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Tinfoildresses Spring 2010

Edited by Heather Ann Schmidt


Rizwan Ahktar The fear of growth The weeds made it to the windows as if a snake crawls from earth’s hole in the backyard, the burnished grass and torn plants, colonized it in a month, under yellow light it is a torn theatre, a mauled manuscript— scrawled by ghosts in the unknown moments wind spooks the grass— from the kitchen’s window one peep sends the pen throbbing — each meshed plant is a story with content,

murmuring alphabets, let the silence stare out the weeds and overtake the place, with the weeds making sounds all wild.

David M. deLeon Hello Charybdis Take your time, don't make haste, I can wait all day. Maybe I’ll sit by the rocks myself watch the sunset fade. Chat with Lao and read Pascal naught to do but wait. Send my regards to S., alright? It’s gonna be a long night.

For Jana, So You’ll Remember and I Won’t Have to Wait You lived on Coney Island then, the half-remembered dream of Brooklyn, with parts not remembered at all and ready to fall to pieces. But when you saw it you saw it from above, like it was a dream still, a playground for dolls or a wind-up world of noises and the smells you know you’d smell if you were doll-sized. You saw all this as a girl from the 18th floor, and the Wonder Wheel wasn’t ominous then, no creaky bolts to hear and the fall was only a doll-fall. But when the leaves fell, the poor patrons, hawkers, three dollar beers, the stalls with their noises, the dark arcades, all packed up in fright of the cold mouth of the sea, and that’s when it bloomed, Coney Island, or unbloomed, packages of dollar fun repacked, the booths shuttered, and it wasn’t complete till the Wonder Wheel itself, the wheel of wonder, white contraption of romance and fright, shook like a tree and, in slow motion, lowered its cable cars to the ground, packing them away like fruits in a cellar to brew their sugars. Then its skeleton was yours, Jana, and the sea was yours, and the lonely marrow of the city caked for you like a candy and it was good, Jana, fall fell and its loneliness was delicious for you on the 18th floor, waiting for the ride to start again, not waiting for the ride to start again.

Thom Dworsky implication of the landscape the blue eye down is a valley taking for example knees drawn up exposed once again, open to a simile of the sun through clouds of course of human experience but love’s imperfect transaction speaks at a volume perhaps just beneath our hearing capabilities constraint and assent belief and unbelief push through flesh

on and in flesh, until this means whatever I might mean; we're just fragments in reality no more or less than that tornadoed bodies howling against the sky

Ricky Garni PRIMARY COLORS When I read that you folded yourself up like a bird I thought: that makes sense, I can see it. You are wearing a blue coat usually, if it is cold, and it is thin enough to fold along with you, and blue is a natural folding color, the color of the sky. Red, not so much. It’s the color of the cheeks of my Uncle Gustave, you know, as in Angry Uncle Gustave and the Meat Cleaver and the Angry Red Face Thing. If Ol’ Uncle Gustave taught me anything he taught me this: red is expansive; red folds not at all; red is best avoided, red is dumb and a big waste of time. Meanwhile, Blue is the best, blue is love blue and cannot be beat. But if not blue, and somewhere in between the two, you can always turn to naked, what we used to call flesh. Flesh folds up and hides only OK, at least for me, but OK is serviceable enough, when I find solace folded in a suitcase which is, although I can't tell in the the dark, canary yellow–very lovely, but another story entirely.

Russell Jaffe Group Work Take his hand then, yes that’s the way don’t treat him like a machine but like you would a cloth tapestry. Tapestry’s what I want extracted

from today’s lesson like you could concretely stain a tapestry over stone with a pattern;

cloth itself is vulnerable and it libel to tear on hooks or snares.

Still I’m fascinated by the assembly line, and to this day I love the pulses of the Kevlar belt, the grooves, the hard safety of boundaires of edges; Slight impurities river rocks

I’ve skipped in little ripples circular and whose ripples eventually do fade away,

they always fade away, and I hope you learned a lot today.

End of Season

It’s not a tide if it’s a lake—

the on-campus agricultural center

located directly under the moon

plateaus for a hundred miles to the nearest body.

Locusts—the agricultural students in the back row of class

know their sound, their distinction.

My directive: the means of anything, any given thing.

The moon’s phase is shifting

the students in the back


slouched over as a weak-kneed day,

and they remember the flood.

Eyes sunken as the calm lake as

summer gets thinner, the air more crystallized,

patches of spotty grass along the banks frost over.

Student journals indicated it means summer’s up about now. On nights when the moon is a fractured kaleidoscope

obscured by clouds,

an insect’s wing, veiny and translucent

and the rain is alive,

it don’t mean;

the tide breaks

onyx water pours through the grass.

Another restless shift. Locusts this season again.

Learning Chess Please sit with me; I’ll explain to you that from bird’s eye view the fields are squares, the colors of the grass go from plastic green to wood tan. Make your move while I wait: the tracts I cut and plant, my free breath’s tangible in autumn, and at the pinnacle of vast land there’s a grocery store. * Make your choice with the precision of a black bird with a long beak. Select a church in a Wal-Mart parking lot, select your pawns from the grocery bag I

collected like rainwater in season. While I’m tending the land, did you know I can keep up with old friends online? The sound of the old dial up as familiar as the locusts legs kicking angrily into the bright, hot moon. You remember us: We’re the ones who travel the long poles, the tired wires. Piety in clasped hands and closed eyes is my waiting game, so bide your time. * Planting and growing—a king’s choice in a rotting kingdom. Floods and tornados yell idle threats outside my swinging wooden gates hitting like tin picks into rocks.

The land and house costs less out here but costs—that’s the heavy fact we’re chained to. * Lone early fall tornado, a black rook cutting fields like a board— yes, gathered from the sidelines we pick up the pieces, and we’re losing our wild.

