Just another site

Category: Contributors

Portrait #26

New photography by Carolyne D. Court.

Carolyne is a visual art photographer from Tacoma, WA. Her current work involves shooting fellow artists. In this instance her model was Dana Livermore. “Normally I try to avoid using software programs to alter my photographs, but I wanted the photograph to convey the source of her artistic inspiration and give the viewer a sense of origin, so I after our session I went into photoshop and transposed images of maps–graciously supplied to me from Dana’s personal collection–in layers across the original image. Cartography is an essential element in Dana’s poetry and I felt it was important to include that. The maps represent her connection to the geography and environment of the Great Lakes.”


A Great Piece of Creative Non-fiction

The Paris Review has published an excellent piece by a friend of The Oyster Mangrove, Mr. CI Shelton. Shelton received his MFA in Creative Writing from Hollins University. Congratulations CI!!!

(Follow the link below)

Notes from a Love Letter

Art credit to John E Lee

The sense of storm has sent critters and beasts into hiding, yet one white-chested swallow with bright blue plumage stands perched on a nearby oak tree to witness the serenity of these abandoned lands, as if gasping one last time for kin [long gone]. He sings short, high-pitched cries into the roaring abyss of winds. Despite his cognizance of coming terror, he exudes an air of confidence. A swelling gust breaks through the trees, drowns his fleeting chirps. They never stood a chance. Fighting to straighten his feathers for flight, he twitches his wings and tail, but in vain. He is swept from his perch, from my sight.

Into my lands nature’s breath sweeps both shrub and trash alike. For existence beyond humanity all things are natural. Neighbors, houses away, exchange shouted words of uncertainty, walking into the security of their homes. I close my eyes and imagine how my new friend is getting on. Sharp pricks of rain strike my brow, sink through pores. My mind opens to the ensemble of life taking place all around me. Above the resounding baritone of muffled shouts and the starting of a car engine, nature’s falsetto emerges. The shrill of the wind cuts through over-story leaves.

I was not aware of it until now, but I am sitting in the concert hall of gods. Sometime ago, I lay in a garden with a woman who exposed through her words and actions the beautiful unshakability and self-existing dignity of the fearless human spirit. How much I long for her now. How much unease has seeped into my mind in these uncertain times. In this storm-induced state of sensual self-consciousness emotions of heart and thoughts of mind unite around a single truth: the life most beautiful is that led fearlessly through storm with the humility and fortitude of the swallow.

-B. R.

Quote of the Day

A Thousand Plateaus by Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari

“One launches forth, hazards an improvisation. But to improvise is to join with the World, or meld with it. One ventures from home on the thread of a tune.”

A co-contributor’s note

The oyster, last weekend I ate a few raw ones, wondering what it meant to be the ocean’s filter. They were delicious and snotty, I suppose (if I was a master of metaphor) I could compare eating them to the last crying-jag after a break-up. Salty, but savory, the eater of such delicacies is always left sucking air with open eyes.

Anyway, in all honest reality, I can give only one good oyster anecdote. Three summers ago, I was working as a waitress at a modest bistro in a southern college town. It was a late lunch, I was tired and serving my final 6-top before leaving for the afternoon. I brought the food and returned 5 minutes later to a ruddy-faced-glare. “Excuse me, um, what is THIS” the customer opened a fist shaking with anger. I saw a glinting white thing, tooth-shaped and half covered in the evidence of deep-fried corn meal, the leavings of an oyster po’boy. For a moment, I think that it is indeed a tooth, a fucking tooth. My mind begins to deflect the potential lawsuit.

Suddenly, we both realize that it is a pearl. An actual pearl, the survivor of aquaculture, packaging, cornmeal, and the deep fryer. In my mind, there is no better metaphor for expression, true beauty always survives.

-Amanda-Gaye Smith

%d bloggers like this: