The Serious Ink Press Catalog and Sampler

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The Serious Ink Press Catalog and Sampler

Note from the Publisher

Greetings and welcome to the Serious Ink Press Catalog and Sampler. Contained within is the current lineup of Serious Ink Publications for your perusal and purchase. Serious Ink Press is an independent press dedicated to the publication of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, photography, art, treatises, and other works of interest and merit. Founded in 2007 and based in New York City, Serious Ink promotes new and emerging writers who have a unique and personal perspective on their unique and personal experiences.

Serious Ink Press is looking to expand its catalog in the current year ahead. Look for news on our Facebook and Instagram pages, and view our author readings on the Kaldon Arts Network YouTube page.

Thanks for looking and good reading to you all.

Ordering Information: to order online, go to

Cover Painting: Scott Lewis

The Serious Ink Press Catalog and Sampler

The Serious Ink Press Journal

In this Issue, Rita Taryan writes a story of loneliness and tenuous relationships. Leigh Fisher brings us on a journey from her birthplace to the adopted city she now calls home. Christine Shaffer experiences a changed landscape after thirty years away from her beloved New York City. Linda Obuchoska-Obscura shares her playful and humorous photographic vision. B.F. Späth renders AI art via DALL-E2 to illustrate his dream-state narrative. Jaïra Placide shares her deeply personal poetry and collages. J.R. McCarthy tells the tale of the Wayfarer, who works his magic on the employees of a fast food restaurant. Scott Lewis offers his take on a horror classic, then paints the tale of Stan’s which may or may not be the name of a neglected bar populated with characters of a similar psyche. Marie M. Placide gives us her colorful mixed media art. Gary Winter shares an excerpt from his forthcoming play Neighbors. And Stephen Kaldon presents his photos from the archive.

ISBN 978-0979698552 | 78 Pages | 7” x 10” | Paperback | $20


The Epiphany Of A Woody Wagon Muse Rita Taryan 12 Ambition Leigh Fisher
York, I Love You, But Man, You Are Really Breaking My Heart Right Now Christine Shaffer
Photos Linda Obuchoska-Obscura 30 Excerpts from The Moon City B.F. Späth 42 To All My Friends Jaïra Placide 44 Poems Jaïra Placide 47 The Wayfarer Stops For Lunch J.R. McCarthy 53 In Appreciation Of Scary Movies Scott Lewis 56 No One Was Sure Of The Name Scott Lewis vi, 60 Mixed Media Marie M. Placide 62 Excerpt from Neighbors Gary Winter covers, iv, ii, 72 Photos Stephen Kaldon
18 New


You drive up and park across the street. The lawn is overgrown with dandelions, but they shut at night. They won’t keep you out. I shed a deliberate drop, thinking about it.

And I think about place, where I constantly am, in any event companioned by what I already know and think, safe and sound, I think. No, I am sure.

I pinpoint myself indoors, in known and thought. This is like a woman keeping a hope chest, which keeps her busy all day taking out each item in turn, inspecting it then putting it back. I am a woman so I recognize how alarming is this portrait of another woman who is like-a-woman in every way, especially in how she occupies herself. There is a full-length and broad-width mirror behind her, a contrivance, in which she can doubly seem-charming: how she fixates on things. How she fixates on things! Look at her, I think.

And on the other hand, you are thinking about time.


You said you would be here at midnight and you are. You mouth, “Midnight,” because you are proud that you are a man of your word, and you mouth “Midnight,” because you don’t want to wake my father.

It is a double-paned window so my outlook is that you mouth. And you flash a smile as big as fireworks on New Year’s Eve. That’s how handsome you are, plus punctual. Your head appears bodiless in the narrow partly-subterranean window. Against the black sky your pinwheel eyes ignite.

“Bark-bark. Bark-bark,” says the dog.

“Shh,” I say, and will repeatedly from here on. An hour ago you called and said you were coming. I didn’t ask why because it was enough for me that you said you were coming. And then, into the bargain, you have actually come, which was never a given.


You’re tapping forcefully. It’s a brisk night I deduce from your breath on the glass and from your hugging yourself and rubbing your upper arms in zippered leather. I can’t see all of you but I think you are shifting your weight from one foot to the other and stomping the frozen ground. I am


frozen too for a second. Instinctively I hesitate. It is a woman’s instinct but because I am still a young woman—and because it is every-woman-for-herself—I am not sure if it is women’s instinct.

