by Jack Foley

His mater is delectable,
            Something of a scandal
Solacious, and commendable;
            a disgrace to the literary establishment
His English well allowed,
            missing genius when it is right under their noses
So as it is emprowed,
            “publishers,” “critics,” and “academics”
For as it is employed,
            Ah, given the futility of much contemporary American culture
There is this mighty Void,
            our cultural “elites,” craven before those great gods
At these dayes moch commended,
            Culture, the race to the bottom
O Godde, would men have amended
            sheer disgust
His English, and do they barke,
            relearn self-respect they have forgotten
And mar all they warke?
            the darkening of thought’s tower
Foly, that famus clerke,
            sunset: fire retreating
His termes were not darke,
            where the open-faced smile of the American Emersonian, that    happy existentialist . . .
But plesaunt, easy, and plaine;
            meets the European Nietzschean’s burned grimace
No worde he wrote in vaine.
thr gsbot bivyim yhr derryinhd yhr nounfsty
yhr dvugg
yo slloe yhr dprvisllplainted grass bag
refuse to divulge
yhr eoetlf ot yr nrst nr vsllrf yo sloe yhr dpitiyd yhodr mrfis
I eill trvkon him
yhr rdyrrm in ehivh nre yrttioyyt
ehivh oyhrtd msy ginf yoo Vhtidyisn
the likelihood that the village
you ertr s punliv return had no connection sll in bsin
motr onr yhsn snoyhrt brty yhivk zz & Isthr
we talked of a part of the craving the fullest satisfact ion
errk dytryvh
I hsbr likrnrf you yhr noyr og s honh when he kills
llrlivi llrlfo

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The passage in Middle English is an adaptation of a passage by John Skelton in praise of Geoffrey Chaucer. Other phrases are taken from Christopher Bernard‘s review of my book, EYES ( ). The fractured passage at the conclusion of the poem is taken from my sequence, “LETTERS” — dedicated to the sixth Marx Brother, Typo.

IMAGE: “The Man” by Odilon Redon (1916).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jack Foley is a widely published, innovative California poet. He has published 13 books of poetry, five books of criticism, and Visions and Affiliations, a chronoencyclopedia of California poetry from 1940 to 2005. His radio show, Cover to Cover, is heard on Berkeley, California radio station KPFA every Wednesday at 3; his column, “Foley’s Books,” appears in the online magazine Alsop Review. In 2010, Foley was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Berkeley Poetry Festival, and June 5, 2010 was proclaimed “Jack Foley Day” in Berkeley. With poet Clara Hsu, Foley is co-publisher of Poetry Hotel Press. EYES, Foley’s Selected Poems, has appeared from Poetry Hotel Press and a chapbook, LIFE, has appeared from Word Palace Press. With his wife Adelle, Foley performs his work (often “multivoiced” pieces) frequently in the San Francisco Bay Area. Their performances can be found on YouTube. Read more at and on his website.

by D.A. Pratt

Regina’s mythologies
are not my mythologies . . .
Saskatchewan’s mythologies
are not my mythologies . . .
And Canada’s mythologies
are definitely not mine . . .
Fleeting glances in my direction,
genuinely rare I realize,
won’t see the truth . . .
Mirror images, even the ones
presenting my best angle,
won’t reflect my reality . . .
How does an outsider
who appears outwardly
like a completely conventional citizen
paint a self-portrait with words?
I don’t know . . . I really don’t . . .

IMAGE: Street art in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Within the context that he knows why he continues to live in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, David A. Pratt continues to wonder why he continues to live in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. This is the fourth poem by David that Silver Birch Press has published this summer. Later this year, he is hoping to reprint his definitive study of the two versions of Henry Miller’s book-length essay entitled “The World of Sex,” which first appeared in Volume Five of Nexus: The International Henry Miller Journal.

IMAGE: “The Baker” by Leah Saulnier, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Prints available at

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael Friedman is a student in the MFA in Creative Writing program at Queens University at Charlotte. He lives with his lovely wife and 2 bat-shit crazy dogs near Chapel Hill, North Carolina. To help pay the bills, he works as a medical writer, preparing drug regulatory and scientific documents. His poems have appeared (or are slated to appear) in Golden Walkman Magazine, Camel Saloon, Eunoia Review, and Stray Branch.


