Cadence Skye Olivarez has Texas roots dating back six generations. She currently resides in Corpus Christi with her three year old son, Everett, who would legally change his name to Batman should she allow it. She spends most of her time amid the palm trees of TAMUCC while she works full time, studies Creative and Professional Writing, and serves as the Associate Editor of Nonfiction for The Windward Review. She was recently a recipient of a HAAS Writing Award for her work completed in Fall 2018 and is a perpetual student of life. She is an avid lover of Mother Nature, yoga, coffee, and kindness.
There are no obscurities when it comes to grief.
It is simply a part of you.
It’s the pit of a stone fruit, lying in the center of your perfect peach.
It’s the light leaking out from a break in a cloud,
causing shadows to dance on your brightest moments.
It’s the aging of your hands,
worn and weary,
with the creases growing more evident as the years pass,
reaching for that peach – that tender, ripe peach – wishing
they could share it with you over a bowl of Blue Bell.
as my twenty-seventh lap around the great star comes to a close, i am humbled by the beauty earth holds, gentle and cosmic in the palm of my hands; by the fragility of existence in this form, fleeting and weightless; by the binding force of love that resides within each of us, waiting to be awoken; and within all the dreams sung by the hum that my bleeding heart beats i welcome peace and stillness, yet remain open and willing for my soul to be stirred, never shying or shielding from the rain but allowing it to wash over my bones, and flesh, and eyes to pour out the hundreds of paths i chose not to walk, and breathe into the one i plucked, the fruit of what is. this path i’ll water and wander for all of my years to come, for i’ve only just begun the story that has yet to be spun.
Heal me beneath the moon and the sea.
May the crashing waves devour my fears
and wrap me in a cocoon of the unknown,
spun like a dreidel of silk and sound
as harmonies of locusts lull this loud dream.
Blood orange moon, mother moon, longest of the century,
gleam unto my bare breasts that have changed shape
in aging and nourishing of my sweet babe;
see me for not the hundreds of versions there are that exist of me within each stranger,
but for who I am. Who I am.
A wandress shifting shadows,
morphing under the wings of sky,
soles of my feet calloused from kissing the red Texas dirt,
pulling the earth toward me as if it were an Afghan in the dead of winter’s night.
An Afghan knitted by the hands of my great grandmother who lived through The Great Depression,
starved through poverty, hunger knowing no race.
She praised her God on a day when she had animal fat to cook in her beans,
trekked across dry desert, cactus country, shielding her cooing infant from the blistering sun,
all to give me this life. This life.
With only the fire cracking and smoldering mesquite branches to warm my bones.
I sharply inhale this vision, and exhale the realization of permanence:
because of her, and the bloodline coming before me,
because of these ancestors who fought for this life,
healing under this moon,
because of them, I am eternal.
Once a speck of stardust, then a sprouting seed,
blooming from the verdant, velvet covered leaves.
Your size a Meyer Lemon, canary and so sweet,
your skin the perfect hue, heart a steady beat.
Gentle in this iris, curled up serenely,
your rosy cheeks and chin, drawn down to your knees.
The beauty of becoming: budding, bittersweet,
eclipsing space and time, when our eyes finally meet.
Petals lending warmth, awaiting your first breath,
an act that will transcend, even my own death.
Chelsea Brotherton is a writer in her senior year at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi, and will be graduating with an English writing degree in August 2019. She is a a recent winner of the 1st place undergraduate creative writing 2019 Haas English Writing Awards for a small collection of poetry. A Houston native, she is and enthusiastic Corpus Christi transplant.
I relapsed today
into my old ways.
It’s been five months
since I left this pit-
I was conditioned to ignore
His words, convinced of their emptiness-
Leaving me just as empty.
I would be more
To make up for him. I was sure
If I could make the right meal
Or speak gently enough
Or wear something sexier
That he would be happy
Enough to treat me like it.
I’m not sure what made me walk away,
But I’ve spent five months trying
To figure out what I’m worth
In my independence, my singularity.
I have been failing, pining
After sweet words and squeezed thighs.
But today it happened, a shame
I thought I had forgotten.
Like when I brought Peter home from the shelter,
The way he auto-cowered at the mere flinch
Of a finger- he still does this sometimes,
And today your words burrowed
Through my ears, banging around pinball
Style, knocking my stomach over,
Punching holes in my brain.
“Another bitch that cares
about nothing but herself”
“I hate all you whores”
And my reply?
I was my dog, cowering in a corner.
