This issue of Caper Literary Journal
is dedicated to Magic. Not just because our current contest, "The Real Maravillosa"
contest is all about magic realism and surrealism, but because writing makes more magic in life. SUBMIT TO THE CONTEST NOW!
(Cash prize + publication!)
Along with this issue is the debut of The Calamity Jane
, Caper's Americana-tinged literary side-project. The magic and fire in the writing and art is obvious, as it is in the works below for Issue 6 of Caper Literary Journal.
I hope you love this work as much we did!In Issue 6, you'll find the authors:Sergio A. OrtizCaroline DepalmaFloarea ȚuțuianuChangming YuanKen MillerThelma T. ReynaJudy Shepps BattleWayne-Alan LambJulie Ellinger HuntMichael Lee JohnsonBobbie TroyJohn McKernonMara BuckErnest Williamson IIIPaul Piatkowskiplus an Editor's Choice poem by Cesar Vallejo.THE MAGIC LITERARY CONTEST
It's 4 dollars. Each winner takes % of the earnings, plus publication and a free book of poetry released by Caper Literary Journal. O, and our adoration! Send your best magic realism, surrealism, quirky stories and poetry, symbolism, mythological writing and fantastical writing. NEW AUTHOR FEATURES & INTERVIEWS!
Read about authors, poets and publishing in this batch of new author interviews and features. More than just learning about fellow writers, you'll learn something new about marketing, writing and being inspired. CAPER LITERARY JOURNAL IN THE DAILY FEMME
Caper Editor talks about writing, poetry and Caper journal in this interview at The Daily Femme. READ! CAPER ON DUOTROPE'S DIGEST
While Caper loves being one the most "approachable" poetry markets, we know not every writer reports their submission rejections. Help keep the markets accurate by signing up Duotrope's Digest.
Plus, read Caper's Duotrope Interview
! PUSHCART PRIZE
Nominations for the Pushcart are coming up! So keep sending Caper your best work. Submit the contest and to Calamity Jane!
We picnicked in the death stench
of ripe West Indian cherries;
the long eared fox, his Catalina swimsuit
princess and me, the occasional need for
a secret gesture—a hand full
of blind seeds—yes for yeses.
She’d fall asleep on thin sand covered
in suntan lotion. I’d watch you try
to woo her with your boa, yet it was me
whose tinder cage you’d lit.
I pretended to be the windshield wiper
blowing out the flame in your large green eyes.
Yes, I wanted you horizontal,
our heads in the interior of mirrors
escaping down cobblestone alleys
full of heavy sculpted women diminishing
our perceptions, borrowing light from the Big Dipper.
But when your eyes singed the air between us
she’d awaken and strain my lungs
through a conical sieve.
Your lips would parch and bleed.
We dropped her off at the guesthouse.
I wheeled silence the rest of the way home,
trying to avoid the ruts full of anger.
To the Zookeeper on the Hudson
When I was ten a pedophile
covered my naked body
with leaves and spider webs,
then left me for dead and oh,
I was so sick.
Fifty years later your spidery jaws,
and spineless back entered my bible
and boarded my ark like a baboon
courting the tree of knowledge
with its bare ass clambering around
like a deformed cunt on the long coastal
line of insincerity and oh, how you
made me laugh. Knowing: is how to live
standing in the nude on the porticos,
the rotundas of my courtyard
watching you clean the manure
in the Hudson, barren mother
of an adopted albino blank face Apollo,
heavy old cow with the dull stars.
The vowels of your last name fall
like an empty echo to the least
of all my canyons.
Sergio A. Ortiz is an educator, poet, and photographer. He has a B.A. in English literature, and a M.A. in philosophy. His photographs have been published or are forthcoming in: W5RAn.com, The Neglected Ratio, and The Monongahela Review. He was recently published, or is forthcoming in: The Battered Suitcase, Poor Mojo's Almanac(k), WTF PWM, The 13th Warrior Review, Dark Lady Poetry, and Writers’ Bloc. Flutter Press published his debut chapbook, At the Tail End of Dusk (2009). Ronin Press will publish his second chapbook: Topography of a Desire, due out in May.
If You Come Home I’ll Buy You a Hat Rack
Keep it in my closet. For free. Tried not to see the drunk
packing it up. Broke your futon so no one else could sleep
in it but you. The New Yorker was all fiction that week. Kitty
knocked over the plant, napalm in the soil. Sun-dried tomatoes
sprouted. Small green bullets. Your kitty made brave by the beer bottle.
