“I disagree with Merriam-Webster. Art cannot be defined. Art is limitless. Alongside art, you will find love, friendship, and potential. Do not let them tell you your worth. Do not let them barricade you with mainstream perceptions. Do not let them tell you no. I disagree with Merriam-Webster. Art cannot be defined. Art is limitless. I’ve never found repeating stanzas to be effective. Then again, I don’t think editing makes modeling attractive. Don’t let them limit your beauty. Embrace your sense of YOU. And, ultimately, own it.” - SHANNON CASSADY
ACUFF, gale SEN, adreyo
MAHONEY, donal LIAKOUNAKOU, alexia
KANTOR, loren CASSADY, shannon
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The day has finally come! Thanks to you, we have successfully been able to publish our first issue. We have been blessed with a great group of applicants for this opening display. I would like to thank all of those who have submitted, those who are reading, and those who have been apart of our support system. Itâ€™s been a rough few weeks figuring out how to compile all the works to display them in an attractive, and modern fashion. I hope that you find this first article a hit, and are excited for our next issue! God Bless.
Gale has had poetry published in Ascent, Ohio Journal, Descant, Adirondack Review, and many other journals. Gale has authored three books of poetry: Buffalo Nickel (2004), The Weight of the World (2006), and The Story of My Lives (2008). All three of Galeâ€™s books have been published by BrickHouse. Gale has taught university English in the US, China, and the Palestinian West Bank.
Loren Kantor is a Los Angeles-based Woodcut Artist and writer. He worked in the film industry for 20 years as a screenwriter and assistant director. He is a huge fan of Classic Cinema and iconoclastic American Writers. He's been carving woodcut images for the past five years. Lorenâ€™s blog can be found at woodcuttingfool.blogspot.com .
Alexia is a Greek-American; she lives in Greece, but was born in the United States. Alexia studied in the United Kingdom. Alexia is a photographer, and her works can be found at www.krop.com/alexialia. Alexia is a regular writer for Think Africa Press, The Africa Report and Greek magazines and newspapers on issues of culture, art, and society. Alexia also finds a sport in writing poetry. Officially, Alexia is a social anthropologist (MA) and an art historian. Unofficially, she is everything and everywhereâ€“ both a good thing and a 'damn it' attribute)! If she could offer one description of herself, she would say that she is a restless, explosive mess hiding and fighting inside a very calm, seamless exterior.
Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney has had work published in a variety of print and electronic publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his work can be found at booksonblog12.blogspot.com .
G. D. McFetridge writes from his wilderness home in Montana's Sapphire Mountains. His fiction and essays are published across America, in Canada and the UK.
Adreyo Sen, based in Kolkata, hopes to become a full-time writer. He did his undergraduate work in English and his postgraduate work in English and Sociology. He has been published in Danse Macabre and Kritya.
Miss Hooker says that God loves me, Jesus
Every night she can put me to sleep
too, which is good I guess but I'd rather
with a Bible story, and the moral.
she love me and love me the way a wife
Maybe she'll let me guess it like she does
loves her husband, if she loves him that is,
us kids in class. My classmates don't say much
instead of how teachers love their students
so I take up the slack to help her out,
or how folks are supposed to love each other
Miss Hooker I mean. She told that good one
anyway, the way Jesus said we should,
last week about David and Goliath.
even our enemies. Miss Hooker's my
She got angry at me when she asked us
Sunday School teacher, a pretty good one
What's the moral of the story, children
if I'm any judge, even though Jesus
and I raised my hand and answered even
said not to judge lest we be judged. I think
before she called on me but no one else
that's Jesus. At least it's God and almost
had their hand raised and I replied without
the same thing, maybe identical. I
thinking, Don't take no shit off a bully.
thought Abraham Lincoln said it but she
I think I was right but used the wrong words
put me straight on it, Miss Hooker that is.
or word, shit I mean, you shouldn't say that
So one day I'll need a wife and she'll be
in Sunday School or church or probably
perfect, red hair and green eyes and freckles,
anywhere on church grounds or within sight
not that her freckles are green. They're pinkish.
of church or even within twenty miles of church but I had to go and say it,
I'm a sinner and proud to admit it,
where you find that in the Bible, right at
I mean that I'm proud to admit it but
the beginning of it all and I'll bet
not proud that I sin. Then the other kids
everything else He ever wrote as well
gasped, gasped like they do in my comic books
and He could write without even using
--Gasp!--and Jimmy Amacker giggled so
words. But that's why He's God, I guess. Jesus
I guess he would've gone to Hell with me
can do the same--I'm one with my Father,
if we'd died then and there. Don't die in sin
He said, or something like that. I'm just 10.
