an online journal of voice

Spring 2016

GH
BLAZEVOX[BOOKS]
Buffalo, New York

BlazeVOX 16 | an online journal of voice
Copyright © 2016
Published by BlazeVOX [books]
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Spring 2016
Table of Contents
Poetry
Adam Halbur

Alana Benson

Android Spit

Ashley Hamilton

Ashok Smith

Barrie Davies

Billy Cancel

Brenda Candle

C.N. Bean

David M. Castillo

David Rushmer

Dilip Mohapatra

Emily Pinkerton

Erica S. Qualy

E.M. Schorb

Franco Cortese

Glenn Ingersoll

Harriett Vaine

Heather Sager

Isabel Balee

Jasper Brinton

Jeri Thompson

John Sweet

Lazola Pambo

Kaitlin J. Pilipovic

Maria Gallagher

Marc J. Frazier

Mark DuCharme

Mark Young

Mel Bentley

Nicholas Samaras

PT Davidson

Raymond Farr

Rich Murphy

Roger Craik

Scott Wordsman

Simon Perchik

Susan Kay Anderson

Tanya Pilumeli

Zachary Scott Hamilton

Fiction
Let Us Never Part by A. Riding
Would you plead guilty to a crime you didn’t commit to stay out of jail?
by Uriel E. Gribetz
Ouvroir de L’amour Potentielle by Joan Harvey
The Yowling Cat Story by Bishop & Fuller
A Good Collection of Seashells by Emma Wenninger
Sister by Freddie Bettles Lake
The Nearly Dead by Jesper Andreasson
Kitty by Kat Hausler
Vibrational Flu by Josepha Gutelius

Text Art
In the Palace Hotel
hiromi suzuki

‘cunt, choir"
bruno neiva

Creative Non-Fiction
Tank & Max Do America: Part 1 K.E. Mahoney
Tarice L.S. Gray
The Secrets That an ESL Teacher Keeps by Natasha Deveau
Chapter One by Caroline Allen

Acta Biographia — Author Biographies

Spring 2016
IntroductionIntroduction
Hello and welcome to the Spring issue of
BlazeVOX 16. Presenting fine works of poetry,
fiction, text art, visual poetry and arresting works
of creative non-fiction written by authors from
around world. Do have a look through the links
below or browse through the whole issue in our
Scribd embedded PDF, which you can download
for free and take it with you anywhere on any
device. Hurray!
In this issue we seek to avoid answers but rather to
ask questions. With a subtle minimalistic
approach, this issue of BlazeVOX focuses on the
idea of ‘public space’ and more specifically on
spaces where anyone can do anything at any given
moment: the non-private space, the non-privately
owned space, space that is economically
uninteresting. The works collected feature
coincidental, accidental and unexpected
connections which make it possible to revise literary history and, even better, to complement it.
Combining unrelated aspects lead to surprising analogies these piece appear as dreamlike images in which
fiction and reality meet, well-known tropes merge, meanings shift, past and present fuse. Time and memory
always play a key role. In a search for new methods to ‘read the city’, the texts reference post-colonial theory
as well as the avant-garde or the post-modern and the left-wing democratic movement as a form of
resistance against the logic of the capitalist market system.
Many of the works are about contact with architecture and basic living elements. Energy (heat, light, water),
space and landscape are examined in less obvious ways and sometimes developed in absurd ways. By
creating situations and breaking the passivity of the spectator, he tries to develop forms that do not follow

logical criteria, but are based only on subjective associations and formal parallels, which incite the viewer to
make new personal associations. These pieces demonstrate how life extends beyond its own subjective limits
and often tells a story about the effects of global cultural interaction over the latter half of the twentieth
century. It challenges the binaries we continually reconstruct between Self and Other, between our own
‘cannibal’ and ‘civilized’ selves. Enjoy!
Rockets, Geoffrey

an online journal of voice

Spring 2016

GH

Spring 2016
A. Riding

Let Us Never Part

When I was your widow I was only a girl, I was supposed to lay down beside you and burn up with you but I
ran away and set myself on fire a stone’s throw from the river with just myself and a circling bird and my
strength. The last thing I saw was the circling bird coming down to know the flames which were mine,
without your body. The last thing I heard was my own voice going Oh no, oh no, oh no no, oh no, like the
water has said to me so many times, a prayer I resist and then quiet with screams, unmoving.
When I was your lover we fled together from the fire and I could not forgive you. Everything you owned was
burned and I was still alive, unsacrificed, unyours.
I crept back to sift the ash. I found the bed where we lay when the fire became ravenous. It was twisted and
scorched in brown-red like rust, charred as I wished to be.
I gather ash in my hands and pour it over the metal, wanting to make a shape, two shapes. Larger bits of
brick will stay, clumps of thicker books. Faster and faster I make two shapes and they will not stay. We are
lovers who did not die together, did not end at all, you did not let the smoke conjoin our lungs, conjoin our
flesh to nothing more than everything you ever owned.

Faster and faster, I climb onto the bed where you saved me unasked and the springs twist my flesh and the
ash is my blanket and the blanket is ash in my lungs. I want to rise and run from the bed where you did not
save me and you are safe in a bed I don’t know, but everything you ever owned is here. I breathe fast as being
your lover, until my lungs are black and the sky falls off, just skin, oh no.
The last thing I see is the ring we stole from a bird which I found buried deep where we used to sit and
speak. It’s on my thumb and it goes into my mouth and I fall asleep faster and faster. Suckle metal,
everything is white and filthy shapes conjoined in smoke that chokes the living with our love.
When I died in childbirth, the last thing I saw was you being held by a man who scrutinized your screams
and then both of you were screaming in your eyes as the sense of hearing left me, the splitting burning
eased. You were all that existed. The girl was still caught inside. I’m not sure if she ever made it out. But I
sang to her, I sang to you, Oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no no, until we all forgot again.
And then you were very sick and could not move at all, and I stayed at your side to watch you not move,
asking questions to make you more comfortable. Strength will be only a trick of the light, a small and sudden
motion, you will open your eyes and cast a shadow and exist again unsick.
Is the light too bright? You’ve closed your eyes.
An hour, a croak, your voice, No. The light is always on.
Don’t waste your strength in an answer. But I need to hear your voice which will make you more sick if you
answer.
Do you want me to turn out the light?
A day and then you surge with stubbornness to say, to shudder, No.
Should I leave everything alone? You won’t open your eyes, Is the light too bright?

No. It’s fine. Your breath eats the whisper and starves.
The light is too bright for you to look at me again. I cannot look away from you or you will grow more old,
more sick, you will crumble if I blink. You have so much to answer me yet, to heal me with.
I take your fevered, crumpled hands, place them over my eyes, wanting to see what you now see, needing all
your sickness answers.
No, oh no, you stroke my face. I stroke your hands over my face you will not look at. I cannot see you because
your hands are over my face and I see what you are seeing. We cave into each other, making one sick
shadow, endlessly old.
I have forgotten, you have forgotten me. I don’t know who you are. You are feeling me and I am not real.
Your fingernails are filthy, you say. Your dress is dirty. You do not need a dress. Come here.
I suck the moan from your tongue, the fist from your hand. I don’t know who you are. I rake the ribs from
your cage, the eyes from your screaming, the dancing from your flame. I eat the mud from your belly and the
torrent of your loins. I don’t know who we are. My body is clean now and your body is gone.
I bury you in different places so that we may remember now that you are in pieces. I put you in with
strangers’ names and I do not remember. I hope you are happy here. I’ve forgotten where I put you.
I found someone when I came out from the woods. I am very angry. I forget why I am angry. I remember
today is my wedding. I go back into the woods to find you, someone who is you, faceless. I find someone
when I come out of the woods. I go back into the woods to find you. To find someone. Faceless. Looking for
me.
Someone is calling. How can no-face make a sound? Who knows my name? Not me.
Not this one.

Now that you are gone, and I can’t remember what you look like or I look like or what we looked like
together and I can’t remember our sounds, I can say it and say it and say it and say it.
Let us never part.

Spring 2016
Acta Biographia - Author Bios
Alana Benson
Alana Benson graduated from the University of Vermont and is a freelance writer. She is the writer of WTF:
Where's the Fraud?, and has published a thesis in classical reception. She was awarded a Prindle-Myrick grant
in 2014 to write classically-inspired poetry in Athens, Greece. Alana lives in Lander, Wyoming.
Adam Halbur
If Adam Halbur were to paint a portrait of himself it would turn out, at best, like Brueghel’s Old Woman, and
at worse, a codpiece. He is the author of Poor Manners (2009), awarded the 2010 Frost Place residency. His
work has appeared most recently in The Fourth River’s Queering Nature, Forklift, OH, and is forthcoming in the
Pennine Platform. He can be found at adamhalbur.com
Android Spit
Android Spit is the alias of independent scholar-poet André Spears (pangaeapress.com
<http://pangaeapress.com> ), whose recent work has appeared in House Organ, Cough (including an earlier
excerpt from Shrinkrap) and Dispatches from the Poetry Wars. He is a co-founder of the Gloucester Writers
Center, and the curator of its Maud / Olson Library, which will be inaugurated in June, 2016.
A. Riding

Ashley Hamilton

Ashok Smith
Ashok Smith is a delivery driver.

Barrie Davies
My name is Barrie Davies and I am 38 years old. I hold a BA in Social Linguistic Theory and live with my
partner, Sarah, in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland. My literary fascinations and interest range from ancient
Anglo Saxon poetry, through to Baudelaire and Rimbaud, to Dylan Thomas, Geoffrey Hill and Samuel
Beckett.
Billy Cancel
Billy Cancel has recently appeared in West Wind Review, Gobbet & Bombay Gin. His latest body of work
PSYCHO'CLOCK is out on Hidden House Press. Billy Cancel is 1/2 of the noise/pop duo Tidal Channel.
Sound poems, visual shorts and other aberrations can be found at billycancelpoetry.com
Bishop & Fuller
Bishop & Fuller's 40+ plays and 200+ comic sketches have been staged by theatres nationwide. They are
recipients of National Endowment for the Arts writing fellowships, and as actors with The Independent Eye
have presented over 3,500 shows cross-country. They live in Sebastopol CA and are now writing fiction. Info:
www.independenteye.org/print.
bruno neiva

C.N. Bean
C.N. Bean has published three novels, A Soul to Take, Dust to Dust and With Evil Intent. In 2011, “15 Minutes in
the Life of Joe Hagar,” was a finalist in Yale University’s search for a short script to produce through its film
production company and drama department. “Smilin’ Away the Dreams,” a revision of that script, was an
official selection in the 2013 Richmond International Film Festival. In 2014, Virginia Tech produced “The
Dream Interpreter” as its first public film. C.N.'s recent poetry has appeared in Copperfield Review, BlazeVox,
and Deep South Magazine, where "Parable of the Sewer," was a Pushcart Nominee, and "Forgive Us Our
Debts," was a National Poetry Month selection. The Lock Box was a recent official selection of the 2016 NOVA
Film Festival, and nominated for two awards, the NOVA Screenwriting Award and Best Drama Under 20
Pages. It won Best Drama Under 20 pages. See
http://www.violenthues.com/2016%20NOVA%20FEST%20AWARDS%20RESULTS.pdf

Caroline Allen
Thank you for accepting this piece. A short bio: Caroline Allen teaches literature and writing at the College
of Creative Studies. Her fiction and non-fiction has been published by Spectrum, Solo Novo, Lumina, Mary,
Formerpeople, and other places. She is also a painter and has recently started teaching dance classes. She is
currently working on a memoir of her days as an outsider in the burgeoning L.A. punk scene of the late
1970s.
David M. Castillo
David M. Castillo is a graduate of the University of New Mexico where he studied English with a focus on
Creative Writing. His work has been published in Conceptions Southwest and on Voicemailpoems.org. He is
the editor of several independent zines, and his vices include whiskey, kittens, and motorcycles.
David Rushmer
David Rushmer’s artworks and writings have appeared in a number of small press magazines since the late
1980s, including: Angel Exhaust, Archive of the Now, E.ratio, Great Works, Molly Bloom, Shearsman, and
10th Muse. He has work included in Sea Pie: An Anthology of Oystercatcher Poetry (Shearsman, 2012). His
most recent published pamphlets are The Family of Ghosts (Arehouse, Cambridge, 2005) and Blanchot’s
Ghost (Oystercatcher Press, 2008).
Dilip Mohapatra
Dilip Mohapatra (b.1950), a decorated Navy Veteran has been pursuing his passion for poetry since the
seventies . His poems have appeared in many literary journals of repute world wide. Some of his poems are
included in the World Poetry Yearbook, 2013 and 2014 editions. He has three poetry collections to his credit,
the latest titled 'Another Look' recently published by Authorspress India. His fourth poetry collection titled
Flow Infinite is currently under publication. He holds two masters degrees, in Physics and in Management
Studies. He lives with his wife in Pune. His website is dilipmohapatra.com <http://dilipmohapatra.com> .
E.M. Schorb
E.M. Schorb’s prose poems have appeared in The Carolina Quarterly, The Mississippi Review, Illuminations, The
Chariton Review, Mudfish, Slant, Gulf Coast, The New Laurel Review, The North American Review, and
Gargoyle. A number of them were also in recent issues of Poetry Salzburg Review and Oxford Poetry. His
collection, Manhattan Spleen, was published last year. In reviewing the book, X.J. Kennedy wrote: “Manhattan
Spleen is mighty cool, I think, and if anyone writes better prose poems these days I don’t know who it is.”

Emily Pinkerton
Emily Pinkerton is a technologist and poet. Previously an editor at Twitter, she is currently an MFA
candidate at San Francisco State University. Her writing has previously appeared or is forthcoming in
Noble/Gas Qtrly, Transfer, Gravel, LEVELER, Electric Cereal, Lemon Hound, and The Bold Italic, among
others. She can be found online on Twitter at @neongolden and at thisisemilypinkerton.tumblr.com
<http://thisisemilypinkerton.tumblr.com> . Her favorite color is fog.
Emma Wenninger
Emma Wenninger received her Bachelor’s Degrees in English and Spanish and Certificate in Creative
Writing from Indiana University, where she was honored with the 2014 Myrtle Armstrong Undergraduate
Fiction Award. She was featured in numerous on-campus publications, and served as the Indiana Daily
Student Opinion Editor in the fall of 2014. She currently works in publishing in Bloomington, IN.
Erica S. Qualy
Erica S. Qualy was born on a warm December night 30 years ago in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. She is a selfdescribed artistic scientist, working with every medium she can get her hands on.
“Poems & Postcards” is her first book of poems. To purchase your own copy and to see more of her art-work,
you can visit her website: www.ericaqualyart.tumblr.com
Freddie Bettles Lake
I was born and grew up in London, England, though I have spent the last three years studying in Norwich. I
have recently completed my degree in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of East
Anglia.
Franco Cortese

Glenn Ingersoll
Glenn Ingersoll works for the Berkeley Public Library where he hosts the Clearly Meant reading series. He
maintains the blog Dare I Read? and has two chapbooks, City Walks (Broken Boulder) and Fact
(Avantacular).

Heather Sager
Heather Sager's poetry appears in Route 7 Review and NEAT. She lives in Illinois.
hiromi suzuki
hiromi suzuki is an illustrator, poet, artist living in Tokyo, Japan.
A contributor of Japanese poetry magazine "gui" (Running by the members of Katsue Kitasono's "VOU").
Author of ‘Ms. cried' 77 poems by hiromi suzuki (kisaragi publishing, 2013 ISBN978-4-901850-42-1).
Her works are published internationally on "Otoliths", "BlazeVOX", "Empty Mirror" and
NationalPoetryMonth.ca 2015.
hiromi suzuki's web site : http://hiromisuzukimicrojournal.tumblr.com.
Isabel Balée
Isabel Balée received her MFA from Brown University in 2015, and her BA from Tulane University in 2013.
Previous work can be found in Alice Blue, Thermos, and A Bad Penny Review. She lives in New Orleans, where
she was born and raised.
Jeri Thompson
Jeri Thompson has been published in several lit journals: Red Light Lit, Cadence Collective, CactiFur, Mas
Tequila Review and Lummox 4, among others.She graduated from CSULB with a BA in Creative Writing
(English) and studied with two greats: Gerald Locklin and Elliott Fried. She is grateful to live about a mile
from the beach in SoCal. She is also glad that El Nino never arrived this far south.
Jasper Brinton
Jasper Brinton born in Alexandria, Egypt; was educated in the Middle East, Scotland and the United States.
Over the years he has worked in publishing, printing, architecture, ceramics and wood. He lives near
Kimberton, Pennsylvania in a restored schoolhouse and sails the Chesapeake in an old but seaworthy sloop.
His poetry has appeared in Eccolinguistics, On Barcelona and E.ratio
Jesper Andreasson
Jesper Andreasson was born in Stockholm. Nominated for the James Kirkwood Literary Prize, he received
his MFA at the Bennington Writing Seminars and lives in Los Angeles. www.jesperandreasson.com

Joan Harvey
Joan Harvey's fiction, poetry, and translations have appeared in numerous journals including Web
Conjunctions, Drunken Boat, Smokelong Quarterly, Reconfigurations, Bomb, Caper Literary Journal, Otoliths, Painted
Bride Quarterly, The Tampa Review, Another Chicago Magazine, Danse Macabre, Osiris, Global City Review, and
many more. She has won prizes for both poetry and fiction, and is a graduate of the Jack Kerouac School of
Disembodied Poetics.
Josepha Gutelius
Josepha Gutelius's work has appeared in the anthologies Best New Writing 2013, A Slant of Light (2013 USA
Best Anthology Award, International Book Award 2014 finalist), TCR (The Committee Room) Story of the
Month (best of the web 2013), stageplays.com <http://stageplays.com> , and Professional Playscripts. A
Pushcart Prize nominee, Eric Hoffer Award finalist. Her play “Vaseline” was short-listed for the prestigious
Eugene O’Neill Center, 2014. Full-length stage-plays Veronica Cory, Age of Anxiety, and Miracle Mile published
in stageplays.com <http://stageplays.com> and Professional Playscripts. Companions plays RASP/Elektra
featured in The Modern Review.
John Sweet
John Sweet sends cryptic greeting from the rural wastelands of upstate New York. He is a firm believer in
writing as catharsis, and in the need to continuously search for an unattainable and constantly evolving
absolute truth. His latest collection is APPROXIMATE WILDERNESS (2016 Flutter Press).
Joel Best
Joel Best has published in venues such as Atticus, decomP, Autumn Sky and Carcinogenic Poetry. He lives in
upstate New York with his wife and son.
K.E. Mahoney
K.E. Mahoney lives in Lowell, MA with her cats Ripley and Commander Riker. She is a technical writer for a
software company by day and multimedia artist by night because she enjoys her luxurious lifestyle of Netflix
and grifted wifi. Her writing is a cult favorite within a small circle of close friends and family who will not
rest until she is a published writer.

Kat Hausler
Kat Hausler is a graduate of New York University and holds an M.F.A. in Fiction from Fairleigh Dickinson
University, where she was the recipient of a Baumeister Fellowship. Her work has been published by 34th
Parallel, Inkspill Magazine, All Things That Matter Press and Rozlyn Press, and her novel Retrograde was
long-listed for the Mslexia Novel Competition. She works as a translator in Berlin.
Kaitlin J. Pilipovic

Lazola Pambo
Lazola Pambo is a South African poet, novelist and essayist. Majority of his works have been published in
“The Kalahari Review,” “Aerodrome,” “New Coin,” “Nomad’s Choir,” “Black Magnolias Literary Journal,”
"LitNet," “Sun & Sandstone,” and “Aji Magazine,” among others. You can follow him on Twitter @LPambo
Lynne Viti
Lynne Viti is a senior lecturer in the Writing Program at Wellesley College, Massachusetts . Her poetry has
appeared in Little Patuxent Review, The Longleaf Pine, Mountain Gazette, Amuse-Bouche, In Flight Literary
Magazine, Silver Birch Press, A New Ulster, The Journal of Applied Poetics, Subterranean Blue Poetry, Three Drops
from a Cauldron, Paterson Review , Damfino, The Lost Country, Irish Literary Review,The Song Is…, Foliate Oak
Literary Magazine, Poetry Pacific, Grey Sparrow Review, and in a curated exhibit at Boston City Hall .
Marc J. Frazier
Marc J. Frazier has appeared in The Spoon River Poetry Review, ACM, Ascent, Permafrost, Plainsongs, Poet Lore,
Rhino, among many others. He is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for poetry and the author of
The Way Here, a full-length poetry collection and two chapbooks. His second full-length collection, Each
Thing Touches, is from Glass Lyre Press, 2015. Visit www.marcfrazier.org <http://www.marcfrazier.org> .
Mark DuCharme
Mark DuCharme is the author, most recently, of The Unfinished: Books I-VI
(BlazeVOX, 2013). Other volumes of his poetry include Answer (2011) and The Sensory Cabinet (2007), also from
BlazeVOX, as well as Infinity Subsections (Meeting Eyes Bindery, 2004) and Cosmopolitan Tremble (Pavement
Saw, 2002). His work appears in recent or forthcoming anthologies, including Water, Water Everywhere:

Paean to a Vanishing Resource (Baksun Books & Arts, 2014), Litscapes: Collected US Writings (Steerage Press,
2015), and Poets for Living Waters: An International Response to the BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico
(forthcoming from BlazeVOX). He lives in Boulder, Colorado.
Mark Young
Mark Young is the editor of Otoliths <http://the-otolith.blogspot.com/> , & lives in a small town in North
Queensland in Australia. His work is included in The Last Vispo Anthology; a collection of visual poetry,
Arachnid Nebula, was published a year or so ago by Luna Bisonte Prods; & more recent visual work has
appeared or is to appear in Of/with, Tip of the Knife, M58, The New Post-Literate, h&, After the Pause,
Zoomoozophone Review, Sonic Boom, & Word for / Word.
Mel Bentley
Mel Bentley co-organizes Housework at Chapterhouse, a reading series in Philadelphia. Their chapbook
"Obstacle, Particle, Spectacle" was released from 89plus/Luma Foundation. Chapbooks "&parts" and "Stub
Wilderness" were released from Damask Press and Well Greased Press, respectively. Vitrine released "Red
Green Blue" a tape of noises. Poems have appeared in Apiary, Fact-Simile, Small Po[r]tions and Painted
Bride Quarterly. "Bucolic Eclogues" is forthcoming from Lamehouse Press in 2016.
Natasha Deveau
Natasha Deveau resides in Austin, Texas where she is a senior at Concordia University and is studying
English Literature. She is originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada where she received a BA with a major
in Psychology and a Teaching English as a Second Language diploma from Saint Mary’s University. She
worked as an ESL teacher in Halifax for five years, and her wonderful students and colleagues inspired her
to write creative pieces. When she is not studying or writing, she enjoys hanging out with her husband David
and her cat Stinky.
Nicholas Samaras
PT Davidson
PT Davidson is originally from New Zealand, although he has spent the past 24 years livingabroad in Japan,
the UK, Turkey and the UAE. He currently lives in Dubai. His poetry has appeared in Otoliths, BlazeVOX,
streetcake, After the Pause, and Sein und Werden. He has poems forthcoming in Clockwise Cat, Futures Trading,
Your One Phone Call, Tip of the Knife, foam:e and Snorkel. His first book of poetry, seven, is due out soon.

Raymond Farr
Raymond Farr is author of Ecstatic/.of facts (Otoliths 2011), & Writing What For? across the Mourning Sky
(Blue & Yellow Dog 2012), sic transit—“g” (Blue & Yellow Dog 2012, 2016), Poetry in the Age of Zero Grav
(Blue & Yellow Dog 2015) & 2 e-chapbooks, Eating the Word NOISE! (White Knuckle Chaps 2015), & A
Journey of Haphazard Miles (ALT POETICS 2016). Raymond is editor of Blue & Yellow Dog, now archived at
http://blueyellowdog.weebly.com & publisher/editor of a new poetry blog The Helios Mss at
theheliosmss.blogspot.com
Red Collins
I am a twenty year old from Ireland who works in the office of a catering company and seeks to become a full
time writer.
Rich Murphy
Rich Murphy has taught writing and literature full time at colleges and universities for 27 years. His fourth
book “Body Politic” will be published this year by Prolific Press. Murphy’s credits include three books
Americana Prize Americana 2013 winner, Voyeur 2008 Gival Press Poetry Award, and The Apple in the Monkey
Tree; chapbooks, Great Grandfather, Family Secret, Hunting and Pecking, Rescue Lines, Phoems for Mobile Vices,
and Paideia. Derek Walcott has remarked, “Mr. Murphy is a very careful craftsman in his work, a patient and
testing intelligence . . . .”
Roger Craik
Roger Craik, Associate Professor of English at Kent State University Ashtabula, has written three full-length
poetry books – I Simply Stared (2002), Rhinoceros in Clumber Park (2003) and The Darkening Green (2004), and
the chapbook Those Years (2007), (translated into Bulgarian in 2009), and, most recently, Of England Still
(2009). His poetry has appeared in several national poetry journals, such as The Formalist, Fulcrum, The
Literary Review and The Atlanta Review.
English by birth and educated at the universities of Reading and Southampton, Craik has worked as a
journalist, TV critic and chess columnist. Before coming to the USA in 1991, he worked in Turkish
universities and was awarded a Beineke Fellowship to Yale in 1990. He is widely traveled, having visited
North Yemen, Egypt, South Africa, Tibet, Nepal, Japan, Bulgaria (where he taught during spring 2007 on a
Fulbright Scholarship to Sofia University), and, more recently, the United Arab Emirates, Austria, and
Croatia. His poems have appeared in Romanian, and from 2013-14 he is a Fulbright Scholar at Oradea
University in Romania.

Poetry is his passion: he writes for at least an hour, over coffee, each morning before breakfast, and he enjoys
watching the birds during all the seasons.
Scott Wordsman
Scott Wordsman holds an MFA from William Paterson University. His poems have appeared or are
forthcoming in THRUSH, Spry, Black Heart Magazine, Main Street Rag, Crack the Spine, The Puritan, The
Quotable, and other journals. He is a poetry reader for Map Literary, lives in Jersey City, and teaches
composition.
Susan Kay Anderson
Susan Kay Anderson, 2017 MFA candidate in Creative Writing at Eastern Oregon University, is a 2010
National Poetry Series Finalist, and was the poetry editor of Big Talk in Eugene, Oregon, a free publication
in the early 1980s which showcased up-and-coming NW punk bands. She earned degrees in anthropology
from the University of Oregon (BS) and English Literature/Creative Writing from the University of
Colorado, Boulder (MA & Jovanovich Award). Her thesis was directed by poet Edward Dorn. She worked in
Hawaii as an educator and interviewed Virginia Brautigan Aste. Her recent work is in Concis, Caliban Online,
Beat Scene, and forthcoming in Prairie Schooner. Her poetry blog is: Hawaii Teacher Detective
Simon Perchik
Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Poetry,
Osiris, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River
Otter Press (2013). For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and
Other Realities” please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.
Tanya Pilumeli
Tanya Pilumeli received her B.A. and M.A. in English from John Carroll University. When not travelling to
far off places with her family like Egypt and Namibia, she lives near Lake Erie in Geneva, Ohio, with her
Italian husband and three children where they run an Italian restaurant. Her poetry has appeared and won
awards in The Blue Collar Review, Time of Singing, Wild Violet, and other journals. She was the first place
winner inTime of Singing winter 2015. Her middle grade novel, The DragonFly Keeper, was a finalist for the
2008 Best Books Award. She most recently won second place in Cleveland's Hessler Street Poetry Contest 2016.

Tarice L.S. Gray
Tarice L.S. Gray earned an MFA in Creative Nonfiction writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University and is
now an editor of Nonfiction books in New York City. The former NPR journalist is married to Rodney, and is
the mother of an oft times exceedingly energetic daughter. Tarice is also an associate member of the Writers'
Guild of America, West.
Uriel Gribetz
I was raised in the Bronx. Since 1988 I have worked as an attorney representing the indigent in the Bronx
accused of crimes. My first novel Taconic Murda, featuring Sam Free an ex homicide detective from the
Bronx, was published in 2014 by Moonshine Cove Publishing and it is available on Amazon. My second Sam
Free novel titled Hunts Point is to be published later this year by Perfect Crime Books. The opening chapter
of another novel was featured in Noir Zine in the UK. I have also had short stories published in Blaze VOX,
as well as Orchard Press Mysteries.
Zachary Scott Hamilton

Spring 2016
Adam Halbur

This is a self-portrait of an elderly feminist dressed in hand-me-down clothes
photographed in the style of Dorothea Lange:
“There might’ve been a few that could’ve you know
because I’ve been attacked by one
I know what it means to have someone come at me
with their hands like this ready to get at my face
because some of them had come
all the way from Mexico and El Salvador and spent
three months traveling and some had done that
one woman from Guatemala had done that
three times and brought her whole family up
she had been married and the guy was a drunk
so she decided to make for herself a life and she
she was picked up by border agents once but uh
another woman who made her way it took her months
and when she came she had this child
and to talk about what people will do to try to better their life
but here was this woman she would hold
this baby and this little girl would reach
into her blouse and try to nurse because she was so
you know and she had this big pot belly full of
parasites and the hair streaked with brown
you know right away she was suffering such malnutrition so
so I would sleep with them overnight at the shelter
at least one of us sisters did
because we got a real feel for their needs
the needs of the women and what was going on
in their lives and I would say it was a good
experience but it wasn’t always easy you know
because I had to lay down the law or how
should I say I think I was a real demon at times
and still they you know”

This is a self-portrait of a physician's assistant fishing the mouth
of the Columbia River, Oregon painted in the style of the 1982 Wisconsin trout stamp:
“Jim asked me one day about AIDS
because by that time I was a PA,
but he never said anything
about his father, who was a
quiet man who kept to himself -he never socialized with Mom or Dad
or took part in church events.
I used to cross the fence lines
over to his farm to fish. He had
four spring-fed ponds -- the first,
mostly bullhead, the second, trout,
and the last two, bass. He let us at
the first and sometimes
the second. Jim and I helped him
drag that one once -to clean it out and start over -we on the one side and he
on the other and the whole time
fish flipping from the net.
He showed us how to scale
and gut them in the steel sink
of the milk house. He’s how
I learned to tie a fishing knot,
the one I taught you, and how
to fry and eat a day’s catch,
how to pick through the bones and
lick the butter from your lips."

Spring 2016
Alana Benson
-30°, or, Emily Dickinson Unhinged
What about the kid?
It’s time the kid got free.
- The Love Club
Acidic glow Grows wariness—
but Go—so what of a Girlish scare?
Lights suggest a happy house—Strain
and trace the Walls of a nightmare—
Dangerous Temperatures—
they cry, and call for cold,
Hesitations—and Me—couched—
looking at you look Old.
Only I sat up all night—pitched,
Bare, and Barely sheltered
from the Frozen Lake—you
were Gone—drowned
down your Own ice Hole, or
on a late-night ship of Pain
Perpetual—as She said, you
haven’t stopped smoking all night.
Curtains of crystal hang outside,
crystal guillotines, Sublime—
Crowned, I wear my Fear—
caged and chained by Love Divine.
The Dog and I are left—gentled
by cushions and comforters—See
when you leave, my Mind returns,
Shamed by shackles, Utterly Un-Free.

On the Discovery of Pericles’ Winecup in Kiffisia
July 30th, 2014

They found his cup
in the suburbs,
smashed—superb,
a one-of-a-kind find.
Someone
scrawled an ostracon,
(were they plastered
when he was turned on?)
Ariphron
must’ve taken him out, hit
the bars with his brother
(I pity their departed mother).
His beard was probably
just growing in, head full of marble—
idealistic in his rich civility—
primed for democratic garble.
Did they tilt their chairs,
(woozy from the wine)
leave a souvenir behind,
autographed his family line?
May he have had one
night of peaceful host,
full of belly-laughs and
winestains, the future strategos.

Philhellenism
ἀνα-νεύω, f. –νεύσομαι or –νεύσω : aor. I ἀνένευσα :― to throw the head back, in token of denial (which we
express by shaking the head), Hom., Hdt., etc.
2. c. acc. rei, to deny, refuse, Il.
λαοῖσιν δ᾽ ἀνένευε καρήατι δῖος Ἀχιλλεύς,3οὐδ᾽ ἔα ἱέμεναι ἐπὶ Ἕκτορι πικρὰ βέλεμνα,3μή τις κῦδος ἄροιτο
βαλών, ὃ δὲ δεύτερος ἔλθοι.
Achilles made signs to the Achaean host, and shook his head to show that no man was to aim a dart at
Hector, lest another might win the glory of having hit him and he might himself come in second.
Iliad, Book 22, Line 205. Trans. by Samuel Butler

Are you hungry? I ask into space.
He clicks his tongue and I feel his face
nod up against the phone, beard crackling,
and a sweet, softly-accented cackling.
His hair and eyes are Turkish, dark,
but his no is Greek at its core, the arc
that sealed Achilles’ accepted fate,
a true Hellenic, gestural trait.
My butcher knows it just the same,
it’s how he tells me he’s out of game.
Come back tomorrow, it’s late, good God.
All this I get from a single nod.
The acquisition by the barbaroi
in tailcoats did not happen at Troy.
If it had they would have seen
the Swift Footed one’s upturned mien.
Translators seem to prefer the gist—
why harry the half-blind Classicist?
Beloved and beautiful Athena, the cutthroat
(she’s not so dangerous in a footnote):
now she sports an unyielding stench

of city in summer: a piss-covered bench,
home to pigeons and hornets, the shutters,
stray cats, and dirty gray gutters.
The signal, the nod, born in these streets
where teenaged boys push, jostle and compete,
and mothers chat across laundry lines,
hides between the jasmine vines.
The streets knew the secret, watched how
history buffs could disregard the marrow—
though the word alone betrays the deed
(the only Greece that they can see).
True, I, myself cannot fight the longlearned indication—nurture’s strong—
how nods and shakes have become
so innate as to make the motions drum
on without thought. And though all
of history is on his side, I’ll forget the call,
boil more pasta rather than less,
simply because I thought he said yes.

Spring 2016
Android Spit

SHRINKRAP

 
   

 
 

 

 

 

 
 
                         Android  Spit  
 
SHRINKRAP  
 
Litany  in  quadrophony  
12:  16  :  15        (for  Mark)  
 
 
                     “There  is  no  hors-­‐texte.”    (Derrida)  

 
who  
Heaven’s  
dew  
speck  of  glue  
nexus  
plexus  
embryonic  
aqueduct  
out  of  luck  
sonar    
radar  
polar  
quasar  
more  ebola  
more  granola  
roll  over  
and  over  
on    /  off    
 your  ass  
                       down  
       the    grass  
try  and      
remember  
11  
September  
MIGHT  
makes    
RIGHT  
Jeezus  
H  
 Christ  
don’t  believe  
the    
Hype  
   Aztec      
 arche-­‐    types  

 
 
 
 
what  
¥  
chain  store  
gearbox  
iron  curtain  
trees  of  pearl  
barbarian    
world  
trackless  
wastes  
unfathomed  
oceans  
lesser  notions  
Cygnus  X-­‐1  
fun    
in  the  sun  
speak    
for    
yourself  
tuna  melt  
curious  
mellow  yellow  
stabbed  
in  the  heart  
for    
a  brand  new  
start  
OK  Android  
OBEY  
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
where  
swarmbot  
uzzi  
from    
Missouri  
living  color  
cloak    
of  darkness  
deep  
of  matter  
pitter-­‐patter  
projective  
verse  
just  
got  
worse  
don’t  work  
outta  order  
cross  
the  border  
outta  bounds  
’zounds  
Ezra  Pounds  
hit    
the  ground  
run  
for  cover  
Mad  Max  
of  the    
Maya  
positive  
incapable  

 
 
 
when  
 $  
$$  
$$$  
make  amends  
dew-­‐drop  
into    
piece  of  clay  
lotus  
blossom  
save  the  day  
write      away  
coagulate  
caravan  
Mastaba  Man  
blindfold  
scan  
13  
20  
-­‐  
20  
18  
keep  your    
teeth  
G  R  E  E  N    
in-­‐between  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
tropes    
                       tripes  
see  the  dead  
be-­‐headed  
sights  
Myst-­‐er    
E  
from    
Mr.  Lee  
thru    
D    
doo  da-­‐da  
walla-­‐walla  
Big  Bang  
Wiki-­‐Wiki  
World  Bank  
in  the    
B  L  A  C  K  
bent…  
pyramid’s    
…rent…  
point    
1  
per  ¢  
…LENT…  
surfing…    
…Easter    
Island…  
…with    
Osiris…  
…da  Alien…  
…da    
man-­‐less…  
…Magick  Man…  
all…  
…American…  
put    
the    
Panama    
plan  

 
 
 
 
 
 
k  
k  k  
Olé  
Mohammed  
Ali-­‐baba  
take  it  away  
pray  &  spray  
be  gay  
oé  –  oé  
one-­‐eyed  
say  
one-­‐eyed  
love  
dedicated  
to  the  mud  
on    
the    clubb  
rubber  soul  
in  dub  
nyce  on  ice  
thwim  
or  
think  twice  
throw    
of  
the  dice  
Three    
Blind  Mice  
the  price    
is    
right  
ma  
you’re  
only  rhyming  
whining  
and  
dining  

 
 
apocalyptic  
gyre  
helicopter  
wired  
wheels  afire  
retired  
friar  
join  the  choir  
messianic    
panic  
from  
the  stellar    
to  the  Attic  
in    love  
and  war  
forever    
more  
big      or    small  
hardcore  
you  bore  
shut    
the  font    
door    
the  end    
of    
TIME  
or  just  
tomorrow  
tomorrow      
tomorrow  
Fibonacci’s  
sorrow  
the  horror  
the  horror    
like    
f  o  l  ds  
with-­‐in    
the  cloak  
of  darkness  
focus  
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
November  
fender  bender  
mother-­‐  
in-­‐law  
defender  
Ender  
drachma  
render  
pants  on  fire  
trip  
the  wire  
in    
the  middle  
of    
the  night  
get  up      
ignite  
watch    
the  light  
don’t    
let……go  
dojo  
bo    jo  
never  know  
smack-­‐  
after-­‐smack  
watch    
your  back  

 

 
 
 

back    in  
€  €  
the  hat  
see  them    
just  like  that    
run-­‐run-­‐  
     so            help          
run-­‐    
you            you  
run-­‐run    
GOD  
Everywoman’s  
the  
Peter  Gunn  
DOG  
…brother…    
Lord  of  Awe  
…lover      
             4  
father…  
 by    
…son…  
                     4  
hole  in  one  
 3  
whole  
           2  
or    
 l  
none  
   temp-­‐o  
’nuf          said  
   as    
 better  READ  
you  reap  
in    
XO    
the  head…  
it  goes  
better  play    
boom-­‐boom  !  
DEAD  
on    
then…    
the  moon  
R  E  D  
:  o  )  
$$  
more  signs    
Go…  to…  Bed  
of    
dream  
doom  
the    
$  
dream  
weird  sisters  
of    
loom  
the  Wingèd    
L-­‐shaped    
Egg  
room  
Hieronimo’s  
row  boat  
f    a    t    
canoe  
again  
Mu  ?  
nothing  beats  
Dogon    
                           a  
Eshu  
Coke®  
ash  heap  
             and    
mantra  
pizza  
eudaemonia  
down  
 
 
 
   

hocus-­‐  
                     pocus  
behold!  
the    
Pearl  
become  
a  speck    
of  
mire  
your  
family    
business    
attire  
$  
ignore  
Yorick  
forfeit  
outta  play  
       end  -­‐game    
                     over  
   age        
   today  
                   waste  
less        space  
face      
   the    
Orphic    
                             gaze    
w/  grace  
fluid  logic    
in  your    
pocket  
rock  it  
unveiling  
Booz  asleep  
Lavater’s  
conceit  
beggars  
retreat  
see  you  later    

pray          
tell      IT  
to  your    
phat  Mac  
qua  qua  
metaphoric  
love  
shack  
straight        to    
the    
 heart    attack  
                                           just    
         like    
             that    
ironic  limit    
of    
the    
metonymic  
lyric  
 fylfot’s  
will  
to    
Spirit  
nearly  
killed  it  
Promised  
                         Land  
Oversoul  
       putsch  
$$  
                   duped  
                   in    
           the  
   loop-­‐d-­‐loop    
droop  
2    
scoops  
for    
the  troops  
human  

 

 
 
