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Red Weather Number 31 Minnesota State University Moorhead Students, Alumni, and Faculty 2012


This edition of Red Weather has also been published electronically. To view Red Weather online, please visit For more information please visit ii

Acknowledgements This issue of Red Weather is brought to you by the students enrolled in the ENGL 495/595 Literary Editing course with support from the Minnesota State University Moorhead English Department.

Managing Editor Ryan C. Christiansen Editors Ron Frannea Jan Hough Dustin Mohagen Justin Montgomery John Powers Michael Resch Emily Silverman Tyler Sorensen Shane Thielges Jonah Volheim Layout and Design Ryan C. Christiansen Cover Image and Design Mychal Waldorf Faculty Advisor Dr. Thom Tammaro

Thanks to Red Raven Espresso Parlor and Zandbroz Variety for their additional support.



Only, here and there, an old sailor, Drunk and asleep in his boots, Catches tigers In red weather. from “Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock� by Wallace Stevens



Contents A Concert in the Garden by Zachary Koppang


Bly-the imagery: by Jennifer Phillips


Ghazal by Jacob Hedlund


Cloister at Magdalen College, Oxford by Rachel Lense


March by Shadd Piehl


Looking by Renée LaMie


Grown in Time by Billie Gaffney


us by Elizabeth Fink


Itasca State Park by Karl Bakkum


January Dreaming by Tanya Miller


Without Rain There Would Be No Life by Brittany Anderson


Scavenger by Renée LaMie


Of Grain, of Graves by Megan Bartholomay


The Art of Farming by Regene Radniecki


On County Road 34 by Megan Bartholomay


The Greater Dream by Kurt Kleidon


Hiking “The Narrows,” Zion National Park by Rachel Lense


Afternoon with the Pigeons (Columba livia) by Jennifer Phillips


Half-known World by Renée LaMie


New York’s Reflection by Nikkie Nouwen


choice by Whitney Walters


Untitled by Jenny Christen


Paradelle for a Lost Love by Kristin Miller


P by Darin Doty


Transition 8 by Sarah Deimel


Barren Land by Tanya Miller


Brooklyn by Katelyn Bladel

32! vii

Bitter Pleasure by Rachel Lense


Empty Room in Cavalier by Katelyn Bladel


Riding Blue Horses by Athena Gracyk


Dad by Meridyth Morgan


Ford by Garrett Matteson


Gunslingers of the Old West by Mike Renner


Dead Sentiments by Zachary Koppang


Poem for RenĂŠe by Julie Walnum


Bragging Party by Jesse Balzer


Throw It by Nicholas Boushee



Red Weather



A Concert in the Garden by Zachary Koppang ~ Zachary Koppang, undergraduate student


Bly-the imagery: by Jennifer Phillips A tailspin: two griffins out fishin' with dolphins. ~ Jennifer Phillips, graduate student


Ghazal by Jacob Hedlund How many lifetimes could it take to conceive all the wisdom in this world? At least seven too many to achieve all the wisdom. So much pride and hate in classical Athens. I’m so sorry Socrates. It only took 281 votes to deceive all the wisdom. Countless men so eager to latch onto the Elohim. How did it take only one man from Nazareth to believe all the wisdom? When the flames are blurry with hunger, paper looks like kindling. It only took one torch in Alexandria to thieve all the wisdom. Knowing that nothing is actually knowable feels like oceans poured in a cup. Can only a lobotomy relieve all the wisdom? Few can know and smile. Let the Buddha leapfrog through lives and teach the masses how to interweave all the wisdom. You cannot become a monster unless you already are one to begin with. How can you look into that abyss and leave all the wisdom? It is easy to see why Atlas does it. If he carries the Earth, he cannot be expected to accomplish the harder task: heave all the wisdom. What is the one thing in this world that can unite, destroy, uplift, erode, create, inspire and bereave all? The wisdom. Take hold the heels of all these figures and be dragged into love. Expect to lose some layers before you retrieve all the wisdom. ~ Jacob Hedlund, undergraduate student


Cloister at Magdalen College, Oxford by Rachel Lense ~ Rachel Lense, undergraduate student


March by Shadd Piehl Flying north scrolls A ragged line of geese, The calligraphy of March. ~ Shadd Piehl, alum


