The battered suitcase ju.., p.1
The Battered Suitcase July 2008, p.1Battered Suitcase
The Battered Suitcase
Volume One - Issue Two
Published by Vagabondage Press LLC
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The Battered Suitcase - (c) July 2008
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The Battered Suitcase
Volume 1 - Issue 2 - July 2008
Letter from the Editor
Joe, Ham and Eggs - Lucie Bar?t
A Gypsy's Clip - William de Rham
Poetry by Colette Jonopulos
Altar of Melancholy
Three Forms of Indecision
Poetry by Colin James
Incomprehensible is a Good Word
The Insurrection of a Pick-up Line
Be Still, My Little Aphrodisiacs
Poetry by David LaBounty
no romance or flowers and this is what you get
Artwork by Samantha Keely Smith
The Red Shoes - E.S. Parkinson
Mark Tonight - Eric McKinley
Poetry by Duane Locke
Yang Chu's Poems #317
Yang Chu's Poems #318
Milk - Melanie Haney
Artwork by Dmitry Fesechko
Beholder of the Night
Departed by the Road to Heaven
The Last Sign of the Past
Lyrics by Toy Horses
Gareth by Moist Bamboo
Charity Shop by Adam Franklin-Williams
But What About The Future by Moist Bamboo
The Lost Art of Funerals - Lynne Hinkey
Poetry by Joseph Goosey
Cigarette Mouth, Rainy Tile Floors
Triptych - Michael Mirolla
Poetry by Kat Lillian Steiger
Perceptive Norm - Malachey
Artwork by Doug Sundling
Moonrise Over Misty Bay
Tree in Meadow of Yellow Flowers
Twilight on Visionscape
The Punk and the Princess - Stephanie Davies
Lord of the Trash - Sarah MacManus
Poetry by Richard Fein
Schrodinger's Litter Box
Poetry by Suchoon Mo
Gross Domestic Product
She Never Sat By Me
One Loud Mouth
Artwork by Randy Getty
Birds of Rangoon
Streets of Rangoon
Hanoi in the Rain 2
Hanoi in the Rain
West Meets East
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The Battered Suitcase Staff
Volume 1 - Issue 1
Letter from the Editor
The Art of Being Human
The Battered Suitcase focuses on literature, poetry, and art that explores the human experience - for it is our stories that make us human.
From the earliest moments of our history, human beings have been sharing stories - defining in each moment of time who we are, what we are and what we're capable of. In a world filled with danger, our ability to share knowledge and wisdom through narrative may perhaps have been the only survival edge we ever had.
Humanity is not defined by its shape, the number of its legs or the color of its fur. It is defined by those thing that are only recognizable to other humans; the ideal of compassion, the practice of tolerance, the monster of rage, the paralysis of fear and the necessity of love. And it is our stories that teach us how to recognize them.
In the second issue of The Battered Suitcase, performer and poet Lucie Bar?t serves up a breakfast of eggs and angst in Joe, Ham and Eggs. E.S. Parkinson paints a stark portrait of birth and death in The Red Shoes while Eric McKinley reminds us that in love, like comedy, timing is everything. Award-winning author Melanie Haney portrays a grief-stricken mother and her ritual for redemption in Milk. Michael Mirolla's Triptych silver-plates the clouds of madness and Malachey's humorous Perceptive Norm offers a new perspective on the old tag line "A world turned upside down". Stephanie Davies reminisces on adolescent regrets and Sarah MacManus draws a fine line between lust and passion in a tale of art and angst in the Midwest.
Lyrical contributors this month are Adam Franklin-Williams and Moist Bamboo of Welsh acoustical pop group Toy Horses whose refrains run the emotional scale of heart-breaking pathos to whimsical self-satire.
Poetry selections for July include the editor of Tiger's Eye poetry journal, Colette Jonopulos. as well as novelist David LaBounty, philosopher Duane Locke, Colin James, Joseph Goosey, Kat Lillian Steiger, Richard Fein and the Senryu-like gems from poet and composer Suchoon Mo.
Each contributor featured in the July issue takes a turn at giving the reader a glimpse into the human condition. Different voices, different viewpoints, all a part of the story that is the human experience.
"Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it." ~ Hannah Arendt
Joe, Ham and Eggs
The kettle starts its grumbling and spluttering almost as soon as Tatum switches the life into it. Her brows draw together in anxious union as she moves to the kitchen door to ease it soundlessly shut. It's the time of the morning when life seems deafeningly loud, perhaps because the solitude seems almost sacred. It's the time of the day that Tatum likes to herself; she likes to gather herself... she likes to be the only one conscious to hear the sounds of everyday lurch into action.
On this particular morning, at this particular time, the sounds of her life gearing up are in danger of being snatched by a youngish man languishing in her uncomfortable futon bed. A youngish man of 30 odd years (the specifics having not been accurately exchanged), 30 odd years and the name Joe, a rather distressed pair of once indigo jeans, a faded T-shirt (black and white striped), a very strong probability of a hangover and a love of Brazilian films. As far as Tatum knew, this is what Joe already possessed - whether he was in the habit of enjoying private, early mornings, she did not know.
