Issue #10

(November/December 1995)

the cover is based on the drawing by FerrilynSourdiffe for "An Island"

Table of Contents

full or partial text is availablefor highlighted items

Stories

Poetry

 

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.


An Island

by Samantha Friel

 

A piece of green onion
floating in a drink. The table
shakes and it falls deeper
into the icy froth, a foreign

speck in sweet golden quicksand.
Something that just doesn't

belong there. She nudges it
with the straw; it silently
falls deeper into the chilly glass.

Around her rage loud voices,
empty laughter, the strobe-lit
nameless music pressing against
the core, into her mind and
it all surrounds her like

an amaretto stone sour.


illustration by Ferrilyn Sourdiffe

(the cover wasalso based on this drawing)

 

© Copyright 1995 Samantha Friel

Samantha Friel is a law student who writes poetry and doesreadings in her spare time. She has been writing poems for severalyears and has recently been published in White Sands PoetryReview and Strong Coffee, among others. Samantha namesWallace Stevens, Albert Goldbarth, and Elizabeth Bishop as importantinfluences. (9/95)

[Table of Contents]


The Race to Darlington

by Tiffany Patrick

 

Following is a brief excerpt from thestory:

When she's not at the track in her fire suit and crash helmet, Emma Jean wears a blue terry cloth robe and an old pair of black combat boots with no laces. That's what she had on the day the telegram came from Heaven:
TO: EMMA JEAN NINE, CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS
FROM: PERCY M. NINE, HEAVEN, GEORGIA
MAMA IS DEAD STOP NO NEED TO COME HOME STOP

"A damn telegram. That old bastard never went out of his way for anyone."

She crumbled up the thin yellow paper and threw it on the floor. I didn't know what to say, so I said nothing, but just watched as she sat in her favorite chair with her eyes closed. Suddenly, she snatched up the keys to her car, Number Ten, slammed the screen door behind her and sped off. Around daybreak the next morning she appeared, walking across the front yard towards the house. I looked all around for Number Ten, but Mama's pride and joy, her double-digit hunk of pure hellfire, as she called it, was nowhere. Things were bad.

The day after Number Ten disappeared, Mama walked home from the track with a sign that read, "Regret Sucks" and hung it up over the radio in the hall. When I got home from school, she was sitting on the floor with a cigar in her mouth, staring at the sign.

regret sucks

"Cloud," she muttered, "Regret sucks and, Honey, I love you." It scared me the way she said it.

Cloud. I was born the week before Mama drove in her first international race. Buddy, Mama's best friend, said she was so excited about the upcoming race she hardly even realized she'd had a girl until afterwards. As for my name, Buddy says I should just be happy I wasn't born a boy. Either way, he says, "That child was gonna be named Cloud. After all, look who did the naming."

Emma Jean grew up in a little town called Heaven, just north of the Georgia-Florida state line. She says she knew from the time she was a little girl she was meant to be someone famous, and more than anything she wanted to be a race car driver. Her first taste of speed came the day she learned to ride a bicycle without training wheels. She got to going so fast down Cumberland Hill she couldn't stop and hit a passenger train head-on. The train was parked. In fact, it was abandoned. She just fell in love with speed.

. . .

I've heard it told that Mama did not care much for society's rules when she lived in Heaven, and she still doesn't. The fact that Buddy was black seemed bad enough to the Christian folks of Heaven. But when she started racing cars she became a complete outcast. Behind the wheel of a car, however, none of that bothered her. She wore her helmet like a crown. . . .

 

© Copyright 1995 Tiffany Patrick

illustrated by Peter Carini

Tiffany Patrick lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts, whereshe and her family own and operate a consulting firm. Tiffany istwenty-six and has been writing for ten years. Her imagination,travels, and the incredible people she has encountered inspire her towrite. Tiffany has written many short stories and is currentlyworking on both a novel and a screenplay.(9/95)

[Table of Contents]


Woman

by Leora Najera

I turn it on
the images
too fast
I can't shut my eyes
if I blink I might miss
something

Women in millisecond images
dictate to me
mold me into who They want me to be
who i can't be
BEAUTY
Blond, Blue-Eyed propaganda
estimating my worth
measured in pounds and inches
what should be here isn't what shouldn't be is
i shouldn't be eating this
Sara Lee forced me to buy her pie...

The Woman smiles -- Maybe It's Maybelline
Her vicious grin, gleaming, pouty lips painted red
with politically-correct, all-natural lipstick --
never, ever tested on animals
that would be baaaadd
we use girls instead -- just as expendable, try one as a pet
So i eat another cookie

Coquettishly She blinks -- eyes so Blue
baby Blue
lined with charcoal
dressed with mascara
colored with contacts
Her eyes are really brown -- baby...brown?
The ice cream starts to melt, dripping down my chin

Hair so golden, no roots, all natural
long, curly, shiny and oh, so manageable
full of Body and -- you use Suave??

The pint is gone, Ben and Jerry would be
Proud
So would Dominos and Oreos,
Winchells and Cheetos
Burger King and Wendy's
and Especially Sara Lee

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful

excuse me, i have to go throw up

illustrationby Ferrilyn Sourdiffe

© Copyright 1995 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." (9/95)

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Bowling the Cosmos

by Kari Sharp hill

 

Following is a brief excerpt from thestory:

 I would have bet there wasn't anyone left in Martin, Washington, who hadn't already been inspired, one way or another, by Dad's conversion story. I was surprised when Brother Stevens asked Dad to tell it again, at both services.

