This issue of Crazyhorse is full of interesting, off-beat writing, as befits a magazine with the journal’s oversized design.
Anthony Tognazzini’s “I Want to Drive the Forklift” announces the central desire of the main character in its title. The narrator opens with the declaration, “There were many things, I later learned, that I did not know about the forklift. Would that have stopped me from wanting to drive it? I do not know.” A simple gambit of an opening, but one that builds tension as the reader waits for the moment that the troubled narrator—mostly likely unsuccessfully, the reader fears—finally tries to drive the forklift he has been instructed not to touch while he is employed taking overnight inventory in a warehouse.
Emily Doak’s mysterious “Hatchlings” is written in the first person plural, narrated by a group of locals in Florida who tell the story of the kidnapping of Samantha Sadler, heir to the Sadler Peanut Butter fortune. The story moves along as the locals mature, and while it starts with the kidnapping of Samantha as a young girl, it ends with her revenge twenty years later on an older woman, a girlfriend of her father who was supposedly involved with the kidnapping—although that was never proven. The revenge involves a cardboard box and a Florida swamp in the middle of the night. Employing “we” as a narrator lends the story a spooky, omniscient but not completely clued in feel, as most of what is being narrated is town legend and hearsay.
Christine Sneed’s “In the Bag” concerns a purse that a college student, Wes, finds and shows his younger sister, Wendy. Wendy is envious of Wes since he went away to college, has mysteriously saved up what to her is a large sum of money, and at night snuck his girlfriend into his bedroom, long after their parents had gone to sleep. Bored and restless, trapped in a retail job in her hometown, Wendy becomes obsessed with the owner of the purse and a letter she finds inside it that tells someone named “Mitch” that the writer of the letter was pregnant with his child, but no longer is. Wendy is curious about “B”—the letter writer—and whether Mitch ever knew he could have been a father of B’s kid. She pursues this knowledge in a spooky manner. The story is, at turns, dark and funny.
This issue of Crazyhorse also contains a number of captivating poems. Perhaps the best title belongs to Carand Burnet’s “We Were Only Folklore.” Tina Brown Celona and Joshua Ware’s “Walking around the Park with You” starts, “You want to be invisible / but also specific.” The poem then offers a delightful number of details against abstractions. Marcin Orli?ski’s “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” introduces a new house to someone (possibly) and contains lines such as “It’s January, a burnt out bulb / slowly rolls by.”
Overall, this issue of Crazyhorse features great, unpredictable writing.