April 26, 2018 | Issue no. iii
Submissions are read throughout the year. For complete submission guidelines, please visit rawcommunityarts.com.
Compilation copyright © RAW Journal of Arts (2018).
Content copyright © respective authors, artists, photographers (2018).
All artists and authors retain all rights to their own work.
Cover image © Kristina_Nicolina Photography (2018).
Kris, Jane, & Tori
Rose Mary Boehm
A form of destruction
The Poet's Oeuvre / Clio Lectures on Posterity
Amanda Little Rose
A Young Wife Learns English as a Second Language
Passing Through the City of Souls / Raison D'être
Photo credit: Kristina Nicolina
Megan Denese Mealor
Sidesteps / Stigmas
Sunday (challenge winner)
6 pieces of art – Alcohol Ink
Sue J Tait
1 pieces of art – Alcohol Ink
Photo credit: Tori
There were reasons for getting lost. Ships
can have broken masts, stalled engines, faulty maps.
Radios can fail, sea water become obsessed with salt.
When I deplaned and went through customs
I first saw the sign “City of Sails” I misread
as “City of Souls” and wondered how adventurers
who settled pushing away the Aborigines
would think themselves possessed of souls.
Lost islands might surface from the sea,
moon holding up and letting down its lover,
the ocean, a hopeless endeavor for reproduction.
Though we might say fish from which we have come
in an evolutionary fashion had come to walk upon land.
Nevertheless, the depth of ocean may forever hold
its treasure never to glitter in the eye of the sun.
Gold, heavier than silver, shines and sparkles
needful as the luminous trout jumping the turbulent
cascade of water upward to become themselves anew
spawning a shining future flowing in time fast as water.
Still, not even by the end of the world will the truly lost
ever be found. It’s best to find love where we can
be it in a small boat rising and falling on the diamond
waves of ocean or in flowing echoes washed up on sand.
Passing Through the City of Souls
Poetry by William Page
This is why the ripe banana
need not count its spots,
but must conceal its seeds,
why cards in the deck do not
shuffle themselves, why
gamblers cheat and priests prattle.
Why the spiral of a distant nebula’s
reduced smaller than a snail’s shell
and as it flies the crow caws at the sky,
why the mock orange sweetens for the honey bee,
and in every season’s born another season,
why your face, which is unique, resembles
Poetry by Joan Colby
The Poet 's Oeuvre
Let us examine the poet’s oeuvre.
The famous poem of the blue bicycle
Or the one on the haunted castle in York.
These are the words that liberate
Our spirits. Oh he has for years been a fountain
Of talent. When he homes
In on a topic, it’s always been a home-
Run. All his career, he’s focused on his oeuvre,
That which will survive him. His name on a fountain
In Rome perhaps,where students will bicycle
Just to say they were there with libations
Of wine or beer brewed in Yorkshire.
That’s where he was born or was it York,
Pennsylvania. Hard to say where his real home
Was. He was known for liberating
The truth in favor of implementing an oeuvre.
Did he ever really ride that bicycle
Over the Alps. Did he visit that fountain
In Barcelona, did he rip the Fountain-
Head to pieces like a furious Yorkie
That may or may not have belonged to Ayn Rand. A bicycle
Is one way he could have ridden home
To locate his heritage, the oeuvre
From which he might have been liberated.
To recall that poetry is a kind of liberty
Flowing with words the way a fountain
Sprays its waters over and over
Spreading meaning upon meaning. Even a sophisticated New Yorker
Can’t deny the advantage of homing
Into memory. The blue bicycle
That may or may not exist. However, the bicycle
In the poem is more real, more liberating
Than any Schwin leaning on a kickstand in a home
Where he may or may not have lived. A fountain
Engraved with his name on a moor near York
Might truly be his oeuvre
The oeuvre where his talent is a fountain
Of poetry liberating people in their ordinary homes
To fork imaginary bicycles and ride off cheering.
Clio Lectures on Posterity
A disease of poets and artists. This wish
To be remembered for works not faith. A promise
History ignores revising wars in the tongues
Of victors. The flawed marble of the Risen
Christ or parables of Metamorphoses
Where the insect brain rouses in a cocoon
Of passion. Listen, she says, the laurels wilt,
Marauders rob the pyramids or deface
The great carven Buddhas. Fragments of
Sappho, Clio sneers, give rise to an industry.
Reality screened as the priests of fashion
Spin a cult. How the last poet writes the last
Sonnet for the last reader going blind
In the sun’s exaltation. Clio’s ledgers
Burn to ash. Even her name forgotten.
Poetry by Megan Denese Mealor
I omitted the clatter of Cardigan Street:
slapdash carnivals pitching hybrid kale
feathered bobs, weightless water
a heritage of trembling polleras
perfumed with Panama pearls
I skirted the ministry of Federation Square:
tribunals endowing embossed acquittals
swagmen dawning high-rise hostels
a gyratory of calligraphic crosswalks
salted with sallow sundowners
I voided the valency of Innovation Avenue:
mavericks, chickpeas, suede debris
bughoused flappers, paper gypsy progeny
the loony tang of rabid wormwood
zingaro zoos in rose hip waves
if I was prone
to fructifying fold mountains
unchaining sea levels
I could fathom the operose
of your arcanum
senile salmagundi stemma
the painstaking morphology
of your borderline
crushed stone driveways
bedizened with king palm colonnades
fictile folk art
woven by pine knots and tallow
of belletristic Lipizzan bloodstock
ever the halted scalding restitution
those junoesque jerkwater jadeites
A form of destruction
I watch you in your den. The dust
of books and parchments settling softly
on grey. You hold the linen tester close.
Pagan text on human skin, scrubbed off
Wiccan codices and other heresies.
You first gathered my pages,
then sewed me at the central fold.
A palimpsest overpainted with new
icons. A book overwritten with lies.
When you were done with me, I could not
re-write myself. Got lost in the faintly
legible remains gnawed by mice, pecked by beaks,
used as breeding ground by assorted grubs.
I now think of myself as no more than a curiosity,
an ancient vellum over which acolytes
and old priests masturbate.
Poetry by Rose Mary Boehm
A Young Wife Learns English as a Second Language
Poetry by Jimmy Pappas
The story goes that she screamed,
Oh, fuck! when she saw the truck
careening down on her.
The driver spun his wheel,
but the cab tilted and fell on her car.
The god of accidents allowed it
to crack her skull but save her life.
From my second-floor classroom window,
I watched the husband lead her into the school
like an ancient Chinese concubine
with bound feet to please an emperor.
He handed in his letter of resignation,
quitting before he ever started.
I never even had a chance to meet him.
He had another job with his new wife,
a ninety-year-old woman
in a twenty-year-old body.
They visited the teachers' room
where we listened to him
practice his technique
as their future together began.
This is your name. This is your husband. This is where
you went to college. Listen and repeat. This is your name.
This is your husband. This is where you went to college.
Listen and repeat. This is your name. This is your husband.
Poetry by Amanda Little Rose
“I love you” are
the three words
the hollows of
a conch shell
that make us believe
we are listening
O C E A N
Poetry by Lateefah Abdulkareem
Lost in your eyes
I dreamed of a forever
unknown to me
I was just
a part of a moment
a moment that was sure to pass.
And even after realization
of our inevitable
I was still trapped
in my beautiful illusion
of a forever.
Use the words Moment & Illusion in your writing
Poetry by Elizabeth Hereford
Use the words Lemon Tea in your writing
she sipped in silence,
slowly, like the pace of petals
placed in windowsills,
then laid the lemon tea
between her legs.
balanced between thighs,
warmth seeped into her loins
in the most innocent of ways.