I consider your forceful tapping and my instinctive hesitation. This is like a mother letting a little son beat her chest. The little son can keep her busy all day hoping he’ll stop. Maybe she puts him down and picks him up again then puts him down again, but he persists in crying. The mother is a woman so she recognizes how alarming is this portrait of what seems to her another woman, not herself, an unlike-herself who occupies herself desperately trying to meet the needs of a raging little man. Whereas she used to be a little daughter taking her own tantrums for her own just causes, which to the whole then-world seemed-darling. It was maybe daring. And the world then seemed-herself. And the world then was wholly, if moodily, imperative. So I think: Aren’t little daughter and little son tantrums equally deserving? The mother picks him up again. Look at her, I think. She thinks she wants him.

I shush the dog who immediately subserviently shushes. The dog stops barking and feels bad that he barked. Feeling bad is in excess of what was asked of him. It is surplus to what is required, which is just that he doesn’t wake my father. Also, the dog’s feelings are an annoyance because he has made me feel bad that he feels bad. Dogs are empathetic so it makes him feel bad that it makes me feel bad that he feels bad. Three times the pain, and more is still possible.

The dog thought it was right to bark and in an hour it will be right for him to bark. And the dog will have been right to bark. But right now I shush the dog before he thinks to bark again at you tapping impatiently on the window breathily condensing to, “-nigh-!”

About the dog, I think, in fairness, he is not just a minor character in the story.

While I was waiting for you, I was sitting cross-legged on the couch. The dog’s head was on my lap. The rest of him is too big, but he would have liked it.

The dog lives in the basement whereas I live upstairs because my father doesn’t want the dog to dirty the rest of the house. I don’t know why my father is okay with me dirtying the rest of the house. What my father really wants is for the dog to live outside on a runner that is a long leash tied to a clothesline. That was how it used to be: the dog running back and forth; the ground beneath the dog furrowing; the dog

Marie M. Placide - Untitled_Intersections, mix media, 8 ½ x 11
Linda Obuchoska-Obscura

The Wayfarer Stops for Lunch

The Wayfarer enters a Rebel Fried Chicken franchise somewhere in the northeastern United States. He is hungry for Rebel Fried Chicken with gravy, and cornbread. He also wishes to sample some of Rebel Chicken’s celebrated side dishes, the menu of which includes, and is limited to, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, baked beans, candied yams, creamed spinach, macaroni and cheese, steamed broccoli, Spanish rice, ratatouille, and hummus with pita chips. Only the first four were available in the time of the legendary Major Cletus T. Rebel. Cornpone and succotash were discontinued in the early eighties.

A man stands behind the counter that separates the buyers from the sellers, at the second of three cash registers, breathing through his mouth and concentrating on the machine before him. The breast pocket of his yellow dress shirt bulges with writing utensils, and is adorned with a badge that identifies him as EARL.

No amount of razor-play makes Earl’s face clean-shaven, and no density of corrective lens remedies Earl’s myopia, but Earl’s earnest, pasty countenance is, after the goateed leer of Major Rebel hisself, the public face of Rebel Fried Chicken at this location. A portrait of Earl hangs by the entrance to the establishment, and the legend beneath the portrait identifies Earl as the manager, to whom all questions and complaints should be addressed with dispatch.

Two adolescents, a boy and a girl, frolic behind Earl. The boy’s uniform is too long and too loose, though his body is hulking and rawboned. The girl’s uniform is too short and too tight, though she is lithe and petit. They bear some resemblance to one another, but as far as they know, they are not related. She giggles as he kneads the portions of her body she allows him to touch. She calls him a jerk, but she is lightheaded from the nepenthe of his attentions, just as he is further enflamed by her teasing reproach. They will couple this very evening, and first sex will be humiliating and unsatisfying for both of them.

The Wayfarer is the first customer of the day, and he bids all a good morning. Earl regards The Wayfarer evenly, but from the chin down, he is all anticipation. Earl returns The Wayfarer’s good morning. The adolescents leave off their lechery and take their places: the boy behind chicken parts in metallic bins under glaring orange lamps; the girl behind the vast side-order station.


“What an inspiration, “says The Wayfarer to Earl, “to see that these youngsters, anxious as they are to be alone with one another are standing like surgeons at operating tables, eager to serve.”

