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Passing on the Insights

Issue 39 by Craig Etchison

I went to Vietnam in 1968 as a young, naïve kid, serving with the First Cavalry Division. By the end of my tour, I was no longer quite so naïve. Typical, I think, of so many kids who went to Vietnam thinking they were serving freedom and democracy when, in fact, we were serving the political ambitions of dictators in Vietnam and the political ambitions of those running our country at the time.

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Summon Up an Old Friend

Issue 39 by Meg Lewis

Look out of the window. Focus in on the droplets streaming across the glass. Focus back out on the road, the lampposts zipping past in blurred grey stripes. Summon up your old friend, the giant orang-utan, who swings from the T-bar of one lamppost to another, keeping up with the cars as they speed down the M25. Get bored with the orang-utan – you are too old for this now. Shuffle, look straight ahead. Change the radio station to Kiss FM, even though the music makes you feel uncomfortable.

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Just Listening

Issue 39 by Pat Hulsebosch

“I can’t. I can’t open this car door,” wails seven-year old Samantha, hand tugging awkwardly – ineffectively – on the inside handle of her parents’ bulky old Suburban station wagon. I was in Florida for a weekend visit from Chicago. We’d spent the morning at Lowry Park Zoo. Although it wasn’t quite naptime, both of us were a little worn from an overabundance of orangutans and ostriches on a hot tropical day.

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A Holy Man of God

Issue 39 by Rebecca Jeeves

I have a clear image of myself: I’m looking for my bicycle in the garage. I needed it to bike to my friend Abigail’s house but couldn’t find it anywhere.
Turrets of dust particles floated upwards. Exposed by horizontal, flat rays of light breaking through the dust-heavy aluminum window blinds. I watched as they rose, spiraling around and around, higher and higher up into the garage rafters until out of sight.

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And Then I Was Happy

Issue 38 by Gloria Buckley

It was the late 1970s and I sat so young and gullible while a moderator caught a glimpse of my sorrow mirrored in the reflection of his warm brown eyes as I listened intently to words of mass emotional destruction. I wanted to sort out grief and identity issues, and so I enlisted in a weekend of minimal bathroom breaks, minimal sleep, and meditative moments where I traversed the galaxies into my own creative process.

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The Flavor of Ice Cream

Issue 38 by Shabnam Curtis

One June day of my freshman year/ninth grade, in 1985, I needed a break from studying. My mother suggested we go out for ice cream to Tajrish Circle. Tajrish, a shopping area on the skirt of the mountains in the northern part of Tehran, was a favorite place for my mother and me to wander, especially for window shopping and mouthwatering snacks. My father disagreed.

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This Will Be the Happiest Time of Your Life

Issue 38 by Shannon Andrada

I’m sitting in my grandmother’s backyard, lying in the sun on a lounge chair. Tears fill my eyes, and soon I’m sobbing. At times I justify my crying at everything, saying that sensitive people are the best kind of people, but at other times, like now, I do not justify it. I know that I am behaving like a fool.

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Skar

Issue 38 by Liza Porter

When I learned at my high school reunion that Mr. Skar had died, I felt relieved, almost giddy. Though not still musically inclined, I could’ve played a beautiful song—call it an ode to joy—to celebrate his death.

I was shocked at my reaction. Despite the decade-plus of recovery from addiction I had put together and all the therapy I’d done, it was apparent how much of my hatred of perpetrating men I’d put on Skar,

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The Dying Gladiator

Issue 37 by David Kennedy

Kate had calculated that meeting the presidential carriage as it pulled up the drive at Edgewood would serve her interest, but that did not deprive the gesture of its heartfelt quality. The carriage had been specially made in New York. It was dark green in color, Arthur’s favorite, with that hue presenting the central theme on the exterior paint and the interior upholstery, trimmed in morocco and cloth.

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Strangers in the Park

Issue 37 by Gerry Moohr

You probably know about the violence that struck Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, 2017. Demonstrators from thirty-five states rallied in Lee Park to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, Commander of the Confederate Army. I saw a lot of what happened that day.

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The Road to Bohemia

Issue 36 by Martha Branson

There should have been French-Creole farmhouses overlooking the Mississippi River, wide gallery porches under deep overhangs, rockers waiting for hot, humid summer evenings spent in society with neighbors. The yards should have been surrounded by weathered brick and iron fences and concrete statuary.

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Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

Issue 36 by Vicky Oliver

I was in a meeting when the mysterious email arrived: “Need to talk to you today. What’s your phone number?” The message was so curt, that I didn’t think my friend John could have possibly written it. He was a native New Yorker with the soul and demeanor of a Southern gentleman.

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Waiting for the Bikaner Express

Issue 36 by Christopher Johnson

On a journey to ‘discover’ myself, or at least try and escape the blur and whirl of dead-end jobs and lacklustre ambition, I decided to embark on a trip to India, jewel of the now defunct British Empire. I had hoped that such a voyage could liberate my restlessness, give some catharsis to the plague of self-obsession and stagnation that consumed me

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Alchemy of Gambling

Issue 35 by Catherine O'Neill

The whole process threw me for a loop. I spent over forty years of my life in Nigredo living in the darkness of the disease of gambling. Gambling is in my blood; I carry the ancestral glow of an epigenetic behavior which goes down to the bedrock of my DNA. If you didn’t gamble in my family, there was something radically wrong with you.

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The Most Dangerous Pitch

Issue 35 by BJ Neblett

Victims of automobile accidents often report that at the moment of impact time seems to move in slow motion. I now understand what they experience. For one protracted fraction of a second time stood still. The din of the spectators faded to a distant thunder in my ears. My gloved hand crept skywards.

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Knots

Issue 35 by Liz Wasson Coleman

Any of the stories about why we left could be true, but I gravitate toward the one about the middle-aged father threatening to drive the Jeep off a cliff. I don’t know whether he imagined his family in the vehicle with him. The little boys wouldn’t have been wearing seatbelts in 1979. The infant would have been crying in her mother’s weak arms.

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A recipe for apple pie

Issue 34 by Janette Schafer

First, gather the apples. After the neighbors move out, in the seclusion of nightfall, crawl with your little sister beneath a gap dug by their brown dog underneath the fence between their yard and yours. Shimmy on your belly like a snake. Once you are safely inside their abandoned homestead, reach up to take a large bowl your mother hands you over the wooden fence posts.

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Memorial in Sand

Issue 34 by Mark Carter

Three statues stand together at the edge of the tree line. Alert, deliberately calm, they look in the same direction, though not precisely at the same place. Boonie-rats. Grunts.
They are looking, always will be looking at The Wall: a great gash of black stone slabs in a green civilian lawn. A carefully shaped pile of black sand.

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