The Furious Gazelle

Literary as hell.

Tag: reading

Three Poems by Martina Reisz Newberry

A LITTLE GLINT, A SLASH OF COLOR 

The apartment is so still just now. 

It is cool and gray outside. The news 

speaks of spring, but that seems like a lie

as so many things do these gray days. 

 

The cats, 8 paws touching, are asleep

on our bed. They release everything 

when they sleep. The city is awake 

but quiet. Lawns and dandelions 

 

are the same, concrete and asphalt are the

same, glass doors and windows are the

same. I will pretend that the cells of 

my body are sunlight making the 

 

dishwater sky show a little glint, 

a slash of color. The truth is a 

rebuke because, in truth, my body 

is a box emptied of secrets and 

 

emptied of the slim, crescent moons of my

dreams. That said, I have always loved

pretending. The cells of my body 

will have to ignore the realness 

 

of another year about to pass, 

the dreary fear of what comes after, 

the mirror image that is not, can 

not be right. I’ve learned so much less than 

 

I thought I would, garnered less respect

than I hoped for. My underground is 

rising to the surface. I defer to 

what I have become and admire all 

 

that I am not. I’ve been given a 

quiet day; I will give up “what ifs,” 

I will give up what I know is true, 

pretend color and music then—shine.

 

WHAT IS 

Stars are white moths. 

They chew through the night sky 

until it is eaten up–more holes than sky

and then it is morning again. 

 

Fire is every love affair lost. 

It burns through bodies, 

leaves ashes waiting for 

a Phoenix to rise and take flight 

 

Water is sound. 

Words tumbling over each other, words speaking

to words, flashing silverback at the sky, dousing

rocks and souls, hands and mouths. 

 

Earth is a ravenous animal. 

It devours everything that steps on it: 

rain, petals, lightning, footsteps, spit, tears, blood.

All that touches it becomes a banquet.

 

Wind is the reminder of love, 

of grief, of fear, of longing, of pain, of lungs

filling with the breath of need to speak truly, the

ability to carry what moves below the canyons.

 

BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK IN UGANDA*

If mountain gorillas could write, 

it would be as if scripture were written on rocks, 

as if wastelands could turn tall weeds 

into strands of gold, 

as if nights and days are of equal darkness, 

as if the large silver globe is not the moon 

or a newly-discovered star, 

as if words spilled from their mouths 

and sailed on the ocean like frightened exiles, 

like tumultuous multitudes of gulls. 

 

*A protected national park for Mountain Gorillas in Africa

“Barbie’s Going to Hell,” an essay by Bethany Hunter

Jenny lived across the street and down three houses. Precocious, with white blonde hair in a bowl cut and a tendency to run around the neighborhood in her swimsuit, she was the first friend I had when we moved in.

My father was a fundamentalist evangelist and along with my mother, we had been traveling around the country in our big 1983 burgundy Buick, state to state, church to church, revivals, tent meetings and summer camps for the last seven and a half years. After years of pleading from my mother for a home of our own and empty promises from my father, he had finally found a church to pastor and we were going to “settle down.” The church was in a Phoenix suburb and had a small, struggling congregation that needed Jesus as much as they needed jobs and money to pay bills that were due last month. With little more than a pittance, a rental house with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, a front and backyard, as well as the long promised formal dining room, was found for us fifteen miles away in a largely Mormon part of town. As a homeschooled, only child whose friendships came on visiting preacher’s kid status and the backseat of the Buick that was the most permanent personal space I had, the move to a house in a neighborhood with an elementary school around the corner was new, exciting and often a culture shock.

Jenny’s family was what my mother called “rough around the edges”, but Jenny was friendly and curious and no cold shoulder from my mother seemed to discourage her interest in me. We walked the two blocks to school together in the mornings and rode our banana seat bikes around the neighborhood in the afternoons. Roughly the same age and in the same class at school, the thing that really cemented our friendship was a love of Barbie dolls. Barbie, Ken and her friends were my favorite, though they were generally given different monikers and often after various pastor’s wives or children I had liked best; small and compact, they were easy to pack up and play with in the backseat of the car. Barbie’s long hair, big breasts, tiny waist, plenty of dresses made out of my father’s old ties and tiny plastic high heels made her the perfect wife, mother and lover of Jesus in all the scenarios that I placed her. I was never aware that Barbie had a dream house or career aspirations. My Barbie had been baptized in the bathroom sink in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of her sins and cooked dinner for her family before going to church three times a week. Jenny’s Barbie dolls moved in different circles; they wore mini skirts, some cut their hair off and drove Corvettes. Regardless of our respective Barbie’s differences, Jenny and I loved to bring our haul together and spent countless hours in our imaginary worlds with them. Continue reading

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.
Continue reading

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

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