BUKOWSKI BY CRISTINA CARTER 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 47
said that there was everything
for the grocery clerk
everything and nothing
I am a blank page
as the people standing before me
their overripe tomatoes
their money covered in blood or shit
their money pulled from their bra
from a muggy Sacramento July
as the woman before me
thinking of spreading her legs
on the American river
nothing and nothing
as I clock in
crisp air and solitude
as I clock out at midnight
darkness and exhaustion
waiting and waiting
before the blank page
as I crumble underneath
the clown faces
of my managers
as they laugh at how
they make me dance
I want to watch
their jester faces
melting under broken bones
to do something
to have everything
but only nothing
to burn my lungs
with my third cigarette
to cover the smoke
with cold coffee
while I look at nothing
I want to eat the dirt
from your grave
I want to find your words
and spit them out
Cradle comes from a half-remembered story I heard from a man who claimed he could recall his babysitter telling him how easy it would be for her to kill him in his crib. I wondered about how this memory would impact someone’s life, and so the story became a quest for answers and a resolution.
I am a teacher and writer from the UK living and working in the Chicago area. My work has appeared in Semaphore Magazine, Two Hawks Quarterly, and Corvus Review.
I’m a clerical worker for the State of California and a gas station attendant in Reno Nevada. Working two jobs doesn’t allow much free time but I make do. I go between Truckee California and South Reno. There is nothing more mystical than the fog sitting on the mountains in the morning.
I had a poem Baptism published in the Calaveras Station Literary Journal. This was at my alma mater California State University of Sacramento. After that life got in the way and I lost creativity. Which is where this poem came from. That place within me filled with frustration and creativity and disappointment and even anger. Being stuck between the place of wanting to write, having images play in your head, having words scream at you, and then it all disappears. When you finally get the words out you know deep down they aren’t right.
Bukowski’s poem Something For The Touts, The Nuns, The Grocery Clerks, And You spoke to me at the same time I was working at the grocery store. I was thrilled to see him speaking about people, all types of people, hard-working, drunk, down-and-out people. People like me. This poem came out of an alien place inside of me. The place where we feel like we don’t belong. Being torn between two worlds, between people who won’t understand you. Only wanting something from you when you only want to be able to get out what you need to say. So during the cold wet Sacramento winter I wrote about the people I see every day at work, about the hot summers, about the emptiness I feel when I can’t write and about the emptiness I see in people around me.
In writing Live! I was thinking of refugees, and how parents through the ages have acted to rescue their children from harm, often risking themselves, even sacrificing their lives. Because I was born in Germany during World War Two and have memories of the escape westward from the invading Russian Army, I have memories from my own childhood.
My first story was published in 1977. My most recent work is a novella titled Save the Last Kiss, published in 2016. I live in Austin, Texas. utecarson.com
I imagined The Laundromat Friend after I, really, spent eight months carting clothes to the laundry during our house remodel in the early 90s. One day I saw this individual who dressed as a woman although he still had the strength of a man. I never spoke to her, nor saw her again, but the image stayed in my mind and the laundromat I knew well was a good setting for the story of Eugenia and Dayvye.
I’ve published short stories online in Digital Paper and The Writing Disorder. I also have a blog takecareschools.com to keep track of the teaching world. The website for The House on Harrigan’s Hill (Seahill Press, April 2011) is cjnoonan.com.
10 Days to the Apocalypse was my way of coming to terms with the results of the last election. Like most people, including, I would venture to guess, the President himself, I was surprised by the election results. I remember walking Loki the morning after the election and having this surreal feeling. I realized that things had not felt normal since I had attended a Trump rally a few days earlier. In many ways it was like being in the middle of a story by Hunter S Thompson, except no psychoactive drugs were needed to experience the weirdness.
This was fun and challenging to write, and I knew I had to write it quickly before the memories of that week faded. Ideally I would have kept a journal during those days but the story did not find me until after the election. Although I believe creative non-fiction is less about objective facts and more about memories, I still needed help jogging my memory. Fortunately, modern technology made that task less daunting. I was able to recover news shows I had watched on Hulu and recordings of the baseball games on MLB.com, along with the tweets I had read and text messages I exchanged.
My art has been shown in more than 200 exhibitions over the years including 40-plus solo exhibits. I work in a style I term Suburban Primitive which combines my interest in the origins of art with my life living in the suburbs. My work is in several private collections as well as the Maturango Museum in Ridgecrest California and the Museum of Northern California Art in Chico, California. I am currently represented by the Mahlstedt Gallery in New Rochelle, New York.
I work mostly in gouache on board on a fairly small portable size, mostly 11”x14”. The size not only fits in with the concept of being portable, a trait that mimics the transient life so often seen in suburban living, but also is intimate in both scope and scale. By focusing on the suburban experience I hope to record my personal voyage both from a physical and psychological perspective and perhaps make connections with others who have similar backgrounds.
I grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles and live in Long Beach. These cities have had a large impact on my writing for the same reason, I imagine, an environment influences a writer: where you live shapes who you are. These relatively prosperous areas I grew up and live in contain multitudes of contradiction. The moderately wealthy live a couple blocks from sun-baked homeless men. 4th Street Epistle was inspired by these people, many of whom struggle with watching their life yield little results and so turn to vices in the hopes of finding some form of comfort. These are my people, and they are a part of the reason I write.
I’m from Long Beach, California, where I earned a BA in English Lit. I then received my MFA from the University of California, Riverside, where I studied with Juan Felipe Herrera, Christopher Buckley, and Chris Abani. I teach English at Long Beach City College, West Los Angeles College, and El Camino Community College. My work has appeared in White Pelican Review, Mosaic, Pearl Magazine, Verdad Magazine, as well as various other magazines.
A Day in the History of Sydney envisions a unique juncture in the life of that great city and of the nation of Australia. Supporters of Assange must navigate ever madding crowds on the outskirts of and ultimately at the heart of the great city as they seek to bring his message of truth and transparency to Australia and the world.
I am a Brooklyn-based writer with a BA in English from Grinnell College. My fiction has been published in Green Hills Literary Lantern, Rosebud, Adelaide, and Meat for Tea: The Valley Review.