*Aw/Al*Issue05*July2011* In This Issue… Editor’s Note
Len Kuntz, Aaron Tremper, Parker Tettleton Hannah Raine Brenner-Leonard, Megan Lent Lindsay Ruoff, Rob Gray, Marc Carver Geoffrey Craig, Howie Good, Kate Larson
Relyea, Lindsay Ruoff Eleanor Leonne Bennett, Michael Joyce Dave Wagner, Hannah Raine Brenner-Leonard
I've been watching The Wonder Years a lot lately. And when I say a lot, I don't mean giant, Law & Order-type marathons; no, they're only playing it one episode a night, meaning I am allotted one smidge, about 24 minutes most nights, not a bazillion a day. Still, it's making me happy. I would like to think happiness comes from more than television, but I group the Arnold family into a higher caste than mere boob tube. Over the past couple of years I have been starting to get why people still wear banana clips and listen to Bon Jovi (and I'm talking people who grew up with those, not some 18-year old 'throwback' people, though rock on, if that's how you roll). I guess what you grew up with, what made you feel good then, can sometimes still do the trick and make you feel young again at any age. America is obsessed with youth, but it's funny that just doing something we did in that era has the ability to inspire a smile or good feeling. When I'm hanging out with Winnie in her tree when her brother does not come back from Vietnam; when Kevin has a summer fling at the shore; when Karen thinks she's found the most pure love in John Corbett, a decade before he made us crazy as Carrie's Aidan on Sex & the City, I'm remembering watching it all for the first time as a kid, and how much I loved it then. I wanted to be exactly like Karen: rebellious, politically minded, and with a fantastically hip wardrobe. Seeing her again, especially during my most favorite season, feels like a rare treat. Summer itself is the same way: many little things that I love compounded to create a stretch of days never long enough but so, so worthwhile. Every first bite of a swirly cone with sprinkles, every first dive of the day into the water, every evening of seeing the magic hour fade into deep indigo skies in this mountain town feels a bit more special because it's summer. I know I'm not the only one that lives for this season. Maybe it's especially pronounced as a teacher? Our contributors for this issue had many warm-weather elements: water scenes, late nights without consequence and iconic imagery like Dave Wagner's lantern cover. I remember the first time I had ever heard of Camus, when I was 13 and had no concept of his philosophies whatsoever: it was summer, and I saw an ad in a magazine (in those days I devoured any and all counter-culture print I could get my hands on. Funny, in some ways, we should be digital, though life evolves, and I digress) that included his quote "In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer." It struck me then as something another had explained perfectly about my own beliefs, and has stuck with me ever since, even more so as I grew up and read his work. Though I am sure The Wonder Years did not factor into Camus' Algerian upbringing, perhaps he relished in a swirly cone or two, and in any case, he got the sentiment exactly right. So I hope, dear reader, that summer has come on strong for you, with all your favorite things. And that the good times are deep enough to leave you with a high tide mark to last more than a mere three months.
Cover Artist: Dave Wagner Dave Wagner was born in the Hudson Valley in January of 1974. He currently lives and works in New Paltz, New York. He has spent his working life honing one particular skill at a time through employment in a specific trade. He believes there is no better way to test his theories than through specific skill development and execution. Taking many individual skills from many individual trades has been his hallmark in developing himself as an artist. He attended the advertising design and illustration programs at The Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC as well as the Institute of Audio Research in NYC. He has freelanced for DKNY Jeans in NYC as well as Hampton Industries Inc in NYC. He spent four years as a tattoo artist, two years as a sign painter, five years as a cabinet and furniture maker and has held many other jobs sought after for the sake of learning a focused skill. He believes there is always something to be taken to his art, from cooking to cement work to rigging to hunting and all the task-specific tools involved with each. Dave has shown his work in Alleged Gallery, NYC; Main Street Bistro, New Paltz, NY; Creations Coffee House, New Paltz, NY; The Dutch Ale House, Saugerties, NY. Dave Wagnerâ€™s artwork can be viewed at The Dutch Ale House in Saugerties, NY through August 2011. For more information, please visit www.artistdavewagner.com.
(Ed. note: Please enjoy our extended artist’s corner this issue. Because of the immense diversity in materials and size of his body of work, we have devoted two pages to Dave’s art. There are also excerpts in large form throughout the issue.)
