Monday, December 29, 2014

Redux Is on Hiatus

“And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

Not exactly the premise of Redux, where we bring previously published literary work back into the world for a new, online audience…but who can argue with Rilke?

Redux will be on hiatus until Monday, January 12, 2015  Please join us then for another year filled with wondrous and amazing poems, stories, and essays. 

Happy new year!

Monday, December 22, 2014

#153" "Knife" by Ted Chiles

~This story was previously published in Permafrost (Summer 2008).

            John woke to pain. Not an explosion but an announcement between his shoulder blades. Have I slept on something? The remote?  He tried to roll over, but the pain spread down his back and across his shoulders. 
He was on his side facing the window.  He never slept in the middle. He always slept with his back to her side of the bed. Even after she left.
John tried to roll over again, but the pain returned. He rested and then slowly turned onto his stomach and slid off the end of the bed. It hurt to stand, but he found relief with his head bowed and shoulders slumped.
He walked to the door and flipped the switch to the ceiling light. No remote or book lay on the bed. But in the middle of what would have been a chalk outline of where he normally slept, he saw a stain – red going to brown.
It was probably a boil. He walked out of the bedroom and down the hall to the bathroom, thinking that a boil had formed and purged itself during the night. He switched on the lights and raised his head to the mirror. He seemed older, having left something of himself in the bed.
John neither liked nor disliked his appearance. He thought of himself as normal, and he was normal in the way that people from the Midwest don’t have accents. He filled peoples’ expectations.
John examined his back. He expected a hole. The remains of a boil.
Instead, he saw the knife.
It had a hilt and handle of polished metal about five inches. The hilt curled back on itself. Coiled ropes of steel textured the handle and gave it a vaguely medieval look. Not a noble blade worn openly, but a villain’s weapon.
Only a little blood flowed down his back.

Monday, December 15, 2014

#152: "Friend to the Goddamned Community" by Charlie Boodman

~This story was first published in The Madison Review (2008). 

The neighbors’ infant is screaming again.  Something is wrong.  It’s been twenty minutes and the kid hasn’t shut the fuck up.  Your headphones are welded on and the stentorian Screamin’ Jay doesn’t dim it.    
     “Dadda… Momma… Dadda …”  In hefty moans, the voice broadcasts a woeful mantra through your open window.  You think to close it, but consider your obligations.  Why is he still crying?  And is he okay?  If you hadn’t just smoked that joint, maybe you could gauge the severity of the situation.  But you can’t.  You decide it’s your duty to get involved.  That’s you: Mr. Friend to the Goddamned Community.
You cried that way as an infant when you were scared.  Your father was always downstairs working on his H.O. model trains.  He had his headphones on, and he couldn’t hear you.  Luigi Luccarini would climb a ladder to your window and sing the theme song from The Greatest American Hero.  Luigi was retarded, but you didn’t know that.  All you knew was some lunatic with one tooth was peering through your window ranting into his feather-duster microphone while you screamed your eyes teary and nobody intervened.  From that day, the policy was:  always intervene.  

Monday, December 8, 2014

#151: Five Poems by Eric Nelson


~This poem first appeared in Cincinnati Review (2012).

Because they spend the day paying attention—
One eye looking for what they can eat,

One for what can eat them. Because they hang
With me in the yard, their clucks and coos a comfort

While I plant and they dig. Because for them
Roaches are a rare and challenging treat.

Because an egg tucked amid pine shavings in the dark
Coop is a brightness and a marvel.  Every day.

Because their eggs are not only white but also brown,
And blue, and dappled, and fit perfectly into my palm.

Because they walk like wind-up toys and run
Akilter, careening like roller-coaster cars.

Because everything we haven’t eaten tastes like them.
Because they are delicious. And their eggs are delicious.

Because they are a world of recipes: Cordon Bleu,
Kiev, Curry, Florentine, Parmigiana, Pot-pie.

