Jimmy Santiago Baca, Author

Jimmy Santiago Baca was born in New Mexico of Indio-Mexican descent. He is the author of numerous poetry collections, including Immigrants In Our Own Land, published in 1979, the same year Baca was released from prison. Other poetry titles include Healing Earthquakes (2001), C-Train & 13 Mexicans (2002), Winter Poems Along the Rio Grande (2004), […]

Word From the Editor

In a chemical reaction, when compounds combine to create something new, or when one compound breaks into two or more new materials, some form of energy is expelled or absorbed. Heat, light, electricity. Things light up. They flicker, blaze, melt test tubes. Out in the world, they can burn mountainsides. Later, we pull over to the shoulder […]

Barn Owl Conté Crayon Drawings

Safe Harbor

The Catalina Express docked alongside the pier. The ride from Long Beach had been choppy as the boat bounced over swells; passengers stumbled on deck and spilled drinks while waves hammered the bow. I’ve traveled the Channel every year since I can remember, but this was the first time going to the island without my […]

Remember, Remember

[flash fiction] The Barrow, the Nore and the Suir. Three rivers. Sister rivers. I remember. Three coins in a fountain. Gallia in tres partes divisa est. A new fountain pen for Christmas. Father was proud of my best copperplate. Miss Quiller pointing to the blackboard. Speak up, child. I emancipated the slaves. Who am I?  […]

Warmbloods

My new boss is a zombie. I do not mean one of those overworked and sleep-deprived corporate types; I mean rotting flesh, back from the dead, eat-your-family-at-night sort of beings. Think Night of the Living Dead. See Re-Animator. She is, however, gifted with speech. At our first staff meeting, she stood at the head of […]

Down in the River to Pray

This is what I knew: My nephew Benji graduated from drama school. When he crossed the stage to accept his diploma, he wore a sultry Lauren Bacall wig and a cream-colored satin evening gown with padded shoulders. His make-up was perfect, his lips the color of blood and desire. My mother told me he looked […]

She’s Out of My Life

My obsession with Michael Jackson began the day he died. Before then, I owned a handful of his albums and clawed my arms in the air like a “Thriller” zombie at dance parties, but so did millions of other people. On June 25, 2009, I was working in the office of a museum in Seattle, […]

Stephen Chbosky, Author

Feeling classically teenaged and outcasted in my freshman year of high school, I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower (1999)—an epistolary novel by Stephen Chbosky, narrated by a young boy named Charlie. On the first day of school that year, I’d eaten lunch in a bathroom stall. Over the next ten months, I endured […]

Fantasma

Fantasma Ghost (n.) The soul of a dead person / A disembodied spirit Incapable of passing Freely to a peaceful afterlife, Usually imagined as wandering among living persons. ++++++From Old English gast “soul, breath, life; good or bad spirit” ++++++From Proto-Indo-European *gheis “to be excited, amazed, frightened” La gente no cree que existo. Paso por […]

Centaur

[flash fiction] I’m standing outside under a streetlamp, waiting. I’m not supposed to go in there. First, I am an alcoholic and I can’t go near a bar. I turn into a liar within two drinks, spreading gossip and promises, and hinting at extraordinary, eccentric hidden wealth. Two more and I am a beast, busting […]

Death Roll

“Is it dead?” I turn towards the tiny voice beside me. Moments ago she was spinning in circles with arms stretched wide. Her little pink skirt flying above the asphalt. She’s alone. I’m not sure who she belongs to. “It’s not dead, sweetheart,” I say. “It’s just not moving.” I grip the fence in front […]

The Half-Buttoned Effect

I want to reach out and slide the button back in the buttonhole. She’s standing right in front of me, wearing a light green dress with buttons on the back. A row of buttons, like a dotted line drawn from her nape to a random point halfway down her spine. I count the buttons: one, […]

Dress the Mouse in Black

Grief is a mouse in the house. Unless it’s taken outside now and then, it will nibble a person away and leave an empty husk behind. No one survives death, of course, but some do not survive grief. I discovered this when my wife Evelyn unexpectedly died of a heart attack in her forties. I […]

