A Central Texas Art and Literary Joural
An Adventure in Self-Publication
Balusek From Punk Rockers to Indie Outlaws
Johnnyâ€™s Body Rock Collecting with
Horton Jenna Foster Artist Spotlight:
Customer Rated #1
Smoke Shop in Central Texas Specializing in American Made Pipes & Water Pipes
916 S. Valley Mills Dr. Waco, TX 76711 254-732-4868 2 • bohemia • Autumn 2012
Monday - Thursday 11 am - 10pm Friday - Saturday 11 am - 11pm Sunday 12 pm - 8 pm
Editor In Chief
“You will raise the island of the Sirens, those creatures who spellbind any man alive, whoever comes their way.”
Assistant Editor Jim McKeown
Fiction Acquisition Eric Doyle
Poetry Aquisition Mandy Bray
Photography Editor Cynthia Wheeler
Fashion Editor Serena Teakell
Beauty Editor Amy Cook
Missy Balusek, Amy Cook, Serena Teakell, photo by Cynthia Wheeler for Cynthia Wheeler Photography in Waco. ____________________ Bohemia: Waco’s Art & Literary Journal (Waco, TX) Volume 2, Number 3 Autumn 2012 ISSN No. 2162-8653 Printed by Waco Printing Company
Contact Bohemia through www.bohemia-journal.com
Bohemia table of contents 05 | Sirens Poetry 09 | Resume of Cindy Rella 24 Sandi Horton | 10 | Gretal’s Tale 26 | Pentax K 12 | Rosalynd Stiltskin 29 | Too Late To Be Superman 14 | William Gruff 32 Mourning Has Broken
| 15 | Alice in Bewilderment 34 | 16 | Missy Balusek 35 | 18 | Jenna Lynn Foster 38 | 40 |
A Ghostly Blessing La Llorona Johnny’s Body The Arc
Second place photo winner Andy Ward
Autumn 2012• bohemia • 3
ART FORUM OF WACO
Lease our galleries for parties, events, conferences, and meetings. Select studios available for lease
1826 Morrow Waco, Texas 76708 Cell: 254-227-9953 Office: 254-235-1875 Open Tuesday-Saturday 9:30am – 6 pm
SOUL PRESS Promote and publish new authors and artists
(254) 458-9051 www.stellarsoulpress.com email@example.com Facebook.com/PoetryIsUniversal 4 • bohemia • Autumn 2012
CELEBRATION December 21st, 2012 7-11pm Live Music, Chaga, Raw Chocolate, and Great Conversation
Enchanted Cedar 100 N. Oak St Lorena, TX www.enchantedcedar.com
The Beginning of Something New
Lorelei by Mandy Bray
We lingered by the Rhine
And intertwined by the moonlight On her mossy, shaded banks I woke alone by the Rhine
Wrapped in flowing hair and tears That flooded silent rivers
Sirens Photography by Cynthia Wheeler
the island of the Sirens by Jim McKeown
“You will raise the island of the Sirens, those creatures who spellbind any man alive, whoever comes their way.” from Fagles’ translation of The Odyssey, Book 12, line 45. Odysseus, the man of wily ways,
vibrating up and down my spine,
so he alone could hear
in my dreamsI cannot see her face
stopped up the crews’ ears with wax the sirens sing.
He thrashed and begged beyond
all reason to free him from his fetters, so could swim to see the Sirens and live to tell the tale.
Oh, too bad he did not!
Those sirens live and breathe today. So many temptations
for love so deep, so full I ache with pleasure
at the thought alone her body flows through mine
The boys came one by one
To kiss me from my water grave But not you, my love
And so I dove into the deep. My anthems echo off the rocks As I stroke my liquid hair
And the boys look for me still
Until their heads are underwater And the light begins to fade
But not you, my love.
my arms, my legs
but I always sense her beauty clad
in a thousand stars -as Marlowe wrote –
launching a thousand desires and heartaches and love trapping me
in my dreams – day and night – I swim and swim and never see
but only hear and sense
Make-up and hair Amy Cook Autumn 2012• bohemia • 5
hemingway’s watering hole s watering hole hemingway’s watering hole ngway’s watering hole hemingway’s watering hole s watering hole hemingway’s watering hole hemingway’s watering hole ngway’s watering hole inspired by s ’ y a w hemingway’s watering hole g n i m the mariner e H ’s watering hole hemingway’s watering hole g n i ter watering hole a hemingway’s W ngway’s watering hole e l o H hemingway’s watering hole s watering holehemingway’s watering hole hemingway’s watering hole ngway’s watering hole hemingway’s watering hole s watering hole hemingway’s watering hole hemingway’s watering hole ngway’s watering hole hemingway’s watering hole ’s watering hole hemingway’s watering hole hemingway’s watering hole (254) 716-1706 ngway’s watering hole hemingway’s watering hole ’s watering hole hemingway’s watering hole hemingway’s watering hole ingway’s watering 4700 Bosque Blvd. hole hemingway’s watering hole Waco, TX 76710 y’s watering hole hemingway’s watering hole in The Market Place watering hole hemingway’s ingway’s watering hole hemingway’s watering hole way’s watering hole by Isis Lee
Old curse she burns into the distance Long past every tragedy
A world of visions left is morrow
As the dreams come rushing free We the wicked left to mellow
In the course the cold sea breaths Winds come burst in to unveiling
The whipping whirl that death can bring Old seas of shadows will deliver Our toil, and turn in tragedy
For lost we search on through the distance Poseidon’s curse a clash to be
His wrath of furry, death upon us We serve our mistress endlessly The sea is calling our disaster
Her whisper heard in through the breeze For in our deaths bring forth true glory Of conquest, truth and vanity!
6 • bohemia • Autumn 2012
Gowns provided by Georgio’s Bridal in Waco, dyed and repurposed by Serena & Amy
by Genevieve Deeds-Page The cabin boy was innocent and fair
But terror hung like smoke upon the air
The men needed a scapegoat they could spare Whenever trouble came the boy was there
They caught him round the waist and tied down
The shipmates said they ought to let him drown But captain said “we can’t just let him die -
“Let’s lock him up and hide him from the sky.”
Cabin boy, Cabin boy Is the wind blowing faster? Cabin boy, Cabin boy And the billowing sails Cabin boy, Cabin boy Is the ship moving faster Cabin boy, Cabin boy While your face grows so pale? They hid him in the darkness and the dim
They could no longer blame their fate on him No water did they leave him and no bread
The first mate said “he’d best be left for dead” But late one night he stole across the floor He crept in and he opened up the door
He said “boy, I hope this has made you wise”
Cabin boy, Cabin boy Is the ship moving faster Cabin boy, Cabin boy While your face grows so pale? He cried red tears and closed his eyes for good As little feet made footprints in the blood
Small hands strung lifeless bodies from the rig
And locked their souls all screaming in the brig When darkness catches up a man at last
He prays the ending will be clean and fast
Let this mercy and prayer of hope prove true The night the cabin boy he comes for you
Cabin boy, Cabin boy Is the wind blowing faster? Cabin boy, Cabin boy With your eyes shining bright Cabin boy, Cabin boy And the sea churns with laughter Cabin boy, Cabin boy As their screams pierce the night
But all that answered him were gleaming eyes
Cabin boy, Cabin boy Is the wind blowing faster? Cabin boy, Cabin boy And the billowing sails
Sirens: Serena Teakell, left. Amy Cook, above. Missy Balusek, previous page.
Autumn 2012• bohemia • 7
WACO lock & key Automotive Locksmith Specialist
Rodger A. Clark Make an appointment online at www.schedulicity.com Automotive chip keys cut and programmed Keyless entry remotes programmed and repaired Ignition locks repaired/replaced Cars and trucks unlocked Remote keys repaired and replaced WacoLockandKey@live.com www.wacolockandkey.com
3501 Bosque Blvd. (254) 214-3024
Texas License B13670
8 â€˘ bohemia â€˘ Autumn 2012
fairy tales RESUME OF CINDY RELLA by Christopher Linforth Art on page by Rocky Kelley
To land a fine man, a prince, like that cute British William guy, who will look past my cotton rag dress and the soot that stains my skin and leaves a charred wood smell in my hair. I currently live with my pop in the suburbs. He’s a great guy, but getting old, and constantly overshadowed by my stepmom and my two ugly stepsisters. I’m pushing nineteen and I need to find a husband—a man without financial concern—to save me.
I’m an experienced and goal-orientated cleaning professional with a track record of producing sparkling glass surfaces, polished family silver, darned silk petticoats, waxed hardwood floors, and cinder-free fireplaces. Skilled in time management, I oversee the running of the house, making sure meals are prepared and cooked on schedule. Although I do not receive compliments for the dishes I serve, I often note sly smiles and a look of surprise on the wart-lined faces of my stepfamily. Sometimes when they pretend they don’t want any more of my garlic vinegar blood-sausage or my boiled pork chops à la mode and they disappear to Applebee’s for several hours, I dance around the house with the broom, imagining it’s the prince holding me close.
Apart from my official House Cleaner title (associate status), which began in 2005 and continues to the present, I’m also something of a reality TV star, or was. Last year, I appeared in Bravo TV’s The Real Stepdaughters of New Jersey. For two weeks, until the show was taken off the air for low ratings, the program followed the drudgery of my existence, contrasting it against the manicured and perfumed lives of my stepsisters. The camera crew set up base in the kitchen and recorded the drama. One day they filmed me chopping aged pumpkin and broiled liver for my family’s supper and all hell broke loose when one of my stepsisters declared she was a vegetarian. Now, there was no way I was preparing two separate meals. The show did blow it out of proportion. They often cut out the tender moments of sibling reconciliation. Apparently, I’m told, there was a Facebook page dedicated to putting the show back on air, to see how things turned out for me. Well, prince, so far things haven’t.
People, well my pop, will tell you, I’m a good girl at heart: honest, caring, and quite beautiful. I would make a perfect princess. Even though my stepfamily treats me so poorly, I still love them, and would Education make adequate provision for them in the I was home schooled, earning an Associates in Sweeping and Mopping. After my castle, somewhere in the basement, a mom died, when I was a kid, my pop moved in with a new woman—kind of soon, in locked window-less room of some sort. retrospect—and I was tasked with keeping her house clean. It was tough, at first, with no one to guide me. I had such small hands, white and soft, unused to such labor. The whole situation was made worse by the constant haranguing of my stepsisters, who called me a “cinderwench” and laughed every time I did something wrong. Recently, I tried transferring the credits, but even the University of Phoenix told me I was out of luck.
Professional Experience and Achievements
Beyond my daily chores and domestic duties, I have little experience of the outside. I live in a small room above the garage, the “garret,” I call it, and there I have a mattress on the floor, and a beat-up nightstand, which holds a stack of drugstore novels and a pink Disney Princess lamp. On a day-to-day basis, I’m in the house, working through a to-do list written by my stepmom. When I get a chance, I climb the stairs to the top of the house and gaze out of the attic window, to the playground in the park. There I see children enjoying the swings and slides, and screaming as though life couldn’t be anymore exhilarating. In one sense, it depresses me: to see the childhood I never had. That’s one reason I’m searching for you, a lovely prince, to help me move on with my life. Since I was a little girl, I’ve dreamed of an attending a ball, wearing a golden silk gown beset with diamonds and rubies, and stilettos trimmed with mirror-ball glass. Autumn 2012• bohemia • 9
Gretel’s Tale Story by Arthur Levine
Photo by Jon Goddi
By the time Papa was downsized, woodcutting was a dying industry, jobs were scarce and the few available positions went to younger men. We were living in a modest cottage with his new wife and now that I’m grown and see things in a different light, it occurs to me that Papa may have married to provide us with a mother to replace the one we had. But the last thing Hansel and I wanted was a new mother. Naturally, what we wanted was our real one, but she died and Stepmother seemed every bit as mean to Hansel and I as the stepmothers in the fairy tales Papa used to read to us at bedtime. But now Papa just stayed in his den with a newspaper and drank, coming out only to empty his chamber pot and purchase another jug from the miller, who brought his wagon to a halt in front of the cottage every fortnight on his way to the village. Our lives were miserable. There was hardly enough food, and Hansel and I had to huddle together at night to stay warm.
and see things in a different light, I realize that Stepmother probably knew how miserable I was whether I cried or not, but like Papa, she probably felt Hansel and I would be better off with her Aunt, than in a house with not enough food or heat, and seeing our beloved Papa in the condition he was in.
One night little Hansel shook me awake, so excited I had to make him slow down and repeat what he said.
Hansel slowly returned to Stepmother who took us each by the hand and led us for what seemed like miles through the dark forest to her aunt’s cabin. Planting us at the entrance, she seemed to force a smile and assured us we would be better off living here for now until Papa returned to work.
But I told Hansel he need not worry, that Papa would never allow such a thing.
Poor Hansel, confined to that awful place. When the visit is over it breaks my heart to leave him there.
“Stepmother is going to take us away to live with a wicked witch so there will be more food for her to eat and extra covers to warm her in bed at night!”
When I last visited Hansel, he remembered the cabin to be built of gingerbread and cakes, with a candy roof and windows of spun sugar.
It was a few nights later that Stepmother came to our bedside and told us of the arrangements she had made with her elderly maiden aunt, who lived alone in a cabin in the forest, to oversee our care until Papa found work. She said we would be leaving in the morning and tucked us in and told us to try and get a good night’s sleep as we had a long journey ahead of us.
He also recalled leaving a trail of bread crumbs so we might find our way home, only when we went to find them we discovered they had been eaten by birds and other woodland creatures. I seem to remember something like this as well.
The next morning after a meager breakfast of an egg and a crust of bread, Stepmother brought us into Papa’s den to say goodbye. Hansel ran to Papa and, naturally, pleaded with Papa to stay. “It’s for the best,” Papa said, and again he said, “It’s for the best.” Then he took a long sip of the clear liquid in his Mason jar, and returned, or pretended to return to his newspaper.
