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RIGGWELTER #14 OCTOBER 2018 ed. Amy Kinsman

The following works are copyrighted to their listed authors Š2018. Riggwelter Press is copyrighted to Amy Kinsman Š2017.

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Foreword

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The Sea is Out to Sea

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a lull in the wind

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The Art of Drowning

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Ice Age

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S.A.D

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Doing The Arithmetic

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Nostos

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Clean Hands

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Marvel of Clear Plastic Mummies

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On a Big Haul

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Yew

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Satellite

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A Hunter’s Moon

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Forest

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Intrusion into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant

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The Stink

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Rot | Verb |

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Judgement Day

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The Night that Fidel Castro Died

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The Healing Rain

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Taking the Chipmunk Seriously

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picturesque

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The Death of Tamir Rice

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Untitled

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Batu Caves

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The Twist

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Unplanned.

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Unpicking

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Wasting Time

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Couple

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Say something

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Hardcastle Crags

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Immortalitea

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outcome

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About Now

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Contributors

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Acknowledgements

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Foreword

Welcome dear readers, to our fourteenth issue, and to October. As autumn is beginning to really set in, you can just about see winter peeping around the corner while everything is busy with preparations. It seems fitting then, that this issue is all about the conflicting powers of the life drive (Eros) and the death drive (Thanatos). More so than being about literal deaths, although there are a few within, these works are about the push and pull towards and away from it and those primal, subconscious instincts that drive it. Perfect for the spooky season. As always, some thanks are in order before we get on with the show. Thank you to our newest reviews team member, Beth O’Brien, whose work has been up on the website a couple of times already. I’m sure you will all make her feel very welcome. Thank you to all of our readers, submitters, contributors and supporters. You make Riggwelter feel like a family and all of this is made possible by you. Enjoy these pieces in all their unsettling glory and have a very spooky October. We’ll be back next month.

Amy Kinsman (Founding Editor)

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The Sea is Out to Sea

Ahead of the tsunami, the shoreline crawls a half mile to sea. For a handful of minutes, that is. Coastal lowland survivors know what that wonder signifies. The ocean bottom shows its artefacts, mud-flats strewn with plastic trash and sunken crafts. Most locals scale the first hills inland. And a handful won’t be seen again. Taken. They’ll go in the out-rush that follows the water-wall. Just before the tsunami the sea itself is out to sea, off attending other business. One man, ignorant of disaster process dooms himself, steps into the muck, amazed. The muck has a hold of his boot when someone shouts, “Ashore!” or a similar alarm word. Hard to hear. The whole horizon’s roaring. Neptune’s coming, momentarily. Todd Mercer

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a lull in the wind Hiromi Suzuki

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The Art of Drowning

I used to hold my breath while the school bus plunged into the grey of the firth; a silver-scaled serpent with a brackish hiss that swallowed the coastal roads whole. Every day the Solway dissolved tarmac with brine, reclaiming land in the name of the salt marshes and mosses. Hypnotized, like a mouse scrying into anaconda eyes, foreseeing its own end, I imagined being swept away to the Irish Sea, my young bones committed to the cobalt abyss: fossilising with the brittle stars, honeycomb worms, and mussels that turn purple in water too deep for anyone to find you. Fawn-hearted Mrs. Jefferson taught me to sketch spherical, moon-like dandelion heads, but between the school gate and my mother's arms, Ophelia whispered from the amniotic ocean, the birthplace of unspeakable wishes. I became her apprentice. She fed me raw, radioactive shellfish from the rock pools near Sellafield, and under her instruction, I transmuted base leaden fear into golden dreams. Learnt to thirst for asphyxiation. Parched throat, arid tongue, I begged the estuary to unhinge its jaws, consume me before I grew old enough to know some desires should never be confessed, even into the ears of sea shells. By the age of six, I mastered the art of drowning with a smile on my lips, nurturing my malignant need for surrender, I submitted to the depth and endless churn, with no star chart drawn for my return. Helen Cox

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Ice Age

Spreading cold hands, the glacier splits and extends. Each finger presses a valley, each nail carves a lake. The wall of ice pushes southward year by year, we sense it now, our summers gray, breathing deeply to hold our air, our old friends leaving us behind. We accept our roles as scientists, record each colder day, every inch of snow proof of our projections. In the shortened spring we walk as we always did, but quicker now to warm our blood, our hats pulled down on thinning hair. In the night we hear the blades of ice scraping mounds of snow like huge trucks, smashing pavement as they come. The cold air cracks our breath, ice blocks our doors. Terry Tierney

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S.A.D

That was the year Spring resigned, lost her nerve, could only manufacture endless tears, kept misting up, spent weeks avoiding lambs, Easter cards. The expectation – too great: the pressure of being a season, all those hopeful eyes, waiting. It’s not easy for the abstract to receive medication

You will just have to get on with it Nobody would listen. She bailed out, packed herself a suitcase of light clothes, took a plane to somewhere warmer, watched her jailers shrink below her. Michelle Diaz

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Doing The Arithmetic

The problem was that Sam genuinely liked Kim. If he didn’t, he’d fail her and not care. But he did care. Maybe a little too much. He tried to think of what his long dead mom would say. His dad told him, “Go for it,” and then, “Be a mensch – help her out. Cheat a bit, who’s it gonna hurt?” Sam tried to ignore his dad’s consistently bad advice. Emma, his wife, would instruct him to give Kim the bad grade she deserved, but Emma had a skewed perspective. When she was in Sam’s class, he had let her slide and now she was his life. Not all of it, of course, but close. He smiled. Emma would hate Kim. They were too much the same. Each born in May, blonde, and endearingly needy. This new girl was slim, too. Not that weight – nor lack of it – was a “thing” with him. Sam cared for a woman’s soul, not her body. Sighing, Sam took out his pencil. He erased the marks in the bubbles and made it “B” not “E” for three and “D” for “A” on twelve. Soon, Kim had a “C” for a grade and Sam hoped it would be fine, not the start of a thing that would sadden him or make his mom haunt him with her heaviness or his dad come around with a six-pack and sarcastic slights wanting to commiserate. With good cheer he hoped Emma would get it – that he didn’t love her less nor Kim more. Sam just wanted to help out the girl with parents as flawed as his own. It’s not like this is some sort of test. He assured himself. His intention was innocent. In the empty classroom, “It’s just a quiz,” echoed hollowly.

