The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.
Issue 58 Winter 2015
From the Editors
Dear Readers, Happy New Year and blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. blah, blah blah blah blah Passager blah blah blah blah in this holiday season with “Modern Dilemma,” blah blah blah blah blah blah as Kendra said, “blah blah blah blah blah,” blah blah blah blah. We are also blah blah blah blah blah blah when Mary blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. And finally a big Blah as blah blah blah blah blah as winter is fa la la la la, la la la la, joy and warmth, نورand blissful blahness of blahhood and other. Blah Pantea & Saralyn “blah” blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah Passager blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. And of course our own, Passager Steve Matanle and the way blah blah blah to the depth and his blahbly ideas. Season Greetings and Happy New Year! The Editors
Modern Dilemma Sing a song of gluten pocketful of trend what to make for dinner when cooking for a friend? Mercury in tuna fish arsenic in rice chicks have salmonella even cooked with spice sodas empty calories make you fat and lazy coffee dries you out leaves you jittery & crazy hot dogs shot with nitrates lactose in a malt sweets cause diabetes better skip the salt trans fat clogs your arteries steakâ€™s considered cheating vegan fakes taste awful you might as well quit eating Ellen Hartley
Co nt e nt s
Modern Dilemma Ellen Hartley
Second Hand Phil Sultz
Rivers Rising Sandy Longley
New World Tori Grant Welhouse
The Ears of the Aged Roy Mash
31 32 33 41 42 43 44
10 To the Hair on My Arm Roy Mash 11 Looking for You Jeff Richards 17 I Was Going to Write Mary Sesso 18 What I Should Have Told My Son Andy Brown 21 Rowena Meyers Stories Bob Finch
The Calligraphy of Ballistics Kaz Sussman My Father’s Armory Ron McFarland Poem Kim Leith Red Scare Sylvia Fischbach-Braden War Games David McAleavey All Moments Anne Frydman
For One Anne Frydman
Old Man January Clarinda Harriss
Snorkeling Clarinda Harriss
Memorias Diana Anhalt
When Stieglitz Came Between Us Donna L. Emerson
Celebration of Life Tom Juvik
Christabel Patricia Hoad
The Wind Has Picked Up Rochelle Jewel Shapiro
Twilight Photos of Anytown Marilyn McConnell
Leaning Catherine McGeehan
Blessing for My Granddaughter Norman Hindley
46 To Those Anne Frydman 47 Opening the Scrolls Marguerite Bouvard 48 George John Davis 49 56 57 58
Arguments Against a Hearing Aid Jane Ellen Glasser
Rivers Rising You should know that we did not separate when we were herded up that gangplank two by two, then down below, decks smeared inside and out with pitch on wood. The Flood Hero was kindly towards us, and after he quenched our thirst with beer and wine from clay pots and filled our bellies with grain, we lost fear of rivers rising, battened down ears to ravensâ€™ cries strangled by wind: do not abandon us, do not aband . . . Rumps, hocks, heads, hides, hooves, tails twitching, estrus heating dank air like mystery. We did not separate, we broke the Rules, beastly desires, perhaps the last coupling â€“ moans, bellows, flank to thurl before the threat of drowning hurly burly into night. Sandy Longley
The Ears of the Aged Shaggy and haggard as Saint Bernards, as the tongues of Saint Bernards, anti-bards who all their lives sang not one word, while the world, that big yenta, nattered on and on, absurder than absurd. Van Goghâ€™s severed one, did you know, was nearly eaten by a lizard? Kierkegaardâ€™s resembled two bedsheets hung in the shape of fiords. My fatherâ€™s were scored with dings like shabby old Fords.
