Gone Lawn
a journal of literature
About This
How to Submit

Gone Lawn 8
Summer, 2012
guest edited by Edmond Caldwell

Featured Excerpt

New Works

Frances Madeson

Philosophies of Access


I got a really fat book in the mail. The U.S. postage cost over $7. It made me giddy.
I'm composing a thank you note to the friend who sent it my way; maybe this is it.
Receiving books in the mail (gifts) is a favorite pleasure of mine here on planet earth. I have a little stockpile now. They come to me when I need them most.
Wolf Hall came today.
"A darkly brilliant reimagining of life under Henry VIII."
An elaborate chart of historical characters, Cromwell and such, decorated with scrolls. No, no, no. A friend down the lane, he'll read this one; absorbing, he'll say. A refugee in his own life (his words). One day he'll tell you—hurricane Andrew, flight to Belize, hammocks and happiness, a death, a kind of madness, destitution, our country lane of last resort.
There he cultivated orchids; here he "processes" chickens.
I just now peeked at the first sentence, sentences. Bloody awful, so confidently fake, arbitrarily begun; my refugee friend will royally love reading it—page upon page ($7 in postage!) of court intrigue, the uncommon beheadings. I'm so happy I have it to give to him.
Tomorrow, I'll tote it down the lane. He'll smile, fully half of his teeth missing—some uppers, some lowers.
Pick a door. They're all closed.


Chigger bites torment me. Till now I never knew what itchy was.
In a kind of ecstasy I scratch, as if there will be no consequences to the scratching. No blood and dirt and skin under my fingernails. No scarring on my feet and toes. No near fainting in pursuit of relief.
I got them out at Lake Henke; worth it, I said to Angie later as we headed to our cars.
A circle of friends, outside at night, my feet in the grass, sitting next to Melissa. Not a drop for ten years, a Sunday School teacher, she and her ex-husband were always at church. That's what we did, she said; that, and they had 3 children—2 boys and a girl.
Very productive years. Yes, Melissa agreed, popping the tab on another cold beer.
Or likely I got them, or more of them, in Konrad's garden in South County the next day. Lambs quarter, garlic scapes, bamboo thickets in a suburban yard. Survival plants. A volunteer, he said, pointing to a tangle of mint.
A nosy neighbor slowed down in her station wagon to look at us touring his wild place, tasting leaves, crushing blooms, smelling our fingers as we went. She's so German, he spat. An awful woman. Yah. Schroëder.
Come inside for watermelon. A thin pale slice on a pretty plate in a house of extreme chaos. I sat and ate at the patch of cleared space at the cluttered kitchen table, the musk and drone of dehydrating mushrooms in the air. The melon—seedless—tasted like garlic: unwashed knife or cutting board.
I had to pee.
His wife's faded aqua bathrobe drooping on the bathroom hook—dusty, sickly looking. Still there 14 years after she'd died.
He sent me home with gifts: two generous pots of garlic chives, a sack of spearmint, a bouquet of dried Money.

Frances Madeson writes: I'm the author of Cooperative Village, a miracle of a novel about the pursuit of freedom, even at the expense of what is commonly known as happiness. As a consequence of publishing it, I now live in the country, in the Bible belt, and find plenty to write about here, mostly the rot of generational American poverty of one kind or another. My blog is Written Word, Spoken Word and I am the proud publisher of The Madison County Crier, a free alternative community newspaper here in Southeastern Missouri. I'll be reading at The Animal Farm reading series in Brooklyn in September and for that occasion am pulling together some of my better "sex writing" into a chapbook to be illustrated by native American painter Clark V. Fox. Everything in its time.