cc&d magazine (1993-2018)

War of Water
cc&d magazine
v282, April 2018
Internet ISSN 1555-1555, print ISSN 1068-5154


cc&d magazine













Table of Contents

AUTHOR TITLE
 

poetry

 

(the passionate stuff)

M.C. Rydel Second Shift at the Fermilab
Brian and Lauren Braden Did someone say wind, white sands photography
Cheryl Townsend Pepper #8 photography
M.C. Rydel A Call for Missionaries
David Michael Jackson Stones River Oil Painting
R. N. Taber A Sense of Arcadia
David Russell Humming Birds art
David J. Thompson Sailor Man
Allen F. McNair Beach Front Sunrise Painting
Michael Ceraolo The Cosmos Cry Maria
CEE mush-chines
No like Like
Aaron Wilder Like a Shell art
CEE The Scorpion and the Frog
worth1000.com Orange Peel Frog art
Linda M. Crate i’m not finished yet
Nicole Brissette Five Years Sick
Dr. Shmooz a.k.a. Daniel S. Weinberg Cops Raid College art
DA Gray Driving Past the Jefferson Davis Monument
Kyle Hemmings Art 3
Elizabeth Kropf my daughter tells me moments before sleep
Xanadu Consumerism
I.B. Rad Conglomerates
Rose E. Grier Marionette art
Ken Allan Dronsfield Absent of Present
Eric Bonholtzer IMG_5924 photography
Erren Kelly December
Allen F. McNair Boundless Dream
The Growth of Hope
Corey Cook haiku (spire)
David J. Thompson 157 photography
 

performance art

 

(“Energy with Poetry and Music” show)

Janet Kuypers There I Sit
Victim
Knew I Had to be Ready
Tight Rope Affair
 

prose

 

(the meat & potatoes stuff)

Joshua Copeland The Rise and Fall of Edward Bartholomew
Edward Michael O’Durr Supranowicz Down Looks Like Up art
J.G. Follansbee War of Water
Dr. (Ms.) Michael S. Whitt Feline Fancy III, Atticus: The Gentle Giant
Dr. (Ms.) Michael S. Whitt Feline Fancy III, Emma (Goldman) Cat
Stephanie Madan Almost Alice
Paper Dolls
Bob Johnston Coincidence
Janet Kuypers He’s an Escapist haiku
Wes Heine 100_0177 photography
John Carter A Night Shift
Peter LaBerge ilxy/Sea Bulb photography
Kilmo Russian Puppets
Üzeyir Lokman Çayci MOTIF320 R1K art
Norm Hudson Bleeding Heart
Patrick Fealey from Bird Island, chapters
16: Small Luck (Barn for Rent)
17: Galilee at Dawn
18: Bird’s Death
 

lunchtime poll topic

 

(commentaries on relevant topics)

CEE Why No Moving It From The Bottom


Note that in the print edition of cc&d magazine, all artwork within the pages of the book appear in black and white.


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Janet, Poetry Aloud Thanks to Trevor Wainwright for taking photos of Janet Kuypers showing off the cc&d v282 book “War of Water” (before reading the performance Art section of the book of poems and songs performed in the “Energy with Poetry and Music” show) as Janet Kuypers guest-hosted Community Poetry@Half Price Books in Austin 4/4/18.















cc&d
Poetry (the passionate stuff)





Second Shift at the Fermilab

M.C. Rydel

We’ve set up picnic tables and chairs
In the old particle accelerator,
Contaminated the ion chamber
With cheeseburgers, soda, and chips,
Brought in a beach ball,
And encouraged the staff to strip,
Lose the lab coats, and form a conga line.
The whole second shift dancing in our underwear,
ID badges swinging on the elastic
As a supervisor flips the switch.
Unhappy management helps insurrections succeed,
And we gauge our success,
By measuring the immeasurable,
Observing the unobservable
As paper plates and sexy lab assistants tumble inside
A two-mile tube at 70% the speed of light.

I am here and I am there.
Everything else is everywhere
Uncertainty materializes as both particle and wave,
Like the moment a hot air balloon launches,
Like a conversation with a heretic,
Or how I imagine an identical twin
Would have turned out had she lived.
I stand in the middle of Fermilab,
A shop steward made of light
Part of a crazy collective,
A cobweb of colleagues, spinning,
Sparkling, time travelling souls.
I just wanted to be part of an experiment,
Put in my hours from four to midnight,
Watch my young co-workers leave to meet at a pub
And never even realize that I just changed everything.
















Did someone say wind, white sands image by Brian and Lauren Hosey

Did someone say wind, white sands image by Brian and Lauren Hosey














Peppper #8, photography by Cheryl Townsend

Pepper #8, photography by Cheryl Townsend














Logan Blvd upright sign, image copyright © 2012-2018 Janet Kuypers

A Call for Missionaries

M.C. Rydel

For John Shirk

Take to the sea in tall ships
And cross an ocean to get here.
We’re the savages you need to save.

You won’t find us in the jungle,
In mountainside caves, on the plains,
Or frozen in drifts of iglooed snow.

Your ministry’s in the burlesque house,
Coffeeshop, tavern, and smoked-up two-flat
In the heart of Logan Square.

Logan Blvd street sign, image copyright © 2006-2018 Janet Kuypers

You preach to poets and actors,
Singers and comedians, magicians and artists,
With tattoos and rows of piercings.

You listen to the heresy, blasphemy,
Curses, pornography, and allusions,
Yet you hear the voice of Jesus as a whisper.

He calls to you while you are sleeping,
And enters your dreams disguised
As a soul you haven’t thought about in years.

He traveled to India in his twenties,
Got a lot of strange ideas,
Brought them back home,

Caused a lot of trouble,
And wants you to do the same
For these heathens, smoking outside the bar.

See eternity
In the ink of a haiku.
Repeat until dazed.

See eternity
In the ink of a haiku.
Repeat until dazed.

The best missionaries succeed in saving themselves,
And creating a whirlpool in the river
The natives can’t figure out how to avoid.
















Stones River, Oil Painting by David Michael Jackson

Stones River, Oil Painting by David Michael Jackson














A Sense of Arcadia

Copyright R. N. Taber 2017

As I walked in a wood
at twilight, a nightingale sang
to me of days gone by,
and I found myself recalling
that first time I told the world
I’m gay, and that’s how it is,
accept or reject me, your choice,
my life

The nightingale sang on,
about the good times and bad
such as everyone gets
to know (be they gay or straight)
so why the big deal
with sexuality? No harm done,
and bigotry doesn’t get to control
my life

Trees began a chorale
of love and peace as a sunset
pinked the sky,
and I found myself recalling
with a heavy heart
how we let prejudice and dogma
have their way with us, promising
a ‘better’ life

An audience of stars
watched as I wound my way
through the wood,
siding with me as I took my past
to task for a present
that only (ever) left me needing
to feel there had to be a kinder way
of life

An owl flew overhead,
hooting its applause, all nature
(or so it seemed)
thrilled for my having turned away
narrow thoughts
and judgemental jibes, consented
to the sum of my selves demanding
a life

Darkness fell, and silence
no less bitter-sweet than a sense
of being alone
in a magical world where positives
cast long shadows
and negatives are as moonlight
on leaves of grass
creating illusions easily read as signs
of life

Footsteps. Who’s there? Oh, it’s you,
my life...
















Humming Birds, art by David Russell

Humming Birds, art by David Russell














Sailor Man

David J. Thompson

I often wonder about the sex life
of Popeye and Olive Oyl. I worry
that he treated her like he would
any shore leave whore in Manila
or Hamburg or Rio De Janeiro.
I hope Popeye never said anything
unkind about Swee’Pea’s real father
or Olive Oyl’s anorexia, and just tossed
some money on the dresser and hurried
back down to the Union Hall with his buddies
to ship out again. But no, that’t can’t be,
I know the sailor man wouldn’t do that
to a woman like Olive Oyl, the object
of so many lonely shipboard dreams.
I’m sure he brought her silver bracelets
and silk robes from his voyages,
and especially ornate Turkish slippers
for her huge feet she loved him
to massage. Popeye must have been
gentle and pleasing as a sea breeze
in the bed where I’m certain a patient
and grateful Olive Oyl scattered
spinach leaves among the rose petals
to help make more than his biceps grow.
















Beach Front Sunrise (09-23-2013), painting by Allen F. McNair

Beach Front Sunrise (09-23-2013), painting by Allen F. McNair














The Cosmos Cry Maria

Michael Ceraolo

That’s Ma-RYE-a, not Ma-RE-a
Now that that’s out of the way,
we can get started

I was open to the cosmos’ call
from an early age for a number of reasons:
first,
“a love of mathematics,
seconded
by my sympathy with my father’s love
for astronomical observation”
and lastly
growing up on the island of Nantucket,
a place where “people generally
are in the habit of observing the heavens”
(“The Aurora Borealis
is always a pleasant companion;
a meteor seems to come like
a messenger from departed spirits;
and the blossoming of trees in the moonlight
becomes a sight looked for with pleasure”)

There are many things in which I was
the first of my sex,
or the first American
of my sex, to accomplish
I won’t recite those achievements here;
you can find them on my Wikipedia page,
or many other places online,
or in any of the biographies of me
I am proud of them because
they constitute part of who I am,
but I want to talk of other things here
in the hopes that all,
but especially girls,
will receive all the encouragement they need
to follow their talents wherever they lead:
“I should like to urge upon young women
a course of solid scientific study
in some one direction for two reasons
First: the needs of science
Second: their own needs”

I was a computer when computers were human,
painstakingly calculating the future path of Venus
because knowing the exact path was important
for the navigators of that time,
while shaking my head at the fact that
I was given Venus because I was a woman
(For myself and others “it is better
to crack open a geode than to match worsteds
It is better to spend an hour
watching the habits of ants than in
trying to put up the hair fantastically”)

On October 1, 1847
I discovered a comet,
prosaically designated C/1847 T1
or Comet 1847 VI
(someone needs to consult Urania
when deciding what to name comets:
“A mathematical formula
is a hymn of the universe”
but
“It is not all mathematics . . .
it is somewhat beauty and poetry”)

All my life I challenged,
in my numerous published writings
and with the threat of a good example,
the notion that work would kill women,
the notion that educating women
was somehow harmful to their health
(“can the study of truth do harm?”)
And when I learned I was paid less
than the male professors at Vassar,
I fought for pay equity
Given the tenor of the times
I didn’t achieve said equity,
but did close the pay gap somewhat

I and some of my students traveled
to observe the total solar eclipse
of July 29, 1878,
and
stayed home at Vassar to photograph
the rare transit of Venus in December 1882
I believed then and I believe now that
“We shall grow larger if we accustom
ourselves to contemplate great objects—
we shall broaden with the effort to grasp great truths,
even if we fail to envision them . . .”

And
I would like to offer a few precepts,
not restricted to scientific study
but definitely applicable there,
that I hope I have always
done my best to live up to:

“Question everything”

“the more we see,
the more we are capable of seeing”

“Study as if you were going to live forever;
live as if you were going to die tomorrow”

and lastly:

“Be honest
avoid the temptation to see
what you are expected to see”
















mush-chines

CEE

I dunno... ...I know
I keep making this point, but
Watching the cavedude
Beat the shit out of the
21st Century convenience
Instills a certain pride,
I certainly wouldn’t want to
Live near the cavedude
I think there are programs
For relocating him
Or, isn’t there subsidized housing?
Something?
He’s useful, though—he’s a hero
I like seeing anything past
Air conditioners, answering machines
Or CD players
Rendered Margeaux Hemingway-helpless,
Jigsaw puzzle of changing Man
Crushed
The way I’d crush a cockroach
Or you would
Unless your high ideals live in filth
Like the cavedude
Fine, o black glove, roll those dice
Ordinances are only The Law
And only a phone call away
Land line, of course
















No like Like

CEE

Note to the tickle feet thumb fucks
On Faceass:

You’re making “Human” itself
Into a concept
An abstract
A Game of Life spinnable construct
Copy/paste malleable,
If anyone ever
Does the same with “Nazi”
To the point of enforcement,
As enforcement is All, ya see
Then, spin every whichaway, fugitive
As there will be grounded, ice
One Human
One Like
















Like a Shell, art by Aaron Wilder

Like a Shell, art by Aaron Wilder














The Scorpion and the Frog

CEE

Hey, Shit Happens
Betrayal is Everyone’s nature
Like a dumb little script
About a dumb little character
The old “what’s This do?”
And the universe, gets sucked away
As many find in balancing checkbooks
Or choosing mates
Or friends
There’s No Right Choice To Make
Life’s a pie in the face
Occasionally, a knife in the back
Except it’s Escherlike
Symmetrical
Regressive
Infinite
















Orange Peel Frog image from worth1000.com

Orange Peel Frog image from worth1000.com














i’m not finished yet

Linda M. Crate

don’t think i’m not aware
that you’re a charming monster,
but i still think of you
every now and again

i wish i didn’t
would make my life easier
simply not to think of you but you haunt
like a ghost always walking to me

unexpectedly
in moments of the heaviest gravity
where i cannot escape
the thoughts

just have to smile and pretend i’m fine
when it feels as if the titantic
has crashed into my soul,
and i am going down with the ship in those

frozen and frigid waters
of what you called love but was actually lust;
threatening to tip the scale of me into dust
so i shattered who i was

building myself up again from the ashes
was the most painful growth i’ve ever endured
but it did it with the elegant grace of the
phoenix burning brighter than i ever have before

you may have broken me but i am not finished
i still have hope, i still have dreams,
will still fly bright into the stars
overpowering them in the shine of my warmth.





Linda M. Crate Bio

    Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. She has three published chapbooks: A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press - June 2013) and Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon - January 2014), and If Tomorrow Never Comes (Scars Publications, August 2016). Her fantasy novel Blood & Magic was published in March 2015. The second novel of this series Dragons & Magic was published in October 2015. Her third novel Centaurs & Magic was published November 2016.
















Five Years Sick

Nicole Brissette

Born on September eleventh,
A brilliant baby girl brought straight into this crooked, fiery wreckage of a plane crash existence.
Heroine needles in the kitchen, placed within her tiny fingers’ reach.
But she only grasped for a daddy who turned jailbait by the time she was 3.
Her mother’s narcissistic personality-
a disorder turned unfit for parenting.

Thank you,
selfish sister
for keeping her alive long enough for me to intervene.
You always trusted me with your secrets..
I am not sorry, this one couldn’t be kept,
I had to come clean.

K’lyn Nicole, ten months old,
her middle name, my first.
I picked her up from my sister’s room and gently rocked her in my arms
at 3 a.m.,
I took her in.

Only five years later, I would pluck her from her mother’s nest.
Our family turned the other cheek,
so I called CPS.
Four family fits and one testimony later,
the little one was placed in the care of her grandmother.

Holding my heavy breath for years,
what a waste,
drowning in the hope tank.
Zipped tight until the day I saw you stumble from your bedroom, fumble for food,
and push your daughter down on the bed calling her a bitch.
She was five years old then,
And I was five years sick with the guilt of not turning you in sooner.

Your flavor of the weak fathers
Your drug-induced stupor
You were living to lose her.

You shouldn’t have trusted me with cocaine conversation,
her molestation due to friendship misplacement,
with neglect leading to potty training frustration.
Because a dissection of this situation left me reeling for resolution.

It was you who coughed up motherhood into a pollution.
I will not feel bad for betraying a familial collusion.
Your mother and I have made fine substitutions,
though we were all wishing for a different conclusion.
















Cops Raid College, art by Dr. Shmooz a.k.a. Daniel S. Weinberg

Cops Raid College, art by Dr. Shmooz a.k.a. Daniel S. Weinberg














Driving Past the Jefferson Davis Monument

DA Gray

After a summer shower the two-lane road
departing Highway 68 begins to steam.
The road snakes between grazing land, cornfields,
family cemeteries in a crazy-quilt design

bordered by walnut and red oak trees. Seeds,
crushed to the earth, now thrive in fence rows,
where DeKalb and Monsanto signs hang;
a horse-drawn plow rusts in the weeds.

My feet once balanced on the metal frames
of abandoned tools. Gleaming silver blades
would cut fresh wounds in the soil where I rocked

back and forth — and a clevis shackle, useless
without laborers and mules, sang its southern chime.
Beneath these blades, between the weeds,
red clay would seep.
                              In farmhouses like these,
rising from the roadsides, we took lunch with the hands,
listened to news of a newer oncoming war
which seemed like a videogame on the television.
Someone would say freedom. It sounded honorable
dying for an abstraction.

                                    The whirring brings me back.

A gunmetal grey Chinook passes over, flying west –
Ft. Campbell. The blades slice an unmoving air.

On the ground a Mennonite couple drives
a black carriage pulled by a chestnut horse.
They too travel west from the Elkton stores.
The young man, with the beginnings of a beard

grips the leather reins; the woman has worked
her arm through his. They wave, smiling, as if the world
will wait, before gliding past me. My windows down,
radio up, I read a map and wipe a bead of sweat.

Everything is too slow to provide relief
from a sun just begun to bear down.

And behind the carriage a line of cars inches
forward in a slow fruitless stampede. On-again,
off-again brake lights with warnings of red eyes
glare into the past. Everything hinges

on this carriage, this horse, beneath a tall
white obelisk rising above the trees, a monument
to lost causes, six hundred thousand gone,
no gallantry, only mud.

                          Inside, his picture
hangs – he must have sat an hour, glass
catching the light, battle orders in front,
battle flag behind, eyes focused on a theory
boys would die from. Another picture exists.
An older white-headed man sits alone, cross-
legged on a bench. Both images are the same.

From this roadside I can see the visitors walk
from their cars to its base. A red truck passes,
slows, begins to turn without a signal. On the tailgate
a bumper sticker colored with Stars and Bars
says Freedom. “Free from what?” I ask
but my voice dies in the thick air. No one hears.

It’s getting late; the tower’s shadow lengthens.
Somewhere Mennonite families extract the last labor
from the last daylight. Fort Campbell soldiers
stand saluting a flag they are willing to die for,
before driving home on Blue Star Memorial.

Here, cars resume their speed, slide
past a tower once designed to mark temple gates.
Purpose forgotten, it stands pointing skyward
where insubstantial clouds slither past.

 

This previously appeared in the book Contested Terrain (10/2017).
















Art 3 by Kyle Hemmings

Art 3 by Kyle Hemmings














my daughter tells me moments before sleep

Elizabeth Kropf

that a boy touched her bottom
she buries her face in a pillow
refuses to talk more
how can she already have to experience shame and unwanted touch?
she is in kindergarten.
she still wets the bed

how can I tell her about the power of girls
when she hears adults say boys are better?
how can I tell her about respect
when I am whistled at?
how can I tell her about boundaries and consent
and send her out into a pussy-grabbing world?

what do I tell her? what do I tell her?



hammering, image copyright © 1990-2018 Janet Kuypers bopping, image copyright © 1990-2018 Janet Kuypers














Consumerism

Xanadu
(Ofrothkofame) for Scars (September 2017)
(Thanks to Ojārs Ābols 1976 Klusā daba ar ledusskapi un plĪvuru/
Still Life with Fridge and Veil and Latvian National Museum of Art RĪga)

My life is my fridge
my life is my veil

Consuming in ice winter
When emotions freeze to broken

Silhouette shade circumference
of wedding dress draped

Around the box of refrigerator
Imagined without kitchen array

As waiting for a snow man
mirroring life in its door

In deep signs of imprint
that are hidden from surface.



















Conglomerates

I.B. Rad

A conglomerate can be broadly defined
as a collection of heterogeneous items
joined to form a whole,
or, for the more entrepreneurial definition,
a corporation made up of numerous
different, seemingly unrelated businesses;
and so, taking into account our prevailing view of community
in which every imaginable identity,
whether it be religion, sexuality, race, ethnicity, ...
becomes politicized
and inserted into an entitlement zero sum game,
is it surprising
that the largest conglomerate in America
is America?
















Marionette, art by Rose E. Grier

Marionette, art by Rose E. Grier














Absent of Present

Ken Allan Dronsfield

Has anyone seen me?
I know I used to be here,
perhaps there, somewhere.
I feel so lost, gone like old
bones ground into nothing.
Dust in a strong breeze.

I felt like a cat nine tail,
standing straight and tall
bent over by marsh winds
waving to all lake side,
lost fantasy skyward.
Passion blooms; life après.

Depth of a cranky shade
of listless yet excited bliss.
Blessed by the thoughts and
prayers of strangers, love
enhanced by a whisper.
But has anyone seen me?





Ken Allan Dronsfield Biography

    Ken Allan Dronsfield is a disabled veteran and poet who has been nominated for 2 Best of the Net and 3 Pushcart Prize Awards for Poetry. His poems have been published world-wide in various publications throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. He has been published in The Burningword Journal, Belle Reve Journal, SETU Magazine, Blue Heron, The Literary Hatchet, The Stray Branch, Now/Then Manchester Magazine UK, Bewildering Stories, Scarlet Leaf Review, EMBOSS Magazine, and many more. Ken loves thunderstorms, walking in the woods at night, and spending time with his cats Willa, Hemi and Turbo. His book, “The Cellaring”, a collection of haunting, paranormal, weird and wonderful poems, has been released and is available through Amazon.com. He is the co-editor of two poetry anthologies, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze and Dandelion in a Vase of Roses also available at Amazon.com.
















IMG_5924 photography by Eric Bonholtzer

IMG_5924 photography by Eric Bonholtzer














December

Erren Kelly

The farmers are burning the cornfields
I can smell the sweet fire in your hair
We walked around the lake, your hands felt
Like December

My dear tall girl, I like your stride
Long and wistful, like a road
You wear another bandanna
Always carrying the music
On your head

I still smell the fire in your hair
As your body becomes orange in the light
You are a snow angel come alive
I hold hands as if it’s the last time
Though I will see you again

Your body is in the orange light
Again
Long, straight, clean.

You walk around the room
Naked, like a lonely melody
I hold you and we become
Piano keys
I look at you and reflect, ponder, and dream

Your voice is a winter prayer
And I will love you like a religious
Experience

I still smell the fire in your hair
















Boundless Dream

Allen F. McNair

Tonight, I listen to Ravel’s Bolero
On my way to a vivid blessing of sleep.
As I lay in bed, images start to flash
Before me, a column of many nations.

First Greek soldiers march along
A wide, paved roadway, in black armor.
Their breastplates and shields gleaming.
Then a phalanx of Roman soldiers comes.

Their armor is a deep color of burgundy.
Behind them march medieval knights.
More strut on powerful horses proud.
Along the broad avenue doughboys walk.

Those of the Hun also travel the roadway.
Next march friend and foe of WW II.
After them march men from the Korean
Police action and today’s armed forces.

Finally, American astronauts and Soviet
Cosmonauts stride the wide highway.
Long rockets along the roadway.
They follow the travelers of the heavens.

All during the long march, the Bolero plays
In my ringing head, its rhythm strong.
My very limbs sing to the vibrant chorus.
I feel my head and heart soar to its beat.

Now my spirit is lifted on currents of
Wind and fire, up into the boundless sky.
I see nations and continents become small.
A blue and white globe comes into my view.

Other worlds of a complete solar system
Appear before celestial face and eyes.
A solar wind carries me ever outwards.
Soon other planetary systems are revealed.

Gradually I see a galaxy of stars and worlds.
My spirit itself expands to embrace them all.
My very body tingles with their vibrations.
My mind beholds a truly grand, boundless dream.

I feel as one with humanity and the heavens.
All of the night and day are honestly mine.
Understanding of the all-encompassing universe,
The tiniest atom of life’s matter is also mine.

But soon I awaken to my limited reality.
The bed sheets damp and twisted awry.
The two pillows under my head bunched-up.
The music is gone now, softly lost to my ears.

Tonight, I have only four walls to surround me.
The furniture hidden in the dark shadows.
My aching body once again a finite shell.
But I will always carry my boundless dream.

Into all my tomorrows it enlivens a sense
Of joy for each day that I am alive.
An experience of conscious expansion of
My dreams for the future fills my soul.

This finite shell is not all that I am.
Joy and bliss are my birthright.
Unity with all that I perceive brings
Me closer to an ultimate awareness.





About the Artist—Allen F. McNair (in his own words)

    I am a self-taught artist and poet who is inspired daily by the wonders of life around me, my present and past experiences, and both the inner and outer beauty of all women. From individual poetic portrayals in my early years of writing, I have graduated to writing an epic saga mentioned below.
    I work mainly in marker art on paper, yet I have also worked in watercolor on paper, and acrylic pen and brush on canvas. Those works in marker art have been on 11" X 14" and 14" X 17" Bristol paper. Although painting contemporary subjects, I have mainly created illustrations that depict a future planet earth and other worlds more heavenly. These illustrations reveal a fascinating world of dreams and mental communication between the human and alien characters in our future. Other works of art included in this collection depict subjects from our contemporary world.
    I enjoy working mostly in Prismacolor markers for their vibrant color palate and the control I have over the use of this medium. I have most recently worked with Blick Studio Markers and their Studio Brush Markers as well. I also like the control I have when using an acrylic pen. When I am not portraying the interaction between human beings in a future world, I then use geometric shapes to create futuristic vehicles traveling above a pristine world.
    My proudest achievement is the self-publishing of my book, I Dream of A’maresh, a science fiction epic poem which is reflected in the several illustrations that can be seen in Chicago in the 27th American Disabilities Act Celebration at the James R. Thompson Center July 17 through July 22, 2017. A few of these works of art were once displayed in the July 2015 ADA Celebration at this same location. Some of them were shown at the Orange Restaurant in Lincoln Park last April 4, 2016. Others were also presented at the Orange Restaurant in Roscoe Village March 10 through May 28, 2015. I have likewise exhibited my work at the Gallery Cabaret in August 2016.
    I have performed in an original production based on true stories for the Thresholds Theater Arts Project at the Theater Building. I have also taught classes in creative writing and performance at both the National Alliance for Mentally Ill (NAMI) and at Trilogy.
    I love watching science fiction, fantasy, and action in movies and reading those genres in literature in my spare time. I live in a one-bedroom apartment in Chicago with my 6 year-old white and ginger cat, Butterscotch. Previously, I had a black and white long-haired cat named Kit Kat, who lived to be 20 years old.
















