Page 1

THE BENEFACTOR




THE BENEFACTOR

Credit is due:

Chief Editor: Marc Saleme Creative Director: Ashley d’Avignon Goodwin Poetry Editor: Kyle Crawford

Contriubutors: Matt Caputo Ruffeo Hearts Lil’ Snotty Anthony Goicolea North Pole Records

questions, comments & submissions: thebenefactor@thebenefactormagazine.com visit us on the web: www.thebenefactormagazine.com paper queries: The Benefactor 3804 SE 39th Ave. #10 Portland, OR 97202


Anecdote from the creative director: A back and foth between the Chief Editor and the Creative Director, true story: CE: I don’t think we should include all those images, this is a literary magazine. CD: Well, I don’t want to read, I’m putting in more images. CE: No. This is not an art magazine. CD: We can accompany them with interviews, would you like that? CE: *Stink eye. CD: Hmm...looks like I design the magazine so, I guess I could just slip them in at the last minute before it goes to print, you wouldn’t find out until it was too late. CE: You know, working with you is unpleasant. Long, tense pause with glaring. CD: *Heave white Russian in chief editor’s direction. CE: *Heave white Russian in creative director’s direction. Here’s when the chief editor gets on his bicycle and storms away while the creative director crafts a solution after toweling off her face and mopping up two splattered and wasted white russians: the twosided edition.


ŠMMIX All rights reserved. The Benefactor Magazine


Matt Caputo What can we say about illustrations and what can be said for their illustrators? “Illustration” gets a bad rap in the high art world because often it seeks a purpose outside of itself, providing a “real job” namely. And any real artists knows that real jobs are for suckers. So, let’s call these “works on paper”. High art likes that. The following works are done by Brooklyn artist Matt Caputo. Matt and I discussed a discrepency in our respective art educations. He went to a commercial art school; I went to a fine art school. He was encouraged to make work to meet the needs and ends of others. I was encouraged to explore my artistic whims. “Compared to fine arts, their illustration program was really a commercialized marketing world. I was always looking to find some middle ground where my work could be considered a fine arts illustration. Something that really didn’t work for me at art school and is probably one of the reasons why I haven’t gotten much work in the illustration field. Currently I’m working on a project that really gives me no room for creativity and I’ve been putting it off every chance I get.” Now I know nothing about marketing and everything about picking my own brain for brilliance. So, where’s the middle ground? We’re creative people, we want to explore art for its own sake and we also want to get paid. We can’t all be famous and few of us are going to give up our visions entirely to make money. It’s nearly impossible; it’s not in most of us. The more of a real artist you are the more you’re fucked. There’s no moral to this story. Life isn’t fair. I’ve been publishing this kick-ass magazine for almost a year now with no financial return. Someone see our brilliance! Where are the benefactors?! God help us! Any thoughts? Email ashley@thebenefactormagazine.com.


A little bit about yourselves: Names of designers, favorite pre-sixteenth century musical instruments, what you do when you’re not making hot ass designs…

Fuck around, They call em’ nameless, ruffeo, bobby-macks and sometimes R. Mackswell Sherman. Seriously feeling the Vocoder. Lil Snotty goes by the name of Sarah Jones, sister of the Mike Jones from you guessed it: Houston Texas. I would have to say my fav pre 16th century instrument is the sounds of leaves crunching underneath camels feet. I like to wax lyrical with twisted geniuses in Bushwick, stumble around and spit froth freestyle raps to locals who threaten to murder me at first but then end up filming me on their cell phones for Youtube with such popular titles as: CRACKER OF THE YEAR: SPITS GAME, STANDS UP!!! I am a mean ol bitch who puts the V in diva. I bench press twice my weight, Im a god dam man-killa-priest. Plus I enjoy cooking a nice meal for the ones I love. Mostly I’m just anxious and bothered. Tell us about Mackswell’s experimental puppetry/speed rap performance art, your role.

I GOT A MOTHER FUCKING B.A. IN EXPERIMENTAL SPEED RAP SET TO THE VISUAL MELODY MAKERS OF OBJECT THEATER. (from TESC) No fucking joke, once I opened up for SMEGMA at Reed college with my group ‘An American Breakfast Snack.’ It was, of

16


course, the story of a steamy love affair between NAMELESS the unicorn rapper, boy wonder and a HOOVER VACUUM CLEANER. I built a shower out of sheet metal that actually spewed diced pineapple, black beans, string beans, eggs, canned peaches and cereal all over the sex scene.. Portrayed between a mini unicorn and a mini vacuum cleaner, meanwhile I was wearing a unicorn costume I sewed myself (my first big sewing exhibition, that lead me and snotty to launch RHLS), while Joe Millionaire, other rap star/producer of Breakfast Snack, opperated a real hoover vacuum arranging white noise to a beat. I duct taped a mic to my face and narrated the whole jugernaut of a tale in speed rapping form. Afterwards Smegma and I blazed a massive blunt, in the Chapel we were performing at. I drank a bottle of tequilla on stage. I never washed the shower. Rotten Pineapple is the destinct aroma of putrid gaping asshole. Its probably still sitting in a closet in my old dead beat Olympia apartment. Joe Millionaire aka Grandpa Shanks is still the best producer in the north west, maybe the best alive anywhere. www.imeem.com/tag/grandpa shanks and to hear us with vocals check out myspace.com/americanbreakfastsnack (The Benefactor is based in Portland, OR) Tell us about your Seattle stores; do you know the company your clothes are keeping there?

