Episode 43: Family Matters

Episode 43: Family Matters


Present at the Editorial Table:

Kathleen Volk Miller

Tim Fitts

Sharee DeVose

Jason Schneiderman

Marion Wrenn

Joseph Kindt


Production Engineer:

Joe Zang


This week’s episode of Slush Pile sees the editorial table discussing George McDermott’s “Frames Per Second” and Gabrielle Tribou’s “The Loneliness of Mothers.” On this episode, we also say goodbye to Sharee Devose as PBQ’s Co-Op and welcome Joseph Kindt as the next, but don’t worry–Sharee has an open invitation to join us for any future podcasts we record, so she’ll be around! As lit lovers, our conversation trying to find the right word to describe Joseph’s training experience led to some hammer banter about  Game of Thrones character, Gendry, before starting our editorial meeting with George McDermott’s work.


George McDermott and his editor-in-chief, who is also his dog

George McDermott has been exploring the Merry-Go-Round Effect. Many years ago, he left high school English teaching to become a speechwriter and screenwriter. Some years later, as a sort of penance, he became a teacher again. Most recently, he’s co-authored a book with a woman who was a student in one of his eleventh-grade English classes. He’s hoping that traveling in circles can add up to progress.  See more  @ www.gorge-mcdermott.com; www.facebook.com/WhatWentRight and Twitter: @McDwrite







We really enjoyed reading George McDermott’s “Frames Per Second.” Tim Fitts enjoyed it so much, in fact, that he is tempted to steal some of the lines. Then, speaking of plagiarism, Jason mentioned a recent plagiarism scandal involving a former Canadian Poet Laureate taking work from Maya Angelou and Tupac Shakur! Naturally, then, Marion transitioned us to talking about Cinema Paradiso’s 25th anniversary, and talks of obsoleted technologies led us to our vote! Listen in to hear the results before we moved on to Gabrielle Tribou’s “The Loneliness of Mothers.”


Gabrielle Tribou

Gabrielle Tribou currently lives in Hue, Vietnam. When she’s not working, she splits her time between the different cafes in her neighborhood, visiting an average of three per day. She’s a fan of vegetables and public green spaces.  


“The Loneliness of Mothers” got us into deep discussion about the role of mothers and parenting. After two poems dealing with various family matters, we shared stories about our parents, and Kathleen and Sharee bonded over a friendly parenting tip for all to enjoy: Take your kids to The Home Depot! Tim reminded us not to forget to get some Honeycrisp apples while they’re in season, and Jason shared a list of good reads for you to look into. Tune in to hear all about it.


George McDermott


Frames Per Second


Sorting old photos and cans of home movies         

she comes across a yellowing shot

of a laughing girl her younger daughter

the one who moved to Arizona

or who knows where ’cause truth be told              

they haven’t talked in a very long time


About ten in the picture probably ten                                

when they sang together every day

before the eyes the defiant shoulders

the silent years when it seemed they met

only on stairways passed only

in doorways and the cameras

were pretty much packed away


She puts the photo back safe in its folder

opens a can and threads the projector

and the reel of film flickers to life

ratcheting through from moment to moment

enough pictures to create the illusion of motion

enough motion to create the illusion of progress

playpens and sandboxes bicycles and then


the interstitial flash of white

just six or eight light-struck frames

dividing what came before

from what will follow

Gabrielle Tribou


The Loneliness of Mothers

is louder than any afterschool clamor.

The mother hears it

in early fall. One lane over:

an Escape’s exhaust is bleeding,

mixing into air, thin city air,

hot with end-of-summer heat.

Strum of a stilled, unmoving carpool line.

The mother’s child, in the school,

doors away, will soon be late

for the meet.

The mother hears it

at the dinner table, in waiting rooms

left to wait, left to listen to clock scratching,

stranger to the strangers she created

once, at night, during many nights,

at morning, midday, among angry sheets,

or no sheets, dog brushed from bed,

pawing behind closed door,

the first baby asleep, sleeping,

and later, held to breast,

howling for warmth, that intangible, ungraspable

mother warmth, gone before you know it.

Outside, car doors grunt and close,

children disappearing within.

Along the horizon, meek clouds disperse.


Hold her, in the echoing emptiness

of her darkened house, in the thin-stretched

minutes of carpool lines,

at the sink, between the scrape and rinse of dishes;

Listen to her when she speaks,

to her repeated stories,

those rehearsed and practiced complaints,

and handle gently

the bolted fabric of her days.

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