During the heat and humidity of summer, we discovered the most refreshing prose and poetry. Also in this issue, an interview with Felicia Sullivan, author of The Sky Isn’t Visible from Here. Read on. This issue will melt your heart.
Grand Inquisitor by Jim Butler
Bone China by Neale Jones
Idaho Fell by Jen Hirt
Dreamboat by Kate Bernadette Benedict
Slipknots by Michelle Lee
Felicia Sullivan by Nita Noveno
BY KATE BERNADETTE BENEDICT
Where the bilge bled,
what the hold held,
how the stabilizers spread their cunning wings—
as Ship’s First Matrix
I was privy to all of it,
I had the Captain’s ear.
That’s why I was so pointedly wooed.
Red had done his homework, you see.
Red is not that bright
but he’s shrewd; he comes prepared.
Guest of the wedding, I accorded him access.
I ushered him aboard,
issued him a card key,
escorted him to the galley and the bridge.
Or he escorted me.
I had the time of my life, watching him levitate.
Only I could see it;
the able seamen hadn’t a clue
what cast that rosy light upon my cheek.
The ship went down that night
in the customary flames.
We watched from …
BY MICHELLE LEE
Here and there I’ve left slipknots of selves
for dead, oaken and unmoving, yet somehow
they’ve unravelled, looping out from beneath
so many sweaters and mothballs,
those buried in brown boxes and stuffed
under stairs, ready to be sold or given
away. They tug at my neck,
a scar, a noose, a seizing in the bight.
When I stopped at a red light
she hopped out and stayed in Utah,
land of low sky and high earth
sharp with snow and pine.
If I squint, I can see the taut line of smoke
from her chimney beside the creek.
She fishes at sunset with twine, when she says
mouths are lazy and open.
Later I walked on the cape
and watched a rocket …
BY JEN HIRT
When I moved to Idaho Falls in August 2005, I couldn’t take my new home seriously. It was a 75-unit apartment complex with a name meant to evoke grandeur and respite: Shadow Canyon. Two-story buildings ringed a parking lot and a grassy area, and tall Ponderosa pines provided the aesthetics that vinyl siding couldn’t. It was within walking distance to the mall, one of two Wal-Marts, and a buffet called Chuck-a-Rama. More importantly, it was within walking distance to a technical college. There, my partner in good times and …
Jen Hirt was the 2004 writer-in-residence at Bernheim Arboretum and was the 2003 recipient of an Ohioana library grant. Her essays (twice nominated for Pushcart Prizes) and poems have most recently been published in Rougarou and Conduit. She earned her M.A. at Iowa State University and her M.F.A. at the University of Idaho. She lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and teaches writing at Penn State Harrisburg. Her homepage is www.geocities.com/jenszijen.
INTERVIEWED BY NITA NOVENO
Felicia Sullivan has been described by a fellow writer as a “force of nature” and rightly so. The native New Yorker and Columbia MFA graduate completed her memoir The Sky Isn’t Visible from Here while working full time. Felicia is also the co-founder of the KGB Non Fiction reading series in NYC and the award-winning literary journal Small Spiral Notebook. I caught up with the tireless writer after her reading at June’s Sunday Salon.
Nita Noveno: When and why did you decide to write this memoir?…
BY NEALE JONES
Everyone neglected to tell me that I had a house where my heart ought to be. Maybe they were unaware. Perhaps, on the ultrasound screen, it appeared as a tiny womb within my chest, an open throbbing gash, a wound. It will heal shut, just as any injury, the doctor must have assured my parents. Though it may leave a scar.
Only later did it coalesce into a house. The edges hardening into roofline, window panes, joists, scabs of shingles, little bone studs for framing, a structure pushing back against the press of lungs and muscles, holding open …
BY JIM BUTLER
Even while he was attacking his friend Walter Bob Feston, practically accusing him of being possessed by the Devil, Jackie Barron knew that he was out of control, sounding like a revival preacher he once heard, calling down hellfire and damnation. It was not like him.
Jackie went to church, of course. Going to church and loving Jesus was taken for granted in Cherokee, Tennessee; it was like eating supper, or loving your mother. Being a good person just naturally meant going to Sunday School in the church basement at nine o’clock on Sunday morning, then going upstairs for the sermon at ten o’clock, and—this …
Neale Jones is a graduate student in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University. He has a devoted love of nature and finds much of his inspiration there. His short fiction has appeared three times in The Porter Gulch Review. His story, The Stories I’m Not Supposed To Tell, about the death of his good friend from cancer at twenty, won that magazine’s yearly Prose Award for 2004. He was also the recipient of the Mel Tuohey Award for scholarship and writing in 2005. He is at work on a novel, set in a future, environmentally-degraded San Francisco.
Jim Butler’s most glamorous writer-type jobs were as the weekend doorman at the original Bitter End and as the publicist for the real “Batman” (Adam West on ABC). As a reminder of his misspent youth he still gets the occasional royalty check (usually about 37 cents) for lyrics recorded by Cass Elliot and the Big Three, The Bitter End Singers, or The Serendipity Singers. As the movie and miniseries publicist for ABC he also wrote a book about the filming of “The Winds of War” and interviewed a few hundred actors. He lives in New York; this is his first published fiction. (Press releases don’t count.)