Windward Review


Volume 18, 2021




2 0 2 0


and You



Vol. 18 | 2021

Managing Editor/ Senior Editor

Zoe Elise Ramos Jmj

Assistant Managing Editor/ Authors' Spotlight Editor

Dylan Lopez

Assistant Editors

All Students of ENGL 4385: Studies in Creative Writing: Literary Publishing, Windward

Review: Noa Davison | McKahla Delarosa | Marlene De Leon | Juan

Eguia | Emma Guerra | Breanna Gustin | Jay Janca | Lindi Holland |

Amanda King | Jayne-Marie Linguist | Seidy Lopez | Steven Nally |

Celine Ramos | Aric Reyna | Sierra Rios | Amber Robbins | Joseph

Salinas | Cheyenne Sanchez | Natalie Williams

Design Team

Raul Alonzo | Jo Rodriguez | Sara Lutz | Caleigh Sowder |

Dr. Catherine Quick | Zoe Elise Ramos | All Students of Dr. Catherine Quick's

ENGL 3378 Documet Design class

Cover Art Management/ Illustration

Emma Guerra | Amber Robbins| Zoe Elise Ramos

Logo Design

Steven Nally


Zoe Elise Ramos | Dylan Lopez | Sheena Peppler | Celine Ramos|

Dr. Robin Carstensen

Associate Blog Editors

Natalie Williams | Jayne-Marie Linguist | Celine Ramos|

Sheena Peppler

Social Media Content Leaders

Emma Guerra | Breanna Gustin | Jay Janco | Celine Ramos|

Amber Robbins

Social Media Content Assistants

Amanda King | Sheena Peppler| Joseph Salinas |

Cheyenne Sanchez | Natalie Williams

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Robin Carstensen

Funding and Support

Texas A&M Univiversity- Corpus Christi

English Dept | Paul and Mary Haas Endowment

WR is supported by Islander Creative Writers,

the TAMU-CC creative writing club, run by President

Sheena Peppler. Find ICW on Facebook,

Instagram, & Twitter (@Islander Creative Writers)

Windward Review, journal and blog: Also find us on Facebook,

Instagram, & Twitter.


11-12 Sister Lou Ella

Hickman, I.W.B.S

civility: a creature of hunger

the state of the nation:

13-14 Jesse Sensibar

Doubts at Daybreak Cutting


Christmas Soldiers

15-17 PW Covington

The Coldest Place I’ve Been

The Enemy

18-19 Elyssa Albaugh


20-24 Norma Barrientes:

"Civility and I"

Abandonada y Desconcertada

La vida a las escondidas

Reduced to Tears

25-26 Joshua Bridgwater



Failed Geographies

27-29 Chris Ellery


A Fence Got Tired of Being a


30-32 Ash Miller

The Crane & The Ivory Tower

Thoughtless Prayers

33-34 Holly Day


Day with the Birds

35-45 Harlan Yarbrough

Dry Land

46-48 Michael Quintana


The Lot


49-51 Jeffrey Alfier

Navesink River Sunday

Missoula Northside

American Woman in Warsaw

52-54 Sarah Webb

Joining the Revolution

At The Rally to Restore Sanity

and/or Fear

55-56 Karen Cline-Tardiff


57-58 Andrena Zawinski


59 Don Mathis

The Dominant One

60-67 Penny Jackson


A Hole in Her Head

The Women of the Frick Museum

68-69 W.D. Mainous II

A Ghost at Nana’s

Requiem for a Friend

70-84 Jerry Craven | Terry

Dalrymple | Andrew Geyer:

"Magic Realism in Graphic Art"

72 Jerry Craven

Malachite Cross and Seven Sisters

73 Andrew Geyer

This Strange Malachite Art

74 Jerry Craven

Clarissa Green

75-77 Terry Dalrymple

Clarissa's Spirit

78 Jerry Craven

Curadora Angels

79 Andrew Geyer

Rosita's Instructions to the Painter

80-81 Jerry Craven

The Nightwatch

82-84 Andrew Geyer

The Nightwatch

85-86 Jose Olade


87-90 Ianna Chay

One Night

Today I Thought About How

91-92 Victoria Phillips


Love Song to Toxic Bonds

93-94 Clarissa M. Ortiz

The Becoming of Wind

and Wildfire

95-98 Jacob R. Benavides

You or I




102 Jamie Soliz

Confession, Confession,


104 Katie Diamond

A moonlit stroll

105 Mackenzie Howard


106 Eliana Martinez


107-108 Kevin Craig

Do You Remember?

109 Nailea Vasquez


110 Ciara Rodriguez

Hey mom, Hey dad

111-112 Xavier Angelo Ruiz

The Way of the Seasons

113-116 Joseph Wilson

Sophocles and Fireflies

Undated Photograph of my Mother

with her Three Sisters

On Reading "To Kill a Mockingbird"

Out Loud

117 Jacinto Jesús Cardona

The Old Courtesy Clerk

118-121 Rob Luke

So Junior High

The Actors Guild

122-123 Alan Berecka

Don’t It Always Seem to Go

Petty Expectations

124-125 Suynayna Pal

The concierge at the Hyatt

126 Margaret Erhart

The Gift of Thank You

127-139 Patricia Alonzo

A Voice for My Grandfather:

A Mexican and an American

140-143 Rossy Evelin Lima

Tlalli Iyollo

144-145 Juan Manuel Pérez

Lament for Wounded Knee I

Lament for Wounded Knee II

146-149 James Trask

Destruction of the House of Wisdom

Vasyl and Maria

I'm Done

150-152 Nels Hanson

The City in the Sea

The Sorrow of Roses

153 Darren C. Demaree

it ain’t a choir #28

it ain’t a choir #29

it ain’t a choir #30

154-155 Crystal Garcia

Individual vs. Gov’t

156-157 Patricia Walsh

Fire Alarm

Public House

158-159 Ken Hada

At the Zoo


160-161 Laurence Musgrove

Bandage Sutra


Blog: Writing as Resilience

164-165 "How Are You Doing with

the Coronavirus?"

166-168 Trev Trevino | Brittaney

Maxey | Katie McLemore

COVID-19 Chazals by Islander Creative


169-173 Joseph Salinas | Cheyenne

Sanchez | Amber Robbins

We Are Legends: Tales of Survival

During the COVID-19 Pandemic

174-176 Jay Janca

Being Over Being Overwhelmed: Transi

tioning to Onling Learning

177-179 Natalie Williams

Parenting Through a Pandemic

180-183 Amanda King

Notes from the Frontlines of Kinder

and Elementary Level Parenting

Through Pandemics

184-186 Aric Reyna

Being a Parent-Teacher-Student During

Covid-19 Quarantine



I don’t really know how to write this. I could start by thanking all the helpers and

contributors that made this volume outstanding. But that would be many, many thank

yous. I also had the idea of listing out all the mistakes I have made throughout this

process. This wouldn’t be hard, because I already have a list made. However, my

mantra as an editor has been one phrase: this is not about me. This volume is not about

me or the things I could have done better, it is about Civility and You.

We chose Civility and You as our theme because we wanted to document the US

election (2020) and reactions to it on a personal level. We didn’t want to highlight

divisiveness/ political polarity; we wanted to underline contrasting emotions and

tautologies, the quiet stories and intimate truths that constitute the complex

human perspective. That said, we never could have anticipated how 2020 would play

out—how a global pandemic would put our lives and our livelihoods at stake, and

how the fight for racial justice would experience its 21st century apex. But with this

backdrop of upheaval, Civility and You became a richer story than I even expected.

I know that I have already said so, but I am truly overwhelmed with gratitude towards

our contributors this year. We have all had to grapple with the abstract, untamable

nature of civility, characterizing it in our lives and hearts during these times of strife

and isolation. In juxtaposing and entangling voices together, Civility and You works

to address a universal unknown: the meaning of ‘civility’. With this publication, I

wanted contributors and readers to see value in theirs’ and others’ work that they

couldn't see before. It was in our mission that each accepted piece, as it is showcased,

would become irreplaceable and fully resonant, like the notes of a chord.

With that, I must admit, I had hoped that those responding to our call for submissions

(2020) would be stymied by the ambiguous word, ‘civility’. Because I wanted contributors

to respond intuitively rather than methodically. I was interested in the term ‘civility’ in

part because it is a word that tends to meet its opposite. Teresa Bejan wrote about this

in the book, Mere Civility (2017). In short, ‘civility’ may become ‘incivility’ when it is reduced

to the status of a social more. For example, it is often said that one ought to have

‘civility’ while speaking with someone of a different opinion than one’s own,... so as to

alleviate tension and reduce argumentation. But this ‘civility’ can also act to censor voices

and activity, maintaining social and class barriers. Thus, ‘civility’, which is meant to bring

peace and the interchanging of ideas, may bring civil unrest and oppression instead.

For ‘civility’ to capture both what it is and its opposite means that ‘civility’ is probably

a socially deterministic idea. In fact, careful readers would question my insinuation

that there is an absolute what-it-is to civility, because there may not be an

absolute definition of it. The readers of this text (writers and artists) will probably

be aware of and comfortable with this slipperiness of language. But I want to take

pause and question: what is implied by ‘civility’ being a slippery, relative term? And

why is ambiguity here both useful and also slightly unsettling (at least to me)?

For one, this 'ambiguity of civility' bears a resemblance to cultural moral relativism,

where there is no absolute ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in regards to morality, just cultural

or local experiences dictating these. I would note that cultural moral relativism is

very hard to swallow for most people. Because, think about it: do you really want

to accept that your rich sense of morality is nothing but what you’ve been taught

through cultural/ lifetime exposure? Maybe some of us are okay with this, but what

can we possibly do when there are disagreements between us? Is it simply impossible

to understand each other’s point of view, all because we are culturally dissimilar?

More importantly, if morality was absolutely relative, what could we do to 'improve' society?

Relativity would seem to make ‘improvement’ impossible, because there are no

'better' moral values. In fact, there is a paradox here: moral relativism affirms

that morality is both culturally taught and also cannot, by definition, be taught

(because ‘teaching’ as an activity implies that there is a ‘best’ morality that can

and should be ‘taught’). In fact, moral ‘teaching’ in a relative world is the equivalent of

cultural erasure/ subjugation. Because we couldn't possibly be acting morally while

thrusting our morals on other cultures. Thus, with relativism, there is no necessary

or even permissible engagement, no impetus for reacting to one another’s’ point of

view, and no way to empathize with each other completely (because we do not

share a moral and rational situation, in either our localities or our minds). Actually,

relativism would seem to make ‘morality’ and ‘civility’, however one thinks of

these terms, nonexistent, akin to abstract impulses in the brain that have the taste

of something different for everybody.

To be sure, I value relativism for its emphasis on the equality between different

points of view, a contribution which should not be overlooked. And I expect that

there are evolutionary influences on morality as well (a biological perspective that

could be paired with relativism in order to explain moral values). But to me, moral

debates only serve to reveal just how incomplete humankind’s understanding of

‘morality’ and ‘civility’ are: we are only at the stage of trying to interpret how to

interpret what these things are, with the possibility that these things (morality, etc.)

may not even be things in themselves. And we are, at the same time, trying to understand

how and why to interpret our interpretations of our interpretations of our

interpretations (and so on continuously, until no moral ‘facts’ seem assured anymore).

If you think about it, most human knowledge is structured with this circular

incompleteness. And unless we are delusional, we are in no place to say literally

anything for certain.

I only bring up relativism in order to explain my fascination with ‘civility’ and why

I believe it’s important to collect voices around this topic. I want to put forth that

relativism should not be the end of the story with ‘civility’. I agree that ‘morality’

and ‘civility’ are labels, referring to things that are much more complex than we

are capable of fully knowing right now. But here we are in this technology-oriented

age and we have to recognize that words are meaningful in a physical way. Words

can hurt and alleviate pain, and also, words can be used to overcome differences

between groups of people. Words, in fact, have a deep affect because they possess

the dynamism of reality. This dynamicism arises from meanings (of words) unfolding

and refolding, igniting and fuming, burning up into nothing recognizable, and

then, becoming what they once were or something irreversibly different. I am

very much not the first one to notice this. But maybe I am one of the first to think

of words as the most important quality of human existence, considering how sole

‘words’ are to the human experience in comparison to other animals.

Words may be labels, but they also connect us, to ourselves and each other, in ways

that can’t be denied or explained. Because no single piece of writing can fully address

Civility, enlightenment must be beyond the single voice—hidden in motifs, hunches,

and unexpected bonds. This is why the collecting of voices is so special, powerful

and reconciling.

This year especially, we were happy to include contributors with diverse and

divergent viewpoints, feelings, styles, and backgrounds. This final product is not

just a snapshot of various viewpoints either. Somehow, bringing these pieces together

created a distinct and united narrative fabric: the story of Civility and

You, 2020 (published 2021). Whether you are in this journal or not, you are most

certainly a part of its story.

-Zoe Ramos, Senior/ Managing Editor (2020)

Sister Lou Ella Hickman, I.W.B.S.

civility: a creature of hunger

would that we could know hunger

our skin


bone marrow

where we all bleed the same color

yet for some hunger

is as ethereal as a song

hanging in the air then gone

others it drills as if for oil

pounding through the crust

until denial breaks gushes up

a spindletop of dark matter

still others satiated on living

unaware of life

finally there are those who are lost

in their own maze

consuming consumed in their pain

there you have it

hunger our skin our marrow our blood our pain

spilling out of lives what so many cannot see

Civility + You


Sister Lou Ella Hickman, I.W.B.S

the state of the nation

like two parents

the right and the left

shrill their quarreling


anyone notice

the blame they spew

lavas through the divide

between each side





i ask

how many people have


trapped in their throats


Jesse Sensibar

Doubts at Daybreak Cutting Wood

I wake at 3:30AM with failing eyesight

the birds not ‘till 5 but sharp-eyed.

Sharp-eyed in the breaking light

failed sight in the dark before dawn.

They thrive, swallow tiny things that feed birds.

I cannot see my way past the Monsoon

lightning flash to Oak cordwood stacked.

I cannot strive to cut and double-bit

axe-split what warms my winters.

All that I have not swallowed.

Civility + You


Jesse Sensibar

Christmas Soldiers

In the military town trailer parks of South Tucson, Arizona

old Christmas soldiers waste away last years in the sun of

darkened Silver Streaks behind the Saint Charles Tavern

while the rolling sounds of Spanish, TAC planes, and the taste

of cold beer and Korean pickled eggs roll off of tongues

made tired by pulled wires, missing electrical services, and

talk of cancer and government shutdowns. It’s another

Christmas in the desert in the shadow of the VA hospital

grounds, where the Christmas soldiers trade peaceful nights

for PX benefits.


PW Covington

The Coldest Place I’ve Been

The coldest place I’ve been

Is this over-heated room

Santa Fe trails lead in circles

7 cycles of the Sangre de Christos

I feel I’ll always be a visitor, here

Port cities and border towns embrace you

When you show up

With empty pockets and wide eyes

Shaking knees and a mixed-breed, free-verse, smile

Treat you like you’re from there, if only for a while

But, this place rips your spleen from your side

And goes about its Thursday afternoon

It’s the feeling that

The Universe is laughing behind

Your back

At a joke told in a language you’ve never worked with

And while everyone

Says they yearn for freedom and something new

Very few

Stand prepared to welcome a traveler

Or cast off the familiar

Everyone should be a part of somewhere

They say

But not you

Not me

The coldest place I’ve been

Is this over-heated room

Civility + You


I’ll drink my delusions over ice


I’ll rise in the morning

And drive west all day

Night time highway navigation

Brings back friendly faces and echoes of places

That have held out welcome

Rattle around in roadside men’s rooms

Condom machines and gasoline

Still paying for the gas…

It never lasts long

The eternity of an insular scene

And local heroes, honored through decades

Klatches and cliques

Never approve

Of the language I use

New-In-Town blues

Cold rooms and sad tunes

It never lasts long


PW Covington

The Enemy

The C-130’s

Over my mountain garden

Take me back

Sometimes we landed at their airports

Turboprop drone


Or, we’d come in on big, grey, airplanes

Jet engines whining

Or, we landed on silent silk

Sometimes rotor blades

Chopped their air

Like Satan’s own mother

Bleating in dark and deadly passionate rage

And they’d hide

Doing their best to dodge and outlast

The hate and ignorance

We carried with us

Strapped to our chests

Slung under our wings

Where cold hearts beat

With the courage of armed 19 year-olds

The bravest of them

Stood up, shot back

Did what they could do

And we were told to

call them

The enemy

Civility + You


Elyssa Albaugh


Pink wallpaper chips off of

Yellow plaster walls.

Miniature girls in

Yellow daisy dresses

Dance alongside their bloodied brothers.

Girls play games with love and war,

And life isn’t much different.

Peculiar purple and periwinkle sparks

Adorn houses making art,

Making all of us a part of something,

My dolls all want to be a part of something,

So they make copper wire trees,

Covered in moldy green leaves

With red and olive colored beads

Hot glued to their pink plastic play houses,

The yellow daisy dancers would chase all the men,

And the red disco divas would sing again and again,

While the major monsters massacre each other,

Just beyond the bend.

The lovely ladies leap,

And their hearts fill with care,

As the sultry soldiers line up,

With their pretty plastic hair,

To fight the magic monsters,

And yes

some will die

Some won’t have limbs

And some won’t have eyes


And there will be wives

Who despise their husbands

For things they can’t control,

The sad soldiers will feel like their souls

Are frozen

When the lovely ladies leap across them,

While they are sleeping on the street.

In a war they had no business fighting for,

The solemn soldiers have lost everything,

And more.

The pretty periwinkle politicians


tiny tactical tea,

Going over all the reasons,

Not to let the monsters be,

Deciding something along the lines of prosperity,

Sweet soldiers gladly die,

In the name of a country that is free,

But those who live longer

Get to see,

Maybe their country isn’t all it said it’d be.

It was a game that seemed to transcend time,

It’s funny because games are like that when you’re 9,

But one day you’re twenty-four,

And you’re sent somewhere

For a war you didn’t volunteer for,

Are poverty and discrimination what we’re fighting for?

Because this war just paves the way for more

There’s a reason our veterans are poor,

We never gave them the chance to soar,

We said we’d make them stronger,

Chaining them down longer,

While our plastic politicians

Keep perfect peace programs at bay

The only thing that’s different now,

Is that now we use people’s lives in our games.

Civility + You


Norma Barrientes

"Civility and I" selected artwork

Abandonada y


Abandoned and


Many children carry the weight of abuse in

relationships. Many end up in a cyclic continuum.

The lack of civility in abuse has a domino

effect across all races in every generation.

Some parents claim that they do love their

children but do not have the wherewithal to

get help for themselves in order to express it

in a gentle, mannerly way. The child depicted

in this piece is sitting in a corner with her

hands covering her eyes to illustrate the feeling

of abandoment and bewilderment that

abuse elicits.

-Norma Barrientes


Abandonada y Desconcertada

Abandonada y Desconcertada

Civility + You


Norma Barrientes

"Civility and I" selected artwork

La vida a las


Life in the


(Life in the shadows) is a reflection of an

abused woman's life dodging the public eye

and the stigma that it brings. Our family was a

family without abuse but we saw it first hand

in our relatives. My mother had her hand

in bringing battered children with their

mother to our home, to feed them and give

them refuge on several occasions, for many

years while I was growing up. I don't think

any family can say that they have not had a

loved one experience similar situations in

one way or another. -Norma Barrientes


La vida a las escondidas

Civility + You


Norma Barrientes

Reduced to Tears


End of special section: "Civility and I"

Joshua Bridgwater Hamilton


A hatchling

fell from the eaves

where the starlings

roost. The folded


and scruff

lurched towards my daughter’s stroller—

the thatchy feathers

revealing its tiny bulb of blood

and tissue underneath.



too young to understand

what those failing footsteps meant.

My wife and I

conferred: caretaking,

empathy, short lesson

long on loss;

or added burden

to a taut schedule

(shoebox, bedding, feeder).

I glove my hands

and place the bird

in a patch of grass—

a guilty,



Civility + You


Joshua Bridgwater Hamilton

Failed Geographies


Ocean stills monumental body

before organs, slate curve

a faceless expression below

rock coral trench glowing blood

sputtering formless – pure surge

conceals nothing – I turn

from clarity, face you –

all set to speak

the same register: painful

sobriety this morning –

our transgressions sketched years

ago in sepia and digital quartz,

impression of fingers quickly

scratching outlines, bathing suit

seams, nippled chests.

Even so we do not

communicate. For that

standing on this Galician cliff

I fold my packet of regret


into your palm.


The bar where I meet you

sprouts warm from rocky

Inishmore, full of hands and deep

vowels, the breaths inhale the small

company of adventurers – two Scottish

women and me. Locals, tourists

build our dancing armatures,

tongues & gestures blotting

into smeared imprecision

the frothy channels of desire

tumbling our spines. Later

your face fills the night, thick

brogue whisky sharp in mouth

divulging, fingers slipping

the bottle of Jameson.

Back against tight geometry

of stone wall, hand-placed

tablets arranging flesh,

your mouth on me, the full

sky does not let go.

Though we do not make

lovers, the untethered island

reeling out from under us,

I want to at least set

a bright ember of happiness

into your stubbled chest, brief glow

back to the hostal –

and for that, now and late,

I give you this poem.


Chris Ellery


It was the year of love. It was the year of dreams.

It was the year of water cannons and Wallace for President.

It was the year when Clyde and I

were the only boys in Journalism class.

The girls assigned us two to roam the school

in search of scoops. Most days we’d end up at

the Field House vending machines to split

a Coke or Nehi and laugh in the luck of our fantasies:

all those girls in our class, all to ourselves, all wanting us.

As we passed our bottle back and forth,

we named the ones we wished to kiss

until the final bell dismissed

all our delusions of sexual bliss.

One day one of us suddenly said, “Talk like this

could get us both lynched.” All at once his blackness

opened up and let me in, his unfinished history,

red with terror and with pain my skin

could never reckon or comprehend.

That news was a kind of anointing.

When we passed our chalice of purple soda

from his hand to mine, from my hand to his,

our hands agreed to some unspoken covenant.

Neither of us wiped the spit.

Civility + You


Riots erupted in our school that year.

Lockers burned. Belts and fists.

Car windows shattered on the parking lot.

School dismissed.

Because we were friends, Clyde and I,

classmates cursed and spit on us.

All through the rage we stayed inside a faith

more intimate than a kiss—

daring, dangerous, deathless, deep,

streaming like the blood on our southern streets.


Chris Ellery

A Fence Got Tired of Being a Fence

A fence that kept these worlds apart

Decided just to up and move away.

I guess it got tired of keeping worlds apart,

So it just upped and moved away.

Have you seen what becomes of This and That,

What happens to the Other when a fence is removed?

When worlds that once were two are not,

The Now-One World is greater than two.

When there isn’t any more Over There,

There can’t be any more Don’t Come Here.

So everywhere the wind blows through

Is Hallowed Ground—One Ground, not two.

Thanks to the fence that moved away

The two old worlds are One and New.

It shows us all what we ask a fence to do:

Keep them out and keep us in.

Keep the good things in for us.

Keep the bad things out for them.

Consider what could be—and should—

If all the fences woke up one day

And saw they weren’t doing any good,

So they just upped and moved away.

Civility + You


Ash Miller

The Crane &

The Ivory Tower

With zer long,

thin legs,

the crane


the spiraling

steps of the ivory tower. The

tower expanded further than

the crane could see, for ze knew

no other life. Indoctrinated, as

they all were as children, the

crane couldn’t imagine life outside

the tower.

In the heart of the tower laid

a single computer. Many wires

curled out of the computer like

long tentacles, stretching their

way through the insides of the

tower and out the window, thoroughly

coiling around it.

Once reaching zer room, the

crane nestled zerself in front of

the computer. Typing on the

keyboard was difficult, given the

light tap-tap of zer white feathers,

but the crane managed. After

all, the crane loved zer job

despite the difficulties.

At times, it was hard to remember

all the rules that came

with living in the heart of the

tower. The crane obeyed though,

lest the lurking shadows behind

zer swallowed the crane whole.

Firstly, the crane mustn’t address

any of the ivory higher-ups

directly. There were always other

people, other underlings, to go

through first.

Secondly, the crane mustn’t

use any practical words.

This is because lastly, most importantly,

the crane mustn’t type

anything ill-favored about the

ivory tower. The ivory tower, how

it gently cradled the disadvantaged,

how it soothed them, how

it promised them a better future

while simultaneously plummeting

them further into debt.

The crane typed each day,

obeying the rules, obeying the

system set in place. The pitter-patter

of the keyboard sent

messages through the wires,

which circled around the tower.

A final click here and there.

On screens throughout the tower,

the ivory messages went out.


At times, opportunities came

to the crane. Within the confines

of the rules and careful in

zer words, the crane uplifted the

voices of the disadvantaged.

At times, the crane carefully

held zer tongue in zer black beak.

The crane repeated the same,

tired mantra to zerself.

The ivory tower is great.

The ivory tower cares.

The ivory tower upholds diversity;

all beasts are equal in the

eyes of the ivory tower.

The crane’s elongated, white

neck peeked out the window,

between nests of gray wires, and

breathed in the fresh air. Cranes

flew. Ze read that in a book somewhere.

Wind brushed against zer

feathers and for a small moment,

eyes closed, the crane imagined

zerself free amongst the blue.

The shadows wisped at zer

ankles, twisting and coiling and


The crane went back to typing.

Civility + You


Ash Miller

Thoughtless Prayers.

O, Mother Earth–

I miss you. I crave you. I don’t know if you remember me. To

be honest, I’m unsure if we’ve met properly. But I dream of you.

Of what you used to be, gleaned from fables and faded photo albums.

I long for you.

Every night, before sleep lulls me, I pray. I’m not the praying

type. But for you? Anything. Anything to shake off this desperate

yearning, this doomed clairvoyance. Allow me, please, to transform

this ache into a tribute worthy of your former beauty.

O, Mother Earth, what do you ask of me?

Each morning, I awake alone. No answers or granted boons.

Instead, each morning, death breathes its familiar hello into your

soil. I do not wish for pollution-burdened lungs. I do not wish

for diseased water to stagnate in my gut. I do not wish for skin

pecked by pests and pathogens.

O, Mother Earth, what sacrifice may I yield at your altar?

Merely utter the word and I will extend my prayers. Allow

me to pray into the night, cycle into the day, and reach beyond

our clock’s t-t-ticking hands. Allow my prayers to tower until they

reach the moon so that they may whisper my pleas to the stars.

Allow me to pray through the violence. Allow my prayers to wash

you in a fountain of Demeter’s tears and suture the carvings we

inflicted on your most holy flesh.

Say the word and I will grant a life for a life. Do you wish

for my children? Have them! Take my children and my children’s

children. Let this blood-stained altar grant me longevity! Say the

word and you may have countless lives, for we can always procure

the expendable.

O, Mother Earth, why must you forsake my prayers? Are they

not enough?


