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Issue 2

Welcome to the Second Issue of Siren!

Collected here is the work of unique artists who all share a similar conceptual interest in what is new, edgy, exciting, and experimental in their chosen mediums. These are artists who demand attention, who are making their own paths. They are guided by voices and visions and the passion to create, to expand, and to discover.

In this issue, we offer a wide range of poetry, prose, flash fiction, stories, photography, music, and videos. Please continue to scroll through the entire issue to see the work of these artists who are trying new things and approaching their creative pursuits in different ways.

Thank you for reading, listening, viewing, and supporting the collective work of the intriguing artists featured in our fall issue. You can also click on the links below or on the side panel to view the artists’ individual pages, and to find out more info about their work. Thanks to all for your support.

Michelle Augello-Page
Editor

Siren

Issue 2, Fall 2012

* * *

I. She by Sarah Drago

Somnium by William CurrieR

Cosmic Love by Larissa Nash

Cracka Smile – Black Shirley

She declares it good by Misty Rampart

A Dream by Jayne Marek

Mingus V by Kyle Hemmings

Bamboo and Mike Milazzo

Dealer’s Choice by Allie Marini Batts

Urban Decay by William CurrieR

iEnd by iDrew

Bamboo featuring Kid Lucky

Reruns by Kevin Ridgeway

Mingus VII by Kyle Hemmings

Rowan Galagher – The Mad Pride

Losing You by Brida Kuhs

Feel the Cold by William CurrieR

The Estuary Road by Jayne Marek

* * *

I. She

Sarah Drago

Red flowered from her thighs;
A rose river
Quenching the parched, pink lip –
She smelled like hydrangea and being
Barefoot in puddles of lilac,
Licking my ankles, sucking my skin
Saltless. Stitched in tissue and cells and
Resonating sound, I
Stopped and smiled the tucked the stray
Strands of her hair in my stockings.
“Stay,” I
Mouthed, swallowing the sight of her
Limbs and that lovesick limp of
Her laugh.
She tugged the arch of my fingers to her
Wrists and
She told me that the wounds would warm you
And wrap themselves around your
Stomach
As if they were bed linens.
“Hush,” my tongue lapped against
The raw ridges of my
Teeth,
Yet I am alone in this
Bed, these bones
As she undresses
Inside of
Me, silent – pressing her
Chest against
The lining of my throat

Somnium    by William CurrieR

Cosmic Love

Larissa Nash

Today I cover the walls in blue cellophane. I pretend I am from Neptune. I forget what I did yesterday. The faded chair in the corner is the distant Sun.

I am alone. As I smooth the cellophane, it whispers in a familiar tongue. It speaks of synthetic rubies and silence. Atoms like red raindrops. Chemistry.

Decay.

There is a skylight: I can feel the moonlight. There is someone here, listening.

“Are we underwater?” he asks.

“Yes,” the cellophane rustles.

“Have you seen a dog?”

I am alone. It is quiet. There is no dog.

There is no dog.

* * *

“I think you should befriend the ghost. He can rattle your charm bracelet and keep you company.” Chloë gently pulls the silver frog on my bracelet. The tinkling sounds like the warning clank of kitchen knives. Chloë smiles at me, but her pale eyes seem strange.

“Charm bracelets don’t rattle. Besides, you keep me company.” I dip my paintbrush into the nearby bucket. Saffron has asked us to paint the front door red, for good luck. She seems ill at ease. At night, she paces the room and palms the doorknob, but she knows better than to open the door.

“What do you think the ghost does during the day?” Chloë twirls a silver tendril of hair around her finger and dabs at it with her paintbrush.

“I don’t know.” The ghost is opaque: a shadow with dark circles beneath dark eyes. Late at night, he calls out to us. No one speaks to him, but his voice haunts me.

“Do you think he can open the door?” Chloë asks.

“I don’t know.”

* * *

Today the cellophane walls remind me of marshmallows. I am alone. It is quiet.

I pretend I am from the moon. Orbiting gas giants echo across the stuffy room. I cannot feel my heart beat. I know he will come for me.

“If I were you, I would paint the door red,” he says.

I am alone. It is quiet. There is no door.

There is no door.

