Goodbye 2013 (the last of my two pieces published this year)

One more day until the new year, so I decided to post the other two of my pieces which were accepted in Euphemism. I’m about a month behind on this but as I documented so much in this blog, life has a funny way of getting in the way of my life plans! Enjoy and stay safe this holiday!

After (You’ve Gone)

the heart beats on

life beats
on.

the heart generates
an electrical
signal

its own signal,
animpulse

this,
we can prove
recorded by
an EKG

dots of
your fingertips
painting my
skin red

electrodes
on
chest

it exists

as

I and you,
did, do,

still do

though not us,
rusted, worn, rotten pictures

the impulse leads
to each beat

mix-tape memories stuck
controlling

a we’re-through, salty-tear
smooch stains until
you tear awayas
the signal spreads
across the heart

triggering
muscles to contract
in the correct sequence.

the signal spreads
right to left

a party of dreams
relay-replay.

pushing the blood into…

right to
left

right to
left

your face brushed
mine, smiling

the impulse is
then passed through
to the ventricles

misty, black n white
nightmares

us

causing
the ventricles to
contract.

I throw off my
sheet, ripping at
my skull.

the heart
beats
on.

and my essay:

The flip side of a copy

Time moves slowly when you’re a glorified copy wench. As the pale glow of replication illuminates the growing wrinkles adorning my face, the realization slowly sinks in. A train monkey could take my place, not a NASA rocketeering monkey either but a sleep-most-of-the-day in between poo-flinging one.

As the minutes tick to the void, my eyes scan the room. I want to rip down the OSHA poster, burn it to the ground, screaming to my coworkers, “six years, two degrees, honors societies and publications have to amount to more than paper cuts. And sleepless nights slaved away with library crammed house should amount to more than a no-benefits, crap-dollar an hour pay.”  I want to start anew.

A battled scared vet returning to a reformed nation, I find myself longing to be lost in The Wasteland, strung out and strung up in a hotel full of beatniks and hippies hell bent on filling the worlds with flowers.  But the best minds of my generation are wasting away in cheaply pressed suits, long retail hour eyes wearied, as their back breaks with the loans on which their future was built/destroyed.  And my rent is due in a week.

The copy machine spits out my order. As my hands shake, I pick up each warm piece, permeating my skins. But my bones shake as I turn out the light and slowly walk away, each step echoing down the hallway.

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A new year, a new artistic you

I’ve never been particularly fond of New Years. Maybe it’s because I have always sucked at keeping my resolutions. Maybe it’s because I find the song “Auld Lang Syne” incredibly depressing.   Or perhaps it is because I feel like its a manufactured holiday that most people my age use as an excuse to get smashed.

Whatever the reason, I usually find myself plopped on the couch watching the “Twilight Zone” Marathon that runs on SyFy with a bottle of non-alcoholic strawberry sparkling water

But then I ran across this.
New Years IdeaWhat a wonderful idea! Instead of making a crapton of goals as an artist based on making money, procuring fame or producing a product, perhaps, we can instead find a way to help produce the inner peace in our art.

It’s so easy as an artist to fall into these traps. I especially fail with number 10. I do not have patience. I want amazing success ASAP. And I struggle when at the end of the day, I didn’t get as far as I wanted. But what does that struggle get me? No closer to my goal and miserable.

This year, I’ll still probably be on the coach for New Year’s Eve watching the “Twilight Zone”, but I am going to print off this picture and remind myself everyday. Art is a process and a wonderful journey but there are certian mindsets and traps we can fall into as artist that will make us miserable! Make a goal to avoid them this new year.

 

Smile a little smile for me….

Once, I sat outside of a building, alone, crying when an older gentleman came up to me and said, “you are a beautiful girl, but you are even more beautiful when you smiled.”

The result: I smiled.

smile a little smile for me
It isn’t always even to smile, especially with a daunting Monday and a work week ahead, but I guarantee that one of these English puns is going to bring a smile to your face.

In fact, it might even make you laugh out loud!

Happy Monday my fellow word nerds!

