The Furious Gazelle

Literary as hell.

Tag: writing (page 1 of 34)

“Targets,” an essay by Kay Smith-Blum

Who breaks their arm planting bulbs? Well, technically, I was retrieving bulbs, from a box on the other side of the low-rise-industrial-wire fence they put up around small urban gardens at street level to keep out the dogs that don’t keep out the dogs. Why build a fence just high enough for me to trip over? This question begets an annoying answer. The kind of answer that targets you, relentless as the sunrise. Most wouldn’t trip over it. The fact that I did is a visceral confirmation of aging, a steady and sure march to death, bringing with it the accidents of youth.

The virus is also on the march and the Governor has closed my pool eliminating the aquatic option to recovering my range of motion. So, here I am—albeit four staggeringly painful and miraculous-in-the-fact-my-bone-healed-at-my-age months later—in physical therapy, a risk of a different kind. 

Kim, my physical therapist, announced on Tuesday I should have worn a mask. They had sent an email. One I deleted before reading as I do most irritatingly-perky missives that fill up my inbox with random products, services or advice on healthy choices I thought I wanted to make. In the wake of the virus, I’ve decided I’m healthy enough for someone who may die soon and has long planned on dying at year seventy-five. Which is the perfect age to do so, and I could tell you why but I won’t digress.

On Thursday, I arrive orange bandana-bound. I insert my disinfected credit card for the co-pay. I Purell my hands and look right. A talkative young man, without a mask, seated on the banquette adjoining the front counter, his body twisted toward the receptionist, is chattering non-stop. His way-too-low pant waist is way-too-revealing. He twists again, his white fleshy cheeks pressing against the rust vinyl cushion in cringe worthy fashion. This can’t be the hygienic standard to which they aim.

The machine buzzes. I extract my card and whisper. “He needs to pull up his pants.”   Continue reading

“Pabst Blue Ribbon with Cat on Lap and November Rain” by James Croal Jackson

Continue reading

Poetry by Simon Perchik

You limp the way a stream

will soothe a single rock

and along the bottom

remembers this path

as darkness and dry leaves

though you don’t look down

–you hear it’s raining :the hush

not right now but at night

these cinders float to the surface

keep one foot swollen, the other

has so little and for a long time now

the listening in secret.

Continue reading

Poetry by Holly Day

The Next Day

 

The alarm went off and we found that the world

hadn’t ended, that all the ramblings of the church elders

weren’t true. My husband sighed and rolled out of bed

found there were only dirty clothes left for him to wear

sighed again, dressed, went to work. 

 

I could hear birds chirping in the yard

a squirrel on the roof, cars

passing on the road out front. 

I held onto my dreams of apocalypse

for a few moments longer, savoring visions

of the angels, the devastation

that could still be waiting just outside the door. 

 

Butterfly Cage

 

when I was pregnant, all of my dreams

were about snakes. as much as I tried

to dream only about baby kittens, baby puppies

human babies, my nights would be filled

with twisting pythons gathered in knots

inside me, their slick skin undulating

in the dark, pushing and bumping as if

trying to find a way out.

 

friends without children would ask me 

what it was like to be pregnant and I’d

have to lie. I was so worried that

imagining the baby inside me was a coiled serpent

in my stomach

meant that I was already a bad mother

meant something was wrong with my baby.

 

“It’s like being a butterfly house, ” I’d say instead.

“I’m all full of fluttering butterflies.” I’d put his or her hand

on my straining stomach as I spoke, whispering

“Can you feel them move? Can you feel it?

 

Isn’t it wonderful?”

 

The Light

 

We wait for the bombs to feel us out

pass the potatoes, say grace over the odd angels

that have watched over us for years

through the stained-glass windows of old churches

through the eyes of Orthodox iconography. This is a moment of peace

that will never come again.

 

Through the windows, the strength of distant concussions

fold trees in half, take grain silos and snap power lines. 

We turn up the gas, clear the dinner table

I put a knife in your hand, just in case.

 

The sky grows as dark as if seen through closed eyes

windows shake and fly apart. Hands

over their eyes, I stretch out next to the children

tell them it’s just the sound of His voice, there’s nothing 

to be afraid of,  it’ll all work out in the end. 

 

Dirty American Poem #3

 

the soldiers didn’t seem to care

that the hotel we were staying in

was haunted. they didn’t seem even a little interested

when we told them chairs were moving all by themselves

that we could hear voices whispering in the bathroom pipes

that the clocks had all stopped exactly at midnight.

