Important Notice!

Due to a medical emergency, HIP Literary Press contests are on hold until further notice. You are still allowed to submit your work for either regular publication or as a contest entry (please specify which) just know that it may be a considerable time before you hear anything back. Thank you for your patience during this critical situation.

Allie Coker-Schwimmer, Editor

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3RD PLACE POETRY

 

“Smoke”

Kelly Seale

Your seduction’s so subtle, your effect on me so sweet,

You dance on air, and consume me with your fire,

I feel your touch, and oh…I feel your heat…

You’ve captured my soul, you fill me with desire.

Your kiss, the kiss of sweet death,

Tastes like heaven’s hell…

The more I taste you, the more I crave you,

And I’m sucked into your warm embrace.

And as you dance…your curves, your smile,

The delicate, deadly way you move…

I’m drawn to your decadent fragrance,

I’m hooked on your darkness,

I’m hooked on your groove.

I’d follow you anywhere, for just another taste of you,

I’m locked within death’s tight grip,

As you lead me to the chopping block…

I can feel my heart quicken, I can feel myself slip,

I can’t stop now, as I welcome your kiss of death…

And I gladly place my head in the guillotine,

As I take one last taste, one last breath…

And Inhale of your sweet nicotine-

I choke…on your

Smoke.

I’ve been writing poetry and short storys since I was 12. I am a 20 year US Navy veteran, now working as a Power Plant Engineer for PNM Resources, in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I am 55 and have been happily married for 25 years. I have 4 children, 2 grown daughters and two teenage boys. Writing and photography are my passions in life and I am confident that soon, my dreams of getting  a book published with be realized. A book of my poems is within easy reach, and a novel will be soon to follow. Thank you for choosing “Smoke” as the third place winner for poetry, I hope those that read it, see between the lines and discover it’s meaning. For me, it continues to be a constant battle which I am determined to win.
Kelly Seale.

2ND PLACE POETRY

Terzanelle: September Spice

Shari Jo LeKane-Yentumi

Transition from summer to autumn is nice:

in bountiful gardens of earthly delights,

especially seasoned with September Spice.

 

Though days are retreating to much longer nights,

the crickets are singing the song of the bold

in bountiful gardens of earthly delights.

 

Those late days of harvest will come before cold;

the barbecue pits will roast meat and fresh corn,

while crickets are singing the song of the bold.

 

Then dew will be painted with frost in the morn’

as pumpkins grow orange like leaves on the trees,

and barbecue pits will roast meat and fresh corn.

 

The scent of a fireplace floats on the breeze

while Indian Summer leads us into Fall,

and pumpkins grow orange like leaves on the trees.

 

The beauty of nature enriches us all

as Indian Summer leads us into Fall.

Transition from summer to autumn is nice,

especially seasoned with September Spice.

Shari Jo LeKane-Yentumi lives in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, with her family where she writes poetry and prose. She specializes in literary criticism and not-for-profit matters. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish, and a Master of Arts in Spanish from Saint Louis University in Madrid and St. Louis. Since her brain surgery, she volunteer teaches creative writing to men in a maximum security jail and works part-time for civil rights attorneys. She completed a novel in verse, Poem to Follow, and is compiling a poetry anthology, Surviving Gracefully. Shari’s poetry has been featured in several literary magazines in the U.S., U.K., Canada, India, Spain, and most recently in the Missouri VSA 2013 Anthology, Turning the Clocks Forward Again.

1ST PLACE POETRY

Bisexual Man in the Moon

Twiggy Munford

 

Bisexual man in the moon,

winking like a shy girl in puberty,

shining full,

not covered in cloud clothes.

Often your manly face appears  

with a Halloween smile,

vulpine eyes with jagged lines glowing,

bounced by earthly astronauts.

A female you must surely be,

rolling up your petticoats, pulling the tides

gently to and from shores,

waxing and waning as if,

as if exhaling your breath in feverish love,

bosom pale.

So proud you are,

Bisexual Man and Woman in the Moon,

reigning supreme,

up there among the stars,

king and queen of the night.

Attended Pan-American Business School, Virginia Commonwealth University & University of Richmond Evening Classes; retired from U.S. District Court for the Eastern Dist. Of Va. As Admin. Assistant to the Hon. Robert R. Merhige, Jr., U.S. Dist. Judge in 1998.

Currently doing volunteer work as secretary and shipment coordinator

For Children’s Medical Services Int., Inc., a 501c(3) local grass-roots non-profit organization helping third-world children achieve quality health care through sending professional medical doctors and nurses, esp. to Jamaica (all volunteer work) for a week or two yearly, as well as shipping donated necessary medical equipment & supplies to medical facilities there through the U.S. AID Agency.   In my spare time, I enjoy writing poetry and taking various classes of interest,

As well as taking care of my husband and assisting friends in need.

Q & A SPOTLIGHT WITH TWIGGY MUNFORD, AUTHOR OF “BISEXUAL MAN IN THE MOON”

Why do you write? 

I love words!  And writing

Words in poetic form are a challenge.

