“Mezzo-soprano Walmartian” by Thomas Dennis

I know so little about opera. I wish, at least, I could say I know one or two famous songs. It may have been a famous song that an as-yet-still-anonymous lady started singing today at the giant mart. I understand from later conversations that her voice was a “mezzo-soprano.” She was in another part of the store from where I first heard her utterly unfamiliar song echoing off the metal rafters . . . staring directly at the cheese array . . . couldn’t see who it was but I wanted to see who it was. Perhaps (this realization hit me quickly and left as it came) I was the only person in the store who wondered all that much about the crazed song. Strangers’ eyes met, glancing like butterflies off roofs. A mother mumbling Somebody has lost it to the questioning teen behind her. Hm. Were they correct? I could return, later, to the Walmart: Hey uh anyone recall earlier today, the uh, the lady who was singing opera at the top of her voice? earlier today oh just after noon? By now someone knows what exactly happened; employees have discussed it. Was it an abundance of joy or the dearth of a chemical – a moth’s wing touching a candle? No end to questions. Was the lady racing down the aisles, chased, or was she being dragged, ungagged, out the magic doors? Was she someone’s mother as well as a walmartian guerilla-singer? Can’t know.

your high quaver-voice
lost nothing: found finally
cou rouge numinous


Thomas N. Dennis lives and writes near Lovick, Alabama. This piece appears in his new book of songs, poems, and haibun, Wings Match Mask from Feritas Press. His website is http://merefiction.com. His haibun “Chickenchasers” appeared in STR Issue #5.

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“Incurable” by Howie Good

1
The moon is only thirty-seven percent full. Who do I blame? Which of my forefathers wore a long, black cape as if hoping to hide a deformity?

2
Fortresses and hiding places, everything has its shadow, a mysterious, pregnant traveler in Bavarian hotels, dark half-moons under her eyes.

3
The world is so overloaded with ordinary human things that it sometimes leans precariously to one side, and I feel the dead eyes of pawnshops and check cashing stores on me and the dingy sky scattering just about everywhere incurably dingy blossoms.


HowieHowie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Cryptic Endearments from Knives Forks & Spoons Press. He has had numerous chapbooks, including A Special Gun for Elephant Hunting from Dog on a Chain Press, Strange Roads from Puddles of Sky Press, and Death of Me from Pig Ear Press. His poetry has been nominated multiple times for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net anthology. He blogs at http://apocalypsemambo.blogspot.com.

Three Poems by Howie Good

Writing Life

Leaves fly
like red kites.

A boy kicks
an apple
across
the street.

I can hear
his voice,
but not
his words.

The wind
thrusts
its beak
into me.


The Butterfly Garden of Absinthe

The first time
I heard April becoming April,

I heard jewels in the mail,
futuristic apparatus, weird haunted frogs,

Bang, bang,
I heard Little Red Riding Hood say,

and above the accidental crimes of birth,
I heard schlock deities moving

to untidy local motels,
telling most roses and wild apples

dot dot dash


Eternal Recurrence of the Same

1
One week it’s an uncle in Jerusalem who shatters. The next week it’s my father who calls. What can cause more harm if misused, love or hate? The question confuses me. Some nights I need to take a pill to fall asleep. A motel sign advertises cable TV and no vacancies. I go to bed still bleeding a little, like a man from a country where no one else lives.

2
He wouldn’t take off his hat. To live well, he said, you must live unseen. He had a rope around his neck and one leg over the railing. A passerby happened to notice the bank clock said 11:11. The most mysterious thing is a fact clearly stated. I inquired at the desk. The sun will shine for another six billion years. At least.

3
I stood there with an umbrella under my arm, a mournful observer. Others ran. It was what machines dream about, but covered in flames and the maps of missing countries.

4
During dinner, the trees dropped leaves in the pond. She said something about guilt and forgiveness. The orange cat that had adopted us was licking itself under the table. I nodded as if I understood. Night frost lit up the fields, a language that has no word for the past.


