THE RAIN, PARTY, & DISASTER SOCIETY Issue II January 2014
The Rain, Party, & Disaster Society is an online literary publication featuring works that are unlikely to be published by more mainstream publications. The RP&D Society strives to give representation to new ideas and thoughts, to challenge the reader and to question commonly accepted opinions, values, etiquette and ideas. Within our pages, you may find: works that tackle hot-button issues, works presented in a style that is out of the ordinary, works that present the reader with a question or debate, and works that break mainstream rules within their genre. To respond directly to a work you see featured in this issue, use our Contact page to send a letter to the Editor-In-Chief. You may also write your own rebuttal and submit it for publication in a future issue.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
SHATTER/HOLLOW, Claire-Madeline Culkin LIKE MEN WHO SIT AND LISTEN TO THE RADIO, Kerry Waananen SEWING CLOVER, M.E. Riley FRANK, Krista Genevieve Farris MIXED MEDIA, Elle Kennedy UNTITLED I, Bekah Steimel JIVE INSIDE INTERSTICES, Thomas Zimmerman LIGHTLY HERE, Thomas Zimmerman DARKER DECISIONS, Thomas Zimmerman A HEADFUL OF ROCKS, William Doreski ON FINISH LINES AND BASEBALL, Adam Kane FOLDING TOWELS, Danny P. Barbare DAY ROMAN, Benny Biesek / Born Before COLD WHITE MISTRESS, Tim Wilkinson SO YOUNG, SO HIP, Sean Marciniak GIRL WHO TRIED EVERYTHING, Neila Mezynski CHET’S IMPACT, Erik Svehaug AN END IN ITSELF, Howie Good MS. STIRRED, Krista Genevieve Farris AILING ELDERS, Gary Beck TRYING TO FEED YOU, M.E. Riley RYE, Mitchell Krochmalnik Grabois HIS WIFE'S A DRUNK AND A PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSER, M. K. Grabois STUCK INSIDE OF LOUISVILLE WITH THE DAYTON BLUES AGAIN, T. Zimmerman ROAD TRIP, T. Zimmerman MILES TO GO, Howie Good SLEEP MODE, Howie Good A HOLE IN THE WORLD, William Doreski GUNSMOKE KISSES, William Doreski A DEADLY CHRISTMAS CURSE, William Doreski UNTITLED III, Bekah Steimel POETREES, Arao Salamat CALL IT ETERNITY, Christina Murphy WE'VE GOT A TASTE FOR YOU, Christina Murphy
5 6 7 7 8 13 13 13 14 15 16 18 18 19 21 22 24 25 26 27 28 30 31 31 32 33 33 34 35 36 37 37 38 39
EDITORIAL STAFF CONTRIBUTOR BIOGRAPHIES
SHATTER/HOLLOW By: Claire-Madeline Culkin Someone once said to treat bodies in our intimate encounters with them like glass, like something that at any moment may break. I didn’t want love. I didn’t want to be touched by speech, or by the limbs of the one who speaks of love for me. I wrote a poem about it, then made eggs and wrote a poem about that. Crack. At a bar, a boy spied me through his kind eyes, barely blue and waning: needing. I let him look at me through them up close; let him fall in love with me from the bar stool next to mine on the other side of the space I’ve tried so hard to sustain between bodies. Against the frail will of my slim bones, my body settled into place in his gaze. Something shifted: his shoulders, slightly, so as to frame me. The way his lips parsed the space between my lips, his fingers, the space between my legs and later, between each and every one of my fingers. We sat next to each other at wine bars and dive bars in Brooklyn. Crossed westward over the East River. Moved from stool to stool around noon somewhere near Midtown. Sat motionless amidst the rush-hour huddle, waiting for the briefcases to flee, leaving us to languish in our unquenching quiet. When our bottomless bottles nearly but never did empty, we stumbled south and together fell into sleep. I woke to the inglorious grey of an anonymous morning. I wanted his waning eyes to wax open at the site of me. While I waited, the metronome of his dormant breathing played time liquid-like: like glass before it’s blown hollow and hardens. I filled my lungs with smoke and blew it out, empty and emptying.
LIKE MEN WHO SIT AND LISTEN TO THE RADIO By Kerry Waananen I’ll keep you around like back pocket scotch It’s nice to have you but I won’t open you up I don’t think your taste on my breadth would suit me much. Travel size, a little at a time I’m going places: you can tag along behind That flavour of mistake I wouldn’t make, it’s not like I wouldn’t share, but no one knows I’ve got you if I’m doing it right. Noblesse oblige. It’s cold and I’ve been keeping you warm, a negligent romance Close enough, you’ll remember that you’re there, within grasp. I’ll keep you around, wash-it-down Its nice to know that you’re about, I try to not check to make sure you’re there. I know A head nod I know But my fingers are generous, I’m not that way with you. Bigger bottles, pricey stuff, sure that’ll touch my palms, but after a few of those -after a few of those, I might let myself slip and pull you out, let’s have a good look at you. I might look too long, I might lick my lips But back in the pocket you’ll always go. I appreciate your constant lack of effort thanks for being there for being an obscured mirror, when I look at you that way, having pulled you out, I get to really look at myself looking looking. That’ll keep me honest. I won’t handle you too much I know you’ll probably fit just right, but you’re well enough in the back of my pocket Out of sight out of wine someday I’ll lose you but you’ll leave before that, before this. Before long I’ll think about you sometimes I don’t think I’ll replace you, I’ll feel alright I’ve kept myself honest.
SEWING CLOVER By M.E. Riley Her brown back in vintage cream lace blouse under the Tree of Life, May sun making warm shade for us to lie. We pluck and thread together white clover blossoms, make pearl necklaces, bracelets, and anklets. Tying the green knots into button-shapes, water drips out slowly down hands to return to drying grass. "They're friendship bracelets," she said while knotting another necklace around my damp neck. Tried to tell her I didn't need a bracelet to know I had a friend but she shook her head, said, "They'll wilt in an hour. Watch. If you don't, it'll fall off without warning."
