Nomans Journal Copyright ÂŠ 2013 All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Printed in the United States of America First edition Nomans Journal a literary magazine ONE email@example.com Editor: Carlos J. Fonts Assistant editor: Jack Dennison Website design: Justin Iacovino and Jason Turpin Art design: Tamalin Baumgarten Cover photo: Hannah Ludlow
Table of Contents Billy E. Collins Jr……...…………………….…2 Cartagena……………………………...…………....7 Carlos J. Fonts (photos)………………………...16, 39 Howie Good…….……………………...……….…17 Charlie Spitzack (print)……………………………18 Davon Loeb…………..……………………………19 Tamalin Soleil Baumgarten (drawings)………..20, 28 Jared Maddox….......................................................21 Sean Pears………………………...……………….23 Sherman Melville…………………………………25 Ryan Olenick…………………………………..…29 Julia Dwyer……………………………………….33 Christine Angersola................................................35
“Nomans” is the nickname that local fishermen and islanders have given to No Man’s Land, Massachusetts, an island situated three miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. From 1943 to 1996 the US military used it as a weapons testing area, and it is believed by some that many devices were left undetonated. No people are permitted on the island.
Sebastian: I think he will carry this island home in his pocket and give it his son for an apple. Antonio: And, sowing the kernals of it in the sea, bring forth more islands. -William Shakespeare, The Tempest
Billy E. Collins Jr.
Something Beautiful and Something Feared It was 1986 when Hurricane Charley ripped through the United States on a path of destruction that stretched from Biloxi to Boston, and although I was not yet born, I believe I was living at the time in the body of a man named Jim-Bob Kelly, a carpenter, auto body mechanic, former drug-runner and a fisherman. She was a tugboat off the coast of Mississippi close to where I grew up and her name was “Something Beautiful”. The two Cajun brothers and I had been out there for about a week or so, the storm building all the while, as if eyeing us. The brothers were Josef, the bigger and older, and Egg, the younger, and they were both good watermen and alright guys to have a few beers with at Shelly’s back on land, both quick to smile and with an easy way about them. They didn’t mind that I brought a kilo of weed on board for the trip so long as I kept it out of sight and cut them in on all the bones. The kitchen was a rolling mess by now, the refrigerator turned over and chairs all askew so you had to climb over them to even get through the place. I was making sandwiches for the 2
boys down there and the pitch of the ocean kept changing, swelling high and low so I had to wedge myself in the doorframe to stay upright. The brothers were at the wheel while I made sure everything on deck that could be tied down was and everything superfluous was stowed below. I’ve been in storms before. I’ve been in storms off the coast of Alaska with waves spitting ice needles and salmon the size of my thigh leaping in fury out of the water and onto the decks. It hadn’t gotten quite so bad yet but it sure didn’t look like things were lightening up and the radio delivered more bad news by the minute. I wrapped the sandwiches in rice paper and tucked them into my shirt pocket where they were protected by the thick orange rubber of my slicker, now sullied gilt green and brown with grease. Climbing out of the hold I couldn’t see a thing except what looked like a smoke filled sky and the occasional ridge of deadly cornrowed crests spanning the upper lines of the horizon. Egg was coming out of the cabin when I got to the plexiglas door, he was red-faced and huffing and he hurried down the ladder and around into the hold. I thought I had better stay out of his way and went into the cabin where Josef sat with the radio turned down to a crackle, looking out through the windshield at the tumult of sea as if trying to make sense of a math equation. The captain’s seat was a refurbished barber’s chair salvaged from a local shop and it had all the trimmings, brass upholstered buttons, sparkling red vinyl, and a swiveling chrome base pole dully gleaming in the steamy cabin. Josef and I sat and ate the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches while the storm kept at it. “Jim-Bob? How do you feel right now?” Josef was looking at me and chewing slowly. He was robust and had close cropped, kinky hair that sprung out into dampened coils in the humidity. 3
