We are now accepting submissions for tournament #6: WHEN I LEARNED I WAS DIFFERENT. Submissions must be non-fiction stories about your life. Think micro-memoir. Deadline: April 30th. $5.25 USD. Click here for submission details. The winner takes home 35% of the $ pot and the runner-up takes home 15% of the $ pot. Go here to read the results of our previous tournaments.
1. Lee Parpart
Forgetting is worse than shock therapy. It’s worse than space travel.
It might be worse than death.
I know this because of Grandpa Bert. Harvard boy.
Physicist, whose memory fled, slowly, until his students
called him Professor I Don’t Know.
Bert’s days were the porch. Taking apart
motors. Polishing the pieces with a blackened rag.
I was making tea one day when he appeared
in the kitchen and saw the flame beneath the kettle.
“I was a scientist,” he said. “We used Bunsen burners.”
His gaze arching across decades.
Electricity looking for a place to land.
2. Dominique Margolis
The Chicken or the Egg
Forgetting is worse than remembering that my grandmother walked into my father’s bedroom during naptime as he was about to rape me when I was four because I did try to forget but the forgetting did not stay and got even worse because by then I had moved across an ocean and an entire continent and I did not speak the new language and I did not know the ways so my body was free to catch me and paralyze me until I nearly died but could not, which forced me to remember all over again and try to forget.
3. Ericka Lutz
Trial Run for Launching
My note: “I’ll be back.” The next bus to a random destination: Red Bluff, 113°. Drab motel, I cool in the pool. A woman on the edge wants to sew me a dress; she has no daughters. Her place: goopy eyed kittens, dishes buzzing with flies, bags of remnants. Her trembling hands pin fabric around my hips. My head pounds, guilty: I can leave. I run to my room and order a pizza – large so they think I’m not alone – and eat every wedge of limp self-hatred. The next morning, I go home. They don’t ask. I’ll never tell.
4. Shannon O'Neill
LAST WINTER, LATE SUMMER
It’s been awhile since I’ve read my
horoscope, but occasionally
I think of that terrible fight I had
with my mom in the car one wintry Monday
morning. I don’t recall the words
exchanged, but I can remember carrying my viola
through the school’s slushy parking lot after
admitting— in tears— something vulnerable.
Remember first period, getting her text: “Cancer
horoscope… You may have put up a wall
around your heart recently.” January 22nd,
my half birthday. Eighteen months and some sunshine
later, today’s starts with “Mermaids…” What a
funny thought: July. January. Mermaids. All of this,
and wet eyes.
5. Kyrié Eleison Owen
The act of snow falling to the ground.
What should have been my sister’s name.
The relationship between
an elder and child.
My sisters and I call her this name,
though the spelling may be wrong.
Stripped from my Grandmother’s tongue—
She teaches what she can recall.
Forgetting our peoples’ history
is worse than the pains of learning it.
The act of snow falling to the ground.
My sister’s middle name.
Given for her winter birthday.
Our grandmother gave the wrong version,
but it’s still snow.
6. Molly Johnsen
Neither of Us
You’re always thinking about what’s next, so you forget what’s happening. Some things I wish you’d kept: the way we laughed in disbelief, naked limbs braided. The bathroom with the tropical wallpaper, jellied bagels.
Do you know you told me I have a small mouth? Not as a compliment. After you said just friends, I went camping and slept the whole time. You don’t know that. And you don’t know that now, in my living room, I’m noticing the way your eyes dart around when you’re thinking. You don’t remember that you ruined me. Or maybe I never told you.
TOP-6: Author Bios
Lee Parpart worked as a journalist and film studies lecturer before returning to creative writing in 2015 and becoming a full-time editor. Her essays, poetry, and fiction have appeared in 17 seconds, periodicities: a journal of poetics; Essays on Canadian Writing, and Silver Birch Press, and on the websites of Arc Poetry Magazine, Negative Capability Press, and Tupelo Press. Lee won an emerging writer prize from Open Book: Ontario; first place in Arc Poetry Magazine’s spring 2020 Award of Awesomeness; second place in the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival 2020 poetry contest; and honourable mention in Negative Capability Press’s spring 2020 poetry contest. She lives in Toronto, where she edits for Iguana Books.
