THE WIREâ€™S DREAM MAGAZINE
©2020 The Wire’s Dream Magazine & Christina Lydia. All rights reserved. The Wire’s Dream Magazine 7th Collection is designed and edited by Christina Lydia. To submit work for future Collections, visit The Black Lion Journal’s Submittable page.
THE WIREâ€™S DREAM MAGAZINE
Table of Contents
A Letter from the Editor
Rumination on Disappeared Malaysian Air Flight MH370: In-Flight Emergency Paul David Adkins
There and Lack Thereof: Impermanent Marks Joey Aronhalt
Rabbits Diane D. Gillette
Jump on the Water Emanuela Franco
Drunk as the First Scar of Childhood Marcella Benton
Looking Out Danielle Hark
Home Choya Randolph
Ancestry Adrienne Stevenson
Interior Alex Duensing
The Road Around Whaytyn Nolcha Fox
Good Neighbor Allen Forrest
Individuals, Obfuscated George L. Stein
On My Generation or Conversations with Sad Millennials Devin Guthrie
Everything Means Everything Jasmine Ledesma
Speaking Spanish April Alexis Hernandez
Stilllife Alena Mudrenok
Nipetrov Russiaday Nikita Petrov
Honeycombs And Wine Katie Collazo
Quitters Never Win Yuliia Vereta
Special Thank You
A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
s always, I must first thank the Contributors and those who submit their work for consideration. Without you, this magazine would not exist.
The 7th Collection, like all others, stems from meticulous work that includes vetting all submitted work to ensure authenticity and to minimize risk of plagiarism, finding stories that speak to a collective narrative of the “now”, and finding pieces that uplift the mission of The Black Lion Journal and of The Wire’s Dream Magazine. I thank all of you so much for your patience as I worked to comission pieces from some of the best contemporary creatives out there. This Collection is an amalgamation of current thought and speaks on issues that have plagued our contemporary collective culture. Overtures of loss and impermanence permeate these pages as well as aspects of hope and revitalization. It’s my intention that this Collection carries with it an aspect of reverence as well as an appreciation for the collective narrative that is shared — while also touching on the narratives that have been dismissed or forgotten. Thank you for taking some time to review this Collection; I hope you enjoy.
Christina Lydia Chief Editor
10 TWD MAGAZINE The Wire’s Dream Magazine The Wire’s Dream Magazine
TWD MAGAZINE 11
ONE The Wire’s Dream Magazine The Wire’s Dream Magazine
12 TWD MAGAZINE
The pilots took that hairpin bank southwest away from Ho Chi Minh, Beijing, toward the nearest field designed to handle its crippled heft: Penang. The air masks dropped and swung before the jolted passengers like plastic nooses, invited them to size their necks.
You, then your children
the attendants reminded over the halting speakers. All could smell the smoke. All would remain, good passengers, seated. There would be no panic. It would be a series of silent deaths, the bodies arranged neat as the contents of a chocolate box. Outside, the moon polished herself on the passing cirrus.
the air conditioning.
the seat-back trays.
Rumination on Disappeared Malaysian Air Flight MH370: In-Flight Emergency Paul David Adkins
yawn, yawn, sniff.
14 TWD MAGAZINE
This idea of the pre decisive moment is realized through the exploration of the relationship of space, energy, potential energy, and time that can be created in a natural environment. The concept of the temporary is portrayed through the use of simple colored sheets. Each composition takes on its own relationship with its surroundings allowing many individual performative and specific negotiations with the environment the sheet/veil is in. The diversity of the each individual environment and structure allows each of them the touch on their own specialized idea. The disruption and cohesion of natural space, with the insertion of color and form, allows the veil to take on a role more extensive than a simple disruptor, and instead an artifact, sculpture, or sometimes a spacial glitch. The build up to the “decisive moment” creates enormous amount of potential energy. Potential energy that may never be realized or brought into fruition. This energy is depicted in many forms. Some through the movement of the folds, color, environmental relationships, and concealment in each composition. Most importantly the veiling in the compositions adds a theatrical presence, building up the suspense of the potential of what is being concealed, bringing into question, what comes next?
There and Lack Thereof: Impermanent Marks Joey Aronhalt
TWD MAGAZINE 15
he “decisive moment” has been a staple in photography for almost a century, but what is before this temporary moment? What happens before you capture, “Life in the Moment of Living?” Only through a theatrical construct can you circumvent this moment and instead reside at a point before the “decisive moment”. This moment is elusive because there is no way to avoid residing in the present, physically at least.
16 TWD MAGAZINE The Wire’s Dream Magazine The Wire’s Dream Magazine
TWD MAGAZINE 17
The Wire’s Dream Magazine The Wire’s Dream Magazine
He sat on a fallen tree, that vicious, jagged scar branching up his forearm, glowing red as shadows from his campfire danced over him. They whispered it had been a broken bottle. It had taken 96 stitches to piece it back together again. Kit crouched at the edge of Lewis’ little world; he looked settled there, comfortable, as if his true home had nothing to do with the run-down house on the other side of the woods, as if that fallen log was far more comfortable than any recliner, as if the dried out leaves on the forest floor made for the best mattress. Kit felt miles away as she watched him carve at a piece of wood with a pocket knife, though truly he was no more than two of her long, lean body lengths away from him. She thought about turning back, certain she wouldn’t be welcome there in his safe haven. Then she caught sight of the little white rabbit in a cage near the campfire. “You’re not going to kill it, are you?” Kit blurted out. Lewis turned to look at her, didn’t seem all that surprised to find her
Rabbits Diane D. Gillette
TWD MAGAZINE 19
it came up short when she saw Lewis at the clearing in the forest. One year ahead of Kit, mere months away from graduation, but not necessarily escape, Lewis was the boy everyone whispered about. He was the boy who passed through the halls of school communicating in grunts and glares, but always handing his homework in on time. People whispered about the scar on his arm, about the whiskey on his father’s breath, about a mother gone missing. Kit and Lewis had shared glances, but never words.
20 TWD MAGAZINE
there. He followed her glance to the rabbit cage and shrugged. “Got no reason to.” “They why you got it here?” “Little sister brought it home. Thought it best if it just disappeared now.” Kit nodded, and he scooted over. The spot where he’d been sitting was still warm when she gingerly lowered herself to the fallen tree, careful to keep space between them. They sat, him staring into the fire, the carving in his hand seemingly forgotten for the moment, and her watching the rabbit nibble at the wilted veggies that lay at the bottom of its cage. “It’s nice here,” she said after a while. He set aside the piece of wood, slipped his pocket knife into his boot. Kit could see the wood was beginning to take the shape of a rabbit. He pulled a plastic container from the backpack at his feet and offered her half of a cold-cut sandwich. The bread was stale, but it tasted so much better than the dried out fast food burger she’d reheated her for dinner a couple hours earlier, before the fight with her mother. Kit and the boy didn’t talk while they ate, letting the sound of their chewing and the occasional crackle of the fire fill the silence between them. “You staying?” he asked as he pulled a sleeping bag from behind the fallen tree and unrolled it next to the fire and the rabbit cage. She hesitated, but he laid down on the ground next to the sleeping bag and rolled to his side, back to her. She quickly climbed in and zipped it up to her neck, burrowing down so the ratty edge of the sleeping bag
TWD MAGAZINE 21
rested under her nose, smelling of dust and sweat. “Do you stay out here often?” she murmured into the sleeping bag. “They don’t miss me at home.” She didn’t say anything because what could she say to that. “What about you?” he asked after enough time had passed that she thought maybe he’d fallen asleep. “Mom’s got a new boyfriend. Seems to like me more than her. But telling her don’t do crap. She’s jealous.” “So what’s your plan?” Kit watched the flames dance a few feet away. She wondered if the rabbit was scared. It wasn’t sleeping. She didn’t want to tell Lewis that she didn’t have a plan. Leaving had been impulse, not choice. “You ever think of just not going back ever?” she finally asked. “Sure,” Lewis said immediately. He paused for a few beats before he added. “My sister is so little though. If I left. . .” He trailed off. “Would it be stupid for me to just never go back?” Kit asked him. She thought of whiskey breath and hungry nights. But here she was, not a mile from her mother’s house feeling safer than she’d had in years. Where could she go from here? He rolled over to face her. He looked into her eyes, and she thought he might answer her question for her. That there was no place to run to.
22 TWD MAGAZINE
That she’d never escape those hungry nights, those greedy hands. That there was always another empty bottle to trip over. “We’ll let the rabbit go in the morning,” he finally told her. “It stands a better chance in daylight.” “Don’t we all,” she whispered back.
24 TWD MAGAZINE
Rescuing the games of the past is fundamental in that society where new technologies invade everything. One of the focuses of the project is the social isolation of children living in large skyscrapers, locked up as a result of the expansion of urban violence. Answering certain questions to reflect on the importance of playing in the streets with friends: • Are they still playing on the streets as in the past? • What kind of games do children practice in the year 2019/2020? • Can it be compared how the children of the interior of Brazil played in 2006 and how do they play in the year 2019/2020? The proposal consists in documenting the most common street games to present this work in exhibitions and possibly with the publication of an e-book. The technical characteristics used to capture the images are: diagonal photographic composition and black and white photos. Original size: 2587 x 1733 px / 4.19 MB Medium: Digital Year: 2007
Jump on the water Emanuela Franco
TWD MAGAZINE 25
he photojournalism project “Let’s Play” (“Vamos Brincar”) aims to record images of children playing in the streets of Brazil. “Let’s Play” reviews the games currently forgotten by most children who live in large cities. Playing “pastestick” (pega-pega), “hide-hide” (esconde-esconde), “seven sins” (sete pecados), among other games, are part of the tradition of some communities and societies of inland places.
