small textlarge text
issue 12.01   ::   farewell 2023
Scary Bush

Our bravest contributors have shared with us some of their more earnest efforts from the misty past. Scary Bush should not be reviewed while in the process of drinking liquids, and the reader assumes all risk.

In The Woods

Katrina Papouskaya

More from the Winter/Spring 2022 edition


Kelly Gray


Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick

Brunchtime of the Idols

Andre F. Peltier

“Inmitten einer düstern und über die Maassen
verantwortlichen Sache seine
Heiterkeit aufrecht erhalten
ist nichts Kleines von - Kunststück:
und doch, was wäre nöthiger als
Heiterkeit?” ¹

When the thunderstorm
is frozen in the sky
and the farmhouse
is spinning, spinning
through spectral sounds
of the coming calm,
we bid good evening
to forgotten kings
and the gods of the Oregon Trail.
Only there in the valley
of the great rolling Missouri
will we find the ruts
of the covered wagon.
Independence Rock,
carved with the names
of those forgotten pioneers,
rises in the distance,
and we find the ruts
of the covered wagons.
The ruts of those old wheels
cut deep into the mud
and deep into the heart of the
In soar arrows
from the mighty Sioux,
the Pawnee, the Arapaho.
Shoshone warriors
burn the camps,
hunt the great bison.
The bison herd fills the horizon.
The bison herd
runs free in
circles, zig zags,
start and stop glory.
The bison head hung
on the supermarket wall
eyeing the butcher and
the baker.

When the lightening
is blotted out of the heavens
by a host of the shiniest cherubim,
and the farmhouse
is crashing, crashing
on amber waves of pain,
we bid a fond farewell
to the gods of the Oregon Trail.
In the canyon of
the Little Colorado,
we saw the lizard lose
its tail and scream.
We bought turquoise slides
for our bolo ties
and we rode the black horse,
as we carved our Z’s
into the mythology of Route 66.
And the gods of
the Snow Cap Drive-in
nestled into a booth
for a long afternoon of
checkers, backgammon,
solitaire, whist.
In soar the pebbles kicked up
by tires of the Desoto Adventurer,
the Studebaker Power Hawk,
the AMC Rambler.
The Plymouth Furies burn rubber,
hunt birds up and down
Thunder Road.
On Thunder Road,
Robert Mitchum died
rounding the curve near
Kingston Pike.
The ghost of Robert Mitchum
runs free in circles, zig zags,
start and stop glory.
The ghost of Robert Mitchum
wanders the aisles
eyeing the grocery girls
and planning a midnight run.

When the hail
is hammering the tarmac
and the farmhouse flies
diagonally, diagonally
into the future of next year’s
autumnal equinox,
we say good day to
Baron von Aurantiaco
and the gods of the Oregon Trail.
Walking the canyon streets
of New York, Detroit,
Washington D.C.,
we felt the sleet hammer
us too.
November turns December,
we turn our collar to the wind
and rain.
We climbed the Empire State Building
one step at a time,
1,576 stairs,
and the observation deck
was bursting with tourist fluff
and the twenty-five-cent binocular stands
were out of order.
No blimps moored that day either.
In soar the tourists
to gentrify and spend.
The Chrysler, The Penobscot,
The Washington Monument
hidden on the horizon
as the gods of the National Mall
patted themselves on the back
and said, “Well done, brothers.”
And Jack Ruby
runs free in circles, zig zags,
start and stop glory,
saying, “Look on my works,
ye foolish,
and eat well,”
eying the pickles and olives.

When the fog
fills the farmhouse
and the river valley quakes
shivering, shivering
as tectonic plates
collide, we sing
“Auld Lang Syne”
with an invisible choir
of Disney princesses
as the Gods of the Oregon Trail
are lost to hazy
Exploring Big Thunder
Mountain, Tom Sawyer’s Island,
Spaceship Earth,
we look for mouse-eared
water to quench our
central Florida thirst.
Remembering Tomorrowlands
of childhood bliss,
climbing Space Mountain
as slippery hands grip
the bar and we fly
through the dark.
No more can we spy
Goofy or the Country Bears
as they have all
gone home.
They’re tucked in their
warm beds for the night.
They’ve supped on
gruel and butterscotch;
they’ve supped on the misfortunes
of the alligator infested
central Florida swamps.
The tourist herds
floods the horizon,
and the ghost of John Mills
swings through the branches
in circles, zig zags,
start and stop glory,
singing his song,
“That’s the quarantine flag…
I do a bit of reading too,
you know,” ²
into the wild zebra night.

1.   Nietzsche, Freidrich. Twilight of the Idols. 1889.
2.   Mills, John. The Swiss Family Robinson. Walt Disney Productions. 1960.


Kelly Gray (age 17)


Kelly Gray

More from the Fall 2021 edition

On Tucking You In

Katherine Fallon (November 2, 1999)

Ah you sleepy creature.
Last night as you drifted off,
I opened your window for you
And stood staring at the yellow leaves of trees,
The yellow glow of fireflies,
The yellow squares of windows
With so many stories inside their rooms.
Your arm was dangling
From the edge of your bed,
Fingers curled around an imaginary apple.
Sound ceased as you slipped into slumber,
As my fingertips traced
The contours of your chiseled face.
I thought, watching you sleep sharply,
Your hair a messy halo around you,
That I may have been a housecat
In a past life, but you,
My sleepy creature,
Were a lion.