I didn’t completely believe Hansel’s tale about the witch, but, naturally, I didn’t want to leave Papa either. I struggled not to cry, partly for Hansel’s sake, partly for Papa’s, and partly because I didn’t want to give Stepmother the satisfaction of seeing me so unhappy. Now that I’m grown 10 • bohemia • Autumn 2012
Stepmother’s Aunt creaked open the door halfway to look us over before stepping out to welcome us in. She was ancient, and, given her age, hardly a beauty, but I recall her long hair taking on a silvery shine in the moonlight and her eyes being the clearest blue. I remember being surprised to be thinking that she might have been a real beauty back in the day.
She and Stepmother exchanged pleasantries, but I sensed at the time that Stepmother felt uncomfortable and wanted to end the visit and return to our home. What was our home. When her Aunt invited us in, Stepmother declined. I can’t recall exactly what excuse she gave, and made haste to leave.
Stepmother’s Aunt sat us at a table in the center of the room, brought us a tin pitcher of ice cold milk and placed before us steaming plates of slices of freshly baked cherry pie, blueberry tarts, strudel, and all kinds of other goodies.
“Eat children,” she said, “Eat to your young heart’s content!”
Hungry almost always since Papa lost his position and especially hungry after our long trip through the forest, as soon as Hansel and I devoured the sweets, Stepmother’s Aunt filled our plates again. Little Hansel, finally full, pushed away the plate containing the remainder of his third slice of pie and a crust of one of the tarts, and shortly thereafter put his head down on the table and fell asleep.
There came a time when I too must have nodded off, for the next thing I remembered was awakening the next morning in a soft bed, much nicer than the straw we slept on at home. So as not to waken Hansel, I stepped softly into the main room where I could see Stepmother’s Aunt (we never did learn her name) through the open door, in her flower garden, gathering a bunch of beautiful red carnations, which she brought in and placed in a vase in the center of the table. “Did you sleep well?” she asked.
“Oh yes! Thank you ever so much! The bed was so soft!” I said.
Before too long I was sipping from a jug of hot cocoa and munching on a freshly baked cookie. Hansel soon joined us, looked at the cookies on my plate and as Stepmother’s Aunt went to fetch him a mug of coca, he leaned over and whispered, “Watch out! She’s just fattening us up so we’ll be tastier when she eats us!” Stepmother’s Aunt placed the plate of cookies before him, pinched his cheek and said “How’s my little cherub this morning?”
Hansel pushed the plate away and lifting the mug of hot cocoa, screamed, “Back off witch! Or I’ll burn you with this cocoa!”
Stepmother’s Aunt stepped back and smiled, her pretty white teeth out of place among all the wrinkles and folds in her ancient face. “No doubt my little cherub misses his Mama and Papa. It’s all right. You will be back with them soon enough. If you have no appetite right now, that’s perfectly all right. Just let me know if you change your mind.”
And with that she turned and left the cottage, leaving the door ajar, to once again tend her garden. “Gretel! We must leave!” Hansel said, “Before she decides to bake us into cookies like the ones on your plate!”
“Don’t worry Hansel,” I said, moving toward him for a hug, “I won’t let anything happen to you.” As if she had overheard Hansel’s warning, Stepmother’s Aunt returned from her garden and told us we may come and go as we pleased.
“Only don’t wander too far from the cottage, my sweets, as the woods are full of hungry wolves and poison snakes and other dangers to little morsels such as yourselves.”
But instead of following his own admonition to escape at the first opportunity, Hansel yawned and chose to return to his bed. “It’s safer in here,” he said, “As long as I don’t get fat she won’t eat me.” I preferred to explore her garden and spent several hours breathing in the sweet scents of gardenias, roses, and other delights, until Stepmother’s Aunt called me in for our midday meal.
Shortly thereafter Hansel, rubbing sleep from his eyes, joined me at the table, where Stepmother’s Aunt had prepared huge sandwiches of an unfamiliar, but very tasty meat, and side dishes of sweet potatoes and buttered corn.
Hansel seemed over his fright and ate hurriedly, having second helpings of everything, though I barely managed to finish the sizeable sandwich and a portion of the side dishes. Stepmother’s Aunt seemed pleased, “I see you’ve regained your appetite cherub,” she said to Hansel. “Yes ma’am! This sandwich is the best I ever ate! Pork is it?”
“Not exactly,” said Stepmother’s Aunt, busying herself over the sink, cleaning her pots and pans.
While I found this remarkable change in Hansel odd, I was relieved to see him finally adapting to his new surroundings.
Hansel and I spent much of the afternoon exploring the forest, careful not to stray too far from the cottage.
Hansel happened upon a blackberry bush and we decided to gather some berries to bring back to Stepmother’s Aunt in the hope she might put them in a pie. We filled my bonnet and Hansel’s cap before Hansel pricked his thumb on a thorn and it began to bleed. I noticed he had gotten a few drops on the berries in his hat, but decided it best not to mention it.
Returning to the cottage with our bounty we happened upon a raven feasting on crumbs of some sort, perhaps remnants of those left by Hansel to mark our journey. Then it seemed that all at once the sky had darkened, although it might very well have been darkening all along. Stepmother’s Aunt seemed very pleased when we showed her the blackberries and promised us a pie for later in the evening. In the meantime, she placed steaming bowls of stew in front of Hansel and me for the evening meal, a tasty dish of cooked vegetables from her garden, and large chunks of that tasty, but unfamiliar meat. We had several helpings each before Stepmother’s Aunt brought out ample slices of chocolate cake topped with a dark red frosting that I found especially tasty, along with mugs of hot cocoa. We never did get to eat that pie.
I love to walk among plants and flowers after a heavy rain, breathing in the smells and seeing the way the leaves glisten. It was there in Stepmother’s Aunt’s garden where I heard the screams and returned to see Hansel forcing the door of the oven down on the head of Stepmother’s Aunt. It took all my strength to pull him off and by then it was too late. “She was fattening us up to eat us! Just as she had eaten the others!” “What others?”
“The others she fed us in the stew!”
As I pulled her from the oven I saw that Stepmother’s Aunt’s mouth had curled into a hideous grin and her white teeth seemed to shine against the charred remains of her face. “You killed her.”
“She would have eaten us.” Autumn 2012• bohemia • 11
“No Hansel! She was good to us!”
“I heard her! I heard her scheming just like I heard Stepmother! I heard her! She was going to eat us! Just like the others!”
Hansel has had very little to say to me of late. He no longer asks about Papa. Once, he told me that Mama visits him late at night sometimes, when the ward is asleep. I gently asked if he might have just dreamed that she visited, but he just stared at me and didn’t answer. He has not mentioned any such visits since, nor as I say, much of anything else. He looks so small in his gown. When it’s time to go I feel awful leaving him, yet I look forward to going.
trees shivered awake, creaking limbs becoming arms and legs, and leaves falling around strong young bodies in the rich hues of royalty.
“It was a bitterly cold night
“I don’t believe that Hansel, she was good to us. There weren’t any others…” Hansel seemed possessed, as if he were under some sort of a spell. All I could think of to do was to bury Stepmother’s Aunt and to try to find our way back to Papa. But Hansel wanted to just leave her there and burn the cottage. “Witches can rise up from the dead,” he said, “But if we burn her up she can never come back to eat children again.”
I didn’t share his wild notions of witches, and anyhow, certainly didn’t believe Stepmother’s Aunt to be a witch, but burning the cottage did seem to make sense. That way we could simply claim we were out playing at the time of the fire and there would be no evidence left to possibly connect Hansel to the death of Stepmother’s Aunt. Hansel went back inside to find matches and some oil to pour on the cottage to hasten its burning, and returned carrying a box containing Stepmother’s Aunt’s jewelry and several gold coins and other valuables. As they would no longer be of use to Stepmother’s Aunt, I could see no harm in taking them.
After about a day and a half of wandering in the forest, almost by accident we finally reached Papa’s cabin. We hadn’t eaten much more than some occasional berries and I had slept very little. Hansel was in an excited state and probably slept even less, if at all. I tried hard to make him understand that it would be best if we simply said the cottage caught fire, and not mention anything about witches, but Hansel insisted on telling what he considered to be the truth, feeling proud of having saved us from being eaten by a witch. *
Stepmother doesn’t visit, as on the one occasion she tried, Hansel became so agitated the attendants had to strap him in one of those awful jackets. Papa won’t visit, as he still rarely leaves the den, and his drinking has worsened and has now affected his pallor. So I’m Hansel’s only visitor and as much as I love my brother, the visits are not something to which I 12 • bohemia • Autumn 2012
They were princes and princesses all, from faraway lands, cursed to grow in the little man’s grove by day and toil in his hut by night until the time of his natural death. The children chopped wood and carried water, hunted and gardened and cleaned, sewing clothes and mending floors, until dawn’s first light broke over the hill.
They held a service for Stepmother’s Aunt and I wanted to attend, but Stepmother thought it would be best if I didn’t, since in many of the retellings among the few relatives of Stepmother’s Aunt I’m portrayed as an accomplice to the awful killing. While at the time I felt it terribly unjust, now that I’m grown and see things in a different light, I’m sure she would have understood.
The Song of Rosalynd Stiltskin
by Lora Rivera
n the northern woods, where the hills grow tall and deep with green, a little hut stood by a thicket of colorful trees. The hut was gray and crumbled with age, and inside lived a fat, choleric little man with legs as pointed as spindle needles. He sat all day and spoke to no one; though much longer ago than our story begins, he had held council with kings and was called by many illustrious names. For he knew the true matter of every skilled craft and also the words of Changing, used to coax frogs into men and children into trees, and even (and this was his pride) straw into gold. But Time had forgotten him, and he soon found himself alone. Only the grove of trees brought him pleasure. They were of red leaves and gold, purple and ivory, carmine and the deepest cobalt. He sometimes stared at them for hours, letting the evening’s fire go cold until it was time for bed. And then, when the fox and hare bade each other goodnight and the owl gave over to the hunt, anyone watching would have seen a strange thing. The
Of all the princesses, one was most fair, with eyes the gray of a storm cloud and hair like the midnight sky. Her tree was of ebony limb and pale flower, and it shimmered in winter, as if strung with diamonds. It was Rosalynd who first heard the maiden weeping, far off, in a room full of straw.
“Hush,” she told the children. “Perhaps he will not wake. This hut has forgotten its ears. It has been such a long time.”
They went about their work, and Rosalynd counted the stars that sank beyond the nearest hill. But the stalwart hut gave off such a terrible racket that at last her master woke. His needle legs danced when he heard the news, and no sooner had Rosalynd finished washing the dishes than her master sprang up, spun three times, and sang,
“Lighter than dust, Swifter than light; Merrily go to a maiden’s plight, Merrily aid in her plight I must!”
and vanished. Dismayed, Rosalynd ran from the hut. The sky had turned to caramel at the crest of the hill, and already her feet longed to slice into the dewy earth and plunge down, down. The other children crowded round and, as she did every morning, she covered their faces in kisses and wrapped their shoulders in her arms. “Will it be a girl?” asked one of the youngest, and her face bore lines of brittle bark. “Another boy?” creaked a large, stately prince, who might have won tournaments and trophies had he been able to grow up in his native land, far across the western
“Neither,” Rosalynd whispered, and her voice was the moan of wind through her branches. She tried but could not speak again, for molten sap swelled in her stomach, liquefying organs, heart throbbing mutinously against the pressure until it too was a crystal hardness carapaced in woody ribs. Her mouth filled with her sap’s golden, syrupy tang. All day, she ruminated, while the beetles crawled among her roots, and when at last, darkness fell again and her aching bones were sewn up with new flesh, she hurried into the hut. Her master was gone with a twirl and a rhyme, and Rosalynd grieved. How many more children would fall under his curse and stand forever in their splendor of leaves, while the sun churned and scorched the land into another age?
For her master was immortal, born of the faye; he could never die a natural death and lift the curse.
For many nights, while her master’s greed spread like a pall over the grove, Rosalynd would sit by the fire, conscious of the hut’s malevolence. Oft she heard it say “Careful” in the crackling of the burning wood or in the creak of rain upon the eaves. And she was not wrong to fear; for the same magic that lent it ears to hear the cries of helpless maidens made the hut wary of the gray-eyed princess. “Careful,” the hut threatened, its voice sharper than the icicles glittering along the thatch, “lest our master fell you with his axe while you sleep under the sun.” The children shuddered.
“He will use your bones for his fires,” crooned the hut, “and will water the grove with your blood.”
But Rosalynd shut her ears and waited for springtime, her heart resolute.
The night before the babe was born, Rosalynd sang while she worked in the hut, while her master lay sleeping. She sang of sweet child faces and child fingers, of child feet and toes, and chubby thighs. She sang of a mother’s gladness and sorrow. The children stopped work sometimes to listen. Even the night animals drew near, and Rosalynd only
ceased her singing when she saw the sheen of tears on her master’s sleeping cheeks in the shadow of morning.
When her master returned that day with a gyrating verse, her flowers bloomed brighter, for she saw no babe in his arms. He passed under her floating boughs and looked up with eyes thin as yarn off its
in her master’s stew. He slept soundly while Rosalynd dressed in breeches and a long skinny beard she’d made from the moss the boy had gathered. She bound two strong saplings to her legs with cloth so she stood tall as the hut on her needle-thin stilts. Then she stoked a large fire in the outdoor pit and danced as if with demonic glee, singing at the top of her lungs:
“Merry the night she lies awake Heavy her lids and heavier care. Never will she guess or dream Rumpelstiltskin is my name!”
Work submitted by Rocky Kelley
skein. She quivered.
He emerged from the hut carrying the chopping axe, which he rested against the wall by her roots. There would be no more singing tonight.
Her song reached out above the hut’s snarling howls and touched the ears of a nearby messenger sent two days’ journey over treacherous land to learn new names for his lady. Visions of a room full of gold sustained the envoy through his hasty return, for what a fiend he’d seen gloating round that midnight fire and with such a devilish name!