Powdered with rust, they sagged on their springs when he snored. Mine are groggy birds whoâ€™ve just recently, perversely, begun to sing, but only I have heard. Roy Mash
LOOKING FOR YOU • Jeff Richards A knock comes to the door and Annie rushes to answer it. No one’s there except for a shadow slithering across the floor. She jumps aside so as not to let the shadow touch her toenails that she recently painted red. She hesitates a long moment behind the door thinking of him. She checks the hallway. Empty like her heart. Across the way the sun shines through the window. She moves the door back and forth until the long slithering shadow turns into a man in a hat and a long coat like Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep. Annie slams the door shut, runs in her bedroom, and flops on the bed. She will not cry though she’s sure he desires her to. Yesterday at a coffee bar he stared down at his latte and mumbled that he still wanted her to move with him to Richmond. “I can’t. You know I can’t. I told you a hundred times,” she said, tossing her blond locks and looking in the mirror at the back of the bar. Annie stands out from the plain folks beside her, chiefly him. He’s a skinny, bespectacled man with buckteeth and long nose, an executive for a security alarm company. Though she lived with him for five years at the condo they purchased together in McLean Gardens, she can’t fathom wasting any more effort on this
average fellow. “I love you, Annie. I love you with all my heart, and to prove it,” he said, sliding a piece of paper to her, “I signed my part of the condo over to you lock, stock, and barrel. It’s all yours free and clear. No strings attached.” “Oh, darling, that’s wonderful,” she gasped, hugging Dexter tightly, checking in the mirror at how funny they looked, the skinny, bespectacled, long-nosed man hugged by the tall willowy blond with big screen features. “You’re such a kind, generous man.” “Then you do love me. You do care.” “I do care for you. I honestly do but not in the way you think,” she said, sitting down on the barstool, folding the piece of paper and stashing it in her purse. “Well, if you change your mind, you know my number,” he sighed. Later, they wandered out to his car hand in hand. She kissed him on the cheek. He climbed behind the wheel and mumbled under his breath, “Baby, I love you with all my heart and I’ll be looking for you.” It sounded like the lyrics from a song and she puzzled over it as he drove off down the road to Richmond. Annie dresses quickly, a shiver running 11
up her spine at the thought of his last words. She waits for the next knock to come to the door and, when it does, she rushes to open it. It is Kurt Klein, a tall, thin, blond man with the most gorgeous, pale blue eyes that she met at a business meeting. “You are alone?” he asks. “Yes, I have broken up with my boyfriend.” They fix dinner, salad and pesto over vegetables, sip tea, and crawl into bed where he punches her with his long, skinny penis like she’s a time clock. He makes wild grunting noises. Later, when he’s left, she dreams about Dexter after their first foray in the sack. It was late at night. They went for a walk to calm their nerves. He shinnied up a telephone pole and yelled at the top of his lungs, “I am in love with you. I am in love with you.” She checked the street to see if anyone was listening. She saw a police car parked at the top of the hill and yelled for him to come down. He shinnied down slowly, his gray eyes shining in the moonlight, and yelled, “I am looking at you. I am looking at the woman I love.” She awakes with a start. A cold feeling climbs up her limbs. She jumps out of bed and stares out the window at the telephone pole. He is not up there. The next morning Kurt arrives and 12
they drive out in the country to hike the Appalachian Trail. He’s a health nut. They hike to a stream across the trail and rest near a crawdad hole. She reaches under a rock and pulls up one of the creatures to show Kurt. “It looks like a cross between a cockroach and a lobster,” he says, slapping it out of her hand. It falls in the water and swims to a hiding place under a rock. She notices the reflection of Kurt’s scowling face on the water but it turns into Dexter’s face and it isn’t scowling. It is smiling. Their eyes meet in the water. “We are looking at each other,” he murmurs. That night while Kurt Kline punches Annie’s clock, she thinks about how, when Dexter hiked though the mountains, he stopped every so often to point out the stunning countryside spread out below them or a hawk soaring in the cloudless sky and once, when they came to a crawdad hole, he scooped up a half dozen and cupped them in his hands for her to look at. A few days later he took her to a Cajun restaurant where she marveled at the tastiness of the crawdad étouffée. Kurt, on the other hand, rushes through the woods like it’s an obstacle course. The next day she signs up for an online dating service and finds a brown-eyed
