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f r e s h...stories, poems, ideas Table of Contents Anemone Winter Noon


Fred Chappell

Staff 3

Publisher JC Walkup Editors Penny Morse Buffy Queen


Kathryn Stripling Byer

JC Walkup

6 Cover & Photography

An Interview with Kathryn S. Byer

J C Walkup


Driving Into So. Appalachia

Stephen Morris Roberts


JC Walkup

Guest Photographer Susan Macon Art Director/Layout Buffy Queen

Zelda and the Shabbos Candles Joan Medlicott


Distribution Green Routes of Asheville

Where Do You Stand?

Deborah Andrews


Acquisitions & Penny Morse Advertising Sales

Please—Don’t Say That Again

Joy Bartlett


Gift of Words

Victoria Rose



Julia Nunnally Duncan


Philosophy Enough

William Cashman



Stephen Morris Roberts



Thomas Rain Crowe


Bet On The Rain

Celia Miles


Mother Loved Her Birds

Stephen Morris Roberts


You Think You Know A Person Tim Josephs


Liar, Liar

JC Walkup


Lie, lay, lain, laid, lied

William J. Everett




fresh...from us


fresh is published quarterly for the purpose of promoting original quality literature with universal themes. Address all editorial and business correspondence to fresh, LLC, PO Box 107, Canton, NC 28716. For advertising information or other questions, phone (828) 235-2003. Unsolicited manuscripts will not be returned. Accepted manuscripts will be edited for grammar at discretion of fresh editors. fresh accepts right of one publication only; all other rights retained by authors. Ideas and expressions are those of the authors whose names appear on each creative expression. fresh is commercially distributed by Green Routes of Asheville. For additional copies, contact Sammy Cox, Green Routes, at (828) 989-6965.

from the publisher …

JC Walkup

Since the release of our first issue of fresh, the most frequent question we‘ve received has been ―What is ‗literary‘ versus ‗non-literary‘ writing?‖ or variations on that same question. After many discussions with my fellow scribblers and research, here is my own answer: Literary writing examines and defines human emotions, compulsions, actions, etc., the way a diamond cutter examines a rough stone before he strikes the first cut. Authors of literary works create (as in fiction) or report (as in history) the impacts of place, time period, political and social structures on their characters. All those impacts can happen inside one individual head, as in The Yellow Room by Margaret Atwood or in multiple worlds, as in Dune by Frank Herbert. OK, that last one will get me in trouble because Frank Herbert is firmly classed with science fiction authors but, folks, his work does meet all the criteria for literary writing so academia, suck it up and reconsider. Maybe there should be some crossover classifications to cover such pieces, but that is a subject for another time. Next most asked: what is the basic fundamental criteria for fresh selections? Answer: never before published works, examinations of the human condition and writing craft excellence. That first criteria is the one that titles our beloved publication. In this issue we are thrilled to present two of North Carolina‘s finest writers, poet laureates both, Fred Chappell and Kathryn Stripling Byer, as our featured authors. Fred graced us with his short story Anemone and its place is so clearly shown, and characters so clearly unshorn, you will be forced to giggle and re-read it, relishing the playful irony of its tale. Kay brought us her poem Winter Noon and again she writes so strongly of place—and also the hope for spring. Enjoy, dear readers, the literary works from all our fine contributors and welcome to our blooming issue.


JC and Buffy toasting fresh’s launch at the NC Writers Network Fall conference in Wrightsville Beach in Nov.

JC, Penny, Kathryn Stripling Byer and Buffy sharing fresh’s publication at the Smoky Mountain Book Fair.

fresh...stories, poems, ideas

Spring 2010


ANEMONE I hadn’t seen Bad Eye

by Fred Chappell

till about a year and a half after my mama passed. I‘d moved

out of that tumbly rat shack by the river into this little six-room she left me up here at the head of Triplett Cove. It took a sight of labor to get the house back in shape. I‘d tried to keep it up for her best I could over her last years, but she had a stubborn idy about the place, wanting it to stay the same as it was the day Papa Dan died. But when I moved in I set to work on the roof first of all and then the kitchen and the rest ever chance I got till it looks like it does now and I still ain‘t finished, but you should have seen it before. You would have tried to shame me about my mama living in such a shanty, but she had a stubborn idy and if you ever try to change your own mama‘s mind you‘ll see it‘s an uphill climb through a laurel hell. But I‘ve got some of her strong will in me and when she died I steadied my mind that I was to do different from what I‘d been doing. No more setting around smoking dope cigarettes and goozling beer and living off what I could drag out of the river mostly. When Papa Dan was took by the cancer, me and her both declined like the sun going down at noontime. He was a sweet kind daddy to me and husband to her, I reckon, because she never said a word against him, not even funning, and how many wives don‘t? I looked after her all she‘d let me, but she fretted I wasn‘t looking after myself, running around with some shaggy old boys like Bad Eye I knew from high school, howling at the midnights and the hilltops, tonking with bleached blondes, and generally raising hell as high as I could jack it up. She didn‘t rile me about it, only saying now and again, ―Penland, I‘m afraid you ain‘t eating right. You don‘t look real healthy.‖ Course she was right that I wasn‘t eating healthy, just store bought sardines and Viennas and catfish I‘d fry up, but that wasn‘t what she was talking about. She could read me like a road sign ever since I was a runny nose young‘un. But we had got into a stubborness battle. If she wouldn‘t let me do for her, I wouldn‘t do for my own self neither, so there you go, Mama, let‘s see who backs down first. But then she passed and this house and the six acres come to me and I started in doing for her dead what she wouldn‘t let me do before. Like I say, I ain‘t finished yet, but it is smartened up so much she ideas, poems, stories…..fresh


might not recognize it. A big garden in the back is doing pretty good, except for the lettuce which I can‘t figure what is wrong with it. The Dutch runners are strung up and ought to bear enough that the varmints will have to leave some for me. The big difference, though, is the flower borders. That was what set Bad Eye off when he come up on his Harley to see me. I was resting my bones on the porch in Papa Dan‘s old timey rocking chair when he came tooling up the driveway and revved three times and switched off and perched in the saddle waiting, like a squirrel that hears a noise it can‘t figure out. ―You putting out flowers?‖ he said. ―I heard you was, but I couldn‘t feature it. You won‘t see Pen Messer fooling around with flowers, I told them, not unless the flowers was there to hide his weed.‖ ―I like the sign of them,‖ I said. ―They cheer this old place up. Just look at the different colors.‖ ―I seen flowers before and I wouldn‘t waste no sweat on them.‖ ―You don‘t never break a sweat no way unless you‘re trying to kick some scrawny little feller‘s ass in a parking lot.‖ I‘ve got four inches and twenty pounds on Bad Eye so I can talk as sharp as I want to. We‘ve went round and round before and I was the one standing. ―Well, you wouldn‘t catch me farming no flowers,‖ he said. ―What are they good for?‖ ―They‘re pretty to look at,‖ I told him, ―and besides that, girls like flowers.‖ ―What girls?‖ Right that minute, just like I‘d sent for her, Joanie stepped out of the house through the rickety screen door that I‘m fixing to tighten up this weekend. She had that black hair bound up in a red bandanna and was wearing denim cutoffs and my white shirt that she‘d twisted up and tied around her waist above her belly button. I‘ve wore that shirt many a time, but it ain‘t the same garment as it is on her. Bad Eye‘s good eye bugged out so far when he seen her I thought it would drop in his shirt pocket. ―Honey, who is your friend?‖ she said. ―This here is Bad Eye Capps,‖ I told her, ―because he got in a rock fight and can‘t see but out of one. You can tell he ain‘t too smart.‖ ―My name is Gerald,‖ he mumbled. ―I‘m pleased to meet you, Gerald,‖ Joanie said, ―Did you bike up here to see our flowers?‖ ―I heard about them.‖ ―Seems like every time I come out to work in the beds one of Pen‘s old friends shows up.‖ fresh...stories, poems, ideas

