Author: Jake Kemman

Hedge Apple is live!

Hedge Apple is live!

Dear readers and contributors,

The Spring 2019 edition of Hedge Apple magazine has been officially submitted to Amazon direct publishing!

Contributors: expect your complimentary copies to arrive in the next two to three weeks.

Everyone else: Once Amazon’s review process is complete, the magazine will be available here!

In the meantime, stay tuned for more posts on a slow summer release.

It’s been a wonderful ride. Thank you all for being a part of it.

—The Hedge Apple Team

Forecasting the Fate (2): A Wuxing Poem – Changming Yuan

Forecasting the Fate (2): A Wuxing Poem – Changming Yuan

This is the last of Yuan’s submission. It makes for a good close. Enjoy!

~~~

Forecasting the Fate (2): A Wuxing Poem

– Believe it or not, the ancient Chinese 5-Agent Principle accounts for us all.

1/ Water (born in a year ending in 2 or 3)

-helps wood but hinders fire; helped by metal but hindered by earth

with her transparent tenderness

coded with colorless violence

she is always ready to support

or sink the powerful boat

sailing south


2/ Wood (born in a year ending 4 or 5)

-helps fire but hinders earth; helped by water but hindered by metal

rings in rings have been opened or broken

like echoes that roll from home to home

each containing fragments of green

trying to tell their tales

        from the forest’s depths


3/ Fire (born in a year ending 6 or 7)

-helps earth but hinders metal; helped by wood but hindered by water

your soft power bursting from your ribcage

as enthusiastic as a phoenix is supposed to be

when you fly your lipless kisses

you reach out your hearts

until they are all broken


4/ Earth (born in a year ending in 8 or 9)

-helps metal but hinders water; helped by fire but hindered by wood

i think not; therefore, I am not

what I am, but I have a color

the skin my heart wears inside out

tattooed intricately

with footprints of history

5/ Metal (born in a year ending in 0 or 1)

-helps water but hinders wood; helped by earth but hindered by fire

he used to be totally dull-colored

because he came from the earth’s inside

now he has become a super-conductor

for cold words, hot pictures and light itself

all being transmitted through his throat

~~~

Yuan Changming published monographs on translation before leaving China. Currently, Yuan lives in Vancouver, where he edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan. Credits include ten Pushcart nominations, Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17) and BestNewPoemsOnline among others.    

Snow In, Snow Out, On My Birthday & Off – Changming Yuan

Snow In, Snow Out, On My Birthday & Off – Changming Yuan

Snow In, Snow Out

In the wild open west, flakes keep falling

Like myriad baby angels knocked down from Paradise

    Blurring the landscape behind the vision

Hunting each consonant trying to rise above

The ground. The day is brighter, lighter &

 Softer than the feel. Soon there will be

Dirty prints leading to everywhere (or nowhere)

& no one will care how the whole world will collapse

      In blasphemy. The missing cat won’t come to

     Trespass the lawn, nor will the daffodil bloom

To catch a flake drifting astray. Nobody bothers even to think

    About where the season is held up on its way back, how

       The fishes are agitating under the pressure of wintry

       Water, why people wish to see more and more snow

~~~

On My Birthday & Off

I don’t remember how many years old

I am, but I do care about my birthday, a time

When I can imagine getting good wishes

Or words. Rather than having a party

With a big cheese cake or a bowl of longevity

Noodles, I would prefer to leave home

For a lonely walk in the country, wandering

In a poetic wonderland, where I stop to reflect:

For more than a decade I have done what I could

By way of a poem, but since it is unlikely I can

Do anything with it, I find it the proper

Occasion to write one last stanza just

To commemorate my yearly visits to

Qucheng, Homerburgh, Dantefield

Shakespeareston, Goethestadt

Pushkingrad, Baudelaireville

Nerudastad, Frostdale, & Tagorerboro

~~~

Yuan Changming published monographs on translation before leaving China. Currently, Yuan lives in Vancouver, where he edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan. Credits include ten Pushcart nominations, Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17) and BestNewPoemsOnline among others.  

Monody to the Murmuring Mountain, Clefting – Changming Yuan

Monody to the Murmuring Mountain, Clefting – Changming Yuan

Monody to the Murmuring Mountain

Twenty minimeters of pink petals.