Holly Day


The maple sends its helicopter seeds across the yard

in desperation dreams of propagation. The woman rakes most of them up

rip out the long roots of the ones that slip past her

take root and try to grow, wondering

if her tree hates her, if it feels angry when it sees her

with her gardening shears clipping its offspring close to the ground

or if it’s resigned itself to the fact that it will never be surrounded

by a forest of its own family. The woman thinks of these violent acts

during heavy storms when the limbs of the tree whips around her roof

if it’s using the wind and the lightning as an excuse to drop branches

and clumps of leaves on her lawn, if it’s aiming for the woman and her own children

in an act of retaliation so sly it won’t ever be blamed.

Civility + You


Holly Day

Day with the Birds

The little sandpiper dances in the incoming outgoing surf

chasing the receding tide as though involved in an elaborate game of tag.

Even though I know it’s been drawn to the spot by the expulsion of air bubbles

of tiny bivalves and crustaceans buried just below the surface

I can’t help but think it’s playing with the water itself.

Overhead, gulls circle in great, expansive rounds, eyeing me and my lunch

the silver fish flashing briefly in the surf. My grandfather used to tell me

never fall asleep on the beach, or the gulls will come down

and peck out your eyes before you can wake up and get away.

I shield my eyes against the sun, watching the birds dip and dive into the water

emerge with flopping prey in their beaks

refusing to believe that anything so beautiful can hurt me.


Harlan Yarbrough

Dry Land

Even in wet times,

neither Lake

Coongie nor Lake

Goyder reached

more than ten feet

in depth at their deepest points.

After two full years of drought,

neither held the slightest trace

of water, and their fissured clay

beds looked and felt as dry as

the adjacent Sturt’s Stony Desert.

The changing climate meant the

droughts came more often and

lasted longer, and no water flowing

in from what Cam had grown

up calling Cooper’s Creek but

had finally learned to call Cooper

Creek, which meant both

lakes remained dry more often

than not. Goyder, at the extreme

tail end of that branch of Cooper

Creek and with high dunes

north of it, always filled after all

the others.

Cam had expected the

drought to turn Lake Yamma

Yamma’s bed to a dry clay pan,

and it didn’t disappoint him

when he’d reached it two days

earlier. Eight hours on outback

roads had brought him as close

as he wanted to drive his old

dual-cab pickup to whatever

might remain of Lake Yamma

Yamma—or Lake Mackilop, as

the old-timers called it. He’d

spent that first night in the back

of the pickup, with the tailgate

open for maximum air circulation.

The next morning, Cam

had walked the five hours to the

middle of Lake Yamma Yamma’s

dry bed, looked around, and

taken a few pictures.

He’d brought his summer-weight

sleeping bag and

thought about spending the

night in the middle of the dry

lake. In theory, the rains could

return at any time, but Cam

didn’t expect them this year.

Although everyone called this

season “The Wet”, the warmer

ambient temperatures and the

El Niño over the Pacific made

significant rain in the Warrego

Ranges extremely unlikely.

Even if Cooper Creek did,

against all odds, begin filling

Lake Yamma Yamma, the lake

could not possibly rise enough

overnight to reach a level over

his head. If he found water

seeping into his sleeping bag,

he could simply stand up and

saunter back to his pickup.

Even the remote possibility

Civility + You


sounded unpleasant, though, so

he made the five hour walk back

to his beat up pickup and arrived

with the sun hanging above the

western horizon.

Still smarting from the latest

tongue-lashing he’d received

from his wife two days earlier,

Cam had driven back onto the

Arrabury Road the next morning

and then two hours south to

the euphemistically named Arrabury

Airport. Not surprised

to find nobody there, he looked

at and photographed—and felt

impressed by—the two runways,

then turned west and crossed

into South Australia, where

the road immediately became

rougher and narrower.

Yvonne told Cam at least

twenty times a year how much

she hated living with him. Afterward,

she usually told him

she “didn’t mean it”, but he

couldn’t help wondering which

were her real feelings. His latest

twelve-month consulting

job had stretched to eightteen

months and paid more than

Yvonne’s three years of teaching

primary school, but still

she criticized him for not going

out and finding another job—

not that there were any other

jobs within two hundred miles.

About three weeks out of every

month, Yvonne found fault with

almost everything about Cam.

He wondered why he hadn’t

grown used to to the abuse by

now, and maybe he sort of had.

After twenty years of Yvonne’s

put-downs, name-calling, and

general vilification—almost

none of it justified—Cam

remained in their marriage. He

never wondered why about that,

and it wasn’t just for the sake of

the children. Although he did

not like feeling under attack most

of the time, Cam loved his wife.

After Yvonne’s tirades, one

or the other of their children—

rarely both—would often come

to him and sympathize, say they

thought he’d been treated unfairly.

That reduced but never completely

eliminated the sting, and

now they were no longer at home.

For the past month, Yvonne

had complained almost constantly

about the weather—too

hot—and the house they were

renting—too dilapidated and

too small—and always managed

to make it sound as if it were all

Cam’s fault. For five or six years,

she had complained every summer

about the heat—“It never

used to get this hot,” as if Cam

were singlehandedly responsible

for anthropogenic climate change.


The family owned a perfectly

good house in the beautiful valley

of the Illinois River in southern

Oregon—and paid a neighbour

a small stipend to look

after the place—but even there

she found excuses to complain.

As long as Cam had known her,

she had complained about the

weather for six months every

year. Yvonne had been diagnosed

with Seasonal Affective

Disorder, but giving it a name

didn’t make living with her unjustified

anger any easier for her

husband or their kids.

Three hours of leisurely

driving from the uninhabited

Arrabury brought Cam to Cordillo

Downs Station, where he

stopped to look at the largest

woolshed in Australia.

Vegetarian for fifteen years,

Cam nevertheless felt pleased

to discover that the 140-year-old

Cordillo Downs Station formed

a major part of a 27,000 acre organic

beef operation. He also

felt pleased to escape the crippling

heat in the surprisingly

cool interior of the stone and

mud woolshed. Always eager to

acquire new knowledge, Cam

delighted in learning the two

foot thick walls had been built in

1883 and witnessed the shearing

of 100,000 sheep a year in days

long past.

As Cam climbed back into

his pickup at Cordillo Downs,

he thought of his family. Ben,

the elder, could have enrolled

at Southern Oregon University

and earned his degree close

to home, but he liked Eugene,

so the University of Oregon

seemed the natural choice.

He had surprised himself by

enjoying his studies more than

he expected and the party life of

Eugene less than he expected.

Ben emailed his father every

week or two and said he’d probably

message his dad more often

if the old man would get on

Facebook. A big Portland law

firm had offered Ben a scholarship

and a part-time job, so he

planned to collect his bachelor’s

degree and remain in Eugene to

make the transition from undergraduate

life to law school at the

end of the academic year.

Ben’s sister Alice had joined

Ben as a U of O student at the

beginning of the year but rarely

saw her brother, both because

their academic work kept

them busy and because they

socialized with different friends.

Alice continued to achieve academic

success commensurate

with her exceptional abilities

and seemed to enjoy her rather

demanding undergraduate life.

Civility + You


She emailed her dad two or three

days a week except when confronting

a major project deadline

or preparing for an exam.

Both offspring, children no

longer, appeared comfortably

independent. Neither seemed

to miss their father’s perennial

affection and support, as they involved

themselves with their own

busy lives. They didn’t need Cam.

For more than a decade,

Yvonne had regularly told Cam

that she wanted out of their relationship.

He had consistently replied,

“OK, if that’s what you really

want.” Within five or six days,

she usually said, “No, of course I

want us to be together.” Even so,

the cumulative stress had begun

to wear Cam down. Two days

ago, Cam had for the first time

offered a different response: “Be

careful what you wish for.”

“I just wish I didn’t have to be

with you,” Yvonne had said.

“You don’t.”

“What else can I do?”

“Whatever you want. What do

you want?”

“I don’t want to stay here with

you, that’s for sure.”

“Well, yeah, OK. I mean, you’re

not going to be here anyway—

with me or without me. We’re all

packed up; I’ve already bought

tickets back to Portland. In two

months, you’ll be back in a bigger,

nicer house. What’s the


“I’ll still be with you.”

“Is that so bad?” Cam had

asked, really wanting to know.

“Yes. I need to get on with my


“So, do you want me to stay

here? You could just go back to

Selma without me.”

“That would be great.”

The following morning, Cam

had risen even earlier than usual

and written a note saying, “I’ve

always done everything I could to

give you what you wanted,” and

left it on the kitchen table with

most of his cash and his keys to

the Oregon house. He started for

the door, then turned back and

wrote two short notes telling his

children he loved them and carried

those notes out to his pickup.

After a short stop at the Windorah

post office to mail the two letters,

he headed west on the Diamantina

Developmental Road.

Cam headed south from

Cordillo Downs the following

afternoon on a track paralleling


Marabooka Creek’s dry bed.

The old pickup made slow time

dodging the many smooth rocks,

almost as thick on the road as on

the rest of the gibber plain, but

that didn’t matter. Cam wasn’t

in a hurry. The track ended or

became indistinguishable from

the surrounding landscape after

about ten miles, at a couple

of large and currently empty

cattle yards built right in the

dry channels of the creek—although

in the Channel Country,

almost everything from horizon

to horizon became creekbed

when the rains arrived.

After pulling onto a slight rise

out of the way of the primitive

road, he switched off the motor

and opened both front doors

As he was about to climb out

of the pickup, Cam saw a two-metre-long

eastern brown snake less

than three yards away, trying to fit

into the shade of a rock the size of

a volleyball. He considered picking

up the snake and cuddling it

but decided that that would be

a quicker but more painful end

to his quest. Besides, he thought,

they have inland taipans here and

that might be even quicker.

Cam climbed out of the cab

and circumambulated the pickup,

then climbed onto the roof

and scanned the country to the

southwest. Once he felt satisfied

he knew where he needed to go,

he climbed down and made two

cheese sandwiches. He’d left

Windorah with twenty-two gallons

of water in the pickup, two

ten gallon jerry cans in the cargo

bay and four half-gallon milk

jugs in the back seat. As he ate

his sandwiches, he finished off

the last of the half-gallon jugs of

water. Afterward, he refilled all

four from one of the jerry cans.

Thinking the notes he’d sent

the previous morning inadequate,

Cam decided to spend the

last hour of daylight writing to

his kids. He wrote separate but

nearly identical letters, telling

each of them how much he loved

them and how proud he was of

them, of who they had grown

to become. He told them how

much he appreciated their intelligence,

their strength, their essential

goodness, and their integrity.

He told them he intended to

go for a walk and recognized that

there was a possibility—as there

always is in the desert—he might

not make it back. “In case I don’t,”

he wrote, “I know you’re strong

enough and intelligent enough to

do just fine without me.”

At least in this drought there

aren’t any mosquitoes, Cam

thought as he climbed into the

Civility + You


ack of the pickup. Feeling uncharacteristically

empty, he lay

on top of his closed-cell foam

pad and his sleeping bag. He

thought about their little rented

house in Windorah, then about

their grander house near Selma.

He thought, although he tried

to avoid it, about his family and

wondered what else he could

do for his children. He was still

wondering, as he drifted into


Cam woke before any glow

above the invisible eastern horizon

heralded the day to come. At

some point in the night, he had

pulled part of his sleeping bag

across his torso. He threw that

off, then rolled bag and pad together

into a tight cylinder and

strapped that to his old Kelty

packframe. A small carton of

UHT milk made a tasty breakfast

out of a bowl of muesli, and

he followed the muesli with his

customary handful of peanuts.

He stashed one water jug in his

pack and tied two others to his

packframe; made and wrapped

three cheese sandwiches and

put them, an apple, two oranges,

and a banana in his pack; stowed

a baguette and the remaining

cheese in two outer pockets of

the pack; and then re-checked

the rest of the pack’s contents.

Although the sun had not

yet risen into the empyrean, the

sky had grown light enough for

a bushwalk, albeit among the

sparsest imaginable bush. Cam

hung a strap over one end of the

tailgate and wiggled it, as he gingerly

eased enough of his head

over near the other end to have

a look under the pickup. Seeing

no snakes, he stepped out, then

pulled his pack out and set it on

the roof. He closed the tailgate

and the canopy and set his keys

and the letters on the dashboard.

Leaving all the pickup’s doors

shut but unlocked, he began

walking west-southwest through

a country of stony tablelands

ending in abrupt cliffs, red sandhills

covered with spinifex—or

else barren and bare—and the

occasional bed of a small, dry

salt lake sparkling like a sea of diamonds.

He covered three miles

before the sun appeared.

Just before the sun came over

the horizon, Cam encountered

a dry lake bed surrounded and

partly filled by an example of the

chenopod plant community he

had seen while driving: a good

deal of saltbush but other cheropods

as well. He enjoyed getting

to examine these salt-tolerant

relatives of beet and spinach

up close. Thirty minutes later,

as the sun shone a spotlight on


some small mesas to the west,

he reached Mudcarnie Creek.

The creek contained no water,

but Cam found a small amount

of barely damp mud which he

expected would be dry clay by


Through the morning, Cam

walked up and down as well as

forward—because his route ran

perpendicular to the many channels.

Fortunately, he rarely had

to climb more than ten or fifteen

feet, and often five or less, before

descending to cross the next dry

channel. About two hours after

he left the traces of Mudcarnie

Creek, the the terrain grew a little

more steeply channelized and

the soil became less pink and

more orange. The vegetation became

less dense with the change

in terrain and soil, holding far

fewer shrubs but more large

ones, mostly Old Man Saltbush.

About two hours later, Cam

crested a ridge to see dazzling

reflections from several dry salt

lakes ahead and to both sides.

What caught his attention even

more, however, was what appeared

to be the top of a particularly

large saltbush a few hundred

yards to his left.

Craving more shade than his

hat provided, he turned that way

and walked a quarter of a mile

south. Watching carefully and

stepping heavily, he approached

the saltbush, which stood at least

eight feet tall. A brown snake

moved away and disappeared

behind some smaller shrubs.

Lucky, Cam thought, A taipan

might not’ve given up its shady spot.

He sat under the saltbush

and ate his sandwiches while

addressing grateful thoughts to

the big shrub. Eager to explore

the salt pans, he finished the first

water jug and tied it back onto

the packframe before heading

due west. He reached the first

crystalline lakebed in half an

hour and spent fifteen minutes

looking at its almost uniform

surface. Heading due west again,

he pondered the realization that

the brown snake he’d dislodged

from under the saltbush was the

only animal he’d seen all day.

Aware he was walking over

the traditional land of the Yandruwandha

people, Cam nevertheless

hadn’t expected to see

any human beings and so, felt no

surprise on that score. The total

absence of animals, on the other

hand, shocked and saddened

him. He knew the chenopod

shrublands usually supported

kangaroos and planigales and

Civility + You


placental mammals—dingo,

long-haired rat, or native plague

rat, Forrest’s mouse—and maybe

other furry creatures; plus more

than two hundred species of

birds; but he hadn’t seen a single

living warmblooded animal.

Cam also knew the changing climate

made survival here more

difficult, and maybe impossible,

for many former residents.

Walking among spindly and

sparse spinifex and saltbush from

one dazzling salt pan toward another,

bigger one, Cam made a

slight detour to climb the highest

nearby interchannel ridge,

less than thirty feet at its highest

point. From that vantage point,

though, he could see a score of

sparkling lakebeds—like the bed

of the Mediterranean five million

years ago, he thought. A twenty

minute walk delivered Cam

to the second salt flat. Twice the

size of the first one, this second

dry salt lake seemed otherwise

identical and held his interest for

only another five or six minutes.

Cam then headed southwest

toward Sturt’s Ponds, walking

among sandhill spurge with

spinifex and saltbush even more

sparse and spindly. By the time

he descended the bluff and dune

system and crossed the rutted

track, he could see the clay pan

that would usually be the bottom

of the Ponds. A reliable water

source in most years, Sturt’s

Ponds held no puddles and no

mud, although Cam thought the

clay felt a little damp in a couple

of spots. If he’d brought a shovel,

he could probably have dug

down and found water to refill

his empty jug.

He spent half an hour exploring

the Ponds and another

hour-and-a-half walking almost

due west. He walked across the

southern part of Lake Marradibbadibba’s

dry bed without realizing

what it was and arrived on

what should have been the shore

of Lake Goyder— or Goolangirie,

as the ancient custodians called

it. Even more than Sturt’s Ponds,

the clay of Goolangirie’s lakebed

was dry and deeply fissured.

Studying the vegetation, and

the dead fish and invertebrates,

gave Cam a reasonable idea

of the level Lake Goyder had

reached before the drought. The

Lake must have been dry for

quite awhile, though, because the

dead fish no longer gave off any

smell. He explored the lakebed

for half an hour and then began

looking for a place to camp. He

felt pleased to see what appeared

to be a spinney of large saltbush

shrubs and less pleased when he


walked to them and found most

of them were Bassia, with their

horrible prickly burrs.

A short exploration found two

fairly large Old Man Saltbush

shrubs with no Bassia between

them. Thanking the shrubs for

their presence, Cam removed

his pack and made a sandwich.

While he ate, he finished the

second water jug. Afterward, he

removed his bedroll from the

packframe and tied the pack as

high as he could in the saltbush.

Tired from a serious day’s walk,

he fell asleep early while naming

the few constellations he knew.

Again, Cam woke early in

pre-dawn darkness. He lay motionless,

consciously keeping his

breathing silent, and listened.

The silence sounded absolute,

unworldly. After what seemed

an hour and was probably at

least fifteen minutes, he heard a

very faint scuttling, probably a

Long-tailed planigale seizing an

arthropod meal. Reassured, Cam

lay for most of another hour—

and heard two more planigale or

rodent sounds, both some considerable

distance away—before

he saw the first faint hint of light

on the eastern horizon.

By sitting straight up, he could

reach the side pockets on his

pack, so he retrieved the bread

and the cheese and made a sandwich

and ate it in the dark. He

washed it down with an abstemious

drink from the third jug

and pulled on a clean pair of

underwear and his shorts and

T-shirt. He rolled and attached

his bedroll, hoisted his pack onto

his back, tightened the waistband,

and again set out walking

in the half light of early dawn.

Proceeding very slightly east of

due south and walking steadily,

even with climbing Waltatella

Hill and then stopping to reconnoiter

Lake Toontoowaranie’s

dry bed, he reached what would

have been Lake Coongie by

noon. Like her neighbors, Coongie

lay dry, her only waves the

fissures in her clay bed.

Both more frequently and

more recently watered, the margins

of Lake Coongie supported

a far denser and more extensive

boscage than Lake Goyder, even

including several coolabah and

river red gum. Not surprisingly,

that environment also supported

more animal life. Cam spotted

a letter-winged kite and saw

what he thought was probably a

blackbreasted buzzard in the distance.

He didn’t see any freckled

duck or bush thick-knee—the

Australian term for curlews—

although he knew both lived

here when the lakes held water.

Civility + You


Thinking back to his one

earlier visit here—a trip via

Innamincka on a visit with his

brother twenty years ago—he

remembered the lakes full of

sweet water and birds. There

must have been ten thousand of

‘em, he thought, maybe more.

He remembered pelicans and

others he’d recognized, such as

herons, egrets, ibis, spoonbills,

cormorants, kingfishers, black

swans, terns, and gulls. Other

birds he’d had to look up later:

black-winged stilts, hoaryheaded

grebes, teals, pink-eared ducks,

maned-ducks, Pacific black

ducks, coots, red-necked avocets,

swamp hens, cuckoo-shrikes,

and hardheads. He remember

feeling amazed by the number

and variety of birds, all of them

attracted by abundant fresh water—less

ephemeral than the

salt lakes beyond the dunes to

the north and less salty than the

Murray River—and the aquatic

life the water supported.

Thinking of that earlier visit

reminded Cam of a building on

the northwest side of the lake,

and he decided to go check it out.

On the visit with his brother, they

spent two hours walking around

the five-kilometre by three-kilometre

lake’s perimeter to get from

one side to the other. This time,

the drought saved him the trouble,

and Cam walked—turning

frequently to check out the vista

in each direction and taking the

occasional photograph—right

across Coongie’s dry bed in less

than an hour. When he reached

the other side, he felt annoyed to

find fresh 4WD tracks and signs

of tents recently pitched under

the coolabahs.

Cam had assumed nobody

else would visit the lakes with

the water dried up and no bird

life. Studying the ground, he

concluded at least three big

SUVs had been there and at least

three tents had been pitched in

recent days. Cam had walked

from Cordillo Downs not knowing

what he wanted to do. He

had just felt a need to walk, and

Sturt’s Stony Desert sort of fit

the mood of his heart. Those

who knew Cam thought of him

as a friendly, social person,

but socializing with a bunch

of campers in big SUVs did not

constitute part of his plans—not

that he actually had any plans.

Now that he was here at Lake

Coongie and a public campground,

he needed to make some.

He might go back over the dunes

north of Lake Goyder and walk

through Sturt’s Stony Desert

as far as he could, maybe

head west to see if he could

make it to the Birdsville Track.


He could stay here at Coongie

and simply leave, assuming he

was still able, if anyone arrived.

He could walk back to the big

Old Man Saltbush, where he’d

dislodged the brown snake—

he’d be unlikely to encounter

anyone there. Or he could try

to make it back to his pickup. If

he rested in shade through two

afternoons and walked only in

the early mornings, he might be

able to get that far on less than

one jug of water—but why?

Cam decided to stay put. He

tied his pack as high in a coolabah

as he comfortably could

from the ground, became even

more abstemious in his use of

water, and spent most of the

daylight exploring the area and

watching the minimal wildlife.

Returning to his pack, he retrieved

his bedroll and rolled it

out under the tree. Cam watched

the last sunlight fade from the

sky, then drifted off to sleep.

Rationing his remaining water

left Cam uncomfortably thirsty,

but he had expected that and

tolerated it reasonably well. He

knew of ways he might be able

to obtain more water but didn’t

think he wanted to. For example,

with a little searching and a little

more digging, he could probably

find a few water-holding frogs

and squeeze the water out of

them. If he did that, though, the

frogs would surely not survive to

the next wet season—and at this

point Cam didn’t feel sure his life

was worth as much as a frog’s.

A chance to observe a Giles’s

planigale the next morning rewarded

his decision. The tiny

creature emerged from a deep

fissure in the clay of the lakebed,

still groggy from its overnight

‘mini-hibernation’. Fortunately

for the planigale, it had already

recovered and moved on by the

time the kite returned.

Civility + You


Michael Quintana


last night

I wondered what it was like not to breathe—

to feel my lungs shrivel up

like a used balloon.

last night

I wondered if I’d ever lived,

while you laid your head on me

and sighed.


Michael Quintana

The Lot

Remember when you asked about the fire?

About the things I saw seeped in smoke

and the things I knew

weren’t there?

About the wind and the way it blew

spraying fire so loud,

I told you I thought about July

and red raw summer heat—

times when I scraped my knees

and licked them, tasting the tangy blare

of alkaline batteries.

Away, it went for me.

And sometimes

I pass by everything,

or what I think is everything,

and let myself imagine

parts of me invested in a bird’s nest,

some flake like old skin

housed between twigs.

Civility + You


Michael Quintana


Yesterday, it sat on the tip of my tongue

with the texture of fuzz,

the underbelly of a thin-skinned leaf.

I first heard it

when I touched my mother’s shoulder.

In the space between seconds—

in the space no longer between us—

I felt her love story, completely.


Jeffrey Alfier

Navesink River Sunday

Daybreak, and the thick scent of the soundless river.

In slow heavy air, men cast lines and glare outward,

holding to the silence between them.

Crows drift through elms fading to autumn.

From the rail bridge, a train warns

an unseen crossroad. But nothing here alters.

At home, my aged father, who’d be at ease

among these fishermen, struggles with sleep

after I lifted him from a midnight fall —

his frame as light as a ghost ship.

And me, this open water, the footpath

at my back inclining toward town,

light bending through morning windows

that traps someone’s eyes in the sudden radiance.

Civility + You


Jeffrey Alfier

Missoula Northside

for Carly Flint

It’s how edges of the city fall to darkness, love:

light leaking onto foothills beyond the river,

blinds coming down in high windows.

The homeless loiter like remaindered men. A woman

of indeterminate age begs by a secondhand store.

Boxcars shift like hawsers groaning in a storm.

The Northern Pacific station is a bar now.

I enter through a trace of smoke hanging

in the doorway’s broken light.

Someone in a corner, recovering from a bender,

guzzles bitter, burning coffee.

The barmaid slides me a bourbon and a brittle smile.

Dismissing her ring, I want so much to say a word

to the strawberry-blonde across the vacant stool between us.

The scent of her could light an empty room.

Her unflinching stare is straight ahead, lips pursed

like a rigid scar. I ponder the blind luck

that brought me this far, the odds-on bet I’ll fail.

Her cell lights up, and after listening without speaking,

she gathers herself and leaves. My eyes follow her

through the window behind the barmaid.

She halts for seconds under a streetlight,

as if a step further would drop her, by degrees,

into the dark aura of the new moon.


Jeffrey Alfier

American Woman

in Warsaw

Again, too long at the Danube Bar,

she lets wine hurry her off

into the summer night’s drowsy air.

Over the Old Town cobblestones

she passes a young father holding

his daughter’s hand as the girl leans

to pick a flower the wind shook

from a stranger’s bouquet.


Tomorrow, the flight home.

She’ll wake to a hotel radio

in this city whose language

she doesn’t know, leave the room

to check out. Leave the radio

singing to its foreign self,

a tune in her own country she’ll hum

one night walking home in the dark.

Civility + You


Sarah Webb

Joining the Revolution

I lived it, and I didn’t know it.

I wore the shirtwaists and the bobby socks

and worried being smart ruined my chances with the boys.

I went into teaching instead of science

because that’s what women do.

It was everywhere, and I didn’t see it.

I kept the house for my husband—wasn’t that my job?

What a surprise! I was on the credit card now.

Hadn’t I been before? Did I need to be?

And if he slept around, that’s what some men do.

Something wasn’t right, something more

than high heels and bras. No, I couldn’t call myself a feminist,

but it wasn’t fair making less for the same work,

coming home tired and my husband refusing to help.

And what woman was he on now, his tenth?

Don’t get any ideas, he said, it doesn’t work that way for women.

But I knew something else, something underneath

and rising as I took to wearing jeans and writing in my journal.

I knew maybe it did work that way for women.

Maybe we wanted adventure too and money

enough to live on, and our opinions listened to,

not to have to placate and always be afraid.

And my anger grew.


So it was revolution after all, though I never said

rights, never said sister or liberation.

It was my own revolution,

of raising my voice, of taking lovers,

of emergency room visits and holding fast,

of finally leaving.

Now, after the degree I held back from,

after the career, after raising my girl alone, I look

and I say, huh! it was everywhere and I didn’t see it.

It was my life. And I didn't know it.

Civility + You


Sarah Webb

At the Rally to Restore

Sanity and/or Fear

It's an odd rally, one to celebrate listening to each other,

taking ourselves with a grain of salt.

A simulcast plays John Stewart through the loudspeaker,

pretending to be irate with his friend, Stephen Colbert.