CLOCKWISE, FROM LEFT: Bass guitar: brazilian cherry, wenge and maple neck. Wenge fretboard with finger jointed PangaPanga head. flamed mahogany veneer over blonde mahogany inlaid through rich mahogany. Hipshot bridge, hot rod double truss rod Eternal: Cherry stump removed for the construction of my garage in 2006 1×3 steel stand with 1/4" steel mounting plate 75"tall x 44" wide Division: cherry burl, brass and paperstone Studio: Wagner in his New Paltz creative space, which he built himself Lounge: bluestone and steel chaise
OPPOSITE/ CLOCKWISE, FROM LEFT: brighter...hotter...faster...farther (cover): matte acrylic on bamboo 48″×48″ Dud: flat enamel on paperstone 24″×24″ Trophy: oil based enamel on bamboo 48″×48″ Shotgun: first in a series of “shotgun” paintings 48″×96″ oil based enamel on 20 gauge galvanized steel
Land of Ten Thousand Lakes
The waves rewind that summer when we would float belly up, the sun a round door, your hair tousled like vines, the color of wild strawberries. You said they weren’t freckles, just storebought bruises. We laughed about it. You called your father by his first name. He moved you to Minnesota, land of ten thousand lakes. You should have been happy there. You should have tried harder to stay afloat, alive.
I give up healthy to think about you. Neither of us know what we’d do without inanimate objects. You are happy sometimes excluding. We’re each other staring. I wake up splitting plastics, end on a salad.
I’d rather kiss you than be honest. You’re in a chair neither of us own. I stand & other people describe things. Your eyes won’t get any better. We’ve said we should more than just this time.
Emperor Wouldn’t an Emperor moth, whose wings have eyes that hold a constant gaze with God’s be a better prophet than a priest who bows his head and mutters to the ground? -Aaron Tremper
Smoke A child’s frown over cigarettes burning; A full moon’s grimace at jet fumes.
Untitled instead looked for ducks out the window and deer ankle-deep in accidental rivers to sit down with other people and arrange to be like this and like that and do these jobs. Next on city streets when dodging other people wonder out loud about future hold out for something that is good.
-Aaron Tremper -Hannah Raine Brenner-Leonard I Almost Saved This Title
The trash can is smoking. No one’s epitome is waiting up for me. I forgive like a third sentence. Someone is not enough to wake me up.
The rain falls down a nice sound like blueberries on the roof. The river is unprepared water rushes up into the roads.
-Hannah Raine Brenner-Leonard
Image: Holly Relyea
Me, You, My Father, My Sister, Her Girlfriend, And Jesus Christ the Atheist “On gentle, sane major.” That’s me. Or, that’s what I say. Whether we like it or not, our words define us. That is what my grandfather used to tell me, at least. He’s dead now. He was a reenactor. He travelled from city to city wearing Victorian gear – hats, cloaks, oldtimey telescopes and crusty Dickens novels – portraying gentleman explorers and make-believe Londoners and people who wore monocles. He considered himself an actor, and he considered his craft to be the highest
form of art. I don’t think that’s true, but it’s not like I can argue with him. Because he is dead. A retired army major lives in my building. When I stand next to him in the elevator, I feel like I’m in a song. I feel like I should be saying something. He wears those suspenders that are printed to look like yardsticks, like most overweight older men do. I want to become his friend. Someday, he’s going to be eating a grilled cheese and some lukewarm pea soup, and then get an aneurysm in his brain or some shit, and then fall face-first into his dead wife’s Fiesta tableware. And then no one will find him for at least three days. His cats
will lick at his body until their tongues wear through to his bones. And no one deserves that. Evil! And! A! Gold-Dust! My father wanted to make movies. I like to say it that way so it sounds as if he was wholly unsuccessful. The thing is, is that he wasn’t. He was very successful. He made a series of carchase, half-Western, half-slasher, halfnaked films in the late seventies. He grew up in a velvet top hat pretending to be Oliver Twist for literature geeks, and I grew up in Lonely Pine, population 003, you, me, the killer, and a Cadillac. That was the town he liked to set his movies in. It was a ghost town, when he found it, so it didn’t take much work to turn it into a practical set. Daddy’s movies were all about the sins of bad, bad men, and women with kick-ass boots taking names and saying things like, “This honey has some gods to anger.” He taught me how to use putty to make convincing scars on the faces of all the stunt drivers, how to check the cars for oil leaks before taking them out to blow up. It was all a big haze of fireworks, TNT, pyrotechnics, fake blood and fake sunsets, fake heroes, fake villains. I’ve always liked Westerns the best, because you always know that the man in the cowboy hat is going to save the day. “As an ill-informed liar,” my sister once told me, “we walk blindly into a gunfight with a knife.” My sister has a lot of ideas. She’s not my sister at all; she was the daughter of one of the actresses that Daddy liked to cast in his movies, so I guess one could argue that she very well could have been my illegitimate halfsister, but I doubt that. She was black as night, just like her mommy and her mommy before that, and Daddy