Rosalynd doused the flames just as morning’s light touched the lip of the first hill. Her feet took hold of the ground, and she gathered the children to her.
“Careful,” hissed the hut as the sun “Careful,” she murmured, as her master shambled from the hut to claim his child slipped away. from the miller’s daughter. His eyes Rosalynd spent twilight caressing the swept the wall where no axe rested, and limbs of each tree in her grove with her Rosalynd hummed until sap squelched pearlescent blossoms, waiting for the the pleasure from her throat. time of Change. At last, she entered the hut. The story of Death’s visit to Rumpelstiltskin “Is it a girl, do you think?” asked a child, took many months to reach the hut that and Rosalynd did not answer. She was stood in a newly treeless valley. It arrived fetching a clay cup of warm beer from on the lips of a famished young prince who exchanged his tale for a meal and the stove. a bed. He told of a little bearded man “Is it a boy?” asked another, and Rosalynd with a fiery temper who, having lost a kissed his cheek as she crushed a root challenge to the miller’s daughter, had into the mug and stirred the contents plunged his needle leg into the earth and with a finger, scorching the tip. The burn split himself in two. Royal children left pacified the hut, which had bent its fiery off their play and lessons, abandoned gaze upon her as she worked. their dust cloths, and sat round the fire, “Prepare a new planting ground,” she catching glances from the maiden they told a third boy, loud enough for the hut seemed to love best in the world, whose to hear, and then pointed to the axe, obsidian hair shone as if with starlight whispering, “Instead, you must take that and whose gray eyes bespoke cunning into the forest, and do not come back and courage. until it is well lost.” The prince stayed much longer than he “Does the master mean to cut us down?” intended “I mean to make the cut.” The third night the sleeping draught was
Autumn 2012• bohemia • 13
Billy this, Billy that. William hated being called Billy, which is what his aunt always insisted on calling him. Years ago, his grandfather told him of the importance of his name, and how it originated from his Welsh background, and from what he remembered, the name William happens to be the most popular name in Britain, and considerably amongst the most dignified names in history. He tried to take pride in himself, yet his aunt was relentless. What was the problem if his only friends where Brian and Zach, he thought to himself. That wasn’t a good reason to be putting him down, and being part of the “in crowd” wasn’t the most important thing.
by Kelly Digh
Photo by Jamie Beavers
The Awakening of William Gruff Ispired by “Billy Goats Gruff” by Isis Lee
illiam Gruff was just the type of kid that hardly got noticed, unless he was being made fun of. As a result Brian and Zach were his only friends who he had known since they where young boys in grade school. Back then, they had one thing in common as they spent time dodging bullies in the school yard. Their only option was to remain close to one another through all the changes they experienced, as their friendship was the only thing that had stayed the same. At home he carried a certain sense of disdain for his aunt Terri who had a tendency to pick on him instead of focusing on what her own children did. His cousins may be popular, but he knew that they lacked any honorable qualities. She often commented about how he was too shy, and that for him life would be a lonely journey if he didn’t change. This was routine, almost ritualistic to rip into him over the last few months. William was convinced of his contempt for his relatives, who spent more time picking him apart than attempting to establish any kind of relationship. 14 • bohemia • Autumn 2012
That night he was haunted by emotions stirring his subconscious, staining his thoughts, as he was tormented. The next morning William thought as he walked to school with Brian and Zach by his side, if everyone believed that he was un-cool, he would just have to do something to change that, or end up like his cousins Jordan and Macy, who decided that by sleeping with the entire senior class they would be able to establish themselves within their social hierarchy. The other lackeys at school only had one agenda: for the boys that was seeing who could sleep with the most girls, and as for ladies, it was a battle of the boobs, and seeing who could get away with wearing the most risqué fashions. School was an unending cycle of promiscuity, and students often used sex to establish relevance. That kind of social integration left him feeling sick and William decided that he would leave that form or popularity to his cousins, as they rose up in the ranks of the social ladder, making them nothing but pawns to the jocks at school. There had to be another way besides bed- bagging, a route that he wouldn’t take. His friends could sense a certain change in William that morning.
“We need to cross over the bridge.”
Crossing the bridge, they felt out of place, but William’s expression showed determination no concern about the level of danger that was present around them.
“What is out here that you think is going to solve everything for us? I don’t want to get in trouble. If my mom knew we came out here today, she would have me grounded until summertime, and spending the year locked-up will definitely make me the laughing stock of our class.” Brian could imagine his mother banishing him from all activities, making him spend his time locked down to household duties, ensuring his halt in making a splash in the pool of teenage disillusion. He started to believe that William had a point. Maybe something needed to be done to make them socially relevant. Contemplating the benefits of being accepted, his boyish face held the expression of hesitation, and William could sense Brian’s anxiety grow. “I heard about this place where you can find just about anything, if you know where to look. My guess is when people look at us they think we are just some dumb kids, and that we probably spend our time playing with G.I. Joes. Hey, you never know Brian, you just might be able to get one of my cousins to consider you for a date, and then they won’t think you’re as lame as you have proven to be in the past.” His friends couldn’t argue with William. They didn’t want to be left out of the loop forever, and deep down inside they started to believe he was right. “Well what do we have here?”
“Aren’t you guys tired of everyone thinking we are The boys looked over to see that standing there lame? Don’t you think it’s time we do something was this tall shady looking character with a long beard, and a long hooked nose. to prove that we are not just dorky freshmen? “What are you talking about William?” “We are in high school so that means that we have to prove to the rest of our class that we are cool, or else we are going to be shoved into lockers for the next four years.” “So what do you think is going to change everything for us?”
“We never get visitors like you kids in this part of town. Most people you see out here are the wicked kind. You boys would serve some god awful purposes to them. I can’t even bear to imagine... things no one should have to experience. There is nothing you need out here on this side of the bridge. Monsters are just waiting to come out of the darkness to take you back into their world, where nobody... not even your parents can find you. You disappear when that happens, and from what I can say ... it’s probably not a good idea for kids to be out here anyway.”
William stared at Zach as he became conflicted, unable to recognize where this feeling arose from. It was deep down inside him like a thorn needing to be removed as it slowly began to The individual they saw seemed to be consumed surface. by the darkness, as he began to snarl and cough, struggling to catch his own breath. The sounds
he made, and the smell he produced hung thickly in the air, caking the inside of their nostrils with an unearthly, and unnatural smell. Despite all reason the boys appeared to be glued to the spot on which they had stood. Catching his breath, the creature that they had trouble identifying as a man, began to speak again as fear began to engulf the boys in a wave. It created energy that was tangible enough to almost sense in the air around them. “You know, out here, your kind gets swallowed up if you are not careful. I know a man who loves to get his hands on young ones like you, and if I don’t say so myself, the cops could care less. Man’s law means nothing out here.” The boys moved in closer to one another as the panic, grew so intensely the pulse of their collective heart beats seemed thunderous enough to be heard. With trepidation rising up inside them, the journey to acceptance seemed slightly absurd and without anyone having to agree, sticking around was not an option. “Come on, we just want to go home.” The look on their faces seemed to be all that it took to make William realize his own feelings of inadequacy at school, and problems at home would not be solved by whatever he thought they would find across the bridge. Seeing his friends consumed with fear was enough to make him consider the consequences, or worse what if the creature that had advised them to heed some warning was in fact speaking truth. William started pondering the idea that nothing had ever been wrong with him to begin with, and that what people said suddenly held no truth. William came to recognize something about himself as he walked along side his only friends. A sense of comfort arose within him. Life so far, had proven to him that happiness depends on where you stand; there was no point in spending time worrying about what other people had to say. Instead, he would learn to enjoy his boyhood, as he decided that there was no point in growing up too fast.
Photo by Pat Jones for Pat Jones Photography See patjonesphotography.com Illustration by Steffany Bankenbusch
Alice in Bewilderment By Kelly Digh
he girl in the corner had looking-glass eyes, reflecting everything but showing nothing within. Her proper blue dress was just the thing, with frills and wrinkles that were hidden by lacy white, just like the sky that sat listlessly over them. The shy little rabbit was the first to come, no pocket-watch to be seen. Like the girl in the corner, the rabbit was shy, though she tugged at the girl's white apron-strings. The girl in the corner with the looking-glass eyes followed the rabbit to the strangest tea-party that had ever been. Blood was in the teapot and the caterpillar reigned in a cloud of smoke. The Red and the White bickered over the biscuits and the Dormouse nibbled at a sugar cube. And the twins were everything but, finishing each other's sentences with words the other would've never ever used. And above it all, as if a stranger, stood the girl with the looking-glass eyes. Like a statue she stood, reflecting everything and taking in nothing, until a hand touched her shoulder and turned her head. "Dear girl, dear girl, please close your eyes. To see everything yet nothing is a terrible thing; perhaps when you waken it will all be a dream." The blooddrenched Hatter spoke in her ear, a sweet little whisper that barely made sound. The girl from the corner closed her looking-glass eyes, and felt the tug and pull of a thousand hands, each wanting to keep a part of her with them. And when she awoke, her looking-glass eyes found another girl in her place among the people. She had been made from the bits and the pieces of her that each one had found acceptable, and the new girl had not looking-glass eyes, but eyes of softest brown, that looked at each person and smiled. And so the girl closed her looking-glass eyes, and when she woke she was back, back in her own bathroom, with blood in the bathwater and a razor in the soap. But no longer alone, the rabbit and the Hatter bound her flowing wrists while the Red and the White wiped the tears from her face. Her eyes were no longer looking-glass eyes, for she saw reflected in them her own brown stare. And wept to have such friends. Autumn 2012• bohemia • 15
Missy balusek &: A self publishing adventure by Mandy Bray Photo by Cyndi Wheeler
alking into the Balusek house, I step straight into a scene from Rat’s Tale. As “Mommy” Missy Balusek offers me a water bottle and shows me to a sofa, her fair-haired son Blake lowers his eyes shyly and leads a toy train in circles around the floor. “Blake, do you know where Rat is?” asks Balusek. “No,” he murmurs, engrossed in the train’s trajectory. “Blake, please?” Brief family negotiations ensue, but within a few minutes I am in the company of the three real-life counterparts of the main characters of Waco children’s book Rat’s Tale: A Story About a Mouse Named Rat. Rat (Rat the Third, I later learned) is a soft, brown, stuffing-less toy mouse whose near loss on a cruise ship inspired Missy Balusek to write and publish the story in book form for her son, Blake. Just as she brought “Rat” to life in the book, the book has taken on an unanticipated life of its own in the Waco community—bringing local readings, media attention, and book sales to first-time author Balusek. Balusek is a thoroughly Waco native, residing in the Mountainview neighborhood where she grew up. Her path to being a children’s author is unusual: Balusek’s first career was as
16 • bohemia • Autumn 2012
a patrol officer for the McGregor and Bellmead police departments. She left the force for a chance to study Education at Baylor University. After graduating, she started a family and decided to stay home rather than return to law enforcement as a mom.
“I think, Why is everyone in such a rush?” she explains. “Kids grow up too fast as it is. Why don’t you just let kids be kids?” Like Rat’s Tale, the new book will be in rhyming couplet form, inspired by two of her favorite children’s authors, Dr. Seuss and Peter Eastman.
She brought Rat home for Blake when he was four months old, and the two became inseparable. After the Rat’s misadventures on a family vacation in the Caribbean, Balusek fielded pleas from family and friends to write the story, but put it off until a friend finally offered to have the book illustrated as a Christmas gift. After briefly looking into several publishing houses, she decided to move ahead with the self-publishing route through Amazon’s CreateSpace. She hired an illustrator through Elance, a creative contracting site, and completed the project without meeting her illustrator or even speaking on the phone.
Although she admits she gets bored easily, Balusek’s plan is to stick with the children’s genre for now. “I’m afraid if I wrote something for adults, it’d turn out something like Fifty Shades of Grey!” she laughs. Her next children’s book is due out in Spring 2013.
Rat is tossed up in the air by Blake here and there during our interview, even landing on my lap once as if jumping into action upon hearing his name. His predecessors, Rat the First was lost, and Rat the Second was eaten by the family labradoodle. Rat the Third will be the final generation—the toy company no longer makes him. As for community support for the book, Balusek says that it’s been wonderful. “I’ve had much more support than I expected I’d have. We had a large launch party back in March and then Barnes & Noble hosted a book signing for me. I did a literacy tour in Waco with a lot of the private schools supported by Rapoport Foundation.” Although she had kept journals and enjoyed writing in school, Balusek was as surprised as anyone to find herself now a children’s author. However, she’s already working on her second book, this one based not on a personal anecdote, but addressing the issue for both kids and their parents that it’s ok to learn and advance at different paces than their peers.
It doesn’t look like she’ll be bored anytime soon, though. When she’s not home with Blake, Balusek works part-time for her father, an attorney, and also owns an interior design and furniture restoration company, Vintage 101. “As much as I love home, travel is a big part of me. I have a little gypsy heart!” she explains. “A lot of my artistic work and the decorating that I do for homes is about creating an authentic reflection of [the owner] and where they come from personally, surrounded by the memories that form them. I design it to inspire and nurture those memories,” she says. She cultivates what she calls the “nesting” experience, taking an object that is emotionally significant and restoring it to fit a re-imagined new décor. Balusek loves supporting the local art community—her home features many pieces of art by local artists. She met her husband at The Art Center of Waco. One of Balusek’s dreams includes a mobile children’s library for disadvantaged neighborhoods of Waco. Her personal collection already totals 200 books, so she’s well on her way. “Family’s the most important thing to me,” she emphasizes. “My family lives down the street, my husband’s parents still live here also, so family’s number one.” For Balusek, home is a place of inspiration, creativity, and love, a place where a mouse named Rat can live in a child’s imagination. ***
Books are the plane The train & the road They are the destination...
