Hey all, Welcome to the 8th issue of The Radvocate! Even every issue has been important to me, this one in particular is very special. We got an outpouring of support and submissions in the wake of Issue #7 (I think, in large part, because of Fade Hurricane’s epic cover art) and this issue is bigger and better than it’s ever been. We’re truly honored to feature the work from all these featured artists and writers in our pages. We know you will, too. I’m really proud to say that the zine is really coming into its own and starting to exemplify what it set out to do: to provide coverage for amazing writers and artists that are often left to the wayside by mainstream publications. And hey, haven’t you read the news lately? Independent publishing is COOL again! Handcrafted light bulbs and Flirtinis all ‘round. By the time Issue #9 comes out, you can expect to hear news of some BIG changes around here. The Radvocate website is up and running at www.theradvocateisamagazine.com! While we are always committed to our print format, the website will feature a lot of cool new things that are exclusive to it. In addition to learning about the history of the zine and browsing through e-readable back issues, there is an online store where you can buy current RAD issues and other merchandise (theradvocatemagazine.bigcartel.com). But most importantly, the website will feature our vimeo channel, RAD.TV. Essentially RAD.TV will be a video magazine that functions the same way the print issues do: episodes created from original content submitted by whoever would like to. Do you know a band you want to interview? A short film you created? A day in the life of “Jenkum” Jenkins, king of the hobos? Send it our way! Episode 1 will feature B-roll footage from the continuing Tour Nique serial. See the Euro rampage as it happened! Thanks again for picking up this issue. Please check us out on Facebook in the meantime, where we will update all the changes as they happen. If you have any questions about submitting, subscribing, or what-have-you, please feel free to email email@example.com. Enjoy! -Ed.
The blare of rush hour traffic greets me as I peel my eyes open and the rancid, unwashed taste in my mouth has me spitting tiny cotton balls of saliva all around me. “Jesus! I thought you were never gonna wake up.” Jimmy combs his hair over and over, like someone will notice or actually give a shit. “Why? How long have you been up?” I stretch out my arms and legs along my cardboard mattress. “I never really slept all that much.” Jimmy puts his comb in his pocket and pulls out some nail clippers. He doesn’t have anything left to trim but he picks at his nails anyway. “Well, come on, Gerald, I don’t want to be late for my appointment.” Jimmy stands up, walks in a circle, sits down, and stands up again. “Well, I don’t know about you,” I smack my boots together clods of dried mud fall of their soles, “but I could use a bottle and a nudie mag.” “A bottle and a nudie mag? How old are you? Fourteen?” Jimmy clasps his suitcase straps together. “You said you’d come with me to my appointment.” My shoulders and head drop. “Ugh. OK, I’ll go with you but I’m not going in. There’s nothing there for me.” “OK, then. I’m ready to go.” “Can I put my boots on first?” I roll my eyes and slip my foot into one of my boots. “Don’t do that.” Jimmy’s arms are folded and his hips stick out to the left.
“Do what?” I put on my other boot but it doesn’t slide on as easily as the first one. “Roll your eyes at me.” Jimmy keeps his stance intact as a statue. “Yes, your highness.” I stand up and bow. Jimmy starts to walk with his suitcase in tow but he stops when he realizes I’m far behind him. “Let’s go! Let’s go!” Jimmy points to his nonexistent wristwatch. At the next crosswalk, Jimmy’s waiting for me, tapping his foot like an old maid. “OK, two more blocks, right?” “Two more blocks.” I draw my face close to Jimmy’s so nobody else can hear me. “Don’t get too far ahead of me. It’s not a good idea to be alone in this area with a shiny new suitcase.” Jimmy pulls away and raises one eyebrow. “I’m not a baby, you know.” The crosswalk light turns green. “Suit yourself but I’m not running a marathon.” Jimmy’s more than ten paces ahead of me. By the time I cross the street, Jimmy’s at the end of the block. When I catch up to Jimmy, he’s ghost-white. The scene at St. Vincent D. Paul’s is a new one for a guy who’s only done time in the special needs ward and hasn’t been on the streets for more than a week. For me, the cul-de-sac of “services” looks as I remember. Hoards of mentally ill, alcoholics, drug addicts, war veterans, and recently released felons loiter around the dead end street. Some mind their own business. Others hustle pills, stolen goods, or their body. Some argue and scream at each other. Others argue and scream at someone who only exists in their head. Most everyone needs a shower. “Come on, the day center’s job hut or whatever you call it is up there.” I point into the thicket of homeless and walk onwards. As we get closer to the mob, the suitcase wheels speed up behind me and Jimmy is by my side, huddling into my shadow.
I stop under a shady spot and prepare to sit down when Jimmy tugs on my shirt. “Is this it?” Jimmy is so close to me, he’d be in my pouch if we were marsupials. “Yeah, this is it. You wanted to come here.” Just to rub it in, I push my face in close to his. “Didn’t you?” “Well, I didn’t want to miss my appointment.” Jimmy moves in even closer so nobody hears him but me. “Walk me over there, will you?” “Whatever floats your boat,” I say. The thicker the crowd gets, the thicker the stench of body odor and piss gets. The prostitutes aren’t even trying to look good. Weathered and dirty, they sport sweat pants and t-shirts. Their muffin tops hang over their waist bands. How a drug addict prostitute can still be fat is beyond me. They look at me like I’m a fresh customer, regardless of how haggard and dirty I am, until I look back at them like they’re the washed up skanks that they are. The brain dead paint huffers, wet brains, and severely mentally ill stand in place, oblivious to the world, and don’t even notice as they’re pushed back and forth by anyone coming or going. The recently released convicts bulge through their shirts and glare at anyone in their line of vision, inviting you to fight them for who knows what. War veterans from as far back as WWII, and as recent as Iraq, display various levels of bat shit-crazy behavior from the typical routine of talking to the air to performing drills of some sort like they’re back in boot camp. I keep my chest out, chin up, and shoulders back as I make my way through the crowd. If someone’s in my way, I hardly make an effort to move for them unless they’re in a wheel chair. I don’t look anyone in the eye and rely on my peripheral vision to guide me. Jimmy stays close behind me. He apologizes to everyone he has to pass. Nobody moves for him. People kick at his suitcase and call him a faggot. We reach the entrance of the day center. “OK, man, here you go.” “Will you wait for me out here?” Jimmy’s puppy dog eyes plead for compassion.
