Issue #6

(January/February 1995)

Boy on Rope Swing -#6 Cover

cover drawing by Ferrilyn Sourdiffe

 

Table of Contents

full or partial text is availablefor highlighted items

Stories

Poetry

 

(Updated July 9, 1996)


© Copyright 1995 EchoesMagazine

All stories, poems, and drawings are protected by copyright andmay not be reproduced, in whole or in part, in any form, by copyingor by any electronic or mechanical means, without written permissionfrom Echoes Magazine. Individual stories and poems are also copyrightby their authors; drawings are copyright by Echoes Magazine and bythe artists.


Mi Raza

by Leora Najera
 

following is a brief excerpt from thestory:

 . . . . Instead of waiting for my sisters, I head home, stopping off at a secluded river bank just down the path from my home. I sit on the dry bank, closing my eyes, listening to the river bubble and gurgle. Taking off my shoes and shirt, I roll up the cuffs on my pants and step into the water. Feeling the mud seep between my toes, I reflect on what my godfather told me when I turned eight.

Sitting on his lap, the delicate sun setting into the ridges of the range ahead, he told me of our family's struggle. He told me of the men who died, the women who were raped, the children who brought happiness, and the life he dreamt for me. He told me of life in the United States; the equality and prosperity I would find here. While he spoke of this promised land, I studied his dark, wrinkled hands, powerful and huge, the earth dried underneath his nails, and my tiny hands within his. Chills run up my spine as I think of him-as I think of the way he died. Trying to cross the border with us. Only to die at the hands of a man with a gun, a man trying to keep this promised land pure.

The water is suddenly cold and my feet have gone numb. I open my eyes to realize that the sun has set. . . . .

Alejandro at the river (

illustration by Ferrilyn Sourdiffe

© 1994 Leora Najera

Leora Najera attends the Naropa Institute in Boulder,Colorado, and plans to enter their writing and poetics program in1996. She also works full-time as the manager of an espresso bar inLongmont. In her spare time, she raises herbs, writes, and reads.Leora's current favorite writer is Alice Walker, "whose poetryinspires me and breaks my heart." (12/94)

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St. Joseph's Lilies

by Lois Beebe Hayna
 

I came back because of
the lilies -- scarlet
against tangling green, a color bright
as a stab of pain.

Nothing grew for me, nothing
I planted. I wanted
nostalgic flowers, frail
and fragrant lilacs, sweet peas,
the crisp
tulips of northern springs.

You never noticed how
native plants overran all
my tended seedlings. The lilies
ripped open the soil
overnight.

I stopped planting, stopped
trying. I sat on my heels and let
flowers I didn't
recognize
take over -- wisteria's
lavender lace, flowering pomegranate
hibiscus, crape myrtle.
And the lilies that
bring me back.

They are here, but between us,
as always. Our days
grouped into decades. I belonged
in none of them. I turn, and a pair
of mockingbirds ruptures
into flight. Lilies, in spite of
the bleach of change, ache
with the red I remember.

I came back. I wanted at last
to say that our years were not
empty of blossom.
The lilies stun me to silence.
I cannot
lie to the dead.

St. Joseph's Lilies

illustration by Ferrilyn Sourdiffe

© 1994 Lois Beebe Hayna

Lois Beebe Hayna has three published collections of poetry: ABook of Charms, Never Trust a Crow, and Northern Gothic.The state of Colorado awarded her a literary fellowship in 1984, andshe is active in Poetry West, a group of working poets based inColorado Springs. She has been published recently in The EleventhMuse and The Onion River Review.(12/94)

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The Moose on the Barroom Wall

by The Lone Driver
 

following is a brief excerpt from thestory:

He hung on the wall over the bandstand, staring through a haze of cigarette smoke at the opposite wall where the bartender's rifle hung, the instrument of his death and the last thing he remembered seeing in his former life. He was one of the largest bulls who foraged the swamps of northern Maine, enjoying the trill of redwing blackbirds, the cry of loons, and the slush of cool water about his hooves, with only the whine of a distant chain saw to remind him of man.

I saw him there on a rowdy Friday night at the River Styx Saloon in Rough and Ready, South Dakota. It was happy hour, and a heavy spring rain had chased the ranchers and construction workers indoors early. Loud-talking men, they bought each other shots that burned all the way down, shots bordering on poison, now offered as tokens of love and solidarity.

I had stopped for a beer and had busied my mind staring at a gallon glass jar of pickled eggs before me on the bar, contemplating the very origins of life itself. I imagined tiny sperm cells swimming through the purple juice, seeking the membrane of a single egg. What mystery, what potential, what great deeds, as well as sins, are unleashed at that very moment of conception. And most of all, what stories. I turned on my bar stool and stared back at the giant moose. He had a story. Let him tell it in his own words.

Moose on the Barrom Wall

The Moose's Tale

I'll give it to you straight and simple. I'm a moose. I was shot near the town of Rangeley, Maine, by the man who now stands behind the bar. They call him Tiny. He has little in the way of hair and carries his enormous beer belly with effort and pride. He cut off my head, and he and some others ate my flesh. My head was taken to a local taxidermist, where my brains were scraped out and replaced with a synthetic little better than packing peanuts. My neck was stabilized with a wood frame through which large bolts were set for hanging me on the wall.

That was some fifteen years ago, and I hung there until one eventful rainy night. Let me pause in my narrative to ask you if you're bothered by my ability to communicate as a dead animal. I have a little fact for you. Matter can neither be created nor destroyed. I might also add a little quotation from one of your best known playwrights: "There are more things in Heaven and on Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophies." If you're still bothered...get over it. . . . .

Shack-on-back

© 1994 The Lone Driver

illustrations by Ferrilyn Sourdiffe

The Lone Driver gave up his home in suburban New Jerseysome years ago, and took to the road in a pickup camper, in anongoing search for adventure and knowledge. He made his first publicappearance as a regular feature on WMMT-Radio, in Whitesburg,Kentucky. The Lone Driver is a regular feature of Echoes, and we lookforward to reading about more of his experiences in future issues.(12/94)

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Tuskegee

by Chris Curtiss

 
This cornerstone was set by his hands.
It marks the northwest corner of the first building
and it lies beneath so many red bricks.
God's clay was pulled from wet bowls
in the red Georgian earth and it was
shaped, dried and baked into the pieces
that would become Tuskegee.
The earth from which it came was made red,
the tale says, from the spilled blood of slaves.

He conducts their rise, the buildings, one by one
in neat rows where the white clothed young men
and young women will learn their trades: textiles,
carpentry, machinery, and masonry.
Tomorrow he will shine again in the beating sun
as he lays the squares, each a step toward
a thousand future black souls.

But today is Sunday and under that cross,
which he helped straighten with rope and secure with nail,
under that cross his hands will be clasped
and a robed tempest of song will take his
and every other believer's spine like a kite string.
Today he is a smile and he is sweat and he is satin
and he is a mason for his people.

© 1994 Chris Curtiss

Chris Curtiss is a junior at the University of Oregon inEugene. The twenty-five-year-old computer science and art majorwrites poetry about people he's met and things he's experienced.Chris says he may have a new hobby -- wallpapering his room withrejection notices he received prior to publication in Echoes.(12/94)

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