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TWD Magazine 3rd Collection

ire’sDream

TheW

TWD

The Wire’s Dream Magazine

A semi-annual magazine featuring art, photography, fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, and mixed-graphics/ combinación


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The Wire’s Dream Magazine The Wire’s Dream Magazine 3rd Collection © 2017 The Black Lion Journal & Christina Lydia. All rights reserved. All contributor copyrights are reverted to respected owners on publication, both in print and online. General Questions & Submissions theblacklionjournal@gmail.com Website theblacklionjournal.wordpress.com Twitter @TWDMagazine & @TBLJournal Facebook /theblacklionjournal Magazine Layout & Design Christina Lydia


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Christina Lydia Editor-In-Chief

TWD Magazine

I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to bring together a host of brilliant creators in a magazine. TWD Magazine is a reflection of The Black Lion Journal’s mission — one that actively seeks out voices by those who have different worldviews and life perspectives. For this collection, you will read and see work from individuals of different backgrounds, all varying in age and creativity. I want to thank all who submitted their work for this Collection; it truly would not have been possible without you. You all helped realize a dream that I held to for many years. Thank you.

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Letter To You From The Editor


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10

The Sins of Our Forebears in Gary, Indiana

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December

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Scenes From My Father’s Rhode Island

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In Comparison

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Alma & Dave

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Life

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The Soul

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Silent Night

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North Providence Deli

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Last Moments

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The Rules Of Fishing

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2012: The 1st Draft of Dying

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Extinction Series

By Joseph S. Pete

By Jeremy Nathan Marks By John Grey

By Peycho Kanev By Jeremy Nathan Marks By John Grey

By Hannah Rodabaugh

By Kevin A. Risner By P.C. Scheponik By Naushena By Joseph M. Felser By Charles W. Brice By Danielle Christine Hastings

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you won’t restrain me Vagabond Scripture

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London Zoo, 1864

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Triptych on a Passenger Pigeon Specimen Found in 1886 Chicago

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A Market Economy

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Epilogue | There Will Be a Test

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On Individual Stories & Extinction

By linda m. crate

By ayaz daryl nielsen

The Minimalists Prepare For Impending Apocalypse By Brendan Walsh

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Bright Stupid Confetti

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Ladies Auxiliary

By Howie Good

By Jeremy Nathan Marks


Olson in Gloucester

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Ode To A Waiting Room Chair

29

Paradise

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Valium

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Air

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Beyond An Open Window

30

5 Paintings

27

From a Distance

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Time

27

Twisted

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Piel en Piel

58

Hurricane Poem for the Colonizers

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Seventh Day, Absence

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[call it what you will]

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My Suitcase Is Packed

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404 Not Found

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You Leave So Often

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A Night in the Prism

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The Ballad Of Our Hearts

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Photography (5 Images)

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Nausea

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Stars

By Charles W. Brice

By Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois By ayaz daryl nielsen By P.C. Scheponik

By William Doreski By Andy Stallings

By Stallion Dunquis By Sandy Coomer By Kevin A. Risner

By Joseph M. Felser

By Stallion Dunquis By Danielle Christine Hastings By Scott Laudati

By Danielle Christine Hastings By ayaz daryl nielsen By Stallion Dunquis

By Brendan Walsh

By Darren C. Demaree By Joseph M. Felser By Joe Golc By Jim Zola

By Peycho Kanev

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By Andy Stallings

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Paradise

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Look Back And Smell

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Paradise

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Montage Series (8 Images)

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I let you in

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Angles / Angels

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Merlot

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Love You Strangely

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Room For Two

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Advice from Ernie

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Data desired Two

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Werewolves of Brooklyn

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Chords

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Biotic

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Hermit On The Subway

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On a July Friday Evening

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Photography (8 Images)

By William Doreski

By Stephen Mead By William Doreski

By Richard King Perkins II By Stallion Dunquis

By Joseph M. Felser

By Richard King Perkins II By Yuan Changming

By Andy Stallings By Joseph M. Felser By Stallion Dunquis By J. Ray Paradiso By Rose Knapp

By Michael Chin By Matt Nagin

By J. Ray Paradiso


The Game

108

Finally I Killed‌

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I painted her

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Spaghetti

121

Indian Summer

115

Karma

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Photography (8 Images)

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[you can take apart the couch]

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Stay Right

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the curious mind

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Not Ready

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Joy Rolls Off His Laugh

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Aging

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just say no

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The Magician

By Naushena

By Nolcha Fox By Julia Cirignano By Darren C. Demaree By linda m. crate

By Danielle Christine Hastings By linda m. crate

By Danielle Christine Hastings By Ilhem Issaoui

By Julia Cirignano

By Melanie Faith

By Trista Hurley-Waxali By Julia Cirignano By Bradley Samore By Nolcha Fox

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By Norman Klein

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Cynthia’s Coming

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By Joseph S. Pete

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The Sins of Our Forebears in Gary, Indiana

Heft high those chainsawed branches. Hoist those kiln-hardened bricks, clear the amassed detritus of decades of decay.

Heft high those chainsawed branches. Hoist those kiln-hardened bricks, clear the amassed detritus of decades of decay

Young idealists in matching bandannas mass outside the grand Beaux Arts Union Station, all arches and pediments, an architectural beaut nestled between the rumbling elevated Lake Shore & Michigan Southern and Baltimore & Ohio railroad tracks. The train’s left the station, and the dilapidated depot is rotting away inside after 50 years of neglect, its festering innards moldering after long serving as a platform to the world, so replete with possibility. Incipient draftees kissed high school sweethearts farewell before taking the train to basic training or faraway front lines. Endless immigrants cleared those turnstiles for a better life in the mill. Hell, they shot a noir flick about a stone-faced postal inspector unraveling a nefarious murder plot under all that scored concrete and wrought stonework. It starred Alan Ladd—you know, Gatsby. Countless expats gave up on all that history, abandoned homes to rot and arson and wild elements, forsook a fading city that built the country with steel beams, then got boarded up with plywood. Revitalization plans came and went like mall parking lot seagulls. Turn the train station into a steel museum, no, a European-style ruins garden. Nothing ever advanced beyond idle musing. Today, lambent light pours through the crumbling ceiling. The windows are a skull’s empty eye sockets; jagged glass crunches underfoot, everything looks bombed out.

Pushcart Nominated Poem

Over the years, a few graffiti writers tagged the sturdy edifice that withstood decade after decade of relentless decrepitude, after scrappers long ago stripped out anything salvageable.


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No one ever did anything about this temple of rubble until this bright morn. Urbex kids rolled up with shovels, sledgehammers, pickaxes, tillers, trowels, paint rollers, post hole diggers, rakes, mattocks and a burning mission. They hauled bricks, cleared shrub, tilled dirt, whitewashed walls, shot-putted huge stones into a dumpster, swept gravel, sweated, loaded creaking wheelbarrows with an earthy lasagna of sediment and debris. These young idealists spruced the century-old train depot up, brought in muralists to enliven Union Station with color and form, tried to rekindle appreciation of architecture forgotten but not yet lost. Even under the weight of decrepitude, even when all has disintegrated, even when the roof has partially collapsed and not so much as a ticket booth remains to suggest the building’s bygone function, the past echoes on so long as someone can still hear its distant reverberations.


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By Jeremy Nathan Marks

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Scenes From My Father’s Rhode Island

I Sometime between sixty-seven and seventy-one in the neighborhood off Columbus Ave and by Pond those McCoy stadium environs things started going to pot: Public decency and tail fins were traded in for mini skirts on girls and hair that was too long on boys making them look like girls except they wore beards Muscle cars and Hogs claimed the streets and why listen just to Elvis or the Everlys when the radio played James Brown and Sly Stone? The Italians and the Irish, mill and construction workers’ sons went off to die in Vietnam so that while the Blacks in Boston and New Haven mumbled how Uncle Sam was intent on killing soul brothers Pawtucket Catholics were busy saying prayers for Mister Charlie. II My father got a job in Central Falls teaching toughs when he was straight out of college kids lucky enough not to have to turn eighteen before the draft was called off My dad watched the Portuguese move in and claim their corner of the city with the bad rap though it did have the most bars per square mile in America It was a temp job for a dentist’s son waiting on word from med school waiting to beat it straight out of the dying Northeast where he was still a Jew from a neighbourhood where Jews still needed alibis


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even after Vatican II Central Falls was a way of making ends for a young man who needed protection from his own students And protection some of them would give him from some of the others: no one was going to pull a knife on Mr. Marks no one was going to key his car strip it for parts or slash his tires He was teaching science to the seventh grade because like most jobs someone owed someone else a favour and even though the Irish Catholic principal hated him and tried to make him fail his future and that of those kids would make out because the right person could call in a debt. III At least three young men my father knew from high school were killed-in-action in Vietnam their funerals held one-by- one each happening while he was out of state immersed in his healer’s training The folded flag a cherry wood box the dwindling mass a laity calling Jesus So what was that vote for McGovern that last gesture against the war; what did it mean when the fathers and mothers of the fallen back in Rhode Island still supported the war that took their sons and lined up behind President Nixon? My father who did not go who never saw fresh casualties was left to wonder at what was so unholy about being for peace (and against Caesar) in seventy-two.


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Alma & Dave

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By John Grey

Vietnam was no more than a curiosity then

They were married in 1951 she worked in the munitions plant supplying the Korean War troops he was one of those troops patrolling the 38th parallel strange how the longest-lived, most critical task, they ever took on together involved holding back the tide of communism and, even more ironically, was conducted thousands of miles apart they divorced in 1963 Vietnam was no more than a curiosity then but two years later, he was back on the front line she was still churning out those bullets but it was just a war this time around, not a chaperone.


The Soul Who laughs now, who Judges? If you go to war, Be prepared! Take the photos of your wife and kids, Count your blessing and ammunitions, Dress yourself in green, that’s the color Of love, obviously. Take a moment to notice the cries of sparrows, The golden rays of the sun, falling on the golden land, The wind blowing on your skin and soon enoughThrough the holes in your body. Yes, there is a soul. I know, because they weighed him before and after the war. Who laughs now, who Judges?

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By Peycho Kanev

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The Soul


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North Providence Deli

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By Jeremy Nathan Marks

My Grandfather, a naval vet who identified the war dead by their dental records

My grandfather used to frequent a Jewish deli over on Providence’s north side the part of the city where the Jews lived just over the line from his hometown of Pawtucket, a less friendly domain The butcher spoke Yiddish, had a Chelsea clock and a ship’s bell from his days serving in the Pacific navy He’d ring that bell for orders My grandfather, a naval vet and former lieutenant, a dentist who identified the war dead by their dental records loved that Chelsea since he had one of his own at home that chimed to the quarter hour I remember once as we were crossing the Braga Bridge going into Fall River on an August day that felt like October I admitted to him how I wanted to come and live with him in Rhode Island This was a daring admission as it meant that I was putting into words the closeness I felt to him and closeness was not something to be admitted but I found myself saying what I said nevertheless because it was the truth my truth a wish I had to express There’s a realness here, grandpa, a real that you can’t get down where I am

Pushcart Nominated Poem

He was just about to name the boats over in Battle Ship Cove when he turned to me abruptly and half shouted: Why I’d want to go and do a thing like that-


My father, he told me then my father, that is, his son had taught school in a part of the state where the kids could have made good if their parents had been there to make them; where they hadn’t had the chances I’d had and wouldn’t know things I already did; that was Rhode Island, that You should look in the mouths of my patients listen to what comes out before you start saying you want to know what’s realLater that day and back in Pawtucket he took me to a greasy spoon where the waitress knew his name and people smoked in booths and after ordering dinner for both of us said is this real enough for you? There was a glint in his eye a knowing, maybe, that whatever it was that he had done: raising my father building a practice in this hard luck corner and, of course, paying a mortgage whatever it was, I saw it maybe not for what it was but for what it meant It wasn’t glorious not the blazing maples of the Berkshires or Vermont not the commons on Lexington or the yachts of Hyannis not the Kennedys, Cabots, Lodges and Lowells but the Irish and I-talians It wasn’t picture postcard anything but it was grit beneath the fingernails textiles on his way into the office honest And I saw it.

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Your parents clothe and feed you no one likes getting up in cold black dark to leave the house to bust their ass and they do this so you will have a chanceyou hear me?


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By John Grey

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TWD Magazine

The Rules Of Fishing

It’s fall. The tourist fishermen have left this river for their real lives in the suburbs and cities. Laid off from the mill, he hooks worm to float. tosses it out into the meandering current, settles back with his first beer. The town may be dying but the small-eye still run and he hasn’t lost his thirst. A friend plops down beside him, another man, mid-fifties, in similar straits. But they don’t talk up the job that got away. The arms are either for popping cans or stretching to the size of an exaggerated pike. That’s when the bobber suddenly dips. It’s almost an annoyance when it interrupts idleness. He reluctantly hauls it in. It’s a crappie and undersized at that. He frees the poor creature before it thrashes itself into unconsciousness. He almost apologizes as he tosses it back into the waters. He didn’t make the rules. He didn’t send a business south in search of cheaper labor. And it’s not his fault that a quiet river bank can be a perfect place when nowhere else even comes close. It’s a world in which who he is doesn’t much apply any more. And nor does a fish. At least not until it grows some more.

