Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

The blue hour volume two


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

The blue hour volume two

  1. 1. 1
  2. 2. 2 The Blue Hour Anthology A collection of poetry, prose and art Volume 2
  3. 3. 3
  4. 4. 4 The Blue Hour Anthology A collection of poetry, prose and art Volume 2 Edited by: Susan Sweetland Garay & Moriah LaChapell
  5. 5. 5 © Copyright 2013, The Blue Hour Anthology, Volume 2, July 2013 McMinnville, Oregon, USA The copyright of each individual piece included in this collection belongs with the author or artist listed. Book Design: Susan Sweetland Garay & Moriah LaChapell Cover Design: Susan Sweetland Garay & Moriah LaChapell Technical Cover Design: Kerry Hormann Cover Photo: Jillian Lukiwski Back cover photo: Susan Sweetland Garay ISBN-10: 0989013723 ISBN-13: 978-0-9890137-2-7 Email: Website: “On Evenings like this” was first published in
  6. 6. 6 The Blue Hour Anthology A collection of poetry, prose and art Volume 2
  7. 7. 7
  8. 8. 8 Introduction Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo. –Don Marquis Sometimes with the business of life, work and family we begin to feel stretched too thin. We feel the wear of work and occasionally wonder why we do this. We question if it’s worth the trouble. We wonder if anyone will notice the work we do as artists, writers and editors. But then we check our inbox and see so many amazing contributors trusting us with their work, we feel the support and appreciation from readers whose lives are enriched by the work that we and all Blue Hour contributors do and we are reminded why we do it. The word Anthology comes from the Greek word Anthologia and literally means a gathering of flowers. In this case we have
  9. 9. 9 carefully gathered small bits of beauty from various contributors around the world. Each piece comes together like a bouquet of flowers. Like night blooming Jasmine on a warm evening or dried Queens Anne’s Lace next to a window on a rainy day. When we work collectively we are able to produce a book that can evoke so much emotion and sensory experience, possibly more than one author or artist could provide alone. “There is vitality, a life force, energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.” ― Martha Graham Each unique contribution adds to this collection and we are proud to share these offerings with you.
  10. 10. 10 Thank you for your contributions, your continued support, and above all for gathering with us to experience and savor the works of others.
  11. 11. 11
  12. 12. 12 Table of Contents 17 David Bader – Along the Road Through Hadensville 18 Jessica Miller – paint splatter blue 19 Ally Malinenko- Worship 22 John Grochalski- a flower in the spring 24 Catfish McDaris – Hippopotamus Summer 27 Russell Streur – Blue Tree on the Chattahoochee 28 Casey Coviello – When I Grow Up 31 Conrad Schafman – Locomotion 33 Moriah LaChapell - Diurne 35 Kevin Ridgeway – McMinnville, Oregon 37 Jeffrey Graessley – Names 38 Adena Bailey - Blue Day 39 Marc Carver – Circle & Jack London 41 Bernadette McCabe –What if 42 Adam Riglian – Chicken Valdostana 60 Miguel Jacq – Untitled & Mirrored 63 John Swain – The Low Coast 65 Gail Goepfert - Lost and Found 68 James H. Duncan - Living with Songbirds
  13. 13. 13 70 Gillian Prew – Moment Reflected in Bonnard 71 Marlena Stewart – Mirror in Garden with Delphinium 72 Joy Bye – Lifespan of the Genus Lycaeides Melissa Samuelis 74 Frank Reardon – The Crash 79 Ivan Jenson - pink and blue woman & Kid Stuff 82 Jon Bennett – The Emotional Desert of that Hotdog 84 Aprilia Zank – Dreaming of Blue & Incense 86 Heather Minette – better days 87 Dawn Schout – Phnom Penh 89 Joseph Briggs – Night Life 90 Jeremy Nathan Marks – Trillium 92 Mari Sanchez Cayuso – Untitled 93 Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke – Sonnet 14 94 B.A. Varghese – Live 95 Michele Seminara – Was T.S. Eliot a Buddhist? 101 Maureen Sudlow – The Big Dry 102 James Owens – blackbirds & morning fog 103 Katie Gebler – Departures
  14. 14. 14 105 Elizabeth Cook – Anatomy and Geometry 106 A.G. Dumas- Her New Baby Boy 108 Anjumon Sahin – On Evenings Like This 110 Gina Marie Lazar- Eternity through a window 111 Robin Wyatt Dunn – Newcomers 112 April Michelle Bratten – Tin Fish 113 Mark Redford – ‘at the end of the day…’ 115 Joan McNerney – The Subliminal Room 117 Ken Windsor – Heron 118 Brandi Reynolds – Comfort 120 Byron Beynon – Words 121 Bernadette McCabe –Split in two 122 Michael Keshigan – Recognized 124 Joe Donnelly – From home to home: Driving back from DC from Jersey, Sunday evening 126 Dawnell Harrison – The mirage 127 Bruce Ruston – Red Kite 128 Marcia Pradzinski – cleaning fish 129 Heidi Benson – Harboring 133 Bernadette McCabe –Children of the graveyard 134 Janet McCann – Son Et Lumiere
  15. 15. 15 135 Philip Vermaas – The Wisdom of John in Winter 139 Mitch Krochmalnik Grabois – Baked Alaska 141 Susana Case – Empty Street 142 Michael C. Keith – Infected 150 Rohit Gautam - Old Identity 151 Matthew Harrison – Anti-freeze 153 Marianne Szlyk – Listening to Electric Cambodia 154 Nishant Verma – Beautiful Kids of Turtuk 155 D.A. Pratt – Awesome… 157 Ashley Strain – In Love Again 158 Lorraine Caputo – On an Orchid Road 159 Glenn Johnson – Indian Moon Message 177 Ronald Moran – Burning Down to Ashes 178 Peter L. Scacco – Invocation 179 Susan Daniels –Keriah 180 Conrad Schafman – Inverness 181 Donal Mahoney – Moment in a Marriage 182 Ernest Williamson – Artist Delving Into Her Craft 183 Susan Sweetland Garay – Better to remember this than me
  16. 16. 16
  17. 17. 17
  18. 18. 18 Along the Road Through Hadensville What we found in Hadensville was affirmation in the abstract It didn't cost a dime, but will grow ten thousand-fold And nourish three generations By David Bader
  19. 19. 19 paint splatter blue By Jessica Miller
  20. 20. 20 Worship They tell me you have to worship something. The priests raise their hands to the sky and remind me that this life is just a practice run for the party that will come later. They tell me to worship the man at the velvet rope. The businessman tells me to worship the dollar and the Dream that it will save my life, save me from this trap this yawning void of empty sadness They tell me to worship the filled house that comfort equals value.
  21. 21. 21 The academics tell me to worship the mind that it is the only freedom I will know. Worship being smart, they tell me before it slips away and you are left alone clinging to memories that may lie. But I can’t. I’ve measured my pain, and weighed my small joy and realized that the only thing that I can worship is this this single moment, the cat on my lap, the drink in my hand, the violin drifting out of the radio. The tremor that is my very life so vivid I can feel the flutter and pulse of it.
  22. 22. 22 So brief it’s almost funny. It is all I have to fight off the void. And it is small, and it is silly, but I’ve never prayed so hard in all my life. By Ally Malinenko
  23. 23. 23 a flower in the spring it happens whenever i am around someone new they come at me with questions about myself until we have exhausted everything i always acquiesce but then i think well, there we go now there is nothing else to learn about me save what i’ll never reveal i don’t ask people questions in that manner although i do wonder if they think me rude or uninterested in their life sometimes this is true, and i am uninterested but in most instances i like to think that i give people the benefit of the doubt of having tried their best to live a life i don’t want to know everything about them all at once because humanity is so lacking in magic that if someone is truly worth their salt and the heartache that comes with intimate knowledge i’d rather that they reveal themselves to me slowly
  24. 24. 24 like a beautiful woman undressing so that i can savor their every nuance as if i were drinking a fine bottle of red wine or stopping to view a flower in the spring opening up its petals to the new sun and blinding sun. By John Grochalski
  25. 25. 25 Hippopotamus Summer She’d lived four summers and loved Snake Alley Noodles, Delaware Punch, strawberry ice cream, and the wildflowers that grew along the railroad tracks, which divided the old celery fields of West Milwaukee. Different kinds of flowers grew each summer, purple coneflowers, ox-eye sunflowers, blue lobelia, Jacob’s ladder, and black-eyed Susan, their seeds mostly planted by birds and animals. The last two summers, wild crazy red, yellow, and orange sunflowers conquered the hippopotamus colored steel tracks. Their green stalks and roots war snaked down through the black goo creosote coated railroad ties. The tracks took me back forty years to an all night walk across the vast Ft. Worth, Texas to catch a west bound freight for home in New Mexico. Stumbling over ankle spraining rocks and gravel and jumping into the prickly pear and yucca to avoid getting
  26. 26. 26 creamed by an Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe express. My young daughter wanted to get a few flowers for her mom. We stopped at the store for a few items and I pulled around back to the loading dock area, where there was a jungle of flowers. I thought this is a thirty second job and opened my pocket knife and asked her to remain in the cool car. I got out and was almost done when I felt the tug of a small hand on my shirt. There was my daughter with a big smile that pulled and stretched my heart half way to Tucumcari. The car was running with the keys locked inside. I noticed a semi-truck with another behind it waiting to use the dock. I grabbed my daughter’s little hand and told the truck drivers I’d need to call my lady for an extra set of keys, they were not happy. Fifteen minutes later, mom came to the rescue and we got out of our predicament. That was twenty years ago, I’ve seen Van Gogh’s sunflowers in Arles since, but none compare to the beautiful
  27. 27. 27 memories of my ladies and the hippopotamus summer. By Catfish McDaris
  28. 28. 28 Blue Tree on the Chattahoochee By Russell Streur
  29. 29. 29 When I Grow Up I never knew the right answer to the question, like usual again. I didn’t want to be a ballerina or a space ship or the men in the red suits that came to class and we thanked them without knowing why. All I really wanted was to translate a book maybe a French one make a spirit out of words out of words out of a spirit. And maybe I was jaded but I never cried like my friend who broke her leg and quit the Nutcracker or the ash-blonde boy that wore jelly shoes and couldn’t throw a football like the men in the red suits probably could at least that’s what the other boys said who were playing in the tunnels all together when I found him shrinking by the slide I never cried like the space ship that left everyone behind and got lonely, even with so many little people running around inside it, just like my dad, who was just like me.