“Oh, I feel fine, man. You know, I’m alright.” Josef kept his gaze on me as I steadied myself against the dash. “No, Jim-Bob. How do you feel about us? This is a dangerous sea, we are far out and there will be no harbor during the storm. How do you feel?” I thought about what Josef had said. It was true. It was a bad storm. “Well, I don’t know, Jo. I think we’re alright. I’ve been through this kind of thing before and I think we’re alright. What can we do? At this point I’ve lived enough for ten men.” That seemed to satisfy him because he sighed a breath and leaned deeply back into the vinyl. “That is good Jim-Bob, because Egg, he thinks we are going to die. He is down in the hold right now tearing his hair out. Why don’t you go and talk to him? Try to get him to come up here and eat and we can all have a smoke and ride this old mother out.” I thought about Egg rushing red-faced down the ladder, unknown to me the meanest fear of death racing through him. “Alright, Josef. I’ll go and talk.” Egg was squeezed into his bunk and wrapped in blankets so he could hardly move except to hold his head and moan. I felt sorry for him. He was a strong guy and a good worker and there he was squirming in his bed, set to whimpering by death and the hurricane. I heard him crying and saying “Mother, Mother, we are going to die…Oh! Mother!” “Egg. Egg, man! What is wrong with you?” “We are going to die, man! Oh, man! We are going to die here!” He kept rolling over and squirming. 4
“Egg, relax! I think we’re fine. And even if we aren’t fine, are you going to spend the last few hours of your life crying in your bunk? At least come up to the cabin, we’ll roll up a bone and we’ll have a smoke. Come on, Egg. Anyways, I think we’re fine.” Egg wouldn’t hear me, he was ashamed that I had caught him sobbing like he was and I didn’t want to stay down there and watch him at his most pitiful. I climbed back onto deck and up into the cabin where Josef waited. “He’s not coming up. Let’s roll some of this smoke and we can try again in a while.” The humidity of the cabin felt better than the disorder of below deck and Josef and I burned a long rice paper joint, taking turns wiping the moisture off the inside windshield and trying to make out the rising navy bluffs smattering the depth ahead. To avoid submarining into the backside trough of a wave we were forced to motor up and down their faces very slowly and we chugged at forty-five degree angles and steeper up through the amassed swells, the wheels of the engine groaning against the force of the sea and the two of us cocked back and looking up at the foaming crests in anticipation like those ascending the rise before the final drop of a rollercoaster. We climbed the deathly knolls and spat forward against the rain in the wet-heavy air, skin soaked with saltwater and sweat and all the while the wind alive and layered orchestral. After an uneasy summiting of an especially large swell the door to the cabin burst open and Egg rushed in, dripping wet and red-eyed from tears but grinning madly and shaking his fists furiously. “Come on then, boys! If this is the end, then let it be the end!” He put a tape into the player and blasted the music out of all the speakers on board. It was Stevie Ray and the guitars screamed alongside the wind and Egg’s fever got me and got Josef too and we all sang and set to the boat with a renewed vigor. 5
“Jim-Bob! Get to the stern and make sure we only have three quarters of a wheel of cable left hauling those barges, we want them dragging as far behind us as possible and out of our way. And not even a full wheel’s worth of cable! Three quarters!” I jumped down to the deck and timed my way with the rise and fall of the ocean to the stern of the tugboat. A deep love for the little boat came into my heart. She was our only ride out of the storm. She was a good tugboat, twenty-five feet long with the wide iron eyebrow of a pharaoh coupled against the prow, steel cables to string the whole vessel together and keep her taut in the storm and driving ever forward. I stood roped to the side-rail looking out from the stern to where the two barges drifted hundreds of feet back. I worked the lever so that there was only three quarters of thick cable left on the wheel, we had a good hold and the barges weren’t going anywhere unless we wanted them to. I could hear Egg howling from the cabin and I looked up to see him standing crouched on the dashboard, his dark brown face pressed against the glass hardly visible in the swath of the hurricane. Behind us the barges were dropping with the drop of the sea so that they looked like the roofs of sunken barns hardly afloat but afloat yet, and they whiplashed along the swoon of the tree limb cable towed by our beautiful tugboat. I thought about the clear cold of the Alaskan Pacific night and how when the ocean was calm you could see the icebergs glowing blue in the dark with a shock of mortal white on top, and if those half-drowning arctic titans didn’t frighten death into me, the Gulf’s threat would be just that.
