Spring 2014 Issue

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word fountain

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Spring 2014, Issue no. 10

 

CONTENTS
 “when” John Yamrus
Library TANKA Kim Loomis-Bennett
There, Their, and They’re Steven Flannery
Six-Word Memoir Posts:  A Collection of Life Struggles and Triumphs Rachael Goetzke
Forgotten Country Carl Albright
Is That a Monster at the End? Sylvia Olley
Hem Edward Zimmerman
Stacks Josephine Campbell
Going to the Library Louise Edwards
sublime Iris Johnston
 An American Novella Bailey Bloyd
Contributors
Meet the Editors
 
 
 
 
 
   
   

by John Yamrus

 

 

when

 

i

sent

the magazine

 

a

poem

that was

one word long,

 

he

said

what the

hell is this?

 

i

said

 

art.

 

 

***

 

Library TANKA     by Kim Loomis-Bennett

 

Don’t need babysat,

the timeworn Carnegie waits

like a beloved aunt,

tells stories my mother won’t:

sweet, secret story morsels.

 

In library dreams,

I search for an untitled

book, unknown author,

with a knowing I yearn for:

a fruit I have yet to taste.

 

Dry heat on my back,

two mile trek to paperbacks

on the romance rack.

July 1981:

The Promise of Happiness.

 

 

***

 

There, their and they’re

 

There, their, and they’re

Impostors are everywhere

You’re the one they’re hiding from

Their fear the sound of your starting gun

From here to there, the race has begun

So beware my tongue, beware

 

***

 

Six-Word Memoir Posts:  

A Collection of Life Struggles and Triumphs          by Rachael J. Goetzke

 

Born with hydrocephalus, brain surgery: shunt

Silver dollar-sized bladder always leaks

I can find a bathroom, anywhere

Daydream, color outside the lines, create

Quiet, shy…poetry awakened her soul

Be careful; watch your head, please

 

Don’t play sports; are you dizzy?

Water siphoning from brain to belly

Don’t hang upside down—use caution

Life insurance: not easy when sick

 

Wrote novel in notebook: age ten

Envied friend’s father; he’s a poet

Fell in love—rock and roll

Spoke to my soul the most

Rolling Stone magazine, rock band tee

Colored pens, mind wanders in rainbows

 

Dish ran away with the spoon

And my uterus, so we thought

Too young; no children for posterity

Adoption expensive; in vitro more costly

 

Long, lonely years until he found

My music blog; a saving grace

And spoke my language so fluently

That’s how it came to be

His kids; it’s as if from me they were sown

I still want more someday, though

A little girl, my very own

 

Grand Mal Seizures, a tiring journey

Medicines tormented,

 

happiness prevented,

 

artist lamented

 

As usual, I overcame the challenges

I still believe in dreams materialized

Professional writer: lots of student debt

Day off:  Pearl Jam concert tee

This is who I’ll always be

 

***

 

Forgotten Country     by Carl Albright

I could of sworn

when you said that,

you might of been thinking:

 

:the heart of Alexandria,

those curling scrolls

flaring shelved starlight,

a perfect harmonic of

vision, word, wind

 

:or a pictured dive,

Geronimo, Geronimo

 

*The poet refuses to explain his use of punctuation, but hints it may be a Biblical reference.

 

***

 

Is There a Monster at the End?     by Sylvia Olley

As each dawn brings a new day, so each day brings us closer to seeing the end of all libraries.  As I walked through my local building of books and unending imagination the other day, that is the thought that kept leafing through my head.  After all, America is really good at saying goodbye to the really greats.

The vinyl record?  Replaced with iPods and MP3 players.  The handwritten letter from grandma?  Your phone alerts you to an email sent from grandma (sans flowery stationary, of course.)  Heck, even notes between girlfriends are now “tweets” and “texts.”   So, why should we keep lugging our mountain of books each one hurriedly read so you can get it back on time (sure), but also because you can’t wait for the next book in the series back to the library?

Why should we continue dragging our two-and-a-half year old kids to that home of rectangular edifices called books?

Why?

How about, “Why not?”

The library is one of the few remaining bastions of solitude left on this planet where being alone with our thoughts, alone with our reflections of the day, alone with what’s left of our sanity is not only the norm, but also kept as a general rule by the few librarians out there.  Some of the publishing conglomerates are trying to murder books by relegating written matter into handheld devices called Kindles and Tablets.  While nothing is inherently wrong about that, I find it offensive that I am being forced to read some of my favorite authors on my smart phone instead of picking up that dusty and slightly bent novel.  I, for one, still have a relationship with my local library.  I also frequent my favorite neighborhood “mom and pop” store as I browse for those books that I fondly refer to as “keepers.”

Perhaps I am a stubborn curmudgeon because I was brought up learning about libraries, and taught how to properly read the Dewey Decimal System.   Standing before the card catalog, my fingers would deliberately march through that drawer of numbers and letters, and with much elation I would eventually pick up my book and check it out, proudly signing my ever-so-neat cursive name.  All this hunter-gatherer routine would surely sound mundane to the child who obsesses over Candy Crush on her phone.  But finding that perfect book that you can’t put down is something I always found joy in.  Library books even have a certain scent to them as well, don’t they?

They smell as familiar to me as freshly cut grass on a summer Saturday or spaghetti sauce on top of the stove.  That is something you won’t ever get to appreciate once you have surrendered your soul to inkless words pixelated on glass.  Once you start taking away libraries, you may as well say goodbye to the fireworks at the Fourth of July party or the hot dogs at your favorite ballgame stadium.  I don’t know…maybe I am just a silly little thirty something who is straining to hold onto a past that will inevitably be impossible to hold onto.  I sure hope not.

I hope that libraries are still standing when I start to read to my grandchildren.  I want to read all of the classics to them.  All of the Little Golden Books that I read growing up should still be around in paper form so my grandchildren can turn the pages and feel that same anticipation I did.  “There’s A Monster at the End of This Book” just wouldn’t read the same on a Kindle.  If we keep going down the same path we’re headed down today, I fear that the monster at the end of my book will be standing in an Amazon distribution center where a library used to stand.

***

 

Hem     by Edward Zimmerman

 

Sitting in the dim light of the reading room

I noticed.

She came in

dressed as you might be

on a night like this.

My eyes followed

as she made her way across the floor.

 

I fell back into my book.

Hemingway

talking of impassioned lovers not wanting—

but needing—

each other.

She conjured you.

same style.

same way.

The same movement of her hand

As she took a book from the shelf.

 

I thought of the time we spent at the library in Lancaster.

sunlight flooding

the main room of that great building.

You and I sitting across from each other

in shared solitude.

lost in our books.

then

the café at night.

 

When she made her way

Back across the floor to leave

I wished her to stay.

She put the book in her bag as she exited.

taking you with her.

ceasing the thought.

and leaving me

 

to Hemingway.

 

***

 

 

Stacks     by Josephine Campbell

 

There once was a library feller

Who had to go down to the cellar.

With murders and mysteries,

He carted up histories:

“This stuff in the stacks is just stellar!”

 

 

***

 

 

Going to the Library     by Louise Edwards

 

“Mom! I’m going to the library!”

It’s 1954. I’m 10 years old, skinny and tall for my age. My messy, long hair bounces off my shoulders as I push out of the screen door and let it slap shut behind me. I hit the first three steps off the back porch and leap over the last two, propelling myself onto the grass in the yard. A gray squirrel in the apple tree by the garage chatters at me and scuttles to higher branches.

I trot across the yard and sidle through the hemlock hedge to trespass on the neighbor’s yard. The neighbors, maiden ladies, sisters, don’t seem to mind when kids cut through their yard. Both ladies work for lawyers, and the friendlier one, Harriet, told me she takes notes in shorthand. Maybe I’ll get a book that teaches shorthand!

I gallop down the dirt driveway to Ridge Street. I’m still young enough to enjoy pretending to be a horse. Maybe I’ll get a horse book…

Ridge Street makes me slow to a walk.  There is thick shade under the maple trees that grow in the tree lawns between the sidewalk and the street along the whole block. In the fall, I’ll pick up the wing-shaped maple tree seeds and drop them so they spiral to the ground in a flashing whirl I never get tired of watching.

As I pass Miss McCarthy’s house, her old terrier dog rouses from his nap on the door mat and yaps at me. “Brian! Shut up!” someone yells from inside. Brian snorts at me and retreats to his mat. I can get a book on training dogs. 

Ridge Street meets Chester Street by an enormous horse chestnut tree. Its golf-ball size, spiny seeds have long ago been swept up or washed away, but in the fall I’ll kick them along the sidewalk when I pass this corner.

I know the names of all the trees in my neighborhood, and I can recognize them by their leaves, by their bark, and by their form as I learned to do from books I’ve borrowed from the library.

Chester Street ends at Wyoming Avenue, a wide, busy street with traffic lights at every corner.  When I was a toddler, the avenue was lined with elegant American elm trees that towered above the homes and buildings. Branches like fountains of leaves shaded and cooled the pavement. Now some of the trees look damaged and ragged because an introduced fungus called Dutch elm disease is slowly killing them.  Where a tree has been removed, the sun glares off siding and window panes making a home look less comfortable, cheaper.

The noise and heat of Wyoming Avenue muffles my imagination and makes me feel self-conscious. The library is just a block away, but I dislike this part of the journey. I have to cross Wyoming Avenue at a traffic light while the people in stopped cars stare at me. My older sister wouldn’t mind this. She prepares herself to go out expecting to be admired. I know I should get a book about how to appear confident, or something with beauty tips.

Today an older woman comes up beside me. When the light turns green, we cross together. “Going to the library?” she asks.

I say “Yes.” and hurry on because I don’t know what else to say.

Now I’m running up the broad concrete steps…grab the large brass door handle, press the latch with both thumbs, put my weight into pulling the heavy wood and glass door to me, and, Yes!

I’m inside the library!

 

***

 

sublime     by Iris Johnston

 

Who coined that word?

It must have been a man

a-humpin’ through the summertime

a greasy yellow ball

who dripped past a

moist mouth

smelling like fruit

and licorice root and

evaporated into thought.

 

 

***

 

 

An American Novella     by Bailey Bloyd

 

Dusty golden braids

laying one atop another

sprout up.

Bluest eyes swell

and release

grey skyscrapers

on coastal lines.

Mockingbirds sing justice

for those who cannot.

Cold blood,

purple fog,

Midwestern women,

build us.

 

 

***

 

 

 

 Contributors

Carl Albright has had poems published in Nuvein, Word Fountain, and a couple student journals, and he once had a poem read on public radio but missed hearing it due to being out of town. He and his family, including three notoriously well-mannered teenagers, currently enjoy singing and breathing in rural Northeast Pennsylvania.

Bailey Bloyd is a senior at Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She will be graduating in May with no job but a BA in English and writing. Bailey focuses on spoken word poetry and creative nonfiction. She is a New Jersey native, bagel enthusiast and poor college student.

Josephine Campbell of Wilkes-Barre has spent countless hours in the Osterhout with her husband, Ian, and children, Grant and Helen.

Louise Edwards Kingston native.  Married.  One child.  Lives in Ross Township, PA, with her wonderful dog and 7 cats.

Steve Flannery is the lead singer of the band Zayre Mountain.  He is the lucky 7th of 8 children and enjoys the taste of food and drink.  He has coined many phrases, none of which have been officially accepted as legal tender.  Yet.

Kim Loomis Bennett is a life-long resident of the Pacific Northwest. Recent poems appear in The Prose-Poem Project and The Far Field. She is a reviewer for Foreword Reviews and Hippocampus Magazine as well as other venues. She has an MFA from Wilkes University. More information is available at: 

kimloomisbennett.blogspot.com

John Yamrus has published 2 novels and 21 volumes of poetry since 1970. He has also had nearly 1,600 poems published in print magazines around the world. Selections of his work have been translated into many languages, most recently, Romanian. His work has been taught at both the high school and university level. His most recent book of poetry is ALCHEMY. 

Edward Zimmerman is a poet in the Wilkes-Barre area who enjoys the flourishing growth of the city’s writing and creative scene.  He is glad that Wilkes-Barre affords people the opportunity to seek and expand their creativity.

 

Meet the Editors

Rachael 

Rachael Goetzke earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University.  Excerpts of her memoir have been published in The Writing Disorder and Word Fountain.  http://kindalikeapoet.wordpress.com

 

Tom

 Tom J. Hughes is a Language Arts teacher at Reading Intermediate High School. He is an avid fan of the game Magic: the Gathering and feels that it is the most fun you can have with your pants on.

 

 

 Iris

Iris Johnston is tired of being asked if she’s a “cunning linguist.” She is currently exploring the genre of poetry on demand and will release a collection of her efforts at the 2014 Scranton Zine Fest.

 

 

Ed

Edward Lupico is a full-time librarian who is never far from words. He travels many miles to taste craft beers and unequivocally enjoys the company of his dog, even though that dog is an illiterate teetotaler.

 

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Osterhout Free Library

71 S. Franklin Street

Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701

email: wordfountain@osterhout.lib.pa.us

http://www.facebook.com/thelibrarywordfountain

https://thelibrarywordfountain.wordpress.com

570-823-0156   Fax: 570-823-5477

 

Thanks for reading us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall 2013 Issue No. 8

cat tree in silver

word fountain fall 2013 issue no. 9

Editors: Rachael Goetzke, Iris Johnston, Jessica Kush, Edward Lupico

“Though the winds of change may blow around you,
but that will always be so”*

 

Tim

This issue is lovingly dedicated to the memory of Timothy Allen Harris

 

Born:  November 4, 1982

Died:  September 13, 1999

cat cover photo art:  Rachael J. Goetzke

copyright Osterhout Free Library (c) 2013

*Led Zeppelin_“In the Light”_Physical Graffiti_Swan Song, 1975.