  30. 30. 30 I never forgot the aspen branch I chopped for its binding or the storm-cloud I stole for my ink I never stopped looking for that book. I still want to, I finally figured out that I want it to be a book of poems small ones that look like a thousand Eagles flying together if they did that and I want those poems to be your thoughts I want to coax your thoughts into remembering me, but really I want your thoughts to remember me by themselves, like I was their favorite meal when they were young, like they still had a favorite meal and big grin and didn’t jump when the phone rang or disappear on empty nights. It wasn’t always like this your fingertips insist sometimes when they forget to touch my cold shoulder when the distance draws upon the distance and you’re just far enough away that I can’t find you or forget you. so I close my eyes to turn your thoughts
  31. 31. 31 back into poems at least the dumb ones that call themselves wishes they are so brave, shaking and alone like that they are the only reason I’m still here I am just like them, your thoughts. in love, and looking for a language By Casey Coviello
  32. 32. 32 Locomotion She was meandering toward the railroad tracks, loving all things unconditionally and dreaming of the freedom adulthood fails to bring, when the train-horn bellowed its warning. Her ten-year-old vocal chords roared spontaneous and startled shrieks of caution only to go unnoticed by the elderly deaf widower inching aimlessly across the tracks. As his body erupted into sliced fragments the girl slipped under the enveloping darkness, losing consciousness of her idealistic mind. When she awoke minutes later the vibrant sunset had been shrouded behind the callous blanket of night,
  33. 33. 33 and the train-horn whispered reminiscently in the distance. By Conrad Schafman
  34. 34. 34 Diurne “There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep and still be counted as warriors.” ― Adrienne Rich My mother died of brain cancer when I was 9. She won’t be able to read these pages, but my daughter will someday. After I gave birth to her we lay together in the hospital bed and she curled her 6.5 pound body right on top of my voice box because the world was such a cold, foreign place. My voice became her home. Now she’s 3 and I am afraid of leaving her but I can’t control nature. She is like the waves and I am not the moon. I am only her Mother, but like the moon I am always pulling her towards me gently like the waves. So this is also her page and tonight we will pull out a fresh piece of paper and paint the moon and ocean together. She can paint all
  35. 35. 35 the stars and I will tell her a little more about my Mother, who still pulls me towards her gently like the moon on the silver-capped black waves. By Moriah LaChapell
  36. 36. 36 McMinnville, Oregon I picture her in her summer dress makeup accentuating her delicate features dancing on the tables at Nick’s Italian Café; she lived there for so many years and has told me nearly every story possible of her days as a student at Linfield and the savage politics of its academia, her failed marriage to that brute art professor, her second marriage to a dead saint, her early years with the pioneers of the Oregon wine industry, marching through the hills with them all singing music and intoxicated by the fruits of their labor, and committing midnight acts of pure debauchery and chaos; the many trysts with tortured artists washing the dishes at Nick’s and the way her hair must have tasted to them because it is still potent like a fine regional pinot noir; her constant aid to Twyla the local candy spinner making the toffee that everyone enjoyed on the holidays.
  37. 37. 37 that I have enjoyed in recent years as her man according to her stories, it was an endless holiday with so many characters; these stories are a spoken novel that has not been written down, at least not yet. some day we will journey north and I will finally see this place, breathe its air, visit the survivors of its ongoing tale—past and present, and at midnight my love and I will dance on the tables with the ghosts By Kevin Ridgeway
  38. 38. 38 Names before a shut door tore home into reverberation echoes of mispronunciations your name. before the lines cut a string between two cans. treetop smiles to name the birds all the wrong things. and i call this memory a photograph: captured grace in the digital paints, and a smile that lingers, forgiven even before the door shut. By Jeffrey Graessley
  39. 39. 39 Blue Day By Adena Bailey
  40. 40. 40 Circle Everything works in some big circle the sun, the planets. the clock that never stops and makes life eternal life and death, birth and re-birth constant motion people going to different places product chasing cash men chasing women women chasing men dogs chasing cats until one day it will all come to a stop - like the millisecond before the big bang then it will all start again By Marc Carver
  41. 41. 41 Jack London You have to empty everything out strip yourself right down to the bone. Take a good look at yourself do you like what you see are you happy being you if not you have to change what you are find a new place or find no place at all. I found out about a poet that left what he had went into the wilderness and built a house from stone and lived in that. devolving has to be better if what you have is wrong. you have to tear it up and start again the next time you may just get what you want. By Marc Carver
  42. 42. 42 What if Venda By Bernadette McCabe
  43. 43. 43 Chicken Valdostana You’re going to love this place, it’s just perfect. There’s nowhere else I’d rather go,” Jackson said to his trailing colleague. “Can’t we just sit down?” Paul replied. “We can sit down when we get there. You’ll love it, trust me.” Jackson put both index fingers into his mouth and blew hard. He reached his hand high in the air and drew the attention of a cabbie three cars back in the taxi stand line. “Where can I take you?” the cabbie said through a thick West African accent. “21st and 6th , there’s a great Italian place there. I’m sure people ask about it all the time,” Jackson said confidently. “He’s not going to know where the place is,” Paul interjected.
  44. 44. 44 “Everyone in the city is talking about this place Paul. I’m sure he drives there two or three times a day.” Paul planted his forehead against the cold glass of the window and took a deep breath. Jackson leaned forward grinning, sticking his head up through the divider and engaging the driver. “Where from friend?” The driver didn’t respond. “Jackson, it’s important, can we please just talk?” Paul tugged at his shirt. “Where are you from?” “Bronx,” the cabbie replied. “No, I mean where did you come to New York from?” The cabbie looked at Paul through the rear view, probing him with weary eyes. He
  45. 45. 45 wanted to know if Jackson was for real. Paul moved his eyes from side to side, hoping the driver would get the message. “Sit down at least, we’ll be there in a minute,” Paul finally dragged Jackson back into his seat. “Accra,” the driver said before shutting the divider. The cab flew down 4th Street, flying through the intersections with 15th and 16th . The traffic lights were a flame beneath Jackson’s anticipation. “Oooh, I can almost taste it, you are going to love this Paul,” Jackson licked his lips. Paul had both hands over his face, rubbing it back into shape. A thin line of pain pulsated at the top of his balding head. He went back to resting it on the cold glass, hoping it would go away.
  46. 46. 46 “I’m sure I will.” The driver cruised past 19th street, but when it came time to turn, he found himself shut out of the left lane. He rolled down the window and hurled foreign obscenities at the driver of a yellow cab who refused to yield. “Just drop us off on the corner of 4th and 23rd , we’ll take it from there,” Jackson said. The driver didn’t respond but he heard the command. He continued to curse under his breath as he bulled his way into the left lane and stopped at the curb. “$16.65.” Jackson looked for cash in his pockets and wallet in a rehearsed way, knowing he would find none. “Paul, I don’t have any cash on me, put this on the corporate card alright?” he said. Paul sighed and reluctantly handed it over.
  47. 47. 47 “Make sure to get a receipt,” Jackson smiled as he stepped out into the city. Paul scooted out of the cab in three uncomfortable movements and chased after Jackson, already halfway down to the next corner. Jackson saw Paul dragging and slowed his stride. He held out his arms and tilted his head to the sky, tossing his slick black hair from side to side as he reveled in the beauty of fall in the city. The sun highlighted the salt in his black coif and the wrinkles around his eyes. “Sometimes Paul, I can’t believe we made it here. It’s truly unbelievable.” Paul just nodded and waited for the next move. “Let’s hustle, I’m famished,” Jackson said, taking off down the street. Paul trudged behind for the next several blocks until they reached the corner of 6th and 21st . Jackson
  48. 48. 48 stopped there and turned around, waiting for Paul to catch up. “Come on, come on, we’re so close,” Jackson shouted with glee. Paul drew up alongside him and together they walked slowly down 6th Street. “Now I don’t quite remember the name but I’ve still got this to guide me,” Jackson said, pointing to his nose. “That aroma is unmistakable. We’ll smell it before we can see it.” “Just like Seacaucus,” Paul muttered under his breath. “What?” Jackson asked. “Are you sure it’s even on 6th ? Or on this side of it?” “Relax Paul, I promise you will not be disappointed no matter how long we have to look.”
  49. 49. 49 Jackson’s nose took two trips down each side of 6th , one down 21st and another up 7th . With each block, Paul’s pace had him a few more steps behind Jackson. Finally, when they reached 7th and 23rd , they stopped. “Can we just stop here please? I’m tired and we need to talk,” Paul said, pointing at a deli promising corned beef, chips and a drink for $6.95. “We’re beyond that Paul. I don’t think you realize how lucky we are. The greatest restaurants in the world are at our disposal, any one we choose. I’ve chosen, we’re going. Besides, I think I remember where it is now.” “Where?” “It wasn’t 6th and 21st , it was 2nd and 16th .” “I’m not walking all the way there, that’s nine more blocks.”
  50. 50. 50 Jackson again put his fingers in his mouth and whistled. No one stopped immediately, so he whistled again, a shrill high-pitched beacon that cab drivers two towns over could hear. “Jackson, let’s just take the subway.” “I’m sure someone will stop in a minute.” “I don’t want to pay for another cab ride. Besides, there’s a stop right there, it’ll take us to 2nd and 18th , almost there.” “Oh alright.” Tickets for the subway were dispensed from machines in the corner of the station. Jackson repeated his cash-strapped dance in front of the ticket machine. Paul rolled his eyes and pushed him aside. “I’ll take care of it,” he said. “Thank you Paul.”
  51. 51. 51 Paul struggled with the touch screen, having to start over twice before finally getting the option he wanted. The pain in his head expanded down to his eye in the front and his neck in the back. It pulsed with every beat of his heart. He couldn’t wait to sit down. They crammed into the train, packed in so tightly that it was a challenge to stay upright. Jackson smiled at the crowd, reaching over them to grab a hand rail. The shorter Paul squabbled with an old Chinese woman carrying bags of vegetables for handhold. “Don’t get any funny ideas,” Jackson flirted with the elderly woman to his right. The long reach to the handrail partially exposed his abdomen to them. They giggled. The train lurched forward. Paul lost his grip and slammed into the Chinese woman, who gave him the stink eye. More of Jackson
  52. 52. 52 became exposed as he leaned forward, eliciting an “ooh la la” from his septuagenarian cheering section. It stopped just as abruptly at 2nd and 18th ; the blue hairs were sad to see him go. “That wasn’t so bad, maybe I should ride the subway more often,” Jackson remarked as Paul tried to massage the pain out of his head. As they started to walk up the steps and back onto the street, Jackson paused. “What, what is it?” Paul asked, walking up an extra step to see eye-level with the taller man. “How far does this train go?” Jackson asked. “It goes straight to the northernmost part of the city. Last stop is probably the suburbs.” “Does it stop at 60th ?” “I don’t know, why?”
