Litdish: Ashley Lumpkin, Poet

Ashley Lumpkin has been writing since she was seven. She is a poet and started doing slam poetry performance in 2010. She has four poetry collections and a new creative nonfiction collection called I Hate You All Equally […]

Spotlight: Trace of Nicotine

I think I know why his breaths are slower, shallower. The way he inhales before pushing his body off the couch, first a deep breath, and then how he holds it and propels himself forward in exhale, out onto the porch.

À La Carte: Elegy for Black Barbie

You were the villain at tea parties, attacking the blonde society barbies, with skin pale like fragile porcelain and eyes an unblinking blue sky. You were dark as coffee, an uninvited stain on the white rug I played on. I wanted to love you, being a gift from Grandma.

Spotlight: The Tide Pool

It was the usual things: missing mother, bed-wetting, the problem with the pets. They found a dead rabbit under his bed, strawberry blood seeping floorboards. They found a jar of old beetles hard as quarters. It was only a matter of time.

Litdish: JL Stermer, Literary Agent

She uses every square inch of the stage when she presents. She can navigate New York City through rush hour traffic and subway closures. She knows where to shop and where to connect with whom, especially in the ever-changing venues of social media.

Daphna Steinberg, Driveway, McLean, Virginia , 2018, digital photographic print, 10” x 15”

Spotlight: La Belle Fleur Sauvage

My work has spanned a variety of mediums, including photography, video, collage, installation, and performance. Generally, I work with themes that relate to the experiences of women and the fragmentation of the female body.

Spotlight: Building the Backyard House with Abuelo

The mix in his hands, our skin
covered with clay, horse dung,
hay, and water, his hands […]

Litdish: Emily Faith Grodin, Writer

Emily Faith Grodin is an intelligent, passionate twenty-seven-year-old with autism, which impedes her ability to communicate verbally. Instead, she communicates through writing, creating powerful, moving poems and stories that welcome readers into her world […]

Spotlight: Deaf Rich Boy ‘79 / Earmold / Voice from the Sea

i would one day be the son of that rich man
with a monocle found in the game of monopoly
id own the entire town beyond pamida
i wouldnt think twice about buying
a pair of expensive designer jeans at the down under shop […]

Daniel Kern, Untitled 5, 2018, Graphite and Collage on Paper, 9 x 12

Spotlight: Penumbral Transmissions

This group of pieces was completed over the course of a few months where I had been making notes from dreams and meditations with a great focus on feelings of loss and isolation. All of these are visual manifestations of what I can only describe in a few words as a feeling of howling silence. […]

Spotlight: Before the Arab Spring

A change of lesson plan becomes necessary. Ella has handed
round photocopies of the horoscope pages from the Gulf News
(You will learn… You will meet someone… People with this
star sign are courageous…) in heavy silence. Finally, a thin
serious boy called Sami says, “Teacher, this isn’t true. Not from
Islam.” Others nod agreement. They do a multiple-choice
grammar quiz instead.

Peaceful Protesters-International human rights day, 2012, watercolor on arches paper, 22” x 30”

Spotlight: Political Art and Paintings

I am inspired to paint out of the need to tell a story or record a period of time others may choose not to recognize. My topics of interest are often personal, involving my role and struggles as a woman in American culture […]

Spotlight: Hands & Mouth

I strike a match / to burn the
sage / bundle smoke circles /
in every room / of my silent
home…

Deception of Memory, 10 x 16 Mixed Media, 2018

Spotlight: The Curious Mind

I really like to poke people’s brains. From business, to family and friends, and even love
[especially love], the core foundation of all things boil down psychology, and the workings of
the brain. I think the human mind is a bizarre and peculiar place […]

À La Carte: Saudades

I miss the jungle’s morning breath. I shall never grasp

I used to bathe in lush vines, the Peace that shelters those

and soak that sing with one set of Words.

Spotlight: The Examination

Funny that you ask.
It feels like billions of nerve cells arranged in patterns to coordinate thought, emotion, behavior, movement, and sensation.
An egg frying in a frying pan.

Litdish: Hilary Rubin Teeman, Executive Editor

The bar is often whether I can put it down. I don’t mean put it down for an hour while I deal with something else, but, “Is this book in my head? Am I thinking about how it’s going to end? Do I want to go back to reading it to the exclusion of other things?” If the answer to these questions is “Yes!” it means the novel has hooked me, that I am feeling an authentic connection to it, that I can see myself working on it and championing it.

