2016-17 Beebe Fellow Alain Park at his Warren Wilson campus reading, Oct. 27, 2016.
A short story by Alain Douglas park (fiction, ’13) appears in The American Literary Review:
I Don’t Want Anything to Happen; I Want Something to Happen
Wednesday night, already dark, I fully intended to ask my lovely teenage daughter something quick about dinner, but she blew by me, dumped her green army bag on the tiles and headed to the bathroom. I’d been standing there awhile, smoking at the sink, trying to figure out what to make.
Hey, ClaireBear, good to see you, I said to the air, which, wouldn’t you know it, didn’t say anything back.
A typical scene since Claire’s moved in, because she doesn’t want to live with her mom right now, because her mom is getting remarried and Claire can’t stand the creep. I said, sure, I got room, I’ll take the couch. It’s no bother. And most days it isn’t. I don’t see her all that much. I see her green army bag more than her. It’s tattered and covered with safety pins and Sharpie and has been one of my best friends lately.
Last Wednesday when she came in, she tossed my little friend right into the cardboard boxes I’d brought home from the restaurant and stacked in the middle of the kitchen. … continue reading here.
Three poems with audio by Rebecca Foust (poetry, ’10) appear in The Cortland Review:
Parts of Speech
We came to a grove and you drew me in;
I wondered about our right to wander
where we would in that wood of old pine,
my hand in yours and yours in mine.
Fair was the raiment of cloud overhead.
Or it was not fair, or it was just
… to continue reading “Parts of Speech,” and to read “Let Deer” and “Moose, Bear and the Moon,” click here.
A story by Eric Rampson (fiction, ’16) appears in Typishly:
The Ornamental Hermit
Editor’s background note for the uninitiated: Wikipedia tells us that “ornamental hermits were hermits encouraged to live in purpose built hermitages, follies, grottoes, or rockeries on the estates of wealthy land-owners, primarily during the 18th century. Such hermits would be encouraged to dress like druids and remain permanently on-site, where they could be fed, cared-for and consulted for advice or viewed for entertainment.”
To: The Ornamental Hermit
I hope this email finds you well. Diane and I are very much enjoying Tahiti—there is a pool directly outside the front door of our cabin while the beautiful sliding doors at the back open onto a flat wooden deck suspended over pale blue crystalline water warm as syrup and deep enough to dive into.
Your emotional state, I must admit, is less of a hope and more the reason I’m writing to you, sitting on that same flat deck, the waves lapping gently below me while Diane (who has agreed to wear high-heels with her bikini, at least around the cabin) suns herself in front of me, on her stomach, feet in the air behind her, ankles crossed. She is still so very lovely. And the high-heels? I don’t need to explain their effect, do I?
And that’s the problem. There was a time, back when we hired you, when you first moved into the grotto and the moss coloring the stones of your hut was still that fake, painted-on stuff, back then I would most certainly have had to explain the effect of a high-heel shoe not just on the leg of a beautiful woman but on the heart, mind, and baser instincts of the modern man. But it seems now that you understand perfectly what I mean.
Well maybe not a high-heel, specifically, but, you know, about the sexual, romantic power of the fairer sex.
… continue reading here.
Taryn Tilton (fiction, 16) has published a novella, Cherry Cherry, which won 1888’s 2017 Plaza Literary Prize:
an excerpt from Cherry Cherry
Jen is a junior. Jen is Annie’s sister.
At this moment, the first day of summer, I don’t think anything of her.
We are by the pool. Annie calls me every day to invite me to swim even though we both know I’m going over anyway. Sometimes the other girls come, but not always. I ride my bike.
Generally, we swim or we sit and read Cosmo. Sometimes, when we’re very bored, we run through the sprinklers. The water sparkles on our skin, and we push our fingers into our forearms and thighs to make pools of it.
Annie has long black hair, a white swimsuit with daisies on it, and a thin necklace with a single pearl, the chain like a unicorn hair in the sun. When she laughs her eyes disappear, a droplet nesting in her collarbone, the pearl knit to her sternum, Annie.
And when we feel like swimming, we really swim, brine our eyes and scour our lungs with chlorine, host underwater tea parties in some crystalline kingdom or bind our ankles with diving rings like mermaids. But we are not actually mermaids, so when our arms get tired, when our eyes and lungs are burning, we force ourselves up and rest.
Every day like that, more or less, and every day Annie’s mom brings us snacks. But today, a week into summer, Annie’s mom is on vacation.
Annie and I are by the pool. We hear the door click open. I look over my shoulder. It’s not Annie’s mom, though in the shadow of the house she is still a constellation of dark washes, a loose black shape, and I find myself wondering what form she will finally take.
It is Jen, of course, but I had not expected her to step into the sun like that, her skin reflecting the light in clean planes, her hair dark and thick, heavy and rich over her shoulder. She’s wearing bleached cut-offs and a tank top, black. She has an easy grace. She is bringing us Doritos in a mug. “Sorry,” she says, “I couldn’t find a clean plate.” She sets it down on the rippled glass of the poolside table and leaves as she came, soundlessly, except for a single bird trilling in the distance, in cahoots, announcing her exit. The door shuts, a dog barks.
Annie’s already eating. The Dorito dust sticks to her wet fingers and she tries to wipe one on me but I lick it instead and she giggles.
We read Cosmo. It gets warped from the water. “Whatever,” Annie says. The advice is the best, the embarrassing stories second best. Someone tripped over a backpack, someone called the wrong number, someone wore a too-tight skirt and it split. If no one is home, we read the sex parts. Jen is home so we don’t read the sex parts.
We do it again the next day, and the next. The summer stretches before us, infinite and the same, without event or task, like before we learned there were seven days in a week.
. . . purchase Cherry Cherry from 1888 here.
. . . or find the novella on Amazon here.
Adrian Blevins (poetry, ’02).
A poem by Adrian Blevins (poetry, ’02) appears in the Portland Press Herald:
If I could put my Trump hate
in the Cuisinart & cut it with
a little basil & dill & my
semi-retired Bush hate & my
hate for war in general & for
. . . continue reading here.