And I am sorry
For you, but it’s not my damn job.
Mostly, I’m sorry for myself.
And I’m writing this down
As a reminder, that the next time a man calls
Me a cunt on a second date
(or a 400th)
To say “I’m sorry”
But to follow it with
“But you can fuck right off.”
Here’s to you, and trying to forget
My father, who art in nowhere.
Your face, barely seen, burns in memory,
Damned be your name.
Christian Garduno was raised in the Los Angeles area and studied History at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the type of writer who works late into the night, most often until sunrise. His hobbies include making mix tapes, playing 9-ball, and sailing. He currently resides and writes along the South Texas coast with his beautiful wife Nahemie and his young son, Dylan.
Christian writes regularly on Medium.com Here's a sample:
you’re a buzz in the hours well before noon
when we’re swimming around in your room
you turn off the lights
we scale the heights...
read more at https://medium.com/@letsfly2000
Find me some buds before too long in the afternoon,
anywhere you are can make a mighty fine saloon,
when the beach is your backyard,
you don’t have to look very hard,
so give me a flash, let’s make a splash,
Gulf of Mexico’s always got plenty of room
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Coffee Cat has lived in Corpus Christi all her life and graduated from Texas A & M University as a first generation college student. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree of English in 2016. She currently works as a technical writer for a local business and self-published her first novel in March of this year. The novel is titled Don't Die and is published under the name Cofffeee Cat. It is available in both digital and print from Amazon.
Description of DON'T DIE: Anastasia Adira has read, watched, and heard countless stories with the same trope: do anything for love or save the princess. Two formulas that never seem to get old. As much as he enjoys a good romance, he never thought he’d be a part of one. Galaxia knows love as a word he can’t spell or recognize on the page. All it is, is something his clients say to him after a night of business and nothing more. When the two meet, the real story begins. BUY ON AMAZON
When I was a Kid I told myself
I’d never live past 25
Diagnosed with Demons
The prescription was church
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During the day, C.J. Staryk is a marine biogeochemist at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi. By night or the wee hours of the morning, he frantically claws at his keyboard to compose short stories, poetry and novels. From his lair, C.J. also manages a website for his photography and stories: https://hauntingachingwonder.wordpress.com.
Here's a sample of Cory's work:
During the winter, I head back home to see the family. I also visit the place that would always give me a sense of calm from the outside world and the theater of lunatics in my head. It is a county park wrapped around the local reservoir.
See more at
I read a Norman Mailer article that played with the idea that God was fully aware of our Doom. That he had made mortal creatures that will still die and be gone. It was a beautiful idea to me and it affected me.
I'm also obsessed that we just don't understand the vastness of space. Exploration of space is both bleak and absolutely amazing. I want to capture those two sentiments in the future science fiction work I write. Also, there is this idea in ecology that the destination of all species is extinction and I'm curious about how we would want to go out. I was trying to play with those ideas.
There is this old proverb, which I think is Buddhist, that says: before enlightenment, a shepherd wakes and tends to his flock; after enlightenment, a shepherd wakes and tends to his flock. That is how I came up with the resolution. Originally, I wanted to shut the station down and everyone would die to send the message, but it just didn't seem logical and really cruel. Could be really emotional, but ultimately a terrible ending.
Flint flipped through the monitors’ outside views of the station and the gas giant they orbited. Turbulent cloud bands and a wide, vertical icy ring were the only sights. He once imagined the galaxy’s stars full of civilizations waiting for discovery, but most were empty and others were tombs.
Muted laughter drew Flint to the third monitor. A party played on that screen. Ten years ago. A woman with deep blue eyes smiled into the camera. Her shoulders draped with her long, brown curls framing her olive skin. She lifted her hands, revealing a brownie with a single lit candle. She mouthed “happy birthday” and laughed.
“We still felt alone out here then, but we were happier,” Flint muttered.
He caught a familiar scent: strawberry and cucumber, the aroma of the shampoo Sarah used. Flint swiveled in his chair and stared down a simulacrum of a short man with wide-rimmed glasses approaching.
“You’re trying to help again, Prometheus,” Flint said, fighting tears in his eyes. “It’s not working.”
The aroma vanished, replaced with the cold smell of dust and metal.
“I apologize. The captain assumed it would be a good idea. She is worried about you since it is the tenth anniversary of—”
The anger welled up inside him, but Prometheus was just following orders. He was a relic found adrift; an artificial, alien intelligence trapped in a probe; his creators extinct. There was no reason to be mad at him. “The captain wants me to be obedient, not comforted. Don’t worry, I’m not a danger to you.”
