Minetta Review A Journey
Minetta Review A Journey Fall 2013
Cover Art by Lena Klyukina Front Cover: Unocular Transition Back Cover: Shore
Table of Contents A Note from the Editor
Poetry Watchers of Falling Stars Charles Thielman Is the Rectum a Grave? Steven Cordova Monk at the Moment of Enlightenment Patrick Rice Twilight Storm in Cochise County Jeffrey Alfier Kettle Jerrold Yam The Green One Naomi Ruth Lowinsky One All Saints’ Day in Widow Akulina’s Jeffrey Alfier Meadow Marrow Kate Belew Subway Madison Fraser Feet Ricky Garni A sincere attempt at explanation of Kid Useless the paradoxical feelings of Kid Useless A Dream Steven Cordova Cousins Kristen Poli After the Charity Auction Jim Davis Together Charles Thielman Leaning Tower of Lady Liberty Kate Belew Incarnation Lytton Bell Collin Washes His Hands Jesse Minkert You can take the girl out of Florida... Jaclyn Bergamino Georgie O’Keeffe’s “From the Far Away Lyn Lifshin Nearby” Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Hills and Mesa” Lyn Lifshin I Thought of You in Edison Patrick Rice Chaos & Reductionism Jim Davis God Tree Kate Belew Overboard Charles Thielman Trying to Get Out Jean Howard Concerning the Second Law of Michael Abraham Thermodynamics
8 9 13 14 19 22 24 25 28 48 49 53 64 66 67 69 73 97 98 100 101 102 105 109 110 111 112
Prose Call Me Shlomo What Are You Doing in My Father’s House? Death is Costly Entirely Without Regret Two Men and a Gun The Fifth of July Vaudeville is Never Stale Changes in the Ulster Cycle Flicks American Song Gemmy How to Date a Girl in Fourteen Days Borges and I Owl Bobby Bear Ruins a Picnic
Kaila Allison Dennis Must
Martin Charboneau Caroline Bruckner Frank Scozzari Thomas Heegaard Kyle Hemmings Laura Britton Mary Klecker Phyllis Carol Agins Diana Bauza Thomas Heegaard Abraham Elm Anne Britting Oleson Dick Bentley
Las Lomas de Lachay 97 THE RADIAL SYMMETRY OF TREES Little did this cat know that, three years later, this photo would be in Minetta Review Guggenheim Museum The last of its kind—amphibian dragon SPIDERS DO KNOW THE ANSWER, OF THIS I AM CERTAIN light Ray Sunlight Medicine Daydreamer Forever 21 Tower FALLING WATER PROBABILITIES UNDER THE ATOMIC MOVEMENT THRESHOLD Divergence Queen’s Unisphere Love & Resistance Barbie Q Chum Salmon Run!
20 30 50 54 59 60 68 70 88 103 106 107 114
Diana Bauza Kid Useless Joshua Dy Borja
34 34 35
Matt Held Mark A.M. Tamura Kid Useless
36 37 38
Mouli Chakravarty Eunice Lau Jihan Kikhia Ron Walker Ian Tiseo
44 45 45 46 47
Joshua Dy Borja Kristen Reichert Kristen Reichert Kristen Reichert Shoshana Kertesz Amanda Sanker Kid Useless
39 40 40 41 42 43 43
Blue Cozy Hallway to Questionable Judgement Robot in Bed with Bunny Slippers Waves The Courtyard and the Cathedral BORN AS AN EAGLE GRAVITY EYELID MANIFESTATION IV Hike to Centro Arqueológico Pueblo Viego in Jauja, Peru Subway Musician Niagara Summers Through Pierced Syria Ken Comes to Visit Faces Sunsets Las Lomas de Lachay 158 Las Lomas de Lachay 195
Shoshana Kertesz Amanda Sanker Tracy A. Marciano Emily DuFrirsz Divya Adusumilli Amanda Sanker Kid Useless Kid Useless Kid Useless Diana Bauza
74 75 75 76 77 77 78 78 79 80
Excerpt from A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers The Climax How Four Queens Found Launcelot Sleeping Dream of Rarebit Fiend “Swine of the Gods” from Celtic Twilight Ulysses in the Cave of the Winds
Henry David Thoreau
Winsor McCay W.B. Yeats
Contributors’ Bios Acknowledgements Masthead
Shoshana Kertesz Joshua Dy Borja Sarah Calico Sarah Doody Jihan Kikhia Mouli Chakravarty Allyson Block Divya Adusumilli Diana Bauza Diana Bauza
Aubrey Beardsley Aubrey Beardsley
81 81 82 82 83 84 85 86 87 87
99 116 125 126
A Note from the Editor
Welcome to this installment of Minetta Review which you’ve somehow stumbled upon, hopefully in an action-packed, perhaps swashbuckling manner. You may have guessed it—this is the Journey themed issue. As you read along from page to page, you’ll find yourself in Florida, in other people’s minds, in your father’s closet, on a day after a national holiday (U.S.), and taking a Journey that you didn’t know you wanted. What’s ahead of you, in short and mapped out across 128 pages, is a literary and arts adventure. This issue is a monument of Minetta Review’s journey as well—it marks Minetta’s 40th anniversary. So this is essentially a huge birthday party! Though you never know what will happen when you turn a page, Minetta doesn’t seem to feel any different even after crossing the big “four-oh”, and as you can see from our cover, is pulling off the salt and pepper look quite well. Mid-life crisis just might leave us unscathed... As you peruse this issue, you’ll find that though the words and artwork themselves are bound between these cover-walls, they are not limited. They will pull the seat (or floor) out from under you, grip you by the collar, and drag you somewhere completely different. This is a good thing. We all want to go to interesting places. Ralph Waldo Emerson even said so: “life is about the journey”, so let’s just agree to agree with Ralph Waldo Emerson okay? Let’s go, set off on a journey. Katherine Holotko Editor-in-Chief
Watchers of Falling Stars
for Robert Desnos, French Surrealist
Gusts swirl newspaper into a dance across asphalt, headlines spin, a page leans out,
broken wing of a swan, his feathered oar pulling him deep into the jack-booted ovals of his wake,
into the birth of the dark wonder that slips up behind watchers of falling stars and traps naivetĂŠ in corridors of quartz.
Rain pelts in, hissing silver into street-light, the stars of five bridges swim through this curtain as finger-bones of light kneel in our coal-gray river. Robert, the ten roads of an artistâ€™s hands are crusts of bread leavened in songs of blue conch. What is it we hope for?
We echo our hearts and stand watch.
Robert Desnos, French Surrealist Poet, was also a WWII Resistance fighter. Captured & imprisoned, he died in the Thersienstadt concentration camp.
Is the Rectum a Grave? My rectum is not so much a grave as it is a mausoleum. Pierced by a single shaft of light this sunny day in June
it is filled to bursting with the brittle bouquet I failed to catch at my first featherhead gay wedding; a phalanx of framed pix—an exhibition, of the many lives I’ve never led; my little black book
which is actually blue, & all the fading memories it contains; a leather-bound copy of Moby Dick— something to stand the test of time;
& the mummified bodies of my three dead cats— Prince & Mickey & Nestlé; the silver ring I bought myself & the wooden box I keep it in;
an atmosphere so airless it will preserve the most laden of my golden years,
all the voluptuaries no longer voluptuaries— the caked-on tiers of lubricant.
Call Me Shlomo Kaila Allison
If you were to eat Shlomo Hadar’s head, I’m sure it would taste delicious. Shlomo Hadar is a man with a raisin-face. His eyes are two slits like the ones grandma cuts in her prebaked piecrusts. I half-expect his brain to be filled with her sumptuous filling. And his hair is wispy cotton candy plastered against a spotted scalp, swirling around a permanent kippah. His kippah is an appendage to his head. He wears khakis that drape loosely over his emaciated body (a result of his recent weight loss or just bad taste) and the dress shoes that his father died in (how could he possibly pass up the opportunity to inherit free dress shoes?) and a wrinkled pastel button-down. Most days it’s periwinkle. Bright colors don’t suit his sun-darkened complexion. Shlomo Hadar teaches Hebrew and Jewish culture at a temple in a small, nameless suburb. He commutes from New Jersey and enters his classroom at approximately 3:34 with a gnarled, mahogany suitcase teetering at his side every Tuesday. Shlomo Hadar always enters through the back door. The one with the map of Israel peeling off of it like old wallpaper. Shlomo Hadar looks around his classroom and sees children. They are all about eleven or twelve years old. One kid is thirteen but he doesn’t like to bring that up. And they aren’t happy. They are sitting at tables and they are scared. When Shlomo Hadar looks at you, you get scared. Or maybe terrified. Shlomo Hadar places his suitcase at the front table, where he opens it hastily and rummages. While rummaging, his eyes buried in the suitcase, he says, “Did everyone bring tzedakah?” Tzedakah is money that is supposed to go to Israel. If you don’t bring tzedakah, you are humiliated for the rest of the day. It’s that old Jewish guilt. Anyway, there is a muffled mumbling from the children as they retrieve their parents’ money and place it on the table. Shlomo Hadar passes the box around and stares at the boy who throws one penny into the jar. His name’s Sid. It’s not that Sid can’t afford to be charitable, it’s just that his parents
have other things on their minds. After the collections are made, Shlomo Hadar settles and places Charlie on the table. Charlie is a plastic figure of a red M&M who dispenses M&Ms when you pull on his white-gloved hand. Charlie only gives candy to the good kids. The kids that know the story of Hanukkah or the current prime minister of Israel or how to write the Hebrew alphabet in script. When Shlomo Hadar calls roll, you must answer, “Ani po.” And you must raise your hand and look him in the eyes and speak clearly. When Shlomo Hadar speaks, he stands, shifts his weight from leg to leg, and darts his eyes around like a chameleon. And if he happens to fix his eyes on you, you look away. Quickly. If your eyes linger he asks a question. When he speaks, in his austere Israeli-muddled English, he gets up close and expectorates. In other words, he spits in your face. Of course Shlomo Hadar doesn’t mean to be degrading by spitting in people’s faces. He can’t control it. He doesn’t have a lisp, it’s more of a problem with the construction of his mouth. His lips aren’t formed properly and his tongue is disproportionate, so that’s why he spits when he speaks. Especially when pronouncing words like “appropriate” and “before” and “confusion.” And when you know you are about to be spoken to you scrunch up your face, hoping that his saliva will just miss you by a fraction of an inch, but hoping in vain. When Shlomo Hadar gets excited, his chest bobs up and down, almost like he’s convulsing, and he shifts his weight at a faster pace. He resembles a dying pterodactyl. It’s a frightening sight to a small child. I mean, I might have pitied the man. Shlomo Hadar gets excited when children stay at his house as part of his program to help the disadvantaged Israeli youth. He converses with them in Hebrew and gives them money. The tzedakah money. And the children are grateful. But like the American children, the Israeli children hide their faces for fear of being spit on. Shlomo Hadar is married. He only refers to his wife as “my wife.” And he has a son whom he refers to as “my son.” On Saturday, thirteen-year-old Aaron, an Israeli boy from the exchange program, is lying on his stomach in bed, head submerged in a comic book when he hears the bedroom door creak open. He gazes up at Shlomo Hadar’s raisin-face and Aaron’s lower lip quivers a little whether he can help it or not. And Shlomo Hadar comes over and sits on the bed next to Aaron.
The bed gives off that familiar creak when Shlomo Hadar bounces on it. “I hope this bed is comfortable for you, Aaron.” On the first syllable of ‘comfortable,’ Aaron is misted with saliva and he recoils. “Yes, thank you, Sir.” “Please, call me Shlomo.” At this point Aaron reciprocates Shlomo’s eye contact, and feels the burning penetrate his forehead. And Shlomo’s puffy lips curve into a grotesque smile. Aaron breaks his gaze and sinks back into his comic book, trying to disguise his discomfort. The image of Shlomo Hadar’s grotesque smile is in fact discomforting to put it lightly. But Shlomo doesn’t leave just yet, and Aaron feels a certain heaviness in the air. The boy does not know whether to continue reading or whether to stop, so he simply fixes his eyes on a single frame and freezes. And then he feels a slight pressure on his back, which he guesses is from Shlomo’s hand, but he does not turn around. He does not wish to turn around. The hand is more ghost-like than human. Following his eyes, his heart freezes just the same, tightening in his ribcage. … Had I been more astute during the times I knew Shlomo, it would have been less surprising to see his picture in the newspaper some ten years later. Orange is a color that does not suit Shlomo’s sun-darkened complexion. It makes his skin almost seem orange itself. Shlomo looks just like I remember him in this snapshot. His raisin-face maybe a bit more withered, and the eyes continually drooping downward. He is sixty-three years old. He denies that he had anything to do with the charges. It must have been some sort of joke. Because thirteen-year-old Israeli boys are likely to joke about this sort of thing.
Monk at the Moment of Enlightenment This is always how I dreamt it, When the spirit cracks through
The most stubborn wall of now â€“ Your torso bent, Your eyebrows slacked And your eyes rolled back, You are a static dynamo.
Your robes were caught flowing With you, and now are glued To the ceaseless instant; And so spectacular it was that The universe kept Your form at the moment,
Carved in mahogany for Everyone to see, and your
Bronze lacquered soul coming Through in slits where
Wanderers have rubbed your skin For luck or something
Twilight Storm in Cochise County This August heat could sedate the devil. My sweat falls onto ground the good book swears owns us in the end, switchbacks
to chew my heels into bygone bone even as sky blues to the storm front’s umbral cast. Shadow-rimmed cottonwoods darken along an inscape of cutbanks in a wind that cradles the musk of creosote and shivers softly the shafts of thorns that sift the ochre billows of dust-devils dispersed like sentinels. They range over miles of mesquite that swathe forever
toward foothills of the Whetstone Mountains. The falling light ravels the skyline to a loose seam, rain now muttering
its presence like a stranger’s voice breaking into a daydream, torrents soon cutting loose on my woman’s roof, up the valley in St. David.