A Small Buck By the time it was dark everyone had settled down. Stepping outside I heard insects in the woods. I thought to myself, spring is over. I kept at it in my head as if defending a friend who was in the wrong until I got distracted by the girls talking. Sometimes I argued in my head about seasons, tides, standings, where the fish were, things like that. Sometimes I felt I could control them by convincing myself of one thing or the other. When the girls started talking it was useless. The light from inside cast my shadow. I was standing in the open doorway of the Ice House that faced the Avalon kitchen, leaning against the frame. I was ready for bed. Dylan was running around inside the house. She was worried it wasn’t clean enough. Renters were arriving on the morning ferry. She told me she was stressed before I saw her scurry out of the Ice House and I followed her to the door, noticed my shadow and stayed. I could hear Emily’s voice coming from the Tuna Club, where the girls stayed. A square bedroom with two twin beds, a bathroom, a dresser, always smelled musty. I don’t know how the room got its name. There was a stout plank nailed to the shingles beside the entrance. “Tuna Club” painted elegantly in black and the same for the Ice House, which had been a space for storing ice in the old days. 7
The Tuna Club window that faced North was open. A soft light spilled out and I could see June bugs flying in the glow. Brynn was crying inside. I could hear whimpering when Emily wasn’t talking. There was a breeze coming up and over the house laying itself on me in the doorway. It was nice to feel it all by myself. I thought about the science of it and then I stopped. I knew it was a sea-breeze coming from the South. I breathed up through my nostrils and the smell of ocean melded down onto the back of my tongue. The breeze came and the air lay still again like when a set of waves from a boat dies at the end of the beach when the ocean is slick and glass-like. I considered drinking a beer. There were Heinekens in the fridge and I knew that was better than nothing but I was ready for bed. I heard the metal screen door of the Tuna Club swing open, then shut. Emily came around the corner of the West wing and walked toward me. I stayed leaning. “Ugh,” she whispered a groan, stood close to me. “I’m so stressed.” Standing in the doorway over my shadow waiting for the wind to come I didn’t give a damn about anything. Not about anybody’s stress, or apologies, or hypersensitivity, as the girls put it. I didn’t care about Brynn’s anxiety. I didn’t care about her med-school exam and the idea of resolving anything didn’t feel important. Brynn had apologized to me. That was good. I gave Emily a shrug and tightened my lips together not saying anything. She snuck beside me through the space open in the doorframe and I could hear her walk up the old wood stairs to the studio until she sat. Everything went quiet and it was silent 8
in the Tuna Club. The wind came again and I wondered if Emily felt it above me through the open window of the studio. From behind the backside of the Ice House I heard an engine faintly getting louder. It was Hank. He came around the corner and parked his golf cart. It was dark orange, had large tires, and a whale bone screwed to the hood. He stopped directly in my shadow. “Hey Hank,” I said. “Vic,” he said. He had a Massachusetts accent. An un-lit, halfburned cigarette was wedged in one corner of his mouth. He took it out of his mouth and looked around. “What’s goin’ on here?” He spoke loudly and just then it had a harsh quality. The light from behind me lay on his beard and I could see the contrast and the mix of grey and white strands of hair. His beard covered most of his face and his facial features looked small, his skin the color of a brown cloud of smoke. His beard hung down twelve or so inches shaped like an arrowhead. He always wore a bandana around his head like a sweatband, sometimes a red one, sometimes blue, and both were worn in and the colors drained as if left in the rain or sun for months. He wore the same old boots and suspenders Spring, Summer, and Fall. “What did you do today, Hank?” I asked. “Well let’s see. Freight. Sent out some bills. That was a mess. Weeded my garden.” He stopped and turned his head as if noticing something in the distance. “What’s goin’ on there in the garden, Vic? It hasn’t rained in a week. There’s weeds. Don’t look much like ‘Joe’s Garden’ to me.” He shook his head. Hank wrote ‘Joe’ everywhere: Joe’s Garage, Joe’s Dock, Joe’s Cafe, Joe’s Boat. People came on the island and after 9
