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untitled

it was too early
this birth

she and the child waited
in some odd place

hovering
between two worlds

not sure
which was the one
they should dwell in
for eternity

they each chose one

life on earth
moved on

leaving the one
who picked that place
to always wonder

about what
could have been

—Quin Browne

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Longing
by Susannah Elisabeth Pabot

In the days before memory, when moonless skies were a blanket of darkness after each day’s dusk, a prairie-child was born into the first rays of the sun. Her newborn face reached up out of her mother’s womb and felt a dazzle of golden warmth and pure light, and from that moment onwards she sought nothing less. Her cries shook each blackened night, and no song nor tender rocking at the full breast would soothe her until dawn broke. Listening to her new daughter’s wild and desperate howls, her mother soon understood that this child was unlike others, and so she named her Longing.

When Longing learned to walk and talk, she did not play with ragged dolls nor skip with her sisters and brothers; no, crouched by herself, her eyes swam out over oceans of grass to grasp hold of the sun wandering over the vast skies above her. And when the light threatened to disappear at each day’s end and the sun slipped downwards into the land, Longing wailed:

“I love you! Why do you come and go instead of staying with me?”

Each night the sun would lay his arms around her for one last time and try to find an answer that might quell her pain.

“If I stayed forever, I would burn a hole into the sky and you would fall through,” he said.

Or: “If I never slept – nor you – my light would fade and the earth disappear into darkness forever.”

But whatever he came up with, Longing would always answer:

“I don’t believe you. If you loved me enough, you wouldn’t go.”

“I promise to come back,” the sun always whispered, just before leaving her.

But, stubborn, Longing would call into the darkness: “That is not enough.”

Longing’s brothers and sisters grew in the usual ways and wandered from their father’s land into their own, while Longing stayed where she was, haunting every day’s dusk, pleading. Unable to bear her child’s suffering, her mother wept through each night, placing wet cloths on her daughter’s burning forehead, until one evening, just before sunset, she glanced down onto her daughter’s writhing body and saw that, unnoticed, her breasts had become womanly and her hips ripe and filled with flames. In that moment Longing’s mother knew that she must set her child free.

She turned her child’s face into the setting sun and said: “Go and try to find what it is you so desire.” Longing rose and bid her mother farewell. She ran, not stopping to rest or eat or sleep for many weeks, and when she finally stood on that slice of land where the sun sets, Longing lay down into the grass, flung her arms open, closed her eyes and waited for him to descend.

“Look at me: I am not a child anymore,” she cried, “if you cannot stay with me, take me with you.”

Shaken by her ravenous love, the sun caressed Longing with his warmth, licking every sweating crevasse. Longing smiled and opened her eyes, at last capturing the sun with her gaze. He thrashed and flailed, but Longing’s eyes were fierce, and for one, endless second before of falling into the earth, he dipped through her and her thirst was quenched, aglow in his burning rays.

Blinded and hollow from then on, Longing wandered in darkness. But as her body faded away, her stomach grew round and full in the sun’s image. When her skin could not stretch any further, she broke apart, and out of her the moon rose – glorious – into our night sky.

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Don’t Marry the Witch

I make my own warmth
where you cannot see.
My gums bleed,
we arc in conversation
– and the air drops.

Something massive approaches;
the doorway waives survival.

Shit like this happens
every day, and I know
you’ll sleep better
knowing I’m not.

Beware,
your human is showing.

—Rachel Kalyna

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White heat
by Jelena Vencl Ohlrogge

Her skin gives off a faint scent of something familiar, but he cannot put a finger on what it is.

Vanilla sugar milk baby powder cocaine.

White. She smells of something white. And white she is, white as snow high up in the mountains, untouched by city smog, unspoiled by traces of urine.

She says that her heart and thoughts are black as coal, but he does not care. He feeds on the light coming from her skin.

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Growing Pains

Seven screams incendiary
to see her thoughts burnt on hot coals
she weaves her way through the fire
reds and oranges forge allies
to lick the very essence of her youth
tastes so full of lust and desire

tastes of party frocks
and at the threshold of her paradise
her arms melt
dancing with old flames
trying to rescue
precious moments

another scar signs its name across
her sad doll limbs, now weightless
to the pain and ache of burst blisters
aches like a metaphor should, and weeps
a discharge; tears-hope-blood
any of the above

Seven believes it’s all to do with sin
her thoughts are so deliciously wicked
of flowers dying, of poisoned kisses,
and how she lets the blister pus drip
onto her lips until she goes numb
with all that tomorrow promises

—by P.A.Levy

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Edited by Walter Conley.

Selection of photographs by Walter and Kelly Rae Daugherty.

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Photography by Kelly Rae Daugherty. Visit her website at www.kellydaughertyphotography.com.

Thanks to Paul D. Brazill for his work behind the scenes.

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Submissions are still closed. Arrangements made prior to the closing of open-call subs will be honored.

Rights to all material held by respective creators. Do not use without expression written permission.

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7 Comments

  1. Splenid work. Great photos from Kelly and some fine pieces of writing; I particularly liked White Heat.

  2. The continuing perfection of Dis is the ability of Walter to take words and photos that are well done on their own, and combine them into these collections that never fail to keep me enthralled.

    I’m flattered to be part of these particularly wonderful women. One day, I hope to deserve that placing.

  3. Wowo! I love the poetry with the images. Amazing an amazing and well done marriage!! Thank you.

  4. Walter, another outstanding issue of disenthralled. They keep getting better.

  5. Masterfully put together.

    Thank you for the synergy. So beautiful.

  6. Quin.

    That is so desolate. One sacrificed, but the other lives with regret. Powerful and haunting.

  7. The story of Longing moved me completely. The poetry is enticing. In combination with the haunting photos, it is like watching life being born from the darkest thoughts. This issue is superbly done.


One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] { June 28, 2010 @ 4:48 pm } · { Published elsewhere, poetry } { Tags: disenthralled, poetry, prose, published } Please read my White heat in the new issue of disenthralled – UNDER THE TRIPLE-MOON […]

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