Blue Five Notebook – (February 2015 / 15.3)
Artist, Leslie Marcus, born and raised in New York, maintains a cutting edge, continually taking her artwork to greater heights with passion and sensitivity. Moving to California in 1974, Marcus immersed herself in the Fashion World of downtown LA, creating exclusive, original and exotic textile designs for apparel and home furnishings. Derivatives of these designs are now found in her Contemporary Fine Art Paintings of sensuous female figures. Marcus, also an art educator, has taught visual arts in high school and elementary school. She continues to offer private and group classes in watercolor and oil painting. She has achieved numerous awards and recognition. Her art has been reproduced for wine labels, limited edition giclees, and fine art greeting cards. Marcus’ work was recently installed in a permanent collection at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in California. You can view more of Marcus’ work here. For inquires & contact at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
All Versions Are Subversions
An excess of spiders flooded the fields.
(The fields were flooded with spiders,
implements of the experiment.)
Mouths glued shut.
But the grasshoppers did not know that.
(The text compared to memory, for accuracy.)
Glued, not sewn, after all. Glued: Easier to do.
No need to be really chewed.
Imagination does the deed.
The grasshoppers, scared to death,
their poisoned chemistries catalogued,
carapaces ground to gruel, mixed with the mud.
Like ash pits and bone ponds, defiant of cultivation,
glowing blue as pools of radiation,
the shards guard their secrets—shorn, ignored—
but not to be uprooted.
Ann Lederer was born in Ohio and has also lived and worked in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Kentucky as a Registered Nurse. Prior to nursing she studied art and earned degrees in Anthropology. Her poetry and nonfiction appear in journals, anthologies, and in her chapbooks Approaching Freeze, The Undifferentiated, and Weaning the Babies.
It was Brad, for short, or so he would say. But really his name was Bradford, and he was a writer. He had almost always lived in New York. He was only half-white. His mother had run away with a black man in the sixties. Her father had told her to never come back to his house with that nigger with the big ass buck teeth and the scar across his face. Because Bradford’s father was not a pretty man. He had been burned in a fire when he was ten. They were on a farm, living in a wood home, and his father, a drunk, had fallen asleep with a beer bottle in hand and a cigarette in the other. The bottle fell and smashed to the floor, spreading brown-black liquid to seep into the wood. When the cigarette fell it caught hold of the papers by Bradford’s father’s side. Bradford’s father’s name was Samuel, by the way. Bradford never mentioned Samuel’s name; he only ever said “my father” or “dad” when people asked him what made him what he was, now. What made you so determined? Dad. How did you get to where you are now? My Father. Why are you so difficult? My father made me. Why can’t you tell me you love me? I’ve told you all this before. But on this day, the cigarette caught on those papers that Samuel’s father used to write on. Because Samuel’s father was a writer, and he had gotten to drinking because writers must feel pain to truly write. Samuel grew up to become a writer, too. And so Brad would always say that his father got to drinking and to making his whole life and family a mess so that he could write better. To be fair, Samuel was a moderately well known writer. And in the future, after this story is over, and to the disdain of Bradford, he will become well known like all the good writers do–posthumously. But at this point, Samuel was nothing. And the cigarette caught the papers and the papers caught the whiskey and the whiskey caught something else, and then something else caught something else and by the time it was done, Samuel was in the hospital with his face gone like a toy-soldier set to the fire, disfigured and ugly. His face was repaired eventually, though, with surgeries that destroyed the family’s finances. His mother, who had not been home for the fire, had to work multiple jobs after, and so did the father, whose work only became that much more beautifully painful because of it all. There was an author who Samuel liked, who would say something appropriate at a time like this. It might have gone something like, “so it goes.” Yes, so it goes.
Kevaughn Hunter is an aspiring writer currently living in New Jersey but with the heart of a New Yorker. Having recently graduated from The City College of New York, he is just beginning to explore what it means to be a writer. One step is starting a new Masters program this year. His work has appeared at Fictionaut, but this is his first publication.
Four Blue Horses
In the cold barn-light, four blue horses
breathe out particles of mist-air,
moving with weariness
expecting I could change this weather.
Over the barn was a single star
of lessening light.
There were days when I wanted to say,
the heck with it all.
Between the barn-blasts
and snow, worse inside than out,
chill stampeded in our bodies.
Martin Willitts is the winner of the International Dylan Thomas Poetry Award for the centennial. He has seven full-length collections including national ecological contest winner Searching For What Is Not There (Hiraeth Press, 2013) as well as twenty-eight chapbooks.
Hannah hums as she lays her clothes out on the bed: floral blouse, white flounced skirt and ankle socks, red patent shoes. Outside she hears the run-off from last night’s rainstorm dripping off the drainpipe: larghissimo
She breathes in the fabric of her top: sweet, perfumed, clean. She holds her white skirt to the light: spotless. She dresses and straps on her shoes, the patent leather reflecting back her solemn face.
Outdoors the hot air wraps itself around her. She feels her skin prickle, the moisture spreading across her back. She sighs. Still she walks on along Back Lane, nowhere to go, nothing to do; no one she knows here. Ahead she sees the boy she recognises from next door. She follows him.
He jumps a stile and Hannah climbs after him, picking her way along the fern-lined path. The wet fronds slap at her legs and large droplets of rain begin to tap on the hillside rhododendrons: lento.
She frowns at the mud splattering her new shoes.
The boy turns and sees her.
“Hi. You stalking me?”
“You’re the girl who’s moved in next door, right? I’m Steve.”
The rain’s falling steadily now: andante moderato.
Hannah pushes tails of wet hair from her face. She stares at Steve’s bare feet caked in mud.
“There’s been a landslide down on Lake Road. Want to see?” he says.
“Um, no, I’d best go back. I’ve not got the right shoes.”
“Take them off. You’ll be fine.”
Hannah thinks no, but slips her shoes and socks off anyway. The mud oozes between her toes and on up over the sides of her feet as she walks
As they arrive at the landslip, the rain thrashes down, bouncing of the asphalt: allegro.
Within minutes the road’s a river. Steve rolls his trouser legs up and splashes through the water. Hannah flings her red shoes down and joins him. They whoop and laugh as they kick through the deluge. Hannah’s blouse and skirt cling to her skin, stained with grubby rainwater. She doesn’t care – nor about the roll of thunder or the first flash of lightning.
Hannah’s dancing: vivace.
Helen Moat spent her childhood squished between siblings in her Dad’s Morris Minor, travelling the length and breadth of Ireland. She’s still wandering… and writing about it. She has won, or been placed, in numerous travel writing competitions, and is currently writing the ‘Slow’ Peak District guidebook for Bradt Publishers. More recently, she has discovered the strange and wonderful world of flash fiction – and rather likes the fact that she can create her own micro journeys and encounters. Helen has been nominated for the Sundress Publications Best of the Net 2014.
My spirit has unraveled,
a knotted hank of yarn.
I would invite it to become
with flecks of light, gauzy,
a long scarf flying over the city,
wrapping the world at its waist
just to touch what is, not
arrogant with change or even healing,
twining with strands of other souls,
glowing, decorating the globe,
a shield against cruelty,
a kiss on Earth’s forehead.