by John Gorman

I was ten when my parents decided to let the Doyles raise me. Mom and Dad weren’t throwing in the towel, but preparing themselves. God forbid, they both died together.

We saw the Doyles a few times each summer. Their place was in Breezy Point, a blue-collar Irish and Italian-American community. There were plenty of boys my age to play with, but I liked spending time with the Doyles because, for the most part, they treated me like a grown-up.

Phil was painting the coffee table when we arrived, a newspaper tucked under his knees as he added the last brush strokes. He waved a big hello. He’d held me in greater deference since I caught him smoking an American Spirit last summer after his wife Maggie had yammered on and on about his willpower. I got ten bucks for discovering the bitter truth.

I knew him as the happy-go-lucky handyman, the king of gutter-stripping, refrigeration, and Chinese Checkers. If you cropped his image at the chin, had no inkling of the tool clutched in his hand, then you’d suspect a philosopher hidden within his pensive nut brown eyes, grappling for the critical thread to save the universe from sputtering into chaos.

Maggie thrust the screen door open with her elbow and greeted us, her silvery hair poking through the sides of her navy bandana. The table had already been set with white ceramic bowls and red paper napkins choked through blue wooden holders. A tray of finger sandwiches sat in the middle next to a jar of Gulden’s mustard and a small dish of chopped tomato and cucumber.

Maggie gave me a firm handshake. She excused herself and went back into the kitchen to fetch a pitcher of lemonade. Dad eyed the chairs to see which one had the most shade and frowned when he noticed the director’s chair by the head of the table. The tree threw off a Brobdingnagian shadow, but Dad’s back wouldn’t last pressed up to stretchy fabric. He plopped into the wicker seat nearest the screen door.

Even while we lounged on the deck sipping lemonade and breezing through the cursory formalities of catch-up, Phil tended to chores, a pair of pliers dangling from the belt loop of his denim shorts. He sat for a minute then jumped up to open the screen door so Maggie could set down a piping hot pan of quiche surprise.

“Look what the chef of the future whipped up,” Phil said.

I helped myself to two heaping wedges. Of course, I burned my tongue. I let the quiche cool on my plate and attacked the potato chips.

“Looks like feeding time at the zoo,” Dad said.

“Who wants to adopt this kid?” Mom said.

Maggie smiled, pouring me a tall one. Ice-cubes with lemon pulp floated to the top of my glass. “Sure, we’ll take him for a month,” Maggie said.

I didn’t think anything of it then. Mom joshed. She had that way about her. After lunch, I excused myself to change into my swim trunks. Maggie got up and walked me inside. She wiped her feet before entering and I did the same. She pointed to Phil’s room and I grabbed my swim trunks out of Mom’s tote bag. The window was opened a crack and a warm breeze rustled in, spreading the smell of fresh-washed sheets and ocean mist. I tweaked the blinds until the room faded into a charcoal gray. When my eyes adjusted to the grainy darkness, I caught a glimpse of Rocky Marciano’s boxing gloves pinched within their eight-by-ten frame. A while back, Phil had told me he got the champ’s autograph when he was waiting in line for his meatball hero at a Hell’s Kitchen pizzeria.

I heard Maggie and Mom talking by the back porch. I moved to the corner to hear them clearer.

“Oh my God,” Maggie said. “You weren’t kidding.”

“I know it’s a huge responsibility. But you like Dennis,” Mom said.

“Sure we do, but there’s so much to consider. What about your sister?”

“She’s got three kids. Where’s Dennis going to fit in?”

“They’re family though.”

“We want Dennis to get all the attention he deserves.”

“Phil never wanted to have a baby.”

“He’s practically a teenager.”

“That’s when the shit hits the fan.”

I then had the fierce desire to steal a glimpse of Maggie’s face. I wanted to see the rejection. I slipped out the side door. Mom stood with her back to the house, both elbows propped by the wooden rail, peering off to the bay. Maggie faced away, her fingers twitching for a cigarette— a taste of her past, but her youth had blown away like so much sand in the wind and when I’ d crept up on her she grinned like a toothless fortune teller.

