High Plains Register 2015
High Plains Register 2015
Acknowledgements A Letter from the High Plains Register Staff
This year has been particularly amazing for the High Plains Register staff! In the spring, we broke records with a dedicated staff of twelve, which is the largest staff ever since the publication began in 1989. And—for the first time ever—we had a staff working on layout and editing during an eight-week summer class. All staff members worked very hard to put together the best journal possible for our readers. Long hours, hard work, blood, sweat, and tears go into every one of our publications, and we strive to make each one better than the last. We hope you enjoy the work that we’ve put together this year, and that you find it unique and intriguing. In addition to staff and contributors, there are a lot of other people and departments on campus who help us throughout the year. We would like to thank the following for their invaluable contribution to the success of the 2015 High Plains Register: The LCCC Foundation; The LCCC Book Store; Zeke Sorenson and Campus Activities Board (CAB); Stacy Schultz–Bisset and Troy Rumpf in Public Relations; Jim Slagle and Campus Printing; Karen Reynolds, Administrative Assistant for the School of Arts & Humanities; Sheriff’s Photo Booth; and Pink Geeks Boutique. Thank you for your contributions, your support, and your readership!
Sincerely, The High Plains Register 2015 Staff and Kristin Abraham, High Plains Register Adviser
Table of Contents Cover Art: Weakened Door, by Tamara Rodgers Red Chloe by Chloe West ...............................................................................9 A Worship of Trees by Jancie A. Mayo.........................................................................11 Slender Beauty by Berni Ernst...............................................................................13 Necklace by Carrie Lockwood......................................................................15 Live Again by Chloe West...............................................................................17 January 9, 1986 by Judith Schulz............................................................................19 Wanderer’s Favor by Lisa Wilson..............................................................................21 Comején by Tim Keppel..............................................................................23 In the Place of Dogs by Judith Schulz...........................................................................37 Barns by Tamara Rodgers.....................................................................39
Old Schoolhouse by Tamara Rodgers....................................................................40 Refinery Night by Tamara Rodgers....................................................................41 Repose by Tamara Rodgers....................................................................42 Weakened Door by Tamara Rodgers....................................................................43 On the Trail by Diane Egge............................................................................45 Magic Castle by Diane Egge............................................................................47 Disturbance by Caitlin McGehee..................................................................49 5 a.m. Quietude
by Caitlin McGehee..................................................................51 Sprouting Vessel by Lisa Wilson..........................................................................53 My Interstate of Mind by Morganne Lopez..................................................................55
Road Trip by James Overstreet..................................................................57 Diamond Tiles by Mariah West........................................................................59
It Wasn’t Your Typical Kind Of ______ by Brittany McMahen.................................................................61 The Pickup by Marlene Olin.........................................................................63 Orchid Broche II
by Lisa Wilson...........................................................................67 Cascading Vessel by Lisa Wilson...........................................................................69 On to Loss by Maria Kopper........................................................................71
Whole by Chloe West...........................................................................73 Moonlit Sky by Ramona Ortiz.......................................................................75 Nautilus Spiral by Lisa Wilson...........................................................................77 A Child’s Garden of Gunk by Ruben Rodriquez.................................................................79
Red Chloe By Chloe West
A Worship of Trees By Janice A. Mayo The collective is solemn as a parliament of rooks; eye-catching as a murder of ravens; gray as a chime of wrens. To call it a copse of trees is too ordinary—praise is to say a worship of trees. No winds waft through bare branches; breezes dare not touch its hallowed confines. Low-growing brush, naked, hugs the earth in reverence with bowed head—not thinking better of itself.
Nesting fowls, in pairs, soon will establish homes high up, seeking cradles of safety.
Patches of late winter snows do not encroach except in far off boundaries. Black damp earth rests quietly, waiting in stolid dignity for permission to give stir. Graceful limbs eternally and gently reach out, paying tribute through cool dim light. The quiet sanctuary is not boastful, not proud, not flamboyant. A conduit of peace, taking form and shape, gently but urgently enfolds the soul—freely giving gifts of wonder and awe. It whispers a love-song in reverential tones, whispers directly to my heart, that it is wiser to seek the inner workings of one’s life than to tramp the earth to
Slender Beauty By Berni Ernst
Necklace By Carrie Lockwood
Live Again By Chloe West
January 9, 1986 By Judith Schulz “Foolish. Foolish old woman. What are you doing? What are you doing here?” she questioned herself. Her eyes were focused on her hands lying on top of the sheets. The skin of her hands was pale and the fingers stubby, the nails short. The blue veins were prominent on the landscape like the tunnels of burrowing moles on the surface of the forest floor in spring. Already the tiny lines on her hands were beginning to pucker softly; and small, round, brown spots dotted the olive skin like aged freckles. Even lying here now, she agonized at the months that had brought her to this place. Indeed, as she looked around, the austere sameness, the bland green walls, the half effective fluorescent lighting, this room could not be more institutional and ugly. Somehow there needed to be more to this environment when the scope of events was so very monumental. Still, it mattered little as the outcome was forthcoming, inevitable, and would profoundly affect everyone who meant anything to her at all. Her eyes rose to look at the most significant ones, the others in the room with her today. There sat her oldest son, Steven, his head tilted backward in the beige vinyl lounge chair, his eyes closed and his beautiful, thick, yellow blond hair still impeccable despite the past long night away from combs and mirrors and hair gel. She thought, “Good, that will please him.” Seventeen and a senior in high school, this young man was her rock—stable, responsible, and marked with a musical talent that surprised and pleased her and his dad. His fingers on the piano told a story, the plot revealed in the expressive emotion of finger pressure, pedal use, and fluid knowledge, a joy to listen to and absorb.
In another less comfortable chair sat Jeff, reading, as usual. Her “Dark Angel,” Jeff retained the same rich sienna hair of his birth which matched the depth of brown in his large, round eyes. This son constantly amazed whoever he knew with his startling, bright intellect and quick, dry wit. Quiet in nature and deep as the Blue Hole in Santa Rosa, New Mexico, Jeff, more and more each year, reminded her so clearly of her own father. And that was a considerable piece of praise as Jeff’s grandfather was someone whom she loved completely and admired passionately. At 15, Jeff’s prominent facial features and tall, gangly frame made a beautifully formed being in soul and body. There was much promise there. Dougie, thirteen years old, the family’s baby, sat near the window. How could anyone retain the joi de vivre of this one? He knew no strangers, loved deeply, cried openly, and laughed with abandon. She would never forget their
conversation one afternoon on a car trip together. They had talked about love and friends and family. When he queried whether it was all right to love himself too, she had laughed out loud and assured him it was a wonderful thing. One must love himself before he can truly love others, she confirmed. Actually, one might say that Doug was the reason they were here today; for this entire event was an answer to his direct prayer. Now, he fiddled in his place, restless and a bit bored. “Wasn’t this enough?” she reflected. “Wasn’t it?” Then, with relentless speed, the pain gripped and consumed her. Her lips closed over tightly-clenched teeth to suppress the feral sound rising in her throat. She closed her eyes and tried to breathe. Surely she would not survive this; her thirty-nine-year-old bones seemed to be breaking apart within her. Concentrating on control and regular breaths, she felt little else and saw nothing for measured moments. Time was prolonged and she prayed for speed.
