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BIG WINDOWS review

Issue 3 Spring/Summer 2012 “Signs of Life”


From the Editor Welcome to The Big Windows Review, Issue 3, “Signs of Life.” I’d like to thank the contributors to this issue and this issue’s editorial board (S. Levin and Simon Mermelstein, who read and scored the blind–i.e., names removed--submissions). –TZ All contents © 2012 Washtenaw Community College and the individual authors or artists. The works herein have been chosen for their literary and artistic merit and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Washtenaw Community College, its Board of Trustees, its administration, or its faculty, staff, or students.

About The Big Windows Review is a literary magazine of the beautiful and the

strange produced by the Writing Center at Washtenaw Community College, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We are open to submissions of poetry, short prose, and visual art from WCC students, faculty, and staff. We publish 3 themed issues a year: Fall, Winter, and Spring/Summer. The BWR is the direct descendant of Blood Orange, the Writing Center's former print zine of the beautiful and the strange, which ran for 18 issues from 2005-2011. Tom Zimmerman, who teaches English and directs the Writing Center at WCC, is editor/janitor of The Big Windows Review, as he was of Blood Orange. His student editorial staff is comprised of interested (and interesting!) Writing Center tutors. Send submissions to orange @wccnet.edu. Check out our website: http://thebigwindowsreview.wordpress.com/

Cover Art: Chicago Scarab, by Zeke Thomas 2


the BIG WINDOWS review Issue 3 | Spring/Summer 2012 | “Signs of Life” Contents Jeffrey Davis | Scavenger | 5 Jessica Jackson | Confessional | 6 John Michael Reed | The Last Episode | 7 Diane M. Laboda | To Be Human | 8 Diane M. Laboda | Imaginary World | 9 Mallory Wayt | Ray | 10 Mallory Wayt | Untitled | 11 Alissa Rheinheimer | Twilight Images | 12 Alprentice | I | 14 Matthew Hunter | Dying Again | 15

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Jeffrey Davis | Scavenger When she opened the last door, particle clouds swirled up and around the room in currents of glistening grey and white. Her flashlight transformed the silent motes into scrambling fairies. The apartment had become an orphanage for dust in the two years since the bad days of baying hounds and bloody suns. She adjusted the pack on her shoulder, took a few deep breaths from her rebreather, and trespassed into the dim remnant of yesterday. The darkness of the room was offset by occasional flashes of gold and orange. The fire she set was still burning outside the window. Time hadn’t betrayed her yet; she could finish her sweep of this building without attracting their attention. Flame never failed to fascinate those awful shadows: it was a puzzle they couldn’t solve, a threshold they couldn’t cross. Come ember-time, when their muted and inevitable vengeance would come spilling out of every place that had a door, she would be on the other side of town, in the safe hands of torch-light and her treasures. The system in her head kicked in. Priorities shuffled into place until she felt the cold relaxation of practiced routine. Portraits were first because it’s good to make friends. Next was fuel to keep the fires bright, water to make the throat delight, food to keep the body right. After that were books to keep the words alive, if they still had words in them. When she put the first portrait in her pack (a photo of two middle-aged brunettes with the note of “Sheila and Tammy ‘96” on the back), the memory came. She remembered the afternoon she saw a word-eater, devouring the battle cries of soldiers, the orders of policemen, the shocked whimpers of her neighbors. When their silence came, all she heard was the scuffling of robes and the krak-whoosh of flesh exploding into clouds of dust. She looked toward the kitchen: three portraits, a fridge, a fire extinguisher (damned thing), and something that made blue light. The newness of the glow gave her jitters. Pain radiated up from her jaw to her forehead as she clenched her teeth. She walked over to the sink, where a pale blue light faintly shone from inside the garbage disposal. It reminded her of the old sky; back when hounds were still just dogs that looked at you with something like love. She leaned closer, despite the stench. There was word for the thing in the sink: bioluminescent. She tried it out in her mouth and it felt like a stranger. Before she left with her three portraits, four books, and a box of matches, she made sure to smile at the pretty petals and shapes inside the sink-tube. She didn’t want to be rude and discourage the light. The woman with the pack stepped back on to the street. The burning building gave her its heat. She fled into the arms of torch-light when she saw the shadows move in the distance, by the old firehouse.

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Jessica Jackson | Confessional Whispered promises half-forgotten linger over the exhibition of possibility. Mounted tensions overwhelm heuristics of restrictive propriety as mouthfuls of burning muse exhale smoke and fire from my throat. Words become superfluous in primitive understanding. He reaches for me like an inevitability, tasting of hash and blueberries. I don’t mind that sweetness—in that moment pretension of resistance is willfully lost. After the timeless song has been danced to and the sighs have been sighed, echoing into one another, the dark quiet settles over the far side of afterglow. I slip away from the tempting warmth of his arm that threatens sleep upon the softness of foreign bedding smelling of sex, padding over to my technologic lifeline. I sit there to expose my soul to text in limited curves and angles in 2D while the singular glow from the computer screen casts strange shadows across goose bumped skin chilled and completely exposed to the hum of the A/C. Synapse fire and words appear, coming alive past the blinking cursor. Satisfaction resides here.

