The Conspiracy – Dan A. Cardoza

 

It’s the last night of my once a year visit nearly complete. Actually, it’s our last visit ever. Another uncomfortable Thanksgiving has come and gone. Tomorrow, it’s back to Chicago.

Earlier in the day, mother asks me to trawl through the attic boxes, and fish out our childhood memories before they place the house on the market.

Later in the day, after an early supper, father and I sit alone facing each other at the opposite ends of the kitchen table. Mother is at church, volunteering for just about anything.

I stand; push two dusty childhood photographs I discovered toward father.

Father look, these are so familiar, yet distant? I voice.

Yes, they are nearly identical son, except one is underexposed, sepia. Not sure why you retrieved the photo box from the attic. Most of those years are dead and buried.

I only asked you to look at these two father.

Son, why do you insist that we look at any photos?

Not sure father, maybe it’s time. I remember you thumbing the fat camera levers on your new Polaroid 900. Mother was hovering nearby. I recall your big smile. We were posing and …

Yes.

Its then father stands to exit the room. His massive hand smothers the handle of his lacquered Mallacan cane, veined & crooked, a tan leather glove. Then he limps away.

In the chilled lens of a dusty sunset, the parched air drifts through the half closed window, hissing faintly through the screen, like a thousand tiny tongues singing a chorus of truth. A chill slowly slithers up my spine. It’s moments like this I dread. I feel such gloom, like an orphaned child.

Goodnight father, see you in the morning.

Goodnight.

Much later, as I retire, I hear subtle moans coming from his room, as he toils in the muddy pastures of his sleep. As if on cue, at 3:00 A.M., he sits up and stares into the dark, at nothing in particular. I know this because mother spoke of his nightmares that have only increased after he quit drinking. She also confessed his depression is getting worse.

Over the years, our family has weathered torrents that have washed away bridges, only to be restored by the uncomplicated architecture of distance and malaise. I still want to understand, but after so many years, the melody of deception is a cappella. I close my eyes and begin to wade into the shallow waters of sleep.

Then I enter the dark of a dream,

You take us to the park. We play hide and seek for hours. Only this time I am never found. Mother, crazed with fear eventually finds me walking into the mist of her high beam headlights, a shivering apparition. Nothing is ever the same.

Swimming back from the deep waters of sleep, toward dawns pale shore, I hear an unseen small voice, one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four…

 

 

Dan A. CardozaDan has an MS Degree. He is the author of four poetry Chapbooks, and a new collection of fiction, Second Stories. Recent Credits: 101 Words, Amethyst, UK., Chaleur Magazine, Cleaver Magazine, Dissections, Door=Jar, Entropy, Esthetic Apostle, Foxglove, Frogmore, High Shelf Press, Poetry Northwest, Rue Scribe, Runcible Spoon, Skylight 47, Spelk, Spillwords, The Fiction Pool, The Stray Branch, Urban Arts, The Zen Space, Tulpa and zeroflash.

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Man in the house – Claire Sexton

 

Man in the house and all normal routines stop. We are asked to watch man-programmes, and eat man-sized food and drink.

Twittering and lounging is curtailed, and threadbare togs abandoned wholesale. Legs are shaved, and a new self consciousness prevails.

Once again I am trapped in between male and female spaces. Weighing in and holding back. Gallantry and equal pay. The devil or the nephilim.

Aware of my delinquency, I take to my bed. Not wanting to unbalance either. Not wanting to uncover the gaping hole beneath the smiles and flowers.

Terrified of offending the ying or the yang, I socialise with the under fives. Sing theme tunes and nursery rhymes. Become intimately acquainted with the Twirlywoos.

The truth is I like neither steak nor rabbit food. I am neither cocksure or human snail. I form my own opinions and calculate my own share of the bill.

I prefer my toast brown, but not burnt.

 

 

View More: http://rupaphotography.pass.us/headshots-rcppor2015Claire Sexton is a Welsh writer and librarian living in London. She has previously been published in Peeking Cat Poetry, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Hedgerow, Foxglove Journal, Amaryllis, and Light – a journal of photography & poetry.

The lost art of making friends – Claire Sexton

 

This making new friends business is 

hard. 

Nerve-wracking even. 

I’ve blundered through relationships in 

the past,

and lost a few good ones, as well as 

some not so good. 

I thought I might have lost the knack 

entirely:

the subtle, smooth, glamouring;

the sentences sung;

the harmonies hashed out with 

vivacious aplomb;

sparkling in the early hours with a 

glass of plonk;

telling the awkward truths and then 

sleeping it off. 