She felt imprisoned in her kitchen, moving about in careful, pantomime motions so as to preserve the quiet, re-file her thoughts and maintain the equilibrium of her sanity. She could not at this moment-this ritualistic, intimate moment-decide whether or not she actually wanted a 30 (odd) year old boyman with questionable clothing decisions and a love of foreign films snoring through the duvet her aunt had bought her for Christmas. She didn't know if she was numbed enough to be reckless or relaxed enough to be open to someone, or whether she just w
She felt a lurch in her stomach and an involuntary shudder domino down her spine. Now she was feeling repulsion for the invited intruder. Now she was feeling annoyance at herself and the way she was feeling; the inevitable inconsistency of her behaviour as she'd guiltily usher him from the house avoiding all self-examination of her unintelligible emotions. Hating herself for not understanding her self - hating herself for being so earth shatteringly terrified of the one thing she craved. Oh dear. The kettle climaxed and the flurry of steam and gurgles began to subside. The decision Tatum had reached required instant action. She had decided the best thing to do was make breakfast.
The reliable fall-back of activity often managed to bury any internal rebellion. She thrust herself into motion flinging back cupboards and clattering through the cutlery drawer. The new plan was to be innocently loud so as to penetrate Joe's slumber. To be mid-activity when he squinted into the kitchen half dressed, ruffling his hair, drawn to the bustle of his missing bed-mate. She had a strong position in this role of offering breakfast, if only she'd thought to dress first, she could avert any misconception?that they'd be taking?a post breakfast tumble in the sheets.
Tatum tried to rein her thoughts back from despair as she smacked eggs against the lip of a Pyrex jug. She felt disgusted at her inward lack of cool as she unsheathed the eggs from their shells and snatched up a folk with which to beat them around in time to her mind:
"There's something wrong with you Tatum, there is something really wrong..."
She just wanted space back. Just the lonely click of?the kettle as it reheated the water for a second cup of coffee... just her thoughts clanging around an empty kitchen? nobody to challenge her fragile grip on herself or the handy distance of her dreams.
But not this tarnished morning. No. This was the beginning of yet another mistake to be quickly aborted, erased and rewound. This was to be another afternoon sat alone berating herself for her rash?impulse and immense lack of judgement. This was going to be a day spent cleansing herself once Joe had been extradited from?her house, the egg pan had been washed and the ham been consumed.
Maybe she'd call her friends and wash the experience away in a bar. Yes, that's what she needed; a night out with her friends, a night out in her comfort zone, a night soaked with whiskey and possibility where her spirit felt free. Maybe she'd meet somebody to take her mind off herself, to engage her from her loneliness... maybe... She just had to get through this morning and eat her breakfast: Joe, ham and eggs.
Lucie was raised by hippies and artists; growing up between Somerset, Hampshire and London. She then won a scholarship to drama school and started a theatre company with friends upon graduation. They managed to recruit Dame Judi Dench as a patron and the company is still successfully running... She has enjoyed a stage and film career, also writing, recording and touring as front woman for 'The Fay Wrays', before putting performance aside to concentrate on writing. She is currently working on a collection of poems, essays and prose for the charity MIND and also writing her second novel. More of her prose, poetry and music can be found online at myspace.com/lucienatashabarat and myspace.com/thefaywrays
A Gypsy's Clip
William de Rham
Under the coiled Chinese dragon and its great bumbershoot, I fought my brother, the colonel. I loved freedom. He worshipped Franco. I beat him bloody. He exiled me to America. I never saw or spoke with him again. Franco is gone. Most of the communists are too. Still, I miss my brother. ~ Vicente Diego
Amidst the bright light of seven a.m., Michael Olvidas flashed a grin at the hotel's doorman and made his entrance onto La Rambla. He did not see the frown of distaste cross the old portero's face.
It had rained only an hour ago, and though a spring sun now favored Barcelona, its streets still were wet. And the air was so cool - too cool for the sandals, black cargo shorts, and T-shirt Michael wore. But with his spiked blond hair, and the diamond stud in his ear, he thought himself quite the fashion plate. He turned up the collar of the black leather blazer Marci bought him in Florence and set off on his quest.
Marci had sent him to fetch tea and fresh-squeezed orange juice from La Boqueria, Barcelona's ancient market. He'd pled for room service. After a night of lovemaking ("one fabulous fuck-a-thon" Marci called it), that would have been romantic. And Marci had the dough. But she was "double-damned" if she'd pay her "left tit for hot water, a ten cent tea bag, and some fuckin' Valencia oranges!" Michael couldn't argue.
From an old woman's flower stand came the sweet smell of fresh-cut roses. The small parakeets and canaries she sold filled the bright air with song. As Michael passed, he saw the woman mount a rickety chair to hang a cage. One chair leg was shorter than the others and as she reached, she wobbled. Tongue between her teeth, she froze, steadied herself, and hung the cage. Then she carefully climbed down for another.
