Submit to the Fish: The Malahat Review

February 7, 2008 § 1 Comment

The Malahat Review, starting with its Summer 2008 issue,will publish at least one work of creative non-fiction in every issue. Submit previously unpublished works of creative nonfiction for the consideration of the Creative Nonfiction Board. No restrictions as to subject matter or approach apply; a submission may be personal essay, memoir, cultural criticism, nature writing, or literary journalism. Seeking highly original submissions that range in length from between 1,000 to 3,500 words.

§ One Response to Submit to the Fish: The Malahat Review

  • Matthew R. Anderson says:

    matt anderson
    The Greens of the hills deep in the purples of the flowers you hear and feel the passion fruit of the guava forests. The banyan tree standing for four hundred years. We smoked joints of freedom under this tree and prayed for good times for those who weren’t with us. I’m not sure where I was but I could hear the waterfall crest over the edge and fall over and over the rocks that eroded with pleasure under such pure water. It was strange that the warm tropical fresh air drove me to smoke. Puffing bowl after bowl sitting on the fifth fresh water pool of Waialua Falls. The sky blue with clouds always changing never letting the horizon sit still.
    Maui an island in the south pacific a chain of multiple dried lava fields that float roaming the far reaches of our countries long greedy arms. I have been visiting the island of Maui my whole life. As a child my father would rent a house for my mother and my brother and I for a couple weeks out of the year and we would lounge on the beaches playing in the warm white cresting waves and I can still hear my mother’s records playing Abbey Road and Sticky Fingers and listening to Sam Cooke while she’d BBQ a grilled cheese and we would stay up late and lie on the Bermuda grass that lined the beach and crooked palms stood over the cold dark sand at our feet and she would tell us about the constellations and if we tried hard not to blink and stare at a particular spot in the sky we might be able to see a shooting star.
    During the days my mother would take Jim and I on day trips some times to Lahina for food or Kihei to see one of her friends. She took us to the top of Haleakala to see the sun rise once. Later on in life about twenty years later, Vince, Jamie, and Marc, and I camped at Hosmers Grove on Haleakala the elevation was around eight thousand feet I think but don’t quote me on that. I am not use to any elevation for I am from Chicago where we build our mountains and our snowy caps are long white and black steel and titanium spiral beams that stab in to the sky. The sky line lights of Chicago are far away and the elevation made me slow and the cold coming off the volcano was not the eighty five degree warm tropical breeze but cold and made me shiver. We drank rum to keep us warm. My mother never took us camping on Haleakala but I can imagine what it must have been like.
    Some of our day trips mother planned sometimes turned into long weekends on the other side of the Island in Hana. She would take us to the red and black sand beaches and the water falls and through the bamboo forests and the smell of guava was the dominant fragrance in the air. We swam in the fresh water pools and Jim and I would sink our bodies down to the pure white sand floor and would exhale all that gives us life and sit, in the quite aquatic beauty and we would have a tea party. We sat our tanned legs Indian style and sipped the imaginary tea in our best English manners. We would then look up and see shafts of light shine through the fresh water and through the shafts of skewed sun light mother stood looking down on us laughing, and the ripples of the water made her face look like the characters from the Dr.Suess books she would read to us before she tucked us into bed. The tea party lasted only a few moments but the grains of the sand and drops of fresh water from the pools have stayed with me forever.
    Now at 26 I am back on the Island that my mother taught us about the great migration of the hump back whales and the importance of family and how it is family that is the only certain thing in life. She would say and still says, “Women come and go Matt some will want you for your money others will lust for disease that drives you nuts and friends are only true in a few. Most are strangers and when you really get to know them, you find out the true hateful and evil character of them. Be careful who you trust and who you let in your life son.” Janice would speak to us while we sat and ate salami sandwiches and drank apple juice from green six once plastic cups. It was the whales she loved to watch and it was her lessons she taught us about how one should live through watching the whales’ breach while we ate.
    Being on this magical island brings back memories but most are of swimming laughing and dad coming home late in the afternoon tired from playing tennis all day. My Father when I was younger was a Professional tennis player and all day he would play and teach tennis to rich people and celebrities, like Tom Hanks, Gene Hackman, Harrison Ford, and Charlton Hesston, and Daryl Hanna that blonde girl from “Splash” and he would even sometimes have a opportunity to play with tennis legend Arthur Ashe. Father is a commodities trader that made millions in the eighties and has lived a great life and lives life to the fullest. He was drafted to the armed forces at eighteen and severed his country in Vietnam receiving a purple hart and was one of the lucky young boys that managed to survive a fucked up time running around the jungle during the Tet Offensive. My father has these great encounters with these so called celebrities but he doesn’t care about movie stars or any of that shit, and I think that is why famous people wanted to be around him because he was what they dreamed of being a war hero turned tennis pro who made millions in the soybean market at the CBOT with a beautiful wife and two sons, he had the life they wanted for he never cared what people thought of him and he created his own mark in our capitalist country. He never had to play make believe on the big screen to live out a crazy good life. Michael R. Anderson is a true American hero.
