covering more than two world wars and the close reliance upon the garden, not just for survival but for emotional fortitude, Pam Rhodes clearly delivers to a new generation the truth that times change, but people do not; they simply and purely, endure. GOLD DUST

A Ball flash fiction by Slavko Mali

SH N A FL TIO FIC

We pierced our ball on a rose thorn. Cried a long time. The ball was left in the sun for days. Then, one morning, we noticed that from the thorn hole sprouted a rose bush, full of flowers. We cut off flowers and put them on our lapels. We went where other children were playing ball. We got beaten and went home bloody. We stopped playing football. We realized that it was just a rounded hollow rubber, filled with children’s blood. GOLD DUST

Gold Dust

by Pam Rhodes

issue 35

summer 2019

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Curtain Call by Darcy Lin Wood

SH ST ORT OR Y

A tentative knock on the dressing room door broke she has a rare blood disease and now you want to throw me off this play?’ cried Meg, fighting back Meg’s reverie as she gazed at the photograph of tears. It was all so unfair. her daughter wedged in the side of the mirror. ‘This isn’t about you alone, hard as that may be ‘Come in,’ Meg called. She pulled on a grey hoodie to hear as the leading lady. I’m sorry Jasmine is over her T-shirt. ‘Hi,’ said Jools as he entered. He plonked him- sick, really I am, but I have my career to think self down on the small couch, a folder locked in his about not to mention the futures of the rest of the arms with papers and post-its poking out from eve- cast. I’m not trying to be cruel, but this is the nature of our biz. It’s always been unfair, vain and competry side. itive.’ ‘I’m sorry about today,’ Meg began. A wide spectrum of emotions fought for supremJools held up a hand to stop her. His almond acy inside of Meg and she felt like they would erupt eyes were downcast. His tanned complexion all at once from her mouth, as if she was a human looked paler than usual, but Meg supposed the dressing room lights made everyone look washed- volcano. It took all of her resolve to leave, slamming the dressing room door behind her as she out. ‘I know you have a lot going on at home, so stormed out. A waterfall of tears blurred her vision there’s no need to apologise,’ he said. ‘Life takes as she navigated the labyrinthine theatre passages unexpected turns. However, this play is make or break for us.’ His gaze locked on to the carpet. ‘But to the back exit. ‘Hey,’ said Eloise as Meg brushed by. ‘Are you Meg, if you don’t improve tomorrow then I’ll be O.K.?’ forced to have Eloise play your part—’ Meg ignored her understudy and bulldozed ‘My understudy?’ Meg blurted. past until she was outside in the open. April showJools nodded. ‘But you and me — we’re a team. We’ve been ers doused the heat of Meg’s emotions as she jogged to her Mini parked beneath a street lamp. working towards this for 15 years!’ ‘Exactly. How many opportunities do you think The rain cooled her hot tears. A rush of feelings overwhelmed Meg once she are out there for a gay, mixed-heritage, playwright and an unknown actress over 30? This is it. I’m sor- was inside the car. Betrayal, injustice and sadness ry, really I am, but I can’t take the chance you’ll be filled her heart. ‘Stay strong,’ she told herself. Her hoodie and hair were soaked. She crumpled over all right on the night. Your head’s not in the game the steering wheel and sobbed uncontrollably. and everyone sees it. Eloise can step in. We only get one opening night in the West End.’ ‘Jasmine’s finally asleep,’ said Phil as Meg entered ‘My daughter’s been in and out of hospital for the house. three months. You know that. We just found out

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Meg noticed the half-empty bottle of wine on the coffee table and decided not to say anything. She wondered if it was bottle number one or two of the evening. If her husband felt the need to drink when their daughter was ill, how could she blame him? The house emitted an oppressive vibe. Besides, another argument about his drinking wouldn’t help anyone. Jasmine’s sickness had cut deep into their already frayed relationship. Their marital bond was thinner than a thread of silk. ‘I’m dog-tired,’ said Meg. ‘I’m going to say goodnight to Jaz and go to bed.’ Her husband grunted, his gaze fixed on the flashing television screen that lit the living room with unreliable light. ‘Don’t forget Jasmine has her final blood tests at Great Ormond Street tomorrow, at midday. I’ll meet you there,’ he said without looking at her. Meg sat next to her six-year-old and smoothed the child’s fine blonde hair away from her face. She had never known joy like the day the midwife first placed Jasmine in her arms. Meg had thought her heart would explode, never expecting the searing pain that could come when her only baby got ill. Jasmine had gone from being a bouncy, curious child to a hunched and unhappy infant whose movements were as stiff as a pensioner’s. Doctors carried out test after test only to reveal her baby had a rare hemorrhagic virus, which was painful and could lead to liver and kidney damage. They wouldn’t know the extent of the damage or the success of the latest treatment until the final tests were completed, and it was the longest wait of Meg’s life. Jasmine stirred under her favourite Disney Frozen bedspread. ‘It’s all right baby,’ whispered Meg and kissed her daughter on the head. ‘Sleep now. I love you.’ Meg’s eyes misted over. In bed alone, Meg couldn’t sleep. Worries plagued her, from overdue bills and Jasmine to her marriage and the play. Perhaps acting wasn’t the thing Meg should have done with her life. It provided poor and unpredictable wages, except for a lucky few. Jools was right; she was getting too old for the biz. When she was younger she could pick from a range of exciting leads at any audition. As the years passed, much like in real life, the roles seemed to be determined for her rather than by her. The fun parts were getting beyond her reach. Her loudest doubt told her she couldn’t act anyway. Jasmine wailed with pain at three in the morning and Meg shot out of bed. She rushed into her daughter’s bedroom and was joined by Phil who had been sleeping on the couch. The pair of them found the painkillers prescribed by the doctor, and they sat with Jasmine for hours until she fell asleep again.

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It was Friday, the day before opening night, and the morning had already been a disaster. Meg was late to the rehearsal and exhausted. Whatever Jools wanted from her character, she could not deliver to his satisfaction. Midday came and Meg announced that she had to leave and would return as soon as she could. ‘What?’ said Jools. ‘You haven’t even managed one run-through yet, and you have given me nothing that I would attribute to a leading lady. You can’t even remember your lines!’ he yelled. ‘Jasmine has tests,’ protested Meg, standing centre stage in a Victorian ball gown. ‘It’s not good enough. You leave now and I’m giving your role to Eloise,’ said Jools. Eloise, a young and willowy creature, stepped forward from stage left. She looked as though she wanted to say something, but she also gave the impression that the slightest waft of wind would carry her away. ‘Fine,’ said Meg. ‘Have it your way. Be a heartless bastard. I thought we were a team.’ The other actors on stage looked uncomfortable and shifted around, averting their collective gaze, although nobody left. Actors loved drama. ‘We were a team and then you went off to play happy families, remember that? I gave you space and time throughout our whole careers, but I won’t do it this time,’ said Jools with finality. Meg looked at him, ripped off her wig and threw it to the boards. She turned on her heel with tears in her eyes. ‘Congratulations, Eloise,’ she mumbled as she marched out. Eloise tried to say something, comfort and uncertainty in her jumbled words, but Meg only caught the mixed-up sentiments as she fled the stage. ‘Where have you been?’ Phil asked when Meg ran into the waiting room, still in full stage make-up. ‘I lost the role,’ she muttered. ‘I’m here, that’s all that matters.’ ‘No, it’s not. Jasmine was screaming in pain all morning and asking for you. She needs both of us right now.’ ‘Can’t you see I’ve got enough going on without a lecture?’ ‘Blame me,’ muttered Phil. ‘This is my fault.’ Deadlocked silence filled the air between husband and wife as Meg settled in the uncomfortable plastic chair opposite Phil. After an eternity, a nurse appeared pushing Jasmine in a wheelchair through the double doors. Seeing her daughter like that nearly broke Meg’s heart, and she saw the feeling reflected on Phil’s puffy face. ‘Doctor Slocomb will call you first thing tomorrow with the results,’ explained the nurse.

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A kind of catatonia descended over Meg once the three of them got home. She sat on the couch, staring at nothing. Jasmine was asleep with her head on her mum’s lap. Phil had gone back to work. Meg sat there until she fell asleep. Not doing the play had lightened the burden of responsibility and Jasmine seemed brighter, actually managing to finish an entire bowl of tomato soup that afternoon. The ringing telephone awoke Meg the following morning. It was Saturday, opening night. Meg felt empty. An unexpected sound echoed from the kitchen; Phil was laughing. ‘That’s fantastic Doc. Thanks for letting us know,’ Phil said. The next thing Meg knew her husband rushed into the living room and dropped to his knees in front of her. ‘Jasmine’s going to be all right,’ he said breathlessly. ‘Our angel is going to be fine!’ He laughed and she saw unadulterated joy on his face. ‘The treatment Doctor Slocomb prescribed is working and there’s no lasting damage to her organs.’ Meg sat up. It took a moment for the enormity of Phil’s words to sink in, but when they did emotion overcame her. She hugged him and cried. Her fears evaporated, while her joy overflowed. Relief made her feel like a taught spring that had finally come undone. Yet, bitterness followed her wave of euphoria. Phil’s words had given her an epiphany and she knew everything was not going to be all right. ‘Say something,’ said Phil. A beat passed in which Meg was sure he had read her thoughts. ‘Can we put all this nastiness behind us?’ he asked. ‘I’m sorry about my behaviour. I just couldn’t take it.’ Meg could see he was trying to make amends, but something inside of her had slipped too far to accept his pitiful attempt at reconciliation; perhaps the last fibre of their marital bond had finally snapped. ‘You couldn’t take it? And so you took it out on me? What will you do next time, Phil? What about when other tragedies happen, and they inevitably will, what will you do then? It’s obvious you’re

incapable of communication.’ Meg’s next words surprised even her, ‘I don’t think I want to be here for the next time things go wrong and you treat me like shit because you can’t cope.’ Phil withered in front of her. ‘I know and I’m sorry.’ Meg felt numb. Something big had just happened, something that couldn’t be undone. The end of their marriage didn’t arrive in the way Meg had imagined it would; the revelation of Jasmine’s prognosis had put everything into perspective and the ending of the marriage was more along the lines of an understanding than a calamity. Meg felt strangely calm. Phil opened his mouth to speak, still kneeling at her feet, when Meg’s mobile rang. She took the call. ‘Meg you have to get here now. Let’s put any bad feelings behind us. We’re preparing for our first night and Eloise, well, she’s got the jitters. She’s choked — refuses to go on stage,’ said Jools, hardly pausing for breath. ‘Poor girl,’ said Eloise with genuine empathy. ‘She’s a fantastic actress, but isn’t ready to be leading lady—’ ‘I see that now. I’ll bloody well make sure she never works again for this!’ ‘No you won’t. You were the one who put her in this position. I’ll come in and do the role for tonight—’ ‘Thank you.’ ‘But,’ said Meg, ‘leave my understudy alone. She’s destined for greatness and she’s under my wing.’ ‘Understood.’ ‘Good. I’ll be there in an hour. And Jools?’ ‘Yeah?’ The panic had subsided from Jools’ voice. ‘You won’t regret this, Jools. The old Meg is back!’

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Why I’m Still Her(e) by Holly Day

When I tried to leave you came to me and held my hand called me your love, told me you wanted to fuck me that was all it took because I'm easy that way I remember thinking halfway through that I really should tell you to stop, I mean it I'm really going to leave this time but the flickering of the overhead lights was too distracting The endless rumble of passing trains lightening and haphazardly-thrown buckets of rain Kept me close to you, even after that night it still feels like a sign.

