Sunday, November 30, 2008

Notice, Submissions

We've only been up a little over a week and already we've had an overwhelming number of submissions. I'm pleased to say the majority have been wonderful to read.

LiteralMinded is working on a new site: new format, new writers, forums, and much more. Some of you who have sent submissions but were not published will receive an email very soon informing you when LM will be open for submissions. Many great writers, but the content isn't what I'm looking for.

I started this zine because I read pieces from writers whose work should be visible. If you are a good writer and can give me something different each week, I'll take it.

Although we've had a great response by way of submissions and viewers, I want to clarify what I am looking for when it comes to publishing those pieces.

I like dark pieces. I'm not into vampires, or goth, or the supernatural. When I pick up a book of poetry or a piece of fiction, I want to look inside and see the darkness we all have within us.

I like writers who are so true to themselves and what they know that when I read one of their pieces it's like thumbing open a rib and climbing inside.

You might be a great inspirational writer or technically sound, but I want to showcase work that is gutsy and edgy and poetic or shows me what other writers have been writing around for years. It has to be real and honest.

Thanks for all the submissions, views, and comments. I hope I continue to receive the quality of work I have seen so far.

I Thought We Had A Friend In The Diamond Business by Thomas Sullivan

The jewelry ad glitters and gleams
Sparks of light radiate off an oversized polished diamond
The jumbo rock perches atop a pure silver band
Beckoning the fortunate in an insolvent world.

The pitch emanates from a huge callout bubble
“Make her ex-boyfriend hate you even more”
When did getting people to hate each other become a marketing strategy?
Maybe with Cheney, Iraq, and Halliburton.

I thought we had a friend in the diamond business.

When you see her ex on the street in front of Saks
He won’t look down at your fiancĂ©’s hand and hate you
He’ll smile at you with silent gratitude
For helping him dodge a serious bullet.

Thomas Sullivan writes short essays from his home in the Pacific Northwest. His writing has recently appeared in a number of webzines and magazines, including Eleventh Transmission (Canada), Lit-Up Magazine,The Short Humour Site (UK), and Backhand Stories. Thomas was a finalist at the 2008 Pacific Northwest Writers Association contest for his memoir Life In The Slow Lane, which recounts a hair-raising summer spent teaching driver’s education. Contact the author at

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Collapsed Dependencies by Matt Douros

He was a tall, thin, rakish figure with a long face and nose, and skin almost pale as paper. Though young, there were a great many creases radiating down from the corners of his lips like cracks in mud. And he wore black. All black: shining black leather shoes, a black suit with a black shirt and tie. Hair? Black. Eyes? Well, they were a dark-chocolate sort of brown, but you may as well call that black, too.

The children, filthy and playing in the rusted hulks of a thousand broken cars that were scattered throughout most of the streets in the city adored the fellow. Children do tend to love the strangeness of anachronisms they don't recognize, after all.

None of the children knew his name, and there was a legend that he didn't know his name, either. As a representative of another time, they called him by names of things from the vast and growing linguistic tumor of antiquated vocabulary. "Lighthouse," they called him, for his height and the stark contrast of his skin and his garb. "Bard," they called him, for his habit of wandering and the ease with which he'd tell a tale.

He had many other names, and some were only whispered. There was also a legend that he was a ghost, because nobody, not even the adults, ever saw him eat, or sleep, or take a piss. Even the children were afraid to ask him if he truly was a ghost. These were very superstitious times.

Instead, the children took the role of paranormal investigators. They would ask him questions to see if they might imagine some his personal insights--reflections of the distant past. They might ask, "Bard, what happened when the net went down?"

He would look then into the child's eyes and something would change, almost imperceptibly. Those with keener perceptions would later say that, while his lips would always maintain that dour expression, in those moments his eyes would smile. His voice was clear, sharp, deep, and precise as he recited:

"The dark day the net went down,
It used its lips and tongue.
Only clergy wore fixed frowns,
As the whole world did moan and cu--"

"That has nothing to do with the Great Crash!" the child might cry. "Tell us of the old times! Of the net!"