Although Jimmy hates it, my eyes automatically roll. “I guess. Just try to hurry.” When he comes out, his head hangs low and all the pep in his step is gone. “So, what happened?” I already know what happened but I might as well ask to be sure. “They said it’s hard for them to help a convicted felon. Let alone someone with a learning disability. They can keep my application on file and I can always check the job boards.”I raise my brow. “That’s what I thought.” I stand up and brush the sidewalk’s dirt off my ass and clap my hands together. “Welp, let’s go get us a bottle.” “Yeah, OK, I’m gonna use the bathroom first.” Without looking up at me, Jimmy slumps around the corner. His suitcase slowly clicks and clacks behind him. I sit back down in my same spot, take in all the chaos around me, and thank myself for being resourceful enough to not end up at this dump. Then it hits me. Never go to the pisser alone at a place like this. “Jimmy! Jimmy!” I don’t know which comes first; me yelling Jimmy’s name or me running as fast as I can to the restroom. Jimmy is sitting on his butt outside the restroom. He’s curled up in a ball and his head is between his knees. His suitcase isn’t with him. I squat to get eye level with him. “Jimmy, man, what are you doing here?” “I… I… they… they…” Tears and snot gurgle through his windpipe and mush of inaudible speech. He opens his arms for me to help him. His left eye bulges out on top of a puffy mound of black and purple flesh. The eyeball, what little of it is visible, is beet red, and hides behind the slit of his bloated eyelids. Blood is spattered on the rest of his face and a streaming line of red coagulates at his chin and drips onto his pants. “Jimmy, I’m so sorry man. I should have gone with you.” Anger, guilt, and grief shake my words as they come out. I pull Jimmy to his feet and wipe his face with my shirt, carefully avoiding the injury. “We gotta get out of here. No more tears.” I bend down, grab Jimmy by his shoulders, pull them back, push on the center of his back to get his chest out in front of him, and lift his chin up.
“Chest out, chin up, and shoulders back. You can’t cry until we get far away from this place. Can you do that?” “You’ll be with me, right?” Jimmy’s question quivers out of his slender frame. “Every step of the way.” I push out my chest, put my chin up, and bring my shoulders back, as I instruct him to follow along. “Chest out, chin up, and shoulders back. Got it?” We walk through the crowd of the downtrodden. Side by side we push our way by those who won’t yield. Some of them make remarks about Jimmy’s face but nothing too bad. When we get to the end of the masses, I turn backwards to check on Jimmy. He’s smiling. I slow down my pace and make room for Jimmy at my side. “You did it, man.” I slap Jimmy on the back. “You walked right through every piece of shit out there.” I rub his bony shoulder. We walk in silence for several blocks until Jimmy breaks the quiet. Like a child who learned a harsh reality, Jimmy needs his assumptions confirmed. “Once you’re on the streets, you’ll always be on the streets, won’t you?” “Pretty much.” “Is that why you said there was nothing for you at the day center?” “Pretty much.” We walk quietly for another block until Jimmy breaks the silence again. “Can we get a bottle and a nudie mag now?” I can’t resist being a smart-ass. “A bottle and a nudie mag? How old are you? Fourteen?” “I wish.” I grab Jimmy’s shoulder and give it a pat. “Me too, man. Me too.”
I never marked the dates for big game. You could tell by the change in the weather when it had arrived. The air changed from a suffocating force to an overbearing draft. The wind ran with the deer through the thick of the woods. The treetops would sway with the push of the breeze, and I’d lay with my back on the stand wishing I were as tall and sturdy as they. I envied the trees, and I pitied the deer who foolishly wandered into the crosshairs of my father. My father would make me wait alone at the deer stand while he hunted his game. Sometimes my brother was with, but he’d wander off to try and find a small rodent to harass to pass the time. When I was alone I’d whisper to the trees a plea to make me tall, so I could witness the beauty of the river and the valley and the sunlight diffused by the breaks in the thicket. One day they had answered me and I began to climb. They told me if I made it to the top I would receive my wish. If I made it to the top my roots would reach the ground from thirty-five feet up and I would forever be connected to the earth. This is what I wanted. This is all I ever wanted. So I began to climb. The trees fell silent as I twisted my body through their tangled arms. I set my sights for the sky and didn’t bother to look down. Down was not an option, so I continued to climb further and further as their arms grew thinner and thinner. My victory was right in front of me when the trees selfishly stole it from me. They pulled out their once supportive arms right from beneath my feet, and the plummet began. My body felt weightless for the first fifteen feet, and then the arms started trying to catch me as I passed by. I felt the flesh on my cheek open up like the mouth of a cave and my eyes were blurred with a red that set everything on fire. The fall felt like an eternity. I didn’t mind it much at all, but trees had
stopped reaching for me and the ground now approached rapidly. Everything fell silent, and I was in a fit of red. And then it happened. The final blow reminding me where I would remain. The trees roots protruded from the ground in a violent manner, forcing my last breath from inside me. I gasped and pleaded but nothing came out. The trees stood in silence as I tried to find my air. The blood from my face watered the tree as I passed out nestled inside its roots. When I woke up a pond of my blood had settled into the dirt. The tree had soaked it up, and I lifted my body and my eyes scanned the tree tops one last time. I was searching for an apology, but the trees remained silent and I never heard them whisper to me again.
