by Sarah Hoenicke
We line up and we know what they think of us. We know they see us as freaks; we know they do not see us. It took a long time for me to see that life is more than what you see, and I think some folk do not, they do not ever see that. They go on, to them we are our shirts, pants, legs, arms–each of us a bone, all of one corpse, we go to the fire. But what makes me, that is more than the me you see. It is the thought, the choice, the laugh; it is the thing that I do with my eyes when I smile or frown, the ways my skin folds–these make me. Mom, she’s in front of me. She has short hair, too short. It looks bad and makes her feel like a small thing when she is a big thing, at least to me. She has bad clothes too, clothes that the camps didn’t want. They take all from us, but don’t want what she has. It is too poor for the poor; the work dust on it will be food for the fires. My dad, his son, they are sent to a camp far from us, over the fence, the cold fence. We do not hear from them, but I hear that the men, they have it worse than us. They are told: work, work, work, work, then die. We are just told: die. One girl, she has a baby. They pass the babies through the hole in the fence. Those that are not like us, some of them take the ones that are small enough to fit through. I think of what will happen to them, those small babes born in the midst of this death place, those ones that get set free. And I think I should have had such luck, to be one of them, and not me. They break us up now, and make us form two rows. They scream. We scream. I can’t reach her hand. She can’t get to me. They have clubs and guns. I don’t know why they take us apart just to push us back together. Maybe for fear. There we were as one, one more time, all our big Jew bones in one room. That’s what they say: your big Jew bones, you brown girl–but I’m not brown. The room is closed. There is no light. They line us up. No one fights. There are dead with us, and small ones too small to do much but cry. We are one, and that’s how they burn us.
Sarah Hoenicke’s Fire will be published in our Spring 2013 issue.
Copyright © Sarah Hoenicke
Here is a preview of Jordy Lynch’s Holding Up the Circle, which will be published in our Spring 2013 issue. Jordy read the piece at the release party for Forum‘s Fall 2012 issue, video from which can be viewed below.
Holding Up the Circle
by Jordy Lynch
I looked up.
Clouds spread out across the sky, covering any blue the atmosphere usually reflected, resulting in a range of dark and light grey. The mottled sky peaked through treetops and around rooftops.
I was walking to the lake, the usual sounds of gunfire absent today. The gun range across the lake was only open on Wednesdays and Sundays. I think it was a Tuesday. I always wondered why the lake in the city would have a gun range attached to it, but the lake absorbed any missed rounds. Plus the water acted as an excellent surface for the gunshot reports to travel on, and I enjoyed the periodic noise of the firing range.
Continue reading “Holding Up the Circle” by Jordy Lynch
Here is a sneak peak of Natalie Enright’s White Matter, a story of love and loss, which will be published in our Spring 2013 issue. Natalie read the piece at the release party for Forum‘s Fall 2012 issue last Friday, video from which can be viewed below.
by Natalie Enright
His alarm sounds loudly. She barely reacts. She was already awake. The sound of waves crashing outside their window and wind swirling reminds her of a childhood memory; a day at the beach when she lost her beloved stuffed animal. The memory ends as soon as it begins. It was just an image of a little girl in a bathing suite crying next to a woman holding her hand. The smell of brine precedes the sun peeking through the open window of the tiny room. The smell comes through the screened window down the bedroom wall across the carpeted floor and up the mattress lying on the floor, up the other wall and out the window back to the ocean. She is never up this early.
He exhales as he lifts the blanket off his body and then lifts himself up and to the edge of the bed, then turns the alarm off on the floor. The blanket folds over back towards her and a breeze from the open window kisses her exposed thigh. He stands up and leaves the room quietly. She throws the cover over herself and slips underneath. The bed is cold without him. Her body follows a current of sheets moving towards the foot of the bed. She finds a spot still warm from where he was lying and rests her body in the space he left behind. She is listening to him getting dressed and then him moving his things down the hallway to the front door. She wonders if he noticed that she was awake. She feels the undertow of her sensitivities and hopes it will pass and lead back to sleep. Instead she resurfaces to the edge of the blanket at the head of the bed to listen to him leave. He opens the door and carefully carries two bags with him. His keys jingle as he turns the lock and then she listens to his footsteps fade away. It’s too early to say goodbye.
Continue reading “White Matter” by Natalie Enright
Yesterday and Today
by Richard Compean
He will be gone in two weeks—gone not just away on retreat, or business, not to visit family, not to the almost comatose sleep he has been going to increasingly for the past two months, but forever, to Hamlet’s “undiscovered country” as he himself would say, to the death that will us finally part.
All this I know because I just met yesterday with his hospice nurse who has told me this, as she explained, for my own sake, not his, to get me beyond denial and anger.
And, yes, I have been angry at him ever since he told me a few months back that suicide might make things easier, especially on me. We both laughed when I threatened to kill him if he so much as even tried.
The hospice nurse also told me that his periods of consciousness and lucidity will continue to diminish, both in frequency and length, until they stop completely. Yesterday there were three and all were less than an hour. Last night we talked for only about 45 minutes and he once again reminded me to be sure that his daughter Lucy gets that original Beatles Yesterday and Today album (the one with the broken dolls and meat) when she comes to visit today.
Continue reading “Yesterday and Today” by Richard Compean
I sat down to wait for my bus and a Samoan woman approached me. She kept staring at me and I was getting nervous about it because she was intimidating like she could squash me like a grape. She waited till everyone around us seemed occupied with other things before she spoke to me.