“That’s some bathing suit,” Maggie said.

“Swim trunks,” I said.

I’d been dying to go for a dip the whole muggy ride over. I stood there instead as if waiting for a beating. I heard footsteps clopping around the bend.

“Aren’t you coming?” Phil said, cracking open a fresh Coors.

Some of the foam sprayed onto his knuckles and he licked it clean.

He led me to the front deck where Dad was rubbing suntan lotion on his face. He left two dabs on either side of his nose and let his towel hang off his shoulders like Superman. Phil downed the last of his beer and parked it on the table. He snapped his fingers and we followed him out the gate. We didn’t take the concrete walkway on Kildare, but Juno’s sandy path to the ocean where the houses gave way to huts. He waved to a dozen or so residents camped on their decks sipping beers, chatting with friends. I tapped a wind chime made of mussel shells and watched it rattle in a creepy hula dance.

By the tail end of the beach, we cut through the dunes swaying with wild, wiry strands of grass. Pipers prowled for coffee crumbs and other goodies left behind by day-trippers. The sun hid behind a gauzy veil of clouds as if it hadn’t made its mind whether or not to show its face on Breezy Point’s listless shore. Two teenage girls lay facedown on their royal blue beach towel. The skinnier one dipped her feet to her butt and gazed into a thick paperback the cover of which was chewed off. Her friend twisted to snag a bunch of grapes from a grocery bag. I turned my head afraid she might catch me staring.

Phil and I were already topless and in our swim gear while Dad was still wearing his khakis. He shed them on the beach revealing his white, almost albino legs. They were hairless too, though he didn’t shave them.

“You could win a beauty pageant with those babies,” Phil said.

I laughed, but really it bothered me. Mainly, I was angry with my dad for not landing his own jab. He smiled wanly and brushed it off. It must have upset him because he went to such great lengths to hide his legs. The only time I saw them exposed were those few fleeting moments in the summer before he dipped into the cold shimmering mouth of the ocean. Dad tossed his towel on the sand, sat, and then oiled his legs.

Phil pulled the beak of my baseball cap over my eyes momentarily blinding me.

“How about a quick run?” he asked.

“Think you can take me?” I said, in a cocky voice.

Phil turned the knob on his radio then clamped his headset to his ears. I gave him a thumbs’ up. Where the tide’s creamy foam swished onto the shore we broke into trot. Seagulls scattered. I dashed into an early lead, pumping my arms into a metronome. Every so often I turned to see Phil’s progression, but he hung back a good twenty yards. I felt invincible, my lungs lighter than clouds. A soft breeze filtered through the back of my fishnet cap.

By the time I reached the first red flag and an empty lifeguard’s chair, my calves had gotten tight. Blood rushed into my neck. I spit to the side and the salty seawater sprayed my lips. The moist sand clumps left under my toes packed into their own islands.

Phil faded to a dream. I couldn’t tell if he’d given up or if he’d slowed into a stroll. I stayed my course. Coney Island’s Cyclone grew with each step. I’d heard you could wrap around the Rockaways and into Brooklyn’s great beach. The crisp tingle of rollercoaster metal lured me on and when a warm gust of wind tossed my cap into the sea I staggered toward it. The beaming sun toyed with me. I retrieved my cap two-handed and put it on backwards with the adjustable flap pulled to its last snap.

Twenty some-odd yards later, I crossed a patch of sun-baked kelp and my legs almost buckled. I eased into a walk. Nothing brisk about it. I wanted to tumble into the sand and cover myself ankle to nose.

When Phil finally cruised past me, I kicked sand at him as if I were Billy Martin soiling an umpire. He didn’t even turn his head and kept his same stupid old man’s pace. Before his stride fused to a blur my stomach began to swirl. The bitter taste of acid rising up my throat till something like spoiled pineapple chunks slithered down my chin. I pushed my knuckles to my mouth and added sand to my mess. Then I rinsed off in the ocean. The sharp chill sent a jagged arc of goose pimples across my pinkish arms.

