*Aw/Al*Issue04*May2011 * In This Issueâ€Ś Editorâ€™s Note Cover Artist
Lauren Tamraz Elizabeth Unterman
Steven Siegelski, Barbara Sue Mink Spalding Megan Guidarelli, Ryan W. Bradley, Maxwell Love Andrew Valentino, Kristyn Drosselmeier, Jake David Chris Pryslopski, Karen Masterson, Trevor Nelson
Sarah Walko, Hell Bent Elizabeth Unterman, Emma Tucillo
Most people don’t have habits they began in the 7th grade that have actually led to careers, but I’m one of the (lucky?) ones who does. When Mrs. Burns, my religion teacher at The Ursuline School in New Rochelle, New York, demanded her students keep daily journals to let out their simmering adolescent agonies, could she have known the lifelong work she was instilling in me? I began each of those journal entries, dating back to 1995, with the weather (temperature and sky conditions), as well as the song I was listening to—because in that era of my life, the stereo was never turned off. (Yes, I said stereo.) In the rare moment I was sans stereo, I simply noted whatever song was in my head. I believed this was a vital piece of information because it revealed my entire mindset with just a few words, and was very fun to take a peek back at later on down the road. More than 15 years later, I still journal everyday, complete with noted musical accompaniment. I also consider music to be a crucial inspiration for all parts of life, not just writing and art. How could I resist building an issue around this concept? I was so happy when many others felt strongly and wanted to commit to creating work for the project. I hope you will enjoy their creations. Another pervasive influence in submissions this past period was of the parental persuasion—fitting for these two months hosting both Mother’s and Father’s Day. Thanks to all our parents for their hand in our creativity. Look! We made it somewhere with all our crazy writing and art! And as always, thank you, dear reader, for coming back for another installment of Awosting Alchemy. I hope to see you back here in July when we unleash the Anagram issue and try to make sense of all our parts. Until then, Happy Spring…
PS> If you’re curious about what music I was writing down in those days, the early half of ’95 was populated with mostly Nirvana, Bush, Hole and Nine Inch Nails. However, by mid-year and pretty much without fail ever since, the Grateful Dead has become the most common answer. Feel free to share your background music on our Facebook page…
Cover Artist: Elizabeth Unterman The work by Elizabeth Unterman featured in this issue of Awosting Alchemy is from her series of photographs and polymer prints that explore the powerful self-healing process of both the human body and of nature. By using antiquarian medical drawings contrasted with photographs of the natural world and the human form, Unterman illustrates the beauty and complexities of our medical and emotional interiors. Like the trees that bloom every spring after their winter rest, the body also has the ability to regenerate in many extraordinary ways. The cover image is a segment of the main piece, made in response to Pearl Jam's song "Garden".
www.elizabethunterman.com Elizabeth's work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions including Revisit at the Herter Gallery, Amherst, MA; The Boston Young Contemporaries at Boston University; The Screening at Samson Projects, Boston; The Woodstock Biennial at the Woodstock/Byrdcliffe Guild and the Photo Regional at the Albany Center Gallery, Albany, NY to name a few. In addition, Elizabeth has curated numerous exhibitions including a group exhibition at Rhode Island School of Design's Sol Koffler Gallery and Site Seeing: Explorations of Landscape at The Center for Photography at Woodstock. She earned her MFA in Photography from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2007. From 2007-2010, Elizabeth was the Education Coordinator at The Center for Photography at Woodstock (CPW) and is currently Adjunct Faculty of Photography at SUNY Ulster in Stone Ridge, NY. Elizabeth is also a freelance photographer specializing in events and portraiture in the Hudson Valley. If you are interested in booking her to photograph, please visit her website: www.elizabethunterman.com.
My Love the Potter She throws bowls flower pots and mugs on an electric wheel. After she is done holding my hand she leaves white dust. -Steven Siegelski
Idaho State Fair--1964 Sun and sickness there At the bleachers, in sawdust: Mother was too late. -Barbara Sue Mink Spalding
down. down. Always down to beyond the mountain where the great needle’s eye gleans the finishing strokes of the auburn, the blush, Leaving a smoldering land, a wind cutting, strokes along the ridges of the bank. The eye threaded only by the rock that spent the day in brightness I am home with Mother’s sweater draped over the radiator. The squinting eye now through the window Peeks and stitches me to the ground as I loop those arms around my neck and cinch the middle. -Megan Guidarelli
Over Me A cloud, all burgundy, Cracked by light, like pistachio shells. Cracked like peeking clams or frightened children a hand over the face— with fingers split Glowing crimson, this curtain closed like a nutcracker’s mouth clenched, silent Autumn is a brandy glass in afternoon spilt. Making a fire-throated river its down current marked by shadows of geese flying overhead in arrows
Image: Sarah Walko
Character vs. character. Character vs. society. Character vs. nature.
