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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 // firstname.lastname@example.org WEBSITE // www.textlitmag.com Contents Copyright ÂŠ 2015 text magazine for the authors COVER ART // Jeri Weaver title // Baby Tapir website // gurukitty.com, facebook.com/gurukittystudios SUBSCRIPTION // If you wish to begin subscription, please email us at email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 // email@example.com
SHALEETA HARPER // editor in chief & publisher PHILIP GORDON // editor ANTONY STEVENS // online content manager COBY MCDOUGALL // graphic designer JOY GUGELER // publishing advisor SILVIA PIKAL // proofreader ROBIN A. SAMS // proofreader
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Dear Readers, Text is back for its second winter, with the cuddliest cover yet! We’re excited by how the magazine has grown, from a tiny publication in a handful of shops, to being a sought after in three towns—we’re working on the fourth. It’s been a crazy growth spurt, and we’re still trying to keep up with it. While writing to you all, we’re in the process of conversations with BC Ferries about distribution, and planning a video for our Patreon account, our newest method of fundraising to maintain the magazine. “Patrons” pledge a dollar, three, or more per issue (that’s just once every two months) and get awesome extras, as well as being able to say they support the arts on Vancouver Island. Check out the page at http://patreon.com/textlitmag to learn more about it. It should be launched by the time you read this, but if not, it will be in a day or so! Please enjoy this sampling of poetry, flash fiction, art, and other snippets of culture. We do our best to pick accessible and unique writing and visuals, and we hope you find something here that resonates with you. Shaleeta Harper Editor in Chief text Magazine
Facebook comments I typed this week STUART ROSS Are you sure you want to leave this page? You haven’t finished your post yet. Do you want to leave without finishing?
1. Answer is always “both” you know that the real. 2. What is a “new literary agent alert”??? 3. This won’t be a true dance party until 315,802 people are going & no one shows up. 4. You should buy a big dog. Put the big dog in front of your kids. I would really like to see a thousand pictures of your new big dog. Your dog is so you. That schnoz! 5. La pere du poete se remarie, less than a year later. That’s class. 6. Yeah and “My Struggle” is post-Homeric you fashionable twat. 8. Maybe if you can commit to a Pagan symbols cover photo, one day you’ll be able to commit to my Christian sister. 9. Heroin story. Heroin suddenly. Oh no heroin! 10. Love it.
Writing about writing in German in 1915 NICOLA WINSTANLEY (Adapted from the Globe and Mail, January 1st 1915) â€œFreud of Vienna, who treats hysterics and other disordered unfortunates has shocked the civilized world. He says the male child harbours desire for carnal relations with mother. English-speaking society can judge for itself when his theories on dreams, anxiety and hygiene, (that sound quite absurd in a prurient, decadent Austro-Hungarian way) are translated into the Teutonic tongue.â€? (Perhaps Freud could explain the German novella by the Czech Franz Kafka, in which a man is transformed into a monstrous creature and is cared for and fed by his sister?) Doctor Freud is happy and happily married. He has six two-legged children, all healthy.
EMMA WORTLEY The ghosts of housemates past clutter this place. Objects with lazy proprietary pull leave little room for me to take up space. Wizened marshmallows and nubbly red wool, fake Halloween bones, retired mobile phones, saucepans abandoned, tea cups off-handed, broken mirrors no living housemate owns; disconcerting loyalty demanded. Iâ€™ve elbowed in with one hat on the rack; my firmest footprint? Toilet paper stored in a pyramid rather than a stack, orphaned rubber duck atop (looking bored). If this house cannot shuck old, welcome new, how in hell can I rid my ribs of you?
All Directions of Love MICHAEL WOODALL The butterflies have rumbled for too long Pressing against flesh escaping by sound Flying to all the dragonflies in song No doctor could cure this fleeting bye wound. The moths gather by the gossiping light Talk of their battle wounds from butterflies Showing their carpet wings of stains and bites The only thing certain is the eyes of why? The butterflies come back with new pieces Wings flapping as air conditioning noise, But with flowers to fill in the bruises Soon the butterflies in me will learn poise. The dragonfly flies in all directions That is love; all single butterflies want.
ALLEN FORREST // The Masters Revisited, Rembrandt, Syndics of The Clothmakers Guild, ink, 2015
Lilly, Lonely Trailer Prostitute MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON Paint your face with cosmetic smiles. Toss your breast around with synthetic plastic. Don’t leak single secrets to strangerslocked in your trailer 8 foot wide by 50 foot long with twisted carrots, cucumbers, weak batteries, and colorful dildos-you’ve even give them names: Adams’s pleasure skin, big Ben on the raise, Rasputin: the Mad Monk-oh no, no, no. Your legs hang with the signed signatures of playboys and drifters ink. The lot rent went up again this year. Paint your face with cosmetic smiles.
