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TABLE OF CONTENTS LETTER FROM THE EDITOR ........................................................ 2 GOOD PARENTING IS LIKE A WINTER COAT ..................................... 3 WHEN TROUBLE COMES KNOCKING AT THE FRONT DOOR ............. 4 HIGHLAND HOME CEMETERY .......................................................... 5 BAD LUCK ......................................................................................... 6 THE EVIL OF GROWING OLD—FOR DOROTHY ................................. 7 LITHOPEDION ................................................................................... 9 THE UNDOING ................................................................................ 11 OCTOBER 2017 FEATURED ARTIST ................................................. 12 POIGNANT ...................................................................................... 16 APRICOT DREAM ............................................................................ 17 BIRTHDAY CAKE ON RODEO DRIVE ................................................ 19 ANONYMOUS DANCE ..................................................................... 20 HE WAS A GOOD MAN ................................................................... 21 DANDELION WINE .......................................................................... 23 IF IT ENDS WELL ............................................................................. 25 BRACE FOR IMPACT ....................................................................... 27 MAURICE ........................................................................................ 31 IT NEVER ENDS ............................................................................... 33 IF SYLVIA PLATH WAS SOUTHERN .................................................. 35 WARDROBE .................................................................................... 36 DREAM ........................................................................................... 37 I WANT TO BE PETROLEUM JELLY .................................................. 39 GOOGLE SEARCH: DEFINE GESTALT ............................................... 40 IRREDUCIBLE IN THIS SPACE .......................................................... 41 THE WORLD IS NOT SAFE ............................................................... 42 WHEN FEAR COMES ALONG .......................................................... 43

COVER PHOTO | Power to the People by Fabio Sassi

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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Where elegance meets eloquence, you’ll find Lady Blue. It’s our mantra, and we do what we can to live by it. As it turns out, our writers do too. We found ourselves baffled by the countless dark, dazzling works submitted to us from around the world in the last six months. Every member of our team laughed, cried, cowered, and fought alongside our authors and their narrators as we indulged in the ideas and themes showcased in every submission. The work found a flow through the realities of the world around us, starting with the inevitable battle wounds that accompany life and ending with our sometimes sorrowful, oftentimes hilarious, downright human determination to work through the worst of times, if only for a single moment indulging in the best of times. With every page of this edition we take part in the harrowing course of presence, remembering never to stop fighting no matter the circumstances. We wanted our cover to reflect the powerful, striking evolution our writers and submissions have undergone as the months wore on. The poems contained herein, with their raw, emotional, angry contemplation, are unlike any we have received before, which is why our cover is unlike any we’ve presented. Lady Blue Publishing has expanded into a full press, and in the months preceding this release, we opened a marketplace to bring you longer works like novelettes, novellas, and chapbooks. We have also been delighted and humbled by the recent addition of our company name to Duotrope, an online resource listing respected literary journals. Because of that recognition, we’ve connected this season to more unique, inspiring authors and individuals than we could ever list. This time around is no different than the last when it comes to our inexpressible gratitude. We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for our dedicated readers, talented writers, and tireless reading board. To Jesse Cole and Jess Cawley, who put the progress of Lady Blue ahead of their own needs month after month, we give our deepest thanks. With this third edition of the Lady Blue Literary Arts Journal, we once again extend to you, wherever you are, an offer. Read with us. Experience the cheer, the madness, the inevitability, the resistance, the tranquility. Feel your blood run hot and let your blue become red with us, if only for a moment. Indulge in the elegance. Engage with the eloquence. Take what you will from what you encounter—and always remember that it’s worth the fight.

Claire Meler, Publisher

Alaina Richardson, Editor

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Heather Nonnemacher, Creative Director


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GOOD PARENTING IS LIKE A WINTER COAT a ETHAN HOUTZ Rather than trying to tell your children that the world will always be warm and welcoming, you hand them the means to protect themselves from the cold. You will never be able to reach into the sky and punch a hole through the clouds for your loved ones, so to behave like there will be no rainy days is to condemn them to soggy shirts and soiled picnics. Some people don't recognize the significance, but I hear it sewn in her words every time, I prepare myself for the world outside after one of my scarce visits to my parents and my mother tells me yet again, "Don't forget your coat!" In her words I hear a chorus of meaning: -I love you -Be safe -Be ready -You can do this Her four little words flood my skull with a cacophony. You never lied to me about the cold, mom, and now, because of you, I don't even feel it.

