The Lawn Bowlers - Paul Luikart
Universal Language - Oonah V. Joslin
Ballet Solo - Louise Yeiser
Around the house my father referred to his work as royal blue collar. He sat at the head of the table, his throne, heaping food onto his plate by the truckful.
The day he brought me to the garage for the first time, I watched a man yell at him for twenty minutes, round up a hundred different adjectives to describe his work. In his defense, my father apologized, offered the man a full refund and employee voucher he was saving for our next tune up.
We didn't speak on the ride home. He drove slowly, trying to conserve gas.
Ravi Mangla lives in Fairport, NY. His poetry has appeared in the Tipton Poetry Journal and in the summer issue of the Boston Literary Magazine. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Ghoti, Dogzplot, Wigleaf, and Hobart.
There are the lawn bowlers, drunk and shouting at one another in a different language, a language full of pitched staccatos and the punctuation of wild gestures. (For a comma, the hand comes straight down. A period is a fist to the open palm, and for an exclamation point, the most common of punctuation here, it's burly, hairy arms everywhere.) This is not their Chicago. They piss on the trees, not caring who sees them. They smoke cigarettes one after another, flicking still burning butt-ends to the fence and lighting up the next before the glow is off the first. They drink and bowl and shout until long after the lights of the city are gone, long after the once-blazing skyline in the distance has been extinguished.
Paul Luikart lives in Chicago with his wonderful wife Emily. He has a degree in English-creative writing from Miami University and has had poetry, stories and articles published in a few different places, including The Chicago Quarterly Review, Coach's Midnight Diner and at the Burnside Writers Collective. He works at an organization that assists homeless men and women and their life stories often influence his writing.
Oonah V. Joslin
There was an instant correlation with us, yet it took a lifetime of working out our binary. We plotted each point, year by year, you and I, love redoubled, heart beats in unison—until today.
What am I, if I am no longer x to the power of you?
I hadn't figured it. I had never taken it into account that, in addition to all the multiple pains of old age, I was to be minus you—my heart's equal; the balance to my equation.
Mathematics may be the universal language but it can never answer the universal question.
Oonah V Joslin was born in Ballymena, Northern Ireland and lives in Northumberland, England. She was winner of the Micro Horror Trophy 2007 and most read author of Jan 2008 in Every Day Fiction where you can read an interview with her. Bewildering Stories has included her work in three Quarterly Reviews and she adjudicated in the Shine Journal's 2008 Poetry Competition.
Oonah has also had work published in Twisted Tongue 8 & 9, Static Movement, Lit Bits, 13 Human Souls and The Linnet's Wings and The Ranfurly Review. The Polish Sailing publication, Zeszyty Zeglarskie (Sailing Letters) recently featured a poem by Oonah, in English, translated into Polish by Alexander Rybczynski from Toronto. Work is shortly to appear in Ink Sweat and Tears and DemonMinds.
You can find links and contact Oonah at WriteWords.org.uk/oonah and Oonah's Blog.
I remember Mrs. Coffey crouched in front of the stage beneath the kindergartners in the front row, whispering my cues from a sheet of crinkled paper. She knew I had trouble remembering the warm-up exercises and rehearsal routines. What she didn't know was that once I was onstage, just me and the spotlight, my body and mind moved like seaweeds in the waves, guided by current-hours of practice and after-dinner evenings spent sideways across my bed, gazing up at the ceiling, imagining the movements, counting and memorizing, one-and-two-and-three-and-glissade.... By the time the music began, it was no different than breathing.
Louise Yeiser, Sneakpeeks.typepad, has been published in Modern Witches, Wizards and Magic (Kerlak, 2005) and Six Sentences v1 (McEvily, 2008), and online at Tuesday Shorts, Six Sentences, Flashquake and Pen Pricks. She studies creative writing at Carlow University in Pittsburgh and Ireland.