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Main Street Rag – Summer 2010

This issue is consistent with Main Street’s approach both to the mag and its chapbook series, direct, approachable poems and stories composed of casual diction, conversational tones, and familiar imagery. This issue features an interview with Main Street chapbook author Richard Allen Tyler, along with the work of 28 poets and a half-dozen fiction writers. The work of four photographers rounds out the issue. I liked, in particular, “A Pike’s Peak Spring” from M. Scott Douglass, clouds and snow gathered on and around railroad tracks captured at a moment of altering textures, depicted expertly in the photograph.

This issue is consistent with Main Street’s approach both to the mag and its chapbook series, direct, approachable poems and stories composed of casual diction, conversational tones, and familiar imagery. This issue features an interview with Main Street chapbook author Richard Allen Tyler, along with the work of 28 poets and a half-dozen fiction writers. The work of four photographers rounds out the issue. I liked, in particular, “A Pike’s Peak Spring” from M. Scott Douglass, clouds and snow gathered on and around railroad tracks captured at a moment of altering textures, depicted expertly in the photograph.

David Wortman’s story about cashing out to close another day in the retail world, “We’re Co-Workers, We’ll Co-Narrate,” is especially appealing, demonstrating the power of understatement: “The story I want to tell is big, with betrayals and love and murder, but my baby is sick and not getting better.” A poem by Fiona Sze-Lorrain, “Invisible Eye,” is moving, too, for its restraint. Here are the opening lines:

Fog
chalks the skeletons
of houses. I pry
open doors of dusk.
Every tree helps me
pick my way
home.

Sze-Lorrain contributes my favorite of the many love poems in this issue, too, “Fragile”: “The sea under our bed / holds immensity for sleepless / hours.”

My favorite of the many poems on aging parents and family matters is Heather Ross Miller’s “Visiting Hours,” which captures the particular experience of the nursing home visit with precision. And my favorite views-of-nature contribution is actually one artist’s view of another’s, “Paintings” by Patricia Behrens.

Having just spent most of yesterday afternoon stuck just past the last toll booth going north toward Manhattan on the New Jersey Turnpike, courtesy of a (rented) broken down Toyota Sienna, I was, naturally, amused to read “A Brush with Reality in the Form of a Toyota Sienna” by Scott Owens:

The high-maintenance girls run by
my minivan, fuel-efficient, 8-seated
15 cup-holdered, easily-cleaned conveyance,
as I balance keys, cellphone, and morning
cup of coffee, a venti breve latte
with shots of Irish crème and crème de cacao,
a Becky’s Mozart they call it Taste Full
(2 words) Beans Coffeehouse (1 word)
the owner reminds me again.

I could have used that Becky’s Mozart while I waited for the tow truck on the Turnpike shoulder.
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