gorgeous man who plays guitar – George, who, as it turns out, is an exquisite lover, but seems restless. Before she goes out with George, she stands naked in front of the full-length mirror in her bathroom. She was the only girl in the neighborhood she grew up in. She was fat and ugly. The boys used to run up to her and yell, “Annie, Annie, big fat fanny,” and run away. Then she grew into a tall willowy, blond – well, actually the blond part came out of a bottle, and the boys were after her for another reason. She developed an attitude towards the opposite sex. She stands in front of the mirror to confirm what she doesn’t feel inside. She is beautiful though she needs to refine her look somewhat. She dyes her eyebrows blond and runs a blond streak down her crotch hairs in the shape of a thunderbolt that drives George to distraction. He takes her to the mountains where he owns a cabin and to the Chesapeake Bay where he owns a sailboat. They sail out to an island and he climbs a tree with his guitar to sing to her. She covers her ears because his voice reminds her of chalk grating across a blackboard. His fingers tangle up in the strings of the guitar. They both laugh. They make love and she’s transported to another dimension, but, when it ends, she wonders how such an ugly voice can hide in such
a beautiful body. Dex played harmonica in a blues band during his free time. The sound that came out of his instrument was melodious, soothing to the ear. Annie wonders if she understands how the world operates. She stands in front of the mirror. Checks out her flat stomach and firm breasts. Remembers when she was an adolescent, how her flesh folded over like cookie dough and how it would become like that again once she grew older and gravity kicked in. Who will love her then? She wraps her arms around herself. Dexter looks over her shoulder, smiling. “Here’s looking at you, kid,” he mutters. One day in the mountains she strays away from the cabin while George is napping and talks to Kevin, a distinguished, gray haired gentleman walking his bichon. They exchange cell phone numbers. She tickles the bichon behind the ears and wanders off blissfully thinking of the possibilities of a new relationship. Kevin is married but plans to divorce his wife whom he calls “The Bitch.” He is a gentle lover like Dexter, as interested in the process as in the actual act itself. “They are indistinguishable,” he advises her. He reads Archie comic books as a way to relate to his daughter. One time they are sitting up in bed paging through the comics when they 13
come to a panel of Betty catching a fish that looks exactly like Jughead. The fish stares at Annie. It smiles. She puts her hand over the panel. “Turn the page,” she says. “Why?” he asks, turning to her with a puzzled expression. “I never realized it before but my former boyfriend who lived with me in this very condo looks exactly like Jughead. It’s spooky.” “What’s even more spooky is that you look like Betty,” he snickers. This frightens her even more because didn’t Archie end up marrying Veronica. Annie decides to swear off men until her hair turns back to its natural color. One cold winter afternoon, she checks her hair in the mirror, the dark roots climbing like kudzu vines to choke out the blond. She’s alarmed at the transformation and decides she must make it up somehow. She jumps in her running clothes, runs for miles until it starts raining. She staggers home exhausted, changes out of her wet clothes into pajamas, fixes tea, and listens to blues on her iPod. It was Dexter who interested her in the music. Once they went on the Blues Cruise, a week-long sail in the Caribbean with eighteen or so blues bands spelling each other twenty-four hours a day. A sign hung on the back deck of the boat 14
that said, “This Ship Kicks Ass.” It was true. She floated through the week like she was on air and it would’ve been perfect if only she was with someone else, maybe one of the more attractive musicians such as Tab Benoit. She hears a thought calling in the night and turns off the iPod to listen. What if she was with Tab? Would she learn things about him that she didn’t like to know to such an extent that she would throw him away like a stale piece of candy as she did the other fellows, as she did Dexter? What foul thing is it that pollutes her mind? She climbs in bed and closes her eyes, overcome by a sense of dread. She falls asleep and dreams of Dexter hanging from a lamppost, twisting in the wind, his gray dead eyes staring at her. She wakes up, jumps out of bed, and looks across the street. He is not hanging from a lamppost. But she does see a man who is looking in all the parked cars until he comes to one at the end of the block near her, pauses, rubs his chin pensively, and looks up at Annie. He smiles, puckers his lips, and throws her a kiss. She runs back to bed and hides under the covers. The next day she hurries to a salon. They rinse the blond out of her hair as best they can and dye the rest back to its original color. She consults the dating service and
