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Nightbir d Zine Issue 2 Elements


N ightbird Z ine A platform for creatives with connections to rural N ew York


N ightbird Z ine Issue 2: Elements Published Fall 2020 Printed by Sidney Printing, LLC in Sidney N Y Front Cover Image: bubble, Roslyn Julia Back Cover Image: light in the gorge, Roslyn Julia Drawings pg. 3, 5: Colleen Jenkins Drawing pg. 9: blind contour 1/29, Alyssa H ardy Linocut pg. 17: Tree, Amy Gallop

Copyright 2020 All rights reserved. N o part of this publication may be reproduced without permission.


Editors' N ote

H ere in our strange world, we catch fragments of the self - reflecting back through tepid water, visible only for a moment before our smallest shift breaks them apart, makes them into something else. We might need to take things slowly. We might need to try again. Let our voices olden, fill with dirt, sit back into themselves. Are you angry? Are you loving? Are you scared? Are you fighting? Are you faithful? We can hear you, in the night. We can hear you. We raise our voices up together - lupines, baring fleshy throats, with every ounce of magic they and we might have. We let it burn. ?Alyssa Hardy, Colleen Jenkins, Lex Lanza, & Hannah Taggart



the river loses its breath and it collects on the trees I dream of garlic the size and shape of a bell pepper

a wind-lashed house a poorly lacquered trail a duck ? the urgency of wet flapping wings

the lawn?s gone slick and frozen my heart, tightly wound


L ight it on fire. She glanced out the window at the soaked street outside. Streetlamp halos hovered over a shiny asphalt road. It could start up again at any moment. ?Better to stay in here,? she said to no one. H er voice was thick and syrupy. She poured more cider from the dark glass bottle on her table. She liked this cider. She?d been saving it for something but couldn?t remember what. So, in her mug it went. N ext year she would buy a new table. A loooong table. A table that she could put a dark green runner on like the one in the picture she?d seen on her phone a week ago. She dreamed about the day she?d have that table. It would be sunny and warm. Two working men would carry the table in through her front door and she?d be baking something probably. Savory scones or homemade bread or something. She?d embroider flowers on the edge of the runner. It would look good. She?d invite Kelly and Tim and Grayson and __melontree72 (M elissa? M elinda?) and Jess and Jess?new boyfriend? T hey?d drink and eat and light candles with long wicks that would grow brighter as the sun went down. It would get dark and Grayson would have the idea that they should rush out into the backyard and look for shooting stars. T hey?d find an old blanket and spicy chips and Kelly would bring out her guitar and they?d regale each other with a medley of stories and memories they?d forgotten to share before. A few more drinks and they?d use voices like royalty reading their mundane histories from a scroll. ?O n this day, two years ago? ? they?d start. T hen Kelly would see a star. She?d call for stillness when the motion sensitive porch light inevitably clicked on-- flooding their blanket island with an unpleasant florescent brightness. T hey?d lay together, stiff until the light cut out again and their eyes adjusted to see the sky. T hey?d look up and imagine themselves constant and forgotten and bored as the earth. A collaboration of celestial beings with nothing to do but stare at the sky. T he only movement at all would be the stars, inching their way closer, promising to one day collide and to meld them together forever. T his time-lapse is taking too long.


W ith no provocation she picked her phone up and scrolled. She liked Jess?story. She saved Tim?s post to remember to tell him something later that it reminded her of. __melontree72 was camping with Kelly. She looked down again at her small table. All it seemed able to entertain was a bottle and a glass and her left arm. N ext year she?d light it on fire. T he rain started again.


Benjamin Garcia

A Wom an H olds the Cold I O ut beyond the frothing breakers, a queer sunset: a H ardtack-Teak glow. Bulbous seaweed wilts at water?s edge, attended by the tiny crawling crabs, pearlescent grey, and the birds: R uddy Turnstone and Plovers advance and retreat, taunt the surf as children would a dog on a chain. II A woman holds the cold, thin hand of her mother, who holds a thin cigarette. She watches her sneakers as the sky goes livid. She is not so old yet, but some days she wanders the towering and shifting bars of memory with a dying flashlight. An airplane sews a running stitch along the horizon. Stars crop up. T here are others on the beach: silhouettes of men (that old fear), a plump jogger and two dog walkers. T hey pass in silence. III Sometimes the chain breaks and before you can think, the ice water spills over your ankles, soaking your shoes and socks, and what you?re holding is what you have and you tighten your grip and there?s a moment when you could cry or laugh and before you can decide (as if it were a decision) you both laugh.