He turned back to his console so that Prometheus wouldn’t see the tears.
A blue light flashed.
Shit, it was the big blue light!
After decades of eavesdropping on alien signals, someone was sending them a message!
Prometheus gripped Flint’s shoulder, then turned to shout into the PA. “All officers report to the command center. We have a Code Blue.”
The monitor flashed with data and figures.
Don’t stop. Please, don’t stop. Flint thought. Let us find you.
The screen shimmered and flickered. The map turned red.
Flint whistled. “The source is outside of our galaxy. How is that possible?”
My name is David Carpenter: Writer of stories, adopter of cats, player of games. Graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy with a second degree from the university formerly known as Corpus Christi State. After a stint in the Coast Guard I became a computer programmer, a choice that I enjoyed but would not recommend for normal people. I live in Corpus Christi, Texas and write urban fantasy with a touch of humor.
"Monica and Jerry are assholes."
It had been two weeks, and I was still muttering about my feud at work when I climbed up the tree with a chainsaw. They were the ones who had screwed up, but I was the one who ended up on the hook for it. It had taken me over twenty hours to clean up their mess. Twenty unpaid, uncredited, working-while-everyone-else-goes-home hours. A whole weekend, shot to hell. The anger welled up, making it made it hard to focus.
And lack of focus was something that a man in my position could not afford.
Because I was eight feet off the ground, gingerly climbing an extension ladder propped against the big oak tree in my front yard. I'm afraid of heights, so for me, the top of a ladder is not a good place to be. But a windstorm had damaged one of the branches, and I didn't feel like paying two hundred bucks for a tree service.
I was perched precariously with one foot on the second-to-last rung, clutching my chain saw and reaching a shaky hand for what I hoped was a sturdy branch, when I looked up to see a squirrel sitting six inches in front of my face.
I froze in shock, standing perfectly still while a battle raged between my fear of heights and my instinct to jump.
Fear of heights won.
"Whoa! Just take it easy, there, fella,” the squirrel said. “I'm here to help.”
An eerie, almost lethargic sense of calm settled over me. “Huh. A squirrel that talks.”
“Hey, I’m not just any squirrel, kid. I'm an extra-special, once-in-a-lifetime magical squirrel."
I squinted at it. It had been thirty or forty years since anyone called me 'kid'. "Magical, huh?"
"That's right. And today's your lucky day, because I'm here to do you a favor."
"Uh-huh." I stepped down to a more secure position and rubbed my forehead with my free hand. I had never had a hallucination before. I wondered if my insurance would cover a psychotic episode. Probably not. Maybe I could claim it was the result of migraines. It was October, that lovely time of year when my head hurts non-stop every time a cold front blows through. I could blame it on the migraines, and maybe get an MRI.
Dylan Lopez is a student at TAMUCC majoring in English. He was a student of both Joseph Wilson and Tom Murphy as well as Glenn Blalock. He won the Robb Jackson Poetry Contest in his senior year of high school. A graduate of Richard King High School, he spent his senior year juggling dual credit classes with Del Mar College and competing in Academic Decathlon; he would go on to become a regional champion and a state competitor of 2017-2018. In high school, his interests in poetry were sparked by then-Creative Writing instructor Joseph Wilson, who featured Dylan in his final edition of the high school literary magazine, Open All Night. His writing incorporates an upbringing centered around parochial schools and religious teachings, while also tackling the theme of love from a young adult’s perspective. He hopes to move forward with his education in the hopes of going to law school and continuing to practice his writing over the coming years.
Against the foreign hour’s demands
I am here with you; a transient tied,
Truant of time.
A steward to the innumerable imagined, the generations
Just as you feel the searing touch of the sun emblazed, so I felt.
Just as any of you have known the shimmering coastal reveries, so I have
The melodies sung symphonic—with buoyant delight.
Just as you reach your hands into the shallow pools pondering their fortunes, I reached yet
Just as you look on the treasure-laden leviathans come to harbor, their harlequin crates
enshrined, I looked.
I too journeyed across the former bridge,
That long-iron lattice, now overtaken—
Its wind-battered braces hurled into the bay,
Replaced by silk-thread suspensions, stained
with the sparkling brilliancies of ocean pearls.
These and all else were bliss to me, as they are to you,
staring across the violet horizon into teal-hued waters
from the bayside balconies.
I loved it well, the city and her motley crowds
We greeted each other with cool tenderness,
a soft-swaying love, caressed by the gentle tide.