I walked it off.

Dad swam in the distance, drifting with the speedboats, and I followed his path. I stayed close to the water, letting it splash over my ankles. Tiny bubbles swilled into the mud when the tide washed back out. Dad swam facedown, his kicks perfectly synchronized with his rising and splashing arms. He dove down for awhile, never for too long, and he rose like Poseidon, his wet stringy hair dripping onto the skin of the sea.

This time he stayed under for too long and I worried. Not a single lifeguard in sight. I ran again toward where I had last seen him surface. A bright ray beamed off the water making it shine like a sea of jewels. A clam shell crunched underfoot. “Dad,” I yelled. “Dad.” The waves rose into a higher shelf and roared when they crashed. I treaded currents waist high. Then put my arms into it. My kicking sucked and I had to set my mouth to the side to breathe. I’d swallow if I put my head under.

“Where’s your pop?” Phil shouted, startling me.

He came in at the knees and clapped his hands into the water.

“He must have been a dolphin in his past life,” Phil said.

“Shut up,” I said.

“What’s the matter with you?”

I bit my lip. I wouldn’t let him see me crying, but he trailed me out. So there was no other choice, but to go under. I threw my arms wildly. One-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand then I slid my ear to the surface and listened for Dad’s heartbeat. I heard the drone of a million conch shells and saw the papery sway of seaweed. A huge green wave smashed over me, spun me around, and plunged to floor. Then I saw Phil’s hairy legs dithering in the currents. I lost my orientation, but floundered to the green glow, hoping to escape. I kicked and flailed until I touched bottom and then I rose from the knee-high water. My right ear still clogged and my feet sank into the mushy sand. My nerves soared.

From my helpless vantage point, I watched the maddening swill of water spit up an arm. I couldn’t tell who it belonged to and then I saw that Phil had wrapped his arms around my dad like he was hanging onto a life preserver except it was Phil who was making sure my dad stayed fastened to him. They carried on this drunken dance, Phil hauling my dad to the shore and dumped him onto the shell-crushed sand. He didn’t need CPR or anything like that. My dad, beached on his back, was already spitting up seawater and I felt my stomach churning again. I kept a horse fly’s distance, my head buzzing, and a malicious wind whipped behind my ears. The weird thing about seeing somebody you love so close to death is in that splintering instance everything pulls into focus— watertight— infinity squeezed into a single drop.

I couldn’t help being a little angry at Phil for jumping in and grabbing my dad. He didn’t give him a chance to surface on his own. I wanted to believe he would’ve made it up just fine, didn’t want to consider for a moment that my dad could ever depend on somebody else the way I depended on him.

When my dad had seemed to have shaken off this terrible thing, he turned to me with will-o’-wispy eyes and said, “Don’t you never go into those riptides.”

I nodded and wiped the snot from my nose.

We loped back, not together, but as a discombobulated crew. The beads of sea had completely dried on my back. My hair was still dripping. When we hit the walkway, I still couldn’t shake the jittery pulse of emotions that made me feel both bolder and more brittle.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Before his stories made it into print John Gorman snapped the Eyesore of the week for the Queens Ledger. Now he spits wine for a living. He also enjoys a goof game of Mancala (preferably in the sand). His fiction and essays have appeared in Monkeybicycle, Apt, Hunger Mountain, The Summerset Review and Writer’s Digest. His debut novel Shades of Luz is published by All Things That Matter Press. He earned my MFA in Creative Writing from Pacific University. He blogs @

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painting by Kreso Cavlovic


Hikama and other poems

by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois



My first hangover in two years
and it feels like morning
It is morning

It feels like love
like the reincarnation of an old friend
like a poltergeist is handling the details
of my life

Red wine is redder in Mexico
I eat a crunchy white vegetable whose name
I cannot remember
though that vegetable is like a brother to me

When I get full-blown Alzheimer’s
I will wander the streets crying
trying to get someone to tell me the name
of that vegetable

but no one will know
what the fuck I am talking about
and they will tell me
Go home, old man

