azine      Conceived, written, formatted, and printed in San Francisco, California.   Tsaritsa Publishing 2011, All Rights Reserved. Plagiarism is illegal and for  wankers. Don't do it, or else!

Welcome to Be About It, the TRIUMPH issue. The word “triumph” brings to mind an assortment of ideas and inspirations. Triumph. Some minds may automatically go to the Wu-Tang Clan upon hearing the word, while others envision a dog with a snarky attitude and a cigar. Others will think of a motorcycle when the word “triumph” is spoken,or perhaps something that may seem insignificant to others but is special to the individual. Thus, I decided to leave the topic open-ended, free for interpretation. This is the fourth issue of Be About It(wow, I really can’t believe I’ve already popped out four of these bad boys!) and I am very proud of all the writers and artists who submitted. Thank you so much, and thank you for being so gracious as I put this thing together— I’m a one-person-show and it takes time and care to put these zines together. You have no idea how happy I am to see this pocket guide to the pseudoliterati still kicking a whole year after its conception. Please enjoy this little product of my time and love. If you like what you see, I hope you consider sending a piece of writing or art in for the next one! Love, Alexandra “the Tsaritsa” Naughton

Triumph    What it means to be a winner and how it feels to be a loser  If you act like a beggar you won’t be seen as a chooser    The game of life is rigged and the board is broke  Watch as your aspirations go up in smoke    The dreams we have when we’re young get compromised  When the weight of the world is fully realized    Reality bites, it’s the winter of discontent  Opportunity knocks, but it’s not heaven sent    Triumph of the will  The taste of the thrill  Spent so much time just runnin up that hill Wonder what it feels like to make that kill  How far to take it just to get top bill?  ‐   by Alexandra Naughton    A spirit that has been rewired… …The celebration of authentic expression. Adversity withers, As blessings begin to blossom. The subconscious calms as the conscious remembers.

Compa arisons must ce ease, the journ has been necessary ney n and uni ique. Allow e empowerment t course throu your fibers to ugh s. The aut thority has bee seized from dark clouds… en m … …You h have found the sun. e

  ‐   words a and artwork by Brandie Harris

Gossip is Bad for Yo Lungs  p our   I.    That bit said,  tch we're th type of women who shou come  hey uld

with a Surgeon General's warning -  we're bad for your health.  That's overkill & bullshit, for sure  'cause I ain't never heard of plagues coming in fives.    Thinkin' us hollow & shallow  with dangerous tongues -  always quick to remind,  trouble's all they'll every know of 'em.  Talkin' in tight circles 'round drinks mixed too strong:    II.    Shannon, with the dark hair,  she's from Long Island, gave up  cursing for Lent but you'd never know it  when her accent flares and  she's callin' that tramp  her ex- cheated with a “stupid cunt.”    One with the whiskey's Meredith,  Catholic schooler who can destroy  a man faster than a flash flood  after four or five shots of Jim  without ever removing that  “I'm a nice girl” smile.    III.    Crazy curly red is Katherine,  only thing bigger than that hair's her accent  especially when she's ripped off four or more -  she always being going at it    IV.    with Lily, the blond, got the boyfriend  & that damn mouth the size of Italy, 

nearly picked a fight last weekend in the club  I'd a had to fight,    V.    But that's just me,  skinny legs with the temper & the bad luck,  stompin' stilettos wounds in our path.  ‐   by Kate Stone 

THE GANG THAT COULDN’T SHOOT STRAIGHT    While I wasn’t born there, Hialeah, Florida is where I was raised. My family settled there after years of moving throughout Europe, as well as the northeast tri-state area, and then the west coast. If you’re not certain where Hialeah is, don’t feel bad. Most Floridians don’t either, and those that do would rather forget.Hialeah is trapped, protruding like a cancerous tumor from the northwest shoulder of Miami on one end, and the Everglade swamplands surrounding its other.    It was, and, still is, a town where no matter what type of business you enter, you have to speak Spanish. It’s a place where almost every last man above a certain age is waiting for the fall of a seemingly invincible dictator, so they could return to their island paradise. In a place that could be hotter than Hell, Miami was the sweet spot. They had their beaches, while I swam in snakeinfested, man-made lakes.

