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A Note from your Editors: It has been an honor to work with so many talented writers and artists who have graciously contributed to The Wormwood Press. We have enjoyed your humor, shared your pain, and marveled at your creativity. We hope you’ll continue to share our collective works through the website, and we welcome your comments on our Facebook page. We will be in contact as our futures continue to grow and evolve. We hope you, too, will keep us informed of your new endeavors! With love, Mary and Cheryl


“The End” issue April – 2014

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CO-EDITORS MARY

Clancy Mango and CHERYL

Welch 5

CONTRIBUTORS

]MARY

HALLE

Clancy Mango PHIL

LAYNE

Kincaid

page 8

pages 4-5, 6-7, 10, 11, and 14-15

Mango

Messing-Swain

front and back covers

page 16

JACKIE

DAN

von der Embes CHERYL

9

Post

pages 2 and 3

11 pages 12 and inside back cover

Welch

inside front cover, pages 9,

13 and inside back cover

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Copyright Notice: Articles and Illustrations with by-lines are © 2013 by their creators. Unsigned material is: © 2014 by The Wormwood Press. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission of the contributor responsible for the work.

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the last song I'll write (about you) I DON'T NEED YOUR NAME TO OPEN DOORS YOU'RE NOT MY PASSWORD ANYMORE KEEP A TROPHY WIFE YOU REGRET AND IGNORE YOUR SECRET'S SAFE WITH A NEW YORK GIRL PUT ALL THOSE AWARDS UP ON YOUR WALL SONGS WRITTEN ON THE BACKS OF ALL THOSE GIRLS NOW YOU'RE JUST HER TROPHY BOY KEEP HER SWIMMING IN ALL THAT SWAG FROM POETRY GONE WRONG I'LL SEE YOU SOMEDAY IN A STARBUCKS LINE SUGAR ON YOUR ARM AND A GRANDE ON YOUR MIND YOU WERE A BETTER MAN WHEN YOU COULDN'T AFFORD A TALL WHEN WE WERE POETRY GONE ALL WRONG AN ISLAND DOESN'T BELONG IN THE HEART OF THE HOME YOU KEEP HER SWIMMING IN YOUR SWAG SHE DROWNS YOU IN HAMMERS AND NAILS

jackie post

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photo: jackie post

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Pushing Up Daisies

Hanging Out with Famous Dead Folk 4


Finding Out What Is In The Light At The End Of The Dark Tunnel

Meeting Mr. Death

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Going To Your Own Funeral

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Is There? Heaven And Hell?


Floating!

Haunting Places and People

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Gray Planet by Halle Kincaid

The Parking Lot Between willingness to move and longing to remain stationery, Sally sat in her car for fifteen minutes after arriving at her office. Her mind was gray so she put on some music and listened hard for answers in the lyrics of other women singing other sad songs. “I'll allow myself five minutes more,” she promised,“to listen and hurt, to cry if I can.” Then Sally moved unsteadily out into the world she would no longer ever be sure of knowing. How insidious ... this infidelity ... this traitorous act performed by the person to whom you have pledged your love. Sally entered the insignificant gray building and climbed the hard gray stairs. Her mind continued its assault, “and by the person you believe loves only you—the one you've chosen to be with for the rest of your life.” Sally turned the key to her office door knowing that everything she believed to be true was no longer fixed and solid in the universe. The world had become an alien planet where the natives spoke a different language and color had drained from all of its vessels. “I don't love her” Dan pleaded his case to Sally, “I hate her!” “So I'm to believe,” Sally offered,“that it is possible for you make love to a woman you hate? Then there's the matter of those online chats I received from the woman. In your own words you claimed to love her more than me. The chats in which you told her there were 'no fireworks' with me, and that you would probably marry me anyway ... because it might work.” “All lies,” he screams, ”I don't know why I said those things!” Translation please, Sally thought. I don't understand your alien tongue.Are only opposite things true on your planet? If so, what does it mean when you say that you love me? The Bullet There are two kinds of cops. The one that tells the surgeon he doesn't want to even see the bullet that nearly robbed him of his life, his wife, his children, the world in which he had so much work left to do. And then there's the cop who wants the bullet preserved as a reminder of how fragile every single day is. He considers the bullet a reminder of his ability to survive against incredible odds. He has it cleaned of bloodstains and placed in a small jewelry box that he keeps in his top drawer. Some days, he may look at the bullet, turning it over in his fingers, shaking his head at its weightlessness in his palm. He remembers the pain, remembers the healing, remembers how much he loves his family, his friends, himself. Remembers how close he came to losing it all, and vows to respect every day he is alive. He 8

