a journal curating literary arts Volume 2.2 Winter/Spring 2018
indicia a journal curating literary arts Volume 2.2 Winter/Spring 2018 PDF Collection © April 2018 indicia Layout by AJ Urquidi. Cover art: “Men unfit for mankind” by NuBlaccSoul. All authors and artists retain rights to their individual pieces. This journal must not be reproduced, in part or in whole, without written consent of the contributor, except when cited partially for reviews. Contact email@example.com to be put in touch with contributors, or for other inquiries.
Executive Editors: Marcus Clayton & AJ Urquidi Fiction Editor: Ashton Politanoff Poetry Editors: Jax NTP & Toren Wallace
in this issue: editors’ introduction 1 2 3 5 7 8 10 11 13 15 21 23 25 26 28 30 31 33 35 36 37 38 39 41 43 45 47 48 50 51
Movement of the Shudder Joint – Lisa Favicchia on things we should do and things we really do – Constance Schultz Becoming a Tree – Nick Wiese Men unfit for mankind – NuBlaccSoul i used to have ideas that would bleed when cut – gary lundy shadowgraph 102: sequestered in the interior – Sean Howard The Thing Itself – R. S. Stewart Channel U/Predecease – Jessie Janeshek Buy with Your Eyes – Jack Felice Soldaderas – Alejandra Jimenez Jefferson – Jeremy Peretz Red Head – Jack Felice Ferryboat – Toti O’Brien Frog Calls – Yuan Changming Domestic Conjecture #54 – Anne Rubin Channel U/Losing Patience – Jessie Janeshek The Lizard – Adam Golub Can This Be a Tiger? – Jack Felice Remain – Trevor Allred florence ate a hole in my tooth – Thomas L. Winters Raccoon – Yuan Changming Piano Burial – Lara Dolphin Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair – Salvatore Difalco What the Sea Left Behind III – Archita Mittra Nine Angles on Toys – M. A. Istvan Jr. tideline calendar 2016 – Sean Howard Hive – Lisa Favicchia Tomorrow, a Sofa Table – Trent Busch Stuck in Nowhere – Thaddeus Rutkowski These Are the Nerves I Feel – Salvatore Difalco contributors
editors’ introduction indicia: in-DISHy-yuh n. pl. (1) differentiating marks, characters, or signs, or (2) a biannual literary arts magazine
— featuring poetry, flash and short prose, and art — that says “out with the old guard, in with the noobs.”
For each issue of indicia, we seek poems, art, and short and shorter prose that hunker down at the fringes of the experimental and the accessible, with a special emphasis on developing their own sense of play. The ones that make the biggest impression on us as vibrant, necessary, and/or bizarre are presented within these pages. It’s been a longer hibernation than usual since the last appearance of indicia. The lives of the editors have changed drastically in recent months, as the literary scene and our country itself continue shifting in parallel. Now indicia re-emerges with a clearer vision of itself and a deliberate path forward through the scattering of disparate spirited statements and meaningful aesthetic nuggets that find themselves in our queue. Stumbling their way towards our mailbox with a guiding mission all their own, the pieces in this issue reflect migrations, distance and time traversed, environments and inhabitants either left behind or dragged along to find peace on the other side of obscure doors. As always, an unsettling tension undergirds the smashing and quirky opera that drew us in. It wouldn’t be true to life if we weren’t trembling beneath the ridiculous surface. Yadda yadda … bye bye. AJ Urquidi & Marcus Clayton, Executive Editors
Nothing in the cry of cicadas suggests they are about to die. â&#x20AC;&#x201D; BashĹ?, translated by Sam Hamill
Movement of the Shudder Joint Lisa Favicchia I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t wait to have grey hairs running down the length of my back, braid them into thick ropes of silver, use the ends like horsetail to sweep the floor. I hold many topiaries in my stomachs like water, or hallways filled with green moss, or water, just one more peel away from rebirth, the cloud garment unsewn from the cavernous peach pit, until I have become a spur of bone, rough, heavily marrowed â&#x20AC;&#x201D; perfect for curry.
on things we should do and things we really do Constance Shultz privilege and fear of road building equipment on being allowed to use the swings she ran and the geese flew the lake hides waves wind blows cold cold and she swings in flip-flops we are in the rooms that are the park sun breaks the clouds teases with summer ideas we should be doing laundry schoolwork cleaning the car grocery shopping washing dishes finding an assessment giving Winston a bath but we find ourselves at the park and the sun is trying just like us 2
Becoming a Tree Nick Wiese Up in the mountains, far to the north, there are trees that grow up out of the river. Now, they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t actually grow up from the water like mangroves; it is too cold for that during the winter. Instead, each has its own little island of rock and dirt and heartache that gives the tree something to hold onto. The river quenches every thirst of the roots, pushing the branches further and further into the sky. I would come here when I wished for my own island, my own piece of land to belong to. One summer, lightning shattered one of the island trees, straight down to its roots. After the storm, the biggest chunks of the tree I could find were wedged into the bank of the river, barely taller than me; the trunk had been replaced by a jagged charcoal patch of nothing. For weeks, I took my place on the island, drinking from the river and turning my face to the sun. But then there was a week of rain, heavy rain, that kept me in the foothills and locked in my room, sulking away the hours. The day the rain stopped, I left early in the morning, hoping none of the other trees had noticed that I had left for a few days. In my thinking, they had been around for ages and ages; a couple of days had to be beneath their notice. How wrong I was. When I crested the ridge that flattened into the river plane, I was momentarily heartbroken. Growing out of my island was a tiny sapling, reveling in the sun and a foot of growth. She was so achingly proud of being there, of being alive, that I knew we had to be related. I waded through the biting cold rushes of water, clambering onto the crumbly dirt of the island, now eager to introduce myself. I came back every day that summer, listening to what it was like to become a tree. When the river was low, I could hear her roots burrowing until they found sustenance. When the sun was bright and hot, she showed me how to drink it in, how to grow quickly in the warmth. I listened without speaking. By the end of the summer, I was one-quarter tree and she had grown strong, anchoring herself to our island.
