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Tulane Review Spring 2011

Tulane Review Spring 2011


SUBMISSION GUIDELINES The Tulane Review is now accepting Prose, Poetry, and Art submissions for its Summer 2011 Issue. Poetry and Prose submissions should be sent electronically to litsoc@tulane.edu and included as attachments. Hard copy submissions will be accepted and should be sent to Tulane Review, 122 Norman Mayer, New Orleans, LA, 70118 with an SASE. Please submit no more than five poems, and limit prose submissions to 4,000 words per piece. Hard copy submissions should include the artists e-mail address. Art should be submitted electronically to tulane.review@gmail.com in high-resolution format. Please include dimensions and media. Please include a cover letter with biography for all submissions. The Tulane Literary Society normally acquires first North American serial rights but will consider second serial publication.


The Tulane Review Spring 2011

EDITOR in CHIEF Nathan Seltzer POETRY EDITOR Abi Pollokoff PROSE EDITOR Stacy Krost

ART EDITOR ZoĂŠ Belden

PRODUCTION EDITORS Emily Neal, Cutter Uhlhorn PRESIDENT Anessa Keifer

READERS Steffani Bangel, Adrienne Barnabee,

Samantha Brown, Dean Burman, Jason Ervin, Katie Field, Mike Giangrasso, Elizabeth Mardiks, Robert Metts, Emily Neal, Micaleah Newman, Izzy Riofrio, Miles Tamboli, Cutter Uhlhorn, Ben Zucker

Cover Art: Texture by Andrey Zeigarnik/avz photography The Tulane Review is a literary and art journal published by the Tulane Literary Society twice a year. Submissions are judged by review boards in an anonymous selection process and final choices are made by the editors. Funding for the Tulane Review comes from the Undergraduate Student Government and the Literary Society. The works published in the Tulane Review represent the views of the individual artists and are not the expressed views of the Tulane Literary Society, Tulane University, or its Board of Administrators. Copyright Š 2011 by the Tulane Literary Society. The Tulane Literary Society reserves the right to reprint the journal in part or in its entirety for publicity on the web and in print. All other rights revert to the author or artist at the time of publication. The Tulane Review acquires first American serial rights.


Contents The Soldier

Brady Rhoades

1

Intruder

Barry Spacks

4

Sunset

Joan Colby

(for J. Who drove North. Many Times.) Jennifer Blair Day Drains How the World Goes On Goldfinches

Raphael’s St. George and the Dragon Ash

Never Fully Ours

Anything But This Some Chairs Some Fans

telephone conversion Pinot Noir

The Poet as a Wild

Concord Grape

Richard Dinges, Jr. Carol Hamilton Tom Chandler J.R. Solonche

2 5 6 7 8 9

Francesca Sharkey

10

Matt Siegel

12

Norman Nathan Frances Raven Frances Raven

Christopher Mulrooney Alan Britt

Chris Waters

11 14 15 16 17 18

For Real

Salvatore Difalco

21

Thompson Springs, Utah

Zach Yanowitz

23

Arizona

Soul-Making

As We Open the Bees Electric

A Thousand Words Sleep

Interruption

ZoĂŠ with a Burka on Sabbatical Cherokee Summer

Keith Moul

William Doreski Melanie Reitzel Hannah Jegart

Elizabeth Walker Mark Williams

Keith Alexander Izzy Riofrio

Jennifer Blair

22 24 26 30 31 32 34 35 36


Sarge

Edward Palm

37

Self-Portrait as Grendel

John Bradley

39

Self-Portrait as Son of a Dentist Building a Character for the Russian Novel

John Bradley

Nathan Blake

38 40

Headless Man, Rome

Roger Camp

41

Insomnia

Tom Chandler

43

Haiku

For Fall (and Laura)

A young woman learns about migration

William Beyer

A. E. Loveridge Kara Dorris

42 44 45

The Truth a Poet Can Tell

Monique Roussel

46

Christ Was A Hod Carrier

Dolores Guglielmo

49

Fruit-Bowl

Avoiding a House of Dolls They Beat Rugs Here Drive

Quantum Mechanic

Volcano, Ash, Hailstone 5

Death Notice

Lettter to My Victim Upon Declaring a

Poem Unsalvageable

Francesca Sharkey

Julian Jason Haladyn Jeff Schiff

Michael Milburn

John M. Edwards

David Blomenberg Matthew Austin Ace Boggess Ace Boggess Liz Kicak

48 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58

An Egg

Elizabeh Mardiks

59

Usable Things

Lauren Nicole Nixon

61

Youth in the military graveyard

Hunter Deely

60


The Soldier

Brady Rhoades

Far from forbidden deserts and dry shucks, steel vats and smokestacks of the Midwest, he sits on a beached log, Rodin’s meditative man, taking in the oceanic wavelengths of Seal Beach. This morning, he cleared the glass bowl filled with sunlight, fed the parakeet in her wire minaret. As far as he’s conernced, this is Thoreau’s bottomless pond: the beginning, the end. The divorce was final months ago. Stocks are falling. The caterwauls of two wars echo in his ears. This water line inches toward him and, in the distance, near the massive rigs, dolphins breach. He would like to plant a nut tree some time, some place, and lie beneath it with a woman from Venezuela. For now, let thoughts come and go like the breeze. In the vortex of the fray, let peace, let anti-war, burrow like a clam.

Spring 2011 1


(for J. Who drove North. Many times.) Jennifer Blair

In wake of the shadow, small towns prostitute themselves— unwillingly laying out their small privacies (arrow head soup ladle and cameo broach) under the painful scrutiny of glass. If a man has angel tongue, send out these woeful tidings: The Sacred Tree is fallen. There in its place stands a metal turning rack selling vials of blood and fake spiders in creamer packets. But there is, I hear, still such a thing as mountains. There, off in the distance. Though the darkness be not dispelled, and the perpetual motion of the claw tears out the side of the hill even Sabbath Day.