The arms are either for popping cans or stretching to the size of an exaggerated pike


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December

By Kevin A. Risner

The one day I do not have gloves when winds from glacial directions aim at the sidewalk my bootless feet a windbreaker meant for April it’s all around me and it’s just a slight bite at the earlobes the first thing to lose feeling then the hands those gloveless hands they’re the ones who will get it next when a child it was always our heads that receive the brunt of the cold but it’s just the ears that’s it and the hands the hands always suffer.

it’s just a slight bite at the earlobes the first thing to lose feeling


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By P.C. Scheponik

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TWD Magazine

In Comparison

I watch the young father open the passenger-side door of his Volvo and commence the task of fastening his toddler into the child seat. Straps criss-crossing his son’s chest like a “cross my heart and promise you will not die.” Such care this young father takes today, such love for his son. But does he love his boy any more than I loved mine? I who sat my son in the front seat with me— used my arm as seatbelt at sudden stops to keep him injury free— to keep him whole, to make sure that he would live and grow up to one day have a son of his own. What did we know back then, when a hamburger cost fifteen cents, and we shopped at Woolworth’s and the Five and Ten cent store. What did we know of air bags and car seats to keep our kids safe? We knew to remove the doors of old refrigerators. We knew to take the dry cleaners plastic bags, “to tear them up, to tie them in knots, to throw them away.” We knew not to let our children swim in neighborhood pools after the rain so they wouldn’t catch polio, and have to live in an iron lung or wear braces on underdeveloped legs. We knew what we knew, but it wasn’t enough to keep our children safe from danger, safe from harm. Death has a way of letting himself in, no matter how deeply we love, no matter how hard we try. The end is written before we even begin. And after we learn to pray, we learn to cry.


For a traveler, it’s a bumpy road Where he trudges carrying his load Less shades more potholes and ditches And one who steals and snitches. For a gardener, a garden indeed Who happily sows his seeds A beautiful place with flowers and trees Among them thorns that sting like bees. For a child, a pretty playful place Where he walks at his own pace Toys, mischief and friends no foes No worries but happiness that tiptoes. For a youth, a sparkling spring With blood inside rushing and gushing Who claims to bring the distant stars, He’s energetic and willing to break all the bars. For aged, it’s longer than the length Moving wearily without much strength They no more want to spend But it ends when it has to end. Everyone goes towards his destination But ’tis a wrong perception We all head towards the deceitful door And hide under the thick floor.

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By Naushena

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Life


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Last Moments

stillness cold bed her side empty no air moving no sound breaking silence heart beats wildly pounding soulful rhythm of loss mourning comes at last dawn breaks me down into pieces tears flow to sea joining her

It will be like any other night only there will be no reason to water the plants or shop for food or dog-ear a novel page. It will be a snowy winter’s night on Walloon lake, my hospital bed pressed against the picture window. I’ll miss the snow on my face, the mystery of frozen water. Or I’ll be mid-sentence. My head will smack the dinner table like a fish slapped against a dock. Or they’ll hear my wheezes down nursing home halls: I will count my breaths until I get to número el fin. Will I think of how lucky I was at love? The score at the bottom of the ninth? Why there was something rather than nothing? Or how

By Joseph M. Felser

By Charles W. Brice

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TWD Magazine

Silent Night

there were never any clear answers?


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By Danielle Christine Hastings

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2012: The 1st Draft of Dying

She said, in a whisper muted by all the wrong on this earth God never intended, ‘they broke my ribs’ An echo that now aborts itself before memory can press replay The text said they found a shadow Two months after she spent her birthday in the Hospital They killed her. This is tunnel vision This is graffiti on the wall I build and destroy every other second This, is the insatiable call of psychosis It’s ever bloody rip I refuse guilt to make Guilt is staring at me with the eyes of a six year old child who promised her mother she’d never, ever, let them take her away. Now Guilt is eight. She is being told by her drunk mother she is dying of cancer. This is what 23 looks like when realistic rips the face of pessimism and colors it optimism Wore it like a sick disgusting mask. Soon mom, they tell me you get to come home soon. She was alone. In a Skilled nursing facility how can anyone allow Alone to break out of its silver bullet prison? Stop saying it’s a beginning. You let her die. I let her die, what gives me the right to keep breathing? Psychologists must be numerologists; either that or they have the weirdest fetish for the number five. I pressed my fingers against the sticky skin What gives you the right to say I deny anything? Who are you to say there isn’t a right way to mourn? It’s stage four lung cancer Mom had a stroke It’s just a urinary tract infection My aunt asked today, was it the cancer? My sister said we don’t know, there won’t be a coroner’s report.


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Paradise

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By Andy Stallings

A life now defined by illness. What haven’t I learned in some friend’s kitchen at night. The room was so

The sacred space, revealed to be banal A pile of rocks and ferns drying in the sun

thoroughly her space that, after she decided to no longer visit the cabin, having grown too infirm to safely walk to the outhouse in midnight darkness, I would cry straight out whenever I entered, or rather, not cry, but experience longing and despair so great that only weeping could bring relief, though I could hardly weep at the start of each vacation. The sacred space, revealed to be banal. A pile of rocks and ferns drying in the sun. He chased the neighbor’s cat out of the chicken coop, sprinkled water on his squash, his pumpkins, his fruit saplings, went inside for the night. Where is the music of that time, for this time. Is that what your pulse is for.


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Ode To A Waiting Room Chair By Charles W. Brice

You are constant in your unwavering wooden uniformity. You are often twins, sometimes triplets; an engineering miracle of conformity. I love your blond beauty, the Archimedean spiral, always the same, on the smooth textured arms of your processed oak, and the soft blues and dark pinks of your seamless upholstery— the calmness of that! You are a dream of stability. You have no skin in the game: you always assume a minor, supporting, role to my intestinal obstructions, excruciating pain, or my pounding, irregular heart. You never intrude, only enhance. You make the scuffed white wall an aberration, allowing my eyes to hide in your boring bounty. Placed in repose beside an institutional garbage can, or an artificial peace plant, its sticky plastic leaves and black-dyed Styrofoam “dirt”— offensive but for your quiet grace. I love how you pad my tushy, not in a flamboyant

manner, but, as always quietly, humbly, unobtrusively! I can count on your sameness, whether I find you at Mayo, or the Cleveland Clinic, or UPMC in Pittsburgh. You remind me of the now defunct Latin Mass—a lost selling point of Catholicism. It used to be you’d hear Mass the same anywhere in the world. Now the ramblings of Eucharist are mostly incomprehensible outside of local parishes, but not you! Your sturdy blandness welcomes me in Europe, Africa, even the Balkans! Thank you for that! God may have made the tree, but our engineers processed your glory. You are as reassuring as Colonel Sanders, Starbucks, or McDonalds. Variation, a fear we are without! Multiplicity, be not proud!


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By Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

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Valium

Elizabeth Taylor was addicted to valium and Jack Daniels Tammy Faye Bakker, wife of the disgraced evangelist, now dead was hooked on valium and nasal spray Elvis was addicted to valium and everything Fifty million scripts a year-the little black dress of tranquilizers There’s a smooth hum in my ears all the Muzak in the world melded together It permeates the structures of our lives like termites

Beyond An Open Window By ayaz daryl nielsen

beyond an open window leaves flutter in  an autumn breeze. . . nothing on my mind


By P.C. Scheponik

The gulls come every morning to the place I spread the pieces of bread. They arrive like angels, lowering through the air, wings in arcs, webbed feet dropped as if touching land was a divine dare, to step out of grace and into this world, prepared to taste its goodness. The gulls twitch their wings, lock them in place. Then, begins the Darwinian race as hungry beaks jab at the feed. Heads thrust back, feathered breasts heave in celebration of their right to eat, followed by anguished cries and wings that beat the air with urgency. Calling, calling, painfully until the famished others arrive. White-feathered throngs of hunger, descending from the sky. Then the breast-butting and wing-thrashing begins. The battle cries intensify, and competition wins— driven by desire to eat the hidden imperative to survive. Wings rise and fall like feathered swords as frenzied gulls seize their rewards, rushing one another and beating each other away. From a distance, war can look a lot like play— but only from a distance.

Twisted

By Joseph M. Felser

I visited the bench by the seawall where we used to meet secretly gulls screaming overhead watching blue sky no clouds we would go snorkeling together someday take trips together to far off lands you said

now I am under water no tube no breath no mask to see your face lying by bench twisted in ugly grimace

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From a Distance


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Olson in Gloucester

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By William Doreski

A few years from now, cancer will enmesh and unbutton him

Streets fumble down to the harbor and collapse panting at the piers. The fleet has sailed for the banks, leaving the pleasure boats bobbing in the bath-warm inner basin. Although fisheries are dying, the stink will last forever. Olson stumbles from his lair to chat me up, a drifting tourist lost in literary ambitions. Padding around Fort Square past the Good Harbor Fillet plant, leaving Ten Pound Island adrift in our mental rear-view mirrors, we split our silence between us. Taller, even shyer than me, he peers up and down Main Street, hoping for something historic he can warp into his text. The slop of little waves, the white hulls of the whale-watch ships, the famous painter’s stone house glooming on its lawn suggest that the acres of books he’s read will remain safely anchored to the place prized above places. A few years from now, cancer will enmesh and unbutton him, rumpling a stratum of tissue thicker than the volcanic bedrock underlying most of Cape Ann. But today we climb from the harbor to visit his old friend’s bookshop dozing behind dusty windows in a sleep of purest innocence. Then coffee at a café studded with retired fishermen smoking, laughing off a bottomless fear endorsed by a thousand storms. He withholds nothing. But later, when I’ve driven back to Boston, he strokes his chin and wonders when the harbor will drain itself, leaving him and everything he loves to the pick, pick, pick of gulls.


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Paradise

By Andy Stallings

Was that message interior, or was it private. It is always a problem of identity, the self and its other, whether or not it has a name like turbulence. Not location (static) but to locate (active). Good conversation endlessly veers. The seabirds fly straight for the storm, but low. Tracking a high ridge of cumulonimbus across the muscular bay, you can set the month by its thunder, no matter how distant. How distant the salt air we sat in that night. Forsworn or foretold. But so. I regret that

Air

By Stallion Dunquis

we spent so few hours alive, alive and talking together in paradise.

Drowsy, immersed in a warm bath: the air Thoughts are distant like memories I’m hovering, touching nothing Thoughts come halfway, then cliff dive Coming into contact with nothing Pre-birth memories are all my mind is My body is warm and drowsy like the air


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5 Paintings

By Sandy Coomer

scending 12 X 12 Clayboard

Each of these paintings were created using an acrylic pour technique. This technique uses acrylic paint mixed with various substrates and silicone oil to create a landscape that is uniquely abstract. I interpret the design in terms of natural landscape, nature elements, and the connection of self with our environment.


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Rising Tide 10 X 10 Clayboard

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By Sandy Coomer

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Rain Forest 8 X 8 Clayboard

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By Sandy Coomer

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5 Paintings


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By Sandy Coomer

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5 Paintings

10 X 10 Clayboard Eggshell


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Mediterranean Sea 8 X 8 Clayboard

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By Sandy Coomer

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5 Paintings


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By Kevin A. Risner

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TWD Magazine

Time

We can only go back in time in our memories and that going back in time is never accurate we leap onto this mental arrow that slings itself across the wide sky a rainbow to an end point  we never reach a moment that cascades  with endless slippages the corrosiveness  of each element dripping from our dendrites time is like a tree a branch leads us to another the weight of each branch grows lighter with each fork. our own weight will pull us down until we skitter  to the very end of that branch comes sooner than we think  than what we’d like time is steerable to some the thing is concrete and we have the power  the responsibility to turn to speed up to slow down to sloooooow down to fit into that tiniest of cracks in the wall make the tensest curve bend unendurably or bend gracefully our path right now is upward when do we go down? when do we dip deep into the unknown where these dendrites collide with ground? when does this arrow make its departure to  the places we don’t see far back into the past?

Tick

Tock

Tick

Tock


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Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick


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By Hannah Rodabaugh

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Extinction Series

London Zoo, 1864

Mirror within a Mirror I am looking at Photographer Frank Haes’ picture of A man in a top hat Looking at a Quagga1 that is Staring at the viewer. My intent looking at Frank’s intent looking at The man’s intent looking at The animal’s bleary-eyed grief. As if there is Some knowledge in this Looking. Is there?

1

An extinct subspecies of zebra


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Triptych on a Passenger Pigeon Specimen Found in 1886 Chicago

1. Who can be blamed

when they were left to rot in the dirt.

for the extinction of the passenger pigeon?

I would have extinguished you too.

