Glass Eye Chandelier Anthology of Literature and Art
Created by Tantra Bensko LucidPlay Publishing 2013
Table and Chairs of Contents Front cover art “Glass Eye Chandelier” by Tantra Bensko Introduction by Tantra Bensko "Creativity Alphabet U-Understanding" by Laura Tringali Holmes, “The Veil Between” by Stephen Ramey “The Travelers” by Laura Tringali Holmes “The World Through Vaseline” by Stephen Ramey “How to MC Your Niece's Wedding In Front Of A Four-Poster Bed On A Raft When All The Groom's Relatives Have Given Names That Start With Z” by Barry Friesen "Star Dust" by Laura Tringali Holmes “Excerpts from OGIE: A BIOGRAPHY” by Molly Gaudry “Strange Night Wanderers/Encounter” by Doming “Bloodlines by V. V. Saichek “Unity” by Amir Catic “The Swans” by J.A. Tyler “The Vultures” by J.A. Tyler "A Birthday," Laura Tringali Holmes “Fragments of Frank” by Clive Gresswell “What Breathes Down There?” by Yarrow Paisley “The Great Washing Day” by Zoltán Komor “Chant Against sub rosa love” by Mia Avramut “Autodafe” by Mia Avramut “Ballad” by Mia Avramut "Desert Mavericks pg 1A” by Laura Tringali Holmes “perpetuity” by Peter Schwartz “Writers Block 7” by Laura Tringali Holmes “MOCKERY to the POET” by Tiffany Rox "The World Is," by Laura Tringali Holmes “The Statue” by Nicolette Wong “Soli” by Nicolette Wong "Tell Your Story" Laura Tringali Holmes “In the Eye of a Sawed-Off Fable” by Nicolette Wong Bios Artist Statement by Laura Tringali Holmes Acknowledgement Back cover art “Glass Bye Chandelier” by Tantra Bensko
Place-Setting Introductions By Tantra Bensko These words shimmer themselves to you; prepare to be lit up by the Glass Chandelier. The art will make your eyes refracted candles of Paradise. I solicited some of these authors, and other stories I accepted through submissions, though sometimes we took a few turns to find the right stories. This display of lit-up work by celebrated authors brought together in one place is luminary. The title image I chose to evoke a display of different startling and fascinating perspectives which spread out beyond the single perspective into many shared ones. The visuals are all solicited for publication, and the title shaped some of the requests for specific pieces from artists I wanted to feature. This abundance of exquisite art nearly bursts into flames. What do we see, with the range of light in our rooms, as we look around, the dirt becoming more visible the clearer the vision? In this anthology, we see how the dissociated world looks distanced through emotional Vaseline (Ramey) and through “Twisted strings of puppets tangled on the floor Carelessly carved eyes of hollowed dolls Staring up at the outlines thick with cigarette smoke Smoke that dances fluid in the dim light of your room.” (Rocs). Inside some of these dappled pages, you will find authentic moments from a child's perspective in excerpts from J.A. Tyler, publisher of Mud Luscious Press, from his book coming out from Dzanc Books. Stephen V. Ramey, author of Glass Animals from Pure Slush Books, tangles a child with an eye in a way you won't soon forget. Molly Gaudry, creative director at LitPub, provides us a glimpse, from her book manuscript, also from a child's eyes. Croatian artist Amir Catic, and South Korean artist Doming both beloved among our audience from the previous anthology, Word Swell, dream us further into the perspective of the little'uns, as do some of Holmes visuals Nicolette Wong, from Hong Kong, publisher of A-Minor Magazine and Press, provides troubling poetry, ending the anthology with an entirely different eye looking on the child, “In The Eye Of A Sawed-Off Fable.” Barry Friesen tussles with a cringe-hilarious wedding the narrator must wish he could look away from, but we're glad he didn't, as from our safe distance, we can laugh our heads off. V. V. Saichek's narrator basically does lose hers beyond any definition of a head in a tumult of fissured psychogeographical dimensions. Clive Gresswell's narrator shares his perspective with a variety of mindbending pseuo-characters that form a spy-glass eye chandelier of their own. Yarrow Paisley's narrator looks down deeper into the sewers, engaging the earthy senses. What does he smell, things not entirely clean? Hungarian author Zoltán Komor's vivacious characters clean everything, even cleaning off perspective itself. Romanian-born Mia Avramut's gives us poetry in which washers sing the soul: “Make me into a warm wadded paper boat and light my insides with a single scrolled candle. Dip your fingers in its hot wax to drip onto me the sign of this passage. Set me afloat. The river banks will soon come alive with long-haired slim linen washers who sing lilting lean songs. Maybe that ballad that starts with a true green leaf and a lost way. The force of its sound will soon send me up the quick river.” Peter Schwartz's narrator faces the dirt and frees himself into the fresh new self “because i'd rather let my eyes vomit my insides forever than treat myself anonymously like sex with a totem pole”. Artist Laura Tringali Holmes re-contexualizes thrown-away materials and makes new works that amalgamate the old and new. This anthology takes you apart and puts you back together again in a new arrangement, with more space, light, facets, and strange.
"Creativity Alphabet U-Understanding," Laura Tringali Holmes, paper collage with mixed media, 21/2x3-1/2
The Veil Between By Stephen V. Ramey From a park bench, Cy watches Easter eggs tumble across grass. Usually on Sundays the park is home to Frisbee dogs and women in shorts. Today it's little boys in suits, little girls in frilly dresses, bending, squatting, prodding their rainbow eggs with long-handled spoons. He's no judge of who might be winning. Distance is something he cannot decipher with one eye. Paths intersect. A fight breaks out. Hair-pulling ensues, slick red faces scream, "Mommy!" One child sits square upon an egg, sending a spray of white and yellow across the lawn. Adults swoop in. Another says, "That's a keeper!" and slants his Smartphone for a neighbor to observe the replay. Cy lays along the bench, using his bicep for a pillow. His mouth tastes sour. His stomach heaves. He can't remember yesterday or the day before. Another binge. He must've come across some money. The littlest boy picks up his egg and carries it. A girl drags him down from behind. She swats the egg from his hand. He slaps her with his spoon. "Daaaady!" The girl runs off. The boy chases her, laughing and waving the spoon. With no further means of propulsion, the egg lies dormant. Cy feels its frustration. He knows too well what it's like to depend on another's purpose, to become a piece in someone else's game. He hears a snippet of conversation, only it's not from here and now, but some other time, another place. Nighttime, an alley, a strong smell of urine. "... you come back again, and you'll get the same, you hear?" A sliding sensation through his ribs. Pain comes, intense, unrelenting, bright as a star. Cy spasms on the bench. Frantic, he sits and pulls up his shirt. Blood cakes the material, but there's no wound, just a thin white line between his fourth and fifth rib. Was that real? A dream? A girl stands by the bench, bright blue eyes blinking. Her hair is orange. "Mister, did you see my egg?" Cy tries to speak. Breath wheezes into his lungs. Tissue expands like a cellophane bag. "It's blue and green," the girl says. "It's under the bench." Cy looks down. His pants are torn at the cuff, the shoe bound with duct tape. He doesn't see an egg. "Right there," the girl says, pointing. She's too afraid, or maybe too disciplined to come closer. "Here," Cy manages. He reaches for his eye, twists it. Glass comes free of its socket. Desert. The cave open. Sunlight. The girl gapes. Cy presses the eye onto her palm, and folds her fingers closed. "Better than an egg," he mutters, and reclines along the bench.
