zazzle
Sincerely
by Rebecca Guess Cantor

The palm trees stand above me,
a subtly curving halo for this,
the city of angels. They line the streets
shielding me from smog.

It’s different here. I’m always looking up
through sun roofs, skylights;
sitting in traffic
but enjoying the warmth.

I think about you, shoveling our driveway
with your head down, determined,
whenever I see your region
shaded a light blue on the television.

I think about the home we made,
the shutters, hanging hinges, marbles
mixed with gravel, plastic toys scattered
on the deck, plastic pool

filled with rain water, the gas fire burning
an inch of blue flame,
the door with the half-moon window.
I said that I’d be back to shovel the snow,

that I’d write more, call
on days like today—a birthday, our son’s.
That morning in the hospital two years back,
I couldn’t open my mouth

without a promise sliding out.
Best father. Best husband. Provider. Protector.
You’ll never have to worry, I said.
And on that morning I meant what I said.

But I’m here now,
and there’s something about the palm trees,
the ocean, the light.
And I may not be back this winter after all.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem about my home but from the perspective of someone escaping from some other place and some other life.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Two Palm Trees with Los Angeles in Distance” — postcard available at zazzle.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rebecca Guess Cantor writes about names and naming, literature, women’s issues, and women in the Bible, among other subjects. She received her Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University in 2011 and is currently the Director of the Writing Center at Azusa Pacific University. Rebecca’s work has appeared in journals including Two Words For, Mezzo Cammin, The Cresset, and The Lyric.

landscape1
…another day
by Don Kingfisher Campbell

fiber on the inside of my pocket clogs my pen
but I pick it out with my fingertips and start to think
about where I live in a city with lots of cars unsold
and wheels fording streets to find tributary space
in Alhambra (not Spain) I park amidst similar license
plates note colors of shells and skin of those who step
outside I feel I reside in United Nations apartments
only everybody kinda keeps apart living parallel lives
I wake up in quiet mourning vacate unit to work in
a different city enter that environment speak some
language of a job eat a lunch culture I can choose
to fill myself with then back on the flowing road to
find my mind home re-enter allotted paid-for place
turn on electronic entertainment so full of the world
put on some music I get up and down for inner dinner
look to elevate reach for keyboard imitate our gods
let words appear about what is within set them loose
see how poetry may help me understand or mystify
my life with either result ready to repeat all this on…

PHOTOGRAPH: “Alhambra, California, Landscape” by Nathan Solis.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Don Kingfisher Campbell, MFA (Antioch University, Los Angeles), multi-award-winning poet listed on the Poets and Writers website, has been the long-time Creative Writing instructor for the Occidental College Upward Bound program, a coach and judge for Poetry Out Loud, a performing poet/teacher for Red Hen Press Youth Writing Workshops, Los Angeles Area Coordinator and Board Member for California Poets In The Schools, publisher of the San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly, leader of the Emerging Urban Poets writing and Deep Critique workshops, organizer of the San Gabriel Valley Poetry Festival, and host of the Saturday Afternoon Poetry reading series in Pasadena, California. For publication credits, please go to: http://dkc1031.blogspot.com.

nelson_m
Night Drowning Off Santa Monica
by Brad Rose

I swim out a long way,
my arms heavy as cathedral doors,
eyes stung by wasps of salt,
lungs, exhausted, gasping.

Behind me, the darkened sea breathes
its breakers into shore,
the irretrievable shore,
against which the night’s flickering haze hangs.

I am here, and not,
watching the cold walls
roll over me,
their heaving shadows, anonymous.

Your death, a year ago, has taught me
that the distance is not so great.
No matter its length,
a life reaches to its end.

In degrees, I cascade down,
beneath the crests and troughs,
to the black center, where a forgotten world waits,
where I will forget.

My hands, plummeting anchors,
fish tangling in my legs,
I am the current’s cold requiem.
The ocean is our stone.