The Growth of Hope

Allen F. McNair

The growth of hope dawned on me one
Dreary night as I lay in my bed after
Weeks of homelessness, when I realized
I was on the thresholds of new housing.

I was soon to be transferred from a shelter
To a newly-created group home on Keystone.
It was proposed to me over a welcome lunch with the
Kind administrators from Lutheran Social Services.

I could not have conceived of such good fortune
Several months living in the Lakeview shelter.
Yet I was given a gentle challenge to stay in
The shelter only if I worked to grow out of it.

I had worked with the city’s social service network
To establish my actual mental disability status.
I had a kindly psychiatrist who understood my true
Nature of mental health with diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

I was now taking the right medication and adjusted well.
Since I had a history of stable employment before
Homelessness found me emotionally stricken and unwell,
I would be working and receiving the benefits of Disability.

As I grew emotionally, I began to write stirring poetry
For a social services’ literary magazine, the Musing Place.
I began to perform my poetry onstage in the Thresholds
Program of Theater Arts at the Blue Rider theater.

I also worked in theater maintenance through this program.
It was a new, productive means of expression for me.
Even before this, I performed my poetry in the ensemble
Work of a collaborative venture called Address Unknown.

I was being highly productive even while homeless
And now I would embark on the new journey of
Actual housing with employment and writing poetry
Has been my lifeline to the shore of home and work.

Poetry has also opened up the door of drawing, painting,
And other such creativity, including my own art exhibit.
The Literary Guild once owned a bookstore on Lincoln
In the jolly old town of rocking Chicago, Illinois.

In their store, I was once in a Thresholds-sponsored show.
Impressed with some of my work, I was given a show
Of my own which featured all the women I had never met.
Of the pieces sold, one was bought at its asking price.

Although originally bought for less, he paid the actual
Difference soon after he saw its true value to himself.
I truly saw the progress from writing poetry in words
To illustrating its content in grand expressions of art.

Poetry is my life’s ambition as well as other forms of art.
Many times when considering an end to my own life
Another poem comes to my fevered mind to complete,
Providing a constant source of miraculous hope for me.

Now I have regularly contributed to whole anthologies
In the now extinct form of Journal of Ordinary Thought.
I have also continued to perform my poetry in open
Readings at the Bazazian Public Library on Ainslie.

My life continues to grow in hope as I continue to write.
Poetry has rescued me from the very jaws of death.
I look ahead at the brightness of a future in writing.
I am ready to master life’s challenges with a sense of hope.





About the Artist—Allen F. McNair (in his own words)

    I am a self-taught artist and poet who is inspired daily by the wonders of life around me, my present and past experiences, and both the inner and outer beauty of all women. From individual poetic portrayals in my early years of writing, I have graduated to writing an epic saga mentioned below.
    I work mainly in marker art on paper, yet I have also worked in watercolor on paper, and acrylic pen and brush on canvas. Those works in marker art have been on 11" X 14" and 14" X 17" Bristol paper. Although painting contemporary subjects, I have mainly created illustrations that depict a future planet earth and other worlds more heavenly. These illustrations reveal a fascinating world of dreams and mental communication between the human and alien characters in our future. Other works of art included in this collection depict subjects from our contemporary world.
    I enjoy working mostly in Prismacolor markers for their vibrant color palate and the control I have over the use of this medium. I have most recently worked with Blick Studio Markers and their Studio Brush Markers as well. I also like the control I have when using an acrylic pen. When I am not portraying the interaction between human beings in a future world, I then use geometric shapes to create futuristic vehicles traveling above a pristine world.
    My proudest achievement is the self-publishing of my book, I Dream of A’maresh, a science fiction epic poem which is reflected in the several illustrations that can be seen in Chicago in the 27th American Disabilities Act Celebration at the James R. Thompson Center July 17 through July 22, 2017. A few of these works of art were once displayed in the July 2015 ADA Celebration at this same location. Some of them were shown at the Orange Restaurant in Lincoln Park last April 4, 2016. Others were also presented at the Orange Restaurant in Roscoe Village March 10 through May 28, 2015. I have likewise exhibited my work at the Gallery Cabaret in August 2016.
    I have performed in an original production based on true stories for the Thresholds Theater Arts Project at the Theater Building. I have also taught classes in creative writing and performance at both the National Alliance for Mentally Ill (NAMI) and at Trilogy.
    I love watching science fiction, fantasy, and action in movies and reading those genres in literature in my spare time. I live in a one-bedroom apartment in Chicago with my 6 year-old white and ginger cat, Butterscotch. Previously, I had a black and white long-haired cat named Kit Kat, who lived to be 20 years old.
















haiku (spire)

Corey Cook

Church’s spire
points scournfully
at flamboyant sky





Corey Cook Biography

    Corey D. Cook is the author of four chapbooks: Rhododendron in a Time of War (Scars Publications), What to Do with a Dying Parakeet (Pudding House Publications), Flock (Origami Poems Project), and White Flag Raised (Kattywompus Press). His poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in bear creek haiku, Brevities, Chiron Review, Freshwater, Leaves of Ink, and Rusty Truck. Corey lives in Vermont and edits Red Eft Review.
















photography (157) by David J. Thompson

photography (157) by David J. Thompson
















cc&d
Performance Art





There I Sit

Janet Kuypers
1990 (edited for 0/2/17 feature)

there I sit
I sit alone
separated
isolated
away from
my one true love
away from
my obsession

I pull out
a fountain pen
I see the lines
contours of his face

defining
the piercing eyes
the pointed nose
the tender lips

I sit & I sketch
I feverishly draw
until I capture
his image

I stare
I gaze
I memorize
his every detail
oh, but he
he never looks back

so I will draw
until my
fountain pen
runs dry



video video
See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 9/2/17 show “Energy with poetry and Music” “Expressions Poetry with Music!” in Austin performing her songs/poems “Victim” (done as a Chicago Industrial song), “There I Sit” to blues music, “Tight Top Affair” w/ an electric guitar, & “Knew I Had to be Ready(this video was filmed from a Sony camera).
video not yet rated
See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 9/2/17 show “Energy with poetry and Music” at “Expressions Poetry with Music!” in Austin performing her songs/poems “Victim” (done as a Chicago Industrial song), “There I Sit” to blues music, “Tight Top Affair” w/ an electric guitar, & “Knew I Had to be Ready(video filmed from a Panasonic Lumix camera).
Energy with poetry and Music chapbook
Download all of these songs & poems
in the free PDF file chapbook
Energy with poetry and Music chapbook Energy with poetry and Music
containing the songs/poems “There I Sit”,
Tight Top Affair”, “Victim”, and
Knew I Had to be Ready”.
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersApril 2018 Book Release Reading 4/4/18, where she read her “Energy with Poetry and Musicperformance art poems & songs (all performed as poetry readings) “There I Sit” “Victim”, “Knew I Had to be Ready” and “Tight Rope Affair” from the cc&d 4/18 book “War of Water” as she hosted “Community Poetry @ Half Price Books” during National Poetry Month (Panasonic Lumix T56).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersApril 2018 Book Release Reading 4/4/18, where she read her “Energy with Poetry and Musicperformance art poems & songs (all performed as poetry readings) “There I Sit” “Victim”, “Knew I Had to be Ready” and “Tight Rope Affair” from the cc&d 4/18 book “War of Water” as she hosted “Community Poetry @ Half Price Books” during National Poetry Month (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera, w/ an Edge Detection filter).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersApril 2018 Book Release Reading 4/4/18, where she read her “Energy with Poetry and Musicperformance art poems & songs (all performed as poetry readings) “There I Sit” “Victim”, “Knew I Had to be Ready” and “Tight Rope Affair” from the cc&d 4/18 book “War of Water” as she hosted “Community Poetry @ Half Price Books” during National Poetry Month (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera, w/ a Posterize filter).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersApril 2018 Book Release Reading 4/4/18, where she read her “Energy with Poetry and Musicperformance art poems & songs (all performed as poetry readings) “There I Sit” “Victim”, “Knew I Had to be Ready” and “Tight Rope Affair” from the cc&d 4/18 book “War of Water” as she hosted “Community Poetry @ Half Price Books” during National Poetry Month (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera, w/ a Threshold filter).


Click here fro the Janet Kuypers bio.
















Victim

Janet Kuypers
a 1990 song

every day I face the wall
every day I must stand tall
every day from break of dawn
every day I carry on

every day I struggle with the lingering past
I had struggled, I had worked to take it fast
every day I find it difficult, impossible
to look at what we have and make it last

time to time I shed a tear
time to time when you are near
time to time I stop myself
time to time I’m filled with fear

I try to carry on but it doesn’t seem fair
when I feel your presence but you are not there
time to time I find it difficult, impossible
to look at how I feel and think you care

I close my eyes, I see it too
when I sleep I dream of you
when I talk your words come out
when I live I just feel blue

I can see the scene, it flashes through my mind
I can’t fathom feelings of another kind
when I try I find it difficult, impossible
to search for pieces that I cannot find

I had struggled with the maze
I had worked a hundred days
I had tried to make it stop
I could not see through the haze

I had to accept what you had done to me
there were so many lies that I could not see
time to time I find it difficult, impossible
to look at all your chains
to look at all your chains
to look at all your chains
and still feel free





video video
See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 9/2/17 show “Energy with poetry and Music” “Expressions Poetry with Music!” in Austin performing her songs/poems “Victim” (done as a Chicago Industrial song), “There I Sit” to blues music, “Tight Top Affair” w/ an electric guitar, & “Knew I Had to be Ready(this video was filmed from a Sony camera).
video not yet rated
See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 9/2/17 show “Energy with poetry and Music” at “Expressions Poetry with Music!” in Austin performing her songs/poems “Victim” (done as a Chicago Industrial song), “There I Sit” to blues music, “Tight Top Affair” w/ an electric guitar, & “Knew I Had to be Ready(video filmed from a Panasonic Lumix camera).
Energy with poetry and Music chapbook
Download all of these songs & poems
in the free PDF file chapbook
Energy with poetry and Music chapbook Energy with poetry and Music
containing the songs/poems “There I Sit”,
Tight Top Affair”, “Victim”, and
Knew I Had to be Ready”.
video video See YouTube video 10/1/17 of Janet Kuypers singing her song “Victim” as an industrial song with John on electric guitar (and added percussions), then her reading her poem “Your Imaginary Soul Weighs 21 Grams” from the cc&d 10/17 book “Forbidden” before inviting contributors to read their poems from the book, at “Kick Butt Poetry” in Austin (Lumix).
video not yet rated See YouTube video 10/1/17 of Janet Kuypers singing her song “Victim” as an industrial song with John on electric guitar (and added percussions), then her reading her poem “Your Imaginary Soul Weighs 21 Grams” from the cc&d 10/17 book “Forbidden” before inviting contributors to read their poems from the book, at “Kick Butt Poetry” in Austin (Sony).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersApril 2018 Book Release Reading 4/4/18, where she read her “Energy with Poetry and Musicperformance art poems & songs (all performed as poetry readings) “There I Sit” “Victim”, “Knew I Had to be Ready” and “Tight Rope Affair” from the cc&d 4/18 book “War of Water” as she hosted “Community Poetry @ Half Price Books” during National Poetry Month (Panasonic Lumix T56).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersApril 2018 Book Release Reading 4/4/18, where she read her “Energy with Poetry and Musicperformance art poems & songs (all performed as poetry readings) “There I Sit” “Victim”, “Knew I Had to be Ready” and “Tight Rope Affair” from the cc&d 4/18 book “War of Water” as she hosted “Community Poetry @ Half Price Books” during National Poetry Month (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera, w/ an Edge Detection filter).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersApril 2018 Book Release Reading 4/4/18, where she read her “Energy with Poetry and Musicperformance art poems & songs (all performed as poetry readings) “There I Sit” “Victim”, “Knew I Had to be Ready” and “Tight Rope Affair” from the cc&d 4/18 book “War of Water” as she hosted “Community Poetry @ Half Price Books” during National Poetry Month (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera, w/ a Posterize filter).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersApril 2018 Book Release Reading 4/4/18, where she read her “Energy with Poetry and Musicperformance art poems & songs (all performed as poetry readings) “There I Sit” “Victim”, “Knew I Had to be Ready” and “Tight Rope Affair” from the cc&d 4/18 book “War of Water” as she hosted “Community Poetry @ Half Price Books” during National Poetry Month (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera, w/ a Threshold filter).


Click here fro the Janet Kuypers bio.














Facebook cover image from Kuypers wearing solar sunglasses in preparation for the total eclipse of the sun, image copyright © 2017-02018 Janet Kuypers

Knew I Had to be Ready

Janet Kuypers
8/22/17

Got a pair of those solar sunglasses the other day.
Challenged myself to stare at the sun — and really,
that’s such a ridiculous concept to begin with —
but wearing these glasses made me blind as a bat
‘til I walked outside and guessed where to look.

And then I found it. And I was awe-struck.
And even though I didn’t create these glasses,
even though I didn’t create this scientific tool
I suddenly felt like I could challenge the science gods.
Yeah. Try to stun me again. I dare you.

#

For the past eighteen hours, we drove six plus hours
each way to get to the focal point, for the longest
duration, of the total eclipse of the sun. I had a filter
for my camera, I even had my solar sunglasses, so
I was ready for what I guessed would be a half-hour show.

And I may have been mistaken, it may have taken
three times as long to watch the moon move
it’s way in the opposite direction over how our sun
dances along our daytime sky. So every few seconds
I’d take a picture, then slide on those solar glasses

to look up, to see that crescent move with my own two eyes.
Clouds moved in for a bit, I was in a panic, wait,
those evil weather gods can’t make me miss my chance,
but as the clouds parted the light cloud mist danced
in front of my sun and moon, adding wisps to their show.

But I knew I had to be ready, it started getting darker,
the winds picked up, and I knew that when my moon
and sun would reach that total eclipse, that it would last
for less than two minutes — so I had to remove the filter,
change the aperture and f-stop, and try to point and click.

And... I think I did a pretty good job, but all I could think
when I saw that white ring of the sun’s solar flares
each tease their way around that moon from
trying to block the sun from one of it’s children...
All I could think was that this ring of fire and radiation

was so crisp and vivid, and that it reminded me
of the intricacies of the human eye, when the iris
colors dance in a circle like molecular fireworks,
or petals of a flower in full bloom. Taken aback,
it was all so breathtaking — and then I realized

that there are as many atoms in the human eye
as all constellations in the known Universe.
If seeing the sun’s corona made me see the cornea
with it’s intricate iris, it made me wonder.
They say the eye is the window to the soul,

so is my seeing my sun at it’s most naked moment,
was my sun somehow sharing with me it’s secrets too.
I’ve been trying to figure out my sun’s message,
and I’ll keep trying to take science on, always
daring it        to finally, fully reveal itself to me.



video videonot yet rated

See YouTube video
of Janet Kuypers reading her poem “Knew I Had to be Ready” 8/22/17 during the Chicago open mic she guest hosted for Poetry at The Gallery Cabaret (video filmed from a Panasonic Lumix camera).
video videonot yet rated

See YouTube video
of Janet Kuypers reading her poem “Knew I Had to be Ready” 8/22/17 during the Chicago open mic she guest hosted for Poetry at The Gallery Cabaret (this video was filmed from a Sony camera).
video See YouTube video 8/23/17 of Janet Kuypers’ poem “Knew I Had to be Ready”, then her show “Under My Skin”, with her poems “Protecting Peace can Put you in Prison”, “Ernesto”, “Quivering against the Invading Enemy”, “The Truth Is Out There”, “x-raying metal under my skin”, “X-rays and broken hearts”, “unique noise”, “erasure poem: A Poetic History”, “Just One Book”, and “Returning to Georgetown)” (this video was filmed from a Sony camera).
video See YouTube video 8/23/17 of the Janet Kuypers’ poem “Knew I Had to be Ready”, then her show “Under My Skin”, with her poems “Protecting Peace can Put you in Prison”, “Ernesto”, “Quivering against the Invading Enemy”, “The Truth Is Out There”, “x-raying metal under my skin”, “X-rays and broken hearts”, “unique noise”, “erasure poem: A Poetic History”, “Just One Book”, and “Returning to Georgetown)” (from a Panasonic Lumix camera; Hard Light filter).
video video
See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 9/2/17 show “Energy with poetry and Music” “Expressions Poetry with Music!” in Austin performing her songs/poems “Victim” (done as a Chicago Industrial song), “There I Sit” to blues music, “Tight Top Affair” w/ an electric guitar, & “Knew I Had to be Ready(this video was filmed from a Sony camera).
video not yet rated
See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 9/2/17 show “Energy with poetry and Music” at “Expressions Poetry with Music!” in Austin performing her songs/poems “Victim” (done as a Chicago Industrial song), “There I Sit” to blues music, “Tight Top Affair” w/ an electric guitar, & “Knew I Had to be Ready(video filmed from a Panasonic Lumix camera).
Energy with poetry and Music chapbook
Download all of these songs & poems
in the free PDF file chapbook
Energy with poetry and Music chapbook Energy with poetry and Music
containing the songs/poems “There I Sit”,
Tight Top Affair”, “Victim”, and
Knew I Had to be Ready”.
video video
See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers reading her poem “Knew I Had to be Ready”, then ““Questions and Tension” from “(pheromemes) 2015-2017 poems”, and “ultimate connectivity: getting naked with nature” from “(pheromemes) 2015-2017 show poems” 9/17/17 at Austin TX’s “Kick Butt Poetry(Sony camera).
video not yet rated
See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers reading her poem “Knew I Had to be Ready”, then “Questions and Tension” from “(pheromemes) 2015-2017 poems”, and “ultimate connectivity: getting naked with nature” from “(pheromemes) 2015-2017 show poems” 9/17/17 at Austin TX’s “Kick Butt Poetry(Panasonic Lumix).
video videonot yet rated

See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers 9/23/17 reading her poem “Knew I Had to be Ready”, then her poems “or my happiness, or my life” and “Life got in the Way” from her book “(pheromemes) 2015-2017 poems” at Georgetown Public Library’s “Poetry Aloud” (Lumix).
video videonot yet rated

See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers 9/23/17 reading her poem “Knew I Had to be Ready”, then her poems “or my happiness, or my life” and “Life got in the Way” from her book “(pheromemes) 2015-2017 poems” at Georgetown Public Library’s “Poetry Aloud” (Sony).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersApril 2018 Book Release Reading 4/4/18, where she read her “Energy with Poetry and Musicperformance art poems & songs (all performed as poetry readings) “There I Sit” “Victim”, “Knew I Had to be Ready” and “Tight Rope Affair” from the cc&d 4/18 book “War of Water” as she hosted “Community Poetry @ Half Price Books” during National Poetry Month (Panasonic Lumix T56).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersApril 2018 Book Release Reading 4/4/18, where she read her “Energy with Poetry and Musicperformance art poems & songs (all performed as poetry readings) “There I Sit” “Victim”, “Knew I Had to be Ready” and “Tight Rope Affair” from the cc&d 4/18 book “War of Water” as she hosted “Community Poetry @ Half Price Books” during National Poetry Month (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera, w/ an Edge Detection filter).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersApril 2018 Book Release Reading 4/4/18, where she read her “Energy with Poetry and Musicperformance art poems & songs (all performed as poetry readings) “There I Sit” “Victim”, “Knew I Had to be Ready” and “Tight Rope Affair” from the cc&d 4/18 book “War of Water” as she hosted “Community Poetry @ Half Price Books” during National Poetry Month (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera, w/ a Posterize filter).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersApril 2018 Book Release Reading 4/4/18, where she read her “Energy with Poetry and Musicperformance art poems & songs (all performed as poetry readings) “There I Sit” “Victim”, “Knew I Had to be Ready” and “Tight Rope Affair” from the cc&d 4/18 book “War of Water” as she hosted “Community Poetry @ Half Price Books” during National Poetry Month (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera, w/ a Threshold filter).


Click here fro the Janet Kuypers bio.
















Tight Rope Affair

Janet Kuypers
written 4/14/04, revised 8/30/16

i know all the moves, i play the game
and it gets to you

you can’t say a word, you can’t move an inch
cause you can’t break the rules

i know what to say
i know what to do
        and it sets you on fire

i know all the moves, i play the game
and it gets to you

you can’t say a word, you can’t move an inch
cause you can’t break the rules

i know what to say
i know what to do
        and it sets you on fire

we’re walking a fine line in our tight rope affair
there’s no net when you’re high, so you better beware
do you know your way down
                        when you’re moving up there
and balancing in your tight rope affair

i have to play on what you like
to see what you can take

and i walk out on to that tight rope
to watch you move and shake

and now we’re both stuck there
but here is where you quake
        but you can’t fall from this wire

i have to play on what you like
to see what you can take

and i walk out on to that tight rope
to watch you move and shake

and now we’re both stuck there
but here is where you quake
        but you can’t fall from this wire

we’re walking a fine line in our tight rope affair
there’s no net when you’re high, so you better beware
do you know how it feels
                        when you’re moving up there
and balancing in your tight rope affair

when you’re up on the wire, you feel the fire
and you feel the fear

but you’re filled with desire — you want to go higher
whenever we’re near

what will transpire
now that we’re here
        what can we do to make us right

when we gracefully step on the paper-thin wire
we’re balancing high

we look to the ground, see a circus of clowns
as we’re touching the sky

now we both tightrope walk
and I wonder why
        why we can’t bring it all into the light

we’re walking a fine line in our tight rope affair
there’s no net when you’re high, so you better beware
do you know how it feels
                        when you’re moving up there
and balancing in your tight rope affair

we’re walking a fine line in our tight rope affair
there’s no net when you’re high, so you better beware
do you know your way down
                        when you’re moving up there
and balancing in your tight rope affair



video video
See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 9/2/17 show “Energy with poetry and Music” “Expressions Poetry with Music!” in Austin performing her songs/poems “Victim” (done as a Chicago Industrial song), “There I Sit” to blues music, “Tight Top Affair” w/ an electric guitar, & “Knew I Had to be Ready(this video was filmed from a Sony camera).
video not yet rated
See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 9/2/17 show “Energy with poetry and Music” at “Expressions Poetry with Music!” in Austin performing her songs/poems “Victim” (done as a Chicago Industrial song), “There I Sit” to blues music, “Tight Top Affair” w/ an electric guitar, & “Knew I Had to be Ready(video filmed from a Panasonic Lumix camera).
Energy with poetry and Music chapbook
Download all of these songs & poems
in the free PDF file chapbook
Energy with poetry and Music chapbook Energy with poetry and Music
containing the songs/poems “There I Sit”,
Tight Top Affair”, “Victim”, and
Knew I Had to be Ready”.
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersApril 2018 Book Release Reading 4/4/18, where she read her “Energy with Poetry and Musicperformance art poems & songs (all performed as poetry readings) “There I Sit” “Victim”, “Knew I Had to be Ready” and “Tight Rope Affair” from the cc&d 4/18 book “War of Water” as she hosted “Community Poetry @ Half Price Books” during National Poetry Month (Panasonic Lumix T56).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersApril 2018 Book Release Reading 4/4/18, where she read her “Energy with Poetry and Musicperformance art poems & songs (all performed as poetry readings) “There I Sit” “Victim”, “Knew I Had to be Ready” and “Tight Rope Affair” from the cc&d 4/18 book “War of Water” as she hosted “Community Poetry @ Half Price Books” during National Poetry Month (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera, w/ an Edge Detection filter).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersApril 2018 Book Release Reading 4/4/18, where she read her “Energy with Poetry and Musicperformance art poems & songs (all performed as poetry readings) “There I Sit” “Victim”, “Knew I Had to be Ready” and “Tight Rope Affair” from the cc&d 4/18 book “War of Water” as she hosted “Community Poetry @ Half Price Books” during National Poetry Month (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera, w/ a Posterize filter).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersApril 2018 Book Release Reading 4/4/18, where she read her “Energy with Poetry and Musicperformance art poems & songs (all performed as poetry readings) “There I Sit” “Victim”, “Knew I Had to be Ready” and “Tight Rope Affair” from the cc&d 4/18 book “War of Water” as she hosted “Community Poetry @ Half Price Books” during National Poetry Month (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera, w/ a Threshold filter).


