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Poetry: chick-a-dee – Colleen Choate

Colleen Choate

When I remember you, you were a body
and I am just

a chick-a-dee-dee
things are squishy
meaning our skin is the outermost
layer of our brain

meaning I’m a sprained ankle
your hand swallows my wrist
and our stomachs have almost
as many neurons
we’re just the wet leaves stuck to
the window
we’re just hot, wet mouths in
the rain


Poetry: Bruises – Morgan Maple

Morgan Maple

shaped like Africa I’d gotten it after sipping too much vodka soda before a football game.
Saturated tree lined streets with ora    nge       bleeding into tar. My family called me Graceful
because I was not, but they                              never saw me drink more than a wine cooler at
the local community p                                               ool.   Run.             Bird of air let those locks flow as your
wings. Hit the ceme                                                      nt so fast your body grins grinding itself
anew. I hadn’t                                                              felt rain before. My mother hated when my
knees scraped leav                                                ing inflamed red knowing I’d pick off the scabs in
gym class while the other                                                 kids kicked dodgeballs through the grass.
Dirty toes. Field Day 2004 t                                      shirts glinting with perspiring fat. I’d wanted to
scrape off the congealed fat                           underneath my arms. Skin smears. Grass imprints
like I’m one the earth turning it’                    s axle aligning right down to it.
Skipping dinner              and                             eating one tablespoon of peanut butter          for
           lunch.              wondering                   how much                    adipose            peanuts
contain. Bit my tongue hitting the gr    ound thinking maybe that will hoax my stomach.

Poetry : Braids – Gabby Timbrook

Gabby Timbrook

when i was little
my mom would take me
to get my hair braided
by a black woman
her forehead glistened like cocoa butter
hands yanked at my roots
into rocking chair patterns
humming a story
my white momma
know the rhythm of
this woman
gave my
orphaned scalp
a history

i didn’t feel black
until i was around 7 years old
when a boy pulled down on the
lovingly placed beads
in my hair
braids like rope
they say children
are more apt to seeing ghosts
i realize now i had had visions of sun
microwaving melanin
crows pickin on strange fruit
the boy called me blackie
he didn’t know what that meant
but i knew the weight of it

i just had so much hair
and it took up so much space
like a dark mass
pleading for intrusion
my coils were bed of balled up paper
my curls were questions of flat irons
my kinks were cradle of everyone else’s fingers
wanting to just “touch” them
but not actually wanting to
feel the knots and split ends
they were helping to create

the first thing i learned about my people
is that they could create armor out of anything
like the weaving of baskets
enclosed around our heads
protecting our magic
saying to little black child
small me
“your blood is as old as
human kind
it has the strength of
my people
have been fighting
since the sun kissed their
since the earth was stolen
from under them
since the gold in
their voices seemed to be silenced


they’d been growing
before coal began pressin into diamonds
hair like
the sun rises and sets
like the earth continues to go round
hair like history

into braids
like a
story of strength

Prose: Cake – Evangeline Giaconia

Evangeline Giaconia

Chocolate pearled off the sides in viscous drops. Lipstick red cherries dotted the edges of six thick tiers, surrounded by white chocolate lace. Swirls of caramel pooled on the cake platter in syrupy puddles.

            It took four cooks to carry the cake in, balancing it on their shoulders and taking careful, small steps. They were followed by three attentive maids ready with bowls to catch any drips of chocolate or caramel. No one wanted to face the consequences if a morsel of the pastry was lost.

            The four cooks and three maids ushered the towering cake through a grand set of double doors, placing it
in the center of a long table. Three bony women sat at three sides of the table, staring at the cake with bulging
frog eyes.

            “Finally!” croaked the woman on the right end of the table. “I’m starving!” Drool gathered in the corners
of her lips.

            “I’m famished!” groaned the woman on the left side. Her fork was in her white-knuckled fist. “Those carrot sticks just don’t fill you up.”

            “Now, now,” said the woman at the head of the table. She was the thinnest of them all, and she watched the sumptuous desert with a glistening gaze. “Don’t forget what those carrots do for your figures.”

            The woman on the right preened. The woman on the left prodded her stomach. Their eyes never left the cake.

            “That’s right,” said the woman on the left. “I love this diet.”

            “Carrot sticks for breakfast, lunch, and dinner,” said the woman on the right.

            “But treat yourself for dessert!” said the woman on the left.

            The cake wobbled under its own weight. On the walls of the grand hall, a hundred portraits of stick-thin watchers seemed to leer down at it. The cooks and maids exited the room.

            “Alright,” said the woman at the head of the table. “Dig in!”

            The portraits watched with acrylic avarice. The women lunged for the cake, crawling onto the table and fracturing china plates and cups with elbows and knees as they scurried to the glistening cake. They abandoned forks and dug their hands into the moist icing like spades, shoveling it into their mouths. The woman on the right licked up the caramel puddles, the woman on the left pushed great handfuls of syrupy cherries past her lips. The woman at the head crumbled the delicate white chocolate lace in her fists and swallowed it whole.


Prose: Spiders in the Shower – Teague Vreeland

Spiders in the Shower
Teague Vreeland

We’re having trouble lately, she and I.