Miss Hooker warns--you'll go to Hell straightway.
Miss Hooker's 25. There's fifteen years
So I had to stay after Sunday School
between us. If she'll marry me one day
and pray with Miss Hooker about my mouth,
I'll watch my foul mouth. I'll satisfy her.
how she hopes that only good and pure words
Then she'll die, being so much older,
gush from it. I'm not sure what gush means but
and go to Heaven, where I'll join her if
I think it happens when the pipes freeze and
I keep my sinning down. I'll pray like Hell
soon there's water all over the damned place.
for that every evening before bedtime.
Miss Hooker said Amen and I did, too,
I'll say good night to her up in Heaven.
but after she did so I got the last
I won't be able to hear her here but
word but Gd will have the last one on me
I know what she'll say. Don't talk so damned much.
just like He did the first. Genesis is - Gale Acuff
Miss Hooker says that after a life ends
and that was all she wrote, not that she wrote
it's time for eternity, which isn't
anything. If she told me all she knew
really time at all. She's my Sunday School
then maybe it was swaddled in Hello
teacher and she's 25 to my 10
and I should think about it more. Maybe
so she'll die before I do, unless she
it's in secret code. Maybe it stands for
dies accidentally, but she says death
Goodbye, too. I was only 6 and scared
means being called back to God again. That's
and she was 90 but seemed pretty cool.
in the Bible, I guess, or in a hymn
Then I left her hospital room and sat
or prayer but I never sang it or
outside in the hall while Mother went in
spoke it. The older you get the more you
and left me practicing tying my shoes
know, maybe. I'm not sure. That means that folks
just to pop out again and lay on me
on their deathbeds know more than anyone
Your grandmother's gone to Heaven, and she
else but they're usually not in shape
says that I asked, When is she coming back?
to pass on what they know. Grandmother was
But you don't--come back, that is. You're gone for
that way. I had to visit her before
good. Now I'm in the third grade. Grandmother's
she died. Maybe she was asleep but she
been dead four years. That's long enough to know
opened her eyes and looked at me--I guess
whether she likes it or not and whether
it was me--and said, Hello, then shut them
she'd do it again. After Sunday School
this morning I asked Miss Hooker if she's
forgive us when we do then when we die
afraid to die. At first she looked at me as if I might try to snuff her. No, Gale,
it won't really be death at all but life eternal. She means up in Heaven. So
she finally said--I'll go to Heaven.
I had to go and ask her if there's life
I almost asked her how she was so sure
eternal in Hell and she said, Umm, but
but maybe she wasn't anyway--some
that she wouldn't call it life, exactly.
folks say what they want to believe and if
So I asked her what the difference is
they say it enough then they believe it
between life in Heaven and life in Hell
or hope they do. In class we must've said
and she answered, The difference is life
the Lord's Prayer a million times. I'll bet
down here. On earth, she means. That shut me up
I could say it backwards. I can say it
good and I don't even know what it means
in Pig Latin, too, but I don't, just that
unless it means I talk too much. Amen.
