by Tim Beckett
he camp was at the end of a dusty logging road, a hundred kilometers up from the highway. The only other settlement was a tiny Indian reserve, just visible through a stand of trees from the road. The camp consisted of four portable trailers, each a city block long, and two smaller trailers, one for the administrative office, the other for the cook shack, the whole lot plunked down in the middle of a clearing shorn of all vegetation down to bare earth.
It had been a tough season, the worst I’d had in the four years I’d gone tree-planting, and I thought the camp would be a good place to go into myself, read the books I’d been meaning to read since I’d gone into the bush, prepare myself for the transition back to the city. The loggers weren’t due back for a few weeks, and we were all given our own rooms in one of the long trailers. The rooms were bare but comfortable, and the steady hum of the generator out the window blocked out the sound of my fellow tree-planters yelling back and forth in the hallway, or playing guitars in their rooms. I found the camp beautiful in a way, an echo of the Northern towns I’d grown up in and almost totally forgot about when I was in the city. The smell of oil and exhaust mingled with the sylvan-sweet scent of fresh-cut timber, and broken logs stuck out of the mud like the remains of a building after an earthquake. Next to the railway cars, a tractor with a claw the size of a small house shifted logs in and out of a twenty foot pile, while fully-loaded logging trucks appeared regularly at the opposite ends of the clearing, sending up plumes of dust, their tottering loads of freshly-skinned trees glistening in the sun. It was like a giant factory dropped in the middle of the woods.
Happy birthday/mother’s day, mom, 2015
The decline of my mother, now 90 on 14 May, has been a slow, long descent since I was a teen. In my youngest youth, she was beautiful and loving. But as I turned 13 or so, her inability to navigate her way through reality became more evident. Things, jokes, music began to bug her. Her loving was replaced by a kind of obsession with the formalities of mothering, the rituals, the cleaning, the forbidding – the mechanics. This has increased over time and even while me and my brother were growing up, neighborhood kids would mock and tease my mom and call her Crazy Tina.
I never tried to analyze it until about 10 years ago, when I realized that her life had probably been more adversely affected by World War II than we thought. She was a teen in Amsterdam and had her best years confiscated by circumstance and any hopes she had for using her artistic inclination toward something satisfying in life somehow became secondary to survival and recovery.
An Art Show Mating Call
by Michael Pool
Copyright © 2015 Steve Rainwater
Kate was standing in the center of the gallery discussing the finer points of one of her most experimental pieces when Mandy interrupted her with a nervous look drawn across her face.
“Sorry to disturb you guys, but I need to borrow Kate,” Mandy said through her teeth. Most of the time such an abrupt interruption would have annoyed Kate to her core, but the disturbed look on Mandy’s face had her begging all the necessary pardons and following her friend and yoga instructor past the free-form statues and swirling canvases into the back room of the gallery, where they could speak in private.
“So what’s up?” Kate asked when they arrived, unable to keep the irritation out of her voice.
“You need to read this—but try to remain calm and centered if you can.” Mandy slipped Kate a small, white slip of paper.
“Calm and cent—“ Kate started to say, but her mouth fell open as she read the first line of the letter, which had been Xeroxed from a handwritten original. “Oh no… oh god…” she mumbled as she read. “This can’t….”
“Ok, ok,” Mandy said, failing to hide the panic in her own voice. “It’s not that bad. People know what a creep he is, ok? And even if they don’t, this isn’t exactly a normal thing to do. Kate, look at me—it’s fine.”
by Rebeka Singer
“Untitled Still of Video Poem Project”, Copyright © 2015 Stasja Voluti
Here’s my soul. I’m giving it to you. Do you want it? Will you take it? I don’t care for it much anymore. My soul never gave me much. And now here it is: I’ll curse it out. “Every inch of my tar black soul,” Lana sings. That’s mine. Thank you, Lana, for making tar black souls sound soulful.
I watch a Harry Potter film each night, sometimes two in a row, either the same, or two separate films in the series. I drink champagne and pop Xanax to numb the fear that I might actually be alone, or, worse, I might actually need to be alone.
See, I want to be in love—with my boyfriend or ex-boyfriend, he never really can decide his status, or my ex-husband, whom I left for my phantasm of a boyfriend, or ex-boyfriend. Never can tell. Can’t tell much. Wish I could say, “Can’t tell me nothing” like Kanye West. An ex-friend text me the other day: “Don’t parade your life around Facebook like Kanye West. You’re not a rich, famous rapper— yet.” That’s not verbatim.