Ethan Houtz is an obsessive gamer, software developer, storyteller, philosopher, part-time Discordian, and pun connoisseur. If not for the encouragement of his loved ones, his poems would most likely be thrown in the trash by his own hand before ever seeing the light of day. He hopes he can serve as an example that computer programmers are just as capable of creating art as the next person. 3


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WHEN TROUBLE COMES KNOCKING AT THE FRONT DOOR a GERRY FABIEN Hold fast to the balance established through routine and schedules. Avoid clocks. Take the concept of blame and put it outside with the garbage. Whistle nonsense tunes like the crazy ones. Keep your eyes happy. Don't be afraid to slip out the back door now and again.

R. Gerry Fabian is a retired English instructor. He has been publishing poetry since 1972 in various poetry magazines. He is the editor for Raw Dog Press. His novels, Memphis Masquerade and Getting Lucky (The Story), and published poetry book, Parallels, are available at Smashwords and all other ebook stores.

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HIGHLAND HOME CEMETERY a AJ OXENFORD My parents walk among cemetery plots of people they once knew on a cloudy afternoon. I trail behind in flip flops, chilly in May. We stop at a gravestone marked Johnson, Dad’s full name on the left, Mom’s on the right— their birthdays listed underneath with spaces for death dates. Dad leans down, traces his first name with his finger, and says, “It’s nice to have this taken care of.” I look away, toward the flat fieldstones covered in bird droppings and brown grass clippings. There are more dead than alive in Ledyard, Iowa, and my parents seem ready to join. Mom takes my hand. “I’ll haunt you if you put fake flowers on my grave.” She laughs; I pull my hand from her grip. She walks to the next plot, deadheads the white geraniums in a terracotta pot by Grandma’s headstone. Hugging myself, I stand by my dad who will one day be buried beneath my feet.

AJ Oxenford lives in West Des Moines, Iowa, where she teaches at a local college. She also owns a business with her husband—they take down barns and make furniture. She loves the Iowa Hawkeyes, reading mystery novels, and taking cat naps (with her cats). 5


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BAD LUCK a JOHN GREY The doctors did not tell her what had happened to her husband. They did not want her worrying about who would take charge of the children. But she could see it in their faces. Their expressions blared "road accident, driver died, female passenger in critical condition." All that was missing was a list of the names. Since she had never been a churchgoer, she resisted all calls for a priest. She'd led a good life. Too short, that's all. She didn't feel as if she was being punished. It was all to do with luck. She reckoned that if God really did exist he was more like her late mother, seated at the kitchen table, interspersing cigarettes with cups of coffee, playing games of solitaire while talk radio simmered in the background, win or lose, the game was always up for someone. She prided herself on accepting the worst with good humor and perfectly skewed philosophy. Her sister would take the children. She had none of her own. They would lead good lives unless something bad happened. Then they would be philosophical... or dead. Good for them. 6

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THE EVIL OF GROWING OLD—FOR DOROTHY a AJ OXENFORD 1997 Gramma takes my hand in hers, hers wrinkled, with only two rings— the small diamond from my papa on the left ring finger, the garnet (our birthstone) and gold on the other. She paints my nails scarlet, carnation pink, or lavender— “the colors of a lady.” She turns up her nose at wilder colors, refusing to paint them black. Our fingers blacken in the garden from pulling stringy weeds from damp soil in Mom’s cucumber patch and radish rows. We watch Shirley Temple after going through my spelling words, words she sometimes mispronounces, and then we giggle.

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2014 She isn’t the same lady now, sitting in a nursing home, eyes closed, mind a mess. I take her hand and gently shake. Gramma, it’s me. Can you hear me? “Miss Prim,” she mutters, her eyelids too heavy to open. The left side of her lips curl upward before she drifts away. 2017 It’s the memories that creep up that hurt the most, in the middle of a grocery store aisle, crying deep sobs, triggered by the cherry-flavored juice boxes that she used to buy for Halloween trick-or-treaters, her diamond around my right ring finger, handed down two weeks after she passed.

