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Shady Side Review volume I

featuring work by‌

J. Bradley Andrew de Haan Vanessa Garcia Heather Gustine Donny Waagen Christopher Wong


on the sidewalk by the frosty bee

J. Bradley

Andrew de Haan

When I said I want to make you explode

she licks her double-scoop-sugarcone-superman.

like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man,

cars sing and strum the state road. her tongue rolls

I wasn’t calling you fat.

amid a mess of carnival colors while she grants

I want to coat office windows

earth her botched mouth. giggling and leaping

with your screams, tag sidewalks

toward a butterfly, her chocolate hair

and shoulders with your cuticles.

wisps westward with dandelion clocks.

Let me wear your teeth marks; it’ll ward off the carcinoma of ex-girlfriends. I will not love you like an exorcism, treat your thighs like a belt, say the wrong name.

SMALL KENTUCKY LOVE unaware of fingertips

Andrew de Haan This is from the night we drank

of river pull

the moon, a picture of brothers, lovers

of the water in the locks

of the wandering mouth, the bottled-up

of ambiguity, vague and hanging

mischief and yellow thoughts spoken


aloud, always. a veil of static draped over the sky--

But how do I cross from love-to-love, to the center of your hallelujah, inward gazing?

we were not reaching for questions

Here is something tangible, glossy, but for the skin wrapped in a pulse.

to show all the things we were not.

And the scrap of life that I have here, prepared for the frosted

this receipt of time, November 22, 1999,

hour before dawn,

watching the barges pass through the night

mockingbird songs, leaving the heart of lightness, quilt

Shyness—a veil dissolved,

squares of midwestern om,

and there we rest, like the dew for the dawn.


“No, just an oxygen tank,

Vanessa Garcia

I plan to be here for a while,”

Hide your stick in my hollow pebble Sticks and stones… It’s not that rough No one gets hurt yet We swing around each other You push me I push you See my saw “I see the teeth inside your pebble,” you say Clutching I tell you, “Put on goggles and explore,” Find the fossils other lovers have left making more teeth at the gate “Do you need a compass?” I ask when you are masked

you say. “That’s good.” When you come out “I am a hunter” you say, holding a piece of my heart I recognize it.



Heather Gustine

Heather Gustine

After the Big Bang took the galaxy by surprise but before Fraggle Rock and our spaghetti dinner, we form makeshift huts out of rocks from the garden, beds of mulch, roof of twigs— home of the plastic brontosaurus. We traded them

When they asked at the post office what you wanted with a skeleton, you said you were studying the human form. When they said, What? The girlfriend’s not enough? you laughed,

for our big wheels at the edge of the neighbor’s sandbox.

and now request that I take care of it

The dinosaurs went to work— digging at roots under the maple tree,

while you finish your semester in Bordeaux.

knocking the heads off of tulips,

you tell me, and once belonged to a man,

growling at the neighbor’s dog, stomping up earthworm applesauce

so I should show some respect.

and feeding it to the mouthy two-year-old even though Dad told them not to. Squeezed between our dirt-tattooed palms, the dinosaurs dive into summer’s murky footprints, freckling the day’s outfit with mud.

The skeleton is real,

I don’t believe you, and throw pistachios at his eye sockets when I’m on the phone or bored. During the day, I slide my socks over his ribs, drape my bras over his shoulders,

Chipped eyes stare up at us

and thread necklaces through his ears.

while we laugh at the dinosaurs’ buoyancy and float in our own murk—

I try to gag him with a pair of my underwear, but dislodge his jaw instead and spend most of my weekend plugging his teeth back in.

when we believed their extinction came from a garage sale and that all earth’s dinosaurs were pink.

But his shadows deepen at night,

and the unhinged skull glows


from the street light outside my window.

Donny Waagen

The hairs on my neck prick up when he rattles from the 2 AM train. I wheel him from one room of the apartment to the next the bones clacking like clumsy chopsticks as I try to banish him from my peripheral vision.

who says there’s no magic left in the world? why just this morning i saw a man with rags on his feet

I threw a party in your absence where the guests convinced me the bones were a sure sign that you’d taken another lover. I pull the Ouija board out from under my bed and wipe off its dust veil. We set his jaw on the table shaking his loose teeth in our cupped palms before flinging them across the table like dice. We dot the corners of the counter top with candles then turn off the lights.

discover hidden hieroglyphs in the craggy callus of his time worn hand. imbibing magic elixir from a paper bag and speaking in tongues, summoning spirits from the stillness of chill. all this before the blood yolk of the sun pierced the disguise of dawn. there’s plenty of magic

left in the world, i say.


the wizards have just grown

Christopher Wong

their beards a bit longer. X.