Her good love is all the luck I’ve ever found. She waits just behind her front door, as a moth plays in a porch light, an angel made of dust. 16
A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers Henry David Thoreau As the light increased I discovered around me an ocean of mist, which reached up by chance exactly to the base of the tower, and shut out every vestige of the earth, while I was left floating on this fragment of the wreck of a world, on my carved plank in cloudland; a situation which required no aid from the imagination to render it impressive. As the light in the east steadily increased, it revealed to me more clearly the new world into which I had risen in the night, the new terra-firma perchance of my future life. There was not a crevice left through which the trivial places we name Massachusetts, or Vermont, or New York, could be seen, while I still inhaled the clear atmosphere of a July morning, — if it were July there. All around beneath me was spread for a hundred miles on every side, as far as the eye could reach, an undulating country of clouds, answering in the varied swell of its surface to the terrestrial world it veiled. It was such a country as we might see in dreams, with all the delights of paradise. There were immense snowy pastures apparently smooth-shaven and firm, and shady vales between the vaporous mountains, and far in the horizon I could see where some luxurious misty timber jutted into the prairie, and trace the windings of a water course, some unimagined Amazon or Orinoko, by the misty trees on its brink. As there was wanting the symbol, so there was not the substance of impurity, no spot nor stain. It was a favor for which to be forever silent to be shown this vision. The earth beneath had become such a flitting thing of lights and shadows as the clouds had been before. It was not merely veiled to me, but it had passed away like the phantom of a shadow, and this new platform was gained. As I had climbed above storm and cloud, so by successive days’ journeys I might reach the region of eternal day beyond the tapering shadow of the earth; aye,
“Heaven itself shall slide, And roll away, like melting stars that glide Along their oily threads.”
What Are You Doing in My Father’s House?
He’d insisted that his ashes be sprinkled like sawdust on the floor of the saloon, where I often found him. Snow from a storm several days earlier remained on the ground. His footprints trailed from the stoop out to the street. I entered by the back door. Our front door was opened only for preachers and bill collectors. Inside I ignited the stove’s gas jets to temper the bonechilling cold. On the kitchen table lay his yellow pad and pencil. Each morning he’d add up his bills, listing those that were most urgent at the top. The scribbled date read January 27. Dated photographs of each of us still adorned the living room walls. Pantomiming a 1940s-furniture display window, the overstuffed umber sofa and matching chair shared a bronze standing lamp with its illuminated marble base. She might have received the new preacher from our church there, or a member of the congregation, each visiting in a vain effort to convince her to return to worship. He would have sat mute in the kitchen or fled to the cellar. The dining room had become the actual living room once they purchased their first television. With the room’s single window’s opaque green blind drawn, a lounge chair now sat opposite. A neighbor said he’d found him sitting before the set that remained on. *** Upstairs his bed appeared as if he’d just crawled out of it. That gave me a start because it’s exactly how, as a boy, I’d encounter him numerous mornings. In the buff, he’d either be ascending the stairs from the bathroom or stepping out of the clothes closet, surprising me. Not trusting my better judgment, I called down. “You down there, Dad? Hello?”
A car with a damaged muffler slowed outside our house. Pajamas that lay at the bottom of the bed wafted vaguely of several nights’ wear. An embracing odor, reminiscent of when he’d pull me close and rub his day-old stubble against my face. Stifling the childlike fear that he might jump out at me from between his suits, the summer-weights next to the winter-weights, I gingerly opened the closet doors. The paired shoes underneath glowed as if varnished. Neatly brushed fedoras sat on the top shelf, and to the closet’s left, an abandoned clothes rod and bare floor underneath. Her dresses and dour two-piece church suit had long since been donated to Goodwill. “Aren’t you going to frighten me?” I asked, and reached inside as if to touch her hair or grasp an arm, coercing her to present herself. “Please,” I prayed, “Who am I to be afraid of?” *** In an effort to get a grip on myself, I glanced at myself in the vanity’s mirror. At first I stepped back in horror. “What are you doing in my father’s house?” I exhorted. It wasn’t the child who would enter their room at night, mewling he was suffering some bad dream, and could he crawl in alongside them? “Have you no respect for the dead?” I turned to the closet again and jerked his blue serge pinstriped suit off the hanger, brandishing it at the mirror. “Go away!” I bawled. But then observed a faint grin emerge on the intruder’s face. I stepped closer to the vanity and saw reflected a white tin container of talc and, alongside, an indigo-blue bottle of cologne. “Put it on,” the face in the mirror cajoled. “It has a kind of magic. Can’t you see that’s why Papa uses it?” The visage grinned full of good humor. I began to sprinkle the talc across my body and then exuberantly beat my hands against my pants and shirt like I was going up in smoke. The blue cologne drizzle followed. Once caught in the haze and redolent fragrance of remembrance…it came to me. *** How, as a boy of ten, I’d visited this room alone one
midwinter morning and undressed before this very mirror, baptizing myself in talc and blue water, lusting to be someone other than who I was. One who had the privilege of entering that closet and climbing into a suit that made him a man, or slipping into a shirtwaist dress that would magically transform him into a woman. Alone, lusting after an identity. For I felt like a child was locked up inside mine. *** Another glance in the mirror, and I saw my father’s hearty face. That he really wasn’t dead at all but stood there behind me in the bedroom’s doorway, smiling broadly. “Go ahead, Chris, put it on,” he said. “There’s a pair of black bluchers underneath that go with it. Black silk hose in the vanity’s drawer. And be sure to talc your privates.” He laughed uproariously as I shed my smoking talc garments and climbed into the blue pinstripe. First, the trousers. “Oh, you’ll need a shirt and tie. In the second drawer is one that your sweet mother starched and ironed before she passed. How times have changed, huh? What we did to our women, we should be ashamed of. “The tie—any one from the rack will do. Four-in-hand, Son. Now the jacket.” Staring at myself in the glass, I could only see the suit, not my face but his…as if he were the one who had just put it on. “Where are we headed tonight, Dad?” I asked. “I can’t say,” he said. “Why? Nobody else will hear.” “Can’t say.” “Who is it, Dad?” “Not who you might imagine,” he said. Then turned facing me in the mirror. “Please don’t ask me, Son.” *** I sat on his unmade bed. The suit was much too small: its trouser legs barely covered my shins. I couldn’t button the pants. Or the jacket that threatened to rip at the seams if I squinched my shoulders. The paisley tie bore a mustard stain. The room, still deathly cold, now reeked as if someone was attempting to blot out the aroma of death. Or recall. THE END
User Guide After everyone got someone to walk them home I believe we should consider marriage. Basic Functions Not waking to doors falling back in place, but the script of water in a palm of steel.
Troubleshooting Yet you do not mind being used as I accelerate to more sobering industry. What could go wrong?
Safety and Warranty Information Tell me you see what I cannot feel. Absence gathers like rust in the driest corner of a room.
Death is Costly Martin Charboneau
You pay for it with your entire life. Starting with being born, and all of the memories you don’t remember of early childhood. Then it takes the first memories, sitting behind a computer on the third floor of your first home—the first one you remember that is—and playing a game while the maid makes la chita for you to drink in order to get you to fall asleep. Though she doesn’t know that you are lactose intolerant and that it isn’t good for you to drink it, but to be fair it won’t be a few more years until they diagnose you, or really anyone, with it and the doctors tell you not to drink milk and to take a little pill every time you eat a product with dairy in it. Then death takes the memory of the first time you ever felt you were in love, ice skating with a girl named Victoria Winters, the name is too appropriate though and you wonder if that memory is accurate to begin with. Then it skips ahead, past all of the smaller memories of times that you sat behind the television watching cartoons, or the times you were sitting in class staring at your pencil instead of listening to the monotonous sound of your history professor’s voice as he goes on about Jamestown or something. Then it skips ahead—college was a blur all of the nights are filled with smoking weed and playing card games— the ones you were playing back in cartoon days, but for higher stakes, or drinking in some sketchy bar and hoping to hook up with the girl with big tits that keeps saying things like “pseudosocietal-norms” because it sounds smart while you’re drunk and
you have always liked girls that seem smarter than you. You see yourself studying a little bit too. After graduation it skips ahead to the part of life where you are in the job that you don’t much care for, but it was what was available for you after graduation with your liberal arts degree. You just scraped by and stared at your pencil barely listening to the monotonous sound of your supervisor’s voice as he went on about reports and your work ethic. You quit your job to pursue your passion and ended up doing well with it. You made more money and fame than you initially expected. You met your wife in a bookstore, just like you always dreamed, probably because you saw it on some television program or commercial and thought it was sweet and decided that it was how you wanted to meet your wife. You had two kids and you were happy that your dream of being an artist worked out so that you can afford to pay for your children’s liberal arts degree that you want them to pursue because it worked out for you. One did, one didn’t. One married a man far away and called on holidays coming home every other year with two kids of her own that look like different people every time. The other doesn’t even call. Was it what you said, that one time at Easter? You didn’t mean it. You regret it, but it’s no use. Her sister knows, but she swore she wouldn’t tell. She never did. She was always the honest one, even if it meant not lying, but not saying to you, her own father. It skips ahead again and you were retired, no longer able to paint as well due to arthritis, but you were happy enough to be living in your family home spending day after day going to coffee and then reading and then watching the 5 o’clock news with your wife and occasionally having dinner parties or going to dinner parties until finally one day you were driving along, three years after it was probably safe for you to be behind the wheel of a car when your heart stopped.
The Green One has taken up residence in my garden bursts out of the pruned roses tosses laughter into the fountain flings hummingbirds into the shimmering He disdains the clock insists it’s time for me to learn his dervish whirl in the meadow after rain He has no patience for my aching joints forgetting that I’m no excited toddler reaching for the bright beyond the trees He refuses to distinguish between this life and the ones I have imagined the ones I’ve dreamed in which I wander ancient lands hand in hand with The Green One who lets the sun into my winter cave who whirls me out of time’s confines who makes the sap rise who makes the lilies of the valley speak in their forgotten tongues on a branch above my head because I don’t know how to ride the rapture currents
He’s crow He laughs
to the thunder world He leaves me dazed confused and soaking wet then rides by on a camel scoops me up carries me off to his tent his hookah visions of a garden with a fountain laughing among roses a hummingbird that hovers in the shimmering and I am an excited toddler reaching for the bright beyond the trees Naomi Ruth Lowinsky
One All Saints’ Day in Widow Akulina’s Meadow Always seems they’re found a thousand miles from home, but a ’55 Chrysler with its gunsight taillights was dumped in our own town, mid-August, in a corner of that crazy widow’s field, the spot me and three other guys grew the magic herb that floated us through summer before Sheriff Trishka found the plot, dug it out. We knew her oldest son, Gavrilo, lover of Detroit iron, considered overhead-valve V-8s the Second Coming. He traded hard knowledge that he was two saltines away from bankrupt for a pipedream of muscling that Chrysler heap into racetrack jackpots – a bank vault on wheels he wants to name The White Wolf, its sculptured chrome glimmering like archangel trumpets.
The first day at restoration, Gavrilo ventured from the clapboard he shared with his mother, trudged into their meadow, briars and thistles clutching his jeans. Sweaty and breathing hard, he shielded his eyes and gazed across to his hulking fantasy, the early sky a bluish void, the air sultry.
Pining for our lost herb, we drove slowing past their land that day, noticed him out there under the hood. That icon of rust won’t be anything but a beater, no class to ever compete. He looked up at us, his proud smile was a bit frightful, his head full of beautiful delusions. He’ll never un-ass this town, that sullen meadow; just end someday one of carnies at our summer fair manning booths for rides that make us sick, the games we never win. 26
I woke up in Madrid with a bone in my throat. I swallowed the fish whole, espinas, ojos, todos. It was as if I swam across the Atlantic Ocean with my mouth open even though in reality it was just what was on my plate that day. Come cuando hay comida. I was almost a mermaid once, but I escaped out of the harbor of New York in the knick of time.
I never understood math, so I could never get the rhythm of movement right. The scales were too bright for what I stood for. I have shed my skin too many times, serpiente is more fitting. I woke up in Madrid alone, which was different. I crossed the street and held my breath like I was under water still. The oldest habits die the hardest. Drowning is easier than remembering to breathe. I cracked off the heads of the little shrimp, cabezitas. Iâ€™m sure I will pay for my violence eventually.
The excess skin was lost along my journey. I made it just as huesos myself. I woke up in Madrid and I looked in the mirror and stretched my bony fingers in front of my face. I will eat my own marrow to keep going if I have to.
Left: The Climax (1893) Above: How Four Queens Found Launcelot Sleeping Aubrey Beardsley
Subway I sat on the subway alone today
my ruffled skirt spread out over the grimy seat
I leaned my head against the wall and shut my eyes
the dulling echoes of a passing corridor, speeding as quickly as I had felt the seconds of my life were A little Hispanic girl entered at the next stop, her fingers wrapped around the hand of a frantic dad
His eyes darted at the open seat next to me
to which he pointed to where my cheaply-worn down H&M skirt lay “Sit,” he mumbled
She looked up at me with brown eyes bigger than my own I gently smiled, lifting my skirt only a bit
so she snuggled in the seat close to my own
Secure in her snow-day jacket, too suitably warm for the fall weather of New York
she removed her ladybug backpack,
looking guiltily at me as she finally found her prize A small packet of cookies.
Her delicate hands undid the wrapper patiently She handed the trash knowingly to her father,
sitting quietly as she slowly munched on her precious, but dwindling supply. Her dad sighed.
He tugged away the packet of the cookies before she could finish the last two “1 more,” she referenced as she held up one finger He shook his head no and looked away
She gently tapped his side
“1 more,” she pleaded with her eyes, again holding up one finger He shook his head no
She looked down in her lap, fiddling with her fingers Her father, gripping tightly to the metal bar above, balancing his legs
unable to acknowledge her little desires in such a big city
“42nd Grand Central”
the subway halted to a stop, and her father looked her in the eyes He opened his mouth to speak
and found no words could come out He was deaf.
Knowing what to do, she slid down from the seat Intertwining her hand in his
She glanced back at me as they exited through the closing doors,
and I watched as her curls faded in the distance, spilling over the sides of her beat up backpack. Her crumbs lingering in the folds of my skirt.
