FLARE launches Summer 2018 Online Edition

FLARE: The Flagler Review is proud to present this summer’s online edition, building on our successful Spring 2018 print edition. Each piece in this summer edition was chosen because it lives up to our mission of showcasing colorful, vibrant works from passionate writers and artists. We hope that you enjoy these selections as much as we have!

> Check it out here

– FLARE Editors

Protest by Nina Schuyler

We three sit in the baby blue station wagon on McAllister, right across from City Hall.

It’s 1965 and our mother is out there again, screaming her face red, waving her sign, U.S. ARMS U.S. MONEY U.S. MEN AND U.S. STUPIDITY MAKE THE WAR IN VIETNAM. Her three girls in the car, me, nine years old, my other sister, seven—always in bright pink, even her socks and ratty shoes –and the youngest, four, who sucks her thumb because she says it tastes like cotton candy. We’re pressing our faces close to the window, making small circles of steam. We don’t get out, we know better. Mama’ll beat us if we get out and get in that mess. Tomorrow is Tuesday, and the people at Glide Memorial Church are serving breakfast—free of charge—but you have to get in line by 7:00 am, or there’s no maple syrup. We know the National Guard will show up soon, gripping their clubs and pepper spray and black guns, but right now a big fat man in dirty jeans and a white T-shirt has his big fat face up close to Mama’s and he’s yelling, his fist beating the air, like someone beating on the door, mad the rent check is late. Our Mama doesn’t flinch. She’s short—I’m already up to her shoulder—and skinny like a licorice stick, but tough, like steel, a post, a brick, a slap to your cheek, leaving a big red pulsing mark for hours that even a cold wash cloth won’t cool down.

Once a man showed up at our front door who said he was our Papa and thought he’d pay us a visit, Mama took one look at his smiling face, his shiny white shoes and tilted black hat and slammed the door on him. He, out there pounding on the door, screaming at her, calling her names, and she turned to me and said, “Don’t take it from anyone. Someone beat you down, you stand up, otherwise you’re nothing, you hear?” But when the pounding on the door stopped and she headed to the kitchen, I saw sadness in the curl of Mama’s neck and that tight way about her shoulders.

The youngest, her woolen cap pulled down low, is sucking away on her fingers, as if trying to get something other than candy out of it. My stomach growls. I’m tired of this. Mama is yelling at the fat man so loud I can hear her through the glass. But now he’s digging his finger into her forehead, like a gun, and Mama is backing up and she’s got a look on her face, a look I never saw before, her hazel eyes wide—a look of scared. Before I know what I’m doing, I’ve yanked up the car door lock, flung open the door—my sisters shouting, “No, don’t!”— I’m out, shoving through elbows, arms, legs, chants, shouts, and people are around me, I can’t see Mama!

I slow down and then, through a gap in the crowd, I spot her, on the ground, the big man standing over her. A flash of bright pink streaks by me, heading straight to Mama, so I run faster, darting, ducking, swerving, cutting, because no one’s going to beat me at nothing.

***

Nina Schuyler’s novel, THE TRANSLATOR, won the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Award and was shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Writing Prize. Her first novel, THE PAINTING, was nominated for the Northern California Book Award. She teaches creative writing at the University of San Francisco and writes in a small room that looks out at a huge palm tree.

