Stir Fry

Photo by Petterl Sulonen

This week, we asked our editors: What recipe best describes your current writing project?

John LaPine
Associate Editor, Creative Nonfiction
Ishpeming, Michigan

Stir fry.

Sara Ryan
Associate Editor, Poetry
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Cheese and crackers. Mostly because I’m still trying to figure my shit out and I don’t have time to make myself a proper meal (or poem or whatever). But it’s sustenance/nutrition anyway.

Sarah David
Associate Editor, Fiction
Minocqua, Wisconsin

A recipe my husband invented called the “whatever” when you just throw a bunch of random tasty ingredients into a pan and hope they tastes good together…mainly because I have a lot of ideas at the moment and I’m not sure yet if they’re going to mesh well in the end.

Ashely Adams
Associate Editor, Creative Nonfiction
Watervliet, Michigan

Step 1: Grab some freshly diced monster kids and a smoked unnecessary research (everyone likes reading about Venusian orbital variation right?)
Step 2: Throw into quesadilla shell. Add cheese
Step 3: Throw into the microwave for about 3 minutes
Step 4: Pull out storydilla. Scream at it for the next three hours
Repeat for next ten years

Jacque Boucher

Spoken Word Poetry
Juneau, Alaska

Right now, my thesis is “So You Committed to Throwing a Dinner Party 6 Months Ago. Now What?”

1. Read the entire Write Bloody library and draft an elaborate plan for a five-course meal. Tell EVERYONE. Invite all your friends. Really ham it up.
2. Let marinate for 3-4 months while you read more and watch a lot of horror movies and cartoons for “research.”
3. Wake up from a stress dream where you serve your friends hackneyed haiku and Saltine crackers. Briefly consider hiring a caterer or moving someplace where no one’s ever heard of this dinner party.
4. Choose instead to double down on the showmanship. Become intolerable.

????????????

Profit.

Patricia Killelea
Poetry Editor
Alameda, California

Assemble ingredients: Emotional/Experiential/Linguistic.

Toss everything into a bowl that’s too small and stir. Gather what’s displaced and save it for another recipe.

Now set the mixture to music, then play that mixture backwards. Let rest for one season, preferably in silence.

Return when only the bones remain. Listen for the song in the marrow.

Take the utmost care in plating, and leave the dish somewhere hungry.

Learn to ignore the sound of people chewing whatever it is you’ve made, and set your hand once more to the great work.

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VERY GREEN

Photo by marc falardeau

by Sarah Bates

Where there is no love, put abstract animals. Where there is no love, put lipstick. Put mascara. Put lipstick down the throat of a rat.*

Where there is no love, put information.

Every time I pick up Sarah Vap’s Viability it’s the gush of pink ribbon. The horoscope and the children inside. It’s the pounding of a circle into the side of a barn and waiting for the sun to strike it.

It’s like I’m someone else walking out of my life and into another.

Another time at my dining room table crying over infants and boats, someone else’s weather and a bear in a skirt. Another time falling asleep to a meditation on J.Lo and loss, Paris Hilton and critics of globalization.
There isn’t language enough to process what Vap has exploded in this stunning collision of lyric and exploitation, absurdity and capitalism, slavery and time’s thickness. Just like that, Viability becomes one of the most urgent books of poetry.

From the start, Vap’s language is as dreamlike as it is jarring. With bodies filled with splintered logs, a mother carving out her own eye, the infant and the carriage— alone, we are immediately taken to an entire night of loss. Loneliness as performance. Strong fat legs. The shivering seed and the climbing vine. Every page asking its reader, another time, how to live differently after encountering the last. How to replace an embryo with a bikini.

Where there is inability, put worth dragging down ones own weight. Where capital is misused and drawn away, put more inability.

Every sentence questioning a world without speculation. Human emotion that drives consumer confidence. The glass we’ve trapped the roach under.

Slaverys failure is the fault of slaverys inabilityput much more fault, put membranes between the faults, and there you will find inability.

Every other sentence asking what we do with the body between four boats. Petrol prices. Foreign waters. The other glass that broke.

To let alone something that I might have touched.

Vap is relentless, addressing the evils of a world that looks away, a world that gorges on a multi-million dollar fish industry, a world that bought twice as much lipstick after the Twin Towers fell.