would’ve had to have some secret hiding behind his gunpowder eyes to make something like Shawna, the gyrating shadow who shared my Little Princess Pony comforter set, who made me hold her hands during all the scary parts and who told me what the blood in my underwear was when I was thirteen. Shawna is predisposed to obsessions, because her mommy and her mommy before that had undiagnosed, but extreme, anxiety-induced compulsive disorder, but Shawna didn’t focus on germs or rituals or superstitions, but on weight. Not the bodily kind, but the kind that lingers. She talked a lot about the weight of a lie (6.7 grams, or onethirteenth of your earthly soul), the weight of truth (infinitely light), the weight of love (infinitely heavy.) I think, being an actor’s kid, she mostly worried about what was true, and what wasn’t. As a director’s kid, my world was simpler: truth could be maintained, or discouraged, by some ultimate creator, and altered at will. Shawna can twist things with her tongue. Cherry stems and cheap whisky shots and words and letters. She is an anagram machine. Wealthier Messianic Healer Shawna’s girlfriend is named Rhonda. Rhonda is younger than Shawna, but only by eighteen months, like me. Rhonda is in a surf-punk band called Wealthier Messianic Healer. Her hair is auburn and fake, her lips are plush. Blackberries. She wears tight pants and sings three-cord jams that allow her to warble to her heart’s content about love and betrayal and sex and getting back. Getting back at old flames, getting old flames back into her life. Rhonda’s reality is a lot more beautiful than mine, but it is based on the same basic truths: the past will always be better than the present, and
love is pain, and violent words are better than weeping at a bar. But my bar is made out of plywood and can be disassembled and reassembled as dictated by the production crew, and her bar has Joni Mitchell pouring beers for Chan Michaels and Bobby Dylan and Robert Mitchum, winging it, singing the blues, not crying over you. Rhonda likes to tell people that Jesus was Jewish, because he was (at least up until his personal ministry and eventual trial, regardless of his messianic abilities), and because she is, and she likes to pretend to be enthusiastic about her heritage. She was talking about this one day, and Shawna said, “Spiritual dealings are innately personal. As far as any of us know, Jesus Christ was an atheist. Maybe he was just an excellent orator, good at gathering crowds. He knew that the right way to get an audience was to perform. So he made up some nice stories about his daddy being the Almighty and then, when he got in too deep, had to make up some shit about everlasting forgiveness so the Pharisees would just send him to death and out of his miserable, lying-ass existence.” Rhonda blew smoke in her face, flicking off ashes with dark-red acrylics. She said, “If that shit’s true, then I’m the Virgin fucking Mary.” She paused, sucked some more smoke into her surf-punk lungs, and added, “who was also Jewish.”
with a vengeance/ cutting holes in your toes/ to sprint your spirit faster/ you are beautiful/ you are beautiful/ you are beautiful.” -Megan Lent
ok, rambler’s halo This is the name of a poem I tried to write for you that night you were sick and I talked to you for two hours until you felt like yourself again, the night you told me that you were never sure if your real self was actual or just make-believe, and I said that I would be fine spending the rest of my life trying to figure that out. The poem went like this: “move on
Image: Lindsay Ruoff
Man with Root/ Some Kinda Love
The Longing Over coffee breaks, a breath of fresh air outside beside the church. Smoke exhales itself between the bricks of a wall she leans her heavy skull toward. It catches her, braces her hard as if to reject the strength of a triangle. She lets space grow between the shoulder blades, gives it back. Any moment in the solitude of her body is infinite. She is brick wall, smoke, the air it strangles, the lungs which receive. The distance between her--any point at all--and another draws open like a deep cave. She knows he is in there, at the deepest plateau, that she'd have to crawl and claw through flesh and dirt and dark to meet her fingertips with the only fingertips she can imagine. There is nothing between her and him but the hum of air molecules against stone. There is nothing between her and him including the hum of air molecules and stone. There is everything between her and him and the air molecules, the stone, the hum. She knows she may never find him. She may never lay her body horizontal upon his horizontal body. I hate you. She doesn't, but it is frustrating that cells split apart. That moving is slight. That sound drips off of everything like a sweat she can't taste and the sound is still, is his voice. Is it his voice? It is her own voice saying his name, saying his name, echoing into a roar. -Lindsay Ruoff
Image: Eleanor Leonne Bennett
An Absence of Dick She does not regret the things she has done only the things she has not done the mornings she slept through the times she let the telephone sing into her pocket the hands that were hers to hold hung awkwardly alone the times she ignored the opportunity not to watch television She collects nothing like marbles She rides the bus and likes the look of Spanish men how quickly their mouths move She would love them to sing into her mouth to fill the empty space in her body to feel them echo Her shoelace has untied itself what a nuisance, what a damn shame, for crying out loud there is something ripe in her belly when it belches, she belches The Spanish men dance circles, clicking heels They raise her up above head sing quick tongues until she hovers above her buttocks soft to the squeeze have become slippery a loose fingernail snags a stitch and her clothes fall to the floor there is no absence to cry about anymore the bus is stuck in traffic everybody sings along a strange mans hips bruise her thighs Somewhere outside, a stranger is honkytonking an abandoned piano. She wonders where. -Rob Gray
Image: Michael Joyce
Floating World Cruises (Acrylic/Canvas)
We Are the Ones That Mean It 1. We are the girls without insurance, without windbreakers. We own the night and wide, bluemilk scar tissue. We dress like naked gypsies in a hurry. Stella’s laughter rings the dark. Tanna wants something sharp and hard to ride. We have stored our questions inside someone else’s mottled skin, without remorse or malice. There’s a light on the other side behind the cresting hill where no cities sleep. We race to see who will get there first.