We used to do it up with Pretty Parlor real tough, she was a wise sister who schooled us from the very beginning (2006) about things like putting hang tags in your seams, and the importance of pockets. We’ve done some real “special” fashion show appearances, we haven’t really been in touch with Anna Banana sinse we moved out here though, Zardoz bless the soul of that woman, she’s upholding integrity and excellence for handmade designers.

17


RHLS

These days Jake and Rebecca maintain a fresh lil boutique available during shows at their all ages music and art venue called Healthy Times Fun Club. We’re outfitting them for their wedding in March (pausing for an emotional moment of honor, being felt presently, sigh). Sitting over there in Brooklyn, do you have anything to say about fashions in the Pacific Northwest?

Dude, I seriously respect flip flops worn with socks, my friend typecast once sang an athem to northwest cool-guy power: “SAND WILL GET UP IN YOUR SHOE IF YOU LIKE IT OR NOT! FLIP FLOPS DON’T GIVE A FUCK WHEN YOU’RE WEARING SOME SOCKS!” That pretty much sums it up. I do kind of miss... err color, so sick of seeing everybody wearing black and gray. hmm, once I saw a mime and a bear having a fist fight in Freeway Park, Seattle, those guys looked pretty sweet. Are your fashion stylings well-received all over, or do you find some regional cultures more primed and receptive?

I dont know but I wish i did. We sell at shops all over the States, a website for Russians in russian, Australia, a comic book store in Finland, a boutique in Canada, Iceland inquired this week... Its not as though any particular demographic gravitates, our clientele doesn’t necessarily wear gigantic- obnoxious glasses or anything.... What pulse are you keeping time with in your creative heartbeats?

No Fear! Dave Mathews, U2, Al Gore, Jamiraquoi....

18

No, fer real


Q and A

though, I am super inspired by kids like Bizzart -Bay Area true noice artist/rapper/visualist, MNDR, is my fucking girl, shes up on some detroit-booty bass- techo -rap shit Im still wrapping my brain around, she’s Oakland based/NYC, looks like we have a collab on the horizon. Still got love for Anticon, fuck all you haters, Why? wears our short shorts/ Ts and usually keeps a nice depressed/inspired melancolly coming from our speakers. Marisa Olson (NYC Multi-media) is out of her fucking mind. Dolly, Loretta Lynn, you know what is up. Who are your fashion friends?

We’re part of a collective, which is a movement called Parachute. It was spearheaded by Rob Kalin founder of Etsy, in Redhook. The posse includes Michael Jacobsen, Zooguu, Cubist Literature, Junk Prints, Desira Pesta, Acorn Letterpress, Led Thread, Parachute Hi Fi, Tough Dumplin Records, Reiter8, and RHLS. Built on three principles: Upcycling, Co-production and Shop Local. RHLS also adores and is inspired by Take Off Your Clothes, Hithers to Dithers, Paperdoll Fashion and Well Hung Scarves. Do you have any heroes who also embody the responsible production ideal you’re championing?

RE Load Bags. Ellie Lum, the “E” in RE Load took me on as an intern right when we moved to Seattle from Olympia a few years back, when we were just getting on our feet. They buy all their materials from USA companies, and maintain, producing a shit ton of one of a kind, custom courier bags. They have fair wages for their seamsters,

19


RHLS

who make everthing by hand in Philly. From Ellie I learned the overall scheme of management, and helped me visualize a business model that was based around a smart, problem solving community. If many more creative-minded people put a little bit of functional product into the market, a movement we’re indeed seeing on the rise as we speak, all of America could be “clothed” locally, sustainably, more beautifully, more smartly. Do you see our generation more interested in entrepreneurial activity than the several previous to us? Are we more American than our parents? What does capitalism mean to you?

You sweet ass motherfucking intervention passion fruits, I like this question!!! The dollar is the last vote, the only vote, the only real power I think North Americans have to make change. CAPITALI$M, unfortunetly is being manipulated by collective unconciousness. I think putting emphasis on the power of choice is a damn threatening idea to delapitated-reptillian, socially malnurished tradional capitalists. We can really apply just a small amount of common sense here and make giant leaps: Buying your geer locally means boycotting unfair working conditions and de-regulation overseas, It means a healthy local ecomomy and for god’s sake it means finally putting art back into fashion-- supporting the progession of aesthetics. Dont shop at the mall, those idiots (GAP designers) keep handjobbing one dominant safe brand that decides what will be cool 12 months before it comes out, then all the other big boxes scramble to rip off the first big box, people are still wearing baggy, ill fitting tan cargo pants, even those who wish they could make a statement but they dont know how. We will offer alternatives. Do we see our generation more interested? I think the fact that our

20


Q and A

line keeps gaining more and more momentum, that we are carried at national/international independant boutiques like Patricia Field means even the mainstream consumer is supporting it, way to go players, you’re not as dumb as the GOP wishes. Second-hand romance is another product of industry. If you like to design clothing, maybe the Gap will hire you to design boring clothes, if you love photography, maybe you can work in a portrait studio pumping out clichés all day. If more artists were able to produce their work as a sustainable livelihood the world would be a better place. How did you get started? What was the mental process like? Do you have any advice for the rest of us?