Earl chuckles courteously. Earl abides the whims and banter of those who come and go each day, for he longs to show them his mastery. Earl is ready to describe and praise each item on the menu. Earl can repeat, quicksilver and verbatim, every detail of each order. Earl manipulates his computer- age abacus, and pronounces with finality, ‘your total’. He smiles mirthlessly at The Wayfarer, “Certainly, Sir,” he says, “and what can we git for ya ta’day?”

“I believe,” says The Wayfarer, “that I shall have two drumsticks and three breasts.”

“A Five Piece Combo comprised of two drumsticks and three breasts, yes, sir.”

“And can you remind me: are cornbread and gravy considered side dishes, or are they included with each order?”

“With the Five Piece Combo, sir, you receive, in addition to two sides of your choosing, cornbread and gravy.”

“Delightful! Now,” says The Wayfarer, “can you remind me: are these included sides regular sides or large sides?”

“Regular sides, sir.”

“Very well, then: the five pieces of chicken as specified.”

“Two drums and three breasts, sir.”

“And may I have as my sides one - ahhhh - coleslaw,”

“One side of coleslaw, sir.”

“And one creamed spinach.”

“One side of creamed spinach, along with one side of coleslaw, sir.”

“I suppose it’s just as well that I shall be dining alone.” The Wayfarer laments with sufficient histrionics to indicate that he is joshing, and continues, “I would also like a side order of mashed potatoes, please - and a frosty diet cola to wash it all down.”

“The diet cola is included in the five piece combo, sir. The extra side, however, is not included, and you will have to pay for it separately.” replies Earl.

“I expected as much, and I am happy to pay – but would you please make that a large side order of mashed potatoes?”



Stagger towards virtue with The Cynic, The Scoundrel, The Taskmaster, and the Procrastinator. Tour the Holy Bronx with poet-philospher J.R. McCarthy.

Like a revised edition of the Seven Deadly Sins, AMBIVALID adds treatises on self-pity, obliviousness, procrastination, and lechery. Humorous, touching, forthright, and undeniable, the journey through the 24 poems that make up AMBIVALID will clarify your confusion, and put you on the straight and narrow.

Included in the edition is Back in the Holy Bronx, a loving, pointed, and “holy” tribute to the the authors home borough.

Ambivalid or “staggering towards virtue” AND Back in the Holy Bronx ISBN 978-0979698507 | 52 Pages | 8.5” x 5.25” | Paperback | $12
J. R. McCarthy
Ambivalid, or “Staggering Towards Virtue” and Back in the Holy Bronx Ambivalid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Back in the Holy Bronx . . . . . . . 39 About J.R. McCarthy . . . . . . . . . 46

I. “Money”

There was a residential community called "Money" and in its red brick buildings there lived thousands ofpeople.

The mapmakers divided it into four quadrants, and they gave the quadrants most impressive names:

The quadrant to the North was "Security". The quadrant to the South was "Influence". The quadrant to the West was "Expedience". The quadrant to the East was "Luxury".

Every map is a guide for the prospective citizen, who agrees to become a resident before he passes a single night, and may not care where the vacancies happen to be.

But the residents in their beds –suddenly awakened in the middle ofthe night –can tell you exactly where they live. And they can tell you exactly why their part oftown is the least desirable.

J.R. McCarthy3

Haiku Invoked Against Casual Sex

Before this night ends I will remove my clothing before a stranger –

One I don’t yet know will savor my pastiness and endure my girth; until I leap up, consumed by great self-loathing, to get her a coke.

Dear friends and heroes who dwell with my grandparents in a paradise

I shall never see: ifthere be blocks where you are, please walk around them for the next cycle ofmy long adolescence. I can’t bear the thought that somewhere up there, among the sated spirits, you are giggling.


II am back in the Holy Bronx, where my father and his father and his father rest in what peace there is I’m back in the Holy Bronx, carrying on in the name ofshadows as they gather into legends. Noble Antecedents! I am driving by your graves and wondering ifyou really listen to the things we say, and really watch all the things we do. Am I thinking ofyou because you’re thinking ofme? Do you signify to me that Heaven is no better than the Holy Bronx, so I should stay put, and Mother should, too?

Holy Bronx, you too have been ensnared by the encroaching anonymity ofAmerican cities. Your German delis implode into snapshot temples, and your beauty schools become vegetable maxi-marts. Your dimly lit bodegas sold beer to minors, but who sells minors to beer more quickly than the Videodrome and the Smoketeria?

