Monday, December 2, 2013

Laura Theobald

Jane Zemel

to dream

a dress is a way to change or
transport i mean i would wear the dress
of my mother for a day to be able 
to dream and maybe on that day
wearing the dreaming dress i would want
to hold a baby and hold the baby
somewhere in a hallway alone to be able
to coo and hum quietly at the baby
which is neither yet aware or responsive
which is not aware of the special act
of swaying alone in a hallway quietly
with the baby breathing listening  to 
my skirt swoosh against itself 
as i hum

Laura Theobald is a Florida Keys native and a poetry MFA candidate at LSU in Baton Rouge. Her filmic, digital, and written poetic works have appeared in The Volta: Medium, Arsenic Lobster, Real Poetik, Internet Poetry, and others. She has a self-published internet-based series called "Cleverbot, My Only Friend." She works as an editor for the New Delta Review, (wo)manorial, and Spooky Girlfriend Press. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

E.A. Hand

Jane Zemel


I can sing all of the oldies. For better or for worse, every single one of those sock-hop Do-Wop-ditties is fused to my brain waves and heartstrings with pink bubble gum.  

I blame my mother. She listened the oldies station exclusively and she didn’t really have the right. She grew up in the 70’s so she doesn’t really know what it’s like to go to a Sadie Hawkins dance or wear a poodle skirt. “Don’t you just wish it was the old days again, Suzie-Q?” She’d ask and I ‘d nod because I did.

I’d fantasized about my dreamy teens, when I’d get to wear bouffant hair-dos and flowy mini-dresses to the drive-in where I’d hold hands with boys. If I was lucky, those boys would go off to war and I’d pine over solider boys and promise to be true. I had two pairs of saddle shoes. 

On the first day of my high-school freshman year, with my go-go mini dress and my hair a-flip, I waltzed into my new school to find the world had moved on. It had drifted from the primped and curled 60’s to the ripped blue-jean, plaid-shirted universe of 1995. Some older girls passed me in the hall. “Who the hell are you, Suzie-Q?” a girl with no eyebrows and a daisy choker asked.

The tears welled in my eyes and I ran for my life to the ladies room where I cried and sang You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me, in its entirety. I thought I’d stay in there forever, but I only stayed until the warning bell for first period. 

Jane Zemel

“Are you wearing a costume?” a girl in the adjacent desk asked me. I looked her up and down. Her hair hadn’t been combed in probably a week, her jeans had likely been a hand-me-down from a, much bigger, older brother and the uniform plaid flannel hung from her narrow shoulders. “Uh, yeah,” I said grateful for the excuse. “I have an audition for a commercial after school today.”

She looked relieved. “Oh, yeah? That’s cool. You’re an actress?”

“Yeah. Sort of. Exactly. In fact, I may need to leave early today for the audition.”

She nodded like she knew all about it. “Yeah. That’s cool. I’m Mandy.” 

“Suzie,” I said. “Suze. My name’s Suze.”

The bell rang. Mandy got up from her desk to go to her next class and I got up to run home. I sang Take Good Care of My Baby on the short walk from Langdale High as a sort of funeral march.

I came to school the next day in my brother’s old clothes with no bra or makeup. “Hey, Suze!” Mandy called to me when I arrived, and from that day on, I didn’t think about poor-old Suzie. 

Last week, my husband turned on the oldies station and I found myself singing along as I loaded the dishwasher. Song after song played and I still knew all the words—every one. “I didn’t know this about you, Suze,” John said. 

“It’s Suzie,” I told him. “Suzie-Q.” 

Elizabeth Hand

Nicholas Cage and Jim Carrey singing in "Peggy Sue Got Married"

E.A. Hand is a writer and reader of fiction living in Vancouver. She lives with her wonderful partner and two bonsai trees and writes poetry about all three. Her short fiction has appeared in various local publications. She is currently working on a novel of speculative fiction that she hopes everyone will like.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Haley Lips

Jane Zemel

I liked it best in the summer
near the ocean
when the waves lapped
licking the sand-

an old lover
or something decidedly familiar.

We met on a bench.
you with a coffee
and I
with a sweet thing.

The crumbs falling
between cracks
familiar lovers
not yet
perfect buttons
not yet

Haley Lips

Sunday in Savannah Vintage

Haley Lips is a periodic writer and artist who lives in Kansas City with her husband, son, and grumpy cat. In the Spring, she hopes to be accepted into a Masters of Library Science program and eventually be a world renowned librarian. You can see a previous project of hers at:

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Danielle Lea Buchanan

Jane Zemel


Quiet as a cornfield, she hides her head in soil like others in Lamentations. She’s Pentecostal because why bind the feet with green, silk puffer pants? Girls from the Midwest dress husk tight in Victorian. Wind licks a hem. The grasshopper digs its tongue in chiffon. Cornsilk floats for its scalp, for the armpit of its angel.