We stroll the grounds of the state capital, reading hand-made signs:

Less Bark, More Wag! I'm Calmer Than You Are.

A cluster of boys shout a nonsense slogan: More Fiber, Less Fear!

People have dressed as Abe Lincoln, Captain America, themselves.

My friend pulls on my arm. She wants to hug Lady Liberty,

who has raised a torch in a sunny space between the oaks.

Liberty’s braid of hair and beads and twine reaches to the ground.

A black woman, small and compact, she stands apart

from the placards and the restless movement of the crowd.

Under her crown of carved sun rays, she smiles.

She cannot see the screen with the politicians and comedians

but looks out at the morning.

A swell of sound distracts us, and we clap and cheer.

When we turn back, we cannot reach her

through the gestures of a woman who has approached her.

Liberty nods her head to the woman’s talk,

not the mime I’d thought or a living statue

but a real person who has woven crystals into her braid,

crystals and flags and a tiny doll’s head.

As we walk on toward our car, I look back at her.

She stands erect in her artist’s freedom,

the quiet center of the day.


Karen Cline-Tardiff


Allison refused to

hang her diploma

on the wall. She

worked full-time but

had taken every class she could

manage. In between work,

caring for her family, and sleep,

she finished her bachelor’s

degree in three years. When the

piece of paper came in the mail,

Allison opened it in the car. She

looked at it laying there on her

lap; the gold foil insignia, her

name in calligraphy. She put

it back in the flat box, took it

in the house and shoved it in a

drawer. It was weeks before her

husband thought to ask about

the missing diploma.

Her supervisor at work

wanted to host a little congratulatory

luncheon for Allison

once he found out she completed

her studies. She dissuaded

him and took the pay raise with

no fanfare. The months ticked

by and Allison didn’t feel any

smarter or more achieved than

her colleagues. She quietly

started taking online courses.

She’d sneak in an essay on her

lunch break, hide her homework

in piles of laundry or

in her briefcase. Not because

her husband would recognize

New Approaches to Analytical

Grammar, she just didn’t want

the questions.

Two years of 10-page reports

and 20-page financial

aid packets culminated in a

master’s degree. Her guidance

counselor told her she could

come walk the stage and receive

her diploma on a Friday.

She checked the flights for

graduation weekend. She had

an extra day of PTO she hadn’t

used. She’d been to Phoenix

for work before, her husband

wouldn’t even ask about it.

Suitcase packed in the

Corolla, she backed out of the

driveway on Wednesday. He’d

said his goodbyes from the

couch. The children would

stay with his mother while

he was at work. The weather

was supposed to be clear all

week. A small hum started in

her throat and she realized

she was actually humming a

tune, a song she heard on the

Muzak at work. An unfamiliar

smile crept across her face.

Civility + You


She merged onto the interstate

and almost laughed with happiness

when she saw the green

sign proclaiming “Houston 52.”

Less than an hour to Hobby


The car began to rattle. Softly

at first, but quickly turning

into a deafening sound. The

wheel started to shake under

her hands. She pulled onto the

shoulder just as smoke began to

pour out from under the hood

of her car. She turned the key

off, reached for her purse in the

passenger seat, and pulled out

her phone. Allison called her


“Why are you crying? It’s just

a conference.”

She put the phone back in

her purse, wiped her eyes and

made sure her mascara wasn’t

smeared. As the tow truck

arrived, Allison waited for her

husband to come take her home.


Andrena Zawinski


Arty was still

dressed in


work pants

and a stained

chef jacket, hairnet hugging

his red shock of hair,

as he let the last bus of the

night pass him by, his only

way back to East Liberty and

the community housing he

called Heartbreak Hotel. He

sat restless inside the transit

shelter, flicking a Zippo

lighter open and closed. He

sat peeved, tapping his feet in

a puddle left behind by the

sudden cloudburst, common

to Pittsburgh summers, one

that just as swiftly dissipated

into a muggy still.

It had been an especially

busy and humid standing-room-only

night at

Plumes with the B’ B’ K’

Roche band in from Berkeley.

The small downstairs kitchen

was in a panic, with popular

vegetarian food orders backed

up. The bartender was fuming

at the sprawling bar upstairs,

unable to make the Cali-Cosmo

Cooler special because

the Cointreau disappeared.

Then there was the dispirited

crowd jamming up the parking

lot and the street, having

been turned away at the door

because of fire marshal occupancy


Diana—a K. D. Lang

look-alike from her practical

haircut to cutoff cowgirl

boots—guarded the entrance,

legs spread wide under a prairie

skirt, arms folded firmly

across her purple Plumes

tee. The blocked hangers-on

scanned performer posters on

the wall—from the local Gerties

Improv and Poetry group

to comedian Kate Clinton;

from singer-songwriter Chris

Williamson to performance

ensemble Sweet Honey in the

Rock—while Diana tried to

amuse them by belting out an

occasional operatic aria.

As the emcee announced

the band’s entrance to the

stage, Diana’s attention was

on an ex-server, recently fired

from Plumes for slipping out

during her shift to down Boilermakers

with local mill hunks

at Bubba’s Bar across the street.

Civility + You


She called her over, leaned

in and whispered in her ear:

“The kitchen side door is


Arty, the only man working

at the cabaret style

restaurant showcasing women’s

talent, was the newest

employee for the Plumes

Cultural Feminist Women’s

Collective, who they took on

pronto to ward off any possibility

of a sex discrimination

suit, once he ended his

interview with an accusatory

“You won’t hire me because

I’m a man.”

and stared so intently into

the cooktop flames.

After the kitchen was

cleaned up and shut down

for the night, someone left

the walk-in freezer door

ajar—tri-tips defrosting in

a muck of spumoni melting

on the floor. Someone left

the kitchen side door unbolted—the

register’s startup

cash stolen, top shelf liquors

looted. Someone deposited

a hairnet and a lighter in the

emptied tip jar.

They fired him just as

quickly as they had hired

him—for letting the strawberry

banana flambé burn as

he guzzled brandy straight

from the bottle. This, as he

quietly fumed, having overheard

waitstaff grumbling

they thought he was the

one pinching money from

their shared tip jar stashed

on the shelf in reach just

outside the kitchen. This,

after eavesdropping on their

continued rumor mongering

that he might be the notorious

South Side Arsonist, as

they mused about how he

always toyed with his lighter


Don Mathis

The Dominant One

Doormat lies on floor.

Foot walks on it,

dirtying Doormat’s face

with shoe mud.

Doormat takes it,

supports Foot.

Foot is dependent

on Doormat’s support,

becomes used to

Doormat always there.

Until one day,

Doormat turns over

a new life.

The footfalls arrive

but Foot falls,

heels over head,

hard, hitting floor.

Doormat is gone –

and is blamed

for Foot’s downfall.

Who is the dominant one?

Civility + You


Penny Jackson


Fat Pat, they called her.

Blubber Babe,

Chubby Galore,

and Elephant Girl.

She worked behind the counter

at the high school cafeteria,

wearing a bright pink smock

the color of Pepto-Bismol

with a white cap on her head

that looked like a lost napkin.

He never told anyone that she

was his step-sister,

who never lost the weight

after she gave birth

eleven months ago

at the age of sixteen.

Dishing out mashed potatoes

and corned beef the color of

rusted copper

to ravenous students

was the only job that

gave her flexibility

to watch the baby,

as his mother worked the factory

afternoon shifts.

“How can I eat after looking at that?”

his best friend asked,

sticking a finger down his throat

and making fake puking sounds

after Patty poured

extra gravy over his turkey as requested.

“God, do you think she even knows what

a salad bar means!” his girlfriend exclaimed


as they squeezed in with the coolest kids

at the back table.

He could never look at her,

at school or in their living room.

No one was ever invited to his new home.

“We’re in the middle of renovation,” he told friends.

Sometimes at dinner Patty would catch his eye,

nod her head

as if to say

“it’s okay.”

He would climb up the stairs

to his bedroom,

and bury his head in his pillow,

hot with shame.

Soon he went to college,

didn’t come home at all

until his mother’s funeral.

He didn’t recognize Patty.

Even thought she was a distant cousin.

So skinny and pale,

as if she had shared his mother’s cancer.

“Hello,” she said, standing against the wall

in a shiny black dress that clung like

Saran Wrap,

arms and legs like matchsticks

he could imagine so easily breaking.

“I don’t blame you for anything, Dave,”

she told him

as the water glass trembled in his hand.

“I probably would have done the same.

But look at me now.”

Yet when he looked,

he could only see the missing folds of


her fleshy arms that once held her baby girl,

the way her cheeks swelled

Civility + You


as if about to blow out

a candle.

“It’s okay, Dave,” Patty said again.

“And please call me Patricia.”

He understood what it must take for

her to lose all that weight.

And now with his mother gone,

all that, what the loss must have cost her.

Patty was now Patricia

But Dave was still Dave,

again ashamed

as if

she was now scooping out mountains of


as the fluorescent lights

of the high school cafeteria

blinded his eyes.


Penny Jackson

A Hole in Her Head

A hole in her head

is how my grandmother explained it

when she was still


She clasped her

hands around her thinning

grey hair

as if holding on

could stop

the leakage.

Two months later

she is lost in her own bedroom

walking in circles trying

to find a shopping cart

in the market

although we don’t know

if it’s the market across the street

or a market in Dresden

thousands of miles away

in a time that could be

thousands of days gone.

A week, she will


her husband’s wallet,

car keys,


convinced that she is being

held hostage.

When the policeman arrives

after her frantic call,

no one can convince her that

Civility + You


her husband, who

stands by their framed wedding photograph

clutching a cane,

is not a feared Nazi from her youth,

waiting to throw her into the oven.

Finally, at the hospital,

she is completely erased.

Her eyes glazed

as stale candy,

cheeks red and raw,

as if constantly rubbed

by a coarse washcloth.

The hole in the head seems like

a crater now.

The power of speech,

German, English, Yiddish


Her fingers now curled in

in clenched fists

beat at her chest,

trying to fight

the black wings

of oblivion.

I expect her hair to fall out,

exposing the cavity,

yet miraculously it grows.

Thick and long.

Tangled in the nurse’s comb.

Tangled in her fingers.

Even her face seems smoother

after the Lithium.

Age now taunting my beloved


with the promise of



Penny Jackson

The Women of

the Frick Museum

The grand dames

of the Frick Museum

stare with such condescension

that you fight the urge to check

the sole of your shoes.

We are just commoners

blocking their way to their plumed horses

and plush curtained carriages.

There is Lady Peel

clutching her ermine

with wrists heavy with gold,

eyes as glittering as dark sapphires

daring Thomas Lawrence to come closer.

Madame Baptiste,

tendrils of hair like flowering vines,

lips pursed either

to kiss Jean Baptiste-Greuze

or spit on him.

Lady Sarah Innes

with a black velvet

cat collar

even though

she is not Gainsborough’s

or anyone’s pet.

Lady Meux's

lovely hooded eyes so


that you wonder if

Whistler provoked her,

would her tongue be forked?

Civility + You


A group of chattering children

are suddenly silenced

by the bent forefinger

on the perfect chin

on the perfect face

of the icy blue

Countess d’Haussonville.

Who judges us all

with one upraised eyebrow.

Since I am old myself

I think

what happened to these


as they aged?

Did the satin luster

of their complexions

grow dusty or cracked?

Regal cheekbones sinking

like craters?

Moist lips now cracked and pale

as the glint of their eyes

dimmed like a flame extinguished.

Would their husbands find younger replacements

like Browning’s narrator in The Last Duchess?

Or like the lilacs in my winter garden

would they simply wither away,

bulbs drooping,

leaves shedding,

petals like pieces of used tissue.


Not these women.

Their fiery eyes reveal

an unconquerable strength.

They would

slap their husband’s silly faces


slash at smoother complexions,

stomp with their heeled boots

for recognition.


would they simply vanish.

Be invisible.

The artists who painted their portraits

Understood their immortality.

If these women could slide

from their canvases,

they would drink champagne

the color of pale gold.

And ignore us all

because we lack a brush

and a canvas.

Civility + You


William Mainous II

A Ghost at Nana’s

Late one evening while Texas heat still blazing

I sit at nana’s devouring a deviled ham sandwich

and find leaning against the fridge a suffragette.

All in Edwardian fashion smoking a cigarette

proudly wearing her “Votes for Women” sash,

the air a pleasing scent perfume a lovely shea

butter. Thus, I arise and introduce myself as. . .

she interrupts saying I’m boring. I think she’s

rude since, I didn’t offer her a bite. I ask her

to leave. From her handbag she unpacks

a Schofield 1875 laughs, very calmly says,

“Like hell I’ll leave. Put down that sandwich!”

She proceeds by asking if I read and what I read

“I am not a fan of reading.” She instructs me

to go to the shelf in the living room and second

shelf from the bottom is a copy of Adrienne Rich’s

Diving into the Wreck. And if I would please

bring the book hither. But I have no intention

of rummaging through an old lady’s things

and further I have mentioned I don’t read

She snaps at me calling me feeble minded.

Evidently to her it’s not reading it is revolution.

Suprisingly, real chill convo after that insanity

turns out we’re two Pisces who dig botany.


William Mainous II

Requiem for a friend

A stretch of beach overlooking Laguna Madre

they stand alone watching untamed waves.

Waves caress the morbid shore, peacefully

luminous in the moon light and welcoming.

Off in tranquil nearing seagulls pass as the flock

continues patrolling the glistening shore.

Their wings give rhythm. The other side of the

gentle waves christen the feet in the sand.

On the other side of the lagoon thrives

South Padre Island an eternal city.

A vain city of endless revolts of light and dark

but neither really wins they only revolve

and coexist. The voice of the lagoon is a ceaseless

sedative. Emerald waves invite the soul

to roam forever. For whatever comes she will

never belong to anyone other than herself.

Only a memoir is left of a lost noun,

a verb surviving in a dead language.

Civility + You


Jerry Craven | Terry Dalrymple | Andrew Geyer

Magic Realism

in Graphic Art

a preview of

Magic, Mystery, and Madness


I like to mix images inspired by beautiful tiny spots with

beauty on grand scales, such as in many Hubble photographs of

planets, stars, galaxies. My art also often juxtaposes elements in

ways that defy distance and time. So it seems appropriate to borrow

the term magic realism from fiction writers and apply it to much of

my graphic art.

Years ago one of my art teachers declared that anyone can

do pretty art, that what she wanted from her students was art that

had something to say, even if that 'something' made the art harsh,

difficult, and ugly. I do some pushing back on that idea. Why not

seek beauty while still creating art that speaks of difficult issues?

And why not strive for beauty for its own sake? Robert Browning

gave the following lines to the painter Fra Lippo Lippi:

If you get simple beauty and nought else,

You get about the best thing God invents:

That's somewhat

I agree, and I want to make my art attractive enough that

people would want to hang it in their homes, as well as have it be

artwork suggesting ideas that they can analyze, if they want.

Currently Andrew Geyer, Terry Dalrymple and I are

writing Magic, Mystery, and Madness, a book of ekphrastic stories

and poetry that connects our writing with various pieces of my

graphic magic realism. We decided in setting up the project that

the writing might or might not include elements of literary magic

realism. The ekphrastic stories and poems in this issue of Windward

Review will be a part of our upcoming book. -Jerry Craven

Civility + You


Jerry Craven

Malachite Cross and Seven Sisters


Jerry Craven

This Strange Malachite Art

A malachite cross here surfing with grace

and bathed in a star’s yellow light

is stretching out time and purpling space

in defining the shape of a night.

This painting with those Seven Sisters invite

me to a childhood sky close to Rio

el Tigre and closer to our El Tigrito

backyard water tower. Carl’s

Seven Sisters burned warm in the night,

standing together, Carl said, like the dipper

now in this strange malachite art.

As he spoke of planets and the Pleiades,

my finger traced his words through those

sizzling stars until finding made the Sisters

mine to hold forever in my racing heart.

Light-years from that childhood, I hear Carl,

a man wise from Time and shaking slow

to conjure words of mourning for one sister,

then telling a plan to write another book.

My promise to help draws a dark look

from the lady who knows him best. Your brother,

she tells me aside, cannot hold a pen.

Those fingers have forgotten all keyboards,

and the hospice nurse helps him endure his pain.

He has already written his last book.

But I know a plan can help shape the night

like the malachite cross coloring space, defining

time and truth for all we’ve seen in our light.

Civility + You


Jerry Craven


Clarissa Green

Terry Dalrymple

Clarissa's Spirit

Four days after she drowned

herself, Clarissa Hovington stood at

the worn wooden table in their kitchen,

hands behind her back, glaring

at her father. The man sat passed out

at the other side of the table, his face

pressed awkwardly against its surface.

He reeked of alcohol.

"Father," Clarissa said. He did not

move. She raised her voice. "Father,"

she said in an uncharacteristically

angry, stern voice. He groaned and

rolled his head to the side, but didn't

rouse. She swung and slapped an

open palm hard against his ear.

He groaned again, raised his

head, and squinted at her with

bleary eyes. "Clarissa? Where have

you been?"

"I've a gift for you, Father." Her

voice sounded flat, monotone.

"A gift?" He placed his palms on

the table top and pushed up onto his

feet. He swayed unsteadily. "You've

always been such a good, sweet girl."

Clarissa swung her arms from behind

her back, a butcher knife in her

right hand. She clutched that right

hand with her left, lunged across the

table, and jabbed the blade into his


The next morning, neighbors

found him hanging from an oak

limb in his front yard, the knife still

lodged where Clarissa had aimed it.

* * * * *

Throughout Clarissa's short life,

everyone who knew her—and many

who saw her only briefly and from

afar—found her exceedingly beautiful.

Her large emerald eyes nestled

in a lovely face of blemish-free ivory

complexion, framed by thick, wavy

red hair. Other girls were jealous,

and boys were desirous, especially

when Clarissa reached puberty early

and her breasts flowered. Even

so, in all situations Clarissa behaved

prudently, carefully, patiently. She

was kind and humorous but shy, reserved,

and unassuming.

* * * * *

Thomas Covington, Clarissa’s

older brother, sat in a tavern one

hundred and twenty miles from

where his father died, oblivious of

his old man’s fate. Earlier that same

day, he had received a letter from the

now dead man saying only that Cla-

Civility + You


issa had disappeared. Yet there she

was, smiling at him from the tavern

door. She beckoned to him, and he

arose and crossed the room.

“Clarissa,” he said, “I’d heard

you disappeared.”

“I have something for you,


“For me? What is it?”

“Not here. It’s very personal.

Come outside with me.”

Expecting something he didn’t

deserve but had taken by force three

years before, he followed her into

the dark night.

In the early morning before the

sun rose, a bum discovered him lying

castrated in an alley but still


* * * * *

Her mother died of pneumonia

before Clarissa turned one. Her father

first visited her bedroom shortly

before she turned ten. Her older

brother molested her not long after

her twelfth birthday. A very handsome

boy from school and the only

boy Clarissa ever willingly allowed

to have her laughed when she said

she loved him. "Love!" he scoffed.

"This don't got nothing to do with

love." He never spoke to her again.

And so her life continued, boys

taking advantage of her, always

against her will, and girls playing

dirty tricks on her and calling her by

numerous demeaning and disgusting

names, until one dark evening

when she walked to a nearby placid

lake and drowned herself.

* * * * *

Jimmy Druitt, the exceedingly

handsome young man who had

scoffed at Clarissa’s admission of love,

whistled as he walked home from an

illicit meeting with his lovely, young

school teacher. He took a shortcut

through the woods, feeling proud

and happy until Clarissa stepped

from behind a tree ahead of him.

“Hi, Jimmy.” She grinned at him,

but the grin was not a happy one.

The boy gasped. “You can’t be

here,” he stammered. “You’re missing.”

Clarissa stepped toward him.

“I guess you found me.” Jimmy

stepped back. “Oh, Jimmy, don’t

back away. I have a surprise.” She

unbuttoned the top two buttons on

her dress. “Do you want your surprise?”

Later, when Jimmy stumbled

through the door of his home, his

bloody face was disfigured by dozens

of deep slices, cuts, and punctures,

and his tongue was missing.

* * * * *


At midnight on January 9,

her fifteenth birthday, Clarissa

drowned herself in the local lake.

But her angry, bitter spirit wanted

revenge for all the wrongs she had

suffered and so dragged her corpse

from the dark water and resurrected

her. As she felt life creeping back

into her flesh, Clarissa cried out,

“No, no, I don’t want life. I just want

peace.” But her spirit was adamant

and strong.

* * * * *

Vicious harm came to twelve

more boys or men and seven girls.

No evidence existed to identify the

perpetrator. Clarissa was still assumed

missing, for no one had seen

her except her victims just before

their misfortune.

Beginning with her visit to her

father, Clarissa had resisted, and

her resistance became increasingly

vehement with each subsequent

visit. Still, she could not overcome

the demands of her spirit. But after

she had attacked the last of those

who had been most hateful and

cruel to her in life, she said she was

done. Her spirit said no. There were

still many who would have abused

her had they gotten the chance.

They, too, were evil.

“Look at what I’ve done,” Clarissa

shouted aloud. “I’m evil.”

Her spirit responded that justified

revenge was not evil.

“I don’t want revenge,” Clarissa

said. “I want peace.”

“You’re immortal. You’ll never

have peace.”

“I don’t want to be immortal.”

“Too late.”

“I will not seek more revenge,”

Clarissa yelled.

* * * * *

Although other people in the

area were occasionally victims of

crime, evidence was always found

and the culprit was caught. As far

as anyone knew, Clarissa had simply

disappeared many years before.

Once every year or so, someone

strolling by the lake at night claimed

to have seen her out in the water or

sitting on the shore and weeping.

Once, a known drunkard swore he

had seen her in the water, going under

time and time again. Every time

her head bobbed above the surface,

he said, she screamed into the night,

“Please, please, please.” But everyone

dismissed the old drunk’s tale

as a whisky-besotted hallucination.

Civility + You


Jerry Craven


Curadora Angel

Jerry Craven

Rosita’s Instructions to the Painter

Dip brushes in velvet orchids to paint the queen

in dewy odors of sapote beside the sheen

of labios calentes infusing passion in serene

blessings for our river jungles’ dying green.

Take angel colors from our ride on Rio Churun,

Rosita said, paint her face with parrot pink

and red papaya moist on her cheek,

with azul like Sam’s good eye that might

have found its blue in a distant Texas sky.

Make her arms green-and-red-smeared paint

streaked into her embrace, but paint divine arms

unlike ours, then sprinkle her face with light,

with ruby and citrine crystals, with diamonds, all

from a salero, and give her labios calientes; take

the hot lips from leaves of the bush psychotria,

beloved of hummingbirds, to make her human

and not human. Shape her face like that

of Sylvia before the missionary’s shotgun murder.

Make this Angel Sylvia a living and holy

curadora wrapping her star and gemstone skin

around all of America del sur, and paint her eyes

closed in her warm embrace from living leaves

to bless the faded jungles into green again.

Civility + You



Jerry Craven

The Nightwatch

Civility + You


Andrew Geyer

The Nightwatch

The sun has set at last on the summer solstice, Robert,

and I begin my watch. Next to you here on the piano bench, I

can almost feel your warmth as you start into “Clair de Lune.”

Almost. I ache for your touch, for the feel of your skin against

my skin, for the weight of your body on mine.

But like the plaintive chords of Debussy’s most famous

piano suite, I am ethereal.

On this shortest night of the year, a full moon rides

high in the South Carolina sky outside the living room window.

In the light of that moon, which is the only light in the

house, you look almost as ghostly as me. Almost.

According to pagan folklore, evil spirits appeared on

the night of the summer solstice and magic of all kinds was

at its strongest. As it turns out, those early pagans were right.

Almost. It isn’t just evil spirits, though, and we don’t really

appear—we’re here all the time—but on the night of the summer

solstice the barrier between the worlds is so thin we can

be seen. Even touched.

But we can only make contact with those who are

reaching out.

Instead of reaching out, Robert, you are looking inward.

Looking back. Staring into the past the way you always

do when you play those sad French songs. Debussy. Chopin.

Satie. You sit alone in the dark, your hands stroking the keys

instead of me, reliving that awful night nearly five decades ago

when I died in your arms.

“Stay with me, Millie,” you said, your voice breaking.


It was September 23rd, 1918. We were upstairs in our bedroom,

and I lay dying of the Spanish flu. “Promise me. You have to

stay, because I love you.”

I was drowning, my lungs so full of fluid I could barely

breathe. I wanted so badly to live for you, and for our unborn

baby girl, more than I’d wanted anything ever before. “I . . .

I promise,” I managed, finally. Drowning, burning alive with

fever, both at the same time.

Until suddenly, I wasn’t.

Instead, I found myself standing next to you. You sat on

the edge of our bed, staring down at the shell of flesh I’d just

stepped out of. My skin was blue-tinged as a bruise, bloody

froth rimmed my lips, and the China doll you’d bought for our

daughter-to-be was propped up beside me on the pillows. You

looked so young. So young, and so terribly sad. We both did.

I’m not sad anymore, Robert. I’m still here. Still on

watch, nearly a half-century later, trapped within the walls of

this house I died in by the promise I made. But the things I’ve

learned while waiting have brought a sense of peace.

The years have been unkind to you.

I’ve watched you age. The lines crept onto your face as

you married that other woman, raised a houseful of sons, became

a widower again. The crow’s feet deepened around your

eyes as you trained your gaze back into the past and played

your sad songs—always alone, even when surrounded by your

new family.

They also aged, and left you here with a ghost you refuse

to see.

I’m still young, Robert. Still carrying our daughter-tobe.

In this place between the worlds, time—like the sun on

the summer solstice—stands still. It seems to me just days

ago that we fell in love dancing the foxtrot at Hickman Hall.

Wasn’t yesterday August 29th, 1917, and weren’t we getting

married at St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church? Oh Robert, look

at me. Hear me, please. Don’t let the tragedy of the night I

died blot out the triumphs of the days we reveled in.

Civility + You


In ancient Rome, the longest day of the year was sacred

to Juno, the Goddess of women, marriage, and childbirth. It

was a popular time for weddings, for it was believed that Juno

would bless the union and ease the passing of newborn souls

from the world of spirits into the world of flesh. Perhaps the

Romans, like those of us who live between the worlds, could

sense the thinning of the walls that separate the living from

the dead.

In the here and now of this night of the summer solstice,

I reach my hand toward yours. If you would only turn

toward me, meet my gaze, intertwine your fingers with mine,

we could breach those walls and make contact.

But your whole focus remains on the piano keys.

It won’t be long before you shed your skin and join us.

The fiery spirit that is our unborn baby girl will finally separate

from her mother and the three of us will move on into the

next world together. I catch glimpses of that world from time

to time, superimposed against the night sky like the aurora

borealis—crackles of color and whispers of light amid a cacophony

of sound like a thousand orchestras playing jubilant

chords all at once and forever.

For tonight, though, the melancholy notes of “Clair

de Lune” swell out of the piano at your fingertips and sweep

across the moonlit living room to fade into the dark. Tonight,

Robert, as I lean toward the warmth of your body but feel only

heartbreak, I promise to keep my watch.

