ROCK STAR AT LA SCALA BY DC DIAMONDOPOLOUS 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 70
Nana would have been pleased with my La Scala scheme. My happiest memories had been when we picnicked along the Susquehanna River. Nature and its integrity. That’s the life to live, far away from illusions. My sophisticated grandmother, who behind closed doors smoked thin cigars, swore, and taught me to play poker, would have said, “Darlin’, it’s about time.”
I HEARD HIS VOICE BY ATASH YAGHMAIAN 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 70
I heard the Muslim call to prayer, but we were somewhere in the Lower East Side of New York City and there were no minarets. I strained my ears to listen. Children’s voices seemed to be coming from outside the window, though we were on the fourth floor. I let the sounds wash over me. Then the deep, soft voice of my Uncle Hossain filled my ears: “Azizam, movazeb baash kasi nayad too. My love, don’t let anyone in.”
You’ve masticated, digested, and shat out a priceless work of literature and you’ve filmed it? This is really too much. I’m sorry, this is my last day here and, while this has been very entertaining, I really need to get back to work.
THE LOTUS EATERS BY TRAVIS DUNCAN 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 70
MARIE ANGE BY PETER LEFCOURT 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 70
er name was Marie Ange, and nobody knew how old she was. Estimates ranged from 40 to 70, and higher.
Bertrand, the butcher down the street, said she serviced the Nazis during the Occupation, but Bertrand tends to exaggerate. He once told me that France produced more than 1100 different cheeses, and that was in Normandy alone.
I wondered whether Marie Ange paid rent on her doorway, or kicked back a percentage to the Vietnamese who owned the store.
Her posture was the classic stance of the professional: one high heel up against the wall, the other firmly planted on the ground. Her wardrobe was seasonal. In summer she was fond of vintage chemises and garter belts under a flimsy robe. In winter she was wrapped in a faux fur coat from, in all probability, the Porte de Clignancourt flea market, that she would part indifferently for a prospective client. This is what you get. Take it or leave it.
Her makeup seemed to be applied in strata, like the pentimento of an old oil painting that had been abandoned in an attic. She must have merely covered over the previous day’s embellishment with a fresh layer every morning or whatever passed for morning in her life. That, too, was anybody’s guess. Her working hours were random. I would see her at all hours, in all seasons, and then not at all for some period of time. I would assume she had gone out to pasture, returned to wherever she emerged from, whatever remote village, suburb, or neighborhood that had produced her. And then there she would be, in her doorway, in uniform, on the job.
A perpetual cigarette dangled from her lips as if it were glued into place, a thin trail of smoke discharging the acrid odor of black tobacco. They were filterless Gitanes, the kind that no one smoked any more except Algerian war veterans and period movie actors.
Her pitch was always the same. Any male who made eye contact got the same proposition, “Tu montes, cheri?”
I am a refugee from the trenches of Hollywood, as a writer and producer of film and television. Among my credits is Monte Carlo in which I managed to keep Joan Collins in a wardrobe for 35 pages. I began writing novels in the 1990s after being declared “marginally unemployable” in the entertainment business by my agent. I published The Deal which produced, in that inverse and masochistic logic of Hollywood, a fresh demand for my screenwriting. Since then I have divided my time between screenplays and novels. My most recent novel is Purgatory Gardens. I have written a number of plays which have been produced nationally. I was a co-executive producer on the ABC’s Desperate Housewives.
Rock Star at La Scala was written at the time of my mother’s illness and then her passing. Through my grief issues of love, separation, and what’s most important in life, played out in my writing. I write every day. I also meditate. It stills my mind, and I find it essential for my well-being. I’ve published more than 175 stories in print and online magazines, literary journals, and anthologies, including So It Goes: The Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, Lunch Ticket, Raven Chronicles, Silver Pen, and Front Porch Review.
JAN BERLFEIN BURNS
My parents left to their children and grandchildren wonderful collections of stories about their lives before we all came along. As the family genealogist and archivist these stories are precious to me and I hope that my stories too will be precious to my children, grandchildren, and generations to come. I’ve published stories in Avotaynu and the Jewish Journal. I wrote and self-published March of the Living, a collection of stories from interviews with Holocaust survivors. I have spoken to audiences in Antwerp, Paris, London, Los Angeles and Tucson about the Holocaust and the preservation of family stories
I live in Austin, Texas, and have three daughters and six grandchildren. My published poetry collections include Just a Few Feathers, Folding Washing, My Gift to Life, and Reflections. utecarson.com
I grew up in Indiana and discovered Kerouac’s On the Road when I was 16. Is there any age more dangerous to read that book? With an underdeveloped frontal lobe and a freshly laminated driving license in my pocket, I did the best I could to emulate my heroes, the ones who burn burn burn like fabulous Roman candles. Eventually, I ended up in Colorado, working in Denver where Neil Cassady grew up and where some parts of On the Road actually take place. When you stand in a place formerly occupied by your heroes, what is it you’re hoping for? You’re like a sinner on Sunday morning, kneeling before the mystery, hoping to ingest the thing that will transform you. I have worked as a newspaper reporter as well as a communications specialist for public libraries, local government, and a State wildlife agency. My nonfiction articles have been published in The Saturday Evening Post, American Libraries, and Tricycle: The Buddhist Review. The Lotus Eaters was performed at Denver Center for the Performing Arts. My short film Waiting on the Space Poets was screened at the Colorado Short Circuit Festival, The Bug Theater in Denver, and at the Gallup Film Festival in New Mexico.
One fine day sha la la la la LA I will see the Potter Stewart of poetry who doesn’t really know what it is but knows it when he sees it, and he will publish my book. And on that day I will sigh and sing sha la la la la LA and softly thank Potter Stewart, but until that day comes I will wax bilious about Bukowski because it amuses me and continue to submit to good journals because it pleases me to do so. It also pleases me to write eight-page poems at funerals with the little golf-tee pens they place in the pews for the offertory. If God didn’t want me to write poems in church He wouldn’t have put pencils there. My writing has been published in about 30 journals and rejected by about three times as many.
I see storytelling as a tool for healing trauma, and I bring both my experience as a survivor and as a therapist to my work in an effort to bring hope to people like me. I am working currently on a memoir called My Name Means Fire. I was born in Tehran, Iran, and I have lived in the United States since I was 19. My experience with trauma, war, oppression, and revolution in my own country led me to psychotherapy as a way of understanding and processing the trauma. I have worked two decades in New York City public schools as a licensed clinical social worker giving social and emotional support to urban youth who struggle with poverty, injustice, and abuse. I am a founding member and Director of Wellness of Harvest Collegiate High School.