Closing Up Shop

The Faircloth Review was born in the summer of 2012 as a whim. I had wanted for a long time to launch some sort of publication. In college I dreamed with friends of starting a guerrilla student publication to compete with our lackluster university newspaper. That never happened. Then I thought it would be cool to start a mix news/fiction project with a friend of mine. That never happened.

One day, sitting with my co-conspirator Lisa, we discussed the possibility of starting an online literary journal and we just… went for it. She did most of the work–designing the logo and putting together a nice-looking site. I worked on getting The Faircloth Review listed in The Writer’s Market, Duotrope, Poets & Writers, and others. This was surprisingly easy.

The Faircloth Review was named after the street I lived on at the time, Faircloth Street, in Raleigh, North Carolina. The logo is that old infested apartment building, the one yellow window being my living room. I think Lisa did a stellar job on the logo. School bus yellow was a bold choice.

In a week or two submissions started pouring in. I also had just started a new job. The volume of submissions we were receiving was quite a lot for Lisa and I to put on our plate at the time. It continued to be a lot on our plates.

Eventually, we couldn’t keep up anymore. We received thousands of submissions from thousands of talented artists. The disheartening thing is that very few of these submissions were bad enough to reject and move on. Just the caliber of writers, poets, and other artists submitting their work to our little publication humbled me. “You really want to be published in my little rag?”

It got to the point where we’d have to hire an intern if we really wanted to keep up with Faircloth and give it the attention it deserved. That was, for a number of reasons, infeasible. If we legally wanted to hire an intern we’d have to rent some commercial space, incorporate, find a way to monetize… This was supposed to be a hobby.

Life has a funny way of getting in the way, doesn’t it?

Eventually, Lisa and I planned our next stage in life. I moved off Faircloth St. and somehow Lisa and I ended up in Hanoi, Vietnam, where I write this farewell. We’re travelling and living the good life and I’m writing and reading and working on my second novel. Life is good, but we don’t have time for Faircloth anymore.

It was a great little adventure, and it was a wonderful excuse to meet and talk to lots of talented artists from all over the world. It wouldn’t have been possible if we didn’t have such a vibrant artistic community. To all of you submitters and contributors, I thank you. It means a lot to me that you wanted to be published in my little rag… I also want to thank our plucky group of regular readers and visitors. It means a lot to me that you wanted to subscribe to my little rag…

I will leave the site running for a while, until hopefully it gets archived by Google or one of those other internet archive services. At that point, I’ll pull the plug for good.

It’s been real. I hope you all find what you’re looking for.

Allen Coin
Hanoi, Vietnam
20 June, 2014

“Obituary Flack” and “The Lumberjack” by Dave Hardin

 
 

Obituary Flack

R. Sargent Shriver, that one was mine.
Jack LaLanne, Karl Malden, George McGovern, Jerry Falwell,
mine, mine, mine and mine.
I hate to brag but I had a hand
in Molly Ivins. You’ll find my fingerprints
all over Robert McNamara,
a puddle of superlatives
from wading into
John Updike and Pete Postlethwaite.
Up to my neck in Liz Taylor, perhaps
in over my head with Ferlin Husky,
but it was with great glee
I gilded the lily of Madame Nhu,
said it with roses when Max Roach
ceased to beat
the skins,
waved Harman Killebrew
in from third, his last home run
before pushing up daisies
in deep left center.
Levon Helm
practically wrote itself,
the honor all mine,
leaning in to lay on a harmony for
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.
A stake through the heart of John Demjanjuk,
my foot to the floor going into the turn
with Carroll Shelby, Ferdinand A. Porsche
urging us on from the backseat
in clipped no nonsense German.
Maurice Sendak,
my deadline met through tears
and terrible roars and terrible gnashing teeth.
A job I would have done for free
until they let me go
then hired me back
at half the pay,
my share toward the cost
of wafer thin benefits
tripled, cankerous
corporate policy set forth in this couplet:

Down to two meals a day, who needs a third?
Plump shareholders bray, too stuffed for words.

Lunch is over.
fifteen minutes flies
faster than Neil Armstrong (mine).
To improve productivity, I’ve been assigned
to write everyone’s
in advance beginning with the A’s.
Right now I’m working on yours,
driving home the final rivets
in some standard boilerplate,
composing the final flat line
in a fibrillating
half-hearted Hallmark hatchet job.