 

 

CONTENTS
A POEM for HALLOWEEN Charles O’ Donnell  
A Demon’s Treat Carol MacAllister  
A Son Jennifer Hill  
A Journey to the Buddha William Harrison  
May God Bless You Now and Hereafter Lisbeth Gelatt  
Fall Quake Tornieri  
Autumn Requiem Rachael Goetzke  
On Fall Scuter Tornieri  
Watch Out For Witches Adrian Spendlow  
Stranded in Scoville Carl Albright  
Attack of the Trednods Carol MacAllister  
Poem for Japan, March 2011 Dittow Tornieri  
NOVEMBER SECOND Charles O’Donnell  
Lonely Willow Tornieri  
Contributors    
Meet Your Editors    
     
     
     
     

A POEM for HALLOWEEN     by Charles O’Donnell

Subtracting matter,
making you by taking
away from you,
I cut you with a knife.
A stabbing craniotomy
scoops out your useless brain.
I slice your nose,
your sightless stare triangular,
a gash of jagged grin.
Seeds like spit-out-teeth
I scatter.
East of yellow, west of red–
your pumpkin color–keep.

Empty now,
your carved out space ignites
an inner light–
this candle making whole
your hollowness.

 

***

 

A Demon’s Treat           by Carol MacAllister

 

Fresh newt’s eyes and frog legs flinch

while boiling in the brew,

Spells are cast on howling winds,

There darts a trick or two.

 

Trouble lurks at every turn,

unknowing victims race

from moaning dead, banshee cries,

monster’s snarling chase.

 

Autumn’s rustling branches drone

at demons overhead

on ancient brooms, phantom steeds,

Rousing up the dead.

 

Strange, how innocence is lured

to wander through dark streets,

Each year, a few just disappear,

Snatched! – a demon’s treat.

 

***

 

A Son     by Jennifer Hill

 

Bar none, hands down, he has the happiest face in the history of punctuation.

Period? Not that end mark, full stop of forever. A comma, like the pause

that happens in a film where the director left the sky for the viewer to consider.

His face makes you want to write love letters to the world, gives you the feeling

that a grain of sleepy sand from his eye contains the universe. One yawn

and the entire court of your heart kneels. This is the light that clubs you to death.

You sense the great supervisor of your life
working at the file cabinet,

shifting your childhood, your young adulthood to the back to make room

for what will be his key years, your responsibility. It’s yours to hold and keep,

to match or un-match with what your parents did for you. His face is the happiest

 

note in all of music, in every song ever sung, even in his wailing, which reaches

a volume that makes the dog’s ears tilt and the cat scuttle under the bed. You asked

for spring and got all the seasons fast forwarded, but his face calms you, slows

the chatter in your head, casts a spell on reality. He is the dream that seals

the story, stacks the deck in your favor. If the devil himself had presented him

to you in the basement, filled with its spiderwebs of cunning,

you would have swaddled the boy and run. His face is the comma,

his face is the first brick of your foundation, his face is every seed

of the possible, and he came from you. Just you.

 

***

 

 

A Journey to the Buddha     by William Harrison

 

A perilous pathway wound its way

up a mountainside in Uijongbu.

Patient pilgrims plodded with staggering steps

along the dizzying precipice, fearful of falling.

Clinging to the mountain, sacred sites

gave haven from the punishing rays of the merciless sun,

or drenching torrents of flooding monsoon rain.

Food and drink were the comforts holy hermits offered,

asking nothing in return but pilgrims pray for them.

At the top the Buddha sat in splendor;

silent, stone-faced, staring eternally out

from a temple hewn of pine trunks painted red;

 

its lacy walls were inlaid with golden symbols.

Spirit-stoppers, in the form of savage serpents,
crouched on the roof

guarding the worshippers from lurking evil.

As from an infinite distance the Buddha watched

celebrants genuflecting on the stone floor at his feet

making obeisance to what they thought he was.

Unenlightened soldiers at the mountain’s base jumped
into their jeeps

and sped hastily to the Buddha, not realizing

that the journey was the goal.

 

 

This poem was written as a meditation on a pilgrimage to the
Buddhist temple north of Seoul, Korea while I was stationed with the 2d Division Artillery in 1980.

 

***

 

 

May God Bless You Now and Hereafter.     by Lisbeth Gelatt

American Soldier.

He was Not the first, God no.

It was very nearly tradition.

He lovingly polished the muzzle

ceremoniously blued just days before,

the one that echoed in his mind.

She nearly flexed her beautiful figure

in his mind,

caressed his hand, in his mind cried out

Choose Me! Me!

I’ll do you good,

 

So he picked her right out of the lineup

of eternal lovers,

that collection he and his buddies accrued.

Some of them old friends, some trophies

some clutched desperately

in the middle of the night

against unwelcome company.

 

Oddly, the nightmares receded

once he knew, knew

the direction he’d go with his life.

 

Heh, heh. Funny. He joked to himself,

didn’t think of anything,

pictured cool desert stars at night,

palming her cool thigh.

Saw that towering wall of red sand

swallowing the barracks;

overtaking daylight;

scattering the pickup game;

Swallowing sound in that shushed roar;

Advancing surely and with infinite patience;

Sipping greedily the town outside;

Overtaking a woman, small boy,

his gunmetal lover.

His hand.

 

04/16/2012. In memory of PFC Gray, and all who fell to enemy fire after coming home.

 

 

***

 

 

Fall     by Quake Tornieri

 

This time of the year,

too clearly cold and heavy—
my window strategy time—
comes too soon.

 

Can spring hide forever?

 

 

***

 

 

Autumn Requiem     by Rachael J. Goetzke

In eighth grade, the jocks made fun of me because they knew my brother Jeremy was a “stoner.”  One day at the lunch table after their chiding, I was so angry I cried.  Tim, the smelly kid at the end of the table, said, “It’s okay, Rachael.  They’re just stupid.”
“Dude, your brother is so cool,” Tim told me in English class our junior year.  I gave him a foreboding look.  Within five minutes, he was having narcotic dreams.  It made me hurt.  I remembered that smelly kid (he didn’t smell anymore) who put his arm around me and told me not to worry about the stupid kids that made fun of me for having a “stoner” brother.
Every day during our 27-minute lunch our freshman year, Tim would bribe coins off multiple people to see how many Yoo-hoos he could buy by the end of the lunch period. One day, he’d bribed enough change for three and drank all of them.  He bounced through the lower commons on a sugar high.  He came up and put his arms around Lindsey and me and starting singing, “And here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson…” and all three of us launched into, “JESUS LOVES YOU MORE THAN YOU WILL KNOW WHOA-oh-oh…” and finished the verse, at least.
I was walking from my‘86 VW Jetta fall when Tim caught up to

me on the sidewalk in early September of our senior year.  “Hey, Rachael.  You have a Jetta, too?”

“You’ve got one?”

“Yeah, it’s pretty shoddy but it gets me to school.  It’s an 85.  What’s yours?”

“1986.”

“So I’m going to a party out in a field somewhere this weekend.”

“Tim, be careful, okay?  I worry about you.”

“It’s cool.  Thanks.  Have a good weekend!”

“You too, Tim.”

***

My friend William called me that Sunday evening.  “Tim Harris died last night.”  Flashes of Friday’s early fall sunshine spread across my mind as I saw his strawberry blonde hair swinging into his freckled face.  Sobs came and I set the receiver on the bed.  Mom came into the room and took the phone from me.
“H-how did it happen?”  I replayed a few of his last words to me:  Cool.  I’m going to a party out in a field somewhere.

Mom had spoken with William before he called me.  “He was staying at his doctor’s house, ironically.  And he took too many pills.  They didn’t know until this morning but they said he died sometime Sunday night.”  Thoughts of my brother raced through my head.  I remembered Tim staring up at me with pinpoint pupils during the old broadcast version of The Scarlet Letter in English class the previous year. By the end of that year he had taken to using his leather jacket as a pillow.  My brother’s so cool, all right.  So cool he could be dead, like you, Tim.

Tim’s viewing was the first one I’d ever attended; Mom went with me.  I’d like to say I shouldn’t have gone but it did something important for me.  It instilled in me the firm belief that your last vision of someone should be of them when they are happy and alive.  The image of waxen post-mortem Tim is tattooed on the back of my retinas.  I still don’t have to close my eyes to see him laid out in his Hardee’s uniform clutching a tennis racket and his VW keychain.  Laid out.  What a funny term, if you think on it.  It sounds so inviting—like you’re having some posh party while
everyone is grieving.  I stared at his lifeless face for a long time.
Only a week after his passing, I said to my friend, Chris, “I know he’s in a better place.”

“He’s gone, Rachael,” Chris insisted.

“Yes, I’m aware.  I choose to believe he’s in a better place.”
“When people die, they’re just dead.  That’s it—the end. Game over,” he said.

Tears threatened my eyes, “No,” I argued he’s in a better place.”  Before I finished my sentence, tears spilled over my cheeks.

Chris retreated, only a little, “Well, that’s foolish,” he said.  But then he dropped it.  I can’t accept the idea that nothing exists after this life.  My faith is too strong and “I shall not be moved,” as the old hymn professes.  I still believe people who have passed on are watching over us.  Mom shares this belief and has often said that she feels like her first love, Danny, is still looking after her.  Many people doubt the afterlife for animals but I refuse to believe in any other fate.  I’m quite assured that my dear, sweet cat, named Snakes, is watching over me, and always will be.

Sitting in the pew at Tim’s wake must have been eerie for her.  As we sat together I saw a girl clutching an older man.  She was unrecognizable in her grief.  “Daddy just tell me he’s sleeping,” she kept wailing.  This incident was actually more disturbing than Tim’s waxen face so artificially at peace.  I later found out this was Jessie and her father was the doctor who’d been allegedly been   allowing Tim to crash in the barn and also provided him with illicit substances that may have incited his death.

 

It took me about five years to write about Tim’s passing.  One

beautiful fall day after poetry class in college I summoned up that

September just a few years before:

 

Autumn Requiem

Silence deafened the day

The leaves danced to the ground—

Kamikaze pilots in a perishing pirouette

Dive and plie among the trees       the gentle breeze

Sang a song for you

My childhood friend slipped her hand in mine

The warmth colored my hand with comfort

As the fading day drained the color from your once-green

 

eyes

The single rose shattered the silence

 

as I set it on your cedar bed

And the benevolent moon strolled up on the scene to bid

 

the fallen leaf goodnight.

 
He’s in the passing leaves now.

 

 

***

 

 

ON FALL     by Scuter Tornieri

Disappointment speaks of change.
Clover time and garden time are over for now.
Flying time finds animals leaning to the south
or under the cooling ground.

Below, turtles, hide alone
In necessary sleep.

 

 

***

 

 

Watch Out For Witches     by Adrian Spendlow

 

Watch out for witches whirling about

Creeping and flying and leaping right out.

 

The warty, the shorty, the wily stick thin

All have a pot to boil you in.

 

With a hubble, a bubble, steaming it all

They creep up behind in the woods or the hall.

 

Whizzing on bristles, being cats or a hare

A whisk of a whisper they’re suddenly there.

 

Wizened and beaky with gleaming mad-eyes

Surprisingly silent till they screech a cry.

 

With a wriggle, a giggle, a wiggle of wand

Oops!  You’re a frog and you live in a pond!

 

We dance with a cackle and cast a wild eye

“We are the witches,” we scream and fly by.

 

 

***

 

 

Stranded in Scoville     by Carl Albright

 

No matter how comfortable

you feel in this present,

never give in

to a habanero dare.

 

Even when you’re sitting in

the Hard Rock Café of Niagara Falls,

beneath the slight shadows of

a Jimmy Hendrix hollow body.

No matter how innocent

the

 

finger-sized pepper looks,

their numbers

tell nothing about

what it feels like,

to have the immediate future

seared out in a stream of tears,

a pitcher of Budlight,

handfuls of hard rolls,

and yet another

never-again promise.

 

 

***

 

 

 

Attack of the Trednods     by Carol MacAllister

 

The rally ring of roses rang

While cockle crows shined purple fangs

All readied to save Starkle Tweak

A quiet place where Trednod feet

Can turn the drifting silent dins

Into a month of rattle grins.

 

“No rattle grins,” the slithers cried,

“The Trednod march.  We need to hide,

or be trampled under toes.”

“Don’t worry,” cawed the cockle crows.

 

Crows flew the cider waves of Mork

Each purple fang dropped silver forks

Upon the Trednods’ green webbed toes

Slithers hid as cockle crows

Drove back the stomping Trednod feet

Than all the slithers did repeat,

 

“Hurray! We’re saved from rattle grins

They will not stop our silent dins.”

 

 

 

 ***

 

 

 

 

Poem for Japan, March 2011     Dittow Tornieri

 

Earth I love.

Above, flying, I watched

ugly tide curl and rage

far so far outside the sea.

 

So different before and after.

 

How I cry!  Sweet lost people and pets

haunt me.  Who forced the treasured grass

and blanket of land off gardens and ground?

Boiling claws of water, signing sculpture it bare.

After, shallow pools shaped the face of the city.

 

Poems lights fear.

 

 

***

 

 

NOVEMBER SECOND     by Charles O’ Donnell

When her patient dies, the night nurse winds
the body in sheets and opens the window so
the soul will not be hindered on its journey.

Soul seeks her home at the end of her shift,
slips through her shaded window, entwines itself
in morning sheets, lingers in her daylight dreams.

 

***

 

 

Lonely     Willow Tornieri

 

June’s dry, soft clouds

code herons’ fishing time,

while in our lawn, robins listen

for worm rustles.

 

In fall, birds yield to the cold.

far away, my poetry cries

for spring’s return.

 

***

 

Contributors

Carl Albright lives with his wife and three teenage sons in rural Northeast PA. He especially enjoys jogging over bridges, playing Sunday-morning guitar, sharing family
dinners, and praying for peace.

