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FRAGILE ARTS QUARTERLY Autumn 2008 Moongaze Publishing Pittsburgh, PA


Raymond Sapienza

Asst. Editor: Contact us:

Kristina Sapienza

All works in this issue of Fragile Arts Quarterly are the copyrighted property of the creators of said works and are used by permission.



About the Front Cover Art: Transitory Nature of Things © Charlotte Self “I love this piece, which really doesn't exist except in print. It was an experiment in temporary assemblage. An assembly of vintage sheet music, a plaster cast of the moon (by me), a piece of beautifully corroded green copper that I found in a friends garden, a photo of my garden statue of Quan Yin or Guanyin, Goddess of Mercy, which is short for Guanshi'yin and means "Observing the Sounds (or Cries) of the World." She is standing among the day lilies (which last but a day). There is a used butterfly stencil, a blank price tag, and a rubber toy frog which belonged to my son.” CS


The Mission of Fragile Arts Quarterly

The dictionary defines an artist as one who is able, by virtue of imagination and talent or skill, to create works of aesthetic value. The mission of Fragile Arts Quarterly is simple. We seek to give independent artists a venue to exhibit their










imaginations into the minds of others. We do not seek to please everyone, which is not possible. Our selection process for the works found in this inaugural issue was not complicated. What you will find represented within these pages are the works of artists who have touched us with their visions of the world that surrounds us all. We sincerely hope they will touch you as well.


Genera Christine

lives and works in Cascade, Iowa.

wildflowers claustrophobia You fell out when I opened my throat a chance meeting of words in a poem

Sometimes the world spins too fast colors shouting increasingly incomprehensible

But what does an echo know? waves screaming past spinning too fast

Hey Boy did you know I would give birth to you? my womb weeping, spilling, falling like

and my bed sheets turn oppressive pinning me down, restless Darkness rapes my atmosphere stretching out each shadow and I am lost inside the taste staining my mouth

pollen changes forever ground beneath our feet -

repeating tales of loneliness forgotten names and my own naked frailty

wildflowers along a country road ticking away time together until the next chance meeting in an open throat the next poem spinning out of control But what does an echo know?



the weight of silence

I belong in words and conversation

the trees can't bend for me this season brittle bones shattering under the weight of silence

inside music played softly by the glowing morning singing fire across the sky in tones of apricot wonder as our fingers touch in anticipation and our thoughts shower us like April rain I am simple like the wind and winding streams and the color of daffodils that bow their heads and sigh every time you choose silence over me


as flowers, unborn, sleep softly beneath my feet until time awakens and they dance again in sunlight's chatter careless of tomorrow some days I am a tree some days I am a flower but today I am the weight of silence

Charlotte Self “I reside in Portland Oregon with my 8 year old son Dylan, an aspiring artist in his own right, and my partner, boyfriend, and fellow artist Kenneth Rougeau. I am a self taught artist working in several mediums, designing clothes, writing poetry, dabbling in photography, painting, acrylic on canvas, and making traditional (and occasionally digital) collage art. I consider myself to be a surrealist, using metaphors and odd juxtapositions to make statements about spirituality, life, and womanhood.” More of Charlotte’s artwork can be found at:

angels and fishes and unspoken wishes


Koi and Waterlilies

Koi and Cherry Blossoms




daydreaming and the acquisition of wings


Lady Blue


she dances with butterflies


Ronnie Ruse

winter poems

chalk mark scribble over a patch of brown trees sparrows flit, erasing


reed-thin trees the forest a feathered nest between cold earth and gray sky


A sign of life Strange how the eyes don't show our age like the rest of it the color stays true to youth gemstones set in their filigree of skin shine in the light of day glow in the dark of night a sign of life the sunlight caught behind our eyes

Driving by The farms look slow now from my car window, driving by, slow as molasses in January. Cows stand motionless in the cold. Horses shake off snow instead of flies. Tractors pull bundled children across the fields in flying saucers and it's dark by supper time.


Chimene Jackson,

in her own words: “I have a passion for photography beyond words. Though my love for photography began at age 12, I have had a camera in my hand since I was three years old. Most of my life was spent avoiding the camera because of my parents' insatiable desire to photograph me in my early years; however, I credit them for instilling in me the love for capturing life's little moments, which might seem mediocre, but mean a lot 10 years down the road... My passion for my art grows stronger and stronger each year. In my eyes, photojournalism is the story of life: unaltered, imperfect, zany, angled, uncomfortable, controversial, agitating, and sometimes frustrating.� Additional photography by Chimene Jackson can be found at her websites:





MJ Csencsits

lives, works and raises her daughter in Northampton, Pennsylvania. In her spare time, she co-administrates an online book club:

Days of rain Days of rain, passing in liquid time, slowly. Skies of grey, fog creeps in misting gloom, sadly. Cries of need, praying for a ray of light, hoping.

