A tall, lush, evergreen forest.
The sound of an airplane flying overhead.
Bird calls echoing through the forest.
Moss sleeves on tree branches.
Moss coats on trunks.
Massive ferns at their feet.
A long dirt trail.
The sound of boots walking on the path.
Maple leaves scattered all over.
The occasional heavily-graffitied sign.
There’s water in the distance.
There’s a valley. Many fallen trees rest inside it.
These dead trees decompose where poisons and life grow. Roots lose their grip on life itself.
The echo of a faraway boat.
If a tree falls in the forest it will always make a sound. To say it wouldn’t if someone wasn’t there is just silly. Everything makes an impact no matter what the audience, or lack of.
At the end of this valley there is a diamond of trees standing across from one another. They create the image of a boat. Seagulls caw in the distance.
A log, shaped like a seal, sitting up and alert.
Nighttime is coming. First it comes slowly, then it hits you like death.
There is a big difference between walking inside the forest at 6PM and walking inside at 7PM. It is currently October in the Pacific Northwest. Night comes quickly. It’s scary no matter who you are to be suddenly stuck in the woods at night.
With the assistance of a smartphone at 2% battery I can Google Maps and flashlight myself home. It is statistically unlikely that anyone would be hiding in the bushes to kill me. Most people are not killers. And most people are not in the forest. Most people who would be here are just as stuck as me.
I have been stuck in this forest many times before. I have gotten lost many times. I have destroyed a pair of Doc Martens before by getting stuck in this forest. There is so much beauty and danger in this natural world. I get stuck on the wrong path but eventually I find it.
There is a light at the end of the path. I follow it. I am going into the light.
This is not death. I leave the forest and I am back in reality. I get my laundry from the laundry room. I take it back to my apartment and put my clothes away.
My window is a light in a pitch-dark night. Nothing too out of the ordinary. At the end of the day, it’s just light.
Photo at the top of the page: “Fall Forest No.1” by Thomas James Caldwell is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.
by Anastacia Renee
Anastacia Renee is a wonderful queer Black woman poet from Seattle who I had the great pleasure of being briefly mentored by in high school. Her work focuses on experimental poetry that uses symbols such / as \ this __ (.) She uses these methods to capture her lived experiences, culture, and traumas as a queer Black woman, in heart-wrenching, beautiful ways. She shows that lots can be said with very few words, and doesn’t let anything go to waste. She’s easily one of the biggest influences on my work and I don’t know where I would be without her. If you have the opportunity, please read her work, because she really deserves to be as famous as poets such as Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison (who were also amazing).
(Black Radish Books)
Mercury-Marvin Sunderland (he/him) is a transgender autistic gay man with Borderline Personality Disorder. He’s from Seattle and currently attends the Evergreen State College. He’s been published by University of Amsterdam’s Writer’s Block, UC Davis’ Open Ceilings, UC Riverside’s Santa Ana River Review, UC Santa Barbara’s Spectrum, and The New School’s The Inquisitive Eater. His lifelong dream is to become the most banned author in human history. He’s @RomanGodMercury on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
What others are saying about Eckleburg…
“The most exciting and adventurous and gutsiest new magazine I’ve seen in years.” Stephen Dixon
“Refreshing… edgy… classic… compelling.” Flavorwire
“Eye-grabbing… fun… bold… inviting… exemplary.” Sabotage
“Literary Burroughs D.C…. the journal cleverly takes its name from the The Great Gatsby. F. Scott Fitzgerald….” Ploughshares
Proud member of the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses.
How I hate those who are dedicated to producing conformity. —William S. Burroughs
The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review was founded in 2010 as an online and print literary and arts journal. We take our title from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and include the full archives of our predecessor Moon Milk Review. Our aesthetic is eclectic, literary mainstream to experimental. We appreciate fusion forms including magical realist, surrealist, meta- realist and realist works with an offbeat spin. We value character-focused storytelling and language and welcome both edge and mainstream with punch aesthetics. We like humor that explores the gritty realities of world and human experiences. Our issues include original content from both emerging and established writers, poets, artists and comedians such as authors, Rick Moody, Cris Mazza, Steve Almond, Stephen Dixon, poets, Moira Egan and David Wagoner and actor/comedian, Zach Galifianakis.
Currently, Eckleburg runs online, daily content of original fiction, poetry, nonfiction, translations, and more with featured artwork–visual and intermedia–from our Gallery. We run annual print issues, the Rue de Fleurus Salon & Reading Series (DC, Baltimore and New York), as well as, the annual Gertrude Stein Award in Fiction, first prize $1000 and print publication, guest-judged by award-winning authors such as Rick Moody and Cris Mazza.
We have collaborated with a number of talented and high profile literary, art and intermedia organizations in DC, Baltimore and New York including The Poetry Society of New York, KGB Bar, Brazenhead Books, New World Writing (formerly Mississippi Review Online), The Hopkins Review, Boulevard, Gargoyle Magazine, Entasis Press, Barrelhouse, Hobart, 826DC, DC Lit and Iowa’s Mission Creek Festival at AWP 2013, Boston, for a night of raw comedic lit and music. We like to promote smaller indie presses, galleries, musicians and filmmakers alongside globally recognized organizations, as well as, our local, national and international contributors.
Rarely will readers/viewers find a themed issue at Eckleburg, but rather a mix of eclectic works. It is Eckleburg’s intention to represent writers, artists, musicians, and comedians as a contemporary and noninvasive collective, each work evidence of its own artistry, not as a reflection of an editor’s vision of what an issue “should” be. Outside of kismet and special issues, Eckleburg will read and accept unsolicited submissions based upon individual merit, not theme cohesiveness. It is our intention to create an experience in which readers and viewers can think artistically, intellectually, socially, and independently. We welcome brave, honest voices. To submit, please read our guidelines.
Over the ashheaps the giant eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg kept their vigil, but I perceived, after a moment, that other eyes were regarding us with peculiar intensity from less than twenty feet away. – The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald