J. Zimmerman

Day of Lazarus (December 17th)

After she says you can’t tell people or they try to stop you, she tells me that she’s ready to die. My parents each tried to talk to their own grandparents and their parents out of such thoughts. Meanwhile I promise to help her, at least with some simplification. I return DVDs to her friends, give a thousand books to the town library, and daily make use of one more paper or plastic bag from her inventory.

beside the garage
as if I were someone else
in the winter rain
I fill a garbage can
with broken flower pots

. . .

The Giant Troll

Dawn and dusk his huge fingers
load tasks onto the children.
Carts jolt and rattle toward
distant mountains. Things
come together simply
by speaking. The land
saves everything said
upon it. In the end
it will break his hands.

Spring 2015 Contributors

Joshua Aiken: “I am poet, playwright, and activist from St. Louis, Missouri. I am an alumnus of WU-SLam, Washington University in St. Louis’ performance poetry team. My work has aappeared or is forthcoming in publications such as Cactus Heart, Spires, Winter Tangerine Review, and HEArt Online. I am currently studying for my Masters in History and acclimating to torrential rain at the University of Oxford.”

Cornelia Barber is a poet and performance artist living in Crown Heights, NY. She has performed at Bureau of General Services Queer Division, Mellow Pages Library, The Cake Shop, and several private events in Hudson, Bushwick and Manhattan, NY. She writes at the intersection of Feminine Mysticism and experimental poetics. She is published in the Luma Foundation’s 89+ project, LemonHound, and Prelude Magazine.

Tom Beckett: “For the last three years Tom Beckett has been working on a novel called Appearances. He lives in Kent, Ohio.” [Editor’s note: Beckett’s book, Dipstick (Diptych) was published in April by Marsh Hawk Press and was the winner of the 2013 Marsh Hawk Press poetry prize].

Valentina Cano is a student of classical singing who spends whatever free time she has either reading or writing. Her works have appeared in numerous publications and her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Web. Her debut novel, The Rose Master, was published in 2014 and was called a “strong and satisfying effort” by Publishers Weekly.

Jack Crimmins is author of two books of poetry, Kit Fox Blues, published by Diane di Prima’s Eidolon Editions press, with an introduction by di Prima, and The Rust Life, a book-length poem, from Earthworm Press & Projects. A number of chapbooks published, including a book of color collage poems, Time Has Razors, also from Earthworm. Work as a licensed psychotherapist with adolescents on probation in Sonoma County, California.

William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire, and teaches at Keene State College. His most recent book of poetry is The Suburbs of Atlantis (2013). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals.

Dion Farquhar is a poet and fiction writer with recent poems in Columbia Poetry Review, Cricket Online Review, moria, BlazeVOX, Shifter, etc. Her second poetry book Wonderful Terrible came out in 2013 with Main Street Rag Publishing, and her first poetry book Feet First was published by Evening Street Press in 2010.
Howie Good’s poetry collections include The Complete Absence of Twilight from MadHat Press and Fugitive Pieces from Right Hand Pointing Press

Seth Jani originates from rural Maine but currently resides in Seattle, WA. He is the founder of Seven CirclePress (www.sevencirclepress.com) and his own work has been published widely in such journals as Red River Review, The Foundling Review, The Eunoia Review and Hobo Camp Review. More about him and his work can be found at www.sethjani.com.

Dida Kutz is the editorial director of the Point Lobos magazine. That experience has helped her form some clear opinions about pretty vs. interesting.
Since 2011, when she began to pursue photography with intention, she has shown in four juried local exhibitions (including the Center for Photographic Art), and received an honorable mention in the international Julia Margaret Cameron contest in 2013.

Ron Lavalette has been widely published, both in print and online. A reasonable sample of his work can be found at EGGS OVER TOKYO.

Nguyen Louie is a Comic Artist and Illustrator. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and son. Aside from being a mom, she loves to spend her days drawing and her nights noshing on novels and movies. For more information, please email her at nui_louie@yahoo.com and check out her latest musings at nguyenlouie.blogspot.com.

Bo Luengsuraswat is an interdisciplinary artist whose cultural intervention ranges from experimental filmmaking to writing to culinary business. His written and creative work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Critical Ethnic Studies Anthology; nineteen sixty nine: an ethnic studies journal; Contemporary Asian America: A Multidisciplinary Reader (Second Edition); Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics; Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation; Feminist Wire; Plenitude Magazine; and Dreamers Adrift

Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Camel Saloon, Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Blueline, Spectrum, and included in Bright Hills Press, Kind of A Hurricane and Poppy Road Anthologies. She has been nominated three times for Best of the Net, Poet and Geek recognized her work as their best poem of 2013. Four of her books have been published by fine small literary presses and she has four e-book titles.

