Text issue four

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text magazine is a Canadian bimonthly publication of poetry, poetic social media epigrams, flash fiction, photographs, artwork, and other interesting culture. It is not-for-profit, free to read, and published six times a year. EMAIL // textlitmag@gmail.com WEBSITE // www.textlitmag.com Contents Copyright © 2015 text magazine for the authors COVER ART // Coby McDougall title // Open Mind website // cobymcdougalldesign.com FIND IT HERE // Bocca Café, Iron Oxide Art Supplies, Java Expressions LTD, Javawocky Coffee House, Jumpin Java Cafe, Literacy Nanaimo, Mad Rona’s Coffee Bar, Mon Petit Choux, Nanaimo Arts Council Gallery, Nanaimo Art Gallery, Perkins Coffee Company, Serious Coffee at Beaufort Centre, Smitty’s Nanaimo, The Buzz Coffee House, The Old Crow, The Vault, Vancouver Island University, Woodgrove Centre SUBSCRIPTION // If you wish to begin subscription, please email us at textlitmag@gmail.com. A postage fee may apply. SUBMISSION GUIDELINES // Submit interesting writing and works of art, such as poems, flash fiction, poetic social media epigrams under 200 characters, instagrams, or other photography or art, to textlitmag@gmail.com. We will respond as soon as possible. As a new, free, not-for-profit publication there is no reimbursement for publication. We ask that you please supply a biography under 200 characters with your submission. If you are accepted, your piece will be available on our website. Please note if your submission has been published elsewhere or is a simultaneous submission, it is suggested you read an issue to decide if your work fits our magazine. We reserve the right to not publish submissions we deem not fitting to our mandate. If you wish to advertise with us, or distribute our magazine at your business, please email our managing editor Shaleeta Harper // shaleetaharper@gmail.com

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SHALEETA HARPER // editor in chief & publisher PHILIP GORDON // editor ANTONY STEVENS // online content manager COBY MCDOUGALL // graphic designer JOY GUGELER // publishing advisor

BIG THANKS to the friends of text magazine DISTRIBUTORS Bocca Café Iron Oxide Art Supplies Java Expressions LTD Javawocky Coffee House Jumpin Java Cafe Literacy Nanaimo Mad Rona’s Coffee Bar Mon Petit Choux Nanaimo Arts Council Gallery Nanaimo Art Gallery Perkins Coffee Company Serious Coffee at Beaufort Centre Smitty’s, Nanaimo The Buzz Coffee House The Old Crow The Vault Vancouver Island University Woodgrove Centre


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ADVERTISERS & DONORS Cascadia Poetry Festival Deb Clay Funk your Fashion Garden Gnome Yardworks Gordon Halkett, Century 21 Realty Grace Matthams NY LA Fresh Threads Pro-Print Express Rosemary Sidle Susan Harper Tina’s Yorkie Treasures WordStorm Society of the Arts

Dear Readers, What is value? It was suggested to us recently that the public would see a free magazine as value-less, that they would think nothing of throwing it away. The idea that free items are valueless is common, but ultimately it is untrue. I believe the people of Nanaimo are smarter than that, and that they know that a gift has value, especially if it’s freely given. Value is what something is worth, not simply what it costs. I hope this magazine is valuable to you, reader. I don’t expect that you can keep this and sell it later, but that you could keep it, and find meaning in its pages in the future. Or that you could find value by giving it to your child, and having them realize that they want to write poetry, or even better, realize that they already do. You have in your hands 23 writers, poets, and artists great accomplishments. You have the hard work of many people in your community, and you have the knowledge that we do this not to make a profit, but to reach out and show our community the art and culture that is all around us. This is a gift, one that I am so proud to help give to you. Freely. Thank you, Shaleeta Harper Editor in Chief text Magazine textlitmag.com .


Class Struggle AARON ANSTETT I like to dine in establishments with racks of free magazines advertising pre­owned vehicles, appliances, and weapons near gumball, temporary tattoo, and religious icon machines. Places where plates are paper food came wrapped in and air smells good: salt, frying fat, onions. Billionaire, I’d order in compound hot dog stand where they treat me rudely to keep me humble. Maybe I’ll earn the money with daredevil stage antics or canvases I paint and scrape, creating expansive masterpieces of presence and absence then spend my free time broadcasting from birthing centers descriptions of newest humans with effusive discernment of wine reviews: This yowling infant, classically wrinkly, exudes outrage, whiff of bewilderment, notes of piss.