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LITHOPEDION a LAURA HOFFMAN he was: ink on sinew silver tinsel sprouting from his black hair Joe was a painter with a colorless face a runny, hooked nose and an embarrassing streak of defiance that always came to light after an afternoon of cocktails he was: a wrinkled suit of a man who smelled ripe with wine and Camels every morning and yet my love for this barren father swelled like a child inside of me he left like winter and the child I carried turned to stone in his place

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Laura Hoffman is a United States Marine Corps veteran currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in English at the University of North Florida. Hoffman's most recent work is forthcoming or appears in: Bop Dead City, Clear Poetry, Twisted Sister Lit Mag, Pouch, The Bangalore Review, and WOWsdom: The Girl's Guide to The Positive and The Possible by Donna Orender (to be released in Fall 2017).

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THE UNDOING a AJ OXENFORD “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” —Ernest Hemingway A woman blushed with pink rouge pushes against my lower back in the checkout line— not her hip or her hand, but her rounded belly with a nipple poking out of her belly button. Sorry, she says. She has no idea where her stomach stops; her denim jacket fit five months ago and her plaid shirt puckers. Her ankles are swollen, her left flip flop is black and the right one brown— her eyes are sunken, her hair thrown up. She’s radiantly frazzled. She taps her stomach with both index fingers— “His name will be August. He’ll come shortly after harvest.” She talks as if she has a say in the matter, that she isn’t just a carrier with a ticking time bomb in her stomach. I will take my milk and peaches home to a house with a nursery and no baby, to a room with pink onesies and baby shoes, never worn.

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AZRA BIHORAC

OCTOBER 2017 FEATURED ARTIST

Azra Bihorac is a business graduate from Copenhagen Business School. She works in fashion as a digital and social media manager. She spends her free time on books, cinema, and photography. Her mission in life is to travel the world and spread joy through dance, food, and pictures.

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How do you go about finding and photographing subjects? What’s your process for capturing compelling shots? I don't have a specific method for finding spots to photograph, nor do I plan what to take pictures of when I travel. I used to mostly take pictures of famous places, but they never seemed great; they were missing something personal. I found my favorite pictures were of what inspired me in that exact moment. Maybe I was walking down the street and the lighting was just right, or a person moved me in such a way that I wanted to tell their story through a picture, or maybe someone or something was just lined up perfectly. If I do take pictures of a famous place, I try to make it a little quirky or capture it from a weird angle. I also move around a lot on foot when I travel, so I am always on the lookout for something great on every corner. Usually, when I am staring at something and making a story up in my head about it, I press click. It's just like sitting on a train and looking out the window at the rain or daydreaming about a movie or book—that kind of inspiration.

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Looking at photographs that you’ve taken in the past versus photographs that you’ve taken recently, how has your photography matured and your style developed over time? I never used to think about the technical aspects of taking pictures. I would just photograph what, in my mind, looked great, whether it was the ocean, a person, or a famous building. Recently, I was in New York City, and I started taking more abstract pictures; I was inspired by the many different shapes and sizes of the city. I realized it was more fun to snap photos with creative depth than, for example, straight from the front. Also, the skyscrapers taught me to always look up! There is a lot of beauty above our heads that needs attention. My travels in Asia made me appreciate the awkward hobby of people-watching. Usually, when I am at home and going about my day, I don't feel the need to really look at people. But when I travel I spend time looking at people passing by me, and sometimes they either do something worth taking a picture of, or they have a certain story about them that I want to capture. 13


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Window Cave

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What mistakes have you made that helped you refine your skills as a photographer? What advice would you give to a new photographer?

The mistake was when I traveled and only took pictures of famous places and things. The pictures could turn out great, but they didn't inspire me at all. I was too caught up in looking for things to photograph instead of just walking around and enjoying the place I was in. By changing this, I opened up my mind for really feeling the atmosphere, the smells, and the sounds of a certain place. What makes this place unique? How does it make me feel? What aspirations do I get from it? Sometimes it's a balcony in NYC giving me a feeling of 'I can do anything in a big city', or sunlight through a palm tree that inspires me to live life to the fullest. I try to capture all of these in my photographs. And this is also what I would advise for anyone starting out in this field, or any creative field, for that matter.