"The Travelers," Laura Tringali Holmes, paper collage with postage stamps, 8x10
The World Through Vaseline By Stephen V. Ramey Cherry blossoms drape the railing and it is as if I have never been home. This is beauty, this is love, this is everything and nothing at once. I stand at the edge of a rock garden, stones raked into rows of slanted white faces staring up to God. I do not look up with them, but at a larger rock hunched upon an oblong island of greenery. Like a toad it sits, like a frog, waiting. I am its fly. I am what it wants, but I dare not step onto that ironed expanse of stone. I am not a fly, I cannot lift up onto the balls of my feet and then further still. My steps leave dents. I dare not walk, and thereby prove my presence where I do not (want to) exist. A train whistles. There's a tension within me, the stress of oil on water, a baby baptized in full immersion dream. There it is, distant, incomplete, a muffled rumbling boom, a jolt, a crack, the smell of rubber burning. And blood. Red, orange, violent yellow. The sound of life leaking, death speaking. A taste in my mouth I cannot (want to) swallow. Blink. Blink again. Reality becomes real, a rock garden in Boise Idaho, a rail draped in cherry blossoms. And me on the edge. The toad-shaped rock must mean something, if anything can. The life I had before Afghanistan was perfect, a pretty wife, a son, the promise of college. And now this. I lift the dead hand in my living one, and let it fall like a pendulum counting off beats. I feel the swing of it in my shoulder, the slap-slap-slap against my hip. It's gone, everything sacrificed to someone else's struggle. That's why they take us young. I see that now. I see so much, yet it never quite resolves. The world through Vaseline. It is what it is, I think in the Sergeant's voice. A diamond of dew reflects from the top of the toad. I watch through wide eyes as it evaporates into the insubstance of the air and drinks into the substance of the stone. Blood pumps hot from my chest, only to return cold and blue.
How to MC Your Niece's Wedding In Front Of A Four-Poster Bed On A Raft When All The Groom's Relatives Have Given Names That Start With Z By Barry Friesen Do not suggest that everyone skinny-dip. Do not refer to any thoughts guests may be having about use of the four poster bed. Avoid references to wrestling, in lake mud or otherwise. Do not mention the 55% divorce rate. If also a lawyer, do not offer 25% discount coupon for divorce procedure to bride or groom, or guests. If an atheist yourself, focus on the Love part and don't say anything similar to "God couldn't be here today because She doesn't exist." Do not officially notice that the groom's father hates him and hasn't seen him in years and refused to show up for his wedding. When the groom's father shows up and tells the groom that he and his new wife are going to Hell, observe that they've already chosen an alternate honeymoon destination. Do not notice when Aunt Zelia arrives drunk, or that she slaps her husband in the middle of your speech talking about tolerance in marriage. Do notice when Uncle Zora slaps Aunt Zelia back, and stop him. Do not tell him, when he stomps off to walk home and heads North, that he lives South. Do not stop Aunt Zelia when she stomps off after him, crying. When Uncle Zora and Aunt Zelia come back, kissing and embracing, stop them when they wade into the water heading for the four poster bed. Do not mention that the groom is the first member of the Z family to marry an un-pregnant bride. Respond to physical attempts to remove you from the wedding grounds with good humor, not fists. Assume the fetal position when thrown into lake.
"Star Dust," Laura Tringali Holmes, paper collage on playing card, 2-1/2x3-1/2
Excerpts from OGIE: A BIOGRAPHY By Molly Gaudry
41. and then one day I was removing cherry pits in the kitchen when the tea house woman’s husband returned from an extended business trip and said LOOK WHO IT IS, I REMEMBER YOU can I get you anything GOT ANY GRAPES
I rinsed a bowlful under water for him and put them on the table BY THE WAY he said I WAS SORRY TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR MOTHER
I looked first at the window and then at my hands in my lap WHOA, HEY, LISTEN, I’M NOT HERE TO RUIN YOUR DAY, SO I’LL JUST LEAVE IT AT THIS, IF YOU NEED TO TALK, I’M HERE, OKAY
I turned toward the open window at a sudden commotion from the street HE’S BLEEDING the tea house woman said HE’S REALLY BLEEDING, DAD and then people were
everywhere and everyone was stammering orders and Sam came in and pushed my bowls off the table and cherries and grapes and pits spilled all over onto the floor and someone told me to GET UP, OUT OF THE WAY and they brought him in and I scrambled and pressed myself as tightly as I could into the farthest corner of the room and saw him standing above himself and staring down at his own remains on the kitchen table he looked up then right at me and said I MEAN IT, OKAY I nodded okay
46. they buried him on a hill of wildflowers in simple pine I had overheard the tea house woman say she had no use for a cemetery the way they were made to look like gardens with all that restriction and not enough freedom it would just be another heartbreak and that she could not endure
Sam arranged to have several doves released into the air and the tea house woman covered her heart with both hands as they flew away the dead man and I watched from the windowsill in the attic and when we saw them making their way back down the hill to return to us we went downstairs to greet the mourners I noticed Sam’s substantial nose was chapped from too much blowing and he dabbed at it tenderly with a red silk cloth THIS IS GREAT, ISN’T IT the dead man said DON’T YOU THINK IT’S WONDERFUL HOW THE LIVING COME TOGETHER TO OFFER EACH OTHER THEIR CONDOLENCES
he swiveled twice on the piano bench and pretended to tap a key LOOK he said THAT LITTLE OLD WOMAN IS PICKING GRISTLE FROM HER TEETH, I’LL BET YOU ANYTHING SHE EATS IT, OH, MY GOD, I CAN’T BELIEVE SHE JUST ATE THAT
I would have liked to ask him questions but I mistrusted the sound of my own voice and I thought he might object in any case so kept myself quiet and waited until he spoke to me and when he did it never seemed quite right to respond with what I thought or felt I wanted to say and in any case I was in and out of the tent clearing dishes and pouring tea and asking if I could do anything to make anyone more comfortable and thanking people for coming and for thinking of the tea house woman and her family in their time of need.
47. the entire household slept poorly that night and I joined them in the kitchen where the tea house woman was unable to hold her little gold scoop steady I reached out and lightly wrapped two fingers and my thumb around her wrist and let her hand guide mine in and out of her various jars of dried flowers and herbs and other ingredients and in this way I learned the secret recipe of her personal blend I could feel her pulse under my fingers and because that was the first time I had ever touched anyone else with my own hands my entire body felt like it was on fire the dead man looked over our proceedings and said THIS IS MADNESS, IT’S NOT LIKE I WAS MURDERED, JUST LOOK AT ALL THESE CAKES NOBODY ATE
I had the thought that maybe I was beginning to dislike him but I kept it to myself the tea house woman removed her hand from mine and for the first time I believe she really saw me and seemed happy I was there she took a tiny tin from her pocket and opened it and I saw inside some substance that looked like pink vaseline
ROSE SALVE she said and motioned for me to sit with her at the table where she gently took my hands
in hers and massaged small dabs of it into the skin around my fingernails one at a time and then into my knuckles and all the way up to each of my wrists THERE NOW, THAT FEELS BETTER DOESN’T IT and she was right it did my hands were not so red and raw anymore from all the washing I wiggled my fingers and smiled they looked like little pink worms and seemed quite strange to me but I did not mind because the pain was gone and I could not remember when I had ever been so happy.