As the pain abated and her breathing slowed, she sensed his presence even before she opened her eyes to see him there beside her now. Craig, 41 and hair greying distinguishingly, her husband of 20 spectacularly comingled years, moved from his place at the end of the bed as he recognized what was happening. That’s how it was with them; all the clichés of hand holding and finishing one another’s thoughts was who they’d become. They seemed at times to live in each other’s skin. Seeing her open her eyes, he reached for her hand, “That one came quickly. I’m calling the nurse.” ~~~~~~~~~~ The noontime sun flooded the room. The brightness warmed them on the winter afternoon as they all stood around the woman in the bed. The young men were transformed: the adrenaline energizing their motions and the joy raw on their faces. Now the mother’s older hands held the newest member of their family. Then she handed him to his father. The baby’s dark eyes were open and his father’s eyes were filled. He passed the child to Steven who was startled at the light weight of the new brother, swaddled in a soft blanket and the white warming cap covering his corn silk bumper crop of hair. Handing him then to Jeff, he softly greeted the fourth child with gentle murmurs, snuggling him and pulling the baby close before placing him in the outstretched, eager arms of the last member to share the first touch of this new life. A little brother was a remarkably complete answer to the prayers Doug had been so constantly entreating; and he seemed utterly comfortable holding this new sibling, Matthew—“gift of God.” In fact, they were, indeed, all very comfortable with this incredible new being who was now theirs and they, his. “No,” the mother thought and smiled, “Not foolish. Not foolish at all.”
Wandererâ€™s Favor (Front) By Lisa Wilson
Wandererâ€™s Favor (Back) By Lisa Wilson
Comején By Tim Keppel Walking barefoot across the tile floor, John could feel them. Pesky little pellets, like tiny grains of sand: the cursed comején. But more infuriating was just knowing they were there, munching away at the wooden ceiling, the cabinets, the furniture, the doors. When had the problem gotten so bad? John had moved into this house with Sandra a decade before. He bought it in part to try to hold onto her. They had been together a year but Sandra was afraid of commitment. John told her that since they were spending most nights together anyway, why waste her money on rent? They could look at it as a trial, no obligation. John was in such a hurry to solidify the relationship he urged that they move in right away, with the remodeling unfinished and workers underfoot. Sandra relented but soon got fed up with the noise and confusion. Several times she almost packed up and left. One of the improvements was putting knotty pine paneling on the ceilings. The guy who sold it to them said the wood was immunized and would last fifteen or twenty years before the slightest risk of comején.
John dusted off one foot, then the other, as he put on his sandals. When had the problem started? These things began slowly but suddenly raced out of control. Pellets raining down from the ceiling, accumulating beneath cabinets and furniture. Ugly, gnawed gashes disfiguring the wood like the teeth marks of a beast. Usually in places not immediately visible, as if part of a massive stealth attack, with most of the damage beneath the surface. A few days before, a leg of a bamboo chair, completely hollowed out, had split wide open. It happened during an argument with Sandra. John hoisted the chair up over his head like a wrestler executing a body slam and threw it to the floor with a thwack! Sandra’s eyes saucered and she cowered like a child or puppy that fears being struck. “I’ve had it!” John roared, both alarmed and emboldened by this uncharacteristic display. “You’ve been stringing me along for years – ‘I’m not ready! I’m not ready!’ – and now you’re thirty-nine and it might be too late! Why didn’t you tell me from the beginning you didn’t want kids?” Sandra looked away as if she wanted to be somewhere, anywhere, else.
John had been patient with Sandra at first, extremely patient, he thought. He’d let months go by without even mentioning the subject, giving her time. He thought it might help to let her finish grad school, so he let her finish grad school. He thought it might help to marry her, so he married her. But her enthusiasm for progeny remained nonexistent. She avoided the subject and kept him in the dark about her fertility dates. When he asked, she accused him of pressuring her. She refused to have unprotected sex. Then gradually even the protected sex began to lose its luster. John couldn’t believe his luck. Wasn’t it practically a given that all women wanted kids? Why did he have to end up with one of the very few who didn’t? “Remember our trip to Europe?” he asked. “You said as soon as we got back you’d get serious about the pregnancy. Well, that was eight years ago!” “I’ve had two miscarriages!” Sandra said with a quivering voice. “Do you call that nothing?” “Yeah, in ten years, and the rest of the time you’ve been playing me for a fool.”
“I’m not the problem,” Sandra said, crossing her arms defiantly. “Your sperm is the problem.” A nerve behind John’s ear began to pulse. “My sperm is perfectly fine.” “And marijuana has no effect on it?” “Maybe a little, but I told you, there are three kinds of sperm cells: fast, medium, and slow. Both fast and medium work just fine. Mine aren’t going to win Olympic medals, but I have plenty of mediums. Two different doctors said I was in good shape, remember?” “And another said you were iffy.” “That guy’s a crackpot. He´s the one who said our blood may be incompatible. That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. Besides, doesn’t the fact that you got pregnant those other times prove my sperm is fine?” “But those were years ago.” “Exactly! So if my sperm has lost potency since then, whose fault is that? Look, the status quo may be acceptable to you but not to me. Either you get serious about the pregnancy or. . . .” “Or what?” Growling with rage, John grabbed the chair as if to fling it against the wall.
Sandra retreated. “Goddamnit!” John said. “I can’t go on like this! Will you make the appointment with the fertility specialist?” Sandra’s face, contorted and tear-streaked, made her look less attractive but more tender and vulnerable. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, she nodded. * Now, a few days later, John was waiting to see if she would go through with it. His frustration had turned to desperation and his desire to obsession. Though for a long time he was in no hurry to have kids, once he passed fifty he’d begun to worry constantly about entering old age childless. The years ahead promised to be bleak with that oppressive hollowness that had crept into their marriage. He had reached the point where he felt envious of people with kids. He tried to avoid them. He stopped going to family reunions and when passing a parent and child in the park, he would avert his eyes. It suddenly seemed that everything revolved around kids: Christmas, amusement parks, beach trips, ball games. He felt he was being cheated out of an important part of his life, a dimension that would make it complete. He resented Sandra for putting him through this and she resented him. There was plenty of resentment to go around, and it was eating away at them. Sandra had her reasons for resisting childbirth. She’d had a traumatic childhood growing up in poverty and then, in an attempt to escape it, getting trapped in a stifling, abusive relationship. She suffered from insomnia, anxiety, and phobias. That’s why John had been so patient with her. But enough was enough, as with her phobia of escalators. After putting up with it for several years and climbing innumerable steps with her, John finally wrapped his arm around her and pulled her on the escalator with him. And ever since then she had ridden with no problem. John had no doubt that she would make an excellent mother if she would only take the step.
He knew he would never find anyone as good as she; he had searched for her for years. He remembered when they first moved in, when the workers were still doing the renovations. One Saturday morning she went to the panadería and seemed to take a long time coming back. Then he heard his neighbor screaming, “Your wife! Your wife! She’s had an accident! Right up the street!” Shirtless, in ripped gym shorts, John broke into a sprint. He hadn’t run that fast since his track days. He saw the car up ahead, slammed against a tree. The people who had gathered parted to let him through. “Get John! Get John!” Sandra was urging. Her face was streaked with blood. John still felt that same panic when he thought of losing her.