FRANK By Krista Genevieve Farris After my brother’s second suicide attempt he said (A girl can buy a doll that looks just like her at the mall and play with it until she outgrows it and realizes she’s old enough to play with herself which is pretty much the same thing as loving a dopplegangler doll. A girl can stuff a hot dog in her pants and hold it between her legs and up against her belly to feel what it might be like to be with a guy or to be a guy. She knows how to fuck herself and recommends the Ballpark ones with thicker skin to her slumber party friends who hold hands and ask Oijua who to marry or if their friend should become a man, exploring names like Rocky, Lee, or the nickname Roach for Rochelle who says she doesn’t know what she’ll do, but has time to talk things out.) it’s different for boys. 7
MIXED MEDIA By Elle Kennedy
MIXED MEDIA By Elle Kennedy
MIXED MEDIA By Elle Kennedy
MIXED MEDIA By Elle Kennedy
MIXED MEDIA By Elle Kennedy
UNTITLED I By Bekah Steimel To all concerned women carrying Adam’s spare rib I offer you barbecue sauce a napkin and a bib Let’s slice that naughty apple and bake it in a pie We’ll call it the first supper making a feast out of a lie
JIVE INSIDE INTERSTICES By Thomas Zimmerman
LIGHTLY HERE By Thomas Zimmerman
This restlessness I learned from Mom and Dad. My best work’s come since both their deaths, but how is life without them? Now, I jive inside interstices of feelings. Sun is cloud. Commotion: silent. Motion: still. iPad shines bible-black, with indie-rock to wow or flagellate. It’s Yo La Tengo’s Ride the Tiger. No, it’s Painful. Wussy. Loud as Velvets, Stooges, Sonic Youth. Hand-backs betray my age. Chest puffed, I keep them tucked between my knees except to take a drink. Oh, let the cymbals/ symbols clash! Relax, I re-remind myself. I’m not as fucked- up as the monk in me pretends to think.
My fellow corpses tell me, “Don’t just think—You have to act . . . as if you have a life.” I smile and nod— it’s just my way—and hope a lobe or digit won’t come flying off. But it’s all right—we’re all so lightly here, as Leonard Cohen says. Or leaves new fallen in a stream that bubbles, burbles over rocks and mud, deposits of the other dead among us. Paint, compose a symphony, go find a mate: It’s true that everything comes late.
DARKER DECISIONS By Thomas Zimmerman Rain the color of heartbeat sludges in gutters. Posted around the café, notices grimace with lost animals and children, offer bodies for rent, and arson to order. Bureaucrats never come here without unfolding their laptops to government porn pages featuring office workers at work. I read the café’s free papers so deeply the print dissolves and dribbles down my wrists like painted handcuffs. Some days I split a blueberry muffin among my dozen closest friends. Sometimes I sit so alone even the bureaucrats pity me. The rain, though, has too much to say. It fingers every crevice, and fondles rubber and metal roofs as if its universal rhythm could solve even the subtlest need. What of the darker decisions those smirking laptops deploy? I’ve learned to misread the web, ignoring its flirtations, learned to agree to disagree when streets crack in the frost and crimes deny themselves aloud. Coffee sets like cement, installing me permanently inside myself, and the waitress, a plump confection, circles like a skein of buzzards, although she knows I never tip.
PHOTOGRAPH BY TOM SMITH
A HEADFUL OF ROCKS By William Doreski Waking with a headful of rocks consequent to dreaming of naked artists plying their trade in public, painting on sheets of Plexiglas. Where does this occur in Faust? The yellow tinge to the starlight results from sulfur residue introduced into the atmosphere by thoughts I’d never act upon. The rocks anchor me to places where my footprints didn’t adhere. The Earth’s crust, like an apple pie’s, is lumpy and varies in thickness. Wherever I step a grave occurs, a soft spot beneath which magma slops and groans. But shuffling about in bathrobe and slippers, I’m poignant enough to stifle the noises that my neighbors insist are spirits suffering in Hell. Pots and pans clatter as Carole makes oatmeal to fuel the day of errands ahead. But that racket doesn’t apply to me. I trip through winter fog thick enough to protect me from newspapers and journals still printed on actual paper that invokes the ghosts of forests. So many words. I’d like to smelt them into a single exclamation large enough to anneal Marx and Freud for twenty-first century consumption. An evil residue lingers from last night’s reading. I remember the pages turning, but nothing of their self-importance. However, they remember me, remember my eyes glazing over, remember how my brain clenched as certain notions unraveled. Dawn in an hour. I suffer a bowl of oatmeal and wonder if Goethe found the early hours rock-heavy with unrequited pain as sorry old legends recur. 15
ON FINISH LINES AND BASEBALL By Adam Kane It's an interminable cliché: in times of tragedy and confusion, people look to sports. Sports can be an escape from the atrocities, the endless bickering, and the sheer confusion we all are forced to comprehend every day. I've heard it a million times, but this year in Boston, I saw it. The second Monday in April is officially Patriots Day in Massachusetts and Maine. To locals, though, it's Marathon Monday. So on April 15th, my boss and I left work, walked across the Boston Common, through the Public Garden and finally down Newbury Street, where we walked over one block to Boylston and stood near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. We stood for 20 minutes, admiring the runners, then turned around and walked back to the office. Half an hour later, the first confused reports started coming through Twitter. Two bombs exploded near where we had been standing. I clicked open a picture and just stared. The finish line: with cheering crowds, the exhausted and elated runners, and the proud families. In an instant it was replaced with blood and fire and screams and panic. The images aren’t hard to find. A man knocked over by the sheer force of the blast; police, guns drawn, scanning the crowd; runners, families and spectators, moments earlier sharing the joy and pride of achievement, now weeping and shaking in fear and confusion. I'm not going to pretend that I have any right to say I was as affected by this event as Jeff Bauman, or any of the families who lost a son or daughter, or the gentleman in Watertown who discovered a terrorist hiding in his backyard. But I was scared as I walked the streets of Boston that afternoon; it’s not often one sees armored police vehicles and national guardsmen with massive guns in a familiar city. Afraid to take public transportation, I took a cab home. Thirteen days later, I went to Fenway Park with my now-fiancée. It was a one o'clock game, and the first sellout of the season. We got to our seats early enough to hear the safety instructions broadcast over the PA system. I had never paid attention to them before. But then the game started, and for three hours, that was all I paid attention to. They won that afternoon, and they kept winning, all spring and into the summer. And then they made the playoffs, and kept winning until they were the last team standing. It was November 1st, six and a half months since Marathon Monday, and to the naked eye, the scene looked eerily similar. Fans were packed 10, 20, 30 people deep on Boylston Street; the famous yellow and bright blue finish line was permanently painted on the road, same as it ever was. But instead of what we've all seen looped endless times on CNN, something great happened that first Saturday in November. Replacing the scattering crowds, the fire, the shattered glass, and the screams: celebration. A victory parade. Crowds cheering, waving pennants, and drinking beer. Then, for a moment, cheers stopped. The crowd took off their hats, put down their drinks, and remembered. They sang “God Bless America.” And then the parade kept going past the finish line. Past the terror and panic of the recent past and into some feeling which, while familiar, was incredibly fresh and different. It was joy and relief and pride all at once. The crowd started cheering again. Professional baseball isn't anything more than an expensive, time consuming distraction. And no, the tragedy at the finish line of the marathon didn't have anything to do with the success of the Red Sox. Of course not. This story is about baseball as much as Avatar is about space minerals. But every time a family from Dorchester packs into the bleachers at Fenway, or a twenty-something from Medford stands on Boylston in a massive crowd to catch a glimpse of his or her favorite player, we all feel less afraid. We felt less afraid when a baseball player took back the city on our behalf. We all felt that same pride when a group of 16
(cont.) baseball players celebrated a victory where we had all witnessed unthinkable tragedy. We can all think of similar moments in New York City and Washington, DC, in tiny towns in Texas and Kansas, in Connecticut and Colorado. A baseball team will never ever regrow Jeff Bauman’s legs, and there will always, always be a young boy’s father in Boston saying, “I wish Martin could have seen the Sox win it all.” The sadness and challenges will remain. But baseball, unlike all other professional sports, is played nearly every day for half a year. It's routine, it's ritual. It's escape and comfort. And in 2013 in New England, it was exactly what was needed.