Photography: B.Treason Photography
Makeup and Hair: April Hill, aka Belladonna Treason
Model: Elecia Ballard
Photo by first place contest winner Belladonna Treason
Autumn 2012â€˘ bohemia â€˘ 17
Artist Spotlight: on Jenna Lynn Foster by Jim McKeown
Jenna Lynn Foster won first prize in the first annual Membership Invitational Art Exhibition at Art Center Waco on the MCC Campus. Her oil on canvas painting, “Cling Trapped” was also reproduced as a poster for the exhibition. This was her first major award, but judging from the variety and quality of her work, it won’t be the last. Jenna, born in Dallas, has complete Texas roots. Her family moved to Waco when she was slightly less than one year old. One further adjustment to their residence came when Jenna turned five. The family moved to McGregor and set Jenna in the McGregor I.S.D. until she graduated from high school. She then went on to Southwestern University, who awarded her a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2012.
Jenna says, “The space is beautiful, and anyone can spend a lovely afternoon tasting wine, looking at the scenery, and, of course, checking out the art work.” When asked about this honor, Jenna replies, “Well, it certainly gets my name as an artist into a much wider community, but it also allows me to concentrate on new work for the next exhibition – wherever it may be.”
Lassnig is an interesting choice for a young artist, but an apt choice as well. Jenna’s prize winning painting is striking, with a fluid motion and well-balanced and vibrant colors. Many excellent pieces of art work graced the walls of Art Center Waco for the Members invitational, but Foster’s “Cling Trapped” had a special something which appeals to the emotions in a viewer.
She realized art was her career at an early age. “When I was about 7, I would draw pictures of people who visited our home. I was always pestering family and friends to sit while I drew their features.” These portraits represent the first “conscious acts of creation” she recalls.
In addition to her painting, Jenna is experimenting with printmaking. She has done lino cuts and wood block prints. Some of these designs she prints on tee shirts. The website, which features a selection of her shirts is www.etsy.com/ shop/jennapolis/ She also created a “window art mural” for Art Ambush Waco. To see this, and more of her work, go to www.flicker.com/photos/jenna_foster/ Art Ambush is located at 3523 Franklin Avenue in Waco. “I am also trying panels with precisely made frames. Panels are difficult to work with, but I really like the final product.” Obviously, any art requires a lot of hard work, and Jenna has the work ethic to become a well-established artist.
“One of these days, when I am established, I might like to go back to school for a masters degree,” she says. Life-long learning seems to be an important part of her plans. But right now, she “wants to focus on breathing and living outside of a school environment.” She also would consider teaching. “This would really allow me to experiment with my own work, while trying to inspire students as I was inspired.” Jenna recently completed a move to Austin. “I have always been drawn to Austin. I find it an extremely appealing city.” She says she has never lived in a big city. “It has so many venues and opportunities to interact with other artists, and lots and lots of museums and galleries.” Furthermore, she says, “The artists here are interested in shaping their realities with open minded perspectives.” The environment allows for “asking a lot of questions and learning about different methods and techniques.” Foster followed her award winning appearance in Waco with an exhibit of her most recent work at The Vineyard At Florence, TX between Salado and Georgetown off I-35 Exit 275. The exhibit will be open until at least September 1st. 18 • bohemia • Autumn 2012
As far as her long-term goals are concerned, Jenna likes to keep things clear and simple. “I want to focus on my art. It’s easy to lose focus with a temptation for a stable job with a paycheck.” Clearly, Jenna Foster wants to live for her art.
Among her greatest influences was Lisa Carpenter, art teacher at McGregor High School. “Lisa has always been a major supporter of my work. She planted the seed that I could become a professional artist and earn a good living doing what I love most in the world. I owe her a huge debt of gratitude.” As far as other artists are concerned, Jenna names Maria Lassnig, an Austrian artist, as her number one influence. Lassnig paints the human body. She calls her work “Body Awareness,” and according to ArtMag, she has “created her own artistic language.” Jenna also admires her still life paintings.
Jenna says, “It’s difficult to say whether I make my paintings or my paintings make me! It’s actually both, and because of this, my art is essential to my existence.” Only an artist fully and completely committed to her work can step back and see what is happening to her work as well as herself as a person and as an artist. Still in her early 20s, Jenna shows great promise. Jenna Lynne Foster is a rising star in the Central Texas Art Scene. We will hear much more about her in the coming years. Jenna enjoys interaction with her fans and supporters. Anyone can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SNOW WHITE by John Gray
orders beheading of virginal anachronistic princess type.
Latter uses latent sexual charms to dissuade assassin,
but is forced to work as menial for seven height-challenged
lowly-paid diamond miners, in low rent district hovel, deep in the woods.
Too prissy to get a real job,
princess begins scrounging freebies
from passing little old ladies such as combs, fruit etc.
She eats un-rinsed apple, catches bug, dies, In see-through coffin
(eighteen century version of the glass ceiling) for some years
before feckless prince hugs her corpse, kisses her dead lips. This awakens her. Or so he says.
Mona Pitts is an Austin based self-taught photographer who leads with intuition in her works. Her main focus is the Painted People in which she hand paints then photographs each individual without preconceived plans for design. For booking or prints contact Mona at email@example.com
Autumn 2012â€˘ bohemia â€˘ 19
merguysby& merdolls Lois Lee Adelaide, the mermaid, was on the spot;
Her merguy, Nathan, wouldn’t tie the knot.
He ran a floating craps game at the bottom of the sea; And thus retained his freedom from responsibility.
The merdoll was disheartened, proved to be no mavern;
She schemed to get hired on at nearby Merpeople tavern. The Davy Jones Casino was reputed to be In a well-concealed cove of that vicinity;
Adelaide smiled like a Mona Lisa Merdoll-
“I’ll get the map to that den; it won’t take me long.” A barfly tipped her off, and the map was obtained;
She left work that night early and crept into the alleyway. Adelaide sprang, consumed with her desire;
She swished her tail fast like her fins were on fire. Like a well-aimed arrow she shot toward her goal; Sea-life and seaweed didn’t detain her at all.
There loomed the door to the Davy Jones Hall, Nestled within a beautiful bejeweled wall.
Fear and trembling seized her, but inward she dove;
Was she invading the den of her friends or her foes? Nathan was seated smugly on an over-sized chest,
Overflowing with gold, fine jewels, and bare breasts.
“So that’s his game,” snorted Adelaide without any fuss; “You’re a wretched merman with all your merhussies.” “Well, I’ll show them how that game is played;”
And she pulled the big drain plug, did our fair Adelaide. A powerful suction swirled ‘round the ocean floor,
And claimed the merpeople, ‘til there was no more.
Lois Lee a native of Sayre, OK, is a Breanne Holden (opposite page) Elena Botts (opposite page) grew mother and grandmother, who lives in Oklahoma City. She studies professional writing at the University of Oklahoma, creative writing at Oscar Rose Junior College, and play writing at Central State University. She has published articles in Presbyterian Journal. 20 • bohemia • Autumn 2012
is an artist currently living in wild and wonderful West Virginia with her husband and a gaggle of small dogs. She works with a variety of mediums, ranging from acrylic to crayon, and adores painting anything whimsical and colorful.
up in Maryland, and currently lives in Northern Virginia. She is still attending school. She likes to run. And write. She's been published in multiple magazines in the past year and is currently workingwith a small-press editor on a book of poetry.
Photography by Lone Star Pin Up, Blood & Glitter Makeup, Costumes By Sew She Said
OH. MY DAUGHTERS by Freedom Lee
HOW HAVE YOU
by Elena Botts I fell into fathoms
limp and dense,
bits of my cranium in the current
I don’t know,
the water here is like any other
torrents of it and loose my spine my bones feeling upon the tide
maybe they’ll find
(someday) my pieces onshore,
but then I won’t be me anymore I’ll have left,
Oh, my daughters Permanently paused As entire acts Of their lives Pass by Not players In their own drama But silent observers Waiting Always For It To Begin
Or buoyancy Rediscovered To rise Once more Reaching the surface Breaths gasped And heaving Afloat Yet A little while Perhaps this time...
Frozen by Decisions of another Not realizing Choices of their own Floundering in The icy whether Or not Going down A third or fourth time To drown
I swear it,
upon the wings of those carnivorous birds
that have eaten my innards just to die once more in thunderous gale on broken cliffs
only to remerge (I'll drift as only
I do, I'm sure)
a scintillating fish, I am
but a body in the water.
Jennifer, “Freedom Lee,” a local muralist, loved writing as soon as she could hold a pencil. Currently finishing her first novel, a co-authorship with Jesse Jefferis, she breathes via poetic expression and paint. New to Waco from Seattle and Olympia, Bohemia won her heart immediately, an oasis for her soul. Illustration by Breanne Holden Autumn 2012• bohemia • 21
THE WHITE BEAR by Erica Goss
Too young for regrets or suspicion I climbed his thick body
watched one paw lap over the other claws tilted inward as I held on
and we swayed down the road. Back home mama and the children
stared at the dirt floor. Papa counted pieces of gold.
I walked away from my childhood,
little breasts a surprise on my chest. What would love be like?
Mama and papa: rustling, a groan.
Seven children among the dented pots. Each night I put out the light. Only then did he come to me, pull back the furs and slide his hands up my arms, the hands of a prince:
calloused from the sword
and the grip of his fingertips. Our bed burned those Nordic nights.
Days were empty and twilit. Still a child I listened for his breathing, tilted the candle over his noble head. Now
I go begging from door to door looking for him in cities, in men’s faces our pale baby strapped to my back her hair like the snow
that piled up outside the long hall corners dwindled
and dark with enchantment. 22 • bohemia • Autumn 2012
by Hanna James There was a wolf at my window once, his face hungry with desire.
I tried to let him in
but his feet dragged at my doorway,
his eyes flat with his own dark emptiness.
One night I woke and my sheets were warm, As if
When summer came he left my door, and I thought of him often.
They say our dogs were wolves once, rambling wanderers turned from
licking marrow to chewing rubber.
There was no dog in this wolf,
no sign he would ever look at me and see his name.
But sometimes, when I roll over in my bed,
which is crammed to the brim with labradors and border collies,
it seems as if one of them were thinner than most, lankier, with thick, rough fur.
I close my eyes and smell snow, warm iron, a heavy heart; cloves and bergamot, dust and phantom pain.
When I wake the dogs are wide-eyed and antsy, their noses in the air.
I throw them their scraps and scratch each one in his favorite place, and they settle at my feet, fear forgotten.
They love me, but it is not enough sometimes, when my bed is warm but my heart is bleeding, bleeding still,
hoping to hear a singular howl.
Almost I believe he was a man. Almost.
These exquisite paintings are by Central Texas artist and bohemian Amber Crimmings. Amber served in the US Army and currently works at Mary Hardin-Baylor.
bohemia journeys HARVEST
by Carolyn Adams As dry leaves fall,
let the body be laid down. As forests quiet in a still peace,
let the breath recede in silence. As sunlight passes over hollows of the earth where no hours measure loss, let the hands be at rest. As dusk comes to claim
what is promised in covenant, let final words be spoken.
As stars in their velvet boxes
write a last farewell to the twilight, let the body be given over.
As a field of grass is cleaved by the wind, in halves equal and pliant, let the skin be parted.
As rivers withdraw in their season, let the pathways to the heart be moved aside.
As the harvest is gathered from the fields, as increase is offered in grace, let the best be taken.
And as dawn warms the earth,
by Adam Amberg
Home is the mud pit
in a love hate tug-of-war, I thought,
as the Appalachian dialect
slipped from my steel-trap mouth. A blade of bluegrass dancing in the sunlit wind.
Cat-yawn, I straightened up,
sucked it back,
spoke like city folk with urban lips
and a cracked concrete tongue.
I wish I could let it out
but like a memory cast
to the sea of Kentucky grasslands, it’s drifted in a bottle nearly beyond sight.
Photo in the field:
Photography: B.Treason Photography
Makeup and Hair: April Hill, aka Belladonna Treason Model: Alayne Ballantine
Photography: B.Treason Photography
Makeup and Hair: April Hill, aka Belladonna Treason Model: Tiffany McNamara
let the body rise.
Autumn 2012• bohemia • 23
Rock Collecting Takes Sandi Horton All Over the World
Photos above by Steven Ruud Photos below courtesy of Sandi Horton “I go to a lot of rock shows,” says Sandi Horton from the living room. I hear her from the sun room—or the breakfast nook, or whatever a little space with lots of windows is called. I have a sudden image of Sandi, whose children are older than I am and who plays the alto recorder at art gallery openings, flailing madly in a mosh pit, punching tattooed guys with Mohawks.
dining table. It’s clear that they mean something to her.
“When I go to rock shows, I’m always looking for something unique. I love tiger’s eyes, especially. I actually bring some of our CDs with me, because often I can barter: trade my music for stones.”
“All over the world,” she continues. “This one’s a crystallized carnelian from China. And these over here are stones from India.” Oh. Rock shows.
Sandi and husband Jeff form the Horton Duo, a fairly eclectic musical team that plays all over Central Texas—weddings, wineries, art galleries, Bohemia events, Friday Jazz Nights at Legacy Café— and I’ve been sent to do a BoHo Digs piece on their house. It’s an interesting place: knickknacks (from all over the world) everywhere, a swarm of friendly little black dogs, a medicine wheel in the back yard. But what really catches my attention are the rocks. There are rocks on shelves, in bowls, on tables, in the bathroom, beside the bed, on the 24 • bohemia • Autumn 2012
by Eric Doyle orthopedic surgeon tell me my knee had been injected so many times—I’ve always been a tennis player—that surgery was the only option, and I wouldn’t be able to do stairs anymore. Well, I discovered malachite. And now when we go on cruises, I do six flights of stairs several times a day. All I do is take the malachite and lay it where the inflammation is, and rest. And it works. . . . I don’t know if it’s mind over matter or what, but it helps.” Sandi didn’t come to believe in alternative healing all at once, but her interests in the spiritual connotations of everyday life began early. At age fourteen, she began a lifelong fascination with dreams at the family dinner table.