Twenty minimetres of stretch and reach

Floral foil, twenty minimeters

Of soil, grass, dew, bush

Sitting in green meditation about

The balance between yin and yang

Myriad of leaves,

Falling down with mists

Of last night approaching – twenty minimeters


Of ethereal presence, kissing

The thick ridges – is the soul

The melody of equanimity?

Insects sloughing off


In chameleon-rhythms.

You stopped as you heard them


Twenty minimeters of dandelions rolling against

The vastness of sky and mountain

~~~

Clefting

Between two high notes

The melody gives a crack

Long enough

To allow my entire selfhood to enter

Like a fish jumping back

Into the night water


Both the fish and I leave no

Trace behind us, and the world

Remains undisturbed as we swim

Deeper and deeper in blue silence


Upon my return, I find the music

Still going on, while the fish has

Disappeared into the unknown

~~~

Yuan Changming published monographs on translation before leaving China. Currently, Yuan lives in Vancouver, where he edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan. Credits include ten Pushcart nominations, Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17) and BestNewPoemsOnline among others.  

Montage – Alesa Good

Montage – Alesa Good

Alesa Good is 19 years old and lives in Waynesboro, PA.  She is currently enrolled at HCC but will be graduating with a Visual Arts degree at the end of the Spring semester.  She hopes to transfer to the Maryland Institute College of Art in the Fall and major in illustration.

~~~

Thank you, Alesa, for providing our choice for this print edition’s cover art!

Infinitival Infinities: A Sonnet in Fragments, My Crows – Changming Yuan

Infinitival Infinities: A Sonnet in Fragments, My Crows – Changming Yuan

These two poems are the first of a series we received from Changming. We’ll be publishing the rest of our cache over the next few days. Enjoy!
~~~

Infinitival Infinities: A Sonnet in Fragments

To be   a matter when there’s no question

Or not to be  a question when nothing really matters

To sing  with a frog squatting straight

On a lotus leaf in the Honghu Lake  near Jingzhou

   To recollect  all the pasts, and mix them

Together like a glass of  cocktail

To build   a nest of meaning

Between two broken branches on  Ygdrasil

To strive  for deity

Longevity  and

Even happiness

To come  on and off line every other while

To compress  consciousness into a file, and upload it

    Onto a nomochip

           To be  dying, to   die

~~~

My Crows

1/

Still, still hidden

Behind old shirts and pants

Like an inflated sock

Hung on a slanting coat hanger


With a prophecy stuck in its throat

Probably too dark or ominous

To yaw, even to breathe


No one knows when or how

It will fly out of the closet, and call


2/

Like billions of dark butterflies  

Beating their wings  

Against nightmares, rather

Like myriads of  

Spirited coal-flakes

Spread from the sky  

Of another world

A heavy black snow  

Falls, falling, fallen  

Down towards the horizon

Of my mind, where a little crow

White as a lost patch

Of autumn fog

Is trying to fly, flapping   

From bough to bough

~~~


Yuan Changming published monographs on translation before leaving China. Currently, Yuan lives in Vancouver, where he edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan. Credits include ten Pushcart nominations, Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17) and BestNewPoemsOnline among others.  

Joey Beifong, Maku, Li-Yang – Joshua Cantler

Joey Beifong, Maku, Li-Yang – Joshua Cantler

~~~

Joshua D. Cantler has been writing story series for several years, and he has shared his work on the fan fiction website Wattpad since 2016. He particularly enjoys producing fictional works in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and action. In collaboration with his two siblings, he creates characterizations and illustrations to accompany his writings.

Two Blue Pills – John Maurer

Two Blue Pills – John Maurer

From breaking into the liquor cabinet

to breaking into the houses with better liquor cabinets

from a boarding school chimney by a checkered neck tie

to forty-ounce portioned freedom and swishers almost sweet enough

from burning cows into fornication with celebrities…allegedly

to probably still pouring accelerant on innocent animals…I hope not

but probably


I had to move on from everything to improve on everything

Having suppressed memories unearthed and asking the psychiatrist

Can you rebury that? At least for the week

I just already am dealing with so much

Dealing with being

Dealing with knowing I won’t

~~~

John Maurer is a 23-year-old writer from Pittsburgh that writes fiction, poetry, and everything in-between, but his work always strives to portray that what is true is beautiful. He has been previously published in Claudius Speaks, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Thought Catalog, and more than twenty others. @JohnPMaurer (johnpmaurer.com)

A Moment in the Light – Victor Cline

A Moment in the Light – Victor Cline

Victor’s storytelling can speak for itself (and then some).