55. the others went to bed and even the dead man left us alone in the kitchen DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME YOU WERE HERE she wanted to know
I nodded yes DO YOU REMEMBER THE WEDDING
yes WOULD MIND TELLING IT TO ME THE WAY IT WAS FOR YOU
and so it all spilled out that Mother had made me a dress and I was given the job of throwing the petals from a basket and that Sam had told me it was an important job and I was the only one big enough to do it and that I would be the first one anyone saw from the wedding party and I had never been to a party and so I was very nervous about it and I was still so sorry that I had tripped and spilled all the petals on the steps but that it had been really nice of her bend down in her big dress that I thought looked like a beautiful golden cloud to help me scoop them back up into my basket and what I remembered most was what she had said which was DON’T CRY, LOOK, EVERYONE IS SO HAPPY TO SEE YOU, GO ON, THEY’RE ALL WAITING JUST FOR YOU
and then later at the dancing part I had overheard someone talking with Sam who said WITH ANY LUCK THE STORK WILL SOON BE MAKING A DELIVERY and for as long as Mother and I had continued to live there I kept watch out the window for that stork in case anyone needed to be there to sign his paper clipboard the tea house woman said MY HUSBAND DID NOT WANT CHILDREN, SO WE DID NOT HAVE THEM WHEN I HEARD ABOUT YOUR MOTHER, I KNEW I WANTED YOU TO COME
BUT IT WAS STILL SO SAD FOR ME BECAUSE OF THAT DO YOU UNDERSTAND
I told her everything how I kept with me the memory of the warmth and smell of her delicious stews she only made on rainy days when she had the time to let them cook and cook because on all the other day she was out with the wildflowers every morning how I loved and had always remembered the tall white pitchers she filled with elaborate arrangements she seemed able to make like magic from simple decisions of this wildflower or that wildflower and I told her that I remembered thinking the very rooms and the wildflowers in them were even happier when she was in them too I told her I remembered how she had sat at her piano with me every evening after dinner to teach me the songs that my fingers never forgot not even after so many years away and I said it was strange to think about how the body holds memories in its parts and that I wondered what other memories my body held without my even knowing it we were silent then for a time and then she confessed that her husband had been unfaithful with his secretary Zepha but that it did not bother her because she had never really loved him and even then she did not miss him much because he had always traveled so much for business anyway then she asked me if I would give her a few minutes alone if she went upstairs to bed and in a little while would I come up and bring her a glass of water when I went upstairs to her she had taken off her dress and was sitting on the edge of her bed in only a gray silk slip I handed her the water but she asked me to put it on the table for her when I bent to do it she kissed me on the mouth
“Strange Night Wanderers/Encounter” by Doming
Bloodlines By V. V. Saichek Aloren, a five foot eight and loose-limbed unisex bombshell; dropdead and all that, red of hair, lustrous of skin now gone pale, down and drawn and cancelled out of the largess of what was a beautiful, if thirty-five, piece of ass, and damn, damn, damn, getting no sleep as of late and jittery for no reason yet so very tired, tired, tired – to the depths of her, tired. Her body is in revolt. Her head is on fire and her stomach, tied into double and triple knots, into lakes full of acid, erupts and flings its goo against her pinkish walls. It tells her of impending things. She wishes she could blink her eyes and make these nasty sensations go away or at least get somehow, some help, from the blank medicine cabinet, but no, she, it, is empty of all remedies. Her day has just begun and she hasn’t even downed the crust of a bagel. Her insides are burning with knowledge and the results of last night’s fish sandwich. Indigestion courses through her (upsetting her fine constitution,) and she feels blood racing away from her core, chilling the tips of her fingers, making her pale face even paler. Her blood continues to take flight, pulling heat with it . . . and the pressure is pushed elsewhere. She sees the veins in her hands pulse with incoming and outgoing tides, of data streams written in liquid red and soon her body is singing, its blood having its way with her. The canals of life, artery to vein, vein to capillary, race onward carrying messages of great import. The rush and tumult is too much. Pressure is building. Her head is filled and lights are flashing – warning – warning – incoming . . . A wisp of a vein bursts behind her eyes. Her brain is engorged with a thousand lights. Her mind is full of fissures. She tears the bristles out of the hard acrylic flat of her hairbrush as her hands and body dance, contort in convulsions, curl in collusion and she loses the thread – all threads. They break apart and fractured filaments force themselves down new channels, digging trenches into the rudderless rose of her collapsing brain. Lesser and lesser, or greater and greater trajectories erupt and definitions of things unspool, their strands distanced and dislocated . . . destroyed. She can see the broken strings of “things.” Some are teacups and ponies, yesterday’s jumpsuit and tomorrow’s telecommute. Riffs of what was sings down lost pathways. She attempts to untangle the mire but she can only resurrect the most menial of mental images, without names to label what is. Roots and shoots, tubers and tendrils - stones cracking, whack, whack, within her head, like the vessel that popped off, translate into fissures venting pent-up steam - hot gasses from unknown zones burst through ocean sea river floors and flood the remaining twists and turns of her tender flesh. Oxygen also floods the system. She can feel gusts and blusters. Nameless winds brush memory down and away into cubbies/corners never accessed. The tiny tears are bleeding her of who and what and all of her wherewithal. Pressurized air batters her brain stem and circles higher - rat a tat a tat - a Kalashnikov on steroids popping blasting obliterating wholes into holes. The corpus collosum collapses. Already in two factions, its duty to ferry information from right to left to right, to translate data from impulse - from thinking to sensation to mental image is slowed to the rate of molten iron and now pulsing fire devours what is left of her and her hands reach out. She cannot feel her hands.
Her hands reach out and there is odd information at the ready. Strange information. Incalculable information, much too grand to accept . . . and yet. She knows she is touching vast fault-lines. She feels gigantic tectonic plates shift and ripple. A cat-onine tail of electrical impulse curls from the flick, and click click click - her spine clacks and clatters in strange alignment. In what remains of her mind’s inner eye, she has become very large. She is outside in. Her scattered senses knock together as she pierces through layers of time. Not her time, no. She is covered in eons. The pores of her skin metamorph into continents – oceans – mountains - that range beyond reckoning. Stars fall into her hands. She is following some blind event horizon that is following her; wherein she is the center. Time is shaking, breaking apart, as are all things of substance – unless, her fingers locate the recalcitrant and juddering core; trace the clatter to that which first shifted – the myriad, combative tectonic plates that surface the world, like the cataclysmic veins in her splitting head– if she can pinch and push and douse the fires of . . . the fires of falling apart . . . well, then. What if? She feels around for the fault-lines rumbling, roaring, crushing her bones into mulch. Within her, without her, plateaus and plains and valleys do battle to the death in thrilling supersonic collisions. She stretches her lengthy rubberwoman arms past the savannahs of Zimbubueland, tipping the edges of continents. Her toes know what to do. They curl around coastlines and her hands grip the lost mountain ranges of Knuptwup in a delicate double-handshake. She separates masses that have cantilevered over and under during the battle of the senses, having made quite a mess of a nice twist of brain. Her stomach begins to settle. She stretches a column of land, tearing roots and shoots and releases the pressure of trapped blood within her. The level of the sea aligns with her dropping blood pressure - it nips down an inch or five and the flooded shores and lost coasts rise up. The skeletons of a thousand, thousand broken structures also rise up - the twisted rebar of buildings; houses churches office parks playgrounds dance halls and taverns, condominiums with outrageous maintenance fees sea-side resorts fitted out with individual cabanas trusty roads, avenues, lanes, hillocks and brambles, weeping willows resurrected so they may weep once more and roads and roads and roads that had collapsed and crumbled begin to refine and realign as blood finds a way to flow around and through the tumbled mountain of burst dreams. Her fingers stretch and she reaches to pat each hair in place. The continents settle under her touch. Rivers have found new passage and begin to seep into new soil. Night falls. It is time for the stars. The stars in her eyes close and all the lost things from here and there gather. They whisper to themselves, goodnight.
“Unity” by Amir Catic
The Swans from The Zoo, a Going (forthcoming from Dzanc Books, fall 2013)
By J.A. Tyler There are swans out on this lake too, and I know they are swans because I say to my mom What are those ones, the white? and she says Those are swans. Pretty huh? and I shake my head. The prettiest girl in my grade is Susan and she says we can’t be best friends. We play four square and I hang upside-down from the monkey bars. If you fall from there you’re going to crack your head she tells me, Susan. I like it best when she is watching. I won’t fall I tell her, and she shakes her head like I just shook mine at my mom, here, watching what she has told me are swans. If Susan had white feathers like these swans she could launch into the sky, holding me beneath her wings. The swans, floating on this lake, they are spots of white in the middle of mud-colored water. We can’t be best friends if your head is broken open she says to me, her blonde hair cut short and looking cute. And I say I won’t, and I give her my best smile, imagining my dad when he charms my mom into laughing. Under my bed I have some pictures a kid at school gave me once. I have them pinned underneath my bed where no one but me looks, because my mom and my dad don’t fit anymore. They reach to get my dirty clothes or my shoes from out of there but mostly now they make me do it, wash my own dirty clothes, because I am another year older and it is my time my mom says, or No time like the present she says, because that means I am old enough now. The pictures are safe, pinned up to the ceiling under my bed, no one going there except me and just to look at the underwear on all these women, barely covering up their parts, imagining all the skin. These swans in this lake, they are like Susan, the opposite of dirty but surrounded by mud. And maybe that is how I am. Maybe at heart I am clean and pure, like my mom says, Snow white. But there is too much mud around, too many chances to get dirty. The swans don’t blend into this lake. They stick out, and I am the same way. Like an egg she says as I swing on those playground bars, my knees hinged, Wide open. I smile and smile, because I have her attention now. I like it when her eyes are on me. I love it when she is looking, and the way her hair is like my mom’s. I wink and it comes out a blink so she doesn’t even notice, but she is still smiling, a swan on our playground, and that is good enough.