2. Lacy likes to laugh to herself while sleeping. She can’t take more than three bottles before she’s hitching up her skirt and rounding the bar with her brass knuckles blazing. First poor sucker she sees gets it. He’s gotta be guilty for something. 3. Wanda wants to visit Poland. She had an immigrant neighbor once, a boy with a ski-ending last name who had but one eyebrow and furry nostril hair, weedy black, but he could kiss good. He taught her. “No,” he said, “not like that. Like this.” 4. Emma and I used to shoplift for a thrill but now it’s at a different threshold. That bald pharmacist knows what we’re up. He’s got grey eyebrows. Emma gives me the head nod but I’m so tired of it. Emma says it’s my turn and because she’s right, I capitulate. I blow bent over while she does the stealing. 5. These are girls that mean it. Nails jagged as glass. Sneers like spears, spikes scattered just below the blue-veined skin. Bobbie says she’s going to do standup tonight and we believe her because he father often beats her. She’s been known to orgasms from watching fires burn. Stella likes it peaceful. A gentle soul. Transgender. Reincarnated like every single one of us. 6. He says we should get naked. Really naked. Take it all off. Do Jell-O shots off our bellies. Slurp slow and sloppy, gluey-lipped. I’m wondering whose knife he’s going to get, where it’ll end up, in the kidney or throat. This chucklehead doesn’t know who he’s dealing with. -Len Kuntz
A Promenade I went for a walk ten at night the sun had moved to look at another part of the world not that it makes any difference it will see the same things. -Marc Carver
Image: Hannah Raine Brenner-Leonard
Gone South? Good Riddance Albert Zimmerman had worked for Majestic Machine Tools for thirty-one years when Hank Spalding decided to move the business to North Carolina. “The savings in labor costs are impressive,” Hank explained to his younger brother and sister. “We can‟t survive staying in Carmichael. Moving, we might be able to pay dividends again.” Rick Spalding smiled. He wouldn’t have to sell the Porsche after all. “What are we doing for the employees?” Evelyn asked. “A month’s notice and three months’ severance,” said Hank. “That’s generous,” said Rick. “Anybody worth their salt will have a job in no time.” Albert had started as a payroll clerk and, with the help of correspondence courses, had worked his way up to head of accounting. He always arrived first in his department. After work, he went for a beer with Hugh Whittier, the plant supervisor. They had been friends since high school. They talked about their families or the Yankees but rarely the company and never the war. Hugh had served in the Pacific and never wanted to see the ocean again. Albert had spent four months in a German POW camp. When a German guard asked him in halting English why a Zimmerman was fighting for the Americans, Albert told him to go to hell. One heat-drenched Sunday, Hugh had a heart attack at the lake. He was sitting with Louise Zimmerman, eating a hot dog. Albert and Hugh’s wife, Francine, had gone for a swim. They were a hundred yards out when Albert saw Louise waving her arms. Albert
swam so fast his arms ached and his lungs were on fire. Louise hugged Francine. Albert stared blankly at the lifeguard. That night, Albert cried quietly in the darkened bedroom. Louise held him in her arms. The scorching weather continued. One morning was so hot that Albert began to sweat walking from the parking lot. Grateful for the recently-installed air conditioners, he mopped his brow and hung his jacket in a closet. He was also grateful for the short-sleeved white shirts that Louise had bought him. On his desk, he noticed a manila envelope set apart from the orderly stacks of papers. Similar envelopes sat on the other desks. He opened his and took out a letter and two attached sheets of paper. He read the letter twice. He gazed dumbfounded past the two rows of metal desks. He barely noticed his staff stroll in, complaining about the heat. The chatter died as each employee read their letter. They glanced at each other – some embarrassed, some angry. Several put the letter back in the envelope and then took it out again. No one spoke until Gail Martin, the Accounts Receivable clerk, walked back to Albert’s desk.
