Issue 3

April 1, 2008

Happy spring, Muscovites and Pullmantarians and other Palousovics!  And to everyone else, a lukewarm nod.  It’s snowing. 

To celebrate global warming, Gumption Issue 3 was released in early January.  Gumptioneers hopped trains to the frontier hot-spot of Palouse, Washington to celebrate Charlie Sutton’s CD release at the new location of the Green Frog Cafe, which is just down the street from their old location, but bigger, and now with beer.

Gumption is currently available at the Moscow Food Co-op for five increasingly-irrelevant dollars (hey, have ya seen the new five dollar bills?  They’s got pinkpurple fives on ’em!!)  Contents include a fantastic and important story about the reality of life in Haiti by the wonderful Nancy Casey, who spends large chunks of time every year in that impoverished, preyed-upon land; poems by Maria Theresa Maggi, April HeydeJessica Lynch Alfaro, Christopher Rowland, Clark Karoses, James Yeary, Charles Hood, Charles Dickey, and Chris Wall, among others; articles by Clark Karoses, Charles Dagwood, and Amit Sharma; an account of impositions and violations at the border by Sean P. McCoy; surreal, lovely, ultra-hip artwork by Amelia Jurkowska, and artwork and photographs by many other artists and writers!

Gasp.  Deep breath.

All this and more for a mere five imploding dollars!  Money well spent in these interesting times, my friend.


by Jessica Lynch Alfaro
from Gumption Issue 3

His first kiss
A fishhook kiss
That first night
When he thought she was a one-night stand.
Shocked how fast and deep
His tongue in her mouth
He kissed her without touching her lips.

Later she saw the same maneuver
On grand scale
At Sequim’s drive-thru zoo,
A buffalo tongue
Thrust through the crack in her car door window
Black steamy and agile
Curled at the tip
Like his tongue, probing
Greedy for–
Of all things–
Her white Wonder Bread hot dog bun.

by Nancy Casey
from Gumption Issue 3

“Before you start, click on setup.”  Then you can pick a language for the subtitles.
“If you click on English, you see the words that Al Gore says.”  I click on French.  Genante.  A word I would have translated as annoying.  “Why are those smokestacks so  high?” asks Enel.  “So the smell falls down on somebody else,” Wobe answers.
Wozlin expresses a hope that next time around Gore, an action figure, will vanquish Bush and set things right.  Enel will want to know Gore’s motivation for making this movie.  Wobe will hang his head, say, “We should only be using donkeys.”

“Penpenen,” shrugs Liya.  A question?  An admission?  She’s arranging her things on a rise overlooking the road.  A sheet is rigged to shade the two babies, asleep.  The new one, Didi, is my second goddaughter, born two days after I left here the last time.  Liya repeats the story of how Wobe made a special trip to her house to send my good wishes and greetings.  This made Liya wait until I returned before choosing a godmother.  So I could have first crack.  She’s fanned out the skirt of some child’s dress and on it built three neat pyramids of gnarly, edible roots.
“Penpenen,” she explains, “is when you get someone to sell you some rice on credit and you take it to the market and sit there all day with it.  If you sell enough to pay back the credit, do you stay and try to sell the rest?”
She slaps her thight.  “Of course not!  You go home and make a big pot of food for your kids!”  I can guffaw.  Later, at my house, in the dictionary, by the thin blue light of my headlamp–penpenen: to struggle along, to get by.
Aris latches onto me and pontificates all the way down the road about making raised beds to grow vegetables, what one needs to have a tree nursery, how to make compost.  If I told him my idea was to bring more plastic trash to the countryside, he’d be right on it, with passion and a plan.
“That baby you won’t adopt,” reports Josiane, “is going to die.”
Anita hugs me and kiss me and calls me her child, rejoices for my return and how even though she’s old and she’s blind, she’s not dead yet.  She pulls me close a second time and whispers, “Did you bring me a dress?”
Margaret wants the batteries that were in my camera.  Valannsya asks if I’ve had a chance to buy mangoes yet.  Misente climbs the tree at the edge of my yard and watches me eat.  Penpenen is the daily cadge in this nation of artful dodgers.  Penpenen is why I feel like a pinata.