walking fifty feet off the ferry they’d start asking, “Who’s Joe?” Emily came out past me and greeted Hank, hugging him. “Why’s there weeds in my garden, honey? You water it?” he said. I felt the wind again. All it seemed to need was a light gust and it made its way over the cedar shingles and then descended. I didn’t say anything and nobody else seemed to notice. Hank and Emily talked. Hank would laugh after he said something. Ha-ha-ha, ha-ha. Emily would say something and he’d slap his knee or grab the steering wheel with both hands. Ha-ha-ha, ha-ha, ha. It was a high pitched, gravelly laugh. Unmistakable. I imagined that it had aged over time and I wondered if that was how he laughed as a kid, or when he was twenty-three years old, and if he had a beard at that age like I did. Hank didn’t like me at the beginning. He didn’t trust me dating one of his “Cuttyhunk daughters.” It wasn’t until after he asked me very seriously if I was in love when he started warming up to me. We were sitting at the Fish Dock one night, just the two of us for a moment. I told him yes, that I was. “Best feelin’ in the world, aint it?” He said. Hank and Emily stopped speaking and Hank sighed and put his head down, smiling. “Where’d you get this whale bone, Hank?” I asked. “Well, Vic, you want to hear the real story or the good one?” 10
“Whichever.” “No, no,” he shook his head. “I’ll give ya’ the truth.” He told me that a Minke Whale had washed up on Nashaweena Island two years before in the Spring. He said I could probably still find vertebrae, said he’d draw me a map. I grabbed my notebook from inside and went back to the doorway. Emily was gone when I came back outside. Hank scribbled on the page. “Cu..tty..hunk,” he said as a drew. “Nash..a..weena,” he said. Then he made an X. “There’s your treasure map, Vic!” He laughed. “Am I bein’ too loud?” he said. “No, you’re good,” I said. “I got to keep my eye out for Brynn. She’s a scary woman. She’s gunna stick a needle in me.” He made an intense tomahawk gesture with his fist toward his leg and then he laughed. I laughed forgetting that the Tuna Club window was open. Hank looked at the bone. “That there’s the rib. I got the jaw bone too. Four hundred pounds. Dumped it out at the West End.” “Where?” I asked. “Well, Vic,” he shook his head back and forth continuously, his lips tight. “I can’t be saying too much, now. You know, Vic? Yeah. That kind of information is for certain people.” Sometimes Hank was mean. I felt he had the right to say what he wanted. One night at a fire on the beach I said, “Hank. Thinkin’ about growing my beard out like yours.” 11
“Nope. No,” he said. “You got to have your heart broken at least ten times before you grow a beard like this. At least ten.” I went back to leaning against the side of the doorframe. I offered Hank a beer. “Heineken,” he said. He studied the can, looked pleased. We cracked them open and on that quiet night, nobody talking, no music, it felt great. I told Hank about a deer I came across. We agreed that it was the same deer he had seen in town earlier that day. “A small buck,” Hank said. “Yeah. He had two nubby horns.” “Yeah alright. Same one then.” Hank put his beer down and checked his plastic FedEx bottle to see if there was any rum left, raising it slightly. He groaned and put it back down, picked up his beer. “Here’s a story for ya’, Vic. I knew a guy who had a pet deer. You woulda loved this guy. The ultimate Cuttyhunker. He fished, hunted, all that shit. Used to feed this deer acorns with his hands. Yeah. Yeah, he’d collect acorns on the mainland in the fall, bring em’ back in a big ol’ canvas bag. He’s dead now. So the deer got big. He had it in a pen I helped him build, and one day we came around and it was bleeding all over, limpin’ around. Someone shot it. We had to do the rest. Someone didn’t like him, Vic. Crazy fuckin’ people. Not just this island. They’re everywhere. This island’s full of crazy fucks and they’re arrogant too. Never found out who did it until after he died. They’re all dead now, Vic.” Dylan came from the kitchen out the door and walked up close to me to tell me she wanted to go to bed. I measured the weight of the beer without moving or saying anything. “Okay,” I said. 12