Hialeah was Miami’s little bitch. Like Camden to Philadelphia, or Jersey City to Manhattan, except no one’s ever heard of it, and luckily, it wasn’t in New Jersey.    As you grow up so close to a city held high by tourist boards and the Euro jet set, one couldn’t be but embarrassed when you drove by someone on a horse, or traffic stopped due to all the chickens in the road.    Sadly, if it weren’t for drugs, Hialeah would probably have been absorbed by all the snorting going on in our sister city, but the country air and quiet atmosphere of the place convinced quite a few drug lords to move in, and stake a claim on the land. To have been incorporated into Miami would have surely changed my life, possibly for the better, but Fate had dealt me her hand already.    Hialeah was safe though, just not for long.    In come the 22 Ave Players, which wasn’t so much of a gang as it was a group of four friends, and I use the word “friends” very, very loosely.    Some would say that we were led by Abe, a tall, lanky, wannabe pimp - half Arabic, half Argentinean.    Juan, a Puerto Rican, was his sidekick, and reminded me of the little dog in cartoons that always asked the bigger dog if what they did was cool. And, just like in those cartoons, every once in a while, Abe would hit him, and growl, “Shaddup!”    Nick was the playboy of the crew - another PR, who, at only 17, had good credit, a car, and a real job. Because he scored with the ladies, taking a cue from The A-Team, we called him “Face”.    Lastly, was me - somehow the only Cuban. Quickly growing

tired of the Miami hardcore scene I was already part of, I decided to hang around ruffians, thieves and criminals, only to meet up with these three instead.     Small town gangs are, at least today, a bit scarier than their city counterparts. Nowadays ner’do wells will try to prove themselves, and so, will stab, shoot and then rape anything that moves, just so their names could be fearfully whispered on the streets. I guess in the mid-80s, not many knew better, and society is all the better for it, though those that fret about overpopulation might not think so.     We could have been a real gang. All we had to do was go into Miami, and strike up a deal with the Latin Kings.Forget that! They were a local chapter of a much larger syndicate out of Chicago. We weren’t going to be run by guys being run by other guys in some far off mid-western state. Nah! We preferred to be run by the hormone-driven delusions of our adolescent minds, and the small town images of what life in the city must be like.    Making matters worse, real gangs would fight one another for turf, so they can peddle their wares on whatever corners they absorb, since bigger property makes for bigger wallets. I’m not sure if the Hialeah kids knew this, and I chalk it up to small town ignorance, but the local crews constantly assaulted one another on the street, simply because they belonged to another clique.It wasn’t about money, drugs or even pride: it was simply because they threw a different hand sign in the wrong neighborhood.    The best thing that developed from this was gaining an ability to handle a good ass whoopin’, as I didn’t care to keep

to myself, and would often ride my bike into neighboring hoods. The mind may boggle at the number of bicycles I’ve donated to another gang all due to riding through their set.After countless broken noses, and several times waking up on the curb, without our rides or even shoes, we began to realize the rules of the game, and we wanted to make, not only a name for ourselves, but a living.    Nick had the idea, as well as the connections, to buy a kilo of coke. We were to cut it, distribute it, buy more and become real players.We needed cash for that, and in the true spirit of punk ethics - though we had none at the time - we decided to pool our resources, and try it D.I.Y. style.We each threw in what we had, and came up with $56 - hardly two points of a percent against the twenty thousand we needed.What to do? What to do?    Abe spoke up in his usual monotone drawl, “I know a liquor store we can knock over. They usually have fifty grand in the place.”    Not that it mattered, but one of Abe’s problems was his constant exaggerations. If he said fifty, it was more like five.Still, it was better than the lint we were scrapping together out of our pockets, and we all looked at one another excitedly.It’s a start, and it would have to do.    We were to set if off on a Saturday night, around midnight, as most everything closed a little after 10 or 11, except the liquor stores.That really didn’t make a bit of difference, as the one, which was decided on, was a stand-alone store in the middle of nowhere, at the very beginning of US 27, just before it takes off past Hialeah out into the Everglades.    To this day I have no idea why, but I decided to drop a tab an hour before the robbery.   

Though I knew I would write of my life in later years, and even saw myself as some sort modern-day Jean Genet, it may have had something to do with the fact that I didn’t really want to murder anyone.    Anyhow, the acid begins to kick in strongly, as we pull into the parking lot. I can hear shaman drums, but later notice that it’s just the sound of everyone loading their guns.    I brought mine ready to go, a snub-nosed .38 Special revolver.    I remember looking up at the stars, and seeing the cross and flare around them caused by dilated pupils, and wondering if this is where the ancient Druids came up with the Celtic cross.    Abe snaps me back to Earth when I hear him asking, “You guys ready?”    “Gibang steady,” I replied - meaning to say, “Born ready.”    Suddenly everyone’s asking if I’m okay.    I meant to reply that I was fine, but out came the - dare I say - words, “Sheee. I sobahreah.Lez goat inzer and gothum.”    Juan, who I’m certain was high on crack, as he always was, almost screamed, “He’s ready, so let’s go!”    As we begin to step out of the car, everyone places their guns in the waistbands of their dungarees.  I felt funny walking toward this place, as – for all I know – I may kill someone, but all I can do is giggle as the cold steel barrel firmly makes its way down my butt crack. As suddenly as we take our first steps towards the door, Juan’s gun misfires.