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The fur coated trappers who once preened down these streets are vanished. Yet traces of otherness persist. In scraps of Victory Home flaring up from the roofs of proud wayward shacks in the bug bit lowlands. In Starlite Vacancy NO with its mustardolive curtains, broke wood chairs and dusty ferns. In the last pancake on the griddle, its bubbling painstaking form playing out the first letter, first shape of a name.

Spring 2011 3


Intruder

Barry Spacks After a recent rainfall a droplet at the tip of a leaf hung on like a stubborn thought. Later, of course, it fell, and later still a large gray bird – little allegory – attacked the ghost of itself in my window never able to daunt that familiar intruder, that taunting enemy. It zoomed in again and again, somehow failing to see observant me smiling God-like behind the glass.

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Day Drains

Richard Dinges, Jr. Day drains into a dark horizon. Last light evaporates, a red mist or a mild shame, then condenses into a starry sheen. As a child, I lay on my back in damp grass and walked among constellations I could not name. Forgotten, my soles reversed, I feel only sweat at day’s end, a salt crust that dissolves in hot showers and disappears under my feet, cursed or blessed, night’s only reward is rest.

Spring 2011 5


Sunset

Joan Colby A hem of pink edged with purple satin. The rest of this sky is black And starless pitched on the arms of trees Those everlasting lovers of the moon. I call my son. In cold, the voice carries Across a stillness of brittle leaves. A dog bays from the field. This morning three pheasants Flew desperately past my window. All day, sporadic gunfire. My son finds a body The Labradors missed. Strips feathers To plume his Stetson. A flightless wing Of silence falls on our house. Then darkness. I light four lamps One for each direction. Existence is a room In the universe. A way of saying Everything begins here And radiates outward. Look one way, then another Opposites dissolve Illuminating a sphere Of angulation, tensions of loss And discovery As in a drawing by Escher.

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How the World Goes On Carol Hamilton

The children are always orphans in good tales, and we watch them work their way through sludge and peat bogs and fiery fields. Young, I held my finger in the dike, saved Holland, and today, weary, I am still holding up the sky.

Spring 2011 7


Goldfinches Tom Chandler

Glimpsing them through the kitchen window, bright sparks darting in the garden grass I flash on the blatantly obvious: that everything is exactly right for each of us and all of it’s framed in astonishment, even if talk radio drone says otherwise, even if I realize I can’t stand to witness such perfection because my stupid mind pulls me back toward the future, forces me to leave before I drown in all this beauty.

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Raphael’s St. George and the Dragon J.R. Solonche

How can you help not feeling sorry for him? The dragon, I mean. He looks like a big dog who just came out to play with the first person he saw. Those big doggy brown eyes. The big black wet doggy nose. A St. Bernard with webbed feet and a snake’s tail. Was it his fault it was her? She misunderstood. She was frightened. She screamed. It’s understandable. Big friendly dogs do that sometimes. Then he shows up, in full battle gear. and before she can say, No, George, don’t!, he’s plunged his lance into his big doggy heart. That’s life. One misunderstanding leads to another, and before you know it, there’s blood on the ground.

Spring 2011 9


Ash

Francesca Sharkey

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Never Fully Ours Norman Nathan

It’s like looking at a map with cities I’ve never seen or presenting you with locations where you have never been; we try to share a childhood as lovers often do, we visit Bridgeport beach where you used to swim, but the tide is running out and the water one foot deep; we’ve had our fill of popcorn many years before, and a beach with broken clamshells doesn’t favor full-grown feet; still we seek to hold a past that’s never fully ours.

Spring 2011 11


Anything But This Matt Siegel

James Howl had published two collections of poetry before turning thirty. Critics called the works “beautifully agonizing,” “irresponsibly—but satisfyingly—depressing,” and “akin to a prize rose garden spiked with man-sized, electrified thorns.” Then he married—and soon after fathered two children, bought a riding lawnmower, and entered an upward spiral wherein he aged from thirty-two to forty-five without one nearbout of suicide or more than a few hours of continual sadness. His writing ran parallel, and his poetic edge soon dulled to a point at which it became safe, ordinary, and insignificant to all but his kin. His agent, before dropping him, called it “naïve,” “unseasoned,” and “reminiscent of white bread with white butter on a white plate.” He was simply too happy, he concluded, to tap into anything worthwhile—as the closeness and security of his marriage had spared him from the poetic manna of his past: solitude, self-pity, lost hope, and continual rejection. What he needed, he came to realize, was a reminder of how it felt to be crushed. And so on his forty-sixth birthday, standing alone in a grocery check-out aisle holding milk, bananas, and Tide, he took his first step toward reconstituting this pain. He turned nervously to the woman in the aisle beside him—a pregnant twentysomething scanning diapers with wedding-ringed hand—and asked her bluntly if she wanted to have an affair. Her response, as he’d hoped, was a perfect storm of aspersion and contempt—one that helped James to recall, just a bit, the broken poet he’d evolved from. In the months that followed, James sought rejection wherever he could, feigning interest in the most standoffish of 12 Tulane Review


women—and the most heterosexual of men. And each time he found it, he felt himself reconnecting with his muse, addicted to the very pain he’d once yearned to escape. His poems darkened, deepened, and improved exponentially. And his married life—his separate life—remained unaffectedly content . . . That is until James’ lacking anthropometric judgment and escalating need for escalating rejection led him to lewdly approach a girl who was a few months shy of seventeen, which led a policeman to charge him with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, which led his wife to leave him and his children to loathe him. His relationships with both the former and latter have since proved irreconcilable, but his relationship with his agent has once again blossomed after the arrival of James’ newest manuscript, Anything But This, a collection budded with the pains of trivial rejection but finished with the agony of a man estranged. The book, which earned high acclaim from advance reviewers, is scheduled for release in mid-May—a month that marks both the anniversary of James’ divorce and the statistical high for American suicide. Accordingly, he’s asked his publisher to delay his first signing until June.

