Blue Five Notebook – (November 2014 / 14.21)
Artist, Martyn Ferry, was born in London but grew up in the peaceful climes of Hertfordshire. After studying art and photography in Cambridge he moved back to London and spent a few years working as a commercial photographer, which put him off photography for a while, until he spent two and a half years travelling throughout Australasia and Asia where he well and truly got the bug again. Since then he has specialized in landscape and nature photography of all kinds, from traditional landscape views to experimental nature images. He lives and works in the the Cotswolds. More at his website, here.
That special something in the taste of wine,
a sense of place, underscent of soil and weather,
more than variety of grape or rainfall. That
matchless geography in a corner of a field
where bacteria and fungi are exclusive, a micro-
climate and ecology that informs the flavor
of tomatoes, chocolate. Even the qualities
of cheese by where cows grazed. You recognize
it in people who look like New Yorkers
or Parisians, or hermits in Appalachia.
Farmers reflect their land, carry in their pores
the scent of earth and leaf mulch, lichens
and old dogs. They might taste like goats’
milk, sheepskin, a bit of soil mixed in. Get close.
We all have a bit of spice and tang, full-bodied
or thin, we’re artisan made, blue-veined with mold.
Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, seminar leader, and has been a Pushcart Prize nominee. Author of six books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Penguin/Putnam), her poetry has appeared in Rattle, Off the Coast, Kestrel, Slipstream, American Journal of Nursing, The MacGuffin, Mezzo Cammin, Buddhist Poetry Review, and The Nation.
This seemed a sudden thing, yet she remembered nothing before. She was trapped within a snowglobe. A cozy home as those outside viewed it. “Look at the tiny lady safe in her own world. Shake it and watch the pretty snow.”
Still, she was real. She knew she was. Real and breathing but nevertheless inside a glass souvenir, showered by flakes of translucent mica, a world where nothing changed, a trinket on a shelf. She had become a whimsy, a curiosity. Whenever had she been born to such an existence? She could only remember today.
She needed a name — anyone who was anyone had a name. A decal banner was pasted on the outside of the globe at her feet, but decals are fragile and some of its message had eroded. She squinted at the backward letters, LAVIN_A_ RETNIW RINEVUOS, and chose the first six letters as her name. “Lavina.” When she whispered it aloud, it rolled around inside her globe and returned to her ears quite nicely. “Lavina. My name is Lavina.”
Errant as the mica flakes, snippets from another time, another place fluttered about her head. She ran windblown in green summers, carefree with friends. She skipped along a nameless sidewalk, clothed in other than velvet winter leggings and an ermine muff. She stared down at her reflection on her miniature ice pond and saw herself, Lavina, poised now the forever dancer. She knew she remembered, and she vowed to reclaim her life outside the globe, though with each remembrance there was, of course, increasingly more to be remembered.
If she craned her neck just so, she could see the neighbors who shared her curio shelf. To her right stood a carved wooden couple, Swiss or German from their dress. True to stereotype, they were stoic, keeping to themselves in Teutonic indifference. Lavina muttered, “Snobs,” and deemed their painted attire in garish taste. They themselves were outside the globe, yet made no attempt to escape the shelf, which she found most odd.
By rolling her eyes to the left she glimpsed a porcelain Buddha painted in exquisite harmonies. He must be a new neighbor. Surely I would have noticed someone so grand. He beamed a benign, welcoming smile and Lavina tried to call, “Yoo hoo. Hello,” but her voice echoed inside her globe. The Buddha did in fact nod his head, up and down, up and down ever so slightly. Pleased by his reassurance, whenever she remembered he was there, she called, “Yoo hoo,” and he nodded. She felt a sense of accomplishment in the communication, certain that he too treasured their friendship.
The drapes in the room where the shelf was, where Lavina was, seemed perpetually drawn, so it was difficult to peer very far into the dusk. When the maid came in to dust her (and to dust her neighbors as well) the drapes were opened for a brief period and the light was blinding. Then they were closed again, and there didn’t appear to be any pattern to it that she could surmise. Had it always been this dark? She reasoned that her vision must be fine, because wasn’t she young? After all, the young have no use for glasses. The young race giddy through grassy fields, cherry juice staining their lips. Yes, she was most certainly young.
Having nothing better to do, she plotted a marvelous escape. “I will learn to move and I will rock the globe and push it off the shelf and I will run away when it smashes!” Or, “Some clumsy maid will break this silly trinket when dusting, and I shall parachute from this perch down to a perfect landing.” Or, the best plan thus far, “That wretched boy in the white coat who shakes me so hard that my eyes spin will throw the globe like a real snowball, and it will shatter upon impact, and I shall be free.”
