Month: September 2015

Featured: Disturbance

Anders Villani

Into my new veal-skin Chelseas
I put my wallet, phone, and keys
to the flat, which was still bare.
I left them on the dock along with
my clothes and towel and a book of Mandelstam’s early poems
in English. Dove into the river.
When I got out, it was almost dark.
That par-dark seemed alloyed
to you. The water had risen nearer
the rim of the dock. Still, and warm.
Dozens of geese had gathered on the dock to roost.
I didn’t think I could be myself
without disturbing that mass repose
so I gathered my things
as quietly as I could, and moved to a nearby field.
Laid out my towel. Lay down.
I couldn’t be myself in the field either.
So I left my things where they were
and softly re-entered the river.

Anders Villani was born in Melbourne. He now lives in Ann Arbor, where he is a postgraduate fellow in the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. For his MFA thesis, he received the Delbanco Prize.

Featured: Wherever You're Going

Wherever You’re Going
Frank Haberle

This lady tells you that you just have to walk all the way out there to see it. So you walk all the way out there, and you see it. And then you start walking back. You have to walk out on another road, a single lane road winding up and down huge rocky hills, between stone walls, past barren fields and abandoned tractors. No cars ever come. You keep walking, all day, into a stiff cold wind. And it starts getting dark and the wind really picks up. And at last, a car drives past you–a black one, like a hearse–and the driving man stops, and turns around, and backs up to you, and pushes the passenger door open.
“Wherever you’re going,” the driving man says, “you best get in.”
“Thank you, sir.” You throw your pack into the back seat.
“I hope you haven’t been walking all the way from out there,” the driving man says.
“I have.”
The driving man turns and looks at you. He looks like Harry Truman, with a crack straight down the right lens of his glasses. His face is whiskey red. There is no seatbelt. You hold the dashboard, white-knuckled. He drives for an hour, swerving toward the stone wall on the right, then the one on the left. The driving man rattles off the names of all the places you should go and see that don’t require a very long walk on an exposed stretch of land where you’ll catch the death of cold and they’ll never find your bones: the church of this, the high king of that.
The walls turn into buildings, then open into a town square. The driving man slams on the squeaking breaks in front of a huge train station. ‘You’ll find a place to sleep in there,’ he says.  ‘And if you can’t you should sleep anywhere you like. Although I wouldn’t recommend it.’
He reaches over to shake your hand. His coat opens up at the neck. For the first time, you see the priest collar, stained with sweat. You climb out of the car and stand under a lone street lamp. The wind is howling now, a winter one, an ocean blast. Ropes clang on a pipe somewhere. Only one door to the train station is open. You walk through it. There are lines of old trains waiting on platforms, but the lights are off and the engines silent. ‘I suppose I can just sleep in a passenger car,’ you think; but you try some doors and they are locked.
Then a yard man appears on the end of the platform, swinging a lantern.
‘We’re closing now so you better get out,’ he says as he approaches you.
‘Oh,’ you say.
‘Are you looking for a place?’ he asks. In the lantern’s light his face is bony; his dark eyes set back under a hedge of eyebrows.
‘Can you manage four?’
‘I’ll lock up the rest now,’ the yard man says. ‘Meet me in front in five minutes.’
You stand in front of the station. The last light of the sky-a deep blue, like the ocean beneath it- barely glows beyond some old chimneys. A dog barks somewhere, but sadly, like he is lost in his own house. The wind rips through you three, four more times. There is a lone light on in the square—the window of a pub, across the way—and you are just about to start walking for it when the yard man reappears.
‘Follow me, then,’ the Yard man says. He starts walking, very quickly. Exhausted from the day’s march, and weighed down with your pack, you struggle to keep up. The yard man’s lantern lights up the faces of whitewashed buildings, little houses, tiny doors, and rows after rows of shuttered tiny windows. The yard man seems to pick up speed. Soon you are falling behind. ‘Come on, then,’ the yardman says, waving his free arm as he turns another corner. You turn it, and there he is in the middle of a block. He is knocking on a door. ‘Who in hell do you think it is,’ he yells. A woman’s muffled voice yells something back. The yard man hisses something back through the door. This goes on until you catch up with him. The door swings open and yellow light spills like heat out onto you. A tiny woman in a blue scarf and a housecoat looks up at you. The yard man disappears, running up the street.
‘You are welcome, you are welcome,’ she says, spreading her arms. ‘But please wipe your feet.’
IMG_0130Frank Haberle’s short stories have won the 2011 Pen Parentis Award and the 2013 Sustainable Arts Foundation Award; they have been published in numerous journals including the Adirondack Review, Smokelong Quarterly, Melic Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, Necessary Fiction, Cantaraville and Hot Metal Press. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Featured: Masters of the Game

Masters of the Game
Monique Kluczykowski
My lover said there is a bonanza of bunnies
in Iowa City, right there in river city
but here in the Motor City there are murders, a murder
of crows darkly lying over the intrusion
of cockroaches into the bar where
a busyness of ferrets, deceitful lapwings,
huddle in one corner, a gulp of swallows,
leashed foxes athirst, fervent
to turn a buck, turn a page
on a poverty of pipers,
while outside the window planes
surge upward over burnt-out streets,
an exaltation of larks ascending
on incandescent wings
above a labour of moles,
a galaxy of forgotten beauty.
Monique Kluczykowski was born in Germany, educated in Texas and Kentucky, and currently lives in Iowa City. Her essays have appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education and Women in Higher Ed, and her most recent poems have been published in StepAway Magazine, Cactus Heart, and The Magnolia Review.