Men unfit for mankind NuBlaccSoul
i used to have ideas that would bleed when cut gary lundy
moments ago they appear wrapped in uncertainties which turn into fabrics inlayed in justifications. you wander inattentive to those others in uproar over what canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be changed. i slowly shave my legs offer hair to the ghostly memory of a childhood still too confused to afford respite. they share the one night before we knew of your sudden fall out into nonexistence. what pleasure brings the pain tied to an innocent enough sharing. so little revealed even with black and white reasoning. the small bird hidden among the leaves colors mixtures. where now to plant your head your mouth and eyes. such sentient waste when they posit an attack as simply caring deeply.
shadowgraph 102: sequestered in the interior (poetry detected in john van vleck’s nobel physics lecture, 1977) Sean Howard
i ‘first order’: murder mystery. (ahem! slide show, the world upside down…) sleeping; ‘free mechanics.’ oppie — spent fool. my sincerest apollo guys ii ‘focused’ — only considering/the structure of the temple… white magic? prospero trying to fathom his shadow
iii mech henge. (horizontology.) ‘field’: crystal breath, the quiet determination of the light… ‘still murky’? goingson inside the atom iv the child’s terror: ‘factual expressions.’ (science, man’s crowning bereavement…) the bomb? ‘sequestered/in the interior’ v american shadows: black rain, strange fruit
The Thing Itself R. S. Stewart Avoiding nouns is advice best given in circles of resistance to chairs and tables and doors where dwellers have had the hunch for hours unending that things in a cluster donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t contain what they long claimed to hang on in the need to sit and scoot up to to attain an altitude of assurance. Nouns pound too loudly on the frames of humans. Their demands are excruciating and exemplary. Whatever names nouns assume are soon absorbed by words with less of a stick to uphold them, words slow in their float on the papery whims of constraints, more solid systems than speech and its written equivalent that a knowledge of nouns shuts out.
Channel U/Predecease Jessie Janeshek We speak in fragments I am not acute touching myself trying not to believe someday Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll die.
active ingredients to the sign of the times to the sign of a stranger in a red and white truck
A headwound a brocade chaise lounge (get your head in there laced to that wicker chair) crawl into that coffin cheap stockings and bondage still the day seems so long. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know how to frame this a brown wig teased into a beehive everyone on tiptoes to see if we fuck. I brush my skeleton but all I can think of is I look like a ghost haunting a house haunting a hotel a bullet in the mantelpiece a white faux fur robe that night at the lake and your dark folk song and I could have lost eyes
but in the hottub I have no context. I masturbate I shower down pills sugary surgery your twirly bottle inside me as the 8-ball says sore breasts join a cult renovate or your ass will be heart-shaped so start your own cult.
Buy with Your Eyes Jack Felice
Soldaderas Alejandra Jimenez
“Andale Adelita, a little more. Three kilometers and we’ll rest.” I am tired and hungry but Adela is six months pregnant. I have to keep us going, El Coyote said we can’t keep up he’ll leave us. I reach into my backpack. “I’ll give you a piece of chocolate,” I say, waving it in front of my sister. She snatches the bar free and reaches out for my hand. I take it, giving it a hard squeeze. We walk in silence swinging our hands back and forth. Two hours later I look back over to Adelita. She is looking down at her feet and gripping her lower back. The sun smolders above us. I can feel my head and neck burning. I try not to focus on it and keep trekking forward. He swaggered into the kitchen, his small frame taking up more space than it should. He wacked my mother’s porcelain off her showcase counter. “You … you’re a stupid bitch,” he slurred through a fit of giggles. I got up from the table to get the broom. “Where do you think you’re going?” The smell of tequila permeated from his mouth into mine. “Ay Apa, I’m only going to get the broom. It’s right outside the door.” Sometimes if I pretended nothing was wrong he’d leave me alone. “Amor, I’m too tired,” Adelita is breathing heavily and I can see her face is flushed, she looks like a tomato. “My feet are killing me. I can’t. I need to stop.” 15
“Only a little bit more. El Coyote said we will take a break in an hour.” “That’s what you said one hour ago,” she whines. El Coyote keeps warning that he’ll leave us. I’m not sure he will, but I’d rather not risk it. I know the rest of the group is annoyed and will leave us. I reach my hand out to Adelita. “No, amor, I’m tired. I need to rest. I’m sorry.” She stops and sits on the dirt. No longer hearing our chatter, El Coyote looks back. He stares at me with ravenous hunger. I scratch my head. “No,” he smirked, holding onto the kitchen dresser, “on your knees, puta.” I felt my eyes begin to water. Ay virgencita mia, save me. My mother’s mulberry tree sits a few meters in front of the door. We used to grind the maiz together, on the metate underneath the tree. The metate is littered with rotted mulberries. I dropped to my knees. No one would hear us. “Muchachas!” El Coyote yells, “You need to keep walking. We don’t have time for breaks.” He makes eye contact with me. It makes me nervous. “My sister is very tired. Can’t we stop for ten minutes?” “No,” he scoffs, “don’t be a pendeja, if we stop now it means more traveling in the dark.” El Coyote lowers his eyelids and leans in closer, “Then the real coyotes come out.” He snarls and barks at me. I grip Adelita’s arms, putting her on her feet. “Come,” I command. El Coyote laughs. The tears started to drip down my cheeks. “Mira, you’re such a crybaby,” he said. Stumbling, he crouched down and smiled, touching my face. “Apa, please,” I begged.