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P.A. LEVY “ … un-dine with me,” she said. In afterglow (To be this misty-eyed night flicker one can only speculate visions, sensuous that drugs movements are involved, possibly whisper sonnets, MDMA. For she thoughts with finger is the spider, (and she loves yer, tip translations yeah yeah yeah), and he, cruise the outline of the poor victim, plays caresses. “Undress me the role of the fly who enters with your come-to-bed eyes,” her boudoir, where she, she wordlessly said the eight-legged freak, with feigned coy glances lies on her back … melontronic mood sways … to bedroom not thinking of England, laced senses but mentally and embroidered experimenting silken pastures with recipes landscaped folds and making in flower beds. a shopping list On the after with headache taste of kisses when her pills and dvd’s, tissues wishes have been spun, and ice-cream dreamily she un-said; blue-bottles and “let us fall together fruit flies.) become well and truly; un (in her web of deceit done.” with her eight feet)

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letter to phoenix unsolicited response to aaron simm's “howdy from phoenix� LEAF KOTASEK hello from home, second semester will be over because i'm catholic and a worrier i wonder about you how you take exams and hatch from ash all at once but i suppose they're the same thing when you get down to the thick yolk of it second semester will be over because i'm catholic and a worrier i wonder about ashes how they feel about cold after heat you don't ask how i am so i'll tell you the swollen yolk i curl in smells like ashes and i did light my own damn fire love, your mother


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Rebel Romance, p. 701


Cut­up Vogue, Sept. 2012 It’s much prettier than the full story – the brave lip; a blackberry mouth brings to mind what’s not on the face isn’t just burgundy stain.

The New American Style Cut­up, Vogue, Sept. 2012 Granny’s hairy behemoth is a weary smug. Her petite frame is anything but casual; a groan of rarefied skins and beloved, unshaven legs.

On the fly, p. 736 Cut­up Vogue, Sept. 2012 a rare bird raised in France urged me for thirty years a sumptuous life; a quiet glimpse for the first time.

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Power Poles JOE MCLAREN the estate lays sleepless the streetlights lit in homeless streets a blue car sits shivering in the gutter surrounded by tall grass like reeds an animal crouches hidden beneath a rigid metal tower with arms straight out from shoulder nor curves or sex and all cowering from its dark strong mad outline against the street-lit sky


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The Pigeons of Red Mill MIRANDA PEARSON That funny queue of birds, a call­up, a convention how they pause to— (insert human notion here) zipped up dense on the roof ridge, then scatter in diffraction burst apart for a few wild beats— a strew of ashes against the pale— choreograph back to a silvery shoal flowing, organized as minnows—

and repeat.

Purpose SALLY HOUTMAN The Winter tree, resigned to the fact that, in its branches, nothing roosts, takes quiet satisfaction in simply holding up the sky.

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72 Hours: Part One BARBARA C. HARROUN

The first time Beth saw Butch she didn’t really see

him. She’d just gotten out of the shower. Beads of water hit the linoleum as she ran through the kitchen. She couldn’t really call it a shower. It was a bathtub with a showerhead nozzle that screwed to the faucet. Their first place, she and her roommate joked when they were dead ass broke (which was all of the time) that they should make gin in it or grow pot in their wild, unmown backyard.

She heard her brother pounding on the door, call-

ing her name, but she’d dead bolted it because the neighborhood wasn’t the best and just a week before someone had taken a baseball bat to her driver’s side window. She couldn’t fault the vandal for seeking the short-lived satisfaction of shattering glass. It had been nine months since she’d seen her brother, and she left her glasses on the bathroom sink because putting them on was seconds wasted. He was going to stay with her on this 72 hour leave, and he was bringing a friend.

Beth screamed when she saw her brother through

the glass, and screamed some more when the door was open and then, Bo hugged her hard enough to lift her off the ground, and she cried because while, without her glasses, he was blurry, like a watercolor seeping out of its lines, in her arms he was solid muscle, and he smelled like coffee, Marlboro Reds, brother skin, and lilacs. While he and Butch had waited he had cut an armload from the front tree.