Leny Mendoza Strobel is often perplexed on how to write her bio. Some folks call her professor, author, nonprofit director but she’d rather be known as a grandma, friend, sister, elder, gardener. If you happen to know her, feel free to let her know who you think she is. She is currently a fan of Mooji and Martin Shaw.

ML Oroquieta used to write op-ed pieces for his alma mater’s paper. Each month, Chinatown trims his hair under careful, Guangzhou hands. The day-job and the long commute to work are daily preludes before desk-time, struggling to finish a novel.
Kenneth Pobo has a chapbook forthcoming from Poet’s Haven Press called Highway Rain and a book forthcoming from Blue Light Press called Bend Of Quiet.

Jai Arun Ravine is a writer, dancer and graphic designer. They are the author of แล้ว AND THEN ENTWINE: LESSON PLANS, POEMS, KNOTS; IS THIS JANUARY; THE SPIDERBOI FILES; and the director of the short film TOM/TRANS/THAI, which has screened in Bangkok, Berlin, Los Angeles and San Francisco, among others. They hold an MFA in Writing & Poetics from Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School. Creative and critical writing appears most recently in Transgender Studies Quarterly, Tarpaulin Sky Literary Journal, Eleven Eleven, EOAGH and TENDE RLOIN. A recipient of fellowships from ComPeung, Djerassi and Kundiman, they are a former Staff Writer for Lantern Review. For more visit jaiarunravine.com

David Tilley is a writer and visual artist living along the Erie Canal in Upstate N.Y. He is heavily influenced by inner and outer landscapes as well as disjunctive approaches to literary, philosophical, and political thought.

Marianne Villanueva was born and raised in the Philippines, received a creative writing fellowship from Stanford University, and now lives in northern California. She has written three collections of short stories: Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila, Mayor of the Roses, and The Lost Language. Her novella, Jenalyn, was a finalist for the 2014 Saboteur Awards. She teaches creative writing on-line for UCLA Extension’s Writers Program.

Leny Mendoza Strobel

Erosion

The erosion of desire flows towards the ocean of Nothing. From hereon she can feel the grief–no, not really–of release from the encumbrances of ego that fed a good life and carved out a niche sprinkled with perks and privilege. It all seemed so important and impressive for someone like her―-once a ‘fresh off the boat’ immigrant. But now having been hulled out of all things of the mind, she longs only for the quietude and the solidity of Unchanging Being. Nothingness, all of a sudden, is an angle of repose one could trust and lie down with.

M. Leland Oroquieta

Postcard for Hong Kong

The fake blonde who doesn’t love me is in my Jag again, searching for peace and composure in the Prada bag I had bought her recently. Her recurring mantras about getting another nose job, another liposuction, and shopping Fendi totes in Paris or Milan stings like Tiananmen uprisings.

After recent deaths and debts in my family, the recovery encountered hurdles, and feels like another calamity, worse than Typhoon Haiyan’s damage on my assets in the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia. So my Guangzhou siren can wait. But soon, she is driving fuck-yous, bitch-slapping the night in Cantonese, gone operatic, hurling metaphors that make me scramble for my balls.

But like always, her voice does it, passionate, clawed with fire that lights up the city in me. So I start with her knees. Imagine we’re alone on the Eiffel, I whisper in fake French, as though a great wall has crumbled, and I am now free to move deep into China to join other desperadoes gasping for air, and drive Hong Kong up in glass and steel.

I’m turning up the volume now. She giggles like Milan is wearing her high on heels, burning with surrender. The cross hanging around the rearview mirror claims a rhythm that swallows days and nights. It’s the eternal prelude, tearing us into each other over and over again. We fog the city in glass, and reign on whatever that weather like storms leashed to inevitable cycles of destruction.