Mackswell and I were hungry, literally, eating from the food bank, dumpsters (which is cool but after mesquite tofu 12 meals in a row...) Macks was trying to promote hip hop, and rap himself for a living, I was itching to apply my schooling in social health and urban planning to something meaningful. We started stenciling and altering shirts to sell at rap shows. People bought them. The Oly crowd was really supportive and so we were like “fuck it we’re just smoking our own hogs and doing psychadellic dances all the time, why not do this thing for real?” We auditioned at the OCP (Olympia Clothing Project). This was a volunteer run space above Dumpster Values (vintage clothing and records). To our surprise they accepted us and we did fairly well for a brand that was a few weeks old. We learned custumer relations early on which I think was a huge edge. We started with an overall perspective of process, not just making garments, but presenting, representing the OCP handmade philosophy and selling things. My advice to people just starting out is basically... make something out of absolutely nothing. Meaning dont spend a bunch of time and mon-

21


RHLS

ey on supplies, advertising or legwork running around pitching stuff to stores who dont get it. Simply lock down your collection, photograph it in a flavor that represents you, make a website with a ripped version of dreamweaver, our at a local library, media lab if you’re lucky enough to have something like that around. Have a blast off party at your local venue, house party location, and invite the coolest media group around to write a story, or write a story about it yourself, send it to blogs, send it to online/ offline magazines, film it and put it on Youtube. Get your local economy interested in the life and growth of your brand. They are a part of it. Marketing through friendship. Then make a catalog viewable on your website and kindly ask permission to borrow boutique owners time, or send them a t-shirt with a link to your on line catalog. Let the orders come in, that way you are paid before you start producing. I should have asked first, do you have a day job?

A What?! I walked off the worksite of my College Pro Painters management job 3 years ago to start RHLS with Sarah, with my middle finger in the air screaming fuck the cops like 2Pac, with two cocks. But honestly its a good trasition question from the last about starting your business. The painting job and college grants is what got us going. Its very wise to start out with a day job and a little capital or you just sit there suffering and crying all the time. “Independent and local” provides more options, more individuality. Why aren’t people demanding this more?

One, I think a lot of people aren’t demanding it because they dont know its a possiblity or an option. Two, people feel like they have

22


Q and muthafuckin A

“style success” when they buy the thing that makes them identify with their social group. However I think its just a short matter of time before people who wear styles that aren’t screaming “independant pha-shun!” will discover a safe handmade alternative, its on etsy. Three, its only on certain websites and specialized micro boutiques/ its not readibly accessable. Further a lot of companies are just starting out right now, reinventing the process. We’re working hard to figure all this out at Parachute: the legal, the creative, the production, the access. And it will all be available to the public in the next 6 months. Describe your feelings about androgyny.

Now that Im out of the uber liberal NW Im really happy I dont have to think about this so much anymore.. You know? I think Sarah and I are definietly androngonous beings. But thats just what we are.. back in Olympia I used to waver between being super lady like and super mannish at the same time, like I’d wear snotty’s Bubble Gum jeans and a squeeze myself into a bomber jacket and then rap about my metaphysical vagina all night long with a bunch of thugs, at battles and shit. Meanwhile I had a huge red beard, sometimes a little eyeliner, lip gloss and this ladylike aesthetic from the neck down. Its really confusing. It think its just how I ended up. Our clothes kind of embody that too, like their tuff and sexy. I always find myself putting more purples and pinks into the mens wear, and more greys and blues in the womens. I guess I never figured out what androgy truly is. I think its a byproduct of our rapidly progressing social environment. Like fuck it, I have a non dominant gender. Finger my manjina. Fuck my ego, I dont care.

23


RHLS

What inspires the designs?

The designs are born out of necessity. We were biking to our workshop in seattle in the rain all the time so we needed the sars guard hoody to protect our faces from rain and keep our hoods up over our helmits. Mackswell kept losing his fanny pack and wallet so we created the nekkin brace, “a fanny pack for your face.� If we perceive a need or a deficit in design we fill the void. What do you want to make people look like?

TRANS meets TRON. We want people to look like its the year 2020. My little pony chopped and screwed with Sir Mix-A-Lot. What are the sexy elements of these pieces?

We dont size descriminate even though we ourselves are pretty average shapes. We want to celebebrate the big girls, show off their curves, and flatter the 5 foot ones. We want the fellas to shoot from the hip, wearing something fitted, pha-shun forward boosting their confidence and individuality. Shop the line at rhls.com

24


Anthony Goicolea I think what first drew me to these images was the ability to look at them over and over and always find something new to think about. In a time when art is often very simple, in a new era of symbols and poppy, punctuated art, it was refreshing to see these paintings piling on the detail. You can reflect on themes of gender, sexuality, personal and implied power--these pieces are pretty loaded... but I don’t need to interpret for you. The second set of images are drawn from old family photographs taken in Cuba prior to Anthony’s parent’s immigration. The dinner table scene is composed from a series of these photographs taken at different times, a sort of falsified family reunion. The photographic reference suggests the illusion of an actual moment in time and space. National identity, familial identity, and disconnectedness come to mind. Send your thoughts to ashley@thebenefactormagazine.com. I should add: Anthony has a couple books out, one of illustrations and another of his photography which is equally bangin’. You can pick them up on Amazon.com. (Twin Palms press)