I see it in front of me - almost in slow motion - blow a hole out the back of pants, as if it were some dimwitted college kid trying to light his farts on fire.    Everyone begins to completely lose their minds as they scramble back to the car. All except me, who, still in my altered daze, but suddenly able to put words together, yell, “Yeah motherfucker, it’s on!”I pulled the gun from my pants, and begin waving my pistol around, firing every last round into the air.    The car screeching away without me didn’t bother my fragile state at the time, as I may have already been running into the surrounding cow pastures. One of the last things I remember was, hours later, finding myself in an open field with cupped hands aimed skyward, wanting to catch the bullets on their trip back down.    Needless to say, we didn’t last much longer after that, though we did try another heist or two, all of which failed miserably.    We finally went our separate ways after a handful of creeps who called themselves the Young Latin Organization, known as Y. Lo, surrounded us at a city fair, and bashed out all the windows in Nick’s brand new Mazda CRX.All except for, of course, the windshield - the only one free to replaced.    We went home with our tail between our legs, sans cotton candy or the joy you still feel hours after exiting a carnival ride.We were as tired as those in battle, and felt as if we had surely fought one - finally making it home, bloody, and bruised.    I think it was unspoken, because I don’t recall anyone saying anything important. We may have shot the shit for a few minutes, or even hours, as we cleaned our cuts, but starting

the very next day none of us hung out ever again.    After a few months, I left the gang life to the street toughs like those in the Latin Kings. Unlike the handful of thugs in Hialeah, those cats, and the dogs they squared with, could handle guns pretty well.    They were straight shooters alright, and I’m just lucky to not have gotten in the crosshairs.    ‐   by Adel Souto    Strings, theories    Strings, theories  fringe can't keep me from going  cutting edge ain't all it’s knifed up to be  or not.  All I feel is hot, electricity  Running the circuit, piecemeal  spreading, rushes then cackle.  Coughing blood has never been lovelier.  Oh, but I'm too young for those thoughts, stirring the ice with a long spoon.  So many minutes to spend, waste, forget.  But stop-- fatalism is not attractive.  It's not how or why, but where  Carried by the wind, taking root.  Time falling short, who would even show up?    ‐   by Alexandra Naughton   

  Emily Dickinson on Needlework, Baking, Music, and Writing Fascicles  Note: A fascicle is a bundled collection of poems or newspaper articles held together by string, a popular term in the Victorian era. Emily kept her poems as fascicles.   Writing is a spiritual calling --- as birds in orchids  are obliged to sing --- for what is more constrained  than an unresolved heart?    As girls, we learned the tiny stitch  and straight seam --- continuing to expand  into days, with needles of light.  We gave ourselves into the needlework of conversation.  This is what it is like to write tightly.    A cake needs to sit in a cool, dark place  to improve its flavor. So too, the closure  of a final knot. It takes just as long  to contemplate the exactness of a word.    I play strange melodies from my own inspiration ----  but when I have the overpowering urge to write,  I use anything within reach --- a butcher receipt,  brown paper bags, scraps of newsprint, backs  of opened envelops, discarded bills, pressed flowers ---  the wall themselves if I was not so restrained.  I bind them into booklets with black embroidery thread.  It is the business of love --- to write ---  to stitch words and serve them later ---  to strike notes on the keyboard of the heart  so it resounds long after penetrating darkness.    What use is poetry, you demand.    I cannot imagine this room --- this earth --- 

this universe --- in such terrible silence ----  without something baking inside, demanding Light ---  be forced into the fabric of paper.    I am darning my life into paper ---  singing, beyond singing. ‐   by Martin Willitts Jr 


“Photos taken at the graduation party in my lyceum, it was an  amazing moment. Ending a study is my long‐awaited triumph.”  ‐  by Kirrill Mazhai 

Statues of Iowa City    Winter. The Tie That Binds. Ross watched the clock, hoping it would speed up. He looked past the few customers still in the store, out into the white blur falling outside the window. Ross wondered how cold it was today, and whether he would lose any body parts on the walk home. The mall was getting quiet, almost time to call it a day. Ross thought back to when he was a child, and how different this place was then. After attending a football game with his parents, both Iowa Alumni, they had ventured into the mall for food and rest before the long drive home across Interstate 80. It was the center of shopping then, long before the larger, highway friendly mall opened in nearby Coralville. Now the building served as little more than an extension of the University, and the few stores on the bottom floor mostly catered to niche markets. After closing the shop, Ross bundled up in the many layers needed to survive a Midwestern winter night. The cold hit his exposed face as soon as he stepped outside. He watched as a car struggled to move down the road before crossing the street himself. His boots disappeared into the snow as he moved through the bricked pedestrian mall. A few bars were open, the neon lights giving off an odd glow on the blanket of white. The sound of a snow-blower started up somewhere nearby. Ross put one foot in front of the other, on a mission to get home. As he neared the playground, set squarely in the middle of the pedestrian mall he slowed and took in the icicles hanging from the various slides and swings. The ice looked playful, the children of winter claiming the metal structure, before the human children returned to lay their claim at first thaw. It was quiet here between the playground, the public library and a