FOLDING TOWELS By Danny P. Barbare Folding towels and stacking them agreeable and balancing them trustfully on the bathroom shelf is a lot like life would say my wife.
DAY ROMAN By Benny Biesek / Born Before one day fades in for a roman; he, alone; in it. day fades in for a coma patient; he, alone and in it. one merges, and both did, once, blend â€“ mixed-up bags and shoots; randomness. one is bled, now, and the other; faded and read. played out, one day fades in. one day began for a roman with a compact. later on, she read some sort of silly pamphlet in the basement. her parents, upstairs; banging out another one. they merged and never were so alive. now one is dead and the other, fading fast. built to last, one day fades in. 18
COLD WHITE MISTRESS By Tim Wilkinson They’d been walking in the cool shade of the green woods for some time. The day waned warm and delicious. The occasional kiss of soft, cooling breezes caressing their brows and fluffing their sweat-dampened hair signaled the coming chill of night. Dusk was fast approaching. They would have to head back soon. He wanted her. She knew it. They stood together beside a clear brook, listening to the trickle of lazy water splashing over jumbles of multicolored, sand washed pebbles. Smooth edged stones glistened beneath the crystalline bath, spewing sparkles of gold, copper, and the pristine white of sun twinkling quartz, upwards and out. Rainbow splashed trout gleamed and sparkled at their feet, darting about in zealous search of the evening’s last repast. To their left, a lone deer, still attending her spring born fawn, crept silently from within the deep cover of the verdant woods to quench the day's thirst at the brook. To their front stretched the long, thick trunk of a fallen Aspen tree, its skin pale, smooth, and soothing to the touch. Like cooled, goosey flesh, hardened with muscle, taut and tight, tense with unspent tension, it seemed to shiver at her touch with willing, subdued anticipation. She sat upon the firm, unyielding skin of the trunk, felt the quickly waning warmth of its skin against the cool flesh of her smooth, tanned thighs. Stretching out on her back, aligning herself comfortably atop the strong, supportive trunk, she faced her eyes skyward towards the azure blaze of the heavenly seas above. He stepped forward to join her. Standing tall above her lightly trembling frame, his feet, bare, numbed by the icy cold of the brook, he took her outstretched hand in his as she drew him nearer. As he did, his lengthening shadow shaded her eyes from the swiftly drooping orb of the fading sun and the golden rays of citrus orange collecting on the horizon. Within her blue eyes lived the sky, upon her lips his heart. She said little, only smiled with her keen, sharp eyes, secure and fixed upon his. “Yes,” she whispered slightly. He took her there, in the open, where any might see. Neither cared; all they saw, felt, or heard was each other. “I love you,” she said. *** It had been a long, hot summer. Arriving late and haggard at the hotel, they checked in quickly, heading straight for their ground floor room facing the sunlit beach. From the balcony, in the luxuriant shade of a tall coconut palm, he watched as a lone, silvery blue dolphin leaped in the surf. The water shimmered deeply, cobalt steel and blue. Two adolescent girls sat playing just outside the room, wallowing in the warm, white sands. He slid open the large plate glass door to ensure he could hear and see them well, calling out a few happy words of cheer and consolation. He entered the small, stone lined shower, relishing the sun shaded chill of the cold, air-conditioned tiles beneath his bare feet. She followed. He put his arms about her waist, kissing her lightly on the cheek and neck before lifting her up and setting her gently upon the small, sand colored, basin, set against one wall of the small room. She took him there. “I can’t hold it,” he said as she delicately moaned. “I don’t care,” she replied. “It’s okay. We have plenty of time. Let me have it … all.” He did, finishing quickly. 19
“I love you,” he said.