Looking by Renée LaMie having come from heaven wrapped in a purple cloak —Sappho Among the dirt and leaves a skin of purple black peeks out roosting on topsoil the peacock of vegetables like cloaks to a royal robe the others in company don’t compare the green cap grounded and rooted in earth I find pleasure like a pear-shaped woman who flaunts and parades without music looking at it for the first time my child is quiet when he touches the slick shiny if it could make a sound it would moan like a tender woman in bed with herself bitter like gold and spongy like beige its roasted flesh becomes a yellowing olive when sliced the perfume of brown surfaces on its inner soft part only once I’ve seen my face reflected completely on its glossy hide ~ Renée LaMie, alum 6

Grown in Time by Billie Gaffney ~ Billie Gaffney, undergraduate student


us by Elizabeth Fink your shoulder tainted red blood my eyes desperate to see you care ~ Elizabeth Fink, undergraduate student


Itasca State Park by Karl Bakkum Blacktop seems out of place here among old growth pines So were we, playing touch football Warm rain soaking our adolescent bodies Or decades later in the chill October air Drinking good red wine with foreign friends We all seem out of place here Evidence of a windstorm that blew around rustic log buildings Downed trees, their bark rough and still sticky with sap Glue on your skin gathers dirt specks and leafy shards Shadow and light, bird in flight Cries out an intruder alert ~ Karl Bakkum, graduate student


January Dreaming by Tanya Miller There’s a reason seed catalogues come in January. If all they were selling were seeds, they could arrive in March or April, but seeds aren’t as profitable as dreams. Trapped six months in cozy prisons, we escape by gambling on a dream. We know the seeds are over-priced, that it’s foolish to pay shipping and handling, that peaches and grapes won’t grow in Zone 3 (no matter what the catalogue says), that we would never order as much if we waited for other signs of spring. But we believe the bigger the order, the sooner the dream will come. We curse ourselves from May through September as our backs and knees complain from planting, weeding, harvesting, preserving. We vow that next January we’ll resist the temptation. But that’s useless when buying a dream. ~ Tanya Miller, alum


Without Rain There Would Be No Life by Brittany Anderson ~ Brittany Anderson, undergraduate student


Scavenger by RenÊe LaMie As a child, I would find pornography floating around town. There was a trail, once, that led me out in the middle of a corn field— for an hour, I gleaned naked bodies printed on yellowing paper, and when I got home I stuffed them between my mattresses. I jumped into dumpsters and walked through mud. I brought her books with covers torn off, I brought her withering flowers, I brought her shiny little trinkets I placed on strings that I wanted to tie around her neck because it was important for me to know my mother loved me. When I found someone to love, I saw her drive by while I stood shaded under the red and white thickly tarped umbrellas at 8th and Main. The ground shook. No train rolled by from the west or east, but still the earth, hidden by pocked asphalt, trembled my legs, and the wave continued to the pit of my belly.


She doesn’t know it yet, but I have a collection of her laughter in a jar kept under my bed. I’ve placed her stories there, too: a ladybug she grabbed and released in the fall air after finding it on the 5th floor of the bank; Freckles, a beloved dog, who killed a goose and half-buried it in ground with its wing sticking out of the earth like some strange crop; and the moment she heard a poem read aloud, written for her, in a magical garage filled with animals on the brink on cawing. ~ RenÊe LaMie, alum


Of Grain, of Graves by Megan Bartholomay Just off Highway 108 there is a tree, twisted and gnawed with ash. As I pass it appears to creep up the middle of the road like an old traveler stranded, abandoned in time, as if someone cut down all other trees and left it hanging. In summer it manages to prop itself up, smoky against amber waves. When I was little and it was majestic green, a centerpiece for the community table, my cousin called it the beer tree—used to toss empties of wide mouth Schlitz at it, scarring its tender bark. On a Sunday his mother found him swinging from a rope on the highest branch, lifeless and limp, a ladder kicked to one side. After the funeral, the neighbors gathered and set fire to the tree. I don’t know why they didn’t just cut it down. ~ Megan Bartholomay, graduate student


The Art of Farming by Regene Radniecki ~ Regene Radniecki, faculty


On County Road 34 by Megan Bartholomay The broken yellow lines on this familiar road small reminders, dot-to-dots of my youth (thinking to the backseat of another time, the endless drive, I recall browsing a book my sister and I picked from the county market tiny pock marks on a page revealing half a wolf’s face, a kitten with a basket of yarn (Pronoun) (adj.)

mad libbing


Minnesota roads)