Kiss


Petroleum Dream


Search Party


Mother’s Makeup


The Arsonist’s Son


Mother III


Father II


Family Geometry


Related


Related


Supper


North Pole Records Starbage Hands Press

.02 -ISS-ASSIVE3NOWFLAKE 1UEENS(EADACHE #$

.02 2OAD2ACE 'ETTOTHE0OINT #$

.02 2AINSTICK#OWBELL FIREANTS #$

.02 4HE%NCHANTED2EALMOF 4HE0INK7IDOWER #$

.02 ,ARRY9ES"OB#ORN ,OVE#ALLS 3PLITv

.02 "OB#ORN 7EDONTNEEDTHEOUTSIDE #$

,ETTERPRESS SILKSCREEN OFFSET DIECUTTING ANDDESIGNFORMUSICIANS ARTISTS ANDEVERYDAYPEOPLESINCE  3TARBAGE(ANDSSPECIALIZESINSMALL RUNPROJECTS INDEPENDENTARTISTS AND AWIDEVARIETYOFUNIQUEHANDMADE PAPERPACKAGINGOPTIONSFOR#$ $6$ ,0 v ANDvMUSICPROJECTS ASWELLAS POSTERS T SHIRTS BOOKS ZINES POSTCARDS PROMOTIONALITEMS WEDDINGINVITES ANDBUSINESSCARDS 0RINTSONPAPER FABRIC PLASTIC AND WOODARECREATEDUSINGLETTERPRESS OFFSET SILKSCREEN STENCIL DRAWING AND PHOTOGRAPHY3TARBAGE(ANDSCANALSO DIECUT DESIGN ANDDETAILYOURPROJECT FROMCONCEPTIONTOFINISHEDPIECE

STARBAGEHANDSCOM MYSPACECOMNORTHPOLERECORDINGS STARBAGEHANDSCOMNPR


Contributor Notes

Rachael Wolfe lives in Lincoln, Nebraska with aspirations of escaping to elsewhere. First she must finish a creative thesis of poetry and attain a BA at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This will happen in May. RC Williamson is an actor and writer living in Queens. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in “The Southeast Review,” “The California Quarterly,” “Main Street Rag,” “The Emerson Review” and “The Raintown Review” among other publications.

29


Contributor Notes

Marcus Rose spent his elementary school years in Helena, Montana. When he was thirteen, his family and he moved to Hanalei, on Kauai, Hawaii. He had always had an interest in music; in Helena, when in the sixth grade, he spearheaded an amateur punk rock group, whose name never remained the same, and for his first two years in Hawaii, he spearheaded another, called Abner Snopes, after Faulkner’s legendary character. When the band disbanded, he developed a taste in classical music, and began to compose music of that type. He showed promise in the field, but then, his creative impulse for music died. He began to write fiction. Now, he’s been writing fiction for almost one year, and plans to continue. Though the majority of his fiction takes place in Helena, Montana, for “Little-box Plantation Homes” he wrote about where he now lives: Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii. The speaker of the short story tells the truth: there are many, many houses that sit empty for the majority of the year, waiting for tourist season. Marcus Rose sees manifold problems with this. Marc Saleme makes things on stuff. Justin Fyfe runs through the streets of small midwest towns with a family of wild dogs. He can sometimes be spotted by those staying up during the late hours of night. During the day Justin sells his poems for a nickel to people at bus stations to help feed his family. He is six feet and one inches tall despite what others might say.

28


Contributor Notes

Hippie Princess

Just off stage, I saw her disappear. That final encore tugged at the amplified plug of my being till all that was fine and all that was groovy fled (beads, hair, turquoise.) I lifted my hand in a two fingered wave, but she was gone and the peace of my farewell left with her. Always easy, patently shy, she is loose now and crying somewhere in the diamond sky.

It is love she craves/gives away. Stalking the rock for its roll, trading droll life for a stint in cult-heaven: she silks the May Pole, stays in the groove, groks. She is freak-out lovely, daughter of Earth and soul of all love sung blue.

Hippie princess holds me with petal-lashed eyes and the acid-trip of my love swells, bursts psychedelic from my heart’s wound (all this time) and sails through Peter Max skies.

Her power binds the daisy to its chain (she’ll free your mind.) Buckskin bangles dangle down her hugged hips. With candy-slick lips she smiles and I melt away like years of memory.

27


Contributor Notes

chapbook by Cubicle Press, Existence Is a Hoax, a Woman in Fishnet Stockings Told Me When I Was Twenty. His short stories and poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and periodicals internationally, and over thirty of his one-act and full-length plays have been performed in Canada and the United States, including the fulllength plays Acting Violently, The Franz Kafka Therapy Session, and The Golden Age of Monsters, and the one-act plays Godot’s Leafless Tree, The Waiting Ends, The Entrance-or-Not Barroom, No End in Sight, Flowers for the Vases, The Word-Lover, Laugh for Sanity, A Murderous Art, Back to Back, Freesias in Whiskey, The Heirloom: An Evidence Play, and God’s Work. Southern writer J. Michael Shell is a serious and dedicated artist. At the University of South Carolina (B.A. in English) he studied under the great American poet and novelist James Dickey. Internationally published, Shell’s fiction has appeared in Tropic: The Sunday Magazine of the Miami Herald, Polluto, Tabbard Inn, Sounds of the Night, and Ballista, to name a few. His work has also been included in such anthologies as Bound for Evil (Dead Letter Press), Terrible Beauty, Fearful Symmetry (DarkHart Press), and the ‘07 edition of Southern Fried Weirdness (Southern Fried Weirdness Press). He is also slated to appear in All Hallows: The Journal of the Ghost Story Society and Not One Of Us. While “Old Hippie” is most probably an anachronistic label, it has been used to describe Mr. Shell (who insists the correct title is “Last Hippie”). Though he considers South Carolina home, Shell can often be found wandering—in an old van—somewhere south of the Mason Dixon Line. Some say he is looking for his long-lost Hippie Princess, who often shows up in his stories—as well as the following poem:

