Thirteen is about our shadow; that dim half philosophers have dissected
to scant avail. The thing Ben Jonson briefly captured when he wrote,
"Follow a shadow; it still flies you; Seem to fly it, it will pursue."
This theme was not by design; we do not hold contributors to themes
these days. Rather, the axis formed as the inevitable line of darkness
divides kitchen tiles when the sun is heavy and sinking beyond the too-still
trees, and patchwork fields blur as faces blur and the most familiar
of these faces becomes a stranger with a bad mask. Scott Murphy knows
about that line; so does Diane Willadson. Mark Melton will lead you
to the murmuring trees, reveal their hidden faces.
examines the struggle between good and evil; the ancient spectacle.
The struggle which surrounds us even now and grips us in its teeth.
Again, not by design, rather the issue gained its essence as an ink
stain, or something more sinister, spilled upon that tiled kitchen floor
to form an imperfect pattern from chaos. If goodness embodies charity,
compassion, and wisdom, then Dave Ruslander and Bob Slaymaker have sketched
these qualities with deftness and grace. Ward Kelley's essay on inspiration
shines with the joy of possibilities not fully imagined. If at the root,
evil is a dumb beast, faith allied with ignorance, fear and dread, Steve
Harris has named it in his perfunctory, yet incisive manner. Mr. Harris
will transport you among the rocks of a cruel shore where these things
breed in red waters while pagan effigies go tumbled, burning. James
Flick gestures and we behold the Killing Fields through the lens of
academia while Ian Brook forms a search party to comb his own alien
fields under a cold moon.
and its shadowy theme is embodied in the vision of our featured poet,
Jeffrey Bahr. The shadow self, the polarization of human elements, is
defined in his inimitable fashion. Mr. Bahr is a stylist. At turns benign
and macabre, his narrators are magicians met on old winding roads at
the junction of light and dark. Sometimes charming, sometimes bitter,
always engaging and a touch dangerous. I promise you will enjoy his
wry humor, his unnerving prestidigitation.
like to thank CE Chaffin and Kathleen Carbone for their unflagging support
as I pieced Melic Thirteen together. A special thanks to Suzanne Frischkorn
and her able assistance -- she possesses a remarkable eye for poetry.
I would have suffered without her efforts.
thanks to all the contributors; it was a rare treat to peruse such fabulous
writing. Best wishes to you, our readers. May you enjoy this issue as
much as I have.