  53. 53. 53 “It’s not 16th , it’s 60th .” Paul’s head throbbed. “Let me ask you. You love this restaurant, it’s one of your favorites, but you don’t know its name and you’re on your third guess for where it is?” “No more guesses, it’s 2nd and 60th , I’m sure. I maybe had too much fun that night, but it’s coming back to me now.” “Too much fun?” “What we should be having every night Paul.” The next train arrived five minutes later, not half as full as the last one. Paul rushed to a seat and collapsed into it, letting his head rest against the window. Jackson grabbed hold of the railing above the seat. “How long do you think it takes?” Jackson asked.
  54. 54. 54 “I don’t know,” Paul responded. “Why so aggravated?” “Because you’re dragging me around to nowhere.” “You’ll see clearly once we sit down at the restaurant, trust me.” Twenty-two stops later they arrived. Paul had nodded off, Jackson was still wide-eyed. He shook Paul, who cringed as is eyes opened and the pain returned. “Almost there. Come on.” They walked up the steps and out onto 60th Street. The sun had dipped behind the buildings and the air had gotten a few degrees colder and crisp. The wind nipped at Paul’s ears and gently ruffled Jackson’s hair as they wandered up the street. Jackson carefully examined the menus of the restaurants on the street, carefully reviewing
  55. 55. 55 them and hoping one would reveal itself as his place. Paul was just happy they found food. “See anything you like?” Paul asked. “It’s not a question of like it’s a question of my place.” Three more examinations and Jackson stopped. He walked back past Paul, back down the street to the second restaurant they looked at. He said something to the hostess that Paul couldn’t hear. She nodded in affirmation and an enormous grin appeared on Jackson’s face. He ran over to Paul and nearly picked him up with a hug. “Emilio’s, Emilio’s of course, it had to be Emilio’s. This is the place, we’re here. Finally.” Jackson skipped back to the hostess and asked for a table. She led a giddy Jackson and a weary Paul to the back of the
  56. 56. 56 restaurant, placing menus in front of them. Jackson immediately scanned his, searching for the long-awaited perfect meal. “Can we finally talk?” Paul asked. “Ah, here it is, this is what we’ll have.” “I don’t care what it is. Get it, but can we talk now?” “Let’s order first.” Before Paul could protest, the waiter swooped in, having heard the word order. “What can I get for you gentleman?” the waiter asked. Paul could hold the words in no longer. “You don’t have…” he started before Jackson cut him off. “After we order.”
  57. 57. 57 Jackson pointed to the wine menu as the waiter leaned in. “Would you excuse us please?” Paul said to the waiter. Jackson rolled his eyes as the waiter bowed his head and walked away. “Paul, give it a rest. We’re here to eat, whatever you have to say can wait.” Jackson motioned to the waiter to come back to the table. As he walked up to the two men, Paul’s anger boiled out of his aching head. “We’re broke,” Paul yelled, unable to contain himself. The waiter’s face turned milk white. Jackson furrowed his brow. “What do you mean?” Jackson asked.
  58. 58. 58 “You know what I mean. You’ve been walking around with your head in the clouds for months now, but I know you know. There’s no way you couldn’t know.” Jackson’s mirth gave way to rage. His face flushed red as he put his elbows on the table and drew nose to nose with Paul. “What don’t I know?” “The company isn’t doing so well,” Paul said nervously. Jackson’s serious face pushed him back in his chair. “How not so well?” “It’s over Jackson.” “How the hell could you let this happen?” Jackson nearly leaped over the table. Paul was up to the challenge, finding his backbone before screaming a response. “You’ve had your head in the clouds while the company collapsed. You were so ready
  59. 59. 59 to be the big man, you never had a damned idea what we had to do to make this thing work. It is over, the dream is done. We’ll be lucky if that cab ride even clears on the corporate card.” “Over?” Jackson’s face returned to its well- tanned color. His anger subsided, he had no more barks or barbs to send Paul’s way. The heated emotions of the moment dissipated. Paul’s pulsating enmity vanished, replaced with the realization that he was going down with Jackson. “I’m sorry Jackson, but yes. We’re out.” They both fell silent. Paul crumbled into his chair and rubbed at his eyes. Jackson straightened up in his chair and composed himself. The waiter took their silence as an invitation. “Have you gentleman decided?”
  60. 60. 60 Paul shook his head, letting out a snide chortle as he massaged the bridge of his nose. Jackson didn’t blink. He took a sip from his water, batted his lips together twice and gently placed the glass on the table. He rubbed his hands over the tablecloth, carefully smoothing out any wrinkles. Then he cocked his head to the side, looked the waiter in the eyes and smiled. “I’ll have the Chicken Valdostana.” By Adam Riglian
  61. 61. 61 Untitled By Miguel Jacq
  62. 62. 62 Mirrored the Richmond streets at dusk are a minefield I'm navigating by the brady st flag two sheets to the wind useless! as a dead man's prick. I left the reaper a message on the mirror - I'm sharpening knives on my steely expression
  63. 63. 63 I want his black blood pooled on the evening news. I'm searching for the pushmepullyou the fisherman craning over full moon - I guess I took the bait after all By Miguel Jacq
  64. 64. 64 The Low Coast A blue future spread like water with its churches of forgiveness, the ocean’s guard betrayed my face to a just charge. I looked down from your mouth following the torchlit globe around its dark form as choirs open back to mornings buried over us. The light burned through your child as we read his true phantom. The painted sky flaked like rain we made into a book to walk through mazes of shapes like the names we take
  65. 65. 65 to hide ourselves within a low coast. By John Swain
  66. 66. 66 Lost and Found Lost. One pair of eyeglasses prescription unique, last seen at the health club on the shelf in the shower. Lost. One Land’s End Grecian one-piece slender-swimsuit, like the little black dress for water
  67. 67. 67 Esther Williams wore. Whereabouts unknown. Lost and found. Car keys left on a dressing room bench at Kohl’s, Found at customer service. Chided by rep. A young girl turned them in. You should be grateful. You’re lucky. Lost. Barely a month old. Amazon Kindle 3G cocooned in a red leather jacket, disappeared between the hygienist’s chair and home with only one stop at Austin’s Saloon and Eatery. Lost. Six months mine. Panasonic Lumix 2 megapixel digital camera with 12x optical zoom last used to photograph the prairie, the Bird Girl statue in the courtyard, at Ragdale writers’ retreat lost between girl and car.
  68. 68. 68 Replacement. Lost again. at the Vermont Country Store. Missing two hours later. Drove back. Frantic. Retraced my steps. Found. Among the wool mittens and scarves. Lost. The blah-looking black journal of a year’s poetry notes. Stopped at the A&W Root Beer near Litchfield, Illinois. Miles down the road, missing, called to see if it turned up. Does it have pencil scratchings in it? the young man asked. Recovered. After navigating back thirty-two miles of highway. Found. Not taken. Poem and Photos by Gail Goepfert
  69. 69. 69 Living with Songbirds despite four beers left in the fridge I’m here with a glass of cranberry juice they joke that it’s my time of the month they sound like birds singing when they talk to each other, the words becoming an indefinable song the longer I listen but it’s not terrible and I’ve always preferred the sound of birds to the sound of elevator doors closing or waiting room music the flicking back and forth of stale magazine pages—no, I’ll take the birds and their feminine, sometimes indecipherable warbling through the branches of my evening there are so many worse thing in this world so many knives sliding between ribs and raised voices and sweat stained with hate and motorcars and asphalt and tire chains
  70. 70. 70 and so I take what I have tonight me here with cranberry juice, a fridge with some beer left, and a notion that tomorrow or the next decade might bring the end of the songbirds singing, any time now, but I hope not too soon By James H. Duncan
  71. 71. 71 Moment Reflected in Bonnard Drool-capped crocus. My eye on it – fresh from a doubled-up winter. My butter impulse - to bloom as yellow, to search for the sun. A gust that misses me ruffles time. Its dark floor sky-rise a murmuration – sifted, dropped on – forgot. The upright wound that marks a grave for a flowerbed. How it reeks with mirrors! All suffering in its glass, all the dead-eye dreams. There will be blossoms soon – I have room, a piece of warm, my white cat. By Gillian Prew
  72. 72. 72 Mirror in the Garden with Delphinium By Marlena Stewart
  73. 73. 73 Lifespan of the Genus Lycaeides Melissa Samuelis 3-5 days to list through the wild blue lupines feeding on horseweed beebalm a light coating of sweetness from their undersides rising in mass to copulate amongst the ants and kiss my cheeks with their lavender wings before disintegrating as
  74. 74. 74 water to rock to sand. By Joy Bye
  75. 75. 75 The Crash the dark afternoon sky, lonely liquor bottles giving color to the bar, men trying to forget their angry wives, it’s all the same; the ashtrays of the world full of butts, the barking dogs inside the head of a hangover,
  76. 76. 76 the pain of black coffee in the stomach, the shrink saying the same goddamned thing over & over, the bashful flowers hiding inside the heart, love lining the thickness of the skull, the starving footprints in the snow left by the wild cats at the backdoor, it’s all the same;
  77. 77. 77 the black rings of creeping death inside the bathtub, never ending piles of dishes blowing OCD kisses, a symphony of pills to cure the silence no cards, or letters in the mailbox, just bills without the money, too many poems, too much prose; pounding the keys, trying to find a voice of running water to calm the flames,
  78. 78. 78 no cause, no reason, too many broken spines & pages piled up around the house; the greatest trick ever known, wondering if a fresh coat of paint will fix the yellow stained walls, children praying that their parents are who they say they are, guilt by the crack of the whip & relief by the kick of the boot, short steps into the bathroom where it looks
  79. 79. 79 the same as the parlor & kitchen, long hallways without paintings at the end, long roads without nirvana; if i ever tried to sleep it off, i would sleep for eternity. By Frank Reardon
  80. 80. 80 pink and blue woman By Ivan Jenson
  81. 81. 81 Kid Stuff childhood should be seen but not hurt and "kids at play" should be finger-painted on the front doorstep of first born sons who should be exposed to the color blue but the blues should wait till later and giggles should
  82. 82. 82 not be riddled with ridicule and two story houses should have a three bedtime story minimum and then when the fun runs dry bring on the dancing grown-up world in all it’s high kick cut throat glory By Ivan Jenson
  83. 83. 83 The Emotional Desert of that Hotdog It was at the auto shop and an older mechanic named Victor sat next to me in front of the office. He wiped the grease from his hands and lit a cigarette. I knew he was worried because me and Darrin had been doing a lot of cocaine. “I remember back in the day I’d been clean for a couple weeks,” said Victor, “and I got a job moving furniture.“ Me and Darrin had gone up to Reno and we had a lot of coke so we snorted some and smoked a joint with some in it what we called cocoa puffs but I did too much and had a minor heart attack.
