I have not read a story I’ve loved as much as I love Colleen Morrissey’s “Shapeway” from Monkeybicycle 9. I’ve read it several times. I’ve taken it to bed with me. I’ve smiled at it again and again and again. It’s so perfect, I can hardly talk about it. I may ruin it. It’s about a woman’s life with two men and a Midwestern theater in the first half of the twentieth century. It’s about love and loss, and the way life is lived when you have kids and an all-cosuming business, and a pioneer spirit to some degree, and a certain practical outlook about the state of things, even when a sudden tragedy occurs. If you read nothing else in this issue, read this. If you need one reason to buy this issue, this is it: “Shapeway.”
But I shouldn’t focus on one fantastic story that I could gush about for days. There are others in MB9 that are also quite good in other ways, and that readers may find far surpassing “Shapeway” in greatness.
“Black Spots” by A.A. Balaskovits—this story about a taciturn fireman completely crushed me. It’s short, and I don’t want to give it away, but it was so moving in its imagery.
Do you like horror? Nathan Blake’s “Men of Low Spirit” horrified me. It’s all about consequences for one’s actions and a certain warped Christian morality. I cringed and crept out of my skin and writhed and riggled as I read it. And I think that’s what he was going for.
“The Twenty-Two Notebooks of Arousal” by Michael Wood had me on the edge of my seat for its intrigue and mystery. I knew this woman was up to no good. I had no idea it was going to go the way it did, though.
I loved the seeming simplicity of A. Anupama’s “Vrksasana.” This was such a sweet poem. It made me feel small and good. And while I’m discussing the journal’s poetry, I’ll say Naomi Ruth Lowinsky’s “The Shekhinah in Cordoba” transported me with its interweaving of the spiritual and sexual.
Speaking of sexual, “Door to Door” had some kink to it, and that’s always a must for any issue of Monkeybicycle. Christopher Linforth has some great stuff here about a traveling salesman who doesn’t sell vacuum cleaners. The opening story, “Slim and Mrs. Burns,” by Jack Garrett, brings the kink, too, but takes it Old West-style.
Marshall Walker Lee’s “Cape Canaveral” felt epic, and it’s possibly the lynchpin of this whole issue. It’s about a man and his father, time, reminiscences, ecstatic joy, death, and the space shuttle. Its conclusion is perfect.
I could go on. There’s so much to see in this issue of MB it’s hard to know which way to look first. But take a long look, and look over and over. Something new will present itself each time, and you may feel that thing that you haven’t felt since childhood. It’s called wonder.