Red Booth Review • Volume 6: Issue 1. May 2011.

Gabriel Padilha
Martin Willitts Jr. • Accounting
Mercedes Lawry • Two Poems
William Greenway • Two Poems
Philip Dacey • Bibliophilia
Aimee Nicole • Rotten Saturday
Dana Yost • Two Poems
Lucille Gang Shulklapper • Outsider
Howie Good • Technotopia
Nancy Lewis • Girl Flying Kite

Lis Anna • The Fables #23
Chantel Schott • Statuesque
Gabriel Padilha • Coney Island Sky
Jim Fuess • Balloons #3
Juan Zapata Jr. • Still There
Spider Thorndal • Building 1

Accounting • Martin Willitts Jr.


My accountant father drifted into the numberless
where things are added and subtracted,
where things are accounted for.

His name was on a ledger, like all of ours.
Whatever he did, he did alone,
just like we do whatever we do alone.

There is no difference in this.
Before our journey begins or continues,
our heart weighs less than a penny nail

or more than countless stars, and what we carry
is what we have always been carrying,
no matter how secretly, no matter what others proclaim.


How we depart is not up to us.
How we are seen is not up to us.
How we are spoken about is not up to us.

Our life is nomadic. The way we go on
is not up to us. The way we expire
on a timer, is not up to us.

Doctors and their tubes of electricity,
their numerous degrees and medicines,
their measured landscapes of flat lines,

the paramedic giving Breath Of Life,
the clergy offering understanding,
the man rouging our face, do not decide.

When a decision is made, nothing stops it.
When a decision is made nothing else matters ---
no negotiations, no second chances, nothing.


Enter a cathedral of a plane, lifting
its wings, an albatross
parting sunlight like hospital curtains,

out of the tarmac, a white seagull,
rising its metal hull to Valhalla, into air,
a clear voice reassuring it is alright.


Giving away things was easy, saying nothing.
His shoes were worn out from saying nothing.
His voice was an empty closet --- silence hung there.

Later this silence would haunt me: nothing, nothing, nothing.
Rooms with no sounds reverberating: nothing, nothing, nothing.
The sum total of his life was nothing

What does my tally sheet look like? Why do things
continue with or without us? Simple things
become complex, then becoming simple, again and again.

I have a boarding pass, where loss and found are departments.
I have hopelessness and hope, finding both restless.
My heart is an Etruscan playing double pipes.


Martin Willitts Jr recent poems appeared in Naugatuck River Review, MiPOesias, Flutter,, Muse Café, and Caper Journal. He was recently nominated for two Best of The Net awards and his 5th Pushcart award. He has new chapbooks include: “The Girl Who Sang Forth Horses” (Pudding House Publications, 2010), “Van Gogh’s Sunflowers for Cezanne” (Finishing Line Press, 2010), “True Simplicity” (Poets Wear Prada Press, 2011), “My Heart Is Seven Wild Swans Lifting” (Slow Trains, 2011), “Why Women Are A Ribbon Around A Bomb” (Last Automat, 2011), and “Art Is Always an Impression of What an Artist Sees” (Muse Café, 2011).

The Fables #23 • Lis Anna


Lis Anna’s short fiction, films, screenplays, and novels have all been nominated and won awards. She is a five time WorldFest winner, a Wurlitzer Grant recipient, a New Century Writers winner, Second Place Winner of the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Award, First Place winner of the 11th Annual Poet Hunt Award, a four time Accolade Film Competition winner, and a finalist in the Nicholl Fellowships, the Doris Betts Fiction Award, Chesterfield Film Project, and the William Faulkner Competition. She is the 2011 Readers Choice Award recipient from Fiction Fix and the Second Place 2011 Winner of the Hint Fiction Contest. Her fiction has been published in Word Riot, The Blotter, Petigru Review, Hot Metal Press, The Smoking Poet, Eclectic Flash, Paper Skin Glass Bones, 491 Magazine, Fiction Fix, The Monarch Review, 5x5 Literary Magazine, Hint Fiction Anthology and The MacGuffin Literary Review. or

Two Poems • Mercedes Lawry

The Liars

The liars are fearless.
They move seamlessly through
stink of alley and throne,
a pale buzz issuing from mouths
that have no resting shape.
Children learn from them.
Rewards are plentiful,
flushed out of drains and pockets
as the summer winds down.
We elect them, celebrate their nerve.
We forgive them or don’t.
As close as our own midnight ghosts
and dirty minds, the liars
wait around until we need them,
flaunting their glorious distortion
of our trembling before gods.