There is nothing between us then,
No love undone by the separation of grey years
Whatever time plots, it cannot prevail over us
I too lived here, in the shadow of the washed harbor.
I too drove across the shore of Corpus, baptized in the waters around it.
I too prayed in the mission house, christened by the crystalline skyline.
I too felt the abrupt changes, the widening gyre of my age—
In my solitary hold, among the lush seagrass and wild oxeyes
I came into being, breaking through the surface threshold
I came to know myself, reclaimed from the savage storms
I found myself on the vestal shore, delivered by the gulf sands,
I familiarly recall the nauseating journey from King
High school to the unfamiliar Island University,
With its own ecosystem, staring out into the sea.
Beside me on the unsound bus was a pretty German
Girl who, by the end of the relieving trip, would
Become something more to me than a mere seat partner...
E Contreras is a native of Corpus Christi, who is close to completing an undergraduate Bachelor’s degree in English Studies at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi (TAMUCC). She has been involved with the TAMUCC Honors Program for four years, and plans on pursuing a Master’s degree as she figures out what exactly she’s going to do with herself. She’s probably going to be a liberal arts professor, if we’re being serious, or at least involved in public education in some form, although the title of “Donald Duck historian featured on The History Channel’s hit series Pawn Stars” also has a certain appeal.
I don't talk about it a lot, because it's embarrassing, and encourages bigots to whine about the "good old days," but I do have an affinity for 1950s pop music. You know, what was actually popular in the 50s: the super glossy, teeny-bopper bubblegum pop trash that poodle-skirted cheerleaders would scramble to put on the record machine at the neighborhood malt shop.
Read the rest in Corpus Christi Writers 2019, which will be available November 6
Grady Hunter finds his true happiness and satisfaction in educating and service to others. In retirement he is a self employed consultant to business owners and organizational leaders. He had a varied career in executive management positions around the world for government, military and industrial organizations.
He is a member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary where he is active in public education, member training, human resources, crew mentoring and admin support. He has received several commendations for activities related to search and rescue missions while coxswain of boat crews on Coast Guard orders.
Grady has produced many professional and technical articles over his varied career and he now enjoys putting pen to paper expressing his life adventure in prose and poetry. He lives with his wife Jeanne, Unity Spiritual Leader and Pastor in Corpus Christi, Tx. Their children are grown and both volunteer in community activities.
My experiences as a widowed and somewhat-senior male when venturing into a kitchen challenge gain little sympathy from the ladies.
We can agree that some experiences could befall even the most experienced homemaker. But when they befall the independent male, it somehow serves us right.
For example—Pureed Asparagus.
I receive many suggestions from well-meaning friends about all the things that will assure my living beyond my life savings—and—in such great health and vigor that younger men will wonder and younger ladies will note my entrance.
Certainly I am vain enough to accept the admiration and warmth of ladies who note my skills on the dance floor, but in reality appreciate my competency behind the wheel after sunset.
Heather Twardowski hails from Houston, Texas and came to Corpus Christi to pursue both her B.A and M.A in English at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi. While in the M.A. Program, she worked as an instructor for the university’s First-Year Writing Program where she showed students that everything they knew about writing was wrong. She has also traveled quite a bit, visiting places such as Scotland, France, and England.
Heather can be defined in three words: Writer, Dancer, and Cosplayer. A dedicated dancer, an avid writer, and a big anime fan, Heather brings her passion in whatever she does. The genres she is most interested in are dystopian, sci-fi, mystery, and supernatural. She is currently working on several projects, including her debut novel, Rebel Fire.
It’s funny how quickly things can change. You get so used to routine that it seems impossible to be anything different. That’s what I thought as I gazed out at what was left of the once-flourishing town which had bustled with merchants selling ripe fruits. Sensational smells of pumpkins and cranberries had filled the alleys and roads, weaving throughout the mahogany shops and stands. Children played their innocent games of tag until the sky blazed a brilliant red and orange…
…Now nothing even remotely recognizable stood from that quaint town.
Soot and ash littered the rocky soil, dyeing it a black that resembled the call of death. My eyes glanced over to the shambling splinter of the town hall that used to stand proudly in the center; a building that symbolized the power and strength of our struggle.
Symbol of strength?
More like a mark of stubbornness that came crashing down because of its ego.
