Tag Archives: Summer 2015 (#6)

“The Boy Princess” – Fiction by Jane Flett

Boy with a Crow - Akseli Gallen-Kallela, 1884
Boy with a Crow – Akseli Gallen-Kallela, 1884

The grand finale of our Summer 2015 issue is “The Boy Princess” by Jane Flett, an unforgettable fairy tale that’s as bizarre as it is touching.

{ X }

EVERYWHERE IT IS AUTUMN, the leaves are capsizing, and yesterday I saw the boy princess in the woods. He was squatting beneath a stone bridge, throwing pebbles into the stream, while I watched from the other bank. I like to watch him balance. His thighs are sturdy—meaty, in fact—though I could see the muscles quivering underneath the skin. A pulse in the neck of a baby bird. His garter had begun to unravel, and the dirty end of the lace was lapping in the stream.

I didn’t want to disturb him. The boy princess is a paper sack of contradictions—part brittle sugar-glass, part thick, sure flesh. The pebbles made an empty thwack when they hit the water and I thought of wishes and wells. If I could be granted one true thing by the wish master, what would it be?

To be the stream, nuzzling at that grubby lace? No—

To be the garter, quick against his thigh? No—

To take the boy princess in my mouth and taste him, so sweet and slick he hurts my teeth.

The wish master gave me none of these things. I left the boy princess to his pebbles and reflection, and climbed over the rocky banks towards home.

{ X }

I try to pretend I can take or leave the boy princess, but of course, either is impossible. The moment I met him last spring, he crawled beneath my heart, and he dwells there now with sharp canine honesty.

I met him on the mountain of rejected objects one morning when the sun was fat in the sky. He was exercising his pet crow. That is, he was throwing scraps of bacon from a paper bag into the void past the cliff and the three-legged crow would swoop and caw and plummet, racing against meat and gravity, to rise up victorious with a morsel in its mouth. I didn’t know he was the boy princess then. I didn’t know the crow was his. But there was something transfixing about the arc of his arm.

The skin was covered in ragged black sketches. An owl’s eye, which seemed to follow me when I walked. A map of islands with a sea full of kraken. The languid silhouette of a bear. But the skin was also very pale. It looked as if it would puncture if you pressed too firm a nib against it. As if any line of ink would be followed by blood.

I watched the crow. It was lovely to watch the balance of his body as he landed. His back leg hit the grass first, then the middle, then the front, and the crow would rock forward, bob, and settle back against his tail. Every time, a gentle crow curtsey: Thank you.

“That’s a good crow,” I said.

The boy princess turned around. He narrowed his eyes, or perhaps it was just mascara smudging in the sockets.

“He’s not,” said the boy princess.

“But—”

“He might seem good. It’s because he’s got three legs, isn’t it? But trust me—” at this, he lobbed another morsel of bacon over the cliff top “—this crow is impossible.”

Continue reading “The Boy Princess” – Fiction by Jane Flett

“Dance” – Poetry by CL Bledsoe

The Dancers - Fernando Botero
The Dancers – Fernando Botero, 1987

“Dance” is one of five wry yet poignant poems by CL Bledsoe in our Summer 2015 issue, which you can order online via Amazon and Createspace. Copies are also available at fine independent brick-and-mortar stores like Bluestockings and St. Mark’s Bookshop.

{ X }

WE WERE ALL BEAUTIFUL ONCE,
some will be again if we
remember to let ourselves.

Grow your hair long to hide those
scars on your neck, your shoulders;
one day, when no one suspects,

cut it short and see that they’ve
faded. My neighbor only
smiles when she thinks no one can

see, walking her dog, alone
in her car. She’s beautiful
in a way that makes me want

to lose 50 pounds and ask
her to dance. I don’t even
have any interesting

shoes anymore; just nice ones.
The days used to mean so much.
Now, it’s all turn signals, slow

dryers. I’m not making sense;
this girl, she’s not exactly
pretty. I just want to dance.

{ X }

HeadshotCL BLEDSOE is the author of a dozen books, most recently the poetry collection Riceland and the novel Man of Clay. He lives in northern Virginia with his daughter.

“Red Hair, Red Venison, Brown Summer Sun” – Poetry by Jessie Janeshek

Sun and Life - Frida Kahlo, 1947
Sun and Life – Frida Kahlo, 1947

Jessie Janeshek‘s magical and mischievous “Red Hair, Red Venison, Brown Summer Sun” is merely one of four poems she contributed to our Summer 2015 issue, currently orderable online via Amazon and Createspace. Copies are also on sale at independent brick-and-mortar stores like Bluestockings and St. Mark’s Bookshop.

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WE’RE A FOX FOR ALL SEASONS             eat bonbons like bad pigs
      cry every rain for the bones of an idol
          the colts of an emblem
      the house-cat shaped hole in the tree.

We wake sick once a month   eat dried baby’s breath
      vomit hinges and hexes        track our black sex on money               since worms are inside.

 

All signs point to yes, unsympathetic.
      We spray piss, make it coarse
      since it’s not crime if it’s habit
            and we’re the white horse
      the slim beehived bride in the iron lung
      still watching          Dark Shadows
      in retrospect.

 

 

Author’s Acknowledgment: The phrase “the bones of an idol” is the title of a song by The New Pornographers.