"Mm. I just told you more about the net than you realize," he would look then to a shattered tower of rubble on the horizon, and add, mostly to himself, "It's lucky for me that my little poem is going to go over your head for a few years."

Faces bent under the pressure of confusion and changed subjects would follow, "Ma says I'm growing like a weed." The child would then pause and wrinkle up his face in the melodrama of his transparent manipulation as he would probe, "What's a weed?"

The man would reply, "It's a plant people may use to make themselves relaxed and stupid."

Incredulous responses, being the domain of children no matter what era you're living in tends to produce things like, "Why would people want to be stupid?"

With the eyes of a cat playing with a trapped mouse, the man would say, "Life is sometimes fun when it isn't clouded with questions."

"You sayin you want me to stop pestin you with questions?"

"Only if I run out of answers."

"Oh," the child would say, and the man's eyes would flicker and he would turn and walk away without a word. Depending on the size and nature of the crowd that would then be dispersing, there might be some further pondering of the mystery of the strange man from a time long gone. Or maybe children would launch themselves into playing in a shared fantasy prompted by such ancient recollections, as children sometimes do.

Friday, November 28, 2008

No Regrets by Scot Young

Scot Young couldn't write a creative bio if his life depended on it.
Recent rumors of his death were blogged to sell his work and
should not really be taken seriously.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Worst by Mikael Covey

the mom
holds up
a photo
of her dead
Nikki’s Fund
the caption
front page
for students
who need
money and
a reason
not to

I hope
you’re feeling
better Nik
your mom
with your
dead photo
your name
of her
who went

Mikael Covey is editor of Lit Up Magazine. His writing has appeared in a number of on-line and print journals, including Storyglossia, 3AM Magazine, Laura Hird Showcase, Word Riot, and Dogmatika.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Photo by Richard Batka

I'm a 26 year old IT worker in Bloomington, Indiana. I just graduated last May with a degree in Kinesiology, though my interests are wide-spread. I enjoy martial arts, triathlons, pretty much anything outdoors, philosophy, physics, psychology and of course, photography. I have been photographing seriously for the last 4 years, but I am just starting to send out portfolios to art galleries. My photography is strongly based off my moods and views of the world, and my goal is to communicate a mood, emotion or sense of atmosphere to the viewer.

In a Kansas City Walk-Up by Lisa Winett

housed in the corner
i never see it change position,
its sensitivity to climate,
nuances of atmosphere,
as though i lived amongst subtle genius.
assuring the appropriateness of sleevelessness,
i recognize devotion.


Lisa Winett was born in Herrington, Ks. in 1971. She received her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Art History at the University of Kansas. She writes, and acts.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Conversation at 80 Feet Above Civlization by Cory Folz

Jim Graw and I were perched in the basket of a construction lift, fastening aluminum to the front of an old downtown building. It is the kind of task that can become rather mundane if it weren’t done 80 feet above the sidewalk. It’s times like these you start thinking about why you had to chase girls and smoke pot in high school instead of studying for a more grounded profession.

As the sun makes the yellow brick facade into a retina frying mirror, we hear Pearl Jam’s 'Even Flow' come out of the speakers of our small, portable, radio.

"Did you ever play drinking games when you were younger?" I ask.

"You mean like quarters and stuff?" Jim replies.

"Yeah. I have these things about vocalized pauses in songs." I answer.

Jim’s brow furrows. "I’m not really following you."

"Vocalized pauses are things we say when we are stalling to find the right thing to say. Instead of waiting and gathering your thoughts before speaking, you say uh, um, er, yeah, but, well or something totally useless like that."

"What does that have to do with drinking?" Jim queries.

"I have always wondered why otherwise talented songwriters would put vocalized pauses as lyrics in their songs. When I was younger, to get drunk quick, we would take shots of beer every time a singer would sing a vocalized pause."