Spring 2010


―I reckon they sure would,‖ he said and I could tell from the way he inspected her he was wishing he had two good eyes. Or three. ―I forget most,‖ I said, ―but Joanie can name ever last one of these flowers. Honey, what‘s the name of that pinkish one there at the end of the bed?‖ ―Anemone,‖ she said. ―Any mommy?‖ he said. ―Anemone.‖ She smiled at him real sweet. ―I‘m a ninny.‖ Joanie held back a giggle. ―Some people call them windflowers.‖ ―I never figured ole Pen to be growing flowers,‖ he said. ―His flowers won my heart,‖ she said. ―When he brought me up here that first time, I thought that any man who could do so well with flowers was a trustworthy person.‖ ―You ought to take up flowers,‖ I told him. ―Girls like flowers, don‘t they, Shug?‖ ―I certainly like yours,‖ she said. ―I guess I better be going,‖ Bad Eye said, ―seeing as how you ain‘t even offering me a beer.‖ ―I don‘t stock alcohol.‖ ―You quit drinking?‖ ―Just a touch to be sociable now and then.‖ ―I‘ll leave you to your flowers,‖ he said and pumped and spun that red Harley around like a top and spewed up a shovelful of driveway gravel and hit the asphalt roaring. ―He must be in a hurry,‖ Joanie said. ―He‘s scared,‖ I told her. ―Scared of what?‖ ―Flowers,‖ I said. ―Too bad. If he‘d stuck around I could‘ve learned him a few things.‖ I might have told him how I met Joanie over at Pleasant Hill Baptist. But I wouldn‘t tell him her daddy is the preacher there. Bad Eye‘s a right stout ole boy, but his heart might fail him if he heard that. I don‘t mind whupping his butt for him now and again but I wouldn‘t want him to die on me.

~~~ ideas, poems, stories…..fresh


Winter Noon Sylva, North Carolina (1/20/2001)

Verde, que te quiero verde.... (Green, how I want you green.. .) Federico Garcia-Lorca for Cathy We‘ve seen how stems snap, the leaves fall, the rain soaks, how Ice weaves its blanket around weeds and garden. Now we raise our glasses to what we see over the rooftops of downtown: gray mountains waiting beneath scales of cloud like the ones we know fall from our eyes when we see how each poem comes alive in the midst of our cold times, a small hook that yearns through the mute sod, our throats tight with keening its coming forth, the tip of our tongues against bedrock.

fresh...stories, poems, ideas

Spring 2010



By JC Walkup

Our Featured Poet for our fresh spring issue is a dedicated supporter of poetry writers of all ages and styles. We caught up with her at the Smoky Mountain Book Fair last year where she was writing poetry there in the middle of the busy room full of booksellers and buyers. Kathryn Stripling Byer grew up in southwest Georgia, graduated from Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia, and earned her Master of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she studied with Allen Tate, Fred Chappell, and Robert Watson. She has received writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council. She is now poet-in-residence at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. JCW: How long have you been writing poetry? Why do you write poetry versus prose memoir, fiction, or other forms of literature? KSB: I've been writing poetry since college, Wesleyan College--a women's school in Macon, GA-where I had a great introductory class called "Writing Lab", which followed the progress of the Sophomore English literature course, beginning of course with Beowulf. In response to that first reading, we had to take as a prompt one of the lines from the epic and write from it. The one I chose was "..and the boat drove on." I wrote a short piece of fiction in response and was hooked! ....That's been over forty years ago but of course it seems like yesterday. When I was in college, I wrote both fiction and poetry and continued doing so when I arrived at UNCG. During my first year, though, I came to realize that poetry held more power for me than fiction, that I felt more excitement when working with poetry, even though my first models as a Southern woman writer had been Eudora Welty and Katherine Ann Porter. ....So, I can't really say that I see poetry as "versus" fiction or essay in my writing. There's an interplay among all of these forms that I find illuminating and instructive; my next manuscript will be collection of poetry and short fiction, by the way, titled Lost Soul, set in the mountains. JCW: How were you nominated to serve as North Carolina's Poet Laureate? How did you feel about accepting this position? KSB: The North Carolina Arts council set up a search committee and opened the post up to nominations. There were many writers nominated, just as this year. Around 40, I believe, and the committee reviewed the credentials and the work of each nominee, after which a vote was taken and the three finalists' names and materials sent to Gov. Easley. I had some anxiety about accepting, as my father was in steep decline and I was traveling back and forth from NC to Georgia every few weeks. Knowing that I would have to juggle commitments and obligations made me hesitate at first to accept the position, but I felt I had ideas, poems, stories‌..fresh


some pretty good ideas about what I'd like to do with the post, so I relented and said yes. The term was to be for 2 years, so I figured I could handle it for that long. I ended up serving for five years, as it turned out. JCW: What was the most unusual task that came with the NC Poet Laureate position? KSB: Well, I knew that I would be asked to write occasional or commemorative poems, but I wasn't prepared to have former classmates, some of whom I didn't even remember that well, ask me to write poems for birthdays and class reunions! It was like I was always "available." The poet on call! JCW: Would you want to accept a second tenure as poet laureate? KSB: No, I think I've done all I wanted to do with the post; now it's time to get back to my own work. JCW: What did you accomplish during your years as poet laureate? KSB: With Debbie McGill, our former Literature Director for the NC Arts Council, I helped set up weekly, then monthly feature on the council website,, devoted to NC writers and publications. .... After Debbie left and the writers' feature sort of ran down, I began a laureate blog to help keep things going until a new Laureate was named. I visited schools and libraries and tried to stay in touch as much as possible through the internet--email, website, and finally the blog. And I wrote a monthly column, Language Matters, that appeared in several NC newspapers and was posted on the NCAC website. I...tried to be the official representative and "voice" for NC's literary community. JCW: What are your future plans for writing? KSB: I've a new manuscript of poetry that's under consideration at several presses right now, and I'm hoping to put final touches on the collection of poems and short fiction I mentioned above. The collection of essays, yes, I'd like to pull that together as well. ~~~

Wise women still read‌ The mountains are humped like a man face down in the mud.

We appreciate and welcome a new source of fine literature. Thank you, fresh! Ruby Maloney Jacquie Stackhouse Saara Batey

by Stephen Morris Roberts

fresh...stories, poems, ideas

Spring 2010


Zelda and the Shabbos Candles She was alone.

by Joan Medlicott

It had been years since she observed Shabbos, years without family, years

without friends, years of bitterness. Zelda slipped the tall, white candles from their tissue paper wrapping. From a box, she lifted unadorned short, pewter candlesticks. She spread a new, white lace cloth over the stark green laminate of the 1950‘s kitchen table. She had bought it large deliberately, to hide the table‘s unbecoming metal legs. The white lace shimmered across the top and rippled nearly to the floor. Zelda nodded, satisfied. JC Walkup Photography

She set a place: one crystal goblet, one Rosenthal dinner plate, one sterling silver fork and knife. The spoon was missing, had been since the night of the fire five long years ago; the night nearly everything perished along with her home, her child, her husband. For five endless years her life had dangled precipitously, but not tonight. Tonight she would return to her roots, she would cover her head, fill the crystal goblet to the brim with wine, break apart and eat the challah, light the Shabbos candles, chant Shabbos prayers.

Then she would slip into a hot bath. In a day, perhaps two, perhaps three, what did it matter? Someone, her landlord? Someone would find her. ~~~

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ideas, poems, stories…..fresh


Where Do You Stand?

by Deborah Andrews

aliens, but his hope was to be one of the lucky few to eventually be abducted and live to tell about it. He went so far as to say that human miscarriages are actually fetal abductions, of course, because alien life has reached the end of its genetic code, and, don‘t you know, they need to recombine with our lesser species to fuel their evolutionary tree.

I was a bit stunned

as I walked out of the coffee house. Did that just happen? Yes, I fear it did. My first mid-life date after signing up for an online service, and this is what the Universe threw at me. At first, all seemed to be going well. Yes, we shared some similar interests in the outdoors and music. Yes, he is well-educated and believes in community service. Yes, he even has good eye contact and, from what I could discern at five paces, a flawless dental profile.

Sweet Mary! This is what I have to contend with in the singles world, I thought as the last bit of insanity fell from his lips. The most crushing realization though, as I put the key in my car door, was that I had actually paid to meet this man.

But then he leaned forward over the table, elbows splayed, hands clasped together while breathing a bit shallow. He looked over one shoulder, slowly turned his head to look over the other, then asked me in a whisper, ―So I need to know where you stand on an issue I am quite passionate about.‖

Yes, we pay for personal ads and dating services, taking a huge risk for the sake of love and companionship. Is it worth it? Can I glance back and say it not only brought me to a higher good but also invited interesting people of utter integrity into my life? Perhaps. But at the moment I am thinking, ‗I paid to be an audience at a 45 minute

hard sell of the existence of flying saucers.’

He had all my attention. I thought, ‘Excellent!

He is about to reveal his love of social justice, or maybe his open-ended spiritual journey, or perhaps his commitment to the acquisition of luminous art!’ If only. . .


Instead, he continued as I smiled and nodded, ―What are your beliefs regarding aliens?‖

Congratulations on a beautiful fresh spring issue!

I swallowed hard. Sweat beaded at my brow while the corners of my smile quivered. ―Uh, um, well, I can‘t say I have a stance per say. . .care to share yours?‖

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And boy, did he! Not only did he believe in fresh...stories, poems, ideas

Spring 2010


Please—Don’t Say That Again

by Joy Bartlett reiterate again.

TEAL is the



Advancement League, founded by a Dartmouth graduate who, five years after the ceremony, hadn‘t discovered a purpose. Having ―always had an eye for spotting typos,‖ Jeff Deck established his webwide society: Then a larger plan presented; he would travel America, correcting typos, which is how I came to know of his crusade. Armed with a basic typo correction kit permanent and dry erase markers (some thin, others thick), chalk, and a couple of crayons - he went on tour to correct signs with distracting errors. After a year, he returned to Massachusetts with an on-line following, and was a few thousand miles closer to finding his purpose in the world. While I don‘t like typos any more than the next obsessive-compulsive reader, what compels me to carry pad and pen is the prevalent use of redundancy, otherwise thought of as repetitive redundancy. Take recapture again, which would only be accurate if the redundancy itself is actually repeated. Say we did capture something, and it got away, so we recaptured it, only to have it bolt, making it necessary to recapture the thing again; or take

