Monday, June 24, 2019

A Wednesday Night in Bloomington, Indiana: Creative Nonfiction by Sarah Ginter

A Wednesday Night in Bloomington, Indiana
by Sarah K. Ginter
            It was the fall of 2009. Jackie and I decided to initiate our senior year at Bluebird, famous for their Wednesday night cheap beer. Jackie played "You Get What You Give” by New Radicals on her phone, and we sang and let the Bloomington street lamps lead us there, twirling over cracks all the way to the back of the line. We paid the $5 cover, and I winked and said, “I’ll get the first round.” I paid the whole 30 cents for two beers, and we weaved through groups of guys and girls standing and laughing to reach the stage. Jackie stopped to say hello to her friend Ryan who stood with a group of guys she knew too. She introduced me to Ryan, and I smiled looking around. When there was a break in the conversation, I leaned in and yelled in her ear, asking who the boy in the Birkenstocks was. “Andy,” she said then grabbed him and brought us over to the back bar. Jackie ordered three shots of vodka with pineapple chasers, and Andy and I spent the rest of that Wednesday night dancing with a tropical taste in our mouths.
            I wasn’t always in love. I spent many nights before senior year at Bluebird - the bar in Bloomington with brick interior walls and girls chatting loudly in the bathroom. The stage with the lady guzzling whiskey and the band that played when I jumped up on stage. I had on light denim jeans. The flare at the bottom could fit over the banging drum. The tank top flared too. Under the right light, you could see through the fabric on my stomach. But it was a beautiful shirt, one my mother loved to see me in. There’s a picture of me stomping my left foot to the music, my arms above my head, and my eyes are closed. Another night a band played and a man got down on one knee before his girlfriend right there on the stage. They could’ve been acting, I know, but she threw the fake flower bouquet to the crowd. I jumped toward it though I didn’t need to leap much because it was headed right toward me.
            Something started that Wednesday night in Bloomington, Indiana, when I met Andy. I was wholly at ease with him. We talked IU basketball, held hands, and danced. I let the streetlights wrap around our dancing legs and the chords swim in the middle of our chests. I went out that night resolved to start the year as myself without seeking anything more than to live freely during my last year of college. But meeting Andy I knew there was more. What I didn’t know though was that after we locked arms while walking down Walnut Avenue through the hilly sidewalks, soon enough we would be walking home together around bends and over long distances - down the aisle six years later dressed in tulle and tuxedo, dreaming and living and in love.

Sarah K. Ginter is from Indianapolis, Indiana. She earned a BA in English from Indiana University and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Butler University. Sarah is a freelance editor and has taught and volunteered for the IWC since 2016. She is currently querying her young adult novel based in Indianapolis and writing a women's fiction book. You can connect with her @sarahelizwriter on Twitter. 

Monday, June 17, 2019

Falling, a field guide, a poem by Laurel Smith

Falling, a field guide
by Laurel Smith

For how long will you continue to listen to those dark shouters,
caution and prudence?
Fall in! Fall in! —Mary Oliver

Fall like the hands off a clock, knowing
your new name for the hours will alter
the caliber of darkness and light.

Fall like a star, so fast so far you imagine
the sky as song, words and tune so true
you can already sing it by heart.

Fall like a stone into water, ripples and
shadows, minnows and yellow leaves:
better than a wish, this stone
with nothing more to desire.

From Laurel Smith: I live in Vincennes, Indiana, and happily participate in projects to promote literacy and the arts. My poetry has appeared in various periodicals, including Natural Bridge, New Millennium Writings, Tipton Poetry Review, Flying Island, English Journal, JAMA: Journal of the AMA; also in the following anthologies: And Know This Place, Visiting Frost, and Mapping the Muse. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Father's Day, a poem by Gerard Sarnat

Father's Day
by Gerard Sarnat

It had not occurred
friends regularly
do choose
this day

to send greetings
and often books
more than on
my birthdays
or other good

which is just fine
with me to have
that identity
when I am
out in our

where lost brother LCohen
or now PRoth (will Dylan
predecease?) show us
how to find wisdom

Gerard Sarnat won the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize, has been nominated for Pushcarts and authored four collections: Homeless Chronickes (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014), and Melting The Ice King (2016), which included work published by Oberlin, Brown, Columbia, Johns Hopkins and in Gargoyle, American Journal of Poetry (Margie), Main Street Rag, MiPOesias, New Delta Review, Brooklyn Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Voices Israel, Tishman Review, Suisun Valley Review, Burningwood Review, Fiction Southeast, Junto, Tiferet plus featured in New Verse News, Eretz, Avocet, LEVELER, tNY, StepAway, Bywords, Floor Plan, Good-Man-Project, Anti-Heroin-Chic, Poetry Circle, Fiction Southeast, Walt Whitman Tribute Anthology and Tipton Poetry Journal. “Amber Of Memory” was the single poem chosen for my 50th college reunion symposium on Bob Dylan. Mount Analogue selected Sarnat’s sequence, KADDISH FOR THE COUNTRY, for pamphlet distribution on Inauguration Day 2017 as part of the Washington D.C. and nationwide Women’s Marches. For Huffington Post/other reviews, readings, publications, interviews; visit Harvard/Stanford educated, Gerry’s worked in jails, built/staffed clinics for the marginalized, been a CEO and Stanford Med professor. Married for a half century, Gerry has three kids and four grandkids, so far.

Monday, June 3, 2019

New Mercies Unseen, a poem by Matthew Miller

New Mercies Unseen
by Matthew Miller

Sometimes, when harvesting the garden’s cabbage
or kale, you notice a small cottontail cowering, cornered
within the grapevine. Though you have no weapon,
he does not trust your intention,
and burrows out into the thorns.

In a nest beneath blueberry stems, twisted and sparse
like a hollowed out spaghetti squash,
a kitten shivers,
born naked and blind.
You stop the spade well above his head,
slide over to transplant strawberries. It’s mercy he never sees.

There are sometimes, also, when you are sipping
dark coffee at sunrise,
eyeing the quiet rabbit.
He nips grass nestled in the asphalt cracks.
Like a mystic praying alone,
he pulls sweet shoots from this rough road,
ears up and head bowed low.

Bio: Matthew Miller teaches social studies, swings tennis rackets, and writes poetry—all hoping to create a home. He pretends his classroom at Bethany Christian Schools is a living room, filling it with as many garage-sale chairs as he can afford. He lives beside a dilapidating apple orchard in Goshen, Indiana, and keeps trying to make tree houses for his four boys in the broken branches. He vacillates between wanting to poison and wanting to feed the groundhogs, rabbits and cardinals that try to make their homes in the garden. For now, they’ve all chosen peace.