Breath & Shadow
Volume 12, Issue 4
Roy A. Barnes
Why is my life so pathetic? Donovan Lovell thought to himself over and over again during an unexpected business trip which had brought him back to an old haunt. It was situated in the Middle of Nowhere, Wyoming. Spare time after lunch afforded him the opportunity to re-visit the town’s nine block stretch called Lincoln Avenue. Donovan had his reasons for heading there. It was the place of his youth - the only place he really felt at home, a cocoon from the realities of growing up. Now his life seemed nothing but harsh realities.
For a minute, I forgot where I thought I really was
Racing Needless to say, I didn’t qualify
Condemned to simply restart the race
Try once again to make it beyond that opening lap...
"The Troubling Depiction of Disability in 300"
Few recent movies are as troubling in their depiction of disability as the 2007 film 300. This movie is bizarre, and sometimes contradictory, in several ways.
Directed by Zack Snyder, 300 is adapted from a graphic series by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley. Like the Miller-Varley graphics, the film is a highly fictionalized and fanciful retelling of an actual historic event, the Battle of Thermopylae, at which a military alliance of Greek city-states attempted to repel an invasion led byPersia’s King Xerxes.
The film starts with a voiceover telling the backstory of King Leonidas ,the monarch who will lead Sparta. The narrator says, “When the boy was born, like all Spartans, he was inspected. Had he been puny or misshapen, he would have been discarded.” This announcement is followed by the sight of a little hill of infant skulls – presumably those of “puny or misshapen” Spartan babies who were killed according to the society’s tradition of dealing death to its disabled.
I can escape, almost, past
eyes that stare. Feet bare
I squish through mud, puddles
forming in my heart. Darting
through the river, fish dodge
jagged stones, worries swarm
"One Use for the Elderly"
They came marching down the road, bright young faces, singing some song old Anaru couldn’t understand. Their uniforms were clean, their boots shined, and their sergeant and officer marched with them. Anaru smiled, both men were on his side of their column. He laid the sights of his ancient rifle on the sergeant, breathed in slowly, held the shot for a fraction of a second and fired. His forefinger flipped up in the reload that had given his great-great-grandfather such firing speed in the First World War, and he shot again.
"Part-Time Sclerotic Destruction"
The day my doctor said
"we'll fight through this thing with you"
I stared at her
like she had lost her
I could not picture
her in gambeson and maille
"Selkies: Domestic Violence & Animism"
In stories about Selkies, as a child, I was mostly horrified that as soon as the Selkie stole back her skin she abandoned her children when she raced back to the sea to rejoin her seal community. What I should have wondered was why she didn’t murder the human male who trapped her.
My second marriage was marked very much by this kind of abuse. I was trapped and he knew it. My husband trapped under the guise of being “protective.” This is a red flag of a controller – anyone who thinks they can decide what you need to not know or do for your own protection. I was powerless very quickly under the guise of love.
"Ricochet of Sorrow"
Struggling up the hill but it won't
Before tomorrow's yesterday is gone
Walking down your hallway and then
Want to see a new beginning and
Cynthia always knew she could fly. She watched birds out her bedroom window, soaring through the air, above houses and tree tops and up to the clouds and to the deep blue sky, and knew she was really one of them. That she was just stuck in a human body. She needed to be free. She'd close her eyes, pretend she was up there, wind through her feathers and the land below, floating on air currents and warm wind.
"Love Just A Fairy Tale", "Loss is Grief", and "The Past A Galloping Horse"
Lighting attached to joists,
spots the distance down.
Ex- lover sits in the first row,
Eyes aghast stare upward,
anxious about aerial missteps.
She leans into a right angle,
now acute, hesitates then
running steps stride on wire.
"Of Pokémon and Poe"
I'm in the throes of a nasty mixed episode, possibly my worst yet, and I'm talking online, via Facebook, to my friend who is also bipolar.
I've been wildly manic before, and I've been depressed, and I've been mixed, but I can't remember right now if I've ever been this mixed, and it's nice to have someone to talk to who understands. My mother was bipolar the exact same way I am, but she died when I was ten.
"The Beachcomber of Dong Hoi"
Monday, Đồng Hới - the centre of the Vietnamese coastline:
With the sun high in the sky and all the locals siesta-ing, one brown face — formerly pale, less formerly burnt and peeling — wandered around the beach. The eyes flitted to and fro across the sand, standing out wildly from the haggard, bearded face. His path too, slow and halting, was erratic. If one were to watch for a long time, it might be observed that he covered the ground with little redundancy, but certainly it did not appear so at a glance. Over his right shoulder was slung an old fishing net — tied, retied and finally abandoned, now his. In his left hand, a black faux-leather briefcase — missing its handle, so suspended by fraying cords braided out of plastic bags.