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THE BIG WINDOWS

REVIEW Issue 8 Summer 2017


The Big Windows Review is a publication of the Writing Center at Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, MI, USA. We publish poems and short (500 words or less) prose. For this issue, design and photographs by Tom Zimmerman. 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. Copyright Š 2017 the individual authors and artists.

The Big Windows Review _______________________ Website thebigwindowsreview.wordpress.com Email thebigwindowsreview@gmail.com Editor Tom Zimmerman Assistant Editors Meera Martin Simon Mermelstein Erica Morris Elizabeth Shillington 2


The Big Windows Review Issue 8 | Summer 2017 Contents ____________________________________________________ Ben Nardolilli Jim Zola John Grey William Doreski Kersten Christianson Richard King Perkins II Diane M. Laboda Rich H. Kenney, Jr. Ann Howells Kenneth Pobo Catherine Zickgraf Susan L. Leary Steven Hoekstra Contributors

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Memorial Park My Daughter’s Day in Court I Have No Street Cred Beastly 40 Winks of Certain Our Antechamber The Gargoyle on D Street While Moonlight Trims a Fingernail Interpreting an Illuminated Manuscript Handwriting and Fire The Barrens The Matryoshka Doll Sestina: In my heart there is a fountain

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Ben Nardolilli ________________________________________________ Memorial Park Three teams of children kick the absence of a soccer ball Across a field of brownouts, avoiding the broken pottery And a henge of rusted cars, no one is keeping score Yet the players aim to make their goals between tires Arranged into the basic outline of columns crumbling into ruins They’re using their hands and I use my voice to condemn The yellow and red card irregularities at play in the field, Between laughter they say I’m too angry, they say my complaints Are scattershot with too much rambling, plus I’m not dressed To ref like the ones they’ve seen in the older books The children ask me to join them, I decline, the game is long gone, Red and blue lights paint flashes on the graffiti and rust, A manhunt spills out onto the soccer field and I run, Looking back in time to see an officer present the children With a ball covered in barbed wire to kick in between the tires.

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Jim Zola ____________________________________________________ My Daughter’s Day in Court For now the sky agrees with me. One enormous stratus, a hint of rain. I'm going over my list of worries. Check, check, check. None amiss. This morning I told my daughter to dress appropriate for the occasion. She wears a maroon skirt, work boots and a Beatles top. All she wants is to stay in bed twenty-four seven. Even when she is gone, the shape of her stays behind. Later, I promise I will take her to the movie she is dying to see, where we will sit in the hushed dark, forget our worries and come out to a night that is at least forgiving.

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John Grey ___________________________________________________ I Have No Street Cred I've never been held in a cell overnight. Guess I didn't protest enough. Or spit on the right cops. Heavy drinking's never been my virtue nor has rampant drug taking. I haven't chained myself to the White House fence or written a threatening letter to a politician. I don’t have a tattoo on any part of my body. As for piercings, nothing jangles when I walk or talk. I have acted a little crazy from time to time but always in the privacy of my own dwelling. As I said at the beginning, I don’t have a rap sheet. There’s no record of me in some hell-hole with a cold cement floor, a bunk and a toilet in the corner. Without street credibility, where am I? 6


I’m stuck writing romantic poetry. So cuddle close and I’ll read some to you. Then you decide if I'm to be held overnight.

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William Doreski ______________________________________________ Beastly You doubt horses. Soulful but treacherous, their gaze returns no investment. They’re spooked by everything that also spooks you. Their manure production daunts. When you were five, a horse swung its heavy head and knocked you cold. Now every horse daydreaming in a field elicits comment. If so husky a critter gets colic how do you comfort it? Can’t cuddle in your lap, can’t cower dog-shaped at your feet. Maybe we whose beards grow nightly understand large clumsy fragile animals better than you, better than even adolescent girls who love to straddle horses with tender and luscious thighs. Maybe the essence of the horse dwells in the history of abuse— beaten while lashed to carts, gunned down in hundreds of wars, starved, tortured, overbred, raced 8


until their legs break in protest. You doubt their intentions and read their soft eyes the way a child reads hard liquor swirling in the dark of parental words. Maybe we should adopt a horse from the animal rescue league and name it after each other and let it graze and graze and graze without asking anything of it and see how long it outlives us under blue so shiny it hurts.

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Kersten Christianson __________________________________________ 40 Winks of Certain All indigo in this candlelight vigil of carnival knowledge. Be my darling particle, orbiting sister, my diamond sky. We’ll key the ignition to Mars, to red thunder serendipity, raspberry perfect rocket logic traveling south, south, south along Sunnyside Street to Shangri-La.

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Richard King Perkins II _________________________________________ Our Antechamber Within the supple worlds of your giving I turn away from the red sage of evening we have both known so well. The sun has burned us with nimble kisses but left our skin untouched outside the nuzzle and pirouette of time. The delicate chablis of your voice pours around intricate corners and plum motifs into a negative dimension of scorpions and squash blossoms and in this antechamber, this suspension of scarlet turning autumn you’ve helped me to become someone I could almost love.