  84. 84. 84 “I was jonesing bad,” said Victor, “so I pulled to the side of the freeway and started selling the furniture right out the back.” The thing is, I didn’t really like coke. Speed was OK, but what I really liked, and I figured this out later, was beer and whiskey. “Tell you the truth,” said Victor, “I don’t remember what happened after that…but it couldn’t have been good.” “Yeah, I gotta watch out for that shit,” I told him, and then went across the street to the 7-11 for a .99 cent hotdog. by Jon Bennett
  85. 85. 85 Dreaming of Blue By Aprilia Zank
  86. 86. 86 Incense they had made fires at the roadside sitting there with darkness on their shoulders sharing ghosts from generation to generation chewing the knowledge of transient flesh under gleaming incense the road melts into limpid tissue on the bones of night time gnaws at stucco gods marble corpses feed lizards and ivy rain washes down snake scales onto scarlet silk dying on rusty fences in the cave benevolent elephants stare with thousand eyes through gaps in ivory towers By Aprilia Zank
  87. 87. 87 better days side by side with their growing bodies stretched out across the cracked concrete watching the billboards tatter and fade already talking about better days when their parents still slept in the same bed when god was still a man in the sky when they didn’t have to fall asleep to dream By Heather Minette
  88. 88. 88 Phnom Penh At dusk, when the city has cooled to 78 degrees, I get in the bed of a truck without knowing where I’m going with people I just met. Monks, cloaked in orange, ride on the back of motorcycles. I’m told to hold onto my camera and purse so no one on a motorcycle will snatch them. In Khmer, locals say they think I’m French. They think I’m beautiful. I think they’re reckless. They drive without helmets, weave in and out of lanes, dart around cars, go through red lights seconds before they change to green, four or five people crammed on a motorcycle. Some ride sidesaddle, don’t hold on to anyone. Sandals fall off feet onto the road. No one turns back.
  89. 89. 89 Cars make U-turns into oncoming traffic. At the Royal Palace, we walk across a four-lane street, expect everyone to yield. By Dawn Schout
  90. 90. 90 Night Life Madison By Joseph Briggs
  91. 91. 91 Trillium The rain is ending and with everything soaked the wind turns light wrung out fit now for flight At dawn our curtains quiver And through every bird we begin our hearing of a whirl, a roar a sprouting once more of mud flecked Skunk Cabbages
  92. 92. 92 Their dirt tickling crown loosens the ground and is startling Their gift, a greeting: Louder than the Trillium Louder even than our renewed expectations by Jeremy Nathan Marks
  93. 93. 93 Untitled how delusional, the palest layer of my skin opening, like summer, a beehive in exchange bravely hanging itself, enameled at last Painting and Poem by Mari Sanchez Cayuso
  94. 94. 94 Sonnet 14 for Jennifer All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. -- Ecclesiastes 1:7 In the hour when cloud is not white, we take a chance on hope, or on a thousand million complications denying the rain. You juggle, the skittles fly into the air and keep going, nudging the clouds into whiteness. And a rainbow forms—you hold out your hands and let it juggle you into foreign skies, into diaries God is penning while He opens shut gates and takes away your leaf—for you are clothed by the dawn sun, the ocean spray, the wonder of the love of children. Dip your toe into the sweet, eternal waters of divine being, then fling yourself into God’s heart. This you taught me. And that a sea is a sky. By Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke
  95. 95. 95 Live An unpaid bill. A reassigned IP. A crashed server. A cancelled domain. It was never there. And me. No friends. No mark. No children. Not with a bang but a whimper. By B.A. Varghese
  96. 96. 96 Was T. S. Eliot a Buddhist? And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. T. S. Eliot - Four Quartets Several years ago I taught a Buddhist class on the profound subject of emptiness, and I used this quote to illustrate what I felt was our true goal in life – to consciously return home. Not home in the sense of an external place, but as an internal place of perfect inner peace and connectedness – a state which Buddhists enticingly call the union of bliss and emptiness. Bliss refers to our most subtle and clear- seeing level of mind, an intoxicating place existing deep down beneath the turbulence of our conceptions. Emptiness is a little trickier. Essentially it is the theory of how things don’t exist – that is,
  97. 97. 97 they are empty of existing independently, either from all other phenomena, or from the minds that perceive them. Which is not the same as saying that things do not exist at all! Just that they do not exist in the way they appear to. Of course this may sound rather strange – our world certainly appears to be a very solid and independent place, doesn’t it? It feels very much as if it’s existing ‘out there’, quite separate from our mind, which exists ‘in here’. But as Buddha, and now quantum physicists have discovered, appearances are nearly always deceptive, and our reality is far from ‘real’. Like a dream, a mirage, a magician’s illusion… while things do exist, it is only just, and not in the solid way they appear to. “With our mind we make the world” Buddha said, and while this in itself is not a problem (in fact in the end it is the key to the solution) failing to understanding the world’s illusory nature is.
  98. 98. 98 For when we fail to recognize the intimate connection between mind and its projections, we find ourselves searching through all the world’s places for the answer to our problems. Not understanding the true internal origination of our pleasure and pain, we expect more from life than it can realistically deliver, and are left constantly, heartbreakingly wanting… Spiritual paths (of all descriptions) take us in the opposite direction. Buddhist means ‘inner being’ and its practises take you on an internal journey, returning you to your very source, your own true nature, emptiness. As we meditate we delve deeper and deeper inside our own minds, exploring down through ever more subtle levels and challenging ourselves to redefine who we think we are. We try to bring our conscious awareness to this process, even during times of sleep and death, for it is at these times of least external distraction that we have the greatest
  99. 99. 99 opportunity to access the most clear seeing level of mind - the clear light of bliss. When this blissful state is manifest our mind is naturally unclouded by the stories it habitually creates about our world, ourselves and others. During these moments we have a powerful opportunity to understand our own true nature and to reunite with our true ‘home’. Tragically, for most, this opportunity is missed. Like a tourist lulled into unconsciousness on a train, we sleep through what passes by outside the window of our perceptions, never fully aware, and therefore never fully able to experience it. Night after night, life after life, our internal explorations naturally take us ’home’, but time and again we fail to recognize it clearly – for what it is, or for who we are. Hoodwinked by the dream of our own projections, we grasp instead onto what is not (was never) really there, except in our own minds making…
  100. 100. 100 As Albert Einstein said, “Reality is an illusion, albeit a persistent one.” Our search for happiness (or satisfaction, peace, home, enlightenment) in all its myriad expressions (as urgings for love, sex, drugs, shoes, money, success) is really all about this divine drive for union with our true selves. As Eliot pointed out in the Four Quartets, this is our real job, our highest purpose – to return to that primordial union of bliss and emptiness (or God, he would call it) and to consciously know that state for the first time. To recognize ourselves as we really are – free of race, gender, job, social status, ego; what’s left after all these are gone is what there is. But this is at least a lifetimes work, perhaps many lifetimes… Was T .S. Eliot a Buddhist? Being a Christian, I’m sure he would not have said
  101. 101. 101 so. And yet, unsurprisingly, it seems our shared purpose is the same. By Michele Seminara
  102. 102. 102 The Big Dry Black clouds turned us back from our walk but they only spat on the deck better to get soaked than diverted now they’re laughing outside my window our neighbour had to shift his cows today from one empty paddock to another is it OK to covet someone else’s rain By Maureen Sudlow
  103. 103. 103 blackbirds and morning fog By James Owens
  104. 104. 104 Departures The neighbor is clearing the front rock garden, the tree drops prickly buds. Today he wears clean khakis and a brown sweater. You swear no one sees him, sometimes he stands for a few seconds he wants to rub his back and you think, ah, just have a cigarette, do it! Sit on the big rock and light one blow the smoke high. At the Windemere Hotel off I 10 in Tucson you have to check in at the side window if it’s after 10. What? This doesn’t make sense. There is a fire in the lobby fireplace, there are plants, but stop- hold your wallet open, prove who you are, ok so the stars are not visible this won’t matter as you cross the dead grass and pass dirty lawn chairs, you won’t look up. It’s 1 am, and you think of your daughter’s small pink bra dropping out of the opened car hatchback as she searched for something today, the bra skidded across the gas station lot
  105. 105. 105 the pump clicked, there were quick tears, you want to sleep, you want to farm land, you want to tell Peter so what, say that back to him 50 times, 50 years ago. In your dreams, planes stall. Someplace near Phoenix you thought: Pick up the bra fold it away it is almost time to go. By Katie Gebler
  106. 106. 106 Anatomy and Geometry Touch me light on nape of neck Pluck my sleeve at inner elbow Find my seams and on them breathe In my ear, hum deep and low Puzzle out my shoulder bones And the knuckles of my spine Trace the lazy whorl of hair Swinging 'round my navel wide Compare anatomy and geometry Dispassionate, tell me how These models lean on white sheets And are drawn so simply now By Elizabeth Cook
  107. 107. 107 Her New Baby Boy She no sooner is home then must start on a daunting trip that quickly encounters bumps, ruts and sudden storms, necessitating many stops and phone calls for crying, for help. In time the sun comes out and the way is better paved and she feels more confident in herself and her bearings,
  108. 108. 108 crying for no particular reason excepting for joy, for relief. En route a tidy home has become a warehouse of things and all avenues inexorably now lead to a zoo-like setting, where her little one is caged and calls out for feeding, for love. He grows strong and tall and she screams out as he goes ahead but inside she is proud and loves him like she loves no other, always wondering if the end of this trip she can forestall, for her. She wonders too if when they do get to that dreaded fork she will be able to go one way and let him go the other, knowing while it's meant to be, she'll die inside forever, for him. Photo and Poem by A.G. Dumas
  109. 109. 109 On Evenings Like This On evenings like this A cup of tea and You Is all I need. On evenings like this A cup of tea and You Is all I want. Droplets of rain dissolve in my pink cup as it stands alone on the railing. The moist air dampening the biscuits, seated next to it. Warming my hands in the warm embrace of your chest Your gleaming eyes, My beaming smile, And skin soaked to the marrows. On evenings like this A blanket and You Is all I need. On evenings like this A blanket and You