Someone will put me on a bicycle taxi
pedaled laboriously by my old friend

Delgadillo will say:
What does it matter
the names of things?
You can’t remember my name anymore but
you still love me
and I love you
though I wish you hadn’t become
so damn obese

Pedaling you
is a burden
and my chain clanks from the strain


3 Fingers

My hostess has only three fingers
and I wonder if that’s the consequence
of her terrible auto accident

or whether she was born that way
I can’t keep myself from staring
as if a missing finger is a
big deal

I distract myself
by asking her husband, Rolando
why he decided to move to
Merida Mexico
as opposed to settling somewhere
in the balmy American South

I’m Mexican and Black, he says
I don’t want to live in Mississippi or Alabama
or anywhere primitive and racist

I don’t tell him that my father was from Mississippi
and my mother was from Alabama
I squelch my Southern accent

When I was in college I taught myself to do that
so no one would know I was from
the ass end of some southern backwoods

but when I go back home
my true voice emerges full flower
and I eat collard greens
and drink tea so sweet
it makes my teeth hurt

and when my niece is colicky
I put Coca-Cola in her baby bottle
as we’ve done for generations

I notice Rolando
has a blowup of a magazine cover
a photo of Barrack Obama
and as I study it
I notice that Rolando has a remarkable resemblance
to Barrack
and I want to comment on it

but I don’t want him to think that
white people think
all colored people look alike

especially if he’s gotten a whiff
of my accent


Guzman’s Monkey

Santo Domingo de Guzman—
his halo is a big, tarnished ten-peso note
and his holy book
is a loaf of stale bread

He’s fulfilled every boy’s dream—
he’s got a pet monkey by his side
but his monkey is unhappy
He’s got a bad cold and needs
a decongestant

but Guzman doesn’t have a decongestant
and he doesn’t want to go to town to get some
It’s too far
and it’s too hot
and he doesn’t have the money for it anyway

Guzman is sad his monkey is not feeling better
It’s depressing when you have a pet monkey and
he’s depressed
Hopefully he’ll feel better soon

The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception
is his neighbor
in the stucco apartment court
She is also having trouble

It is a day for monkeys and virgins to have trouble
and be depressed
and it depresses Guzman
The sun is shining and everyone is depressed

Guzman grabs the wrist of Jesus’ older brother
and pulls him from the jaws
of the Puma Devil

The Puma Devil’s mouth
is full of flames

Guzman says:
See! We can do something about our fates!
Life gets better every day!
Cheer up, people!
It’s morning in the Mezo-American Empire!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

M. Krochmalnik Grabois’ poems have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He is a regular contributor to The Prague Revue, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, most recently for his story “Purple Heart” published in The Examined Life in 2012, and for his poem. “Birds,” published in The Blue Hour, 2013. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for 99 cents from Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition.

Grabois was born in the Bronx, and now splits his time between Denver, an old schoolhouse in Michigan and occasionally, Merida Mexico.

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photo by Angela M Campbell


4 paintings by Kreso Cavlovic














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Kreso Cavlovic was born in Toronto, Canada, of Croatian parents and grew up in Toronto and Mississauga. He attended Sheridan College, where he won an award for editorial illustration. He worked as a freelance illustrator for TV Ontario, BASF, Southam, etc, while developing his personal style, a style that reflects his Croatian heritage. He divides his time between Canada and Merida. He is represented by the Soho Gallery in Merida.


Sunday Afternoon Musicians at Pancho Villa’s Restaurant & The Arrowhead

by Bill Meissner


The three caballeros lean into the song, their lips almost
touching the mics. Their guitars wake the small speakers
with loud chords—an upbeat melody,
words only in Espanol. On the cracked plaster wall,
posters of Pancho Villa and Che Guevara
watch over their shoulders.
Dressed in matching blue shirts splashed with pearl buttons,
the caballeros sway, their black cowboy hats rocking forward and back
like small fishing boats off the shore of Celestun.
Their harmonies are a little off key, but
we don’t mind, two gringos, sipping Dos Equus. We nod and listen,
feeling the bass guitar’s vibrations rise through the wood bar
and into our elbows while the scents of salsa, fried tortillas
and smoky chipotle wrap their arms around us.
Though we don’t speak their language, we wonder
if these are Mexican love songs.