Entirely Without Regret Caroline Bruckner
Wanda plunged through the wet sheets dangling on the clothesline, bare feet slipping and sliding on the bathroom floor. I held my breath. Cracked skull. Blood sipping through her small, pink mouth. Blood dropping out of her pointy nose. Eyes staring coldly at the flickering neon lights above. Damn these hard tiles. They can kill a person. Wanda skidded to a halt, turned, and peered through the polka-dotted pillowcases. Thank God. No waiting in line at the overcrowded emergency room today. For a moment I thought I had her. Her little lips were twitching, deciding on whether to let out a highpitched wail or start laughing. “Wanda, for the last time. Here.” I tried sounding cheerful, holding out her dirty red rubber boots. Living with a two-and-a-half-year-old is like living with a mad, abusive drunk. With their giddy laughter, they make your life paradise one moment, only to turn it into hell the next with their aggressive Kim Jong-style outbursts. Wanda ducked away behind the dots. “Do you want to get into your boots yourself, or do you want me to do it?” I asked, putting all my hopes on the good, old “two-choices” method. Wanda shook her head, those brown tangled curls bobbing up and down, lips pressed together in a thin, straight line. She crossed her chubby arms over her chest and frowned. “No,” she stated simply. “Wanda. We need to go. Mommy is in a hurry.” If I were to walk toward her decidedly, she would bolt again; I knew that much. So I remained where I was, the clothesline between us like a net in some game. “Wanda will stay home today,” she said then, matter-of-factly, bending over, starting to peel off her pink pantaloons. The very same pantaloons it had taken me half an hour to put on. The very same pantaloons that had kicked me in my face while that insane eel wiggled out of my grasp, wailing No! Noooooooo! so loud, I thought my eardrums would burst. “Don’t take off your pants! Honey! Please!”
Like she cared. She threw them over her head and grinned like a gangster after a killing shot. An EWR-smile. Entirely Without Regret. I wanted to cry. I wanted to hide in a cupboard, nursing my wounded feelings. I gave up my whole life for you and you kick me in the face? I hated this whiny voice in my head, but it had become a constant companion lately. God, I wished I were one of those mothers who could make their kids do anything with a friendly command and a joke. Instead I had to bite my tongue not to say what I was really thinking. If you don’t put on your boots, I will not cook for you or change your stinky diaper ever again. If you don’t put on your boots, I won’t ever play with you again, because playing with you is boring and I only do it because I have to. If you don’t put on your boots, I will smack your little behind until you learn how to behave the way I had to, you spoiled little shit. Wanda took off her cardigan too, while she was at it. I sighed, squatting down. Some leader, not being able to grab a toddler and be on my way. Doctor Lin would have to wait another three months. Mommy would have to pay 140 pounds for nothing. The stupid test that would decide if I could have another baby could go where the sun doesn’t shine. Fuck it. Wanda was not the only one who could put up a fight. I pulled off my T-shirt. A musky, unpleasant odor rose from my armpits. I didn’t even recognize my own smell anymore. Fuck it. I sat down and pulled off my socks and jeans. Wanda stared at me suspiciously. I grabbed a sock and dressed my ear with it. And there was sock number two. I pulled it over the other ear. “OK. I am off,” I said calmly, scrambling up without as much as a blink in her direction, ears flopping. I hummed a tune while dropping my keys into my bag and drinking the last slosh of cold coffee. I heard Wanda sneaking out of the bathroom then. I could feel her standing behind me, holding on to the doorframe. “I want an ice cream,” she tried uncertainly. “Why don’t you go buy one?” I sailed past the stunned little girl and opened the front door. “I have an appointment.” Instantly, a gush of cold rain hit my naked legs. “Bye, sweetie,” I sang, taking a step outside. The wet stone was slippery under my bare feet. Spitting drops plastered my hair
to my head. Mr. Neds hurried past then, red-faced and sweaty, glancing up from under his umbrella. “Good morning, Gabriella!” The man stopped. He blinked a few times, stared at my breasts, at the socks dangling from my ears, then turned to look at the neat row of semi-detached houses, as if wondering if he was in quite the right place. He pushed his spectacles up his sweaty nose, shifted his huge body, and hurried away without another word. I realized I was grinning, wide. It was a long time since I had enjoyed myself this much. “Not go without shoes, Mommy!” Wanda demanded loudly. She came toward me, carrying a pair of old boots and that Kim Jong-frown of hers. “Oh,” I said, “I am just gonna go like this.” “Mommy put on your boots!” she demanded strictly. I crossed my arms over my chest. “Do as I say!” Wanda threatened. Deep down beneath, something grumbled and lurched. There was no stopping it. It was charging like a wild animal. Do as I say. As I say. Do as I. Say. The words echoed infinitely in my mind, bouncing back and forth like in a house of mirrors of sound. Do as I say. The voice was my mother’s, raw and dry. I felt sick. Her cold, blue eyes burrowed into mine. It was like looking into an abyss of hate. That’s when I slipped. Soaking wet, I fell flat on my back. A shrill spasm shot through my ribcage, up and down the spine, foot to skull. Tears streamed down my cheeks. A cold wind tugged at my hair. Shame flooded my head as the prim houses came back into focus. A small, warm hand on my forehead, full of tenderness and compassion. Wanda bent down on all fours and angled her sweet face so she could look at me, take me all in. In silence she stroked my head. The love of this two-and-a-half-year-old entered me slowly, like a cruise ship coming toward a harbor. How I wanted it. How I wanted the softness and the kindness. And how it scared me. At once I wanted to sit up and shield myself. Shield myself by talking, by complaining about the pain, by running away to who knows where. Anything but feeling this thing, this choice that now stood before me. At this moment, laying almost naked on a wet staircase in a London suburb, looking into the warm gaze of my child, I realized I had never felt really loved before. I realized I had never dared to. I had never dared to let love in, had never let the ship of love take anchor inside me. I could either
close up now or force myself to have the courage to feel all this vulnerability and longing. But I was not really in a position to run. So I opened up. Just a little. Just for that moment. All shame disappeared and instead I was overwhelmed with shyness. “I am stupid,” I tried meekly. Wanda shook her head, her hand still on my face. “You are not stupid, Mum, sometimes one just doesn’t want to wear boots.” I had to smile. It felt so good lying there, simply not wanting to wear boots, letting the rain soak both of us. I was tired, so tired of having to be perfect, of having to do everything perfectly. “I want cookies,” I declared. “Me too!” came the enthusiastic response next to me. Wanda held my hand as we limped down the corridor at the emergency room. “Look, mommy!” she cried, poking at my hand. “We are not the only ones who don’t want to wear boots today.” THE END
Las Lomas de Lachay 97 Diana Bauza
THE RADIAL SYMMETRY OF TREES (2013) Kid Useless
Little did this cat know that, three years later, this photo would be in Minetta Review Joshua Dy Borja
Guggenheim Museum Oil on Canvas 72” x 60” 2012 Matt Held
The last of its kindâ€” amphibian dragon Mark A.M. Tamura
SPIDERS DO KNOW THE ANSWER, OF THIS I AM CERTAIN (2012) Kid Useless
light Ray Joshua Dy Borja
Medicine Kristen Reichert
Sunlight Kristen Reichert
Daydreamer Kristen Reichert
Forever 21 Shoshana Kertesz
Tower Amanda Sanker
FALLING WATER PROBABILITIES UNDER THE ATOMIC MOVEMENT THRESHOLD (2009) Kid Useless
Divergence Mouli Chakravarty
Love & Resistance Ink 14x20 cm Jihan Kikhia
Queenâ€™s Unisphere Eunice Lau
Barbie Q Ron Walker
Chum Salmon Run! Ian Tiseo
Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly? asked Frida Kahlo. Or is it Freida Kahlo? It
might be Frita Kahlo, like Fried Kahlo, Kahlo Frito. I am going to fly over to the library and find out. Watch me laugh above the clouds at all the silly feet people so far below.
Their shoes are red and heavy; they touch the earth and let it go.
A sincere attempt at explanation of the paradoxical feelings of Kid Useless Iâ€™m sorry that neither of us know
how people are supposed to feel at night.
We stand on opposite ends of three words,
Feeling in the blankness for signs of forward; But I do not believe we have lost.
We were never simply the sums of secrets told with our bodies,
consumed only by the silent sacrament of fingertips andÂ shoulderblades; there was another level, another feeling.
I believe in the synchronization of two human anomalies, regardless of life or death or movement or symmetry, and you were the wisdom I would never learn alone. Î”
I am sorry the only picture this paints is black,
But you know that I believe in black and white.
Believe deeply that I am not cruelty without kindness,
I am the absence of light, and you are the beautiful remains of the sun. we are separate,
but always travelling parallel paths, on opposite ends of three words.
Two Men and a Gun Frank Scozzari
It’s hard to say exactly how I ended up in this dreadful situation, although I could easily put all the blame on the ThomasCook train schedule. If they had made their timetables a little easier to read, and their columns more evenly aligned, I may have never ended up on a midnight train to Athens. Yet here I was, sandwiched in among all the dissolute of Southern Europe in a third-class train compartment, trying to figure out how I was going to get some sleep. It was bench seating only, benches that faced one another, with such little space between them that one had to sit straddling the knees of the person opposite you. There were smells of human body odor and of middle-eastern cooking, zeera and black cumin, the mixture of which was not a pleasant thing. I couldn’t imagine someone could be cooking in such confined quarters. I looked around but couldn’t make out where the smell was coming from. Across from me was a sinister-looking character; a man in his mid-thirties with narrow-eyes and high cheekbones. I assumed he was from North Africa, although one could never really be sure about this kind of thing when traveling along the shores of the Eastern Mediterranean. He had dark skin and an angular face, and he was carrying a canvas satchel with Nubian markings. He was a man of mixed races, and a man who could not be trusted, I knew. Call it experience, or traveler’s intuition, after logging many miles through third-world countries one acquires an instinct for this kind of thing. I had encountered this type before; trouble, not in size, but in opportunist nature. And I saw the furtiveness and cleverness in his eyes. He was filthy and unshaven. His clothes were soiled. Among the many odors in the train compartment, one was particularly strong and I assumed it came from him. And in the instant I was thinking this I caught his dark eyes studying my carry-bag. The satchel, which I kept on my lap, had a shoulder strap securely wrapped around my neck. In it were my most valued items; my passport and credit cards, what few euros I had left, and some souvenirs I picked up along the way. His eyes went from the bag itself, to the attachment latch, and followed up the strap
to where it disappeared around my shoulder. When he realized I was watching him he quickly turned away. He had a satchel too, and when he saw me looking at it, he pulled it closely to his side. I brought my hand thoughtfully up to my chin. It was only then that I realized I was likewise filthy and unshaven. Perhaps it was I who smelled of body odor? I thought. I discreetly took a sniff of my underarm but could not tell if the odor was coming from me or not. It had been nearly three days since I had taken a bath. Having crossed by ferry from Brindisi the night before, arriving in Corfu in the early morning hours, there was no time to shower or shave. By the time I reached Patras, sleepless and exhausted, I was desperate to find a sink or washbasin. But the train station had only the old, European-style bathrooms with a launching platform, no running water, and a bucket for a flush. It was an uncomfortable arrangement no matter how you look at it. And despite the lack of accommodations and the desperate guy across from me, sleep, I knew, was what I needed most. I looked around the car. It was completely full. A group of young Europass students had already commandeered the one small piece of floor space and were sleeping there, piled on top of one another. I pulled my carry-bag close to me, keeping an eye on the man across from me, and I tried to get comfortable. In shifting my body weight I accidentally bumped his leg. “Excuse me,” I said. He did not reply. He was sleepy too, I could tell, and as tired as I. His eyes were bloodshot and his lids looked heavy and like they wanted to drop. He also shifted uncomfortably and likewise pulled his satchel in close to his side. Then he curled his hand around it and held on to it like it was filled with gold. It made me wonder what he had in it. Maybe he’s a gem trader? I thought. Or the thief of a gem trader? If only he would fall asleep. If he would sleep, then I could do the same. And almost exactly when I thought of it, I saw his lids beginning to drop. Go down, I thought. Yes. Let them go down. Let them drop. But then the thought crossed my mine: What if he’s faking? Lulling me into a false security, so that I would sleep, only to wake up hours later and find my carry bag gone, cut from my shoulder with a knife. We both exchanged guarded, hard looks, and bouts of drowsiness. His eyes would close, and his head would bob, and then he’d snap himself back awake. And I, in one instant, lost all consciousness, although just for a few seconds, awaking to see him glancing at me with a little smirk on his face. Not so easy, I thought.
I caught him pinching himself, and then shaking his head, trying to shake out the drowsiness. You’re going down, I thought. I can outlast you. But each time I saw him struggling, I found myself struggling too; fighting off the inevitable sleep that I knew would eventually win over my body. The night wore on. The vintage train rattled over the tracks. The noise and motion helped keep us both awake. Still, as the hours passed, it became nearly impossible. The accumulation of three bad nights had caught up with me. The weight of my eyelids was feeling like lead shutters, ready to close for a long winter. I did everything I could to fight it. I tilted my head back, and then sideways. I scratched my side, though I didn’t have an itch. The good news was that he was not doing much better. I watched his head bobbing. I watched him fighting it, and clinging to his pouch more protectively. And finally I saw him unclasp the middle button of his shirt and reach down deep into it; down along his side. His eyes gleamed at me. He gave me a little grin, and a head-nod, letting me know that he had something there, a knife or a gun perhaps. It didn’t matter what, I realized. He had a weapon of some sort down there in his shirt, and whatever it was, it brought him fresh confidence, and comfort enough to sleep. And now his eyes began to close and his expression was sure. I watched him with one eye still open, watching me. And he’s probably a light sleeper, I thought, with a hairtrigger finger that’s equally light and fast. It is unfair, I thought, as my eyes, too tired and too heavy to fight it any longer, began to close. There was no justice in it. This scoundrel would have a peaceful night while I would suffer from frequent awakenings and sleep apnea. Then it dawned on me that I had an option too. The idea seemed too obvious, yet likely to work. I unbuttoned an opening in my shirt and reach down with my hand, down along the side of my chest to where I kept nothing. I left my hand there, warm against my side, and I watched him, his one eye still open, watching me, but fluttering closed. Okay, I thought, détente. And I smiled at him, a little smile; a warning smile, and I closed my eyes and slept.
A Dream Touring a Victorian home in the King William District of San Antonio, TX a well-dressed docent delights in telling us the closet wasn’t “invented” until some time around the turn of the century.
“So in the old days,” I quip, “people didn’t have closets? They only lived in them?”
which is either 1.) not a very good joke or 2.) my fellow tourists are a hard nut to crack and my poor, aging mother, well, her mouth just hangs open: a very old door
in a very old house hanging on by the skin of its teeth-like hinges, darkness on the other side. Or maybe this tasteful little crowd and my poor aging mother are trying to point out
my logic is off: people can’t live in something, not figuratively, not literally, if it doesn’t yet exist. To which I’d have to come back with, “Oh, please. Let’s not split hairs here. The closet has always existed. It always will.”