“When the severance period is up,” she said, “it’ll be exactly a week before Christmas.” “Nice Christmas bonus,” Albert said to Louise that evening. “Thank God Hugh isn’t here. He thought Hank Spalding walked on water.” “So did you.” “I’m cured.” Louise took a roast out of the oven and ladled juices over the crackling fat.
She positioned the roast and browned potatoes on a platter. She put string beans in a bowl. She gave the simmering gravy a last stir and poured it into a gravy boat. “We’ll cut back on the roasts,” she said, “until you get a new job.” “Until?” “You’ll find something before you know it.” “I’m fifty-three.” “You can run circles around a man half your age.” “Try to convince a Personnel Manager of that.” She wiped her hands on her bluechecked apron. She caressed his cheek with two fingers. “You convinced me the other night.” “This is no laughing matter.” “I’m not laughing.” He put two ice cubes in a dimpled glass. He took a bottle of bourbon from a kitchen cabinet. He poured in two fingers worth. He studied the glass and added two more fingers. He splashed in water and stirred the drink with the end of a spoon. “That’s some drink,” she said. “It’s been some day.” “I’ll bet you find a better job.” “What would I do without you?” he laughed. “You might just be right. This could be an opportunity.” He took her in his arms. “Want me to prove again I can run circles around those young fellows?”
The day the plant closed, Albert put his personal things in a box. The top of his desk was bare. He checked the drawers one last time. He held a department meeting at three. “Keep in touch,” he said. “Tell each other about opportunities.” “The economy up here,” said Rosy Baker, the payroll clerk, “is not exactly booming.”
“Still,” said Albert, “there are jobs.” He shook hands with each of them, saying: “It’s been a privilege.” When they had all left, he put on his jacket and took a last look around. Leaving the plant, he glanced at a sign tacked to the entrance: Gone South? Good Riddance
As the weeks passed, Albert traveled further from Carmichael in his job search. The companies large enough to have accounting departments - rather than just one or two bookkeepers required college degrees for even entrylevel positions. They promoted from within for more senior jobs. “Don’t give up hope,” Louise said. “That’s not so easy.” “You won’t want to hear this, but maybe you should look beyond accounting.” “Accounting is all I know.” He got out the bourbon. “We could move,” she said. “What are you talking about … move? Our children are here … our grandchildren. We’ve never lived anyplace else.”
Image: Dave Wagner
“I was just thinking…” “Well, don’t.” He poured bourbon into the glass. “Okay, I’ll look at jobs other than accounting.” He started to drink but stopped. He went to the fridge and got two cubes of ice. He took a long swallow. Two days later, he stopped by Beckman’s Ford. “What would you know about selling cars – or anything else, for that matter?” asked Dean Beckman. “I can learn.” “I won’t say anything about „old dogs‟.” “Better not,” said Albert. A metallic gray Thunderbird caught his eye. “I’m not asking for any favors, but I bought my last two cars from you. That should count for something.” “If I get an opening, I’ll give you a try.”
Image: Hannah Raine Brenner-Leonard Gold Houses
Ken Morgan’s secretary at Morgan Chevrolet sent him to the sales manager, who was even less encouraging than Dean Beckman. He fared no better at Brown’s Department Store, Carmichael Hardware or any of the other retail establishments. None of the store owners thought he had a sales mentality. “What could be so difficult about selling shirts or rakes to nincompoops?” he asked Louise. “Maybe...” she said. “What?” “...you could change your approach.” “What would you know about applying for a job?” At Thanksgiving, he didn’t bother putting in ice cubes. When his son-inlaw, Floyd, passed on a second glass, he said: “Can’t keep up with an old fart, eh?” “Dad,” said Irma, casting a warning eye at thirteen-year-old Cody. “Him,” snapped Albert. ”What he says behind your back would turn a sailor red. Am I right, boy?” “Uh … uh,” stammered Cody. Albert tousled the boy’s hair. “See,” he said to Irma and turned to Floyd. “When I was your age, I wouldn’t let an old … coot get the better of me.” “When you were his age,” said Louise, “you had some sense.” “Watch it,” said Albert. He poured a third drink. Becky, ten, was setting up Monopoly. “Grandpa,” she said, “come play.” He stared at her. “I don’t know how,” he said. After dinner, while Louise and Irma started on the dishes and Floyd settled in front of the television, he put on an overcoat. “Should you be going out?” asked Louise “Why not?”