I should’ve stayed quiet. He grabbed my hair with both hands, dragging me through the floor. He stopped and let go with one hand. I could hear him rummaging, looking for something. I’d never thought one could sleep while walking but the sound of feet shuffling along the dirt and rocks has synchronized, lulling me into sleep. “EY!” Adelita shouts in my ear. We have finally stopped to rest. The night has come and the sweat makes us colder. Our group hides between patches of shrubs. Some people remove their shoes and El Coyote scolds them, “Pendejos! Leave your shoes on. We’re right near the border.” El Coyote shakes his head, followed by a muttering of foul language. I place both our backpacks against an agave so that Adelita can rest her back. She quickly falls asleep, letting out gentle snores. I lay down, resting my head on her legs. “Ahora si, vas a ver what happens to putas like you. You’re just like your puta madre,” he let out a loud belch. “You think you’re ‘la divina garza.’” He gripped my hair tighter. I felt a sawing motion and tried to get away. “Estate quieta,” he demanded. I couldn’t stay still though, he was too rough and the dullness of the knife forced my body to move. Exasperated, he banged my head onto the dirt floor. My arms and legs were immobile squished beneath my torso. He sat on me. “How I want to have you in this position,” he grunted as he rocked back and forth, back and forth. “Que lastima, she never admitted you weren’t mine.” The tears puddled and I wondered if the floor would mud. I felt his grip relax. His dead weight was completely on top of me. I breathed in the scene. “Dios ayudame,” I pushed with all my might and managed to topple him off of me. I ran out the door and grabbed the metate’s pestle. “Don’t you dare!” I shouted. 17
He lazily walked out the door, reaching out for me. “Perdoname diosito,” I swung the pestle, smacking him across the face. I took off running through the gate door. The chickens scattered and the cows looked up. I didn’t dare look back until I’d crossed the stream. He was touching his head looking for blood. I continued running and didn’t stop until I’d reached Adelita’s house. I sit up. “Adela,” I whisper, “Adelita, let’s go to the bathroom.” She doesn’t move. I shake her lightly. She swats me away. “Andale, come on,” I urge. “Que te coman los coyotes, you’ll make a yummy snack. I’m tired,” she yawns. “Bruja,” I hiss, “let me grab my backpack.” She lifts her head, allowing me to grab my stuff. I take out a roll of toilet paper and wander a few minutes away. I squat down. I hear the coyotes in the distance, there’s too many of us for them to actually be a threat. I focus on trickling so it doesn’t get on my pants. “Mira, look at that ass! It’s as full as the moon, chiquita,” El Coyote leers, unzipping his pants. “Quieres? I’ll give it to you,” he jerks himself, “perhaps you want it in the ass?” I jump up. “Marimacha!” He yells after me. I massage my head as I walk back. I didn’t finish peeing. “We’ll leave together,” Adelita assured me. She snipped at my hair, “Panchito wanted me to wait until after the baby is born, but can you imagine? The baby would get us caught. It’ll probably be as dramatic as its father,” snip, snip, “plus I want my baby to be a US citizen.” She patted my head. “You look just like la Audrey Hepburn,” she exclaimed, bringing a mirror in front of my face. “I look like a boy,” I said. 18
“No, when your hair starts to grow back you’ll look like Audrey,” she reassured. Adelita walked over to the dresser, pulling out two backpacks. She handed me the newer one. “You can’t come with me. You’ll lose the baby,” I told her. “I won’t,” she said, throwing a roll of toilet paper to me. “I’ve taken to doing everything around here, collecting the eggs, picking the vegetables, cleaning, cooking, and I even have to carry water from the well. It’s taxing work. I’ll be fine!” she hollered as she walked outside to go to the kitchen. I stop and take in the stillness. I look up at the sky. A mosquito begins to suck on my throat. The crickets are chirping. I’ve become lost in the galaxies when I hear a sound. It's strange. I don’t know what it is. It’s coming from the sky. Lights stream out of it, searching. “A CORRER, run!” El Coyote screams. I take off. I’m unstoppable. I’ll reach the stars. There is a light in front of me getting nearer. I slow down. Virgencita? I jump into the nearest shrub. The car stops and the doors open. La migra. “Sal de ahi, come out!” one shouts. “We can see you.” I stand up. “Put your hands behind your head, manos arriba!” a gringo yells. “Bueno, kneel slowly, ponerse de rodillas.” El Coyote stepped out from the field of maiz. His jeans were torn and he reeked of sweat. “Queremos crusar, we want to cross,” Adelita told him. “I’ll take her,” he said, looking at me and wriggling his eyebrows, “but not you. You’ll slow us down.” I scratched my head. “My baby needs to be born north of the border,” Adelita replied. I took her hand into mine. “We have a lot of money,” she told him. I took out the American dollars from Adelita’s backpack. “Mira.” 19