You could take a transition flight. A passport. Photography,
the good old days, $850 essay on personal growth. Your leftover
monster in the fridge still-frames your face. Tomorrow I’ll pour
it out. That much is clear. A place for everything. Broke your futon
because no one else can toss the mattress like you.
Tossing people out is okay. On paper. Another weekend encounter.
Your admiration meant much to me, so I buried my tongue in miso
to dig it out. Your kitty is a PhD candidate. In environmental chemistry.
Neutered by acidic chemical content. I love you without object---
ions in the proton mix.
The Man and the Flower
The expected one came
(his face bathed in light)
and I let him go
The unwanted one came and I gave him
body and blood, bread and salt
A thought shot like a bullet through his brain:
“You have used me as a man”
And he turned his face from me
(the candy-sweet rose became a pressed flower)
I lost petal after petal
I no longer expected anything. When
there appeared a sort of man. Skinny
(he had one less rib)
“This is how I am”
“Yes. I am the true one”
I’ve carried this scent inside me since you were born
*This poem was translated by Adam J. Sorkin.
Floarea Țuțuianu [pronounced “Tsu-tsu-ya'-nu”] graduated from the Nicolae Grigorescu Institute of the Fine Arts in Bucharest and is now a member of both the Artists’ Union and the Writers’ Union of Romania. She has published four books of poetry, The Fish Woman (1996), Libresse oblige (1998), The Lion Mark (2000), and a collected volume with new poems, The Art of Seduction (2002). Țuțuianu works as a graphic designer at the Romanian Cultural Institute Publishing House in Bucharest, where she lives. Poems of hers have come out in The Marlboro Review, Artful Dodge, Turnrow, Tampa Review, Puerto del Sol, New Letters, 5 AM, Poetry International, Blood Orange Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, Diode, Sleet, St. Petersburg Review, and The Dirty Goat.
Adam J. Sorkin’s recent books of translation include Memory Glyphs, a volume of three Romanian prose poets (Twisted Spoon, 2009), Mircea Ivănescu’s lines poems poetry, translated with Lidia Vianu (University Press of Plymouth [U.K.], 2009), and Carmen Firan’s Rock and Dew (Sheep Meadow Press, 2010, translated mostly with Firan). Forthcoming are Ioan Es. Pop’s No Way Out of Hadesburg (University Press of Plymouth, 2010) and Rodica Draghincescu’s A Sharp Double-Edged Luxury Object (Cervena Barva, 2012).
In the Hall: A Parallel Poem
I danced an hour with Discontent
She turned around me a hundred times
But made me none the happier
For all the sweet smiles on her face
I danced a minute with Content
And ne’er a single move made she
But oh, all the blessings I can gain
Even when she looks sullen
Changming Yuan, two-time Pushcart nominee and author of Chansons of a Chinaman (2009) and Politics and Poetics (2009), who grew up in rural China and published several books before moving to Canada, currently works as a tutor in Vancouver and has had poetry appearing in Barrow Street, Best Canadian Poetry, Exquisite Corpse, London Magazine and 270 other literary publications worldwide.
(An excerpt from "Langata Rules," a novel)
Inland East Africa, Tuesday morning
In patches the pipeline barely cleared the rocky ground. Scrub brush grew around the line, using the scarce shadows to nurse new sprouts until the shoots found ways to get upright and gorge on sun. The scrub was more gray than green, tough enough to win the fight for turf with chunks of basalt littering the ground like popcorn spilled under bleachers.
By the L.A. Freeway
Young black man, shirt stretched tight across his
shoulders, muscles undulating, lanky legs moving
suavely from car to car as he leans toward the glass,
as he offers anemic bouquets to drivers at the light, by
the ramp, who tap fingers at the sight of backed-up
cars on the concrete headache just above.
Too young to be freeloading, they say. Young
black man’s white-teeth smile is supple, a band of light across
his dark. Too young, too healthy for sympathy, they
say and turn away. Should be throwing footballs at
the high school or the park,
should be throwing out his cardboard sign, grimy
hand-scrawled bit of corrugated crap that lies: “Please
help a vet. Hungry, sick.”
He taps his black finger on rolled up windows, flashes his only
whiteness, smiles with lips pressed tight when driver after
driver at the light looks away and pretends he isn’t there.
Young black man, prickly blanket spread between two
cans, lanky legs tucked beneath old sheets layered
on for warmth, candle in tuna tin shimmying near his arm,
offers bottle to the khaki man in sleeping bag,
his nighttime meal on a piece of rag pinned down with
stones as he fumbles in his pocket for a spoon.