“I’ll go with you,” said Irma. “Do I look like I need a baby sitter?” He slammed the door behind him. It felt like snow. He turned up his coat collar and walked unsteadily toward the river. He passed what had been Lionel Jenner’s orchard and was now ranch houses that he didn’t much like. He tripped on a crack in the sidewalk and fell, gashing his knee. Ignoring the blood dribbling down his leg, he got to his feet. When he reached the river, he leaned forward to look into the scudding, dark water. Small chunks of ice nestled against boulders. He threw a stone into the water and stared at the spot. How long, he thought, would a man live if he fell in? Snow fell. Flakes stuck in his hair. He had to pee. He considered peeing in the river but turned around and walked home. Snow gathered along his collar, and his hands felt frigid. “What did you do to your knee?” asked Louise. “Nothing”
In December, he helped out at Brown’s. They only needed him until Christmas. He and Louise bought one present each for the grandchildren. In late January, he took a job stocking shelves in Forgery’s Grocery. Ellis Fogarty was reluctant to hire him. “It’s a job for a kid. Your back will give out in no time.” He put a hand on Albert’s shoulder. “What about your pride?” “What’s left of my pride wouldn’t fill a shot glass.” But he told Louise not to shop at the store during his shift. “That will make things difficult.” She stopped peeling a potato. “Could you do the grocery shopping?” He looked at her as if he had been slugged. “I’m sorry,” she said. He poured a bourbon.
“Maybe you could forego the bourbon tonight.” “Maybe you could mind your own business.” “We could go for a walk.” “I’ll get all the exercise I need at work.” In early February, Irma’s best friend, Virginia Wheeler walked into the store with her six-year-old son, Dylan. Virginia had once spent two years in New York as a Bohemian. That and her family’s fortune gave her a certain position in Carmichael. She brushed snow off her fur coat while Dylan stomped up and down to clear his galoshes. Pushing a cart down the cereal aisle, she saw Albert. “Mr. Zimmerman,” she said loudly, “what in the world...” Albert straightened up and put a hand in the crook of his back. “When your company goes south...” “Was there nothing else?” “You must have shopping to do,” he said, “and I’ve got to get back to work.” In March, Louise sold the newer of their two Fords. Dean Beckman gave her a good price and said he’d find her a sweet deal when she was back in the market. “That may not be anytime soon,” she replied. Dean stood at the plate glass window and watched her walk towards home. Her squared-off heels struck the sidewalk with near military precision. Her beige overcoat whipped around her calves. “I don’t imagine it will,” he thought. Triangular Ford pennants snapped in the wind. “Albert would have made a terrible salesman,” he muttered. “Did you say something, boss?” He turned to face his secretary.
“Nothing important.” “Why in hell did you sell the car?” growled Albert. They were facing each other across the kitchen table. “It was in perfectly good condition.” “We can manage with one.” “Then I’ll walk to work.” “You’re on your feet all day. You’re too tired to...” “I’m not that goddamned tired.” “Could you please refrain from such language?” “What the hell kind of language would you like a fifty-three-year-old stock boy to use?” Louise stared at the red-checked oil-cloth and the chipped bowl of sugar. She adjusted the cut-glass salt and pepper shakers. Tears in her eyes, she moved around the table and extended a hand. He strode into the living room. She put water on to boil. She stood at the sink and gazed out the window. She wondered where Lionel Jenner was. He had left town after selling the farm. Florida, some said. She heard the kettle whistle. She carried a tray with two cups of tea and a plate of cookies into the living room. Albert sat in his armchair, like a statue. She set the tray on the coffee table. “Have some tea.” He said nothing. She went behind the armchair and rubbed the back of his neck. “We probably lost a mint.” “Dean gave me a good price.” “I asked him for a job, not a handout.”
By June, their funds were close to bottom. Early on a Saturday morning, with sunlight flooding the kitchen, she put daisies in a slender, purple vase. Albert noticed them when he sat down. He would mow the lawn before work, he said. On Sundays, he mowed neighbors‟
lawns. He drank two cups of black coffee and pushed back from the table. Louise piled the breakfast dishes in the sink. “I’m going to look for a job,” she said. “Over my dead body” “Albert, our savings are almost gone. With two jobs, we’ll get by.” He slammed his fist on the table. The coffee cup bounced to the floor and smashed. After seconds of dangerous silence, he leaned over to pick up the pieces. “Leave it,” she said. “Your place is in the home.” She turned on the hot and cold faucets. She watched soap bubbles fill the sink. She turned off the water. “If I don’t get a job, we won’t have a home.” “The grass needs cutting,” he said. It was a bright day and hot enough that he broke a sweat pushing the mower. He toweled his fleshy chest, put on a shirt and walked to the store. In the early afternoon, he left, telling Ellis he wasn’t feeling well. At Jerry’s Tavern, he downed two quick bourbons. “Slow down,” said Swede, the bartender. “You wanna kill yourself?” “Takes more than a few bourbons.” “Not if you knock 'em down like that.” “Stuff it.” Swede wiped the bar with a damp cloth. “What’s with you?” “Nothing except your long nose” He stayed at the bar another two hours. Walking home, he narrowly missed a lamppost. “Guess you made a stop,” said Louise, crinkling her nose. “You’re worse than Swede,” he said and staggered upstairs. He slept through dinner. She stared at her hamburger and fried potatoes. She called Irma.