Lisbeth Gelatt is a writer, poet, and student in her final
semester at Keystone College. Lis’s work can be found at
Cowboypoetry.com, at the Keystone College Litmagazine, The Plume, at Pank Magazine’s parenting special, at her blog threedivas.wordpress.com, in Skin to Skin literary magazine’s upcoming December issue, and in 2012’s flood issue of Word Fountain.

William Fuller Harrison is a resident of Wilkes-Barre, PA.  He has studied creative writing with Charles O’Donnell of ArtSeen, and Leland Bennett of Plymouth High School, from which he graduated in 1965. His poetry and prose have been published in Veterans’ Voices magazine and Word Fountain.

Jennifer Hill writes, creates, performs, and believes only boring people get bored. You can find her online at: actsofjennius.com.

Carol MacAllister, M.F.A., is widely published in poetry, has won several poetry awards and has served as adjudicator in poetry competitions, most recently, NFSPS. She has edited and published three books of poetry – RIPASSO, a unique by-invitational-only collection including Robert Pinsky and other poet laureates. Available only at clmshazam@aol.com

Charles O’Donnell graduated from King’s College where he majored in English. He is a social worker in Nanticoke. His play “The Last Time” was produced by the Jason Miller Playwright Project in Scranton.

Adrian Spendlow is the official Bard of York, England, and presents his work in private and public venues. He is a key presenter in the huge annual Viking Festivities, as well as a storyteller and portrayer of characters in themed events and enactments.

Dittow, Quake, Scuter, Willow Tornieri are a family of Japanese poets whose work has been transcribed by their colleague, Rosemary Lombard.

Meet Your Editors…

Rachael Goetzke has her MA and MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University.  Excerpts of her memoir have been published in The Writing Disorder and Word Fountain.

Iris Johnston can’t decide if she is more satisfied by flowers and ponds, or Sephora and Thai food. She currently hopes to discover the existence of a Nail Polish Tree.

Edward Lupico is a full-time librarian who is never far from words. He travels many miles to taste craft beers and unequivocally enjoys the company of his dog, even though that dog is an illiterate teetotaler.

Jessica Kush is the Office Coordinator in the Alumni Relations and Annual Giving Office at King’s College. She is also a graduate from King’s College with a Bachelors of Arts degree in English: professional writing. When she isn’t reading or writing, she enjoys volunteering and planning programs for several nonprofit organizations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring 2013, Issue No. 8

Word Fountain: Spring 2013 Issue No. 8

Editors:
Rachael Goetzke
Iris Johnston
Edward Lupico

A Winter Conversation        
by Dawn Leas

Under a full moon, dim stars blur
as if brushed-stroked across the black
sky. She idles in a dark car. Shivering
from winter’s edge, she rests her head

against the frosted window, watches new
snow skittering across icy drifts. Phone
cradled on her shoulder she closes her eyes
to listen, spring just far enough away to want.

 ***

 

small press                 
by Rachael Goetzke

much worth flows from

within

small book

folded

words in print
shimmer
beside my work

desk

***

 

youth                  
by Alexandria Smith

 

in the days when we would

 whisper to the sea

loveliness rolling off of our tongues

 and into the deep as salt entered our bodies

 and air filled our lungs

making impressions we intended to keep

 

like beautiful truths

on beaded skin

puckered and

 gilded

from the resting water

and glowing sun

 

a delicate feather

across smooth hips

new and trembling

beneath traces of sand

on heavy limbs; ton

 

reflected in the

beloved stones of the

shore, unblemished and

free as we whispered

to the sea

 

For the Man in the Museum          
by David J. Bauman

            Not in July or any month

                have I had the pleasure—if it is a pleasure—

                Of fishing on the Susquehanna.

                                —Billy Collins

 

Kayaking on the Susquehanna—

now that’s a pleasure—in July or

any month lacking ice or floods.

 

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a painting

of someone kayaking on the Susquehanna,

or any Pennsylvania waters for that matter.

 

My body feels it now, the ache that pushes

muscles as I row this rocking rhythm,

the meter of my stroke a little off—

 

two beats to port for each at starboard.

This fat little sit-on-top is made

for ocean waves, not upstream track.

 

But it’s the only kayak I own, so I row

on the Susquehanna, my backyard stream.

This far north of Harrisburg where West

 

meets North, the water’s deep, at least

when the dam is up. It’s inflatable, you know,

like the ego of poets who don’t know

 

about boats or bats that swoop past,

or fishing poles, or calloused hands,

curved paddles that dip and scoop,

 

and dribble Susquehanna into your lap.

It’s dusk; two ducks, and a loon flap past,

wings nearly tipping the waves. I tire and drift

 

the way we poets do when we’ve pushed

the pen too hard, and need to let

the stream find us again.

 

The slow current spins me facing downstream,

toward a low waxing moon, and even the rise

of countless mayflies doesn’t hide the glow

 

of pink sky above a bank of jumbled trees.

I imagine, as I glide toward shore,

a man in a museum, mind adrift,

 

gazing at a picture of a stranger

kayaking on the Susquehanna.

He senses something he has missed,

 

and thinks to write of his regret,

fleeting as a Pennsylvania rabbit,

briefly mourning a euphoria he’ll never know.

 

Shoulders sore, a setting sun, the moon

and first few stars hover over slow

roving water. Up ahead a bass jumps

 

for the day’s last fly. From far away I feel

his gaze. I pull my body up and out, and tug

the craft to ground, dripping the river behind me.

 

***

 

ThirtyThree       
by Luciana Celestine   

 

When I forced my way into this world

The doctor neglected to mention

To my trembling father

And blood and sweat slicked mother

That by virtue of my birth

I had a 100% chance of dying

 

There is dust

There is ash

And somewhere in between

There I was

 

A delicate orchid

One soft frost away from its last sunrise

A precious artifact

Dug up from so much dirt

A find so rare that any archeologist would

Pulverize Nefertiti’s bones just to lay such a claim

 

De rigeur paces

A missed step here

A standing ovation there

A feeling in the pit of my being

That could lay a black hole to waste

 

Always dark spots near young stars

 

For thirty-three years

I have smiled like I’m brain damaged

 

My teeth bleached white like

Some old whale bones

Washed ashore

Baked in the sun

Picked clean of all life

 ***

 

Ova            by Iris Johnston

 

Her hand, like Lavinia’s, washed and trimmed.

Indelible jam on the face of a boy.

An old man, his eye sockets empty as Easter eggs,

their precious contents plundered.

 

I will make you a list of terrible things, of

Events With Huge Numbers,

catastrophes, governments, of

all the ways someone might hurt you.

 

I forbid you from being a genius, a drunk.

I will never let you wrinkle.

I will slip you in my pocket like a library card

for a book I have hidden under the shelves

so that no one will read you, smudge your poems,

or clip and cherish them, or

love you any more than I. 

 

***

 

On Selecting Optics               
by David J. Bauman

We’re talking birds of prey, right?
Migrants—so we’re talking distance;
you’ll need high power, but not too high.
What enlarges the image increases that shake;
your unsteady hand blurs the image. So buy

lightweight. You might consider a scope;
for those hawk-ish specks soaring far.
The tripod should be sturdy; it’s windy
on the ridge. Again, the shake, the blur.
And don’t let your eyes strain

to compensate for quality. Consider
the prisms, lens coatings, how much
you want to spend. Migration means
there’s so much sky to scan, so
choose a wider field of view. Tricky,

these contraptions—no matter how close
you feel, how crisp, how clear you see,
there will always be that bird you missed.
A Merlin on the wrong side of the ridge,
wings tucked into a glide, sails south and fast,

unconcerned about your careful records.
An east-strayed Swainson slips by, on long
pointed wings while, eyes turned west, you
are distracted by the glinting white head
of a Bald Eagle, perfectly framed in the glass.

 

***

 

The 6:45 Train             
by Dawn Leas

 

She drinks the bright warmth

waiting, always waiting,

for tomorrow and the late-train

whistle signaling his arrival.

 

(An idea catches her attention

drawing her closer to movement.)

 

Unknowingly, he transforms with each

passing mile while replaying their early

morning goodbye. As he steps onto the solid

wood platform, it never occurs to him

 

that she’s done waiting.

 

 

***     

Untitled                                                                                     

by Carol MacAllister & Adrian Spendlow

 

And through the haze appears

times that have been.

They call to us,

So often unheard

in haunting whispers

transcending words,

‘i hear’, ‘i hear’

one’s inner voice reminds
lacing through from other times.

An ageless sense of self is seen,

Is living merely lucid dreams,

 

Remembrance echoes from before

and memories ebb

our future lore.

 

***

 

 

Rapunzel                       by Iris Johnston

 

They tell me you died with your hand on your heart,

and nobody found you for days.

That’s what you pay

for the privilege of life in a land

where nobody knows your English name

and yours are the only blue eyes around.

 

Your mother wore poppies to honor your absence.

What do you care about poppies?

Your eyes and nose are cinders in the guts of whales.

Your sister told stories of newspaper suits,

of handmade capes,

manta ray trainers in ecru and pine.

But your shoulders now wear nothing but ocean,

you need no more hobbies to soothe nervous hands,

and your millions have purchased

their last pair of shoes.

Save one.

Some Stuart Weitzman loafers

tastefully tasseled, the color of tea,

with just enough sass

that all will believe

“these are the shoes my son bought for me.”

 

***

 

SUNDAY MORNING,
FLEA MARKET, MOTHER’S DAY      
by Lino

Yes, I am insanely jealous
of every snaggle-toothed
lucky son of a bitch
who gets to buy some useless crap,
present it with flowers stolen
from neighbors’ gardens,
make awkward conversation
that skitters around the edges
of old disappointments,
over overcooked beef and
mashed potatoes,
making no effort to resist
the barely understood
gravitational pull of
unconditional love.

 

 

***

Prospects            
by Alexandria Smith

 

Is there a possibility

that the circles beneath your eyes

are not from lack of sleep

but from a lack of

 

Me, standing there

in absolute uncertainty

Uncertain Possibility

Not knowing where to go

or where you’re going

Like waking up way too late

or spilling coffee on your shirt

No, it’s not like that all

 

But is there a possibility

that the shake in your hand

is not from a plan that

refuses to unfurl

but from the absence of

 

 

A girl, you could say that

The first but not quite the last

but maybe the only one

with loving eyes and

tender charm

Uncertain Possibility

Like missing your flight

or forgetting your change

No, it’s not like that all

 

And is there a possibility

that the ache in your chest

is not from the arrival of

the rest of your book

but from a lack of

 

A part that you took,

the second time we met

Uncertain Possibility

Not knowing if

we’ll like it without it

Like saying too much

Or not enough

No, it’s not like that at all

 

***

 

Francis of Assisi to His Cat             
by Bill Harrison

 

“O Brother Cat, we have lived long together.

Woeful watch we kept

 at the passing of our parrot brother.

Mournful vigil we observed

over the cold corpse of our canine sister.

Your icy eyes watch intently

as my frail fingers speed

over the beads

of the Sorrowful Mysteries.

When alone you continually cry.

Are you as aware of your mortality

 as I am of mine?”

 

***

 

CAMERA OBSCURA          
by Ray Gibson

A film is a dream that you pay to have
together in the dissevering dark
before walking into the other dark:—–
shifting foregrounds of crowd on nights stars pave.

Somewhere between, immersed by silver waves,
from the other side of the screen that spark
of isolate lucidity—–so stark,
so brief—–reflected back to your eye’s grasp.

Then, you surfaced to your separate selves
to sleep and dream again, but alone now;
this lens—–like a Janus—–can backward delve,

become the auteur unseen and unfelt
in waking life, through a sight which somehow
wouldn’t be the same for anyone else.

 

***

 

Brush                  
by Stef Szymanski

 

He has me

brush his hair smooth

after I kiss his lips raw.

He teaches me his art —

the mastery of messing it up,

the method to looking mad.

 

I have him

brush my own straight

after our mouths finish growing cold.

He untangles my knots

with the delicate cut of a comb.

The shock of comfort subsides.

 

When he’s gone

I see strands of our hair

twisted around each other,

clinging to the bristles,

and I know that

there are thousands of ways

to hold someone.

 

***

 

Shaxper 449                 
by Edward Lupico

 

The moon rose o’er England

that faraway night, yanking the tide of thought

into the mortise and tenon of centuries:

how we speak.

Know this: they are merely words.

 

Let the record show:

bells tollèd o’er the Avon when you were born,

when you couplèd, when you sirèd, when you expirèd.

Now we find you a grave man in Stratford,

cultivating sober weeds

under a slab of doggerel undisturbèd.

 

Your character set this stage:

grace and rude will

(the naysayers neigh ‘unletter’d,’

while others cry ‘horseshit,’

but let’s debate that another day)—

never we to know if e’er you foresaw

those ephemeral scenes

unwitherèd by age, bequeathing mysteries.

 

Not even pyramids hold their limestone sheen.

Time pulls it all down.

But shew something more,

inadvertently or with all your might,

and you just may be sparèd.

As in each our lives, with its mess of facts and sonnets,

the trips to London, the ink smears,

the backhanded testaments,

we may hear a rustle behind a curtain,

we may point our fingers at the sun.

 

***

 

Upon a time…              
by Adrian Spendlow

 

There once were children

Until imagination

Took them to an island

Where inner callings

Turned them into tribes,

Happy they were in pretence

Except that –

Something happened inside,

A darkness overcame them

They writhed

Hearts heaved

Ancient airs

Steadily simmered,

Something monstrous

Arisen

As one then wizened.

Scaled and fearsome

Winding wildly

Onward

Moving gruesomely on.

They have become

A

Dragon!

 

 

***

 Haikonversation
by “Poets.”

 

 

 

Poet 1:             The morning sun cheers
                          Spring cannot be far away
                         The wind negates that

 

Poet 2:             My friend, it’s nice out
                         The picnic table:  obscured
                          Escape the TV

 

Poet 1:             Oh, how true that is
                         The noise can make me testy
                          Summertime please come

 

Poet 2:             Dusty inferno
                         Heavy breath, heavier head
                         The outside wants in

Poet 1:             The room is breathless
                         As are the people inside
                         Ancient air move out

 

Poet 2:             Optimism reigns
                         When the sun is in full bloom
                          Spring will always come

 

Poet 1:             Today is the day
                         Escape from the negative
                         Choose laughter instead

 

***

 

 

Contributors:

 

David J. Bauman grew up along the Susquehanna’s West Branch near Lock Haven, Pennsylvania.  His poems have appeared in various student and faculty journals. His awards include the Savage Poetry Prize from Bloomsburg University and the Academy of American Poets. David’s blog, DadPoet.WordPress.com features a heavy emphasis on reading poetry out loud.

Luciana Celestine has been enchanted by the written word as far as her memories stretch. Her love of art, fashion, and a good laugh have influenced her writing. Luciana earned her B.A. in English from King’s College and her M.A. in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She lives in Scranton with a handsome little dog named L.T.

Raymond Gibson is a graduate of the creative writing M.F.A. program at Florida Atlantic University.  His verse can be found in Oak Bend Review, THIS Literary Magazine, River Poets Journal, and Pirene’s Fountain.

Rachael Goetzke is co-founder and Managing Editor of Word Fountain.  Her poetry, fiction and non-fiction have been published in The Cohort Review, Ripasso, Tiny Booklets, Word Fountain and The Writing Disorder.  She earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Wilkes University.  Visit: http://kindalikeapoet.wordpress.com/

 William Fuller Harrison is a resident of Wilkes-Barre, PA.  He has studied creative writing with Charles O’Donnell of ArtSeen, and Leland Bennett of Plymouth High School, from which he graduated in 1965. His poetry and prose have been published in Veterans’ Voices magazine and Word Fountain.

Iris Johnston can’t decide if she is more satisfied by flowers and ponds, or Sephora and Thai food. She currently hopes to discover the existence of a Nail Polish Tree.

Lino lives in Wilkes-Barre, where he has recently stopped caring much about anything. He is good company for short periods of time, then things get a bit wobbly.

Edward Lupico puts pen to paper to write the occasional poem, but more frequently just ruminates upon words.

Dawn Leas‘s chapbook, I Know When to Keep Quiet, was published by Finishing Line Press. She earned an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. Her work has appeared in goldwakepress.org, Literary Mama, Interstice, and elsewhere. She is the associate director of the Wilkes M.A./M.F.A. Creative Writing programs.

 Carol MacAllister, M.F.A., is widely published in poetry, has won several poetry awards and has served as adjudicator in poetry competitions, most recently, NFSPS. She has edited and published three books of poetry – RIPASSO, a unique 
by-invitational-only collection including Robert Pinsky and other poet laureates. Available only at clmshazam@aol.com

Poet # 1 has no formal writing training other than a creative
writing class in high school and a course in college. Poet #1 owes the haiku success to Poet #2 and Poet #2’s inspiration.

Poet # 2 would like to thank Poet #1 for her contributions to the daily haiku conversations that buoyed her through the restless winter of 2012-2013 and for her enthusiastic support of her creative endeavors.

Alexandria Smith “When things happen, you write.”  As I look back at the things I have written, I realize how true that is. These two pieces are the aftermath of a failed relationship, one that I savored, stayed, and suffered for. I cannot change what happened. I can only write.

Adrian Spendlow is the official Bard of York, England, and presents his work in private and public venues. He is a key presenter in the huge annual Viking Festivities, as well as a storyteller and portrayer of characters in themed events and enactments. 

Stef Szymanski cares way too much about the personal lives of fruits and vegetables, which has led to her becoming the co-creator, producer, writer, artist, and voice actor of the  animated project “Produce High” (www.producehigh.com). Her artistic aspirations and talents flourish in the cultural mecca known as Scranton, PA.

~fini~

 

Spring 2012, Issue Six

Word Fountain:  Spring 2012 Issue No. 6

 Editors:
Rachael Goetzke
Iris Johnston
Edward Lupico

Harajuku Waitress
by Iris Johston 

No one ever writes, ‘the morning sky
looks like nothing so much as cotton
candy or the eyeshadow palette
of a Harajuku waitress.’

She rubs the sunrise on her eyes
because there is no sky outside her window,
just a neighbor’s wall, one hour
the color of sardines, one hour
the color of boiled wool.

 No one ever says that children
laughing sometimes look like children
crying, and a mother might turn
smiling at the laugh of her son
but clap her hands on her mouth when
she sees the sprawl of corduroy
and blonde curls on the sidewalk.

No one ever warns us that we are living
in cavemen bodies we are books
of biochemistry lasered on papyrus
and our bodies hate our brains
like the waitress hates her neighbors
and the restaurant, she hates her filmy lace gloves
it’s all she can do not to fold
a note under the egg custard in the blue fluted cup
that says, “meet me in the Ladies’ Room
and I’ll do whatever you like.”

***

Sunday
by Laura Duda

It was Sunday – no longer an acknowledged day to her, but rather a gap between two others. The day of rest, the day of the Sabbath, the Lord’s Day; the day to pile the kids into the family sedan and drive to the local house of worship to repent and pray, drink the wine, break the bread, and beg forgiveness. Except, of course, if you were Haydn Andras. Haydn was different. For her Sunday was not for any of those things. Just a gap, an empty shell of darkness overflowing with memories, dreams and nightmares, fire and thunder. Things she wanted desperately to forget. Sunday used to be special when Haydn was younger – but Mathujan, the beautiful flame-haired sorceress whose jealousy driven evil had plagued her family for centuries, had changed that. She’d taken away her mother, her friends, and her home. Stolen the heart of Sundays, and left her an orphan in an imminent world of mortality.

      Everything had happened so fast.

Sunday had never been a religious day for Haydn or her family, except in those sparsely scattered years when a solar Sabbat fell on one.   In the year 2010, Samhain, the “End of Summer Harvest Festival” – the final celebration of the Pagan and spirit year when the veil between the mortal and immortal worlds is thinnest – fell on a Sunday. For Haydn and her mother, Vanaura, this Samhain was to be one of exaltation and joy; a long awaited  reunion of souls and family. It was to be the night that Haydn’s father, Calder, would return to them to fulfill his mortal obligations and earn his place among the gods of Annwyn, the Welsh afterworld.

The evening’s festivities were highlighted by dancing fiddles, twirling belladonnas, and a playful merriment that swept through hearts and shone on the faces of all – young and old, infant and teen, boy and girl, woman and man. An immense bonfire glowed and warmed the air at the center of the clearing where they’d gathered to celebrate. Fireflies flirted over the drifting embers to light the night with sparks of green, and bring it to life.

The fire.

It had appeared to dance. Flickering red and orange, yellow and blue flames licking high into the night wrapping themselves in a passionate   embrace, and weaving tendrils through wood and branch seeking breath from the cool autumn air.

Then, it had roared.

The sky reached down in a thunderous rage. Lightning streamed from its clouds, an explosion of red escaped its grasp. The fire pulsed and raised, flames forming the jagged edge of a woman’s robes. The sorceress, in a fury of heat and rage, descended from the dark into the very heart of the flames. Women screamed and rushed to find their children, gathering them close as they all watched the fire transform. Men, hypnotized by her terrible splendor, moved as though in a trance, falling to their knees at her feet. Fiddles silenced. Whispers of her name, “Mathujan,” carried on the wind. She twirled in her birth-pyre as her midnight eyes searched the motionless flock. Mercilessly they sought until falling upon Vanaura, they held.

“Restless souls and spirits damned seek closure from this mortal world,” her voice crackled and hissed. “They wish their sins to be forgiven and erased, their debts to be fulfilled, their prophecy   realized, and their existence to be passed from uncertainty to the heavens. Well, not tonight.”

Gasps of disbelief rippled through the darkness.

“Tonight, it is I who will fulfill a prophecy.  Tonight, I’ll have vengeance and will take from you.” She pointed a blazing finger at Vanaura.  “As you have taken from me.”

Haydn stood fast at her mother’s side. Some of the men and boys had gathered branches, spruce and firs, and were beating the flames at Mathujan’s feet.

She spared them a glance. “Cease! You mortal fools!” Balls of fire sprang from her hands and knocked them back, fully engulfed, screaming.

Her fiery stare returned to Vanaura. “Calder is mine! To you he shall never return, his debt shall never be fulfilled, and you shall spend your days in Limbus. Never again will you share his love, his life or his bed. He is MINE!”

Too quickly for Haydn to cry out or protest, the sorceress’s arms reached out from the night, flames dripping to scorch grass and earth, as she wrapped Haydn’s mother in a fiery embrace. They vanished, whisked up through the clouds from whence the evil one had come.

That was inRhode Island. That was nearly a month ago.

Haydn now sat in her new bedroom. A converted attic on the third floor of a dingy white, aluminum-clad, low-income house on a dead end street called Elm. She stared out her one small window at the desolate street below. Amber, orange, red and brown leaves performed an autumnal waltz across the potholed asphalt street. The wind swirled and floated and dipped them along. Over the cracked concrete sidewalk flirting with the trunks of maples and oaks on their way to the nearest storm drain, where they would end this final dance of the season.

At least they had company. Unlike them, she was alone.

Haydn didn’t know where her father was, or how to reach him. He hadn’t made it through that night after her mother was taken. She couldn’t even be sure he knew that either of them were gone. At seventeen, alone in this world, she’d been forced to leave her life, her friends, and the only home she’d ever known. She’d become the custodial ward of Elna Pickett, a childhood friend of Vanaura’s. Elna, the devout Catholic who had no idea of her old classmate’s beliefs and rituals, no idea that she was now sharing her home with a young woman whose beliefs did not match her own; whose divine spirits and deities were not of the Holy Trinity. Elna Pickett; a childless, husbandless, truck stop waitress in a one light, one God town in rural Pennsylvania.

***

Practicing Faith
by Dawn Leas

I.
Sunday morning, drowsy from incense,
we kneel with mom at the marble
altar of Holy Name of Jesus, Eucharist
on our tongues. It sticks to the roofs

of our mouths as we sign the Trinity.
In the pew we bow our heads, and pray.

II.
Sunday morning, dad talks to his Higher
Power as he runs between cypress and oak
trees inAudubonPark. His spirituality
sliding free like Louisiana Pine Snakes

flying like Red Tail Hawks, thirteen
years of Catholic school forgotten.

***

driving with the windows open
by Dawn Leas

a voice from the past called today.
fluid baritone cuts static. its timbre
slices long-forgotten lines, entwines

words and wind in hair let down
to roam summer heat, its song
laced with belief in second chances.

***

Insomnia
by Michael Lindgren

Through sleep among shadowed signs
Haunted by strangers
Kept static, awaiting
dawn’s silent hush;
Restless, unbidden,
a tremor still vibrates
under angles and planes, of
hidden surface, now banished,
buried sight, crown unseen
below hardening eyes
and masked by indifferent rays.
A summons: who calls?
What bright chiming figure
alights among rubble
glistening silver, shard-like
and slivered
mirrored by unblinking rays?
Only thoughts, restless, rotating,
clicking on schedule
awaiting this discordant fray
upon the bower, still pensive,
endlessly patient,
a procession in balanced dismay.

***

Moonpies for Misfits
by Andrea Janov

 

 

Hot Water Music rasps

Mark walks in,                                                     Where the hell

his hands shoved in                                         have you been? Nick asks

his pockets

wearing his ‘shoot pigs in the face’

shirt, he’s worn every day this August.

                          The Grey AM was playing at Metro

                                  told Jamie I’d meet him there

                                                Wow, a show. Remember when…

                                                                        Jibo in his faded AFI T-shirt.

Isn’t that how                                                                               I miss                                     Rianna laughs                we all met?                 those days

the bands

               the kids                                                                my hair still blue

 the energy            our purses covered in pins

                                                                               

                and drinking 40s out of  paper bags. Nick’s

tattoo sticks

out of his shorts

Don’t get all sappy on me  Mark’s

hair hangs in his eyes.

***

We’ve Got a Thing That’s Called Postal Love
by Rachael J. Goetzke

“You need to buy that hat,” Cathy insisted as we stood in the “Mart of K” as she calls it. It was a bowler hat, the kind you might see in the 1920s when people not only knew that jazz existed but celebrated it. Cathy is warm and radiant, her wavy brown hair encircling her cheerful face. A writer, and confessed shopaholic, she is sturdy in her support of impulse buying. But Cathy is always
attuned to nuances of her loved ones’ tastes. She is so
considerate of her loved ones, in fact, that even on long days, she stays up to pen letters to them that she would send out by way of her beloved “U.S. Postal gods.”

“Yes, but it’s brown,” I contested, “and I have too much brown.  And it’s twelve dollars. That’s a visit to the vet…and, it—it’s just not practical. Besides, it won’t keep my ears warm in the winter.”

The truth is that I’d been a fan of the color since age ten, staring up at the life-sized Eddie Vedder poster next to my bed. That corduroy jacket draped over hidden biceps could persuade a vegetarian to crave meat. Beneath those brown ripples, a lighter brown, form-fitted tee stretched over the lean, yet muscular chest, concealing my view.  But I knew it was there. It held mystery in the way a plastic Ken doll’s flesh-colored skivvies did. Above that beautifully sculpted chest were the most haunting and  brilliant blue eyes I’d ever seen.  They reminded me of  my own.

***

     Mom had hope that we might one day win the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. To be entered into the drawing, one had to purchase a magazine subscription.  Mom didn’t read magazines, really. She read Real Estate Reviews and bank statements. Whenever we’d travel to another state she’d pick up the house magazines just to dream about the houses. I grew up in these houses. The lock box was such a sacred invention. Her lockbox keys dangled from a large, spiraling red keychain. The keys to the universe, I thought, we can go anywhere.