recently opened deli. Ross felt like he could hear the snow falling. It made him smile. He debated stopping into the deli for dinner, but decided to hold out and save money. As he passed he noticed the metal head barely peeking out of the snow. He walked over to it and began to brush snow away. Beneath the snow sat a sculpture, perfect for the playground. A man, a father perhaps, knelt down, tying a young child’s shoes. In his summer walks home, past the bustling playground full of mothers, fathers, and the always rambunctious kids, Ross had often looked at the small child sculpture as a hope for his own personal future. The child was covered up to his shoulder by the continually falling snow. Ross placed his hand on the sculpture of the child, and almost apologetically gave it a pat.   Ross continued on his walk home and the snow once again buried the father and son.     Spring. Irving B. Weber. The last bite of her sandwich wasn’t the best thing she had ever tasted, but it was passable. Julie was outside during her lunch break sitting on one of two parallel benches on Iowa Avenue directly in front of the statue of Irving B. Weber. The winter snows had passed, and a few weeks of blustering winds had died down into a truly beautiful spring day. The sun was high in the sky and the golden dome of the old state capitol shimmered in the sunlight. Irving Weber’s statue stood in front of her, all five feet tall of it, staring off across the street, its copper body extending an arm up into the sky. The arm held the statue’s hat as if he was saluting some friendly passerby. Julie liked the peaceful face of the statue. She moved to Iowa City in 2003, a few years after Irving Weber died, all 97 years of his life passed behind. Julie had heard the stories of the man, the historian of the university and its city. She looked past the copper and

broken glasses into the eyes of the motionless copper face. They seemed kind in their lifelessness. Students passed by her constantly, to their classes, or further downtown to shop, drinks, and work. They all looked so young to her, so full of energy. Julie reminded herself that she was only a few years removed from their lifestyle after all and that brought a small smile of remembrance. Looking at her watch, only fifteen minutes of her break remained. She sighed and stared at Mr. Weber. “Your busy city thrives, Mr. Weber.” Julie grabbed her purse, collected her belongings and deposited her trash in a nearby receptacle. “See you tomorrow old friend”    Summer. Jazz. Ross escaped the noise of the bar and walked slowly across the pedestrian mall. He was a little tipsy from one too many drinks, right on the line of actually being drunk but not quite. He walked over to the statue of the three men playing jazz and sat down on a nearby bench. It reminded him that the Jazz Festival was coming up in a few weeks and then these streets would be full of people, to the point where it wasn’t fun anymore. He looked back to the bar where his friends still were, smiling knowing full well they would probably be coming downtown for the festival no matter what objections he may have. The three statues looked truly happy, but also kind of Disney-like in their musical venture. From looking at them one would imagine it was the best thing in the world to be a musician. Ross thought of his guitar then, and how it had been ages since he picked it up. Never far out of reach in his one bedroom apartment, but it lay quiet, collecting dust.

He saw her first. Her brown hair almost shoulder length, she was walking slowly admiring the buildings, with a cup of ice cream in her hand. Ross smiled her way, and after a while she noticed him. She returned the smile as she got close and spoke first. “Ross, right?From Sam’s party?” He nodded, smiled some more.“Nice day for ice cream?” She looked at her cup and smiled back at him. He slid over on the bench and motioned for her to sit. “So Sam says you work for the University?” he asked as he searched for her name in his memory banks. “Yeah, over in admissions. It’s alright. Pays the bills.”Her name was Julie. It came to him pretty quickly. The alcohol must have been wearing off. “Good health benefits. What about you?” Ross pointed across the road to the Old Capitol Mall and his store. “I manage that place.” Julie smiled at that and added,“Oh, so you’re not a transient?” “Transient?” “You know, college student. Here for four years, and gone. Meanwhile leaving your mark on everyone you touch, and not looking back when you go.” Ross laughed at that. They talked for a bit longer, and exchanged numbers with the promise of hanging out sometime. Ross liked her at Sam’s party and now he could tell he liked her here in the open air even more. When he got home that evening, he pulled out his guitar and started to play.    Fall, 53 years later.

