Monthly Archives: December 2013

in Issue 8

Cover Art

By Design: We Pull the Trigger, James Pate and students from DECA


Shoebox, Stacey Lane


Dream Rider, Lori Lopez
Red Rocks, Joseph Downing
The Superman Theory, J.E. Tirey
One Sadistic Muse, Cyndi Pauwels


Like Bees After Blooms, Bill Vernon
Pairings Review, David Lee Garrison


“Study of Scrim veil-Black rectangle-Natural light” and the 9/11 Memorial, Wendy Dereix
The Slaughter Queue, Jake Sheff
U’n’I’n’M.d., T.J. McGuire
For Us, C. Dendy
Drop It! Elizabeth Cantonwine Schmidt
Icarus Bicycling, Herbert Woodward Martin
The Little Nun that Could, Eric Blanchard
Revising Fiction, Ed Davis
At All, Et Al, Brandon Edward North
Witness, Betsy Hughes
Summers Ago, Gary Pacernick
Michigan, Douglas Gale
After the Harleys Roared, Fred Kirchner
Finally Home, Meredith Ann Henrich
Dreams with Grandma Jane, Meredith Ann Henrich
My Daughter’s Coos, Jake Sheff
Purgatory of Lost Keys, Ed Davis

Visual Art

Downtown Girl, Shulamit H. Adler
Untitled, Hali Cobb
Mannequin, Trisha DeBrosse
Reach, Roxana Olt
Fragmented Thoughts, Nyanna Johnson
Pendulous, Rachel Rosen
Coney Island, Winter, David M. Novick
Mystic Madness, Douglas Gale
The Approach, Trisha DeBrosse

And thank you to
the Sponsors of Issue 8!

By Design: We Pull the Trigger

By Design: We Pull the Trigger
James Pate and Dayton Early College Academy Students

Screen Shot 2013-12-06 at 12.12.54 PM

charcoal on paper

About the Cover

“Who pulls the trigger?” is a simple four-word question that is compacted with complexities and no clear-cut answer. The question is saturated with historical reference, social/political interaction, mental health mystery, media influence, and religious/spiritual justifications, to say the least. Answering the question artistically, or otherwise, was over my head, and beyond my maturity and intellect, until I collaborated with high school students from Dayton Early College Academy (DECA).

Surprisingly, from the offset of our initial conversation, the students took ownership of the question with a consensus that “we” (society) pull the trigger. We discussed other ideas and perspectives that centered on gun violence, which shaped and dictated the result of our piece. In a fundamental, yet complex way, this work of art attempts to illustrate and replace “who” with “we” pull the trigger. Our very own imperfect chemistry/biology seems to naturally energize to create an environment filled with negative and positive content that ironically backfires and influences our “we” behavior. Some of the content in this environment are art(s), standards by which to socialize, chemistry of all sorts, the creation of weapons and other firearms, religion, mass media, and so on.

In the foreground of this piece is a diagram of a bullet that “we” designed. It also has a chemically/biologically charged fetus dressed in a hooded sweatshirt (a.k.a. hoodie) while cradling a firearm in preparation for an environment that has a hostile design. There’s a simulated concept-patented design of a firearm system that allows only the registered owner to pull the trigger. In the background are chemical/biological representations of a human brain, neurotransmitters, and DNA helix strands made of bullets.

When the DECA students conclude that “we” pull the trigger, in essence, they are saying that the trigger was pulled long before a trigger was ever conceived. More to the point, before the trigger was designed, “we” were designed. Fittingly, the title of this 5’ x 10’ charcoal drawing is “By Design: We Pull the Trigger.”

—James Pate

about the artist
James Pate is an innovative multi-stylist whose work has been exhibited in a number of galleries, contemporary art centers, and museums throughout the country. James is a past winner of the highly competitive Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award grant and a two-time recipient of the Montgomery County Individual Artist Fellowship. James’ acclaimed series of charcoal drawings titled “Kin Killing Kin,” which depicts the devastation of black-on-black homicide, is currently touring the country.

DECA students
Ana Zacarias
Lyric Fields
Kayla Mitchell
Gregory Sampson-Fields
Ron’Necia Tanner
Tanisha Hampshire
BrAnn Porter
Jeremiah Holloway
Tommy Favors
Jordan Grandy
Ebony Anderson
Kiondria Robinson
Chloe Tate
Jovian Chapman
Zach Ellis
Dache Amos
Niela Flowers

“Study of Scrim veil—Black rectangle—Natural light” and the 9/11 Memorial

“Study of Scrim veil—Black rectangle—Natural light” and the 9/11 Memorial
Wendy Dereix

(An exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art by Robert Irwin)

A scrim veil hangs from a ceiling coupled with shapes that look like giant waffles—
squares within squares
housed within rectangles
within one giant rectangle.