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Abstract Sky

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What do you ultimately look to communicate through your photography? What kinds of choices do you make so that your images tell a story? At the end of the day, I want to communicate the certain feeling I had at that exact moment. I grew up watching a lot of movies and reading books. I was always away in some dream world in my mind. When I watch a movie, I can be so blown away by what the cinematography awakens in me. One of my favorite movies is The Place Beyond the Pines, not because of the story line (albeit great), but the still shots that gave me a feeling of sadness, loneliness, and hopelessness. I couldn't fathom that cinematography could play with my emotions so much. So I try to consider emotions and storytelling every time I choose to share a photograph with the world, hoping it awakens the same in others that it did in me.

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POIGNANT a KASEY DAISHER Repeat after me. The meaning of life is to live. “The meaning of life is to live.” Welcome to the Spiritual Prison. Grab one of each garment, And get in line. Here you have choices, From the food that you eat To the shoes on your feet. But don’t be an outlier, For you won’t reproduce. The reproduction repercussion; Humiliation of the mechanical animal.

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APRICOT DREAM a AJ OXENFORD I’m at the plot where they buried my old high school. Grass grows in patches, a graveyard for condom wrappers, tattered baseballs, and plastic liquor flasks. But today, a fruit tree stands on the desolate ground with sprigs of green leaves and a dense canopy full of apricots. The limbs shake, apricots drop thick as hail, hit the ground with heavy thuds. I try to run, slip on the guts of the fallen. The apricot underneath my knee contains a piece of paper: on it, my full name. I catch another from the air, put my thumbs in and rip its firm flesh open: another bit of paper, wrapped around the apricot’s stone. I keep opening the fruit, reading my future in phrases that don’t fit my current life: moved from Cedar Falls, no longer with Paul, stay-at-home mom. Never finished law degree. I gather as many as I can, arrange them on the ground, struggle to find a conclusive order. The apricots begin to melt into the ground. A breeze disperses the paper into the air like a bevy of quail in a whirl of flight. I try to jump, reach for the slips, but my legs won’t budge no matter how hard I pull. My shoes have melted into the ground, stuck in the plot of land that I’ve always been afraid would take me.

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Devil’s Golf Course by William Crawford

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BIRTHDAY CAKE ON RODEO DRIVE a LAURA HOFFMAN it was the eve before the Oscars I was bowing my bones over cold silver bars so that I could feast my star-stricken eyes on the empty red carpet Montgomery Clift & I had spent the afternoon with our hands clasped at the observatory & honestly I have forgotten what we did later in a little motel on Sunset Boulevard I was in love with Hollywood flashbulbs, corner booths film studios & rebels without cause I carried the fallen stars in my blue jeans on my last Sunday in La-La Land squinting in the sun I blew out a single candle & drove home with empty pockets

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ANONYMOUS DANCE a LAURA HOFFMAN the old steel guitar draws me out of bed I am twenty-two again in my dress blues on a midnight drive through Palm Desert it’s the night of my first Marine Corps Ball I dance with a Private from Bravo Company one dance that we steal and carry into the crisp California night back to the barracks it’s now seven years later and I’m pleading with the ghost of Hank Williams to relent and just whisper my Private’s name

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HE WAS A GOOD MAN a SUSAN LEARY The poem I want to write is the one I cannot. There is no metaphor in He was a good man. Truth cannot un-constitute itself. The pony cannot turn her blonde mane. He was a good man, she is sure. Flowers sprout from the dirt into endless patterns of stars. Everywhere there are steeples of lupine, white daisies, and purple heads of aster. Against the light, their shadows fall on misshapen rocks built like desks into the ground. There is no euphemism in their shapes—no trick or condescension. Beyond the hill, lamps of sunshine pass through openings in leaves that have overlapped to make space for their own silhouettes. This is the divinity of perspective, and it is here, in this double-living of daylight, that the pony grazes un-alone and sincere. Prophetic in her aging, she will await a time that she may lie down to die— when wildflowers, un-betrayed by their nature, bend against her burrowing weight. Un-coaxed, she will think: The flowers are good to me. They have loved me more than life. Legs ready to root the earth with hoofs of blotted ink. What is the meaning in this final day? He was a good man, the poem speaks.