once up in my bedroom. Then the light went out. That's why I believe in God. Then Miss Hooker said, like she always says, if we believe in Jesus and never sin, though we will because we're cursed that way--but try hard not to sin and ask Jesus to - Gale Acuff
“Are you feeling any better, dear?” Helena wiped the sweat off Anna’s forehead; the fever seemed to be dropping. Anna crouched on the metal bed, her dark green floral sheets like a warm garden hugging her tired body, and coughed; yet she seemed alert. Her cotton robe was untied to reveal a young, nicely formed stomach and her skin shone in pink opulence. Helena looked at her young acolyte in a motherly gaze and stroked her shoulders. Anna slowly tried to get up and her face grinned from a lingering headache. “I want to go tonight, I’ll join you and the girls”, she said. Helena muttered something in disapproval, but didn’t object. They both got up from the bed and lead themselves to the kitchen. Tea was prepared, and they sat on the large wooden table to drink it. It was only midday and the sun was shining outside. The sounds from Wardour Street, horseshoes and carriage wheels, as well as far-off voices from Charing Cross Road were coming to a halt as the midday sun rested its rays on the lane. While dusk approached, all the girls started getting ready. Seven in total, their rooms were all echoing giggles and girlish preparations. Makeup, stockings, nice clothes, high heels, shared mirrors, glances at each other’s fashion choices and comments went back and forth in a happy frenzy. The girls were far from teenagers, both in age and in spirit; marks of time - their wear and tear - were visible in discrete scars near their buttocks, in bruises near their shoulders, knees and elbows, and in bites from the gentlemen’s bursting agonies which found retreat in Helena’s Home. Yet their girlish temperament was the ointment with which pains, time and life itself rubbed away from their skin. Anna was helped by Helena to get dressed; she sat down on her bed while Helena applied red lipstick and brown eye shadow, and got up looking beautiful in her fatigue. “Do you think Robert will be there tonight?” she asked Helena in an eager voice. “I think he will be”. The bar was an underground old tavern near Charing Cross station. The lighting was low and the whole place boasted burgundy and reddish tones. Small lanterns helped pave the way towards the tables, and a stage with a velvet curtain stood empty at the far end, reserved for private parties and shows. Feather-adorned waitresses glided through the tables serving beer and whisky. The atmosphere was choked in corroded sounds of swing music and tobacco smoke.
Anna and Helena sat at Mr. Walker’s table, where five or six older gentlemen sat smoking cigars and drinking whisky. They talked of sports and politics and fussed over the upcoming British Empire Games at the White City Stadium. Mr. Walker was an old acquaintance of Helena and a very good client at the house. The other girls, Sophie, Mary, Ruth, Denise and Harriet had spread out and sat at other men’s tables, all drinking and laughing in their extravagant makeup and provocative dresses. Anna was conscious and did not feel at ease. Her forehead was getting feverish and her body was bypassed by shivering strokes of cold. She wondered what time it was as her eyes ventured around her table in search of details in the old men’s grayed hair and wrinkled faces. She gazed at Denise across the room, her loud laughs, her big mouth, and focused on the way she held the cigarette, with elegant and relaxed fingers. Denise was a little older than Anna, she was ripe, curvy and shined in her mischievous confidence. She bet that her own face would look the exact opposite of Denise’s – anxious, jaundiced, bored. She ordered a martini and played with the cold glass in her fingers. Some minutes later she noticed John walk in, a friend of Robert, and suddenly felt warmer in her anticipation. But the night passed and Robert didn’t show up. John had joined another table and was entertained in conversation with some young men Anna didn’t know. Helena noticed Anna’s frustration, pardoned herself and her young friend from the table with the excuse that Anna wasn’t feeling well and greeted them goodnight before exchanging some words in laughter with Mr. Walker. The old man pinched her bottom as she walked away from him, and Helena laughed, acting embarrassed. Truth is she was getting quite old for pinches. While the two women, like mother and daughter, held each other to walk up the stairs to the street, Anna glanced across and saw Robert, tall, sharp and mysterious, standing his three usual friends at the opposite corner. Robert motioned that they go across to him, so the women unhurriedly crossed the street. Anna had to make herself slow down her walk to conceal her eagerness and keep up with the old woman. Robert proposed that they visit another place he had in mind, adding that his company was in need of a good drink, even though they all already seemed to have consumed a considerable amount of alcohol. Helena felt tired, but decided to accompany the young group to this other bar, mostly because she didn’t feel comfortable in leaving Anna alone with four men. London’s gentlemen tended to overlook their etiquette when it came to women like Anna and herself. Robert didn’t seem to have asked; he had almost demanded it. She walked slowly as she leaned on Anna’s elbow and looked down in order to hide a grin on her face caused by pains on her left foot. Freezing cold air blew as they walked down the road and its power carried with it a piercing humidity coming from the Thames. They stopped at a heavy wooden door, with no number nor doorbell, at belowground level.