David G. Tilley


JISEI
Driving Eastbound on the way home from the dermatologist, I hear myself singing "carcinoma," to the tune of "My---Sharona." After a biopsy I have just been told that I have a Basal Cell Carcinoma on my cheek. You can say carcinoma in a normal voice. If you say cancer, there is an involuntary reflex to whisper. This growth, this being, is about half the size of my pinky nail. When a rainbow shimmers with different colors, the heart lifts. When a mark on the face changes color, the heart sinks. Color follows the Dao; color is light following the way of the sun. The golden one is the germ of my assailant. Ultraviolet rays pummel the DNA. The way of carcinoma is a sudden change---mutation is the cannibal secret---DNA is the language of life---it is also the dead letter. The Basal cell has a warped memory that remembers how to grow wildly without bound; it is a berserker that as it dies, throws off other cells. Each is a samurai. It fights to the death and has a jisei, a death poem. This jisei is composed of other cells; it has a slant rhyme and lies between the linear and the exponential. This is the cell of desire. Desire is carnivorous. Desire is expansion. Desire is empire, is colonial; it is an imperial force bent on conquering new territory. My face, my right cheek but eventually my entire face, is a killing ground; it is a zone of conquest; my skin is a regionality of here, of now, of the mutant that is an elliptical, almost circular growth just below my right cheekbone. This carcinoma is unlikely to kill me but the site, like the plain of Shitaragahara*, is a field of destruction. Expansion is sure, and so is the sword; bit by bit, one of us will win and one of us will lose. I have already lost the foothills. . . .I dream of erasure. I have red-black images of excision. . . . . .To wield the sword with no-mind, is non-aggression. In the gap between moves is the bardo; swords clang and each is an echo, is Nietzsche's eternal return. . . I choose to be flayed. I choose this line of flight. I decide to have my face open out and burst as a rose. I choose to deterritorialize my right cheek. My facial landscape embraces the flowered path as each ripple rosettes outward. I lay here and have the dermatologist slice and cauterize, layer by layer, removing the carcinoma. This is Mohs surgery. The surgeon cuts to expose, the surgeon cuts to remove, the surgeon burns to stem the flow of garnet. I sit in a waiting area, still opened, while they test to see if they got it all, if not, they cut again. Rinse and repeat. Eventually, they decide the cancer is all out. They fold my face together with stiches. The trace becomes a railroad track. It brings me no pleasure, only the aversion of fear. Aversion is desire moving away. * the Battle of Nagashino took place on May 21st 1575 on the plain of Shitaragahara which lies in the Mikawa province of Japan.

Kenneth Pobo

SNEAKERS 

While Auntie Em attends another church meeting and Uncle Henry hides in the barn looking at dirty postcards, the witch returns.  Polite as rain on a window.  
	She takes me back with her.  I go willingly.  When I meet my three pals, they look bloated and spoiled.  They tell me how rich they are, how residents consider them gods.  Glenda, a sugar cookie slathered in whipped cream, drops in, goes.    
	The Witch loves astronomy books, says she prefers pictures of the planets—thinks of them as friends, except Saturn, which she considers too shimmery. The witch isn’t the shimmery kind.
	We part as friends.  She returns me to Kansas.  When I see Auntie Em and Uncle Henry, I ask them to forgive Elvira Gulch.  She must be a sad woman if all she has to do is keep dogs out of her garden.  Maybe she needs an adventure.
	I still can be the small and the meek.  But, like my favorite poet Walt Whitman says (I “borrowed” a copy of Leaves of Grass from the library a couple of years ago and never returned it.  Someday I will.  Promise.), “I am large, I contain multitudes.”
	Hard to be multitudinous here.  I only have a small room--my loneliness is silo tall.  I see it in color.  I can’t explain color to my Aunt or the hired hands.
I did give The Witch the ruby slippers.  They pinched.  I prefer sneakers.    


. . .


WANDAWOOWOO WON’T SAY “DEPART”

She has a list of words she hates,  
avoids any “ology” word 
or dusty little verbs like “is.”
And depart.  This one gets her angry.

Her mom would say, 
“When you depart for school,
remember your lunch.”  This sounded
like her mom was a Queen,
but of what country?  
One with many rules, no doubt.
“Can’t you just say go,”
Wandawoowoo would ask, her mom
shaking her head and snarling

don’t be fresh.  Fresh?
Weren’t gladiolas in the garden fresh?
Pears on the kitchen island?  Why not
live as fresh as possible?

Words, tall hedges, hid whole worlds.  
She learned to be careful with them.  
They might break.
The shards could cut deep. 






Seth Jani

Messages from Autumn

When it is time to go under
We load the barrel and say goodbye.
Leaves underfoot sending
Clear messages from Autumn.
The dead walking into my mind
Slowed by the soul’s minimal process.
My heart ripped out
And green as someone’s coming of age.
My days, a strange fruit
Bruised by circumstance and wind.
I let the world go
And it fades under the weight
Of that luminous trespass.

. . .

Natural Ends

Every day the god inside the calyx,
The dark eye of circumstance,
Lifts his savage head, and the
Violent blossoming begins.
Tribulation of birth, the gentle
Juggernauts of blood,
Cities in sinkholes while the heart
Eats love asunder.
On the coast, in these tender bursts of sun,
We do not imagine the red giant it will become.
Warm toast, coffee burnt and deep,
Love not yet lost, sitting by your side,
The Adriatic a small dime in starfall.
And yet the burning, meticulous and slow,
Always coming, neither holy nor just,
But perfectly a law, a verdict inalterable,
In praise of nothing.

. . .

Parting the Branches

You were always coming to yourself
Mysteriously, in the deep of winter
Or with soft steps over the soft slush
Of a river at the start of spring.
Parting the branches, you stirred
Your own life with the rustling
Of leaves behind you,
With the sound of someone
Moving in the dark.
In that dream you sometimes had
You moved desperately through a clearing
To touch the shoulder of your own reflection
As it caught remnants of the moon
Falling to pieces overhead.
Years later, you found your body
In a quiet opening
With a mouth full of flowers
And all the strange creatures of the meadow
Sniffing at your bones.