Surgery of Modern Warfare

"Named for Benjamin Drew No. 1"
by Kate Javens

Kate's show of New Paintings
opens Friday February 28
5:30 - 7:30 PM
Schmidt Dean Gallery
1710 Sansom Street
Philadelphia PA

Mother Nature Hangs Herself in Times Square
by Cynthia Bruckman

    The day I thought I stopped loving my sister was the day that the fly on the windowsill stopped buzzing.  The air was full of gas, and New York wrapped itself in misgivings.  People and cars were out of synch--blinking lights halted trucks and tripped stiletto heels.  Cigars looked like tiger sharks smoking drowning men.  The whole stinking world was upside down:  Mother Nature hung herself in Times Square.  People's conversations sputtered like clotting ink behind bulletproof glass.  Dogs walked backwards.  I started hearing voices that told me to Stop, Quit, Lay Down, Die, Kill, Destroy, Give Up, Be Negative, Buy Rotten Fruit, Poison Cats, Push Old Women Down Escalators, Jump in Front of the A Train, the L Train, the O Train, the N Train, the E Train, Then Get Up Again and Do it in Reverse.  I scratched "sometimes" friends out of my address book and never returned calls.  My family invaded my dreams as out-of-control, uprooted plants, trying to break out of ceramic pots, their bulbs and roots looking like scrotum sacs and fallopian tubes; a terrifying, disgraceful, dirt-covered, entwining, enlarging mess.

    The day I thought I stopped loving my sister, I lost a small chunk of muscle in my heart, and I'm not sure where it's at, so if you find it, please pack it in ice and send it express/overnight to:  P.O. Box 506, New York, New York  10009 so I can get on with my life, maybe learn how to forgive and forget, put on a new outfit, buy a plane ticket, fly to San Francisco, knock on her door, take her out to the beach, tell her stories, like, "Remember when it was you and me, the glue keeping the five of us kids together, fighting over our fate of having to share a room, separated by an invisible wall, but still together, through thick and thin?"  And I'd give her a hug, and then I'd wrestle her, or jump on her back, or wipe a booger on her, like when we were kids, and she'd punch me hard and yell, and we'd laugh, and scrape our change together to escape to three or four fast-food joints.  And we'd be sisters again:  bloody, real, and two-of-a-kind.

    The day I thought I stopped loving my sister, I climbed the four flights of stairs to my over-priced, rented hovel at 11:45 PM, and stared at the faded stains on my bare wall.  Within the streaked grease and the sepia-colored patterns on the aged plaster, the shape of a woman put itself together.  Suddenly, she was clearly there all along.  She had the kind of face that Mona Lisa and statues of Buddha seem to share.  It was obvious that she had witnessed the saga of every family battle ever fought.  She looked bored, weary, yet mildly amused.  I thought I heard her whisper my sister's name.  For a second, my heart skipped a beat.  It didn't matter anymore that we had wounded each other with mortal words; words eventually evaporate.  It didn't matter anymore that we had damaged the trust between us; trust can be rebuilt.  The woman on my wall slowly unwound the knotted noose from her neck and breathed deeply.  Deeply releasing the day from her body.  Just before midnight.