Walking On The Mist

I was walking on the mist, Lost in the cool haze, Dew falling from leaves, Silence. I was walking slowly, Lost in scattered thoughts, One falling from another, Noise. I was walking alone, Lost in the warped world, Days falling from weeks, Time. I was walking on the mist, Lost yet found, Falling yet standing, Strong. I was walking on the mist, Alone, not lonely, Scattered yet complete, Me.

Her Eyes Her eyes see color, So bright and so clear. Her eyes see warmth, They've not known fear. Her eyes show wonder At the smallest of things. She doesn't yet know The joy that she brings. Her How The How

eyes show innocence. very precious is she. thought that frightens; her eyes see me.


Raelyn Oliver is forever redefining herself. A dabbler of this and that. Lucky to live near the ocean, claiming things that no one else wants: Voila - recycled art. She writes. Doodles. And snaps shots of old stuff. Photography. She likes to play dress up. Catch rollie pollies. Cloud watch. Eat fried cheese. Make paper. Read everything. Feel things with her hands. Grains of sand, and dirt. Feel things with her heart. Deeply. Her poetry, and photography has been published in “Southport NC" and “The Pelican Post”. She can be reached at 910.524.4806 or email: or web:



Sand Shadows

A Lost Sole


Sandy Toes



K.J. Stevens

is an American novelist and short story writer. His writing has appeared in The Adirondack Review, Fluid Magazine, Me Three, Circle Magazine, Cellar Door, Prose Ax, Temenos, and BloodLotus. Pilgrims Bay, Stevens' first novel, was released in 2007. Stevens' writing style has been described as minimalist. Stevens was born in Alpena, Michigan and currently resides in Garden City, Michigan with his wife and son. Read more about K.J. Stevens and purchase his books at the following websites:

dead bunnies

It is seven o'clock. Saturday morning. Elizabeth is beside the bed. Shaking me. “Daddy, there’s another one!” I open my eyes. Stretch. “Another what?” I ask. “Another bunny!” I sit up. Look at her. She is upset. But not in tears like the other two times. “Okay, honey. I’ll take care of it.” She climbs into bed. Snuggles up next to me. “Why does he keep doing it?” she asks. “That’s what cats do, honey. They hunt.”

I am slightly confused as to how it’s come to this. My daughter and I living this new life. Miles away from the city. Drafty old house. Ramshackle church. Renovating. Rebuilding. Adjusting. While Maggie, my wife, rests in a hospital bed. Fed by bagged fluids. Relieved by tubes. Healing in medicated sleep. So that some day soon we can all be together and finish


this dream. A big two-story house on ten acres to raise a garden and a family. A small country church turned into an art studio and a library. But for now, we are stuck in the middle. Biding our time.

Elizabeth is struggling, but doing well. And this is a surprise to me. Not because she has been uprooted from home, school, and her friends, but because she was the one that found her. My wife. Her mother. On the day of the move. Naked in the bathroom. Curled up between the toilet and tub. Blood running from a crack in the back of her skull.











running hot. Paramedics and police scrambling around in steam. Elizabeth sitting on the edge of the tub. Clutching Chester, our wily tom cat, to her chest. Crying, as Maggie was carried away.

Elizabeth puts her blond shock of curls against my chest, then looks up at me. “But why does he kill the babies, Daddy?” There are answers, but they don’t come. I touch her hair. Kiss her forehead. “Some things are a mystery,” I say. And we sleep.

I wake an hour later to find that Elizabeth has moved on to other things. She is on the back deck. Sitting on the steps. Surrounded by paper and crayons. She is looking out over the pond. Drinking apple juice from her favorite cup. It is blue, shaped like the Cookie Monster and so big that she has to hold it with both hands.


“Chester!” she calls between drinks, “Chester!” Unlike Elizabeth and I, Chester has adjusted to the change quite nicely. The very first day we pulled into the driveway and Elizabeth opened the car door, Chester sprang out into the yard and started his run. We’ve been here a month and he hasn’t stopped yet. We put out dishes of food and water, but he rarely touches them. These days, we only catch glimpses of him. A flash of gray darting through the grass. A shadow sneaking through the bushes. A tail twitching in the trees. Besides these fleeting moments, the only real signs we have that Chester is still around are the trophies he leaves behind. At first it was feathers found under the deck. Then a field mouse left on the doorstep. But now, we have a body count that’s rising. A robin, a dove. A ground squirrel, a mole. And now, it seems, Chester has found the bunny hole.