End of special section: Magic Realism in Digital Art


Jose Olade


Within the dilapidated cathedral

Exists an empty fire pit.

Old ashes now removed

Of rickety fires that once were lit,

Its empty belly howls for flames to exist.

A hole waiting for its abyss to be filled.

One afternoon destiny seemed curious

As much as the girl who entered the room.

With the cold night at the doorstep,

Incandescence invited their joy to bloom

She began collecting wood

Myrtle trees were abundant that afternoon.

She created a perfect bonfire

Glowing brighter than the fogged moon.

The fire started quite delicately

It wanted everything to work perfectly

The girl seemed amused and genuine

So it tried to impress her desperately

Its flames began to grow

It grew big and red with heated spasms

It had lost its sense of prudence

It was obsessed with selfish enthusiasm

The girl began to back away

The flame kept growing furthermore

She was lost not knowing what to do

The pit had no clue she had been burned before

Civility + You


She could only try to ignore the flame

Perhaps then it would dissipate

The cathedral was suddenly engulfed in smog

As the pit consumed the last log

Yet it somehow noticed the fear within her

And blamed itself quite like a sinner

Its actions made it feel unjust

As its burnt logs crumbled to dust

The girl, now free, quickly ran away

In the pit nothing but ash remained,

With no one to remove its ashtray

It must rely on time and wind and rain.

The girl sometimes visits the cathedral

Her interest no longer in the saddened pitfall,

The pit can only contemplate

And be satisfied with her presence

That radiates a caring essence

Even if his loneliness is ever present.


Ianna Chay

One Night

She laid on a carpet of green that was pierced with faintly scented delicacies

and she spoke of her night and of the one she loves

to the moon and the stars who push their light through the dark:

I was happy until he leaned in and that cloud -

that damn cloud that darkens his vision

and inflicts a great weight upon his shoulders

constantly pushing him down

and penetrating through his soul with its acidic rain

leaving him with a void he tries to fill

while holding no knowledge of how to

began to hold me in its grim arms as if we were friends

I was happy until the absent feeling of supreme youth

pressed itself against my supple lips and body

I was happy until the humid blue taste of death

pervaded my mouth and began suffocating all that it could reach

[my heart, my brain, my soul, and let us not forget my lungs and my throat]

I was happy until the cold wind

whispered words soaked in despair

sending icy chills down the meanders of my body

He pays the figure with no face

in the black cloak who holds a scythe

eleven minutes of his life [that we could have shared]

for a momentary pleasure only he feels

Civility + You


A rigid pressure then pushed itself up from within my stomach

pierced through my heart

bruised its way up my throat

and finally rammed itself into the back of my eyes -

but the damns held tight and did not allow the pain to release

So I inhaled deeply in an attempt to respire an untainted air

I bit hard on my lip in an attempt to relocate the pain

and I pulled him close to me and tightened my grip around him

in an attempt to

fill up the emptiness with love

in an attempt to

protect him from the world and himself

in an attempt to

keep him here lose to me

while both our hearts are still warm and beating

But what lingered mocked my efforts

reminded me of my lot of control

and proclaimed my inadequacy

Why must it hurt so much to love someone so dearly

Why must we pay so much for our pleasures


Ianna Chay

Today I Thought About How




me to take

pictures of

their wedding



was in love

with this soldier

and just admired me and my work



to make me


till death do us part




that I took pictures

and just wanted to be with me


Civility + You






instead of

planning for her wedding—

instead of

being with and loving me—

moved on to new things

to one another

quite quickly and easily

shared intimate moments together

the two of you


turned out

to be true


Victoria Phillips


(verb, gerund or present participle: parsing

1.) to analyze into parts and describe syntactic roles.

2.) to analyze into logical components, typically in order to test conformability.

3.) to examine or analyze minutely.)

I used to enjoy parsing ashes.

Oh, what I thought could be freshened

by many long licks of flame,

and a kiss on the forehead during the fever.

I’ve bent and broken universes

and now have spotted hands.

Don’t laugh! but a naked me, still standing,

should leave quickly

at the end.

This little spark has wet her matches:

my pocket holds thumbs, grey matter, and glue,

and a terrible misconception of

words like family and time.

But, Oh!, my Fire-Girls

of muddle and restitution,

you cannot burn yourselves enough for them,

not on any altar they will build you.

For all this, they will not declare you clean.

So hear me as I’m melting,

and hear me before I’m gone,

And buy your boots for climbing,

for leaping, and to run,

not for standing so damned long

in the burn.

Civility + You


Victoria Phillips

Love Song to Toxic Bonds

Do not wonder if I miss you.

Know that I do.

But know to the deepest core of your knowing

that this is because

Dopamine responds most to intermittent rewards.

Thus meaning,

every soaring kiss and heated caress followed by

each cruelty,

bloody insult,


piece of me

smashed and torn in the narrow space

between your control

and your long, lovely fingers

gnarled into a fist

just made me crave you more.

Do not wonder if I know this;

I see clearly now.

Adrenaline pumps

harder than hard

harder even than you

when fear becomes familiar.

A daily dose does more than humble,

and horses are broken with less, my Love,

than your daily provision.

So I loved you

and trembled in my horror alone.

Do not wonder if I miss you.

Know that I do.

But you, I see clearly now,

and I am too far gone

to ever forget my knowing.


Clarissa M. Ortiz

The Becoming of Wind and Wildfire

I’ve never known my place.

Piece by piece, I crop the limbs

in my unruly forest of tall, tall trees.

In my insolent field of wildflower weeds.

Ripping restless roots at their seams,

crushing ripe and fleshy leaves

with each tributary of my tender palmistry

carved by my Mother’s hands

and her Mother’s hands

and every Sacred Mother’s hand before

until nobody could remember anymore.

The dull scraping of autumn leaves

prunes needlessly, over and over again

with the shaking hands of a manic trim

destroying the yield of a rancid legacy,

exterminating pristine yards

of ingrown memories,

and littering my lawn with poppy seeds

while crudely torn petals

seeping Esperanza yellow

float on by

like defiant hair

twirling down a porcelain sink.

I claim the remains to build my own

fragrant house of thyme and twigs.

A beautiful pyre,

becoming wind and wildfire,

smoldering in Blessed solidarity.

Civility + You


Thick smoke weaves between eager eyes,

whispering hushed rumors to painted lashes.

Among muted tone and starving gaze

I accept that my landscape

never fit the portrait

and no matter how tiny I fold it,

My secret garden,

My vacant throne

still hasn’t found

A place that feels like home.


Jacob R. Benavides

You or I

i. Alone

I wanted to be alone. To

be without sound, to be alone.

To be


In solidarity, the mind whispers loudly

and you ignored the pleas, but what of me. Why

do I stay silent. Sanctimonious Silence sometimes is

what it is, but none the less never wiser.

Give me.

assurance that I refuse to scream for

Hear me.

wander the woods wildly waning and wondering

Kiss me.

under pretense someday you’ll say sorry while slithering silently.

Hold me.

but do not.

I wanted to be alone.

ii. Cosmogony

Define it

the astral bodies never do leave

for they staked a claim. Do

you follow a model set in the stars

are the constellations remains of a war, a

war that I had already lost.

It’s said and done. However,

I spoke to one.

Civility + You


I invited one into my room, let it swirl

let it twirl

let it warp itse lf


par t

let it dance, waxing like the moon. A constellation

never looked so much like you

as it does now; enchanting, prancing, ever entrancing

never has it made me so angry

as it does now; fucking good for nothing

never have I loved how it reminds me of something new

as I invited the constellation in just as I did for





iii. I ate the star

I ate the color

I swallowed it whole

I swallowed the hue

I let it drop down. And

through my heart

it burned a hole.

I sipped from the black


To fill the whole

space it ate away at.

the body

holy communion

the blood

every. star.

every. constellation.

every. body.

you. hold.

you are but a hole.


iv. Adam.

The winter air, the summer heat; it all seems contradictory. Yet,

still seemingly surreal and natural, the heat of your hands

the isolation- no.

the immolation set fire to the woods we wandered.

Every nickel, every quarter

Tender to be tender to you

I was just as scattered. But just the same I

gathered every cent, every sense and listened to

every scent for the moment. Now


A supernova simultaneous and sordid.

Then, it all


That night the air was thick

and so was ambition. A hand on your thigh, through the

stardust into ambiguous fear.

Fear at once knew my hand, as much as it knew every hair on your face,

Every glance and I set the pace,

running, sprinting, and limping

all at once.

The way you give a look

as if it were sterling every time.

A generous hand you had, and still

I close my world, breathe in your eyes

Inhaled your glare; Let the stare coat my throat and

let it go as if I could afford more

as if I wasn’t emotionally worn; already opening another door.

I let astral bodies build, let them set

Keeping count of every single tear wept.

I held out my hand,

overworked, over-stretched and overbearing the weight of a line enjambed.

I remember the words.

The anticipation.

Keeping the wind between us warm

but never blazing.

Civility + You


It built

boiled and

toiled I was

coiled around you

entoiled in a slew of false inhibition.

I remember as bright as the blush

“I would have held you; I would have.”

I would have

I would

I should

I should have.

“I would have kissed you; I would have.”

I would have

I would

I didn’t

when we did

when you slipped into the blue

into the hue,

that i ate,

and swallowed.

i wander. wonder

if i was the holethe

whole space between

maybe just maybe

between you and I

it was a mistake. a lapse in what i Wanted

from you. What am i then in this To

you? is this what we are to Be.

With You.



Robb Jackson Memorial

High School Poetry Awards

Beginning in 2017, the Robb Jackson Poetry Contest was founded

to encourage student poets and empower student voices by honoring

their written word. High school students across the Coastal Bend have

contributed their thunderous works, and we are pleased to showcase their

inspiring pieces in this volume of the Windward Review.

Named in honor of the late Robb Jackson, the contest celebrates

Robb’s personal mission as a professor and local poet in this community.

Uplifting emerging writers as a devoted mentor, teaching the craft, and

providing a critical platform for young poets that wanted to be heard.

As the winner of 2018’s contest—and a current student of TAMUCC’s

creative writing program—I knew this feeling. Writing is a timeless form

of expression, and poetry gives us the means to make silent words into

those thunderous works; enriching our lives, alleviating hidden pains,

and inviting readers to share in our personal journeys.

As a young student, I was introduced to the contest—and the People’s

Poetry Festival—by my high school creative writing instructor, Joseph

Wilson. I am honored to publish his own work this year as well, a

testament to how far I’ve come, how invaluable his teachings were to me

as a fledgling writer.

Creative writing is a journey all its own, and a skill rarely nurtured

at the high school level. For me, it was a precious gift to be mentored in

the craft, for the contest to validate my work and abilities. Now, as a senior

member of The Windward Review and People’s Poetry Festival teams, I

want to pass those feelings of success, validation, and accomplishment on

to the next generation of young poets.

To our winners, I am so happy to feature your tremendous work

in this critical journal. I hope this publication affirms the importance of

Civility + You


your voice in our community, as emerging poets with a wealth of creative

talent waiting to be explored. It takes a great deal of courage to submit

your work for judging, but I am so glad you trusted us with your works. I

hope this victory ignites your creative passions, and that you continue on

the path of creative writing—as a cherished voice in our community.

Poetry is no small thing. It’s an obsessive craft that demands attention,

but if you are passionately in love with writing—as your work

proves—it will take you to great heights. Believe me, I was once where you

are now.

Wishing you all the best on your journey,

-Dylan Lopez, Asst. Managing Editor

2020 Featured Winners

Jamie Soliz

1st place

Confession, Confession, Confession

Teacher: Krystal Watson

2nd place

Katie Diamond

A moonlit stroll

Teacher: Krystal Watson

3rd place

Mackenzie Howard


Teacher: Delma Ramos


Honorable mentions

Eliana Martinez


Kevin Craig

Do You Remember

Nailea Vazquez


Ciara Rodriguez

Hey mom, Hey dad

Xavier Angelo Ruiz

The Way of the Seasons

Teacher: Belinda Covarrubiaz

Teacher: Belinda Covarrubiaz

Teacher: Krystal Watson

Teacher: Belinda Covarrubiaz

Teacher: Amy Weber

Civility + You


Jamie Soliz

Confession, Confession, Confession

I’ll sleep in the fire

And wake up in the f-fridge

Drove the cab down

into the lake

woke up in salt

I’ll sink to the depths

of great r-repetitive obsession

And float

You won’t see me

hidden in the thick liquid

of my words

In wait

for my joy

to become

my next slurry

solid thought

And I held the gun

I mean I mean

I held the knife

to the neck of beauty

Falling down the grave

I was born an artist without


Ironically my numbness

means nothing to Poe

How Poe handled me

will be the question I take to


He lied and laughed

at my broken brush

The stroke of s-strokes

in my chest painted

“You’re funny and so am I”

In the fire,

I was afraid of life

To the f-fridge was empty

and empathy

The anarchist artist

click ticks by the poverty


And burns books

titled “Art to pain or pain to


And I held the bullet

I mean I mean

I held the bullet

to the painter

And told him

And God told him

“You’re funny and so am I”

Ironically He lied

and He died


efore pride

was on our side

But besides

I found

the silver path

down Silvia Plath

Last night,

baked my left arm

because nothing I do is right

And n-nervously

I kicked my legs

when he brought up Taxi


And he told me

I mean I mean

the doctor told me

I was too schizophrenic

for my stutter

And and I strutter

the jacket

that conceals

my appeals

of evaporated thoughts

And I thought

Gotta get

gotta get

outta here

gotta, get

outta outta here

But Doc

I’m telling you

“You’re crazy and so am I

Fire just looks so lonely.

I want to give it a hug.

Civility + You


Katie Diamond

A moonlit stroll

It glimmers, light peeks through the cedar trees.

It shines, the edges of the window frame are softly lit.

The worn wooden door creaks as it opens.

I step out of the old log cabin to see a billion glittering stars.

As I make my way through the seemingly frozen forest,

where time seems to cease, I can see

it, the radiance of the glowing moon as it looks down at me.

It is breathtaking.

A giant glowing sphere sitting among countless constellations,

a masterpiece.

The frozen dew is illuminated atop the tree leaves.

As I stand in silence, I attempt to take in the beauty around me,

but it is impossible.

The only way for time to continue is for the glowing rays of the sun

to peek out from beneath

the golden grasslands.


Mackenzie Howard


It takes up your mind

It walks right in

Takes a seat

By the window to your soul

You show it your thoughts,

Each and every good thought,

It eats them up

All of them.


You serve them up.

The lovey dovey

Cupid struck

Heart shaped thoughts

The excited

Jump for joy

Smiling sun shaped thoughts

The thoughts

Of friends

Of family

Of pets

Of hobbies

That used to make you happy

All of them

Served on a silver platter

For an unwelcome guest.

The guest eats them up

But picks at them slowly

Rations them

Let’s them linger

Savors the taste

Long enough

That you don’t notice

Until half the plate

Is gone

And you can’t remember

What the meal

Used to be

You know

You can’t put the food

Back on the plate

And the customer won’t leave

And the customer won’t pay

And perhaps the plate isn’t

Half empty


The guest

Has replaced the thoughts it’s eaten,

Each and every good thought,

With something new

Something that doesn’t belong

Something sad

Something scary

Will your guest tell you

It’s name?

Will your guest give you

The name of its thoughtless gift?

I doubt it.

Civility + You


Eliana Martinez


I’m going home.

My mom did not pick my sister and I up.

It’s her friend who came for us.

Today is different.

Two young girls await the surprise

the driver said our mother had.

The sun smiles at me through the back window

as music moves throughout the vehicle.

I dance in my booster seat.

My sister sings.

Today is exerting.

Is he coming home?

How will we ever guess?

I’m ready for my surprise.

And now we’re here.

We rush inside.

I will never forget today.

I walked inside to see two men.

They dress very nicely.

It’s dark in the room.

My mom is holding a box of tissues.

I wonder what is wrong.

The men say he won’t be coming home.

I don’t understand.

He’s not coming back.

I cried.

They call him a hero,

A savior of our country,

A true American.

I call him my dad.

He’s gone but not forgotten.


Kevin Craig

Do you remember?

Do you remember?

How we’d walk and promise we’d be forever?

Laugh and smile under the summer sun

How we’d run

Without thinking how life would be

Do you remember?

The morning snaps, sipping our iced coffees

Finding relief in the AC of school

Saying goodbye, kisses on cheeks

English, Spanish, Math flew by

Friends, gossip, high school life

Never thought I’d cry

Here –

Here was our safe place

Home to our trophy cases,

Witness to awkward teen affection

Our haven of learning

And then it started burning

The screams, the shouts, we shut our ears

This was what our parents had feared

The cries for help

Extinguished by shots from hell

Darkness caressed us as we hid

My only thought, “how could this happen?”

To us, we were perfectly average

Now, our bodies, my friends, maybe you

They laid scattered

A million panicked, thoughts raced through my mind

Is this what we deserved?

Whose nerve did we strike?

Civility + You


But within those dark orbs lay a haunting sadness

Looking into mine

I expected to see my life flash away

Instead I saw your loneliness

The times no one remembered you

The times rain washed over you at lunch

How no one gave you a second thought

As you walked home alone every day

How no one noticed you slipping away

Into a worsening spiral of self decay

And now we would be the price to pay

I had never noticed this part of you

How could I have loved someone so malignant?

You were everything to me

When did you become so distant?

And all I could think of then was my morning with you

I remembered our unfinished things to do

Picking up your little brother

Cooking your mom dinner

Having a family of our own

Do you remember?

Maybe the memories could stop this, stop you

Weren’t we more than a memory?

The sirens played their sound of salvation

The footsteps of the rescuers thundered through the empty halls

If I could maybe just keep you like this

Or make you remember me

I told myself to just breathe

Your eyes grew darker

And you raised your sinister hand

I whimpered a sorry

And you said, I’m sorry, too

And then, a final thought

You couldn’t remember, could you?

I imagined seeing you again

Before you were lost,

When you were still mine

Before you sealed my fate

Before you sealed our fate


Nailea Vasquez


Even though you are still alive,

You can feel the cold ice breath of death

Grazing the pale red rose cheeks of life,

For we have parted ways

Since the fisheye lens made us look like greatness

And blemished the impurities in ourselves

We have always acted on cue and to the best

But the reality

Was that our beats were entirely contrary

I tried to break the mold to fit your needs and shape

But I ended up breaking my wings and soul in an attempt to escape

For we are life and death and everything will forever do us apart.

Civility + You


Ciara Rodriguez

Hey mom, Hey dad

You were always yelling and screaming you were always fighting

Your words were like knives constantly slicing me with every word

that was spoken

I wanted to scream until I ran out of breath

Hoping you’d shut up and stop fighting about whose fault it is

Your fighting left me alone

Your fighting took everything from me

Your fighting made me realize my life was a lie

Your fighting made the days and nights so silent you could hear my crying

from a mile away

This wasn’t my fault you told me repeatedly

I knew it wasn’t, it was yours

You weren’t happy but you didn’t have the courage to leave

You stayed for me, to preserve my happiness but you ruined it by staying

By staying you made my world collapse and the ruins swallowed me

I wanted to ask when did you lose your happiness

I wanted to ask when did you realize your marriage is a sham

I wanted to ask did you resent me because I’m a reminder of the pain he caused

I wanted to ask do you still love me

But I knew the answer

You loved me like people love having a rock in their shoe

A rock that’s constantly stabbing you with every step that was taken

You loved me like a dog loves a cat

A dog that barks at a cat just for walking past them

You never loved me because I’m a reminder of what could’ve been

You could’ve been happy with someone else but instead, you had me

Me. A child you used to save your marriage

A child that didn’t save your marriage A child that you resented because she

couldn’t save your sinking ship of a marriage


Xavier Angelo Ruiz

The Way of the Seasons

I am the morning breeze The summer wind gently brushing

against your cheek The beautiful sunset over the horizon

The morning dew upon the fresh cut grass The sound of the

brustling palm trees

I am the barking dog you hear waking up on the early morning The

mocking of the starlings upon the cable lines The woodpecker gracefully

tapping into the maple The waves crashing against the soft sand and

The children running around with water guns and smiles

I am the alarm clock that wakes you up The hot shower

that washes away all of the pain The clothes that

express the inner thoughts The hairbrush that gently

moves through your hair

I am the sun of the summer The gentle caress of the warm

beams protruding The drop of sweat gently sliding down

your face The fading sound of children’s laughter in the

distance I am the best of what makes the summer But you

cannot hold onto the summer forever

Soon it’s taken away

The palm trees will shed their last leaf

The air will become damp

The laughter has suddenly completely halted

The waves begin to slow

The birds are no longer soaring high through the sky

The dog is asleep

The children have grown up

The water runs cold

And the alarm clock no longer give you the hope that it once did

Civility + You


The world is silent now

The wind is gone

The birds at rest

What you once knew as a place of warmth and laughter

Has gone cold

And you are now left here alone

I am now the frozen lake

The deer whose lost its mother

The thick layer of snow that is too hard to dig through

The gray sky that is holding back all of the light

I am the touch of the cold metal

The pain of your feet upon the frosty floor

The sharp pinch in your lungs when you inhale the winter air

But the winter is unknown

Something that many refuse to witness

For what is shown is the sunshine

Not the cold, lonely winter nights

But winter always passes

And if you triumph through the deadly nights

You will see what is on the other side

The new beautiful blossoming trees

The laughter

And the joy

Within the blink of an eye, it’s summer again

And the warmth rushes back into your heart

But you must now prepare

For winter always returns

For this is, the way of the seasons.

End of special section: Robb Jackson Memorial High School Poetry Awards


Joseph Wilson

Sophocles and Fireflies

after lightning storms

and May rain

I see fireflies

in the pasture

for the first time

this spring


then another

then many



of my youth in Indiana

humid summer evenings

in grandma’s back yard


of capturing

in a coffee can

of swatting

with a wiffle bat

I was young

Sophocles writes

about light and darkness

clarity be the end-all

I see her fill

the vivid red dress

I hear her tentative soft voice laugh

like a windchime in a slight breeze

I feel the brush of her ring finger

like silk tracing my cheek

I think about fireflies


of my sweetheart

long married

happily to

another man

I sense her in my darkness

then I crash into her

at Central Market

carefully chosen word in passing

conflicted smile

slow parting

Civility + You


Joseph Wilson

Undated Photograph of my Mother

with her Three Sisters

(photographer unknown, taken in Indianapolis, Indiana, probably West Street circa 1932)

My mother Mary sits between her older sisters

Franny, whose left hand graces my mother’s shoulder, and Laverne

The baby Leona sits astride dear Franny’s legs

While my sweet aunt’s right palm, such a large good hand

Holds her baby sister secure against her chest

As if Franny knows

Already knows how danger and disappointment

Stand across the street in the shadows

Smoking stubby cigarettes

Spitting out tobacco leaf ends

Sharing filthy stories

Comparing the lasting damage of their cruel tricks

Meanwhile my beloved mother looks straight into

The aperture not exactly sure

Being so young, perhaps three or four

What this all means

Her face is not willfully composed for the camera

Unsettled and unsure of what is to come

In this next moment or the eighty years in front of her

Including her marriage and four children and miscarriage

Her divorce from my father

The courtship and marriage to Walter

Their move to the Arizona high desert and

Then the slow exacting deaths of her own mother and sisters

Like bright little lamps sputtering out

One by one by one by one

What would we do if we knew what would happen

What could we do what could we do what could we do


Joseph Wilson

On Reading “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Out Loud

Part One

I walk to the front of Barnes and Noble

A large bookstore by Corpus Christi standards

I am happy we have it and

Rainbow Books

And Half-Price Books

What would a city be without books

Early this morning at 9 my beloved friend and colleague

Christine DeLaGarza read Chapters one and two

All day long volunteer customers and

Tapped employees have kept the novel moving

Two of my most wonderful students

Erin and Olivia

Just completed their time slots


I will begin chapter 30

Where Nelle Lee sets up her title

In the words of young Jean Louise with

“Well, it’d be sort like shootin’ a mockingbird, wouldn’t it”

Then the concluding six pages

Which make up chapter 31

Including arguably

The most famous words from the book

“Atticus was right… you never really

Know a man until you stand in his shoes and

Walk around in them”

I first read this great book when I was ten years old

And then again right before the movie came out

Twice on the fiftieth anniversary of publication in 2010

As I taught it to my Advanced Placement seniors that year

The first and only time

Unless you add me reading it aloud to my own children

Civility + You


Part Two

I sit down in the low chair

Take a sip of water

Put on my red reading glasses

I think about how Atticus became the model papa for me

My namesake deserted my brother Paul and me

My step-father had been deserted himself by his father

He did the best he knew how to do

But Atticus was reasonable, articulate, fair, and a crack shot

I have tried to follow his lead as a father

Part Three

I look up at the small congregation of onlookers

Friends, colleagues, fellow lovers of this singular book and

Random passersby

In the empty back row chairs

I imagine my daughter and my son sitting

I imagine my mother and my father sitting

I imagine all of my former literature students sitting

I imagine Truman Capote sitting

I imagine Gregory Peck sitting

I imagine Harper Lee and her daddy sitting

I wet my lips

Take a deep breath

I begin


Jacinto Jesús Cardona

The Old Courtesy Clerk

The old courtesy clerk likes to write

he started as a stock boy

at La Quemazón the home of burning prices

the metaphor stirred his love for words

he writes on checking deposit slips utility bills

crisp magazine subscription cards

he laughed out loud when he wrote in his journal

courtesy clerk goes beserk

he knows he’s full of bosh doesn’t plan to publish

perish the thought yet he polishes each scribble

like a Turkish lamp

the old courtesy clerk double checks the dead bolt

shakes his pillowcase makes the sign of the cross

perhaps he’ll wake up with less ache

molting like a crab the sweet crack of extraction

leaving behind dry skin liver spots a bad back

if he’s lucky the old courtesy clerk will dream again

of indigenous hands stretching his wrinkled skin

tattooing a brief history of Peruvian embroidery

Civility + You


Rob Luke

So Junior High

Bernie Peterson, the reading teacher

to a majority of delinquents, their

random brainpans hardwired with

schema cobbled by network T.V. sitcoms.

Mr. Peterson wore his funeral suit everyday.

His face contorting to a shade of red each day

he died a thousand deaths, facing down

belligerence and flatulence. Chalk dust

spotted his suits like dandruff, an

occupational hazard.

Unlike our peers, Joe and I read everything

Mr. Peterson dealt us, like mesmerizing

tarot cards, leaving out the one-eyed jacks and

jokers. We read as our classmates boomed

bathroom humor. Mr. Peterson rewarded

Joe and I with placement in a storage room with

shelves lined with books, springing us from the

tone deaf choir of classmates, butchers of

treble clefs.

We picked books from the shelves like

vines laden with fruit, devouring each

delectable vintage, not of my world,

where my family tree was stilted and

withered by drought. We resided in

that crowded storage room, the

penthouse of the witness protection

program —evidence gathering for

our hidden futures.


