This issue of Fogged Clarity contains poetry, one piece of fiction, music, an interview, and a review. At first, I was concerned about there being so little in the issue (not realizing at first its monthly publication cycle), but each piece is strong and worth reading.
The fiction piece, “Has Anyone Seen My Gal?” by Sutton Strother, tells the story of a young girl on her birthday, trying to understand the world around her. It begins:
When her father died, Granny couldn’t afford a casket. She refused everyone’s money, and in the end, when she could think of nothing meaningful to do with the ashes they brought her, she poured what was left of my great-grandfather into the kitchen trashcan. “He’ll get where he’s going, anyhow,” she told us. For a long time after that, I believed everything we threw away was taken to Heaven.
At her birthday party, Kady’s family is focused on everything but her, but she doesn’t mind—she had just broken the A string on the ukulele and doesn’t want anyone to find out. She finds comfort when her Aunt Cindy comes to visit, carrying with her a baby doll as she mourns her miscarriage. The rest of the family treats Cindy like she is crazy, but Kady is able to connect with her.
There are three contributing poets: Kathy Fagan, Ely Shipley, and Jim Tolan. Shipley’s “Shortly after dying” is written in short lines, building tension as the narrator cradles an infant that will not stop crying:
I carried it around. My arms
No one else would touch it.
was becoming skeletal.
It would not eat.
The milk was sour.
after an apocalypse.
our urban desert.
Sometimes, we sat
on a playground swing
and watched the man with stumps
for arms and legs
dance on the sidewalk for food.
And as a sucker for a great ending to a piece, I enjoyed Shipley’s “Like a photo” best. It ends:
on quiet, we lie
paws up, until sheets erect
a tent held by our heads. With flashlight
poised, you show me
myself as a child, one
I’ve never seen.
I found Fogged Clarity to be unique in the fact that it includes a sampling of a band’s album along with a special Fogged Clarity Session. You can hear Bryan Laurier & The Lost Acres’s LP album and then listen to Laurier play three acoustic songs recorded just for this issue. One of the songs, “All of My Heart is Burning,” has never been released.
Fusing together writing, music, and visual art, Fogged Clarity offers something diverse and imaginative.