The Furious Gazelle

Literary as hell.

Tag: creative writing

2017 February Contest Finalist: “Instead of a Valentine” by Pamela Sinicrope

If a couple gets married

and one commits suicide on February 11th,

is it anyone’s fault?

Feminists can blame all they want.

Husbands can lament and take lashes

while they rewrite poetry.

 

Like a blinking eye that opens then closes-

what is-is.  Unless it isn’t.

Depression was a black lung hung off

a rat’s tail on the tree by her window or-

asbestos pilled on plumbing pipes-unwrapped

and falling like snow-long before they said, ‘I DO.’

Long before, Sylvia swallowed 48 pills, slept

beneath her house, woke to try again.

 

Marriage is hard, poets complex,

Poetry is hard, marriage complex.

Like pulled threads in a sweater, they unraveled.

Depression created a triangle.  

Factor in children and the figure converted

to a love pentagon-where two people wanted winged

poems sailing space and three sides were left hanging.

Pentagon then add a lover? That’s a hexagon.

The shape shifted, lost all sides, became thread-a heart,

became a pneumatic noose around a head roast.

 

Sylvia gasped air and faltered, fell asleep.  

She wrote every day in the dark before a baby

banged pots on the floor, uttered, ‘ma-ma,’

while Ted left to write, wrangle crows.

Rejection lassoes perfection.

 

How romantic-two poets in the same house-

unparalleled love letters, mirrored muses:

in truth, for them, it was murder-

no, it was a contest-

no, it was academia-

publish, perish, publish, Pulitzer-no

 

noose was wide enough to capture

the universe of words that broke them-

no-broke her.

Instead of a valentine,

the noose became a knot.

“My Husband’s Parkinson’s Disease” By Linda Miller

Two things.

   One, my husband’s Parkinson’s disease. It’s a tough break for such a splendid man and in spite of all the stiffness and fatigue and slow-motion, he’s Mr. Positive. But then you’ve got to be with this stuff, or you’d never get out of bed in the morning. You’d surrender to your cement-filled joints and then allow yourself to sit around recovering from a hellish morning of rising but not shining. Television would soon rule your life and there’d be hell to pay for anyone who nudges you to do more. You’d sit there, stone-faced and barely moving. You’d be the rusty tin man without oil-can relief.

  When Steve was first diagnosed back in 2003, both of us were cool, calm and accepting. We were sad but not yet mad, and I remember my sunny husband saying, “If I had to get something neurological, I think this is a good one to get.” Really?

    I had just lost two parents to cancer, and as I sat across from him in the diner I almost thought he made a good point. Parkinson’s wasn’t going to steal him too soon, just make his everyday movements torturous and sometimes dangerous. Like hopping in and out of a car, eating a salad, pulling on underwear or threading a belt through the loops of his pants. It made me mad to witness the downshift in his life’s power and pace, but I had to put a sock in it. Tamp it down. Squash it. Steve wasn’t to blame. No one was to blame. His brain wasn’t making enough dopamine. Should I be upset with his nerve cells? OK. Works for me. It’s their fault.

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Riding The Red-White Caterpillar by Penelope Hawtrey

Park and Ride and I. January 26th. Ottawa. This is how we meet.

I park my car and then grab my overstuffed knapsack that rests on the seat beside me that holds various snacks and workout clothes. I turn and reach behind me, and blindly grapple to locate my brown leather purse that I flung on the floor of the backseat. My second bag weighs more than any Army Cadet has ever had to carry during a march.

“Ah! There you are!” I say to no one in particular. Locating both bags, I push my car door open as white snow whips against my face feeling like hundreds of pin pricks against my cheeks. The snow enters my Honda civic and dances around inside. With that, I stick my foot out. And that’s where we meet.

Snowbank and I; SNOWBANK 1, ME 0.

Snow worms wiggle between my hiking boot and ankle and then, smoothly shimmy their way down to my heel. When my feet hit the pavement, the cold ice crunches against my sock and bottom of my boot until it is pulverized into a puddle. And now, I have a puddle at the bottom of my boot. Continue reading

Things That Make Us Furious: “Prop Clothing,” by Eliana Sara

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Dear Fashion Industry,

It’s time we opened discourse on a rather seedy subject in your world: prop clothing. Like the prop food adorning model furniture, prop clothing creates an illusion of actual clothing. The prop jacket may look as though it is completing your ensemble, but, unlike real outerwear, it offers no warmth.