I read magazines from back to front. People always want to start at the beginning.  Even though this magazine was the most expensive subscription of the lot of them (a bi-weekly publication, in fact) Mom ordered Rolling Stone Magazine for meWhen I got the magazine, I sought after whatever intrigued me. Any glint of brown corduroy and buddy, I was there. I think to get where you were meant to be you need to dive right in—especially when the water’s cold. After all, warm water isn’t usually a good sign.

Most children have two times a year to feel the postal love:  Birthdays and Christmases. Unless you were born in December like me and get the all-in-one treatment. Shortly after the divorce, Dad made his presence known in the form of a $50 dollar check sandwiched between the parchment of a Chr-birthday card I valued more. It was signed off in nearly illegible left-handed scrawl, much like my own:

“I love you, Dad.”

But that, like the idea of having something constant in my life, disappeared too quickly. And there I stood on that summer day, the kind that hugs you with its humidity, pulling my treasure out of the compact, metal box. In a white rectangle at the bottom cover of the Rolling Stone it read: Recipient: Rachael Goetzke.

When my parents still lived together in our glass    mansion I used to check the mail regularly. My heart would thrum at the sight of the capital “R” followed by the “C” and the “H” and the “A” until I focused in on the “I” the “R” and the “D.”   Richard, instead.  Mail for dad, though he went by Dick.  I still don’t understand how the appropriate nickname for Richard is Dick. Even as my brother and I stood in the breezeway of our modest, brown wooden paneled house and he taught me the latest swear word he learned at school that day, I knew that Dick just didn’t sound right for Richard.

Staring at the cover that first day that music and     writing eloped in my head I knew this bond would be postmarked on me forever. And when Eddie sang between the pages, I sang along from a spring hidden deep inside my rib cage, below the more obvious scar tissue.

There, in the middle of K-mart, he was serenading me from my internal radio as I stared down at the brown bowler hat. “Oh dear Dad, can you see me now?  I am myself, like you somehow.  I’ll ride the wave where it takes me…I’ll hold the pain release me, release me….”1

Recently, I paired together those same shades from childhood without fully realizing their significance. The light brown shirt, the dark brown enrobing the light brown the way a Milky Way bar does. In fact, I called it my Milky Way get-up. These earthy browns made me feel closer to Eddie. A new friend of mine told me, “Girl, you need some color in your wardrobe. You look like the UPS guy.” At first, I was hurt by her words. I’d tried pink but it didn’t feel right on me. Cathy always wore pink. Purple was her favorite, but she sparkled in pink and she had an affinity for sparkly things.

“Try it on,” her golden voice urged beneath the glare of fluorescent lights. But I already knew that this hat would feel right on my head.

1 Pearl Jam_“Release”_Ten_Epic,1991.

***

Until I Say So
by Andrea Janov

August –

we mill around the yard          and in the streets

Sharon’s 17th birthday party

the whole crew together again

we   mill   around   the   yard   and   in   the   streets

I hug RJ         careful to avoid Dave

the whole crew together again

along with new friends we each brought along

Dave flirts with Steph  :  Mandy  :  Jess          careful that I notice

we leave old friends mid-         sentence

for new friends we each brought along

the sun sets   :   street lights stutter

we leave           old friends mid sentence

distracted –

the sun sets   :   street lights stutter

we flirt with crushes

distracted –

break up           with boyfriends : girlfriends :  best friends

we flirt

comfortable in our selfishness

we break up with boyfriends  :  girlfriends  :  best           friends

I wander          to the Swoyersville Little League Field

comfortable alone

shouts and laughter             leak from the party

the Swoyersville Little League Field

stare              at the spot where the paint doesn’t match

shouts    and    laughter    leak    from    the    party

I sit on the curb :  legs rest against blacktop        still warm from the sun

stare               at the spot where the paint doesn’t match

sneak a glance of my past

the blacktop still            warm from the sun

Justin laughs,       they were never able cover it…

sneaking        glances of our past

Sharon’s 17th birthday party

Mark looks at me, I guess not everything fades…

August –

***

Mousetrap

By Edward Lupico

When spring has sprung,
raining down on neck and wood,
red sometimes flows
as from a Tudor beheading,
on a replenishing altar,
bloodstained by purpose.

Unobserved, by the baseboard,
preserving the Heisenberg;
until, licking the last of the peanut butter,
the unwelcome pest catalysts
eternal rest;
then we measure…
you are in the red, you rascal,
no way out of this one.

I hear your tiny claws on the roof of my dream:
Here, hovering as I awaken,
like a chanced-upon image
from a silent film—
black and white, flight, never to land—
I pick you up with my hand
and bury you in the dried ferns.

What device did the Prince conceive
when he baited for a poisonous exeunt?
We hold our breath for the snap of death.
It is all suspense, moving our stories forward;
after each release, renewing the spring.
Will we trap something gray and ordinary,
or catch a king?

***

A Poem by Frank Walsh

The tyger leis
Down with the ewe
A man kind has his view
While miss this stage
Crew cut for a cast
Called for playing with stuff
With some of the stuff dug
Down in the flats, under
The red velvet fire curtain
Only the peak of a nose
And smile at the end
Of his awning snout
The lambs hocked and screwed
Up even as a green lion stalks
Even as the tigers shout
“Evermore, old boy romantic
Dust even now, you seasoned chump.”

***

iCharity by Mortification
by Iris Johnston

Pocket the panic of steel-speared fish
the boredom of cardboard box men,
steal the thirst from the tongues
of the ducks bound with twine
on the live market floor,
and sponge up the tears of the shinershy wives.
Then make a paste
with all of these
and all the love
he did not have for me,and pour it in my ears.
Make my head heavy and hard, so dense I cannot think
or hear, can neither nod nor frown.
Put me to bed on a bamboo grass mat,
wake me when the clocks all run down.

***

On the Highway Home
by Brian Fanelli

 Long branches stick out, narrow and dull,
as you drive along the highway,
praying for overbearing winter to end.
You think of your kid, your wife
at home, if they shoveled
the sidewalk, if the remaining car
is buried beneath mounds of white.
Your chest tightens as you remember
the low amount of milk in the fridge,
the few slices of bread left.
You think of the basement furnace
that chokes like a smoker’s lung,
the cold that pushes against the house.
You remember Frost’s poem “Storm Fear,”
the raw winds that squelched the cabin fire,
the family of three trapped inside, their safety
so distant. You think of night, so cold and heavy, and count
the hours until you’re home,
safe, back from the business trip. You wonder
how you’ll drive over black ice, through pelts of hail,
how you’ll survive, knuckles white on the wheel.

***

Perspective
by Luciana Celestine

As I walked down the hallway, I never lifted my eyes from the floor. Medicinal disinfectant lingered in the air, stinging my nostrils. The cacophony of beeps, buzzes and whirrs composed a symphony for the sick and dying. Hurried footsteps rushed past me. I listened to hushed conversations amongst family members as I continued on. Furrowed brows. Pained eyes. As I approached Mr. Stewart’s room, I could not help but sigh. Everything was wrong. From the hallway, I saw the shape of his feet buried underneath a pile of blankets. I hesitated before rapping on his door with the lightest touch, hoping maybe he wouldn’t hear me at all.

No response at all. Fine, I thought. I shouldn’t have been there anyway. I stuck my hand into my coat pocket and pulled out my keys. Then, I heard, “It’s ok. You can come in.”

Dammit.

I took a soft step around the corner, and I did not even recognize the man in the bed. His cheeks were hollow and his blue and white printed hospital gown hung off of his skinny shoulders. Completely bald except for a few patches of fuzzy brown hair, he looked weak, not like the apex of manliness and strength I envisioned as a teenager. He was chained to so many tubes and IVs that he reminded me of a prisoner locked away in some archaic jail. But then, he smiled faintly and his brown eyes sparkled just a little bit. That sense of familiarity rang, and I smiled too.

“I barely recognize you without your beard,” I said as I ran my fingers through my hair.

He laughed a little then said, “You always loved to pick on me for that.”

“Actually, my favorite target was your sunflower tie,” I said as I sat down on the pleather mauve chair.

“Ah yes, that’s right. Every time I turned around to write something on the blackboard I heard you laughing.”

“It was all in good fun,” I said, trying to lighten the mood. It was an impossible task.

He looked down at his hands, which he folded gently in his lap. His knuckles were big and knobby and I tried not to stare. He glanced up at the soccer game on television and then asked, “Why are you here?”

“I came to hand in my Latin homework. I know it’s a little late,” I said with a completely straight face. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I was really there because my favorite teacher was dying from leukemia.  I wanted to see him one last time and make fun of him for nostalgia’s sake. He probably knew that reason at least.

“Do you remember your first declension endings?” he asked, a big smile spreading across his gaunt face.

Finally.

Feeling as though I had accomplished the greatest feat in the world, I sat up straight and stated, “Agricola, agricolae.”

“What case is that?”

“I have no idea,” I said with a laugh. “That’s why you had to give me that book. I only know that word means ‘farmer’ because it was the first word in the text. I am truly clueless about the rest.”

He raised his eyebrows and smiled. Yes. I was the absolute worst Latin student who had ever lived, and Mr. Stewart had me sitting right in front of his desk. Dead languages were not my area of interest. In fact, Latin class was my favorite time to plot my next dirty deed. As I looked at him   lying in that bed, I felt a sudden pang of guilt but was reminded of a particularly hilarious prank I had pulled. I spent an entire period penning a fake love letter in Latin to my future class valedictorian. At the end of the day I slid the letter into his locker, which read, “You are a Roman god and I want your body.”

I nearly laughed out loud but held my breath, sure that Mr. Stewart had noticed my broken concentration. I recovered with, “So why did you give me that book anyway?”

“So that you could graduate.”

“Thanks for that,” I said, “I really needed the help.”

“Well, we didn’t want you around for another year. We were all tired of hearing you scream, ‘Fetus!’ in the hallway.”

Just as I was about to apologize for being the annoying student, a nurse walked into the room. “Excuse me, could you step out for a moment?” she asked, her hand filled with all sorts of vials.

I looked at Mr. Stewart and said, “It’s ok. I really should be going anyway.”

“Thanks for coming,” he said without meeting my eyes.

“It was no problem. I knew you were here, and I just wanted to stop by,” I said as I stood up.

The air in the room changed. Mr. Stewart clenched his jaw. I could not imagine what it had been like for him, having to depend on strangers to keep him alive, unable to even shift his own weight in bed. It was so unfair, such an unbearable tragedy that I found myself fighting back tears.

“You’re the only one of my students who came to see me,” he muttered.

My throat tightened. The nurse looked to the chair where I had been sitting. I unbuttoned my jacket and slid it off, then threw it over the arm of the chair. Slowly, I walked into the hallway. I crossed my arms and leaned against the wall,    exhaling deeply. I hung my head and listened once again to the buzzes, beeps and whirrs. This time, they built to a hopeful crescendo. Nothing is fair. Mr. Stewart lay in the bed on the other side of the wall, fighting long after they had told him to stop. And suddenly, my breath felt precious.

***

Recycling
by Charles O’Donnell

I’ve seen this work before:
the peregrine has torn
you from your spine
which lies by
your unlucky foot,
your tufts of brown-gray fur.
I used to watch you feed
on summer clover.
So little flesh
is left on you
the flies don’t even care.
I drop you at the dump
on piles of Spring debris.
When I look up,
the rest of you is circling.

***

Firewood
by Dawn Leas

A shy sort of soul, he still prefers her voice,
a velvety alto, to the silence. When she says

there is always time,
his mind goes to work,
a mental sketch. The rise and fall of his

powerful arms splits wood so splinters
become embers. He contemplates

the image, turning it over and over, pauses
to sketch, folds paper into pocket for later…

his breath heaves into fall air. In the evening,
he climbs plank stairs to the  studio. His body

curls over work bench, the sketch tacked
to its surface. Intricate handiwork and metal.

One precious stone. Her voice…it’s never too late…
His back kept warm by an ancient stone

fireplace, its pops and hisses dwindling
as night turns to morning.

***

Contributors

Luciana Celestine always wanted to be a scientist, but her horrible math skills made her think that maybe science was the wrong path to follow. She discovered that her unique way of describing things translated well to writing, so she picked up her pen. The rest is colorful history. Luciana  received her BA in English from King’s College and her MA in Creative Writing fromWilkesUniversity. She lives in Pittston with her boy and her dog.

Laura Duda and her husband own and operate a horsedrawn carriage business inFell Township,PA.  Laura is the mother of a 23-year-old daughter.  She is a graduate ofLackawannaCollege, where she is also employed, andKeystoneCollege.  She is presently a student inWilkesUniversity’s Creative Writing MA program.

Brian Fanelli’s poems have appeared in The Portland   ReviewHarpur PalateSolstice Literary MagazineWord Riot, Boston Literary Magazine, and other journals. He is also the author of the chapbook Front Man, and his first full-length book of poems will be published next summer by the small press Unbound Content. For more, visit: www.brianfanelli.com

Rachael Goetzke is co-founder and Managing Editor of Word Fountain.  She hails from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Her poetry and prose have been published in Word Fountain, The Cohort Review and Ripasso. She has her MFA in Creative Writing fromWilkesUniversity. You can find more of her writing here:

http://kindalikeapoet.wordpress.com

Andrea Janov is a recent transplant to Pittsburgh who was raised by rock ’n roll parents who knew the importance of concerts and going past the no trespassing signs. She spent her adolescence in a small town punk rock scene where she moshed, fell in love, and produced a few cut and paste   fanzines.  She holds Creative Writing degrees from SUNY Purchase and Wilkes University.  www.andreajanov.com

Iris Johnston can’t decide if she is more satisfied by    flowers and ponds, or Sephora and Thai food. She currently hopes to discover the existence of a Nail Polish Tree.

