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New poem from the Winter 2013 issue: Joshua Gage’s “Confession”

4 Feb


too many times I try to wash off
the stars of your stigmata
only to smell of lavender.

I sip free coffee
at a Woolworth’s counter,
try to swallow the coin
you slipped my tongue as I slept.

Do you still yearn
to come back a grizzly,
gold button in your ear?
At night I whisper,
like chipped porcelain,
prayers I can’t remember.

We will plant you at the roots
of a Pacific mountain,
a seam of taconite
in a gingham dress.

I will flaw every quilt after you,
sew a square of red at the center.
When my stitching frays, promise
paw prints in the bunting.

Winter 2013 issue update: progress. and almost ready.

2 Feb

on nassau

Dear Beautiful Readers,

We are so happy to share our Winter issue news with you. All work is edited and ready, and we are putting final touches on both versions of the issue.  Both versions, you say. Yes. We are releasing a black and white print version of the issue (via Amazon and Lulu) and a full-color version as an ebook (via Amazon for Kindle and iTunes as an iBook). The two versions required separate design and editing work, a labor of love, we happily admit, and we love both.

In the issue we have poetry and stories and photoessays and urban mural process and endless interviews with Fascinating People.

So stay tuned in. And in the first week of March, join us for the virtual release party.

“an amorphic hash of language, a sustained exposition in a dark room with no memory of itself”: our interview with Linda Lee Harper

2 Feb

I’m not a visual artist and until signing up as a docent at the Morris Museum of Art, had little art training other than obligatory art history courses in college. The Morris docent training is like receiving a certification in basic arts education. It really stimulated a latent desire I’ve always had to learn more about the process of visual art making.

Visual artists practice magic, a mysterious and visual sleight of hand that I believe produces an awesome vision of truth unique to each artist. I think it was in graduate school that one of my mentors said that without images in written work what you have is an amorphic hash of language, a sustained exposition in a dark room with no memory of itself. No thanks. So, on my own and with help, I began a more organized study of visual arts. I also took up stained glass to help my eye gain acuity for color and form. . In no particular order, the artists I favor are: Kandinsky, Rothko, Monet, Vermeer, Eischer, Picasso, Gauguin, Michelangelo, de Kooning, Pollack. My favorites:, VanGogh, for whom I composed a chapbook which won the Hibiscus Award from Tampa Writers Voice, and Mary Whyte, an amazing water-colorist from Charleston, SC and Malaika Favorite.

an excerpt from our interview with Linda Lee Harper, in the Winter 2013 issue


excerpt from Sam Williams’ Wagon Story. new fiction in the Winter 2013 issue.

1 Feb



The almost absolute silence was just that indeed- almost, because there was some noise that started just a few seconds after the explosion and this was the noises of falling pieces, pieces that had flown high into the air as if they’d never stop, pieces of the wagon, pieces of the mules and pieces of Jacob.

By the time the pieces had stopped falling and the chemical laden air had reached the various receptors on the rattle snakes tongue- zipping to its small brain, instantly, instinctively willing its body to leave this place of strangeness and turmoil without even rattling its tail in fear or anger.

The animals had started moving away from the area as well. The forest was awakening from its shock.

By this time the sound from the blast had already rattled the windows of the nearby town of Poplarhead and the people were starting to gather in the streets, chattering about what could it have been.

new poem from the Winter 2013 issue: Jeff St. James, Bush Soul

31 Jan



the trees are dying for me to write

I could never write a sentence to make up for that

even the air feels borrowed

breathing to death

bless the breaths in my diaphragm

I’m writing as a dying man.

just published: new memoir from the Winter 2013 issue, Steve Coffman’s Perfume River

29 Jan

Unexpectedly, Lo-an took us next to a small temple, less impressive and well kept than Chien Mu and Minh Mang, yet still exotic in its brightly cluttered way. Made of wood, three levels of altars were connected by narrow stairs with timeworn flags hanging from the banisters. Each level offered its own red and gold shrine and money plate. The temple was crowded with statuary. A central female figure was  flanked by nine larger-than-life male figures on her right and nine equally large females on her left. The center figure was the Mother Goddess, whose temple this was, Lo-an explained. These honored disciples had witnessed the miraculous reappearance here of the Mother Goddess in 1843. It was a temple for people with bad troubles. We were stretching our legs and nosing about, taking a picture or two of this dusty and forlorn temple of misfortunate souls, when Lo-an abruptly announced, “This is my temple. Please, I must pray a little here.”