Facebook cover image to advertise show, copyright © 2017-2018 Janet Kuypers












Janet Kuypers Bio

    Janet Kuypers has a Communications degree in News/Editorial Journalism (starting in computer science engineering studies) from the UIUC. She had the equivalent of a minor in photography and specialized in creative writing. A portrait photographer for years in the early 1990s, she was also an acquaintance rape workshop facilitator, and she started her publishing career as an editor of two literary magazines. Later she was an art director, webmaster and photographer for a few magazines for a publishing company in Chicago, and this Journalism major was even the final featured poetry performer of 15 poets with a 10 minute feature at the 2006 Society of Professional Journalism Expo’s Chicago Poetry Showcase. This certified minister was even the officiant of a wedding in 2006.
    She sang with acoustic bands “Mom’s Favorite Vase”, “Weeds and Flowers” and “the Second Axing”, and does music sampling. Kuypers is published in books, magazines and on the internet around 9,300 times for writing, and over 17,800 times for art work in her professional career, and has been profiled in such magazines as Nation and Discover U, won the award for a Poetry Ambassador and was nominated as Poet of the Year for 2006 by the International Society of Poets. She has also been highlighted on radio stations, including WEFT (90.1FM), WLUW (88.7FM), WSUM (91.7FM), WZRD (88.3FM), WLS (8900AM), the internet radio stations ArtistFirst dot com, chicagopoetry.com’s Poetry World Radio and Scars Internet Radio (SIR), and was even shortly on Q101 FM radio. She has also appeared on television for poetry in Nashville (in 1997), Chicago (in 1997), and northern Illinois (in a few appearances on the show for the Lake County Poets Society in 2006). Kuypers was also interviewed on her art work on Urbana’s WCIA channel 3 10 o’clock news.
    She turned her writing into performance art on her own and with musical groups like Pointless Orchestra, 5D/5D, The DMJ Art Connection, Order From Chaos, Peter Bartels, Jake and Haystack, the Bastard Trio, and the JoAnne Pow!ers Trio, and starting in 2005 Kuypers ran a monthly iPodCast of her work, as well mixed JK Radio — an Internet radio station — into Scars Internet Radio (both radio stations on the Internet air 2005-2009). She even managed the Chaotic Radio show (an hour long Internet radio show 1.5 years, 2006-2007) through BZoO.org. She has performed spoken word and music across the country - in the spring of 1998 she embarked on her first national poetry tour, with featured performances, among other venues, at the Albuquerque Spoken Word Festival during the National Poetry Slam; her bands have had concerts in Chicago and in Alaska; in 2003 she hosted and performed at a weekly poetry and music open mike (called Sing Your Life), and from 2002 through 2005 was a featured performance artist, doing quarterly performance art shows with readings, music and images. Starting at this time Kuypers released a large number of CD releases currently available for sale at iTunes or amazon, including “Across the Pond”(a 3 CD set of poems by Oz Hardwick and Janet Kuypers with assorted vocals read to acoustic guitar of both Blues music and stylized Contemporary English Folk music), “Made Any Difference” (CD single of poem reading with multiple musicians), “Letting It All Out”, “What we Need in Life” (CD single by Janet Kuypers in Mom’s Favorite Vase of “What we Need in Life”, plus in guitarist Warren Peterson’s honor live recordings literally around the globe with guitarist John Yotko), “hmmm” (4 CD set), “Dobro Veče” (4 CD set), “the Stories of Women”, “Sexism and Other Stories”, “40”, “Live” (14 CD set), “an American Portrait” (Janet Kuypers/Kiki poetry to music from Jake & Haystack in Nashville), “Screeching to a Halt” (2008 CD EP of music from 5D/5D with Janet Kuypers poetry), “2 for the Price of 1” (Janet Kuypers poetry to music from Peter Bartels), “the Evolution of Performance Art” (13 CD set), “Burn Through Me” (Janet Kuypers poetry to music from The HA!Man of South Africa), “Seeing a Psychiatrist” (3 CD set), “The Things They Did To You” (Janet Kuypers poetry to music from the DMJ Art Connection), “Hope Chest in the Attic” (audio CD set), “St. Paul’s” (3 CD set), “the 2009 Poetry Game Show” (3 CD set), “Fusion” (Janet Kuypers poetry in multi CD set with Madison, WI jazz music from the Bastard Trio, the JoAnne Pow!ers Trio, and Paul Baker), “Chaos In Motion” (tracks from Internet radio shows on Chaotic Radio), “Chaotic Elements” (audio CD set for the poetry collection book and supplemental chapbooks for The Elements), “etc.” audio CD set, “Manic Depressive or Something” (Janet Kuypers poetry to music from the DMJ Art Connection), “Singular”, “Indian Flux” (Janet Kuypers poetry to music from the DMJ Art Connection), “The Chaotic Collection #01-05”, “The DMJ Art Connection Disc 1” (Janet Kuypers poetry to music from the DMJ Art Connection), “Oh.” audio CD, “Live At the Café” (3 CD set), “String Theory” (Janet Kuypers reading other people's poetry, with music from “the DMJ Art Connection), “Scars Presents WZRD radio” (2 CD set), “SIN - Scars Internet News”, “Questions in a World Without Answers”, “Conflict • Contact • Control”, “How Do I Get There?”, “Sing Your Life”, “Dreams”, “Changing Gears”, “The Other Side”, “Death Comes in Threes”, “the final”, “Moving Performances”, “Seeing Things Differently”, “Live At Cafe Aloha”, “the Demo Tapes” (Mom’s Favorite Vase), “Something Is Sweating” (the Second Axing), “Live In Alaska” EP (the Second Axing), “the Entropy Project”, “Tick Tock” (with 5D/5D), “Six Eleven” “Stop. Look. Listen.”, “Stop. Look. Listen to the Music” (a compilation CD from the three bands “Mom’s Favorite Vase”, “Weeds & Flowers” and “The Second Axing”), and “Change Rearrange” (the performance art poetry CD with sampled music).
    From 2010 through 2015 Kuypers also hosted the Chicago poetry open mic the Café Gallery, while also broadcasting weekly feature and open mic podcasts that were also released as YouTube videos.
    In addition to being published with Bernadette Miller in the short story collection book Domestic Blisters, as well as in a book of poetry turned to prose with Eric Bonholtzer in the book Duality, Kuypers has had many books of her own published: Hope Chest in the Attic, The Window, Close Cover Before Striking, (woman.) (spiral bound), Autumn Reason (novel in letter form), the Average Guy’s Guide (to Feminism), Contents Under Pressure, etc., and eventually The Key To Believing (2002 650 page novel), Changing Gears (travel journals around the United States), The Other Side (European travel book), the three collection books from 2004: Oeuvre (poetry), Exaro Versus (prose) and L’arte (art), The Boss Lady’s Editorials, The Boss Lady’s Editorials (2005 Expanded Edition), Seeing Things Differently, Change/Rearrange, Death Comes in Threes, Moving Performances, Six Eleven, Live at Cafe Aloha, Dreams, Rough Mixes, The Entropy Project, The Other Side (2006 edition), Stop., Sing Your Life, the hardcover art book (with an editorial) in cc&d v165.25, the Kuypers edition of Writings to Honour & Cherish, The Kuypers Edition: Blister and Burn, S&M, cc&d v170.5, cc&d v171.5: Living in Chaos, Tick Tock, cc&d v1273.22: Silent Screams, Taking It All In, It All Comes Down, Rising to the Surface, Galapagos, Chapter 38 (v1 and volume 1), Chapter 38 (v2 and Volume 2), Chapter 38 v3, Finally: Literature for the Snotty and Elite (Volume 1, Volume 2 and part 1 of a 3 part set), A Wake-Up Call From Tradition (part 2 of a 3 part set), (recovery), Dark Matter: the mind of Janet Kuypers , Evolution, Adolph Hitler, O .J. Simpson and U.S. Politics, the one thing the government still has no control over, (tweet), Get Your Buzz On, Janet & Jean Together, po•em, Taking Poetry to the Streets, the Cana-Dixie Chi-town Union, the Written Word, Dual, Prepare Her for This, uncorrect, Living in a Big World (color interior book with art and with “Seeing a Psychiatrist”), Pulled the Trigger (part 3 of a 3 part set), Venture to the Unknown (select writings with extensive color NASA/Huubble Space Telescope images), Janet Kuypers: Enriched, She’s an Open Book, “40”, Sexism and Other Stories, the Stories of Women, Prominent Pen (Kuypers edition), Elemental, the paperback book of the 2012 Datebook (which was also released as a spiral-bound ISBN# ISSN# 2012 little spiral datebook, , Chaotic Elements, and Fusion, the (select) death poetry book Stabity Stabity Stab Stab Stab, the 2012 art book a Picture’s Worth 1,000 words (available with both b&w interior pages and full color interior pages, the shutterfly ISSN# ISBN# hardcover art book life, in color, Post-Apocalyptic, Burn Through Me, Under the Sea (photo book), the Periodic Table of Poetry, a year long Journey, Bon Voyage!, and the mini books Part of my Pain, Let me See you Stripped, Say Nothing, Give me the News, when you Dream tonight, Rape, Sexism, Life & Death (with some Slovak poetry translations), Twitterati, and 100 Haikus, that coincided with the June 2014 release of the two poetry collection books Partial Nudity and Revealed. 2017, after hr October 2015 move to Austin Texas, also witnessed the release of 2 Janet Kuypers book of poetry written in Austin, “(pheromemes) 2015-2017 poems” and a book of poetry written for her poetry features and show, “(pheromemes) 2015-2017 show poems” (and both pheromemes books are available from two printers).


















cc&d
Prose (the meat and potatoes stuff)





The Rise and Fall of Edward Bartholomew

Joshua Copeland

    The girl and I watched TV in the lounge. The show was black and white and scratched and undercranked. A jaunty piano theme played on the soundtrack. A damsel was tied to train tracks. I recognized the movie as The Perils of Pauline. The actress—Betty Hutton, with long, sumptuous blonde hair—was gagged and roped just above her breasts and below, her ankles were tied together, and her hands were corded behind her back. She was gagged with a kerchief. I imagined her muffled grunts. She kicked and wiggled. Michael Farrington stood over her, leaning against a 147 mile post, with his arms folded and his ankles crossed. Like a bastard. Betty wore a white calf length dress with a ruffled hem line and her cleavage was prominent. The girl next to me said, “This is triggering me. Can we please change it?”
    “Aw come on,” I said. “This place is antiseptic enough already. Can’t we have a little fun?”
    “Do you want me to cry? I’ll do it. Right here, right now.”
    One of the female patients said, “If Cheryl wants it changed, I vote we change it.”
    Five of us sat in there. Lounge etiquette required a majority vote to change the television. I lost. Cheryl got up, stood on her tip toes and turned the dial a few times till she came to another show. An old Batman starring Adam West. Batgirl was knotted to the sidewalk with steel cables. Yvonne Craig wormed and squeaked while people just walked by. She wore a purple one piece bat suit, a black cape, a black eye mask, a bat head piece, and black leather high heels.
    “God,” Cheryl said. “What is up with TV shows today? They’re all sick and twisted.”
    “This looks harmless,” I said.
    “Harmless my ass,” she said.
    She flipped the TV a few more times till she got to a soap opera. A brunette dressed in a pink nightgown with perky shoulders ran into the arms of a man wearing a black muscle shirt and tight jeans, broad thighs. “I don’t know what to do, Carter!” the lady cried, sobbing.
    “Thaddeus will know.” The guy said. “He got us into this jam in the first place. Don’t you worry. It will be okay.”
    I sighed loudly, hoping to impress upon Cheryl my mood.
    “I’m sorry,” she said defiantly. “But I was raped when I was fifteen. Twice. Within a three day period.
    “It’ll be okay, it’ll be okay,” I said.
    I met him the next day. He was tall, like six four, tan skinned, long dark hair, and a beard. A dead ringer for the Robert De Niro character in Angel Heart. And he acted like De Niro acted in the climactic scene, too. He looked to be in his mid-thirties. Big hands. He wore a tan and gray flannel shirt, a bulging gut underneath that, and his jeans were too tight, so he wore them unsnapped. A walking Good Will ad, I thought. He sat down next to me on the sofa while I read Ham on Rye. “Is this all you do?” he asked me. “Read all day? You’re supposed to socialize with the other patients and talk to staff.” He smiled. “I’m Mo.”
    “Ed. Nice to meet you.”
    “Eddy, get out and live a bit.”
    “I love to read. I’m a writer.”
    “A student of life, huh?” He clicked his tongue.
    “My creative writing prof said I was born for it. I have a long line of straight A’s on all my stories.”
    “What’s with the bandage on the back of your head?” He scratched it lightly.
    “I totaled my parents’ Lamborghini drunk. My head against the headrest. Crashed it out into a field of rocks and miscellaneous vegetation off I – 9.”
    He sneezed and pulled out an ancient tissue and wiped his nose. “So what are you doing here? You should be in Western Pen.”
    I shrugged my shoulders. “Such is life. The paramedics gave me a break. They didn’t put down I was drunk on their Ambulance Call report. They sent me here instead.”
    “Lucky you. With your looks, you wouldn’t have lasted two seconds in the house.” He grinned again.
    I lent him some of my Hunter S. Thompson books and my Buk books and Queer and Junky and Homeboy. We talked about them. He said he had been homeless for a lot of his life and identified with the characters in the books. The staff had to separate us a lot and tell us to move around and talk to the other patients. I always sat next to him in group. The day I got out we exchanged phone numbers.
    My mom was cooking spaghetti squash. She sliced the yellow squash on the chopping block with a large knife, making violent, stuttering motions. The smell of garlic and butter filled the kitchen. I sat at the table stretching and snapping a rubber band against my thumb. She grabbed the hollowed out squash and threw it into the trash like a baseball pitcher. “Your days here are over! Through! Into the sunset! Done and gone! No more sucking mommy and daddy dry!”
    “But mom...”
    She mimicked me. “‘But mom...’ You can stay here a couple of more weeks till you get your shit together! Then it’s off to Crossroads! Our standing in Squirrel Hill is ruined!”
    “But mom, people piss on each other’s beds there.”
    “I could care less.”
    “Couldn’t care less.”
    I walked to Forbes and Wightman to catch the 61C to meet Mo. I guessed I was going to have to get used to taking buses. I wasn’t familiar with them. A hurricane of wind scattered a pile of red leaves and they sounded like they were laughing at me. At seven fifty p.m. the bus arrived. It was five minutes late. The bus was mostly empty and smelled like rubber cement just out of the bottle. It ferried me to the Quad on the Pitt campus. Mo was waiting. He wore a gray Chatham U sweat jacket with “Cougars Lacrosse” on front and a roaring cougar’s head on back (The jacket was too small for him). Under that, the same clothes he wore in the hospital. Students walked the sidewalks in hordes, laughing and cajoling, nudging, their arms around each other, and the air glowed neon. “Lookin’ good there,” Mo said. “Let’s go catch the 54A. It will takes us to my apartment. We’ll hang.”
    “Sure thing.” We began walking.
    A group of students was behind us for a bit. “I passed out in a bathtub last Friday night on Mellors,” a guy with a deep growl said. “It was all that Mad Dog.”
    “That’s your fault,” a girl said. “I’ll say it again and I’ll never quit saying it: Liquor before beer, never queer. Beer before liquor, never sicker.”
    “The window was open and I froze like a motherfucker. I think I caught a cold.”
    “Then don’t come near me,” the girl said. “Don’t touch me, don’t talk up close to me, don’t come near me.”
    There was the huff of a breath.
    “Quit it, fucker,” she said. “I have midterms coming up.”
    We crossed Barrington and the crowds diluted. “You know, you really look young to be a Pitt student,” Mo said.
    “I’m eighteen.”
    “You look fourteen. And you’re short. What are you, like five-five?”
    “Hey,” I said in mock offense. “I’m five-nine.”
    He laughed a social laugh. “Yeah right.”
    We passed a girl who sat near me in Russian Lit. She wore hoop earrings, was made up, her eyes hued blue and her cheeks rouged, and she wore a tight white shirt with acid wash jeans. She seemed to recognize me and looked at me funny. “You know,” I said, “The first sexual experience I ever had was with Marge Pickard. She was thirty-three. She was a tech on the adolescent unit in St. Francis. I met her at Eat n Park after I got out and we went back to her efficiency and she seduced me. She had great tits and smelled like cinnamon.”
    “Eh, you got to watch out for those older women. They’re always looking to marry.” He twisted his finger in his beard. I noticed his arms were a lot longer than they should be, and when he walked, he swung them as if they were motorized. We paced by the student towers. “This place is like a gold mine. I can sell all the weed I want to here.” As we passed the stores, The Double O, The Pitt Bookstore, Wendy’s, our shadows grew and stretched under the streetlights. Mine, much shorter than his. “How much does it cost a year to be at Pitt?” he asked.
    “My parents teach there. I got a free education.” His face twitched. “Well, not anymore. It’s looking like I’ll have to find a job and an apartment.”
    “Fuck that. You can move in with me.” He squeezed my neck lightly.
    Three skateboarders rolled at us, their boards loud on the sidewalk. They yelled and laughed. Mo hugged me towards him. I thought that unnecessary. “Hey!” he yelled. “This isn’t Quentin Skate Park! Get out of our way! You almost hit him!” Which they did not. “Did you ever read A Clock Orange? These kids today, they’re punks and bitches.”
    We walked down Fifth Avenue and up to North Craig and caught the 54C. It was dirty and smelled like salmon and was packed with students. I fed my dollar and dime into the machine and asked for a transfer. We walked down the grungy aisle. Mo stopped by a guy reading The Pitt News. A backpack was in his lap. There was an empty seat next to him. “Let’s sit here,” Mo said. He sat next to the kid. “Get up, man. Give my bud here a place to sit.”
    The kid lowered his paper. “Excuse me? What?”
    “You heard me. Get up. I’m asking you nicely. I’m not going to ask you again. Just move. Before I move you. Pronto. There are open seats in the back. See?” He pointed.
    The student folded his paper, sighed, stood up, and slung his backpack over his shoulder. “You don’t have to be a dick about it,” he said. “Your kid is capable of standing.” The whole bus stared at us. I sat down.
    The lady bus driver yelled. “Y’all just calm down back there! You hear?!”
    “You didn’t have to do that,” I said.
    “He was a geeky college Izod. He deserved it.”
    We got off in Bloomfield and walked three blocks to a 7-11. “What kind of beer do you want?” Mo asked when we walked in.
    “Beer’s beer.”
    He pulled a case of Natty Light out of the fridge and brought it up to the counter. “Hey, it’s Mo,” the elderly Middle Eastern clerk said. He looked at me and bit his lip. I pulled out my Saint Laurent Continental wallet and offered to pay half.
    “I got this,” he said. He handed the clerk a ten from his pocket, no wallet.
    The register chimed open. “You don’t look like you have too much money,” I said.
    “I get cash here and there. Don’t worry about it. Sometimes I do janitorial work at Saint Dionysios church by the Bloomfield Bridge. They pay me under the table.”
    We walked. He carried the case under one arm back to his place, a block away. It was an old one floor house that had been converted into two apartments. No address. He pulled out a key ring. There was only one key on it. He jiggled it into the door. It opened up to a small hall with a payphone, two doors on the left, one on the right. No apartment numbers. A single light bulb hung from the ceiling by a thick chain wound with electric cord. He stuck his key in the closest door on the left—I felt a small wind from the space under it—and pushed it wide open.
    The hall light brightened the room. He walked over to a dresser and lit a long pink candle on top with his lighter. The room was a studio apartment without a bathroom or kitchenette. It smelled of burnt hamburger meat and Raid. A tan sofa with scripted shapes on it sat up against the wall, next to that a snug and faded green easy chair. A twelve inch black and white TV with an antenna was next to the candle. A 1980s VCR next to the TV. No closets. In the corner stood a white sculpture of a nude boy who looked to be eight years old. Two large and muscular veiny hands with talons for fingernails gripped his waist from behind, fingers spread wide, and the forearms stuck out into space. The boy’s penis was tiny. He had no rocky tangle of pubic hair. There were tiny brown globular stains on the pedestal and the thin green carpet around it. A tripod with an easel stood with the painting of an adolescent—I guessed he was an adolescent because of the sparse mustache—with his mouth wide open, eyes shut hard, meaty tongue, shiny gums. A latex gloved hand held what I now know are extraction forceps and they were yanking out a bicuspid. You could see the red roots. On a small white plastic table next to the picture lay red, white and pink paint tubes and a small wooden palette with the respective colors dabbed onto it. A whoosh of air sounded through the whole place and I couldn’t tell where it was coming from; there were no windows. I felt it on my hands and the back of my neck. The whole apartment felt arid and cold, like Seven Springs Mountain Resort. I shut the door.
    “Sounds like you got a hole somewhere. It’s letting in a gale.”
    “Eh, it’s always been like that. It could be calm outside and there would still be a cold wind in here. I have no idea where it comes from. Keep your jacket on. I have to sleep with extra covers.” We practically shouted over the sound. He coughed up some yellow mucus, spit it out, rubbed it into the carpet with his shoe, and turned on the TV. It had thirteen buttons, a button for each channel. Death Wish was on. Charles Bronson held a Latino thug at gunpoint in a garbage dump. Mo sat down on the sofa. Next to him was a book, When Good Things Happen to Bad People. I sat down in the easy chair. It was soft and deep and I sunk into it, trapped. The candle flickered violently in the wind and even with the TV, our shadows crackled spastically.
    “That candle’s going to blow out,” I said.
    “Nope. I douse it with Kosenine every morning.”
    “Wouldn’t it be more feasible to have an electric light?”
    “Eh, I got to save cash for my art.”
    He ripped open the case, opened the beers, handed me a can, and we drank. He kicked off his generic tennis shoes and his socks were worn and holey. I smelled feet. For a bit he rubbed his heels. “Let’s toast to a new friendship,” he said. “Mo and Ed.” We banged cans lightly. “It’s great being on Lithium,” he said. “I get drunk after only like three beers.”
    The TV was loud. It had to be because of the icy breeze. “Don’t your neighbors across the way complain about how loud your TV must always be?”
    “Sometimes. Tonight it’s Friday. They’re at The Luna. They’re assholes anyway. They got the bigger apartment.”
    “How do you sleep? Where’s the bed?”
    “I sleep on the sofa. Same thing.”
    “Cool. The life of the impoverished.” I looked at the statue. The boy’s face was pained, his eyebrows raised. He looked like he was being kidnapped. His arms reached out, palms wide, tiny fingers splayed, and you could almost hear the cry for help emanating from him. A cobweb under his armpit billowed. “What’s with the statue?”
    “Isn’t that sweet? I bought it at a garage sale. It’s a sculpture of Ganymede.”
    “I know who that is. He was the son of Plato—”
    He made a buzzer sound. “Wrong. It’s ancient Greek mythology. He was a young innocent boy who Zeus kidnapped and flew up to Mount Olympus, where he fucked the kid’s brains out.”
    “No. He was Plato’s son.”
    “Nope. He was Zeus’s fuck buddy. With a last name like Christakos I should know. I got all this shit down. You know how they separate the men from the boys in Greece?”
    “How?”
    “With a crowbar.”
    I guffawed. “What are those stains around him?”
    “Oh, those. I dunno.”
    We watched TV. A gang member followed Chuck down a dark hallway. Bronson swung around and pointed a 38 at him. Like an eighteen year old, I guzzled. I felt the effect of beer; I was looking to drown in something, anything. How could my mom do this to me? I didn’t have the equipment necessary to make it in the world without her help. It was like a third trimester abortion. With winter on the way. But in the end, adversity builds character. And if this was the way she wanted it, that’s the way it would be. Fuck her. I needed nobody, no one. “I can’t believe I’m kicked out of the house,” I said.
    “For what? For smashing mommy and daddy’s Lamborghini?” He looked like he was concentrating hard on me. His brow was furrowed.
    “Yeah.” I rolled my eyes. “Oh well. All writers get sandpapered some time in their lives. I’ll face the streets with my head held high. I got into Sterrit Academy based on my short stories.” I took a swig and stared up at the ceiling. “So I think I’ll be okay. I think I have a future. I write and read like crazy.”
    “You know, your boy Bukowski, I’ve lived through a lot of what he lived through.”
    “Interesting, interesting.” I rubbed my hand between my knees. The wind was getting to me.
    “Yeah, I lived in ghettos, listening to the niggers have sex all day and all night: ‘I’m gonna bust you baby!’”
    I howled—I really tried to lose myself in the beer—and raised my eyebrows. “That sounds like them.”
    “Yeah, I really been through the ringer. Some African monkey tried to mug me. I kicked the knife out of his hands and ran the other way.” We shone and blinked in the arrhythmic candlelight. I saw the twisting of the flame reflected in his irises.
    “Wow.”
    “See this tiny lump on my forehead?” He pointed to a displacement of flesh the size of a dime and tapped it with his forefinger a few times. “It’s a sliver of a 135 Grain RNP bullet. At this bar El Norteno, in East Galveston, some wetback tried to be a cowboy and he fired a revolver into the ceiling. The bullet ricocheted and hit me. And all everyone cared about was me snitching. I’m on the floor, blood like a maxi pad, all the gang members huddled over me: ‘Leesten Homie, we know where you live at. Keep your mouth shut.’ And that catheter...”
    “You’ve lived the scribbler’s life.”
    “That was back a long time ago. From 1980 to 1990 I took a small vacation. And now I’ve toned it down quite a bit, with my job and all.”
    “How can you support yourself on a part time job?”
    “Father Alexopolous pays me just enough. Five dollars an hour under the table. He and the sisters feed me: layered eggplant, baklava, triopites. As long as I come to church every Sunday. My suit and tie over there in the corner, that’s what those are for.”
    I downed my fourth beer and pulled open a fifth. I was really going at them voraciously. “Where’s the pisser? Uh, how do I handle this?”
    “There’s a bathroom.” He motioned with his can. “It’s in the entry hall. To the left.”
    I got up and walked to the bathroom. Things were beginning to swim. On the sink was a predominantly bare-of-bristles toothbrush with red gunk in it. A small picture on the wall read “Home Sweet Home” in front of a sunrise or sunset. The mirror was fissured right down the middle with white splotches all over it. The knobs looked to be from the 1940s. Green mold caked the sink. The whole place had a sulfuric smell. I noticed no toilet paper. A stick with a globular sponge attached to the top leaned next to the toilet. The sponge was coated brown and the pores were ground down. I pissed. Well, at least I’m having a good time, I thought. Whorls of tan stained the toilet. Some backsplash speckled the rim. I pulled the toilet seat down, and it was flowered, meager, and ripped. There was hardly any water pressure when I flushed. As I turned the hot water knob it squeaked loudly and I heard the hydrodynamics behind the wall, pipes thumping and grinding, and the lukewarm water poured out as a drizzle and ran down the sink wall. I had to cup my hands to it.
    I already thought of Creative Writing. I could use Mo’s life for a story. It would freak the wussy students out, and hopefully get the attention of that gorgeous redhead with a dragon tattooed on her back. She had written a story about going to college during the day and moonlighting as a stripper at The Cricket by night. I walked back to the room and grabbed hold of my Natty Light.
    “This movie sucks dick,” Mo said. “Makes wealthy America feel good about itself. Keeps the money away from the proles. Fuck this. I got something to show you.” He stood up, shut the TV off, and knelt down under the sofa and pulled out a crinkled and stained magazine. His eyes opened wide with delight as he handed it to me. Two nude boys were on the cover. They had their arms around each other and looked to be about twelve. Sandy hills of Marram grass surrounded them. The title read FKK Nudist Zeitshrift. “I found it under the sofa when I moved in.”
    The boy on the right was blonde and held a red sand bucket. The boy on the left, a little shorter, with long red hair and freckles, held a yellow inner tube sporting a duck’s head at his side. They smiled in camaraderie. A nude adult man with tan lines, a brown beach hat, sunglasses, and a gut lay out a towel in the background. I paged through it. Naked adolescent boys on the beach. Some lacking body hair. Some with tulips and daisies on their heads. One blonde with a trophy and a crown of laurels. The pictures strobed in the violent candle light. I had to press the pages down with my palms because of the gusts. “The guy must have been a pervert,” I said. “This is William Burroughs terra firma. You should have called the police.”
    “Nudist mags are legal. How puritanical of you. They don’t fit the Dost factors. Want to see something illegal?” He beamed.
    “Sure.”
    “You’ll love this.” He stood up and walked over to the VCR and pressed eject. He held up the cassette to me. “Anthropothysies #12” was written on the side in red marker and in small letters.
    I tried to say it aloud. “Anthro-what?” I squinted.
    “‘Anthropothyseis.’ It means ‘human sacrifice’.” I saw his teeth in the candlelight.
    He shoved it into the VCR and lay back down, his head on the pillow nearest me, his hands clasped behind his hair, his ankles crossed. A shrieking and nude infant flailed on the screen, laying on thick brown grass. It was a boy and he was covered in red bumps. He dribbled bubbly and chunky white vomit. A sirloin steak with a fork stuck in it sat on his top left. A triangular portion was cut out and you could see the pink inside. On his top right was a palm sized silver bowl full of what looked to be chocolate pudding. A spoon lay in the mass of brown. On his bottom right was a pizza in an open pizza box. Grease wet the box. A can with the letters “Kok” on it in Coke a Cola logo stood on his lower left. It was opened. Ants swarmed all over the food, some of them dotted the boy, and big flying bugs I had never seen before breezed around, humming. A burp cloth with a picture of a gray elephant, a yellow pacifier stuck in its trunk, hung off a stick. What I know now as an adjustable steel tripod movie lamp spot lit the infant. The wind picked up in the room, and I felt it underneath my coat and on my neck and hands and face.
    “And?” I asked. “A baby and entrees. What’s so illegal about it?”
    “It’s a Greek thing. You wouldn’t understand. My cousin Jack in Thessaloniki sends me this stuff. You know how in Ancient times Greeks would expose unwanted babies? Well, that’s what this is. There’s a whole worldwide underground for it. Some dirt-poor and penniless couple without a drachma to wipe their ass with will contact the industry—it’s called Namliss, Greek for ‘Nameless’—and hand their baby over. They get paid good money for it. Then the Namlis camera crew will hike up into the mountains in Cythera with the baby and expensive dishes in tinfoil made beforehand. They’ll leave the baby there with the food, set up a video camera on a tripod, and camp out nearby. Every six hours they replace the cassette. And the baby starves. Well, I mean, it dies of dehydration first. But there’s all this food around the baby and it can’t reach it. Like Tantalus.”
    “Right. Tantalus. He was the dictator of Athens—”
    Mo screwed up his face. He paused. “Wrong. Again. Tantalus was the dude in Hades who was trapped in a spring. When he reached down to the water to drink it dipped away from him, and when he reached to the plum branch above him for a plum it shifted away.”
    He lay, and I sat, and we watched. The infant’s cries sounded strangled, and he gurgled loudly in between screams. I felt myself drifting off. The chair was so absolute with gravity, so comfortable, I was so down about my prospects for the future, so disgusted with myself for trashing the car, so sad about losing my bedroom and my parents, all I wanted to do was sleep. I felt woozy, nodded off, quickly came to. I saw that Mo stared at me with a smile, firecracker eyes. His chin rested on his hands, which were flat on the sofa arm. He looked like a groupie. “Well,” I said, “I think it’s time to be heading back to home sweet home. Can you show me the way back to the 54C? I have a transfer.”
    He placed his hand on my crotch.
    I knocked it off and stood up. “What are you doing?!” I yelled.
    His delight was conversational. “Copping a feel.” This galvanized me. I had heard about things like this, but only in books and movies. Legends. Sob stories. Suddenly, without warning, I was as inside of myself as someone could be. I back as far away as I could, to the wall, not far enough. I felt the tightness of the room.
    “I’m not like that!” My hands were out, pushing away air.
    He stood up, towering over me, and stepped towards me slowly. “Oh Ed. I’m just playin’ with ya. I didn’t really mean it. A gag, that’s all it was. A prank.”
    I forced a laugh. “Don’t do that dude. You had me scared. Christ.”
    He lunged at me and put me in a bear hug. I smelled rotten potatoes and soaked wool.
    “Get off me! Stop!”
    He chuckled. I remember thinking clearly: Well, if he’s laughing, and I’m struggling my toughest, adrenaline amping me up, then, compared to him, I must be fragile and flimsy. I was a play thing, an infant’s rattle. I elbowed, I kicked, but I couldn’t move my torso an inch. My POV flung and slanted and spun. He threw me around. Our movements looked disjointed in the blowing candlelight, stop motion animation. I kicked the dresser. I kicked the easel down.
    “Hey, watch it,” he said. “Chill out. This stuff isn’t replaceable. I have no mommy and daddy to pay for it. Take it easy.” He chortled at my efforts.
    How did he think this was so funny? It was the first time in my life I had ever experienced such a cut off, such a night and day between the handler and the handled. There was my insectile fright, and there was his giddiness. We fell into the easy chair. I was on his lap. His beard tickled my cheek.
    “Help me! Help me!”
    He covered my mouth. “No one can hear you. No one’s around. Help! Help! See?” There was no exertion in his voice. He talked calmly, breathing regularly. He unsnapped my Phat Farm jeans. I had laughed with my friends at the rape scene in Deliverance. Now I was on the other side of the TV. I went blind to everything in my whole entire life except getting away. It occurred to me once you’re raped, and you’re a guy, that’s a blank fucking page every day for the rest of your life. I was the lowest of the low, the most oppressed rank in the caste system, an untouchable. Leprous. He placed his hand under my shirt over my belly button. I thought about my mom. I will not cry out for my mom, I thought. I will not cry out for my mom. Then he let go of me.
    It took a split second to leap from his arms to the door. It felt like an eternity. I moved in ether, like Zeno’s paradox: A foot, six inches, three inches, one inch. Would it open when I twisted the knob? It did. I ran out into the hall and stopped. To this day I ask myself why I didn’t just crash through the hall door and out into the night air. I was attempting to save face. My heart raced and I felt like I was on fire. Mo came to the doorway, pleasant and amused. “You’re a faggot!” I yelled. “You’re-you’re a Goddamn Greek faggot!”
    “Aw come on. You’ve never done anything like this before, Edward? Haven’t you ever wanted to experiment?”
    “I’m not gay!”
    “Hey, my Gadar is never off.”
    “No! Never! I’ve had girlfriends!”
    “It’s not that bad, it’s not that bad. You don’t shit for a couple of days, no biggie.” He playfully reached out and tried to yank my pants down. I backed up against the door. Thing was, I thought I was safe out there. “I didn’t know you could be so homophobic,” he said. I vibrated. I heard my heart in my ears.
    “I’ll go to the police! You’ll go to jail!”
    He stopped smiling and grimaced. Then he launched himself at me. I spun around to open the door and I was in a bear hug. This, all over again. And I had been so close to freedom. I saw a Chevrolet pickup pass by through the door window, its red taillights ghostly in the night. “I’ll teach you,” he said. “You’re one of the biggest dick teases I ever met. Did anyone ever tell you that? And I’ve met quite a few.” I struggled for my life, kicking and doing my best to fling my one free arm around.
    The whole episode was absurd and surreal. Here it was happening, in modern western civilization. Husbands in houses nearby watched Night Court. A fifteen-year-old boy made out on a snug couch with a girl while they both ate Lays potato chips, a hand under the bra. A little girl slept soundly in bed in pink pajamas with a glass of water on her nightstand. A Cop with a five o’ clock shadow drove around aimlessly, listening to WDVE, sucking Jolt cola out of a straw, just looking for someone to arrest. Pitt kids downed bottles of frosty Coors at house parties while Guns n Roses blasted on the stereo, Axl crooning about how dangerous LA was. A high school sophomore named Kristin stayed home to review for a Social Studies exam by desk lamp. My parents watched Twin Peaks. And here something was about to be done to me that should never be done to anyone, ever.
    “Help!” I screamed. “I said No! Getthefuckoffme!” I shouted at the top of my lungs so much so that I was screeching, I sounded like a banshee, a girl.
    “You will not get me revoked.”
    “Okay! I’m sorry!”
    “Don’t you worry. I’ve been known to be quick on the draw.” He carried me back into his apartment under one arm. I stuck my legs out against the door frame to keep myself outside, and he yanked at me. It was useless. I was back inside the room. With an arm still cradling me, he shut the door with his free hand. Through all the electricity I noticed he didn’t even bother to lock it.
    I had sobered up.
