A world trying to measure a stillborn god and a growing, the wire wrapped around its torso and a love that begs you to be brave in the face of the killing and the giving at once.

After my fourth reading of Viability, I still don’t know how to tell you everything.

Vap’s work has me waking up at 2am thinking about everything I’ve ever lost, the value of security, how it may decline. It has me waking up to motherhood, blackened milk, and life in regards to profit.

Bodies of women in regards to profit.

The bear in the skirt in regards to profit.

The woman’s body as a list of hard facts.

The pull.

It has me waking up to the glow of the planet, to bees in bikinis, the hands that deliver the infant. Bodies upon bodies then spring.

It has me measuring the way we talk to God.

Sentence after sentence creating an index of all the things one is afraid of someday losing. And isn’t this why we write? Why we keep picking it up? To process, to understand, to grapple and explode. To be the child waiting in the horoscope. To keep waking up when our heart is so open it hurts.

Isn’t that why we live?

Vap’s work is a brutal meditation on love, on increase, the “cash cow,” asking, what do you secretly believe in? What do you secretly want?

How do we keep believing, keep wanting as the infant grows, as love’s holler collapses and silently screams into our mouths? When the heir to memory is a love that might hurt us?

Where there is no love, put continuation or put increase or put proliferation and there you will find the love untenable. Language is not infinity. Language is not hopeful. There is no rapture in language. Language is always doing. Language is never undoing. I admit that I had hoped to love and be loved.

Vap has created language which questions itself. Language which begs us to consider how we measure the losing, how we value the human life in regards to economy and time, how we let alone something that we might have touched.

The infants breath moves with my fathers breathing machine.

Todays slave can be bought for a few hundred dollars.

As the infant grows it will be crushed.

This haunting collection manifests the gaps. It’s lyric carving out canyons in the midst of silence. Silences collapsed in the middle of relentless speech. Sentences that enter through wormholes in order to be let into the darkest places.

We learn about the fluctuation of cotton, one plate of rice a day, and enslaved fishermen murdered at sea.

Page after page, line after line, we become enamored with the returning to, corporate takeover strategies, chemical elements and summer as adolescence. Spring as infancy.

We wake up to the power of loss. Fill our coffee mugs to the power of the fear of loss. How it grows.

We watch it creep into our dreams, feel it swell through bodies we are bound to.

We search for the final color, we hope for something permanent.

We wait for the coffee to brew.

We laugh when someone makes us that happy.

Now I can whisper something to you and it didnt hurt.

[* Note from the editors: All italicized text is from Sarah Vap's Viability.]

Sarah Bates is a creative writing MFA candidate at Northern Michigan University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Washington Square Review, BOAAT, First Class Lit, Pacifica Literary Review, and The Normal School, among others. She lives in Marquette with her goldendoodle, River.

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Glow

Photo by Rising Damp


Spoken-word poetry editor Jacqueline Boucher on today’s poem: Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad’s poem, like the color it embodies, resists being classified as just one thing. On the page, and in Torbatnejad’s hypnotic reading, “Blue” is neither meditation nor obsession. Rather, it’s something like an unfolding, a diving deep through shades of ocean water.

Listen to the poem here.

Read a transcript of the poem here.

Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad was born and raised in New York. Her poetry has appeared in The Commonline Journal, The Coe Review, Kudzu House Quarterly, and The Chiron Review. She lives in New York and practices matrimonial law.

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[Listen to a spoken-word version of Blue here.]

Blue

He tells me, I see you rock a lot of blue,
pointing to the icy glitter painted on my eyelids,
blue blizzard hue manicured on my fingertips,
cold topaz stones hanging low from ear lobes,
and the cool navy lace stretched tightly around my skin

Impressed, I tell him, I do rock a lot of blue,
and then, as if to reward his observation,
I suddenly open
like mussel shells abandoned,
risk jump, dive
into an Atlantic ocean of truth,
fearlessly recite my biography
inked in blue

Yes, I rock blue, like the blue whale:
flippers flecked, polka-dot skin,
long bodied, flat-headed
Though she’s the largest animal that lives,
still can’t escape the fear of extinction
A heart that weighs a thousand pounds,
still not loved enough to be protected
Visitors watch her only from a safe distance
Museums will come close only for her blue-lost skeleton