This has become one of our favorites.

Enjoy:

~~~

“Baby I was born this way”. Blasting Lady Gaga in the car on the way to the venue is an almost ceremonial affair. The lyrics speak of being born who you are: trans, gay, fat, thin, black, blue, green, bruised. Songs are a good first step in shaking off the anxiety that comes along with getting into a character and costume, only to attempt peeling articles of clothing off in a way that will seduce with deliberation and intent. My stage name is Cinderfella, a play on words denoting an alternate universe where the humble blond princess is a male burlesque performer. I’m doing 65 in a 50 to get to the Lodge on time, but this part of route 40 is quiet and rarely sees police. An inconspicuous and almost creepy venue from the outside, the Lodge is a small cabin with a big parking lot that sits atop a mountain. The only gay bar for half a state’s distance, it’s a cherished location and a stronghold for the last bit of queer performance art in our region. I park my car and make my way to the door, striving not to stumble on any of the props I’m lugging along the way. Before grabbing the knob it’s time for a deep breath. Here we go…

Like a moth to the flame I somehow always seem to find myself in a line of work that includes stress in the job description. By night an illusionist of the art of tease, by day an ER registration clerk. I’ve worked in the medical field for 6 years now. I always think I’ve seen it all, but each day brings a new set of drama and emotional turmoil for the family and patients surrounding me. I take a deep breath before grabbing this door handle as well, then I make my way to my work area. It isn’t the sites that shake you. Many an outsider would imagine blood and gore, and surely every once in the while we have our fair share, but if you close your eyes and listen, it’s the vibrations of the airwaves that will come for you here. Two screaming babies, it’s the smallest people that we try to protect the most. A man’s voice cursing at a nurse wondering when their child will be seen, “What do you mean there are 10 people ahead of us?! This is a baby! My baby!” translate: “We are the only patients here! I’m blind to other people’s problems! I’m not in the cognitive state to realize this wait is a result of a broken medical system and isn’t in any way of direct fault to you, the triage nurse that just checked all of my baby’s vital signs and found that it’s probably just an ear infection!” The whispers of “I’ll die out here before a doctor sees me.” The primal screeching and wailing of a teen girl who has just tragically and unexpectedly lost her guardian to the hood of a vehicle. “I CAN’T DO THIS WITHOUT HER!” Cynicism from police and EMS as they bring in a drug overdose. “Maybe he should have taken a little more, haha. Am I right guys? We don’t need people like this.” My boss. Ohhhh my boss. A thick Caribbean accent with an attitude problem that only gets sweeter with the knowledge that you’ve collected copays. “Victuh! What do you mean you aren’t available! I need you to work on the third of September!” Except she pronounced “third” as “turd”, a tiny sliver of immature humor that I tuck away in my pocket for rainy days. A voice overhead requests my presence at trauma room one, so I can check a new ambulance into the computer system. I haven’t lost my mind though, it’s just an intercom broadcasted from the ceiling. Nonetheless I look to the ceiling and reply “God…. God is that you? It’s me, your favorite stripper.” I tuck that one in the other pocket.

I open the door to the Lodge and quickly make my way to my work station to begin my makeup. This act calls for something abstract and ethereal. I’m going for a nearly monochromatic alien-type vibe and decide to use varying hues of pink as my eyeshadow and contour shades. My costume for the night is everything opalescent: a series of reflective straps sewed into the shape of a body harness that shifts between pinks and blues and silver depending on the angle of light, a baby pink sequin loin cloth to cover the no-no spots, tear drop shaped pasties strung together by a chain of pearls, a medical mask from the ER that I’ve decked out with white and pink lace, pearls, white flowers, and butterflies. Lastly is a large, white, cape-like covering cut into a revealing robe shape with a slit down the side. Think interplanetary extra-terrestrial temple slut that is slave to a powerful alien drug lord that she sits to the right of and fans all day long while he’s on his throne. All she really wants is to strangle him and go free to return back to her galaxy of origin. But the fans are more than just part of the concept or imagination, I HAVE them! My white ostrich feather fans are precious to me and will assist me in my motions tonight by granting me control over what and when I reveal portions of by body. They cover me and hide me from the crowd until I’m ready. My performance calls for revealing this body, but my instincts tell me to stay behind the fans all night.