Down Looks Like Up, art by Edward Michael O’Durr Supranowicz

Down Looks Like Up, art by Edward Michael O’Durr Supranowicz














War of Water

J.G. Follansbee

    Keep up with me, PōtĪ. See the crescent and star of Pakistan? I don’t want our country’s tanks or the soldiers’ trucks to squish you. Retreating soldiers are frightened soldiers.
    Into my arms, now. Your grandfather’s old bones creak, but I’ll carry you for a little while. I know it’s hot, but we need to get to the refugee camp before dark, inshallah.
    If I tell you to hide your face in my shoulder, obey me instantly. Yes, I’m scared, too.
    You have your grandmother’s eyes and nose. She was so beautiful. Did I tell you how I met her? I was just a lowly sepoy. Barely six months in the Army. I couldn’t even grow a proper beard. She was the top student in the village school. Everyone thought she would grow up to be Prime Minister, despite her family, despite living in a dusty village in the Punjab desert, spitting distance from India.
    If I could spit on those Indian murderers now, I would.
    We didn’t get married right away. The village had other plans for her. We needed a water engineer. Some people didn’t think a girl should be sent to university in Lahore, but the schoolmaster brushed them off. Did you know that your grandmother met the President of the United States? I saw it myself. I was in the security detachment when Madame President—that’s what we were told to call her if she spoke to us—visited the women’s club. She shook your grandmother’s hand. I was completely in love with your grandmother then, though she didn’t know it. Wait, I’ll show you the photo. It’s in the cloud. Doesn’t your grandmother look like a maharaja’s bride?
    The government sent your grandmother to manage the old canals in the north. That was about the time the real problems with water started. Less snow was falling in the mountains, and less water was melting from the glaciers, just as the scientists predicted.
    I’ll put you down now, but you have to keep up. Quickly! I’m so frightened for our country. India grows richer while we grow poorer. We have to fight back, even if it means the unthinkable.
    Water is Pakistan’s lifeblood, PōtĪ. You remember the maps in your books. The rivers come out of the Himalayas, pass through Indian territory, and join with the Indus River, like a man’s aorta carries blood around his body. We even tried to capture the Siachin glacier to secure her water, but it didn’t work. And now the Indian troops defecate on the ice.
    What? You didn’t learn about this in school? Nonsense. I’ll speak to the schoolmaster. He’ll listen to me. I’m the mayor. Well, ex-mayor. Anyhow, the Indians built dams and diverted the water from the Chenab, the Jhelum, and the Ravi. They were doing it since Partition, but climate change turned a trickle into a drip. The Indians might as well have choked us with their dirty hands.
    Listen to me, PōtĪ. Don’t believe any of that Indian propaganda about honoring the Indus Water Treaty and letting water flow into our country. Flies have more honor. I’d show them our dried-up canal to prove it!
    Here, my darling, take a sip. All this talk of water makes me thirsty, too.
    Our soldiers will show the Indians. Their generals are afraid of us. Terrified! I know why.
    When I got my third chevron to make me a havildar, the Army sent me to school to learn about Riposte. That’s what was supposed to happen when the Indians stopped listening. We’d send tanks and soldiers 50 kilometers into India and then wait. If all went well, the Europeans and the Americans would intervene and then we’d settle all our disputes. No one wanted war, but the Indians forced it on us.
    It didn’t work. The Indians have crossed the border. We’re in retreat. And now...
    I’m sorry for all my tears, PōtĪ. All I can think of is your grandmother’s body, mangled by Indian shelling. She was the reason I got a job with the Agriculture Ministry, and then I was elected mayor. She was my best adviser, but she never pushed me to do things I didn’t think was right for the village.
    It was Allah’s will that we were born next to the border, but the Indian devils didn’t need to shell us. We were going west to the refugee camp. Just like we were told. If I could go back and bury your grandmother properly, I would. And your mother and brother. I don’t know where your father is.
    I don’t care what happens to me, but what about you, granddaughter? You have your grandmother’s sharp mind. Will you get a chance to use it?
    No one wanted to talk about what might happen if we started to lose a war with India, but we trained for it. Duck and cover. Cover your eyes to save your sight. It almost happened in 1999, a few years before I was born. Yes, I am old, my child. They called it the Kargil War. It happened at Ladakh in the far north. Our generals moved nuclear warheads into position, but the Americans found out and told us to stop.
    We lost that war. I don’t think our generals will allow it to happen again.
    The fleeing soldiers overtaking us look as if they know what will happen. Yes, PōtĪ, the jets are loud. They’re flying low to avoid the Indian radar and anti-missile batteries. It could mean...
    Oh, god, no. Run, my darling, run! By Allah and all that is holy, let it be a lie. It is the end of everything. Hide your face in my shoulder, PōtĪ, and pray.



Shadow in the water at the Bay of Bengal, image copyright © 2015-2018 Janet Kuypers














Feline Fancy III
Atticus: The Gentle Giant

Dr. (Ms.) Michael S. Whitt

    Amanda Rosaleigh Blake and her Soul Mate, Michael Demian Randolph, two committed cat lovers, found themselves without a feline familiar in early March, 2002. As noted in an earlier Feline Fancy, the term ‘familiar’ is used in these stories in place of the usual term ‘pet.’ The two prefer the connotations surrounding the former term to those associated with the latter. Amanda discovered the term in Alice Walker’s novel, The Temple of My Familiar. Walker felt, and Amanda agreed, that ‘pet’ was an unfortunate name for the nonhuman animals with which we share our lives. It is condescending and demeaning to the animal. As Walker also explains the term ‘pet’ discourages humans from establishing close, meaningful and understanding relationships with the nonhuman animal world. The term familiar and the stories surrounding it imply that nonhuman animals embody spiritual qualities by which humans may benefit. I explain this again in case the reader has not yet read “Feline Fancies I & II.”
    Over the past ten months they had lost both of their cats, one through theft, most probably, and the other through poisoning. The vet speculated that the latter cat had gotten hold of something in his environment that had done serious harm to his liver. Treatment was administered and seemed to work, but a few days later in December 2001, when the couple and the cat were at Michael and Amanda’s mountain cabin in northeast Georgia, the symptoms returned with a vengeance. Their beloved familiar died within forty-eight hours.
    Amanda and Michael had a fine garden in their backyard at their home residence in Columbus, Georgia. A feline familiar was absolutely necessary to protect it from moles, squirrels and other pest’s felines are good at catching. In addition to the garden benefits, Michael and Amanda wanted a cat for other reasons. They felt that cats were healthy for cat lovers and vice-versa. Cat familiars were funny. They made them laugh and laughter is always a wonderful medicine. They were affectionate without drooling like dogs. They kept themselves impeccably clean most of the time. Cats accept anything their humans are willing to give them, but they feel no need to be grateful. Sometimes they show gratitude; sometimes they do not.
    The couple had waited since December hoping a cat would come to them. In a large city with a strong and an effective animal control department, it did not always happen. After checking and rechecking the ‘free pet’ section in the paper and finding nothing, they went to the pound to see what was available for adoption. They were lonely for feline company and spring planting had already begun. As fate would have it, there was a single kitten available for adoption and he was adorable. Amanda fell in love with this kitten at first sight. He was quite tiny, just a ball of fluff at this stage. She looked at Michael and said, “I really like this little gray kitty!”
    Michael was kind of taken with the little kitty as well. Without much deliberation, they adopted the little tyke. He seemed to be no more than six weeks old, approximately the age a kitten should be allowed to be taken from its mother. He was a lucky little kitty. He stayed in the pound for a total of forty-five minutes. The kitten was in the pound, on the lam, for three-quarters of an hour. He was the smallest and youngest feline familiar that Michael or Amanda ever had. This kitten was dinky enough that Michael could carry him around in his shirt pocket. The two of them were afraid they might crush him during the night when he slept with them. Fortunately, he most often crawled up between their heads which was the safest place for him to be on the bed. Michael and Amanda had to put a large throw pillow beside the bed so the kitten could get up and down the bed. Amanda did not take long to come up with a name for this ball of grey fluff. For some reason soon after she and Michael brought him home, they played Bob Dylan’s album knocked Out Loaded which has the song “Brownsville Girl” on it. Gregory Peck figures prominently in this wonderful ballad. From this she thought about the character he played in To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch. Atticus seemed to fit this little guy to perfection, Amanda thought. Michael had been engaging in his usual practicing of suggesting truly funny and absurd names. Amanda was ready to get serious about an appropriate name. She immediately went to him with her suggestion. Amanda had from the beginning of their relationship adopted the custom of naming feline familiars after famous radicals, social reformers, rebels, progressives, and the like.
    That’s a great name,” Michael agreed. “And did you know that Atticus Finch has recently been named the number one movie hero of twentieth century films?”
    “I didn’t know that,” Amanda replied. “However, it makes the name even more attractive.”
    Since neither of them had ever had a cat this small before, they thoroughly enjoyed watching him grow. Two or three weeks after they brought him home, he was still too little and defenseless to be allowed to go outside alone. Among other things, Owls were around preying upon small squirrels who were usually born in the spring. Atticus was about the size of a small squirrel. Atticus would have been a tasty snack for one of the large owls who hung around the neighborhood.
    As Atticus grew older he became without danger from these owls and other predators. In fact, when he came up on approximately the sixth month anniversary of his birth, he weighed bout ten pounds, a rather substantial size for one so young. Michael and Amanda took him to the doctor to see if he was mature enough to be neutered. Their Vet. was a real stickler for not neutering before the animal was physically mature enough. He did not hesitate with Atticus.
    Dr. Bolton said, “He’s a fully grown cat. His teeth, for example, are fully mature. He’s ready for castration. There will be no problem at all with any stunting of his growth.”
    “Well, Dr. Bolton,” I said, “There’s no time like the present. I think, if Michael is okay with this, we’ll leave him here today. He can make babies and that means he is a hazard as long as he is not neutered.”
    “It’s more than fine with me,” Michael replied. “Young Me still has unspayed females and that makes me nervous, especially now that Atticus can make little ones.”
    It was early that day and the couple was able to bring Atticus home that afternoon. Cats are always a little drunk after they are spayed or neutered. Michael and Amanda kept him in and enjoyed his carefree, staggering inebriated state. He was not getting any friendlier they noticed with people outside a small circle. With respect to people, he almost exclusively took to Michael and Amanda. Later his circle of human contacts extended to Amanda’s mother, when she came to visit and later after she came to live with them, and the late Elaine Crawford, a woman about Amanda’s mother’s age who lived next door. Michael and Amanda looked after her yard and did hael and Amanda looked after her yard and hohome repairs for the last several years of her life. She and Amanda’s mother passed at about the same time in late 2005 and early 2006. They were both around 85 and less rambunctious and noisy than their younger friends. Amanda believed that is why Atticus did not mind them and even allowed them to touch and pet him.
    By the time Atticus was nearly a year old he weighed close to twenty pounds. At around nine months he topped the scales at eighteen pounds. Neither Michael nor Amanda had ever had a cat who had grown so large. He was long, lanky, and quite fine looking. People were astonished at how large and handsome he was. One man two doors down the street next to Elaine on the other side, told Michael, “You know when I first saw Atticus it was from a distance. He was so large I thought he was a dog at first. If their ‘Gentle Giant,’ as Amanda loved to call him, had known this he would have been highly insulted. When the neighbor, Mac, came closer and saw Atticus was a cat he told Michael, “I hoped that he was a nice cat.”
    In the Spring 2004, Michael and Amanda had a yard sale. Amanda’s mother had temporarily gone into one of those assisted living places down in Winter Haven, Florida. Michael went down to get several things she was going to throw away. They decided to sell them in a yard sale in the fenced in, relatively protected back yard. That way the two could put out their wares out the afternoon and evening before the sale and not have to rush around madly doing that chore the morning of the event.
    During the course of the sale, both of them got several good laughs at Atticus’s behavior. The initial crowd thinned out around midmorning. They were mostly flea market dealers. During this period, Atticus was nowhere to be found. However, after the initial crowd abated, Atticus let the couple know each and every time they had a possible customer. Their bedroom was just off the backyard before they built some additions to their house much later in 2006 and 2007. When a car pulled up, Atticus would fly in their bedroom from outside growling up a storm. “Grrr, Grr” meant “another blasted strange person or strange persons are here. I’ve let you know. Now, I’m finding a place to hide until the damned pests are long gone. He never missed a trick on this one.”

        An instance that shows shy Atticus’s amazing sensitivities had to do with one of Michael’s friends who is quite fat and loathes cats. He also traps them like the old man and woman on our corner. However, he does not take them to the pound. What he does do to them is worse. He takes them to a deserted woodsy area and leaves them there. When he comes by their place, he rarely comes in the house. Rather, he talks with Michael in the yard. Once when he came by and Atticus and Amanda were in the house. She could hear him growling up a fog. He growled and by standing on his hind legs kept up with Michael and his friend’s whereabouts by looking out the windows and moving from window to window as they moved. Atticus did not stop this growling and moving until the friend was gone.
    His actions seem to say, “Darn it, it is one thing to bring people who like cats around, but that guy hates us. Why are you doing this to me and to yourself, my Michael?”
    In spite of his extreme shyness around most humans, even diehard cat-lovers, cat Amanda said she never knew a nicer cat. He is more than five now and Amanda and Michael have never known him to hunt anything but a mouse or a rat. Birds, for example, are beings to enjoy and by which to be fascinated, not to hunt and kill. Before she died, Elaine told them what a kick she got from watching Atticus and his fascination with the Avian members of the animal kingdom. She said, “I would get so tickled. He would just sit or lie there and watch them. He seemed to be fascinated by their movements and that they could fly. The cat did not seem to be at all interested in hunting or catching them. Atticus surely is one of a kind.”
    The trees in Columbus were all huge, several Oaks and one Pine. These trees are difficult for a cat to climb and they will not bother unless they are desperate. Once a mean Tom Cat treed one of the first cats they had in Columbus, Amanda, in one of our big Oaks, but that was a case of desperation. Incidentally, Amanda did not name this cat after herself. She came from one of Michael and Amanda’s favorite characters in a Tom Robbins novel, Another Roadside Attraction.
    Once in one of their cabin trips, Michael had shut the sliding glass back door. All of a sudden Michael saw Atticus freeze in his tracks and stare in fascination at the back door. He looked and called Amanda, “Come quickly. You’re going to get to see a bear at last.”
    Michael had seen several of them wandering around at dusk and shortly after dark and later. Amanda had never seen one and was extremely curious about the ones in this area. Amanda ran from the back of the cabin, where she was working. There was a huge mother bear with three cubs looking in the back door. If it had been open, they probably would have walked right in since the scent of food was strong. Michael and Amanda had just eaten dinner!

         Michael and Amanda took Atticus to the mountains twice in the summer and fall, 2006 in order to re-bond with him and to let him know that he was still the most special cat in the their house. When Emma came to live with them, he got a little bit distant with the couple. However, Amanda’s mother began to cultivate the attentions of one of Young Me’s young cats. She called him Bo or Beau. Amanda was not sure what spelling her mom intended, but if she wanted a cat far be it from Michael and her to tell her she could not have one. They were delighted with this situation. However, in a region of ‘Bubba’s and ‘Bo’s Amanda knew how most people would interpret the spelling of this pretty, male neutered cat’s name. Thus, Amanda extended his name to the very Southern “Colonel Beauregard” with Beau for short. Well, to complicate matters, Beau or “The Colonel’ had a sister who was like his shadow. This pretty tabby neutered, female followed him over as she seemed to feel she had to be close to her brother. Since, at first, she would not come in the house, they fed her outside. At length, Michael named her ‘Sylvia” and that had stuck. Now she has gradually become a house/yard cat like their precious little Emma.
    Nevertheless, Atticus was their very sensitive cat and his feelings were quite hurt when Michael and Amanda moved another two extra cats in. They did not ask for this to happen. It just did and it was the only humane way to handle the situation. However, Atticus tended to shun them, their bed, their expressions of affections, everything except their food. Amanda’s feelings were especially hurt since he had been her constant companion on the bed next to her ankles for three years. One day when Atticus and Amanda were here alone, she cried her eyes out and asked Atticus, “Since I love you so dearly, Atticus, why you are treating me so meanly?” She was sobbing.
    To her astonishment when she went back to the manuscript she was working on in the bed, there was her big fine gray cat waiting to jump on the bed with her. He stayed there until Michael came home and he knew there was someone to take care of the seemingly hysterical Amanda. This did not last, but it did show that he understood some things they never imagined he did. This is when they got the idea to take only Atticus with them to the mountains again. This was shortly after Amanda’s eighty-six year old mother died and they had been leaving him with her. They did this because the car trip seemed to be so hard on him and she seemed to enjoy his company when they were gone. After Amanda’s mom was gone, they stayed several days on this trip and this helped immensely to show Atticus that he was still number one Familiar in the their house. When this trip seemed to be wearing off, they took another one with the same positive results.
    The three needed to make another trip as it has been a long time since they had been to the cabin. The last couple of months had been severely wintery. They had been having one of the coldest winters we have had in a while. It would have been at least ten degrees colder at the cabin. In the mean time, a dear friend of Michael and Amanda’s, Catherine Jurczyk, who is also a committed cat lover, came to visit. Out of sheer necessity she had to bring her cats with her. Until she gets some dough-re-mi, she is stuck living with a jerk who murdered one of her kittens. She could hardly leave any living being with that idiot. She set them up in an ingenious Cat Condominium in their blue bedroom. All three of the other cats were scarce during the two days she was here, but immediately got over it. Not Atticus, he had to pout a little bit longer from the shock of the new cat brigade. A trip to the mountains was on their list for the month of March. It would be good to have him back fully. He had been hurt at first from Emma deciding to join the household. Atticus would have to accept it, and Michael and Amanda would have to convince him he was still the number one most important feline familiar in the household.
    Meanwhile during a cold snap they were having, Emma spent many of her hours on the floor or on the bed in front of the warm fire. Atticus often came in at night and joined Amanda, Michael, and sometimes Emma, on the bed. However, he still seems to spend much of his days in his dank ‘Mole Hole,’ as we have come to call it. This is simply a special place under the guy’s house who lives in back of us. He usually leaves there late in the afternoon but sometimes comes earlier. Like most cats his first concern was for a plate of food. Then he gets comfortable on back of the couch, on their bed, or other warm and nice place to be in the house. At some point during the late afternoon or evening he spends on their bed. Often he comes two or three times, especially after everything is quiet and all but their soft lights are out. Except for Atticus’s periodic standoff behavior’s in between trips to the mountains and on Columbus where the other cats were around, everything seemed to be going well with their feline familiars. See pictures on page 15?
     Finally in early April Michael, Amanda, and Atticus headed to the mountains to stay from Monday through Saturday morning. Atticus was a delight in the mountains. He was friendly, affectionate, and loving. Michael and Amanda were delighted. Atticus did loving things he had never done before. For instance, he pawed Amanda’s chest. He got closer and closer to them as the trip wound down to the end.
    For the rest of his time with them he more or less accepted the other feline familiars without resentment. He played his role as a shy and gentle giant until finally only he and Sylvia were left.
    Along with precious Woody, Atticus turned out to be one of two of the best cats they ever had. He managed to survive all of the dangers to feline’s lives, especially the dreaded automobile. They lost both Emma and Angie to these murderous and careless vehicles and their thoughtless drivers.
    In 200? He began to show signed of illness. Finally, an older vet of considerably experienced Vet found an inoperable tumor on his stomach which promised to take him out in a few weeks. Amanda and Michael were devastated with sadness. They nursed and watched over him with a vigilant eye. They fixed a small garden on the edge of their other familiars graves with potted plants, hanging plants, and plants in the ground around his grave.
