The Vultures from The Zoo, a Going (forthcoming from Dzanc Books, fall 2013)
By J.A. Tyler Their shoulders hunch, bend in the shape of what used to be my grandma, these vultures. She’s in a box they tell me, one or the other of them, either way whispered way down like in secret, the passing of a kind of note, as they pretend to pray. But what are you doing when you do it? I ask because it is important to me, to figure out what they are doing when asked or told to bow their heads and pray. Let us pray. The vultures here, at our zoo, they sit on white branches, more than white branches, sticks made to fit from the sides and ceiling of its cage down to the bottom. We pray but I don’t know what that means, to pray, so I hold and push my fingers together to see how numb they can get. My fingers tingling back up to the third knuckle. Their coming awake, its needling, like pins. We pray. The electric blanket on her bed is what I remember most, the way I was sat up on her bed when they said she was resting but I knew she was dying, and her bed was hot when I sat and I thought she was on fire. My grandma, these vultures. My mom says, looking at them lined in a row on their white branch, Vultures are ugly. I don’t like them. But I like them. They aren’t mean or ugly like my mom says, just maybe old or tired or resting. When I thought she was on fire I moved my hand because I didn’t want to burn up too. Even then, resting or dying, my grandma, she laughed until she coughed and had to take deep breathes, breathe back in. I remember that, the electric blanket, my grandma on fire. Shhh one or both of them tell me, because this isn’t the time where we talk or pray, this is the part where we listen, and my mom and dad can tell when I tilt my head with my mouth open it means I’m about to speak. But I don’t make a sound. Amen they all say without me, but I wasn’t praying. Their beaks tear dead meat, because the sign in front of their cage, their wire and bars, it says they eat carrion, already dead animals, my dad reading it to me. She’s dead I said out loud, and probably shouldn’t have, and they looked at me, the vultures in them, the carrion of the words I say and the noises I shouldn’t make, moving my hand from grandma’s electric fire, dead now in a box, and I never caught on fire.
"A Birthday," Laura Tringali Holmes, paper collage on playing card, 2-1/2x3-1/2
Fragments of Frank By Clive Gresswell ‘No flies on Frank' - John Lennon, In His Own Write Hello. My name is Frank - some say Frank by name Frank by nature. We don’t use second names in this hotel where I live with Simon, John and Rio. Today is my birthday and we have been promised a special trip out to the shops to buy some sweets. I am 33 today and looking forward to the trip as we don’t go out much. How I came to have Room Number Four at this hotel is still a bit of a blur as far as I am concerned. At this hotel, we are not guests, but clients. It is a hotel for the insane and everyone thinks it is haunted. Simon, John and Rio believe it is haunted by the manager Mr Elesmere Baptiste-Smythe Fortescue Smith. We all see him, but I guess he could just as well be a ghost, or a shifting hallucination. That’s because when we see him, individually, and we have compared descriptions, he looks and sounds totally different to each of us. Peculiar, no? Perhaps he is a different man to each of us. Or perhaps, as we think sometimes, he doesn’t really exist. That would make it just Myself, Simon, John and Rio. It’s an odd name, Rio, and I don’t know where he got it from. Smith says the tablets will make me better. Will they make me see him as he really is, I wonder? Maybe if I keep taking the tablets he will just disappear. That would be good, as we all hate him, and want to be rid of him. This is enough of a Fragment of Frank for the moment. I am off to grab a shower before we go on our trip to the shops, have a cup of tea and listen to some Mozart – although Mr Smith, (or that old bastard as we often refer to him), says that doesn’t do me any good at all. Back after the adverts, as they say on the TV. We’re all pretty comfortable here at the hotel, which is why I have been here for X years. There is a dining room, a lounge, a swimming pool, games room, gym and sauna. We get really good food and regular teas and coffee; all for free. I have a large room overlooking the sea and we each have a colour TV in our rooms and a shower. There are of course, as with any hotel, lots of rules and regulations. The most important one, as far as I am concerned, is the rule about no weapons. It’s most important to me as I have one. It’s a sharp butcher’s knife, which I keep on me at all times. That’s because I don’t trust Simon, John or Rio. Mostly Rio though, as he is a mountain of a man, which is why we nicknamed him Rio Grande. They are all as paranoid as hell and I am only too well aware that anything could happen at any time. That’s the only trouble with living on top of each other – fights break out sometimes – although I try to stay well out of them. Simon and John have the most squabbles, over a girl called Sara who lives in the hotel down the road, and whom they both fancy like crazy.
All the girls live in that hotel, but at least it is not said to be haunted like ours. I like to stay in my room a lot but sometime soon I will take you on a tour and introduce you to Simon, John and Rio. In a little while I have to go and see the old bastard and I wonder what he will look like today. He always looks different to me and that worries me. I also wonder if he is going to be extremely rude again as he was last time we met. He told me that part of my trouble was that I wanted to fuck my sister. I played it cool realizing that he probably just wanted to rile me. He often does that, but I don’t fall for it, as I’ve read Berne’s Games People Play. Well, I’ve got a couple of hours before my appointment with him, so I think I’ll get a little bit of a kip before then. I am extremely tired. Help yourself to tea and coffee. Today I saw Smith as looking like a stunned walrus. His eyes were wide through his spectacles and he had a ginger moustache and balding ginger hair. He endlessly chain smoked – something I always hate. The old bastard greeted me as if I was a long-lost son of his or something. He cannot fool me like that. I know he hates me too. “Ah, come in Frank, take a pew, and make yourself comfortable,” he says. . Then, after looking through my case notes, he got right down to the nitty gritty. “I wanted to speak to you about the voices you have been hearing.” “What voices?” I said. “There have been reports of you hearing unusual voices through your bedroom wall. The CCTV cameras do pick everything up,” he said. “They have caught you talking back to silence through your wall – which leads me to the conclusion that you are responding to something else, no?” “I’m fine. Leave me alone.” “I’m afraid I cannot do that, Frank. We must have this chat in case you need to be put on stronger medication.” “I said I am fine.” “What do the walls say to you, Frank?” ‘They say I’m going to kill you, you old bastard,’ I thought to myself but did not say it. Instead, I just fingered the butcher’s knife, which was sealed safely to the inside of my jacket pocket through insulation tape. “Well, let me ask you this. Do you love your mother?” “Of course I love my mother.” “Then why did you stab her 20 times with a knife?” “I didn’t.” “Then who did?” “It was Rio.” “But Rio doesn’t exist, I’ve told you before, he is a split-off part of your personality, an hallucination if you will.” The conversation went on and on like this for half an hour or more and the old bastard decided I needed more tablets. The cunt. I couldn’t believe it – I am innocent – it was all Rio. Now I have told you about my meeting with Smith today, how about coming back to my room for a natter? I’ll put my Mozart on and I can tell you how Rio came to kill Mother. It was in this very room when she was visiting me last December – just before Christmas in fact. Unfortunately for Mother, Rio charged into my room, eyes blazing and brandishing a knife. For some reason he had been arguing with Simon and thought Mother was Simon.