I am older now and the drive home seems shorter, my patience far more grown-up 16

through the

I have my new family in tow


our attempts to

connect to a real shape--- mis match instead, ours looking more like a rhombus, trapezoidal still “real� in shape just difficult to .pin point. ~ Megan Bartholomay, graduate student


The Greater Dream by Kurt Kleidon Gyres run on; When that greater dream had gone —William Butler Yeats, “Under Ben Bulben� As the widening gyres run on was it a purr, a scream or a bang when that greater dream had gone? Dusk recalls the livid tint of a rosy-fingered dawn. An atom collides with a clang as the widening gyres run on. Buildings collapse; soon time is theirs to respawn. No venom hid in that double fang when the greater dream had gone. The planets are set, their orbits drawn, on strings they patiently hang as the widening gyres run on. Reborn, gods adjourn to the Pantheon, the mausoleum for an almighty gang, when that greater dream is gone. We mortals need not fear an impulse to yawn when the bell for sleep has rang as the widening gyres run on and the greater dream is gone. ~ Kurt Kleidon, alum


Hiking ‘The Narrows,’ Zion National Park by Rachel Lense ~ Rachel Lense, undergraduate student


Afternoon with the Pigeons (Columba livia) Tourists descend ignorant past these relics pecking on popcorn or preening on walls, greyly parading in prosaic fatigues. Historic conscripts for empires’ express, soaring as builders dovetailed the pyramids wars and alliances rode on their anklets. Falcons out hunting for hungering foes tore them down hard for a nourishing stew— Arrows above them, arrows below They flew, these feathered heroes carrying their generals’ orders home, spreading the glory of Genghis. Quick these greyhound messengers breasted past bullets for warriors’ rations of barley and peas to batten on— Normandy tales of invasion they flew back to torn Britain’s exult— journalists landing their newspapers’ coups. Bay of pigs, more jungles, and Nixon— prisoners released on radio paroles flew to camouflaged camps for napalm’s census. 20


Washington boomed, and our District of Columbia its eponyms bestowed monuments, malls and museums— And by raven-gloom walls thus engraved, raffish veterans gather before their victory toilets on statues of leaders and generals. ~ Jennifer Phillips, graduate student


Half-known World by Renée LaMie When my grandfather got to a certain age it wasn’t enough for him to know tree, bird, weed. He wanted to collect nouns, to gather an army against his aging mind. Having studied and taught psychology, he knew what can come undone. So he bought field guides, placed them upon his bedside table, and began to memorize: Dogwood, Titmouse, Bearsfoot. And that one spring I drove him back and forth to the urologist every week, he told me stories filled brilliantly with a language I didn’t know. His descriptions of Maine in summer were lost on me. After his scheduled surgery, I held my weakened grandfather’s tall frame, 22

untied the hospital garment, and helped him into his clothing. On the ride home, he told me how after his mother became a launderer for a psych hospital she would not allow him to wear navy of any sort. As this memory filled the car with uncertainty, he started to laugh. Through tears he turned away from me, and spoke at the window: I can’t blame her, she was scared, and I never listened. ~ RenÊe LaMie, alum


New York’s Reflection by Nikkie Nouwen ~ Nikkie Nouwen, undergraduate student



by Whitney Walters

it was not about words saying something meaningful it was about conveying something without words with motions with music with tears in the moment when there were not words adequate for everything everything inside running amok with dilated adrenaline craving to be articulated because sometimes only expressions can say everything the throat cannot ~ Whitney Walters, graduate student


Untitled by Jenny Christen ~ Jenny Christen, undergraduate student


Paradelle for a Lost Love by Kristin Miller I remember your face like an old photograph. I remember your face like an old photograph. It is faded and dull, but it hints of vibrancy. It is faded and dull, but it hints of vibrancy. And I remember your faded photograph vibrancy, But it hints of an old dull face, like it is. You came to see me on my lonely way. You came to see me on my lonely way. I watched you fade in the distance. I watched you fade in the distance. Lonely distance in my way came, I see. You, you watched me on to the fade. All light is gone from the scene. All light is gone from the scene. But in the darkness there is some hope. But in the darkness there is some hope. But some hope is in there, light from the scene, All the darkness is gone. My vibrancy is gone, and you watched it fade. Faded distance, it came to the scene. But in you is an old face, All your hints remember of some photograph, Dull hope from in the darkness, like the lonely light. There is, I see, but some way on. ~ Kristin Miller, undergraduate student


P by Darin Doty Between two buildings a narrow alley hides a bicycle rack with secrets. A short pause of the pace lets the secrets bounce from brick wall to brick wall dancing madly before my eyes. The secrets tell themselves to Cross at the church parking-lot where a hooded figure breathes in forgiveness and a cigarette.

