Categories
SUMMER 2012

SUMMER ISSUE IV



COVER PHOTO:
jon w. edwards via flickr

SUMMER ISSUE

Letter from the Editor, SUMMER

POETRY

Christie Bingham SELF PORTRAIT OF A GHOST
Jenn Blair VOW
Richard Fein WEEKDAY MORNING LAWMEN
Zach Fishel THREE POEMS
Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick THREE POEMS
Lowell Jaeger BUZZ-CUT SATURDAYS
Jacob Martin TWO POEMS
Will Vincent BATMAN

FICTION

Matt Dube FEVER TO TELL
Jillian Grant Lavoie TWO FLASH
Marina Rubin TWO FLASH

NONFICTION

Shay Belisle NIGHT TRAIN TO VARANASI
Roberta F. King SNAPSHOT


Categories
SUMMER 2012

Letter from the editor, Summer

Dear Readers,

It’s been a long time since we were online and we apologize to our readers for our delayed release. Our editors have been reading submissions and I feel they have done a good job of helping shape our summer issue. Just in case anyone was wondering about our absence, we’ve decided to switch to a quarterly format to accommodate more pieces and so that each submission gets a fair shake at being included.
Also, we were pretty busy finishing our thesis and preparing ourselves for our next adventure.

This issue is our biggest one yet! We have 13 authors to share with you. We pride ourselves in not giving in to a vibe or worrying too much about style. Each piece presented to you is a unique voice and holds something authentic. From the sentimentality of a child to the brutal and romantic struggles
of love and partnership or the bleak self.

Now, it is with great pleasure I present to you our fourth issue. We’re trying out a few things for our new issue. We’ve included a great photo thanks to  Jon W. Edwards. I feel it beautifully captures what we’re presenting to you in our Summer Issue. 

Regards,

sebastian h. paramo,
Editor

Categories
Fiction SUMMER 2012

Matt Dube

FEVER TO TELL

“Why did you let me drink so much?” Karen asked from the bathroom, and then vomited loudly. Kevin thought she was trying to make it sound worse than it was, but he couldn’t be sure. He turned his mug to make a ring of the moisture that dripped across its base, and then he drew his finger through it, a bold slash.

“You like to drink. You told me before we left, and I quote, ‘I need to be fucked up,” Kevin didn’t move from his seat. Her heaves resumed. “You’re a big girl. You can take care of yourself.” It was true: she was old enough to hold her own hair back, old enough to know when to say when and old enough to suffer the consequences when she overdid it. He was old enough to leave her alone if she’d just let him. He put a glass of ice water at her place at the table, and four chewable children’s aspirins because she couldn’t swallow the adult pills.

It was his fault Karen’s life was so hard, he told himself. When Kevin first told Karen that he’d got a job out here, he should have told her she couldn’t come. There was that moment, in the stairway outside her apartment, the white walls and the chipped white paint on the stairway that led up to the apartment she shared with two other girls, and she’d asked how it went. He could’ve told her anything.

He practiced on the way there, clomping through snowbanks after he’d taken the call from the HR person and negotiated compensation, practiced telling her it was good news and bad news, that he got the job and that this meant goodbye. He knew what he wanted, and he wanted her to have the chance to find out what it was she wanted to do for herself. He owed her that.

He practiced saying it, exhaled foggy gusts of breath into the night air, there’s good news and bad news. And then when she asked, he said, “There’s good news,” and gave a weak smile. She jumped on him in her stairwell and pressed her tongue into his mouth, and he thought, well, the bad news could wait, and here they were now, four years later.

“If I could take care of myself, I wouldn’t feel like this,” Karen said, walking gingerly from the bathroom holding her forehead in her hand. “And anyhow, what would you do if I started taking care of myself?” She scooped the aspirin into her palm and took the glass with her other hand. She emptied the pills into her mouth and dumped the water in the sink and asked, “Who does a girl have to blow to get a drink around here?”