As Bernie Peterson remained behind in

the den of juvenile delinquency, Joe and I

plucked lottery tickets, which inferred the

proclamation of fortune cookies, rewarding us

like wonks with golden tickets. Our navigation

through books like the board game Risk where

empires swelled and felled. Our momentum as

swift as traversing the contours of Chutes and

Ladders, replenishing our hemoglobin while

thrilled by hobgoblins. Our teacher willing to fall

on his spear, amidst mocking, in his burial suit —

dressed in a top hat of thorns and tails of

scorn —to redeem sinners.

Civility + You


Rob Luke

The Actors Guild

The oxidized silver station wagon, the

hearse of our decomposing adolescence,

rumbled into the Universal Studios

Tour Lot. On the tour, we gawked at

Beaver Cleaver’s two-story white house,

looking as wholesome as a giant carton of

milk. The Norman Bates house, a macabre

eyesore, encroached on the California

sunshine, a cloud of repression, combustible as

fundamentalist religion. —within a hoot and a

whistle from motel toiletries and wet towels.

After the tour, we ushered by young infidels

off the back lots, as the big, golden orb of the

sun dropped into the pocket of the streaked

horizon. Nifty cinematography directed by

nature, shading the San Andreas fault line.

Hollywood, the la-la land of excess, compelled

us to want more, coveted manifest destiny,

dreamed up from us rubes.

We crawled under the chain length fence like

dead end kids and little rascals, ignoring

growing pains. Darkness covered us like a

poncho. On the crest of the outer rim, we

surveyed the world of illusion and movie

magic. We descended the hill like stuntmen

who shaved thrice a week. We trespassed on

studio back lots. We took it all in like a strip

tease booty show—we liked to watch.


The flashing lights of security forces ended our

sojourn. Questioned and then released as

bumpkin Midwest tourists—who knew

multiplication tables but little else. We strode

out of Universal Studios under a heaven full of stars

that appeared to touch clear down to the Walk of Fame

over on Hollywood Boulevard, a sidewalk of legends and

has-beens. We were unaware of the gates locking

behind us, too naive to realize the difficulty of

returning in search of our dreams, not envisioning

letting go of some dreams, not prepared for settling

for lesser ones, not foreseeing our faith in refusing

to never, never stop dreaming…

Civility + You


Alan Berecka

Don’t it Always Seem to Go

(Yellow Taxi, Joni Mitchell)

My friend Larry obsesses

searches OCLC often

to find which libraries

hold his poetry, believing

these books are his legacy—

a kind of immortality.

In their meeting the staff

and director of a college library

begin to calculate the amount

of shelving and books that must go

to accommodate new over-stuffed chairs

and collaborative learning spaces

in the belief that comfort and chatter

will lead students to knowledge and wisdom.

In Egypt an ancient scroll’s

unearthed from layers of dust

with the greatest of care.

On it the chief librarian

from the time of Cleopatra

fleshes out his plan to add

a coffee bar and needed pizzazz

to his drab library in Alexandria.


Alan Berecka

Petty Expectations

My new boss, the same guy who says he fears

ending up in a poem someday, as if

that could ever happen, sits waiting

earnestly for my reply to his question,

but his query does not compute,

so I squirm in my seat and sweat.

I re-ask myself his question, “

What can we do to make you love

your job?” An extended paid leave

keeps bolting from my brain,

but I grind my teeth shut

not wanting the truth to escape

because there’s the mortgage,

car payments, and my extravagant

lifestyle that being a librarian

at a community college affords me,

so I nix going all in with honesty

and remain stumped. I mean ever since I signed

my first deal with Mammon one summer

to bale hay for a crazed dairy farmer

and moved on to engagements as garbageman,

turd herder, weed wacker, mailroom geek,

parking lot attendant, telephone operator,

freshman comp teaching fellow, newspaper

delivery man, microfiche filer and then finally

falling into this gig as a librarian, I have never

asked for more than a decent wage and a sane boss

from any job, while my wife, our kids, our friends,

my family, faith, and art have provided me

more meaning, joy, and love than any man

has a right to expect,

but my boss is still waiting

on an answer. I decide to aim low and ask

to be taken off of nights. He shakes his head slowly,

breaks eye contact and begins to explain

that because of budget cuts, and hiring restrictions

I will remain as enamored of my job as ever.

Civility + You


Sunayna Pal

The Concierge at the Hyatt

R egrets to a sensitive heart are like sudden storms.

They come uannounced, disrupt the peace, and leave you a little

weaker than before.

I have one such regret in my life. It is an apology I wish I’d made:

Raul - the Concierge at the Hyatt. Dark-skinned with soft lightbrown

eyes, he stood tall with hands tied at the back in a darker

shade of uniform, gleaming with mirror-like buttons. A pleasant

face - I can’t forget as much as I would like to, just like his name.

In 2016, my husband was to attend a conference in D.C., which

meant he would be busy from morning to evening. I had free time

on my hands and the desire to learn about a new place. The receptionist

told me that Raul could help me get around in the city - a

new, scary city like Washington, D.C. which could be dangerous to

a six-month pregnant woman like me.

“Where can I find him?”

“He must be outside or near the reception.”

And he was. I looked at his nametag and recognized him. “I am

on a budget but want to visit outside. Can you guide me?”

“Have you seen Bethesda?”

“Not really.”

“There is a free circulator bus that goes around town.”

He guided me elaborately, sensitive to my needs, and helped me

plan my day. He gave me ideas to make my trip as smooth and comfortable

as possible and also economical.

After Bethesda, he guided me around D.C. as well.


“I have a bad sense of direction. Do you think you could give

me landmarks instead of left and right?” I confessed when he

gave me directions to the metro station. It was just two floors

below the hotel.

He was so considerate, he smiled and told me, “Better yet, I

can take you there.”

“Oh! Are you sure? Don’t you have to be here?”

“I have to pick something from the basement. I’ll do it now.”

With a pleasant smile, he guided me from the front-desk to the

metro station. It was absolutely unexpected. I should’ve tipped

him then, but I was in a hurry and knew there would be an opportunity


For the next four days, he would watch me leave every

morning, smile, and wish me a good day. Every evening, I would

eagerly wait to tell him of the wonderful sights that I’d see because

of his help. I would thank him wholeheartedly. He would

bow and repeat with a smile, “it’s my duty.”

I was to leave Washington on the sixth day to return home. I

discussed with my husband the tip that we would give. It wasn’t

much, but it was a little more than we would normally tip.

I got off the elevator with a smile, but Raul wasn’t there in

his usual space. He must be outside. My husband checked us out

and I went out to find him, but Raul wasn't there. On enquiring,

I found out that it was his day off. We had to leave for the plane

and my hubby was already loading luggage in the cab. In a rush,

we left, and I didn’t get to tip him or thank him again.

Sitting in the cab, I thought of the endless ways I could’ve

tipped him through someone else. Why didn’t I realize it there?

I ask this useless question often. I saw everything I wanted

to in the little time I had only because of him. If you ever go to

Washington, D.C. and stay in the Hyatt. The concierge – Raul is

very helpful and kind. If you get a chance, do tip him.

Civility + You


Margaret Erhart

The Gift of

Thank You


The first time my mother

sat me down to write a thank

you letter, I could barely spell my

name. But with her help I was able

to come up with the following epistle:

Dear Aunt Julia, Thank you very

much for the fuzzy slippers. Tonight I

am going to wear them to bed.

Over the years there were many

more letters to Aunt Julia, my

mother’s only sister, thanking her

for alarm clocks, soap dishes, and

even shoe trees which, for anyone

too young to remember them, fit

inside your shoes to help them

keep their shape. Aunt Julia was

a practical person who bestowed

practical gifts, which made it hard

to work up real enthusiasm in a

thank you letter. But the point

wasn’t enthusiasm, my mother reminded

me, it was thanks. When I

wrote the words alarm clock or shoe

trees, I was leaving a mark of gratitude

on the page. People like to be

thanked, was my mother’s lesson

to me, and better still if it came

from my own hand, neatly penned

onto good, thick paper and tucked

into a matching envelope, which

was itself a gift to be opened by the

one who sent the gift.

Thank you letters acquainted

me with the art of tact. How do

you thank someone for a frilly

nightgown you can’t stand, or a

noisy electric toothbrush you’ll

never use, or pink writing paper

with cats on it? I didn’t lie exactly;

I invented. When my Aunt

Honey gave me a bathing cap

covered with silly blue blobs, I

developed a sudden passion for

swimming. When my grandmother

gave me figure skates, I

was the next Peggy Flemming.

I chose the truth I wanted to

convey—which boiled down to

thanks—and let the details take

care of themselves. In doing so, I

became a fiction writer.

Not long ago I received a thank

you letter from a gentleman I had

the pleasure to accompany out

of Grand Canyon on the Bright

Angel Trail. He was not a gifted

hiker, and my job was to make sure

he made it to the rim. We spent

many hours inching our way uphill,

and during the course of that

time he told me the long story of

his wife’s recent death, which still

caused him to weep. In his letter,

handwritten on good, thick

paper my mother would approve

of, he thanked me for my

“guidance of the physical and

empathy of the spiritual.” His

words brought tears to my eyes.

There’s power in every thank

you, sincerely given, but to be

thanked eloquently and on

the page is more powerful still

because it’s a gesture for which

one is enduringly accountable.


Patricia Alonzo

A Voice for my Grandfather:

A Mexican and an American



ften, on Sunday

mornings, while

making coffee in

my cozy kitchen,

I subconsciously think of my

grandfather, Francisco R. Perez.

I remember him vigorously

sipping a strong cup of coffee. I

can still hear his animated slurping

echoes as he inhaled … and

the boisterous sounds as he exhaled.

This energy epitomizes

his strength. When I think about

my grandfather’s appearance, I

remember his hands augmented

his average height; his rough,

leathery, and swarthy features

projected endurance. On this

cold 2006 Sunday morning, I

once again prepare coffee. While

it brews, I consider what to make

for breakfast, and as I contemplate

making bologna con chile

(with hot peppers), the memory

of my grandfather resurfaces.

As I pour a cup of coffee, my

grandfather no longer sips his

coffee in his small shotgun style

house. His house was located on

the West Side, a poverty-stricken

subdivision of Corpus Christi,

Texas, along the Gulf of Mexico.

My grandfather’s home

was extremely cold during the

winter; however, there was always

a warmth to it. On Sundays,

I could always depend

on Mexican pan dulce (sweet

bread). My grandfather would

always purchase an assortment

of pan dulce from the local

City Bakery on 19th Street. The

pan dulce had a rich texture.

I remember the white cake’s

density topped with a dark

pink icing, cut in the shape of

a triangle, the cookie for its

chunkiness and crunchy texture

topped with a red sticky gel

in the center. I miss the aroma.

He no longer buys pan

dulce; his body began to weaken

in the late 1980s. As his

health deteriorated, he no

longer felt comfortable leaving

his home. He never talked

about his health, but I knew.

Civility + You


My grandfather was born

in Bustamante, Mexico, in 1904,

and died in 1994. He did not

suffer from the usual illnesses

many of our ancestors endure

such as diabetes and high blood

pressure. More importantly, my

grandfather did not suffer from

memory loss. His body simply

grew old. He did however suffer

from many injustices still

relevant today because of his

language, features, and culture.

Even though he did not speak

openly of any personal injustices,

I can only infer the suffering my

grandfather experienced.

As I wonder what my grandfather

most likely endured, I

recall a personal experience

in 2004. On my way to class at

Texas A&M University-Corpus

Christi (TAMUCC), I boarded

the Alameda/NAS bus and sat

in front of a young lady. She had

dark hair, dark skin, and spoke

only Spanish. Shyly, she asked,

“¿Podrá ayudarme buscar la calle...

? ‘Could you help me find the

street...?’” The young lady was on

her way to clean someone’s home

and needed help finding her stop.

Her body language conveyed

an apprehension of overlooking

the street on the bus route.

As we conversed in Spanish, a

white male, approximately 35 years

old, with a destitute appearance,

sitting directly across from us,

blatantly announced with a gruffly

voice, “Why don’t ya’ll go back

to Mexico?” followed by obscenities.

He continued muttering but

never looked at either of us directly.

An awkward silence filled

the air. I sat in disbelief. The bus

driver and one other passenger

sat silently. The Spanish-speaking

lady gazed out the window in

search of her street, as if nothing

had occurred. Perhaps she knew

exactly what had transpired. I,

on the other hand was infuriated,

embarrassed, and speechless at

his racial remarks. If I experienced

racial intolerance in 2004,

I surmised the extent and numerous

occurrences of injustice my

grandfather experienced during

his lifetime.

The offender departed at the

next stop, and upon his departure,

the bus driver and other

passenger, both males, uttered,

“Don’t pay any attention to him.”

However, the sharpness of the

offender’s language continued

to pierce my soul. Even though

my grandfather no longer lives to

convey his countless experiences

with prejudice, I deduced that my

grandfather suffered oppression.


I recall another time regarding

public transportation in Corpus

Christi. A brief memory troubles

me. I envision sitting on the city

bus with my mother at a very

young age, during the late 1950s

or early 1960s, and as I turn to look

back, she discourages me from

staring at any of the black people

sitting in the rear of the bus. I

often wonder if this is a fabrication.

In all likelihood, this is an actual

scene in my memory because

“. . . on Dec. 21, 1956, . . . Montgomery’s

public transportation system

was legally integrated. . . .” (Dove).

I decide to make my grandfather’s

delicious bologna con chile

breakfast along with tortillas

while sipping coffee, so I preheat

the comal (flat cast iron griddle).

While I search for the ingredients,

my preteen walks in and

asks, “What ya cooking?”

“Bologna con chile and tortillas"

I respond.

“Mmm, Yummy,” she replies.

My daughter, a fourth generation,

does not speak Spanish; she

blurts out a few words or phrases

from time to time. She did not

get to meet my grandfather, but I

always tell her stories about him

to pass on his customs and traditions.

“Have you ever heard of a

buñuelo?", I ask her.

“No,” she replies, and I proceed:

“A buñuelo is similar to a flour

tortilla (thin flatbread) but fried,

then coated with sugar and cinnamon.

My grandfather would

make buñuelos for the grandkids

on New Years’ Eve. I remember he

would knead the dough.” Then,

hesitatingly, I ask her, “Have you

ever seen a pizza chef on television

toss the dough up into the air?”

“Yea,” she replies.

“Instead of tossing the dough

up into the air,” I explain, “my

grandfather would stretch out

the dough over his knee.”

“His knee?” she responds.

“Yes,” I reply. “He would place

a cloth over his knee and extend

the dough. Then, he would fry the

dough in hot cooking oil in a large

cast iron skillet. Afterwards, my

aunt Tilde (Cleotilde Perez), would

sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on

the buñuelo while still hot.”

While I still have my daughter’s

attention, I proceed: “I also

Civility + You


learned to make bologna con

chile from my grandfather. He

usually made it on Sunday mornings

with aunt Tilde’s help. He

would pick fresh chile Petin from

his backyard. Then, he would get

the molcajete (mortar and pestle)

and crush the chile. He would

say, ¡Está picoso! ‘It’s very hot!’”

Warmly, she smiles.

I wonder if there’s chile in the

backyard. I hope the birds haven’t

gobbled it all. Before my preteen

walks away, I ask, “Why don’t you

mix the ingredients for the flour

tortillas before you leave the


She replies teasingly, “I knew

you would ask me to help. Okay.”

Around the late 1980s, I was a

freshman in college. I asked my

grandfather if I could interview

him for a History 605-A assignment.

He replied, “Sí, como no. Pues,

haber si puedo recordarme.

Ayúdame Tilde. ‘Yes of course.

Well, let me see if I can remember.

Help me with this, Tilde.’” At

times, he had trouble recalling

names and dates, but my aunt

Tilde sat by his side through

every session to prompt him. I do

not recall how many sessions we

had since he had to think back

so many years. There was a look

about him when he recalled his

home, and as he looked out in

the distance, his eyes revealed

joy as he told his story.

I have a copy of this interview;

it’s in the safe! My heart is racing

as I search for it; I find the essay

filed away with other important

documents. The pages have now

turned yellow. The title page

reads “Francisco and Catalina

Perez” dated April 27, 1987. I am

anxious to read the essay after

nearly twenty-years, but before I

start reading, I must stop to chop

the onions for the bologna con


After chopping the onions, I

return to the essay and search

for connections to language,

culture, and racism. My effort

is to no avail, but this does not

surprise me since my grandfather

never expressed much or complained.

The essay however did

disclose that his father’s name

was Cayetano Perez, a coal miner,

and his mother’s name was

Dionicia Ramos, a homemaker

(Alonzo 1). I remember my

grandfather explaining: when

he was growing up in Mexico

he received a third grade education

and sold fruits, vegetables,

bread, and candy before and

after school to assist the family


financially. I want to continue

reading, but I must now sauté the

onions for the bologna con chile.

Returning to the essay, I find

that in 1913, my grandfather “...

witnessed a war between the

Carranzistas and the Mexican

government” (Alonzo 1). My grandfather

had explained in the interview

that Jose, his brother, and

a friend one day walked home

from work and noticed a train

had been overturned. The Mexican

Army accused Jose and his

friend of partaking in overturning

the train. My grandfather said

that his brother and friend hid in

the mountains for three months

to protect themselves from the

Carranzistas (Alonzo 2). As a result

of social disorder and poverty in

Mexico, my grandfather immigrated

to Laredo, Texas, in 1916

by train, with his parents and

two younger brothers, Juan and

Lupe (Alonzo 2). “The Mexican

Revolution (1910-1920) increased

the movement of people across

the Rio Grande” (“Mexican Americans”).

As I continued reading

the essay, I learned that Jose and

Virginia, my grandfather's other

siblings, remained in Mexico

and sadly died from a Spanish

fever around 1917 (Alonzo 2).

According to Billings, “The influenza

pandemic of 1918-1919 killed

more people than the Great War,

. . . somewhere between 20 and

40 million people. . . . Known as

'Spanish Flu' or 'La Grippe,' the

influenza of 1918-1919 was a global

disaster.” It is time to remove the

onions and brown the bologna.

Immediately, I return to the

interview essay and learn that

in 1927, my grandfather met his

future wife Catalina (Cata) Ramos

at El Solo Serve, a department

store in Laredo, Texas, where he

worked. A year later, he moved

to Detroit, Michigan to work for

Ford Motor Company. There he

took part in assembling the Model-A

car and consequently learned

the upholstery trade. While in

Detroit, he resided in a boarding

house (Alonzo 2). I recall during the

interview, my aunt Tilde explaining

that my grandfather enjoyed

a breakfast in Detroit, which

consisted of a stack of pancakes

topped with fried eggs, bacon, and

syrup that she too prepared for him

occasionally on Sunday mornings.

When he returned to Texas, he

continued to see Cata. She was

born in Guerrero Tamaulipas,

Mexico, in 1904. He married my

grandmother in 1930, during

the Great Depression, and the

following day, he started a life

with her in Taft, Texas, where he

Civility + You


picked cotton at his uncle’s ranch

(Alonzo 3). In all likelihood, my

grandfather could have worked

at the Taft Ranch—also known

as The Coleman-Fulton Pasture

Company—which was perhaps

the largest and most famous of

the cotton ranches (Foley 280). According

to Foley, “In addition to

the year-round Mexican laborers,

the company recruited hundreds

of Mexicans from Laredo, a border

city about 100 miles west of Corpus

Christi, to pick the cotton

during the harvest” (289). While

my grandfather worked in the

cotton fields, my grandmother

worked in the kitchen (Alonzo

3). I recall during the interview,

my grandfather’s chuckle at the

thought of my grandmother in

the kitchen.

A 1930’s photograph of my

grandmother comes to mind; it’s

in the safe. In the black and

white professional photo, my

grandmother poses eloquently,

projecting an image that reflects

the 1930’s motion picture celebrity

era, hence my grandfather’s


When I interviewed my

grandfather, I remember he explained

he worked on a ranch in

Taft, Texas, picking cotton, and

ended on that note. Foley however

provided accounts of attitudes

and conditions my grandfather

most likely tolerated as a Mexican.

For example,

The owner of a 2,560-acre

cotton ranch in Nueces

County, W. W. Walton, informed

the immigration

committee that he was

so pleased with Mexican

tenants that he decided

to put wooden floors in

their houses. Another

Corpus Christi farmer,

Roy Miller, representing

the Rural Land Owners

Association, testified

that housing with floors

for Mexicans was really

unnecessary since “The

Mexican is a primitive

man . . . ." (Foley 296)

The author clearly captured

the attitudes and prejudices of cotton

farmers. Foley added, “In Texas

and California large-scale cotton

ranches became increasingly

dependent on Mexican labor, and

during the 1920s ranch owners successfully

opposed numerous bills

in Congress to impose immigration

restriction on Mexicans” (295).

Imposing immigration restriction

on Mexicans would be devastating

to ranch owners. Immigration issues

continue to resurface and are

currently disputed. The Mexican

is welcomed as long as there is

use for his existence. My grand-


father, however, never talked

about the conditions of the time.

After the harvest, my grandfather

moved to Corpus Christi,

Texas, with his wife. He held a

job as janitor. Ultimately, he began

working for Perez Mattress

Company. The upholstery skills

he had acquired at Ford Motor

Company led him to this craft. He

had explained during the interview

that he would fill the heavy

textile with cotton. Then, he

would stitch the fabrics together

by hand. Consequently, he had

pierced himself with a very large

and long needle, which left his

index finger numb. He worked

at the mattress company until he

retired (Alonzo 4).

As I continue reading the

essay, I discover that in 1962, my

grandmother died at the age of

59 from a cerebral hemorrhage

(Alonzo 2). I do not recall another

woman in my grandfather’s life

after her death; in fact, I do not

remember him away from home

except to work. A few years after

my grandmother died, he began

the naturalization process and

became a U.S. citizen on August

18, 1966 at the age of 61 (Perez).

It is time to include the sautéed

onions and eggs to the browned

bologna. While I add the ingredients,

I continue to speculate why

Mexicans and people of Mexican

descent are most ridiculed for their

English. Why are they perceived

subordinate? Even under the

most outrageous discrimination,

a country cannot sever one’s core

identity. There is no need to deny

one to speak his native language.

However, for retiree Sam Jones

. . . and others like him in

this desert outpost, it was

a no-brainer when town

leaders wanted to send a

message to its growing immigrant

community. “This

is America, and in America

we speak English,” Jones,

55, said of his interpretation

of Pahrump’s new English

Language and Patriot

Reaffirmation ordinance.


The English language has

created such chaos in a nation

composed of diverse races.

Throughout the world, the English

language is learned without countries

enforcing laws or forcing an

individual to give up his culture or

pride. Possession of more than one

language is undeniably positive.

Even though my grandfather

did not have the self-confidence to

speak in English, he read and understood

English very well. “Adults

who immigrate to the U.S., especially

later in life, may never really

Civility + You


ecome fluent in English. It’s not

that they don’t want to speak English;

it’s simply much more difficult

for them to learn it well" (“Do

you Speak American?”). Every Sunday,

my grandfather would buy the local

newspaper. He would sit by

his bed and read the paper until

he read every English word. Every

Sunday morning, he also listened

to the Spanish radio station. I remember

this because he had an

undiagnosed hearing problem. A

medical diagnosis was needless

because the blaring radio identified

his hearing problem. He

also listened to the English newscast

every afternoon. He learned

two languages and lived in two

countries, one with whom he

had strong, familial ties, and one

unfair to him because of his language,

color, and customs. I am

positive my grandfather wanted

nothing more than to be treated

equally while on this earth.

The essay about my grandfather

does not reveal what he was

like as a father; no one ever really

speaks about his parenting skills.

Nor have I thought to ask. However,

I have never heard anything negative.

He was a simple, downto-earth,

and nonverbal man.

From my recollection, my grandfather

had this characteristic about

him I will never forget: he was very

private and spoke only when it

was necessary. He disapproved of

my aunt Tilde, for example, for

disclosing the family’s private

matters. My grandfather would

say, “No digas nada.” or “No es

tu negocio. ‘Don’t say anything.’

or ‘It’s none of your business.’”

This memory brings forth Victor

Villanueva, Jr., an English rhetorician

and compositionist. Villanueva

begins his prologue, " 'It’s

nobody’s business,' Mami would

say. But I can’t just say nothing. .

. . But there’s Mami and the Latino

ways: private things should remain

private” (xi). My grandfather

was a firm believer in this concept.

He enjoyed telling his story

but nothing private.

His quietness and insecurities

perhaps were curtailments

caused by oppression and ridicule.

The obedient “yes sir” and

lowering of the head to the oppressor,

he regarded as respect

for people that did not respect

him and his culture. His insecurities

perhaps stemmed from not

knowing the language and from

people he dealt with in his everyday

life. In the 1990s for example,

my grandfather—already in his

late years—was discriminated

against through language. A local

eye doctor, conceivably educated

solely on the eye, humiliated him

by talking down to him, since my


grandfather could not respond

quickly enough in English to

the doctor’s questions. Possibly

my grandfather’s insecurities (of

speaking in English to a man

that he identified as an authority

figure) dissuaded him from

responding instantaneously. My

grandfather never expressed

the humiliation and discomfort

he experienced, but my aunt

Tilde witnessed this inexcusable

and unpleasant scene. My

grandfather said nothing of the

occurrence, presumably to avoid

further mistreatment. He understood

the language but not quickly

enough to defend himself.

Moya writes about an experience

that Luis Rodriguez, a

born US citizen retells “In the

first chapter of his prizewinning

autobiography, Always Running...”(183).

According to Moya, “.

. . Rodriguez (who was born a

US citizen) witnesses his Mexican

mother’s humiliation at the

hands of an 'American' woman

who contests his mother’s right to

sit herself and her children on an

available park bench” (183). Thus,

I can only deduce the distressing

and humiliating experiences

my grandfather never revealed because

his voice was impermissible.

While teaching at Del Mar College

(DMC), a local community

college in Corpus Christi, TX, a

young male student asked me,

“Are you tutoring this weekend?”

He wanted to know if we

could meet at the writing center

because he was having difficulty

writing his essay about a film

on the Holocaust. The student

expressed that he did not understand

why past issues are

brought up repeatedly. He expressed

that it was too painful

to watch; it saddened him. He

went further to say that it was in

the past; it was over. I suggested

that perhaps he could argue

why the past should be unspoken

or ignored. "Why should we

be reminded or not reminded?",

I asked the student. He sat

quietly. Only silence divided us.

Perl’s words emerge as I reflect on

this conversation. Perl states, “You

don’t need to speak right now,” ...

“But if you have a response, I’d

like to hear it. . . . . And that one

way out of this block is to begin

to speak about it”’ (13). I pondered

if the student was uncomfortable

speaking about the atrocities of

others or perhaps the atrocity of

the Holocaust was too personal.

The bologna con chile is

ready for a little salt and pepper,

tomatoes, chile, tomato paste,

and some water. Now, the dish

can simmer. My grandfather was

not affectionate in a touchy-feely

Civility + You


sort of way, but his stability made

me feel safe. He was always poor,

that is, financially poor. Yet, he

always had room for one more in

his small home. My grandfather

was not an authoritarian; he knew

how to discipline the grandchildren.