MORE: Listen to Brad Rose read “Night Drowning Off Santa Monica” at soundcloud.com.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Many, many years ago, I lived in Santa Monica. I would often surf there, and points north (Zuma, Malibu, etc.).  When, 35 years later, I wrote “Night Drowning Off Santa Monica,” which is about love, loss, and mortality, my surfing experience in the Pacific informed the images contained in the poem. Although I’ve been a Boston resident for 30 years, I am inexorably, indeed, inescapably, a southern Californian.  Our species’ origin may be in the sea.  For the poem’s speaker, so, too, is his/her destination.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Beach After Sunset” (Santa Monica, California) by Nelson M.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Brad Rose was born and raised in Los Angeles and lives in Boston. He is a 2013 recipient of Camroc Press Review’s Editor’s Favorite Poetry Award, a Pushcart nominee in fiction,  and the 2014 winner of unFold Magazine’s  “FIVE (5) Contest” for his found poem “Signs of Reincarnation at Le Parker Meridien Hotel, NY, NY.” His book of poems and micro-fiction, Pink X-Ray, will be released by Big Table Publishing, Spring, 2015. Brad’s poetry and fiction have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Review, San Pedro River Review. Off the Coast. Third Wednesday, Boston Literary Magazine, Right Hand Pointing, The Potomac, Santa Fe Literary Review, The Common Line Journal, The Molotov Cocktail, Sleetmagazin,; Monkeybicycle, Camroc Press Review, MadHat Lit, Burning Word, and other publications. Links to his poetry and fiction can be found at http://bradrosepoetry.blogspot.com/  including his chapbook of miniature fiction, “Coyotes Circle the Party Store,” https://sites.google.com/site/bradroserhpchapbook/  Audio recordings of a selection of Brad’s published poetry can be heard at https://soundcloud.com/bradrose1 

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Gold Rush
By Emma Rosenthal
(stations in italics)

The Gold Line is a smooth ride
Of light rail above and below the city
A narrative of twists and turns
Through backyards and cityscapes

From the bright colored storefronts
Stucco walls
And murals
Of East Los

West to downtown artists lofts
High rise concrete dispossessions
Of hipster cooooooool

East again through northeast

To manicured exclusive enclaves of South Pasadena and the Sierra Madre foothills

Mechanical voice calls out each station
Some names
Vestiges of momentum
We a migratory species
Our wild diversity
Land here in this zone of human destiny

Chinatown
Mariachi Plaza
Little Tokyo

Sip a civilized saffron broth at
Traxx restaurant in Union Station
Cathedral personae
Whispers and catechistic announcements from above
Marking time

In the thirties
The departure point
Within These silent halls of reunion and dispersal
Of thousands
Displaced
“Repatriated”
Destination: Mexico
No vacation departure
No day trip
No commute to school or work
Just long lines of familias forced to the other side of a line that crossed them over

Vaulted ceilings
Saltillo tiled floors
Civilized conversations
We know how to behave
What is expected of us in public places
Appropriate decorum
Scurrying from here to there
Not here not there
Do we know of the bones on which we tread?
Under the boot of colonization
This mastadon of Spanish architecture in the center of the
Cuidad de Los Angeles

We bump and bustle
Do we care about the lives we press up against?
As we hurry the city through plates of glass and rail?

Mission
Heritage
Memorial Park
Highland Park
Maravilla

Not Chumash not Nahuatl
Only the language of conquest
Monuments to the conquista
(Save for a few glyphs in Cypress Park
a token memory)

Do we know?
Where we go?
Where we are from?

The SouthWest Museum once told the story
But the cowboy Autry Center took away
The bones
Artifacts
Shards
Memories
Tools spun over thousands of years

The Arroyo Seco
Disregarded like gum wrappers and soda cans

The lullaby of the rails and the rush of the city
We are here to forget
To get to work
School
Shopping

Ni de aqui ni de alla
The tale does not tell the truth
At Lake there is no lago
There is no sea at Del Mar