I would be no different if I lived back then: a product of my generation. We all would be. Nature: perpetual—inexhaustible

It’s why I grieve now. I can conceive of a past where I fail you— where I keep failing you.

a thing unable to be extinguished.

2. Only in death did you lay still

I would believe this same stupid logic.

always perpetually restless—

Would think killing 20,000 birds is good sport. Would have had no problem

now your ratted carcass gathers dust in a cedar drawer among other specimens in locked, white cabinets—


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over time negates its passage—

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hoping to change the past by collecting a piece of it as if tramping down dust

or we only existed for a moment—and it can be quantified in some way can be mastered— but your beak is tatted and ripped— your feathers weighted with lime. Even time keeps burying you— only we hold onto what we could not save. 3. I can only see you dead in the past. I try to imagine you in the

almost a star your gorget’s iridescent sheen crusted with coral and     bright magenta unfaded above your jagged feet curled up like a bird at the bottom of a cage: “The

cat did it.”

But don’t we always do that? Blame others when we left it with the cat? I mourn you as if I would have        done something different.

Chicago market you were found in

That future guilt is enough    to save the past.

and I see your body ovate

But it’s not.

into the dim, lumped shape of the dead.

I would have shot you too—

Glittering strangely

had you stuffed


Lived as if you had never mattered because you           didn’t. Because the lives of others never matter so much as we think— we             don’t matter either.

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about your absence from the landscape.

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felt listlessly indifferent


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TWD Magazine 46

A Market Economy

We glutted the market with their bodies Till they were so cheap that Only the poor would eat them. Till there were millions

No one would buy.

A sea of unwanted pigeons Rotting in train cars became

A sea of unwanted pigeons Became a sea of

In a New York or Chicago market

uneaten pigeons

Dumped out on the grass

From a Chicago or New York market

But you can’t put things back

When they are broken.

You can’t go back and Return them.

Pushcart Nominated Poem

As landscape

Even a child knows this.

returned to us.


Some we poisoned. We ate the juveniles— squabs. Some we clubbed.

We hunted them

to extinction. We drowned them. Held them under the water—their breaths bubbling. We drove spikes into their foreheads. They faltered Really is it any wonder they are gone? And what does it matter— this litany

of what killed them?

If I study for a test

in the wrong subject

will I still have the

right answers

to the questions?

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Some we shot. Others we shot again.

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Epilogue | There Will Be a Test


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TWD Magazine 48

On Individual Stories & Extinction

I

had no intention of working on a project about the stories of extinct animals before I wrote it, but I did think a lot about human casualties and about sadness. I find myself interested in the psychology of how people experience cataclysmic landscapes (like epidemiological events), and I often try to make sense of the number of casualties in events such as Yersinia pestis in Medieval Europe. I can read that roughly 100 million people died during outbreaks of the Black Death, (by one account, nearly 200,000 villages were depopulated), but I can’t make sense of the socio-cultural impacts from a number. I can’t make sense of the environmental impacts either. On the other hand, there are eyewitness accounts that survive these events (like Boccaccio’s description of 1348 Florence), and these help humanize the loss in some way. One eyewitness account was engraved on a church tablet in the village of Lippäen in 1638. It describes how a man and his two sons suffocated his sick niece and ate her body to stave off starvation (before dying from bubonic plague themselves a few days later). A different account from seventeenth century Germany relays the story of a man who, on contracting and dying from the plague, was abandoned by his doctor, family, and friends, but not his dog. (The dog’s loyalty was praised in subsequent stories.) What these accounts tell us, besides the

distinctive hell Yersinia pestis was to those that historically experienced it, is that individual stories help us approximate the scope of a tragedy where statistics fail. In light of this, animal extinctions seem even more impossible to approximate, because we do not have stories of individual extinct animals to approximate them. From the start of the nineteenth to the early twentieth century, the passenger pigeon went from one of the most numerous birds on earth—their numbers in 1800 were estimated at 3-5 billion—to extinct in 1914. This was due largely in part to the fact that we slaughtered them as agricultural pests or for seemingly useless pigeon shooting contests. (One contest boasted a winner that shot 20,000 birds.) I cannot really make sense of these numbers either. How do you make sense of the loss of 3 billion individuals? This question led me to the Peregrine Fund’s ornithological specimen collections to view a taxidermied passenger pigeon in the hopes of finding the individual in the many. The specimen had a tag on its feet with little but its name (Ectopistes migratorius), a date (1886), and a location (Chicago market). (I have guessed that it was possibly killed somewhere in the Midwest and shipped into Chicago by train.) This search also led me to Errol Fuller’s photography book Lost Animals: Extinction and the Photographic Record. It contains the few existing photographs of extinct animal species


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while still alive. I felt I could look at these often heartbreaking photos and try to tell the stories of photographs as a way to tell the stories of the animals in photographs. I think everyone tries to find their own way to approximate tragedy in their work. At some level, speaking is inseparable with bearing witness. This was simply my attempt—and the poems situate themselves on the borders of how poems can work when they also serve an idea they fail. They fail because I question the authenticity of writing poems about animals where I am inferring meaning about another being’s lived experience from a taxidermied specimen or photograph. I also question my ability to approximate species that I have only seen in photographs and paintings—they must be such poor representations. I can only hope there is resonance in the stories I’ve told—that despite their failings, they give scope to the irredeemable tragedy of extinction that statistics can fail to encompass.


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By linda m. crate

50

TWD Magazine

you won’t restrain me

all these feathers broken from my shoulders can be reattached one day i will fly again you will see me shining brighter than the sun one day all these wounds will be old scars i cannot remember because i’ve chosen to be a warrior your darkness won’t drag down my light nor will the fangs of your words the joke will no longer be on me but you, and i won’t be sorry after all the nightmares you splintered into my skin trying to rid me of my light and my dreams; but i cut my heart out and grew a new one rising from the ashes of anguish a new me immortal of the flame remembering my purpose as a warrior won’t ever be your little caged bird sitting prettily upon a pedestal i am a wild thing fierce, eroding, and unrestrained like the ocean.


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Vagabond Scripture By ayaz daryl nielsen

vagabond scripture following the far trail’s winds world-rough and renewed


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TWD Magazine

The Minimalists Prepare For Impending Apocalypse

52

By Brendan Walsh

one night in October, as their bloated bladders pried them from sleep, she shoved him awake,

things last longer than any of us, even our bodies outlast the sparks of our minds

she was frantic-dreaming, he was breath-beat: we need to get rid of it all, she gasped we are wasteful and full of trash. he knew she was right: soft earth quiet-collapsing, thirst hoarded in clouds, factories hissed out replicas of globes consumed by factories. yes he sighed back, and rose to make coffee from yesterday’s spent grounds. he scoured space where things once were, recalled the emptiness of heaving bookshelves and shoe-piles — things last longer than any of us, even our bodies outlast the sparks of our minds. she was measured now, awake and stacking the last pots, mason jars, shower-beaten towels, by the dumpster. we don’t need it. we don’t. he thought of the survivalists sheltered, stocked in canned peas for centuries. she thought of the snake who carries nothing. the factories roared their bitter engines, the clouds unzipped their cavernous guts: when it swallows us, we won’t drown under couches and three-hundred sets of forks. we’ll become what eats us, and isn’t that what we’ve always been? she was right, again.


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Bright Stupid Confetti By Howie Good

Your body’s trembling. And then the music takes over. How did that happen? Everybody is very worried. It’s not the same as a normal night of sleep. Look up there. There appears to be exactly one person standing under an open black umbrella. That’s not quite what I want. * Sugar can help if you have problems with shaking or trembling. Sex is also a great form of exercise. And it doesn’t require a lot of foreknowledge. Everything flows. Velocity is advancing everywhere. We see the glare of phones being checked, e-mails being sent. We see burning embers falling. I should close my eyes. I really should. But, instead, we all say, “Wow.” * When there’s blood and fire all around you, that’s war. I’ll be lucky if I see one of my house’s walls still standing. That debris is strange stuff. Looking all the way down to the bottom, you can see the skeleton of the colonization. You can hear them – you can hear the gas grenades all up and down the streets. The crowd is being pushed back, and the gas is coming. Sirens begin to wail. It’s nighttime and deep, and this is who I am. * The sky is so thoroughly that blue she adored it’s impossible to believe she isn’t still alive to see it. Can anyone come up with an innocent explanation for this? Hmm? The leaves are erupting in morbid colors, Dragon’s Blood, Uranium Yellow, Mummy Brown. Everything else has failed. I can’t remember now why I ever thought it wouldn’t. I’m afraid of human beings. There’s just too much about them that’s hidden and unknowable. I need to leave. I don’t belong here. My grandmother when I was little would pick up a spider she found in the house and put it back outside.


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By Jeremy Nathan Marks

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Ladies Auxiliary

My mother got frostbitten once. She was skating in Forest Park, St. Louis at midwinter having forgotten to bring her earmuffs It was bitterly cold that day in a way we just don’t seem to know anymore what with modern everything turning us away from the real wages of sin. St. Louis was losing most of its whites then and she was working in a housing project as a nurse the building, the hood long since demolished and replaced by forest She’d ride up Jefferson take a right on Cass and if she’d gone on just a little further she could have made the dawn Mass over at St. Stanislaus She was still the lapsed Catholic then her upbringing somehow playing out in her chosen profession: They made the nurses wear white with little hats that, had they come with white lace gloves, could have allowed her to leave work and stop in for tea with the Ladies Auxiliary Had she been in to those things.


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Piel en Piel

By Stallion Dunquis

El fuego está devorando nuestra madera. La calidez nos alivia, piel en piel. Música sin palabras—Chopin… Palabras son superfluas. El discurso es una pared de madera dividiendo nuestra piel compartida. El mundo quiere que hablemos… ¿Pero qué sabe el mundo guerrero sobre el amor? El mundo hace demandas irrisorias. No cederemos! Nunca cederemos! El fuego se enfría y muere. No hay chisporroteo para complementar el silencio. Nos mudamos arriba para mantenernos calientes. Piel en piel. Música sin palabras—Chopin… Palabras son superfluas. En tus ojos hay una verdad desprovista del mundo.

The fire is devouring our wood. The warmth soothes us, skin on skin. Music without words—Chopin… Words are meaningless. Conversation is a wooden wall dividing our shared skin. The world wants us to speak… But what does the warring world know about love? The world makes irrational demands We will not give in! We will never give in! The fire cools and dies. There’s no crackling to complement the silence. We move upstairs to keep warm. Skin on skin. Music without words—Chopin… Words are meaningless. In your eyes there is a truth devoid of the world.


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TWD Magazine 56

Seventh Day, Absence By Danielle Christine Hastings

Seventh Day, absence My heart aches; Third Day Sun brings Your voice; My heart sings

My Suitcase Is Packed By Scott Laudati

i know you’re home somewhere out there in colorado where the desert flowers wait all year to turn yellow and horses with spanish blood whip their manes under lightening as the snows melt down to refill dried beds. somewhere where enough was enough and you had to put a continent between me and new jersey. i’ve seen that land and pulled over to swim naked where the white crests shatter and freedom is something more than a dream. there are no dead ends on your streets. the rain only falls straight down and even stray cats come when they’re called. i bled for you once when the war was still far from over and the end hasn’t gotten any closer so i guess i’d do it again


TWD Magazine 57

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You Leave So Often

By Danielle Christine Hastings

You leave so often But always return; my heart Has never left you

The Ballad Of Our Hearts By ayaz daryl nielsen

the ballad of our hearts endowing and inhabiting touching and melting two who have met taking the world in hand forgetting nothing forgiving everything embellishing salt-sweetness while turning love into ink. Nausea

By Stallion Dunquis

Burning clocks, sugary oreos, blood Laptops and parchment, frozen polaroids… Violet fire forming into a dove Unborn children’s ghosts singing melodies (The children’s choir of imagination) Dispersed into silver glitter… the sound fades… Danger is dripping from the air, weighing tons This is a blinding light if my stomach sees (I’m about to faint from sensory overload!) Muhammad, Jesus Christ, some other girl Dark-haired and dull-eyed with hidden force She lit the flame that made me forget time And I hurled


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TWD Magazine 58

Hurricane Poem for the Colonizers By Brendan Walsh

say wind-ravaged say the storm was an angry mouth blowing out the candles of our coast say debris widespread blackouts but sun for a week after say only the post-Andrew homes can stand and all the homes are post-Andrew- if it doesn’t stand it’s not a home say hoax and fly north plywood-fortify windows and congest the interstate say thank god Cuba weakened her and say her because we know more of its history than our parents’ what strengthens it and feeds it say we are not built for this and hemorrhage the gas stations; fender bender all the way to Atlanta say the stray cats and stray humans cannot survive but raccoons and gators always do say it’s bullshit the liquor store is out of prosecco say one more and we’ll run northwest towards motionless skies, no seas say we can’t tread softly— without the remnants of things we’ve destroyed how will we know we ever existed?

