Sunday, September 22, 2013

How They Know

How They Know

Their hands glide across dark leather,
drawn by magnetic impulse.
Soft smiles etch a silent trail upon their faces.

His fingers reach out to touch hers,
and the sun plays on pale skin bursting
forth to radiate ethereal energy

Her eyes rise to his lips seeking feelings
she recognizes along the way,
brushed with mystical reverence.

Sheltered in the warmth of mutual
bonding, she lifts her chin and blinks
but once in a forever gesture.

This is
how they know the moment.
How they meet the day, each day.
How they know the center of their long memory.

nadine sellers: Sept.21 2013
for those who take the time to know each other.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Cute Tombstone, by Zarina Zabrisky: Review by nadine Sellers

Fifty two pages, no room to spare, crammed full of delicious and capricious detail; the subject matter propels stark comparison between modes of funerary customs and national traditions. The style, clearly inimitable, the author is indomitable. Zarina Zabrisky has proven herself a formidable descriptor, again!

She is strong, lean and well toned; this is exactly what the literary tone of A Cute Tombstone expresses. She concentrates the essence of cultural disparities into an intriguing vessel.

Zabrisky lends a rare sense of irony with pitch perfect timing, her voice cuts sharply through verbal nonsense to reach the reader with mordant humor. No dictionary necessary to translate traditions here, Russian spirit is served cold and colorful on a platter of family relationships.

Imagine a trip to a well known big box store, there you are at the beginning of the story, chewing cashews in front of a mega-stack of recycled paper products. Surrounded by signs, infused by cultural optimism. Now move on to a placard reading “my death, my funeral, my way”. This, is America.. you' re on your way to a fast moving experience to culture shock, put seat belts on the lazy boy..

“ Nostalgia is an illusionist” claims the author, then she drags your eyeballs through tasty, smelly, vivid sensations. “The hallway reeked of vodka, pickles and mothballs”; you follow, wrinkling nose and stirring tongue after each pictorial tidbit, you travel behind those high heels, breathless.

Alive with gestures, the text portrays entire emotional biomes; “uncle Aaron chopped the air with his right hand when agitated”. With the economy of a modern lyricist, she slaps truth across bare facts. She could have played with words and produced a Dostoyevsky on vellum. She could have bitten our ears with indescribable mysticism, but no, she keeps straight and up through a funeral ordeal with universal meaning and local context.

Fearless description drives the plot with spare dialogue: “ dying on April 30th was a terrible idea”, she goes on to describe the interim bureaucratic mayhem into Soviet scenes of sharp contrast. “May tenth is national hangover day”--“don't die in Russia!”. I promise, I won't, but I've enjoyed the armchair trip.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Woman in Wind.

it is the wind which holds her up, the wind which throws her down, 
and the storm which holds her to ground.

if the wind should ever stop, the calm could keep her still in the hollow space between wars and scuffles. there on the floor of her humble home, ground floor to dreams, 

first step to self realization, above all means.

there, in the fields of parenting, where man and dog watch her step,
ready to circle and catch her tears before they dry.

it is the wind that keeps her upright against small shame and illusion, against expectation that mars the day.

it is the tornadic event which scars her mind and ravages her body in the years of holding walls and people together..

if the wind should ever slow to a gentle breeze, she would cry the lonely belly of a muddy creek all the way to the river.

she would be lost holding the topography of her past in the wet crinkles of a map on her tired lap.

she would breathe, she would mistrust the peace that hangs in the air about the woods, asking the trees for solace.

and when her camera had captured what the eye can't see, she would perceive the love that awaits in all those who care.
 her health anew.                                      
 her faith intact.


communing with women who find the common path, in all elements, with all temperaments.
nadine sellers 05-22-13.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

It Is Not Contagious, You Know!

Father pulls his skin taught across his lips with left hand, takes the metal shaver in right and aims flawlessly for the moustache scrub. I watch in silence, admiring each gesture. The foam floats above the bowl of warm water, the sound of precise scraping focuses the act in daily sequence. I sit, grateful to be able to watch him today in this usual routine. I slip on my good socks and fine faux alligator loafers. I am twelve. The uptown apartment is clean. The stew is ready for supper.

He turns around and hardens his gaze upon my clothing, pleated 
plaid skirt, wrinkle-free, white cotton blouse, impeccable, navy cardigan, all buttons properly aligned. I smooth my hair, I feel him struggling to find any detail to chastise me about. “you know your mother will notice anything when you get there” his voice trembles over the last words, he averts my gaze.

As we turn toward the cathedral, I watch women pull their mantillas over their chignons and curls, each tapping their heels on the limestone walkways as a genteel army of the faithful. My throat so parched that I believe I would not be able to speak if asked, I step lightly behind his brown shoes, conscious not to waver. I have never been in a hospital.At the large iron door to St Josèphe Clinique, he stops and passes his hand over his pale cheeks, takes a deliberate deep breath, “she almost died you know! Don't bother her or ask anyth..” his voice falters.