If I made this point in the

classroom, then discovered the person who sneezed missed what I‘d said, presumably I would reiterate again. Maybe. Recorded redundancies commonly heard, used by the media in general, and read in (even the best-selling) books, have generated a list. First, the re-backs: revert back, return back, retreat back, reflect back, regress back, respond back, rebound back, and rewind back. Then a few wild stabs: first debut, separate out, connect together, mirror back, echo back, extend out, reduce down, radiate out, project out, close intimacy, collapse back, interactive exchange, orbiting around, upward climb, memories of the past and reinvent into something else. Another common excess is the rarely necessary word - ―that‖ – which has only slightly more function in the English language than the appendix does in the human body. The following paragraph from the New Yorker is weighted with the word ―that.‖ Striking through each one and rereading the paragraph, I find only one serves in the delivery and content of the sentence. “I didn’t

know that he was sick,” I said. “But I could tell that something was changing, that he was leaving me. The parts of Thomas that I knew were leaving.” To writers of notes to novels, this ideas, poems, stories…..fresh


awareness and practice can easily decrease the word count, strengthen a sentence or lend invisible power to an entire work. For those who speak, and those who listen, an imperceptible flow improves conversation by not having to brake for all the little speed bumps thumping ―that.‖ It‘s not my intention to build a website around these observations, though I would be grateful if the speaking/ writing/reading world were to take notice and make note of them. Not that this is my purpose in life, only that I‘d like to think that a purpose has been served. ~~~

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fresh...stories, poems, ideas

Spring 2010


Gift of Words

by Victoria Rose

Spring snows give a short respite from the gray of mud season.

Just when the

roads, cars and boots are beyond the hope of ever being clean again, the paths and fields receive a clean, white covering. Only this snow melts from the bottom up, as the ground absorbs the heavy wet flakes. It‘s the earth‘s way of saying it‘s time for change. Until two years ago, I would have watched the snow fall from the French doors of the living room in the house I owned for twenty-two years. Today, I watched the snow from a cozy cottage. The first time I entered the cottage, during the season when the trees released their leaves, I almost cried. This was all I could afford and the realization humbled me. It was all I needed. In exchange for $565 a month, all utilities included, I was able to live in a studio cottage that looked more like a shed. It wasn‘t that I was accustomed to luxury. That was far from the truth. The entire time I lived in the house it was unfinished, including floors, stair railings, doors, what some people might consider essential. It was the best we could do so I lived with it, just not happily. Attempt after unsuccessful attempt to create a home environment, I admitted to my lack of beautification ability, at least most days. I surrendered all desire to bring in color, texture or design for the living space and silently ignored the rough wood. When I did open my eyes to consider the possibilities I would only see the lack of warmth in every nook and cranny in the house, including the bedroom. When the time came to leave there was nothing but clothes and pictures I wanted to pack. This tiny retreat place I now call home is finished, not in an exquisite way but a functional way. There is not one spare inch. When I pull out the futon at night I have a path to the bathroom or kitchen and that is all. Once I hung my pictures and placed my books on shelves, I began to appreciate the snugness of the place. I can reach everything while standing in one spot in the kitchen. I can find the bathroom in the dark by just walking down the slope of the floor. There were Santa Claus decorations in unsuspecting places, mostly due to the fact that the landlord and his wife played Mr. and Mrs. Claus for the Chamber of Commerce every year. How often can someone say they rent from Santa Claus? Sometime in the night, as my cousin Johnny and I watched home movies, the snow started. We laughed at the moving pictures of Gramps in the pool, teasing his grandchildren the way he always did, pushing them, throwing them up in the air. Johnny dived into the pool, over and over again. I was by ideas, poems, stories…..fresh


myself, in an inflatable tube, with a swim cap on. I could still feel the tight rubber pull my short hair. Neither of us remembered being there, but the pictures proved we were there. He turned to me and said, ―It all seems so normal, who would have ever known.‖ He didn‘t have to finish the sentiment. I knew what it was like. I also knew that both of us thought what we experienced was normal. Why would we have known otherwise?

We talked through the night, remembering what we could, forgetting and

forgiving as much as possible. The dawn created a restlessness in us. We decided to emerge from our retreat. Like school children, we walked in the white stuff, felt it melt into our skin, noticed the patterns of the flakes and watched them disappear. My hair was wet as the snow melted on my head. I don‘t like wearing hats and will only resort to putting one on in extreme cold. I fought for years about this radical preference. My first religious uprising had to do with the uncomfortable hats with elastic strings that cut into my neck. ―Why do I have to wear a hat? My brother doesn‘t wear them. Why do women have to was not answered and I was forced to The heavy snow had surrounded by its silence and beauty. began the conversation we had ways to reverse my dismal work background




have to, none of the boys have to

Now, as a single woman, I needed to pull my history together and do something with all the pieces of my past.

President of a Rotary Club, volunteer

be uncomfortable?‖ My battle cry wear the tourniquet on my head. an





As my cousin and I walked, we promised each other. Looking for history, we reviewed my options. My different times I was a mother, for Boy Scouts, soccer, Religious

Education instructor, legal secretary, waitress, and correspondent for a local paper. Now, as a single woman, I needed to pull my history together and do something with all the pieces of my past. I looked into the beauty salon, quickly, not wanting to acknowledge anyone who might be there. There were reasons I wanted to leave this small town. Patti was the one that posted the court schedule. Greta worked in the school office and had information on any child that was failing. David, the relentless reporter, would tell a story as though it was his professional duty, no matter the impact it had on the people involved. I had learned to scan the town quickly, not looking at anyone in particular. Instead of noticing the people under the state of the art hair dryers in the salon, I recalled the monster device I used to be hooked up to by my mother. It came in a box, a big box, with a tube that was never long enough or comfortable, and always left a burn mark on my neck or shoulder. The tube was attached to a bonnet. fresh...stories, poems, ideas

Spring 2010


There was no other word for the large, inflatable thing that was attached to my head by yet another elastic cord. I was forced to sit, with curlers that dug into my head. The tube was not only uncomfortable but heated to the point of burning, just to make me look good. Totally irrational, yet I was given no choice but to endure the torture. A few years later I had my way. After running track I showered at school and walked home with a wet head in the winter. My long wet hair, without a hat, drove my mother crazy. It was only a matter of minutes when she recounted the story of a girl who loved her hair, was proud and conceited about it, and how all her hair was burned in a fire. From my mother‘s reasoning, the girl deserved it because she was too proud of her appearance. There was nothing in the story about people who despise beauty or refuse to accept someone else‘s preference. I passed by a store window and noticed my reflection. Long grey hair, now wet and wild looking, hanging down a wool sweater that had been washed and shrunk and now fit me. I was wearing sweat pants which meant that there would be absolutely no work done today. My boots, which connected me to the earth, were brown, laced insulated boots. Overall, not a pretty sight, and I wondered who was I, really? I turned away from the reflection, no longer wanting to see myself. My cousin and I walked into the bakery. This had become a refuge for me when I needed a breather from writing about educational values, my position regarding minority achievement, a significant event, and other requests for a crafted personal and professional response. I pictured combining all the applications together for a novel. The cover I envisioned was blank, except for a road that disappeared. I was intrigued with the position in Denver Colorado, creating, editing and publishing a magazine by homeless people, but the responses about funding were evasive. I was touched by the opportunity to work with run-away teens in New York City, but wasn‘t sure if I had the emotional strength to have such intense interactions with young people for just a few days, or a week at a time. The possibility of tutoring children while living in a spiritual community was welcoming, yet eventually rejected since I didn‘t think I could relate to all of the teaching of that specific spiritual community. I was overwhelmed by opportunities and discouraged at how easily I rejected each one. My cousin sat next to me and we both watched the world go by. We were considered the black sheep of the family and at weddings were usually assigned to the same table, located near the speakers. As a man, he was more respected and he was financially successful enough to retire early and was still married. I possessed none of those attributes. I was just a woman in the process of a divorce. As if that was not ideas, poems, stories…..fresh


enough of a failure, I had minimal marketable skills. Most people I came in contact with learned quickly not to mention family values, as defined by the politicians, unless they wanted to experience a rant about financially backing up those so called values. The bakery was busy. The snow created a stir in the small town. It‘s not that snow is unusual. Somehow, the snow together with the promise of spring caused an excitement and flurry of activity. I purposefully avoided noticing who was in the bakery. In this small town the events of the past few years were fairly well known. People had their opinions and they felt compelled to share them at book club meetings, dinner groups and community events. At times I wondered if there was a newsletter circulating with details of my ‗situation‘. At times I could feel members of the church I used to belong to pray for me. I would yell back at them as I prayed, ―Stop praying for me. I don‘t want the same things you think I need!!‖ The cranberry orange scone in front of me was almost finished. My cousin and I were in no rush. We watched the historic town from the window. How idyllic it appeared. As we sat in a moment of silence, appreciating the scene, I felt someone brush my shoulder. I looked to my left and didn‘t see anyone. Then turning to my right, again, not finding anyone there. Figuring it was just someone moving past in the busy bakery I turned my eyes back to the plate before me. Next to it was a small piece of paper, folded in half. I picked it up and began to read. ―How well she wears times changing raiment Beauty deep, doubly blessed By Athena‘s own features.‖ A moment ago I had heard the clatter of dishes, of conversations, of a cash register. Now, all I heard was the silence of the snow covering the spring mud. I turned to my cousin and said ―There is no way to know how people see me‖. I put the paper, and the words, in my pocket to carry with me on my journey.