I remember that as a child, he

would give the grandchildren a coscorrón

(“un golpe a la cabeza” ‘a

knuckle sandwich to the head’).

His knuckle felt equivalent to

the traditional decorated eggshell,

a coscorrón, used to celebrate

Easter, the Resurrection

of Christ. A good swift coscorrón

was my grandfather’s discipline

when the grandchildren became

unruly. I am confident the grandchildren

can laugh about his coscorrón

since it was merely discipline.

While this memory is

pleasant, I often wonder about

the hardships my grandfather

was experiencing all along.

Aside from the obvious racial

prejudices in the U. S. and turmoil

in his native country, the Great

Depression also had an impact on

my grandfather. My grandfather

learned to be self-reliant. He did

not approve asking for handouts

or assistance. He was always

cautious of expenditures. Therefore,

when my aunt Tilde bought

nonessentials, he would express

his disapproval. His usual lamentation,

usually directed to my

aunt Tilde. went something like

this: “No compres tanta comida.

‘Don’t buy so much food.’” This

attribute undeniably developed

from life experiences and from

the economic depression. Unconsciously,

he taught me to be

self-sufficient. During the 1980s,

for example, he showed me how to

maintain my first automobile. He

would say, “Tienes que atender

a las llantas, el aceite, y el agua.

‘You need to check the tires, the

oil, and the water.’” He explained

that this precautionary practice

would ultimately save me money

on gas in addition to wear and

tear. The aroma of the bologna

con chile fills the house. It is

time to start cooking the tortillas.

I had taken an interest in

learning my grandfather’s

language, but in the past, I

only wanted to blend in and

be accepted. Perl expresses, “For

most of my life, I have been ambivalent

about Judaism, more

interested in blending into a

Christian world than standing

out as a Jew” (9). I too did not

want to stand out. However, that

notion changed long ago.

While my grandfather unconsciously

influenced me to learn

more about the Spanish language

and culture, the English


Only Movement also sparked

my interest. Spanish became of

interest because noticeably, my

grandfather’s Spanish differed

from what poured out of my

mouth. Thus, I began a college

career and enrolled in Spanish

classes. During my youth, I heard

both Spanish and English and

was brought up when Spanish

was not allowed in school, so I

learned English by the time I began

the first grade. I had unconsciously

learned Tex-Mex, too.

For many years, I grappled with

the awareness of not mastering

Spanish and English equally,

and noticed a third language,

Tex-Mex, unfamiliar to either

culture. I lived in both worlds

and simultaneously between

two conflicting worlds, two

conflicting languages, and two

conflicting cultures. I adapted

and accommodated both

worlds as others have done.

As I finish cooking tortillas, I

recalled reading a flyer at DMC

inviting students to apply for a

scholarship, which asked students

to define racism and explain

if it existed today. I encouraged

a Hispanic student to apply.

She responded, “I’ve never experienced


I responded, “Are you sure?

Aren’t you the one that always

says, 'That ain’t right'?” The student

thought for a moment and

realized that every time she expressed

her favorite saying she

had experienced or witnessed

some form of discrimination.

I told her she may have not experienced

the obvious (as I had

on the bus), but I explained to

her how language can be used

to alter one’s thoughts. She is

a third generation Mexican and

she does not speak her native

language. Because she had not

experienced obvious discrimination,

she had never noticed

that it was happening all along,

through language.

I told her about my experience

in the 1980’s. While working

for a Texas state agency, an indirect

message had transpired that

Spanish could not be spoken in

the office, and this infuriated me.

One day, a supervisor of the state

agency, a non-Spanish speaker,

asked me to translate for her. I

retorted, “Oh, so now I have permission

to speak Spanish.” Consequently,

I refused to translate.

The student gazed at me as I

told her my story. I can only surmise

that the student did not understand

why denying a person

the use of their native language

was a form of power and a violation

of one’s legal rights. A couple

of weeks later, the student asked,

Civility + You


“Would you read my essay? I’m

applying for the scholarship

on racism.”

As I sit with my family to eat

bologna con chile, I think about

the tear rolling down one of

my grandfather’s cheeks as he

rested on his hospital bed just

prior to his death. That contradictory

view of my grandfather

remains with me. He did not

sob. He maintained some resistance

and perhaps his pride. It

was a look of vulnerability yet

resistance. In real life, he was a

manual laborer. His stature was

short and solid, his skin tough

and leathery. His tear rolled

out very softly against his dark,

tough exterior. I could not help

him fight for his life, nor could

I fight for him as he struggled

with an unjust world. He no

longer had control of his body,

nor his destiny.

speak his language, and continue

his customs to keep his

story alive. I will continue

to retell his story, and I will

continue to make bologna

con chile for my family. As I

sit down to eat breakfast, my

daughter scoops the bologna

con chile with homemade

tortillas. I notice her sighs

caused by the chile, and the

thought of my grandfather’s

slurping sounds resurface.

My grandfather was born

a Mexican and died a Mexican-American.

Was he silent

because he was ridiculed for

his heavy accent? Was he silent

because he never had a

voice? Perhaps he never had

permission to speak. The least I

can do is speak for him to keep

his memory alive. Therefore,

in memory of my grandfather,

I will make his special dishes,


Works Cited

Alonzo, Patricia. "Francisco and Catalina Perez." 27 April 1987, pp. 1-5,

History 605-A, Del Mar College, student paper.

Billings, Molly. “The Influenza Pandemic of 1918.” February 2005,

Dove, Rita. “The Torchbearer Rosa Parks: Her Simple Act of Protest Galvanized

America’s Civil Rights Revolution." Time, 14 June 1999, http://content.,33009,991252-1,00.html.

“Do You Speak American? Sea to Shining Sea. Official American. Spanish

Threat." PBS. 2005,


Foley, Neil. “Mexicans, Mechanization, and the Growth of Corporate Cotton

Culture in South Texas: The Taft Ranch, 1900-1930.” The Journal of

Southern History, vol.62, no. 2, 1996, pp. 275-302. JSTOR, https://

Hennessey, Kathleen. “‘English only’ Measure Stokes Frustration.” Los

Angeles Times, 26 Nov. 2006,


“Mexican Americans.” Handbook of Texas Online: The Texas State Historical

Association. 6 June 2001,


Moya, Paula M. L. “This Is Not Your Country!”: Nation and Belonging in

Latina/o Literature.” American Literacy History, vol. 17, no. 1, 2005,

pp. 183-195. Project MUSE,

Perez, Cleotilde. Interview. By Patricia Alonzo. 15 October 2006.

Perl, Sondra. On Austrian Soil: Teaching Those I Was Taught to Hate. State

U of New York P, 2005.

Villanueva, Jr., Victor. Bootstraps: From an American Academic of Color.

National Council of Teachers of English, 1993.

Civility + You


Rossy Evelin Lima

Tlalli Iyollo


Abuela venerada,

soy fruta de su árbol.

¿Encontraré algún día su vestido?

ceñido a su cintura,

vientre de lumbrera

que se preparaba

para dar vida

a mi madre.

¿Abuela, encontraré algún día su vestido?

impregnado del ulular sondeado de su pelo

desgastado por el beso del mar.


Abuela, es usted la incógnita de mi pasado.

No hay ninguna foto

en donde crucemos la mirada,

como si quisiera evadirme

sentada desde aquella piedra,

barriendo la arena con su cabello.

Siempre la encuentro dándome la espalda,

apuntando con su perfil mestizo

este camino que me tomó la mitad de mi vida



Abuela, ¿encontraré algún día su vestido?

Un pedazo de la tela porosa


que la cubría,

un pedazo,

como el amor del marinero

que cada año sigue prendiéndole

una vela.

Abuela, su vestido, su sonrisa,

el hueco que dejó en sus hijos,

las ansias de regresar a mi tierra

y pertenecer de nuevo,

¿cómo los encuentro?

Soy carne de su historia.

Enséñeme su vestido,

ese mapa que me llevará a ciegas

hacia el umbral de su recuerdo perdido

y mi futuro.

* Tlalli Iyollo: Abuela venerada que posee una corona hecha con flores

de algodón.

Civility + You


Rossy Evelin Lima

Tlalli Iyollo


Venerated grandmother,

I am the fruit of your tree.

Will I one day find your dress,

cinched to your waist?

Luminary womb


to give birth

to my mother.

Grandmother, will I find your dress one day?

impregnated by the impending howl of your hair,

worn out by the sea.


Grandmother, you are a mystery from my past.

There is no portrait

where we gaze at each other,

as if you want to elude me,

sitting on that rock

sweeping the sand with your hair.

I always find you giving me your back,

pointing with your mestiza silhouette

at this path that took me thirteen years to reconquer.


Grandmother, will I find your dress one day?

The piece of porous cloth

that covered you,


a piece,

like the love of the sailor

who continues to light a candle for you

every year.

Grandmother, your dress, a smile,

the void left in your children,

the yearning to return to my land

and belong again

where can I find them?

I am flesh of your story.

Show me your dress,

that map that will guide me blindly

towards the threshold of your lost memory

and my fate.

* Tlalli Iyollo: Venerated grandmother, she possesses a crown of flowers

and cotton.

Civility + You


Juan Manuel Pérez

Lament For Wounded Knee I

December 29, 1890

Red, wounded hearts bled on sacred land

Where was the white man’s mercy?

Where was their god, so recently celebrated?

Caucasians bearing great gifts of revenge

Serving last dinners, crimson cold in falling snow

Where was that holiday spirit, if not of a ghastly past?

Among the slaughtered, mostly the old, women, and children

No armed, red warriors to call it a fair fight

Paying gravely for that famous, dead, civil war leader

Where was compassion for the red man’s last stand?

Who would long remember this homicidal day?

Were it not for those so wrongly murdered

Bury the last of the pale-skin human hearts as well

Deep, darkly, among those left at Wounded Knee


Juan Manuel Pérez

Lament For Wounded Knee II

December 29, 1890

Tell me, what crime have I committed

Before you lay me to waste with your bullets

All I have done was to be born red

All you have done was not to be born the same

Tell me, wasichu, what wrong is there in that

I would rather share the pipe of peace with you

Under the white flags of the great, white father

In another life or time, in another day

We could have easily been called brothers

However, so long as your weapon grins at my gut

I cannot swiftly say that it may one day be true

You want to take from me what I have not taken

Tell me what you would want if we switched places

If you are content with that, then please, fire at will

Civility + You


James Trask

Destruction of the

House of Wisdom

In 1258 AD when the Mongols sacked Baghdad

they destroyed the libraries, including the House of Wisdom.

The books thrown into the Tigris, for days

the river ran black with ink

and red with blood.

Across the soundless cold of space,

Mars and the other planets remained impassive

and moved with a steady motion

like an old Tennessee coveite on a porch rocking chair,

October leaves falling from the trees.


James Trask

Vasyl and Maria

Vasyl lost his job at his accounting

Firm; now he has two months to seek

Another, changed status period between

“You’re fired” and deportation. And not just any

Job, but with an employer willing to process

An H1-B visa, an occupation

Speciality satisfying the US

Government there’s some exceptional reason

To allow this foreigner to participate

In our American dream. He doesn’t want

To go back to Ukraine, where Russian minions

Occupy chunks of his country; Ukraine gave

Away her nuclear deterrent and got

Instead our promise, everlasting protection.


Maria’s law degree was from Ukraine;

She got another, an LLM, from Duke

And recently passed the bar in New York State,

But no work status: JDs are profuse;

Some law school graduates bus tables at Chili's.

Her job path is uphill, pushing a boulder;

With Sisyphusian ingenuity

And determination, she has lowered her shoulder

And rolls her rock forward; her character

Is sturdy, but her ascent is tied to Vasyl’s

Visa status like an Alpine cragsman’s

Rope; if he goes, she goes tumbling after;

Such a burden is sloshing within his pail;

Who would wish to don this broken crown?

Civility + You


James Trask

I'm Done

It was hard to admit I was alone.

Cattle herd, people gather, fish school

for mutual benefit, but cast bait, hook and line

and it’s that one that bites that gets pulled up,

not the rest; the school creates an illusion.

Ultimately a fish is a precise entity, an island.

Hard to admit my country was no man’s land –

we do not belong to it any more than it to anyone.

The Lakota were right: European laws are lesions –

it’s time to reschool

ourselves, try something else, come up

with a better way, deprogram the political line.

Take a flat stone, throw it from the coastline

out to sea. It is zero sum, removed from land

which is not yours, given up

to a seabed which is not yours, a loan

of nothing from nothing to nothing. It’s cool,

though, to watch it skim – its walk on water allusion.

Throw in the whole coastline; relinquish our illusion

of belonging. Our method of living is to line

pockets with paper, federal promissory notes, deeds, a school

of thought that paper gives ownership to houses, land,

tangible things. We become possessors: ours alone,

no one else’s. Throw the papers in, and our whole bungled up

banking system; funny how the papers dissolve and, yup,

the land remains, proving the illusion

of the paper’s promise. At last unencumbered, a lone

thinker, I see people so unaligned


I become better by deleting their negative multiplicand,

their voices from my ears, thoughts from my skull.

Everyone wants my attention: commercials, ads, miniscule

beeping things all wanting to jam a funnel down my throat or up

some other part. I stop the flow of inland

bound traffic, find a quiet spot away from the mass delusion,

hear my own voice and flourish, choose a phone line

to answer and others to ignore. I can connect; I can be alone.

In the distance, a car alarm clangs its trumped-up illusion

of urgency; relentless bells stampede cattle into school lines;

tolls – collect elsewhere; I make my stand here, an island, alone.

Civility + You


Nels Hanson

The City in the Sea

Dressed myself in green,

I went down to the sea,

Try to see what’s going down,

Maybe read between the lines.

“Bertha,” The Grateful Dead

I heard a round and silver spaceship our jets

couldn’t catch off the coast at San Diego

dived beneath the waves where the visitors

built a city in the sea as in the poem by Poe

but heavenly, no hell with glass towers, and

I took lessons, learned to dive, bought tanks,

mask, flippers, heavy belt, chartered a boat,

jumped at the suspected latitude, fell deep

to a great lit sphere with two blue turrets.

At a golden hatch like a fine hotel’s grand

portal I pressed a scallop bell, a voice said,

“Come in. I’ll close the door behind you.”

Salt water pumped out, in dry clothes under

the Teflon suit I passed a second threshold

to a room with the spiraled high ceiling of

a triton. At tables inlayed with abalone shell


families dined, on seaweed, sea cucumbers

they grow, and the woman who resembled

a movie star I couldn’t name ushered me to

the gleaming chair carved of a single giant

pearl, a throne like Nemo’s on his Nautilus.

As I sat down she asked if the world above

remained alive and I answered, “Yes and no.”

She smiled, said, “Rest, take food and drink,

like all of us you’ve traveled far,” offered me

hot greens from a fashioned conch, in a cup

the shade of amber coral white oyster wine.

Civility + You


Nels Hanson

The Sorrow of Roses

Silence deep as cliffs are high

when a loved one leaves this world

is muffled by screams from Syria

staining the evening roses here.

In Washington in a garden those

roses too bow petalled heads

in shame, would drip scarlet, let

barbs swivel for a green heart.

Instead they wait for moonlight

turning reds and corals the liquid

silver of baby shoes. Clipped well

back after flower and leaf fall as

autumn bends to winter they’ll

stand naked for months in cold and

snow and fare better than refugees

who don’t believe in Spring. All

roads lead to paralyzed October,

frozen hands of a murdered clock,

black page of the calendar while

roots of roses sleep and dream

to endure their long dormancy.


Darren C. Demaree

it ain’t a choir #28

brave and sporadic shouting

there is a black lace to all the

diamond rings in ohio there

are drugs without the same

reach there is less living in

platinum than a white opioid

but what is living anyway be

sober and poor with me be

indisputable be direct and

angry with the wealthy we’ll

deal with the other addictions

after we settle on a redistribution

instead of an out and out

buffet don’t chew on the rich

that will only let them know

we’re coming for them real


it ain’t a

choir #29

in lieu of a whole adult life

let us be young wolves for a

season just think of what our

children will witness if we

offer no refunds from our

teeth just think how many

dead stars will rise to offer us

their light if we prove we are

of the moon

it ain’t a choir #30

all sleep is sad sleep rest the

riots the riots rest i thought we

all promised to take the capital

Civility + You


Crystal Garcia

Individual vs. Gov’t

Every year I tend to grow more grateful

although it’s usually from looking back

on where I have been.

I recall being locked up in a holding cell

then moved upstairs

to a much more

“private” cage.

All I ever want to do is not feel alone

yet how I enjoy solitude—

the guards there at county seem to

think they can have their own attitude.

I recall asking to be let out

to hear a substance abuse meeting

& the rude guard asks, “Why?”.

I casually repeat the type of meeting

they’re having and add,

“Well, I would like to attend

since that’s the reason I’m here!”.

Obviously annoyed she came to

let me out of my cell only so I could

walk into a bigger type of cell with

all sorts of wandering eyes.

Fortunately I was let out

not even a week later

due to crowding

and being non-violent.

Indeed it seems

the only violence I ever commit

is against myself.


Is this law just that takes someone

like me and deems them a criminal

for simply possessing a

naturally occurring plant

or fungus?

I do not enjoy disrespecting

authority however sometimes

respecting laws means going

against my own sense.

Well, then it can be hard to be civil—

it is hard to be a happy civilian

after being labeled a criminal.

Seeing your name go against

your own home state is a

different kind of unsettling.

This seems to be a nation

of anxiety where the more

disturbed we become…

the more enthralled

the masses will be.

Civility + You


Patricia Walsh

Fire Alarm

Reaching for the criminal clock

Adjust where needed, avoiding shame

Trying hard to act like nothing’s wrong,

Being watched constantly is a solid curse

Even lies are currency in this universe.

Avoidance is pointless, staid under the microscope.

Pinned down and writhing for a feast for the eye

Being hung out to dry is a just punishment

Tenacious boyfriends’ not passing notice,

Surreptitious make-up and perfume prevails.

Such a thing as overdressing, just for Mass

Slighted on being one’s own, a strange brew,

The distant disco a promise of the elders

A blotchy photograph debates the seal

Sitting among the over-adolescent not a big deal.

Reading diaries at will, massacring boxes

Of small personal items, sweets included

Checked against hiraeth, lectured in pain

Burned through the tiniest script, to escape notice

Maturity a dead letter, elusive via surveillance.

The clock works again, serving its purpose,

Checked for accuracy, remaining in light

A reliable cliché in the thing of the lowly aim

Scouting for Mars bars, keeping extremities clean

A type of funeral from slighting the hubris.


Patricia Walsh

Public House

Watched, watched strangely, in the corner of a pub

A solitary greenhouse of earthly delights,

Coming through the ordinary time splintered

Illuminating the corners of a dingy room.

Respectably behaved, minding another business

Reserving space for an imaginary associate,

Dodging the cigarette machines, goodly trait

Bleeding through the pipes of a gnomic situation.

Knowing more than one knows itself, through drink

Dodging the studied glances with an evasive eye,

Too much literature rots the mind of its sobriety

Inquisitive by the barmaid to a closer tee.

But what does it mean? Decipher these jottings

If you have the time, or inclination as is,

Forgotten insinuations, alive if kept shut

Conspirational murder of another conversation.

Too racy for some, too replete for others

Burgled heaven for an occupation at will,

Blood on the fireplace a consternation supreme,

The locals milling through thee space for more.

Boycotted through a stern lesson, regretted at same

Looking strange through dull eyes of derision

Colluding with same with an unlikely disposition

Finishing with a slam and a long walk home.

Civility + You


Ken Hada

At the Zoo

We went to a zoo,

stood in line before the cages,

taking our turn – gawking

at our brothers lazing

around artificial wildness,

rocks softened

into meaningless

obstruction, vegetation

drooping in abstraction.

It was eerily quiet:

too much of not much,

a heavy sky bending

behind us – bars

constraining in ways

we fail to understand,

consuming us –

exchanging imagination

with dull breathing.


Ken Hada


On a January morning

when the sun seems new,

frost-covered cedars

dance like lovers

in private bliss.

The Apostle John wrote

about wind – an unseen,

undeniable force. Others

did as well – Rumi, Hafiz,

Khayyam and Gibran.

I take comfort knowing

Jesus isn’t the only voice

crying in vacant places

at vacuous times – intervals

of history – when a friend

may be nebulous, ethereal.

Truth is not something shouted

or pursued with a sword.

Crusades – wrongheaded –

prevalent – still fight the wind.

Civility + You


Laurence Musgrove

Bandage Sutra

I was emailing the Buddha about how far

I am progressing in my morning meditation,

Feeling like my posture is getting stronger

And beginning to recognize just how my ego

Was shaped by my father and to what degree

My relationships with others and the world

And with myself have been injured by it.

He said, “Imagine your relationship with others

And the world and even yourself this way:

You are covered in sores, all representing

All the ways your ego injures you and others.

Each of these is also covered by a bandage.

So not only are you covered in these sores,

You are covered head to toe in bandages.

You are barely able to move or walk or see

Or hear or feed yourself or even breathe,

Not because of the sores, which are healing,

But because of the bandages hemming you in.

Now it is time to remove these bandages,

But you are afraid to pull them off yourself.

You are also afraid to let others do it for you.

Instead of looking forward to being a person

Without suffering, you are afraid of the pain

It takes to be free of the pain of suffering.


Imagine also now you are surrounded by those

You know and don’t know but who are standing

Ready take a turn at pulling off a bandage,

Each only allowed to remove one at a time.

So they come forward and each asks you

To tell them what the bandage is covering,

And you see they love you, and you trust them,

And you tell them, and before you know it

The bandage is gone, and the next person

Steps forward, and you begin again, and you

Trust this person because you trusted the others.

And this trusting continues until you are able

To hold on to a kind of courage you have

Never felt before while also understanding how

It will stay with you forever, though you still have

Many sores to heal and bandages to be pulled,

Which you find yourself now pulling as well,

Even as others continue to take their turn.

Then you recognize how they have bandages, too.

You ask them about their suffering, their sores,

And before they know it, because you listened,

Their bandages are gone, and they didn’t feel

A thing because the pain of healing is not at all

The same as the pain of unnecessary suffering.

Every relationship, even with yourself, is like this.”

Civility + You


Writing as Resilience:

Select Pieces from WINDWARD REVIEW Blog

COVID-19 has brought with it a complete overhaul of the systems

we as a collective used to rely upon. These systems largely stood with only

gradual transformations for decades. We were once able to simply live

our lives without expecting much danger, but now some people have to

live with fear of leaving their houses. All of this has come as an abrupt

shock, and with all of the discourse in social media, in modern literature

and art, it’s easy to consider an even more dreadful conclusion: is this the

infamous third Horseman of the Apocalypse from the biblical Book of


Probably not, but times like these do have a way of revealing what’s

really important and forcing us to think about what is of the utmost value,

when the foundation of all else seems to be far too shaky.

While these times are alarming, I feel there’s potent energy for a

creative renaissance. With the new WINDWARD REVIEW Blog, we aim

to build a space where all members of the community can freely express

themselves, whether in prose, verse, or perhaps through other modes of

expression. We strongly believe in creative expression as something that

isn’t meant to be strapped down by rampant rules or by aligning with

highly specific standards. We’re not here to tell anyone they’re not good

enough. We desire to help feed your individual innate creativity.

How do we navigate such a global tragedy? With creative writing

I personally believe in finding the beauty in tragedy, without of

course overshadowing the pain with dishonesty or platitudes. To be sure,

we’ve been forced into isolation. We are unable to engage in our cherished

daily rituals the way we used to. Many of us are also jobless and in the

worst cases, we have experienced the death of loved ones.

But without the force of creative transmutation, all we have is pain

and confusion which would lead to the death of our human spirit long

before it would kill our human bodies.

As we watch these events play out—amidst concurrent poverty, racial

injustice, and violence against other minorities—the importance of


art becomes even more real. I believe that through writing and artistic expression,

one embraces the power to turn something into something else

entirely. Creativity is nothing much more than a joint endeavor between

mind and body. In this, we can take the drastic transformations (of 2020)

for the worse as a sign that similarly drastic transformations for the better

are also possible.

That’s a truth WINDWARD REVIEW aims to embrace for the

sake of our extended community and all who wish to become a part of

our creative force. After all, writing—and all artistic expressions—are a

means of connecting with the facets of the self and the world that are unbreakable

while so much else seems primed for upheaval.

We seek for the blog itself to be a place where people of all backgrounds

can connect over a singular passion for creativity, writing, and

really, all art. Our greater vision is to grow in community involvement so

as to not only house expression from our editors, but also submissions

from the extended collective.

With all that being said, we’ve gathered some pieces written about

the experience of COVID-19 from the perspective of students, student-editors,

and student-parents. These reveal how some of us were coping with

our changing world in the early months of this crisis.

-Celine Ramos, Associate Editor

Visit WR blog:

Be featured on WR Blog—send us literally anything and we'll take a look.


Civility + You


"How Are You Doing

with the Coronavirus?"

By Student, anonymous



very adult in my life has asked “how are you doing with

the Coronavirus?” I always think, it is sweet of them to inquire,

but I wonder what they are expecting me to say. What

could they say to make it better? There are no words that

can comfort a mother who cannot protect her children. Even now,

I write a line and delete it. Write and delete. Delete. Delete. Delete.

It feels as if I am writing, asking someone, anyone to understand

the heartbreak of the sweetest blessing being born into this unsafe

world in turmoil. Not the regular turmoil that we all learn to live

with, but the kind that asks a mother to choose whether she is a better

mom for giving birth at home instead of in a hospital. Am I protecting

my child more by going hungry or going to the grocery store?

How can anyone but an expectant parent understand? My parents, my

in- laws, talk of how I am doing something that “must be done,” I will

"be okay,” and “Not to borrow tomorrow’s problems.” I try not to hate

them for it. I know that they, even when they try, cannot imagine my

sorrow. They don’t have the fear, still, of a new mom. They didn’t feel

the fear of looking for their partner, the other half of this precious miracle

and not seeing him there. They didn’t fear being kind and loving to

their child, but still not being able to see him. They don’t feel the sting

of head shakes and eye rolls when I worry. I am a mother too, and I am

young, but I love my baby just as much as you, and all the moments

that are found in scrapbooks and memories won't look the same for us.

I wonder if I should pray. I always have before. My parents say

that if I just pray, everything will be okay. When they say this, I

wonder if all the victims of Covid did not pray. I don’t say anything

because for them it helps, but for me it only scares me


to think that although I’ve led an average life, made a baby with

a man my heart sings for, and talked to God until my throat

hurt, that I am not safe and neither is my child. In an act of defiance,

I always pray in the end. I won’t let the Virus take that too.