Yes, I rock blue, like Persian blue:
calculated lines and symmetrical designs
perfectly combined
in geometric glory painted on these tiles
that speak my history in turquoise calligraphy,
but how quickly
they discount my identity,
as if I wasn’t once an empire
They just want the blueprints
to the nuclear power’s
Misidentifying shades,
they tell me,
is only foreign policy

I tell him, but let’s turn the conversation light
blue, because tones don’t just carry woes, and
I can still relax blue like jazzy blue,
and I love the background screens
of Jeopardy blue, and I dance 80s blue
to Madonna’s True Blue,
and I sing along to blue jays, Beyoncé Blue, and every
World Cup I cheer for Seleção’s blue, and I’ve been
collecting words and letters in a mailbox blue,
and I’m a compulsive cookie eater,
but still a friendly monster blue,
and I know God’s love is royal blue, whether in cyan domes,
or His sky blue; even midnight blue
unfolds streaks of a holy view

But he tells me, I mean,
I see you rock more of that other blue,
and how much do you trust someone
before you show them your black and blue

Okay, yes, my birthstone is the sapphire blue, but
what use is a precious stone if not
chiseled and treated, sculpted slim,
carved thin, cut and fractured,
made presentable,
angles and edges acceptable
to the buyer
Waxed and sparkled steel,
blued to prevent the surge of rust,
but though polished and varnished
even solid gems erode,
and the electric blue spark will lose its glow
because this color was born and bruised
into my fibers,
like the cornflower blue coats donned by
the Kennedy kids at the funeral

I showed him
that this tall glass of water
is only clear because it’s filtered,
but my body of water is just
a deep blue sea,
and the courage to reveal this
comes once in a blue moon

So tell me, you,
You, who knew I rock a lot of blue,
why did you add a new shade
to be named after you

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Eigerøy - Norway (2)

Photo bY Sten Dueland

This week, we’re well into our end-of-semester exhaustion and anxious to get away for a little while. With that in mind, we asked our editors: If you decided to just pack up and leave to live your dream life, where would be the first place you went?

Robin McCarthy
Managing Editor
Belfast, Maine

Maine.

Mike Berry
Associate Editor, Fiction
Troy, Michigan

Toss-up between Boulders Beach in South Africa where a penguin colony lives or Bury Quay in Ireland, where the Tullamore Dew distillery is. Penguins or Irish whiskey. Whichever seems like a better idea at the time.

Mariel Murray
Associate Editor, Fiction
Berkley, Michigan

Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa.

Amy Hansen
Associate Editor, Poetry
Sycamore, Illinois

Rural Illinois.

John LaPine
Associate Editor, Creative Nonfiction
Ishpeming, Michigan

Seattle.

Jacque Boucher
Spoken Word Poetry
Juneau, Alaska

A town on the edge of a large city in the Pacific Northwest. Beaverton, OR, maybe.

Sara Ryan
Associate Editor, Poetry
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Chicago.

Hayli Cox
Associate Editor, Creative Nonfiction
Morenci, Michigan

Stratford, Ontario Canada. Or the Redwoods.

Andrea Wuorenmaa
Associate Editor, Creative Nonfiction
Ishpeming, Michigan

Arctic Circle.

Matt Ftacek
Associate Editor, Poetry
Niles, Michigan

Can I pick anywhere? The moon.

Ethan Brightbill
Associate Editor, Fiction
Allentown, Pennsylvania

Wherever my wife is to pick her up, and then Norway.

Jen Howard
Editor-in-Chief
Escanaba, Michigan

Where is Broadchurch filmed? That’s my first stop. Give me a cold beach with tall cliffs any day.

Ashely Adams
Associate Editor, Creative Nonfiction
Watervliet, Michigan

Maui. Please God and/or Satan let me go back to Maui.

Ollie Mae
Associate Editor, Creative Nonfiction and Poetry
Kalkaska, Michigan

I’d go home to make a snack, can’t start living your dreams on an empty stomach. After that I’d go for a walk in the woods. I’d walk until I found a river with some good rock hopping then I’d stop.