Where do you draw inspiration from for your writing? 

Most anything – nature, emotions, events, etc.

 How did the poem “Bisexual Man in the Moon” get started? 

Simply thinking about whether the “Man in the Moon” could actually be a woman.

What has your writing journey been like? 

It’s an outlet as well as something to do whenever boredom sets in.

What are some other writing projects you are currently working on? Books? Blogs/websites? 

Mostly another collection of poems to be printed as my second book.  First book “Songlines of Ophelia”

was printed by Xlibris in 2009.

Who are some of your favorite writers and authors? 

Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Billy Collins

What genres do you write (if other than poetry)?

Just poetry in the literary world

Anything else you would like to share with the readers of HIP Literary Magazine or that we should know about you? 

Hmmmm – just that I love life, love people, love laughing, and being “HIP”!!!!

2ND PLACE CREATIVE NONFICTION

 

Ellie May”

Kelly Seale

Riding full out, man and beast, two souls becoming one.Free as the wind, with no experience, just love.
She knew what she was doing, I didn’t. I trusted her, for we had a bond like no other. Common sense, went out the window, with the crossing of the black cat.
I let go of the reins, arms up in the air, embracing freedom, celebrating life. She could turn on a dime, which is exactly what she did. I knew in an instant, that I was coming off, and in that instant, slow motion effects kicked in. She wasn’t at fault. She did exactly what she was supposed to do, she stopped. I kept going, arms out to brace my fall.
My plan, was to tumble roll, a path of rocks lay before me in a blur. The impact was dead on, a sickening, liquid crunch that turned the landscape bright crimson red. I stood there, looking at my twisted body, my cracked open skull. She stood by me, waiting patiently for me to get up, whinnying, stomping her feet. I watched as she put her nose down to my mangled face, confused as to why I wasn’t getting back up to re-mount her.
Fast forward. Ambulance paramedics loading the gurney into the back, red stained sheet covering my face. She watched as they drove off the field, lights flashing, but no sound. I gave her a kiss on her nose, patted her neck, letting her know that it wasn’t her fault, that I still loved her, would always love her.
Everything faded to Black. I woke up, in sweat-soaked sheets tangled around my limbs. My broken wrist, throbbing with intense pain. The goose-neck break, was now straight. Pins protruding from within my bone. I reached for the bottle of pills on my nightstand. Outside, she called to me, wondering when we would ride again. Goddamn Vicodin.

I’ve been writing poetry and short storys since I was 12. I am a 20 year US Navy veteran, now working as a Power Plant Engineer for PNM Resources, in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I am 55 and have been happily married for 25 years. I have 4 children, 2 grown daughters and two teenage boys. Writing and photography are my passions in life and I am confident that soon, my dreams of getting  a book published with be realized. A book of my poems is within easy reach, and a novel will be soon to follow. Thank you for choosing “Smoke” as the third place winner for poetry, I hope those that read it, see between the lines and discover it’s meaning. For me, it continues to be a constant battle which I am determined to win.
Kelly Seale.

1st Place Creative Nonfiction

“Andy, It’s ‘Therapetic’”

By Terry Barr

 

            A grad school party at the Married Student Apartments. I’m standing in the early spring darkness: a day-for-night scene in the vein of those “Andy Griffith” episodes when they wanted to portray Mayberry by night but you could see the sun shining through the dark filters anyway.

            Our hosts are hoping for “hip” as they’ve provided a couple of kegs of Busch and are keeping the late New Wave tunes cranking. Men Without Hats’ “Safety Dance” has segued into Wang Chung’s “Everybody Wang Chung Tonight” into Men At Work’s “Who Can It Be Now?”

            I don’t know a lot of these people even though they’re members of the English Department, like me. But then, I’m beginning my dissertation, and so many of them are thinking only of whether they’ll take Master’s comps or write a thesis. I see my friend Steve talking to the woman he loves and who maybe loves him back, but then, she’s married so “who can it be now” indeed?

            Like usual, I invited my roommate, Sean. He’s a second-degree Architecture student, a wild and worldly guy from Pittsburgh who spent the previous two years in Senegal under Peace Corps auspices. I didn’t know him before last fall, but I needed a roommate, and he seemed harmless. But he’s caused trouble at other parties, hitting on already-taken girls and causing one boyfriend to confront me:

            “You better tell that roommate of yours to leave Joanna alone. She’s mine.”

            As if Sean were “mine.”

            Still, I like Sean; he’s a good late-night companion, and I don’t care whom he hits on as long as he leaves my face and body out of it. So I invited him again, this time, out of a sense of fraternal bonding. Or spite. And in any case, in another month I’ll be moving to a basement apartment across town and never see him for the rest of my life.

            So as I’m observing Steve and listening to Van Halen’s “Jump” and wondering just who has taken over this time in my life, I see Sean coming, followed by a twerpy-looking guy whom I’ve encountered before. A short guy with a combo peach-fuzz beard and upper-lip sneer. An obnoxious jerk even when he’s not drunk which, of course, he is now.

            I give Sean a look.