Feline Fancy IV
Emma (Goldman) Cat

Dr. (Ms.) Michael S. Whitt

    One morning around ten o’clock several weeks after Michael and Amanda adopted Atticus, Michael had to do a brief chore in the garden. Before he reached the garden he saw a grey kitten sitting on the small three sided wall that surrounded the opening to the crawl space to under the house. The opening had been without a door for a while and was in need of a replacement. It is right beside the garden. A cursory glance made Michael think it was Atticus and that he had gotten outside accidently.
    “Amanda,” he called. “Is Atticus in the house?”
    “Yes, he’s in here.” Michael looked again as the kitten was disappearing under the house. He went into the house and told Amanda about the presence of the grey kitten and that he had now disappeared under the house. Michael indicated he was going to try and see if he could get it out. He grabbed a flashlight on his way out.
    Amanda said, “Okay. I wonder how it got there.”
    Michael hollered back to her, “Amanda, you’re not going to believe this.”
    The tone of his voice made her curious as she hurried to the back yard. Lo and behold there were a nearly solid black and quite small mother cat with a litter of seven small kittens, four black ones and three grey ones. Amanda and Michael were able to reach the mother and her brood. They encouraged them to come out from under the house. Because of this, the tiny mother probably thought it best to move them back across the street. They had no idea that later this tiny cat would choose to become their feline familiar. At that time they were committed to one cat at the time, but fate made a mockery of their intentions. They asked around and learned that two or three weeks ago the small cat had wandered up to Young Me’s house, a friend of Korean ethnicity, who lived across the street from Amanda and Michael.
    She told them giggling all the while, “She walked up and she had those skinny little legs and this huge pregnant belly. This small female at that time was a scrawny bag of bones excepting her enormous belly which was barely sustained by her toothpick limbs. I expected her to lay down and give up any moment. She was half starving. Amanda and Michael never failed to howl with laughter when she told that story describing how the cat ambled up with her belly barely sustained by those skinny legs. They were not laughing at the poor little cat’s plight, but Young had the talent to be funny even in the worst of circumstances.
    Before her kittens were born, the young pregnant cat generally hung out in Young’s yard, carport and utility room. She had one other cat at the time. Her cats were not allowed to come into the house regardless of weather conditions. Young Me rarely petted them after they were past kitten hood, and all they ever ate was dried cat food. All they were given to drink was water. Frequently we gave our cats wet foods and milk. They seemed to need these different foods. Michael and Amanda felt especially that a pregnant cat should be given a bowl of milk a day.
    Young Me’s cat at that time was a Tom Cat she called ‘Baby.’ That was a supreme irony for the couple, but then Young had some screwy ideas about cats. Since her Tom picked on practically every cat in the neighborhood, Michael and Amanda called him ‘Bully.’ He had chased Atticus several times after the latter had become independent enough to go outside alone. Young’s cat was merely being a Tom Cat. Nevertheless, they had a hard time seeing him as ‘Baby.’ Now Young Me and their mutual neighbor, Bob Chapman, set up a big protected box for the tiny cat and her little ones. This was a place for the mother and her brood to stay until weaning time.
    One extremely screwy idea Young had about her feline familiar friends is that their sex life was very much akin to humans. She had no idea that cats only engaged in sex when their instincts told them it was time to reproduce. The female had to be in heat to even attract a Tom. They did not have sex for pleasure divorced from reproducing little kittens. However, no matter how many times the couple tried to explain this to Young, she remained convinced that ‘Baby’ needed some female cat to ‘screw’ and the little mother fit the bill perfectly. She never realized that her attitude and the resulting behavior could have killed the young female. It was a relief when she finally ‘got it.’
    The tiny mother took her brood back to Bob’s back yard where the box was. Bob’s house was next to Young’s. She probably would have moved her kittens, box or no box, since her place had been discovered and disturbed by Michael and Amanda. Nevertheless, close to the time when they were ready for independence, the mother brought them back to Michael and Amanda’s house. This time the couple waited until they were independent and then sort of shooed them away on the one hand and tried to get them adopted on the other.
    A couple were adopted by people in the neighborhood. Two were trapped by the old man and woman who lived on the north corner of Michael and Amanda’s street side. The other three were adopted by various persons. As long as ‘Bully-Baby’ was around, the young female was pregnant again in no time.
    The couple learned in the late summer of 2002, the young mother had given birth to eight young ones. The two could hardly believe it. They had never heard of a litter of seven, much less eight. The latter was shocking to them. They wondered how such a tiny cat could get through such a birth with all of the kittens alive. Michael and Amanda each had a feeling she would seek solace over at their house again. They tried to block the way under the house and into the out building. These were two of the most obvious places she would bring them to get them away from “Bully Baby’ and the few other large cats that Young me had acquired in the meantime. A few days after they took these measures, Amanda went into the outbuilding and who hold be there but the young mother and her brood of eight three to four week old black kittens.
    This time it was her turn to yell, “Michael, you’re not going to believe this.” They both wondered how she managed to get herself and the eight young ones in the out building. The only opening they knew about could not have been more than three or four inches wide. However, she managed to break in. When they discovered this tiny adult cat with a litter of eight black kittens, they both knew it was time to do something for her. They came in the house with the same thing on their minds.
    “Michael, we’re going to have to do something for that little mother cat and her kittens. Do you have any ideas? She is literally wearing herself out taking care of all those kittens, especially when she has had to carry such mega litters back to back, probably for most of the night.”
    The couple could only stand in awe that this diminutive young mother was still alive and functioning. She had made three trips to their house from, across the street, and three trips back across the street. The sheer distance in itself was daunting. It was at least the length of a football field. She did not keep the kittens at young Me’s house which was diagonal to theirs, but in Bob’s, which was directly across the street. Young now had other cats and the Tom was still there. Toms frequently kill new born kittens. Also, it was noisier at her place. Bob had no cats, dogs, frequent visitors, or children. He and his girl friend Rose lived quietly in the house. When they were not there the house was vacant and even quieter. Therefore, the young mother tended to have her kittens somewhere in his yard. Most of the time she chose the back yard, which meant she had to scale two five feet chain length fences each trip. Michael and Amanda assumed she probably pushed the kittens under the fence. Since they were quite tiny, they would fit. Then she must have climbed the fence herself and picked up the kittens.
    As Michael and Amanda talked Michael said, “I’ve heard of a place called ‘All Cat’s Clinic,” a name that sounded promising if only for advice.” The two of them decided to call this agency for information any of the persons employed there might have. The agency referred them to Allied Cats of Columbus, an organization established and headed by Dr. Ralph McGuire, a former cardiologist. Dr. McGuire had a near brush with death from cancer. After this he stopped working as a medical doctor full time. On the one hand, this may have been because jn a high pressure exacting physician’s job may have increased the danger of his cancer returning. On the other hand, his brush with death may have helped him decide that he had done this one thing long enough. During his period of physical crises he may have come to the decision to do something else with the rest of his working life; something that would allow him to develop other aspects of himself and perhaps, to do it longer. Or it could have been a combination of these two factors or for other reasons unknown to them.
    Once Dr. McGuire began caring for the mother and her kittens, he separated her from all of them except two of the frailest ones. The mother cat was dangerously dehydrated by the large number of kittens. She soon began to improve with this measure. The kitten thrived under his care. When the kittens had all been adopted, Michael and Amanda took the young mother, now neutered, cat back to the neighborhood. They let her out in a central location. She immediately went to Bob’s and Young Me’s to see if she could find the kittens. She could not, of course, but remained at Young’s for the time being. However, she began to come to Michael and Amanda’s mewing for her cup of milk. They always gave it to her even though she would not come in the house at first. Gradually she started coming in the doors.
    Gradually she took up residence with the couple much to Atticus’s chagrin at first. In this process Amanda came up with an appropriate name, Emma after Emma Goldman, the famous late 19th century and early twentieth century labor organizer. Emma began to spend more and more time at Amanda’s and Michael’s house. Gradually she became integrated into the group of growing number of feline fancies. She was a thoroughly delightful familiar who got along with the other felines in the house. A couple of cats moved over from Young Me’s, a brother and sister pair. Amanda’s mother had moved up by that time, not at all liking the assisted living place. The brother was wooed by Amanda’s Mom. He was nearly all black. Jackie, short for Jacquelyn called him Beau or Bo. Since Amanda did not want Bo to stick she made Beau a nick name for The Colonel Beauregard. They were delighted that her Mom wanted a cat! Michael named his sister, a brown tabby, Sylvia. This was a pretty name approved by Amanda. Michael and Amanda took Atticus to the mountains twice in the summer and fall 2006 to re-bond with him and to let him know he was still the most special cat in their house hold.
    Gradually Emma took up residence with Amanda and Michael much to Atticus’s chagrin at first. In this process Amanda came up with an appropriate name, Emma after Emma Goldman, the famous late 19th century social reformer and labor organizer. Gradually she became integrated into the group feline fancies. She was a thoroughly delightful familiar who got along with all of the other felines in the house. Atticus got a bit distant with the couple at first.
    Sometime during her time with Michael and Amanda, Emma suddenly disappeared. Just as things were getting smooth with the relationships among all of the cats, especially Atticus’s acceptance of Emma, this bomb was dropped on the household of Amanda and Michael Both Amanda and Michael were devastated. As week one dragged into week two and week two into week three, the couple was tempted to give up. Had they been the giving up type, they would have. But they were not. They clung to a small glimmer of hope taking a couple of trips to the cabin during this period in time.
    Each time on their return they were hoping that Emma would be there. Then it was as if a miracle happened for them. All of a sudden she was there in the kitchen and their bedroom. Michael was there to greet the precious familiar. He was elated as he called to Amanda, “Emma is home!!”
    Amanda screamed with joy. “Oh the heavens be thanked! I do believe in miracles. Let us all rejoice, felines and humans alike.” By then Amanda had made the short trek into the bedroom and kitchen. She and Michael hugged before they scooped the much loved little Emma into their arms. After this they spent many happy hours with the affectionate Emma. Atticus and Emma often were on the bed together and they were at last a cozy foursome for a while. Tragically a year or so later a careless driver killed the precious Emma. This crushed Amanda and Michael, but they weed deeply grateful for the extra year and several months they had with Emma.
















Almost Alice

Stephanie Madan

    The child-woman’s name is unimportant. She is a young elfin thing with long blonde hair, pretty in an Alice in Wonderland way. Call her almost Alice, then. She arrives, enters the house Blythe shares with her husband, whose name is also unimportant. This Alice presents well – iridescent eyes, jubilant aspect, all but balancing on tiptoe, elated.
    She has been wanting to visit Blythe, she announces. Farther into the house the almost Alice leads Blythe, into the bedroom Blythe and her husband share. She does this on dancing feet, excited she knows the way, speaks with glee of meetings there, incorporating details to prove she knows him that well. With this visit she believes she has precipitated a flawless future with Blythe’s husband. Blythe interprets it thus.
    A harsh father can impose marvelous damage on a son, a child who has reason to expect love. Blythe’s husband remains controlled by his father, long dead, yet ever present. The father’s denigrations, the love withheld, torment the husband as shrapnel endlessly shifting, fighting toward the surface. He manages the feelings as best he can. His preferred anodyne is sex without end. Blythe is aware of this, aware that reality is somewhat fractured where she lives. She is courteous, though. Spouses accommodate each other.
    Sex saves him from emptiness. Five, ten times daily sex serves as his effort to be good enough. This figure does not include the fact he turns to her every night. He, with himself as lover, strives for wholeness so often he is chronically chafed and sore. She assumes he gains only a pause in the pain. She often feels pity. Not all the time.
    Blythe knows without knowing that there have been other partners. And she has happened on him watching himself in the mirror, engaged in stroking frenzies, hoping this time release will heal him. Blythe does not use that mirror herself anymore. He weeps sometimes and begs her to stay. He cannot endure without her. She supposes he is right.
    And here is almost Alice who discerns this encounter with Blythe as momentous – she truly believes she is the victor and is here to collect the spoils, unaware that in this warped wonderland she will claim a knave from a grubby deck of cards at best. (Blythe is helpless to empty her head of Alice in Wonderland allusions, yet this child is no innocent.)
    Does this almost Alice expect her to bare teeth, battle over him? As certain as Blythe is of anything, she is certain he will discard this almost Alice, do anything to hold onto Blythe. It seems Blythe is the only person he tries to love, though by now it is a love unrecognizable, so twisted and obscure it cannot be untangled.
    What a cliché Blythe finds herself in, electing, to her own shock, to yield to the lure of unpredicted realties. Blythe looks up at a chess-board sky, a fretwork of chess pieces moving about, seeking positions more favorable. It is then she makes her move – she sacrifices her knight.
    Very well. Welcome to the tea party, Alice, she thinks. The role I play in the story has grown stale. Understudy up.





Stephanie Madan bio

    Stephanie Madan’s fiction, essays and poems on subjects such as murder, good dogs and eating oysters have been published in anthologies, online journals and in her column in the former print magazine My Table.
















Paper Dolls

Stephanie Madan

    I’m not sure why I persist in driving by, parking, except that sometimes your draperies are open. Tonight you were alone and you did not appear particularly attractive. It soothes me that every so often that noble forehead and nose, that innate elegance and those amusing anecdotes are not an irresistible package. Others have remarked to me specifically on your thickening waist, thinning hair, tired jokes. I smile and say nothing - as loud as silence can be.
    The picture presented was interesting. You were far less than perfect, framed by the double glass doors, sitting up in the recliner (How that does date you. I warned you when you bought it.) gazing toward nothing at all. I wonder if you were worrying about those newly visible jowls. Oh, I confess. I use binoculars. I crave details.
    Tonight you were part of a curious diorama. You in the recliner, the wall your background, populated with edgy, unproven art - you lost in some interior concern, while beside you, on the little table we bought together, lay paper dolls. Odd. A therapy advised by your psychologist? There’s a story there.
    You had cut the paper dolls out of any old paper, it seems. Grocery lists, take-out menus, wallpaper samples. You had fashioned them, then gone on to snip the hearts out of each. The eviscerations were, I assume, managed with minimum grief at your end of the scissors.
    When I make these forays to your house, when I stop, I play a scene in my mind. I knock lightly at the door. You are busy entertaining and cannot hear the soft taps. I still have a key, but the door is unlocked. I enter as you are placing a hand on the small of the back of your latest woman, your current prey, your way of announcing the beginning of the hunt. I make my own announcement by asking if there is champagne left for me. After this, the scene is less clear – sometimes I fling the champagne on you. Sometimes you gaze at me with the old charm I thought was love, your interest in me quite restored. The scene needs work. There is much of the clich… in both options.
    What I cannot understand is why, seeing you and your jowls and the paper dolls, knowing you have no heart yourself, why, more than anything, I want to climb onto your lap, hand you scissors and invite you to fashion your next paper doll.





Stephanie Madan bio

    Stephanie Madan’s fiction, essays and poems on subjects such as murder, good dogs and eating oysters have been published in anthologies, online journals and in her column in the former print magazine My Table.
















Coincidence **

Bob Johnston

    * Originally published in Kaleidoscope Online, No. 73 (2016).

        ** The characters portrayed in this story are entirely fictional; and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

        “My name is Jack, and I’m an alcoholic.”
    I must have said that fifty times in those first two months. Not that I really believed it, but that’s what you’re expected to say at AA meetings. And the conditions of my probation called for three meetings a week. What a comedown!
    I was a partner in Briggs, McDonnell, and Price, the biggest advertising agency west of New York. Not bad for a kid named John Joseph McDonnell from the wrong side of the tracks in Peoria. After high school, I put in a couple of years at the U, majoring in tennis and girls. Then I headed for Chicago and got a job with the Paul Briggs agency. Worked my way up, brought in a couple of big accounts, made it as a full partner before I was thirty.
    One of the smartest moves I made along the way was marrying Jena, a 1950 debutante with the face of a movie star and a figure to match. And not incidentally, she had inherited a sizable chunk of “old money.” The inheritance included a hundred acres of prime real estate south of Hinsdale, next to the country club. We sold off most of it, kept ten acres for ourselves and built our dream house. Four thousand square feet, Olympic size pool, and a tennis court with grass that was every bit as good as the Wimbledon center court. Not that I had much time to use it.
    Five years and two kids later, Jena was up to her ears in big charity projects and I was the life of the party at the country club.
    Six days a week, I parked the wagon at the Hinsdale station and took the commuter train to Chicago. The pressure at the agency was pretty intense, and I put in long hours. It was always six or seven o’clock before I got back to Hinsdale. Then I’d have to stop off at the club for a drink to help me unwind, and it usually took three or four to do the job. By the time I got home, the nanny had put the kids to bed, and Jena was already sleeping if she wasn’t out ramrodding some big charity event.
    I knew I was drinking too much, but I couldn’t seem to break the cycle. Then one night I didn’t make it home at all. I’m a little hazy on the details, but I remember thinking it would be a good idea to drive to Aurora. The next thing I remember, I had driven the wagon through the front window of the Ford agency. The cops took me to the hospital to get patched up, then to jail. I spent the night in the drunk tank, and my lawyer didn’t get me out until nearly noon. A week later, the judge hit me with a big fine and one year’s probation, with the condition that I had to attend at least three AA meetings per week.
    Well, that was one hell of a wakeup call, and for a while I didn’t have any trouble staying away from the booze. I wasn’t about to go to any AA meetings in Hinsdale, so I found a Chicago group that met at five o’clock in a second-story room above a tattoo parlor. On my meeting days, I would take a cab to Union Station and walk the two blocks to the meeting. I’d sit through the meeting, totally bored, then get my attendance paper signed and hurry back to the station to catch my train.
    As you might expect from the neighborhood, the AA crowd was a seedy bunch. “Wino’s Club” is what they called the meeting room. No way I could relate to these down-and-outers. I heard a lot of horror stories and a lot of talk about God—or a Higher Power, as some of the guys liked to call him. Didn’t make much sense to me. But most of the guys were staying sober, some of them for many years, so it looked like something was working.
    I settled back into pretty much my old routine, minus the booze. The pressure at the agency was just as heavy as ever, and I really missed that drink at the club to help me unwind.
    One of the problems at the agency was a bad situation at our Houston branch. Kevin, the branch manager, had left his wife and taken up with a young floozy, so he wasn’t giving much attention to the agency. We had already lost three sizable accounts, and several others were threatened. Paul told me I had to go to Houston to straighten things out. It looked like a nasty job, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. Also, I was a little apprehensive about making this solo flight into a tough situation after only two months away from the booze. I remembered that in earlier years, when I was traveling a lot, booze got me into some pretty dangerous situations. I had plenty of time to think about this on the flight to Houston.
    As I checked into my hotel that evening, the girl at the desk offered me a pink card admitting me to their private club. This was a fiction of the Texas liquor laws, which required “club membership” if you wanted to buy a mixed drink. I said “No thanks,” but she initialed the card and pressed it into my hand.
    “You will really like our Candlelight Club. Tonight we have a great combo playing there. And of course there is no obligation. You can drop in for a drink or two, or just relax and listen to the music.”
    It seemed unkind to refuse a gift from this sweet young señorita. I thanked her and put the card into my wallet.
    My room was quiet and the bed proved to be comfortable. After a good night’s sleep and breakfast in my room, I was ready to dig into the can of worms at the agency.
    As it turned out, I wrapped up the job before five. Fired Kevin, put in his secretary as temporary manager, and hired the head guy from the Rosenberg agency. I took a cab back to the hotel, feeling good about the day’s work.
    After booking a morning flight, I decided to have dinner at the hotel. On the way to the dining room, I passed the entrance to the Candlelight Club and heard a familiar sound—Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five.” I went in and sat down at a table. Great music, soft lights, and beautiful people. Perfect end to a great day, I thought. Now for a martini, one before dinner can’t hurt me, and I really deserve it.
    A waitress appeared at my side, a pretty little thing. “Welcome to the Candlelight Club. My name is Sheila, and I’ll be happy to serve you. May I see your card, please?”
    I took the card from my wallet and held it up to the candlelight to make sure I had the right one. It was the right card, and it carried the initials of the beautiful señorita of the front desk: AA.
    Some kind of a switch clicked inside my head as I handed the card to the waitress. She gave the card a quick glance and handed it back to me. “Now what would you like from the bar?”
    It didn’t take me long to decide: “Orange juice on the rocks, please.”
     “Yes, Sir. Coming up.” She about-faced and bounced off toward the bar.
    I put the card back into my wallet, and the orange juice arrived in due course. A superb orange juice, probably the best I’d ever had. I tried to make it last, but finally drained the glass and laid a twenty on the table. The band was still playing Brubeck as I walked out into the hall.
    In the dining room, the steak was every bit as good as advertised, and the coffee was strong and full of character. It had been a good day.
    Back in my room, I took the card out of my wallet and looked at the initials, trying to make some sense out of them. I decided that the señorita might be named Alicia Alvarez or Adelina Anaya. Whoever she might be, it was one hell of a coincidence that put her on the front desk in that particular hotel on the night of April 14, 1959.
    I was completely convinced that just one martini in the Candlelight Club would have put me back on the old merry-go-round. “Powerless over alcohol,” as they say in the meetings.

#

    I came back to a “Well done” from Paul and the same old feverish life at the agency. But on the next day I skipped my Wino’s Club meeting and took the first train that stopped in Hinsdale. Had a quick meal at a diner next to the station, then drove over to an AA meeting in the east end of town. It was nearly seven o’clock when I walked into that church basement, and the meeting room was already filled with smoke and warm bodies. I recognized Andy, the country club manager. Then Brenda, one of my neighbors, spotted me across the room, came over and gave me an unexpected hug. We all sat down at a round table and started the meeting by introducing ourselves. When it came around to me, I didn’t have any trouble saying “My name is Jack, and I’m an alcoholic.” The chorus of “Hi, Jack” that came back seemed to be extra-loud. Corny, but it felt pretty good.
    After the meeting, I drove home and found Jena and the kids still up. I helped her get them to bed and settled down, and then I told her the strange story of the pink card. She never said a word until I finished, and then she squeezed my hand and told me, “Someone must have been looking after you.”
    I kept the card in my wallet as a sort of reminder or good luck charm. Whatever it was, it seemed to work, and I haven’t been tempted again to take that first drink. I often thought about Jena’s idea that someone was looking after me, and then the AA chatter about God and a Higher Power began to make a little sense. I still had trouble using those words, so I came up with the idea that Coincidence has been looking after me. I think that’s all right if I always remember it’s spelled with a capital C.
















