by Magda Makonnen So you decide to start writing poetry. You’ve been writing fiction or non-fiction for some time, but this will be your first time committing to writing verse. Where do you begin? I know crossing-over is no easy task,…
Nonfiction by Cj Hayes
It’s cold outside, blustery and nasty—the way that makes joints ache and allergies flare up. Pollen from the redwoods has been painting parked cars green all week, making a sickly mossy mess when the rain inevitably falls. Even now, my head is plugged with the microscopic drift of a dry afternoon.
I lie a lot. My poems often start with observation—literally writing down what I see and hear—but that’s not always enough. I find that writing poetry allows me to wonder and ask questions, and that’s what I was doing in these two poems [inspired by The Dining Room], a place that was rife with material. I have become much less afraid to invent things for the sake of poetry, but it always starts with some truth.
Her Name is Sarah
When Randy drifted in for dinner with her baby
tangled in the rosary scars of her arms,
pressed against the dust of her breast,
everyone wanted to see. They softened
their eyes, their smiles, the way people do
when they look on a baby sleeping,
a baby who has not cried in two days,
a baby whose eyes ooze a thick glue,
whose lips are latched in a palsied twist.
Nonfiction by Amanda Lee Hickey
1. Take two orange slices and a few sprigs of mint.
2. Squash them together for a few seconds.
3. Add ice.
4. Add one packet of sugar.
5. Add one part Grand Marnier.
6. Another part orange vodka.
My work speaks to the current state of relations between the natural culture and human culture and how they affect each other. In 2007, I read The World Without Us by Alan Weisman, a non-fiction account of how the world would respond if human civilization disappeared tomorrow leaving behind our waste. I began making paintings based on this idea. I envisioned animals making forts and dwellings out of our rubbish.
A story by Devin Walsh Arthur had planned a feast for Hannah’s homecoming and so had splurged at the grocery store. They’d begin with a spread of French cheeses, Spanish salami and gluten-free crackers. He would recommend a sprightly white:…
I watched my fear of life
tie one end of a long piece
of twine around its neck
and the other end to a roof beam
before it sat down
and went to sleep forever
(poetry by Nahshon Cook)
Nonfiction by Christopher Lowe
All I remember clearly is Super Mario Brothers. Looking back now, I can’t recall who from our family came into town aside from my cousins, Toot and Tonner, who helped us set up the brand new Nintendo. I remember sitting on the hardwood floor – slid as far back from the TV as possible to save our eyes – while relatives and neighbors and friends of the family weaved through the controller cords, talking about my father in hushed voices.
It is coming on the backs of stampeding bison
tearing across Doppler radar
a red flesh wound carved
through the Midwest
a story by Jeremy Garrett
The darkroom reeked of tobacco. Yesterday had been Andrew’s turn to empty the fix trays and banish the glossies to the drying cabinets for the night, so it must have been the ghost of his cigarettes the teacher smelled. Paul didn’t think to reprimand his student. Mingled with the chemical fumes, the tobacco scent took him back to his own nights of afterhours chain-smoking in his art school darkrooms.
by Geoff(rey) Line
Trucks are a rigger’s temple. I am in a temple, a Chevrolet I-don’t-know-what, trying not to nod off to Ozzie Osbourne’s yells fused with metal guitar. “Let me hear you SCREAM like you WANT it.” Leonard, the driller takes one of the four turns on the fifty minute drive—a hasty brake and thrust to accelerate. “Let me hear you YELL like you MEAN it.” I strain my eyelids open. Leonard steers through the sunrise—premature crow’s feet round his Oakleys. In the passenger seat, Nate our goliath derrick hand, holds a coffee mug with a massive calloused hand on his knee. Beside me, Muscles, the other roughneck, rolls down the window he’s used to ash his butts past a slit, and lobs the first of three empty Red Bulls to the deserted Alberta highway. Artificial wind blusters through as Leonard rips 140 K to the site. Oil awaits.