Perhaps an errant earthquake would tremble this anonymous spot and rattle the building to its core. Why not a tsunami wending its way up the river — or were those only near the ocean? Maybe a wayward cat’s tail would sweep her onto the floor; it flickered through her memory that she much preferred dogs to cats, though she lost the thread of the logic immediately.
So many plans whirled within her ermine-hatted little head that the mica flakes shuddered with her thoughts. And Lavina remained, forever in winter, biding her time.
Every day was a day of fresh remembering, inside the snowglobe.
Mara Buck writes and paints in a self-constructed hideaway in the Maine woods. She has won awards or been short-listed by the Faulkner Society, the Hackney Awards, Carpe Articulum, and Maravillosa, with work in Drunken Boat, Huffington Post, Crack the Spine, Carpe Articulum, Apocrypha and Abstractions, Living Waters, Orion, Pithead Chapel, Poems For Haiti, The Lake, Diverse Voices Anthology, and others. Current projects include a novel and a collection of strange Maine stories.
Willie Nelson Sings the Blues
Indifference nestles in between them like feline dismissal,
Melts old dreams forms them into ice-age conundrums.
Time replaces sensual night dreams,
Populates them with reality-less, reality stars.
Passion’s vacuumed away like dust bunnies under an inert bed.
Only the cPap whispers sweet-nothings to him into the night,
Accompanied by discordant, slurping susurrations.
Light his evening skies
Dresses them in lethargic robes.
Between them, two shores divided by a deeper sea,
soulful goodnights meted out in dram-sized spoonfuls.
They undress and dress in closets
And passion weeps Willie Nelson tunes.
Sy Roth has published in many online publications such as The Circle Review, Toucan, Wilderness Interface Zone, Red Ochre, Danse Macabre, Larks Fiction Magazine, Otoliths, and Every Day Poets. He has been twice selected Poet of the Month in Poetry Super Highway.
Waiting for the Sun
Bert wants to go out. Bert doesn’t want to go out. Bert thinks of all the places he knows and he pictures himself in them, sitting in them, and he can’t stand the idea of it, the him and the sitting. These are the times, he tells himself, he should never leave the apartment. He tells himself he’s not going to—he decides he’s not going to—but then he does. He’s been doing this for a decade, telling himself each time that it will be different, that tonight will be the night.
For connection, of course. For love. For some form of love.
So he drives downtown to a café he thinks he likes, a café with a barista, Pia, he definitely likes, the barista who knows him as well as the hundreds of other silent, nameless customers she serves during one of her shifts.
He orders a decaf coffee and he sits with his books and his notebooks. He sits alone and he drinks his coffee and he reads his words and every so often he scans the tables and the fluctuating line of customers, watching them come, and watching them go. Many of them are coupled, tripled, quadrupled. Most of them—no matter who they are, or are not, with—are at their ease, are lighter, somehow lighter. Bert feels this, even if it’s not true. He feels his solitude and his weight and he thinks he should get up and leave, he tells himself he should—decides he should—decides it’s a good idea, the brightest idea he could possibly have at this moment in space and time.
But he doesn’t.
He stays and he questions why he’s there, why he left his apartment in the first place, why he ever leaves it. He has no answers, never does.
It’s so easy to forget connection. And love.
The anxiety mounts. The anger. Bert begins to feel unfriendly toward the coming and the going customers, feels like he’s outside a dance he hasn’t been invited to, or else inside it, invited and invisible, which is worse.
He looks down but he can no longer concentrate, can no longer read his words, and this is when he should definitely get up and go home, he knows this, but a different voice tells him to stay calm, stay strong, tells him not to give in, not to let the tendencies triumph.
He finishes his coffee. He’s deliberate about the finishing, the pace, and then he gathers his books and his notebooks, smiles awkwardly for Pia who isn’t watching him, and leaves.
In his car, he knows he should point it homeward. He doesn’t.
He drives to a bar he thinks he likes, a bar where he will sit on a barstool, alone, and try not to think about it that way. For an hour, maybe two, maybe three, he will flirt with an unwise intoxication. He won’t have his books or his notebooks now. He will, however, think of things to say to the bartender, James, who knows what he drinks but knows nothing else about him. He won’t say them, these things he has thought of saying, but he’ll continue to think of other things to say to all the men and women who will come and go on the barstools and in the booths around him. He won’t speak to them, either.
What he will do is drink.
Bert will sit and he will drink and he will wait, trying his best not to watch the televisions.
Kevin Tosca’s stories have appeared in Spork Press, Litro, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, and elsewhere. They have recently been included in Vine Leaves Literary Journal‘s and Bartleby Snopes‘s Best Of anthologies. He lives in Paris. You can find him and his work at www.kevintosca.com. You can also like him on Facebook. He’d like that.
A sea of plastic
fall half full
for this new life
in the moon
sneaks a taste
naked limbs for