[call it what you will] By Darren C. Demaree

i told my children call it what you will the night is a boat without shoreline we all wake up adrift unheard loved only by our own skin no footprints circling us drowned wolves floating all around the rain held as forgiveness for what we do not know and that is a good night with good sleep in a bed that is paid off in a house that will never be owned by anyone other than the bank and if you’re truly blessed there will be other boats slowly rocking near your own but never ask for another to stand up until they are ready occasionally a wolf is revived by the mist by the sun by the plot


I saw you walking on the quad called out your name as you turned to face me but it wasn’t you I heard your gentle knock opened my door to find you not there hallway deserted soundless silence screams objection soft violence of soul murder like black velvet gloves you wear to opera

TWD Magazine 59

By Joseph M. Felser

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404 Not Found


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TWD Magazine 60

A Night in the Prism By Joe Golc

D

runk, he stumbled forward into the street.

Midnight was moments away and even though he wasn’t late, he felt it. This is it, he thought. This time will be different. He wondered how long she’d worked there. A bus stormed by.

He crossed over. Arrived at the door. Paused.

After a shallow exhale, he weakly pushed it open.

The air was stale and the place was quiet, dark,

and dirty. What little light came from the bar, which gave off a strange, glimmering red hue. And the closer he got to it, the more his feet stuck to the floor. The jukebox was long dead — something he secretly appreciated.

Anxiously, he glanced toward his usual spot at the

far end, as he normally distanced himself away from the other patrons. In his seat sat a man.


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By Joe Golc

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A Night in the Prism

A

lingering, muddled call of home echoed in his head, but he found himself shuffling toward the man and the open spot next to him. He sat down. The man didn’t flinch. On cue, the bartender walked the length of the bar. “How can I help you?” She said. Momentarily blocking the bar’s red glow, she stood in front of him. A smile flickered on his face. He frantically ordered but changed his mind at the last moment. “Can I see your ID?” She said. He jammed his hand into his back pocket, retrieving his wallet and worn-out driver’s license. “Thank you, Jack,” she said, handing the ID back to him. Jack looked over at the man. He hadn’t moved since he sat down — a frozen statue in time. He stared unaware until the man said, “You at least gonna buy me a drink before you ogle me?” Before he could reply, he was interrupted by the agreeable clink of his tall beer and neat whiskey arriving. “You starting a tab, hon?” She said. Her words sank Jack further back into his barstool. “Um — no, no thank you.” She nodded and used the towel draped over her shoulder to wipe up the residual spill of the drinks. How something so simple could be so mesmerizing, Jack wondered. He watched her until she looked up. “Doin’ alright?” She said. Caught, he clumsily diverted his eyes — hesitating to meet her glance. “Y— yes. I’m fine.”

There was more to be said, but he didn’t have the words. She smiled a mousy, uneasy smile-- instinctively tucking her hair behind her ears as she seemingly floated like an apparitional cloud back to her end of the bar. Eyes glued, a blinked smile flashed across Jack’s face. “I see said the blind man— ” the man said, shattering Jack’s reverie. He leaned over the bar, “As predictable as it’s effortlessly identified.” Jack’s small smile disappeared like a footprint swallowed by the surf. “Excuse me?” “My apologies, Jack— I meant no offense. I have trouble at times keeping my observations rhetorically internal.” Jack gripped the tall beer and stared straight ahead into the sanguine shade of the bar. “So, what do you do, Jack?” “What?” “You gotta job?” “Yeah.” The man stared at Jack, waiting for an answer. Jack let out a sullen sigh. “Investment analyst.” “An investment analyst,” the man said. “Wow. What does that entail?” “Umm,” Jack said. “No offense, what do you care?” “None taken, but do you?” “What?!” “Before you answered — that, uh… sort of hefty desolation in your sigh.” “What are you sayin’?” “Sorry… another observation.” “Are you asking if I hate my job?” The man shook his, “I don’t have to.” “Have a good one,” Jack said, reaching for


his two drinks as he rose out of his seat. “Hold on a second, Jack — I apologize — again, I meant no offense,” the man said, touching Jack’s arm. “Have a seat.” The man gestured towards the empty stool beside him. Jack stared at it. The worn leather was cracked right down the middle of the seat, splitting it in two. Its colors matched the grim tone of the rest of the place. Jack knew he should leave but the gravitational pull of politeness and purpose pulled him back into the orbit of the bar. And he sat back down. He looked up at the clock hung sloppily above the bar: 12:11. “Orban,” the man said. Jack immediately closed his eyes in regret. “Orban — heard of him?” “No,” Jack said, finishing the last of his beer. “Orban made cutting-edge weapons in the 15 th century: cannons, best in the world. He offered to sell them to Emperor Constantine XI at Constantinople to protect them from the impending Ottoman invasion. When the Emperor turned him down, do you know what Orban did? He sold the cannons to the Ottomans. And on May 29 th , 1493, the Ottomans used them to sack and destroy the last remnant of the Roman Empire. Maybe he got was he deserved, but Orban died not too long after when one of his ‘creations’ exploded, but that’s neither here nor there.” Jack threw back the whiskey, placed the empty glass right beside the other, and slid them both forward. “Do you know why the Emperor turned him down?” The man said. Jack carefully placed a few bills near the empty glasses for another round but said nothing.

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By Joe Golc

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A Night in the Prism

“Constantine wanted the cannons but the ‘investment analysts’ of the day believed such an expense couldn’t be shouldered.” The bartender dropped off the fresh drinks, with an additional whiskey this time, and gathered the empties. A subconscious smile creeped across Jack’s face but he masked it as he looked around for another seat. “Interesting,” the man said. “Being destroyed by the very thing that could’ve saved you — I imagine it’s a harrowing feeling… one felt only after it’s too late — so do you enjoy what you do, Jack?” “— I really don’t mean to be rude, but I didn’t come here tonight to be… cross-examined. I came here — I just want to enjoy a few drinks… in my spot— ” he said, pointing at the man’s seat. “— We can switch if you think it’ll help.” Jack glared at the man. He shook his head and grabbed his drinks, this time fully intending to leave politeness where he found it. “Even a blind frog lands on a lily pad some days,” the man said. Jack paused and cocked his head toward the man, “I don’t know what I did to offend you but— ” “— You’re out of place… bar like this… it can’t be the atmosphere — you’re the only one in here with a tie on,” the man said, looking around. “Listen. Are you goin’ to— ” “— There’s a ‘C’ on the window so it can’t be the food. And drinks are drinks… there are two other bars of much higher caliber close by. Both of which offer a more… amicable ambiance.” “Where are you— ” The man slowly turned to look at Jack, “A girl?” Jack stopped. Silent.


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By Joe Golc

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A Night in the Prism

The man looked around, “The bartender?” He fought the knee-jerk urge to look at her, but his eyes betrayed him. “Well, well, look at you — what’s she like?” Sitting back down, Jack eyed the glass in front of him. Doused in the bar’s rubicund light, it gave the whiskey an almost blood-like appearance. He downed it. The man smirked, “So you know a lot about her.” Jack’s mouth opened, but he quickly closed it — biting down and clenching his jaw tighter as the man went on. “That’s why you come here.” Jack looked away — his face stained with grimace and conscience. “So… sit in the same spot, become a regular, and hope the universe magically contrives a situation in which you two can actually and honestly converse? How’s that working out?” Still, Jack said nothing. Then, the man reached over, picked up the remaining whiskey, and threw back as Jack watched. Immersed in the bar’s red light the man leaned in, inches from Jack, and said, “This satchel of seemingly inescapable despair you’re lugging around — some hefty despondency you’re desperately running from — it’s very devil-maycare but let me tell you something. Everything has a price — everything. Even darkness. And left unencumbered, it exponentially amasses to ingest every fucking inch of you.” Jack gazed at the man like his breath had just been stolen. “Fire eventually burns,” the man said. “Who are — what the fuck are you talkin’ about?” The man smirked. “This is a nightmare… and I’m stuck in a conversation with the human Deep Blue.”

The man let out a small chuckle. But under the bar’s ruddy light, it read more sinister than sportive. An hour went by, then another. # “Lemme ask you a question?” Jack said. “Would seem appropriate,” the man said. “Why are— ” Jack held back a burp. “— Why are you here?” “You know why.” “Psh… if I knew, I wouldn’t’ve asked.” The man stared at Jack, “Aside from the obvious, you and I are nothing alike.” “Really?” Jack said. “Any man who wishes to move on need only to stop making things easy for himself. If pain is the test of a man’s true worth, I’m a diamond mine and you’re a wooden nickel.” Jack finished the last of his beer, slid the three empty glasses forward, and placed a few more bills on the bar. The bartender brought another round. She looked increasingly alarmed — it forced Jack to look down in guilt. The man smiled widely when she walked away. Jack reached for his fresh glass but missed it by a mile. “You forge the path you walk on,” the man said. “You are your outside.” “Fuck — sounds like a bad Robert Frost poem,” Jack said, mockingly. Jack closed his eyes and lifted his beer to make a toast, “Nothing gold can stay. Maybe ole Frosty was right.” “You would know.” Jack stopped before finishing his sip and leered at the man. The man leered back. “Two roads diverged in a wood and you


took the one most traveled by,” the man said. Jack swallowed and sat up quickly. “There is no wealth like the wealth a man finds within himself… the heavy chains of opinion and fear shackle happiness to immobility.” “Happiness,” Jack said, mockingly. “You mean the fleeting itch you can’t resist scratching — only until it itches again. Continually picking the scab… The mythical not manageable— ” “— Is that why we’re here? Another ominous itch?” Jack burped and tried focus on his glass on the bar. Under the florid, red light, the remaining beer and deflated foam spun slowly clockwise. Jack wiped his eyes and focused again. Surely seeing things, he thought. “— The will to change when confronted with its weight is all a person can hope for,” the man said. “The truth can set you free… that’s the best you got? Life happens… it changes you. And obliviousness is what makes you wake up one morning a completely different person than you ever intended.” “Just a casualty of the universe, hmm?” Jack looked over at the man, “It doesn’t make me wrong.” “No one is born innocent. Before our first breath, before nature has had the opportunity to taint us, we are nothing more than a byproduct of the past— a culmination of ancestral hopes. Dreams. Failures. Faults. And mistakes. Engrained in every cell in every corner of our body. Against our will, we are born with the false sense of a clean slate. But that doesn’t mean we need to keep it that way. You’re not your past — you’re your present,” the man said. “Would you stop the stone-tablet act for one goddamn minute.”

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By Joe Golc

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A Night in the Prism

“The truth is always indifferent.” Jack took a sip of his empty glass, “Then why are you here?” The man stopped. “Why are we here?” The man said. “I— ” “— It’s a simple question…” Jack instinctively looked around for the bartender. “Right. Do what you came here to do,” the man said. “And be done with it.” Jack awkwardly waved at the bartender who was talking to a bearded figure at the end of the bar. The man leaned in, “Who do you reckon that is?” “Quiet.” The bartender approached and Jack said, “Another round, please. And, umm… I’ve been meanin’ to ask you— ” “— I’m sorry but I can’t.” “Really?” Jack said. “We are never more together than we are alone,” the man said. “Enough,” Jack said. The bartender shook her head and stepped back, engulfing herself in red light, “You’re being disruptive to the other customers. I’m really sorry to have to do this, but I need you to leave.” The man smirked, “Another blind frog— ” “— Shut up!” In an instant, her face turned from empathetic to exasperated. “That’s it. Get out!” She said. “I’m sorry,” Jack said. “He doesn’t get it… I don’t even know— ” Her eyes darted all around the bar before finally landing on Jack. “See what you did?” Jack said. The man’s grin instantly evolved into a


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By Joe Golc

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A Night in the Prism

fiendish laughter. Jack spun out of his stool and swung a quick, vicious punch at the man, sending two bar stools and glass crashing into the floor. What little commotion in the bar stopped. “Leave me alone,” Jack said. The bartender ran out from behind the bar, stopping a few feet from Jack. “Stop!” She said. Dazed and heeding her words, Jack slowly got to his feet and turned around. The entire population of the bar had gathered just behind the bartender. Somehow, what few people Jack recalled being there earlier had transformed into a sizable, silent mob. Jack’s eyes danced drunkenly over the crowd, their faces pale and ghost-like. No one moved. No one spoke. They just stared right back at Jack — bathed in the blood-like light. He felt hollow when his eyes finally met the bartenders. She was in the front, completely still, her eyes as dark as onyx stones. That’s when Jack heard it — the faint noise of footsteps on the sticky floor. Suddenly, the crowd began to shuffle, some left and some right — all in unison to clear a path in the middle. The footsteps drew closer and the noise louder. Jack tried to look around but his vision was blocked by the bartender. His eyes squinted until the noise stopped. Jack staggered backward, stepping on the broken glass and nearly tripping over the fallen stools. The door crashed behind him. He stumbled outside into the street. A bus stormed by.


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By Jim Zola

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Photography (5 Images)

A

ll of my photos are untitled. Maybe this will change sometime in the future. I love the way the photographer Josef Koudelka leaves his photos untitled. He wants to leave it to the viewer to decide what is happening in the photograph. My own photos are more abstract, generally, then Koudelka’s photos. I like to take common objects and distort shadows and light until they become uncommon, strange. I also like to collage photos to take two items and create something new.