Their voices vibrate through roots are telephone wires under earth. In every ring the dirt vibrates, the grass shakes. Cut a vegetable root, cut conversation, and that’s why electrical shock. Stand in a cornfield’s middle and hear laughter. Don’t confuse it for a lawnmower binge eating on dandelions then bulimia. Listen. It’s the corn girls. It comes at night when the sky bloats with sun stuffed through a woodchipper i.e. stars. Listen hard. Walk soft. Your footsteps are birds landing on underground telephone wires send vibrations so talk turns to whisper, then silence, then stop. 

Jane Zemel

Sometimes the sun says kinky things. Things like I want to suck every tooth out the socket of you, deflate nipple juice from every 300 teet of you. Corn can’t lather her legs with bubbly crème. She can’t floss herself before a date. Corn girls are still very serious ladies with the perfect posture of a spinal cord wrapped in ruffle and erect to the sky. Most times all the sun has to do is yawn, hiccup, burp or spittle. The corn girls clap their thighs. That’s when cornfields smell like flirt. Telephone poles fall. Black electrical lines coil underground. There is leak between every corn’s crack. This isn’t a malfunction. You need not caulk your cob. Under moan the earth lets a rip that caterpillars crawl in. Sometimes the girls would rather four-play like rubbing their thighs with spoons full of butter, splitting the sex of them while shaking in Mrs. Dash or gently grinding their bodies to grit.

Jane Zemel

Sometimes in a sunny cornfield on a hill next to a white barn lie lovers on a checkerboard cloth amongst a wooden box of gruyere and a butter knife wearing gooseberry chutney. When they touch one another it’s all spilled rim like bodies nothing but champagne toasts for the clanking, the bubbles and for the breaking. But it’s not from them. You turn your head at the moan just as birds pepper the sky. It’s from the fields, the being able to breathe again after being unpeeled from that husk tight, tight, tight dress. It’s all that shucking.

Danielle Lea Buchanan

Sunday in Savannah Vintage

Danielle Lea Buchanan pursues poetry in Baton Rouge. She is poetry editor of New Delta Review. Her work appears. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cristina Rosell

Jane Zemel

Bonjour Sabrina!
Monochrome fifties glamour
So Audrey Hepburn.

Cristina Rosell

Sunday in Savannah Vintage

Guess what, Audrey was an amazing artist too!

The Little Black Dress at SCAD

Cristina Rosell is a native Floridian, but don't hold that against her. While pursuing her PhD, she reminds herself daily that sanity is relative. In addition to clever puns and jolly wit, she enjoys writing about (and wearing!) elegant frocks and charming hats, slightly askew, naturally. She may think she's living in Edwardian England.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Maggie Callahan

Jane Zemel

When I zip a dress up, I’m careful to hold my breath. Catching skin in zippers is painful business; the sudden pinch, then the blood rushing to the spot to embarrass you all over again.
This dress, though, frees up my legs. At any moment, I am certain that I could break into flight across lawns or down streets, the straps of my high heels looped over my fingers and my hair flying out behind me (curls bouncing, frizzing, and turning to waves). I am certain I would be free.

I do not hold my breath when I zip this dress. It fits like a glove, like a dream, like the hand I am meant to hold forever & always but have not yet found. The skirt moves and I remember the bit of perfume I sprayed behind my knees. The fragrance catches me again and again in flounces and folds. As I spin, I think of how no one will know this romantic habit of mine, how no one will share this delicious secret with me. But perhaps someday, it’ll bring a smile to my wrinkled face and I’ll run aged hands over this taffeta midnight dress that will, by then, have found a home in the back of a closet somewhere. Perhaps it will still hold a bit of its magic.

Until then, I keep spinning and breathing.

Maggie Callahan

Marina and the Diamonds - fan gif

Maggie Callahan used to be a lot of things. A devoted consumer of fashion and music, former college athlete, and mermaid enthusiast, Maggie is now pursuing a PhD in English Literature & Rhetoric, Writing & Culture at Louisiana State University. She named her dog after her favorite tea blend (Lady Grey), and has finally mastered riding her bicycle while holding a cup of espresso.  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

M. E. Griffith

Jane Zemel

      Parc Montsouris looks like a movie set of Paris. I can picture myself, cynical New Yorker that I am no matter how hard I try not to be, watching a movie or TV show that takes place in Paris and scoffing at Parc Montsouris: “Oh please. Like the park could be that beautiful. Like the ponds would really be full of ducks and majestic swans. Like the carousel would be right next to the creperie, and the old people would wear berets and walk slowly, arm in arm, and the children would chase one another laughing and playing. Oh, please.”