Holy Bronx, I swear you kept your children out ofyour saloons: they shivered over cheap wine in the pits ofyour arcane masonry until they came ofage. Holy Bronx, I swear you sent your children offto worship on the many Sabbaths, but they sneaked offto the park to share kaiser rolls, and that’s not your fault.

J.R. McCarthy41


Back in the Holy Bronx

Holy Bronx, you have more Ravishing Latin Girls than San Cipriano could raise from the sea foam on Orchard Beach.

Holy Bronx, you have more Glorious Irish Girls in County Woodlawn than the White Brothers can hypnotize with their famous blue eyes.

Holy Bronx, you have more Magnificent Italian Girls in the Curio shops ofArthur Avenue than the world may know.

Holy Bronx, you have even more Fascinating Black Girls than you know yourself: why are your poets too proud to shape sweet lyrics for their bangled ears?

Holy Bronx, you rock with reckless wisdom. Holy Bronx , you damn cowards to invisibility.

Holy Bronx, you breathe history and your rooftops are littered with homers. Lilt ofthe Holy Bronx upon my tongue; Bounce ofthe Holy Bronx in my walk; All the way up Webster Avenue from now until Yonkers, amen.


I am back in the Holy Bronx, driving badly in one ofthe many family cars I have squired to Death. I am back in the Holy Bronx, crawling from Jerome to Gunhill because my lady dreads I 95, or double-parking on East Tremont because people in Nyack are jonesing for cannolis.

Lou Gehrig and Sal Mineo, Virginia Clemm and Leatrice Joy


Tales of the surreal await you in Brian Spaeth’s new book Clocks Stopped at a Strange and Savage Hour: Fulton Street and Other Stories. Like Ginsberg meets Kafka meets Bruno Schulz, the sagas in this volume of poems and short stories will lead you through a city that has turned against its own, as offered by one of its dispossessed denizens.

Framed by a crumbling and poisoned city on the verge of shedding its marginalized artists, its lost citizens, and those remembering a childhood that led them to their current state of mind, Clocks Stopped at a Strange and Savage Hour will bring you to a remarkable place of nostalgic dreams, vivid nightmares, imagined fears, and frightful realities.

Clocks Stopped at a Strange and Savage Hour: Fulton Street Re-visited

ISBN: 9780979698514 | 84 Pages | 6” x 9” | Paperback | $18

Clo C ks s topped at a s trange and s avage Hour

THE CENOTAPH AT FULTON & NASSAU Fulton Street 3 The Periodic Table Contaminated in a Dream and the Unexpected Results ............... 7 The Solar System and its Discontents 8 Book of Qualms 12 Hot-Spectrum Extrapolations .................................................. 13 The Mnemonic Calendar and its Attendant Horrors 14 STOrIES TOLd TO CErTAIN PEOPLE ANd NOT TO OTHErS Mercurochrome 21 Clocks Stopped at a Precise and Cruel Hour: Three Dreams of Childhood ............... 25 Eros 28 Drawn to a Lost and Missing Shore 32 Memory of Touch and Remembrance of Embrace .................................. 36 Evening 37 POISON MErIdIANS Stories Told in Variegated Inks and Lurid Dyes .................................... 51 Lost Routes Through Briar & Loam ............................................. 53 Washington Square: In the Chess Quadrant 55 Notes From an Unconditional Surrender ......................................... 57 Revelations in a Vague Language ............................................... 58 In the Tertiary Cafe 61 APPENdICES Books of Fulton. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Delerium Specula 69 Cracked Ampules & Whiffs of Methylene Chloride 73 About Brian Spaeth 77
Fulton Street and Other Stories v