Prop clothing comes in many forms- the super cute studded pleather “jacket” that’s “perfect for fall” but cannot keep one warm within the acceptable temperature range of fall in your region is a failure as clothing. It is a collection of cloth merely pretending to be a jacket and it may look like a jacket to all appraising eyes hence pulling off a “look”- but that is all and thus it is a prop.

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The Old Capitol, a short story by Karl Harshbarger

 

    The secretaries who worked in his father’s outer office didn’t even say hello to Casey.  That was because two of them weren’t really a secretaries at all but just students at the university.  They kept typing on their typewriters and listening to their Dictaphones.  And Mrs. Tish, the real secretary for the outer office, didn’t say “hello” either because she was talking on the telephone back at her desk.

    Well, it didn’t matter.  Casey walked right past the secretaries’ desks into the second office.

    “Hello, young man.” said Mrs. Paskow, who was his father’s personal secretary.  She had a drawer of one of the file cabinets open.

    “Is he here?” said Casey.

    But he had already gone over to the door and looked in.  What he saw was his father’s big desk and his father’s big chair pushed back from the desk and the painting of rounded hills of corn fields and rounded trees up on the wall behind his father’s chair.
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2016 Halloween Contest Finalist: “The Neighborhood Association” by Ani King

Nobody does Halloween like Ginnie Farrow. Just ask the neighborhood.

Sheila Canterwell, beloved kindergarten teacher, used to take the ribbon with her Haunted Haus, and before that Reverend Jim McGee smugly won decades worth of praise with his carefully planned Zombie Garden. He spent hours in his garage hand painting fake rubber limbs to look terrifyingly real when strewn in haphazard rows. We all enjoyed the results of their friendly feud, ohhing and ahhhing at each new height they managed to reach.

The prizes have varied over time, from gift certificates, to lawn service, to cash on occasion, but really, it’s the awe and appreciation of the neighborhood that most seek to win.  And growing ghosts? Well, that’ll do it.

Thing is, no one in the neighborhood ever managed to grow a decent ghost. Some tried, including Jim and Sheila, but the soil didn’t cooperate, or the corpse seed didn’t take even if it was planted at the height of spring, under a full moon. We once saw them collaborate a bit, trying to get a few to come up in the community garden in town. Nothing doing, it just didn’t happen.
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Poetry by Jeremy Spears

Revising the Day

Vicky revisits her fondest day
in the center of repose,
the afternoon she wanders through
her luscious and her best.
A lover in flannel trousers
sinks teeth into a peach, reciting
lines of a coward but a courageous
man himself. Lapping foam
dissolves sand beneath her feet
and the girl they shepherd between them
no longer embodies her disgrace
or their defeat.

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Two Poems by Fabrice Poussin

Palimpsest

This is the wall of his memory
A photo to his disappearance
Pale, washed out with years
Yet, still, there he must be found.

His laughter haunts the echoes;
Not too far, she too remains;
A moment so long ago, outside
Of the time they both knew.

There, I will stay, searching
The nooks, the crannies, the seams,
For a signature has been apposed
Perhaps only a sketch of a life.

Palimpsest, the scientist
Will uncover every layer
Of the story finished too soon;
Unshroud a death only in rumors.
His skin reddened by the attacker
Weather of all seasons,
A shirt wearing spots of inks
And many chapters untold.

He laughs into the thickness
Of an unfathomable fortress,
Only from time to time, to
Emerge and wink at finitude.

It is his wall, the cover he built
Upon which his portrait lasts
Author of his biography.

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Pattie Boyd’s Greatest Hits by Matt Russell

Pattie Boyd’s Greatest Hits
by Matt Russell

He buys you a drink and says his name is Hutch and you think there are worse things to be named after than a song. Like a seventies TV character or piece of furniture.

“Layla,” you say, and shake his clammy hand.

“Layla, Layla,” he says, rolling your name around his mouth like a toothpick.  And he’s still squeezing your hand when he says, “Like the song, right?”

You roll your eyes and slide your hand from his grip.

“Right,” you say.  “Like the song.”

“Stones, right?”

“Clapton.”

“Right, right.  Clapton.  It’s about banging George Harrison’s wife or something, right?” Continue reading

The Jeweler, a poem by Gonzalinho da Costa

The Jeweler

by Gonzalinho da Costa

 

Afternoon is a jeweler

Setting hours in gold,

As silver glinting waves

Slap the garnet shore.

 


Gonzalinho da Costa—a pen name—teaches at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business, Makati City, Philippines. He is a management research and communication consultant. A lover of world literature, he has completed three humanities degrees and writes poetry as a hobby.

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