Spank I wouldn’t call myself a pervert. What, because I like to spank women? I fixate on images of their asses, swathed in tight jeans, cotton underwear, lace, thongs. It gets me off. What’s wrong with that? It’s a delicate issue. I’ve been slapped more than once. Lost a girlfriend or two. There’s a new girl I’ve had my eye on. Her name is Citrus, no joke. She works in a coffee shop. I see her five days a week, when I come in for a white mocha. I’m no good at asking girl’s out. Always do it all wrong, say the wrong thing, ask at bad times. There are no good words in my brain when I see Citrus, only images of her rear. Movies of my palm bouncing off her skin. So I go to the counter. “All I can think about,” I say, “is spanking you.” She leans in, her chin inches from the countertop. “Now, that’s all I’ll think about, too.” She pushes back from the Formica with her palms, makes my mocha, pushes it across to me. Winks. Citrus is new for me, a girl with energy, and unafraid of adventure. One step into my apartment after picking me up on route to a movie, she pulls her
“Go wild,” she says, shaking her butt at me. “Don’t make me beg.” I gear up again. Again my hand stops. Citrus turns with short duck steps, not bothering to adjust her jeans. She reaches high above her head. Swings. Connects. I’m not ready for it and I lunge forward, nearly falling on my face. “Yeah,” she says. Her voice echoes in my small living room. “I can see why a person would like that.” I laugh. Can’t help it. “Aren’t you going to do me?” She pokes her ass out again. This time I don’t hesitate. My hand makes contact. The aftershock reverberates in my mind, slow-motion style. She swings. Smacks my backside again. “You had it right,” she says. “I could do this forever.” We trade off all night. “Take that, Mr. Rogers,” she says. “Won’t you be my spanker tonight? Put it on a greeting card: have a spanking good day.” “I love you,” I say, lining my hand up with her right cheek. “Spank me,” she says, and I do.
-Ryan W. Bradley jeans down to her knees and pooches her ass in my direction. “Don’t keep me guessing,” she says. I pull my hand back, focus all my attention on her Superman blue panties. The pale cheeks of her ass stick out, waiting for me to make them go all pink. My hand stops. So close I feel the heat resonating from her flesh. “Do it, Tiger,” Citrus says. “Do it fierce. Paint me with your paw print.” I nearly drop to one knee. Propose on the spot.
Ode to Newark
anywhere you sleep the vagabonds stray right up: their new king(s) wanna rough your heart.
breathe. wane of moonlight falls across whoreâ€™s faceIn the wastes of Newark, New Jersey: cross alleyways with electric hum, emerge to whines of siren.
leave the right parts melting while you stray: your heart and those city king(s) are old news. one starts a heap of shoes that spreads a little: that city brand of art that make(s) you melt. you wake to shoes and vagabond a start: your brand doesnâ€™t make long blues or find long heart(s). -Maxwell Love
breathe. run, cross broken roads of black tar while digging holes in skincatch glimpse of sun, cross brown men and machine guns past screams from barred windows and bare widows. breathe. hopeless in burning city toxic nausea soot lined lungs man sells flowers in street how nice he delivers car side. breathe. -Andrew Valentino
Image: Hell Bent
Untitled (Paper Boats)
Gaillardia Red collides with yellow The lunchbell rings The flowers bloom and close The girls pick them and pin them through their buttonholes. The boys yank stems and stick them between their teeth. On rainy days The boys and the girls are herded into the same yellow gymnasium for twenty-five minutes they forget the flowers bloom and close, and bloom again.
