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Fall 2014 Issue

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                                    Fall 2014 Issue

 

Table of Contents

 

"Alien Freedom" (art) ................................................................................................................. by Paul Tillinghast

"leisure" (poetry) ........................................................................................................................ by John Grochalski

"Pool Shark" (art) ....................................................................................................................... by Michael Apice

"Love and Anger at 80, According to Elmer" (fiction) ................................................................. by Donal Mahoney

"I Am Mirror" (poetry) .................................................................................................................. by A.J. Huffman

"This Much" (sculpture and video) .............................................................................................. by Jeremy Kiracofe

"banned books" (poetry) ............................................................................................................. by John Grochalski

"Junk Yard Kitty" (photography) .................................................................................................. by Rob Plath

"Because Ceilings" (poetry) ........................................................................................................ by A.J. Huffman

"Cue Witch" (art) ......................................................................................................................... by Michael Apice

"our new sheets" (poetry) ........................................................................................................... by Tom Pescatore

"My Brain is Dead" (poetry) ........................................................................................................ by A.J. Huffman

"Guns" (art) ................................................................................................................................. by Paul Tillinghast  

"gun #1" (poetry) ........................................................................................................................ by John Grochalski

"A Day at the Shore" (poetry) ..................................................................................................... by James G. Piatt

"Much" (sculpture) ...................................................................................................................... by Jeremy Kiracofe 

"East Idioms Reinterpreted" (poetry) .......................................................................................... by Changming Yuan

"Grey Days Respite" (poetry) ..................................................................................................... by Christopher Barnes

 

2014 Contributors' Bios

 

Alien Freedom   | by Paul Tillinghast

 

leisure   | by John Grochalski

 

watching a french film

 

i take note that the characters

often pause to sit in parks

to have a smoke or to drink

 

the french seem to have created leisure

as the ultimate gift to mankind

 

one time in paris i killed half a day

just sitting in the jardin du luxembourg

drinking wine and feeding bread to pigeons

 

i felt very un-american

and at peace with myself

 

not at all guilty

being so far away from a land

 

who’s idea of comfort and ease

was to once create something called

 

the leisure suit.

 


 

Pool Shark   | by Michael Apice

[Image Coming Soon]

Michael Apice's Website: www.michaelapice.com

 

Love and Anger at 80, According to Elmer  | by Donal Mahoney

 

When ancient Elmer was young and dashing and on the prowl, he would wait for a phone call about love or anger from someone important to him at the time. Over the years more than a few women had reason to call. Some were happy with Elmer and some were not. 


According to Elmer, more than a few of those women today, five or six decades later, take advantage of the new technology and Google his name in an effort to find him. Many want to confront him for past promises not kept. Some want to see him again if he's single, widowed or divorced. Others just want to see him again, whatever his marital status. 


The vote on him, Elmer says, is split down the middle. He fooled some of the women some of the time but the others never forgot. At age 80 he wishes most of them--but not all of them--would.


"What can I tell you," Elmer says. "Besides drinking, the only thing I was good at in life was talking to women until they caught on. I may be old but I can still talk nice to a lady. I specialize in buncombe and balderdash. But I can't run any more from the angry ones. The legs are gone. 


"And that damn Google can be a real problem. I guess my address and phone number got on the Internet somehow and some ladies who are still able to get around have come looking for me. It's happened more than once. I wouldn't be surprised to answer the door some day and find one of them in an electric wheel chair. But all of them, good and not so good, had energy and spunk."


His many children are now adults, he says, but they wasted his money in college. Instead of applying themselves to their studies, they would wait for an email about love or anger from someone important to them for that semester. The following semester, he says, they would wait for an email from a new love interest. This would go on every semester until they flunked out or managed to graduate. Email in the lives of his children was not a positive thing when they were in college.


"I have 12 kids," Elmer says. "Six have degrees and six flunked out. More of the flunkers have jobs than the graduates. What does that tell you about this economy? And what does that tell you about my kids? The apples, I guess, fell close to the tree."