 

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Managing editor Matt Weinkam on today’s bonus essays: Ekphrasis, I recently discovered, literally means “to speak out.” In Kathleen Rooney’s three ekphrastics she doesn’t describe the paintings of Belgian Surrealist artist René Magritte but rather lets his wife, Georgette, “speak out” about the silence of paintings, stopping time, and their beloved Pomeranian dogs, all called Loulou.

Le Galet

If someone invites you to come over and enchant them, but you arrive with a plan to outrage instead, you’ll likely succeed. Georgette understands that when she talks about her husband’s Vache paintings, she has to proceed under the assumption that nobody likes them. Except she does.

This image is fast. This image is aggressive. One of the ones Mag painted in a handful of weeks for his first solo show in Paris, 1948. He wanted people to hate them, and hate they did. This image piques.

Femme vache means a nastily corpulent woman, but this woman here is perfectly proportioned, modelled off Georgette herself. The word scruples—as in hesitation or doubt—comes from the Latin rough pebble; Georgette admires this title for its suggestion that her husband had none about orchestrating this car crash of bad taste: a caricature, a comic, a Matisse, a Manet.

She’s the Venus de Milo with Olympia’s head and a little bit of Fauvism draped around her waist, and arms she’s using to grab a handful of her own boob. Behind her—is that stuff wallpaper or what? The critics called him rude. Georgette feels a catharsis, crude and joyful. Oil on canvas and nude nude nude. The way she licks her own shoulder!

The pearls around her neck made the public clutch—predictably—their pearls. Obscenity, they moaned. Pearls before swine. It failed to sell so he ended up giving this one to Georgette. “You’ve never quit wooing her, have you?” asked Loulou the Pomeranian when he did, having brought it back to Jette. “No, my friend, I haven’t,” said Mag. Which is fine with her.

Perspective II: Le Balcon

All paintings, thinks Georgette, are dumb, which isn’t to say stupid, but rather to say silent. We come up and search for answers, which they cannot give because they cannot speak. Her husband has spent his life in provocation of seeking. “Every single thing which we see conceals something else,” he says. “We would dearly love to see what that which we can see is hiding from us.”

From each other Georgette and Mag conceal nothing. He reads his letters to their dear friend Harry in the States aloud to her before he sends them. On January 17, 1966, he wrote: “I am responding to existential circumstances with less (if possible) vitality than usual: I am numb from the cold, I have a cast on my right wrist (I fell on it and it won’t be healed, according to medical prognostics, before February 7th).”

When she was younger, Georgette found a painting’s non-response coy and almost erotic: a crush going unrequited. But as twilight falls, the quiet seems more death-like. A portrait might as well be a coffin for all it can offer of the person therein.

Mag knew this years and years ago, when he painted this perspective in reply to Manet: Caskets sitting. Caskets standing. Caskets staring at the inaccessible distance. He left the blue hydrangea in, but removed the dog with a ball, perhaps not wanting to call to mind the eventual death of their Loulou—though the Loulou they have now is a newer one, and white, not the black pom they had in 1950.

Behind the coffins is a cozy room with good dim lighting like the one her husband prefers, of late, to spend his time in: Loulou beside him, or at his feet, or upon his lap. Mag’s body is failing, and that mutilates her emotions. The railings and shutters in both paintings are green. She’s read that when Manet debuted it in the Paris Salon of 1869, one mean reply was: “Close the shutters!” Everybody gets shuttered, though, sooner than you’d think. A balcony is a gateway between worlds, but there are some thresholds where crossing is solitary.

She hears Magritte on the telephone, of course, holding the receiver with his left hand so as not to disturb his plastered right. Today, he says to the person on the other end of the line: “For the first time while painting, I’ve gotten some paint on my hand.” Georgette does not want to hear this, nor does she not want to. Soon enough, death will afford them a permanent privacy.

La Légende Dorée

Georgette is a morning person not because she’s virtuous, but because she happens to be one. Her husband happens to be one too, as happens to be their Pomeranian Loulou. Georgette adores their quiet mornings when the world is silent like the interior of a snow globe. When their apartment is mute with understanding, unspoken.

Magritte sits at the kitchen table. Loulou sits at Georgette’s feet. She readies their breakfast: today, brioche. Usually, they buy their daily bread from a bakery up the street, but she’s been wanting to work on this recipe and at present it’s one of the few things Mag can eat.