John was at his desk when Sandra banged on the door. He had taken to closing it to avoid idle conversations that could lead to arguments. “Look at this!” Sandra said. “All the work from my thesis!” And she held up some papers to show the series of tiny holes, like sinister hieroglyphics, leading to ravenous chasms, vicious defilements. “Oh no!” John said, shocked at the extent of the damage. “I’m sorry.” Meaning he was sorry it had happened, though Sandra seemed to construe his comment as an admission of guilt. Which obviously wasn´t fair, but who was to blame for allowing their cozy love nest to be despoiled? Were they both responsible or were they both simply victims of the inexorable ravages of time, which turns dust to dust and wood to dirt. If there was a remedy for this situation, John was willing to do whatever it took, but only if Sandra would do her part. If not, what was the use? As Sandra leafed through folder after folder, pulling out ever more completely devoured papers, John lingered by supportively, though at a prudent distance. Then she gave a strange, macabre laugh, half horrified, half mocking. “You’re not going to believe this!”
She held up a legal document with its whereases and wherefores and various words capitalized for emphasis: their marriage license! Some years before they might have had a good laugh over this, but by now they were a little low on mirth. Treading cautiously, expecting with each step to be accused of callous indifference, John retreated to his desk. But it was impossible to concentrate.
Later he found Sandra on the bed, vigorously brushing comején pellets off the sheets. “I can’t take this anymore!” she said, “I’m going crazy.” Then she started snatching at the air. “There goes one now!” She clapped her hands and examined them for mutilated body parts. “They can fly?” John asked, astonished. She looked at him as if trying to ascertain whether he could possibly be serious. John had never seen a comején, or at least been aware of seeing one. He had assumed they were invisible to the naked eye. “What is that?’ he asked, pointing at the pellets. “I guess it’s wood.” “Well if it’s wood, why don’t they eat it?” “I don’t know exactly. They have a process.”
“You think this is, like, their . . . droppings?” “Something like that. I’m not sure.” John leaned one knee on the bed. “Don’t do that!” Sandra cried, startling him back to his feet. “It’s liable to collapse. The frame and slats are all eaten up.” “You’re kidding! The bed too?” Sandra nodded, eyebrows raised and lips compressed for emphasis. “The mattress is full of them.” One reason John hadn’t known the condition of the bed was because he hadn’t been sleeping there. This was a new development. Sleeping together had always been important to them. That physical connection and tenderness had carried over to everything else. Even after their sex life had waned, they had continued to sleep close together, usually with some part of their bodies touching, changing positions throughout the night in a kind of somnolent ballet. One of their favorite things to do was watch movies together in bed. John liked to rest his head on her stomach and feel its gentle rise and fall. He liked to feel her fingers in his hair and fall asleep to her caresses. If he woke from an erotic dream and pressed himself against her, she was always in the mood, or seemed to be. Though later, when things began to disintegrate, she alleged that he was only seeking self-pleasure. As her insomnia worsened she began to complain about his “tossing and turning.”
“Tossing and turning?” John protested. He’d never been aware of that. “Turning maybe, but not tossing.” “Yes, tossing,” Sandra said. “When you roll over, the whole bed shakes.” When it got to the point where she was too tired to make it through the day, she suggested they sleep in different beds, “just temporarily,” until her condition improved. “Sorry for asking this,” John said now, “but did you make the appointment with the fertility doc?” Sandra’s face tightened and she murmured something John couldn’t hear. “Excuse me?” “I said it’s tomorrow!” * The next day, a Friday, the appointment was set for late afternoon. When
Sandra hadn’t arrived home by seven, thinking she might have gone somewhere afterward, John went out to the bar with his friends. Around nine, his cell phone rang. “Where are you?” Sandra’s voice sounded strange. John tried to be heard over the music, voices, and laughter. “Did you see the letter?” Sandra asked. “What letter?”
“I left you a letter. . . . I didn’t go to the appointment. . . . I couldn’t.” The music and voices swallowed John with a gulp. He wandered outside and said, “Okay, I’ll go home and read the letter. Where are you?” “At a friend’s.” A faint, shrill humming in his ears accompanied John home. He found the letter on the bed, nearly two pages in her delicate, youthful script. He couldn’t remember the last time she’d written him a letter.
She couldn’t go through with it, she wrote. She had enough trouble trying to take care of herself. A child would sap every ounce of her freedom. “I feel so miserable,” she wrote. “I feel like I’ve never done anything in my life. And there’s so much I want to do!” John folded the letter and lay motionless, still buzzed from the drinks, feeling like he’d traveled far away from anyone who knew him or gave a damn what happened to him. His worst fears had been confirmed. He saw now that Sandra wasn’t going to do it, ever. In all this time he had never really allowed himself to believe the “ever.” He now had only two options. One, accept things the way they were, which would mean a continuation of his obsessing, regretting, feeling angry, and feeling robbed. And two, split up. The phone rang. Sandra, with a faint, subdued voice said, “Did you read it?” “Yeah,” John said. At that moment he felt the closest he’d ever felt to her, and the farthest away. “I’ll come home tomorrow and we can talk about it.” John’s stomach twisted. He tried to control his breathing. “No, I don’t think you should. I need to think about this.” “Oh,” Sandra said as if he’d caught her by surprise. Just as he’d caught himself by surprise. Any other time saying this to her would have been unthinkable. But she was the one who had left.
In her silence, Sandra seemed to be absorbing the full impact of John’s words. Had he turned the tables on her? he wondered. Would he really not let her come back unless she committed to having a child? And if he didn’t, would that be unjust, even cruel? The house was in John’s name only. When Sandra had tried to make an issue of that he reminded her that she was the one who had been uncertain about living together. Was he supposed to put it in both names given that? Well then, why hadn’t he done it later, she asked, once the relationship had solidified? It was a question that John was ready for. And why hadn’t she cooperated with the pregnancy? So they were back to square one. * That night John slept in the bed Sandra had been sleeping in, “their bed.” Conscious of the comején infestation, he tried not to roll over any more than necessary. He considered stripping it and lifting the mattress to examine the magnitude of the damage, but he wasn’t up to it. It was disturbing enough to realize that he was alone in the house with no company but the comején. If he quieted the roaring of his thoughts for a moment he could hear them chomping away, gobbling up what was left of their home. He had the sudden dizzying feeling that he had lost control of his life, that obscure forces were sabotaging his affairs. Why couldn’t he and Sandra just get pregnant like everyone else?
As the days went by, the comején pellets began to multiply, accumulating in every corner of the house. Or maybe he was just more aware of them now that Sandra was no longer around to share the burden. The disgusting granules were everywhere: on his desk, in the sheets, on the kitchen counter. And he began to see the vermin flying around, circling the lamps. At least he assumed it was them. But they were so big! He’d always thought they were invisible, or nearly invisible. One morning he awoke to find one in his ear. Searching the Internet, he found a picture of one. And yes, it was the same winged creature that had apparently tried to burrow through his ear canal into his skull. Beneath the picture he read: The comején is an insect that establishes its colony inside wood or other materials such as cardboard and paper, feeding on the cellulose they contain. A warning sign of the presence of comején is their excretions, which look like small grains of sand. These are expelled as the colony grows, in order to make space for new members. After a pair of breeding adults enters the wood and the queen lays her first egg, the colony may grow to thousands of members. The breeding adults
develop wings and fly out to establish new colonies . . . . Thousands in each colony! If the problem was troubling before, now, without Sandra, it was unendurable. Should he let her come back? He emailed an old friend to ask for advice. His friend, who was fond of Sandra, said he’d be wary of “throwing over a good thing.” I'm inclined to say you and Sandra should try to gut it out, with the explicit understanding that you agree not to have kids (as it seems Sandra is dead set against that, finally) and that you do so without resentment—a tall order, I know. I mentioned your situation to Janet and she’s completely understanding of your strong desire to have children, and of just how central—and nonnegotiable—you feel it to be. I’d just hate for you to be lonely, bud, and I’m concerned that at our age time is running out (though Janet insists this is precisely why the child issue is so crucial). I don’t know in the end whether my counsel is the best or if I am advocating the status quo out of some simmering emotional cowardice . . ..