A walk (com panions) beneath awkward weight our bodies wade in muddied shoes made visible, through a fog distilled by a cooling breeze, in which our hands, damp, swing and swim in humid air & grasp at walking sticks & branches that threaten to catch our jackets, tear our shirtsleeves & knees at the tops of brambles that we tread under careful step & moist breath, sighs of relief breathed into early crocus bud & crab apple blossom. while skunk cabbage, green & purple, curls at our ankles, imperils our progress & possesses dominion to turn us out. this dim-lit timber wet-land with trees in their long bow & heaving creak, have become a mystical wood of emerald & mint greens & soft jade moss growth ? a wild patch-work quilt ? land that is at once disturbed by a rushing water tumbling over bracken, root, & felled log ? from soggy dew to bog meets an open stream to river wide & we can go no further 14

we strain Written while preppingfor a tour back in February, thispiece comesout of trying, failing, and tryingagain to construct a performance processthat felt right. T he tonesI use change very slowly, and so many of them I see asold friendsand have worked with for years. I found myself feeling grateful for the thingsI have in the midst of a stressful period of time (which seemslaughably simple looking back).

Hold your phone camera over this QR code to go listen to thissong.


To M ake, A nd T hen A gain A nail in the wall rusted brown. Shoes were the worker kind, steel-cut oat warning of kicks to the jaw, dinosaur shell protecting toes safely. Shielded love always begins at the bottom. You can take your sock and straighten it up, cotton rib plain no saturated color purchased at a local K mart still smelling of corporation. Legs intertwined on a trampoline sagging with weight in the middle of the night, pools of flitting clear light resting in jars, brushed cotton ball lined bottoms. Calves worked out by the weekend?s soccer match. R aspberries from bushes out back, security blanket of sweet tasting wool for the fields wafting of strung clarity, juiced fruit. Garden hose wasted on the back lawn. Something about cooling down. Denim jeans, caked dirt, forgotten laundry cycles heading up thighs, handclaps woven into flesh. Your hip talking to mine, bones pressed out, lollipops after my mother went to the bank teller, a knee driven to the in-between. Wetness spewing from faucet. W ith the belly there is not much I can say, besides it was a lawless land. H ands a mass of knots, braided with callouses licked over by love dimpled with too much time. Fingertips torn from bending to a town where landscape sells as a by-product. N ail beds white with moons shone over the bay, half grown calcium deposits trimmed perfectly to flush the bed. Wrists churning over chord trios, singsongs from childhood. Arm strength that would put women who love women to shame. R inging the water out over cars in a full lot, Chevy logo beaming from above, grass creamed into palms. Every now and then you ask me to feel your muscles, my boy with no mother. Flat chest. M easurement tape around the widest parts. In the garage, photos to see what the other looked like. Waiting four days for film to develop ripe from the downtown pharmacy, laughs shrunk inside a disposable camera. Small print versions of flannel exchanged in a home crammed full of alphabetized siblings and alcohol.


I once had a boyfriend I loved so deep. H e took me to the riverside and held me down. When I pressed into his neck I dreamt a dream drinking itself to sleep, a smell blossoming to parts of my mouth I hadn?t reached in months. Last night I took a man home and I repeated Michael, Michael, Michael. O nce I had a boyfriend I loved so deep that pairs of eyes matched to gimmicks of hair, sugarcubes indented with natural syrup. I got to your voice and rewound a message from 15 years ago, all those transfers still on an answering machine plugged in after a long sleep in the closet. It had hiccups, it had drawls, it had whispers in it that you really had to lean in for, really made you work for it, a text singing H appy Birthday. I take my lemon, shriveled outside/soft inside, and make the counter take it, seeds running away from bodies built in a bracket of fresh, hot nature. What makes you mine where does that live and how can I give it away?


Paul JenkinsJr.