He lunged at her with the knife. I tried to place myself in front of her to defend her, but he was too strong for me, and pushed me out of the way. During the fight I was knocked to the ground and bashed my head, thereby rendering me unconscious. After that the ambulance came, and then the police, but there was no sign of Rio. It was as though this man mountain had disappeared into thin air. Naturally enough there was a big investigation, and I had to have regular weekly sessions with Smith, who seemed to be convinced I had somehow been responsible for Mother’s murder. He kept on shouting at me how evil I was. I was put on restrictions for quite a while, which meant I could not go out anywhere, and lost other privileges. So that’s how it happened. Rio, after some further treatment, eventually came back to the hotel and we remained buddies. Now I’ll take you to the common room and introduce you to all the lads.
Well now you’ve met my friends, if you can call them that, I wonder what you make of them. Not that I care but one must go through the motions and be polite. I am a great believer in politeness. That’s one reason why Smith and I don’t get on. He’s always so fucking rude to me, usually about the ones I love most (myself included). He has been in this sort of mood a lot lately, and I don’t relish the fact that, with the new medication regime and so on, I am going to have to see him more often. Perhaps daily. Anyway, I have to pop along to his office shortly, so you might as well fuck off for a while. But come back and see me soon. Today Smith reminds me of a guppy. Well, I muse to myself, he always was a slippery character. The little quip makes me smile inwardly to myself but I don’t let on to him – I never do - but the old bugger is always picking things up and twisting them. Like he does right now. “Hey Frank how are you feeling?” as if butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, or I could give him a proper answer, under said circumstances. “I’m fine, sir,” I venture. It isn’t fair; he has the advantage over me whichever way you cared to look at it. I am supposedly the mad one, but, if you ask me, I’d say he is a bit of a nutter himself. He stares at me in a cold fish-like way. Then he turns his head from side to side and tuts. “Oh, Frank, I know; you know. You have been talking again to John, Simon and Rio. Frank, how many more times, they don’t exist. They are all fragments of your personality. You and I are the only ones here, Frank. You are considered too dangerous to be kept with anyone else. I am, if you like, your replacement father.” He looks smugly at me and waited for me to speak. I let him wait while I feel along the handle of the knife inside my jacket. To get the hell out of there I just nod my head and smile - agreeing with everything he says. How I had wanted to rape Mother, which was why I killed her, and so on. In fact on and on and on.....’till I eventually break down in tears and he takes me back to my room, gives me a shot of something or other, and then locks the door.
How could John, Simon and Rio not be real? I saw them in the common room every day. Saw them with my own eyes . Anyway, Rio had done for my Mother, the mad fucker. I fell asleep, a deep, restful sleep, until the morning and I was awoken by the beauty of the dawn and put some Mozart on. Hi again, nice to see you. I wasn’t sure if you would visit me again. Since Mother died I have very few visitors and I get so bored. You are always welcome, my friend. You look different today. The other day you were short and squat – now you are tall and thin. Have you had your hair cut? If you were worried about the knife there is no need to be now. Inspector Rathbone from Houndsville Police came to see me yesterday and took it off me. Apparently Smith had seen it on the CCTV, and the bastard told the police. Rathbone wanted to know ‘If you were up to your old tricks’. Of course, I did not know what he meant. Smith too tackled me about the knife, but only after Rathbone had been. He did not have the courage to try and take it off me himself. What else can we talk about? I know; music. I do not only like Mozart you know but all sorts ranging from classical to rock. From The Who to The Damned. What about you – what is your musical taste? They say it says a lot about a person. I do not know why you come and see me. I’m very restricted in who I can see anyway, as ‘they’ have branded me violent. Naturally, I have had to put up with another Smith session, and I am becoming increasingly bored by his circular theory. If it is true that I am all the other inmates put together then how come I talk to them and see them? They are real to me, and that is what matters. But say they are hallucinations, then I would not be able to tell if Smith is also a hallucination of mine or some sort of a ghost. Or indeed if I am a hallucination of his or some sort of ghost. Perhaps, I am a hallucination of yours, or you of mine. I think we are all looking through a mirror darkly. Smith seems to go on one tack all the time, without considering my unique personality, and that I have not done anything wrong, and mean no harm to anyone. Thanks for popping by again. I think next time we might talk about books. Now, I am tired as hell and must get some sleep. Catch you another time. Now, dear visitor, we said this time we would talk about books. I love books. All sorts of books – everything from Aldous Huxley through John Lennon to Richard Brautigan. Not that I am allowed many books in the hotel. My favourite book is A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. It was after reading that in my teens that I got my love of Mozart. I think poor Alex, just like me, was misunderstood. Smith says I should not read all these books – that they are not good for me which is why I am not allowed many. It is censorship of the worst kind. Personally, I think he does not like me reading them as it amounts to a threat to his own intelligence. Smith cannot cope with the fact that I am just as intelligent as he is. Sometimes, in fact, in our encounters, he tries to act all superior and that really gets my goat. It is like a red rag to a bull. But, I stay silent and do not fall for it. It is just one of the many psychological tricks he tries to play on me. Perhaps you would like to tell me a bit about your own reading before you go? I would be interested
to hear all about it. Welcome back. I’m afraid I have to report something really shocking since last we spoke. First of all, you will have to realize that today, I am speaking to you as a ghost. If only they had not taken my knife away from me I could have defended myself in my final brutal showdown with Smith. As it was I was helpless as a baby as he opened his top drawer and drew a gun on me. He ranted on and on about how I was so evil I did not deserve to live anymore. And, in his view, I was already dead, inside. He had gone quite mad. I thought on my feet and tried to persuade him out of his course of action, but he aimed the gun, pulled the trigger, and shot me in the head. I died instantly and my blood was spattered everywhere. In my altered state I could hear him laughing like a maniac. He smeared my blood over the room with a paintbrush and on one of the office walls wrote the words ‘Frank is dead, long live me’ in my blood. I was naturally enough appalled at this display of violence towards my good self. I had not really believed in ghosts, but now it seemed I was one.
Eventually Inspector Rathbone turned up to take Smith away. ‘Been up to your old tricks Smithy,’ he said. Smith laughed in the Inspector’s face and simply told him ‘I don’t know what you mean. How can you murder a hallucination such as Frank?’ They took him away to the police station and eventually there was a big trial at Houndsville Crown Court. The story was splashed all over the evening paper. Of course, they did not report the half of it. Smith was found guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and carted off to an institution somewhere out of Houndsville. Me, for my sins, I travel in a twilight world, somewhere between heaven and hell, not knowing how much of this is real and how much hallucination. Now the hotel is all mine.
What Breathes Down There? By Yarrow Paisley And how many times have I looked into that sewer, wondering, What breathes down there? O, I have lived in this apartment so long. Something is breathing. That is the thought I wake with. (The morning comes, and absolves me of sleep, and the wind wakes the streets, and I hear the sirens, and in the walls the molecules sleep, and what will come to absolve them of sleep? ) I stand at my window. I see the street below. There are nostrils in the street. The street is not solid. The hollow street conducts more than the traffic of men and curs: something is breathing, and it is below the street. What breathes down there? § I stand on a floor. She is not far from me. I can smell her musk even here. She is sweet. I tremble already, in my mind. In my mind, my nose is in her cunt. She is sweet, in my mind. In my mind, she trembles already. I hold a newspaper. Her musk is in my blood now. She is sweet. She stands not two feet from me! I could touch her, in my mind. In my mind, I could love her. I lean against a railing. She is just over there. She feeds the llama. Even more powerful than the llama’s stench is her musk. Her musk is in my brain. I drink from her armpit, in my mind. In my mind, she is sweet. I love her for herself, in my mind. In my mind, I love her for myself. And it comes to me: She is walking on breath. § And how many times have I looked into that sewer, wondering, What breathes down there? § She stands on a floor. I am far from her, but I can see her. I can smell her musk, in my mind. In my mind, she is sweet. She holds a newspaper. I could touch her, in my mind. In my mind, I hold a newspaper. She could touch me, in my mind. In my mind, she holds a newspaper. She leans against a railing. I am ten miles away, but she is sweet. And it comes to me: She is walking on breath. § And how many times have I looked into that sewer, wondering, What breathes down there? O, I have lived in this apartment so long. Something is breathing. I eat with that thought in my mind. The dishes are dirty. They stink in the sink. I leave them to stink, and stand by the window. I look into the street, and something is breathing. I turn from the window, gasping for breath. I sink into my cushions. (In the sink, the dishes stink.) From nostrils in the street rise its exhalations. Its inhalations are not to be seen. I am in my cushions, and yet I wonder, What breathes down there? § Her lover wraps her in his arm. They are just over there, admiring the fountain. He can smell her musk, in my mind. In my mind, I can smell her musk. She is wrapped in my arm, in my mind. In my mind, she is sweet. Her lover presents his shoulder to her cheek. She rests against him, in the breeze. In the breeze, I can smell her musk.