 

boner  
the    
alligator  
high  roller  
               well    
escalator  
low    baller  
                             at    
boogaloo  
outta    
Chichen  Itza  
at  the  zoo  
town  caller  
doo-­‐wa-­‐ditty  
claymation  
menthol  
like    
will  do  
                     eidolon  
Walter  Mitty  
hey!  
Iron      Curtain  
back  again    
the  cat    
       eons  gone  
in  New  York    
jumped    
bedlam    
City  
over    
mausoleum  
off  /  on  
the  moon  
in    
the  corner  
diddle-­‐diddle  
Living    
of  inter-­‐
monkey    
Color  
subjectivity  
in  the  middle  
mesh  
not    what    
lost    
…omens  
it  seems  
the  keys    
lemmas…  
only    
to    
…patterns  
ice  cream  
the  kingdom  
goddam    
you    
in  the    
…mess…  
scream  
palace  
Queen’s  pawn    
we  all    
of  wisdom  
game    
cream  
weaver    
of    
escape  to  
of  
thrones  
Tatouine  
freedom  
game  of  chess    
on    
     …dum…  
beam    
the  lee  beam  
D  
you    
know  what    
dum-­‐dum  
down    
you  mean  
…Dis    
the  plexus  
one              
Is…  
abyss  
for      the      team  
…Da  
piss…  
in  the  steam  
D  r  u  m…  
past    
ta’wil  
silver  
the  caravan  
keep  it  real  
serenade    
from    
no  big  deal  
in    
Dys  
brush    
the  days  
through    
between    
of    
the  aqueduct  
meals    
Solomon  
arcade  
feel  the  steel   Baal’s          
have  it  made    
like  stones  
daughters  
in  
from  
Baal’s    
 
 
 
 

multi  -­‐  verse    
soup    
Dow  Jones  
Vico  
Albion’s  
after-­‐glow  
classified    
info  
New  World  
zeitgeist  
20    15  
ghost-­‐  
in-­‐the-­‐  
machine  
double-­‐
entendre    
on  and  on    
graviton    
gluon  
hard-­‐on  
moron  
beat  the  odds  
i-­‐pad  
i-­‐pod  
shoot    
your  wad  
mod    
squad  
traffick    
w/    spirits  
schizoid  
nit-­‐wit(s)  
lover    
of    
stone  
low  moan  
thanks  
for    
the  loan  
Choronzon  

 

the  shade  
tickling  
spiders  
laughing  
lions  
insider  liars  
wax-­‐museum  
luna-­‐park  
fakes  
double  take  
Minotaur    
steak  
belly  ache  
 
 

a  sling  
ding-­‐a-­‐ling  
poetry  ’sting  
literature’s  
lord    
of    
the  far-­‐  
flung    
thing  
telephone  
rings    
recognition’s  
blister  
on  a    
Field    
of    
Blades  
not  getting    
laid    
save  the  date  
don’t  be  late  
great  
place    
to  masturbate  
Ocean  
of    
Asphalt  
nailed    
to  the  waves  
purple  haze  
50  
ways  
to  love  
your    
           Other  
brother  
Mein  Struggle  
 double  
trouble  
inside  

 
 

 
 
 
 

sons  
go      home  
passed  thru    
long  time  
the  fire  
no      see  
live-­‐wire  
Lu-­‐  
does    
gal-­‐  
your  sense  
zag-­‐  
not    
gizzi  
warn  you  
not  what  
when  your  
you’re    
words  
thought    
are  wild?  
to  be  
to  conquer    
Poët  
divide  
 Mo'Dee  
take    
eyes  
(five)  
of    
5  
flesh’s  
the  triumph  
invisibility  
of    
hierophant  
the  wicked  
insanity  
lives            fast    
me  
   &  dies  
me  
hypostasized  
me  
polis    
oh  say  
is    
can  you  flee  
cries  
A  
how  and  why  
B  
the  matrix    
C  
of    
X    Y    Z  
fake  it  
as    
Ishtar  naked  
a  wife  
more  
has  a  cow  
beautiful  
a  love  song  
than  gold  
will  
in  fusion  
travel  
pure    delusion  
Babel  
stoned    
more    toil  
lover  
     double  
mother-­‐  
             trouble  
                               fucker  
inside  
$$  
the  bubble  

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
bread  
of    
presence  
war  elephants  

 
 

the  bubble  
common    
$$  
$  
sense  
don’t      
       Ga  
holds    
be    
-­‐tum  
its  tongue  
humble  
                           -­‐dug’s  
like    
grumble  
drunk  again  
a  drug  
gusts  of  anger  
fiery    
among  thugs  
golden    
wine  
scaled    
mean  
a  stitch  
&    
not  watt    
in  time  
found  
it  seems  
3  point  5  
wanting  
Diotima’s  
pillars    
blood-­‐stained    
dream  
of    
flags  
Allah    
wisdom  
waving  
karim  
the  glory    
fraying  
any  wound  
of  God  
 
but  
is  to  keep    
a  wound    
things  hidden  
in    
the  glory    
the  heart!  
of    
you      hear    that    
kings  
a    lot  
is    
start      
in    the  midden  
to    fart  
with  
Wisconsin    
crunched-­‐up  
malt  
reptiles  
Golgotha    
beasts      of  
salt  
burden  
   double  
vermin  
-­‐edged    
black  coral  
                   tongues    
red  jasper  
                                         of    
Master  Blaster  
         Ecstasy  
garden    
oui    oui    
of  delights  
merci  
     Main  Man  
sweetness  
                           Friday    
to    
               night  
your  lips  
   blood…    
-­‐  blip  -­‐    
               moon  
BE  
dark…  
HERE  
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 

               wood  
           sun  
 
NOW  
                 stone  
       you  ?  
 
messenger  
                 iron    
     having  fun    
 
of        
bronze  
     yet  
         no    
 
         clay              
                             but…  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
         news  
IF…  
     silver      
monster  
the  right  one  
         gold  
from    
don’t    
break    
the    
get  you  
the  
sea  
the  left  one  
                                       mold  
indigo  field  
stuns  
       dulcimer  
 
 
s
nowy  
 
(big            guns)  
       triangle  
   cheeks  
Big  Fun  
         zither    
clouds    
w/    
               pipe        
of  hair  
Elmer  Fudd  
             horn  
sand  
 
a
blution  
on  the  Nile  
Old  World    
final      final    
walk    
man  alone  
solution  
a  mile  
Gorgias  
under    
like  a  child  
Ishâk  
your  
tunic  
aetherized  
Gog  
garden    
fresh    
in  the  zone  
of  
Eden  
skins  
w/  a  bone  
sylvan    
for    
           w/  a  plastic  
meaning  
new  wines  
         saxophone  
California    
cleansing    
 Aereas  
dreaming  
rites  
 Antiochus  
waves    
mosquito    
             Onésimus  
on  the  river  
bites  
                   Matthias  
of    
Saturday    
     rendez-­‐vous  
darkness  
Night  
with    Rāmā    
and  light  
dead                  or    
vamos    
source  of  life  
     alive  
a  la  playa  
earn    
service    
rat  pack  
your    
divine  
scions  
stripes  
melting    ice  
bedizened  
get  it  right  
hindsight  
Klingons  
my    
easy      wipe  
neo-­‐cons  
my    
uptight  
automatons  
my  
outta  sight  
hegemons  
you      die  
when      the  
night  drums  
…what  
have…
mood        is  
 
 

 

 
dol-­‐drums  
one  
by    
one  
introjected    
Pa  
exquisite    
corpse  
     behind    
     closed      
doors          galore  
Warlord  
of  nevermore  
when  
who  
only    you  
what  to  do  
mo’  blues  
for  Hugh  
more  highs  
to  un-­‐do  
what’s  true  
in    
the  hood  
misunderstood  
drop    
your    
racket  
white  rabbit  
shrink    
wrap  it  
tell  it      
to    the    hand  
 your  wish    
     ain’t          
my    command  
grand  finale  
what    a    drag  
on  the    
hashtag  
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
new  tango  
in  Paris  
rhymes  w/  
Atlantis  
where  
what  
Tumult    
of    
Wheels  
casino  
strip  tease  
ring  your    
bells  
of  peace  
venereal  
disease  
mad  as  hell  
hard  sell  
O!  well  
karmic  wheel  
let’s    make    
a    deal  
with    
sex    appeal  
hey    
diddle    diddle  
cat-­‐and-­‐    
the-­‐fiddle  
cow    
jumped      
over    
the    moon  
too    
 
 

 
 
right  
you……done  
 roller-­‐  
to      your  
coaster  
divine  child  
                     ride  
this  time  
       to    
i  
theEnd  
i  
i  
     ofNight  !  
who  
what  
when  
where  
week-­‐end  
 
don’t  stare  
bend  
     be            there  
with  
 Shaun    
               or  
and      Shem  
     be      square    
forget    
Midnight  
them    
Rambler  
again  
?  
to  the    
wanna  
bitter  
end…  
cracker  
men,    
poly-­‐  
we  
 /  we  
mommy  
the  people  
have    
who  
   aren’t    
you  heard  
in  Heaven  
Rambo  
24  
Rambo  
7  
follow    
         long    story  
the  herd  
no  glory  
mockin’    bird  
 sorry  
burgers  
   Y  
for    
relax    
nerds  
your  
mind  
Tao      world  
Einstein  
at  last    
funny  
was    
Valentine  
the  Word  
in  crime  
purple    
you    
palace  
darling  
emerald    haze  
Clementine  
all  in    
happy  wife  
                                 your    
=  
                               brain  
 

 

lit    rag    
in  the  bag  
don’t    brag    
lament    
       con  
                     -­‐tent-­‐ed  
                     with  
       con        -­‐tent    
                         in    
       con  
         -­‐tent-­‐ment’s  
bent        vent  
internet  
web  
test  
infinite  
jet        set  
truly  
you  jest  
the  West  
is    
the  best    
give  it  
a    
rest    
film  fest!    
aristocrat  
$  
road  block  
antenna  
body      guard    
electric  eye  
voice    
inside  
open        wide  
park      and  ride  
 run        and  hide  
suicide  
in      search  
of  

 

soon  
tighten    
the  screws    
behead    
the    
messenger    
of    
bad  news  
save    
                   us      
Jews  
the  emperor    
of    
           whipped  
                           cream  
voluptuous  
sherbert  
         pay      dirt  
Red          Alert  
squirt  
punch-­‐in  
     life-­‐              jacket  
fur  
sunburn  
look        back  
don’t  
squirm  
€  
young      sperm  
             discus  
thrower  
                                   abort,  
again,    
                                   sport  
               burn    
       in  turn  
 to    learn  
fuel      pump  
safety      belt  
window  

 
 
 
   

 
 

like    the    rain  
in  Spain  
legerdemain  
lanolin  
and    
inlaid  wood  
operator  
filter  
outer        kilter  
brainless  
target    
practice  
no  malice  
no  chalice  
making    
“nothing”    
happen  
     rappin’    
         to    
yourself  
alone    
on    
the  phone  
to          the    
Twilight    
             Zone  
good  luck  
$  
go    to  bed  
wish    
you    
were  
BLESSED    
fiberglass  
harmonica  
                       infra-­‐red  
detergent  
mason    
instead  
               mess      with  

happy  life  
Mac    
the    Knife  
the    
place    
so  nice    
they  named  it    
twice  
so—  
whistle    
while    
you  work  
jerk—  
don’t        write    
berserk  
dream    
   of        wires  
rinse-­‐and    
-­‐repeat  
melting    
ice  
no  dice  
lifemanship  
survives  
high  five  
aim    
high  
€  
       finish    last    
nice    guy  
nice      try  
active  
         force–                                
flow  
Joe    Blow  
your  
               square  
has  no          angle  
your  
horn  

 

 
 
 
 

far      side  
lost  time  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
out    of    joint  
point  
counter-­‐point  
write      on!  
ding-­‐dong  
hell’s  bells  
ends            well…  
                     NOT  
   into    
         the    
                                       hot  
                                           spot  
anointed    
with        
ointment  
for  
disappointment  
psy-­‐chedelic  
psy-­‐chotropic  
rope-­‐  
a-­‐dope  
IT  
Holofernes  
Mama    Cass  
Smirnoff  
at  noon  
peaked    
too  soon  
from    the        
 iota  
lagoon  
 

             display  
your  
cannot    
fade  away  
head  
be      heard  
here    
woodshed  
your    
today  
mega  
content  
…on  
hot        stuff  
has      no  form    
no…  
more      than  
the  beat  
tomorrow  
enough  
is    
people  
is  enuf  
gone    
in  sorrow  
 
gone    
                   propeller  
 
gone  
                     batteries  
 
Genuine    Tong    
         thorns  
 
fire  balls    
fly  swatter  
 
to    
           for                      the  
 
the    
         Fort    Square  
 
Great    
forlorn  
original  
Fire        Wall  
error-­‐torn  
wrapper  
torchbearer’s  
             in    the    
blow  jam    
   fall    
       archaeo-­‐  
funk  
               summer  
       morn  
Acid    
                       ‘74  
Benjamin’s  
Writer  
 
               storm  
slammed      
 
 
and      sunk  
 
 
whacked  
 
 
in  
 
 
your  face  
 
 
old-­‐fashioned  
 
 
ways  
quicksand  
 
     embrace  
tar      pits  
suspended  
         the  
cashier’s  
animation  
new      age  
souvenirs  
salt  sea  
w/    your    
     dashboard  
of  
sign  
smashed    
perdition  
language  
parasol  
for  Love  
license          plate  
labyrinth    
sweet    
name  
in    need  
 as    honey  
insane  
ferry    
show    me        the   lion’s      mane  
boat    
$      £      €      ¥  
rhymes  w/  
indeed  
(money)  
bane  
   the    
 
 
 

 

you  
big    baboon  
in  the    
cavernous  
room  
vegetation’s  
many      moons  
elemental    
overripe  
fruit      
   of        the    loom  
                     gag          
you  
with      a      spoon  
boom      boom  
greet    
your        
doom  
bullet  
in  
the  head  
jump  
out    of    bed  
Trump  
Le  Pen  
The        fly  
           is    
   no    longer  
on  the  bread  ;    
it’s  on      
 your    pubes  
puking  
(…living…  
being…  
…loving…    
…longing  )  
Appalling    
Mornings  
£  
early      warning  

 

Mercy!  
Mercy!  
Mercy!  
three    
quality    
cheers  
oh    dear    
inner          ear  
inner    
bombardier  
forceps…    girth  
un-­‐wanted  
at                              birth  
the    
readiness  
is    all  
spring      &      fall  
i-­‐Phone  4  
shut    
the      
front      door  
i-­‐Phone  6  
your      
pic  
of    the    Styx  
e  y  e  
of  
PARIS  
in  
the    Matrix  
season    
of    the    S/witch  
stitch-­‐              
by            -­‐            
stitch  
now    
you  
pitch  
¥  
in  the  ditch  

 
 

 
 
 
 

not    to  mention  
inane  
inane  
inane  
too  rich  
             too    
               thin  
cock’s    skin  
tambourine  
dioscuric  
twins  
in  the  machine  
velvet  
-­‐shovel  
thrones    
in    the    sea  
let    
be                    be      
the      
Sailing  
Prince    
of    
bubbles      
in  cheese  
if        you    please  
sneeze  
it’s      a      breeze  
one-­‐way  
street  
scene  
human        seed  
water’s  
daughter  
the        
rainbows    
in          Her        eyes    
all        need      re-­‐  
fueling—  
£  
who    ?    you  

dead                    bees’  
 knees  
dryads    in  need  
hug    
the    
trees  
on  the  way  
to    
Cythera  
island      
           of    
loves  
                   past      
the          gates  
of    the    sun  
B  
   u  
       l  
         k  
             i  
               n  
                 g  
                     t  
                       o  
                           n    
         !  
Tweet-­‐le    Dum  
Tweet-­‐le    Dee  
20,000  
leagues  
of      
streaming      pee    
Do        you  
believe?  
high    heels  
 rain      dance  
cash  
taxi  
¥  
nothing    fancy  

 

sudden  
death  
cobwebs  
dog    sled  
roller  skates  
fireworks  
insurance    
perks  
sidewalk  
scaffolds  
attack    dogs  
baffled  
when  
 

 

of  
Glitch    
don’t  worry    
be  rich  
don’t    bitch  
make    
a  wish  
gibberish  
feel    
the        hate  
more  
luxury  
real    estate  
where  
 
 

 
 

Foolin’  
love      comes  
in    spurts  
Ernie  

♥  

Burt  
what  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

 

M-­‐base  
grace  
in    haste  
music    waste  
jihad      
verse    
in      your    face  
who  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Spring 2016
Ashley Hamilton
From: Taiwan in Ten Lines

16. 玉 花 Intersections
Hot spring upon us, everywhere I see
drooping cream magnolias dangling
from the swollen fingers of men and
women at fussy intersections. Doting
with a hungry seagull's patience, hawkers
in large straw hats under cow-heavy rain
clouds. With silent bells draped and
swinging, they waft nuptial fragrance
to rounds of strangers in hopes their
slow toil might payoff by sundown.

20. Beethoven's Garbage
Classical tunes ripple down
streets the melody circus
bent. Some dredged down
sibyl, aged soppy charisma, yes
a drunk wallowing accordion to
stake out the faces it glides past.
Innocent, it's wake in truth a
caroling alarm - it's lyrics go
put all your garbage here while
you've got the chance. Not in America.

22. Hiding on America’s Independence Day
Twenty minutes into my final morning
class a frantic canary voice through cracked
door orders I go upstairs this instant. With haste
I ascend passing rooms full of quiet academic
soldiers, still knolls, while others host galloping
smiles and ricochet the sounds of innocent
tomfoolery. Stowed away on the fifth floor, I wait hunched
over, beading sweat from the humidity. Subdued, I listen for the canary
to call "safe". A clandestine American in your territory;
recipient of your earnings and your little one's Sunday illustrations.

24. 龍洞 海洋公
Steady train pulling us along hot greased
tracks before noon, stacked knees laid up
against the black rubber sill, on my islet of
dark thoughts, these stag hangovers start
most Sundays. At harbor, we move slow in the
dense coastal air, become merpeople and make
to the barnacle crusted rocks, exposed grave
sites. Dropping into Poseidon's cobalt realm, we
laze with bright interest at the reams of sea
creatures; beacons losing time in the busy dimensions.

26. On the MRT in Taipei
Heaping throngs of goers chock
feather tight into this manmade
fortune, slinking forward and back
ad nauseam for it's lively commune,
torsos slant and lock on this public
cavalcade. Three senior women whose
blended aroma I catch, gruff madly absorbed
in exchange. From behind their pulpy teeth
fiery Mandarin darts, shingling my nosy
forearm with staccato breaths

32. Drinking the Snake's Body
Three shots just 1 hundred N T dollars, the blood bile and venom, a
handsome trifecta. The blood, lackluster watermelon, dull
sweet-tart hinging gasoline on the palette; dregs like
micro red sand, and now were Swammerdam amateurs
reaching for the next..
Bile, transparent kiwi hue down the hatch, similar
in sweetness to the blood though a lingering cholic
acid, mouth now dark bitter curtains, compliments
of some anonymous gallbladder. Venom, filmy
cement, taste buds waving the white flag two shots ago, catatonic.

Spring 2016
Ashok Smith

The Early Days of Blood and Water
In the days of voice
Blood bit his tongue.
In the days of silence
Blood gave vent.
In the days of light
Blood cowered in bone.
In the days of love
Blood rushed in.
In the days of music
Blood danced.
In the days of darkness
Blood lost his way.
In the days of depth
Water rose.
In the days of shores
Blood stumbled to higher ground.
In the days that followed,
Water lapped, waiting for wind.

Callow Blood, Callous Water
Blood rushes in
to greet water:
“Are you my brother?
Where is your salt?”
Water hurries by
close but heedless.
Blood reddens.
“Come back memories!”
“I did not mean to leave you there:
Did I leave you?
Or did you leave me?
I can’t remember.”
Blood’s embarrassed,
gawping at skin’s door
at the callousness of Water “even stone hates you!”
Stone’s eroded head shakes,
drips free themselves, and fall.

Lessons of Water
Blood boiled.
Water rose above.
Blood rushed.
Water showed the way.
Blood drained.
Water left him to it.
Blood pooled.
Water gave a level.
Blood stained.
Water washed away.

Buckets Of Blood
Blood frowns:
“Water you’re loud.”
Water chuckles,
copiously filling silence.
Blood reasons:
“silence is silent.”
Water shrugs,
“buckets is buckets.”
Blood winces,
“noise is noise.”

Blood Cries Unheeded
Blood called on water
Water sloped off
Blood rallied tears
Water cried off
Blood roared “insult!”
Water chuckled:
“it’s all downhill from here!”
Blood shuddered.

Blood Is Thicker
Blood said thickly
“Water, you're thinner than me.”
Water chuckled
“Blood you clot!”
“I'm also deeper.”
Blood ran cold
Blood ran away.

Blood Brothers
Blood met wine
“At last! My brother, join me!”
Blood and wine walked around together
Arms over shoulders.
"Who wants to be in our gang?" They sang.
Sun came by and joined them.
Water crossed their path, silver.
“Don’t cross me, water!”
Sun blazed.
Blood was spurred by wine and sun.
“Yeah! Don’t cross us, water!”
Water retreated.
Water waited.
When night came on
Sun slunk off in a pool of red.
Wine fell asleep in a pool of tears.
Blood alone stood unsteadily
Railing drunkenly at moon
As she rose slowly from her table,
Drawing water up
Behind her.

Water Shows His True Colours
Blood was roving,
He was fuming
With water.
“Water you look off colour!
Ha ha!” Blood grinned
At his joke.
Water ran over golden stones
Water reflected sky's blue
Water fell and split into light
Water darkened the well.
Blood skulked off,
Sulking.

Blood’s Champion
Love threw open the door
And stood on the threshold.
Blood rose to greet him
Flushed with anticipation.
Stone and water did not look up
But continued their game.
Love was dismayed.
Blood rallied, spluttering
"Gentlemen, look
Here is love!"
Stone and water did not look up
But continued their game.
Blood took love's arm
And drew him forward to the table.
“Hey you oafs! Here is love,
He conquers all!"
Blood said with a flourish.
"Well done love," murmured water,
Concentrating on his game.
"But," blood blustered, "didn’t you hear me?
Love conquers all!"
Water looked up
His eyes like pools

"And after love has conquered all
Who will be left to love?"
"I will love myself!" said love.
Stone settled further in his chair
"No doubt you will,
No doubt you will.”

Spring 2016
Barrie Davies

HARVEST

Axis of seasons, a whirl of blonde
At the sway of scythe through wheat and the girl on the end of a three sheets
To the wind arm.
The black and brown centrifugal energy
of this patch of earth...
Watered by the black and brown at the blue smoked bar,
Mundane in the offering
An unremarkable contemplation of a growing genius
And the farms are transfigured by the crop.
A baker appears at the loaf shaped window
A spectre in flour.
His bread is sent out like apostles,
Nourishing mouths to gossip life
And offer a lilting comfort
With hard wrestled wisdom and strong tea
To anoint the common agonies of their kin.

DECARTES' GHOSTS

Body mind's surplus
all evolves sui generis
ex nihilo from a bloody crumb

Mind the excavated hole...
cesspit in phantom
Hallucination of body
Why the excess
of even the seed of a care
for either interloper

on existence?
deadpan and not
ever that honour

any world doesn't begin to laugh

RUNES 1

Genesis of Adam's alphabet
Fish and river living only as Weird and Whit

At deep midnight,
Clear eyed in the settled mead
Death shall not touch you.

One who all can
Cures with phoenix incense
Swabs screaming terror wound-despisers

Wierd and Whit reveal to the rune guesser
A rune word, a rune hoard
A heart sacrificing runes.

At deep midnight,
Death shall not touch you.

RUNES 2

Time's flow stopped
Water frozen to the bone

Father's bearded foam
Snow dropped
Ships far from home
Wonder-locked

Sailors in face and mood
Sky blue

Eager to sweat for the rood
But cold, carved statue.

Spring 2016
Billy Cancel

as cartoon squelches emit from your mouth
i see this less as a freeze frame of interior motion
more a warning against frugal patience comparable
to a rapid glance at the bullshit tax
it was
a cold bust primary query relating
to something else came down last
wednesday put the ace in ache but kind of felt setting
plastic was uptown from sewing outlines
married
into a family of balloon handlers raucous visceral we
rebuffed classification complicated the interlock from
then on never get tricked into energetic
configuration
plentiful
vale industrial
terrace you’ll come in
from there all mashed up nothing to show do your
hog tie time & motion sheet amen corner stuffed with
gimmicks then you’ll punch a cloud & it’ll be
full of
wind &
piss

bizarro calamity howler brackish
water through both ends meanwhile
the disturbance spreads to south
gloucestershire corners of dorset ain’t
chomping at the jaw for any anarctic
10 jutting into my set-up off to cabbage
town red petal park brown sky to
undermine my own
precision
yes
in silver letters cream background adorned
the far wall of indecisive’s panic room as he dreamt
kite barely visible amongst the blossoms then boogie
man through videosynth modulator all pastel
lime formal tension
thought i’d be some
invasive exotic but
caught
no
ball
seeking
unobtainium

yuppie larva techno optimism got spared from
salami attack traditional methods compounded
by clean lines overall sense never once were they
upon a 3-legged stool at the crossroads all frantic
wide of high octane brood stock tonight in sophisticated
neon idealized place dead tech circuit edges are all
smoothed down ready for e-waste gallery chat
no
fooling around helmsman your comparative
eloquence amongst the dross pink orange browns some
of the crowd were into it a little to wear away the
dust your characteristic grinning technique & some
pot valiant & ham fatter pairing off
please all
stand for the
detritus
anthem
thank you now
on with the kludge
twilight
commission let me point out that not
everything that works underground is a
mole for example your eyes weep tear
gas you all have caterpillar treads

boss clown this formal vanish is grim
cracked out work makes me all the more
reluctant to switch masters & my wonky
prism grayed with insects turbulent smudge
less active charm my wonky prism grayed with
effort in a troubling mode of laugh ‘n’
scratch
rock-in-the-box they write you off as
an entrance fever conduit you should snap
a candle turn yellow fancifully boom yeah show
them & there’s a kid’s show for the lot lice coolly
off-hand artificial & there’s a kid’s show for the
lot lice anyways back to the long con
my man
on the ground you walk backwards out
of the garden stumble into green blue yellow
red shriek don’t we all live in the age of
nervous water? sprouting cousins keyed into
the zeitgeist
at the carnival of acronyms my
trousers split my tooth falls out at the carnival
of acronyms i become
antarctic 10

Spring 2016
Bishop & Fuller

The Yowling Cat Story
by Bishop & Fuller

I run off at the mouth. I always have, since I was a little girl. My friend Chrissie took a psychology
class and said it came from having three brothers so I kept talking so my mom would notice me. That was
like a bolt of lightning. I said hey, that’s true, it’s like I keep talking to get a little love. Chrissie said realizing
that would cure me and now I could shut up. But it didn’t. I still run off at the mouth.
That’s not why Sonny and I broke up. We hardly ever talked and when we did it was all about the
sonsabitches where he worked. I never talked about the sonsabitches where I worked because there wasn’t
room at the table for all the sonsabitches. We broke up because I can’t cook for crap and he’s too stupid to
live and the sex wore us out. It didn’t have a thing to do with talking. Or with love.
I just have stuff to say and nobody ever to hear it.
The first thing I did when Sonny moved out was to get two cats. I needed that more than a husband. I
never had to wash their cat food dish, I’d just fill it back up. I could talk and talk and pet’em and talk and
they loved that, whereas if I petted Sonny it always led to other things.
How I got them. Max, there was an ad for free cats and there was a children’s book which I really
loved where the little boy was Max. So that was Max. And Cleveland, I got Cleveland from the pound and she

was fixed already. Then I got Max fixed so they were both fixed. Like me and Sonny, it struck me. That was a
pretty strange thought.
So I would put up snapshots of Cleveland and Max on Facebook. Everybody puts cats up there or their
kids. And I had stories about Cleveland and Max but nobody really wants to hear about your cats, it’s like
moms telling how smart their kids are, I don’t want to hear that. I don’t have kids and if I did they wouldn’t be
smart.
Though I guess other people also have stuff to say and nobody listens.
But I got an email about this “storytelling” night in Nevada City, which is where I live outside of. Gold
Rush Country they call it to tourists but I joke to my cousins in Omaha don’t rush for the gold cause I never
saw any gold. There’s a community center where they do plays and music, I guess, and they have a night
where people tell stories.
You can sign up to tell a story. It has to be true and you have three minutes to tell it. If you take too
long there’s a piano player and he starts playing and then you have to stop. You don’t have to have talent,
anybody can do it. Most of the stuff that happened to me over the span of my life took longer than that to
stop hurting, but I talk pretty fast. This month’s theme was Creatures and I thought, well, Max and Cleveland
are creatures. So am I.
So Friday night I fed the cats, and I said, hey, I’m gonna tell everybody what funny cats you are and
you’ll be famous. And they both meowed, like saying Right on! They were a lot of love. Though you never get
enough.
They called it “Story Time for Grownups.” Maybe sixty people on folding chairs, just a plain
assembly room but they’d put up some nice India cotton hangings on the wall behind this podium and mike,
piano at the side, and you could buy wine or coffee and cookies at a table but I didn’t — five bucks for a little
dinky glass of wine. I found the old lady with the sign-up sheet and signed up. I was halfway down the list.

Starting out they had three storytellers with ten minutes each. I guess they were more experienced.
One guy talked about his dog dying and I was crying at the end. Then a fat lady told about her aunt who
collected fossils, which was funny, she paid a lot of money for a fossil rat. Then some guy with a hassle about
his credit cards but that one cut too close to the bone.
Other people have problems too, I guess the lesson is from that.
So they worked their way down to the amateurs like me. The ones before me were okay but I
thought, well, I won’t disgrace myself. The one thing I know how to do is talk. Shutting up is something else.
The story was about how Max got lost and my being so scared and the funny way I found him. I had
only three minutes so I wasn’t going to tell why Cleveland was named Cleveland because the river caught
fire in Cleveland even though the fire was before I was even born. At the pound they called her Sophie, but
she hopped up on the stove and got singed by the flame, so I named her Cleveland. But I told that part
anyway. People laughed. That felt great.
Then I told how Max disappeared and Cleveland started meowing and meowing, it must be she
really missed Max. They’d fight a lot, not really fight but squabble like me and Sonny till we just got sick of
the squabble and split. But still I missed the poor dummy so maybe Cleveland missed Max. Love hangs on.
I looked under the porch, back yard, out in the neighborhood and we were going to put up signs but
we didn’t. Maybe we being me and Cleveland. When I was a kid I wanted a sister, not a cat, but my point was
that Max was gone and Cleveland started meowing and then I realized I had about thirty seconds left to tell
the story.
They had a timer where you could see it.
People seemed to like the story but kind of wondering where is this going so I tried to make it faster
but I had to explain that Max was a moody cat so I was worried. But Cleveland kept yowling all night and I
thought maybe she needs to go out. When I was seven we had a dog named Buster, he always had to be let

out, the back yard was full of dog turds but Cleveland had a cat pan. I got her some water, thought maybe
she’s hungry but I was almost out of the dry cat food they have on sale at Safeway but this week they didn’t
and I was almost out. They put some chemical in to give it the taste of chemical fish.
People looked like I was getting off the subject.
So Cleveland was yowling and yowling and I tried to go back to bed but she kept on so finally I got
up, went out, put her in the car and locked the car. Damn cat, I’m thinking, I love her but I just can’t stand
the yowling. It must have been like my mother felt. There were four of us kids and always raising hell and
she didn’t have enough love to spread around.
But I got back to bed, I thought omigod she’s going to be so cold out there on the vinyl seats. So I got
up and went out to take a couple of pillows out there, it’s a ‘92 Honda, good mileage although it looks pretty
bad but it’s red which is maybe safer cause people see you coming. Not that I wanted a red car, we’d had a
big old clunker but it was a shame to go to the grocery store with that.
Then I heard the piano. Just a tinkle. The signal to stop. I’d gone way over.
I never liked to get up in front of people. In school you’d have to give book reports but I didn’t know
what to say except that I’d read it so mine were pretty short. And we did a play and I had three lines and
forgot my lines and just stood there till I remembered and said “I wonder when the doctor’s going to come”
but the doctor had come in already. I just needed to finish this damn story.
So Cleveland was in the car, I went back to bed but I heard this meow meow meow that sounded like
Max. This was like four in the morning and I had to get up early for dental work at the clinic, they charge half
what a regular dentist does and I brush my teeth and I floss but I needed two molars out and a crown. My
mother lost all her teeth.
The piano tinkled again. They were trying to get me off, get me to end this horrible story. Horrible
story, no, it wasn’t horrible story, it was a very funny story, it wasn’t funny when it was happening but when I

told it to people they always laughed, at least they tried to be polite, and I went on and on and then I notice I
need to go to the bathroom.
I’m about to tell how I went to the garage and there’s Max. He’s perched up on the hood of the car,
he’s looking at Cleveland inside the car, she’s got her feet up on the steering wheel, and they’re both yowling
away. I had to laugh.
I start to tell it but I’ve been talking forever and I see people out there, they’re shuffling around, and
from that point on I don’t remember what I said, I just went on and on. I talked about my mother and her
teeth, how she worked all her life and she went to the tax office when they wanted to dun her for taxes about
her teeth and all I was trying to say was that I went to open the door and it was Max, it was really Max and I
was really happy then, I was really moved but I couldn’t stop, I needed to finish but I couldn’t stop.
I look out at the people out there. The audience. They’re deathly pale. Rigid, like in front of a firing
squad.
And the lady who’s the host that introduces people, she doesn’t know what to do. The piano player
makes more tinkles and he’s ready to bang into big tumultuous chords and I’m just trying to end a sentence,
just stop it, not even end the story but just end the sentence but it keeps on like the monkey swinging on
vines from branch to branch that can’t stop without falling into the lion’s jaws and on and on and I can’t
even remember the name of my cat.
Then he hits a big heavy chord and I start screaming, screeching, ripping things, India cotton hangings,
ripping them down and the clip lights on a pole crash down and people holding me down but I just keep
screaming and screaming and screaming—
I did not do that, actually. What I did when the piano player started playing Climb Every Mountain
was to say that at four in the morning I went out to the car and found the cats and brought them in. Then I

made a cup of coffee. People gave a little bit of applause and I sat down. I listened to one more story then I
left.
The screaming part was in my dream that night. Next morning I had to go down to the Safeway and I
was so embarrassed. I didn’t see anybody I knew but I don’t know many people. Somebody would walk past
without looking at me, which is what people do, but it felt like they couldn’t stand to see me. I really needed
to scream but I had no opportunities. We all have that problem once in a while, I guess.
Max died a couple of years ago. I’ve still got Cleveland but she’s on her last legs. I wish I hadn’t
named her Cleveland, it was funny at the time but then you live with old jokes. Sophie might have been more
personal, the whole point being you want some love. At least I take better care of my teeth.
The story was just one night my cat was yowling and I put her out in the car and then the other cat
was sitting there. That was the story. After that time it never seemed like much and I never told it again.
Funny coincidence, I guess I thought. And some kind of crazy yowling love even though they were fixed.
Three minutes is pretty short. I still get the shakes.
And my friend Chrissie, I never told her, she would have had some kind of interpretation. She talks
as much as I ever did, I think. There’s a need to.
###

Spring 2016
Brenda Candle

I still believe Words Are Awkward
# Stanza 4 (starting with # Stanza 4 (starting with # Stanza 4 (starting with # Stanza 4 (starting with # Stanza
4 (starting with # Stanza 4 (starting with # Stanza 4 (starting with # Stanza 4 (starting with # Stanza 4 (starting
with # Stanza 4 (starting with # Stanza 4 (starting with # Stanza 4 (starting with # Stanza 4 (starting with
“After taking a rest After taking a rest After taking a restAfter taking a restAfter taking a rest After taking a
restAfter taking a rest After taking a rest After taking a rest…” ),
in in an awkward Japanese awkward Japanese awkward Japanese awkward Japanese awkward Japanese
awkward Japanese awkward Japanese awkward Japanese awkward Japanese awkward Japanese awkward
Japanese accentaccentaccentaccent → in in the awkward Japaneseawkward Japanese awkward
Japaneseawkward Japaneseawkward Japanese awkward Japaneseawkward Japaneseawkward
Japaneseawkward Japanese awkward Japanese
# Stanza 2 (starting with # Stanza 2 (starting with # Stanza 2 (starting with # Stanza 2 (starting with # Stanza 2
(starting with # Stanza 2 (starting with # Stanza 2 (starting with # Stanza 2 (starting with # Stanza 2 (starting
with # Stanza 2 (starting with # Stanza 2 (starting with # Stanza 2 (starting with # Stanza 2 (starting with
“Another Another Another Sunday SundaySunday…” ), the last line ), the last line), the last line), the last line
), the last line), the last line
the order orderorder of chivalry of chivalry of chivalry of chivalry of chivalry of chivalry of chivalry → the
Order of chivalryrder of chivalryrder of chivalry rder of chivalry rder of chivalry rder of chivalryrder of
chivalryrder of chivalryrder of chivalryrder of chivalry
# Stanza 5 (starting with “ # Stanza 5 (starting with “ # Stanza 5 (starting with “ # Stanza 5 (starting with “ #
Stanza 5 (starting with “ # Stanza 5 (starting with “ # Stanza 5 (starting with “ # Stanza 5 (starting with “ #
Stanza 5 (starting with “ # Stanza 5 (starting with “ # Stanza 5 (starting with “ # Stanza 5 (starting with “ #
Stanza 5 (starting with “ My love may beMy love may beMy love may beMy love may beMy love may be My
love may be My love may beMy love may beMy love may be My love may be…” ), Line 2 ), Line 2), Line 2 ),
Line 2

what in the world what in the world what in the world what in the world what in the world what in the
world what in the world what in the world are wordsare wordsare wordsare words are words are wordsare
words → what in the world what in the world what in the world what in the world what in the world what in
the world what in the world what in the world words are words are words arewords are
# Stanza 5# Stanza 5 # Stanza 5# Stanza 5 # Stanza 5, Line 3 , Line 3, Line 3, Line 3
But I still believe I still believe I still believeI still believeI
still believe I still believeI still believeI still believeI still
believeI still believeI still believe… → I still believe
I still believe I still believeI still believeI still believe I still
believeI still believeI still believeI still believeI still
believeI still believe…
PagePage
PagePage

Spring 2016
bruno neiva

Spring 2016
Caroline Allen

Chapter One

In which the main character realizes that the old adage from the cheerful poster from the days of yore (her
childhood in the sixties), "Today is the first day of the rest of your life," is not only true, but depressing. So
much better was the poster of the Siamese kitten struggling to right itself on a horizontal bar, back legs and
tail dangling in the air "Hang in there baby!" with it's eyes wide open, as if astonished to even be alive, what's
more grasping a bar mid-air because life itself depends on it. But "Today is the first day of the rest of your
life," either means: the rest of your life is going to be a lot like this one; or stop wasting time wishing you were
doing something else and just do it. After 56 years of hanging in there, the main character feels that either
meaning is true and they are not mutually exclusive, the struggles of yesterday are the same struggles of
today-- with variations, to be sure, because life is better at middle age than it was in childhood, she has more
power and money and personal freedom and self-knowledge; but still she finds herself that same ten yearold girl of a summer afternoon wondering, "What's the point of all this?"
Which, in a ten year old is a bit sad, but probably just means that she has nobody to play with, her mother's
at work, her sister is off with her own friends, and she's bored. In this particular fifty-six year-old it means
she's lost her focus, she doesn't feel like writing about her adolescent self and all the trauma of her first love,
her painting isn't particularly exhilarating, and though she's proud of having gone to a dance class and
actually moved her whole body, she knows it was a way to avoid writing. And it gave her that Ventura
Feeling.

