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There’s a bluebird in your heart

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Suzanne Burns

Diary of a First Book, Entry 4: Still Loving Morrissey and Shopping at the Gap

October 23rd, 2009
by Suzanne Burns

BEND, OR-

Don’t ever agree to your book being published if you have a fear of public speaking. I can say that, over the past five months, I have almost completely conquered this fear. I have beaten it out of myself. My husband has stood by, helplessly watching the self-berating, doling out the necessary Kleenex and gelato cups, weighing in on every outfit I’ve tried on. My vain (in more ways than one) attempt at looking just the right combination of serious literary writer and hot-ass bitch has culminated in committing the worst of sins: I bought a black T-shirt from the Gap.

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Reno J. Romero

What’s Wrong with California?

October 18th, 2009
by Reno J. Romero

WOODLAND, NORTHERN CA -

I moved back to California around two months ago. What brought me back home after fifteen years? Well, a few things. Personal things. Some things not so personal. In the end, I was feeling a bit tapped out in Vegas. The bones weren’t tumbling like they used to and I was almost at the point where I didn’t give a shit either way.

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Peter Gajdics

What I Wanted To Be When I Grew Up: Me, My Gender and I

October 10th, 2009
by Peter Gajdics

VANCOUVER, BC-

One day in grade six, Teacher asked us all to say aloud what we wanted to be when we grew up. “I’m going to be a doctor,” one boy announced as we all sat cross-legged in a circle. “I’m going to be a teacher!” a ponytailed girl called out with a raised hand. Another boy with red hair and freckles said he wanted to be a fire engine: a big, loud, red, fire engine. Teacher, a kind, grey-haired woman who always wore a blue, pleated skirt and held a piece of new, white chalk, corrected him by saying, “Don’t you mean you want to be a fireman?” “No,” the boy said, shaking his head. “I want to be a fire engine. A big, loud, red, fire engine.” Everyone laughed, but secretly I was scared that Teacher would ask me what I wanted to be. I was scared because I didn’t know what I wanted to be. There was no profession I could imagine myself becoming when I grew up. Would I even grow up? That was like imagining myself outside a forest when all around me it was dark and I was alone and really, if I’d been honest, although I already knew well enough not to be, all I wanted was to be at peace. Not a doctor or a priest or a football player—at peace. (more…)


Paul Clayton

IeBAF 2001

October 10th, 2009
by Paul Clayton

SAN FRANCISCO-

You’re a writer, right? You’ve been writing for eight years, ten years, fifteen… and you’ve had a few small successes. But not with ‘the book,’ the one you poured your heart into over the years, the one that is not merely an entertainment, but is true, containing the essence of yours and others’ experiences, and the little bit of insight it all gave you. You’ve submitted it to the big New York houses hundreds (sometimes it seems like thousands) of times… with no result other than enough rejection slips to stuff a queen sized mattress.

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Peter Schwartz

Heart VS. Head

October 8th, 2009
by Peter Schwartz

AUGUSTA, ME-

In my worst moments, when I’m awake and shouldn’t be, when I feel as though I am merely surviving this life, I think: what am I? I don’t know what I am but I do know a little about the habits of the creature that is me. Maybe the most important duality I inhabit is that between focusing on my mind and focusing on my heart. When I’m in my mind, I’m serious, possibly a little cranky, and doing something useful like accepting my next friend on Facebook. When I’m in my heart, I’m either writing my next new poem or practicing one of my more inspired hobbies like autoerotic asphyxiation or Reiki. (more…)


Litsa Dremousis

Suggestions, Verities, and Such:

October 5th, 2009
by Litsa Dremousis

SEATTLE, WA-

Historians assuredly will view this epoch and, among other things, conclude we fussed and churned way too much over pubic hair.

We elected a president, not Santa Claus. We’re not going to get everything we want in the first three fourths of the first year of the first term.

While I know otherwise, I prefer to think ships float by magic: the water displacement theory strikes me as kind of sketchy.

Ladies, we’re nearly 52% of the population. Perhaps more of us could act accordingly?

Also, might a tiny but attention-grabbing portion of us stop writing to and marrying serial killers?

And fellas, might a tiny but attention-grabbing portion of you stop serial killing?

Is anything more resplendent than a lilac tree in spring?

Nutella, while medicinal, is extremely potent and should be handled as such: the combination of spoon and jar seems to hurl one into a time lapse and next thing you know, your evening is shot to hell and your shirt looks like an eight year-old’s.

