The Furious Gazelle

Literary as hell.

Month: April 2018 (page 1 of 2)

Book Review: Two Towns Over: Poems by Darren C. Demaree

Darren C. Demaree’s Two Towns Over is an introspective illustration of drug culture in the American Midwest. Erratically, the poet exposes his reader to literal, sentimental and introspective illustrations of a lifestyle and environment that are totally controlled by hedonism and psychoactive substances.

While much of the imagery is grotesque and enticing to the senses, monotony is one of the most notable characteristics throughout Two Towns Over. It often feels as if Demaree communicates the same sentiment better in a couple of short stanzas than he does in multiple poems. Filled with structural and linguistic experimentation that is often hit or miss, various pieces, such as a majority of the poems with the title “Sweet Wolf”, feel gimmicky or uninspired. This monotony offers a literary simulation of the futility and frustration the nameless residents of the work’s Ohio townships are constantly battling. Continue reading

“Planes,” a short story by Anders M. Svenning

Not long after the plane lands, Davis Parker finds himself behind the wheel of his aged and misshapen Lincoln Town Car. Road lights coast past, methodical, casting feigning shadows across the dashboard, which has his eyes strained even more so than his jet lag.

It is something he has grown used to, the fatigue. It comes along with his profession; and it has been said by a considerable few—scientists, theorists, and psychologists—that commercial pilots experience shorter life spans as an effect of the detrimental lack of sleep, numbers ranging from as early as one’s mid fifties, the causes of death a disingenuous slew from heart attacks to quiet exits in one’s sleep to death not of the body but of the mind.

All that, though, in the words of Dave Parker’s woman, is mere statistics. Jessie would be curled up in bed, waiting for the morning and her husband’s company with expectations of late night popcorn and candlelit dinners coloring her dreams. “Statistics,” she says, “shouldn’t be regarded as anything more than numbers and false positives. You just can’t trust those numbers, you know?” That is her gift to him. Besides her surprise evening kabobs and the lessening-in-frequency in-shower involvements, that is her gift to him—wisdom and council—given through by the shade of her charm, a gift to her otherwise “dense but heartfelt husband,” unable to separate hype from truth. “It’s all about how you live your life, you know? Munch on fast food on your layovers and you’re going to have a heart attack. It’s that simple.” And it is that simple. Continue reading

“Eternal River,” a poem by John Grey

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Q & A with Ethan Warren, author of In Gilded Palaces

We sat down with Ethan Warren, author of In Gilded Palaces (which you can read here), and asked him about writing for the stage and screen, his writing habits, and his inspiration.
What does In Gilded Palaces mean to you?
It’s a story that I find both heartfelt and unsettling; I feel compassion for the characters even as I’m disturbed by their behavior. I set out to write about coping with grief in a way that I hadn’t seen explored before, and to investigate whether it’s possible to shift our own identities, or shift someone else’s identity for our own selfish purposes (the working title of the piece was Identical and I wanted to interrogate what it means to know you’re a physical duplicate of someone else, especially when you don’t know who you are yourself). I think I achieved those goals, at least to the best of my ability, and I hope readers feel the same.

What inspired this piece?
This is an idea I’ve had in my pocket for seven years, and it’s interesting to look back at how details have shifted while core concerns have remained the same (the idea of a widow bringing her husband’s estranged twin to visit in hopes of forcing closure for herself was the initial idea that grabbed me, but at one point Pete was homosexual, at another point Maya’s child was already a few years old and a present character). It felt like a rich psychological playground that I could never find the best way into. When I struck on the idea of Pete struggling to find his identity after psychological trauma (and yes, to be brief, some of Pete’s struggles do match my own, but only in the broadest sense) that made everything click, and I was able to finally produce a version that felt right.
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“Black Tie,” a short story by Katie Strine

The lock clicked at nine. The sun set against the clustered houses, suburbs of the city, houses lined shoulder to shoulder. Mary entered light-footed; her insides buzzed as her skin hit the air of their shared dwelling. A cold whoosh. A shock.