T. L. Sherwood

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Nostos

The first story ever told was not about gods or the creation of the world it was about a woman and a mirror. This mirror concealed her beauty, despite all efforts at adornment, no matter how hard she tried. So she tilted the mirror towards her lips and whispered a word in its ear and that word was a man. He went out into the world to find her beauty and bring it home to her. Caravels, triremes, space probes: all were launched. They say there was a thousand ships. Mine was one. The route was a tangle that took me through nights whose horizon was marked by where the slow star-set met itself reflected in calm still waters, and home emerged at last where this confluence slit the sky open. And it brought me back, with the message as it had first been told the world exists to make my love a better mirror for your soul. Peter Clive

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Clean Hands Jeffrey Toney

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Marvel of Clear Plastic Mummies

The things we do for fellows look like things we do to please a god we work hard to keep the powerful happy. Once I faked speaking in tongues like we do to say miracle. Twice I faked an orgasm powerful enough to raise a dead love, lift a dying lover. We do wowing things we learn to perform tricks, powerful as Saran wrap--easy to see through shit we do yet impossible to escape once winding your body round and round layers are limits. You don't know what we do with clear plastic. Try harder. Then hold for coming round. Alina Stefanescu

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On a Big Haul

“So, where are you heading?” The voice is that of the large trucker who had picked up the boy earlier. His question breaks the boy’s sleep, and he sits up in a daze, pushing his headphones from his ears, and stretching his legs. It takes him a few moments to comprehend the question. “What?” The trucker repeats himself while the boy fishes for a cigarette, a Marlboro, from his pocket, and lights it. After a long indulgent drag, he answers the trucker’s question. “California,” he says, trying to appear worldly. “To LA.” He takes a few more rapid drags until the cigarette is a little more than a stub. He throws it out the window, and watches the splash of light in the side mirror. The trucker takes in his answer thoughtfully, and replies in a nonchalant sigh of confirmation. The conversation clearly doesn’t interest him, but this trucker needs something to distract himself from his own exhaustion. He has deep, brown eyes under a protruding forehead, and a layer of spiny hairs covering his face. He wears an undershirt, a flannel, and a blue cap that covers greasy, black ringlets of hair. “Goin’ to be a movie star are ya?” he says. The boy doesn’t say anything. He just stares out the window at the darkened fields that line the highway. Mindlessly he lights another cigarette, but this time puffs on it slowly, taking his time to form smoke rings in the air. The trucker, not bothered with his lack of response, picks up the conversation without a hint of discomfort.

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“My sister was in the show biz, y’know.” “Oh really?” says the boy, more out of habit than anything else. His attention is mostly focused on the rings of his cigarette smoke. “Oh yeah,” continues the trucker. The words roll out of him like a rehearsed script. While his voice never wavers, his eyes and lips seem troubled. A little bit tense as they survey the road. “Some Hollywood agent picked her out of a local bar she was working at,” he shrugs when he comes to this. “She made a few videos, never really took off. She came back and became a hairdresser.” For a long time, there is silence. Eventually the ride comes to an end, and the boy thanks the driver, and jumps out with his white suitcase. The trucker nods, and looks back at the road. He drives off with the same tenseness in his eyes. His lips move silently as the engines roar, and he’s gone. The boy lights another cigarette, and makes his way towards the rickety motel behind the road.

Benjamin Joe

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Yew

In search of yew in Borrowdale that shared the sun with Judas, I walk this rutted path, aware of twinges, snares, rocks, carrying your paints and easel along with this bowl of words, no longer fit for consumption, mold festering in knots from sour touching fruit within. And if these words were berries, gardeners would stand disappointed at the canker in the bark below. And if a perching blackbird, sang this song from any tree, on any perfect spring morning, it would jar, taint the air and cause the world to frown at such discordant notes. We’ll find a place to stop, you and I, and you will paint this landscape, my eye drawn towards a blemish where a loose neglected sleeve was dragged across wet canvas trees in one careless movement; a moment you might come to know; as discarding the bowl by this footpath, I swallow the words and wait

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till the bitter aftertaste subsides, resolves in time to soil and dust with Borrowdale’s ancient yew. Jonathan Humble

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Satellite Each time my Dad drives me home in the evenings after tea, he asks me whether the Moon is waxing or waning. I can never remember which is which. Now I look at my pale, hair-covered stomach I know that it is waxing. Each day it grows, only slightly. It does not have any new craters yet, only old ones, from eating too many pancakes in year ten. When it is full I will shed some skin before the waning part can begin; it will not be my skin. It will be yours - sweet, plump little thing. Kayleigh Campbell

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A Hunter’s Moon

My father tossed “the extra” the pancreas, the bladder, the kidneys, the intestines, out to the woods—a feast for wild dogs. Precise deep cuts, made to peel back coarse brown fur, revealing muscles, meat, creek-like veins flooding onto his hands, wiped on jeans my mother would wash for years, unshakable stains carrying the smell of death as he wanders like an old man down the road, howling guttural at some stranger’s door, a dog leading no hunt but still driven to pick prey. Stephanie Brooks

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Forest Alan Murphy

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Intrusion into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant

The wolf in the clearing clears the space or worse, deliberate incest-paved path. Danger is an emanation of energy and growls and bites. The revelations of meditations on the wood substantially disturb this place. Metal and dripping death. The palms of the lupines do not grasp or gesture. The danger unleashed is of a riparian nature. The danger is in a particular location. The fear erases the fear, hot fur, in the dregs of nightmare and the coyotes howl. The lunula does not shine. The second coyote walked the next howl physically. This place is best that will not shut, that will-the wolf does not wolf. In a circle of pines, a circle of lupines of a particular size and shape. The center of danger is here at dusk. The danger is still present and below us. The morning tangles moonlight in a circle of wolves in your time, as it was in ours. I looked hard into the fear of falling: soporific, needle claws, and a tether to outer space, red-eyed. It increases toward the center. The danger is to the body: the red patch of wolf-mark on the face. To cast aside words, nothing remains but waiting in the daylight forest. Injecting taboo desire, needles shunned and left uninhabited, HOLLYWOOD sign, fear of water to the edge. Waiting, we empty ourselves--

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drugged, doped, and rabid for death in the clearing -This place is not a place of honor. Wait in perfect fear the form of the edge of the door with needle teeth, the intruder wolf circle to encircle at once sleeping fingernail and finger-flesh was all chaparral, slavering mouths, the sound of no sound. What is here is dangerous and repulsive to us: palmate meaning their leaves like hands, soil, blue and lavender, and part of a system of messages about danger. Smell, approaching boldly, on the border of a powerful culture who -- clearings belongs to wolves-utter another word, Wild lupine. The howl is silent, to point. Rabid. They are real piss. This message is a warning: write about coyotes. This places is a message: the pale-yellow sun, the wolf across the Iron Curtain, a bulldog made of raised scruff, slavering, reach to wolves, and utter no word. Hypodermic needles, lupus, lupo, lupine, lunula. The mind eats the mind. The howl is not in the howling. We drove through dusk, and it can kill not-real wolves, the miniature moon, temptation to never filter the sun. Expert Judgement, like a dog after the howl to the lupines, snuffles in the needle teeth dripping who whimpers the pines all night. Agnieszka Krajewska