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Papatong

B RE OO VI K EW by David Powell Davies ~ reviewed by David Gardiner

Tambourine Press 2018 ~ Paperback ~ 190 pages ~ £9.78 ~ Kindle edition: £4.43 At the risk of seeming churlish I’m going to begin with a few remarks about the physical book and its cover price. The layout is somewhat unusual. Although 190 sounds like a substantial number of pages, due to the large print and the unjustified columns (ragged edges to the right hand margins of the text), the numerous rather crude and poorly reproduced illustrations and the inclusion of an extra eight pages about the author and his next project, the actual word count of the nine stories only adds up to about 30,000. In my opinion it would have been a more ethical decision to publish this as a chapbook with about half the number of pages and sell it at a considerably lower price, although in the author’s and publisher’s defence, the proceeds, we are told, will go to ‘David’s son’s education’, which I suppose is a noble cause. In view of all this you might consider the Kindle edition better value. Turning to the proper duty of a reviewer, there are nine very diverse short stories here, ranging from the magical realism of Gunung Lawi, Go'ib and Exotic Fruit and the sheer romanticism of the title story to the gritty social realism of Clicketty Clack . Davies has a highly entertaining style and generally speaking the collection is a very satisfying read. Although the author's country of residence in later life was Indonesia, which constitutes the setting, either implied or stated, for most of the stories, two of them are also set in the USA. Clicketty Clack concerns the resilience of impoverished villagers trying to survive the attempts of warlords to destroy their settlement and drive them into the jungle. It doesn't pull

any punches, but manages to end on a note of hope. Flotsam, another very sober piece, concerns the plight of an Afghan political refugee who wants to get himself and his family to Australia, but is arrested at the airport in Indonesia. Thanks to the intervention of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees he finally escapes from the hell of the Jakarta holding centre to start the new life he longs for with his wife and daughter. The two stories set in the USA, McGrew's Shoe and To the Top, while well written and enjoyable, are fairly conventional plot-led pieces aspiring to 'surprise endings'. Of their kind they are well-crafted, but I don't think they reach the standard of some of the more original pieces. The three magical realism stories, though very different to one another, achieve what I think they set out to do, which is to submerge the reader in an adult fairytale world of suspended disbelief that has its own completely consistent internal logic. These I think represent the high points of this collection. The title story, which is the final one in the collection, was for me the least satisfying. The protagonist William, a temporary resident in Indonesia heading up a large civil engineering project, falls in love with Putri, the daughter of a powerful local landowner, meeting her secretly and scheming with her to escape her oppressive Muslim family and elope to his native Holland. By far the longest of the stories, as the tension builds and the conflict between Putri and her family becomes increasingly ugly, we assume that Davies is going to tackle the topic of family violence and 'honour killings' in some Eastern societies. However, he draws back from this and, implausibly in my opinion, despite Putri physically assaulting one of the two brothers who have come to take her back, she is allowed to leave with her foreign fiancé thanks to the pleadings of her elderly nanny. Sad to report, David Powell Davies passed away a few months after publishing this collection. He is survived by his son and his Indonesian wife Reni.

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BLEECKER STREETS THAN WALL OR MADISON

By Gerard Sarnat 1. Downbeat Drumbeat Ain’t #FakePOTUS T***pism “ I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!” -Howard Beale, the anchor of the Union Broadcasting System's , in "Paddy" Chayefsky and Sidney Lumet’s 1976 Academy Award winning, Four days ago, mid-term elections which only shifted left 10% compared to 19% rightward in 2010, made it clear, at least to me, that the US’s in the midst of a still ongoing Civil War that I was taught ended 153 years ago but which very likely will take a much longer time to resolve if not heal. Three days ago, a buddy was spotted walking in the local woods with a backpack and hasn’t been seen since although his wallet turned up at home where gathered family knows nada. Two days ago, the mother of our eldest’s best friend ran “errands” then disappeared while her Prius’ found at ocean’s edge before she washes up at the Ritz Carleton. Yesterday, I wondered what might work to survive another hour of Armageddon. This mo[u]rning, my bud died at 82 after a prolonged illness…

2. Corporate Icons Versus Iqs By Gerard Sarnat Stranger in strange land now, brain drain drip drop, iconic figures can make rain to bring in new clients but often it’s your next talent level down org charts truly knows how to hunt, grok.

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3) Septuagenarians’ Dialogue Devolves Back Toward Teenhood? By Gerard Sarnat LJ: I re-read your “review” of my book and now realize that your asbestos mention was an attack, an effort to demean me in front of the others. This is, as you know, not the first time you have attacked me. You’ve also done it to others from our class; there have been conversations about it. I don’t know why you feel this malice — perhaps you know. But you might consider a little behavior modification — step back before the bile comes out of your mouth; just swallow it back. We’re not in high school anymore, so this is not a question of being popular with the other kids. At our age, it’s a question of how we’ll be remembered. I don’t think you want your epitaph to be “Gerry did so many wonderful things in the world but he could be a really nasty guy." GS: L, I can’t argue with what you feel. But you mis-reread my motivation to start a goodwill dialogue and encourage others to buy by humorously engaging your own characterization of “insane career” as a corporate PR fixer. However, obviously my words fumbled the ball — sorry. If I had wanted to attack your book “as dumb or boring,” I imagine there would have been ways to send them up the flagpole. Originally you seemed pleased (or at least not-mad) when you responded to me. I figured the Johns Manville Inc. asbestos case was what you were alluding to with “the little miasma of formaldehyde that wafted from the boards…poison and carcinogen…really nothing harmful for your little Swedish tots… All the homeowners had to do was rip up his house, remove the old boards, and install the new ones at his own expense. What a deal!” Sorry if I got that wrong, if as you drolly put it, “I just did tobacco!" I wish you had closed the bluebook after your first two reactions, which did not take offense, instead of looking for “nasty” over-analyzing (your gerund might be Correctly-analyzing) in your last email. In any case, given our past run-ins and sensitivities, in retrospect perhaps I should have been more restrained, or not responded at all. You are still clearly triggered by me, so maybe at some level I’m not fully in touch with how I am still playing my “sibling rivalry” role. Although I do acknowledge a competitive streak I wasn’t fully aware of when we knew each other as kids, generally those who know me as an adult wouldn’t know what you’re talking about “malice”wise -- in fact most often just the opposite. But to be sure, I/we at times revert to adolescent selves when interacting. During the last bunch of years, I’ve actually made a project of trying to revisit folks where there’s unfinished business, some good some bad (some of whom your “conversations” may be referring to), to assure more loving and trustworthy relationships. Although not always successful, on the whole it’s worked. In fact, I tried what felt like unsuccessfully to begin that process with you at recent reunions, but my attempt was ineffective/feeble and you didn’t seem to notice. I am sorry for when I didn’t treat you considerately. One index case from grade school has become a touchstone of more global regrets that has energized me to do better. Perhaps some day we will meet face-toface alone to begin to reconcile. I would like that, and would be happy to travel to facilitate. Apologies for my part in causing you tsuris, Gerry.

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For One Day Only! By Liam Martin A multi-dimensional printing press, And a cybertronic, pixel-regenerating smart dress. A portable micro-climate with the exotic weather add-on pack And a star-powered space hopper in jet black A safety-guaranteed organic life-form scanner A toolkit complete with a hyper-sonic spanner And an ultra-durable radiation retardant star plough All of this and more available at discount prices now, But just for one day, at your local inter-stellar expressway!

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S ST HO O RT RY

The Door That Holds the Secrets In by Helen O’Neill Shivering, Katie hugged her tiny knees. She was wearing her favourite fancy dress, the tutu rustling softly every time she moved, so she tried not to move; tried not even to breathe. It was always cold on her step at the top of the darkened staircase, but she couldn’t bear to change out of her costume and into something warmer. This was the step she always sat on. It was close enough so that she could hear, but far enough away to be invisible if the door opened unexpectedly. The door was supposed to hold the secrets in, but even now she could make out the meaning of their muffled voices. It had always been like this. She strained to hear, not wanting to and needing to all at the same time and as their words became clearer, as they became louder, her chest tightened and her tears embarked on their familiar journey. Katie knew how to cry silently. Tomorrow she would beg her mother to take them away and there’d be promises. Promises that were just lies wrapped up in hope. She was certain that her mother would never leave, but she didn’t, she couldn’t, understand why. What her mother didn’t know was that she had a plan. As soon as she was old enough she was going to run away and they would never see her again. She would leave and she would never come back. Just as soon as she was big enough; brave enough. Tonight was bad. In the dark she listened. The argument built and as it approached its crescendo she pulled herself up by the banister, stretching out her aching limbs. The carpet scratched her bare feet as she padded carefully down the stairs, feeling her way toward the room. Her delicate hand rested on the back of the door and edged it open just enough for her to slip through, half in; half hidden. The room was filled with nicotine fog that swirled around the twinkling Christmas lights. Brightly coloured foil garlands were draped from each corner, meeting in the middle of the ceiling where a paper ball hung like a homemade chandelier. The artificial tree was silver, its branches littered with generations of trinkets, including some of her own that she’d brought home from school, beaming with pride. Rows of cards stood balanced on every shelf. The normality was striking.

In the far corner, her father was slumped in his grey armchair. As he slurred abuse at her mother, his glass hovered precariously above the armrest. His yellow fingers held a cigarette he forgot to smoke and as it burned, ash dropped to the floor. Katie couldn’t remember ever having loved him. There was a hurt in her heart where that love should be. Watching him, his sallow skin stretched over his gaunt frame, she loathed him in a way that only the innocent can. In contrast, her mother wore a costume of that normality, an image of neatly pressed suburbia, her hair set, her lips painted. But beneath the mask, if you looked closely, contours of exhaustion covered her face. They didn’t notice her as she watched them; peering around the door at the horror that was meant to be her home. She could recite their insults and responses like a nursery rhyme, her mother shouting at him for not getting a job and for spending all their money on the drink, and him hurling comments that were meant to degrade her; defending his right as a man. Back and forth they went, every night, for as long as she could remember. She wondered if every home was like this. Nobody ever said. Katie’s mother was standing with her back to the door, she gestured as she shouted and then swiped for the glass. He was too slow and as he spilled its precious nectar, his glazed eyes widened and he forced himself out of the chair to stand in front of her. Her mother was pulled up tall, she wouldn’t back down. He stood unsteady, threatening. He pulled back his arm to strike. He lost his footing. He stumbled to the side and put out his hands to break his fall, catching hold of the Christmas tree. Katie took a step into the room and looked on with dismay at the symbol of cheer as it crashed, ejecting baubles and filling the air with tinsel particles. Her sorrow burned to anger. She didn’t bother hiding her tears anymore and she cried out as loudly as she possibly could, “I hate you!” Still they didn’t acknowledge her, absorbed instead in their fight. Her mother was screaming insults and he was slurring back, spit flying with each venomous word. Katie pleaded with them to

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stop. She told them she’d run away, that they’d never see her again. They didn’t hear, didn’t listen; didn’t see. He leaned over to the sideboard and grabbed hold of a book, his eyes were blurred and his balance unsteady. His reactions were slow and as he aimed his missile, her mother moved out of the way, alert to the threat. Katie screamed again as the book flew through the air, “Stop it!” And then there was silence. The room froze. They noticed her now; their beautiful fairy, lying broken beside the Christmas tree, her tutu crushed, her hair swept over her face hiding their mark. The stale smells that linger bring back flashes of memories like these. I move around the house carefully, subconsciously avoiding the floorboards that squeak, a lesson learned at an early age. The room’s sparse furniture is dated, the wallpaper yellowed and my shoes stick to the carpet as I cross the room to the armchair. I consider sitting in it, but I was never allowed as a child and I realise that now I don’t want to. This room is a time capsule of bad memories I’ve worked hard to process and then to forget. I’ll be glad when the house is sold and my last tie severed. I pull back the heavy

a frame. I stroke the scar on my left cheek and let myself remember one last time. He was sober for a whole day after that. We played board games as a family and I didn’t go to school. We ate chocolate for breakfast and danced to the radio. It was the best Christmas ever. It didn’t last. When I woke up excited the following morning, eager to love him again, there was an empty glass on the living room floor and a bottle tucked in the bin, wrapped in newspaper. I stuck a plaster on my cheek and a smile on my face as I headed out to school where I’d pretend all day. My thoughts are interrupted by laughter. There are children playing in the house next door and I can hear them rushing about, absorbed by their game. Their mother is calling for them to get ready or they will be late. The walls are so thin in these old houses. She shouts at them, but she isn’t angry and when they crash down the stairs I can hear her laughing with them. I smile. Outside, there are two black cars waiting to take us to the funeral. In one the simple casket is surrounded by flowers spelling out our goodbye. My father will rest next to my mother in the churchyard. I hope they find the peace they never did in life. My husband and daughter are inside the other,

drapes and force the window open, the net curtains mottled with mildew fly back as they are filled with the fresh breeze from outside. The dust tickles my nose. I look out onto the street, at the row of identical houses, each with its own unique story to tell, each with its own secrets. When I left, I swore I’d never come back. But adolescent anger was replaced by understanding as I became an adult and later a mother. These days there would be counselling for people like my parents; reasonable adjustments and support. Back then, it was a stiff upper lip and a facade for the benefit of the neighbours. The dent in the wall where the book landed after it hit me is still there, the wallpaper frayed like

ready to support me through this difficult day. He is dressed in a black mourning suit, but my daughter is only six and it is cold, so she is wearing her favourite jumper, bright yellow. The break with tradition is a decision made of love and I hope that when she grows, she will remember that I made my choices for her. I make sure to tell her everyday how important she is to me. I turn to leave and stand for a moment half inside the room, adjusting to how small it looks to my adult eyes. I shut the door softly behind me and finally let go of the secrets.