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They were scattered on the floor now. It was only

when Bo bent down to pick them up, when she was wiping her face that she made out Butch. His shape. Leaning in the doorway, uncomfortable his posture screamed. Bo said he was going to Kelly’s, his girlfriend’s, who he had met in a bar two leaves ago, but Butch would stay and keep her company. And Beth said warmly, “Yes, yes. Come in. Are you hungry? There’s not much, but I can make you a grilled cheese. Come in. Please. And wait,

She ran back to the bathroom, put on her glasses,

huge lenses and wire frames. The world snapped into place. She grabbed the sink, took a deep, shaky breath. She brushed out her long hair, then gathered it and twisted, wringing it out in the sink. She chose a dry shirt that was scoop necked and showed her collarbones. Then she fished in her sock drawer for the $30 she had saved, for her brother, for beer.

Her brother was gone. Butch stood in the middle

of the living room, turning, taking in what two liberal arts college girls had pieced together. Later, even years later, she would tell herself she didn’t love him right away. It was five minutes in, unknown he was being watched, when he bent down, and ran his thumb over the spine of her books, reverently.

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untitled LEAF KOTASEK white veins div ide the river’s dark m uscles.

Billy, the leaves are wet the stars are getting laid under sheets of cloud the tree is breathing smoke climbing lonely from the pipe By the same tree 10 years ago a boy sits on a cracked concrete water tank surrounded by leaves he lifts his hand to his mouth and my name cuts the air.

SPENSER SMITH // Rubber Roots

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Samuel S. Samuelsson 22 May 2014 float like a bird float like a bee too namasting

Samuel S. Samuelsson 4 June 2014


(A remixed poem)

telegram for mr. circle “ur a fuckin square lol”

SHLOKA SHANKAR The pulsation of liquid-flowing syllables appear and disappear in the soundless dark like an undated anaesthetic. Sources ‘In Cabin’d Ships at Sea’ by Walt Whitman ‘After Apple-Picking’ by Robert Frost ‘Aubade’ by Philip Larkin ‘An Arundel Tomb’ by Philip Larkin

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Warning: This May Cause Heart Failure ELIZABETH MUSCARI First silence makes love to the night And the lullaby of wind playing the trees strings like violins, Until it swells into a crescendo over our heads and our drum-rolls of breath Slow down enough to blend in with the soft hums And create music A symphony of distraction And if we can’t find the beat of the wind waltzing through our veins as it plays Our hearts to sleep Then we aren’t listening close enough Soon nothing is left but for the noise to run to us Like an avalanche tumbling down our spines, The walking wind breaking into a sprint full of Shots and fireworks that don’t sound like the Fourth of July Vibrations running like balls in pinball machines around our rib cages and And then catapulting themselves into our eardrums To tear them open with its heavy metal fists Then silence makes love to the night again Streets mixed with fallen stars and empty bullet shells We see ourselves in both Look over towards the curb To the boy who lost his mother to a different battle last week His hands acting like band-aids Stuck to his chest Trying to block the blood leaving his chest in thin lines As if Van Gough is painting the red strokes out of him as they come You don’t have to be a painter to make out the bigger picture He lifts his eyes to meet yours and says, “Momma called. She wants me to come home now.” 14 .

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Untitled KYNAN JAMES i said im visiting are you availshe said no but Weds is good enough for 200 and 15 minutes worth of travel budget all: even even ight her on ight wo ix our ine because she dont always got internet, still walks in to get lap checkt bi-weekly by-Life Labs, that blood in her works hard

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BACK TOGETHER JOHN GREY My love has come to deliver me to her room and bed. I've been walking the shore, the ocean's roll a palliative for my wrath, while she's been looking for me with a heart like a calumet. The waves make me calmer. My footprints are so gentle I'm surprised I made them. No more vision of misery and loveliness, my love feels almost revived by anger That's her car parked on the beach road. She has stopped right there as if knowing where I'd be. This is not a place. It's a given.

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The Study of Hats SALLY HOUTMAN I could not be God – all that smiting and forgiving, so much time spent peering down between my feet and tripping on my ample robes. And I do not feel particularly qualified to make judgements on eternal damnation or salvation based solely upon what could be gleaned about a person from the state of their roof, the top of their head, or their choice of hat.