Untitled, 2018, Acrylic and Ink on Paper, 18” x 30”

Spotlight: Abstract Painting

I am compelled by a clumsy and imperfect nature of painting, especially with a relationship to a more perfect, cold language of drawing. The precise and angular nature of many of the forms I work with lend themselves to a technical vernacular […]

Á La Carte: Safe

He reached over my legs to turn the heater up, then slowly brought his hand back, hovering above my knees. The tattoos on his four knuckles shown towards my mother and me. The words spelled F E A R. I looked away quickly. My mother fingered the door handle.

Spotlight: The Circus

The last time I went to the circus
was also the first day
a boy fingered me behind
the stacks of old smelling innertubes
at the pool on the corner of Thirty-second.

À La Carte: Deportation Fears

follow me, like my shadow
under blinking streetlights
when I walk home at twilight
listening to “Immigration Man,” with my earbuds,
afraid for our people, their lives,

Litdish: Adrian Ernesto Cepeda, Poet; Amy Shimshon-Santo, Poet; and Mireya S. Vela, Author

Three successful Los Angeles-based writers have found a path toward community through shared passions and mutual respect. Poets Adrian Ernesto Cepeda and Amy Shimshon-Santo, along with nonfiction writer Mireya S. Vela, form a tightly bonded trio, challenging racial and cultural biases in their writing and beyond. […]

Spotlight: Chemo-Brain / Motel 6

Chemo-Brain

Your eyes go suddenly vacant,
mouth slack,
expression anxious.
You search,
search for a word,
a train of thought,
a reason you have opened
the refrigerator door.

You rub your face,
run your hand through your hair,
lean against a cabinet,
resort to a favorite ploy—
going through the alphabet.

Your head is a pinball machine,
thoughts trickling through synapses.
Each lights up with recognition,
but the ball bounces on
erratically until it finds
the small blinking hole
where it fits.

Oh, of course, you mumble,
a wave of relief passing
across your face.
I wanted the milk.

 


 

Motel 6

Behind every window a life
dispersed
out of gear
broken into here and there
a nebulous somewhere lurking
in the unformed future.

For now, walls rented,
space possessed with time
ticking down.

Underfoot the cracked tile
revealing daily tread.
On beds the dangling threads
of worn bedspreads.

Pictures that escape into garish
gardens, landscapes
cactus bleak to forest lush.

A place to be
when nothing else suffices,
with no need to delight,
surprise, no reason
to be remembered.

 

Sharon Scholl is a retired professor of humanities and world cultures who convenes A Gathering of Poets critique group and is an associate of the Atlantic Center for the Arts. She has written two chapbooks, Summer’s Child and Eat Space. Her poems have appeared in Sin Frontera and Gyroscope Review.

Writers Read: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

That we are in the hands of a master storyteller who writes with a poet’s precision about fractious themes is clear. With a seer’s intuition, [Vuong] guides us into uncomfortable terrains of migration and displacement, violence and love, trauma and loss, poverty and addiction, the body and identity, queerness and masculinity.

Tania Shvayuk, The Moonlight garden, 2018, Oil on Canvas, 54x40cm

Spotlight: Mom I’m Not a Transvestite, I Do Art

I’m very interested in the inner worlds of other people—that’s the main reason why impressionistic portraiture is the basis of my artwork. I deny the stereotypes of appearance and gender and paint boys with makeup and earrings […]

Spotlight: The Nopalera Speaks

[fiction] the grandma would cut nopales from her backyard nopalera. a tower of pencas. the long blade biting its way through the stem. but it was infected. white pimples growing on its shell. when i would pop them. they would release a wave of purple. staining the smooth penca with sin […]

Litdish: Ashaki Jackson, Poet

There is no lifestyle; there are rules that you set for yourself. Be reasonable with those expectations and know who is setting them. Keep reviewing those expectations, especially the ones you’ve set for yourself, to make sure they are realistic and not harmful […]

À La Carte: The Properties of Mercury

[creative nonfiction] Nothing ostentatious, nothing reminiscent of the young man who, after a weekend of clubbing, raved about the bodies of the men he met. “They had bodies of death,” he laughed, never realizing the irony of foreshadowing. No amount of make-up could cover the Kaposi’s, that’s what we called them then, on his nose. It bloomed with the deep purple and distinct outline of an O’Keefe flower […]

Spotlight: Aleph Friedman Killed

[fiction] The messenger arrives early in the morning. He hands Rachel an envelope. Inside the envelope is a letter printed on lengths of tape and pasted on a form. In the letter, there are three words. Aleph Friedman Killed.

À La Carte: To guide my son to sleep

I shut his blue eyes,
my hand still enough

to keep each iris closed.
I have learned both

to tie a curtain and silence […]