Elmer also has quite a few grandchildren, most of them adolescents. They waste time in school, he says, waiting for a text message about love or anger from someone important to them for a day or a week or over spring break. Texting is not a good thing, Elmer says, in the lives of his grandchildren. And it won't be a good thing for any of them able to get into college.


"Kids today," he says, "are on a carousel, especially the girls because they trust boys and most teen-age boys are louts. I can tell you that from personal experience because I was a teen-age lout for several wonderful years," Elmer says. 


"As a teen-ager, if I ever told a girl the truth I must have been drinking beer in back of the Masonic Lodge earlier that night. We had no dope back in those days. Never even saw the stuff. Wouldn't touch it if I did. But we drank a lot of beer on the weekends and maybe a little vodka and Squirt on Sundays. After church, of course. Times were different back then. You could meet a lot of nice girls at church." 


Now in his dotage, and feeling the effects in his joints and muscles, Elmer still maintains that love or anger shouldn't arrive by phone, text message or email. It should arrive in person, smiling or spitting with rage. He's had it happen both ways. And he's ready for more if time permits. 


Elmer doesn't have a computer or cell phone so emails and text messages never ruin his day. He has a land-line phone to make outgoing calls but he adjusted it so he cannot hear the ring of incoming calls. He did that two months ago after Bertha, a woman he took to her prom more than 60 years ago, found his phone number on the Internet. She called twice a day for a week until Elmer turned off the ringer, as he calls it. He never turned it back on. Now he calls out once a week for a large meat-lover's pizza and two quarts of beer. He'd make the same order more often, he says, but he has to watch his cholesterol.  


Elmer, however, would not be disturbed if Bertha--or any other woman from his youth--came knocking on his door. He has always believed that love or anger should pound on the door with great emphasis--like the baton of a policeman at midnight yelling the music's too loud, stop the party or everyone's going to jail. 


The pounding would have to be loud enough, Elmer says, for him to hear it--and even louder at night to roust him from his bed in his nightshirt to search for his teeth and toupee before he answered the door. He wouldn't care who's pounding as long as it was love or anger and not some guy in a ball cap selling aluminum siding. 


"Every man, no matter how old, deep in his heart wants to hear one more coo or even a gripe from a woman," Elmer says. "In fact I'd like to hear both before I go--and I won't go quietly--into what Dylan Thomas called that good night. Did you ever read his poems? I did and I thought if I'd had a brother, it should have been Dylan Thomas. Or Salvador Dali. Did you ever see his paintings? I see life the way he painted it. "

 

 

I Am Mirror   | by A.J. Huffman

 

Shiny shallow object, you nailed

to your wall.  I am not magic,

merely reflective

surface, presenting perceptions

that absolutely are not my own.

 

 

This Much   | by Jeremy Kiracofe

 

“This Much” mocks something that already exists but lacks a universal purpose. A machine whose importance is to exist and be used, without a result, but with an end. Alphabet soup is poured into the user’s mouth, but spit out onto a filter, subverting the nourishment and purpose of the food. This filter is removed from its structure and placed in another. The noodles are then placed onto a ceramic slab and transcribed onto a page via the user. The filter is brought back to its starting position and the process is repeated as needed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

banned books   | by John Grochalski

 

 

the bookstore

has a huge display of banned books

 

bookstores are always

proud of themselves in this way

 

but these displays rarely attract the intellectually curious

 

instead they attract people like this woman

who before she found the display

had been screaming into her phone

about frozen yogurt and the world trade center memorial

 

screaming across the book store to her idiot kids

as if they were at a yankees game

 

now she has them all gathered here

in this hallowed place of american folly

to thumb through illicit literature

 

oh my god, she says

i can’t believe books are banned in america

that just doesn’t seem like it would happen here

 

i’ll bet they were banned in other countries

her daughter offers

 

they all nod

 

the bookstore has placards up

telling the story of each banned book

 

but these patriots aren’t reading those

 

it’s general, uninformed assumption time

here in the good old u.s.a.