finds an artist who calls himself Walking Bear Jackson. They arrange to meet at the same coffee bar where she last saw Dexter. She looks in the mirror at her mousy brown locks and notices that even though she has a pleasant face, she no longer stands out from the plain folks beside her. Bear does. His hair is thick, raven-colored, down to his shoulders. He wears a gold bandana, leather vest trimmed in fur, and turquoise jewelry. He says he is a Cherokee, but she thinks not since he is so light-skinned and plastered with freckles. She doesn’t like him, but decides there is no harm in visiting his studio space in an art warehouse nearby. It turns out that he’s not a bad artist. He carves wood figures, a bear, pony, beaver, a Cherokee warrior dressed up in fringe leggings holding a shield and spear, a Cherokee maiden looking up at the warrior with admiration, but his pièce de résistance is a totem pole. At the bottom of the pole is a likeness of him, his hair flowing to the floor, a grimace on his face. On top of his head is his father and his mother, he informs Annie, followed by his drill sergeant, the cop who arrested him for possession, the girlfriend who deserted him, and Dexter, who smiles at her even though a hawk digs its talons in his head. “Who is that?” she points at Dex. “That’s Dexter Miles, my last boss, who
fired me when one of the alarms I installed in a shoe store failed to go off during a robbery. It wasn’t my fault. The mice chewed through the wiring.” “Why is he smiling?” “Because that’s the way he looked when he fired me. I hated him at that moment. I wanted to wipe that smile off his face,” exclaims Walking Bear as he points at the bird with an artist’s fervor for his own piece. “The talons that dig in his head represent my anger. I am the hawk, you’ll notice, if you look at the face.” She steps closer. “Yes, I see that. Beautiful.” “My wings are spread. I am in the process of taking off so I will be free of the encumbrances of my job, free to create the very art piece that you are admiring.” “Yes, yes, I see that,” she says, backing off. She bumps into him. He smiles. “You know,” he says, eyeing her critically. “I’ve never done a nude before. Would you like to be the first?” “No,” she says. She leaves the studio, rushes up the street, buffeted by the cold wind, thinking of the last thing Dexter said to her: that she should call him if she changed her mind. She didn’t believe that Dex could fire someone, even a phony Native American, for something he didn’t do. He is too kind 15
and gentle a person for that. Tears come to her eyes as she comes to understand why Humphrey Bogart knocked on her door and why the last thing Dexter said was, “Baby, I love you with all my heart and I’ll be looking for you.” She runs in her condo with her arms outstretched like she is running to a lover. She sits down on the couch and looks out the window at the telephone pole and the lamppost across the street thinking about what a fool she has been, but now she has come to her senses. She dials his number. A woman answers his phone. “Dexter doesn’t want to talk, though he sends you his best,” she says, adding hesitantly, “You are Annie Poxon, aren’t you?” “Yes, I am, but who are you?” “Dexter’s fiancée,” she says, hanging up the phone. Annie Poxon runs to the mirror in the bathroom. Runs her hands through her hair. Mousy brown will not work anymore. It reminds her too much of when she was young and the boys made fun of her, but blond reminds her too much of Dexter. Maybe she should dye her hair red. Her grandmother’s hair was that color before it turned orange when she was older. Yes, she would do that, a mute red with silvery highlights. Then she will find lipstick, blush, and nail polish that matches and 16
maybe she will have to work on a wardrobe. She strips down to her underwear to confirm what she already knows. She is a heartthrob, every man’s desire. She sighs. She climbs in her workout clothes and rushes outside for an hour run. She takes a shower afterwards and fixes a chicken Caesar salad dinner. She weighs an ounce of chocolate on the food scale and nibbles it while listening to Howlin’ Wolf on the iPod. She is on autopilot and intends to stay there. But then she climbs in bed, curls up with the pillow, and dreams of Dexter, first as a lump of sugar, then as a green man waving at her through a porthole in a rocket ship. She awakes with a start. The wind rattles the window. A siren wails in the distance. She pulls the comforter over her shoulders. She tries to fall asleep, but her mind is roaring like the rocket in her dream as it lights up the sky on its way to a distant planet without her. Finally, at about six in the morning, she cries herself to sleep.