  110. 110. 110 Is all I want. My pink cunt blushes more than my brown cheeks You drizzle your way through me and I drizzle out of me. You Glistening, I blooming, And body enveloping infinity. On evenings like this, I imagine All this True. By Anjumon Sahin
  111. 111. 111 Eternity through a window By Gina Marie Lazar
  112. 112. 112 Newcomers Love it out, country cousin, Mutable immutable old story in your cut thigh, Washed word, Loved lullaby, Nameless feeling, You dreamt last night, That you drag landwards, Before us, Name your flotsam, Name your flotsam, Label it serene, Claim your country cousin, Name him at the mean, Of your entrance fee Of years, Require the sigh to keep away the fears, At your gate, For your hate, Under our stars. By Robin Wyatt Dunn
  113. 113. 113 Tin Fish Your kiss was a sweet hook clinging to my bottom lip, coaxing the blood to sing, to red the surface. We read big piles of books, drank like sea creatures, and watched one another pound the waters. Now we are tin fish. We swim nowhere. You have filled my body with dead plants, with mud and loose circuitry, but I am not afraid anymore. Lightning bolt, my hair has grown as long as a bridge. It lights the people up. It makes them feel alive. I welcome the foot traffic. By April Michelle Bratten
  114. 114. 114 ‘at the end of the day…’ at the end of the day sunlight over the rooftops flick past my window a sparrow weaves and dives into the scuddy grey getting nowhere then smoke from a chimney blown down the
  115. 115. 115 roof at one side then the other rolling over the edge then disappearing By Mark Redford
  116. 116. 116 The Subliminal Room That weepy October marigolds were so full. I made an omelet with them. Do you remember? All November, leaves mixed with rain, making streets slippery. We listened mostly to Chopin. Leaves droop in September too ripe and heavy for trees. I was careful not to slip, dreading when leaves would grow dry and crumble. Some live all winter through the next spring. Chased by winds, they huddle in corners, reminding me of mice. I confessed to you how I loved Russian poets and waited for a silent revolution, revealing my childhood possessed by rosaries
  117. 117. 117 and nuns chanting Ave, Ave, Ave Maria. "Your navel exudes the warmth of 10,000 suns", you said. We still live in this subliminal room. Jonah did not want to leave the whale's stomach. We continue trying to decipher Chopin. Your eyes are two bunches of morning glories. Sometimes the sky is so violet. Will we ever live by the sea, Michael, and eat carrots? I do not want my sight to fail. Hurry, the dew is drying on the flowers. By Joan McNerney
  118. 118. 118 Heron River Kelvin. Glasgow. Scotland By Ken Windsor
  119. 119. 119 Comfort What they don’t tell you when you’re struggling Is how beautiful the struggle is How one day you’ll look back on those days As the most gold tinted of your life What they don’t tell you when things become comfortable And you don’t have to sweat and reach for every little thing Is that comfort is insidious That it puts up walls painted in pretty colors To hide the institutional grey underneath How tendrils come up from the couch Pretty little clinging vines that tighten when you try to move What they don’t tell you is the walls are made of cardboard That bend and mildew when it rains That the tendrils grow tiny thorns that irritate the skin That soon the embrace of comfort becomes hands around your neck When that happens, you have two choices
  120. 120. 120 You can stop resisting and accept your pretty prison Convincing yourself that you aren’t settling That really, this is such a nice little life And comfort just likes you a whole lot and doesn’t mean to be suffocating Or you can begin the process of disentangling the vines And knocking down the walls. I suggest your motions be covert at first, Snipping away thorns when comfort has it’s back turned Tiny movements to prepare for the break But soon, you’ll just have to take that leap Wrench comfort’s hands away And kick the walls down I promise you, it’s the only way you’ll remember that your alive. By Brandi Reynolds
  121. 121. 121 Words At low tide we crossed a path cloaked from water, listened to the island’s memory conversing with a marinade of alphabets. Standing above Chateaubriand’s cliff, the last breathing riot of day escaped into stars, rock pools spangled with a midnight sky, seeking the imperishable vein the blood of words motioned into light. By Byron Beynon
  122. 122. 122 Split in two Kenya By Bernadette McCabe
  123. 123. 123 Recognized He stood there, staring back at me, odd expression upon his face, he smiled after I did from the other side of a huge pane window on the newly renovated office building, appearing a bit more disheveled than I remembered, more wrinkles supporting his grimace and receding hairline, acknowledging me when I nodded hello. I use to know him well, athletic, sculpted, artistic, a well defined physique, but his apparent paunch negated any recent activity. This window man I thought I knew, musician, writer, runner, dreamer, now feasted off the stale menu of advancing age, aches, excuses, laziness, failing eyesight and an appetite
  124. 124. 124 for attained rights decades seem to imply. Yet I accepted him, embraced him for who he was, aware that he would be the lone soul to accompany me toward the tunnel’s light when all others have drawn the blinds. “Walk with me,” I say. He stays close. By Michael Keshigan
  125. 125. 125 From home to home: Driving back to DC from Jersey, Sunday evening Roll down the windows It’s humid, a breeze lays over the dashboard all the cars slow down along the B-W Parkway No alarms and we’re creeping along, while the tree branches let the last bits of sunshine This weather, all wet and clogged, Keeps a motorist awake A change from air conditioning, Pleasantly sticky, like whip cream, There are moments on the road, That you want to preserve in mason jars, Old music of NPR evening radio, Bop from the big band, Patting the wheels,
  126. 126. 126 Padding the wheels, As you turn toward the city, Johnny Dollar is at it again, Stay tuned for Dragnet, My favorite type of criminals, With the choppy dialog of Joe Friday, Brisk from the speakers, And the dusk light, Glowing in the horizon, A strange comfort washes over me, As if the words will never stop, And the light, the light of the evening sky, Will never turn to black, By Joe Donnelly
  127. 127. 127 The mirage I am married to a mirage. The moon rises under The meat of your tongue. Forty five years now I have Worked to pull the muck From your mouth. Still it is all exit signs Leading nowhere. It is unbearable out here In the desert having To endure this intolerable Heat while you dream up Your next big mistake. By Dawnell Harrison
  128. 128. 128 Red Kite By Bruce Ruston
  129. 129. 129 cleaning fish my father scrapes scales from the fish we caught his callused hand cups the shimmer of skin finds the ruby-bead button of the belly that the knife splits open what filled the body slips to cold white porcelain stained the knife alone remains By Marcia Pradzinski
  130. 130. 130 Harboring Longing to step away from the world, we bought a house in a rustic beach town where weatherworn picket fences were buried aslant by migrating sands and where people moved through their days in a brightly-illuminated present. Soon we did, too, and we felt some relief as we became similarly unworried by the past. But no place is without ghosts, and eventually we learned the troubling story of the house across the street. A generation earlier, this house had been headquarters for a small but violent political sect. For years, no connection was made between bombings in the capital and the remote cottage tucked behind a flowering hedge. When police finally raided the house, they found a library of plastic explosives, neatly marked and shelved. The meticulous subversives were never found. The house remained empty. Few people
  131. 131. 131 knew the barest facts of the case. We had only just learned them ourselves on a day we spent in difficult telephone negotiations with mother’s caregivers over how much morphine she should receive and when. Finally satisfied that she would rest comfortably, we prepared to view the moon, which that evening was expected to reach a spectacular perigee. After our evening meal, we retired to the broad, south-facing porch, and rolled up the bamboo shades. The moon could not yet be seen, but it was rising quickly behind the eucalyptus windbreak that flanked the house across the street. Already, the night world was brightly lit by its white beams, which seemed to reveal more than the sun’s had by day. We stood silently, sharing the sight, when a movement within the hedge captured our attention. The head of a creature emerged – large, spoon-shaped, and reptilian. Having pulled itself to the top of the hedge, the creature paused – its green
  132. 132. 132 marble gaze intent upon us -- before beginning to glide soundlessly downward, as if gravity had no pull. The animal touched down. That gaze again. He was coming our way. We retreated to the rear of the house, locking doors, checking windows. But somehow, and against any logic, the creature had gotten inside our house. We could hear his claws on the kitchen floor. How impossible it seems now to explain what came next, but at the moment we knew the creature had joined us, we also realized that he meant us no harm. Time passed and we simply shared the house, at first moving from room to room to ensure our mutual privacy. Friends offered advice. One said he could arrange to have the creature taken away and killed. “No,” we declared, “it must be preserved, it must be studied.” We rushed our friend out the door, promising to call an animal-rights group. And although we have spoken to no expert and engaged no animal wrangler, from then
  133. 133. 133 until now there has been harmony in the moonlight and beneath the eucalyptus, and the creature sleeps curled at the foot of our bed. By Heidi Benson
  134. 134. 134 Children of the graveyard Venda By Bernadette McCabe
  135. 135. 135 Son Et Lumiere and this is the history of Quebec, this tiny landscape. red dots flash an army’s advance. a puff of smoke, a flare. history of a country I never knew, our neighbor North. all I thought I'd learned was in Evangeline but that was vague and draped in spanish moss. now it is 1759 and we are in Quebec, the plains of Abraham and both generals are dying, (see the blue lights) the English Wolf and the French Montcalm, this is where they drew their last breaths. the wars blur at the end when we invaded. lights go on now in the mini-theater, the smoke diffuses, the little soldiers rest. By Janet McCann
  136. 136. 136 The Wisdom of John in Winter PART 1 John lives on the farm with Alice and their two boys. John is a calm, talented man, full of ironic humour and strength. Alice, talented too, does domestic chores, while John takes care of the machines, plants, vegetables and fields. When necessary they help each other and both adapt readily to anything the farm needs. It’s winter and the trees are shedding swiftly and John is more frequently raking leaves that fall around the main house; it’s become a daily chore. “The trees are like the geese,” he tells me in his deep, calm voice. “While I rake,” he demonstrates with big gestures, “leaves fall right behind my back.” “But how are they like geese?” I ask.