Susan Macon Photography

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Dee Reid

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MOAN The pine limbs droop heavy and the window ledges sit white. As I rise from bed the floors creak, still cold from the night; I wrap my shawl around my shoulders, light the fire in the kitchen, and hear the train whistle moan. I see that you are gone. You have left me— I feared you would— left me with the morning, alone to touch the bare pillow that your head rested on, to reach beside me and yearn to stroke your dark hair like I did all the mornings when you were there. But the train carries you away. It carries my hopes now empty as this holler, without birdsong, without sunlight; no hands to caress me and comfort me through the night; no mouth to give me breath with kiss, no lips to give me dew of love; no body to press to mine, like arbor cradled by vine. But what about spring? No, I dare not dream— of sunshine on March flowers or breezes turning the grass at our place in the meadow; of watching clouds as they pass,

by Julia Nunnally Duncan clover our bed. I dare not wish for warm drizzle like dewdrops misting your hair that I might kiss, free of care, if you bent your head, your long lashes shut at my touch. I dare not dream of such. But I do ponder that you were mine for a time; mine to show my pictures to— all that was left of my kin— old album that I won‘t study again. Your picture might have been there, too, if you‘d not gone as the snow fell to leave the pine limbs heavy and the window ledges white; if you hadn‘t stole away in the night. Train whistle moan. Moan for my heart— let your cry rip the air; moan not to coax him back or tell him how unfair his leaving is. But moan to the valley that dozes under coverlid of snow, not heeding my complaint. Moan as you carry him where he‘s bound to go. ideas, poems, stories…..fresh


Philosophy Enough

by William Cashman

Sylvia, a slightly-built 27-year-old in a fur jacket and high-heeled suede boots, got into an argument with the fat woman from across the street on her way back from the drugstore with her unguent. It occurred right in front of her apartment building, catching the attention of several passersby. Her adversary was coming to visit her friend, another overweight busybody who lived on the first floor right below Sylvia, who suspected the two women would sit with their TV turned down and strain to hear any indecent sounds filtering through their ceiling. As Sylvia bustled past she caught that familiar look of moral condemnation. She had shrugged it off many times as being just what she'd expect from a narrow-minded dummy wearing a babushka, but this time she was on edge from having had to fend off the pharmacist's innuendoes. Deciding not to take it, she stopped and said, "If you've got a complaint about the way I choose to live, I'd like to hear it." Welcoming the challenge, the fat woman drew herself up, gave Sylvia a once-over, and delivered her verdict: "With all the men you have visiting, you're giving the neighborhood a bad reputation. I dread having to tell someone where I live." "Who cares where you live," Sylvia shot back. "I'll bet no one ever asks you." The fat woman tensed but then relaxed, wheezing, "You give womanhood a bad name." "Womanhood? What‘s that? Women of the hood? Is that what you're sputtering about?" "You have all these men ... don't try to deny it. People are watching, you know." "So that's it. You're jealous. Well, yes, I admit men find me attractive. They want to spend time with me. Maybe you've heard about that sort of thing. If you're really that hard up, I suppose I could spare one. Just signal me which, and I'll send him over, okay?" If she still had her puppy, she would have let it bite the obnoxious hag. Spinning around, she continued inside with a self-confident gait. ~~~ Putting the ointment in her medicine cabinet, Sylvia let her row with the fat woman slip away as she replayed her criticism that it could not have been as difficult to obtain as the pharmacist implied, and at forty-four dollars a jar getting it for her was no special favor. She had to admit that her thoughts were colored by her dislike of the type of man she took him to be: stingy; always recalculating and wanting better terms; a devaluer of the services of others. She had known men like him, and had always kept them at arm‘s length. She headed for the kitchen, where she kept a box of chocolate-covered cherries, a present from her Tuesday evening regular, a middle-aged married man who held some government post. On several occasions he tried to tell her his real name, but she always changed the subject. Other than his attempts to personalize himself, which she knew he could not really wish for, he was a conscientious man, perhaps too fussy, the way he would spread a silk handkerchief beneath his knees. The joy of reaching the soft, sweet cherry flooded through her. She drifted into her bedroom as if she were floating, and stood looking at herself in the mirror. Mr. Tuesday had told her she was beautiful many times, but what did he know? And, really, any compliments could be taken as part of the selfabasement he enjoyed. You’re simply wonderful, my darling. He was not so different from her other regulars.

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Mr. Monday, an accountant, liked to be insulted; Mr. Wednesday, a world-renowned philatelist, enjoyed being spanked. Her analysis was that for many men, the idea of sex was inextricably entwined with a sense of guilt, which could be debilitating unless it was assuaged through punishment. She was glad to oblige; humiliating these sillies made up for her inconvenience. If she did not have to earn a living she never would have wasted her time. Men were such fools for placing a high value on fundamentally ridiculous things and ignoring what was important. Luckily her three regulars each gave her five hundred dollars a week for the privilege of acknowledging their inferiority. They each arrived after dinner and departed before the evening news. Not only did they pay her well, but they each brought her little presents from time to time, which she would sell once their bestowers faded from her life. So on the first three evenings of every new week she could be found, hot and sweaty, writhing about in feigned passion as one or another successful businessman groveled at her feet while entreating her to extend their liberty just a little farther, which she knew better than to do. Thursdays also had their regular assignment: this was the day when she studied philosophy. Not just any philosophy, either, but particular philosophers who had caught her fancy: Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer, and Spinoza. A more perceptive observer might have noticed that her special triumvirate bore a marked resemblance to Misters Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. ~~~ It might be interesting to speculate about what Kierkegaard, Mr. Monday, an Schopenhauer, and Spinoza would have done with a woman like Sylvia, but to suggest Sylvia herself should consider this would produce only an eruption of accountant, liked to denial. To her these astral beings were holy. Spinoza combed through the be insulted; Mr. most mundane matters searching for insights on how to live, scratching in the Wednesday, a dirt for truth. Schopenhauer elevated the feminine principle to a sacred world-renowned pedestal and refused to lower it no matter how disappointed he was with the real women he met at the opera he attended with his mother, a singular philatelist, enjoyed being spanked. example of perfection. Kierkegaard had given up the woman he loved because thinking about her distracted him from his meditations. Sylvia wished she could meet men like that. In the meantime she had her yoga class, her work-outs at the gym, and her violin lessons, although she had missed the last three and was wondering if maybe some other instrument might be more suitable, something Japanese, and stringed; wrapped in a flowery opaque silk scarf, she thought she would look stunning with a long-necked medieval lute. Or a drum, so she could vent her frustration. She could beat away until the cows came home if she was so moved. Let the woman from across the street try to dance to that! She had made the mistake of telling her original Mr. Monday that she did watercolors. This was before she learned she did not have to allow her paramours to undress, that men felt sexier if they were restricted. That man had considered giving her gifts to be part of their foreplay, and had brought her paints and brushes and a certificate for lessons. He had received many awards, and had always eaten well; his life was marked by alternate bouts of dieting and gluttony. Unfortunately whenever she started a new painting she could not avoid picturing how the loose, flabby skin hung off his body like a slouchy vest made only of uncooked pork chops, and she could not continue. She told him it was over, but her ability to place a water lily just enough off-center to induce a little frisson did not return.

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She believed she did not need a special man in her life. Although she needed men, she considered them interchangeable. Their upkeep could be inconvenient, but they had their uses. Her attitude endeared her to the women with whom she was on a first-name basis. They believed she would not need to prove herself by stealing their man, and if by accident she wound up in bed with one she would apologize and kick him out as soon as things were explained. Nevertheless a day came when she encountered a man who took her breath away. ~~~ This man, known in the neighborhood where he served as handyman as Bald John, was not especially good looking, nor did he seem to be squatting on a sizable nest egg. In his work he was not particularly quick to grasp what was needed, but after an initial bout of fumbling around, the ideas generated in his head made their way into his hands and the project—anything from the repair of an old clock to the hanging of a door—began to fly so rapidly through its stages that people suggested Bald John had eyes in his fingertips. Watching him work, women liked to titillate each other later by imagining other things those "seeing-eye hands‖ might do. "I've got something he could fix" was a frequent thought as Bald John came down the street. They compared his limpid blue eyes to the kind described in sentimental ballads. A few housewives made overtures, but none claimed success. They thought he had taught in a monastery before taking up his chisel and hammer, and silently wondered if he preferred men. They never said this because such a charge would reduce the value of the object of their lust and thus reduce their lust itself, and lust was a cornerstone of their personalities—at least safe lust. When the buzz about him reached Sylvia, she ignored it at first but eventually decided to