Surviving the writer…..

tips on how to date a writer
Artists in general are a different breed. I came across this list, and I thought it had some great points!

Honestly, I don’t agree with all of the points.  I try to avoid writing about people I know, though occasionally, they do inspire me. And I have never at a party riffled through other people’s things, personally, I think that’s just an invasion of privacy.

But the others, I felt were head on.

Especially number 10.  I have in the past dated people and been friends with people who didn’t understand how crushing a rejection letter can be.  When you are already reeling from a rejection that logically you know shouldn’t be personal, but emotionally is, the worst thing you need is someone telling you to suck it up and that it isn’t a big deal.

I would add:

11) Don’t ask the writer how much money they have made off the work or when they are going to get a publisher.

What would you add?

 

 

 

Stages

As I’ve shamelessly mentioned before, I had four pieces recently published in Euphemism.  I won’t lie. I’m happy the piece below was published.  It has lingered with my for the past two years.

I first wrote it the week before my thyroid surgery.  Swelling with emotion, the pieces was bulky, rambling and not that great. I didn’t do anything with it, but I couldn’t scrap it.

Out of surgery and rockin'

A scar of words.

Until a few months ago, I felt removed enough from the piece to do my work justice. I edited and reworked. And while it’s not perfect, I think that its a pretty spiffy piece.

Stages
Rachael Stanford

i

I gazed at you, my neck pillow-propped strained to an awkward, unnatural angle, in that painfully white, sterile room.

Forty-eight tiles: four vertical rows, twelve horizontal.

I tried to breathe as I was serenaded into serenity by the nurses’ chattering. They paused in song to lick their obese blood-red lips as I faded.

You are amazingly beautiful. The shadows and curves of your cells, illuminated by the ultra-sound machine’s soft glow, could hang in the walls of any pretentious, stuffy contemporary art gallery as rich old white men, their fat bellies tucked into overpriced suits, drowning in desperate art students, who gleaned over their clothes for hours until ever iota was painfully mismatched, debate our meaning.

You moved as I to greet the doctor. I wondered if this was the closest I’d ever be to a mother.
His lips mouthed, “there mostly likely is nothing to worry about,” but the flash of fear that invaded the pupils of his cold blue eyes illuminated more than any syllables could.

My heart raced, coursing through my veins, your breakfast.

The irony of my unawareness struck deeply during the next few days. As I waited, you, my one tiny cell, festered, a parasite feeding off of me, slowing depriving my body of nutrients.

I went on.

It was just another Tuesday.

If only….

Random events-the alarm you swore you set that never rings, the falling of that one last screw needed to hold it all together- that you and I can assign meaning to (after the fact) to validate anything. Now, my friends, family, nurses, doctors and strangers, can tell us with a forced smile that everything in this life happens for a reason.

I should be grateful, because God only tests us to make us stronger. Just think how strong I will be after I beat my own body into submission. Not you, though, my precious. You will be dried out, poked, prodded and laid on some microscope lab for a stranger to ogle you in your unabashed nakedness.
Yet, I am not grateful.

The words from the other end of the line, her voice light and airy as if reporting the weather, didn’t register to me at first.

But, you do.

My little one, you are your momma.

You are broken. You cannot thrive or evolve to spread your wings to other parts of my body, but can only grow in your own obesity, like a fat spoiled child given too much birthday cake, until you press against my windpipe, or artery, or some other organ and damn us both with your suicidal tendencies.

ii

I still hoped that you and I wouldn’t part as I waited in the Ax man’s room. This was a bad dream. I only had to roll myself out of bed and let the floor smash against my face. The blood-sweat droplets rolling down my cheeks into my lips will choke me to consciousness.

But as I stared at the wall-painting, a blatantly recognizable reprinting of Americana, the little nondescript boy, his features so amorphous that he could pass as my own, smiling at me, I knew I was awake.

There were options, are options, and always would be options. Too many options: different choices on what part of me to cut out, on how much to cut out, on alternatives that strangers who can type swear cured all.

The choices swirled about the air, a tiny tornado only we could see. I could try them all, dive in and swim around, let their water fill my lungs, but the time on the clock ticks away into your cells. I wonder how long you and I could take it.