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The Stink

Tarek was delighted to discover that his uncle’s dog was pregnant. A litter of eight, his mother had nervously said. The only downside was that by the time school released him and he had hopped on a plane to cross the Atlantic, all eight of them would be out into the world. The father was dear to Tarek’s heart. He was crushed up stardust, packaged into the form of a mutt: half pit-bull and half something else. As though an overcorrection, that something else had decided to take dominion over Cayenne’s body, effectively erasing any physical signs of his pit-bull heritage. He was cunning, bold, and loved at once. When his mother told him the meat thrown over his uncle’s gate had poisoned him, Tarek had cried. His uncle lived in a miniature fortress and was bent on its proper protection. Ten feet wide concrete walls enclosed the property, while barbed wires ran in cyclones above them; several guard dogs prowled restricted sectors of the house, and broken shards of glass were planted atop the walls. The mother was a different matter entirely. Roxy’s bulky body burst with rolling hills generated from years of genetic and environmental manipulation. This had produced a powerful and frenetic creature with an intense and exclusive sense of loyalty: one that did not include Tarek. However, when Tarek boarded the plane, he thought little of Roxy. In his mind’s eye, when he would arrive at his uncle’s fortress, Cayenne would be there, resurrected in the shape of eight, all stumbling across the front guard. When he had crossed the gate however, it was to find Raya, his uncle’s housekeeper pinning garments onto the clothing rack. She was an age-bent, jovial

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woman who swivelled around, flashing her toothy grin, and went on in exasperation about how much he had grown, and how handsome he was, and how much he had grown, and how handsome he was… Tarek responded with the appropriate formalities and asked where the babies were and whether his uncle had named all eight of them already. He had hoped he would let him name one of them before asking the bigger question. “No…no...no eight…two,” she said in her thick accent, swinging a dress from the bucket and drizzling a bit of the soapy water across Tarek’s new sneakers. “Two?” She nodded. “What happened to the rest of them?” She converged all five of her fingers and put them to her mouth. “Back in the belly.” Tarek’s expression went blank. “Why? W-Why would she do that?” “The stink,” Raiya nodded, spraying him again. “She smelled the stink. So –” she repeated the horrific gesture. Tarek was at once annoyed. What did this woman know, anyway? Her explanation was no doubt one of those old wives’ tales. He raced upstairs, flung his possessions onto the bed, and booted the computer in the room. He reverted the home settings back into English and was stunned to find the abundance of pages of animals eating their own children. He kept scrolling until he found one article:

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If the mother senses her children might be unhealthy, she will eat them. Look at it like this: why would she waste scarce resources on children that may or may not die. In her mind, she smells them and thinks one thing: liability.

The two puppies, Bimo and Prin were, in fact, on the line to be eaten, but Tarek’s uncle had rescued them before Roxy had the chance. After Tarek’s mother had caught wind of what happened to the other five puppies, she refused to let Tarek have either one, despite his pleading. Each summer he returned, and saw them bigger, and while they carried both physical attributes from their father and mother, at least, Tarek could play with Bimo and Prin without fear of being mauled. They became more turbulent. One summer, Bimo in his excitement had thrown himself off his balcony and landed headlong on a pottered plant, exploding it, only to rise immediately and run to him. Another summer, Prin had leapt eight feet from one balcony to the next in order to escape her sector. Tarek never thought anything of it. They were both so amiable to him that he frequently wondered how Roxy had anything to do with them. High school had forced Tarek to skip one summer of visitation. The next summer, he arrived and expected to find Bimo perched on top of the balcony as usual, but he did not. Instead, he found Raiya scrubbing a tattered dress in a washbasin. “Bimo didn’t come to greet me,” Tarek said, scanning the roof of his sector. “Bimo not there anymore.” Tarek’s heart stopped. “Where – did he go?”

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“Back of the house. Your uncle moved him difference place.” Tarek wondered why, but did not ask. “How’s Roxy?” His mother had told him that Roxy was feeling under the weather. The housekeeper shook her head, shrugged, then said, “Bimo and Prin smelled the stink.”

J. R. Night

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Rot | Verb |

We were trapped inside the ribcage of a rotting lamb and the maggots had arrived. You shook the bones to test the sturdiness, I burrowed out before the flies formed. Kayleigh Campbell

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Judgement Day J. Ray Paradiso

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The Night that Fidel Castro Died

I read how he said on that birthday that he never expected to reach the grand old age of ninety. In The New Yorker his fears for humanity; food scarcity, global warming, nuclear power and still his distrust of America. “Get off your white horse now amigo!” he says to Trump. Che Guevara and Jose Marti nod in the shadows. I drink hot tea and wait for the slow dawn, the grey light, the showing of frost, put on an extra fleece, at war with the cold. I could not sleep afraid of weeping on paper, of revealing a schism in myself Órla Fay

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The Healing Rain

Bury him deep boys and throw lye on his bones we want nothing left and nothing ever to be found not one code not one stitch to reanimate all of it gone and you boy I didn’t catch your name but wipe that smile off your face Douglas Cole

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Taking the Chipmunk Seriously

The cat plays with small animals in the backyard. He toys with them until they no longer move, then bored, he retreats to a patch of sun on the porch. Today, our daughter slides open the glass door, scolding the cat into submission. A chipmunk flees below the redwood deck where another dozen huddle in the darkness. They embrace his journey, his odyssey, his rescue by the child goddess with the bare feet, toe nails painted with blood. A chant issues from their throats like the wind. They lift their paws to fecundity. Tonight, they dance. Al Ortolani

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picturesque (Cover Image) Michelle Granville

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The Death of Tamir Rice

Anger like a refrigerator left on the street In midwinter. I have been told not to climb inside, But I must. And there I become powder. My daughter while camping found a spider In her tent And screamed in terror before she burst into mine. The poem of force, Simone Weil called The Iliad. I have heard the vision of spiders called Compound stereopsis; Two eyes to create one image, Four sets of pairs of eyes— Because they do not have to be taught to use them, Because they do not have to be taught to fear. Brian Glaser

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Untitled You learn not to count on funerals or the fog waiting at shorelines weighed down by a horn that never leaves –just another day with no morning lowered the way your shoulders are surrounded by those mountain streams the mad drink for the immense light left in the open as ice and useless though you keep a glass nearby place a small stone on the water –a calming gesture that lets you move closer, listen in on the rain falling from your forehead –the dead are used to shows like this, hand over their flowers and you reach down can’t make out how far you pressed naked against this floor, covered it with snow and branches. Simon Perchik

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Batu Caves Robin Johnston

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The Twist

The lair was cobalt in the dawn. I had woken up small, nesting amongst pillows. Lots of satin pillows. As if a potential suitor was guarding me against a Bird’s Eye frozen pea, buried at the core of the mattress. You had already gone. The smell of you was half an hour old. It stirred the water in me. A siren rang through my skull: down the tunnel, reverberating off the walls. When I tried to shake myself free of it, I couldn’t.

Emergency! Emergency! I untangled myself from the quilt. The pain slithered through my ribs, up to my neck, until its forked tongue sampled my cheek. Why was there pain? Ah. Yes. The hail on the window. The shouting. My head, thud-thud-thud, against the splintering plaster on the wall. A broken-glass cobweb spreading down the photograph of you and me at my graduation. The teapot my great-aunt gave us as our wedding present, scattered over the laminate flooring in debris. I had watched you gulp back lager. Wiped my nose with the back of my hand. Wordlessly. Because you had never taken my body in your arms and hammered it against the mantelpiece before. And I thought I’d been lying in a spiral on the sheets, concealed by the turquoise throw. But that wasn’t how I’d found myself this morning. Perhaps I was slightly concussed. I still had to go to work. Through the curtains, I saw white being squeezed onto the canvas of the sky and brushed along the horizon. What was the time? I looked at the top of the bedside cabinet. My watch wasn’t there.