investigate. There was a sticky dresser drawer she called him about. Needing only a little sanding and some "carpenters' grease," it sounded like the kind of job he could squeeze in between bigger projects, so he agreed to stop by the following day. Sizing him up quickly, she discounted his quiet appeal. He had a strong, square jaw, but his nose seemed a little small for his face. His ears had puffy lower lobes, too, as if he'd served an apprenticeship in the ring. And he had no natural charm. At times he just went slack. His worst offense, though, was that he seemed uninterested in her. Consequently she decided she was uninterested in him, and after a quick examination left him to fiddle with her sticky drawer while she picked up a book in which George Santayana disparaged all the philosophers who had come before the advent of logical positivism. Bald John tired quickly of women who tried to interest him in more than repairs. He appreciated women as much as the next man, but in his code of ethics it was unprofessional to charge someone for time spent flirting. As a student of human nature, he liked to poke around in the trappings of a life. In his experience the most revealing clues to what kind of person someone was could be found in the innocuous clumps of things hidden away. Just as Sylvia had heard about Bald John, Bald John had heard about Sylvia from gossips like the fat woman across the street, whose new blinds he had hung the week before. He felt what that woman had told him was more relevant for understanding her than for understanding Sylvia, but he was also curious as to what kind of woman would inspire such pitched vilification. So while she was sitting on the couch with her feet curled up under herself and getting more and more worked up over how Santayana was disparaging her favorite philosophers, Bald John was lightly sanding her drawer guide with his left hand while poking into her roll-top desk and its myriad nooks and crannies with his right.

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His opinion of her slipped when he came across the bejeweled trinkets she had received from her admirers. He began to feel he was throwing away valuable time. He put aside his investigation, quickly finished his sanding, put the drawer in place and tried it to make sure it worked, and gathered up his tools. He had been there only twenty-five minutes, but decided to charge her for the full hour, a fitting punishment for her fatuous lifestyle. Finding her in the living room, he began to make out his bill, but noticed she was reading a book by George Santayana, one of his favorite cultural critics. Suddenly the dreariness went out of his day, and he exclaimed, "George Santayana! I'm impressed. He was a brilliant observer. He's the one who said, What we can't remember from our dreams we condemn ourselves to project into our waking lives." "I know!" she replied, delighted to find someone who shared her interests. "But he's awfully tough on Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer, and Spinoza." "Well, no one's right all the time," Bald John conceded, smiling. He felt so good that he wrinkled up the bill and stuffed it in the pocket of his carpenter's jeans. ~~~ They decided to go on a picnic the following day. Sylvia prepared hors d'oeuvres, but as luck would have it, just as Bald John arrived it began to rain. Undaunted, the pair opted to have their picnic in Sylvia's apartment, and rigged up a kind of tent by attaching a bedsheet and some colorful scarves to her ceiling fan. She presented a plate of cheese nibs with pieces of bacon and pepper on their crests, and turned off the lights to enhance the effect. When this made the room too dark, she brought out a small scented candle. Outside the rain spattered against the window. It formed rivulets in the “ I’m sure road, running downhill until it spilled into an overflowing storm drain. The Kierkegaard, few cars on the street left swishing noises behind. Sylvia and Bald John huddled in the intimacy of their tent as the candle burned down and the rain Schopenhauer, increased. and Spinoza Under those circumstances it was only natural for the conversation to weren’t very good turn to sex, which Sylvia thought was greatly overrated. Bald John agreed: to in the sack.” him sex was not much different from other bodily functions, and should be treated as such. ―Talk about mass hypnosis,‖ he exclaimed. People who affected to find it transformational were clearly deluding themselves, he claimed Nietzche had said. Glancing at him hunkered in the shadows, Sylvia saw him in a fresh light. With his square head and strapping body he reminded her of the prototype of the good comrade depicted in a Soviet-era propaganda film she had recently watched: he knew there was work to be done, and would not be distracted by the superficialities with which the west liked to hypnotize itself. She was rarely impressed with men, who always seemed to take their greatest pride in matters she considered juvenile, but she was impressed with Bald John's no-nonsense approach. When he told her the better a man was at philosophy, the worse he was at making love, she wholeheartedly agreed: "I'm sure Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer, and Spinoza weren't very good in the sack." "Hardly!" he chimed back. "Spinoza's wife complained he mechanically followed the injunctions in a sex manual attached to the Talmud in certain communities but exorcised from theirs, and refused to wash his hands. Schopenhauer regularly visited prostitutes until late in his life; he was considered to have a low flash point and to shoot first and ask questions later. But the worst was Kierkegaard, a life-long virgin

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who masturbated two or three times a day so he could concentrate on his work. He fired a housekeeper for refusing to wash his sock." In Sylvia's mind the monkish Bald John was marching past the rows of tractors and blond tractordrivers up to the highest platform at the awards presentation, where she imagined pinning a bronze eagle for perspicacity on his breast. ~~~ He began to discourse on Descartes. He had his own spin on the philosopher's most quoted credo: "The degree to which a man thinks is the degree to which he is. The quality of his thoughts defines the quality of his life." A peculiar swelling of warmth and satisfaction surged through her, as if she'd swallowed an ingot of radium. Bald John's words had the sound of truth. "We are designed to live in the world of ideas," he continued. "That is our highest calling. But we have a terrible flaw. We delight in distracting ourselves with absurd trivialities. We prefer an aimless romp through a mall to exploring a college campus or library." Like a bird Sylvia's heart flew out and landed in the muscular limbs of this eloquent man. She felt elevated, lifted up above the more mundane aspects of the world. Suddenly the intimate little picnic was interrupted by a pounding at the door. Thinking her counsel was needed for some emergency, Sylvia sprang up and opened it, but found her nemesis, the fat woman from across the street, with two of her equally-rotund cronies at her side. "We were worried about you," the fat woman said, looking past Sylvia When he told her at Bald John, who was just emerging from the tent. "We saw the lights go off, and thought something had shorted out. We imagined you might be the better a man lying on the floor, electrocuted. Isn't that right?" Her friends nodded, but was at philosophy, the worse he was at their body language indicated they were not enjoying being dragged into this. Sylvia was angry that the fat woman had been watching her window. making love, One of the others sought to mask her embarrassment by telling Bald John she wholeheartedly that she had heard he was going to replace the old-fashioned oak moldings agreed. in an apartment two streets over with something more modern. "Only if I can't talk her out of it," he replied. "Those oak boards are really superior. Would you like an hors d'oeuvre? Sylvia made them. They're quite delicious." Despite the compliment, Sylvia was furious that her handiwork was being offered to her enemies—clearly a case of throwing pearls to swine. But Bald John was unaware of her growing indignation, and passed around the hors d'oeuvres while expanding his discussion of the relative merits of "hundred-year-old red oak" to the "bleached-out pulpwood they use in trim these days. Our economy is geared to a quick turnover, but some of us take offense at having our face rubbed in cheap materials. Do you know what the worst part is?" Beaming at being made the focal point of his dissertation, the fat woman batted her eyes and admitted she did not. "It's this. Cheap materials bring down the value of labor. People don't see the point of paying twenty dollars an hour to install a piece of trim that only cost seventy-nine cents." "I never thought of that," the fat woman responded, her tone designating this as vital information. "Is that what you charge?" her friend inquired. "No, thirty. I was speaking generally," Bald John explained. Sylvia's consternation was palpable. What had started out as a stimulating intellectual engagement was becoming unbearable. Disappointment was pooling in her spleen, but Bald John, oblivious, moved to

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Spring 2010


the couch and sat down, pulling the three heavies with him by elaborating his ideas about proper trim. Going too far in selecting moldings could be another sin, he stated, decrying the vanity of selecting oak casings for a door made from two thin sheets of Philippine plywood sandwiching folds of corrugated cardboard. The women were awed by his brilliance. He was an advocate of holistic design. He said he frequently puzzled his clients with the depth of his questions, but he had to know more about their home than they expected to have to tell him because he wanted to be a force for integration, not expanding diversity. "Some people act as though their home should be a sampler and contain bits and pieces of every style known to man." Not him. Excited at being taken into Bald John's confidence, the three heavies murmured their approval of his ideas, their eyes fluttering like a geisha‘s fan. Left on the outside of the new circle, Sylvia was coming to a boil. When he handed the plate of hors d'oeuvres to her nemesis, leaned back, knit his hands together behind his head, and put his feet up on her coffee table, which she had forbidden to men paying five hundred dollars for the pleasure of her company, she almost screamed. When the fat woman turned to her and asked for something to drink, as if she were a servant, Sylvia lost her cool and said she was sorry but she had to ask everyone to leave because she had an appointment. The heavies looked to Bald John, as if he were in charge. He in turn raised a questioning glance to Sylvia, who affirmed, "You all have to go." The heavies got the message but stayed close to Bald John. One remarked that a friend had installed poplar cove moldings around her dining room ceiling, and wondered if that was good or bad. Bald John said it depended on the on the size and shape of the room and on what other materials were present in the house, according to Heidegger. Sylvia's nemesis proposed they all retreat to her friend's home to judge for themselves, adding that she would scoot home on their way and grab a bundt cake she had just baked. The three women made clear that by stealing Bald John they felt they had risen above Sylvia, a spoiled party-pooper of little account. But she did not care. She'd had enough of their cozy clucking, and enough of Bald John's arrogance as well. Closing her door on the chatter that wafted along with them into the hall like a bad odor, she told herself that if she ever let Bald John back into her apartment, it would only be if she accepted him as another of her foolish regulars. And at the standard rate; she never gave a discount, as a matter of principle. Surely he had enough philosophy to understand that. ~~~

