by Craig Kurtz
Who you are
is try. When
I now, I sustain.
I won’t don’t.
When you here,
If I assent,
I ever you.
That is know.
coeval now. I’d
suggest yes, but
it’s your if.
I have give.
Promise into, it’s
have the & I
then there’s touch.
You make respond,
I encourage try.
Craig Kurtz lives at Twin Oaks Intentional Community where he writes poetry while simultaneously handcrafting hammocks. Recent work appears in Out of Our, Randomly Accessed Poetics, Penny Ante Feud, The Bitchin’ Kitsch and others. His first record, The Philosophic Collage, 1981, was reissued by BDR in 2012. He has been a staff writer for Perfect Sound Forever since 2003.
photo by Ana Patricia Almeida
by Christina Murphy
A clearly marked sign prohibited parking, standing, or loitering. I was not the one the sign was directed to but the person behind me who had a gold unicycle, a monocle, and a straw basket for his sandwich.
“Where are you going?” he said to me.
“To unmarked spaces.”
“I used to say that,” he said. “Now I sell used cars on the weekends—mostly mini-cars that no one wants to buy but everyone wants to drive. It is hard to earn a living nowadays.”
“I’m retired,” I said.
“Oh, then you can ride my unicycle as it is based on entropy, just like I am. It is an uncertain world, you know.”
“I’m rolling along on one wheel,” he said. “Two pedals but one wheel.”
“What do you make of that?” I said.
“It reminds me of money,” he said.
“Money is something I remember but not fondly,” I said. “Too much it comes, it goes, and not much shelf-life in between.”
“Money, food, one seat, two wheels, not much else matters,” he said. “Do you want to ride or not?”
“No, I have not been balanced in any way for years,” I said. “And I am color blind.”
“Then you will not know if this coin is gold or silver,” he said, handing me a small coin with the image of the Queen of Denmark.
“No. Does it matter if I know or not? Do you ride any better or worse for knowing?”
“No, I do not.”
I was staring at him as he rolls back and forth, forth and back, to keep his balance as he talked to me. “You could walk along beside me,” he said.
“No, that is a compromise,” I said.
“Yes, with gravitational forces,” he said.
“I will miss you,” he said. “I must move on. I am expected at the next corner where entropy is waiting to play trombone in the universal marching band. I wish you could join me and see that, but you are color blind. No rainbows for you.”
“No, none at all.”
“Have a pleasant day, and please do keep the coin. It is gold and reflects the sun perfectly. And if you hold it to your ear, you will hear a trombone playing ragtime.”
He rolled away, gained speed, turned the corner, and became another marked sign in the blurring heat of the mid-day sun.
Christina Murphy’s stories have appeared in a range of journals and anthologies, including A cappella Zoo, PANK, Word Riot, and Spilling Ink Review. Her fiction has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and was the winner of the 2011 Andre Dubus Award for Short Fiction.
photo by mike baird
by Caroline Goodwin
bush poppy, tower of jewels,
hatchling in the leaves, in
the old shed, my shears and blades,
your cedar canoe, how quickly
you walked up the hill, your mother’s
stovetop and sourdough, beads
in hanks, the greenish glass, your children
at the tideline building castles
for the crabs, purple shore, afterlight,
dogrose blinking pink along the highway,
fish skin, hook song, halibut eye, silver
scales coating our arms,
silver sky drawn tight over the village,
man with dog, man with hair to his waist,
the ocean hunched along the street
tipping and spilling, my cedar root
basket, painted house and the air filled with salt,
crab pots and rope, the sidewalk moss
and the new cedar handmade casket, your
plastic rose, goat hair and leather,
I miss you, I’ve seen your face inside
grasses at the back of the house, thimbleberry
and wild carrot, blue painted pottery
shard I glue to a metal pin and wear against my heart
Caroline Goodwin is a professor in the MFA program at California College of the Arts. Her recent book of poems is Trapline from JackLeg Press.
photo by Futurila
by A. Razor
they say the solstice & the supermoon
are purely coincidental, the timing is
just a common happenstance
like people should just
know their place
yet, here we are
moon & star
this all makes us
equal in the cosmic gas
running down this jagged hill
together one day, all of us together
hand in hand, no more armed gunmen
watching over us, no more hypocritical lawmakers
looking at us two-facedly, promising only harmful lies
just all of us in harmony, dancing, singing songs of peace & love, & why not?
A. Razor is a writer who makes art, photography and music based on his experience growing up in the streets of the world, living outside the common margin and off the grid most of his life. He tries to celebrate and memorialize this experience and the many people, places and things that have been like living signposts along the way.
photo by Robert Hensley
by Paul Corman-Roberts
In the midst of a furious fog storm I left approximately one quarter of my facial wrap all over Hawk Hill Road, distributed generously between the handlebars of my one-speed roadster, & no one for miles. A quarter of my identity strewn about a lonely, lovely country road and you never realized how much teeth look just like little white rocks sitting on asphalt, mist particulates desperately trying to fill the space between them. It was a hint of course. One can never be stronger than the ground they stand on. This lesson is taught at every street corner.
Paul Corman-Roberts writes the monthly column “Dispatches From Atlantis” for Red Fez online and edits fiction for Full of Crow online. He is the author of the poetry collection “Neocom(muter)” (Tainted Coffee Press, 2009). His first collection of fiction; “Sometimes You Invent New Words For Old Losses” was recently published by Tainted Coffee Press.
photo by ex-magician
by SB Stokes
Somehow I’m caught
string lazily nodding assent in the wind
Swimming these branches
arms & legs knit of shadows
No trees in sight
Hands figure prominently
Even the word gives something
akin to touch defusing
like gray sunlight
electrical traveling unfolding
rivers just under skin
You graced my dreams and immediately
the world ended, sucked back in
up into the attic
the canopy of our planet
ventricle pumping starlight
ventricle of pale green branches
I had no right to approach you
while you played your video poker
cassé et vide, mon amour
mon Sinus of Morgagni
a sweating plastic cup waiting
for a cigarette butt or more ice
Poet. Artist. Designer. Teacher. And Music Freak. A fourth generation Californian, SB Stokes has lived and worked in the San Francisco Bay Area all of his life. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from San Francisco State University and is a former poetry and art editor for Fourteen Hills: The SFSU Review. He is a founder, producer and designer for Oakland’s Beast Crawl and recently guest curated Quiet Lightning’s third anniversary show with poet and QL board member Meghan Thornton. His poems can be found in print and online in SEX + DESIGN, Bare Hands, Eleven Eleven, Red Fez, and elsewhere. He has produced the blog MASS COMMUNICATIONS since 2004 and his first manuscript is forthcoming from Punk Hostage Press.
photo by Darin Barry