But it was always there.

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Had I taken it off before I’d fallen asleep? Yes, I had. Out of habit. It wasn’t around my wrist. I looked on the floor. On the windowsill. On the chair. I dropped to my knees and looked under the bed. In each drawer. Under the arches at the bottom of the wardrobe, as if my watch were a fish that had beached itself there. It was an ordinary little watch I’d picked up from a market stall.

Why was there a trapped sparrow throwing itself against the skin of my chest? Downstairs, I rummaged across surfaces. I worked my way into the lounge. There was no sign of the destroyed teapot. No mark on the paint, or escaped fragment embedded in the skirting board. The picture of me in the doctoral gown, my hand in yours, stood as it usually did. Its frame shone in the half-light. The crack had vanished. There, pert against the coffee table’s smeared top, was my watch.

Stupid. Since we’d moved in, I’d left my glasses on the draining board. My fountain pen in the biscuit tin. My phone on the table in the garden, in the rain. Mum’s birthday card in the loo. I’d been sure it was in my handbag.

Stress. You had kissed my temple and told me to not to worry. I was worried. And bloody irritated with myself for being hopeless. Scatty. Loopy. I shivered.

Half past seven. I peered over my shoulder as I showered. Cleaned my teeth. Slipped into a silk blouse and a pencil skirt, warped my hair into a plait and fastened it. Sponged the shadow on my face with Beach Goddess. Best shade to cover everything.

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Elsewhere, an alternate Monday morning ran parallel to this one. There was no trace of anger. I could merge the facts. I’d woken up beside you. We’d laughed about the wild

beauty of last night’s hailstorm. You and I had been safely indoors, woven together. You were getting up to go, telling me to drive carefully… I shouldn’t have driven. * I sipped a cup of tea when I got into the office. It was repulsive. I retched on the bitter venom in my throat. Ran to the Ladies, where the contents of the cauldron battled their way up. Sticky mist melted in beads along my hairline. I left the cubicle and stared in the mirror. The weather front of tears, which had hung above my head since I’d got up, finally rolled in over me. No! No crying. Absolutely

none. “Josie?” Pam, the receptionist, stopped the door with her Marks & Spencer sandal and saw me. She frowned. “Your first one’s here.” * My new client was such a child. “Hi there, Belinda. My name’s Josie. I’m one of the clinical psychologists working within the service.” “Are you?” “Yes.” “I didn’t expect you to be so young.” Her sleety fringe drip-drip-dripped in front of her face. “Well, that’s the nicest compliment I’ll receive today, I’m sure.”

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“I reckon we’re about the same age.” “Possibly. It’s nice to meet you. Could you fill me in on why you’ve come to see me?”

Hush. “I’m going round the twist.” “Right. In what way?” “I’m frightened all the time.” “All the time?” “Yeah.” “Can you tell me about that?” “It’s hard to explain. I…I don’t get to sleep until about four o’clock. The shadows in my bedroom are longer, like they’ve been stretched on torture racks. I wake up and I’m ready to run, and run, and run. I’ve been like it since I was small. But now they’re worried.” “Uh-huh. So you’re very tense? Anxious?” “Oh, yeah.” “Am I right in thinking you live in Lordswood?” “Yeah.” “With your partner?” “Yeah. He sees exactly how hopeless, scatty, loopy I am.” Belinda used words as she might have done coins in a vending machine. She pressed them into me. I swallowed them without being there at all. (I was thinking about the sore weight of my breasts, and how the tea had made me sick, and wishing; oh, wishing, for salt in my mouth.) I did eye the cuts on her forearms, taking notes with my pupils. Razorblade wounds. Superficial. Self-inflicted.

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Then I blinked as I noticed the ugly garland of bruises around her wrist. It wasn’t a grey-blue-black-indigo silhouette of her hand. This outline was twice the size of her frayed fingertips. These imprints were rolling pin thick. I tried to guess how long they’d been there, darkening like acrid smoke. A spectre passed through me and out the other side. I wish I could have kept her with me, but Moira, my next client, couldn’t cope when I ran late. I wasn’t up to her screams. I thanked Belinda for her openness. Stood up to release her from the room. Vertigo tried to peg me to the carpet, at a weird angle. I switched on the phone you’d bought me. Checked my texts. There you were. And you said:

You could have really hurt yourself last night. I’ve spoken to a guy about the stairs. He’s coming to put a banister in, a week Wednesday. I love you.

Olivia Tuck

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Unplanned.

She carries the bird-person to the window tilts its emerald head (it droops from his body like a hanged man). She rests it on the sill like an ailing patient opens the window and snow bleeds. She blinks cold from her lashes/nudges the tiny birdman all the way to the edge of the sill moonlight touches each feather each silvery, shineless eye She holds the creature by a wing (No one can know). before letting go, She drinks in streetlights glowing yellow five stories below scans the skeletal streets for a witness. all the trees in Chicago are encased in steel fences. the dark, quiet streets. Emily Pavick

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Unpicking

It becomes something you can risk when you know you can patch the hurt and the tapestry expands to includes tears and aches sobs pulled up from your heels on the complicated days then there are the pale blue squares of contentment lazy cross-stitch of routine playful polka dots You are ten dozen patterns in with a heart that tells more truth each time it is broken and still you unpick try a new stitch or drop one to see what this does to the whole. Sarah L. Dixon

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Or How Did You Think She’d Rehearse Her Own Flight? After Remedios Varo’s Embroidering the Earth’s Mantle

A dissonant note rises silenced with colored threads. Under deft fingers, two figures hide in the folds of the cloth, woven in an embrace, stitch by stitch, as she rehearses her own flight. She hasn’t met him yet, but knows what he looks like. Wasn’t he tailor-made, stitch by stitch, to fit her needs? Furtively, they fall head upside down, in a cascade of fabric, spill out the slit windows, disappear into the landscape. Hedy Habra

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Wasting Time Tony Rickaby

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Couple

ROBIN: What I miss most about Edward is his kiss. The sandpaper grit of unshaved whiskers around his lips. Feeling the corners of his mouth pull up in a smile before inviting in my tongue. A thousand subtleties that foretold a mood, not for Edward, but for the lovemaking to follow. I could tell, simply by his kiss, if he was going to be playful or forceful or passive in bed. The tension in his lips. The way his tongue danced. And the degree of pressure between our mouths. His kiss cannot be reproduced. That's why I don't kiss when I Couple, even though the men I'm with look exactly like my husband. Ex-husband. Dead husband. However it's phrased, I am a widow now. I've come to terms with the grief by trying desperately to ignore my old life, failing, and then engulfing myself in the past. It's a combination of complete separation, followed by total immersion. To forget Edward, I changed jobs and cities, divorcing myself from places and people we shared. Long-distance friends who continued to invoke his name are friends no more. Social media is anathema. I socialize with new pals and find men to date, trying to dam myself against memories, but comparisons are unavoidable. If I’m honest, I let the past in too easily. On dates I always wear the earrings Edward gave me on our anniversary. At some point I will find myself touching the bobble on my ear, feigning interest in the conversation, impatient for the night to end. Wanting Edward. The more I measure other men against him, the more tiresome and foolish it feels to keep out the very thing I crave. And I backslide into myself. Loneliness deconstructs, it isolates. But when I chose to experience it in a strange new city, I didn't know how cruel it could be. It's human nature, I think, to be