Dawn Leas earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. Her work has appeared on goldwakepress.org, Willows Wept ReviewSouthern Women’s      Review, Literary MamaEast Meets West, American    Writers Review, Interstice, and othersFinishing Line Press published her first chapbook, I Know When To Keep Quiet, in 2010. Currently, she is a middle-school English teacher.

Michael Lindgren is a poet and musician who divides his time betweenPennsylvania andNew York City.

Edward Lupico is a librarian who enjoys dogs, requiems, Belgian beer, and words, though rarely at the same time.

Charles O’Donnell works at Arts Seen Gallery onPublic Square inWilkes-Barre where he organizes the Third     Friday of the Month spoken word events.

Frank Walsh hails from the Miner Mills “parish” ofWilkes-Barre. Possessed by reading/writing enabled by the graces of the Osterhout. Underground LiteraryAlliance. Asst. Editor for Poetry, DeaddrunkDublin.com.          Philadelphia poet since early 1970’s having attended Drexel andTempleU. Back in the area working for       National Emergency Grant, Flood Reclamation.

email: wordfountain@osterhout.lib.pa.us

Submission guidelines:

http://www.osterhout.lib.pa.us/WordFountain.htm

http://www.facebook.com/thelibrarywordfountain

https://thelibrarywordfountain.wordpress.com

570-823-0156 w  Fax: 570-823-5477

 

Word Fountain, Fall 2011, Issue 5

WORD FOUNTAIN FALL 2011 Issue No. 5

CONTENTS, Word Fountain Fall 2011 Issue 5
Pedro Marrero Partridge Street  
Jami Kali I write about You  
Edward Lupico Neptune  
Robin Hazel Colored  
Alina Vitali Silly Bird  
Scott Zimmerman The Birds and the Trees  
Pedro Marrero In Terrible French  
Kayla Raniero The Scents, Sounds, and Tastes of Autumn  
Laurel Nestor Untitled  
Hannah Raineri Hidden Terror  
Guy James McKeown My Head Has Exploded  
Scott Zimmerman self-portrait  
Angela Greco A Plea  
Edward Lupico Spitting It Out  
Robin Hazel Gloria  
Rachael Goetzke This is not a poem about  Tori Amos  
Jami Kali Thrill of the quit  
Angela Greco All-Nighter  
Contributor bios    

Partridge Street  by Pedro Merrero

Always the uninvited guest.
I come without calling
And knock upon the door.

A little house on Partridge street
A few blocks from the stony stream.

She opens the door
And sees that I am unhappy;
Soaking wet a
Sad somber look
on my face

Melancholic rain.
5:33 in the afternoon
And I’ve been drinking.
Depressed,
She says, “Come in.”
And I stumble through the door
Into the warmth
Of her cozy living-room.

I apologize for interrupting
The invited guests
Who are already busy
Sipping their coffee
Or fixing some tea.

Undoubtedly the scent
I exude is that of a wet dog.

And she:

“This is the young man
I’ve been speaking of, the poet.”

And they all let out a collective:
“aaaahhhh”

 

**********

 

I write about You by Jami Kali

I sit in chairs and write
Your name on papers
with many words, not one.

I lean on beds and type
Your face onto lives
that do not exist.

I lay on floors and make
love to Your thoughts as they
print themselves.
I walk on grass and revise
Your life endlessly
without consent.

I paint pictures with my eyes
to remember everything
You sometimes are.

I grant You immortality
for my own sake.

**********

Neptune by Edward Lupico

East on I99
toward the teeth of morning
each line on the road
part of a code:
dashes to let you pass
and dots to unlock the eyelight;
mirrors shining from every angle.

off you go
too much to drink
off you go
and fall asleep

The ancients
peopled the stars
with unhidden heroes;
tiny whites bite the air;
the sky plunges beneath us too,
deep as it’s high.

Dawn spits us out
as the day gets on its way
and there is only the speed of night,
the speed away from light.

off you go
as I rethink
off you go
my soul to keep

 

Every day I would spend

on you.

**********

 

Colored by Robin Hazel

Whoever decided to call us black people
wasn’t very artistic

He neglected to categorize our
undertones and overtones
(And even our color-change tones
in the summer)

I know true blue black negroes,
high yellow negroes,
and spice negroes
(cinnamon and nutmeg)

But I suppose I shouldn’t criticize
It was an accident that we got uniform
Instead of unified.

**********

Silly Bird by Alina Vitali

Joan stared at her daughter’s confused expression. A grown woman and she could never keep track of anything. Now Jessica had misplaced her mother’s wireless phone receiver. Who knew where she’d put it?  Bad enough cleaning up after your children when they were children, but not when they were adults. “Where is it?” Joan asked. “Remember where you last saw it?”

“Mom, it was on the dining room table when I left yesterday. Now, it isn’t there. I haven’t touched it.” Jessica walked into the living room. “What’s your suitcase doing out here?”

Joan followed her daughter. The morning light barely threaded through the blinds, stretching broken stripes over the furniture in a chaotic pattern. Her red carry-on stood, half-zipped, in the middle of the floor. It belongs in the back bedroom closet. She didn’t     remember lending it to Jessica, but she must have….and now Jessica had brought it back and      forgotten to put it away. The girl had been raised    better than that.

Jessica picked up the suitcase and set it on the wingback chair. She frowned.

“Now what?” Joan asked.

Jessica unzipped the case and opened it. The   missing phone lay nestled in the bottom. A small red light blinked—the receiver’s battery had run down.

Joan stared. “Why would you put the phone in there? I’m not into playing games, Jessica. I need my phone. What would happen if there was an emergency and you weren’t around? Did you ever think of that?”

Joan shuddered. Why is she doing this?

As she looked at her daughter’s face—a study of weary misery—the younger woman’s eyes welled up with tears. Joan swallowed the rest of her lecture. Poor thing. Something is wrong. I’ll  call Dr. Cohen later. He’ll know what to do. She watched Jessica set the phone on its recharging base in the hall. The    hungry indicator flashed green, sucking power in.

Joan shuffled to the kitchen, picked up a mug, and filled it with tap water.

Jessica followed. “What’re you doing?”

“The begonia’s withered. I forgot to water it.”  She stepped to the window, drew the draperies back, then stopped. Wilted yellow leaves drifted to the floor, mingling with pink petals fallen from brittle arched stems. The soil glistened, moisture darkened the clay pot, and water overflowed the saucer, staining the wall and dribbling on the floor.

“Jessica, honey, you already watered it. Why    didn’t you say so, silly bird?” Joan turned to get a   paper towel.

“I didn’t…wait, I got it.” Jessica bent over and wiped the small puddle off the floor with a tissue. “Got a tight schedule today, Mom. Let me get the laundry started.”

“I did it yesterday, honey.” Joan returned to the living room, sat in the recliner, and pulled the       Japanese red and black throw over her legs.

Jessica carried an armful of rumpled clothing and linens into the living room and dropped the heap in  the middle of the floor. “Is this all of it?” Her salt- and-pepper hair fell away from her face as she straightened.

Jessica looks so old. Is she ill?

“I just did the wash, silly bird.” Joan got up.  Something’s not right. She wandered over to the phone table in the dark hall, running her finger over a palm-size brown phone book and a dozen  yellow sticky notes—Water the begonia, turn off the stove…she craned her neck to see if the stove was off. Well, of course it was. Jessica wrote these… Joan recognized her daughter’s scrambled printing.

She looked at the notes. One yellow square stuck above the others. She grabbed the phone and dialed. After a series of rings, Danny answered. “Hi, Grandma!”

Joan smiled. “Hi honey. Can I speak to your mom?”

“Mom went to see you, Gran!”

“Oh…” Joan lowered the receiver and stared at it. Jessica reached around from behind her and took the receiver.

“It’s okay, Mom. Come sit down.” She cupped a warm, soft palm around Joan’s elbow and led her back to the recliner.

“I need to call Dr. Cohen.” Joan said. Something was very wrong. The doctor, her good friend, would help her sort it out.

“You have an appointment with Dr. Patel on Wednesday,” Jessica said.

Joan shook her head. She remembered another  reason why she needed to call the doctor. “No, Dr. Cohen is supposed to give me some test results, silly bird.”

“Mom, like I told you last week—Dr. Cohen died ten years ago.”

**********

 

The Birds and the Trees by Scott Zimmerman

There’s a tree outside
my window.

The leaves flutter
flutter
with the breeze.
and I think there’s a bird
in that tree
whose wings are also
fluttering. but I
can’t tell if it’s a robin
or a sparrow
or a finch
because I don’t know
my birds.

I don’t know my trees either.

**********

 

In Terrible French by Pedro Merrero

It wasn’t the persistent tick of the clock
On the nightstand next to me
That made me think of death.

It wasn’t the spider quietly spinning
Her delicate web in the corner of the ceiling,

Nor the dying glow of a cigarette
About to meet its end as it hangs
Between life and death
Between my fingertips.

It was an unfinished poem I found today,
Hidden away among old notes.

Lines to a girl living
In some small unknown town in France.

A note that read like love, like love
Written in terrible French.

**********

 

The Scents, Sounds, and Tastes of Autumn:

A Haiku Collection by Kayla Raniero

Children jump in leaves
Taking in the scent of fall
Breathing autumn air

Jackets now are worn
With cozy earmuffs and hats
Fuzzy mittens too

Fall cake freshly baked
With raisins, nuts and carrots
And cream-cheese frosting

Roasting marshmallows
Warming up by the fire
Talking and laughing

Picking a pumpkin
Trying to find the biggest
At the pumpkin patch

The homecoming game
School spirit at pep rallies
And highschool football

Scary ghosts and ghouls
Doing tricks to get their treats
On Halloween night

Hot sweet pumpkin pie
With cinnamon and nutmeg
And soft flaky crust

Fun in the corn maze
Trying to find a way out
Running through cornstalks

Scent of rich sweetness
I sip the steaming cocoa
The mug warms my hands

Spices of autumn
Nutmeg and sugar
And cinnamon and cloves too

Sweet apple donuts
With juicy apple cider
So chewy and moist

Colors all over
Like red, orange, yellow and green
Decorate the trees

Leaves fluttering down
Crispy crunch under my feet
Blanketing the ground

**********

 

Untitled by Laurel Nestor

I never spoke much verbally, but in the written word I spoke volumes.

Though THOUGHT was managed in every word, a decent writer is unique, whereas a person with hands can sculpt or paint or someone with working legs can run.

Though everything a writer puts out is criticized and not given as much credit as the fastest boy at the track meet, nor the girl who won the art show.

They pour their whole soul in the feeble hope some one will pick up on the plot or moral that was intended by the author, because it is what they (the writer) loves.

They push through the mental blocks in an attempt to meet deadlines so that they pay the rent on time.

Though as much as it can frustrate them they think of what they have gone through and wonder how they made it this far.

They are strong and still manage to be free spirits though the American people tear their works apart by picking apart every witticism or flaw the work may not even have.

**********

Hidden Terror by Hannah Raineri

Deep inside the anger burns.
To reach the surface is what it yearns.
Going over the edge, and starting to pour,
waiting for an open door.
Down in the mind of the terror’s beholder,
It sits perched on the mind’s right shoulder.
It fills the soul and paints it black.
Once the barrier breaks, there is no turning back.
Chained, locked, and to soon break free.
Though once it does, everybody must flee.
It breaks its chains and all flows out,
Making its host scream and shout.
Once it’s free and out of the mind,
The person returns back to mankind.
No need to be a bad news bearer,
But everyone holds this hidden terror.

**********

 

My Head Has Exploded by Guy James McKeown

Too many lies made my head explode
Out came multi-colored marbles that rolled
across the road
Out came butterflies that danced upon the air
My head has exploded and I don’t really care

Too many lies made my head explode
Out came spoken words written in a code
Out came a singular entity—that was two of a kind
My head has exploded and I don’t really mind

Too many lies made my head explode
Out came a perfect world, only to implode
Out came total reason—as silly as can be
My head has exploded and that’s o.k. with me

Too many lies are bad for one’s head
Your skin grows sallow, your eyes go dead
If you’re being lied to—try to break that mode
You might just hear that final lie that
makes your head explode

**********

 

Spitting It Out by Edward Lupico

I don’t write about hope
because I’ve never reached it;
at each approach
I’ve been spurned.
I know its standard formulas,
the mixes and matches
that signify this exaltation;
the prayers and prizes;
the gift unearned.
But they are construction paper colors
that vanish when wet or ignited,
not worth the effort
of blunt-scissoring into the shape
we think we see.
I write words I was taught
and words I learned.
I write with a tongue
that was badly burned.

**********

Gloria by Robin Hazel

I buried my grandmother
The young bury the old

Her funeral card said something about
The Comfort and Sweetness of Peace

My cousins kept it real,
Said
I just want my grandmother back

I, on the other hand
Providing the comfort and sweetness and peace
Said
I will always have her
No longer in body, but always in spirit

 

But sometimes I just don’t feel it.

**********

 

This is not a poem about Tori Amos by Rachael Goetzke

Tori taught me about
Red-headed envy
And the lusty animal
music must be

She sits across from me at my kitchen table
Playing piano in my cup of tea
I wasted my piano lesson money
Sorry, Ma.

Maybe I can be the piano bench instead
So I can feel the greatness of her
Dancing across the
Ivory fields
Like a sweet
Summer breeze swaying in the wheat

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life
But I want Tori Amos for a wife
The holy, living water
Clearing my head, stealing my breath
And if this is the end—what a sweet
And forgiving death

**********

 

Thrill of the Quit by Jami Kali

To Nirvana with a bag slung on my back.
The wind burns faces faster than fire.
To Nirvana to dodge Karma and make wishes.
Her shot through the heart tore a hole the size of her lips.
Knees drag under sun. Eyes rest beside branches.
Initials scar the hallow bark.

