Blue Five Notebook – (November 2012 / 12.23)
Artist, Leslie Marcus: Born and raised in New York, Marcus maintains her cutting edge with passion and sensitivity. After her B.F.A, Marcus immersed herself in the fashion world, creating exclusive & exotic textile designs. Marcus now integrates her textile designs into her paintings of sensuous female figures. In 2012, her artwork was installed in the permanent collection at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Her work is currently featured in a Solo Exhibition at New Birthing Center at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital through December 2013. Marcus teaches private painting classes in her studio. More here.
Before Uncle Jack came over to visit
my job was to count the liquor bottles.
Then I had to count them after he left,
and tell my parents the difference. I
didn’t know why they worried about
him stealing a bottle, because the liquor
was hidden under the coats in the closet.
But my parents said I was underestimating
the demons of alcoholism and if a drunk
could find a pink elephant after gulping
a bottle, surely he could find the hiding place.
All my parents allowed me to drink was
Manishevitz wine. It was so sweet you got
sick instead of drunk. That was my deterrent
to drinking – suffering sugar highs
and counting bottles in closets.
Hal Sirowitz is the author of a new book of poems, Stray Cat Blues, which is forthcoming from Backwaters Press in Nebraska. The Hollins Critic is featuring a special article about his poetry.
Michael Dwayne Smith
My cousin, Guadalupe, makes a face, like maybe she’s seen Jesus. In a trance from French Silk pie.
She licks chocolate, whipped cream off her fork. Next thing she’s sucking the tines, and I get that I’m staring, so turn real fast to look at Tina.
“I never made pie,” I say, “Maybe I would, if you give me the recipe,” looking at Lupe again, who’s dipping her slender finger into soft, dark filling—licking it off, sucking the tip.
Lupe widens her eyes at Tina. “Yes! Give it! I freaking love this! This cured my cold!” Tina screnches her nose.
“What? You forgot I was sick? Whatever—aye.”
Lupe isn’t sick, we both know. Just bored. Her mouth needed something to do. Tina says, “Yeah, sure, I’ll give you the recipe,” takes my empty coffee cup. Lupe finally turns to me. Big, dark gazelle eyes. Says, “I knew you’d be here. Shit, Holmes, on a Friday night? Spooking your ex-girlfriend’s place? Anyways, yeah.”
“Ease off, Lupe. Tina wanted to talk is all.”
“I was born here all my life, cousin,” Lupe says. “I grow up with you. Don’t tell me.”
Tina sets a steaming cup in front of me. Lupe’s tongue wraps around another fork full of French Silk. “Shit,” she says, “who knew clothes could taste like chocolates?”
In the car Lupe punches my shoulder. “Yeah, I know that, Holmes. Clothes in the pie’s a joke—aye.”
I’m driving her to some fucked up location to track a boyfriend who owes her money from before he’s busted and in County. She crashed Tina’s place to flirt a ride from me. Again. She probably never pays off the tickets or gets her license back, so I’m guessing I have a lifetime taxi job—the Guadalupe Express. Shopping and stopping for pimps, dealers, hookers, bangers, any brand of tattooed trouble.
Pull up to the curb and see maybe a couple dozen characters mill around the yard. Porch light on, door open, beers tipping, heavy metal thrashing, glowing tips of cigarettes and joints. Her just-bailed-out boyfriend’s nowhere to be seen.
“Orale!” Lupe yells out the window, “Any you fools seen White Johnny?” but they mostly ignore. One space cadet trips up to the window, leans in on her, says, “How about some gimbly-gimbly, cuerota? First class. You and me.”
Mistake to crowd her space without her say so.
She slaps the kid, shouts in his face. “Not even, chavalo! Why don’t you take it to the Lotta Burger, pinche, and put some manaisse on it!” Bad looking boys in bandanas look over, start to get up … my cue to gas it out of here.
“A la chingada! You believe that stupid drug cowboy, Holmes?”
“Sam,” I say.
“Sam. Mi nombre es Samantha.”
“I know that, Holmes. Why you all serio?”
“Because I want you—”
“What?” Lupe adjusts her bra.
“Because I want you to take me serious.”
“Yeah,” I say, “Serious.”
She lights a cigarette, puffs smoke. “Shit. You a little old for me, eh? COUSIN.”
“Six years. So what? And second cousin,” I say. “Let me take you to the bohemia.”
“Okay,” she says, biting her lip. “Guess I’m soft for cute white ass—aye.” Hides behind a smirk, looks out the passenger window, dragging her cigarillo.