I pass a curtains-drawn living room window where a large man 28

adjusts his La -Z-Boy to full recline; there in the darkness he sips bottled beer, a lager I think, to forget the work he did today. A for sale sign in a dark kitchen window means a shortcut and a fence climb. On a broad soccer pitch the players on the team have eyes that are open. The eyes are shouting YOU DON’T BELONG HERE and yet, there I was. ~ Darin Doty, undergraduate student


Transition 8 by Sarah Deimel ~ Sarah Deimel, undergraduate student


Barren Land by Tanya Miller Of our forty acres, ten are barren. My husband fertilizes and sows seed; every spring he stubbornly works the sterile pasture, growing only worthless weeds. He’s persistent; I, of course, admire that, but why not sell it? He just mutters something neither one of us can understand about keeping the homestead together. That’s not it, but I choose not to ask, and he continues quietly to husband barren ground: picking rock, paying taxes, mending fences, coaxing life from sand. “Our children will inherit this someday,” he insists. I wish I had his stubborn faith. ~ Tanya Miller, alum


Brooklyn by Katelyn Bladel ~ Katelyn Bladel, undergraduate student


Bitter Pleasure by Rachel Lense I softly cup in blooming palms the captured blackened juices from seeds that know the roasted ground and love the steam that loosens. Its handled sinus draws me in with aromatic nectar and seems to treat when first we meet but bites with bitter pleasure. ~ Rachel Lense, undergraduate student


Empty Room in Cavalier by Katelyn Bladel ~ Katelyn Bladel, undergraduate student


Riding Blue Horses by Athena Gracyk (after The Large Blue Horses by Franz Marc) I want to press the fullness of their flesh, caress the curving grandeur of blue necks so lithe and lean they double back. I reach within for flowing manes of deep blue streaks and feel the heat rise off their necks and flanks. I spring upon a textured, steaming back so voluptuous and full, my thighs smoke from every stroke their loving master laid. I’m wrong to think I’ll have a tranquil ride. My blue mare rears in jealousy, bucking that I should sense the hand that pried from her a whinny of delight with his creating. She leaps from earth, rising unrestrained, crashing the threshold, art, and self, vanishing. ~ Athena Gracyk, alum


Dad by Meridyth Morgan I didn't smoke a cigar for you— you're not dead yet— but I did wear your hat. Sloppy, the leather won't hold its shape, it dips around my face your personal musk emanates— pipe tobacco, cheap beer, stale sweat— it invades my personal space lingering with every turn of my head. I won't smoke a cigar for you when you die. The smoke that lingered in your mouth long after the pipe was out, eating away, disfiguring your inner flesh so when you spoke it was labored— tight— small— you held one hand up along your cheek a delicate touch a reassurance as though to keep the jaw and all the rotten mechanisms inside working. I won't smoke a cigar for you. I'll just wear your hat. ~ Meridyth Morgan, alum


Ford by Garrett Matteson ~ Garrett Matteson, undergraduate student


Gunslingers of the Old West by Mike Renner Every damn day he gets shot in the stomach and dies. It happens two times actually, once just after lunch and once in the evening. He gets shot in the stomach with a revolving pistol at the hands of a handsome man named Glen. It’s always right outside of Murphy’s Saloon, across the street from the Bonanza Café. After a chase through town, sliding down one roof, jumping over a trough, a short bit involving a bullwhip, and some heated words, the two men square off in the street. By this point all the tourists have gathered around, scrambling for their cameras. Young children stand by in wide-eyed shock, their ice cream cones dripping onto their shirts. “You’re going to pay for what you did,” Glen says. “You’re never going to take me alive.” “Have it your way then.” “OK, at the count of ten.” This is when the tourists, red-faced and breathless, all scream backwards from ten. The two men stare each other down, hands twitching over the top of their holstered pistols. “TEN. NINE. EIGHT.” The guns are convincing replicas. Martin, the guy in the gift shop, said they cost over two hundred dollars a piece. A person could buy a real gun for that price. Each gun holds six blanks that pop convincingly, enough to make a person wince, and send off a puff of smoke. In the hand, they feel cold and heavy, just like a real gun. “FOUR. THREE. TWO. ONE.” Glen, the hero, as expected, has a legendary quickness on the draw. The guns are drawn, but only one shot is fired. It is then, after that shot rings through the air, that he dies out in the middle of the street for everyone to see. It’s always in the middle of the street. Someone in the city commission had decided upon this location as the most dramatic. 38