There go my bones
in league with my best intentions.
Body and soul
in a pissing contest.
I have no luck
aside from the useless sort.
I won’t go beyond
the fourth step of the ladder,
inside or out.
Raspy chatter beneath
my window. Did I
forget to lock the door?

There go my arms and legs
spinning like a mad star.
It’s too late
for prayers but
I’ll study the map.
Maybe we’ll reunite
this side of paradise
or wherever you think
the dead are having cocktails.


Mercedes Lawry was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA and has lived in Seattle over thirty years. She's published poetry in such journals as Poetry, Rhino, Nimrod, Poetry East, Seattle Review, and others. Her chapbook, There Are Crows in My Blood, was published by Pudding House Press in 2007 and she has a chapbook forthcoming in July from Finishing Line Press – Happy Darkness. She's also published some fiction as well as stories and poems for children. Among the honors she's received are awards from the Seattle Arts Commission, Hugo House, and Artist Trust. And, she;s been a Jack Straw Writer and held a residency at Hedgebrook.

Statuesque • Chantel Schott


Chantel Schott is a self-taught abstract artist based in Queensland, Australia. Her artwork was featured on the cover of the 2010 McGregor Summer School brochure and she was the featured artist at Long Island Arts on-line gallery in New York. You can view her work and stay updated at her website:

Two Poems • William Greenway

Your Alley

It’s right up it, some people
say, and I imagine rats
scurrying beneath yellow
arc lights, winos dozing,
their backs against brick,
haggard youths shooting up
in the shadows by disheveled
trash cans waiting to be
strewn by the bumpers of perps
pursued by the Crown Victorias
of cops with sawed-offs,
and drop-guns braceleted
around their fat calves,
the numbers filed off like
the letters of a poem
no one will be able to identify
or remember.


Room at the Inn

It’s 10 pm, and we’d just be getting home from Ainie and Unkie’s, him with his big cigar, Uncle Harold, legs crossed, bored, smoking incessantly, Aunt Evelyn with her Betty Boop lipsticked lips.

Pimento cheese sandwich on white bread with potato chips and a ribbed bottle of Coke, then Rich’s coconut cake (the best on earth, ever), then us kids distributing presents from under the angel-haired tree, always socks wrapped in a ball from Ainie, for which we thanked her profusely, and for which we were welcomed, diffident and probably ashamed because that’s all she could afford.

Buzz-cut cousins Jerry and Buddy smoking cigars like their granddad, their gorgeous wives coiffed and finger-lacquered, all in that tiny house in south Atlanta, the drive home under hard stars and red, green, and blue Christmas lights blurring the windows.

Now, in Portland fifty years later, on my sister’s last Christmas Eve, I try to bring in some carols on the radio of the rental car, knowing there won’t be any Santa in the morning, only a bottle of Wild Turkey in the motel room before I drift off to sleep dreaming of the curvaceous Coke bottle, the red-nailed virgin, the incense of cigars, and those wise men, bringing booties.


William Greenway's tenth collection, Everywhere at Once, won the Poetry Book of the Year Award from the Ohio Library Association, as did his eighth collection Ascending Order. His work has appeared in
Poetry, American Poetry Review, Southern Review, Georgia Review, Missouri Review, Southern Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, and Shenandoah. He's the Distinguished Professor of English at Youngstown State University.

Coney Island Sky • Gabriel Padilha


Gabriel is an Argentine photographer from Buenos Aires who now divides the year between New York City and Montevideo, Uruguay.