*** Years could change things, she knew this, yet this, she had not foreseen. He seemed surprised to find her waiting as he returned with the twelve pack of beer and the tall, brown bottle of scotch. She stood before him, her soft, amber toned face, angry and hurt, her eyes moistened and red. His mistress lay hidden inside. “Having a party?” she asked. “No … just relaxing.” “Do you want me to leave, like last time?” He said nothing. “OK … let me get my things.” She went upstairs. He heard the rustling in the bedroom and the bath as she gathered her assorted toiletries, brushes, and the few items of clothing she kept around his place. He listened as the bathroom cabinets slammed, then the dresser drawers, sliding solidly against the frame. At the bottom of the stairs, she paused, looking at him one last time, forlorn, lost, and afraid. Again, he said nothing. He felt nothing, sitting emotionless, as he heard the door close with the solidity of permanence. She would never come back, not again. He knew this. He sat still, listening to the sounds of her car door closing and the engine starting up. After the sounds faded away down the street, he stood up, locking the door and attaching the chain. (cont.) Retrieving his mistress from her hiding place, he eyed her longingly, touched her, lightly fondling her firm, cold whiteness. His fingers tingled. She was hard and firm to the touch, pale and promising. His mind raced forward. His heart beat with impassioned anticipation. Kicking off his shoes and, hurriedly, impatiently removing his clothes, he headed back towards the living room, sighing at the pleasured touch of the cool, oaken floor against his bare feet. He wanted her badly. Snapping off a small, pointed piece of her, he placed it in the end of the short glass pipe, nestling her against the blackened remnants of a burnt, metallic screen. Raising the pipe to his fevered lips, he struck up his lighter, sucking smoothly, yet decisively, inhaling her enticing and alluring scent. His eyes grew red and sharp as erotic chills tickled his spine, rushing through his body and mind. His flesh tingled, warm and damp. He knew that soon she would have him as sure and as fast as any true lover would. “You're mine,” she said. “Yes, I know.” *** 20
SO YOUNG, SO HIP By Sean Marciniak (This is either a sonnet about pretty girls in horn-rimmed glasses, or a sonnet about alienation from popular thought. Slap a bass line under it and you might be able to grind to it.) You tripped and stumbled through the hazy air of a world unfolding around you; be La Bella, selecting strikers somewhere near the discount bin, beaten and lonely. The warmth and heat of summer air casts you to rain cold judgments under those Tangos Intense. They bombard you with passion fruit fresh from the open wounds of Scott Baio, and itâ€™s the girls who can no longer stand New Age groupies seeping with intentions of performing for cretins. Play this hand Saint Hank, Propaccessorizing Patron. The fortunate bums inherit nothing proud beggars boot, cast, throw, or even fling.
PHOTOGRAPH BY TOM SMITH
GIRL WHO TRIED EVERYTHING By Neila Mezynski Installation Stack heap pile. You in there? Tidy them edge if so. Loose end less bedraggle. Fill up room you say, don’t be shy speak. Shriek. Can’t find tight end in detritus. Plenty of not much Chopin. Nother piece. Keep pure separate. .Jump through hoop. Thought she could, thought I would, no she don’t. Want. Paint Make mess on pristine square. White. Might be smart mess though. Better find and put to work. Tame that beast with mud not red. It does bite specially those unfinished edge. He say don’t listen. Much. Like unconditional child. Won’t go, even when, shove. Patient til she is. Stack heap pile new mess on fearful square, home sweet home white . Unclean edge is exquisite. Nother kind of beautiful. New friend. Maybe. When will you be come home? Dance Bend sway spring in toe oh muscle bound one with snob in air. See through all that she say he say. Never mind pretty boy don’t like you, anyhow. Nose to grindstone pure. Chest forward hurl hover hang around up there, donut on ear in little black dress. Keep in mind the sweet. Not how many much way you can. Boy. Girl. Burger. Air. Write Word onslaught almost miss red tree scream. Chopin. Keep the juice juiced curly head. Same thing as all other thread. Don’t miss that in your flail. Disagree to agree. Want so much to want to do. My way. Not nothing hands empty head. Loose ends nice. Put ‘em together like all of them tries. In their own cage might be best. Choreograph Boss step, sound, her. Mine all mine. Play safe. Don’t listen to that other pure. Cake. Eat. Too. Sing He said, sing that hysterical common thread. Hold on dear life you land lubber. She thought she want to steep in fine on top of hard mountain, only lonely up there , need to come on down, fraternize, share, party, other he said who specialize in pure alone, share thought loud and clear in the town square. Get out of your head oh phobic one, come on to where is is. Right. They’re all the same you know, those thread, common. Folk. Art. Keep them in corner like naughty children, don’t play nice, you know. Even if relative. More. Cake. juice is most important oh.
CHET’S IMPACT By Erik Svehaug Chet shoved the key into the lock of his Brooklyn apartment and twisted. In arid Mauritania, Hissein fell writhing against the lead goat, holding his belly from the pain of the parasite in his stomach. As Chet dropped down the stairs two at a time toward the sidewalk, the tailings dam of Cerro Negro, Petorca, in Chile, began to bulge outward from age and the press of water behind it. When Chet reached the curb, he glanced at his watch. Dolores, in the mountain town of Sarang Sarang in Indonesia, died of old age at 53. He chose the ignition key from his ring. A village school closed its doors in Belen de Andamarca, Bolivia, for lack of funds. He threw his briefcase onto the backseat and dropped into the driver’s seat. Bored policemen in the Jiaodoku neighborhood of Beijing watched as householders stowed their remaining possessions onto a wagon to lead them away from their home to a resettlement camp in the next district; Jiang Zu dropped her bundle of bedding in the dusty street. Chet started the Prius and pulled quickly into an opening in traffic. The elevator down into the coal mine stopped suddenly with a lurch that twisted Sergei Tuleev’s stomach and all the lights went out. Chet made it to Broad Street in two minutes, while Madyawako fanned the air above the unaffected flies on the face of her little Bakili. As he topped off the gas tank at the Shell station, the ooze from the leaking coupling in the oil pipeline that ran down the center of Kpor in Ogoniland, Nigeria, pooled at a low spot in the street. He got into the line of cars at the front of Middle school slightly before the bulk of the other parents. In Gedo, Somalia, Sufyaan waited in the long line for the scoop of rice that was to last his family for two days. Chet inched the car forward and saw Amy emerge from one of the six big doors of the School. A Yanomami hunter came out of the jungle near the Rio Orinoco after two days with a single skinny monkey over his shoulder to feed his large family. Amy opened the door and jumped in. A magnitude 4.1 earthquake collapsed the concrete and stone buildings in Kermam, Iran, and a related landslide swept away the highway that connected to Bam. “Hi, Dad.” His eyes were full of Amy’s face and his heart with love of his daughter. “Hi, Ames.” With a satisfied sigh, a doctor in Chechnya administered BCG vaccinations to the last child in line at the clinic. 23
“Dad, a bunch of us want to go to the mall.” The cost of flour inflated to record levels in Egypt so Hassan left home to find work in Europe. “We’ll see,” Chet said, with a smile, immediately starting to plan the quickest route. A dolphin was still-born in the Gulf near Galveston.