I counted the steps it took me to reach the outskirts of the former town. The crystalline river that once drifted peacefully and housed so much aquatic wildlife, now transformed into a wretched field of mud and decay. I remember marching down to the bank with my adventurous brother and sister to see how many of the rough-skinned critters we could capture. I remember our little dances that inevitably came about while we sloshed through the mud and grass, before the more klutzy member of our group unexpectedly stepped into a fish hole and graced us with a shower. My eyes lay on the spot where a branch used to reach out over the water that held our rope swing.
Jacqueline was born and raised in Corpus Christi and graduated from Incarnate Word Academy High School. She is a wife, mother, and lover of all academic disciplines, specifically those involving the English language and writing. Jacqueline works as a Freelance Writer and as an Instructional Consultant for the Stone Writing Center at Del Mar College. She is also a Contributing Writer for The Bend and Inspire Coastal Bend Magazines.
Sitting in the corner
while my world is going dim,
I’m thinking that I hear a voice-
My sanity is wearing thin.
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Jason Bond is a Corpus Christi native and teaches fourth grade. He lives with his beautiful wife, Rose. When not taking care of his cat and dog, Jason loves to read and write. His hope and dream is that someone else enjoys his imagination.
Brian watched Timmy reach as far as he could under his bed. Imagining his chubby fingers tiptoeing like spider legs over dust-bunny covered Cheetos or long-lost Lego pieces or whatever else might be under there.
“Got it!” Timmy whispered and pulled the tattered shoebox out into the light of the flashlight he had resting on his lap.
The black and yellow box was covered in sunflowers. Although all of that was almost impossible to see through the layers of Scotch tape and endless yards of twine that Timmy had placed around it. Brian, unfortunately, had to help his mom wrap Christmas presents last year and knew all about how much tape to use and where to hold his finger so his mom could tie the bow. But Timmy’s box looked nothing like that.
“It’s in here. I had to wrap it up pretty tight. I didn’t want it getting out. I mean, what if it can get through the cracks somehow, or worse, pop itself open like a Jack-in-the-Box.” Timmy’s voice sounded excited and out of breath even though the two of them were just sitting there quietly on their sleeping bags.
Timmy clutched it tight. Little beads of sweat were making their way down the side of his cheeks. Brian wanted to reach out and grab it out of Timmy’s hands and rip it open to see its contents. Another part of him wanted to either hide under the folds of his sleeping bag and zip it up like a human pupa, or run out of the bedroom and not stop until he was safe across the street and back in his own bed. Finally, after sucking up as much courage as his seven-year-old body could contain, he reached out and asked to hold it.
“Hold on. Let me tell you about how I got it first, and if you still want to hold it, I will let you. But you have to promise me that if you do hold it, you will hold it like it’s a bomb or something like your life depends on it.” Timmy said seriously. His eyes stared at Brian, never blinking.
Javier Villarreal holds a BA and MA in Spanish from Pan American University, Edinburg, Texas, and a PhD in Hispanic Linguistics from The University of Texas at Austin, Texas. His major fields of interests are Languages in Contact (Spanish and English), Mexican American Folklore, and poetry. His works have been published by academic and literary journals. His first book of poetry Entre lluvia, canto y flor was published in 2008. He translated Versos para no dormir (Leticia Sandoval), edited Voz de Amor (Servando Cárdenas), and is currently working on his second book of poetry. After 30 years in the classroom, Dr. Villarreal retired and lives in Corpus Christi with his family.
From its banks
the willows holding
the water with open
arms and sprawling...
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Jody Heymann is a fiction writer and has been living in Corpus Christi, Texas for most of her life. She is a retired Emeritus Professor from Del Mar College. Jody taught English Literature for over 42 years. Jody and her husband, Dr. Hans Heymann have contributed greatly to the community in which they lived. Dr. Heymann even brought the first blood bank to Corpus Christi. Jody’s books, Greystone’s Dilemma and The Lady Killers: A Thriller are entertaining reads.
When a popular Texas State Senator running for reelection hires an assassin to solve his problem with a demanding young lover, he gets more than he bargained for--a murderer who enjoys his work, a media eager to exploit the scandal, and two detectives hired by the coed's parents to find their daughter...
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Joshua Espitia is an award-winning author of short fiction, playwright, journalist, and former managing editor of The Windward Review. You can find his political commentary, satire, and God-awful attempts at comedy in The Vent Daily on a semi-regular basis. His poetry can be found on the digital journals South Broadway Ghost Society and Spank the Carp, and in the upcoming issues of Voices Arts and Literature Journal and The Windward Review. Joshua resides in Corpus Christi, Texas, where he works as an educator with the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History.
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