El Coyote let out a hoot and grabbed the money, bringing it to his face. “We leave this weekend,” he said between sniffs. “I keep the money whether you cross or not.” Adelita and I hugged, nodding in agreement. They come over, guns drawn. I finish peeing. They pat me down but find nothing. I’m not a criminal. They sit me down in front of the lights streaming from the car. More gringos begin to stroll in accompanied by two more people they’ve captured. Neither is Adelita. They sit the three of us down. Two gringos stand over us. I can hear them talking, but I don’t understand. I wonder what will happen now. Where is my sister? She can’t be far. God, protect her. “Permite remover arbolitos?” the nearest gringo asks. I look up at him confused. He comes over and picks at my head. He kneels in front of me, presenting his findings, small twigs and leaves. We stare at each other. I shiver and scratch at my head. He goes back to his partners. They whisper and look. The coyotes howl, and I feel a sense of peace.
Jefferson Jeremy Jacob Peretz in Monticello ingesting lustrous mercurous chloride popularly Calomel® from Greek kalos and melos or “beautiful” and “black.” Where specters of Berbice of “Hayti” are always on his mind, in his body, negotiating a Purchase with Napoleon and stretching out his hand, “our” hands, from Misi-ziibi (Anishinaabe’s “Great River”) to Rockies. Lewis and Clark’s men carried their white tonic (or had Indians and York, Clark’s inherited enslaved African, carry for them) to treat their syphilis and other STIs, which they manifestly spread westward on “expedition” following their destinies and so “ours,” to the peaceful Pacific and beyond.
Red Head Jack Felice
Ferryboat Toti O’Brien
I am enthralled by moments of passage, discontinuity. Someone dies. Someone else is born. Someone first kisses or penetrates someone else. The crash of an accident. The takeoff of a plane. Thinking of transportation, I get close to the fracture line that captured me first … two limbs of land facing, and the ferry — its loud sirens signaling it’s time to leave. Move away! The gates lock like a guillotine and everything goes dark. Close your eyes! You are in the belly of the whale. Billions, zillions of butterflies are fluttering inside your throat, while the smell of fish makes you dizzy. Awkwardly, the ship eases its mass, then — smooth like an iron — slides over the blue. Oily waves shush against its flanks — molten velvet murmuring secrets, lulling you to sleep. Too bad! The other side already towers afore, gulping you with its mighty jaw. With a shock, a punch in your gut, the ferry meets the opposite shore. The wide gate shrieks open. People tumble out like pebbles — garish, colorful, small. They step onto the continent. Back to the island. Farewell. Welcome. Farewell. And a nameless chasm in between.
Frog Calls Yuan Changming The frog has stopped calling In the early light, but I Still feel the sound waves Surging towards my mindâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s shore Though different from the frogs My mother used to listen to when I must have heard deep Inside her teenager womb As she walked at dusk from her first job In town back to her native village Their calls separate us into two worlds And my nostalgia is her nostalgia Echoing from one generation to another As loud as the song of the heart From the long lost rice fields
Domestic Conjecture #54 Anne Rubin
The person who lives across the street from this house is tortured by the color of this house, because thinking about it too hard is the equivalent to having a forgotten name on the tip of your tongue. This house is green like a hard lime. No … green like the refrigerator filled with beer and ice-pops that an uncle kept in the garage. Green like the kind of ergonomic backpacks people have in outdoors catalogues — you never see their faces because they are facing balding mountains to the west. Green like a bucolic distance in a 19th-century oil painting. Green like fresh mashed peas; green like the wood-paneled station wagon with the barn-door trunk that grandpa threatened to give them when they turned sixteen. Green like the only shade of green nail polish available at a roadside convenience store, flatly called “bamboo.” No … it’s green like listening to the Dave Matthews Band in 1996 and how worldly it made them feel in college (What was that? A rock violin? Unheard of!). Green like the jersey dress of a distant relative worn to a cousin’s graduation with white lace-up espadrilles. Green like a good idea never brought into a discussion, because you worried it would be too obvious to everyone else.