AN END IN ITSELF By Howie Good It's a circular path into nowhere. Spiraling, even. It's not a place of beauty, I can tell you that, and it's not a place of hope. You just can't go there. At some point in every day, your breath catches in your throat. I cry every day. The life with polka dots, it lives in water. Source: http://www.npr.org/2013/12/12/250287971/newtown-parents-seek-a-clearer-window-into-violent-behavior
PHOTOGRAPH BY TOM SMITH
MS. STIRRED By Krista Genevieve Farris Zippity zappy that’s my pappy sitting there hunched with his head up his ass, looking out his belly button past the lazy lint at a hodge-podge of news, reinforcing his wee world misconception, since mom conceived he’s the master of conception, A Mr. Patriarchal disaster who reigns the reina realm. We leave him be- me, my brother and sisters, mister, Circumvent come election time and always, really Tired oh so done with nit-pick rooster cock-a-doodle One-sided gorilla style so called debate. That’s the word. Listen- “circumvent.” But, please don’t. The venting stifles us. It’s steamy- drives us mad. That drivel loud snivel tuckers me out mister teacher preacher, wears me raw, slams me down for a night of sleep like a mummy bound and buried in demon dimension dreams where Grandma eats cat food with a shrimp fork and Junior swirls a coat hanger in his sweetheart of a girl who’s rolling on crank, knees splayed and praying. You’re off, man, off and so out of here. You’ve been out there for many a year. Your face-painted crooked smile rooting on your team- Go daddy. Go daddy. Go slide your door hanger around another one’s knob, put your stamp on someone else’s pieceOh man, listen. I’m sick of junk mail.
AILING ELDERS By Gary Beck As the days grow shorter my hopes diminish that I will live to see another spring. The nursing home staff do not care if I live or die, indifferent to my needs, but will not terminate me, as long as I don't cause problems. I know they snuffed that nice woman in room 306 who complained non-stop, then suddenly had a stroke. The food is awful. They rarely change the sheets. The toilet always stinks. They yell at us all the time, even hit us. If we protest we have an accident. They happen all the time. Soon I must decide if I've had enough of what my life's become. There's no one who cares, so my only concern will be how to end things.
TRYING TO FEED YOU By M.E. Riley 1 Last day of your visit I’m in the kitchen Chopped potatoes minced garlic onions Cast iron sizzles my morning hymn I cook two eggs for you You ask for just one Said you’ll stop counting calories eventually You feed me too much good food 2 Workshop runs late but always time for dinner Bowtie pasta boiling minced garlic onions Pot bubbles my evening hymn You walk in tired from helping other people Bitch about counseling center Tulane social work DSM Said you’re not hungry You worry too much about food I cut the heat shake off shaky hands Bowties conflate into infinity signs I watch bubbles dissipate 3 You won’t leave the bed browned leaf beneath a maple Thought up plan fancy restaurant dinner 28
Don’t have much left in me or my checking account
Felix’s chargrilled oysters scoop you out of bed Restaurant teems with tourists who left Acme’s long line You me a too-big table dozen oysters between us You eat a salad Watch me eat entire tray ask if we can leave
RYE By Mitchell Krochmalnik Grabois There are scattered pieces of stale rye bread in the patchy snow of Sloan’s Lake Park The geese ignore them The old man who put them there gets on his bicycle and begins to ride away but he doesn’t get far before he falls over onto the unyielding pavement Pinned by his bicycle he’s hurt and perplexed He’s been riding a bike for over seventy years and has never lost his balance before I call 911 even after the old man sees me pull out my cell phone and says: Don’t call 911 I don’t want to argue or debate with him He’s too confused to make a judgment I just do what I think is right The EMTs put him in the back of the ambulance What about his bike, I ask I don’t know, says one I don’t know about bicycles We just take the people Bicycles have to fend for themselves Really? That’s your answer? I think I end up taking the bicycle for the old man I don’t want the responsibility but I’m the only one there I’m not looking forward to returning it to him He’ll probably be pissed at me for calling 911 He might even get violent But I’m not worried I can outrun an old man who can’t even manage to stay on his bike anymore I watch the ambulance drive toward St. Anthony’s Hospital The geese have decided that the rye bread is safe and they’re busy eating it Goose shit is all over the grass as usual 30
HIS WIFE'S A DRUNK AND A PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSER By Mitchell Krochmalnik Grabois His father-in-law’s born again His mother’s never been born so things even out Drugs and alcohol don’t mix His wife falls asleep in odd places at odd times He decides to keep a record of her plunges into unconsciousness in a black-and-white composition book he finds on a bus He tears out twenty pages of some kid’s assignments before he gets to a blank page His impression of that kid is that she’s not too smart and has loopy handwriting and is a spoiled brat Wife has fallen asleep everywhere except in bed he writes but then loses the heart to go on
STUCK INSIDE OF LOUISVILLE WITH THE DAYTON BLUES AGAIN By Thomas Zimmerman Fairfield Inn and Suites, 12:15 a.m.
The floor-lamp’s fizzy, spinning molecules and atoms into orbitals as wild as bourbon in the throat, as King Lear’s fool’s bons mots, which Brian and I, halfdrunk, self-styled Shakespeareans, ingested at the bar: the Seelbach Hilton, Scott Fitzgerald’s muse for part of Gatsby. Three Dog Night, the star attraction down on Fourth Street, sang a bluesand-Bud-Lite pop we didn’t hear. Game Two was on the television: Cardinals and Red Sox. I will botch the poems I read tomorrow at the conference. But need I care? Right now, if I sang madrigals in Dayton, there’d be strippers I could woo. 31
ROAD TRIP By Thomas Zimmerman The interstate’s alive with whining tires tonight. The sun’s chugged back to Santa Fe, there’s Tom Waits on the stereo, and choirs of crickets mating in the grass. To stay in place is negligence. Chicago’s five fast hours away, the Mississippi less than eight. So hook your bra, zip up your dress: we’re heading west, as far as we can drive on vodka, coffee, chewing gum, and rest-stop sex. We’re not too young to gnaw the rind of weird old America, to test the strength of selfmythology, to find what Whitman, Kerouac, and Dylan blessed, a dreamscape horny, mad, poetic, kind.