“My mother was describing this elaborate dream she’d had, with all these rich colors and images, and she was laughing, saying ‘Isn’t that weird?’ But I didn’t think it was weird at all. It made perfect sense to me.” So Sandi went out and started reading everything she could on dreams. She kept a dream journal and planned to write a book on the subject.
“I wanted to be a scientist and study dreams. I was going to write a book, but then Ann Faraday beat me to it. But I kept reading and writing.”
“This one has different colors depending on the light. It’s called a labradorite. The whole idea of it is that change is possible—as you look in it, you might see blue and you might see green—it’s to help you transform your life.” But Sandi sees rocks as more than motivational; a certified Reiki Master, she says that they can actually help alleviate pain. “Malachite helps inflammation. I had an
As an adult, Sandi would delve deeply into Jungian writings and dream interpretation. She taught dream workshops for years and was president of The Society for the Friends of Jung in Waco. “I participated in a dream group for over twenty years with some women from church. We all started talking one day and decided to meet every two weeks to share our dreams, and talk about them.”
Always curious, Sandi’s enthusiasm for dreams and the spiritual would lead her to Reiki, a spiritual healing practice that was originally an outgrowth of Buddhist tradition. It was during her Reiki training
that Sandi encountered a teacher who used rocks as part of her therapies. Though skeptical at first, Sandi decided to give it a shot. She tells the story of her experience with a peculiarly blue form of halite (rock salt):
“I was driving to a retreat with a friend, and I was having sciatica, and my leg was really hurting. And I was acting silly, putting this halite on the top of my head, like, ‘Ha! This is so stupid.’ So I wore it while I was driving for about an hour, on top of my head, which of course is your crown chakra. And I hadn’t really told my friend, but this sciatica was really acting up—I’ve had three spinal surgeries for it, so I knew exactly what was going on— and I was in a lot of pain.” “So we got to the retreat, and I had a bit of time to kill, so I decided to take a nap, and I put the halite on my third eye because, you know, why not? And when I woke up—no more sciatica! Just gone. So I was skeptical, but if it takes away the pain, I can’t argue with that. And it works so well. You know, it’s like when you have a painkiller that really works, you save it for when you’re in a lot of pain. I save this blue halite for when I
really need it.”
Sandi shows me one rock called a sodalite that started out as a light blue stone when she first started using it; now it’s almost black. She explains that it turns darker as it absorbs the pain. She has a rock for most ailments: headaches, joint pain, allergies, spinal alignment— one, she says, even helps plants grow. “I have a travel kit of rocks that I take with me wherever I go. It’s like my little medicine pouch.” Sandi has carried her little bag of rocks all over the globe. She and her husband seem to have been just about everywhere:
“We try to go somewhere big every year. I’ve got rocks from China, India, and Madagascar., We’ve traveled to France, Istanbul, Dubrovnik, Argentina, Hawaii, Northern Europe, Greece, Portugal..too many places to name . . .” She reaches for a rock on the fireplace mantle, “The church’s youth group brought me this one from the Isle of Iona (in Scotland). I love travel. It’s how I always find the best rocks.” ***
The Horton Duo The Horton Duo is one of Waco’s favorite bands. They play an assortment of world music including Celtic, Spanish, Greek, and Portuguese. They also do jazz standards, movie themes, Broadway, and The Beatles. Find them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/HortonJazzDuo & send them a personal message to book them for weddings, community events, banquets, etc.
Autumn 2012• bohemia • 25
Pentax K by Bradley Turner My recent artistic adventure unexpectedly began last November when I fell ill with strep throat and voluntarily quarantined myself in my old room at my parents’ house. My wife, Andrea, was scheduled to give birth to our first child the following week and my sudden (but necessary) departure had successfully created another source of stress in our already apprehensive lives. Multiple doctors warned us that we should avoid all physical contact with each other for the entire duration of my antibiotic treatments because an aggressive bacterial infection could cause catastrophic problems for an expecting mother and baby—so we did avoid one another. Initially, even my things were inaccessible as I waited several days for my fever to break: my laptop, majority of my clothes, my camera, even my iPhone charger. The anticipation of the approaching events and the frustrations of our new found predicament generated an internal maelstrom that dominated my thoughts. As my condition steadily improved, I grew restless with cabin fever (pun intended) and began to take liberties in nosing through my father’s things that had slowly filled the shelves I had abandoned after marrying Andrea and departing to make a new home. While on one of my uninvited rummaging sessions, I discovered an old Pentax camera stuffed inside a vintage 70s camera bag by the edge of the dresser. The clumsy old film camera was silver, smelled of old leather, clothing, and mothballs, but was also accompanied by an odd looking flash and two heavy, glass lenses like I had never witnessed before that moment. Curious, I sought out and inquired to my father about the origins of the nostalgic camera and he informed me that a friend had given him the camera after she had discovered it while organizing and downsizing her disabled parents’ belongings. Knowing that we love photography, she had gathered all of the photography-related items from the house and had given the items to us with the hopes that my father and I could make proper use of the items. Our friend’s actions were indeed noble and kind, but also problematic 26 • bohemia • Autumn 2012
because she had provided us with halfcentury old equipment that was not, in any way, compatible with our modern Canon DSLRs. Unsure of what to do with the items, my father had stashed them in the corner behind my old dresser, with the hopes that the unusable gifted items would eventually sprout legs and flee on their own accord. After hearing my father’s story, I became completely enthralled by my newfound distractions, with a particular interest in the two, small metallic lenses. In comparison to our wide assortment of Canon lenses, these old Pentax lenses initially appeared alien to my postmodern eyes that naturally expected all camera optics to arrive stocked with confirmation chips and silent motors instead of all-manual aperture rings and slow focal adjustments; but yet, there was also a cool, sleek factor about them that became more apparent as my cough medicine kicked into to full force and my fever began to return.
Throughout the late night, I remained (mostly) under a blanket, but was unable to sleep so I sought comfort in my father’s laptop and an Internet search on “Old Pentax Lenses”. Immediately, I discovered a wealth of optical knowledge about the vintage pieces and learned that the gifted lenses are considered a Pentax K bayonet mount, constructed sometime between the late 1970s and early 1980s. I discovered user guides and tips for shooting vintage Pentax film cameras, information on developing your own film, and how to clean outof-production Pentax cameras. The interesting (but relatively useless) information continued through several browser pages, until I arrived upon the blog of an English filmmaker who had recently documented the process of dissecting several old Pentax K lenses and successfully mounting them on his new Canon DSLR camera. EUREKA! It was truly amazing! As I held one of the old Pentax lenses in my hand and recognized all of the setscrews and components referenced throughout the blog, I felt an excitement trickle through my veins that I am confident was something more than my prescribed cough medicine—it was a discovery comparable to finding several hundred dollars in the pocket of an old jacket. With each descriptive picture, my confidence
grew, and before long I had decided that the little Pentax lens needed surgery.
Like any good surgeon, I would begin the operation by following the guidelines provided by the master surgeon via the Englishman’s blog and by purchasing the necessary Canon mounting pieces from eBay. The process should be simple: extract several tiny screws, remove the Pentax K mounting ring, trim the aperture switch/handle, drill new pilot holes in the Canon mounting ring, line up the lens to the new Canon ring, and, finally, set the screws; a start-to-finish of ten minutes once I found the proper mount for my Canon. My plan intact, I proceeded to eBay, where I searched for “Replacement Canon EF Mounts”. It was then that I made the greatest discovery of the night—adaptor rings.
These adaptor rings were not replacement mounting rings; instead, they were simply cheap aluminum rings that twist-locked onto a Pentax K lens and rendered the lens immediately ready to mount on a Canon EF-S camera—no surgery required. In light of this new information, I abandoned the idea of dissecting the old lens and instead ordered two of the adaptors from Hong Kong. It was not long after receiving a tracking number and a receipt from my request order that I finally became tired, my curiosity having been satisfied, and went to sleep. For the rest of my week in quarantine, I waited anxiously for news. First, for an update on when or if my wife had begun labor and, second, updates on the arrival of my intercontinental adaptor rings. Day after day as I slowly recovered, I listened closely for my phone to ring (I had acquired a charger by this point) and I tracked my little package as it made its way across the Pacific Ocean to the west coast. Which would arrive first, I wondered. The answer? My daughter! One week after the arrival of my healthy little girl, my adaptor rings arrived in the mail. By this point, I had returned back home since I was no longer considered a walking pandemic. Eager to finally experiment, I fetched the vintage Pentax lenses, carefully set the adaptor rings into place and removed a Canon lens from my camera. At long last, the moment of truth… would my experiment function? Would Dr. Frankenstein be
proud? Slowly. Carefully. Steadily, I eased a 50mm f/2 Pentax K lens into the receiving mount of my Canon and lightly twisted the classic optic until I heard the telltale click! Now for the true test: a picture… I eased the aperture to f/2, raised my camera to my eye, and slowly twisted the shot into focus… and squeezed…
IT’S ALIVE!!!! It worked! The shot was crystal clear! Excitedly, I took another shot. This time, I focused on a different object and as I twisted the shot into focus, my auto-sensors chirped as a means of telling me that the shot was clear. Ever since the discovery of adapting manual lenses to my DSLR, I have sought out manual focus lenses and have discovered many, many more around Waco. I currently have a Zeiss, a Takumar, several Pentax, several Sears brand, and several Nikkors in my arsenal, ranging from wide angle to an 800mm telephoto lens. In some cases, friends gifted them to me, and in other cases I discovered them tucked in the corner cases of local pawnshops. The images that the manual lenses create have a vintage feel to them that I cannot replicate with my higher quality Canon lenses. In conclusion, I must add that the manual lenses have taken a considerable amount of time for me to learn and they are extremely tricky to properly use. If one is not careful, he/she could severely damage a high-end camera in a way that would void a manufacturer warranty; however, they produce an image that creates an irreplaceable vintage aura. That being said, if you are ever under biological house arrest at your parents’ house, be sure to nose around before you leave because you just never know what will be tucked behind the dresser. Included are several shots taken on my Canon with a Pentax K 50mm f/2, an Exacta Jana Zeiss 50mm f/2, a Nikon Nikkor 135mm f/2.8, and a Pentax K Takumar 28mm f/2.8.
Photos by Bradley Turner Autumn 2012• bohemia • 27
to be Superman D
AD: I love this feeling, I try to convince myself as I pace the floor. Looking at my wrist, only to remember I was in a rush and forgot to put on that constricting device. I keep on repeating that this meeting is good. It had to come. That day when a father meets a son.
Yeah, it should be in the delivery room, but what choice did I have? The mother didn’t tell me. Fear I suppose, makes others feel as though they don’t matter, so those feelings of desperateness, emptiness, grow until there is no fire at all, no need for someone you barely know to step in, and act like a hero. Except right now, I wish she had reached out, had told me, because now I feel like the villain. Ahhh! These minutes go by so slow! 21 years and some change. A lot of change. I spot a mirror and peer at me, the person I didn’t know I could actually be. I look like a dad, old, bald, and fat. In fact, I am a dad, since yesterday. Its as though I aged overnight. I can’t keep on living my favored wild life. There’s too many women right now. I can’t settle on one, or two. What if he doesn’t like me? What if he’s just like me? What if he’s not? I’m to old to be his superman--now the joker in his eyes. Played out all my cards and didn’t hold any close to my chest. The queen of hearts is the one I regret the most. I lost her, just like I lost the rest, carelessly.
The sun peaks in, shines on a spot on the floor. I’m looking down as he walks in. Calm, tall, everything that seems to make a man. 28 • bohemia • Autumn 2012
SON: I mean, ok. So my mother was single until this guy. But really? Why did she have to hide this minor detail from me till I turned 21? What’s the big deal about wedlock? I think she’s still old fashioned, even with the tongue ring and fifty or so tattoos. I can’t get one until I’m done with college. Junior year, so that’s coming soon. I guess my old man will want to weigh in on my life. But its not like he was there when I needed his advice… so what’s the point of his opinion?
I always watched these cartoons, the ones where there’s a father and son, but I never had one. My mom’s boyfriends came and went, but they weren’t real, they were ones that I’ll all but forget.
Oh damn, there’s the coffee shop. Is that him looking out into the street? Or that one pacing the floor. He looks kind of silly... he has my build... maybe that’s him. Ok, here goes nothing. I need to just push open the door. I try to push, but in my rush I didn’t see the sign that said pull. DAD: Our eyes meet and he looks….. SON: …. Right at me.
DAD: Somehow we wound up sitting, surreal like a dream half remembered. He ordered coffee, and drank it black like me. When we ordered lunch, I had him go first to see how similar his tastes were to mine.
Chicken sandwich, blackened, not just grilled. Extra lettuce, hold the tomato. Exactly like me. When it came, he drenched it in ketchup, as if he didn’t care for the chicken, except it was good with the red sauce. His left hand seemed to tap out a rhythm only he could hear, but I know it well.
by Avery Jackson
His eyes were a shade of blue that I hadn’t seen before, except in my bathroom mirror. The way he rolled his eyes, tilted his head, cleared his throat before he spoke, was me. Only better. I had to hold in a laugh, because I had never met somebody I wanted to know as badly as I did him. What did he do for fun? Did he have someone he loved? What were his future goals? Did he want.... want to know me?
SON: So this is “The Man.” The big deal. Well whoopti-doo. At least I got a free meal.
Dear God, he doesn’t even look like me. He just keeps staring, as if he could read me. Smiling even, as if he knows a secret worth sharing. When is he going to get real? Ask me what I am sure he really wants to know. Like, how much cash I’m expecting and stuff like that. Maybe he’s waiting for me to ask the hard stuff, like, where have you been my whole life? Doesn’t he know that when I was younger, I felt like I was waiting for Superman?
