Two Book Reviews
by Julie Carpenter
We would like to introduce our readers to two books by author Cynthia C. Huijgens, The Boy Between Worlds: The Cabinet of Curiosities, a middle grade book that helps readers unlock a world of magic and history, and Polar Bear and the UFO, an illustrated children’s’ book with a whimsical and beautifully rendered combination of the Artic and Outer Space!
by Chris Hillman
by Roy Peak
Chris Hillman, as a shy kid just learning to play bass, helped to form the California band the Byrds, which by itself, would be enough to land him a spot in the history books. But Hillman wasn't content to stop there. He also was a guiding force in the Flying Burrito Brothers, the Desert Rose Band, and Manassas. For over half a century Hillman worked with such musical luminaries as Roger McGuinn, Stephen Stills, Bernie Leadon, David Crosby, J.D. Souther, Tom Petty, and Gram Parsons. In the eighties he founded the Desert Rose Band, which had a multitude of hits on the country charts.
In The Garden of Your Heart
Plant me in the garden of your heart
Water me with your emotional tears
Until I blossom in your warm season
Just don't pick the flowers around me.
Let my seeds become your healthy
sustenance, allow me to be the fibres
on the abandoned empty dish of the
holiday, thus I would feed you happily.
Engrave your name on my chest of
the tree, and hold my green branches
Maybe you could educate me how to
dance, before autumn, split us apart.
Write your dreams on the colourful leaves
You live and die once and I live and die more
than onetime, be glad and I will be the tree
to expand my roots to reside with your breathe.
Bleeding Heart Poet ©
Clothes, Clothes, Clothes,
Music, Music, Music,
Boys, Boys, Boys
Author, Viv Albertine
by Roy Peak
Reading Viv Albertine's biography took me to another time and place more so than any other biography I've ever read.
I've read multiple books on the London punk scene, (England's Dreaming by Jon Savage was informative but a little dry, John Lydon's Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs was great, but a little self-centered.) but Albertine's was the first one that really made me feel as if I had been dropped right into the midst of what was truly an ever-evolving and rather incestuous happening. Albertine gives true insight into those who populated the music scene without sounding like a name dropper. She was friends with (or went to school with, or dated, or worked for, or played in bands with) some of the most important and influential characters in England at the time, and her memories of these people come off honestly, with no sense of malice. A for instance: Most tales of infamous Sid Vicious of the band the Sex Pistols make him seem like a cartoon character or a doom-laden extra in someone else's story. Albertine manages to turn him back into a real person—no small feat. They were friends, played in a band together, and Albertine paints a rather sympathetic portrait of the iconic rock star, painting a portrait of a person much different than you would think.
Plants of the Underworld
by Jarad Johnson
Whenever we think of the Underworld, especially in Greek Mythology, we think of a barren wasteland, devoid of any life. In reality, the Greeks really saw the Underworld, not as hell as the Christian tradition knows, but as a multifaceted world, one where souls travelled when they died. It was much more complex and three dimensional than the hell we know today, as there are actually five regions and five rivers that run through it. But, as a gardener, I of course paid attention to the plants. There are many plants that are associated with that realm, and I thought it might fun to go through some of them. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. Or abandon your plants. I will gladly take them.
Author, Afia Atakora
by Jarad Johnson
“Freedom was a word with weights. It meant deciding to stay or go.”
First novels are, by and large, a toss up. Some authors are most known for their first novels. Some authors prefer not to talk about them. They can be revelatory or they can fall short of the expectations for that genre. After reading Conjure Women, I can definitively say that Afia Atakora should be proud of her first novel.
by Nick Dunkenstein
Cain could feel his insides twitch the deeper he got into the winter abyss encompassing around him, the squelching under each foot seemed to echo against the naked trees that almost mocked him with their ability to stay still through the bitter chill, “I wish I stayed home.”
Looking behind him, he could see his little red car through the panorama of birch trees, mostly because it was the only colourful thing within miles. He sighed, his millionth sigh, and kept moving forward, “Damn, tires,” he mumbled. His roommate told him that he needed to look at replacing the doughnut he was riding on for weeks, “should’a listened…” he kicked what looked like a pile of snow, which turned out to be a branch rimed with hoarfrost.
A Different Light
by Paul Ilechko
There is a high road and a low road
that parallel the creek between them
meandering apart until they close as one
the high road made of dirt
climbing rapid then dropping down
and from such height has visibility
at certain seasons of the low road
through the yellow autumn
or the sparsity of winter to where the low
is pinned against the cliff beyond it
rising such that steepness melts from it
and dribbling back to pool and filter
on the asphalt a road of Pennsylvania rotten
a crumbling coverage of constant liquid
curved and black against the earth as cutting
its tracery through the hills it finds
its termination point a village center
pinned in place and anchored by terrain.
Leopard At the Door
Author, Jennifer McVeigh
by Jarad Johnson
“Authority is not a substitute for the truth.”
As readers, I feel like we can get a little burnt out at times. I certainly have been burnt out on fiction lately. I’ve been preferring to read more information-based texts, usually on plants or some other nerdy garden topic. I began to feel like I was reading the same story over and over again, perhaps because I was buying the same type of books. My shelves are telling me that I need to branch out. I just felt tired and worn out on what seemed to be repetitive plot points and characters that didn’t resonate with me. Part of the problem is that I’m picky and I go through phases. I also have been steering away from depressing and/or darker things lately. The world is dark enough, and my emotional investment can only go so far. Sometimes when you finish a really good book, you feel exhausted. Its similar to physical exhaustion, or a hangover. Perhaps I should just throw myself into it, but I’d rather escape, and I’m tending to steer towards more comforting or light stories. It’s strange how things shift like that, isn’t it?
Once A Day
by Lane Mochow
Once A Day
when I was little,
we left the house once a day:
the gas station on the corner for diet coke,
the mall for making up stories
about what the teenagers
meant by their foreign lingo.
the grocery store for bagels, black beans, burritos.
the restaurant for filling long-gurgling stomachs
egg rolls, dollar burgers, ice water with lemon.
the greenway to name edible plants
in case the economy collapsed and I
a lone child without moccasins, turquoise, teepees
(as i imagined my ancestors had)
were left to collect watercress,
pick the leaves from dandelions,
dig up sassafras root with my nimble fingers.
the bank to wear my nicest ankle length skirt
to stand behind her in silence
as mommy cashed her check
stuffing the cash in her billfold
as though her life depended on it
i never noticed the knowing look in the cashier's eye,
the wag of his buzz cut at our arrival,
the wipe of her minimum wage saltwater,
when mommy's beaded braids
the ever-present rustling of a brooding hurricane
came upon the horizon.
mommy's rage would white knuckle grip
their great black oaks at the trunk,
plead into Jesus' dime per minute payphone
they drown in a clawfoot of their own blood.
"Say amen! Say amen! Say amen!"
Lane Mochow is the author of the chapbook, "Ink." He won first place in the 2018 Tennessee Magazine Poet's Playground in the 19-22 category. He has contributed poetry reviews at Sacred Chickens.