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Susan L. Leary is a lecturer in English composition at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, where she lives with her husband, Sean, and their sweet pups, Ellie and Mayah. Her most recent creative work appears or is forthcoming in The Christian Century, Gyroscope Review, Sweet Tree Review, Clear Poetry, Steel Toe Review, Antiphon, Dime Show Review, The Big Windows Review, After the Pause, Malevolent Soap, Twyckenham Notes, and elsewhere.

Radiant Roses by William Crawford

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DANDELION WINE a DAVID LOHREY Dandelion wine and handmade soaps are worthwhile. They’re a matter of life and death. We need them now more than ever. We’ve got to keep the madness at bay. We need skills to stay out of Bedlam. City life is sexy, and is not to be missed, but if you like Johnny Cash, you need to plant your own corn. You’ll need to raise rabbits. We must go back to polishing our own boots. Hand out the saddle soap, get out the rags. Let’s get our hands dirty again; let’s work up a sweat. We must take it back before the Beatles. The Fabulous Four are part of the problem, along with dark memories of JFK and a morbid interest in his assassination. Forget about it. Let’s go all the way back to FDR and the fighting spirit. We should watch reruns of Gunsmoke. It’s not that boys can’t be girls. It’s not that girls can’t have dicks. Let the kids play house as long as they learn to make strawberry preserves and dill pickles. Someone has to pick the cucumbers. Someone has to muck out the stalls. It hardly matters who feeds the chickens. Pick up a shovel. Candle-making is a worthy task, along with beekeeping. This is good. Let’s go back to doing it all by hand. Keep your car, keep your smart-phone, keep your glow-in-the-dark dildo, too, but someone has to learn how to butcher a hog. Someone needs to learn how to darn. It’s not that cosmopolitanism is unpatriotic; no, not that. It’s that it teaches people to prefer rice over potatoes. It instructs people in the use of exotic practices like drug addiction and sexual debauchery. Many are wasting away. It’s okay to be cool, but it’s much more important to fend for oneself.

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David Lohrey is from Memphis and now lives in Tokyo. He graduated from UC Berkeley. Internationally, his poetry can be found in Otoliths, Stony Thursday Anthology, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, and Buckshot Magazine. In the US, recent poems have appeared in PoetryCircle, FRiGG, Obsidian, and Apogee Journal. His fiction can be read in Crack the Spine, Dodging the Rain, Literally Stories, and The Broke Bohemian. David’s The Other Is Oneself, a study of 20th century literature, was published in Germany last year, while his first collection of poetry, Machiavelli’s Backyard, was released in August. He is a member of the Sudden Denouement Collective.

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IF IT ENDS WELL a MARTINA REISZ NEWBERRY Somehow, cold is lonelier than nearly anything. Awake, early morning, seeing the sky through half lids, I am lonely. There are crow-cries and squirrels on the phone lines and a wide, frightened remoteness ruffling the bedclothes to make me get up. “It is cold,” yawp the crows. “We know you,” cackle the squirrels. And I am up and will walk. The smell of day-before-yesterday's rain is still all around and my trip for coffee in the icy air is a little sad or a lot sad. Even the sunlight seems a betrayal. My city, my unhappy, beautiful city, only a few blocks more to my warm seat in a small shop. And what is this? A very small hole in the concrete, warmth steaming from it, a thread, just a thread of white, wafting, showing the way.

Newberry’s books: Never Completely Awake (Deerbrook Editions), Take The Long Way Home (Unsolicited Press), Where It Goes (Deerbrook Editions), Running Like a Woman With Her Hair on Fire (Red Hen Press). Her work has been widely published in the United States and abroad. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Brian, a media creative. 25


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Frankie by Fabio Sassi

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BRACE FOR IMPACT a DAVID LOHREY Cue the soundtrack to “Once Upon a Time in the West.” Listen for 30 seconds, rewind. Listen for the vocals, not the words. Now the strings. Try to imagine a cloud of dust. Now stop the music. Ignore the dialogue. Sit in your attic. Think dust. Smell the dung. Find an old belt and bite it. Put your nose in an old shoe. Breathe in. Now listen to the music. Listen to the harpsicord. Get a load of the orchestra. Picture Fonda. Look into his eyes. If you dare. Now close your eyes. It is 103 degrees in the shade. A crow flies by. Sergio Leone cries action. The dust blows. Try to imagine you’re there. Listen. Don’t hold your breath. Open your eyes, slowly. Listen. Listen for the chime, listen for the bell. Wait.