72 Hours: Part Three BARBARA HARROUN That night, they went out to a bar with dizzying lights, pounding bass, shots and dancing girls who slid over the bodies of whoever was standing next to them. In her brother’s company, Butch was shy, nearly wordless. After the third lemon drop shot, a slow song came on. He took her hand. During the song she listened to him as his words took shape in a way that made her ear feel uncertain. He told her he liked her weird little shack, her hair, how it hung and smelled, her glasses, and he missed them now that she wore her contacts, that she didn’t need makeup, he wondered what the skin behind her knee felt like, and he admired her gentleness. She moved to look at his face. He was drunk, certainly, but earnest. It was nearly too much to be spoken to in such a way. They considered one another, their lower bodies fused together. They kissed. It wasn’t sordid. She felt married to him, she wrote in her journal, when he was gone. They walked home. He pulled her into him like he was a cave.
He was not shy in bed. They were tender at first
and then they were not. Afterward they felt bruised and happy. She put on the boy’s flannel robe she had, and offered to make tea. It was only 9:30 p.m. He asked if he could use her phone to call his parents; he’d pay the long distance charge. The phone was in the kitchen, on a wall table, with one chair. His speech was more liquefied once his father passed the phone to his mother. He waited for
her to put the tea down for him, and pulled her into his lap, her head under his own, cradled like a baby.
“Oh mama,” he breathed, “I love you too. Don’t
worry.” He was crying, and she didn’t act like she didn’t see. He hung up. She licked the tears right off his face.
“You could really hurt me,” he said.
“I’d never,” she said.
“You’re doing it right now.”
She woke for her 6:30 a.m. shift, and bathed
carefully, parts of her sore. She kissed him, once, then all over his face until he was awake enough to kiss her properly.
When she came home for lunch, during her split
shift, he had cleaned out the front porch, bagged up all the aluminum cans, borrowed a mower. He mowed the front, and when he went into the back, in the deep, dappled shade he found a field of Morel mushrooms, enough to fill a huge bowl. Then he mowed, raked, bagged the yard waste. She cried into his shoulder when she saw.
She soaked them in salt water, prepared an egg
wash, rolled them in cracker crumbs, and fried them in butter. He was leaving in the morning, back to base, but at this table, cold beer, rich silence; a feast before them in the space in between.
Postcards to Ex Lovers COURI JOHNSON
I thought I’d find the key to loving you across the ocean but I realize now I’ve only learned to hate over longer distances. II I’d write you haikus, But they are too short for me To tell you what IIII I told myself not to be that girl who spends months writing poem after poem chasing your memory. No one likes that girl. But instead I should have told you not to be the guy who would make me want to write poetry, because that dude is a dick.
Much like running home through the rain at night our love is more beautiful in my mind than in practice
Listen EMMA WORTLEY Your heart is a tantrum trapped in a jar, everything eavesdropping from heel to crown, organs blasted to faultless bleached coral replicas, squeaking but causing no scar where they scuff; a sibilance that shouts down somehow the mum in your head, to quarrel, Â to scold, to adjourn, to feather and tar. Observe yourself - this fresh liar, terse clown knit at the chaos, scrape for a moral: do not go to bed til your hurt has a noun, to wear like a coat of new paint round town.
BRIAN MICHAEL BARBEITO // Water Droplets 2
No One Cares
MICHAEL LEE JOHN No one cares
I sit in my 2001 Che
writing this poem o
No one cares my lif
full of fumes, worn No one cares Nikki
Jesus is a stray cat a
No one cares no on
No one cares Mr. S
steam by my balcon No one cares I still
mini cassettes not f
No one cares poetr
thoughts, twists ins No one cares lines
History is vampire d
shacks overload de
antique images, dra
I clutch high school
between years pas
I face thrombosis b
I failed English. I sl
rock star, neither u
No one cares I near
rode around 35 mp
Even in high school
No one cares John’s
I see shadows, days
Life is a worn out tr
Niles High School, A ALLEN FORREST // The Masters Revisited, Ingres, Portrait of Ines Moitessier, ink, 2015
Revising this poem
I site in my 2001 Ch
drunk again smoke
I have always hated 14 .
Little penis travels i
1 Chevy S10 truck drunk on smoked salmon vodka,
em on Subway sandwich napkins.
my life insurance policy is a carburetor
worn filters, filled casket.
Nikki my cat; 19-year-old veteran, no bills, no veterinarian visits.
y cat and a life of His own.
no one has adequate health care deductibles clauses, debt.
