Issue 4: A Parachute in the Wind—Summary, Contents & Editor’s Note

by on Aug 27, 2015


Issue 4: A Parachute in the Wind (Jul-Aug 2015) is an unthemed issue featuring poetry, prose, videos, and artwork from writers and artists around the world.

Read online | Read the PDF (click to read online, right-click & save-as to download)


In the Beginning — Tony Press

common s[un]flower — Robin Turner

texas dandelion — Robin Turner

bindweed — Robin Turner

I confess — Caroline Skanne

Old Gods — Luis Neer

Security — Marie Craven

A Reverence for Rust — Debbie Strange

old broken gate — Brian Robertson

Fragments — JK Anowe

Graffiti — Miriam Sagan

Crooked Smiles — Arika Elizenberry

Bystander — Mary McCarthy

Dog Whistle Effect — Lauren Yates

Angel — Olivier Schopfer

searching — Kala Ramesh

twigs — Duncan Richardson

Elegy for Apologies I Will Never See — Lauren Yates

Wabash & Balbo — Todd Mercer

Walking in Chinatown on Sunday, You Do Get Lonely
 — Trish Saunders

Lime Light — Marilyn ‘Misky’ Braendeholm

Unmusically — Sheikha A.

Sanyi — Saddiq Dzukogi & Laura M. Kaminski

Lines on a Postcard — Joan Colby

deep dreaming — Marianne Paul

Night Court — Marie Craven

wilma suddenly — Angie Werren

red rover — Angie Werren

I Planted a Lemon Tree in My Mouth — Tonya Sauer

Sweet Tea — Roslyn Ross

Considering Luminescence / Consideraciones Sobre la Luz — Eduardo Yagüe

Editor’s Note

August is a weird time of year. There is a certain cognitive dissonance that comes from starting school and returning to the classroom in the midst of summer. Sure, it’s almost September and then you might start to feel autumn coming on farther north, but here in Texas it’s high summer and will be for quite some time. Maybe to native Texans it doesn’t seem weird, but I started my school years and went to high school in northern states and that idea that school starting equals autumn is pretty well locked in, never mind the fact that I’ve been here for twenty-seven years.

This year coming back to school brought me back to something I’d put out of my mind for the summer: the shredder, that big clunky wonderful machine that devours huge piles of paper and rapidly churns them into confetti. I kind of like shredding papers. I like feeding that beast, and standing there in all that white noise is sort of soothing.

Because I teach in a juvenile correctional facility, I shred a lot of old student work. Whatever the kids choose not to take with them when they leave goes down the shredder in the interest of protecting their privacy. So part of closing out my classroom in early June involves shredding all the unclaimed work: tests, quizzes, journals, worksheets, essays, and, yes, stories and poems. Some of them quite good. It makes me wish more of the kids I teach would recognize their own talents and value their voices at least enough to take their work with them out to the Free. But they don’t, and so I shred.

Last spring, whilst peacefully shredding away, I looked down to see that I was shredding the wrong pile. “Noooooooo!” I nearly yelled like Luke finding out Vader was his father, for I was shredding all of my brilliant Notes to Self that I’d written over the course of last school year. Things about what I want to do differently this year, ideas for lessons, activities and projects. You see, I was determined to reinvent things and rethink what I do in the classroom. It’s a useful exercise for teachers to do, I think, to throw out the old and try new ideas. And I was going to do that.

So, I started this August with a bit of trepidation. Not only is it too hot to be in school, but most of my ideas for this year are confetti, recycled months ago. So, I’m starting again by trying to re-reinvent things, and it’s exciting. It’s New 2.0. And I like that.

And speaking of things new and exciting, I hope you’ve found this issue of Gnarled Oak to be as exciting as I did. So thank you to all of you (or all y’all as we say in Texas) who submit (and resubmit) and read and share all this amazing work. You help me—and hopefully others—see the world in new, surprising, beautiful, sometimes heart-breaking and often wonderful ways. Even in August.

With gratitude and thanks,

James Brush, editor
August 2015


Gnarled Oak — Issue 4: A Parachute in the Wind: Read online | Read the PDF (right-click/save-as to download)

3 thoughts on “Issue 4: A Parachute in the Wind—Summary, Contents & Editor’s Note

  1. I was into thrash metal in my youth, and shredding had a very positive connotation there. Then there’s Bakunin: “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.” 🙂

    Congratulations on another outstanding issue.

    • I had similar tastes in music and for a few lines found myself off on a tangent about my inability to shred on a guitar–more of a back porch strummer and feedback drone guy when plugged in–funny how that connection came up for you too. Anyway, I like the quote and thank you. ~James

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