There’s a spider in my shower. I have the immediate urge to crush him, to destroy this unwelcome denizen. As I plot his demise the spider continues to weave blissfully. He is oblivious to the vengeful god standing not a foot from him, albeit naked and pensive. I resolve to end his life after I get out of the shower. That seems a better option than attempting to crush him with a bar of soap halfway through washing my hair.

We were supposed to move in together.

I’m surprised to see the spider when I get back in the shower, I had forgotten about him. He lives in the corner near my bar of soap. I resolve to name him, given that he seems to have evaded death for the time being. I realize that I’m late for lunch with her. I step out of the shower and glance back at the spider as I dry off. I glance back at… Roger, the spider.

I waited at lunch, she never showed.

Roger weaves his web day in and day out, never seeming to make any significant progress. It must be bliss to have such an obligatory calling. One thing you were always good at that you did out of a higher calling rather than an abject resignation. Roger creates grand gossamer structures for no particular reason. These days I spend hours in the shower admiring his work. There’s an idea, I’ll surprise her at work.

I guess her boss doesn’t like me.

Roger has company today. Another spider has perched in the corner opposite my arachnid acquaintance. This other spider is short and fuzzy, a sharp contrast to Roger’s graceful and fearsome legs. This other spider is certainly no threat to my Roger. This other creature is almost cute, delicate and harmless in an endearing fashion. I’ll call him Phil…I wonder if Phil will visit with Roger and I?

She wasn’t at her apartment last night.

Phil seems to be acutely aware of Roger’s presence. I suspect that something occurred in my absence. I wonder if Roger and Phil have been meeting in secret. Behind my back. Perhaps these two have grown close since I’ve been gone. I’m not sure I like that.

She left to go visit her sister.

I stumbled upon the scene of the murder this morning, in my own shower no less. A murder most foul occurred while I was out last night. Phil is dragging the evidence across the lip of the shower and Roger’s web lies wrecked in the wake of this tragedy. Roger’s long legs trail from behind the gossamer tomb Phil has encased him in. Dear Phil has taken my Roger from me forever. A ring at the door calls me out of the shower, away from the scene of the crime.

The dresser seems empty without her clothes.

Prose: Maggie – Lauren Pratt

Lauren Pratt

            Her name was Maggie and she held everything together in such a way that when she died and her worn tendons separated from her weary bones, so too did the brick and mortar of her House fall apart in such spectacular fashion that it captured the heart of every newsreader within the tri-county area for an entire morning, which is saying a lot these days.

            The people of the town thought for sure she was a witch, but more of the Glinda kind – the pink dress-wearing, cotton candy-haired do-gooder, the mascot of unaffiliated holiness, or of, say, a particular denomination of neighborhood humanism. For one thing, she never used a thread to sew fabric, nor wheat to make pies, nor nails to hang pictures on the wall. She herself was a binding agent, which is saying a lot these days. People of every creed and color and shape and size and state of mental acuity or lack thereof found themselves inexplicably dining with the mother of the mother church of hospitality. The people of the town were bound up by her, healed and loved. Children would purposely fall by her fence – lambs to a bloodless, deathless slaughter – scrape their knees to watch her wipe the blood and rejoin the broken pieces of skin. She could solve any ailment with love, itself a binder, which is saying a lot these days.

BMC: A High Country Experiment

//BMC: A High Country Experiment//

// Black Mountain College is an absolutely adorable campus situated near Asheville, North Carolina // Aside from the spectacular mountain views, this place provided students with the best artistic education possible during the 30s and 40s
// Arguably //
If you don’t know much about BMC // or you do and find it as fascinating as I do // this weekly article will provide insight into its inspiring past //
// BMC now has a museum in downtown Asheville // where exhibitions reveal the magic behind the college
//Here is the website if you want to check it out, which I highly recommend:
//A movie featuring BMC, The Longest Ride, came out in April which honestly I only watched because of dreamy Scott Eastwood // Yes, the son of Clint Eastwood // and Clint is a much better actor than his son if we are being honest //
// I don’t recommend this movie//
In fact parts were incredibly trite and I ended up skipping whole scenes entirely.

//My point is:

Black Mountain College was heavily featured in the plot line of The Longest Ride//
//Ruth, the most dynamic character of the whole movie, described a piece made by a BMC artist, “isn’t it wonderful? Such a personal landscape. It’s so direct and frank and simplified and distorted all at the same time. Don’t you love it?” //
//The art in this movie almost makes up for it’s complete lack of originality
and absolute terrible acting//
//The characters visit BMC // which was only a running college for 24 years //
//and are completely enamored with the creativity and innovation they find there //
A painting teacher // possibly a representation of Josef Albers says
// “Really look at your work to understand it. Say I want to be able to control the accidents. Don’t leave them to fate, or the Lord, or chance. Whatever you want to call it. I teach you to see. Then even an accident will have purpose and direction.”//

// Ruth is an avid subscriber to the modernist painting ideas and techniques// she spends her life collecting works from Black Mountain College //
// The honest and experiential quality of brushwork speak to her on a personal level //
“Over 500 years artists have been reproducing quite literally what they see in front of them and then Kandinsky came and broke all the rules. All of them!”
//BMC was home to extreme experimentation//
// with not just painting, but prose, poetry, drawing and more. Modernist philosophy was alive and well in our High Country mountains //