Origins My grandfather’s spindly veins run through each hand, the back of each hand, like Cascade mountain spiders, crunching underfoot of the brown and fire red leaves. He looks at me cockeyed, the milky white reflection of his glass eye half looking in my left eye, half looking past me like he’s watching a mayfly cross the ceiling into the corner and stop. My family is used to hovering around, and she is used to me explaining my grandfather’s illnesses. Viruses, like spiders, do, and never explain themselves. My hands are necessary like you are necessary; her hand and mine come together under the covers and I laugh about how my grandparents are all dying

and each is worse than the next. Laughter makes the least sense and it seems more invited. There is a spider in my room. I don’t know what else to say about it, but it is here and waiting. In the MC Escher drawing the fountain connects water on an equal level to a pool which pours back into the origin. The water goes up, up, up, up until it is at last at its lowest. Our eyes follow a path where one thing quickly becomes another.

Meat It’s a dinner sized slab marinating under stove light slanted platter

gravy pooled up on one side

Because, Dad, it looks like a hill up against a brown ocean there’s blood in it

Grandpa Al can’t make it tonight because the roads are terrible terrible outside the snow comes down, thumb sized confetti in front of a

fan Hung over, I am on the floor and the snow keeps coming, my dog sees Aunt Lori pull up, the snow is on the windshield, the snow is in front of the lights under socks in shoes

trumping to the door

Al, they hoisted you up on the streets of Paris, Al, I hope you kept your helmet on tight at Normandy, Al, they wouldn’t even let you call it a day; Al, how are you now on this D minus?

My mom has cooked a coded meal, you’re at home looking outside and thinking of commands D+3 means 3 days after D-Day. D – is before.


it’s dinner, how could that not be a plus? How could

Grandpa Al, anything not be?

You’ve earned this meat, I lie on the floor and would tell you quietly, I am fattened by the meat. You were making choices at Normandy, we engulf a dinner; we picked meat for tonight

You watch the snow, there’s a minus outside, Grandpa Al, do you feel your home has become a minus? it used to be a plus you’ve forgotten, you can’t drive when it’s like this

they hoisted you up

they hoisted you

D + hundreds dinner, Grandpa, maybe next time

Scott Stoller On Campbell Hill If I could have foreseen this crisis of unprecedented proportions, I'd have emigrated to the moon. Plagued by true existential dread, it never really dawned on me I had only fifteen seconds, and pigs had such high I.Q.s. Now, don't misunderstand me please. The only reason the nail did not bend is that I did not bend it... My good friend from high school made bad decisions. He knew our little town like the back of his hand, but was rarely as elusive as his prey while traversing the soft black earth. It made it hard to open doors. It's a variation on the same tired theme. I never will forget that circus of a week--Those euphoric episodes. The break ins and bullet holes.

We are all just one short phone call away from oblivion. Not Quite It's nearly night. We've come a long way for close to nothing, to this remnant of a once great city. The lost grandeur and crumbling walls... It's as if the long nave of a magnificent cathedral has fallen into ruin. It's the crash you could not hear; the ghosts are smiling. Compounding the ennui, the inevitable consequences--They have destroyed what we have dreamed. An alienated attitude pervades the room. Bizarre laughter. Hallucinations. Many (especially the men) seem badly broken. Life has been hard on them, and not likely to get better. These bedraggled men in their ragged beards,

eyes focused on a far off horizon... Once they led revolutions. Now they write blogs.

Parker Tettleton "Harvest" When you were young, beetle-eyed, brushing love up and down the stairs, swearing tableside, sole tongue of tableaus, the harvest awash with reason to be.


Originally from Pakistan, Rizwan Akhtar is currently a PhD student at the University of Essex, UK. His poems have appeared in Poetry Salzburg Review, Poetry NZ, Wasafiri, Postcolonial Text, decanto,Poesia and a few have been anthologised by Poetry Forward Press. David M. deLeon is a music journalist and editor from New Jersey. Hispoetry has been seen in places like Rattle, 2River View, Fence, Bat City, The Cortland Review, Grey Sparrow, Anti- and Only the Sea Keeps:Poetry of the Tsunami. He keeps a website at

Thom Dworsky is a fiction writer and poet currently completing his M.F.A. in Creative Writing at National University. He's worked as a nurse, army solider and his best job, father of two beautiful boys. Ricky Garni is a graphic designer and bicycle collector living in Carrboro, North Carolina. His work has been published most recently in PANK, MEDULLA REVIEW, SHAMPOO, THE BICYCLE REVIEW, PRICK OF THE SPINDLE, PINSTRIPE FEDORA, ANEMONE SIDECAR. His books can be had at Russell Jaffe teaches English at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, IA and holds an MFA in poetry from Columbia College in Chicago. His poems have appeared in Shampoo, MiPOesias, The Portland Review, Spooky Boyfriend, Writer’s Bloc, and others. Additionally, he writes a hot sauce review blog called Good Hurts. Scott Stoller is a practicing physician in western Pennsylvania where he lives with his wife and kids and numerous very needy small furry animals. He is a graduate of Colgate University and Albany Medical College. He has poetry forthcoming in decomP and Atlas Poetica. Parker Tettleton is an English major at Kennesaw State University. His work is featured in or forthcoming from Short, Fast, and Deadly, Soundzine, The Chimaera, Right Hand Pointing, LITSNACK and Whisper&Scream, among others. He blogs at

tinfoildresses Spring 2010  

tinfoildresses is a quarterly poetry journal. This issue is from the spring of 2010.

tinfoildresses Spring 2010  

tinfoildresses is a quarterly poetry journal. This issue is from the spring of 2010.