Opening page from an untitled novel

Lauren du Plessis (about fifteen)

I let myself fall to the other side of the back seat as Mum turned swiftly onto the motorway. It was one of the games I liked to play. The gentle vibrations of the soft seat were a constant reminder to me that I was going somewhere exciting.
"I've wanted to go to a big theme park all my life!" I exclaimed in a heightened voice.
"I know! It's very exciting," replied Mum, "but remember to stick with me, okay? Don't go running off anywhere."
"I won't," I promised, turning my head to peer out at the world. There were dozens of fields out there, and I could hear the blades of grass rustling through the open window.
I turned back, and strained to look out of the front window. Mum laughed, and looked into the rear view mirror to see my smiling face.

And that's when it happened.

I'm not sure the other people saw us coming. But I saw them. I saw how the car suddenly braked to avoid an animal that had run out into the road. Mum's reflection barely had time to go pale before the impact. It was a deafening sound that had no words to describe it.

(note - this precedes a dramatic time jump to nine years later...)

More from the Spring 2021 edition


Lauren Busser

The violin is my Twin

Riham Adly

When I listen to the brooding melodies of the violin,
I feel it yearning to reveal and unveil the chagrin within.

Sadness flows in its soulful tunes pulling me in like magnet,
like a spell, like a woman blinded by a glowing gem.

I get pulled in to its enchanted world,
like the sleeper's invisible melody in the dreamers abode.

And like a match's sudden spark, and demons in the dark,
Its voice enthralls before it dims.

It dims.
It dims.

My heart flutters like a bird's flapping wings,
When I hear the wailing sound of the wind in its strings.

The wind that wanders into the hollow barks of trees abandoned.
The winds of fate, the wind so feared, the wind within.

And again when the shy violin sings, when its melody strengthen after it begins,
I listen with my heart and see with my ears the chagrin within the violin

For it is my mirror
It is my twin.

Caffeine (or an overactive mind…)

Rhienna Renèe Guedry

A Stranger at the Grave

Catherine Bloomer, age 17

I am the broken bottle
worn smooth by the waves
I am the bunch of flowers
thrown down on our grave

I am the lone stranger
surrounded by our friends
I am the relentless shower
of rain that heralds the end

I am the one who follows
the ones who went before
I am the one who saw all
the harbinger of war


Kristen Baum DeBeasi

Mary Brown
Lady Jane




Potato pie





Bye and bye


Dale Stromberg, age 18 or so

As I betook me daily travel otherside the reservoir,
I did happen to unstart me near an old abandoned car,
For I heard me bladder calling, "¡No me gusta trabajar!"
So I did unzip and tinkle on the old abandoned car.
Then I heard me from behinded a great laughy-hardy-har:
"What do you there, oddfeller, to that old abandoned car?"
Then did I sing, "Bedong beding and a merry toora-loory,
Tis nun yer bizness what I do unto this auld Mer-cur-y."


Claire Leng, confidently attempting to master the stream-of-consciousness style in her second language

Haruki Murakami is a liar
He made marathons and falling in love sounds easier
Mom forgot to teach me not to trust a writer
Too late, I already paid my registration fees earlier

Is it one mile yet?
The gym smells salty and wet
I think I know that skinny brunette
Her name is Chelsea, Chellie, or Chelette

My shoes are uncomfortable
Two hundred bucks don’t seem so wonderful
Next time I will buy gears more affordable
My situation is miserable!

Sweat covered me from head to toe
TV is playing The Dr.Who Show
I am slow
Can I please travel back to thirty minutes ago?

I am hungry
Food waste is outrageous
Do people convert to Christian from rice missionaries?
I should stop running and write a new mystery

It has only been twenty minutes
Scientists need to invent a robot to move my legs
I don’t think I deserve a fitness
Six-packs are none of my business

Finally, they are playing my song
I can run with that beat all day long
This treadmill must read my calories wrong
Besides the drug part, I wish I could be Lance Armstrong

Every guy around me fit and grungy
The man next to me needs a sweat spongy
I should have done bungee
Rather than running here draining out of my energy

I praise God of the gym this hell route is almost complete
Only dubstep can match my heartbeat
Can’t forget to take a picture for the tweet
Let’s start with my swollen feet

More from the Fall 2020 edition


Jacqueline Doyle (preschool)

The little angel flew and flew.
Then she took off her wings and walked away.


Flower Conroy

The Buck

Lisa Creech Bledsoe

He bounded over the brush
with ease. Animals watching with
respect, awe and fear. His great
antlers brush against the spring
leaves. He goes bounding, bounding
into the distance, pausing once
only for water at a stream,
his reflection shining in the
sun. A shot rang out,
and he jerked and slowed
his pace. Another shot. He
staggered and fell to the ground,
and quietly died.


W. David Hancock

The Moth

Lisa Creech Bledsoe

His wings, gray and silver
propel him quickly
to the leaf. A great shadow
came over him. A tremendous
beak scooped him up and
carried him into dizzy
heights, then dropped him
fluttering, fluttering to the
ground. He fell on the leaf
and quietly died. The moth.

Plenty more where that came from!