HowieHowie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Cryptic Endearments from Knives Forks & Spoons Press. He has had numerous chapbooks, including A Special Gun for Elephant Hunting from Dog on a Chain Press, Strange Roads from Puddles of Sky Press, and Death of Me from Pig Ear Press. His poetry has been nominated multiple times for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net anthology. He blogs at http://apocalypsemambo.blogspot.com.

Issue #2, January 2011

Table of Contents – Issue #2

Editor’s Note

Fiction

“A Good Snow” by Brent Stauffer

“Carolyne Park Elementary” by Louis Bourgeois

Flash Fiction

“Proposal” by Robert Vaughan

Poetry

“Side by Side” by Lori A. May

“Premonitions” by Lori A. May

“In and Outside of Glass” by Lori A. May

“If We Could Just Save One Pure Moment  (or, The Last Thread)” by George Mostoller

“Is Blue More Identical Than Music?” by Grantley Rushing

“Holy” by Curtis Rutherford

“Highway” by Mark Wisniewski

“Fools” by Mark Wisniewski

Prose Poetry

“The Second Hand” by Zachary C. Bush

“Exit Strategy” by Zachary C. Bush

“Fable of the Wolf” by Howie Good

“Triptych” by Howie Good

“The Anniversary of Endless War” by Howie Good

Multimedia

Photography by bl pawelek

Three Prose Poems by Howie Good

Fable of the Wolf

The man in an oversized overcoat was looking for the street of winos. It was raining again, the scarlet and black soundtrack from an imagined movie. He lowered his eyes whenever he encountered clothes sprinkled with blood and mens’ brains. Carrying a duct-taped guitar case, he struggled through the barbed wire. He later told his diary that a big gray timber wolf answered the door smiling.


Triptych

1
It’s really all about light, you said. An empty boat floated down the slow, black river. Only moments before, we had entered a video store no one goes to anymore.

2
Police threw a cordon around the building. The sun hesitated. You lay down in the hall, hastily fitting yourself into the chalk outline of the victim’s body.

3
The sun had set, a disheveled orphan missing some teeth, the faint smell of shit on his hands, and in an inside pocket the varnished beads from a broken rosary.


The Anniversary of Endless War

I could sense thieves and shipwrecked sailors massing in the woods, crows preparing to feast on the precocious body of a teenage bride, the fairgrounds pockmarked with freshly dug rifle pits, our moon, a round prison hat, tilted at a jaunty angle for the dance of the three-legged stool.


HowieHowie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Cryptic Endearments from Knives Forks & Spoons Press. He has had numerous chapbooks, including A Special Gun for Elephant Hunting from Dog on a Chain Press, Strange Roads from Puddles of Sky Press, and Death of Me from Pig Ear Press. His poetry has been nominated multiple times for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net anthology. He blogs at http://apocalypsemambo.blogspot.com.

Two Prose Poems by Zachary C. Bush

The Second Hand

Once upon a time, there was a boy who had no hands. There was a family (his own family), then, poof, they too were gone. Around that time it was fashionable to wear giant calculators around one’s neck. Citizens quickly became restless with the old trends. Next thing you knew, giant calculators were worn as oversized watches. That’s how fashion goes, you know? They say it’s all about Time and Space, these days, at least that’s what the people go for these days. Nearly everything is digitalized, even sight. And, let me state, this was also around the time that the boy said, “I’ve lost all ability to judge colors.”

Exit Strategy

With sky spent grey, wind shatters, sand swirls— foam sprays from the crest of a troubled wave. On the beach, dogs chase after each other, a kite whistles rape, and a boy is crying because the adults are stomping his sandcastle, whooping loons. Somewhere deep in the reeds a baby screams, piercing nature.


Zachary C. Bush is an instructor of English Literature and Composition. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the City College of New York (CCNY). In the Spring of 2011, Bush will enter the Doctor of Arts & Letters program at Drew University. Bush is the author of three collections of poetry: Angles of Disorder (BlazeVOX books: 2009), At Swan Decapitation (VOX Press: 2010), and The Silence of Sickness (Gold Wake Press: 2010), as well as several smaller chapbook collections. He is currently at work on his fourth full-length collection (of prose poetry), A Screaming Man is Not a Dancing Bear (BlazeVOX books, TBA). Bush and his girlfriend live just outside of New York.