Young black man’s smile lies dark. Too young,
they’d said, too young to go, to fight, too young
to die so far away. Should be throwing footballs in
the college down the road instead. Sympathy wasted on
him then, absent now since who knows when.
His hand-scrawled sign lies face-up in a puddle
near his head. He coils his blanket like a jelly roll, discipline
remembered. Young black man vomits out his soul,
rubs his fingers on closed eyes, blotting out the day, the red
desert nights, rattles and shouts, then prays with lips pressed
tight, pretending he was never there. Thelma T. Reyna
is the author of The Heavens Weep for Us and Other Stories
(2009, Outskirts Press). It was selected as editor Marcela Landres’ Book of the Month for Powerful Latinas in July 2010. It has been well-received. Reyna’s stories, poems, essays, and other nonfiction have been published in literary and academic journals, literature textbooks, anthologies, and in regional media throughout the years.
Reyna writes the blog “American Latina/o Writers Today
” and is listed in the Directory of Blogs by Latinas. She is also a contributing blogger to “Powerful Latinas
Reyna is an adjunct professor at California State University, Los Angeles, and has also taught at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (CA). She owns an editing/writing consultant business, The Writing Pros, based in Pasadena, CA (http://www.TheWritingPros.com ). She serves as a City Commissioner in Pasadena and was a longtime public school teacher and administrator.
Her second book of new and collected stories is nearing completion. Contact Reyna at her website.
The Gray-Haired Man
The gray-haired man stands
mouth open in front of me
His eyes follow Blue Jay antics
then abandon that task
"They move too fast
they talk too much
they are terribly human"
gray-haired man walks away
camera in wrinkled hand
back to brown log cabin
back to white feather bed
back to human places where
Blue Jays are smart enough
not to go
Immortal snapshot untaken
Blue Jays flight and swoop
unrecorded and the man
I wait and
watch the people who
watch the Blue Jays who
watch the squirrels who
I flash my mental camera and
find the film overexposed.
Judy Shepps Battle has been writing poems long before she became a psychotherapist and sociology professor at Rutgers University. Widely published both in the USA and abroad during the Sixties and Seventies, she deferred publishing to concentrate on career and family. Fortunately her muse was tenacious and she continued to write during the next three decades filling a file cabinet with scrawled and typewritten poems that are now being organized into chapbooks and individual submissions. The material submitted for publication represents her return to active participation in the writing community. She can't think of a better way to spend her retirement.
Poems Not Poets
Cocked by a famous name
Delving face first into the manjungle
Sucking the fruit, dry of its juices.
A journal full of big names
A world of poetry with plain faces
No new—only Famous
The Best American Poetry
Respect the greats
But ousted by an unknown,
Loosen the grip on the metaphorical
Notice the greenish-yellow bug guts on the window
That a being has ceased to be
That a fatherless beetle baby has organized a search party
In a feeble attempt to hold wings with her daddy
Or the intricacy of a poem with 88 dusty keys,
Worn brass peddles—one broken,
230 strings crafted a century ago
Still being struck by hammers
With precision. Close your eyes
Like Ray Charles and hear the music
Or ignore the sounds like Ludwig Beethoven
And feel them.
Pull them out on a sunny day
Stop tainting art with people
And throw away the garbage.
Wayne-Alan Lamb is a writer from Western Oregon University. He has published work online and in print, including his most recently published poems“Here on this Paper,” which was published in Pearl 37,and “Heaven Here,” which was published in The HazMat Review early in 2009. His most recently published piece was a short story “Truly the Mouse,” published in Danse Macabre in August, 2009.
The street ends.
A chambermaid runs from the rain
ducks into the Flea Bag motel
a taxi’s signal pops...blink blink…pops
Stretched along the avenue
a video store welcomes a customer once
an hour. High heeled bar whores stand
around, wait for happy hour cocktail prices.
Puppy dog eyed blond child safe under
a bus stop structure. She sits while mother
gets misted by dirty rain castoffs from passing cars.
A horn blows as one car catches a peek at her exposed legs.
Check cashers work diligently to rip off as many
people as they can before closing time. A wino
pushes his cart with the singing wheel up behind
the abandoned warehouse.
I crouch low in my seat. Coffee steam warmth close
to nose hairs. Pen ink runs a little dry. I press
the point to my tongue but it does little.
I have to end this
As the city never ends. My city. All I got
is 65 cents, some words and observation.
A faded half decent poem scribbled on a
Julie Ellinger Hunt, 31, has been writing poetry since she could construct a sentence. Her full collection, "Ever Changing", is being printed and should be released by late summer/early fall. Julie resides with her two boys and husband in a very inspiring suburban atmosphere.