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The Last Trick – Colloquium Perspectives on the Arts in Post-literary, Poly-liminal Aggregations by Les Wicks With the Empires on their knees (& unable to afford the arthroscopy) I was invited to address a modest gathering of minds to discuss the Twenty Doctrinal Errors. Parliamentarians promised to save our misspelt solds. My position in the Temple was dependent on the continued satiation of grandees. This involved robust video presentations of puppies plus the adornment of statues featuring that reified, reassuring, retooled Roman god Quotidian. Not for lack of effort though as the years drag on my pretention has become more prefab. Authorities became concerned & a clerical constabulary questioned my grammatical life choices. I fell. Not in a graceful abattoir chute. I zeroed.

way more

So with nothing left, retreated to my reservation (1970’s working class apartment) & there await developments. Swapping meals with my friend in #8 (Mustafa’s a bit heavy on the meat me on the dairy we both believe in garlic & mushrooms) I defend the right to die alongside discouraging my ex-lover’s suicide. Yesterday rode my bike by the bay, this irrelevance is a sanctity.

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OK W O B VIE RE

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens Reviewed by Nansy Grill

Corsair Paperback 384 pages 2019 £6.65 Kindle: £9.99 (price quoted by Amazon) No matter the preferred reading preference Where the Crawdads Sing by New York Times best selling author, Delia Owens, offers up a delightful mix of fiction genres in the pages of the author’s debut book as a solo writer. The novel prologue reveals a prominent citizen of Barkley Cove, Chase Andrews, dead and face down in a swamp. The author is quick to explain the difference in swamp and marsh. The coastal marsh of North Carolina is the main setting for the story of six-year-old Kya Clark. In 1952, the sound of a slammed screen door changed her young life. Kya looked out the door in time to see her ma walking away. Following Ma’s example Kya’s oldest brother and two sisters left leaving Kya alone with her alcoholic pa and her brother Jodie. When Jodie told Kya he was leaving, she was left with one question. Why did every body leave, yet nobody thought of taking her? She knew Pa’s drunken beatings and rampages ran the family off. But, where could she run? She’s only six. The story weaves back and forth beginning with the death of Chase Andrews in 1969, and falling back to 1952. The murder and investigation keep 1969 in focus as local law enforcement struggles to piece together the mystery of the swamp. The author meshes the remaining chapters around the man’s death and Kya’s life. In the marsh, Kya is isolated from the towns people, and schooling, and commerce. Her ability to survive is instinctive. Her skills grow through trial and error. Kya adores the creatures which bring life to her marsh. She collects feathers and shells as evidence of these creatures. When

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someone leaves her a feather in a tree stump, a game begins. These gifts of nature are swapped between the unknown benefactor and the intrigued young girl. Bound by nature, the swamp, and mutual attraction Tate, teaches Kya to read, write, and do numbers. Their courtship breaks up, when Tate goes away to college. Though he promises to return, the romance is not salvageable when he does. While Tate is away, Kya meets Chase Andrews. Chase is all about visiting the marsh to see Kya. Now a young woman, Kya rejects Chase’s advances. She questions his motives concerning her. His explanations are vague and sprinkled with promises of meeting his parents and marriage. His moves are relentless. Chase convinces Kya to go on a business trip with him to Charlotte. In a seedy shared motel room, Chase tells Kya, “It’s time.” Virginity lost Kya tries to press Chase to take her places: his home, into town, to dances. But Chase’s excuses are more personal. He tells Kya she doesn’t have the right clothes. He hates dances and she can’t dance anyway. Being around people makes her anxious. She’s been isolated too long. Kya hears the truth about Chase from Tate. Though he was close to graduating college, Tate’s first visit to Kya resulted in his apology and the brutal truth about Chase Andrews. Tate exposes Chase’s womanizing ways and his trash talk about his Marsh Girl. Owens draws on her background in wildlife science to educate the main character and the reading audience. She drops ambiguous hints about the murderer and allows the town folks to judge a Marsh Girl as the obvious suspect. Did Kya kill Chase? Could it have been Tate who despised the lack of respect Chase Andrews had for Kya? Or, was the murderer a member of Colored Town who loved and respected Kya for her survival skills? Read this bestselling book and enjoy murder, mystery, coming of age, YA, and adult fiction. Experience life in the marsh from the main character’s point of view. Delia Owens presents a memorable novel as her first solo. Where the Crawdads Sing topped the New York Times, best seller lists this year for ten weeks as of this writing. Other books by Owens are co-authored with Mark Owens and are memoirs of their time in Africa studying wildlife. GOLD DUST

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ROSE P T S BE

SH ST OR OR T Y

Kay by Linday Boyd

I had finished the evening dishes and retreated to the office for a few moments quiet time when I heard the ring of the bell. The door swung almost shut behind me as I went to the entranceway. I peered through a peephole but struggled to make out anything. Opening the black, heavy door I saw Kay, the one I might have guessed it would be. She usually returned to the house around this time on the days she went out for a tipple. Of late, she had been drinking a great deal. For three days in a row she had gone straight to Thomas', the pub round the corner, after completing her stint on the work project. She listed to the side, a small bag in one hand, and

sion long ago. Satisfied she was concealing nothing, I stepped back. She said something as she passed by me, something I could not catch. I asked her to repeat herself. “Kids,” she mumbled, glancing over her shoulder. Recently a family of travellers or, in the local lexicon, tinkers had made themselves at home in the vacant plot opposite. I understood Kay’s meaning. The children of our itinerant neighbours were notorious for running amok, knocking on our door at all hours and creating no end of nuisance. Quite likely they had been up to their same old tricks while Kay shuffled her way back from the quayside pub.

a naggin of whiskey in the other. She turned to me and would have fallen had I not extended a steadying arm. “Mind yourself, Kay. You'd best finish the rest of that and come in.” She took two final swigs and then let go the bottle and opened her bag. I rummaged through the contents but found no liquor. We never let Kay pass without searching her, aware she had a penchant for bringing bottles inside. I also searched her person, as soundly as I could without flying in the face of her dignity. She accepted this without complaint. More than likely she had become used to the intru-

“Hassling you, were they?” “Yes.” A part of me felt relieved she did not go into detail. She was a challenge to understand at any time, let alone when she had a few under her belt. Supporting her with my right arm, I chaperoned her down the corridor to her bedroom. “Will you have a cuppa with your dinner?” She nodded. I opened the door of her room and steered her inside. In the kitchen I boiled the jug and warmed up the chops and mash I had dished on a plate around six o’clock, the hour when Kay's fellow residents 29

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ate. She was splayed on the end of her bed, listening to music, when I knocked on the door and handed her the plate and some tea. If she adhered to her routine she would either watch television once she finished the meal or call it a night. Whenever a resident took drink, we made certain they kept their distance from the kitchen. I returned to the office and sat back in the upholstered chair. I had been working at the house three months. Of the eleven residents, I had drawn closest to Kay, not that we ever talked much. Our conversations were limited to a handful of words on both sides. But from the start her plight moved me. Suddenly recalling that I had overlooked something, I rose and left the house by a side door. I had omitted to check a place, beneath a gate left of the front door, where she had been known to stash bottles for safe keeping. I groped in the dark but my inquisitive fingers turned up nothing. I went back to my perch in the office. Perhaps it was the fact that in a fortnight I would be moving on and henceforth no longer a player in her life that led me to ruminate on the photograph Pat, the house team leader, had shown me the month before. The discovery of a worn colour snap in one of the office desk drawers gave him pause one morning. “See if you recognise this blue-eyed gal,” he said, handing it to me. I took the print, which had become rumpled round the edges and faded with age. It depicted a young, smiling woman, joyously holding a baby aloft. The eyes of the mother and child radiated exuberance and mutual pleasure. I failed to immediately recognise the incandescent mother. But I kept looking and realised after a few instants. I glanced at Pat, unable to keep the incredulity out of my voice. “It’s Kay.” “It sure is. Twenty years ago, maybe longer than that.” “Was she married? For long?” I asked, putting the print on the desk. “Couldn't say for sure. But it must've lasted a few years. She has two grown-up daughters.” I had not imagined that. Pat had told me when I began work at the house that I would find the residents uniformly reticent about their lives. I understood that from recent experience Gold Dust

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in similar halfway houses in the United Kingdom and asked few, if any, questions of the men or the women. But, naturally enough, I formed impressions of the people I lived and worked with on a daily basis, Kay included. A heartsick woman, she largely kept to herself. She watched television regularly, if not every single day, and also thumbed the pages of paperback novels. Besides that, I knew her to be keen on music. On many occasions I heard the strains of popular tunes floating from behind the closed door of her room. A stroke had resulted in slurred speech and seriously impacted her mobility. She could have passed for ten to twenty years older than her forty-seven years. Yet she was a stickler for neatness and took inordinate care of her long, thick hair, as though she deemed it important to retain at least one trapping of otherwise departed youth and beauty. “What’s the story with Kay? Do you know much about her?” “No, I don't,” Pat said. “Of the ladies living in the house, she’d be the one I see the least. I know she’s from a stable background. One of the few times we sat and chatted she made it clear she knew what she was getting into when she took to the bottle.” “Wouldn’t they all have an idea of that?” “I think so. But I doubt many would throw away what Kay did. She was raised on the swanky side of Dublin, I’ll have you know.” “Do you think there’s any way back for her?” “I doubt she could give up the drink. Or let me put it this way. She could give it up, but I don’t believe she wants to. I’ll wager she’ll drink herself to the grave.” I had seen this happen in other parts. Nonetheless, Pat's blunt prognosis with respect to Kay discouraged. “Then there’s not much we can do for her.” “Do what you can and be satisfied with that,” said Pat, joining his hands behind the back of his head. “Truth is we’re only bandaging wounds in this place.” Reprising this conversation, I hunted in the drawer for the photograph. I put it on the desk as I had done the other time and again closely appraised the ecstatic mother and child. Letting my mind roam I envisioned someone faced with a choice between a continuation of the kind of life she was brought up to believe was right and proper, and a road, or existence,

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she could call her own, oblivious to the mental and physical havoc that might be wreaked if she opted to take that path. One day she awoke primed to act. She had suspected for sometime that marriage and two children never fully accorded with her dream of life. That existence belonged to another, a woman she no longer knew. So, she left everything held up as exemplary and meaningful: her husband, her children, her home and the possessions jam-packed into corners, cupboards and drawers. She left all of it to embrace what she defined as freedom, to do as she wanted, to live the life she wished to live. But what did this leap result in ultimately? A dissipate existence bound to ruin her one day. Of the life rejected, only books, music, and the odd television programme survived as vestiges, her solitary consolation after the bottle. About ten days before, trying to refill the lighter she carried with her at all times, she spilled the fluid on herself and badly scalded her left leg. She went into St. James Hospital for treatment and returned a couple of hours later. Since then we had changed the dressing on the wound daily. The incident took the wind out Kay's sails. She spoke about abandoning the drink. She knew her recovery would take longer if she persisted with the unwise old habits. To her credit she stayed dry for longer than I had seen. But on my way back to work one late afternoon, I stumbled upon her near the house, a naggin within reach. An episode on Christmas Eve also stood out. Brian, an ex-worker, visited. Together with Kay, we conversed outside her room.

