|Spring 2014, Issue no. 10|
|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|
|Going to the Library||Louise Edwards|
|An American Novella||Bailey Bloyd|
|Meet the Editors|
by John Yamrus
one word long,
hell is this?
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.
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
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,
*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?
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
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.
talking of impassioned lovers not wanting—
She conjured you.
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.
the main room of that great building.
You and I sitting across from each other
in shared solitude.
lost in our books.
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
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
smelling like fruit
and licorice root and
evaporated into thought.
An American Novella by Bailey Bloyd
Dusty golden braids
laying one atop another
Bluest eyes swell
on coastal lines.
Mockingbirds sing justice
for those who cannot.
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:
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 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 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 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.
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.
Osterhout Free Library
71 S. Franklin Street
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701
570-823-0156 Fax: 570-823-5477
Thanks for reading us!