The Black Angel. Julie stood in the cemetery, taking in the cool fall breeze. She reached down and brushed off the tombstone with her wrinkled hands. She smiled as she looked at her late husband’s name on the granite and marble stone. I miss you Ross. Julie watched a pile of leaves circle around, pulled by the wind in a dance of the coming winter. She turned and left her husband’s grave, and walked through the cemetery back towards her son’s car. He would be waiting for her there to take her back to her assisted living apartment on the other side of town. Julie looked for the Black Angel to guide her. And when she saw its green and black wing, across the hilly field she knew she was on the right track. As she neared it she looked up at the famous statue, the lady angel, its face unchanged in all the years Julie had lived in Iowa City. Julie thought of her first encounter with the Angel. It was only a few weeks into her time in Iowa City and she had bought one of the tourist guides to learn her way around town. Inside the guide they listed this statue and the legend that went with it. It was said that any couple who kissed in front of it would die soon after. Julie smiled at that knowing that she had kissed one or two men here before and never suffered any consequences. She wondered how many more couples had kissed here. And how many more would. Julie looked back towards her husband’s grave and blew a kiss his way. She headed back to her son’s car. He opened the door for her and they drove back to her apartment. It was the last time she visited the Black Angel.    ‐   by Shawn Scott Smith 

Extras in my life    I love all the extras in my life  Randoms walking by, no important speaking roles  but essential for just being there.    Like this little girl with the stroller, pushing, trying hard to push straight over the cobblestones, her mother follows along, chatting on her cell.  She might be in the background later, or not, like right now because we’re watching her.  She definitely won’t be in the next scene, but we might find out her name so we can put her in the credits. ‐   by Alexandra Naughton 

Speaking Terms    When I ponder the concept of triumph, I realize that it is not a subject with which I am personally very familiar. Triumph isn't just winning, it is overcoming all odds, decimating one's opponents, destroying all obstacles; in general, triumph is the kind of victory one has when they destroy the Nazi war machine or win the gold medal at the Olympics. The word "triumph" even comes from the celebration the Romans would throw when a general returned from a campaign victorious and put his new-found treasure, captives, and slaves on display. I'm not saying I always lose, but I will admit many personal victories have been...Pyrrhic, to maintain the Roman war theme. I then come to the conclusion that the average individual, regardless of personal victories and failures, likely does not ever approach the grandeur of triumph.

Perhaps triumph is meant for injured athletes who win the game anyway, for Navy Seals (or their peers) hunting down terrorists, and for skilled researchers putting an end to diseases that ravage the world. I'd like to experience triumph, but putting my own successes on the scale, they seem to be just a bit light. ‐   by Paul Martens      It is important to get it down, out    It is important to get it down, out  Before it sits and becomes poison.   Before it stays only on paper and slowly rots.  Recording is the answer and only solution.  We need to get it out.  I really need to get it out.  ‐   by Alexandra Naughton       

  “This is my triumph. Nothing I ever do will compare to my son.”   ‐   by Norman White 

Why I Write “Could you tell me how to grow --- or is it unconveyed --- like Melody --- or Witchcraft?” --- Emily Dickinson to Thomas Higginson asking him how she could improve as a writer.    My mind is bewitched by voices ---  or is it from heaven? How can one know the difference?  And, does it make any difference to anyone except a few?  And do those chosen few convene in unconventionality?  Which is spell? And, which is the cure?  Does an expression of an idea come from nothing? 

Where was it incubating? My brain is stirring,  commencing winds of omens.    This lack of harmony is unavoidable. It shakes inside  until cast out. There is no tonic for this fever.  The whiteness of paper demands filling  with music of words, until I blot out sunlight.    Bed rest will not halt this illness.  This is not infection;  but the incredible requirement to share messages.    I am obliged to witness and share.  I have trust in whence they come; and I do not doubt.    The questions is not why I write --- but instead,  is it growing in the Light from the tiniest of voices  --- are they worthy of speaking? ‐   by Martin WillittsJr    Britomart    Ride like Britomart  Stuck preserving my heart  and my lungs from the cancer  Steal wind from breakdancers--  it’s the sex, not the answer.  Take too many chances  Split too many lances  Time and half, spending up my advances.    Oh wait, let me write a skit  Bout how I’m the shit  Poppin bank pens that spiffy two handed flip 

Gesture hidden, spring and hit em with the slip  Need no curses, my encyclopedia got words to fit  Faking knives faking hives  Parading please come and buy my kit  Teach you sentence diagrams and history of the boys I bit.  Exclamation points and a period, yeah that’s really beautiful  My plaid kicks sturdy, my pocket web dutiful. ‐   by Alexandra Naughton