And if I’m a trifle scared it’s only because of that sound, something in the house: some ghost perhaps, some skeleton in the closet.
The Fifth of July Thomas Heegaard
She told me schools molt, like other things. We had pulled up all the way into the elementary school parking lot; there was something beautiful in my passenger seat. She said it was sad, but the school you went to was gone, the students, they were long gone. The teachers, they would forget; new students and retirement. The places would change, fit to the times, which were new, and there you had it. The place, the feeling, the moment and the people you remembered existed once and only once, and are now gone, vanished. And on we toured, place to place, she saw the city. Interjecting stupid city facts, “Minnetonka means laughing water,” I pointed and shrugged. “That house over there hasn’t been lived in since 1898,” I added. “That’s creepy,” she said. It would always be creepy. Rubbing the back of her head, she mentioned brain surgery. There was a scar; it felt like a memory now. She had one of those names that made you glad to know you knew someone who occupied the letters, a name you were glad to say, Elle. Someone said the words “wrists like little branches” somewhere on TV, it was fitting. The kind of girl that made you feel blessed to have in your passenger seat, if you’re into that sort of thing. Which shirt to wear? Ask your sister, first dates only happen once. “It’s eighty degrees outside. Why are you wearing jeans...?” “Maroon shirt or blue? Just tell me that much.” Damn the weather, I had to look presentable. A shower and cologne. You have to be close to smell cologne. Overly optimistic, maybe? Confidence, make her laugh. Tell the story about the testicle? Is it funnier than gross? Make her laugh, make her laugh and you just might get the second date. Picking her up; took the back roads, finding the house, pulling up. Pause. Look busy. “Hey!” “Hey!”
“I like your house, I mean, as far as houses go. You’ve got a cool neighborhood.” Who the fuck tells a girl they like her house? We saw Superman. I stopped us for ice cream at dusk, and filled the line-time waiting with my best rendition of left-the-kidI-babysit-in-the-rain-by-accident. The woman behind her in line smiled enough for me to notice the glaring cheese halo forming above my head. Lame, again. She had an Oreo Blizzard, I had an Orange Julius, and we walked before she took the tour. Driving back from the elementary school, she paused. “I’ve been there.” “Where? The one next to Rory’s? The woman there died last year.” “But I’ve been there, I remember the inside, I just—I can’t remember.” “What was it like? What were you doing there?” I asked. “I don’t know, I, I really don’t know. I think it was a good visit, for whatever reason.” “Is that from the surgery, the memory stuff like that?” “Yeah, it’s ok though. You remember the feeling, the important stuff.” I can’t remember the 5th of July, for the most part. It felt like wrists-like-little-branches though, it felt like the kind of name you were glad to hear yourself say.
The Swine of the Gods W.B. Yeats
from Celtic Twilight
A FEW years ago a friend of mine told me of something that happened to him when he was a young man and out drilling with some Connaught Fenians. They were but a car-full, and drove along a hillside until they came to a quiet place. They left the car and went further up the hill with their rifles, and drilled for a while. As they were coming down again they saw a very thin, long-legged pig of the old Irish sort, and the pig began to follow them. One of them cried out as a joke that it was a fairy pig, and they all began to run to keep up the joke. The pig ran too, and presently, how nobody knew, this mock terror became real terror, and they ran as for their lives. When they got to the car they made the horse gallop as fast as possible, but the pig still followed. Then one of them put up his rifle to fire, but when he looked along the barrel he could see nothing. Presently they turned a corner and came to a village. They told the people of the village what had happened, and the people of the village took pitchforks and spades and the like, and went along the road with them to drive the pig away. When they turned the corner they could not find anything.
Vaudeville is Never Stale Kyle Hemmings
I was sitting in her apartment trying to get her to eat. I had brought over some triple stack sandwiches from the deli on 52nd between 2nd and 3rd. She said she couldn’t hold anything down. On the coffee table was a crumpled letter. Her sleek legs, covered in purple leotards were crossed, and she was chain smoking. Occasionally, she wiped her eyes. She said that another brother had committed suicide. Her cigarette went out and she re-lit it, but her hand shook so much that I had to steady it. I only knew Edie for a few months, from some bashes at The Factory. I met Warhol through a friend of a friend. I was really too old for any of the nonsense, the scenes and the happenings. I was a vaudeville comedian from way back. So I stood up and began cutting up some red wrapping paper that Edie left on a fold-up chair. I made three perfect roses. I said, “Look, pretty girl. Look what I brought you. Some flowers. Only you can’t put these in water because they’re made of paper.” She broke into a girlish giggle that must have hurt. She said she’d keep them by her bed, and perhaps later, she’d frame them with something Andy had given her. She then kissed me on the cheek and said, “Thank you, Uncle Snow.” That was my stage name when it used to rain cheap love. But the girls had beautiful busts and overripe thighs. They didn’t starve themselves for a hoot nanny. My joke files and my sterling silver humidors were always full.
I left Edie’s and about several blocks from her apartment, I heard a car screech. I turned around. Edie was scooping her hand in the air, as if some waif of a symphony conductor gone mad, her skinny body a wavering ribbon against the onrush of blat and metal and impenetrable window shields. She shouted to the taxi driver, “Can you watch where you’re going! You’re going to kill somebody.” And even though the light had turned green for traffic, I believed with all my heart that Edie was right.
Changes in the Ulster Cycle Laura Britton
In the small town of Lag Na Duine, on the west coast of Ireland, Grainne Domhnaill was sinking a dead sheep into the bog behind her father’s farm. Her father was watching her from his window. He yelled out to her, something about breaking its neck to speed the process up, but she could not make out any of it. She had found the sheep stuck in the fence on the south end of her father’s land. She had not had time to sheer the sheep; its wool was overgrown and had snagged on the barbed wire. Grainne had collapsed onto the sheep and wailed for its life and for the farm and for her own unending work and constant struggle to remain attentive. When she finally freed the wool from the fence, Grainne dragged the sheep to the edge of the back porch and yelled to her father. “Another is dead.” “An bportach,” he yelled back. The bog. And now she finds herself atop the smallest hill in Ireland, comprised of a dead sheep and sopping moss. After forty-five minutes of jumping on the body, Grainne lays three heavy stones atop the sheep. She hears the bog sputter pockets of air as it sucks the remains under centimeter by moist centimeter, then she trudges back inside. “Da, I’m sorry.” “Grainne, where is the sugar?” “By the sink, but Da—” There is the thud of a wiry fist on the table. The scream of chair legs on the floor. “Grainne, you are killing my animals and overwatering my crops. You dry out my peat too soon.” He is standing with the sugar spoon pointed at the ceiling as if it is an extension of his own hand. Sugar spills in a crystal constellation on the table. The granules shake and scatter as her father pounds the floor with his foot. “Tomorrow you will let me work or I will—I will—” Grainne grabs the bowl of sugar and pours it in the sink. She watches as the water runs through the white particles, leaving little white quays by the drain. When she turns back
around her father is gone. He will not leave his room until the next day, drunk and in the field he will insist on working and Grainne will have to remind him of his bad arm and his lung infection and the fact that the town doctor said he could not work. He did not put a time frame on how long it would be until Grainne’s father would work again, because Grainne’s father will not work again, not ever. He was not told to stop working because of his bad arm—the arm that had been amputated from the elbow down after a gangrenous infection. He was told to stop working because his lung infection could cause a rupture in one, or both of his lungs. He would bleed out from inside his ribcage. The death would be excruciating. And so Grainne’s father was bedridden, both the doctor’s orders and her own. It was a silly order though, because if anyone knew anything about the town on Lag Na Duine, it was that they worked until their ligaments snapped. There are stories of men dying in the midst of farm work, falling face first into their land and never getting back up again, only to have their bodies entombed by purple heather. Aislin Barra had a heart attack in the middle of Friday rush at her grocery store last year and continued to weigh and sell fish for an hour before she collapsed into a coma. And Grainne would sooner burn the fields than let her father end up like the other people of Lag Na Duine. Her mother drowned when Grainne was two. She was her father’s only child; she had grown up with her father never more than one room away. For every block of peat he cut from the land, Grainne was there to pile it into straw baskets. Every potato plant sprouted from a hole dug by Grainne, and a seed placed by her father. In all her twenty-five years they had never been apart for longer than a few hours for town dances, or grocery shopping. But Grainne felt a weight on her shoulders; it was making her knees sore and pulling her body down. Her father is no longer a man of Lag Na Duine. He is no longer a man of any reality at all. Her father has begun calling her Fedelma, her mother’s name. On most mornings she finds him not in his room, but in the field, reenacting the battles of Cú Chulainn. For days at a time he insists he is the hero, waving his pistol and shouting about his birth during a snowstorm and calling for his chariot. Only whiskey calms him now. Grainne sometimes has dreams in which her father has his back to her. He begins to unscrew his head like the cap of a
jar. His eyes pass her, then leave her, pass her, then leave her like the spinning of a top. This goes on for what seems like hours but Grainne knows is only minutes. Then he holds his head to his side and throws it, underhand, into a darkness out beyond them. She just watches him; she doesn’t even try to stop him. Before bed that night, Grainne hears her father whining heavy. She hears him cough low, productive coughs that make him spit mucous into a bowl beside his bed. She does not go to sleep until she hears the clunk of the whiskey bottle on the floor next to his bed, and the heavy snore of a sick man. +++ The next morning, before the sun has fully risen, Grainne wakes up to a thump in the farmyard. When she looks out the window she sees her father piling large rocks by the fence post on the south end of the field. She takes her time dressing. The guilt from the day before convinces Grainne to let him be Cú Chulainn for a little while longer before she brings him his tea and coerces him inside. She runs through the myths in her head—the slaying of Culann’s hound, the Cattle Raid of Cooley, the famous tale of when Cú Chulainn mistakes his son for an intruder and kills him. Every child in Lag Na Duine knows the life of Cú Chulainn, they were all told by their parents, and their parents told by their own parents. And now Grainne sat in the kitchen, wondering who Cú Chulainn is fighting today. The tea kettle hisses and sputters and pipes steam. It begins to rattle and as she reaches for the handle a shot rings out through the field. Grainne rushes to the back porch and fumbles with the doorknob. “Da, put the pistol away. Come in I have t—” Grainne stops in the middle of the field and shudders. Before her, leaning against a pile of rocks is an image she has seen on the last page of every Irish mythology book. Before her, Cú Chulainn, wanting to die on his feet like a hero, tied to a stone after being speared through the heart. Before her, Cú Chulainn in farmers clothes, her father’s tweed hat, her father’s unshaven face, her father’s weak body, a bullet hole in his chest. Before her, the man who raised her, a warrior. +++ She buried him in the bog on a Sunday. Grainne cleaned the bowl next to his bed, and chopped up his bedpost for a cross to put on the grave. She packed all her belongings in a single bag. She had no reason to stay in Lag Na Duine, no burden to bear in that home
any longer. The townspeople said she went to Dublin or America or Australia, others say she drowned herself in the sea off the coast. A few days after Grainne left Lag Na Duine, a farmer from down the road came by the house because he heard yowls coming from the field. When people asked him what had happened he said he had never seen anything like it. Twelve sheep, all stuck in the fence at the south end of the property.
There is a ceiling fan in the house where my grandmother used to live. The fan has five blades. One is called â€˜Matthewâ€™ then, John, Joseph, Kevin, and Kristen.
It slices the air into little breezes in the summertime, in the house where my grandmother used to live.
As children, we would reach up our Little hands and try to grab at the slim metal cord, which ended in various little shapes, figures from the Dollar Way.
There were different types of birds with plastic wings that I would pluck from the shelves, set free to fly in circles underneath the dark wooden ceiling. Little birds hanging in, holding fast to the silver cord.
They saw three seasons: the stucco ceiling, the wood-paneled walls, the yellow picture of the last supper.
After the Charity Auction I drank decaf coffee and danced a little, slid the slide of a park named after the 3rd string running back of the Chicago Bears. Sad for the kid I used to be, I forgot
my keys in a cab, fell from my silk-lined suit pocket, so I knocked down the door with Oxford wingtips and my shoulder. In Englewood, years ago, a mother and step son shared a foam finger at the Sox game, drank too much, fought hard over pizza toppings and which one left the lights on. When sirens flared into the drive, she was white with blood loss, the finger she chopped off wrapped in a napkin in her purse to make a point. The boy would go on to star in a semi-pro rugby league for two years, before losing the use of his knee to a broken bottle he fell on, tripping drunk from the bus. They live
below me now, moving up in the world. He limps, she points with her thumb at the door loose on its shattered hinge, shares her story – how standing barefoot in the lawn, wide-eyed, she waited
for the paramedics with a smile because the neighbors were baking banana bread, she could smell it, and grass clippings clung to her ankles and the cleaver, she said, for all that was lost, was clean. She took a deep breath of Parliament and said that it sure ain’t like the movies, knives coated red, there’s only a little streak, if anything. 68
The moon drapes a lace sari over those sleeping back-to-back,
dreams tunneling inside birdsong. First wren at tree-top,
they wake and turn, palm of foot stroking back of calf. Charles Thielman
Why does Sarah talk in her sleep? Because movie tickets are only a dollar on Tuesdays, and Jason, who’s supposed to check the stubs, doesn’t mind if we duck in for a second show, as long as we buy popcorn. We stay there all night, sometimes, Sarah and me; we spend Tuesdays trying on lives like second skin. I play the man, usually, making my ponytail into a mustache and whispering I love you, I love you over and over into her ear. She’s the woman; she just smiles in reply, face coy and blue in the quiet light. I take her hands and pretend to dance during the slow scenes. I dip her back and she pretends to spin, pirouettes in the velvet seat. We eat our popcorn slowly, but eventually her knuckles bump into mine at the bottom of the bag, and we go home. When we first started going to flicks, I wasn’t sure if Sarah liked them. She was some type of meditative afterward, never said anything, kept the car radio silent. Almost a month in, though, she woke me up by accident, whispering in my ear. She was sleeping, but smiling like always. I love you, I love you—I held my breath and listened; praying the life she dreamed of was our own.