Maybe his friend was right, John thought. Maybe he was overplaying his cards and running the risk of winding up with nothing. Maybe an ultimatum, instead of luring Sandra back, would drive her away. Or was this, it suddenly occurred to him, exactly what Sandra had wanted? Had she set the whole thing up so he’d be the one who proposed the split, not her? His heart began to pound. Trying to take his mind off things, John glanced around at the shelves of books he had long been anxious to read but could never find the time for. Now he had the time. Too much time. The seconds passed like the slow drip of a leaky faucet. He pulled from the shelf a book he’d put off reading because of its length, 574 pages: Sin remedio. Opening it, he found himself contemplating the excavation of an entire city, a vast megapolis with canals and levies, ramparts and reservoirs. There were roads and bridges, tunnels and battlements. But as he flipped through the pages, what was left of them, there was no sign of the comején. Were they right there in front of him, hidden in plain sight, or had they had their fill of this book and gone on to others? His precious books! Sure, he’d had sympathy for Sandra and her research papers, but these were his books! It now seemed imperative to make a complete inspection of the house and come up with a comprehensive plan. And then . . . .
John was asleep, Sin remedio spread open on his chest. * He was awakened by a phone call from Sandra, asking if she could come over to pick up some things. She quickly added that she could come when he wasn’t there, if that would be better. “Yeah, that might be better,” John said with much effort. “I need some things to take to Bogotá.”
“Are you going to Bogotá?” John asked as if she’d only mentioned going shopping. “Yes,” Sandra said. “That’s where you have to go if you want to do serious acting.” “I guess you’re right,” John said breathily. “There are some parts I want to audition for. And I might take some acting classes.”
“Do it,” John said with strained enthusiasm. Hanging up, he immediately began straightening up the disastrous house. He swept up piles of comején pellets and gathered mounds of dirty clothes. He washed some of the dishes heaped in the sink and hid the rest in the cabinets. He kept thinking Sandra would show up before he left, which brought both fear and hope, so much hope that he stayed too long and ended up late for work.
Returning home, John could tell Sandra had been there. It wasn’t anything he could see or smell, just a lingering sense of her presence. He couldn’t determine which of her things were missing because he never looked through her things. Nor did she look through his. They shared an absolute trust on this score which they’d established from the beginning. Because each of them was coming from a possessive, suffocating relationship, they had resolved to make theirs one of respect for each other’s freedom and privacy. Neither was allowed to snoop around in the other’s belongings or oblige the other to do anything they didn’t want to do, such as visit the other’s relatives or socialize with their friends. And this had worked out marvelously, keeping the relationship remarkably tension-free, except in the rare instances where one tried to bend the other to his will, such as in the case of having a kid. John opened Sandra’s closet—this was as far as he would go—and studied the clothes hanging there. He wondered which ones she had taken with her, and where she would wear them, and with whom.
* For weeks, John floated along in a feverish daze. Hitting the bars and nursing hangovers helped consume big bites of the slowly passing hours. His pot dealer, a kid on a motorcycle who made cheerful home deliveries, kept him well supplied. Sure, the reefer wouldn’t help his reproductive prowess but at this point what did it matter? What to do with his time? Reading offered no escape since each book he opened called attention to his deteriorating state of affairs. And besides, he had trouble concentrating for more than a paragraph at a time. It was too quiet to concentrate. He was used to hearing Sandra’s infernal radio talk shows all day long, booming from several rooms at once: Bla, bla, bla! Ha, ha, ha! How he missed them. Until now the longest he’d ever been alone in the house was for a day or two when Sandra visited her mom. John remembered those days when they first moved in, how proud and also jealous he’d been when the construction workers eyed Sandra and tried to sneak peeks when she was taking a shower. He was enthralled with the prospect of having her in his home, in his bed.
One night, gazing drunkenly out the window, John watched a lizard crawl onto the globe of the entrance lamp. Maybe it wanted to bask in the heat, John thought, for a kind of sauna effect. And then he saw it slip through the small opening into the inside of the globe. A short time later another lizard, slightly smaller, crawled to the same position on the outside the globe, looking in. Could that be his lover? Had the male ventured inside as a way of impressing her, expecting to crawl back out triumphant? Was the female worried because her mate had grown very still? Would she crawl inside as well, in an act of solidarity? At the bottom of the globe lay a gray powdery substance that John dumped out each time he changed the bulb. He’d assumed it was the remains of moths. The next day the pile looked larger. Another night, rolling over in bed, John heard a crack and then—wham!— the mattress landed flat on the floor. Surrounding him like a cage was the frame of the bed. He slept the rest of the night like that and in the morning, careful not to put too much weight on the frame, he climbed out and went to work. That evening, instead of trying to fix the bed, he went to the bar. The same thing the next day and the next, until he grew accustomed to sleeping on the floor inside the frame. There was so much to do to put things in order that John had no will to begin. Besides the comején, there were closets that hadn’t been cleaned out in years, unwashed curtains, paint-peeled walls, rusted pipes, broken tiles, multiple signs of abandonment and neglect. The prospect of setting it right seemed
hopeless. Maybe it would be better to start all over. Once in a while Sandra would call. Various possibilities had presented themselves. Her audition for a play had gone well and she was waiting to hear if she’d gotten the part. She’d also tried out for a commercial and a bit part in a sitcom. She was studying with a fabulous teacher and had made a lot of friends. One guy named Giovanni had helped her enormously. He had introduced her to directors and accompanied her to auditions. One night at the bar a woman named Veronica, a buxom redhead with freckled cleavage and a husky laugh, gave John a salutatory kiss featuring a quick, wet dart of the tongue. Something inside him came unleashed. Though in all the years he’d never been unfaithful to Sandra, he woke up the next morning in an apartment overlooking a body shop. The redhead was sprawled out open-mouthed, snoring loudly, a sea of freckles extending from her shoulders to the rippled white shore of her cellulitic buns. John slipped out with his shoes in his hand.
That’s when he decided to do something. He called a carpenter who examined the house with the grave face of a doctor reading x-rays. Though he couldn’t promise miracles, he suggested treating the wood with formaldehyde. Wearing a surgical mask and gloves, he injected a syringe into the tiny holes in the cabinets and hauled the furniture out to the patio to give it repeated baths. The stench was so bad that even sleeping with the windows open, John suffered from headaches that shot down the back of his neck. And all to no avail. In no time the little bastards were flying around in even greater numbers and the piles of pellets blanketed the floor.
The next time Sandra called she complained that Bogotá was rainy and cold and her cramped apartment was claustrophobic. The furniture was rickety and the stove didn’t work. No one had called her back about the parts. The only gig she’d landed was as an extra. She had to sit around all day with a bunch of disagreeable people to receive only twenty bucks and a stale sandwich. “And Giovanni?” John asked. “He’s still encouraging,” she said. “Always upbeat.” Desperate, John called several exterminators. They recommended a radical fumigation procedure that involved sealing the whole house airtight for three days. But, considering that the “colonization” was so far advanced, they offered no guarantee. Tired of half measures, John asked the carpenter to rip out the ceilings, closets, and doors, and start anew. He withdrew money from his severance pay and borrowed from the employee fund.