Preface The following story is not fiction. This is a memoir, written by my Grandfather, about his experience in the European theatre of war in World War II. You will notice a number of spelling and grammatical errors. This is because the story was transcribed exactly as it was written, to preserve the original voice of the author. There also are a number of things said which may seem outdated or offensive to a present-day audience. These things are best taken in the context of the time and with a grain of salt. The presentation of this story is not meant to be a glorification of war or patriotism. It is not meant to be vilification of those things, either. It is simply a re-telling of the first-hand accountâ€Śthe account of a 19 year old from the Northeast who barely got out of High School and was thrust, headfirst, into a global conflict. â€“ Matt Lewis
I thought maybe you would be interested in my experiences, and places I have been since I landed in the European Theatre of Operations. The following is a chronological order of my experiences in the ETO. I left Camp Myles Standish, Tauton, Mass., on the 8th of October 1943 for the Boston Port of Embarkation. At the pier we were served coffee and doughnuts by the American Red Cross. I then proceeded up the Gang-plank of the USS Santa Rosa. The ship was to be our home for the next ten days. This ship was also the flagship, for our Commanding General, (Major General Brown). The 108th Field Artillary Battatlion was billeted in state-rooms which had 9 to 13 bunks to a room. This was much better than I expected as we had bathrooms and showers right in our room. I was very comfortable on the trip, although we were somewhat cramped. The Infantry replacements slept down in the hold.
Our course during the voyage was changed every so often because of active submarines. We picked up another convoy off the coast of New Foundland and up to that time our convoy was the largest that crossed the Atlantic since the war started. The food was very much to our dislike. The cooks, Chinese, boiled all the food and we only had two meals a day. We lived in Niesen huts and slept on double decker bunks. The weather was quite cold and damp here. While we were at Camp Penclawdd we were given passes to the town of Penclawdd and to Swansea every night. Swansea is a large seaport in Wales. At first we thought the customs and habits and money of the Welch and English were quite quaint. But as time went on we got used to them. A lb. in American dollars is approximately $4.00. A shilling is $.20. I was a Private First Class then and working with the Supply Sergeant. It was a racket! While we were at Camp Penclawwd our equipment began to come in. There were new trucks, guns and all kinds of war supplies. Our 155mm Howitzers were the new type Howitzers. On December 6, 1943 we moved to Camp Senneybridge, Glamorganshire, South Wales, where we were to go out on the firing range and fire the new guns. Camp Senneybridge is called the Fort Sill of England. It was cold and damp on the firing range. We only stayed there 14 days. During our stay at Senneybridge I was sent to a machine gun range at St. Anges, England where we could see the coast of France on a clear day. I was taught how to fire the machine guns at enemy airplanes. The airplane towed a white sleeve target which we shot at. During that time at St. Anges I spent 4 days out of 6 in the hospital with the Flu. I left St. Agnes to go back to Senneybridge with my outfit. I arrived back to camp on Decemeber 18, 1943. On December 20, 1943 we left Camp Senneybridge for a new camp. We arrived in our new camp, on December 20, 1943. It was Camp Island Farm, Bridgend, Glamorganshire, South Wales. It was located about one mile from the center of the town of Bridgend. It was the nicest camp we had been in since we left the States. We had passes and furloughs from Bridgend. While we were stationed at Camp Island Farm, I was lucky enough to get a pass to London, England. It was only a 48 hour pass but I made the most of it.
While I was in London, I took in the sights. I spent most of my time in London visiting theatres and Cinemas of which there were quite a few. On February 19, 1944, I was promoted to the rank of Corporal. My job was Scout Corporal #1 on the Instrument and Survey Section of the Battery. On March 24, 1944, Gene Sagert and I left Bridgend to spend a 7 day furlough in London. We spent a glorious 7 days together. We arrived back at camp on April 1st, 1944. The next day General of the Army Eisenhower visited and spoke to us. Then the King and Queen visited us too during our stay at Camp Island Farm, Bridgend. On April 12th, 1944 we departed for an unknown camp in England. On April 13th, 1944, we arrived at Camp Perham Downs, Tidworth, England. We were again fortunate to get nice billets. During our stay at Camp Perham Downs, we did all the usual duties. On June 6 while we were at Perham Downs, we all heard the news on the radio that Eisenhowerâ€™s troops had landed on the beaches of Normandy. We were all happy and glad that we did not have to make the Invasion. At this time we were in the 3rd Army, and in case the last Army failed to hold the beachhead, we were slated to make a second beachhead. But the 1st Army succeeded, so we were put in the 3rd Army. On July 17th, 1944 we left Camp Perham Downs for the marshalling area at Dorchester, England. There we received rations and instructions and a partial payment in French invasion money. On July 20th we proceeded to Portland, England, where we embarked on L.S.T. #510 with vehicles, guns etc. We left Portland, England on July 21st headed for the coast of France. On July 22nd, we landed on Omaha Beach, France. We proceeded to a rendezvous area where we stayed for about a week. We ate 10 in 1 rations. On July 29th we proceeded on our way up to the front. On July 30th the traffic was so heavy that we pulled off the road and prepared to sleep there for the night. I dug a hole which was to be my sleeping quarters for the night. At 11:00 PM that night, enemy bombers came over and bombed us for about an hour and a half. I was so scared I just lay there and prayed for my safety. Battery B, received the worst of the bombings. One man being killed and one man lost his leg. Others were slightly wounded. Pvt. LaCorte of my Battery (Battery C) was wounded in the buttocks and was evacuated. He was the first casualty in our Battery up to this date. The next morning (July 31st) we pulled into position and fired on the enemy for the first time. July 31st, 1944 was the first day our division actually entered combat against the enemy.