Balloons #3 • Jim Fuess


Jim Fuess works with liquid acrylic paint on canvas. Most of his paintings are abstract, but there are recognizable forms and faces in a number of the abstract paintings. He is striving for grace and fluidity, movement and balance. He likes color and believes that beauty can be an artistic goal. There is whimsy, fear, energy, movement, fun and dread in his abstract paintings. A lot of his abstract paintings are anthropomorphic. The shapes seem familiar. The faces are real. The gestures and movements are recognizable. More of his abstract paintings, both in color and black and white, may be seen at

Still There • Juan Zapata, Jr.

Bibliophilia • Philip Dacey

Proud book-rat,
my tail, like a ribbony
marker, giving me away,
the cover pulled down
cozily over me,

hatch on my ship.
Sing hand-heft, spine-crack,
dog-ear. Page

after page in waves,
conducted by a finger.
Riffle-music. Friends
dumbly voluble, their
solid shoulders on my shelf.

May I carry yours home after school?
Dangled by a strap around them.
The guts of a satchel
spilled on the dining-room table.
The valley of one opened,

cleavage of intelligence,
two mounds of mother-language.
In the flames of those
afraid of it, it can burn,
its power airborne.


Philip Dacey’s latest of eleven books is Mosquito Operas: New and Selected Short Poems (Rain Mountain Press, 2010). The winner of three Pushcart Prizes, two NEA grants, and a Fulbright to Yugoslavia, he has written entire collections of poems about Gerard Manley Hopkins, Thomas Eakins, and New York City. His website is

Rotten Saturday • Aimee Nicole

for Michael Gizzi

I lift my pen off the paper.
It is 4:20 and outside cars are honking and tires
squeal on the pavement.
TVs blare in each room
like the world will forget about us if we don’t make enough noise.

This novel is shit in a hand-basket,
too heavy to lift off the cracked concrete street.
For a few moments, I leave it laying docile under dozens
of stomping feet. I drop it off right on the corner of
W 23rd and 6th.
I rub my hands together greedily, malice glints in my eyes
and I hope this novel feels sorry for causing me such grief,
though it is unaware of the beating it takes.

Why did Keith betray her anyway?
Is getting a girl pregnant a big enough catastrophe
to fuel a novella?

I rip out a page and crumple it with a fist.
Bitching teenagers are not how I want to spend
this Saturday but it’s too cold to go for a walk.
Maybe I’ll boil some water for tea.

Can’t anyone light a joint around here without turning heads?
It’s like the circus is in town and I’m the featured act.
I think I forgot my clubs and rings in the trunk.

I dig through my closet for a spare pen and find a ballpoint
hidden in a corner I didn’t know existed.
A fist-sized spider books it toward my foot accusingly,
as if to say “Hey you bastard, clean out this shithole.”
If my own closet isn’t clean enough for a spider,
my own clothes must stink like rotten meat slabbed on a sidewalk
on a sticky summer day when the sun threatens to melt the world alive.

Maybe Keith should just lift a gun off someone’s belt
and pull the trigger to his temple.
Then she wouldn’t have to worry about him fucking it up,
because that’s what fathers are best at anyway.

The phone rings and I let it go.
I’d rather spend the day with bitching teenagers
than listen to anything this world has to say.


While not reading, painting, and with her family, Aimee is finishing up a YA manuscript. She graduated from Roger Williams University with a degree in Creative Writing this past May.

Two Poems • Dana Yost

Last Pennies

We should throw our last
into Amtrak tickets to the
as far as we can pay for,
wherever that is, and make new
and live in our own humor and
and when you get old and scared
I will hold you and tell you stories
about people we don’t know
who all died after happy
to lives we didn’t live,
and tell you we had a happy
too, in a happy life,
this new life built far from
and gossip, a life built for
like a tandem bike, with
comfortable seats
and an easy glide.
The moon will belong to us,
and the elk and the hawk,
and the horned owls in trees
will be in another life,
where the river is someone else’s
but we won’t mind, as we
slip into dreams under a
borrowed from your grandmother,
flavored with the sadness of
Chinese poets
who watched dynasties end
with ships sailing to the East,
while they, exiled and
made homes in perches of hard
above the steam.