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Poems cast off Are my snakeskin. This Christmas, you asked me To give you some lines, But none about family. Leafless trees edge The highway to our parents’ house. Cows, pigs and horses Nuzzle alongside each other While hungry mouths Burrow into the muddy, Hoof-stamped barnyard’s trough. May you and I survive Serenely as the mountains Of frozen snowdrifts shed by A lonesome winter sky.

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by Thomas Rain Crowe

Where will they go these men and women of earth? This man whose sweat waters grain. This woman whose milk is the strength in human bone. As the seeds they have saved from great grandparents to be given to children not yet born are eaten by the fiery incinerators of banks.

Now there will be nothing but tears that go into the rows that once furrowed their dreams. What kind of food can be grown from the water in salt? From the lonely song of a dry desert air. Friends, think of the music gone from the symphony of those fields. The dance of breakfast being born there for the human race.

How can they replace the pain of what their bodies have become: this farm that feeds those who rule to crush this land. A million years of digging in dirt, now passed on as the nightmare of empty hands.

Life out of balance lost like the homeless in city streets, like walking suicide. Deprived of their chores.

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Who will separate, now, the wheat from the chaff ?

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Bet On The Rain “The whole world’s drying up,”

by Celia Miles Grandma said, for the third time since we‘d

sopped our biscuits in gravy and wondered what we‘d do if the corn didn‘t make. Six weeks since the last rain, and that rain hardly counted, less than half an inch, according to the rain gauge out by the pig pen, away from the trees. In case my ma and three sisters didn‘t know the state of the crops and the consequences if rain didn‘t fall in time to green the wilting stalks, she announced again: ―Mr. C. Jackson is gonna be here like a bird on a June bug if we can‘t pay the rent. Like a fly on molasses.‖ She swatted at the fly that had found its way through the tiny rent in the screen door. ―Like a bat—‖ ―Just shut up, Mamaw,‖ Ma‘s dead-weary voice interrupted. ―We know what you mean.‖ ―Like a bat outta hell,‖ Grandma said. She always had the last word. In fact, me and second sister had a bet on it. I won again. Being older, and I thought, smarter, I knew Grandma would have the last word. and I only bet on a sure thing. Second sister Suzy had a more optimistic outlook; she kept thinking Ma would really be able to shut up her mother. Another victory for me. I held up three fingers. Unless she wised up and quit betting, Suzy would never get out of debt to me. ―Old C. Jackson likes Sister Suzy,‖ third sister Belinda spoke up. ―No, he don‘t,‖ Suzy said. ―You girls shut up and get these dishes washed and the floor mopped. Annie,‖ Ma directed me, ―get your clean dress on. He‘s likely to stop by any time, looking at the corn. You know he likes to catch us at our worst.‖ She fanned at her face with her True Confessions. ―He don‘t want to see Miss Smarty Pants,‖ crowed Belinda. ―She‘s too stuck up for him.‖ ―She‘s the oldest,‖ Ma said. ―I‘ll watch out for him,‖ Suzy said. She‘d scrubbed her freshly washed face to the point of pink. I narrowed my eyes. ―Is that lipstick you got on?‖ I wondered if she‘d ―just picked it up‖ down at the store. Her fingers could be mighty light sometimes. She stuck out her tongue. ―Mr. C. Jackson is not so old,‖ she said. ―His oldest boy‘s just twelve.‖ ―Are you interested in him?‖ I didn‘t like the smug expression on her face. ―You been talking to him behind my back?‖ ―What back? You don‘t want him.‖ She wandered in her aimless way to the window and looked out. What she saw was a dusty broom-swept yard, wilting dahlias, the pig pen (pig-less for the past year), and fields of pitiful looking corn running out the flat land and up the hillside. She said, ―Six weeks is a long, dry time. Wouldn‘t some homemade ice cream taste good right now?‖ ―Child, you just put away a bait of biscuits,‖ Grandma said. ―Ice cream! What put that in your pretty head?‖ fresh...stories, poems, ideas Spring 2010 26

―They got a ithe cream maker,‖ baby sister lisped. ―Billy Jackson said tho at Sunday School. He thed—‖ ―Shut up, shut up about ice cream,‖ I yelled. ―Good Lord, the branch‘s about dry, the spring‘s sending barely a dribble down the hill, and you want ice cream!‖ I don‘t know what came over me. My nerves were on edge. I was the oldest, nineteen going on twenty, waiting for something to happen. I swear I think if it started raining, I‘d bust out of the house buck naked and dance around the yard. The kitchen quieted down. Another fly droned over near the stove. They stared at me, good old solid Annie who worked in the store when I could get a ride and cleaned the owner‘s house a couple of times a month. Annie who didn‘t have a boyfriend, wouldn‘t wear lipstick and, at this moment, didn‘t want to use up the rest of the bucket of water freshening up in case Mr. C. Jackson came by in that Ford pickup truck he was so proud of. Suzy twirled her fingers through her hair. ―I bet you Mr. C. Jackson is married before the rain comes,‖ she said. ―What do you know?‖ Grandma said and even Ma looked up. ―You heard something? Who‘s he courting, if it‘s not Annie he‘s got his eye on?‖ ―Ask me no questions, I‘ll tell you no lies,‖ Suzy said. ―He‘s got a wife-wantin‘ look about him.‖ ―And what do you know about looks, Miss Suzanne,‖ Ma said. ―His wife‘s not been gone even two years.‖ ―Don‘t take that long for a man to git that look,‖ Grandma said. ―Mamaw,‖ started our mother. ―These here girls ain‘t had no acquaintance with that look. Least I hope not.‖ She stared at Suzy and me. Even before Daddy up and disappeared, Ma‘s eyes had been dull. Now, a kind of wariness invaded them. ―That man‘s not coming around here to look at you or me,‖ Grandma said. ―You know that and I know that. He‘s ready to marry. He‘s like a bee heading for the morning glory. He‘s like—‖ ―I can‘t stand it!‖ I didn‘t want to hear another word. Ice cream. Bees. Morning glories. I jerked the screen door open. If one of our chickens fluttered close I just might kick it. ―Like a calf heading for its mama‘s—‖ I slammed the door. ―Don‘t forget to change your dress,‖ Ma called. ―Lot of good it‘d do her,‖ Suzy said. I steamed on the porch steps for a while, watching the corn not growing, watching the bees at the morning glories. How those vines could thrive in the hard ground beat me, but they dutifully climbed the twine Grandma tied between the porch posts and two nails in the ceiling. Morning glories smelled stronger in the heat, and the bees guzzled away. The sun burned my face and I shielded my eyes rather than move back into the shade. ―Here‘s Daddy‘s old hat.‖ Suzy handed it to me. ―About the only thing he left ‗round here.‖ It was too shabby for her blond hair. ideas, poems, stories…..fresh 27

Susan Macon Photography

―Stinks, too.‖ I wrinkled my nose. ―But thanks.‖ ―You want to protect your skin, you know. Men like girls with a Pond‘s complexion. Mr. C. Jackson is not coming to see a sunburned Indian.‖ She could be right, catty as she was. ―He‘s not interested in me and I definitely am not interested in the likes of him.‖ ―His two kids are kinda cute,‖ Suzy said, ―and always clean, polite as plates.‖ I stuffed my long hair into the hat and didn‘t answer. Being the oldest was a burden. I had to assume some responsibility to the family. Ma and Grandma pinned their hopes on me, and my piddling little income from my sometimes jobs didn‘t go far at the store. With Grandpa long dead, Daddy long gone, and all the boys ―fit to serve‖ off fighting the Germans or the Japanese, it was a sad time in our part of the county. And now, no rain. Suzy was watching me like a robin set to pounce on a worm, like a trout eying the... Stop it, I told myself. ―What you thinking about, sister Suzy?‖ I asked. ―I know that‘s lipstick—and it ain‘t for us.‖ She smiled her dreamy-eyed smile with her perfect teeth, and I tongued the hole where Alvin had slung his bat and knocked out my eyetooth in the fourth grade. Unless I grinned real big nobody would see the gap, but I knew it was there. Not that I wished Suzy‘d suffered a similar loss, but did her teeth have to be so straight and so white? She never had to think before she smiled, not having to conceal, as baby sister called it, the ―extry hole in your head.‖ ―I‘m thinking for certain,‖ Suzy said, ―that Mr. C. Jackson will be a married man before the rain ever gets over Cowee Mountain to us.‖ I stiffened. ―Ha. What do you know?‖ Something had to be done. If the rain didn‘t come soon, we‘d be in trouble. Might even be evicted. Mr. C. Jackson, for all his high falutin‘ truck and his clean shirts, was a nice enough man, I guessed. His face and hands were sun-browned, so he didn‘t just sit in his little office at the granary; he got out and worked like a man ought to. The more I looked at the stunted corn field and the more those bees buzzed away at the morning glories, the more I thought that Mr. C. Jackson wasn‘t such a bad catch. He was downright respectable, went to church and all. and he had come around a few times. Maybe I ought to borrow Suzy‘s lipstick. and I could smile without my gap showing. Heck, after..., heck, maybe I could even go to a dentist. I sat silent so long that I forgot Suzy was there. She repeated, ―Yep, Mr. C. Jackson‘ll be married before we see the next rain.‖ ―You a weatherman now?‖ I said, irritated at having my thinking interrupted. ―I bet you,‖ she said. fresh...stories, poems, ideas

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Well, I couldn‘t let that pass. She‘d never learn what to bet on. ―Don‘t be silly. What you got to bet? You already owe me more than you can pay—three dimes now.‖ ―Bet you my pearl necklace Jimmy give me before he joined up.‖ She paused, probably trying to think of something I had she wanted. But what did I have? ―Against what I owe you,‖ she said. ―Dimes are hard to come by.‖ Boy, she sounded so sure. But I held the high card, so to speak. I could decide and I wouldn‘t get married until after it rained, even if the corn died on the stalk. I forgot and grinned. Suzy touched her finger to the side of her mouth. Smart aleck. I wanted to smack her pretty face. ―You know I always win,‖ I reminded her. ―Before the rain comes,‖ she said again. We twined our little fingers and spit in the yard. ―Go get the necklace and let me look at it,‖ I said, hateful as our old banty hen. Just for meanness I might wear it to my wedding. Three days and an inch of rain later, Baby sister is planting fake pearls in the mud. I‘d yanked them right off Suzy‘s pretty neck when she marched out to that truck, the day she—Mrs. Sneaky Suzy C. Jackson—won the bet. Even the morning glories have closed up in the gloom. and I‘m sitting here on the porch, watching it rain. ~~~

My father was a machine Looking for some place To land, and alcohol Was his fuel. His sons And daughters birds Sucked into the forced Turbine of his truculent Engine. Now his wife Has disappeared and Come into this poem. by Stephen Morris Roberts ideas, poems, stories…..fresh


You Think You Know A Person

by Tim Josephs

She said it so nonchalantly at first it didn’t register.

We were sitting on the