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with people, so the need to avoid them must be inhuman; to crawl further into a hole of your own making is an animal urge. At bottom, there is a darkness of claws and fangs and lust to devour. Cravings no woman would speak of in polite company. An itch I cannot scratch without Edward. With only one way back to the light. Couple. This is not emotional health, but physical need. Detractors see Coupling as anonymous sex, but it is so much more for me. There is nothing anonymous about touching another man who has Edward's exact veneer. Deep inside I know he’s a complete stranger, but the fantasy is so real. The man across the bed from me looks just like Edward, fills me like it was our first time all over again. The shy smile. His fingers brushing my stomach just hard enough that it doesn't tickle. When my lips meet his chest, it's Edward. The arched back, the scar on his shoulder, the tension in his face. Only Edward. Every time. Only Edward.

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JESS: Everyone was talking about it and I wanted to see how it worked. I chose David Bowie because there are tons of pictures out there and I've had this thing for Bowie since forever. I guess the hardest part was which era Bowie to choose. Anyhow, so you load in images, select settings and preferences, and give them your credit card number. Once you get the passcode you can drop in any time. I've read about Couple and it's pretty amazing what they do. The room where it happens is called The Stage, and I've seen how it looks with everything off. There's a

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mattress on a platform in the middle of the room. Everything is white. The room itself is round and there's a domed ceiling for all the projectors and such. It's kind of cheesy when you first walk in. For our date I selected the beach, so all this sand is on the floor. Images of sand, I mean. And the walls are filled with waves breaking and boats sailing out and around. So obviously video, that’s how fake it is, but it doesn't matter because, I mean, you're naked, right? And you're there to do it. Then in walks Ziggy freaking Stardust and he's naked too. So there's this sheet of light or something between us. It's definitely some kind of projection. Nice high-def too, maybe some pixilation around the edges. But, you know, you’re not here for the picture quality. Anyway, this sheet kind of sticks to your skin when you put your hand through it. Feels like being coated in Saran Wrap, so there's a kind of physical membrane there. You touch through it and get touched back, but it doesn't feel natural. There's a difference in texture between bed and skin and hair, but it's kind of plasticky at the same time. Does it matter? No. Come on, it's David Bowie giving it to you.

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TRACY: I work with Jesslyn. I think she's pretty and easy to talk to, so I asked her out for coffee. Don't know where I got the nerve, maybe because she looked lonely too. I thought about it for a long time and we ended up together in the elevator and I blurted it out. She said thank you but no. A week went by and, honestly, I didn't plan to follow her. I'd seen a movie and was walking to the subway when I saw her up the street turning a corner. Good timing,

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I guess, but I was curious to see where she was going. I crossed the street about a block behind her and saw Jesslyn walk into Couple. To me, Couplers are a little sad and desperate, but I understand why they go. I've tried online dating and it's a lot like that. There's a comfort-thing you've got to cross to put yourself out there, a risk you need to take. On dating sites you list out your likes and dislikes, try to honestly answer the questions. Yet, I found myself trying to sound more appealing rather than being one hundred percent candid. Am I religious? Yes, but I colored my response enough to make me seem more spiritual. Do I prefer dogs or cats? To not disqualify myself from either camp I said both. Remember, this was spur of the moment, seeing Jesslyn. And it hit me, she could be more than a daydream if I could stop Couple from masking the appearance of my partner. So I followed, planning not to upload a photo, hoping to get Jesslyn in the flesh, without filters; the real woman. Couple was crowded and I made sure Jesslyn didn’t see me. I ducked into a kiosk and hurried through the menus, deselecting any preference except for my sexual orientation. Jesslyn had just entered a changing room when I finally got my passcode. It was only a short wait until an adjacent door blinked unoccupied. I undressed, hoping my plan worked, that The Stage and my Jesslyn would be completely unenhanced. So when the door opened to a white bed and white walls, I smiled. And from the door opposite she entered. Only it wasn't Jesslyn. This wasn’t whom I was supposed to be with and in the moment I was disappointed. Then she knelt on the bed and held her arms out, beckoning me. This was someone real and she wanted me. And suddenly I realized Jesslyn was only a fantasy. Here was

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a woman, perfect in her imperfection, gazing at me with such longing that I was afraid to look away. I didn’t even want to blink for fear I’d lose hold of this reality. Her eyes only turned from mine when she watched where her hands caressed my body. If it wasn’t for the ache it gave me, her touch almost tickled. Then she pressed my shoulders down on the bed and gathered me in. Only then did I close my eyes, picturing no other face but hers. We rushed to oblivion. A gathering of angels shouted from above. Then our hearts unwound to a placid calm and I found her lying beside me. Remembering where I was, I was afraid to look at her. What if the varnish was gone? What if the woman I'd loved had been filtered all along? It would be devastating, but even worse not to know. The passion I’d felt was fact and I needed to put the real person to it. When I turned to face her, she was still there: soft brown eyes staring at me, a mess of cinnamon curls framing her face. I reached out, swept a wave of hair behind her ear and revealed a turquoise star. The earring was a hidden jewel, draped over the line of her jaw. The star seemed to call for me to kiss it. She bowed her neck as I pressed my smile beneath her ear, but when my lips sought hers, she demurred and pushed up from the bed.

D. L. Shirey

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Say something

when the light fades and my eyes grow dark as a sun in June. Say something when hedges fall and roads grow dim. Say something when you have gone from me. Something in the light of edges in the moon of roads, among signs of lanes, in the groan of men working night and day and noon; in the lighting of slips of paper, in the betting of horses, in the turn of a well-heeled tune I sometimes hear when I know you are there under the oak that shades you when you are weary, there in the drone and swish of tides that return the fallen ones that lie deep beneath the shade of basalt cliffs. Say something when burned feet of grass turns to ash, then leads me to questions. Geraldine Green

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Hardcastle Crags

The bells toll atop the steeple for everything buried under the flaming soil: worms still like strands of wool, the dry crisp wings of butterflies, a lotus flower – her youth frozen in time. We have taken to the woods, found our way along the hoary roots that leach into the glacial ground. They rest underneath burbling brooks that murmur within the golden seams of winter. Ice blankets the barren trail, giving in to the weight of our steps. My hand glides on dewy moss. We deduce the correct shutter speed for the chiming absence of light. A clatter presses the moment up against the mirror, pickle-jars it forever. By a surrendered fire, our companion stretches on the floor, weary from striding over brittle sponges of leaves. She will sleep between us tonight, shed the mud on the sheets and turn the bed into forest. The bells of Heptonstall strike again, summoning all dead things back to life. Alicia Fernåndez