Her lover carries her to the fountain. She kicks and giggles like a little girl. In my mind, she is a little girl. I can smell her musk, in my mind. In my mind, my nose is in her cunt. She kicks and giggles, in my mind. And it comes to me: They are walking on breath. § And how many times have I looked into that sewer, wondering, What breathes down there? § She wraps her lover in her arm. They are among the high buildings, and the insolent crowds. I can smell her musk even here. Her musk wipes away the crowds, in my mind. In my mind, she is sweet. She is sweet, in my mind. In my mind, her musk wipes away her lover. She presents her breasts to her lover’s cheek. He listens to her heart, and chants its rhythm back to her. In my mind, her heart beats. She leads her lover to the shade of a tree. The sky grows grey, and the shade disappears. In my mind, the sky grows grey. The shade disappears, in my mind. Her lover looks at her solemnly. She looks at her lover solemnly back. Solemnity shades them, in my mind. In my mind, she is sweet. And it comes to me: They are walking on breath. § And how many times have I looked into that sewer, wondering, What breathes down there? O, I have lived in this apartment so long! Something is breathing. That is my thought as I grip my cock. (The agony comes, and absolves me of joy, and the sun lights the street, and the voices are winging over the buildings, and joy moves the molecules in their sleep, and what will come to absolve them of joy?) I kneel at my window. My palms are pressed for the street below. Something is breathing, and it is below the street. Its exhalations rise from nostrils in the street. The hollow street conducts immane inhalations. I speak to the sewer, saying, What breathes down there? § And it comes to me: I am walking on breath. § And how many times have I looked into that sewer, wondering, What breathes down there? As many times as I have been answered: I am the city. You are my breath.
The Great Washing Day By ZoltĂĄn Komor In the village border, dogs fight over the breaked out wheel of a capsized wagon. Wilthering arrows in the petals of the heart-flower: the sky indents as the villagers begin to shout: 'Washing day, washing day!' The wheelbarrows hew deep lines into the snow, as the washerwomen shoves them from house to house, collecting all the laundry. Their enormous breasts sways left to right and right to left, blowing over the ladders that lean next to the walls. Their mops of hoary hair gets out from their head scarf and dances freely in the February wind. 'Fellow villagers! Our soaps were made of the clouds; we can wash out the pray from your bickering hands! Give us your laundry, and we are going to exorcise all the demons that hide in them!' They chant and their breath freezes into ice. The villagers begin to throw their dirty clothes into the creaking old wheelbarrows. 'Well, you can wash my raunchy widow's weeds!' offers an old lady spinning in the roof. 'Flush my husband's sorrowful ghost out of it, who made me to wear this black clout every day! He's been dead for years now! Bleach it into a wedding dress, so it's light can blind me!' 'Clean this one too!' A young girl arrives holding a white sheet. There's a huge, brown blood-stain on it. 'I've lost my virginity on this last week! Wash-out good, and maybe I'll get it back!' 'Soak this first! It's my husbands deerstalker!' a burly woman mumbles. 'You can wring the screams of the animals out of it!' 'Wash the luck out of the dices!' 'Wash the grief out of the songs!' 'Wash the harm out of the words and the beating out of the fists! Wash winter out of our calendars!' Giant mounds in the wheelbarrows. Dead people nurse the funeral wreaths. Sparrows grow in the branches of the trees. A few birds lose their way and grow inside the tree. Their chirping filters through the dark barks. The washerwomen do not hesitate. They uproot the trees with their bare hands, so they can wash out the trapped sparrows. A washer lady is the strongest woman you can ever meet. They build a giant tub and begin to melt the snow with their pipes. And soon, the whole village judders behind the ascendent steam. Hocus pocus. Soapsuds on the roofs, they rake out the fire of the burning thorn bushes. The washerwomen work like there's no tomorrow. The smell of their sweat is like the odor of chalk. Every time a drop hits the ground, a crow arrives to peck it up. The bubbles swirl around the women's large fingers. A few soap-bubbles lifts up and roust out the bats from the belfry. The washers grab them and fling the animals into the tub. Between the women's hands, they turn into white pigeons. 'Faster, ladies, faster!' The giant washer queen struts behind them with a crown on her head made of bubbles. She supplies the soaps with a whip in her hands. 'Quick, splash some water onto the sleepwalkers! Wash the nightmares out of their heads! Wash the crinkles out of the old skin!' Trestle-table. Geranium. Children dance around the tub and throw the lightning rods into the water. Old thunderbolts soaks out of them. Then, the legs soaks out of the sippers. Then, the journey soaks out of the legs. They wash would-be children out of the young couples. Suds sparkle between the enormous breasts â€“ like the slime of snails. Brightness anchors in the village. All the dust disappears, and as the wheels of the barrows roll even the sun begins to shine brighter. Dead family members fade away in old photos. The whole village, even the horizon wreathes now in the tub. Soon the Celestial Horses get wind of this hoo-ha. They whicker on the clouds and shit into the tub from above. The streaming horse dung paints the water into black. Pain moves in to the minute hand. Grief scrubs the skulls.
'Clear off, you bastards!' The washer queen swishes her whip, her miffing breast begin to chime furiously. A whack of manure lands on her, and instantly, a beard grows on her face. 'Wash this out!' neighs the horses still shitting in the water. The wheelbarrows comes to life and wades over the washerwomen. They pick up the bodies and fling them into the smelly, black water. Evil dust crawls under their skin, and wildfire flares up in their eyes. They become the servants of the horses. 'Traitors!' the washer queen screams, when they grab and drag her down to the cellar, rubbing her skin with coal. She's all black now, like the devil himself, and they force down a piece of coal in her throat. She begins to choke. 'Aiiiors!'she mutters, but her words turns into crows. Soon, the demon's servants get their hands on the pitchforks and begin to chase the washer queen, who runs out of the village on her chunky legs, leaving huge footprints behind. 'Let's wash, damn it!' A black steed gallops over the sky. The washerwomen tears up the lambs with their hands and begins to rub the windows with their bloody insides. They tack thunderbolts onto the roofs, and soon, the houses catches fire. They screw out the cats and sew nightmares into the villagers’ hairs. Concussion. Acid waltzes in the stomachs. Bullets explode in the pockets of old uniforms. Hankypanky. Trussed up hampers in the bed with frothing soaps in it. Excised eyeballs under those soaps – all the light is washen out of them. In the afternoon, every villager dries on a huge washing line. The February wind slaps them in the face, and a giant black horse prances up and down behind them. 'Dear us! Dear us!' the hanging people groan with clothes pins in their hairs. 'Dry quietly, you idiots!' guffaws the steed. Then it jumps into the air and disappears behind the clouds. The church chimes it's bells, but there's no sound. Someone washed the ding-dong out of it. The clapper sways left to right and right to left mutely. The night pushes itself through the zipper of the sky. In the village border the washer queen lays on her back half frozen. Her enormous breasts rise and sink as she pants for breath. The frosty air chills her lungs. The bubbles of her crown begin to pop out. 'Where's my rinsewater kingdom now?' she cries looking at the sky. Her beard dances in front of her glassy eyes. 'Blown-out dreams, the evil of horses! Oh, my sinking tub! I am the captain, and I will sink with you, so the water can wash the soul out of my body! It will become one with the eternal waves, and I'm going to scour the algas of the rocks till this helpless world ends! My dear, spotless gravestones!' With this sentence her soul slips out from her mouth. It circles around the body for a while, watching the barking dogs, that discover the meat almost immediately. The rabid animals begin to fight over the food, dropping their frothy saliva. The smell of the soap turns them mad, after finishing with the body, they run away to lacerate a shepherd's dirty clothes. The soul doesn't wait anymore. It heightens and begins its search for the sea, the marvelous waves. As soon as it reaches the clouds, a hoof squelches it like it was a bug. A quiet popping sound can be heard. For a moment, the light of the stars die out. Then, they begin to shine again brightly like there’s no tomorrow. Silence continues. The only smudge on it is the distant barking of dogs.