Spring 2011 13


Some Chairs Frances Raven

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Some Fans Frances Raven

Spring 2011 15


telephone conversion Christopher Mulrooney

or it was grading my papers and it said just before my break Halicarnassus in the Spring time come along and it had a collection of pearls set on oysters from the clambake dried out in the sun

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Pinot Noir Alan Britt

Redwood Creek, Pinot Noir, 2002, drinks well beyond her price tag. This full-bodied ruby flower teases and hints of a Keats favorite. Her hips, like the chestnut mare’s on which private schoolgirls circle the muddy paddock, force the tubercular moon to cough into a white handkerchief. This Redwood Creek, Pinot Noir, 2002, drinks well beyond her price tag.

Spring 2011 17


THE POET AS A WILD CONCORD GRAPE Chris Waters

I. THE WOODS IN AUTUMN The sightless, remindful of Breughel’s beggars, gaze up through the mottled panoply of leaves as, steadfast, they advance straight forward through the lacerating briars to the vines, some of whose purple fruit, precocious, has already begun the decline to redolent decay. The sighted, trailing, envious, think of porcine truffle-grubbers, pick their way among the thorns, bound for the same bounty. Were the blind less poor--more soundly dressed-they would indeed make even faster progress, and, further, be less wounded in the process. Both groups have baskets. When they reach the harvest, everyone tosses the robust grapes into them, not fearing for the fate of those that are underneath.

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II. SUPERMARKET The shopper, places at the cart’s bottom tin cans, glass jars and bottles. Also, scrub brushes and the other hardware. Over this are polishes, the powder or liquid cleansers of bodies and articles. Then, the cardboard boxes and paper sacks of cereals, grains, flour, sugar, condiments. Topmost are the cold, the frozen, the fragiles like Wonderbread--crushed, it stays crushed-vegetables and fruits. Among these last, tenderer than eggs, are the green orchard grapes. III. GREEN GRAPES Sweet Tooth, set me between the bananas and the plums, I’m sweet as ever can be! I’m pre-washed, come on, pop in one of me at the cash register and chew lightly, down me almost whole, seedless, skin so thin it scarcely doesn’t matter. I’m so smooth anywhere! Imperturbably, start me on my voyage through you. I’m dessert, your mind, absolute perfection, not even any aftertaste, pleasantness, a dream, a curtain billowing suddenly stilled.

Spring 2011 19


IV. WILD CONCORD GRAPES It’s a fight just puncturing the purple. Then, what do you do with my immense seeds! Spit them through space? Finger them to your plate? Looking up, palm them into the flower pot? My skin stuck in your teeth: Bite the bullet, masticate hard, mix it into my pulp. My pulp, you won’t forget: Where’s its equal? Strong, foxy, murky, pungent, palpable. No thanks? Not today? Jam’s all I’m good for? Someday, my Eli Whitney’ll come along. Between your hands to your taste buds, he’ll find the way to feed you nothing but my pulp. The knell will toll for my sugared cousins, who still survives thanks only to my roots.

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For Real

Salvatore Difalco Hard to know which is real, the painted lady or the landscape framed in the window, with its white trees, green grass and tiny yellow flowers. The purplish sky and the pink barn raise an eyebrow. But some people have imaginations. Her hands shine an apple with a yellow cotton rag, first a golden apple, then a red one. Her head resembles the snowy canopies of the trees out there but her hands look creamy and youthful and her laugh tinkles crystalline throughout the red house. Who painted these walls this alarming colour? It washes out the red of the wine in the decanter and the half-filled glass by the bowl of apples. But life here is lyrical, is simple. She lives inside these ruddy walls and never ages or if she does no one admits it: maybe her style has passed, her grace, but she never rages about it, and always considers the view from the window to be the real thing, not a framed reproduction.

Spring 2011 21


Arizona Keith Moul

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Thompson Springs, Utah

Zach Yanowitz

the cliffs to the north of the town are plastered with anazazi pictographs. rust-red in their consanguine vagueness, their lack of definition a credit to the deft hands that daubed them on the canyon walls, fingers sand-caked and sun-baked. there used to be a sawmill and a railroad station where they’d herd wild-eyed cattle to the train cars, pack them in trembling and dumb, their hides worn gray by dirt and desperation. when they built the highway three miles south the town bled dry as an open vein. tendrils seeping through the earth, evaporated hissing like so many ragged snakes, their knots a static myth. now doors swing loose on tarnished hinges to slam against their splintered frames in scorching wind, the corrugated shells of homes lacunas to the sky, burst through with dust-kissed phantoms. i’ll take these pictures to remember: the silence, the light, your name.

Spring 2011 23


Soul-Making William Doreski

From the path along the river I glimpse a woman splashing naked in the shallows, her body a slur of confection. I look away, refusing to imprint her on my one-dimensional mind. I mull the latest New Yorker with its two-page sprawl of poem on the harsh of soul-making, a sad autumnal performance by someone I used to respect for a poignant but angry wit. Why have her phrases slackened, draping like Spanish moss? Why strip the urgency from her tone? Why would she let her rhythms expose the tumor of incest she toted this far without displaying it? One afternoon in her cabin in the bronze hills of Vermont with a hot wood stove fuming she exposed a wound so ugly I’ve never forgiven it for despoiling such limpid flesh.

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Now that wound has become a poem and it’s eager to cut the throat and drink the blood of any reader foolish enough to believe the tale it pretends to tell. Soul-making was Keats’ primary subject. It inheres in his work like mortar in a wall. My friend shouldn’t have sold her rehash to The New Yorker where everyone will see her splashing naked in the shallows, her face as frank as a shaman’s mask. Most will look away, pinking with shame, but a few will peer too closely, examining her open pores, parsing her ambiguous pronouns, and will taste the river water and agree I’m surely to blame.