There was a time when comments like these were Karen’s favorite gambit. The first night they met, Kevin walked up to her at a party and engaged her in conversation even though she was standing by her roommate. He thought himself quite brave, but after a minute talking, she shot back at him, “Are you planning to fuck me tonight? Have you got a big dick? Because if you don’t, I’m moving on.” Something swelled inside Kevin, and he whispered yes, not even knowing if it was true, and then leaned forward to kiss her. But when comments like this became every day, it got a little grating, and over the years, Kevin found himself responding to her breaks with decorum with formal responses.

“I’d prefer it if you weren’t drinking,” he said.

“Oh, poor baby. When have I ever cared about the way you feel,” Karen whined back at him. The question its own answer. “And the way I feel? It’s not looking good for you.” She pulled open the door to the other side of the sink and pulled out a cloudy glass bottle. ”Ah, the hair of the dog.”

Kevin got up from the table and stood behind Karen before he even knew what he was going to say. His hand was locked around her elbow, forcing the bottle in Karen’s hand to knock against the side of the sink. “I’d prefer that you didn’t drink. I’ll make you some toast.” He took a deep breath and reached around her, taking the bottle in his hand. “Why don’t you sit down?”

He returned the bottle under the sink and refilled Karen’s water glass and brought it to her where she was sitting, more like pouting, at the table. He didn’t say anything, and neither did she. When they first moved, he knew it would be hard for her, but Karen caught some flu bug and then it sort of lingered until she barely got out of bed at all. When she did it was to watch TV wrapped in a ragged old blanket. She would tease him in a British accent, pretending to be Heather Mills. “You need to build me a trough in the middle of the bed, so if I need to shit or piss I can just roll over and do my business. “

Kevin had no sense of humor about Karen’s infirmities anymore. He didn’t laugh, and six weeks after moving, he hated coming home. Instead he went out with his friend Bernard for drinks at a place Bernard used to drink when he was in college. It was fun, and for a while at least Kevin forgot how he got there or that he had to come home. When they finished at the bar it was well past dark.

When he stepped into the apartment, not a single light illuminated the ground floor. Karen’s voice came from upstairs. “Is that you?” she asked. “Where were you? I thought you’d left me.” One comment after another tumbled down the stairs toward him. As he climbed, he imagined himself as Mario fighting off Donkey Kong’s flaming barrels. He’d definitely had too much to drink.

“I went out with Bernard from work,” he told Karen and flopped down on the bed beside her. He didn’t know if it was the drinks or the fear (hers and his) or if it was just time, but he and Karen had sex that night for the first time since they’d moved. He wanted to call in the next morning and lay in bed all day, but he was the one who worked, so he forced himself up and out.

Karen got bored easily; maybe that’s what finally got her out of the house. First she joined a book club, then she took a couple yoga classes, and finally she got a job organizing craft sessions at one of the local fine arts outreach programs, helping kids glue googly eyes to egg cartons. And while the bread was toasting, she got bored then, too, unable to stay mad or sulky with Kevin. “Why don’t you want to let me drink? It’s the only thing that’ll make me feel better.”

“You’re pregnant. Drinking will only hurt the baby.” He wasn’t sure how long he had until the toast was ready and was surprised, for once, to get a whole thought out without interruption.

“As if,” Karen scoffed, but half-heartedly. The toast popped. He brought it to her on a plate, along with a jar of preserves from the fridge and a knife to spread it. She twisted off the lid of the preserves, squinted one eye inside and took a deep whiff. “This jelly isn’t any good. It’s lumpy.” And then she was off again, dashing to the bathroom. The toilet seat clattered against the tank. A second later, she was vomiting again.

“The puking. The way you feel. It’s not from drinking. It’s morning sickness.” There was silence from the other room, which would’ve freaked out Kevin except he was still floored at how much he’d been able to say without being interrupted.

“I’m having a baby,” Karen said. “Holy fuck, is that even possible?” There was another pause. “Oh, Kevin, will you let me keep it?”

He answered, but the sound of his words were drowned out by the flushing of the toilet, and then Karen was on his shoulder, crying. He didn’t know that he’d ever have another chance to say no.

__________________________________

Matt Dube‘s stories have appeared in 42Opus, Pindeldyboz Web Edition, Porchlight, and elsewhere. He teaches creative writing and American lit at a small mid-MO university and is the fiction editor for the online journal H_NGM_N.