Image: Elizabeth Unterman
I Will Walk with My Hands Bound
Grandfather Sun Take this gun from my hand, I'm tired of holding it. The bullets are nearly gone, there's too many enemies in the world. Upon the locomotive's breasts you've found yourself a ditch, sleeping in Rockefeller's garage -- sucking the Rothschild family to bury our orphan's crimes of Being what you've always farmed. Abound the green slope, your forest's roof is a soft step leaving crazyface steeples; why don't you try embracing the alone? In your tomb I fell out of love with a New Zealand veranda, on his wrist he wrote the ring of a temple, painting the fields velvet a burnt birch sea. He buried his missile rivers in my bounty-wanderer footsteps, up to the boughed hills of chickenscratch infirmaries. On the breasts of an October sun, some grin-happy fool enchanted the chantresses of your acoustica. The newspapers Today took kindly to you slowing down to read their name in the farewell section-it's a shame their barriers had to wait until they said goodbye. Buying a gun every mile you had to roam. These souls, I tell you!, trembling bent thighs, an insacred heir: nothing but for the chiming thunderbells of wailing barmaids. Why'd you and your silver-thrusting plated horses cry? Saw your baby at the beach, the beaten breath of a hundred exhaling minds searing god upon their tongues, drowning in their spines, all lapped up by a 21st century sailor. -Jake David
Image: Sarah Walko
Image: Sarah Walko (you count the stars, your fingers touch them)
Image: Sarah Walko
(you count the stars, your fingers touch them)
Painted River Red Burn it, that others might see: all we have left are memories – cast them onto the light of the flame that they might project out into the world: our lost innocence, our lost sustenance, our grandfather’s grandfather’s home – flooded then burned. Throw yourself onto that flame, that the many may know what we few have lost. Throw yourself onto the flame, that you might keep these precious memories – to die but not forget. -Chris Pryslopski
You, of Tint and I, of Pen Fingers, on the pulse of life, Create the latest trend. Release the brush And be love’s touch. (The fingers, now unbend.)
Cool and calm: the different stroke Brought forth from painter’s ken; Draws breath that’s warm From still-life form. (The fingers, now descend.)
Lay to the side; palette, paint: Life’s calls, you must attend. Render senseless, Body’s canvas. (The fingers slowly wend.)
Come blend your colors With monotint words That flow from mind to pen. The twining of two artistries: Love’s mural, once again. - Karen Masterson
Image: Emma Tuccillo
I slouched against the door of my dad’s Ford pickup as we rocketed down St. Lawrence Road toward Beloit,
“There’s two left.” He pushed the beers toward me, and I grabbed one. “You can’t drive like an idiot if
Wisconsin. One hand on the steering
you’ve had a couple cocktails,” he said.
wheel, my father piloted the truck. When
“Stick to the back roads. You’ll never see
we shot past cars, air whooshed through
a cop on the back roads.” He looked into
the windows. We cradled Budweisers
the rearview mirror and stomped on the
between our legs.
brakes. We skidded to a stop. I looked
My dad guzzled his beer and flung
back expecting to see flashing red and
the empty out the window. He wiped his
blue lights but saw only the empty road.
lips, ran his fingers through his grizzled
He shoved his door open, hopped out,
beard, and glanced at me with red eyes.
and pissed. Finished, he climbed in,
“I don’t get how you got another DUI
threw the truck into gear, and stepped
already,” he said. I shrugged and sipped
on the gas. He gulped down his beer,
my beer. He shook his head and said,
crushed the can, and sent it skittering
“I’ve been drinking and driving for over
into the weeds. “If you don’t do anything
thirty years, and I’ve never had a
crazy, you’ll never get pulled over.”
problem. You must’ve done something
We flew past sixteen acres of corn,
really stupid to get yourself arrested
swerved into his gravel driveway, and
slid to a halt. “You can’t afford more
“The cop said I swerved a little
trouble, kid,” he said, offering me the
when I turned the corner, so he pulled
last Budweiser. I took the beer from his
me over. When he walked up, I had a six
hand and my keys from my pocket.
pack next to me.” I finished my beer and
“I hope you learned your lesson this
launched the can into the ditch.
time,” he said.
“That’s where you screwed up,” he
Nodding, I walked to my truck.
said. “You know you can’t have beer out where the cops can see it.” He dug into the brown paper bag between us and yanked a can from a six pack. Opening it, he sprayed his overalls with foam.
Image: Hell Bent
Untitled (The Sound of Confusion)
When I was 9 I wandered into the kitchen. Mom and Dad sat on stools carved, shaped from pitchpine, across each other at our white table. Dim light poured out of three frosted tulip-shaped lamps fixed on the electric chandelier. They sipped Jack and Ginger out of clear cocktail glasses, leaving rings of moisture each time the glass was lifted. Over tunes blaring out of Dad’s stereo system he found at the neighbor’s garage sale recorded generations before, they
giggled, shared stories saying how I’d live through the same past. Then, the track changed. Mom’s fair Irish face lit up. Her lips bent up to her ears revealing her overlapping front teeth. Her eyes locked into mine. Pointing her finger into nothing but invisible sound waves, she said, “Stevie, this is what it’s all about. This is all you need to know.” In an orchestrated motion she lifted her glass and set it down with pure ease.