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It’s Bronson. Here comes the harmonica. There’s a creak. There’s a drip. There’s a fly. There’s a whinney. You can smell the dung. You’re ready for death. There’s anticipation. There’s expectation. There is no hope. Listen for the whistle. Don’t look at the sun. Leone cries cut.

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A Table Setting in Dim Light (above) and Restaurant Interior (next page) by William Crawford William C. Crawford is a writer and photographer living in Winston-Salem, NC. He was a combat photojournalist in Vietnam, and he later enjoyed a long career in social work. Crawford also taught at UNC Chapel Hill. He photographs the trite, the trivial, and the mundane. Crawford developed the forensic foraging technique of photography with his colleagues Sydney Lensman and Jim Provencher.

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MAURICE a JOHN GREY One kid grabbed a book from him and he waddled after, surely knowing that, with his fat body, it was a forlorn task. But then the kid joined his three buddies and the four tossed it around like a football as he made pathetic grabs that came nowhere near the thing. Earnest, stoic, he was well-practiced at holding back tears as his face reddened and his flopping, bouncing body became even more comic. The tallest of the kids then held it high above his head like a baited hook and the fat boy still tried to reach even though he was shorter than most his age and his grasping fingers couldn't come within two feet. Once it was no longer fun, one of the kids tossed the book in the dirt, another spat at him, and then they ran off. He slowly retrieved the book, its pages and cover scuffed, and wiped the spit from his face. He didn't bleed this time at least. And no body part was in pain from where someone had slugged him. His dignity sunk no lower. It was still at ground zero from the last time.

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It merely took ten minutes away from the time he could have spent immersed in his stories. For while some kids imagined themselves as superheroes, his dream was to be a fat kid, head down, reading a book. Mostly, he realized that dream. But there were times when he was rudely awoken.

John Grey is an Australian poet and US resident. He was recently published in Tau, Studio One, and The Columbia Review with work upcoming in Naugatuck River Review, The Examined Life Journal, and The Midwest Quarterly. 32


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IT NEVER ENDS a JOHN GREY My house is overrun with books. My shelves are as stacked as those in this second-hand store I cannot help drifting into. But I'm not here to compare grandiloquent collections with the owner. When it comes down to it, he's out to make a buck. And I'm in the business of protecting what little open space my house has left for me. But the printed word is such a lure. The feel of a hard cover in my palm is like the touch of a lovely woman except this one's from the 1920's and who, but a rare tome, looks good at that age. There're titles that intrigue me. A work by a favorite author that my collection doesn't even know it aches for. And there's something about a lurid dust-jacket. Propriety prevents me from saying what that something is. With great reluctance, I put all these treasures back on their shelves. It's as if that little voice from Book Buyers Anonymous is whispering in my guilt's ear. But here's one I just have to have and surely I can make room for it somewhere. Maybe if I toss those bulky bookends. Such a presumptuous name anyhow.

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Lost Archives by Fabio Sassi

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IF SYLVIA PLATH WAS SOUTHERN a MACY FRENCH would she walk with bare feet in June, toes blackened, crunched over roly polys and red clay? Would her farmhouse have a street or a sign or a pot-belly stove? Would there be morning songs and she-devils? Would Ted read to the children at night? Would she know how to kill a hog? Would she stuff cotton under the doorjamb? If Sylvia had been born in the mountains, would she be a paper doll? Would sad teenagers read The Bell Jar and cry into pillows? Would she draw out her words, twang like her granny did? Would she be the first in her family to leave home, to own a little house on the same plot? Would she have anything to confess and most of all, would there be a God to listen?

Macy French is a senior in creative writing at Tusculum College. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Connotation Press, Gravel, DASH Literary Journal, Mochila Review, Oakland Arts Review, and others.

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WARDROBE a MARTINA REISZ NEWBERRY The light is escaping the sky. I’ve rifled through my lingerie drawer more times than I can count, searching...Where is the “I” who cleaned the house, drove for errands, offered gourmet meals, made love like a young man’s myth? The drawer doesn’t hold a clue, nor does the mirror, nor does the puddle on the sidewalk out front (and I do check it frequently). So why do I continue to look for her—that “I” who is misplaced? I want to give her something—something she can keep with her now that she is in a safe place—a song, a sweet gesture, a bracelet, a birthday cake.

