Saturday, April 30, 2011

Brag and Boast!

If you completed the Writers' Challenge or at least gave it a solid effort, CONGRATULATIONS!  Comment on this thread and tell us all about the process: how you did it, what you learned, and whether it's something you'd try again.

And don't forget: if you're in or near Flagstaff, the wrap-up reading is at 7PM tonight at the Kickstand Kafe.  Hope to see you there!

Final Featured Selection: "Wisdom No Longer Comes with Age" by Lidia Francese

wisdom no longer comes with age
by lidia francese

last night, a dream
almost held my hand,
grass-stains on my knees
consuming themselves
i couldn’t be
under a swing set
because there wasn’t one.
have come to find her

and dark, under a bridge
she had eyes like two turntables,
the voice of a wobbling solo
under my hands
she had a neck already noosed,
she had forgotten how to cry.
wasn’t done with her.

dragging a dead-weight body,
couldn’t hold my hand
she was beating
on doors
i didn’t know how to open
my mind.
will never be done with her.

and from the bottom up
never looks like the top down,
hands on the wheel
riding around
the radio staying on
turned to static,
no reception
at her wedding.
wish i could scratch those eyes
one more time.

the dj to the band:
play all their songs 
in reverse order
and maybe he will 
hold her hand,
firsts come last—
ly i would like to say
have yet to start with her.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Featured Selection for 4/24: Iris Jamahl Dunkle's "The Ring"

The Ring
By Iris Jamahl Dunkle

The story was a tattered ring by the time I found it—
Grandma hadn’t yet lost the smooth edges of memory
a garnet stone surrounded by a small crown of tiny pearls
with it she paid passage from the poverty of dust
to the poverty of tending children alone.

But still she passed the tattered words.
They blew out of her mouth
like hot garnet coals
lighting the air in red threads—
Fix it. She’d say. Tell it right. And tonight she blew out the coals.

Writers' Challenge Wrap-Up!

For those of you in the Flagstaff area, Thin Air is pleased to announce that we will be holding an open-mic reading event to wrap up the challenge. Bring what you've written through the month, share something, and meet your fellow Challenge participants.

The reading will be Saturday, April 30, 7:00 - 9:00 PM at the KickStand Kafe in Flagstaff at 719 N. Humphreys.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Featured Selection for 4/23/11

To Die at Coachella (flash prose) by Kimberly Cawthon

Near Death, I felt the crowd push, pull and stick to me like a suffocating winter coat. The noise, the screams.

"Duran Duran. Really?" some idiot shouted

"The Strokes. Really?" another retorted.

I looked at Tim as the fear fell over his face, a look of dread, of powerlessness. The was no more air. A lady is groped next to me.

"Asshole!" her boyfriend shouts.

She looks to me to stop the hand fondling her chest. I look up the patch of open sky and try to breathe. No one will help me. I'm too far from the barrier to be rescued. They'll find me here--crushed, breathless, small and huddled.

I find a man's shoulders. I grab them and hold on like a train caboose. We worm our way through sweat, perfume, sun screen and cigarette smoke. Tight like an intestine, a fisherman's knot, pressed bodies joined like the balls of an abacus.

I bust out, gasping, eyes dripping tears.

What fools we are, what fools crush each other to huddle around sound. I could have died.

It's not like they would have wrote a song in my honor, planted a tree in my name. They would be no policies, barriers, safety enforcements. I would have been a squeezed tube of tooth paste, a tragic fan story and the show would go on, the bass would thump and bump and bounce against my face like a wall of fuzz.

I shouldn't have panicked. I should've stared them down, those fools with their hazy eyes. I should of said 'fuck' and 'move.' I should have screamed.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Featured Selection for 4/21/11

For Charlaine (flash prose) by Kimberly Cawthon

Charlaine is an old woman who bagged my odds and ends at the Target check-out counter. She looked to be in her late 70s with a short, slender frame, tight white curls, large glasses and a signature ensemble of red and khaki.

Why is she bagging my soap and cotton balls, my frozen veggies, mascara and mustard? Why isn't she crocheting or drinking a glass of iced tea on some golf course?