When the Universe Becomes
The Flaw in Me
Where Nothing Lives—
six poems by Brian Glaser
With All the Bodies
On the Ground
In Simple Sleep—a Dream
Keeps Me Awake—
A Nap is Like Forgetting
The Way He Makes Things
Plausible, to Reappear—
The Good Magician
Calls the Boy
Out from the Crowd—
Play with Me,
So Asks—So Surprise—
As Far From Where
I Started Out
As I Will Ever Be—
A Barefoot Object
A Quiet Heart—
I Chose Happiness—
The Thirty Faces
Turn to Me—
Because I am John’s Dad—
The Dominated, Too—
Yet You Recall the Net—
The Father Wrote
Who Lost His Son
I Watched Mine At
The Gate of School,
I Couldn’t Trust
Of the Future—
I Have Lived
Out of Time—
A Fire Uncontained—
To His Drawing Lesson—
My Son Talks
I Hear—I Listen—
I Say Things
That Aren’t True—
The Crisis Passes—
The Drawing Of
A Bear Remains—
In the Greatest Wood—
John Tells Me of
The Substitute Today—
She Can’t Get Angry—
First Prize for Ambivalence—
Goes to the Table—
Of Elements—a Star—
My Worst Betrayal—
Of a Friend—
We Called it Rain—
Katherine, affectionately called Lily by her father, braced when the force of the earth shifted, and, as when she was child, landed her in this once thriving farm community to which she returned only when someone died. She sat on her father’s living room floor alone, thirty-nine years old and unable to speak.
As if she were a child she remembered the smoke from incense mixed with smells of baled hay then strengthened by manure and the metallic odor from farm implements. She saw the early morning steam rising from the livestock, heard their deep breathing and the periodic snorts from the single bull that stood well-hidden behind the heifers near to the barbed wire of her father’s fence.
There had been no sirens, no long black vehicles. No public officials in uniform. Only the church, cemetery, rectory, convent, and school across the road.
St. Mary’s Church had been on that corner since 1881, first as a frame building, now a steepled limestone structure. Its sanctuary walls festooned with things to make people feel secure. Her father never much liked the eye-level, full-sized, punctured Jesus hanging with blood dripping from wrists, feet, and ribs. His exposed heart wrapped in thorns, and a hand-carved wooden sign on the wall next to it, “Suffer the little children to come unto me.” Behind the church was the cemetery with distinct sections for First Settlers, Catholics, non-Catholics, and across the narrow dirt road the unconsecrated section for suicides.
Next to the church was the priest’s rectory where Lily’s father had greeted new pastors with an envelope full of cash and a fifth of Jim Beam.
One early pastor said, “I don’t drink spirits.”
Her father replied, “Would you like coffee?”
“Well, hell, then. Would you like a holy card?”
That priest didn’t last long.
South of the rectory was the convent, where, if her cousin was correct, her father met the woman who became Lily’s step-mother. Lily attended the grade school south of the convent.
For three days, twenty-four hours a day, an eight-year-old Lily watched while people drifted in and out, whispered, looked at her, turned silent. Visitors in black clothing and red eyes brought food and flowers, then dominated the house. She sat on the floor and watched while strangers bunched heavy black drapery around her mother’s open casket.
On the morning of the third day, her father woke her, “Lily, come, get dressed. They’ve taken momma across the street.”
Lily sat in her heavy wool dress in the front pew and endured the dirge slowness of the liturgy and attempted to hold her breath as the odor of incense merged with the smell outside the church. She stiffened when her father held her hand, led her from the church to the cemetery and stood close to the deep hole - dark, narrow, frigid - down which her mother disappeared.
As if more could be eaten after dinner in the church basement, their dining room table – the one upon which her mother laid for three days – grew even heavier with all the food brought by relatives. Smells blanketed the house - garlic, roast beef, and gravy. Lily heard the snap of chicken frying in her mother’s cast iron skillet.
She sat on the floor and her lungs heaved with a deep burn that forced prolonged, inflamed coughs, and she heard, “I’m sorry.”
“I’m so sorry.”
“John will have to marry again.”
“Who will take care of the children?”
Lily recalled she asked, “Why?” Not about the previous question but about her own.
“For her soul, mein kind,” said an aunt who understood Lily’s abridged question.
Pray for Momma’s soul? After all her suffering? How bad could she have been? Lily remembered only snippets of the past weeks – the coughing, the doctor, days alone, trips with her father to the rectory.
Lily felt the warmth from the floor furnace and glanced at the galvanized metal tub filled with water simmering atop the furnace grill, then raised her head to look at the pictures.
She had grown up with old pictures. In the living room. The dining room. A few in the bedrooms. Most in the hallway amidst photographs of young children or weddings. Cracked and peeled photographs. Some black and white. Others sepia. Some were silhouettes. A few were tintypes with eyes smudged as if drawn by a child. Great grandparents, grandparents, her mother, her aunts and uncles, and all the others on that continuum from Germany to Russia to America.