Two small children—the boy in a starched shirt
and black pants, the girl in a lacy white only-for-church dress—
leave their parents’ table and begin to dance in the aisle.
Too young to know dance steps, they just bob and jump,
their faces lit with smiles that could stretch for miles.
Love songs, we think as we whisper, our lips almost touching.

After the gig, tres caballeros put their guitars to sleep
in black cases, then slide onto vinyl chairs
near the makeshift stage. The waitress lowers
a round of bloody Marys in tall frosted mugs filled to the rim.
The men toast, while, behind them, the boy and girl
keep hopping and dancing,
the music still playing inside them. They’ll dance
and dance long after the music is over.
And finally we’re sure of it: they’re love songs, all of them.


Back from his hike, all Dad gave me was a chipped stone, its edges
like a jagged mountain range, so I’d know
the soil I walked on every day was deep. All he gave me
were words I didn’t understand: Ojibwe, Hochunk, Wonkshiek.
All he gave me was a stare, its point sharp enough to cut.

I was a junior high son who only thought about
hanging out with my buddies by the river, the growl
of mufflers on Chevys, the colors of the girls’ blouses in my class.
I knew just a dozen of years, not six or seven hundred.
I was a boy who lived in water, not in stone.

He ran his pudgy fingers over
the rose-colored surface. Like ripples,
almost, he said, his voice filled with awe. Like there’s a current, or
a wind blowing across it. He studied the stone
as though it could show him which direction to go.

Now his words are sealed over inside that quartz.
I hand it to my son, this stone,
pointed enough to draw blood. Beneath
his fingers its surface must feel
like ripples, almost.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Bill Meissner’s first novel, SPIRITS IN THE GRASS, about a small town ballplayer who finds the remains of an ancient Native American burial ground on a baseball field, was published in 2008 by the University of Notre Dame Press and won the Midwest Book Award. The book is available as an ebook from the UND Press. Meissner’s two books of short stories are THE ROAD TO COSMOS, [University of Notre Dame Press, 2006] and HITTING INTO THE WIND [Random House/SMU Press, Dzanc Books ebook].
Meissner has also published four books of poems: AMERICAN COMPASS, [U. of Notre Dame Press], LEARNING TO BREATHE UNDERWATER and THE SLEEPWALKER’S SON [both from Ohio U. Press], and TWIN SONS OF DIFFERENT MIRRORS [Milkweed Editions].
He is director of creative writing at St. CloudStateUniversity in Minnesota. His web page is:

His Facebook author page is:!/pages/Bill-Meissner/174769532541232?sk=info

Three of Meissner’s poems and a trailer for SPIRITS IN THE GRASS are on youtube, accompanied by images and music.


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Kreso14art by Kreso Cavlovic


Fun Nor Fair and other poems

By Christopher Barnes


Fun Nor Fair

Scorn’s a contrivance that ticks.

     “With an hour of free time,
      Three balls and these instructions”

The skittle-alley’s polonaise is sheeny as varnish
On bubblecars going crewless.

     “Juggling has been touted
      As a great stress reliever”

Air-pocket pay-scales would debt me an hour,
Rundling supplied by gears, bobbing,
The bus home – just…

     “Throw a ball
      In a gentle arc”


Celebrating 50 Years In Recruitment
Job Title: Assembly Operatives
Details: Assembly Experience Is Essential,
Preferably Within The Automotive Industry.
Pay Rate: £6.68 Per Hour.

(QUOTES: Juggling Poet)

A jack-be-nimble buzz
Unloaded to constabularies,
Solicits a docket rummage
To side-note any women’s garb
Bagged, shut in a month.

     “The application of medical knowledge
      To aid the administration of justice”

Divers loosen-up, releasing the undertow.

     “Legal responsibilities of the physician”


These Toilets Are Closed
Alternative Facilities Are Available
In The Grainger Market
Or High Friars Mall, Eldon Square.
Sorry For Any Inconvenience.