However if we poke the white wooly elephant long enough it may squeak. (This note is not on any account to be delivered to the commissioners for public sanity.) Aloha. And the gods save avail you. –Ezra Pound Moving these keys beneath my hands I feel like Chopin. Know how Chopin must have felt. Performing. Not composing. And I understand her suicide. Not its composition. No, not most things of it. But, the constant thing to be performed. The way a pilot feels as landing gear becomes his legs. The way the question is framed. The eternal question. Where we depart to. Gare du Nord: The platform says “ladies,” a girl exclaims. Her brother, facing opposite: No. The word

is “gentlemen.” They’re both wrong. These are only names. The place they have arrived is Gare du Nord.


If you’re really in a slough of miserability I could come over for a week if it would in any other way divert you. –Ezra Pound An anchor, sank foot deep and wide. If you were what he said you said (she yammers cheap red wounds of words), parsed and over-parsed, instead of what you claimed to be, I once was a beautiful worm. An anchor sank foot deep and wide. You wince and tell me how once you cried for a lover who was me and whom you abandoned, and who was devastated the day when, northbound, you left home. You are the sort of woman, understated and refined. The sort of woman who defines herself the way she wades across a conversation, woven in the thread of whoever waits forever for her return. An anchor sank foot deep and wide. You are that sort. And I, the sort of man who lets her get away with things like war.


2008, she was one of four Literature Finalists, worldwide, in the Rolex Mentor & Protégé Arts Initiative. She has

J. BRADLEY invented revenge in the year 104 CE. He loves like an empty wallet on a first date. Numerous traditional and online journals feature his work. Ampersand Books will publish his first full poetry collection, Dodging Traffic, Fall 2009. J. Bradley’s blog is Failure Loves Company @ ANDREW DE HAAN loves fall and springtime, in that order, but he makes noise for it all. He’s glad he’s not alone in the world, though sometimes he enjoys being alone. Writing, for him, is just another wrinkle on his knuckle, a small extension of himself, the bulb and not the rose. Not that he is a rose, of course. He doesn’t really care to be compared to flowers, but if he were to be one, he’d choose to be a sunflower-green and yellow, tall, constantly searching the sky for light. VANESSA GARCIA writes for various publications including The Miami Herald,, and The Art Basel Magazine, along with numerous other journals, magazines, newspapers, and online media. In

also won a scholarship to the NY State Summer Writers Institute; a Vermont Studio Fellowship; received the Voices at the River Residency at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre in Little Rock, earned her BA from Columbia University, Barnard College and earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Miami (as a James Michener Fellow). She has taught at John Hopkins University’s CTY Program; Miami Dade Community College; and numerous other institutions. Her CV can be found at: Garcia is also currently at work on a novel and short story collection. HEATHER GUSTINE is a graduate student at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA, where she is pursuing her degree in poetry and publishing. She helps edit the literary journal, The Fourth River. DONNY WAAGEN is a 26 year old misanthropic humanitarian who is quite sure that either he or everybody else is going insane and finds solace only in words and musical notes, regardless of how they are

strung together. He was raised in San Diego but has been

student in poetry at the University of Arkansas where he

in Arizona for over a decade now and will be moving to

is the recipient of a Lily Petership Fellowship in poetry as

New York at the end of this summer after acquiring

judged by Ilya Kaminsky.

(finally) his BA in English Lit from Arizona State University. Some interesting factoids about him: He has played chess with world grandmaster Gary Kasparov (in the flesh), seen alien beings peer at him from parallel dimensions, and was the world’s youngest semi-finalist in the 1990 Nintendo World Championship hosted at Universal Studios. He is the man behind the curtain of the musical entity known simply as Pawn. When he’s not writing or reading he is thinking about writing and reading. Sometimes he sleeps and dreams, but of what he couldn’t say. CHRIS WONG’S work has appeared in Art Amiss and Caffeine Destiny and is forthcoming in Lamplighter Review. His previous collection of poetry, “Constable and After Constable” was named a finalist for the Cleveland State University First Book Prize as judged by D. A. Powell and Michael Dumanis. Chris is currently an MFA

Shady Side Review  
Shady Side Review  

Issue One of Shady Side Review