Nirvana isn’t everything. An empty freedom is here
in my head.

**********

 

All-Nighter by Angela Greco

Leaving the library
Birds greet me with song
Essay’s conclusion is sunrise

****************************************

 

Contributor Bios

Rachael Goetzke is co-founder and Managing Editor of Word Fountain.  She hails from the Blue Ridge Mountains (VA).  Her poetry and prose have been published in Word Fountain, The Cohort Review and Ripasso.  By January 2012, she will have her MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes  University.  For more of her musical musings, please visit: http://kindalikeapoet.wordpress.com/

Angela Greco was born and raised in northeastern PA. When she was 17, she won first place in a Pennsylvania poetry society contest for a  Petrarchan sonnet. These days, she organizes a  local book club and enjoys reading modern haiku.

Robin Hazel is a co-editor of Word Fountain, actress, writer and stand-up comedian. She is young, gifted, and black. Follow her on Twitter: @Heffa_Please (Simply to stroke her ego. She seldom tweets.)

Jami Kali sat on a roadside mountain cliff. She was higher than a colossal blanket of rolling clouds that shaded the valley below. Like waves of an ocean (in slow motion), particles whisked and whirled through the trees. She watched until finally, this monstrous sea of the sky swallowed the setting sun. You can find her work online at JamiKali.com. And while you’re at it, read her magazine, The Vein, at TheVeinZine.blogspot.com.

Edward Lupico writes in Wilkes-Barre.

Pedro Marrero was born and raised in New York City. His biggest influences include, but are not limited to: John Ashbery, Wendell Berry, Louis Aragon, Robert Desnos, and Jules Supervielle.

Guy James McKeown has been a resident of Wilkes-Barre for two years. He is an assistant manager at Crossing Over on S. Main St. His hobbies include reading and running, both of which he does every day. He first tried his hand at poetry in the summer of 2011.

Laurel Leigh-Anne Nestor is a writer who writes a lot of fiction. She’s a Libra with a dog. She is 14 and lives with her dad in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

Hannah Raineri  is 14 and a freshman at G.A.R.   Junior/Senior High School. Writing has always been one of her favorite hobbies, and she has a passion for it. She has been writing her whole life, and wishes to become an author as her career.

Kayla Raniero  is a sophomore at Meyers High School where she is involved in drama club,  chorus, FBLA, color guard, key club, yearbook staff, student council, and school newspaper.  She also takes voice lessons, and performs with Music Box, Little Theater, Arts Youniverse, KISS, Misfits, and various open mike nights.

Alina Vitali grew up in the former Soviet Union and moved to America in 2000. Currently she lives in Tampa, FL. Her job as a therapist for children with severe emotional disorders prompted her to seek more tranquil activities, like gardening, or working on her MA in Creative Writing at Wilkes University.

Scott Zimmerman is a resident of Wilkes-Barre whose poems have previously appeared in Word Fountain. His poetry is self-prescribed and the only therapy that’s worked so far.

**************************************************

Inquiries & Submissions:
Osterhout Free Library
Attn: Word Fountain
71 S. Franklin St.
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701
Phone: 570-823-0156
Fax:     570-823-5477
Email: wordfountain@osterhout.lib.pa.us

Submission Guidelines:

Original writings of 1,000 words or less.

Open genre (fiction, non-fiction, essays, poetry.)

Complete contact info must be submitted with your entry.
(Name, address, phone number.  Email is optional.)

Please include a bio of 100 words or less.

You retain the rights to your work after publication.

By submitting you are giving us permission to display your
work in print as well as online.

Submission does not guarantee publication.  All entries
are carefully reviewed by a literary team.

Originals will only be returned if you include a
self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE).

We may make minor edits to spelling and spacing.
Please make note of intentional unique spellings.  We will try to
keep the spacing as exact as possible, especially for poetry.

Word Fountain is a non-profit publication created by staff at the Osterhout Free Library.

To be considered for the spring issue, please submit works no later than the second Friday in March.We accept submissions on a rolling basis and print regular issues in April and October each year.

To be considered for the fall issue, please submit works no later than the second Friday in September.

Word Fountain Editors
Rachael Goetzke
Robin Hazel
Edward Lupico
Sylvia Orner

The editors thank Catherine Yavorchak for her assistance with this issue.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~fin~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music Issue, No. 4

I’m happy to announce the official online version of our music issue. Thank you to all of our contributors! Enjoy!

Note: Some of the spacing is slightly different online than in print. We apologize for the inconvenience. The spacing rules and regulations made some of the works unreadable. Sorry, poets!😦

Story of My Life by Andrea Janov

Keep it forever, he said
smiling at me
as he ripped a strip of
brown fabric off the sleeve
of the Little Devil shirt
he was wearing the first
time we met and tied
it around my wrist.
See you next week, or
whenever.

Keep it forever, he said
picking up an Uno card
from the floor of Metro
as we left a show. It was
a trampled and dirty
wild draw 4. You know,
we should,
hang out sometime.

Keep it forever, he said
handing me a flyer he pulls
from his pocket. The ink
already faded in the creases
from being unfolded
and refolded. You should
come, I’ll be there.

Keep it forever, he said
sitting in the café as he tossed
an IBC root beer bottle cap
across the table at me.
I had a good time tonight.

Happy birthday and keep it forever, he said
holding a blue tinted clear ball
between his fingers – the ball from inside
a spray paint can. It’s lucky,
the can didn’t explode in my face.

I know you’ll keep this, he says
when he visits me. He places a dirty
grey guitar pick in my palm,
I used it this weekend, the first time
I played with Bedford.

***

Earl Grey Tea with a Principle of Moments by Stephanie Harchar

Blonde curls flying, sly smile, joyous
Wearing and tearing rewind,
Loves Earl Grey Tea.

“Care for a ginger snap?”
“Thru with the Two-Step”
“Stranger Here…than over there.”
Beautiful lyricist, “Ah, sweet music what you do to us!”

Front man, harmonica-playing jokester.
“The times change and move along, these moments here,
all dalliances, ideas caught,
Courted and eagerly pursued.”
Principle of Moments.

***

Rite of Spring by Edward Lupico

Aspirate from silence:
black enaction
presaging violence.

Irruptions purge
indifferent ground;
Air impinged
by nascent sound.

Blare and cadence:
a spear hurled
severs heaven and silver;
Thundered, the world.

Crux descends, precipitate
wood scrapes stone—
Mythic choreography
roots scratch bones—

One death atones.

***

Maybe I’ll Find Love in the Frozen Food Aisle of
My Grocery Store…
by Rachael Goetzke

Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire” piped through the overhead speakers at Food Lion during my ten-year class reunion trip back to Virginia. My eyes taunted me into trading my Yoplait Light for the Ben & Jerry’s gleaming through the freezer glass. Abandoning the dairy dilemma, I closed my eyes and tried to savor the song through the beeping checkout tones and a woman neurotically chatting to her husband on her cell phone, questioning whether he would prefer the Dutch chocolate or Chocolate Lover’s ice cream.
Had my soul mate had been here to help me with my ice cream dilemma, I would have touched his shoulder and said, “Shh, babe. This is this best part! Poetry in motion! Listen…(and I would have sung along, too) Sometimes it feels like someone took a knife, edgy and dull, and cut a six-inch valley through the middle of my skull. At night I wake up with the sheets soakin’ wet and a freight train runnin’ through the middle of my head. Won’t cool my desire…who-o-oa, I’m on fire.” My eyes would be closed, of course, and when I opened them, he’d be smiling back at me, ready to wail the train-whistle “woo-woo-woo” part with me that only The Boss can do so hauntingly. Then, I imagine, we’d agree on a Ben & Jerry’s flavor and share it later.
I opened my eyes to the bright emptiness beside me—the usual. Maybe I should stick with the yogurt, I thought. A few less pounds and I just might turn his head. Springsteen’s train swayed on, singing a call-and-response with my desolate loneliness. It’s hard to be 28 and out of love for eight years. This is the season in life where your childhood friends send you wedding and/or baby shower cards at regular intervals and you’re almost embarrassed to go without a date. But I still have hope for my “happily ever after”—also residing under the alias “hopefully-not-too-much-longer.”
At one point in my childhood I’d heard that it was appropriate to make a wish if you were driving underneath a train trestle when a train came. A short time ago, I was walking to the park near my apartment in northeastern Pennsylvania and I saw the train thundering by, going south. I longed to follow it. “What should I wish for?” I wondered aloud. I thought of my wooden wish box I’d bought in my favorite hippie town of Floyd, Virginia, last summer. In the heat of that July I stepped out of the New Mountain Mercantile and sat on the wooden bench. I pulled out my small notebook and jotted down some wishes on scraps of notebook paper, slid the lid back on, and kissed the wood-burned heart on the back.

I held the box in the palm of my hand, my small fingers clasped around it. I rubbed the heart with my thumb and put the box into my purse. Foolishly, I had developed an attraction to a music-loving poet who could’ve cared less for me, if that was possible. But more wishes for a music-loving man piled up in the wish box nevertheless.
The crush on the music-loving man wasn’t all for naught. I fell in love with new music and tried on new fashions that suited my personality. People said my new hats were fantastic and really suited me. This discovery pleased me because I always thought I looked goofy in them. My new hat collection included a brown bowler hat and a gray cabbie hat. The baseball cap, though seldom worn, makes me undeniably “Goetzke.” By this, I mean, I look a lot like my distant father. Most of my features came from my maternal Grandma Hartman but a ball cap instantly turns me into “Dick’s daughter.”
The other wishes are for peace and happiness for my family and me. Yeah, I also wrote that I’d like to find my soul mate—and I do believe I will. Picture it: some random night in my later twenties, I’ll be choosing frozen Chinese cuisine from my neighborhood grocer and we’ll reach for the same bag of stir-fry and wham!—connection. Maybe we’ll start talking about how great chow mein noodles are. He might compliment my Pearl Jam concert tee with the tree on it—this tee is my usual day off attire choice. Instead of nuking sodium-infested noodles at eight p.m. on a Sunday, I’ll find myself sitting across from an alert and earthy-looking, music-loving man. He’ll listen patiently to my blabbering about each of the Pearl Jam shows I’ve attended. He might even have brown hair and the whole goatee/mustache thing going on—something Eddie Vedder-esque. We’ll spend the whole evening talking about music and random things like how annoying it is that people have no manners their cell phones. Courtesy is, after all, synonymous with sexy.
This man will be patient and good-natured and totally accepting of me. That man will appreciate that I hold the door for people, that I whistle a lot, that I turn pennies to heads so that someone will pick them up, and believe hope lives and good things are on the way. He will absolutely drop whatever he’s doing to sing and/or dance with me in the middle of the grocery store just like Mom still does.
“Yeah, I’ll wish for him,” I tell myself, picking up the pace. About ten feet from the trestle the caboose thundered by, leaving only sky behind; my wish hung in the pale blue July sky.
Frozen to the concrete, I laughed until the disappointment bent my face into a frown. For a moment, I considered the destiny of unbound wishes. It’s okay, I decided; I’m sure he heard me, wherever he is. I picked up my pace and continued to the park.
Hello/good-bye Mr. Calibash, wherever you are.

[Lyrics from Bruce Springsteen “I’m on Fire,” Born in the USA, Columbia Records, 1985.]

***

Saturday Soul Singer by Brian Fanelli

Her face pains against the mic,

pulled back as she releases, wails

a long note, backed by trumpet,

bursts of sax, steady bass.
 

After she holds the note, finishes,

her lips curve into a smile.

She tugs at her blue velvet dress,

steps off stage in stilettos,

away from white lights that shined on her fine black skin.
 

White men in iron-pressed khakis

puff their cigars, smile

next to clapping wives who’ve never heard

Miles moan what it’s like to be blue,

or Billie’s burned voice against sleek piano.

They’ll go home humming a few bars.