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Ronlyn Domingue

How I Learned to Stop Worrying about Russians (Iraqis, North Koreans, and so on) and Hate War

October 1st, 2009
by Ronlyn Domingue

NEAR 91 DEGREES LONGITUDE-

I confronted eschatology too young. Although benign compared to some beliefs, my Catholic upbringing placed me at the sidelines of Armageddon—strange references to a kingdom come, the Second Coming, Judgment Day. I got queasy at the mention of the Book of Revelations. Sermons and syntactically-strained Bible readings led me to infer a tremendous destructive end to all life, human, animal, insect, plant. There were drawings in books, filled with fire, angels and demons, a sea of the damned. For a child, it’s impossible to reconcile a loving Father with one who will kill every one of his children with wanton violence. Children also don’t grasp metaphor.

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Brin Friesen

Loot II

September 30th, 2009
by Brin Friesen

HAVANA-

Somebody once said that at the end of the world there’s always a tourist and a whore fucking in a cheap hotel. If that’s here, that whore’s mother probably made the bed and had coffee ready for them after.

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Matthew Gavin Frank

The Truffle of the Barn

September 29th, 2009
by Matthew Gavin Frank

TORINO, ITALY-

The fluorescence of one room bleeds into another with only minor differences: a blinking flicker here, a snoring hum there. I sit again beneath these flickers and hums, just past 9:00 pm, in the salamina da sugo workshop, ready for the gentle myth, ready for some anarchy. This is the Salone del Gusto, the Slow Food Movement’s Salon of Taste and, while this is also Torino, Italy, the rest of the world, via its respective culinary delights, trickles in through the cracks in the mortar.

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Adam Cushman

A Thousand Words: Grandmotherland

September 15th, 2009
by Adam Cushman

LOS ANGELES, CA-

Vaselina operates five port-a-potties next to Kazanskaya Cathedral off Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg. In Russian, she’s a Babushka, which means grandmother. Whether Vaselina really has grandchildren makes no difference. She’s one of an army of old post-Soviet women who pour down streets and sidewalks with pocketbooks clutched in one hand, plastic bags of raw meat in the other, linebackers who will, without question, run you the fuck down if you step in their path, especially if you’re inostranetz (foreigner).

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Rebecca Adler

The Fear of What’s Out There

September 14th, 2009
by Rebecca Adler

ISTANBUL, TURKEY-

After traipsing around Europe for weeks with a giant backpack strapped to me, I’ve finally made it. I’ve arrived. And oh, how things are so different here than I could have ever imagined. After all of the warnings and strange looks from friends and family, I’m here and I can finally say with confidence and first-hand knowledge: You don’t know what you’re talking about. Istanbul is amazing and beautiful. The people are kind and the city is modern. There’s nothing to worry about.

I’ve thought about misconceptions a lot in the few days since I’ve arrived here, and I’ve talked about it a lot with the new friends I’ve made since arriving. It’s sad to me that the only things we ever hear about each others’ countries are the negative things. After all, it’s always going to be blood and guts that get people to read the newspapers. Nobody wants to read that the sun is shining and the birds are singing. No, we all need to be whipped up into a constant state of paranoia over What’s Out There, The Other. (more…)


Paul Clayton

Smiley Face Fiction

September 13th, 2009
by Paul Clayton

SAN FRANCISCO-

I sent one of my stories to a so-called literary magazine and got back the strangest rejection letter I’ve ever received — and I’ve been doing this for over thirty years. I’d never heard of The @$$!@# Reader until the night I picked up (but didn’t buy) a copy at my local Borders where I go with my daughter, D, every Wednesday afternoon. (more…)


Stacy Bierlein

I Meant to Write about Bull Fights

September 10th, 2009
by Stacy Bierlein

NEWPORT COAST, CA -

I have participated in a number of political demonstrations, but few as memorable as the March for Women’s Lives in 2004.  More than 1.15 million people converged on the mall for the largest march on Washington in U.S. history.  Organizers jammed more than 100 speakers into the program; exemplary speeches demanding access to contraception, sex education, global family planning, and choice.

 But what I am starting here—it is not the memory of a massive protest, or a recollection of the Bush Administration’s use of women’s rights as a political bargaining tool.  Writers do this. We begin with something approachable, something we trust we might get onto the page or screen correctly.  We try for a moment to hold the story in our heads, even as we know we have to let it go. 

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Don Mitchell

Pictures of Makis

September 7th, 2009
by Don Mitchell

COLDEN, NY-

In the white shimmering overexposed one he’s looking through his chrome camera at Niagara Falls in late December. This was before black cameras were the common things they are now, so the only black in the print is Makis’ face, though little of it shows above the fur collar and below the knit hat. It’s 1978.
 