He’s An Escapist

Janet Kuypers
10/27/06

he’s an escapist
from his wife, kids, the business
and fled by drinking



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twitter 4 jk twitter 4 jk Visit the Kuypers Twitter page for short poems— join http://twitter.com/janetkuypers.
video See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers 12/17/17 reading every poem in her “100 Haikus” book reading at the AIPF booth / 2017 Awesmic City Expo, including much, out, can’t get you, of his thirst, know, pleading, coincidence?, found haiku, close, defenses, destroy, floor, hold, forever, jumped, study, Even with no Wish Bone, addiction, stagger, everyone, last, bruised, organs, choke, ends, explosions, fit, fought, heaviness, extinct, feel, escape, opening, pant, strike, civil, found, need, kill, kindness, run, pet, John’s Mind, humans, mirror, elusive, keep, greatest, instead, Arsenic and Syphilis, life (Periodic Table haiku), life (2000), timing, Two Not Mute Haikus, He’s An Escapist, Ending a Relationship, nightmares, knife, free, years, groove, errors, job, jobless, out there, gone, console, form, knowing, oil, cage, evil, faith, guide, behind, sort, barbed, difference, predator, blood, easy, existence, judge, fog, upturn, Translation (2014 haiku), sting, enemies, Deity Discipline (stretched haiku), Ants and Crosses, energy, knees, force, you, this is only a test, misogyny, ourselves, key, scorches (Lumix 2500).
video See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers 12/17/17 reading every poem in her “100 Haikus” book reading at the AIPF booth / 2017 Awesmic City Expo, including much, out, can’t get you, of his thirst, know, pleading, coincidence?, found haiku, close, defenses, destroy, floor, hold, forever, jumped, study, Even with no Wish Bone, addiction, stagger, everyone, last, bruised, organs, choke, ends, explosions, fit, fought, heaviness, extinct, feel, escape, opening, pant, strike, civil, found, need, kill, kindness, run, pet, John’s Mind, humans, mirror, elusive, keep, greatest, instead, Arsenic and Syphilis, life (Periodic Table haiku), life (2000), timing, Two Not Mute Haikus, He’s An Escapist, Ending a Relationship, nightmares, knife, free, years, groove, errors, job, jobless, out there, gone, console, form, knowing, oil, cage, evil, faith, guide, behind, sort, barbed, difference, predator, blood, easy, existence, judge, fog, upturn, Translation (2014 haiku), sting, enemies, Deity Discipline (stretched haiku), Ants and Crosses, energy, knees, force, you, this is only a test, misogyny, ourselves, key, scorches (Lumix T56).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersApril 2018 Book Release Reading 4/4/18, where she first read her haiku “He’s An Escapist” from the 4/18 book “War of Water” from cc&d, then she read her Down in the Dirt 3/18 book “My Name Is Nobody” haiku and short poems “judge”, “quarrel”, “Every Street Corner”, and “Poem About This”, before reading her longer poem “Quivering against the Invading Enemy”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersApril 2018 Book Release Reading 4/4/18, where she first read her haiku “He’s An Escapist” from the 4/18 book “War of Water” from cc&d, then she read her Down in the Dirt 3/18 book “My Name Is Nobody” haiku and short poems “judge”, “quarrel”, “Every Street Corner”, and “Poem About This”, before reading her longer poem “Quivering against the Invading Enemy”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (this video was filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera, and then it was given an Edge Detection filter).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersApril 2018 Book Release Reading 4/4/18, where she first read her haiku “He’s An Escapist” from the 4/18 book “War of Water” from cc&d, then she read her Down in the Dirt 3/18 book “My Name Is Nobody” haiku and short poems “judge”, “quarrel”, “Every Street Corner”, and “Poem About This”, before reading her longer poem “Quivering against the Invading Enemy”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (Panasonic Lumix T56 camera; Posterize).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersApril 2018 Book Release Reading 4/4/18, where she first read her haiku “He’s An Escapist” from the 4/18 book “War of Water” from cc&d, then she read her Down in the Dirt 3/18 book “My Name Is Nobody” haiku and short poems “judge”, “quarrel”, “Every Street Corner”, and “Poem About This”, before reading her longer poem “Quivering against the Invading Enemy”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (Panasonic Lumix T56 camera; Threshold).


Click here fro the Janet Kuypers bio.














100_0177, photography by Wes Heine

100_0177, photography by Wes Heine














A Night Shift

John Carter

    My wife came home this morning and wanted to tell me about her night at work. She works the front desk of a small hotel not too far away from where we live. Around eight in the morning she got home, threw her bag down by the door and slipped her shoes off. When she was done she looked at me and said;
    “You won’t believe the night I’ve had.”
    “What happened?” I asked.
    She went and sat down at the dinner table, as I was about to make a breakfast of bacon and eggs for her.
    “I was sitting at the front desk when this guy came in, a short and sweaty guy, probably four hundred pounds. Kept taking out a handkerchief and wiping his brow and upper lip with it, sometimes he’d forgo the kerchief and lick the sweat away, it was disgusting. He didn’t smell too good either, not of sweat mind you, but of way too much cologne. It’s like he’d drenched himself in it to make sure he didn’t smell of sweat.”
    “So, the guys got sweat problems. What’s wrong with that?” I asked.
    I flipped the bacon over and put a couple of eggs on, so they’d be done at the same time. The smell of the food cooking was making it difficult for me to imagine what the short fat man smelled like.
    “It wasn’t just that. The sweat and the smell was too much but then he started flirting with me.”
    “Really?”
    “Yeah,” she said. “Wasn’t doing it subtly either. Was straight up doing it, all whilst wiping away the sweat.”
    My wife was an attractive woman and often told me men would flirt with her at work, sometimes subtly sometimes straight up. Usually the men away on business she said, often had rings on their finger too, she said. It wasn’t hard to imagine someone flirting with her, but it made me uncomfortable to do so.
    “He started asking if it was a busy night, and when I told him it was as busy as it always is he asked if I ever get any time to myself in the night, when I said I get an hour around one he asked if I’d like to come and have a drink with him, just like that! I said no thank you and he said I knew which room he was in if I changed my mind. It was disgusting. Lawrence, you know Lawrence, the other one who usually works nights, he came back to the desk just as the sweaty man asked me. I gave Lawrence a look and he asked the sweaty man if everything was okay, and the sweaty man said everything was fine and that he was just asking how it was working here.”
    “I take it that wasn’t the last you saw of the sweaty guy?” I asked.
    “No,” she said.
    I placed the bacon and eggs onto a plate and put a couple slices of buttered toast on there too, I put the plate on the table in front of her and she began eating, telling me more in between bites.
    “Lawrence carried his bags up to the room and I thought that was the last I’d see of the man. About two hours later, which was probably eleven o’clock at this point, he made his way back downstairs, still sweating like before. He was wearing a button down shirt and slacks before and was now in the same slacks with a white t-shirt on, it was dripping with sweat I tell you. Under the arms, around the neck, on the back, down at the bottom where I assume he used it to wipe his face. Anyway, he came up to the desk and I asked him how I could help and he asked if the bar was still open, I told him it wasn’t and that it shuts at ten. He looked around for a moment and then asked if he could get some food brought up to his room, I said that could be done and I took his order. A burger with bacon, some chicken wings, cheese fries, onion rings, a side of slaw, a couple of buttered bread rolls, some mozzarella sticks and a big glass of soda. I tell you, Sam, it made my stomach ache just thinking about all of that food. I wrote the order down and said it would be with him within half an hour, depending on whether we have any other orders. He said that would be fine and then asked me if I could make him a drink from the bar to take upstairs. I told him again that the bar was closed and told him he was more than welcome to make himself up a drink from his minibar in his room, or that I can add a drink to his food order. He got me to add a whiskey and water onto the order. After that he asked again if I’d like to spend my break with him and I again said no, he said okay and went back upstairs.
    A little while later the food was done and Hector, the chef, was busy so he couldn’t take it up and Lawrence was busy too, so I had to take it. I took it up to his room and when he answered I saw him standing there this time in just his underwear and shirt. I saw his big belly hanging out from the bottom of his shirt, the hair on it was all matted with sweat. He smiled and pushed the door aside for me to come in, I asked him where he wanted it and he said wherever I wanted it. It was disgusting, I could feel him smirking behind me as he said it. I put the tray down on the table and asked if he needed anything else, he wiped the sweat from his face and reached out at me with one hand, I thought he was giving me a tip but instead he held onto my forearm and asked if I was sure I didn’t want to stay for a drink. I shook his hand off of me and told him guests aren’t allowed to lay a hand on staff and that I thought I’d made myself more than clear that I wasn’t interested.
    “Didn’t you get him kicked out?” I asked her.
    “I thought that would be the end of it, I’d made up my mind that I wasn’t going to deal with him anymore, I was going to tell Lawrence about what he did and let him take over if there was anything he wanted.”
    “You should have just kicked him out.” I said.
    “It’s not that simple to get people to leave, it brings up issues with management.”
    “So they’d prefer a member of staff be harassed by a guest?”
    “A lot of these business men stay at the same hotels, they’re valued guests who are given preferential treatment if they stay with us enough. They don’t want to lose that. Anyway, I went back to the front desk and told Lawrence, who said he’d deal with him and wouldn’t let anything else happen. It was all good for a while until he called down to the desk and asked for another two whiskey and waters, Lawrence said he’d take them up. He came back down a while later and said how disgusting the man was. Lawrence said he now was only wearing his underwear and seemed disappointed when he saw it wasn’t me bringing the drinks. Lawrence said the sweaty man asked when he went on his break as well.”
    “He was probably seeing if he could try again when Lawrence wasn’t around.” I said.
    “That’s what we thought too.” She replied.
    “Was that the end of it?”
    “No.” She said. “Unfortunately not.”
    She’d finished with her breakfast so I took the plate and cutlery over to the sink where I began washing them.
    “It was quiet for the next few hours, and while I was having my break he came down to the front desk again, I heard him talking to Lawrence, he was loud and slurring his words a little, I thought it would be best to stay in the back room out of the way. Lawrence began raising his voice a little in retaliation when the sweaty man tried to come into the office, where I was. I moved from the office into the hall behind which leads to the kitchen, I went back there and asked Hector to come and help since I was worried about Lawrence. Hector followed me back and both him and Lawrence tried to talk to the guy and told him that they’d call the police and get them to take him away if he didn’t calm down. The sweaty guy then asked for another drink and asked to speak to me, apparently to apologize, but they told him I was busy. They denied him another drink and Hector walked him up to his room and made sure he got himself to bed. That was the last we saw of him.”
    She finished and sort of stared off into space a little, I could tell she was thinking about the sweaty man some more.
    “I guess some other poor soul has to deal with him now, right?” I asked.
    “Well, in a way. He had a wake up call for eight in the morning and when Lawrence called he didn’t answer, so he tried again a few minutes later and still got nothing, so he went up to knock on his door. He still got nothing. He knocked and knocked but got no answer. Since he was the shift manager he gave himself authorisation to let himself into the room, he announced that it was the front desk with a wake up call but got no response. God, Sam. You know what Lawrence found?”
    “What?” I asked.
    “He was dead. Lawrence found him sprawled out on the floor.”
    I could tell from the look in her eyes that it troubled her.
    “What happened to him?”
    “They’re not sure yet. The police and an ambulance came. The guy had a ton of pill bottles in his room. They think he either overdosed on them or died as a result of whatever he was taking pills for.”
    She brushed her hands through her hair and then rubbed her eyes.
    “It’s awful, Sam, just awful.” She stared out of the window and played with her necklace for a minute. “I’m going to bed.”
    “Okay, I’ll see you when I get home.” I replied.
    So she got up, kissed me, and walked off down the hall. I thought about the fat man and how to me it was just a story but to my wife it was something that had happened. For some reason I couldn’t think about it other than as a story. A fat, sweaty, drunk man, dead on the floor of a hotel room. I thought about where he was now, about where Hector and Lawrence were too. Before I left for work I checked on my wife, to make sure she was okay.
    I drove past the hotel on the way to work and thought of the fat man some more.
















ilxy, photography by Peter LaBerge

ilxy/Sea Bulb, photography by Peter LaBerge














Russian Puppets

Kilmo

    The insurrection had succeeded in the end, although fires still guttered in the corners, and reps hung from the fairy castles fibre glass turrets. But the body parts that had littered the malls forecourt had been cleared away and the bloody smears washed off the glass. Now the rebels were consolidating their position in front of Santa’s Grotto, and the owners had been quarantined on the roof. Honesty Belle let the curtain fall and stepped back inside. The lights from the adverts and easy viewing channels were starting to hurt her eyes.
    ‘Honesty?’
    ‘Yes Mum?’
    ‘You should stay away from the windows, they might find your credit band again.’
    Mum had a point, the Towers fire walls were notoriously fragile. She fingered the Malware foam they’d sprayed in the inch wide gap to keep the pirates out. It still didn’t stop her shivering as the R Toys R Shite tannoy blared out hundred decibel publicity. Last week a pensioner on one of the floors above had had her credit sucked dry by a manufacture in Malaysia with a new franchise in the mall.
    The superchain’s signature tune echoed down the tower’s half deserted corridors disturbing the flocks of roosting migrant labourers on the landings. Short Towers didn’t have many residents these days, most people had left when the franchises came to town and work became so phony even the job descriptions had a smile.
    A tap sounded on the glass.
    ‘Not again,’ said Honesty Belle. She’d made sure the locks were screwed down extra tight, but if it was who she thought it was they might not take ‘no’ for an answer.
    ‘What’s wrong? Is it that nice young man again?’ said Honesty’s Mum from the bed where she was propped up on every pillow they’d been able to find. ‘Open the curtains so I can see.’
    Honesty Belle’s Mum had been ill since the Christmas before last when she’d lost her job at McCain’s Frisky Fingers. The boss had had an accident when she wasn’t looking, and they’d put her on sick pay after that. The woman in the flat’s one huge bed sat up and gestured for her to get on with it.
    ‘How are you? Harry,’ said Honesty Belle’s Mum.
    Outside the curly ginger haired figure on the pole reaching from the shopping centre’s roof jerked and twitched.
    ‘Not bad Mrs Belle, but it’s rather below tropical out here. Could you let me in?’
    Harry’s rouge spotted cheeks dimpled as he smiled his cheeky smile and shuffled his little leprechaun booties. Mrs Belle liked to tell Honesty how much she’d love to tousle his curly locks if he ever came near.
    In the distance one of the figures who sat on the rooftop gave his rod a yank and Harry capered about happily. If it wasn’t for the clouds pluming round his head you’d have thought the jolly figure was doing the foxtrot at a ball.
    ‘You wouldn’t mind hurrying up would you? Only I won’t get another opportunity till my quota’s filled,’ Harry swooped around until his face met the glass with a thud.
    ‘Fraid not,’ said Honesty, ‘personally I can’t stand the sight of you. It’s only because Mum thinks you’re better than prime time telly that we’re talking.’
    ‘But can’t you see,’ Harry scraped his face off the glass and did a little jig, ‘if we all just learnt to get along; the world would be a better place.’
    He finished off with a cheeky little smile and stuck his leg out like a courtier in a fairy tale.
    ‘Sorry Harry, I don’t like who’s on the end of your pole.’
    Mum could stare at the cavorting figure outside their window to her hearts content but Honesty was having none of it.
    She could clearly see the porcelain masked men on the shopping centre’s roof. There were twelve, all in suits with personnel badges on. One of them brought his rod back and launched another Harry shaped clone in Short Tower’s direction. She particularly didn’t like the worms she could see peeking through Harry’s rouge painted skin. As she stared something fell off and tumbled through the searchlights to the fires ringing Short Towers.
    ‘Well, if you change your mind there’s an all you can eat buffet tonight. Why not pop on down? The price is right even if you haven’t got credit, we’ll supply. At favourable interest rates of course.’
    Harry danced the shopping centre’s special jig and his toes zipped upwards as a white faced man yanked backwards.
    ‘Seeeee youuuuu soooooon.’
    ‘Has he gone sweetheart?’ said Honesty’s Mum.
    Honesty checked skywards, ‘I think so.’
    ‘Oh good.’

***

    The mall was well into attracting its new customer base when Harry returned. You could see the residents stretching half way round the block.
    ‘Oh, it’s you,’ said Honesty from her spot by the window.
    An explosion lit the rain soaked figure hanging outside. Harry’s jaunty pixie cap was hanging over one eye and his rouge seemed to have run, even his smile was hanging half way down his face.
    ‘I’ve been told to make you an offer.’
    His bells gave a little jangle as he tried to do the mall jig and failed.
    ‘Ooooh, what is it?’
    Honesty’s Mum had emerged from the kitchen like she was on wheels, all knitting needle elbows and manic grin.
    ‘If you’d just follow me Mrs Honesty,’ said Harry, ‘all will be revealed.’
    There was a thin sound like a line snapping tight and Harry was dragged into the night until only his face was visible.
    Mum’s eyes had gone all round and sparkly and her fingers were on the window latch before Honesty stepped in.
    ‘What do you think you’re doing Mum?’
    ‘I just want to see what the nice young man’s got. He’s such a nice young man isn’t he?’
    Harry shook his curly locks and a few clumps spiralled into the darkness.
    ‘You’ll get one of these.’
    A gold customer loyalty card slid from his sleeve. It was about then that Honesty noticed it wasn’t just rain pouring from the sky anymore.
    Mrs Bargains went by with her skirts up past her neck and her hair curlers following her down as she howled with delight.
    Honesty jumped a little at the sound of a hundred pounds of fat hitting slab.
    ‘What the hell are they doing?’
    She had one arm on Mum before she could join the other residents shooting past.
    ‘They want to be Santa’s little helpers, we even had them die themselves blue. Extensive research shows the colour makes people more amenable to suggestion, costs a packet too.’ The pole suspending Harry in the air jiggled and shook, ‘It was the only way we get them to enjoy the advantages of the end of year sales. Are you going to take up our offer or not?’
    Honesty was about to answer but Mum got there first.
    ‘Let go of me, I want to see.
    Her feet were on the windowsill before her daughter could pull her back. Honesty opened her mouth and shouted for help. When Rinse and Alot charged into the room they were carrying the door frame with them. The whole family had been on edge since the mall’s rebellion had started.
    ‘What’s the matter?’
    Rinse’s grin was so wide and gap toothed Honesty felt better just looking at it especially when Alot grabbed Mum’s ankles.
    ‘Oh no you don’t.’
    ‘But he’s got a gold card for me,’ wailed Mrs Belle as her sons pulled her into the flat.
    Rinse and Alot might have had an easier time of it if it hadn’t been their Mum they were trying to control. When Mrs Belle wanted something it was hard to stop her, particularly when she began jabbing you in the eyes with her fingers.
    ‘Look Mum, go to bed and have a lie down,’ said Rinse as he got out Mrs Honesty’s special happy pills, ‘I’m sure the nice young man will come back tomorrow.’
    He gave the biggest gap toothed grin he could manage and Mum’s movements slowed as the sound of snoring filled the air.
    ‘That was close.’
    Rinse never got a chance to continue, there were more residents raining from further up Short Tower’s floors by the second.
    ‘How many have taken up his offer?’ said Honesty.
    Harry made a spectacular cartwheel, with his wires zinging, and pinging, and swooped close enough to whisper through the gap in the window.
    ‘Oh plenty, plenty, enough to pay for the shopping centre’s entire rebuild.’

***

    Honesty and her brothers waited until Mum’s snoring was so deep and long you could move around the flat without waking her before they decided to make a visit to the Maori’s.
    ‘Her husband freaks me out,’ said Rinse and for once his smile was less than confident.
    ‘What because of the tattoo on his face?’
    ‘No, because he hasn’t moved in ten years, all he does is look at that wall. It’s like he’s waiting for something.’
    ‘So what?’ said Alot, ‘Mrs Maori’s helped us before; let’s go ask her what to do. Half the block must have gone shopping by now. I don’t want Mum joining them.’
    They tied a few extra knots in the cables they’d used to hold Mum to the bed in case she woke up and made for the door.

***

    ‘You still not left?’ said Mrs Maori as she peered through the letter box.
    ‘You know us we’re the stubborn type remember?’
    But Honesty Belle made sure Mrs Maori could see her smile.
    ‘Oh those men on the roof and his friends are nothing like the coppers that you met all those years ago,’ said Mrs Maori, ‘they’re much worse.’
    Mrs Maori crossed herself, she was a Catholic along with a half dozen other well-known religions. Honesty had once asked her if it caused her problems, but Mrs Maori had said she just chose the one that suited the moment best.
    ‘Come in then, I suppose you want to know how you can get them to stop. I have to admit I’ve thought about it myself. Those kids tapping at my window every morning are getting on my nerves.’
    Mrs Maori’s flat was full of so many plants it might as well have been a jungle. She said they reminded her of home, but Honesty wasn’t so sure seeing as she said she came from a suburb of Auckland. Honesty pushed a rubber plant aside and heard the slap as it hit Rinse in the face.
    ‘Watch it Honesty.’
    Rinse brushed himself down and turned to see where Mrs Maori had gone to. The flat was that dark you could barely make out a thing.
    ‘Anything happened to it yet dearest?’ Mrs Maori’s voice spread through the leaves.
    ‘No,’ said a man’s and Honesty heard Mrs Maori hiss in her ear a moment later, ‘My husband’s been watching that wall for over a decade and not so much as a brick has stirred. But he says someone has to stand guard.’
    As Honesty and her brothers passed the last of the plants they could see Mr Maori’s shadow on the wall, and the man himself in his armchair with his face all covered with tattoos. Mrs Maori brushed some cobwebs off his arm and said, ‘We’re leaving the wall paper on in case that’s what’s stopping them.’
    Honesty felt a match box tucked into her hand.
    ‘What’s this?’
    She held it up to one ear and gave it a shake.
    ‘A fuse, in the basement past the caretakers there’s some stairs, go down them, and you’ll...’
    Mrs Maori whispered the rest in Honesty’s ear; she didn’t trust the things that lived behind the wall.

***

    ‘This it then?’ said Rinse.
    When they got to the basement they found it was even gloomier than Mr and Mrs Maoris flat, except there wasn’t so much growing. All there was was cement dust and earth, and ribs too. Like the tower had been built on top of one of those creatures that were supposed to have lived before the dawn of time.
    ‘How many other rooms do you think there are at the bottom of Short Towers?’ said Honesty as her brothers finished clattering down the stairs. She knelt and brushed a hole in the dust until you could see the earth underneath, dark and damp, and smelling like a field in the morning despite the cement.
    ‘What’s that?’
    She pointed at the centre of the room where something was sat shrouded in dust and cobwebs. At first she thought it was furniture, or maybe some broken pallets, you often got junk like that in basements.
    ‘This place’s freezing,’ Alot shivered, the walls were running with damp. There were lights strung overhead, but he didn’t want to touch the switch. The plaster behind it might as well have been a waterfall.
    ‘That’s a tree isn’t it?’ said Honesty pointing to the thing in the middle of the floor.
    ‘Down here?’ said Rinse, ‘where’s it going to get any light?’
    Honesty and her two brothers looked at each other for a moment.
    ‘The fuse,’ they all said at once.
    There was a big metal box next to the door and underneath the grime the cables were black and red. Honesty could see what she needed to do. She jammed the fuse Mrs Maori had given her into the empty spot where the wires were shorting, and stepped back as the room flooded with light.
    ‘It’s an oak, thought as much,’ Rinse was about to brush the dust off its leaves so it could catch the light better when Honesty noticed something else, ‘and it’s alive.’
    The room’s floor bulged and rippled like the waves of a sea as roots twisted underneath the dust. Then the oak was surging upwards, pretty soon its limbs were knocking at the ceiling and Honesty and her brothers were being forced up the stairs.
    As chunks of concrete began to fall Rinse squeezed back down past the branches.
    ‘Careful, you’ll hurt yourself,’ Honesty craned her neck to see where he’d gone as she heard his voice from deep in the cellar.
    ‘I know what I’m doing.’
    He’d clambered up the side of the tree, and was sitting on one of the branches with a smile on his face, and he had the cables in his hands. They were spitting sparks like lightning now.
    ‘Don’t,’ said Honesty and Alot together just as he touched the cables to the bark and there was a sound like a man clapping his hand over your ear. Rinse flew backwards across the room with smoke coming from his ears. When Honesty heard him hit the wall she thought her heart would break.
    ‘Rinse?’
    But Rinse didn’t move as the lights began to flicker. Only the tree never stopped growing, tearing the fissure overhead wide so they could see the faces in their flats.
    ‘Let me go, let me go,’ Honesty fought like a wildcat but Alot had no intention of doing that as he pulled his sister over his shoulder and clambered up the stairs. It wasn’t long before they were so chock full of vegetation you’d have been lucky to get a finger through let alone be able to see what had happened to Rinse.
    ‘There’s no going back.’
    ‘You don’t know, he might still be alive.’
    But as they sat down and watched the tree smash its way through the block they both knew he wasn’t.
    Honesty’s shoulders heaved, and Alot pulled her close as they watched the tree travel the last few floors to the roof.
















