Blue Five Notebook – August 2011 (11.14)

Chairs by Christopher Woods

Artist, Christopher Woods: Woods is a writer, teacher, and photographer who lives in Houston and Chappell Hill, Texas. His photo essays have appeared in Public Republic, Glasgow Review, and Narrative Magazine. He shares a gallery with his wife Linda at MOONBIRD HILL ARTS: Moonbird Hill Photography.


Errol Hess

Trust Unraveled

Our words puddle well
below each others’ ears.
Where are these words
leading us? do we
really want to go?

Trust lies between us
wound tight as bands
beneath a golf ball’s cover.
Do either dare pick
it up, pick at its surface

to find the thread’s end,
to begin unraveling it?
What will it look like
all unwound, a pile
of flaccid rubber

strands tangled between us?
Will we laugh at it?
Will we cry? Will laughter’s
tears dry up in dumb

Where will love be then
when trust is unraveled
and we are rolling
on the floor laughing?

Where are these words
leading us? Do we
really want to go?

Errol Hess, a founding editor of Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, writes that he is “retired and living on a thirty six acre tract, full of beavers, foxes, raccoons, mink, muskrat, turtles, sweet gum, and oak. He’s building an addition to his house and dreams of building a small writer’s retreat in the woods behind his house.”


Martin Brick

Unexpected Resident

What if you turn the key, but find the door unlocked? What if you find my heels discarded by the door, my blouse untucked, my body as native to the space as the couch on which I lounge? What if there is a familiar scent? Your favorite meal slowly simmering on the stove? Will you then say, This must be home?

What if I speak your language? What if I speak all languages? What if when you close your eyes I open mine and vice versa? What if ours are two dreams in dialectic balance? What if breath is something you forget? What if memory is a coin of foreign mint that you find in the street?

Would you check your finger if you could not recall a wife? Would you check the inside of the band for an inscription? Would you expect it to be slightly worn and beginning to fade from a thousand slippages? Or would you rather test with a kiss? Wouldn’t it be nice to ask yourself in that way? Wouldn’t it be nice to forget that there ever was anything to remember, but just to trust the present?

What if you were on a train? What if I were next to you? What if I said, Come on, this is our stop? Would you follow me? Could something small take you? Could it be the pearls in my ears that once belonged to your mother, or maybe a bit of lace on my camisole underneath an oxford shirt? Your oxford shirt? Would that lead you to follow? Or would it have to be a gesture? Would I have to toss my hair over my shoulder in just such a way to make you believe you belong with me and have for years?

Or would it have to be severe? Would it have to be an exploitation of your weaknesses? Would I have to slowly shed my skin, a button at a time, leading you to beg your subconscious for confirmation? At what point would you whole-heartedly accept the situation? At the first sight of lace? At a navel? At that dark delta? With vision, texture, aroma?

Where have you been? Do you remember your occupation? Is it worth remembering? Ever consider just saying, Who am I now? Ever consider smiling despite what you body or mind tells you? What if this is who you are? Where have you been? I’ve been waiting and dinner is on.

Martin Brick was raised in rural Wisconsin, but now lives in suburban Columbus, Ohio where he teaches at Ohio Dominican University.  His fiction has been published in many places including The Beloit Fiction Journal, Sou’Wester, The Vestal Review, and The Corland Review Someday he will have a big yard and chickens.


Sue Blaustein


My cantaloupe wedges
lose their taste
when they get hard and
crunchy in the fridge.
The chore
of eating them
a feeling of passing time.

For when we were
minors, wrapped melons
were usually placed
next to dishes of Jello
in Holiday Inns. Only
waitresses could slide them from
the dessert case.
We had no authority then.

The County Extension has
a Help-Line I called
when aggressive sedum
caused problems in the garden.
I handled this because
choking harebells
can’t dial 911.

On the way to the beach, we
drove past the sign
that shows
a sectioned steer. The letters
above it spelled “Golden Knife”
the ones on the side
“Cold Beer”
There was a tavern
near that market once, with
a fifty gallon fish tank,
and stacks of cartoon napkins
you could read by its wavy light.

Petting zoos still relax me, so
when we went back
to Space Farms,
I spent
seventy five cents on pellets
and fed every miniature goat.
Fallow deer came to the fence
but the zebu and hundred fifty
year old tortoise
never even woke up.

A suave,
sharply folded
cream colored bug
crept around a bolt
in the picnic table top.

We scratched our bites
and scratched
our heads
and it got dark at a quarter to nine.

Sue Blaustein lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and works as a food safety inspector for the Milwaukee Health Department. Her works have appeared in New Delta Review, Isotope – A Journal of Literary Nature and Science Writing, Wisconsin Academy Review, Wisconsin People and Ideas, and Verse Wisconsin.


Cherise Wolas

About A Dog

When I walked into the local police precinct to meet with a detective about the scope of my rights, I was thinking about Rocco, the adored dog of a long-ago life. Detective Mijon said, “Based on these emails, the hatred is clearly defined. The NYPD views too much love or hate as verboten harassment. We take neither extreme lightly. We can nab this bastard for aggravated assault. If that’s what you want.” Arrest and jail time for an ex I barely recalled. The skidding clouds tagged the sun; the wind stuttered in gusts. The New York atmosphere was heightened, freighted, weighted, and raucous, though, perhaps, that was just my insides. I could not picture his face. I remembered no husbandly actions. Bed memories had evaporated long before the ancient dissolution. Conjuring him, I saw a storm cloud of vituperative hate, the rain vitriolic: a weather system fueled by bastardized jealousy. Detective Mijon said, “A night in jail might ice those fingers spewing keyboard hatred into the great beyond.”“Hell,” the detective said, “If his finances are fucked, could be two days or more before he is sprung.” I listened to Detective Mijon outline my options and thought: the ex ought to picture Rocco when next he triggered ‘send’ on another venomous cyber-epistle. We married at thirty and soon bought a dog. The marriage was impetuous; the purchase of Rocco was not. His breed was researched, his personality dissected. Deficient as a show dog, he was bought for a song. He smiled and peed when I entered the front door that, upon a sunnier time, the ex and I once walked through together. Rocco was large, but imagined himself tiny, cushioned in the palm of my hand. Soon, he kissed my cheeks and licked the tears I shed alone in the bedroom. We owned him but a few months when a cross-country move was demanded; another fresh start. Released back to his breeder, Rocco was freed for pigeon runs and lilac-scented dirt rolls. Though we willingly walked into the cell, we left him free from a Manhattan imprisonment. When I walked into the precinct, I remembered that twelve-year-old day when the ex, on the sly, shipped Rocco to JFK, like cargo; in his twisted way hoping furry love would save us. By then I knew, as I should have known long before, we stood no chance. Later, I learned of the purchase of food, bowls, toys and more, stashed in a closet. Much later, I learned Rocco smelled my scent and stood guard at my side of our frigid bed. In those lifeless rooms we called our home, for a single hour Rocco ate dry food and stretched out on the flimsy blackberry couch, shedding his white Rocco hair and a few yellow strands. Rocco’s big body presence frightened the ex into yet another act that was wrong. That night, when we met for drinks and pasta, he was pasty. Suddenly loving, filled with detailed plans for our make-believe future, unnaturally acquiescing to all my suggestions, I knew something was more than merely awry. Another night filled with a fight. At dawn, our past thoroughly excavated, he admitted what he had done: too big to keep in our small place, in the early afternoon he settled Rocco into a palatial home with owners honed to care for a pure-breed who knew how to love. Much, much later, I learned it was another one of his lies. He shipped Rocco three thousand miles for a long walk to Carl Schultz Park. I can imagine Rocco, a grin around his wagging tongue, tethered to a new leash buckled round his shaggy neck, his new collar engraved with his name. On the promenade, the ex tied Rocco to an iron bar with a view of the river. KGB-secretive by nature, his get-away was, nonetheless, observed. A man out for a run tracked and trailed him forty blocks. A note, left with the doorman, was addressed to The Fucking Dog Abandoner. Sleepless and shaken by the previous night’s cascade of the ex’s excuses, about everything, I left to earn my salary, sneered at, despite his love of draining the bank for his personal pleasures. The doorman handed over the envelope. Inside, the jogger’s note simply stated: You don’t deserve to live. Remembering all that, as I should have, I said to Detective Mijon, “Just one more email from him, like all these others, and I will happily, at long last, send him to jail.”

Cherise Wolas is a writer, a lawyer, co-president of a film company, and a fiction editor at THIS Literary Magazine. She is at work on a novel in stories, and a collection of short fictions. Publications include Lilith, Sex Scene: An Anthology, Negative Suck, Thunderclap! Press Issue Cinco, Connotation Press, A-Minor, and Wilderness Literary Review.


Timothy Kercher

The Absence of Charlie

The space inside the hats
grows in absence

of head, of travel, of doing
what a hat is made to do.

The wool fibers are celestial
bodies separated

by the distance of his death,
the slow movement

of particles away, one from
another. His plaid jacket

on the back of a kitchen chair
is not just slung

there. To look out
a window is to not see

the snow, the sun,
but Charlie’s jacket

hung on the house.
To watch the TV

is to see the empty work
boots beneath

the TV table, an abyss
in the form of his two feet

so large the screen
cannot be watched.

To be in his pick-up
is to hear the silence

of a bluegrass music
he no longer plays,

and in this chamber where
absence is most present,

is to listen for the slow
leak of him leaving.

Originally from Colorado, Timothy Kercher now lives in Kyiv, Ukraine, with his wife and twin daughters. His poems and translations have appeared in Atlanta Review, The Dirty Goat, Poetry International Journal, The Evansville Review, Guernica, and The Minnesota Review. Kercher’s manuscript NOBODY’S ODYSSEY was recently selected as a finalist for the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry.

About bluefifthreview

Blue Fifth Review, edited by Sam Rasnake, Michelle Elvy, and Bill Yarrow, is an online journal of poetry, flash, and art.
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5 Responses to Blue Five Notebook – August 2011 (11.14)

  1. Another great collection. Especially adored Martin Bricks’ piece – deliciously good. And Ms. Wolas’s piece — love the form and the language. Goodness here.

  2. MaryAnne says:

    Superb, as usual. Enjoyed every piece. . . .

  3. I like the freshness and the variety! Congratulations!

  4. Nice work, Sam and Company.

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

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