(QUOTES: Dr. Dinesh Rao’s Forensic Pathology)


Soup Kitchen

Mr. Flint rib-digged the divvies,
Personal belongings all huckstered.

     “Action on charity tax-avoidance”

Axes to grind, flapping.

     “Charitable status”

Volunteers keep bright-side up
So do frost-bitten glitterati.

     “Amend the definition of charity”


Exclusive 68 Faceted Luxury
Set In A Variety Of Gold Rings
An Original Gift
To Be Remembered By

(QUOTES: Andy Ricketts, The Third Sector)
Media Studies

Homework for Pat Wires’ thesis
Didn’t dim with the pounce of flu.

     “A Scottish philosopher and economist”

There’s a Johnny Everyman rubric,
Wedge-driving, infecting squiggle-inked notes.

     “One of the most influential books”

Yawning’s in-the-know.

     “Gold and silver”

Not a post-haste staircase
To the eximious job…

     “Nobody would trade
      If they expected to lose”

TV Bed Package
Includes 32” LED TV
Lowest Weekly Prices!
From £15.00 Per Week
Free Delivery
Within 5 Days

(QUOTES: Adam Smith Institute)

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Christopher Barnes bio details…
In 1998 I won a Northern Arts writers award. In July 200 I read at Waterstones bookshop to promote the anthology ‘Titles Are Bitches’. Christmas 2001 I debuted at Newcastle’s famous Morden Tower doing a reading of my poems. Each year I read for Proudwords lesbian and gay writing festival and I partook in workshops. 2005 saw the publication of my collection LOVEBITES published by Chanticleer Press, 6/1 Jamaica Mews, Edinburgh.

On Saturday 16Th August 2003 I read at the Edinburgh Festival as a Per Verse poet at LGBT Centre, Broughton St.

I also have a BBC web-page and (if first site does not work click on SECTION 28 on second site.

Christmas 2001 The Northern Cultural Skills Partnership sponsored me to be mentored by Andy Croft in conjunction with New Writing North. I made a radio programme for Web FM community radio about my writing group. October-November 2005, I entered a poem/visual image into the art exhibition The Art Cafe Project, his piece Post-Mark was shown in Betty’s Newcastle. This event was sponsored by Pride On The Tyne. I made a digital film with artists Kate Sweeney and Julie Ballands at a film making workshop called Out Of The Picture which was shown at the festival party for Proudwords, it contains my poem The Old Heave-Ho. I worked on a collaborative art and literature project called How Gay Are Your Genes, facilitated by Lisa Mathews (poet) which exhibited at The Hatton Gallery, Newcastle University, including a film piece by the artist Predrag Pajdic in which I read my poem On Brenkley St. The event was funded by The Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Institute, Bio-science Centre at Newcastle’s Centre for Life. I was involved in the Five Arts Cities poetry postcard event which exhibited at The Seven Stories children’s literature building. In May I had 2006 a solo art/poetry exhibition at The People’s Theatre why not take a look at their website

The South Bank Centre in London recorded my poem “The Holiday I Never Had”, I can be heard reading it on

REVIEWS: I have written poetry reviews for Poetry Scotland and Jacket Magazine and in August 2007 I made a film called ‘A Blank Screen, 60 seconds, 1 shot’ for Queerbeats Festival at The Star & Shadow Cinema Newcastle, reviewing a poem…see On September 4 2010, I read at the Callander Poetry Weekend hosted by Poetry Scotland. I have also written Art Criticism for Peel and Combustus Magazines. I was involved in The Creative Engagement In Research Programme Research Constellation exhibitions of writing and photography which showed in London (march 13 2012) and Edinburgh (july 4 2013) see . I co-edit the poetry magazine Interpoetry