New World How I learned to knit was an undershirt. She called it a semmit and tucked a needle under one arm. She asked for red. The pattern was in her head. I canâ€™t remember how many we cast on. She was the mother of my Scots husband. Her chin skimmed my shoulder, scanned the precipice. She picked up my dropped stitches, peered down her floury bap, the epeiric sea loud in our ears. Her breath was tannin, held something of the root. She handed me back the pins and their doggerel. She called me quinie, blinked me with her blue sweeties. She was born in another century. Moss-stitching the straps, it was easy to cast off what she couldnâ€™t own. She blamed the new world. I would not scrub cement. Tori Grant Welhouse
the calligraphy of ballistics The calligraphy of ballistics illuminates the cursive informality of death, illuminates the path that follows the spark of this stylus that can leap from an unstable hand. The long silence of impact balances on its leaden tongue the hearts of mothers who have twice carried their children, who whisper now to their shadows, to the turned earth below the stones, inscribed and newly planted. Kaz Sussman
Poem Before the war, our two cats basked on the patio. We fed them leftovers, not wanting to waste. Clean water flowed from our tap, whenever we touched the spigot. I stared at the stream as I brushed my teeth. Our grocery store never ran out of whatever we wanted, an aisle for bread, a long aisle of breakfast cereal. We could shop all night. I walked to school, chattering with friends. I dreamed of becoming a doctor. After homework I ran outside to play with my friends until dark. After the war, Muffy and Tippy were gone. Mom said don’t look for them. We didn’t have any leftovers. We lugged buckets of dirty water across town. We crowded around the broken window at the grocery store, maybe for a few dried beans. We had to come inside when we couldn’t see the sun over the mountains. School closed for the rest of the year. We could start the year over, maybe, in September. We couldn’t play outside because a kid picked up a cluster bomb. There were no doctors. My friend’s house was now across the border. Kim Leith
Red Scare Red folded turtleneck on ironing board, red flowers jumping out of Javanese muumuu hanging from desk chair’s back, red Danish plastic Rosti mixing bowl filled with balls of thinnish yarn for weaving. Hemorrhoids fresh as frog’s hearts on toilet paper, or marbling bowl water. Chapped hands, red velvet Christmas bows on downtown stores; my father escorted by FBI to the icy St. Louis streets; two weeks later my red face crowning between mother’s thighs while three Beretta bullets turn Mahatma Gandhi’s chest red as cherry pie in Michigan; Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald burns in asylum fire, apocryphally, locked in electro-shock. Sylvia Fischbach-Braden
Memorias I’ve tried keeping lists, stashing away the memories time swallows – addenda and such, although much deserved forgetting: train schedules, telephone numbers, a car wreck, fickle lovers, failures. With age my memory mutes my past, stonewalls, dissembles. The early ones. Las memorias tempraneras – those are the ones that most matter, the last to go: la profesora teaching me to roll my R’s, spying on Diego Rivera out a friend’s window, my girlfriends seizing me by the hand when we crossed Altavista, wolf whistles, the sound of women singing as they hurled buckets of water onto early morning streets, corn growing in vacant lots, the taste of Mexican strawberries, a stranger’s kisses. Today in the shadow of the station an organillero plays his hurdy-gurdy. The old still listen as a freight train barrels by, the wail of its whistle riding the wind then scudding away like memory itself. Diana Anhalt
The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.
writers diana anhalt (ga pg. 61) Four years ago I left Mexico after residing there for sixty years, but my poetry dug in its heels, refused to budge. “Memorias” is one more example of how memories of Mexico continue to haunt me, and that, of course, is why I wrote it. I tend to use Spanish in much of my work, generally write in blank verse and depend on my internal metronome for rhythm. Now that I’m living in Atlanta, I’m hoping that, in time, my work will reflect this place where I live.
marguerite bouvard (ma pg. 47) I am the author of eight books of poetry, two of which won awards. My latest book, The Light That Shines Inside Us, came out last year. I have also written twelve books of non-fiction in a number of fields – human rights, living with illness, grief. My most recent book is The Invisible Wounds of War: Coming Home From Iraq and Afghanistan. I am a political scientist as well as a poet and somehow these two fields merge in my poetry. “Opening the Scrolls” was inspired by how, although we live with continual destruction, it is impossible to destroy the soul or hope.
andrew brown (md pg.18) I was lucky to be young before television, in a place where radio reception was poor but books were everywhere. When my grandfather took me into his lap for a story, he read Don Quixote and Bartleby the Scrivener. From my other grandfather I learned the storytelling of the Lakota, where the maps for living always come in narrative form. My house gods include Shelby Foote, who taught me history is not dates, places, and shots fired, but stories of people in personal conflict; Ernie Pyle, Ernest Hemingway, Annie Dillard and Annie Proulx. During my fifty-one-year teaching career, I’ve published personal essays, stories and poems, written plays and TV documentaries. At 76, I’m working on a collection of essays exploring the events that shaped who I've become. “What I Should Have Told My Son” comes from that collection.