“Hi, Hank,” she said. “Well, hi, hun.” “I’m tired,” Dylan said looking down, not at me, not at Hank. “Night’s over,” Hank said. Dylan walked away, said good-night. I told her I’d be up. Hank said something about staying until his beer was finished. I gulped mine quick. “Am I gunna make it?” Hank asked me. I looked down, my chin to my chest, stood up strait and studied the angle of the tire in regards to the cement stoop. “It’ll be close.” I went inside, turned the lamplight off. Walking across the front of Hank’s golf cart as he switched on the headlight and looking at the bone I thought that I could find my own. “Carry on,” Hank said. He drove off. I walked past the white pillars and under the awning toward the door that was close to the stairway that led up to the North wing of the Avalon. All the lights were off. It was hard to find Room Seven. I was annoyed Dylan didn’t wait but I forgot about it once I got to the room. She was in the bathroom brushing her teeth. She heard me and came to the opening and she was smiling. She went back to the mirror where I couldn’t see her. I lay on the bed. I could hear her in the bathroom moving around and the faucet going on and off. “You know,” Dylan said from the bathroom. “Those bones are probably gone by now. Washed away.” 13
“There could still be a few,” I said. I got up and stood by the window. It overlooked the Vineyard Sound. The lighthouse at Gay Head was turning. The widow watch windows atop the Fishing Club’s roof were lit up. They always seemed to be. Leaning on the sill looking through the glass I wondered if they were kept on during the Winter. “Were you even there for that conversation?” I said. “I was cleaning Room One. I could hear you guys. Why do you want a bone so badly, anyways?” “Why wouldn’t I?” I was looking at the patch of glow made by the hallway light imprinted on the lawn, distorted. It stretched out close to the start of the hill that led down to a clearing and then the road and then the Fishing Club. Up the slope came a deer faded in the dark and it leapt gracefully to an abrupt stop in the patch of light. It was the deer I had seen earlier that day. “Whoa,” I said. It was a reaction. “What?” Dylan said from the bathroom. “Nothing. Thought I saw something.” “A ghost?” “No.” The deer stood still at the top of the hill looking up toward the hallway window. He began to walk slowly out of the light and across the long part of the yard. He doesn’t know I can see him, I thought. He walked around the far side of the house close to the edge of the porch and went around the corner 14
where he was gone. I wondered then if I would enjoy hunting a deer. I would have to kill it. That’s the point. I stepped back toward the bed, the wood floorboards making noise, and I turned around and lay face down on the bed. Dylan came out from the bathroom. “Nothing’s old anymore,” she said. She lay next to me and I rolled to my side facing her. Her body was warm, skin soft, and her hair down. It felt nice to see the buck and have the image of it in my head in bed lying next to Dylan. Room Seven, my favorite room. I was looking forward to waking up to the white morning light coming from the east reflecting off the sound. I didn’t feel an urge to explain what I had just seen. It was fine the way it was.
Carlos J. Fonts Buck 16
THE PHANTOM MUSEUM Howie Good
1. Despite the time of day, night seems to be falling. America’s most famous serial killers howl like Siberian wolves. There’s nobody there who knows CPR, & it’s too hot to go for help. The heat has the small, hooded eyes of Joan of Arc’s inquisitor. She’s sitting by herself at a table in the corner, hands covering her face.
2. The gendarmes approach with dicks hanging out. A century before, Van Gogh was locked up in the madhouse for touching the local women. The street where it happened has been restored. Tell everybody – all business is piracy.