I was sad. I was angry.

"I can bag them," I said.

"It's alright," she said. "I started out in a grocery store... 50 years ago."

Do you have grandchildren Charlaine? Certainly they must be less rotten than your own children who have allowed you to be here amongst 20-somethings, hustling for minimum wage. Charlaine why are you here? Why are you bagging my things?

Did you get that bored in retirement to tinker with retail or are you the ones we failed. We, this country, you and me. Did we pluck you from your cozy house, your husband's military pension and force you into a life you thought long over?

I wonder about Charlaine.

I hope this is a recreational thing, that long hours on your feet, in your wrinkled skin and aching bones is temporary.

Who is taking care of you Charlaine? Not in a feeble sense, but an emotional one.

"Would you like to save 5% today by opening..."

"No thank you," I said.

I would like to save you, Charlaine.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Featured Post for the 19th (a little late sorry)

Black Line of Praise - Corey Sheeley

This morning
a Raven told me
of his life on the line.

How subtly had been lost
on the spring Finches
it was all
new day this
and food collection that
no reflection
on the glorious night
that had just tucked in.

No notice of the hearty
mountain buds
Packing pistols in their pistil
surging stamina through their stamen.

It wasn’t lost on him
and he cut a clean black line
of praise
Across the newly minted sky.

Hang in there!

This is the thick of the Challenge, the time when it's the most -- well, challenging.  Remember that the challenge doesn't require writing every day, just 30 in 30 days.  I've fallen three days behind a couple of times, but with a little determination, catching up isn't that bad. It's the morning of the 20th, and though they aren't all the highest quality, I have 19 new poems that I wouldn't have had otherwise.  Number 20 will be dragged kicking and screaming from my subconscious later this afternoon.  Count on it.

More importantly, keep sharing your work!  We love reading your submissions, and while Cory Sheeley is certainly talented, we can't feature her work every day.  So please send us what you come up with during the Writers' Challenge.  We understand that the Challenge produces pieces that are somewhat less polished than usual, so don't be shy.  We're looking to feature as many unique voices as we can.  After all, your piece could be one of the best ever written during April 2011.

Good luck coming down the home stretch.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Featured Selection for Saturday, April 16th

Mohave minute - by Cory Sheeley

I am reborn,
in each new mile.
Bouncing skyward
through tired route 66 neon
and shoe trees.
I grip the road.
Hungry to it
And come out
the ocotillo straits.
by an unplanned path.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Featured Selection: Junior Recital by Cory Sheely

Junior Recital

A percussive evening
of syncopated steps.
Where tone flurries
atop metal bars,
to a silent hall.
Orange chairs.
Cameras stare.
Staccato claps
posses a bite size audience

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Featured Post for Wednesday, 4/13

Cory Sheeley said...

Wedding Day

I wonder if I’ll be a butterfly
or a bunch of live wires,
a nest of nerves?
Or a lady?
One like my grandma always wanted.
Will my best show up
or be held hostage in a trunk somewhere?
What if my heart rattles out of its cage
and everyone can see how much you mean to me?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

April 12th

TobbyMoran said...

Little Ones

Little feet
Run back and forth
Little stutter steps
Like a snare drum before the reveal

Little hands
Reach for everything
Too high, too big, too full of liquid
Everything that is under something else

This gets knocked down,
That gets spilled onto to the floor
Everything goes into the mouth
Just for a taste

Light colored eyes so big, so bright
Trying to take in everything at once
Smile so big, so bright
Warming everything at once

Curiosity and energy meet:
…Ooohhh. Takka Takka!”
Or so he says…

Little Sister
Follows everywhere Big Brother goes
Hands and knees, stuttering steps…
Sounds like a herd.

Smaller hands
Legs unsteady
Reaching for things too tall,
Too big, too full of liquid

Darker eyes, just as bright,
Gap toothed smile just as bright, just as quick
“Eh? Aaahh!!”
Or so she says.

Four-pawed and wagging tails,
my fuzzy girl and boy
dodging babies,
can't wait to meet me.