Leaning Tower of Lady Liberty If I am infected then I am dying too, kind of slowly like a season change. My body feels like a flat tire, the city has knocked the wind out of me. I am the hollow space in a picture frame. I wonder if the leaning tower of lady liberty wants to be there, bleeding the ocean through the soles
of her feet. I doubt there is any cure left. The buildings sift disease only to let you drink it. Did I not learn from Alice? The liquid only makes me smaller. I thought I could run away from sleep and sickness. I packed my bagged eyes with parasites and ran to the city. Here, I only find more sickness, but also the beautiful kind. I am kept up by piano playing rats in the attic, and I stare into the windows of passing subway cars. I am fascinated by how many people are above and under me. We are layered. How many sad, how many
sick? Our buildings are infected with rats and insects. How many open our mouths to free beetles? There are more insects than people. Only 5% of things can read this poem. Lady Liberty you must be illiterate. Your city has given me a stomachache, from all the neon lights Iâ€™ve swallowed.
American Song Phyllis Carol Agins
She goes because her mother has insisted. “He is still your father.” Then, as if to offer a better reason: “Don’t you want to see America?” Three weeks, hundreds of miles from France to that café in Philly’s Italian Market. Her father must show her everything: Boston for a day, New York for another. Montreal as he drives all night, and she sleeps jet-lagged in the back corner of his car. He sings along to Johnny Cash and translates the words. When he buys his favorite road food at a fill-up station just off the highway, he finally asks about her brothers and sister. “And your mother?” he adds in his Syrian-accented French, the consonants rolling in that way he can never control. He bites enthusiastically into another hot dog, ignoring the yellow mustard that slides from the corners of his mouth. “She is good,” he states rather than questions. Don’t tell him how I cry. Her mother has made her promise. “Maman misses you,” she finally answers. “We hope that you’ll come home.” She thinks she sounds like a diplomat from an unknown country. “There’s no place like this one,” he says. When he was young, her father adored cowboys and Superman and worshipped at the TV shows imported from an earlier America. Three months ago, ignoring the pleas that had swept through their home, he followed a dyed redhead he’d met in Paris. A siren who sang her American song and pulled him from his years in France, his five stores, his four children, his one wife. Away from this daughter who once was his favorite. All those steps he has taken from Syria, she realizes, have always been directed west. Even after that decades-long stop in France. Her father has journeyed from two countries on the Mediterranean to this apartment in the middle of a city. From a house with three terraces to two rooms that hold only a mattress
on the floor, a coat rack for a few shirts and jeans—and the futon he’s purchased just for her. No photos, no reminders of birthdays to come, no evidence at all that he truly misses his family. And she, the appointed spy, knows he has surely abandoned them forever.
“Don’t you love America?” he asks each day, eating his breakfast at one o’clock in the afternoon, just after he rolls off the mattress. “You will tell your mother how wonderful it is here, non?” How can she capture this place for her mother? A city filled with people who clutch large cups of coffee as they walk— afraid that without caffeine they’ll stop dead, like unplugged clocks. A place where the nightly shootings are recounted with less passion than the forecast of thunderstorms. She will color his Italian Market with the lettuce and radish greens drooping in the heat. She will tell of the live chickens next door squawking against their cages. And about the Asians, who have taken over from the Hispanics, who have taken over from the Italians. Lost are the smells of brioche and pain au chocolat. Lost is the blue-milk Mediterranean in this corner-bound landscape. She wonders who is this man, once her father, who lives now so many kilometers from them all? “Papa,” she tries one night just before they climb the steps to his apartment, “we need you. The boys especially.” He seems surprised when she sits solidly on the step just before the door. “How can you leave us?” she goes on. “Don’t we mean anything?” She hears the next-door chickens cry in the night, deluded by the artificial light that is always kept on. She envies their freedom to scream so. “But the world is so small, ma puce. We can talk and even see each other at the same time. I’ll buy everyone a new phone with all the latest toys. Distance means nothing.” He is laughing. Then she remembers how he’d abandoned his mother decades ago to her small village life and had never turned back. At the summer festival she watches him play bongos in front of his café, just where the two roads meet. Her father drums furiously—with eyes closed and belly throbbing. She watches the DJ, who flirted with her only minutes before, film him like newly
discovered treasure. Even tourists stop to photo the market’s main attraction. For her father has seduced them all. She hates when his customers rush into the café, their large American smiles taking over their faces, their laughter weaving between the old chairs and worn sofas. She hates them for worshipping her father so that he forgets his real home. One day he suggests, “Stay with me and finish school here. In this country you can live your dreams,” he promises, “not like in France, where they never forget where you come from. Never forgive that you’re not really French. In America you can make any life,” he adds as he foams a fluid heart on top of her espresso. But she knows he’s stopped loving her and that the heart is a lie. Disgust burns her throat. She wants to demand: A life like yours? Still he sobs at the airport, heavy tears tugging at his skin so his eyes and mouth move together. “Kiss your mother,” he says. “Tell her I think of her every day. And your brothers and sister. I’ll visit, I promise.” He’ll go back to his American corner, she knows, where he has declared himself king. She will live in France, and later her mother may send another child to spy. It is enough, she tells herself, these three weeks in his promised land. To trust that she’ll never miss him again. THE END
Incarnation He slips into human flesh like he’s donning a dark suit for some formal occasion touches the strange skin – a flexible knob of nose wiry beard; smooth, wet teeth
He comes for our own good - to liberate us from abstraction and lend hope where faith was not enough to save us He savors the noise and odors on the cross-town bus inhales rich diesel mixed with sweat and bargain body spray And falls suddenly and deeply in love
In contact with everything, he weeps for the roasted ducklings hung in Chinatown shop windows their juicy golden bodies splayed for sale rubs the taut sinew of his knuckles over and over, with tenderness and awe He leans his cheek against the glass doesn’t want this distance between himself and what he sees bends into his own reflection He won’t go back to heaven – refuses its careful dignity now that he has tasted this life wouldn’t toss it away for any hint of the hereafter finds life miraculous drinks every teardrop as it rolls from his cheeks to his mouth can’t believe his good fortune lapping up the salt and wet as if this were the end of days
Blue Shoshana Kertesz
Hallway to Questionable Judgement (NYC) Tracy A. Marciano
Cozy Amanda Sanker
Robot in Bed with Bunny Slippers Emily DuFrirsz
Waves Divya Adusumilli
The Courtyard and the Cathedral Amanda Sanker
GRAVITY EYELID (2013) Kid Useless
BORN AS AN EAGLE (2013) Kid Useless
MANIFESTATION IV (2009) Kid Useless
Hike to Centro Arqueol贸gico Pueblo Viejo in Jauja, Peru Diana Bauza
Subway Musician Shoshana Kertesz
Niagara Summers Joshua Dy Borja
Through Sarah Calico
Pierced Sarah Doody
Syria Acrylic & Charcoal 50x40cm Jihan Kikhia
Ken Comes to Visit Mouli Chakravarty
Faces (© 2013) Oil on Canvas 40”x30” Allyson Block
Sunsets Divya Adusumilli
Las Lomas de Lachay 195 Diana Bauza
Las Lomas de Lachay 158 Diana Bauza
Gemmy Diana Bauza
The metal bars of the shopping cart dig into my back. One wheel is stuck on the front. Mom always picks the bad carts. I pick the good ones, but she never lets me pick. I like to steer it, too, but I knocked over cereal boxes once. Now, she makes me sit in the cart instead of push it. Mom’s purse is in my lap. I stick my fingers inside to see if there’s any candy in it. I feel a box, but I pull out cigarettes. I throw them back inside and try again but get a tube of stuff. I take the cap off and sniff it, and it smells like candy. I put it in my mouth, but it doesn’t taste like candy. It doesn’t taste bad, though. “Don’t do that!” Mom yells when she sees me. She pulls the phone from her ear and shakes her head at me. “He’s sittin’ here eatin’ my lip gloss!” she says in the phone. I throw it back in the bag and cross my arms. *** I sit at the kitchen table and open a pack of gummies that I picked out at the store. There are too many yellow ones. I hate the yellow ones. I wish they were just all the red kind. Or blue. There’s a guy sitting across from me with a soda. He was waiting outside when we came home. I remember the red hat he has on, so I think that maybe I saw him here before. “You mind if I smoke?” he asks mom holding up a little box. “Ah, I’m dying without them,” she says, rubbing her belly like she always does now. “I bet,” he says, shaking a long cigarette out of it. He looks at me now. I look away and go back to putting my gummies in piles by color. I pick up a yellow one, bite its head off, and then stick it to the body of a blue one. I like mixing them all up sometimes. “So we need to decide on a name, huh?” he says. Mom looks at me. “Yeah, guess so,” she says. She pulls my chair back, pushes me off, and sits back down, pulling me onto her lap. “You tell him yet?” the guy in the hat says, leaning back in
his chair and looking at me, then mom. His cigarette is orange at the end, and I watch a little gray puff fall from it. “Tell me what?” I ask mom. She is shaking her head when I turn to look at her. “Well,” she says, “this is your sister’s dad.” I look at the guy, but I don’t get it because I don’t have a sister. He smiles and then blows smoke out of his mouth. I don’t think I like him, and I don’t like when he looks at me. I hug mom and put my face in her neck where it’s warm. “So a name?” he says. But mom just whispers Gemmy and hugs me tight. I don’t even think he can hear her. “I was thinking,” she starts saying, only she doesn’t finish because the front door opens, and we hear dad’s voice. “What the fuck,” he says. He looks real mad. I slide off mom’s lap. Dad says I’m too big for that now. I look at my shoes. “Sean, what’re you doing here? I thought you were comin’ to get him later?” Mom says standing up and putting her arms around my shoulders. “I don’t want that piece of shit around my kid,” dad yells, pointing at the guy with the hat who stands up. “Yo, man,” he says, “Cool it. I’m not shit, and I’m not doing nothin’ to your kid. Besides, I’m going to be here more once his sister’s here.” Dad’s face is red, I go and sit on the couch in the other room and stare at the gummy with the yellow head and blue body that I still have, only it’s getting more and more blurry because of the tears. I can still hear them yelling, and it makes me scared. Suddenly, dad storms out of the kitchen and grabs my hand. “Come on,” he yells. His hand crushes my hand and the gummy in it. It hurts, but I’m afraid to say so. *** Gramma picks me up from dad’s place, even though dad usually drops me off at home. “Gramma,” I say, “what does messed around mean?” She doesn’t answer me at first because she’s singing the song on the radio. I really want to know what dad meant when he said mom messed around, so I ask again. “What?” Gramma says turning the radio down. Her cigarette flops and almost falls out of her mouth when she says it. “Messed around?” I say again. “Who said that?” Gramma asks. She sounds mad.
“Dad says that’s why I have a sister. But Gramma do I have a sister?” “Huh,” Gramma says, looking away. Her blinker is on. I like the sound it makes with the green arrow light flicking on and off. Tickka. Tickka. Tickka. When she spins the wheel it stops. I always try to count how many ticks it makes. It’s never the same. I usually only get to eight. Once I counted twelve. Gramma is quiet for a while. “Your sister will be here soon. That will be nice, huh? To have someone to play with?” A sister. I never had one before, but I figure maybe that’s how it happens. They just show up one day. The only other kid I ever play with is Nikko, who lives across the street, only I’m usually too scared of him to have any fun when we play. *** One day, I fall asleep on the couch after watching my cartoons on TV. I was watching a show where a little blue dog meets a little yellow dog, and they play together in a sandbox. I dream that I’m playing with the little yellow dog from my show. In my dream we don’t talk, just bark and woof at each other. I wish I was a dog sometimes. Mom’s at work and Gramma’s in her rocking chair out on the porch talking on the phone. I’m real bored and wish somebody was home to play with me. I go to my room to put on my shoes to go explore outside, but when I go in, someone’s sitting in my beanbag. She looks kinda like me only with longer hair. At first, I’m scared and want to get Gramma, but then, I see that she’s holding my favorite action figure guy. “Hi?” I say to her. She doesn’t answer me, just smiles and keeps playing with my guy who has the black boots and the gun stuck to his back. Dad says that he was just like him once. Says he went to a camp to be a tough guy who takes care of everyone. I want to go to camp, too. I kneel next to her, and we start playing. “Are you my sister?” I ask her. She nods. Gramma was right about her coming. I don’t even care much that she’s a girl instead of a boy. I’m happy playing with her. We make my action guys talk and fight the bad guys together. It’s more fun with her than by myself. “What’s your name?” I ask her. “Gemmy,” I hear Gramma say behind me. I turn around and see her in the doorway. “What are you blabbering on about in
here?” “I was playing with...Gemmy,” I say to her, looking at Gemmy. I wonder why she didn’t tell me my sister was coming today. Gramma snorts. “You’re a funny little guy,” she says shaking her head, “Want lunch?” *** I wake up, and my bed’s all wet. I peed the bed once when I was littler because I drank a whole soda before bed, but this time it was because of my dream. My heart is loud. It sounds like it’s in my ears. Thrump-bum. Thrump-bum. It scares me when it’s so loud like that, and I can’t hear anything else. I click on my light next to my bed and start to get up to go get mom when I see Gemmy sitting on my beanbag chair. I’m surprised to see her there because she just started coming over to play, but I’m not so surprised, too, because she was in my dream. Sometimes I can’t remember if something’s a dream or not. I tell Gemmy all about my scary dream. About how mom and my dad are yelling in the kitchen and how dad pushes mom on the floor and how mom’s head hits the cabinet so hard, and dad doesn’t even look like dad anymore. I tell her how in my dream I can only see their legs most of the time because I am under a table, but how I see mom fall and her head hit the cabinet so hard. Like she’s going to break. I don’t tell Gemmy how in my dream they are mostly yelling about her. About how dad doesn’t want her around me. Gemmy listens to me. She’s good at that. I wish dad liked her more, so she could come play with me when I go to his house. I told him how nice she was once, but he didn’t say anything because we were watching TV together. He hates when you talk during shows. *** Mom’s friends are all over our house today. I don’t like mom’s friends. They always talk to me like I’m a baby or act like I’m not there and bump into my head with their big, squishy butts. I’m confused because there are balloons and presents, but when I ask whose birthday it is, they say it’s not a birthday it’s a shower. I try to open one of the presents because I think maybe it could be for me since it has blue paper and all the others are pink and purple. Dad says blue is for boys and pink is for girls. Gemmy doesn’t like pink so much though. I pull on the ribbon on top of it, but Gramma slaps my hand and tells me to scram.