T he Elem ent al Cat alyst T he mountains offer us a unique opportunity. O ur day jobs do not bring us back to our elements. T hey hint, they tease, they circumnavigate them. T hey fold our reality. But the raw experience of them can be achieved for those who are willing. T hose who are not afraid of putting themselves through a trial of fortitude. T hose who journey. I make my way through the frozen obstacles of the winter mountain. I asked for both the suffering and the ecstasy. T he feel of the wind?s bite at -40 degrees and the same wind announcing the true summit. A wild juxtaposition that only those who journey will come to know and crave. For the experienced, it isn't the physical summit. It is the mental one. T he emotional one. K nowing that the earth provides and takes. K nowing that it could have taken all, but didn't this time. K nowing that you communed with it, if only for a short time. K nowing that you conquered the summit and yet, were mercifully defeated. Beauty beyond imagination.

T his is why we must return to the mountains. T he heat, water, challenging earth, and pure air. We must seek the discomfort and discord to achieve self actualization. O nce found, our internal paradigm will shift for the better. And that is why I am here, yet again. And why I will continue to return to my elements. A journey. 18



Caroline Fay

II i ask my bloodborn daughter what she saw water under water that saddest, sinking glow what did it look like? venom, white, an eye did you like it? did it sound of poetry? very much was it warm there? no, but almost what was your name again what was Elena, Elena and outside the city? an army of horseshoe crabs a boy with a broken kite do you remember his face? no, but fingertips the yellows of teeth how the snow fell that morning how the moon commanded strength commanded the people to swim


M ineral K ing the lake beckons, a still coin between craggy rocks I step in before the mountains swallow the sun and soft, clay-like algae separates around my feet I want it to encase my body like feathers, clear water soothing my lungs until they are full tent flapsin the wind rubbingagainst each other in urgency bootsslippingin the gruss a white flagof defeat I smear bits of my head into a notebook when it melts like this: watchinga forest fire from an airplane seedslike an oatmeal grain a bright orange dragonfly usinga glue stick in a drought 19 bowlsof cereal beadsof sweat on my collarbones mountain lake eyes a cat named Mango 22

days ago we saw the trees ? giants mauled with black marks what causes them to split open at the roots? what could crack such a beast? fire scars, he says it takes five years and many bodies of water to understand why I was so fascinated by this ? what they endured, and why charred ruins and dusty soil remnants of my prescribed fires what hurtsthe tree keepsit alive a splintered self from the beginning another lake finishes the poem

Sequoia, August 2015 for Johnny, Jayci, Brian, and Ranger Josh



Grace Tyson

K intsugi Deep within, the lava glows; this molten earthen river flows. Tectonic plates a fractured bowl, by melted gold their movement slows? the cracks now black and in repose.


Jennifer R. Donohue

Stir r ing D ull Roots T he trees are changing but nobody believes me. T hey twist, they grasp, their roots stretch further and further, not groaning down into the earth, no, but groaning towards things. Towards power lines and roads and houses and cars and other trees. T hey hold hands across property lines when they haven?t before and I don?t mean that the trees are growing, I?m not an idiot. T hey?re changing. It?s summer now, and their leaves are thick and bright and green, shushing, soothing, even when there?s no wind, like when a baby has had a nightmare but not quite woken up, not quite started to cry yet, and you just want the kid to fall back asleep. T heir bark has roughened, darkened, taken a color and texture I have no comparison for and nobody else sees. When the leaves fall, everybody will see. T hey?ll see the faces in the knotholes, they?ll see the bones of the squirrels and birds that disappeared in those boughs and never left again. When the leaves fall, it will be too late. T he trees will have changed, completely, irrevocably, and we?ll all see and I don?t know what we?ll all do. I don?t know what the trees will do either. I don?t know what the trees want, I don?t understand them, even as I pick up a single fallen leaf and try to read my fortune in that tracery of veins before I can?t stand to hold it any longer and let it leave my burning fingertips. I think the trees have had enough. I think once they?ve sloughed their leaves to the ground, to the wind, they?ll reach out like in a monster movie and swat cars flat. I think they?ll pull down the humming ever humming power lines. I think they?ll break up the roads, turn over the earth, crumble foundations, and squeeze out our blood. N obody will listen and of course they won?t. I know what I sound like. But I want to be away from trees come fall. When the leaf peepers go to the northeast, or whatever it is they do, I want to have seen my last maple, my last oak, my last pine. I want to get in a boat with a fiberglass hull, or aluminum, or steel, and I want to go where the salt is in my hair and the wind is at my back. T here are no trees in the ocean. N ot yet. T hey can?t reach me there. 26