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By Jim Zola

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Photography (5 Images)


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TWD Magazine 70

Photography (5 Images) By Jim Zola


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TWD Magazine 72

Photography (5 Images) By Jim Zola


TWD Magazine 73

By Jim Zola

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Photography (5 Images)


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TWD Magazine

Stars

74

By Peycho Kanev

This night… The cemetery… Memories swirl in the dark wind. Space is emptied of its contents, of its meaning, just to be filled with the nothingness of the day after today. Reality is nothing more than the image of the stars above, bright and fleeting. And we just keep going, still having a lot to learn about life and that unique clock inside of us, that breaks with no time left.

Look Back And Smell By William Doreski

After a snivel of rain, a big wind rakes the suburbs. Walking to Waverly Square, I let the atmosphere define me. A ghost of myself, tattered and flimsy, but also a heavy step that startles the few other pedestrians, especially the middle-aged women walking dogs. They don’t fear me, though. They can see that I’m too mild to emboss myself with evil, too old to tote sheaves of mortal wounds to share. But they don’t know that my favorite lance broke centuries ago. My musket bent when a bear got enraged. At the Battle of Lexington, I fell flat before the redcoats fired. In the Great War I got stuck in the mud of a trench and didn’t escape until the armistice. Those former selves drag after me without casting shadows, but the women don’t notice, haven’t read the books of which I’m constructed. Their dogs, however, all wag and wiggle, appreciate my candor. Now the wind shucks everyone’s expression and we pass with faceless ignorance. At the reservoir stairway I pause. A young man sits on the highest step, smoking a joint. The aroma reminds me of the youth I neglected to bottle and save. Maybe it’s not too late to step back into that dimension and savor the high I was too timid to experience. Maybe I could mount the wind and ride it over the trim suburban shingled roofs and catch a view worth falling into, whether or not the bones I break are my own.


TWD Magazine 75

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Montage Series (8 Images) By Stephen Mead

From Nostalgia through Now and Beyond

From Nostalgia through Now and Beyond” is an homage to the historical LGBT Human/Civil rights movement internationally, and especially those who lived “in the life” unsung. Begun in 2015 this series of montages aim is not to be a definitive sociological study so much as an overview of the bravery, heart, and time it takes for progressive strides to be made. It also shows the cyclical nature of such movements and how, for many cultures and populations globally, these strides are still up against a great deal of ignorance, oppression and violence. The superimposition of unknown same sex couples from brownie cameras etc., combined with better known figures like Harry Hay or Barbara Gittings, embraces the diverse heroism (whether sought or accidental), and triumph while acknowledging the cost, the casualties lost along the way. Ultimately the message of this series is that where there is love there is hope.

Walt Whitman, Peter Doyle, And when I thought how my dear friend my lover was on his way


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By Stephen Mead

76

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Montage Series (8 Images)

Lionel Charlton, Where is Tom Wichelo 3


Montague Glover and Ralph Hall, We Were One Man II

TWD Magazine 77

By Stephen Mead

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Montage Series (8 Images)


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By Stephen Mead

78

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Montage Series (8 Images)

Federico Garcia Lorca and the Immense Shadow of Tears


TWD Magazine 79

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Montage Series (8 Images) By Stephen Mead

Oh, Julius Schäefer, Flower Forever Some Place Farther II


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TWD Magazine 80

Frieda Beifante_the_ Art_of_Forgery_to_ Save_Lives


TWD Magazine 81

By Stephen Mead

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Montage Series (8 Images)

George Cecil Ives, Millthorpe Panchares


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Three-way

TWD Magazine 83

By Stephen Mead

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Montage Series (8 Images)


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TWD Magazine

Angles / Angels

84

By William Doreski

we can’t see but only infer those orbiting fossilized birds that may, in fact, be angels

The angle at which our bodies meets our souls has stiffened high in the upper atmosphere where birds petrify and enter orbit with a minimum of squawks and cackles. From ground level peering without binoculars into a great sweep of sun-drift, we conclude that the mating of distinct philosophies has failed. Morning bristles. Woodpeckers hammer the suet cakes placed in locations shielded from hawks. Wild turkeys scratch for grubs, their poults fuzzy as fiddleheads. Bumblebees fluster hydrangea. We keep looking up although we can’t see but only infer those orbiting fossilized birds that may, in fact, be angels. Angel or angle, the plain trigonometry that shapes us locates itself on paper maps no one can read anymore. We lack the proper instruments to resurvey familiar scenes, so we drink coffee the color of the recent floods in Texas and discuss whether our lack of future has calmed or numbed us. The news every day is bad. Crashes and fire kill neighbors, politicians scandalize sex, Antarctica breaks off in chunks. The smell of decaying wood rises from the dank forest and from sultry city basements to deter angels from alighting and to further obtuse the angles at which our variations meet.


If possible, I’d love you strangely; a different body with different parts inducing trace throbs of response more luscious than anything either of us has ever known before. Let my tentacles tie soft knots with your tendrils as we descend into chasms of orange foam and diminutive suns. In an organic cupola made possible by desperation and useless skin, we’d ply the mocking currents on a transmigration of song and essence. In a reconciling of cosmetic differences, as the whispers are drowned by the sea uncertain things become familiar and our gills will flutter and sing.

TWD Magazine 85

By Richard King Perkins II

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Love You Strangely


Werewolves of Brooklyn

86

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Advice from Ernie

Each night’s end spent without a tangled other Better then be a scattered mess by substance Or else might morning as well bid us under – For where on earth does conscious breathe sans romance? At once, sad lonesome lad, lower your measure Of partners who potentially will play! – All lovers own the love that provides pleasure Despite less faces passing light of day. Who’s ever explored castles at their entrance Or, seeing a cover, each page within? Starve will fools who expect certain presents And shun the fruit ‘fore peeling way its skin. Only once your bed is overflowing Can you choose fairest, send all lesser going.

I met a werewolf last night on the corner of bay parkway and west eleventh street her name was Natasha or Irina or something like that and she was really dressed to kill in jean paul gaultier and black stiletto  jimmy choos sucking down her nineteenth latte of the day howling at the full moon stood up by an old friend of her first ex-husband having second thoughts didn’t want his throat torn out tonight she had two tickets to the opera had read nietzsche and hesse too almost had me  going you come wiss me? she cooed baying coyly  pouting seductively tiny sharp fangs protruding  ever so slightly over full ruby lips inviting hypnotic  “no thanks” I croaked once bitten and disemboweled twice shy

By Stallion Dunquis

By Joseph M. Felser


TWD Magazine 87

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Biotic

By Richard King Perkins II

It’s warmer but it’s uncertain what made it warmer the light of dawn remains cool, volcanoes are long dormant, the oceans are slushed with ice. A fragrance of brittle passes between parted lips drawn up from the deepest seas. New eternities begin in dreams of ferocious sincerity as our last images become intaglios lashed upon the empty sky— a combustion of spirit, the luminescence of ecstasy, flesh disappearing into flesh. On a July Friday Evening By Yuan Changming

Construction noises gone. Fewer cars swish by. Veggie dinners. Television. Wolf Warriors for me. Smartphone for her. No visitors. As on every Other eve. Stagnant. I thought — make love?  I want  No! No internal contact anymore. Untouchable. No longer a woman Let alone mine She has become tethered to her screen I to my dreams. Once our dreams. So aged we can no longer go to bed Earlier or later. I wandered awhile online. Trump again. Doklam standoff continued No fire between Guam and NK.  No body contact either. No more. Our bed is too small now For two big different dreamers.  Dreams that are too big  for one small stanza


I let you in

88

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Paradise

Around and around

I let you in my front door when I wasn’t looking you stole upstairs rifled through my diary pocketed my watch painted my mirror black then ran downstairs and out my back door laughing

By Andy Stallings

the washing machine. Those years of utter confusion and strewn relations, trying to absorb such earnest “journeys” and “explorations,” such “heavy conversations,” which were sincere but sounded like blisshead buzztalk. What are the forces that make a person less than a person in the eyes of another person. Brain activity, constant in the city. What you don’t know about yourself is known as growth, or else it kills you. And then you have to leave paradise. What rivers today. Common sleeplessness. I couldn’t bring myself to bear on a series of lights.

By Joseph M. Felser


By Stallion Dunquis

El primer trabajo es demasiado personal afectivo, pero demasiado personal (“darlings,” etc.) el segundo trabajo empieza a mostrar promesa la técnica es débil pero puede ser fortalecida la visión es clara [pero puede confundir] se puede o no se puede, vivir o morir, este tipo de cosas escribir es como: meditando flotando pensamientos felices ojos que saben El nombre es importante “para ser uno de esos grandes nombres…” energía atención estos son dos cuchillos en tu cinturón estas cortando la garganta del miedo, pudín! sangre / agua / Merlot nada importa

TWD Magazine 89

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Merlot

The first work is too personal affective, but too personal (“darlings,” etc.) the second work begins to show promise technique is weak but can be strengthened vision is clear [but can confuse] can or cannot, live or die, this type of thing writing is like: meditating floating happy thoughts knowing eyes The name is important “in order to be one of those big names…” energy attention these are two knives in your belt you are cutting the throat of fear, puddin’! blood / water / Merlot nothing matters


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TWD Magazine 90

Room For Two By J. Ray Paradiso

T

wo rows up and four across bloomed Mary Rose Sullivan. Minty-Irish, and close enough to sneak-a- peek at “MRS” in CAPITAL letters on her brown Kraft lunch bag. Yet, f-a- r enough away to ignore me.

Posing Venus de Milo-dreamy for our fourth grade class stood Sister Hugo. Ou-la –la French, and close enough to admire her shiny black penny loafers. Yet, f-a- r enough away to mask the 10ish years between us. Tick-tocks before lunch, what possessed me to print a note, passing biblically from Mathew to Mark to Luke to John to Mary, rests Herodotus-ancient history. Like Howard “HoPaLoNg” Cassidy. “Dear Mary, “ I implored,”Wanna skip school this afternoon? Catch a movie at the Shore? It’s not far. I can pay. Walk you home in time for Spin and Marty.” Exactly why Mary turned, smil d and nodded remains a Raymond-Chandler- mystery like why the world exists. Yet, turn, smile, nod she did. And then… Leaping UP at the 11:45 rrring, we flew o-u- t and landed at the Shore’s entrance. Where, I gulp-chirped, “Two tickets, please.” to the steely lady in the outdoor booth. I cared that Marlon Brando tongue-tied-

threatened as Terry Malloy in On the Waterfront as much as I cared about the first names of Custer, DuSable and Babe Ruth. What goose-bUmPeD me was Mary and I slumped alone, dark-center, Row Z. Where, demonically-driven, I fantasized about s-n- a-k- i-ng my arm around her shoulder. But… Preempting a Brioschi moment, an Officer Krupke look-alike startled, “Will you kids please follow me?” too-few frames into the flick. At home, why my rosary-chokin’ Grandmother didn’t stare-sneer, “Now, you r-e- a-l- l-y cooked your own goose.” holds another story for another time on another day. Like the Saturday, 10 years later, standing in her Mother’s living room, I jaw-drop-gaped at a photo of Sister Mary Rose, taking vows of chastity, obedience and poverty. And the time Sister-promoted-to-Mother Hugo and I celebrated our reunion over sliders and malts at a legendary old-neighborhoodrestaurant, White Castle. On the same day.


Jazz waves Sync O Calvino Sprinkling Little Italys Chinatowns Style defile orange  Organic origin store In Defiling defining Light flickers flux  Flip through truth  iPhone iDie Gnostic  Episteme epistles  Homeric epics Pan Shredding Greco Class Sikhs burn Rope rapt black Necks cantors  Choirs chanting  Peace cunt piece  AD desired CE Frei

TWD Magazine 91

By Rose Knapp

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Data desired Two


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TWD Magazine 93

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Chords

By Michael Chin

U

ncle Ron has always played the guitar. “Jingle Bells” at Christmas time; a crude approximation of “Born in the USA” that he used to strum for us on Independence Day weekends. When I was a kid, I thought he was great. I recognized those points after dinner, after he had enough beers or whiskeys and when he’d go retrieve the guitar from his room, as sacred, as glorious, because there we were, about to get a real-live rock-n-roll show right in our living room.

By the time I was fourteen and was trapped in a beach house with sixteen relatives during a hurricane on the eve of my cousin’s wedding, I suddenly understood the embarrassed suggestion that he put that thing away, Dad from his teenage daughter and son. I understood then that it wasn’t banter or teasing but legitimate pleas for mercy because no one wanted to hear him play.

But he insisted.