Spring 2011 25


As We Open the Bees Melanie Reitzel

i Here, in the service of breath. Which we hold in order to steady our hands when we open the bees. We learn by watching others as they hold their fingers to form the small cradles. The creatures are—you must understand this— already dead. No, we do not believe we are cruel; research dictates sacrifices of the individual for the species. To proceed we must tell ourselves we are servants. ii Using no knives, but leaning our elbows on the black marble slabs, we squint through the lens at the body below. One at a time, we do this. Each is unique; we understand this much because of how we regard ourselves. At some point, we may be able to tell you how much we regret destroying a beautiful queen.

iii Like gods, we manufacture and employ an eye. We invent a miniature sun. Lens and light, which shines on the body, reveal what it contains. Then we hold our breath and yes, we pull, we simply pull and the bodies yield. Like gods, we find so little resistance.

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iv Taking fate upon ourselves overwhelms us but because we are both master and servant we remove the head of the bee. There is no other way. We need to peer down the collar, into the body we need to see. This alone is our justification; it is our role to remember the prerequisite of breath. v The throat is not deep. The mites we seek are small; we hate them because they invade and choke the bee. Crawling through holes in the bees’ sides that seem to exist just so they can enter. The mites know their time is short for they choose the youngest bees to enter. This is a trait, which we cannot help but admire. They feast on the blood of the bees with their clever mouthparts. Queens, drones, and workers alike: each becomes feast. vi Asparagus Apricots Anise Broadbeans Caraway Chestnut Chervil Chives Citrus Grapefruit Lemon Mandarin Orange Clove Clovers, minor

Coconut Coffee Cotton Cowpeas Cut flower seeds Drug plants Feijoa Flax Guava Herbs (spices) Kapok Lespedeza Lima beans Loquat Mangosteen

Nectarines Oil Palm Okra Onion and Leek Opium poppy Papaya Pears Peppers Pyrethrum Safflower Scarlet runner beans Strawberry Tephrosia Tomatoes

Without the bee, how would we feast? In pain, how would we sleep? Spring 2011 27


vii Greek: parasitos: (person) eating at another person’s table, from para; ‘alongside’ + sitos ‘food,’ viii Mites, once sated, breed. Their generations emulate strings of eager, nasty pearls. Forgive us; we cannot help but consider their beauty, even though we resent it. Pearls that prevent the breath of the bee. We can’t hear them gasp—what ear is that great? But we can imagine the sounds. Some of us have seen the struggling of the laden within the hive. Hardly a dance and painful to compare to flight. ix We pray for justice. We look for resistance. We ask: what is small enough to stop the breath of a mite. Who might not deserve to be immune? x The bees are cold, very cold when we begin. Because, yes, we freeze them. The legs are stiff; the bodies have memorized their final angles that will not change unless we are careless. Sometimes we are careless. We are sorry. It grieves us to waste the bees. But we need to open many, many bees. Using the word open gives us comfort. It reminds us of treasure or knowledge. xi We open creatures so small—all of them innocent, not all of them ill—this turns our hands into terrible miracles. I tell you, both honey and breath require this of us. To know how the breath has escaped, that it cannot return, is enough some days to make us darken our lens, leave the lab and lock all the gates to the yard.

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xii We lie awake in the night we allow. We listen for songs never felt in our fingers. We try to move to dances not seen. Our tongues reach for the sweetness unmade. Afraid to ask about ourselves, we wonder how small a breath can become before it no longer matters.

Spring 2011 29


Electric

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Hannah Jegart


A Thousand Words Elizabeth Walker

My mother had someone like you once, Back when her legs were Thin and brown And she lived in the big pink house On Hook Road. I saw a picture of him In a photo album from that summer They spent together In Shanghai, scouring the city for A can of Spaghettio’s and Drinking Maotai with the ambassador. He looked like a nice guy— Not like my father, Who never really knew how to smile, Whose ragged work jeans and Old rugby shirts My mother and I sit packing Into a cardboard box marked “TOM”. She says, “My life was so much easier then,” Folds some torn Levi’s into halves, quarters, eighths— The photographs in the album have faded And he still calls every year on her birthday.

Spring 2011 31


Sleep

Mark Williams

When the world was going to end any day in ashes— cold bombs, cold Russians, red Armageddon— Did people sleep enfolded in one another, in gasmasks, or uniform, dolled-up, double-bandoliered, naked? Did more people let the dogs into bed? Jean-Dominique Bauby died at 34. His book took 200,000 blinks to write, and for all that it’s only 139 pages. Imagine what he could have done with two working eyes or an average lifespan. My grandfather was 85. Standing in his garage on his 72nd birthday he told me he felt lucky. Measure it in blinks or pages or statistics, I want more time than I’ll get. I can’t sleep. If you read poetry, you probably don’t sleep all that well either, some nights. You’ve tried booze, cable, religion, and pills. You’ve bought new pillows and herbal teas. On the bad nights I go for a walk and rummage nature for consolation. Tonight, leaves that have held on till March bulk up the bottoms of the trees, looking chintzy and pink and vaguely like an old lampshade under the orange streetlights. I count six shadows of myself.

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The trees and shadows keep still as a car alarm riots. Truckers fight to stay awake on the interstate. Blinking planes of business travelers push impatiently home. I am the only one who hears the sound of my scarf catching along the fine hair of my ears. I wonder if I smell spring as the earth spins away but it’s gone too quickly. It all feels distant and irritable like a picture I’ve looked at one too many times: This is not a world you or I can dissolve into. I head back through the dark, calling my ex-girlfriend who comes over to stay the night. You are going to die— brain cancer, North Korea, a six-car pileup. You should sleep differently. Find a person, a breathing slow turning expiring world, put your hands in her soil. Then you can sleep.