Categories
Fiction SUMMER 2012

Marina Rubin

THE COAT

it was gone. the bald CPA was shuffling hangers back and forth
in a frenzy. i tried to console him that all businessmen wore the
same black wool coat, someone must have taken his by mistake.
but the visitor snapped that it was a double-breasted Waffen-SS
leather coat with a belt, a real classic. i nodded sympathetically,
slowly taking stock of his shaved head, the square toes, yellow
stitches of Doc Martens, two dozen lonely holes in his earlobes.
between balance sheets and corporate tax returns i imagined him
thrashing his head at a skinhead concert, fucking his girlfriend
underneath a red banner with a swastika. apologizing profusely i
put him in a cab, promised to find the coat, punish the criminal.
then i walked the halls, looked inside the offices, glass training
rooms, wondering who was responsible? the thieves, were they
secret neo-nazis who coveted the iconic coat, or grandchildren
of the holocaust who cringed when they saw it hanging in the
closet? or maybe the coat walked off by itself, took the elevator
down, heil hitlered everyone in the reception, got into a sidecar
of an old NSKK motorcycle and rode off, like it never happened

WELCOME TO AMERICA. PURPLE RAIN

was the first film we had seen in this country. on a television set
rescued from the dumpster, we took turns holding up the antenna
as we watched Prince, not sure if he was white or black, a man or
a woman, Michael Jackson or someone else. he sang ballads and
rode a motorcycle without having a job while my brother needed
cash for a pineapple so he pasted flyers on poles until one day he
carried it in like a kettlebell, opened it, devoured it, then cried
like a little boy because it tasted nothing like it did in his dreams.
the girls in the movie wore garter belts on stage, their hair wall-
like in the front cascaded in a waterfall, we wondered if this was
the american fashion we were brave enough to follow. we had no
idea why Prince’s father shot himself but my father already knew
that he would never be a doctor again, a stock boy at the Sunrise
99¢ store he took home Tide that was discarded as trash, accused
of stealing he was sacked in the morning. that first desperately
hot summer we let the purple rain wash all over us as we strolled
the air-conditioned Waldbaums every night in our house slippers,
counting the years it would take to try all the variations of cheese

___________________________________________________

Marina Rubin‘s first chapbook Ode to Hotels came out in 2002, followed by Once in 2004 and Logic in 2007. Her work had appeared in hundreds of magazines including 13th Warrior Review, Asheville Poetry Review, Dos Passos Review, 5AM, Nano Fiction, Coal City, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Jewish Currents, Lillith, Pearl, Poet Lore, Skidrow Penthouse, The Portland Review, The Worcester Review and many more. She is an associate editor of Mudfish. She has been nominated for the Pushcart. She lives in New York where she works as a headhunter on Wall Street while writing her fourth book, a collection of flash fiction stories. Her website is www.marinarubin.com

Categories
Poetry SUMMER 2012

Christie Bingham

SELF PORTRAIT OF A GHOST 

O thin shell of memory, paper lantern,
fingers leaded to your guitar like windowpanes,
I hear the burn to the bridge
will guide you back to the living,
but your light remains a constellation
I can not name. Look, there in the sky.
That is your dead eye. There, your dead hand.
Who said you could be those things?
God is no woman. She would undo you;
pull you out like thread.
What holds you as tight as gravity stitches a galaxy?
Have my lips made you articulate birds;
their songs are heavy here.
Have my fingers picked prayers from your guts;
O Beloved, they tire of fretting.

_____________________________

When Christie Bingham is not creating extreme burgers at her Fort Worth burger joint, she writes poetry. Her work has appeared in Denton Writers Anthology, The Inn Is Free Poetry Journal and Crannog Magazine

Categories
Poetry SUMMER 2012

Jenn Blair

VOW

Call it the starting over again place.
All gone but what once was, horizon
blue unspooling, still unspoiled thread.
Established vineyards back to loose
seeds tumbling in worn pockets.

You might call it mother’s cracked
mirror, her three younger sisters
falling out in the shatter, summer dove
cote restricting, last feather pressed.

I might call it the doll’s glass cracked
eye no longer trailing–in her velvet
clutch the unswalloweable fact: she
never cared for me, though for hours
I carried her, whispered and tended.

Call it the pyre where the old selves
finally gather, some nobly climbing up
others more reluctant to fling them
selves in the flame. Call it the last
first thing we learn: our bones all
we have to see by til morning comes.

________________________________

Jenn Blair is from Yakima, WA. She has published in Copper Nickel, New South, Blood Orange Review, Segue, Superstition Review, Cold Mountain Review, and the Tulane Review among others. Her chapbook ‘All Things are Orderedis out from Finishing Line Press.

Categories
Poetry SUMMER 2012

Lowell Jaeger

BUZZ-CUT SATURDAYS

Oldest first, youngest last, Dad sat us down

on the kitchen stool, wrapped a dish towel
around our shoulders and clipped our heads
with an electric shears, a skill he’d practiced
in boot camp on buddies from his platoon.

Hold still, Dad cautioned, or you’ll get nicked.
We inhaled and held ourselves still as stone.
The clipper’s teeth pinched and bit, drew blood
enough Dad doctored us with wet rags and a pep-talk
about taking pain like a man. About the good

soldier—both legs torn with shrapnel—
who’d inched back to the trenches, limping
bravely through the fire-fight, a wounded
comrade or two in tow. Our scrapes were nothing
to cry about. Which felt good, in secret,

to master Dad’s expectations. Good to have him
home the whole day. Good to feel his hands
bracing our craniums, taking care to keep his cuts even.
Later on he’d parade us into the street for a few rounds
of hot grounders and pop-flies, our scabs

like badges of courage beneath our baseball caps.

______________________________________

As founding editor of Many Voices Press, Lowell Jaeger compiled Poems Across the Big Sky, an anthology of Montana poets, and New Poets of the American West, an anthology of poets from 11 Western states. His third collection of poems, Suddenly Out of a Long Sleep (Arctos Press) was published in 2009 and was a finalist for the Paterson Award. His fourth collection, WE, (Main Street Rag Press) was published in 2010. He is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Montana Arts Council and winner of the Grolier Poetry Peace Prize. Most recently Jaeger was awarded the Montana Governor’s Humanities Award for his work in promoting thoughtful civic discourse.

Categories
Poetry SUMMER 2012

Will Vincent

BATMAN

Sam drowns him
in the slop
sink. I hold
stick-matches
to his bat ears
and smell him melt.
We bury him
down by the wood
at the bottom
of the sandbox
pile on oak leaves,
pine needles, small
tractors, and action
figures rusted
at joint and hinge.
We get plywood,
two-by-fours, and cinder
blocks—step back
and admire
our mound.
We can’t even see
the sand, but we can
still hear him.
That little shitty fuckhead,
Sam says. He says he’s gonna kill us.
So, we kick
the blocks and
wood aside,
pull him out,
and cut him open—
to get at the stuffing.
I tie a bucket
to a string
and toss him in.
His arms are just
dirty grey cloth hanging
from his chest.
We take him out back.
Sam lifts the dome
off a sewage well.
We lower him
in, pull him back up,
wash him off
pop his head out
and chuck it
into the croplands.
We bury
the rest of him
across the road
where we’re not supposed to go.
But, we can still
hear him.
He is alive.

_____________________________

Will Vincent is a poet and a student in the MFA program at Sarah Lawrence College. His poems have appeared in Inlandia, Scythe, Word Magazine, the Matchbook Story shortlist, and Chinquapin Magazine. His poem “Tree Fort” was the winner of the inaugural UCSC broadside contest in 2010. He currently resides in Yonkers, NY.

Categories
Poetry SUMMER 2012

Jacob Martin

THE ROOT OF IT

Pebbles bronze in lightening
night split by day’s dart
how the storm reveals
what was hidden as instincts.

SO THERE’S GUITAR

through Sunday drawn shades,
like being dropped off
in a strange city—to hear it
this time through the vents.