Before placing a firm grip on the doorknob, Robert took out a small emerald bottle from his jacket’s inner pocket and forcibly opened Anna’s trembling mouth to let two drops fall on her tongue. Anna smiled nervously and lost focus in her eyes as she glimpsed at Helena before walking through the doorway. They entered a dark place. A long and narrow gray corridor lay ahead with pale lighting and smudges of dirt on the walls. They stepped on what felt like fishnets and knocked over some bags and suitcases, and perhaps even walked on shadows of people sitting on the floor -halfdreaming- under a blanket of heavy opium smoke. Sounds of a groaning machine, a rusty ventilator perhaps, echoed in Anna’s ears. As they walked, they passed through small passages, old doors, muted sounds, cracking noises and various sealed windows with dirty curtains that barely revealed some slim, hazy silhouettes behind them. Finally, they reached the end of the serpentine corridor and took of their coats. A large bench and a small table was all that could be discerned in the foggy, barely lit room. The four men laid Anna down on a straw-filled mat placed atop the large bench, and all sense of slow movement, cautiousness and fogginess which encircled their trip down to this far end was suddenly replaced by what became a fast and ferocious race; Anna felt the rough fabric and the straws rub against her neck as the men pushed down on her body, but she could not manage to keep her eyes fixed at one place. The men all climbed on top of her; their weight crushed her. Helena, as if suddenly awoken by a nightmare, rushed to stand by Anna’s head and placed it firmly in her hands while the men ripped clothes and untied intricately laced undergarments, Robert being the most zealous destroyer of the beautiful attire lying beneath him. The dress fell, torn to pieces, on the dark floor and Anna’s breasts, pink and round, appeared in front of Robert’s face; he paused to look at them only for a split second, then devoured them with bites of vanity, her tiny moles filling his mouth and mixing with his saliva. The other men tore her stockings, revealed her white thighs and exclaimed animal groans before one of them rushed to take her. Anna moaned in pain but her voice could not exceed that of the loud ventilator still filling the corridor. Robert turned around and pushed away the first man who fell with a large thump on the floor, then took his place while the others stood up to stare, their eyes dazed and dirty from alcohol and ecstatic in their violent lust. While Anna rocked back and forth under Robert’s weight, Helena caressed her feverish head, removing hairs that stuck on her face from the sweat. She looked deep into her eyes in an effort to soften her pain, as a midwife would look into the bewildered eyes of a woman in labor, and exhaled small blows on the feverish forehead to cool down the pain’s heat. Robert groaned with pleasure and slapped Anna’s cheeks, breasts and arms, then held her neck and squeezed it tight by pushing harder into her body; he released himself on her white, well-formed stomach and while doing so squeezed it so tight than it reddened under his fists. Anna vomited
on Helenaâ€™s lap and her blued lips found comfort in sealing themselves around the seams of the old womanâ€™s skirt. Robert stood up with a vile grin on his full, red mouth and covered Anna up with the tattered dress, and waved to the others to follow him. They disappeared in the dark smolder of the corridor, and the two women were left alone like two emblazoned sculptures frozen in darkness.