26 TWD MAGAZINE The Wire’s Dream Magazine The Wire’s Dream Magazine
TWD MAGAZINE 27
The Wire’s Dream Magazine The Wire’s Dream Magazine
TWD MAGAZINE 29
running across wet travertine I fell and dented my eyebrow like a drain seeping blood all over the steps drunk as the first scar of childhood held together by thin skin rain and red in my eye my feet betrayed me et tu et tu the breakup of my skin now two separate pieces lips screaming why did we decide to stand on two feet instead of four it only makes the fall harder
Drunk as the First Scar of Childhood Marcella Benton
Looking Out Danielle Hark
32 TWD MAGAZINE
Home is where the sound of sirens are lullabies. Where single moms dream when they blink. Where the candles smell like the places weâ€™ve never been. Where the grass on the other side is as green as money. Home sparkles with resilience. Home has tears that could quench thirst. Sometimes our smiles are tired from being bent but we smile anyway. Home is where neighbors offer you mangos from their trees. Where Grandma plants her own collard greens. Where aunties and uncles smoke blunts and black & milds while playing cards. Where there are t-shirts and towels dancing in the wind, waiting to be dry. Where a surplus of men roam the streets and fatherless children sleep untucked in bed. Home is where your mom approves your sleepover with your cousin just for yâ€™all to laugh until Auntie yells for yâ€™all to go to bed. Home is where the pastors are loud and the choirs are louder. But who one can hear us? Who will listen? Home is where the clouds slow down prayers. Where the people are darker from flying too close to the sun. Home is a whisper of water touching the seeds who can make it out. Home is a 9 to 5. A 7 to 3. An 11 to 7. A clock in and a clock out and a clock broken. Home is a bowl of dirt and glitter. Home is a rearview mirror glistening with neighbors, aunties, uncles, cousins, play-cousins, friends, classmates, moms all waving and watching your journey on the yellow brick road.
Home Choya Randolph
TWD MAGAZINE 33
no longer through a glass darkly or even an electron microscope we tease apart twisted strands and peer into their shadowy code to unlock secrets of our blood clear traces of ancient cousins mark evolutionâ€™s outline we are composed of all our ancestors recycled flesh on reconstructed bones
Ancestry Adrienne Stevenson
34 TWD MAGAZINE Interior Alex Duensing
TWD MAGAZINE 35
36 TWD MAGAZINE The Wire’s Dream Magazine The Wire’s Dream Magazine
TWD MAGAZINE 37
TWO The Wire’s Dream Magazine The Wire’s Dream Magazine
38 TWD MAGAZINE
TWD MAGAZINE 39
sn’t it a gorgeous day for a drive?” Ann stretched her arms up to the clouds. The convertible top was down and the autumn sun was warm.
“It will be even more gorgeous after we get gas,” Sarah muttered. “Ann, put your hat on. Otherwise, you’ll get skin cancer.” “Stop being so darn practical,” Ann said. “Hmph.” Sarah pointed to a sign. “Just in time.” “What a funny name for a town. Whaytyn.” Ann laughed. “With a population of ‘depends.’” She grabbed Sarah’s shoulders. “Stop a minute!” Sarah slammed on the brakes. “What’s wrong?” “Look!” Ann pointed to a dirt road on the right, shaded by huge trees, and covered with red and yellow leaves. “Let’s see where it goes.” “Gas first.” Sarah started the car. “You’re such a poop.” “Thank you.” They drove past several houses, all weathered and deserted as far as Sarah could tell. “Thank heavens!” She pulled into a gas station and
The Road Around Whaytyn Nolcha Fox
40 TWD MAGAZINE
drove up to a pump. The women got out of the car and approached two men sitting on rockers on a porch in front of the cashier’s window. “Beautiful day, isn’t it?” Ann asked. “Yup,” The man with suspenders said. The man with the faded blue fishing hat nodded. “But we’re expecting a bad storm in a couple of hours, so you ladies might want to get your gas and get moving. You can make it to the next town and a fine hotel in time.” “But I want to see where that dirt road goes!” Ann said. “Oh, that road?” the man with suspenders rolled his eyes. “It just loops around the back of town. Dusty, ugly, full of ruts and briars. Has snakes and all sorts of other nasty critters.” “Oh.” The corners of Ann’s mouth turned down. “I’m hungry,” Sarah said. “Is there anywhere to eat in town?” “Nope,” the man with the fishing hat said. “The closest place to eat is the next town.” Ann looked around. “Where is everybody?” “We’re it, more or less,” said the man with suspenders. “For now.”
TWD MAGAZINE 41
The men stared at Sarah and Ann. “Well, I’m going to fill up the tank,” Sarah said, “And we’ll go.” The men nodded. “You do that,” the man with suspenders said. Ann leaned against the car while Sarah pumped the gas. “They really don’t want us here,” Sarah said. “I wonder why?” Ann waved at the men on the porch. The men waved back. Sarah finished pumping the gas. “We’ll go as soon as I pay.” “I don’t believe them,” Ann said. She sprinted away from the gas station. “Ann, where are you going?” Sarah turned to follow Ann. “Don’t bother following her.” The man with the fishing hat blocked Sarah’s path. “But I have to!” She pushed past him and ran after Ann. Ann ran down the dirt road, just past the first tree. “Ann! Stop!” Sarah shouted.
42 TWD MAGAZINE
Ann turned around and waved. She took a step. And vanished. — Ann continued down the dirt road. Butterflies danced in front of her. Red and yellow leaves fluttered down to the ground at her feet. “Those men are crazy. This road is beautiful!” More trees crowded against the road and blocked the sun. A cold wind chilled her bare arms. The road slanted down, steeper and steeper, forcing her into a run. But it wasn’t just the slope of the road. Something, not just the wind, pushed her forward. The road narrowed and the sky darkened. Rain fell softly, then pelted her body. She ran faster. The road continued onto a bridge. Ann could hear the rush of water below. Through the rain, she could see the bridge was for a train. But something was wrong with this bridge. The rails were rusted. The wooden sleepers were rotted, and some were missing. The sky was completely dark. The wind almost knocked her into the water below. She was drenched and shivering as she crouched down and felt for the rails with her hands so that she could crawl forward. The rails rumbled under her hands. In the distance, Ann heard a forlorn whistle. A train was coming her way. But which way? She stood up and took a step. Into nothingness. —
TWD MAGAZINE 43
Ann landed on the road. On her rump. “I don’t like this place.” She looked around. The road was exactly the way it was when she waved goodbye to Sarah. Butterflies danced in front of her. Red and yellow leaves fluttered down to the ground around her. “I wonder where Sarah is? I sure wish she was here.” Ann called out, “Sarah! Sarah! Can you hear me?” She waited for a few minutes. All she heard was silence. “Well, this is no good.” Ann stood up and brushed the dust off her body. She turned around to follow the road to the gas station and Sarah. Instead of returning to the main road, the dirt road ended at a little house. Ann tried to go around the house, but the house was surrounded by thick bushes that pressed against the walls. “Well, guess I have to go in.” She knocked on the front door, but nobody answered. The door was unlocked, so she walked inside. The house was one room, with no windows, but the left and right facing walls were lined with doors. The farther she walked, the longer the room extended. She could no longer see the other end of the house. As she passed each door, left and right, she turned the knob. They were all locked. Finally, one door opened. She peered into an empty room, painted a dull brown. Directly in front of her was a window. She walked over to the window and looked out. There was Sarah, talking to the two men at the gas station. Sarah’s back was to Ann.
44 TWD MAGAZINE
Ann pulled up on the lower window frame, but it wouldn’t budge. Maybe it was painted shut. She banged along the sides of the frame with her palms to break it free. No luck. The lower window frame was stuck when she tried to move it. Ann banged on the window with her fists, hoping to get someone’s attention. The man with suspenders looked up. “Please, please!” Ann whispered. She waved both arms at him. He pointed at her. Sarah turned around. “Sarah, help me!” Ann yelled. But it wasn’t Sarah’s face. It was a skull with dull blue eyes. Ann stepped back from the window and fell down. Onto the road. — “What just happened?” Ann stood up and brushed the dust off her body. The road was exactly the way it was when she waved goodbye to Sarah. Butterflies danced in front of her. Red and yellow leaves fluttered down to the ground at her feet.