Ventura Feeling: noun. 1) A sense of astonishment at how weird and uncool and dated and provincial every
building, person and pair of shoes one lays one's eyes upon is. 2) The horrible realization that one belongs
there without really fitting in. 3) A state of driving through streets which trigger memories that are both vivid
and banal, as if Ventura were only capable of creating vibrantly mediocre experiences. 4)The suspicion that
fascinating new art movements and musical groups are blossoming three thousand miles away. 5) A sort of
blank unknowingness.
Now she must ask herself, "What was it about the dance class that gave her that Ventura Feeling?" She goes
over the sequence of the morning's events. There was the stop at the light after the exit, staring into the
distance at that same bright pink house with the tall palm tree in the yard. How many times has she sat there
in her air-conditioned Honda and thought about painting that pink house, wondering where she would set
up the easel, where she would park the car, if anybody would bother her on the street-- when suddenly the
light changes and she drives on and forgets all about the pink house with the palm tree! She parks in the
Carl's Junior parking lot next to the dance studio. She sees one of the regular dance class patrons sitting in
her car talking on a cell phone with an ear bud in her ear. A friend who used to go to this dance class calls
the woman, "The Angry Pixie". She also calls the class, "Prancey Dancey", which our main character, let's call
her Sheila, has always found objectionable, accurate though it be. Now Sheila finds herself at the doorway
staring into a large room with a padded orange floor, the kind of floor made for martial arts studios, and
many people standing up, sitting down, stretching and talking. It's a big class today, about thirty people,
maybe more.
The teacher, a tiny muscular woman with brilliant blue eyes and blonde hair calls everybody to stand in a
circle. She's smiling and making announcements when a big bald man breaks in and says, "This is a very
special day. I happen to know it's somebody's birthday" and he stares at the teacher. The teacher says,
"Thank you, Len," and then announces that it's not only her birthday but also the birthday of another person
in the class, the beautiful Maureen, a pale willowy woman with long thick yellow hair rolled into a bun. The
two birthday girls stand in the center of the circle and the class sings Happy Birthday. Then the class does

The Whoosh, where they all bend down with their arms to their sides, swing their torsos up so they're
standing upright with their arms in the air like young gymnasts and all together yell, "Whoosh". They repeat
this three times. Then the teacher says she's at least ten years older than Maureen and Maureen denies it and
the teacher says she's turning 53 and Maureen is turning 41 and Maureen says she is not, she's turning 46, and
everybody is so shocked because they both look so young. Truly dancing keeps one looking good. That,
thinks Sheila, and not getting fat. She, herself, has gotten fat. But she prefers not to dwell on it.
"Today we're going to work on strength," says the teacher. "Because I love strength. I love my body's strength,
I love the strength of my will, the strength that brought me here to Ventura, the strength that's kept me
going." People clap. "And along with strength we have flexibility, those two go perfectly together."
Sheila is glad to be there but thinks about how weak she's been feeling lately, and stiff, and that this class
may be just what she needs or it may be much more than she needs and maybe she should just take it easy.
But as soon as the music comes on and she recognizes the song she knows she won't hold back, not now
anyway, she's just so full of how that music wants her to move, and the teacher leads them into stretches and
bends and arm circles to warm them up and pretty soon they're jumping and kicking and prancing around
the room and the music changes and they're all kicking up their heels, mingling, making eye contact as they
goofily sing along with Mary Poppins' "Supercalifragilisticexpialidotious."
Sheila loves this kind of silliness and participates whole-heartedly, but there's a part of her that stands
outside the group and notices that Len, the big man, is making the face he often makes when he free-dances,
a sort of prissy, nose in the air, chin up, affectation of an old lady at a tea-party with an exaggerated handflap. Len, a tall, broad-shouldered giant of a man has recently taken to adorning his smooth bald head with a
thin scarf across his forehead, a long tail flowing to the side. He sometimes wears robes. Len has dated or
tried to date many of the women in the class and has hinted that his feelings are hurt when he feels that the
women in the class aren't as friendly with him as they are with each other. Sheila sees him dancing toward
her and smiles; he's making the funny teaparty face, long upper lip, eyes half-closed. Then he shimmies up
beside her, leans over to rub his shoulder against hers and laughs, "hehehe" with a lecherous intonation and

raise of the eyebrows. He quickly pops back into the prissy nose in the air flappy-hand character. They both
move on. That shimmy rub and her acceptance proved she wasn't prejudiced against him; now she can avoid
his gaze with a clear conscience.
Sheila remembers how her old boyfriend never danced, how he was a musician and thought people looked
funny when they danced, "like fish flopping," were his words. Her step-father, in reference to this comment,
said, "He's an asshole." Well, yes, he was an asshole. His most salient feature. Assholetry. Assholedom,
Assholistic? The quality of aggressive self-confidence based on sharp and mean-spirited criticism of others.
She must've liked it at the time. If he could see her now! Skipping around with these sweet, sad, nutty
people-- Angry Pixie is doing her best to express joy, smiling broadly, softening her angry eyes, waving
happy energy around the room. Beautiful, winsome, 46 year-old Maureen follows close behind, dancing like
a real dancer, Sheila thinks. But aren't they all real dancers? That's the problem. They are on one level, and
aren't on another. There are so many experiences in this one room, who can follow or separate any one from
the rest? Sheila sees herself dancing like a real dancer in the mirror, blushes at her own self-regard,
wondering how it is that she can feel so beautiful, so at ease in the movement, so happy with her plump
middle-aged body and its curves. She doesn't think everybody's beautiful. She knows that the man who has
cerebral palsy and jerks up and down and side to side in a frenzy of spasmodic inflexible movement is not
beautiful, and the poetry he writes and recites before classes is not good poetry, though it's earnest and sends
good messages about living life to the fullest. She admires his spirit. She knows that there are only a few
beautiful dancers in the room, the ones that actually hear the music with their whole bodies, who have a
fluency in dance from years of practice, and that she is one of them, though it's shameful to admit this
knowledge, even to herself. She loves the idea of everybody being beautiful in their own way, but deep down
inside she doesn't feel it's true. We are separate and different and unequal, she thinks, and this leaves her
with the unenlightened, the un-Buddhist, the ones who are living under the delusion (so say the enlightened
ones, and she believes them) of being separate when really all things are inextricably connected, right down
to the very atoms and subatomic particles they share. How does one become conscious of one's mingling
neutrons or electrons or whatever it is that's flying around into everybody else's? If else were a word one

could appropriately use in such a situation. Why this insistence on separation? Why not feel the connection
and rejoice in it?
Now she's spinning. She loves spins more than anything. She adds leaps to the spin. This is the closest thing
to flying she knows, except in dreams, and the speed and precision, the power and lightness of her body, call
forth a few seconds of ecstasy as she spins on that invincible core at the very center. The teacher walks
toward her, too close, she flinches, almost falls, makes a quick adjustment, keeps spinning-- but something
has changed. Instead of the spins propelling her, she's consciously pushing the spins. Spell broken. She will
keep dancing and when the teacher says "Now for some strengthening moves" and lunges forward and bobs
up and down to really put pressure on the thigh muscles, Sheila goes down but holds back just a little. She's
not going to hurt her self. Her Self. Self Self Self. She's suddenly exhausted and walks to the water dispenser
in the back of the room. She shakes a small white paper cup out of a stack, fills and drinks, fills and drinks,
looking out upon the other people moving, following along. She's happy to be alone there in the corner
drinking her water, but suddenly, when they move onto a new dance, just as happy to join again.
How can she be connected and not connected at the same time? She stares at the different faces, most of
them people she's danced with for years. Sad faces mostly, sad or haggard or a little uneasy, all so human,
trying to stay healthy, get happy, just like her. She quit for years and came back, hadn't missed anybody, not
really, and she knows she could quit again and not miss them. What kind of person dances her heart out in
the company of people she feels almost nothing for? Is this normal? And when they look at her with that
sugary love in their eyes, but more often than not, don't look at her at all, does it mean anything? We're all
just hanging in there, she thinks later. The teacher calls for the dancers to move into a tight crowd in the
center of the room, still dancing, singing words about love and gratitude. There's a sweetness in it all that
lifts Sheila's spirits, even as she stands just outside the circle, moving to the music, feeling her otherness,
almost embracing it, but wishing, wishing...
The end of class, a woman insists on another Whoosh, so they do it. Sheila sometimes lingers for the chit
chat on the benches while people clean their feet with baby-wipes, put their shoes back on, adjust whatever

needs to be adjusted to venture out into the world. But today she can't. Outside alone is much better, where
the cool shadows of the palm trees stripe the bright sidewalk and a breeze blows in from the ocean. Who else
cares if my mother is dead? Sheila finds herself thinking. Who else cares that she died at 56 and that's why
I'm taking trips to Europe and Iceland and New Zealand and buying dresses and shoes and hats with the
money I inherited and should be saving for retirement? Who else cares that she lived a tragically short life?
Why do I feel the need to tell people this? Why do I linger here, Mom is dead, Mom is dead. I'l die too.
Enough already, do the work! At which point Sheila fantasizes about the perfect day, the one that's not the
first day of the rest of her life, a day that's just a fantasy for the one thing she could imagine herself happily
doing right now: She's in the living room with a morphine drip (she's never had a morphine drip, but
considering how much she likes Vicodin she's sure she'd enjoy it), all three dogs are sitting on her lap, the t.v.
flickers in the dim light of the living room as she watches hour after hour of a streaming comedy that's not
really very funny. She longs for a state of effortless euphoria and a story with a happy ending. She knows her
earnest but smug college students would snippily denounce that as "a First World problem," and she thinks,
"Fuck them! I just want to quit everything." Oh dear, she remembers a time from when she was living with
that old boyfriend she's been writing about off and on for ten years. She says to herself: "Before I know it I'll
be writing in my diary, 'I hate everybody!' When probably all I really mean is: I'm bored, I wish I had
someone to play with." But that doesn't seem right either. If she could write the first chapter she'd want to be
sure everybody knew that the main character turns out all right, at least she gets to live beyond her terrible
twenties and have First World problems.

Spring 2016
C.N. Bean

Emily, the one who held on
I met Tara years afterwards.
At the end of a class she said
Emily had been her best friend.
They both had loved riding horses.
We connected for a moment.
You know what I mean: Her moment,
my moment, nothing to stand on
but our refusal to let go.
Sid got the call in Roanoke
where he had gone with Emily,
the first of Seung Hui Cho’s victims.
Because she barely clung to life
the doctor wanted an R-N
to ride with the ambulance crew.
Fifty-plus mile-per-hour gusts
grounded all the helicopters.
Wind peppered with ice and snow hit
me on that 16th of April,
an hour or so after Cho
made his Virginia Tech debut
in a one-day run of Macbeth
to prove art could be objective.
Ryan got to Montgomery
as D-O-A as dead can get.
Emily died in Roanoke,
where Sid got word of a “Code Green,”
the alert for a disaster.

He rushed back to the hospital,
where nurses, doctors and admin
prepared for waves of casualties.
Mike heard rumors of a shooter
who had danced in two victims’ blood.
He had been stocking carts since then.
Chaos hit the E-R en masse,
via ambulances non-stop.
Radio traffic turned Babel,
too much confusion all at once.
Emergency responders switched
to an alternate frequency.
Triage moved to the E-R bay
to be closer to the transports.
Victims arrived in states of shock,
not yelling or screaming for help,
or asking for others to call
their closest friends or relatives.
They were locked in survival mode,
a dull sense of stun to preserve
resources in an ultimate
encounter between life and death.
Sid later went to remove dead
bodies from Norris Hall. He saw
two down in the second floor hall.
A janitor had watched them die
and escaped but didn’t know why.
The hot warning shot missed his ear.
Shell casings outnumbered victims.
Hollow brass littered floors of blood.
Seung Hui Cho made human hearts his
focus. Not love. Evil hates love.
The heart that pumps the blood in flesh.
That’s what he fixed his gun sites on,
the humans on the other side
of barrels with black eyes as cold
as his own the day I saw them.
Emily held on like we did.

Spring 2016
David M. Castillo

Our Tangled Eucharist
Meet me for communion in the morning
and we’ll build a new church
on our intimacy.
Our bodies and blood,
pressed into one another,
will become the rock
on which we worship.
A baptism of flesh that bestows
the ecstasy in which we
write our revelations.

Wilt & Drift
There is no longer lightning in my eyes;
The thunder in my throat has left me;
Lustrous hair shot gray in an instant;
My once rich skin has become wrought with pallor;
Perfect cuticles are now a grotesque mess—
I am the hangnail I chewed off,
Dropped to the ground,
Left to rot.
Cut from my corpus,
I wither and float.
Once Again,
I find myself on that precipice
Between waxing and waning—
The upswing swiftly ended in my
Sleep under the guise of a dream
That I no longer remember.
The quiet of my new abyss—
A solemn requiem to silence
Despite the noise and confusion
That still rattles inside my skull
—screams from the pit—
never dulled, never sated.
Every moment lost
to the perpetual nothing
that engrosses my illusory self
another passing of the life
I lack the motivation to live.

A Transliteration of Quiet Words That
Were Sailed Across a Sea of Tenderness.
Your broken voice cracked as we
lay under translucent sheets; bathing in
morning light; wrapped into one another.
My voice was almost inaudible over the
noise our bodies made through the fray.
Our intertwined chorus of sounds roared
as declarations of love on the calm waters.
Hot breath carried our contemplations
To the windows where they condensed,
and brought heavy air.
Our lashing bodies felt the pressure rising,
our sweet-nothings rained down in drops,
And in a torrential moment we tensed
together on the growing squall.

Mud On My Shoes
My mind has been wading through
the noxious viscera of anxiety
doused with a heavy depressive
paste. Floating is the more accurate
term, but when something bobs on a
surface it's granted the illusion of
weightlessness. Instead, the further on
I go the heavier I feel.
Like a child with mud on his shoes.
Eyes too wide for this world.
The cures of, “I'm always thinking of you.”
Or, “But, I love you, why are you sad?”
are shot in the direction of my pain as if
good vibes are the antidote for crushing
melancholy, but the guilt of you wanting
me to feel better just pushes me further
into the darkness.
Enormous pupils burn out vision.
It's not my responsibility to feel better for you.
It's not your responsibility to make me feel.

A Lover’s Quarrel
She was always
A pensive lover
of death —
An unrequited feeling
except when he came,
so did she.

Spring 2016
David Rushmer

GRAVE AIR
many forms, encountered
without material form,
the air

informed
the absent
open fields
stretch the limit of the horizon
“the echoes net the blood

between death and air
the beginning,
arresting place for the body
engraved
unburied birds
and thirsty dust

“traces the inside of the mouth
within this moment,
vocal trajectory, mapping an arc
made empty
in my offerings. The embers
dripping
in clouds of smoke
& burnt plume.
The pattern blaze
far beyond
scores the space
injecting
music in the eye.
air burial
ashes scattered
in flight or mute ability.

THE EVENT HORIZON
A sudden flowering
to speak
The spoke
event,

occurring,

breathless,

to float in the vessels
of consciousness and drift
the system
of disturbance
becomes
the first
presence
in the sphere of bodies
expanding in all directions
to exhale those places
a passage provided by the air
infinitude of the sky
another form in aural space
torn from the fire
in spoken dance
& displacement

SUBSTANCE
in a beginning of substance,
who speaks of it
ancient
state of grace,
or matter
fire or dust
in the birthing sky
aerial, or liquid form

which could pass
in the same time's breath
“we are already dissolved
in the voice
disappear in their own musics,
or
the silence beneath the wing

these gestures

words cast across oceans
the wind set sail
long before us
In the search for essence
they drink their own reflections

Spring 2016
Dilip Mohapatra

EGOSURFING
As I stand in front
of the cyber magic mirror
trying to figure out
my outlines and contours
my profile emerges
and takes shape
as the world sees me
describes me
and defines me.
I discover
the online tattoos
that are engraved
on my skin
by others' attestations
and testimonials
which perhaps remove
my blind spots to some extent
sometimes making me
wonder if this is
what I really am
and if this is what
I really stand for.

As I follow
my own digital footprints
on the virtual wilderness
wary of the identity thieves
lurking in dark corners
I play Dumb Charade
with myself
while trading off
my safety for
others' opinions.
Let me assure you
it's not pure vanity
nor my self promotion
that eggs me on
to go on
but my attempt is
rather serendipitous
just to throw a little more light
on my blurred image
and I am not
the evil antagonist
of the tale of Snow White.

CURSED
I burrow into my sacred wound
and take refuge in the cocoon
that is buried in its core
and woven with the gossamer threads
of the legacy of my imagined ancestors
and blinded by their faith
that is handed down to me
through a cascade of wombs
connected by unseen umbilical cords.
I suffocate with the beliefs and dogma
thrust on me and riddled with the psalms
the hadiths and the shlokas
I find myself lost in the labyrinth of
blood soaked Crusades
Jihads and Dharma Yuddhas.
I ride the rising tide of lava
and to quench my irredeemable thirst
I suck in vain the bone dry udder of the earth
and in desperation bite my own hand.
I wriggle like an impoverished maggot
feasting on my own infestation
devouring whatever comes my way
and continue to nest in my wound
that becomes hollowed and gangrenous
and I struggle for my survival
baying for more gore
more mayhem more madness
for I am frightened of peace and harmony
and scared of bliss and salvation.

COMING ASHORE
The mariner steadies himself on the
quarterdeck and
peers through the sextant
to shoot the stars playing
hide and seek behind the clouds
sometimes absorbed in the skies
sometimes surfacing
as the shadow of the dawn lifts
in slow motion
exposing the stretch of solitary beach
against the amber horizon.
From the forecastle he squints
through his spy glasses
to identify the unfamiliar rocks
from their ghostlike silhouette on the
distant shore which appear
in dissonance with his dreams
loosens his weather beaten sails
drops hook
and lowers his dinghy.
Then he paddles down on the
unknown waters
splashing the liquid silence
interspersed with occasional
seagull squeaks.
He disembarks and wades a while
to pause short of the damp sands
not too sure if they had ever tasted blood
with heads rolling
and felled torsos flailing
till vultures swooped on
to tear them to the bones
and as he watches the crabs snapping
their claws and running helter skelter
he wonders
what did all his past voyages bring him
and what does it mean to come ashore

to sail again on another errand
to another land
and then repeatedly
coming ashore?

Spring 2016
E.M. Schorb

AT THE BROOKLYN BOTANIC GARDEN
A dog can live in a garden like this for years and not have any overview of it, of its winding walks and paths,
its various trees and flowers, the impact of its totality on the human senses. The sense organs of animals
filter out anything not directly relevant to their lives and survival. Only humankind can surmount what is
most proximate, for it can detach itself from the body, release itself from the dictates of instinct, say no to its
fleshly nature, and transcend. Saying no to its instincts, humankind introduced spirit and a wider thing than
Earth called World. But spirit weakens the instincts, inhibits impulses, and coincides in its development
with the new brain; and, as the new brain loses its power, instinctive behavior returns. There is a sense in
which my eldering mother is getting younger and younger. Shadows on the walls are pictures again, as in
girlhood, and sometimes they are frightening, and she is afraid of the dark now, again, like a child, but lost
too in the dazzle of sunlight. I wheel her under a stand of cherries, where there is some comforting shade.
“Listen, mother! Can you hear the birds sing?” She hears my voice, a vague rumble above and behind her
good ear, but not my question, and her long look back is like a frightened child’s, and full of questions, and I
can’t answer a single blessed one of them.

CÉLESTINE
Louis Bertrand sought his Célestine to no avail. She was older than Louis, and possessed a past not entirely to be
admired; but this handsome romantic, if tubercular, poet roused her not in the least, for he lacked wealth,
which brought her passion to the boil. An ugly untalented burgher with a bag of gold was beautiful and
desirable in her eyes; a poor, sick poet, not so. She combed the prose poems from Louis’ Gaspard de la Nuit from
her heavy, dark hair each night. What fizzes and sparkles as she raked the comb down! What lapidary art fell to
the floor! So poor Louis, being ashamed of his down-at-heels shoes, his tattered cape, his crumpled cap, went
into hiding, where he wasted away; but his bones were so fine that he only became more touchingly beautiful to
behold. In his sick bed, he brought such weeping to strong men that they became desiccated. For he was the
whole of romance, a wild horse leaping in a canyon. He was the embodiment of leaping romance, yet his poor
body was still, for he was dying. Gaspard de la Nuit was the first of its kind: a book of prose poems. No matter
how minor, first is first, and bears its own golden crown. Louis thinks of this as he sinks and searches for breath,
one more breath, one last breath, for the air to float the heavens, to utter Célestine!

THE COUPLE IN THE GARDEN
What she was looking for was what to do. She waited for him to show some sign. He was so much bigger
than she was, but there was no fear in her, not yet. She listened. That was new too. Wind. A mere zephyr.
But it filled her ears like a storm, and ruffled her hackles. They were both furry, weren’t they? I should think
so. She put her finger between her legs, but it turned out that that was not to do too, for a hiss of pleasure
arose. Might she turn? She must turn to see what hissed and slithered in the green, advising her on the
wind. That was what it was—green—but perhaps she should not name it. Wasn’t that his job, to name
everything? New rules were impressed upon her at each instant, constrictive rules. Why should she not be
free? Finally, he arose. Do it, was whispered. It will fulfill your purpose, came a hiss. Don’t do it, the rules
impressed, booming the air. Her purpose meant more to her than the rules. How should it not? Wasn’t her
purpose more natural than the rules, because her purpose was what she felt, what she was? She went over to
him, took it, and put it between her legs, where her finger had been. At first, he had feared her, but now he
felt no fear, for she had given him the juicy thing to mouth. He could still taste its sweetness. Now there was
about her something that he named longing, and he took her in his arms. She was right, he felt, not knowing
what he meant by that, only that it all brought pleasure, made him what he was. Afterwards, they walked a
long way together, hand in hand, until they came to a clearing. The rules leaned out after them but the rules
were rooted and could not follow. The future was theirs to do with as they would.

RIPARIAN RITES
Our course was set and we were determined to follow it. We were first mates, young and strong, and had
each other to depend on. True, we knew very imperfectly of what lay ahead. Honeymoon Island, at the
mouth of Altar Bay, in the Sea of Matrimony, seemed the perfect location from which to start our voyage up
Truelove River. Many mistakenly follow the opposite course, starting at the Mountain of Melancholy, where
Fancy Free Plateau is located, and, avoiding Evasion Rapids, join Truelove River at Pity Bend. Many go the
wrong way from there, and, travelling up river instead of down, find themselves at the Falls of Dislike near
the Valley of Disdain. We had been warned about this error, and were aware of the existence of Indifference
Knob, close by; but also of Determination Hills located to the south of Indifference Knob, and so kept our
high spirits and unflagging hope. Farther south was Friendship Corner, our ultimate destination, though we
did not quite realize this at the time. We certainly had no desire to go north as far as Indifference Knob; but
north was our general course for the nonce, though we must first sail somewhat to the south before Truelove
River made its great northward turn. Convalescence was nearby, and we had to hope for the best. Thus, we
entered through License Channel, took the great bend, and climbed northward beyond Sickbed, which
caused us to think of Trothplight, and what this voyage meant. Our engine broke down at Angrysire, and we
had to lay over for repairs; but we were soon beyond Opposition Bend, which took us south once again, and
sailing through the Sentimental Meadow toward Kissing Ford and Tenderness Crossing. At last, we arrived
at Friendship Corner, where we went ashore, built our home and hearth, and raised our family. My mate
misses not having stopped at Rich Rival Bend, and I should have preferred to stay on at Kissing Ford, or to
have gone on to the Evasion Rapids (there have even been times, though few, when I would have preferred
to reach Fancy Free Plateau). But Friendship Corner has served us well, and I would say we have been
satisfied with our lot, and think of the voyage, overall, as a success, and well worth the time and the
unbelievable expense.

THE THREATENING LETTER
The letter had an official look about it. I decided not to open it until I could sit down in the safety of my
room, among familiar things, furnishings that offered confidence by their familiarity, advanced age and state
of decay. I took it up to my room, gripped between thumb and forefinger and at left arm’s length, as if I held
the neck of a rattlesnake. People in the elevator watched as my hand shook and caused the envelope to rattle
some mysterious and ominous document inside it. My aunt had served my unsuspecting uncle with divorce
papers across the breakfast table one morning long ago. But I was already divorced, twice. My aunt had
blamed my uncle for being unfaithful—and there was a question of money. I had never cheated on my
wives, nor was money a problem. My crime had been my nervousness, which my wives asserted had caused
them to become nervous wrecks themselves. And it was true that, as far as I knew, their nerves had been
good until I married them, at which point they began to show signs of neurasthenia—impatience, toothgrinding, insomnia, etc.—in point of fact the exact same conditions I have always suffered from. I dropped
the letter on my cot and looked at it. It had landed address-down. I went to my closet and got out my
vademecum, a slender walking stick of good birch with silver tip and handle, a device not only useful for aid
in walking—I have a bad knee, acquired by banging it against another knee in the subway—but a handy tool
of protection in case of an attempted mugging. Fortunately, I had never had to use it in the latter capacity. It
was sheer luck that I hadn’t been mugged by now, by which I mean by middle-age. With the silver point of
my walking stick I gingerly flipped the letter over, leaned the stick against the cot, and myself over to study
the return address. My eyes were rheumy and I couldn’t make out anything of the return address but some
printing that suggested the blurred word borough, or buro, not clear at all. But, come to think of it, it
suggested some dangerous department of government, did it not? I went to my desk, where I keep a pair of
reading glasses and a magnifying glass, put the reading glasses on, being careful of my ears, and brought the
magnifying glass back to the cot with me—but did I want to go on with this? Suppose it was a death notice,
or suppose it was some official message involving an expense, a tax I had neglected to pay, or an assessment
of some kind—what then? I stepped back from the cot and whacked the handle of my stick down upon the
offending letter. It lay crinkled and bent in half, like a pale yellow claw gripping at the aggressive but
escaped stick. Fear rose up through the floorboards, through the musty worn carpet, through the smooth
soles of my patent leather shoes, and began to vibrate my legs, my torso, my whole body. My heart pounded
until I could see it through my glistening shirt, heartshaped, leaving my chest, pounding more and more
rapidly, thundering, now, in my ears. Fear had made it impossible to breathe. Something clanged in my
head, a death knell, accompanied by the tintinnabulation of my mad fear. The roaring of my blood, the
clanging in my head, the thundering of my room, made it impossible for me to think. I could only feel—
hatred! Hatred for this pale claw that had intruded on my solitude, my small, ordered grace of life, and I beat
at the letter, but it only bounced about on the cot as if jovial at the condition to which it had brought me. I
remember nothing else, but I have been told that the landlord saw me from the door setting fire to the cover
of the cot. I still don’t know—was the letter from this institution?

Spring 2016
Emily Pinkerton

Termination Winds
The wind tears for miles, carries the dust down
coats every blade of grass, rafters and eaves.
Even the doorknob creaks
in dry hesitation, rough with grit.
A whole town turned brown
lost in a dry fog, blind and eye-stung–
we retreat and wait, hunched down
in alphabet houses, Army-issue.
The species that thrive here are ugly
As they are hearty. Tumbleweeds piled high
darkening doorways and windows
occasionally burying a car or a house.
More likely just tearing into your chassis
While you drive the freeway at night.
Russian Thistle. Noxious weeds
rolling in the wind. Abscission.
Perfectly suited to gale forces.
The air catches you like a sail, then rushes on.

Black Point
What the photograph cannot capture:
The clarity of the frigid water, its pale blue
refracting sunlight in stripes, gleaming
over gray rocks, on silty beige sand––
the way it makes the rocks, dark slate, shine.
A brief moment before plunging
end over end, freezing pinprick shock
headache (the cold hits with a blunt force)
submerged for a long time and then longer
under one wave then two
the current building in the offshore trough.

An Invocation

Bluer than usual
it smelled like burnt synthetic fiber outside
it smelled like rotting kelp, sun-bleached, bacterial.
Waves built and broke quickly, oversaturated
brightening under whitecaps and foam
closed out bluer than usual. Unwilling to risk
a new infection, I stayed onshore wind-whipped, longing.
The blue-green jewel shining

Mariposa Grove
These are not the oldest living things. Some living, some giant
but not the tallest. Visitors: notice the roots. Stay
sparse, tolerant. Quickly spread impossible seedlings.
Snow blankets Mariposa Grove, these unnatural conditions.

Note: this poem uses a Yellowstone National Park brochure as its source text. The words were originally authored by
Jon Kinney, a park ranger inspired by a deep "sense of wonder" for the Giant Sequoias of the Mariposa Grove. The
poem recombines and lightly edits select words and phrases found in the brochure.

Spring 2016
Emma Wenninger

A Good Collection of Seashells
“Overall, you can think about the brain as both soup and spark, depending on what you measure and where—much the same
way that photons of light are both waves and particles.”
-Sam Kean, The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons

It was the day that Danielle decided she needed to find Lisa that the black dog began to follow her.
She wasn’t quite sure if it was real; when she went to get fifty-cent coffee from the gas station it suddenly
walked in with her and no one yelled, no one told her dogs weren’t allowed. Its breath was hot against her
thigh and occasionally it nudged the palm of her hand with its nose, asking for a pet.
She knew where Lisa lived; she’d looked her up in the phone book at the post office before the clerk
behind the countertop could notice her. She hoped that her cousin had the regular, boring job she’d always
intended on having and that subsequently her work schedule was regular and boring. She was twenty-three
now, Lisa would be twenty-four. She wasn’t totally sure that Lisa knew she had been in the same city for the
last four months, but she also imagined Lisa drinking cocktails and dinner parties and knew her path
probably did not cross down into the slums below Davidson Street. Danielle had arrived in the heat of the
summer via a trucker who bought her a grilled cheese sandwich and a strong black coffee before dropping
her off. Now it was getting cold, and Danielle realized that if she couldn’t work up the courage to face Lisa,
the winter would force her to. But she had realized it was more the blow to her pride she didn’t want to take.
Danielle had sworn to never talk to her family again, to leave and never look back, the way they did in the

movies. And then came the homelessness, the harsh, outdoor winters and useless job hunts and fear and
loneliness and now, after six years, Danielle had finally realized she needed help and she hoped that Lisa,
with all her sensibility and ease and comfort, would be able to provide it. So Danielle decided that morning
that she would, somehow, make her way to her cousin.
She considered calling Lisa’s apartment or work, but found each time she came to a phone booth that
her knees gave out. She considered breaking in as well, but realized that she didn’t know how high up the
apartment was, she just had the building location. Finally, she decided that the best method was going to
have to be simply showing up and waiting on the stoop and (hopefully, if Lisa was forgiving) have a place to
sleep that night.
And within an hour the black dog started following her.
She figured Clark would know what to do about the dog. Clark lived in a soon-to-be condemned
building in a room with high ceilings and windows and proclaimed himself the wizard of 56th street. Danielle
only half believed him. He had a messy flap of dirty hair hanging in his eyes and he could have been as
young as she was or as old as eighty. He always smelled like cigarettes and weed and it seemed like he never
slept—she had once knocked on his door in the early, early hours of the morning and he had greeted her
with a smile and told her he was glad, because he had been roasting hot dogs and he was afraid he wouldn’t
be able to eat them all himself. He was intensely homosexual. He had maybe a total of six teeth in his entire
head.
When Danielle arrived she had been lucky enough to discover Clark right away, although the way he
put it he had sussed her out using a crystal ball. “I always know when I have a new baby,” he said. If anyone
would know if the black dog was real or not, it would be Clark.
She knocked on his door three times. “You always have such good timing!” he said, flinging the door
open. “I’m making lasagna!” It was around eleven o’clock in the morning. The apartment smelled like
tomatoes.
“I think I’m going to find Lisa,” she said. “I know where she is.”
He didn’t seem at all fazed, instead nodding his head sagely and turning on the oven light to see the
food. “Which one is Lisa?”
“My cousin.”

“On which side?”
“Mom’s.”
Clark let out a semi-delighted noise. Danielle shrugged out of her coat. “I think you should, girl.
Maybe Lisa’s got witch in her, too.” He always lingered on the last few syllables of each sentence.
Danielle leaned against the counter, but the black dog was standing between her and the island
countertop and she nearly tripped over him. “No, she’s boring. And I’m not a witch?”
Clark rolled his eyes and waved his hand at her. He hadn’t said anything about the black dog, had not
registered its presence at all. Danielle traced the outline of the tiles with her thumbnail and allowed herself
to feel hungry. Hunger had been a dull constant over the six years since she’d left home, although her
mother (and Lisa) would probably say that she had run away. There had been some melodrama when she
had left; before she’d gotten out of the state she’d seen her mother on the televisions of the shithole cafes she
tried to steal food from. It was always on silent, and she never heard what was said.
“Ah-ha!” Clark whipped the lasagna out of the oven with the flourish of a matador in front of a bull.
“It’s beautiful,” he said.
It was burnt at the edges and watery in the middle, but Danielle ate a piece and it tasted like heaven.
She did not mention the black dog, but she thought she saw Clark look at it and away very suddenly. But he
could have just been glancing around the room.
***
In some house in a field outside of the city a cannibal had been arrested. His girlfriend hadn’t gone to
work for a week. They found her in a bathtub. He’d been using her skull as a cereal bowl, scooping out her
brains, scraped her eyeballs out of their sockets. They found him in a hall closet clutching a handful of her
teeth and sobbing. He was insane. He didn’t know where he was or who he was. Lisa was watching the story
play out in the break room, eating a Cup O’Noodles. Big winter thunderstorms were beginning to roll
through. The rain was cold and biting. She took off her heels and placed her feet near the heater to get them
to warm up—she hadn’t been expecting rainfall and it had soaked through her shoes and her pantyhose and
her toes had been painfully cold all morning. The newscaster was a blonde. Her hair didn’t move as she

turned her head back and forth, mediating between a psychologist and a representative from the police
force.
“Can you believe this?” someone said. Lisa raised her eyebrows, only half-interested. She worked as
the assistant to a literary agent and had received a last-minute assignment of four manuscripts and was now
editing the last, marking lines through with a purple pen. She had to travel soon, too, to a conference and
then later to visit a friend and she needed to get her ticket. She just didn’t care about cannibals.
“There’s more of those now, too,” someone else responded, a few moments later. There was a news
report of another attack by stray dogs, packs of them like cartoon wolves wandering the streets and ripping
through ankles and shins. Lisa raised her eyebrows again and officially decided that the author had not used
the word “cornucopia” correctly.
And it was sentence structure she was thinking about when she exited the metro after work, in the
early evening, and alighted onto the sidewalk. She had been chewing on the function of a semi-colon.
She did not see God. She normally managed to side-step him whenever she came upon him—he had
a bad habit of standing extremely close and loudly grunting “Gimme a dollah!” to anyone that stepped into
his path. He had been named God as a joke—Mark had been the one to point him out as the two of them
ducked into a coffee shop. “Holy shit,” Mark had said. “It’s that guy again. It’s like he’s God or something,
he’s fucking everywhere.” And he was, and normally at the worst Lisa would only have to endure a moment
or two of him before he lost interest, but today was different, God was different.
He was stumbling around the entrance of the metro growling something at the passengers that came
up to the top step. It was when he got close that Lisa realized he was saying “Good morning!” and he was
grunt-shouting it, peeling his lips back so that all of the pointed teeth he owned were displayed, like a
silverback gorilla. Made uncomfortable, people sped up their pace, averted their eyes. But Lisa walked fullon into him, distracted as she was, and he pushed her away and she snapped back into the present. She was
opened her mouth to say something, but then saw him and suddenly she was very deeply afraid. She was not
normally scared by any homeless in the city, however odd they might be. There was one woman that stood
at the bottom of the stairs in the metro and called out to her each time she passed, a long and mournful
sound that didn’t really sound like words so much as it did like song. She was missing an eye. Another was a

burn victim who wandered up and down the subway cars, trying to get passengers’ attention by displaying
his hands, both of which were missing all fingers.
But it was his eyes. He had done something during the night, taken something, and the irises were
thin, watery lines around his dilated pupils. But the whites of his eyes were bright, neon-colored fushcia and
they were leaking water and his papery skin was folded around them—not wrinkled into laugh-lines, but
folded, as if his eyes had been stuck into a paper doll. Lisa knew suddenly that these were not human eyes,
these were predator eyes, these were the eyes that always hung disembodied in a black, blank space in
horror movies.
Without thinking, she stuck out her hand, her arm at full length, barring him. And God stopped,
blinked, and turned away. Lisa felt herself shaking, but it was as if she was not connected with her hand,
with her body, as if it was happening a world away.
***
Lisa’s grandmother had written a series of letters and there were few things Lisa really knew about
her grandmother the summer before she turned nineteen but she knew, in the way that she knew her
alphabet and religion, an ingrained knowledge, that these letters were not to be touched. When her mother
finally suggested that they look through them, Lisa experienced a reverent, muted shock, the kind
experienced by the communion recipients who watched the priest change a thin white wafer to heart-flesh.
The letters were always kept in a blue box in the hall closet. Her mother stretched onto the balls of
her feet to reach the box, hooking the forefinger of her right hand through the slotted hand-hold and pulling
it down. Lisa watched. Her mother walked the box to the kitchen table, slid the lid off, and began to sift
through them. They were all brown and yellow, thin as the pages of a Bible and covered in a neat, clean
hand. They were each folded carefully into their envelopes; only a few floated along the bottom of the box
unsealed. Lisa lifted one out and balanced it along her fingertips. They were the only remaining things kept
of her grandmother, aside from a single photograph. Lisa only knew that she had been reed-thin and quiet.
And she was dark, as black as the National Geographic photos of African tribes, skin that seemed to be a
folded piece of the blank spaces between stars. And her name was Annie.

Annie had been a nurse at an inner city hospital called St. Medard’s. St. Medard’s was known to be
equivalent to an insane asylum; homeless black schizophrenics, Latinos with split personalities, poor white
women with piles of children, all found their way to St. Medard’s, and to Annie. And Annie began to write
letters, with her patients, with her colleagues, about the streets and its scores of poor and tired, and these
letters now lived in a box.
Because, as quietly as she could, Annie had left—a fish slipping below the surface of the water. No
note, no reason. She was not murdered, she was only gone. But Lisa knew that it was the silence that was the
hardest—the fact that Annie had looked at her two daughters and her husband and had somehow deemed
them unworthy or too much time. That she would have looked at her children and dropped them off at
school and simply driven off, making a left turn and not a right, out onto the road. Knowing Lisa’s
grandfather would have to pick up their kids, that the three of them would limp home and take down all the
photos, save one, of Annie. And now there was forgetting. Lisa watched her mother’s face as she spoke and
skimmed through the box and it was unreadable.
She told Danielle about it that evening, biking over from her house. They were lying on the bed
listening to music coming from a tinny blue boombox, a leftover from their childhood.
“I’ve always wondered why she jumped ship,” Danielle said. “Jeanine doesn’t talk about it, either.”
Danielle had recently started calling her mother by her name. Danielle had developed a certain harshness,
she seemed suddenly jaded and older than she was, no longer interested in finding life romantic or kind. She
only seemed to see harsh, sharp corners everywhere she went. Lisa chalked it up to teenage moodiness. Lisa
had never been the brooding sort; she thought herself much more mature. And so she considered Danielle
with a little touch of pity and said, “Maybe it all just got too sad. But I still don’t know why leaving was the
answer.”
Danielle rolled onto her side. “Maybe at a certain point leaving is the only option.”
Lisa pursed her lips. Exactly three months later, Jeanine would call, frantically, wondering if they had seen
Danielle at all, if they knew where she was, and everyone would collectively realize that Danielle had run
away, but in the moment Lisa was only annoyed that Danielle would give such a melodramatic, cliché
response.

“Nothing’s ever so bad, Danielle,” she said. Danielle said nothing, just left the room. A few moments
later Lisa heard water running and Danielle splashing hot water on her face.
***
Danielle heard about the cannibal over a radio broadcast on the bus. She’d spent a dollar on the bus
fare and was feeling it like a wound in her brain. She just needed to get past 76th and she would be there. She
imagined seeing Lisa, wondering if she would have cut her hair. She imagined her mother and aunt hearing
that she had resurfaced. For the first few days after she had run she imagined what her parents were doing
and it had sustained her—she returned to it now. She liked to imagine her mother and father’s growing
panic as the weeks stretched on, and then the months. She liked to imagine the cores of their bodies
becoming slowly hollow.
After they left Clark’s the black dog began whining. It was becoming more insistent, more annoying.
It kept tugging at her clothes with its mouth, biting her fingertips. She wanted absolutely nothing more than
for it to go away, but she had a vague sensation that it was trying to help her. “Do you really want food?” she
asked it and it perked its ears. It wasn’t a scary dog, and it had soft brown eyes and a little bit of white around
its mouth and ears. She had been steadfast in her attempts to ignore it and make it go away, but she
supposed that it was, after all, a living creature and since it was a dog it could probably eat human food. She
had maybe twenty dollars on her. She considered begging for chump change but decided that it would be
easier just to pay, just this once. She’d already had a free meal.
So she stopped at the nearest convenience store and, on finding nothing interesting, eventually
settled for a few strings of jerky and a pack of gummy worms. The dog ate the jerky in three big gulps and
wagged its tail at her. A woman walking into the store looked at her strangely and Danielle again had the
feeling that no one else could see the dog but her, that maybe she was just dropping food onto the ground.
Now the two were riding the bus up to Lisa’s neighborhood. The buildings were steadily getting
cleaner, more colorful. She imagined that up here fall was a pleasant season; that winter was sweet and
white and warm. She chewed on a thumbnail and listened to the radio. Just scooping out some dead girl’s
brain.
“It’s crazy, is what that is,” said the bus driver to no one, really. Danielle smiled and agreed.