Literally though, thats how I had pictured him. Cape and all. I thought he’d swoop in, take my mom like Lois Lane and, well, save me. School was rough and somehow I had to become rougher, but I didn’t know how. I wanted someone to come and fight for me. Stand up for me, or at least teach me how to do it. But no one came. Ever.
I needed to seem like I didn’t care, needed to look like I never missed him even though I never knew him. But I had to know.
DAD: I think I blinked back tears for a few minutes. I had to make an excuse to leave for a minute. He was staring at
me so intently.
Why did you never find me? Didn’t you want to know me?
How do I explain that I never knew? Never knew I had a son who was so like me, who melted my heart, and made me want to be a better man. This has never happened. In all my years, I have never felt such joy, such love. I sound like a damn Hallmark card, but its true. I slowly returned to the worn booth where, thank goodness, he was still waiting. He was looking out the window, I think watching a pigeon. And he didn’t even look up when I squeaked into my plastic seat and cleared my throat.
I still didn’t know what I could say to him. Say how I’ve changed in the thirty minutes of knowing him. I think, I actually loved him. I would give my life to him. SON: I have always loved birds. The way they fly. It isn’t fair, sometimes I would love to leave for a while, you know, escape the world. When he sat down, I ignored him because I wasn’t ready to stop studying the greens and purples on the pigeon’s neck. I think it was looking
at me to.
When he cleared his throat, and started to speak, I was shocked, speechless really. He said he “loved me.” He just met me. He tried to convince me he never knew, and if he did, he would have came. He regretted what he had missed in my life. Then he cried. Real tears.
He wanted to make it up to me, be there for me. He wanted to learn about me so he could see the man that I had become. He asked me if it was too late. Too late to be what? My dad? A hero? Someone I could depend on?
No. Yes. I don’t know. What is late? What is now? I don’t think I want to know him. I mean, I survived this long without knowing him, and this stranger seems fine. Going separate ways would be easier. But do I want that...
DAD: My brain shut off. The anger, hostility in his voice sent me reeling. I had hoped he wouldn’t want me before I met him, but now my heart is broken. Maybe this is how he felt, not knowing me, not feeling wanted.
He made it clear though. He was done waiting on Superman.
SON: He looked like he aged, in seconds. I never felt so guilty, and yet, so free. I offered to pay, only for him to shake his head. I stood up, and he did too, tripping on emotions, making my guilt hurt. He shook my hand, then clasped it in both and with tears sighed. I am so proud of who you are. Who I never was. I am sorry. I pulled away first. He let go, slowly, and I walked out the door into the sun. I couldn’t look back.
DAD: I think I saw sadness in his eyes, I think I held it in my hands. I watched him out the window, leaving. It was too late to be his Superman. Two lives meeting for a first time, but joining all the same. Nothing would be special, if they hadn’t known the other’s name. Photos by Cyndi Wheeler for Cynthia Wheeler Photography Models Brett Case to left, and below Brittney Pratt, and Amanda Rebholz
Autumn 2012• bohemia • 29
Myth America by klipschutz
The Tarot said so,
According to the trades,
she took the role
so next morning they
She became the part
because the Tarot
nailed it freezer burn cold,
while on a horse, said so.
up on the set immersed in volume three of
(sexy-funny undercover Fed), even as she took Antiquity to heart, partly due to her trained eye for mise en scène.
Our Classical Heritage.
Between takes it was
for a treatment of a Sappho
Hera this, Minerva that,
but when she mispronounced Niobe, the head of catering corrected her. She spent
expensive daylight in
her trailer, till an A.D. channeled Shiva and
the food crew was let go.
authorized an option check biopic (herself attached), Sylvia Plath died again, onscreen.
“Lady poets =
box office poison.” The Tarot
said so: Sappho money fled. She played Sam Spade’s hot gumshoe last blood relative instead.
30 • bohemia • Autumn 2012
Photography is Pat Jones for Pat Jones Photography in Waco. BoHo Crew clockwise
BOHO Threads campfire stories
from left: Brenda Flores, Eric Larson, Amy Cook, Stephanie Phillips, Brent Phillips, Serena Teakell, and Savannah Loftin
Autumn 2012• bohemia • 31
bohemians tell ghost stories...
MOURNING HAS BROKEN By Michael Bracken
I wake each morning to find the scent of my wife’s perfume lingering on the bedclothes, her side of the mattress still warm from evening’s slumber. I draw her pillow to me, bury my face in the goose down, and breathe deep. Listening to the shower, I lay in bed until it stops. Then I rise and prepare for the day. This morning is filled with minutia, the shuffling of papers from one office to another, and telephone conversations of limited significance. I lunch alone, sitting at my desk with only photographs of Kathleen for companionship. In one, taken on our third date, she’s hanging upside down from a tree branch in front of the student union building, auburn hair brushing the ground, the fine spray of freckles across the bridge of her nose nearly masked by a deep Texas tan. In another, taken a few years later, my bride wears her white satin wedding dress, hair swept upward and laced with baby’s breath, her slender hands grasping the bouquet she would later toss over her bare shoulder and into my sister’s waiting arms. In the third photograph, the most recent of all, threads of silver lace Kathleen’s 32 • bohemia • Autumn 2012
auburn tresses, the corners of her eyes crinkle as she squints into the sun, and her lips pucker to blow me a kiss that never arrives. This afternoon repeats the morning and at the end of the day I drive from my office to my sister’s home. I see four plates on the table.
“I have someone I’d like you to meet,” my sister says as a willowy blonde steps from the kitchen carrying an etchedglass salad bowl. The blonde smiles and Sara introduces us.
I sit across from the blonde at the dinner table. My brother-in-law sits to my left, politely listening as Sara and her friend converse. I learn of the blonde’s migration from snow-bound Minnesota to the stifling heat of west Texas only three years earlier. I learn of her duties as a pediatric nurse and her appreciation for film noir and her desire to write greeting cards. I learn the names of every dog she’s ever owned. Throughout the meal, I toy with my wedding band, imagining my wife’s reaction to this evening.
After dinner, Sara walks the blonde to the door. They whisper, thinking I can’t hear. “He’s not ready,” the blonde says.
“I’m sorry,” Sara says. “I thought . . . ”
She never finishes her sentence.
The blonde takes her leave and I forget her name before the door closes. “Kathleen’s gone, Al,” my sister insists a few minutes later. “No,” I say, “she’s with me every night.”
Sara shakes her head, gathers the last of the dishware from the table, and carries it to the kitchen where my brother-in-law is elbow-deep in sudsy water. “It’s been a year,” she tells him.
I don’t hear my brother-in-law’s response because I leave my sister’s house without farewell.
On the drive home, I pass the school where hundreds of third-graders sat through Kathleen’s daily lectures, listened to her encouragement and remonstrations, and graduated to the next grade better for having known her.
Across the street and two blocks further along is the florist who delivers flowers to Kathleen once each week, a task he has completed without fail since our wedding. Then, I pass the boarded-up movie theater where Kathleen once let me slide my hand under her bra in the cavernous darkness of the back row, an elicit thrill even though we’d been married almost three years by then.
At home, our wedding photo catches my eye and I stop for a moment. I wear an ill-fitting powder blue rental tuxedo and I hold Kathleen’s hands. We stare deep into one another’s eyes only hours before we consummate our relationship, having saved ourselves for just that moment. Her body is young and firm and inviting and she opens herself to me. I am too eager, and she wipes off her thigh. We laugh, and soon we try again. The moment is everything we had hoped and nothing we had expected. This evening, I dress for bed, watch mind-numbing sitcoms until the late news, then switch off the television, close my eyes, and roll onto my side
Photography: Pat Jones
of the bed, facing the wall. I’m nearly asleep when the covers draw back and I feel Kathleen settle onto the mattress behind me. She curls around me, so close that her body heat warms me. I ache to hold her, caress her, kiss her, and tell her things I often failed to say. Yet, I hesitate each night, remembering the last time I turned to her, the night I found her cold and unresponsive, a state that a team of doctors had been unable to alter.
This night, despite my dread, I roll over slowly and find Kathleen waiting. She smiles and her dark eyes twinkle in the dim light. I touch her, gently at first, a single finger tracing the swell of her hip as she lies facing me.
bridge of her nose, and then I kiss her full, moist lips. Kathleen returns my kiss and her soft breath warms my cheek. Soon, she surrenders to sleep in my arms. One last time I watch her and listen to her gentle breathing, and soon I join her in slumber. When I finally wake the next morning, I don’t smell Kathleen’s perfume, I don’t feel warmth emanating from her side of the bed, and I don’t hear the shower.
I remove my wedding band and place it on the nightstand before rising to meet the day.
I kiss the fine spray of freckles on the
Make-up and hair: Amy Cook Autumn 2012• bohemia • 33
ai-yai-yayai, canta A Ghostly blessing by Gary Lee Webb
he year was 1542. The captain knew that two years prior Sir Francis Drake had passed through the horrific Straits of Magellan, marking the southern end of the Americas. Beyond, Drake had found the Spanish cities easy pickings, and had returned rich to England after pillaging La Serena and burning her to the ground. Drake did not have the men to assault Santiago de Chile, but *this* captain was better prepared.
He urged his men to greater efforts, telling them about the rich plunder to be had, once they passed through the Straits of Magellan. After the straits it would be easy sailing up the coastal sea, protected by an archipelago of small islets, and then easy loot as they pillaged the southern Spanish cities. The Spanish kept their armada farther north, protecting the wealth of el Perú, and the crew could sail up, surprise the southernmost Spanish settlers, fill their coffers, and be back to England before the Armada knew what happened. So work hard, get through the straits, and soon they would all be rich.
The hard work paid off, and the ship passed through the last of the tall waves crashing through the icy straits. They wended their way past the glaciers, avoiding the occasional floe that calved off the towering mountains of ice on the shores, and sailed into the calmer waters protected from the Pacific by a line of small islands. The occasional native in his kayak they did not avoid: his men needed the target practice! Things were going well, and 34 • bohemia • Autumn 2012
the captain dreamed of how he would spend his wealth.
The captain knew that things might not be so easy once they reached the Spanish cities. There might be a Man-ofWar, visiting from its port farther north, or even two. One they might deal with … two would mean they ran. So as the islands grew in number and size, he told his men to watch for a large river on the islands; they should fill their scuttlebutts with fresh water, and a night to rest onshore would do his men some good. They found the perfect spot on the island of Chiloë, and set anchor. The captain posted guards and sent out parties to collect wood, hunt game, and steal crops from the natives. That night they feasted well and settled down for a good night’s sleep. The captain woke up to mournful singing. It was barely past midnight …
He could barely see an native maiden, standing in the sea, water to her thighs. His guards would pay; how dare they be asleep ! His cat-of-nine-tails would drink deeply, and they would think twice before falling asleep on watch again. Then the clouds parted, and the moon glistened off of the maiden’s white shoulders and sides, framing the long, black, lustrous hair rolling down her back. She stretched out white arms and half-turned, revealing a voluptuous torso. He could see tears glittering on her cheek as she sang.
It had been a long time since he had a woman. Punishing the guards could wait; he would give this visitor something to sing about. Stepping out of his clothes, he entered the ocean and tried to sneak up on her. But as he got close, she turned, saw him coming, and headed for deeper water. Close up, she was even prettier. She
would not escape him! He chased as quickly as he could, and then, when it was almost too deep to stand, he caught up with her. She turned, and pushed off the ocean floor, to float on the surface and spread her legs. The captain was quick to grab her for his pleasure, and she seized him in strong arms. She pulled the captain up until her lips met his, and their mouths sealed each other’s. And as they coupled, her strong kicks drove them farther and farther from the shore. So busy was the captain, he did not even notice as they began to sink. Her lips surrounded his mouth; all he could concentrate on was the joys of her body. And when his lust was finally spent, they were on the ocean floor. He pulled off of her, and suddenly realized he could not breathe.
But still she held onto him with her pale, inhumanly-strong arms and legs. She did not let her lover go until he had drowned there, and then she wept another bitter tear. Another man had chosen to leave her. And she had another verse for her song. Later that night, up on the shore, the Cunco raided the English camp, taking revenge in the dark for the raid on their village earlier that day. In the light of the campfire, the pirates made easy targets. Arrows filled the night sky, and many awoke only briefly to die as arrows thudded into their chests. Those only wounded ran for the ship, leaving plunder for the natives. The sailors cast off, and realizing they were bereft of their captain, decided to return back to England.
On their way, they were hit two nights later by the Chongos, who had been such easy target practice in their
La Llorona kayaks a few days earlier. The Chongos had reasoned that the feathers on a bird were inflammable, so they brought scraps of cloth as well as arrows for their night attack. Tying a cloth to each arrow and putting it in the hot coals they kept in their kayaks, they shot flaming arrows into the feathers of the great sea bird the English sailed on. The sails caught fire, and pretty soon all of the rigging and masts, and the burning ship foundered. Perhaps those caught by La LLorona were the lucky ones, for those who sank briefly made the crying ghost happy, until they too drowned and left her. Those unfortunate sailors who made it to shore were easy captures for the natives; the ghosts of the slain Chongos feasted on the screams of the slowly dying sailors. None of the Englishmen survived, and none know how La LLorona, the crying ghost of Chile, saved Santiago.
It is said that La LLorona will steal children left too close to the ocean or a river and take them to her home undersea. There she loves them until they too drown, so much like the children she lost centuries ago. It is said that she takes sailors, and each time she hopes that they will live with her in her undersea home and give her many more children. She cannot understand why the men choose to leave her and die. And for each child or man that dies in her arms, she sheds another bitter tear and adds another verse to her song of lamentation.
Ai-yai-yayai, canta La Llorona… Photography on page by Haley Propes.
La Llorona by Erica Photiades
aria was easily the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Her hair curled down her shoulders, undulating like the currents of a deep, fast-moving river. Her skin glowed in the basement light, her eyes were pools of night. Did I really just say “pools of night”? Well, they were. Those eyes could drown you.