3. On a Friday in August, Christopher Columbus sailed west into the unknown. His country was the future. Now we know that no revolution can achieve what evolution can’t. Just give me a flashlight & a drawstring bag, & leave a car in the parking lot unlocked, & when I’m done rummaging, let me slip away like water, a silver bracelet with blue stones. 17
Charlie Spitzack Fighting Back
Davon Loeb Across Walnut St.
I’m in Philadelphia getting drinks. Splintering through the door, thinking ahead till when I see youfeeling like I’m walking on a tightrope, with a goading glare, I want to say something sweet; like I could peck out your freckles and make graffiti in the sky- but my tongue is minced in this predicament. 151 other faces, and surely every option may be better than mine, a dime amongst quarters. It seems your attention cost more than what I got and it’s a long way to the bottom of these pockets.
Tamalin Soleil Baumgarten Light at the Doorway 20
1. I cackle and crack a Miller while My girl, half naked on a beach blanket frowns and holds her bikini bottom together with a paperclip while she rolls her eyes and balls her tiny hands up to hit me with the sides of her fists, saying over and over, like a kid clutching his cut knee “It’s not fucking funny.”
2. Found a coquette in a cloud full of the distinct powdery aroma of contemporary women; (laden with sweet sap and day old sweat) a regal shower of sparks reflected off glossy confetti, floating around the room in slow motion in tiny, determined circles while soothing girls twirl devotedly to the frenzied piano racket.
3. I’ve been sitting here for two hours watching you paint skewed discs and talk in loops about all these visions you have of your future and every thirty minutes or so you say you’re finished and pour another plastic cup of wine for yourself but I can’t tell whether you’re being sarcastic or not so I keep getting up to go to the bathroom for no reason but to escape and cool off for a minute I think about leaving but you say you’re almost done and there’s hardly any wine left so I figure I’ll just stay and wait for a blow job.
Sean Pears Christmas in July
My Christmas pulls a toddler by his jacket sleeve, Matching three quarter length parka, sixty degree heat, Crossing Newbury Street strung up moonlight fantasy.
A warm November rain falls in late fall winter On my Christmas, as mothers stalk hand In hand with histrionic well-bred bawling daughters.
The wicked witch of the Eastern seaboard is smoking Slims and melting seaward. The city, admired, Rasps Christmas doos in a climatological quagmire
While mistresses peer through the palm fronds of Christmas Lights strung on the elms in Boston Equatorial Guinea, Her gift neatly wrapped under lace and straps.
We slide into the ocean of the nascent centuryâ€™s sheath. My mail order Christmas bites her lip with snow white teeth.
An excerpt from
Visions of Grandeur i get in the car and reverse it back onto the main road for a few seconds and then onto a narrow, sandy stretch that heads toward the marsh. we used to dig up littlenecks and razor clams until the sun was falling down past the skyline into the ocean like a burning zeppelin, and the greenheads were eating us alive. everything that died in the shallows and the woodland seemed to end up in the marsh. it reeked of brine and mineral gases, not unlike the smell of death, and the footing became a vast, sucking ooze that rose up every high tide to swallow the animal bones and the dried-out mollusks that had strayed too far from the waterâ€™s edge. i pull the car into an empty space in some brush where the ground is still dry and solid and reach down to pop the trunk. one hand he said after all these years, i still donâ€™t know why he did it. he was on medication. he was a genius last night i was famous he said if i could ask him why he done it. today iâ€™m awake