Similar to the shrouded comfort of my feather fans, this tiny office in the ER permits me a moment of escape from the scene outside. The resource nurse just paged us reminding us that a trauma patient is 10 minutes out. An older man has fallen down his basement steps and isn’t doing so well. “Deep breaths”, I remind myself. I make my way over to the trauma room bay and wait for the EMT’s to arrive. We know from the paramedic consult over the radio system that his health is quickly declining. The man-made impact with his head at some point it would seem, an event that could make for anything from trivial concussion to an all-out brain bleed. When the ambulance left the scene, the man was still responsive. That’s the last thing his family saw. The family will likely still be expecting his condition to be somewhere around the same as before, but it won’t be. The worst reactions are always like this. If the patient was already in such a decline at the scene, the family would know what to expect. It’s events in which the doctor is like “Surprise! He’s dying!” that yield the most gut-wrenching reactions from the family. I’m thinking about it way too much, and now my gut is beginning to tighten a bit too.

I wouldn’t call these “butterflies”. Butterflies float on air, softly beating their wings and delicately landing on surfaces. Butterflies are not what you feel in your tum-tum before you’re about to take your clothes off in front of a crowd of 200 people. Many of the onlookers will be other gay men; men with “better” bodies than me, men without beer bellies or chub rub discoloration as a result of my thick thighs chaffing in the hot summer sun. Some of them will judge me, but if just one of them looks at my pasty white curves the way I look at cheesecake, I’ll be pleased. Our troupe displays a smorgasbord of body types. Most of our performers are biological females ranging from lean to big. The neo-burlesque community has grown to be very body-positive, and with that comes a sense of confidence for me. It isn’t my body type that makes me feel anxiety before a show, it’s my level of performance. I want to be in control of the stage, not let the lights and sounds control me. None-the less, doors are open, and patrons are flooding in. Its 2155 and at 2200 MC Commodore Bailey will announce the start of the show.

The familiar sound of a large vehicle backing up, “beep-beep-beep,” alerts us to the fact that the ambulance has arrived with our new patient. The stretcher turns the corner revealing a piece of machinery that is never a pleasant site to see. The LUCAS chest compression system is essentially a large arch with an automatic compression piece that is placed over a patient’s chest to alleviate the crew of having to perform manual CPR. The machine punches down into the patient often breaking ribs and sternum to effectively reach the heart. I’ve been in this situation many times, but something about this moment made me look away as the stretcher pulls into the room. Deep breaths.

Deep breaths. I’m up next. The performer currently on stage before me is none other than Bearcat Betty, the sideshow spectacular. She’s doing her classic sword ladder act tonight. With each barefoot step up her incline of machetes, my gut wrenches a little more… bats. There are bats in my stomach. Bats carrying bats. Fast, hard, recklessly beating rats with wings wielding Louisville sluggers. I’m concerned about Bearcats safety, but with each step I come closer to going on stage. Her act ends, and Commodore Bailey begins my intro. Something something “If I had a taste for boys, this one would certainly be it!” something something “All the way from back stage and with booty to boot, its Cinderfella!”. My humid palms grasp the curtain in a death grip as I pull it aside and make my way on stage.

I grab the curtain to the room and swing it aside. I have to get this man into the computer system right away, so doctors and nurses can begin ordering medicine. The LUCAS has been pulled off the man and manual CPR has begun. Orders are being shouted, staff are moving quickly but deliberately to complete life-saving tasks, and I’m grabbing an EMT holding a clipboard in hopes of identifying our new patient. His name and birthdate are revealed to me and I get him into our computer system.