MOTIF320 R1K, art by Üzeyir Lokman Çayci

MOTIF320 R1K, art by Üzeyir Lokman Çayci














Bleeding Heart

Norm Hudson

    I died this morning at 05.30. My soul left my body and flew to the lands of Venus, Mercury and Uranus. There’s blood on the ground. But I think I died weeks before from a bleeding heart.
    I’d been a prisoner for years. Behind bars. I’d got used to it. Resigned myself to it. To the fixity of the daily routine. There could be no deviation from it. Wake up. Eat. Watch the people passing by. No one noticing me. No one caring.
    The first few years I tried to grab attention by standing close to the bars and calling out. But I stopped. I saw how useless it was. The blistering blue sky and the searing sun didn’t help. I just wanted to be out there. In it. Free.
    Freedom was all I ever wanted.
    How did I get here?
    Trouble had always trailed me around. Even when I didn’t want it to. As the years passed, I didn’t often venture up to the bars. I retreated. Got used to the solitary confinement. Got used to the lack of communication.
    Until that day.
    She wasn’t young. But then I was no spring chicken. I remember her blonde hair floating in the soft breeze. She was wearing some sort of floaty organza beachwear. And she stopped. Right outside the bars of my cell. She started to speak. Of course I couldn’t understand a word of it. She wasn’t Greek like me. But I must admit I was curious. I moved forward a little. She seemed pleased. She said something else but when I didn’t respond, she moved off. That was when I felt the first pang. Like someone had plucked a string of my heart.
    The days changed after that. I looked forward to them. The sun was still searing and the sky was still a blistering blue. But I had something to look forward to. For the first time in my life. Me. A tough old jailbird like me. I was up at the bars by the time she left her hotel and crossed the road. I knew she’d stop. And she’d speak. It took me a few days to get up the courage but I spoke back. She didn’t understand what I was saying. But then there are other ways of communicating, aren’t there?
    I got cocky. More confident. With every day that passed. For the first time in my life I’d found someone who understood me. Someone I could communicate with. I knew she didn’t like to see me caged up. I felt it. The feeling got stronger after the days that followed. But even I was surprised by what she did.
    I saw her every day for two weeks. Then she didn’t come. But I saw her. Through the bars of my cell. She was leaving the hotel. But not walking towards me. She was climbing into a 4X4 parked outside the hotel. A tall, handsome grey-haired Greek (I can always spot a Greek) was holding open the door for her. My heart jangled with jealousy. It took me completely by surprise. He shut her in and loaded something long into the boot.
    I didn’t see her all day.
    The sky was sunset orange and the light had almost gone when I saw her. I’d been up at the bars of my cell all day unable to believe she preferred that Greek to me. She wasn’t that kind of woman. She was a faint shadow slipping down the steps of her hotel and crossing the road to me. She hadn’t forgotten me. She’d learned that guy was a waste of time. Her voice was soft. Low. Oh, how I wished I’d known what she said. But I was just so glad to see her.
    The light was fast fading and darkness was descending. Her hand reached up to the bars of my cell. For a second or two I felt her touch and then she was gone.
    I couldn’t sleep all night. Drips were dropping from my heart. I was bleeding. Inwardly. And I couldn’t stop it. All I could think about was her.
    Daylight dawned slowly. I still don’t know how she did it. But the door to my cell was open. I was free. She’d given me my freedom. I got out of there fast, I can tell you.
    I’d got what I’d always wanted. To be free.
     But it wasn’t what I wanted. Freedom was meaningless. Everything was meaningless. Without her. I had to find her. I hung about the hotel but there was no sign of her. It was as I was leaving I spotted the 4X4 in the car park. She hadn’t gone with him? There was only one way to find out. I hid in the bushes by the car park and waited. It was barely light. He came out alone. My heart hammered. He was more handsome than I remembered. What chance did I have? He opened the boot and put the same long thing in it then climbed into the driver’s seat. I followed him for miles until he pulled up outside a house. He tooted on the horn and she came running out. My heart leapt when I saw her even though she was dressed strangely. No longer the floaty beach cover-up but clothes that would have covered a man better.
    She didn’t look happy.
    What was she doing with this jerk? I thought.
    She climbed into the 4X4 and they sped off. I followed them for miles until they turned into a car park filled with other men carrying long things. They got out of the 4X4. She seemed reluctant. Her hand was on his arm. The one carrying the long thing. She didn’t seem to want him to have it. He laughed and pointed at the sky that was slowly turning from black to blue.
    He pulled the case off the long thing, threw it on the ground and put the long thing to his shoulder.
    The thunder that reverberated from the long thing disturbed a flock of birds still asleep in a clump of nearby trees. They soared into the sky. The grey haired Greek gripped the long thing tightly and tracked their path. There was a bang. One of the birds broke rank and crumpled to the ground. The man opened the boot of the 4X4 and a Springer Spaniel dog jumped out. He shouted at him and the dog ran off and returned with the lifeless body of a bird in its mouth.
    She was upset. And so was I.
    What an animal!
    She started shouting at him. In Greek. I was surprised. I didn’t know she spoke any.
    “Ohi! Ohi!” she screamed.
    The other men laughed at her.
    I had to comfort her. Let her know she was right. They were wrong. I moved over to be near her. She who had given me my freedom. She who loved me. And she who I loved. She looked shocked then alarmed. She bent down, put her fingers under my feet and picked up my small yellow body.
    “Canary! Escaped Canary!” shouted the Greek guy in English.
    Her elbow jerked, I lost my grasp of her and I flew upwards. Beyond their reach. I hadn’t escaped. I’d just been a prisoner. Like they were. All of them. Prisoners of ignorance. Prisoners of arrogance. Prisoners of stupidity. Except her. She knew what freedom was. The freedom to love. Love everything and everyone. And set yourself free. I’d been so lucky to know her. I knew that now as I soared over her head singing the sweetest song I could.
    I didn’t see him sight his gun.
    I only heard her cry of pain.
    “Oh————————————iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!”
    My soul left my body and flew to the lands of Venus, Mercury and Uranus this morning at 05.30. There’s blood on the ground. And on hands.
    But all I can see is her.
    Slowly dying from a bleeding heart.
















Bird Island, Chapter 16: Small Luck (Barn for Rent)

Patrick Fealey

    Bird stands in the window. Wawp is talking with the hellophone. “It’s two main rooms with a bathroom and a kitchen . . . It’s the upper level of the barn. The bottom is used for storage . . . The rent is four-seventy-five a month. We pay four-twenty-five, but the landlord is raising it when we move out. Yes, it’s got sun at every time of the day.”

    Wawp is talking to Bird with the papers. “Did you get that, Bird? ‘The town council voted unanimously against an extension of the sewer line to the north end of the island’! That’s rough. Do you understand what I mean when I say ‘unanimously?’ It means all of them broke a promise to the people. That council is one of many I’m not going to miss.”

    Wawp and Bird are laughing.

    Bird sees two humans in the yard. The humans are coming and they are humans like Bird. They hit outside. Wawp stands and walks toward the food room. Bird flies through the house. Bird hears the humans coming up before Wawp goes down. The humans are laughing, talking.
    In the food room Wawp looks at the humans and the humans look at Wawp. The humans look like Bird for humans. Where did the humans come from? Why are the black humans here?
    “I’m Jacqueline. And this here is my friend Yvonne,” the human in red says.
    “I’m Tom. This is Bird. This is the place.”
    “That’s a crow, isn’t it?” It has gold in its hair.
    “Yeah.”
    “I didn’t know people had those as pets,” it says.
    Bird flies to the talking one. Bird finds ground on it. “Oh!” It moves its head away.
    “He likes you,” Wawp says. “Don’t be afraid.”
    “Yvonne’s got a new guy! Are pets allowed?” the red one says.
    “I don’t know. He lives outside.”
    “What’s he doing to my earring?” the gold one laughs.
    “He’s in love with your hair, sister. He says you smell good.”
    They are gold wires.
    “He’s pulling on them!”
    They shine like the dawn.
    “Can I pet him?” the other says.
    “Sure. He likes it.”
    The red one reaches for Bird. The hand is white. It touches Bird’s head.
    “He’s soft.”
    “Does he come with the place?” the gold one says.
    “Well . . . I don’t know yet. I mean . . . He lives in the area. But we’ve thought about taking him with us to California. This island is what he knows, but he thinks of me as his . . . as his something. He isn’t a pet and he isn’t wild. He’s sort of caught. He’s been civilized.”
    “We’ll take good care of him,” the gold one says.
    “Well, that’s the thing. I try not to feed him and I’ve asked my neighbors not to. Over the years I’ve tried to make him more independent. As you can see, he’s terrified of people. C’mon in.”

    The humans move on to the big room. Eyes move and voices go up. Bird rides on the female with the gold as they move through the rooms. The humans talk. The humans laugh. Wawp follows, talking back to the humans.
    “Look at that ole tub!” the red one says.
    “Yeessireegirl!” the gold one says. “Now that’s a tub you can get into!”
    The gold one puts its hand on the red one and they are laughing. In the sleeping room, the red one says something close and low to the gold one and they burst out in laughter, scaring Bird.
    In the big room again.
    “Who’s the landlord?” the red one asks.
    “The Buckners,” Wawp says.
    “I know her. White hair, blue eyes.”
    “They live right here, in the house across the yard. She’s usually out there working on her garden.”
    “How are they for landlords?” the red one asks.
    “Honestly, they’re the best landlords I’ve ever had. One time we put the rent check in the wrong mailbox. They have two, one which they don’t use. That’s the one I put the rent in. The Smiths waited almost a month before they asked about it.”
    “I want it.”
    “Good,” Wawp says. “Can you move in on the first of August?”
    “That’s perfect. I can talk to the Buckners too. I’ll give them a call.”

    Outside in the grass, the gold one says, “It’s so cute!”
    “That’s what my girlfriend said the first time she saw the place,” Wawp says.
    “Help me give you your bird back,” the gold one says.
    “If you walk far enough, he’ll fly back,” Wawp says.
    “Not with those twenty-four-carat gold hoops,” says the red one. “He’s not giving up ‘til he gets one of those.”
    “Alright, Bird.” Wawp offers his finger. Bird steps onto Wawp. “Bird is into metals. He’ll go for the dime every time, even though the nickel is bigger. Maybe a dime reflects more light, I don’t know. It could be genetic. Dimes used to be silver.”
    “Bet he loves quarters,” the red one says.
    “Oh yeah.”
    “Of course,” says the gold one. “There’s a bird on them.”

    “Looks like you found someone, Bird.”

    The human bangs on the door and Wawp leaves his food on the table in the food room. Bird has time, but Wawp will shut the window for days. Bird stands on the window edge and waits for Wawp and the human to come up. The human is talking, “I’m looking for something a little better than the Navy housing, but not as expensive as Newport.”
    It comes into the big room and sees Bird. It says to Wawp, “Your crow?”
    Wawp says, “Yes.”
    “Does it talk?”
    “Sometimes.”
    It walks fast to the sleeping room and it comes back and says “Thanks.”
    Bird watches it get into its car and turns back to Wawp. Wawp is eating.

    It is young and pink. no flower, a blanket. It walks slowly with its head down, looking at the floor. Wawp says things to it and it does not talk. It nods and holds a finger to its mouth. Wawp stops talking to it. It walks for the sleeping room and Wawp moves with it. It stands in the opening looking into the dim sleeping room. It strokes its long hair. Wawp is behind it. It stands and Wawp stands. What is happening? Who are the humans at Wawp’s house looking at Wawp’s house? Are these mates from outside? What is happening to the life of Wawp and Jess?
    “Is it quiet?” it asks.
    “usually.”
    “Hmm.”
    A car rolls into the yard below Bird. The female runs to the window, shouting: “There’s the sonofabitch!” Bird jumps. “Holy shit! <>IDid you see that bird?” it screams at Wawp.
    Bird lands on the roof.
    Bird flies down to the window ledge as the human goes into the house. Wawp lets it in. In the food room, it pushes past Wawp and meets the pink human in the big room.
    “Whatta ya think, hon?” the pink human says.
    “It could work,” it says.
    “Come and see the bedroom,” the pink human says.
    Bird drops to the grass. The silver on the side says “CAMARO.” Bird flies up to the window. Bird drops down onto the seat. Bird does it. Bird doesn’t sit in it.

    Wawp says to the hellophone, “You’ve got a reporter opening in South County? A raise? . . . One day I’m laid off and the next you’re asking me to come back. I don’t know what to say. Can I think about it? . . . It’s just that I’ve been talking to these editors out in California and they really like my stuff, and you know me, I’ve been wanting to go out there. How about I let you know tomorrow? Stevenson . . Thanks.”

    “ICACREAM!”
    “How many people have shared an ice cream cone with a pterodactyl?” Wawp says.
    “I thought we weren’t feeding him,” Jess says.
    “We don’t know how much longer we have. He may not be coming.”
    “He’s more emotionally dependent on you now than he ever was. I was kind of looking forward to driving cross-country with two winos.”
    “Okay, Jennifer Juniper.”
    “I’m afraid when we get to California it’s going to be more like Roxanne.”
    “Bird will make an easy first client.”
    “I can see Bird as a pimp, but quarters and clothes pins aren’t going to cut it.”
    “ICACREAM!”
    “He’s got the food words,” Wawp says.
    “He knows the sex ones too, and the profane. He told Sue to, to ‘cuck-cawff’ today.”
    “Close enough,” Wawp laughs. “Why? I mean other than the fact that she’s a bitch and he hates her and she hates him?”
    “She caught him with the cord out of her sweatpants. He took off and came back without it. She called him a ‘sky rat’ and threw a hairbrush at him. He was sitting on the saw horses and just said it.”
    “What did she say?”
    “Nothing, at first.” Jess says. “I think he surprised her. She looked at him. Then she told him to ‘go to hell’ and turned and walked off.”
    “I bet she regrets responding. You know, it elevates this animal she hates.”
    “Probably.”
    “These birds have greater vocabularies than we do. they usually don’t use their potential. ‘caw!’ can mean ‘i want to mate with you,’ ‘come look at this food i found,’ ‘come here,’ ‘hello,’ and ‘i’m happy.’ context dictates meaning.”
    “Their lives are simpler,” Jess says.
    “Yes, but a crow can sing a symphony that would get him into Julliard. I’ve heard it. Bird can get down and into some wholly funky shit. It’s mesmerizing, like he’s singing all the parts of a symphony.”

    The sky is red and the trees are still. Jess is with Wawp and Bird. The white head human who talks and talks and stops Wawp and Bird from going is in the yard, carrying a brown bag of food. Its face is not the smiling face. It looks at Wawp, but does not talk like it talks and talks.
    “We’ve had a lot of calls on the place,” Wawp says. “Almost everyone is interested.”
    It is looking at Wawp with blue eyes wound and pale.
    “We haven’t picked one yet, but I don’t think it’ll be a problem,” Wawp says.
    “I was called by one yesterday,” the white head says.
    Wawp nods. “We thought we’d let the ad run the rest of the week and see what we have.”
    “No,” it says. “We’ve changed our minds. We don’t want you to rent it out. You just go and don’t worry about it.”
    “But it’s no problem-”
    “No. I know that Jacqueline’s family and they’re no good, believe me. They’ve never been anything but trouble.”
    Wawp looks over her face. The blue eyes are quivering. The white head turns and walks. It goes into its house.
    “I’m confused,” Jess says.
    “There goes the deposit.”
    “I don’t understand it,” Jess says.
    “I’ve seen it before.”
    “What was this Jacqueline girl like, anyway?”
    “She wasn’t like most of this town.”
















Bird Island, Chapter 17: Galilee at Dawn

Patrick Fealey

    Bird pulls in a wing and falls from the sky. Bird tumbles out of the light and swoops onto the rock the humans call Narragansett Island.

    Awh! Awh! Awh!

    The human has done it to it with the bottles. Bird catches fleas until the dropping tide exposes a carcass.

    The eye of the bluefish pops. The eye is salty. Bird watches for wharf cats. the crows are laughing in the trees. the day is here.

    Bird stands over the bluefish. The tail is in the water. Bird looks. The sun is painting the bottoms of the gray clouds blood red. The boats are still on glass. Cries from the white gulls, and the singing of little ones.

    fleas and flies. The human rises and pats off the sand. Bird follows it.

    Bird flies up to a wire. There are human voices inside the building and Bird smells meat on fire. A human comes out the door in a cap and more clothes. It talks to the other human.

    “Ricky,” it says.
    “How’s the fishing?”
    “Almost not worth going out.”
    “Oh.”
    “Been looking for squid, but not finding many.”
    “Need any help?”
    “I’ve got to change a net to meet regs this morning, all set with crew.”
    “Oh.”
    “Rick, there’s so little to catch these days, you’re better off on shore banging nails.”
    “Yeah.”

    The sun passes the trees and the sky is red. The wires on the boats shine. Gulls scream over dead skates in blue barrels. Then wind: a light onshore breeze brushes Bird’s neck. A flag rises and drops. It’s a cool breeze that blows the sky to gray. The sun is lost behind the clouds it had lit red.

    Bird hops down the wire. A human is bent over, shaking a machine that gives the silver coins. The human puts a bundle of papers into the machine and says, “I have two daughters in college” and goes quickly away into its car.

    The human Ricky leans on the machine and laughs.

    “HUGH GRANT MISSES THE DAYS BEFORE HIS FAME!”

    Bird moves on down the street to the ferries. The humans are slow, it is the bottles, and a dog goes without food, without the life. Four gulls stand on the gangway, waiting for the outsiders. The white ones expect and do not tolerate.

    Plastic. A human dressed in red, with long black hair. It is the doughnut human throwing food into the green box. In the bags bird can see the doughnuts, muffins and doughnuts, but the cats. They wait under the green box, under the cars. A human says “good morning” to the doughnut human and walks.

    Bird flies to the top of a street pole. The human looks up. Bird has been following it. It shakes its head at Bird. Bird has a human.

    The street is quiet, but there are humans working on the dock in yellow legs.

    The human Ricky says, “You wouldn’t need any help, would you?”
    “You’d have to be as stupid as me to work here,” it says.
    “Maybe, but down here that’s a qualification.”
    “We’re waiting to unload a boat at 7:30. I think five is plenty for the job.”
    The human talking is a yellow head with a smoking mouth. It is kicking the wheel on a shiny cart.
    “Okay. Thanks.”
    The sun is behind a streak of grey clouds.

    The rumble of boat engines in the channel draws Bird. Boats follow boats. Big boats holding humans with fishing sticks. Small skiffs with lone humans standing in the backs, hanging on to the engines. Boats pass by, out to sea. Humans go to where the fish are.

    No wires here. Sand and water. Bird drops and glides down to the wall of rocks, stands on one. A blue car rolls and stops by. A white head with a cap gets out. It is smiling at the human. Its face is tan. It is tall. The human takes its hand.

    “You look familiar,” the human says.
    “I’m down here 360 days a year,” it says.
    “You’re kidding.”
    “Nope. I worked my whole life to do this. I played minor league baseball. The Pawtucket Red Sox. Then I taught school. I owned a laundromat. One day a couple who lives across the channel came over to find out who was the owner of the blue car.”
    “You love the beach.”
    “Since I was a kid in the Great Depression. The camaraderie down here reminds me of the old days in Providence, when every face was familiar and people were not afraid of each other.”
    “Before courage went out of style.”
    “If we are just willing to die, as far as the I, me, life is beautiful. Big cars. Big houses. Clothes. They never meant anything to me. This is what I wanted.”
    “You’re a philosopher and a beach bum.”
    “This is all I’ve needed. This is forever.”
    Two yellow-headed humans look to the white head. “Who’s that good-looking guy?”

    The sun is gone, but the sky is light. Bird walks on and away and hops after the human far on down to the beach. Bird walks along the water in the sand and waves break and the white water rushes up to Bird. Bird picks at a clam washed ashore. Bird flies and sees it on the beach, turns and flaps and comes in beside it. The human’s feet are sunken into the sand and a wave rushes over his legs. It is looking down. It is a big fish, lying on the sand at the edge of the water. The bone of it is more than twice as long as a human and at the end are long whiskers dangling from the sides of the skull.

    “GET OUTA HERE, YOU BUZZARD! IT’S THE BLOCK NESS MONSTER! I’M RICH!”

    It is a coiled egg-fish. White foam rushes up around the fish. The big egg fish swims here. Bird ate from one at the salt pond. There is no meat on it for Bird.
















Bird Island, Chapter 18: Bird’s Death

Patrick Fealey

    WICKFORD – The sheriff came to town Wednesday to see about an outlaw who has been bumming clam strips off tourists.

    Jeckyl was liked and considered friendly by many, but to some he was frightening and aggressive.

    Yesterday, officers from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) destroyed the crow which had been making rounds to restaurants and gift shops for almost a week.

    Jeckyl, as he was affectionately named, had many friends and even spawned a fan club which had his image printed on t-shirts. He was shot to death by DEM officers in the lot behind The Clam Shack on Wednesday after the DEM received complaints from tourists and local business owners.

    Ed Collins, a pharmacist at Wendell Drug, said Jeckyl might have been sick. “He didn’t hurt anyone and seemed friendly enough, but he was going right up to people while they were eating. When wild birds act like that, you have to consider disease. Jeckyl could have been a Hyde.”

    Patricia Morris, of the Audubon Society, sees it differently. “We are talking about a highly intelligent animal, smarter than the men who shot it. The state came down here without warning. Nobody was given a say. Jeckyl could have been somebody’s pet. I’d like to believe this could have had a happy ending, but the bird was outnumbered by homicidal idiots.”



See past issues of cc&d magazine
for earlier installments of the
Patrick Fealey book “Bird Island”.
















cc&d

Lunchtime Poll Topic (commentaries on relevant topics)





Why No Moving It From The Bottom

CEE

(from my treatise, “The Color of the Club Tie: the cacophony of rebellion, and why the State always wins”)

phrase key:
The Monolith = the established order sought to overthrow
XYZ Word = whatever New Idea ignites hearts and minds