Bar Peep by William Crawford

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DREAM a JEANICE DAVIS I dream backwards. This is easier than forward movement. Memory molds the past. The future, however, seems written on slabs— unmovable, unshakable, and we cannot dream it. Hope holds itself hostage. Enveloped in uncertainty. But the past—it grows more favorable. Hindsight, the backward glance, over-the-shoulder, look askance, clouds truth, shakes it like a globe, glitter-filled dream, the fake promise of what was, but never will be. Plastic world. Plastic dream. So what do we do? Cover our eyes, dream backwards? Forget hope? I do not know. I do not know. Shake, shake the globe once more.

Jeanice Eagan Davis teaches English at an urban high school where she attempts (sometimes successfully) to share her passion for poetry with her students. Her poetry reflects both her interest in the human psyche and her love of nature. She is often inspired by the motorcycle trips she makes with her husband, exploring the back roads of America. She has had poems published in Cooweescoowee and Cantos. Her dream is to one day live in a cabin in the woods where she spends her days writing poetry. 37


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Lost in the Mirror by Fabio Sassi Fabio Sassi makes photos and acrylics using tiny objects and things that are hidden, discarded, or considered to have no worth by the mainstream. He lives and works in Bologna, Italy.

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I WANT TO BE PETROLEUM JELLY a GERRY FABIAN So I can heal your minor cuts and abrasions And enhance your sense of smell; Be the balm on your lips And moisturize your soft skin. Most of all, I want to seal and waterproof The edges of Your heart.

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GOOGLE SEARCH: DEFINE GESTALT a ETHAN HOUTZ Gestalt. I reread the definition as my mind's eye starts to draw a person made of puzzle pieces going about their day. Husband. Brother. Friend. Employee. A million pieces take turns shining as the day rolls on, and yet the overlay of their illumination does not sum the whole. Perhaps the thing that makes us sentient is to have more to our person than our parts. My word for the day leaves me with a week's worth of questions— maybe tomorrow will be simpler. I hope not.

Checking for a Route by William Crawford 40


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IRREDUCIBLE IN THIS SPACE a MACY FRENCH “Nothing takes place in the world whose meaning is not that of some maximum or minimum.” —Leonhard Euler My best friend explains derivatives in a room where walls fold in like graph paper. Numbers in his hands, functions propel him forward on a finite plane. I cannot be written as a fraction because I am not rational, assume truth until proven false. A function has its own set of lungs and breathes through quadrants, in and y, x and out. How can infinity be placed into a fixed set of categories? This contradicts our assumptions that m and n are relatively prime. He spins over geometric proofs, variables in his pupils rotate through lines and intersections, a horizontal flip. Values can switch place. These tiny lives will never be more the same, more fluid than division and remainders on paper.

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THE WORLD IS NOT SAFE a ETHAN HOUTZ I can think of no greater betrayal than keeping an ingot from the heat of the forge and forever condemning it to hold a useless shape in fear of how the flames might change it.

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WHEN FEAR COMES ALONG a KAREN WOLF Fear rides shotgun, he whispers devastating outcomes at every turn, punctuating ideas with failure-laden turnabouts sending me back under bedclothes—safe, far from all attempts at anything. Even if I belt him in, he wiggles free and avalanches me with buckets of doubt. Unable to escape his presence, I drink a toast to his persistence and clothe myself in fear-resistant creativity.

Karen Wolf has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Toledo and a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University. She has retired from a 30-year teaching career and is semi-retired from her own pet sitting company. She has been published in Smoky Blue Literary and Arts Magazine, Dime Store Review, TreeHouse: An Exhibition of the Arts, OASIS Journal, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, The Bookends Review, The Drunken Llama, BLYNKT, Communicators League, Raw Dog Press, and Street Light Press, among others. Her chapbook, THAT’S JUST THE WAY IT IS, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. 43


Lady Blue Literary Arts Journal Issue 03 October 2017  

With every page of this edition, we take part in the harrowing course of presence, remembering never to stop fighting no matter the circumst...

Lady Blue Literary Arts Journal Issue 03 October 2017  

With every page of this edition, we take part in the harrowing course of presence, remembering never to stop fighting no matter the circumst...

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