Nathan Leslie has published two collections of short fiction, most recently A Cold Glass
of Milk (Uccelli Press, 2003). Uccelli Press will publish his next collection of fiction, Drivers, in the summer of
2005, and Ravenna Press will publish a collection of flash fiction, Reverse Negative, also in 2005. Aside from being
nominated for the 2002 Pushcart Prize, his fiction and poetry has or will appear in over one hundred literary magazines including
Southern Indiana Review, Chiron Review, Amherst Review, and The Crab Creek Review, He also completed a MFA at the University
of Maryland four years ago, where he won the 2000 Katherine Anne Porter Fiction Prize. He's currently the fiction editor for
The Pedestal Magazine.
Under winter layers, reading Yukio’s unfettered hands,
released at Saint Sebastian’s martyr
shot, I think of
my own shudders on my parent’s living room floor,
where the porcelain chest lay punctured with
bristled with quivers, in their leather bound tome.
Yet, where Yukio’s man converted his father’s
a nuptial mattress, my lure was a thin trickle of
blood, the butt of an arrow embedded in his rib-cage,
eyes rolled towards heaven like a fish in a toilet
bowl. Now I will damn missiles—the state axe—and
the molasses eyes slogged to asphalt, yet retain
a share of the mayhem peeping Tom. Mantegna’s
remains as one—the rubble of marble blocks at
the saint’s feet, the ruins of Roman children, the
retaining wall, the lone column holding him
tight. Still, after shafts into chest, thighs,
forehead, neck, twists
of red amassing at his feet,
the executioners lazy stroll up the clay crest to the
hills of ruins, tumbling over each
other for flight
from the epoch.
When the man left it all behind, it wasn’t for
love, or God, or the distant
glimmer of gold. It was
silence that lured him. The man longed for
nothingness, or to get as close to it
as possible. In
his mind a vision burned: a plain, an empty horizon,
the sound of his feet through the grass,
sound. This vision kept him comfort as a part of the
working world. Now, in his waning days, he
make it a reality.
The man set out by foot, leaving his belongings in
leaving his car in the garage, his
friends with their concerns, his wife and children
with theirs. He walked through
the city streets,
barraged by the sounds of buses and motorcycles,
street vendors, car alarms, the conversations of
radios, the buzz of electricity. The man
walked out of the city past neighborhoods littered
with the cries of
children playing, sprinklers
spraying, lawnmowers running, birds chirping,
telephones ringing. He walked out onto
where tractors moaned, and planes buzzed, dogs barked
and owls hooted. He left the roads and walked
fields where crickets chirped, and cows mewed, and
rain fell. He rested under the cool darkness of an
tree and slept, shutting his ears with earplugs,
and further muffling his ears with his hands.
the man walked westward, into the most
desolate plains imaginable. Still, he could find
There were always distant sounds—the
thrum of traffic, a stray plane, the sounds of distant
if nothing else, the ceaseless wind
always whipped through the grasses, stirring up dirt,
brushing through his hair.
The man thought he might
never find solace, or peace.
Weeks later he stumbled upon a cavern in the looming
at the far border of distant plains. He crawled
on all fours into an expansive dark room. His
revealed hundreds of feet of space in every
direction. It was pitch black, and the only sound he
could hear was
himself—his breathing, his heart
beating, his feet shuffling. The man sat upon the
cold floor of the cavern,
and shut his flashlight off.
For hours he sat there in cavern, in the stillness,
and he wept. His breathing slowed.
His heart calmed.
The great rest was just ahead.
John Grey latest book is "What Else Is There" from Main Street Rag. He has had work
published recently in Arkansas Review, Agni and Big Muddy.
Fooled by the way shadows stop talking the moment you
enter a room. Ignorant of the control midnight
moon have over your window latches. Checking underneath
the bed or in the closets only on those occasions when
nothing there. Thinking no one could possibly
scale the side of your house or slip out of a secret door
behind the fireplace.
Believing only the comforting
chapters of the Bible. Passing off nightmares as mere
sidetracks on the way to perfect
dreams. Convinced that
your home is a secure fortress of love. Unaware of what
your wife wishes for you, who she has
on her side.
John Sweet recent work has appeared in Underground Voices, Snow Monkey and East Village
Poetry. A new online chapbook, IN THE KNOWN WORLD, online at www.slowtrains.com.
Walking the Soft White Earth: an exercise in automatic writing
yellow skies this afternoon
and the smell of smoke
the rumor of fire
six hundred miles to the
devouring everything it can
and the truck payment due
and the rust on my car like some
and april's hands
pressed to her stomach
she says she can feel
the baby kick
says love is something i
and each day
has begun to feel like an ending
each moment laid out precisely
on a clean sheet
still has no visible meaning
and if there is any worth
to be found in truth
then i tell you simply
not the man i want my son
to grow up to be
if there is
any hope for the future
it escapes me
i say this as both a father
and a son
and yet i have chosen names
for my unborn child
i have made plans to
the house next summer
small acts of faith
without the need for religion
or the desire for salvation
it enough to say that
one life is all any of us
is it okay to
let the things that matter
answer is obvious
to anyone who's ever tried
David B. McCoy is a Social Studies teacher in a township
school near Massillon,
Ohio and holds a graduate degree in Socialization and Personality Development from Kent
State University. For nearly 25 years, David has run Spare Change Press, which in recent years has focused on publishing Solo Flyer and poetry chapbooks. David is the author of Ohio
Wineries Guidebook (available from Amazon); the Internet book, Buffalo Time; The Geometry of Blue: Prose and Selected Poetry and Voices from Behind the Mask (both available at www.mccoy.shorturl.com).
research, it has been deter-mined that the bank of billowing, feather-like clouds moving around the Midwest is comprised of evaporated chickens.
At first, it was thought
to be a gathering of angels; then maybe a huddle of cherubs trying to keep warm.
The church has yet to release
an official statement. They seem to be in some disagreement as to how this heavenly sign should be interpreted.