 

the people in the streets outside

didn’t seem to care either, seemed more concerned with

pushing back against the soldiers, standing ground

in front of their own crumbling, possibly haunted hovels

seemed more annoyed than anything when we

said we needed to find another place to stay. 

 


Holly Day’s poetry has recently appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Grain, and Harvard Review. Her newest poetry collections are Where We Went Wrong (Clare Songbirds Publishing), Into the Cracks (Golden Antelope Press), Cross Referencing a Book of Summer (Silver Bow Publishing), and The Tooth is the Largest Organ in the Human Body (Anaphora Literary Press).

“Shattered” by Marc Alan Di Martino


Marc Alan Di Martino is a Pushcart-nominated poet and author of the collection Unburial (Kelsay, 2019). His work appears in Baltimore Review, Free Inquiry, Innisfree, Rattle, Rust + Moth, Tinderbox, Valparaiso Poetry Review and many other journals and anthologies. His second collection, Still Life with City, will be published by Pski’s Porch in 2020. He lives in Italy.

“I Think I Like You,” a poem by Danyal Kim

Spring 2020 Contest Finalist: “The Hobo Queen” by C. Christine Fair

Trigger warning: child abuse, sexual assault and violence

 

Sketch by C. Christine Fair“Cuz Christy, if you ever show up around here, I’m gonna kick your ass. And you know I can”; her heavy emphasis upon “know” reflected her conviction that she had done so previously.

Struggling to appease her fury, I conceded “Baby Sandy. You can kick my ass. But I’m still a pretty good runner and I’m not sure you’d catch me. We’re both old women now.”

“Oh, I’d catch you alright and knock that fuckin’ useless head off your shoulders,” Sandy snarled.

“But why? I’ve just been trying to help. What did I do? I love you. Always have. Always will. I worry about you every day and night. I wonder where you’re sleeping and eating. Are you safe, happy? The questions keep coming. But I get no answers. Ever.”

Without hesitating, Sandy barked “Because you left. You fucking left us here.”

The worst part about this allegation? 

It was true. 

And I’d do it again. Continue reading

Spring 2020 Contest Finalist: “Another Failed LDR” by Jennifer Ruth Jackson

Another Failed LDR

 

I taste him in your mouth, his name stretched

past three syllables on your frosted tongue.

Combination of lime & taffy dreams. Lipstick

 

on your teeth like perfumed blood. Kiss goodbye

blotted on the bathroom mirror. You hold

phones in place of babies & beaus. Condensed

 

love pressed to your ear like a conch shell.

It isn’t waves you long to hear, anymore

but merry message-chimes. Acronyms

 

absorbed into your workday. I’m shocked I hear

him in your voice, your disconnected overage,

the lack of hang-ups as you brush my gums

 

in your need to feel something IRL.

We all sound the same in text form. You won’t

even have to close your eyes & pretend.

 


Jennifer Ruth Jackson is an award-winning poet and fiction writer whose work has appeared in Red Earth ReviewBanshee, and more.  She runs a blog for disabled and/or neurodivergent writers called The Handy, Uncapped Pen from an apartment she shares with her husband. Follow her on Twitter @jenruthjackson

Callaloo by Kira Stevens

I’m learning how to be mentally present

such that I’m more likely to hear random things 

I don’t know I want to know yet 

Continue reading

“Weekly,” by Jonathan Kravetz

Matt pushes open the rear door to the office and creeps across the floor in torn jeans and a flannel shirt.  He wipes his nose on his sleeve and peers through the square hole separating the front office from editorial.  He clenches his teeth against the bitter air, but can’t discern any sounds except the light tapping of a keyboard and the radiator clicking.  Then a woman’s voice and then another buzzes like a radio going in and out of tune.  Leaning closer, he attempts to translate the sounds into language, but can only make out hard k’s and soft s’s.  One of them is Jean, his editor, and the other is Mary Ellen, the 25-year old receptionist.  His girlfriend.  Maybe they’re talking about the weather or the details for an important delivery, but Mary Ellen’s face, when he saw her a moment earlier through the front glass window, had the look of someone sharing important secrets.  A chair scrapes against wood and Matt abruptly steps backwards, careens over Jean’s desk, and crashes into her chair, spilling it on its side.  He rushes to his own desk and turns on his computer.  It’s just coming to life when he feels a tap on his shoulder.

“When’d you get in?”  Jean comes around to the front of his desk.

“A few minutes ago.” Continue reading

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