    Poison, is relative, if a poison of words. Like my Hated Enemy, alcohol, its effect varies, not always with its own power, not always with the loyalty of those exposed. One may reach a soul better, if their very world, is not the tavern. In case of poison as acceptance/defense of Reality daily fed, we’ve seen it is foolish to seek “help”, let alone champions, among brewmasters. Power elite, exist in a world insular, and insular for purposes. To help anyone, save anyone, assist them, rescue them, bring them on board, the forum, then, is not within walls, but out on the street. Where all may hear, and many may be brought on board. Where there can come a new distillation, free from poison accepted by rote. Where there is room for many, their needs, and a uniting thereof. The Top, is indoors, seduced. Only in air, open, free, can one listen, or hear at all. It is here we find all of humanity together as we might conceive. Wrapped caduceus as both insult and honor, these are The Bottom.
    If we speak of “the bottom”, rhetoric generally indicates we speak of The People, much as from before my birth until years after The Morton Downey, Jr. Show, it was “The Little Guy”. The bottom, due to imagery and a conceptualizing innate, seems from gut level, to hold more (99%, perhaps). It has breadth to it if no power as realized, numbers if no direction, swell and sound if no form as dictated. Strength, not properly formed as the “gun” of whatever idea/movement/Enemy is seeking death of The Monolith. For sheer bean counting, The Bottom would seem very much the ticket, and it as human missile directed at The Monolith, at Power, is poetry, indeed. It makes Man using his shackles removed now a murderer’s tool, into the stuff legends are made of.
    There’s a reason why the staggering integers’ worth of those living the Fish Market/Portobello Road/homeless millennial/The Honeymooners as actual tenement existence—you’ve taken every demographic not pretending to do battle with the vested interests, or otherwise cast as the unrighteously wronged “middle class”, and in the proverbial fell swoop, made of them an ocean of flotsam. Not all, even few, travel the same series of locks and dams. Only a portion, though XYZ Word speak to hearts as magic, will flow as natural, course set. Each, is who they are at center. It’s one by one by one pick up of the Twin Peaks coffee cup in the Black Lodge Red Room. Only the quick spill, is as quickly consumed. Fortunately, these are Legion to become as ordered, and the rest of The Bottom drops away, insignificant or so needs be regarded. These, will come later. The numbers, the hordes who hath ears to tweak into antennae, are more than enough.
    Antennae, however, and despite the Internet, are not yet “us”, though late night talk try mightily with such guests, whose patter is worthy of a strait jacket. Human, takes work—some, any process, especially a farmyard or parking lot or auditorium of raw recruits, who have only heard the message and supped its “this ain’t the Monolith, as the Monolith is BAD”-milk, then very much enjoyed the burp it brought. Automatic fealty, not genuflection, not steel eyes, not marches across coals, is to yet be had via dog collar shocks of “Believe!”. Anti-Scam phone hackers with programming arsenals of flooding calls, are a miracle, but the thwarted scammers devolve to curses and angry screams. True Believers punchpressed through tech as “Do Not Doubt or There Will Be Pain”, are dead where they fall, after caterwauling like Captain Kirk, face upward at a glass-bottom light. Indoctrination, as what the term truly means, its only chance for effectiveness and lasting effectiveness, has to contain a human element at each point along its ideological food chain. To cop to a PI cliché, you can’t have all Indian chiefs and no Indians. For any bet of success, very much the opposite.
    In utilization of The Bottom, once all non-free-flowing vessels fall away, the army/structure/formatting/linking of what XYZ Word you hold as axe for The Monolith, has, beneath philosopher king(s), fewer and fewer, as power lines dead ground to groups small and moderate size. One or two, rarely more, are acknowledged as alpha and “leader” in their rooms of baseline followers. Such persons, in main hold more zeal in their cup, question less, work harder, show with shining devotion, the single mind. These, are not enough to connect each room and lot, encampment and commune, and by “connect”, I don’t mean “use cheap phone to plan the next jamboree”. Assorted groups of like core, might work well for churches (destroying some wholly, but, never mind). This sort of arrangement, made, say, the Key Club, a jot of America’s heritage. For a war of words into growth, to words and intimidation into growth, to words and the Monolith as Bastille become Alamo? There comes the link most essential, from Higher sent, directing Lower, on. This is the most vital link, and it is the weakest. It is a center not designed but destined to blow into sparks, which abdicates its heavy mantle for Belief displayed as dominance, and for petty power plastic as cultic fishers or scammy home salespeople. If you’re lucky, you get more plastic than rind. The link, that of the drill sergeant, the liaison from Home Office, the troubleshooter to enforce quota, the cheerleader of cold smile and hard ass. The True Believer from Outside, there to light a fire through regimentation, and regiment via lighting a fire. They outrank you. They make that clear, without ever getting that childish about it.
    God help you, if you thought this was a war of ideas, and that common ideas make for mutually supporting bedfellows. Middle management, is no one’s friend. One may nod to, cheer for, salute or spread the Good News of an idea. One may respect, revere, kindle loyalty, husband fervent belief in or, with faith/humanistic zealotry, “pray” to leadership in the form of an individual or one-digit’s worth of Saints With Fists. One will always, shoulder to shoulder, encourage, maybe even too aggressively, the comrades to each side or just behind...in many cases less eagerly, one accepts such aggressive positivity from the glaring smiles of those aforementioned alpha comrades (who control the means of productivity levels, UHUHUH).
    Conception, one loves, for one’s mind treats even that fixed, as malleable...or, True Believer, they kneel as to a lover, embracing the fixed as holy. Headship, through image or voice or place at podium, upon a plinth, one permits via marrying input—the senses tell us, and just as the holy words for which our brain redecorates, these cannot lie. They Are Ours, therefore we serve an idea and its philosopher king, as we have taken both in our mouth, swished them all around, and the spew forth, carries necessary bacteria of the I, therefore these things are sealed to us as Good Housekeeping ‘bots. We made the decision. As for the comrades, it is presumed all “I”‘s meld as with water finding its own level...that there might be a strongman within our microcosm harking a bit too closely to Jack in Lord of the Flies in affect, is something outliers (hello) will fast revile/fight, then flee/be cast out. The Alpha Ass in small group laboring, if more than tolerated by 9 of 10 and once challenge is sent packing, is in a prime position, and should realize it by furthering two truths in action: 1) motivation via even negative as positive, driven always toward 2) the play’s the thing! As those wishing quietly and without trouble to leave Fidel’s Cuba were told initially, “Be free though your work.” Given hallowed glow of ideology, materials (preferably more than a fistful) of The Chosen’s epistles as communicated, and locker room excitement ramped (yet, not overdone—the 666 of “drama”, taints, even here), there exist potentially, rows to become ranks, to move XYZ Word forward.
    What destroys this, by splitting Self and resolve, and initiative via muddying vision, is the aforementioned loyal sergeant. Middle management. Hoppin’ Bob, the shotgun kapo, in LIFE. The third in command’s second lieutenant’s assistant’s choice for YaddaYadda District (often because no one else wanted the post—this, even on the capitalist level, creates anal community infrastructure, but will stay on point). One might know them or know of them, or not at all. This person, battlehard no matter their little experience, must command respect, and stupidly, often attracts with vinegar. Or outright getting in peoples’ shit. They are cold. Wrongly, they adjudge they must be. The Hoppin’ Bobs, are given control, and The Controller, is not your friend. Teacher say, Student do, Danielsan. Except, this one can’t teach you anything but their own vision of the holy vision, which, bet me, won’t match yours. Their course has no room, not wiggle, not squirm, for XYZ Word to by one handsbreadth, hang a louie or a ralph. Hoppin’ Bob, is scissors with a mouth. Alpha Ass, is their own Hoppin’ Bob. And Merry Christmas, Ralphie, it’s the bully and his laughing ferret. Vlad and his Renfield. There exists a pecking order, and you and the rest, whatever is held in your hearts, are far back, deep in the pack, because you are the pack. Useful, but mind your manners.
    It matters not at all, there is zero consideration given, that without you and the others, XYZ Word is just a book, a CD series, pamphlets or ancient lessons from another land, or Leon Trotsky’s version of ‘how’. It is as nothing, that the process stops, comes to a halt, ends, winks out Swan Lake, like the little dot on an LBJ-era MOTOROLA, if you and everyone but Pinky and the Sarge throw rakes to the ground and hoof it. The notion that failure in the garden granted your personal Hoppin’ Bob, would play as End Result, is to HB and probably more to AA, incomprehensible. We’ve all seen too many movies with cults or cells or Maoist 24/7 “group therapy”. For every daring escape, every return to Main Street, the examples of ever-more-idolizing group fellatio of XYZ Word (“Ahh! It was always this way!”), dominate like Reagan’s America staying the 1984 course.
    Unfortunately for Bob and his asshole, the thinking process per reaction to action, is no such lock. The breakaway from flatline acceptance, began with Gen X. The trend, part blessing, part infection, entrenched, and there’s no getting rid of it. Conformism is now, too often, social show. SJWs, yes, there are armies, but no one can afford year ‘round tuition in perpetuity. Even Trudeau’s Zonker Harris, had to graduate. Besides, the pattern in Self, is the same. Plenty, will Sieg Heil...plenty still, will swallow whole. Infighting/grappling to dominate in microcosm, is familiar enough, if uncomfortable—the Alpha, might be someone you have admired prior, or a friend. Stranger from Not Here, Person You Don’t Know, Unsmiling/Robot Smiling Who-The-Hell, Corrector Overcorrecting the Parts You Liked Best, Stranger again, and Who Is This?!—ORDERING, embodies an XYZ Word not yours, a 2-D RSV which does not belong to you, cannot suffer interpretation, and in fact, didja know, You as entity mean very little, but to push and pull and link arms and perhaps be beaten or die, all for sound bytes interpreted for you, by a visibly unfeeling Other. If you are not in actual prison and this is not rape, you’re a sad panda, if you do not leave. Middle Management, though they carry a shotgun with elephant-hunt attachment, can only appear/communicate as cold, controlling, threatening or give you a major hit of “...can’t make any sudden moves...have to stay calm...the Police, 911”, assuming you do not make your bed in the same building.
    In the West, any chasers of holies, have a hole in their bucket, if (how ironic) they employ no wall. Barbarism in the Park, something then-new and stinky, will play much less well, if reprised. The Whatever Movement, needs to turn out pockets, sell its yo-yos, trade its Grandpa’s pocket knives. Shelter you, feed you, clothe you and otherwise perform as the best and most wealthy religious cult. Protect You through investing. Indoctrination, where you and others have a minimum of free movement, a bit of time for introspection, and God Knows, a diet you can call your own (or cheat on, then lie about, then act pissed about being called a liar), is paper-thin. It’s an indoctrination, surfed. If you won’t live the half-lived life of paranoia, the faithful just lost a ranker. It’s like walking off a job, except with more buzzwords.
    In the ocean of The People, there are visible gradations. Those born to burlap, judge cells by “what’s in it for me”. Seldom is the ‘what’, adjudged enough, and any muscle, incendiary or otherwise, costs. The People, those actually representative (as their salient factor is Not having too much time on their hands or too little advocacy funding their ideals), will slit a throat or hit a detonator or claim a hostage who won’t survive, assuming your holies and magicks have legitimate power to claim power. They don’t, or your logo already would wave in the breeze. The People as actual, as grassroots and street, here opt out, proceeding to ignore you. You’re the sound of a cap gun, the fury of “I hurt”. Few born to this station, find themselves in the bare rooms of “need to shit” evangelizing, but by severe cold outside, or for the snacks.
    If you were not born to burlap, Hoppin’ Bob and their molding of your melding, is the item to terrify, and from which to run (See Above). Boot Camp of any sort, exists to make your You, THEIR “you”. This works, if you’ve joined with full knowledge of the end model proscribed. The United States Marine Corps. The Catholic priesthood, pre-Vatican 2. Movements of Other-Thought, beneath the top level, dirty further and muddier and shittier and useless, with subjectivity.
    Again, look at the Monolith. Yes, it’s angering. How dare it say? You don’t approve. It crowds, denies, and too proudly. As any entity, it thinks damned-well of Itself. But it doesn’t pretend you’re its brubbie or sissie and then correct, upbraid, expect piles of shit done you didn’t choose, don’t want, don’t like, don’t see as necessary... The Monolith, is not a source of Love. It isn’t supposed to smile. Ruling control, does not drink from a communal bowl; in some cultures, dissent begins with this. The Monolith, presumes, but, yeah, hey, listen, it is Enemy, that’s the whole point. Your overseer, who wants the same world as you (Really?)—why don’t they smile? Why don’t they interact on a better, deeper human scale? Why is “equality” abstract, upon this ground, in this room?
    Strangeness. You don’t like them. Distance, as from the new jerk of a pastor, new “third man” in the store, new principal, new caseworker, new...the awkwardness of unfamiliarity. Local Alphahole, can be forgiven—whether you really ever knew him, you “know” him. A wider gap, demands open hearts and hands. The higher up ice maker, has come only to work, and the Idea, the mission of XYZ Word, is really the only relevant bit. Few of these particular beings, back off to being akin. You cannot know them. It’s some unwritten rule, rarely doctrinal. They’ll almost throw down, in not permitting it. Their strangeness in not wanting “like”, invites more considered dislike—and then, look out, it’s You who has the issue. Maddening! Who is this drone, who acts like a drone?
    A: They’re a drone. The kind who existed long before little buzzing kill planes, and who in the camps of the SS, wore a triangle. They’re the worst beings in the world. No real authority, either, but as permitted by herd instinct. No words of their own, but to edit yours. Always watching, and not to pass out stickers. Alsatian persons. No one’s friend. You are better off with no money, no support base, not a roof to be had and no friend at all.
    If the end scene in V for Vendetta was anything but childish fantasy, this missive, would not exist. Movements, must have genuine structure. Anarchism stumbles, as Group perception in Stage One, is permanent, due to “human”. Movements further must have unification of parts, as no sum exists without the body of All as pressing forward...and not by uneasy, dead fish handshakes of “this will get us the numbers”, the myopic doom of the Union Party in 1936. Human is not a sea as already existing, awaiting purpose. It may...theoretically, but I’ll take a chance and vote “Yea”. It better, as from The Bottom, the groundswell must needs become a Great Swell of Humanity, if the Monolith is to be moved, let alone toppled. For that, impetus undeniable, the stirring, is essential, for the becoming. Becoming, however, is impossible along this line, and though other roadblocks exist, I need throw up only the one:
    The speed of tech so to speed our lives and a highway of interconnectedness so blinding it models Bill Maher’s indictment of Trump’s “bees!” of issues...this, as daily focus, pacifies—phone payoff, oceans of images to drown, LOUD like heavy metal never thought about being (cacophony of too-much-introduced is the true “loud”). Imagine, overstimulation as pacification. Huh! What a play! Deliberate? I won’t go there, but burlap or silk, those who connect as MUST, are lost. Minds as won aside from happenstance of circumstance, beg containment. Containment as the faux Elysian Fields within Matrix, is the realization of FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. No Human Holies will get that, a “found as lost”, “chained within Utter and All”. Zeal as forward purpose, is in comparison, the slow motion dream. Wallace Fard founded The Nation of Islam in 1930, and by 1995, Farrakhan’s “‘million’ man march”, totaled 400,000 (See National Park Service records). There isn’t going to be a sea treading the grapes of wrath underfoot into what bootleg beverage you’re selling. The recipe calls for pinpoint focus, sustained, a grip never to be released because of what future is at stake. You can’t maintain that with one hand on your browser. The “whole ball of wax”, allows too much, too varied and incessant. Combative difference, pop-up, of the reality of too many billions. You’re first wanting a Launch On Warning. From ashes, talks might begin. This, of course, poses a more troubling problem.
    The Bottom, rich, deep, piled with willing bodies, is, in too-bright a millennium, tainted by Man’s (supposed) advancement. Human as the masses, appear flotsam to the critic or the self-believed “higher”, because of high finite diversity. This includes diversity in choice, preference, discernment... The Bottom, is whole milk disunity, unless truly, truly willing, which requires openness and singular focus. Tech cut with the mundanity of a life not of dreams, provides daily a little knowledge with access to greed, counterarguments, et al. It buys eyes, attention...ironically, buys minds it simultaneously jades against control/differing perspective. The Bottom as field of hearts and minds, is hardly white unto harvest, and anyone with XYZ Word in their hand, is back to cultic fisherman hoping for the wide-eyed outlier with nothin’ doin’ and empty as air. That’s a roomful the hard way, two generations ago. Now? And you’re wanting might? It doesn’t come from bad movies, and we do not exist in dreams. The time-honored strategy game, “Fox and Geese”, teaches the lesson: There is strength in numbers, yes, but the ‘I’ is as strong, as strength lent one to another, is moral support. Grass roots (or concrete), it’s a trust issue, once again, because it’s a Self issue. Once again.
    Accepting a remolding by hands as dirty as yours, hands uncaring, cold, disregarding and rude in their mission, is for the acolyte who holds perfection of idea, idealization of new thought, war for change entire, as greater—and not just philosophically—than Self, and self love. Those who are such creatures, broken vessels reaching out, are in shorter supply by the upgrade. One can claim that all of us are broken. The ‘how’, leaves social armies begging. Anger, a thing to channel, no longer is the property of a movement. Emptiness or soulish pain, is not strength to plumb. Horizons of workers, in simplistic sense, is indeed the answer, but you aren’t going to find one nth that, because 1) SOMEONE has to lead at every level, and 2) Jackass can’t cast out Son of a Bitch. “I Serve The _____”, is no longer but for very few, separable from “You Are Nothing, Shut Up And Serve The _____.” We are thus, back to “How dare you say?”
    Few, care if they gain the whole world. Plenty, no longer believe in a soul to lose. Very Self, surrendered? For what, in return? ...and if movements, words and ideas are down to trading, that’s Game. The Monolith, isn’t just sitting there; it has foundations sunk deep into the Earth. To a large extent, The People (Bottom) put it there. That they can damned well remove it if they wish, is a bar-level boast, and cheap to say.
    CEE






















Dusty Dog Reviews
The whole project is hip, anti-academic, the poetry of reluctant grown-ups, picking noses in church. An enjoyable romp! Though also serious.

Nick DiSpoldo, Small Press Review (on Children, Churches and Daddies, April 1997)
Children, Churches and Daddies is eclectic, alive and is as contemporary as tomorrow’s news.

Kenneth DiMaggio (on cc&d, April 2011)
CC&D continues to have an edge with intelligence. It seems like a lot of poetry and small press publications are getting more conservative or just playing it too academically safe. Once in awhile I come across a self-advertized journal on the edge, but the problem is that some of the work just tries to shock you for the hell of it, and only ends up embarrassing you the reader. CC&D has a nice balance; [the] publication takes risks, but can thankfully take them without the juvenile attempt to shock.


from Mike Brennan 12/07/11
I think you are one of the leaders in the indie presses right now and congrats on your dark greatness.


cc&d          cc&d

    Nick DiSpoldo, Small Press Review (on “Children, Churches and Daddies,” April 1997)

    Kuypers is the widely-published poet of particular perspectives and not a little existential rage, but she does not impose her personal or artistic agenda on her magazine. CC+D is a provocative potpourri of news stories, poetry, humor, art and the “dirty underwear” of politics.
    One piece in this issue is “Crazy,” an interview Kuypers conducted with “Madeline,” a murderess who was found insane, and is confined to West Virginia’s Arronsville Correctional Center. Madeline, whose elevator definitely doesn’t go to the top, killed her boyfriend during sex with an ice pick and a chef’s knife, far surpassing the butchery of Elena Bobbitt. Madeline, herself covered with blood, sat beside her lover’s remains for three days, talking to herself, and that is how the police found her. For effect, Kuypers publishes Madeline’s monologue in different-sized type, and the result is something between a sense of Dali’s surrealism and Kafka-like craziness.



Debra Purdy Kong, writer, British Columbia, Canada
I like the magazine a lot. I like the spacious lay-out and the different coloured pages and the variety of writer’s styles. Too many literary magazines read as if everyone graduated from the same course. We need to collect more voices like these and send them everywhere.

    Ed Hamilton, writer

    #85 (of Children, Churches and Daddies) turned out well. I really enjoyed the humor section, especially the test score answers. And, the cup-holder story is hilarious. I’m not a big fan of poetry - since much of it is so hard to decipher - but I was impressed by the work here, which tends toward the straightforward and unpretentious.
    As for the fiction, the piece by Anderson is quite perceptive: I liked the way the self-deluding situation of the character is gradually, subtly revealed. (Kuypers’) story is good too: the way it switches narrative perspective via the letter device is a nice touch.



Children, Churches and Daddies.
It speaks for itself.
Write to Scars Publications to submit poetry, prose and artwork to Children, Churches and Daddies literary magazine, or to inquire about having your own chapbook, and maybe a few reviews like these.

    Jim Maddocks, GLASGOW, via the Internet

    I’ll be totally honest, of the material in Issue (either 83 or 86 of Children, Churches and Daddies) the only ones I really took to were Kuypers’. TRYING was so simple but most truths are, aren’t they?

    Fithian Press, Santa Barbara, CA
    Indeed, there’s a healthy balance here between wit and dark vision, romance and reality, just as there’s a good balance between words and graphics. The work shows brave self-exploration, and serves as a reminder of mortality and the fragile beauty of friendship.

    C Ra McGuirt, Editor, The Penny Dreadful Review (on Children, Churches and Daddies)

    cc&d is obviously a labor of love ... I just have to smile when I go through it. (Janet Kuypers) uses her space and her poets to best effect, and the illos attest to her skill as a graphic artist.
    I really like (“Writing Your Name”). It’s one of those kind of things where your eye isn’t exactly pulled along, but falls effortlessly down the poem.
I liked “knowledge” for its mix of disgust and acceptance. Janet Kuypers does good little movies, by which I mean her stuff provokes moving imagery for me. Color, no dialogue; the voice of the poem is the narrator over the film.



    Children, Churches and Daddies no longer distributes free contributor’s copies of issues. In order to receive issues of Children, Churches and Daddies, contact Janet Kuypers at the cc&d e-mail addres. Free electronic subscriptions are available via email. All you need to do is email ccandd@scars.tv... and ask to be added to the free cc+d electronic subscription mailing list. And you can still see issues every month at the Children, Churches and Daddies website, located at http://scars.tv

    Mark Blickley, writer

    The precursor to the magazine title (Children, Churches and Daddies) is very moving. “Scars” is also an excellent prose poem. I never really thought about scars as being a form of nostalgia. But in the poem it also represents courage and warmth. I look forward to finishing her book.


    Gary, Editor, The Road Out of Town (on the Children, Churches and Daddies Web Site)

    I just checked out the site. It looks great.



    Dusty Dog Reviews: These poems document a very complicated internal response to the feminine side of social existence. And as the book proceeds the poems become increasingly psychologically complex and, ultimately, fascinating and genuinely rewarding.

    John Sweet, writer (on chapbook designs)

    Visuals were awesome. They’ve got a nice enigmatic quality to them. Front cover reminds me of the Roman sculptures of angels from way back when. Loved the staggered tire lettering, too. Way cool.

    (on “Hope Chest in the Attic”)
    Some excellent writing in “Hope Chest in the Attic.” I thought “Children, Churches and Daddies” and “The Room of the Rape” were particularly powerful pieces.



    Dusty Dog Reviews: She opens with a poem of her own devising, which has that wintry atmosphere demonstrated in the movie version of Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago. The atmosphere of wintry white and cold, gloriously murderous cold, stark raging cold, numbing and brutalizing cold, appears almost as a character who announces to his audience, “Wisdom occurs only after a laboriously magnificent disappointment.” Alas, that our Dusty Dog for mat cannot do justice to Ms. Kuypers’ very personal layering of her poem across the page.

    Cheryl Townsend, Editor, Impetus (on Children, Churches and Daddies)

    The new cc&d looks absolutely amazing. It’s a wonderful lay-out, looks really professional - all you need is the glossy pages. Truly impressive AND the calendar, too. Can’t wait to actually start reading all the stuff inside.. Wanted to just say, it looks good so far!!!



    You Have to be Published to be Appreciated.

    Do you want to be heard? Contact Children, Churches and Daddies about book or chapbook publishing. These reviews can be yours. Scars Publications, attention J. Kuypers. We’re only an e-mail away. Write to us.


    Brian B. Braddock, Writer (on 1996 Children, Churches and Daddies)

    I passed on a copy to my brother who is the director of the St. Camillus AIDS programs. We found (Children, Churches and Daddies’) obvious dedication along this line admirable.



    Mark Blickley, writer
    The precursor to the magazine title (Children, Churches and Daddies) is very moving. “Scars” is also an excellent prose poem. I never really thought about scars as being a form of nostalgia. But in the poem it also represents courage and warmth. I look forward to finishing her book.

    Brian B. Braddock, WrBrian B. Braddock, Writer (on 1996 Children, Churches and Daddies)

    Brian B. Braddock, WrI passed on a copy to my brother who is the director of the St. Camillus AIDS programs. We found (Children, Churches and Daddies’) obvious dedication along this line admirable.


    Dorrance Publishing Co., Pittsburgh, PA
    “Hope Chest in the Attic” captures the complexity of human nature and reveals startling yet profound discernments about the travesties that surge through the course of life. This collection of poetry, prose and artwork reflects sensitivity toward feminist issues concerning abuse, sexism and equality. It also probes the emotional torrent that people may experience as a reaction to the delicate topics of death, love and family.
    “Chain Smoking” depicts the emotional distress that afflicted a friend while he struggled to clarify his sexual ambiguity. Not only does this thought-provoking profile address the plight that homosexuals face in a homophobic society, it also characterizes the essence of friendship. “The room of the rape” is a passionate representation of the suffering rape victims experience. Vivid descriptions, rich symbolism, and candid expressions paint a shocking portrait of victory over the gripping fear that consumes the soul after a painful exploitation.

    want a review like this? contact scars about getting your own book published.


    Paul Weinman, Writer (on 1996 Children, Churches and Daddies)

    Wonderful new direction (Children, Churches and Daddies has) taken - great articles, etc. (especially those on AIDS). Great stories - all sorts of hot info!



the UN-religions, NON-family oriented literary and art magazine


    The magazine Children Churches and Daddies is Copyright © 1993 through 2018 Scars Publications and Design. The rights of the individual pieces remain with the authors. No material may be reprinted without express permission from the author.

copyright

    Okay, nilla wafer. Listen up and listen good. How to save your life. Submit, or I’ll have to kill you.
    Okay, it’s this simple: send me published or unpublished poetry, prose or art work (do not send originals), along with a bio, to us - then sit around and wait... Pretty soon you’ll hear from the happy people at cc&d that says (a) Your work sucks, or (b) This is fancy crap, and we’re gonna print it. It’s that simple!

    Okay, butt-munch. Tough guy. This is how to win the editors over.
    Hope Chest in the Attic is a 200 page, perfect-bound book of 13 years of poetry, prose and art by Janet Kuypers. It’s a really classy thing, if you know what I mean. We also have a few extra sopies of the 1999 book “Rinse and Repeat”, the 2001 book “Survive and Thrive”, the 2001 books “Torture and Triumph” and “(no so) Warm and Fuzzy”,which all have issues of cc&d crammed into one book. And you can have either one of these things at just five bucks a pop if you just contact us and tell us you saw this ad space. It’s an offer you can’t refuse...

    Carlton Press, New York, NY: HOPE CHEST IN THE ATTIC is a collection of well-fashioned, often elegant poems and short prose that deals in many instances, with the most mysterious and awesome of human experiences: love... Janet Kuypers draws from a vast range of experiences and transforms thoughts into lyrical and succinct verse... Recommended as poetic fare that will titillate the palate in its imagery and imaginative creations.

    Mark Blickley, writer: The precursor to the magazine title (Children, Churches and Daddies) is very moving. “Scars” is also an excellent prose poem. I never really thought about scars as being a form of nostalgia. But in the poem it also represents courage and warmth. I look forward to finishing the book.

    You Have to be Published to be Appreciated.
    Do you want to be heard? Contact Children, Churches and Daddies about book and chapbook publishing. These reviews can be yours. Scars Publications, attention J. Kuypers - you can write for yourself or you can write for an audience. It’s your call...

email

    Dorrance Publishing Co., Pittsburgh, PA: “Hope Chest in the Attic” captures the complexity of human nature and reveals startling yet profound discernments about the travesties that surge through the course of life. This collection of poetry, prose and artwork reflects sensitivity toward feminist issues concerning abuse, sexism and equality. It also probes the emotional torrent that people may experience as a reaction to the delicate topics of death, love and family. “Chain Smoking” depicts the emotional distress that afflicted a friend while he struggled to clarify his sexual ambiguity. Not only does this thought-provoking profile address the plight that homosexuals face in a homophobic society, it also characterizes the essence of friendship. “The room of the rape” is a passionate representation of the suffering rape victims experience. Vivid descriptions, rich symbolism, and candid expressions paint a shocking portrait of victory over the gripping fear that consumes the soul after a painful exploitation.

 

    Dusty Dog Reviews, CA (on knife): These poems document a very complicated internal response to the feminine side of social existence. And as the book proceeds the poems become increasingly psychologically complex and, ultimately, fascinating and genuinely rewarding.
Children, Churches and Daddies. It speaks for itself.

 

    Dusty Dog Reviews (on Without You): She open with a poem of her own devising, which has that wintry atmosphere demonstrated in the movie version of Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago. The atmosphere of wintry white and cold, gloriously murderous cold, stark raging cold, numbing and brutalizing cold, appears almost as a character who announces to his audience, “Wisdom occurs only after a laboriously magnificent disappointment.” Alas, that our Dusty Dog for mat cannot do justice to Ms. Kuypers’ very personal layering of her poem across the page.
    Children, Churches and Daddies. It speaks for itself.

    Debra Purdy Kong, writer, British Columbia, Canada (on Children, Churches and Daddies): I like the magazine a lot. I like the spacious lay-out and the different coloured pages and the variety of writer’s styles. Too many literary magazines read as if everyone graduated from the same course. We need to collect more voices like these and send them everywhere.

    Fithian Press, Santa Barbara, CA: Indeed, there’s a healthy balance here between wit and dark vision, romance and reality, just as there’s a good balance between words and graphics. The work shows brave self-exploration, and serves as a reminder of mortality and the fragile beauty of friendship.



Children, Churches and Daddies
the UN-religious, NON-family oriented literary and art magazine
Scars Publications and Design

ccandd96@scars.tv
http://scars.tv/ccd

Publishers/Designers Of
Children, Churches and Daddies magazine
cc+d Ezines
The Burning mini poem books
God Eyes mini poem books
The Poetry Wall Calendar
The Poetry Box
The Poetry Sampler
Mom’s Favorite Vase Newsletters
Reverberate Music Magazine
Down In The Dirt magazine
Freedom and Strength Press forum
plus assorted chapbooks and books
music, poetry compact discs
live performances of songs and readings

Sponsors Of
past editions:
Poetry Chapbook Contest, Poetry Book Contest
Prose Chapbook Contest, Prose Book Contest
Poetry Calendar Contest
current editions:
Editor’s Choice Award (writing and web sites)
Collection Volumes

Children, Churches and Daddies (founded 1993) has been written and researched by political groups and writers from the United States, Canada, England, India, Italy, Malta, Norway and Turkey. Regular features provide coverage of environmental, political and social issues (via news and philosophy) as well as fiction and poetry, and act as an information and education source. Children, Churches and Daddies is the leading magazine for this combination of information, education and entertainment.
Children, Churches and Daddies (ISSN 1068-5154) is published quarterly by Scars Publications and Design, attn: Janet Kuypers. Contact us via snail-mail or e-mail (ccandd96@scars.tv) for subscription rates or prices for annual collection books.
To contributors: No racist, sexist or blatantly homophobic material. No originals; if mailed, include SASE & bio. Work sent on disks or through e-mail preferred. Previously published work accepted. Authors always retain rights to their own work. All magazine rights reserved. Reproduction of Children, Churches and Daddies without publisher permission is forbidden. Children, Churches and Daddies Copyright © 1993 through 2018 Scars Publications and Design, Children, Churches and Daddies, Janet Kuypers. All rights remain with the authors of the individual pieces. No material may be reprinted without express permission.