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HURRICANE DAN JOHN GREY The wind blows wild all morning, then the eye hits town around midday and the whole place is still as a tombstone before that wind picks up again and the afternoon is like a crazy man we've all known one or two of them in our time they go into a rage, you figure you've got them calmed and then, all of a sudden, you lose them completely, and they're crazier than before this hurricane's named Dan now, I don't know the man but I guarantee you somebody out there does.

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GUERNICA JOHN GREY the city's been bombed back to the stone age so they say but there's been no report of the nascent genus homo emerging from caves with crude axes maybe the metaphors were given the wrong orders

SHLOKA SHANKAR // Asemic Writing

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to the man who followed me into the women’s bathroom yesterday LEAF KOTASEK don’t look so shocked; keep your rainfrizzed beard on. people’ve been tailing the back of me into wrong bathrooms since i was as high as the x-ploding elbows of your wet plaid jacket. men’s women’s whichever, there’s always a hapless tailer who’s shocked to smell urinal cakes or to hear a tampon rolling to the scratched lip of a tampon dispenser. you’re # 97,652 and folks are queuing up behind you to tail me into wrong bathrooms, so take your chaff-laced boots and split.

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VALENTINA CARDINALLI // Black and White Art 22 .

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Short Fiction CAROL M. GORE Evan wrote short stories obsessively. “I write because I have to,” he explained. “It feeds my soul.” Maybe, but he never appeared to be enjoying the meal. From across the room Pamela watched him at it. Mostly he grimaced, eyes raised to the left, teeth grinding as if he were chewing squid. Now and again he’d cry, “Ah!” followed by a flurry of keystrokes. Her timing was off and she never witnessed the moment itself. Did his face take on a beatific glow, signalling the flash of inspiration? Now she’d never know. Evan didn’t call them short stories. He smiled sadly when she did but stopped short of correcting her. He and his writer friends labelled his output short fiction. They spoke of a meaningful difference without articulating to Pamela what it was. She tried to adopt their term but stumbled over it. She came to believe it flowed naturally from the mouths of English majors and not from someone like her who was studying—horror of horrors!—science. It’s not that Evan or his friends disparaged her research. Not directly. Their attitude was best summed up by a pony-tailed poet who called himself Dax and evidently feared that bathing would dilute his genius. He once said, “Thank God people like you are willing to do that work so we don’t have to!” Everyone laughed, including Pamela. She never argued when they insisted that science was soulless or that art and its creators alone were responsible for lifting man from savagery. She didn’t take offence when they nicknamed her Pathogen Pam or asked ironic questions about her “ghoulish experiments.” It was all in fun. One had to be sporting about it. Then came the day in the lab Pamela found herself calling the mice by Evan’s friends’ names as she snapped their necks one-by-one. “Goodbye, Liam,” she said aloud. “So long, Stephan.” She thought she heard a certain poetry—or was it music?—in the sharp crack of bone punctuating the words. “I like it, but is it art?” she wondered. She caught herself after mouse number three. (“Adios, Dax.”) She vowed never to repeat the behaviour but understood there was no going back.

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KATE SALVI // Flower 02

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Confrontation NATALIE TINNEY Praying to the bathtub in a house with no upstairs: Before you wrote, you were the only person in the world who knew you were pregnant. When you wrote, there was little air left in your lungs and you had yet to pick a name. You lay there, silent breathing, concealing the truth beneath the membrane of a sterile orange slice. I couldn’t reply. You wrote while I was surviving on cold cuts C’est Très Beau’s lines on the quick of my tiptoes, holes drilled in metatarsals after solo dance parties. Four and forty weeks from now, sun blinding your eyes, blepharospasm, we’ll explode firecrackers on the sidewalk engraved with four-hand piano scores you wrote last Election Day. Inbox (zero). Rh encounter on a lancet, misused paper knife Your mother is angry with you, but you wrote.

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Aaron Anstett Barbara C. Harroun Elizabeth Muscari Heather Macpherson Ian Martin Joe McLaren John Grey Kate Salvi Kyle Hemmings Kynan James Leaf Kotasek Miranda Pearson Natalie Tinney P.A. Levy Sally Houtman Samuel Joseph Shloka Shankar Spenser Smith Valentina Cardinalli

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get published in email textlitmag@gmail.com with your poetry, art, flash fiction, photography, or other interesting tidbits of culture

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