“You know, in my village you would be considered a holy man because of your facial tattoos. The fact that you got facial tatts that reflect something about you makes you a wise man in my eyes.”
I smiled and thanked her for the compliment and we started talking about her tribal tattoos. The bus came and we both got on continuing the conversation. We sat down next to a black woman who looked upset about something. The black woman’s 16 year old son was yelling and goofin with his friends in the back of the bus. He came up front and started going off yelling at his mother and calling her a bitch because she would not give him five dollars. The Samoan woman got up and told him to back off. He gave his mother a dirty look and called her a bitch again. He then went back to his friends. The mother looked frightened and embarrassed.
Continue reading The Bus Ride By Britannic x.o. Zane (Jul. 8th, 2007)
Lewis Arnold had always hated his father’s name. Not his father. No other trait of his ever bothered Lewis; just his name, which in most cases is decided by forces distant to the person who is to don said name. Lewis knew this and held no grudge towards his father.
Yet if there had been anything he could have changed about his old man, it was his name. Arnold. Lewis couldn’t ever justify his dislike with a specific reason, and truth be told, he probably didn’t even have a good reason. It was like a bad taste or a rancid smell, a base reaction to something foul. Something foul sat in front of Lewis, and Lewis displayed his disgust like a mask.
Sitting across the kitchen table was Lewis’s father. His skin was drawn tight around his face, his teeth peeking through his slit of a mouth. He was wearing a black suit, a suit that looked like a good one to be buried in. A red tie and white undershirt complimented the rich darkness of the coat. Through decayed lips and teeth like gravestones, his father started singing, and from somewhere nearby a band struck up, accompanying the dead man’s vocals.
Continue reading A House at the End of the Street by Jordy Lynch
Brenda looked forward into the mirror with all of her vigor and intensity. Apparently, she possessed her own personal self bias because the convoluted figure standing before was not what she thought she resembled. This past year had been the year which defined her life. She had been diagnosed with ALS and subsequently entered into the severe stages warranting complete body paralysis. The myelin isolating her axons was deteriorating with every passing second of each day and there was not a thing she could do to stop this indelible force. Even if she desired to form a plan of attack there would be not a soul willing to help her, but just a hearth to surrender her fight on.
When she was first diagnosed she strategically placed a picture of herself when she was twenty-five years old and she was in her prime on her wall so the spirit of her pat would still remain inside her even through the worst of times. Right beside her picture was her PhD in Biotechnology from Columbia University. Before the onset of her ALS she ranked among the five most successful scientists manipulating stem cells to cure neurodegenerative conditions in the U.S. She once again turned her attention toward the mirror which reflected not herself, but a victim who society had failed. She had lost her identity and ultimately herself worth in this colossal pool of wires and tubes which extended her life. They would not extend her life to the point where she could execute municipal activities, but she survived only to remain trapped in the hellish vessel of her body until the next day. She intensely eyed her voluptuous figure underneath her black satin dress which was very risqué. That Satin dress despite being overzealous beat the hell out of the flowing white spotted gown which probably could have been uncovered in a junkyard for all she knew.
Continue reading The Last Stand by Shelly Davis
His right hand strums out a complicated rhythm while his left dances up and down the neck, forming complex shapes. A low hum rumbles up from his throat, a counter-melody to the throbbing voice of the guitar. Eyes closed, he sits cross-legged on the moist grass, rocking back and forth, trying to give birth to the melody rolling through him.
The instrument screams in dismay. Sorely taxed by the man, it fights the strain of the contorted chording. The pick in his hand ravages the wooden body, making it shake, bend, and fall out of tune.
When the two first met, the man had been a young boy. His lap had been much smaller, and the stroke of his fingers had been soft and clumsy. In those days the guitar had been placed carefully on a stand when not in use, frequently re-stringed, polished and buffed daily. The boy had loved the instrument, had treated it gently, with care and respect.
Continue reading Discarded, by Chaz Anderson
Grandma likes her rock garden to be neat and orderly. She doesn’t have to water it or have it mowed, and those pesky neighborhood kids can’t run and play all over it. A trip and fall and a skinned knee will teach them that.
The kids like to take a single gray rock from the outer section of the garden and carefully place it into the center circle full of all white rocks. They run and hide and wait for Grandma to come out. They watch and listen. She bitches and moans as she struggles across the garden of rocks with her bad hip, slowly bending over to pick up the gray rock and put it back with the others.
Gray Rock, fiction by Seth Luther
© Copyright Seth Luther
by Kristine Nodalo
Charles Bukowski is one of the most prolific and vulgar writers out there. He stood at five feet eleven, often wearing a collared button-down shirt, with a chest pocket consisting of a few pens peeking out of it, covering a beer belly that hung over his waistline–a reminder of his romance with alcohol. His large, bulbous nose shadowed over stained nicotine yellow teeth. His ravaged face was marked with scars and blemishes, resembling the hard life he lived. He sauntered his way to each of the bars he made his second home and wrote at his first when he wasn’t. Nobody would have expected the success he had by just looking at him and his lifestyle, for Bukowski’s prose and poetry has been translated into twenty-one languages, sales for his books rise every year, and a great amount of avid Bukowski readers live all over the world. Charles Bukowski’s unique life experiences made him a successful writer, as they enabled him to color his writing with the kind of simplicity, tough, vicious honesty, and straight forwardness it bears that makes it different from others, revolutionizing literature and poetry, also providing consolation and representation, specifically for the underdogs of society—blue collared workers, prostitutes, and drunks—at the same time. Continue reading “Bukowski” by Kristine Nodalo