Bragging Rights     It was the last inning of a tied game. Standing at 3rd base with my glove and a Yankees hat on, I looked at a tough hitter from the opposing team, the White Sox, step into the batter's box. Our steady pitcher wound up and delivered a pitch right down the middle. The batter took size of the ball and promptly hit it for a double in the gap and knocking in the winning run. The nail in the coffin.  The parents and the coaches of the Sox burst out onto the field, forming a make-shift ticker tape parade line with metal t-ball bats. Their players strut through proudly and celebrated as if they had just won the championship, when in fact they had played the role of spoiler. My Yankees were in first place before that game, but the White Sox had completely destroyed our hopes of winning the league. The only way we could have lost the league championship that day was if we lost and the team in 2nd place beat the last place team. I walked over to the other game after the White Sox celebrated. I remember seeing one of the players hit a laser through the infield and the Shortstop of the last place team

diving for the ball and missing it. What happened next was like a scene from a Benny Hill skit, with a single being turned into an inside-the-park home run through a series of comical errors. The scorekeeper looked at me and said "I don't think we're going to do you any favors today." I left that day without a championship and a bitter taste in my mouth. My dad reminded me on the way out "There is still the bragging rights game."    That year was one of my first years in little league. People began to recognize me as a pretty good player and they called me the Babe as I was chubby, on the Yankees, and could hit the ball like a slugger -- but good luck getting me to run. The name stuck in that league for a couple of years, even when I was on the Mariners the next year. The players in the league were comprised of different age groups, mainly people from the local elementary and middle schools. I went to a private school, and there were only a few boys from the private school willing to go muck it up in the local baseball leagues, so we were kinda like ringers. No one knew what you're going to get with the kid no one has seen play. After tryouts, I remember being in a shopping center, waiting for my dad to come back to the car from Rite Aid. When he got in the car he said to me "You're going to be a Yankee. Your mother called the store and told them to hand me the phone while I was checking out." This was before cell phones, and my mother knew I was desperately waiting to hear which team I was going to be on the next season. It just so happened that one of my very best friends and classmates at the time, Peter, got recruited to the Red Sox.    The debate in the Fourth grade class room went on for days about which team was better until we finally had the first game of the regular season. I remember showing up and

taking a look at the Red Sox, and I just hated them. I didn't let my friend know it at the time - but I hated their guts. They had the best sponsorship in the league that gave them all new shoes and they had a banner, a water mister for their benches and every single bell and whistle they could think of, completed with a very loud, vocal parent group behind them. My squad was a little more rag-tag. There were some great athletes, but we didn't quite sparkle like they did. The Red Sox took beat us in that first game, but it was close. I remember having to tell the class the next day in Mrs. Neale's classroom.    "So who won?"     “They did, alright,thefreakin' Sox.”    As the season went on, Mrs. Neale would play up the rivalry a little more and ask us if we won that week’s game. My Yankees were climbing the standings and it looked like my Yanks or Pete’s Red Sox would win the whole thing in the final month. The second time my squad faced the Red Sox was a shot a redemption – the winner taking sole possession of first place. They beat us again. Same outcome as last time. We lost another one-run game in the late innings. I remember watching their coach on the sidelines. Anytime he moved his hands to signal, his players were on the go. They played “small-ball” very well - they stole bases, took pitches, and made smart runs and throws. They were the best mentally prepared team in the league - hands down. Our lineup was fierce as well, but our support was small and we made mental errors that cost us games on a number of occasions. The mental mistakes proved to be our undoing. We underestimated the White Sox, losing the final game to them, sealing our fate as the Silver trophy team. 

  The week leading up to the “bragging rights” game, Peter proudly announced to the class that he just won the championship, but mentioned that we were going to have one more game between the first and second place team the upcoming weekend. My teacher asked the class who they thought would win and they were going to take a count of hands to tally the votes. When the teacher asked "Who thinks Peter's team is going to win?" I raised my hand in favor of the Red Sox. Everyone started laughing when they saw my hand raised in the air. I mean, I just lost the championship and I've lost to these crafty Red Sox twice now...why would I have faith?     Towards the end of the week the temperature started to soar - as it was the first days of Summer were starting and a summer in the Coachella valley means degrees of 100+ each day. The day before the bragging rights game the temperature was 115*, maybe even hotter. My dad came into my bedroom to talk to me about the weather and the game. "It's going to be another scorcher tomorrow - I want you to drink a lot of water,” he said as he left a large carafe of ice water in my room. He knew I had been pretty down since losing to the White Sox and he wanted to remind me how important this “bragging rights” game could be.   "You remember how happy that team was when they beat you?"...Mmm yes...I can't freaking get it out of my head. "Well the Red Sox just won the championship and they're on top of the world and you have a chance to knock them down." I smiled as I realized what he meant.    "They have everything to lose now that they're the're just in it for bragging rights. That's

