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by David S. Warren

Our steel-roofed house is under a Horse Chestnut tree that never seems to stop dropping nuts: one just this morning, sounding when it hit and rolled down the roof like Gnomes were bowling up there. We do not complain about the Gnomes and we love the Chestnut tree as it shades our house in summer, putting on a great show of pink and white flower-candelabras, so bee-loud that we can’t hear our little deck-fountain when we are sitting right by it.

Planted along side the original house nearly two hundred years ago and having survived the fire that burnt the house down, the Horse Chestnut shelters our tiny, replacement house and shades a good part of the yard where I set up a workbench. The tree trunk has some hollow parts which have often housed a Starling colony. For a few years on and off we have had a splinter flock of chickens that - because of Weasel invasions of the chicken house - insisted on roosting nights year round in that tree.

Horse Chestnuts are Home Trees: planted around new houses because of their beauty and shade, and maybe because if your house burns down, you can move into the tree. But they are not treasured because the nuts are good eating. No amount of boiling or leaching is going to make them edible. Occasionally something nibbles at one and then abandons it in distaste, or maybe crawls off somewhere to die. However, fresh out of their spiny husks, the nuts are as beautiful as the tree from which they fall: rather like varnished chestnut wood, or wet chestnut-colored hair, except the bald back face where the nut has been connected to the tree. Children collect and hoard them instinctively, even if they don’t use them in slingshots or for nut-on-a-string battles to determine the hardest one.

I was sitting on our deck one afternoon this summer contemplating a grocery list, with a pencil behind my ear, when I picked up a nut just to shine it on my pant leg and roll it around in my hand. They get so glossy that you can almost see your face in one; but this time I saw that on what we would usually call the back of the nut - this one had it’s own very real face, the face; had eyes, and the eyes were looking at me.

When I examined it more closely, I got over the shock of illusion, and realized that though the nut had two undeniable eyes and an indentation that could be a mouth, it needed a nose, or at least to have its nostrils cleared. It DID have a nose bridge between the eyes. Of course the nut had no ears but mostly they would be hidden by that cap of glossy, chestnut hair.

So I used my pencil to clear the nose and complete the face. It didn’t require much, and the nut seemed almost grateful - even like it wanted to say something. Clearly it was THINKING something.
Since then I have not stopped completing faces on chestnuts, and often enough still I will pick one up and be shocked by the face already looking back at me. Sometimes they speak to me.

Whatever I may see in them, each nut is a living individual, not that each is a perfect and symmetrical like a plastic-surgery victim, but precisely because they have the same complexity and asymmetry as do our own conflicted, suffering, and smoldering faces; expressing or hiding something.

Just as every human is right or left handed, every person has a dominant side to their face. Look at that kid’s lop-sided grin. One side of your face is the mask you put on, the other the unconscious expression. Somewhere there is the person.

When nuts die do they go back to the tree?


(You may view the complete print version here)
(Click to Purchase as a print magazine
• David S. Warren -
Editor's Notes

• Georgia E. Warren -
The Test

• Sue Ryn -
I Never Imagined This

• Mary Gilliland -
Sky Dancer

• David S. Warren -
Poem to Archie

• Don Brennan -
Take Me To the River

• Peter Fortunato -
Surreal Really

• Peter Wetherbee -
Sinister Ballad of a
Middle-Aged Man

David S.Warren -
We are Nuts

• Rhian Ellis -

• Garriel Orgrease -
Evening Out

• Daniel Lovell -
One for Miriam

• Nancy Viera Couto -
Margarida, Jose,
and the Queen

• David Rollow -
Your Stuff

• Franklin Crawford -
When I Have Thoughts
That I May Cease to Pee

• David Rollow -
Review: A. R. Ammons
Complete Poems

• Chris MacCormack -
Packages (an excerpt)

Evening Out

by Gabrial Orgrease

The running joke had become that I was being passed off as Billy Gibbons from Zee Zee Top. I wandered the streets of the French Quarter with family and friends of family. Whenever anyone of the group shouted, “Billy Gibbons, everyone, Billy Gibbons!” I was to go “Har har har.” (go to story)

When I Have Thoughts That I May Cease to Pee

by Franklin Crawford

My brain, which I am very attached to even though we’ve never met, is doomed to liquefy and bubble out of my ears, nose and mouth, shortly after I am as dead as the DNC.
It’s not the most pleasant thought my mind ever conjured, given that I suspect my brain doesn’t like to imagine its post-mortem condition any more than whatever this self – this symbiont with whom I share my weathered hide – wishes to dwell upon. (go to story)


The Test

by Georgia E. Warren

As soon as I got back to my dorm room I remembered. There was no textbook, we were supposed to research the famous artwork of Milan. The test was to identify and discuss the Italian Renaissance art was located in Milan. It was late. The library was closed. I decided I should go to bed and try to get to the library before class.

But I was exhausted: I sat on my bed ready to take my shoes off and fell asleep in my clothes.

Within a minute a very nice Catholic Nun shook my shoulder and told me I should not sleep in the pews of the sanctuary. I told her the problem about my class. I did not tell her it was thousands of miles away
(go to article)________________________

Reiki: Just The Facts

"Take Me To The River"

by Don Brennan

“Whoa! Where did you come from?’’ I set it down on the picnic table as fragments of memories washed over me. It was an old friend that I had found as a child, on a family vacation, somewhere one summer. Even though it was still covered with bits of soil, it was easy to see that it was loaded with interesting minerals. “I’m going to have to hose you off.”
The next two mornings, I spent more time staring at the stone than reading my book. The words were creating images not from The Celestine Prophecy, but from the day this stone first came into my life.

I had glimpses of it sparkling
in a shallow pool of water at
the bottom of a riverbed.
(go to article)



Chris MacCormack
excerpt from
Packages (visit)

by David Rollow

The Muse came knocking at the writer’s window on a night of wild weather. Her skin seen through the windowpanes was luminous and pale, except for her flushed cheeks. Her green eyes glistened. Never had she looked more beautiful. Gladdened by this unexpected visit--for the page lay empty on his table and the pen lay untouched by the page--the writer stood and unlocked the window, his heart surging against his ribs as if they, too, somehow, were to be unlocked and his heart set free. (go to story)


by Mary Gilliland

Myth is longing. I lose myself in myth. When I would re-read the texts, or re-imagine them, myth led me out of family problems I could do nothing about. It contextualized the martyred strivings of Roman Catholic indoctrination. (excerpt, go to full story)


Margarida, José, and the Queen

by by Nancy Vieira Couto

Margarida saw the Queen in that summer of 1901 when all the days were damp and filled with the smell of salt. She couldn’t see the future through the fog, but she imagined machines, money, and motion, a city crammed with tenement houses and streetcars. She was fourteen years old. She and her mother, Maria Julia, had just arrived in Ponta Delgada, having said good-bye forever to aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, the living and the dead.
(go to story)

The focus of our next Metaphysical Times will be "Memory." (see full size)

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