Chant against sub rosa love By Mia Avramut We don’t breathe the same cold air We don’t shadow the same Moon We don’t herald the same sunsets We don’t haunt the same abodes. And yet With our backs upon a damp stone crushed under ancient moss divans crawling with lost fleshborn gods Plebeian sweet tit-toe embrace cloaked in a thin shroud of prickles Furtive chords and rugged minstrels plague of kisses marching marching Body tyrant swift beheaded alchemy of secret weddings somewhere near winter cortege Penitents of scarlet stalking evergreen dulcet pariahs around mounds they never know Moonshine marsh dissolving reed boats where young lepers float the lies spitted on a pike of bitter to the walled City we seek.
Some crude mornings we donâ€™t wake up. * The houses we so build The walls they build across us The ones that still exist (upended truth be told) look just like death: inhabited. inhabited.
Autodafé By Mia Avramut It has been done onto me so: the rugged fractured rugged contour of yet another body low sunk retina no guts and no words sour enough to solder close the iron wrought gate of a thousand genes. My voicebox hummed to no one after expulsion from her cell divide. * These hands aren’t mine, they’re both my mother’s, the one who slipped into the muddy ground two score years back and many more, my limbs not yet done growing. The bud-hands sprout with brisk remorse in early spring, coated in pains, eglantine spikes, oil splatter burns, like others in stark beauty marks and freckles faking skinless years below. As she would moan, “The chill entered my bones and raised me: a lie.” * Borrowed her spent eyes too. With them committed blasphemies, osmosis rites, deeds out of constellations so remote they could not blind apostate amulets of nailed birth hours we once shared. She hardly sees me from above, where she lovelurks: “I age with faith in you, who stands accused from shade heliocentric arches.” * As great cell mobs gather to wave their beaded tentacles, crimp crackling ties on gorged coils and entangled errant puppet strings, my lyric embryo decamps to her apocryphal safe cask, fat with shylocked blood coins. All senses blank redeemed. I ring the bell. * “So it shall be the trial again” she squints then circles onto me so that my mind rests drunk on her most ancient lap: somnolent sunset piazza too august to carbonize garrote snuff cerebell the Inquisition of a thousand genes.
Ballad By Mia Avramut
Take me down to the river, love, one easy afternoon. Cut the umbilical cord that ties me to the center of our double world. Make me into a warm wadded paper boat and light my insides with a single scrolled candle. Dip your fingers in its hot wax to drip onto me the sign of this passage. Set me afloat. The river banks will soon come alive with long-haired slim linen washers who sing lilting lean songs. Maybe that ballad that starts with a true green leaf and a lost way. The force of its sound will soon send me up the quick river. Down in the marshes, my love, I reckon Iâ€™ll soften and yield to the panpipes in reeds. Alit in the sweet fragrant mud, Iâ€™ll rejoice for having so loved, and at long last delivered the reincarnation of lust.
"Desert Mavericks pg 1A," Laura Tringali Holmes, collage in altered book
perpetuity By Peter Schwartz i don't. i don't so much i even don't in my sleep so hard it wakes me up to more don't. included: eye contact, germs, handshakes, telepathic warfare, old and new grudges, etc. but trust me, no oven's worth that kind of warmth or could ever justify this much fear so boo for everybody, you're just paranoid enough to act like everything's out loud. and: i'm sorry for canceling so many of our holidays in the name of vaguer invitations for having fingerprints at all, i just had to touch so much it was almost involuntary i'm still thinking i'm already too tired for these kneejerks, i can't piece these many pieces together for anything less than a miracle. and: you should know that there are just two possible beliefs in the world: confetti or deadlines i can't accomplish either yet, but that means little, people adapt to losses every day i can't even pronounce. and: you know why i don't? because i'd rather let my eyes vomit my insides forever than treat myself anonymously like sex with a totem pole and yes i'm furious i'm shaving my head to show you my most given given: my genetics stink like an orphanage. and: i've decided this will have to be goodbye because all sadness is a distance game: just don't look from that far and you might fall in love with your seatbelt and cultivate an acceptable bubble to say sorry, sorry forever from, but i have to go be another creature now.
"Writer's Block 7," Laura Tringali Holmes, paper collage, 2-1/2x3-1/2
MOCKERY to the POET By Tiffany Rocs Twisted strings of puppets tangled on the floor Carelessly carved eyes of hollowed dolls Staring up at the outlines thick with cigarette smoke Smoke that dances fluid in the dim light of your room Forcing shadows of ghosts who once played here Precious shelf boxes dusted heavy with loneliness Plain gin smile steals across the face One hand fondles two balls, the other plays with one Why is your cabin bare? Everyone has left Beginnings tied with creamed lace ribbon Knotted in the center so as not to escape Having just the perfect place for this one Who’s life is lined with rose scented velvet Ten minutes of glory means you’ve won the victory Canvasses portray the poet’s heart disintegrating in the hallways Graphite spindling across each one, outlining images of splintered wood Flicking out abundant gestures like pennies to the poor Wanting to flee from the noble cause throwing a sheet out the window For the doctor sits before the door with a handful of pills Away you would flee from the second story window that glows blue Only to return from the journey…with a head full of fabrications Leaning out the only window that faces the Corner Café where she still sits The dimmed street lamp on the corner spotlighting the whore Who will befriend you for the evening and tell you that you are famous Closing the eyes to dream of taking flight to freedoms hand Across the oceans of past lives as though they never ended Sifting a tide of broken glass where the little girls play Virgin land to the one who’s ship banks on the kelped edge Chests full of plenty, sheet music written for the seekers of romance A place to rest the weary feet, no longer able to stand Though the moments of rest take years to unfold and sort out The note pad is full of chapters that have no beginning Poet’s terror of writing to complete the end of his epic Caught in the middle web that was weaved without assistance or demand To watch the last ripple in the still water reaching any shore A gold ring catching the sun as it descends to a muddy bottom Only the confused fish swim by hoping it’s something to be consumed The memory of her forever lost in the Waters Karee Beautiful bride dressed in heavens grace, his only perfected puppet Though, she actually stands upon the high cliff looking down Refusing to be drowned in waters that he wrote for her
For up there she can hear the sad song of Juno Blowing in from the miles distance across the sea Visions are more clearly illustrated of the woman she molds A created love more perfect than he could see through clear eyes Between them the cold air stirs, humming a fragile new tune
"The World Is," Laura Tringali Holmes, paper collage with mixed media, 5x7
The Statue By Nicolette Wong We garner this farewell, unseen facades, nude chains where the cracked fence wanes into night. I will pack the pulleys and ropes, blunt skin debris, bruise, your snowploughed backyard that hovers and ceases in braille scars. Should it be valorous to collect your wrists, the inscription of hope that sprawled until our stones melted. Opal crossing to our fire nets, and I called to the poems you smoked from the guns. Tremor of distance: copal resin sleep. The years pelted shellacs over your words beneath dwindling skyprints. Having pressed half the world into an atlas of wounds and inhaled it, I return to snow for rupture. Charcoal sky, hymns to what you throw. Could you stay still until the sun scalds, songs of nada, ride. Could you look into my wind, buoy sifting blind grief across town an ocean's outstretch, lone wraiths of love away from where you are hanging.