i go around to the back of the car, which is parked with the rear end to the marsh, and lift the trunk door all the way open. i reach in, taking the tarp by the legs and drag it halfway out of the trunk-space. once i was walking out here early in the morning by myself and i found eight dolphins in the high grass, rotting, swarming with flies and sand fleas. I’d never seen one in my life til then. i nearly passed out from the stink of it. one hand holds the firearm, danny don’t you ever forget it i wind the rope around my hand three times and sling it over my shoulder. after a few heavy jogs the tarp flops onto the sand like a dead tuna. i start toward the muck like a volga boatman, the tarp leaving a trail of flattened beach-grass in its wake. i take off my socks and shoes and place them away from the mud, and then i take a step in, sinking in up to my knees, grassy muck oozing between my toes. i keep trudging for another couple of yards, until the tarp is beginning to sink, and then walk back to the car, my feet crusted with sand and mud. could be fatal wait til i go into the open driver’s side door and reach in the ashtray. there is a single roach left. i light it and take a few short puffs to get it going, checking my rear and side mirrors. i close the door and go to the trunk for the spade. 26
souls come back by the time i get back over to the tarp it has already itself sunk nearly halfway into the muck. i lean on it sharply with both hands, and push it into the sludge, blunt smoke stinging my eyes as i hold it between my lips and i think about the picnic benches in front of the cabana, how they looked when i was fifteen. i think about being drunk and hungry and a jumping jack blowing up in my hand. i think about stolen wine coolers and ditching school and to smoke a bowl and get a hand job. i think about eating french fries with this one girl, dunking them in chocolate ice cream as we sit, looking at the boats in the water, the beach-goers, the fisherman in their slickers talking childish bullshit to each other and watching the wind carry some poor kid’s inner tube out to sea. out and act out emotions in oakland blackouts the tarp has stopped sinking now, nearly submerged. i look up and somewhere ahead of me there is a flash in the grass, and there is a quick, white heat in my chest and the shovel is sinking into the muck. it’s cold and slimy on the back of my neck and my arms lay back and watch the world spin. one hand he told me one hand holds the fire arm, he said with x’s scribbled over his eyes, standing under the power lines, blowing smoke one hand holds the fire arm on a mission that’s life long 27
Tamalin Soleil Baumgarten Blanket in the Wind
An excerpt from
The Steadfast Toy Soldier
Release A cut to the gut The fish was maimed What a joyous life remained For our little soldier Was back with his troop With a story to tell Oh the places he went Impressed was the lot But our soldier 29
He was not swayed by admiration For he was steadfast Like his lovely little lady She remained in her keep At last He returned The black sheep -The Crush By will of the Goblin Or general stupidity Master hurled our soldier to burn Caught in the mouth Of the hungry stove Our soldier met his demise His eyes fixed on our tiny dancer
The Squall Turned to liquid His eyes drooped His gun fell His one leg became His one part His whole was a blob Just then a squall snagged our dancer Engulfed in the stove The two burnt Melted together In perfect harmony Molded to the shape Of a heart
Love Poem to a Dancer I watched you from a far Your steadfast leg Made us whole I braved the worst It must have been a curse A premature flight Plummeting to stone Left alone to rains blight Arrived in a pitch black tunnel In there I had lack of sight Until rapids ensnared me Demolished my vessel But I held strong, never faltered By gods will I returned In the belly of a monster To be back by your side 32
In the place between Acme and Deming Is the valley of the moon
Drunk, smiling Blackberry stained hitchers Beg with thumbs up
“Can’t I catch a break?” Says the man to the rusted Ford Truck
Jordan came from Tennessee Ridin’ in a Volvo Gettin’ a speeding ticket in Colorado
He knew a thing of land Being a farmer of tomatoes And having convened with mountains days earlier 33
When I couldn’t sleep past Sun-up He’d offer a spliff, black coffee, (sweeten it with honey, dear) and a big mornin’ grin
I pissed him off when I broke The goose yolk. (Now you’re fuckin’ up) I did. I dug my finger too deep into the cracks.