sofa in the living room talking about politics and I thought her comment had something to do with the upcoming election. But a moment later, when it finally sunk in, I was stunned. You think you know a person. Katherine and I have been married for almost nine years. We dated for three before that, meeting at college in – of all places – a botany class, which we both later dropped. I was immediately drawn to her long auburn hair that she usually wore up in a haphazard ponytail. Short talks about classes and professors soon turned into long discussions about art, culture, and life in general. We clicked immediately; we liked the same films, same authors, and even had the same sexual proclivities (I won‘t go into all the details, let‘s just say we both really like feet). It wasn‘t long before we were spending all of our time together either in the school cafeteria or each other‘s dorm room. After graduation we got a place together, found good jobs, got married, and lived happily ever after. Or so it seemed. I slowly turned to face her, desperately racking my brain, hoping to find a glimmer of understanding behind her statement. ―Wha?‖ was all I was able to get out. Perhaps I had heard wrong. Because of an incident when I was ten involving a Q-tip and a rowdy terrier, the hearing in my right ear was only at about eighty-five percent. She looked at me and smiled. There she is, I thought, there‘s the amazing girl I fell in love with. Of course I heard wrong; those words could never have possibly come out of this beautiful creature‘s mouth. But then she said it again. ―I really think the Three Stooges are underrated.‖ Instantly I felt the blood drain from my face and a sharp pain in my stomach. How was this possible? My world was shattered, suddenly nothing made sense anymore. We both loathed the Stooges. How many times had we described their sadistic buffoonery as the dregs of comedy? Called their material the kind of thing only the feeble -minded would find funny? How often, while perusing novelty catalogs, did we complain about all the Stooges merchandise from shirts to posters to cookbooks, while the far superior Marx Brothers had nary a necktie? Katherine, perhaps confusing my shocked expression for one of interest, continued. ―I couldn‘t sleep last night so I started watching TV. There wasn‘t much on so I was just flipping around and one of those old movie channels was showing a few of their shorts. I know it‘s not the most high brow stuff but

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some of it was actually pretty funny. People kind of write them off as guys who just beat up on each other but some of the banter is quite witty. In one they were in the army and…‖ I was reeling. My mind flooded with images of loud arguments, brown leather marriage-counselor-couches, medicine cabinets full of pill bottles. ―So Moe is leading them on a march through the jungle…‖ Of course there‘ll be a brief trial separation followed by an ugly divorce. I see lawyers in expensive suits and musty courtrooms and a new, tiny, one-bedroom apartment. ―So the one with the crazy hair – that‘s Larry, right? – gets hurt and he says to a sergeant or colonel ‗I have to go take care of my weak back.‘ And the sergeant says ‗How long have you had a weak back?‘ And Larry says ‗About a week back.‘‖ Katherine burst into laughter. God I‘m going to miss that sweet, lilting sound of her laugh, not to mention her delicious apple crumb cake and tender foot rubs. But then the oddest thing happened. I felt my face twitch. Then the sides of my mouth, as if acting on their own, began to rise. I tried to fight it but it was no use. I smiled. Then a noise came out of my mouth, a kind of high-pitched squeal. It was a giggle. ―Funny, right?‖ Katherine said. How was this possible? Me? Laughing at a joke from the Three Stooges? You think you know a person. ~~~

North Carolina Writers’ Network West Writing is a solitary art, but even writers need community If you live in a NC county west of Buncombe or in a north Georgia or western Tennessee county that borders NC, consider joining Netwest, the Western chapter of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. NCWN can connect you to more than 1,400 writers, editors, teachers, publishers, librarians and bookstore owners across the state. Fall Conference Spring Conference Writers Outreach Workshops Center for Business and Technical Writing ideas, poems, stories…..fresh


Liar, Liar

by JC Walkup

Tough soles of the boy's bare feet scrunched the red sand

as he half walked, half skipped beside his grandfather. They were headed down an old logging road toward Greasy Creek for an afternoon of fishing. Weeds, desiccated by hot dry summer air, rattled as the walkers brushed past. A brief scorching breeze stirred the air and scared up a small dust devil in front of them. Oak and maple leaves moved limply in the oven hot air. Occasional briars strayed into the road and clawed at their faded striped overalls. His grandpa placed his brogan clad feet carefully in the dusty ruts. He was a short, bald man who balanced his pot belly like a thinner man would tote a big sack of cow feed in front of him. "Yep," the grandfather repeated, "I conjured them there worms you‘re carryin' in that can from hair out of Smitty's mule‘s tail." "How do you do make worms come to life from hairs, Grandpa?" "Oh, that's me own little secret. If I told you, then I couldn't do it no more, and anyway, you're too young to be able to do it yet." "Heck, Granpa. Why do grownups get to do everything? Why cain't I make worms or see ghosts like you kin?" The boy skipped ahead a few steps then turned to walk backwards so he could see his grandfather‘s face. "Just you be patient. One of these days you'll be growed up enough. Ought to be good fishin' today, all the signs are right fer hit." At the mention of fishing, the boy's face brightened and he forgot the limits of his youth. As they walked through a bare patch in the road ruts, he began a skipping dance around his grandfather. Red dust fogged around them. "Settle down, dammit," the old man coughed at him. ―If you don't behave, we'll go back home." "Sorry, Granpa." As they continued in silence, the boy remembered another hot sultry day just like this one. Their destination today was the same – the community swimming hole on the creek that now lay just over the hill on the other side of the meadow. On that day he and his grandparent had watched other boys diving and swimming with squeals and laughter. The boy watched them, envy on his face. Without warning the old man scooped him up and threw him in. Water tightened over his chest, then muffled sound and sight. Through his panic he heard a boy yell, "Kick your legs! Swing your arms." When he thrashed to the surface, the first thing he saw was the worry-puckered face of his grandfather. A strange look, he thought. By the time he flailed his way to the bank and climbed out it was gone. fresh...stories, poems, ideas

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The old man chuckled and spit a stream of snuff juice into the dirt. "Now there…I taught you to swim. Scared ja, didn't it." His own lie slid out. "Not much.‖ *** In summers as long as he could remember, rich smells of cooking preserves often kept him at Grandma's kitchen until dark. Their exchange was by now a familiar pattern. He‘d jump up from the table and say, "Guess I'd better go home. It's getting dark." "Oh, sit down. You may as well stay the night,' was Grandma‘s stock answer. "But, Ma will be worried.‖ "I‘m sure she's had enough tonic by now not to worry about anything." He knew she was right. Many nights his mother was asleep by sundown, a jar of moonshine on the floor beside her bed. So he stayed many nights like this one. He sat on the kitchen table bench beside Grandpa and watched her fill the last of her jars with the hot blackberry preserves then scrape the remains of the delicious smelling fruit into a small bowl. To his delight, she set it down in front of him. "Never can make the fruit and the jars come out even." She was a spare woman. Her hair was always smoothed in a tight bun in the back. She worked fast and hard at her chores every day, all day. The boy could never remember her sitting down during daylight hours. It was her pride to keep her little unpainted house spotless. Her favorite saying was: "If a body can't buy soap, they can make it. Everybody can be clean." His grandparents had eked out a living for themselves and their one daughter by sharecropping their whole married life in this same place. By the time they were too old to work the fields, the depression had deepened and the owner barely kept taxes paid and his fields lay fallow. He didn't have any use for the house so he had not asked them to move. Finished with her kitchen work, Grandma took off her apron, lit the coal oil lamp, adjusted the wick and took down her Bible. As she sat down, the old man got up and went outside. The boy licked up his treat slowly. When he could no longer get any on the spoon, he put his finger in and wiped it round and round and sucked off the last syrupy bit. Grandma said, ―I‘ll be vowed you didn‘t like that much. Now put that bowl and spoon in the dishpan for washin‘ tomorrer.‖ He did as instructed and ran outside to claim a place beside Grandpa on the top porch step. "If you'll sit real still, I'll call my friend, Mr. Owl," his grandfather offered. The old man put his fists to his mouth and a noise came through them from the back of his throat. Rapt, the child listened to an owl answer. His grandfather shifted his hands and made another sound and a bullfrog responded; next a whip-poor-will returned the old man's call. ―How do you do that?‖ ―It‘s magic, I done told you. Now hush up and listen.‖ A year ago a traveling evangelist came to their community. He went from house to house inviting everyone to services Saturday night. Grandma was strong for religion so they scrubbed and went. ideas, poems, stories…..fresh


JC Walkup Photography

"We're all sinners and goin' to Hell where the worm don't die and the flame ain't quenched!" the gaunt, hook-nosed figure shrieked at them. ―Tell the truth! Declare it here… right here…in front of God and this congregation! Ask forgiveness, ask it now!‖ His voice fell and rose again and again into a hypnotic cadence. Sweat circles blossomed under his arms as he shouted and stomped back and forth. Soon the boy slumped against his Grandpa's arm and fell asleep. As the testimonials started, he woke when he felt his grandfather stir. ―Truth…huh.‖ He saw old man's Adam's apple move as he swallowed like he‘d downed something too hard to chew. He grabbed the boy‘s hand. "I have to take the kid outside," he whispered to his wife. She gave him a quick nod. Her attention was riveted on the woman at the altar who was self-righteously sobbing out her family's darkest secrets. Outside four men stood in a close circle in the corner of the church yard. The old man dropped his grandson's hand and went straight to them. The boy watched him smile and reach for the offered jug. ―Before you take that, tell us about that trip you took on that flying saucer.‖ The group burst into laughter but his Grandpa‘s face turned red. He grabbed the jug and turned it up. ―I paid my share of that ‗shine,‖ was the only answer the boy heard. *** The boy and man crested the low hill and started across the lowland meadow toward the creek. Heat waves glimmered over the grassy field. ―My life is like the sun, Grandpa, all happy and shimmery. I wish summer would last forever.‖ His grandparent didn‘t share his opinion. ―Don‘t be stupid, boy, nothing lasts forever.‖ The road struggled ahead of them through the pasture land, over a bridge of split logs and disappeared in the heavy undergrowth on the other side. The boy ran ahead to where an old oak clung to the bank, half its roots dangling down into the water. "Let's try here, Grandpa." Visions of catfish and sun perch swimming past before they could bite his hook fired his urgency. "All right, all right, boy, simmer down now." At the creek side he deposited the cane poles and bait, and then eased his bulk down into an awkward squat, his back braced against the oak tree until he had baited their hooks. Time stretched longer and longer like a rubber band as they dangled their feet over the edge of the bank and watched the corks on their lines languish in the sluggish green water below. Disappointment darkened the boy‘s mood as the afternoon wilted and they got only a couple of nibbles each. Ants on the ground found his overalls and sent him into a twitching fit until he brushed them off. Holding his pole in one hand he plucked a hollow shell of a cicada off the tree trunk, crushed it into a fine brown powder and let it sift through his fingers. He thought about all the things Grandpa claimed he could do. Last May an older boy at school had laughed at him when he told about his Grandpa‘s magical ability to make worms and how he‘d had a ride fresh...stories, poems, ideas