writers john davis (wa pg. 48) I am the author of Gigs and The Reservist. My recent work appears in Hawaii Pacific Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, and The North American Review. I live on an island near Seattle, teach high school and perform in rock and roll bands. About “George”: I liked the repeated vowel sound of dog, paws, love in the first line, so I kept playing with them. My black dog was sitting under my writing table. Then I remembered that, as a boy, I had a black dog named George. The poem presented itself from there. Though I lost my mother a few years ago, I hadn’t worked her into a poem satisfactorily until she appeared here as a vulnerable woman who loves her son and watches him struggle with love. donna l. emerson (ca & ny pg. 62) I divide time between my home in Petaluma, California, and my family homestead in western New York. I'm an instructor at Santa Rosa Jr. College and a clinical social work consultant. I have four books of poems, and am in the process of editing my four-generational memoir, In Their Own Words, sections of which appeared in Keeping Time, Passager’s anthology of diary and journal writing. For months I was immersed in Georgia O’Keeffe’s life and work. The poem was inspired when I went to an exhibit and encountered someone certain of all things O’Keeffe.
bob finch (ma pg. 21) I became a writer due to a lack of imagination – that is, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Nonetheless, I’ve managed to publish eight collections of essays and to co-edit The Norton Book of Nature Writing. I’ve lived on Cape Cod since 1971 and for the past nine years I’ve been doing a weekly radio commentary for an NPR station in Woods Hole. It’s been great fun, but it’s disabused me of the idea that, because they can’t see you, you’re anonymous on the radio. Once I took a couple of months off and the station
writers played reruns, saying I was “finishing a book.” One day I walked into a thrift store and a woman I didn’t know said, “You’re Robert Finch, aren’t you?” I said yes, and she said, “Well, you should go home and finish that book so we can hear new stuff!” For the past thirteen summers my wife Kathy and I have left the Cape and gone to a remote fishing village in Newfoundland where we own an old house. It’s quieter.
sylvia fischbach-braden (md pg. 42) I am a student in the University of Baltimore’s Creative Writing and Publishing Arts program. My poems have been published in Welter, The Light Ekphrastic, and Passager. “Red Scare” begins in the present but ends in the era of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, Senator Joe McCarthy, and the Hollywood black-list. At Christmas-time, 1947, three weeks before I was born, my father, who worked at a Veterans’ Affairs office in St. Louis, was escorted abruptly from his file-folder filled desk to the sidewalk by two FBI agents. Herbert Hoover’s snoops had ascertained that my dad, may he rest in peace, belonged to a leftwing labor union.
anne frydman (md 1947-2009 pg. 44) Anne’s husband Stephen Dixon wrote: Anne’s life was never wasted. It had meaning, right to the end: her thoughts and scholarship and her poems. Anne wrote a lot of poetry but sent out very little, and only at the end of her life. Her last poem she wrote in her head while she was on her hospital bed at home. She woke up on February 10th, 2009, the day before she lost consciousness for good and thirteen days before she died, and said, “I had a dream last night and with it came a poem. I want to write a poem of thanks. Will you take it down for me?” and she dictated it to me and I wrote it down. It was about our cat, Streak, a fearsome creature to everyone but Anne, whom he was very protective of. I call it “A Poem of Thanks.”
writers Brave old cat I owe you a poem of thanks A poem of thanks for letting me come back Brave old cat for letting me be The night with destination unknown After she stopped reciting it to me, I asked her “Is it finished?” and she said “For the moment.” I said “It feels finished.” The following day, the last day of her conscious life, she woke up and seemed to want to say something and I said “Do you want to speak?” and she said “I’m still thinking.”
jane ellen glasser (fl pg. 58) I’ve been composing and publishing poetry for over fifty years without a diminishment in passion for writing, though subject matter and themes have varied. I have had five collections of poetry published. Light Persists won the Tampa Review Poetry Prize, and my new book, Cracks, is due out in 2015 from Future Cycle Press. “Arguments against a Hearing Aid” was inspired by an actual incident.
clarinda harriss (md pg. 59, 60) I am a professor emerita of English at Towson University where I taught for forty years. I have published five books of poetry; my short story collection, The White Rail, is slated to come out as an audiobook in 2015. “Old Man January” was written during a thirteen-hour layover in Sydney, Australia, on my way home from visiting family in New Zealand. The bit about hats refers to the fact that that part of the world is the skin cancer capital of the world. About “Snorkeling”: Snorkeling allows me to feel like a sea creature. Long before snorkeling, however, I realized that the only place where I wasn’t clumsy was underwater.