- Alexia Liakounakou
- Loren Kantor
Zenobia Jackson told Officer Murphy that her husband, Rufus, was 73 years old and "a wonderful man when he was awake" but for the past year he had been jerking "something terrible" during his sleep and had kept waking her up. He'd swing his arms, she said, like those martial arts men he liked to watch so much on television. When the bouts were over, he'd give her a big kiss on the forehead and go to bed. "Oh, he was just a doll," she said, "when he was awake." In the last month, however, Rufus had fallen out of bed three times "fighting" in his dreams. In the morning he'd tell her he'd been dreaming that he was in a fight at work or back in high school many years ago. Sometimes he dreamt he was shooting at burglars breaking into their house in the old neighborhood. That's why they had to move to a different neighborhood and why he bought a gun, a little pistol he kept under his pillow just in case he heard someone in the house. You can't be too careful these days, he told her. He even taught her how to shoot the gun one night when no one else was on the tennis courts in Sherman Park. He said she was real good. Not many women, he said, can aim straight. But last night, she said, he was dreaming again and swung his arms at least ten times, like he was chopping sugar cane back in Louisiana before they moved North. He caught her with an elbow to the eye and then another to the nose just as she was ducking. That's why she looks the way she does, she told Officer Murphy. Long ago, she had stopped trying to wake him when he was thrashing about. It was because of the pistol under his pillow. He had reached for it one time right after she had shaken him. She had screamed and that woke him up and he wasn't too happy about it. He said he couldn't get back to sleep the rest of the night. And he wasn't lying because she was awake all night, too, listening to him grumble and curse. Just a week ago, she had taken him to a sleep clinic where he had stayed overnight. The doctor said he suffered from sleep apnea but she had never heard of anyone with sleep apnea thrashing and kicking about like her Rufus. She had a lady friend in the choir at church whose husband had sleep apnea but all he did was "snore too loud," her friend said, no thrashing about. "So that's how it happened," Zenobia told Officer Murphy, who was busy taking notes. Rufus had reached under the pillow for the pistol and she had to stop him. "Two in the head," she said, "and he be dead."
- Donal Mahoney
Violence can be done to violent men with white shirts and excessive pride in their English with the wrong kind of ‘you’. The wrong kind of ‘you’ negates their careful years acquiring English like a jackdaw and dispensing the Hindi they still speak with the fluency of outrage. No longer are they self-made hard men with carefully repressed wives who wear chiffon saris and habitually check the distance of the pavement from their opulent jail cells, but squirming lads with no keener sense than that of injury, torturing the street cats and glaring at women with swishing skirts under the awning of their father’s fish-fry shop.
- Adreyo Sen
Last night, unable to sleep, and yet half-dreaming still, of the creature I gave life to in my head a bare fortnight ago, a creature that surprised me by moulding herself so readily to the apparel of my brightest hopes, I noticed that the shadows on the wall looked like two ancient figures. A man and a woman. They were fighting. I contrasted idly, the man’s stunned heaviness, his nevertheless rapid, menacing, flickering to and fro, and the woman’s still alertness, her seeming to expect a blow that would justify the absoluteness of her despair. The blow never came. The shadows continued their dance. And then the woman froze into herself, a torpid shell. She became a blackness. The man continued to bluster before becoming a sullen extension of my room’s resistance to the moonlight. I blamed myself. If I’d digested my dinner better and had been in a less cynical mood, the man and the woman might have made up and re-fallen in love. But for the woman though, that would soon prove to be a bad ending.
- Adreyo Sen
Literature with all its ambiguity—and the same could be said of life—begins to possess intrinsic value when an emergent order appears in the midst of what seems a vast yet vanishing chaos. This retreating chaos, deciphered and appreciated, thus stands in relation to itself as the order within us confirms and extends a foothold beyond the fundamental paradox. For consciousness is evidently realistic to a degree; it clings to fate, registers, so to speak, the higher and lower temperature of our fortunes, and so far as it can, represents the agencies on which these fortunes depend. When this dramatic vocation of consciousness remains unfulfilled, consciousness is wholly confused and the world it envisages seems consequently a chaos. Later, if our literary experience has congealed into shape, and there are settled categories and constant objects in human discourse, the assumption is made that the original disposition of things was also orderly and indeed conducive to those feats of enjoyment and intelligence to be partaken. With this broad perspective in mind, we say with great enthusiasm that we have worked with unwavering determination to make this dream worthy of undivided attention.