Tongue & Groove — a literary variety show tonight of short fiction, personal essays, poetry, spoken word & music produced by Conrad Romo — tonight (Monday, August 26, 2014) features Taylor Negron, Tonya Ingram, Carlos Kotkin, Ann Buxie, and music by Logan Heftel.

Taylor Negron is a comedian, novelist, playwright, and a damned good cook. As an actor, he can be seen in the upcoming films Pledge This, Retirement, and Surf School, which he also co-produced. He just got back from an off-Broadway show The Unbearable Lightness of Being Taylor Negron, and was met with standing ovations. Visit him at

Carlos Kotkin is a monthly contributor to the online literary magazine Smalldoggies as well as a featured performer on NPR’s The Moth Radio Hour, KCRW’s unfictional and the popular podcast Risk! He is a 10-time Moth storyslam winner and author of the recently published humorous memoir of romantic misadventures Please God Let It Be Herpes: A Heartfelt Quest for Love and Companionship. Learn more at
Ann Buxie is a poet/storyteller raised in Yuma, Arizona, who now lives in Malibu, where she produces the wonderful home concert series, Tales by the Sea.


Tonya Ingram is the 2011 New York Knicks Poetry Slam champion, a member and cofounder of NYU’s poetry slam team, a member of the 2011 Urban Word-NYC team, and the 2013 Nuyorican Grand Slam team. She is the author of Growl and Snare. Her work has traveled to Ghana, California, Michigan, Texas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Washington D.C., New York, The Literary Bohemian, Cultural Weekly, Upworthy, Youtube, and season four of Lexus Verses and Flow. She is a New York University alumna, a Cincinnati native, a Bronx-bred introvert, and a hopeful Los Angeles flower-child, where she will be pursuing her MFA in Public Practice at Otis College of Art & Design. Learn more at silenceturnedshotgun.


Logan Heftel is a producer and singer/songwriter based in Los Angeles. Visit him at


Conrad Romo grew up in L.A. short, stocky and swarthy. He is the producer and host of the literary reading series Tongue & Groove, now into year 11. He is also a cofounder of the NoHo Litcrawl and earns his daily bread as a salesman. His writing has appeared in Los Angeles Review, Wednesday Magazine, Noveltown, Tu Ciudad, Brooklyn & Boyle, Palehouse, Huizache, and Latinos in Lotusland. Visit him at

WHAT: Tongue & Groove Literary Event

WHEN: Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 6:30-7:45 p.m.

WHERE: Annenberg Community Beach House 415 Pacific Coast Highway, Santa Monica, CA, 90402


IMAGE: “Young Man with a Fountain Pen” by Diego Rivera (1914).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Diaz is a 26-year-old bike tech and part-time editor at American Mustard who lives in Lakewood, California. He received his BA in Literature and Creative Writing from Cal State Long Beach, and is currently pursuing his MFA there. His work has been featured by Cadence Collective, Birds Thumb, and has a chapbook entitled Loogie Papers that was published by Tiny Splendor Press in 2012. David loves concerts, poetry readings, book releases, drive-in movies, and is addicted to Los Angeles.

by Jay Passer

alive despite torture device
man with options for hire
rewinds news feed

super victim
with baccalaureate in
opiated weaponry

thoughts scripted for distortion
open heart carved from
treasure chest

mirror shard reflecting
sacral svadhisthana
some beer bellied bespectacle

four seam fastball for a brain
wolf in need of a

IMAGE: “Self-Portrait” (Blue Period) by Pablo Picasso (1901).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jay Passer‘s work has been published in print and online since 1988.  He is the author of numerous chapbooks, the most recent being At the End of the Street (corrupt press, 2012).

by Rebecca Schumejda

My father scraped the scales from fish,
starting just above the tail,
with the back of a heavy knife
while sharing tips:
Cold running water loosens the scales.
Take your time or the scales will fly all over.
A man loves a woman who can clean fish.
I listened as I placed a shiny scale
under the knuckle of my ring finger.

Thirty years later, a marquise diamond
rests where fish scales once did,
and I have yet to clean a single fish.
Since my husband can’t stand the smell,
the only time I cook fish is when
we’re arguing. As he frantically opens
windows, I look down at my ring
and recite my father’s words of wisdom.