Michael almost stopped to help. I could hand her the cages, he thought, or hold the chair, or hang them myself. That would be the gentlemanly thing, what Abby-uh, uh, can't keep Marci waiting. Giving the woman his brightest grin, he quickened his pace.
He and Marci had strolled La Rambla only last night. Now, in the sunshine, he saw he hadn't seen a thing. He'd been too entranced by the lights and people of the outdoor cafes; plus the promise of paella, sangria, and four-star sex in their five-star hotel; plus the woman begging for money.
"Are y'all American?" she had asked. "Oh Gawd, please say y'all're Americans!"
Michael could tell she was from someplace south of the Mason-Dixon: Mississippi maybe, or Alabama.
"We are," he had answered, arrested by her thin but top-heavy figure and her flowing brown hair. Marci hooked her arm in his to pull him away.
"Well I'm American too and I need y'all's help. Someone stole my bag. And it had everthang in it. Passport, wallet, room key - everthang. I ain't eaten since yesterday and it's Memorial Day weekend and the embassy's closed. Can you help? Please? Just some Euros. Maybe ten? So's I can get something to eat? Everthang's so expensive here."
Michael couldn't think of anything worse than being stranded in a foreign city with nothing. As he dug into his pocket, Marci cut in: "Who you think you're talking to? Couple of hicks? We get that crap ten times a day back in New York! Only lots more original. Come on, Mickey."
By that time he'd had out his wad: some Euros and his ATM card clasped by the silver money clip from his grandfather. Stepping from the shadows, the woman eyed the money hungrily. She was much older than Michael first thought. Deep furrows creased the sides of her mouth and nose and yellow-gray streaks infested the hair he'd found so luxurious. And she smelled ripe, as if she hadn't bathed in days, as if she were decaying.
The woman's hand darted for Michael's money, revealing an arm pocked with festering needle marks. Marci drew back in disgust.
"Fuckin' junkie!" she spat. "Get the hell away from us, ya fuckin' junkie!"
"Please!" the woman cried. "I'm so hungry! Please, Mister?"
Michael looked down at his silver-clipped wad. The rod of Asclepius, the snake entwined staff that was the Greek symbol for the healing arts, glinted. He separated bills from the clip.
"Oh no!" Marci had cried. "We didn't work like dogs to have you throw it away on this loser. Come on." She pulled him towards their paella.
Two hours later, they saw the woman again, talking to another couple: same spiel-bag stolen and nowhere to go - but different accent and embassy. The woman's new targets wore identical T-shirts emblazoned with Britain's Union Jack. Now the woman affected the rounded tones of a Londoner and it was the British Embassy that was closed for Bank Holiday.
"See?" Marci said. "What'd I tell you? Just another junkie hustler! No different from New York. What'
The memory of it made his face burn. Again he quickened his pace.
He arrived at La Boqueria only to find it closed. As he stood before the tall, stained-glass entrance wondering what to do, a policeman approached.
"A las ocho, Se?or. A las ocho."
Confusion clouded Michael's face. He remembered only enough high school Spanish to ask for the bathroom.
"A las ocho, Se?or!" the officer insisted. "El mercado es cerrado hasta entonces. Vuelva a las ocho." He waved his hands to shoo Michael away, but Marci wanted tea and orange juice. Michael stood his ground, looking even more confused.
"He means you should go away now," spoke a hoarse voice behind him.
Michael turned to see an old man in a tan blazer and white shirt open at the throat. His yellow silk ascot and ivory-handled walking stick bespoke a man of refinement. But his hands told a different story. Gnarled and nicotine-stained, they ended in long, pointed nails rimmed with dirt. Michael appraised the man again. Short and stocky with rounded shoulders and rheumy, brown eyes, he reminded Michael of a small bear.
"The market opens at eight and the policeman says for you to come back then," the old man explained.
Michael turned to the officer and said "Gracias," which he pronounced, "grassy ass." The old man cringed as the policeman's face turned sullen. Clearly, he wanted to arrest Michael for his pronunciation. Instead, he grunted and went his way.
"Thank you," Michael said.
"My pleasure," the old man replied. "Perhaps you would care to join me for a coffee until the market opens? Then I can show you where to get the best deals."
The old man's gaze made Michael uncomfortable.
"Can't," he replied quickly. "Gotta' get back. Woman's waiting."
"Are you sure? There's so much I can show you. I know the best butchers. How would you like one of our fine Spanish hams? I can get you one for what we Barcelonans pay. If they think you're a tourist, someone in there might charge you double, maybe triple-"
"That's nice of you. But, I have to-"
"And the fruit! Anything you could hope for - figs, mangoes, pineapples-anything! Or maybe some flowers for your lady? They have all sorts of beautiful flowers in there. Look, you can see them setting them out."
The Battered Suitcase July 2008 by Battered Suitcase / History & Fiction have rating 3.8 out of 5 / Based on19 votes