While on stay in this position, Cpl. Spears; Cpl. Mangini; Pvt. Mc Hugh and Pvt. King were wounded while up front acting as forward observers. They were all evacuated. Later we learned that Pvt. King had died. It was the first death we had had. My job in the battery was to set up a Battery Fire Direction Center and record all the data on the fire missions. We learned that our Doughboys were running into tough opposition and the Jerries gave us a title. They called us the “Bloody Bucket” Division. Late in August we made a long move into position outside of Conches, France. From there we fired at the enemy, but within a few hours, the enemy was out of range so we moved again. We had those Krauts on the run now. We moved about once a day. On August 28th we pulled into a rendezvous area in the Palace Garden of King Louis XIV’s Palace in Versailles, France and were told we were going to parade in Paris the next day. During the night we moved into Paris to await the parade. We were visited by French men and women, old and young, and children. They kissed us and greeted us with joy and also Bottles of wine, cognac and champagne. At noon on Aug. 29 we paraded down the famous Champs de Elysee’s and went down to the Arc de Trioumphe. The streets of Paris were crowded with all kinds of people, crying, laughing and singing for they had just been liberated from the enemy a few days before by the Americans. We pulled into position right outside of Paris and started firing at the Jerries who were still on the run. We moved out the next day and kept closing in on them. On September 9 we entered the country of Belgium. There we were greeted by the Belgians with kisses, wine, cognac, and champagne. On September 10 we entered the country of Luxembourg. Here we were also greeted by the Luxembourg people. I was given a new assignment while in Belgium. I became a forward observer. Our job was to go up and set up an Observation Post on the front lines to support the Infantry with fire. It wasn’t bad at first because we had the Krauts on the run. On the 14th of September we entered Germany. I want to say here that we were one of the first divisions to enter Germany. We went into position just on the other side of our river. (border line of Luxembourg and Germany)
The front lines were 5 miles from our position. It was while we were in this area that I had my first exciting experience. I was up front with Lt. Wallace (our FO) in the town of Berg, Germany. About a mile outside of Berg was our Observation Post, which was a house. We had to crawl a half mile with a 610 radio, as we were under enemy observation and enemy machine gun fire. Once in the house (OP) we were comparatively safe. We slept in the cellar. Every once in a while the enemy would send a barrage of morter and 88 shells around the house and once when I was there, they hit the house but no one was wounded. Another time when I was in the town of Berg, a Lt. from the Tank Battalion which was attached to the Division asked me to go into the field, next to the house we were living in, and get one of his tanks for him. I ran down the field along the hedgerow and at that minute I heard a familiar sound of shells coming in so I fell flat on the ground. At that moment, two 150mm shells burst about 50 yards away from me. When they burst I thought that the shrapnel would be sure to hit me, but as I lay there, I seemed to have a vision of a large hand out in front of me protecting me from the flying shrapnel. When I got back to the house, I knelt down and thanked God for protecting me from the two shell bursts. Although I was scared I had a duty to perform and I did that duty with no more enemy interruption. We then were called back to the battery, where we left that position and went up into Belgium. We arrived into position near Camp Elsenborn, Belgium on October 3rd, 1944. Although we fired on enemy targets there, it was an unusually quiet front. We stayed there until October 26th when we packed up and moved up to a new position near Aachen, Germany. This was known at the Hürtgen Forest. It was really rough up there. Our OP was in Germeter not far from the famed Vossnack and it got so hot there we had to move out fast. It was from the OP in Germeter I fired my first fire mission. I fired on 20 Germans who were crossing the valley in front of us. I particularly noticed one Jerry who was walking. When I heard the Radio operator holler “On the way”, I said to myself, “I hope one of the shells hits him on the head” As I watched him walk, I saw a shell burst and the I didn’t see the Jerry anymore. So I concluded that a shell must have hit him. One day Jerry sent a few mortors one and one of them landed right on the star on the hood of our jeep. We had to walk back to the Infantry Command Post and get transportation back to the Battery. One night we were sleeping with the 76th Field Artillery Battalion when a robot bomb came over and we heard the
motor stop and it landed 500 yards from us, but we were lucky because it was a dud. During our stay at the Hürtgen Forest, our Infantry was hard hit. In 18 hours, the 112th Infantry Regiment of the Division lost 1,800 men. The replacements that came up didn’t even know how to load an M-1 rifle. A couple of them asked me to show them how to load their rifles. I really felt sorry for those kids, some of them only 18 and 19 years old. On November 15th, 1944 we left our position in the Hürtgen Forest and proceeded to Stegan, Luxembourg. It was a trip of 115 miles in the cold weather. We relieved the 8th Division who relieved us in the Hurtgen Forest. It was a very quiet front although we did fire at enemy targets. Up forward we stayed in a hotel with some of the troops of the 9th Armored Division. It was at this position I received a pass to the 28th Division Rest Center at Clervoux, Luxembourg. I had a good time there. I spent 3 days there and had a good rest. When I got back, the battery had moved to Gilsdorf, where the guns were set up in an old quarry. We stayed in a cement shack in the quarry. It was in this position, that on the morning of December 16, 1944 at 5:45 AM we were shelled by the enemy and we soon realized that the Jerry’s were trying to push us back. We were shelled for two days before we finally got out that night at 1:00 AM and made a strategic advance to the rear. We pulled into position in Ellelbruck, Luxembourg, but it got so bad that we had to move out again that night. It was here that we left our duffel bags because we could not carry them with us. The next morning I went forward with Lt. Wallace. We were assigned to Company K. We stayed with K Company for 4 days until the 80th division Doughboys relieved us. The Division was then pulled out for a rest but the battalion (108th FA Bn) was attached to the 183rd Field Artillery Group, in support of the 87th division. Then finally on the 10th of Jan. 1945 we were pulled out and sent back to a rest area with the Division. We were stationed in a little town called Balaires et Butz, France. We had the whole town to ourselves. The people treated us swell. It was there that I had my first rabbit dinner. It was very good. Lt. Wallace and I got a new assignment working as Liaison between Division and Battalion. We stayed in Charleville, France. I had a nice time in Charleville. I then went back to the battery where I was told by the 1st Sergeant that I was to leave for Paris the following day, January 15th, just a month after the breakthrough.