But this is what Parc Montsouris really looks like. The quaint quality is overwhelming, and it is a place where I imagine it would difficult to be sad, perhaps even frustratingly so. The park is flanked by apartment buildings—not the picturesque, old buildings you see in the heart of the more touristy areas of the city, but buildings that don’t look too different from what you’d find in some American cities, if not a little smaller and humbler (but can’t that be said of most of Europe in comparison to America?). I don’t know why, but I can’t stop wondering how much these apartments would cost. There are bikes and potted plants on some of the balconies, neither of which is an indication of the class of people that might occupy the building. Why can’t I just sit in the park and laugh at the children making monkey noises as they chase one another, laces from their tennis shoes slapping the pavement, without thinking about real estate? Have I been watching too much HGTV?

Jane Zemel

        I crane my neck and look up at the balconies dotted with bicycles and potted perennials. It’s June in Paris, and the weather has been awful until today. All the children run around the park burning off what must be weeks of bottled up, summer-time enthusiasm. Adults and dogs are no exception—cigarettes are smoked with relish, dogs on leashes even seem to have an extra spring in their step, and men and women alike bare torsos and roll up pant legs in the hopes that their winter whiteness slowly disappears in the early summer sun. I’m sitting on a bench listening to the faint sounds of French around me. I only know how to say “I don’t understand” in French, but if I sit here silently and watch, I imagine I might be mistaken for someone who belongs here, someone who could be at home in a place like this. A brunette walking an old basset hound with ears and jowls nearly grazing the sidewalk strolls past me. The girl—not much older or younger than my own 25 years—wears a sleeveless orange, yellow, lime green and electric blue dress. I feel like she couldn’t be better cast for this role. She looks over her shoulder—at me or her dog I can’t be sure—and says something in French. Not wanting to be rude I say “Je ne comprend pas.” She tells me “Oh no! I was talking to my dog,” in confident but accented English. “He always walks more slowly when he knows we’re going home.” I apologize, blush, and do my best to wish her an authentic sounding “au revoir.” I am happy that I’m alone and no one was here to see me assume a message meant for a basset hound was addressed to me.

Jane Zemel

        I walk down the path to the park’s exit—on my right there is a community garden that contains a few rows of vegetables and herbs that are charmingly overgrown, untended, and on the left are the man-made lakes filled with swans bending their necks into great ellipses and cleaning their white feathers with broad, orange beaks. There is a concrete wall just under the surface of the water and when the ducks and swans stand on the wall it looks like they’re walking on water. Still, I can’t take my eyes off the apartment buildings with the park view. Parc Montsouris is so perfect, too perfect, and I want to know what the reality of life in this part of Paris is like. It can’t be a movie, not even if you can see Parc Montsouris from your bedroom, not even if you’re the girl in the with the charming basset hound and the perfect amount of bilingualism and confidence.

        As I exit the park, it occurs to me I’ve never been inside the home of a person who lives full time in a European city—like most other visitors, I mostly only know what it's like to live in a hotel room for a few days, and once I stayed in a dorm for a month in the suburbs of London. I wonder how my view of Paris would be different if I could make my way into some of the city’s occupied apartments—maybe I could impersonate an expatriate with a trust fund, contact a realtor, and tour some properties just like they do on House Hunters International. Are the apartments as idyllic as Parc Montsouris? For a minute, I think that maybe Parc Montsouris is an elaborate prank that Paris plays on the rest of the world, and just before a foreigner walks through the gates of the park all the actors take their places—the children take up a rousing game of tag, the animatronic swans rise from the bottom of the lake and sail smoothly across the surface of the water in slow figure eights, they cue the girl in the citrus colored dress and hand her the leash of a dog whose starred in dozens of films, the old actors don their berets and meet up arm in arm, stubbing out their cigarettes and hunching their backs just so—and like the Woody and Buzz in Toy Story, the show changes depending entirely on the presence or absence of the audience. This seems as likely to me as anything, as likely at least that a place like Parc Montsouris is a daily reality, a veritable backyard, for people not so different from me, in the middle of a city like Paris.

M.E. Griffith

Sunday in Savannah Vintage

M.E. Griffith is a Long Island native whose writing has appeared in PANK, Connotation Press, Beecher's, and her grandmother's living room, among others. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College's MFA program, she is now a doctoral student in Louisiana State University's Rhetoric, Writing & Culture program, where she has transitioned slowly from surviving on pizza and bagels toshe has transitioned slowly from surviving on pizza and bagels to surviving on crawfish and bloody Marys