The Furious Gazelle

Literary as hell.

Category: Writing (page 1 of 35)

“Endings,” an essay by Pamela S. Carter

Sometimes I see scenes from my life like a long, disjointed movie on which the credits should have rolled hours ago. But it just keeps going, at least for now. Still, my lifetime, like the life cycles of the ash trees in my backyard, is finite. My trees, although a year or two younger than I am, are at the end of their life cycles, according to an arborist who came out to determine why they looked so poorly this fall. He recommends cutting them down and replacing them with young catalpa trees, but I am torn. It will take years for the new trees to provide the shade the old ones do now, and I don’t want to leave my son John, who will inherit this house, with the cost and worry of taking down the ash trees. The trees are living beings but not sentient, as far as I know, so I assume they have no sense of their impending end of days.

Damn those trees. Until this fall I always took them—and their shade—for granted. I even planted a garden of shade-loving plants beneath the shelter created by the giant canopy of the tree on the north side of the house. But then I believed Paul, my third husband and the love of my life, would live forever. He certainly seemed invincible. In his sixties he had low blood pressure, even lower cholesterol, and the sex drive of a teenager. He shoveled snow, raked leaves, kept the yard weeded, and built every stick of furniture in our house—right up till he developed a pain in his right upper abdominal cavity in the spring of 2014. He went to the doctor in July, spent the summer months undergoing tests, was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer in late October, and died in the predawn darkness of November 7, 2014. It happened too fast for me to comprehend. Continue reading

Poetry by Annie Blake

She is a Meat-Eating Carousel

children love riding them      i am part of the game too

but i’m trying to be a bit more civil      

i have a megalodon jaw      but i only ever touch potato      

we are devices that rotate      like the hands of a clock

its face only as wide as earth      i wonder if i will live long enough     

to survive Continue reading

“Sisters,” a short story by Susan Eve Haar

Galveston, 1942

 

“Four fours,” Zoe says softly, her voice insinuating that she’s lying. This is one of the problems with playing liar’s poker with Zoe; she always sounds like she’s making things up. She even looks like an actress, leaning on her elbow in her pink gingham halter and culottes, her eyes shrouded in sunglasses although the sun is setting.

Annie sighs. It’s still hot, and the humidity is so dense that the oleanders’ leaves are beaded with moisture. Annie holds her dollar bill hard against her chest. She knows the numbers and letters on the bill without looking. Zoe could be trying to peek, even though she has her head turned casually.

“Four fours. Are you asleep?”

Annie snores in response.

“Little red pig,” Zoe says, slapping at her. Zoe is probably faking. Or maybe she has two fours and assumes Annie has two. Annie does have two fours, and Zoe could know. Even without cheating. Continue reading

Poetry by Dean Baltesson

Affairs Of Snow

The snow lies

in tarnished piles

of moonlight

pushed aside from

sidewalk and step

 

you prepared this exit

light drowning from your window

leaving me to wander

the poor brick

of the neighbourhood

 

for all this uprooted winter

had I not been captive

to mysterious seductions

I might still walk lightly

on pure snow.

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“The Last Sunday in September,” a short story by Conor O’Sullivan

I grew to hate All-Ireland Sunday, keeping this torment concealed from my family. The day stiffened my resolve to leave Dublin after wasted college years. I went to flat parties with childhood friends and pale girls who rolled their eyes at my slurred advances. Now winter lingered, inducing darkened days that lead to early gatherings in pubs and late nights on the quays.   

A taste of whiskey was lodged in my throat, the fetid sweat off a weekend binge bleeding into the walls.  I forgot it was All-Ireland Sunday for a moment, although this business of Dublin versus Kerry soon flooded my consciousness. I reached across the bedside table for my watch, the hands on the dial approaching two p.m. Sundays had become an effort in killing time. Ashen clouds brushed the sky through a slit in the curtains. My mum had come in earlier to say she was going to my aunt’s house for the afternoon.

‘Try and at least drag yourself out of bed for the throw-in!’

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Poetry by Donovan James

Dating without alcohol

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Poetry by Megan Denese Mealor

Photo by Brian Michael Barbeito

Tunneling

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“Why I Hate Spring, or How I Almost Hung Myself but Went to the Nervous Hospital Instead,” by Dr. Patrick Dobson

 

About five years ago, I went to the mental hospital. I was going to hang myself. Just as I was choosing the rope, I experienced an epiphany. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea, at least, not as good as I thought it was.

Springtime was on me. The season has always been difficult. As days get longer and the light more intense, I get more and more depressed. I find myself crying, seemingly just for the hell of it. Feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness grow. I stay in bed longer and sleep during odd times of the day. Fatigue plagues me.

Soon, usually by the beginning of March, the world looks and feels dead to me. I see the flowers and the trees busting into green. I hear the birds and see the rabbits. Beauty is all around and I have no connection to it. I isolate myself. Thoughts of suicide and of absconding from home haunt me. A pall hangs over me. I know I should be doing things but cannot find the energy or ambition to undertake them. All sounds are too loud. Activity around me, any activity, grates on me like sandpaper on raw nerves. Continue reading

“Moss,” a poem by Michael Sandler

Photo by Brian Michael Barbeito

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“On Ethics in Monster-Making,” a short story by Derek Heckman

That night the four of us still went to Jordan’s to play Magic. It was Friday after all: What else were we gonna do?

James showed up last, buttoned to the neck in the suit he’d worn that morning, and in his James-way started getting all prissy when he saw that the rest of us had changed. (“You know, in Victorian times someone in mourning would stay in black for-” “Dude, shut the fuck up.”) We said hello to Jordan’s mom—who looked at us like her chest was imploding but couldn’t find anything to say—and climbed the stairs to the attic room we referred to as The Hole. This was a cramped, dust-smelling space no one else ever set foot in, crammed full of boxes the color of rotting olives and squeezed smaller by the ceiling beams we’d just started having to duck. We had a card table wedged near the center of the room, just below the lightbulb that spidered from the rafters.
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