It took four false starts before he decided he was satisfactorily close to the opening chords of “Brown Eyed Girl.” He stood carefully as he pressed the guitar to his body, because he hadn’t brought the strap, and stalked close to the bride-to-be. His nephew, the groom, looked on with a phony smile waxed on his face as he crept his arm over the bride’s shoulders in a half-protective, half-apologetic stance. But after the second verse, on the long wildly out of tune “sha-la-la-la-la-la-lala-la-la-la-dee-dah,” things took a turn. My cousin Ashley started singing along and Dad clapped his hands. Then everyone was in on it—this sing-along, this cacophony. Mom finished her glass of wine (drank almost the whole thing in one extended gulp) and joined in on the third verse. The bride and groom laughed. Uncle Ron climbed up on the coffee table. It buckled but it didn’t break as the wind shook the windows outside. Us inside. Safe. Together. And for that instant, happy.

Pushcart Nominated Story


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By Matt Nagin

94

TWD Magazine

Hermit On The Subway

Sandwiched into tight rows of sweaty bodies trapped in the hot car of death ac broken do not lean on door asshole the sweat from smelly strangers dripping onto my notebook the train busting to a stop as we all go flying and there are screams a muddled announcement the train jerks to life, stops, jolts forward two inches, stops again, more metallic breathing I can’t comprehend, and the guy next to me is on a muffled call with his attorney while a whiny child grimaces at his mother and then the train lurches forward again and all is bliss and quiet and there is the smooth rolling of wheels over track almost as if we are floating like angels into a plateau of soft radiance and then a one-legged bum wants a dollar and the guy next to me crushes his elbow into my rib cage and a tween is on Facetime as the light flickers, the train screeches, and I go flying onto a cripple— concluding this gorgeous trip to Times Square—where, of course, I end up feeling ten times more alone.

the sweat from smelly strangers dripping onto my notebook the train busting to a stop as we all go flying


TWD Magazine 95

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Photography (8 Images) By J. Ray Paradiso

MoCA Men


Bear Blues

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All Nighter

TWD Magazine 97

By J. Ray Paradiso

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Photography (8 Images)


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Ditto

TWD Magazine 99

By J. Ray Paradiso

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Photography (8 Images)


Dad’s Delight

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Division Street Bus

TWD Magazine 101

By J. Ray Paradiso

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Photography (8 Images)


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By J. Ray Paradiso

102

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Photography (8 Images)

Dark Obsession


TWD Magazine 103 3rd Collection

Voyeur


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TWD Magazine 104

Cynthia’s Coming By Norman Klein

I

’ll never forget the day my Aunt Flora screamed, “Cynthia, oh no you don’t, not until the kitchen is clean.” My cousin Cynthia was wearing her white church clothes and yelled back to my aunt, “I’ll do it later. God is waiting for me.” My aunt Flora chewed on what had just happened then went to her writing desk, found the threepage application to a boarding school for troubled girls she had written weeks ago, and left it on the kitchen table for Cynthia to see when she came home. I first thought Cynthia would go ballistic when she saw it. But she didn’t. Instead, she ran into the living room, snatched the Sunday paper out of Flora’s hands, gave her a kiss, and thanked her. “Hey, wait a minute. Where is this place?” I had asked.

“It’s in Springfield, Mass, just around the corner from the Basketball Hall of Fame. It’s about forty miles from here,” Flora said. “That’s okay, Buddy. You can come to visit,” Cynthia said to me, then ran upstairs to pack. We delivered her the following Saturday. I was disappointed with what I saw. Most of the buildings were more than a hundred years old. The largest brick building was once a shirt factory a nun told us during a tour of the place, and the dorms were single-level cement-block military housing given to the school when the Korean War ended. Aunt Flora didn’t mind the housing, but she was disgusted by the spectacle of thirty girls running and screaming as they kicked an invisible soccer ball with two nuns leading the pack. Halfway home she turned me and said, “Mark my words, Buddy. Cynthia won’t stand for that kind of nonsense.” But I knew better. Cynthia’s both a church-goer and a rule breaker. That was four years ago when Cynthia was fourteen and I was six. Now I’m ten and wondering what it will be like when Cynthia comes home. During her freshman year at the Academy, we were closer than ever. We talked on the phone two or three times a week. The girls were not supposed to have phones, but Cynthia did. That was okay she figured because that was the first thing she would confess every week. That and the fact that she loved Sister Mary Francis. But the first time she confessed that she loved her, Father Sullivan said that it wasn’t a sin because Sister Mary Francis was an angel from heaven and the most remarkable person he had ever met. “We all live in her light,” he said, and a month later it was Sister Mary Francis who caught Aunt Flora stealing money from Cynthia’s inheritance from her dead parents. That was exciting. I listened in on the call when Sister Mary Francis told Flora she would have her arrested if she did it again.


TWD Magazine 105 3rd Collection


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By Norman Klein

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Cynthia’s Coming

“T

here is enough money from the life insurance to get her through college. That will be our goal; don’t you agree, Flora?” Sister Mary Francis said.

drapes.

Then came dinner and the first thing on the table was the wine followed by a pizza box or a bowl of mac and cheese. She said she was too weak to cook and “that’s why everything came out of a box or a can. I didn’t mind clearing the dishes and running the dish washer, but I hated going into the living room and finding her asleep on the sofa with a rum and coke hidden behind the window

“Sort of. Sister Mary Francis wants me take summer classes with her. This summer she hopes to take a six-credit course on other religions, and she would love to have us join her.”

I’ve called Cynthia every day since she graduated. I’ve left messages pleading with her, but she hasn’t called back. So what I did last Saturday I expected to have Cynthia home with me at was call Sister Mary Francis and she explained the end of her freshman year, but that didn’t to me that Cynthia was running the freshman happen because most of the girls had nowhere summer program and would call me as soon to go. However, even the girls who had parents as she could. “Wait until you see her. She’s been or relatives stayed when they heard all the neat accepted to Holy Cross,” Sister Mary Francis said. I things that went on: movies, basketball, acrobatics, waited for lunch the next day to tell Aunt Flora. even line dances at the Y. That was just for starters. The “So that’s where she’s been, looking at colleges. programs were better and better each year. But wait a minute, how could do she do that? She doesn’t have a car,” Flora said. In our longest phone call ever, during Cynthia’s Junior year, she confided to me that the summer “But Sister Mary Francis does,” I said. was heavenly — which was fine for Cynthia but a disaster for me because Aunt Flora had become “If you’re right, we will never see her again. But a mad woman who came down the stairs every never mind. Good riddance to bad rubbish,” morning with her eyes closed and could no Aunt Flora said, then burst into tears. That got longer make breakfast, not even bagels or raisin me thinking that if Aunt Flora was right maybe toast. I had to do everything from start to finish, she could sell this house and buy another one in even hold my hands over hers so she could drink Worcester. That’s where Holy Cross is, so maybe her orange juice, since her hands shook so bad we could have lunch together in the Holy Cross she couldn’t eat or drink. She took pills before dining room or go on marches to Washington. lunch that helped. I don’t know what was in them That cheered me up. Then it happened. My phone but they put a smile on her face and got her rang. It was Cynthia, “dead on her feet, exhausted,” talking about what a magnificent man my father hoping to drop by at four the following day. “Of was even though he abandoned me and moved course you can. You live here, don’t you?” I said to to Canada to live with his new wife and her son. her.

“My best friend, Billy Miller, is a Quaker, and I have been going to church with him so I could learn how to meditate,” I said knowing I had only gone


once with Billy. “Good for you, Buddy. Sounds great. See you tomorrow,” she said. I had more questions, but suddenly I knew what I had to do to impress Cynthia. I would start a new religion. I can see it now. Just before four I’ll pull the shades down in the kitchen, then pull the drapes tight in the living room and the dining room. Next would come the candles, at least a hundred of them lighting a path from the front door to the sofa where she will sit wearing her glowing white church clothes. That’s where I come in, introducing myself as Quaker Buddy Zen as I hop up onto Flora’s coffee table wearing my cape. I would be the enlightened Quaker monk who would share eternal knowledge and the path to love and music. I will tell all, including the reason why our journey will begin in Canada with a walk in the brook of forgiveness. Then it’s on to shared blessings with throat singers who in the future will explore the backyard and save all the snakes in holes and the pidgins in the trees while I hand out my Quaker Buddy Zen baseball caps to all the neighbors.

TWD Magazine 107

By Norman Klein

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Cynthia’s Coming


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By Naushena

108

TWD Magazine

Finally I Killed‌

Each day he came with new comrades As an army marches towards its foes. When darkness overcast the day, When I am most vulnerable, He, like a vampire, came And sucked my blood, drop by drop Bit by bit With his weapon sharp as a needle That pierced my body Leaving behind, blood stains on my skin, on my face. The very walls of my room Stained with my blood and his, Are a tell tale signs of my struggle To save my life from his cruelty And shrewdness towards me How long could I bear? I winced, I flailed, I smacked and I scratched But he was undeterred as ever So one fateful night to free myself from That measly creature, that parasite, I took his life, yes! I thwacked and Killed- the mosquito!

He, like a vampire, came And sucked my blood, drop by drop Bit by bit


S

ue and Dave worried about leaving their mother alone during the day. “Have you noticed how bad Ma’s eyesight is lately?” Dave turned the car onto the street they grew up on. “Eyesight? What about her memory?” “Look, we promised Ma we’d keep her at home.” Dave parked the car in Ma’s driveway. “Yesterday’s rain made a mess of the lawn. Look at all that mud.” “Speaking of messes, can you call the plumbers to fill the hole in the garden they left when they replaced that pipe?” “I reminded them last week.” “Did they promise you a time they would come back?” “No.” “Then call them again. You can always threaten to keep the tools they left behind.” “Sue, you’re almost as bad a nag as Ma.” “I learned from the best.” Sue sighed. “So, we’re going to wait until Ma hurts herself? At least let me check out some homes.” Dave unlocked the door and they walked inside. “Fine. Check them out. But don’t tell Ma.” “Tell me what?” Ma walked out of the kitchen, followed by Misty. “Well, there’s nothing wrong with her hearing,” Sue whispered to her brother. “Hey you pretty girl, come over here.” Misty ran to Sue and purred. Sue picked up Misty, then kissed Ma on the forehead. “Is today Tuesday?” Ma asked after she hugged Dave. “No Ma, it’s Monday. I’ll make some coffee.”

TWD Magazine 109

By Nolcha Fox

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Spaghetti


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TWD Magazine 111

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Spaghetti

By Nolcha Fox

“T

hat would be great, Sis.” Dave sorted through the pile of unopened mail on the dining room table. “Ma, where’s the electric bill?” “Isn’t it on the table?” “I don’t see it.” “Oh, maybe I put it in the bill basket.” Dave checked the basket. “It’s not there.” “Can you buy me some spaghetti? I love spaghetti.” With Misty on her shoulder, Sue leafed through magazines and catalogs on the kitchen counter. “Here it is.” Dave shook his head. “Ma, just leave the mail in one place so that I can pay your bills.” “You’re such a sweet boy.” Ma pinched Dave on the cheek. “Are you still going to the Rotary meetings?” Dave smiled. “Once a month, just like Dad.” “It’s a good way to make friends.” Ma ran her hands along the backs of the dining room chairs on the way to the kitchen. “Is today Tuesday?” “No, it’s Monday.” Sue poured three cups of coffee. “Be careful, Ma. The bottom of the coffee pot is hot.” She gently pulled Ma’s hand away. “Alice cut Misty’s nails yesterday.” Ma took a cup from Sue. “You’re lucky to have such a nice neighbor.” Sue gave a cup to Dave. “It takes a special person to clip that cat’s nails.” “I thought Alice visits on Wednesdays.” Dave sipped his coffee. Ma pulled a candy from the jar and unwrapped it. She popped the candy in her mouth before she sipped her coffee. “Are you coming to visit me tomorrow, Dave?” “Yes, Ma.” Sue added more cream to her coffee. “Dave is bringing a woman to keep you company. Her name is Janice. She starts

tomorrow.” “I want some spaghetti.” “I’ll bring you some spaghetti today for lunch.” Sue wrote herself a note and stuck it in her purse. “I hope Alice comes today.” Ma touched the coffee pot. “Ouch, that’s hot.” “I told you it was hot.” Sue walked Ma to the kitchen sink and ran cold water over her mother’s fingers. “I thought Alice comes on Wednesdays.” Dave gathered all the bills, and put them in his briefcase. “I want some coffee.” Ma felt along the counter. “Ma, there’s coffee in your cup.” Sue poured more coffee into Ma’s cup. “Here, I warmed it up for you.” “My Suzy, always so thoughtful.” Ma took a sip of coffee. “And my sweet Dave. Do you go to the Rotary meetings?” “Yes, Ma.” “Ma, we have to get to work. I’ll stop by this afternoon with some spaghetti.” Sue put Misty on the floor, and picked up her purse. “Come on Dave, let’s go.” “Is today Tuesday?” “That’s tomorrow. Remember that Dave will bring Janice to visit you tomorrow.” Sue hugged Ma. “OK. I love you both.” “And we love you.” Dave kissed Ma on her forehead. = Leo watched from behind a bush as his niece and nephew got into the car and left. He wanted to be alone with his sister. After brushing the leaves and dirt from his knees, he knocked


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By Nolcha Fox

112

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Spaghetti

on the front door. “Alice?” Ma opened the door. “What a surprise!” “Sophie, it’s me. Leo.” He gave his sister a hug. Ma felt Leo’s beard and smiled. “Leo! Of course! How are you?” She pulled him inside. “How is Sally? I’ve been meaning to return her blender.” Leo grimaced. “Don’t you remember? She died last year.” And left everything she owned to that damn cat. You’d think it needed a diamond tiara to eat tuna. Misty appeared on cue to zig zag around Leo’s ankles and give him a nip on the back of his heel. “Ouch!” He kicked Misty aside. Misty hissed and spat. Her pupils dilated, a signal that Leo was on the dessert menu. “Sally was so sweet to give me Misty for company.” Leo grunted. As soon as Sophie signed the papers, all of Sally’s money would be his. And Misty would be in a bag at the bottom of the lake. “Did you bring me my spaghetti?” “I’ll pick some up for you later.” Leo offered a pen to his sister. “I have some papers that need your John Hancock.” Ma ignored the pen. Instead, she picked up Misty and kissed her on the head. “Pretty Misty.” Misty purred and butted her head against Ma’s face. “Who’s John Hancock? Is that the boy who stole your lunch money?” “No, that was John Henderson. He’s long gone.” He set the papers on the table by the front door. “Well, of course he’d run away after he stole your money.” Ma set Misty down on top of Leo’s papers. “You don’t think he’d wait around for you to beat him up, do you?”