Eddie Vedder interrupts, "Even flow, thoughts arrive like butterflies-Oh, He don’t know so he chases them away-yeah-ooo-Something gives, he begins his life again-ooo-whisperin hand, gently gives away-him away,him away-yeah-guitar riff-ooo-guitar riff-auhuu-guitar riff-unintelligible mumbling."

Jim listens intently then speaks. "You were drunk a lot back then weren’t you."


Cory Folz would have been a rock star by now if it weren't for his wife. :)

A Collaborative

We want a piece of art to inspire our writers. Writers will submit their written interpretation or inspiration based on the selected image.

If you have a photo or artwork you would like to submit, please send to along with a bio.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Three Pieces by Scot Young

first gig

we were a teenage cover band
playing louie louie
wipeout & house of the risin' sun
from the back of a hay wagon
right behind the original
jc penney
hamilton missouri
my mama's town
my family tree
sitting around squinting
into the setting sun
great uncle whit
just starched overalls
pointing one shaky finger
at me singing
said—oh hell them there's city boys
turned and spit brown juice
into an empty cup
ten feet away

Chinatown Jazz

sax man blows
slow note jazz
corner of Kearny
& California
bubbles up like
a slo-gin fizz
in a hip pocket
sun glasses on
case open
accepts loose change
from tourists
walking too fast
to feel
the jazzman's
that wraps the walls
of Old St.Mary's

The Midnight Club of Lonely

She sits behind the computer screen at midnight and takes comfort in the light as it warms her face. Numb to the vodka she chills in the freezer, she types sad poems and blogs them to other lonely people in this world. She writes how she can't go on anymore the way things are going and other midnight poets tell her to hang in there and she is loved. Sometimes, she visits my site and says my lonesome poems make her feel sad, but at least they make her feel something.
She rattles the half full bottle of pills and takes a drink not sure if she has had enough.

Scot Young couldn't write a creative bio if his life depended on it.
Recent rumors of his death were blogged to sell his work and
should not really be taken seriously.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Standard Pack by Kristin Fouquet

(click image to enlarge)

“No TV,” my wife said. “I want this week to be just about us as a family.”

That’s how my vacation started, with a television ban. We never seemed to have any money to actually go anywhere for it, so we’d just cocoon, you know, become mad reclusive types and not even answer the phone. Before my son was born, I’d take my week of vacation and we’d rent around twenty videos, buy bottles of booze and comfort food, and prepare to shut out the rest of the world.

Back before my son, she and I would get drunk watching whatever was on the tube or maybe a movie. Then, if we were in the mood, we’d just have sex right there on the sofa, maybe on the rug, but you know, right there, right then when we wanted to. After, I’d fix us some refresher drinks and we’d sit nude in the blue glow of the set. It was the best, like a hedonistic marathon. Sometimes, we’d forget what day it was. Oh Man, how I looked forward to that week off.

That Friday before my vacation was the greatest; I would be so psyched. We’d run our errands: video store, liquor store, drug store, and grocery store. We called it getting our supplies. We had no real plans but we’d try to set a festive mood. Like one year, we did this Mexican theme where we drank margaritas and did tequila shots…licking the salt and lime off each other’s lips. The two of us have these crazy straw hats we call fajita hats for no better reason than we wore them while eating fajitas during our Mexican vacation. Then there was our Greek vacation when we got stupid on Ouzo and ate gyros. The Italian one sucked when I blacked out on Strega and cut my foot wide open on a piece of glass on the kitchen floor. And the vacation themes weren’t limited to just a place. One year we did the 007 thing and watched every single Bond film out on video, even Casino Royale. My wife shook vodka martinis wearing nothing but a white tuxedo shirt. Man, that was one great week.

Well, it was just the two of us for ten years, one wild decade. After my son, there was no more booze because she breastfed him for a couple of years. She’d loosen up sometimes and have a glass of wine but she never really let go like in the old days. What we ate changed too. God-awful rice cakes one year; trail mix the next. Holy crap, carob.