I shouldn’t have been looking at her that way, shouldn’t have been thinking of her that way. My wife was sitting next to me, one hand clutching the shredded ghost of a Kleenex, the other, clamping hard on mine. She had cried the entire car ride to the meeting. I was contemplating taking her home, maybe it was too soon to talk about Sam.
Our therapist had recommended that we come here, this group for parents of lost children. I remember thinking, “‘Parents of Lost Children?’ What does that mean?” Sam wasn’t lost. He didn’t wander off, didn’t run away. I knew exactly where he was. I could stand on top of him if I felt like proving a point. But Sarah was nodding at Doctor and I knew it was pointless to argue. We would be parents of a lost child.
Bible School Summer 1997 and practices for a defunct church choir. A sign-up sheet for a Lent potluck flailed in the air whenever someone walked past. The new church was three miles up the road and personified the phrase, “Fortress of God” with a neon shadow you could see from our house. Sarah’s coworkers had hosted a memorial service for Sam there. It was tawdry and insincere, and I wanted to burn the place down. This was when I noticed Maria. She sat next to Doctor, across from Sarah. She was alone, but she didn’t seem lonely. I noticed Doctor’s hand stroking hers and I wondered who was supporting whom. Doctor cleared his throat and said, “The meeting is about to begin folks. I encourage you to wrap up your visits and join us in the circle.”
We started with a prayer. It was fitting, being in a church, albeit an abandoned one. People were already crying, Sarah leading the charge. I felt stupid for being so detached. Sam was our son. I saw him in my dreams, held him still.
“When one creates life, one feels the most responsible for that life being taken.” Doctor intoned. “This pain you feel, this ache in your heart seems like a punishment designed solely for you. You should have done more; you should have known what to do before it was too late. Many of us are newcomers here tonight, but I wanted you all to know that you are not alone. We are all here tonight to reaffirm that what happened to us and to our The basement smelled like old cheese. children was not our fault. Together There were outdated bulletin boards we can help each other recover and adorning the walls, advertising Vacation move on from our tragedies. I’d like to Doctor sat at the head of the circle, smiling benevolently and urging the attendees to grab a cookie before the meeting began. That smile must be part of their examinations, I thought. They wouldn’t graduate if they couldn’t manage the perfect blend of supportive, understanding yet firm turn of lip that would convince you to trust them with your mental health. That smile paid their student loans.
Autumn 2012• bohemia • 35
open the meeting with a share. Maria here has volunteered to go first.” Maria stood. A collective gasp rose from the men in the circle. “Hello. My name is Maria.” Her tongue curled around the “r” in her name, caressing it. “I lost my children many years ago. They drowned.” At this pronouncement, I felt Sarah’s body go rigid. “I was at the park with my children and my fiancé. We were picnicking by the river. I lay on the blanket and fell asleep. When I awoke, it was dark and I was alone. My fiancé was gone, and I could not find my children. I screamed for them, reached all around for them, but they were gone. Then I saw them in the river, floating.” She paused to push a stray curl out
of her eyes. “I went into the river and pulled them out myself. They were cold and blue and I could not save them. All three of them had drowned.” Sarah’s hand was squeezing all the blood out of mine. “Ouch,” I whispered to her, and tried to remove my hand. She responded by digging her nails into my palm. “Bastard,” she hissed back.
Maria looked toward Doctor, who nodded. She sat down. “Thank you for sharing your story, Maria. We all know how hard that must have been for you. Does anyone have any questions for Maria?” Questions for Maria? This wasn’t a science fair presentation or a book report! She just told us how her children died! Sarah’s hand went up. “Where was your fiancé?” She asked.
“He left me. I fell asleep and he left. I have never seen him again.” “How did you get past the death of your children?”
Mark Bailey Insurance & Financial Services Auto • Home • Life Business • Motorcycle Recreational 6515 Sanger Avenue Suite 17 Waco, TX 76710 36 • bohemia • Autumn 2012
Maria fixed her black gaze on my wife. Good for her. Sarah had no business interrogating this woman on the death of her kids. My hand stung from where she had scratched me. “I came here.” She said simply. “I come here every week and I tell my story. When I am with others like me, I do not feel so alone and lost.” The meeting progressed, other couples, more sad stories. Maria seemed to grow more alive and vibrant with each story
told, with the more tears that were shed for these poor, dead children. I felt myself more drawn to her, as if she alone could save me.
Then the meeting was finished and Doctor was informing us of the next. We passed around a clipboard with our contact information in case we needed someone to talk to during the week. Sarah and I stared hungrily at Maria as the clipboard was placed in her hands. We had barely walked in the front door before Sarah whipped out her cell phone and started dialing from the list. “Who are you calling?” I asked. “Leave me alone,” Sarah snapped. She walked into the bathroom and shut the door. Through it, I could hear her say, “Sorry to bother you,” and, “I think you were so brave,” and “Can we meet for coffee?”
Sarah didn’t come home the next evening. This was not unusual; she had taken to spending a lot of time by herself since Sam died. She hated our house, said it felt haunted. The “For Sale” sign was posted on our lawn two months after Sam fell down the stairs. I didn’t think it would ever sell. Who wants to explain to a prospective buyer that the house has great bones and those bones broke our son’s neck? When midnight arrived and Sarah still wasn’t home I began to get worried. Where could she have gone? I remembered the phone call. In my gut, I knew who my wife was with. Maria answered on the second ring, “Hello?” She said, the “h” a hushed promise. “Sorry to bother you,” I said, “but have you seen my wife Sarah?”
“Yes,” she said, “Sarah and I met for coffee. But that was hours ago. Is she okay?” I told Maria she hadn’t come home. “Come with me,” Maria said, “We will find her together. Please meet me at the park. That was the last place I saw her.” The park looked like a nightmare in the dark. The merry-go-round grinded like a chainsaw against my ears, and the play piece loomed like a ruined castle. Maria shone in the moonlight, her hair waving in the breeze. “I am so sorry you cannot find Sarah.” She said. “She must still be here. We will walk by the river and look for her.” Walking next to Maria was terrifying. I had never been this close to a woman so beautiful.
“What did my wife want to talk about?”
I asked her.
“She talked about your son. I am so sorry for your loss. To lose your family this way, it must tear out your soul.”
“Well, I still have Sarah. On our better days, we talk about trying again someday. It wouldn’t be the same, but we could still be a family.”
“That is so beautiful,” Maria stopped and looked at me. She was crying. I couldn’t bear it. It was different than Sarah’s tears, so plentiful and pedestrian they hardly seemed real anymore. Maria transformed through her tears. Suddenly my hands were around her, in her hair, my mouth searching for hers, her eyes dragging me into her. I can’t remember pulling away, but I remember seeing Sarah, in the river.
“Maria!” I called and pointed, “We have to save her!” I dove into the water, and my muscles cramped immediately. It was freezing. Sarah was so far away, and she didn’t look like she was moving.
2012-2013 From Classical to Classic Rock
Catch the Fire!
TICKETS ON SALE NOW
FOR TICKETS: (254) 754-0851 OR WWW.WACOSYMPHONY.COM
“Maria! Help me!” I screamed.
Something pulled on my leg, hard. “Maria!” A shadow loomed in front of me, its smile full of sharp teeth. Her eyes, no longer pools of night, were pits of death.
A SALUTE TO SGT. PEPPER! Classical Mystery Tour NOVEMBER 8, 2012
“I will help you,” she said. “I will bring the devil three more souls, and he will give my children back. We will help each other.” She pulled harder, and the world went black. ***
CAROL WINCENC Flute JANUARY 17, 2013
Photo is 3rd place Fall Photo contest winner Jon Goddi of Jon Goddi Photography. Keep your eyes on the Bohemia Facebook page, facebook. com/bohemiajournal, for our next photo contest.
THE NUTCRACKER Ballet Austin DECEMBER 2, 2012
PARIS OF THE ROARING TWENTIES All-Orchestral MARCH 2, 2013
JOLENTE DE MAEYER Violin
APRIL 11, 2013
HO-HO-HOLIDAY Family Concert
DECEMBER 7, 2012
Autumn 2012• bohemia • 37
From Punk Rockers to Indie Outlaws
Story by Dominik Young Photos by Steven Ruud with Balance Imaging
ne of the most well-known and beloved acts in the Waco music scene is Johnny’s Body. Hailing from Gatesville, TX, these indie outlaws have been blazing a trail with their non-traditional take on traditional music. The current lineup includes: Jordan Rhudy (lead vocals/guitar), Taylor Branch (guitar/vocals), Carrie Burt (keyboard/ vocals/ tambourine), Steven Calvillo (drums), & Jeremy Tillery (bass). The band spoke with Bohemia about their journey, the 71’s, the new album, and of course Lone Star Beer, among other things. Johnny’s Body was formed out of the ashes of the old Waco punk scene. Back in those days, all members were involved in the punk scene with Jordan & Taylor in Garage 34, Steven & Jeremy in Koda, and Carrie attending shows. As the scene slowly faded away, Jordan started working on a solo project called “Drop Dangerous,” an album that consisted of folk, experimental, indie, and other genres. Eventually the project evolved into a group effort with a name change and a more folk Americana sound. Initially, the line-up included Jordan, his brother Ben, Ronnie Martin, Carrie, Megan Harris, and lastly Taylor. “As the band really started to take shape with the lineup we had when the big evolution began, each member really added their own touch, their offerings, to create the end product people hear,” Taylor said. There’s a process to maintaining the Johnny’s Body sound. Carrie provides an explanation: “Most of our songs originate from an idea that
38 • bohemia • Autumn 2012
Jordan has. He’ll bring us a melody, some lyrics, and a general idea of what he wants it to sound like. We all run with it from there. We’ll jam it for a while until we figure out something that we like. It’s a noisy process.” Essentially Jordan
writes the lyrics, while the sound is “fleshed out” by “the body” of the band as mentioned on their Facebook page. Perhaps this is the origin of the name “Johnny’s Body”. Who knows?
One type of beer is synonymous with Johnny’s Body -- Lone Star Beer. What is considered to be “The National Beer of Texas,” can be seen as the official beer of the band. At every show, each member puts Lone Star beers on tab. So, how did this all come about? Well, back then Garage 34 played a bar in Dallas. It was there that they were introduced to the beer. For Johnny’s Body, what attracted them to Lone Star was the taste, the inexpensiveness, and the fact it’s strictly Texan. Therefore, the band makes a conscious effort to market the beer. In fact, among the band’s merchandise is a koozie, which features the Johnny’s Body logo modeled after the Lone Star
Beer logo. The band hopes to get an official endorsement from the Lone Star Brewery Company. “That’s why we throw their name out as much as we possibly can. We try to get everybody to drink as much Lone Star as possible for the simple fact we would like to get endorsed by Lone Star,” Jordan humorously mentions.
Along with Lone Star Beer, there’s another thing that goes hand in hand with Johnny’s Body, and that is their hometown of Gatesville. The band members describe it as living in Twin Peaks (the television series) or in a Stephen King novel. This quaint Central Texas town is obviously a source of inspiration for the band’s lyrics. On their debut album, Swing Low Rock & Roll, Gatesville gets a mention in the song “Breaking into Churches.” For natives Jordan, Taylor, & Carrie , this place played a large part in who they are. They’ll be sure to gladly tell anyone that living there is an experience. “Come hang out with us, come grab a Lone Star, sit on the front porch with us, and watch a plethora of unusual people,” Taylor says. According to Jordan, the weirdness is what makes Gatesville a wonderful place to live. “That’s really the cool thing about it. It’s a small town. Everybody knows everybody. I love them for their weirdness. To me, it doesn’t make me like Gatesville any less because the people are strange. It makes me like being from there even more.” The people of Gatesville are proud to have Johnny’s Body representing their small town. Back in the Garage 34 days, it was difficult for a small, country town to connect with a Christian punk band. But once Garage 34 evolved into Johnny’s Body, a lot of people embraced what the band did. The main reason for this is
because they see themselves in Johnny’s Body music.
As mentioned earlier, Waco is another city that has nothing but love for Johnny’s Body. Outsiders would be amazed at the fact that a rocking band, such as Johnny’s Body, plays here in Waco. More recently the city has returned to featuring more original music leading into a resurgence of the Waco music scene. It seems that restaurants and bars are really anxious to book live acts. Usually, Johnny’s Body plays venues such as Ace’s Bar and Grill, True Love Bar, and the recently closed Beatnix Burger Barn. Even if they’re not playing a gig, the band shows support for other local musicians. Although the scene has changed from the Garage 34 days, Johnny’s Body is happy to see that Waco is now home to a wide range of artists and musical genres. Steve Calvillo expressed his opinions about the Waco music scene. “I think we have a good music scene here in Waco, no matter what your genre preference is. Country, blues, and radio rock obviously have a strong presence, but I think we have a lot of talent and diversity in Waco, whether you like country, rap, hardcore, punk, and so forth.” One thing that Johnny’s Body would like to get back into doing is playing more out of town shows. They’ll have their chance soon when they perform with alternative rock band The 71’s at Lola’s Saloon on August 23. Both bands have known each other since they played Common Grounds years ago. Even back then, they talked about collaborating with each other. It was only a matter of perfect timing and finding the right venue.
That opportunity came when Johnny’s Body was looking for bands that played outside of Waco. Fortunately, the 71’s manager helped set up a gig for Johnny’s Body in Ft. Worth. The biggest thing for these indie outlaws is to have their fans come out to the 71’s CD Release Party and show support. If there’s a good response from the Johnny’s Body fan base at Lola’s Saloon that Thursday, then perhaps it’ll lead to more out of town opportunities. But have no fear; Johnny’s Body still has much love for the city of Waco. “We’re not breaking up with Waco, it’s an open relationship,” Jordan adds. The band is still planning to play gigs here.
It’s great to have people sing-along. It’s great to have that kind of support for what we do, and embrace us even when we’re just making racket,” Taylor says. Despite some changes in the last six years, the band is happy for all their fans sticking around through the good times and bad times. They hope the new album they put out would be something that the fans will enjoy.