TWD MAGAZINE 45
“How do I get out of here?” She asked the butterflies. “I don’t know.” Ann turned around. A blonde woman in a Victorian-era white lace wedding dress and headpiece stood on the road. “Who are you?” Ann asked. “Emily,” the woman said. Tears flowed down her cheeks. “I’ve tried and tried to get back to my Wallace, but –” She cried into a lace handkerchief. Ann looked up and down the road. “Maybe we can find a way together.” She reached out for Emily’s hand. Before their fingers touched, Emily burst into flames. All that was left of her was a pile of ashes. Ann twirled around and ran down the road. She stopped when she ran out of breath. “Sarah, I promise I’ll do everything you say from now on. I promise. Just let me find you again.” In the distance, she saw some tall buildings. “Maybe I can find someone who can help me get out of here.” Ann walked towards the buildings. “Then I can get back to the real world, with normal people, away from … whatever this place is.”
46 TWD MAGAZINE
The trees thinned out and the buildings came into view. Ann stopped. “Oh no.” The entire city was made of concrete, the roads, the buildings, the sidewalks. None of the buildings had windows. The sidewalks were empty of people. The streets were empty of cars. The only thing alive was a mass of huge vines that wound around the buildings. Ann didn’t notice that vines were silently winding around her feet. They crawled up her legs, up to her hips. “Ewww, get off me!” She pushed them down, but they resisted and crawled higher, up to her waist. They bound her arms to her body and wound around her neck, then around her head. “Mmmpphhhhh!” She couldn’t see, couldn’t breathe. Everything went black. — Ann opened her eyes. She was sprawled on the road, face down. She sat up. And screamed. — Sarah ran back to the gas station. She cried as she ran. The two men stood next to her car. So did two women. “She’s gone!” Sarah wailed.
TWD MAGAZINE 47
The woman with the flowered dress opened her arms, and Sarah ran to her. The woman hugged her. “We know.” Sarah looked at the woman. “How?” “We saw, too.” The woman gave Sarah a Kleenex. “I’m Rose. That there –” she pointed to the man with the suspenders, “Is my husband, Virgil. We lost our son on the road.” “I’m Sam.” He took his fishing hat off. “I watched my daughter and one of my grandkids walk down the road and vanish.” “We don’t know how many people that road’s taken,” Rose said. “Why don’t you call the police?” Sarah asked. “Why?” Sam asked. “They’ll just up and disappear, too.” “All we can do is wait for people to show up again,” Virgil said. “How long have you waited?” Sam played with the brim of his hat. “Well, some people spent the rest of their lives waiting, maybe 30, 40 years. They died waiting. Me and my missus, we’ve been waiting about 20 years.” The other woman, the one with a yellow apron, looped her arm through Sam’s. Virgil put his arm around Rose’s shoulder. “We’ve been waiting about 12 years.” “Sometimes I tell Virgil we should just leave,” Rose said. “But then I’d
48 TWD MAGAZINE
always wonder. So, we stay. And wait.” “You’re welcome to stay here, too, if you want,” Sam said. “We can help you fix up one of these little houses. Won’t be anything grand, but it’ll be comfortable enough.” Sarah turned and looked towards the road. She turned back and looked at the people looking at her. She nodded.
TWD MAGAZINE 49
50 TWD MAGAZINE Good Neighbor Allen Forrest
TWD MAGAZINE 51
e was pulling the recycle can back up the driveway when a voice called out, “Hey George, come take a look at this.” The next door neighbor was motioning to him, a rangy looking man named Bill in his sixties, almost toothless, with long grey hair, a weeks growth of white stubble and frequently very strong body odor.
“Just a minute.” George finished stowing the recycle in the carport. He wasn’t looking forward to another encounter. The Neighborhood Watch lady had taken George aside one day and said, “Back when your parents were alive, I’m sure Bill was responsible for their house being broken into. He used to live down the block a ways. I saw him come out just after your folks drove off, looked to make sure they were gone, made a call on his cell phone, the next thing you know the robbers came.” Of course George didn’t have proof this was true, the lady might have been mistaken, but decided to be careful around Bill. Don’t put him off or make him mad, but don’t get too friendly either. “Come around back I want you to see something” said Bill. George followed into the backyard all the way to the rear fence. There was a large hole in it. “Do you know anything about this?”
52 TWD MAGAZINE
George continued to follow Bill as he climbed through the hole and out the other side. They entered a green-belt passage way between the residential homes and a large apartment complex behind. “See, look what somebody did.” Bill pointed to missing panels in the fence. Beside the hole, there were larger portions gone. “I think the maintenance guys know something about this,” he said, meaning they were involved in the theft. “I’m going to write a letter to the owners of these apartments, it’s their fence. I’ll demand they fix it,” he said gesturing with his thumb toward the apartments. “I’ll need signatures. How many properties you do think this fence borders? Five at least, huh?” George looked up and down the yards bordering the fence. “Yeah, looks about right, at least five,” he replied. The fence was old and needed to be replaced thought George, it was falling apart all around the complex. Even without someone stealing the boards it would come tumbling down soon. The property owners were probably well aware of the fence’s condition, but didn’t want to spend the money replacing it yet. “Will you sign, if I write it up?” “Sure,” George said.
TWD MAGAZINE 53
“Yep, looks like I’m the one who’s going to have to write it up,” said Bill. George was used to hearing Bill say things he was going to do. How much of what Bill said he was going to do and actually did, George wondered, but he suspected the letter, with the signatures, would never be written. There was the time he was going to get his all teeth fixed for free with a new dentist doing pro bono work, never happened. The time he was going to set up a series of websites with domain names of well known organizations and businesses he’d purchased before they could get their hands on them, never happened or the time he was going to give the house a new coat of paint to push up the sale value, nada. Bill talked as though he knew how things really worked and wouldn’t get taken advantage of, always with a better story to tell or deal to make than yours. Competitive you could call him. He was in prison 13 years, for what George didn’t know and didn’t ask. There was an edge on Bill, like he was ready to explode any minute, but kept it hidden under a good-natured facade. When being interviewed by the local TV news, they’d found out he owned so many sought after domain names, asking him why he didn’t sell to the companies, organizations, and municipal authorities who wanted to buy them, he replied, “They can suck my dick! That’s what those bastards can do!” He’d a bone to pick with the world, a world he felt gave him a raw deal. Holding out on those domains was his way of getting even. They walked to the front driveway. A couple of his buddies, Randy, a young man is his 20s and Albert, a much older rotund fellow, stood there. Each held a can of beer. Randy lit up a joint, toked and passed it to Bill who took a hit. “George, you want some?”
54 TWD MAGAZINE
George replied no thanks and as he was trying to return to his yard, Bill asked, “Did you hear about the skunk?” “Skunk?” “Yeah, just over there.” He pointed across the street to a walkway between another apartment complex. “Randy and I were inside my living room. I was on the phone and he was looking out the front window. He kept turning his head like this.” Bill demonstrated, his head at an odd angle, Randy, standing beside him, started to chuckle. “And I said what the fuck are you looking at? And he said come here and see for yourself. I got up and looked across the street. I saw this animal, a small animal that seemed to be stuck in something. So we went outside, crossed the street, and guess what?” George shrugged and shook his head. “It was a skunk and he’d got his head caught in a rat trap. The maintenance crew have been putting out these traps. They’re large plastic boxes with a hole in one end for the rats to crawl in, then there’s poison inside they’ll eat. But the skunk could only get his head in the hole and he got stuck. Must have been stuck in there all night.” Bill starts laughing and shaking his head. “This skunk was stuck and trying like the blazes to get out. He’d tried so hard he’d cut his neck on the edge of the hole and it was getting real
TWD MAGAZINE 55
bloody. I told Randy to use his phone to video it cause I was going to try and get the box off the skunk. So he did and I stepped back a ways and then let loose a good kick and instead of the box coming loose, the skunk and the box go way up in the air. When they land the skunk doesn’t move. He knows someone else is out there. So I tell Randy I’m going to try again. This time I step back a little farther and then run at the box and boot it as hard as I can. The box went flying up in the air the the skunk was free!” Bill said. “Was the skunk grateful?” “No way, he was mad as hell and went after me, kept trying to spray me! I ran to the end of the block to get away from him!” His friends were laughing as he told the story. They’d seen the video. “Hey Bill, what’s the latest with your court case?” asked Albert. “Oh, yeah. George, did you know I legally own the rights to all the water in the greater city area? My mom was trying to get the courts to acknowledge our family owned the water rights.” “How did you get the water rights?” said Albert. “My great grandfather claimed them back in 1867. There’s paperwork in the city records showing we own them, but the city’s water department has been ignoring it all these years,” said Bill. “So I have petitioned to get the records. While I was in prison I studied law and I know all how to do it and I am going to have my day in court and get them to recognize my rights.” Bill continued.