Misty shredded the corners of each page. Leo swatted at her. She scratched Leo’s hand and jumped to the floor, taking the papers with her. Leo put a bloody finger to his mouth to suck it clean. “Did you stick your finger in my spaghetti?” “No, I haven’t gotten your spaghetti yet.” “You know, Sally gave me money to take care of Misty.” “I know,” Leo mumbled. But I don’t think Sally would mind if I spent a little of it on spaghetti.” “You’re keeping Sally’s money here in the house?” “Why, yes. At least I think so. Maybe.” Leo rubbed his hands. It would be so easy to take the money now. “Sophie, where are you going?” “To get my money.” Ma hobbled to the dining room table, feeling the furniture with her hands. “It’s here somewhere. I think.” Leo followed Sophie to the dining room table. He quickly shuffled through empty envelopes, advertisements, flyers from the local high school, and week-old newspapers. “Are you sure it’s here?” “No. Let me check my apron pockets.” Ma pulled out a card. “What’s this?” “It’s a Triple A card.” Ma frowned. “I wonder why I have that.” “So that you can get a tow if your car breaks down.” “Do I have a car?” “I can check the garage for you.” He tried to open the door to the garage, but it was locked from the outside. “Good grief.” He followed Ma as she felt her way to the kitchen. “Sophie, I need you to sign those papers. They’re about taking care of Misty.”


“Alice, are you clipping Misty’s nails today?” “Yes…that’s what neighbors are for.” “Do you have my spaghetti? I’m hungry.” “First sign the papers. Then I can pick up some spaghetti for you. All I need is your money. Maybe you keep it in your purse?” “Why would I have spaghetti in my purse?” Leo’s cheeks and ears felt hot. “No Sophie, I want some money. For the spaghetti.” “Did you find my money?” “No.” Leo scratched his head. Where would his daffy sister put her purse? Ma followed him to the bathroom, then to the guest bedroom. “Are you looking for Misty?” “No, I’m looking for your purse.” “Why?” “So I can get you some spaghetti.” “Why would I have spaghetti in my purse?” “No, money for the spaghetti.” Leo was starting to feel as goofy as his sister. Ma followed Leo to the vestibule, where he opened the coat closet door. Gift wrapping rolls, an old plastic baseball bat, a bin of hats, a half-inflated basketball, several dolls, an army of toy soldiers, and empty gift boxes knocked him down. “Why are you sitting on the floor?” “I’m looking for your … oh, never mind. Don’t you want spaghetti?” She clapped her hands. “I love spaghetti!” He stood up and stepped over all the junk. “Where are you going?” Leo gave up on finding her purse in a logical place. “Your bedroom.” Ma followed Leo, and watched him check under her bed, in her nightstand drawers, and in her closet. “Not here.” Ma followed Leo to the other side of the house, and watched him check the laundry room cabinets, and finally the kitchen shelves.

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Spaghetti

“There it is!” Her purse was wedged between the soup bowls and the bread plates. “Did you find Misty?” “No, I found your purse.” He turned the purse upside down and shook the contents onto the kitchen counter. Out came empty pillboxes, rusty hat pins, a small brush, a mirror, a plastic comb, some spoons from the diner down the block, and several packets of soggy Splenda. “Where’s your wallet?” “Oh, I don’t keep my wallet in my purse. Someone might steal it.” Leo slapped his forehead with his hand. “OK, where do you keep your wallet?” Ma tapped her lip with her right index finger. “Where did Dave say was a safe place to put it?” She felt for her wallet in the freezer, in the pantry, and on the kitchen counter. “Now I remember! It’s in the bird feeder!” “What?” Leo squinted at the bright red object in the feeder next to the window. “I think I see your wallet.” He found a ladder, propped it against the bird feeder pole, and climbed up. As he reached for the wallet, the ladder slipped in the wet grass, and he landed in a mud puddle. “Crap!” His clothes were covered in goopy slime he couldn’t brush off. Leo propped the ladder up against the bird feeder pole again, climbed up, and carefully retrieved the wallet. “How did your wallet get into the bird feeder?” Leo asked Ma when he returned to the kitchen. “Oh, Dave put it there. My sweet Dave.” She patted Leo’s cheek. “Do you go to the Rotary meetings?” Leo grunted. The wallet was worn in places, and the wallet latch was stuck shut. He finally pried it open with a fork. “Oh, for shit sake!” “Shame on you, Dave! You know better


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114

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Spaghetti

than to swear,” Ma said. “Sophie, why is your wallet empty?” “I wouldn’t want someone to steal my money, would I?” Leo closed his eyes and counted to ten. “Where do you hide your money?” “You know, it’s funny, Dave asked me the same thing yesterday. I gave it to him when we were out in the back yard.” “Can you show me where?” Ma nodded. She ran her hands along the bushes to guide herself to the garden, and Leo and Misty followed behind. “Dave was digging a new garden for me. Isn’t it lovely?” A shovel and a pick lay next to a rectangular hole, about six feet deep. Leo wondered if Dave planned to throw himself in. “I think my money is in here.” Ma rolled the pick into the hole. “You’ll have to dig it out yourself.” “I don’t see anything. Where?” Leo stepped closer to the hole and tripped over Misty. He fell onto the business end of the pick. “Dave? Dave?” Ma didn’t hear a response, so she turned around and went back into the kitchen. “I wonder where he put my spaghetti?” = Sue brought Ma a carton of spaghetti for lunch. Misty meowed and put her paws on Sue’s knees. “My Suzy, so thoughtful!” Ma took the carton. Sue looked at the mess in the front hallway. “What happened here?” She picked up the paperwork from the floor. “Uncle Leo wants you to transfer your inheritance of Misty and Sally’s money to him?” She frowned and set the paperwork on the table. “Oh, Dave was visiting.”

“Ma, Dave won’t be here until Tuesday, when he brings Janice, your new visitor. Was Uncle Leo here?” “Is today Tuesday?” “No, Ma. Today is Monday.” “Dave was here today. I can prove it.” Sue and Misty followed Ma out of the kitchen and to the back yard. “See? He was digging a new garden for me.” Sue looked into the hole. “Well, Ma, it looks like you won’t have to fertilize the garden.” She took her mother’s hand. “It’s lunch time. Let’s eat some spaghetti.”


We decided to believe in karma when we stole all those clothes from the mall and then got in a car accident, but to be fair we couldn’t afford the clothes anyway and our credit cards kept declining. So we smoked the last of our weed while we waited for the tow truck, and watched the sunset with two dead phones and two flat tires and we laughed when two homeless people invited us to drink beer with them in their car.

[you can take apart the couch] By Darren C. Demaree

i told my daughter you can take apart the couch you can pile into thread and stuffing and wood i’ll burn whatever you want me to i’ll weave whatever you want me to i’ll make set dressing out of what’s left it’s a couch it’s a couch it’s a couch but they way you walk about it it’s a door we can open to a room we can invent

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By Julia Cirignano

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Karma


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the curious mind

116

By linda m. crate

his conversations were more of a chore than chewing the fat with strangers

the sofa on the side of the road told me people lie like i didn’t know, but he also said that blue only belongs to oceans not skies; when i told him that i knew that too he said i was a bitch— he asked me why i couldn’t just let him have his moment of fame? also wanted to know how many sofas i’ve ever talked to like he was the first i’d ever seen told him no, and he was so offended he didn’t speak to me anymore; i was glad because his conversations were more of a chore than chewing the fat with strangers— he liked to pretend he knew some secret i couldn’t hope to unravel without the tooth of his tongue, but there are few mysteries that cannot be unraveled by the curious mind.


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Joy Rolls Off His Laugh By Danielle Christine Hastings

Joy rolls off his Laugh The broken wings I breathe in To feel whole again

just say no

By linda m. crate

never saw a grandfather clock in purpose or person after all the stories i’ve read of their malovelence i’m quite glad i never have can only imagine walking down the hall only to be sung to by the pendulum of a cruel fang of history wanting vengenace yes, i’m glad that’s something i’ll never have to deal with; because so many things still haunt me don’t need to know any lyric of evil anxiety already weighs me down

so i’ll smash every grandfather clock brought into my mind with a solid no by simply walking away.


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By Danielle Christine Hastings

118

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The Game

There’s a game I’ve invented around us a long time ago, you’ve been winning ever since Every now and then I let go of my breath and lose a round you were never aware of And it’s not my place to tell you, I’m not the kind of person who creates change But you, You were the ripple Time never intended, a happy accident in its flawed design the oxygen mask in the vastness of space I didn’t know I’d needed A moon I could gravitate to Every time you praised me Every time you chose me over them Every time you spoke to only me Confided in the just us I thought I could find shelter in your rocky shore Your name plays whispered games in the bottomless imagination of Angels And the laughter I convinced myself to trust were broken before they were ever a promise Your heaven has too many laws, constellations of eggshells in straight, exact lines I thought you were an orbit I wanted to revolve in, my world doesn’t belong I am too violent a storm to breathe you holy


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You are too hallowed ground to erect my starlight They were wrong to say space was weightless, there is no way for that to be true because You’d never win I would change our consciousness You would realize I was here Standing beside the gates to your temple, mine abandoned after my breath escapes me one last time one last round You, me In a game I never told you we were playing


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By Ilhem Issaoui

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I painted her

I painted her with all her verity and seclusion with her pain and glory like a diaphanous rose blooming somber and gelid  she smiled yet  her tiring eyes told more  she languished to hide I caught her spirit once musing  among the fields of aureate wheat  and unalloyed dandelions  she seemed inebriated and fain  like a nubivagant dove it was dusk by then  and no sound could be hearkened I hearkened to her  murmuring to the equanimity of the sea she went to it and drawn herself before it was dawn


Sticky feet rest Unsettled On the back Steps Hands shake on The cool glass Of the blue Bong Sun sets from Behind the Red maple Trees As I take Another Hit In search Of something Unattainable

TWD Magazine 121

By Julia Cirignano

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Indian Summer


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Clothesline Bl-Wh light green wetplate Remember Series


By Melanie Faith

T

he photos in my Remember Series are image-centered. Some of the images, like the chapel door and the insect that I just happened to notice resting against the rustcolored stone, seemed symbolic (and suggested their own titles) just as I found them. Others, such as the deep green leaves dappled with sunlight and the folded-up rose petal against the wood, encouraged me to drop into a more metaphorical, personal frame of mind as I came up with titles. The leaves reminded me of a friend long far from home and the folded-petal reminded me of how we often turn inward to explore our feelings and hopes and how tender and guarded a process that can be, even when it doesn’t always have to be.

My photos chosen from the Place Series were taken at a wonderful working farm and park area called Tayamentasachta Environmental Center. There is an old farm house, many out-buildings, a reconstructed historically-accurate cabin, a community garden, a pond with ducks, and walking trails. I love places that are rich with lived-in history but which also have an active call to the now. It’s a place where families often bring their kids for picnics or an evening walk with their dogs but also a great place to explore singly with just one’s thoughts, ideas, camera, and a notebook. Such places spark my attention as both a writer and a photographer.