PHOTOGRAPH BY TOM SMITH
MILES TO GO By Howie Good Just because my password is my dead mother’s maiden name, you call me cynical. Sure, the ground under me can feel unreliable sometimes, a gratuitous incline. And, sure, sometimes it suits me that the First World War wasn’t actually the first world war. But these are momentary lapses. I belong to a bureaucracy of dreamers and have hobnobbed with gnomes and injured petunias. Come drink Belgian-style ale in the wild and listen to my symptoms. I have a head that fills itself with lace.
SLEEP MODE By Howie Good The computer can’t come out of hibernation. Faces float past me with all the energetic aimlessness of dandelion fluff. “Good theology ought to recognize one fundamental separation,” Professor Clough says, “between God and all God has created. We belong with dogs and cats and hedgehogs and trees and rocks.” At the job interview, I’m asked the last book I read. I have to think a moment. In this country, it’s easy to become the sort of person you never wanted to be – broken statuary along your path, an armed man lurking in ambush just ahead, schoolgirls whispering behind their hands.
A HOLE IN THE WORLD By William Doreski A thousand-foot ladder raised to a cave-mouth in a granite cliff. Who would ascend such a height? Yet in my dream I climb this wobbly aluminum construction and pause at the hole in the rock, then reach in and drag out a knapsack. Down the ladder, quaking all the way. Even in the dream I’m afraid to look at the impossible drop, and sweat like a pig at slaughter. A crowd hustles around me. What’s in the knapsack? Gold coins? A severed head? Ore samples? I don’t want to know. The crowd surges to the Golden Gate Bridge. Everyone wants to cross at once. Some climb the cables and race daredevil up and down the web. Others walk the rail and totter gracefully before falling two hundred feet into the bay. I look around for the ladder, but teams of tuxedoed firefighters have folded it and disassembled the cliff until the next gray drama. I’m on my own. The crowd disperses to Marin County, leaving trash scattered on the roadway. A cop orders me to clean up the mess. “Your dream, your trash.” Beer cans, cigarette packs, candy wrappers, fluorescent Dunkin Donut bags. I find my knapsack, empty now, halfway across the bridge. I toss it over the rail and it opens its flap and howls all the way down, a hole in the world both too large and too small for me to fill. 34
GUNSMOKE KISSES By William Doreski Browsing in the gun shop, you favor a small caliber plastic pistol suitable for foiling metal detectors. Barrel and firing chamber detach for easy concealment. The rest resembles a toy. Sleet whispers in the parking lot. Christmas shoppers mob Wal-Mart and Home Depot, but in here only hard-core killers of deer, grouse, duck, and turkey work the aisles, round-faced as children who hate to share. Already ghosts of people you imagine shooting crowd around as you weigh the pistol in both hands. You sigh that treacherous little sigh and replace the gun on the rack. The dealer knows he has lost you, but the fog of ghost warns him that selling you a weapon would put him out of business. The winter day’s grainy with salt and sand. This unpleasant weather reminds you that Pushkin died in a winter duel, blood-fouled snow grisly where he lay writhing with pain. Your face ignites, inspired. You want me to duel someone and recapture the brassy moment of nineteenth-century glory; then if I survive write an epic you’ll publish years after I’m gone. No, thank you. The parking lot slurs with spinning tires. This shade of gray dulls my senses, but you in your holiday mood dance footloose in slush, trigger fingers twitching and gunsmoke kisses on your lips.
A DEADLY CHRISTMAS CURSE By William Doreski A spark from my woodstove fire ignites a revolution six thousand miles away. Workers unite, gnashing gears. Cities flash their lights in warning. Snow storms attempt but fail to extinguish the ruling passions. I deploy bird feeders in the icy dawn. Chickadees, titmice, goldfinch cluster for seed. Gunfire halfway around the world doesn’t frighten or discourage them. Frontiers shift, but trees remain rooted and sigh with that graceful exasperation I wish I could emulate. Plows hack up and down the road. The snow falls at such an oblique angle it sketches runes in the pine tops, verse as primal as cave art. I want to drive to St. Petersburg and throw myself in the Neva. I could swim all the way to Finland. The scent of wood smoke triggers fantasies shaped like Freud’s cigar. The moving frontiers roll over me as I shovel snow from the deck. Nations stumble over me and curse the deadly Christmas curse, fouling my appetite. A car crash a hundred miles away erases a friend I hadn’t yet befriended, an earthquake shudders an ocean, and the star the Wise Men followed shines through the cloudy daylight so boldly I don’t dare speak.
PHOTOGRAPH BY TOM SMITH
UNTITLED III By Bekah Steimel Letâ€™s pull the pretension out of poetry like rotting teeth detracting and distracting scuffing up your smile just give us the grin the frown the middle finger gift us anything but over-priced words meant to dress up and deflect attention from the cheap and confusing concepts you so proudly call poetry and I so lovingly refer to as a waste of time and ink
POETREES By Arao Salamat
CALL IT ETERNITY By Christina Murphy No more games Lucid as ice I can’t recover this time I am a lonely soul Even though I live, I’m not really alive Life has become unbearable All fled, all alone There is nothing new in dying Call it eternity Why wait? It’s better to burn out than to fade away I leave this world where my heart must either break or turn to lead Why does it have to be like this? Things just seemed to go wrong too many times The truth is nothing on earth can help me I must end it. There’s no hope left I must have peace and this is the only way I am not about to make the great adventure This poem is composed of phrases from the suicide notes of Hunter S. Thompson, Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Virginia Woolf, Brad Delp, Lee Eun-ju, Dalida, Robert Howard, Sergei Yesenin, Jerzy Kosinski, George Eastman, Kurt Cobain, Nicholas Sebastien Chamfort, Leslie Cheung, Tony Hancock, Heinrich von Kleist, Freddie Prinze, James Whale, and Clara Blandick.
PHOTOGRAPH BY TOM SMITH
WE'VE GOT A TASTE FOR YOU By Christina Murphy Around the Corner from Everywhere Along the Highway to Anywhere, We’ve Got a Taste for You A Taste All Its Own It’s the Real Thing— Ice Cold Sunshine Pure as Sunlight You Can’t Beat the Feeling Don’t Wear a Tired, Thirsty Face Be Really Refreshed Catch the Wave Open Happiness It Will Satisfy You Enjoy that Refreshing New Feeling Life Tastes Good Make It Real
This poem is composed of advertising slogans for Coca-Cola during the company’s history http://www.coca-colacompany.com.