Father always called our mother My Little Green Bean, for she was long and slender. But the first step he took not long after marriage was to plummet into the penitentiary, and it might appear as a surreal soap opera were I confess the entire confusing truth. For about nine months in the mid 1990s, when I was twenty-seven and a graduate student, I shared a house with a boisterous waitress named Lilly. And I was quite fond of Lilly, she was very pretty and I wished no ill on her. She already owned an iron, of course, but not one with a cell phone built into the handle. “What will they think of next,” I groaned. The Cubs were behind eight to five, in the bottom of the ninth, but they had loaded the bases with one out, and Sammy Sosa was at the plate taking warm-up swings. The long strip of the Florida Panhandle is nothing more than an extension to south Alabama, Delta Mississippi, and the bayou network of muddy Louisiana, nothing more than another end of the earth bounded by highway and water. When Dean Alger asked me to drive to California with him, I was sitting in the house in South Carolina with both the iron-phone and my feet resting atop my uncle Louie’s massive steamer trunk. A maple branch extended horizontally from the top of the refrigerator, weighted by a three-litter jug of cheap red wine, and from it dangled an old wind chime. I’d like to sketch this scene. In my head I already arranged the work; so I nudged the silver-leafed olive tree closer to the place where a tangle of wild flowers had forced their way through a crack in the old redbrick wall. It wasn’t raining, not yet, but dark clouds were low and steely, and I could taste that thick metallic taste a stormy day in the Carolinas always leaves on my tongue. I said to
Dean: “It has something to do with the modernist notion that anything is possible.” To which he replied, “Do you think it has anything to do with your training on the classical guitar?” “I was never that good on guitar,” I said. “What traditions are behind your writing?” he continued. “In college, as a junior, I walked into an elective literature class consisting of all the lame, halt and disaffected crazies on campus. But more than that it was the postmodernist position that everything is exhausted—profoundly exhausted.” Dean was a slightly famous painter, eight years older than I was, and I found myself staring out the window. It wasn’t raining, but the light had turned an odd, wet lemony color— it could have been an oil painting by Paul Steen. Paul Steen’s paintings were reflections of Van Gogh and Monet. I still imagine dear Vincent in 1889, the year the fountain poured forth its greatest abundance. His face is open and eager as he comes toward you, wanting to know who you are. And a sense of solitude, often, and of physical energy and exuberance. All this before he fell into the blind abyss. Taking me with him. “Do you have a schedule you try to stay with when you’re working?” Dean had asked, interrupting my ruminations with a significant look. “No! I am against schedules of any kind. It’s the modernist thing. Or really it’s more the post-postmodernist idea, the philosophy. You see, since everything is exhausted, everything is permitted. Think in terms of no restraint. Schedules are suffocating and they deny me … permission.” Sixteen months after my sister put a bullet through her brain, I found myself standing atop the highest cliff on the south coast of Spain, wondering at great length what it would be like to jump. Crows and ravens speckled red-clay roofs and strips of ploughed earth. Who knows, I thought, if she’d focused her stare deeper into but one sunny spot, might she not arrived at a final littoral where bits of atoms explode into quantum froth? My sister sleeps now, but when she wakes for good her eyes will already be open, and she’ll find herself looking at the very thing she looked at before her eyes closed, the door, the wall, the cold bluing of the .38. Blacker than a raven’s eye. My sister was pretty from the time she was seven to the time she was twelve. Before then she was too skinny and after that she was
too plump. And she could do many things well, but they were strange things, like walking on stilts and doing yo-yo tricks. For several years she thought she might have unusual ESP. She could hear beneath everything anyone said, although most thought she couldn’t because her eyes stayed closed. Silver faucets and white clock faces, moon dials, Mexican guitars, molecular farts—it was a sickness to hear her talk sometimes. And she liked to sit on the roof and stare at the moon. She saw images of animals and faces in the silvery craters, colors of the spectrum in starlight. She wore taffeta, shiny stockings, mystery skin, and later we went to her apartment, the baby sleeping peacefully, the bedside light on all night. Dean and I had met while walking someone else’s dog; the three of us truant from the same party, one of those north Florida beachhouse parties. Dean was more interested in Buddy, the black and white dog, than he was in me, so I was glad not to talk. I find parties difficult unless I’m drunk. The shadows had an inky feel and a ghost-green phosphorescent glowed in the small breakers, the tiny creatures riding the surge. Later on someone said the word resurrection, but I didn’t feel anything godly in the room—I had the impression we were all waiting on something, listening for particular resurrections, which is to say, maybe we believed. Or maybe we were desperate to believe. My sister’s resurrection was all around us, filling the spaces between us, more solid than what was solid looking. If you had ever been reborn, you might agree. Might remember a time when being “me” in the world seemed very queer; in short, get over it before deciding to let yourself mutate into one of those graying creatures known as middle-aged adults. Perhaps try hanging yourself first. No seventeen-year-old can be expected to realize that “what” depends on “why,” and yet juxtaposition alters content, and vice versa. Our context fitting the natural world, awareness of its details changes our reality, moving us nearer to what and why we really are. Every step toward revealing “why am I?” implies, thereby, improved self-knowledge. And Dean said, “What did you do differently when you started over?” “The catalogue is the iteration of characters through metonymy. One sort of reasoning would be this: Instead of saying that you are going to the kitchen just now to make coffee and that that is going to reveal you, we could say, metonymically, that it is the very strong Peruvian coffee that reveals your character. That’s what I did—I took that leap.” “I am surprised that no painter of today has yet devoted a work to the automobile, to the modern highway, to roadside inns, to gallant sojourns, encounters along the road in Spain. Why not?” he said profoundly.