26


Paul Handley has passed away and released his poems for submission to every journal in all six states that he lived. The prophecies contained in them are to be taken literally. Paul is the groundskeeper at Ritter’s Point on the weekends where he makes sure the lighthouse functions, clears away tourist debris and once cared for a deserted baby sea lion until it was old enough to fend for itself. During the week he is a fluffer in the old-fashioned sense for legitimate film. Paul Handley is a Hebrew man who runs a camp for hate groups that shoot placard targets painted of Blacks with watermelon heads, Catholics wearing miters, and Jews adjusting dials on a TV. He will be able to retire to his nine-hole golf course he owns in Nova Scotia in approximately twelve years. Paul Handley is an entity in a shell of a body. It’s been a long hard journey. The only way to break out of the monotony of the screams in his head is through intense yoga and meditation. The spectrum of serenity to chaos is used to write poetry. J.J. Steinfeld is a fiction writer, poet, and playwright who lives hidden away on Prince Edward Island. He has published a novel, Our Hero in the Cradle of Confederation (Pottersfield Press), nine short story collections, the previous three by Gaspereau Press—Should the Word Hell Be Capitalized?, Anton Chekhov Was Never in Charlottetown, and Would You Hide Me?—and a poetry collection, An Affection for Precipices (Serengeti Press), along with two short-fiction chapbooks by Mercutio Press, Curiosity to Satisfy and Fear to Placate and Not a Second More, Not a Second Less, and a poetry

25


Contributor Notes [

Biodetermine

]

Paul Handley works at a homeless shelter, where he resides most of the time. After a decade of working for the Foreign Service he went back to school and received an MFA from William and Mary. He has been socking away writing in paper journals and for the first time is not too overwhelmingly embarrassed to share some of it. Paul Handley is one of his many names. He lives on a skiff tied up in Lake Okeechobee working as a hunting and fishing guide, all taxfree. Weapons, books and Southern Comfort are his best friends. Paul Handley is transgendered on the advice of his father, was a star camogie player in college. Now works as a sales manager that has imbued the sales staff with a proportional sense of fear and is considering reversing her operation. She wrote a pilot about her experiences that aired in the fall of 2006 that resulted in threats by sponsors to pull all network advertising. Paul Handley has developed a philosophical treatise of which the theme is that the circle of infinity has gaps that leave building materials until enough essentials fall into the spacer to launch a new circle of infinity with its own identity.

24


a reality that we may very unfortunately have to deal with in our lifetimes. While the narrative only touches on the sheer grotesquerie of so much extinction, and rightfully so, as it will indeed be forgotten after it happens, we can look at it now and feel sadness in our hearts. Here is an example of a noble literary feat, making the reader feel the future before it happens, and therefore, like it or not, cognizant of one’s actions now. It’s certainly a needed service. The personal battle the main character endures, of romantic longing for a consuming companionship, but being obligated to accept an attenuated, however deep friendship, rings resonant of the larger social fabric: the social fabric of all humanity, whose selfish, lusty actions have likely affected the magnitude of this catastrophic climate change. More specifically, we can see the globe as a character in this story, relating to humanity, where the lusty actions of humanity are a serious strain on their friendship, as well as on the existential characters of both the globe and humanity one’s respective self. Good questions, connections, and narrative. I’ll repeat that the eventful content of the plot is entertaining in its own right: melting polar ice caps, Great Britain underwater, desert nomads, subliming methane deposits posing a flash-atmospheric-fire risk, international political intrigue, and an ice road white-knuckler. All copies are self-published and hand-bound. Purchase Finitude at www.hamishmacdonald.com

23


Book review: novel: Finitude, by Hamish MacDonald Marc Saleme

H

amish MacDonald’s Finitude is an entertaining story exploring issues of jealousy, the necessity of feeling love, the difficulty of accepting love outside your expectation schema, and a man’s epic battle between the the character templates of exclusive monogamous abandon versus temperate incorporation of an affectionate interpersonal network. It’s also about climate change. Insofar as the plot structure incorporates climate change and speculative elements, I was impressed. MacDonald has created a compelling backdrop of political dodginess, social ignorance, a major countercultural element with military power, combining into an engaging yarn of which I was genuinely interested to receive more, page after page. In this futuristic world, most of the animalia you know of is extinct. That’s

22


Little-Box Plantation Homes

swer. I couldn’t tell anything yet. “Would you listen?” I heard him say. “Would you just—” “Whatever, go ahead—” I heard her. They were shouting, but it sounded like conversation. “You know what—” I heard him. “No—” I turned around then, and I saw them grabbing each other. They were really going at each other, grappling. He grabbed her around the waist and she was wiggling—but it wasn’t really violent. It looked like it could’ve been for fun. Seriously. There wasn’t any slapping or fingernail scratching or kicking; it was just what looked like him trying to lift her up by the waist and her not letting him. “No, no—” I heard her. I thought, But she could be laughing. But I didn’t want to stare, so I geared my head to other directions as if they were just as interesting; but I noticed that boring couple on the towels had their heads thrust ahead like roses toward the two. The woman over there was glowering, and so was the man, I think. The idiots didn’t know what they were supposed to do. “Would you just—” I heard him scream, practically. “He said that—” I heard her cry, though it had that quality like a laugh, too. Now they moved away from the ocean, up to the middle of the beach. Then he grabbed her face, squeezing the cheeks, and she grabbed his the same way, and like that they tossed around and around.