I go outside and push Gemmy in Gramma’s rocking chair on our porch that faces Nikko’s porch. I like the sound of it when I push. Creak. Crick. Creak. Crick. I do it the exact same way every time and make the same exact sound. I hear footsteps inside. Gramma comes out. “Will you knock it off! What do you think you’re doing with my chair?” “Gemmy likes it,” I whisper. Gemmy doesn’t say anything. Gemmy doesn’t talk to anybody unless she feels like it, only she never feels like it. “Gemmy likes it? Well, we’re trying to talk in there, and all I hear’s the damn squeaking! Go play or something will ya?” *** I find a good stick in the street. There aren’t so many trees around my neighborhood, so when I find a good stick, I try to keep it. “Whatcha doin?” Nikko asks walking out of his house. I don’t answer. Gemmy just stands there. Nikko’s two times as big as me and has browner skin than mine. “Are your ears fulla junk or something? Gimme that,” he yells and grabs the stick from me. He chucks it behind his house. “Nikko, be nice!” Mom yells at him. She’s sitting in Gramma’s chair now, rocking and holding her belly. Gemmy steps behind me to hide. Nikko acts like she’s not there. Nikko’s mom is out there with mom, too. Nikko looks at my mom and squints his eyes up. “Hey, tell your fat ol’ mom to shut the hell up,” Nikko snarls. He shoves me on the ground and tells me to come with him because he wants to show me something. I follow him because I’m scared of what he’ll do if I don’t, and we go behind his house. He walks over to a bush and crouches down in front of it. I follow him. When I get up close I hear buzzing and get scared because last time I heard buzzing a bee stung me on my hand, and it hurt so bad. I wait behind him, but then he moves to the side, and I see something red there. There’s flies all over and pink and red and white furry stuff. I step closer to figure out what it is. “Found it today. Want a dead bunny to give to your sister?” Nikko laughs and pushes me on the ground near the bunny. I fall on my knees with my hands out afraid to touch the bunny with its insides all pink and red and open. It blurs while I’m falling and my face gets so close I smell it. It stings my nose, and I start to cry. I never saw something dead before.
*** Dad tells me that men don’t cry, and when he’s not around, I’m the man. Sometimes I cry when he’s not here and feel real bad about it, but Gemmy doesn’t care if I cry. Just waits for me to be done. Doesn’t hug me or any baby stuff like mom. Doesn’t yell like dad. Gemmy’s in my room already playing when I go inside. I tell her what happened. She doesn’t like Nikko either. Says he’s real mean, and I shouldn’t play with him. I agree. I tell her what he said about mom, too. She says that’s not nice at all. Me and Gemmy share mom, so she doesn’t like when people say mean things about her either. Me and Gemmy share my room now, too. She used to live somewhere else, but she moved in with us. Most nights she sleeps in my beanbag on the floor. Sometimes at night I can hear her cry, but when I ask her about it, she tells me I’m crazy and that she did no such thing. I tell her it’s okay cause girls are allowed to cry, but she always gets mad and won’t talk to me for a while. She says the last time she cried was when she got her cut on her leg. She shows me the spot. There’s a squiggly white line on her skin with little, thin hairs growing over it. She says it happened when she went to the park. She was on the monkey bars, and she slipped off them. A woodchip stabbed her in the leg and sliced it open. Says her dad gave her a slap when she wouldn’t stop crying. That’s why she learned to not cry. *** Gramma wakes me up one night. She turns the light on next to my bed. My eyes burn when I try to open them. “Come on, get up,” she says while she pulls my covers off me, “We gotta get your mom to the hospital, and I can’t get a hold of your dad, so you have to come with us. Up!” I don’t know why we are going to the hospital. I’ve never been there before, so I am excited. And a little scared, too. I ask Gramma if Gemmy can come. “Yes, yes! That’s what I just said! Come on. Put on your shoes and let’s go,” she yells. Her hands shake when she hands me my shoe to put on, but she leaves real quick when we hear mom call for her. I put them on without tying them, and Gemmy promises she’ll show me how to tie them at the hospital if she can remember how. ***
I like the slapping sound the tips of my shoelaces make against the metal legs of the chair. Plink. Plink. Plink. Plink. It sounds with the move of my swinging legs. My untied shoelaces sometimes get wrapped around the legs. Plink. Plink. It sounds nice. I keep my legs going at the same time like they’re one big leg instead of two. My feet don’t touch the floor. The tiles have black speckles on them. They shine under the lights. Plink. Only one hit this time. Some lady hands me a juice box and asks if I have to go to the bathroom. I think about it for a second. I do have to go. I ask Gemmy to come but she says no. The lady takes my hand and walks me to the bathroom. Her hands are hard and dry, so I try to let go, except she doesn’t let me wiggle my hand away. She asks if I need help inside. I shake my head. I know how to do it myself. She smells like rubber and powder and something else. Like the smell of the bathrooms at Mom’s work. It’s empty inside, and the light blinks. Dad always tells me that I should use the ones in the open because they’re for men, but these ones are too high for me to reach. I go in a stall and leave the door open. I pull my pants down, but now I don’t have to go. Gemmy comes in. She likes to sit to pee. We climb the toilet and swing on the doors, using our feet to kick off of the walls until Gemmy gets bored. *** When we go outside, the lady is gone, and I see a man running down the hall. His white coat flies behind him like a cape. Batman has a cape, but his cape is black. I like the black one better. Gemmy says we should chase him because he might be on an adventure. It sounds fun, so I run after him. He disappears inside of a room, so I stop to look inside. His back is to me now, and I can hear mom crying inside. The guy in the white turns to the side, and I see he is holding something red in his hands. I make out two wrinkly, red arms and legs dangling from his hands. It kind of looks like a little baby. Only I never saw a baby look like that before. I think of the dead bunny Nikko showed me behind his house. It makes my stomach feel funny, and everything starts to spin a little. Gemmy starts screaming. I put my hands over my ears it’s so loud. The man turns around, and I see the red, little arms swing as he turns to see the noise. Gramma comes running out of the room from somewhere behind the doctor and grabs me. She yells at me to stop
screaming. I try to tell her it’s Gemmy, not me, but it’s so loud I can’t even talk. She picks me up and hugs me and hugs me. I’m so confused I start to cry. Gramma takes me down the hall and whispers in my ear until I can’t hear Gemmy anymore. I watch her get smaller and smaller until all I see is a dark smudge in the long white hallway. *** Gramma wakes me in the morning with a doughnut. It’s one with white icing and sprinkles on it. My favorite. “Is it my birthday, Gramma?” I ask her. On my birthday last year I got a doughnut for breakfast with a candle in it, only Mom gave it to me not Gramma. “No, I was at the store and wanted a doughnut. Thought you might want one. I can just eat this one too if ya don’t want it…” “No! I want it!” I grab it from her hands, and she laughs. I pick the sprinkles and start eating them first to make it last. Then, I lick the icing all around the edges before I take a bite of it. “Get dressed. Your dad’s coming over to get ya soon,” Gramma says to me before she leaves my room. *** Dad pulls up in his black truck. He looks mad when he gets out of it. My stomach hurts. I’m afraid someone told him how I cried so hard yesterday that I threw up. I stand up but keep my eyes on my shoes because I’m too scared to look up at him. He sighs. I know he’s mad at me. “Hey, little man,” Dad says while he squats down in front of me. I still don’t look at him. He sighs again. I know he’s really mad. The chain clipped to his back pocket clinks against the sidewalk. I flinch, feeling him move towards me. He smells like slim jims, mint gum, and smoke. Like Dad. He’s got his arms around me, and it takes me a second to realize that he’s hugging me. We go out for ice cream and a burger. Dad doesn’t eat too much of his, but I finish mine. He tells me he has a surprise for me. We go to his truck, and he leans over the back and pulls out something red wrapped in plastic. We go to the park across the street where he shows me it’s a kite. “How does it work?” I ask him. I never flew a kite before. Only ever seen kites in books and on TV. Gemmy likes kites, too. I wish she were here. I wish dad liked her more. While dad’s
handing me a roll with string on it attached to the kite, I whisper to him, “Gemmy likes kites.” “Gemmy? Does your mom still call you that? I told her she better stop. You know you’re Jeremy, right little man? Jeremy. Gotta say your own damn name right.” I’m confused. I think maybe he didn’t hear me, so I say it again. He stops and lets the kite drop in front of my feet. I pick it up and hold it to my chest. “Jeremy. You are Jeremy, not Gemmy. You okay? Your Grandma told me about what happened at the hospital with your baby sister yesterday. I’ll take you to see your mom after this. I’m real sorry, little man. I know you were excited to have someone to play with. Come here,” he hugs me again. My head spins. I haven’t seen Gemmy since yesterday when we left her. I want to know where she is. Is that why she screamed? Is Gemmy gone? Dad lets me go. He picks the kite out of my hands. The wind takes it from him. I stumble away. My shoe is untied still from yesterday, so I bend down to do it like Gemmy told me. Thump. Thump. Thump. My head. I grab my shoelaces and see a little, white scar on my leg just like Gemmy had. It starts to swirl and wave like there’s water in my eyes, and when I blink again, I’m looking at the sky flat on my back. It’s empty and kinda gray but, the kite’s blurring red around in the air. Blink. It’s smaller now. Blink. Just a red smudge dangling against white.
Collin Washes His Hands Trenches of soot and grease in the maps of his palms, flaky adhesive masses lying caked under the surface. Spiders’ carcasses, broken roaches’ legs, smears of mucous accreted under his fingernails. Intractable life nestles in his pores, eager to sink its tiny jaws into his meat. He scours his cuticles, knuckles, wrinkles, flushes the bacterial mobs, foams away the grainy ash of meteorites and volcanoes, scrubs off the scampering itches who seek new crevices, new shelter from the brush’s bristles’ onslaught.
But what he labors to cleanse is not his hide, more the dread that awakens him from his delusions about whom he can assume will conquer, and when.
You can take the girl out of Florida... The pull of the swamp is unbearable. As if there is muck in my marrow. The brine I sweat has alligator gar swimming through it, snaky and smooth.
It is a cycle that follows me even to Asia â€” too much grows, it chokes itself, and it falls to die in the water.
The gases of decomposition lurk behind cypress knees and tamarind trees alike. They haunt the air and shimmy up my nostrils. In my lungs, it is wet, it is safe, and it is warm.
The perfect place for growth. The perfect place for rot. A steamy warmth for alligator eggs, filling my mouth and forcing a pearly grin.
Small cracks and mucus begin to appear as they tumble off my tongue. The birth of baby predators, so cute, falling from my lips to the slippery algae below, is so much more than words. 100
Ulysses in the Cave of the Winds Stradanus
“Tell me, O Muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide...”
Homer’s The Odyssey
Georgia O’Keeffe’s “From the Far Away Nearby” She painted her first skull from a barrel of bones the cow’s head against the blue “I like the shapes they have no thing to do with death” mountains thru the holes in a bone bones and moons bones and flowers a reddish bone with a yellow sky
Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Hills and Mesa”
she loved Texas light coming on the plains huge dust storms sometimes she’d come in and couldn’t tell it was herself except for her shape she’d be the color of the road
I Thought of You in Edison
Marching between the Rows of crops that had Fractured the tidy sod files Trimmed tight (everything Alive and bright and Everything alive), I Thought about That time just once my father Said yes And, Oh, How I must have Surfaced in the sun like a flush Of beet greens, all fresh growth and Crimson veins.
How to Date a Girl in Fourteen Days Thomas Heegaard
Go to parties with women you wouldn’t bring home to your mother if she was blind deaf and dumb. Hang around these women until sufficiently disgusted with the way you feel when you roll over in the morning. Meet a girl at the party you’d be an idiot not to ask what she’s doing surrounded by so many other idiots like yourself. Listen, listen good. Remember her name. Write it on your damn hand if you have to. Remember what they’ve said about the last month before college, and listen to the advice that’s been beaten into your skull trickle when you say her name under your breath. Call her for a date. Call her like you’d ask the bank for an extension on a loan you’ve just lost, double down, and pray, pray in whatever direction you prefer. If you’ve pissed in the right wind, she’ll say yes. Pick her up, hold the door. Choke when she insists she pay for the movie. Wonder while you hold her in front of the demons and exorcisms bleeding out on screen before you, wonder how something so beautiful can be so simple and they can call it so wrong. Make her laugh, shut your mouth and borrow Bruce Springsteen to fill the gaps. Say her name, call again. Take her someplace she’ll never have been, be the one with the plan and hope you’ve faked it well enough. Ask her if you’re dumb for going on these “whatever you want to call it” dates before you jump the four year exodus and get jobs and pop kids out and change diapers. Know before you’ve finished your sentence, before she says a word, that you’re not dumb at all. Listen, listen good. Hear the fourteenth day bullet whistle closer. Does a death date, stamped and set, let a louder life live? Can a happily ever after be told in fourteen days? Say her name, sit with her under the skyline. Who are you two to be afraid? Who are they to speak, searching for the foot to fit the slipper, for their fairy tale without an end. A truly beautiful
fourteen words is hard to come by only when you’re looking. Take her for a fish taco. She can laugh all she wants, but it took five tries and five girls to find one brave enough for a fucking fish taco. Watch The Graduate. Wonder while she watches what she made of Benjamin’s post-elope face, wonder what will happen to the yellow bus after it crosses the bridge. Fall asleep, drive her home. Drive her home with the windows down but don’t fill the silence. If you can roll the windows down at one in the morning, if what billows in still feels like deep summer, if the car is silent and so is she, let it go. Let it stay that way. Drop her off, and think to yourself that you’d like to hope the yellow bus went somewhere safe, somewhere fine. Hope that it went somewhere far away from witch mothers who don’t know anything about art. But most of all know, in all and in the end, it had to go wherever it is that it must go.
This is not a fairy tale, this is not a happily ever after. This is growing up, this is how to date a girl in fourteen days.
Chaos & Reductionism Kicking salt on the Weinberg steps before a discussion on reduction & emergence theories. 46° & sunny on the coast of Chicago, trees now mostly leafless, though bushes harbor green & I come across a line like ‘ode to inspiration’ in the square dance he calls language. This is what exists outside of best intentions, when they’re left in drawers under a fist of gold toe socks, dry tank of Sea Monkeys & a letter written on the back of a thermos: drain me. Separating the queen bee from the drone. Gathering
souvenirs from an ancient place where I create a parliament from toothpicks I choked on in a previous life. Dead fish eyes cataract, alewife, the old man said in a froth of flies, rocking back & forth on the porch of a daydream. The smell was effervescent pudding. Pull your best shirt up & over your nose. He’ll say this is a very promising mess. Beyond the steps there is discussion, salt kicked & a bookshelf masquerading as a closet. After this I will eat a lake trout sandwich while the fishmonger taps claws to check for life in his lobsters. The tank is shaped like a clam. He says you can’t sell them if they’re dead.