Coyotes (n.) Also known as American jackals, coyotes smuggle firstborn children across sandy borders and cry out at night in rotting old apple orchards when late frost overtakes the pillowy pink blossoms. They can run twice as fast as school zone speed limits. That's helpful when ferrying children who wander out of the crossing guard's snare back to their burrows, deep in thicket, brier and always darkness. Watch their slender canine teeth unclasp lunchbox latches, flopping out the contents like lazy vomit. Fat children have the worst lunches for the prairie wolves; their mothers' provisions are all Fritos and Vitamin water. Catch the kids in Converse, the ones smelling of sunscreen: their mothers care enough to swaddle pears and persimmons, pomegranate arils and sangriacolored figs into the satchels and bellies of their young. Coyotes have sifted, small salt and pebbles, into the empty holes in neighborhoods, abandoned cars bereft from flame, underpasses wafting with celery and lilac. They dream of you, and always, always, the something sweet you've let slip from your fingers. -Lauren Tamraz
Image: Lauren Tamraz
Nina Simone Throws Jeff Buckley a Housewarming Party
Image: Emma Tuccillo
From the Cameo series
Contributors Steven Siegelski is a student at SUNY New Paltz. His mother loves the song “Ripple” by the Grateful Dead. Barbara Sue Mink Spalding lives in Orange County, California, writing opeds, poetry, and short stories. She is a member of the Sons of Italy, Hollywood Lodge, and attends a variety of OC Churches, as well as being a member of NAMI and contributing to the October 22 Coalition. Each day she tries to "get stuff done" and stay in touch with friends, family, and others. Megan Guidarelli is a recent graduate from Colorado State University with degrees in both Creative Writing and Theatre. She currently lives in Fort Collins, Colorado where she is lucky enough to live within walking distance from New Belgium Brewery. She hopes to extend her vocational study of poetry by attending graduate school in a few years time. Until then, she’ll enjoy the company of friends, the joy of good food, and the verse of far greater poets. Sarah Walko was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is a multimedia sculptor, installation artist and writer. She is currently the executive director of Triangle Arts Association, and works within an independent film collective that shows at International Film Festivals around the world. She is currently working on new sculpture, writing and web/film collaborations and has just completed several exhibitions in New York. Her next feature film, El Cadaver Exquisito, will be released this spring and is in festival circuits. Her fiction and nonfiction essays have been published by White
Whale Review Literary Journal and Hyperallergic Art Blog. Her visual artwork has been published by The Dirty Goat, Redivider, Blood Lotus, Apple Valley Review, 2 River, A Capella Zoo, and Bathhouse journals. She has guest lectured at several colleges throughout the east coast, the Museum of Modern Art in El Salvador and has participated in several artists residency programs in the US. She has just completed her first novel. www.sarahwalko.com Ryan W. Bradley has fronted a punk band, done construction in the Arctic Circle, and managed an independent children's bookstore, and is now a freelance book designer. His novel, CODE FOR FAILURE will be published in 2012 by Black Coffee Press. His fiction has appeared widely including in Wigleaf, Gargoyle, Word Riot, and Annalemma. He is the editor of Artistically Declined Press and lives in Oregon with his wife and two sons. Maxwell Love is thrilled to have her age be a square triangular number and is currently in love with flarf, which she pictures as a fuzzy pink unicorn thanks to Google. Her poem's words are entirely sourced from Sinatra's "New York, New York." Andrew Valentino is a culinary student who enjoys food and writing. Pink Floyd’s “Breathe” inspired his tribute to Newark. Hell Bent was born in Misery (Missouri), moved around, settled in the south, and always liked to draw. Hell Bent drank, drugged, art schooled and did word art on the streets of the South before moving to Brooklyn to spray paint