In another he’s holding what we christened the world’s largest chicken, a stupendous fowl as big as a small turkey. He cradles it in the crook of his arm as if it were a baby. We couldn’t decide whether to boil it village fashion or to roast it whiteman style. In the end we roasted it because we had neither bush spinach nor coconut milk, and anyway, what’s the point of bogus village cooking?
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Rob Delaney

The Grimmest Squat in London

September 5th, 2009
by Rob Delaney

LONDON-

It had been a bad morning, the day I went out to look at the squat. I’d had a bitter fight with Binh and then she had a violent premonition: she saw me, she said, lying in a pool of blood; there were spilled pills and a crack of gunshot. It was, I had thought, a fairly stylised, cinematic instance of clairvoyance, but it chilled me nonetheless. It’s the East in her, these depths and silences I don’t understand.

I met Noel, an anarchist colleague from the school where I’d recently found a job, out in East London. Tower Hamlets, the place was called, allegedly the poorest area in Britain.

The high-rise was as long as the street, with five floors, and the whole building had been squatted. It was grey, desolate and forbidding, like a Communist residential block in Eastern Europe fallen into post-Soviet, feral abandonment. Slogans had been daubed in big letters along the balconies on the higher floors:

 

SQUATTERS’ CITY OF PEACE; GOD IS SQUATTING HERE WITH US

 

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Peter Schwartz

Faith Isn’t Stupid

September 4th, 2009
by Peter Schwartz

AUGUSTA, ME-

I’ve been noticing with greater and greater alarm that atheism is getting more and more popular in literary and academic circles. In fact, the majority of writers and scholars believe that anyone who believes in God must be naive and stupid. You aren’t smart enough, aren’t sophisticated enough to realize that God doesn’t exist and that life is pretty much shit. As the old saying goes, misery loves company. Now I don’t claim to be some highfalutin intellectual (fingers corn cob pipe thoughtfully for effect) but my great grand-daddy left me with at least this much sense: anything that makes you miserable ain’t all that good. (more…)


Joshua Lyon

The Thirteenth Victim

August 29th, 2009
by Joshua Lyon

BROOKLYN, NY-

A recent hangover found me still under the covers at 2:00 PM. I called out to my boyfriend Casey, but instead of asking for water or Advil, I asked him to look up details about the murder of Konerak Sinthasomphone, Jeffrey Dahmer’s thirteenth victim.

From under my pillow I’d been half-listening to Casey talk about the death of Ted Kennedy. Casey is young enough that Ted’s incident at Chappaquiddick, in the news once more, was a revelation. He was reading aloud about the crash from my desk across the room, and it got me thinking about the guilt one must feel when responsible for the death of another human. That in turn made me remember that after Jeffrey Dahmer was caught, reports surfaced about a fourteen year-old boy who had briefly escaped him. (more…)


David S. Wills

Teaching Mikhail Gorbachev

August 24th, 2009
by David S. Wills

DAEGU, KOREA -

It surprised me when I first came to Korea and realized that Korean kids were given English names. Why, I wondered, wouldn’t they just keep their Korean name? Does an English name really make it easier for the kids to learn, or is it for the benefit of native teachers?

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Brandon Gorrell

Most of the People I Know on the Internet

August 11th, 2009
by Brandon Gorrell

SEATTLE, WA -

I have written small reflections on most of the people I know on the internet. Most of the people are associated with the “Internet Literary Scene”. I didn’t use the internet while writing this. People are listed alphabetically.

ADAM J. MAYNARD: Runs “My Name Is Mud”. Continually slightly confused about his age. Like the design of his website. Seems to like me.

ADAM ROBINSON: Feel like he edits Publishing Genius but also feel unsure. Have “kind of no idea” of his opinion of me while worrying, slightly, that he dislikes me. Watched a video of him singing and felt really confused.

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Matthew Gavin Frank

A Thousand Words: Catalina

July 20th, 2009
by Matthew Gavin Frank

OAXACA CITY-

This is Rock ‘n’ Roll, but not rock ‘n’ roll music.  This is some heroin addict losing a thumbnail on a G string, Al Green on his knees, Sleepy John Estes alone beneath a streetlight screaming, “Aaahh’m just a pris’ner!” into a Coors Light bottleneck.  This is Mick Jagger finally castrated and Marianne Faithfull juggling his balls and a chainsaw.  And this is accordion.  Just accordion played by a Zapotec girl in a night alley that has no business being this orange.

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