            He shrugs, half-grins, and whispers, “I couldn’t help it. He followed me.”

            Man.

            After downing a plastic cup of increasingly dreggish draught, this guy steps up to me, sneering, looking up at something on my face. Then he pokes one of my sideburns:

            “Hey, dja know they’re not even? Why aren’t they even? Looks dumb.”

            I just stare at him wondering why I’m the one who always attracts the trolls.

            “Hey, talk to me!” And then he comes even closer and curls his finger up under my chin.

            “You think you’re cute, right? Yeah, you’re cute.”

            It’s a dumbfounding moment, and I’m feeling like I’m in first grade, confronted by the famous bully of the schoolyard.

            I knock his hand away, and as I do, Steve walks over.

            “Hey, TBarr, what’s going on here?”

            Troll-face stares at both of us and says, “Oh, you know, we’re just talking, but there’s no problem.”

            And in that reassuring manner, in that voice that I’ve heard rescuing Barney Fife from hot-headed boyfriends and vendors practicing on the Mayberry streets without a license, Steve nods,

            “That’s good, that’s good.”

            The homunculus wanders off then, and I find myself hoping that he’ll end up tonight under the Gay Street bridge, swimming with the polluted fish.

            “You all right,” Steve asks me.

            “Maybe, I think so,” I say, as someone a few feet away spits up beer. As someone else crashes into the keg. As Loverboy blasts out through our field of ears.

            “OOOOOhhhhh, I just love Loverboy,” a girl in a headband cries, before crawling away with a guy who must have considered himself lucky.

            It was just that kind of night.

Terry Barr lives in Greenville, SC, with his wife and daughters. His work has been published in such journals as Hamilton Stone Review, Construction, Fat City review, The Museum of Americana, and Scissors and Spackle. Melange Press will soon publish his e-book, Secret Santa, and his work will soon appear as well in Blue Lyra review and Sport Literate. He teaches Creative Nonfiction and Modern Novel at Presbyterian College.

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT

Why do you write? I’ve always written and so asking this question is like asking me why I love The Beatles, or Alabama football, or Barbecue. I didn’t always think my writing was good or that I could be a “writer,” but aside from helping raise two children, writing is the deepest, most satisfying experience I know. And like raising children, it’s extremely hard work, but at the end of each day I’ve accomplished another part of my dream (which I can also say about the children even though they’re grown now).

Where do you draw inspiration from for your writing? First, from reading other writers. But as importantly, I listen to music from my past and recall what those past times were like. Then a story rises, a story about a little girt I told on to my teacher in 4th grade. A girl who had never done anything to me and who was sweet and economically poor too. I remember her crying, not understanding why she was in trouble. But I had been appointed classroom monitor and was feeling my power. Weirdly, whenever I hear “I Saw Her Standing There,” I think of her. Inspiration comes in bursts like that.

How did the essay “Andy, It’s Therapetic” get started? It started as a prompt that I had my Creative Nonfiction class respond to: a time of conflict with at least 3 people and a song playing in the background. I always write with my students, and before we started, I really didn’t know what I would write about. But then I saw the image of the little troll guy. In my life, there have always been individuals who have singled me out to “bug.” He was simply one of many, and when I heard my other friend intervene, then I thought of The Andy Griffith Show, because my friend’s voice is patterned just like Andy’s.

What has your writing journey been like? Off and on. I had some success back in the 90’s, getting published in American Literary Review and Elysian Fields Review, and then several years of dormancy until I placed a life story in an anthology called Half-Life: Jew-Ish Tales from Interfaith Homes. I thought that was my breakthrough, but then another five years went by with nothing to show, so I signed up for a workshop in Prague, figuring that the ghost of Kafka or a Golem might inspire me. That was one of the best decisions of my life. I got to work under the direction of Patricia Foster from the University of Iowa’s creative writing program. Afterward I’ve worked steadily, faithfully, but it still took a couple of more years before the acceptances started coming.

What are some other writing projects you are currently working on? Books? Blogs/websites? I am working on a book-length collection of essays concerning my life as a half-Jewish man married to a Persian woman who herself is half-Jewish. I’ve lived in the South all my life and have heard every racial/ethnic slur you can imagine. Once an old friend referred to my wife as a “Sand-Nigger.” Coming to terms with pain, friendship, and loss because of who I am. That’s what I’m writing about in the collection.

Who are some of your favorite writers and authors? Michael Chabon, Domenica Ruta, Zadie Smith, Joan Didion, Dave Eggars, Allison Bechdel, and Art Spiegelman.

What genres do you write (if other than nonfiction)? That’s it. Every time I try fiction, I think: why turn this into something unreal when the “real” is so strong and funny and disturbing?

Anything else you would like to share with the readers of HIP Literary Magazine or that we should know about you? I’m in my late 50’s, so writing/publishing has come late in my life. I think it will always be there too. So it’s really never too late. I write a column on music and memory for culturemass.com, and my most recent essays have looked back on Dylan, Jackson Brown, Kris Kristofferson, and Glen Campbell. Check it out!