“Kay and I have known each other a long time, to be sure.” She moved her head in agreement. “I try and pop in to say hello every Christmas.” For Kay, his appearance at this time reawakened painful memories. She could not hold back tears. The sight of her distress cut me to the quick. On the eve of my departure, I prepared the lunchtime coddle and late that afternoon put a fresh dressing on her slowly improving leg. “You know I finish up tomorrow, Kay,” I said, to make sure the fact had not slipped her mind. “Where are you going?” “Back to North America.” “I’ll miss you.” “I’ll miss you, too,” I said, catching her eye. My last shift at the house ended at half past seven in the evening of the following day. For the final time, I made my way up to the workers’ room, collected my things, and came downstairs. Kay appeared in the corridor – she must have heard me bustling about or waited especially for the moment of my leave-taking – and handed me a Walkman. “For you.” She moved off before I could utter thanks. In the entranceway, I turned and gazed back along the corridor. My eyes held for a moment on her closed bedroom door, behind which breezy popular music played. I stepped outside, shut the main door behind me, and turned up the collar of my jacket against the brisk night air.

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EM O P T S BE

Little More Than An Idea By

Robert Dunsdon Sometimes she was too much on me, sometimes so tenuously there it seemed she might dissolve, but I always thought to frame her: to paint her in her shyness with caution and in her pomp freely, forgetting the art and getting her down with freshness damp on her face. I thought to understand her, to hang on her every word and worry her; extemporizing hymns, cajoling and persuading her to reveal more than perhaps was reasonable. And I'll not desert her; only regret a complacency carried far beyond an allowance for youth. She is the whisper in a drift of nettles, the glint off a weather- cock animating a town; she is the kick or benediction taken off a breeze that is accusative and kind, admonishing and promising the Earth that over time is fading; over the drip of a thousand compromises thinning

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Books in Colour by Omma Velada A graphic novel has recently been nominated for the Man Booker prize longlist for the first time. Sabrina is a story that begins as a mystery – where is Sabrina? – and then analyses the resulting social media and conspiracy theory fall-out. Since Sabrina’s inclusion on such a prestigious list, more people have been giving graphic novels a try. There are now more comic books published annually in France and Belgium than ever before, from 700 books per year in the 1990s to around 5,000 this year. Their unique way of telling a story, with clever use of colour, layout and significant page breaks and perhaps, above all, the special aesthetic pleasure of reading them, draw us in and can even be a way into reading for reluctant kids. My son was one such recalcitrant reader. He would not even attempt Harry Potter, much lauded for enticing previously non-readers into the world of books. But he was always happy to flick through the pages of a comic, initially just examining the pictures, but it wasn’t long before curiosity got him deciphering the words in the speech bubbles. He began with ones we had in his room, Tintin and Asterix, but soon started looking at the ones on my bookcase, such as Tamara Drewe and Maus. Despite the grown-up themes and vocabulary, he quickly devoured these and I started buying books we could both enjoy and discuss together. My own discovery of graphic novels began as a young student in Toulouse. France has a long history of revering graphic novels and I was amazed to find a large full colour graphic novel section in every bookshop. I began reading the opus, Balade au bout du Monde (A Stroll at the end of the World), which was a series of books my French friends were devouring at that time. It was full of slow burn suspense and cliffhangers, so we would impatiently pass these books around from friend to friend, then urgently debate their various merits afterwards. One image of a dog leaping over the viewpoint of the reader has stayed with me, as being unique to this way of storytelling.

FE AT UR

E

Now that we live in London, my haven for discovering new graphic novels is Forbidden Planet, an entire bookshop dedicated to the artform. It is a real Aladdin’s cave of comics, the aisles filled with excited readers discovering new writers. There, alongside picking up piles of Marvel comics for my kids, I found Spinning, a poignant autobiography about a young ice skater with a cold family. The autobiography lends itself particularly well to this way of storytelling, with pictures able to bring the reader right into the story of the author in a very visceral way. Persepolis is perhaps the most famous example, with this young woman’s struggle brilliantly evoked in stark black and white. Maus is another example, whereby we get the story of the holocaust as narrated by the author’s father, as well as the author’s own modern-day connection with this event and his relationship with his difficult father. All of the characters are represented by animals, a seemingly surreal device that soon feels very human and natural, and which perfectly evokes the divisive era of the story. Graphic novels are also a fabulous way to discover another country. Guy Delisle excels at this, following his Médicins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) wife around the world, drawing all of the fascinating, if often hostile, neighbourhoods in which they live. His mammoth work on Israel called Jerusalum, with its subtle colour hues, beautifully evokes his experience of the landscape and political divisions, and when he realised people did not understand where the wall runs, he included a map to make it clear. It can be read alongside Joe Sacco’s masterwork, Palestine, with his dizzyingly detailed drawings. New novels are appearing all the time, often commenting on the zeitgeist like the dazzling Man Booker longlisted Sabrina. And with the annual Angoulême International Comics Festival going from strength to strength, many new readers will be there to lap them up GOLD DUST

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T OR Y H S OR ST

That Others May Live by Carter Nipper

When she opened her front door and saw the Gunnery Sergeant standing at attention in his Dress Blues, Deena Hansell knew her day had come--the day every Marine Corps wife knows about and dreads but never really thinks will ever come to her. But the Gunny was there, and he was real. After he left, Deena sat on the couch and stared at the recliner sitting empty across the coffee table from her. It looked sad and lonely and abandoned. Empty. "Mommy? Why are you crying?" Jasmine's four-year-old voice snatched Deena out of her thoughts and back to the here and now. She raised her hand and touched her cheek, felt the slickness of fresh tears there. She had not even realized she was crying. "Was that man mean to you?" Deena gathered her daughter into a hug. Jasmine's hair smelled like Johnson's Baby Shampoo. The tears came harder. "No, baby. The man wasn't mean to me. He just told me about something that happened, something bad that I needed to know about." "Oh." Jasmine raised her head from her mother's shoulder. She wrinkled her forehead and drew her eyebrows together. "Was it about Daddy?" Deena drew a deep breath. She knew she was crying now. Every tear felt like it was wrung from her empty heart. "Yes, baby, it's about Daddy. He--" She hiccupped back a sob. Catching her breath gave her the time she needed to think. She couldn't think of any reason not to tell her. Jasmine was too young to really understand right now, any-

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way. Besides, Deena needed to say it out loud, to make it real. She could handle real things. "Daddy's -- well, Daddy's not coming home, Jasmine. Not ever." Jasmine's frown deepened. "Why not, Mommy? Why doesn't Daddy want to come home? I miss him." "I know, baby. I know. I miss him too. I miss him real bad, just like you do. Daddy didn't choose not to come home. Something happened to him. Over there." Deena thought hard. "Daddy had to leave. Jesus needed him in Heaven, and he had to go." "That's not fair!" Tears squirted from Jasmine's eyes. "I want my Daddy! Make Jesus give him back! I want my Daddy!" Deena let the sobs take her then, and she shared her daughter's anguish. Together, they wept until they were finally worn out, wrung out. Jasmine dropped off to sleep, and Deena held her, rocking and humming. As she cradled her child's soft, warm body, Deena wondered if Jasmine would ever understand why her Daddy died, what other men said and did that resulted in her Daddy giving his life so his buddies could live. As she rocked, those thoughts and others settled into her heart, where they became as hard as a diamond, as bright as a magnesium flare, and as cold and implacable as deep space. Loud wails from down the hall interrupted her reverie. Her youngest child, Douglas, had woken from his afternoon nap. As she gently laid Jasmine down on the couch and rose to go to him, she

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paused and looked at the recliner sitting forlorn and empty. It looked lonely and forsaken, holding the shape of a body it would never cuddle again. Deena whispered a single word. "No." A shriek filled the attic and pierced Deena's brain like a frozen ice pick. She winced, and the old trunk’s lid slipped from her grasp. It slammed shut with a finality that echoed through the heat and dust. A deep chill settled behind her solar plexus. She stared at the silver pentagram inlaid into the arched lid of the chest. It gleamed against the dark oak. After all this time, the silver was still untarnished. It always would be. The chest was smooth and solid under her fingers, and no seam marred the juncture between silver and oak. She did not know if she could lift that weight again. The air crowded against her--watching, waiting. If she walked away now, it was over; she would never have the courage to try again. She reached deep inside and grasped the coldness of her rage even as her hand grasped the trunk lid and opened it. She twitched in anticipation, but the scream did not come again. The hinges only groaned this time, fighting the weight of twelve years of dust. Deena picked up the athame that lay on top. It lay small and light in her hand, a child's blade. She wrapped her fingers around the handle. "Swear!" Her mother's voice. A dry, scratchy whisper, just as it had been on that day so long past. Startled, Deena dropped the knife. It stuck in the floor between her legs and trembled there. She looked around the attic. Had she imagined it? After a moment, she realized it didn't matter. She was too long out of practice, too long away from unexpected realities. Gently, Deena pulled more items from the trunk and laid them out before her. Blade and wand, bowl and bell, lastly, her pentacle. She held the wooden disk for a moment. The wavery lines reminded her of her youth and innocence in those days. She laid the disk with her other tools, pulled out her old robe, and spread it on the floor. The white linen glowed in the dust-filtered sunlight, an angel from an almost forgotten past. The next item in the trunk was her altar-cloth. She spread it across her lap and fingered the uneven seams. Every stitch was a memory. So many hours, so many patient days her mother had spent guiding chubby child fingers as she struggled to make an even stitch, so many tears and hugs over pricked fingers, so many soft words of love and old wisdom. "Swear!" Louder, this time, more powerful. Deena closed her eyes and listened, remembered.

"You must swear, Deena! You must!" Her mother's voice was so weak, her body so thin under the sheet, her face only bones barely covered by tightly stretched skin. "You must break the chains that bind me to this Earth. Me and all my Mothers before me. Break the chain, my child, my daughter. Live your own life free of the burden, free of the debt." Deena knew what her mother meant. Power comes only at a price. In exchange for Power during life, one must pay with servitude after death. Only if one was strong enough to resist the pull, to never use the Power, could she break the chain and free herself and all those who had come before. Deena came from a line of wise women that stretched back through foggy swamps of time into the very childhood of Mankind. She knew what her mother asked, demanded. Deena knew that one final item rested in the bottom of the trunk. Trembling, she reached in. The Book was heavy, weighed down by Power and years. The Book of Shadows held the Secrets to Power and Glory, wisdom hard-earned through all the Ages of Mankind. She fingered the flaking leather covers, the dry, crinkly parchment pages they embraced. Dry and crinkly as ancient parchment, her mother's skin covered the bird-bones of her wasted hand. Ten-year-old Deena trembled to hold that hand, afraid it would crumble into dust at a breath. "Swear!" Though her mother's voice was dry and crinkly, Power filled her words with a sub-sonic undertone that Deena felt more than heard. "Swear by That Name!" "No, Momma! No! Please don't make me say it." Deena sobbed and warmth dripped down the insides of her thighs. Fear consumed her reason. She could not do that. She could not say that terrible Name. The very thought constricted her heart and lungs so she thought she would die. "Swear!" Her mother's Power rocked the young girl's body. Deena gripped her mother's hand tightly, forgetting her fears of moments ago. With her other hand, she grabbed the edge of the mattress and held herself upright. She focused on that Power and forced words out, newborn infants weak and trembling as they entered the world. "I--I--swear..." She could not say it. She could not. Her mouth would not form the word. "Say it!" A blow from the sledgehammer of Power shattered her last defenses, and Deena gasped. Shouted. "I swear! I swear by the Name of Azraboth! I will not use the Power! I swear it!"