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Photo by Kristi Harms



stern backer and other poems

by Christopher Mulrooney
stern backer
back the very sails
with plenteous wind
see the world go round
before your very eyes
shaving cream
a dollop on those cucumbers
in the hot sun oh
upon those eyes
reeling in shade
baker’s boy
…it sings all winter night in the poor bakery, beneath the crumbs of a bread of light.—René Char
he shifts the garden path
between his feet on the way to work
settling the shadows griping the grosbeaks
all in a storm of fine flour till night
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Christopher Mulrooney is the author of symphony (The Moon Publishing & Printing), flotilla (Ood Press), viceroy (Kind of a Hurricane Press), and jamboree (Turf Lane Press, forthcoming).  His work has recently appeared in East Coast Literary Review, California Quarterly, Umbrella Factory, The Southampton Review, J Journal, Offcourse, Kalyna Review, and Lantern Magazine.
photo by Kristi Harms
Graphic novel, translation

Neighborhood Rumors

by Gabriel Canul

01-Oh, poor little girl. Her story was such a terribly sad case.

You will see….


 The father was, well, a washed-up madman. For this he had such a lugubrious fame…

… that the ignorant minds of this neighborhood all but blamed him.

I don’t want to sound presumptuous but a man of my lineage cannot allow space for this kind of nonsense.


 He was a pathetic alcoholic, that you see sir, had banished his wife from his side.

As if the mother would be worth only a little or even nothing. She abandoned her little daughter with that bastard of a father.


Ha, ha, ha. Even though swine did end up paying a heavy price…

They say that the daughter hardened and found a way to defend herself against her father.


Not of course that I would contribute to this superstitious verbal diarrhea of the riffraff. As you know sir, I do not spread irresponsible hot air, even a few days before any of this happened, I saw the wretch walking by with a very terrible wound on his left arm. My head played with the idea that it could have been a bite.


Even though now, I reason that this kid could not possibly concur with this idea, in size nor strength.

Some type of gangrene had gotten hold of this fellow because the wound had festered and hurt him like the devil. Of course, it has to be said that he wasn’t known to be especially neat and tidy.


Who would have said however that this nobody of a man would have such a terrible end?


They say that the little sweet girl, defenseless and all, could not escape the evilness of her father and remained nothing more than a pestilent stain beneath the bed.


It was inexplicable the manner in which they found this man’s bed.

A huge fit or rage had led the poor creature to undergo a mighty change.


 This must explain what happened.


They say that she was laughing

The smile on her face…

And her words…

I leave them behind, I have left them!


Surely they talked, the other remaining mortals, of her father.

And yes, all of this seems implausible, yet wait until you hear the tale that this leprous pleb has invented.

Only as a sign of my respect, well, all that it merits without taking into account its insignificance, I was able to attend the funeral parlor to see what remained of the heartless swine and this is how I was able to hear the end of the story.


They say that the little girl with the sweet appearance…

…hid within her the unknown capacity, like the circus freaks that can bend spoons with their eyes…

…or move crystal vases from one place to another with a certain gesture.

And with these cunning tricks she could escape the plague that was her father.

And with that which she had obtained, she conjured certain enigmatic powers.


 I am going to confess to you that there has been nights of insomnia when I have heard things…

Guttural noises and rhythmic moans which undoubtedly were made by the girl.


Finally, we hope that with the disappearance of that pariah and the absence of the unfortunate girl…

…this neighborhood has won something akin to peace, to say the least. And now I must leave because, how it is to wait…

… in a ruined old place like this one…

… which has been built with the most rotten and decayed materials and now…


I see the denigrating necessity of renovating my elegant bedroom.

It will be better to start work in good time…

Before the darkness…

invades all.


Now I must bid you farewell…

I hope to have the pleasure of another talk with you tomorrow.

A special thank you goes to both Axel Flores for entering the Spanish text into the images and to Jack Little for providing the translation. 

Born and raised in Mérida Yucatán, Mexico, Gabriel Canul Olivares is a natural artist. Painter, draftsman, and self-taught writer, his foray into comics was inevitable.

His love of comics began when he was very young.

His desire, was not only to read them, but to create them – which he does with “Comunidad de Dibujantes del Sureste”, a group of independent artists, where he is a drawing instructor, and one of the leaders.