Fire Rainbow

May 24, 2007

Fire Rainbow

This rare Fire Rainbow was photographed on our Washington/Idaho border in early April 2007.  Purdy, no?

Before the Stars

I have come to the end of the road.
The long shadows cut the soft dust
with their sharp, dark arms, and the light falls.
The blinding layers of brilliant day
have fallen away, one by one.  Only the deep
gold lingers, which, soon, will also be gone,
turned away from night’s blue home
raising itself slowly, in silence,
to draw each shadow in and close
the indigo doors.  Then just stars.

But now, at this moment, the door
is still open, and the end of the road
reaches out across the dark arms
cutting, inviting me to its tangle
of wild grasses back lit in the reflection,
the gold air.  The land drops down
beyond.  Yet I could sit there,
no more traveling, in stillness,
at the open, green mouth of a new world.
No road.  Just the murmurs of water
far below.  The breeze that blows out
the last threads of sun would tangle my hair,
the tall grasses.  I could sit there.  I could wait,
breathing in and out before the stars.

 Yard Work

Every year is different.
Every year I’m different.
In the magazine about my disease
they say to build the beds high
so the gardener can wheel her chair
and sit to plant.  But this year I can still favor
the ground, even if it’s a long way up.
I leave lots of room for moving to stand
and laying down between the beds
my friends have dug for me.
I stretch out next to the new kale, the beets,
and watch the clouds float.  Sometimes
if I drift toward sleep, the gloves emptied
onto my stomach, the dog might come to
sniff my hair or lick my upturned face.
The bees simmer in the berry blossoms
along the fence.  There is no time,
only the body loosening its wrenches
and knots a little in the slow lilt of the earth
breathing.  There is nothing else quite like it,
no pill or therapy or treatment
can match this forgetting.

It’s May, it’s almost not May anymore.  Soon it will be June–soon the year will be over!!  Holy Mother of Flying Spaghetti Monster!!!

Well whatever.  Gumption Issue 2 is out.  It’s actually sold out, I believe.  No worries!  We will make more.  Yes indeed.  Gumption has hooked up with Fugitive Press and will be re-issuing the Spring Issue (aka Issue 2, aka Vol. 1 Number 2, aka in some circles… um, nevermind) sometime in the near future.  Meanwhile, we’ll put some hardy, heart-warming samples of wholesome Gumption soup up here on this blizzog.  Aw Yeeeahhh.

The first print issue of Gumption has been kickin’ it for the past two and a half months around the streets of Moscow, Idaho.  A couple of poems and essays were also spotted wandering around Pullman, Washington.  Whispers abound about the release of Issue 2 sometime in April. 

A number of people with Gumption have been speaking their crafty prose, poetic minds, and exercising musical muscle in a series of open mics around Moscow.  The word on the street is that when Issue 2 is born it will be held up to the sun in a ceremony of spoken word and perhaps song at One World Cafe.  We may also rouse our rabbly voices and raise some linguistic fervor at Pullman’s Cafe Moro in April.

We should let those who don’t know know that Gumption is a magazine for people who can read.  If you can’t read, there are some pictures, but then you probably won’t be able to know that because you won’t be able to read this.  Unless of course someone is reading it for you.  Gumption does not mean to make light of illiteracy.  Please come to one of our readings and hear or actively participate in the power of words.

Issue 1 is available at Bookpeople in Moscow as well as the Moscow Food Co-op.  You could also buy directly from the source (some people feel it’s more pure that way).  Leave a comment if you are interested and someone will arrange to hook you up.

The deadline for submitting stuff to Issue 2 has, alas, passed.  Never fear!  Issue 3 will have a totally different deadline sometime in the future.  Stay tuned to this webpage for important updates direct from the source.