I drink a full cup of coffee while I stand there watching Elizabeth, and I survey the list in my head. Refinish the deck. Mow the lawn. Plant the garden. Repaint the church. Shingle the steeple. But today might be the day that Maggie wakes from her sleep. So Elizabeth and I will make the drive. To the hospital. We will sit in the room. Turn on the TV. And we










Elizabeth and I will walk to Jepetto’s. She will order fried shrimp and mashed potatoes. I will pick at a salad. Force a burger down. And when the check comes, Elizabeth will insist that the waitress box up the leftovers for Mom. We









Brooke and I will exchange kind smiles. She will take the leftovers from Elizabeth and promise to put them in the refrigerator for safe-keeping.


Our visit will last well into the afternoon. There will be more TV. More talking. And finally, I will read a book out loud. To Elizabeth on my lap. And my wife asleep next to me. And for a short while, everything will feel right. The way it’s supposed to be. But all of this is yet to come. For now, I have a bunny to bury.

I take the last shoe box from the closet. Put on my gloves and head for the door. I expect to see something gruesome. Like the other two. One found in the driveway, its head nearly torn from its body. The other on the back deck, missing its front legs and large patches of fur. But when I open the door, the bunny isn’t on the step as Elizabeth has said. Instead, Chester has decided to be creative and he has left it next to the steps, under the rosebush. And unlike the others, this one looks all right. No blood. No missing limbs or missing fur. I hear Elizabeth padding around the corner of the house, so I scoop up the bunny and plop him into the box. His body makes a gurgling sound. “Is it time for the funeral?” Elizabeth asks, as she runs up alongside me. I snap on the lid and walk toward the church. “Yes, it’s time.” Elizabeth has only been to one real funeral. For her grandmother she barely knew. So she believes that every time something dies, we must have a funeral. We have only been in the country a short while, but already we’ve done this several times. Once for each of the bodies that Chester has left behind. And once for a dead deer we saw on the side of the road. All of the small animals are buried on the hill behind the pond. The deer, of course, was left to rot. We don’t have


a big enough box for that, Elizabeth said. We’ll just have to say some extra prayers. Our ramshackle church still has all the goods. The congregation split when the pastor married a woman downstate. The members moved on. Formed other churches. And everything was left behind. Pews. Bibles. Candles. Robes. And hanging on the wall, against a velvety green curtain, is a big wooden cross. It is under this cross, on the altar, that Elizabeth and I place the shoe box. Elizabeth kneels. Does the Sign of the Cross. I pick up the Bible we’ve used for funerals past. And then we make our way to the front pew. We sit side by side.

“What should we say this time?” I ask. “I don’t know,” she says. We sit for a moment in the warm light that slants through the tall stained glass windows. And we say nothing. Flies buzz near the ceiling. And I can hear something in the rafters. Mice, probably. And I wonder if I should leave the church door open for the night, so that Chester can do some more hunting. Elizabeth takes the Bible and begins thumbing through the pages. She will find a passage. One that probably isn’t even related to the task at hand. She will ask me to read it aloud, and that will be our prayer. “Here, Daddy,” Elizabeth says, as she hands me the book. “Read this one.” Her little finger points to one single line. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed... I read it. We let it sink in. Then I close the book, and I sit and stare at the cross. Imagine myself the head of


this tiny congregation. Setting souls to rest. Bringing peace to tiny lives. And I think of how strange it is that we come to these places. Marriage. Children. Pews and hospital beds. Homes away from home. Our days in the city. The country. Together or alone. And of how all of us in some way or another will find a dead bunny on our doorstep one day, and there is nothing we can do but pray, bury it, and move on. “Some things are a mystery,� Elizabeth says, as she reaches to hold my hand. And from atop the altar, inside the shoe box, comes the most delicate scratching sound.


Kenneth Rougeau

currently resides in Portland, Oregon with fellow artist Charlotte Self & her son, aspiring artist Dylan Self. Ken's artwork is mostly digital, but he does make occasional forays into traditional collage & assemblage. He began his art career by creating a series of images to illustrate Alice In Wonderland. More of Kenneth’s art can be found at the following websites:



Dandy Lions


Astral Einstein

Clockwork Edison


Standing Stones



Carol DeBusk

relies deeply on Christian faith and Southern upbringing, believing love and forgiveness are the two key factors in happiness. She is the mother of three sons and has been married for 21 glorious years. She currently teaches high school and continues to work as an RN, QMRP consultant for a choice group of residents in the MR community. She has written for many years, sharing her work in her small community. She believes life experiences are universal and strives to put those moments in an easily understood format.