He suffers liver problems from which he has long sought to be delivered. He composes a letter to their dear friend Harry in the States. He hates, Georgette knows, to complain, but if he doesn’t talk about it a little bit, it takes over his brain and keeps him from painting: “Days of hepatitis attack,” he reads back to her. “I’m on a very strict diet—I can’t eat or drink anything decent, like coffee, tomatoes, fries, etc. It seems that cold weather would be very bad for me.”

At least today looks to be golden and sunny, and he’ll start a new canvas. Right now, he replies to Harry about one that Harry has acquired, the one in which the world looks like the interior of a bread globe: Hovering loaves and their crispy crust-sound as they float all around, outside an open window.

In the letter, over which the two of them and Loulou laugh, Harry has said: “The golden legend—the legend of the centuries—has arrived, superbly intact after having gone astray at the New York airport. Everyone, large and small, is enthusiastic: my nephew, an avid professional at 13, said: But they’re submarines. Here, ‘submarines’ are gigantic sandwiches stuffed with lettuce and served in the summertime at vacation spots. My youngest daughter, Denise-Elizabeth, asked, ‘Why you always stand in the same place on your balcony when you look at the sky,’ and the eldest, Evelyne-Ray, announced that we’d have to repaint the dining-room walls so that they would go with the colors of the Legend of the Centuries. My wife, Marcelle-Hoursy, joins me in expressing to you our joint and repeated admiration.”

The Golden Legend is named after a medieval book of saints, compiled around the year 1260 and added to over the subsequent centuries, full of fanciful etymologies and miraculous cures.

Georgette finishes slicing and wipes the crumbs from the countertop into her hand and throws them outside for the birds who flock to the ledge. She can’t cure her husband, but she can occasionally stop time—she hands him a plate and some jam and he kisses her cheek and Loulou squeaks with delight at his share of the treat—and take their disbelief and suspend it like the sky. The sky. Always with the sky.

Kathleen Rooney is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press, a publisher of literary work in hybrid genres, and a founding member of Poems While You Wait. Co-editor with Eric Plattner of The Selected Writings of René Magritte, forthcoming from Alma Books (UK) and University of Minnesota Press (US) in 2016, she is also the author of seven books of poetry, nonfiction, and fiction, including, most recently, the novel O, Democracy! (2014) and the novel in poems Robinson Alone (2012). Her second novel, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, will be published by St. Martin’s Press in 2017.

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sweet sentiments

Photo by Liz West

This week, we asked our editors: Who is your current writer crush, and what is so dreamy about what they can do?

Jacque Boucher
Spoken Word Poetry
Juneau, Alaska

Ross Gay. He writes with this simultaneous grandeur and intimacy and joy that I’ve never seen anywhere else. He’s the epitome of art that adds to the world, rather than taking away from it.

Ethan Brightbill
Associate Editor, Fiction
Allentown, Pennsylvania

This isn’t a crush as much as a renewal of the love of my reading life, but in preparing to write an essay on how she approaches post-colonialism, I’ve been overwhelmed by Ursula Le Guin again. I’d been avoiding her work because I was afraid it would diminish with time, but this has not been the case. I see more flaws in the writing than I did when I first found her fiction, but the way she can make a paragraph sing more like poetry than prose, the way she can write so little to say so much, this has not changed. And of course, I love her insight into power. She is often framed as post-colonial or feminist or daoist, but what she really does is reveal the bones of power. It’s awesome in the older, more profound sense of the word.

John LaPine
Associate Editor, Creative Nonfiction
Ishpeming, Michigan

Lindsay Hunter. Her stories are so magical yet disgusting. It’s impossible to look away.

Hayley Fitz
Associate Editor, Fiction
North Ridgeville, Ohio

Margaret Lazarus Dean’s LEAVING ORBIT knocked me right on my ass. it’s about the last three launches of NASA’s space shuttle program. actually, i haven’t finished it yet. usually i’d be so compelled by the magic of her writing that i’d barrel through endlessly until i hit back cover but i can’t bring myself to finish it. i know how it ends, and i haven’t figured out how to return to earth just yet.