  137. 137. 137 “The geese,” he says, bending forward, “they eat,” he points to his mouth, while his other hand waves at his bottom, “and while they eat, it goes out the other end. Just like the trees.” PART 2 John and Alice work hard. He has also taken on the role of farm security, and has, more than once, chased a gang of crooks on his own with two pangas and no fear. They don’t drink during the week, not a drop. They drink on the weekend, and drink wine till the big box is done. A drunken night, Alice screamed for help; John was trying to hang himself from a tree. It was suggested it was in his character to be dramatic, after a few drinks. But he hates the crooks, whom he sees everywhere in the new South Africa, from the squatters to the top of the ANC. He won’t let his sons be schooled at an English school. He is proud of his Zulu roots, and so doubly beset by the new world misery.
  138. 138. 138 Many wise men, surveying their country, must have thought to hang themselves from trees. PART 3 John is raking again today, and, as is our custom, we have a brief talk. He’s looking out for his eldest son, due back from school. John suspects his son has been hanging out at a local arcade. John dislikes the local arcade, which is frequented by youths from the squatter camp. “At the camp,” he says, “they are not like us. Everything is quick there, they build a tin house and dig up the grass to have a dance space while good music [he smiles ironically] comes out from four big speakers, so tall. The women fight there, they lift up short skirts and go so,” and he does a jig as if he’s hiking a skirt and prancing into a boxing ring. Like the geese and trees, it makes him smile. “In the camp you have a friend today, he is your neighbour, and then tomorrow he’s not your friend. And blood solves everything there.
  139. 139. 139 Two men find money together to share one beer and one man drinks it all down, quickly down, like so, and then they fight. They fight to blood over one beer. This is man, not like the dog or the cow or the horse or the owl.” He spots his son coming home, and secretly, carefully, seriously, watches him, looking for some sign of guilt or defiance, and I realize then that John is a good father. He shakes his head as one resigned, lest he become angry, but resignation, as has been said to me, might be an expression of resilience. He didn’t, after all, hang himself from that tree. Many good fathers, surveying their country, must have thought to hang themselves from trees. May this country come to summer, when only weak leaves fall from trees. By Philip Vermaas
  140. 140. 140 Baked Alaska I selected Baked Alaska for dessert My waiter was small and jolly but I wonder if in his cabin between shifts he pierces a voodoo doll made to look like an American passenger We were on the Holland America line The waiter was Indonesian Once colonized by the Dutch those islanders have found a new way to be of use The waiter tells us that once he makes enough money he will rejoin his family but the years pass his son grows up and moves away his wife dies one cohort of passengers is replaced by another the boat passes through the canal again
  141. 141. 141 he is hardly cognizant of where in the world he is he is jolly as he serves us Baked Alaska By Mitch Krochmalnik Grabois
  142. 142. 142 Empty Street By Susana Case
  143. 143. 143 Infected Physicians of the utmost fame Were called at once, but when they came They answered, as they took their fees, ‘There is no cure for this disease.’ –– Hilaire Belloc It was a momentary lapse in judgment––a split second impulse with grave consequences––that impelled Connor Hickman to breathe his germs into his wife’s open mouth. If she gets my bug we may not have to go to her parent’ house, reasoned Connor, as he exhaled. The last thing he wanted to do was spend three days with his in-laws in upstate New York. Only seconds after his thoughtless attempt to infect Clare Hickman, she sneezed. Now I’ve done it. How stupid and selfish of me. You know she has a weak immune system.
  144. 144. 144 The next day Clare had a fever and felt achy all over. “I think I caught your cold, honey,” she informed Connor, without accusation. “Bound to happen when we’re so close to each other.” Connor felt terrible. Yes, maybe she would have gotten my cold anyway, but maybe not if I hadn’t placed my bacteria on her lips. He felt like a criminal for behaving so incorrigibly and chided himself for his unconscionable behavior. Let me be the one who gets the most sick, dear God . . . please. * * * Two days later, he took his wife to their longtime doctor, who prescribed an antibiotic for what he termed a “nasty infection.” “Some really strange bug out there,” observed Dr. Corman. “Making people feel real odd. Won’t believe some of the things I’ve heard. Wildest symptoms.”
  145. 145. 145 “Like what?” Connor asked. “Sorry, doctor-patient privilege. Can’t say, but take my word for it. Most unusual.” “I hear off tune violins and then some things look real flat as if they’ve been pressed down by a big weight,” commented Clare, out of the blue. “Like that,” responded Corman, looking at Clare. “Just lay low, take the pills, and drink lots of liquids. You should be better in a couple of days. You don’t sound all that great yourself, Connor.” “Yeah, I’ve had something, but I feel pretty good. Maybe a little funny, but generally okay. She probably got this from me,” replied Connor, sheepishly. “It’s possible. You never know. These things do jump from host to host, so proximity is a factor.” I knew it. I gave it to her. You’re such a son- of-a-bitch. God, make her better, pleaded
  146. 146. 146 Connor to himself as they returned home. By evening, Clare appeared improved, and Connor was thankful, but he still felt culpable for his wife’s illness. Why’d I do that? he asked himself over and over, his sense of guilt undiminished. * * * What ground Clare had gained the night before she had lost by the next morning. Her symptoms were twice what they had been and now she was vomiting. Connor called Dr. Corman, who advised taking her to the ER where he was presently on call. “I don’t like the sound of this, Connor. Get her here as soon as you can.” It took every once of energy Clare could muster to put her clothes on, and at one point she nearly fainted. “You’ll be okay, honey. They’ll clear this thing right up,” Connor told his wife as he deposited her into their car.
  147. 147. 147 “You’re so good to me, Connor. I’m so lucky.” Not that lucky. You have a creep for a husband. How could I have done this to you? The one person I love more than anything, and I deliberately make you sick. What’s wrong with me? lamented Connor, his foot pressed hard against the accelerator. Minutes after reaching the hospital in El Centro, Clare was undergoing a series of tests. Connor sat anxiously in the waiting room. Directly across from him was one of the loveliest women he had ever seen. While Connor mindlessly thumbed through a ragged and ancient National Geographic, he found he could not keep his eyes from drifting in her direction. To his surprise and considerable satisfaction, she glanced at him. Finally, he gathered the courage to speak to her. “My wife is here with the bug . . . or something.” “My husband, too,” responded the woman,
  148. 148. 148 smiling beguilingly. “Guess it’s the season.” “I suppose,” replied Connor, returning her smile. “Just getting over the grip myself. Think my wife caught it from me.” * * * For several more minutes they lingered in each other’s warm gaze, and Connor felt his heart race. “You look familiar. Do I know you?” “Funny, I was just about to ask you the same thing. By the way, my name is Linda,” replied the shapely brunette with piercing grey eyes. “Connor . . . Connor Hickman. Linda what?” “Smith.” “Nice name,” replied Connor, completely smitten.
  149. 149. 149 “Yeah, real unique,” laughed the captivating stranger. “I mean Linda. Always loved that name. I had a crush on a Linda when I was little. In fact, she kind of looked like . . ..” The woman rose and took a seat next to Connor. Her perfume aroused him, causing a stir in his lower extremities. “There’s something about you . . ..” whispered Linda, feeling light-headed and giddy. “Exactly how I feel. Like something is, ah . . .” muttered Connor, the ground seeming to roll under his feet. “Should we . . .?” “Yes . . . yes let’s,” said Connor, clutching her arm and standing tentatively. “What about them?” “Who?”
  150. 150. 150 “You know… them,” said Linda, nodding in the direction of the emergency room doors. “Oh, them. They’re sick,” said Connor matter-of-factly. “Of course, I forgot,” chuckled Linda. The blissful couple clung to each other and made their way out of the hospital. “Nice sunset,” observed Linda pressing against Connor. “I’ve never seen both suns look so beautiful,” he agreed. “Do you fly, Connor? I mean really high?” “Yes . . . yes, I do,” he answered, extending his wings. By Michael C. Keith
  151. 151. 151 Old Identity By Rohit Gautam
  152. 152. 152 Anti-freeze Ice blocks the city dumped into the Connecticut bob in eddies under us. Two milky chunks fringed with soot spin in debris, bloom wings, flash through rusted trellises of the old railroad bridge. I am told what I need
  153. 153. 153 is glasses when I point out flight but see I love the soul bang of half-blind magic, when sight falls between planks into cold black flows and frees doves. By Matthew Harrison
  154. 154. 154 Listening to Electric Cambodia Tiny ants invade your house, spilling over the window sill. The ceiling fan stirs the air until it’s as warm as your beer. Ants speckle the sea-green tile floor. The organ swirls as the girl in the lemon dress steps up to the mic. Glowing, she sings in Khmer. It is 1967. She has no worries. She is sixteen and will not live to see thirty. By Marianne Szlyk
  155. 155. 155 Beautiful Kids of Turtuk By Nishant Verma
  156. 156. 156 Awesome … I promised to make her breakfast and I’m sure that's what convinced her to stay ... we slept together last night, because I didn’t want her sleeping on my couch and she didn’t want me sleeping there either … we slept together but didn't "have sex", because that isn’t what we're about ... I gave her one of my shirts to use as a makeshift nightgown so she wouldn’t have to sleep in her own clothes overnight and I noted with some delight that she emerged from the bedroom this morning wearing just the shirt … I thought this was nifty, since it said something but I wasn’t sure what ... Still sleepy, she was genuinely grateful that coffee was ready and she sat at the kitchen table wearing just my shirt with the coffee mug she’d chosen close to her lips, just like Sally Duberson did years ago when she was fully nude as Miss January 1965
  157. 157. 157 in the greatest centerfold pose ever ... For a micro-moment I had a fleeting fantasy about her inviting me to kiss her intimately but that isn’t what we were about, as I've mentioned ... I asked her what she would like for breakfast and she said, “I would really like waffles but I know we’d have to go out for waffles and you promised to make me breakfast.” I looked at her, sitting at my kitchen table being not as nude as Sally Duberson once was, and replied, "I actually have a waffle-maker, so we can indeed do waffles." "Awesome!" she said, responding like so many of her generation would surely have done in the same situation … Yes, I’ve heard the word before but not from a muse being as tempting as she surely knew she was, sitting where she was, drinking coffee the way she was, wearing only what she was and that was indeed awesome ... By D. A. Pratt
  158. 158. 158 In Love Again Out of the brutal pain Comes sudden peace Out of the utter chaos Comes sudden cease Out of the loneliness Comes a sudden friend And suddenly, out of nowhere I'm in love again By Ashley Strain
  159. 159. 159 On an Orchid Road On this rough-hewn road through jungle mountains, my breath is snatched away by the ivory, by the lilac orchids swaying in the rain. My thoughts drift to my father—these, his favorite flowers—& I wish to gather them into a bouquet to gift his Spirit. By Lorraine Caputo
  160. 160. 160 Indian Moon Message If you ask the government, they'll probably deny it. If you ask the Navajo, they'll laugh and say it's so. The April morning air was brisk. A gentle breeze from the east nudged cloud wisps across the turquoise sky. Johnathan Etcitty kept as close an eye on his 10 year old grandson, Greg, as he did on his sheep. Full of a grandfather’s pride, Johnathan thanked the Creator for giving him a strong and respectful grandson. Greg’s first ever journey to summer sheep camp and Johnathan’s first time without his fourteen year old grandson, Peterson, Greg’s older brother. Just the two of them would make the long trek through the western part of the Navajo reservation to the coolness and abundant buffalo grass of the mountain sheep camp. Johnathan smiled as he remembered Greg’s recent ninth birthday. Greg had tugged at his shirt and looked him square in the eyes, so serious, so full of confidence and had said,
  161. 161. 161 “Grandfather, I’m ready.” Johnathan had been puzzled by the announcement. “What are you ready for my grandson?” he had asked. “I’m ready for sheep camp, grandfather. Remember, you told me you went to sheep camp when you were nine. I’m nine too.” Gratitude and happiness had filled Johnathan’s heart and soul. His grandson wanted to follow in his footsteps-- an answered prayer. He had laughed, tousled Greg’s obsidian black hair, and said, “Yes, you are ready, and you will go to sheep camp.” On their way to sheep camp and shifting from memory to sun shimmered sand, Johnathan looked for Greg and soon spotted him cradling a lamb as he walked slowly around the outer circle of grazing sheep. Another memory, this one painful, Peterson, Johnathan’s right-hand-man, and only other grandson, was not with them. He had to stay back at boarding school in Ganado. He recalled with disgust the day he and Grace, his wife, had gone to the Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school to tell the teachers Peterson would go to sheep camp.