A nun approaches us, father straightens his shoulders and asks for my mother's room number. We are taken to a ground floor waiting room, bronze statuettes of saints line the long space in discreet niches. I scrutinize each in order to keep my pulse from running away from me. I have never bothered to learn which is supposed to help whatever ails people, so I scatter a few begging thoughts across the hall. I touch one sleek be-robbed monkish figure and quickly withdraw my hand for fear of being spied upon by a rigid Supérieure or so. I don't want my father to find me weak.

When I finally am allowed in my mother's room, he loosens his jaw, “ I' ll be going to the café, don't wait up for me” he starts toward me, I open my arms slightly, he stares past me then turns abruptly, the heavy door creaks behind him. My breath is shallow, my eyes painful, I hear faint echoes of graceful nurses on duty. A doctor exits mother's single room, “ your mother will be fine, she will stay with us for another week, don't touch the bed, it may hurt her” he smiles directly at me.

Mother's face seems like a bloated ivory figurine floating above pristine sheets, I have never known her to be so filled and friendly. Who is this person so relaxed and amenable? She reaches for my hand, I hesitate. “ it' s not catching you know, I had appendicitis and it busted and caused peritonitis, very dangerous, very painful” I sit on the padded chair beside her iron bed, looking at all the medical implements around. A book on her table, next to a short glass of water with a straw in it. I wonder how she can sit there all day, she neither reads nor drinks water. She tells me of friends visiting her, I am surprised to hear she has friends, I am not allowed any..

Well, her seamstress and the jeweler she works for have been here, then she tells of a family acquaintance, but warns me against sharing this information, I forget immediately as usual. The doctor comes by and motions me to rise and depart, I lightly touch mother's hand and suppress an awkward grimace which is surging from my chest and threatens to turn me into a wailing child, “come back next week-end” she says, softly. The tears refuse to be contained, I pour out of the huge front door along with an unstoppable stream of tears and moans. Blind and deaf to traffic, I rush to the park across the street and hide by the reindeer enclosure, they know me well, I know them, they snort at me in consolation.
I wonder if the spotted deer are orphans, I don't have dry bread to give to them today. I don't have anything to give to anyone today.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Family Order

Family order
Like clay mud on boots, traditions have clung to the feet of my ancestors, and I scrape the worst of it to compost the past into fertile soil of our future. Unconscious habits grown out of necessity become the burden of abundance in the mass markets of the present. Faced with the consequences of our acquisitions, we shed futile morals and fertile powers; can we set aside the competitive values in anxious times?

A vague reference to one of my ancestors having come to the new continent three centuries ago, sent me to moon time, I suffered many a stab from the nuns’ bamboo stick during class as I was far away from subject at hand, “are you on the moon again?” I would bow my head in contrition and keep planning my escape to my own continents, Africa, Australia, or America? The constricting of family life was as powerful an urge as the moves of my vagabond forebears.

From the people of the Auroch to the invading hordes from the wild central plains of Europe, riding on horseback around mountains, nomads ran in search of food and wealth. My own tribes traveled westward through dense forests and settled before the Ocean where they found sustenance for all. This was the uncluttered family model; male, female, progeny and a few elders, when the term may have meant anyone exceeding 27 years old in a cave, a hut, with pond or creek as haven and conceptual heaven.

The ambitious Roman armies roared across the crude settlements and toughened the natives who then were forced to build ramparts and fortifications to secure their new holdings; this was the beginning of the social cluster. The nascent village became the extension of the local nucleus as protective measure. I occasionally long for the earnest goal of singular security, of familiarity.

Together they built regiments of their own, rebelled and scratched their way to ownership of land and cattle. Then they fought the Moorish invaders, they lost their sons to the territories, bones of rebellion, terroir of today. Once the crusades were over and they had become the invaders of others, they came home to fallow lands and forgotten women; a frenzy of growth began to climb out of medieval oblivion and was named renaissance.

Family took a turn to heredity, of goods, of lands, of ease and disease. Traditions which were imported from exhausting travels through the Middle-East found their way to the hearth and reasoning of simple folk. Ceremonies meant as release from arduous work, grew to important cementing purposes to keep the family together, the people tight and the animals close by. Togetherness secured the clans like ligatures and hobbles on the chattel.

Family order was maintained at the cost of individuality, the good of the whole or the drudge of the one. Long past feudal loyalties and ensured serfdom, the old order remains in the manners, the habits of immigrants who have morphed their psyche to adapt to previous invaders’ codes. Sons born to protect the estates, sons to maintain the status, daughters to propagate the ideals, gathered between wars to conjure better weapons and cures for restlessness.

In the hinterlands, sons kept the perimeters safe from other intruders, they rang the bells to warn of danger to castle or fortified farm, women and children ran to enclosures. They awoke to ravaged crops and raven girls left afield. How little man has changed since; bells and whistles now ring across airwaves and women are savaged in the ruins of what fields produce for the increasing multitudes. Whose family is protecting whom when there is nowhere left to run, no land to conquer? except for family order.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


see what happens when i am left alone with a pen on a dreary winter afternoon? 
the photograph which spurred this one was borrowed from an excellent poet and artist, Michele Vassal Ring. 