21


Marcus Rose

Then they both stopped. And she faced him and put on a look and started either to argue or at least to drive home some point. I didn’t hear anything. The guy just stood facing the same way as ever, nodding, at that point not bothered. He seemed to be accepting something. She got real close, embracing him almost. Her hands were moving palm upwards now—tense, now. He stopped nodding, and then I had to look away. When I looked back, it was him talking to her. She’d moved up the beach a ways, away from him; she’d started moving in my direction with a sort of swagger. But he still had the lapping on the shore touching his feet. And I heard his voice rise in volume, though no words. Since he didn’t move and just kept talking, she got ahead of him, and I saw her turn back around to face him. She called him, and she put her feet at shoulder-width, and she pointed at him. She looked like she was summoning him from sleep, all dramatic. “Oh, just take all that elsewhere—” I heard her say. They were shouting now. “Wait—” I heard him, and then it was just some mumbling. He ran towards her, shouting all the way. It was almost a joke. When he got to her, he kept on talking. It wasn’t hostile. It wasn’t joking. “Yes—” I heard him, “—no, see, you don’t understand what you’re saying—” His speech went up and down with something like a laugh. I heard her, too: “Call him, then, and see—” Both were shouting, and I thought I now had reason to just turn around and just watch, but I didn’t want to stop what they were saying by staring. If they gave more I could figure it out. Gay? I could give that an an-

20


Little-Box Plantation Homes

Down the streets here you walk and you look at the old little-box plantation homes and the one or two meth-head carnival junkyards and then you see the giant empty ones that I think about breaking into someday. But their staying in a rental didn’t take away anything from them. I was still interested, since I just couldn’t stop asking myself, What’s the deal? What the hell were they? Now I could just gear my head straight to the right and see them; now they were just about walking on the shore, ankle-deep in the water. I saw him kick water at her, and then I heard him: “Yeah, well I’ll tell you something. Whatever I want to—” It was then that I hobbled past that couple lying on their towels. When I went past, the woman there squinted at my feet, like: those things shouldn’t be moving by me so slowly. Though her man didn’t give me a glance. He was reading some type of fiction, and she had some sort of textbook; she was writing with a pencil on some loose papers. Rain hadn’t deterred them. They were going to read, damnit, together. “Come on, whatever, let’s go,” I could see her or him saying—whichever one of them would. The two I was talking about before—they got onto the beach itself and they were dripping and walking along, and, ahead of them now, I couldn’t hear much. But you could see a whole lot more with them out of the water. I pulled the casual shoulder-glance too many times. Casual is what they were, casual, relaxed, young, slim. Their arms seemed loose and gesticulated that way; their torsos were planted into their swimsuits smoothly.

19


Marcus Rose

have just been to hear each other without shouting. Or maybe they wanted to keep private for whatever reason. There were a few others on the beach. Nothing was going on with them. I saw farther down the beach a couple lying on towels, on their guts as if sunbathing, books beneath their faces. “So yesterday—” I heard the guy say. “What I don’t—” “Then he was all, ‘Could that really happen?’ to him, right?” There wasn’t a clue to be found—they weren’t giving anything. I tried to think of what exactly they were doing right now, where they were going, where on the island they were staying. It was probably over on the south side or the east side, is what I thought; I thought, Why else would they come over here on a day like this? They’d had to drive and were bummed out and helpless when it started to rain. But here they were, walking, unphased. They were young people. They could go out in the rain and go loose with their expectations and go wild. Not like I can’t—what am I saying? I’m young too. “No, he said it like this, ‘Shoes’—” I heard him say. Usually, tourists set up encampments on the beach, with umbrellas and towels and coolers and seats and everything, and then they usually just stay near their encampment and swim near there and be euphoric over there. But with these two—I couldn’t see anything belonging to these two anywhere. So I decided they were staying in one of the rentals in town, and had just walked over to this beach, knowing the weather. They must’ve had their families with them, because those rentals, whether beachview or not—they cost buckets. Look around: I live in a tiny town where half the houses are empty for most of the year. That’s what I’m saying, I’m telling you.

18


for them. “She was like—” I heard him say, and the hiccup chuckle came. They were young people—they had a relaxed, lean youth— handsome and pretty, with smart and lean bodies and faces, brown hair that was blonding. They’d found each other somewhere, gone on vacation here—and maybe even had their families anchored to them—and were friends. But what were they? With them out swimming, nothing really was happening. They went out of any clear earshot. So I looked upward. It was all gray up and down and around on the beach, and the clouds looked bigger than anything. They weren’t like a blanket but like a lumpy mountainless inverted landscape of their own. They were quiet, hushed, and they made it all quiet just by being above. I don’t know how that affected me. Again I couldn’t figure it out. Mysteries, I’m telling you. So sitting, looking, ruminative, confounded, there I was. Then I let them go ahead, once they’d started on their way down the beach again. And I got up and wadded my jacket up in one hand and carried it like that. I hobbled after them, hearing them. “But it’s not like—” I heard him say. “No—” I heard her laugh. Now they were headed toward shore, knee-deep. “So there’s seven huge guys ready, right?” I heard him say; “but this guy’s just like, ‘I don’t care. I want a Beefeater Gibson’—” Especially the girl laughed at that. But nothing spoke one way or the other for this guy. Gay? Not? Were they in a goddamned relationship? His voice was high enough, soft enough. Now they moved closer together, but that could