Waking at noon; hoarse, and good for

nothing.

 

I thought that maybe that had ended. 

That never again would I stand 

forehead to forehead in a mud-strewn 

field, listening to The Libertines. 

Or fix someone’s wedding gown, and 

watch them make their vows, and find 

another life, away from me. 

Or love their children, and twirl them 

around one hundred times in a row, 

like a human helicopter blade.  

 

But here I am exploring new friendships.   

Here I am on a train to Piccadilly, with 

the babbling hoard encroaching. 

Trying to forge the foundations of 

another faith. 

Another shared idolatry. 

Another blast of love.

 

View More: http://rupaphotography.pass.us/headshots-rcppor2015Claire Sexton is a forty something Welsh writer who has previously been published in Ink, Sweat and Tears, Peeking Cat Poetry, The Stare’s Nest, and Light – a journal of photography and poetry. She often writes about her struggles with her mental health and loneliness.

The Bedside Book of Renewal – Glen Armstrong

 

This is the story of joy and color.

_

The mystery girl’s heart

where shines a strange

history,

where tears stain latex.

The blurb on the back promises:

so real that you’ll feel

it on your skin.

It tells the truth more often

than you’d think.

She is completely eyes and hands.

While others speak in tongues

at the riverfront,

their divine proclamations

peppered with otherworldly

curses,

she looks at the moon

and we all forget

the seemingly endless moons

leading up to this moment.

Armstrong

Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters and has three recent chapbooks: Set List (Bitchin Kitsch,) In Stone and The Most Awkward Silence of All (both Cruel Garters Press.) His work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, Picaroon Poetry and Cream City Review.

raven’s eye. for vivian – Kersten Christianson

 

she is the sea glass queen

all xtratuf boots and rain gear

trowel and shovel

searcher of shards

of pottery and glass

 

she takes the blue canoe

down to wrangell

a meandering passage

through silvery waterways

lined by rocky beach and forest

 

she is the writer

all creative mind and chapbooks

filled journals and prompts

collector of truths and stories

recorded by pen on paper

 

she will spend the summer

at mickey’s fishcamp

photograph the play

of cloud and setting sun

sort treasures from the beach

organize words on the page

 

img_2972Kersten Christianson is a raven-watching, moon-gazing, high school English-teaching Alaskan. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing/Poetry through the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2016. Kersten’s recent work has appeared in Cirque, Inklette, Sheila-Na-Gig and Pure Slush. Her book Something Yet to Be Named by Aldrich Press and her chapbook titled What Caught Raven’s Eye by Petroglyph Press will be published in 2017. Kersten co-edits the quarterly journal Alaska Women Speak. When not exploring the summer lands and dark winter of the Yukon Territory, she lives in Sitka, Alaska with her husband and photographer Bruce Christianson, and daughter Rie.

An honest request – Kieran Rundle

 

Do not tell me of love.

Tell me instead of passion;

of secrets, of hope.

 

Tell me the stories that the willow branches

whisper to one another in crossing

as they wrinkle the still pond,

and disrupt the merriment

of the minnows.

 

Speak to me in the tongues of stones,

of sand grains, side by side,

thrust together by the bellows of the ocean,

and the grating crinkle

of being tossed once more into the fray.

 

Show me the glowworms that hide

behind the moss curtains of your eyelids.

Let them expand to

illuminate your freckles,

your smile.

 

We are not two people thrust together.

We are not two lovers sharing our bed of thorns.

We have sewn our clothes from threads of memories

and garnished them with beads of teeth

lost by young mouths

as they grew old enough to forget.

 

We are two ecosystems, conjoined.

We are intertwined closer than the roots of a carrot,

twisting into themselves.

We are seeds, yet to bloom, but cracking

the cases of ourselves.

 

Bring me yourself, so that I may do the same.

Together we will explore the forbidden craters

of this world

and only the truth

will leave our tongues.

 

kr2016Kieran Rundle, a high school student, is the owner and editor-in-chief for Sincerely Magazine LLC. She is on the staff for Miracle Magazine, and has worked for three years as an upper editor on Albemarle High School’s Literary Magazine. She is an award winning artist, poet, prose writer, and playwright. Her work can be found in a plethora of places including Charlottesville Area Transit Bu
sses, The UVA Special Collections Library, Quail Bell Online Magazine, and the Crossroads III Anthology.  She is also an avid theatre kid, cat lover, stargazer, cookie eater, and chocolate addict. Find her at redbubble.com/people/owlgirl.