 
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“Strange Line Fellows” and “About a Waitress” by L.B. Sedlacek

 
 

Strange Line Fellows

A 3 hour line is hard on feet and backs
and the sun is hot, you get hungry and thirsty
and the lines are deep with people
just like you and laughter and conversations
you don’t want to hear and the people
behind you and in front of you become friends
after awhile sharing the wait, the misery
but once you get inside they go their
way, you go yours and funny how
you never see them again
even if you look, even if you
want to find them once again.

 
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“The Technical Writer” by Alisa A. Gaston-Linn

A 1971 Clementine Orange VW Beetle poked through morning traffic, the orange color of the car camouflaging the rusted-out edges above each tire, and inside Cassandra gripped one hand tightly on the hot, black steering wheel, while the other hand choked the stick shift. She once again slammed on the breaks. The gridlock made her late, and she knew she needed all morning to prepare for the weekly meeting, even though it started at 1:00. If the other technical writers had to wait for her to start the meeting, that would be it. Her boss would surely take the whole thing away from her because he had emphasized more than once the need for her to improve her poor organization and multi-tasking skills. He had also counseled her on tardiness.

Her car popping and rumbling at a complete stop, Cassandra became fixated on the woman in the maroon SUV in front of her. The woman, young with long, crimped blonde hair, seemed unaffected by the clogging of cars as she stroked her hair over and over, pulling her long fingers and nails from her scalp to the ends. And each time she pulled, a clump of hair coiled around her hand that the woman tossed out the window, rubbing her fingers together until the clumps of hair delicately left and floated in the city pollution, bopping with the puffs of a slight morning breeze, and bouncing off of Cassandra’s car. The large floating hair balls barely touched the front of her Beetle each time, and then floated away, down the lanes of traffic. With each new clump, Cassandra watched in disgust, shifting in her seat, as if moving the position of her body could somehow cause the clumps to miss her car. She yelled out to no one when the clumps began to float in her direction. “Stop it lady! Get some hair conditioner for Christ’s sake!”

The masses of tangled hair and the pressure to get to the office forced Cassandra’s insides to make whining noises, twisted gurglings moving through her intestines, pushing out her stomach and making her bladder feel full. She looked over her shoulder until she found a slight opening in the adjacent lane, cut in front of a large Ford pick-up with ladders emerging from the back, and then scurried her little Beetle across three lanes of traffic that wound north and south through Denver and its surrounding areas. When she finally exited the highway and headed east on Arapahoe Road, she moved into the right lane and blazed through yellow lights, some turning red. Then she saw it. That damn sign again, “Right Lane Ends, Merge Left.” More gurgles tightened their grip. She knew that, if like the last three days in a row, the sign was still standing, and the right lane was, in fact, not closed, she would have to take action. Continue reading

“July 4th” by John Grey

 

July 4th

Streets ran with dogs but those curs outpaced them.
Kids whacked baseballs without much care for windows.
Airplanes flew low or blew messages in smoke rings cross the sky.
Blood-red fire engines clanged and swore,
flew down sidewalks when the traffic would not part for them.
Cops rode horses. Bums ate horseshit
Everyone was nervy. Will there be enough beer?
The floats came by. Miss Cheesecake flashed her teeth.
A fake George Washington never told a fake lie.
Is that John Adams.. .no, it’s Georgie Fly, the aging hippy.
And Thomas Jefferson, bless his dressed-up soul,
read a proclamation to three men and a sheep.
The army was out in force. Some real. Some kidding themselves.
One-legged soldiers wore two legged suits.
Medals looked askance at the chests that wore them.
Do I really belong with thirty years of belt-loosening?
The band blew brass in my ear, insisted it was my independence too.
And marchers stomped my one o’clock shadow.
What a July 4th. The chocolate bar in my hip pocket had melted.
This was no way to love a parade.
My mother cried. My father’s hand never left his heart.
My mind was full of what I’d do if anyone dared touch my fireworks cache.
A hydrant burst. Kids danced, cooled off, took it as a sign.
The crippled guy wheeled himself to his open window.
Flags blew from Ms lapel.
An old woman snarled something about “no respect.”
So many people felt good about themselves,
the very-noise-filled air beamed.
A hotdog parted my lips. Harvey Jenkins did the same for my big sister’s.
If you didn’t collapse from the heat, you weren’t trying.
Yet, it was the country’s day. why spoil it with Annie’s cancer,
Rhonda’s beating, Ricky’s drunken fall.
Newspapers kicked up their heels – foreswore
“Middle East War” for “America’s Birthday”.
No journalist was harmed in the killing of their stories.