Fulton s treet

Sad, yes—I’m sad to be going away! But my time is up at Fulton Street. The Fulton street of rainy Saturday afternoons staring out at the gloom of the old sky-scrapers. Watery Fulton, changing Fulton, disgraceful Fulton. The I-lost-my-mind-and-soul, gray afternoon Fulton. The dreaming of a better life Fulton. The dreamer of 1003 staring out into the mist of the encroaching buildings. Savage rape and plunder of Fulton. Breath of filth and dust and poison of old Fulton, dug up, torn up, and gouged out. Pipes, tunnels, and ancient brick exposed, crumbling to dust, blown high in the sky all the way up to the rooftop of the Bennett Building, that Holy/Unholy rooftop. The tinshack of suffering and ecstasy and dreams and nightmares. I can see myself standing by the East window staring at the Brooklyn Bridge for the last time as I am driven out of another hell-hole that I loved dearly and hated and feared. The terror of the knock on the door—Management discovering my pathetic and illegal existence! That most unlikely of places. The sanctuary of Fulton! The Bennett Building: fortress, mother of losers and the marginalized, hiding in the ancient walls, driven there by an insane Real Estate/Godless poison blown through the cracks! I’m gone again, my poor little corner of Paradise. I tried really hard to make it work, so hard! So much work and sweat and money. Floors, tiles, ceilings, dust, DNA of 911 blown into all the cracks of Fulton. Spirits at my door. Came right in and floating up near the ceiling. Muffin the Cat could see them! Tormenting me, sucking the life out of my spine in the night as an evil wind tore through ancient Fulton: dust, bones, powder, human DNA, burning, itching, causing fever and drunkeness. Now I’m back where I started, on the street again. Trying to get a breath of air! Mother Bennett, the cast-iron teat that kept us all alive in those desperate years.

Now the Fatal Renovation! Workers cling to the sides of the building on scaffolds, grinding away layers of paint and all the way down to the raw iron. The biting wind of 150 years of pulverized paint and bones of the dead, clinging, swirling around old Fulton. Hiding in the dark, pretending not to live. Sleeping on the floor like an animal. Blot out the light, don’t answer the knock on the door—it might be Management! My home torn out from under me.

I am lost-and-found high on the rooftop of Ancient Fulton, the tin shack, an unlikely last stop, a caboose placed crazily on the rooftop, ten stories in the sky and I still stare out the South window down into the maze of twisting, narrow streets, the Stock Exchange down the bend in Nassau street . . .

Brian Spaeth

Time to go now. The dust and the poison fills my lungs and brain and I think strange thoughts and dream of monstrous planets colliding in the night sky over the Fulton rooftop. My mind is broken and Fulton is no more. Too many streets and no home, wandering up the block and down again, lost and dreaming of the 1950’s and I was here with my grammar school class right down there by the old Fish Market and now here I am again, driven out of my home again by the pulverized bones of the dead, gone in a flash, atomized by unthinkable pressures, stranded in mid-sentence, snuffed out, left floating in the air around Fulton street. Never to see the blasted streets again except in my dreams. The skeletal dreams of cast-iron, cast out of the false hearth; the Asylum of the Bennett. Past and Present collide in the minds of the weary and huddling rats clinging to life in the cast-iron Church of the Bennett. What souls have marched through your iron halls? Dust-storms swirl around the Bennett now. Cast out, running into the street, clawing for breath. No air! Run from the Bennett! Sanctuary no more! The Great and Morbid City, rising up all around the old Bennett, blocking out the sun, blocking out the old and wondrous views. Scaffolds everywhere, a curtain drawn around the Bennett. Can’t breath anymore!

Poison rules the day and poison rules the night!

I fear for my life! A driven rat, scurrying from it’s disturbed nest. Three years of hiding in the womb of the Bennett!

I shuttle between toxic nodes, scattered, forgetful, weakened by poison. Sapped by threats and insults, hounded by sadists, forced into hiding by criminal landlords and illegal factories dumping caustic chemicals down the drain. Charts and diagrams might be useful now! Yes, I am leaning toward maps and charts right now! Soundings, measurements, soil and air analyses. Wind-current analysis, vapor and particle flow, surveillance cameras and stolen hot-water from the Cafe Seaport. Arrows pointing me in one useless direction after another. Cartography of Failure, Poison, and Penitence. The Cartographer of Fulton Street, pouring over maps, annotating texts, deciphering cryptic messages, avoiding the more dangerous mammals and insects. Stranded on a traffic island, screaming at the passing cars. The three toxic properties are lined up almost equidistant. No, wait! I’ve made an error

Clocks Stopped at a Strange and Savage Hour

already! They are not equidistant at all! The surrounding streets rise up in front of me and recede in a wash of baleful memories. I’ve been given a set of conflicting instructions and a small, children’s chemistry set! Basic experiments need to be carried out! Samples taken, tagged, analysed and notated! The dust follows me from Fulton to Kenmare and on to 6th Street and uptown to Times Square.