drawings on walls about a shit job, figured out they were Hell Bent. Wrote it on walls. Likes flowers, jaw bones, and furious animals, stenciled flowers overlaid with furious animals and jaw bones carved in wood to put around town. Belle & Sebastian and Space 3 provided inspiration for hell bent’s contributions.www.hellbentart.com Kristyn Drosselmeier lives in New Paltz. Jake David is a two-time award-winning Confusionist, WTFist, and Native American living on the Can-Am border near Cornwall, ON. His work has appeared in Seahorse Folk Review and The Battered Suitcase. Chris Pryslopski has been living, learning, and working in the Hudson River Valley since the early 1990s. Presently, he resides in Rosendale where he has been renovating a house for the last ten years which is as much sculpture and essay as it is shelter, sometimes, in fact, too much of the former and too little of the latter. He grew up on a point of land between the Susquehanna and the Tioga Rivers, where as a teenager he would shout along with the lyrics of R.E.M.’s song “Cuyahoga” which first appeared on their 1986 album Life’s Rich Pageant. Sadly, the Susquehanna lies in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania, where corporations have begun hydrofracking for gas and profits; there are now sections of river he used to swim where you can light the methane bubbles as they breach the surface of the water. Karen Masterson resides in Westchester County, NY. She is a player of flowers, board games and words. Her poem connects with Bob Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece” and Chicago’s “Colour My World.” She was one of the
first people to think your dear editor’s teenage obsession with the Grateful Dead was a good thing. Thanks, Karen☺. Emma Tuccillo explores domestic interiors, seeking hidden elements that make that space a home. In every home exists numerous memories and emotions that have been trapped within the confines of four walls. In her "Cameo" series, she explores the familiar home of her grandparents. Their house in Brooklyn is visually frozen in time, untouched since the 1960's, down to the knick knacks on the side tables. To explore the emotional history of the house, the photographs include shadows of its inhabitants to represent the many generations that have experienced this space and to show the latent images of memory that continue to cling to its structure. Every wall has a story to tell; the shadows act as the narrators. Trevor Nelson is a student of English and journalism at Northern Illinois University. He writes from Rockford, Illinois. Lauren Tamraz likes pit bulls more than she likes most people. Add tacos to the equation and it’s heaven. She lives in Gardiner with her husband and (of course) pit bull, where she edits Awosting Alchemy. “Coyotes” was influenced by Jeff Buckley’s and Nina Simone’s versions of “Lilac Wine.” Acknowledgements There are so many individuals and businesses without whom Awosting Alchemy could not exist in this form. Thank you to David Friedman & Barner Books of New Paltz who have supported the project from Day 01. Thank you to Morningstar Properties, Deegan-Sanglyn Realty, Elting Memorial Library, Verde & Cocoon of New Paltz, and PDQ Printing
who all made our November opening event the place to be. Thank you, talented & diverse band of contributors, for doing your art & word thing so well here in the Valley. Aw/Al exists because you exist! And thank you again, dear reader, not only for beginning at page 01, but for reading through to the end. We hope you enjoyed your journey and will be back for the next issue in July 2011.
We also have the good fortune of pairing with another lovely publication for this project. Details to come on that tidbit… Looking forward to some good laughs, though treat this any way you’d like…let your name be your muse.
******* Submission Guidelines
New for July: Anagrams Runs 5/15- to 6/30 “Hi, my name is Now Mythical Sage.” Ok, we’re not having an identity crisis. We’re just having some fun (because that’s what summer is about, right?) with an online anagram maker. With its letters rearranged, Awosting Alchemy becomes Now Mythical Sage. I go from Lauren Tamraz to Tarzan Mauler (I may have to begin introducing myself to classes this way.) Try it for yourself with the anagram link on our website. Longer names yield zanier results, so throw in your middle, confirmation, maiden and grandmothers’ names as well for several combinations. I know I did. Create a poem, story or piece of art that relates to your anagram. Use it as your title, as a character, a theme, whatever. But have fun. It’s coming on summer, after all…
Thanks for choosing to send your work to Awosting Alchemy. We’re writers and artists too, dutifully sending our work out into the atmosphere with our fingers crossed. We truly appreciate what you do and your decision to include us in your efforts. Always check our website for updated submission guidelines & contests. Submit through Submishmash, our wonderfully easy and helpful submission manager. You may also feel free to contact us with any questions you have at AwostingAlchemy@hotmail.com. Our response time is fairly swift. Expect to hear back from us within about a month. Thanks again. We look forward to your submissions. Send us things you had to write or create because they were nowhere else in the world, sharp and new and not yet worn out by others. Strive for a new set of fingerprints. Anagrams for July! Read: AwostingAlchemy.com Submit:AwostingAlchemy.submishmash.com/Submit Contact: AwostingAlchemy@hotmail.com Facebook: artist.to/awostingalchemy/
Hudson Valley words & art