something you could brag about to your class and brag about for the rest of the year. The last word." I finally got it-- I could be a stick in their mud. I could bring them down and leave myself with the final satisfying win of the season, even if it didn't count for the standings. This was something more, this was for bragging rights.I kept a glass of water next to me that whole day, constantly hydrating because I wanted to be ready for the long grind of a game in extreme temperatures.    The day of the game was more insane and crowded than opening day. The older kids were still battling for their prospective titles and every single parent was there to cheer their kids on. Several players from other teams showed up in uniform even though they weren't playing just to say goodbye to their teams and to see who would win the whole thing. The smug Red Sox parents showed up with their lawn chairs and shirts that read "Red Sox Champions.” They had enough money and enough time in a week to make a championship shirt for a youth baseball league. Our team was juiced to play these guys and my coach pepped us up with a talk that essentially was the same thing my dad did last night in different words. "We got nothing to lose."     The game started pretty slowly and we got them out of the first inning pretty fast 1,2,3. When we came up in the first inning we unleashed a barrage of hitting that was simply shock and awe. A single, then a double, then a home run - three times over. It was a steamrolling of hits that must have amounted to 10+ runs. We destroyed them before it even started. A lopsided, decisive, bone-crushing defeat. We kept hitting the ball until the faces of the Red Sox parents turned like they smelled some sour milk. "Yeah, nice shirts guys. Champions...pfft" I remember one of our parents saying to them. The last thing I

can tell you in finishing they left the field looking like chumps and not champions...and that's something I could brag about to my 4th grade class - and something I remember all these years later. ‐   by Theodore Ordon‐Yaussi      Gardening in Georgia Clay    I built a garden on riverbank Georgia red clay: hard dirt  used to make pottery   and not quite right for planting.    In that indeterminate soil was shale ledge, fragments  of tonsil-shaped shells, and coarse beach sand  with particles and filaments from a factory  long reduced to brick, sparkling as night full of fireflies,    I excavated, hands covered with shell-shocked fire ants  biting their discomfort. My hands became swollen  and inflamed for weeks, welded shut,  and almost palsied, stiff as a trowel.    I learned the hard facts then: wear leather gloves  thick as determination.    The information on the seed packets   of how-to-do, what conditions and starting periods  were best and when it was too late, what zone I was in,  where does the frost stop,  when to expect if you follow instructions  carefully, how to determine failure.    After several growing seasons, after several dry seasons 

when dirt clumped into afterthoughts,  after several on-going drenching seasons  when soil ran as rivulets taking everything with it  including the seeds, reason, and a watering can,  I soon knew enough of failure.    Failure followed me to work, punching out  my need to re-locate. Failure influenced the temperature  of divorce and the refusal to re-pollinate.  It washed out anything I wanted to hold onto.  It was impossible to manage as the red clay.    Yes, I know a thing or two about failure.  I also know about the joy of seeing the first sprout,  the warm wash of tomato-colored suns,  and sometimes, sometimes, the impulsive clay  was just enough to retain moisture,  just enough for the self-seeding Forget-Me-Nots  to remember what they were supposed to do.    And in those moments, I would remove the garden gloves,  head into the house, knowing what I had to do.    ‐   by Martin Willitts Jr      First Step  I studied and taught martial arts for several years. I've studied under many different instructors teaching different styles and arts, and I've tried to pass some of what I learned on to those I've taught. In truth though, when I first stepped onto the mats in a YMCA near my home town, I never thought I'd be able to learn, let alone teach.  

I had grown up with a brother who was more than talented in martial arts, coincidentally for the same reason I ended up being skilled, we were both sick of getting bullied. I trained with my first instructor, Sensei Bowden, for 3 years, and went back to visit him a couple times later on as well. He taught me one of the two arts that I still rely on to this day, Aikikai Aikido. When I started, I wasn't strong, or fast, or skilled; these are not needed to begin Aikido. In order to become skilled in Aikido, one just needs to listen and feel. He taught me in the best way possible, letting me feel the full pain of my opponents first so that I could then properly adjust my force and speed. We learned to feel the moves as both attacker and defender, which turned techniques into reflexes. He overwhelmed us, sending us individually onto the mats for huge randori sessions. During randori, multiple attackers are sent in numerically increasing waves, and the defender must use whatever skills he can to defend himself from the onslaught. Trust me when I say that after having fifteen trained martial artists charge you, sometimes with weapons, the average mugger ceases to be intimidating. I learned all I could from him, but I never thought I was very good. I believed myself to be an average student who was simply following the teacher and not falling behind yet. One night, coincidentally a dark and stormy night, Sensei pulled me aside during Kenjutsu (sword) training. He told me "Paul, you have a certain style to your moves, you make them your own. Would you help me teach the lower ranks?" I had never received a compliment like that in my entire life. He put a new bokken (wooden sword) in my hand, and sent me to teach his students. If I have ever experienced something like triumph, it was the night that my Sensei allowed me to teach his own students for the first time. I still have that bokken, and though I've broken it a hundred times in practice, I always glue and duct

