Issue 12: Refuge (Apr-May 2017) is an unthemed issue featuring poetry, prose, videos, and artwork from writers and artists around the world.
Lenting — Tiffany Grantom
i woke this morning — Neil Creighton
Avoidance — Mary McCarthy
Landmine in a Field of Flowers — Matt Mullins
snow angel — Tom Sacramona
The Island — Barbara Young
Look Both Ways — Jane Williams
The Two Ends — Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy
Song for Awe & Dread— Tommy Becker
long night moon — Deborah P. Kolodji
whiteout — Marianne Paul
Practice Makes Perfect — Elizabeth Vrenios
Enchant(ed) — Misha Penton
highway dusk — Malintha Perera
Sacred Stones — Lawrence Elliott
Trees — Olivier Schopfer
The Spoilt Season — Steve Klepetar
The Stars Are All Dead and Have Fallen — Barbara Young
heel cups — Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco
usual questions — Christina Sng
crow moon — Debbie Strange
Listen — Ken Poyner
Anatomy — Marie Craven
Refuge — Steve Klepetar
This week I took my son to the Bullock Museum of Texas History to check out the Stevie Ray Vaughn exhibit. They had his old Stratocaster under glass, beautiful and beaten to near ruin.
“Why does it look all messed up?” my son asked.
We turned and watched some footage of him performing “Pride and Joy” on Austin City Limits. “He could play like that,” I said, “because he practiced so much that his guitar wound up looking like that,” I said pointing back to the old Strat.
Maybe it’s true, or maybe he bought it already beat up. Still, there’s a good lesson there about practice, I think.
Later, I sat at the table to do a little reading and work out exactly what I would write here, cup of coffee topped with whipped cream on the table beside me. The fly that Simon the Cat has been too lazy to kill the past two days buzzed nearby and then I heard more intense buzzing, high pitched and fast. Desperate.
I glanced at my coffee cup just in time to see the fly disappear beneath the whipped cream to a hideous high-temperature doom, those buzzing notes still ringing in my ears.
Then after a moment of silence for the fly and a quick trip to the coffee pot for a fresh cup, I continued reading Fear of Music by Jonathan Lethem, an analysis of one of my favorite albums, Fear of Music by Talking Heads. That album, and their next one, Remain in Light, are the kinds of work that make me want to write until my computer and pen look like Stevie Ray’s guitar.
I’ve a suspicion that pens and computers of many of Gnarled Oak’s contributors must look pretty well-used too. How else does such fine work as appears here come about except through long practice and hard work. And coffee, too, perhaps.
* * *
This issue ended three weeks ago, and so my apologies for the tardiness. But here we are at last.
I especially liked this issue for the number of videos I was able to include (thanks to Dave Bonta at Moving Poems for a well-timed shout-out to Gnarled Oak that resulted in substantially more video submissions than usually come my way).
And, as always, thank you to all who submit to and read Gnarled Oak.
With gratitude and thanks,
James Brush, editor