The work was underway when Sandra called, ecstatic. She’d been offered a part in a film short. They’d begin shooting soon. “Great!” John said. “Giovanni says it’s a pretty big deal. The director is on the way up.” “I’m happy for you.” Disconsolate, John continued the renovations. He tossed out books and magazines, old clothes and electronic devices. He hired painters and plumbers; he took out another loan. * Eight months passed. Sandra called occasionally and continued to give glowing reports about the magazine and her growing social life in Bogotá. John tried to take solace in small pleasures, such as sleeping in a bed instead of on the floor. He curtailed his drinking and ran laps around the park. He bought new editions of his favorite books. One day Sandra called to say she was in town. She was staying with her sister for a couple of days. Could she stop by to pick up some things? She could come when he wasn’t there if he’d rather.
“It doesn’t matter,” John said. She knocked on the door instead of using her key. Her hair was longer and her cheeks looked flushed from the Bogotá cold. She seemed a little breathless, as if she’d been running. Her eyes shone. Her laugh sounded nervous, as did John’s. They sat down in the den.
“New furniture!” Sandra said brightly. “Yeah,” John said, and he asked about her acting. “It’s going well,” Sandra said. “The film will premier soon and the same director will be starting a new one. I think I have a shot at it.” She glanced up at the ceiling. “Hey, is that new paneling?” “Yeah,” John said. “They said it was the only way to get rid of the comején.”
Sandra’s eyes widened. “You got rid of them?” “So it appears.” Sandra went to the kitchen for something to drink. She had to open several cabinets to find the cups. John felt a muscle twitch in his jaw.
Sandra glanced toward the staircase. “Let’s see what you’ve done upstairs.” John showed her the new closets. He showed her the doors and bookshelves. “Look in here,” he said. Sandra stepped into the bedroom and studied the new curtains, the new dresser. “Wow,” she said, looking at the bed, larger than the previous one, with an elegantly carved headboard and a bright yellow comforter.
“Yeah,” John said, looking at it too. With their hands almost touching, they both looked at it.
In the Place of Dogs By Judith Schulz Begin by stepping off the porch, holding the red leash loosely in your hand To avoid falling face first in the grass along the walk As Cora rips her white teeth deep into the fraying woven cotton, Only to release it again to jump wildly into the sun warmed sky On a day that smells like fresh parsley and calls you forth. Continue down the cracked sidewalk, broken by the cold wind of winter Now released to warm in the brightness of the spring day, Your legs running alongside the lab’s black furred ones Cantering in their eagerness to get to the verdant green of the watershed Blocks away but already sensed in the memory of canine cunning.
“Cross” you say and together you abbreviate the steps required To reach the desired destination of this panting heart, Tongue lolling out to the left of her mouth, better to breathe, Your own heartbeat hammering in the pulsing throbs of your neck As you try to keep up with the pace of the committed Cora. In your mouth, wide open to capture air, you taste the day As you rush to the tune of this vigilant drummer pulling you forward Until you arrive, the soccer-field size of rectangular green Lying before you both like a fragrant garden of paradise To be explored and wetted and dumped on with vigor Only an eager house dog can provide, repaired by the baggies Tied to the leash loop, always more than one ready for service, Your laughter as she runs in joy, loud and lovely in the still air Inhabited by walkers and runners and hounds who have captured your heart.
Barns By Tamara Rodgers
Old Schoolhouse By Tamara Rodgers
Refinery Night By Tamara Rodgers
Repose By Tamara Rodgers
Weakened Door By Tamara Rodgers
On the Trail By Diane Egge
Magic Castle By Diane Egge
Disturbance By Caitlin McGehee a fog light cuts through deepening dark reflecting ribbons of light upon the lake weaving 'round cattails and glistening grasses thick in thatches that net the night cast shadows creep across the waking water as it ripples cutting midnight glass into mirrored blooms illuminated
5 a.m. Quietude By Caitlin McGehee Iâ€™m finding peace in the frozen moments and the dawn lit snow as I should be sleeping the macabre dead of winter tells comes to me clearly
as red, numbed fingers the mouse, buried in ice
tail crushed like the shattered icicle soft face brushed with crystalline pebbles it is too cold for the smell of death
Sprouting Vessel By Lisa Wilson
My Interstate of Mind By Morganne Lopez The other night I lay in bed wide awake in the dark with only stripes of orange light illuminating the map of the world on the wall. I tried to keep up with my mind as it raced through every thought imaginable. Did I do all my homework? I don’t want to go to work in the morning; I hope my uniform isn’t too dirty. Damnit, I didn’t clean the kitty litter today. Should I wash my hair in the morning or sleep in that extra half hour? As I tried to focus on counting the sheep that never seem to make their way over the damn fence, I began to listen to the cars zooming on the Interstate right outside my bedroom window, which is right next to the head of my bed. It was sounding as though the interstate was roaring with places to go and things to see with car after car after car, even this late at night. I couldn’t help but compare all of those Nissan Altimas, those Honda Civics, those minivans, and all those diesels to the neurons and nerves speeding on the neural Interstates of my mind and making their way from dendrite to dendrite, town to town. Always going and always thinking. And then I realized that everything in town was quiet and asleep except my mind and I-25. Only no one could hear the roar of my thoughts zooming from one neuron to the next. Just like my thoughts, the Interstate never seems to fall asleep. But unlike me, it always has somewhere to be. I wish I could be more like the Interstate, always going, never stagnant. And it seems to always know exactly where it’s going and always gets there every time. It’ll never know the feeling of being anchored to just one place, I ponder, as the jealousy consumes my thoughts.
The roaring I heard coming from I-25 wasn’t the cars speeding by; it was the current of the Interstate calling my name and pulling me in. As I lay there, I imagined myself hopping out of bed like the world suddenly needed me to see it, slipping on a pair of shoes (I don’t care, just any pair), grabbing my car keys, and driving west on Pershing Blvd., making my way onto the Interstate like I had to be on an adventure immediately in that instance. I had to be a part of the Interstate in that moment. I had to let it take me to the places the world wanted me to see and explore. I could go south, hit I-10, and head for Mexico where there’s sun and beaches. Or I could go north, hit I-90, and head for Canada and make my way to Vancouver on the West Coast. I don’t care. I’m one with the Interstate now. Traveling on I-Morganne. Now I never sleep. Now I will never stay anchored to one place. Now I’m always headed somewhere and never stopping to take a break.
I can go anywhere and see anything. Now there’s nothing standing between me and the eager world. Even the Rocky Mountains couldn’t stop me; all they can do is sit on the sidelines and watch as I race my own mind down the Interstate. As I traced all of the rainbow-colored countries on the map with my eyes, I felt as though I’ve always had an interstate of mind. I’ve always enjoyed being in the openness and just being on the road to somewhere different, even when I was just a child. Anytime my family traveled we usually drove. Even when we moved those four times. Then I remembered a road trip to visit my grandparents when I was six years old. We were traveling on I-10 from Mississippi to San Diego. It took us almost 30 hours to drive the whole way. I loved it. I would just stare out the window and watch the green and blue scenery and the gray cement blur into one existence, like the Interstate was never man-made and it was always a part of nature. I felt as though I was blurring into the Interstate like I was always a part of it.