Bobbie and I on one side, Karl and Roy on the other, we were all suddenly jolted to a new level of respectfulness and interest as she bought a bundle of incense, then supplicated herself in the center of the altar and waved the incense two times on one axis and three times in the other, two times and three times once again, and then after placing the bundle on the altar, prostrated herself in prayer, the perfumed smoke now filling our noses. After a few moments of prayerful bobbing, she raised herself up and took a decorated red and gold wooden canister full of spindly sticks off the altar. She shook the canister causing four or five sticks to jump out onto the kneeling platform in front of her. Tossing us a lightly embarrassed smile, she said, “Too many. I must try again.”

On her second try, only one stick jumped out upon the altar. She immediately grabbed it up, examined it on each of its four slender sides, then excitedly ran into a back room behind the altar that we hadn’t seen before. In less than two minutes, Lo-an returned, her eyes wet and shiny, so much happiness in her gait and on her face that she almost seemed to be dancing as her singing voice announced: “Good news! Wonderful news!”

When we started back to the boat, Bobbie touched Lo-an’s arm and said, “Whatever your troubles are I hope they get better soon.”

Lo-an nodded profusely and thanked Bobbie. “Now I think they will, but I must pray very much,” she said.

(keep reading)

new poem from the Winter 2013 issue: Suzanne McWhorter, Elegy: Undefined

26 Jan


Before the moon pulled a murmur from your skin.
Before your shadow painted my wall.
Before candles lit the hallway
and the world was lost to our naiveté.
Before dawn stole through the windshield
and over lips, freezing words on the tongue:
perpetually unsaid. Before threads
were pulled unsteady through phantom flesh
to seal the hollows of disgrace.
Before scars replaced photographs.
Before Sundays abandoned worship for pity.
Before your key was cut to be unturned.
Before one period ended a thousand questions.
Before the phone stopped singing
and the door fell voiceless. Before the bed
left its footprints in the carpet to gather someone
else’s dust. Before the bottle knew my name.
Before windmills beckoned your wanderlust
and claimed you for los desaparecidos.
Before the city limits sign
bowed in our mutual defeat.
Before the trees shed their masquerade,
baring skeletal fingers knotted with accusation.
Before we could find resolution,
at the crux of our story you left me with blank pages.

“we are creative energy manifest”: an interview with Rita Patel

22 Jan

“My ultimate mission or goal in life is for people to realize or understand the idea of possibility and that they themselves are creative. I think we’ve been trained not to think about ourselves that way. And we all are, just by the fact that we exist. We are constantly being created. We are creative energy manifest.”

from an interview with the artist Rita Patel in the Winter 2013 issue


new poem from the Winter 2013 issue: Melissa Morphew, You Left And

22 Jan



You Left And


the sun stopped shining

on all the lakes of the world,

gray clouds descending

like fog, the grass dried,

yellowed, so every photograph

turned sepia, instant nostalgia

for a present we possessed as past

but couldn’t walk backwards through

toward some meaning, some reticent understanding,

trace the last pink flower pressed

between pages of the family Bible,

this fragile reckoning written

in the parlance of love, this onionskin

memory, the words blurred,

smudged by too often turning

to the same page, never moving beyond

the stained crease of obsessive familiarity,

footsteps faint upon mahogany stairs,

the thermostat broken, the house empty

except for woolen blankets, heavy quilts,

wrought-iron beds, lumpy mattresses damp

with mildew—a talisman of loneliness—

not a single window, a single door

opening onto a garden,

some orchard made of light.

on trying and the sublime: Michael Czarnecki

20 Jan


The whole thing about not trying, immediately brought to mind a Joni Mitchell song, and the times you impress me most are the times when you don’t even try, you don’t even try. It’s the same with so much of our life, when you don’t try that’s when you’re natural, when you flow with it, you don’t aim for the sublime, you just aim to put words out there and express your experience. And sometimes, it becomes sublime. But not because you were trying.

— the poet Michael Czarnecki, from an extended interview featured in the Winter 2013 issue

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