Spring 2011 33


Interruption Keith Alexander

A cow in the meat yard opened its mouth and out poured the voice of Bessie Smith. The tune--not that it matters-was Stormy Weather, the tone of the voice a shouting blues, which squeezed through the pores of its hide. We heard the bending melody and raced from the slaughterhouse, knives in hands, aprons sopping, to watch for ourselves. “Don’t know why there ain’t no sun up in the sky stormy weather...” And we stood beating time in the dirt witth our slickers, humming and swaying, stirred by damp lyrics on a dry day. When she opened her eyes, silent and chewing, we saw hundreds of cattle, witness to the soulful offering, and knew we had to kill her then, before she sang again, before we fell in love with her voice forever.

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ZoĂŠ with a Burka on Sabbatical Izzy Riofrio

Spring 2011 35


Cherokee Summer Jennifer Blair

As fresh faced discontents drive around curves, weekend waders vanquished to the waist pay no mind to their erasure— cheerfully wave their arms. While teenage cashiers pick maps off the shelf and plan road trips they’ll never take, a middle aged aunt pouring over brochure backs inadvertently picks up a line of history carefully hid between coupons for gemstone bracelets and rock candy. 9 am means not too early for a pack of Cub Scouts to buy convenience store hot dogs—as they chew they ruminate on the wonders of the cave they will sleep in all night. As tired youths talk in the back of the paint flaked Methodist van, a pair of newly weds don old clothes, striking out for the future with no more provision than a rifle, glare, and fine fringed shawl afford.

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Sarge

Edward Palm

Spring 2011 37


Self-Portrait as Son of a Dentist John Bradley for J.V.

I grew up in the hills of North Carolina with my dentist-father’s fingers in my mouth. I held my tongue; he, too, until—Son, he said, time you learned to be a man. He instructed with a drill, no Novocaine. I left those hills until they’d dug a hole for him. These teeth can rot, for all I care. I want to sing now and be numb.

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Self-Portrait as Grendel John Bradley

The blackbird marks the circle’s edge I walk. I dash and stalk to pass the night. I am not bear, not man, but am outside your word, your firelight. The borderlands my home; my fen my scope; my rank dominions marsh. Your hearth you stock with wood and song. I hear and ache my path along with roiling mind and dripping maw. Rim-walker, he names me as he plucks a string, Marsh-stepper, Cain’s-kin, and he plucks a string. Flames crackle; song continues. You shiver and you pass the cup. Moon and men go down; you sit and stir at embers. Body hairs bristle; mind echoes, Marsh-stepper, and you don’t know why. Wind whispers, Rim-walker, and you don’t know why. And there I stand and grin a lurk in mind; your coal-red fire glows my eyes—it is a thing to kill a man and drink him. I leave the blackbird what remains.

Spring 2011 39


Building a Character for the Russian Novel Nathan Blake

Darkness everywhere. Silence through the distant trees. Fortune cookies for breakfast at the round kitchen table and he waits for the sun to close over the smallness of his home. There is an infinite void in his heart reserved for the nephew’s name, birdsong, the small of the woman’s smooth neck, (deader than dead now, dead for years and years) and verses and stories, trails of light across the winter sky, (deader than he ever thought possible at his daily waking) and laughter and ancient footwork, the secret voice of disappointment, (deader than bricks and nails and the box she was buried in) and artworks, names of fish, and (dead and dead and not ever coming back) dates, prayers, the sharp glaze of his father’s horse, and of course the woman, more dead than her silence at the lake with the sun at her back after he called her the name only spoken in the heat of rage. She died right there in his eyes, the glint leaving her like a shiny coin buried deep in the lake’s black mud.

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Headless Man, Rome Roger Camp

Spring 2011 41


Haiku

William Beyer beyond an open window night sounds of Algiersvoices in darkness

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Insomnia

Tom Chandler Can’t sleep to the roar of flowers closing their petals, clouds smashing one against another behind the skull-splitting rustle of bedroom curtains, shriek of arriving Email, the bedside clock pounding out each second and that constant grating of sheets against blankets. How can I fall away into nothing with the earth’s endless rumbling into the furture, the distant mountains with their deafening erosion and that sad, sad howling of the stars?

Spring 2011 43


For Fall (and Laura) A. E. Loveridge

Make it autumn. Make it clear and bright. Make it one menacing morning.

The blackbirds scattered on the grass like ash under flaming boughs. The first time I kissed her, it was fall. Spun-sugar shattered, red leaves flaming, the burning, the burning The bonfire beauty of destruction. Lips laying waste. Leaves flaring, flickering brightest in their deaths, the hayride smell of warm hair, the airplane circling back to the skyline. Who cares if leaves turn red again this year?

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A young woman learns about migration Kara Dorris

for Sheila Black

We used to break chapels at least into church steeples to see where swallows go to learn how to vanish winter nights We didn’t understand migration until we lit up those empty watchtowers like fireplaces, until we felt extreme fear/disappointment/love to the point of nothing Winter nights, we learned, turned snow & sleet to black ice, so still we couldn’t help but slide into damage Those nights of rum & coke the first sour-sweet lick of a frozen margarita, blood/snow like inside/out The melting turns everything into what it doesn’t want to be: salvage reclamation We learned sliding into dark winter nights feels like standing still Still, we haven’t learned enough from swallows, why we return to scenes of destruction or try to plough seashores why migrating to & away makes the summer sun-tea that much sweeter Spring 2011 45