* * *

Saffron presses her palm into the wet paint, turns the doorknob, and walks into the void.

“Should we follow her?” Chloë asks.

“No. You know what will happen.”

Chloë toys with the silver spaniel on my charm bracelet and peers at me through hooded eyes. “Do I?”

I suddenly feel uneasy. I’ve forgotten the outside world, but I can recall certain sounds: a laugh; the strum of a guitar; the turn of a key; the tap of fingers upon a keyboard. “I remember another room.”

“Do you?”

“Let’s follow her,” I say.

“Don’t leave me,” the ghost whispers.

I turn toward the familiar voice, but I find my own shadow, dim in the bright light streaming through the skylight.

I look back at Chloë, but she is gone.

* * *

I am alone. It is quiet.

I pretend I am in a padded cell. The red paint on the door bubbles in the pre-dawn gloom. I feel as though reality has shifted. Why am I here? What has brought me here? What keeps me here? Will turning the knob burn my hand?

Late at night, I hear Chloë and Saffron. “Come with us,” they whisper. Sometimes I hear a dog barking very far away.

The ghost keeps me company. I can almost feel him rattle my charm bracelet. The tinkling sounds like a passing streetcar.

Outside, it is raining. The droplets drum against the skylight. Tiny atoms like silver waves. Strange music. The unknown.

What is real? I only know that I am alone.

Cracka Smile

She declares it good

Misty Rampart

She does it with her mouth: the talking or the not talking,
the smiling.

She seems to say more than she does
and of course you
fall for it—
the hunter is the game,
she takes from me
and from all the
other girls
when she whips you
into her fantasy,
declares it good,
you don’t argue,
somehow
you
manage
to manage
your
guilt.

She’s just an archetype you say to yourself
as she’s busy sucking,
squealing, fussing,
two pigs—flesh conjoined—
and you wonder
how many women
have lived and died
this way
since the very beginning?

She declares it good.
You don’t argue.

A Dream   by Jayne Marek

Mingus V

Kyle Hemmings

In the post-apocalytpic dawn, Mingus walks down streets of dirty glass-eyed homeless, bottles of Old Texas Pistil Water & Gunk, echoes of bird-to-tiger couplings from the open windows of 3rd class Limbo Hotels, the slow burn of irradiated nights. No e-beam intended. Mingus is young but old inside. He has swallowed nails to protest the hunger of the living. He is amateur detective and post-psychedelic cub scout with one cheek bandaged in the shape of an X. He is one of us, the generation of slow scavenger withdrawl, dark-alley, green-eye blight, not meant to survive. In his head, the metallic ring of a woman with machine parts: Please stay the night. Like so many of us hiding in post-club hype and drape, he is looking for the father who had him through a woman’s slippery coasts, then abandoned him to the post-war after-dark overlooked on S-game boxes. The father, he’s been told, can unlock a million DNA mutations and bathing-ape recessive tendencies. There are distant voices laughing. There are rolling tin cans that contain microwavable secrets. There is the open city in the shape of a girl’s softly-creased deceptive hands. Despite the tendency towards meltdown, there is still need. There is still time, what little of it, to unlock and mate.

Bamboo and Mike Milazzo

dealer’s choice

Allie Marini Batts

give me a scene, she asked,
these three words don’t challenge me anymore.

let’s build a house from nothing,
an endless font of discreet failures and little deaths inside,
cards are our architecture,  as well as our game.

You may hold the deck, but there’s an Ace up my sleeve.
I’ll cut it, while you deal—and you’ll do it in style;
I’ll just have to trust that you’re dealing it straight,
the same way you’ll have to trust that I’m not counting the cards
as you fan them out in front of me.

I don’t question why the house always wins—
because, where’s the sport in that—after all,
it’s not difficult to erect a house of cards from
a fictional scene or three words,
it’s only hard to keep it standing
while I lose everything I put on the table
to build it.