That Sunday, I begged my friend Susie to come to church with me. Susie's not exactly religious. She puts all her faith in what she refers to as "the Cosmos." Once, Dad overheard our conversation and started in with his spiel about worshiping idols. I told him Susie meant "Cosmo's," like Cosmopolitan, the magazine.

Then he wanted Susie to come to church with us on a regular basis. She told him she was a practicing Catholic.

"You shouldn't lie to my father," I told her later.

"I didn't lie, Ronnie."

"Since when are you Catholic?"

Susie shot me this exasperated expression. "Remember last spring when I tried out for the part of Liesel in The Sound of Music?"

"Yeah."

"I bet I crossed myself six-hundred and forty-three times while rehearsing."

"But Maria's the nun."

"I know that." Susie released a deep, patient breath. "I'm a method actress." She sighed. "I had to feel Catholic to get into Liesel's character."

"That's not the same as being Catholic."

"I told your dad I was a practicing Catholic." Susie grinned. "I practiced a whole bunch."

My mother died when I was a baby. A few years later, Dad had his conversion experience. He's told his conversion story at least a million times since. Whenever people from other churches used to knock on the door, all literature and friendly faces, Dad would invite them in.

He'd go to the phone table in the hall and select a few of the biblical tracts he keeps there. He'd fan them out like a winning hand and rejoin his guests/victims in the living room.

"Put a pot of decaf on," he'd whisper to Grandma. She'd raise an eyebrow toward her own Heaven and put on a pot of coffee. I'd hide out in the kitchen with her, . . .

Ronnie & Susie bury the evidence
illustration by Ferrilyn Sourdiffe

© Copyright 1995 Kari Sharp hill

Kari Sharp hill thirty-eight years old and has lived inWashington state all her life. For the past ten years, she has been"visiting a place inside her head where her characters lounge on deepcouches and wait for her to notice them." She has been published inOre East, Left Bank, and a number of other magazines; in 1991she was a Fishtrap Fellow. (9/95)

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Gifts from Nature

by Robert K. Johnson

 

I've seen mountains domed in snow
in June, and the rippling sunlight
a tide's surf poured over sand,

but neither gave me what I gained
the day I ran from rooms
that echoed another quarrel

between my parents -- ran
until, at the edge of town,
I came to a vacant lot

that had returned to trees
and bushes. Entering,
I halted only when

surrounded by walls of leaves,
then sprawled on a mat of moss
while the circle of green silence

eased my muscles so completely
I was afraid I would
unwind to nothing. Instead,

I touched a calm as still
as sunlight in a room
sealed tight from chilling winds.

© Copyright 1995 Robert K. Johnson

Robert K. Johnson, sixty-three, is a professor of Englishat Suffolk University in Boston. He has been writing poetry "fordecades" and has also written essays, critical articles, and studiesof the work of Neil Simon and Francis Ford Coppola. Robert namesRobert Frost, Howard Nemerov, and William Matthews among his favorite20th-century American poets. (9/95)

[Table of Contents]


Burn Out

by Doug Rennie

 

Following is a brief excerpt from thestory:

"Hey, Freddie!" Ernie and Kyle, Freddie's best pals, yelled outside the window of his second-story bedroom. "Get your stuff and meet us down by the creek. Larry and them said they'd be the Japs today."

Freddie finished tying the laces on his old pair of PF Flyers -- didn't want to get the new ones dirty -- and walked to the window. "Wait up, you guys!" he hollered. "I'm comin' right down. We'll march over to the creek like a real rifle squad. OK? Wait up." In seconds, he was down the stairs.

One day, Freddie Stevens thought as he opened the front door and sprinted onto the porch, one day I'm gonna be a real soldier. Or maybe a Marine. Like that blind John Garfield firing away at Japanese soldiers swarming at him like bees. Or Sergeant Jake Stryker yelling "saddle up" to his platoon in Sands of Iwo Jima, or Van Johnson blasting Nazis in the Belgian snow in Battleground -- or even Gregory Peck bringing his limping Flying Fortress and wounded crew safely home in Twelve O'Clock High.

Heroes.

Earlier that morning Freddie had stretched out on his bed and looked up at the model planes that hung from the ceiling. I'm only twelve, he thought. What if there's no war when I grow up? He closed his eyes and tried not to think about it. . . . . .

 

© Copyright 1995 Doug Rennie

Doug Rennie taught American and European history fortwenty-seven years before he moved to Portland in 1992 and startedwriting full-time. "I started writing stories when I was ten or so,"he says. "The instant I finished one, I'd take it to my grandmotherand watch her face as she read it. That's why I write: to tellstories that affect those who read them."(9/95)

[Table of Contents]


Lily Pond

by Carlanda Green Cohen

 

As I wait again by the Wu-t'ung tree,
lily pads eddy in the small pond
you built before leaving me to sleep
alone.

Golden koi drift in the cool shade
of lily roots as I once
curled in the curve
of your arm.

Last night, I dreamed of floating
down the river Chan
on a sampan,
its white sails covered with cassia
flowers and the scent
of your slender arms.

 

Lily Pond
illustration by Vicky Perry

 

© Copyright 1995 Carlanda GreenCohen

Carlanda Green Cohen recently retired after teaching formany years in Albany, Georgia. She now writes poetry and teachesyoga. Her poetry has appeared in California Quarterly, TreasureHouse, Potomac Review, and a number of other magazines.(9/95)


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