The Truth a Poet Can Tell Monique Roussel

My father is a poet. He composes sonnets from behind the wheel of a schoolbus, although he does not know they are sonnets. His is the poetry of two wives: one, a jezebel, the second a nurse to his stroke. It is the poetry of too much drink, a shortness of breath, then the grip of God’s hand about his throat, and a falling. Swaying in his busdriver’s seat like Keats in a reverie, he sings the verses of his life like psalms, prayers to the Roman Catholic God of damnation, of the wagging calloused finger that lifted his bloated carcass into a silver wheelchair. When he was taken in this way, Mother told me to rejoice. They wheeled him before by tender little body, a crumpled figure in a plaid shirt, his face moon-like with the ever present sag of remorse, his hands and feet shackled to the rolling chair, Aunt Irene standing beside him in a pale yellow dress tall as a column, her hair red as fire. My father’s life is a poem, large and aching as his hands after fixing an engine, big and swelled, bleeding and calloused as Christ’s. 46 Tulane Review


Venice Streetlight Elizabeth Kate Switaj

Spring 2011 47


Fruit-Bowl

Francesca Sharkey

48 Tulane Review


Christ Was A Hod Carrier Dolores Guglielmo

Papa approached the house covered in a fine white dust. His lined face steaked with lime. Thin, sinewy, he strode tiredly, though proud. His shoulders hunched over in a permanent gesture of the weight of his cross One hundred pound sacks of plaster. His wooden carrier of mortar and bricks cut through his sun-browned back. At supper he kissed the blessed bread - happy children crowding the table, all speaking at once... He silenced them in prayer - Disciples giggling impatiently, eyeing the meager meal before them, between childish, prayerful fingers.

Spring 2011 49


Avoiding a House of Dolls Julian Jason Haladyn

I remember waiting for a forgotten moment waiting for the ink to dry on each newly printed page waiting by an abandoned river for the return in organic coffee houses telephones borrowed but not returned without a ransom On the bed of red lions in the leg of a journey driving past Normal Rockwell standing by the side of the road graveyard tours with souvenir stands I bought a box containing three bars of soap Little drawers filled with the space to hold little objects dolls that are memories of being young dolls sitting in a simple but regrettable situation I remember paintings on a wall that reminded me paintings that remained after the war painting those paintings in an old apartment in another country not found on any map or at least another room in this labyrinthine structure that stillness sits by each open door counting the words not spoken but inferred through the body clues left on the stained white sheets are of an evidentiary nature I wore a heavy bathrobe and sat in the screened in porch

50 Tulane Review


They Beat Rugs Here Jeff Schiff

& brocaded pillows and quilts from terraced rooms overlooking the sea and the language of citrus prevails and lunch is envy stewed with marrowed bones and crusts floating above fatty tendon and curled sprigs and laundry is sovereign and salvaged clapboard is sovereign and love is distracted in dust hunched over brood chicks Camila with feed corn Camila with mote while shrikes and pigeons war for grubs and the air is bus and collective taxi and diesel pomade and drenched necks and dominoes on velvet topped tables pensioners with Pisco in plastic flasks the rouge rising in Valparaiso the dusty rouge

Spring 2011 51


DRIVE

Michael Milburn To be able to be quiet in another’s company is a height of intimacy, as good as sex I’d say. Call me Aloof, call me shy, but talking to her in a place I am in only for that purpose is too much of an aria for me. I’m at my best in a car, where on any long trip silence is condoned. And the staring beside rather than at her? No contest if the view and destination are shared.

52 Tulane Review


QUANTUM MECHANIC John M. Edwards

MONKEY WRENCH THROWN UP IN THE SKY

Spring 2011 53


Volcano, Ash, Hailstone David Blomenberg

The jawbreaker ad is pressed against the glass of the dispenser where the bright-dyed spheres cluster like grapes around the mechanism that turns in the center, that directs the coin-clink of hard sugar against the monogrammed chute-flap. The ad’s skewed cardboard shows a volcano; it smokes in the distance, spewing a windblown billow of ash like a thunderhead and, rushing toward the foreground, a tremendous jawbreaker-as-dangerous-cinder, with a section taken out to show the layers, at least four, like a science diagram of Earth, the magma, the hard, hot nickel core a dull brown-red (depending on the textbook) or a malignant yellow, pushes hard toward the surface. The body, too, shows these layers, the throb of the healing sore, the glisten of it, the white frail frost of skin forming at the edges, its intaglio lines curling softly over. In the ER after the accident, my chin cut clean as an incision in a medical text, meat-colored. Brow scrubbed away. My chipped tooth with white strata like hailstones, the egg-sized ones that fractured on the walk, half-buried themselves like pale beets in the flowerbed. They beat and beat the roof, every car an avalanche of percussion, broken notes and bells. The neighbor’s terrier barked on its pegged chain, sagged, then lay down suddenly, as if narcoleptic, under the rushing sound the trees were making, the leaves falling from them like money.

54 Tulane Review


Untitled

Matthew Austin Spring 2011 55


Death Notice Ace Boggess

Copper reads only obituary pages: bold names, blurred faces in black-&-white photos, hometowns. survivors, litanies of acts meaningless from the context of history. He mines each block in search of sighs & recognition, nostalgia for the familiar once it’s gone. Leaning onto his pillars of bones like a scholar studying Aristotle, trying to penetrate densities of the Metaphysics, metasomething—what comes after— all lives defined by awareness of death, Copper embraces that selfknowledge in ends of others like Hemingway on his French hotel balcony reading about his own demise, sometimes laughing, sometimes grateful for words he doesn’t see upon the page.

56 Tulane Review


Letter to My Victim Ace Boggess

Forgive me for lines opaque as an egg’s outer innards, what’s called “the white” but isn’t, lines crooked as a black snake’s broken body on the Interstate; for promises made usurping the sovereign voice of Death; for wanting more than a man could possess without sacrifice & hard work, even then I’m deeply sorry in you I saw nothing human, just a door through which Hell is exited, the false Paradise regained. If I could, I’d take back the knife, return the blood & fix your wounds as though spraying silicon on a cracked pipe so we might leave conflicts for other men who walk away smiling, who was their hands, who’ve never looked up the Webster’s definition of regret. Spring 2011 57


UPON DECLARING A POEM UNSALVAGEABLE Liz Kicak

What if they are like eggs?