And When Day Breaks

Spring break and I have to work the first part of the week. My Mother-in-law graciously volunteered to spend some time with her grandsons while I plug in a few hours.

Actually the

boys could probably stay by themselves but, she loves the one on one time and they shower her with hugs and praises.


shares her cultural expertise in many areas and they soak the knowledge up from works of art, foreign lands to classical music.

This woman is amazing.

I do love her.

On this

particular morning I took the boys to breakfast before she came over. Arby's was the requested meal of choice. took our seat.

We ordered and

When the youngest brought the food to the

table, he commented we needed to say the blessing before we ate.

Heads bowed he began a simple thankful prayer. The

teenagers directly behind us started laughing and making ugly remarks regarding a child's prayer and God himself.


encouraged the boys to just ignore them and finish their meal. The ugly remarks continued. There were other patrons in the place as well; two working men, an elderly couple and another mom with her kids.


oldest was ready to jump the bench and light into the teens


with his younger brothers backing him up (You must realize my boys are menacing looking even in their young age).

They were

furious now, I think more in the disrespect to God than the personal embarrassment.

I told them to wait at the booth and

I would be right back.

I walked over to the teens and said what I needed to say and returned to my breakfast.

There was silence and we finished

our meal in peace and left.

In the car the boys were having a

fit wanting to know what I said to shut the teens up. "I bet you told them off, huh mom?" "NO, she told them she knew their mom." The boys continued laughing until I agreed to tell them what I had said.

It had been nothing rough or tough, just something

that may have been lacking. "I'm sorry guys; we didn't include you in Grace. me rectify that:

Here let

Father I ask you bless these young men

today, bless their words and actions and let them be a positive influence on the kids around them.

Let this food

nourish their bodies, amen." They didn't have time to think of an ugly reply, maybe they didn't want to.

I smiled down at them and whispered, “Thank

you for helping me be a better mom."

And I walked off.

The boys had stopped laughing and the youngest piped up, "Maybe they just wanted to have that too." I smiled, "Maybe so." I hope God finds a way to soften their hearts and touches them in ways they will never forget.

That "soft" is the one

thing that keeps us humane. Some have to dig deep to reach the "soft" but it is in all of us, regardless of the outside shell.


I pray you find your own soft center too.

Long Hot Summer

A Southern lady is taught many things early on Surviving the heat with but one of them

Sitting on the veranda heat rising off the southern clay ringlets clinging trickles of perspiration damp cotton sandals kicked to the side fans turning gardenias in bloom rolling clouds in tormented skies waiting for salvation the baptism of the rains

and sweet tea


Kassandra Stotler

is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and lives in Oakmont, PA. Although she has carried her camera across the United States and Europe, some of her favorite things can be found in her own backyard.





Juan Israel Espa単ol

Decline I will never read a poem on Ellen or Oprah or anywhere on television as if it mattered to any one listening intently. Or stand in front of the vast expanse of an audience performing my latest ode to the socks in my drawer and how they never really match. I will never be somewhere that mattered within an arc of history. When two points met and my name was mentioned softly as the note bearer for the day and for this I will pour another glass, sit and thank any who will listen for having the sense to enjoy the silence resonating from the vastness of my blank page. I will sit and consider radio. The beauty of never seeing faces and why God ever created the imagination.


Oak Park Chapter I. Page 3. And a fly has landed in my Frank Lloyd Wright picture book, above the photograph of his fireplace, in his home and studio which i've seen already once and many times, including in all of the dreams that followed those walks around the corners and down the streets shaded by the massive trees lining the blocks of shaded picturesque homes -

and before i could turn the page, this slow sensation fell like Chicago snow, sticking before it melted away leaving your clothes clinging to your body cold. This sensation of a curtain being pulled closed across a screen and I was the screen. I walked away leaving the book. Open. Leaving the fly, leaving him I imagined to explore the wood corners of the Oak Park home flying into the picture and out the opening of the roof where the tree grows in the hallway down the street, around the block to the park where I had walked my tan Corgi. Flying and looping back as everyone loops back to Hemingway's birthplace before passing the coffee shop library where I'd once bought my daily cup.