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Diane M. Laboda _____________________________________________ The Gargoyle on D Street Ladies night blossomed out of a need for camaraderie and a safe place to unload the week’s fault-finding by spouses and significant others. In other words, an Ivy League bitch session deeper than the violet walls that surrounded them. They’d chosen this coffee shop called Gargoyle, the one that surrounded them with deep indelible purples, plush amethyst chairs, mulberry table cloths with fringe. They felt safe in layers of risqué calm, mildly alcoholic drinks and the license to burn their mates’ underwear in an open fire pit in the center of the room. There would be no solutions here, but a calm resolve to “stick to guns,” figuratively and to “speak truth to power.” Not one of the ladies truly hated her mate. No one was divorced or even separated. They knew what they wanted and what they wanted to keep. They accepted their privileged lives— they hadn’t been born in a third world country, after all. They recognized the clash of wills 12


for what it was—love ever after. They didn’t even need reassurance, they’d chosen their mates wisely. They just needed a purple, padded wall to pound now and again. And the mirror of each other.

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Rich H. Kenney, Jr. ____________________________________________ While Moonlight Trims a Fingernail A violin string falls in love with a chin. A tollbooth wins the lottery. Lightning rips open night sky sutures. A thimble eyeballs Excalibur. A porcupine gives birth to a peach. Two remedies opt for second opinions. A caboose rescues a leading lady. A doorknob reads a palm. A paper clip pictures a sequoia. An alibi eavesdrops on a song and dance. A yawn is surrounded by mouse holes. Nightcaps picket the dawn. Confetti clogs an artery. A lovesick bowl of cornflakes remembers a scarecrow. An eyelash tickles a keyhole. A mustache bathes in eggnog. A French horn kisses a cloud. A marigold replaces a Magnum. A volcano sleeps one off and dreams it is a jar of marmalade. A slice of cold pie shivers in its blanket of meringue. Sandpaper reconsiders the hand it is dealt. A pigsty cures a side of bacon. A mothball and a timepiece find happiness in a retiree’s suit coat pocket. A lone wolf contemplates midnight while moonlight trims a fingernail.

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Ann Howells _________________________________________________ Interpreting an Illuminated Manuscript This is the garden, about the business of growth and greening, blossoming and bearing fruit. Lush. Fecund. This, then, is Adam, broad-shouldered, narrow-hipped, reigning over the garden and all within, subservient only to God. Man is born. Here lies the serpent, lithesome and long, a black velvet daydream. These are the leathery wide wings of angels and demons that enfold us. Lilith left. This, of course, is Eve, cobbled of a curved rib, fist of clay – afterthought, room tacked behind the house to accommodate an unwanted relative. Eve, coaxed and cajoled, plucks forbidden fruit. Sweetness is born. Knowledge is born. Eve covers herself with leaves. Shame is born. Sin is born. Here are Cain and Abel. Cain raises his hand, slays Abel. Killing is born, and murder, and war. This is the garden, and the garden is earth. And earth fills with leaf and shoot, tendril and root, leaf and blossom, and all manner of creatures that creep, swim and fly. This, then, man puts asunder.

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Kenneth Pobo _______________________________________________ Handwriting and Fire Run? Don’t bother. Cower? Hide behind potatoes in the cellar. For a minute. Your life has come down to a whisper— you miss what gets said. Watching cities explode, you feel millions of people burning, each inside you. Open your mouth— coffins fall out. You think that if you move to the countryside you’ll relax. You stay put, a brown leaf under snow. Fear does little well, but it has good handwriting. It writes your name under your fingernails. Your fingers catch fire. It spreads quickly. 16


Catherine Zickgraf ____________________________________________ The Barrens Under lights strung taut across unthawed lots, we brought our tragedies, ribboned in red. It’s the happiest season, they said. So we flooded the lines among aisles of pine. But as funds dried up, we paid with our quilts. Then lowering heads down fog-full streets, we dragged home firs, trailing boughs at our feet. Seeking heat we cooked trunks in barrels of rust which turned ruby the throats of the lonely among us, cheeks bursting blood in a fiery flush. If our flesh were scalded raw, if blood dripped thin along our fists, who would ash our decay once our souls flew away?

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Susan L. Leary ________________________________________________ The Matryoshka Doll I’m not that old. But lately, that has become a significant word. Because my family is planning their burial. Another afternoon conversation on the phone. There’s only four of us—myself, my husband, my parents, so it should be easy. My mother wants us buried like Matryoshka dolls, one inside the other, a wooden womb. Three of us will be cremated, and depending on who goes first, any combination of ashes will do— my husband with my father, my father with my mother. I’m to live longest, laid in my coffin a peasant girl or Soviet leader or as the fairytale figure the innermost baby sees in her dreams. And huddled within the layers of linen will be all of life’s pretty jars, however many there are. Such is the only way we know to show love, to process that it’s all going away. So we run happily, if not humorously, to our graves, one by one by one.