“We’ll have to skip dinner tomorrow,” she said. “Your father isn’t feeling well.” Towards dawn, he left the house carrying a small suitcase. He could see Irma’s house up in the hills. His head ached. He walked a mile east on Route 43 and turned south onto 19. He walked
with his left arm extended and thumb raised. A truck stopped. “Where you headed?” the driver called out. “South” He had left a note on the kitchen table: Gone South? Good Riddance. -Geoffrey Craig
Image: Eleanor Leonne Bennett
Image: Eleanor Leonne Bennett Get Back Better On
A WALK ON THE MOON 1 A song whose name I couldn’t remember was stuck in my head. Security cameras guarded the busy parking lot of a dream. Bad things were happening to gray seals. Because I wished to be discussed, I wore an oversized scarf just like the poets. 2 The morning light was all pale yellows and pinks. We heard a rumor that Jesus would return by submarine. I took pills to help me fall asleep. She took pills to help her stay awake. 3 Who are you? an old woman asked the mirror. The young scholar with the patchy beard thought he knew the answer – a German word that means the pleasure derived from the misfortune of others. 4 Monday no longer followed Sunday. Everything was the enemy. Everything! I pounded at the door of the century. She had the key to the door in her hand. Trees began to shake, bringing acrobats and spectacular displays of electricity. 5 Soon the gods didn’t mind acting like criminals. We blamed a sick imagination. Women dutifully took the bus to visit the graves of loved ones. Their perfume and hats turned bright red. 6 I discovered my thoughts in the act of thinking them. Deaths outnumbered births. Is it always like this? a puzzled stranger asked. I wondered what African soothsayers would say.
Image: Dave Wagner
(Ed. note: The following letters are excerpts from Kate Larson’s project “Dearest Mariah.” You can follow the whole series at www. dearestmariah.tumblr.com)
Image: Michael Joyce
Len Kuntz is a writer from Washington State. His work appears widely in print and online at such places as Camroc Press Review, Cirque, Blue Lake Review and also at lenkuntz.blogspot.com Aaron K. Tremper is currently a student at SUNY New Paltz where he is working towards degrees in English and Creative Writing.
Parker Tettleton's work is featured in &/or forthcoming from elimae, Mud Luscious, > kill author, Gargoyle & The Catalonian Review, among others. His chapbook SAME OPPOSITE is available from Thunderclap! Press. Find more information & work here. Hannah Raine Brenner-Leonard is a young artist living and working in rural
New York. She makes drawings, photographs, installations, sculptures and books revolving around houses and the idea of home. Learn more about her at http://www.hannahrainebrennerleonard. com Megan Lent has been referred to by the following adjectives at various stages in her life: icky, eccentric, blonde, leggy, snobby, idiotic, douchey, chauvinistic, feminine, adorable, adroit (but only at spelling and grammar), small-breasted, human, sardine-onic (by a guy who liked puns, sarcasm, and fish), flavorful (by a zombie from my dream last night), and published (by Metazen and Housefire, respectively.) She doesn't actually know how "respectively" should be utilized. Actually, it's probably unnecessary. Lindsay Ruoff is the head of book design for Housefire Publishing. She lives in Portland, Oregon. Rob Gray is the proud owner of a brand new Smokey Joe barbeque. Rob Gray is the official XXX Haiku Champion of Portland, OR. Rob Gray is both an Englishman and a motherfucking monster. For more info, act accordingly at www.sillyrobchildish.com Marc Carver has been writing poetry for about three years. In that time, he has published about two hundred poems around the world. He does not only work in a prose form but on other forms also. He has published four collections and has another three ready to go. Any publishers are welcome to make an offer. He has also performed around the world and works on the staff of a poetry site in New York. Until recently he ran some poetry open mics but most of all he hopes you like his work. Geoffrey Craig’s fiction, poetry and drama have appeared in The Battered