It was in the late afternoon and early evening that she arrived outside of Lisa’s building. The street
was clean, only a few tan cigarette butts gathered at the sewer grates. The sky looked like an artist had
dripped paint into water. It was just bordering on the kind of biting cold that froze fingertips. The black dog
seemed agitated, pacing back and forth behind her as she tried to gauge her next move. It started barking
and growling, upset. Danielle turned to shush it.
And saw Lisa walking up the sidewalk, harried-looking.
Lisa slowed and stopped short when she saw who it was, a flicker of unfamiliarity and then a sudden
look of raw and panicked horror.
Danielle made to snatch at the dog but it turned and butted up against her in one swift, single
shoving force, knocking her down.
She cried out and saw Lisa lunge forward.
She hit her head on the sidewalk and saw a bright galaxy of stars before velvet blackness.
***
It was at the lake when they were fourteen that Lisa finally declared, triumphantly, that she had lost her
virginity.
Danielle had been rightfully shocked, and had demanded to know exactly what had happened, and
with who, and when.
“It was a boy at camp, and it was real special,” Lisa said, hugging the felt blanket to her chest. “We lit
candles and drank wine and then suddenly, I mean, you just know, you know?”
Danielle thoughtfully tapped the side of her Diet Coke can. “Yeah, that’s what everyone says. But
come on, what did you do? Did you do anything like, besides just have sex? You must have, you’re supposed
to anyway otherwise you have to use lube and I heard that causes infections.”
Lisa smirked and said, “Ew, Danielle, I would never tell you.” Danielle laughed and hit her with a
white pillow.
Lisa’s heart was pounding—she was lying. She hadn’t even been kissed yet and she had only a vague
idea of what Danielle was talking about when she said “other stuff.” She was desperately hoping that

Danielle wouldn’t ask the mystery boy’s name, because Lisa hadn’t gotten far enough along in her story to
come up with one.
Danielle stretched out to her full length and said, “Did you have to buy condoms? I thought you guys
were all far out in the woods?”
“I mean, he had some,” Lisa said, realizing quickly she needed to sound smart about this, she needed
to give this imaginary boy an imaginary intellect—of course she would only have slept with someone who
knew how, because his intelligence implied that she was now friends with people who had these kinds of
experiences and who traded them amongst each other. “But I’m not even worried. Sarah told me you don’t
get pregnant the first time.”
Danielle nodded her agreement and Lisa resented that, resented that Danielle would pretend to be a
part of this club Lisa had placed herself in. It was, in fact, Danielle who forced this lie, with her constant
stories about boys leaving notes in her locker, between the pages of her books, who she kissed and even, on
more than one occasion, “made-out with,” which all sounded both slobbery and romantic. It was a little
ridiculous, really, that Danielle should be the one to experience all things first; they were both equally
pretty, equally popular, equally everything. So Lisa savored her little moment of victory, because now
Danielle would have to refer to her, and even if that meant a little extra research, she was the knowledgeable
one now. Danielle leaned back, looking contemplative. Lisa turned onto her side, jealousy cooling in her
stomach.
Later that day they would make Kool-aid popsicles and go swimming, and Danielle wouldn’t
mention Lisa’s imaginary escapade again, only whispered and giggling stories on the beach about the school
dance three months earlier and a boy named Derek something and how he had bit her lip and made her
bleed. Their mothers would suggest the pseudo-Italian restaurant in town and their fathers would agree and
all the stars would align, finally, in exactly the right order, in which Lisa blossomed sooner, faster, and longer
and Danielle slipped into dank, virginal obscurity.
Because that was really the sum total of all Lisa wanted of Danielle—for her and her beauty to
understand, to see how much all of Danielle’s puzzle-piece parts could still not add up to Lisa’s own
vastness, how much she wanted Danielle to please, please, please go away.
But that was when they were fourteen.

***
Lisa didn’t see the few moments before, she had simply looked up, seen Danielle, and then it looked
like Danielle’s knees simply gave out, buckled together. Lisa tried to catch her cousin before her head hit the
pavement, but was too late. It hit hard, with a sharp, sickening cracking sound. Danielle’s eyes were wide
open, they darted from side to side and up and down, they were full of animal panic, fear that lay in the
instinctual base of the limbic system, and Lisa was reminded of newborn babies and how their eyes flicker
around in moist confusion and how her mother told her that it meant they were seeing angels. She was too
thin and her hair was greasy and limp around her face, her coat was stained and synthetic feathers were
poking out of the seams. Lisa lifted her up, telling her to stay the fuck awake.
And suddenly Lisa felt that something was tugging at her pant leg, pulling her down onto her knee.
She turned to swat at whatever it might be, but found nothing.
Danielle leaned heavily into Lisa and Lisa shuffled them both toward the door, and for not the first
time ever, Lisa wished she lived in a fancy apartment building with a doorman who would help her with
things like suitcases and wayward cousins. They went up the stairs, only two flights, and Lisa was able to
prop Danielle along the wall. She wasn’t entirely sure how conscious Danielle really was; her face and eyes
were filmy. Lisa managed to get the door open, heel-toe her cousin over to the couch and finally reached into
her purse, and found, with no small amount of anger, that her water bottle had opened up inside and
flooded the contents. The ball-point ink in her planner was running across sheaves of receipts, wetting the
edges of her folders, and had soaked her cell phone.
Danielle was on her back, Lisa didn’t know if that was good or bad. She remembered someone telling
her that people drowned in their own vomit that way. Without much grace, she managed to manhandle
Danielle onto her side, her head lolled over and her eyes were half-lidded, heavy looking.
Lisa wiped the screen of her phone on her sleeve and pressed the power button, praying. The screen
flickered on and before it could try and really be broken, she punched in the emergency number. A cheery
operator got her information, his voice full of trained relaxation and confidence. Her cousin had fallen and
hit her head, she said, she may be on drugs or maybe she hasn’t eaten (but she is a fucking moron, was the
thought that was omitted from her report, so if you could please take fucking care of that) and the operator
reassured her that an ambulance was on the way. And Lisa, hating herself a little for it, found immense

comfort in his general unaffected attitude, because her heart was pounding and her fingers were shaking
and she found that she had gripped Danielle’s wrist in the vice of her right hand. The water on the phone,
black with ink, had dripped down along her jaw line and pooled in the hollow of her throat. She was scared.
***
Danielle finally came to when she felt the black dog licking her nose and mouth. She wiped at its
muzzle, pushing it away, and opened her eyes, re-focusing, trying to see where she was. The apartment was
lit up in yellows and beiges; the couch beneath her was green. She sniffed once, feeling her eyes start to
water, as if she had been holding them open for hours. Her head was pounding. And the black dog was
sniffing her elbow, its tail wagging. She had the vague feeling she was in Clark’s apartment, before she saw
Lisa sitting at her feet. She raised her hand in a weak salute. Lisa looked up. “Oh, Jesus Christ,” she said.
“I thought I would make an entrance,” Danielle said. She shoved herself into a seated position and
the black dog took the opportunity to lean its jaw on her knee. She scratched its right ear.
“An ambulance is coming,” Lisa said. She made no move to help Danielle up. “You need to get your
head checked. You could have a concussion. You fell really hard.” Her expression was a study in neutrality.
Danielle felt a quickening in her lower stomach. “Well, cancel it, I guess,” she said.
“No.”
“We could drive.”
“No.”
Danielle huffed a little and crossed her arms. “Look, I didn’t know I was on your street, ok? I’m not
here to bother you.” Her lie was a weak one and Lisa barely paid it any attention.
“You’re going, and you’re probably going to get your stomach pumped because clearly whatever it is
you are on nearly killed you, and then we are going to call Jeanine and you can deal with that on your own.”
Danielle started shaking. Her head was pounding, she thought she could feel the pulse of each vein in
her temples and she put her fists to her eyes and rocked back and forth. She felt her mouth forming words.
She didn’t want to see Jeanine; she didn’t want to go to the hospital. As much as she hated to admit it, Lisa
was right. She didn’t know what cocktail of drugs was circulating through her system at the moment and she
felt weak and her head fucking hurt and the last thing she needed was Lisa, and finally she began to really
realize how bad of an idea it was to have come here. She didn’t know why she wanted to talk to Lisa; the

floor was falling away from her feet and she felt herself slipping down and down and down. The black dog
tried to lick her face. Somewhere out in the many parallel universes Danielle knew there was another
version of herself who was not living this moment, who was not falling down amongst all the many galaxies
in her head.
“Oh grow up, Danielle,” Lisa said. She felt her chest hollowing out and, rather startlingly, found
herself mentally staring into God’s eyes again. She should call Mark. He would know what to do, with his big
hands and soft way of moving about the world. She slid closer to Danielle and rubbed her hand across her
back, feeling the bumps of her spine and the gaps between her rib bones, the sharp corners of her shoulder
blades. Danielle was swatting at something, wiping the air beside her mouth, and Lisa felt hot tears puddle
up in the corners of her eyes. She thought about the first week after Danielle disappeared, how Jeanine and
Tom rolled their eyes and said she was probably at a friend’s. And then the second week, and the third. She
remembered posting pink and green flyers on telephone poles and in offices and had even given testimony
at a press conference while Aunt Jeanine, thin and sick-looking, clutched her arm and nodded along as if
hypnotized. And she had said all of the usual things and hadn’t been entirely sure if she meant any of them,
and finally, with Danielle in front of her, she realized that she had, for the last six years, deeply missed her,
missed her brokenness and hardness and her odd secrets.
And that was why she didn’t know what to do. She could either call Jeanine and Tom right away,
before the day ended, or she could not. She knew they would be on the next available flight, that they would
be waiting to ambush Danielle, and these were the things she knew would happen.
But she could not—she couldn’t motivate herself to click her phone open and find Jeanine’s number
and she felt terribly ashamed about it. Part of her did not want Jeanine and Tom to know that their months
and years of worrying and waiting and wondering had been entirely in vain, and that Danielle had never
been lost, only unwilling to be found. And part of her, a part deep inside, sitting next to her pelvic bones, felt
that there was something that Danielle was not saying, a truth that was not shared, something awful and evil
and so jagged that it had gone inside her cousin’s brain and cut it all into pieces.
“Danielle,” she said, and paused, overcome with the sensation that she was just now understanding
something, found herself wiping away a tear, of all things, “why did you leave?” There it was. Danielle had

not run away, because running away meant that she was at fault. Danielle had left, because something had
made her leave. Had made her turn left and not right. Back home.
The black dog leaned heavily against her side and Danielle felt the bones in her legs all turn to acid.
She had a movie reel she had played in her head since her leaving, of her parents scooped out and open,
folded in along themselves.
“Mom cheated,” she said, and Lisa felt an anticlimactic whump.
“That’s it?”
“No.” Danielle lifted her face up to Lisa’s. She was still beautiful, still dark and feline and so terribly
empty. “Mom cheated because Dad started to hit her. And then she got pregnant. And when she found out
she tried to hide it. But Dad found it. In the trash.” Danielle made a motion with her hands, like she was
holding something. “And he beat her. And he kicked her stomach. He killed it. I had to help her. I held it in
my hands. She and I had to bury it. And I hated them both.” Danielle’s face had remained heavy and her
hands had formed a cup in which Lisa could imagine a small white soul, like a cloud, foaming over her
fingertips. She shook her head, trying to picture it all, trying to see her aunt and uncle clearly in her head,
and found that their faces slipped away from the mental ribbons she sent to them. She thought about her
mother.
And she thought about going to a party with Danielle when they were wandering around their
teenage-hood, about finding bright pills stuffed into one of Danielle’s pink socks, cast aside on the floor. She
saw in her mind Danielle pull them out of her jacket pocket before they got out of the car. She saw the lights
from the house pool across the lawn and she saw thin bodies packed tightly into the rooms. “Do you want
one?” She saw it cupped in her cousin’s hand like a small, precious pink world. She shook her head. She saw
Danielle’s eyes flick up to the house and she saw her cousin bring her hand, fast, like she was going to slap
herself, up to her mouth and she saw her swallow the pill with a slick shot of whiskey. And she thought
about when Danielle had crashed a car, how she and her mother had leapt up and gone to the house, how
Tom had struggled into jeans. His fly was down. Jeanine was snatching keys and her purse and sunglasses
even though it was two in the morning and flipping a coat around like a cape. Their eyes were bulging. Their
bodies flicked from corner to corner like flies. And these things were all that she saw.

“This isn’t true,” she said. “You’re not telling the truth.” But Lisa knew, deeply and intimately, that
Danielle was not lying.
Danielle looked at her and all Lisa saw was a pool of kinked fury. Danielle got up went out of Lisa’s
line of sight and soon, from down the hall, she heard water running. Danielle was washing her face. Lisa
touched the silence in the room. It was palpable, like felt.
***
“Why do you have these?”
Lisa looked up. She had called the emergency number again; the ambulance was still on its way.
Evidently there were a lot of accidents today. Lisa had allowed herself a moment of righteous and illinformed frustration about healthcare. Danielle was holding the blue box.
She was looking at her, accusing. Her hair was wet and its curl was beginning to spring up around her face
again. “What’s happened to your mom?”
Lisa settled herself back into the chair where she had, at last, decided to plant. “Mom’s sick.”
“With?”
“She has cancer, Danielle. She’s very sick.”
Danielle didn’t say anything for a moment. The black dog had slept on the floor while she had run
her hands under hot, burning water, splashing it along her face and neck. It didn’t seem to mind the buildup of steam and the mugginess of the bathroom. Danielle found herself wondering if her grandmother, as
dark as she was, would have liked it that her descendents where the daughters of white men.
“I’m sorry.” And she was, and she felt something heavy in her heart, because she did love her aunt,
and she did love her cousin. And she felt a huge canyon between herself and Lisa and she felt Annie’s
shadowy presence pulsing from the box through the palm of her hand, as if she would have answers. “Do
you mind if I read these?”
Lisa gave a half-hearted wave. “No.”
Danielle disappeared back into the hallway, down to Lisa’s bedroom.
***

The letter was nothing particularly special. It was one of the final that she had read, the black dog
curled in at her feet. But she read it and found herself crying. It was from a patient of Annie’s who believed
he lived on an island. Her head was pounding.
Hello! I hope you speak English otherwise this is very awkward! I’ve found myself stranded. Wish I could give
you my longitude and latitude but the machine’s all broken now and I’ve not a screwdriver in sight. Anyway I hope
you’re doing well and since I’ll be here for a while I was hoping you and I could write to each other! No worries about
me receiving it—all currents lead to here. In fact, if you could go without food or water for a good long while and float
on your back you, too, would wind up in this place, which I for one would enjoy greatly, as I’m sure your company is
not only intellectually stimulating, but emotionally satiating as well!
Anyway, I’m fine. I catch all the little fish that wash up in the tide pools here and I’ve a good collection of
seashells going. I’ve gotten quite a bit thinner too! No desire to go back to fast food anytime soon!
Currently researching the many types of dragonflies present on this island—at least 245 different species and
some are even phosphorescent! At night they come out of the trees and participate in a wide and varying display of
mating rituals, and all their bodies blinking and glowing make me feel as though I am watching the rising and falling
of infinite stars.
I hope your life is as beautiful as this, my new friend, and am awaiting your response with eager anticipation.
Hope to hear from you within the next few months.
Yours,
And there was no name.
She felt scooped out, as if that cannibal had cracked through her sternum and swung her rib cage
open, was parsing through her lungs. She remembered a distant conversation with Clark over bowls of salty,
lukewarm soup. “Did you know the brain is as malleable as an avocado?” she had said.
“Good thing you’re brain’s just a sack of rocks.”
“Really though. Scientists just scoop it out with spoons.”

Her vision was growing blurry and the colors were starting to switch around so the sky looked green
and Lisa’s bedroom floor looked purple. She really, really, couldn’t breath. And the black dog was looking at
her with its head cocked.
She reached down to pet it, and it was as if its fur was the night sky. Flecks of stars formed before her
eyes. The dog was whining at her. It’s left eye turned as milky white as the moon and she felt herself falling
down into it, dipping through the dog’s skull and she saw the thousand galaxies of its brain film past her.
She heard Clark’s voice through water, her aunt’s, Lisa’s. Maybe they were shouting. She plunged her arms
deep into the dog’s fur, and the dog reached down, licked her hand.
She heard someone singing, and the voice was deep and low. It rang and echoed and she thought that
maybe it was her mother, but realized soon that it sounded too much like leaving, too much like stars.
***
When the paramedics finally arrived Lisa would show them to the back hall, where she had assumed
Danielle was reading or napping.
The window was open, and outside it Lisa would heard God’s undeniable war cry, “Gimme a dollah!”
He would have managed to come all the way over here.
Lisa would see Danielle, would feel her chest heave, and then collapse. The paramedics would spring
to action, unclipping plastic tubs full of creams and electricity and knives and gauze. Mark would come, and
with his big hands he would take the sheets outside, to the street, and deposit them carefully in a dumpster,
like the body of a child were wrapped within. Lisa would hear herself screaming and screaming. Danielle’s
eyes would be open, her hand loosely holding a torn piece of paper. She would look as if, from a long
distance off, she had seen a friend, and that they were calling her home.

Spring 2016
Erica S. Qualy

Spring 2016
Franco Cortese

The Significant Other
tell me now: is self semantics or syntax, or perhaptic a semantactical
syntaxonomy? Synthetaxonomy? Synaptaxonometatronionic?
spell me how: is consciousness of consciousness rereflective word or
language? Glossonlabia? Am I? a loopδloop Escher-reintered
semiota whose ass's (Möbius'D inT[h]{o}rough) its mouth?
A godogod trying to catch his tail; word's started end---||--conx
(a/i)nd finnagains to (s)kin the din again
.o n t o l o g y n o n t o l o g y n o n t o l o g y n o c o l o g y n o c o l o g y n o c o l o g.
.o n t o l o g y n o c o l o g y n o c o l o g y n o c o l o g y n o.
[(Interecursive languistics](an internaltion infingressive](a |v|ortext wake in comparessted fractional])
in a word (or ontic lain|guage polyseamic)
.epistemontologistemontologistemontologistemontolontolontolon.
.epistemontologistemontologi.stemon
.epistemontolontolontol.onto.
A (to O) lurking circle circling i(t); urned returns tilled to tell me now:

A B ing
1 the self the
upright I with pointing
head slicked back
sleek black on white
world and flatshoes on
tight, standing not under
but over, this disenchanted prick
stick-stuck stiff
unfanned famished
and downrite thin
think-that-things
thing that has the
pretense to pre-tend in
desperate rank of fate
to be(.) as it paints
its face to be:) one one against that
O an Other and
cold void and missingness
a gape a gash a gasp an
open mouth jawdropped
raw by the throttling
C-saw of teetering
see-saw this top-ling schism
of to see and to have saw
as to will have had once upon
a future past scene both, the 1
the I the won that stands alone
one against the void and mortifating
prospectre of exturnall agency a wild
bandy seethe of rampant gods
to strike black streaks upon
the white expanse and chaste chaosimmotion-fleeting
of inside.

Sing fo tHe Itmes
I is a character.
But not J.
A is an article.
But not The.
Why is a project.
Not a conject.
Pee is an object.
Not a subject.
Be is a subject.
Not an object.
But
See is i
n between.
A symject.
Thus i, by being both subjectable (See) an
d objectable (Sea), is symjective.
Thus 1 the onely number true

to itself.
For 2 is not 2. Nor four.
Thus, the latin Sim:
| pull / pl|if|y / path / ule / ill-are / ian / mur / mull tan eous/
Thus STAMP as sign symbobjective (material-semiotic) with supersigns stamped on the stamp (i/ou)tself
The verb laid upon the selfsame noun because stomp, while symylar to stamp, typically needs a foot.
A pod like clod of god mod [D-If-Y/due-late] oddly
Not metrical, as I n signs, but pedal, as in sin.
Sin whose root is true, and as root bound to flesh, and as flesh to idea.
Foot to head like soot from red.
And STAMP as repr(i)esubjecti've (ethereal-noetic) as
the (f)act of sign-on-sign sex, or signs stamped
stompingly whe'er pent by pod or plod or not or nod or what upyon the stump of the world
For notation is notationtic
And tokens kenn whe'er kin half-broken or somestep interebetween
And motifs the motivation of motion
as icons connect insulatedly-erect i's
And likenesses are looknesses are Locke-ness demonsterations of foreclosed incunabula casa.

Spring 2016
Freddie Bettles-Lake

Sister
I FOUND MY SISTER on the sofa, a dressing gown closed tight against the cold and her feet propped up on
the coffee table. The TV was on. She was watching Cash in the Attic at 1pm., which meant she was
skipping school.
She didn’t look away from the TV as I stood in the doorway, though I knew she’d heard me come in.
I waited a moment and watched two pigeons land on the cherry tree outside and then said, ‘No school
today?’ as it was the first thing I could think of.
‘Hello Fred,’ she said, snapping her head around and smiling. The sudden movement knocked the
TV remote from the arm rest and she stretched down to grab it.
‘Didn’t see you there. Were you trying to scare me or something?’
‘I thought you’d hear the door.’
‘No, didn’t hear it. Didn’t expect to see you.’
‘Mum told you I was coming back,’ I said, and I moved into the room a little.
‘I don’t remember.’

‘You don’t remember?’
‘She says a lot of things, maybe it slipped my mind. She probably made a note.’
I came into the room and sat down on the sofa opposite the TV. It was the auction section of the
show - the climax - and the participants were waiting on their lots. The auction house was full and the
patrons held up their number cards until the auctioneer closed the sale and it was done. ‘They only
made 14 quid on that one,’ Flora said. ‘Not really worth it.’
‘You shouldn’t smoke in the house,’ I said, pointing at the ash tray on the table.
Flora shrugged.
‘The smell will be gone by the time they get back. Plus, it’s my day off. I can do what I want.’
‘You should be at school,’ I said.
‘I quit,’ Flora said. ‘Handed in my notice. I couldn’t handle it. A toxic environment. Okay?’

‘Be

serious - you have to go.’
‘Are you a truant officer now, Fred? Is that what you’ve been doing the whole time?’
‘Mum asked me to look after you,’ I said. ‘She’d be pissed if she knew you were smoking.’

Flora

turned back to the TV. There were only a few half smoked cigarettes in the ashtray but I’d never seen
her smoke before, and didn’t know she’d started. Without taking her eyes off the TV, she asked where
I’d been.
‘Norfolk. Around some other places as well. Near Lincoln. Lincolnshire, I guess.’
‘You’ve been gone for a while. I can’t remember the last time you were here.’
‘Christmas. And after for a while.’
Flora nodded,

‘What were you doing? I mean, I know you were working, but doing what?’
‘Whatever they wanted me to do. For a while I was milking.’
Flora turned from the TV and looked at me.
‘Milking what?’
‘Cows.’
Flora shook her head and let out a little laugh.
‘What do you know about milking cows?’
‘Nothing. But you don’t do it by hand. It’s all with machines.’
‘But why?’
‘Why what?’
‘Why would you be milking cows? It’s not the sort of thing you move into. It’s not a career choice.’
‘I know that,’ I said. ‘I know that.’
‘I don’t understand,’ Flora said, re-crossing her legs on the coffee table. ‘I don’t get why you’d do that.’
The pigeons I’d seen earlier started out of the cherry tree in the garden and landed on a chimney
stack across the street. I watched them shifting and turning for a while before they flew again and I lost
sight of them over the houses.

There was a crate of Heineken in the fridge, but it was too early for beer. Instead I took a carton of juice
and poured two glasses. ‘No ice!’ Flora shouted, but I knocked the cubes onto the counter and dropped
them in anyway.
‘I said no ice,’ Flora said when I put the glasses down.

‘Too late,’ I replied. ‘They were already in.’
Flora scooped the ice out with her fingers and flipped the cubes into the fire grate. Outside it was
beginning to rain, and dark clouds were building up like a huge, dirty meringue over the estuary to the
east. Below the clouds, seagulls floated in slow circles looking for a place to land.
I lit a cigarette and lent back in the recliner to flip the foot-rest out. I sat for a while and then put the
cigarette out, took my bag and went upstairs. I opened the door to my parents’ room and put the bag
down on the bed. The room hadn’t changed since I’d been away. In fact, the layout was unchanged from
my childhood; a big wooden frame bed in the centre of the room, a chest of draws on the opposite wall
and a newer, built-in wardrobe by the window. There were also two chairs and a wash-hand basin with
toothbrushes and a few bottles of perfume on a shelf above it. Apart from that there were photos of my
grandparents on their wedding day and shots of my sister and me as children.
I unzipped my bag and opened the window. I thought about unpacking, but I didn’t have many
things. Instead I brought out a couple of books I was trying to read and left them on the bedside table. I
brushed my teeth, washed my hands and used a flannel to clean my face. I went back downstairs and sat
on the recliner.
‘Do you want to do something tonight?’ I asked.
‘I’m busy tonight.’
‘With what?’
‘This.’ Flora nodded at the TV.
‘That’s not something. Come on, I’m going to see if anyone’s around and we can go out. There’s a
Cuban bar in Waterloo that has a three-hour happy hour.’

‘We never go out together,’ Flora said.
‘Exactly,’ I said, reaching for the phone. Most of my friends from school still lived in the area and I
dialled through numbers memorised as a child, a list of digits cemented in my mind by the repetition of
a thousand phone calls. In those days we always knew where to find each other. We were always home.
But as I rung around, I could only leave messages with parents and talk into voicemail until I could
think of no one else to call. It was mid-afternoon, and happy hour started in forty minutes – enough
time to get the train and make it in before the commuters arrived and turned the place to shit.
‘No one coming then?’ Flora asked.
‘It doesn’t matter. We can get a head start and I’ll call around later on.’
‘I already said I wasn’t coming.’
‘You’re going to make me drink on my own then? There’s nothing to do here. The TV isn’t going
anywhere. We can be back by eight, no problem. Come on.’
‘Never heard you so desperate, Fred.’
Flora got up, tied her dressing gown in a knot at the front and walked out of the room.

At the station, the wind shrunk and tossed the small siding oaks, pulling some of the new leaves free. A
plastic bag rose in an updraft and snagged on a telephone wire, while a morning Metro flapped in a
news stand. In the sky above the tracks, a group of Canada geese flew westward, heading for the Atlantic
and their summer breeding grounds. As we boarded the train, we followed the geese west, crawling
through Lewisham, past the shopping centre and the new swimming pool, and under the railway
bridges towards New Cross, where the train changed gear and built speed on the long run up to London.

Inside the train, the carriage was almost empty. We spread out on the seats and I rested my feet on
the upholstery. The blue painted stands of The Den passed by, and the buildings of Canary Wharf rose
up through the cloud in the east. The rain fell evenly around us, and the dull tracks turned bright and
shiny with water, reflecting the sky above until they resembled a lake or wide stretch of river. Rain
streaked in long, winding veins on the carriage itself. From an open window a few drops began to fall
onto the seats. I watched as a dark pool formed where the material absorbed the water. Flora saw it too,
but neither of us closed the window. Soon we were creaking through the high, bricked terraces of the
old factory slums and onwards into the heart of glass around Waterloo.
From the station we took the Sandell Street exit, coming down the stairs to make a jump on the
crowds. We crossed past the Jubilee Line escalators and turned right at the Old Vic onto Millennium
Square. At the opposite end of the square was Cubanas. I left Flora at a table beneath a fake palm
umbrella.
Inside the bar was empty, and the staff were stocking the counter with fresh buckets of ice and mint. I
ordered two mojitos and took them outside. Flora sat with her arms folded smoking a cigarette. She was
wearing a thin woollen coat and I could see the wet patches where water had been absorbed.
‘We can go inside if you want?’
‘It’s fine,’ she said. ‘I’m fine.’ She asked what we were drinking.
‘They’re mojitos,’ I said.
‘I wanted a beer.’
‘You said you didn’t mind.’
‘I meant a beer.’

‘It’s a cocktail bar.’
‘Everywhere sells beer, Fred.’
I stirred the ice around in my glass and took a sip.
‘I’ll get you a beer if you want.’
‘No it’s fine,” she replied. “I don’t want anything else. I’ll just have this one and go.’
‘Go? We only just got here, you can’t leave after one drink.’
‘I only came out to save you getting pissed on your own, but maybe it’s better if you do. I mean, I
don’t know why you even brought me here.’ She crushed her cigarette in the ashtray. ‘And don’t give
me that sympathy bullshit. I don’t need it, Fred. You didn’t bother with it before, you can keep it now.’
It looked like she was going to say something, but instead she turned and went inside. I waited a
minute then ordered two beers for the table. I sipped mine. After about ten minutes Flora came back
and sat down.
‘I got you a beer,’ I said.
With a ‘Cheers,’ she drank from the bottle. The liner on her eyelids was carefully reapplied, and the
skin on her cheeks and jaw was coated in new foundation. We drank in silence and watched the taxis
begin to file up the station slip road, looking for fares. A few kids waited at the bus stop further down
Union Street and jostled to get on first when the bus arrived, turning up the stairs onto the top deck. I
could see them throwing something back and forth.
The bar itself was starting to fill up, and three women in heels and jackets sat down at a table beside
us.
‘Alright,’ Flora said. ‘Sorry I went off the handle.’

‘It’s fine, it’s forgotten.’
‘What’s forgotten?’ she deadpanned.
‘I’ve no idea.’
‘But I am okay, Fred. I don’t need an intervention or whatever. I’m okay.’
‘I didn’t say you weren’t okay.’
‘Don’t be difficult. What’s done is done. You can’t help it, so get your nose out, alright?
‘Alright.’
‘I’m not having a go, I’m just saying there’s nothing to be done. That’s it.’ Flora finished off her beer
and stretched. ‘Let’s get some more beers. You’re buying.’
I finished what was left in my glass and went inside. I ordered four beers and took them back outside
on a tray. At the table Flora was smoking a cigarette. Groups of people were circled between the tables
and starting to spill out onto the pavement.
‘It’s getting crowded,’ she said.
‘Probably people for the theatre. We can go if you like.’
‘We’ll finish these. Why did you get four?’
‘It’s still happy hour,’ I replied.
‘That’s just a way to make you drink more.’
‘It worked,’ I shrugged.
By now the light was starting to fade and a few streetlights flickered into life along the road. The rain
had slowed to a drizzle and finally stopped altogether, though the dark clouds still lingered above the
station.

We finished what was left of our drinks and walked back towards Waterloo. At Sainsbury’s we
turned right along the tracks, following the high brick arches that curve towards Charing Cross and the
river. We walked on for a while.
‘Are you going to tell me what happened?’ I asked.
‘Why can’t you drop it, Freddie? It’s not important. It’s not even unusual. There’s nothing to tell.’
Above us trains clattered on uneven lines, their electrical pick-ups sparking in the growing darkness.
‘He left you then?’
‘This isn’t twenty-one questions. Just drop it.’
‘But it matters.’
‘It hasn’t mattered for very long. And don’t make it out like you’re trying to defend my honour or
some macho bullshit. You just don’t like being kept in the dark.’ She turned again to face me and
stopped walking. ‘And don’t give me the “I’m-only-trying-to-help” routine because where the fuck have
you been, Fred? You can’t pick and choose when to care, or just turn up and expect me to have it out
heart-to-heart with you. I mean, you’re here out of obligation anyway, so don’t make this into something
it’s not.’
She finished and started walking again. Up ahead I could see the painted steel of the Hungerford
Bridge framed across the river by the massive station behind. We walked on towards the bridge. I didn’t
know where we were going, but neither did Flora, and I was happy to walk. The pavement was still wet
from the rain and we jumped across a puddle that had formed over a blocked drain. Cars passed slowly
and steered to avoid the puddles, their tyres picking up water in the tread and sending it backwards in
showers of spray. We crossed through Jubilee Gardens and climbed the steps onto the footbridge where

we could see the river. It was low tide and the banks were exposed, with only a thin band of water
flowing beneath the bridge. The water itself was dark with sediment and I imagined the sewage that’s
washed through it daily. When we were nearly over the bridge, Flora spoke.
‘You can’t believe it, really.’
‘What?’
‘You can’t believe it because it looks so dirty.’
‘What are you talking about?’
‘The river.’ She pointed towards the water as we came down the steps onto the north bank. ‘It looks
filthy but apparently it’s full of fish. I read something about it in the paper. All kinds of things they
thought had died out have come back. Eels and flatfish and all sorts. They’ve all adapted or returned.’
‘Adapted to eating shit? I don’t believe that. Nothing could live in there.’
‘That’s what I thought, but I guess someone did a study.’
‘Bullshit,’ I said. ‘I don’t believe that for a second.’
Flora shrugged. ‘Why would they make it up?’
We walked east along the Embankment towards Cleopatra’s Needle with the river on our right. Rain
began to fall again as we passed Somerset House, so we headed quickly for a bar with a big awning and
tables and chairs out beneath it. Flora went inside to the toilet and I ordered two beers from a waiter. I
watched the rain beating on the pavement, coming down hard in big drops that streaked off the
concrete into the gutter. People were running both ways along the street and a few were waiting under a
bus shelter, shaking out umbrellas and looking up at the sky. Flora came back.
‘It’s really pissing it down,’ she said.

‘Good thing we got in when we did.’
‘That’s the kind of rain that’ll kill you.’
‘Not directly.’
‘No. Like pneumonia. If you get wet and stay wet, it’ll kill you.’
‘Yeah. I heard a story about someone who died from pneumonia.’
‘In London?’ Flora asked.
‘No, some forest somewhere. The New Forest or Epping Forest, I don’t know.’
‘The whole of England used to be forest.’
‘I know,’ I said.
‘From coast to coast, virtually.’
‘Anyway, this guy died from pneumonia.’
‘It probably happens sometimes.’ Flora took a sip from her beer and put the bottle down on the table.
‘The point is, this was deliberate. The guy got left out there to die. He wasn’t trekking or anything, he
got driven out there and dumped.’
Flora looked at me.
‘Like by the Mafia?’
‘By his wife,’ I said.
‘His wife?’
‘Yeah. This guy was a big alchy. Drink before work, drink at work, hit the pub after work, then drink
at home. You know what I mean. Stereotype wife-beater, nasty piece of work. The point is, one day the
wife had enough and decided to do something. Somehow she coaxed the guy into her car. I think he was

already pissed at this stage. Maybe she said they were going for a drink, I don’t know exactly. But
basically she just kept on driving and driving until the guy needed a piss and got out in a layby. As soon
as he’s out and unzipped, the wife leans over, pulls the door shut from the inside and drives off.’
Flora put her elbows up on the table and lit a cigarette.
‘Okay. But when does he get pneumonia? He was probably only a mile from some village.’
‘As I said, I don’t know exactly but obviously the husband is furious. He’s been dumped in the middle
of nowhere in pitch black darkness. He gets kind of crazy and starts walking down the road, as you said,
trying to follow the tarmac to the next village or whatever. It wouldn’t be impossible, it’s not like he was
in the desert or Antarctica –
‘Antarctica is a desert,’ Flora said. ‘Technically.’
‘Okay, yeah. But this guy is blind drunk anyway. It’s raining. He falls a couple of times on the road.
There are no cars. It’s completely deserted. Desolate. Well, the next day they find his body in a field half
a mile from the layby. He just fell down and froze to death. Right there.’
Flora didn’t move.
‘I thought you said it was in a forest somewhere?’
‘I don’t remember. I was drunk when I heard this story myself. After they found the body and traced
it and tracked down the wife, the husband’s family tried to get the wife done for murder. They brought a
proper case against her and said she’d knowingly let him die.’
I stopped to have a drink. Flora lit another cigarette.
‘I don’t get it,’ Flora said. ‘Is there meant to be some kind of moral to the story?’
‘No, not that I can think of. Just the rain reminded me about it.’

Flora laughed.
‘You’re drunk.’
‘Don’t you think it’s tragic?’
Flora wiped some ash off the table and turned her palms face up.
‘Sounds like he had it coming,’ she said. ‘Maybe not exactly like that. But I don’t feel sorry for him, if
that’s what you’re saying.’
‘I know. I’m not saying that. I suppose it would be less tragic if she had just shot him in the back and
been done with it.’
The rain was easing up and people were beginning to circulate normally again on the pavement.
Across the street, a group of tourists were taking pictures of the Needle. One of the group was setting up
a tripod and looking for the best angles in the viewfinder. On the other side of the river, directly
opposite, an electronic board flashed adverts for upcoming shows at the National Theatre. It quoted
reviews from familiar titles, but the letters slid past too quickly and my eyes lost focus. Suddenly Flora
stood up and drained what beer was left in her glass. She pulled on her jacket and lit a cigarette.
I followed her away from the bar and across the street to where we could see the river. She stood with
her hands splayed out on the stone balustrade that lined the bank. A few small boats rocked in the
current below us, while further downstream the big dining ships appeared motionless in the water. The
bow waves from a passing clipper formed a widening arrowhead and rocked the tethered yachts
backwards and forwards, while a piece of drift wood floated slowly downstream. We stood for a long
while before climbing the stairs onto the Hungerford. We left the buskers and chestnut hawkers on the

bridge and, without looking back, worked our way east past the National, where the lights flowed red
and stained the river in their reflection.

Spring 2016
Glenn Ingersoll

Night is the mother of bad laughter,
sister of the tin pan alley cats, father of
the business of grins. Night carries
a knife long since dulled by bones that
put up a good fight against cleaning; this is the
scream that spreads across the street,
the sack that held it split by a toothpick.
It is the flickering of a drunk in glass,
the dealer whose fix is silver-plated,
factory fresh, and old as your afterbirth.
Night is dressed up, playing doctor,
your clit a neat fit in her long slow groove.
Orange, red, three tints of sleep, two of
not once, bitches. Pretty bitches with
prettier guns passing the wrapping
that once kept fast shrieks neat for names.
On a gallery wall the sheets from a sickbed
offer a spider a long climb, you’d suppose,
six legs less, reading by the light of books
on creamy fire. The tongue flops on the floor,
a pope’s clock or cock, its new movement
what night wants to beg out of the alms
smoldering in a piano bench under seas.

along a season barrier
in the periodic unveiling
of the noxious brew a steady circumspection
allied with a tender eagerness
began to coalesce around the ambient tincture,
equipping its monofilament species with
a mending twitch
that startled yet soothed the long, unbent arms
which few people could elbow
except among the well-encumbered camelid traders
and even among them desire
was seldom quantified
such that daylight in its cup
could unturn the twirl of the lathe,
wind reburning lines through sand aqueducts
that had been erected two-by-two
along a season barrier
when ladies repaired their damaged automatic snuffboxes –
a traditional task to which not every girl applied herself –
and gentlemen lay stiffly where snails
lately had been exchanged

Empty Handsome Cup
Will you be my friend, empty
handsome cup spilling new seasons
that haven’t that haven’t that
refused, seizing up, their frosts
and fruits, their melt and shake
of wind … oh octopus
oh suppliant moss and stacks of
vinyl recordings. I have a groove
that runs from the brain to the anus
in some music, a quailing tune.
I peer out across the caught waves
and single out for praise one black beak
breaking the sea into colors.
The cup is waiting, is wailing,
its pink mouth wide as the need
and my fist closes on the handle
of the pitcher and the spout channels
screams, pretty tinkling night
terrors, clippity clop go the cubes,
clippity clop, running to see.

Ashes Quit Sifting
A delightful de-lighted lamp actual
balanced on a tier of friendless samples
performs placid shadows in flower patterns across a series
of similar faces, their cheeks lined and rouged
and a fragrant performer drawn with worship
civilizes a corner, then, appropriately, in its complementary corner
next to ashes, which have, at last, quit sifting earthward
from their angelic ledges on the monolithic architecture
of cloud after uncomfortable cloud,
such lamps, such tassels in tessellated fumbles,
such rooms composed of fingers bending, counting, tipping,
a sharp-toothed wonder on its pile of scat,
even a cloaked whistle with fabulous catches
cannot sunder us until Monday, or noon Tuesday
however many ages leak in a Mandarin direction.

singles

CLOULD

THROUGHTL

BOUGHTL

CAUGHTN

BEEF OR AUGHTER

LUOIEAVE

H AV N

Spring 2016
Harriett Vaine

Don’t say I am just lucky
Gush my tongue
Reach my limit
Glow is a sun of flashing white; it is the grave of the earth.
A stone will plunge the world into darkness
No place for children
Swords shall scrape the ground
A chapel of skin
This is a great life
Welcome to the age of 22
Give me a bottle of beer
I don't care, fuck you
My sweet little thing, this is my pride and joy.
Unique is a terrible word to use
Cleverly, you knew him as a man
Very graciously we are invited inside: white bicycles.

