Category Archives: Essay/Memoir

Holding on to Silver by Rich H. Kenney

Streaks of color on black
 

Rich H. Kenney, Jr. is the 3rd place winner of Streetlight Magazine‘s 2017 Essay/Memoir contest.   In the summer of 1960, my father got high and I held the ladder. “All you have to do,” he told me, “is to hold it steady and turn the radio dial when I tell you. Whatever you do…” he said, sternly, “don’t move the ladder. That means no talking to friends, no kicking pebbles, and no daydreaming. Got it?” With that, he scooted up the side of our house to the second story, fresh paint from his bucket … Continue reading Holding on to Silver by Rich H. Kenney

Sliding by Anne Carle Carson

snowy neigborhood road
 

Anne Carson is the 2nd place winner of Streetlight Magazine‘s 2017 Essay/Memoir contest. It had just snowed a heavy snow, and my mother picked us up early from school. The roads were not that scary or impassable, but she drove with great care that day anyway—this was Richmond, Virginia and no one was accustomed to snow there. We sat bundled in the grey Chevrolet station wagon, all four kids in our colorful, puff polyester coats. I remember liking that name, Chevrolet, saying it over and over to myself. The radio broadcasted the AM station, the … Continue reading Sliding by Anne Carle Carson

Spirit Duplicator by Alex Joyner


 

Alex Joyner is the 1st place winner of Streetlight Magazine‘s 2017 Essay/Memoir contest. Robert E. flippin’ Lee’s church pew. Is there any more compromised bench in all of Christendom? It occupies some middle ground of sacrality at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Orange, Virginia. I scowled as I walked past it, despite the attraction it held for me as youth. What white, Virginia boy of a certain age didn’t thrill to know that here sat (God, did we call him?…yes, we did) ‘Marse’ Lee, snowy head bowed in prayer with Traveller tied to the locust … Continue reading Spirit Duplicator by Alex Joyner

Miss Madden by Rich H. Kenney, Jr.

Boy reading on bench
 

She was a bully, a backer, a stinker, a treasure. She was a finder of fault and forte, folly and facility. She was the picture of rigor and push and impeccability, her visage stern and stately and a dead-ringer for the man on the one-dollar bill. The first time I saw her standing on stage in her blue satin suit and snow-white hair delivering a rule-laced welcome to school, I felt wings of butterflies and tips of prayers brushing my soul in a nervous wish for her retirement to sync with my grade six arrival. … Continue reading Miss Madden by Rich H. Kenney, Jr.

Leaving Promise Road by Amelia Zahm

Sunset over snow-capped Rocky Mountains
 

I understood the world around me on Promise Road. I felt at home on the edge of the rolling valley, looking out at the distant mountain range. I learned to fight creeping Charlie, pigweed and cheat grass with soil enhancement, rotational grazing and early weeding. I recognized the arrival of summer as the swallows began daubing their mud nests above my windows, swooping through the evening sky to clear the air of mosquitos. I named the bats that flew in my open doors on warm summer evenings, searching corners and hallways for moths. Over time, … Continue reading Leaving Promise Road by Amelia Zahm

Late-August Mass Transit Railway (MTR) by James Ellis

MTR station hallway
 

  The city’s Central district is different in the early morning, just after sunlight usually appears: near empty streets, no black skirt suits, few voices. Today, damp bundles just delivered to the newspaper vendors cover the sidewalk and tobacco smoke hovers heavily in a steady monsoon drizzle. My old dimming eyesight smooths out the vendors’ features—softer noses, subtler chins. Flaws fade into blurs. Down two flights of stairs, I descend into an almost empty Central Station, bathing in one of Mozart’s perky piano melodies. A human din will soon drown out the pleasant music. Hong … Continue reading Late-August Mass Transit Railway (MTR) by James Ellis

Fuzzball and the Quakers by Lassiter Williams

Woman under branches
 

They are called Quakers because the spirit, which is in all beings, begins to move and demands a voice. They quake where they sit, on their plain wooden benches, until that which is in their hearts is spoken aloud to the Meeting. Very often what they have to share is a question or a confirmation of the notion of peace and they stand to speak in the hopes of a self and a world free of violence. My parents joined a Friends Meeting when I was three years old. My younger brother and sister are … Continue reading Fuzzball and the Quakers by Lassiter Williams

The Ribbon Test by Lisa Ellison

holding hands in support
 

When I was younger I prayed that if I had to get sick, I’d get a movie star illness—one with a color, ribbon, and celebrity spokespersons. It’s not that I wanted to be ill, but in my family broke-down-body lore was a frequent supper topic and bedtime story, complete with mysterious myalgias, fogs, and cases of The Nerves. For years, I thought I’d descended from malingerers or hypochondriacs. I moved six hundred miles away to avoid their fate, believing that, if there was in fact a problem, it was likely the water, Upstate New York’s … Continue reading The Ribbon Test by Lisa Ellison

Skin by Marlena Baraf

dough in small tart pan
 

Sweet Tarts Tía Mimí was lumpy. My tía Esther was fat. My father’s two sisters never married. “You’ll grow up to be old maids like your aunts,” mami sang to Patricia and me. “Julita doesn’t appreciate your wonderful papi,” they refrained. “Your mami’s spoiled,” they said. “She doesn’t deserve him.” Our tías were surrogates for mami. One or the other would sleep at our house to help their brother Eddie when mami had to travel for treatment. Tía Mimí with dark brown hair and eyes like mine had little bumps all over her body and … Continue reading Skin by Marlena Baraf

Cousin Paul by Joseph Fleckenstein

Paul McCartney playing at concert
 

I wrote to Paul, but a response was not received. The second time I enclosed adequate British postage, thinking the postage might my enhance chances. It wasn’t as though I was asking for a grant or a personal visit. My mere request was for an autographed photo. A souvenir to hang on the wall. Something to elicit oh’s and aah’s. A “Where did you ever get that?” One would think that, if Paul did not care to be bothered, he would have a secretary to take care his fan mail. Perhaps an elderly widow in … Continue reading Cousin Paul by Joseph Fleckenstein