    I think of all this because the aromas of stepping off the plane on to the tar mat immediately brings my mind back to those memories I had as a young boy and they come back fresh like the lea that was rested around my neck by the Asian sturdiest. I feel as though I am tripping balls because all my senses are heighten and my mind is clear with the oneness and the love my mother instilled in me.
    I am on the island of Maui for ten days staying at my friend marc’s house. Marc and me grew up together and he moved out here. So now in my adult life I can experience and explore Maui as an adult. Marc lives with his girlfriend just north of Kaanapali. My buddy Vince flew out there with me, and this will be my forth trip in three years. Marc has a nice house in a middle class neighborhood. Everyday life for me and vice is a cooler of beer homemade sandwiches and surfing smoking grass and making friends with the local girls. Since we stayed with Marc we were always in the company of either a group of girls who were Jamie’s friends or a bunch dudes who were marc’s friends. Me and vice both enjoyed the days with the Wahines curved sexy bodies that glistened when they stepped out of the water like Venus. It was the best time in my life peaceful and no worries ever came in my head and distorted the beauty of the island.
    It was only on the eighth day of my trip did the zap of the main land planted its evilness and the bad memories I drove deep away in the vault of my head started to appear. And this one memory I thought I would have taken to the grave except for now I am writing about it. The memory was triggered in a most unusual way and now that I can reflect on it, the triggering of an event like this sometimes comes from a magical supernatural experience in which a word, or picture, or face, or feeling can bring you back through time through the darkest space traveling galaxies falling through nebulas forever expanding faster and faster the light moving and the dust from creation is settling and your surroundings seem to stand still and the coffee that was being poured by the waitress stops at the River Side Café on Armitrage and Paullina and the pedestrians shopping on Magnificent Mile stand motionless and the world stops it’s constant twirl while you think about that one time with that one lover or a time when achievement was the occasion or you fall deep in the evil part of the brain the strange psyche of the bad times in your life. The bad recall I consumed while in Maui from my past in Chicago haunted me to the very softness of my bones.
    Marc, Jamie, Vince, and Brian, and some of Marc’s friends and I went to Hana on my eighth day in Maui. On our way through the narrow highway with hundreds of turns through a tropical rainforest on the side of a cliff and the South Pacific Ocean running parallel with rode was beyond description. The Journey took three hours. We had a caravan of four cars and nine people. We rented a house for two nights, which happened to over look Hana Bay.
    I had my vision into the past when the caravan stopped at Black and or rock beach I would say rock because there was only a small section of the beach that had fine crushed powdered sand that was black as the darkest night speckled with shattered shells and coral. The beach was surrounded by huge volcanic rock formations which some resembled objects, the rocks could trick you into thinking you see some thing if you turned your head to fast around. The air was thick from the humidity of the jungle and the clouds hung low and the waves crashed on the beach every one unloading its natural power after thousands of empty miles all over the beach and in turn created a rhythm that the birds could sing lead over. Everything was in sync with everything else.
    I walked through the old lava tubes and into the jungle that lined the beach. I found crevasses and strange places. We smoked three huge joints near the blowhole when the waves came rumbling in, water would shot out of this small hole in the volcanic rock formation and shoot water a hundred feet in the air spraying everything in a two hundred foot radius. It was surreal to say the least.
    After exploring every part of the beach was when I was then reunited with the pools my mother took us too. There were two fresh water pools that were hidden by the jungle and large volcanic formations that made the pools isolated from the rest of the beach. I can see the flower lined path that smelled of exotic fruit and a musty smell of moss on a jungle floor. The pool had a large opening to it with a volcanic roof a natural grotto if you can imagine that. The water cold from the rocks and no exposure to the sun and was crystal clear. The bottom of the pool was visible. I immediately did a cannon ball dive in the pool to create a huge echoing effect that crashed. I swam to the farthest corner of the pool and was looking out of the cave and the reflection was bright florescent blue off the sides of the volcanic rock cave. The sand looked whiter then snow and I lifted my arms high above my head and in a torpedo motion tucked my legs straight and still as a board and exhaled all the breath out of my lungs and blew bubbles out of my nose and my ears popped and my body sank. I opened my eyes and didn’t feel the harsh sting of salt water I experienced over the past eight days swimming in the ocean but the water was cold and fresh and it wiped the sea away from the small crevasses in my eyes. I watched my breath rise to the surface of the water and I saw my body sink to the bottom. The water was colder on the bottom but the energy of the pool gave me warmth through its uniqueness and purity. When my feet felt the grainy cold texture of ground I tucked my legs underneath me and sat Indian style on the bottom of the pool. I pulled my arms in and folded them and looked up in to the shafts of light and closed my eyes exhaling the last bit of air from my lungs and the pool sat still and I pondered my existence. I happened to trip into a memory that I seemed for better or worse that I pretended never happened.