56 TWD MAGAZINE
Albert looked at Randy and exchanged a little smile which Bill saw. “That’s okay if you fuckers don’t believe me, but it’s true,” he turned to George, “You see I’m like a Howard Hughes type. I’m probably worth billions, but they won’t admit it. They’re afraid to.” George wished him the best of luck in court and made a break for his yard. Was it really true? Who knows thought George. If it was, Bill would go from being damn near penniless to a rich man. Well stranger things have happened. He knew Bill didn’t own or rent the house next door, but acted as a care-taker. It was a good deal for him, free rent, and the property owner didn’t have to pay an empty house or landlord tax. He was slowly repairing the place since the last renters made a bit of a mess and left in a hurry when it was found out they were involved in kiddie porn. They’d been receiving death threats and got the hell out of town. At least that’s what Bill told George. Again, was it true? Who knew? George remembers the people next door before Bill came to live there, but he didn’t know them very well. It was hard to imagine a married couple with full-time jobs, two kids and a dog, running kiddie porn on the side. George was not like Bill. Retired, he minded his own business and couldn’t understand people who minded others. It seemed as though they’d no life of their own. George kept himself busy with his art hobbies, chores, and yardwork, but Bill was never too busy to keep tabs on the neighbors and George in particular. Every time they crossed paths Bill always seemed to be trying to answer questions about George, why he was such a loner staying home so much of the time, “What do you do in there all day?”, or when he would see him out walking, “Where are you going to or coming from?”, or he’d say, “You don’t like people do you?” and his favorite question, “You gonna sell your
TWD MAGAZINE 57
house? If you do, ask for at least a million dollars.” Every time George was going out somewhere, there would be Bill, watching. George mused, Bill missed his calling, should have been a spy. Instead, Bill’s job, besides care-taking, was repossessions and evictions. Sometimes Bill mentioned being out the night before in a remote location, or another town and hadn’t return until early the next morning. He boasted repo-work payed really well, because if they didn’t cough up what they owed he could sell the confiscated goods, like a new boat or car. Evictions were different. One time he evicted a group of drug addicts squatting on a large farm just outside of town. The police drove Bill there late at night and in he went to serve notice to these desperate characters. It sounded like dangerous work. George got to thinking about this and the next time he was in his back yard he saw Bill watering his peach tree, so he asked him about it, the danger. For the first time Bill clammed right up, wouldn’t say much, even gave him a distrustful look. George guessed he didn’t like someone asking the questions for a change. So he didn’t bring it up again. George thought it’s funny how you think you have someone figured out, then something you wouldn’t expect happens, makes you realize people are way more complicated than you imagined. George felt a daily exercise regimen was important, so he got out for a good walk or trek to the store for groceries rather than using the car. Lately he was going a different way. When he left, instead of walking past Bill’s, he went in the opposite direction, avoiding Bill, and cutting down the alley at the end of the block, then on to a side street connecting him with his usual route. He did this not just to avoid Bill and his friends, who always seemed to be lurking in the driveway every afternoon, but also to vary his routine. Never-the-less Bill noticed and
58 TWD MAGAZINE
brought it up when he saw George returning by his house. “Hey, you’re going the wrong way,” said Bill. “Wrong way?” “Yeah, your supposed to go down the alley.” Amazing thought George, he senses I’m trying to avoid him and his buddies and he’s taking offense. George knew this wouldn’t do, so he said, “Just adding a little variety to my walks. This way I can do a loop, don’t have to repeat the same way I came.” Bill didn’t say anything, sometimes he acted like a little kid whose feelings were hurt. George knew he better not avoid Bill so much. He’d have to come over at least once a week and shoot the breeze or risk bad feelings, which he didn’t want. After all Bill was interesting, different, at least this is how George justified it. Gosh he thought, remember his cat, Buddy? Actually it wasn’t his, some friends left it with him while they went on holiday. There was something odd about the cat. It was a Russian Blue, really handsome with a gorgeous dark grey-blue coat, stocky, and powerful looking, but it wore the meanest expression he’d ever seen on an animal. It looked pissed off all the time. As though it too had a bone to pick with the world. Maybe that’s why Bill liked the cat so much. He would tell tales about how fearless it was, even chasing a neighbor’s dog out of the yard once! Then Buddy got sick and Bill took him to the pet hospital. The veterinarian said they couldn’t treat the cat legally because of its registration number on the collar. The cat was
TWD MAGAZINE 59
reported stolen sometime back. Bill told him it wasn’t his, he was just looking after it for some friends. So he took buddy home, who, after a week, seemed to recover, because it went back to its usual pissed off demeanor ready to tangle with the neighbor’s dog should it get any ideas about trespassing. On a warm August afternoon George was picking blackberries down by the local railroad tracks. He’d almost half of his little blue bucket filled. Not bad for only 40 minutes of picking he thought. Then he remembered Bill offering to let him pick the blackberries in his yard. It was nice of Bill, and come to think of it, wasn’t he always offering something to George? Maybe he was being too hard on Bill, too suspicious. After-all he didn’t know for sure he was involved with the break-ins to his parent’s house, there’d been five. Or what if he was? We all make mistakes. George certainly didn’t have a perfect record. Maybe Bill was trying to make up for past indiscretions, trying to be a good neighbor. Still George wondered about Bill’s friends. Those guys who’d hang out in his driveway, who didn’t seem to work jobs, at least regular jobs. They looked too young to be retired, must be self-employed. One of them, the neighbor next to Bill, said he was in salvage work for which he used a large panel truck parked in his driveway. They all seemed to listen to Bill almost like he was their ringleader, his driveway their roost. Well, thought George, here I go again wondering if Bill’s up to something. I’ve got to stop that. George was whacking tops off dandelions and weeds in the front yard with a small scythe. The lawn was too dry in the summer to bother mowing, since it wasn’t growing without much rainfall and watering restrictions.
60 TWD MAGAZINE
A voice called out, “Hey George. Is that thing sharp enough to cut anything?” George paused his swing and looked in the direction of Bill’s. In the driveway a small pick-up truck was parked facing out to the street. Bill and a friend were inside smoking dope. In hot weather, it was a favorite place. Sometimes you could hear a radio in the truck with the game on. “Not too sharp, but sharp enough. It does the job.” said George. “Did you make that?” Bill asked. “No, it’s a tool from my folks gardening shed.” “It’s so short.” “Yeah, kinda looks and feels like a golf club,” said George. “I still got those berries if you want to come and pick ‘em,” said Bill. “Thanks. I appreciate the offer.” George waved, Bill waved back. George went on whacking and Bill went on watching.
62 TWD MAGAZINE Individuals, Obfuscated George L. Stein
TWD MAGAZINE 63
64 TWD MAGAZINE
TWD MAGAZINE 65
There we were all in one place A generation lost in space With no time left to start again —“American Pie” by Don McLean
Wish we could turn back time, to the good ol’ days, When our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out. —“Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots reached #2 on the billboard charts in February 2016
he new year is met with smiles and champagne in solo cups, our hands and voices raised “to the future!” Laughter breaks over the sound of trip-hop and trickles to the corners of the room where it blends with the “H2O Sparkle” effect lighting. The room’s average alcohol level is approaching .15 and the beat booms loud enough to force Phillip to lumber out the door to “Take care of that fuckass neighbor.” But by midnight the tonics of drinks and dancing seem empty. Unspoken concerns linger in the air as if the elephant in the room has died. Jason slouches on the couch with one hand holding up his forehead and the other thumbing down a Facebook feed he is not reading. “What’s up? Aren’t you gonna dance?” I ask. “No. Tired of dancing,” he says, eyes on the screen. “Too much to drink?”
On My Generation or Conversations with Sad Millennials Devin Guthrie
66 TWD MAGAZINE
“No. I’m just sad, okay? Look, I just don’t wanna dance anymore, okay?” “Okay.” I sit next to him. “Why are you sad?” He leans back and sighs, “I don’t know, I just, my life just isn’t going anywhere, you know? The last two summers were shit. If I get the job with Microsoft this summer and it’s shit, that’s it. That’s what I’m doing for the rest of my life. Shit.” I suggest that if he doesn’t like what he’s doing, he can always do something different. “No, it doesn’t matter. It’s too much. The future’s coming and I’m just never going to be happy, better accept it now. I used to think—but I don’t anymore. No, not for me. You, I think you could be happy one day. You still care, get excited about things. I don’t care about anything.” He stops, and we both stare at nothing for a while. Then he sits up and claps once. “But, hey, that’s life, right? Fuck it! Just fuck it! You know? C’mon, let’s party!” Jason stands, scans the room in a mock FBI maneuver, and throws himself back into the mindless beat. I relax into the sticky cushions and let my mind wander with the patterns spinning on the ceiling. Two months ago, it is Sunday night. A friend leans forward and confides, “I’ve figured out the point of college: Learning to manage your misery.” I laugh and she stops me.