Borges and I
I spent many summer afternoons in the bookstore on 37th Street, wandering through the dimly lit labyrinth of shelves, eager to lose myself in other people’s worlds. It was a fitting place to find Borges for the first time: someone had tucked a faded copy of his Ficciones between two volumes of an ancient encyclopedia. I took it down from the shelf, opened it to a random page, and knew at once that I’d discovered something extraordinary. In the days that followed I read all the works of Borges that I could find. I locked myself inside of my bedroom, avoiding friends and family members, speaking only to myself. My face assumed the strained expression of someone struggling to understand every aspect of existence in a single afternoon. I grew pale and stooped and so thin that I seemed to be receding from the world. But an unsettling incident occurred before I could disappear entirely. I was sitting on the edge of my bed early one morning, weary from a night of disturbing dreams, when I noticed a book of Borges’s poetry sprawled open at my feet. I picked it up and began to read, but when I reached the end of the first line I was unable to go any further. I went back to the beginning of the line and read it once more, enchanted by the arrangement of its words. I read it again and again, wanting each time to go beyond it but ineluctably dragged back to its beginning. I dare not write the line here, for I’m afraid that if I did I would be unable to write anything else. I will only say that it involved mirrors, and that I eventually escaped it by closing my eyes and throwing the book to the floor. The next day I took my collection of books by Borges to the bookstore on 37th Street. Ignoring the employees’ suspicious glances, I put the books in random places on the shelves. As I did so I wondered if someone else had followed this same routine before me, and that is why I had found the copy of Ficciones hidden among the encyclopedias. While considering this possibility a startling thought occurred to me: Perhaps I had followed this routine already, and without realizing it I had led myself back to Borges in the only way I would allow—by forgetting I had ever found him.
Anne Britting Oleson
The thing he remembered, afterwards, about the moment his left leg gave out, was the hooting of the owl. John knew little of birds, certainly not how to identify this one by its lonely sound. He had stopped, midway between the camp and the truck, parked up on the track on the other side of that crumbling stone wall which had long passed its usefulness. He had stopped, haunted suddenly by the sound so reminiscent of his boyhood in the West Virginia mountains—by everything that sound birthed in his memory. He’d stopped and listened. And felt sad at how far removed he was now from his childhood, from his family, from his home. Then the shooting pain from the bad discs, the ones he’d ruptured working construction a couple of years before, searing down his left leg—and he fell, the rocky pine-needled ground slamming up to meet him. For a moment or an eon, he saw and felt and heard nothing: he only existed inside the brilliant pulsing white ball of pain. At some point he came to realize that he was spinning with the planet, and, nauseated, he turned his head to vomit. Even this slight change in position radiated agony from his lower back, and he moaned or screamed—his throat was too raw to tell him which. The truck was up the hill, he couldn’t figure how far; he could see the moonlight, filtered through the trees, reflecting off the glass of the headlights and the windshield. The camp was back down on the other side of the stone wall. His phone was in the camp—dead--and the charger was in the truck. The hunting camp was at the end of this worn track; there were no other houses down here. When he’d been offered the camp while he worked up here in the summer, he’d jumped at the chance: quiet, nobody around. Now his frantic thoughts raced from the pulse in his spine to the empty woods around him and back again. John gasped, trying to catch his breath, but breathing was torture. He needed someone. Anyone. And there wasn’t a single person who knew where he was, or who cared, save his boss who was no doubt out drinking again tonight. From somewhere outside him, he heard the owl again.
He had a sudden blinding vision of his West Virginia home, of Betsy who didn’t love him anymore, of his small daughter, tucked into bed tonight by some other man she’d learned to call ‘daddy.’ Leah loved owls; John hoped Betsy’s new man still took her out to watch for them at dusk. Straining his ears for the hooting, John rolled over onto his back, so slowly, the pain making him bite down so hard he tasted blood. He felt the tears run from the corners of his eyes into his hair, but it didn’t matter, for there was no one out here to see him cry. It didn’t matter. He stared up through the trees at the moon, nearly full, and thought he had never seen anything so cold. The moon at home had never been so cold. He sucked in a breath and dove into the pain radiating from the base of his spine. He wanted suddenly to feel it. To feel only it. It was real, and cold, and sharp. Like the hooting of the owl.
When he woke, the moonlight had faded into the pale shadow just before dawn, and the owl had gone. The agony in his lower back told him he was still alive, though his skin was cold and damp from dew. John shivered, and each spasm was torment. He clamped his teeth together and turned his head to look at the truck. Twenty feet away. Maybe. The keys were still in it—the keys were always in it—if he could just get there. His drawn-out cry as he turned onto his side echoed in the early-morning woods. John lay panting, waiting out the waves. Then he rolled onto his stomach. To get to his knees was an impossibility; he didn’t even try. Twenty feet. He pressed his face into the pine needles for a moment, breathing hard and painfully, then drew himself forward, two inches, six, with his arms. Again he lay prone. Nineteen and a half feet. He could do this, he told himself, trying not to wonder why he should want to. Leah, he thought. The owl. He could. He had all day. He had all the time in the world.
I am the god tree at the center of the medicine wheel crossroad. Us trees, teeth stained blackberry. Ripened smile. Dead brothers reach like lightning from the ground. There is a trail map of constellations here. It is my tree body and Iâ€™ll do what I want with it. Splice the night by branches, like split road kill flesh. When I get bored within myself it is a rain shower. The bones beneath the bark are twisted shell bone fossils. I quake, hallucination in the tree line. When you stop to look back, salt pillar, you will find that everything has changed. If you dug me up, I would be roots for miles.
Her magnetic cackle, posed as a laugh, plows through blue smoke and booze musk. Those manning the barstools flinch, stroking wet-beaded glasses, initialing rings on bar-rail grain,
slides fed by the hot grease of cheap booze, they lift and toss it back, lift and toss it back as the bartender walks his route, filling hollows. She jerks another gulp down, the faces in the mirror eye the origin of her flung chord of angers and needs.
Mascara on crowâ€™s feet around sinking eyes, mother without pictures, careening towards last call.
Trying to Get Out In Memory Like the egg snagged in a wicker basket of limbs, broken and soggy, yolk seeping its gold through each twig, Like my heart slumped over its barrack of ribs, each pound of fist a tired motion unfelt,
With barbed spikes hardening from soft fingers of green, the cactus bruising with sun, the valley oozes with dusk, winter-pressed and oxidized bronzed, We are all stuck, heart still beating, willow clogged with sunlight, cactus suspended in century-old growth, As are you, my dear father, cast and still held in that sacred place between the closet that still holds your coat and your daughter Who sits here, writing this poem.
Concerning the Second Law of Thermodynamics I want to hear you explain it.
I cut the birch trees down. The ones that danced on the hilltops last summer. Tore them in two, heaped them into patterns and lit them aflame.
I read once about a perpetual motion machine of the second kind.
It was alchemy.
Youâ€™re right. It was because I wanted to waste you in transfer, because I wanted to know how much could be given by one body.
What were you making?
Is that how you explain betrayal? Youâ€™re a liar.
When I wrote Entropy on your bluing skin, I wanted winter to swallow your insides.
What happened to the machine?
Yellow birds drifted down from the hills. They were manic, lost.
Yes. A chaos of sound.
They got caught in the chimneys, and there was a terrible screaming. No, it was more than that. Of feathers and bones.
Bobby Bear Ruins a Picnic Dick Bentley
Bobby Bear had served as CEO of many corporations, mostly in the food industry. His empire included Master Mustard and Oklahoma-style ketchup. He found lucrative markets in limes, lemons, Norwegian crackers, lard, apples, toilet paper, and granola—the kind of commodities that outdoor vacationers leave behind when their campsites are invaded by wild animals and they have to run away. I did not know him well, but I had assisted him on a few deals over the years, mostly helping him to eliminate his competitors. He was now in middle age and had enjoyed twentyfive years of honest drinking and psychotherapy, both of which matched his four marriages. Wives two and four were the same person. Norma was a singer when he married her the first time. The second time around she had become an Exxon heiress. Everything was going well for him. His stocks were soaring; he lunched regularly at the Knickerbocker Club and dined at Le Bernardin. His ghostwritten memoir Affluence and Ecstasy, the Era of Bobby Bear had become a best seller. Then, one day, he called me from Rockefeller University Hospital. He was having health problems. His nose bled. He sweated at night. It seemed that he had developed serious allergies to the products he had been merchandising over the years. The hospital had tried, at his insistence, transfusions of LSD, peyote, and garlic salt, all from companies in which he had a controlling interest. Nothing worked. “I’m a goner,” he told me. “They’ve been injecting me with the same kind of crap that you would find in the worst post-punk vegetarian kitchens. They tell me I’ve only got six months. I need your advice.” “Well,” I said, “now’s the time to start communicating, to start saying good-bye at the gut level.”
“Sure, okay, okay, yes, but I’d like to go out with pride. There are a few transactions I’d like to close before the end of the six months. You can help. Only you.” He described some of his ambitions: There was a fracking job in Chicago, starting under the loop and extending south along Lake Shore Drive. The aldermen were pretty well lined up. He wanted to dope some more baseball players, down to the stillwide-open Little Leagues. There was a porno deal with North Korea, but the government wanted a piece of the action that would include missile sites. “I’m not sure I can help you,” I said, not without admiration. “These are going to be big promos.” “Yes, and here’s one right up your pattootie. We’re calling it the ‘Consensual Coffin.’ I got the idea right here at the hospital and my guys are working on it, which is why I need you. Let’s say $10,000 gets the buyer into the coffin. With the family’s consent they bury him, face down. He lies in it for awhile. On the third day he rises from the dead. Absolute guarantee. You like it? I’ll cut you in fifty-fifty.” “I don’t know,” I told him. “It doesn’t quite fit my business plan.” His laughter ended with a snort. “Everybody has a price, right? So sit down and let’s talk. First, throw back that hood. I don’t deal with anyone unless there’s eye contact. Second, get rid of that gray outfit…the suit…robe…whatever it is…” “Okay. But what do I do with the scythe?” “Janitor’s closet next to the operating room. This deal could be a mess.”
Contributors’ Bios Michael Abraham is a creative writing student at New York University. His poetry has previously appeared in a chapbook anthology entitled HOPE, produced in conjunction with Seattle-based literary organizations Write To The Edge and The Poetry Machine. He currently lives in Manhattan. Divya Adusumilli is from the beautiful city of Vizag in India. She has a BA in English Literature from India and a master’s degree in International Employment Relations from the LSE, London. She continues to pursue her artwork alongside writing, photography, blogging which she feels helps her express herself limitlessly. Divya is currently based in New Jersey, USA. Her blog can be viewed at http:// pinksaucer.wordpress.com/. Phyllis Carol Agins has long found inspiration in Philadelphia, PA. Two novels, many short stories and essays, a children’s book, and an architectural study of synagogues and churches were all published during her years there. Lately, she divides her time between Philly and Nice, France, adding the Mediterranean rhythms to her sources of inspiration. She has recently finished THE PROTECTION OF SALT, a novel about Algeria and France during the 1960’s. Please visit: phylliscarolagins.com
Jeffrey Alfier is author of The Wolf Yearling (Silver Birch Press) and Idyll for a Vanishing River (Glass Lyre Press). Recent work appears or is forthcoming in New York Quarterly, Louisville Review and Arkansas Review. He is founder and co-editor of San Pedro River Review.
Kaila Allison is a junior at Gallatin studying “The Adolescent Crisis,” among other things. Inspirations include Tim O’Brien, J.D. Salinger and her fellow NYU students and professors. She plans to write in Paris this summer.
Diana Bauza graduated from NYU in May 2013 and is now happily living and working in Lima, Peru with a travel agency. If you like beautiful places and especially eating really delicious things in beautiful places, you can contact her for tips about how to do that in Peru. You may be surprised to know that she works in marketing
and that she once was part of the Minetta Review, whose efforts she proudly and wildly supports.
Kate Belew is currently a junior at Kalamazoo College where she is studying English and Psychology and is the Poetry Editor of The Cauldron. She has previously been published in journals such as Cliterature, Straylight Review, and Outrageous Fortune. She spends her free time hula-hooping, reading tarot cards, and is a firm believer in duende. Lytton Bell has published five books: A Path before Winter (1998), The Book of Chaps (2002), Nectar (2011), Poetica Erotica, Volume One (2012), and Body Image (2013), won seven poetry contests and has been the featured reader at many California literary venues. Her work has appeared in over five dozen publications. As a teenager, Lytton won a scholarship to the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts, where she studied with Deb Burnham and the late Len Roberts. Lytton graduated magna cum laude from Bryn Mawr College. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dick Bentley’s books, Post-Freudian Dreaming and A General Theory of Desire, are available from Amazon. He has published fiction and poetry in the U.S., the U.K., France, Canada, and Brazil and has served on the Board of the Modern Poetry Association (now called the Poetry Foundation.) He won the Paris Review/Paris Writers Workshop International Fiction Award for his story “Crawl Space” and his short story “Promised Land” was selected for “Best Fiction & Nonfiction of 2012” in the Lukather-Garson anthology. His third book, All Rise is due out in early 2014. www.dickbentley.com www.facebook.com/BooksbyDickBentley Jaclyn Bergamino grew up in the sultry swamps of Florida, and there developed an appreciation for the environment and how it shapes our experiences. Since then, she has been shaped by places such as Thailand, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, and the Bahamas. Her work has been published in Yemassee, Exegesis Journal, Saw Palm and Flash Frontier. She is currently frolicking in boreal forests while working toward her M.F.A. in Writing at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and is the editor of Lightning Droplets (http:// lightningdroplets.wordpress.com/). Allyson Block is a New York City area based visual artist, working in a variety of mediums including drawing, painting and mixed-media sculptures. Allyson graduated from Brandeis University in Waltham,
Massachusetts with a B.A. in Fine Arts. She also received a PostBaccalaureate certificate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a law degree from the University of Denver Law School. Allyson has also studied at the SUNY Empire State College Studio Semester Program, Chautauqua Institution School of Art, and the Art Students League in New York City. Allyson has shown at galleries throughout the United States. Josh Dy Borja (joshersaurusrex.tumblr.com) is a senior at New York University. He is grateful for the mentors and mistakes that provoked growth and new thinking during his time as a physics student, an editor in chief, a member of publication staff, an editorial intern, and an Undergraduate Writing Tutor. He really, really likes Defying Gravity and cuddling. Laura Britton is a junior at NYU studying Literature and Creative Writing. You can read more of her writing at bookofthegrotesque. tumblr.com.
