So what have we found here? Sifting through dozens of pages and hundreds of lines of code, we’ve chosen this handful of hidden messages: shadows full of portent, the dreams of the blind, words left unsaid, scents on the wind, real and imagined witchcraft.
In the end, it seems that every person, every page, every leaf is stamped with hidden meaning, broadcasting a message which is both instantly obvious and irrevocably lost. The world is always speaking to us; we are always speaking to each other. In a world so crammed with meaning, the real scarcity is readers: people willing to listen, to decode, to understand.
Thank you for taking the time to tune your radios to these particular hisses and beeps. We hope they might provide you with the clues to unlock the next hidden messages you see.
— Carey Wallace and Dana Guthrie Martin
Please click on the contributors’ names to see all their publications in qarrtsiluni to date.
Anne-Mieke was born in a small village in the Netherlands, but in writing she feels more comfortable with using English. She has found that it is easier for her to write on beauty and intimacy when there is a distance between her and the words. Currently working in the field of arts education, she aims to become a professional photographer, and recently began a photoblog, Eye in a Bell.
Tricia Anne Baar is a poet, painter, and observer of the absurd, who lives on the edge of a forest in Arkansas. Or sometimes just on the edge.
Cecelia Chapman (website) is a graphic artist and writer currently living and working in Pacifica. Born in San Francisco, lived in New York, Los Angeles, Italy, Barbados, Mexico and Hawaii, she studied graphic design at Parsons School of Design, New York. She works as a designer and waitress while producing videos and stories and exhibiting her artwork.
Robert Elzy Cogswell retired from librarianship a year ago and has worked every day since as a poet. He has some fifty poems in print or forthcoming, but his greatest pleasure devolves upon him in the writing process itself. Before librarianship, he was a panhandler in Manhattan.
Beth Coyote (My Little Golden Book of Phobias) is published in Snow Monkey, Gumball Press, synapse, When It Rains From the Ground Up, Chrysanthemum, two Washington Poets Association anthologies, a new anthology of women’s political poetry, From the Web and Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. In 2007, she was nominated for Seattle Poet Populist.
Nathan Curnow’s first collection of poetry is No Other Life But This (Five Islands Press). In 2007 he was funded by the Australia Council to stay at ten haunted sites around the country writing poetry based upon his experiences. He blogs at Blog Eat Poet.
Brent Goodman’s work has most recently appeared in Anti-, Diagram, Rattle, Court Green, Hobble Creek Review, Pebble Lake Review, and Barn Owl Review. He lives in northern Wisconsin with his partner and the cats, and blogs at The Brother Swimming Beneath Me. His first full-length poetry collection, also entitled The Brother Swimming Beneath Me, is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press.
Dick Jones (Patteran Pages), a drama teacher and musician, has been writing seriously for the past 20 years. His poems and short stories have been published in a wide range of magazines, both on- and offline, and he is currently preparing a selection of poetry for submission to publishers.
A Cave Canem fellow and Vona Alum, Alan King’s fiction and poems have appeared in the Arabesques Review, Warpland, The Amistad, and Fingernails Across the Chalkboard: Poetry and Prose on HIV/AIDS, among others. He has a blog at MySpace, which includes links to two chapbooks.
Rob Mackenzie (Surroundings) is a Scottish poet. His poetry chapbook, The Clown of Natural Sorrow, was published by HappenStance Press in 2005. He served as a guest editor for qarrtsiluni’s Making Sense issue.
Dana Guthrie Martin (My Gorgeous Somewhere) lives and writes in the Seattle area. Her poetry has appeared in Fence and Canopic Jar, and is forthcoming in Blossombones. Her poem in qarrtsiluni’s Insecta Issue, “And the Crickets Outside My Window,” has had the most page views of any poem we’ve ever published.
Robbi Nester teaches composition classes to mostly unwilling freshmen at Irvine Valley College in Irvine, California.
Edith Oberley blogs at Bitterroot and Bergamot, named for “wildflowers native to my two homes, Montana and Wisconsin.” Since she began blogging in April 2005, her focus has been on communicating the value of “heart-places,” as she calls them: natural areas in need of protection.
Katherine Durham Oldmixon is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Writing Program at Huston-Tillotson, an historically Black university on Austin’s East Side. A poet active in the community, she also serves on the board of Texas Folklife, is the current president of Austin Poetry Society and is a Research Associate of the Humanities Institute of the University of Texas at Austin. She and Arturo Lomas Garza blog about their artistic projects, many of which are collaborations, at Katudi Artists Collaboration.
Allan Peterson is the author of two books: All the Lavish in Common (2005 Juniper Prize) and Anonymous Or (Defined Providence Press Prize), as well as four chapbooks. Recent print and online appearances include: Perihelion, Press 1, Bat City, Marlboro Review, Northwest Review, Notre Dame Review, Seattle Review, Runes. Work forthcoming in: Gettysburg Review, Gulf Coast, Swink, American Life in Poetry.
Andy Pokel is a student at St. Olaf College and is an active performer, poet, and doodler.
Monica Raymond is a prize-winning poet and playwright based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. She has taught writing at Harvard, the City University of New York, and the Boston Museum School. You can read an excerpt from her play The Owl Girl at the Massachusetts Cultural Council website.
Stephen W. Searfoss’s piece in this issue marks his first appearance in qarrtsiluni.
Deb Scott (stoney moss) is a middle-aged tomboy living in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and pets. Her poetry is published in MReview 2006 and 2007, and she manages ReadWritePoem, an online community poetry site.