The Hot Breath of Io scorches my lungs and burns my eyes and let’s me know: “Scurry, you unfortunate Cartographer! Try to put it all together, will you?The hedge-rows are all covered with the powdered bones of men and women! And now their dried and powdered guts, and the machines that they worked on and the chairs that they sat on and the bulbs that illuminated their doomed labors now get into your skin, sufferer! You are burned by the cost of greed and empire and the rapacious thugs that rule the world! You will pay the price! Do you consider yourself innocent? Ha! You poor deluded fool! Run through your mapped-out routes, trying to piece together a way to sustain your miserable life! You will be drawn inexorably towards the epicenter of your grief! The Burning Masks of Penance & Perdition: Try them on for size as they scortch your face and burn that smirk off your countenance!”

Do you remember when you were a small child and stood on the back porch of the old family home? Do you remember when your mother threw bread crumbs to the birds and do you remember how shocked you were when one of the birds tore a piece of bread from the beak of another bird? Yes, you remember! A nice little lesson for you! Ugly and disturbing, wasn’t it?

You naive, little twerp. You’re still a child! As the Jamaican psychic told you: “You haven’t progressed one iota since childhood!” He told you to paint in colors of green, blue, and gold—but you even fucked that up, didn’t you? Go ahead, draw as many maps as you want! For all the good it will do you. Do you feel the breath of scorched bones? The fiery stench of soot and blackened entrails? Scurry up and down your demarcated streets—the filthy streets with the crazy names:

The Intersection of Froth and Folly.

The Corner of Morph and Meld

The Annotated Alley: Maps of lost journeys, doomed expeditions, of babbling idiots who stayed out in the sun too long without a hat!

Brian Spaeth 

The Scorched Regiments, tongues dried and hanging foolishly from their mouths. Death March up Fulton. Cadaver Crossing. All avenues blocked off now for the Big Dig!

The Poison colors my dreams in a thousand sickly hues and has seeped into the very ink that stains these mad and mournful pages . . .

Watery Sky-Scape of Fulton in a Storm: The twin American flags only a few feet from my window, whipped ragged by the wind and rain and snow . . .

Stark afternoon light of Fulton as the Sun makes it’s declining arc across the Southern Sky, glinting off the old buildings, disappearing briefly and reemerging until it is spent and the sky is an orange glow that fades to darkness as I am transported along the memory-trail of it’s lost arc . . .

Tertiary wanderings of a vague and troubled mind, lost in the Fulton Sky-scape. Staring endlessly at the old buildings, looking for familiar memories reflected off the illuminated windows.

Fulton at Night: Obsidian dreams hover just on the other side of the impenetrable glass . . .

And I will forever remember the view out the Great South Window, across the broad expanse of the city, lost in rainy afternoon thoughts:

Stopped Clocks of Ancient Fulton Revelations in a Vague Language

Great Stopped Clocks of the Imagination

And Clocks Stopped at a Strange and Savage Hour

Clocks Stopped at a Strange and Savage Hour


The poems in Elizabeth Hellman’s remarkable collection -- various, rich, generous -- sing and tell stories at the same time. They comprise a journey through years and distant places, and though no route is mapped, no chronology measured, to read them is to watch these lyrical narratives gather, like stars, into a radiant constellation that takes the shape of a life.

When the Labyrinth Is Deciphered it Will Disappear is a book possessed of a genuine beauty.

9780979698521 | 92 Pages | 6” x 9” | Paperback $18 698521 780979 9 ISBN 978-0-9796985-2-1
Disappear E lizab e t h H ellma n collection — various, time. They comprise though no route is watch these lyrical constellation that takes the Deciphered It Will beauty. poetry, or does she find to the light? She has has brought me to from another perspective, Labyrinth Is powerful, and Ambivalid
When the Labyrinth Is Deciphered It Will Dissappear Serious Ink Press
Labyrinth Is
It Will
Elizabeth Hellman
When the Labyrinth is Deciphered it Will Disappear 1 Taboo 3 Lake Geneva 4 Hooks and Eyes 6 Autumn in the Berkshires 8 Through Saturn’s Icy Rings 11 The Earth is at Aphelion 15 Marathon 17 Second Asclepiaden Aubade 19 April and the Black Hand 20 Simple Ways of Finding North 24 The Polish Rider 27 Away 29 An Unknown Quantity 30 Victor 40 Saint Victor 42 Vanishing Cornwall 43 The Sense of Touch 46 Macumba 47
When the Labyrinth is Deciphered It Will Disappear
Burn Away 49 Imaginary Prisons 52 Pink Lamp 55 Worldliness 56 A Fable 58 Off the Rails 60 Aubade 61 Night of the Round Table 63 Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most 65 The Angel of Geometry 67 The Salamander 68 Fertilisante Douleur 70 Street of the Necromancers 72 Adios 74 To Raise the Dead 77 Biography 79