{ X }

jessie janeshek headshotJESSIE JANESHEK‘s first book of poems is Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010). An Assistant Professor of English and the Director of Writing at Bethany College, she holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and an M.F.A. from Emerson College. She co-edited the literary anthology Outscape: Writings on Fences and Frontiers (KWG Press, 2008).

“When All the Trees Go Up in Flames, Only Water Puts Them Back to Sleep” – Poetry by Kailey Tedesco

The Fire - Rene Magritte, 1943
The Fire – Rene Magritte, 1943

“When All the Trees Go Up in Flames, Only Water Puts Them Back to Sleep” is just one of three superbly flappy poems by Kailey Tedesco in our Summer 2015 issue (available here, herehere, or here).

{ X }

SHE HELD THE FOREST
like a hairbrush in
one hand, and my
grandmother’s pond
like a hand-mirror.

With her vanity set,
lifted gently from
the alabaster of earth
she spends seven days
combing through

the tangles of her fire-
streaked hair as fallen
strands puddle in the under-
growth –

A reflection ripples
over her drowsed eyelids –
the foxes wake to hunt.

{ X }

Headshot UpdateKAILEY TEDESCO is currently enrolled in Arcadia University’s MFA in Poetry program. She edits for Lehigh Valley Vanguard and Marathon Literary Magazine, while also teaching eighth grade English. A long-time flapper at heart, Kailey enjoys hanging out  in speakeasies, cemeteries, and abandoned amusement parks for all of her poetic inspiration. She is a resident poet of the aforementioned LVV, and her work has been featured in Boston Poetry Magazine and Jersey Devil Press

“The Story of Essa” – Fiction by Alison McBain

Enchanted Beach - Boris Mago, 1938
Enchanted Beach – Boris Mago, 1938

Alison McBain‘s “The Story of Essa” is a stirring, dream-like tale of transformation from our Summer 2015 issue, which you can order online via Amazon and Createspace. Copies are also available at fine independent brick-and-mortar stores like Bluestockings and St. Mark’s Bookshop.

{ X }

I. SAND

BEFORE HE BROUGHT THE KEY, Essa had been chained to the basement door her whole life–locked within the confines of her own ten fingers and the ability to work small magicks when on call. Before she sunk her feet into the sand, before the rough-hued grains cascaded over her toes, she had never known how to move with any sort of rhythm.

The seagulls sang, and the wind came down to partner her, and she danced and she danced and she danced.

II. SILENCE

Words had never been required. She saw herself as a newborn, the thin loops of the basement chains cascading around chubby wrists and baby cankles, and the admonishment of angels telling her to hush. When he came before her, he didn’t ask questions–he gave her fully-formed sentences, directives for training and the execution of purpose. He taught her how to summon her will and focus it to the desires of the mind; he taught her how to name, silently, all the colors held inside.

But her words were not noticed when she tried them out. Her mouth fell idle in the absence of encouragement. Her tongue dwindled down until it became a tube and split at the end. Sometimes, she cast her tongue out like a net to scent the air, little lizard-girl pining for the day. Continue reading “The Story of Essa” – Fiction by Alison McBain

“Nice Things” – Poetry by CL Bledsoe

Back Room - John French Sloan, 1912
Back Room – John French Sloan, 1912

“Nice Things” is one of five wry yet poignant poems by CL Bledsoe in our Summer 2015 issue, which you can order online via Amazon and Createspace. Copies are also available at fine independent brick-and-mortar stores like Bluestockings and St. Mark’s Bookshop.

{ X }

MY IDOLS HAVE ALL GONE BALD OR TAKEN
day jobs. It was a question of wear-

and-tear on tire treads, the desire
to no longer wince when introduced.

Shoulders stoop under the weight
of freedom, all that designer pizza and cheap

beer, and I’ve finally run out of cool tee-shirts.
Listen: I know the real money’s in pet

psychiatry but I’ve always been allergic
to their saliva. I know there’s nothing

to be gained from an understanding
of the self, a concern for actually solving

problems, the wisdom to attempt empathy.
There are no important things in life except

the fear we might be the last ones in the room
when the bar closes.

{ X }

HeadshotCL BLEDSOE is the author of a dozen books, most recently the poetry collection Riceland and the novel Man of Clay. He lives in northern Virginia with his daughter.

“Red Planet” – Poetry by J.G. Walker

A Glimpse of Mars - Alma Woodsey Thomas, 1969
A Glimpse of Mars – Alma Woodsey Thomas, 1969

A trek to another world is both ordinary and alienating in “Red Planet,” one of two powerful poems by J.G. Walker in our Summer 2015 issue (now available via Amazon and Createspace, or at independent brick-and-mortar stores like Bluestockings and St. Mark’s Bookshop).

{ X }

YOU WILL GO WHERE NO ONE HAS GONE BEFORE
Alone, staggered by your own audacity

Attend to the mundane:
Forward your mail—except the bills
Pack all your books
Bring an extra jacket
Find out when to put out the trash
Fall back and Spring forward,
And write home (check how often the mail runs)

Also, make sure to grow green, leafy veggies,
Buy dark curtains to keep the inside from getting out

{ X }

12122014 (34)J.G. WALKER is a writer, musician, and teacher who lives with his wife in Colorado. His work has been featured in Oracle Fine Arts ReviewLullwater Review, and Aoife’s Kiss. He is currently trying to create the impression that he’s hard at work on a novel, Visitation: A Novel of Death and Inconvenience. You can find him at odd times on Twitter @jgwalkr or online at jgwalker.net