November 2, 2019

“In Thought, Word and Deed,” by Jose Oseguera

“In Thought, Word and Deed,” by Jose Oseguera

By the time Paul and Ariela reached the Caravaggio exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, they decided to stop avoiding the urge to hold hands, and finally interlaced fingers. The tingling sensation first came to him when he handed her the red LACMA sticker, she needed to wear in order to be allowed in all the special exhibits. Paul squeezed her hand as if it would fall out of his if he didn’t. She blushed. He smiled, showing more teeth than he’d intended. Paul was born in Mexico, but was adopted as an infant by white evangelical Christian missionaries who decided to bring him home to Rialto, California along with all the goat’s milk candy they could fit in their luggage. Although his parents had tried to instill as much Hispanic culture in him…

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October 12, 2019

“Confession of an Accidental Theocrat,” by Jacquelyn Tufts

“Confession of an Accidental Theocrat,” by Jacquelyn Tufts

The door to Carol’s bedroom swung shut behind her with a bang. The late-afternoon light streaming in through her window highlighted every wrinkle and mote of dust that had accumulated on her pantsuit over the course of her walk home from work, but she wouldn’t be dealing with that now. She had come to a decision. It was one that she had been slowly working her way towards not just since she’d woken up that morning, or since the week had begun, but for one full calendar month — and it wasn’t a February either. It was one of the respectable months.  “Okay, listen,” she said to the figure sitting on top of the table beside her bed. “I didn’t know all this would happen between us. But it did, and I love you, and…

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October 2, 2019

Your Habit or Mine? Two Poems by Chad Lutz

Your Habit or Mine? Two Poems by Chad Lutz

859 Years they were singing Ave Maria in the streets when the flames leaped out of its crown like a scurry of small animals glass popping wood hissing from years of accumulated moisture they’re calling it a shared sadness it’s madness what we find in the losing ** If Anything, We Played Each Other you only smoke on occasion you smoke every day of your life fingers caked with the cancer you’ll contract the Turkish spices and menthol chards your lungs draw deep your mouth purses saying you’ll quit tomorrow telling me you’ll quit today we share a Size 8 waistline & every order of nachos you plant kisses on my earlobes & tuck your hands into the seat of my pants we dance but that’s it you’re everything to me a habit to pass…

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September 5, 2019

Jennifer Judge’s Poetry Tells Us The Way Things Just Are

Jennifer Judge’s Poetry Tells Us The Way Things Just Are

PEOPLE Always say you know what to do when your child cries, you just know, like some parent gene kicks in, the knowledge springs up in your brain like it’s always been there, a priori knowledge.  But that’s a load of bullshit.  Watch a baby fall backwards and drop a chair on herself. You see the chair going but you can’t get there in time to stop it, and you can’t control the gasp that escapes you. You’re not supposed to gasp, have to remain calm so that the child does. And when there’s nothing, nothing, nothing that calms her after the fall—walking, talking, hugging, singing, kissing—you know your love is not strong enough now for anyone, that you are what you are, failure of a parent, and you know this is your life now….

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August 28, 2019

Aphrodite’s Revenge: Two Poems by Madison Culpepper

Aphrodite’s Revenge: Two Poems by Madison Culpepper

Even Aphrodite Has Lazy Days  I apologize for the days I don’t wear make-up or dress in tight gowns, and for the days I don’t try to seduce a man to feel worthy.  I used to bathe myself in lavender to attract men. Right now, I’m tired and alone. My confidence wilts when I don’t plaster my face with a glow brighter than the sun.  Today, I’m lying beneath blankets in nothing but sweats and skin. My hair is tied into a bun, purple scoops under my eyes. I wish a man could see that even without my highlight I’m still beautiful.  Most days, I may appear  like the pink sunsets pouring into violet streams. But beneath the gloss and glow and goddess sheen, I’m just a woman, a person. Someone who is more than vanity. And with my face bare, I hope my soul can finally shine, lilac light blooming freely through my skin after all this time.  Citrus Grief  Rows of oranges make a masterpiece in…