Caroline Bruckner is a writer and screenwriter based in Vienna, Austria. Her short film The Confession won the Student Academy Award and was nominated for an Academy Award (Best Live Action Short) in 2011. The children’s book Moritz was published through H&M for the UNICEF All For Children initiative.
Sarah Calico is a Gallatin Freshman. This photograph was joyfully shot in the Hudson Valley with Sarah’s dear vintage Minolta. Mouli Chakravarty is a native New Yorker, who offers a unique look into the urban cultures of the city. Her photographs, Ken Comes to Visit and Divergence however, are tokens of her holiday experiences spent in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts and Miyajima, Japan respectively. While she is a self- taught photographer and painter, Mouli attended LaGuardia High School for Music and Art (the “Fame School”), where she concentrated in vocal performance. She is currently a sophomore in New York University, focusing on Global Public Health and social justice issues.
Martin Charboneau is a Junior in Gallatin from Mississippi. He says “Binch” instead of “Bench” and won’t put anything in coffee. Even if it’s bad.
Steven Cordova is the 2012 first-place winner of the International Reginald Shepherd Memorial Poetry prize. His first full-length collection, Long Distance, was published in 2010 by Bilingual Review
Press, and his poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including The Journal and The Northwest Review. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. Jim Davis is a graduate of Knox College and an MFA candidate at Northwestern University. Jim lives, writes, and paints in Chicago, where he reads for TriQuarterly and edits North Chicago Review. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Seneca Review, Adirondack Review, The Midwest Quarterly, and Columbia College Literary Review among others. Jim is the winner of multiple contests, prizes, Editor’s Choice awards, and a recent nomination for Best of the Net Anthology. In addition to the arts, Jim is a teacher, coach, and international semiprofessional football player. Sarah Doody is currently a freshman in Gallatin studying documentary in film, writing, and theater. An apprentice to a stone and wood sculptor in her Cleveland, OH home, she’s always had a passion for understanding the dynamics of sculpture. This androgynous bust entitled Pierced twists the concept of natural beauty with altered beauty. Emily DuFrirsz is nearly finished studying Cinema at Binghamton University. She does not know what she is doing.
Abraham Elm works as a writer and bookseller in Seattle, Washington. His stories have appeared in The Monarch Review, Untoward Magazine, The Cigale Literary Magazine, and Rathalla Review. Madison Fraser is a freshman at NYU studying editorial and magazine journalism. Along with photography, creative writing is her most passionate hobby. She is a writer for HerCampus NYU and owns her own collegiate publication, CitygirlCollegian.com.
Ricky Garni is a writer living in Carrboro, NC. His poetry has been published widely in print and on the Web, as well as in several anthologies. He has received five Pushcart Prize nominations, most recently for a poem about Buittoni Butternut Squash Ravioli (in brown butter sage sauce) and is presently working on a new collection: IT’S JUST LIKE WHATEVER, slated for publication in 2014. Thomas Heegaard’s stories were written during July and August of 2013. Both were inspired by actual people. Elle --you still owe him a second date. Matt Held, born in Denver, CO in 1971 to an American mother and
German father, studied fine art at the Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design before moving to Seattle, WA and then to Brooklyn, NY. His narrative driven paintings and drawings go beyond the notion of urban decay to the post-apocalyptic struggle between the material and natural world. Matt’s work has been exhibited nationally in Denver, CO., Seattle, WA., Portland, OR., New York City and Beacon, NY., and internationally in Vence, France and Monaco. He currently lives with his family in Beacon, NY. See more of his work at www.heldstudios. com. Kyle Hemmings lives and works in New Jersey. He has been published in Elimae, Smokelong Quarterly, This Zine Will Change Your Life, Matchbook, and elsewhere. He loves cats, dogs, and garage bands of the 60s.
Jean Howard, award-winning video and performance poet, organizer, producer, and participant in the original development of the internationally-acclaimed, “Poetry Slam”, has poetry published in over one hundred publications, including Harper’s Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, and her own book, Dancing In Your Mother’s Skin (Tia Chucha Press). www.jeanchoward.com. Shoshana Kertesz is a visual artist and poet from Budapest, Hungary. She immigrated to the United States in 2010 and currently lives in West Orange, New Jersey. Her paintings and photographs have been exhibited all over the US, Hungary and Israel. Her website is www. shoshanakertesz.com.
Jihan Kikhia is half-Syrian, half-Libyan and was raised in France and the United States. She works in the fields of humanitarian aid, social work, and fine arts. Jihan studied International and Comparative Politics with a concentration on Human Rights and Development and a minor in International Law at the American University of Paris. She is currently doing her masters at the Gallatin in Arts and Social Change with a focus on art education, art therapy, and social work.
Mary Klecker hails from Minneapolis, Minnesota but still says “soda” instead of “pop”. Besides writing, she loves to run fast, drink coffee, and bake bread. She is currently studying creative writing and literature at Augsburg College.
Lena Klyukina is a visual artist currently residing in Vilnius, Lithuania. In 2013 she had her first solo exhibition Solar wind, presenting nature, music and people inspired surreal drawing series. While believing in microcosm of nature’s patterns and opposites, Lena aims to erase the
line between the real and the imaginary. Every character’s story and emotion is usually expressed through detailed, complex and chaotic environment he exists in. www.lena-k.weebly.com.
Eunice Lau is currently studying Applied Psychology and Social Policy at NYU. Ever since she was old enough to pick up a pencil and hold a camera, New York City has been her muse for everything concerning beginnings, endings, and rebirths.
Lyn Lifshin has published over 140 books and chapbooks and edited three anthologies of women’s writing including Tangled Vines that stayed in print 20 years. She has several books from Black Sparrow books. Her web site, www.lynlifshin.com shows the variety of her work from the equine books, The Licorice Daughter: My Year with Ruffian and Barbaro: Beyond Brokenness to recent books about dance: Ballroom, Knife Edge and Absinthe: The Tango Poems. Other new books include For the Roses, Poems for Joni Mitchell, All the Poets Who Touched Me; A Girl Goes into the Woods; Tangled as the Alphabet: The Istanbul Poems. Forthcoming in 2014: Secretariat: The Red Freak, The Miracle; Malala and Luminous Women: Enheducanna, Scheherazade and Nefertiti. Naomi Ruth Lowinsky’s poems have been widely published, most recently in Prick of the Spindle, Sanskit, Whistling Shade, Stand, Spillway, New Millennium Writings, and many others. Lowinsky’s fourth poetry collection The Faust Woman Poems, was published last year. Her memoir, The Sister from Below: When the Muse Gets Her Way tells stories about her pushy muse. She blogs about poetry and life at sisterfrombelow.com.
Tracy A. Marciano is a self-taught photographer from Buffalo, NY. Specializing in transparency film, she analyzes the use of colour and how it is woven into society in order to explore and interpret environments and experiences. As an undergraduate at New York University she studied at history and cultural anthropology and received a Master of Science from Pratt Institute School of Architecture in Historical Preservation. Tracy is currently pursuing a second Master’s degree at Columbia University for Landscape Design focusing on nocturnal gardens and therapeutic gardens for mental illness. View her work at www.TracyMarciano.com. Jesse Minkert lives in Seattle. Wood Works Press published a letterpress collection of his microstories, Shortness of Breath & Other Symptoms, in 2008. His work appears in The Georgetown Review, The Chaffin Journal, Minetta Review, Randomly Accessed Poetics,
Confrontation, Paper Nautilus, Mount Hope, Floating Bridge Review, and Harpur Palate.
Dennis Must is the author of two short story collections: OH, DON’T ASK WHY, Red Hen Press, Pasadena, CA (2007), and BANJO GREASE, Creative Arts Book Company, Berkeley, CA (2000), plus forthcoming novels: THE WORLD’S SMALLEST BIBLE, Red Hen Press, March 2014, and HUSH NOW, DON’T EXPLAIN, Coffeetown Press, Seattle, WA, October 2014. His plays have been performed Off Off Broadway and his fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary reviews. He resides with his wife in Salem, Massachusetts. For more information, visit him at www.dennismust.com. Anne Britting Oleson has been published widely in North America, Europe and Asia. She earned her MFA at the Stonecoast program of USM. She has published two chapbooks, The Church of St. Materiana (2007) and The Beauty of It (2010).
Kristen Poli lives in the West Village. She is currently a Senior at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Media, Culture, and Communication. Her accolades include winning first place in an on-air rap contest hosted by 94.5 PST. Her work has been published in No Ripcord Independent Music & Film Magazine, The Waster, and The Asbury Park Press.
Kristen Reichert is a California based artist. Her current body of work, titled Love at Last Sight, plays with the use of color as a way to unify different techniques while at the same time creating an underlying tension among opposites. This use of contrast creates a curious conflict between order & chaos, beauty & destruction, and the traditional & unusual. More of Reichert’s work can be viewed on her website: http://kristenreichert.carbonmade.com. Patrick Rice is a part-time writer, part-time therapist, and full time writerpist in Seattle, Washington. His work has been recently published in the fall 2013 editions of Emerge Literary Journal, Paper Nautilus, and Poetry Quarter.
Amanda Sanker grew up in New York’s beautiful Hudson Valley. She is in her fourth year at NYU and dreams of becoming an occupational therapist. She enjoys socks, sweaters, and the love of family and friends. Her favorite animal is the dinosaur.
Frank Scozzari lives in Nipomo, California, a small town on the central coast. He is an avid traveler and once climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa. A multiple Pushcart Prize nominee, his short
stories have appeared in various literary journals and have been featured in literary theater.
Mark A.M. Tamura (Markdotea) is a Brazilian game design student focused on concept art for games, as well as 2D animation. He is currently working as a freelance artist. You can find his work at markdotea.deviantart.com.
Charles Thielman was born and raised in Charleston, S.C., moved to Chicago, and was educated at 3 universities and on city streets. Charles is a loving Grandfather for five free spirits. His chapbook, Into the OwlDreamed Night is available through Uttered Chaos Press, and several of his other poems can be found via Google. Ian Tiseo is a recent graduate of the University of Portsmouth, UK, holding a First Class BA(Hons) in Illustration. He is a freelance illustrator currently living in London, UK. www.iantiseoillustration. tumblr.com.
Kid Useless is a man divided, functioning only in order to observe the underlying logic of the universe as it is refracted through his subconscious perspective and into the future. Visit www.kiduseless. com to view the recorded contents of his brain.
Ron Walker lives with his wife and two children in the Sacramento area of California. He teaches art for the San Juan Unified School district and holds a M.F.A. degree in drawing and painting from the University of Kansas. He also has a M.A. degree from Central Missouri University in painting. He calls his style of art “Suburban Primitive” due to his living in the suburbs and interest in primitive art.
Jerrold Yam (b. 1991) is a law undergraduate at University College London and the author of poetry collections Scattered Vertebrae (Math Paper Press, 2013) and Chasing Curtained Suns (Math Paper Press, 2012). His poems have been published in more than eighty literary journals and anthologies worldwide, including Antiphon, Counterexample Poetics, Mascara Literary Review, Prick of the Spindle, The New Poet, Third Coast and Washington Square Review. He has been awarded poetry prizes from the British Council and National University of Singapore, and is the youngest Singaporean to be nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He has been featured at the London Book Fair and Singapore Writers Festival. His poems have recently been translated to Spanish. (http://jerroldyam.com/)
I have acquired this horse, let us make haste! 126
Chopin Aubrey Beardsley
Acknowledgements The following pieces are published in public domain:
Excerpt from A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers by Henry David Thoreau The Climax, How Four Queens Found Launcelot Sleeping, and Chopin by Aubrey Beardsley Excerpt “The Swine of the Gods” from Celtic Twilight by W.B. Yeats Excerpt from The Odyssey by Homer The Dream of the Rarebit Fiend installment by Winsor McCay, printed 2/19/1905 in New York Herald Ulysses in the Cave of the Winds by Stradanus The photograph St. Mary’s Lake, Glacier National Park, which is used on our Title Page, was taken by Ansel Adams, commissioned by the National Parks Service, and altered by us. Info: Record Group 79: Records of the National Park Service, 1785 - 2006 (ARC identifier: 408). Ansel Adams Photographs of National Parks and Monuments, compiled 1941 - 1942, documenting the period ca. 1933 - 1942 (ARC identifier: 519830). NAIL Control Number: NWDNS-79AA-E01. Caroline Bruckner’s “Entirely Without Regret” was previously published by Crack the Spine.
At our request, the following have been gracious enough to share our call for submissions, help strengthen our electronic presence, widen Minetta’s readership, and direct writers and artists to our inbox. NYU Center for Student Activities, Leadership, and Service NYU Undergraduate Creative Writing Program: Jessica Flynn NYU LGBTQ Center, OUTPost weekly newsletter NYU Kimmel Operations Poets House Duotrope Lambda Literary Foundation Winning Writers UPenn English
Masthead Editor-in-Chief Katherine Holotko
Poetry Managing Editor Claudia Sbuttoni Prose Managing Editor Sara Heegaard Secretary Eshani Agrawal Treasurer Amanda Sanker
Publication Staff Joshua Borja Mary Hess Shahid Mahdi Aubrey Martinson Jaclyn Shultz Ruby Smith David Sobalvarro Emma Thomas Program Advisor Nanci Healy The Minetta Review is funded by the All-Square Student Budget Allocation Committee at New York University. Book design, layout, and proofreading by Katherine Holotko and Amanda Sanker.
This issue is printed by Offset Impressions. Special thanks to Jim Federico, Abby Fick, and Marcie Gensemer. All rights revert to the contributor, whose authorization is required for reprints. ISSN 1065-9196
The Minetta Review is a literary and arts publication managed by undergraduate students at New York University: Washington Square. Established in 1973, it is the oldest literary publication at the university. minettareview.wordpress.com
The Minetta Review NYU Center for Student Activities, Leadership, and Service 60 Washington Square South, Suite 704 7th Floor, Mailbox 121 New York, NY 10012
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