Matt Weinkam
Managing Editor
Cincinnati, Ohio

I’ve been perpetually rereading DEPT. OF SPECULATION by Jenny Offill and each time I’m more convinced she is a secret genius. The book feels so effortless to read you assume it must have been effortless to write, but when you stop and think about how perfect each of the fragments are and how effectively they are arranged to suggest depth and elicit emotion you can’t help but fall for Offill. Hard.

Robin McCarthy
Managing Editor
Belfast, Maine

I read Mona Awad’s “13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl” in March, and it has launched a full on obsession. Awad’s ability to create deeply interesting scenes in broad, voice-driven moves is just breathtaking, and her characters are flawed and lovely in the most satisfying ways. There’s a sadness and an excitement to falling in love with a debut novelist. I can’t guzzle down her entire career in three months, but I have the rest of my reading life to look forward to her new projects.

Jen Howard
Editor-in-Chief
Escanaba, Michigan

Tracy K. Smith, whose Life on Mars collection I need within reach of me lately. “SHINE / SHINE SHINE SHINE SHINE.”

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Green & Yellow wool blanket

Photo by angelune des lauriers


Associate fiction editor Mike Berry on today’s bonus story:  The way Katherine Davis creates tension through language in “A Caregiver’s Return to Her Childhood Home” is breathtaking. Literally, Davis gives us these long, winding sentences founded on sonic notes that leave the reader breathless and yearning to keep moving with this caregiver and the missing cat in the middle of a wicked storm. The language builds the characters’ impending danger and wrenches the gut with short, staccato accented sentences, which really made me need to know how they’re going to survive, and ultimately, how will we?

A Caregiver’s Return to Her Childhood Home

The light bulbs crackle and buzz, and the microwave heating the cup of milk growls, and you know you ought to just unplug the cord and forget about last time. Forget that you were ever thirteen. Don’t think of the cat carrier that went missing from the basement or of your bodies huddled beneath the spare mattress or of the scratches on your arms and your forehead, or the bloody claws and the mess of fur, the screeches, the sputters, the way she pushed off your chest and bounded through shattered glass and the siren drone, or of the growing distance between you visible only in flashes—later, in dreams—as you, breathless, coughing, willed yourself through the doorway. Forget that you were ever a child, even, and don’t think of your father’s hand circling your wrist to wake you, to touch your fingers against his nostrils and check for your scent after you’d gone to bed and slid your nightgown up to your hips, to pull you into the bathroom and lather your hands in his and spill soapsuds onto the pink rug. And later to squeeze your ankle and fell you to the cement floor with a thud drowned by thunder just as you decided to run away, chunk of glass in your shin, intent on rescuing your friend. Forget everything. Focus on storm windows jammed into rotting sills and candles and matches and backup batteries for your flashlight and radio, and the rain that is hissing, now beating, overhead like it wants to steal more than cattails and hollyhocks and the roof over the garage this time. Focus. Can you hear your father open the screen door? He carries a chipped saucer without the cup he’s forgotten in the microwave and shouts into the overgrowth, lightning is good for the crops, and he chokes on rain that stings his eyes and soaks the foyer walls, and he trips on the porch steps, catches the rail, and hoists himself with the push broom he uses for a cane, intent on rescuing his farm. And then your panicked skids across the kitchen linoleum and onto the porch, and then the clench of your fist around your father’s hand, wet and bony and something sharp—you should’ve helped him cut his fingernails—and then the empty saucer hurtles toward the ragweed, and then the screen door slams shut, and then four feet pound the basement stairs, and then your father trembling, crying, says he’s sorry without saying why, and you think maybe he can’t say why and maybe you’ve forgotten why anyway, and then you stand him on scattered newspapers when the lights flicker again, and you wrap him in the thickest quilt you can find, the one still covered in cat hair.

Katherine Ann Davis’s most recent work appears in Broad River Review and Gravel and is forthcoming in Punchnel’s. She won Gigantic Sequins‘s 2014 Flash Fiction Contest and placed third in the Zoetrope: All-Story 2015 Short Fiction Contest. Currently, she lives in Wisconsin, serves as a fiction editor for 3Elements Review, and is completing her first novel.

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Lunar Eclipse 2015

Photo by Evan Kane


Associate poetry editor Sara Ryan on today’s bonus poem: “Materializing the Gesture of Resistance” is meditative, wrought with imagery, and absorbed in the visual awe of an eclipse. More cosmic than the dance between the Earth and moon, this poem communicates relief, closure, and the rebuilding of what has been broken.

