Magic Lantern Review
Issue 4 Winter 2013
Magic Lantern Review Issue 4 Poetry One Plus One Mapping the Delta After the Flood Diana Smith Bolton Villanelle on a Line from The Outlaw Josie Wales C.B. Anderson Little Sissy Kori Frazier Morgan Fireballs Don’t Blot Well Escaping The Sock Hop Kait McIntyre Beethoven and Fred Holly Day “Robert Frost doesn’t know shit about birches” a new numerology Conor Bracken
One Plus One Diana Smith Bolton Her legs were long in the way that suggests endlessness without boredom, her skirt brushing the tops of her knees like a sigh. Between the doorway, where he stood forcing the frame open with his palms, and the table, where she sat with one flip-flop dangling from a toe, the air grew thinner and calmer, as high above a valley. He felt his diaphragm press into his lungs. He felt himself evaporate. The early operas of Camerata swelled in his pockets, music that regarded attraction as mere arithmetic: one plus one equals a million. He stared, inexpressibly wishing that he could give her the old kind of happiness.
Mapping the Delta After the Flood Diana Smith Bolton Ragged water laps at the cane, pulling, like a diagram of evolution (animal, animal, man). Slouch toward unlikely completion in the damp world of limbo and landfall. The wetness pulses up to deer licks on stumps, winding its thousand dark hands around dead grasses and inky rotten wood. Epileptic worldâ€”black with debris, white with water's moonlit faceâ€”echoes like a grayscale Mars.
Villanelle on a Line from The Outlaw Josie Wales C.B. Anderson Buzzards gotta eat, same as worms. His enemies have failed to come to terms With landscapes where the air is seldom hazy And buzzards need to eat, the same as worms. Their lack of preparation just confirms His old suspicions: All of them are crazy. His enemies have failed to come to terms With mortal wounds and pathogenic germs That threaten both self-starters and the lazy. The buzzards need to eat, the same as worms, And hover when a gut-shot body squirms Before it pushes up a proper daisy. His enemies have failed to come to terms With streaming blood that overflows the berms Of mountain roads, precipitous and mazy. The buzzards need to eat, the same as worms, And mercies, like albino pachyderms, He shuns. (In Road House, so does Patrick Swayze.) His enemies have failed to come to terms With buzzards needing meat, the same as worms.
Little Sissy (Caryll Ann Ekelund, 1939) Kori Frazier Morgan Little Sissy has a part in The Bluebird, a little girl in the Land of the Unborn, in the same scene as Shirley Temple, though they won’t appear together on screen. Big Sister is jealous, wants to be an actress, too, saying she should be Shirley Temple by now, not just her co-star’s older sibling. The director frames Sissy with his figures, pleased by her fluff of brown hair, big walnut eyes, sad smile, and gives her a featured role, a closeup. On Halloween she thinks of this – of being a star – and twirls, fanning her silver princess skirt. The petticoat kisses the Jack-O-Lantern – a soft warmth, then a heat that digs deeper, carves the skin. She remembers a cream colored room, then nothing. When Big Sister attends The Bluebird premiere, the loss still a doughy lump in her throat, she’ll remember all but the envy, watching Sissy as the girl who tries to sneak about the ship full of children bound for birth, peering around a corner, eyes darting, as if asking is the coast clear? is it? She runs out under risk of capture, only to be sent back, where the bearded guard declares, It’s not your time.
Fireballs Don’t Blot Well Kait McIntyre Riding into sunsets is not all it’s cracked up to be. Your horse or mustang goes first, its final wheeze crumbling into ash. Then you are alone with wooden hands like Hydras, remote in your hair, bones curling around your ankles. Each crunch-click-tick sprouts five more ivory stems under your feet. The heat kaleidoscopes, smashing you into pulp and spine tingling screams. A sunset does not freeze /frame clocks or static snow and its colors won’t toss eyes filled with television blue.
Escaping the Sock Hop Kait McIntyre His mouth was smeared with crimson. I peeled off cotton to touch sweat beads. We ran barefoot in the night, a poodle nipping at my ankles. They found the skirt first. A white veil with pearls my motherâ€™s fingers glued on was supposed to pass through her hands withered by Dawn dish soap and an occupied nest. This will be eaten by moths instead. Then they found little red books from China. The campfire flickered afterimages, roasting our bodies like cornhusks. McCarthyâ€™s crow is just a mark of arson, crackling through the radio waves.
Beethoven and Fred Holly Day Beethoven, half deaf, heard music In his head, conducted symphonies in an empty room Lauded as a genius. Fred, half dead, hears voices In his head, gives lectures on string theory To anyone who'll listen. Play "F端r Elise," or really, any stock Beethoven and Fred will tell you how planets hum like harpsichords, how LVB was just transcribing the vibrations coming up through his feet. You can't talk to Beethoven about Fred because he's dead. I picture the two sitting together on a bus stop in Chicago hands waving wildly with excitement like angry flocks of pigeons lost in deep conversation, or just lost.