I went to rear echelson and the 15th, spent the night there and the next morning we left for Paris. Our passes started at 1:00 PM on the 16th. I spent 3 days in Paris eating, sleeping, and seeing all the sights that had to be seen in Paris. I went to theatres, movies and other places of entertainment during my stay there. I left Paris on the 19th and went back to where the rear echelson was stationed. We found out the battalion and division had moved in the southern part of France. I spent the night at Rear and the next morning we proceeded to find the division. We arrived in Nancy late that night and the truck broke down so we stayed in the Third Army Rest Center billets until the truck could be fixed. We stayed at Nancy for 2 days and we had a very good time there. On January 22nd we left Nancy and proceeded to go to St. Marie where the division was. We arrived there at 2:00 PM and after we got some chow we got transportation to the battery. The battery was in position in the little town of Ambere, up on the top of a mountain. It was here that we had the 2nd death in the battalion. The divisionsâ€™s job was to help take Colmar and territory this side of the Rhine. In February of 1945 with the help of the 28th Doughboys, the French 1st Army took Colmar. After our job had been completed successfully we had moved up to Commercy, France, for a rest. We did not go into position. On February 20th we moved up to Leige, Belgium where we stayed for 2 days. On February 22 we proceeded to our battery position near Drieborn, Germany. There we relieved the 2nd position. We were under enemy observation all the time while we were there. There one day, all hell broke loose and we rushed over the Germans, trying to catch up with the fleeing Germans. By this time the 1st Army crossed the Rhine so we pulled in a second defensive position at Lumansdorf, Germany. It was from here that I went back to rear echelson to work with the personnel section. The Personnel section was stationed at Iversheim, Germany. This was March and the weather was beginning to break. It was turning warm and natureâ€™s trees and etc were breaking out in full bloom. On March 15th the personnel section was moved to Neidermendig, Germany. The battery at this time was firing across the Rhine into a pocket of Jerries. While we were stationed at Neidermendig, we were entertained with movies, GI shows and other amusements to keep us occupied.
On March 31st we moved across the Rhine to a town called Irmtrant, Germany. This town was not very far from the Prisoner of War Camp at Limburg. We saw evidence of huge mass burials here. We didnâ€™t stay long for soon we moved back across the Rhine to Kohlschied, Germany (A suberb of Aachem). Our Battalion was firing into the Ruhr pocket. We stayed here till about April 22nd, when we moved to Landstuhl, Germany where we were stationed to the present date (July 4th, 1945). It was here that on May 8th, 1945, we heard the news that the Germans surrendered unconditionally. Our Division which was in the 15th Army was slated to occupy the surrounding area of Landstuhl and Kaiserlauterin, Germany. On May 20th, I was transferred to Headquarters Battery as Battery Clerk. In June the Division was put into the second category which meant redeployment. Late in June all the men with 85 points or more were transferred to the 106th Division and new men with 84 points or lower were transferred into our Battalion. It was announced that the 28th Division was scheduled to be at Camp Pittsburgh, near Rheims, France, on July 5th, 1945. This will be the first step on the way home to the United States of America! As we prepare to leave the continent for the UNITED STATES, I can proudly say that the 28th Division has done a swell job in the European Theatre of Operations and will do a better job if our objective is JAPAN. FINIS:
By -CORPORAL STAN LEWIS, Headquarters Battery, 108th Field Artillery Bn., 28th Infantry Division, United States Army.
Once a week, a graying middle-aged man drives to the pier along the channel from the bay to the lake. He leaves his brown Tudor home, out of his two-car garage, over the cracked asphalt, away from voices, and newspapers, and work shoes, and the laundry, and the phone bill, and his wife, and the television, and when he gets to the pier, he sits. He unfolds his canary yellow chair adorned with perfect sprouts of rust, about two-thirds of the way down the pier, places it facing the west bank of the channel, and sits. His home shivers against the October winds in western New York during his absence. Eyes closed, crossed fingers at rest in his lap, he lets the wind slap him in the face. He smells the water, feels the sun, and the repeated brisk slaps ruddy his pale cheeks. The sun a warm juxtaposition. The sound of water a tranquil pattern. Maple leaves dance obtuse circles around the bent legs of his chair, curtsying one another. There are thicker, ominous cumulonimbus patches behind him rolling across the lake from the west. His lids unmoved. Not a smile, not a frown, but a look of deep indifference, a real, and genuine lack of emotion lay on his face as I approach. Hands in my pockets, red doc martens ease the strides through leaves and sand drifts. He sees me first, or at least it feels that way, turns his neck slightly left, and points his chin up toward me. He keeps his eyes closed. The wind fiercer, the clouds loom, and the gulls have flocked east as I am halfway. His hands are still. After my jacket is fully zipped, I dive my veiny hands back into shallow pockets, and pump my shoulders up, a mountain around my neck. An emerald gem pulsates atop the steel post at the far end of the pier, timed with every forth step. I am close to him, my heels clacking louder, my strides faster, jolty and abrasive, but he is unmoved. His ash hair remains stoic in the wind. Behind wrinkled lids his unopened eyes are smoothed, eroded stones. I want to sit, too. At the end of the pier, before the rain swallows the lake, the channel, the bay, and everything else.