Tom Sheehan has published 9 books since 1999, received 9 Pushcart and 2 Million Writer nominations, an IPPY Award, an Aldren Memoir nomination, received a Silver Rose Award from ART and The Georges Simenon Award from New Works Review for short stories. Pushing 80, he’s surprised how fast he still is, getting there. Soon he meets with pals (92, 79, 78, & 77) for a 3-hour lunch and gab session on literature and politics. They’ll each have a martini and he’ll have 3 beers and the waitress will shine on them.
Prize-winning photographer Anne Morrison Smyth (website) grew up in Ripton, Vermont and in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She moved to Belchertown in 1999 after living in Amherst for 30 years, where she raised her four children. Anne’s love for wildernesses of all kinds informs her work with an intimate, unflinching celebration of the diverse small realities that create a larger truth.
Martin Willitts, Jr. is a librarian, visual artist, and “science magician” who hypnotizes watermelons and bounces eggs. He has recent a print chapbook, Lowering Nets of Light (Pudding House Publications, 2007), an online chapbook News from the Front, edited an anthology of poems abut cancer, Alternatives to Surrender (Plain View Press, 2007), and has an online chapbook of haiku and his art forthcoming entitled, Fragile as Paper Cranes.
A seventh book from Marly Youmans (website, blog), Val/Orson, is forthcoming from P. S. Publishing (U. K.) in 2008. Set among the tree sitters of California’s redwoods, the story takes its inspiration from the legendary tale of Valentine and Orson and the forest romances of Shakespeare. Her prior books are: Ingledove; Claire; The Curse of the Raven Mocker; The Wolf Pit; Catherwood; and Little Jordan.
“T’s a gift to be simple…” — Shaker hymn
Cows migrate toward a milking pail.
This is his clock, whispers of light
as he pulls on boots, heading out.
He opens the gate
where he once met his wife,
his voice separated by the gate
shutting out temptation.
It is the simple things
like touching a forbidden hand,
pulling fistfuls of milk into a wooden bucket.
These things any man can understand.
Anything else moves quickly
and mysterious as restless petticoats.
It is better to bend time
to the slowest of minutes.
It is simpler this way.
Let other people feel the barometer of the heart.
I want to tend to things
that are deliberate and slow as night
as my wife shakes laundry off the line.
Like how he felt
when he opened that gate
and she stepped though the first time
his hand tumbling into hers,
him crowing the morning.
Glittering glass and ragged cans
Tumble and dive in a ravine
Talking to me in metered
Morse code of orange desert eye.
I seek signs.
Downwind grayed coyote
Skips straight ahead, scroungy
Mane awry in a matted mess.
My dad would have said
That critter is poor
When broke meant lean.
He’s seen better days —
When the cottontails
And voles leapt in his mouth
In the moon’s light and dew
Swam a river’s vista, ran further
Downstream and was glad.
These four wheels and static
Slash through mean creosote —
All I want is shade.
Relief from shimmering heat —
It shape-changes my hope
And pools green under the car.
Purple ranges simmer ahead.
I expect smoked pipe
And exhaust to catch up and swirl
Like a dust devil before a squeal
Of gravel arcs and sputters.
Your words hot and coarse
Untrue and mean with
None of the grandeur of that
Joshua tree but all the pride
Of a scorpion. Arched back
Showing how manly you are
You pierce my skin.
Solace in silent skies
Blue as your eyes and the ache
In my parched heart sighing —
Breezing past a shot-up stop sign —
Erodes clear signs of respite lost
With that last sip of sweet tea.
by Deb Scott
The patient roses that stayed in the wood
for who knows how long
till someone came like a prince with a chisel
to let them out fully bloomed perfect
and from something not even rosewood at that
loop around my shoulders
on the high edge of the red Italian chair
like a great collar with a rim of fur
my two hands on garlands
We are becoming more patient together
They having become what they wanted
in full relief and beetle-free carved out
long ago from something not even wood
read under the yellow light of roses
from the filigree lamp like a dust of pollen
The book is Guide to the Flowers
How to be fertile at will
be run over by days and days with the weight of light
How to enter willingly the surface of the dinnerware
How to take up the bees with a gratefulness
How to be patient as if I was sitting down
deep in the heart of wood not yet a chair
awaiting a cool and informative knife
by Allan Peterson
Last night something left a sign.
It passed and pressed the earth, it marked the path,
It left behind this posting pointing east
Last night something descended from the hills
and rolled right through this valley, flowing under starlight
Where night-bleached grasses bent before its weight and whispered down
Where cooling muds and darkened sands spread canvases to dry
It stepped, or stooped or stopped,
Impressed the page with name or long notation,
A footnote, or an author’s felted seal.
At every crossroads, or at oddly jutting stone,
Something scattered its production, claiming title, grant and deed,
Claiming kinship, pledging troth,
Then moving on.
What do you want? A written invitation?
Last night something left its sign.
by Diana Hunt
by Robert Elzy Cogswell
Qarrtsiluni (2005-2013) was a groundbreaking online literary magazine, one of the first to fully exploit blog software. Though we never quite realized our dream of creating a print-on-demand option for each issue, being online does mean that our back issues remain accessible indefinitely, so there's that. And we published some damn fine stuff — check it out.
All copyrights are retained by the original authors and artists. We will gladly forward requests for republication, and would appreciate a link back to qarrtsiluni in return.
(modified by Dave)