A Day Like This

My brother
died on a day like this.
I say this
over coffee to a friend when it rains.
I say it to my
neighbor when I’m weeding the garden
with sunlight
making me sweat on a Monday afternoon.
I say it when
a snowstorm shuts down highways and schools,
say it then in
the office where I am stranded for another long day.
A day like
It may have
been past midnight, both of us numbed by too many years
and old
Or just before
sunrise, a fuck-you because we’d both overslept, bosses calling.
Or the Sunday
of a holiday weekend, sunlit, blue-skied.
I have lost
He died saying
last words and he died angry,
and I will do
the same some day,
my anger the
same as his, although my words will be my own.
I watched him
die, though,
and he’ll not
see me do it.
That’s the
difference. I watched him,
shouting, grinding gravel with his work boots
walking away.
I poured
coffee. Pulled open the blade on the Ozark knife. Snapped it back.
There were no
phone calls, nor knocks at the door.
The day
drifted into silence, until it became a week, a year
until time
became meaningless
until every
day sounded, looked, smelled like every day.
The dog
breathed at my feet. I drank my coffee.
All the same.
A day like


Dana was a daily newspaper editor and reporter for 29 years. He's published two books, most recently Grace, a collection of new poems, and last December's The Right Place, a collection of essays and poems. His poetry also has been published in Wolf Head Quarterly, Relief, Awakenings Review, Stone's Throw Magazine, South Dakota Magazine, Turtle Quarterly, Time of Singing, Open Minds Quarterly, and on Minnesota Public Radio's website.

Outsider • Lucille Gang Shulklapper

Below me,
in some remote region,
barefoot in the grass,
arms outstretched,
a child leaps
into the wild blue yonder,
into a vanishing point, wanting.

And I,
once that child, now find myself,
grounded in the sullen sky
over Florida’s Everglades,
prowling like her panther,
endangered , on the range.

On the blurred horizon,
the sun plays peek-a-boo
with human animals,
who we were and who we are,
fighting for our lives.


Lucille Gang Shulklapper has published poems and stories in many journals as well as in four poetry chapbooks, the most recent titled In the Tunnel. She has also modeled, sold realty, made recordings for the blind, taught reading from k-college, and led workshops for the Florida Center for the Book and workshops facilitated through the Palm Beach Poetry Festival. Presently, she tutors third graders in reading as a senior volunteer, and lives with her husband, a retired pediatrician, and a rescued cat named Zoe. 

Technotopia • Howie Good

It’s no longer 4 a.m.
Our children
cross the street
without waking.
The song sparrow
remains silent
and well hidden.
Hearts designed
for another purpose
pump darkness
into the air.


Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the full-length poetry collections Lovesick (Press Americana, 2009), Heart With a Dirty Windshield (BeWrite Books, 2010), and Everything Reminds Me of Me (Desperanto, 2011).

Girl Flying Kite • Nancy Lewis

We have to imagine
she had flaws, the girl
whose shade is blasted forever
into Nagasaki stone. She was doubtless
less beautiful than the outline
suggests. Red Atoll — as she was
known to her friends
for the portwine birthmark
on her left cheek —
was looping out string
to her dragon kite
when she heard a dizzying drone
in the sky and raised
her left arm to shield
her eyes from the sun, so
that when the print was made,
she was posed in a double salute. To tourists
who view the artifact of the Atomic Age
today, the girl's right arm is a compass
pointing due north, and if one's eye
follows the line her arm makes,
one sees the pure afterlife
of a mountain capped with snow. Seen
from far above the earth, the mushroom
cloud containing the molecules
of the girl must have looked
like a giant knob opening
the door to a roomful of human horrors,
lives no more than scraps of paper
to be wadded up and tossed
into a corner trashbasket.


Nancy Lewis is an award-winning journalist, award-winning poet and college professor currently residing in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Building 1 • Spider Thorndal


Spider Thorndal has published his photos and poetry widely. He is a native of Baltimore, and this photo was taken there.