Suitcase, The Litchfield Literary Review, the New Works Review, Tertulia Magazine, Foliate Oak, Word Catalyst Magazine, Wilderness House Literary Review, Tributaries, Mississippi Crow, New Plains Review, Spring, the Journal of the E.E. Cummings Society and Calliope. The Center for Performing Arts in Rhinebeck, NY produced his full-length play, The Medal, in 2008. His play, The Uniform, made it to the final round of the 2008 Tennessee Williams Literary Festival One-Act Play Contest. The Little Theater on Broad Street in Danielson, CT performed his play, Moving-in Day, in its November 2009 one-act play festival. Wilderness House Literary Review, in 2010 / 2011, serialized his verse novel, The Brave Maiden, in four installments. Wilderness House Literary Review, in 2011, nominated The Brave Maiden for a Pushcart Prize. His one-act play, Take Two Aspirin and Call Me in the Morning, was produced in the 2010 Pittsburgh New Works Festival. This play is also scheduled to be produced at an off-off Broadway festival in New York in 2011. His one-act play, Quincy’s Ghost, received a staged reading at the Culture Park Ninth Annual (2010) Short Plays Marathon in New Bedford, MA. His oneact play, Do You Take This Man?, was produced in the F.U.D.G.E. Theatre Company’s 2011 Short Play Festival. Geoffrey has a BA in English (Colgate), an MBA (Harvard) and an MA in history (Santa Clara). He had a successful banking career before turning to writing. He has also worked as a consultant and served in the Peace Corps. Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the fulllength poetry collections Lovesick (Press Americana, 2009), Heart With a Dirty Windshield (BeWrite Books, 2010), and Everything Reminds Me of Me (Desperanto, 2011), as well as 31 print and digital poetry chapbooks, including
most recently Inspired Remnants from Red Ceilings Press and The Penalty for Trying from Ten Pages Press. Kate Larson is in a constant state of not remembering where she put her gluestick. She happily writes zines, makes music, pickles jalapenos, and arm wrestles semi-professionally in New Paltz, New York. She is currently writing and mailing Mariah Carey one letter every day in the month of July. Check out what else she's up to at nobetterthanapples.blogspot.com. Holly Relyea is a multimedia artist who currently resides in New Paltz, NY. In her practice, she is interested in ideas of development through the sciences of memory and biology. Her interest in these has always been present in her life, as she was raised on Long Island as a member of her family’s Oyster and Clam farm. Relyea works with every day items such as paper towels, pushpins, Elmer’s glue, Styrofoam, toilet paper, coffee sleeves, plastic, wax, thread, and beads - all disposable articles in our commodity-driven society. By using these materials in her work, she is tapping into her obsessive nature and child-like sensibilities in an attempt to create “escapist” environments. She achieves a transcendence of materiality in these pseudo-ecosystems while rescuing these objects from oblivion. Holly Relyea holds a BFA degree from the State University of New York at New Paltz, and is currently in the midst of completing an additional bachelor’s degree in Art Education from the University. She has exhibited her work throughout Long Island, New Paltz, and in the Hudson Valley. Eleanor Leonne Bennett is a 15-yearold photographer and artist who has won contests with National Geographic, The Woodland Trust, The World Photography
Organisation, Winstons Wish, Papworth Trust, Mencap, Big Issue, Wrexham science , Fennel and Fern and and Nature's Best Photography. She has had her photographs published in exhibitions and magazines across the world including the Guardian, RSPB Birds, RSPB Bird Life, Dot Dot Dash ,Alabama Coast , Alabama Seaport and NG Kids Magazine (the most popular kids’ magazine in the world). She was also the only person from the UK to have her work displayed in the National Geographic and Airbus run See the Bigger Picture global exhibition tour with the United Nations International Year of Biodiversity. Eleanor said, "I have been taking photos for three years but I also enjoy drawing and constructing mixed media collages of which have won me the Woodland Trust Nature Detectives art competition three times since the age of 11." She is the youngest person to have work shown in Charwood Art's Vision 09 exhibition and New Mill's Beehive Art lounge exhibition. Michael Joyce wishes to follow no artistic current, but instead to paint as he has always wished, giving substance to his dreams for the past three decades. Brought up with a religious education in NYC, art was his passion, but was often at odds with his environment. Joyce’s work highlights his methodical precision and never-ending search for realism of color, shape, and beauty. His work has been exhibited and is in collections from coast to coast and around the world, most notably in New York, California, Washington, England, Greece and Costa Rica. Joyce now lives in Woodstock, NY. Enjoy his paintings this summer at both Unnecessary Beauty at the Dorsky Museum, SUNY New Paltz, and 20 in 11 at Woodward Gallery, NYC.
* * * 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, DeeganSanglyn 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 and around the globe. 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 September 2011.
* * * Submission Guidelines * * * Thanks for choosing to send your work to Awosting Alchemy. Weâ€™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. *******
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