Through traffic, the short street and into the Unity Temple the crown jewel of Mr. Wright's eye which sits just across the from the Post Office. I walked with that sensation all afternoon. Imagining the fly, among the wooden pews where I once sat thinking he should thank the gods of the prairie school masters that i did not crush him between the pages. That I did not fold him flatly between the pages of history. Despite the dread that comes with memory, staying with me all of these years.

Reason Reason raises its eyebrow at the clock counting the hours left in the day. Noting with disapproval that yes the hands are like wings, numbers are flighty, days are seasonal and time being natures most exotic bird, really does fly. Even when feeling pressed reason suggests that I should still take the time to put my pants on one leg at a time. In the kitchen reason tells me that I should use the oven mitt before I reach for anything hot, and while out and about it whispers things concerning wearing a seat belt despite the shortness of the drive. As well as things so important as the proper placement of please & thank you within the context of the day, the novelty of saying hello when a stranger looks you in the eye, the virtue within holding the door open for someone, within giving your umbrella away in the rain.


That it is in fact alright that I smile despite the look on your face this morning or despite your disregard for the person next to you, which today happens to be me and "ouch " you stepped on my shoe but reason is telling me that it was accident. Reason has me noticing, mentioning, that a mans hand fits perfectly on the small of a woman’s back, that most prefer the cooler side of the pillow and that some only cry out in pain when someone else is in the room, that life without a trace of love is unreasonable and that you should maybe never hesitate to say I love you that if you do not chances are you're just afraid, or damaged, take your pick, but be reasonable as life without love might not be worth living, with chance being close to certain that someone, somewhere is waiting to hear you say it and mean it. Reason speaks somewhat evenly despite the magnitude of irrational anger and it being reason manages to keep me still despite the crowd pushing towards the cliff and its punishing drop despite feeling the sky has fallen with the dirt being so dirty and life being lived on the ground with lack of concern on the faces of people who never notice anything. Reason helps me not panic during an eclipse, explaining: the rotation of life, the natural path of the planets might darken the earth but time brings back the sun. That that take take

I must sleep at some point in time to feel awake, I must be awake to clearly dream, that some the time to smell the flowers while others the time to plant flowers,


and a few think to produce new breeds of flowers myself enjoying time spent arranging them, and I have never needed a reason to bring them home. With reason giving understanding as to why we should set the alarm at night but passion being good reason as to why we might stay awake until it rings. Because it is only after the sun set that I can understand the weight of my sorrow, the pleasure of my pain, with reason offering understanding that only by keeping awake during the darkness of night can I begin to understand the joy that exists during the day As what is the daylight but the absence of darkness? And how could I know pleasure without ever knowing pain? These thoughts, these questions always in balance, always tipping, always mentioning the scale, to any who'll listen regarding the beauty of life which is woven into the coat worn by eternity.


Amanda Gibson

was raised on the west coast, but currently resides in Anchorage, Alaska. “My love for the arts started at a very young age, probably before I could hold a pencil. Most of my work is done in oil paints. I also write poetry, and am currently working toward my BA in biological science.� Additional art by Amanda can be found at:

pencil on paper


oil on canvas

colored pencils and watercolors


photo by Charles Charlebois, digitally altered by Amanda Gibson


wax and oil oil on canvas


photo, digitally altered


Ever Outlaw

lives and works in Wilmington, NC.

settling my face settles in to old age day by day happily double chin double chin creased forehead creased not from worry but from thought so that makes it okay and i am finally fine sitting and reading and working sleeping waking and waiting for the world to settle down down in my lifetime


hemingway every generation has its disillusion its decadence its conflict its killing its mad genius embrace the ghosts that haunt your head or exorcise them to the page swaddle those gray gaunt incubations in nature's subtle majesty douse them in the bottle see if they‌ speak kindly make sense may be befriended or made benign by will or negotiation or escape make lovers of these men who mourn the innocence of revolution the passing of ideals into carelessness who like you are at once engrossed and repulsed by the march of time men machines in the gutters cafes cathedrals and bullrings life and death dance in a swirl of red and gold blood and money while a dark spark next to godliness illuminates the heart of man


observation for a monday

this night the almost–full moon bright and seemingly-lined with graphite your music fills my inner room my heart is a hunter befriended

I have an idea I have an idea that dying will be like our first kiss in reverse


Collage Assemblage Š Charlotte Self


Fragile Arts Quarterly / autumn 2008  

Fragile Arts Quarterly seeks to give independent poets, artists, prose writers and photographers a venue to exhibit their talent, to display...

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