Page 1

August 2012



Turn a page Turn a trick Trick a page Turn left No I mean right Recalculating Turn your partner Do-si-do Turn a corner Corner a tern Turn on a dime Turn on a friend It’s a turning point There’s no turning back You are now leaving Sodom & Gomorrah Turn your head around Turn into a pillar of salt Salt-N-Pepa Turn out the lights Turn over It’s your turn on top Turn the soil Soil the turn Turn the tables on them Turn, turn, turn To everything there is a season Turn over the steak Add more seasoning One good turn deserves another It’s your turn to shine Hug the turns, baby Hug the turns

THE WORMWOOD PRESS / August 2012 The “PIVOT” Issue Copyright Notice:Articles and Illustrations with by-lines are: © 2012 or previously by their creators. Unsigned material is: © 2012 by The Wormwood Press. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission of the contributor responsible for the work. ISSUE #13 EDITOR: Cheryl Welch

CONTRIBUTORS: Linda Benninghoff page 12 Stephen Caratzas

Timorous at first, then grabbing

page 5


Mary Clancy Mango inside front cover and

“She is burnt umber,” I whisper...

pages 8-11, 14 Ryn Gargulinski


owls on page 1 and page 18


17 If feathers are wishes...

Jessica Small page 18

Russ Hampel inside front cover


Alena Sullivan page 16-17

Chloe H. Mango page 19

Alice Underground

From the series “Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia”

page 15 Jackie Post page 4

Arleeta Viddaurri page 19

Christine Repella page 13

Cheryl Welch

Harris & Dan present “Pivotal Moments in Mouse History” (part 1)

covers and pages 2-3, 6-7, 20-inside back cover Rae Welch page 7




Jackie Post



All or nothing posture

When I said

Clashing with cash gifts

My world, my rules

A daily reckoning

I meant to say

With the fine print

Your world, your rules

Weekly updates like clockwork

Thinking this is easy

Devil Dog aesthetic

Lord you’re right

And rightly so

Saw you passing Notes through turquoise bars

$1,000 gets you

Cracked envious

The rest of your life

Wishing my gate Would swing similarly

Lacquered tears Might yet come in handy Generosity ruined in the womb Fresh out of crematorium Gift certificates


The Painting and the Kite By Cheryl Welch


rich warm colors, reaching a full two inches out from the deep green wall, play a game with my childish intellect. Are they real? Does the painted woman have blue and purple stripes of intensity beneath her skin? Are these her true colors, or an artist’s opinion of who the subject should be? I’ve only just met her, and yet, I love her. She could have been my mother, my sister, my favorite aunt. Instead she is my father’s girlfriend and this painting of her fills my heart with overwhelming joy. Simply seated in honest beauty, I could live in this painting I think. I could stay here and be happy. Burnt umber, yellow ochre, raw sienna—these words are exotic and mysterious as my father calls them out to me. “She is burnt umber,” I whisper to myself, “she is yellow ochre.” If I were her daughter she might have named me Sienna, and I would be a warmer and more welcoming girl. People would smile and say my name while touching my arm to feel my colors. “Does she love me?” I wonder. As the morning quietly parishes in cups of tea and is reborn in the wind of a blue-gray day, we build our kite. My father has the dowels and string. She has the paper. “How about this?” she asks, pointing to a poster of Bob Dylan on the wall. We sail him over waves of cloud broken only by a slim, yellow ochre, stripe of sunlight. “How could she not love me?” I think. I belong to my father and now my father belongs to her. We are a combination of colors that blend perfectly and wash across a new canvas. This canvas, this painting of us is too, too beautiful to see. It will hang in our hearts and 6

be exhibited in our deep crimson smiles. My birthday. She gives me a pair of earrings—tiny cameos, ivory against ovals of coral—for the pierced ears that I do not have. We play our guitars together and laugh at our mistakes before heading to Piper’s Alley to gasp at the tiny mice dioramas built in wooden cigar boxes. October turns the city into her painting, brushed with deep colors of sky and trees. She walks with my father, slightly ahead, so I see them in perfect shapes lit by the sun’s setting magentas and mauves. Something feels different about them tonight. She stands a little apart from my father and moves her hands to help say what she means. The pizza we share in communal silence is tasteless and the buzz from the florescent light is making my ears ring. I feel dizzy and afraid to look at them. I want to leave this place, to go see the painting and have some tea. Back at her apartment, after she lights the candles and turns on the single living room lamp that she’s covered with a silk scarf, I can clearly see that her colors have faded. Her black dress seems too geometric as she sits, her edges bent, at the table. Not quite lovely but still loved. The green walls, dimly lit, make me feel ill as I struggle to understand what has changed while I was busy painting our future lives together in a secret part of my imagination. “Tea?” she asks. “No thank you,” I answer, feeling an unbearable heaviness in my throat. The painting is not on the wall, but in my father’s hands as we leave.