She wants her walk,
he wants his sniff,
something they've been waiting for
all day.

When I come home
It’s to a pack
Of hands and feet, paws and tails
Howling huskies and babbling babies

I’m not sure why I ever leave.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Featured Selection "Kobayashi Haiku" by Brian Griggs

Kobayashi Haiku

The captain is toast.
There is no freakin’ way that
He can escape this.

Rabid fanboys wait,
Adjusting polyester
Starfleet uniforms.

No one can improve
On a classic story of
Men with pointy ears.

They will liveblog their
Disdain for J.J. Abrams
And his fake canon.

But they failed to see
Alternate timelines coming.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Featured Selection: Cory Sheeley "Rain"

Cory Sheeley

Your sweet moist words slide over me
Creosote does a belly laugh as you
tickle its green arms
and lift its delicate yellow skirt

Washes dance hard,
a careening Cumbia
of earthy twists,
sandy turns

I wait for an encore
But you are gone
And I am alone
with the coolness of you

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Featured Selection: Untitled poetry by Jana Russ

I want blue horizons again. Long open oceans
where shimmery distances veil the sacred union 
of sea kissing sky. 

Wrap me in hot breezes, let me taste
your skin slick and salty to the tongue, 
lie with me on white gauze. 

I want gull song in slow afternoons, 
watching tides wash up their driftwood, 
and fish bones, and time bleached memories, 

We’ll swim in the lazy latitudes of the mind, 
write our history in the sand and ignore all choices 
harder than how to add lemon in the glass.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Featured Selection: "Ice Pops" by Lidia Francese

Ice Pops
by Lidia Francese

My children breathe
through the excavated seconds
of a cargo hold.
Their skin whispers
moon light
stolen from the sun
with their solar panels.

Cardboard boxes are
the best gift you can give.
They are spaceships today,
tomorrow the astronauts.
I am waiting patiently
in the kitchen,
tile floor crackling beneath my feet.

When they remember Earth
I will be waiting--
the sunlight
arching in my smile.
Their tongues are blue
with the summer's

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Featured Post-of-the-Day for April 5th

Flash Fiction by Kimberly Cawthon 4/3/2011

I fell in love with a woman who wore Sea Foam green.

I knew her dress was sea foam because I am a color expert. After 6 years at Arthur’s Top Coat, it could be pride or too much toxic lacquer fumes. Whether it’s melted brain cells or arrogance, I love color. I love that blue is never blue; it's Cerulean, Cornflower, Dusty Sky, Swimming Pool, Electric, and 5,000 other variations of shades, tones and pigments. I loved knowing Pam’s dress wasn’t green but a delicate mix of Pistachio, Banana Pudding, and Aqua. Cool, breezy, Sea Foam.

She sat down as I sipped my cappuccino. The shop was crowded and I knew my empty seat would be taken. I didn't know she would pull the chair back and asked to join me.

“I like your dress,” I said.

“Thanks,” she smiled. “It’s an old bridesmaid gown I had tailored.”

“How green of you,” I smiled back.

We spent a few hours at the coffee shop. I forgot about my dry-cleaning pick-up, helping Eddie move out of his apartment and picking up a jug of Drano for the clogged kitchen sink. I stared at her in her lovely folds of sea foam. A mermaid with a soy latte.

“Are you dating anyone?” I asked.


I ordered us some sandwiches.

By sunset, she wanted to walk. We trekked arm and arm into the tiny town—the spring air gently tumbling into summer warmth. We talked about this and that—the weather, favorite cookies, diplomacy in Eastern Sri Lanka—but her dress, it’s consuming color, it was a focal point of dialog. She told me it was worn for a June wedding on a golf course, her 9th ceremony that year. She carried pink tulips. The bride was a bundle of body-conscious nerves and forbid her maids to ingest any food. In her hunger, she stuffed gummy bears into the tulip buds. She sucked on the tiny bears as the bride and groom blubbered. I laughed and squeezed her hand.

We walked all the way to my house. She used the bathroom and then took off her sea foam dress. We rolled around on my Gun Metal Grey sheets; kissing, sweet words, tight thigh links and goose bump skin. She tasted like salt water taffy. I was her tulip engulfed gummy bear.

