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Escape
by Karen Baker

The dark October morning, heavily mist laden, invited him to sleep ’til late. He looked towards his wife and knew the bone of last night’s contention would rattle as soon as she resurrected. His only option, to slide into the first shiver of day, quickly dress and leave the house under the early vestiges of dawn.

On auto-pedal he sliced the cold, marshy air which plastered his hair, galvanised his eyelids and dripped away all evidence of slumber. The promised rush gave added value to his trusty cycle and reminded him he was alive.

On cue, as he freewheeled down the last hill, sunlight filtered through the shrouding fog to illuminate his favourite place on Earth, its ethereal beauty and desolation—the land that God forgot.

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Johnny Green

She steered him to the riverside
where sluggish fog stirred shivers.
She whispered fables in his ear
that here the River Boss appears
delivering all, set to cross.

Abandoned years in opaque mist
he finally heard the oarlock creak
and peered in vain from his mud bank tunnel
toward the hidden splash and squeak.
A dory crunched the sand and lapped,
the haze soon lifted off the strand,
but all to be seen was an empty boat,
with no one about, even Johnny Green.

—J.S. MacLean

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Understatement
by Carrie Clevenger

I guess I’m dreaming in stereo because I’m both awake and asleep. Lead arms over mine, draped just like a coat on the upstairs guest room bed at my aunt’s fabulous banquet parties. Dead old oak giving off the mustiness that only attics can infuse in high doses.

The government is guilty of making me hate this. The people and the peace of sky disappearing overhead as I close my eyes and listen to the sound of wind over the fenders. This grazing eagle feather: tip and spine dusted over flat surrealism. This boiling ink overflowing the pot that came before the kettle. This temptation to make it all better by burying myself in concrete.

I like fish. They slip silver and ogle the bottom of the tank with permanent bewilderment. Laid up on the shore for the desperately hungry to string on a line and transport to yearning mouths.

I take the obvious and drag it behind the mirror of recollection until the glass shears away, leaving a supine trail of sanguine and sublime. A delicate balance of trauma and bliss, only to ignore any sort of flagged decision that would sway the boat to port or starboard. This anchor drops here, disturbing the silt and clouds the center of the universe.

There is no hole.

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Colors Found in Nature

All these have fluids:

Legs to arms in twine,
hands clasped over ankles,
drunk on blackberry wine.

Purple deepened to blue-black
in a simmering panic attack,

trussed up and thrown in the back of a 64 Cadillac.

Lost some time for light and
took a strange sniff and bite
at the fingers of my forefathers’ oversight
and stretched it out on cords
strong
red

and tight.

—Kilian Conor

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Consumption
by Paula Ray

The center of his variegated tongue is where sugary lies pool, but I hear the edges of truth that rim the perimeter of that tongue like a cryptic streak of forbidden fruit: raw and leaking juice every time he bites me and I get smaller.

Now, I’m the size of a Barbie Doll with plastic limbs that don’t bend, eyes that can’t close, and a mouth that never speaks. I remain an onlooker, watching, waiting for him to open his mouth.

When he does, I’ll stick my head inside that cavern with stalactites for fangs and I’ll offer him my mind and sacrifice my jugular, because my only chance of survival in this marriage is to be consumed and infect him with my own reality, let him taste the bitterness I’ve hidden with silence.

I’ll course through his veins and look through his eyes. When he spits me out, (make no mistake—he will spit me out), at least I’ll know why and so will he.

Then, I’ll plant myself where I can grow again and tower over him as he starves in my shadow.

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The Most Expensive Love Poem

A hundred miles safely away
from America’s worst motel
I realize I left my luggage
for rats as mean as Dobermans
to devour. I couldn’t sleep
because the reek of sewage
backing up into the bathtub
sickened me, and the blaring
of abutting TVs deafened me
to the choking of the toilet.

When the air conditioner shorted
in a drizzle of sparks I lit out
for the territories. Too bad
for my duffle bag of dirty clothes
and the notebook in which I scrawled
the most expensive love poem.
Whoever would have received it
disappeared in a crash of surf
on Hawaii’s one big island.
She left no residue, not even
a hieroglyphic postcard to tease
a sense of longing out of me.

The expense of the poem incurred
after I turned out the light
and caught her conspiring with a man
half my age, windswept and glistening.
I should have tossed that notebook
into the snow, but the rats
will enjoy shredding the pages
for their nest inside the wall.

I can remember only one line:
“Slim ranks of palm trees swagger….”
I must’ve thought of Hawaii
and her face turned up to the sun,
the surf turning page after page
until it found her name scrawled
in the longest festoons of weed
punctuated by a conch shell
too pink and gleaming to miss.

—William Doreski

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Wolfskin
by Roberta Lawson

1AM, and the wolf is at the door again. Such a long, long Winter. Mother is flagging. First it was chickens boiled in the pot, herbs and plump potatoes. First it was bacon sizzling on a griddle, splayed eggs and slabs of toast dripping butter. First it was family by the hearth; cosy, lazy evenings. But the Winter just went on and on, and father never returned home. Wolf’s at the door. One freezing December day, our youngest sister disappeared in the forest, and who knew if it was screaming or the wind blowing we heard, mother, who knew? The forest is haunted, mother.

We curl in tighter in our house like a shoe, we wrap around one another and we will never be warm enough, no, we will never last out this Winter. Something dark and probing is eating mother from the inside. The wolf is rattling our windows, the wolf that looks like father. Griddled mice and dregs of whey, daren’t leave the house now. Spiders on the grill in our blind, blind house. I sleep with a paring knife under my pillow and say prayers for Summer. The wolf watches my slumber, like he used to watch our sister. Paring knife under my pillow, I dream of skinning so many things…Three mice, a human arm, big bad wolf. Skin falls back like peach-fur. Is that the wind outside, screaming? Mother, mother the wolf is rattling the door-frame! I’m almost ready, though awful-skinny. (Our Mother is haunted. Mother stares only at windows, ceilings, looking for father and our stolen sister.)