Professional Lessons

We knew we would make it, we knew the connection,
We had money and we would put that money on the line
We let it ride until that motherfucker ran it’s giant network
My mother loved to play Brahms on the piano
The soul of American music was born as a robber barren on a train bound for the west coast
On the upper east side of Manhattan, she was a reformer
The obligation to give back was unnecessary since I have servants
Only trees have roots, music has bars, stages and theaters
Money loves to fuck other money, that’s how twenties are printed.
Instinct got paired up with Benny Goodman, thus swing was born.
Culture is the wallpaper hung on the home of a dirt-poor musician.
Privilege is genius

Spring 2016
Heather Sager

DUNES

As we descend,
the beach accepts
a far shore of microbial organisms.
A boy dumps buckets of sand
while a dragonfly swarm a car’s-length wide chases
a harried woman
her hair and knees whirling in the sand.
People swim, spit, picnic, and cast rocks
their red and yellow shade-umbrellas
shouldering the white sun.
In the shadow of a building that
formerly housed concessions
is a home for dust.

SIGNS
Ask the moon
Ask that which
presides over what disappears
Ask the hubris
that begs us
to go far
Ask those who beseech us
with wan distances
and imploring speech
of yesterday,
of long-ago,
or of ill-communicated signs.

LOOK PAST
It’s true,
the god I saw in you, the idealism
and, when I lay on your chest,
the tenderness, the honesty that was demanded, and projected.
Something has since hardened in us, we’ve both changed.
Now when I look, I look past.
We look past each other—and are on curt terms.
But there’s no need to worry, I tell myself (but I still fret).
Marina Tsvetaeva’s poems tell me
There is no new love,
No old love either,
No love that is forgotten.

Spring 2016
hiromi suzuki

In the Palace Hotel

at the gathering dusk
a flood of words dying down;
in my skull, a lull.

Spring 2016
Isabel Balée

DILUVIUM // A BLUEJAY
***
sun-drenched
& swollen
mother
of golden
breath

thinning
mother
bleeding
starvation

labored,

float away with me
in a seashell,

***
the sky
entombed
in my chest
ripped
sky
ripped out
of me
mother
so cruelly
ripped out
with a pair of pliers
the back of my mouth
stuffed
with gauze
blood & saliva
courses
my jowls
the stars

blood thinning
deep

keel me over
& curdle me
earth
is pulled out
from under my feet
I cannot
an earth
to catch me

fall

without

***
dying
annis pluribus
inhumed
inauditum
in my sternum
too private

my
eyes
are cisterns
my mouth
a brackish hole
thinning
flooded
lungs
where
a bird sat sadly;
where a bluejay
too private
for birds
my
calcified
blood
Mother

O bluejay:

water rises
after the
breach
growing
in me
in tunnels
of ribcage

& detritus
of
gutted
cathedrals
where
a bird from the swamp
sat sadly on the roofs,
the dying
I know
it is
water
prevailing
cartilage
& high mountains
under
whole heaven
covered,
anemic,

aortic,

***
Mother High Water,
where is the light? in the hole
of my lung
where you planted a tree?
where a bird
from the swamp
watched, sadly?
my roof
mother
exhumed
watching
dense
moss
dying I know
I know it
It is an oak;

***
high water
convulses
to the feet
of the saints
steeped in
brackish
her

body

bleeds

inward

into the city
without

her

she moves
out of me

in &

the saints
could not protect
my mother
submerged
can not protect
me

***
the empty
part
spreads

of me
to every

the empty

organ

gutted

house

of me
cleans
of

her mother’s bedroom
reading glasses

tiny bowls

& tiny scrawlings
O light

leave me

supine

&

spill-over,
a long-necked
in

bird

lonely
weighted
sleep,

from the window
the buds
turn yellow

& curl

before falling
from the tree
prematurely;

***
lay with me
in the water
let your lung

overflow

the brackish
let your blood

calcify

the oxbows
the egrets
est tot aquas
removed from
memory
meadows
inundavisse
engulfed
like fish
overrun
in the hallway

living

they tell me
I will not
remember
but my mind
does not protect me
does not
protect
my

family

anxious
about

the new
neoplasmic
skyline
at the end
of the hallway

clinical findings
devoted
to consultation
with family
representing
blood products &

a bluejay
perched
without

your

swollen

sunshine

is not
a bluejay,
a bluejay
perched
is a cistern
effusing
between me
& the

living
undifferentiated
daughter at

bedside today
head

on mother’s
pleural

effusion

born in reverse

the daughter now

the mother

lung

here is the water

mommy

drink it

through

the straw
whenever
you are ready
to

go

let

go

“i will be ok”

Notes on the poem:
Some lines adapted from Genesis 7:19
The following lines lines are influenced by historical research of Christian Rohr.
From his article Writing a Catastrophe. Describing and Constructing Disaster Perception in Narrative:
“The saints could not protect” is adapted from the passage, “at such a time, even the saints could not
provide protection from the flooding, indeed they themselves were not spared,” (Rohr 98).
“Where a bird sat sadly / from the swamp” is adapted from a latin transcription of the great flood of
Linz in 1501 (Rohr 91).
“annis pluribus inauditum est tot aquas inundavisse” is an account of destructive events from
Humanist Enea Silvio Piccolomini: “For many years no one heard of such a flood (annis pluribus
inauditum est tot aquas inundavisse) like that which we ourselves watched rise in the new city
quarter of Vienna. “ (Rohr 98).

Bibliography:
Rohr, Christian. “Writing a Catastrophe. Describing and Constructing Disaster Perception in Narrative
Sources from the Late Middle Ages”. Historical Social Research / Historische Sozialforschung 32.3 (121) (2007): 88–
102.

Spring 2016
Jasper Brinton

litscapes
Moved the discord temper on to outskirts
A wall hanging had come to something
This could have been profile trace and accident
A trunk-line volume running cycling script
The troubled had to pattern natural shakling
Chunks of the sudden parkland salve
Or heaven deranged by north house peaks
But blue simply revenues variance —cloud split
Chance perfume manufactured chemical
Together now under occupied drift and polymer
End pleasures urbanely fold the cover
To sweep the bay full of white binding
The busiest sort of building atmosphere
Which forgets piston attention the move south
That grants license to whatever forfeits water
Obscure even but thematically improved
As his open model builds on ad content
During an era of intentional geek centrality
Neglected sofas turn up the variables
Smart weather during assembly / a vote
As springs weep seeds odd factual matters
As also ground pleats designate
Possibly to any configuration worth the tinder
Given that outcome — gem from rock
Upstairs the city skyline the thunderous dawn
Lies brightly charged with valorous implant
Underfoot unless his vein burn the ridge

Spring 2016
Jeri Thompson

Mark

Is in his room with his new girlfriend.
I hear them giggling
‘til late hours, like we used to do.
He hasn’t had a girlfriend
since last summer.
They’ve been together every night,
and he works mornings.
I slept with Tracy again last night.
Mark told me “Tracy is a male slut.”
I didn’t explain that’s why Tracy was there.

The Gym

Women in yoga pants, wearing blue eye shadow
and red nail polish, prance in for aerobics.
I go in wearing sweats, towel, headphones
and head for the lifecycle.
What I want to know is this –
why is sweat dripping off my chin and nose
while they get dates with men who drive Porsches?

Darryl

You in the living room listening to Fear,
“I don’t care about you, fuck you.”
I am in my bed. What is keeping us apart?
A hall, Fear, a half closed door.
Since staying with me you bury your face in papers.
At work you massage my shoulders.
You touched me
Along neck, between thighs,
Even when your friends were looking.
You kissed me wild-dog crazy,
Moaned louder each time.
Your fingers were soldiers on new ground.
That’s all… new ground.
Now too tired masturbation combats
Terrorist forces of insomnia.
Marching vacant fingers
Confirm solitude.

Just Wait

It surprises me anew,
each slump I slog through,
when clouds break. It takes storms
to clear the way for sun’s fire.
Just wait, it is worth the winds
to feel the warmth.

Spring 2016
Jesper Andreasson

The Nearly Dead

Snow fell in the night, burying the soldiers in the meadow, so only the scuffed tips of their boots
stuck out. Just past midnight, her village’s forces had taken them out with rifle fire, not losing a single soul
(unless you count the decrepit horse), whereas the dead men in the field numbered sixty or seventy.
She had watched the massacre from behind her window, the shots and the cries, feeling victorious
and ashamed. Or rather she had listened to the shots and cries (her pane was completely frosted-over). They
were indeed trespassers, she had thought, her ear pressed against the cold glass, but defenseless, caught off
guard in the pitch!
Trudging now at dawn among the fallen in a search for survivors, she heard coughing to her left.
(The rest of the town was at mass, celebrating, before the cleanup began.) She squatted by the downed
officer, brushed the powder from his face, slightly blue with cold, moving her hands over his body for
wounds. She was puzzled to find none. But perhaps his injury was internal. Did it really matter? He was
alive, and despite the color of his uniform, that was reason enough to rejoice.
A few moments later, the mysterious soldier sat up, glanced around, and lay flat again.

“You all right?” she asked him.
But he only gazed up into the white. She helped him to his feet and led him into her warm shack,
where she made him soup. She thought him quite handsome, but this was perhaps only a tiny part of the
reason she’d brought him home, she reasoned. Anyway, he couldn’t keep the broth down, spitting the nearly
colorless stuff back out into his bowl.
Despite that she felt she missed many things in her dealings with men, by no means had she failed to
notice that the soldier was now offering her a faint, dirty-toothed smile.
She excused herself and changed into her only dress, dusty and pale, with a crushed cloth rose on the
chest.
Outside, those returning from church went past, walking their silent horses, which, in their quiet,
might have manifested something for the loss of one of their own, she thought. The soldier—hidden to the
outside by the iced-over window—turned to the sound, perhaps remembering his dead friends. His face
twisted and from under the table he pulled a gun, that is, in her mind. In reality, he simply went back to not
eating, looking at her gently, and slowly defrosting.

END

Spring 2016
Joan Harvey

Ouvroir de L’amour Potentielle
If she wasted the hours in unseen thoughts of him, this was not for the present of them, which, as he
was away, did not exist.
But for the future.
The queer future.
What was the queer future for two heterosexuals?
She wasn’t sure where she was with him. Or where she was with herself, to be exact.
She had watched his body, half naked, doing astonishing feats and fallen in and out of love with it
and him.
Sun setting, world icy blue and gold.
Her child, not so young a child, naps.
She had to make dinner which meant she had to go shopping which meant she had to figure out what
to cook and then what to buy. Then she would have to clean it and chop it and cook it and eat it and clean
up after it. It was 3:52. Perhaps she should go to the store before the sun set.
She didn’t want to leave the house. But she also didn’t want to hit the grocery store too late and have
to haul in wood in the dark. She remained immobile, it was so pleasant here in the darkening room.

She had met him at a gathering for photographers working in different fields. The meeting was in a
German-style beerhall and the group had been seated at a long table where they were served sauerkraut and
sausages and good German beer. Beerhalls were a novelty for her and she was pleased when he took the
empty seat next to hers. They had both arrived early.
She noticed how strong and clean he looked. His straight blond hair was cut short, his eyes were
blue, he had a WASPy name to complete the package. Medium build and like her he wasn’t tall. In the
course of the evening she learned he raced bicycles, climbed mountains, and made nature documentaries.
He invited her for a bike ride, but she declined. She was not that kind of girl.
A few days later however she was sitting on the ground while above her he was scaling, shirtless,
what were to her eyes unimaginable heights. So that finally he was only a speck at the top. Something about
that distance and the vertigo she experienced looking up at him turned her on.
She had to admit, though not to him, she wasn’t so keen on nature photography. She judged his
work as skillful and unimaginative. This seemed to make no difference in her desire for him.
She herself was half Puerto Rican, half Anglo. Not tall, slim body, large breasts, elegant face. Brown
skin. Her looks were always labeled “exotic.” She’d married young, married “well,” had a child, divorced,
collected alimony, worked for a while as a travel agent.
Now in graduate school in this foreign-to-her mountain town, she was getting an art degree. For her
thesis she’d been working on self-portraits. But portraits not just as herself as a woman, but also as a man.
She used dildos, wigs, prostheses, make-up, whatever it took. Of course everyone played with gender in art
school and she was aware that her work could easily slip into cliché. But her double portraits of herself,
mostly naked, though with creative use of props, as both large breasted man and large breasted woman, as a

couple clearly in love, had an uncanny quality. The quality of desire that illuminated each photo created a
strange unsettling tension in the viewer. She was in love with herself as a man.
She had thought first to simply call her work Drag. But, at the time she’d been reading about the
Oulipians, the members of the Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, the Workshop of Potential Literature, and
the idea had fascinated her. Though the Ouilipians were mostly men playing with words, she knew at once
her thesis would be titled Ouvroir de L’amour Potential. Workshop of potential love.
She learned that in French ouvroir had male connotations as craft or trade, of working with tools and
with the hands, but that the designation was condescending when applied to females, for ouvroir had also
referred to a place where impoverished and underpaid women worked on projects in a communal room, or
where wealthy women worked on needlepoint to raise money for the poor. And she knew that the modern
Oulipians had been criticized because as as almost exclusively male club, their heady word games were
privileged over feminist body based art.
So she had thought to try to combine the male idea of the workshop with the female connection to
the body. In the Oulipian way, she worked with her hands, sewing costumes for herself, making stage sets.
Joining male and female work as background to the joining of herself (herselves?) in the photographs.
Naturally it was not possible to see all this thought in her finished pieces, in which, for example, an
exotic nude male with perhaps a mustache and large realistic looking penis gazed longingly at an
unavailable and equally exotic woman. The thought that went into her work was the secret unseen part of
her. Although, as she was so naked in her photos, it appeared she revealed so much.
When she first showed him her work she worried she would spook him. But perhaps the sensuous
character of the images muted the disturbing quality. At any rate he had looked through them, admired
them, and never mentioned them again.

Now that she was falling in love she wondered how this would play out in her already existing
workshop?
Her friends could not understand the attraction. Sure, they said, he’s cute, but so ordinary. It’s hard
to figure out what someone like you sees in him.
But he, in his handsomeness, his athleticism, his love for the wilds, remained mysterious to her. She
reassured herself by remembering they shared the same need to be working with images, she in her studio,
he off in the larger world. But while her photos were nothing but bodies—or rather, her body—his world
was completely unpopulated by the human form.
Would he let her photograph him?
They were both in their mid-thirties, but he was childless. She had had her son young. Raised him
on her own. Naturally, she had functioned as both Mom and Dad. She was aware that the fact of her child,
of her warm attentive mothering, added to her appearance of normality.
Now the boy, age 11, was recovering from a cold and sleeping.
She really had to go to town. Her son would be ok on his own for the short while she would be away.
The temperature dropped. The roads were icy. In the car, on the radio, the opera Fidelio, in which a
woman disguised as a man goes to rescue her (male) lover. And in which another woman falls in love with
the disguised woman, thinking she is a man.
As she drove she thought of how she dreamt fairly frequently about opera. Was a certain kind of
person drawn to such things? A queer male. She was quite sure, from his taste in music, that he didn't listen
to opera.

She found his relationship to music, to film, to art in general naive. She realized she thought in
general he was naive. But for some reason she found his naivety exciting.
At the grocery store sexual tension seemed heightened, perhaps because those of them there—
besides herself, mostly single men on Sunday night—had ventured out in this extreme cold. They
exchanged complicit nods, glances.
At the meat counter, the butch female butcher.
When she had thought Ouvroir, she had also thought, simultaneously, Abbatoir.
Abattoir d’Amour.
Slaughterhouse of love.
In the checkout line, a guy cruising the handsome young checkout clerk.
Would he even notice such things? How could she love someone with such a different imagination?
She drove home. She unpacked the groceries. She carried in more firewood, though it was her son’s job.
He was still napping. She’d have to wake him in a while and make dinner.
And now. Definitely dark outside. Moon waxing. She closed the shades to try to keep some heat in.
She’d have to decide about drinking, cooking, waking the child. There were dishes that need doing.

As an undergraduate she’d studied French. And noticed the writers she loved most were all queer
men — Gide, Proust, Roland Barthes. Thinking in French, which felt both strange and familiar, and yet
somehow natural, also somehow made her feel queer.
He didn’t know any other languages. He didn’t read French theory, or any other kind. He spent
months mostly alone in the wilderness, while she had never gone camping in her life. Yet somehow he was
drawn to her as well.
She realized that in her reading, in a woman’s body what she identified with were gay men.
She, of course, did not identify as queer. To do so would be to be like the white woman who
identified as black and ran the NAACP chapter in Seattle. And yet.
Some women solved this particular issue by hooking up with transgender women. Women who were
also men. Both sexes in one. But perhaps she herself was both sexes in one, straight woman and a gay man.
She wondered if he thought he was fucking a straight woman when he was actually fucking a gay
man in a woman’s body. She was delighted at the ways in which they misunderstood each other and yet it
still worked.
The mislove of this.
She wouldn’t be the only queer in love with a straight person. The question was, would he freak out
if he knew?
Mais.
But. She wasn’t sure this was even true.

Miss Recognition.
Maybe she was just a regular heterosexual with fantasies of otherness in spite of it all. Like the kinky
submissive woman who finds the perfect Dom and then together they act out a traditional relationship in
which she caters to his every wish.
She told herself she should stop thinking. Thinking was her biggest vice. She began chopping garlic
for dinner. She checked her email. Nothing from him. Just people trying to sell her books and perfume.
The temperature was dropping and even though the fire was going the house was getting cold. She
put on the vest that he said made her look like a Mongol after he said her boots looked like Atilla the Hun’s.
Maybe because she’d disparaged his soundtrack.
He liked what he called sexy secretary. Tight skirt and heels. Fortunately it turned her on to dress
like that sort of woman. Another costume, another disguise.
It was his manly side that attracted her. There was something about his distances, the way he didn’t
express himself, the long silences required by his work off in the wilderness that drew her in.
When he talked to her about books he’d read they were about people traveling in Antarctica, about
dog sled rescues. About mountain adventures.
What would it be like to photograph him looking at her?
He’d been away almost a month. So far they’d actually only had a few weeks together when he
wasn’t traveling.

She found herself frequently hoping for phone calls which, because he was often out of range, rarely
came. As usual she turned to books to help her. Roland Barthes on love. That French thing, that gay thing.
In which Barthes too waits for the phone to ring. To wring.
She made dinner, which felt good. Kissed her son when he woke. They ate together. He was feeling
better, she helped him with his homework, put him back to bed.
Cold, wind, snow. She’d better put more logs on the fire.
Her head was full of trees, wind, night, a postcard of an Egyptian woman who reminded her a little of
herself.
Mostly though her thoughts were filled with him. He was too straight, he lacked imagination, the
music he chose for his films was maudlin. Thinking these things she stopped being in love with him, began
reading a book of queer theory by Jose Munoz, got happy again, started daydreaming again, fell in love with
him again. He didn’t have to do anything. He didn’t even have to be in the room.
Really in spite of not being in love with him she was in love with him.
A little beer, and she was all je t’aime moi non plus.
Because just that day she had stumbled across a YouTube of a tomboyish Jane Birkin singing that
song to thoughts of the very gay Joe D’Alessandro.
And she had then learned the song was part of a movie about Jane Birkin being in love with a gay
man who could only get it up when he fucked her in the ass. Which was physically too painful for her to
bear.

Odd how she felt that being in or out of love with him did not affect her feeling for or fascination with
him.
Tomorrow she would go to her studio. But first she must buy a blond male wig with short straight
hair, she must study the photo she made of him, she must put on the underwear she surreptitiously stole
from him, make her calves look more toned with make-up as if she frequently rode a bicycle. Surround
herself with photos of beautiful empty wildernesses.
Would she recognize herself in her image of him?
Daydreaming she wondered if she would she accompany him into the wilderness someday. Leave
her studio for a different world?
Next day, icy clear blue. Child in a bad mood. She drove him to school as he was late for the bus. A
thought arrived, departed. The mountains appeared very new white under their snow. She went to her
studio. She lay on the floor.

Spring 2016
Joel Best

“recognize”
who is that
man
with parchment
face
lost in the cereal aisle
talking
to himself
perhaps asking favors
of invisible gods
the scene
is familiar
in a way
most hypnotic

“unmentionable”
photograph
hidden in the bottom drawer
torn and scattered
among a crumpling of panties
this snowstorm of small pieces
begs to be reassembled
into a face
handsome and unfamiliar
whoever he is
smiling at camera
uncannily certain of himself
missing an eye
a section of chin
the empty spaces reminiscent
of birds
in flight

“Conversant”
the mountain of centuries
where wind flows backwards
erasing the myriad years
the great mountain
once spoke to god
who did not answer
having forgotten how

Spring 2016
John Sweet

king of crows
unfolds his map of hearts out in the great western desert
and laughs at the thought of january in upstate new york of
me and my notebooks and empty canvases
my bitter hatreds my
fucked up points of view
and i say to you here
so what if cobain is dead?
and i say to you here
so what if the war is lost?
because you still have your dead-end job and you still have
your internet porn don’t you?
still have your pills and your shotgun and your
wife’s sister to screw on friday nights and
isn’t this america?
i ask
and aren’t you truly blessed?
and i know he’s laughing at this small impotent speech
out there in the sunlight i can only faintly remember and i
know he’s laughing at my failed attempts at success
at the headlights that pin small animals to the road at
the houses that burn and all we have left between us
at this point
is our drunken staggering race to the grave

an essay on power
found that fucker hiding
in the basement and
dragged him up into the light
cut off his hands to help him
start talking then cut out
his tongue because he
needed to see
let the crows have his eyes
just because it was funny
let his children have his
bones just to shut them up
just to get them to stop
all their goddamn crying

the prophet, without shame
asked but how can you be
starving with a stomachful of broken glass?
asked how you can you stand in the
light of a dying sun
and tell me you feel cold?
was the end of an age, maybe,
or at least of an era, and it was the start of
another doomed century
i was told it was a gift, this being
allowed to grow old in the kingdom of crows, and
i was told we were the lucky ones
was told to pray until i
coughed up blood
asked now doesn’t that feel better? and
i smiled, but i knew about the murdered
children, about the shallow pits just past the
factories, the wars fought for oil rights
i knew about the wealthy
devouring the poor
the two of us standing in tanguy’s back yard
all winter long just
waiting for the sound of the gun shot
the jokes you made about the
futility of both art and love,
which i never understood
asked aren’t you happy yet?
but the wounds were still fresh

the mother was stoned on the living room
floor, the baby dead in the bathtub
on fire in the middle of the road
a victim of indifference, which is how
i would describe most of us

Spring 2016
Josepha Gutelius

Vibrational Flu
Take your time. God’s not going anywhere.

Nana smiles with that weak wakefulness she has when she is drifting off. Her mouth, her purple lace
blouse, the strands of akoya pearls on her chest, her Adam’s apple don’t move because she’s no longer here
to move them. Her rolled-up eyes don’t blink. She doesn’t seem to be breathing. The man turns his head
away as if embarrassed.
This is devil’s work, he says.
Now it is up to me to ask the man if he would like some tea. We are in the sunny room we call the
salon where every corner flickers with cobwebs. The stone floor is so filthy it rings like glass under the
wheels of the tea caddy I nudge toward the man. May refuses to clean the salon. The room is contaminated,
she says. Dead people are rotting in it. But also I think this is the real reason May refuses to clean the salon:
she’s annoyed that Nana won’t let her serve the tea to Nana’s clients. May can’t help herself, she’ll giggle and
spill the tea and Nana says May has a silly habit of gawking at Nana’s visitors.

I’m trained to serve tea to Nana’s women, to be silent and grave. This is the first man I’ve seen with
Nana. As unhappiness is measured, he’s on par with Nana’s usual visitors, which are always women. Some
ask Nana for love potion, and Nana will shoo them off to Chinatown, where there are excellent remedies, she
says.
The women come weepy for hope and Nana gives them that in heaps. But men don’t come to Nana.
Why? I don’t know, I’ve never thought about it until now. May says that men don’t have feelings except for
pure love of themselves. I don’t know if men have feelings but I’m always pleased I can give Nana’s visitors a
little comfort. I pour tea in a Meissen cup and I play the mime, I offer sugared ginger piled in the center of a
hand-painted rose plate. The ginger burns your mouth but the sugar will dilute the burn with an ah feeling
after you wash it down with Lady Grey. I urge the man -- with a silent nod and a sweep of my hand -- to eat a
ginger candy to distract him from the commotion of Michael’s wings. Archangel Michael, who can shrink to
the size of a pin and bring babies safely into the world or expand to balance the earth’s sacks of disease and
tragedy on his thumb. Michael is the one Nana is listening to, and she will repeat what he tells her.
The girl was sixteen, out on a walk, and disappeared. The father begins describing her ...
Something’s off about the man’s story, even I can sense it. She was sixteen, left home, and
disappeared... But something’s off, he’s vague on details. Time, for instance, the girl left home at fiveish -- or
maybe much later, after doing her homework. He doesn’t remember, he wasn’t looking at a clock. She told
her parents she was spending the night with a friend. The father knows the friend, comes from a fine family.
It’s all too very general. What kind of music did she like, did she have tattoos or a boyfriend, I would
like to ask the man but I don’t dare distract Nana. I’ve been trained to be silent. One swoosh of Michael’s
wings and Nana holds her palms up. Her eyelids slowly slide shut. She’s tuning out the muck, as she calls it.

The man sags into his black suit. His faith is shaken, he says, it’s taken everything he has to come to
Nana, he’s had to tear himself away from Christ, but he must. Perhaps it is God’s will that I turn to the devil,
he says.
He apologizes to me, You’re really too little to be hearing this.
The man can’t stop talking even while Nana makes significant whispering sounds that should have
silenced him. It was a botched investigation, he says, a coverup or merely sloppiness.
Look, he says, pointing to the sheets of police reports on his lap, they call her missing.
The girl’s disappearance was nothing, it rated a small notice in the papers, nothing sensational, as if a
missing child was not epic but just a natural course of events. As if probable violence against his child were
perfectly acceptable. Please, tell me what you know, he says to Nana, I would rather that, than all the weirdo
stuff. He’ll bring Nana’s description of the murderer to the police to reopen the investigation. He’s
convinced this will happen with Nana’s help.
At last the man shuts his mouth on a ginger candy.
She’s happy, Nana says. She wants your attention, wave to her.
Nana’s voice is low, with a knowing confidence. She tells the father he must hurry, he must shake out
the Evil Whisperers that will rot him. He needs to clear his attractor pattern.
Eat, enjoy a glass of wine, toast your daughter’s freedom, let her go.
The man doesn’t cry but his face twitches with what Nana calls the vibrational flu.
Maybe she can’t tell him what she really sees, it’s unspeakable. I know how Nana’s voice can get squeaky
when she’s trying not to say something.

The girl has a new body. Her new feet touch a coarse rug, faded pink. Nana can give him details,
images, the coarse rug adds a touch of authenticity to Nana’s account of the life beyond.
She says the father must clear his karmic band. Only then will he resonate with his daughter’s choice
to be free. I think it is a terrible thing to say to a father. I may dare to whisper a criticism like that to Nana’s
spirit but not to her face. And my honesty probably won’t make me any happier.
Come back and I will tell you more, when you’re prepared to clear your attractor pattern, Nana says,
and she pops to a stand, leading him out of the salon, her hand on his back, nudging him into the elevator.
There’s commotion in his aura, his personal housing, it looks like wind, she says, the Evil Whisperers
whipping up a frenzy around the father.
Then they’re gone, Nana and the weeping man. I don’t hear the angels’ wind but a shallow sound -the spunky pigeon nibbling for grub on the windowsill. I listen for the clanking and groaning of the little
elevator in the hall. I’m not allowed to fool around with the elevator, it’s not a toy. May will never use the
elevator although it was installed for her, to spare her the exhaustion of going up and down so many stairs.
May says it wheezes and coughs something awful, a death trap.
The tall windows show the murky wall of the brownstone across the street. I’m nibbling on a ginger
candy. I can’t go to the elevator. Not even to look.
I tried that once. I pressed the button and surprised Nana when the door sucked open.
But I did that only once, and never again.
I never want to see that look on her face again.
That afternoon I make the mistake of staying too long in the salon.

The police reports the man clutched in his hand are left to waste on the table whose lions’ paws are
used to hold up a vase of sweet lilacs.
I peek at the police reports and now I can see just how off the man’s story is.
It surprises me that he would leave them with Nana.
It occurs to me he may have mistaken her for a detective, or maybe someone told him she could pull
some strings to reopen the investigation. Maybe someone directed him to Nana with the words, This woman
has a lot of power. That someone, as I imagine, didn’t make it clear just what kind of power Nana has.
I get up from my chair and sit down on the chair the man sat on and I peek at the police reports, more
than peek, to be honest ... and an unreal heat passes through my butt and I jump up like I’m scorched. Yes
indeed, those skeletal, burnt imps prance around me and I take the stairs three flights up in search of May
who is on the fourth floor, ironing.
May has a trickle of a smile, speaks like she knows everything.
May says to me, He looked expensive; he looked like a man in an advertisement.
I make the mistake of wondering out loud: when did Nana start training her eyes to replace what they
see with something else, with something no one else sees.
The people who come to her, all those unhappy ladies: the more they believe her, the better Nana
gets at describing the invisible.
The steam from the iron hisses, expanding, floating around May’s flushed face, her eyes squinting.
May mutters into the ironing board, I’ve told your granny you shouldn’t be in there listening to those people.
There’s something else I have to say -- not to May -- but I want to try it out on May first. Then I will
say it to Nana and I don’t know what will happen, I don’t know if she will tell me what I want to hear or only

what she can bear to tell me. It was a tap-on-the-shoulder intuition I had in the salon, but I give May a fullblown image: I saw my parents’ bodies in a large green metal container. I saw a row of buildings close
together, like in an alley. I saw the murderer’s face. I saw him run out of the alley and stop to light a cigarette
after he threw my mom’s and dad’s bodies in a dumpster.
May stops ironing and turns down the piano music on the radio. Don’t you ever, ever, repeat that, she
says. You must promise me, never repeat that. That’s nasty stuff. You’re imagining things.
I’ve often imagined my parents dead, drifting up to the ceiling in the salon, snarled in the cobwebs
that May refuses to sweep away. But I much prefer Nana’s gift of imagery. She says my parents are gone in
search of happiness, or adventure, but not dead, they’re just young and foolish, and I shouldn’t crowd my
heart with worries about them.
A breeze comes through the open windows and stirs up the gray grit in the air around May’s iron.
The grit settles over everything, we live in the filthiest part of the city. There’s so much I can’t touch without
getting my hands dirty -- the laundry room’s sticky mahogany paneling, the sooty windowsills. I lay a towel
down on the windowsill so I can sit and dangle my legs and watch the man leaving our house.
I see his shadow on the sidewalk: like a shaggy animal; I see, or imagine seeing. I see inside-out, side
by side.
I turn away, bored with the game. And that’s when I probably missed seeing the man when he
actually did leave through the front door.
For days I would see the red light above the elevator and I’d believe he was still in there, left hanging,
stuck: the death trap.

Nana shows herself at dinner. It’s a hot evening and Nana is sweating, her sharp cheeks sheer with
silvery moistness. Something prevents her from talking. Her grave silence makes the dining room more
immense than it really is. I talk and talk -- a typical annoying chatterbox kid. But to me, I am not annoying,
I’m a bird flying around the gray immensity in search of a branch to land on. Then something happens, a
change. I suppose she is having what she calls a “lapse” -- like when she eats too much or too little, sleeps too
much or too little, and Nana sees repulsive, burnt creatures, shriveled up, black, skeletal. These imps are full
of wiles (Nana has told me), they pounce on your heart and -- and well, you lapse.
Certainly strange things do happen around Nana, which she might explain to me or might not.
She’s awfully hyper this evening, I have to say.
I understand, I sort of understand, that her hand is hot. Her hand is fluttering in the air. And she, or
that sound in the immense dining room -- someone mumbling my hands are burning or maybe the girl’s spirit
or the father’s spirit is mumbling I’m burning. (Or she’s burning -- I have no idea.)
I’m making this up. Nana might just be cooling herself off by fanning her face with her hand. It could
be that. (I agree it is very hot.) I say to Nana, It’s like hell. I don’t know what possesses me to say anything. I
ask Nana if she is having the vibrational flu.
That look on her face. But perhaps that look has nothing to do with what I said. It’s not as if I do stop
breathing and drop dead. It’s not as if Nana goes on being hyper all evening.
In fact, the dinner goes on as usual.
May serves the dinner less expertly than I serve tea. A plop of beet soup drains blood on the
tablecloth.

I see myself serving dinner. I imitate the maids in movies, not the wisecracking, fun maids, but the
ones who slip in and out of elegant rooms, soundless, floating. As usual, my time alone with Nana passes
much too quickly.
Nana folds her napkin and rolls it back inside the napkin ring. She uses the same napkin for exactly a
week, twenty-one meals, the same soiled napkin, which May will have to soak in bleach to get out the stains.
Nana wants to be thrifty, but what happens, the bleach turns the white damask yellow, and then May has to
throw out the whole napkin, or use it as a rag for polishing the silver or my school shoes. But May never tells
Nana that her thriftiness is actually very costly and a waste of effort.
Nana excuses herself, I’m not feeling well, she says, and she leaves me alone in the dining room
before May comes to serve the desert.
It’s one of those times when I feel lost, left hanging. Maybe it is now I start to doubt Nana. But then I
devour May’s chocolate pudding and of course everything is perfect.
All of this is important to remember. I still have a summer’s worth of memories before Nana drops
dead while I’m away at boarding school. This could easily happen: these imps stalking the air are full of
wiles, waiting to pounce on any old heart and stop it dead. My two biggest fears: that she will die and I won’t
remember enough to know the difference between made-up and real.
Will I ever see the man again? I go to bed that night praying that I will. Then I could tell May that I
know for certain men have feelings. I would watch him more carefully next time he comes, I also vow to stop
showing off to May and to shut up about my parents being murdered. Prayers are answered in mysterious
ways, as Nana has so often assured me. And, if my memory serves me correctly (the present tense of this
recollection), there is a coda to this story. This is how I remember it: a woman limping into the salon with a

cane, fuzzy-skulled, enormously fat. She introduces herself as the mother of the murdered girl. I sniff the air
as she speaks. Can words smell? Smells are invisible, but Nana sees them. They burst through all the
capillaries of God’s body and bleed out stories, she says. Some days, God’s words are doled meagerly and
then the space between words doesn’t have a smell. With Nana, smell or no smell, the news is good by the
time her visitors leave the salon. But if sad and crazy has a smell, they are of this woman who already shows
signs of having the vibrational flu.
The woman says to Nana, I’ve come to thank you on behalf of my husband. It was due to my urging
that he humbled himself to come to you...
Nana says, No problem.
My husband thinks you do the devil’s work, the woman says.
From one bad second to another, Nana gives me a wishing glance, but I have no tea to serve because
May forgot to boil the water. Burning with shame (I will explain why in a few minutes) I can make myself
useful only by pretending I’m invisible. Thus I’m crammed into the velvet child’s chair to which my recent
growth spurt can’t adapt. I am growing for this very purpose: soon I’ll be too big for the imps to scavenge. But
that’s another story.
The woman says, The police. They ignore us. As if we’re cranks. It’s been hellish like that for a long
time.
Please stop, Nana exclaims and makes a motion with her hand like she’s pulling the angels down
from the air. (I’m so excited, I know I won’t sleep tonight.) Your daughter hasn’t been sixteen for many
years, Nana says. She’s safe and happy, I can assure you. But wishing her dead is not a harmless foible.

But, but, the woman stammers. The jelly body in the chair is going no-yes: a full-bodied convulsion
from the vibrational flu. Me, I’m blown away, shocked by Nana’s casual all-knowingness. And I doubt for a
minute that the woman with the moist eyes and trembling blubber gives a rat’s ass about her daughter. I
shouldn’t say that: it’s the sneaky imps coming around to prick my heart again and bleed out of me that cruel
joy I usually keep hidden away. But I’ve aged a few years in my mind by now, and the imps have found me,
exposed me. Maybe I wasn’t giggling as loudly as I thought I was. But the woman, whose chins are
quivering, drool-flecked, has eyes sharp like an animal’s. The police reports, I saw myself, were dated years
ago -- do I really dare to say this? So obviously the daughter can’t be sixteen anymore. And the point is, the
crazy lady wishes her daughter dead for the same reason I wish my parents dead.
The woman says, We don’t know how to contact her. We’ve tried. We’ve tried but she must have
changed her name, we don’t know where she lives. Now we’re reduced to trying your hocus-pocus.
Why would you wish a loved one dead? Nana asks, but she is looking at me, and I look away, with
the most awful shame, remembering I won’t have Nana for much longer. Already the big brownstone is
being emptied out. The second floor is full of boxes labeled for my boarding school. My future: I won’t have
May to cook for me, I will live on nothing but crackers and freeze-dried soup.
God help me, is she safe? the woman asks.
Absolutely, Nana says.
The woman says, It’s worse, knowing she’s alive, and -Knowing she’s happy without you? Nana says.
Yes! I know it’s selfish -- the woman says.
Indeed! says Nana.

Thank you, says the woman. It’s a relief to say it to someone: yes, I’d prefer her dead.
Of course, Nana says, I understand. But even if you found her, the outcome wouldn’t be happy for
any of you. She doesn’t want to be found.
I feel terrible, the woman says.
No, no, says Nana. Don’t. Don’t feel terrible. You’ve lost a loved one and you deserve to mourn her in
any way you wish. So, on a positive note, do I have your permission to do the devil’s bidding, as your
husband would say? I will tell you how your daughter died, when and how. Or better yet -- and at this, Nana
gives me a smile I will never forget -- she says to the woman, why don’t you ask my eight-year-old
granddaughter to describe anything you want to hear. She will tell you in great detail. She’ll convince you
that it’s true....

Spring 2016
K.E. Mahoney

Tank & Max Do America: Part 1

“So this is basically all of America, huh?” Resigned to vistas containing the occasional cattle and unchanging
landscapes of Mid-western prairies, I put my camera away.
“Yep,” my co-pilot - Tank - replied, equally unimpressed. I’ve heard people call this stretch “God’s Country”
but I can’t imagine God wants anything to do with the terra equivalent of a beige area rug. Maybe that’s why
He casts so many tornadoes here – to spice things up a bit? I think thoughts like that and internally scold myself
for being such a prick. I suppose I come by the old East Coast snobbery honestly, but it still makes me an
asshole.
We’re racing across time zones and through the flatlands to beat the setting sun. There’s only so much
driving we can do in a day before the yellow lines on the pavement start to unstick from the blacktop and
blur and zig-zag before the eyes. I don’t care about my sanity – we’re getting to Denver tonight.
We’ve seen the sky turn the color of the apocalypse and dump sheets of water on our little Mazda 3 in
Cleveland. We saw Mother Nature finally get a hold of the situation and paint a double rainbow in the sky as
an apology for the trouble. We were ill-annoyed in Indiana, but that’s only because we saw a billboard that

shouted “Are you Ill-ANNOYED yet?” in reference to the commute from Indiana to Illinois. In Illinois we
sped past Chicago in favor of sticking to our prescribed route. I noted that I was ill-annoyed that it was taking
so long to drive through Illinois and I was sick of seeing advertisements for the “Lion’s Den” adult stores.
Iowa gift-wrapped the most delicious tourist trap to ever snatch ignorant motorists off the road and into the
sweet arms of a Taco Bell: The World’s Largest Truck Stop. We came, we saw, we ate garbage tacos, we were
horrified by all of the religious ephemera, and we got the fuck outta there. Aside from the ever-present
“stranger in a strange land” vibes, we discovered that someone had stone-cold defecated on the women’s
public restroom floor.
…And the turd bandit continued her terror across the rest areas of I-80W. How does one completely miss the
toilet? Aside from rogue floor feces, Iowa rest areas seemed to have a self-awareness that most rest areas do
not possess: “Yeah, you’re sick of being in the car. Driving is boring. Here’s a bomb-ass playground and a
vending machine full of vintage grape soda. Go nuts!”
We’ve stayed in Comfort Inns and La Quintas right off the highway. It’s important to note that these
particular chain hotels allow furry companions. This was fantastic because our sad-faced, canine tagalong,
Winston, periodically became one with the backseat in a strange hybrid of upholstery and puppy.
“So like, Thelma and Louise, right?” asked a co-worker when I mentioned I was taking time off to go on this
trip.
“Well, I had planned on not dying,” I replied. Besides the whole “staying alive” goal, I was pretty sure that
Brad Pitt had aged considerably and was now basking in Bali with his hundreds of beautiful offspring.
Drinking expensive scotch, perhaps.

