Blue Five Notebook – (February 2013 / 13.3)
Artist, Blaise Allen, PhD, is Director of Community Outreach, Palm Beach Poetry Festival. An award winning poet and photojournalist, her poems have been widely published in anthologies and literary journals. Blaise is committed to the preservation of voice, culture, and language arts education. More can be found at her blog.
How they will fare
as characters in our books
seems beyond the point.
Which point ? you ask.
Whether or not it rains
is of no consequence
but our own
a half-truth bedraggled
by harsh perspective.
and then the welcome blur;
queasy ship of doubt,
no visibility in all this rhetoric.
In rotation the practice of parallel
becomes the game,
now shadowed in bruised flesh
now checkered with afterthought.
Eileen Russell is a writer, actor and poet whose work has appeared in Wildacres Poetry, Midway Journal, Evening Street Review, Epiphany, Blue Lake Review, Borderline, and Bryant Literary Review. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
The steam rising from the soup saturates my step-grandmother’s netted gypsy-black hair. I stand next to her on a chair and take turns with my wooden spoon. The windows sweat.
It is four A.M. Why are we cooking? Because farm work, housework, cooking, commuting to factory work take place round the clock to keep the tiny farm going, the farm that replaced the lives lost Over There.
My mother never sleeps. No matter what time I awaken feeling sick or scared, she is up washing the kitchen floor, cooking, cooking, cooking, ironing while we watch together her favorite old movies with glamorous Aryan stars, movies filmed while she was in a concentration camp.
The steam of the iron clears my sinuses. The sweet smell of bleached clothes soothes my aches and fever, makes me feel safe against drafts of the night.
Lost in the dream thicket to rescue Sleeping Beauty, sleepwalkers ourselves, our lives etched on dust motes, raindrops, snowflakes, on shards of glass that reflect the moon, dazzling and dangerous.
This must be what they mean when they say that time is not linear. Events that occurred fifty years ago are as vivid as the rings on my fingers. I can’t absorb current events. I’d thought by now they’d have emptied my brain, gotten off at their stations, but instead there’s no room, the cars are crowded, the windows steamed, past and present jostling together.
One sliver of evidence today: I am driving to work and my dead step-grandmother’s head is wrapped in the green steam of her pea soup. My mother floats in the sweet steam from her iron. How can I write this as a story if they encircled me in such round-the-clock safety of normal activity and I still never feel normal or safe?
All the obstacles to safety had already been overcome at the time of these scenes just after the Liberation from the camps. I have no story of my own. These are the scenes after the end. The chasm after the chasm, with that little precipice in between where live these little scenes that tell us life can go on, it trumps death, perhaps not sleep, but it trumps death, every time.
Gloria Garfunkel is a clinical psychologist with a Ph.D. from Harvard University. She has published short stories, flash and micro fiction and memoir in Natural Bridge, Eclectica, Six Sentences, Connotation Press, Every Day Fiction, Rose and Thorn, Thrice Fiction, and a collection called A Perilous Calling. She currently posts stories at the online writing community Fictionaut. Her blog of daily stories is called Querulous Squirrel’s Daily Microfiction Quarterly.
John of God, Painted by Murillo (1672)
pictures a kneeling man in a monk’s robe
lifting a naked beggar onto his shoulder
a bright light coming from the upper left
corner of the canvas attracts his attention
turning he sees a dark-haired winged boy
in a gold dress stretch out his arm in aid
NO ONE CAN BE A BASTARD FOREVER
Bill Yarrow is the author of Pointed Sentences (BlazeVOX, 2012). His poems have appeared in many print and online magazines including PANK, Poetry International, DIAGRAM, Connotation Press, and THRUSH. His work is forthcoming in Many Mountains Moving, After Hours, and RHINO. He is a poetry editor at THIS Literary Magazine.
He stands at the water’s edge and looks at eagles circling overhead. Two at first, then three, then four. He looks in silence and he looks with longing. Somewhere up there in those circles he is looking for his soul. The sun magnificently pierces dense white clouds.
I blow on my gloved knuckles to warm them through the wool. He used to look at me like that.
Beate Sigriddaughter, who blogs at Sigriddaughter.com, is a US citizen currently living and writing in North Vancouver, Canada. Her work has received three Pushcart Prize nominations. She has also established the Glass Woman Prize to honor passionate women’s voices. Currently she is working on a novel called Tango.
If it’s big enough you might go mad or hit the wall
Your house, your loan, the puncture in your heart, the ring on your finger
There are no endings at all
Not all dark places are bad in which you fall
Inside your head there is a courtyard smelling of industrial glue
If it’s big enough you might go mad, off the wall
You sprinkle salt on the cobblestones, first you stand then you crawl
There’s swiftness in your hands but you’ll get bored, grow old
There are no endings at all
Salt keeps things clean, help is on the way for all
Your lungs have collapsed, find something to do with your grief
If it’s big enough you might go mad against a wall
But I can fix that, there is no one else to call
The wind has been muffled, the world has been gagged
There are no endings at all
Demolish a mountain, look in the heavy clay for iron ore
You’re not contained by the drowning in the rainfall
But if it’s big enough you might go mad, hit a wall
There are no endings at all.