It wasn’t until I was older when I realized that not only was my mind like the Interstate but my life was like the Interstate as well. And just like the Interstate, life keeps going and never stops. I learned then that I couldn’t fight the current of life and it was pointless to question where it would take me. I learned that I had to just go with it and trust that it would get me to where I need to be. Just like I’ve learned to not doubt or question myself. The same way I learned to trust that I will take myself where I need to be. But for that insomnia-filled night, I needed to be right there in my room snuggled under the hopeful, soon–to–be unconscious thoughts of my bed, trusting that life would take me to my next destination in the morning. The roar of the Interstate’s plea for me to reunite with it was the only sound I heard. Louder than the crowd of thoughts that was trying to exist together in my cramped mind. So I neglected the clutter in my head just for that night, closed my eyes, and fell asleep to the interstate lullaby: the orchestra of tires and pavement.
Road Trip By James Overstreet Oil on Canvas 36” x 28”
Diamond Tiles By Mariah West
It Wasnâ€™t Your Typical Kind Of ______ By Brittany McMahen When she sang the crowd dispersed When she sang all I wanted was a handful of Starbursts Oh, how I loved what everyone loathed Why do I hear a gospel choir while everyone else hears blah blah blah?
When Iâ€™m deep in feelings
everything sounds like hark! instead of ______ When she sang my heart skipped a beat When she sang everyone else left their seats
Oh, how I desired what no one else aspired to be like my addiction shifted to confection putting me into a dreamlike state where there was only ambiguity…
Clarity won’t solve anything. I’m a cherry-flavored lovin’ soul who only wants to know
how everyone else could be so cold when there wasn’t even snow?
The Pickup By Marlene Olin Moonie was living the dream. It had been five years since he left New Jersey and headed for the mountains. His father was a mailman, his mother a hairdresser. His sister and her kids lived five blocks away in an identical matchbox house. But ever since he could hold a pencil in his hand, Moonie had his sights set on other horizons. Wyoming was less and more than he expected. Less money. Fewer friends. More cold weather. More expenses. He took each job the Teton Trails Inn threw his way. Cleaning rooms, waiting on tables, shoveling leaves in the fall and snow in the winter. But every spare moment was spent writing. Every effort enhanced his resolve. Food had lost its taste. Sunlight hurt his eyes and shadows muddied the walls. Thirty years old and his whole life was a shadow. The novel was almost finished. Then his life would begin. His roommate Ivan was from Slovakia. The motel had offered them employee housing in a thirty-year-old trailer. Ivan manned the front desk, answering the phone with one hand while thumbing his Berlitz book with the other. Looking back, it was Ivan who started the rumor. He was the one who convinced Moonie that R. L. Stine was checking in. “He come next veek,”said Ivan. “Evleeone is excited. Dey all are buying the books.” This was the break Moonie had been waiting for. R. L. Stine. The author. The world-renowned author. Moonie redlined each of his books, reread each page until the words were etched in his brain. All he needed was a few moments of the famous man’s time the opportunity to share his work, to thrust his manuscript into the man’s hands and say Here it is. Here’s the sum and totality of my existence. Here’s the fruit of my loins and the breath of my lungs. My novel. Moonie could see it. He could hear it. He could taste it. The man would scan the first sentence, casually, like he was reading the Sunday Times then slowly look up. He’d gaze into Moonie’s eyes like he was the messiah made flesh. Lumber Towards Tomorrow, he would say. I love the title. Then he’d weigh the stack of papers in his hands, feel the heft of it, and quietly ask: Is there any more? Moonie saw his future unfold in dreams awake and asleep. Every thought, every move congealed into a plan. He’d volunteer for the airport run—hell he would trade a month of midnight shifts for that airport run. Then he’d drive real
slow on the way back to town, pointing out the sites. There’s the new Wildlife Art Museum, he’d say. That’s the elk refuge on your left. Mighty fine cooking at the Painted Bird. The dreams played out in Technicolor and Dolby Sound. By the time they pulled up to Teton Trails, they’d be long-lost pals. “Here’s a twenty,” Stine would say. Moonie would swat the man’s hand away, refuse the tip, act insulted. Then Stine would step a foot back, squint one eye, and give him the lookover. My. My. My. Stine would say. Such an intelligent young man as yourself must surely have other dreams, other goals. He’d pat Moonie on the back and call him son. The day of the pickup went according to plan. It was as if Moonie were sleepwalking through one of his dreams. The mountains looked like a stage prop, the peaks a purplish haze, the sky flat and blue and endless. He watched from the highway as three separate flights striped the air then descended. A chill shivered through him. Goosebumps blossomed up and down his arms. His future was within his grasp. He could see it. He could hear it. He could taste it. Minutes later, chaos erupted inside the small airport. Taxi drivers jockeyed for position. Dozens of guys with white signs crowded the lobby area. Dude Ranches. Pickups from hotels big and small. When Moonie held up his sign, his hands shook. “You my ride?” The man was older than the photo on the book jackets. A heavier, weathered version. Just a few wisps of hair. A face so beefy and red it looked like a pair of strip steaks. When he stuck out his hand, Moonie shook it three times just to make sure that he was real. “Welcome to Jackson Hole,” said Moonie. The words flew out the way he had rehearsed. “Let me help you with your bags.” Then it was just the two of them. Moonie stuffed the rear of the SUV with the man’s gear—the fishing rods golf clubs jesus what didn’t this guy pack—and opened the passenger door. He was hefty and maybe a little arthritic and when he placed one foot on the running board, Moonie watched as the man narrowed his eyes, winced. “Is the weather always this perfect or was it special ordered for me?” It took a few seconds for the man to arrange himself, shifting his bottom, figuring out the seat belt, planting his feet. Then as he gazed through the windshield Moonie was thinking thank god I got the car cleaned. Did he notice that the car’s clean? Do you think he’d like the scenic route? Should I offer him a tour? “Is this your first visit?” asked Moonie.
“Yes siree,” said the man. “Meeting some friends. Heading to Ennis for a few days. Fly fishing the Madison. You ever fish the Madison?” A world-renowned author was in his grasp and now Moonie felt him slip away like a trout. The man was spending two or three days in Jackson, tops. Moonie’s heart jumped. This scenario wasn’t part of his calculations. The longprotracted siege he envisioned suddenly shrank. There’d be no time for a prolonged courtship. In the course of the next fifteen minutes, Moonie had to become his best friend. “Would you like to float the Snake?” asked Moonie. “I know the river. Know what they’re biting, too.” Moonie couldn’t afford a license let alone rent a boat for the day but he didn’t have time for details, who could sweat the details? An ocean was pounding in his ears. “The golf is great out here,” said Moonie. “Tee times are booked for a week. It helps to know a local. They always give locals first crack.” It was like an out-of-body experience, watching himself shoot the breeze, spending money he didn’t have, offering information he had no idea was true. By the time they pulled up to the inn, Moonie had set aside the next three days for the man’s entertainment. He’d get fired for sure and lose his employee housing to boot but it would be worth it. Three days from now he and the man would be thick as thieves. Four days from now Lumbering Towards Tomorrow would be FedExed to a New York agent. In five days an editor would nod his head approvingly. By the sixth day the movie rights would be up for negotiation. Brad Pitt and George Clooney would be duking it out, fighting over a six—no a seven— figure offer. On the seventh day Moonie would rest. “Here we are,” said Moonie. “The Teton Trails Inn.” The man stared out the window. “This is it?” He reached into the pocket of his jacket and rummaged through some papers. “Doesn’t look like the picture. You sure this is the Teton Trails Inn?” Moonie’s throat started to close. The place was a three star, maybe years ago a four. He should be driving him to The Four Seasons. That’s where the celebrities went. This was a big mistake. He knew it was a big mistake. “What we lack in looks,” sputtered Moonie, “we make up for in service.” Then he grabbed the three suitcases, golf clubs and fishing rods, lugged them up a flight of stairs and laid them in the lobby. Ivan was at the desk. Headphones on, he was mumbling. Probably conjugating verbs, thought Moonie. The guy seemed stuck in the present tense.