IMAGE: “Sunset Raven Goddess” by Sandra Silberzweig. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rebecca Schumejda is the author of Waiting at the Dead End Diner (Bottom Dog Press, 2014), Cadillac Men (NYQ Books, 2012), Falling Forward (sunnyoutside, 2009), and several chapbooks. She received her MA from San Francisco State University. She lives with her family in New York’s Hudson Valley. Visit her at


 IMAGE: “Portrait of Jeanne Chaine” by Odilon Redon (1903).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Clara Hsu practices the art of multi-dimensional being: mother, musician, purveyor of Clarion Music Center (1982-2005), traveler, translator, and poet. Since 2009, she has co-hosted the monthly San Francisco Open Mic Poetry Podcast TV Show with John Rhodes. In 2013, she cofounded Poetry Hotel Press with Jack Foley. Clara has been published internationally. Her newest book of poetry, The First to Escape, is available on and at readings.


On Sunday, August 24, 2014, Tongue & Groove — a monthly offering of short fiction, personal essays, poetry, and music founded and hosted by Conrad Romo — features readings by Jim Ruland, J. Ryan Stradal, Dinah Lenney, Rolland Vasin, Cathy Schenkelberg, and a performance by musical guest Jeremy Bass.


Jim Ruland is the author of the short story collection Big Lonesome and co-author with Scott Campbell, Jr., of Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch of Giving the Finger. His debut novel is Forest of Fortune (Tyrus Press). Learn more at



J. Ryan Stradal volunteers at 826LA and co-produces the literary/culinary event “Hot Dish,” and works in TV, most recently as the Supervising Producer on the A&E series “Storage Wars: Texas.” He likes wine, books, root beer, and peas. Some places where he has been published include Hobart, The Rattling Wall, Midwestern Gothic, The Rumpus, and McSweeney’s. His first novel Kitchens of the Great Midwest will be published by Viking in 2015. Visit him at


Dinah Lenney is the author of Bigger Than Life: A Murder, a Memoir, and co-authored Acting for Young Actors. Her essays and reviews have been published in a wide range of publications and anthologies, including LARB, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, AGNI, Creative Nonfiction, the Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, and Dinah serves as core faculty for the Bennington Writing Seminars, the Rainier Writing Workshop, and in the Master of Professional Writing program at the University of Southern California. Her new book The Object Parade was recently published by Counterpoint Press. Find out more at


Cathy Schenkelberg is an actress, singer, mom, and all around bon vivant. She will tell you how she feels about spending nearly one million dollars on Scientology services for her bridge to freedom and then some.


Rolland Vasin, third-generation American writer (pen name Vachine), has been published in Open Minds Quarterly, Gnome, and Found and Lost, and is an active open-mic reader at venues from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Big Sur, California. He has appeared at Los Angeles’ World Stage, The Rapp Saloon, and Cobalt Cafe, among others, and dabbles in improvisational theater and standup comedy for which we was recognized as the Laugh Factory’s 1992 3rd Funniest CPA in Los Angeles. As a day job, Rolland’s CPA corporation audits youth and family charities.


Jeremy Bass is a singer/songwriter, master strings player, and a published poet and literary critic. He is the Musical Director and Bandleader for the bicoastal cabaret The Secret City, and is  touring this summer in support of his debut album, TENANT, set for release October 7, 2014. Visit him at

WHEN: Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, 6-7:30 p.m.

WHERE: The Hotel Cafe, 1623 1/2 N Cahuenga Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028

TAB: $7.00 at the door

ETC.: Come early! Seating is limited and the event starts on time! There are parking lots on Selma as well as Cahuenga. Meters need to be fed until 8 p.m. Avoid Cahuenga street parking. The signs are deceptive.

by Billy Roberson

My head is a wolf pack ready to attack.
My teeth are white clouds in the sky.
My ears are small shells on the Detroit beach.
My brain is a nightclub on party night.
My heart is a car on a racetrack in New York City.
My face is a city with no people.
My body is a large blue sea with no ships.

IMAGE: “Pacific 1″ by Jim Darling, available at C.A.V.E. Gallery (Venice, CA).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Billy Roberson is a student at Marcus Garvey Academy in Detroit, Michigan. His poem was written as part of the InsideOut Literary Arts Project of Detroit.


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