Sarah Pfohl

Sum m er I s Canceled A story can be a mirror. Like the lake from years ago, when the sun splits low against the hills. Already, there is blood in the water; blood in the soaked cotton above. And now the evening swimmers wade in, towels strewn on park benches, two blue, one pink, and another, white with yellow stripes, heaped on the grass. Five heads in all? now four (a ripple where the other had been). Shoulders, dark hair, water-plastered; a sudden breaching breast. T heir voices skate gaily to the shore, turning the head of a woman and her Labrador. And to dive down at this hour, to open your eyes, is to slip into the space that holds twilight and night, seamless, together? the steady light of Sheol. Where our swimmers are the last (the deepest) shade of blue, before blue becomes shadow. Seaweeds pitch and reach, and ponderous fish roil the blood-wormed silt, and resurfacing? you find the sky, the lake, the hills on fire.



Alyssa Hardy & Hannah Taggart

Elem ents Playlist 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.

N o R iver - Esme Patterson Down By T he Water - T he Decemberists Fire - Jimi H endrix R iver - Leon Bridges Four Strong W inds - Johnny Cash Something Good Coming - Tom Petty & the H eartbreakers Ends of the Earth - Lord H uron M adman Across T he Water - Elton John Landslide - Fleetwood M ac R iver Takes the Town - T he Wood Brothers Fire and R ain - James Taylor A H azy Shade of W inter - Simon & Garfunkel Ballad of Easy R ider - T he Byrds Blowin' in the W ind - Bob D ylan Dirt - Phish Beneath T he Water - Feed T he Biirds M oving M ountains - T hrice Downpour - Brandi Carlile W ild Is T he W ind - N ina Simone

Hold your phone camera over this QR code to go listen to thisplaylist.


CON T R I BU T OR S D ebra Bechtold - A purveyor of paint, photography and written word, utilizing the land and views surrounding me as inspiration. But really just a squirrelly artist whose mind looks like a thousand octopus at a summer dance party. // Facebook: Visions of Schoharie Valley / Instagram: Visionsofschoharievalley / Website: bechtolddesign.smugmug.com Jason Calhoun is a musician and sound artist currently living in Ithaca, N Y. H e has played in various projects including H our, ylayali, and Paper Armies; his current solo work is a continuation of his project naps. H is music has been released on Patient Sounds Intl., Lily Tapes & Discs, and Bridgetown Records, among others. // Websites: napsounds.bandcamp.com and jasoncalhoun.info / Instagram: @_jasoncalhoun K Chiucarello is a non-binary queer writer and editor living outside the Catskills. T heir work has appeared in them., Apartment T herapy, Longleaf Review, Lammergeier, and others. T hey edit for Fractured Lit, where they try to bump up as much abstract, nonlinear, magical realism work as possible. // Twitter: @_kc_kc_kc_ Chelsea D eM ott W ildey dez is a Canadian transplant to N ew York, where she works as a public library clerk. H er poems have appeared in Green Z ine and Chronogram. She is working on her first graphic novel. Jennifer R . D onohue is a library clerk from N ew Jersey, living in Central N ew York with her husband and their Doberman. An Associate member of the SFWA, her R un W ith the H unted novella series is available on Amazon and most digital platforms. // Twitter: @AuthorizedM usin


