Monthly Archives: May 2014

Issue 9 Table of Contents

Antioch Writers’ Workshop Poetry Contest

Best in Show
First Trip to Cleveland, Anne Randolph

First Place, Adult Category
Mid-Life Chrysler, T.J. McGuire

First Place, Youth Category
Now, Mollie Greenberg

Second Place, Adult Category
Tenant, Kerry Trautman

Second Place, Youth Category
Blue Shivers, Shanna Harvey

Cover Art

Keep Watch, Kylie Fine

Poetry

Afilador, David Lee Garrison
After My Grandmother’s Funeral, Elizabeth Cantonwine Schmidt
My Mother Suzie, Rita Coleman
The Scarf, Lori Lopez
The Professor’s Cat Explains, Ron Rollins
Not Quite Emo, Eric Blanchard
This Is What Life Does, Anne Blanchard
Up and Down, David Lee Garrison
Cave Paintings, Deborah Rocheleau
Educational Services, East Campus, Room 6, Eric Blanchard
Meditation, Joy Schwab
Germantown, Melissa Rubins
I Once Was a White Woman: in My Wonder Woman Boots, Joy Quarmiley
Battlefield, Mollie Greenberg
We Had a Blast, T.J. McGuire

Prose

Against Grandiosity, TJ Pancake
Tornado Alley: McClean, West Texas, 2006, Meredith Doench
A Farewell to My Tabs, Carol Narigon

Photography

Secrets, Tiffany Shaw-Diaz
Untitled, Emma Sturm
War Fair, Lorelei Fink
Horizon Line, Gary Mitchell
Untitled, Roxana Olt

First Trip to Cleveland

We start out as if on a lark, a romantic getaway
north to lake country, whipping by Amish
fields of straw sheaves, lined up like skirted
scarecrows, then that city skyline,
so jagged and uneven, a mouth with
missing teeth. Our bed and breakfast,
a stone mansion from grander days,
rock ‘n roll guitar sculpture marking the entrance.

Hurrying, we walk to the museum before closing,
meet Bonnard’s wife Marthe, feel the dappling
sun of Renoir, and search in vain for prints,
watercolors, all stowed in dark archives,
available by appointment. At dinner
we share everything, conversation, laughter,
an artichoke trimmed and dressed
in lemon, chicken breasts creamed
with goat cheese. Back at the inn, you study
your books while the woman next door coughs
erratically. We move into a new room,
where we rest under a blinking
smoke alarm, awakened in the early
morning by the repeated clearing
of a throat.

At the clinic, you lug your heavy bag
of hope to all three doctors, search for
answers, as I record conversations, no cracks
in the door to alternative treatments, only
surgery or radiation, the implanting
of seeds on a seek and destroy mission,
titanium husks you would always
carry deep inside, like a portable
landfill in a scarred landscape. Afterwards,
I drive us south, now and then stroking
the softness of your grey corduroys, silence
our companion the whole way home.

Best in Show
Antioch Writers’ Workshop Poetry Contest

Anne Randolph’s poems have been published in the following journals: Plainsongs, The Storyteller, Mad Poet’s Review, The Chaffin Journal and Willow Review. She has studied poetry at Wittenberg University, and has participated in the Antioch Writer’s Workshop.

Mid-Life Chrysler

You had to baby it. It had been through a lot … many lots.
Yet when you stepped on the gas, it only lurched,
threatened to stall, you stepped harder, it lurched again,
until the heck with babying it, you’re stomping
on the pedal, cursing, the car jerking us down the street,
RPM needle bouncing wildly, while the slightest dips
in the road caused busted shocks to boing,
as if riding on industrial-size pogo-sticks.

Sporty wouldn’t have been the word to describe that car;
nor would dependable, fuel efficient, economic, or sleek.
It was certainly no engine-revving muscle machine;
unless you count having to rev the engine to keep it
from stalling-out at stoplights, or the muscle exerted
manhandling the no-power steering, which we are not counting.
And forget horsepower, the giddy-up was violent,
like being jerked around by a bevy of three-legged donkeys.

The Beach Boys would have never written a song
about your car, that much can be said.
A blasphemy to the history of motor vehicles
your car made Stephen King’s Christine seem as prissy
as a pink, Mary Kay caddy in a Barbie parade.
And when you first pulled up in that 1986 Chrysler 500
in the summer of ‘98, it was apparent that, back at the car lot,
you’d had a serious Griswold-moment.