Light from a window bleeds in and blends with the scrim veil creating shadows
that render the room a silent sketch of human silhouettes walking under—
squares within rectangles
housed within lines
of black and white/dark and light.

By an architect’s measure, the scrim veil hangs midway to the floor, held taut by a black beam merging with black lines on the walls. Parallel and perpendicular, the lines seem to—
float and bounce
disorient and deceive
the conscious and the subconscious.

In a new perception of reality, the scrim veil makes stationary lines move and at forty degrees latitude, an invisible line connects this space to an acre of footprints where—
the light has been wrung and compressed
two holes laid bare
in perfect geometric form—

Those squares within squares
reduced to lines within angles,
etched with the names

that bind space to infinity

about the author
Wendy Dereix is a sometime poet always struggling to put “the best words in their best order,” and is happy when she sometimes succeeds. Thank you, Mock Turtle Zine, I’m delighted to be part of this issue.

The Slaughter Queue

The Slaughter Queue
Jake Sheff

I never knew the gender of the person who taught me everything, with skin the color of prestige, a voice and dialect centripetal and turgid, and eyes that postponed definition. The name of this person means rug-burn in a language on the flyleaf of history, but its antonym is hatless. The very first story the person told me was about a black-eyed Susan outside a roller rink whose consternation was clenched and compounded by some girls in a “golden cabal.” Possessed by the discord, like a marigold or neoplastic nerd, my jittery allegiance threw a tantrum in my friable chest, and I wouldn’t be aware of it for another thirty years. I began to study jeremiads written in crayon and reconcile with my driveway. My wife said I was a wiener, but at least I valued the brochures impeding the middle, so all I could say was “crud buckets.” As banal as making out and Skittles used to be, sedum is now. And the routine of kidneys seems simply sophomoric. But in those first years the hypocrisy of macadamia nut farmers and the like was incalculable, more so the cosine of grief. Far be it from me to blame espionage or my scotoma for my love. The relics of talent are yummier than libraries, like rosin to a violin, but relegated to the wagon pulled by a pockmarked hit-man and brimming with crackers refused to the children with rickets.

about the author
Jake Sheff is a captain in the USAF currently training as a pediatrics resident physician. He’s married with a baby daughter and several rescue pets. His poems have been published widely online and in print, including at Pirene’s Fountain and Danse Macabre. His first chapbook, Looting Versailles, was recently released by Alabaster Leaves Publishing, and can be purchased on the publisher’s website or

Downtown Girl

Downtown Girl
Shulamit H. Adler

Shulamit H Adler Tuned

black and white photography

Mask by Leesa Haapapuro

about the artist
Shulamit H. Adler, Ph,D., is an outdoor photographer and clinical neuropsychologist. Her photographic work can be seen in exhibits, installations and publications around the Miami Valley. Downtown Dayton Partnership, in collaboration with Activated Spaces and the Digital Fringe, installed a life-sized image from this series at the Biltmore Towers, in a street-level window on First Street, east of Main.


T.J. McGuire

Massage therapy will always come to mind,
not only when jazz speaks to you, so sweet,
but as it slowly f-e-e-e-l-s
Its way over your body, skilled warm hands
reading the Braille of your anatomy.
It gives an entirely new definition to a spiritual
Laying on of hands. Round midnight you learn that jazz,
on any night, can be heard in every language
without using a word, and yet still has voice
Enough to sound and sooth with every color.
It’s where every muscle is completely at ease,
as if putty were the origin of your physiology.
So do you become the center of the world at this hour,
speckled in the soft bronze light of dusk,
where all jazz settles low upon cheeks like freckles or cinnamon—

Dust? Imagine a trumpet whispering sorcery, hands sliding
over you as mellow as black silk, its slow treasury of brass
oozing towards your navel like melted caramel.
Adults know where this is going. I admit, there are nights
I picture you lying there under sheets, white flags
beneath a seduction of melody; how dark red
Velvet reminds you of a cozy cabernet;
how in the quiet deep of muted horn, you think of cities
in the rain. You look up towards the bedroom, wondering
If there really are only seven steps to heaven. And you’ve
always tried so hard to resist surrendering to that hands-on
approach to love, that healing life (and sometimes death) song.
Some nights I picture you lying wherever you may be,
eventually forfeiting to the hands
that read you in their own silent way.

about the author
T.J. McGuire is a juggler. He’s is currently having a blast juggling fatherhood, a nine-year marriage, being consumed by a Stephen King obsession, and writing a novel of which the mere scope of it turns his legs to licorice. Four of his poems have appeared in Flights magazine. He has been a Dayton resident for thirty-five years.