And it was only two o’clock in the afternoon.
“Poppa, tell me some stories,” Lily asked. And despite the death of his wife, he did.
Stories about Germany or Russia or America, kings and czars, and always with his soft, resonant, liquid Volga-German voice molded by harsh winters, dry summers, bleak harvests, high winds, and limited contact with the outside world. A voice generations in the making, each “w” pronounced “v.” Each “v” an “f.” Every “j” a “y.” And “z’s” like the “ts” in nuts. Lily floated for years with her father’s voice inside her – through schools, then marriage and a child.
Their last name translated into English as barley farmer, and that’s what they had been in Germany, Russia, and now in America. Every few years, overproduction led to low crop prices that begat low farm incomes. The farmers responded by increasing the land under production which resulted in increased crops with increased yields. The inevitable collapsed prices were compounded by the high cost of manufactured goods, the higher the cost of transportation, and the lack of governmental protection.
The family spoke a language last heard in seventeenth century Germany. In Russia and America, they were isolated, culturally unified, and suspicious. They arrived in America, more akin to nomads than immigrants.
One week after her mother’s funeral, Lily sat next to her father while he drove her to see Dr. Bethausen - the same doctor who treated her mother.
Lily inhaled and caught the scent of her father’s Palmolive aftershave lotion mingled with smoke from his Camel cigarette with ash unflicked. She couldn’t remember when her father did not have a cigarette clinging to the right side of his mouth – each new one ignited from the stub of the one about to be snuffed-out. She pictured the dual faucets in the bathroom behind which rested his aftershave. On the right, a leather strop hung next to the sink with the straight edge, boar bristle brush, and soap mug within reach.
She sat in the exam room with its peeling white paint and attempted to read the only wall hanging that the doctor said was “my sheepskin.”
The doctor asked questions Lily knew were to be answered by her father.
“How long has she had this cough?”
“Has she run a fever at home?”
“Does her cough burn?”
Dr. Bethausen said, “She has whooping cough. Keep her inside the house. Nothing more can be done for her,” which, except for the diagnosis, were the exact words he said about her mother.
The doctor asked, “How’s she doing, since-”
Her father interrupted, “She talks to me. No one else.”
Lily would grow into a student who sweat profusely when called to recite. For years, she sat in class and worried about diarrhea, adopted a calming device of shaking her head sideways, often so hard it caused severe headaches. When nervous, she would squint to shut-out her environment. In nursing school, she would take voice lessons but avoided public speaking.
Her father’s second marriage was as idyllic as most were back then. Her father, a widower with five children who needed a mother; and his new wife, an ex-nun, was pregnant and needed a husband fast. A stern woman whose duty was to care for her own children, raise her step-children, and satisfy her husband, which, she did with Volga German precision.
For years after her father remarried, the family lived as if there had been an armed truce. Jaws tight, eyes dead, voices silent, but ever vigilant to seize upon the slightest transgression as an excuse to unleash their weapons.
It was early April, and Lily had just returned with her father from his medical appointment. Their roles have changed. Lily chose the doctor, and she drove her father’s two-door Kaiser Custom 6.
Her father shuffled from car to front porch, turned, and stared at the street. His eyes squinted against the wind. He pulled his glasses off, rubbed his eyes, “Scheisskopf. That’s what happens when you got more yesterdays than tomorrows.”
Lily watched as he exhaled a lung full of smoke. “No,” he said as if still in the doctor’s office, “I know my family history. It won’t be six months. Our people live until they’re eighty-eight.” He stood quiet for a moment.
“Poppa, when do you plan to tell them?”
“Not today,” he looked at her. “And I will be the one to do it.”
“Okay, but when?”
“A couple of weeks. Maybe a month.”
“Why so long?”
“Because of the family reunion next month.” He inhaled, squinted, exhaled. Smoke the color of morning fog surrounded his face.
“I want to be with you when you do,” she said.
Years earlier, at the first family reunion, Lily sat with her father while he ate a dinner of roast beef, peas, mashed potatoes, gravy, apple pie, and coffee. After dinner came his nip of Jim Beam straight from the half-pint bottle usually hidden behind the icon of the Last Supper which rested on the kitchen counter behind the Napoleon Clock.