Channel U/Losing Patience Jessie Janeshek Underline everything forest or whore musky, a little bit floral a gun-crazy cup swamp in your crotch hard skin or a cone over the bump in the road or the gate. The fox eats the kittens I lick the rosary. The clock chimes the days so short and so long carnival balloons exploding your brain you win a hard purple dog with a heart you promise yourself you won’t want sticky rain and perfection staticky TV but how do you see me? stifling in the closet sore tits and hot sauce? What’s more is a pain purple dress, corset, a doll in my name. Or you promise yourself you’re a platinum guy’s girl in overalls hair falling out mooning me outside in the driveway a backbrace or lice (I didn’t know she was high) and what mattered on Saturday was eating and process and staticky TV touching yourself until you turned blue holy or lonely tarp over the swingset. The easiest way to escape a sinking car was to watch the instructional video and the easiest way to suffer your loss was to burn all your journals all your Cure posters bury your plastic bracelets snap your plastic tiaras and crawl into the coffin beside me. 30
The Lizard Adam Golub
I’m sitting on the front steps of my townhouse waiting for the locksmith. I have a spare key, but it’s inside, in the kitchen drawer. I never knew who to give it to. My mom lives three thousand miles away. I had hoped I might get to know one of my new neighbors, but a year and half later, I’m still my own spare. I’m wearing shorts and flip-flops and that’s it. The sun is already hot on my shoulders. I’m thinking about the pot of coffee I made that’s probably cold. This morning, I trapped a lizard in my kitchen under a Tupperware dish. After sliding a vinyl record sleeve beneath the bowl, I carried it outside to release the lizard by the dumpster. Its sandy brown body scurried into a pile of jacaranda petals. Then I heard my door slam shut behind me: the wind. Now the lizard is back. He wants in again. He advances down the sidewalk, marching tall on his front feet, giving me a glimpse of his bright, blue belly. I shoo him away. A car comes around the corner, but it’s not the locksmith. It’s my neighbor. He lives two doors down. I sometimes run into him at the mailboxes. He’s older. Around my father’s age when my father died. He’s usually dressed in sweatpants and an unbuttoned flannel that he wears over a white t-shirt. We’ve only exchanged nods. He parks his beat-up gray Corolla on the street in front of his condo, but he doesn’t get out. He just sits there. I wait, and I wait, and then I walk over. His stoop is littered with newspapers and Jesus pamphlets and Chinese food menus. The shelves in the bay window in his kitchen are decorated with miniature lighthouses and sea captains in knit sweaters smoking pipes. The porch light is on. I wave at him. “Is everything okay?” I say loudly. 31
He steps out of the car. “I got locked out,” I say, gesturing at my bare torso. “You want a shirt?” he says. He goes to unlock the door, but he drops his keys. I pick them up. The keys are attached to a personalized keychain from Walgreens. There’s a reprint of an old photo in the square frame. A young couple holds hands on a boardwalk with a roller coaster in the background. “That was her,” he says. He opens the door and steps inside. I linger behind, still on the stoop. “What kind of shirt would you like?” He opens the door wider. “What was her name?” I ask. “Libby.” He pauses. “Lovely Libby.” I gaze at one of the sea captains in his bay window. “I’d like to hear about her someday.” He scratches his chest. His hand is shaking. “I’ve got lots of time now, and plenty of coffee.” I lean down to pick up the newspapers and pamphlets and menus. Cool air streams from the doorway. The old man lumbers down the hall. Then I catch sight of something flitting between my feet. It’s the lizard. He shakes his tail and darts inside, following my neighbor into the kitchen. I hear a gruff voice behind me. “You the guy who called the locksmith?” I look over my shoulder. A stocky man in short sleeve coveralls is standing on the street. I straighten up and turn around. “I’m here to let you in.” I don’t say anything for a while. Then I nod. “Which one are you?” he asks. I point at the record sleeve and Tupperware on the steps in front of my townhouse. Then I walk backward through my neighbor’s entryway and close the door. 32
Can This Be a Tiger? Jack Felice 33
Remain Trevor Allred Grandpa is eating his dinner tonight, and we’re working on a riddle my brother told us. Something about a door in space and how only certain things can make it through. Mom struggles to open a pickle jar. “Here, let me try,” my grandpa insists suddenly. He taught high school Spanish and used to box, and now he has Alzheimer’s. The jar must have been ready to give up; the lid is off without a problem. “Wow, Grandpa,” says Mom, “you helped and did nothing.” He shrugs, a little confused, “De nada.”