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on a space ship. Defense of those claims got him a bloody nose and more ridicule. The restless boy's busy toes loosened a clod of dirt and it splashed into the creek. For that, the old man slapped him hard sending him tumbling into the water. He dogpaddled to the bank and grabbed the tree roots to pull himself up. "You ruin't the fishin', boy!" As the child smoothed the water out of his hair and clothes a sudden thought stilled his hands. "What would happen if you fell in, Grandpa?" "Oh, it'd be like I fell on the ground. I might bruise myself a little." "You wouldn't sink like everybody else?" "Shore not! Ain't I told you I've put the eye on the water? It cain't hurt me none." The boy lost interest in his wet clothes, fascinated by this new claim. The old man struggled to his feet facing the water; the can of leftover worms in one hand and his cane pole in the other "Why do you always throw away the worms we have left, Granpa?" "They aint worth totin' back." Tottering on the edge he held the can out as far as his arm could reach and turned the can upside down to shake it. At last, he thought of a way to prove his grandfather‘s claims. His quick shove sent the old man face down into the creek; he sank without a sound or a struggle. The boy lay on his belly and stared down at the indifferent water a long time. He didn‘t hear the rumble of thunder or notice when the sun dulled and died. As the first drops pelted him, he got to his feet. Tears joined the rain on his cheeks and his hands clenched into fists. "Liar, liar,‖ he screamed down to the deaf water. ~~~

d d, lie i a l . n y, lai

Lie, la

mJ Willia

ett . Ever

s marian m a r g r Fo lizers scanda



He lies who says he never lies where faithful men have never lain, For he laid down his flowery words when she lay down in conjugation’s loss. Now, woman, lie in loss, lay up some dreams for compensation. Think not he lied to you, for he has never lied to those with whom he’s lain. Or did he lie when she was laid?

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THANK YOU TO OUR TALENTED AND GENEROUS CONTRIBUTORS Fred Chappell, Featured Author… …retired from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, after 40 years as a Creative Writing professor who influenced an entire generation of aspiring writers. He was NC‘s Poet Laureate from 1997-2002. Chappell‘s many novels and wonderful poetry have garnered numerous regional, national and international awards. He recently published a new collection of short stories Ancestors and Others. For a more complete list of his works and biography, go to A generous mentor, Chappell has always encouraged fledgling authors with his spot-on advice. fresh is truly honored to present Chappell‘s short story, Anemone, in our spring issue.

Kathryn Stripling Byer, Featured Poet… …has written Catching Light (Louisiana State University Press, 2002); Black Shawl (1998); Wildwood Flower (1992), which was the 1992 Lamont Poetry Selection of The Academy of American Poets; and The Girl in the Midst of the Harvest (1986), which was published in the Associated Writing Programs award series. She received writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council and was NC Poet Laureate from 2005-2009. For more about our beloved Kay Byer, go to We feature her poem Winter Noon in this issue of fresh.

Joan Medlicott… …was sixty when she started her successful writing career. She has

eight books in the Ladies of Covington series, two stand-alone novels and three self-published books about the Virgin Islands where she was born. We are happy to present her short-short story Zelda and the Shabbos Candles.

Joan and Daisy

Photo by Nelda Holder

Deborah Andrews … …is a nurse who lives and works in West Asheville. She is grateful to have writing as a creative outlet and recently enjoyed a course in memoir through The Great Smokies Writing Program. She is currently working on family stories. fresh...stories, poems, ideas

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Stephen Morris Roberts … …is the author of A Space Inside a Space, a full-length collection of poems and his poetry has appeared in Aries, Natahala, The New St. Andrews Review and Pembroke. A graduate of UNC-CH and Hollis College, Roberts lives in Wilmington, NC where he works as an actor and crew person in the film industry.

Joy Bartlett… …traveled three years by bus, stopping to work in exchange for room and board as she gathered a wealth of writing material. We are grateful for her devotion to writing and her second contribution to fresh.

Victoria Rose … …was our second place winner in our short story contest and we are pleased to present A Gift of Words herein. Victoria Rose lives in Asheville, NC where she facilitates Courageous Words, Intergenerational Writing Workshops. She has a Masters of Education and is a Match Support Coordinator for Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

Julia Nunnally Duncan … …is a WNC native. Her characters are often the downtrodden, socially outcast, unemployed. Her most recent novel is When Day Is Done. She lives in Marion, NC, with her husband Steve, a woodcarver, and their daughter Annie."

William Cashman… ….lives on Beaver Island in northern Lake Michigan. After publishing several short stories he operated for three years, and then turned back to his own writing. He is the editor of the Beaver Beacon magazine (for which he has written five hundred articles on local culture and politics), and the Director of the Beaver Island Historical Society

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Thomas Rain Crowe … … has written and translated twelve books, founded a recording company, lived the life of the self-sufficient man and survived to write about it. His poem in this issue is a poignant comment on the devolution of American society as he sees it. We are privileged to share Chores with you. For more about him, go to

Celia Miles … JC Walkup Photography

…is our first place winner in the short fiction competition. Bet on the Rain captures the emotions of a young woman whose family is caught in hard times. Celia is famous for her unselfish support of women writers and her excellent editing skill. She calls herself "a teacher by trade, a traveler by design, a photographer for fun, and a writer by avocation." For more about her and her work go to

Tim Josephs… originally from New Jersey and now finds himself in North Carolina after a brief excursion in the great city of Portland, OR. His work has appeared on, the award-winning Josephs family Christmas letter, and in his own collection of short stories entitled A Camouflaged Fragrance of Decency. When he‘s not spending quality time with his wife, cats, and dog, Tim can be found working on a novel which he insists will be done someday.

JC Walkup… …retired from thirty years in industry to follow her writing life that now revolves around publishing duties for fresh, writing short stories, reviews and novels. Her most recent publication is a short story in The Great Smokies Review, titled Alone. Her story Liar, Liar appears in this issue of fresh.

William Everett… …has authored eight books, numerous articles on social ethics and religion. His poetry is thoughtful and well crafted. We are pleased to include his poetry for an encore in fresh. For more about him go to

Susan Macon… our guest photographer in this issue. She feels blessed to live in these Great Smoky Mountains surrounded by interesting and beautiful subjects. Photography is her way of capturing memories and beauty. It is joyful for her to share her images with others and she appreciates the opportunity to be included in this issue of fresh. fresh...stories, poems, ideas

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fresh from Us… Congratulations to our contest winners from our first ever fresh writers contest! First place in the short story category is Celia Miles, from Asheville, and her beautifully written story Bet On The Rain is featured in this issue. Second place is Victoria Rose, also hailing from Asheville, and we present her touching story of a healing journey A Gift of Words in this issue too. Be on the lookout for more contests in future issues. Readers and writers—mark your calendars.


(FEATURING SELF - PUBLISHED AUTHORS ) To Benefit Candy Maier Scholarship Fund for Women Writers Saturday, MAY 15, 2010 10:00am until 4:00pm Kenilworth Presbyterian Church, 123 Kenilworth Rd, Asheville, NC FREE ADMISSION TO PUBLIC. Features: Silent Auction, Autographed books sale, Raffle, Homemade Goodies, Handmade Jewelry and Cards, Used Books, Regional Publishers Authors bring their books and handle their sales. Registration Fee: $10 by April 15, and one signed book . After April 15, $15 plus one signed book. Registration at the door $15 plus signed book if space available. Proceeds go the Candy Maier Scholarship Fund For Women Writers Website:

More congratulations are in order to Eric Brown whose story, Jonah and the Whale, appeared in our first issue. He recently won the Best Nonfiction of the Year from the Predator and Editor‘s Reader‘s Poll for a comic column printed in Abandoned Towers Magazine. His story, Season of Rot, was considered for the Dead Letter Award. We continue to be amazed by Eric‘s output as he has a new release: Tandem of Terror, with BIGFOOT WAR coming out in April. He has signed a four book deal with Pill Hill Press and is working on How the West Went to Hell for that publisher. The zombie genre is hot! Appalachian Lifestyle Celebration in Downtown Waynesville, Saturday, June 5, 2010 10-5 Traditional

crafts demonstrations and craft items for sale

Musical events including David Holt, musician, storyteller,  historian, TV host, who will perform in the afternoon Square Dances with audience participation Vendor spaces available for traditional foods

For more information contact or call 828.456.3517. Have a wonderful spring and be sure to visit our advertisers!

JC, Penny & Buffy ideas, poems, stories…..fresh


Sure smells like spring to me! Thanks to JBB & REW for feeding me through this tough winter…


ra hotog P n o Mac


City Lights Bookstore

Judy & Roger Winge Brokers/Owners

3 East Jackson Street , Sylva, North Carolina 28779 Phone: 828.586.9499 Toll-free: 888.853.6298

19-A Unadilla Ave. Asheville, NC 28803

9 am—9 pm Monday—Saturday Sunday afternoons

Tel: (828) 252-2796 Fax: (828) 252-2796


fresh...stories, poems, ideas

Spring 2010


fresh...stories, poems, ideas  

A new literary magazine published in Western NC.