We get a table in back. Bottle of tequila, two glasses, cold lime. The band is Latin jazz, congas and timbales, so there’s rhythm in the air between us. I brush hair from her face. We laugh, drink, she smokes. She finds little reasons to touch, lower her eyes, lick her lips after tasting tequila.
I taste French Silk in her French kiss. “Yeah, I know, huh?” she says.
“Sam is so sexy a name,” she giggles in my neck. “But give it up with your Spanish. You won’t get none with that. Que lástima. Are we going, or no?”
Up on the hill, lights flicker in the desert valley. We sit on the hood, smoke a blunt Tina left in the glove box.
“Stupid fucking moon,” Lupe says, “always getting me in trouble.” She passes the weed, wraps arms around me, rests a cheek on my boob. “We can’t do nothing,” she says.
“I know. Stars are pretty, though.”
“Te quiero mucho. Because the stupid moon. You know that?” she says, crying a little. “I just can’t. Something in me wants to, but I’m scared, and I can’t, no way, I just can’t. I can’t breathe, this is so true.”
“I know.” Sky is speckled with red dots on wings of passing planes. I focus on my high, not the freefall inside.
“I know,” I say, eyes closed, her body crushed into mine—until Lupe wakes up from the trance, running away with daylight.
Michael Dwayne Smith proudly owns and operates the English-speaking world’s most mysterious name. His apparitions appear at Word Riot, >kill author, Monkeybicycle, BLIP, Pirene’s Fountain, Northville Review, Orion headless, Short Fast & Deadly, Right Hand Pointing, Phantom Kangaroo, and other haunts. He lives in a desert town with his wife, son, and rescued animals. Conjure him with the spell @michaelthebear.
Sara T. Einhorn
Now the sun is already setting on the drive home
Sometimes it’s already dark when I open the door
I wear boots over bare legs feigning ignorance
To the coming storms, the snow the ice the cold
My cat’s lips have a seasonal reaction as they swell up
Allergies the vet says nothing we can do
And an ocean length away he is warm
In the sunshine sweating in the heat
And I wish the weather wouldn’t change that
It would stay so I can remember the way
The water glistened on our skin
The way I reddened in the middle-eastern sun
The way we were glued together
By heat by love by knowing
It was fleeting and I
Would be getting colder while you were still warm
Sara T. Einhorn is a writer, painter, and founder of A.N.E.W. – A New Environment Works, a non-profit organization dedicated to single parents recovering from domestic violence and abuse.
Simon Sapperstein did not choose his profession. He was chosen. Born to two chronic complainers, he learned the art of empathic listening, or at least the art of appearing so, at a very early age. Though there were other paths he would have much rather pursued in life, it seemed that he so excelled at this one thing he felt himself at times a prisoner of his gifts, for there was nothing he did better than his work as a psychotherapist. Patients flocked from all over to be under the care of this kind and wise man.
Simon worked hard, often late into the night. His private life suffered. His wife divorced him and took the children who rarely spoke to him. He didn’t have time to date. And he had no friends. He tried. But there seemed to be no point. Friends just turned out to be like having another patient. If he tried to talk about himself it felt awkward, for both him and the friend. The friend would say, “Well, you know best, you’re the professional,” or, if Simon was really depressed, clinically so, which sometimes happened, the attempted friend would say, “Gosh, Simon, you should talk to another professional. You’re out of my league.” There was never any reciprocity. He’d be there for the friend. The friend would never be there for him. It was his childhood all over again.
As the teller of this tale I would like to say that something changed everything, a new love changed his life, a new interest changed his profession, finally, to one that was less draining, but no, there really are no rules in stories that can’t be broken and in this tale nothing ever changed for Simon. One day he had a fatal heart attack in the middle of a session and, although the patient had informed the front desk to dial 911, she also requested that she be refunded her copay because she missed the last ten minutes of her session.
Gloria Garfunkel is a clinical psychologist with a PhD from Harvard University. She has published short stories, flash, 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.
David W. Landrum
Love, As a Dodo Bird
I stood and gawked—
monstrosity below the Southern Cross,
dabbed splotch, color of shit
against the slate of seawater,
as you walked casually toward me with a club.
You knew your action would require no guile,
no stealth—almost impossible
not to succeed, to come back
empty-handed from the hunt.
Dodo, from dodaars, “knot-ass”—
stupid, big-beaked bird,
and soon to be extinct.
You saw no reason for finesse.
I had assumed, when you came ashore
and showed interest, affection even,
held me in your arms
and mumbled about love,
we would know our symbiosis,
balance of love/ambition.
But you brought pigs ashore.
They rooted in my habitat.
And dogs that chased me for
their sport and, soon, for yours.
You found you could
devour, and I was marked,
a flightless creature.
I was jeopardized.
Flight was my only possible defense.