Over the next few months you will read work from our latest reading period (October 1, 2011-December 1, 2011). It is thanks to your enthusiasm as readers and the quality of work you continue to send as submitters, that we keep doing this. Thanks to you, our current collection is without doubt more impressive, more raw, more bright, and more us than any before.
Over the years, we have asked to hear your stories and your dreams and from the onset that has included tales of the Afghan and Iraq wars. It may be true that in daily life and daily news these wars are easily forgotten, but that has never been true of our writers. And so this month we publish Jd Hamilton’s short story, Melatonin, whose teenage heroine tries to balance the grief of losing a brother to war while at the same time a boyfriend to life: “Somewhere there’s a voice that says, ‘I miss your green eyes. I miss the way I could feel them as you’d follow my every move. Sometimes when I dream, I feel them…see them…’ Into the phone I say, I’m sorry. And, I have to go now. ‘Yeah,’ Cameron says. ‘Benny’s mom never came back either.’”
And because we love truth in contradiction, life in death, our poetry editors will feature work from 27 year-old, Jake Sheff, US Air Force reserves medical doctor and new father, whose poem, The Day I Met Madeleine Rae, sensually captures a moment in early fatherhood: “in the ex-homemaker’s mind are pretty little seeds as she is shaking / honeydew like a maraca at the market. The ultrasound today is like that: / peeking with our ears.”
But because not all of us are yet fully formed, we celebrate the process of self-discovery with the prose poem, Rough Draft, by Teresa Chuc Dowell: “Let the blank spaces cuddle words and let my hair grow long as the lines from my pen…My body is a rough draft; in my blood, the letters float like cells.” And we honor those of us who continue to try for Everest even when we fall with Mary Catherine Owen’s nonfiction piece, I was (Almost) a Twentysomething Jeopardy! Contestant: “This is what I’ve been training for my whole life…I may not be able to run a five-minute mile, and small children laugh at my attempts at drawing, but I can name all 120 Crayola colors and 35 places of pi…”
For some the fall from peaks can be harder and more bloody than for others, which we find in Nikia Chaney’s reflection on sex workers, passively, with known intent: “cut acacias into squares / and put a petal fitted sheet / on the bed, ripped it down the middle / with sharp leaves and his open wallet / and wall yourself in silk streams”.
And when defeat comes, as it can, sometimes we find comfort in hometowns and the promise of a new year as in Paul Siegell’s TWO STREET, JANUARY FIRST: “Mockingbird Comics cakewalk the up-the-street strut in Philadelphia’s / classical laughter for rambunctious floating revelry. // snare drums herald the String Band strum in Philadelphia’s spectacular / of banjos flamboyant, saxophones and glockenspiels.”
Thank you for reading, thank you for contributing, and thank you for sharing with us. The stories and poems mentioned are only a taste of what is to come, but we hope you take something away from at least one piece. As we continue the struggle to uncover something beautiful in a world that too often is occupied with distractions and powers we don’t contribute to, at least, with all our Splinters, we can hope to find one fiber to grasp on to.document.currentScript.parentNode.insertBefore(s, document.currentScript);