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Ghost Town - 2010

  • Issue Number: Issue 1
  • Published Date: 2010
  • Publication Cycle: Annual
And now, to the second half of this periodical, Ghost Town.

Again, there are no editorial musings, just a hipper than anything dive into the fray. One of the first is a great poem by Jared Stanley, called “Legitimate Dangers”:

A _____ stirs the thicket.
I am cherry alive, the little girl sang.
Fleas alight from this line.
Now it’s all our celebration, right?
I’ve got to interrupt you for a second;
this is my index finger talking.
Himilce Novas’s “Painting Life Over” is a sad story, filled with memories of a youth spent amongst parents who fought constantly, and the narrator who wishes to start life over: “Me? In my mind, I’m not in the picture at all. I’m just looking at it, a little shaky, praying that the fighting will stop and that Mr. and Mrs. Pepino, the elderly couple who live right next door, also in the fifth-floor walk-up, are really as deaf as they pretend to be.”

As serious as this section is, the story has a counterpart in its humor. The story begins with an artist, the narrator throughout, who wishes, simply, to paint her life over. When her lover suggests that it might be easier to just hit delete, she describes their first meetings: “Ryan, whom I’ll tell you about later, is the opposite of me. In fact, he’s so opposite, that I spent the entire sixth grade hating him – not with real hate, the way you feel about someone truly evil, like Dracula, for instance, just with an itchy, yucky dislike.” The appearance of Dracula, however brief, in this story, lets you know that there is brilliance to come.

Michelle Hartman’s “the funny thing about murder” is a short poem that ends with a shock of sorts that I’ll not betray, but will instead start, naturally, with the beginning: “is that the act is committed decades / before the actual deed / something happens / and it leads to / death” There’s no doubt of the author’s mastery when the poem is read in its entirety, all at once, and I, thusly, recommend picking this issue of Ghost Town up for that alone.

Barbara Brooks’s “Perceptions” is another wonderful poem:

Birds have tiny brains that know
migration paths, how to weave nests,
know when flower is full of nectar
but they don’t understand glass.
The sharp-shinned hawk lies on the deck.
The windows must have looked like spaces
between trees.
Again, there is so much to The Pacific Review and Ghost Town that I urge you to give it a chance. If nothing else, you’ll have been given a literary education, and, as a bonus, a book that has half its writing upside down. It’s wonderfully realized as it is, but I’m hoping that Ghost Town catches the literary mindset enough to warrant its own book.
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Review Posted on July 29, 2014

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