Behind her the broken screen door smacked.

Tad jolted from the couch as her car crushed at the gravel driveway. He watched the blue blur pass the windows. In its wake he straightened up the room, uprighting pillows. He slicked back his hair.

He bolted toward the kitchen when the door banged. She stood framed in the doorway. Her hair curled and twisted along her slender face. Only a day apart but he’d waited for her return. He felt compelled to move toward her and scoop her into his arms, yet the awkwardness of the space stopped him: the square of the kitchen enclosed them, each facing the other across an unforgiving diagonal.

“Hi,” Tad’s voice hung in the air. Mary adjusted her balance and pushed strands of hair behind her ear.

Silver flashed from her earring in the light and jarred Tad’s memory. Pain in her unforgiving eyes hit him, an uppercut. He broke the distance to embrace her. He hugged her harder than her body language indicated she wanted. His face sunk into her hair, and he inhaled the lavender scent before he let out a brief sob. The wetness crept unto a few strands of hair and clung to his face. When it’s easy he loves her without reservation. He’ll apologize and she’ll allow it. When it’s complicated – when the alter ego of addiction consumes his body – he builds barriers against her. Continue reading

Poetry by Rochelle Jewel Shapiro

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Book Review: Disoriental by Négar Djavadi

By Tess Tabak

Disoriental, a new novel by Négar Djavadi, tells the epic story of a family, the Sadrs, across a century of true Iranian history. Kimia, the youngest daughter of Darius and Sara Sadr, is the self-appointed keeper of family lore. She tells her own story through the lens of her extended family’s history, weaving the tales in and out of each other like a modern day Scherzerade. The family currently lives in France and Disoriental’s message is particularly poignant, and relevant, in today’s political climate, when refugees are not freely welcome in many Western countries.

The novel opens slowly, on Kimia attempting to receive fertility treatment, in a room filled with couples desperate for a child. She is the only one who came to the appointment alone, without a partner. Once you get started this is a hard book to put down. While she waits for the doctor, Kimia braids her present story in and out of her family’s history, set against the backdrop of Iran’s tumultuous political history. Anecdotes fluidly move from one into the other, and the tale jumps back and forth between spans of 20 to 50 years at a time (there’s a helpful key in the back of the book if you lose track of the characters). Continue reading

Poetry by David L. Paxton

Amalgamation 

 

Brain rocked dry spell,

this green fist

recovering, finger

joints swelled

 

plush flesh and hair

overly

mortared

 

with supposed despair

negative words

followed by shakes, caught

 

sitting through night

until red daybreak

catches itself up

and yellows to work.

 

Rain hangs

misting silent live oaks,

leaves dropping on trucks

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“By the End of this Conversation, I Will Have Invited Myself to Your House,” by Richard Hartshorn

Jordan

I still have the same sex fantasy about my dead friend that I had when she was alive.  I try not to let it happen often, but when it does, she’s still super into it – toenails red, shaved here and there, happy to play in my old bedroom at my parents’ house.  Before we remove ourselves from each other, we talk about what an awesome idea this was.  We giggle and stuff. Our bodies are the bodies we had in twelfth grade – lithe and tireless.  She glistens with a soft, damp sheen.  The lights are all on.  She doesn’t care that I’m not part of the cool group she usually hangs out with.  None of it makes much sense.

Sometimes, when I’m done fantasizing, I apologize out loud.

I never make it past the sex part, but if the fantasy comes into my head when I’m doing other stuff and not horny enough to bother, I imagine that there’s no cleanup involved; she just pulls her jeans on and raids my parents’ fridge.  Maybe we watch cartoons in the living room.  The scene outside the window is gray and featureless.  I have no idea where my parents are.  

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“The Writer and the Editor,” a ten-minute comedy of literature by Roy Proctor

 

based on “Proof of the Pudding,”

a short story by O. HENRY

 

PUBLIC DOMAIN: “Proof of the Pudding,” which was included in O. Henry’s 1910 short story collection, “Strictly Business,” is in the public domain.  

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