Photo: Rae Welch; Illustration: Cheryl Welch





A Celestial Shift Linda Benninghoff

You tell me you have prayed for me to heal— and I wonder how I will, of the broken shifts in my body, the doubt, become at one with myself, and love— the way a dog loves the grass, and stops there, or a deer loves the woods, timorous at first, then grabbing the sugary bark, sap flowing through her system, to her hooves, the dark corners

Illustration: Christine Repella

of her eyes.




UNSAYABLE THINGS Alice Underground

You know who you are This isn’t a Carly Simon song So understand this I’m not playing the game With you anymore You’re not making me feel bad for making the choices I made There is no white flag on my side of the wall You can’t say whatever You want to me and I will laugh it off Because I hurt you once And somehow should pay. I am not pretending I don’t understand your Veiled nasty comments About my breasts Yes they are big and You like them small But I like them fine

No you can’t tell me I will never be what I could have been with you I am so much more Then that now If I am such a mess If I am so awful Why haven’t you Disappeared by now Why don’t you tell me the truth and tell yourself while you are at it The things unsaid you need to say and then go away


If feathers are wishes, then I guess I have wings, And I'll fly forever just to hear you sing, And you know, you know I'd be Anything at all you asked of me. But oh, I've already lived those lies, And you've already passed me by A dozen times, you're all the same; One person with new faces, voices, names, And my crows tell me you're a lesson, But I can’t quite remember why. I'm just feathers, rhymes, and bits of swollen sky, And you, you'd scrape the stars dry, Skin them for wishes ‘til they bleed their soft light, ‘Til they're afraid of the dark except for at night. And it rains, and it rains, and I don't know how; I was drowning in sunshine up until now. Puddles are holes to the sky and I'm falling in, So I'll rip off my feathers and learn how to swim; I only wear them to honor the girl that I've been. It doesn't matter when the sky is this thin. You're a shadow in my reflection, Obscuring and tainting me, But I'm always moving, I'm just like the sea: Irrevocably lonely and feebly free. My skin is just shards of mother of pearl; I am the ocean, I'm not a girl.

Alena Sullivan


If you turn your head, your feet will follow Alena Sullivan


Corpses Making Love They say open space is relieving; but, when I write in the city I am free from my cocoon where I count your eyelashes— I’m a beige shell wrapped tightly slightly

drunk with love and moaning your forgotten name; I think it’s time to wake up now. With a beer glazed smirk and idle hands your soil-colored eyes widen and squint with each pruned word that escapes your lips


that say, “Never again hurts the most.” Condescension bleeds into screaming seas of crimson silk and hides beneath the stained sheets with sweaty words of resonance.

Jessica Small

DELIVERANCE Walking out of your arms I embraced myself protecting what was left of my naivete

I found myself fascinated by what I had become and what I had to offer from inculpable youth

Where nothing is as it seems And I love you and the promises are more than just schemes

Moving from the shadow of your eyes I saw myself as the gullible nymph you turned me into

I crawled back to myself with the longing only a child would have to return to the womb

Arleeta Viddaurri



MY HOUSE Cheryl Welch

My house is falling down Crumbling with truth that will not lay buried within its trembling walls It is time to rebuild I will throw open the windows and let the breeze rustle the curtains free of their history I will unpack the years And examine which memories to keep to give away to burn I will patch the holes And fill the cracks until even my trained heart can’t remember where they were I will furnish my new house With a chair to rest in a book to learn from music to dance to a future to dream of I will open my door I will invite you in And we will plant a garden “LIKE” us on Facebook at: “The Wormwood Press”

Profile for Cheryl Welch

The Wormwood Press, Issue 13  

Free publication containing words and pictures on the topic "Pivot"

The Wormwood Press, Issue 13  

Free publication containing words and pictures on the topic "Pivot"