TWD MAGAZINE 67
“No, I’m serious. The point of college is managing your misery.” She chuckles and shakes her head. Her words have remained with me, slipping into my stream of consciousness when I am doodling spirals in class or rolling over in bed or when my hands pause for breath above the keyboard. It is surely not the takeaway we were intended to take away, I think. But at least this much is true: Of people I know, the majority are miserable. It continues bothering me, so one day I pose the question to an acquaintance: “Well, that’s pretty much the point of college, isn’t it? Learning to manage our misery?” “Haha! That is so true.” “But seriously. Do you think that’s really the point of all this?” “I don’t know, man. I mean, what’s the point of anything?” Postmodernism runs deep with the millennial generation, even if most know only vaguely what it means. We are the least religiously and politically involved generation. We are less socioeconomically ambitious than our predecessors. We drink less, smoke less, have less sex, and, excepting painkillers, do fewer drugs than our parents did. These dreams which moved mankind through history are somehow insufficient to make us want to climb out of bed. On the surface, the pundits and columnists are right, objectively, millennials have little to complain about. We have parents’ money, the luxuries technology affords, and our whole lives ahead of us. But what
68 TWD MAGAZINE
we do not have is a compelling reason to live. The yarns which spun society together for so long have been coming undone for some time; Reagan’s Silent Majority could not duct tape them back. While America fussed over communism, nihilism crept into its bedrock, and the cracks have grown too wide to do anything but ignore. Once one has acknowledged the possibility that life has no ultimate meaning, it is difficult to see social structures as more than Babels waiting to collapse. Moral duty is dead and God is getting long in the tooth. Revaluation has begun, and having rejected two-thousand years’ of rulebooks on how to live, we attempt to shrug off old ideas of gender, race, religion, and culture while shouldering the burden of selfdetermination alone. But there is no basis for this better world, no guiding vision to look toward. We, born into the unraveling, do our best to forget it and get on about our limited days. One Wednesday in a classroom with no windows to the cerulean sky, a girl turns to me and says, “I’m sad.” She laughs and I laugh too. From her face, I see my response is right but for the life of me I cannot find what is funny. Ellen, the pale, beautiful girl sitting across the cafeteria table, looks as exhausted as anyone I’ve seen. The ceiling’s seething fluorescents do nothing to erase the shadows under her eyes. “I hate it,” she is saying. “My parents tell me ‘have more fun’, that ‘college is supposed to be the best years of your life.’”
TWD MAGAZINE 69
“It’s kind of a lot of pressure, isn’t it?” I say. “It is! And they just don’t get it, they don’t understand why I’m miserable. They both partied through college—how? How? There’s not time to have fun; there’s barely time to not have fun!” I suggest she could try doing less. “What less? I feel like I’m not doing enough already. No, I’ve just got to keep moving forward, carry on, all that crap. It’ll get better eventually. It has to.” “But I thought these were ‘the best years of your life?’” “Hah, God I hope not. If this is as good as it gets, well, I might as well just shoot myself now. HaHaHahaha, oh man.” “Hahahaha.” “No, I don’t believe that this is it. I just can’t.” She sighs and gathers her things, “Well, time for class. It was nice talking with you.” As she turns to go, I call after her, “Ellen. I hope you feel better.” “Thanks. You too.” She looks over her shoulder and smiles with the half of her face she thinks I see.
70 TWD MAGAZINE
In one of countless articles characterizing millennials, I read, “They are more optimistic than previous generations. They truly believe their best years are ahead of them.” This strikes me as an alarming disconnect from my personal experience until I realize we may look different from the outside. Millennials are a generation who have mastered the scholarship application and the elevator pitch, the serviceperson smile and the cocktail conversation, and if in an emotional aside we confess to confusion, we will always recoup with a joke and a shrug. My advice to the armchair psychologist: Look deeper, past the firm handshake and the expressions painstakingly constructed to mask pain, past the talk of “changing the world” to the sag of the body and the look that settles on the face once the bedroom door is shut and we know no one is looking. We are tired, and we do not believe in anything much, least of all ourselves. If I have seen my generation demonstrate faith in anything, it is faith in the future, but it is a misunderstanding to call this optimism. It is faith born of desperation. When the absolutes have fallen away, what is left to justify our existence but the belief that somehow, someday, it will all be worth it? Kids who stay in college are the ones who succeed in convincing themselves that short-term pain will equal long-term gain. These are kids who mostly do not do drugs because they are afraid of their permanent records or mental health, kids who mostly do not have sex because they are afraid of STDs or pregnancy, kids who consider relaxing a guilty pleasure. These are kids in their in their twenties who still call themselves kids. These are kids who do not believe in politics
TWD MAGAZINE 71
or religion but need to believe their work will be rewarded. Of course there are others. There are still the sex fiends and the potheads and the early-bird alcoholics, the political and religious zealots, the kids who say they are excited for tomorrow and mean it. All these and more exist in plenitude. But mostly there are kids like me, kids determined to find their own way who do mostly what they think is expected of them. If they deviate, it is only enough to assure themselves they are interesting and unique. Then, they re-right themselves onto the course so that they can shovel their lives down the furnace of their future happiness and continue to do so until one sputtering, choking night, their fires burn out. What happens to a dream deferred. Three weeks and four days after I stagger into 2016, Steven and I will slip through an unlocked gate marked “Do Not Enter”. The area is restricted for construction, but my surroundings will offer no clues as to what they are building here. We will slide the gate shut behind us and sit on a bench hidden from view where Steven will pull his e-cig from his jacket. “I prefer to smoke out of sight,” he will tell me. I will say that I thought e-cigs weren’t banned on campus, and he will reply, “Yeah, but I just like it better this way. Simple pleasures in private.” The day’s lecture will have been The Myth of Sisyphus, and I will still be thinking about it. I will ask Steven what he thinks about it. He will inhale and let curlicue vapors drift from his lips. He will breathe out a long, blueberry stream.
72 TWD MAGAZINE
“I guess I just don’t see why it matters. Okay, so everything is meaningless, but why does Camus care so much? ‘Why live?’ Why not? It’s not like I’ve got anything better to do.”
TWD MAGAZINE 73
Everything Means Everything Jasmine Ledesma
74 TWD MAGAZINE
My cell phone suddenly started to ring. I threw the blanket off me and reached over to the small wooden table next to the bed, but my phone wasn’t where I had left it. Shit. I began to search under the pile of my discarded outerwear -- phone ringing all the while -- until I finally found it under my black hooded sweatshirt. Looking down at the Caller ID, I rolled my eyes. Of course, it was my Mom. Nine times out of ten it was either her or my Dad calling me to check in because they were so overprotective of me. I slid my finger across the lit-up screen and answered the call. “Hi, Mom. I’m still hanging out over at Gabe’s. What’s up?” “April,” she began. I instantly knew something was wrong, that this was more than just a routine check-in. She sounded so small, so sad. “He’s not doing too well…You may want to get over here since this might be it.” “I-I’ll be there as soon as I can,” I whispered. She hung up, and I was glad. I couldn’t’ve done it myself. The tears that filled my eyes were blurring my vision too much for me to be able to see the telephone screen.
Speaking Spanish April Alexis Hernandez
TWD MAGAZINE 75
t was near the end of my first year of college, and I distinctly remember sprawling across my boyfriend Gabe’s twin mattress with a quilt wrapped around me, staring at the paused Netflix screen on the computer monitor while Gabe made us some food. Growing slightly impatient, I started to play around with the thin gray hair tie resting on my wrist, hoping that he would join me under the cozy blanket soon.
76 TWD MAGAZINE
— I must have been three or four years old when I truly began to comprehend that my grandparents would speak another language. My parents and I lived with them in their beautiful house that sat on the outer line of the Alameda neighborhood in Northeast Portland, and every morning I would wake up to the smooth, musical tinkling of my grandparents speaking Spanish to each other in the hallway as they finished getting ready for their early morning mass. They would speak it while cooking their traditional Mexican recipes, while cleaning around the house, and they would speak it in front of the rest of us when we had our Sunday family dinners. One afternoon my cousins Nikki and C.J. came over to play. We spent hours playing with little green army soldiers and miniature Polly Pockets, running around the house trying to tag each other, and having vocabulary and arithmetic lessons with our abuelo. Our abuelo, or Papí, as we affectionately called him, was in the kitchen -- the next room over --- making some refried bean, cheese and bacon burritos for our lunch while we were supposed to be finishing up some math problems. Instead, we sat at the mahogany dining room table, giggling and whispering to each other with our sharpened yellow pencils in hand, as young children often do. There was a wallpaper mural on the northwestern wall of the dining room, depicting a pre-industrialized village with milkmaids and sailors. We were debating on who each of us resembled on the wallpaper while also fighting over which of the little cottages we would want to live in. And we were so focused on being unfocused on our assignment that our Papí practically materialized into the room and snapped at us for not noticing him and for not doing our
TWD MAGAZINE 77
work: “Nikki, Abril, C.J.! Knock it off. Don’t you have any manners at all? It’s extremely rude to whisper in front of others -- they will think you are whispering about them!” Nikki looked down at her paper, ashamed. C.J. hunched in the dining room chair. I, on the other hand, looked up at him innocently. “But Papí,” I politely challenged him -- something I would only do a handful of times throughout our relationship -- “if it’s rude to whisper in front of others, wouldn’t it also be rude to have a conversation in a different language in front of people who can’t understand it? Because you and Connie do it a bunch and none of us ever even know what you’re talking about. Believe me, I asked.” He then looked down at me, his mouth drawn into a tight line so that his lips looked like an edge of a ruler, and his hands were clenched into fists. He wore his tinted amber aviator glasses so I couldn’t quite see the frustration in his eyes…but I knew it was there. I could feel it radiating off of him like heat from a preheated oven. But I just looked up at him and smiled as innocently as I could, the gap between my two front teeth on full display. Instead of spanking me for sassing and disrespecting an elder like he normally would have, he just sighed and unclenched his hands. He said, “Never mind, Querida. Just listen to me. No more whispering. Now let’s get back to the lesson.”