A predetermined pile stitched inside before my birth.

Scarce though they are, I have abandoned one— words made by made of my body, I have surrendered one to the abyss, declared her irredeemable, primordially flawed, destined to shrivel, to rot on the vine like fruit unharvested.

58 Tulane Review


An Egg

Elizabeth Mardiks

Spring 2011 59


Youth in the military graveyard Hunter Deely

Over the field of white crosses starlings turn a dark helix. Starlings with night in their feathers like oil pass over the soldiers of the earth, as we do, with names forgotten when at first light the first bird sings. The grass strung itself with spider webs at sun’s first angle, an impossible harp too delicate to play. And as we sat in the cold I loved you for an instant-and so I always will. The starlings unwound into the veins of a hand. When we returned to the car, the webs shattered beneath us with strange notes to answer the starlings, in first breath of frost to give our memories a song with no harmony but the earth over the dead, with no melody but footsteps over the lost.

60 Tulane Review


Usable Things

Lauren Nicole Nixon

I. Mr. Everett next door, the one with the rows and rows of marigolds, his tool shed has many usable things: a shovel a rake some twine a bucket a coupla pairs of garden gloves and Maybe if we break into the earth, we can find something more palpable than sharing the same cheekbones or a love for rhubarb jam. It must be tucked away under a pile of wild weeds or a buried dragonfly or two. If the backyard is browning and thirsty, lapping at us with a dry tongue and the garden hose is dripping rather than flowing, how’s the family tree sposed to bloom? Under the deck, there is a roll of butcher paper and a pen and a book of names but they are unsayable. They aren’t Smith or Hastings but words that sound muddy on the tongue/feel like river rocks in the throat/ things that are uncomfortable and far away. Mr. Everett next door, the one with all the tools, he lives alone and I peep at him through the slits in the curtains. And he seems just fine. He cuts fresh dill from his garden and smells it and thumbs the stems for awhile and he seems just fine. Spring 2011 61


Contributors Keith Alexander has poems published in The Sun Magazine, Salt Hill Journal, Iodine Poetry Journal, Redivider, Slipstream, Red Rock Review, and others. Mathew Austin is a freelance writer, father and the owner of Dad In Distress Dot Com. He currently resides in western Pennsylvania. William Beyer was born in 1932 in Chicago. His poems have appeared in the New York Times, Yankee, The Saturday Evening Post, English Journal, and Christian Science Monitor. His awards include the Amy Hempstead Branch Lyric Award and the Jesse Stuart Memorial Award. Anthologies include Day Unto Day, House of Many Rooms, and Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle. Jennifer Blair lives in Winterville, GA and teaches at the University of Georgia. She has published in MELUS, Copper Nickel, The Tusculum Review, and Kestrel. Her chapbook All Things are Ordered is out from Finishing Line Press. Nathan Blake is currently finishing the last courses en route to a BA in Philosophy from Christopher Newport University. His poetry has been featured in Trellis Magazine, Currents, and North Central Review. His upcoming fiction will appear in Jersey Devil Press. David Blomenberg resides in Indianapolis. He recently received his MFA in Poetry from Purdue University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry Salzburg Review, Artifice, and The Sycamore Review, in which his interview of Poet Laureate Rita Dove has recently appeared and an interview with Ted Kooser will soon be published. Ace Boggess is currently incarcerated in the West Virginia correctional system. His poetry has appeared in Harvard Review, Notre Dame Review, Poetry East, RATTLE, Atlanta Review, Southeast Review, and other journals. His books include The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled (poetry, Highwire Press, 2003) and Displaced Hours (novel, Gatto Publishing, 2004). John Bradley is currently a graduate student in Madison, Wisconsin, where he studies twentieth-century American literature. He is currently finishing a dissertation on modernist and contemporary poetry. Alan Britt teaches English at Towson University. His recent books are entitled Infinite Days, Amnesia, and Bodies of Lightning. He has been published widely over the past thirty years in the U.S., Latin America and Europe. He lives in Maryland.


Roger Camp has published his photographs in over 100 magazines including Darkroom Photography, New England Review, and North American Review. He is the author of three books of photography, the latest of which is Heat (Charta/DAP, 2009). He has taught photography at the University of Iowa, Columbus College of Art & Design, and the CitĂŠ Internationale Universitaire de Paris. Tom Chandler is the poet laureate of Rhode Island emeritus, has been named Phi Beta Kappa Poet at Brown University, and has been a featured poet at the Robert Frost homestead. His poems have been read by Garrison Keillor on National Public Radio several times. His latest book is Toy Firing Squad. Joan Colby lives with her husband and assorted animals on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has published over 900 poems in literary journals including Poetry, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Epoch, and The Hollins Critic. Hunter Deely is from San Antonio, Texas. He studies english and anthropology at Tulane. Salvatore Difalco is a Sicilian writer living in Toronto. Richard Dinges, Jr. has an MA in literary studies from University of Iowa and manages business systems at an insurance company. His poems have recently been accepted for publication in Timber Creek Review, Millers Pond, Abbey, Icon, and Iodine. William Doreski has written work that has appeared in various electronic and print journals as well as several collections, the most recently Waiting for the Angel. Kara Dorris graduated from New Mexico State University with an MFA in creative writing poetry. Her work has appeared in The Tusculum Review, ListenLight, Not Just Air, Wicked Alice, among other literary journals. Her chapbook, Elective Affinities, is forthcoming this fall from Dancing Girl Press. John M. Edwards graduated from Tulane in 1986. Dolores Guglielmo was born in Corona, New York in 1928. She graduated from Queens College in Flushing, New York, in 1983, with a BA in English. Her poems have appeared in many magazines, among them Paris Atlantic, Orbis, Poetry Monthly, and Poetry Nottingham.


