Workshops and Retreats

Issue Twelve

Tornado Dreams

I’ve never been in a tornado. But the landscapes of my childhood dreams were ravaged by them. Brought on by the trauma in my waking hours, my tornado dreams were prolific, and proved to be, prophetic. The first, an EF-1, to spin its massive cone into my dreams, did so...

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The Truth or Something Like It

I met Joe Nuxhall a few weeks after my fifteenth birthday. His hands were gnarled, and he spoke as though his mouth was half full of marbles, but he was sharp and funny as hell. I was only a few months younger than he was when he made his Major League debut....

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three sections from Ornithoncology

from Ornithoncology I ain’t no holla back girl, but girl, I love the hollow of your back, a birthmark continent and placid sea.  I mean, this shit is bananas.  I mean, I once won a spelling bee.  But I like best when you sting my mouth with kisses, and I want to holla...

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Overlooking Everything

What do you want to be when you grow up? I ask my son Leroy. An architect! The 6-year-old proclaims. Well, why wait. We start building the world’s tallest rollercoaster right here in our suburban backyard. We lay a concrete slab and bolt down some 6 x 6s. Seeing a...

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Specialist

Car One evening my car burps and dies. I point to the place where the car has always felt sick. Dog "Most of our things are already ruined," my man says, pointing to the chewed chair legs, scratched hardwood floors. Lately his voice sounds like a permanent sticker. No...

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A Belief in Your Current Location; Rushes of Blood

A BELIEF IN YOUR CURRENT LOCATION You were ass-deep in parents. And there was no place else but where you lived. And no other time. It’s where you got that foot-long scar. But the chickens and fish had it worse. Sometimes, you start believing you’re still back there...

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Dim Songs for the Sightless

I set a pot of mac and cheese on the hotplate to simmer before grabbing my line and hook. It’s that time of year again and you never reject a source of free food. I push down to the basement, over to the back corner near the water heater, and probe around. I need to...

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Last Time

Yesterday, before the cocktail hour, I went shopping for loopholes. Bridget said it’s been her life-long dream to own one. Downtown, I felt like an animal lost in an animal city. So many attorneys. Fortunately, I was my other self, so I was able to take full advantage...

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Round and Round We Go

Round One In the beginning, I knew my mom wouldn’t last forever because she longed to be reunited with her mother.  If there were a fair equilibrium, a true exchange, her mother would have wanted her to stay with me, not her.  She was dead.  I was...

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Punch Line

Joke Me thinks it’s funny. Says the famous writer isn’t being literal. Serious Me knows better. We’ve been standing in line for two hours. The famous writer will sign our books and punch us squarely in the jaw. Then we can take our famous wounds to the ER. The nurses...

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Good & Plenty

Dear Ms. Bettina Smit: Your phone doesn’t seem to be working, so that’s why I’m emailing. I’d like you to know that Makoto Kita is quite the gentleman, and I enjoy having him in my home while he attends his program. He sure has quite the appetite for American food!...

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Jingle Hell

Deck the halls, indeed. It looked like a secular Christian rendering of Lil John and the East Side Boyz’s seminal masterpiece, “Get Low.” The high concrete walls of the first-floor garage tumbled and plumed with crushed crimson velour, designed in a petroleum-grade...

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Liar

Nick and Crystal once talked about everything: their fantasies, their future plans and dreams. Longing and indebtedness and contentment and obligation. Now it is a lazy Sunday morning, both of them wearing boxer shorts and tees. She sits in the lotus position on the...

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Today, with me, in Paradise

He smelled of hemp and strangled throats, but then again, no one ever imagines him that way. The First Century was a splendid time to be alive. A splendid time, indeed. The Pax Romana, the Roman Age of Peace, held sway over all the living and all the dead.. The Roman...

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Rope Trick

To prove our love, we strung the tightrope across the backyard. We climbed on at opposite ends. The boughs of the two elms sagged with our weight. We steadied ourselves against the trunks; we each goaded the other to go first. Neither of us would let go of the...

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Woman Reclining

I study my frame in the mirror. I admire its slender lines, gilded edges and the ornate corners that curl and spiral in a decadent flourish. The frame is new. Tim said it was too expensive and there’s no guaranteed bonus this year with the way things are. Barbara...

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Ethnic and Kosher

I lose him at the corner of Ethnic and Kosher. He trails behind me, distracted by a colorful display of artificial chrysanthemums and carnations, votive candles, and sugar skulls—a mock shrine honoring the dead, all while selling taco shells and salsa. “Mama, look!”...

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Jump

The man didn’t try to put me at ease, by acting as if we were on a date as some of them did, inquiring as to which radio station I preferred, offering me a toke. His breath was foul and his double knit brown suit was a joke, no reason to be afraid. I told myself he’d...

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Lithosphere

My phone screen reads: Magnitude 3.7. The shaking lasts only a few seconds. I’m an amateur seismologist as well as real estate expert, like any good Californian. Californians both old and new are preoccupied with the security of the ground and the space on that...

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Blood Histories

At one point in history, there was a girl who saved herself from history. How pretty she was is not important. Which of her parents sent her out into the world—inconsequential. What does matter is that she did the opposite of what she had always wanted because what...

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**Some Good Features (Amazon Review)

Came decently wrapped and on time. Impressed at first with some good features i.e. saucepan eyes, curls, bubbly burps. Teasable/coaxable/soft. Still looks fine though curls long gone. Disappoints over time. Used intensively without much success - unable to get across...

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How Melba Got Her Groove Back

Melba had thought she was too old to be possessed by a demon, that this sort of thing only happened to young people living in cobblestoned colonial neighborhoods, or new housing developments built over Native American burial grounds, not to retired persons living in...

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Misguided Prophets

The Sibyl Was Too Old To Go To A Beauty Counter  There was a home for the prophets that couldn't remember their names anymore. This could only push the mimics into cages to see if they could swirl the leaves with their tongues and make God-given mistakes. There...

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A Cacaphony of Lovers

My first was a lover of balloons – fast up, deflating slowly, achingly. Next, a magician, always kept something up his sleeve to tantalise and tease. Until, one day, the rabbit he pulled out was dead. I indulged other tastes with Clarice, a fire-breather and spinner –...

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