When we had crossed the border into Nebraska a friend of ours who was native to the area texted us, “It’s all
downhill from Omaha”. The state of Nebraska had reached legendary status amongst our circle of friends for
being the absolute worst state to drive across. “It’s not that bad!” we kept saying aloud. “You’re right –
Nebraska isn’t any worse than Iowa!” we’d say to each other. The highways and prairies had all blended
together anyway. We were starting to forget the states we had traversed. “Buncha states that begin with ‘I’,”
was the best we could do.
Darkness crept closer and closer as we rambled across Nowhere, Nebraska. The sky was overcast but
occasionally allowed beams of light to shine through the thick clouds, as if someone had blasted the
atmosphere with a shotgun. We were bored with driving and we were exhausted.
“We need to find a place to sleep. I’m fuggin’ done with this shit. Get up early and pick back up tomorrow,”
Tank said, her voice worn thin as tissue paper and hoarse. We had run out of things to talk about for the day
and had been driving in silence. There was nothing along the road that we hadn’t seen before. Just miles and
miles of asshole long-distance truckers clogging up both lanes of the highway, refusing to pass each other.
We imagined that they inched ahead of each other slowly, throwing a middle finger to the other along the
way. “Fuck you, I’m not letting you pass!” I wondered if it was some strange form of machoism. “Fuck you,
your rig sucks! Feel the power! I give no quarter!”
We weren’t even in Colorado yet but we were so close that I could almost taste the mountain air. We had
stopped at a gas station where rows of trucks had resigned themselves to setting yellow parking lights and
calling it a day. Taking up both lanes of the highway at equal speeds must have wiped them all out. “We
need to get to Denver,” I persisted. I’m a stubborn piece of shit when I travel.

“I’m not driving anymore. I can’t even stay awake,” Tank replied.
“Alright I’m taking over and we’re making it to Denver,” I said. I ran into the gas station and grabbed a
tallboy of Mountain Dew energy drink, hoping that it would taste better than Red Bull. It didn’t.
“I’m going to have to do something drastic to stay awake,” I warned, fiddling with my phone. “You’re not
going to like it.” I found the most obnoxious playlist I had ever created – an “in case of emergency” collection
of songs that I absolutely could not fall asleep to. It was full of Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson and
assorted hip-hop songs to which I could not relate. I started turned the key to start the ignition. It wouldn’t
start. Jesus, of course, it wouldn’t start. The check engine light had been on since Illinois.
“Second time’s a charm, bud,” murmured Tank as she dozed off in the passenger seat. I turned the key again
and the engine turned over. “You can do it, little Mazda,” I muttered, petting the dashboard. I turned up the
volume to “Dragula” and followed the signs back to the highway.
It was pitch black – no sign of landscape and no lights from any towns. It could have just been overtiredness, but I felt like I was driving a spaceship in a void. I chugged the Mountain Dew and kept my foot
firmly on the gas pedal. Denver or bust, motherfuckers. Every now and then, a sea of scattered lights would
appear on the passenger side. Finally! Civilization! But the road always skirted around signs of life and led us
head-on into darkness.
An hour passed. A day passed. Who knows? I was so tired I didn’t care. We were in Denver and frantically
googling the nearest La Quinta. In the dark, Denver looked like any other city.

Spring 2016
Kaitlin J. Pilipovic

Ramblings of the Thinker
Perspiration sliding down necks;
consideration to meet expectations –
hanging in the air between friends like
centuries
of
tradition.
They try to seek out a new
label for themselves, ways to
mold tradition and innovation into the same
epitome of old world technique.
They challenge the philosophy of
the world
wearing signs that say “Just Released.”
Released from the monotony of a complacent society.

Spring 2016
Kat Hausler

Kitty

It was one of those rare Berlin skyscrapers, although that makes it sound too elegant. It was a big
residential tower on a big road in Lichtenberg. The neighborhood was fairly safe and mostly deserted. The
building was cheap, recently renovated and had an elevator, of course. There were twenty stories, which was
eighteen more than any building in Hemnissen, the village where Anna and Mila had grown up.
The property manager, a heavyset man whose sweat was always running from his bald head into his
furry mustache, made of a point of how hesitant he was to rent to people their age, but offered them the
apartment anyway. Somehow, the flood of investors, students, artists and immigrants washing into Berlin
had overlooked this location, headed for pre-wars in Neukölln or Friedrichshain or places Anna and Mila
weren’t hip enough to know about.
They’d been neighbors and best friends their whole lives, so it had been clear when Mila, a scrawny
ginger to whom people always attributed old-fashioned characteristics like “moxie” and “grit,” decided to
study in Berlin, that Anna would, too. Mila was studying International Relations at Humboldt. Curvy, blonde
Anna, who had always thrown, run and done just about everything there was to do like a girl, was going to
the Technical University for Mechanical Engineering. She hadn’t known what she wanted to do but knew

that engineers always made good money. Mila helped her out by telling friends, family and strangers that
Anna had always been good with tools until it seemed true.
The apartment was affordable compared to other ones they’d seen, but still too expensive for just the
two of them, and too big. They put up ads for the other bedrooms and turned up an Italian foreign-exchange
student named Maria who listened to the worst German folk music but was chatty enough to help fill the
sterile, white rooms of the apartment that was just like all the ones on the fourteen floors below and the five
above it. The other room went to Cemil, a short but very handsome film student who was always talking
about having been born in Berlin even though his parents had moved to Bavaria before he started talking.
Cemil and Anna fell in love, Mila hung up posters that were dwarfed by the expansive white walls,
and they all ate dinner together most nights. Maria bought a collection of board games at the flea market,
and everyone passed the first semester.
It wasn’t a house where neighbors knew each other, or at least not for the residents of that apartment.
They rarely even saw their neighbors, although there were names on the mailboxes and doorbells, lights in
the windows and occasional footsteps, clanks, muffled conversations, sneezes and cries.
“This is not the kind of building for student parties,” the property manager had told them at the
viewing, and again when they signed the lease with Mila’s parents as guarantors. Mila had bristled and
sulked, but Anna, as always, had said what was needed: “We’re not the kind of students who have parties.”
Mila had joked about it later when they were interviewing roommates, and again after Maria and
Cemil moved in and they celebrated their awkward little housewarming party with a couple classmates. But
it was true: She and Anna had never been lonely or unpopular, but they’d never been the most sociable,

either. Even Mila’s wildness was a sort of optical illusion created by her juxtaposition with soft,
accommodating Anna.
Still, they’d known everyone in Hemnissen, or been known by everyone anyway; only old people had
to remember who everyone was and have seen them as babies. Mila would never have admitted and Anna
didn’t want to be the first to say what Maria said one night at dinner when the laptop speakers went on
standby and cut off the music.
“It’s sort of lonely in this house.”
Everyone laughed, Cemil squeezed Anna’s hand under the table and Mila made a toast to loneliness,
but no one got up to put the music back on, and then it was quiet, quiet enough to hear their neighbor’s
voice and shuffling footsteps overhead. He must’ve been somewhat deaf to talk so loud. Anna had heard him
plenty of times, but never heard anyone respond. He wasn’t as annoying as the neighbor on the other side
whose hobby seemed to be moving furniture at odd hours, or the ones below with an apparently endless
supply of small, crying children and things to argue about, though never loud enough for Anna to call the
police. If anything, she felt sorry for the upstairs neighbor, whom she pictured as a lonely old man in a worn
sweatsuit and slippers.
“Oh, him,” Mila said, trying to ease the awkwardness of the long silence by pretending they’d all been
listening to the neighbor.
“I always wonder who he’s talking to,” Cemil said. “You hear him a lot, don’t you, Babe?”
Everyone looked at Anna.
“I try to ignore him,” she said, and then, when that wasn’t enough, “I don’t think there is anyone else.”
“Like he’s crazy?” Mila asked.

“He sounds harmless,” Maria said. “I wonder if we’ve seen him before.”
“We barely ever see anyone,” Anna said, and she was glad that Maria had already said that about the
loneliness, because otherwise she might have to now. Everyone was silent again, but they were all looking
up at the ceiling, as if that were the best way to hear through it.
“Dinner’s ready, Kitty,” the man’s muffled voice said. “Come and get it!”
They couldn’t hear anything else moving above them, but the man had a heavy tread that would’ve
drowned out most other people, let alone a small animal. Besides, it would be too sad to believe he didn’t
even have a pet to talk to.
Anna pictured his kitchen to herself, the nearly empty refrigerator, sparse dishes and paper bag filled
with cat food. The fickle cat that wouldn’t come when it was called, wouldn’t eat its dinner, would never
respond no matter how much or how loudly the man spoke. Listening now, she realized she’d often heard
that coaxing tone of voice, maybe even made out the word “kitty” without thinking anything of it. And here
we all are together, she thought with something like guilt.
“At least he’s got the cat,” Mila said.
Anna looked at Cemil, who sighed and said, “Maybe we should introduce ourselves. He must be so
lonely.” The word “here” trailed silently after his words, as if the man and his cat would’ve been much
happier somewhere else. In another, smaller building, where the man met neighbors in the elevator or the
hall.
“But we can’t,” Mila said. “After all this time. I mean, if we can hear him this clearly, don’t you think
he knows how long we’ve been here? Especially someone that lonely with nothing else to think about.”

Silence fell again, maybe because of how harsh Mila’s words would sound if the old man had
overheard them.
“You’re right,” Maria said finally. “Think how much worse it would be for him to think we’re sitting
here feeling sorry for him.”
“And what would he have to say to people our age, anyway?” Mila added.
“Still,” Anna said. “There must be something…”
Cemil stroked the goosebumps that had appeared on her arm. It was easier to change the subject
once they’d left the table, and Mila did, but they all knew they weren’t really done with it.

When they were playing Sorry and listening to one of Maria’s kitschy CDs a few nights later, they
heard him talking, and Anna got up to turn down the music.
“But it wasn’t my fault, Kitty,” the man was saying. Anna tried to imagine what he thought the cat was
accusing him of. Had he moved its favorite cushion, bought the wrong brand of food? “Anyway, how was
your day?”
It was silent overhead; the man wasn’t just mumbling to himself, but holding a conversation.
“That’s so sad,” Mila said, enjoying herself, “he actually acts like it’s going to tell him.”
It was Cemil’s turn, but he didn’t move his piece right away. “Don’t you think…?” He hesitated.
“Maybe someone his own age?”
“Sure,” Mila said, “let me just look through my old lady contacts.”

“I did see one old lady at the mailboxes,” Maria said. “But she was… how shall I say? A grouch. One of
those people who corrects you if you say ‘Hello’ instead of ‘Good day.’ I think she was asking if I was the one
who left the front door unlocked, but I could barely hear her.”
“I think he’s better off with his cat,” Mila said, but even she didn’t sound convinced.

A few days later, Maria came home beaming with a copy of the tabloid she insisted she only read to
practice her German. “I’ve got it,” she said. Mila was at the grocery store, but Maria spread the paper out on
the table to show everyone else. It was open to the personal ads. “Look how old all these people are,” Maria
said. “There’s plenty of people he could meet.”
“So, what?” Cemil asked. “We take the paper up and underline the ones he should call?”
“No, I don’t think he’d go along with that,” she said. “I thought we’d, you know, give him a hand.”
“You mean write an ad for him?” Anna asked.
“I was thinking answer one for him, but that’s even better. Then he has more choice.”
“I didn’t mean… I mean, what about his privacy? You can’t just give out somebody’s address.”
“The newspaper will handle it,” Maria said, brushing away this trivial objection with one hand.
“Besides, you people are obsessed with privacy. What’s privacy to not being alone for the rest of your life?
We can read his name off the doorbell.”
They heard a key in the door and Anna got up to help Mila with the groceries.
“So much for our privacy,” Mila said. “I heard everything.”
“And?” Anna asked.
“I’ll write it, of course.”

The ad was more expensive than they expected, but they split it four ways, and, as Mila kept saying,
“You can’t put a price on doing the right thing.” Anna couldn’t be sure whether she really thought they were
doing the right thing, or just wanted to write the ad for the fun of it. But her exams were harder than
everyone else’s, even if she didn’t dare say so, and she was happy to leave everything to Mila so she could
study in her room.
The day before her exam, Anna spent all day looking over her notes with her headphones on,
interrupted only by Cemil coming in to bring her a cup of tea. I wish I’d studied film, she thought between
equations, though of course she had no one but herself to blame for her major. Still, she felt like she had a
good grasp on the material by the time she came out to dinner. Mila and Maria had made lasagna and
couldn’t wait to tell her the news.
“One at a time,” she said.
“I saw his mailbox on the way to class this morning,” Maria said. “It was bursting with mail! So many
women want to meet him.”
“I didn’t want to distract you,” Cemil said, watching Anna’s face to see what she thought of the news.
“It was a very poetic ad,” Mila simpered. “Anyway, when we went to the grocery store, we checked
again and the mailbox was empty. He must’ve spent all day reading the letters. I mean, obviously we were
out for a while, but listen, do you hear him talking to the cat?”
Anna listened and did not. But she wasn’t sure if the silence was as promising as Mila thought. To
her, there was something ominous about it. Was the old man offended? He must at least be confused. Was

he contacting the women to see if it was some kind of mistake? Did he suspect his neighbors? Maybe he was
sick or something had happened to him.
But just as Maria was setting the pan on the table and Mila was bringing the dishes, they heard the
man talking in a low, wheedling voice. Well, low for him. Once all the dishes were in place, they could hear
him saying, “…told you a thousand times I don’t know anything about it. I’d say I’m sorry if I’d done anything.
Well, fine, be that way. If you think I’m…”
“I suppose the cat’s jealous,” Mila said, and everyone but Anna laughed.
“Don’t worry,” Cemil said. “He just needs time to get used to the idea. He’s been alone with that cat
for so long. You’ll see. He’ll be happier in a few days.”
“Speaking of happier,” Mila said, turning to Maria, “I think I saw that grouchy old woman you
mentioned. She has curly white hair and glasses on a chain? Anyway she looked really mad today. Like she
might slap me if I spoke to her. I guess somebody left the door unlocked again? I couldn’t hear what she was
mumbling but it sounded nasty. Maybe someone else needs a little company?”
“Such a shame we couldn’t bring the two of them together,” Maria said. “They live right in the same
house.”
“No, our old man deserves better,” Cemil said. “Think about how nice he is to his cat.”

Anna returned from her exam the next evening exhausted but content; she was sure she’d done well.
Mila had texted asking her to pick up some snacks for a movie night and she bought more than she intended,
like she always did when she went to the store hungry. She was struggling to get her keys from the bottom of
her purse when a small, withered hand tapped her on the arm, causing her to shriek.

“I’m sorry,” she stammered to the little old woman behind her. “I didn’t see you. I had my exam today
and my mind was somewhere else.” She realized as she spoke that the woman opening the door for her had
curly white hair and thick round glasses on a beaded chain. But she didn’t seem grouchy at all; rather, the
little blue eyes behind her thick lenses were swollen and red, as if she’d been crying. Maybe it was just a sign
of age, though. Anna didn’t want the woman to think she was staring so she stopped to adjust the position of
her bags, hoping the woman would go ahead to the elevator.
“What is it you study? Don’t see too many young people around here,” the woman said. She had a
soft, pleasant voice that reminded Anna of her grandmother. It was nice to tell this old woman about the
exam as they walked down the hall toward the elevator.
“Shall I hold the door while you get your mail?” the woman asked.
Now Anna was sure she could hear it in the woman’s voice–she’d been crying. Her voice all but broke
on the word mail, though she was quick to clear her throat. Still, it wasn’t Anna’s place to ask. “No, thanks,”
she said. “I’ve got enough to carry. Besides, we never get any mail.”
“Wish I could say the same,” the woman murmured so quietly Anna only just heard her and wasn’t
sure she should respond.
In the elevator, the woman pushed sixteen and looked at Anna.
“That’s me, too,” Anna said, and then regretted it. Of course the old woman knew who lived on her
floor. She’d probably been in the house a hundred times as long as they had. “I like to walk down a flight for
the exercise,” she lied.
“So you’re on fifteen?” the woman asked. “I suppose I’ve seen a couple of your girlfriends around.”

“Yes, there are four of us,” Anna said, afraid the old woman wouldn’t approve of her living with her
boyfriend, though of course this was the city and not Hemnissen, where old ladies gossiped about that kind
of thing. The elevator stopped at the sixteenth floor and the woman let her out first.
“Have a nice evening,” Anna said over her shoulder, heading for the stairwell. But the woman had
been so friendly, not at all like her friends described, and when Anna saw her turning toward the door of the
apartment above theirs, she said, “Excuse me, so you know…” She almost said “our old man,” but was able to
stop herself in time. “…the man with the cat?”
The woman gave her a cold look, as if she thought she was being made fun of, and Anna saw the key
in her hand. “We don’t have any pets,” the woman said.
Just then, the door opened from the inside and a loud voice called out, “There you are, Kitty. I’ve been
keeping dinner warm all this time.”
Though the woman’s voice was almost as soft as before, Anna could hear her from the stairwell as
she said, “Oh, I thought you’d be dining with one of your pen pals,” before slamming the door.

Spring 2016
Lazola Pambo

“I Am Of This Gender”
I am of this gender
which has been shunned by society
cursed and despised
as being immoral
I am of this gender
that lost the right to human dignity
cast-away and isolated
from social interaction
I am of this gender
perceived differently
Labelled as demonic
forsaken by people of my country
I am of this gender
who cries at night
so eager to be loved
I am of this gender
carrying these violent crooked scars
in each day I conquer
my life impediments
I am of this gender
masculine feminine

“Sexual Discourse”
In the land of Mother Africa
my sexuality is a problem
as I walk in the street
erect strangers undress me
I spent last year in hospital
attacked by taxi drivers
for wearing a short skirt
They said I was disrespectful
an unlawful citizen
tell me how can I change
the essence of my sex?
Is it even right to justify myself?
I remember on April fool’s day
being punched in the face
strapped with two black eyes
in the middle of nowhere
he wanted to rape me
and all I could think about
was my unborn baby

“The Dignity of Human Rights”
The value of human existence
should not end
in a Constitutional notebook
above all things
it should be transparent
speaking to masses
of the urban plus the rural
limitation is death
it should be our dignified right
to live as we want
marry the person of any colour
dwell in a shelter
which offers peace and happiness
The dignity of humanity
is not a can of worms to obstruct
it ought to reflect
an unconditional love of life
I should be free
to embrace my sexual gender
on the gallery walls
of art exhibitions
without Ministerial sanctions
mankind is a jewel
do not belittle him
she must be cherished

Spring 2016
Lynne Viti

Ghazal
Could I go back there, could I return today?
By happy accident of physics, fly there today?
Transport myself back to those pale rooms,
Those hallways full of laughing girls, today?
We leaned in doorways, in late afternoons,
Confided secrets, triumphs, as we might today.
Our hair was gold, chestnut, or raven, catching light
From sunlight’s slant through windows, like today,
Though stronger rays, intense, in memory’s eye.
We sang in empty classrooms, looking towards today.
Who were we then? And are we still the same—
Though life has marred and marked us all deeply—today?
Thread the way back through long tunnel of years,
With young girls’ eyes see who we are today.
Make time collapse, forgive the petty sins and slurs,
The slights and cuts, back then and today?
Recall when all was bright before us, all was fresh,
Vows not yet made or kept or broken, as today.
Could memories of youth –not specters of old age,
New disappointments—infuse our hours here, today?

Reckoning
Out of her basket of recriminations
She pulls the same one as before—
thoughtless adolescent girls, we
spurned her, made sure
she couldn’t enter our circle. We spun
invisible walls around ourselves at lunch,
in the hallways after school,
at the bus stop. Decades have stacked up—
we’ve grayed, our worn bodies
have spread or require rigor and discipline
to stay within old boundaries.
Our feet suffer from bunions, or perhaps a hammertoe.
We prefer elastic waistbands, we might walk
with a cane, or favor one leg or hip, not quite
a limp, but a listing, now and then.
She spies me across the banquet hall—
a hundred women between us— takes
me to task for the third time in thirty years.
It’s always an embarrassment, knowing
I— who fit in only by luck, the stars,
the charity of girls who like me
adored the Beatles, Chinese food,
Steve Allen’s antics—was the object
of anyone’s envy. We locked her out.
I utter a bromide: Adolescent girls
Can be so insensitive. This doesn’t
mollify--the grievances aren’t done.
I listen, nod, my eyes darting
In search of rescue.

I do not say what I know for sure:
I’d do it all again
if I had the chance, would fly to those
girls, throw up a barrier against the others.
We five circled around one another for a year
before we coalesced— Beatles Forever,
Thelonius Monk, Moo Goo Gai Pan
at Mee Jun Low on a Saturday night.

Blood Moon
Tried to see it from the soccer field
At the school some want torn down—
no way to rehab it,
poor drainage, asbestos lurking in walls,
wrapped around pipes, Eisenhower-era
construction, additions tacked on when
children cropped up everywhere
It’s chilly for September, the moon
a bright white orb. No competition from stars.
A sliver of shadow appears at the moon’s side,
creeps across.
It’s not happening fast enough for us.
We want to see the pink moon, the blood moon—
Huddled in this playground, we wonder
why no one else is here. Are they watching
the blood moon on their televisions,
getting a clearer, sharper, super-pink image?
I pull my sweater tighter around me.
The shadow across the moon moves—
Now the moon turns salmon pink
smaller than the white moon.
Out on the grass this night
We six— a tight knot— suck in cold air.
Not another blood moon for years.
Will we be alive then, will we care enough
to step outside wherever we live then,
tilt our heads back marvel at the sky?

Common Onion
Spring, I thought, pawing through the pantry
when the fat onion came into view,
its lemon-yellow sprouts a foot long.
The onion had shrunk back into itself,
responded to the slight pressure of my thumb
by caving in. A ruined bulb, it gave
all its life to those useless stems.
Outside it was nothing like spring, only
snowy, clouds obscuring the day.
Rigid piles of last week’s snow seven feet high
lined the roadway, soiled ramparts,
muddied, blackened, covering hydrants and saplings.
For weeks, the cat refused to go out,
preferring to lie on her favorite chair,
or leaping onto the bed at night
to steal some human warmth.
Boots lined the entryway, caked
with road salt, or chemicals strewn
along sidewalks and parking lots.
Our down coats shed tiny feathers,
gloves sprang holes,
shovels bent at their corners.
Everything in the house
was tired of winter, wanted to be finished
with clearing, chipping the detritus
of four storms, systems Siberia or Alaska
knew how to manage better, through
long years of bending under winter’s yoke.
This onion’s worth saving, was my first thought.
Then I tossed the pulpy thing
into the compost, consigned
to a pile of sweet-smelling rot.

Planting Garlic
Not Italian—as a child, never saw garlic bulbs,
not even garlic powder in our kitchen.
When my Welsh mother came to
visit, sniffed the garlic cooking
in the skillet, before the bread cubes
joined it in the olive oil to brown
she said, Smells Italian. I watched her
pick the golden croutons out of her salad,
push them to the side of the plate.
It’s cold for October—
snow specks fall on our fleece jackets.
I yank up spent basil, arugula, cut rainbow chard,
consign tomato and pepper plants to the compost.
Along the inside periphery of the garden
I dig the holes, work in manure,
reach into my pocket and crack off a clove.
I lodge each one in its winter pocket,
make a row, turn the corner, make another,
cover the cloves and tamp down the earth.
Then for good luck, stamp it all down with my heavy boots,
the ones that took me from Enna to Cefalù last spring.
On the day the school year ends,
we’ll dig up the succulent cloves, slice
the translucent segments of the holy bulb,
ignore my mother’s voice, long ago stilled
—Smells Italian.

Sunday Afternoon at the Gardner
Thieves in darkness smart enough to wear
cops’ uniforms, talk their way into the mansion
crammed with rich tapestries,
room after room of paintings, drawings
bowls, sculptures, carvings—
thieves experienced enough to tie up
guards, dazed, sleepy on the graveyard shift
I suppose these interlopers came
with a shopping list and box cutters,
worked quickly, lifting the art
from the wall, slashing the canvass from each frame.
In the dim light, complained about
the working conditions as they moved
from the Rembrandt to the Vermeer, the Degas
-- unlucky thirteen stolen works, thirteen fruits,
but for whom? A prince shut up in a flat
somewhere between Boston and the South Seas,
or a Brandoesque recluse in London or Philadelphia
with a handful of friends— acquaintances—
who’d see his art, gasp or sigh,
touch the paint, tracing the drapery of Christ’s garment,
nicotine-stained fingers rubbing against
the master’s brush strokes, light that seemed
to gather in the painted figure’s eyes and shine out
from paint and canvas to catch the viewer’s gaze.
Or maybe the canvasses are shut-ins,
rolled up and stashed in an attic or barn,
the thieves not so smart after all,
now long dead and their confidants
addled hoarders, barricaded behind newspapers, junk mail,
packing boxes that fill floor to ceiling, leaving
only a narrow path from front door to kitchen.

The museum’s glass addition sparkles
in the winter sun, people line up
pay the price of admission, wander
the galleries, fixing on what’s here—
every wall covered, the art so jammed
it’s easy to forget what’s not there
till you enter, single file, the room
with the empty frames, the nothing of it all
startles you, and you think
who did this, and why?
Hard not to take it personally,
as if you could walk right up to the woman
in long black evening dress, the pearls glistening
around her white neck, roping her waist,
and whisper sympathetic words-- great loss,
dear Isabella, infuriating, irreplaceable, tragedy—
Walk through the crowd waiting to retrieve
coats and umbrellas, hear them
talking about what’s missing, wondering
aloud, asking guards for details, you hear
the same story over and over, it’s
a prayer that ends with
Give it back, give us back our art.

Spring 2016
Marc J. Frazier

Over a Dark Lake
—alternating lines from The Man with Night Sweats and Little Gidding without edits or additions

I.
I was delivered into time again come forth into sun as if without a past
in the dark time of the year I think of Oedipus, old, led by a boy in windless cold
the brief sun flames the ice on pond and ditches

my flesh was its own shield:

where it was gashed it healed

now the hedgerow is blanched for an hour

with transitory blossom of snow

the smooth red body of a young madrone

the brown hillside where light grows

and fades

the sound of the voice praying

now you are a bag of ash

scattered on a coastal ridge

all the ash burnt roses leave

II.
of course the dead outnumber us—how their
recruiting armies grow! there is no earth smell
or smell of living thing how can I continue
I asked? when I left my body on a distant shore
the year of grief being through (a shell, a husk
of meaning) the peace of trees that all night whisper
nothings but heard half heard in the stillness
between two waves of the sea
could that be what it meant?
this is the death of water and fire

III.
as if hands were enough to hold an avalanche off it would be the same at the end of the
journey
if you came at night like a broken king dark as a gypsy, berry-brown with dirt tender loin
and
glands delicate almost as eyeballs a bloom more sudden than that of summer neither
budding
nor fading his genitals as neat as a stone acorn with its two oak leaves and what the dead
had
no speech for when living or side by side and touching at the hips as if we were two trees
bough
grazing bough tongued with fire beyond the language of the living repeated all day
through
in the sexual longings of the spring all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be
well

architecture
eyes of wet blue shale
troughs of closed eyelids
the body’s fever of warm adobe
gone the dead load of the past—its leftover swarf
what is hollow will often hold
your inner knee: the smooth comfort of a dovetail
the inner curve of thighs open
after—your face the high shine of terrazzo
I hear: each cell crave to be more
my desire to be less
anchored deep in the kiln of your chest

Kahlo
A body tortured, womb misshapen, impaled—
the violent crash heard in all her work.
In the beginning mirrors reshape
her as she lies unable to see
what she needs to, a life
to follow: a coded, surreal art.
The body, the psyche processing trauma—
attempts at childbirth futile.
How many ways can a body betray?
How many ways can a man?
Lust and passion, the need for him again.
What if she cuts her hair, wears his suit?
Who is she
as scissors in her hand menace?
Do we want her to exhaust her suffering?
Who is who they wanted to become?

Spring 2016
Mark DuCharme

from Alchemical Nod
II.
Writing’s an
Experiment
In a state
Of mind. Sleep, too,
Which curls up next to you, devouring
Awareness like cell phones
Only much more provocatively. When I wake,
I am merely alive, but when I
Sleep, I’m transient
Between states subliminally. Like a passenger
Across an ocean the Surrealists
Might have devised, but never wandered
I drift
& Flicker
Between drowsy
Matador, blank spectator
& Cinematic character
In an agitated, impossible relay.

Is dreaming archeology?
But I was talking about sleep,
How I would luxuriate in her
Embrace. (Unlike a lover’s,
It doesn’t enliven or quicken
The pulse.) With the strain of clods
Smashing in, as sometimes neighbors
Arrive loudly at mad hours
Unconducive to thought’s transiency. In sleep,
One often travels
To the ends
Of thought,
Or where one’s thought might go, or where
One never thought
To— & the process
Is like floating on a deep
But enervating river.
Proust thought
To begin an impossibly long
Novel with an almost impossible digression
On sleep. Joyce instead fleshed thought’s
Rushes, which sleep encompasses &
Diverts, when it wants to.
O Sleep, you are an invigorating train
Of listlessness. You are the ghostliness which humans
Suspect, probably wrongly,
Follows them like shades
Around a grand hotel
Which You, Sleep, later will appropriate
Toward your own wicked ends.
Sleep, the grand inquisitor—
The hungry visitor,
Who cannot be
Denied.

You can try waking up Sleep
You can try counting ‘sheep’
You can try dream journals or other “sleepy” forms
But you cannot deny Sleep’s sovereignty,
Her crushing willfulness,
Aborting wakeful hours.
Bow down to Sleep. Court her
In her vast, suberotic finery
But don’t ever underestimate her
Lest you be thrown down, canceled
Like all the Sirens’ foolish prey!

REAL PEOPLE & BUILDINGS
(Being Canto XI of Alchemical Nod)
Mirrors are implied in dreams.
Do they possess occult properties?
Have you seen Maya
Deren’s great
Film Meshes of

The Afternoon? In it
There are shots of a blackHooded figure whose face
Is a mirror. Become pillars
Of night where the sun blares
Down
& Folds up. Doubting my mind,
Or what’s repeated
In coffeeshops. A state
Of unstatedness. Fall
Asleep, you freak!
The window is listening
To dialects & birdcries

Torn from the History of Possibly
Savaged Knowledge, or some such
Imaginary tome.
Is this poem a dream
Invocation or transcription? What
Is the ‘it’ that we mean
When we say,
‘It’ had begun
To rain? Aren’t there
Enough ‘it’s’ floating about
Unsupported
By their biggest astonishers?
If you are astonished
By any where or
Thing, be kind. Be kind anyway
Or become now imprinted
With the look of night’s sorrow.
Is anyone now
Awake or ready
For a state of ravished
Grace? The Surrealists

Were interested in the dream
State or its cognate
Manifested in writing,
Whereas Freud was only
Interested in interpreting
Dreams, thrusting them
Into the light of the rational
So their wild irrationality
Could be held
At bay. André Breton’s novel Nadja
(Which might
More accurately be called a ‘hybrid’
Work, were it first
Published today)
Seems like an almost perfect
Dream. Breton veers
From what might be fact
Or fiction (vision?), including references to & photographs of
Real people & buildings
Of his time, his Paris, & every

Thing he knew or thought therein.
All that is probably lost now. Await
Your own oblivion, dear reader,
Listener, circumambulator
Or scribbler— cleave fast
To whatever truth or
Falsehood
Helps you, tearful/fearful,
Enter into good dark’s sorrow

XIII.
I’m slightly distracted
By the weird
Old guy at next
Table, who seems
To have brought
His own jar of
Peanut butter
To the coffee shop
To eat his muffin (this
Isn’t
Even
A dream)
§
The expression
‘Wakeful
Logic’ doesn’t
Ring as true as
‘Dream
Logic’
§
If this is like some past
Semesters, I may yet have an academic anxiety dream.
Here are some possible
(Classic?) themes:
1. I oversleep, or otherwise miss
My first class
2. I am naked in a room
Full of students
3. My class is observed by the college
President, who fires me
On the spot
4. Our pay is cut by one thousand

Percent
5. My chair tells me
I can only have evening classes
At the opposite end of the state
6. Due to misreading the assignment,
All the students turn in thirty-page
Papers, instead of three-page ones, & I
Only have two days
To grade them
7. Rush Limbaugh is appointed Chair
Of the Department of English &
Communication
8. I am given a new textbook
Which is endless & hopelessly
Garbled, & told
I must teach every
Chapter
§
These are all funny “anxieties”— yet
The thing perhaps I fear
Most is that the capacity
To swim deeply into words
(C.f. Nicholas Carr)
Itself will disappear
§
“Perhaps
I dream
Too much alone.”
§
Time’s swiftness smites me
When I dream of loves lost
& Death’s other useless varieties

XVIII
Invent a swift ecology of dreams
Thrust sleep into the neon
Of your breath when stalking noon
Or delight in the misprision
Of sentences’ thrusting
Thirsting for dawn’s early thrushes’ drunken
Vocables
§
In the café of not-sleeping
I spy a man walking round,
Forties probably, in grey
Plaid blazer
Yellow shorts & bright
Red tennis shoes.
Oblivious, quite, to his ridiculous
Appearance, the man must be dreaming
Though the sun has seeped into trees’
Leaves, & afternoon conducts itself lazily
Amid the indolent world
§
When we are driven like the night away
& Wake into the traffic
To inhabit the page, its possible motions
Its iterations of drifted space
Encompassing the sky as the horizon winds down
& Words amass & dance like shocked gulls
Like sad old highways in wilted neon

Like screens (not of the cinema) which everyone stares at
Awaiting new arrivals a prior history of sunlight
As the leaves are being blown away but I want them to stay
With their gaudy colors & insistence
On birth-in-death hilarity & sex & all that’s daylit
When the night flies away flies toward us & we’re all fleeing
Fleet of birth & words’ slipperiness the means
To sway in rampant colors profligate
Adrift until

light ends

§
Blue refills blinkered
Animate means
There is enough time in the day to do what you need
Which includes voting futilely against the scariest
Candidates
If you dream them, will they become real?
How do you enter into language?
Can one be bored with one’s own mind?
In the place where we all frantically are leaving
Having left / Bereft
The sun is sending us good wishes
The moon is brokenly swimming
Can a sleep poem enliven?
Poems agitate, that we attend to them
They are part of the physical world
The landscape of the body & the breath
§
Getting & giving
Flaunted amber samples
Life heat minus minimal animus—
Jung clearly was wrong

About whom one dreams
§
That last line’s best left mysterious
One often, entering or leaving
A half-asleep
State, half dreams falling
From a great height
While singing in fright:

If you were a ghost
Would you swim the deep
Before you go to sleep
Or luxuriate in the quaver
Of Albert Ayler’s tenor
Which wakes you
From your destinies your
Dream states & mad
Desires?
Can the wind get any higher?
Does thinking drive us mad?
Do our desires frustrate the leaves,
Who’ve spent
Their lives but not their colors
In heaps upon the ground?
Become thick with leaves in the ceaseless
Wander— where dreams veer
& Materialize in the manifold
Eyes of lost lovers, under skies
Wanton with rebirth
Empurple the visible
With the wealth of flowers’ eyes
Become open to leaping
Scratch the stigmata off of dreamers’ bones

Spring 2016
Mark Young

six visuals

A Homage to Jane Austen's Aunt

Canopic

Cartographic

Locations

Note

The Wife of Bath's Tale

Spring 2016
Mel Bentley

fish move slow
continue and
remain
still
lo slip of fish
quiet in the rocks
sleeps never sleeping
softly hung
with mucus
slightly made and
still, remain, still
slow, continues slow
and smelling band
of muscle bended
band of stream slipping
into fish whispered like
some sleep sucked
whispering of fish
flipped and fitted
a stream a band
of muscle bended
gentle smelling
all the sounds
of fish moving
and remains
slightly made
with mucus some

smell
like sleep
a sucking
slip of fish
watered
feeling
sounded
through
one fish
lined lineated limnedh
through the sounded
smelling water of
turbine of filter
feeding on sound
like water some
filtered body
in and made from
streaming filter
body in and made
of sound like water some
filter feeding
while the song does
song
does not belonging to
the singer sings
the singer
found the singing does
the song
the song does
not belonging
to
in breath
washed
through wet fans
of lung of combing
lungs
lunged
fanned and wet
and washed and
breathing

fish half sleep
half move
swim slow
by rocks
in shadow
wedged and
hidden halfawake
bodies
moving
movingly
quiescent,
eyes turned
back in wideeyed daydream

looking for the moon
and missing it
sounds out some
attenuated
calling in of
wet
inventory
nothing builds out
but a machined
attention
still and still and
steeling itself and
everything thinking

fish feel sound
they swim to
see inside it
see through
the touch of
waves seen
feelingly with
sounded body
full of sounds full
of the touch of
wave sign

fin limbed buds
flap fluked
flimbs
embryonic
rock-cased
gill arched in
suspension of an
inner ear
where hanging is a
drum of bone
rigging cochlea
orbital eyeholes
kicked out in bone
carpets layered fossils
in frag amnion

Spring 2016
Natasha Deveau

The Secrets That an ESL Teacher Keeps

May 4th, 2011
Dear Diary,
Holy hell, it’s been a while. June of 2008 was my last entry. No wonder I haven’t felt like myself.
School kept me so crazy that I couldn’t write for pleasure the way I’d like to, and I kind of fell out of touch with
this part of my life. Now that I put my pen to paper again (because I want to), I realize how much I need it in
my life. Since I’m about to begin a new journey, I think it’s very fitting that you tag along.
I graduate (again) tomorrow. I went in a completely different direction than the path I originally chose.
As you know, I already graduated with Psychology in 2008, but that subject just didn’t interest me anymore.
While finishing up my psych degree, I started working at the English as a Second Language Centre on campus.
My title was “Cultural Assistant,” but really, you could have just called me the supervisor’s little bitch. I
worked in the registration office, library, homestay office, and on top of all that still had to plan, encourage
participation, and attend the activities that were offered to the students, which was what I was actually hired to

do and what I enjoyed doing. Heck, who wouldn’t like getting paid to take a group of students to the mall or ice
skating or skiing or fishing?
Anyway, that all doesn’t really matter. I saw that my school was hiring teachers, and I needed what
mom calls, “a big girl’s job”, you know, one that paid more than $8.50 an hour, minimum wage. Something that
I could actually live off of to support myself. So, I took the English as a Second Language teacher training
courses. I decided I wanted to teach foreign students how to speak English, so they could continue on to an
English University and get their degrees. Maybe this would be something I enjoy. I completed the program and,
after tomorrow, I start the job hunt. I don’t think I’ll have to search too hard.
Time to go now. I have some updating to do for my resume. I’ll write again soon, promise!
Ta Ta For Now,
Addy

May 12th, 2011
Dear Diary,
What a time I’ve had in the past week. I know I said I would do better at writing in you. I’m just not sure
how often I can right now. I’ve been busy getting my name out there to find a job.
It wasn’t as easy to get a teaching position as I thought it would be at my current school, ESLC. My
supervisor made it seem like it would be a piece of cake, but it wasn’t. I applied with a professional resume and
cover letter to George, the director of the company. He gave me an interview. Well, what I thought was an
interview. Jackass. You know what he did? I sat down, after he invited me to sit of course, and he was like well
Addy I’m happy you could make it in for your mock interview. Mock interview? Mock interview! For fuck

sakes, I couldn’t believe my ears. I asked him why he was giving me a mock interview and not a real one. He
laughed at me. He actually laughed at me like I was a lunatic for asking. His pompous remark went something
like Addy dear, you’re young and inexperienced. Good luck finding a permanent teaching position in this city
without first travelling abroad and getting at least two years of experience. Go abroad, come back, then we can
talk about a real interview. Ha! I felt like the earth was shattering below my feet, and all my dreams were being
sucked through the vacuum the giant crater had created.
The following day, when I was able to pull myself out of the hole George had made, I printed off
numerous copies of my resume and cover letter and headed out to all the other English schools in the city.
Moving to a new country was not something that I could afford currently, so I was determined to prove him
wrong and that I could get a job teaching here in the place that I wanted to stay and build my life and career.
I applied to seven other schools. My hopes were low, but I spoke with five directors out of the seven
schools. Within two days, I had three interviews set up, and one job offer without even being interviewed. I had
done my research on all the schools I applied to, and English Language Learning College was my top choice,
and I had an interview the next week. I didn’t decline the offer or interviews from the other schools since ELLC
was not set in stone. Instead I pushed all the other interviews and asked the school who offered me a job if I
could come in to look around after my interview at ELLC was over (obviously they didn’t know my reasons for
choosing the dates I did). It wasn’t an issue at all.
I had my interview at ELLC, and it went excellent! They were even showing me the computer system
before I left, and I have my second interview at the end of the week. Up yours George!
TTFN,
Addy

June 18th, 2011
Dear Diary,
I’ve been so busy this last month I haven’t had a chance to come up for a breath of air. I’m sorry about
that, but what matters is that I’m writing to you now! I got the job at ELLC. It’s been wonderful, yet a
whirlwind all at the same time.
I teach three classes. One that is a reading and writing course, another which is an academic writing
course, and the last is one where I can choose the topic so long as it teaches a skill of some sort. I’ve been
having a blast, but it’s a lot of hard work. I get to get up in front of my student’s everyday like I’m performing
for an audience. Sometimes I get lots of laughs and sometimes crickets. However, there is more to this gig than
just going to the class and teaching or having fun. There is prepping, marking and not to mention dealing with
the students themselves. Being a new teacher is kind of like being in the ocean with a giant gash that is gushing
blood and attracting all the sharks. It’s like the students can smell the fresh blood from miles away. Ohh well,
I’ve been wading through the weeds and am finding my way back to the shore where there is solid ground.
Oh shit! I just remembered, I have something I absolutely have to grade before I try and get some sleep
tonight.
TTFN,
Addy

August 26th, 2011
Dear Diary,

I found my footing, and students have begun to realize I cannot be taken advantage of quite so easily
anymore. This is good and bad. It’s good because I can actually help the students who want to be there to learn,
but it’s bad because the asshole students have figured out I’m not a push over anymore and have stopped
registering or dropped my class, which looks bad. I was told not to worry too much about that though. It
happens to all new teachers I guess.
TTFN,
Addy

November 4th, 2011
Dear Diary,
Today was an interesting day. I was cursed. That’s right you heard me, cursed. A student named Faisal
and I had a bit of a disagreement. He didn’t like how I was teaching something. Actually, he never likes my
teaching style. I wish Melissa would just be a good supervisor for once and would just let him change classes,
but, for whatever reason, she wouldn’t let him. So, when I was talking about adjective clauses, he asked me the
same question in a different manner like fifty times just to piss me off and get me argumentative. He finally
asked again, with that awful smirk he has when he’s being a smart ass, and I told him he’d have to write his
questions down and stay after class to get the answers.
Well, let me just say he did not like that very much. He started yelling at me. Not just yelling at me in
English. Oh no, but he was yelling in Arabic. Some of the other students got visibly upset with him too.
One student said (in English), “Faisal stop! You need to respect our teacher.”