“You already know you’re going lose it right.”

We didn’t.

iii

We are alone. You and I and that creepy reprint that bastardized the walls with its assumed art. His eyes followed me as I paced the room. I wanted to rip it down, wanted to scratch it away, paint chip by paint chip, starting with the clear, pure blue eyes of that smiling boy, slowing working my way down his neck, until my bleeding fingernails tear through the canvas and stain the snow-white walls.

I wanted to permeate into the cold walls. I needed the permanence.

I don’t know what you thought, or even if you think. Are you prokaryotic or eukaryotic? Are you a gift from God or the Devil? Are yu a mark of my uniqueness or a mar showing that I’m just another genetic runt that science kept alive?

I desperately want to know.

iv

“If you have to get cancer this is the cancer to get.” The Ax man said.

You are the belle of the ball, my little one. You, nestled in the muzzle of my neck, could surely feel the vibrations of my vocal cords, massaging you with every sob.

My farewell gift.

I could have asked a thousand questions. I should have. But, all I could ask, how long will my scar be?

Only a few inches.

A large tribute considering you’re smaller than a pea.

I know it is of little consolation but your tombstone will be etched into the soft, supple folds of my skin for all to see.

As I slumber, as you slumber, the Ax man will gently cut into my pale skin, peeling it away layer by layer until he rips the beast from me. Until he rips you from me.

v

I love you.

You must know that.

I love you.

Submission Alert!

I stumble upon a new journal Small Po[r]tions who is accepting submissions for their journal.

blog

According to their website, the submission details are:

Small Po[r]tions is now accepting submissions for our first issue to be published this Spring.

  • Please submit up to 1327 words or one multimedia work by January 20 2014 tosmallportionsjournal@gmail.com.
  • Simultaneous submissions are considered, as long as you notify us if the work is accepted elsewhere.
  • This journal will have an online component for new media works as well as a hand-bound print edition for each issue.
  • Small Po[r]tions reserves first North American publishing rights, and non-exclusive rights to reproduce, display, and distribute the work in print or other media platforms. Print rights return to the author after first publication in Small Po[r]tions.

I’ll archive it tonight under my submission tab. Happy writing to all my fellow writers.

How do you fit reading into an overscheduled life?

It’s the time of year we in the educating field love, almost-winter break time. Not a great time for the bank account (sad,sad falling numbers which will plummet in the next few weeks) but precious free time. Time to sleep. Time to write. Time to finish up projects, and most of all, time to read. ( I still have Insurgent waiting on my shelf to be picked up.)

I like way too many people live an over-scheduled life.  I hardly have enough time in the day to get what I have to get done much less have time for the fun little extras like reading.woman-reading

Barnes n Noble had a blog asking readers to tell them how they squeeze reading into their day. Some are silly. Some are genius. And others will baffle you.

So here’s my question to you, how do you fit reading into your day?

Acceptance!….and a poem

Euphemism, ISU’s literary journal came out. As I spent four years getting two degrees at Illinois State and a few years on the staff, this journal is a little baby to me which made it much all the more pleased that this year they accepted four of my pieces (two poems and two essays.) Over the next couple of weeks, I will post the work for you guys to enjoy! The first:

no light to come

Rachael Stanford

no light to come

I waited with razor blade eyes for a voice,
any voice, to tell me that can’t
could be undone.

waited, wrist atrophied
body pruning to death
amongst scented bubbles

to know
we is not are

not the doodles of remembrance
in our youthful futures.

unequivocal proof that is
isn’t only a perfect mess
potentially erased

is only is [sic]

but knowing that with wanting
what the answer could only be,
that even, if only, for the blink of an eye

even, if only, in the last lucent moments
before the drunkard stumbles
into their perpetual state of dis-existence
that we could never still be, but in—

if only

finding that never
sometimes is our only constant

the separation between you and I
exist besides grammatical purposes

(if only)

in a fractured corner of the Jungian mind
separated and immersed in
slipping words
chests of watery graves

(if only)

the pressure pushes
upon my breast

The neon lights
my heaven