writers ellen hartley (md) Many lifetimes ago I was a professional flutist, but when freelance music failed to cover the rent, I switched to a more practical course and became a lawyer. For twelve years I was the mental health coordinator with the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office. I also taught (flute and music history) at Towson State University, and wrote music criticism and feature articles for several local newspapers. In my impending dotage I nourish my soul by writing poetry and memoir.
norman hindley (1944-2014 pg. 66) Norman Hindley lived on the island of Molokai, where he read, fished, cooked, taught and wrote. He retired from Punahou School in Honolulu, where he was a revered teacher. His poetry appears in Prairie Schooner, Hawaii Review, Ploughshares, and in the book Winter Eel (University of Hawaii Press). His second book is forthcoming in 2015.
patricia hoad (ca pg. 64) I grew up in the (then) British West Indies and worked there. I live now in Ventura, where I try growing freesias, transcribing old journals and putting their histories together, and writing poetry. I often remember the Caribbean; my poetry book is Going Back to See Ottie. “Christabel” is my nightmare of being on a street in Europe at the end of WWII. A teenager, I wasn’t there but I’ve named the poem for Christabel Bielenberg, who was.
tom juvik (wa pg. 49) I’m a retired teacher and, like the main character in this story, I served in the Vietnam War. Unlike the main character I do not like to do yard work. Winner of the 2014 Stone Canoe Writer’s Prize for Veterans, I’ve had stories in Tampa Review, Weber: The Contemporary West, and Rockhurst Review. “Celebration of Life” was inspired by the death of author Jack Cady, a mentor who came to mean so much more.
writers kim leith (md pg. 41) I grew up in a small town in Michigan, where I learned to love libraries and reading, and spent many hours writing stories, and poems. In college, I studied Classical Literature, struggling and thrilling over Homer’s music and irony. College included creative writing classes at the Naropa Institute in Boulder. After working at a bookstore for many years, I earned a Masters in Library and Information Science and moved to Baltimore, where I work as a librarian.
sandy longley (ny pg. 7) My recent publications include Spillway, The Naugatuck River Review, Ireland's Southword Journal, and Nimrod International Journal. I teach at Columbia-Greene Community College in Hudson, New York. About “Rivers Rising”: An ad in The New Yorker for a beautifully crafted wooden toy of Noah’s Ark prompted me to research different versions of that enduring story. “Rivers Rising” emerged and I thought eloquently expressed the innocence of an animal's mind and the impetus for humans to rescue them from our destruction, necessary today as well.
roy mash (ca pg. 8, 10) I am a board member of Marin Poetry Center and former bicycle messenger. I hold degrees in English, philosophy, and computer science, though I currently doodle my time away staring out of café windows, and dabbing up the seeds that have fallen from an everything bagel. My poems have appeared in journals such as AGNI Online, Atlanta Review, Barrow Street, and River Styx. I am the recipient of the Atlanta Review International Publication Award. My first book, Buyer’s Remorse (Cherry Grove Collections), debuted in 2014. About the poems: The body ages. Obviously. Less obvious: the attitude taken toward the aging body.
writers david mcaleavey (va pg. 43) I’ve taught at George Washington University since 1974. I’ve published five books of poems, one chapbook, and poems in many journals, including Poetry, Ploughshares, The Georgia Review, and The Denver Quarterly. My most recent book is Huge Haiku, inspired by Lyn Hejinian’s essay “The Rejection of Closure,” suggesting that interesting long works could be written by abandoning the need for closure. “War Games” is from a series of sonnets using end-rhyme words or sounds from sonnets by Shakespeare, Milton, Keats, and others. This one borrowed the rhymes from Ellen Bryant Voigt’s “Kyrie,” that begins, “Once the world had its fill of war,” using her rhymes as the first words of my lines, rather than as the end words. I wrote it during a writer's residency on the Egyptian Red Sea Coast, in response to news sadly familiar to us all.
marilyn mcconnell (ga pg. 65) As a visual artist and poet, I thrive on images both pictorial and verbal. Gregory Crewdson’s photography collection, Beneath the Roses, so moved me as to demand a response. The number of drafts that morphed into my poem remind me that a poem is always a process, an airy thing that at some point lands on its feet and results in that ecstatic “Yes!”
ronald mcfarland (id pg. 33) I’ve taught at the University of Idaho since 1970 and was named the state’s first writer in residence in 1984. I have two daughters, one of whom teaches high school in the small town of Kendrick, Indiana, and a son, who’s a deputy sheriff in Snohomish County, Washington. They’ve provided me with five grandchildren, and through my wife, Georgia Tiffany, I’ve acquired four step-grandchildren. “My Father’s Armory” came about as I was thinking of taking my father's old Remington 12-gauge, now mine, to a gunsmith for a repair. When I wrote this essay, I thought maybe all the furor of the 2nd Amendment might arouse
writers some interest in it. I regard myself to be a cynical optimist, and much of my writing as “seriously whimsical” or “whimsically serious.” A favorite poet is John Donne, a great lover and employer of paradoxes.
catherine mcgeehan (nm pg. 57) I have been writing poetry for as long as I can remember – much of it scribbled on the backs of old receipts or bus schedules and then stuffed in a pocket. In the 1990s, while writing feature stories for Michigan’s Kalamazoo Gazette, I began a more serious study of poetry. Now retired and living in Las Cruces, I continue to write poetry and my work has been published in the journal, Sin Fronteras/Writers Without Borders. “Leaning” was written for my mother on the death of my father.
jeff richards (md pg. 11) “Looking for You” is based on “It’ll Be Me,” a country blues song written by Cowboy Jack Clement and originally recorded at Sun Studio in Memphis in 1957 by Jerry Lee Lewis as the flip side of “Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On.” This story is part of a collection of blues stories, two of which have already appeared in Prick of the Spindle and Mary. My other fiction, essays, and cowboy poetry have appeared in New South, Pinch, Southern Humanities Review, and most recently Gargoyle and Grey Sparrow.
mary sesso (md pg. 17) After I retired from nursing, I earned an MFA from Vermont College. I’m active in two writing groups and am a member of The Writer’s Center. “I Was Going to Write” was inspired by poems I've read that connect disparate images without being too obvious. One of my sisters lived near a pig farm and another explained what grave blankets are.
writers rochelle jewel shapiro (ny pg. 56) I’ve published essays in The New York Times, Newsweek, short stories in The MacGuffin and Front Range. My e-book collection What I Wish You’d Told Me was published by Shebooks (2014). My poetry has appeared in The Iowa Review, Stand, Peregrine, and more. I teach writing at UCLA Extension. About “The Wind Has Picked Up”: Since learning mythology in grade school from a program piped into the classroom over the P.A. system, I’ve had a love for myth that matched my passion for fairy tales and folk lore, all of which permeate my poetry.
phil sultz (wi pg. 30) I am a writer, painter and photographer of American West settlement life. Throughout my years working as a horse wrangler in Montana, and as a fire lookout and patrol ranger in Wyoming’s Grand Teton Range, I created photographs that have been acquired by the Jackson Hole Museum and Historical Society. My essays and photographs have appeared in The American West and in Forms Upon the Frontier: Folklife and Folk Arts in the United States (Utah State University Press). I am a professor emeritus at Webster University in St. Louis. About “Second Hand”: I was born during the Depression. When I was four or five years old, I recall standing on an ironing board with a girl about the same age. Both of us were naked, just standing there while I imagine a similar conversation was taking place.
kaz sussman (or pg. 32) I am a carpenter, living in a home I built from abandoned poems. My work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Dos Passos Review, Whirlwind Magazine, and Gastronomica, among others. “The Calligraphy of Ballistics” is in response to the horrific shootings across the country that have taken our children, and that continue to do so.
writers tori grant welhouse (wi pg. 31) I live in the rural Midwest where I am a Regional VP for the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets. I recently published a chapbook, Canned, and have poems in Literary Mama, The Greensboro Review, Split Rock Review, and others. I like the idea of “emerging” after fifty. My writing manifesto comes from Erica Jong: “If a woman wants to be a poet, she must dwell in the house of the tomato.” “New World” was inspired by my first mother-in-law. I eloped in my twenties to Scotland with a more mature, charismatic man. There I found myself in a tiny cottage 200 years old near the North Sea, looking after her, a whitehaired woman almost three centuries older than me. (She was born in 1899!) She told me wonderful stories, sprung from the pages of nineteenth century novels. We disagreed about the housekeeping.
The 2014 Passager Open Issue was open for submissions from July 1, 2014 until September 15, 2014. The issue contains poetry, memoir, and fic...
Published on Jul 2, 2015
The 2014 Passager Open Issue was open for submissions from July 1, 2014 until September 15, 2014. The issue contains poetry, memoir, and fic...