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Jordan Rizzieri (Long Island, NY) is a caregiver, writer and professional pain-inthe-ass. After graduating from SUNY Fredonia with a B.A. in Theatre Arts and a minor in English, she spent over a year in Buffalo, NY honing her playwriting skills. In 2011 she saw the staging of her first full-length play, The Reunion Cycle, as part of the Buffalo Infringement Festival. Upon her return to Long Island, she began blogging about being a young adult caring for her ailing mother, as well as publishing essays on the topic. After being disheartened by the attention-seeking content of other online publications, she was inspired to breathe life into her own literary magazine. After wrangling three wonderful friends into joining her, The Rain, Party, & Disaster Society was born. Now as she spends her days caring for her mother and running the RPD website, Jordan spends the evening hours writing weird non-fiction essays, watching WWE wrestling with her boyfriend and trying to build up a tolerance to spicy foods. On the weekends she plugs in her IV of high-test coffee, listens to terrestrial radio and has arguments with her boyfriend's cats about who gets more of the bed (which she almost always loses.) Feel free to contact her with questions about the Attitude Era, comic book plot lines involving Harley Quinn,The Twilight Zone and the proper spelling of braciola .
NON-FICTION EDITOR Jennifer Lombardo (Buffalo, NY) is 25 years old and works full time at a hotel in order to support her travel habit. She graduated from the University at Buffalo with a B.A. in English in the hope of becoming an editor. When she isn't making room reservations for people, she reads, cross-stitches and goes adventuring with her friends. She is especially passionate about AmeriCorps, Doctor Who and the great outdoors. Ask her any question about grammar, but don't count on her to do math correctly.
FICTION EDITOR Kay Kerimian (Buffalo, NY), just freshly turned 25, has gone from Long Island native & bagel aficionado to hippie-dippie Hudson Valley student before ultimately taking a chance on The Queen City as a professional go-getter. Holding degrees in Performance & Gender Studies while carefully considering a literary escape route, Kay currently resides in Western New York with her partner in crime; the two share plans to explore the great unknown together by this time next year. After hastily publishing a small collection of short stories independently at the ripe old age of 17, Kay quietly abandoned her lifelong ambition of becoming a celebrated writer for an equally quixotic career in the performing arts while adopting a new name. When not on stage or on a proverbial soap box, Kay spends her free time reading (a lot), traveling (as much as possible on an artist's income), & thinking up the next big project (currently attempting to try something new every day for a year). She prefers using lower-case, enjoys coffee, whiskey, & sweets (respectively & in no particular order), & pines for never-ending libraries. Always interested in a dialogue, Kay welcomes discussions involving disability awareness, heteronormativity, & hypothetical super powers.
POETRY EDITOR Bee Walsh (Brooklyn, NY) is a 24-year-old New York native living in Bed-Stuy. She graduated from SUNY Fredonia in 2010 with a B.A. in English Literature and a B.S. in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. Reciting her two majors and two minors all in one breath was a joke she told at parties. The English Department played a cruel trick on her and pioneered a Creative Writing track her final year, but she charmed her way into the Publishing course and became Poetry Editor for the schoolâ€™s literary magazine, The Trident. Bee has spent the past three years trying different cities on for size and scoffing at people in each of them who ask her about her "career goals." An Executive Assistant in publishing by day, you can find her most nights stage managing non-profit theatre, eating vegan sushi in the West Village or causing mischief on roofs with her boyfriend, Brian. Run into her on the subway, and she'll be nose deep in a book. She holds deep feelings about politics, poise, and permutations. Eagerly awaiting winter weather and warm jackets, sheâ€™d love to talk to you about fourth-wave feminism, the tattoo of the vagina on her finger, or the Oxford comma.
CLAIRE-MADELINE CULKIN is an aspiring author and psychoanalyst. Her writing concerns love as a process of mourning and identity as one of narrative construction, as do her academic studies. She is afflicted with an attention to the symbolic weight of the mundane actions we take in our daily lives. Her aim as a writer, and as a student of psychoanalytic practice, is to elevate these accidental rituals—these unintended consequences of what it means to be who we are—to the level of the word: to something that can, at the very least, be spoken. “Mourning Ritual” is her first publication. She currently resides in the Catskills, where she is writing a novel. KERRY WAANANEN is a twenty-six year old poet casting spells from Seattle, Washington where he lives with his fair lady, Abbey. He drinks things he cannot see through (namely whiskeys, coffees, and beers) in hopes of bolstering his burgeoning beard. Indulging also in ciders and kombuchas to even out his diet, Kerry often finds himself depositing poignancies on coasters. This is his first year of submitting his works for publication. M.E. RILEY sweats in New Orleans, drinks in the Bywater, and dances in the Marigny. She is Assistant Poetry Editor and Blog Editor for Bayou Magazine. Work is forthcoming or has most recently appeared in Quaint Magazine, Bop Dead City, similar:peaks::, The Feminist Wire, Ghost Ocean Magazine, Every Day Poems, Nude Bruce Review, Eunoia Review, Belle Journal, and Best of Tales from the South, Volume VI. KRISTA GENEVIEVE FARRIS has worn many hats and hairnets in the work world, including a polite cap that pleaded “Lettuce Serve You.” She dug up teeth and an obsidian workshop as an archaeologist in Honduras and donned spandex at 5 am every day for 16 years to teach group exercise classes. She’s taught English in Costa Rica and anchored the evening news on a Virginia radio station. She wakes up each day to a testosterone filled house thanks to her three sons and husband and spends much of her day making sure no one turns on the ceiling fan over the stack of writing she leaves on the dining room table. When she’s not writing, she’s running, or digging in the dirt thinking about writing or running. Krista’s poetry and essays have been published in the Albion Review and Haight Ashbury Literary Journal and is scheduled to be included in 2014 issues of Tribeca Review and The Eccentric. She has a BA in English and Anthropology/Sociology from Albion College and a Master’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology from Indiana University. She was born in the Detroit area, was raised a Hoosier in South Central Indiana, and now lives at the top of Virginia in Winchester. ELLE KENNEDY is a British based mixed media and conceptual artist. Having graduated in fashion and dress history at Brighton university, Elle launched herself as an artist. Themes of disposability, appropriation, violence, and vanity culture are recurrent in her work. She seeks to document and explore the transgender experience, both her experiences and others around her. She also seeks to document the experiences of twenty-somethings living through austerity in 21st-century Britain. BEKAH STEIMEL is a 33-year-old, internationally published poet who lives in St. Louis, Missouri. You can find her work in publications such as Gutter Eloquence, Sinister Wisdom, TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism, Vayavya and Verity La. She was also featured in the Poet Showcase at Five Magazine. In addition to poetry, Steimel enjoys writing fiction and is currently working on a novella that explores the themes of love and loss. Bekah’s pastimes include flirting, drinking whiskey and making people uncomfortable. THOMAS ZIMMERMAN teaches English, directs the Writing Center, and edits two literary magazines at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, MI. His chapbook In Stereo: Thirteen Sonnets and Some Fire Music appeared from the Camel Saloon Books on Blog in 2012. WILLIAM DORESKI lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire, and teaches at Keene State College. His most recent book of poetry is The Suburbs of Atlantis (2013). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell's Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction and reviews have appeared in many journals, including Massachusetts Review, Atlanta Review, Notre Dame Review, The Alembic, New England Quarterly, Worcester Review, Harvard Review, Modern Philology, Antioch Review, and Natural Bridge. ADAM KANE is a recovering actor living and working in Boston. You can follow him on twitter @akanefive. Be warned, though, most of his tweets are about the Red Sox, Syracuse basketball or the line at Starbucks.