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and listened. They would do what she asked, and Azraboth would claim his prize. Jasmine snuggled closer, and Deena took a deep breath, trying to inhale as much of her daughter as she could. Her right hand would not obey her command to let go and reach inside her robe. Now that the time had come, she didn't think she could do it. Why her? Why her daughter? Why her son? Why did they have to pay? She knew the answers to those questions. She had asked and answered them dozens of times The Book lay heavy in Deena's lap. She knew the price of Power. She still felt that touch on her skin. since the news had come about Fred. Many times asked, many times answered: because the innoEternity was a long, long time, and the Dungeon cent always pay. The innocent suffer while those Master was not kind or gentle. Her daughter was responsible make a profit. An eternal conundrum, not old enough. No one could release her. Ever. but Deena had an answer. Maybe not The Answer, She fingered the silver filigree around the edge of but an answer nonetheless. Deena could do someher altar-cloth, and her head bowed under the thing about this. weight of her knowledge, her responsibilities, her The price: so high, so high. She remembered guilt, and her grief. the words from her childhood. There's Power in the A single word stirred the ancient dust: "Yes". Blood. This is my Blood, shed for the sins of the many. Innocent blood. The Blood of the Lamb, for Jasmine filled Deena’s arms with warmth, still plump with baby fat and smelling of shampoo and it's not the ram that is pleasing, but the lamb. Not baby powder. Deena held her snug and rested her the bull, but the calf. The sacrifice of the innocent for the sins of the guilty. Always, eternally, the innocheek on her daughter's head. cent must pay. "Mommy?" This time, her hand moved. The athame was "Yes, dear?" sharp, so very, very sharp. Her hands still ached "I don't like this game. It's scary." from the hours of honing, oiling the stone with her "It's okay, baby. Mommy used to play this game tears and blood. So sharp Jasmine would not even with her Mommy when she was your age. It'll be all feel it. She hoped. right." The words stuck in her mouth like peanut She moved quickly, the blade doing its duty butter. Thick incense smoke burned her eyes. with lethal precision. Blood spurted across the "I didn't know you had a Mommy." room, splashing the wall, floor. It steamed and bubDeena smiled. Such innocence. A tear slid bled in a crimson flood across the altar. Jasmine's down her cheek and into the corner of her mouth. silent scream bubbled out of her throat with her life, "Yes, I had a Mommy. Everybody has a Mommy." and she slumped flaccid in her mother's arms. "Where is she now?" "One life for many," Deena intoned. "My Mommy went to Heaven when I was a “One life for all, child, baby. That was a long time ago." One life given that "Daddy's in Heaven, too." No more may fall. "Yes, baby." Deena began to rock gently from No more husbands' side to side, humming a tune she remembered Blood on the floor. from the foggy distance of her own childhood. Sons, fathers, brothers, Hush, little baby, don't say a word. No more gone to war. Papa's gonna buy you a mockingbird. One life for many, As she hummed, she scanned the room One life by my hand, through flickering candlelight. The symbols were in One life taken place. A shimmer in the air over her home-made To heal the land." altar told her the Gateway was open, the spirits Deena wept. she had summoned as witnesses present. Minutes later, Douglas, barely ten months old, Azraboth was present as well. Deena felt his squirming and shrieking, joined his sister on the gloating even through the wash of Power in the abattoir floor. Deena paused only long enough to room. He would get his prize. She would not stop, repeat the incantation before she raised the knife could not stop now even if she wanted to, which to her own throat. she so desperately did. He would get his prize, but Powers higher than he would do what she asked. Deena had no respite, no time of peace and darkThe strength of the Power told her they watched ness in her hour of death. Even as her blood A surge of heat and pressure told her that her words had been heard. A deep, hoarse chuckle and the scratch of a hard, scaly...something on her cheek told her that her oath had been registered. The Dungeon Master of Hell was aware of her now. He ... It would be watching. Waiting. Deena's bladder emptied onto the floor as the tears burst out in a choking stream. She did not hear her mother's relieved sigh, her last.

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washed the floor, her spirit fled into the hands of Azraboth, "Well, Deena, welcome to Hell." The demon snickered. "I knew this day would come. I knew you couldn't keep your promise. Such a tasty morsel for my pleasure." Deena willed her spirit to fly away, but she was held immobile. "Don't bother, my little sweet treat. You swore by My Name and then broke your oath. Oath-breakers serve hard time, my dear, and you will get no parole. Your sentence is Eternity, and you'll serve every second. You might as well just lie back and enjoy it." Pain seared her, a whitehot sword slicing through her again and again and again. She was helpless to move, unable to scream. Deena had no respite in unconsciousness or death, being pure spirit. She had no body to go numb. Each slice was just as fresh and sharp as the first. Even worse, she could not even go insane. Eternity is a very, very long time. "Are we ready to move forward? If anyone has objections, say them now." The leader of the People's Freedom Front looked around the table. His lieutenants all nodded their agreement. "The plans are all made, and the preparations complete. Allah give us victory," he said, and they all stood. "Pass the word. We will proceed as planned. Death to the infidels!" Columns of blue flame erupted from the floor, engulfing each of them where they stood. Their screams went unheard. Within seconds, only dust remained. "We only need your final approval before we launch the offensive, Mr. President." "I have your assurance that our losses will be minimal?" "Yes, sir. We project less than twenty killed." "I hope you're right, General. I can't afford more than that."

"We're confident, Sir. It'll be a cake walk." "OK, I have to trust your judgment on this. Do it." The other Cabinet members had nightmares for years afterwards. Three of the aides present had to be hospitalized. Two weeks later, the Undersecretary of Defense lay back in a tub of hot water and opened the radial artery in her left wrist, carefully slitting it lengthwise with a razor blade. Her note had to be suppressed because any mention of blue flames was classified Top Secret. It didn't matter. Within the week, everyone in the world knew what was happening. Muggings, murder, abuse were only fading nightmares. Wars ended; revolutions never began. Peace ruled the Earth, enforcing its will swiftly, surely, and without appeal. GOLD DUST

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GUETAMALAN TROLOGY by Ingrid Bruck

I 25-years-old, white, female, a poet

I walk down a cobbled street in Antigua, Guatemala. Buildings squeeze shoulders, form a chute for a procession. Male pallbearers carry a coffin, black clad mourners walk alongside, trail behind, clasp rosaries, Bibles and the closed wooden box. I press the wall to escape the current. The funeral streams past as death flows toward the cemetery. Murmur of voices, chant of prayers recede. My hands touch cold adobe, rough over stone. Keep me safe, I pray, inhaling urine splashed on the wall where a man relieved himself.

* Title from "My Poem" by Nikki Giovanni

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II Guatemala 1972 I and three linguists visited a highland village. We drove a rented jeep over mule tracks in late fall, invited by Manuel, Florentino and Lucas. We arrived on the feast day of Santa Catarina Ixtauacan. Cofradía leaders greeted us at Florentino’s home, we drank mixed grains from decorated gourds. I admired the fine weaving of Florentino’s youngest daughter. We moved on to view the religious procession of Santa Catarina carried through corn fields. Priests wafted incense over the statue carried on a litter, swung ancient ornate turibles made of gold that cofradía members took turns guarding in their homes. After the parade, we strolled beside a line of women crawling on knees to church. Our passage on the road raised dust clouds. Squat adobe buildings bordered the whitewashed cathedral, We entered the door to cool darkness, walked down the aisle alongside a human rope advancing to the altar to pray. Outside again, I looked up. Perched high on the belfry walls, Manuel leaned out a window and waved, he wore a silk mini-skirt and head scarf, instead of the usual black-and-white wool kilt. One of a group of cavorting men, he sported the ceremonial white-and-red dress of this village where men danced only with men. Lucas’s crying aunt found us in the street. Her mourning hands tugged mine, tears and lamentations poured in Quiche I couldn’t understand. Teenage Manuel rescued me away to his house, a small open room. No water, no electric. Dirt floor swept clean. Open cook fire, dead and black. Thin bamboo walls, thatched roof. Trunks and sleeping benches lined bare walls, sunshine slanted through the open door.

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Manuel introduced his young wife, their baby girl. He held a plump eleven-month-old up for inspection. I praised and named her una angelita, que bonita, pestanas tan grande, una princesa. No, una reina. Wound in layers of her mother’s shawl, knit hat over raven hair, round cheeks tinted rose, we applauded the thriving, healthy infant. Not yet twenty, they already buried two others. Laura’s thick long lashes fringed black eyes that sparked. I removed new film, loaded the camera, snapped the baby’s picture. Stick huts and fields covered a steep clay hillside, volcanoes shook cracks in church walls and floor. Geologists warned the village was prime for a landslide. In this place, too many children starved on tortillas and raw jalapeños served only at noonday, some smothered on tapeworms and the Quiche paid the government to stay out. Manuel’s baby caught a cold at Christmas, he carried her over the mountains four miles to the nearest nurse. Antibiotics came too late, they lost Laura like the first two. Manuel asked for her photo but I’d loaded my camera wrong, developed film came back blank. After the visit, war and a mudslide struck. Santa Catarina deemed remote, was targeted by the government for eradication lest mountain guerrillas find sanctuary or food there. My friends had the misfortune to live in the shadow of high Quiche culture.

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III

Walls

I cross the cobblestoned road, mount the sidewalk. On top of the house wall lining the street, broken glass studs sparkle in rainbow colors. I imagine what’s behind layers of brick four feet thick constructed to withstand earth tremolos. Adobe under a red clay roof covers a throb of heartbeats. The blank face of the wall along the street conceals Don, Doña y sus hijos inside a villa. Doña Maria exits the front door, escorted by a maid. I peek through a polished heavy door to rooms arranged around a fresh air garden courtyard, fronted by a roofed hallway, floored by polished red tiles. Rooms where the family lives, sleeps and eats are closed. Classical pillars line the marble fountain in the courtyard. I hear running water trickle in the fountain, admire orange tropical flowers in the formal garden, bright pink bougainvillea hangs from the wall. Pet green parrots - one large, one pocket-size stand on a perch feeding each other tortillas. Genaro, the oldest son, keeps a pet chicken in his bedroom. At the back of the house, four Indios work in a spacious kitchen, two more `` labor in a connected walled vegetable garden, another wall surrounds an orchard where free range chickens scratch. Beyond the villa, a tangle of alleys hide a warren of passages. Will and Nora, two Peace Corps workers, tell me about Mayans in this second city invisible from the street where a Cachiquel and Mam child died today from lack of medicine and Spanish and English are not welcome. I walk back to Segunda Avenida Número Dos, unlock the entry door to my garden apartment off city square. At two in the morning, echoes off stone walls shake my bed. Chants and dance wake me on a moonless night. Feet pound stone around a fire nearby, a rooster crows to chirimilla flute, drum beat and sacrifice.