***

Alcoholic Orchestra by Frances Kwok

inhale
and
walk into a bar
tap the counter
order the pina colada
finger the glass’s rim
bottoms up
and
ride the eighth into the half
as the leader bangs the stick
and the crowd goes wild
watch the face of every good boy come to life
heavy breaths in between
the groups of sixteens that are thrown at the men
and the ladies in red fade away, screaming
fermata
take the change and grab the keys
note the time, its antiquated tick leaves
an elegant signature in a brazen environment
out the door you go
sit in your car, and
rest
look up and start the solo-ridin’
don’t look back as multiple crashes lead to a
bang
silence for a moment
and
exhale

***

The Night that Pop Died
by Patricia Kinney

I sat on the fake-marble counter, watching my mom get ready to go out. She wore a black denim mini-skirt, and high heels that clicked on the tile floor. She paced back and forth in the kitchen, leaving behind cloying whiffs of Charlie as she waited for my stepfather, Ed, to finish getting dressed for a night of carousing at a local dive bar.
“The NeverEnding Story” song was on the record player. It was the first song I remember hearing, which makes sense since it was pretty popular when I was two; my mom bought the album, and played it a lot because I was infatuated with the movie. That was before my stepfather came into the picture, when she actually cared about my sister, and I.
I loved popular music because it was all that my mom listened to in those days. That night, I was singing along with Limahl and Beth Anderson. I knew all the words to this particular song, and many others. I was belting them out, trying to get my mom’s attention, when Ed came out of the bathroom. “You ready?” he asked, straightening his collared shirt, and running a hand through his wet hair.
She walked over, and kissed him, a long kiss that made me cringe, as always. They got their coats, ignoring me still sitting there.
“Mommy, I don’t wanna go. The song’s not over,” I said, my five-year-old voice was immature, and tinged with whining.
Without saying a word, she reached over, and ripped the needle off the record. The music died, and I felt lost in the sea of silence that crashed down around us. “I wanna listen to your records, mommy,” I protested, as Ed walked out to the car.
“Get your coat,” she told me, firmly. “You can listen to them tomorrow.”
“But, mommy,” I sniffled as I walked over to the chair where she put my coat. “I wanna listen now!”
“Then listen to them at Grandpop’s,” she said, exasperated. She slipped her arms into a black leather jacket that made her look like Pat Benatar.
“Grandpop won’t let me! He doesn’t like music at night. He watches the news!” I told her, desperately trying to get her to remember what it was like living with her father. My grandmother was a warm and loving lady, but my grandpop was rigid, hard and cold.
Before she could reply, my stepfather came in the door.
“Are you giving your mother a hard time?” he asked, as he grabbed my arm, and jerked me around to put his face in mine.
“No,” I whispered. Satisfied, he let go. I put my coat on without another word, tears streaming down my face. My sister came down the stairs when my mom called her, backpack in hand, and we left the house, the records on the counter like left-behind teddy bears.
My mom and Ed went drinking every weekend. My older sister, Becky, and I were shipped off to our grandparents, the only set we had, so my parents could pretend they had no responsibilities. My parents often rewarded Becky because of her cooperative, adult-like behavior. But they didn’t realize her cooperation was only an act to disguise the fact that she had become hard.
My sister was a wonderful actress, even in our childhood. She would often agree with our parents, who favored her, to get what she wanted. But deep down, she absolutely hated them both. Older than me by three years, she often took it upon herself to educate me in the ways of our parents. “They suck,” she told me most days. “They don’t care about us, so why do you care about them?”
I never believed all of her bluster, just as I could I never understood how she held all of the hate inside. My mouth always got me into trouble. If I felt it, or thought it, I said it, which earned me a lot of slaps and lectures. Still, I clung to the belief that someday my mom would care about us again, until that night, when I realized all hope was lost.
“Here, jerk,” My sister said, and threw a walkman in my lap as we sat in the backseat next to one another. The lonely moon glared down at us, illuminating her frosty eyes. In that moment, I saw through her mask of indifference; I saw the sorrow for me that she harbored in those oceans of blue. Her words were harsh, but her hands were gentle as she helped me to adjust the clunky headphones over my ears, and pushed play.
I’ll never forget the chills that poured through my body as the haunting melody of “Hysteria” pulsed through my ears. It was a far cry from the pop music I played over and over with the hope that my mother would see that we had a connection. I didn’t understand the words to the song, nor would I be capable of it for a long time, but I understood the feelings that those guitar chords and drum beats from Def Leppard’s fourth album produced. A dark hatred washed over me as I saw my parents for what they really were, and recognized that I would never win their love.
In that moment, I hated their attitudes, the way that they would slap me for being a five-year-old kid, and I hated the way they tried to control my every thought. In that single moment, the popular music was turned off for the last time, and the gut-wrenching riffs of hard rock were introduced, courtesy of my sister.

***

Couples Only by Amye Archer

Skateaway is abuzz
when the purple “Couples Only” sign clicks on.
Hot pink wheels
slide to a stop
and perch like pigeons
atop the furry mushrooms
waiting for the brown wheels
to make their move.

My sister and her boyfriend
glide like cranes
wingtip to wingtip
air between them
around them
under them
as they migrate towards one another.

Her braces blink
pink
green
disco ball blue—
His face shines squeaky with sweat.
Their fingers lock like a knot
as they whirlwind around
swooshing in circles—
flying wingless
over the lacquered floor.

***

Legs, lips, sex and jazz by Dale Wilsey, Jr.

wanting my fingers to dance across your thighs
like Jarrett gliding soulfully across the keys
to sip the sweetness from your lips
and know the calming taste of you
a warm tea of beauty and soul
a Coltrane cut
sweet notes of
desire

I pace back and forth
across your apartment
across my mind
sifting through the tension
like the chaos of Zorn

legs
lips
sex…
jazz

I want to feel your supreme love
naked and hot against me
but I keep cool like Miles
never cross the line created
between friend and lover

I’ll never dance that lover’s dance
never see that skirt sway back and forth

back and forth
not with you

we’ll sit together sipping wine
listening to soulful horns
and you’ll wish for love
but not for mine

I’ll sip the calming taste
from another glass
another night
a simple glance
the last note

***

Erosian Exile: Past and Present by Marie Landrigan

Her voice sounds angelic – angelic and pleading, grasping you and shaking your senses, saying please, please believe in something more than what’s in front of you, more than what’s on the surface. “I was born in a box, where the crazy people sing…love was just a dream…” Our down-to earth angel is Erica Xenne; her band, Erosian Exile, released their debut album Slave to Freedom on Valentine’s Day 2011. By the end of the first track, “Born in a Box,” you will believe “life is but a dream.”
Erica Xenne, who sings lead vocals, also wrote and composed all the lyrics and music herself. She also plays piano, organ and synth. The band’s drummer, Jon Brand, is Erica’s brother. The siblings are the core of Erosian Exile, which otherwise includes a revolving band. 
The guitars on Slave to Freedom let you feel the emotions of the songs by making the guitar weep, scream and wail, a resonance that creates near- perfect harmony with Erica’s voice. 
As for Mr. Brand, his drumming is tight, controlled, yet still melodic, and his breakdowns just rock. Jon’s parts command the beat, lead the strings, and contribute to a “catchy” melodic sound. Erica describes her brother’s drumming as “the best thing on the album.” When I spoke to her recently she explained to me what she calls the “psychic musical bond” that is making music with her only sibling, “he already knows what I’m going to play before I play it.” 
“I wanna dream like I won’t wake, live as though I’ll never die..” These lyrics from “Chasing Tigers” resonate with fans for different reasons, but for the songwriter herself hold a more intimate meaning. Erica was once so sick that she almost did die. When she was sixteen, Erica had secured an audition for Les Miserables. A week before her audition, she got a sore throat and couldn’t sing. Erica and her family figured it was just a cold, but she didn’t get better after months; doctors didn’t have a prognosis. Erica reflects, “My mom intuitively thought it was Lyme Disease, because she is a brilliant doctor,” but this was not yet certain. An ENT specialist gave her two courses of steroids—since steroids bring out Lyme symptoms, within a few days of her second course she couldn’t walk, and couldn’t move her fingers; her mom had to feed her with a spoon or a straw because she couldn’t swallow, and also help her get dressed. 
Due to various factors, including allergies to many of her medications and the real complications of Lyme Disease, getting Erica to walk again became a long process. While the steroids prevented her muscles from becoming limp, they destroyed her vocal chords. As a young woman with her talents and ambition focused on a career as a singer, she was devastated. 

After spending two years in bed, Erica went to college at Sarah Lawrence, a prestigious, mostly-female art school in Westchester, New York. She was faced with the harshness that her once operatic voice could barely be heard above a whisper.
Having a simple conversation was now a challenge. Erica still surrounded herself with musicians and artists. Her tastes evolved into a love for rock, especially angry rock like Nine Inch Nails. During college she spent much of her time her school’s color lab. “I was obsessed with photography as an emotional outlet.” 
She told people she “didn’t do music anymore,” but later realized that she had recorded about 20 songs while in college. “A Muse,” which personifies those years, lets you know that piano is derived not only from string but also percussion! The beat comes in first from the keys before the drums join in and then they fuse and tap together synergy. After three vocal chord surgeries and enough hard work dedication and passion to last a lifetime, Ms. Xenne decided to keep singing.
Looking ahead, her lyrics are mostly focused on love and a belief in living life to its fullest, but Erica briefly mentions her struggle on “Hurricane Ruby.” She says, “I could sing to the crowds of the souls love could save, with the ghost of my voice that came back from the grave.” 
In terms of Slave to Freedom, I love every song. “Sleep on the Ceiling” is a painful lesson in ethics, “Lullaby for Defeat” talks about sacrificing the self for love, “Apostasy” about lust and “game,” “Slave to Freedom,” “Ruby Roué,” “Hurricane Ruby” and “Rockless” all tell the love story of Erica and Ruby, a fictional character to whom the album is dedicated. 
“Hurricane Ruby” may be my favorite track in terms of what I love most about a rock song—it has strong melodic drums, our down-to-earth lover with a little blues to back her up, whiny ‘verbs, and socially conscious lyrics – “I’ll give change to the homeless and protest the war, if there’s illness abound I’ll raise funds for the cure..” Ms. Xenne has not only the courage to spill her innermost secrets into her art, “I’ll heal everyone’s pain but it’s mine I’ll ignore, and nothing can take it away,” but also the insight to comment on the genre from which she emerges, “you said I traded my soul to resurrect rock ‘n roll, if passion had a price what would you sacrifice?” The end of the track is a guitar-solo turned into electrical lightning and booms into a thunder-bolt finish. 
Through many evolutions, Slave to Freedom takes the brilliant and still ever-budding talents of Ms. Xenne, Mr. Brand and the album’s band mates—as they introduce themselves to the world. 
“Trysticide” is a triumph in realism, life isn’t perfect, relationships may end, and we all have to deal with responsibility- no matter what may transpire in our personal lives—sometimes just to keep our lives in a small sense of order. However, we get the message that keeping our heads above water isn’t as good as it gets— “Wake me up with the sunrise, wipe the crust from my dreamy eyes, the dream is over at least until tonight…” She gives us an opening, rather than a closing, as every beginning is an end; the story of Erosian has just begun.

***

The Rock Show by Rachael Goetzke

Tumbling in a sea of faces
Your blue-green eyes collide with mine
We rock back and forth in time
As the front man delivers
His famous rhyme

But my sight no longer takes him in
My eyes instead, graze your olive skin
I imagine what things could be
As you crowd-dance your way closer to me

Excited utterances swallow up the air
And I see your hands combing through my hair
Dancing between discarded seats
Our feet tap the ground, in time,
To double-bass drum beats

The show will come to its rolling end
But I wonder—
Will you ever call me
More than friend?

***


Ride Home, Rutgers, November
by Brian Fanelli

Bob Dylan rasps on my car radio-

Days are gettin’ short.

Night comes in a’fallin’.

His dustbowl growl reminds me of cool

autumn nights we plucked LPs from milk crates,

listened to the scratch of needle against wax.
 

Now I drive home from her place

alone, under the wafer of moon,

this grumpy November sky.

I crank the volume, recall her words—

We should see other people—

and how I looked away,

focused on the fat Oak tree center campus,

its last few leaves clinging

against the pull and push of winds

as forceful as bursts of harmonica blues

blasting through my car’s stereo,

bringing me back to nights at her apartment,

our bodies stretched out on the floor, waiting

for the crackle of old vinyl spinning all night.

***

Contributors

Amye Barrese Archer has an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University.  She has written poetry, short stories, and many truths on bathroom walls.  Her work has appeared in PANK Magazine, Twins Magazine, Provincetown Arts Magazine, The Ampersand Review, and Boston Literary Magazine.  She has also been part of PANK Magazine’s This Modern Writer Series.  Her chapbook, “No One Ever Looks Up” was published by Pudding House Press in 2007.  She is currently working on a memoir.  You can read her blog at http://www.amyearcher.com

Brian Fanelli’s poems have appeared in a number of journals, including Boston Literary Magazine, Chiron Review, Word Riot, Breadcrumb Scabs, and others. His first chapbook, Front Man, was published in the fall of 2010 by Big Table Publishing. He is currently working on a second manuscript of poems and teaches literature and writing at Keystone College.
To learn more, visit www.brianfanelli.com

Rachael Goetzke is currently seeking her MFA in
Creative Writing at Wilkes University. She is co-founder and Managing Editor of Word Fountain. She was raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia but currently calls Kingston, PA her home. Her poetry and non-fiction has been published in Word Fountain, The Cohort Review and Ripasso. To read more of Rachael’s musical musings:

http://kindalikeapoet.wordpress.com/

Stephanie Harchar is a employee of the Osterhout Free Library. Her love of music is very deeply rooted. “I fell in love with the Beatles’ Here Comes the Sun..” After that it was glam rock (i.e. KISS) then the 80’s and a little singer named Robert Plant. She likes Earl Grey tea, writing and reading.

Andrea Janov was raised in Pennsylvania by rock n’ roll parents who knew the importance of concerts and going past the no trespassing signs. She spent her adolescence in a small town punk rock scene where she moshed, fell in love, and produced a few cut-and-paste fanzines.
She holds a BA in Creative Writing, Fiction and Poetry from SUNY Purchase and a MA and MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry from Wilkes University and currently lives and works in New York spending her days dreaming of a rock and roll weekend. http://www.andreajanov.com

Patricia Kinney is beginning her senior year at Keystone College.  Her work has appeared in Indigo Rising Magazine and on http://www.WritingRaw.com  She is an avid hard rock fan.

Frances Kwok has been writing poetry since the first grade. Her writing is inspired by spontaneous emotion and random happenings. Her poems vary from rhyming to open writing. In terms of music, she likes to listen to all ranges of rock and indie with the occasional outlier. If you see her, she is most likely wearing ear buds listening to bands from Alesana to Tegan and Sara.

Marie Landrigan has been writing since she was a child. She is currently a resident of Wilkes-Barre. She started writing short stories when she was eight, poetry when she was 11 or 12 and has just “never stopped.” She is twenty-five years old.

Edward Lupico Librarian. Wilkes-Barre.
Puts words together. Also takes them apart.

Dale R. Wilsey, Jr. is a writer and poet living and working in Tunkhannock, PA. His work has recently been published on Young American Poets and will be featured in the Summer 2011 issue of the Boston Literary Magazine. Dale maintains a blog where he writes on anything from old boots to winding rivers.

manic-frustration.blogspot.com/ 

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If you would like a hard copy, please contact:

Word Fountain Staff
c/o Osterhout Free Library
71 S. Franklin Street
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701
570-823-0156
wordfountain@osterhout.lib.pa.us