florence ate a hole in my tooth Thomas L. Winters I saw the label the trampled crumpled grasping words “Kills 99.9% Of Germs” under the Taiwanese noodle house two blocks from Larkspur Church with the help of pedestrian lights that seemed to gleam against my neck my spine my stringent hairs like I’d been chosen by a martian cruiser to be shown the next frontier Where do the other 00.1% go? Do they operate the letter signs for underfunded Chinese kitchens the Y’s that blink in searing zaps? As though, perhaps, they were a million chance mosquitoes trapped? Do they drive the raven beauty with the shock lips crimson-chapped and the gloss black trench coat to think she has no place to go? I saw her just last week She said to me “I’ll break in anywhere, as long as I can sleep” You need your evolution hey Your soaps your duffel bag of deprecation Chocolate swans with marzipan centres and little notes on left and right that idly scream defamatory kinks Why dwell? O let your weird schemas tic Schematic weirdos don’t dry in the rivers Germ your way to paradise hey Filthy interspersing perfect obscene orgy 36
Raccoon Yuan Changming Between two twisted twigs A raccoon caught itself, neither could It climb up for the fruit, nor was it willing To come down to the barren ground A dark animal With two big shiny eyes Staring at me The way a panda does When he looks for bamboo leaves Imported From his native territory
Piano Burial (2017 Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania) Lara Dolphin No one wanted the piano, so she dug a kitchen-table-sized hole and shoved the pianoforte into the pit. She expected to hear clanging metal and cracking hardwood, but with its dying gasp the piano gave back the opening chord from Debussyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s La CathĂŠdrale Engloutie. A demisemiquaver rest later, the air filled with a profound calm as harmonic overtones flowed outward, the strings of the universe quivering in sympathy.
Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair Salvatore Difalco
I believed that by being careful and using a good pair of scissors I could save myself the cost. I’m poor enough to suffer these debates. One part of me, a would-be patrician, finds the idea abhorrent. The other part of me, an abject failure and pauper, thinks enough of his manual skills and dexterity to brave the attempt. “He’s courageous,” offers one of the audience sitting in the small theatre-in-the-round. “But surely he must suspect that things can go wrong,” states another audience member, who has stood to make his case. The faces of these people are of course obscured by the stage lights. It’s a technique I often use. That is to say, save myself describing these people in any detail by blaming the lights. “Perhaps he’s mining the meta-fictionists.” “Are you mining the meta-fictionists, sir?” I don’t know what these idiots are talking about. A story has a beginning, middle, and end. Most of what gets exchanged between humans can hardly be called a story. “It consists more of little snapshots.” “What’s your name?” “Oh me, uh, my name is Robert.” “Robert, I don’t know where you come from or what your state of mind is. Perhaps you’re paranoid. I don’t know.” “I can assure you Robert isn’t paranoid.” “And you, what’s your name?”
“I’d rather not say, sir.” “Sit down, both of you. Sit down. I’m feeling kind of sick.” Indeed, a turbulence in my digestive tract had worked its way down into my lower intestine and lower. I wanted to run off the stage, but then, seeing how I had failed to actually construct a stage, I found myself at a loss. “How are you going to get out of this one, sir?” “Yeah. I’ll pay to see that.” With a snap of my fingers I silenced the voices, dimmed the stage lights (which I had included) and settled into the black void that is my time away from my desk.
What the Sea Left Behind III Archita Mittra
Nine Angles on Toys M. A. Istvan Jr. 1 Playing with old toys to prove that excitement with new ones will remain.
2 A rubber toy to bite for withdrawal.
3 Telemarketing for adult toys.
4 Liberal drunks who refuse to let their kids even see toy guns and who will respond, “Alcohol isn’t violent — people are.”
5 Desire being so often mimetic — I want her, that toy, because he does — serves as a check against wrong pursuits: evolution is conservative.
6 Fiends in dawn beds armed with toys — parents guarding vitals: eyes, privates.
7 What might happen to a child intolerant of the robot’s heartless taking of the toy with which he was playing?
8 So many of the things to which we cling in our lives (toys from our youth, say — at the time, our whole lives) become irrelevant to us — and so will our whole lives.
9 Toys and lingerie to save the marriage.
tideline calendar 2016 (main-Ă -dieu, cape breton) Sean Howard
sun sinking, lighting dulse
low ebbâ&#x20AC;&#x201C; birdsong, windchime
wash freezes, quiet sigh
waves rhyme, combed cloud
march june wave stains, planed sand
gulls fish, wind schooling 45
horizon, slick through fog
hail, whipped surf november
quill dipped, tidepool
sea running, chalk downs
sand clouding, clear blue
moonlit, silk road
Hive Lisa Favicchia Sea horse father canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t fool you with his winged back, too hard too like a fleshy mouth. He pushed you out of the slit down his belly where he once opened soft skin to receive you, and now believes you should be put back there, sucked down his violent neck disguised by mane too cutaneous to be hair. Others before you have re-entered the gut again and again, birth after birth, but this time you crawl away on your swirl-tail.
Tomorrow, a Sofa Table Trent Busch
Every completed piece has its signature, just as the time to make it depends on light and heart and materials on hand. The book case with glass doors is an old man who has time to read Don Quixote, the quilt rack a young girl who is planning her wedding. The gate made from slats from a family barn is a man who collects guns and diaries, but did not know his grandfather, jewelry box a woman who saw herself ugly as a child, but now loves New Orleans â&#x20AC;&#x201D; good sense in dress and choosing lovers.
What stamp we use, what wood we choose to stain, varnish, or let weather, we learned from stickball on our street, weeds in the pasture. Each piece its own story, rolling up our sleeves, pantsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; legs loose around the ankles, moving lumber around until we get bitten.