Caroline Fay is an Irish artist based in Walton, N Y. H er realistic oil and watercolor paintings range from tiny miniatures to large scale, life size renditions of the natural world. She is inspired by relationships between man and nature and contemporary environmental concerns. Caroline was the solo award winner of the 2019 Decentralization (DEC) Individual Artist Grant and is the owner of the Big Little Art Studio (BLAS) in Walton. // Instagram: @carolinefayart A m y Gallop - W ith a background in studio art, I am drawn to the colors, movements, and textures of the natural world. M y partner and I run a soft goods business out of our Spartan M anor travel trailer in the woods of U pstate N Y, and we're always looking to connect with other creatives in the area. // Etsy: SpartanCarry.Etsy.com / Instagram & Facebook: @SpartanCarry Benjam in Garcia was born and raised in upstate, N Y, though he currently lives in Washington state. H e is an avid reader, fungi enthusiast, and seasonal park ranger. A lyssa H ardy is an artist, writer, and tarot reader in upstate N ew York. H er favorite mornings are spent with a cup of turmeric ginger tea. // Instagram: @moon.and.crow Colleen Jenkins is a maker and explorer who lives in upstate N ew York. She is fascinated by the many different forms of fiber art, the endless amounts of books in the world, and the way honeybees build and maintain their hives. She has a hard time sitting still and is always working on several projects at the same time. // Instagram: @seniorknitizen Paul Jenkins Jr. is a U pstate N Y band director and professional musician who loves the outdoors. As a Adirondack 46er, he cherishes the wonder and challenge the mountain climbing and hiking provides. Paul loves upstate N Y small town life and spending time gardening and beekeeping with his lovely wife Colleen. // www.facebook.com/paul.l.jenkins.7 35

Roslyn Julia is a photographic artist. Drawn to the medium of photography through her sense of awe, the theme can be found in all of her images. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in M anhattan in 2013 and is currently based in U pstate N Y. // Instagram: @roslynjulia L ex L anza gets excited about kaleidoscopes, extraordinarily green moss, and dogs who look like seals. H er free time is split between kayaking on small bodies of water, worshiping savory foods, and hanging out with her ducks. She is still thinking about the mountain she climbed 5 years ago. // Instagram: @a.n.chovy Sarah Pfohl is a disabled artist and teacher. She makes work about the value, power, and complexity of: a rural Central N ew York hill, the disabled body, and classroom teaching. Sarah runs the photo and art education areas in the Department of Art & Design at the U niversity of Indianapolis. She lives in Indianapolis and H ubbardsville, N Y. // Instagram: @sarahpfohl Jessah Serafini - H aving spent the last 20 years or so focusing on photography, I was as surprised as anyone when I decided to put pencil to paper again. I've always loved surrealism and my subject matter comes from images that I remember from dreams. Even I don't know exactly what they mean, but that makes it easier for people to come up with their own interpretations. // Instagram: @jessahserafini / Facebook: jessah serafini photography Cour tney Sher ry is a recent alumna of the U niversity of South Carolina Beaufort, receiving her BA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. She has been published several times in and on the editorial board of her former university?s national award-winning writing and arts journal, T he Pen. Spencer Sher ry is an award-winning actor, chili pepper farmer, bluestone pattern designer, game-show host, film producer, and as of this moment, published photographer. 36

Janelle Sandefur creates drawings and watercolor paintings in U pstate, N ew York with her cat Juniper. // @janellesandefurart Brooke Sm ith lives with her dog friend in upstate N ew York. She can be likened to a spear and a tugboat in a mellow kind of way. Play her a Tom Petty record and she?ll be just fine. H annah Taggar t returned to writing this year the way a swimmer returns to water. Slowly, and with lungs burning. She is grateful to have found it waiting. // Instagram: @h_r_tag_ Grace Tyson was born and still currently resides in Staten Island, N Y. She received a BFA in photography from Purchase College in 2015. H aving grown up in a suburban area, her work is an attempt to visually describe this kind of environment within narratively-driven projects. // Instagram: @grtyson


CON T R I BU T E Issue 3 due out Summer / Fall 2021 T hem e: H ome Subm ission deadline: M arch 31, 2021 via email Cr iter ia: artwork (preferably black and white) or writing that relates to the theme. Creator must have some connection to rural N ew York, but does not necessarily have to be a current resident.

GET I N T OUCH Em ail: nightbirdzine@gmail.com I nst agram : @nightbirdzine

CH ECK U S OU T prior issues available at issuu.com/nightbirdzine




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Nightbird Issue 02 - Elements  

Our zine is a platform for writers and visual artists with connection to rural New York. We are happy to provide back issues for free here o...

Nightbird Issue 02 - Elements  

Our zine is a platform for writers and visual artists with connection to rural New York. We are happy to provide back issues for free here o...