Rachel Dolezal by Madari Pendas

Maybe it began with empathy,
Lástima at the visualizations
Of black women taken in the depth
Of night, invisible against the open
Mouth of the darkness;
Or despair at the footless
Slaves, the trenches in their
Backs like the plowed fields
They bent over, prostrated.
Then it turned into guilt,
How could we have done that?
She asks other white people,
Who kidnap and strangle the ‘we’
Out of her sentences, severing it,
Like gangrenous legs and arms,
It wasn’t us, we had nothing to do with it,
Apologist, traitor, race baiter they call her
That’s not our problem, they remind her,
But it is a problem, she insists.
Yet the guilt remains like an open sore
In the mouth, her tongue pushing
Against it, punishing herself
And in a way, her way, her own race
Reparations made with pain,
With the flinching pain of the sore
As she grinds it between her molars
Then she disassociates—
I’m not like them, I wouldn’t have done that;
Her own image an indictment,
She sees her ivory hands holding whips,
Tying nooses, restraining thrashing bodies,
Shacking ankles, stampeding in mobs.
It wasn’t me, it cannot be, not me me;
She perms, dyes, and lies,
A transmorphed and manufactured race,
If you present black are you then black?
Not me she continues, but now it’s not
A circulating blame like a blood disorder—
Not me, it was done to me, just look at me!
What happens when she encounters
African-Americans? She nods,
Holds a fist in the air and makes sure
The white spaces in-between her
Knuckles are not showing.
***
Madari Pendas is a Cuban-American writer and poet living in Miami. Her works focus on the surreal and absurd aspects that accompany living in an exile community, and the inherited identity crisis of being a Latina in America. She has received literary awards from Florida International University, in the categories of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Her work has appeared in The Accentos Review, Pank Magazine, The New Tropic, Politicsay, Sinister Wisdom, Junto Magazine, WLRN (Miami’s NPR affiliate), and The Miami New Times.

Shooter by Virginia Boudreau

Sunless, white sky day, valentines
day, Massacre Day.
Tired winter trees drifted gauzes
of moss like nurses on call, their arms
draped in bandages, while the shooter
waited, a young shooter, distressed man-
child with bullets to grind as school emptied
for the day, Valentines Day.
After the bell, students dreamed, tender
nebulous dreams of the uninitiated. Some
were wanting their sugar fix: chocolate, cupcakes
sprinkled and frosted pink, or a plate
of mom’s cookie hearts waiting for them
on the kitchen table. Some were hoping
for an invitation, a text, even the tiniest sign
from the cute guy in sophomore English,
the one they whispered and giggled about
with their best friend between classes.
Some carried backpacks filled with the secrets,
the promises of first loves alongside their trigonometry
text, their history homework, their college
application. No one was thinking
about the lonely boy, the raging, lonely boy, the thorn.
And so, with no warning at all, the blood
of those students, their backpacks heavy with
plans and dreams, sprayed fountains
of shiny cinnamon hearts into the airless sky, the
white sky, echoing screams instead of birdsong.
Blood bloomed scarlet roses by the dozens
on sidewalks, the stairs, in the corridors, oozing
harsh crimson as petals tore like pages ripped
from photo albums, from family bibles.
The shooter was a crazed cupid, sad, enraged and
arrowing bullets: targeting innocence, shooting
hearts. Terror exploded, lost screams pop, pop,
popped and shocked eyes will never un-see
friends lying prone and garish when the day
made for hearts and flowers became
holes through hearts and flowers on graves.
***
Virginia Boudreau is a retired teacher who splits her time between Nova Scotia, Canada and Saint Augustine, Florida. She can often be found on a beach in either location. Her poetry and prose have been published in a wide variety of international literary magazines and anthologies.

Emigration by Zoraida Rivera Morales

I know some lonely houses off the road
Neighbors, aunts, uncles, gone
the yard abandoned,
windows closed or broken.
Some dreams
left on the sill.
Wish you had seen them:
The man cooking dinner,
the mother on the floor
tickling her boy after
the victory of reading!
The yellow curtains, spices
and roses from the garden,
the eating, the laughing,
the silences. Two shoulders
peeking in to make sure child’s asleep.
If you pass now,
dirt films the windows,
plants are dying,
the sun fights the shadows
early morning,
If you pass now,
you’ll miss them, too.
***
Zoraida Rivera Morales is a bilingual Puerto Rican poet and writer with a background in education and counseling. Her poetry has been published in seven anthologies compiled by June Cotner and will be published in Family Celebrations in 2018. Her poetry in Spanish has been published in the ezine En sentido figurado and in workbooks and textbooks for kids.