Another one said, “Yes, respect my friend, it is important, she is trying to help you achieve your dreams.
Why are you acting this way?”
A third chimed in (in Arabic though, so I couldn’t understand), but I was later told that he had said, “If
you don’t like her so much then you should just get the fuck out and not come back. The rest of the 23 students
in the room like how she teaches, and you are making it difficult for the rest of us. Just go!”
After the comment in Arabic, Faisal got up out of his chair, threw his textbook across the room, and
walked straight toward me. When he got to the front of the room, he shouted in my face while pointing to the
sky, “Inshallah teacher, Inshallah, Allah will take vengeance on you this weekend, and I will see to that!
Inshallah!” He muttered off some more in Arabic and walked out slamming the door behind him.
I kind of stood stunned at the front of the room while my other students gave me a similar stare. I shook
off my anger, frustration, and fear and tried to get the class back on track. Everyone was pretty accommodating
after that. I think they all just wanted to get out the door as much as I did, which made the clock go even slower.
You know when you look at the clock, and you could have sworn it had been an hour, and it had only been five
minutes maybe. Well that’s how the rest of that class went.
I decided to dismiss everyone 10 minutes early. We all needed the extra few minutes to gather ourselves
before our next classes. A student named Fathima lagged behind, slowly packing up her supplies and books.
Once we were alone, I smiled and asked if everything was alright. She said, “No teacher, everything is not all
right.”
“Ohh, why is that Fathima?” I responded with concern.
“Well, I’m afraid for you.”

“It’s okay. Try not to worry about what happened today. I know it was a little weird and maybe even
scary, but I’m fine and so is everyone else. I’ll go talk to Melissa now, and she will deal with this situation.”
“No teacher that is not what I’m worried about.”
“Well, what then?” I asked, and my brow furrowed a bit more than normal, as her fear was contagious. I
could feel it well up in my stomach like a swarm of bees who were about to leave their nest and take to a furious
chase. I tried not to show that I was afraid too and kept myself composed.
“Umm, you see Faisal. He didn’t just threaten you teacher. He cursed you.”
“Cursed me?” I laughed a little. “I’m sorry Fathima. I just don’t believe it.”
“Teacher, this is not a joke. Do you know what Inshallah means?”
“Well I thought I did. Perhaps you could remind me to be sure?”
“It means God willing, or if Allah wills it. It is very powerful in my religion. Then there was the rest of
what he said in Arabic afterwards.”
“Okay, spit it out. Tell me.”
“No teacher, I can’t. There was a reason we all looked away from you when he spoke.”
“Fathima, I need to know, so Melissa and I can figure this out. Please, it is okay. I’ll leave you out of it.”
“Do you promise teacher? I cannot continue unless you promise not to say that it was me who told you. I
cannot get involved.”
“I promise. Go on!”
“Well, he said an ancient Arabic curse. Any time those words are mumbled while making eye
contact…” She trailed off. It was almost as if he had said the words to her. She got lost in her thoughts for a
split second before continuing… “Basically he cursed your life and because you stared him in the eyes while he

said the words, you are supposed to die in the next 48 hours. And he said, “Inshallah” before and after, which
means he is seeking Allah’s acceptance of the curse, so I’m afraid for you. You looked him in the eyes. That’s
why we all looked away from him. We also do not want to have this curse.”
“Fathima, its fine. Everything will be fine I promise you. Just go to your next class and try not to worry.
I will speak with Melissa now, and if you are still feeling upset, maybe you should go speak to her later in the
day too.”
“No teacher, I cannot, but please be careful, especially this weekend.”
“I will. I promise.”
I spoke with Melissa as soon as Fathima left my classroom. I sat in her office in tears. Half out of
frustration and half out of fear of the unknown. Melissa started to giggle while I was telling her what I had just
learned. I didn’t understand. Why was she laughing at me? She apologized and asked if I really believed in all
that. I told her not really, and she told me not to worry at all then. She would transfer Faisal immediately and
come speak with my class first thing in the morning. She asked who had filled my head with Arabic folklore.
Out of respect for Fathima, I told Melissa I’d rather not tell her. Needless to say, I’ll be careful where I go and
what I do this weekend anyway.
TTFN,
Addy

January 8th, 2012
Dear Diary,

A new year is upon us, and I feel overjoyed with my life right now. I love my job! Like holy fuckballs
(yes I know that’s not a real word… English teacher) do I ever love my job. Some of the craziest, weirdest,
grossest shit happens. It had been so long since I wrote to you, and this was just too juicy not to share, so I made
time specifically to write in you today! This is a gross story just as a warning.
So, I’m walking to graduation, and Mohammed was standing in the hallway. I could tell he was waiting
on me.
“Teacher, teacher!” he said.
“Student, student!” I replied.
“Sorry… sorry, teacher Addy, you need to watch this.”
“What Mohammed? I’m running late. Can this wait until after graduation is over?”
“It won’t take long teacher Addy. Just a minute.”
“Hurry up Mohammed. You can have two minutes of my time.”
“Okay, here. Watch this!”
I rolled my eyes thinking he wanted me to watch some new music video on YouTube, but I obliged him
anyway. As I stared down at the small iPhone screen, my annoyance shifted to shock and then to disgust then
horror. “Mohammed, is… is… is this what I think it is?”
He laughed, “What do you think it is teacher Addy?”
“What did Ahmed do to Khalid?”
“Teacher Addy you tell me,” he continued to laugh.
“Mohammed, this is not funny. I’m not sure what I just saw. Please explain it to me,” I said while
handing him back his phone.

“Well teacher, you know Khalid is my cousin?”
“Yes, of course.”
“And did you know he was very sick?”
“Was very sick?”
“Yes, he was. He is getting better now.”
“Please explain more Mohammed. What was wrong with him, and how is he getting better now? He
looked like he was dying in your video.”
“Teacher, my cousin and I are still waiting for our health insurance. I took him to the hospital, but they
said no. Go home, that they couldn’t help. I said to the doctor he can’t go home. Look at him. His skin is
yellow. They said to me that it’s not their fault that we don’t have the right insurance and that we had to leave.”
“Okay, so wait, wait, wait Mohammed. What exactly is wrong with Khalid?”
“Umm… I don’t know the word in English.” He pointed to my side and said, “Your pee goes through
them.”
“Oh, your kidney?”
“Yes! That’s right. His kidney is bad. It has been bad for a while now.”
“Hold on! So does that mean what I think it means? Is that what I just watched? Did Ahmed…”
Mohammed cut me off, “Yes teacher! Ahmed cut out his kidney.”
“Are you fucking kidding me? What about pain? Do you know what would have happened to you if
Khalid would have died?”
“Oh teacher do not worry.”
“Don’t worry? Are you crazy? Mohammed he could of died!”

“No teacher, we sang him a song on the oud, you know a Saudi guitar and gave him a cigarette. Besides
Ahmed did the surgery once before in my country. He is a professional.”
“A professional? Hardly! A song and smoke… oh my God Mohammed. If something would have
happened to Khalid, you’d be in jail right now. Have you told Melissa yet? He needs to go to a doctor. He needs
to be checked out. You need your medical insurance!”
“Please teacher, don’t tell Melissa. I will get the insurance.”
“Mohammed, I’m really late for graduation. I have to go. I’m glad Khalid is alright, but this
conversation is not finished yet. Meet me here after graduation is finished.”
When graduation was over, I went back to meet Mohammed, but he didn’t show. I didn’t know what to
do. So I kept it to myself for the time being. At least until I can speak with Mohammed again after the weekend.
TTFN,
Addy

March 14th, 2012
Dear Diary,
I don’t have much time tonight to write in you. I still have a stack of exams and like 30 papers to
grade… why do I have to teach two writing classes? I just needed to give you a brief preview of my next entry.
I also didn’t want to forget this story although I highly doubt that I would.
Ali asked me to get coffee. He had some questions. I said that was no problem (I go get coffee with
students all the time! No biggie…). Yeah well, maybe this time it was a biggie. Bigger than biggie, whatever
the hell that is because Ali professed his love to me! Told me that he could never live without me. I kind of

laughed it off a little. After all, he was not the first student to profess their love to me. But the hilarity of it all
turned into embarrassment later on. And I mean your face is so red hot that your ears feel like they are on fire!
You know, tomato faced and no matter what you do, how many deep breaths you take, the tomato just keeps
getting riper.
He sent me an e-mail. Like right after I rejected his advances. I mean I let him down easy. I always do.
There is almost a script that all the teachers follow. But this… well this might go beyond the script! Here’s the
gist of what his e-mail said, “Teacher, I’m serious when I say I love you. You make me horny as hell. What can
I do about this? I see you every day. I have heard someone say the word masturbation before. I’m not
completely sure… What is this? Can you help me?”
Right? Right? What. The. Fuck. I can’t respond to this… I can’t tell anyone. I mean, I already reported
to Melissa what he said earlier as per protocol, but I don’t even know if he knows what he said to me in his email. I’m way, way, way too embarrassed. I got the ripest of tomato red again just writing it down in here.
Anyway, I’ll keep it under my hat for now. I have to go. I’ll update / write more of the details later this week.
TTFN,
Addy

April 29th, 2012
Dear Diary,
I know I left you kinda hangin there on my last entry. I didn’t have time to write properly, but that
doesn’t matter now because Ali graduated, thank God, and has gone back home or to University or College. It
really doesn’t matter, like I said. You know what does matter though? When a student goes missing.

Yeah that’s right… missing. Well, actually, not exactly missing. Suha stopped coming to class about
two weeks ago. This can be quite usual sometimes, but this was different. Suha had perfect attendance. She
never missed. I asked about her in class around day two, maybe day three of her being MIA. By the end of the
first week, I was starting to worry. Not even her friends had heard from her. When I asked her husband if she
was okay, he told me to mind my own business.
I went to Melissa’s office. She just shrugged it off. I knew different though. My gut told me that
something was wrong. I begged Melissa to check into it, but she said there was nothing she could do at that
moment. Students disappear from classes all the time. I asked if I or the school should contact the police. Again
she was nonchalant, but what I didn’t tell her was that I already contacted them. She reassured me that she
would eventually turn up.
Oh boy… did she ever turn up. Washed up would be more accurate. The police pulled her body out of
the harbor. Her face had been eaten by fish, so she was difficult to identify. But it was her! I fucking knew
something was wrong… I. Fucking. Knew. It.
Addy

Spring 2016
Nicholas Samaras

The Kidnapped Child as a Human Jigsaw Puzzle

Each fragment of me / is a country of my living.
Each fragment / of me is a / village I passed through— /
transparent, van / ished, lost. /
Everywhere I’m from, / over a longest / horizon.
People are from / somewhere. / I’m from somewhere / else.
Lathed / by the machinery of transport— /
airplane, / last generation’s boats / docking, em / barking.
My arms / are west and eastern / stretched.
My shoes are the / colour of dust. / Each fragment
of me, a human / jigsaw cut / and cut into / pieces
molded to fit. / I am the human jigsaw
whose seams look / like Frankenstein’s psychic /scars.
Piece me together, and / I don’t know /
what picture may form. / I am
all scenery. / I am rough cardboard
squiggled, / shaped, / veneered by panorama,
paper-thin pictured. / Piece me / together
until I can be / human for this while,
broken apart to be / moved again,
disassembled to be / packed or / thrown away.

I am collage, frag / ment of this century, / flake of this life.
I am tongue and groove / that can’t / talk, can’t / talk.
Jigsaw, I am / the mystery of dis / placement, / the picture
that implodes, / crumbles, / my pieces, ill-fitting,
dog-eared. The scene, / static in its drab accrual.
I am pieces and / pieces missing.
Frameless, I am the / whole incomplete.
I am the picture / imperfect.
Proximity is / ugly.
Proximity is witnessing / my flaws, the / scars.
Back up to / see me.
Back / up to see me.

The Kidnapped Child as a Poetic Form

Because there are two of us again,
as there were always two of us—
the child and the ghost of the child—
both of us living inside each other.
Because we remain the two entwined
with split experiences and the growing
single thought: something wrong in this
stolen life, this stranger’s house, not
my genesis, not our birth of circumstance.
Something wrong far into the bones
that becomes the deepest kind of knowledge,
a spoon that fits inside a spoon,
a small face that fits inside a face, a denial
that grows true, woven stronger in couplets.

The Kidnapped Child as an Elective Mute

I
Because I was made to suit them and suit them
until I could wear nothing else to fit me.
Because I was every minority that even
minorities looked down on.
Because I was made false to myself
as I was named false to myself.
II
Because it wasn’t my name, so why should I respond to it?
Because the first thing I learned was that nobody believes a child.
Because nobody was ever listening,
so why say anything in the first place?
Because, after a while, people give up and leave you alone
when you just don’t respond to their yelling into your face.
Because it wasn’t my name, so I stopped responding.
Because what’s the use in living, anyway?

III
Because I didn’t have any language for a life
outside of this bent body.
Because the Requa surf of Hidden Beach spoke better than I,
I stopped to listen. It was important for me to listen.
Because freedom money isn’t something you talk about.
Because it was time to die or time to go.
Because I had to leave to find language and the family of language.
Because nothing up to now was worth saying.

The Kidnapped Child as Landscape
Look here.
It’s important to me.
See this open field, the October moon
rising over it. Recognise these clouds skulking
over. This is my topography of a kidnapped child,
of a vanished world in which even the land
leaves you when they move you away
for hiding, for danger, for exposure and escape.
Look. It’s important. When humans failed,
only the land could enter my heart.
Only geography could be enough of a friend
who didn’t ask questions I wasn’t allowed to answer,
who was still as landscape with only slight wind to move,
and let me walk in it and stay for a while.
There was a wide field in October, a wide field
misted by Northern air, out past Pekin, the air
ablaze with the rumpled oranges of pumpkins
that became my eyes in that year of childhood.
Here, let me take off my herringbone coat.
The bumps of my spine are the redwood cliffs of Requa.
Requa, I love you. Requa and the topography
of Requa, the only thing I could love,
the only location I could live in alone,
the brief running away that lent me silence,
the body I let the surf of Hidden Beach
wash and heal, until my skin became burlwood,

until the ocean at midnight shone back in my eyes.
Look. It’s important to me, the trace of land
left on my hands, my arms, the Requa mountain
in my back. My life, a litany of geographies
and lost villages, the slight scar of each leaving. My body,
a map of every place that captured and escaped from me.

The Kidnapped Child as Multiple Identities
I am the baby who was cute enough to take.
I am the smile from birth, that grew crooked.
I am who they wanted me to be, to be
able to sleep and wake again in the morning.
I am the enabler who gave the man and woman
their identities until I lost my own.
I am myself in the fog, the lovely fog of Greenham Common,
the skin of my hand and myself that tinged with visible air.
I am a ruffled potato chip, the crinkles of my knuckles
salty to the mouth.
I am a ruffled potato chip, riding
the ridges of hills in foreign countries.
I am the neighbour child who wandered into wrong houses.
I am the unbelieved one, at whom teachers only smiled.
I am the tiny fist that went into my mouth.
I am the taste of absence that filled me.
I am my unnamed self who could only whisper.
I am the child out of mind, the child out of mind.

The Kidnapped Child as a Future Autopsy Report

Does the process take years? Still, I’ve noticed
my scars get more comfortable, grow almost
friendly as they settle into my skin. Whenever I die,
let the scars tell the places I went through, give
witness to the years. The broad line underneath my nose is from
before-memory-began. Cleft or no cleft, something happened.
The bruises, long faded, you can’t see—
but scars become the visible friends that stay with you.
This vertical scar at the corner of my upper lip
is from Michigan, when we were hiding in plain sight
after the riots—the autumn the woman beat me
until she burst blood vessels in her own wrists and arms, her skin
flowering like the brief blaze of leaves. I remember
my body dodging like a dream. I thought, is this how
a child fights back, by wriggling and weaving,
occasionally hitting the grownup with his face?
When her arms were bruised enough with the slapping,
she grabbed a hard hairbrush and smashed my mouth, blood
rocketing out like final speech to stop the moment.
I don’t remember sound. But years later, I still wear
the silent, whitened scar bisecting my lip. Each time in a mirror,
that scar murmurs volumes to me. Still, she had been
an amateur. But the man in that house was an artist.
Look at my dead legs. See the skin gone leathered as the belt

that used to kiss my thighs, until I couldn’t be sent to school
for fear of questions and reports, the long days I stayed
home in darkness for slow
healing like an animal.
Part the hair on my scalp: this long, buried scar on my head
is my souvenir from San Francisco.
It’s what happened when the man was woken from his nap
by my noise, grabbed his shaving kit by the bedside and cracked
my skull with it. They couldn’t take me to doctors—
so my head healed lumpy. I grew more quiet, then.
And the man became a true artist, after that. All his scarrings
went underground. He used my body as a canvas to paint
bruises on that erased over time, until he could paint me again.
Coroner, what x-ray do you have that could find those islands?
The old welts on my back are from Ruislip in England.
This frostbite, from Pekin in Niagara Falls. The fractured
wrist, from Foxton. My corpse is a map of every place
I was hidden in—this body I used to hate and blame—
wanting to bury myself in the salt mines of Berteschgarten,
covering over the unseen disfigurements from Wiesbaden,
dreaming of returning to Patmos for exile,
even exile giving me a semblance of safety.
Coroner, write me down exactly. I went from life
to kidnapped life. I was dragged from name of town
to name of town. My own name, forgotten in every place.
My body, left to contain the palest legend, its final trace.
Coroner, when you log my cause of death, let me ask you:
which cause, which death? There were many.

Spring 2016
PT Davidson

Poem 2814

this
poem
is
lost
for
words

Poem 3346

this
poem
refuses
to
stand
by
and
say
nothing

Poem 2539

this
poem
is
all
talk
and
no
action

Poem 2252

this
poem
goes
from
one
extreme
to
the
other

Poem 2300

this
poem
has
been
blown
out
of
all
proportion

Poem 3502

this
poem
was
inspired
by
real-life
events

Poem 3369

this
poem
seemed
like
a
good
idea
at
the
time

Poem 2050

this
poem
just
can't
get
a
word
in
edgeways

Spring 2016
Raymond Farr

A Staircase Twining at the Center
Part 1 begins: these pigeons
Are a concept’s brawny synonym
They hover in the light near
The transom over the office door
The metal desks & a whiff of the ocean
Are the same as or equal to
Brand X with its coffee smells
I must tell you how I feel, ms bergvall,
About talking about poetry—
The ice bergs are hairless mirrors to me
They hand us Styrofoam garbage
A tree of blue smoke rises from them
Like a visit up the dying saint of
This stair case twining at the center
Of the same eleven small languages
We happened to speak back then
(& by back then I mean now)
But in a YouTube is a jail kind of way
& so we smother the moment
A scintilla of the human crawling

Out of everything we mock & like
A feast of blood oranges there is
A just-razored face coming off
In our hands & so we deny ourselves
Huevos & bark like canal dogs
At the bells in my head

A Light So Bright It Sears
There were Bison rotting
In an upstairs room & a boy indulging
His sweet tooth for carrion was reading
Crumbs of poems he thought
Were loud cars honking on
A boulevard—
Atomic wars intruding
With white light upon
The nothing that holds the attention
Of a sentence
Quite like a flash of light so bright it sears
A poem is a hawk we rescue by/from
Simply talking things out, says the boy
Namaste, murmur
The flowers in the boy’s poem, Namaste!
& the poem is
The prayer we make of tombstones in
A city park—
Our own selfish cottage of death
A tumult in flames in daisies

Streaking Mountain Aerosol Blossoms
& rain is dirty when it comes—
A chorus of sullen black umbrellas
Singing with perfect pitch
What our hands tell them to sing
& our words when they come
Come like too many footsteps
They come like too many flowers—
The hot petals of a song 12 stories up
& they come like the crackle of old wires—
Circuits of mass & intent
& like hummingbirds combusting
In the dry August heat they come
Simpering & starved for an ending—
Silence & not the shaky din
Of some small talk—not this
Music chomping on the trenchant
Darkness of our ears

In Volatile Spring Time
A dork kisses a dweeb
& out of nowhere
Comes the awesome someone
Who waltzes a bomb—
What’s it to ya!?
Nothing unless you mean every word!
& so we Google the earth
& things are a poem about a living computer
& every day we are fighting a cold
We stumble stupidly over Jodi & Kev
Making out on the floor
& there’s a map
& people figure it has meaning—
Beyond This Point There Be Monsters!
The shriveled beans of our sex
Feeding like masculine pansies
On the somber nightmare
Of our reluctance—
Too many eyes
In volatile spring time!
& this means something
Like our lives to us

What We Try Saying Is a Good Thing
You dial up Jenny
Short for Jennifer
& get a recorded message—
The number you have dialed
Is no longer in service
& so you squeeze yr own heart
Just as hard as you’re able
& a stool pigeon is driving you
& you’re someone in a glass bowl
& you’re thinking you’re a gold fish
Cause all the windows in the car are up
& then a bigger fish happens along
& he’s hitchhiking
& high as a kite
This desert is cursed, he says
His ancient futuristic fins
Rudely blocking yr view of the road
& the air is like fire now
& because of this
You struggle to breathe
You unclench
Yr fist from yr heart
& you tell him—
Get out of my car!

Spring 2016
Red Collins

Aphrodite
Whet that blade against my skin and peal me into a rose.
Those hairy white petals seep red at your feet,
The prettiest picture of me,
Until you look up, a bloody waterfall,
and the dragon who lurks beneath.
His cock sits quietly in the vessels of my heart.
He rapes me with sacred flame.
That slushing of juices between snapped valves
And throbbing of chambers, confused,
Will one day end in an explosion of organs
And deliver me from the ritual of pulse.

Helios
Peel oranges in your chariot,
Burst clouds and sober the sky.
I can see my bones in those constellations.
This vehicle of sorrows,
Churns with an ancient black phlegm.
I lick it off my fingers and toes,
Where the skin chafes bloody
And leaves tracks I cannot hide.
My guttural engine, revving, pornographic,
Cuts off at the sight of you.
What does it matter if I have tyres?
They are huge and cumbersome
And useless between the cracks.
Shoot me and they will burst,
Stab me and they will flop.
Finger me and that orgasm will split me
Like ice through a volcanic wound.
There are children who crawl through my vents,
Stowaways who shudder in portals of pulsing sound and premonition
As I rip through tarmac like an icebreaker
And flatten pedestrians with my hull.
The wheel is forked, electrifying to touch.
The Captain squeals into my metal tracts,
Where the rust gathers, eager to be scratched.
I cannot drive over your mountain,
It is covered in footprints
And those tiny night creatures
That take shelter in your armpit
While you piss over our waterfall
And pollute the natural state.
There is a pig in my trunk,
An angel in yours,
the floodlights affix you,
and the deer you have crossed.
Leave me in this ditch,
With the rustling bugs,
I have a match and a rock.

Athena
Crushed bones, broken nails, and sliced cuticles.
They lie across the curb.
Where have these fingers been?
In the brain,
Scooping out words like a cannibal.
‘Fuck it.’
My hands are caught in the capillaries of creation
And I will never touch the curb.

Zeus
I swallowed a spider
And laughed at the tickle
of his death.
Little did I know,
He’d climb into my soul
And clog me with his web.

Medusa
See a humped spine
And the fairy who tiptoes those vertebrae,
Flicking my neurons like a harp.
But off with her head, off with her head!
She does nothing for mine.

Spring 2016
Rich Murphy

Across a Nation
The fright from Boston to Los Angeles
fills the cabin. No fight. War pinned
hungry volunteers with artificial limbs
and rooming houses welcome all
as the CEOs continue the globetrotting.
A rush among jobs to patch together
a living under cameras keeps the mob
from dwelling. The landing gear engages
the threats but not common ground.
Overhead compartments bulge
with worry. Beneath the plane
in the baggage hold, anger waits to be
unzipped: Marketing campaigns contort
and moralize for thieves. But as long as
fears outweigh each fastened safety seatbelt,
the greater community suffers need, greed.

Notes from the Margin
The journey in the dark
from group think to the dawn
where the desert continues
but without an envelope
around the mainstream
that promises quiet consent.
From the vantage point
where paying attention,
reading, and thinking converge
on higher ground, two eyes
watch corporations suck at nipples
in government barnyards
where taxpayers feed on garbage.
The thriving hybrid animal
in a deep state suffers
a military industrial complex:
Yike Ike was right
and correct with the warning.
A psyche for perpetual war
survives on processed news
and infrastructure scraps:
Gay rights, marijuana medicine.
Money mullahs pick ripe candidates
for the ignorant and privileged children.
Distraction drugs while drones dredge
the channel for empire.
The puny voice in the street
during lockdown waits
for rubber bullets and water cannon
until live rounds round the day.
Here corneas dwell, well,
and threaten ink on paper also.
The foundation and wish
may have helped compensate
for the genocide for milk and honey.

Patron to the Rich
Stock shelves, sweep floors,
and flip burgers: the philanthropist
sacrifices a living wage
to fund greed projects.
Guilty venture investors
and corporate board members
wishing to sprout wings,
build onto hospitals,
and attend to the 12-generation
recovery program for withdrawal.
The giver ghost hovers around the city
without until an election-time need
for manipulation heightens:
The capital and commodity creator
counts in the press and in statistics
among the living to add for victors.
The donor and Good Samaritan
eats and sleeps up to the chin in debt.
In a slum without escape or car
the aid worker and Santa Claus
patches together the day for children
or lives in shoes while seeking shelter.

Anger Management
Every state storage chest
dispenses against anger.
Apathy apps and coping mechanisms
display for assurance
while the body performs robotics.
Shrugs, denial, amnesia spring
into action when the meme boys
in sandwich boards rough up intelligence
or the boss boots into order
to reboot for accounts.
The straight face slips on emoticons
and customer service scripts
and everyone laughs – right?
Distance, a running for the hills
burns from the hips and gut
the bitterness from around
bread and circus from around death
that then reroutes into good sports
and the standby, sex.
From a coast in Virginia,
Oregon frustrates enough
so that the drive anticipates to the end.
If a buffalo, learning to lean
on horns for the greater good
may reap after amber waves.

Not (Only) in Kansas
Borrowed from offshore account owners,
billfold cash, savings, and credit cards
pause in transit from purses and pockets
The police may arrive in a moment
with shoplifting surveillance charges
or arm-twisting store clerks point
and the holder releases
Under the capital copula,
the huddled masses thank
while the consumption enforcement
officers rifle and rent among clothing
Burrowed between umbrella ribs
where the rainbow ends
when the productions slow at a dip,
a glimpse appears at the columns
that support with roles enough, Oh my

Spring 2016
Roger Craik

JOHN FRED (1941-2005): “JUDY IN DISGUISE, WITH GLASSES”
I was in Brennan’s in the Harbor
shooting the smutty breeze
with Seedy Dave the sociologist
when in came Drac,
twenty minutes late, at least,
stammering out that he had read
a two-paragraph obit in the Times
for him:
John Fred.
Christ was I aggrieved at that! Only April,
and Miller, Bellow, Hunter Thompson and the Pope,
and Jim Callaghan (they called him “Sunny Jim”)
all gone – and now him. Seedy Dave
said it was a goddam motherfuckin’ shame,
but then I started woozling his one hit song
and Dave put his dark glasses on
right there and then in murky Brennan’s bar and
moved them up and down with both his hands
and then set up a drumming on the table top
with those yellowed finger ends of his and kept
on drumming till we got all through. What Drac’s

reaction was, or what he did,
I can’t tell you:
I was so transported.
That’s how we commemorated him
two days after he died:
John Fred.

Spring 2016
Scott Wordsman

Try Writing a Letter to an Answering Machine
There is almost never
a head on my chest
when I am sleeping.
You to the left, leaving
today, the first
four letters of your
last name, now a small
town in my mouth;
the end of a song
to ears not here (hello
out there), yawn
of a year, legs in
splay and letslip
hair, tossed by tusks
of a ceiling fan.
I think I thought
I thought of you––
your hips in midsprint
toward my door
(the undulation
of western plains)––
through the window
of a passing car.

Poem with Substance
In the glowing wake
of any chemically-bred
bifurcation,
you start to sense
the way a body
barters with a brain
for a shift in states,
the lurid, the less.
This world’s mouth
never shuts, you
want to say;
yet then again,
it’s less complex,
you start to say,
although you
know, although
your head is
not your home.
Sorry for your loss
of faculties––
this splitting ache,
apple halved.

Unreliable Narrator
Hands holding
pockets, brain
in a bath––a bottle’s
spilled rivulet. I’m not
here right now; can you leave
a message without
implying goodbye? It
makes sense: to think
drink more often
than you’d hoped.
Yes, I’m okay
with your cardigan.
Know I came here alone.
*
Can you tell me
your favorite color
isn’t blue? I want you
for a modest hour
to unfasten your
name from your
juris doctorate––at
least for a minute,
become a portrait
of yourself
on someone else’s
wall, and while
all the while getting
too close,–– no; you
can’t get close enough.

Bedscape
Waking, I’ve found your head
has found its way back to my chest
as if lodged inside your ears
were magnets; I’ve bloomed from
aluminum. The dismantling of former
needs, our foil––you must unravel me;
I’ve devised a plan of action for times
like these. Here, my hand, take it
as yours, we are ten and spinning
in the backyard, late spring, sumacs
burning monochromatic, everywhere
red; and I was the product of Caesarean
section so yours is the first I’ve ever
touched. I’m sorry if you were expecting
more than just this promise back.

Spring 2016
Simon Perchik

*
You wash this floor the way winter
waits for its ice to stir
show more interest in coming closer
and the drowned -–what bubbles up
is bottom sand though you drift
and further out more water
unable to dry so far from home
—a single drop by drop
wipes down the world and longing
—it’s how you sleep
leaking from your pores
this side then that breaking open
holding on to each other and now
without shape, making it through
as surfaces and nearer.

*
Between these graves and every Sunday
you bring the wide, floppy hat
—on each visit, the red scarf
before the light she asks for
cools, hardens into the back and forth
that cradles each small stone
—she’s not interested in stone
and tells you so though it’s not Sunday
—it’s not any day, just winter
stone bars and you wait outside
for the gate to show up
or how long she’s been in.

*
Row after row
—it’s your usual vineyard
overrun the way mourners
will always lean too far
are already in clusters
holding on to a stone
as if a sharper knife
could fall through
and deep inside each vine
leave no one to walk past
though you come for work
with wobbling fingers
that no longer make you sad
—you pluck each pebble
trying not to touch the dead
show up as if they
would never let you leave
with nothing in your mouth
except as some seedling
just planted and on your lips
the dirt is somehow sweeter
growing itself into arms
and legs and kisses, by now
even in winter the stars.

*
Mouth to mouth this rock
takes back that light
the sun grew fat on
though birds gag in it
still part their wings
not yet the ashes
that run through you
let their last breath
reach under you, hold on
till nothing’s left
except the shadow
the dirt counts on
—you don’t dig anymore
afraid more darkness
will escape, unfold
as in midair
the slow wide climbing turn
into mountainside
unaware how long it’s been
—you sift, lean over
the way this tiny rock
is pulling you closer
wingtip to wingtip
is swallowing you
as if one by one
its feathers had opened
—in time, in time.

*
Its arms still around her, this dirt
clings between what’s left behind
and the rain –-its stones stare back
can’t make out the fingers nearby
easily yours and with each handful
something that is not her forehead
just the over and over nearness
you pull closer and with your mouth
welcomes this dirt, covers it
the way any helpless wound is kept moist
and on her cheeks, something later
no longer remembers, barely dry.

Spring 2016
Susan Kay Anderson

Convex Lens Tina
Tales of her teddy bear hamster.
Begin and end here.
She didn't spend much time weeping.
That was me.
I was the one with the bag on my head.
Sure it was paper but that still counts.
She spent endless hours regarding powder puffs.
I noticed that the world was existential. Especially Dad.
She wrote off all of us. She wrote as a spider.
But Albert was imaginary. He knew her better. He knew her upside-down
cocooning in his small yet large secret. Silence was developing as a butterfly.
About to take her place in fifty years. An exchange. Because she flew away.
Imagine that. How quiet. Was that what Albert was bugging her about?
Was he begging her to stay? Just long enough to wrap things up
moving again. So he wouldn’t get left behind. They. Them. With. Out.

Sleeping Idaho Hunter Wakes To A Black Bear Biting His Head
Hear it breathing
tugging
once a year your dream
of sheep
big horns
protruding
snail shells
holding
America
disturbed
on the Middle Fork
tangled in the tarp
then shooting
teeth
climbing
all of Idaho
holding its breath

Dinner In Norway
The scene was always the same.
Tina spilling her milk at dinner
where we were invited silent as Norwegians
Tina would reach for something else
something chatty, distracted, and German
and her glass would empty out
over the whole table
We pretended nothing had happened dinner every night at home-milk leaking everywhere all the dishes
Mark Spitz winning at swimming his large medals
and small swimsuit
Shawna wanting
Dorothy Hamill’s wedge-cut
at the Hair Corner and crying
when it made her
into a boy
It is hot and windy in Missoula
glittering coins with special words
from far away it looks like ants
on an elephant’s body
but a flat sitcom shape
we could not get through a meal
without Dad stabbing his plate
blowing his top about Tina’s milk
the waste.

Old Faithful
is an icy volcano raging in another country
its ambassador was the creeping milk—
blue and white and pink
our acceptance speeches
soaking into the tablecloth
while Dad was busy
going for the gold

Periphery
There are two always two
Out the window spotting me
Automatically my twins stolen
Ideas grazing away this way waiting
Still for me to come join them—
They live just in just to the side eat there
Waiting not waiting they
Would be tame except for
My twins are always not too far away
They are further than I thought
I see them in reflections the creek
Hunters waiting repetition being hunted
Hiding the thing that waits there not there
Seeing them dearly spicy the way the world
Still by light or non-light. Made larger
We were just getting to know each other
I had to leave where we meet nobody
On the road after Seven Directions
What you find and don’t find
How to figure out what to pursue
Unknowable topics how to show
The thing that lives between
The fire burned down their house
Walking she points out the soft places

Spring 2016
Tanya Pilumeli

SHIFTING
Insanity sleeps on a flower
in a vase beside my bed.
Blue petals catch the morning sun
and the water bubbles.
I take a sip but the water is stagnant
and Insanity flies away and hides.
I look under the bed.
I look behind the toilet.
I look beneath my pillow
and Insanity dances there.
I put my hand up and feel
It’s breath on my hair.
When you enter Insanity disappears.
I am relieved that the colors all match the sounds
again. But I am tired.
The room feels cavernous
even when everyone is sitting down at the table.
The air is cold and hollow.
I pull up the covers. The moon is bright,
but the room is dark.
The moonlight shines on Insanity
sleeping on blue petals
falling on my head.

CHECKMATE
Time-tingled dust tinder,
doused with atoms not our own
we rock together, you, me,
al lullaby of want.
Pull that sweater tighter,
the fishnet peepshow
lacquered with white doves.
Cloaked and daggered, you’ve paid for your coffin,
every last nail.
In hail you could spread your arms
and receive nothing. The hour is loud
but there is nothing to hold except water.
If only you were hot enough, your heart
plugged in, then you could weld the atoms down
into a wire hanger to hang your sweater up.
We are all lattice cradles,
sleepless savages,
fluted, filigreed and stitched.
Nets cast
castanets
click-a-clacking like regular
rent paid, waiting to be
paid not
paid
waiting.
Hush now.
Hear that fine sweaty pulse?
That’s your heart.
While it beats,
you live.

WORD
There sits, crouched inside my hand,
a thought.
Fed well, it drums through my fingers
and scintillates their tips,
driving them to curl around
a word,
until lamenting, I see the thought
laughs still amid my fingers
and has strewn wind eggs
across the scribbled page.
And yet, what am I not driven
to do for that thought?
I feed it, nourish it,
play with it –
my mind grows weary with its care.
And still the thought turns breech
inside my hand,
and I am left laboring.
If only our thoughts were brought
up like children, but no; it is I
who stand sniffling,
listening like a child.

Spring 2016
Tarice L.S. Gray

Is it a Crime?

The sound of the sirens stymied the progress we were making on our journey to Hollywood. I
glanced in the vanity that hung just above my head to see what troubled the officers. Rodney, my boyfriend,
pulled over as the sirens ordered us to. As our car crept to the side of the road, a dozen men in blue emerged
from their vehicles with their guns drawn. It took a moment to realize we had been captured.
"Keep your hands where we can see them! Shut off the car! Throw the keys out of the window! Exit
the car with your hands up!" The officer's voice blasted through the megaphone.
I froze. Rodney obeyed. He whispered, "God cover us, God cover us." His weathered siena brown
hands parted from a prayer position to upright and into full view of the police. I made use of my right to
remain silent as visions of my lifeless body on the well-traveled freeway reigned over my mind like a
successful invasion. My heart raced as I felt the indifference of the officer that would commission my death. I
saw it—me on the ground—and got lost in that scene. My life and their Hollywood crashed into one
another. Pieces of the calamity were everywhere. Their shiny metal guns glared at us; the officers scowled. I
thought, How fast was he going? I watched as Rodney abandoned me in the car. Removing himself,
robotically, hands up, feet first, walking away.

