Blue Five Notebook – January 2011 (11.1)

Topika by Leslie Marcus

Artist, Leslie Marcus: Karen Lewis, Ojai Arts Commissioner, writes of Marcus’ technique, “This deft brushwork, and ease and fluidity of painting, and pushing for color, is never more evident that in Marcus’ series of small female figures and portraits painted directly from life.” Marcus was awarded First Place: “Best of Show” at the Juried Group Show, Art in the Park, Ojai, California, 2004. Visit her work at Fine Art America.


Kathleen Kirk

Large Hadron Collider

I cannot find my heart
tonight, nor the moon. There is a star,
so the night is clear, the moon will be rising
almost as full as when it cast
long shadow branches down on snow.

This I can predict.
But I cannot find the Lovers’ Tarot
in its dark blue box.
I scan the bookcase by bluish light,
the glow of something coming true:

Tonight I am the Hanged Man, but upside down,
so I seem to be standing.
The Devil is the past, grinning downside up,
watching me writhe and strive.
The Tower stands its ground,

people falling or leaping off as if there is gravity.
The future is the Moon, reversed, a reflection in water.
The Hierophant sits on his throne as usual,
an underlying challenge to conform,
sad last card in this Lovers’ Tree.

But deep in the cold underground a particle races
toward another particle.
Gravity might revise itself as I do,
the world already spins,
my heart might be a black, black hole.

Kathleen Kirk works in a vintage bookshop and writes poetry. Her work appears in various print and online magazines, including After Hours, Apparatus, Fifth Wednesday, Poems & Plays, and The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review. She has three poetry chapbooks: Selected Roles (Moon Journal Press, 2006), Broken Sonnets (Finishing Line Press), and Living on the Earth (Finishing Line Press, New Women’s Voices Series #74).


Stephen Hastings-King

Second Non-place

She is blonde and pretty.  He is a shadow.  She warms to him after a drink or two.

She reveals intimacies through her assessments of television surgeries.  She falls silent between characters, fidgets between narrative points.

Later he holds in place the image of their interaction.  He spreads it out on a table.  With a scalpel he cuts along the edges of himself.  Blade paper and line flow.   When he is finished, he removes himself from the scene.  Then he repeats the operation with her.

The cutting liberates them from memory.   They become detailed color forms.

He puts them in a car and sends them driving along a back road in autumn, two loose bundles of attributes in motion through a glowing red-tree light under complexes of branches that spiral upward like capillaries until their edges disappear into soft dunes of fog.

She warms to him after a while or two. She reveals herself through assessments of television surgeries.

They drive through the same space again and again. Their passages rearrange the details.

The years accumulate in the form of memory of the many different ways he has felt about her television show intimacies.

This sector of the Zone of Forgotten Stories is an element from an immense stack, car atop car driving down road atop road.

– “Second Non-place” previously appeared at 52|250.

Stephen Hastings-King lives by a salt marsh in Essex, Massachusetts where he makes constraints, works with prepared piano and writes entertainments of various kinds. Some of his sound work is available at  His short fictions have appeared in Sleepingfish, Black Warrior Review, elimae, Metazen and elsewhere.


Pamela Johnson Parker

After a Teacup

            After the cups…the tea
                  T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

Always I loved best
           The Oriental sky, its sparse
                     Beauty, dreaming

           Of junks carrying
           Cargoes of jade, porcelain
                      Ambergris, black teas;

Ancient empresses
           Swaddled in twenty layers
                      Of silk, the thousand

           Messages of their
           Gilt-edged fans, iridescent
                      Pearls like the net-veined

Wings of dragonflies.
           With you I have learned
                      The pillowing books,

           The pleasurings, wear
       This lapis robe, its shiver
                  Against skin, its dark

Halo; unpin my hair,
           Taking it down so it rains
                      For you. I unfold

           Like origami,
           Wanting to be that open.
                      Your lips press against

The tendons in my
                      Neck, feeling the pulse race, race;
                      I finger the small

           Of your back, there, where
           It dips, the first touch of skin
                      Against skin cool, smooth

           As jade. Ribboning,
           Ribboning, to the tsunami
                      Of sexual love,

Coming down like hard
                      Rain, the slippery slap, slap
                      Of flesh against flesh,

           And you always say
           Oh, I’m going, I’m going.…
                      After clouds and rain

           We’re quiet, quiescent;
           Sweat beading your brow, tendrils
                      Of my hair clinging

Like tiny arms, as
                      The moon, full as a paper
                      Lantern, slips its cloud

           moorings to sail, sail
                      Over the sky, casting its
                      Blue-white light, the net

           Of a singular
                      Fisherman, seining, seining
                      The ocean of sleep.

