Sunday, December 4, 2016


Idea by Alan

When Winston met Julia in the vacant dormitory, the expectation was to simply exchange the bags they had prepared several months before the election. Intending to exercise their pragmatic selves, they planned through a series of coded notes they posted at midnight on the third Monday of each month this most anticipated rendezvous. In the bags were sets of clothes that would have the proper donation tags so as to seem innocuous enough for the authorities who would surely go through them at some point. There was an influx of surveillance activity in the region recently, and everyone who mattered was a bit more vigilant.

But the weight of the meeting got the better of their even temperaments. They kissed as they went through the articles. First the creases of the skirt and then the brim of the hat. Not one but both pairs of socks next (simultaneously) and then the undershirts and cargo pants. They took time to investigate each other's pockets and redresses. An arm hung a blouse over what may have been a clock in a previous life. The hands ticked in pre-measured circles.

There would come a time when the rules that once governed the countries of our hearts would bear such inconceivable weights that breaking would be, at last, the only way to go on and, indeed, the truest evidence that life as we once knew it was officially over. But at least for this fantastic meeting, Winston and Julia were free. At least, that was the idea.


Building a Fire by Sherisse

And then there's a spark. Closer to the bone than you can bear. In Ulster County, you are all cupboards and stuffed love seats as the cat creeps in to boast about autonomy. In hindsight, a kettle boils. A steel spoon makes the liquids mix, clicks against the curves of paper-thin glass. The honey has gone missing, ash and wax in its place. 

From her new bed, my mother talks about mayonnaise sandwiches until she trails off into sleep. I am a six-year-old again, waiting on the gray concrete steps outside for her to wake up. How I love to be her orphan.

When Fidel dies, I feel little more than inner quiet. My grandmother appears that night wearing a regal suit jacket. She has left the cigar and sniper rifle at home, wherever that now is (or was). She isn't in the mood to fight but she will if she must. She is large, all witness and looming eyes. 

"You smell like you're pregnant," the sages say to me. This hamlet we’re in is full of wood and leaves and rain. I am gathering my tools when they hang me in my smock-dress to bloom, to plump up like a floriferous peony.

The sages sit around the dominoes table; they pray for my wild hair to finally tame, finally turn straight.


Here Here by Bill

Here’s the idea. Here’s the thing. Here’s Johnny. Here’s where we start. Here’s where it stops. Here’s where it inflates to an impossible size so the hearts and minds of the ogres in the hill are brought to a piece of earth suffused with light slicing up from the edge of the leaves. Here the lessons we learn bring us to the doors of a church, to the shores of a river, to the end of a rope or to a metal table in a basement. Here’s how you call the meeting to order. Here’s how you order men and women to their death.

Here’s the side of the field I need you to cover and here’s the paints you will use to make the portrait he will lock away at the utmost point of the house hidden from view. Here’s the table where she will rewrite the name of god. Here are the Star-Makers. Here are the fierce edges of sight scanning the halls of the forest as the lines between what is and what is not fade, when the walls between where we are and where we’ve been and are going pass into a thin mist, then nothing, calling all things to creep up the sides of the abyss to clarity and definition until the universe is centered at all points, the circle closed, the thought complete, here, where it ends.


Digression by Lyle

I thought about leaving a book inside the hollow of a tree stump. I don't know what would have happened to it, but here's what I think. It rotted. It sat there for perhaps a year until it was no more than the stump itself. And then the stump was extracted like a tooth that has turned in the gums -- green and brown and cloying and soft. Thus leaving a hollow of it's own -- a divot in the earth, filled eventually by the pools of time. The black squiggles in the book nothing themselves but ideas. Ants contained in their glass house with no one watching them. They don't get out of there, I can tell you that much. But I digress. Inevitably, I digress. May I go now?