So, we got our supplies of healthy snacks and red wine but, instead of videos, she told me we’d “read about other places, locate them on the globe…play games, tell stories, you know just talk- as a family.” She got her way, alright, for a few days, until the outside world came knockin’. It was our neighbor Stan wanting to know why we hadn’t boarded up yet.

He asked, “Y’all are headin’ outta the city, aren’t ya? I mean they’re sayin’ this could be the big one. Category 4, maybe 5 by the time it gets here.”

By nightfall, our street is abandoned. We decided to ride out the hurricane. We had food and wine but, no money or place to go. We boarded up. My wife made X’s with masking tape on the little windows. We filled the tub. In light of the situation, she even lifted the ban on the tube so, we watched the coverage of the mass exodus. The dismal fact was that many would be trapped in traffic when the storm hit. The rain and wind really picked up but we were fine, even after we heard the boom of the transformer blowin’ out. We listened to the radio and got by with flashlights. My son thought it was kinda fun till the batteries started burnin’ up. He took the last working flashlight and put it under his pillow before he went to sleep. We decided to conserve the radio batteries so, we shut it off.

It was pitch dark and all we had left were birthday candles. She came in the bedroom with three little swirled candles stickin’ out of a slice of bread. We sat cross-legged on our bed, the plate with the bread and candles between us. We sipped some wine. My wife stared at the little flames. She was beautiful; it was like I hadn’t really looked at her in years. I entwined my fingers with hers and she rewarded me with a smile. Damn, it had been ages since I’d seen that. I kissed her and ran my hand down her hip.

She said, “What’ll we do when these burn out?”

I said, “Light the rest.” I tried to lose my face in her chest.

“Those are it,” she said.

“Standard 24 pack?” I asked stupidly.

She answered, “Yeah, why?”

Then what I said next ruined everything. “Well, if he’s five, then there should be six left, right? I mean with these three and…”

She cut me off and yelled, “Patrick is six, Ron.” My wife spat, “Six.”

“I know that, just got confused.”

She didn’t buy it. Her face was eerie looking. “I can’t believe this.” She screamed, “It’s like you’ve missed an entire year of your son’s life. Where were you, Ron?”

I tried to defend myself. I said, “It’s not like I just took off for a year or something. Goddamn, Pam. I was here. I just forgot, right?”

So, we just sat in the dark. All I could hear was her breathing and that’s when it hit me. I flicked the radio back on. The storm turned. It went east of us. They said we had been spared. They said it would’ve been the big one.

Photo by Kristin Fouquet

Kristin Fouquet, a native of New Orleans, was born an anachronism. Having reached adulthood but, not necessarily maturity, she is also a writer and fine art photographer. Her work has been published both in print and online. Fortunately for Kristin, she lives in a city rich with mystique, offering up many intriguing subjects. More about her can be found at Le Salon:

Le Salon

Regular Contributors

Shoots and Vines Zine is seeking regular contributors in order to establish a weekly fan base. If you are willing to submit quality work on a bi-weekly basis, please send an email to

We want to keep the site updated on a daily basis and until we establish ourselves in the writing community, we will be soliciting work. (Probably even after we establish ourselves because some of you are too good not to be seen regularly.)

Regular contributors would provide material in addition to the submissions we receive. At most, a regular contributor would be published three to four times a month.

Beach by Mark

(click to enlarge)

I'm a Network Security Consulting manager for a silicon valley based tech company, originally from Birmingham, UK - now residing in Wake Forest NC, moved to the states ten years ago.
Father of three, photography is primarily a hobby to try and make all of the work travel that I do, more meaningful, especially since a lot of the insecurity I often point out usually goes ignored.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Art by Audrey Victoria

(click to enlarge)

By Audrey Victoria

Three Pieces by Audrey Victoria

At night we morph into able-bodied creatures

At night we morph into able-bodied creatures
Lionness, the woman, substitutes your scum with a gas mask.
We’re just force-feeding each other into the sleep toned
tones of Agnes in contemporary society sitting on the stoop
of life’s hurdles, eating blueberry mush on a paper plate.
Sedna houses no moon but instead a place where I imagine the mattress
lying in the middle of 10,000 years until a full rotation
and a little bit of astro-dust, fine ash that really likes our nasal cavities.