Soli By Nicolette Wong a measure of fable upon which is current through me into wreath the other shore is spring with its banks of loaned aria for my statue and myself holding it
and I would call to bird letters if we know what kisses the cortĂ¨ge ebbing far enough to frost us my stone shudders, slit mouth foaming the hard-pressed truths of amnesia
"Tell Your Story," Laura Tringali Holmes, paper collage with mixed media, 4x6
In The Eye Of A Sawed-Off Fable By Nicolette Wong Run this way. I wake and forget I am breaching consonance. Like a tree slashed by a blade defleshing your jurisdiction: a trunk of cries, bouquet blunders. Suddenly you bloom. Our child is a flash coal to drain my color from the plunging sky.
Biographies Mia Avramut, a Romanian- born American researcher who worked in laboratories and autopsy rooms from Pittsburgh to San Francisco, now lives in Essen, Germany. She is Associate Poetry Editor for Connotation Press and interviews authors for Scissors and Spackle. Her poetry and prose have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Conclave: a Journal of Character, The Prose Poem Project, Marco Polo, Crack the Spine, A-Minor Magazine, Santa Fe Literary Review, Menacing Hedge, and several anthologies. She received a Pushcart Prize nomination for her creative nonfiction in 2012. Tantra Bensko teaches fiction writing through UCLA Ex. Writing Program, WritersCollege, and her own academy online. She obtained her MA from FSU and her MFA from Iowa. She has 2 full length fiction 2 books out, with 2 more slated – from Dog Horn and Make-Do, 4 literary chapbooks, including from ISMs Press, and 200 stories and poems in journals and anthologies and she published Exclusive Magazine, and runs resource site Experimental Writing and the FlameFlower Experimental Story contest. A well-displayed and published artist, she was Art Director for Mad Hatters Review. She lives in Berkeley. http://lucidmembrane.weebly.com/ Amir Catir, the artist whose work fills the inside of this book, is from Croatia, and graduated from the school of Sarajevo. He has participated in many artists colonies Internationally, the latest in Macedonia, and won several awards at exhibitions, such as Autumn Graphics 2013. His work can be found at http://amircatic.deviantart.com Doming is an illustrator and painter in South Korea who received her visual arts training from Hongik University. She has created album, poster, TV CF craft design, animmation, and book designs, and exhibited her work such as in the Incheon International Airport. https://www.facebook.com/Doming9292 Barry Friesen temporarily occupied layers of reality as a child protection lawyer, psychotherapist, and playwright. Clawing his way out of those permeable boundaries, he now writes lucid dreams for anthologies, chapbooks, and literary journals. He has three sons, one with legitimate work and two who write novels. Molly Gaudry is the author of the verse novel WE TAKE ME APART, which was shortlisted for the 2011 PEN/Joyce Osterweil and named 2nd finalist for the 2011 Asian American Literary Award for Poetry. She is the creative director at The Lit Pub. Innovative writer of both short stories and poems, Clive Gresswell is just going into his third year of a BA course in creative writing at the University of Bedfordshire in Luton, UK. He has been writing all his life having been a journalist for more than 30 years until being made redundant. He has now decided to concentrate on his own fiction. Writers he enjoys and admires include Samuel Beckett and Richard Brautigan. He has had some luck with publication on line for some of his work and one of his short stories, “Signs,” is about to be published in a paperback anthology of humorous work. Laura Tringali Holmes makes collages out of old papers and memories. Her work is often sociopolitical in nature, but resonates with the power of hope and courage. She exhibits widely both in the United States and internationally. Home is a stone's throw from New York City. (http://lauratringaliholmes.deviantart.com/ , http://lauratringaliholmes.blogspot.com/ )
Barry Friesen temporarily occupied layers of reality as a child protection lawyer, psychotherapist, and playwright. Clawing his way out of those permeable boundaries, he now writes lucid dreams for anthologies, chapbooks, and literary journals. He has three sons, one with legitimate work and two who write novels. Zoltán Komor is a 26 year old and from Hungary who publishes surreal short stories in journals. His first book, a novel titled Mesék Kaptárvárosból (Tales from Hive City) was published in 2010. He is the editor of Katapult Kortárs Alkotói Oldal (http://www.katapult.tk), a site that focuses on neo-avantgarde and postmodern literature, abstract paintings and electronic, mostly experimental music. Yarrow Paisley lives in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. His fiction has appeared in Gargoyle, Pear Noir, and Dadaoism: An Anthology (Chômu Press), among others, with work forthcoming in Shimmer Magazine and New Dead Families. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, contributed to the online collaborative project The Step Chamber, and serves as Co-Editor for the online journal Gone Lawn. His website is yarrowpaisley.com. Stephen V. Ramey lives and writes in beautiful New Castle, Pennsylvania, home to two world class pyrotechnics companies. His work has appeared in various places, from Gone Lawn and Prick of the Spindle, to Strange Horizons. His first collection of (very) short fiction, Glass Animals, was published in 2013 by Pure Slush Books. Find him at http://www.stephenvramey.com Tiffany Rocs is a native of the San Francisco bay area. Her inspiration for the poetry she writes stems from the deeper levels of her personal life experiences. She loves to take the seemingly 'simple', only to mix it up into the finer complexities of what can be observed. Peter Schwartz's words have been featured in hundreds of literary magazines from Wigleaf to PANK to The Columbia Review. His chapbook Old Men, Girls and Monsters was put out as part of the Achilles Chapbook Series, amnesia diary by Barnwood Press, the nowhere glow by Trainwreck Press, and TELL ME by Pudding House Press. He's collaborated with many poets and artists over the years and is the art editor at DOGZPLOT. See more at: http://publishingproject.wix.com/peter-schwartz. V V Saichek is interested in the break-down of language, and how its structure on the page effects us. Her work tends to reach into uninhabited lands or lands of immanent danger. She enjoys “stalking” mood. V V Saichek is interested in the break-down of language, and how its structure on the page effects us. She has published work in G.U.D. and The Legendary, and made it to the final cut of three entrants for the “Eric Hoffman Prize for New Writers.” J. A. Tyler is the author of the poetry collection Variations of a Brother War, the collaborative novel No One Told Me I Was Going to Disappear, co-created with John Dermot Woods, and Colony Collapse, a poetic psalm newly available from Lazy Fascist Press. He lives in Colorado. Nicolette Wong is a dancer, magician, writer and editor in chief of A-Minor Magazine & Press.
Laura Tringali Holmes Works of paper collage and décollage I make works of collage using layers of remnant imagery to explore issues of society and family life overlaid with themes of hope, courage, and the healing power of memory. I re-contextualize discarded material—much of it from between the late 1800s and the 1950s—and from it bring forth works that amalgamate the old and new, the provocative and proverbial. You can read my collages as a progression of layers, with each layer adding deeper meaning to the narrative; much of my work contains visual clues that can lead an observant viewer on an interpretative journey. Associations may be embedded in color, texture, imagery, or words. Transparent elements often act as viewfinders, focusing attention on the inner workings of the subject at hand. I use décollage in the same way--for depth, texture, and the surprise of discovery upon close observation. In the décollage process, papers are carefully layered and then selectively abraded by hand. I work so meticulously that I can often coax the ink off old papers onto my new works to achieve painterly effects. But what looks like paint, isn’t. It’s simply residue, like a wisp of a long-ago memory. I have been working in collage since Spring of 2009. My work has been well received, traveling to exhibitions across the United States and abroad, and being used to illustrate various books of literature and poetry. My first solo show occurred in 2010, in the capital of New York State, where 28 of my works were grouped under the title "The Strange, the Surreal, & the Sentimental." Currently I work fulltime as an artist, but past career iterations have included over two decades in publishing as an editor, writer, manager, and consultant. I've also developed writing programs for underachieving New York City public schools and piloted those programs in the classroom with great success. I live and work just outside of New York City. Laura Tringali Holmes email@example.com 845-282-0486 / 847-207-9299 lauratringaliholmes.deviantart.com / lauratringaliholmes.blogspot.com
Acknowledgement Clive Gresswell's "Fragments of Frank" has previously been published by Alfie Dog (John Lennon quote: 1964 London, Jonathan Cape).