tape and hobble it back together, since that simple hunk of wood reminds me of the first time someone trusted my skills enough to pass on their teachings. It was the first time I had students of my own, and I will never forget it.   ‐   by Paul Martens      On Lying, Inspiring, and Sighing “Don’t you ever lie?” I don’t have to. Well, that’s not exactly true. I do lie when someone asks me what I do for a living. What a boring question, and a little presumptuous. I think people most often ask this question when trying to gauge whether you’re worthy of continuing the conversation, or if the person should move on to the next person at the party. I’m a writer. Writing is my passion. But when you tell someone you’ve never met that you’re a writer when they ask you how you spend your days the next question, naturally, is a variation of “who do you write for?” or “like what—novels?” And the facts are that yes, I write, but I’ve only been published in a few small journals and on some websites that you probably never heard of. And I write a blog, almost daily. I pour my life and effort into that thing. But that doesn’t always impress, it sometimes prompts the inquirer to make a sour face. So what do I do when someone asks me condescendingly what I do for a living? I lie. I tell them I’m a marine biologist or yoga instructor. I think I even once told a chap at an event

that I play jazz piano professionally. It’s better than the alternative. I don’t know about you, but when I’m out and trying to have a good time I don’t really want to think about work or the woes of independently supporting myself financially. I’d rather have fun and talk about quirks, interests and passions, the things that move you. Life is full of chances and moving moments, you just have to be open to it. I carry a notebook with me at all times, just in case I happen upon something that inspires me, be it a defaced billboard sign or the way an abandoned building seemed to let out a sigh when I walked by. ‐   by Alexandra Naughton 


Author and artist bios 
Martin Willitts Jr recent poems appeared in Naugatuck River Review, MiPOesias, Flutter,, and Caper Journal. He was recently nominated for two Best of The Net awards and his 5th Pushcart award. . He has had eight poetry chapbooks accepted this year including “True Simplicity” (Poets Wear Prada Press, 2011), “My Heart Is Seven Wild Swans Lifting” (Slow Trains, 2011), “Why Women Are A Ribbon Around A Bomb” (Last Automat, 2011), “Art Is Always an Impression of What an Artist Sees” (Muse Café, 2011), “Protest, Petition, Write, Speak: Matilda Joslyn Gage Poems” (Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation, 2011), How To Find Peace” (Kattywumpus Press, 2011), “Swimming In The Ladle Of Stars” (Pudding House, 2011) and “Secrets No One Wants To Talk About” (Dos Madres Press, 2011). Shawn Scott Smith is a writer, creature painter and a dabbler in the creative arts. He is also the co-creator of Daytime Ghost Hunter webcomic with artist Jessica C. White. He lives in

Asheville, NC. All of his adventures are documented on his website at Please write, I like email. Theodore Ordon-Yaussi has enjoyed baseball ever since someone left baseball cards in his cubby in kindergarten. He played baseball until high school and still enjoys playing the occasional softball game from time to time. Brandie Harris’ lifelong love affair with writing and creating has been revived with the start of her blog, “I have been diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, a digestive tract disorder with chronic and embarrassing symptoms, but it doesn't hold me back. I practice Yoga, write, eat a diet that works for me, and look to the Crohn's as a "teacher"... and not a ‘disease.’ I love life and all it has to offer, knowing that later, I'll be nostalgic for this moment. You can also follow me on Twitter @TuesdayBlu XO.” Norm is a computer security professional with over 15 years in the computer industry. He loves traveling, camping, backpacking, hiking, climbing, and all forms of outdoor activities.He currently maintains three web sites: The Normanomicon ( his general web site that has everything from political commentary to cooking and hacking, Keystone Guns Gear and Guides ( a gear review website that can handle any type of game, gear or guide you could think of, and The Normanomiphoto ( where he posts any and all pictures that he takes trying to learn more about photography. He is an avid firearms enthusiast and general gear nut and gamer. When he’s not busy with work or his web sites, he can be found working in the yard, his garden, the gym, working on the house or spending time with his family. Alexandra Naughton is a writer, rapper, and social media fiend. When she isn’t hard at work for San Francisco start-up, Alphyn Industries, you will most likely find her with a camera or pen in her hand, working on some next great feat. She thanks you for reading this zine and supporting small press publishing. Don’t forget to follow her on Twitter @theTsaritsa


For more fun go to   and check out my rants and raves.    BE ABOUT IT!    Feel free to contact me at with your  questions and submissions!    I’m always up to collaborate and work on  new projects, whether it’s a hip‐hop tune,  movie, or comic jam‐‐ so please don’t be  shy!  ☺ 


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