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Photography (8 Images)


Expectant Remember

Series

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Photography (8 Images) By Melanie Faith

Hiding in Plain Sight Remember Series


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By Melanie Faith

126

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Photography (8 Images)

Knock Remember Series


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Knowing You Needed to Leave Remember Series


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By Melanie Faith

Photography (8 Images)

Hinged Places Series


Places Series That

Log Though

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Series

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By Melanie Faith

Photography (8 Images)

Beautifully Worn Places


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TWD Magazine 132

Stay Right

By Trista Hurley-Waxali

“D

oes it say to turn left or right?” “I don’t know, it kinda says right.” “Kinda?” my husband asks. “Yeah look,” I show him my phone with the map as the blue line for a moment disappears and then reappears, “maybe a slight right?” “But there’s a stop sign coming up,” as we drive up to the end of the road the GPS recalculates and talks out loud, we both look at the phone for a second and then look up.What we see is no longer a stop sign but a fork in the road. “Stay right.” The GPS says. “What happened to the stop sign?” I ask. “Who knows,” I nod, “are we close?” “Yeah, about 8 minutes.”

We were invited by our immigration attorney to meet her at her ranch rather than her office. She promised a more relaxed setting for discussing our progress towards a green card. Plus, it’s a nice change of pace so I agreed. After all, who wouldn’t trade a meeting from a glass and steel barrier in the city to a patio in the central coast. “I hope I wasn’t too hard to find,” she meets us at the front door, “I was thinking it’s a beautiful day, why not stay outside?” “Yeah that works,” my husband says in his business tone. “Well, thank you for suggesting this, I love any excuse to get out of the city,” I say, watching the fields blending in with the sky, a horizon that’s slightly hazy from dust being stirred up in the wind. A both dire and beautiful sight. “Here, please take a seat and I’ll get us some water? Lemonade? Coffee?” “Coffee will be perfect.” I say and my husband nods. “Coffee it is.” She leaves us on the patio at a spot that provides a view. “I’m really glad we’re here today,” my husband says, I look over to see him looking at the barn roof. “I don’t think I sat outside like this in months.” I take his hand. “Here we are,” she rests the tray down with 3 mugs of coffee and a small creamer and sugar packs, “normally I have a housekeeper to help when I have clients but I gave her the day off, her son has a bit of a fever.” “Sorry to hear that,” I say, mixing in a little creamer. “Same, I told her it’s important to stay home and you both are my old clients today.” I smile and taste the rich coffee.


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By Trista Hurley-Waxali

134

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Stay Right

“Y

eah, I mean, you know our situation with our visa, I guess I just want to know, what do we need to do from this point forward?” My husband says, always going straight to business. “At this point, you two are in an okay position although it might not feel like it.” I nod, “your connections with international companies is your biggest asset and then this startup gaining quite a good amount of equity will definitely act as the foundation for the next step.” “But I can’t promise this company will gain more ground,” my husband starts. “The point of importance is where the company is at the moment of submitting the visa application.” “Even if the company fizzles out in a matter of months?” I ask. “Yes because it’s about showing where you are at the time of application, anything else is out of your hands,” our lawyer continues, “plus with this round of investment it shows you’re here to build the economy.” “This is starting to sound like a headline,” I say into my mug. “What you two are going through is current and also archaic,” we nod to her, “there are a few areas I need to tell you that you must work on to get out of this limbo.” “What are they?” my husband asks. “You need to improve on helping with connecting back to the everyday employee, not someone too far out of the field but who are thinking of getting into this sector,” “What do you suggest?” “You need to engage in the community.” “How am I supposed to do that in a 40 hour work week? “On the weekends you can hold

workshops and judge contests, maybe run a blog to have questions sent to you and available to the public.” “I have some work online,” “Yes but now you need to have that linked up to the community,” “There is a community, the community goes to this site,” “Is it answering questions and building new relationships?” “Building new relationships? I can barely answer the questions I get in person,” my husband says and sips his coffee, “the work is always developing.” “Well, the website and workshops are an easy to start and maintain, maybe we can run a workshop from a hotel meeting room?” I suggest, my husband takes my hand and I feel his clammy palms. “And I know you two are going to hate this,” the lawyer prefaces, “but even more international outreach and references will help.” “Are we trying to get out of this limbo or form the UN?” I remark slightly sarcastic, “I get it.” I wave my hands surrendering. “Well yeah, I’d love to do more outreach, unfortunately there are so few companies working on this technology that it might be months or years until we see an international company reaching out to us.” “I will reevaluate during this process and we should have a PR firm ready to write up a couple articles about the technology and how you’re a leader in this field.” We nod. “Again, you two are not in a dire place, it’s just where you are is not ideal. So you can either stay here and exhaust this place or takes steps to move closer to the end? It’s really your choice.” “It feels like we’ve done so much and


there’s still so much to do.” I say. “I understand why you feel helpless, let me show you what I do to get me out of this feeling.” She gets up from the table and starts walking towards the barn. We look to each other and get up from the table to follow her.

haunted because no creature can come back after extinction.” “That’s so sad.” I say. “But there’s hope with my protection like how I will continue to help you both through this process.” “Thank you, and we’ll take your advice When we reach the barn doors there’s a on how to proceed,” my husband says, “is there bag of feed leaning on the side. She brings up the anything else we need to know?” bag for my husband and I to reach in. “Yes, remember this process requires “Just a handful.” I look up after she puts the patience and to not get lost in the requirements.” bag back down from my hand, I hear the ruffling “Speaking of lost,” my husband starts. of hay. We open the door to a couple of stalls and “Stay on the main road, it will take you to watch as out from the back and over a threshold the highway.” He smiles. enters a unicorn. “Sounds easy enough,” I say shaking her The unicorn stands with gray hair but has hand, “but then again it always does.” a face like it’s never aged. On the top of its skull there’s a long white horn. The creature comes close enough to smell my hand before eating, a part of me wants to drop the food while the better part of me stands still. I feel his warm lips pick up pellets and I can hear the crunch of each grain. The everyday movements of this creature brings comfort to my heart, that this is happening, somewhere in this limbo, this is okay. “My heart goes out to you both with coming here as an entrepreneur and using the current policy to succeed in obtaining a green card. This policy doesn’t adjust for anyone and has very little insight into the reality of your schedules,” she pauses and pets the unicorn, “I was asked to care for him when a partner at the firm passed away. Being asked to care for him was the biggest honor of my life, I felt I was truly going in the right direction.” “I can’t believe someone was lucky enough to find one.” “I think he found my late partner. Sadly, all I can do at this point is keep him safe from being

TWD Magazine 135

By Trista Hurley-Waxali

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Stay Right


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Not Ready

136

By Julia Cirignano

For I am only a child willing at any moment to fall into your arms

Cover the electrical outlets Gate off the stairs And cushion the sharp edge of your words For I am only a child Willing at any moment To fall into your arms And I am not yet capable Of falling without hurting myself


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Aging

By Bradley Samore

I used to think getting old was something that wouldn’t happen for a long time that there were just two categories not old and old but as I look in the mirror I see it’s not that simple wrinkles across my forehead visible for the first time trenches that will only get deeper train tracks that I hope will lead me to wisdom

As I look in the mirror I see it’s not that simple


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The Magician By Nolcha Fox

F

rom a very early age, George realized he had a special magical power. He could disappear.

George practiced his power in the womb. First, he learned to make one hand disappear, then two hands, then his arms and a leg, and then all his limbs. Every time his mother had an ultrasound, some part of George was missing. By the time his mother was ready to give birth at the hospital, he disappeared his whole body so completely that nobody knew he was born. It was only until his mother stood up, saw her toes, and started screaming that the hospital staff looked for him. The middle child between two brothers and two sisters, crammed with their parents into a ramshackle two-bedroom one-bathroom house, he practiced his magical power. While everybody else shouted to be heard above the others, George became quieter and more indistinguishable from the furniture. Instead of yelling, he disappeared into a dream about being a secret agent or an uncatchable jewel thief, someone who disappeared before everyone’s eyes.

Pushcart Nominated Story

When his family finally paused for air, they realized that George once again disappeared. Panicked, they searched under the beds, behind the couch, under the rug, and between the washer and dryer. Most often, they found George asleep and dreaming in his bed. George perfected the art of disappearing. He learned to dress so that his clothes matched the color of the walls. His ordinary looks allowed him to blend in,


a face not handsome or ugly, hair not too dark or light or curly or straight, and a build not heavy or thin. George was so good at disappearing, his mother sometimes forgot his name. His family sometimes forgot his birthday, and they often forgot to buy him Christmas presents. He was so good at disappearing, nobody knew who he was. George was an unremarkable student at school. He never called attention to himself. He wasn’t flamboyant enough to be noticed, he wasn’t a troublemaker, and he wasn’t stupid enough to be held back. He simply disappeared into the next grade. If his teachers didn’t carefully mark his name on the seating chart and in the roll book, they would never know he existed. The other students barely knew George came to school. He didn’t join the drama club. He didn’t join the track team or the basketball team or the football team. He didn’t show up at school dances. He was so good at disappearing, the bullies walked right by him to harass other kids. He was so good at disappearing, none of the kids remembered to invite him to play dates or parties. But George was smarter than anyone realized. He understood that he had to follow all the rules so perfectly that everyone would leave him alone and allow him to disappear into his dreams. In his dreams, he was a special agent stealing secrets from a foreign country, or a thief stealing the crown jewels. In his dreams, he was handsome and mysterious, the desire of beautiful women and the envy of men.

TWD Magazine 139

By Nolcha Fox

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The Magician

George graduated high school and landed a clerical job in the largest company in town. It was the perfect job. The company was so big and had so many subsidiaries, nobody knew exactly what he did. George was just another faceless employee filing unintelligible paperwork in the large back room. After George found his perfect job, he found a tiny apartment a block from work. The walls were probably white once, but time and neglect turned them a dull gray. The kitchenette was just large enough for a two-burner stove and a microwave on top of a little two-shelf refrigerator, with a freezer not even large enough for a steak. George took only his clothes and left home without saying goodbye. His parents and siblings didn’t realize he was gone. Every morning before work, George dressed in light brown to match the office walls, then disappeared to the diner across the street from his apartment building for breakfast. He was so quiet, people sat beside George in the corner booth without realizing he was there, and the waitress often forgot to charge him for his cup of coffee and plain donut. George smiled as he looked at his reflection in the diner window. Instead of holding a coffee cup, he held secret documents pilfered from the enemy, or jewels from his latest heist. Every morning at work, George grabbed a stack of paperwork and disappeared into the rows of file cabinets in the large back room. He was always careful to file not too quickly or too slowly. He was always careful to be neat. George didn’t talk to any of his co-workers, and nobody talked to him. At lunchtime, while all the other


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The Magician

employees sat elbow to elbow in the company cafeteria, George curled up in the bottom drawer of a large file cabinet for an hour and dreamed of driving a fancy sports car through winding mountain roads while being pursued by the police. One day, his manager called George into her office. George held his breath and gingerly sat on the edge of the chair on the other side of her desk. His manager smiled at him and shook his clammy hand as she congratulated him. She told him that because he didn’t bother anybody, she was giving him a raise and promoting him to supervisor. George quickly found out that he could not disappear as a supervisor. He had to sit at a desk in front of his manager’s office. Every morning, he had to prod his old co-workers to work more efficiently. Every afternoon, he had to discuss productivity with his manager. He had to go to weekly meetings where everybody complained about the company and about each other. George developed bags under his eyes, and his hands shook from the coffee he drank all day. One afternoon at lunchtime, a company vice president found George asleep in the bottom drawer of a large file cabinet, and immediately fired George. The company vice president smiled about flattening the organizational structure and proving that his division was operating under budget. George’s manager smiled about keeping her job. George’s old co-workers smiled about not having a supervisor. George smiled about not supervising as he carried his potted plant out of the office door and disappeared.

Without a job, George couldn’t pay his rent and lost his apartment. At first, he didn’t know what to do. But then George realized he could live under the bridge for free, and he could eat for free at the local food pantry. He didn’t have to cook or wash his clothes or shower or shave his face. Nobody wanted to talk to him, and he didn’t want to talk to anybody. He could curl up under the bridge and disappear into a dream about kissing a beautiful secret agent on an exotic island, or breaking into an uncrackable safe, and then disappearing before anybody knew what happened. One morning, George walked down the street to the food pantry, engrossed in a fantasy about stealing the Queen’s jewels and disappearing to a small Greek town. He disappeared so completely, the man in the truck didn’t see George step off the curb until it was too late. With the royal jewels in his bag, George disappeared for the last time.


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Joseph S. Pete Jeremy Nathan Marks John Grey Peycho Kanev Kevin A. Risner P.C. Scheponik Naushena Joseph M. Felser Charles W. Brice Danielle Christine Hastings Andy Stallings Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois ayaz daryl nielson William Doreski Stallion Dunquis Sandy Coomer Hannah Rodabaugh linda m. crate Brendan Walsh Howie Good Scott Laudati Darren C. Demaree Joe Golc Jim Zola Stephen Mead Richard King Perkins II Yuan Changming J. Ray Paradiso Rose Knapp Michael Chin Matt Nagin Norman Klein Nolcha Fox Julia Cirignano Ilhem Issaoui Melanie Faith Trista Hurley-Waxali Bradley Samore

The Wire's Dream Magazine 3rd Collection  
The Wire's Dream Magazine 3rd Collection  

TWD Magazine is a semi-annual publication featuring art, photography, fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, and mixed-graphics/combinación...

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