I want to sit too, so I rush passed him, toward the rocky end. I will have to make every second count, every breath, each inhale deep and held, exhales long and precise, while I am sitting. The clouds are close. The wind is harsh. The sun is hiding. I sit beneath the green blink, shoulders still high, my fists stuffed, knees tucked into my chest, the waves sprinkling me like small, individual baptisms. I do other things, but the weather is forcing me to stand, scurry to my car and head home. I feel drops. First a few, then several, then torrential. My pace a gallop, but the man just sits with his stone eyes, clasped hands with white knuckles, faded jeans, dusty jacket, and indifference. The leaves have stopped dancing, the sand is soaked and beaten from the rain, but the waves crash harder. As I pass him he gives me a ghostly glimpse of a smirk on the left edge of his lips, I think, but I canâ€™t be sure. Almost to my car, I have a strange, innate requirement to stop, turn, and observe this man again. His chair is abandoned on its back, glistening. His crooked hands above his head outstretched to the charcoal sky, his long neck stretched up, battered and unprotected, tributaries flowing down his fingers into his palms, his face absorbing the downpour. He moves his arms as if reaching, an endearing grope through the droplets. I watch him open his eyes to the world and smile.
“Both of their work focuses on rollerblading and travel with such youthful bewonderment that you are liable to feel pangs of nostalgia for a life you’ve never lived (or have you?) while scrolling through the Romeros’ photo roll…” -Chad Deal
â€œThoughts are just thoughts, and feelings just feelings. But when they're of you, they gain so much meaning.â€? -Dustin Werbeski
â€œYou make twenty feet feel like an inch, while clearing the room of everything and anything. From the couch to the TV, down to the dust swept out by a mental broom. Revealing nothing but us, you and I. Eyes locked. To unlock and open books chapters pages words of that which can not be spoken. -Dustin Werbeski
I know I saw one this time. It was before opening, and I had traded shifts with Hector so he could go on a camping trip with his family. I was walking past the darkened menswear aisle and froze; there was a slight movement to the left of me. As soon as I spun around, I barely fixed my vision on a horizontal blur, which left only a few clattering plastic hangers in its wake. But I heard it, and I know that those soft clacking sounds it made on the linoleum couldn’t have been human. “A deer?” my manager Dan asked me, quizzically. “A deer” I replied. “I didn’t see any antlers on it, so it must have been a doe. It was in menswear” He scratched the back of his neck and looked at me like I was the one with antlers. “Mike, I can assure you, there haven’t been any animals in the store…” “But what about the other stuff that’s happened?!” I cried. “How do you explain the gnawed edges of those pop-up signs we found?” “Rats. Or maybe really big moths. I really…” “And Julie? She said she came in early to start the popcorn machine and found droppings!” “That was probably somebody’s service dog. I’m sure the janitors just missed it” I shut up. There was no way he was going to believe me. Why bother even explaining that the poop was in round pellets? “Mike,” he said, interrupting my thoughts, “Target has a really nice leave plan for their employees. Maybe you could take some time off, get some sleep, get your bearings back, ya know?” He looked concerned. Not concerned as a friend, but concerned like someone trying to prevent a Columbine situation. “It’s fine. Let’s just forget about it” I said flatly.
Other employees started seeing it too. Usually around the outdoors aisle (natch) but sometimes over in menswear, where I had seen it. Most of them only said they had strange feelings, or heard weird noises around opening hours. Sometimes they would focus their vision on a fleeting horizontal figure for a second before it vanished.
Ricky in particular said that he saw it clear as day; a pale-blue deer with glowing eyes, which ran straight through a wall. But, because Ricky was also known to tell people that Target had implanted tracking microchips in all of us, no one took his account seriously. We started finding more nibbled cardboard signs, and Dan put out rat traps at night. When we asked him if he had caught anything that morning, he would just look down and walk into his office. The itching began around this time. At first, I thought it was just a rash, but it would come and go at odd times. One time a few weeks ago, I was mindlessly bagging on aisle 6, the next I was on the ground screaming and clawing myself like a madman. The itching was so bad I thought I’d go blind. But by the time I got to the hospital, I was fine. They did plenty of tests and came back with nothing, so I wrote it off. I didn’t have health insurance anyway, so I couldn’t afford any kind of treatment. The $900 ambulance ride in itself was going to set me back for quite a while. A few weeks after the itching incident, no one else reported any ghost deer encounters. I don’t think the other employees stopped seeing them; they were just afraid of looking crazy. Most of them were barely making enough money here to survive. Why would they throw it all away to report a phantom animal no one else would admit to seeing? I started becoming paranoid that someone I worked with was poisoning my food. It would explain a lot: the mysterious itching that came and went could be an allergic reaction to something slipped in my lunch in the break room fridge, and now I couldn’t even eat anything at work without running to the bathroom to vomit. I tried turkey sandwiches, roast beef, even tuna, and got sick every time. I was about to approach Dan to tell him my suspicions when I tried, on a whim, to just eat a sandwich with lettuce and bread. Suprisingly, I kept it down. There must have been a salmonella outbreak at the grocery store I go to or something, I told myself. As long as I don’t have the meat from there anymore I’ll be fine. I didn’t mind, as I started to enjoy the taste of lettuce more than I ever had before.