promises to protect those he loves and to be intensely aware that life is a single heartbeat away from death. “I will keep the bullet for awhile,” Sally decides.The copy of the betrayer's chats, sent to her by the woman, were so sinister in their innocence. Just dialogue between the woman and Dan, talking about how wild their meeting was in the back of Dan's lying gray car. “Did anyone see us?” they wondered, “That was crazy, like being in High school!” The last chat the woman sent to Sally included “Until next time” written by Sally's own sweet fiancé. She hadn't looked at 'the evidence' since its arrival five days prior.Their words cut so deep that the memory of them is a wound that may not ever be closed or covered. Sally feels destined to wear it on her face hoping that, eventually, it will be mistaken for some other tragedy. She will keep the chats until one day, years from this day, she'll remember that she still has the bullet that nearly robbed her of believing. On that day, she'll toss them in the garbage as easily as if they were used tissues, and marvel at her fortitude. Not today, though. Today, Sally walks about this vaporous gray planet, dulled by untruth and confusion. The Missing Link In the chain of a relationship, the links must be forged of steel and linked together through trust, friendship and love. Sally considers the possibility that there will always be a missing link between her and Dan. A link in this precious chain of trust that was removed and offered to another without a moment's thought or concern for Sally, or for the wedding plans, or for their coming years of fulfilling dreams. She considers her possible futures. Over time, she and Dan would attempt to forge a new link to replace the missing one-Sally bangs this thought out like a hammer against an anvil-and the fit may be close, but not ever again close enough to connect them in the commitment they once shared.“Will that broken link remain in my heart reminding me of how little I mattered during a time when I needed to matter the most-more than anyone else on earth?” she winced while mulling over the hopeless scenario.There were no winners, Sally concluded. “That is,” she thought, “except for the woman who was apparently a firecracker, and whose goal it was to destroy two futures that day-one week ago-when she hit the 'send' button.” Sally decided that the woman was probably having a pretty good day. Her coffee was black and steaming in one of the matching mugs she and Dan had received as an engagement gift. Outside the back door Sally could see that the trees were full of green leaves and the sky was blue. She could not turn around to say goodbye to the only man she had ever loved. She stepped out onto solid ground.


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It starts It keeps running Phil Mango

over and over Continuously over and over It is deafening Then it ends

Mary Clancy Mango

The earth is standing still The rain is hanging in the air The wind is calm in its place You and I stand in this motionless universe Everything is quiet but for the words in my head and my fear In the lull, I hear your muted voice In the quiet, I see your restless soul In this stationary world, we are frozen from touch I am standing with you now and will stand with you until the hours hum to life and you are moved.

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The Tale Of Two Tiny People In The Big World THE ROAD ENDS HERE by Mary Clancy Mango

They stayed all Summer. Then they stayed well into the Fall. Every one in the little troupe of circus performers felt as if they were home and the wanderlust that had held them for so long, had now dissipated upon reaching Pippa's family estate. Pippa's mother and father were the happiest of all. Never had their daughter, their home and the surrounding acres

seemed to be more joyfully alive then now. Everyone became busy and jubilant with his or her new life. Mr. Cruikshank and Pippa's father, Mr. Quip, fell into business together, quite by accident one night while playing their nightly game of Whist. As was the usual custom, they had invited a couple of fellows from the town near by, to join them. It was one such guest who made the off-hand remark that if the two gentlemen should start a club of sorts, it would surely turn a profit in no time at all. Thus “The Cruikshank and Quip Gaming Emporium” was established. Located discreetly in one of the former circus caravans tucked deep in the wild woods, it had an air

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of fantasy, travel, yet hominess, that relaxed the players and allowed the “house” to make a tidy coin. Some of the members of the now disbanded circus troupe provided the patrons with entertainment breaks, with ale and benne seed cakes offered as refreshments. It was a most enjoyable way to spend an evening, even if you left without a coin in your pocket at the end of it. As an honored guest, Madame Rossa stayed on with the Quips. After a lifetime of travels and adventure, she now found contentment in strolling through the formal gardens, reading quietly from the Quip's extensive library and taking long, warm, rose scented baths. One day, while tidying her caravan, Madame R. spied an old deck of Tarot card that she

had long since forgotten. Ancient and sacred, this deck called to her to take them up and so she did. Darkening the caravan till only one exotic candle


burned, she would go into a mystical trance as the cards were laid before her. She would glow in the darkness of the wood as she told the fortunes of those who came with a gold coin and questions for the cards. Having only just found this family in the woods, Flora Atwater, a tall girl in a small world, felt at once excited and calm. Everyone had been warm and inviting to her, as if she was a long lost member of the family just arrived back from an extended trip. To show her love for them, she built Pippa and Midgelle a treetop retreat. She built it in the oldest highest tree in the wild woods so they could see places they had been and places

they would go. As twilight shaded the sky, P and M would sit high up in the wooden mansion and wait for Nevermore to return from his travels, then together the three companions would watch the past light of the stars and planets appear in the night sky. It was up in the treetops, after a long and solemn session with Madame Rossa, that Pippa and Midgelle planned what was next for the both of them. Madame R's cards had told them that they would travel to faraway places and do a great many BIG things. So, as the rest of their family and friends settled into their new lives, the two little friends decided to go explore their own.

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photo: Layne Messing-Swain

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There You Are Cheryl Welch

There you are, moonlight in my room, Shimmering across the bed, Whispering inside my head As I lay down

There you are, sunlight on the walls, Living underneath my skin, Always here when I begin Another day

There you are, whistling through the kettle, In a house that breathes your name, In a world that's not the same But still spins round


The Wormwood Press, Issue #18  

This 20-page issue features photographers, artists and writers, each interpreting the meaning of "the end"

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