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John Michael Reed | The Last Episode Love goes not as a peaceful thing. Blood stains of pains it cannot clean, dry, wring To wash away the past, the flaw, the spring, It must make mistakes forever flowing. It bubbles and boils a madness does heat, Beneath source mountain, sadness eternal sleep. Not sadness per say, a blunted affect, A glass full(y) empty, awaiting its fill. It's next mistake for fun, boredom, neglect Sanguine wine, at glass('s) edge, red ready to spill, To soil more linen, soft, silky, and white. My ink, your wine; my page, your cloth; my light, your night. Gone be my children, my mistress, my wife, In blackest bed, I hold from it my life.

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Diane M. Laboda | To Be Human We walk as if we know what we’re doing, one foot in front of the other as if we know where we’re going. One foot on the path, one foot off— the one with the higher consciousness hovering just above, seeking the high ground. We talk as if we know what we want to say, word after word, as if every listener will recognize the language. One word offending, another praising, another giving hope that there will be more to come, words whose hearts have seen their maker’s spirit. Our hearts beat as if they, our sustainers, will last forever, pumping tender juices to our limbs, our core, our short-sighted vision, our rainbows which grow by the path amid the footprints and chatter, telling us we are all one and forgiving and loveable, and walking together above the same rugged path.

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Diane M. Laboda | Imaginary World I imagine on my good days that I can skate like Michele Kwan, graceful and limber and able to leap and twirl and make my body do whatever I wanted, fly like the wind. On more melodious days I fancy my fingers dancing across a keyboard, pounding out any tune my mind imagines, savant-like, needing no sheet music, metronome or teacher, replicating Gershwin or Hammond. On days my spirit soars, I flap my wing-like arms and manage a supreme lift-off, inches only but heading toward the open sky like Icarus charging the sun, I feel the heavens close-up with my fingers. On days when words come easy, I think myself a poet who captures the daisy-petal on the page, embellishes the sunrise, sees the good in every cloud, drinks the dew, bathes in the rain and sings bird-songs. On ordinary days I imagine rising without pain, cruising close to competency, finding worth in helping others, standing on my own two feet, letting my voice raise to the cause and finding peace again in gentle sleep.

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Mallory Wayt | Ray A balancing beam A flickering stream Gleaming and teeming with pieces of dust, Tumbling yellow Sweet lemon Jell-O Hello, my fellow, land here if you must.

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Mallory Wayt | Untitled When the fire-flies Illuminate my back yard, I sigh to myself.

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Alissa Rheinheimer | Twilight Images You’re never alone, you fool. You have me. always beside you, connected, yet separate. Not always seen, but always there. I mirror your actions, but don’t think for one moment, that we are the same. I’m not your evil side, or even your darker side, not necessarily anyway. But I am your twin. Sometimes you notice me, but more often than not, you forget that I’m even there. As for me, I can never forget your existence. It’s painful, you know, to only be able to watch, but not able to do anything, not even look away from your pain. Some people are scared of the darkness, of shadows, of the night sky. Would you fear me then? Even if I tried to save you, to lend you my aid? Sometimes I hate you, you’ve condemned me to this fate, after all. Yet, I also love you. Without you, I wouldn’t be. 12


I just wish, that you would acknowledge me. You usually look at your reflection, you see it. Why not me? Why should I be your mere follower? Why can’t I say something to you, or touch your hand? If I did such a thing, would you be afraid of me? Would you hate me? Your own shadow?

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Alprentice | I I’m alive I exist I breathe and I thirst I cry I yell at the sanitation men In the early AM I’m alive I struggle to be I reject the sight of me I run when they want to take I walk When I want to have a friend I’m alive I long for the touch of her I sigh I long for these moments To last for longer then a moment I think I’m alive I’m here Are my foot steps going to leave An impression I lie For only my words will leave a print Then I’ll die

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Matthew Hunter | Dying Again I'm walking rooted treelike breathing as loud as the ocean wondering of joy, dear friend, since you died, how tender the balance of your last breath wishing one moment longer and my first in this place where stones ablaze and everything is music

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Alprentice Jeffrey Davis Matthew Hunter Jessica Jackson Diane M. Laboda John Michael Reed Alissa Rheinheimer Mallory Wayt

the BIG WINDOWS review Issue 3 | Spring/Summer 2012 “Signs of Life”


The Big Windows Review Issue 3 (2012)