17


Little-Box Plantation Homes Marcus Rose

I

was far away and normally I couldn’t have heard the two, but with the clouds and the whole damp beach and even the ocean it felt like we were all together in an auditorium. Their voices sounded clear like that. But because of the lapping tide on the shore I just heard words, some phrases, not everything. I’d barely heard the girl, as a matter of fact. Mostly it was just the guy, his hiccup chuckle, and I was going so slow that I was hobbling keeping up with them, and I was wondering, Is that a couple, or is that guy gay? I was bewildered. I was just taking a walk and this was what I’d found, more than I could’ve expected: these people wading in the shallow, along with everything else. I thought they had humor. They’re friends, I thought; of course they’re friends, seasoned friends, veteran, heart-to-heart. I laid out my raincoat—bright like a traffic cone—on the sand to sit down on, and then I pretended to look to the horizon, ruminative. I thought, I’m suspect already. I’d got ahead of them. They’d stopped wading in the one direction down the beach and gone out deeper to swim. So I waited

16


Holy Bologna Optical

care of Himself. But you can get off my back when it comes to my choice of eyewear and my personal financial status, which is why I stood up and told her the following: “Now listen here, you puckered ass, delusional cunt.” I had only used that word perhaps twice before in my entire life. It still worries me that I became irate enough to utter it. “I can take your crossburning, O’Reilly loving, clinic bombing, theocratic horseshit, but I’ll have you know that many of our troops wear aviator frames, and I’ll not be purchasing eyewear from someone who doesn’t support our troops! Even so,” I told her as I turned on my heels to leave, “the Buddha loves you.” Someone working in the back room must have heard me and started to applaud. As I made my way through the parking lot, I noticed the sun dancing happy sparkles in the scratchy lenses of my spectacles. I thought it looked like God.

15


J. Michael Shell

“No,” she repeated, interrupting me. The word no, for her, was like a period at the end of a firing squad— finally and irrevocably shooting down any argument that was out of her realm of dogmatic fantasy. The look on her face, as she said it, told me she was—in her mind—already walking the glass streets of heaven, looking down at me and everyone like me being dipped by giant devils into shit and brimstone cocktails. I knew, at that point, that talking to this woman about anything but frames and lenses was an exercise in scariness that would give me nightmares and have me pissing the bed. “How much for the aviators?” I asked her. “Those,” she told me, “are hideously out of style!” “Those,” I thought to myself, “are what I’m wearing right now!” I’m not really certain what caused me to lose it, but I didn’t get my new glasses that day. Perhaps I just couldn’t stand any more of her neo-con, cross-waving, choice denying, I-own-God-and-you’re-going-to-hell bullshit. But really, I think it was her dissing my glasses. I’d written hundreds of thousands of words staring through those cat-scratch lenses, words that this woman would probably consign me to everlasting torment for composing. I’d picked up some pretty good looking girls in those frames, too, and actually convinced one or two of them to have sex with me (during which, of course, I took those glasses off). Also, my being broke seemed to be another sin this bitch couldn’t abide. Well, you can dis my version of God if you want—He can take

14


Reagan in my lens scratches. Politics and religion were one and the same for Mrs. Holy Bologna. She was undoubtedly a member of the First Church of the Burning Witch. “The government needs to embrace the bible,” she told me, as I sat there with my spine shivering. “We need Gawd in our congress.” “Whose god?” I peeped, hoping my interjection wouldn’t cause her to explode. “There’s only one,” she informed me. “And that would be yours?” I ventured, getting braver, but wishing I had some mace (just in case). That’s when she gave me the eye. This was way beyond the evil eye; this was the malevolent, noose & crosshairs kind of an eye that would scare the shit out of a skin-head, street gang thug. This was an eye full of brimstone and thumbscrews ready to water-board your soul. Fuck the mace, I wished I had Captain Kirk’s hand phaser set to a very heavy stun. “He will have no false gods before Him,” she announced, her eye hard upon me as she handed me a pair of designer frames. “Those are too expensive,” I told her, to which she harrumphed. “You know,” I said through my quivering, “America is supposed to include everyone. It’s for atheists, too.” “No,” she said flatly, as if that were that. “And I know some atheists who are the kindest, most generous…”

13


Holy Bologna Optical (A Treatise on Spectacles) J. Michael Shell

A

ll I wanted was a pair of glasses. I’d been wearing the same pair for four years and they were scratched. Why don’t they make glasses out of glass anymore, instead of this recycled milk carton plastic shit? Minor league writers of dubious treatises don’t make enough money (or get any insurance) to be able to afford a pair of specs every six months because our plastic lenses got scratched by tree pollen or air-borne bacteria. We have to wear these out-of-style, aviator-looking monstrosities with lenses so etched fundamentalist Christians are stopping us on the street claiming to see Jesus’ face in them. Speaking of fundamentalists— All I wanted was a new pair of glasses, but what I got in the bargain was an optician so full of righteous hot air she made Sarah Palin look tolerant. Rush Limbaugh would be a pantywaist, left-wing pinko compared to this woman. It scared me. I was sitting there, frozen, waiting for her to see Jesus and Ronald

12


my sense of humor but my workload of late has affected my psyche and effectiveness—(let me rephrase: of the supervisor of the department), maybe then I won’t feel so unappreciated in my daily duties and responsibilities. What the heck, I have a week’s remuneration in the back pocket of my best pair of pants and I’m off to the wildest unsanctioned drinking establishment in the sector next to this one where I work and live, set to study wickedness and human weakness for my next report (yet another bureaucratic performance to be evaluated) and I’ll be more careful this time, fewer errors and neater calligraphy, maybe even a colorful folder embossed with the name of a deity or two.