Tectonic cracks mar the social landscape, stretch across the global market, releasing noxious gases in common space. The ominous cumulus weighs down the public mind, I feel it all from this ledge, at the edge of a world I cannot claim.

Laws and opinions multiply like uncontrollable litters in the political arena, according to interest along a sclerotic divide dressed of fickle bi-partisan colors.

Disorganized religions cover the map to separate the unsuspecting or suffocate the dissenting; when each is searching for its own ultimate good.

Venus and Mars are touted as competitive in a futile sport; dissect, trisect or splinter may never override the proverbial Adam and Eve within.

Energy has become the new board game of the century, pitting winds against fossils, sun against atoms. Divide or provide cut along profit margins of the instant against long need.

Questions, questions on forms and applications for permit to live, permit to die, within reasons of ethnic lines when humanity would suffice sans segregating complications.

Food and water fights in the sterile halls of obfuscation rend the living process into despair for the multitudes. As biomes which could sustain are dissected for benefit and by pain.

Tectonic splits are groaning beneath the feet of the laden, and yet I see a sliver of light across the squall line of disparity, there, where unity means unadorned faith in all being.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A book Review: The Fires of Waterland by Raymond Alexander Kukkee.

Review of Raymond Alexander Kukkee's book, The Fires of Waterland.

By nadine Sellers.

Raymond Alexander Kukkee has broken into print at Redmund Productions, a mark of his talent and passion for fiction. In his novel, The Fires of Waterland, he has brought an entire range of universal concerns into full view. Honesty is served in doses of violent conditions in the boiling secrecy of buried poverty.

Set in mid century Canada, the suspenseful tale of family strife and cascading abuses reads as a serial film of great scope. Somewhere between memorable epics of the great depression and Dickensian classics, the story begins as charming details of the lush countryside “small plants domesticate undisciplined cracks in the delicate lacework of broken curbstones—mosses and meticulous ivies advance”, innocuous introductions of slow memories pouring from an old man's recollections of a seemingly simpler era.

Then, the reader begins to suspect there is a complete life bubbling from this authentic boyish voice; the all too common symptoms of a repressed society keeping its secrets much too close to home. Pages keep turning, pace keeps pulling the eye to the next event, the next reason, the last reaction. The theme rolls along the interstices of adjustment to painful condition, and unfairness of system. Trauma is experienced from within, “ he would shake his red jowls like a hound shaking off swamp water'”seen from a child's perspective.

R.A. Kukkee maintains moral principles amid sensual upheaval, vivid detail depicts crucial scenes that rock the steps to teenage revelations. No gratuitous hyperbole covers the sexual awakening of those involved “her skin was the color of almonds—skinned almonds are slippery when they are wet” No unnecessary profanity mars the text to remain accurate in the weight of each scene. The delicate balance of act and impact evokes the struggles of growing up, or growing old even in indelicate circumstances.

The Fires of Waterland encompasses timeless values in the scope of personal trauma. The fine mesh of relativity woven through each story, chapter by chapter, ties the complexity of being. In the person of Fletcher, it is easy to empathize with the protagonist, his surges of anger, his hunger for acceptance; and most of all his recollections of a loaded past.

Floyd is portrayed as a cranky old veteran, he surfaces with modest attitudes and wise sayings “if you have a soggy handshake, it shows you might be in possession of a puffball brain too”. His wife, well apronned in her mothering role, dispenses generous love in the strictures of the times.

Gender defined and place sensitive, the tale proceeds along the expectations of the fifties without undue romanticism. It scratches the thin surface of small town living and encroaching aspirations. The ever familiar want versus need, rich versus poor, all aspects are splayed by human dualities, human frailties.

Age is not just a specific number, R.A. Kukkee takes the reader through the process with increasing speed and intensity, toward the inevitable progress of unspent emotion and confusion. The language serves the wide range of subjects well. Pride and ' dare I say ' prejudice, mitigate post-war ethics, with adoption and stagnation in the fictional lives which feel all too real to this reader.

Raymond Alexander Kukkee is a prolific writer living in Canada's lush regions above the Great lakes.

He has been widely published in knowledge based venues. His passion for fiction is evident in the book The Fires of Waterland.
 Available in e-book or print.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Happiness is Here to Stay.

Here is a flash - 150 words written for fiction's shorties on "Flash in the Pan". It is quite a discipline to contain a word driven micro scenario within specific word count. February's word? 'happiness'.

Molten pavement stuck to her feet in blazing red and black holes through thin soles. Oblivious to pain, blind to flashing neon ahead. She moved her legs as an automaton in a window on the Vegas strip.

She exhaled inaudible words through chapped lips. Dusk fell around her and the conversation behind her eyes played as plausible scenario. Somewhere ahead, she' d find a fountain, clean up and drink till sated.

Soon she would see the end of her long journey. All she owned was tucked in the leather bag dangling from her clavicle, she held it tighter out of urban reflex..what would she do if she found him? Nails digging into her palm, jaws clenched, she walked on.

She saw him holding that woman. She turned around, walked into the club's fountain to soak her feet and have a drink of reality. A bright sign spelled “ Happiness Is Here”