Christine Angersola A Bottle of Medicine Helps Down Go Sugar Remember those flat white peaches we ate in the Bushwick apartment? The one with the bad plumbing and the sofa-bed the shy neighbor with the bushy eyebrows had to brute-force open? The way the juice ran right down every rut, chin to gut, the shadowy gap from throat to navel, right down to my ankles where it made my blisters sticky? The way those sandals smacked the one hundred and seventy something steps and the sunburn and fountains and paintings and ice cubes and key rings and crepes? Well I saved a pit and even though everyone said it probably wouldn’t sprout; now there’s a tree in a pot on a patio (you hate that word like you hate the smell of hot pavement and when people put an ‘i’ in your name not an ‘a’). There’s blossom on its branches and it’s big, so big it needs pruning. Remember when, lean as a runner bean and skinny as a rake we all sweated through our leotards and had to wash them with industrial pearly soap then blast them under hand-dryers in time for spotlights and battement tendus? Remember how the lycra melted and branded itself onto our skin? Remember how the holes were hard and shiny around the edges and looked like a disease? How we had to pick the scabs off eachother afterwards like they were lice? How we threw up pints of lucozade and had hair-spray smiles and greasy roots? Remember those peanut butter and strawberry sandwiches we snuck up Chestnut trees and how we took pictures of each other in front of the blown over ones, our heads in the centre of a sprawling circle of roots, spread out like medieval halos 35
or manes? Remember that huge goose egg and how you could press as hard as you liked and the shell didn’t give the slightest bit? These days seem to be made up of remembering, of recollections and taste-buds I would rather numb being haunted by ghoulish gluttony. Someone who told me I’d change shape also once said that the biggest sign of sadness is living in the past. These years consist of cul-de-sacs, dead ends, lost friends, muddled place names, mumbled faces, jumbled sign posts and forgotten traditions. I will recall these years as the years of recollection, reflection and refraction unless I am careful. Unless I change gears or rev engines. The memory factory has ground to a gritty halt. It’s raining, it’s pouring, I’ve been throwing up all morning. Weeks before I can muster the courage to change AAs or face friends, these nights make me sneeze. I must shred my dressing gown and sweat out grudges. Starbursts for breakfast and the smell of stale coffee in a car when you’ve brushed your teeth after drinking orange juice. Maybe it all looks skewed from this angle, maybe I am forgetting that you can’t look back at the present no matter how hard you crane your neck. Today I spent seven hours sitting on a piece of sponge named Conny eating sweets that were probably stolen off the back of a van and taste mainly like sweetened vaseline. Today I made my bedroom into a jungle with pot plants and miracle grow, tomorrow I’ll ride a bicycle, in July I’ll hear a gravelly Bob Dylan in my ear, and next month the only person who knows to bring me little round red grapes is going to the other side of the world. I am awaiting my adventure with eager empty pockets, a propensity to panic and an abundance of lists on colored paper. 36
“I call him Joe because he calls me Joe. When Carl is with us he is Joe too. Everyone is Joe because it’s easier that way. It’s also a pleasant reminder not to take yourself too seriously.” -Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer
Submit Prose.Poetry.Photographs firstname.lastname@example.org
Carlos J. Fonts Striped Bass 39
Contributors Hannah Ludlow is a Seattle-based photographer. Billy E. Collins Jr. lives in Boston and mainly writes short stories. He is also a guitarist and vocalist. Cartagena is a Massachusetts-based prose fiction writer and an avid fisherman. Howie Good is a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz. He is the author of five poetry collections, most recently, Dreaming in Red from Right Hand Pointing and Cryptic Endearments, from Forks & Spoons Press. Charlie Spitzack is a Seattle-based printmaker with a focus on multi-layered wood block printing. Davon Loeb is a New Jersey-based poet and English teacher. â€œPeople watchingâ€? inspire many of his poems. Tamalin Soleil Baumgarten is a realistic painter based in Seattle who is enrolled in the Masters of Fine Arts Program at the New York Academy of Art. Jared Maddox lives in Boston. He loves the Bruins and beer. Sean Pears is originally from Massachusetts. He is enrolled at George Mason University earning an MFA in poetry.
Sherman Melville is a writer and site-specific visual artist living in Boston. Ryan Olenick runs New England Standard Records, a record label company in Somerville, Massachusetts. Julia Dwyer is originally from Plymouth, Massachusetts and is enrolled at University of Vermont, currently studying abroad in England. Christine Angersola is a Boston-based writer published in The Newer York and Open Minds Quarterly. She loves The Rolling Stones and wishes she were a Bronte sister.