My haven is the other expectant families, wishing they could spend another

nine months with their children in their bellies, protecting them,

but wishing more that the Coronavirus would have never come. Everyday

when I wake up at my in-laws, I wear my smile dutifully and do all the

things a good daughter in law would, like empty the dishwasher, wash

some clothes, do school work, eat healthy meals, talk with the family, and

do it all without complaining about living with them attached to my back. I

catch all my pain before it manifests on my face or in my words, but at night

when I finally get to be alone with their son, I let him catch all the tears

I would have wept during the day. I cry for fear, the judgement of others,

and for my partner. During the day, neither of us can dream of bearing this

emotion to those who do not understand, and I cry in the night often, in

wonder of where his tears go. Who catches his tears when they fall? I sometimes

find tissues hidden by his side of the bed, and I cry again in secret.

Just when I think there can be no more moisture in my body, I think of those

who don’t have any meals, let alone healthy ones. I think of those who don’t

have an in-law's house to stay at when their own housing becomes too

expensive without a job. I think of someone’s grandma who is still working

at the local grocery store so she can keep her lights on at home. All over

again, little devils dance in my head and sing their song of sadness. I’ve

been a generally happy, lucky person throughout my life, but it is now that

I realize that to ask us collectively to “spread positivity” (as seen on Twitter

and Facebook) is a burden in itself sometimes. Let the collective voice of

the human condition be of what is real and true right now, in this moment.

Civility + You


COVID-19 Ghazals

by Islander Creative Writers

4/ 5/ 2020

Trev Treviño

Six Feet Apart

They tell us to stay indoors, something I already do

But then they tell us to stay more than 6ft apart

I take no time to close the shades and binge on new shows, though

sometimes I wish to sit next to her, the voice in my head replays:

more than 6ft apart

People complain that they just want to dance at the club

I complain that home is way more than 6ft apart

No longer have to fake reasons to cancel plans last minute with friends

Now if only my fridge could stay way more than 6ft apart *insert fake laugh*

Making scheduled grocery trips to search for essentials like toilet paper

Then standing throughout the stores in makeshift passageways

more than 6ft apart

Now waking up in the afternoon just to go to sleep at 4 am

Thinking on how to live day by day, more than 6ft apart

No point for us to count the hours or the days

Just as long as we decay more than 6ft apart


Brittany Maxey

Miscue Sleeping

The Virus caught me, askew sleeping

When I was just waking to you sleeping.

Day dreaming vexing complications all day

Monday turns to Tuesday through sleeping.

No hesitations, bruised lips aching dull desire

Less emotion, cardio vascular tissue sleeping.

In the backdrop of global anxiety and self-destruction

There are measures of time unaccounted for true sleeping.

Somehow less distant now, starker moments for me to keep,

Shifting slowly through the night, not sleeping and you are far too, sleeping.

Civility + You


Katie McLemore

COVID-19 Ghazal

No more gym, no more pool, no more normalcy.

No more food, no more crowds, no more toilet paper.

Classes are online, and I should be enjoying sleeping in.

Yet, it’s 6 A.M. and I’m driving to Walmart in hopes to score some toilet paper.

Inside the stores, aisles are bare, there’s nothing left for me.

They didn’t even leave a trace of dust or the cardboard core of toilet paper.

I run outside since that’s somehow still allowed, and my mind begins to travel.

After about 3 miles I stop and wonder, “Where do hoarders even store all that

toilet paper?!”

The sunny days now seem dark, the bleakness doesn’t help in a crisis.

I wish those clouds would just burst already, with a heavy downpour of

toilet paper.

This morning I think I’ll try HEB instead, then maybe I’ll have a chance.

But when I walk up, I see a sign posted on the door, “Limit on toilet paper.”

During the virus outbreak, I’ve managed to gather enough to get by.

However, I wonder when this will all be over, when will I stop searching for

toilet paper?

The stupid lines of tape along the ground make me want to scream.

The empty aisle labeled “bath tissue” makes me want to roar over toilet paper.

No more ranting, no more venting, no more writing for Katie.

I’m sorry if reading this has been a bother, I’ll stop being a bore about

toilet paper.


We Are Legends: Tales of Survival

During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Joseph Salinas, Cheyenne Sanchez, and Amber Robbins


The Coronavirus.

A new threat has taken over the globe and has caused a physical distance

between the people we would normally see every day. Classes

that ordinarily would take place in a physical, face-to-face setting have

changed to face-to-screen; trips to the store are a battle ground, with

a lingering fear that the wrong parasite targets you. Those ever-present

public escapes, like theatres or restaurants, have closed

their doors and resorted to hoping people will order from their homes.

​Yet, even in these times of trouble, there is strength among the people working

together to fight this virus—with those on the front lines in health care,

sanitation workers, store stockers, and even in the people just staying home.

Below we have stories and tips from three editors of our team: Joseph Salinas,

a student who wants to share his views on how this virus has changed

our society; Cheyenne Sanchez. giving a sobering account on her life as

someone with high -risk factors if faced with COVID-19; and Amber Robbins,

art editor, sharing some personal solutions to dealing with the stress

of everyday life during these times. Please enjoy and stay safe out there!

Joseph Salinas​

One month ago, I was with my editing group reviewing submissions for

Windward Review and preparing a plan to showcase the diverse and talented

writers, poets, and artists of South Texas. The precipitous rise of

COVID-19 developed in the background as we continued with our daily

routines, with the assurance that public health officials and governments

were taking steps to contain the virus. As I’m writing this entry,

there are over 1,538,879 worldwide cases of COVID-19, and a death toll

of 89,961 people. Families, on top of dealing with financial and food

Civility + You


insecurity, are now mourning the loss of their loved ones that were taken

far too soon. I am privileged to have food, shelter, and internet access

at home, while hundreds of thousands of service workers keep the

supply chain running while under the threat of contracting the virus.

​My graduating class will undoubtedly enter the job market in an economic

depression, without any assurances that the jobs we have been

training for will be available after this pandemic. It’s hard to imagine

an immediate future in which bars, restaurants, movie theaters, and entertainment

venues are open to the public. It’s precisely this economic

uncertainty that we are left with as we progress on the upward trend

of the pandemic curve. And with continued adherence to social distancing,

staying home, and some good fortune, we will eventually find

ourselves on the other side. To reach this recovery period, we all must

do our part to follow the guidelines preventing a greater loss of life.

​The pertinent question for now, however, is our own survival. The first reports

from Wuhan, China of the virus seemed reassuring for young people:

if you were young and reasonably healthy, there was nothing to fear

and the disease would pass like the flu. But with each report of young and

reasonably healthy individuals succumbing to COVID-19, we learned that

these reports were incorrect; our faith in our invincibility was shaken.

Compounding the problem is that statistically, Americans are less likely

to visit a doctor for check-ups because they simply can’t afford the bill,

which leaves them vulnerable to underlying health conditions such as

hypertension, pre-diabetes, and autoimmune diseases that frequently go

undetected. And while being a part of the relatively young and healthy demographic,

there’s an uncertainty to how my individual immune system

will respond to the novel coronavirus, and the lingering dread that this

pandemic will be like a war, where each of the survivors will have known

someone—a grandparent, sibling, or a friend—who perished during

the pandemic. I’m afraid for my parents and grandparents, healthcare

workers on the front lines, and the older generations who are high-risk.

And how will our mental health hold up during this traumatic period?

These questions matter, but for now, we are confined to the spaces

in our homes in an effort to control the spread of the virus. There is

a light at the end of the tunnel with a tentative vaccine on the horizon,

but for now, we are reduced to counting the days for the return of normality,

which after this period is over, will require a new definition.


Cheyenne Sanchez​

It’s just at the stroke of 7 PM. I’ve come back, trekking through wind and

rain, from H-E-B. They say people like me—obese people—are some of

the most susceptible to health complications if they contract the coronavirus.

As a mask, I decided to make do with an old tank top, cutting

through it to place over my airways. It was troublesome keeping it tied

in the back with a hair claw. It was kind of hard to breathe on top of having

to adjust it constantly, after the string broke behind my makeshift

Kleenex mask. I had to put up with my glasses constantly fogging up from

my breath. I wore cleaning gloves through the entire shopping trip, even

on the bus. I’m not entirely sure of how long the virus can live on surfaces,

so I’ve stored my outfit and the rag “masks” in a bag to wash later.

I made the trip out of the need for my medication. Going beyond

three days without it is when I can feel my mental health falling slowly.

I’ve been experiencing these bursts where I get emotional at the

smallest things: e.g, while listening to a podcast about how death is

explained to kids; while being angry at the boomers; while getting annoyed

at people who don’t distance themselves.; while being scared

for my grandmother, who I love so dearly, because she is elderly and

has had pneumonia before; finally, while thinking about if the virus

would never leave and then the world turns into I Am Legend.

My unmedicated wave of varied emotions includes fighting back scared

tears when preparing to head out with the bare minimum of protection.

Now that I’ve washed my hands, disposed of the gloves, wiped

down my key and phone, and bagged my worn clothes, I’m typing while

seeking physical comfort in Hot Fries and Hostess cupcakes. These

things would earn me having to bear stern lectures from my doctors,

but what else is there to turn to while experiencing mental instability?

I spend most of my days falling asleep around 5 am and waking up close to

3 pm. I spend some time still lying down and scrolling through my phone

until I get up to for food. The only time I go outside is to get food from

the dining hall or take out the trash. I procrastinate through Reddit while

trying to take on the amount of strangeness that is online classwork. One

other professor has legitimately added more work online than what we

would have during normal lecture classes. For that same class, I have a

book report due on Tuesday and I have barely managed to get through

Civility + You


half of the second chapter. Quarantine furthers my already existing issues

with concentration. On the mountain pile that is my to-do list, I add

having to email the professor asking if he’d grant me an extension. Otherwise,

I may have to find Sparknotes for the book in order to write about it.

My supervisor gave us Excel projects to work on during shelter-in-place.

The number of hours we get depends on how many sets we complete. I only

managed to do three hours’ worth of work from my dorm. Quarantine has

given me irregularity with work and classwork. I’ve often gotten stressed

enough that I’ve resorted to collapsing on the bed for hours at a time.

​All of the above is basically how I’m living in the time of this pandemic.

I’m not doing yoga, face masks, bubble baths, reading, cuddling

with animals—all those depictions of self-care touted daily

by Instagram. It’s hard to define what “wellness” means for me. On

the daily, I’m mostly just ensuring I sustain myself with basic care:

showering, making sure to brush my teeth, taking my prescribed

medications, avoiding going outside, and keeping my clothes clean.

With my mental health being affected, it’s become somewhat hard to fully

invest interest in things that would usually entice me, like taking walks,

journaling, and even watching anime. I don’t think I’ve gotten to the low

point of merely existing, but I have gone into this weird state of dissociating

with tasks and mental stimuli. I have these moments where I imagine

what the day would’ve been like if the pandemic never happened. I

would’ve had brunch. Then I would have likely taken a nap because it’s

Sunday. If I’d had a burst of energy, I would’ve been wandering outside

to experience the beauty of gray wet weather. I would’ve been at least 1/2

completely through that book report. The imagining of a normal life happening,

in a different outcome somewhere, is a sort of pipe dream to me.

​Finishing this has me feeling a bit sleepy. It’s time that I take what

I need to stabilize, and to see when I feel okay again. Though the

calm that came from going out somewhere brought me some ease.

Amber Robbins​

During this time of uncertainty and chaos, as this new threat of the

coronavirus rampages across the world, people can understandably

be a bit stressed out. While physical health is crucial during


these times of a pandemic, I would also argue that your emotional

health is just as important. Along this line of thought, here are three

tips to help ebb that stress that I’ve found to be useful in my own life.

1, Try to distance yourself from the news for a little while. While I

know that staying up to date during these times is very important, if

that same information is causing unneeded stress, then take a moment

to catch a break from it. The news isn’t going away; anything

extremely important will still be there once you get back with a clearer

mindset—especially in our day and age, where sharing and finding

information is as easy as a click away and a quick search on Google.

2, Pick up a hobby you haven’t paid attention to in a while or start one

that you’ve been interested in. With an increased amount of time to

spend at home while practicing social distancing, you may find a lot

more time on your hands that you didn’t have before. I’d encourage you

to find that activity which grabs your attention, so that boredom doesn’t

set in after you’ve finished any work that needs to be done. Personally,

I like to draw, but couldn’t find a lot of time for it before the pandemic,

so it’s been nice to have this extra time for doing something I love.

3, Find something mind numbing to relax to when things just seem

overwhelming. I know this piece of advice may sound like heresy for

some, but hear me out. Taking just an hour of time to separate yourself

from your worries can do wonders on your mentality. It’s not a

waste of your day to take some time just for yourself to let your brain

have a break. Read a few chapters of a book you haven’t been able to

pick up, watch some episodes of that show you’ve fallen behind on,

or take a nap. Anything that helps you to destress can be a valuable

addition to your day, but be sure that it doesn’t overcome your day.

Life has certainly thrown us a curveball with everything that has

been happening this year, but that doesn’t mean you have to let it

get to you. I hope you find these tips helpful and please stay safe!

Civility + You


Being Over Being Overwhelmed:

Transitioning to Online Learning

By Jay Janca


If you’ve been checking your emails or at least watching the news lately, you know

that essentially everyone has been told to stay home and everyone is trying

to get used to life as it is now versus what it used to be. (God, that sounds

like a line in a zombie apocalypse survival movie.) Regardless of dramatics,

whether it be working from home or taking your classes online, everyone

has to start from scratch in some way. ​

My first thought when Dr. Miller announced that TAMU-CC would be transitioning

to online learning was, “Oh, I did this in high school! How bad

could it be?” If I could go back in time, I would slap myself. For some reason

– and I swear I’m not alone in this – it feels like there’s a lot more work

to be done online than what we used to do in class. But they deleted some

assignments, or did they? It feels like I’m drowning in papers, presentations,

and memes, (thank you, social media!), but before we were all quarantined, I

was working an almost full-time job closing at a restaurant and even training

to be a trainer. But now, I have all this time on my hands, and it’s so hard to

find the motivation to do my work – to do the bare minimum. My mom likes

to say that “school is my job,” so if I look at it that way, I’m doing a good job.

However, that somehow makes me want to do my work even less.

It’s hard to find the motivation to do things, but it helps to take things

slow and start off with just one class, so it’s less overwhelming. Some

people might think that the list (on the next page) is a no-brainer, but I

have ADD and anxiety and this is how I cope with change! If you’re anything

like me, everything is all jumbled together right now, and it feels

like you’ve been thrown into the deep end of a pool. It never hurts to

break things down, especially if none of the pieces make sense with

the bigger picture. For most of us, this means forming new habits.

Here’s what I did – and what worked:


1. Find your professor’s new syllabus/course schedule

• Good! Now write those new due dates down!

2. A lot of professors moved things around on Blackboard, so become

re-familiar with their layout for the class

• Where are your assignments? (ie. are they under Course Content

or somewhere else?)

3. Repeat this (1. & 2.) with all your classes

4. Once you have all the dates down, look at what is due soon and see if

you can do it!

5. Find a spot inside or outside of your house and make it your

designated work space (if you want to be fancy, call it a home office!)


• Your body associates your bed with sleep, so if you try studying

there, you might doze off or your body might start associating the

bed with studying instead of sleep – as my body has started doing.

• This also might transfer to your couch if you nap on it

• If there is no other place, try to make a section of your bed the

study space – preferably away from pillows

• Some people say not to study in your room because the entire

space might be associated with relaxation instead of productivity,

but that doesn’t work for me in my house, and it might not work

for you in your space.

7. Try to stick with the daily routine you had before all this mess if you can

• If not, create a new one that is structured

• Take breaks, go outside for some fresh air

Civility + You


• There are some apps that aid in productivity, but sometimes you

can just set a timer for twenty minutes and work on your assignments

• If anything, at least have a somewhat regular sleep schedule and

drink lots of water! (#hydrate or die-drate, am I right?)

8. Create an environment that is conducive to productivity – that makes

you want to be productive

• Sometimes, for lighter assignments (discussion boards, readings)

I like to go sit outside and listen to music. My family loves to

watch the news and it’s nice to be away from all the headlines

• I have started doing my important assignments after my family

goes to bed, otherwise they’d be coming in my room every five

minutes. ​

Of course, in the end, do what works for you in this uncertain time. Above

all, make sure to take care of yourself – eat, drink water, sleep, and take

breaks as you need them. Be kind to yourself and others now, as being socially

distant doesn’t mean we can’t be social in other forms.

As for me, I’m going to be working on my books, trying new hobbies, and

figuring out what things I can control in this situation, and what is out of

my hands. Catch your breath and reach out to others when you need help.

And help others when they reach out to you.



Through a


by Natalie Williams


It started with, “Don’t worry, it’s on

the other side of the world. Nothing

to fear.”

Next came, “The virus is here but

we have it under control. They will

be quarantined and are no threat to

your health.”

Then, “There may be a slight health

risk. Simply wash your hands and

stay 6 feet away from others. Everything

will be fine.”

It was 10 sick, then 100, and now

it is impossible to keep track from

hour to hour. Schools institute an

“extended” spring break before the

inevitable suspension. Kids are

ecstatic while parents sit quietly,


As if worrying about my children’s

health and safety wasn’t stressful

enough, now I am also their teacher.

All the while, like most, I'm still

working a full-time job as well.

And I am one of the lucky ones. Many

people have been forced to choose

between a paycheck or being home

to teach and watch their own children.

Even more haven’t been given

a choice and instead, have been laid

off until further notice. My job is construction

equipment and it has been

deemed essential. This means we get

to stay open and also that I still go into

work everyday. While I am constantly

grateful for a job and a paycheck, this

current situation has proven more difficult

than I imagined.

Homeschooling a preteen and teenage

kid (when an adult is not actually

able to be present during the day) has

proven arduous. The teen has been

left to his own devices, yet is given

constant reminders that his work ethic

now will be setting him up for the

rest of his life. The preteen, however,

requires a bit more guidance—understandably

so. Some days he comes

to work with me, but most days are

spent with constant texts checking in

and phone calls to discuss issues with

school work.

The first week that they were home

with us, things went pretty smoothly.

Good weather meant the youngest

could go outside to ride his bike and

play with the dogs once school work

was done.

As the weeks progressed, things have

Civility + You


gotten slightly less smooth. Trying to

get kids to read “for fun” instead of for

an actual assignment is like pulling

teeth. I took steps to make sure it was

something that they wanted to read.

We researched books on certain topics

and read reviews. Vampires are a

win with the preteen. I'm still working

on the teenager.

The rainy days are the worst. Literally

nowhere to go and nothing to

do. Those days I have found that

documentaries (in subjects of their

choosing of course) can make the

day pass without too much boredom

setting in.

Then, inevitably, I start to worry about

their development. “Are they doing

enough? Am I expecting too much?

Should they be waking up at 8 everyday

even when no one is home and

there is nothing to do?”

“Kids are resilient,” they say. “Don’t

worry too much.” But the guilt is real.

And the overcompensating when

home from work is exhausting: feeling

the need to keep the house clean

because a teacher may see the messy

counter in a Zoom call; wanting to

cook a healthy, home cooked meal

after a day of work and school because

no one is sure if take-out food

is even safe right now. These are just

a few of the ways I have found myself

overcompensating for not being home

with them during the day.

Add to that the pressure from

social media to "make the most

out of this trying time". Plastered

all across my phone are DIY projects,

mountains of baking recipes,

hours of at-home workout

videos, and photos of piles of

books that have been read. And

yet for me, the last thing I want

to do with any of my sacred free

time is clean my fridge or organize

my closet. Everyone talks

about how this pandemic is forcing

us to slow down, but for me

I'm racing around more than ever

with nowhere to actually go.

I have discussed all these questions

and concerns with many

friends, a few of whom are

teachers. Speaking with the

teachers has definitely helped me

see the situation in a new light. I

have learned a lot from them and

would like to share some tidbits

with you. Hopefully they help

you as much as they have helped

me :

1) The fact that you are asking

these questions means that you

care, and that tells me your kid

will be just fine.

2) We are simply trying to avoid

brain rot, not create the next

Einstein. When the kids go back

to school, most everyone will be

in the same boat. Teachers are


not expecting a lot, they are just

hoping the student’s brains stay

somewhat active so that they can

jump right back in at the beginning

of the new school year.

3) These crazy times are hard on

your kids too. Let them be kids. Ease

up on the rules a bit. Let them have

a “lazy day” if they are not feeling

up to the school work one day. Give

them grace, and while you are at it,

give yourself grace as well.

4) Use this situation to spend as

much quality time as possible with

them. As much as we may be driving

each other crazy because of

all the extra time spent under the

same roof, find ways to have fun.

Baking, movie nights, poker games,

and long walks with the dogs are

some of the things we have been

implementing to make sure we get

in that quality time.

I was talking to the youngest recently

about everything that was

going on. He said he missed some

of his friends, but he could talk to

them on the phone and even play

video games with them. Then I

asked him how he felt about the

new arrangement for school work

and his answer surprised me.

“Great!” he said, “Homeschooling

is fun! Plus, we get to spend so

much time together as a family"

More time together as a family.

Maybe, just maybe, that is the point

of all of this madness.

5) TALK to your kids about how

they are feeling. Let them know

that you understand how different

and difficult things are for them

right now. Be their safe space. You

might be surprised at what they say.

Civility + You


Notes from the Frontlines of

Kinder and Elementary Level

Parenting Through Pandemics

by Amanda King


I thrive on routine. I’m a real type-A person, a firstborn with a control streak

half a mile wide. I do not thrive on chaos; I like to put chaos down on a list

to be checked off in an orderly fashion. I like the idea of the creative process,

but its unwieldly nature stresses me out. So, in my early twenties I did that

counterintuitive thing so common to humans: I dove into a life that would

have me butting up against my limit every day for the rest of my life: I,

mess-averse control freak extraordinaire, birthed two children, bought a

warped old house that seeps dust, and adopted two very hairy dogs. Did I

mention that everyone in my household is attention-deficit?

Especially the dogs.

Nothing spells fun like a challenge, right? I try to keep the floors clean. I

usually fail. Sometimes I cry about it. But still, it’s glorious.

That’s not to say it’s not hard. Having kids is hard. Having kids and trying

not to fight the messiness of growing and learning is hard. Having kids and

not trying to fight the absolute madness of anxiety-bred hyperactivity, as

everyone is cooped up at home, is excruciating.

The thing is, I have it really easy, and I still find myself gritting my teeth

and crying, stomping around the house and sighing, drinking one too many

cups of coffee and manically ranting. I have two daughters, and although

you’ve heard about how other people’s kids are cool, mine are really fantastic

and it is still hard. Right now as I type this I’ve been interrupted thirty or so

times for dire events like thirst or boredom or that powerful need that drives

children to be observed by their parents for no reason whatsoever, especially

if their parents are concentrating on something unrelated to parenthood or



My biggest complaint before this pandemic was that I didn’t have enough

time to spend with my children. I was working full time and taking classes

full-time, a combination that I wasn’t handling particularly flawlessly, even

though I loved both my job and academic life. Even though I grew up in

the home-and-unschooling world, where education was highly prized if

not traditionally conducted, I knew that I didn’t want to dedicate my

career to educating my kids, excellent as that job may be. As of March

2020, both my daughters were enrolled in school: my eldest daughter at

a Montessori charter, the youngest in a traditional public kindergarten

until she could join her sister’s school in first grade.

And then Spring Break. And Extended Spring Break. School closures for

April. Part of May? Just kidding, school will be closed for the remainder of

the year. Forget normalcy: I was furloughed. All of a sudden I was a stayat-home

mom, a position I have sometimes jokingly, sometimes jealously,

dreamed of.

It’s only been four weeks as of this writing, and already it feels like a lifetime.

We’ve grown tomato plants, established daily yoga routines, set up a

mountain of school supplies on a nearby table so that glitter glue is always

close at hand. I, along with half of America, nurtured a sourdough starter

(delicious). We set up rock candy experiments and discussed the molecular

makeup of sugar.

Even though I lost my job, my spouse kept his, which meant I didn’t have

to worry about where our next meal was going to come from (this is good,

because kids at home eat all day, every day. Meals, and the snacks between

meals bleed gently into each other into a daylong buffet of sliced apples

and snack bars).

We settled into our first week of routine, scrapped it, started a second,

then decided it was no good, and then carried on. A real routine is on the

horizon, or maybe it’s just a mirage. Who can say?

There’s nothing like a pandemic for stripping the imagination.

There are so many things I can barely conceive of, because every new

adjustment is taking all of my coping mechanisms. We wear our handsewn

Civility + You


masks on walks around the neighborhood with our dogs, and our breath

is hot and labored when we run, the relief when we untie the coverings

immense. How do medical professionals do it all day? After six straight

hours of gently redirecting one child on spelling homework and another

on dot-to-dots (seriously, though, kindergarten work plans are a joke: I

want to just let her roam and eat dirt and finger paint her name against

the side of the house and call it a day), I wonder how the hell do working

parents do schooling with their kids?

It took me days to navigate the unemployment website, not because it was

all that difficult to figure out, but because it was so overloaded that I kept

getting kicked off—and every time I did I would move on to some other

task, economic uncertainty hanging over my head like a cloud. What if

I was single? How do single-turned-no income households even do this

right now?

I don’t know. I only know how I am handling things, and the answer is:


I am now an expert on the uncertain. If my plans for the day fall to pieces,

I’m slowly learning not to sweep everything into the bin and retreat in

high dudgeon to some corner of the couch. That privilege is unavailable.

I am instead slowly and painfully learning to construct new and interesting

shapes out of the slivered portions of my ambitions. My failures outstrip

my successes, endlessly. I am not as smart or dedicated or resilient or

brave as I wish I was. But I am, above everything, an optimist.

As I was scrubbing bathroom cupboards this week, I listened to an

episode from the podcast This American Life: Ira Glass invited Esther

Perel, the famous psychotherapist and relationship guru, onto the show’s

most recent episode (title: Black Box), to talk about how our relationships

have been affected by this pandemic. She discussed the strain, the heightened

tensions, the couples that have been broken and saved by this time.

The host, Ira Glass, asked Perel who was doing better? What were the people

who were treading water doing? What did they look like?

Here’s what she said: “Who does better? [It] is the people who think, what

can I learn here? What is this telling me about what actually matters in my

life, or what I really want to do’ --and becoming more aware of things.”


I’m not doing better because we are doing crafts or sticking to a work plan

or exercising every day. It’s true that our coping mechanisms are more

capable and elastic if we get enough sleep and eat the occasional

vegetable, but there is no foolproof way to cope. This pandemic has set

basic truths in high relief: those of us who stay curious and treat life as

a learning experience are very likely more able to adjust to the weird,

hard, distressing bits. It is even more true during this season: awareness,

reflection, self-investigation are way more useful than making sure

everyone has had a bath.

Although baths are important. In sweaty south Texas, baths are VERY


I think that we stand a chance of getting through this thing if we

recalibrate our desires: from individual desires to collective needs. From

strict self-imposed routines to more fluid, flexible things. Dole grace with

a heavy hand. Ask forgiveness. Give it. Stay curious.

Civility + You


Being a


During Covid-19


by Aric Reyna


Parenting 7 days a week

during mandatory quarantine

is an occupation in

itself. As a parent of four

who’s a full-time student, with a full

time job, this task feels almost unachievable.