78 TWD MAGAZINE
He pulled out the chair at the head of the table and sat down on the off-white cushion and began to go over the worksheet he had created for us. — Gabe held my right hand as we made our way through the labyrinth of sterile, emotionless hallways in the PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. My left hand gripped my car keys, and my knuckles were so unnaturally white that they contrasted against the dark, woven monkey ball keychain. I was incredibly aware of how my heartbeat fluttered faster and faster the closer we got to the room, and I was even more aware of how heavy my black and gold studded purse felt as it hung off my left shoulder. God, what did I have in there -- twenty bucks in change? I was so lost in my stream of consciousness that when Gabe abruptly stopped walking, I almost tripped over myself. Thankfully he still had hold of my hand or I would have fallen into the cart filled with different sized purple rubber gloves next to the door. “Babe, this is the room number, right?” he whispered to me, his blue eyes tinted with concern. I nodded my head in response, inhaled deeply and took a step toward the doorway. — I was probably about sixteen and in my second year of high school Spanish when I finally had a real conversation with my father about the language. I remember sitting at the dining room table -- the
TWD MAGAZINE 79
same table where I spent hours with Papí studying English vocabulary words as a child -- studying the differences between when to use the indicative and when to use the subjunctive in Spanish. “OhmyGOD this is so freaking impossible to remember!” I screeched at my textbook. Learning Spanish usually came really easy to me, but this was really throwing me off. In frustration, I rested the side of my head on top of my textbook, my hair sprawled out across the table like the head of a mop. I felt hopeless. Somehow, I found myself daydreaming about the wallpaper mural, staring at the little girl in the scarlet colonial dress and white bonnett. She was the one I always wanted to be, and I imagined that she lived with her parents in the cottage by the grassy knoll where the goats and sheep roamed in the upper right-hand corner of the wall. “How’s it coming in here?” My dad asked as he poked his head into the dining room, interrupting my daydream of distraction. I turned my head and emitted an exasperated sigh into my textbook and before giving a muffled reply. “It’s coming I guess. Sometimes I wish I had just learned this as a baby. It would make this so much easier, you know?” “I do. Sometimes I even regret not learning it… but maybe you can teach me a little bit when this is all over with?” I lifted my head from my textbook. “Well, why didn’t you? Learn it, I mean.”
80 TWD MAGAZINE
“I think part of it was probably because my parents wanted us to be normal American kids. Mainly though, I think my siblings and I were just uninterested in learning it. I mean, there were five of us kids. We were young, and we had our own priorities at the time,” he shrugged. “Yeah, I get it. I mean you’re what? Third or fourth generation MexicanAmerican? I guess it would make sense that you learning Spanish wasn’t a high priority since both of your parents could speak perfect English. But yeah if you want I will try to teach you some of the basics sometime. It’s really not that hard.” “That would be nice. And I’m glad that you’re taking the time to learn it. You’re the only one in the family who has tried to. Anyway, I’ll let you get back at it. Good luck on your midterm tomorrow.” He patted my shoulder before he walked out of the room. — I took a few steps further into the room, leaving Gabe in the doorway. The room itself was rather small and drab, but the seat next to his bed had a cushion on it, so I sat in it and soaked in the image of my Papí. There he was in his hospital bed, a plethora of multi-colored plastic tubes and wires sticking in and out of him. His brown, leathery skin looked a bit pale under the harsh lighting, but he still proudly wore his notorious aviator glasses and custom-made black longshoreman hat. His facial expression was that of the tough, stubborn hombre I had always known and respected… but something was different about him. He seemed so small and frail in that thin, pea green gown. And without a set of his homemade rosary beads in his hands, he was strikingly
TWD MAGAZINE 81
vulnerable. Frightened, even. Without really thinking about it the words, “Te quiero mucho, Papí. Con todo mi corazón,” slipped out of my mouth. His eyes lit up at the sound of my shaking voice, and he stretched his nimble fingers out to beckon me. I took the cue and tenderly placed my hands around his while also bending my head down to kiss them. “Si se puede, Papí.” All of a sudden, a small tear escaped from his eyes and down his face, breaking that tough-guy expression of his. And that’s when I finally understood it: He and my grandmother used Spanish not only as a way to talk privately, but also as a way to hold onto their culture, their heritage, their past. The tear that betrayed my Papí was not one filled with sadness, but one of hope and of love. The fact that one of his three grandchildren took the time to try to learn the language meant a great deal to him, even if it was spoken imperfectly. Thankfully, that was not “the end” for my abuelo. In fact, my Papí held on for another three years, even with the numerous hospital trips and him being placed on a ventilator so he was unable to speak. Every time I visited him, I made sure to speak to him in my broken Spanish to show him how much I cared about him and believed in him. It would always bring a smile to my face whenever he mouthed back to me: “Te quiero mucho tambièn,” I love you, too. When I made it to the hospital to see him for the last time I was a mess. I felt so guilty for not seeing him in a while, and I felt even guiltier that I didn’t get to say goodbye to him before he passed. There he was in a blue hospital gown, bloated and cold. My distraught grandmother
82 TWD MAGAZINE
kept pulling up the thin white blanket for him, to “keep him warm so he wouldn’t catch cold.” I just stood there and stared at his unmoving body. Finally, I stepped up to the bed and grabbed his cold, lifeless hand. Tears poured down my face as I thought about how much of an influence this man had on my life and how I would miss him immensely for the duration of it. I bent down and kissed his forehead. Then I whispered to him for the last time, “Te quiero mucho Papí, con todo mi corazón.”
TWD MAGAZINE 83
84 TWD MAGAZINE
TWD MAGAZINE 85
86 TWD MAGAZINE Stilllife Alena Mudrenok
TWD MAGAZINE 87
88 TWD MAGAZINE
etâ€™s turn to the human being - the most beautiful creature our world has to offer! It is a well-known fact that in ancient times, the human being was worshiped more than ever. Ancient Greek and Roman gods were, in fact, human given their passions and sins. The human body was regarded as a work of art!
Now consider a different perspective: not one human body, but rather a crowd. A human movement in the context of a city is in effect a fleeting momentum that will never reoccur. Just like light and shadow are elusive in our everyday life, so is every move of a human being - elusive, fleeting and irretrievable. It can never be repeated. It is imprinted in the emptiness of the white sheet. Human beings in the city without the city. Frozen sculptures.
Nipetrov Russiaday Nikita Petrov
TWD MAGAZINE 89
90 TWD MAGAZINE
TWD MAGAZINE 91
I yearn for a heart like mine, wrapped in honeycombs, dipped in wine. alorie sat on the toilet seat, reading these words inked onto the stall door in thick black marker. She hadn’t needed to use the bathroom in the first place, but was unexpectedly glad she had come into this stall. She sat with her boney elbows on her thighs and got lost in the simple poetry. She had just spent nearly an hour in the public library reading poetry, trying to find the right words to describe her loneliness. Of all the published stanzas and edited prose, she hadn’t felt that connection until she returned the books to their shelves and came here. How long had these words been printed here? Did she, whoever she was, still yearn? Had she too lost a lover? It had been three years since Alex had died, and still Malorie felt the pit of emptiness; the honeycomb without honey. She had always been a believer of fate, and knew there must be a reason she had come into this stall. She pulled from her purse a black pen. She had never vandalized before, not even in high school when such things seemed almost mandatory. And she knew the chances of whomever had written this to come back and see a response was slim to none. Yet she still uncapped the pen and wrote. The heart of a stranger tastes your honey, your wine. It is sour, bitter sweet. It tastes just like mine. Before she left the library, she checked out a book of poetry. The woman at the counter scanned her card. “Malorie Christmas, huh? Bet you love that last name around this time of year.” She winked.
Honeycombs And Wine Katie Collazo
92 TWD MAGAZINE
Malorie smiled. “That’s my married name. Maiden name is Lipschitz. Christmas suits me fine.” She winked back. They giggled as the lady at the counter picked up the book. “By night the heart wants the sun, yet once horizon doth it peak, does thou eyes seek the stars,” She said, smiling at Malorie. “Page fifty six, if I’m not mistaken.” Malorite smiled back down at the woman. “Poetry fan?” The lady at the counter nodded, crows feet and dimples appearing as her smile widened. “‘Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.’’ T. S. Elliot.” Malorie, thinking of the stall door said, “Yes. Yes it does.” It is another two days before Malorie even thinks of the poem again. She is having coffee at a place Alex showed her. It is bitter with a hint of honey, and only a block from the library. Malorie’s curiosity takes her back to the stall door. The honey is sweet, the bee still stings. The wine is dark, too rich for kings. Flavors of a dying ghost. Still I await the strangers post. The same black marker. Malorie sat down on the seat, pants still on her waist and stared at the next stanza, unbelieving. She had gotten a reply. A beautiful script that made her heartbeat heavy in her chest. She couldn’t remember the last time she had felt something, anything, this serenely. There was another woman out there, with nothing else to look forward to besides small lines of poetry in the bathroom at the local library. For the first time since Alex died, Malorie felt as if she wasn’t
TWD MAGAZINE 93
alone anymore. How long has this message been waiting for her? Awaiting a strangers post? She, whoever she was, had come back and had left Malorie a promise that she’d be back again. Shaking slightly, Malorite uncapped her pen again. Wine and honey from the ghost, what makes the undead weep? Your words have pierced through the honeycombs, into something deep. Malorie had never considered herself a poet, despite all the times Alex had mentioned the poetry of her. “You have a rhyme to your step, and a prose in your convictions.” Alex had said, the night the two of them had held onto each other after the diagnosis with the doctor. Alex had not cried when the doctor had said cancer. Had not cried when Malorie herself was reduced to nothing more than a puddle of tears and angry curses at fate. “That’s what I love most about you, Mal. You’re poetry.” Those words, only said six months before Alex died, was the reason Malorie had gone to the library in search of poetry in the first place. She had never anticipated writing her own on a bathroom stall to a stranger when all she had gone in there to do was cry in peace. Malorie returned the book of poetry, and got another. The same woman checked her out. “‘Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words,” she said. “Robert Frost.” Malorie finished, having read that quote just the day before. “I think true poetry is when the brain and heart feel the same sickness.