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RT Y O SH TOR S

Toil and Trouble by Jean Duggleby

The year of our Lord – 1531

garden and left them on the board to dry out, but The kind priest who has given me so many special when I got up in the morning the true flowers were scripture lessons and even taught me to read has strewn around my work. I suppose they were put there by the gardeners when they were in the now, with the most extreme kindness, given me this book of blank leaves in which to write my jour- house arranging the flowers. A pretty prank and no harm. nal. And the good father asks no more in return Also Master Thomas asked me to fashion than any other man. some sugar mice. He is but a child and had asked me before. I said that I was busy but could make a February 25th few, which I did using turmeric to colour the brown The Countess has been to see us and requested mouse, lemon the yellow and dried mint for grey. subtleties for the banquet when Lord Edward Again left them to dry but in the morning found ancomes of age. His main gift will be a suit of armour other prank, but a gruesome one this time. There so she wishes us to fashion a copy made in marchwere real mice of similar colours lying alongside pane. She will allow us extra sugar, almonds and mine, but dead. Gruesome indeed!! Who would eggs to make the marchpane. We will be allowed into the armoury so that we have done such a thing? Although I lock the valuamay observe the armour in the making and copy it ble sugar, almonds and spices I leave the door of accurately. I fear that it will be my job which I don’t the room unlocked. I will not tell the Countess and get anyone in to trouble but ask the chief steward like as I have to go down a dark corridor with all the old suits lined up and rusting like a fallen army. for a key to the room. Maybe it was lads from the farmyard for that is Then the working area is a noisy and crowded the most certain place to find mice. I will go there place. I do like meeting the fellows, however and and have a quiet word. take them little treats flavoured with spices, for which they are grateful. February 27th We will be very busy for the next few weeks for I did go, but they all pleaded innocence and I beas well as the centrepiece we must make all the lieve them for though they are mischievous they subtleties for the banquet, as well as our everyday are not cruel. work. March 19th I must tell you a little of Mockingham Manor. It is the main dwelling place of the Earl of Mockingham- So work progresses and we even labour through shire and his wife the Countess of Mockinghamthe Sabbath with just time to go to Mass. The shire. Their oldest son is Lord Edward of Countess pledges that after the banquet we will all Mockinghamshire, then comes their daughter, La- have three days holiday. dy Mary and finally, the youngest is the HonouraThe centrepiece of armour is all but completed ble Thomas. and I just have the helmet and sword to make. As I My family have worked here for many genera- walked along the passage to the armoury one of tions. My grandmother worked as the kitchen maid the helmets fell off and landed with a loud clank on cleaning and scouring the pots, sinks and floor and the stone floor by my feet. It gave me such a fright. rose to assistant cook. Now my mother is Chief I suppose they are old, rusting and falling apart. Cook so we have risen high. I am Joan and have Last night as I lay tossing in my bed I was sure risen to Mistress Subtlety maker. that I could hear the clanking of armour like a solI sleep in the Attic sharing a room with a needier walking up the stairs, but my room compandlewoman who is a sweet lady but sadly her sight ions slept through and heard nothing. is going, the mistress of the dairy who is a foul temMarch 23rd pered and smelly person and the maid who works in the Stillroom distilling lotions and potions. My The whole centrepiece was completed today and I father and brothers are blacksmiths working with was taking a tranquil moment when young Lord metals, making cooking pots, weapons and shoe- Thomas came in and asked to see it. Of course, he ing the horses. is sworn to secrecy but declared that it was wonOf course, working near the kitchen and with derful and why didn’t I make it into a tableau of St my mother as cook I eat very well. George and the dragon. I begged him not to ask his father or mother but he was so enthused that February 26th he ran off without listening. A strange thing happened last night. I fashioned The Earl himself came to see me today and some subtleties in the shape of flowers from the thought, as it was nearly St. George’s Day, April Gold Dust

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23rd that it was a splendid idea. He will even tell one of the stewards to bring down a painting for me to copy. I pleaded that I already had so much to do so he said that he spare me the horse and surely just to make the dragon wouldn’t be too much trouble, that I’d done it before and it had been splendid. I even said that I’d have to work after dark and use more candles. The Earl, who usually does not like opening his purse too wide, promised extra candles, sugar, eggs and almonds. Nothing was too costly for his elder son and heir and it would also please young Thomas. So be it!!

Even my father and brothers, blacksmiths in the village shoe extra horses for the procession and replace or sharpen knives that have been worn down.

Again I fall wearily into my bed but as soon as I close my eyes I feel a tremendous heat and see a fireball spin around the room and out of the window. I wake my roommates but they have seen or felt nothing and mock me. Was it all in my mind? In the morning there is an early knocking on our door and the maid who works in the stillroom is summoned. Someone is severely burnt and must be treated immediately. Who might it be? I April 2nd dress slowly and meet the steward boy running up At last the dragon is completed and Thomas is dethe stairs. It is my mother who was up early lightlighted but asks, “Where is the fiery breath?” I reing the fires and her skirt caught alight. I rush to plied, “It is not in the painting.” But he insists that I the stillroom and she has been creamed, soothed must add it. More extra work tomorrow I think as I and bandaged. It is not as bad as we’d feared. sink into bed, but not to sleep as the bed starts to Even Lady Mary has visited. The kitchen work heave as if there is something underneath and must go on but they will get two extra girls from even my roommates wake up screaming. It stops the village and all my mother must do is sit on a but did I not see the flick of a green tail disappearchair and tell everyone what to do. How kind!! ing through the door. I am too weary to know what Would it were that easy. I can make visits to the I am seeing. kitchen to help but cannot stop my own work. th There are 200 guests coming to the banquet and April 7 some are staying for a few days and need feeding. So today I make the fiery breath and must make I sit contemplating on my vision of the fire last the colours, cochineal for red, portingales for ornight. Was it some sort of spell? I am frightened ange with ginger and a little mustard for a fiery tastand decide to tell my mother. She reassures me ing. Then back to my other duties. My mother says and says that we are tired and becoming careless that I am working too hard but then so is she as the but advises me to tell no-one. banquet is only 2 days away.

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even receive gifts in exchange; honey from the bee-keepers, cream from the dairy, a new basket from the basket makers, cloth from the weavers and an apron from the needlewomen. I feel blessed and decide to make a cornucopia which is a horn of plenty, the fruit and vegetables spilling out. It is early for harvest but it will encourage good crops and growing weather. Later as I walk about the Manor after I have started fashioning my cornucopia I meet some fellows who are farm workers and hail me as the Angel of the Subtlety Room. They have heard about my work and tell me that it already looks to be a good harvest and God willing; it is all thanks to me. They say they will pay all their taxes this year and April 12th the Earl of Muckinghamshire will be pleased. I say So the banquet is a great success. We are praised it should be Mockinghamshire but they jest that Muck suits them well enough. and promised a holiday but it wasn’t to be. Lady Mary has become betrothed and a Handfasting May 10th Ceremony must take place. The Countess is sorry As I am fashioning some carrots, the Bishop of but it is her daughter’s turn to have some indulHuffington, who is a friend of the Earl and is visitgence. It will be a small affair, only about 60 people and very few will stay on. It will not mean much ing Mockingham Manor comes to my station. He says that as it will be St. John the Baptist day soon, extra work, just a beautiful centrepiece of flowers and smaller beautiful offerings. “What does the in fact on June 24th, should I not make a subtlety Countess know of work?” I ask myself. However, for that? He has seen them before and they are for the kitchen staff it will mean much work so one most amusing, with the head on a plate and the of the village girls will be commanded to stay on. I blood and sinews streaming out from the neck. I know that will not be sufficient so must help my plead that it would use too much sugar and alpoor mother as much as I can. A holiday after the monds but he promises that he will ask the Earl for Handfasting is promised. supplies and he does. The Bishop is going to Colchester but when he returns he will come to see my creation. April 16th Master Thomas comes to me and wants more mice but this time I refuse and he sticks out his bottom lip and says that he is the only one not to have a special day. I still refuse but fear that he might tell the Earl or Countess. I make him promise not to tell of my refusal and though he promises he still pouts. He is usually a truthful boy but I do not take the risk. “If you break that promise I will tell your mother and father that you come down here and lick out the bowls.” He will not now tell. April 25th Well, the Handfasting went well, the couple look happy and the two linked families are satisfied. Some of us got part of the promised holiday and my mother was given full 3 days.

May 12th My real fear is, what about my premonitions? What might happen if I created a severed head? I go to my father in the village and tell him all. He advises me on secrecy for fear that I would be called a witch and be put in the dunking stool or even burnt at the stake. Know you of the stool where a woman is strapped in and lowered into a pond? If she should not drown but lives she is proven a witch, if otherwise she dies an innocent. I take his advice and start the head. June 20th Just before John the Baptist Day a rider comes at speed from Colchester wanting to talk to the Earl. I soon find out that seemingly the Bishop has been tried for treason, found guilty and beheaded.

I have no large construction to prepare so can choose my own main construction as well as my regular works. I can even make subtitles to take to Perhaps I am a witch. the lower orders around the estate though I have to do it secretly as the Earl would not countenance such extravagance. They are small and much deserved. I walk around enjoying the beauty of spring, freshness of the air and get time to talk to people. I

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Life in Translation by Anthony Ferner Reviewed by David Gardiner Ferner's previous novel Winegarden was probably my favourite book of 2015, and it's difficult not to make comparisons when looking at this one. The two have got several things in common. Both works are I think primarily character studies, with the narrative element relegated to secondary importance. Both look Holland Park Press at the world 2019 ~ Paperback through the eyes 170 pages ~ £10.00 of very flawed and probably self-deluded male protagonists who are looking back on their lives from the perspective of later years. Both narrators tell their tale in a series of episodes which could in many cases stand alone as short stories, particularly the early chapters in 'Translation'. Where Winegarden's story oscillates back and forth in time, Chato, the protagonist of 'Translation', presents his account in a standard chronological sequence with gaps of differing sizes, closing up towards the end. Central to Winegarden's account from the beginning is the conviction that nothing can be known with certainty, and that the act of knowing, of observation, changes what is actually the case. It's an idea drawn from quantum mechanics and presents itself for some pleasing metaphors, prominent amongst them the apocryphal story of Schrödinger's cat. I think that in Cato's case we are invited to see his misfortunes in terms of an inability to interpret the minds and intentions of other people. He blunders along from one doomed relationship or dead-end job to another, unable to set realistic expectations, inept at seeing where he has gone wrong, sustained by what the reader quickly sees to be an illusory dream of winning the adulation of the literary world for his translation

B RE OO VI K EW

of an obscure and bleak novel by a Peruvian writer. He wavers in his self image, sometimes believing himself fully in control and competent, at other times admitting to timidity, social clumsiness and a mediocre talent for his chosen profession of translator. Winegarden's world is constrained by his conviction that there is no ‘truth’, that everything is in principle unknowable. In Chato's universe we feel that an objective understanding of other people and the world is some kind of possibility but it eludes Chato, and perhaps all of us, because we apprehend the world not directly but through a process of translation into concepts and terms that we can understand and cope with. The ding an sich spoken of in Kant's philosophy is permanently beyond our human grasp, but some people are better at understanding the world than others, and Chato's translational skills, if that is what one needs, seem to let him down rather frequently. However, there is I think a more straightforward way to interpret much of what goes wrong in Cato's love life, which is the primary focus of the book. Beautiful women entice him into their beds with a frequency and enthusiasm which is hard to account for, but then, with monotonous regularity, Cato screws things up in one way or another and leaves the women feeling damaged and miserable and himself on his own once again. Fundamentally I think he is a self-centred uncaring kind of person who sees women as means to his own pleasure and self-aggrandisement. He doesn't actually like women, or care about them to any visible extent. Up to the very final chapter, which is more nuanced, he only ever thinks about them in terms of what they have to offer him. Where is the mystery in their rejecting him? Both books are more than worthy of your attention and very entertaining. For me Winegarden, the crusty old Jewish ‘professor of thought experiments’, totally under the domination of his inscrutable wife, is the more interesting of the two central characters, and the book that carries his name contains a greater sprinkling of the author's erudite dead-pan humour, but both will leave you well satisfied, with a great deal to think about and perhaps even a few extra crumbs of self-knowledge.

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TRY TREACHERY By Colin Richard James

The stone floor is always sympathetically cool at the American Consulate. Mornings, even later in the day. Near me is a palm tree in an overly large urn, then this hollow ebony bench I call my own. The slats are twisted like the pinch of a very old woman, known to slide the full length to traverse this ambassador's OK.