Moonie cleared his throat. “Mr. R. L. Stine is here, Ivan.” Flipping a switch, Ivan cut off the stream of cowboy music coursing through the hotel’s sound system. Then into a small microphone he stammered: “Vee are pleased to announce that Mr. Steen is here.” The words boomed through the large room, rattling the antler chandeliers. The man looked to his right and looked to his left. In minutes he was shaking hands with a dozen strangers. “Ray Stein. Pleased to meet you. Raymond L. Stein from Brooklyn. The Plumbing supplies. Thirty years on Utica Avenue.” Moonie’s hand still held the sign. “R.L. Stine, right?” “You know another Stein?” “S-T-I-N-E,” spelled Moonie. “As in Stine, the author.” “I sell toilets and bath tubs, my friend. Spell it any way you want.” Then the man laughed. The man laughed all the way to the elevator and all the way down the hall. He laughed as Moonie dragged his three suitcases, golf clubs and fly rods and dumped them in his room. He laughed as Moonie said thanks but no thanks to the twenty. “We’re floating the Snake tomorrow, right?” asked the man. He clapped Moonie on the back then he ruffled his hair. No one had ruffled Moonie’s hair since he was a kid. His grandpa had ruffled his hair. My. My. My. Such an intelligent young man as yourself must surely have other dreams, other goals. My. My. My. “See you at seven,” said Moonie. He swallowed hard. Something was sinking inside him. Bobbing up and down like a fly on the water then sinking like a stone. Here it is. Here’s the sum and totality of my existence. Here’s the fruit of my loins and the breath of my lungs. “Seven o’clock,” said Moonie. He walked over to the window and opened the curtains. Outside were endless skies and infinite possibilities. In Wyoming, the sky never seemed to meet the ground. “Seven o'clock. That’s when they’re hungry,” said Moonie. “That’s when the fish take the bait.” Somehow he would get the time off, borrow a car, cough up a license. The filament was pulling and the current was swift. Somehow his dreams would come true.
Orchid Broche II (Front) By Lisa Wilson
Orchid Broche II (Back) By Lisa Wilson
Cascading Vessel By Lisa Wilson
On to Loss By Maria Kopper Grief-time passes powerless; it bobs and floats in senseless passage. Moving not forward, nor sideways, it is indiscernible in its motion on dark languid water. Occasional ripples circle out in the slight churn. In solitary chill, you leave me. Days come in winter variations of light, hanging sideways and harsh.
Stark extremes vary with their too-bright sharp notes or dim with muted half-notes, unfulfilled. Perception slants in lopsided kilter at the injury of loss. Without dawn, I find myself. Breath suspends the vacant heart, as if
in a return, you alone could complete. But looming, half-rise and fall breaths are held in my empty stillness.
Whole By Chloe West
Moonlit Sky By Ramona Ortiz
The moonlit sky the shadow of the trees, the whispers of the wind singing everyone to sleep.
Nautilus Spiral By Lisa Wilson
A Child’s Garden of Gunk By Ruben Rodriguez When I was a child, I found white tulips outside my neighbor’s door. I snatched them from the porch before they were retrieved by the name scripted on a pale-yellow envelope that I tossed into the gutter’s dirty water. My child-soft arms held the bulbs out away from my body. In the backyard, I replanted severed stems into shallow holes. With a garden hose I watered the small patch of tulips that collapsed to their stems, asleep in the mud.
Contributor Bios Diane Egge’s interest in photography began when she received her first camera as a child, and has continued throughout her life. She’s pursued her photography more seriously in the last few years. She’s had photos published in Wyoming Wildlife and High Plains Register. She’s a member of Cheyenne Camera Club. You may see more of her work at art shows around town. She enjoys hiking (taking pictures) and backpacking (even more pictures) with her husband, Jerry. She is also a writer and musician. Bernadine Ernst was born and raised in North Dakota. She has been living in Wyoming the past 18 years. She is a non-traditional student with multiple interests in all art forms and is currently involved in painting and metal courses.
Tim Keppel has published stories and essays in Glimmer Train, The Literary Review, Mid-American Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Xavier Review, Carolina Quarterly, Best New Writing, Prism International, and elsewhere. He lives in Cali, Colombia, and teaches at the Universidad del Valle. Maria Kopper considers herself a Wyoming native. Although born in New York State, she left it behind long ago for the beautiful landscape of Wyoming. She currently owns and operates a catering and mobile wood-fired pizza business. She enjoys the Wyoming outdoors with family as much as possible and continues to work toward her goal of full-time writing. Carrie Lockwood works full-time for the Wyoming Office of Tourism. She is a non-traditional student taking metal courses for the fourth year. Carrie enjoys working with silver and brass; however, her preferred medium is copper. Using the skills she has learned through the metal courses, she enjoys manipulating metal into artistic pieces that are commonly inspired by nature.
Morganne Lopez is an English major and currently finishing up her Associate of Arts degree at LCCC. She loves to write as much as she can and plans to continue writing more creative nonfiction stories. She loves to travel and has traveled all over the United States. Morganne plans to travel the rest of the world while writing her stories. Janice Mayo is an alumna of LCCC and serves as adjunct faculty teaching in the College of Business. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Psychology from Park University and a Master of Public Administration from American Military University. Janice began taking creative writing classes in 2010 through Gotham Writerâ€™s Workshop online. She has had nonfiction previously published in LCCCâ€™s Wingspan. This is her first published piece of fiction. Caitlin McGehee has always possessed an affinity for poetics, prose and linguistics, receiving her first award in 2003 from Wyoming Young Authors, taking first in state for poetry (grade 4). She hopes her lifelong love of words will culminate in becoming a bona fide poet and novelist. Until then, she's enjoying spending time with her dog, listening to radio shows and planning adventures in faraway places. Brittany McMahen is a 22-year-old writer/poet from the Peace Garden State. Her work has never been published before because she kept her genius to herself for years. She enjoys reading college textbooks, watching horror films, and eating tuna fish sandwiches. Brittany is also very sarcastic and (hopefully) funny. Born in Brooklyn, raised in Miami, and educated at the University of Michigan, Marlene Olin recently completed her first novel. Her short stories have been featured or are forthcoming in publications such as Emrys Journal, Upstreet Magazine, Steam Ticket, Vine Leaves, Crack the Spine, Poetica, Edge, Meat for Tea, The Broken Plate, and The Saturday Evening Post online. She is a contributing editor at Arcadia magazine. For the last 25 years, she and her family have summered in Wilson, Wyoming.