In the kitchen on La Salle Street Tobias, my older sister’s boyfriend, starts unbuttoning my shirt. A pink silk-knit baseball shirt with thin black stripes like pencil lines, from a store called Pandemonium. I’m fifteen. It’s afternoon, high concrete summer, my sister sleeping in the bedroom. Tobias is a time-bomb, always ticking at the back of my sister’s mind where his explosions are regular. I’m hypnotized though I say something about “taboo”. Tobias once showed me a painting he’d just finished and I didn’t know what to say so I said “it reminds me of Rouault” and he threw a palette knife against the wall and slammed the door and left me trapped in the room with the canvas. The door jammed and they had to call the super. That was on Bank Street but in the kitchen on La Salle Street when he put his face between my breasts I thought This is what it’s like, “taboo”, and was afraid he’d realize how far off I felt, not amorous the way I’d read about but curious, detached, immobile as sculpture, watching him. I noticed an ineradicable stain on his thumbnail, a saffron crescent like an ornament or a new moon or a secret implement of torture and heard the cries of stickball players and radios from the street as if someone had just turned up the volume. I couldn’t figure out why I felt sorry for him and started re-fastening my open shirt buttons all the way to my throat though I hadn’t been wearing them that way before.


When The Labyrinth Is Deciphered It Will Disappear

Promenading down Broadway that last afternoon, past National Shoes and a few leftover landmarks, how did it feel, the twist in your side and concrete shifting fast as the earthquake you survived with my mother in Mexico? I don’t really want to know. The earthquake was exciting, two wings of the hotel dividing, walls dropping paintings like largesse and toiletries leaping from cabinets. In the lobby an elegant little grandee in a smoking jacket passed round his silver flask in perfect gravity, a jigger of cognac for everyone. I’d swallow it neat, consume the rich delicacy of the heart or eat the brain that could persuade me dying on the pavement all alone was fine with you, caught up in your net of plans.

When I was twelve and quarrelsome you brought me to the Saint-Chapelle to see light. Even in negatives, in black and white it translates roses, thistles, thorns into prisms shivering saint’s blood between buttresses, high up.

Elizabeth Hellman

And on the Pont Neuf, once the haunt of mountebanks, jugglers, showmen, we attended sunset as passionate devotees would stand through operas, ignited river mirroring stained-glass, the first stars flaming and the earth on its axis, reeling.

2 When the Labyrinth is Deciphered It Will Disappear

Hooks and Eyes

All this pitched, fanatic winter the landscape never mattered till I began to see white in my sleep. So much snow it looked fake, and all those necessary drifts, no wonder when I reached you I was out of breath, vague as a runaway. Past the gate that formal avenue darkening to dormitories, mildew, discolored marble and warped wood.

My father sends me excerpts from Byron’s “Alpine Journal”. Past Grindenwald twilight, the higher Glacier like a frozen hurricane. He passed whole woods of withered pines, all withered, trunks stripped and barkless, done by a single winter . . .

My father wonders have I seen these yet, and if so, give details. I go to bed. Don’t get too used to bombardment says Lord Byron, a guest in my dream. He strikes his tuning fork against a wall of clouds, high frequency, and I wake up. You’re still busy, transposing Coltrane onto ivory. Sometimes I think it’s terrible to love until it colors everything, like mirrors speckled with age.

6 When the Labyrinth is Deciphered It Will Disappear

I’ve got to find that chromatic language again. I mean the way we’ve sparred in unison transmitting signals seismologists would call “harmonic tremors”. And music, those vocal shapes of vowels, long O’s spiraling forever like a Slinky, the smiling A and E. I never read the notes but play by heart, by stealth, decoying each cadenza. Brava, my teacher praises in her Kansas accent, do you hear that velvet?

Your famous mother, dying young, joked about the painkillers that stole her equilibrium. To spare you from the hooks and eyes of memory, she diminished slowly toward the hospital. You told me at the piano. Both of us improvising in the dark you spoke her name, spoke her dead name in the studio, pulling it from its rusty scabbard like a cruelty.



