The God of Today, part 1
We are in the far country,
green pastures and a scatter
of stars. Morning!
The water clobbered with light
is filled with a wild emptiness: no spoons,
steering wheels or stones. My daughter, Sunday
school, a white frame church tucked
among the Douglas firs—blurred bluffs of a hundred
bays along the misty horizon.
The God of Today
is a glacier and it is a late time
to be living. Ask the sea rock, ask
the salt mountain, foothills and farms, sounds
of hooves, smell of sagebrush—another year of exposure, of rain—let us gather
the cattle before moon-
Amanda Sharon often thinks about the cylindrical nature of time, the illusion of fear, and ancient cultures. She currently lives in Columbus and studies at The Ohio State University.
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The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review is a print and digital literary journal. We offer original fiction — short stories, short short stories, hybrid—poetry and nonfiction. We also curate The Eckleburg Gallery — visual artwork and intermedia — as well The Groove including first released, original music by The Size Queens. Our archives include emerging and established writers, poets, artists, musicians and performers such as Rick Moody, Cris Mazza, Eurydice, Steve Almond, Stephen Dixon, Moira Egan, David Wagoner, Zach Galifianakis and many more. We run annual print issues, The Eckleburg Reading Series (DC, Baltimore, Chicago, New York….), as well as, the annual Gertrude Stein Award in Fiction with a first prize of $1000 and print publication.
The Allegory of the Paddle Boat
You and your paddle-boat-mate are on a paddle boat at sea, which, according to the owner’s manual, is “not recommended.” You toss the owner’s manual overboard. The sandy ocean bottom disappears, but you could still swim back to shore in case of mutiny. You pedal until the water becomes choppy. This makes you nervous, and the owner’s manual is on the ocean floor. It rains on the water, dramatically, and great waves fill the paddle boat. One of you holds the steering handle with both hands while the other bails water with a baseball cap. You are pleasantly surprised to survive. You realize that it would have been easier to have lightened the load, but you didn’t think of it like your paddle-boat-mate must not have thought of it, and you feel an unbearable warmth pooling within you. You imagine jumping paddle boat into a great white’s hungry jaws to prove this. But the water is calm now, and you pedal on. You notice there is one steering handle.
You wake up pedaling air—you are caked with sand. You must have rolled over in your sleep, must have tumbled overboard. You can’t see past the shore for the fog. The water is two steps in every direction. There is a palm tree with some coconuts. There is no pistol because this must not have been the plan—but what a salty fear fills you, even after the baseball cap and the great white. Surely the sloshing of the paddle boat will soon return. Eons pass. You realize the current is stronger than the pedaling and always has been. But this warm pool inside you. The fog clears, and there you are on the shore, peering across the waves. You see other islands with similar shores and their waiting faithful, standing solitary at the water’s edge. And you realize how mistaken you were, thinking all this time that you were alone.
Jenelle Clausen received an MFA in creative writing from Bowling Green State University and resides in Madison, Wisconsin. She drafts poems on loose-leaf college-ruled notebook paper with an 0.5 mm black gel pen, sometimes in the fluorescent glow of her living room floor lamp, sometimes in the incandescent glow of her side table lamp, and sometimes in a commingling of artificial lights.
By John F. Buckley
You have to be very good.
You have to suck shakes through the straightest of straws.
Down on your knees for a bit
by the pond, you have to stop
feeding the wild geese Raisinets;
they are not healthful bugs.
Look in the mirror and contemplate:
have you replenished the household
emergency kits? Have you purchased spare batteries?
If you bite into too many beloved clam bellies,
hot from the fryer, you will not be the sleekest of beasts.
Despair of reaching the mountaintop, you,
and I will comfort you briefly, in a seemly way.
Meanwhile, the wildfires and mudslides
sweep toward the cabins,
waiting to scour the earth of those
spending too long brushing their teeth.
Meanwhile, another rack of disappointments
in a six-pack of Capri-Suns.
Hit the road, ranger, and seek
a land without moss. Look for a clan
with a lean and hungry look, look for them
over and over, over the hills and through smog,
somewhere to express your intents
in your cruelest lisp. Write those things a ticket.
John F. Buckley has been writing poetry since March 2009, when his attempt at composing a self-help book went somewhat awry. After twenty years in and around California, he now lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with his wife. His publications include various poems, two chapbooks, the collection Sky Sandwiches, and with Martin Ott, Poets’ Guide to America and Yankee Broadcast Network. His website is http://johnfbuckley.net