When the imaginary bullet enters his gut he grasps his stomach and looks down in disbelief. The fake blood wicks through the cloth of his shirt. He stumbles backwards, his legs all jumbled. He holds his hand upwards, fingers spread, to block out the cruel sun. He falls heavily to his knees. There’s a moment when time seems to stop. The tourists all hush. The clouds freeze in the sky. The tops of the trees are still. He closes his eyes, rolls his head back, then falls face-first into the dirt. This is what he’s paid for. It’s incendiary. The tourists light up in applause. All the kids go crazy. “Mommy, he’s dead, he‘s dead.” A jug band rolls out on the back of a covered wagon, all slick hair and suspenders. While the band plays, Glen walks around shaking hands as if he actually served some kind of justice. For ten minutes, once again ordered by the city commission, he has to lie there unmoving, face down on the ground. He has to lie there with his lips against the dirt, his legs splayed behind him. He has to lie there for just a few minutes until the comical goofs, the old-time paramedics, arrive to carry him away in a canvas stretcher. He’s the villain. He understands that it’s the only way. Somehow, he looks like a villain. His shoulders are uncommonly broad. His eyebrows come to a peak. He’s been called “rangylooking” before. When he puts on his spurred black boots and his crisp cowboy hat with the band that looks like rattlesnake scales, he has to admit he looks pretty dastardly. Two times, everyday, it’s his job to get shot in the stomach and die. He wonders now, loading the replica gun with six fake rounds right before the show, how many times has he died this summer? How many times has he laid face-down in the dirt to the delight of all the tourists, who love to see a bad man shot down in the street? Today he isn’t going to die. He’s finished with dying. He’s exhausted with the whole routine. Today he’s going to shoot that hokey son-of-a-bitch Glen. Today things are going to be different. 39

It’s mostly because of his dream last night. In the dream there was a strange new part of town with tree-lined streets. There he met a beautiful woman with big, moist, nocturnal eyes. Her hair flowed down in tangles through her limbs and his. They pressed their bodies together, engaging in the floating blurred contact of dreams. He had fallen in love with her before his alarm clock sounded. He awoke in love. He walked down to the river near his RV like he does every morning. Fog swirled above the water. The sun hadn’t breached the opposite bank, and left everything in the shadows in a diluted purple glow. The cold water on his feet felt magical. He felt like he was in a soap commercial. It was even better than a soap commercial, maybe a commercial for heaven. He felt like he was in heaven. He could feel it on the back of his neck, in his fingertips, and in his groin. When the sun poked up over the horizon and spilled onto his face, he knew. He knew he wasn’t going to die today. Now, the gun is loaded with six fake rounds. In a few minutes it’s showtime. He’s decided he’ll go through with it all to a certain point. He’ll slide down the roof onto the hay bales. He’ll lead Glen on a chase through town, their boots clomping over the wooden slat sidewalks. They’ll bound over the water trough. He’ll crack the whip—such an evil thing a whip—at Glen’s feet. They’ll square off in the swirling dust in the center of town at high noon. There’ll be hundreds there to see. They’ll count down from ten. But he isn’t going to die. He’s going to let the bullets pass right through him. He’ll walk right up to Glen and shoot him point blank if he has to. He’ll tell him to his face, “It’s your turn to die.” He will say it loud for everyone to hear. Glen will have no choice but to die. After he shoots Glen he’s going to steal one of the show horses penned up outside the visitor’s center. He’s going to ride out of town, into the horizon on his stolen horse. Today he’s going to live. ~ Mike Renner, alum


Dead Sentiments by Zachary Koppang ~ Zachary Koppang, undergraduate student


Poem for Renée by Julie Walnum -for R.L. Your name was picked out for you Long before it rollicked around In your parents’ shadowy hulls And poured out in a quiet wet Like water lapping against a shore The other day, for the first time, I understood how the waves in the ocean Were like the waving of hands Hellos and goodbyes Where people detect one another On the edge of what is seen, The vanishing point. When I first met you, Sand tickling your toes from your warm home I knew you were older than me, Calculating by something Other than years, And, forgive me; I wanted to walk behind you. That place we walked to last winter, Your hair white with Hel’s breath, Not Duffy’s Bar, but the orchard 42