Taylor Branch since the Garage 34 period. “So many life experiences have impacted us,” Carrie says. Within six years, the band has been through roster changes, divorces, children, and other trials and tribulations. Regardless, Johnny’s Body has kept on rolling with the punches. They can have a rough day and still enjoy themselves on stage. Their live shows can be seen as a form of escape. It’s a time for the band to get in the zone and do what they do best -- have a rocking good time. In Jordan’s opinion, this is what Johnny’s Body tries to convey. “That’s what we kind of want to translate through our live shows. Sometimes you have to laugh to get through the pain. Everybody got struggles, so you just gotta rock & roll.” Fans of Johnny’s Body go on their own journey too when attending the live shows. While the band’s journey is the performance and enjoying each other’s company, fans can have their own personal journey based on how the music affects them. Whether it’s therapy, escapism, or just plain old fun, fans are able to get something good from these live shows. “If you want to know what a journey is for a Johnny’s Body fan, then come out to one of our shows,” Taylor says.
The reason for the band’s popularity is that they do not take themselves too seriously. Fans will be able to see this in their live shows. The band members feel it’s a relief for people to notice that they’re having a good time just like them. They enjoy having fun and their fans can relate to that. In Jeremy Tillery’s words, “The band is more genuine.” Johnny’s Body is also grateful to their fans. “You guys make it worthwhile “There’s been a lot of growing up to play gigs. It’s fun to see people who are into what we’re doing as much as we are.
A new Johnny’s Body album? After three to four years of waiting, the band is ready to release some new material. With this new album, the band want take the DIY approach. When it comes to funding the album, Johnny’s Body got a couple ideas in mind such as setting up a Kickstarter account, selling more merchandise, and a bikini car wash. Compared to the polished, professional studio sound of Swing Low Rock & Roll, the band wants to bring the raw energy from their live shows. To achieve this goal, they plan on recording the music at Jordan’s house in Gatesville. In some ways, Johnny’s Body want this new album to be completely grassroots and very organic. Also, this time around everybody is going to be more involved in the process of making the new album. “This one will definitely be a collaborative effort. It’s gonna be a lot different, a lot more aggressive, and exactly what we want it to be. That’s what I think we all want -- to put out a record that we want to put out,” Jordan says. On their debut album, the Murder Ballad Queen herself Izzy Cox provided some assistance with group vocals. If they had a chance to collaborate with other artists, the band would love to work with other local favorites such as singer-songwriter extraordinaire Jaimee Harris, alternative hip-hop group The Fly Sekrataries, DJ Shay Scantron, and Kat Dixon (Carrie’s fellow band mate from indie band Married with Sea Monsters). There’s even some interest in working with the Waco Symphony Orchestra. Although the band is unsure about the new album’s name, there’s one thing band member Taylor is sure about: “This is gonna be the album.” For more information about the new album and future shows , be sure to check out Johnny’s Body online at http://www. facebook.com/johnnysbody. You can also listen to their debut album Swing Low Rock & Roll on Spotify. ***
Autumn 2012• bohemia • 39
heart & enthusiasm Bohemia Visits an Incredible Art Show
Story by Brett Case Photos by Pat Jones with Pat Jones Photography
n Wednesday August 8th I attended the Arc of McLennan County Autism Art show at the Austin Avenue Baptist Church in Waco. The show featured work by autistic children from McLennan County. Their work was displayed throughout the bottom level of Acts church as a colorful tribute to space and human consciousness. I wandered the makeshift gallery taking in the color with a sense of pleasant amusement. The event featured the classical sounds of Waco’s Horton Duo. As I took in the cornucopia of color and spoke with the children and staff involved with the camp I became immediately aware that this was not a normal art show. The camp enriched these children’s lives by providing them a place to socialize and interact with their others during their summer break as well as tap into a form of creativity and expression that is so valuable to children. The Art camp empowered these kids by giving them a place to develop their motor skills and social skills during their summer vacation. The art show and day camp also represented an effort to give these autistic children of McLennan County a chance to express themselves through art and be recognized by the community.
The simple act of putting a brush to paper or molding clay into a discernible shape may not seem like something special to many people but there are great practical benefits to this for any child and especially autistic children. Painting, sculpting and creating things with your hands improves mental health and dexterity by establishing new neural pathways in the brain. It’s hard to explain without getting into too much detail but you don’t need to be a neuroscientist or autism specialist to know that having a child spend 6 hours a day painting and interacting with their peers is far better for them than sitting at home or in a daycare watching television while their parents are at work. One girl in the camp by the name of Janel was born deaf and autistic. She didn’t want to participate in the art portion of the camp at first but eventually got over her anxiety. She would paint with her fingers and arms and sometimes get paint all over her clothes. For her, the texture of the paint on her fingers and the visual stimulation of the color improved her confidence and attitude. She was more social and outgoing after painting.
40 • bohemia • Autumn 2012
One of the reoccurring themes of the art show was space and the planets. Sean, an older boy in the camp had a major part in choosing this as a theme for the summer. Sean acted as a kind of role model for the others. He told me he had seen a documentary on space and expressed his interest in planets and the solar system to the camp director Doreen Ravenscroft. Doreen decided to make space a major theme of the art show. The kids painted planets and decorated Styrofoam orbs with
glue and paper. It was simple but what the kids lacked in technical skill they made up with heart and enthusiasm. They were eager to work on whatever Doreen had planned for them that day and were reluctant to leave their desks or move on to other activities in the camp and go home at the end of the day.
The autistic kids were not the only youths involved with the camp. Two students from AJ Moore Academy, Gema Perrera worked with the camp as an intern. Perrera worked one on one with the kids in the camp and assisted in painting by helping them find the right colors, brushes and making suggestions for what to paint next. Perrera said volunteering with the camp has changed how she sees kids with disabilities.
As I listened to Doreen Ravenscroft and the other heads of the Arc Program address at the show over the microphone I noticed all of the people in the hall and how crowded it was. The room was filled. Everyone was there to admire and appreciate the work of the autistic children. For a brief moment these autistic kids got to feel like important artists. They understood that people were paying attention to them and for one reason or another were showing an interest in what they had created. I think that was one of the greatest benefits of this camp. So many times we can get wrapped up in our own lives and problems and personal issues worrying about how we will pay our rent or find a job or manage our relationships and we don’t realize how lucky we are to simply be able to communicate with our fellow human beings efficiently. We don’t realize how lucky we are to be able to communicate through words and writing and present our thoughts in a way that allows us to be appreciated by others.
When the music ended and people began to trickle out of the display hall the kids would soon be returning home for the summer. They will leave their easels and clay behind to return to the world of spelling and reading practice. The older kids would be leaving the world of school entirely and attempting to enter the workforce. Whatever it is they’ll go on to do after the art camp one thing is sure; they will have an improved sense of confidence in their abilities to communicate and know that there are people who care about them and want to see them succeed. For an autistic child there is a sense of pride in being able to get out of your shell and grow through art and social interaction with others. The attention they received from the art show and the skills they developed at the camp will do more for them than the art itself; they will have added confidence in taking on whatever challenge lies ahead of them. These kids have begun a tradition with the Arc of McLennan County and hopefully it will continue to grow and serve the ever growing autistic youth in central Texas. For more information about the Arc of McLennan County and the Autism Summer Day Camp visit www.wacoarc.org
Autumn 2012• bohemia • 41
one with hand anxiously waving asking to go first. I am 21, a student at Baylor University in waco, TX and loving life.
Rocky Kelley is an award winning
artist who’s works include: Fantasy, SciFi, Pre-Raphaelite, Native American, Surrealism, and more. Rocky received the Director’s Award at the 2006 World Fantasy Art Show. Kelley also creates works of dark fantasy under the pseudonym of “Ashen Gray” and he is the founder of the Dark Rose Alliance. His works may be viewed at http:// rockykelley.com and http://ashengray. com
Pat Jones I became interested in
Fall Contributors A.K. Amberg moved to Waco six
years ago and hasn’t looked back since. Born in Nashville and raised in Houston, he finds the quirkiness of Central Texas far more poetic than any of his previous surroundings. He has published poems in both the UK and the US, including his own book of original poetry and prose, The Least of These. nombre is Steffany [Bankenbusch] and I quite enjoy the arts. I’ve always been into drawing, even as a kid. The majority of my work contains colors of the vibrant nature, WHICH I LOVE (duh). Can’t live without color. Main reason why I’m so into 80s culture n junk. FLASHY. Yooo!
Michael Bracken is the author of several books and nearly 1,000 short stories. He lives and works in Waco.
Kelly Digh is a 35 year old writer
from North Carolina. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, scary movies, making soap, and scrapbooking. She lives with her mother and two cats, and is currently preparing to survive the zombie apocalypse.
Isis Lee is passionate about life, the
arts, and is proud of her Aztec roots. Currently she is studying psychology and music at MCC. She thanks her father for sharing his passion for words, and for finding the abilty to convey the human experience through self expression. Her influences include Salvador Dali, H.R.
42 • bohemia • Autumn 2012
Geiger, Edgar Allen Poe, Bettie Page, and above all George Carlin.
Linforth is the editor of The Anthem Guide to Short Fiction (Anthem Press, 2011). He also has work published or forthcoming in Denver Quarterly, Notre Dame Review, Permafrost, Chicago Quarterly Review, Camas, and other literary journals. He maintains a website at christopherlinforth. wordpress.com Erica Goss is the winner of the 2011
Many Mountains Moving Poetry Contest. Her chapbook, Wild Place, was published in 2012 by Finishing Line Press. Her poems, articles and reviews have appeared in many journals, most recently Connotation Press, Hotel Amerika, Pearl, Main Street Rag, Rattle, Eclectica, Blood Lotus, Café Review, Zoland Poetry, Comstock Review, Lake Effect, and Perigee. Erica is a contributing editor fo rCerisePress,andwritesacolumnon video poems for Connotation Press.
John Grey Australian born poet,
photography six years ago. Finding very little help when starting out led me to seek out photographers to work with and later to start a forum for local photographers. Pat lives in Robinson, TX. He does wedding, pin-up, boudoir, fine art, and glamour.
My name is Kurt Lipschutz, although I write under klipschutz. My most recent collection is Twilight of the Male Ego (Tsunami, Inc.). My work has appeared in Poetry (of Chicago), Ambit (U.K.) and The Shop (Ireland), and other journals, as well as zines and anthologies, including The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. I am also a songwriter, and with Chuck Prophet co-wrote his critically acclaimed 2012 release Temple Beautiful. I am based in San Francisco.
Christopher Linforth is the editor of The Anthem Guide to Short Fiction (Anthem Press, 2011). He also has work published or forthcoming in Denver Quarterly, Notre Dame Review, Permafrost, Chicago Quarterly Review, Camas, and other literary journals. He maintains a website at christopherlinforth. wordpress.com
Erica Photiades is a transplant to
works as financial systems analyst. Recently published in Poem, Caveat Lector, Prism International and the horror anthology, “What Fears Become” with work upcoming in Potomac Review, Hurricane Review and Pinyon.
Waco from Detroit, Michigan. Having never been to Texas, she moved to Waco last year to teach 6th grade orchestra. She tremendously enjoys the absense of snow and abundance of 60+ degree days. She has played the violin for 22 years.
a series of adventures. Anything that sounds mildly to extremely dangerous I am not only all for it, but I will be the
Gerus Literary Agency, I hold an MFA from the University of Arizona. My short stories and poems have recently
Avery Jackson My life has been
Lora Rivera After interning at Claire
appeared in Gemini Magazine, Existere, and Cadaverine Magazine. I began my writing journey at Texas State University in San Marcos, and return to that landscape often in my literary endeavors.
Steven Ruud, Austin, TX. I was born the bastard son of a murderous drug fueled Hell’s Angel. Oh, I forgot, this is supposed to be serious. Ahem (audible sound of throat being cleared)... I am an artist who uses photography to make sense out of this small part of the world. Buy a ticket and enjoy the ride! stevenruud.zenfolio.com
Belladonna Treason April Hill
is a native Texan who first picked up a camera at the age of nine, she soon knew that being a photographer was what she wanted to do. Not too long after, April found another niche in makeup artistry. Thus began B. Treason Photography, and Treason Make-Up. She is well established in the Waco and Austin areas.
Bradley T. Turner is a Christian
and seventh-generation Wacoan with degrees in environmental studies, history, and political science. He works for
an instructor in Environmental Science, World Geography, and American History at McLennan Community College and is the editor of Lust, Violence, Religion: Life in Historical Waco and also the author of Cotton Bales, Goatmen, and Witches: Legends from the Heart of Texas. He lives in Hewitt, Texas, with his wife, Andrea, and expects their first child in November.
Art by Amber Crimmings
Gary Lee Webb is a 15-year resident
of Waco. Previously he has lived on three continents and visited four: his parents believed in moving every year. As a result he speaks many languages .., badly. His credits include film chairman for the 1982 West Coast Science Fiction Convention and helping with many conventions and contests over the years. He is an amateur astronomer, chessplayer, science fiction fan, mathematician, software engineer, and for 5 years a Toastmaster. He is 57, married 35 years, and has 4 daughters. ~~~
Thank you feature story writers who all live and work in Waco, TX. They also have boho blogs along with several other writers at bohojo.wordpress.com:
Mandy Bray, Brett Case, Eric Doyle, Jim McKeown, Dominik Young.
Bohemia not only features the best from Central Texas, but we take submissions from all over the world. Visit bohemiajournal.com to learn more. Mermaid
illustration by Bankenbusch
Models featured in ad below: Devin Atchison, Isis Lee, and Autumn Mercy. Photography by D Battle II
Extra, extra! Funky boho clothes found at shop in downtown Waco, TX Call Brenda for fashion consulting (254)755-7505
Autumn 2012• bohemia • 43
44 • bohemia • Autumn 2012