“Robert Frost doesn’t know shit about birches” Conor Bracken and maybe, yes, it’s better to be a bower than a swinger of them, better maybe to bow with them, exchange the inclinations of wind with them than to drag the prickly tips of their tops to the shivery image of exchanging their wives with. maybe it’s better to be a swinger, I don’t know, but I do know there is no tree sex without wind, there is no me sex without you, that there is no epistemic way to sex baby chickens but somehow some way Japanese masters taught the intuition of this kind of educated guess to people who, I imagine, own woodhandled scythes, handwash handmedown cutlery, have viewing parties for the season premiere of the harvest and invite only the stars, their middle school buddies and some ice to wash silence from the edges of their glasses. male or female, hen or cock and in the conjunction of the binary lives an impression, in the impression the matrices of hmm and in that hmm the musical, indiscernible hum of yes, this. if nostalgia is “the longing to return to someone who gets even your most obscure references”* then love
is a million tiny silences to which words have sutured a body, like all the many spaces of you that you are sutured to, that fill with birches and breaches and the britches motion hitches and adjusts each time it thinks itself into being. I think myself into being every day a little bit more like myself, which yesterday was silences filled with spoonfuls of peanut butter and a bike ride that ran along the tramline and it was fun as long as the tracks’ gaps didn’t try to bite my tires. today myself is a girdle for bewilderment and wants you to define birches. Robert Frost might not know shit about them but you do. you know how they bloom inside the silences of you, how they sway with the wind each hmmm rides on to the outskirts of you, where sometimes the wind pauses like a child contemplating the forest it’s not allowed to explore except when a brother and summer hold her hands. but sometimes she doesn’t, sometimes she runs right into the woods and comes back, late for her bath but bathed in starlight, wearing her new quiet like a cape that’s unable to hide how much her shoulders have grown. *after a line from “Clampdown” by Jennifer Moxley
a new numerology Conor Bracken when my grandfather calls and says “it’s always interesting,” chuckling, my body wants to brush all its teeth again, with friction. there, in your body, is a story and the earth is so starved for words it will spend three centuries hearing how your body tells it until the only echo left it is a worm boring a warren into the ground. as an adult, you can eat cookies anytime there are cookies and a hunger for cookies. when my grandfather calls I try to finish my breakfast before answering, nearly choking on a chocolate chip. as an adult, you can be held until your arraignment, you and only you can be held responsible for your actions. once, I jogged across three am’s wide avenue with my clothes in my hands because they felt better there than on my body and in my driveway
me and Cody flashed our smiles at the clouds, flashed beer bottles at Orion – see? we can brandish often and long our weapons too – we flashed our pelvises at the stars because we too knew what it was to burn, unacknowledged, at a distance. as the cops drove up, hulling dark with their sharp lights, we ran after the dark and, as adults, were hauled clothed back into the light and, logically, jail. there, in jail, they make you protect the story of your body with orange fustian jumpsuits because some people want to read the intimate syllables of your nipples, the phrasing of your nethers, some people are literate only in the alphabet of the body contorted and trembling. as an adult, you should know this. you should know the world can’t hear every part of your story. when my grandfather calls to tell me the latest part of the story, all the autochthonous cookfires in the Amazon cohere into a spindly net of light at night in satellite photos, which is the best way I have of showing what my words were
like. there, in the Amazon, there’s no jail, no ballistics tests, no cramped quarters made of concrete or nickel, hell, sometimes there aren’t even numbers, just one and more than one and can you imagine, not being able to count how much time you’ve been detoxing among the cinderblocks and uniformed sneers as two hours too long? it would just be more than one, which is how I respond when someone asks how many times have you been arrested? more than one. how many times has this, distant sister of mine, of the story only the earth will really hear, how many times has this happened? you don’t have to submit your answer to the numerological grammar of a system that doesn’t know how to count your sins in the light of a dark-bound mind. more than one. how many cookies? how many words could I say to my grandfather, as winter shuffled her cards outside my window with a windy legerdemain, as he counted out the cash of your freedom on the jail’s formica counter. as he counted this an “indiscretion,” a “youthful fault and folly.” how many voices live inside you, how many more times until we ask for a story how many more times until we get it?
Contributors Diana Smith Bolton. Diana Smith Boltonâ€™s work has appeared in 32 Poems, anderbo, The Jackson Hole Review, elimae, SALiT Magazine, and elsewhere. She is the founding editor of District, a journal of writing and art. Visit her online at www.DistrictLit.com. www.DianaSmithBolton.com C.B. Anderson. C.B. Anderson was the longtime gardener for the PBS television series The Victory Garden, and for the last six years of his tenure there he appeared regularly on the small screen. Over the past eight years, hundreds of his poems have been published in scores of print and electronic journals out of North America, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia and India. firstname.lastname@example.org Kori Frazier Morgan. Kori Frazier Morgan is a graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program in fiction writing at West Virginia University. Her stories, poetry, and essays have appeared in publications such as Shenandoah, Summerset Review, Rubbertop Review, Up the Staircase, and the Appalachian womenâ€™s anthology The Zinnia Tales (Mountain Girl Press: 2006). She is an assistant lecturer of English at the University of Akron and lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband and cat. Kait McIntyre. Kait McIntyre is an activist, androgynous, and queer creature in Chicago. Kait's work can be found at The Camel Saloon and has been nominated for the 2012 Pushcart Prize.
Holly Day. Holly Day is a housewife and mother of two living in Minneapolis, Minnesota who teaches needlepoint classes in the Minneapolis school district. Her poetry has recently appeared in Hawai'i Pacific Review, The Oxford American, and Slipstream. Her book publications include The Book Of, A Bright Patch of Sunlight, Music Composition for Dummies, Guitar-All-in-One for Dummies, and Music Theory for Dummies, which has recently been translated into French, Dutch, Spanish, Russian, and Portuguese. email@example.com Conor Bracken. Conor Bracken hails from Richmond, VA, though since he left in 2009 (Virginia Tech, BA English) heâ€™s called various other places home too. Born in Massachusetts but raised on either side of the Atlantic, he grew attached to words because they always fit in his luggage. Frequently mobile, rarely angry, and with work forthcoming or published in Bodega, The Foundling Review, The Oklahoma Review and Spry, Conor enjoys reading and traveling. firstname.lastname@example.org