Considering the many

challenges I have encountered in

college, I somehow managed to

maintain success in my educational

career. As these unforeseen circumstances

continue to take their toll

on our community, I have learned

more about the balance of time and

effort that it takes to self-teach my

children at home while also upholding

my own status as an operative

student of a university.

At this moment in time, the world

is in a strange place. COVID-19, or

coronavirus, has officially changed

life as we know it. Large groups

and face-to-face interaction are no

longer permitted. As parents, we

recognize that ensuring the health,

safety, and well-being of our children

includes the responsibility of

progressing their education. Since


most parents put their child’s

needs before their own, it is necessary

that these circumstances

call for a strong sense of self-awareness,

self-discipline and self-sacrifice.

My family of six lives in a three

bedroom apartment; four kids,

my wife, and myself. I have been

reduced to working two days a

week at my job and my wife has

been furloughed until further

notice. Time at home has

drastically increased and is of

the essence. Here, every minute

counts. Things that would’ve

normally been done in the real

world now have to take place

in the uncomforting comfort of

the home. One word of advice

for staying on track would be to

stick to a consistent schedule.

My morning routine consists of

waking up somewhere from 4:30

to 5am, so I can get a head start

on my own studies before anyone

else wakes up. This is the only

time of day that I feel like I am

most effective as a student. Don’t

get me wrong…I love my family

more than anything in the world,

but that is probably why they are

my biggest distraction. One thing

that I like to do is take my laptop

outside and work from my

front porch. Studying early in

the morning when it’s still dark

and working till the sun comes

up gives me kind of a surreal

feeling. Considering the solitary

presence of a pandemic that is in

the air, it feels as if I am the only

one in the world that is awake.

Our "classroom" usually takes

place in the living room. By this

time, I’ve already found a stopping

point in my own studies.

Keep in mind, my studies never

really end, they are just placed

on pause until I am able to pick

them back up again. Subject

matters in our home range from

Pre-K to 6th grade. This means

that I could go from watching

a read aloud of Pete the Cat to

multiplying fractions in an instant.

It’s been quite some time

since I graduated high school. At

that time, I had no concern for

my own educational well-being.

I struggle with simple Math because

I was never really good at

it in the first place. In addition

to my own struggles with learning,

“learning strategies” have

changed completely from when

I was a grade school student.

It’s a constant battle of trying

to show my children the way

I learned versus the way they

are currently learning. But, this

is only the beginning of many

demanding trials, the greatest

challenge of all is trying to keep

their attention away from what

one another is doing. I attempt

to separate them with space (as

would be done in a normal classroom

setting) but our apartment

living room is just not big enough

to create the necessary area to

mitigate one classroom of four

different grades. Self-teaching everyone

at once is complicated

because it is difficult to perceive

our kids as students. I’ve come

to the reality that the feeling

is mutual; our kids really don’t

take us seriously as teachers.

As a parent, I stress the importance

and value that education

can bring in my children’s lives.

When this whole COVID-19

situation is behind us, the biggest

takeaway that I would like my

kids to have is that their parents

cared enough to continue educating

them when they needed it the

most. Although this unexpected

situation has forced us into unorthodox

learning measures, we

must not lose sight of what we set

out to do in the first place. As a

student myself, I will always make

the effort to set the example for

my family to strive for greatness

for the sake of our own education.

They have seen me struggle with

it, and they have seen me succeed

because of it, but one thing they

will never see me do is giving up

on it.

Civility + You


I think I can speak for everyone

when I say that the coronavirus has

affected our lives in ways that we

never would have imagined, but

we shouldn’t let it affect us to the

point of hopelessness. Remember,

you are not alone. Although everything

that has happened to us

in the last couple of months was

completely out of our hands, we

must know at this time that everyone

is facing troubling circumstances,

but it is how we overcome

these unpredicted obstacles that

defines our strength and resiliency

as parents, teachers, and students.




Elyssa Albaugh is a poet

currently located in South

Texas, where she directs,

writes and teaches whenever

she can. She believes

that kindness comes above

anything, and that truth

and honesty will always follow.

She is excited to share

her work, and continues to

grow as an artist everyday.

Jeffrey Alfier’s most recent

book is The Shadow

Field, a collection of poems

set in overseas locations,

published by Louisiana

Literature Press (2020). His

publication credits include

The Carolina Quarterly, Copper

Nickel, Midwest Quarterly,

Permafrost, and Southern

Poetry Review. He is co-editor

of Blue Horse Press and

San Pedro River Review.

Patricia Alonzo is currently

an Online Writing

Consultant at TX A&M

University-Corpus Christi

(TAMUCC). She has both

a Master of Arts degree

in English with a focus in

Texts, Cultures, and Communities;

and a Bachelor of

Norma Barrientes: "I am a retired teacher. I

have enjoyed art and writing throughout my

years. My father was a craftsman and always

encouraged us to use creativity in all things. My

mother was a seamstress that was very creative

and later became an artist while I was in high

school and I enjoyed all her attention to detail.

My brother used his creativity with many accomplishments

by using his hands in craft in

many mediums and music. My sister continued

the pursuit and is now is an established seamstress

, artist and muralist using many mediums.

I have been participated in the Texas Mental

Health Creative Arts Contests, Ageless Art

with the South Texas Museum of Art, Humana

Community Art & calligraphy Sessions, Corpus

Christi Libraries community art activities for all

ages, Lindale Senior Recreation Center weekly

Art Sessions, Zavala Senior Recreation Center

Art Sessions, Purple Door Assault Survivors

Awareness Campaigns: An Artful Journey; joint

effort with Corpus Christi Public Libraries and

K Space Contemporary. Several of my paintings

have been on display at Ageless Art Exhibit at

the South Texas Museum of Art and at La Retama

Library for Latinos Unidos Exhibit, Chicas

Bonitas Exhibit, and Purple Door Assault

Awareness Campaign Exhibit. A few of the

pieces have been for sale in the Art Project of

Corpus Christi: Totally Texas at Nueces Brewing

Company, the Lindale Senior Fallfest, and

at La Retama both for the Latinos Unidos and

Chicas Bonitas exhibits . I participate with My

sister has when she holds Serendipity Style Art

classes in local homes. I use watercolors, acrylics

and coffee when I paint. I also knit and crochet

and mount pieces on canvas. I have also

done collages and various lettering such as calligraphy

on some of the compositions. I enjoy

participating in community efforts promoting

art such as the mural at the YWCA. I continue

to search for opportunities to contribute to

causes to bring fulfillment to my retirement."

Arts degree in Spanish with an emphasis in English from TAMUCC. She also has

an Associate in Arts degree from Del Mar College (DMC). Patricia has acquired

20 years of experience from TAMUCC and DMC in helping students with their


Civility + You


Jacob R. Benavides is from Corpus Christi, born and raised, and is currently

earning an undergraduate degree in English (Literary Studies). They have a passion

for creative writing, painting and literature. Get in touch: jbenavidez12@islander., Instagram@jabejohnson

Alan Berecka resides in Sinton, Texas. He earns his keep as a librarian at Del

Mar College in Corpus Christi. His work has appeared in such places as American

Literary Review, Texas Review and The Christian Century. He has authored three

chapbooks, and four full collections. In 2017, he was named the first poet laureate

of Corpus Christi and served in this post until 2019.

Karen Cline-Tardiff has been writing as long

as she could hold a pen. Her works can be seen

in several literary magazines and websites including

Nowhere Poetry & Flash Fiction, Tuck Magazine,

Unlikely Stories, and The Dead Mule School of Southern

Literature. She founded the Aransas County

Poetry Society. She has a Kindle book of poetry,

Stumbling to Breathe. She is the Editor-in-Chief of

Gnashing Teeth Publishing. Get in touch: www.

PW Covington lives and writes in the beat tradition

of the North American highway. He has had

his work featured at the Peoples Poetry Festival

and has been named a Juried Poet at by the Houston

Poetry Fest. In 2019, his collection of short

fiction, North Beach and Other Stories was named

a Finalist in LGBTQ Fiction by the International

Book Awards. Follow him on Instagram @BeatPW.

Kevin Craig is a first-year student at Colby College

in Waterville, Maine. A QuestBridge scholar,

Kevin is studying History and Global Studies.

Kevin is active with both mock trial and debate

and continues to write. His work has been published

in Outside Colby, a politics magazine, and he

continues writing creative works independently.

Their writing explores the intersection between

politics and daily life with an awareness of key

issues being a primary goal. His inspirations are

Taylor Swift, Charli XCX, and Carly Rae Jepsen

for the story telling in their song lyrics.


Jacinto Jesús Cardona is a

San Antonio poet who grew

up in Alice, the Hub of South

Texas. He is a Gemini Ink

Voz de San Antonio Champion,

and his poem “Bato

Con Khakis” was selected as

a performance piece for the

NYC Symphony Space. He is

the author of the poetry collection

Pan Dulce and is an

English teacher at Incarnate

Word Highschool.

“My name is Ianna Chay

and I ought to adopt a dog

and finally buy a tripod but

I currently do not have a job.

I'm a first year student at

TAMUCC, who is working

towards a major in Art and

a minor in Creative Writing.

When I'm not scribbling

random things down

on whatever may be around

me, I'm working on my photography

or performing concerts

in my bedroom.”

Jerry Craven has lived for

extended periods in Southeast

Asia, South America,

the Middle East, and Europe.

His published books

include collections of poetry, novels, and collections of short stories. He lives in the

Angelina National Forest with his wife, poet Sherry Craven. Currently he serves as

press director for Lamar University Literary Press and editor for the international

literary journal Amarillo Bay. He is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and

Science Fiction Writers of America. His writer’s website is,

where images from his 2020 art show"Magical Realism" can be found.

Founder of Concho River Review and member of the Texas Institute of Letters,

Terry Dalrymple writes fiction, gardens, and takes photographs. He

is recently retired from the Department of English and Modern Languages

at Angelo State University. His published books of fiction include Dancing

on Barbed Wire (co-written with Andrew Geyer and Jerry Craven), Love Stories

(Sort Of), Salvation, and Fishing for Trouble.

Holly Day’s poetry has

recently appeared in Asimov’s

Science Fiction, Grain,

and The Tampa Review. Her

newest poetry collections

are In This Place, She Is

Her Own (Vegetarian Alcoholic

Press), A Wall to Protect

Your Eyes (Pski’s Porch

Publishing), Folios of Dried

Flowers and Pressed Birds

(, Where We

Went Wrong (Clare Songbirds

Publishing), Into the

Cracks (Golden Antelope

Press), and Cross Referencing

a Book of Summer (Silver

Bow Publishing), while

her newest nonfiction

books are Music Theory for

Dummies and Tattoo FAQ.

Darren C. Demaree

is the author of thirteen

poetry collections, most

recently So Clearly Beautiful

(November 2019, Adelaide

Books). He is the

recipient of a 2018 Ohio

Arts Council Individual

Excellence Award, the

Louis Bogan Award from

Trio House Press, and

the Nancy Dew Taylor

Award from Emrys Journal.

He is the Managing

Editor of the Best of the

Net Anthology and Ovenbird

Poetry. He is current

-ly living in Columbus,

Ohio with his wife and


"My name is Katie Diamond. I've been a

resident of Corpus Christ my whole life. I am

a Junior at Collegiate Highschool. When I'm

not singing, watching Netflix, or hanging out

with my friends, I love to write creatively."

Chris Ellery is the author of five poetry collections,

most recently Canticles of the Body

and Elder Tree. He has received the X.J. Kennedy

Award for Creative Nonfiction, the Dora

and Alexander Raynes Prize for Poetry, and

the Betsy Colquitt Award. A member of the

Texas Institute of Letters, Ellery teaches literature,

creative writing, and film criticism at

Angelo State University.

Margaret Erhart’s work has appeared in

The New York Times, Christian Science Monitor,

Best American Spiritual Writing 2005, and

many literary magazines. She won the Milkweed

National Fiction Prize, and The Butterflies

of Grand Canyon (Plume), was a finalist

for an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

She lives in Flagstaff, Arizona. Margaret welcomes

responses and conversations at www.

Crystal Garcia is a Corpus Christi native

who graduated in 2012, although she strives

to continue her education by being a student

of life. She is a lover of books and all things

literature—especially poetry. Crystal and

her brother, Rudy Garcia, co-created a local

podcast, Revolve One ( The

desire to create a platform to better connect

with the community didn't stop with the podcast

however! Crystal and Rudy also co-host

quarterly held open-mic Poetry Nights. Initially

originating from wanting to connect literature

and poetry with mental health, Crystal

accompanied by her brother and podcast

partner, continue to be advocates of mental

health in their local community and abroad.

Civility + You


Sister Lou Ella Hickman is a former teacher

and librarian. Her poems have appeared in

numerous magazines such as America, First

Things, Emmanuel, Third Wednesday, and new

verse news. As well, her work is in four anthologies:

The Night’s Magician: Poems about the

Moon, edited by Philip Kolin and Sue Brannan

Walker; Down to the Dark River, edited by Philip

Kolin; Secrets, edited by Sue Brannan Walker;

and After Shocks: The Poetry of Recovery for

Life-Shattering Events, edited by Tom Lombardo.

She was nominated for the Pushcart Prize

in 2017. Her first book of poetry, she: robed and

wordless, was published in 2015 (Press 53).

"My name is Mackenzie Howard. I was a

senior at Bishop High School when I won a

Robb Jackson Memorial High School Poetry

Award last year. I am now a sophomore

at the University of Missouri-Columbia. I

am a double major in Animal Sciences and

Psychology. I hope to one day go to Veterinary

school to become a Veterinary Behaviorist.

I believe that anyone can be a poet,

no matter what their interests may be. I

love writing poetry and short stories about

how I am feeling and how I perceive the

world. My other interests include archery,

soccer, painting, crafting and photography."

Penny Jackson’s poems and stories have

appeared in The Pushcart Prize Anthology,

The Edinburgh Review, The Croton Review,

Real Fiction, StoryQuarterly, The Ontario Review

and other literary magazines. I have

received a MacDowell Colony Fellowship,

The Elizabeth Janeway Writing prize and

other honors for my writing.

Andrew Geyer’s ninth book, the story cycle Lesser Mountains (Lamar University

Press, 2019), won a 2020 Independent Publisher Book Award (IPPY) for U.S.

South - Best Regional Fiction. His other individually authored books are Dixie

Fish, a novel; Siren Songs from the Heart of Austin, a story cycle; Meeting the Dead,

a novel; and Whispers in Dust and Bone, a story cycle that won the silver medal

for short fiction in the Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Awards and a Spur

Award for short fiction from the Western Writers of America. He is the co-author,

with Jerry Craven and Terry

Dalrymple, of the hybrid story

cycle Dancing on Barbed Wire.

Geyer also co-authored Parallel

Hours, an alternative history/sci

fi novel; and Texas 5X5, another

hybrid story cycle from which

one of his stories won a second

Spur Award. He co-edited the

composite anthology A Shared

Voice with Tom Mack.

Ken Hada is the author of seven

collections of poetry. Ken

enjoys public readings, and his

work is published in a variety of

journals. Ken directs the Scissortail

Festival at East Central

University. More at:

Joshua Bridgwater Hamilton

is a Louisville, KY native who

migrated to Corpus Christi, TX

with his family. Between Kentucky

and Texas, he has traveled

and lived in several places, including

Spain, Appalachia, Panamá,

Peru, the Philippines, and

the Colorado River. He has published

a chapbook, Slow Wind,

with Finishing Line Press, and

has poems have appeared in Voices

de la Luna, Driftwood Press, Noble/Gas

Qtrly, Windward Review,

and The San Antonio Express.

Nels Hanson grew up on a small

farm in the San Joaquin Valley

of California. He has worked as a

farmer, teacher and contract writer/

editor. His fiction received the San

Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award and Pushcart nominations in 2010,

2012, 2014 and 2016. His poems received a 2014 Pushcart nomination, Sharkpack Review’s

2014 Prospero Prize, and 2015 and 2016 Best of the Net nominations.


Rossy Evelin Lima (August 18, 1986 Veracruz Mexico), holds a PhD in

linguistics and is an international award-winning poet. Her work has been

published in numerous journals, magazines and anthologies in Spain, Italy,

UK, Canada, United States, Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, Colombia and Argentina.

She received the Poet of the Year Award by The Americas Poetry Festival

of New York (NY, 2018), the Premio Internazionale di Poesia La Finestra

Eterea award (Milan, Italy, 2017), the International Latino Book Award (USA,

2016), the Premio Orgullo Fronterizo Mexicano award by the Institute of

Mexicans Abroad (USA, 2016),

the Premio Internazionale di

Poesia Altino award (Venice,

Italy, 2015), and the National

Gabriela Mistral Award by the

National Hispanic Honor Society

(USA, 2010), among others.

She is the president and

founder of the Latin American

Foundation for the Arts, the

founder of the International

Latin American Poetry Festival

(FeIPoL), as well as the founder

of Jade Publishing. In 2015, she

was invited to speak at TEDx-

McAllen to talk about her experience

as an immigrant writer

in the U.S. In 2020, her poetry

book Aguacamino/Waterpath

was translated to Serbian and

published in Belgrade. You can

find her work and books on her


Rob Luke is a graduate of the

M.F.A. in Creative Writing Program

in Minnesota State University,

Mankato. He teaches

English at Delano High School

in Minnesota. He lives on Lake

Minnewashta, near the town of

Excelsior, Minnesota, with his

wife, Sara.

Laurence Musgrove is a writer,

editor, and teacher. His books

include Local Bird – a poetry collection,

One Kind of Recording –

W.D. Mainous II works as a tutor and also

in healthcare. He lives in Edinburg Texas,

and believes that poetry can be used as a

social platform.

Eliana Martinez was born in Corpus Christi,

TX. After moving around some, she is back

where she started. Destinced to go back to

her roots, Eliana visits her parent's house every

weekend to remind herseld that it is more

than okay to live without her siblings now. Eliana

studied at Tuloso-Midway High School

and is currently studying at TAMUK.

Don Mathis’ life revolves around the many

poetry circles in San Antonio. His poems have

been published in a hundred anthologies and

periodicals and also have been broadcasted

on local TV and national radio. In addition to

poetry, he has written policy and procedures

for industry, case histories for psychological

firms, and news and reviews for various media.

A sampling of his work can be found at the

Rivard Report and the Good Men Project. He

can be reached at

Ash Miller spent over two decades growing

up along the Coastal Bend. Their writing ranges

from the absurd to the sincere. They love to

explore storytelling in different mediums, from

the written word to zines to creating interactive

text-based games. Now residing in San Antonio,

they are involved in local queer activism

through serving the San Antonio Gender Association

(SAGA) and other local organizations.

a volume of aphorisms, and The Bluebonnet Sutras – Buddhist dialogues in verse. He

received his Ph.D. in English from the University of Oregon, Eugene, and currently

teaches at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. He offers workshops on the

Buddhist wisdom tradition, drawing-to-learn, and the causes of beauty in poetry.

Additionally, Laurence is editor and publisher of TEJASCOVIDO, a new online literary

and arts journal for writers and artists responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Civility + You


"My full name is Jose Alejandro Olalde Bustos.

I was born in Mexico and moved to the U.S. at the

age of ten. I began writing poetry when inspired by

authors like Wislawa Symborska and John Keats.

The first poem I ever wrote was for a person I began

dating; however, as our relationship crumbled in the

incredible span of a month, I found a comfort in portraying

my emotion through poetry. From there on,

other topics arose. My best work so far has been Candela:

my minds allegory in nine stanzas."

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Clarissa M. Ortiz is a

dedicated writer, artist, educator, and independent curator.

Now based in Corpus Christi, where she earned her Bachelor

of Arts at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, she is

currently pursuing a Master's degree in Museum Studies

through the Harvard University Extension School. She also

enjoys working with the Art Museum of South Texas as an

Outreach Coordinator and art instructor, developing lessons

for students at all levels, ranging from youth programs

to an exciting "Ageless Art" project for senior citizens. Her

personal creative endeavors employ a variety of different

mediums and continually fuel her passion for finding new

ways to share and inspire appreciation for the arts.

Born and raised in Mumbai, India, Sunayna Pal moved

to the US after her marriage. She devotes her free time

to writing and Heartfulness meditation. Learn more:

Juan Manuel Pérez, a Mexican-American poet of indigenous

descent and former Poet Laureate for Corpus

Christi, Texas (2019-2020), is the author of several books

of poetry including a new book, SCREW THE WALL!


from FlowerSong Books. The award-winning poet, history

teacher, and Pushcart Nominee, is a founding committee

member of the People’s Poetry Festival. He is also

a member of the Horror Writers Association, the Science

Fiction Poetry Association, and the Military Writers Society

of America. Juan worships his Creator and chases

chupacabras in the South Texas Coastal Bend Area.

Michael Quintana received his MFA in creative writing

from San Jose State University. He’s the founder and developmental

editor of Script Journey, a script and story consultation

service that helps writers develop their written projects.

He’s won various writing awards, including the prestigious

CSU Media Arts Festival’s Rosebud Award in 2014 for feature

screenwriting. He currently resides in Corpus Christ,

TX where, alongside fellow writer and friend Sarah K. Lenz,

he assists in the development of The Writers’ Studio.

Victoria Phillips’ 2019

readings include the Langdon

Review Weekend, the

Mellow Daze of Summer

concert series, Vermin Supreme’s

Cirque du Pone,

the Underground Arts

Festival, and readings at

The Forge in Ben Wheeler.

In 2018, she performed

“Sisters of Courage,” in

collaboration w/Charlotte

Renk and Claire Phillips

Latham, at TACWT and

Langdon. Victoria also

served as poetry coordinator

for the Underground

Arts Festival in 2018, with

guest artist Michelle Hartman.

Past publications

include Writing Texas, Rio

Review, theywhosearch,

and Lake Country Gazette.

Teaching experience includes

college English,

adult education, community

literacy, and private

tutoring. Contact Victoria:

Ciara Rodriguez is a

freshman at Del-Mar

College completing

her basics but she will

transfer to Texas State

U. for Anthropology

when her basics are

finished. She dreams of

living in Australia when

she finishes college.

Her poem, "Hey mom,

Hey dad", is about how

she felt during her parent's

divorce. She would

like to thank her Creative

Writing teacher

Belinda Covarrubiaz

for pushing her to be

the best writer she can

be and having her submit

this poem.


Xavier Angelo Ruiz is a young, outspoken, and self taught writer who is currently

a sophomore in high school. He wrote his poem, "The Way of the Seasons",

as a freshman in highschool , and used it as a way of analyzing and interpreting

thoughts and ideas that may have been too complex to understand at that moment

in time. Xavier often relates his writing abilities to his abilities as an actor.

He uses both platforms to express himself freely in beautiful and artistic ways.

Although Xavier is young, he knows that as he grows, his love for writing will

never fade.

Jesse Sensibar's work has appeared in The Tishman Review, Stoneboat Journal,

Waxwing, and others. His short fiction was shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction

Award and the Wilda Hearne Flash Fiction Prize. His first book, Blood in

the Asphalt: Prayers from the Highway, was published in 2018 by Tolsun Press

and shortlisted for the Eric Hoffer Book Award. Find him @

Jamie Soliz: “If only I had a lore

to my life, like how Buckethead

is a no face guitar player who

was raised by chickens. My birth

name is Jamie Lee Soliz and I

am a senior at Collegiate high

school who is personally educating

themselves in the world of

film and theater. I wish everyday

could be a Wes Anderson scene,

I wanna have conversations like

the guys from Clerks, and I wish

I could be as mentally stable as

Woody Allen in Annie Hall.”

JE Trask: James's poems have

appeared or are forthcoming

in Mudfish, The Windward Review,

The Heartland Review, Best

Austin Poetry and elsewhere. In

2020, he was the recipient of

awards from the Austin Poetry

Society and the San Antonio

Writers’ Guild. He is an MFA

candidate at Texas State University,

a veteran, and a recovering

MBA holder and corporate minion.

His poems explore the loss

and reclaiming of the emotional

self; new, dead and revolutionary

Romanticism and intuitive


Joseph Wilson taught Senior English

Advanced Placement, Film Studies, and

Creative Writing at Richard King Highschool

for 42 years. He created and edited

the art and poetry magazine, Open

All Night, for 40 years. His work can also

be found in Corpus Christi Writers 2018,

Corpus Christi Writers 2019, and Corpus

Christi Writers 2020. He writes poetry.

Educated as a scientist and graduated as

a mathematician, Harlan Yarbrough

has earned his living as a full-time professional

entertainer most of his life, including

a stint as a regular performer on

the prestigious Grand Ole Opry. Harlan’s

repeated attempts to escape the entertainment

industry have brought work

as a librarian, physics teacher, syndicated

newspaper columnist, and city planner,

among other occupations. He lives,

writes, and continues to improve his

dzonkha vocabulary and pronunciation

in Bhutan but visits the US and Europe

to perform, and thereby to recharge his

bank account. Harlan has written five

novels, three novellas (two published),

three novelettes (two published), and forty-some

short stories, of which thirty-five

have been published in six countries. His

work has appeared in the Galway Review,

Indiana Voice Journal, Red Fez, Veronica,

Scarlet Leaf Review, Green Hills Literary

Lantern, and many other literary journals

and has won the 2019 Fair Australia Prize.

Civility + You


Andrena Zawinski’s flash fiction

appeared or is forthcoming in Flashes

of Brilliance, Unlikely Stories, Summer

Shorts Anthology, Digital Paper, Panoplyzine,

Beneath the Rainbow, Short Stories

& Poems Weekly, Ginosko, Pretty Owl,

Oye Drum, Sabr, Loud Zoo. Many of her

stories appeal to the LGBTQ community

of which she is a part of. She has

three full poetry books and six smaller

collections in print. Born and raised in

Pittsburgh, PA she is a veteran teacher

of writing and an avid feminist who

has made her home in the San Francisco

Bay Area, where she runs a Women’s

Poetry Salon and works as Features editor

for NJ based


Civility + You


Elyssa Albaugh

Jeffrey Alfier

Patricia Alonzo

Norma Barrientes

Jacob R. Benavidez

Alan Barecka

Jacinto Jesús Cardona

Ianna Chay

Jerry Craven

Karen Cline-Tardiff

PW Covington

Kevin Craig

Terry Dalrymple

Holly Day

Darren C. Demaree

Katie Diamond

Chris Ellery

Margaret Erhart

Crystal Garcia

Andrew Geyer

Ken Hada

Joshua Bridgwater Hamilton

Nels Hanson

Sister Lou Ella Hickman

Mackenzie Howard

Penny Jackson

Rossy Evelin Lima

Rob Luke

W.D. Mainous II

Eliana Martinez

Don Mathis

Ash Miller

Laurence Musgrove

Jose Olalde

Victoria Phillips

Ciara Rodriguez

Clarissa M. Ortiz

Sunayna Pal

Juan Manuel Pérez

Michael Quintana

Xavier Angelo Ruiz

Jesse Sensibar

Jamie Soliz

James Trask

Joseph Wilson

Harlan Yarbrough

Andrena Zawinski

“I’ve seen too much in life to give up.” -Al Sharpton


ISBN 978-0-578-82761-2


9 780578 827612

More magazines by this user