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Issue 71, April-June  2015
Prime Number Magazine is a publication of Press 53, PO Box 30314, Winston-Salem, NC 27130
Prime Decimals 71.2


Flash Fiction

Davis Nunneley
My Father Named Me Danger


My Father Named Me Danger
by Davis Nunneley


Poetry

Peter Serchuk
The Foley Artist

Emily Vizzo
Divide Anything By Itself
The Foley Artist
by Peter Serchuk



Divide Anything By Itself
by Emily Vizzo


Adventure takes its own name;

meaning, you will find that the world is what you thought it was
or that it isn’t.

Whatever it is, it was already.
This might not be true.

But the world might be only itself.

Any sixth grader can tell you,
a number balanced on the glass vinculum
above itself is only 
a reflection.

Go into any number deep enough,
& there it is.

One way to know a carrot is to hold it in your hands. 

But you could move against a carrot with a fine knife
to know the carrot better.

Its carrotness peels away in bright 
delicate shells. Possibly 

you will be left with nothing but a faint 
wash of carrot juice filling the lines of your palm.
That is, 
    more carrot.

Even zero is an even number! 

The only thing that can ever be left out
is 1,
which can only dissolve
into itself.  
What if I already know what I need to know?

The jumpy 
scent of gasoline, a tin sunshine painting lizards
bright against blue Spanish
tile. I am common both going
in & going out.




Emily Vizzo is a San Diego poet, editor, and educator whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in FIELD, The Journal, North American Review, Blackbird, jubilat, and The Normal School. A San Diego Area Writing Project Fellow, Emily serves as assistant managing editor at Drunken Boat, and volunteers with VIDA, Poetry International, and Hunger Mountain. Her essay, "A Personal History of Dirt," was noted in Best American Essays 2013. She completed her MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts and teaches yoga at the University of San Diego. 


Q&A

Q: What can you tell us about this poem?
A: This poem began as an excavation into what makes things things, how things privately carry other things but can still be only themselves. This was mysterious to me, and writing the poem was one way to participate in the privacy of objects; their disputatious arrangements with the ordered world and borders. 

I would have been honored to be John Lawry Evens IV, but I guess my father was not a man for tradition. 

Growing up, none of my friends were aloud to schedule a play date with me. Their parents thought I was a bad influence. Who could blame them? Before I knew any better, I embraced my name and the role it required of me. 

As a toddler I was a regular at the local pub. The owner even set up a Hot Wheels track for me under the dart board. I knew how to light a Zippo on the thigh of my jeans before the age of ten, and I wasn’t shy to teach anybody in my grade all of the four letter words. Christmases were filled with leather jackets and bottle rockets. In the sixth grade I was kicked out of the Boy Scouts for cheating in the Pinewood Derby. Once I even got scolded by my father for wearing a helmet while skateboarding.

In years filled with teenage angst, I tried going by Dan, but its hard to shake off such a title. My friends said they wished they had my dad instead of theirs, and asked why I would ever want to change my name. My teachers called me Danger, my friend’s parents called me Danger, and my high school football coach even bent the rules to have my first name embroidered on the back of my jersey, assuring me that I would appreciate the humor later in life. My senior year, I won the superlative, Most Likely to Marry a Super Model, even though I couldn’t find a date for prom. 

I’m an accountant now. My business card reads “Dan Evens.” I have a wife and three kids. On Tuesday nights we go bowling, and on Thursday nights we sing karaoke. Things aren’t so bad, though. My high school football jersey is framed and hung in my bedroom, and my friends still call me Danger.




Davis Nunneley grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, where he found his love for writing at the age of eighteen. He currently writes and teaches SCUBA diving on Andros Island in the Bahamas. Davis spends any downtime he has wondering why anyone would ever want to grow a mustache without the beard, and making a long list of people of whom he does not trust.

Q&A

Q: What surprised you most during the process of composing and revising this piece? 

A: Writing flash fiction is new to me, so the process of trying to fit a narrative arch onto two pages came with his own challenges that I had to learn to work through. I started writing this piece with the sole intention of making people laugh, but after the first draft realized there was some potential to bring a more serious undertone into the mix. I struggled a little bit to find a happy medium between humor and that serious undertone, so I guess I was surprised by how my attitude changed towards the piece as I continued to work on it. 

Available now: Prime Number Magazine, Editor Selections, Volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4Learn more...
Short Essay

Molly Gaudry
The only thing I can think of is heartbreak

​By now you know the charge 
of the stallion is just me slapping 
wooden blocks. That growling thunder?
Bowling balls on a cement floor.
And those wet kisses that can’t bear 
to say goodbye--suction cups my fingers 
walk across a vaselined mirror.
It’s all for good, isn’t it? Alone in the dark, 
so much of what we need to hear disappears 
as our eyes race ahead. 