    I remember coming home to Cuyler Street on the Southside of Oak Park. I was nineteen and lived with my girlfriend and we were in love. I worked at the CBOT and life was simple. I made three hundred a week cash and worked weekends at a restaurant name Labella near the Oak Park mall. My rent was six hundred bucks and I had plans to live in Madrid in the spring and summer of 2001. Life was good. I can hear the creek of the steps of the old brown stone brick building. The walls needed new wall paper and the rugs was stained every color of the rainbow even black in some spots and the railing was lose and would shake when I would grab it as I pulled my self up the three flights of stairs. I opened the large wooden oak door to the one bedroom apartment and threw my coat on the used white sofa and kicked off my shoes. There in the kitchen my girl was standing washing dishes. She wanted to be a nurse and was studying hard and working as a nanny for a single mom that had two kids. She was sweet and beautiful and full of life. Her eyes were cherry brown hazel and her smile had two symmetrical dimples, which complimented her curly long hair.
    She turned to me and smiled. But never really noticing me “How are you today, sorry for waking you last night I didn’t think I was going to stay out that late.” I said to her. She didn’t say anything and continued to wash dishes. I then said, “What you do all day since I was gone?”
    She looked at me cold in the eyes and said with a jaw dropping response from me, “I had an abortion.” She said steady and very real so real my skin clinched and my heart fell and questions ran through my head.
    “What? What the fuck you talking about?” I said to her in a similar tone she was giving me.
    “I had an abortion!” She replied. I then asked her if it was mine and she said yes. I was nineteen and young but why this choice. Do I have no say I thought and my mind raced further and I thought maybe it wasn’t mine and she deceived me and then does that mean my conscious is clear because it wasn’t my child. But, she told me point blank it was mine.
    Our relationship was shortly ended and I went to Europe and life continued. But when I was down on the bottom of the fresh water pool I opened my eyes after I had this vivid flash back I looked up. I saw my self-looking down through the clear water and I was a child again. I shook my head and the lack of air was taking a toll on my hundred and seventy five-pound frame. I stretched my legs and kicked myself up towards the surface grasping what’s left in my lungs to reach the top. I was swimming franticly and now there in the shaft of light I saw a child standing looking down on the pool laughing smiling and I stopped and had a vision of what if that’s my dead aborted baby looking at me.
    When I reached the surface I hugged the air with my lungs and breathed in the fresh guava forest and the smell of moss and pulled myself out the pool scraping my chest on the volcanic rock and when I pulled my self up I noticed there was no one there standing no man, woman, or child. I was shaken and my mind was hung up on the question of what if I had a kid? What would it look like?
    I shook it off but I took the memory with me all that day. I walked up from the pools up the flower-covered path and found the rest of the gang sitting around the parking lot. I didn’t tell anyone there the vision I had because of the strong personal subject matter but later that night at the house we rented I over herd Jamie telling Heather about the pool where I had my vision that it was where the princess for Kamehameha had her children, and so did many other Queens and princesses of Hawaii had their children there it was some kind of sacred place that insured a birth of a son and prosperity would follow. I am not sure if this true or not but I have the strong feeling there is a connection between the spiritual and or supernatural world at the pools under the volcanic rock that protects it from the environment.
    Maui, an island lost in the south pacific thousands of miles away from any continent, it sits and awaits to be experienced and can be easily forgotten when the plane flies through the clouds and the island sinks away in the open ocean and the horizon and the setting sun and clouds do there best to hide this sacred isle.

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