The next morning I spun. I shook with the spasmodic paint cans. She said we’d meet for lunch. We’d meet at Arthur’s. She wanted me to explain the difference of Robin’s Egg and Periwinkle in the most poetic language possible. I hadn’t brushed my teeth. Her taste was faint on my lips.

She walked in. She wore another green dress; Muddy Jungle, Algae, Deep Jade.

“I can’t see you anymore,” she said. “My husband wouldn’t like it.”

“You see,” she began. “It was freebie. He cheated once. I cheated once. We’re even.”

“So glad I could help you with that,” I swallowed spit that I wanted to hurl at her.

She walked out the door and blew me a kiss on the way out. Upon a second look, I think her dress color became a new green, one I had never beheld: Absinthe Vomit, Lizard Road-Kill and I’m-A-Deceptive-Sea-Foam-Bitch. I should create a swatch.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Featured Selection: Tree Pose by Cory Sheeley

Tree Pose
By Cory Sheeley

Today my toes grow easily into the ground.
Rooted, by five fat friends
I shoot from Spring into abundant Summer.
Wide, Blooming, I catch every early ray.
I stretch upward to a jewel sky

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Featured Selection: "Interrupted Geography" by Iris Jamahl Dunkle

Interrupted Geography
by Iris Jamahl Dunkle

Each day shifts its weight against plates of time.
New month opens like the mouth of a dip-slip:
fissures from which we arise still blinking
and haunted by the past. What got me here?

Did chance land me in this other landscape?
And if so, how do I tell it? I don’t 
know the species of trees or birds. Stories 
that whisper from the grey river just come 
apart in my hands when I kneel at its 
muddy banks, trying to gather them up.

Still, I can’t lose the education of
earthquakes. What’s under me now may (no, will) rise up, so best to get to know it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sharing is Caring

We already have a handful of pieces posted to the Share Page (link to the left), and they're looking great.  Keep them coming!  Our first featured selection will be posted tomorrow, and we'll be featuring one piece each day.  Even if you're not ready to share yet, check out what your fellow Writers' Challenge participants are coming up with.  Who knows?  Maybe one of the shared pieces will inspire you to write your own today.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Let the Writing Commence!

The Writers' Challenge begins today!  Don't forget to share your work with us, and your piece of writing could be featured on the blog as one of the best pieces ever written during April 2011.  Share as much or as little as you like.  Featured selections will begin on April 3rd to give everyone a chance to submit before we start.  We look forward to reading your work.  Best of luck to all our participants!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Plotting and Scheming

With only four days left until the Writers' Challenge begins, have you thought about how you will make it work?  When I tried this challenge in November, I tried writing at the end of most days, taking a book of poems and reading for a few minutes to get my mind working in the right mode.  What will you try?  Let's use the comments space to share strategies.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Welcome to Thin Air Magazine's 2011 Writers' Challenge!

You know you do it.  One day, you think to yourself, I really should write more, but then you're not in the mood, or you have to work late or watch another episode of that medical drama or space show, or feeding the goldfish or tarantula takes up your entire evening.  As you rush from one vitally important task to the next, somehow the time gets away, and it ends up that you didn't end up writing more.  You've been there, and you know how frustrating it can be.

We at Thin Air magazine know, too, so why not join in kicking excuses in the teeth and writing thirty pieces in thirty days.  It's not as hard as it sounds, and in the end you'll feel better because you'll have spent some time doing what you love and probably have something good to show for it.  And we'd love to see what you write.  Share your work with us, and since we'll be choosing a piece per day to feature on our blog, one of your pieces might be recognized as one of the best pieces ever written during April 2011.

So while you're here, check out the Challenge Guidelines page to the left, and if you want to know more about sharing your work with us and/or having us post it as part of the 2011 Writers' Challenge, check out the Nuts and Bolts page (also to the left).  If you decide to take the challenge, tell us about it on the Pledge Page.  And of course, if you have any questions or suggestions for the challenge, please comment on this thread and let us know.