May 31, 2012 § 1 Comment
She found the unsent letters, browned, worn. They were entries from a time she only knew from textbooks. Broken script described years in quarantined barracks, now evacuated and immortalized in museums. She tried to trace the numbers, the ones etched in his notebooks, in his papers, on his skin; she tried to trace them back to where they came from. Nothing prepared her for the ghosts behind the gates, for the deafening silent cries of children only visible by the abandoned shoes left in the dirt. Standing where the letters were written, right where lovers and family were torn from each other, she cried. From the ruins she found gravestones. The numbers tattooed on their arms, that had become their identity, she realized, were nowhere found on their epitaphs.
Robyn Macy, a Professional Writing Major at SUNY Cortland, is currently working at Time Out New York. She co-writes her school’s newly founded satire magazine, The Potato (http://cortlandpotato.tumblr.com/) and runs the Cortland’s radio station. She hopes you enjoy her very first (out of school) published piece.
Image: What Dreams May Come, By Stephen Martin
May 24, 2012 § 2 Comments
The painting contractor, Jake, is the kind of guy everyone in the coffee shop loves, and I hate. He’s loud in an overly friendly way. I’m a quiet, bookish woman and I like to sit in the corner where I can see everyone, but work by myself. Jake is in great shape with a tight ass in his clean painter whites. He wears these pristine whites to show off more than his tight ass. He no longer has to paint walls; he’s boss of a crew. His long white ponytail shows how hip he is. Jake has been sober for twenty years and he is absolutely joyous over his sobriety. He holds the coffee shop hostage with his joy. Jake is like an advertisement for a TV show you never watch, leaving you with details you never wanted to know. For instance, I know he takes Salsa lessons because he broadcast that news over the café. Still, I can imagine him on the dance floor. He’d be incredibly sexy to other women. He must be the darling of his salsa class, I realize from my table across the room.
One time he sat with me, uninvited. He sprawled his long legs out over the floor. He blew hard about his crew, how they’d better be working while he drank coffee; about his investment houses, how much money those “bitches” (his word) brought in for him; and about his Corvette.
I have no love for Corvettes. I have no hate for Corvettes. Then he showed me the cut on his finger.
“It’s just meat.” He said, curling the cut open for me to observe the fleshy red goo. “Look, all meat.”
I made the mistake of saying, “That’s disgusting! I’m trying to eat!”
He turned to me with a face that could kill. Quickly, I excused myself from my own table and left.
Weeks later, Jake sat with me, again, uninvited. He was beaming.
“You know,” he confided. “When you drink, you lose your brain cells. You can’t think. I was driving today and I saw this sign ‘20 miles to Braintree.’ I thought, ‘Wow! Brain. Tree.’ You know? A tree with brains! My brain was working!”
I couldn’t speak. I’d had that same conversation with my brother when I was seven and he was six. We’d laughed our heads off about Braintree and other funny names we’d heard on the news, like Furnace Brook Parkway and Breakheart. I knew if I told him only little kids were amazed by Braintree, his face would change and I would see his rage again. I hesitated.
“Ah, you don’t get it!” he dismissed me, and looked around for someone else to entertain.
In Patricia Goodwin is a writer and poet. Her novella ‘When Two Women Die: An Historical Novella of Marblehead, Telling of Two Murders Which Happened There, 301 Years Apart’ (Plum Press, 2012) is available now on amazon. Please visit patriciagoodwin.com to view other works.
Image: Street Heart, By Leigh-Anne Fraser
May 17, 2012 § 1 Comment
Plainclothesmen prowled the train station all night. Everyone arriving on the 8:10 exhibited the small, nervous gestures of a fugitive. An old junky who made his living stealing overcoats was followed by a parade of children chanting his name. The cops must have been watching for someone else. In those days, a suspect sat on a stool with a hot spotlight on him, and no matter how much I begged, my parents wouldn’t let me keep the motherless babies, slimy and blind, born in a dark corner of the garden.
Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the new poetry collection, ‘Dreaming in Red’ from Right Hand Pointing. All proceeds from the sale of the book go to a crisis center, which you can read about here: https://sites.google.com/site/rhplanding/howie-good-dreaming-in-red. He is also the author of numerous chapbooks, including most recently ‘The Devil’s Fuzzy Slippers’ from Flutter Press and ‘Personal Myths’ from Writing Knights Press. He has two other chapbooks forthcoming, ‘Fog Area’ from Dog on a Chain Press and ‘The Death of Me’ from Pig Ear Press.
Image: Keeping An Eye On The Street, By Leigh-Anne Fraser
May 6, 2012 § 1 Comment
after Stan Dragland
he is sorry he mentions the possibility of going to frobisher bay. she wants him to go. we need the money she says. he agrees to go to frobisher bay for eighteen months.
she spends some of the money he sends home on a plastic and chrome living room set that she orders from the eaton’s catalogue. when he comes home for a break after six months, he loathes the new furniture. he flies back to frobisher and the family is glad he’s gone. (he will have a brief affair with a nurse.)
she gets to know mr smith from next door very well. mr smith works in the refrigeration department at eaton’s.
in frobisher he feels honoured to meet a gentle but famous oblate missionary who gives him an 8 x 10 photograph of himself meeting pope john paul II.
he gives his sixteen year-old daughter’s photo to a french co-worker in frobisher who is twenty-five. that man writes a letter to her. his daughter answers it briefly for politeness sake.
he misses his daughter’s graduation from teacher’s college. he sends through a friend, an enormous frozen fish called a char. no one knows what to do with it. we do not have a freezer.
she feels lost during the day. dr. b puts her on valium.
his now-best-friend in frobisher sends the daughter a photo of himself sitting on his bed with her high school graduation photo pinned to the wall behind him. he is not attractive and the daughter does not answer the letter.
on his second trip home he invites his frobisher friend to the house. the daughter retaliates by having her boyfriend come over, sits close to him on the plastic sofa.
at the end of his eighteen month contract he asks his daughter why she did not like his frobisher friend. he is not pleased when she says she says the man gives her the creeps.
he has acquired a projector and two movies in frobisher. one is too sexy he says to show his children. she has done her hair tonight and wears a fresh dress, and evening-in-paris cologne. from the back bedroom the daughter hears the whirr of the projector, the crackle and creak of the couch, their muffled sporadic chuckles.
she’s a bit disappointed in the movie; all it shows is a woman hitch-hiking on a country road. all she does is raise her skirt just above her knee. she thinks, my goodness, those men up north were desperate! still the movie brings back the wild whirl of early days when they went for picnics, the excitement of being deep in the cremazie woods on a blanket, alone with her catholic boy.
Note: That gentle but famous missionary was Father Pierre Henry, missionary Oblate of Mary, who lived on King Williams Island under the same conditions as the native people. The book Kabloona by Gontran de Poncins, has a section about him.
In poetry Claudia Coutu Radmore’s ‘Accidentals’ (Apt. 9 Press, Ottawa), won the bpNichol Chapbook Award, 2012 (Canada). Her fiction placed second in the Kingston Literary Awards, and won the Backwater Review’s First Annual Hinterland Award for Prose. She has written the foreword to, and edited letters for ‘Arctic Twilight: Leonard Budgell and the Changing North.’ (2010, Blue Butterfly Books, Dundurn Press, Toronto) claudiacouturadmore.ca and ynklings.wordpress.com
Image: Light after the Fog, By Leigh-Anne Fraser