Because each of the one-hundred folds in a chef’s hat
Represents a different way to cook an egg.

Because sometimes they think I am a rooster
And squat down to be mounted.

Because they are not mascots for sports teams
Even though they are fierce with their hypodermic

Beaks and their scaly feet’s claws.
Because they like to have their scaly feet rubbed.
Because after eating they use the grass like a napkin
To wipe their beaks. Because they are flappable.

Because every night they return to their coop
And every morning they walk the plank into their day.

Because like us they brood, follow a pecking order, desire
A nest egg. Because even their shit is useful.


Monday, December 1, 2014

#150: "Bandit" by Colette Sartor

~This story was previously published in Colorado Review (2009)

After Hannah scraped the decorative border from the nursery walls, she placed an ad in the university housing office. Summer break had just started, but within days someone called. Rune was her name. “Like the fortune-telling alphabet,” the girl said, her voice throaty and low. Hannah imagined thick black bangs veiling the girl’s eyes, a mouth tense with secret sorrow.
In person, there was nothing mysterious about her. She came to see the newly painted room when the neighborhood was silent and shimmering with midday heat. Clive was at a lunch meeting. Hannah kept glancing over her shoulder as she led Rune upstairs. Tucked under the girl’s arm was an orange motorcycle helmet. Her short hair was spiky, inky roots giving way to shades of red. Henna tattoos snaked from beneath her jacket and encircled her slender fingers in ornate flourishes. She was remarkably chatty, hurling questions at Hannah in a breathy contralto. How long was the walk to campus, to the nearest bank and grocery store? Could she have overnight guests? And could she pay half the rent on the first and half on the fifteenth, just until school started and her financial aid kicked in? Hannah’s head started to pound.
When they reached the room, the girl strode past her, craning her neck at the crown molding. “Female students only,” Hannah had been careful to note in the ad. No dirty boxers piled everywhere. And a female tenant felt less intimidating. At the last minute she’d dragged in a wingchair from Clive’s office and angled it by the window. A perfect study spot. Any college girl would love it.
“I guess this’ll work,” Rune said, tossing her helmet on the chair. She sat on the bed and bounced, as if testing the springs, then gazed at the wedding ring quilt, her lips curled in a half-smirk. Hannah pictured the quilt stuffed in the closet, replaced by a threadbare coverlet that smelled faintly tangy and unwashed.
Rune flopped back. “Stars and moons would be nice up there. Bishop and I had them. They glowed in the dark. We made up constellations. Cat eyes in the north, a witch’s wand in the south.” She rested her cheek on the quilt and stared at Hannah.
“Who’s Bishop?”
“My fiancĂ©. Ex-fiancĂ©.” There was the slightest hitch in her voice. She brushed her arms up and down, as if making angel’s wings in the snow. “He got the apartment. I got the scooter. He doesn’t know it yet.”
Downstairs, the front door opened. Clive’s footsteps thumped up the stairs.
“Come meet Rune,” Hannah called and stepped into the hallway.
He stopped on the landing. “Who?”
“Our new tenant.” Like that, she’d committed herself. She hadn’t meant to and wouldn’t have if not for Clive’s knee-jerk frown. She itched to give him a little shove.
“Professor Jacobs, hi.” Rune stood in the doorway, her fists balled in her jacket pockets. “I didn’t know you lived here.”
“Have we met?” he said in his lecture voice. He smiled politely.
“I was in your fall urban myths class.”
Hannah watched his expression glaze. Students passed through so quickly, he often complained, that he’d stopped trying to remember their names.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “You don’t look familiar.”
Rune waved her hand dismissively. Her tattooed fingers flickered through the air like butterflies. “I sat way in back.”
He peered into the room. “Is that my chair?”
“I left the other one,” Hannah said. Clive stared at her until she looked away.
“I guess we’ll be seeing more of each other,” he said to Rune and marched down the hall. His study door clicked shut, an unfriendly, obstinate sound.