Mr. Skunk travels nightly with his tail up passing
balcony window 3 A.M. farting gas both sides of his glands, anus. still have Microcassette recorders, old, obsolete, not found any more Wal-Mart, Target stores.
poetry-writing compounds saints, sinners, nightmares,
ts insanity inward a lonely bitch curls.
ines of life too long, house of David.
pire drunk on innocent blood, cheap Skol’s
ad detail, house of horrors-
s, draft dodgers, war hero memories passed out.
chool 1965 Memory Book $25 paid
s past, many hearts gone-
osis bulging encore in my right leg.
. I slept through business class next to Tommy James
her us attended drama classes. nearly flunked high school,
5 mph in John Hibbard’s candy apple red Mercury Cougar.
chool, there were stoplights, cheap gas.
ohn’s parents, both, hated me.
, days as old memories, unjust wars, antique Studebaker Larks.
out tread tire, rusted rims, steel now in junkyards.
ool, August 15, 2015, 50th reunion sees you all there-memories, faces most forgotten.
oem now back, confused with the tenses, no one cares,
01 Chevy S10 truck
moked salmon vodka.
hated the rules.
vels in the dark.
growing pains ELAINE HSIANG have you ever gone down to the river? she is lit poorly across by a proud man’s light and from above by what will outlive his laughter. in a dream i saw her slip into warm water. she would smile before leaving me pieces of her hunger and this one floats where her naked body had just been. i will probably never learn the lyrics to these songs. i will probably fall apart at her idea of distance. i shiver at the cold she must spoon into her body, just to hum our footsteps dry. if i had a boat she’d still choose to swim in the pit of my stomach i keep a happiness garden and there’s this pair of lungs i hope will grow strong enough to sing her home to me someone on the dock is nursing a hurt guitar. it only cries out on sweet, soft nights like this, when it knows that soon the mist will come, and rock it back to sleep.
When I Tell Him the News ARIEL DAWN I wait for the world in his eyes. Only the dark earth, the ash (burned the paper flowers on the wall while he was away serving spirits in the Main Street bars) of light I recall. The blood river, guts and heart, and wanting to grow backwards through veils and stars, while Mother devoured meat, molasses, bread and dark green leaves. I fought to escape flesh, then fought to remain within. He holds me in his bloodshot eyes. I lead him to the bedroom, candelabra and mirrors, bed against the window. Sleep, I whisper, later I’ll make tea with cream and honey.
Garden in a Stone ARIEL DAWN In an abandoned train station I live with a man who can’t run or father a child. He shares his pills and I share my body. The walls are dark without edges, everything curves. He buys tulips and we watch them bend: waves of stems and straining red petals. Wonder if he spikes the water. The bathroom is haunted, the shower is a phone booth. Outside there’s a garden in a stone wall. He shapes the stone, enclosing laminated photographs of the dead, motorcycle parts, street signs in the holes and crevices. We sit around a fire and stare at the harmony among the elements, the negative space, the tulips.
Her (The 7) JACKSON MELENCHUK Maybe
ALLEN FORREST // Real Characters, Oblivion, ink, 2015. 18 .
Photograph of Mona Lisa NICOLA WINSTANLEY In the Louvre a long line of people stand in front of Mona Lisa, smaller than you think it should be. At the painting your camera blinks but Mona Lisa just stares. You take the thing home, say This is the Mona Lisa on my honeymoon, and This is my wedding day This is my new baby This is me when I was young, and happy Then. The memory exists in a thing, not The thing itself, not you. You were never married Never a new mother Never happy You never saw the Mona Lisa You just canâ€™t remember it.
MEGAN EVANS // Somethingâ€™s Fishy
Meat JENNIFER SLOAN WALKER I wish you‘d stop saying you like women with a little meat on their bones. It’s all mismatched for me, this lust for flesh and your raw food, vegan strictness. When you grab my thigh, squeezing, massaging, sinking your teeth, just shy of too deep, I worry your B12 deficiency will get the better of you. That instinct will take over and you’ll eat me whole. Walking down the street with you you’re only half there, you talk of ordinary things, all the while your deep set eyes scanning prey. Women on the street can’t pass by without you making some comment, a sizing up, butchering them to your liking. Ah, a sweet loin, you’ll say. Or, look at that rump roast. You haven’t eaten meat in 15 years. Dragging me to all those PETA protests, bloody animals plastered on placards and tee shirts, cries for justice and punishment. A blood-thirsty crowd. I keep my meat habits quiet. Do you smell the noontime sausage on a bun I inhaled on my way over to meet you? Or morning strips of bacon, eaten straight from the pan. Maybe it leaves my pores, suet and bone. The time we were at one of your meetings and that girl, slender-framed, delicate, a foul-mouthed ballerina. Backing me into a corner, did you eat meat, I can smell it, breathe on me, c’mon, breathe on me. And me, holding my lips sealed, guilty as charged. I looked you straight in the eyes, shrugged my shoulders, she’s nuts. I get something, having this over you. Pretending to be vegan but full of gristle and crackling. Or maybe it’s not over you at all. Maybe, you’re the one pretending, knowing full well. Maybe, it satisfies a primal need, your biology pulling you toward what you don’t want.