 

the mother holds up a copy of lowry’s the giver

she looks at her son in earnest

well, this must be why they didn’t have you read it this year

 

the mother continues scanning the display

 

she picks up a joyce then a toni morrison

she picks up some steinbeck and james baldwin

then puts them down just as quickly

 

well, they must’ve had their reasons, she tells her kids

after all, the giver, is a pretty sad story

and our leaders probably didn’t want

to depress any of you with it

 

they all nod again

then they walk away without buying anything

 

leaving the hemingways and hellers

the orwells, huxleys, and alice walkers

to duke it out for infamy

 

and those of us left lingering around

to fear for the future of this infant nation.

 

 

 


Junk Yard Kitty   | by Rob Plath


 

Because Ceilings   | by A.J. Huffman

 


feel like coffin lids, I sleep

sitting up with both

eyes open.  I am not ready

to recline into darkness, allow it to swallow

me.  I graciously give up comfort,

contentment, for peace of mind

that comes from feeling midnight

winds blowing my hair, moments

before they find themselves home,

inside my lungs.

 

 

Cue Witch   | by Michael Apice

[Image Coming Soon]

Michael Apice's Website: www.michaelapice.com 

 

our new sheets   | by Tom Pescatore

new room
same old place
facing south this time
watching Young Chow,
Crystal City's favorite go-go bar,
got a view of the Sev n' it
almost feels like home,
tho at home I never faced
anything but
pink sunsets over row home
horizons, mysterious
red blinking lights of the future,
alleys where American flags hid behind
diorama glass to reflect their image
on our window pane

now I got windows reflecting windows
in the dark condominium night, we're all wondering who can
see in but nobody looks outside
long enough to tell--is it the 28th already?
where have I gone? who can say--?

I can't remember the last place
I rested, how many years ago-- I'll
fall asleep standing up someday,
the Earth'll be my bed
my home
my end.

 

My Brain is Dead   | by A.J. Huffman

 

and I am suffocating

on the smell of sympathy

lilies.  White as ghosts,

they stand in defiance to my own

breath, as if the rest of me has suddenly become

a coffin carrying the corpses of thought

into a purgatory of mindless motion,

an afterlife of light bulbs burnt out.

 

 

Guns   | by Paul Tillinghast


 

gun #1   | John Grochalski

 

bobby craven was an idiot

 

he wasn’t the neighborhood idiot

but he was close

 

craven liked to talk about guns

he said his old man had a whole basement full of guns

but none of us believed him

 

steven flushing called bobby an idiot

and then went back to killing his tadpoles with old nails

and building a fortress out of thorn bushes

 

while the rest of us kids stood there

with our thumbs up our asses

 

maybe we were all neighborhood idiots

 

but craven still rose closer to the top

he insisted his old man had semi-automatics and a colt .45

he had a classic springfield model from the civil war

 

you’re full of shit, craven. i told him

because i wanted to get steve flushing going again

 

something to take his mind off of killing amphibians

and making that thorn bush that he promised

to throw us all into when it was finished

 

i was new in the neighborhood

and i wanted to be more than just another fool

who stood around waiting on pain

 

i’ll show you, craven said

i’ll bring them all down here

 

my ass, steve said

and we all laughed

keeping one eye on that thorn bush

that was slowly taking shape

 

steve said, bobby the only thing your old man has

is a beer belly and his unemployment checks

 

when craven left nobody thought about it or him

 

we were glad that he was gone

we were glad that steve had stopped building

his thorn bush dungeon to go inside for dinner

 

the rest of us geniuses took our thumbs

out of our asses and went home too

 

i wasn’t home but ten minutes before someone

was outside calling my name

 

grochalski!

grochalski!

into the summer evening air

 

when i went to the door

sure as shit there was bobby craven

standing at the top of my driveway

tear streaked eyes and with a riffle in his hand

 

he looked like he was going hunting

so i ducked

 

grochalski!

grochalski!

 

i thought that i was going to piss myself

i felt so sick

 

a thorn bush dungeon seemed like a blessing

compared to that gun

 

i waited until the sound of my name faded away

 

when i rose craven was gone

he’d either stalked off to steve’s or went home

 

i couldn’t breath

so i went outside for air

 

and watched one bird

attack another bird for a morsel

 

a little something he could call his own.