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K O W BO VIE RE

London Undercurrents by Joolz

Sparkles and Hilaire

Reviewed by Robert Dunsdon London Undercurrents is a collaborative project by two female poets who seek to explore the lives, both real and imagined, of some of the capital's unsung women through the ages. Wholly original and well researched, these snatches, these sympathetic and skilfully drawn images give us an idea of their quiet resilience. History, being 'a 2019, Holland Park Press set of lies agreed up978-1-907320-82-8 on', rarely features the £12.23 From Amazon little people: the men and women just coping, just getting on with things; like the girl serving teas at a kiosk in Battersea Park in 1895, wondering at … ladies wilting pleasantly under shady trees, their covetable bicycles propped and resting after so many circuits round the park (from 'All She Desires') and leading her to think of what might have been; to picture herself riding out to Richmond and 'the boundless horizons beyond', in that era of the newly introduced safety bicycle, and the craze taken up by the sort of fashionable women who, today, run rather than pedal; where the 'flashing wheels' are replaced by designer sportswear and a waitress' wage worth of electronic gadgetry. But it is just this sort of history, this kind of story that the authors so memorably re-imagine. Zig-zagging north and south of the river according to each author's stamping ground, we come across, amongst others, an 18th century lavender picker (apparently, pre-industrialisation, large areas of Battersea were covered with lavender fields – hence Lavender Hill), a defiant punk, a bus load of teasing, boozy women escaping their bombed-out streets on a trip to Margate, a 'clippie' during the first world war resolving never to go back into service, and a thirteen year old girl 'knurling the grooved

edges' of coins as part of a family counterfeiting enterprise in 1893. There is a nice longing for unreality in 'Hollywood Comes To Holloway', in which a woman wishes to be ….. a Yank drawling out of the side of my lips like Lauren. Looking up misty-eyed like Betty. Swooning in Clarke's arms 'cause he slapped me in the face then kissed me like there's no tomorrow. and wants a man ….. who doesn't leave his socks on the floor or try it on when he's back from the boozer. We meet an apprentice laundress, 'a month shy of fourteen', stitching red cotton identifying marks into sheets in a commercial laundry in the 1890's, clinging to the quiet kindness of the matron who 'fixes you up, brings tea, tells you you're a woman now'; a shop girl at Jones Brothers haberdashers in Holloway Road, disapprovingly serving a gentleman and his mistress, and in 'Sacked', a spirited girl dismissed for dancing the Charleston on a table-top in Cook's Confectioners in 1923, who nevertheless isn't at all concerned because she will ….. waltz straight into Lyons, show them I can balance plates on aeroplane arms, shimmy between tables. And there are some lovely lines from Catherine Boucher, an illiterate local girl, on her marriage to the visionary artist and poet William Blake. There are echoes of Blake's work in her description of their standing before God in a church only yards from the river, where her nosegay ….. is undercut by the dank hint of reed beds. Above us sunbeams ripple and bob. We say our vows bathed in a splendour of light and ends with her marking the register with a cross, telling us that her husband will soon 'have learnt me how to read and write'. It's a very accomplished poem, and to my mind one of the best in this collection. The standard throughout is fairly consistent; and the odd weak poem, such as Permitted To Play, a whimsical and rather trite piece about a young girl telling her Dad that she will one day play football for Arsenal, is more than balanced by excellent poems such as The Cook Sisters Contemplate A Final Trip

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To Nazi Germany. This particularly affecting piece concerns Ida and Louise; modest, opera-mad spinsters living together in the family home, who helped at least 29 Jewish people escape Nazi Germany before the outbreak of war. In their twin bedroom in Morella Road they talk of their latest trip, and 'leaving the hell of Frankfurt behind' before going to work 'straight from Liverpool Street'; and Ida remembering that when they got home their Mother was still in the kitchen

She's singing to us. There's always Rosa. Yes, there'll always be Rosa.

It's a beautiful, nuanced story of great courage told without exaggeration or sensation in which ordinary people quietly get on with the business of helping ordinary people. Like the other characters in this fine collection, they are not in awe of an ideology or a Big Idea; they are not blinded and restricted by an orthodoxy, but are free souls. Working and worrying ….. making pastry. and sometimes wondering where the next meal is Little puffs of flour coming from perhaps, but also squeezing some rose in the sunlight pleasure out of life; finding some meaning in the and I realised little things, in community and in the everyday comthere were no swastikas pensations that are there for the taking. flying in our street. This is a nicely produced book, divided into secPraise be! tions where diverse poems come under general headings such as 9 to 5, Nature/Nurture, War – She recalls Frau Liebermann's diamonds heavy What Is It Good For?, and with helpful notes giving in her handbag, and Herr Gotz's pleas and 'all those interesting historical context. And it is a book that desperate stories'. They wonder should they risk will not, and nor should it, appeal only to women. going over there again, and decide that if they can The stories told here are universal, and illustrate the help one more person, one more family, then 'we aspirations, the fortitude and the humanity of decent, must... we will' ; then, to comfort one another, Louundemonstrative people who have been under-repise reminds Ida of a performance at Covent Garden resented and largely uncelebrated in London's long where Rosa Ponselle starred as Norma in Bellini's history. Joolz Sparkes and Hilaire have done their opera of the same name: bit to put this right, and should be applauded for it. Ah yes, Rosa! Clear as a bell. She's singing to me now.

H AS ON L F TI FIC

Dreamscapes ~ flash fiction by Slavko Mali Angel

I met an angel without wings. He was young. Almost a boy. It happened on a cemetery in a forest, on my shortcut to a junk yard where I was going to look for discarded crosses. I use them to make installations of graves. Some people consider it as an art. Critics claim that I am an artistic believer in the Antichrist. But I am not. I am simply the Antichrist. I asked the angel where his wings were. He answered sadly: “God tears out our feathers as soon as we start to fly” – and started to wave with the two stumps on his back. “It's how He teaches us to be real angels when we grow up, fighters for the salvation of human souls.” I laughed loudly, asking, “Well, what can you do when you are so wingless?” - I break crosses in cemeteries and throw them in a junk yard. - But, why are you doing this? - They don’t go with the colour of the flowers. Since flowers have souls, I remove the crosses. Gold Dust

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- Isn’t it a little bit gay? – I asked. - We, angels are sexless beings – answered the little boy, trying vainly to fly and braking one of the crosses. Then, with a satisfying sigh, he took a leak on some flowers.

Train There were no compartments in the train. Only a passageway. Suddenly, through the passageway ran a huge green iguana in full colour. A countywoman, with a dark blue scarf spotted all over with tiny white flowers, tried to hit it with her willow wattle basket. But the iguana was too fast, and eggs from the woman’s basket were spread all over. - Oh, dear me, what will my hens say! – the woman grabbed her head. - What kind of eggy bus is this? – said a disgusted junky with seven earrings, while smoking by the open window.

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Do you believe in that nonsense about frescos, One painter quickly took out his canvas, frame, Luke?! palette and brushes, but he wasn't quick enough But, Saint George killed a dragon and made a and the iguana ran faster, faster… purse and boots for his wife out of it’s skin! At that moment at the train door a man apAnd, was she happy? peared in a green shirt of many shades carrying a No, she left him – cried Luke. big golden cage in his hands, and asked the peoSo, you leave your frog, as well. ple in the pasaageway: “Where did my crawling I can’t, I’m used to it. It feels good to eat. parrot disappear to?” But, can’t you see how big your belly is? Since nobody answered him, irritated he Ooooh, it is not because of that! Now that frog yelled: “Tickets checkup!!!” has given birth to many other frogs. Of course no one had a ticket, because such Listen, Luke, I know that you are not crazy. trains go nowhere. That’s why I will not give you my snake to eat up your frogs! Nozinan* I will complain to the saints, Doctor! No use of it, Luke, they are also visiting me. Doctor, my name is Luke. Once, when I was in the They all have tapeworms in their bellies, that’s why monastery, I saw saints coming down from walls, they are all so skiny. and all told me I was crazy and fat. But I am not, So, what shall we do, Doctor? Doctor, I just have a frog in my belly, which I have Take this Nozinan, Luke, and I will go to be to feed all the time. I know you gave me that swallowed by a frog, so that saints will come down medicine to kill the frog, but as soon as one dies from the frescos in the monastery. Saint George another one is born, so I need to come for promised me he would kill my snake with his medicine again! trident. Don’t worry, Luke – says the doctor – I have a And what will happen with my frogs, Doctor?! snake in my belly and I have to take medicines for You just drink that medicine and don’t worry. I that. am the psychiatrist here, not you, and I know But how is it that doesn’t bite you, doctor? – what’s best for you!!! asks Luke. Before swallowing it, I took its teeth out. *Editor’s note: Nozinan is a drug often prescribed for a vaBut I didn’t swallow my frog, it swallowed me, riety of psychiatric disorders. and then I found myself in the monastery, where GOLD DUST the saints came down from frescos!

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OK W O B VIE RE

Becoming Someone by Anne Goodwin Reviewed by Jean Duggleby

The stories in this compilation are remarkable in their variety of content, style and mood. Indeed, such is the difference between some of her stories that they might well have been written by different authors. Ms Goodwin’s ability to get inside the heads of her characters is striking. To my shame I had never heard of Anne Goodwin so looked her Inspired Quill up. It came as 2018 no surprise 338 pages Paperback: £9.99 that she had Electronic: £3.49 worked in the NHS for twenty five years as a clinical psychologist, where she claims to have 'engaged with the ideas in people’s heads.' This experience is clearly demonstrated in the Sci-Fi story “Telling The Parents”, where changing minds literally takes place. Likewise in “My Beautiful Smile” we learn of a physical problem and how the public reaction to it affects the mental health of the sufferer. The idea may well have come directly from Ms Goodwin’s NHS work. The ever fascinating realm of self delusion which she must have met frequently in her career is neatly covered in “Madonna and Child”, with the struggling lone parent mistaking a kindly visitor for a terrifying threat. Again, in “Had to be You” we are led to believe that a sinister and threatening person is setting out to frighten the narrator with whom our sympathy lies, until Ms Goodwin concludes with her typically satisfying twist which immediately changes our attitude to the central character and how we judge her. I myself came to writing at a very mature age when I was first introduced to the idea of “Show,

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don’t tell.” This is expertly demonstrated in “Communal Shower”, where in three short paragraphs a sadly familiar story is related, leaving the reader with feelings possibly stronger than something much lengthier. Linking to the same horrific historic event in “Tattoos and Rubber Gloves”, she describes the shame of a woman who has suffered through no fault of her own and is now struggling and failing to lead a normal life. Ms Goodwin's life is obviously a treasure trove of experiences that she can tap into for her writing. Likewise, I feel that I am advantaged in that many, many memories and personal events have given me ideas for my short stories. She can leap from shocking material such as we find in “How’s Your Sister?” to the magical fairytale universe of “Heir to the Throne”, with the familiar characters of kings, dead queens, a fearless crone of a nurse and rejected twins, but with a startlingly modern and 'politically correct' conclusion. I also learned that one of her pastimes is tramping the moors, and we sense its influence in “Doctoring” where the protagonist shifts back and forth from being a respectable and admired professional to enjoying the outdoor life, with humorous consequences. Ms Goodwin in the 'About the Author' section describes herself as a struggling soprano, which must have inspired the story “The Invention of Harmony”. In this a nun is reprimanded and punished for singing, but again a twist at the end leads to an unexpected conclusion. She can also write pure comedy, as in “Shaggy Dog Story”, where I could fully relate to the elderly central character who is humoured and patronised by her visitors but mischievously and satisfyingly turns the tables on her carers. This cracks stereotypes of old people and even includes a bit of swearing in the thoughts of our, to my mind, heroine. I recommend this book as an exciting and engaging read. After my introduction to Ms Goodwin’s work I am keen to read her other books. In this one she never disappoints

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Finding Stella Maris by Ingrid