ANTONY STEVENS // Found 22 .
sometimes a glass means a glass ELAINE HSIANG in a play. october is an absent child wishing she could love change half as much as her mother she sits in a well-dressed room with well-dressed people lets two hours pass until raising her hand to ask how they would feel if everyone breathed all over their eulogies in her next dream. she will meet a girl who does her lipstick uneven on purpose she will buy her orange flowers and red blush and write her letters about falsetto and house sparrows and how she walked past a dead one the other morning. she kept walking because it died like an exclamation something not yet cut out of cheap manufactured plywood a long time ago. she was fifteen/or so steps from the sugarloaf she would tongue its name inside her mouth in all of the languages she knew would tug at her mother’s osteoporosis when it was time to go before the rain would come to flood her little house, little heart of gold
Anonymous Circles ARIEL DAWN The cluster lights and hanging flowers in this dream where I am homeless. There are holes, and a man inside one, staring at clouds. It is all whispering and bruises. Crows in the bordering trees, and dead trees with wires. I close my eyes in anonymous circles at noon and twilight: confessions in the soup kitchen, cakes in the Salvation Army. The parting prayer and the biker who learned how to love. His dark hands of machinery and earth; at sunset his shoulders, the rose roads.
Untitled RAYN GRYPHON And it was days and not weeks since they had both been banged up, as it were, after suffering the summary judgment of what passed for a local magistrate and the grisly faces that presided over the circumstantial evidence that had ferried them into and out of court with all the due process of a lynch mob that had long since lost its taste for anything more gory than one hour without the generous application of alcohol. Theirs were to edify the imaginations of ten thousand aspiring authors, each of whom liked to think of themselves as suffering some kind of interminable loss of liberties whose ire had the hardly ironic quality of both blunting and funding their “talent”, as they saw it, though a more fitting acronym would have been an adroit combination of poverty, indolence and the nearing infinite range of ailments that beset those young men and women bereft of any native ease in securing the affections of the opposite sex. The last of which pleasures neither Cylus nor his astutely observant yet oddly pedantic companion would feature in very prominently, except perhaps as tragic figures in some duly cautionary tale of prolonged abnegation. The poet went at it again: “Bulwarks.” That Cylus actually tasted something of the pregnancy of meaning this augured both sickened and consoled him. After all, it had only been days, not years.
“They say nothing and everything. They stop and they go on forever.” Before Cylus had a chance, gratefully, to make any sense of this last in a long succession of metaphors (the most recent of which had bore some relation to the less mutable dimensions of their then present existence), his aspiring prison laureate propounded the following set of syllables, careful as a beekeeper to preserve all of the honey and none of the regard usually reserved for any animal that could bite you ten thousand ways past Tuesday: “Big Man. Little wind.” And, as if recalling a community college course on the Taoist Book of Changes, “Heaven over Earth.... Penetrates... deeply.” Faintly if nauseatingly aware that this last intimation (which could hardly be separated from its long, drawn-out intonations) could be interpreted as humorous, Cylus was fast approaching the threshold between two of the most distinct places he had known of the last some three or ten hours, namely whether or not it was more or less effort to hold his tongue or cool his porridge, to continue a theme. “You mean the ceiling stops and goes on forever. It says nothing and everything, permanently suspended overhead whilst taking nothing away from the gravity of the situation.”
Allen Forrest Antony Stevens Ariel Dawn Barbara C Harroun Brian Michael Barbeito Ceo Couri Johnson Elaine Hsiang Emma Wortley Jackson Melenchuk Jennifer Sloan Walker Megan Evans Michael Lee Johnson Michael Woodall Nicola Winstanley Rayn Gryphon Stuart Ross
WordStorm Reading Series at First Unitarian Fellowship Hall, 595 Townsite Rd. Nanaimo. Last Tuesday of the month. Background music at 6:30/Open Mic starts at 7:00. The Living Room Reading Series at the Nanaimo North VIRL on the second Thursday of the month 4:30 to 6:30. Email: David Fraser at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
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