The wolf is clawing through the tired door. Don’t be frightened, mother! The wolf’s breath pours in like carbon monoxide. Mother is shaking like a landslide, and I am lunging for my pillow. Mother, mother, I’m ready! The wolf’s fur is ragged, skin like angry peaches. I’m ready now, my teeth and nails like sharpened knives, and I’ll huff and I’ll puff…

**

The whole house blows black, the colour of wolf-fur.
Winter stretches wide as a spider, ready to gobble.

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Hydrophonic

I went looking for my wedding ring
in the North Pole, armed with unconventional instruments,
i.e. a hydrophone and a strange hammer, not quite
an ice pick, a very practical tent on my back and a pulp fiction novel,
ironically about a man who sleeps with many women
on the useless but somehow veiled and suspicious journeys
he’s forever making.

Traces of the victims of the monster I’m after were found in the poop
it discretely left in the ice, deep in the
throat of the ice, there only to creep someone out
if one’s attention were brought to it – for
ice-eating monsters had but one affliction:
the deep-throat flies you could hear if
you had the courage to stick your hand
in their mouths wielding e.g. a hydrophone.

But inanimate prey like my wedding ring is
harder to hear and for some mysterious, frustrating
reason never ends up in the poop the monster normally leaves in
the ice, which constitutes the main danger, ultimately,
of this useless, veiled and sort of suspicious journey
I’ve embarked on, to the fucking North Pole.

—Tyson Bley

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Frigid
(Kay’s story)
by Jelena Vencl Ohlrogge

My frozen lips bled often, but she would always lick the pain away. She would kneel before me and cover my trembling thighs with frostbite kisses escalating into a fire that would carry my shouts to the absorbing curtains of snow.

My pale queen never shouted; she only whispered, but her whispers were as sharp as her crystalline nails that branded my flesh. I never shed a tear. But now I am lying in your bed, wrapped in the scent of roses and my pillow is wet.

She shall come with the first snow and take me back to her castle, to her glacial bed and month-long nights. My heart will turn once more into the clump of ice it used to be before you found me and took me back to Copenhagen. And ice I wish it to remain. I need neither peace nor rest. I need no light of the day, no warmth of the summer, no coy kisses from you. All I need is my Snow Queen.

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Photography by Jill Auville. View and purchase her work at pahness.deviantart.com.

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Produced by Walter Conley. You can reach him at pitchbrite@gmail.com or on twitter as pitchbrite. Submissions to disenthrallers@gmail.com.

* * *

Coming soon: Part Three of Paul D. Brazill’s WARSAW MOON.

All rights reserved by respective creators. Do not reproduce without express written permission.

16 Comments

  1. This is a magnificent compilation. Quite pleased to be a part of this art.

    Favorite part has to go to Jelena for “My pale queen never shouted”. A thundering visual in six little words for me.

  2. This is a stunningly beautiful and cohesive collection. Excellent issue.

  3. Jelena–I always wondered Kay’s version of what happened. Now I know.

    Each piece is an icy bite of crisp writing and clear visions. The photography, as usual, binds it all together in a meal of literary lushness.

  4. I can relate very well to “Colors Found in Nature.” When I was ten, I picked blackberries for the blackberry wine my family made. Other kids watched television with a glass of soda; I watched it with a tumbler of wine.

  5. So gorgeous, all of it. I’m going to linger over this issue for days. Photography is unforgettable.

  6. Happy to be part of this fine issue. The chosen photo adjacent to my poem is perfect.

  7. There is a linger of blackberry wine, frost, and debauchery in the air.The photography holds the same dark beauty as the prose and poetry. I can’t choose a favorite this time. They are each captivating in of themselves.

    Walter and the editors have done a magnificent job with this issue.

  8. Beautifully produced, Walter, thank you so much

  9. This is a great montage of beautiful work.
    Kudos to the webmaster. The artwork is stunning. Overall great page.

  10. Lovely.

    My favourites were Jelena’s and Paula’s pieces.

    Kilian’s ‘Purple deepened to blue-black
    in a simmering panic attack’ made my chest tighten. 🙂

  11. a gemologist needed to certify this one. beautiful stuff. love paula ray’s piece and jelena’s. outrageous photos and just really fine work by all contributors. hat’s off.

  12. I’ve enjoyed reading the poems and flash fiction in this issue. The voices are strong and the artwork is, once again, haunting and emotive. Wonderful job putting this together, Walter. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your unique and morbidly beautiful zine.

  13. While reading through this collection one may feel as if walking wide awake through a lush forest of trees of odd colors, aware of the nuances and sensory depth. On finishing a first reading one feels as if waking from a dream. “What was that which had caught my attention?” The colors blend homogenously.
    Every piece bears rereading purely for enjoyment. Excellent issue.

  14. Excellent issue – so many gifted writers I know and admire, and the photographs are stunning!

  15. I thought. I’d commented on this. Oh, well! It’s great and great to see Carrie C here with one of her best pieces!

  16. The Most Expensive Love Poem has to be my new favorite thing to read over and over again…the internal rhymes are so subtle and beautiful…


3 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. By New Issue « disenthralled on 01 May 2010 at 9:38 am

    […] ISSUE #7. […]

  2. […] am proud to be one of the authors whose pieces are featured at disenthralled. A piece I wrote, Frigid (Kay’s story) is a part of ISSUE […]

  3. By GENRE « FictionDaily on 02 Jan 2011 at 1:03 pm

    […] The wolf is rattling our windows, the wolf that looks like father. (Wolfskin, by Roberta Lawson) […]

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