Thanks to magazines I now taste like pineapple and you like me better.
I forgot to eat cookies because Sedna only wants skinny girls, not women
girls with desert rose painted toes and a bottle of bishop’s blood and pepper.
What a crazy night! I swear we morphed so fast the nanoseconds had little on us.
They just laughed and counted the time it took for Agyness, scared, to eat her
blueberry crisp mush. Old or skinny, old or skinny.
The mountain men paraded and cancer patients had their wigs
when the crowd cleared and violence had occurred which left no more beards.
The world is crazy out there!

So if I could endure another force-fed moment please stop me
or else I will haunt you in your sleep and I really will.
You will dream about me slinking, lioness tail. No lie
I can enter the dreaming bloodstream or through various orifices
in particular the ear so I can blow on your drums.
At night we morph into able-bodied creatures
and somehow form a figure-eight model of the continuation of
earth’s sweet goodness on a concrete floor, sucked dry of humility.

Thoughts on a reunion

I couldn’t imagine you having a harp in your bedroom but if you say so, I guess.
Your mental grace lacked not made up by anything but my delusions concerning
the taste of your hair and drunken swagger since that is all that was left.
If only for one faithful moment your hands could have somehow cupped properly instead of rolling on my knuckles.
Wait, if only the past, (no) I can’t feel that webbing because it was so long ago.
The fine print missed your eyes always but made it on your arm instead;
you could only remember me if I was in front of you.
I imagine the waters flowing of you while sprawled in the bath
But who are you to jump head first into my molecular structures of h20?
While you’re just galavanting into my horizon, I try to dance but I’m just dripping.
I try to dry and I can’t because the sun is too golden and I’ve never been a fan of falsified regal demeanors
and jewelry, crystalline, sloshing sideways down your spine.
If you enter I can’t go back to that land with the waters and the porcelain stained with
all of that hair dye rust. I believe it may have corroded me but I’m still alive.

i buried the box earlier today
i cannot hunger you so hard, faintly undone,
if no massacre were to struggle down your loins
where will the modest end tonight?

dear we all wear pink in our solitary discovery.
there's incandescence in a shower stall,
color fractions slip between your toes

laying fingerless on queen anne's lace,
my lord! shouted the prairie child in white.
you're such a liar. you have blue eyes

you cannot catch the gulp, the lashing
the unwedded double scene marriage in my head;
immune to its song, much like myself.

oh, those blues. they only pass it away.
lock up the mattress, let it grow trees
blossom humility. blossom servility.

Audrey has been writing poetry since her childhood, growing up in the Midwest and trying to find new ways to escape on a regular basis. Now she attends school in Kansas City, Missouri. In her free time she draws primarily with pen and ink, spends time with her two siamese cats, dyes her hair and listens to jazz as constantly as sanity permits. She just read about a new, pink Katydid that has been sighted around the Midwest. She can't wait until the day she sees one of these creatures. She occasionally posts new drawings and writings on her website:

Friday, November 21, 2008

Four Pieces by Matt Finney


the memory of it
13 years later

and all these
poems have
too much me
in them
to mean anything
to anyone else

the wound
and how I
wouldn't let it

how being broken
came to define me.


Dust and echoes under a sky built by tanguy. Crosses made from electrical tape. God's face in the falling snow. The houses without lights. The trailers lay in warm ashes. The drowning boy pulled to the shore. Blueprints for a new america and the original design of the machine gun. Landscape including the corpse. The air is too heavy and what all of this comes down to is how much I miss you. What I realize is that it's too late to save anyone but myself. The idea of escape becoming too hard for me to understand.


The way there's nothing or everything. No one wants your empty hands. How running was a great idea now we're back where we started. Near the edges and they caught fire. And all we do is stand there looking lost. I found out my favorite word was 'escape' and I used it in poems until no one wanted to read anymore. I went into my own cathedral and hid underneath my beliefs. What I found out was there was no lesson to be learned.