And then there are sounds unheard. 
That takes a special craft. The laughter 
of misplaced friends, cracked horns 
of ships that won’t come in, the dirge 
of a lock left rusting on its chain. 
So what if it’s just me on a sound stage 
with whistles and brooms, me with chopsticks, bubble 
wrap and spoons; shooting sparks 
into the memory of a heart-broken year, 
or a good storm to wash away sins
thanks to my faucet and a pie tin? 
Driving home, that’s the only soundtrack 
you’ll want to remember, all those things left 
in silence years ago; the whisper of lost planets,
a forgotten voice singing in the distance, 
all this and more, once more, 
alive in your ears.





Peter Serchuk's poems have appeared in a variety of journals including Poetry, Boulevard, New Letters, North American Review, Denver Quarterly and others. He is the author of two full collections: Waiting for Poppa at the Smithtown Diner, (University of Illinois Press) and All That Remains (WordTech Editions). He lives in Los Angeles.


Q&A

Q: What can you tell us about this poem?
A: The idea of the Foley artist has always intrigued me-the challenge of artificially creating certain sounds to make them more dynamic than their reallife counterparts. Also, the emotional nuance these sound can convey and what they migh t tell us about a landscape, a person, or even a relationship.


The only thing I can think of is heartbreak
Molly Gaudry



It must be my general state of being.

Default mode. Comfort zone. Code for: sadness.  

It has been steady and present throughout most of my life. In childhood and adolescence, into my young adulthood, and now it's here, again—that old familiar feeling.

I can't describe it.

But Rebecca Solnit touches upon it in The Faraway Nearby: "A book is a heart that only beats in the chest of another."

Can we just linger on that line awhile? 

A book is a heart that only beats in the chest of another

She goes on: "The child I once was read constantly and hardly spoke, because she was ambivalent about the merits of communication, about the risks of being mocked or punished or exposed. The idea of being understood and encouraged, of recognizing herself in another, of affirmation, had hardly occurred to her and neither had the idea that she had something to give others." 

Heartbreak.

I've carried it with me so long, I don't resist it anymore.

***

Over at Poor Claudia, Danielle Vogel writes: "For all creatures, the most primal form of shelter is a hollow: a simple cavity dug into earth, a depression in the sand, the carved out alcove of a tree. For a writer, the most primal form of shelter is a word."

Think of the curve of a spoon, what shapeless form it's meant to delicately cradle, carry, hold, lift, raise. Now think of an egg, its perfect fit.

Think of your back pressed fast to your lover's chest. Think of your lover's arm around your body, how it shields. 

Think shelter. 

Think love.

Think. How fragile the shell. 

***

Kelly Flanagan: "It's a lifetime that forms us into people who are becoming ever more loving versions of ourselves, who can bear the weight of loneliness, who have released the weight of shame, who have traded in walls for bridges, who have embraced the mess of being alive, who risk empathy and forgive disappointments, who love everyone with equal fervor, who give and take and compromise, and who have dedicated themselves to a lifetime of presence and awareness and attentiveness."

A more loving version of myself, then.

To bear this loneliness.

To release so much shame, like a red balloon let go into the sky.

To build bridges instead of walls. And how lovely is that image. 

Risking empathy. Forgiving disappointment.

Loving. This mess of being alive.





Molly Gaudry is the author of the verse novels Desire: A Haunting (2015) and We Take Me Apart (2010), which was shortlisted for the 2011 PEN/Joyce Osterweil and named 2nd finalist for the Asian American Literary Award for Poetry. She is a resident faculty member of the Yale Writers’ Conference and the creative director of The Lit Pub. 

Q&A

Q: Describe your writing space for us. Are you someone who finds the muse in a public space such as a café, or in a cave of one’s own?  
A: Because I have no particular writing space at the moment, I hope you’ll forgive me if I wax poetic. Have you seen Jill Krementz’s book of black-and-white photographs of writers at their desks? It’s called The Writer’s Desk, and you can get a good sense of it, teaser-style, by Googling “Jill Krementz writer’s desk.” I happened upon this book in the Armacost Library at the University of Redlands, by chance, and fell in love. I was eighteen and a newly declared creative writing major in college, which felt more electric to me than the creative writing major I had been in high school. I felt as if I had arrived and that I was a real writer—or, at least, that soon I would be. As I flipped through its pages, The Writer’s Desk inspired me to make a sacred writing space of my own; and over the years, in every new apartment I moved into, I privileged my writing space. It was always pretty: sometimes twinkle lights, sometimes just a single tea light on a tea saucer. Sometimes I arranged my desk so I could see the television; sometimes I chose to look out a window. But in 2008, when on a whim I moved to South Philadelphia to teach Pre-GED and GED to post-incarcerated men and women in a halfway house, I had shed most of my belongings; everything that went with me to Philly fit in my car. I rented a “furnished” room on the 6th Street side of the second level of a house occupied by other artists; in this room, a twin mattress on the floor, a dresser, a desk and chair. I wrote my first book at that desk, in that room. And since then I’ve come to appreciate that perhaps it’s not the space that makes the writer but the writer who makes the space—which is to say, the time, the time away from her social and personal lives, the time away from television and other idle entertainments, the time away from rest after a long day at work (and after family, if she has one), the time to do the thing that makes her a writer—wherever she can.