Of ice and concrete Half-ugly and alive, half-beautiful and dead And I thought bless this place We may never return But memory maps my way back Too frozen to make direction inquiries of the moon The stars shipments of cold light The ink bleeds on the prow of my boat Ready to sail on snow as black sky pours out of God’s pitcher Can you find your way back, RenÊe? What makes people alive is not a refusal To die, but their memories clear and blurry Frozen a little at a time, a clear marble of light Seeking a body, a name. ~ Julie Walnum, alum


Bragging Party

by Jesse Balzer

SETTING: A room in an apartment, furnished simply by a couch at center. TIME: The early hours of the morning. MUSIC: Music vibrates through the walls during the entire play to indicate a party in the next room. AT RISE: DEBBIE, 14 and tipsy, is seated on the edge of the couch. KENNEDY, 23 and sober, enters with four red plastic cups in her hands. KENNEDY Anyone try to rape you while I was gone? DEBBIE Huh? Nope, guess not. KENNEDY Oh, good. That’s just swell. DEBBIE Did I ever tell you I love Dad?


KENNEDY sits down next to DEBBIE on the couch and passes her a cup. KENNEDY Yes, you did. And that still makes one of us. Debbie takes a sip from the cup. KENNEDY reaches over and forces her to swallow the rest in one anguished gulp. DEBBIE spills everywhere. KENNEDY One more. That’s a big girl. KENNEDY offers the second cup. DEBBIE administers the dose herself. DEBBIE spills less than before, but not much less. KENNEDY How do you feel now? Better? DEBBIE tries to grab another cup from KENNEDY, who rebuffs her quite easily. KENNEDY Jesus, look at you! You need help, kid.


DEBBIE I never had one drink in my whole life before today. KENNEDY I can tell. DEBBIE I love Dad. KENNEDY Are you trying to get under my skin? DEBBIE You won’t tell him about tonight, will ya? KENNEDY Why would I do that? This was my idea, remember? DEBBIE (Ignoring her) ‘Cause he trusts you. You’re like the big sister I never had. KENNEDY What do you mean, never had? DEBBIE You moved out.


DEBBIE suddenly tries again, also unsuccessfully, to wrestle a plastic cup away from KENNEDY. KENNEDY Do you have any idea why I brought you along tonight? Care to venture a guess, genius? DEBBIE sits back, dejected. DEBBIE Nah. KENNEDY Put it this way: If I didn’t know you, I’d say you’re the most boring person I ever met. DEBBIE Why? KENNEDY You’re just not interesting. DEBBIE Says who? KENNEDY Says me, for one. Hollywood, for another. And probably Broadway. Oh, and Barnes & Noble too. The real movers-andshakers, you know, the cultural elite, those kinds of people. I bet they all find you real boring. 47

DEBBIE plays with KENNEDY stops her.



KENNEDY In other words, you need experiences. And fast. Like, the worst kind: mistakes, tragedies, death, that kind of thing, the real interesting stuff in life. And I’m gonna give them to you, free of charge, ‘cause that’s what a big sister is for, right? Just remember, kiddo, this is only the first step, you’re on your own after this. KENNEDY hands her a third cup. DEBBIE chugs. KENNEDY Now, the first thing you need is a base, a tragic moment from which… DEBBIE Divorce. KENNEDY Pardon? DEBBIE When Mom and Dad got divorced. Screwed me up. KENNEDY It’s been done before, sis.


DEBBIE It has? KENNEDY Uh, yeah. I mean, hello! Have you not seen a movie in, like, the last 50 years or so? You need to get out more. DEBBIE I get out. KENNEDY You said you like Dad better than Mom, right? DEBBIE Duh. KENNEDY See, that’ll never work. You have to hate Dad. DEBBIE But I love him. KENNEDY He drinks, doesn’t he? DEBBIE No . . .