It was an ugly, dark brown box of rust on white-walled tires;
sofa-seats bleeding orange foam through ripped upholstery;
with an extra long front, stubby rear, and four square head lamps
that resembled toy flashlights made by Fisher Price.
Beater would be the word; lemon; rattletrap.
It was the kind of car you pray gets stolen,
but never would; not even with the keys left in the ignition,
a full tank of gas, and a sign that said—TAKE ME.

So I was surprised at your reaction, when I had recently joked
about that car, and you failed to find the humor in it.
Fifteen years was no anesthetic for the pain my playful jest
had unintentionally renewed. But it wasn’t so much for the car
that hurt, as it was for the situation: you were thirty-eight, newly divorced
with three young mouths to feed on a cashier at Lowes income.
Carless for a spell, that bum-squabbled hunk of corroded steel

was your freedom, your escape-vehicle away from that monster
whom I unaffectedly refer to as “dad.” After being imprisoned
by that insidious control-freak who’d never let you live,
you’d stolen one last glance in the rearview, before eighteen hard years
of marital hell vanished to a dot on the point of a new perspective.
The car itself was an eyesore not the slickest of paint jobs
could’ve saved. So what? It was there for you; all you could afford.
In the end, it was dad who’d driven us all away.
But it was you, mom, who stayed strong, and that beat-down
Chrysler 500 that drove the rest of us together. 

First Place, Adult Category
Antioch Writers’ Workshop Poetry Contest

T.J. McGuire lives in Dayton, Ohio, with his wife and two daughters.

Now

Now is the time when the Earth splits open beneath you,
when the shining eyes bare the veins, break the skin,
video the secrets.
Your voice is loud against the night but the streetlamp’s scream
will always be louder than you.

Now is the time when golden silence will stretch itself
across the open roads, the cornfields whispering
of the days to come while you whizz by
with your carbonated drinks and sandwich bags,
the only company you’ve got.

And I’d like to tell you:
Do not become a lyric to those songs on the radio.
Do not live your life in the shadow of other people’s inspiration.
Become a melody.

Now is the time when mother, father become obsolete,
the clouds too big to fill an endless sky,
and you aren’t sure anymore the color of her eyes, the wave of her hair,
the way your ears begged to hear the ring of her voice, yes:
This is the way of remembering.

Now is the time when books will be burned,
the blasphemy and the beauty flying out into the night
against the flames in your eyes,
caught by the bats on their midnight rounds.

And I’d like to tell you:
Do not let the boys with their big hands squeeze you too small.
Do not let the boys who want to hold you, to protect you,
trap you.

Now is the time when you burn with questions.
They singe your fingertips,
but when you try to ask them, only the silence of the walls replies,
changing you to become less of story, more of stone
so that the next time she pushes you away, no tears escape.

Now is the time when nothing is hypothetical,
every bleak detail is literal, is reality, is death.
Your lipstick stain on the coffee mug, your razor worn and bloodied
to match the nick on your cheek, your leg, your wrist.

You are everyone,
all these stains are yours and permanent.

Do not pretend anymore. 

First Place, Youth Category
Antioch Writers’ Workshop Poetry Contest

Mollie Grace Greenberg is a junior at the Miami Valley School in Centerville, Ohio, where she participates in theater, the school literary magazine, and Model United Nations, and is the president of an environmental awareness club. She has received awards for her writing in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition. She lives in Yellow Springs, Ohio, with her parents, and she loves rainy days, tea, friends, chocolate, acting, and books. For Mollie, writing poetry is a form of breathing.

Tenant

The flaking farmhouse
crouches among cornstalks.

I imagine a small woman inside,
listening to September
insinuating itself through
brittle window frames,
as she punishes her guts
for some vague sin.

Vegetation and cloud cover
shadow her from
other wives—
ones with porch neighbors,
and gregarious, tongue-y dogs,
and toddlers in sherbet-colored socks.

Caterpillars hump their wools
across the puny highway
between soybean acres.

From her window
they are black blots
crushed on asphalt
like old chewing gum on parking lots,
like shadows of hailstones
careening,
light nothings headed nowhere.

Second Place, Adult Category
Antioch Writers’ Workshop Poetry Contest

Kerry Trautman’s poetry and short fiction have appeared in various print and online journals, including Mock Turtle Zine, Alimentum, The Coe Review, Third Wednesday, and Think Journal, as well as in the anthologies Mourning Sickness (Omniarts, 2008), Roll (Telling Our Stories Press, 2012), and Journey to Crone (Chuffed Buff Books, 2013).