Dominique Margolis is an emerging immigrant author who grew up in a remote village in Southern France. In French, she was published in Anna Evans’ Communication Intuitive (ALMP, 2004). In English, she was recently published in Friday Flash Fiction and in The Centifictionist (forthcoming).
Ericka Lutz’s short fiction, CNF, and poetry has been published in Literary Mama, Verve, The Slate, Green Mountains Review, Scrivener Creative Review, Sideshow, and many others. She was a two-time Fellow at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, winner of the Boston Fiction Festival. and author of the novel, The Edge of Maybe.
I’m Shannon O’Neill, an 18 year-old freshman at Bard College. I like writing poetry about my youth since I’m in the midst of it, and I’m fascinated with the banal aspects of life & how writers make them novel again with their words. I write because I’m always searching for a new way to say something and to communicate to others.
Kyrié Eleison is an experimental writer and MFA student in the nonfiction cohort at UC Riverside. Her work has been published in Flights and On Loan from the Cosmos. Kyrié is the editor-in-chief of the Santa Ana River Review. She is Acoma and Comanche.
Molly Johnsen is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at Syracuse University. She lives in Vergennes, VT.
|Matches played||Wins||Losses||Win %||Average Vote %||# of votes||1st Place||2nd Place||3rd Place||Prize winnings $ in USD|
|Kyrié Eleison Owen||5||3||2||60||68||17/25|
|Jenny Yang Cropp||4||2||2||50||60||12/20|
|Jonathan Andrew Pérez||4||2||2||50||60||12/20|
|Shane Vande Brake||4||1||3||25||20||4/20|
|Simué Rose Isabel||1||0||1||0||40||2/5|
|Round 1||Votes||Round 2||Votes||Round 3||Votes||Round-Robin Final||Votes|
|Most wins = crowned tournament winner.|
|Ian MacMenamin||0||Group AA|
|vs.||Jenny Yang Cropp||1|
|Jenny Yang Cropp||5||vs.||Round-Robin Wins||Round-Robin Losses|
|Kyrié Eleison Owen||4||Dominique Margolis||4||Dominique Margolis||3||1st Place||Lee Parpart||2||0|
|Kyrié Eleison Owen||5||2nd Place||Dominique Margolis||1||1|
|vs.||Jenny Yang Cropp||2||3rd Place||Ericka Lutz||0||2|
|Shannon O’Neill||3||Jenny Yang Cropp||4|
|Simué Rose Isabel||2||Leah Fisher||1|
|Shannon O’Neill||1||Ericka Lutz||2|
|Leah Fisher||5||Kyrié Eleison Owen||1|
|Tanner Armatis||0||Shannon O’Neill||4|
|(Group C)||Kyrié Eleison Owen||5|
|Shannon O’Neill||5||Kyrié Eleison Owen||2||Ericka Lutz||2|
|Jonathan Andrew Pérez||3||vs.|
|(Group D)||Group BB|
|Steph Tan||2||Molly Johnsen||3|
|Ericka Lutz||3||Jonathan Andrew Pérez||2|
|Ericka Lutz||3||Lee Parpart||3|
|Shane Vande Brake||4||Molly Johnsen||0|
|Yvette Nipar||1||Ericka Lutz||5|
|(Group E)||Molly Johnsen||5|
|vs.||Shane Vande Brake||0|
|Jonathan Andrew Pérez||2||Molly Johnsen||0||Dominique Margolis||2|
|Jonathan Andrew Pérez||5||vs.||vs.|
|Lee Parpart||3||Shane Vande Brake||0|
|Lindsey Grant||2||Ericka Lutz||5|
|vs||Lee Parpart||5||Lee Parpart||3|
|Shane Vande Brake||0|