94 TWD MAGAZINE
The same truth. Poetry doesn’t demand to be understood by all. Doesn’t demand anything other than the necessity of its release. The draining of the poison. If another sees the truth in the words, and their own sickness is drained... why, that’s simply coincidence.” The woman said, handing Malorie her book. Again, Malorie thought not of any poem she had read in the books, but of the stall door. “Coincidence is just fate dressed inconspicuously.” The woman at the counter laughed, a honking unapologetic laugh that made Malorite instantly think of Alex. “Spoken like a true poet!” Malorie went back the next day, and was only slightly surprised to see a response. Brittle honeycomb, you have lost someone true. For that taste of sour wine, lies on my tongue too. Queen Bee of the posts, ghost and friend thank you, for now my heart can mend. It was so beautiful, reading it all as one poem, shared by two inks and the same type of bleeding heart. Malorie sat on the toilet as she had done over a week ago and cried. Not just for Alex, but also for this woman who too had lost her love. The black marker had made her feel alive again for the first time in three years. It was hard to conceive that her words had done the same for another woman like herself. Heart full of honeycombs and wine, this ghost now sees a greener vine. The thanks and tastes are all mine. Malorie stayed at the library all day, reading more poetry, and even wondering over into the romance section, which she hadn’t done since Alex passed. But Malorie was feeling more like herself than she
TWD MAGAZINE 95
had in years. She felt more comfortable being herself, rather than being someone who was missing their spouse. She got tea instead of coffee for the first time in three years as well, adding some honey to it of course. But by closing time, there was still no response. Malorie couldnâ€™t explain the need to see this other woman who wrote poetry that spoke to her soul, but all the same she needed to know her. The same woman who had checked out her poetry books was there and told her she had loved the romance novel Malorie had picked with a warm smile. Malorie liked that smile very much. Malorie was one of the ten people standing outside the library the next morning before the doors were unlocked. Once they were she went straight into the stall where the poem was. Riesling is sweet, like the honey and the flower. Shall we make a toast to the new vine in a quarter hour? Across the light a neon sign, cheers to honeycombs and wine. Malore was stunned to see a reply. She had been one of the last people in the library last night, and one of the first here in the morning. She had probably passed this woman twice now and had no idea. And she wanted to meet in fifteen minutes? Malorie stood back and read the poem again and again, crying in happiness and not sadness. It was freedom. It was grapes and bees and coffee and tea. It was the memory of Alex and the mirror of herself. Beauty. Hope. Malorie raced across the street towards a small local restaurant with a neon sign that read HONEY in the window. The restaurant was nearly
96 TWD MAGAZINE
empty, being only ten o’clock in the morning on a weekday. She went up to the bar and ordered a riesling. “‘Wine is bottled poetry.’” Said a familiar voice behind Malorie. She turned, and looked at the woman from the counter at the library who had checked out all her books and said, “Robert Louis Stevenson.” She had read that quote the day she had checked out her first book of poetry. “So it was you.” The librarian said, beaming and holding up her own goblet of wine. “It’s nice to formally meet you, Malorie. My name is Samantha. Call me Sam.” She held out her wrinkled right hand. Malorie took it into her own wrinkled hand and squeezed. “My Alex used to introduce herself the same way. Alexandrea, call me Alex.” Sam smiled, leading Malorie and her wine back to a table in the corner. “My Eloise always introduced herself as such. Never El, never Louise. Eloise. She’d say, ‘If it’s good enough for government work, it should be good enough for the likes of you’”. The two old ladies sat, smiling at each other. They had known of their connection to one another through the loss of a loved one. But neither could have predicted how much more they had in common as well. “How long has it been since you lost your Alex?” Sam asked. “Three years,” Malorie said, surprised by the lack of tears this conversation usually brought on. “Cervical cancer.”
TWD MAGAZINE 97
Sam reached across the table and squeezed Malorie’s hand. “I lost my Eloise five years ago. Brain tumor.” The two women, now both in their mid sixties, began to talk openly about loss, fear of their own sexuality in their old age, and of course, wine and poetry. “She told me I was like a poem to her,” Malorie said, over their fourth glass of wine. “Emotional and sometimes too complicated for my own good.” “Did you quote Robert Louis Stevenson at her?” Sam asked, her eyes twinkling. “I’m afraid I don’t know that one.” Malorie admitted. “‘Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.’” Sam quoted. “Or asking a ghost?” Malorie asked, thinking about the poetry on the stall door, and remembering what Alex had told her less than a month before she died. “People are like old poems,” Alex said, now weak from chemo, and in the acceptance stage of death. “Just because it’s been read and cherished by one, doesn’t mean it can’t find a new reader who can dance to the rhymes, and water the prose. You are a flower, Malorie. Don’t wilt after I am gone.” A tear fell from Malorie’s eye, and Sam whipped it away like she had been waiting five years to do so.
98 TWD MAGAZINE
“I yearn for a heart like mine, wrapped in honeycombs, dipped in wine.” Malorie said, catching Sam’s hand and holding it tight. “Honey stays sweet forever, and wine gets better with age.”
TWD MAGAZINE 99
100 TWD MAGAZINE
I was too young to remember the walker, which was giving life to my mom, but that door, it was just too much of the struggle and patience to simply wash it out from my head. I still have it. I was bumping in the open side of the door so hard that my mother thought I would break the glass in it. Probably I was too young to understand her concern about bumping into it or keeping me away from certain things in that room that could be too dangerous, too sharp, too small or too something else. It was just the door that my walker did not go through, and the place I wanted to reach so fiercely and always. When she got tired of me doing that, she started not to open it on purpose to keep me away, hoping I will forget about it sometime soon annoyed by the loud noise I was making or just get distracted by something else. That never happened.
Quitters Never Win Yuliia Vereta
TWD MAGAZINE 101
hen I was an infant I had the baby walker to help me move around the apartment. That time we lived in a huge flat in a small town, the one with three bedrooms and a living room. All the rooms around the place had a usual door, which could easily fit the walker going through, but not the one in the living room, which was the brightest and the biggest room there. It had the two-sided door, one side of which was always closed, that stopped me from coming in. At times, some herbs were dried there on the floor, at Christmas time my grandpa put the tree in there. That was the room I wanted to be in the most, maybe because it was not often accessible.
102 TWD MAGAZINE
She always got pissed, never could stand me doing that longer than forty minutes. I never remembered numbers. She told me this story another day when I came to her with my ‘sometimes I don’t see the point of doing this’ and my ‘I think I failed to much on it’ as well as ‘I am not really sure if I should go on’ and ‘Maybe it’s better to stop now’. It is hard to see the point in things when knocking the doors for too long and never getting the reply wanted. But what she said at the end was ‘When your knocking does not work, try bumping, if there is a door there is always a key that opens it or person that will open it for you if you try hard enough’. My five-year-old student, who is the cleverest kid I ever saw and the most stubborn Chinese I ever met, keeps learning conditional sentences and astronomy. She fails at times. But always proceeds after fails, usually in a minute or so. She always says ‘Quitters never win, winners never quit’. So I asked her once how she knows she is the winner if she fails all the time, she answered that never quitting Is being the winner. So as long as the stars shine, As long as the trees grow, As long as the birds sing, As long as the rivers flow, As long as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, As long as my life goes on I will strive for what I want And go on.
TWD MAGAZINE 103
As long as I am alive, I will not fall.
104 TWD MAGAZINE
Contributor Bios Paul David Adkins Paul David Adkins lives in NY. He served in the US Army from 1991-2013. Most recently, he earned a MA in Writing and The Oral Tradition from The Graduate Institute, Bethany, CT. He spends his days either counseling soldiers or teaching college students in a NY state correctional institute. Joey Aronhalt Joey Aronhalt is an Akron, Ohio based film photographer. He is currently perusing his Bachelor in Fine Arts Photography at the University of Akron. His work has been shown internationally in countries such as Italy, Greece, and South Korea. All of the woke that has been shown in these countries was created through the use of medium format film, which is his primary medium. Through the use of the film his primary goal is to make the viewer question what is going on. Visit him at: joeyaronhalt.com. Diane D. Gillette Diane D. Gillette lives, writes, and teaches in Chicago. She is a founding editor at Cat on a Leash Review. Her work has appeared in various literary venues including the Saturday Evening Post and the Maine Review. You can find more of her published work through www.digillette.com.
Emanuela Franco Emanuela Franco is a Brazilian Journalist, with more than ten years of experience within Brazil and Europe (Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia and United Kingdom). Marcella Benton Marcella Benton lives in Lakeland, Florida with her husband and pets where she and her husband run their screen printing and embroidery business, Whatever Tees. Marcellaâ€™s previous work can be seen in Black Fox Literary Magazine and Deep South Magazine.