Urban Decay   by William CurrieR

iEnd

iDrew

this rubble strewn romance debris of
broken promises infested by love
rats gnawing at subsidence talk
as if this was an excuse
            you’re just a boy cunt
this is what you do
to turn your head away and say
     babe gotta blow
     the dandelion clock says it’s time for work
you think i don’t know your game
and know that your
daisy chain incarcerates me
into the bastille of submission
locked
listen honey we need to talk about us
if you don’t want me that’s fine
i’ll get over it no fuss
in fact i’m fed up of your
hissy fits and spats so let’s get this sorted
now
‘cos there’s no way yer gonna mess with
this girl cunt’s cunt
it’ll be like fucking my heart
that wrecking ball has had its final swing
house music rhythms that leave annotations on sheets
footnotes of our citadel in bits on the ground
the demolition of us
loaded
into a keepsake shoebox with ticket
stubs photo booth snaps and a pressed
buttercup’s lacklustre all buried
under my bed
the remains being stains and dust
but then you’re just a boy cunt
you make war not love
            the end

Bamboo featuring Kid Lucky

Reruns

Kevin Ridgeway

high noon and time for syndication to materialize
from the hissing snow of the television screen,
sitting here in sweat-drenched pajamas thumbing
the volume to hear the wail of Mary Tyler Moore’s screams,
adjust the color to give Bob Newhart a crisp tan
and muting the barrage of Chia Pets and rotating scooters
for the elderly and disabled,

men in suits throwing money
in the air like useless confetti extolling the virtues
of second mortgages and cash advances,
their eyes pinned by delusion and frenzy,

the studio audiences mere recordings of the laughter
of long dead crowds, wailing at stale jokes that
took ten people to write and only one take for the
silver-haired hucksters of sitcoms past to recite
their nicotine yellow fingers shining in the
candy color of ancient film processing,

dogs saving black and white boys from drowning
and sullen character clowns moving from show to show,
faces as anonymous as your own alone here in the
darkness of this dungeon of unemployment checks
and ramen noodles hanging from three-week beards,

these wretched fantasies flickering at swollen
daydream eyes that are still searching for meaning
in the empty explosion of media that has taken over the
world like evil atomic supermen burying voices with
their rippling muscles,

your own voice destined to be one of those many dead
ones in the audience, laughing when you’re told to
laugh as your spine is stolen and used to build
a billionaire’s mansion with all of the other spines
of people like you:  frightened and alone
in the dark, the glow painting your face
a ghoulish blue

Mingus VII

Kyle Hemmings

His mother is made of false alarm clocks and internal slant rhyme schemes. Cracked ceramic thrush-heart, desolate and spectre-gray, piece mold undone by evensong. She pleads with him to not search for the father who abandoned them to small rooms and disassociated metrics. Mingus is standing shakily in the axis mundi of the afternoon. He won’t bracket or break. He won’t squeak or throw another tantrum over his fragile WHYY syndrome [Covert type]. Due to melted plastic leanings, she will smile at the monster shaped masks she finds in store windows. In conversations with under-dubbed East End celebrities, she says Wedding dresses are so worn at the Wong. Tawny dogs die in green sing-song rains. Nobody ever does the post-war giggle and fade-out. At a bar that serves Bubonic Burp, she never never lets on that she knows that the wire girls are all gender-neutered. In a big-base kalasha, she boils her fears even though her artificial eye keeps falling out by its tiny spring.

Rowan Galagher

Losing You

Brida Kuhs

I could never get that man out of my mind. He was many things. A criminal, an artist, a Gemini. Mine. To me, he was the whole damn world.

I felt so alive the day that I found him. I’d been searching for that exact feeling, whiskey didn’t do it, no, cocaine didn’t do it. He did. He was euphoria. A rainbow mix, fizzing on metal. He was my exhalation of everything I hated about myself.

And I knew him innately from the first moment, I knew the way he moved, the nuances of his character, the strength of his hands and the smell of his skin. He could hold me with his eyes, resurrect me with his presence, deliver me from my sins with all of his, and God, he had them.

I loved them all.

All my life I had prepared for him. There was never a doubt that I would find him. In the past I had met candidates for his role, but they were just projections of my desperation for him. I hungered for him and nothing could satisfy me, I burned my life into the ground, I decimated relationships, ravaged my body and wracked my soul screaming for him in the dark because I couldn’t see, I couldn’t be complete.

And then he just was, and I sighed, and my skin warmed and my eyes felt like dew. He was beauty. His hands had taken life, his breath had given me mine.