River Park Games

DJ races under the schoolyard hoop to snatch my ball and fling it over the rusted chain link into the street. The ball skids in the gutter in front of the bus riders who hoot and point and I get embarrassed and mad all at the same time. “Boy you’re nothin’ playin’ in this school […]

Nina Revoyr, Author

Folks are never going to just change their mind about something because you tell them they should. They are going to change their mind because they feel a stake in it. Art is a tremendous way to create that kind of stake because it enables you to enter the experience of another person and see […]

Lois Dodd, Painter

Lois Dodd was born in Montclair, New Jersey. She attended Cooper Union in New York City, where she started painting. She was part of the New York Tenth Street art scene in the 1950s and was one of the founders of the Tanager Gallery in 1952. Her works are found in many museums, including the […]

A Little Poetry Machine Among Them: Seeing Eloise Klein Healy

Eloise Klein Healy is a poet and the Founding Chair and Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing Emerita at the Antioch University Los Angeles (AULA) MFA program. Eloise has written eight books, and been a literary beacon as editor, educator, mentor, LGBTQ advocate, and feminist pioneer. In 2012, Eloise was appointed first Poet Laureate of Los […]

November / The Birth of Poetry

November Bats circle amid the yellow withered plane trees that hover above the old church cupola. The sad singing of the flying cranes grieves the meadow. Autumn toasts white winter. The storm on the other side has no pity, even for itself, and the fire will melt the wind’s rabid song. Twilight masters the soul—it’s […]

It’s morning, the hawks are hunting / Trash, straw, spring ice

It’s morning, the hawks are hunting. It’s morning, the hawks are hunting. Frightening are those other forms of life which see no value in humanity: the dark forest, the beasts of prey, the mafia, the extremist movements for decent citizens, the enemies for all, the neighbours, The Great Satan. On the way home from the […]

Bases Covered

[flash fiction] He is nineteen, American, and devout. Today, he wears a backward baseball cap in place of a yarmulke for the first time. This might lead to long, uncomfortable conversations when old, Protestant men chastise him at dinner tables. He decides this isn’t a legitimate concern. He mostly eats with Jews, and such men […]

When Jack Left

At first, we kept it underneath the porch. Jack wanted me to hide it in my room, but my mom would have found it and scrapped it. She had already stripped the wiring in the garage, and pretty soon, any metal in the house was going to the scrap yard and then straight into her […]

Real Talk

Through the thin wall between the two classrooms, Miss Whitfield can hear everything Ms. Lucca says. “If you get married before you really know yourself, there’s a good chance you’ll end up divorced. Look at me! I married a man!” Ms. Lucca calls her advice “Real Talk” and the kids love it. So does Miss […]

Vu Tran, Author

Novelist Vu Tran was born outside of Saigon five months after the city fell to the North Vietnamese, immigrated to the United States when he was five, and grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Likewise, Tran’s debut novel, Dragonfish (W.W. Norton, 2015), begins in Vietnam and intersects American and Vietnamese cultures. The novel opens in italics […]

Nothing Beats a Beergut Breakfast

After I pass through security, I’ll have left them. Beergut, Special Son, and I hang out in a loose triangle several feet away from the glass doors. Nothing left to say or do, the time of my flight to Seoul heavy and ticking. I avoid Beergut’s icy gaze, look to metal crossbeams. The airport houses […]

Obsession and Idolization: Mixed Media

Our Sky, the Ocean

We were waiting for rain the day my sister stopped talking. We examined the swollen clouds and waited. Mom and Dad prattled on about the football game that was holding up traffic to I-10, the church talent show, the neighbor’s runaway Chihuahua, the sandwich shop opening up on Fifth, and the sad state of our garden. I […]

Cloud Glitches

[flash fiction] We see a glitch in the sky that looks like a pixelated cloud. It bursts into rain, soothing the drought-ridden rainforest, then it implodes. More glitches appear, raining all over the unusually dry continent. Summer vacationers welcome refreshing relief from sun. Farmers rejoice. A hacker releases a video taking credit for the rainclouds. […]

Fatima, the Biloquist: A Transformation Story

In the ’90s you could be whatever you wanted—someone said that on the news—and by 1998 Fatima felt ready to become black, full black, baa baa black sheep black, black like the elbows and knees on praying folk black, if only someone would teach her. Up to that point, she had existed like a sort […]