To view the party in Scott Lewis’s Vibrant Mood Swings is to enter the room with X-ray specs on. Not the X-ray specs of comic book lore for although you will see a flash of nipple, or a well-honed muscle bulging through a pair of tights, you will also penetrate deeper, beneath the clothes, beyond the skin, into the sinew of the soul (or more likely, lack of one) into the core being of a mixed bag of characters whose egos override any connection to other humans or the world around them. Like the anatomy books he was enamored with as a child, his characters are exposed, both visually and through the stories that are told throughout this book.

Vibrant Mood Swings humorously exposes the conceit, hubris, and vanity among a collection of damaged denizens who live in the worlds created by a truly unique artist in the prime of his creative output.

ISBN: 978-0979698538 | 50 Pages | 8.5” x 8.5” | Hardcover | $30
CONTENTS Beginnings. . . 1 Hank. . . 2 Dorthea. . . 4 Amber. . . 8 Constance. . . 10 Jessica and Sebastian. . . 12 Jocelyn. . . 14 Morgan. . . 18 Red Eye. . . 22 Sasha. . . 24 Tate. . . 28 The Llog. . . 32 Troy. . . 34 Sketchbook. . . 36


dreamed of stardom. She was told she had the look and talent to make it. After winning titles such as Our Miss Personable, Holiday Queen of Belvedere Mountain, and Miss New Teen, she knew she must head to Hollywood.

Her parents Bruce and Rene agreed. They always knew that Amber was special. They knew it when they both looked at each other and nodded during Amber’s performance in the Carter Public School talent show. At age 6 she sang the show tune classic “Night May Be Dark, But My Days Are Bright”. Her performance was so moving one lunch room attendant cried. In the show’s second act, Amber had the audience in stitches when she donned an oversized newsboy cap and floppy plaid bow tie and imitated the great 1930’s comedian Sorrowful O’Brien. She even recreated his famous “But That’s What They Told Me!” routine. From that day forward, a theatrical career seemed inevitable. It was further confirmed when it was her turn to glisten during the swimsuit portion of the Miss Passion Fruit beauty pageant sponsored by Summer Radiance Tanning Solutions. Although it made Bruce uncomfortable seeing how the men in the audience reacted, he understood that hers was a beauty that could not be ignored. Landing bit parts in films like “The House by Blood Swamp” and “Freshman Winter Recess 3: The Race Is On” made her a legend back home and even more determined to succeed. Being seen in Nu-View magazine photos “dating” hot young rock star Derek King further increased her visibility as a face on the rise.

It was just a matter of time.



always look forward to their walks together. It gives them both a chance to chat and indulge in their hobby of making new friends. Though not related or married, they consider themselves a relation closer than friends. When they met (at Wayne’s party) they were thrilled to learn that they both shared a common obsession: the beauty of the common man or woman. And what better place to view such beauty than the flowing exhibitions of the streets, parks and the city’s waterways. An endless parade of both the classic and cutting edge. Each season adding its own charm. The moodiness of fall texturing the subject with swirling dried leaves. Winter figures becoming huddled cubist shapes as they force themselves through the cold. Energized physiques stretching in the spring glimmer. But summer! Oh yea summer! That is the best time of year for Jessica and Sebastian to savor their objects d’art. The temperatures causing the “works” to glisten like a varnish finish. And when the heat intensifies, these collectibles slow languid movements give the viewer an opportunity to truly appreciate their fine points.

Like all great art, they search for that which is unique. They fancy themselves connoisseurs of the human form. There are times their viewing reaches points of intense mutual appreciation so fevered that they must possess the object. They are collectors. Even if it is only for a short time.



Falling From A Clear Blue Sky is the premiere collection of photos by artist Stephen Kaldon. Shot with the iPhone 6s camera and filtered through Instagram, the works are paired across pages with themes of nature, longing, childhood, isolation, and observation. Taken on walks to work and routes to no particular destination, Kaldon zooms in on bits of life and debris normally passed by in our rush to nowhere.

IISBN: 978-0979698545 | 60 Pages | 6” x 6” | Hardcover | $30
The Serious Ink Press Catalog and Sampler All materials copyright Serious Ink Press and the individual authors All rights reserved, all wrongs reversed Serious Ink Press, 2022
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