Featured: The Man Who Ate the World

After Fred Voss
If the street played a violin it would sound like secrets from damned men and throb like bones of sparrows sighting the axe. It would deafen like the howling pack who grieve for earths pale Mother bloodied in the days last throes. If our roads were flesh they would be lifelines of migrants hands painting asphalt Picassos from meadow to sky scraping abbatoirs of lions and lambs. If our sky was for sale the stars would be sued by Murdoch for breach of copyright, if the sea was a woman there would be no islands and her bed would be made by all who slept there who once were conquistadors looking for new worlds. If the whale could speak through a million lamps it’s voice would be shaking through the light asking why to man. If the soil was a soldier it would lay down it’s bones in the shape of letters in words that make no sense. If the trees were a man he would gasp on a ventilator till his veins became twigs, if the gods were born again a dipped quill would kill them, a shorn dove would fall in a fat man’s throat who just ate the world.
Antony Owen’s work generally addresses national identity and the consequences of conflict in 21st century Britain. His latest collection The year I loved England (Pighog, 2014) is a collaboration of urban poems with Irish poet Joseph Horgan which was a recommended read by The Poetry Society (UK).

From the Issue: The Shattered Glass

The Shattered Glass
Angel LaCanfora
This is the time of the shattered glass-
The drain clogged with the hairs of my
cares and worries and outside, snow is flurrying
and I slosh through the slurry of mourning-
every noon and night.
This is the time of the shattered glass-
Green bottles breaking.
I’m trying to reach for your hand
but mine’s bandaged too tight.
I’m like a pilot light airplane crashing
into an empty home on a hillside forest.
This is the time of the shattered glass-
Champagne flutes and busted guitars litter
the floor after the celebration and gyrations end. Through cracked wine eyeglasses, I mirror spy my face, at which seventy-two lashes crossed.
This is the time of the shattered glass-
My head like a hurricane lashed window,
grey foam ocean water spattered,
detritus konking it, chipping it,
debris piling up outside,
while inside, I shiver-
naked, restless.
Read more from the current issue
Angel La Canfora‘s poetry has won awards from Writer’s Digest and Grey Sparrow Press and has been featured in Snow Jewel magazine, Poetry Quarterly and the Zodiac Review, amongst others. She also appeared at the 2014 Vegas Valley Book Festival. Angel currently resides in Henderson, Nevada. 

Featured: Heron

silent but for wind against exquisite bones,
bird that flies alone along the same line
as in days of brighter sun,
before the coming of the night and snow,
before the blue lament
of letting go
John P. Kristofco, from Highland Heights, Ohio, is professor of English and the former
dean of Wayne College in Orrville. His poetry, short stories, and essays have appeared
in over a hundred different publications, including: Folio, Rattle, The Bryant Literary Review, The Cimarron Review, Poem, Grasslimb, Iodine, Small Pond, The Aurorean,  Ibbetson Street, Blue Unicorn, Blueline, and Sheepshead Review. He has published three collections of poetry,  A Box of Stones, Apparitions, and The Fire in Our Eyes.  He  has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times.

Letter from the Editors, Fall 2015, Issue 7

IN THE FIRST YEAR AND A HALF SINCE WE BECAME A MAGAZINE, we have published poems, stories, essays and artwork by over 100 different authors, featured written and audio versions of creative work on our blog and run our very first prose contest. Having lived in several different cities, we realize that every city has its ups and downs. Whether it is the weather or the public transit or just the people you spent time with there, each city has its own unique blend of wonderful and gritty, inspiring and burdensome.
For our first contest, we sought stories and essays that examined the underside of cities. We received submissions about shootings and natural disasters, inmates and family members, growing up and growing old. We are excited to share the winners and runners-up from our contest in this special “Cities Gone Wrong” edition of Two Cities Review. We have included some poetry and art that we received during the same submission period that also fit the theme.
There’s much to be excited about at Two Cities as our magazine and website continue to evolve. We want to take advantage of all the forms of art that an online issue allows, so you can expect more use of audio and a soon-to-be-announced serial project. We can’t wait to present new visions of the literary city in upcoming issues.
We hope to make our contest an annual event; thank you all for your support of our writers and our magazine.
Happy reading!
Blair Hurley & Olivia Tandon
Read the new issue here