Lady Gaga’s “Speechless” begins, a fitting song for the illusionist special effects makeup of a stitched mouth that waits under my mask for reveal time. My back is turned to the crowd and I begin spinning in place. My movements start out smooth as the song progresses, my feather fans covering my face in preparation for the first reveal of my mask and makeup. On the “James Dean glossy eyes” lyric my eyes peer over the border of my feathers to meet the crowds. It’s so bright. The spot light obscures most of the faces. If I weren’t so instinctual, I could use this comfort to my advantage; I can’t see them. They aren’t there. I’m sweating bullets. Epinephrine and norepinephrine are the kidney’s automatic hormonal response to fight or flight, but the body doesn’t know there is no real threat, it just perceives what my animal brain is going through as one.

“Another shot of epi!” the doctor cries out. Epinephrine is used to jumpstart the body. It is like a dose of life, a spark from a flint stone to kick the heart into gear. After several rounds, there is still no response from the patient.

The song kicks up! My fans pull away from my face and slide down my body. I feel the fibers of each feather on my skin, and I want my audience to imagine the feeling too. I want to share in it.

The family comes in and are taken to a conference room. The doctor has called it. Time of death. The family is worried but remember, he was talking when the paramedic left. Soon the news will be given to them. I don’t want to know that feeling. I don’t want them to share that with me. We hear the wails no matter what though. Our office is just down the hall from the conference room and you can’t help but hear the wails. A light has gone off for them. A flame in their family has been blown out.

The spot light goes out. A black out moment for a buildup for the finale. I take off my mask and the light comes back on. I reveal a mouth stitched shut, powdered with shades of greens and blues and brown makeup to portray infection. Thus far my look has been angelic. White feather wings, shimmering shades of pearl. This is why I’m speechless. I’m speechless in this environment. My stitched mouth portrays my anxiety towards sex. I want them to see me as a sensual symbol. Feel my fans. Ponder on the texture of the skin of my exposed hips and ass, but now I want them to know that beyond the sights and sounds of sensuality, I’m afraid. I’m afraid of sex. Monsters of my past have taken the right to one of the simplest pleasures of life from me. I land on my knees. At this point I’m wearing nothing but thin opal straps and my small sequin loin cloth. “Some men may follow me, but you choose ‘death and company’. Why you so speechless, oooh ohhh”. My back faces the crowd at this moment. My hips are thrusting the air as if I’m riding a bull. My fans fly open as I throw my arms in the air and bend over backwards to finish out the song.

The son’s arms fly open to quickly grasp his mother before she falls to the ground. I’ve never lost anyone I truly care about. Not yet.

I’m sweating hard, but not diaphoretic. My heart rate is elevated, but it isn’t medical tachycardia. I’m alive. I’ve never felt more alive. From my place laying on the floor with my fans over my face in my finishing pose, I hear shouting. I can’t make out any words, but I know its applause. When coming down from a moment like this, applause sounds like static television snow. I’m still here. I did this. It is my moments in the ER that remind me to pursue this fantasy over and over again until I master it. Someone else’s light is going out. I can’t take these moments for granted. I can’t let fear stop me, not with the knowledge of much harder things to come. Relish this moment in the sun, this moment in the spot light.


~~~

About Victor: Victor enjoys long walks on the beach. His favorite food is fish tacos. Capricorn. Please swipe right or you’ll hurt his feelings. Victor Cline is one of those people who quickly burns through his interests, diving into the subject as deeply as possible and then just as quickly coming back up for air. Significantly knowledgeable but practically useless and a Hagerstown native, he legitimately grew up surrounded by fancy breeds of show pigeons that his dad accumulated countless trophies for in national title shows. Think AKC Eukanuba dog championships, but sky rats. Google if you don’t believe it. Victor works in the ER and is attending HCC’s RAD Program, but his true passion lies in herpetology. Biweekly, Victor volunteers at the National Aquarium Baltimore taking care of the poison dart frog population of the Amazon Rainforest Exhibit. By day an orchid hoarding, frog keeping, patient caring guy, but by night a burlesque tease by the name of Cinderfella.  

Too many pies and not enough fingers. Somebody help this man!