Her father regaled the reunion with stories from three countries – some historically accurate, some enhanced. Lily sat enthralled with pride and wished she were as fearless.
Three weeks after her father’s medical appointment, Lily sat behind the wheel of the Kaiser. Once again, her earth had shifted. She wiped the sweat from her eyes, placed her hand on her chest to quiet the pounding, then squeezed the steering wheel to hide her shaking hands. “This is terrible. I’ll be next.”
St. Mary’s parish had long since merged with the large parish in Berdan, the county seat. The school is now closed, the convent vacant, the church unlocked only for special occasions. All are old, out of date, barely functional, and smell of neglect.
Before arriving at the church, she heard the stories she loved – of crystal sets, overheated radio tubes, distant voices that carried tales. Of her father propping her on pillows and telling her stories until they both fell asleep. Of holding his hand as they walked to the park.
“You always wanted to scatter off to look at something. And I’d grab your hand. When you got older, I thought you might not want to hold hands.” Her eyes on the road, she thought she saw his cigarette. “So, I asked you to hold my hand because I needed you to guide me. So, I wouldn’t wander.”
“And I believed it?”
“And you accepted it.”
Her father’s voice continued, “Lily, speak for me.”
“You know I hate it. I can’t.”
“But I know you. And I want you to speak for me. Promise me. Nobody else. Just you.”
“I can’t. I don’t know stories the way you do.”
“Then make some up.”
And she tried. And she waited. And nothing came. And she froze. She was eight years old again and on the living room floor.
Nevertheless, her father’s voice continued. Gentle. Slow. Persistent.
She jerked the wheel to show her displeasure; then, just as he taught her, maneuvered the car into the crowded church parking lot, found a space, and, as her father did when she was a girl, said, “We’re here.” She stressed the “w” as a “v.”
Lily sat inside the car with her wet hands gripping the steering wheel. Her head echoed with the questions she asked for years. What do I say? How much will I embarrass myself? Will I have an accident? How many are going to laugh at me?
Her father looked at her, and said, “Lily, now you tell the stories.”
Lily’s hands shook. She dreaded public speaking, nevertheless, he insisted. Nevertheless, she decided she would not speak.
When she entered the church basement, waves of faces surged forward as if in platoon formation.
She had seen them all her life, in school, at church, framed and on the walls of her father’s house. Some in funeral homes eyes closed, mouths shut, faces pasty – at once brittle and damp – as if they had been rained on then left to dry. Her mother. Even her great-aunt, Sophie, across the table, smiled for approval. Her uncles, Alex and Leo, sat on her right side. Each face unusually smooth and unblemished by sun and wind, each spine remarkably flexible. Not a limp, shuffle, or unfocused eye in the crowd.
His eleven children had begat multiple grandchildren, who had spawned countless great-grandchildren, and it appeared to Lily as though every one of them swarmed forward. Farmers, teachers, a school principal, doctors, dentists, lawyers, a Marine Captain with two purple hearts, a late blooming CPA, one Nashville musician, and a Registered Nurse.
“Who are these people? They look like my brothers, or aunts – some look like your grandmother.”
“They’re your grandchildren and great-grandchildren,” she whispered. Well past the stage of calling everyone by name, Lily smiled at the faces last seen on walls.
“Mein Got, she looks like little Cathy,” Lily heard her father’s voice. When another walked by, “That’s Mary Ann, no, it’s her grandmother,” but to Lily, Mary Ann looked like a photo of her own mother.
Then, Lily heard, “That’s my grandfather,” and, as if her father stood, he pointed to her, “Lily’s you.”
“No, she’s you. And all those over there.” Each one a replica of one of the pictures on the wall. “They are us.” She felt her father turn and look at his own face – the framed picture on the easel.
When the priest nodded at Lily and tugged her arm, she pretended to tap the half-pint of Jim Beam, rose from her chair, walked past the priest. When she reached her father’s framed photograph, she wanted to tell him, “Thank you. You told me stories, when …” “Without you I couldn’t have …” “Because of you I could…” Instead, she pretended to take the cigarette from his mouth, then held out her right hand as if she and her father were walking together toward a new discovery. Up three steps, she turned left, positioned herself behind the podium, looked at the crowd, smiled.