 

 

 

A Day at the Shore   | by James G. Piatt

 

The tide drudging into the ecru sand, foam, and blueness, rearranges
the scope of reality: Tearing into the continuum of time, it causes a
rift in the recurring landscape. Seashells, abandoned homes of ancient
creatures, tumble onto the shore painting pictures resembling Equuleus
with its fading stars.

A tree-lined sand path, vanishing into dreams, carries briny thoughts
to a place too constant for emotions, too harmonious for unpleasant
hours. The breeze trips against ethereal and fertile memories, and
dissipates into bells and mantras of the language of happiness: It
brings in the realm of that which is simple, and the kingdom of
unhampered pleasure.

Sea grass and Kelp plummet onto the shoreline teasing Gulls and Terns
with tiny creatures inside their being, tasty morsels like souvlakia
to their eyes. Trinkets, colorful bits of glass, trickle onto the sand
breaking the ecru dullness; memories lodged inside my mind, once
hidden, spring into existence with the pinkness of the fading sun.

The ocean fills with fog, drinking it into its moistured body, the
late afternoon arrives and the sun sinks into the far side of the vast
cobalt vastness, the bright day borrowed from time, begins to vanish
and the day filled with a rustling breeze partakes to greet the
evening.

 

 

Much   | by Jeremy Kiracofe

 

 

In “Much” I measured what I drank and peed for twenty-six days. This is a collaborative archive between my mind and bladder.

This documentation currently exists in the form of thirteen, six foot steel structures, twelve hold two cedar boards and the thirteenth holds three. Each board supports two glass bottles, one for each day of measuring. The first bottle in each pair bears a copper label with the title “INPUT”, the dates 2. 1 – 26. 14 and each amount I drank that day stamped into it. The second bottle bares leather labels, entitled “OUTPUT”, the dates 2. 1 – 26 .14 and each amount I peed that day typewritten onto it. Each bottle is filled with an irrelevant amount of a dark liquid and capped with a white wax top and sealed. On the third board sits a small concrete bowl of copper circles. The bowl is partially filled with coins, whether to be added to or subtracted from, but to no purpose. Just as the bottles display information, input: added to and output: subtracted from., but to no purpose. This less and more relates to the give and take of the viewers acceptance of a proposed idea.

 

 

East Idioms Reinterpreted   | by Changming Yuan

 

T1/ yanerdaoling [掩耳盗铃]

To prevent the sound from being heard

As he tries to steal the only bell in the village

The thief stops his own ears with thick cotton

Believing that no one would find him out

 

2/ saiwengshima [塞翁失马]

On a snowy evening a poor old frontier tribesman 

Lost his horse, the only means of living he had

While everybody still felt sorry for him a week later

The horse returned home with another one wild

 

3/ handanxuebu [邯郸学步]

In their fondest hope to walk as gracefully as handsomely as the residents of Handan

People swarm in from every part of the country to learn and practice the capital steps

But many have failed to learn the new steps while others forgot their old ways

So they all have to crawl back on their fours to where they originally came from

 

4/ yegonghaolong [叶公好龙]

Instead of God, Money, Computer, Sex or Art, Mr Ye believes in Dragon only

He loves the legendary animal so much so that he paints it on every surface he can find

Deeply moved by his devoted passion, a real dragon comes down to visit him  

But no sooner has he seen its face than he jumps to flee, with his pants all wet with fright

 

 

 
Grey Days Respite   | by Christopher Barnes

 

Cliff Boxer’s dandruff was shoulder-to-shoulder.

 

             “Individuals who tend to disregard and violate

             The rights of others”


Hedge-hop neighbours made wrong-footed dins,

Plonking hands, shedding tools

As fight-spoiling quick-changed to spats.


             “An enduring pattern of experience”


His whys nor wherefores were unflinching

And the embodiment of his better half

Flummoxed the jury.


             “Egregious, harmful, or dangerous behaviour”

 

*

 

Coast & Country Holidays

Cottage Or Hotel Breaks In Rural Durham

Northumberland And Durham


Blue Beach Hotel – Amble

Flate Park Hotel – Co. Durham

 

By Christopher Barnes, UK

QUOTES: Psychology Today