“When you come at last onto the cleared road, you see a gas pump. How splendid! But it is also the sole and unique gas pump in the world surmounted by a cross. And my good sister is there, like a hermit, smiling at you but saying nothing …” This took me back to another time: Did you dream of magic when you were a boy? When I was very young, I dreamt the gravel roof of our house was a landing field for my imaginary ancestor, the Baal Shem of London. I’d listen for the sounds of hoofs and carriage wheels on the roof. When I was a child, I learned to make time fly! To soar! And the poor spider has such a bad name. She represents an odious, crawling, fanged and noxious creature, which everyone hastens to crush underfoot or saturate with bug spray. And against this harsh verdict we set the beast’s industry, its deftness as a spinner of webs, its wiliness in the hunt, and its awful nuptials. I never liked my own face. The deferential smile hiding in a corner of the mouth, the strong round eyes. Facing myself in the mirror or catching my reflection in a store’s window, I would often wince and scrunch my brow, but it didn’t help much; for I always saw through my own foolish disguise. I awoke with a start—my sister tapping on my shoulder. All done? I rubbed my eyes. You finished already? Yes. All done, my sister repeated, aiming out the window with her right hand. My eyelids shut, I leaned forward until my forehead almost touched the glass. “That’s the summary and misfortune of my life, Dean,” I said. He looked at me without speaking. I opened my eyes and the light was too harsh. Lilly, who had just woken, was making her way to the front porch with my pale and hollow-eyed sister. Holding her hand. But was the pathway preordained, was it an existential trap? “Tragedy,” she muttered. “Life is brutal tragedy.” I laid my wet cheek against the cold fingerboard of the guitar. “Yes, it’s true, true what they say. A thousand times, it is true. But who among us really knows the meaning of those words?”
- G.D. McFetridge
ART - No more than THREE pieces should be submitted at a time. - Please include titles with the pieces. - A brief biography (formality of your discretion) and a link to your webpage (if desired) should be included in the body of the email. - Please attach the photos separately, and either have them saved by the title(s) or put the title(s) in the body of the email. FICTION - No more than ONE piece should be submitted at a time. - A minimum of one page (maximum of 5). - A brief biography (formality of your discretion) and a link to your webpage (if desired) should be included in the body of the email. FLASH FICTION - No more than THREE pieces should be submitted at a time. - A generous maximum of THREE pages (per piece). Total page maximum of NINE. - A brief biography (formality of your discretion) and a link to your webpage (if desired) should be included in the body of the email. POETRY - No more than FOUR pieces should be submitted at a time. - Please, no hiakus. We do not take interest in them. - A brief biography (formality of your discretion) and a link to your webpage (if desired) should be included in the body of the email. - Please attach your document of poems, rather than place them in the body of the email. Each poem should begin on a new page.
TO ALL SUBMITTING: - If you are submitting in multiple categories, please send the material in a separate email. - If you can make us laugh (in a good way), you’re golden. - We do not “reject” people. If your piece is not accepted, it is simply because it does not fit our “voice”. - We encourage you to pass the knowledge of this site on to your friends! SEND ALL SUBMISSIONS TO writewingsubmissions (at) gmail (dot) com