Her father listened as Lily began. “First, I want to thank all of you for coming to my father’s funeral dinner. And now I have some stories to tell you.”
Each time her earth shifted, Lily would return. She would return again and again, and, a few times after that, to walk across the dirt road and join the others at the cemetery. She would return to the house, and, as she did when a child, look at the pictures. Lily would continue to return to this dusty town until someone else returned to look at her picture and tell stories about her.
- THE END –
Short Story by Thomas Elson
Black Grey Iris
Sue J Tait
William Page’s fifth collection of poems In This Maybe Best of All Possible Worlds won the 2016 FutureCycle Poetry Book Prize. His Bodies Not Our Own (Memphis State University Press) received a Walter R. Smith Distinguished book Award. His poems have appeared in such journals as The North American Review, The Southern Review, Southwest Review, Ploughshares, The Sewanee Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, The Pedestal, The Midwest Quarterly, Rattle, and Wisconsin Review, and in a number of print and online anthologies, most recently in The Southern Poetry Anthology Volume VI. He is founding editor of The Pinch.
Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, Gargoyle, Pinyon, Little Patuxent Review, Spillway, Midwestern Gothic and others. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She has published 20 books including Selected Poems” from FutureCycle Press which received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize and “Ribcage” from Glass Lyre Press which has been awarded the 2015 Kithara Book Prize. Three of her poems have been featured on Verse Daily and another is among the winners of the 2016 Atlanta Review International Poetry Contest. Her newest books are “Carnival” from FutureCycle Press, “The Seven Heavenly Virtues” from Kelsay Books and “Her Heartsongs” just out from Presa Press. Colby is a senior editor of FutureCycle Press and an associate editor of Good Works Review. Website: www.joancolby.com. Facebook: Joan Colby. Twitter: poetjm.
Megan Denese Mealor
Megan Denese Mealor is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Her work has been featured widely in numerous journals, most recently Fowl Feathered Review, Firefly, Children Churches & Daddies, Really System and The Opiate. Her debut poetry collection, Bipolar Lexicon, is forthcoming in October from Unsolicited Press. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder in her teens, Megan’s main mission is to inspire others stigmatized for their health. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her partner, son, and two cats.
Rose Mary Boehm
A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of ‘Tangents,’ a poetry collection published in the UK in 2010/2011, her work has been widely published in US poetry journals (online and print). She was twice winner of the Goodreads monthly competition. A new poetry collection (‘From the Ruhr to Somewhere Near Dresden 1939-1949: A Child’s Journey’) was published by Aldrich Press in May 2016, and a new collection (‘Peru Blues or Lady Gaga Won’t Be Back’) was published (January 2018) by Kelsay Books.
Jimmy Pappas served during the Vietnam War as an English language instructor training South Vietnamese soldiers. Jimmy received his BA in English at Bridgewater State University and an MA in English literature from Rivier University. He is a retired teacher whose poems have been published in many journals, including Yellowchair Review, Shot Glass Journal, Off the Coast, and Boston Literary Magazine. He is a member of the Executive Board of the Poetry Society of NH. He was one of ten finalists in the 2017 Rattle Poetry Contest, and he was the winner of the Readers Choice Award for that poem.
Amanda Little Rose
Amanda Little Rose is from the small state of Rhode Island (USA). Previously, she served as Executive Editor of The Willow Literary Magazine (Salve Regina University, 2013), and her professional publications include: “Teacher” (Every Writer, 2017), “Mercy for Anne and a Rose for Lucrezia” (Pell Scholars and Senior Theses, 2015), “A Newport Love Affair” (Newport Life, 2014), “Hashtali and the Lion-heart: A Never-ending Coming of Age Story” (LitBomb, UK, 2013), “el-Amarna” (The Write Room, and LitBomb, UK, 2013), and “Eastman” (Literary Juice, 2012, and Everyday Poems, 2013).
She received her Bachelors of Arts and Science in Secondary Education, and English Literature, from Salve Regina University, in 2015. Currently, Amanda works as a high school English teacher, certified Reiki Master, freelance poet and editor.