Stuck in Nowhere Thaddeus Rutkowski
An electric radio sat on top of the refrigerator in my family’s house. My mother was the one who turned the radio on, tuned in a station, and listened to it. She liked music, and sometimes she would sing back a song. She had a talent for music. The radio had a clockface that told my siblings and me when it was time to leave for school. Every morning, the radio played the top hits through its mono speaker. Out of all the hits, the one that stuck in my mind was “Nowhere Man.” The melody hooked me, but the lyrics didn’t mean much. I certainly lived in a Nowhere Land, but was I a real Nowhere Man? Was I a man at all, or just a boy? I definitely felt like a boy. Did I have any nowhere plans? I certainly wanted to leave Nowhere and get Somewhere. Would I be able to do that, or would I go from Nowhere to Nowhere? I knew where Somewhere was. It was in the shows I saw on television. Where I lived was not on television, and the people I saw on television didn’t come to where I lived. That would have helped, if some TV actor showed up where I lived or where I went to school. That would prove I was Someone. But I knew no TV actors. I was No One. I didn’t have high expectations for a change in my situation. I just wanted to get to school on time. One morning, I heard my mother singing “Nowhere Man.” She had most of the words right. When she stopped singing, she said, “It starts out well, then it repeats. But it doesn’t go crazy, like most of the songs I hear.” Listening to her made me a little late. I went out the door and ran for the school bus.
These Are the Nerves I Feel Salvatore Difalco
The sky was the colour of burnt pumpkin. A smell of melted candles permeated the air. We made our way through the park holding hands. The leaves were changing. I liked her hand, it was large and warm. “You have no reason to complain,” she said. “I was merely noting how my knee hurts in the damp.” “That was years ago.” “They bungled the operation.” “That’s what you say.” Pretending to be miffed, she released my hand. It plunged into the crisp autumn air like a piglet in a tub of cold water. “Must you make those faces?” “Why are you so heavy?” “My period.” I nodded. “No, I mean I missed it.” “Missed having it?” “No, idiot. It’s been two months — never mind.” Sometimes when we talk all the gas escapes from our bodies. The hissing gets deafening. I have always considered myself a good listener, active, earnest, patient. But when you cannot see yourself as you are, the truth can come as a surprise.
“Do you really think I’m an idiot?” I asked. “Yes,” she said without stopping. She continued on the path toward the ice rink. I loped behind. Some boys were playing evening shinny under buzzing sodium lamps. They looked ghoulish. “It’s peculiar,” she said. “What is?” “How haphazard their play.” “Haphazard? They appear to be skating and tooling the hockey sticks with some degree of expertise. Most young men and women in this country can handle themselves on the ice.” She continued toward the pedestrian bridge that crossed the highway. The wind had picked up. I felt nervous about going over. “Maybe I’ll just head back!” I said, shouting over the traffic. “Suit yourself.” But my hand, the one she had been holding, protested vehemently, and would not stop squirming until it returned to her big warm hand.
contributors Trevor Kaiser Allred is the Community Manager at 1888 Center, a nonprofit cultural center for the literary arts based in Old Towne Orange, CA, and is a poet at The dA Center for the Arts in Pomona, CA. He has work published in Boned Stories, Sidereal Magazine, and The Indianapolis Review. He earned his Master’s in English at Cal State Fullerton. Keep in touch @TrevKAllred or learn more at TrevKAllred.com. Trent Busch is from rural West Virginia but lives in Georgia where he makes furniture. His poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry, Poetry, The Nation, Threepenny Review, North American Review, Northwest Review, Kenyon Review, American Scholar, Shenandoah, Notre Dame Review, Evansville Review, Agni Online, Boston Review, Natural Bridge, Sou’wester, Poetry Daily, and The Hudson Review. Yuan Changming started to learn English at age 19 and published monographs on translation before leaving China. Currently, Changming edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan and hosts Happy Yangsheng in Vancouver; credits include 10 Pushcart and three Best of the Net nominations, Best of the Best Canadian Poetry, Best New Poems Online, Threepenny Review, and 1,409 others across 41 countries. Salvatore Difalco’s work has appeared in many print and online journals. He currently splits time between Toronto and Sicily. Lara Dolphin is a chocolate addict, slacktivist, and determined dreamer. As a recovering attorney, nursing student, and full-time mother of four, she divides her time between looking for lost Legos and breaking up pool-noodle-related combat. Lisa Favicchia is the Managing Editor of The Coil by Alternating Current Press and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Bowling Green State University. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Midwestern Gothic, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Switchback, Driftwood Press, and Rubbertop Review, among others. 53
Jack Felice is a recent Florida State University graduate. His artwork has been published in DryLand, Reservoir, and Five2One Magazine. His poetry has been published online in Convergence and Leveler. He currently lives in Tallahassee, Fla. Adam Golub is a writer and American Studies professor who lives in Los Angeles. His short stories have appeared in Linden Avenue Literary Journal, The Bookends Review, Pulp Literature, and elsewhere. He is co-editor of Monsters in the Classroom: Essays on Teaching What Scares Us (McFarland, 2017). He earned his PhD in American Studies from The University of Texas at Austin, and he teaches courses on literature, popular culture, music, and monsters at Cal State Fullerton. Sean Howard is the author of Local Calls (CBU Press, 2009), Incitements (Gaspereau Press, 2011), and The Photographer’s Last Picture (Gaspereau Press, 2016). His poetry has been widely published in Canada, the US, and elsewhere, and featured in The Best of the Best Canadian Poetry in English (Tightrope Books, 2017). M. A. Istvan Jr., PhD, is a Texas citrus thief. He pinches not just a few grapefruits or oranges here and there. He has coordinated large crews to help him plunder entire acres in the secret of night. Most people stay out of Istvan’s vicinity. His hurried step, fierce expression, and wild hand gestures while speaking (speaking in what is best described as auditory cursive) set off the insanitydetectors ingrained in us by deep history. Jessie Janeshek’s second full-length book of poetry is The Shaky Phase (Stalking Horse Press, 2017). Her chapbooks are Spanish Donkey/Pear of Anguish (Grey Book Press, 2016), Rah-Rah Nostalgia (dancing girl press, 2016), Supernoir (Grey Book Press, 2017), Auto-Harlow (Shirt Pocket Press, 2018), and Hardscape (Reality Beach, forthcoming). Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010) is her first full-length collection. Read more at jessiejaneshek.net.