Bruck

Reviewed by Adele C. Geraghty

B RE OO VI K EW

collection, where the poet describes the institution depicted with almost mortal characteristics. Bruck's collection is a tribute to this sanctuary, which closed, due to the ravages of hurricane Sandy. Speaking for all who mourned this loss, Bruck created a series of poems as finely woven as a spider's web, or a drifting ocean breeze, or a whispered surf-spray; reflecting the natural beauties, which many see, but which most, sadly overlook. (.....The sky brightens from gray-blue dusk to a tea rose sweep of brilliance in the east. Waves hit the bulwark, the fountain erupts and shoots small explosions of foam and spray. A fellowship of clouds commands the horizon, convenes with the dawn because the sun wont leave his house today, I greet the morning as gray spreads her shawl across the shoulders of the sky.....) Bruck's poems make clear that strength is found in unlikely and unpretentious places and is easily passed on. She also possesses a keen and ironic sense of humour, which she employs with dignity: (.....I move to a house with an acre of land, plant tomatoes in the garden, in pots on the porch, Flutter Press ~ 5800132432978 A groundhog comes and feasts - no more tomaAvailable from Lulu ~ $10.00 ~ ÂŁ6.71 toes. ..... I drive to Stella Maris House where Sister Clare tends the grounds Strong women have always reflected the internashe'll know what to do tional community of poets', both in character and ..... I ask, How do you get rid of groundhogs? creativity. As either poets or those depicted by Sister smiles and says, them, they set an example both enlightening and inspiring for generations of women. They've proven They have to eat too, there's enough for all of us. through action and example, that faith is not only Bruck's true strength is in her keen and intuitive spiritual concept, but the essence of human kindness; the most basic of acts proving to be the most observance and delivery of gossamer metaphor, profound. This is the concept behind 'Finding Stella which impacts like the blow of a sledge hammer. One is lulled by rainbow vignettes which suddenly Maris', a first collection of poetry by Ingrid Bruck, burst with pounding realisation. Her subtlety overbased upon and dedicated to the nuns of Stella Maris Retreat House. Since 1941, the Sisters of St. whelms. If you enjoy nuance, the astounding beauty of nature's simplicity and a wry and excellent Joseph of Peace spent 75 years making Stella Maris ('Star of the Sea' in Latin) not just a place of humour, then indulge yourself with this ‘iron-fist-inspiritual renewal for themselves, but one of peace- the-velvet-glove' collection. Read it and be reful commune and sanctuary for many others includ- newed! ing artists, writers, and victims of domestic violence. Ingrid Bruck, made Stella Maris her peaceful place and a second home. The feelings evoked there are clearly presented in this startlingly beautiful first

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About the Contributors Gerry Sarnat is a physician who has built and staffed homeless clinics as well as a Stanford professor and healthcare CEO. He won the Poetry in the Arts first place award plus the Dorfman Prize, Ingrid Bruck worked with British and US Peace and has been nominated for Pushcarts plus Best Corps at Proyecto Lingüista Francisco Maroquin in of the Net Awards. He authored Homeless ChroniAntigua, Guatemala in the early Seventies. Her first cles (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014) and Meltjob out of library school was establishing a library ing The Ice King (2016) and is widely published, for original linguistic research on unwritten Mayan including recently by New Ulster, Gargoyle, Stanlanguages. The project’s goal was to preserve the ford, Oberlin, Wesleyan, Johns Hopkins, Virginia knowledge of Mayan languages within the country. Commonwealth, Harvard, University of Edinburgh, She earned $50 a month (a living wage), paid by Columbia, Brown, Main Street Rag, American Jourthe Indian Institute of Guatemala, the same agency nal of Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, New Delta Review, that paid Peace Corps volunteers. She was Brooklyn Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, present in the end days of the collapse of Mayan San Francisco Magazine and the New York Times. culture and language that was buried under waves Mount Analogue selected his KADDISH for distribuof government sponsored genocide. Her memories tion nationwide on Inauguration Day and his poetry of that time, place and people remain vivid, even was chosen for a 50th Harvard reunion Dylan symthough they happened almost two-lifetimes posium. ago.Today, Ingrid grows wildflowers, makes jam and writes short form poetry and fiction. She’s a Christine Tabaka has been nominated for the retired library director living in the Amish country of Pushcart Prize in Poetry, has been internationally Pennsylvania in the US, spends as much time as published, and won poetry awards from numerous she can with grandchildren and writes all the time. publications. She lives in Delaware, USA. She Current works appear in Between These Shores loves gardening and cooking. Chris lives with her Literary & Arts Annual, Halcyon Days, The Song husband and three cats. Her most recent credits Is… and Naturewriting. Poetry website: are: Pomona Valley Review, Ariel Chart, Page & ingridbruck.com Spine, West Texas Literary Review, Oddball Maga-

Poetry

zine, The Paragon Journal, The Stray Branch, Trigger Fish Critical Review, Foliate Oak Review, Better Than Starbucks!, Anapest Journal, Mused, Apricity Magazine, The Write Launch, The Stray Branch, Scryptic Magazine, Ann Arbor Review, The McKinley Review and Between These Shores Literary & Arts Annual.

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Tampa Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle, and her published books include Walking Twin Cities, Music Theory for Dummies, and Ugly Girl. Robert Dunsdon was first published in Ambit, in 1974, since when his work has appeared in numerous literary journals, anthologies and newspapers; most recently in The Blue Nib. He is poetry editor with Between These Shores Books.

Les Wicks has performed widely across the globe for more than 40 years. His work has been published in over 350 different magazines, anthologies & newspapers across 28 countries, in 15 languages. He conducts workshops & runs Meuse Press which focuses on poetry outreach projects like poetry on buses & poetry published on the surface of a river. His 14th book of poetry is Belief (Flying Islands, 2019).

Colin Richard James has a book of poems, Resisting Probability, from Sagging Meniscus Press. He lives in Massachusetts.. Kristy Kerruish is originally from Edinburgh and currently living in Europe. She writes non-fiction, fiction and poetry. She has had work published in online and printed magazines and books.

Prose

Liam Martin is a writer from Nottinghamshire in the United Kingdom. He has a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Derby and is currently studying for an MA in English Studies at the University of Nottingham.

Darcy Lin Wood resides in Oxfordshire, England, but has Russian-British blood. With a degree in journalism, Darcy started writing fiction full-time six years ago and has since had work published in Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Bunbury Magazine,

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The Dawntreader, Sarasvati and Every Day Fiction. from outside Melbourne in Australia, he has pubYou can find Darcy lurking around Wattpad or pro- lished and self-published, poetry, articles, stories, crastinating on Twitter @DarcyLinWood. memoirs and novels. He also writes screenplays and has made a number of low-budget films. Helen O’Neill lives with her two geriatric terriers in When not emulating his poetic heroes, among South East London. She is a self confessed book them Dostoyevsky, Hesse, Kazantzakis and Cavageek and spends most of her time reading or writ- fy, he likes to rub shoulders with marginalised peoing stories that explore the way relationships devel- ple and look after gardens, pets and houses he does not own. While no reflection on his attention op in a changing world. Her short fiction has been span in maths classes at school, he long ago lost published by Strange Fictions Zine and CafeLit count of his publications and the number of counand has been shortlisted by Creative Ink. tries he has been in. Lynn Braybrooke was born and educated in Robert Dunsdon was first published in Ambit in Leyton, east London. As far back as she can 1974, since when his work has appeared in numerremember she has loved stories. All the jobs she ous literary journals, in anthologies and in newspahas done, from machining garments to shipping pers; most recently in The Blue Nib. He is poetry cargo, have been a way of earning money while editor of Between These Shores Literary & Arts her children grew up and the mortgage got paid. Along the way she went back to school for O and A Magazine. level English because what she really wanted to Victoria Dowd graduated from Cambridge Univerdo was write. She loves to cook and swim, and sity and went on to be a criminal defence barrister has a strong creative streak that propels her to make things. But the story is the thing. One way or for many years. She has had short fiction published in Aesthetica: A Review of Contemporary another, she must be working on a story. Artists and was chosen as the runner up in The New Writer’s writer of the year award. She was Jean Duggleby is a retired primary teacher who long-listed for The Willesden Herald International eventually specialised in teaching deaf children, Short Story Competition and was recently asked to and started writing short stories only about three read her work at a literary festival in Bath. She has years ago after becoming inspired at a Creative most recently had work published in BTS Literary Writing course which she attended originally in orand Arts Annual and in the Dream Catcher arts der to make the tea (!). She lives with her partner journal. Her first novel, The Painter of Siena, was in east London and has a married daughter and published in 2016. She has just completed work on baby granddaughter in New Zealand. She has her second book which is a crime novel and is due lived in east or north London all of her life except for publication later this year. for three years in Hong Kong as a young woman. She likes reading, walking, gardening, travel and cinema, and teaches Circle Dancing. Carter Nipper is a longtime Librarian and erstwhile computer guru living in Central Georgia with his wife of 39 years and miscellaneous dogs and cats. He has recently returned to submitting his writing after an extended hiatus due to several changes of career and interference by Real Life. His fiction has been published in Nocturnal Ooze, The Harrow, A Fly in Amber, AlienSkin, and Hungur Magazine. His story “When the Bough Breaks” is scheduled to be published in AHF Magazine in April 2019. He has also had several articles published in Vision: A Resource for Writers. He writes in a variety of genres from fantasy to mainstream and is always seeking to improve his craft.

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 Gold Dust magazine. She is a member of the writing group Storyshed and her first novel, The Mackerby Scandal (UKA Press, 2004), received critical acclaim. She has also published a short-story anthology, The Republic of Joy (Lulu Press, 2006).

Adele C Geraghty is a citizen of both the US and Lindsay Boyd is a writer, personal carer and trav- the UK. She is the recipient of the 'US National Women's History Award for Poetry and Essay' and eler still waiting for his boat to come in. Originally

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author of 'Skywriting in the Minor Key', a poetry collection. Adele is also an illustrator and graphic designer and member of both the New York ensemble 'The Arts Soire' and the writing site UKAuthors.com. Adele is Publisher of BTS Books and Founder & Publishing Editor 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

Crumb, Hieronymus Bosch, and a touch of American Gothic and Eastern European Folk Art. Even the most light-hearted of his illustrations harbour a dark nuance, an underlying flip-side of monsters in wait. Magnetic, evocative and disturbing, his alternative cartoons and captivating illustrations are nothing if not irresistible and thoroughly unforgettable. (From 'The Iconic Art of Slavko Mali' by Adele C. Geraghty, BTS Annual Issue 1)

David Gardiner – ageing hippy, former teacher, now retired, living in London with partner Jean. As well as stories in magazines, anthologies and newspapers he has four longer published works, SIRAT (a science fiction novel), The Rainbow Man and Other Stories (short story collection), The Other End of the Rainbow (short story collection) and Engineering Paradise (novel). Part of Engineering Paradise has been turned into a stage musical which is still awaiting a premiere: forestradio.co.uk/Showcase.html Interests include science, philosophy, psychology, scuba diving, travel, wildlife, cooking, IT, alternative lifestyles and communal living. Large, rambling homepage at davidgardiner.net.

Nansy Grill is Co-Features Editor for Gold Dust. As a freelancer, she writes short stories, 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.

Slavko Mali – For seven years, the covers and pages of Gold Dust Magazine have been privileged to display the iconic art of Slavko Mali. Mali's art runs the gamut from mystical to horrific. There are no grey areas or half measures with this artist. The beauty of Mali's work is in its serious mystique. His images are a convoluted crosshatch of madness and divine inspiration. Imagine a hybrid of these styles; Salvator Dali, Robert

Stascia Lynne is a visual artist residing in New York City. Her poetry can be found in The Colors of Life 2001, Scarlet Literary Magazine 2010 and Gold Dust Magazine 2014; her short stories have appeared in Joe Relativity Magazine 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 Aftermath which will be premiering in January 2018. Abigail E. Wright’s work has appeared in World Book of Poems(I):Humanity anthology, included in the 2017 Poetry Circus Event and Seedpod Publishing. Her first mini-chapbook, Just After Sunset is forthcoming and she lives in Jamaica.

HELP US FILL UP THIS SPACE Join the team producing Unfortunately Stascia is leaving after this issue and we would love to hear from anyone with a bit of free time and an interest in magazines and small press publishing. Email: sirat@davidgardiner.net or

bramwith22@aol.com

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Profile for Gold Dust magazine

Gold Dust Issue 35 ~ summer 2019  

Twice yearly magazine of literature and the arts. This issue contains 10 features and reviews, 7 short stories, 4 pieces of flash fiction an...

Gold Dust Issue 35 ~ summer 2019  

Twice yearly magazine of literature and the arts. This issue contains 10 features and reviews, 7 short stories, 4 pieces of flash fiction an...

Profile for golddust
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