Ramona Ortiz was born and raised in Greeley, Colorado. She moved to Wyoming in 2010 with her husband and their children. Currently Ramona works a full-time job, has a full-time home/family schedule and is enrolled as a full-time non-traditional student at LCCC, majoring in criminal justice: pre-law; where she plans to get her Associate of Arts degree. Once she gets her Associate of Arts degree she will transfer to the University of Wyoming to get her Bachelor in Criminal Justice. Her overall goal once she obtains her bachelorâ€™s is to apply to many universities of law schools (mainly focusing on getting in at the University Wyomingâ€™s law school) to obtain her Juris Doctor Degree and practice in criminal law. Although she has a rigorous schedule, she enjoys her down time with her husband and kids. She loves the arts and enjoys either reading, writing, going to art galleries, or just hanging out with the people she loves most at home. James Overstreet received his Associate of Arts from LCCC fall semester of 2014. Wanting to continue focusing on the traditional path of art, James is currently working on his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. Tamara Rodgers enjoys working in black-and-white photography and attempts to capture the spirit of the west and what once was. She is a full-time multi media student at LCCC and is to graduate in the fall of 2015. Ruben Rodriguez writes, paints, and wastes his time at the foot of the San Bernardino Mountains. He is the fiction editor of The Great American Lit Mag and the author of chapbook We Do What We Want (Orange Monkey Publishing, 2015). Some of his poems have been deemed fit for consumption by the likes of Welter, The Stillwater Review, Dewpoint, Suisun Valley Review, Perceptions and 94 Creations. You can find him at www.rubenstuff.com. Judith Schulz retired from teaching high school English in 2008 and began her first creative writing pieces in 2009. Although her major work has been in creative nonfiction, a class with Kristin Abraham inspired her to venture into poetry. Subject matter arises easily from her 50 years of marriage to Craig and the shared raising of four sons. Judith also remains creatively active in community theater and vocal performing groups and supports art in all its inspiring forms. She was thrilled and proud to have her submissions chosen in 2014 and again in this issue of High Plains Register.
Chloe West is a figurative painter from Cheyenne, Wyoming. Her work explores issues of identity, gender, and place. Her work has been exhibited in numerous national exhibitions. She is currently a Mater in Fine Arts candidate at Washington University in St. Louis. Mariah West is an art major at LCCC, who also recently graduated from the University of Wyoming with a degree in American Studies. She works primarily in ceramics and enjoys learning about other cultures and artistic styles. Lisa Wilson is a formally trained artist and metalsmith living in Fort Collins, Colorado. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design from Indiana University in 2007, and went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts from Miami University in 2010. â€œMy medium of choice has been precious metal since the first chance that I had to work with it. I enjoy the balance in fluidity and structure that it has, and how these qualities are mirrored in the handling of it. My designs are inspired by the natural world, and I often draw on details from my immediate surroundings, whether I am traveling in new environments, or enjoying the familiarity of my own garden. I hand fabricate each design, indulging in the details of process and fine craftsmanship from start to finish.â€?
HPR Staff Spring 2015
Front (left to right): Kate Roberts, Brittany McMahen, Morganne Lopez, Kevin Klatt Back (left to right): Becca Robinson, April Brown, Ramona Ortiz, Jeri Seipp Not Pictured: Kadi Buchanan, Kyle Burton, Hawk McLeod, Hailey Riedel
Front to Back: Jessica Dawkins, April Brown, Becca Robinson, Brittany McMahen, Jeri Seipp, Kate Roberts
Staff Bios April Brown has been interested in all things about writing since she was young. She has always enjoyed reading and writing since she has learned to do so. Currently April is majoring in English education and hopes to go on in this field to the point of a master’s degree. She has gone to LCCC for her first two years and graduated in May 2015. She will be transferring to the University of Wyoming for the next steps in her English career. She also trains dinosaurs in her free time. Kadi Buchanan loves writing and loves sharing her own life stories in everything she writes, and has since she was 16 years old. She thinks it’s important to show your inner child in life and in writing because life’s too short to be serious all the time. Kyle Burton is a nontraditional student currently attending LCCC. He is pursuing a fine arts degree in creative writing and English/literature, hoping one day to be a published author. He enjoys writing entirely too much to be healthy, working entirely too much to be happy, and constantly contradicting himself. Jessica Dawkins has been on the run since the day she was born, having lived in Alabama, multiple parts of Alaska, South Carolina, and, currently, in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Jessica’s passion for writing lies mostly in the children’s fiction genre, but has been explored in the form of journalism with LCCC’s award-winning student newspaper, Wingspan, where she served as online editor for part of the spring and the entire summer semesters of 2015. When she’s not distracted by her many pets, Pinterest or YouTube, Jessica enjoys working with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, and chasing her dream of becoming a published children’s author and book cover designer. Kevin Klatt is majoring in computer science. He enjoys reading and writing, preferring epic fantasies hoping to one day be published in that genre. Morganne Lopez is an English major at LCCC. She was born in Southern California and lived in five different states before moving to Cheyenne, Wyoming, when she was ten years old. She loves writing and her cat, Butters.
Hawk McLeod is a passionate if not somewhat disorganized being whose current major is psychology. She works for a company that helps to provide and assist the developmentally disabled with daily living as adults. Hawk was born in Maine and has since moved continuously through the United States with her family. She enjoys reading gory fantasy novels and having popcorn fights with her family, just not cleaning up after. Her main goal in life is to eventually be able to impact someone else’s life in a healthy and positive way. Brittany McMahen is an English major at LCCC. She’s not a fan of snow & ice even though she was born and raised in North Dakota. No fear, family, and financial aid brought her to the windy state where she continues her pursuit of becoming a professional screenwriter one day. Ramona Ortiz was born and raised in Greeley, Colorado. She moved to Wyoming in 2010 with her husband and their children. Currently Ramona works a full-time job, has a full-time home/family schedule and is enrolled as a full-time non-traditional student at LCCC, majoring in criminal justice: pre-law; where she plans to get her Associate of Arts degree. Once she gets her Associate of Arts degree she will transfer to the University of Wyoming to get her Bachelor in Criminal Justice. Her overall goal once she obtains her bachelor’s is to apply to many universities of law schools (mainly focusing on getting in at the University Wyoming’s law school) to obtain her Juris Doctor Degree and practice in criminal law. Although she has a rigorous schedule, she enjoys her down time with her husband and kids. She loves the arts and enjoys either reading, writing, going to art galleries, or just hanging out with the people she loves most at home.
Hailey Riedel is a full-time student studying English at LCCC. She will be receiving her Associate of Arts degree by the summer of 2015. Haileyâ€™s hobbies are widely diverse, which include equestrian riding, photography, soccer, reading, and DIY (Do It Yourself) restoration crafts. She is expecting to move to Laramie to attend the University of Wyoming in the fall of 2015, and work on obtaining her bachelor's degree. Eventually, she wants to acquire an internship at a publishing company and maybe become an editor.
Kate Roberts, originally from Colorado, is a long-time resident of Cheyenne. She thoroughly enjoys the beach, cows, and progressive politics. She is also passionate about theatre, and believes only in stochasticity and coffee.
Rebecca Robinson was born and raised in Tampa, Florida. She joined the United States Air Force in 2007, then got orders to Wyoming, and has been there ever since. She is currently an English major, exploring the arts and herself. She has always loved to read and is just finding out she enjoys writing too. Jeri Seipp is a wandering individual, mind and body alike; she has traveled the United States learning all she can for the past 20 years. Her knowledge is vast and diverse, ranging from glass blowing to massage therapy to organic farming. She is a compassionate and driven individual whose curiosity fuels her work and academics. Jeri is currently majoring in the arts and humanities; she hopes to one day be able to make her living in the world teaching and creating art.