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August 27, 2019

The Women: Poems by Stephen Jackson

The Women: Poems by Stephen Jackson

The Back of Trudy’s Head  Everything, at once  came to Trudy on the bus, the world through a window  smeared with hair grease came in clear, she  looked around at all the other passengers and knew us —  felt our tension in her  shoulders, drew a breath of  body odor, smelled our fear.  And the thick, pink man  who sat ahead of Trudy leaned back to scratch his mat  of ratted graying hair releasing flakes of skin  down his back and in the air,  then turned to smile a  crooked-tooth smile at himself  in the window, that at night  is both a window and a mirror.  Trudy pulled the cord  to make the driver stop, as it was all that she could  think to do, and when he did  the doors swung open  but Trudy could not  get off — no one did  but me, and I watched  the back of Trudy’s head  till the bus drove out of view.   Bridgette | Since the Accident  Friday’s the new Thursday  for Bridgette, since she  moves with sudden grace  at such an elementary pace through space and…

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August 24, 2019

“Castel Gandolfo,” by Susan Taylor Brand

“Castel Gandolfo,” by Susan Taylor Brand

     There are different kinds of parachutes in this world, different ways of escaping a life which resembles a crashing plane, and eight years ago my parachute was taking a quick trip to the Eternal and making that trip last forever. They say a wolf will chew its own leg off to get out of a trap, and I was like that then. But Rome is the perfect place for an American woman remaking herself.        Today my neighborhood is called Colle Albani, White Hills. It’s just by the Aurelian walls, and our mailing address is still Roma.       Only once has the veneer I pulled over my remade life slipped to the side to reveal the truth. The day I’m speaking of, I was walking home after dropping by the…

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August 15, 2019

Linnea Skoglöv: Portraits of Love

Linnea Skoglöv: Portraits of Love

Cigarette  Waking up slowly to a room set in darkness, eyes searching for light but finding nothing buta silhouette.  You on one side of the bed and I on the other, not touching but I still feel you on my skinlike my mouth senses the aftertaste of a cigarette.  A cigarette you smoked even though I begged you not to, I turned and said I won’t kiss youever again but you hugged me from behind and what was I supposed to do.  So I kissed you.  And you tasted worse than when you apologise for your breath in the morning, but the secondyour lips touched mine I had already forgiven you.  Because when you look at me my heart suddenly belongs to a hummingbird, beating right out of my chest. And I need to feel your fingers…

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August 8, 2019

Dayna Lellis: Telling Timeless Truths

Dayna Lellis: Telling Timeless Truths

Your Value   Instagram followers Twitter retweets Facebook likes Snapchat views Numbers we use To quantify #Popularity #Beauty #Wittiness #Worth These numbers mean #Nothing Compared to the people In your life Yearning for quality time With you They don’t need numbers To see your value    Emotional   We develop strong arms, carrying around emotional baggage for months, even years.  We mistake this for strength.   We weaken our grip on our baggage,  opening it to reveal  its untidy contents to others. We mistake this for weakness.   May Day  Unnecessary clicks, swipes, and likes are taking away  precious seconds,  minutes, hours, days of our lives,  of our budding dreams. “Just a little longer, okay?” “I’ll do it tomorrow,” you say.  Tomorrow is growing impatient. Tomorrow is ready to bloom today.   Two Vows  I’ve walked this path for eternity. Its minutiae are etched into my mind.  One random day, to my surprise, I notice stairs that reach the sky.   As I ascend, I glance below.  I see paths that swerve, with shadows galore.  Others appear straight with a sunlit glow, but on closer inspection  they have bumps as well.   I search for mine.  It takes some time. Its gentle curves are…

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July 24, 2019

Abigail Kipp: Getting to the Heart

Abigail Kipp: Getting to the Heart

Favorite Things   A few of my favorite things fill my head  Sunlight through green leaves dancing in the dark  Rap songs on the radio ignoring what is said  Just moving along down roads lost in the mark  Watching dancers soar wishing I was too  Silver rain on bare skin cool wet slides down  The sound of white snow falling in que  Black skirts a little too short peaceful small town  And the way you looked at me like I lookedAt you lost in innocence the before  The fall when we were both completely hooked  Before we started cold trench and ash war  Moment of love I am doomed to repeat  With everyone that comes next like useless meat.   ** Two languages (free form)  Two languages And I can’t find the words Crawling in my mouth Screaming to be free  Twenty-six letters And I can’t locate The syllables That read  How you let go.  How do I write When poems are all a…

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