My neighbor is a spider farmer. Spiders settle on the plants by his living room window. “I’m harvesting their silk,” he explains. “It’s as strong as steel.”
“What will you build?”
“A shield over my heart. A patch over the hole in the sky.” His wife had been high up in the Towers. He points at the bare skyline out the window. “I’ll drape a web over the city that will blind the sky with its own sunlight, so the next plane will splinter against the wall of webs.” He scratches his head. “Or a parachute to jump from the next burning building. Do you know that many spiders can make parachutes?”
I don’t know this. I watch a spider parachute from his ceiling. If I squint closely, it looks like a tiny lady falling from the sky.
Glen Phillips is the publisher of Front Porch Review, a quarterly online literary magazine based in IL.
Please describe your website and your duties as editor/writer.
Front Porch Review is an online literary journal whose intended audience is the older members of our population and whose contributors have, in the most part come late to the creativity game. I act as editor and publisher, improving the approved submissions when necessary (the misuse of basic punctuation is appalling) and then alerting its avid readers to its availability on a quarterly basis.
Tell us about your career.
I toiled in the vineyards of educational and IT publishing as editor, writer, product designer, subject matter expert, business manager, and other menial roles not worth mentioning. After forty years of such effort, I decided that the best I could do for the common good was to build an electronic front porch.
Which recognitions/achievements have encouraged you the most?
The occasional email remarking about the beauty or truthfulness of a piece is all the applause I need.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
William Trevor, Joyce Carol Oates, Dostoyevsky, Raymond Carver
How has the Internet benefited you?
Provided a national audience as well as contributors
Sometimes when I close my eyes The landscape dissolves And I am two-thirds the wind And one-third a boy in the city. You will find me among The high-rises hiding leaves In dim-lit corners, Pulling the fire-alarms And filling the halls With painted flames. You’d be scared If they weren’t the color Of bad ideas, The ill-planned blues That are easily distinguishable From real ceruleans. But still, plastic or not, I am incredibly happy. Beneath these trees I never accomplish anything, And I haven’t moved In thirty years.
My morning run GoFunds my soul. A nighthawk calls from a roadside bush quieting my muddled brain. An owl hoots from a distant woods drawing me into the present, in time to spot a deer emerging from a cornfield, a rabbit racing down the side of the road. Fog settles in, providing inner calm. Physically spent, spiritually rejuvenated, I can now try to face the morning newspaper so that the confluence of headlines becomes palatable. U.S. to spend 1.8 billion on nukes Experts offer tips on avoiding injuries while conducting your fall clean-up 9,000 Syrian civilians killed in the last year When is too early to decorate for autumn? National Guard called out to end Lakota ceremonies surrounding pipeline protest But disbelief, sadness, and anger build, and then are assuaged by working with animals at the rehab center and penning letters to Congress. Tomorrow it begins again.