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Immortalitea

A cup of tea is a wonderfully peculiar thing - it can make or break a morning, start a conversation or be the pool to disintegrating digestive-divers. They have always had a bringing-together effect in my family, a sit-down, relax and speak about your day aspect. Especially on Sundays. One by one, on this particular rest day, a mug was handed out to all those Farnwrights seated, slumped and leaning in the increasingly confining quarters of 1414 Leftfield Road. Each of us had our own designated cup - Easter presents that had lasted the tests and tribulations of time and repeated washing-up - and our own ideal brew. I was still a milky and two-sugar person much to the baseless chagrin of my siblings, a twentysomething child by their account. “Thanks,” said one and all, draining a little of our cups. There was a collective ahhh and a space of contented silence. All were left to their thoughts - adults ruminating upon the weekly shop or weekend do, children on tomorrow’s homework, that fight with Nigel Anderson, a frog found at the bottom of the garden. It was Ginny - a devout slurper - who broke our unified reveries but Marcus who shattered our lives going forwards. “Lovely, as always,” said the former, with a hamstercheek smile. In her hands was a Hello Kitty cup containing a no-sugar and semiskimmed. “That’s new,” noted the latter, pointing at the Farnwright matriarch's own plain mug. We all turned. “This? Why, this is nothing but a wee bit of tat,” replied my grandmother, lifting the spoon free. She was a practiced purveyor of junk; every one of us here had a grandma-find up on a wall or sitting in the corner of a room in our homes. The spoon

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appeared more of the same. “Something that caught my eye,” she added. The naked bulb overhead gave it a red-white sheen, a sparkle that, like a time-halted camera flash, caused a few of us to recoil and mumble and hold a hand before our faces. Marcus shot up as if someone had set a fire at his feet, practically leapt across the room. “Can I have a look?” He reached out with an arm so white it looked like it had never seen the sun. His usually plain face took on something akin to studiousness, puzzlement. I feigned interest. A long moment passed, so long, in fact, that half of us resumed watching Spring Watch and the starlings on display therein, but, eventually, Marcus got to the telling of his sudden excitement. Nothing was ever the same after that, though it took time to take us all; our grandmother’s customary three-and-a-half stirs, it seemed, had made our entire family, not just warm on the inside, but ostensibly immortal. “That’s chipped from the bloody Philosopher’s Stone that is! You can tell by the... look there... No shadow! And the colour: red. Red is lifeblood, you know.” He looked down at his mug, then looked around at us all. We stared back tired and hungry. His voice changed. “How long have you been using that?!” We didn’t believe him at first, of course. He was cousin Nora’s son after all; we held all the Farnwright-Levees at an arm’s length and trusted them about as far as our own noses. They were, as my grandfather used to say, both “unfortunates and an unfortunately offensive aberration” on our family tree, a fire blight that was turning a few branches catastrophically inward. Not even Marcus flashing a ratty lanyard - why not a magicked opal that could reveal it’s owner’s face, I wanted to know? - declaring him a student at the (sigh) Nene Valley Institute for the Otherly could stop our eyes from rolling or sway uncle Pete from taking another sip. It was only my grandmother

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that paid him any mind, eyebrows narrowing at the claim. They disappeared for a time and we all stewed in our places awaiting our Sunday roast and drank on and, most tellingly, forgot. One by one, from Took Farnwright, my grandfather, all the way down to EllieLou Farnwright, my brother’s infant daughter, we all came to believe it too late. The realization fell to me as a falling brick bows to gravity - without any choice in the matter. I was out in town and walking, just walking, and I saw it - saw Time - passing me, gentle as a breeze. It’s a funny colour, like sepia left in the fridge too long; and, if you really try to sniff at it, it smells faintly of mildew. I wonder if that’s what all this what Life - really is: forgettable seconds decomposing unto Chaos. In any case, it’s not a particularly lovely smell. On the telly, they have people live from BC to AD, accumulate knowledge and then have their faces age because their bodies cannot, etching time in the bags beneath their eyes, in the pain of losing someone else. Being unending is nothing like that. Not at all. It’s more like this: Time is so quick, so bent on its custom of tick-ticking that it never stops, but I, I’m outside of it, beyond and over it, and walking, just walking, and it can’t touch me. Really, it’s like walking through jelly and being the spoon (spoon, you get it?). I can cut through it, taste a bit of it, but I’m not really part of it and it will all be gone soon. Sometimes I see another Farnwright out here in the spooked diachrony (we found it’s not wise to stick around one another for too long) and we chat. It’s a rarity is conversation; other people talk too quick, die too suddenly, to strike up a healthy discourse. Liver spots materialising on their skin before the words even stir the air. I

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imagine they consider me flighty. The little things, the important things, no longer wait around for me. Can no longer be missed. I think we all feel immortality differently. Duncan, my brother’s husband, says he’s met Arthur Pendragon and Julius Caesar, that everything happens to him at once, and that his heart rate has slowed to a crawl; he has had two thump-thumps in the last decade. Shamans, druids and doctors can’t put a finger on it at all. If I’m being completely honest, I don’t like bumping into him anymore. It’s the eyes: something has happened to his eyes. Ellie-Lou remains ageless trapped inside the body-mind of a newborn; xe’s not good company in the slightest, very bitey. I can’t comprehend the mind-cells xe must occupy; to learn and grow only on the metaphysical plane and to never once be able to stand on your own two feet. Still, xe’s come to learn a lot about xemself without the burden of corporeal trappings and that’s more than I can say. My grandmother hasn’t changed a single aorta; the world, she says, is always congenial to her, hours stretching if she needs more time to chop potatoes or conversely shrinking if she is at a bus stop. I’m jealous of her. I don’t think I could ever live with this… but that’s the joke, right? I haven’t seen Marcus. Nora got word to one of us and his whereabouts trickled down our tree over the years like unresponsive sap to a brother whose name I no longer recall. He told me our second-cousin had become both the greatest and most vilified warlock in human history and owned/did not own an island in the Hebrides. I’ve come to no longer dispute in the reality of magic. If anything, I search for it. Living outside of time you need a little wizardry otherwise the ever-changing environs will drive you… Is that a writing desk?