Pretty soon it seemed like everyone at work had forgotten about the thing entirely. There was a new subject of gossip for the employees now: me. My weird eating habits, the itching, the bathroom trips, all seemed to lead them to the conclusion that I was anorexic, a drug addict, or both. A new affliction had surfaced which they couldn’t make any sense of, though: the hair on my arms grew to an almost unmanageable length. I didn’t understand it, either. Every morning I shaved them and the hair would always grow right back on the drive to work. And unbeknownst to my co-workers, all my body hair was afflicted with this. Every day it seemed to be getting more matted and course. But because I wasn’t in any pain, I put off going to the doctor. They probably would just tell me I was fine and foot another huge medical bill. “Did you get hairier, Mike? You look like bigfoot these days, man!” Hector laughed and slapped my back. I used to feel more comfortable around Hector, but now he made me…nervous, I guess? I felt anxious whenever someone loud or gregarious was around. It was almost as if I’d become more physically sensitive, because to hear people laugh or yell made me flinch, like I was looking into a bright light. I heard that Hector started describing me to people, behind my back, as ‘skittish’.
I looked up from stocking CDs to see Julia, staring at me from across the aisle. She was using the rows and rows of kid’s bikes as camouflage, but I could see her stare through the racks of intertwining spokes. We locked eyes, and it looked like she was about to dart away. Instead, she came toward me, stepping gingerly, like she was approaching a nervous animal. “You know, dear” she said in a motherly voice, “my husband’s a dermatologist, and I can have him look at those forehead bumps if you want.” I had lost sense of all space and time. The change had come while I was sleeping, I think. I couldn’t remember the exact details. I was in the store, I knew that, but I couldn’t remember if I had come too early or forgotten to leave. All the familiar aisles and their decorations seemed to be in a different frame of vision. I knew what I was now. I knew what I had become. Walking on cloven feet was easier than I thought; bipedalism seemed like a weird novelty now. Who wouldn’t I use every limb they had for walking? I had developed a taste for the inside of the bedding they kept in the back of the warehouse. It was softer, and easier to digest than the newer stuff kept on display.
I still got out enough, though. Sure, I had to slink around the warehouse during the day, but at night, the store was my forest. My new life in the store changed my behavior completely. Instead of greeting people, I ran at the sound of footsteps. Instead of checking the store merchandise, I ate what I could and was ambivalent to the rest. When I roamed the aisles at night, the only light came from the blue emergency lights. These lights threw odd shadows of the lamps and Keith Urban CD cutouts on the walls. In my peripheral vision, I swear I could see them move. I don’t think they noticed me until the night I had to chew some of the starbucks coffee bags to alleviate a stomachache. I’d gotten into some bad bedding, and a cup of coffee always helped when I was sick before. It worked like a charm, but I had forgotten to hide the evidence when I was done. Not forgotten; I knew it was important, but couldn’t remember why. They were sloppy when they got here. I was dozing in the back of the warehouse, long after closing time, when I heard them undo the deadbolts on the back door. I stalked my way through the thick jungle of kid’s clothes and shoes until I got a good look at them. It was Dan, walking quickly but silently toward the outdoor aisle. Some other men followed him, but I didn’t recognize them. Maybe I forgot who they were. Maybe they didn’t exist.
I thought the noise was one of them dropping a flashlight on the linoleum. But then I heard the reloading sounds of the gun. Tch-tick. I bolted with no thought at all. Before I even realized what was happening, my feet had moved me halfway across the store to the registers. Pure adrenaline made me bound off each conveyer belt and I heard muffled shouts behind me. More shots rang out and sang sharply against the plastic and metal they hit. Now I was practically running under the clothes racks at an impossible speed. I could hear their footsteps clattering in all directions. They were trying to surround me.
Trying my best to crawl my furry belly across the scratchy carpet, I didn’t dare raise my head up or even breathe. The warehouse was my only option. If I could make it there, I could bolt out the back door they came through to freedom. Or, at least, a little more freedom than I would have here. I spied a line of shoes near the wall; menswears. I only had to run across a few feet of bare linoleum to the warehouse door. It was a gamble, but I didn’t have any choice now. I took a quick look to the right, then the left, and didn’t see any moving feet. Now or never.
I heard the clothes swish around me like cattails as I broke my silence. Then, barely out into the aisle, I heard the shot and felt the burning explosion near my left flank. Then another in my breast as I fell to the ground; this one I felt before I heard. All the energy had left my body, and now there was only the pain, and the growing coldness. Through the red I could see shoes walking toward me, slowly. In the growing pool of blood, I saw shards of something unnaturally white. Not like bone. With a fading coherence, I tried to make out what these shards were and then I saw it; the black lines against them. It was a name. My nametag. Dan had spotted it glinting in the soft blue light. It was my final betrayal. I was breathing heavier now, and the red was fading. I laid my head down and felt my body relax. I knew now I couldn’t get away; I would never have been able to get away. The target had been on me all along.