Pamela Johnson Parker’s works have appeared in Poets / Artists, Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal, OCHO, and Six Sentences. She is also the featured poet in the April 2009 Broadsided series of poetry and art. Her chapbooks are A Walk Through the Memory Palace, selected by Dinty Moore as the winner of the chapbook contest sponsored by qarrtsiluni, and Other Four-Letter Words (Finishing Line Press).


Kathy Fish



Her brother returned late at night. He opened his arms, showering her bed with wrapped and tied things. His face in the TV light dissolving, reconstituting. I’ve seen this one, he said. And she told him don’t leave, I’ll change it! Her hands in a panic, feeling all over, knocking things off.


When they were young, their father sent mittens in red and green, forgetting it was summer there and that their hands had become large and grasping. And that now they ran shirtless like pagans under southern stars. They took his gifts and dressed up the tree like a sentry, a monster with four hands.


Her brother said careful, the snow globe! And as he moved his arms and legs broke off, broke apart, like kindling. The fine bones of his hands spidered across the floor. Gathered like that.

Kathy Fish’s stories may be found at Indiana Review, Mississippi Review online, The Denver Quarterly, Quick Fiction, FRiGG, and elsewhere. A chapbook of her work is included in A PECULIAR FEELING OF RESTLESSNESS: FOUR CHAPBOOKS OF SHORT SHORT FICTION BY FOUR WOMEN (Rose Metal Press, 2008). Another collection, FOREIGN FILMS, is forthcoming in 2011 from Willows Wept Press/Cow Heavy.


Bill Yarrow

Son of Goya

My father paints walls
My father paints walls
because the daylight is malignant
and his eyesight is benign
because dead trees mock him
because death’s weather
courts him, because time’s wife
spits through cracks

He has lost all worldly goods
all physical money. Where are
the friends to comfort his idleness
or cure his fear?
The accumulation of humanness
choke his breathing, yield no rest
All time is his
He paints his walls

The King has commanded
his demise, vowed to
make my father wear
an axe, to scissor
his eyes, set fire
to his skin, all to scratch
envy’s initials on his heart
with a pebble and a rag

Because his nails are too short
his strength too weak
his breaths too hurried
his bones too frail
his heart unsure to take his hands
and paint their fates
he paints his walls
My father paints walls

On the walls are monsters
cities, men, gods. Murderers
pilgrims, a witch, a spy
Two rifles, a woman, a dog
in the sand. These I see
These he lives. Poor Father
Housed in a private darkness
Alone on another earth

I am not against the darkness
I can learn to live with restraint
but nothing moves here in the ink
and nothing speaks. Nothing speaks
in terror of its voice, nothing but
the oily voice of my father
animate in the darkness
where all things hold their breath

Last week I returned home
and entered the house of a deaf man
disenfranchised of patrons
beyond the vile hearing of the world
I entered the house of Goya the painter
self-abandoned, deaf to light
I entered the house and saw Goya
sitting in misery, swallowed by darkness

Bill Yarrow is the author of WRENCH (erbacce-press, 2009) and “Wound Jewelry” (new aesthetic, 2010). His poems have appeared in Poetry International, PANK, DIAGRAM, The Centrifugal Eye, Pif Magazine, Rio Grande Review, BLIP, Ramshackle Review, and other literary magazines. His poem “Andalusia” was nominated by Up the Staircase for a 2010 Best of the Net award. He lives in Illinois.
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9 Responses to Blue Five Notebook – January 2011 (11.1)

  1. Errol Hess says:

    Very Strong, Sam!

  2. Beautiful works all. Congrats everyone.

  3. Great pieces all around!

  4. Matthew says:

    Good work Bill.

  5. Darryl P. says:

    Wonderful issue. Every piece so inventive and a joy to read. I read it several times just because it was a delight to do so. This proves that writing is alive and well in our very own times. It’s a moving experience.

  6. JP Reese says:

    After a Teacup is fine, fine work.

  7. Exquisite work, and I commend you for your selections, Sam and Michelle. I look forward to reading more of Blue Five Notebook.

  8. Pingback: No Effort is Wasted | Kathy Fish

  9. Pingback: 2011 – All Blue Five Notebook Issues, Special Issues, Features, Quarterlies, and Broadsides | Blue Fifth Review: Blue Five Notebook Series

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