  162. 162. 162 Johnathan had been deeply offended. The teachers had shown him no respect as their elder. Had rudely said Peterson would not be going anywhere. He must and would stay with them at boarding school. Johnathan saw a huge sign by Peterson’s dormitory, large, red, Whiteman’s words. He had asked Peterson what it said. He remembered how Peterson had got real quiet, his head down, feet scraping the earth. He had to ask him twice to answer. Not the respectful of elders grandson Johnathan knew. In broken Navajo, Peterson had said, “Grandfather, it
  163. 163. 163 says: “TRADITIONS ARE THE STUMBLING BLOCKS OF PROGRESS. SPEAK ENGLISH.” The BIA made every Navajo child go to boarding school to be educated in the Whiteman’s ways. Johnathan shook his head at the thought of Navajo children, not allowed to go home to their families; punished for speaking Navajo or praying in the Navajo way. The teachers cutting their beautiful long hair, took away the clothes made for them by their mothers and grandmothers, and made them wear Whiteman’s clothes. Christians, they forced them to be Christians, as if that was the only right way to believe. And now a whole generation of Navajo grandchildren couldn’t even understand or talk to their grandparents. The Navajo language and traditional ways were being wiped out because the Whiteman thought he knew everything. What they didn't know or care to know was that a Navajo family's heart was broken every time their children were stolen from them.
  164. 164. 164 Johnathan drifted back from his thoughts and looked for Greg. His heart began to pound as he looked in all directions but no Greg in sight. He strode towards the sheep milling in confusion at the top of the sand dune. He could see his grandson's tracks disappear over the top of the next dune but no Greg. He ran to the spot where they disappeared. Just as he neared the crest of the sand ridge, Greg exploded over the top waving and babbling about men from the skies and stars. Greg was so disturbed he ran headlong into his grandfather and they both tumbled down the sand dune, feet and sand flying into the air until they flopped to a stop at the bottom. Greg immediately jumped to his feet and tugged at his grandfather’s shirt pulling him towards the dune. Johnathan gently but firmly grabbed Greg by his elbow and pulled him in the opposite direction toward the shade of a nearby sandstone boulder. He had to get Greg out of the sun, into the shade, and cool him off or he could die. Johnathan was certain he was sun sick. To his grave consternation and
  165. 165. 165 amazement, Greg threw himself onto the sand and refused to go anywhere but back up the sand dune. "You're sun sick. You must get into the shade." Still, Greg refused to budge, begging his grandfather to go and see “the men from the sky.” Now Johnathan was scared. He had heard of sun sickness so bad that people saw things that were not there. They were so weakened of spirit and mind that evil spirits took control of them and made them go crazy. This sun sickness had never happened before to anyone in his mothers’ clan, the Folded Arms People, his father's Red Running into the Water Clan, his wife's Bitter Water Clan, or her father's Bad Lands People Clan. It must be that Cherokee blood of his non-Navajo mother that made him susceptible. Johnathan knelt down beside Greg who was still raving about Star People. He pulled his canteen off his hip and poured water over Greg's face and mouth. Greg sputtered and chocked, wiping the water from his eyes. "Grandfather, you’re drowning me," Greg said, "I'm not sick, the star people are really
  166. 166. 166 here. Please! Go look grandfather." Johnathan began to pray much harder. He needed all the spiritual help he could get, so he took out his pollen pouch, sprinkled the pollen over Greg and prayed for his ancestors to forgive his Cherokee weakness and make the Navajo blood within him strong so he would overcome this sickness. With the first drops of pollen, Greg closed his eyes and became quiet and still. Johnathan was relieved. The medicine and prayers were working. After what seemed an eternity, Greg slowly opened his eyes and said, "Grandfather, I am not sun sick; there is something very strange on the other side of that dune. Please, go and see." Reaching down, Johnathan took Greg's hand and pulled him to his feet. Together they trudged up to the crest of the dune. There, at the bottom of the dune, were two legged beings walking around in strange clothes of silver as shiny as a newly polished concho belt. Johnathan saw one of the strange beings driving an odd contraption like no pick-up truck or fancy tourist car he
  167. 167. 167 had ever seen. Greg looked up to his grandfather and whispered, "Do you see them?" All Johnathan could do was nod in astonishment. "What are they?" Greg asked. "Are they the Holy People? “Uhhff, don't think so,” Johnathan replied. "I never heard of Holy People driving around like that." Johnathan stared straight ahead at the strange sight, searching for some explanation of what he was seeing. Johnathan felt a hard tug on the back of his shirt. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a young Whiteman in camouflage fatigues holding a large weapon. The soldier said something to him in English, a loud, rude tone, not respectful of Johnathan, his elder, so he ignored him and his rudeness. Two more soldiers quickly appeared. One with a rifle, stopped next to Greg. The third, with a holstered pistol on his hip, stood in front of the soldiers and stared hard at Johnathan, looking straight into his eyes in a very disrespectful manner and barked out words in English. Johnathan spotted the single silver bars on his shoulders and knew the pistol carrier was an officer, a Lieutenant.