Peace.

Every conversation I had ever had in my life felt like practice for the ones we would have together. He was a powerful, passionate wordsmith, his conviction enflamed me, love dripped from his tongue to quench me and I drank his sorrows and desires every hour, every day, until he was me, and I was him.

In everything I did, he was with me. I felt him inside me, he was my bones, my heart was his champion and I fought for him. My teeth grew sharp and my nerves grew steady, I was no longer afraid, if I could barely stand, I would have stood up for him, I would have killed for him.

If he ever left me, I would have left myself to rot.

Sometimes we didn’t even speak. We just existed together in the same place at the same time, at last, finally, in a moment that no-one else was having, that no-one else was a part of. They were never a part of it.

The first time I saw him, it was the end for me, the end of anything that could hurt or please, or rival in my senses. He woke me up, threw me into motion, became my senses themselves. I saw him through glass, and it was the closest we would ever be.

In so many ways I died for him. There were times I could have saved myself but I was finding God in his jawline. We were a pair of sloe eyed geniuses, masters of our reality. Our connection gave us access to other worlds, worlds where we would come together in our dreams and our bodies would meet like grease on tin with desperation and our words would flow freely without speech in an electrifying transfer of energy.

He would draw me in many ways, the ways he saw me. I was his angel and his downfall. He saw me as glowing, and I glowed. He saw me as beautiful, and I was. He was rainy afternoons and summer evenings, he was damp hair and soft skin, he was all mouth and eyes and intensity. I saw the world for both of us, and I smiled in it’s face, for why would I not.

His voice was always there with me, not a world away waiting to die. I spoke softly to him because nobody had done so in years. We were two nobodies from nowhere with a single chord of feeling stretched across the world. I imagined it, our personal frequency level, winding through streets of people working and fighting and drinking under neon lights. All of their frequencies buzzed to me, they were electric yellow and sparkling. Ours was a soft calm glow above their heads.

In a sense, I loved him simply. It was not bound by condition, convention, or even reason; it just was, and I could do nothing to stop it.

For years, our love waged a dangerous war on the world. I was being eaten alive by a passion that made the touch of anything but his skin so unsatisfactory that it was almost completely pointless. I wanted to become him, to melt into him and live within his sinuous frame, to be permanently engulfed in him with no foreign interference. But as with any war, there is tragedy on both sides, it is unavoidable, destruction breeds destruction, and I had broken down every boundary I had ever known.

He was no longer there. And I felt as though a limb had been unceremoniously hacked from my body, as though huge chunks of my internal make up had been ripped free, and the essence of me had been left to survive in their lack. I was living without a part of myself.

And it was worse than before. Because I had seen him. I had known him. And I had lost him.

I knew completion. It was almost more than my senses could bear. It was the most beautiful ascension that a human could make from within their bodily confines, and it destroyed me. Every day, I cry for him. I have lost everything of myself but the part that holds on to him, the part that sees him in my dreams, smells him on my flesh and hears his voice from the mouths of others, carrying his presence foreward because their own means nothing.

For you fell away from me so long ago, but I am still losing you every day.

Feel the Cold   by William CurrieR

The Estuary Road

Jayne Marek

Just past a stump, gravel curved out to push the water away.  Dusk led the empty road into blue wash.  Because in wet country the sky is one color, the shoreline made of weeds and pebbles stretched and clenched to pierce and pool a darkness of varying shades.  A disturbance, then. Sound of water cornering suddenly, gulping.  Not fright but alone. Men can sit quiet evenings in cars with a door open if the dome light has been switched off.    She had seen glimmering a six-set of plastic rings circling nothing.  A twelve- foot-high dam slopes upward almost out of sight where trees wait in gray mist.  When her vision swims uncertainly and she cannot focus there is turbulence to her left in the river where it narrows.  White cuffs in water rise and sink.  A washing.  Black socks rolling around each other and moving toward the opposite bank were four river otters who knew she was there but played anyway.  Knowing her presence.  This time it is good dark.  She has left the car forty yards away.  She is an hour in the night.  She is gone after that.  Someone can be cruel and she had to decide.  In the mind of a salmon, home is up a fish ladder.

* * *

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