KENNEDY Didn’t he used to smack mom around? DEBBIE Nope. KENNEDY Can’t you just play along for a little bit? It’s more fun that way. And whatever you don’t like you can always throw out later. Let’s just pretend, OK? DEBBIE OK. KENNEDY Wasn’t he in the army? DEBBIE No . . . wait! I mean yes. KENNEDY Good. Let me think for a sec. A lengthy pause while KENNEDY ponders. KENNEDY First, let’s drop that whole alcoholic, spousal abuse business. That one’s been beaten into the ground already. Besides, I find it always helps to put a bit of truth into your stories. I say we take 50

out mom and make you the target of Dad’s abuse. Things should be a whole lot more dynamic that way. DEBBIE Why would he hit me? KENNEDY Because he has trouble controlling his anger, perhaps? The reasons aren’t important, and you know mom would never stand for that shit anyway. She’s, like, what? Twice his size? The way I see it, you’re pretty small, so I could see him knocking you around if he felt like it, especially when he comes home from the bar. DEBBIE He doesn’t drink. KENNEDY Oh, right! I almost forgot. That would be a trope. DEBBIE What’s a trope? KENNEDY Did you ever forget to do chores? DEBBIE Uh . . . once, maybe. KENNEDY What happened? 51

DEBBIE I don’t know. KENNEDY Ever come home after curfew? DEBBIE Nope. KENNEDY Not a bad idea, actually. People like Dad often snap for no apparent reason anyway. DEBBIE Why? KENNEDY Don’t ask me. You live with ‘em. DEBBIE He’s changed. KENNEDY Tell me about it. KENNEDY gets up from the couch.


KENNEDY (CONTINUING) I’m going to play Dad. DEBBIE You look more like Mom. KENNEDY I know, sweetheart, but I’m going to pretend to be Dad. You know, like in a play. DEBBIE Oh! Who do I get to be? KENNEDY You get to be yourself. DEBBIE Do I have to? I’m so boring. KENNEDY My point exactly. Maybe you’ll learn something. DEBBIE Asshole. KENNEDY puts the last cup on the floor in front of the couch. She then climbs over and behind the couch. She lands out of sight with a loud thud. 53

DEBBIE (Looking behind the couch) Are you alright, Dad? KENNEDY I’m fine. Daddy’s fine. DEBBIE has trouble standing up. KENNEDY’s eyes peer out over the couch. DEBBIE What am I doing? KENNEDY You’re coming home late. As usual. DEBBIE But I’m always punctual. KENNEDY And you’re drunk. DEBBIE Well, I am drunk. KENNEDY Action!


DEBBIE enters the “house.” She notices the red plastic cup on the floor and bends to pick it up. KENNEDY Oh, that’s not there. DEBBIE But I can see it. KENNEDY I left it there by accident. Besides, why would a drink be sitting there in the middle of the house? DEBBIE Because you’re an alcoholic? KENNEDY Dad is not an alcoholic. I thought we already established this. DEBBIE My bad. DEBBIE reluctantly puts the cup back on the floor. DEBBIE (CONTINUING) Where are you? God, this is so stupid. Why are you hiding behind the couch, anyway?


KENNEDY Because I’m unpredictable, I suppose. DEBBIE What are you going to do? KENNEDY I guess it’ll be a surprise. Don’t you like surprises? DEBBIE Sometimes, yeah. Like birthdays. KENNEDY sneaks around the side of the couch until she is crouched right behind DEBBIE. She slowly rises to her feet, rears back with her right hand, and taps DEBBIE politely with her left hand. DEBBIE Daddy, are you drunk again? ‘Cause I am. DEBBIE giggles as she turns around. KENNEDY swings wildly, her punch missing by a mile. However, a sound still accompanies the punch, reminiscent of an old action movie blooper (Pow!). DEBBIE crumples to the ground in a very realistic fashion to contrast the cartoonish nature of KENNEDY’s punch. 56

KENNEDY kneels over DEBBIE’s prone body. KENNEDY Not bad. It’s a start, anyway. KENNEDY stands up. KENNEDY And we all gotta start somewhere, right? KENNEDY exits. A minute passes. DEBBIE remains motionless the whole time. Suddenly, DEBBIE rolls over onto her stomach. She looks up and spots the red plastic cup on the floor in front of her. She begins to crawl towards it, slowly, using only her hands. CURTAIN. ~ Jesse Balzer, alum


Throw It by Nicholas Boushee Start a fire, a simple effective fire something to make them realize that not even they are safe. They are touchable, even atop an empire. Remember, all empires were built on the ashes of another. A simple cocktail to take them down a few notches. If only for a second, make them feel the fear you do, every. damn. day. ~ Nicholas Boushee, alum


Red Weather 2012  

Red Weather No. 31, a literary journal published by the students of Minnesota State University Moorhead

Red Weather 2012  

Red Weather No. 31, a literary journal published by the students of Minnesota State University Moorhead