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Steven Hoekstra ______________________________________________ Sestina: In my heart there is a fountain In my heart there is a fountain a cool spring flowing apart from space and time whose waters rinse my eyes and bestow me with the spirit of some ancient pagan charm put there to soothe and inspire. Passively I had hoped she could inspire the chuckling of a parched fountain but she lacked the charm and I could not put in any more time. There was no spark in her spirit just a sunken brown set of disappointed eyes. She fucked up and I shut tight my eyes. I had to look within to inspire the guidance of some ancient pagan spirit: Sobek, Juturna, patrons of the fountain, eternal ghosts weaving through time, whose essences dwell within a turquoise charm. I had meditated upon that soft blue charm the night before my eyes opened to a force beyond time that could eternally inspire like an ever loving fountain that heals the raw and wild of spirit. 19


There is a steadfastness in my spirit and an ancient essence in this charm blessed by the heavenly fountain springing forth through the people's eyes. Kind or unkind, glimpses of humanity still inspire an ineffable bond that flows beyond time. There will be a time when I have cleansed this crooked spirit, once I have spread enough love to inspire a hopeful, happy charm shared through friendly words and eyes. In the face of despair, all will swim in the fountain. In turn, please let your spirit’s fountain overflow, with an inspired and merciful eye shining like a timeless holy charm.

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Contributors _________________________________________________ Kersten Christianson is a raven-watching, moon-gazing Alaskan. When not exploring the summer lands and dark winter of the Yukon Territory, she resides in Sitka, Alaska. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) through the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2016. William Doreski’s work has appeared in various e and print journals and in several collections, most recently The Suburbs of Atlantis (AA Press, 2013). John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Homestead Review, Cape Rock, and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Poem, and Spoon River Poetry Review. Steven Hoekstra is a proud WCC graduate and employee who currently studies English and Political Science at Eastern Michigan University. He is inspired by a variety of poets, including Emily Dickinson, Arthur Rimbaud, and John Donne. His writing explores themes of transcendence, transformation, unity, and recovery. Ann Howells has edited Illya’s Honey for eighteen years, recently going: www.IllyasHoney.com. Publications: Black Crow in Flight (Main Street Rag), Under a Lone Star (Village Books), and Letters for My Daughter (Flutter). Her chapbook, Softly Beating Wings, recently won the William D. Barney Memorial Chapbook Contest. She has four Pushcart nominations. Rich H. Kenney, Jr. is Social Work Program Director and associate professor at Chadron State College in Chadron, NE. A graduate from the University of Texas with a Master’s degree in Social Work, he received a Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry from the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Recent publications include articles in Faculty Focus and poetry in Plainsongs. Diane M. Laboda believes poesy is as essential as breathing. She’s published poetry, short stories, and articles in Crash online literary magazine, Third Wednesday literary journal, Rat’s Ass Review online poetry journal, 3rd place poetry in 2010 and 2011 Current Magazine, WCC’s Washtenaw Voice, The Huron 21


River Review issues 1-15, Blood Orange, The Big Windows Review, and Poetry Club anthologies. She has published two chapbooks, Facing the Mirror and This Poet’s Journey, and is working on her first book-length collection of poetry. Susan L. Leary is a Lecturer in English Composition at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL. Her most recent creative work appears or is forthcoming in Steel Toe Review, The Copperfield Review, After the Pause, and Verse-Virtual. Ben Nardolilli currently lives in New York City. His work has appeared in Perigee Magazine, Red Fez, Danse Macabre, The 22 Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae, fwriction, Inwood Indiana, Pear Noir, The Minetta Review, and Yes Poetry. He blogs at mirrorsponge.blogspot.com and is looking to publish a novel. Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL, USA with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart, Best of the Net, and Best of the Web nominee whose work has appeared in more than a thousand publications. Kenneth Pobo has a new book forthcoming from Circling Rivers called Loplop in a Red City. His work has appeared in: Colorado Review, Nimrod, Red Cedar Review, Hawaii Review, and elsewhere. Catherine Zickgraf has performed her poetry in Madrid, San Juan, and three dozen other cities, but now her main jobs are to hang out with her family and write more poetry. Her new chapbook, Soul Full of Eye, is published through Aldrich Press and is available on Amazon.com. Watch and read more of her poetry at http://caththegreat.blogspot.com Jim Zola has worked in a warehouse, as a security guard, in a bookstore, as a teacher for Deaf children, as a toy designer for Fisher Price, and currently as a children’s librarian. Published in many journals through the years, his publications include a chapbook–The One Hundred Bones of Weather (Blue Pitcher Press)–and a full-length poetry collection–What Glorious Possibilities (Aldrich Press). He currently lives in Greensboro, NC.

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THE BIG WINDOWS REVIEW | Issue 8 | Summer 2017

The Big Windows Review, Issue 8, Summer 2017  

The literary magazine of the Writing Center at Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

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