I’m going mad and not in the fun way. It’s sheer madness, all these people, around everywhere. None of them know how to fuck off and die properly, and it’s a damn shame for that. All of this “Occupy” business… All that is turning into a lot more fun than I’m sure most people would have thought. I’m sure most people didn’t think much of a bunch of kids hanging out in a park with a few signs. Here in San Francisco, people do that kind of thing all the time. The only thing that changes are the causes: a free Tibet, stopping the war in Afghanistan, giving gays the right to marry, etc. Most of the time, it’s a bunch of kids hanging out, singing songs, drinking beer, and talking about change without putting any real work to make it happen. Then Oakland got involved. Sure, a nice girl got maced by some asshole police sergeant in New York, but like all things involving civil unrest, Oakland proved to be the epicenter of hell and chaos in America. First, a nice kid from Wisconsin – who also served two tours with the Marines in Iraq – went and got himself shot in the head. The police were only lobbing gas cans and flash grenades at protestors with hand cannons that could take down a small aircraft, but those pesky, illegally-camping kids with their damn signs had it coming. There was health and sanitation to consider, after all. So this kid, Scott Olsen, was allegedly hit by some alleged object that may or may not have been fired by the police, the only cowboys who brought guns to this knife fight. So there’s Scott Olsen, off somewhere in a chemically-induced coma while the cops are trying to figure out which one of the 12 or so police departments showed up to the party that night.
Man, did all that smoke and chaos and yelling and blood make for good entertainment. It wasn’t as good as the riots that came after a BART cop shot an unarmed man on the deck of a train back on New Year’s Eve and then only received a few months in jail, but we didn’t give any of those pesky Occupy kids a chance to warm up. Not more than a few weeks later did the entire city decide to give a big middle finger to everything and call off work for a day to march their way through everything and give everyone what for. Teachers, baristas, clergymen, businessmen, and all sorts of nobodies went and walked their way over bridges and in front of buildings to say something. What that was, the national media still hadn’t figured out yet. It was something about something dealing with money. Maybe it was corporate greed. Maybe it was something about the 1 percent of the country, including the sweat and tax dollars of the people walking the streets of every major city across America, or something like that. All we know is that Stephen Colbert had some girl named Ketchup showing off the nifty hand signals they had come up with to show off their Marxist, Communist, and anticapitalist ideas. That, too, made for good TV. The day everyone walked was boring. No one got shot, no one was hanged, and my blood lust went unquenched. The nightly news was shit compared to the morning news. Just as we had all had enough for the day, when those bulky television cameras had packed up for the night, things got interesting. Not like Cairo-interesting, but close enough. So these kids, with their signs and their slogans and their songs, tried to take over a building that was used to house a bankrupt non-profit that helped homeless people and tried to take the building back from the bank. It was illegal as all hell, which justifies the SWAT team if I ever needed a reason (the mayor had said she supported the protestors, but those cops with their blacked-out badges were ever-so-confused). Those kids set fire to their signs, painted the hell out of the town, and had themselves a good old masked-face party. Less than a hundred people were arrested and no one left in a body bag, but still all that riot gear and smoke and crying made for some damn good entertainment when I was sipping my morning coffee.
Now the internet is all abuzz about fun things like retribution, violence, and other good stuff. I really hope these hippie, yuppie, hipster kids get their shit together and learn how to mix up a decent Molotov cocktail because November is usually a cold month, and fighting and bloodshed and shouting and crying and anarchy sure is a great way to stay warm.
Defining a Generation Anxious, hyper, self-inflicted, giving, recovering, scared, lost, hopeless, hopeful, right-minded, left-wing, center-stage, disconnected, plugged-in, rebuilding, restructuring, commanding, subservient, climbers, drifters, hipsters, gangstas, drunks, hippies, preppies, and mindless nomads strung together by nothing more than ideals, ideas, dreams, hopes, desires, urges, hormones, drugs, scenes, dialogue, diversity, homogeneity, and passions they think are far greater, purer, happier, hipper, finer, smarter, and dirtier than anyone else that has ever embarked, traversed, danced, fucked, felt, and crawled through this crazy, dumb, useless, amazing, and wonderful time, space, and place we know as â€œlife.â€?
I inhale sapphire from your hair and taste the carillon on your lips. For the next three full moons I'll be nowhereâ€™s sun and the brother of the universe. In the next three midnights I'll raise my body, frail from a torturous tenure with lycanthropy. The tumultuous winds will raise me like a sail as the wind falls from your tongue. Our seedling of a galaxy rests in your womb. I shall name her Winter and rest my head on your bosom as I watch her grow. Lost in her wonder, my feelings will last for you, and she shall know my words spoke upon you, chaotic and true, resonance of a love that knew infinity. We will reach the top tier and witness the trickle-down effect of our passion, inspiring the insipid and the tired. I will be a messiah and you my Madonna and, black as night, we will turn on our winding wheel. Producing the harmony of the listless into songs for the masses, we will feed their hunger for agony with loving spoonfuls of R&B and Jazz. Thoughtless amoral behavior at the after party will leave an aftershock that won't leave us as gods, but as infamy. I'll revel in it during our thousandth afterlife, when I finally can express to you how I really feel. This sack of sand becomes a bag of dreams and myself a simple courier. I sculpt your figure from muscle memory. My fingertips in long disbelief of their own harmony. My hands take minutes to create you, like they have known you for a millennium. The Heart would take seconds, but it's hands find themselves bound. Never letting go of inclined feelings toward the burns you left on them, a stigmata carried for the next thousand years. Luminescent and free, my path runs through you. My path is you. Where you go, I follow. Where I go, you follow. Following a path of figure eights tied in a knot, we tie a noose. A gentle reminder that neither of us will stray. This sanguinary journey will be good for us, come Winter.
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Issue #8 is out! The cover art is provided by Anthony Zinonos and loaded with enough content to slate the insatiable hunger of yourintellect...