Materializing the Gesture of Resistance

after Sharon Daniel

Last night I held a vigil for the lunar eclipse—
an awkward ritual, like sitting for hours

at the deathbed of someone you know well, but don’t
know how to talk to. Someone who would whisper

even angels don’t believe in angels to a child,
the direction of the rescheduled dark already

clear and cast in a dull red glow.
The earth’s shadow

was a mouth lifted in laughter or incantation
as it swallowed the moon.

To materialize
our resistance is to build instead of break,

or to build after the breaking—to take up needle
and thread alongside the seam ripper, so that building

can be done with broken things.
In the darkness

I could not identify the immoveable
object, the stone god we wait on in vain.

When the moon
was all amber I felt relief, like a soldier

whose shift has just ended, or like a soldier
shaken from sleep whose shift is about to begin.

Becka Mara McKay directs the MFA in creative writing at Florida Atlantic University. Publications include a book of poetry: A Meteorologist in the Promised Land (Shearsman 2010) as well as several translations of Israeli fiction and poetry. She has work appearing in recent or forthcoming issues of Meridian, Cream City Review, Colorado Review, Isthmus, Posit, and Salamander. Her chapbook of prose poems, Happiness Is the New Bedtime, was just published by Slash Pine Press.

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Nicolas Cage (1)

Photo by Kevin Tostado

This week, in honor of many of our staff flying to the AWP and CEA conferences, we asked our editors: Who would be your dream person to sit next to on a plane?

Andrea Wuorenmaa
Associate Editor, Creative Nonfiction
Ishpeming, Michigan

Axl Rose. Even though he probably wouldn’t talk to me. I’d be playing it cool in my Gn’R T-shirt with my fan club badge.

Jason Teal
Associate Editor, Creative Nonfiction
Sandusky, Ohio

Nicolas Cage in CON AIR. I always wanted to be in the pictures.

James Dyer
Associate Editor, Creative Nonfiction
Lowell, Michigan

Nicolas Cage in FACE/OFF. Because I could eat a peach for hours.

Jason Teal
Associate Editor, Creative Nonfiction
Sandusky, Ohio

Nicolas Cage in LEFT BEHIND. Free upgrade to first class/cockpit.

John LaPine
Associate Editor, Creative Nonfiction
Ishpeming, Michigan

Either Oprah, or Tina Fey as Liz Lemon. I would also accept Tina Fey as Sarah Palin.

James Dyer
Associate Editor, Creative Nonfiction
Lowell, Michigan

Nicolas Cage in KICKASS. Free upgrade to being tied to a chair and lit on fire.

Jason Teal
Associate Editor, Creative Nonfiction
Sandusky, Ohio

Nicolas Cage in ADAPTATION. Double your pleasure, double your fun.

Hayley Fitz
Associate Editor, Fiction
North Ridgeville, Ohio

Nicolas Cage in THE WEATHER MAN. People would throw food at him and then I would eat it.

Jason Teal
Associate Editor, Creative Nonfiction
Sandusky, Ohio

Nicolas Cage in SNAKE EYES. Then we could play aisle craps.

Jacque Boucher
Spoken Word Poetry
Juneau, Alaska

Nicolas Cage in NATIONAL TREASURE: BOOK OF SECRETS because I want to learn that the real Book of Secrets was love the whole time.

Deziree’ Brown
Associate Editor, Poetry
Flint, Michigan

Kerry Washington! I would burst into tears and spontaneously combust, but it would be worth it.

Jason Teal
Associate Editor, Creative Nonfiction
Sandusky, Ohio

Nicolas Cage in RAISING ARIZONA because I only ever wanted a son.

James Dyer
Associate Editor, Creative Nonfiction
Lowell, Michigan

Nicolas Cage in VAMPIRES KISS because, let’s face it, we’re all at the point in the semester where we’d rather be wandering around New York City begging strangers to stab us in the chest with a 2×4.

Jacque Boucher
Spoken Word Poetry
Juneau, Alaska

Nicolas Cage in THE CROODS because, even though we all want to rebel against the established order, we all know that the safest thing to do is stay inside the cave.


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