TWD MAGAZINE 105
Danielle Hark Danielle Hark is a writer and artist who lives with PTSD and bipolar disorder. She’s the founder of the non-profit Broken Light Collective that empowers people with mental illness using photography. Danielle has an affinity for tattoos, foxes, and Greek Mythology. She lives and creates in NJ with her husband, two daughters, a dog, a cat, and too many books and creepy dolls. www.daniellehark.com IG: @daniellehark Choya Randolph Choya Randolph is an adjunct professor at Adelphi University with a B.A. in Mass Communications and M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Randolph’s work has been published in Rigorous Magazine, midnight & indigo, Her Campus, The Crow’s Nest, NNB News and elsewhere. Adrienne Stevenson Adrienne Stevenson has lived in Ottawa, Ontario, since 1974. A retired forensic scientist, she writes poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction. Her poetry has been published in the Ottawa Poets Pathway “Lampman Challenge” chapbook where she placed both first and third in the challenge, Time and Again Poetry Anthology, and Quills magazine. She was longlisted in Geist’s second Erasure Poetry Contest, and twice selected for Poem of the Day at the website Poets Against the War. Her stories have won prizes in contests held by Capital Crime Writers, Canadian Authors Association and the Ottawa Public Library, and been published in Byline and Anglo-Celtic Roots.
Alex Duensing Alex Duensing. Graduate of William Paterson and Columbia? Yes. Discovered secret of instant joy? Yes. Stopped Mayan Apocalypse on rooftop with performance art? Yup. Strange but nice fellow? Clearly. Protégé of Arakawa+Gins, masters of the architectural body? Ongoing even after the supposed end. Able to create mechanical engines that run completely on the energy a person creates while appreciating a painting? On delightful rare occasions.
106 TWD MAGAZINE Nolcha Fox Nolcha’s short stories have been published in Deadlights, The Wire’s Dream Magazine, We Are A Website, Cadaverous Magazine, Dusk & Shiver, Envie!, and Elephants Never. One of her short stories will be published in the upcoming issue of The Ginger Collect. Her short story anthology Taking Up Space is on FicFun.com, and horror novelette Little Lies is on Dreame.com. She publishes short stories monthly through Wattpad and in her So Many Times short story anthology on Dreame.com. Nolcha focuses on (dark) humor, fantasy, and horror. Or a combination of all three. Allen Forrest Allen Forrest is a writer, graphic artist, and filmmaker, the winner of the 2015 Leslie Jacoby Honor for Art at San Jose State University’s Reed Magazine, he lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada. His Bel Red landscape paintings are part of the Bellevue College Foundation’s permanent art collection in Bellevue, WA. To find more of his published works, please visit him online at http://art-grafiken.blogspot.ca/2016/04/ poetry-and-prose.html to browse his poetry and prose collection; and http://art-grafiken. blogspot.ca/2016/12/graphic-narrative.html to browse his graphic narrative collection. George L. Stein George L Stein is a writer and photographer living in North-Central New Jersey. George works in both film and digital formats in the urban decay, architecture, fetish, and street photography genres. His emphasis is on composition with the juxtaposition of beauty and decay lying at the center of his aesthetic. George has been published in After Hours, Midwestern Gothic, Gravel, Foliate Oak, Hoosier Lit, Gulf Stream Magazine, 3Elements, Stoneboat, Occulum, the Gnu Journal, Ilanot Review and Darkside Magazine. Devin Guthrie Devin Guthrie is a disabled, genderqueer, asexual working towards a PhD in Existential Psychology at Texas A&M University. They are a three-time recipient of the James F. Parker award, and their work has appeared in The Notre Dame Review, Confrontation, New Reader Magazine, Hubbub, Takahē, the Adirondack Review, and others. Jasmine Ledesma Jasmine Ledesma can be found eating lollipops in New York. Her work has been published over twenty times, including in Into The Void and Vagabond City.
TWD MAGAZINE 107
April Alexis Hernandez April Alexis Hernandez is a Portland, Oregon native who graduated summa cum laude from Portland State University with a major in Creative Writing-- Nonfiction, and a minor in English in 2018. IG: @april.alexis Alena Mudrenok Alena Mudrenok was born on the 7th of October, 1976 in Kiev (Ukraine) . She is a selftaught artist. She took part in 5 international exhibitions in 2018 such as: Ukrainian art week, Art week in Hungary, Russian art week, Vanguard today, Abstract art festival. She got the fisrt place for her vanguard artworks on Ukrainian art week and Russian art week exhibitions in 2018. She likes to draw flowers and nature most of all. She works with soft pastels and watercolor and also tries to do graphics with black waterproof markers. She likes contrast color combination in her artworks. Nikita Petrov Nikita Petrov is an architect and an artist. Petrov’s focus is on the human being as a work of art through the perspective of human movement as elusive, fleeting momentum. Find Petrov’s work at: nipetrov.com. IG: @nipetrov Katie Collazo Katie Collazo lives in Seattle Washington with her husband and three cats. Her short story The Urn has been published in Underwood Press.
Yuliia Vereta Yuliia Vereta is a young writer from Ukraine, traveling the world and getting inspiration from other cultures to write short stories, poetry, creative non-fiction and whatever else that can comfort the disturbed and disturb the comforted. Vereta’s work is published in print and online in 2019 in Litro Magazine (UK), Genre: urban arts (USA), Penultimate Peanut Magazine (USA), the Voices Project and the Book Smuggler’s Den. Vereta received the 2018 City of Rockingham Short Story Award for short fiction (Australia) and became the finalist in 2019 Poetry Matters Project (USA) as well as 2019 Hessler Poetry Contest (USA).
A SPECIAL THANK YOU The Wire’s Dream Magazine happily thanks the following individuals for helping the Chief Editor fulfill the magazine’s goal and mission: Seigar, Nolcha Fox, and Diana Raab. The Wire’s Dream Magazine pays its Contributors for their work. If you would like to help the Chief Editor cover those costs, please visit The Black Lion Journal’s Submittable page. Thank you.
TWD MAGAZINE 109
Seigar Seigar is an English philologist, a highschool teacher, and a curious photographer. He is a fetishist for reflections, saturated colors, details and religious icons. He feels passion for pop culture that shows in his series. He considers himself a travel and street photographer. His aim as an artist is to tell tales with his camera, to capture moments but trying to give them a new frame and perspective. Travelling is his inspiration. However, he tries to show more than mere postcards from his visits, creating a continuous conceptual line story from his trips. The details and subject matters come to his camera once and once again, almost becoming an obsession. His three most ambitious projects so far are his “Plastic People’, a study on anthropology and sociology that focuses on the humanization of the mannequins he finds in the shop windows all over the world, ‘Response to Ceal Floyer for the Summer Exhibition’ a conceptual work that understands art as a form of communication, and his ‘Tales of a city’, an ongoing urban photo-narrative project taken in London. He usually covers public events with his camera showing his interest for social documentation. He has participated in several exhibitions, and his works have also been featured in international publications. He writes for The Cultural Magazine (Spain) about photography and for Memoir Mixtapes (Los Angeles) about music. He has collaborated with VICE Spain, WAG1 Magazine (text and photography for both) and his works have also been featured in his Vogue Italy portfolio. Visit at seigar.wordpress.com.
110 TWD MAGAZINE Nolcha Fox Nolcha’s short stories have been published in Deadlights, The Wire’s Dream Magazine, We Are A Website, Cadaverous Magazine, Dusk & Shiver, Envie!, and Elephants Never. One of her short stories will be published in the upcoming issue of The Ginger Collect. Her short story anthology Taking Up Space is on FicFun.com, and horror novelette Little Lies is on Dreame.com. She publishes short stories monthly through Wattpad and in her So Many Times short story anthology on Dreame.com. Nolcha focuses on (dark) humor, fantasy, and horror. Or a combination of all three.
Diana Raab, PhD Diana Raab, PhD, is an award-winning memoirist, poet, blogger, speaker, and author of 10 books and over 1000 articles and poems. She’s also editor of two anthologies, “Writers on the Edge: 22 Writers Speak About Addiction and Dependency,” and “Writers and Their Notebooks.” Raab’s two memoirs are “Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal,” and “Healing With Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey.” She blogs for Psychology Today, Thrive Global, Sixty and Me, and PsychCentral and is frequently a guest blogger for various other sites. Her two latest books are, “Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life,” and “Writing for Bliss: A Companion Journal.” Visit: www.dianaraab.com.
Paul David Adkins Joey Aronhalt Diane D. Gillette Emanuela Franco Marcella Benton Danielle Hark Choya Randolph Adrienne Stevenson Alex Duensing Nolcha Fox Allen Forrest George L. Stein Devin Guthrie Jasmine Ledesma April Alexis Hernandez Alena Mudrenok Nikita Petrov Katie Collazo Yuliia Vereta
The 7th Collection, like all others, stems from meticulous work that includes vetting all submitted work to ensure authenticity and to minim...
Published on Feb 17, 2020
The 7th Collection, like all others, stems from meticulous work that includes vetting all submitted work to ensure authenticity and to minim...