Follow her writings on Instagram: @littlerose.poetry
Lateefah Abdulkareem is a veterinary medical student from Nigeria. She was born and lives in Nigeria. She is a writer and loves reading in her spare time. She has works published in online magazines and a poetry compendium.
Elizabeth Hereford is an early childhood teacher/reading specialist, poet, and children's book author from Chicago, Illinois. She studied creative writing and poetry in college and has a Master’s in Education. She explores wordplay, imagery, and metaphor in her writing through a variety of poetic forms.
Brian Glaser teaches writing at Chapman University in Orange, California.
Thomas Elson divides his time between Kansas and Northern California. His short stories, poetry, and flash fiction have been published in the United States, Ireland, Canada, England, and Wales in such journals as the Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Oracle Fine Arts, Calliope, Lunaris Journal, The New Ulster, The Lampeter, Blood & Bourbon, and Adelaide Literary Magazine.
Egle Minkuviene is a self-taught alcohol ink artist. She was born in Lithuania, but emigrated to the UK with her family in 2016.
She is a mother of three boys. While living in Lithuania, she was a well-selling jewelry maker, but as she moved to the UK, she decided to learn more arts. She accidentally found out about alcohol inks and fell in love with this medium. She is a lover of flowers and colours, so all her paintings show these floral and colourful vibes and emotions.
Sue J Tait – Sue Art Thou
Sue J Tait has been painting and experimenting with colour theory for over 30 years. Recently graduated with her BA in Visual Arts and Social Work followed by her Bachelor of Education in Arts from Nipissing University. She began drawing at an early age and started painting in her early 20’s. She is most inspired by the natural beauty of her surroundings and admires the work of such artists as Toni Onley, Monet, Emily Carr and the Group of Seven. Most of her adult life has been spent experimenting with pigment and colour behaviour.
She originally worked with watercolour, a medium in which pigment characteristics are most apparent and began experimenting with pen and ink. However, it was the magical quality of alcohol ink that encouraged her to try something new and to explore this multi media work to create pigment effects. The explosive energy of alcohol ink and its viscosity results in abstract images that are brought alive and are quite magical in their depth and dimensional imagery. The resulting images seem directly related to patterns found throughout the natural world, rather microscopic or celestial. As a colour enthusiast, she loves the viscosity of alcohol ink as a vehicle that harnesses its power to attract or repel each other as they view for a position in the flowing journey of evolving patterns. She offers original works as well as a limited selection of prints. In addition, what she loves most is the ability to create custom pieces to match each individual’s décor palette. She also offers classes and teaches alcohol ink techniques to those who are interested in healing through art. Currently, she works in a prison assisting incarcerated indigenous peoples to obtain their education. She uses art and art therapy during her teaching to assist these men in tapping into their healing journey.
Chef Jane worked as a private chef for over 25 years. She specialized in restricted diets, including GFCF. She was very involved with the autistic community in Southwest Florida and was, for years, in the resources list for Autism Speaks.
She still volunteers in creating recipes for people with food allergies.
Kristina Nicolina Photography
Kristina went to Penn State University with no clear idea for a major. A close friend noticed her penchant and love for helping children and suggested a career in education. At first, it was a thrilling career, shaping little minds into future learners and leaders, but soon that became too much like "a job.”
After taking a much-needed break, Kristina rediscovered a passion she has held since her teenage years. She once again picked up a camera and spent countless hours capturing and editing thousands of images in order to hone her craft. She was rewarded for her hard work with a solo photography exhibit in her home town.
Her exhibit sparked a flame inside her that still burns to this day. The burning for the perfect shot. The striving for the perfect composition. Kristina believes that she has yet to take her best image, and it is this desire that fuels her ambition for perfection in every frame she shoots.
Tori is a poet, photographer, and editor.
Tori discovered her love of poetry by accident. She had no idea that poetry would soon become her lifesaver. Her means of communication, of understanding. At first, that was all poetry really was for Tori. It wasn’t until college that she really started to develop her love and skill for the written word. After taking many poetry workshops with a professor who would soon become her mentor, she realized that poetry wasn’t just a passion, it was what she was meant to do.
You can find her on Instagram: @poeticallycoping