THE ANGRY CREPES OF BELLEVILLE BY EDDIE P GOMEZ 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 45
When I mentioned to the man that his crepes looked like giant flour tortillas, the kind that my mom made back home, he came out from behind the three round hotplates in his booth and began to bang on a metal table with his spatulas, the same spatulas that he’d just used to flip and fold my crepe. He was livid, had obviously missed the section at chef school that regarded customer service and positive business models.
“It is not zee tortilla, it is zee French crepe,” he yelled in the most irritating nasal groan ever communicated in the history of language. “It is not zee Mexique. It is French!”
He delivered the rest of his tirade in French, drowning out the noise of the passing traffic with the smack of his spatulas against the metal table.
I retaliated by cupping my hands around my mouth and yelling, “It’s a flour tortilla, bro!”
FACES BY FADWA AL QASEM 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 45
Writing gives me the roots I need to reassure myself that I am me, it grounds me enough to be an identity, it is an outlet for my creativity which is largely tied to my self-esteem. I would be lost without writing and reading. About twenty years ago I started submitting short stories to literary magazines and taking part in writing contests.
Multiculturally, I think living in Japan gives me a lot to write about. I am also an English teacher but I feel that through writing fiction, I can go deeper and broader with language than teaching it as a second language.
I live in Shizuoka with my husband, adult son, and three felines. The doberman in the picture is Royce, our married daughter’s pet, a real sweetie!
EDDIE P GOMEZ
I always wanted desperately to be a writer but I didn’t have the discipline or the training to do more than scribble out a few short stories every once in a while.
Today I write for the effect of crafting art as a way to push back against adversity, hoping along the way to produce something meaningful that can be shared with those who are also grappling with and trying to make sense of the world and its people.
In a roundabout way my writing benefited from the global recession that started in the United States with the collapse of the housing bubble in 2008. My brother and I had been in construction for years when the work in California dried up. He followed the pipeline boom to South Dakota and I decided to head back to school along with the rest of the unemployed masses. Classes were filled to capacity. Students were being turned away, so I took what I could get.
On several occasions my English professors called me into their offices asking if I was the person who had written the essays that bore my name. When I admitted that I and the author were one and the same they asked why I majored in economics instead of English.
JJ has been sending me old-school analogue collages to write poems for. JJ is Mixed Messages Zine on Tumblr, combat-boot wearing, card-carrying, Queen Bee. So she sent me this collage, Go Play in Traffic. In my travels across America I have seen the never-ending strip mall in all its wonder and horror. I have also wandered the food deserts, and encountered the systematic destruction of the family structure of some American peoples. Not to mention the standardization of education to a sort of factory. All these truths swirling in an alchemical reaction of thought and ponder birthed this 24-word poem (24 words including the title). An aged-out punk from the Rust Belt I went to college for the first time when I was staring down the barrel of 30. I discovered I liked poetry. I was taught poetry by teachers who didn’t give a fuck. So I was almost 30 and I went to a community college in Buffalo where a professor reads us Plath, Thomas, Lee, Corso, Ginsburg. But he cared about it and it gave me gooseflesh. He cared and it made me care. That’s what I want to do. Help kids care.
Anyway, I also ride a bike and am the acquisitions editor of a small chapbook press in Buffalo called CWP Collective Press. We have been hand-making chapbooks of poetry for about a year. I have published five chapbooks and my poems have been published in Ghost City Review, Guide to Kulture Creative Journal, Five-to-One Magazine #thesideshow, Rusty Truck, Poems-For-All, The Buffalo News, The Rising Phoenix Review, Your One Phone Call, Trailer Park Quarterly, Le Mot Juste, In Between Hangovers, Foundlings Zine, Iconoclast, & Plurality Press.
One of my favorite writers Neil Labute says in the preface to his play Reasons to Be Pretty, “I suppose that’s why I like the person who spends more time working than on Facebook.” (And not to say that I don’t utilize and love social networking myself—quite the opposite actually—particularly since evolving means dealing with present times.) Yet I do miss days when I wasn’t texting important things to people I care for, emotions didn’t have such an opportunity to remain concealed, and you had to show up in order to make waves.
FADWA AL QASEM
I believe that courageous self-expression is our ultimate source of power and freedom, and I am devoted to unfocusedness!
I’m an artist in mixed media and fiberarts. I’m an avid art journaler and I’m studying art therapy because the two are closely linked. My work is published in A World of Artist Journal Pages, US 2015.
I write in Arabic and English. I started writing at 14 in English and I reclaimed my Arabic language as an adult, teaching myself slowly until, in 2005, I published a collection of short stories in Arabic called The Scent of Cardamom. I published another book of short stories, Paradise No More, in Arabic in 2011, and in English in 2015.
EGLE MARIA PICHETTO
My dream has always been writing, and I see myself in the future writing storiesin a house near a lake. I have been writing poems and short stories since young. A collections of some of my poems was published in 1992 by John Campbell in Selected Works of Our World’s Best Poets. My latest poem Scars is published online in Cecile’s Writers Magazine
I have been writing since I was a lad. I used to write illustrated fairy tales and slip them into the books I returned to the library so that other people could read them. I hoped that one day a librarian would gasp, “Who is the remarkable boy who writes these stories?” but that never happened.
My writing process is I get an idea. I write a line or two in my notebook and keep thinking and adding until it turns into a poem, play, or story. Everything starts in the notebooks and most of the time, the first things I right down remain the first page of the work. I love writing. It’s not torture for me. I like to get lost along the way and see where I wind up. I usually end up somewhere satisfying, at least to me.
The line “My family came to Newark on the Portuguese Mayflower…” had been in my head for a long time. I wanted to describe life in Newark in my youth and Egghead was the perfect two-year framework in which to tell that story.
I dropped out of college and got married when I was young. I spent the first ten years of my adult life as a carpenter on the railroad and then working on the recycling truck for a town in NJ. During that time I wrote poetry and fiction that was published in small magazines. Along the way I was one of the actors in a radio soap opera and wrote several episodes.
My plays include Shrinkage, Kitty and Lina (a Portuguese translation of the play is in the anthology, Nem Ca, Nem La). My plays Miss Mary Dugan, Hassan and Sylvia Margarita and Max, and NSA are listed at indietheaternow.com. My fiction includes Men on Men 4 and Chelsea Station, and my poetry has been published in A New Geography of Poets, among other publications.