 
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Four Poems by M.A. Schaffner

 

Home And Auto Repair

A day comes when one has to trust because
there aren’t enough days to spend suspicious,
following up on every lie that might
or might not be. That’s what I tell myself,
counting out bills or swiping magic cards
through robot sales clerks. It’s only numbers –
another thing I say – like in a game,
but a game you don’t want to lose because
the cost of losing means the one game left
becomes a simulation of servitude –
filling out forms for fatigued Samaritans
or bureaucrats of the most sullen kind;
taking orders from idiots while smiling.
The poor used to fear starvation, I hear.
Now we fear everything, even strangers
who give us goods and take our cards while we
wonder which will finally break us down.

 
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Eight Poems by Barry Spacks

 
 

Song in the Key of Memory

          Students with big umbrellas
       splash through campus puddles
         while others smile and groan
               playing wetly at home.

 
 
 

Sad Sugar

Pour your sad sugar, sad young man.
Pour it till asked to answer “when.”
Recall your very worst 4 a.m.

Once it rained on Moravian Street.
Bessie, Great Soul, shook out her bed-sheet.
Lovers concluded with sounds indiscreet.

Once I offered each passerby
a Ritz Cracker, Harpo my genius-guy…
collitch kid, tap-dancing-cute, oh my!

Then me and my girl got crazed apart.
Don’t want to think all that much about that part.
Pour your sad sugar for me and my sweetheart.

Pour it to taste, dear sad young man.
Pour that sad sugar however you can.
Never such 4 a.m. again.

 
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“The Collector” by Paul Combs

Eli collected pieces of other people’s lives. His job gave him ample opportunity to do so, though few would have ever imagined such an activity. He worked in Morrison’s Used Bookstore, his only job since leaving college after his Sophomore year five years earlier. Morrison’s was exactly the type of place where people left pieces of themselves.

Morrison’s was a sprawling carnival of books, and the only store left in town where you could sell your old books for either cash or store credit. Eli’s primary responsibility at the store was going through the books people brought in to sell. It was a job he was very good at, partly because he had a gift for evaluating books and giving the right, fair price for them, and partly because he worked very hard at being the best at it so Mr. Morrison would let him keep doing it. This mattered a great deal to Eli; it was within these books that he found the bits of others’ lives that he collected.

Attention spans being what they are today, people had a habit of putting things in books and then forgetting about them, even when it came time to sell them. Most often it was something that could easily be used as a bookmark. Photographs were the most common, followed by letters, and then, for some reason, the water bill. Why the water bill was a more common bookmark than an electric bill or cable bill was a mystery, but it may have been as simple as the fact that that water bills tended to be one page and thus less bulky than other bills. And speaking of bills, a surprising number of people used dollar bills as bookmarks, some occasionally even using a five-dollar note. He had also found British pound notes and the occasional Mexican peso. The letters were more often found just inside the front or back covers of the books, and almost always still in the envelope.

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Two Poems by Joan McNerney

 

The Subliminal Room

That weepy October
marigolds were so full.
I made an omelet with
them. Do you remember?
All November, leaves
mixed with rain, making
streets slippery. We
listened mostly to Chopin.
Leaves droop in September
too ripe and heavy for
trees. I was careful
not to slip, dreading
when leaves would grow
dry and crumble.
Some live all winter
through the next spring.
Chased by winds, they
huddle in corners,
reminding me of mice.
I confessed to you
how I loved Russian
poets and waited for
a silent revolution,
revealing my childhood
possessed by rosaries
and nuns chanting Ave,
Ave, Ave Maria. “Your
navel exudes the warmth
of 10,000 suns”, you said.
We still live in this
subliminal room.
Jonah did not want to
leave the whale’s stomach.
We continue trying to
decipher Chopin. Your
eyes are two bunches of
morning glories. Sometimes
the sky is so violet.
Will we ever live by the
sea, Michael, and eat
carrots? I do not want
my sight to fail. Hurry,
the dew is drying on the
flowers.

 
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Poetry by Robert Demaree

 

Atlanta April 1968

for Charles

 

Through downtown streets
Dense with life and grief,
Busloads of people from Milwaukee, say,
Priests, women who had marched with them before:
We have not earned the right to mourn.
We stand crowded into a small corner
Of history’s photograph,
Images grainy, blurred,
Our presence recorded
If only on the microfilm of memory,
Its import known only to us.

 
 
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“Blood” by Scott Jones

 

En boca del discreto, lo público es secreto (In the mouth of the discreet, what people say is a secret).

 

A simple job.  Take a car, turn it into a flat metal pancake, haul the block of metal away.  David’s Department of Transportation crew were at work in a homemade junkyard up near Cuba, New Mexico, an acre where a family had been piling their rusted metal for a hundred years.  Mick fell into that metal.

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