“Lie face down, spread eagle!” The officer barked at the figure as I watched Rodney lower himself
onto the ground in front of a roadblock of blue, losing the dignity and humanity he'd carried all his life.
“Come out with your hands up!” They weren't talking to me. Couldn't be talking to me. What seemed an
absurd situation quickly became a desperate one as I knew what I had to do to stay alive. Obey.
Getting out of the car, I followed their directions, carefully. I put one low-heeled shoe in front of the
other while balancing my hands above my head. Somehow I managed to find myself lying next to Rodney
who was already pressed against the asphalt that was the 101 South. The army of weapons stayed trained on
us. My body twitched against the hard road, the tiniest pebbles scoured my stomach and legs. Maybe if I play
dead they'll go away. Maybe if I play dead they'll begin to believe I should be.
An officer—tall, blond, guilty in the eyes—handcuffed me and lifted me to my feet. He led me to the
side of the road where another cop who was tall, mocha-skinned, and looked like he could be family pointed
a shotgun at my chest.
Fear. It separated Rodney and me, then they did. They hoisted Rodney, all six-feet-two-hundred
pounds of him, onto his feet and led him twenty yards away from me, past the place where his car used to be.
The blond held one of my arms, still handcuffed to the other, and asked if I was okay. I nodded yes. It was a
convenient lie.
While I waited in the metal handcuffs, I felt as if I were about to combust. How did we get here? I tried
to remember.
I had just moved to Los Angeles from the Midwest and few things were as they should be. L.A. was a cluster of
masked–souls hidden by circumstances. Stars, and those still shaded, characters taking the forms of actors, singers,
writers, tunneling toward their Hollywood dream. I was among them.

On a slow moving April evening, my journey got derailed. I was en route to the Writers' Guild of America, after
receiving an invitation to an exclusive meet-and-greet. I wore a trendy black pantsuit with a low-heel nothing and
even combed over Rodney's clothing options to ensure some level of acceptance into the world we both coveted.
We traveled southbound on the Hollywood freeway. The Chevrolet Cavalier, our carriage for the evening, was
being chased by a school of eco-friendly luxury SUVs.
I'd rehearsed what to say and what not to say to those who'd accomplished what we hoped to one day. Peeking
into the unlit vanity that hung just above my head, I noticed the herd of Mercedes Benz's and Audi's was overwhelmed
by the intimidation of the LAPD. They were in pursuit.

The rush of life and death circling me made me settle into sadness. Fear kept me from making eye
contact with the monster with the gun. I hung my head, convicted, on the side of the road. The traffic we had
clogged while lying motionless in the freeway, began to flow. I didn't look up, but I felt the stares of
condemnation from rubber necking motorists and was ashamed. In those everlasting minutes my purpose
and my original destination were not important. I just wanted the monsters to go away. Again the overseer
asked “Are you okay?” I nodded again obediently. Were we under arrest? For what? I thought.
"Let her go!" I heard someone yelling in the distance and hoped it was the voice of the Almighty. They
uncuffed me and lowered their weapons. I didn't feel safe. The olive-skinned Latino detective escorted
Rodney to my side. They were discussing the play of events we got caught up in. The car we drove was
moved onto the off-ramp. We walked toward the old Chevy accompanied by the detective. It too had been
violated. The police had searched the seats, the glovebox, my purse. I heard them, but I couldn't really listen.
The detective said something about an armed robber hiding out in our apartment complex. We were

unaware. The police followed him, then us, to this place, this nightmare. They showed us a picture of the
person that I would have expected to be Rodney's identical twin.
They got the black part right.
I stood facing the car waiting for Rodney to fully digest the detective’s story. I couldn’t care less about
the reasoning behind this nightmare I just needed to escape the scene of the crime. We got into the car
offering little comfort to one another. What could we say? Are you alright? No. Rodney was rendered silent,
but I had to release. My cries shook our vehicle that was unable to drive us away fast enough southbound on
the road to Hollywood. The end of that saga saw to the end of my peace shattering it.
I spent that night, and some time after, considering for the first time the consequences of being black
and if it is, in this society, considered a legitimate crime. Being. Black. I couldn't deny the evidence, only
learn as others have, to cope, and earnestly pray that maybe the next time we wouldn't so conveniently fit
the description.

Spring 2016
Uriel Gribetz

Would you plead guilty to a crime you didn’t commit to stay out of jail?
The Arrest
Imagine you are 19 years old and you live in the South Bronx on the Grand Concourse. From your window,
you can hear the cheers of the crowd from Yankee Stadium. Your neighborhood is the poorest congressional
district in the United States. A stone’s throw away, just across the Macombs Dam Bridge, is Manhattan,
where the average apartment sells for two million dollars.
You live with one parent and three younger siblings in a one-bedroom apartment. The rent is $1300 a month.
Your parent makes minimum wage working for McDonald’s, and your family needs food stamps and a rent
subsidy to survive.
You are a good kid. Unlike many of the teenagers in your neighborhood who are either in jail, unemployed,
and/or pregnant, you work in a CVS on Columbus Circle in Manhattan and are in your senior year at John F.
Kennedy High School in the Bronx. In your neighborhood and in your school there are many gangs. There
are the Bloods, the Crips, the Mexicans, the Dominicans, and the South Americans, but you don’t mess with
any of that. You have never been arrested, which is an anomaly. Sometimes at night you hear gunshots
coming from the park or down the Concourse. During the day the area is safe because the courthouse is only
a block or so away, and cops, corrections officers, court officers, assistant district attorneys, court clerks,
judges, and attorneys are there. After six o’clock, though, when everybody goes home, the knuckleheads,
gangbangers, stickup crews, and crackheads come out.
Today, you put on your red T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers and catch the bus to Kennedy High School, and after
school you take the train to 59th Street to CVS. After work, you catch the #4 Lexington Avenue line to 161st.
After you get off the EL, you walk up the hill past the courthouse to 888 Grand Concourse — your building.
There has been a robbery on the uptown #4 train. The one you just got off of. Numerous young men and
women pummeled, kicked, punched, and pistol-whipped a lone female passenger. They took her purse, cell
phone, and jewelry. One of the offenders was wearing a red T-shirt.

The police are canvassing the area looking for the assailants. As you are waiting for the light to change at the
corner of 161st and Grand Concourse, a large white cop with his gun drawn runs up to you. He points his
Glock in your face. “Get down motherfucker!” he shouts at you. Before you can say anything, another white
cop tackles and body slams you to the pavement. Your face is being mashed into the blacktop as the cop’s
knee is pressed to your neck. You are cuffed and brought to your feet. They search your book bag.
The robbery victim, or “complaining witness,” is in the back of a squad car on her way to Lincoln Hospital.
They drive past you, handcuffed and standing between two cops in your red T-shirt. “It’s a positive ID.” You
hear those words come from the police radio on the shoulder of one of the cops who arrested you.
This identification procedure is called a show-up. The policemen holding you there in your red T-shirt with
your hands cuffed behind your back unduly influenced the victim. It is important to note that prior to her
viewing you in this highly suggestive fashion, she was unable to give any description of her assailants other
than the fact that they were young adults of color and one of them wore a red T-shirt. She couldn’t identify
you if the police had put you in a lineup with others of your age, weight, height, and skin color wearing red
T-shirts. Now that the police have displayed you to her in this manner, though, she is convinced that you
were one of her assailants. She has gone through an extremely traumatic event and is unaware that her mind
is playing tricks on her, but from this point on, every time this witness/victim sees you, she won’t be
identifying you from the scene of the crime — she’ll be identifying you from the police-arranged viewing of
you in cuffs between two white officers on the corner of 161st street.
The courts have held such police-arranged show-ups to be highly suggestive and have suppressed and
thrown out these types of identification procedures. Eyewitness testimony is likewise considered unreliable
by the courts. Expert testimony relating to unreliability of an eyewitness has been ruled admissible. That is,
during a trial, judges have allowed the defense to call an expert to testify about how unreliable eyewitness
testimony is. Yet despite its unreliability, this kind of testimony frequently impacts cases like yours.
Your nightmare continues. A police van arrives, and you are brought to the 44th precinct. There you are
placed in a holding cell. For the next 12 hours you remain in that holding cell, other than the times that you
are removed to be fingerprinted and interviewed. During your interview with a detective, you are asked if
you want to give a statement. You tell the detective that you didn’t have anything to do with the robbery, and
that you were coming home from your job. The detective doesn’t believe you. He tells you the victim
identified you and that you are only making it harder on yourself by not cooperating.
Next, you are chained together with others who have been arrested, and you are brought over to Central
Booking at the courthouse on 161st street. Ironically, you are two blocks from your building. At Central
Booking you are given two pieces of white bread with a slice of bologna in the middle and a Styrofoam cup
of pink lemonade. First, you are held in a cell in the first floor of the building. The cell is approximately 10’x
20’ and is packed wall to wall with others. You are now in the system, and you are referred to as a “body.”
You are in with other bodies who are accused of murdering, raping, stealing, drug dealing, robbing — really,
any crime you can think of. Many of those in the system with you are both emotionally disturbed and drug-

addicted. There is one toilet in the cell, and it is exposed. While you are waiting, the police who have
arrested you are meeting with the assistant district attorney in the complaint room (located in the same
building where you are now being held), and the criminal complaint charging you with robbery in the first
degree, gang assault, and other crimes is being drafted. The minimum sentence for a person convicted of
robbery in the first degree is five years in state prison.
After another 12 hours in Central Booking, you are brought upstairs to arraignment to see the judge. You are
packed into another small cell. A court-appointed lawyer calls your name, and you’re led into a small room
with a mesh-wire window that you speak to the lawyer through. It’s hard to hear what the lawyer says to you
because the others in the cell behind you are shouting, and you can’t see the lawyer’s face through the wire
mesh.
After you see the lawyer, you and others are lined up, and, one by one, you are brought before the judge. The
assistant district attorney tells the judge what he thinks you did. He says that the person who was robbed has
a fractured orbital socket, a concussion, and is still in the hospital recovering from her injuries, and that she
has identified you as one of her assailants. Your lawyer tells the judge that you have no record, that you go to
school, and that you work. The judge asks if you have any family in the courtroom. Although they did call
your parent from the court, your parent can’t be there because someone has to watch your younger siblings,
and there is no one else. The judge sets your bail at $10,000.
Now you are sent to the most violent section of one of the most violent jails in the United States: Rikers
Island: the adolescent section. On a regular basis, inmates are assaulted and sometimes even murdered. You
are there for five days until you are brought back to court. Criminal Procedure Law §180.80 in New York
State requires that any defendant who is being charged with a felony must have their case fully presented to
the Grand Jury within five days of their arrest. If their case is not presented to and indicted by the Grand Jury
within this time period, that person must be released.
When you are brought to court, your lawyer tells you that the District Attorney’s Office has met their
obligation under CPL §180.80 and your charges were presented to the Grand Jury. Now you must decide
whether you wish to testify before the Grand Jury. Criminal Procedure Law §190.50 in New York State allows
any defendant to testify before a Grand Jury. Every defendant in New York State is afforded this right.
What does your lawyer advise you to do? He doesn’t want you to testify. Maybe because he is very busy and
having you testify would eat up his whole day. Also, if you do testify, you won’t get a plea offer from the
District Attorney’s Office, allowing you to plead guilty to a lesser count of robbery in the third degree with a
promised sentence of probation. If you testify and you are indicted, unless you make bail, you will have to
stay in jail on Rikers Island for two to three years waiting for trial because of the backlog in the courts. If you
plead guilty the judge will release you today. What would you do?

The Trial
Your lawyer tells you that if you plead guilty, you’re going to have to stand in front of the judge and admit
that you robbed this woman. “But I didn’t,” you tell him. “Then don’t plead guilty to something you didn’t
do,” he tells you. And you don’t.
For two weeks you stay in jail on Rikers Island. There, you witness the unspeakable horror of a kid getting
his face sliced open by a box cutter. The image of the kid holding his face together with his hands haunts
you. A lot of the kids you know from the neighborhood are in Rikers with you. They are members of the
Latin Kings. You don’t get bothered.
They bring you back to court in a school bus with wire-meshed windows. You are held in the basement and
then brought up to the holding area in the back of the courtroom. Your lawyer meets with you for a few
minutes in the pens. You barely have a chance to speak with him before the court officer interrupts. You
must see the judge now because they have a lot of inmates to bring up.
You are in front of a different judge this time. This judge seems nicer than the one who set the $10,000 bail at
your arraignment. Your lawyer presents your school transcript and your paycheck stubs. He asks the judge
to release you because you have no criminal record, you have strong roots in the community, and you work
and go to school. The assistant district attorney argues that your bail should remain the same and that you
should be kept in jail because there are no new facts that warrant a change in your bail status. Your lawyer
argues that he didn’t have your school and employment records to present to the judge at your arraignment,
and this paperwork is grounds for reconsideration. He assures the judge that you will return to court and
that you have strong ties in the community.
The judge studies you. You pray that the he sees that you are not a bad kid. Your prayers are heard: the judge
changes your bail status, releases you on your own recognizance, and just like that, the court officers remove
your cuffs and you walk out of the courtroom.
Luckily, you still have your job, and you haven’t missed too much school so you will graduate on time, but
this case is like a ball and chain that you carry 24/7. Every few weeks, you must wait on the long line to go
through the metal detectors and take the escalator downstairs to the basement to appear before the judge.
Today on the escalator, two young men rush past you and attack a third man at the base of the escalator. The
escalator is bringing you towards the melee of wild roundhouse swings and kicks. You hear the jingle of keys
as the court officers run down the escalator towards the fight. You hug the black rail to let them past and
walk backwards against the flow of the moving steps to avoid being brought into it.

In the courtroom, you wait for your lawyer to arrive and you watch defendants being brought through the
door from the pens. Families wait all day to get a glimpse of their loved ones. It’s one way to kill an idle day
— waiting in an air-conditioned courtroom.
Your life is on hold. You receive your high school diploma, but you don’t go to college because you have to
wait and see what happens with this case. You work as many hours as you can at CVS, your schedule
revolving around your court appearances.
A photo appears on your Facebook page of you being held by those two white cops. It reminds you of the
pictures you have seen in your textbooks about the civil rights demonstrations. The protests and riots in the
South, Watts, and Harlem. You pass it on to your lawyer.
You endure three years of this. You are now 22. Your lawyer is grayer, and the judge seems balder. Because
they have been promoted and/or left the office, there have been three different assistant district attorneys
assigned to your case. Your case is in a long queue of older cases on the judge’s docket. A trial date is set.
A hearing is held on the show-up that occurred when you were arrested. Your lawyer presents the court and
the assistant district attorney with a copy of the Facebook photo. The judge frowns. The big white cop that
stuck the pistol in your face testifies. The judge frowns some more.
The case of Trowbridge holds that the prosecution may not bolster a witness’ in-court testimony with
testimony that the witness identified the defendant in a tainted and suggestive police-arranged show-up
and/or lineup; they may only introduce the witness’ independent recollection — or lack thereof — of the
defendant allegedly committing the crime. The witness must have sufficient independent recollection of the
defendant at the scene of the crime to be able to identify them in court. Citing this precedent, the judge rules
that the assistant district attorney may not introduce any evidence of this illegal show-up before the jury, nor
may he use this evidence for the purpose of bolstering.
You don’t understand all the proceedings and lawyer mumbo-jumbo. The jury selection starts. The room is
filled with potential jurors who are questioned by the judge and the lawyers. Everybody is looking at you.
“Look at the jurors. Make eye contact,” your lawyer tells you. You follow his instructions.
You ask your lawyer, “If they convict me, is the judge going to put me in jail right away?”
“Let’s not talk about that now,” he says.
“I need to know. I need to prepare myself just in case.”
“Probably,” he tells you. “We can ask that he keep you out pending sentence, but it’s unlikely.”

Every day you wear khakis, a white shirt which you wash every night, and a brown tie. You don’t sleep. It’s
like you are watching this happen to someone else. You’re there, but you’re not there. It’s the only way you
can cope with the stress of potentially going to jail.
You hear your lawyer tell the jury about reasonable doubt a million times — how nobody doubts that this
lady got robbed, but that you didn’t do it.
The cops testify. You see the way the jurors look at the cops, the way they roll their eyes. These are people
who can relate. In one way or another, they or their relatives or friends have experienced what you are going
through — the police planting evidence or assaulting them, their friends, or their loved ones. In Bronx
County, 60% of all criminal jury trials end with an acquittal. The relationship between the police and the
community is terrible. Generally, juries in Bronx County are loath to convict solely on police testimony
because they don’t trust them; they believe the police lie and plant evidence.
The victim testifies. After your lawyer cross-examines her, it’s clear to you that she didn’t really see any of
her attackers that day. Is it clear to the jurors, though? You can’t tell what they’re thinking. The judge lets
your attorney call an expert to testify regarding the unreliable nature of witness identification.
You testify. You have to grip the hand rests on the witness stand because your hands are shaking so badly.
You tell them what happened that day. The assistant district attorney comes at you hard during crossexamination. You hold up.
“Do you think they believe me?” you ask your lawyer.
“It’s hard to tell.” The jurors are looking back at you, and are making eye contact with you. “It’s a good sign,
but you can’t be sure,” he tells you.
“How many young men do you think were walking the streets of the Bronx wearing a red T-shirt that day or
any other day?” your lawyer asks the jury during his closing argument. You are too nervous to pay attention
to anything. You sit there through the judge’s instructions, and then the jury is told to retire to the jury room
for deliberations. At first, you think you are going to faint. Then, it feels like you are going to vomit. You pray
that the nausea will go away. It does, and now you are numb.
It doesn’t take long. They are smiling when they return the verdict: not guilty on all counts. You cry and hug
your lawyer, thinking that you can never recover from this. You’ll never get back the two weeks you spent in
Rikers, or the three years you’ve spent waiting for this day. Never again will you feel like this can’t happen to
you, because it did.

Spring 2016
Zachary Scott Hamilton

Down in the radio (c.41115)
stop the wind before it pulls you to
your house, into the cabinets,

and into cardboard rivers, in your electricity,
and triangle boats~

Scratching your
black and
white question, as its wandering,
GLOWING down in the radio.
Hanging books down in the radio and hanging
Jewell pants, Rum, and color, wire string, and dawn light
In window
still in candle light

Clayton Harmony (c.3710)
I.
springs load tightly into consciousness, as three enamels, fading to a lower garden
Whisper the letter (C.) onto newspaper under earth the fireflies
grouped up pears from under
water
status
pink
the sky,
Red and white
Graveyards ~ Umbrellas
And sound tapes & records
II.
sky burning Telephone beeping buttons, and wire
Blue fountains bubbling carpet
designed
flower
patterns~
and the barcode dwindles in the trees
behind electricity through live oaks on motorized orchids blooming in louisiana
swamp~
III.
A shadow where I may prop birds
This alka seltzer dining room, there in the field, beside four black cash bags
And our new home ~
A giant, black reflection of myself/ a family & friends portrait, with the dog ~ glows
The smell is replicated lavender ~
on a white sign ------ why did we meet 87 years ago with branches and clocks

Better friends with mountains, people
(whistling insects in cream covers lace a wormhole, and
Dublin walks by, Oak and by sand, and cocoon, (safely now) the heavens in branches
on cigarette sword, on black casing for stitch pattern squares in silver weaving
Upon weaving
In black velvet
Inside, and
Mirrors and mirrors!
An extra silver pale corner, any number of prisms, and
I'm in
library of libraries
Glowing platinum &
Brain waves geometry beehive
From jackpot in
Epicenter
Glowing in jacket
I get secretly fucked up on this.
Hanging a bag of money, and pixel,
and
crooked picture,
and glass
organizer
and what purpose do sounds
entangle tents in
dreams, walking away coffee stains, wine stains
Mapping infinity

Lake Nameless (c.2114)
Father, a father away, and his jewelry and brain is cider; his rum
and his music, I speak through my speaker -- and attics, my bracelets
and beds I whisper and store inside nail polish dream catcher, i
willow play willow, search signature maker with ink brush and human hair branch
I am sat in my couch conifer, my teeth are fixed on water,
light headed with vagina and cylinders of phone calls in a mist
tooth, so cunning -- it's so course, so motorcycle
flapping four ways, three wings over mountains
to pour pots of ice cream into the green sun -- I hang radish scarves in the rafters and this helps for the beer
I'm making pause its thin eyes --

Spring 2016
Acta Biographia - Author Bios
Alana Benson
Alana Benson graduated from the University of Vermont and is a freelance writer. She is the writer of WTF:
Where's the Fraud?, and has published a thesis in classical reception. She was awarded a Prindle-Myrick grant
in 2014 to write classically-inspired poetry in Athens, Greece. Alana lives in Lander, Wyoming.
Adam Halbur
If Adam Halbur were to paint a portrait of himself it would turn out, at best, like Brueghel’s Old Woman, and
at worse, a codpiece. He is the author of Poor Manners (2009), awarded the 2010 Frost Place residency. His
work has appeared most recently in The Fourth River’s Queering Nature, Forklift, OH, and is forthcoming in the
Pennine Platform. He can be found at adamhalbur.com
Android Spit
Android Spit is the alias of independent scholar-poet André Spears (pangaeapress.com
<http://pangaeapress.com> ), whose recent work has appeared in House Organ, Cough (including an earlier
excerpt from Shrinkrap) and Dispatches from the Poetry Wars. He is a co-founder of the Gloucester Writers
Center, and the curator of its Maud / Olson Library, which will be inaugurated in June, 2016.
A. Riding

Ashley Hamilton

Ashok Smith
Ashok Smith is a delivery driver.

Barrie Davies
My name is Barrie Davies and I am 38 years old. I hold a BA in Social Linguistic Theory and live with my
partner, Sarah, in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland. My literary fascinations and interest range from ancient
Anglo Saxon poetry, through to Baudelaire and Rimbaud, to Dylan Thomas, Geoffrey Hill and Samuel
Beckett.
Billy Cancel
Billy Cancel has recently appeared in West Wind Review, Gobbet & Bombay Gin. His latest body of work
PSYCHO'CLOCK is out on Hidden House Press. Billy Cancel is 1/2 of the noise/pop duo Tidal Channel.
Sound poems, visual shorts and other aberrations can be found at billycancelpoetry.com
Bishop & Fuller
Bishop & Fuller's 40+ plays and 200+ comic sketches have been staged by theatres nationwide. They are
recipients of National Endowment for the Arts writing fellowships, and as actors with The Independent Eye
have presented over 3,500 shows cross-country. They live in Sebastopol CA and are now writing fiction. Info:
www.independenteye.org/print.
bruno neiva

C.N. Bean
C.N. Bean has published three novels, A Soul to Take, Dust to Dust and With Evil Intent. In 2011, “15 Minutes in
the Life of Joe Hagar,” was a finalist in Yale University’s search for a short script to produce through its film
production company and drama department. “Smilin’ Away the Dreams,” a revision of that script, was an
official selection in the 2013 Richmond International Film Festival. In 2014, Virginia Tech produced “The
Dream Interpreter” as its first public film. C.N.'s recent poetry has appeared in Copperfield Review, BlazeVox,
and Deep South Magazine, where "Parable of the Sewer," was a Pushcart Nominee, and "Forgive Us Our
Debts," was a National Poetry Month selection. The Lock Box was a recent official selection of the 2016 NOVA
Film Festival, and nominated for two awards, the NOVA Screenwriting Award and Best Drama Under 20
Pages. It won Best Drama Under 20 pages. See
http://www.violenthues.com/2016%20NOVA%20FEST%20AWARDS%20RESULTS.pdf

Caroline Allen
Thank you for accepting this piece. A short bio: Caroline Allen teaches literature and writing at the College
of Creative Studies. Her fiction and non-fiction has been published by Spectrum, Solo Novo, Lumina, Mary,
Formerpeople, and other places. She is also a painter and has recently started teaching dance classes. She is
currently working on a memoir of her days as an outsider in the burgeoning L.A. punk scene of the late
1970s.
David M. Castillo
David M. Castillo is a graduate of the University of New Mexico where he studied English with a focus on
Creative Writing. His work has been published in Conceptions Southwest and on Voicemailpoems.org. He is
the editor of several independent zines, and his vices include whiskey, kittens, and motorcycles.
David Rushmer
David Rushmer’s artworks and writings have appeared in a number of small press magazines since the late
1980s, including: Angel Exhaust, Archive of the Now, E.ratio, Great Works, Molly Bloom, Shearsman, and
10th Muse. He has work included in Sea Pie: An Anthology of Oystercatcher Poetry (Shearsman, 2012). His
most recent published pamphlets are The Family of Ghosts (Arehouse, Cambridge, 2005) and Blanchot’s
Ghost (Oystercatcher Press, 2008).
Dilip Mohapatra
Dilip Mohapatra (b.1950), a decorated Navy Veteran has been pursuing his passion for poetry since the
seventies . His poems have appeared in many literary journals of repute world wide. Some of his poems are
included in the World Poetry Yearbook, 2013 and 2014 editions. He has three poetry collections to his credit,
the latest titled 'Another Look' recently published by Authorspress India. His fourth poetry collection titled
Flow Infinite is currently under publication. He holds two masters degrees, in Physics and in Management
Studies. He lives with his wife in Pune. His website is dilipmohapatra.com <http://dilipmohapatra.com> .
E.M. Schorb
E.M. Schorb’s prose poems have appeared in The Carolina Quarterly, The Mississippi Review, Illuminations, The
Chariton Review, Mudfish, Slant, Gulf Coast, The New Laurel Review, The North American Review, and
Gargoyle. A number of them were also in recent issues of Poetry Salzburg Review and Oxford Poetry. His
collection, Manhattan Spleen, was published last year. In reviewing the book, X.J. Kennedy wrote: “Manhattan
Spleen is mighty cool, I think, and if anyone writes better prose poems these days I don’t know who it is.”

Emily Pinkerton
Emily Pinkerton is a technologist and poet. Previously an editor at Twitter, she is currently an MFA
candidate at San Francisco State University. Her writing has previously appeared or is forthcoming in
Noble/Gas Qtrly, Transfer, Gravel, LEVELER, Electric Cereal, Lemon Hound, and The Bold Italic, among
others. She can be found online on Twitter at @neongolden and at thisisemilypinkerton.tumblr.com
<http://thisisemilypinkerton.tumblr.com> . Her favorite color is fog.
Emma Wenninger
Emma Wenninger received her Bachelor’s Degrees in English and Spanish and Certificate in Creative
Writing from Indiana University, where she was honored with the 2014 Myrtle Armstrong Undergraduate
Fiction Award. She was featured in numerous on-campus publications, and served as the Indiana Daily
Student Opinion Editor in the fall of 2014. She currently works in publishing in Bloomington, IN.
Erica S. Qualy
Erica S. Qualy was born on a warm December night 30 years ago in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. She is a selfdescribed artistic scientist, working with every medium she can get her hands on.
“Poems & Postcards” is her first book of poems. To purchase your own copy and to see more of her art-work,
you can visit her website: www.ericaqualyart.tumblr.com
Freddie Bettles Lake
I was born and grew up in London, England, though I have spent the last three years studying in Norwich. I
have recently completed my degree in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of East
Anglia.
Franco Cortese

Glenn Ingersoll
Glenn Ingersoll works for the Berkeley Public Library where he hosts the Clearly Meant reading series. He
maintains the blog Dare I Read? and has two chapbooks, City Walks (Broken Boulder) and Fact
(Avantacular).

Heather Sager
Heather Sager's poetry appears in Route 7 Review and NEAT. She lives in Illinois.
hiromi suzuki
hiromi suzuki is an illustrator, poet, artist living in Tokyo, Japan.
A contributor of Japanese poetry magazine "gui" (Running by the members of Katsue Kitasono's "VOU").
Author of ‘Ms. cried' 77 poems by hiromi suzuki (kisaragi publishing, 2013 ISBN978-4-901850-42-1).
Her works are published internationally on "Otoliths", "BlazeVOX", "Empty Mirror" and
NationalPoetryMonth.ca 2015.
hiromi suzuki's web site : http://hiromisuzukimicrojournal.tumblr.com.
Isabel Balée
Isabel Balée received her MFA from Brown University in 2015, and her BA from Tulane University in 2013.
Previous work can be found in Alice Blue, Thermos, and A Bad Penny Review. She lives in New Orleans, where
she was born and raised.
Jeri Thompson
Jeri Thompson has been published in several lit journals: Red Light Lit, Cadence Collective, CactiFur, Mas
Tequila Review and Lummox 4, among others.She graduated from CSULB with a BA in Creative Writing
(English) and studied with two greats: Gerald Locklin and Elliott Fried. She is grateful to live about a mile
from the beach in SoCal. She is also glad that El Nino never arrived this far south.
Jasper Brinton
Jasper Brinton born in Alexandria, Egypt; was educated in the Middle East, Scotland and the United States.
Over the years he has worked in publishing, printing, architecture, ceramics and wood. He lives near
Kimberton, Pennsylvania in a restored schoolhouse and sails the Chesapeake in an old but seaworthy sloop.
His poetry has appeared in Eccolinguistics, On Barcelona and E.ratio
Jesper Andreasson
Jesper Andreasson was born in Stockholm. Nominated for the James Kirkwood Literary Prize, he received
his MFA at the Bennington Writing Seminars and lives in Los Angeles. www.jesperandreasson.com

Joan Harvey
Joan Harvey's fiction, poetry, and translations have appeared in numerous journals including Web
Conjunctions, Drunken Boat, Smokelong Quarterly, Reconfigurations, Bomb, Caper Literary Journal, Otoliths, Painted
Bride Quarterly, The Tampa Review, Another Chicago Magazine, Danse Macabre, Osiris, Global City Review, and
many more. She has won prizes for both poetry and fiction, and is a graduate of the Jack Kerouac School of
Disembodied Poetics.
Josepha Gutelius
Josepha Gutelius's work has appeared in the anthologies Best New Writing 2013, A Slant of Light (2013 USA
Best Anthology Award, International Book Award 2014 finalist), TCR (The Committee Room) Story of the
Month (best of the web 2013), stageplays.com <http://stageplays.com> , and Professional Playscripts. A
Pushcart Prize nominee, Eric Hoffer Award finalist. Her play “Vaseline” was short-listed for the prestigious
Eugene O’Neill Center, 2014. Full-length stage-plays Veronica Cory, Age of Anxiety, and Miracle Mile published
in stageplays.com <http://stageplays.com> and Professional Playscripts. Companions plays RASP/Elektra
featured in The Modern Review.
John Sweet
John Sweet sends cryptic greeting from the rural wastelands of upstate New York. He is a firm believer in
writing as catharsis, and in the need to continuously search for an unattainable and constantly evolving
absolute truth. His latest collection is APPROXIMATE WILDERNESS (2016 Flutter Press).
Joel Best
Joel Best has published in venues such as Atticus, decomP, Autumn Sky and Carcinogenic Poetry. He lives in
upstate New York with his wife and son.
K.E. Mahoney
K.E. Mahoney lives in Lowell, MA with her cats Ripley and Commander Riker. She is a technical writer for a
software company by day and multimedia artist by night because she enjoys her luxurious lifestyle of Netflix
and grifted wifi. Her writing is a cult favorite within a small circle of close friends and family who will not
rest until she is a published writer.

Kat Hausler
Kat Hausler is a graduate of New York University and holds an M.F.A. in Fiction from Fairleigh Dickinson
University, where she was the recipient of a Baumeister Fellowship. Her work has been published by 34th
Parallel, Inkspill Magazine, All Things That Matter Press and Rozlyn Press, and her novel Retrograde was
long-listed for the Mslexia Novel Competition. She works as a translator in Berlin.
Kaitlin J. Pilipovic

Lazola Pambo
Lazola Pambo is a South African poet, novelist and essayist. Majority of his works have been published in
“The Kalahari Review,” “Aerodrome,” “New Coin,” “Nomad’s Choir,” “Black Magnolias Literary Journal,”
"LitNet," “Sun & Sandstone,” and “Aji Magazine,” among others. You can follow him on Twitter @LPambo
Lynne Viti
Lynne Viti is a senior lecturer in the Writing Program at Wellesley College, Massachusetts . Her poetry has
appeared in Little Patuxent Review, The Longleaf Pine, Mountain Gazette, Amuse-Bouche, In Flight Literary
Magazine, Silver Birch Press, A New Ulster, The Journal of Applied Poetics, Subterranean Blue Poetry, Three Drops
from a Cauldron, Paterson Review , Damfino, The Lost Country, Irish Literary Review,The Song Is…, Foliate Oak
Literary Magazine, Poetry Pacific, Grey Sparrow Review, and in a curated exhibit at Boston City Hall .
Marc J. Frazier
Marc J. Frazier has appeared in The Spoon River Poetry Review, ACM, Ascent, Permafrost, Plainsongs, Poet Lore,
Rhino, among many others. He is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for poetry and the author of
The Way Here, a full-length poetry collection and two chapbooks. His second full-length collection, Each
Thing Touches, is from Glass Lyre Press, 2015. Visit www.marcfrazier.org <http://www.marcfrazier.org> .
Mark DuCharme
Mark DuCharme is the author, most recently, of The Unfinished: Books I-VI
(BlazeVOX, 2013). Other volumes of his poetry include Answer (2011) and The Sensory Cabinet (2007), also from
BlazeVOX, as well as Infinity Subsections (Meeting Eyes Bindery, 2004) and Cosmopolitan Tremble (Pavement
Saw, 2002). His work appears in recent or forthcoming anthologies, including Water, Water Everywhere:

Paean to a Vanishing Resource (Baksun Books & Arts, 2014), Litscapes: Collected US Writings (Steerage Press,
2015), and Poets for Living Waters: An International Response to the BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico
(forthcoming from BlazeVOX). He lives in Boulder, Colorado.
Mark Young
Mark Young is the editor of Otoliths <http://the-otolith.blogspot.com/> , & lives in a small town in North
Queensland in Australia. His work is included in The Last Vispo Anthology; a collection of visual poetry,
Arachnid Nebula, was published a year or so ago by Luna Bisonte Prods; & more recent visual work has
appeared or is to appear in Of/with, Tip of the Knife, M58, The New Post-Literate, h&, After the Pause,
Zoomoozophone Review, Sonic Boom, & Word for / Word.
Mel Bentley
Mel Bentley co-organizes Housework at Chapterhouse, a reading series in Philadelphia. Their chapbook
"Obstacle, Particle, Spectacle" was released from 89plus/Luma Foundation. Chapbooks "&parts" and "Stub
Wilderness" were released from Damask Press and Well Greased Press, respectively. Vitrine released "Red
Green Blue" a tape of noises. Poems have appeared in Apiary, Fact-Simile, Small Po[r]tions and Painted
Bride Quarterly. "Bucolic Eclogues" is forthcoming from Lamehouse Press in 2016.
Natasha Deveau
Natasha Deveau resides in Austin, Texas where she is a senior at Concordia University and is studying
English Literature. She is originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada where she received a BA with a major
in Psychology and a Teaching English as a Second Language diploma from Saint Mary’s University. She
worked as an ESL teacher in Halifax for five years, and her wonderful students and colleagues inspired her
to write creative pieces. When she is not studying or writing, she enjoys hanging out with her husband David
and her cat Stinky.
Nicholas Samaras
PT Davidson
PT Davidson is originally from New Zealand, although he has spent the past 24 years livingabroad in Japan,
the UK, Turkey and the UAE. He currently lives in Dubai. His poetry has appeared in Otoliths, BlazeVOX,
streetcake, After the Pause, and Sein und Werden. He has poems forthcoming in Clockwise Cat, Futures Trading,
Your One Phone Call, Tip of the Knife, foam:e and Snorkel. His first book of poetry, seven, is due out soon.

Raymond Farr
Raymond Farr is author of Ecstatic/.of facts (Otoliths 2011), & Writing What For? across the Mourning Sky
(Blue & Yellow Dog 2012), sic transit—“g” (Blue & Yellow Dog 2012, 2016), Poetry in the Age of Zero Grav
(Blue & Yellow Dog 2015) & 2 e-chapbooks, Eating the Word NOISE! (White Knuckle Chaps 2015), & A
Journey of Haphazard Miles (ALT POETICS 2016). Raymond is editor of Blue & Yellow Dog, now archived at
http://blueyellowdog.weebly.com & publisher/editor of a new poetry blog The Helios Mss at
theheliosmss.blogspot.com
Red Collins
I am a twenty year old from Ireland who works in the office of a catering company and seeks to become a full
time writer.
Rich Murphy
Rich Murphy has taught writing and literature full time at colleges and universities for 27 years. His fourth
book “Body Politic” will be published this year by Prolific Press. Murphy’s credits include three books
Americana Prize Americana 2013 winner, Voyeur 2008 Gival Press Poetry Award, and The Apple in the Monkey
Tree; chapbooks, Great Grandfather, Family Secret, Hunting and Pecking, Rescue Lines, Phoems for Mobile Vices,
and Paideia. Derek Walcott has remarked, “Mr. Murphy is a very careful craftsman in his work, a patient and
testing intelligence . . . .”
Roger Craik
Roger Craik, Associate Professor of English at Kent State University Ashtabula, has written three full-length
poetry books – I Simply Stared (2002), Rhinoceros in Clumber Park (2003) and The Darkening Green (2004), and
the chapbook Those Years (2007), (translated into Bulgarian in 2009), and, most recently, Of England Still
(2009). His poetry has appeared in several national poetry journals, such as The Formalist, Fulcrum, The
Literary Review and The Atlanta Review.
English by birth and educated at the universities of Reading and Southampton, Craik has worked as a
journalist, TV critic and chess columnist. Before coming to the USA in 1991, he worked in Turkish
universities and was awarded a Beineke Fellowship to Yale in 1990. He is widely traveled, having visited
North Yemen, Egypt, South Africa, Tibet, Nepal, Japan, Bulgaria (where he taught during spring 2007 on a
Fulbright Scholarship to Sofia University), and, more recently, the United Arab Emirates, Austria, and
Croatia. His poems have appeared in Romanian, and from 2013-14 he is a Fulbright Scholar at Oradea
University in Romania.

Poetry is his passion: he writes for at least an hour, over coffee, each morning before breakfast, and he enjoys
watching the birds during all the seasons.
Scott Wordsman
Scott Wordsman holds an MFA from William Paterson University. His poems have appeared or are
forthcoming in THRUSH, Spry, Black Heart Magazine, Main Street Rag, Crack the Spine, The Puritan, The
Quotable, and other journals. He is a poetry reader for Map Literary, lives in Jersey City, and teaches
composition.
Susan Kay Anderson
Susan Kay Anderson, 2017 MFA candidate in Creative Writing at Eastern Oregon University, is a 2010
National Poetry Series Finalist, and was the poetry editor of Big Talk in Eugene, Oregon, a free publication
in the early 1980s which showcased up-and-coming NW punk bands. She earned degrees in anthropology
from the University of Oregon (BS) and English Literature/Creative Writing from the University of
Colorado, Boulder (MA & Jovanovich Award). Her thesis was directed by poet Edward Dorn. She worked in
Hawaii as an educator and interviewed Virginia Brautigan Aste. Her recent work is in Concis, Caliban Online,
Beat Scene, and forthcoming in Prairie Schooner. Her poetry blog is: Hawaii Teacher Detective
Simon Perchik
Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Poetry,
Osiris, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River
Otter Press (2013). For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and
Other Realities” please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.
Tanya Pilumeli
Tanya Pilumeli received her B.A. and M.A. in English from John Carroll University. When not travelling to
far off places with her family like Egypt and Namibia, she lives near Lake Erie in Geneva, Ohio, with her
Italian husband and three children where they run an Italian restaurant. Her poetry has appeared and won
awards in The Blue Collar Review, Time of Singing, Wild Violet, and other journals. She was the first place
winner inTime of Singing winter 2015. Her middle grade novel, The DragonFly Keeper, was a finalist for the
2008 Best Books Award. She most recently won second place in Cleveland's Hessler Street Poetry Contest 2016.

Tarice L.S. Gray
Tarice L.S. Gray earned an MFA in Creative Nonfiction writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University and is
now an editor of Nonfiction books in New York City. The former NPR journalist is married to Rodney, and is
the mother of an oft times exceedingly energetic daughter. Tarice is also an associate member of the Writers'
Guild of America, West.
Uriel Gribetz
I was raised in the Bronx. Since 1988 I have worked as an attorney representing the indigent in the Bronx
accused of crimes. My first novel Taconic Murda, featuring Sam Free an ex homicide detective from the
Bronx, was published in 2014 by Moonshine Cove Publishing and it is available on Amazon. My second Sam
Free novel titled Hunts Point is to be published later this year by Perfect Crime Books. The opening chapter
of another novel was featured in Noir Zine in the UK. I have also had short stories published in Blaze VOX,
as well as Orchard Press Mysteries.
Zachary Scott Hamilton