11


BUREAUCRATIC PERFORMANCES J. J. Steinfeld

I

t’s been a long, draining day at work. In fact, it’s been a long, draining week at the end of a long, draining month, but I should be thankful for this job, one of the few still dealing with the old ways and using long-ago writing techniques. I have my own upper-floor office with a large window looking out at the loveliest part of the sector where I work and live, no one bothers me during the day, and all I have to do is get my reports in on time. This latest report was a bit of a challenge, what with the detailed measurements and seemingly infinitesimal calibrations I had to do of both formlessness and sadness. I admit I have written an error-filled report and my handwriting was rather messy, which isn’t going to please the exacting reportreaders on the higher floors, but it was done on time, in fact three or four minutes to spare, depending on the method of measuring time and madness you use in assessing my bureaucratic performance, and believe me, my performance will be scrutinized and assessed and the determination made whether to promote me or not. If I do get the promotion, sent to a higher or lower floor depending on the sense of humor of the inmates running the institution—sorry about

10


spicer Justin Fyfe that marvelous finger he gave it after being asked to take back comments made on ted williams’ contribution to the bosox i was there he said i was there when he gave it but it wasn’t worth a goddamn thing if you want to win the pennant and my poetry does

9


untitled Justin Fyfe several dog— night sledding by bob or squeal a pattern frigid foresting steams under what is called a ground & a line so agreeing her hawkish features tell me to shake these geese i vibrating— a pattern now lost more than a disaster she speaks to me saying things softly

8


a naked death Justin Fyfe essentially i or just being that a letter never meant to be later & alligator you more spelling where words are— nt being so have seen between the lines i again laying in the bath three inches of water maybe less & more cooling quicker than i can clean saying these are teeth beautiful white jaws around me in porcelain begging me to slip every time 7


On ______ Rachael Wolfe Decide to tell stories without story -telling and pronouns. Clamor. The way a girl walks is inherent -ly same and /or different. And candidates. Candor. Blend. Blend the ice so each mouth -ful means. A taste of miniscule glacier. Means. You are not what you think is.

you

6


and a warm summer rain melts the central park zoo in February, those split open thighs singing along in the tigers’ cage the benches outside once draped with bird that glisten black like bottle shards strewn across the barroom floor.

5


Say RC Williamson You know calamity. Sure. Mouth cupping a lemon that caves in to weep like the parous ground between your amorous teeth puckered No, not this, not this but the days keep dropping by on quiet afternoons to offer their condolences their pithy chocolate pies sweetly spitting absence from finger-hole tissue that echoes, that echoes with space

4


Contents #5 Literature

Poetry

Say by RC Williamson.....................................................................4-5 On______ by Rachel Wolfe................................................................6 a naked death by Justin Fyfe..............................................................7 untitled by Justin Fyfe.........................................................................8 spicer by Justin Fyfe...........................................................................9 Prose Bureaucratic Performances by J.J. Steinfeld...............................10-11 Holy Bologna Optical by J. Michael Shell....................................12-15 Little-Box Plantation Homes by Marcus Rose.............................16-21

Review

Hamish Macdonald’s Finitude by Marc Saleme..........................22-23 Contributor Notes........................................................................24-27 Biodetermine by Paul Handley....................................................24-25

Cover art

Rodrigo Quintanilla Ian, Barely for more work by Rodrigo visit www.thedb.com/rodart

ŠMMIX All rights reserved. The Benefactor Magazine


Letter from the editor:

Dear Reader, One of the stories I continue to tell in these letters, on the editor’s web-log, and in conversation is about the story I want to hear. The story I’m always looking to hear from anyone or anywhere doesn’t have a particular voice. One of my favorites is the story I gleaned from the side of a particularly beloved river; I heard it many times. I like lots of different voices and people, and seek new voices to hear all the time, because there are so many, you can never run out your whole life long. It’s also nothing to do with content per se, or any thematic ideology, or punchline. I don’t care deeply about any one style; noise fiction can turn me on in the way to which I’m referring the same as beat creative autobiography or a modernist epic. I may even argue that technical skill is moot, but that’s a fine line, because I find that you either got it or you don’t, and a certain amount of raw technical skill tends to follow whether you got it like a diver’s body follows the head. Fascination, curiosity, and removal from the little box of what is typically human are what an artist is made of. Further, she or he longs to show you what redemption and intoxicating beauty can be found in a pair of hands, on the side of a building, or in a refrigerator. An artist shows you things you’d forget, or things that might not make it to threshold awareness. Changes are effectively made in the art-consumer’s brain and body chemistry, and these changes are imprinted in cellular and neural memory, part of who you are ever after. In this way, art is an infectious agent. All experience, in fact, is identity-altering, and interested parties can feasibly and easily implant targeted messages into art and entertainment in order to mold and sculpt masses of people into a world they would like to see, and of which they would like to be a part. So I think when it comes down to the question of which stories do I want to hear, and subsequently pass along to you, I look for stories that love most passionately. Sometimes that makes for destruction and depravity, but in the case of Marcus Rose’s “Little-Box Plantation Homes”, it’s simply simple elegance born of some kind of passion. Thank you for reading.


THE BENEFACTOR Credit is due:

Chief Editor: Marc Saleme Creative Director: Ashley d’Avignon Goodwin Poetry Editor: Kyle Crawfod

Contriubutors: Rodrigo Quintanilla RC Williamson Rachel Wolfe Justin Fyfe J.J. Steinfeld J. Michael Shell Marcus Rose Marc Saleme Paul Handley questions, comments & submissions: thebenefactor@thebenefactormagazine.com visit us on the web: www.thebenefactormagazine.com paper queries: The Benefactor 3804 SE 39th Ave. #10 Portland, OR 97202


The Benefactor

The Benefactor Magazine  

The Benefactor Magazine Issue Five February/March

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you