Current Issue

Blue Five Notebook – (May 2015 / 15.9)

Mark Reep, Prayer for Direction

Mark Reep, Prayer for Direction

Artist, Mark Reep: Dreams in Black and White. Mark Reep is an artist and writer whose drawings, fiction, and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in American Art Collector, Endicott Journal, Bluecanvas, Metazen, The Word Riot Anthology, Fictionaut Selects, and many other publications. Mark’s moody, richly detailed charcoal, graphite, and ink drawings blur natural and architectural elements, often in isolated, meditative, dreamlike context. Titles suggest narrative − small mysteries, abandonments and reclamations, hopes built on ruins − but leave room for wonder. Mark says, “I draw found places. I’d call them imagined, but preconception doesn’t work for me. I value exploration, discovery at the drawing table, and I also enjoy refining detail and depth at an intimate scale– So my drawings offer viewers opportunity for close examination, further discovery as well.” Tools include charcoal and graphite pencils (Mark stipples a lot) and worn drawing pens (he sharpens those too). Dirty kneaded erasers, clean Q-Tips. A magnifier he forgets to use. Lately, bifocals. More about the artist here and here. Twitter: @markiedotpunk and Facebook.

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Karen Paul Holmes

The Woman Who Can’t Stop Taking Photos of Sunsets

Beauty hurts and feels good
at the same time: She can’t get enough—
Knockout roses give her a one-two punch.

Mountains slay her. The ballet stabs. She cries
when sinewy runners cross the finish line
or a bride glides toward a groom.

At 16, when Brahms spilled from Interlochen’s stage,
she tried to swallow the music. To hold
the cellos, the crescendos inside her gut.

Her summer self still hangs
in the branches of those Michigan trees.
She slept with Catcher in the Rye under her pillow.

Now she wants to swim the sun’s gold path
across Lake Chatuge, up the Blue Ridges,
into the pinking sky. Someday, she might just do it.

Or, she’ll pull the sinking sun
into her solar plexus. It will rest there each night.
And each day, bloom from her chest.

Karen Paul Holmes has a full-length poetry collection, Untying the Knot (Aldrich Press, 2014). Other credits include Poetry East, Atlanta Review, POEM, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, and The Southern Poetry Anthology Vol 5: Georgia (Texas Review Press). She received an Elizabeth George Foundation emerging writer grant in 2012.

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Tiffany McDaniel

Barbeque

We wore high heels so our feet wouldn’t touch the grass. In a circle we watched him flip the burgers and turn the dogs. He wore an apron asking us to kiss the cook. Our lipstick already smeared, we spread our buns and waited.

He kept his smile as he grabbed his chest and fell with the spatula in hand. His red apron by the green grass looked like Christmas on the ground.

We stepped over his body, the grill still warm, the flies stealing nothing between our teeth as we took the meat before it burned.

Tiffany McDaniel’s writing is inspired by the rolling hills and buckeye woods of Ohio, where she lives. Tiffany’s first novel, The Summer That Melted Everything, will be published in summer 2016 by St Martins Press (USA), Scribe (UK & Commonwealth), Signatuur (Dutch translation).

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Kelley Jean White

Ah’mere (You do the math)

one lb. birth weight 23 week* premie
two episodes of IVH** while on respirator
three older children in household, 12 months, 2, 3
four SCAN*** reports filed on the older siblings with DPW****
five hundred thousand dollars spent so far on medical care
six days at home before the December 24th admission
seven broken bones on presentation, both femurs, right humerus, four ribs
eight months chronological age now, blind, with recurrent seizures
nine lbs.
ten oz.

* out of forty (less than six months gestation)
** Intraventricular hemorrhage
*** Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect
**** Department of Public Welfare

Kelley Jean White, M.D., is the mother of three, a Quaker, an inner city pediatrician for more than twenty years, collector of stray animals and seeker after Buddha and nature. She has published two full-length poetry collections, The Patient Presents and Late (The People’s Press). She also has two chapbooks: I am going to walk toward the sanctuary (Via Dolorosa Press) and Against Medical Advice (Pudding House).

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Susan Tepper

Black

Slow, now, I have watched the summer sun change to a dark globe. Yet still you keep away. Our rooms, once bright, are the desolate chambers of a single mourner. Like the sun I have taken to wearing black. My dress and also my coat. A veil over my black hat shields my face. I have removed its single red feather that signaled buoyancy. Black gloves hide my hands turned to coal. I lift the kettle and it falls through as seasons disassemble. A black wreath for the outer door. Dear Petrov. There is no peace in this land. Soldiers such as yourself gathering in the square. They fill the smoky taverns with noise and music. More than one evening I have gone in search of you. I travelled the distance blending into night. Unable to see my feet before me. Discovery usurped all else: guns, bears, never seeing you again. I thought a glimpse for one brief moment. It would settle my mind. Then the woman turned, getting up from the man’s lap. Large as you are large. My body shuddering. I feared I’d collapse from relief. Pale, she looked at me and knew. I saw the pity. Shrewd one. I stood straighter, leaving the place to them.

Susan Tepper is the author of five published books of fiction and poetry. She is Second Place Winner in the ‘story/South Million Writers Award’ 2015, and the recipient of nine Pushcart nominations — and once for a Pulitzer in fiction for her novel What May Have Been (co-author Gary Percesepe, published by Cervena Barva Press, 2010. Tepper writes a column for Black Heart Magazine and hosts FIZZ a reading series at KGB Bar. More here.

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Anthony Tao

Sunrise at Mount Emei

The iris of day would return our gaze,
that was the promise: why we endured
eight hours of unvarying stairways
straining our necks, sweating anger.

We bunkered in evening’s stronghold
at an intermediate peak under stars.
A quick sleep later, we stood in pre-dawn cold
inside queue cordons for a cable car

wondering if we would beat the light.
Three-legged crows, we called in supplication,
wait to lash the canvas of day!

The sunrise
came immediate, like realization.
One moment the world was still as death
and the next it stirred with heartbeat,
rhythmic beeps on a cosmic EKG.

Now we knew the agony of Zhuyin,
the torch dragon who blinked the sun into being
yet never saw it. Or the sun, one of nine
according to myth, which the archer Houyi

shot to defend mankind, not exactly ashamed
but helpless as they crashed over the earth,
great torn sunbirds with wingtips of bronze flame
who had to die for mortals to achieve birth,

bleeding the sky a pink shade of gauze.
Through mulberry and mustard pines we watched
the lone sunbird Houyi had not shot
pulling the blood of his brothers

into its plinthed stockade. The condemned,
like emperors, do not notice those below.
They blink in waves of color,

another type of fire. In our humbling
we are numbered one, two, infinity,

what Buddhists consider the future
transfused to present,

ringing oranges, yellows, and blues
filling the hollows of what can be imagined.

Anthony Tao is a writer based in Beijing, where I edit the news/society/culture blog Beijing Cream, which has been cited by The New York Times, Washington Post, Gawker, and others. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Kartika Review, Borderlands, Prairie Schooner, Eunoia Review, and the Anthill.


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