Alejandra Jimenez is on the brink of getting her preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from California State University Los Angeles. Prior to this, she graduated from California State University Long Beach with a Bachelor’s in History. Alejandra is also a former POSSE Scholar and second best coach, according to one of her swimmers. When she’s not teaching 5th graders, she spends her days swimming, journaling, and reading, out on the Rose Bowl pool deck. gary lundy’s poems have appeared most recently in Spider Mirror, Show Your Skin, Oxidant | Engine, Antinarrative, Diaphanous, Virga, and In Between Hangovers. His sixth chapbook, at | with, was published last spring by Locofo Chaps. His second full-length collection, each room echoes absence, will be published this spring by FootHills Publishing. gary is a retired English professor and queer living in Missoula, Montana. Archita Mittra is a wordsmith and visual artist with a love for all things vintage and darkly fantastical. A student of English Literature at Jadavpur University, she also has a diploma in Multimedia and Animation from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata. Her work has appeared or been profiled in The Statesman, Gurl, Thought Catalog, Maudlin House, Winter Tangerine Review, and elsewhere. She also serves as the Poetry Editor at Quail Bell Magazine and practises as a tarot card reader. NuBlaccSoul lives by his own conceptualised motto: “Believe. Be. Live. And you’ll forever live; not physically, but historically.” Previous publications include poems in the Experimental Writing: Africa Vs Latin America anthology (2016), in the two anthologies by the Nelson Mandela University, Poetry…Piece by Piece (2015) and Carved onto the Page (2017), and in editions 7-10 and 12 of the Cape Town-based e-zine, Ja. Most recently, SWITCH Magazine October 2017 edition has published art by NuBlaccSoul. Toti O’Brien is the Italian Accordionist with the Irish Last Name. She was born in Rome then moved to Los Angeles, where she makes a living as a self-employed artist, performing musician, and professional dancer. Her work has most recently appeared in Lotus-eater, New Reader Magazine, GNU, and Art Of The Times.
Jeremy Jacob Peretz is a Doctoral Candidate in Culture and Performance in the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance at UCLA. He is currently teaching, conducting fieldwork, and writing a dissertation on intersections of religious and racial politics in Guyana. Jeremy has received numerous awards and fellowships in support of his ethnographic field research and writing, including, most recently, second place in the 2017 Ethnographic Poetry Competition hosted by the American Anthropological Association. Anne Rubin is a writer working in Minneapolis, MN. Thaddeus Rutkowski is the author of six books, most recently Border Crossings, a poetry collection. His novel Haywire won the Members’ Choice Award, given by the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. He teaches at Sarah Lawrence College’s Writing Institute, Medgar Evers College, and the Writer’s Voice of the West Side YMCA in New York. He received a fiction writing fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Constance Schultz lives with her family near Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State. The stunning views of nature often inspire her to write poetry and fiction. Ms. Schultz has writing in the Calamus Journal, Figroot Press, sea foam mag, Jenny Mag, and Stonecoast Literary Review. Thomas L. Winters is a writer from Ontario currently developing a poetry collection inspired by bad dreams and good tides. He hopes to go back to studying in university after dropping out a few years ago. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in OCCULUM, Figroot Press, Ghost City Review, and Corvus Review. R. S. Stewart is a native of Oregon where he still lives and writes plays as well as poems. Three of his plays have had staged readings; his poetry has been published in many journals, among them Canary; 2 Bridges Review; Poetry Salzburg Review; The Journal; PIF Magazine; Serving House Journal; Ink, Sweat, & Tears; Brittle Star; BlazeVOX; and Willawaw Journal. Nick Wiese received an MFA in fiction from Hamline University in 2017. He lives in Plymouth, Minnesota, with his Australian Shepherd, Marlowe. This is his first publication. 56