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Nobody - not even Dad - has likened our familial plight to walking through jelly. I’ve always been unique though, that’s what Mum used to say. One of a kind. Outside the box. I think I’d very much like to be in the box now though if I could, please. I’m told my grandmother first liberated the philosopher’s spoon from a plastic box of junk at a ratty old car-boot sale; she paid sixty pence. I’ve always wondered - I’ve a lot of un-time on my hands - whether the old owners knew about it, whether they’d discovered its power and thought it too meteoric for simple folk from Northamptonshire and sought to bury it amongst generationally accumulated bric-abrac and simply forgotten. I prefer to think they never understood it and that it was a mere mantlepiece cast-off; because, the opposite, that it did to them what it did to us, is too close to the C-word (not that one, the magical one) for my liking. And if that’s the case, when does it end? And to whom must me we bestow it next? I think I’ll destroy it if I can. Maybe the next time I walk past my grandmother’s house it will still be there, maybe, if I’m quick…

Ashley Bullen-Cutting

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outcome Michelle Granville

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About Now Meanwhile, in the airy labyrinth, in a bathtub full of corn liquor, in the red barn on a hillside. While you were squinting in tomorrow’s sun. When the lion purred deeply. While you were paring your nails and twiddling with the radio, incident brushing against incident, willpower crooking a finger, intention taking a short vacation, ‘in the meantime’ on your breath, time an old fire in an older world, time a sniper, a deer in its crosshairs, an arrow coursing from one moment to the next. And meanwhile, by the river’s edge. Beside a splash of accumulated brilliance. Behind a page or leaf or pillar. Where everything is or it isn’t. Just when the robin came down from its village of mad branches. The same moment an ambulance passed. About the time a voice explained, “Right about now.” During the storm of what and when. During the rise and fall of the executives. During a long ride into the outlands, the race between hour and minute, a word leading, an action following along behind. Everything happening all of the time. When there is no then to go back to, lost among the smudged lettering and fudged illustrations, this now before all other nows. Here is the beginning, where it ends. The same sun as before, but a different planet. Bruce McRae

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Contributors

Stephanie Brooks graduated in 2017 from Georgia State University with a B.A. in English (concentration in poetry). Her previous works have appeared multiple times in Georgia State University’s Undergrad literary magazine, Underground, and was recently published in Z Publishing’s anthology of Georgia’s Best Emerging Poets. Ashley Bullen-Cutting is a writer concerned with the Weird, Gothic and Queer. He likes painting his nails and the chaotic dreams that reading Lovecraft before bed produce. He has been published in Lonesome October Lit and Three Drops From A Cauldron. Kayleigh Campbell is a postgraduate student at the University of Huddersfield, currently halfway through a master’s by Research in Poetry, with the intention of going on to study for a PhD. She is currently working on two collections of poetry:

Passengers, an academic collection for her master’s by Research and Antenatal Notes, a representation of her pregnancy through poetry. She is due to give birth on Saturday… She currently has no work published, but is in the early stage of her writing journey and hopes that will soon change status. Peter Clive lives on the southside of Glasgow, Scotland with his wife and three children. He is a scientist working in the renewable energy sector. As well as poetry, he enjoys composing music for piano and spending time in the Isle of Lewis. Douglas Cole has published four poetry collections and has another forthcoming this year called The Gold tooth in the Crooked Smile of God. His work appears in journals such as The Chicago Quarterly Review, Owen Wister Review, Slipstream, Red Rock

Review, and Midwest Quarterly. He received the Leslie Hunt Memorial Prize in Poetry; the Best of Poetry Award from Clapboard House; and First Prize in the Picture Worth 500 Words from Tattoo Highway. Interviews and publication links can be found at douglastcole.com. Helen Cox is a Yorkshire-born author who wound up in London after accidentally taking a left turn at Albuquerque. Over the last decade, she has edited New Empress

Magazine, penned three non-fiction books and written for The Guardian, The Spectator and Film4.Com. Her first two novels were published by Harper Collins. When she is not talking about Grease 2, Helen can be found at City Lit where she coordinates the poetry and non-fiction courses.

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Michelle Diaz has been writing poetry since the late 90s. She has been published by Prole, Strix, Amethyst Review, Amaryllis, Burning House Press, the Please Hear What

I’m not Saying Mind anthology and was awarded 3rd prize in the Mere Literary Competition 2017. She has a son with Tourette Syndrome and had a very unusual upbringing—both of which have been huge inspirations for her writing. She lives in the colourful and strange town of Glastonbury. Without poetry her soul would be incredibly hungry. Sarah L. Dixon is based in Linthwaite and tours as The Quiet Compere. She has been most recently published in Confluence. Her first book, The sky is cracked, was released by Half Moon Press in November 2017. Sarah’s inspiration comes from being close to water and adventures with her son, Frank (7). thequietcompere.co.uk Órla Fay is the editor of Boyne Berries Magazine. Recently her poetry has appeared in

Cyphers Magazine, The Honest Ulsterman, Quarryman Journal, StepAway Magazine, The Ofi Press, Crossways Magazine, The Bangor Literary Journal and is forthcoming in Skylight 47. In 2017 she was shortlisted in The Dermot Healy International Poetry Competition and The Redline Book Festival Poetry Competition. She blogs at orlafay.blogspot.ie and is currently completing the MA in Digital Arts and Humanities at UCC. Alicia Fernández was born in Spain and works in Leeds as a translator. She has published poems in various anthologies and magazines (Strix, Dream

Catcher, Bunbury). Her pamphlet If Moments Were Places was published by Half Moon Books in 2017. It won her the inaugural title of Chapbook Champion at Ilkely Literature Festival 2017, awarded by former BBC Poet in Residence Daljit Nagra. She was commended in the Prole Laurate Poetry Competition 2018. Brian Glaser teaches writing at Chapman University in Orange, California. Michelle Granville is a mixed media artist and writer living in the west of Ireland. Her work has appeared in Concis, One Sentence Poems, Dodging The Rain and Telltale

Chapbooks among others. UK poet, tutor and editor Geraldine Green has two full collections The Other Side of the

Bridge and Salt Road, both published by Indigo Dreams. and four pamphlet collections. Her work has been widely anthologised in the UK and US. In 2011 she gained a PhD in Creative Writing Poetry from Lancaster University. Her third full collection, Passing

Through, will be published in 2018 by Indigo Dreams.

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Hedy Habra has authored two poetry collections, Under Brushstrokes, finalist for the USA Best Book Award and the International Poetry Book Award, and Tea in Heliopolis, winner of the USA Best Book Award and finalist for the International Poetry Book Award. Her story collection, Flying Carpets, won the Arab American National Book Award’s Honorable Mention and was finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. A ten-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, her work appears in Cimarron

Review, The Bitter Oleander, Blue Fifth Review, Cider Press Review, Drunken Boat, Gargoyle, Nimrod, Poet Lore, World Literature Today and Verse Daily. Her website is hedyhabra.com. Jonathan Humble is a teacher in Cumbria. His poetry has been published by The Big

Issue In The North, Poems For Freedom, Ink Sweat & Tears, Obsessed With Pipework, Numenius Press, Riggwelter, Atrium, Amaryllis, Zoomorphic, Fairacre Press, Three Drops Press and has been read on BBC Radio. His short stories and poems for children have been published in Poetry Roundabout, The Caterpillar and Stew Magazine. Benjamin Joe lives in Buffalo, New York where he works as a freelance writer for The Niagara Gazette and IPWatchdog.com. When he's not making a deadline, he's honing his craft regarding short stories and full-length novels. An excerpt from his forthcoming novel, Nirvana Dreams, was published in the March 2018 Ghost City