DANNY P. BARBARE has recently been published in The Round, Askew, Assisi Online Journal, Blood and Thunder, and Doxa. He has been published over 550 times locally, nationally, and abroad. His poetry has won the Jim Gitting's award and It Matters Radio award. He works as a janitor at a local YMCA in Simpsonville, SC. BENNY BIESEK, or Born Before, is a sometimes-published poet who resides in San Luis Obispo, California. Born perseveres with Six Nines Haiku Project and One Year More Poems. Biesek: he holds a B.Phil. from Cal Poly State University at San Luis Obispo, helps with Blind Literary Journal, and directs New Theorem Press. TIM WILKINSON, author, poet, lover, father, son, traveler and human, began writing at the age of twelve. Recently published in, “The Path Literary Journal, Static Movement, The Speculative Edge, Ancient Paths, Writers Haven, Fictitious Magazine, The Global Twitter Community Poetry Project, and The Garden Gnome” he continues to explore his lifelong dream of being a writer, and actually being paid for it. Tim believes in love at first sight, ardent romance, passion and soul mates, the benefits of travel, books made of paper, The Beatles, fairy tale happily ever-afters, chocolate, marriage, the joy of live theatre, music, beer and coffee, his earthly father, daughter, wife, and of course, Christ and God, yet not necessarily in that order. SEAN MARCINIAK is a local to the Buffalo(ve), NY area. After spending the last year as a rogue comedian (open mics) in NYC, Sean returned to Western NY where he is an actor, comedian, freelance thinker, 1920's robber baron, and occasional Polish Shaman. NEILA MEZYNSKI is author of Glimpses and A Story (2013) from Scrambler Books; pamphlets from Greying Ghost Press; echapbooks from Radioactive Moat Press and Patasola Press; chapbooks from Folded Word Press, Men Who Understand Girls, (2012), Nap Chapbook, Floaters , (2012); Deadly Chaps Press, Dancers On Rock, (2011), Warriors , 2013), Mondo Bummer , Meticulous Man (2012), Mud Luscious Press, At The Beach (2011). ERIK SVEHAUG works at a picturesque lumberyard with steam train tunnel and white cathedral on a hill. He is supported by his wife and inspiring daughters. His short and flash fiction have appeared both online and in print, recently in Halfway Down the Stairs, Infective Ink, Everday Fiction and the UMM Binnacle UltraShorts. He advocates for a compassionate world. HOWIE GOOD, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the forthcoming poetry collection The Middle of Nowhere (Olivia Eden Publishing). His latest chapbooks are Echo's Bones and Danger Falling Debris (Red Bird Chapbooks). He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely. GARY BECK’S poetry 'Days of Destruction' was published by Skive Press. Another collection 'Expectations' was published by Rogue Scholars Press and 'Dawn in Cities' was published by Winter Goose Publishing. His poetry collections ‘Assault on Nature’ and ‘Songs of a Clerk’ will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. His novel 'Extreme Change' was published by Cogwheel Press, 'Acts of Defiance' was published by Artema Press, and his short story collection, ‘A Glimpse of Youth’ was published by Sweatshop Publications. MITCHELL KROCHMALNIK GRABOIS’ poems have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He is a regular contributor to The Prague Revue, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, most recently for his story “Purple Heart” published in The Examined Life in 2012, and for his poem. “Birds,” published in The Blue Hour, 2013. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for 99 cents from Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. ARAO SALAMAT is a visual artist, art educator and Philippine Art and Culture advocate based in Manila. He is also an art organizer and a visionary. In 2012, he founded the Malalayang Alagad ng Sining at Adhikain (an international art organization based in the Philippines). He is also organizer/exponent of Pinoy Artist Art Experience in Bangkok, Thailand and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Arao’s body of work depicts Asian culture, life and ethnicity. His 30 works have been featured in SUU Art Magazine (Spain, 2010), the Philippine Embassy page, and Art Expo Malaysia 2013 Catalog. Ara has had 5 solo exhibitions and several group shows both locally and internationally.
CHRISTINA MURPHY lives and writes in a 100 year-old Arts and Crafts style house along the Ohio River. Her poetry appears in a range of journals and anthologies, including, most recently, PANK, La Fovea, StepAway Magazine, Pear Noir! and Humanimalz Literary Journal, among others. Her work has been nominated multiple times for a Pushcart Prize and for the 2012 Best of the Net Anthology. TOM SMITH is an editorial photographer in Woodstock, New York. He co-founded Eberhardt Smith with his partner in crime. He edits a blog called Diner Porn. When he's not taking photos, he's on Twitter, drinking coffee, or trying to get his dog to exercise.
ÂŠ The Rain, Party, & Disaster Society 2014 49