Everything else smells like doorknobs. The scent won't leave your
hands and it's worse
than St. Anger. The house you grew up in was eaten by flames. The
fish drank up all the
water. The hose pipes are drained. Jesus's hands were fed to the
town's children very
early. Barren fields. Rusted cars. The monsters that November
spawned look straight out
of Where the Wild Things Are. We're all too tired but we'll make a home.

Upright Piano by Tim K

Tim is a chronic doodler and verified marker addict. A writer whose novels consist of scant sentences and even less plot. He spends his days avoiding sleep, using inordinate amounts of time on simple tasks, and writing biographies in third person. He wants you to draw what conclusions you may about his personality from the three preceding sentences, something I agree with wholeheartedly. Definitely not this sentence, though.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Spider by Jessica Taylor

Jessica lives in Southern California. She spends her time attending college, inhaling science fiction, and trapping insects under glassware.

The Common Flag by Tim Morris

i don't think that way
my mind isn't wired that way
so fuck you and get out of my face

blah, blah, blah...
the mantra
of the moment

i hold no interest in origins
no fascination for
what concerns me is the path
and how one walks
among its bricks & brambles
and the blisters that result

and the trees
who hold all the answers
in their pursed fragile lips
pried open only by frogs
who kiss them just so
but now they're beholden
only to the shades who carry
the common flag

Tim Morris lives with his wife and two daughters in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains on their estate, Withering Cedars, in Northwest Georgia. Tim holds a degree in Creative Writing from the University of South Alabama and currently teaches high school literature. When asked, he calls his poetic style "realistic romantic surrealism".

Innuendo by David Blaine


Someone has had his
on my money


he's seen everyone
I've ever paid off

this man's out back
his straightjacket's

but he's the sanest sonofabitch
In here

I ask him why he's laughing

locked up out of sight
and he says

I've got your number.

Collage: Medusa by David Blaine

Read more by David Blaine at

"A. Hello Whiskey."

David Blaine:

Has not been nominated for a Pushcart
Has never traveled to Paris or Pamplona
Nor been awarded an MFA degree
He hasn't been published in
The New Yorker, The Paris Review
Or Ploughshares
David doesn't get a birthday card
From Scribner or Norton
Donald Hall did write to him once
David didn't send the money

Personal Rituals by Miss E.

Personal rituals. The things we hold onto that keep us from never having been.

There are days which blend into a sameness, where half-forgotten things crawl, gather, and a vague restlessness chokes the air. The eyes go blind. The fingers grasp for yellow straws of normalcy. Whatever normal means.

I mute my screams and photoshop my memories.

I need to breathe again.

I love dance. The studio, the music, filling the emptiness within, without. The old, familiar aches of the back, neck, the bruises on the shin and ankle. Etching the song into space with the lines of the body. I live pain, without its suffering. I take pleasure, despite its bitter reality.

Somewhere, a cage sits silent. And a broken-winged bird died, dreaming of flight.

The music flows, whispering life into rose-leaf memories and stillborn futures.
The emptiness, it becomes a channel.


For the things beyond words, the body speaks for me.

And in that heartbeat between notes, within songs.

I burn once more.

Personal Ritual by Crystal Folz

Long before she bought her first pair of fishnets and rolled down the waistband on her skirts to raise the hemline, there was a nakedness in her eyes like swollen blackberries on a leaf-barren vine.

She looked for it in other people, touching strangers' arms in passing to lure a glance and thumbing the brows over young eyes soggy with whiskey, until one night, there was a wicked dance between the conversationalists in her head that lasted well into morning.

Her ugliness was unique.

She wore it in embarrassment, like stained panties, discreetly, always glimpsing behind to ensure invisibility. She tried to calm the pain by holding in her stomach. Jutted hipbones, concave stomach, fleshless between her thighs, she fumbled around like a skeleton, a skeleton with bulging ugly eyes.

Crystal Folz lives in rural Indiana with her husband and two sons. She works as a bookkeeper for a small Carnegie library.