  168. 168. 168 Johnathan continued to ignore him, “I’m not in your army,” Johnathan thought. The officer then spoke to Greg in English and Greg began to answer him in the English his Cherokee mother had taught him. Greg spoke fearlessly. Johnathan felt proud of Greg’s self assurance. After a few minutes and a lot of words, Greg stepped towards Johnathan. He told him in Dine that the soldiers wanted Johnathan and Greg to go with them. Greg looked very seriously at his grandfather and said, “We have no choice, grandfather, they are angry with us and they have guns. We must go with them." Johnathan and Greg walked with the soldiers down the side of the sand dune towards the strange silver men and then right past them and over the next sand dune. Hidden behind the dune was a trailer. The officer led them up the steps of the trailer and then inside. More Whitemen were inside but they were not wearing uniforms. A man in a white shirt and a tie stepped forward and offered his hand to Johnathan. He was tall with glasses and greased hair where he
  169. 169. 169 wasn't bald. His eyes were friendly. He said something in English to Johnathan but he only understood a few words, so he did not reply. Then glasses man turned to Greg and spoke to him. Then the glasses man talked with the officer, and chairs were pushed over to Johnathan and Greg, and the soldiers left. He offered them water and food. He seemed to know how to be respectful. Johnathan started to think that the man with glasses could be a good man. The glasses man spoke to Greg for a long time looking over at Johnathan and nodding and smiling. “Grandfather, remember when we looked at the T.V. at the trading post. Remember when we watched the man in the big can flying high in sky above Earth. One of those men out there in the silver suit was the one we saw. They are practicing here because our land is like the moon and far from cities. They don’t want the Russians to find out about how they do things. He says if we promise to never tell anyone, he will let us go" Johnthan said to Greg, “Tell the man with glasses, he has my word. "Tell the man I want to send a message to the moon from
  170. 170. 170 the Navajo.” Greg looked puzzled. “Do as I say,” Johnathan said with firmness. Greg shrugged his shoulders and turned to the man and translated his grandfather's request. The man looked very serious, leaned back in his chair, held his chin in his hand and seemed to be thinking real hard. Suddenly, the man broke out in a broad smile and started nodding his head and saying, "Yes! Yes!" And other words that Johnathan did not understand. The man spoke very excitedly to Greg, making many gestures in the air. Johnathan was very puzzled with so much being said about something so simple. Just put down in writing a message for the moon. Take it up there in a jar, and leave it. The man jumped up from his chair and went into another room. While he was gone, Greg explained to his grandfather the man liked his idea. Greg told his grandfather that they had a recorder machine that could remember his grandfather's words and even speak his message in his own voice. The man with glasses came back, sat down, and placed the tape recorder on his lap. He plugged in the microphone and tested it,
  171. 171. 171 recording his own voice and then listening to it. Satisfied, he turned to Greg and said something to him. Greg turned to his grandfather and said, "The man is ready to record your message. He wants you to touch your chin when you are ready to speak and he will turn the machine on." Johnathan immediately touched his chin. The man slowly touched the machine. Johnathan spoke clearly and firmly in Navajo. The man shrugged his shoulders, turned off the tape recorder, and leaned back in his chair, and then said something to Greg. "Grandfather, he wants to know what you said. What should I tell him?" Without hesitation, Johnathan said, "Tell him it is a Navajo greeting for the moon people. Tell him no one will ever know what we saw and we need to go to our sheep and take them to the next water hole before the night comes." Siegfried, made it his personal crusade to make sure the greeting from the Navajo people was included in the time capsule the Apollo mission took to the moon. He kept his own personal copy of the message. Over time, he regretted that he did not have a
  172. 172. 172 translation of the grandfather's message. One day in June, four years after the Moon mission, NASA needed a project manager to attend a meeting at Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Siegfried happily volunteered. He knew the Navajo reservation was only a short drive from Los Alamos. When the meetings at Los Alamos concluded, Siegfried drove the 65 miles to the reservation. At the first reservation service station he came to Siegfried excitedly grabbed his tape recorder and strode quickly to the gas station office. A group of Navajo were lounging in chairs laughing and conversing in that indecipherable Navajo language. They became silent as soon as he came inside. He asked the Navajo clerk if he spoke English and Navajo. The clerk, a Navajo man around 25 or 30 nodded, smiled broadly, and said, "I can sell you anything you need in English or Navajo." Everyone but Siegfried laughed. He had the feeling that he was very, very, out of place, as if he had entered a foreign land. Siegfried hesitantly replied, "I don't want to buy anything, I just have this tape recording I need translated. It is
  173. 173. 173 very important. I hope you can help me." The clerk nodded as he motioned Siegfried aside to wait on two Navajo women who had approached the counter. Siegfried had seen both women get out of their truck as he was getting his tape recorder out. Both Navajo women had been in the cabs of the trucks and Navajo men were in the pick-up beds. In between female customers, Siegfried asked the clerk why it appeared that only the women were driving. "Because they own everything," the Clerk replied. “We are motherarchal like the Earth." Siegfried frowned for a moment. "Oh, you mean matriarchal. Your people are matriarchal," he said to the clerk. "Yeah, like I said, motherarchal. You aren't from around here, are you mister." Siegfried began to feel uncomfortable. He was accustomed to being in charge and sure of his ability to intellectually and authoritatively take command of all situations. But this was completely different. He was completely surrounded by Indians, not another white face in sight. He realized that for the first time in his life, he was the minority. “What is it you want again?" the
  174. 174. 174 clerk asked. Siegfried, smiling awkwardly, stepped up to the counter and set his tape player on the counter. He fiddled with the controls, adjusting the volume as he spoke to the clerk. "I have a tape recording
  175. 175. 175 of a Navajo man who gave me a message that was sent to the moon and left there. This message is very important to me," he said as he pushed the play button and the voice of Johnathan Etcitty filled the room. At the end of the message, he pushed the stop button and looked nervously at faces expressing what appeared to be astonishment. In a slow sputter of snorts and then uncontrolled laughter, the Navajo's surrounding him laughed until tears were running from their eyes. "What's so funny," Siegfried asked in exasperation. Each and every one of them waved him off as they laughed their way out the door and back to their trucks. Turning to the clerk, he emphatically asked, "What's so funny?" The clerk struggled to stop laughing long enough to say, "It’s a top secret Navajo message." And he continued laughing as Siegfried picked up his tape player and walked out of the office feeling thoroughly baffled and embarrassed. Feeling frustrated and angry, Siegfried
  176. 176. 176 decided he could only stomach one last attempt. He pulled into the parking lot of a building with a sign identifying it as a Bureau of Indian Affairs office. He walked into the reception area, tape player under his arm, and asked the young female Navajo receptionist if there was someone on the staff who spoke Navajo. She disappeared into the hallway behind her desk, and returned with an Anglo man. Siegfried, introduced himself, and explained his need to have the taped message translated. The man introduced himself as Herb Cook, a staff Anthropologist. They walked back to his office exchanged pleasantries for a few minutes until Herb, who seemed to be in a hurry, asked Siegfried to play the tape. With much hesitation and anxiety, Siegfried clumsily fussed with the tape player. After a few looks of impatience from Herb, Siegfried pushed the play button and stared intently at Herb’s face which immediately cracked a broad smile that exploded into the now all too familiar uncontrollable laughter. Siegfried now really and truly felt like the odd man out.
  177. 177. 177 Tears streamed from Herb's eyes as he gasped for breath and asked, "This was sent to the moon?" Siegfried impatiently replied, “Yes! It was sent to the moon. What does it say?" After much effort to catch his breath and control his laughter, Herb replied, "Literally, this is the message you sent to the moon.” The old man said: “Don't believe a word these Whitemen say. They are here to steal your land and steal your children." Art and Prose by Glenn Johnson
  178. 178. 178 Burning Down to Ashes I burned down to ashes once too often for my age, advanced; but since blame, like guilt, demands yet another lopsided amount of our time, given cable news networks, like Fox, setting programs up on afternoons to be like prizefights, I am trying to adjust my lone lifestyle to be more harmonic, like the cooling vibrations of my wind chimes that hang down from the eave of my porch, caressing each other so lightly you'd think they were celestial, not a term to define our culture or me, my singularity with self and wine, until tonight, when I rose out of my ashes. By Ronald Moran
  179. 179. 179 Invocation The ancient woman sings her shrill monody in the distance splintering the calm of morning, her ululations ancestral outpourings that stab at life like nocturnal howls from the pack. There is survival within that wailing voice as it drowns out the songs of the doves at dawn, saturating me and all the blood-red leaves of nandina that line this soft path of shade. By Peter L. Scacco
  180. 180. 180 Keriah There are mornings whose blues are unspeakable, whose yellows are far too dandelion to dilute under sun. You should have died in November. I could count you in raw clouds, reflected in reds rotting to brown. I could paint all color siphoned to straw, brighten it with blood kissed from my fingers caught on the skeletons of roses. But there is room for loss even in blooming. I can mourn you vineless, thornless, worn open as the hole I tear over my chest, where my heart was. By Susan Daniels
  181. 181. 181 Inverness Delusions are thieves under cover of darkness. Though you may hear faint crashing from the downstairs of your subconscious, pretending the footsteps are a dream is much easier to do. But sooner or later the prowling scrounger tiptoes to the threshold of your door, twists the knob with silence and arrogance, steps into the moonlight cutting through your bedroom window, and freezes, wide-eyes searching back through your retinas in fear. A finger rests on the trigger of the revolver beneath your pillow. What you stand for means nothing until you can fire a round between the eyes of self-deception, for surrendering allows the delusion to plunder the fabric of your soul. By Conrad Schafman
  182. 182. 182 Moment in a Marriage After all these years my wife at the ironing board, perfect in panties. By Donal Mahoney
  183. 183. 183 Artist Delving Into Her Craft by Ernest Williamson
  184. 184. 184 Better to remember this than me I found an old book with a photo inside of the ocean and a pair of bare feet and an inscription that wasn’t meant for me but that I love. “Better to remember this than me” it says and I think how a gift from a stranger can be so much easier to treasure. You give gifts. But they are not what I asked for. Not what I need. But this is not what I want to say.
  185. 185. 185 It is grey outside today full of clouds and rain and it makes the earth seem like it holds more color than ever before. The soil is the brownest brown I have seen in ages and the grass a most vibrant green. It’s almost not to be believed. It makes me wonder if some other force is at work in our heads and eyeballs, but I know the truth. You can’t see the green without the grey. I am like the green and often go unseen. By Susan Sweetland Garay
  186. 186. 186 Contributor Bios ADAM RIGLIAN is a Boston-based writer who recently ended an unrequited seven-year love affair with journalism. Newsprint and pixels left behind, he is plodding along as the writer of an occasional short story. You can perhaps one day read his debut novel, Nonstarter, if he can ever finish revising it. Until then, enjoy his day-to- day musings at ADENA BAILEY lives in Oregon with her two children. She works in health care and enjoys taking pictures and writing. A.G.DUMAS is a longtime writer who lives in New Jersey. He, like many of us, resorts to poetry when he has an emotional upheaval -- and doesn't know how else to express it. ALLY MALINEKO has been writing stories and poems for a while now and occasionally she gets things published. Her second book of poems entitled, Crashing to Earth is forthcoming from Tainted Coffee Press and her first novel for children Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb was recently published by Antenna Books. She lives in Brooklyn.
  187. 187. 187 ANJUMON SAHIN is originally from Assam but has been residing in Delhi since 2007. A passionate lover of books and animals, she is pursuing her M.Phil degree in English literature from the University of Delhi while working as an Assistant Professor there till the winds fly her to a new land. APRIL MICHELLE BRATTEN currently lives in Minot, North Dakota. Her first full length poetry collection, It Broke Anyway, is available now from NeoPoiesis Press. Dr. APRILIA ZANK tutors Creative Writing Workshops at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany. She is also a poet, translator and editor of poetry anthologies. She writes verse in English and German, and was awarded a distinction at “Vera Piller” Poetry Contest, Zurich. She is also a passionate photographer. ASHLEY STRAIN has been writing poetry for several years and has been featured in literary magazines at her alma mater, Rutgers University as well as on several poetry websites such as Vox Poetic. Most of Ashley's work can be found on her blog, The Intermediate Poet. Ashley resides in Woodbridge, New Jersey with her fiancé and two pit bulls.
  188. 188. 188 B. A. VARGHESE graduated from Polytechnic University (New York) in 1993 and has been working in the Information Technology field ever since. Inspired to explore his artistic side, he is currently working toward a degree in Creative Writing from the University of South Florida. His work has appeared in Rose Red Review, The Camel Saloon, Foliate Oak, and is forthcoming in Apalachee Review, and Eunoia Review. BERNADETTE MCCABE was born into a family of alternative thinkers and actors in the heart of Johannesburg South Africa during the early 1970’s. She studied drama and experimental dance and later traveled around the UK. She has worked in the film industry for the past 18 years. She has found that looking through a camera lens, capturing moments in time, tops everything else & brings untold joy. She has a strong desire to bring about positive social change and through photography document the stories of individuals & communities, aiming to be the voice to those previously overlooked. She has traveled extensively throughout Africa and Thailand, reaching into the lives and landscapes of her surroundings. Many of her journeys have been shared with her beautiful son Leander.