The neighbor, he used to practice
late hours in the warmer months
when windows left open let in
those final stuttered scales.

She’d knead the back
of my shoulder, arm
a harness across my chest
like she knew I had one foot

in the ether and she’d say
at least he kept on trying. I’d say
that’s all the angels can do (knowing
still, his daily effort was no good).

___________________________

Jacob Martin writes his poetry and fiction out of Crown Heights in Brooklyn, NY, where he lives with no cats and a roommate. His work has also appeared in Birmingham Arts Journal, LA Miscellany and Mad Poets’ Review. He has a BA in English from Loyola Marymount University and MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.

Categories
Fiction SUMMER 2012

Jillian Grant Lavoie

GIRLS LIKE BETSY (IN 50 WORDS)

“Here’s the thing about girls like Betsy,” my brother says. “Girls like Betsy like boys like Big Brad. They don’t want small-town boys with small-time jobs, you understand? Girls like Betsy are looking for a way out. They’re looking for a big ticket, a leg up. Brad’s got big money, what have you got? A job in a kitchen? Betsy’s looking for a way out of the kitchen. She stays here, that’s all she’ll ever have. She knows how it goes.

Betsy’s got big-ticket legs, but she knows it’s a matter of time. She’s gotta get Brad and get her way out. Girls like Betsy with big-ticket legs get big in small towns, you understand? Big girls don’t get boys with big money like Brad. It’s a matter of time, brother; Betsy doesn’t have it for boys like you.”

My brother had a girl like Betsy, with big-ticket legs and big-time wants. She wanted out of the small-town; she wanted a boy like Brad.

“You want Betsy?” my brother says. “Get yourself out of here: out of the small-town, out of the kitchen. Get a big-town job; get big-time money. Get yourself a girl bigger than Betsy.”

 UP AGAINST THE KEG CRATES

In the back of McGinty’s, up against the empty keg crates, Danny was feeling like the luckiest guy on Earth. Claudia had double D’s and legs for days and, tonight, only eyes for him. Stroke her hair, kiss her neck, tell her she’s bodacious. Def Leppard was pouring sugar out the speakers while he was getting lucky under neon

lights are low in the back of the bar. Nobody saw them slide in here, next to the keg crates, up against cold brick. Kendall’s got her phone in her hand just in case things go too far. This kid’s rubbing on her breasts like they’re not attached to a body, all grabby hands and sleazy come-ons. He doesn’t know she’s only

sixteen and now knocked up, blowing chunks on the brick wall. Claudia was holding onto keg crates, trying to keep steady while the music pumped. Danny said he’d marry her, keep her in high-tops and hose. Crap, here comes another

round ass, smooth skin, hands tucked under his belt. Claudia doesn’t kiss like that anymore, this girl’s got a gift. Tell her that she’s sexy, make her feel safe, lean her up against the keg crates and

fuck that prick, Kendall thought to herself. Dad was over by the keg crates kissing some slut. Mom was at home waiting up, TV on loud, two babies in their bed. She thinks he’s working late; oh he’s working all right. What a lousy piece of goddamn

shit, that’s my daughter. Danny buttoned back up. Left the slut against the keg crates, popping her gum. Kendall was out the door and down the street on long legs just like her mom’s. Night was cold, his coat was gone, but he was sweating into his

hands were moving up her skirt. Claudia wasn’t so sure. She’d never gone all the way before, but Danny was awful sweet. He had a car out front, was saying all the right things, and his smile sure was

cute enough, but anyone will do. Kendall lets his sleazy hands move fast. Dad’s been gone for almost three weeks now. Mom’s been crying all night long, TV on loud, two babies in her bed. Now she just needs to

feel that kick? That’s your daughter in there. Danny’s heartbeat was going faster than the bass. Claudia was lit up like neon, smooth skin, hands on his. Up against the empty keg crates, he sure was the luckiest guy on Earth.

____________________________________________

Jillian Grant Lavoie has a BA in Creative Writing from Hunter College and an MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut with her husband and owns a graphic design/paper goods company. She writes stories about the secret side of suburbia, for which Greenwich offers plenty of inspiration.