Review. Robin Johnston is an urban photographer and videographer based in Glasgow, Scotland. Glasgow is often a very intriguing city visually, not because it is beautiful, which it can be, but because it provides a combination of textural qualities and fluctuations in light that he finds constantly inspiring. The decay of the urban environment is a strong theme in his work and he actively seeks out interesting textures and details for street photography. Agnieszka Krajewska is a poet, essayist, and combat epistemologist. She received an MA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University in 2004, and was ordained as an Adept in the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn in 2009. Her poems have appeared in two chapbooks, Water Breaking (Ye Olde Fonte Shoppe, 1997) and Residual

Heat (Self-published, 2014). She lives in San Francisco, California. Bruce McRae, a Canadian musician currently residing on Salt Spring Island BC, is a multiple Pushcart nominee with well over a thousand poems published internationally in magazines such as Poetry, Rattle and the North American Review. His books are The

So-Called Sonnets (Silenced Press), An Unbecoming Fit Of Frenzy (Cawing Crow Press) and Like As If (Pskis Porch).

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Todd Mercer won the Dyer-Ives Kent County Prize for Poetry, the National Writers Series Poetry Prize and the Grand Rapids Festival Flash Fiction Award. His digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance, appeared at Right Hand Pointing. Recent work appears in 100 Word Story, Defenestration, Literary Orphans, Praxis and The Magnolia

Review. Alan Murphy is the Irish writer and illustrator of three collections of poetry for young readers. His last collection, Prometheus Unplugged, was listed in a children’s and young adults’ books of the year article in the Irish Times and shortlisted for the CAP awards. He has recently published adult poetry with Degenerate Literature and art and poetry with all the sins (who chose his collage as their lead image for an issue). J. R. Night is a recent graduate from the University of Maryland. His work can be found in The Dime Piece Review, The Drabble, The Ogilvie, and elsewhere. Al Ortolani’s poetry has appeared in journals such as Rattle, Prairie Schooner, and Tar

River Poetry. His newest collection, On the Chicopee Spur, will be released from New York Quarterly Books in April of 2018. Ortolani is the Manuscript Editor for Woodley Press in Topeka, Kansas, and directs a memoir writing project for Vietnam veterans across Kansas in association with the Library of Congress and the Kansas Humanities Council. J. Ray Paradiso is a recovering academic in the process of refreshing himself as a street photographer and an EXperiMENTAL writer. His work has appeared in dozens of publications, and it is dedicated to his true love, sweet muse and body guard, Suzi Skoski Wosker Doski. Emily Pavick holds an MFA in Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She lives with her family in New England, where she is a fiction editor for Outlook Springs. Her work has appeared in Hippocampus Magazine, Hobart, Monkeybicycle, Eunoia

Review, Black Coffee (translated in Italian), Boston Literary Magazine, and others. Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, Forge,

Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His most recent collection is The Osiris Poems published by box of chalk, 2017. For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at simonperchik.com.

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Tony Rickaby studied at St. Martin’s School of Art in London. Recent exhibitions include Journeys, Jewish Museum, London; Poetry in Visual, Aveiro Museum, Portugal; The Story So Far, W3 Gallery, London; Urban Environment, Jakbox, London and Re-Cognition, Ponte de Lima, Portugal. Visual poems in Empty Mirror, Small

Po(r)tions, Tip of the Knife, Shuf, M58 and Ink, Sweat & Tears. Writings in Skelf, North of Oxford, Futures Trading, foame: and experiential-experimental-literature. Recent books are Detours, Urban Directions and Unnoticed. T. L. Sherwood lives in western New York near Buffalo. She’s the Managing Editor of Literary Orphans and the Assistant Editor of r.kv.r.y Quarterly Literary Journal. Her most recent work appeared in New World Writing. She’s currently working on a novel and blogs here: tlsherwood.wordpress.com D. L. Shirey writes from Portland, Oregon, where it's usually raining. So he’s usually writing. His short stories and non-fiction appear in 30 publications, with those flavored by sci-fi featured in Farther Stars Than These, ZeroFlash and 365 Tomorrows. You can find more of his writing at.dlshirey.com. Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and lives in Alabama with four incredible mammals. Find her poems and prose in recent issues of Juked, DIAGRAM, New South,

Mantis, VOLT, Cloudbank, New Orleans Review Online, and others. Her debut fiction collection, Every Mask I Tried On, won the Brighthorse Books Prize and will be available in May 2018. She serves as Poetry Editor for Pidgeonholes and President of the Alabama State Poetry Society. More arcana online at alinastefanescu.com or @aliner. Hiromi Suzuki is a poet, artist living in Tokyo, Japan and is the author of Ms. cried, 77

poems by hiromi suzuki (kisaragi publishing, 2013). Her works are published internationally in Otoliths, BlazeVOX, Empty Mirror, 3:AM Magazine, Coldfront Magazine, M58, DATABLEED, Utsanga.it, and Poem Brut at Rich Mix London 2017, amongst other places. Her latest book of visual poetry is logbook (Hesterglock Press). Find her online at hiromisuzukimicrojournal.tumblr.com and on twitter @HRMsuzuki Terry Tierney has poems coming or appearing in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Third

Wednesday, and Rat’s Ass Review, Cold Creek Review and other publications. He has stories coming or appearing in Jersey Devil Press, Fictive Dreams and SPANK the CARP, Longshot Island, Literally Stories and Big Bridge. His website is terrytierney.com

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Dr. Jeffrey Toney has published scientific peer-reviewed articles, news media opinion pieces as well as short fiction stories in Sick Lit Magazine, O-Dark-Thirty, the literary

journal of The Veterans Writing Project, The East Coast Literary Review, Storyland Literary Review, No Extra Words, 600 Second Saga, Crack The Spine and in 2 Elizabeths. Recently, he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for his 100 word story, “The Quiet Raspberry Wormhole” in Crack The Spine, published in their recent anthology. He serves as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Kean University. Olivia Tuck is twenty-one years old and lives in Wiltshire. She was a 2014 Wicked Young Writers’ Award finalist, has had pieces published on Amaryllis

Poetry, on Lonesome October Lit and in Three Drops from a Cauldron, and in the Mind poetry project anthology Please Hear What I'm Not Saying. Olivia is due to start at Bath Spa University in the autumn, to study for a BA in Creative Writing.

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Acknowledgements `On a Big Haul` by Benjamin Joe is an extract from his forthcoming novel Nirvana

Dreams. (NFB Publishing, out November 4th 2018).

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ISSUE #15 COMING NOVEMBER 1st 2018

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Profile for Riggwelter

Riggwelter #14  

Welcome to the fourteenth issue! Riggwelter keeps rolling on. This issue contains work by Stephanie Brooks, Ashley Bullen-Cutting, Kayleigh...

Riggwelter #14  

Welcome to the fourteenth issue! Riggwelter keeps rolling on. This issue contains work by Stephanie Brooks, Ashley Bullen-Cutting, Kayleigh...

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