Julian Jason Haladyn is a Canadian writer and artist living in London, Ontario. His poems have appeared in a number of journals, as well as the collection Nuit Blanche: Poetry for Late Nights (2007). Haladyn is anticipating the publication of Fragments of a Funeral Precession, a collection of my poems over the last thirteen years in early 2011 by Blue Medium press. Carol Hamilton is a former Poet Laurete of Oklahoma. She has upcoming publications in the The South Caroline Review, Poet Lore, Connecticut River Review, Louisiana Literature, Art Time and Comstock Review. She has been nominated five times for a Pushcart Prize. Adam Jeffries is a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls. He composes awardwinning operas in braile and, on occasion, treads water for three days in a row. His deft floral arrangements have earned him fame in international botany circles. Hannah Jegart, is a screenprinter and New Orleans native. She works primarily with transparent layering via rubylith. Liz Kicak lives in Tampa, FL. She received her MFA from the University of South Florida and now works for the school’s Humanities Institute. Her poetry has appeared in New York Quarterly, Boston Literary Magazine, Southern Women’s Review, Palooka Literary Review, and others. A. E. Loveridge has poetry published in The Southern Women’s Review, The New Yinzer, and anthologized by Carlow University Press. Her literary fiction chapbook, Congregation, was published by Little Book Publications in 2008. Liz Mardiks is a sophomore at Tulane from Chicago. She likes to take pictures, listens to Bruce Springsteen and the Avett Brothers, and misses her dog terribly when she’s at school. Michael Milburn teaches high school English in New Haven, Connecticut. Most recently his writing has appeared in New England Review and Ploughshares. Keith Moul is a resident of Washington State. He has published poems for more than 40 years, and has only recently begun finding markets for his photographic work. Christopher Mulrooney has written poems in Caesura, The Broadkill Review, Moloch, and The Delinquent, translations in The Pacific Review, New Translations, Ezra, and Pusteblume.


Norman Nathan has written work that has appeared in Arkansas Review, Bibliophilos, Ignis Fatuus Review and Malahat Review. Lauren Nicole Nixon is a teaching artist, choreographer and poet. Nixon received her MA in Arts Politics from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her poetry has been published in What You Do| Eat a Peach, RELEASE, Hail, Muse, Etc and No, Dear. Edward Palm is originally from New Castle, Delaware. He is a vietnam veteran and a retired U.S. Marine officer turned academic. He is an amateur photographer and an occasional freelance writer. He now makes his home in Bremerton, Washington. Francis Raven has published three volumes of poetry as well as a novel, Inverted Curvatures. Additionally, his poems and critical work can we be found in several literary reviews and journals including Flak and The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. Melanie Reitzel works with mammals as a maternity nurse specialist in lactation at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. She is also an MFA candidate in creative writing at San Francisco State University. Her work has been published in Poet Lore and the North American Review. Brady Rhoades has poetry published in the anthology Best New Poets 2008 as well as Antioch Review, Louisville Review, Baltimore Review, Faultline and many other publications. He has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes. Izzy Riofrio is originally from Ecuador. She likes cats as well as other furry critters. She spends her free time making origami. Monique Roussel is a Producer, writer and sometime radio talk show host on SiriusXM radio and WBAI 99.5 FM. and holds a Masters in Creative Writing/ English Literature/Poetry from New York University. Her work is slated to appear in The Conclave Literary Journal, The Naugatuck River Review and the Labletter Journal. Jeff Schiff is the author of Mixed Diction (Mammoth books, 2009) and Anywhere in this Country (Mammoth Press) among others. His work has appeared internationally in more than eighty periodicals, including The Alembic, The Ohio Review, Poet & Critic, Tendril, Southern Humanities Review, River City, and The Southwest Review. He has taught at Columbia College Chicago since 1987.


Francesca Sharkey is a painter working and living in London. She received a BA Honours in Fine Art from Plymouth University in 1993. Matt Siegel is the author of Anywhere in this Country and The Homily of Infinitude, among others. His work has appeared internationally in more than eighty periodicals. He has taught at Columbia College Chicago since 1987. J. R. Solonche is coauthor (with wife Joan Siegel) of Peach Girl: Poems for a Chinese Daughter (Grayson Books). His poems have appeared in numerous magazines, journals and anthologies. He teaches at SUNY Orange in Middletown, New York. Barry Spacks earns his keep teaching writing and literature at UC Santa Barbara, California, after many years doing the same at M.I.T. He’s published poems widely in journals paper and pixel, plus stories, two novels, ten poetry collections, and three CDs of selected work. Elizabeth Kate Switaj has photographs published in GUD, Carpe Diem Review, The Sylvan Echo, Schmap Travel Guides, and Kaleidowhirl as well as on the cover of Boxcar Poetry’s 2006 anthology. She is currently an intern for Irish Pages and a doctoral candidate at Queen’s University Belfast. Elizabeth Walker is a freshman at Tulane University from Bedford, New York. Her writing portfolio was recognized nationally by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards as one of the top collections in the nation. Her works are set to be published in The Anthology of Best Teen Writing 2010. Chris Waters is a North Carolina native, who divides his time between Cape Hatteras and Rhode Island. He’s published poetry and prose—250 poems, three short stories, four non-fiction books—in Australia, France, Canada, Ivory Coast, the UK, and the US. A poem and a short story have been nominated for Pushcarts. Mark Alan Williams just started submitting his poetry. He’s always thrilled to know his poetry will be read by serious readers. Zach Yanowitz is 20 years old, lives in New Orleans, and has no marketable real-world skills.

Spring 2011 Tulane Review  

Spring 2011 Tulane Review

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