PHOTOGRAPH: “Metro Goldline, Boyle Heights” (6/14/12) from the series: L.A. Paradise Chimera: Gold Rush by Emma Rosenthal.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR/ PHOTOGRAPHER: Emma Rosenthal is an artist, writer, educator, urban farmer, human rights activist, and award winning emerging photographer living in Southern California. Her work combines art, activism, education, and grassroots mobilization. As a person with a disability, she is confined, not by her disability but by the narrow and marginalizing attitudes and structures of the society at large.¶ Her work combines art, activism, education, and grassroots mobilization. And is impassioned, sensual, political, life-affirming, and powerful. She explores the use of art and literary expression to elicit an ethos more compelling than dogma and ideological discourse, providing new paradigms for community, communion, connection, and human transformation.¶ She has been a featured poet and speaker throughout Southern California at a variety of venues and programs including; The Arab-American Festival, Highways Performance Space, The Autry Museum, Barnes and Noble, Poetic License, Borders/Pasadena, Beyond Baroque, Freedom Fries Follies (a fundraiser for The Center for the Study of Political Graphics), KPFK, Arts in Action, Chafey College, UC Irvine, Pasadena City College, and Hyperpoets. ¶ Her work has appeared in several publications including Lilith Magazine, The Pasadena Star News, The San Gabriel Tribune, The San Gabriel Valley Quarterly, LoudMouth Magazine (CSLA), Coloring Book; An Eclectic Anthology of Multicultural Writers (Rattlecat Press 2003), Muse Apprentice Guild, and Shifting Sands, Jewish-American Women Speak Out Against the Occupation. Her work has shown in several galleries in the Southern California area, including the Galleries at Whittier College (Light Among Shadows: Human Rights Heroes) and Pasadena City College, as well as Beans and Leaves Coffeehouse in Covina, California. Find more of her work at smugmug.com.

eyadstudio
11 a.m. Just like Edward Hopper’s Redhead
by Joan Jobe Smith

I lean toward my pied a terre window where I live, to gaze
out at the downtown Long Beach, California, cityscape.
Except I’m not a real redhead, my real hair’s really grey,
and I’m not naked.

I see the green hula-dancing palms, the Jupiter-sized camellia tree
fat with enough pink blossoms to polka-dot a yellow brick road to      Hawaii.
I see the two-story apartment buildings next door and other side of the      alley,
and telephone poles pointing the way to the reach-for-the-sky Villa      Riviera,
the long-ago swanky hotel now a condo with ye olde verdi-gris copper      rooftop
when lit up at night glows emerald cabochon while its spy-eyed
grim-grey gargoyles on the eaves glower and squat and curse
dread and dare demons to impale upon the spiked turrets.

At age two during World War 2
I could see all that out my bedroom window when
we lived in a 4-plex on the Old Pike (before the city tore it down for
land fill and a marina), the happy rattletrap roller coaster roars only a
block away from where I played with my dolls near boogie-woogie
hamburgers, jitterbug sailors paying a dime for a shoeshine, each
awaiting Long Beach cityscape sundown blackout
so’s the Japanese bombers wouldn’t see us down here near
the Pacific Ocean sand, everyone in the world wondering: What’s next?

and now, here in 2015,
3 weeks after my 75th birthday, at 11:19 a.m., I remember
it’s time to take out the trash to the alley dumpster, leave out food
and recyclables for the homeless, who, noontimes wander there,
worry, wondering, “What’s next?” the way I do, too, in here
with my dyed red hair as I look out my cityscape window,
waiting, wondering, “What’s next?” just like
Edward Hopper’s 11 a.m. naked lady does, too (doesn’t she?), as she
leans, sighs, at whatever in her 1926 cityscape makes her remember      and see.
Except I’m not naked.
Or am I?

PHOTOGRAPH:Villa Riviera” (Long Beach, California) by EYADSTUDIO

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Jobe Smith, founding editor of Pearl and Bukowski Review, worked for seven years as a go-go dancer before receiving her BA from CSULB and MFA from University of California, Irvine. A Pushcart Honoree, her award-winning work has appeared internationally in more than five hundred publications, including Outlaw Bible, Ambit, Beat Scene, Wormwood Review, and Nerve Cowboy—and she has published twenty collections, including Jehovah Jukebox (Event Horizon Press, US) and The Pow Wow Cafe (The Poetry Business, UK), a finalist for the UK 1999 Forward Prize. In July 2012, with her husband, poet Fred Voss, she did her sixth reading tour of England (debuting at the 1991 Aldeburgh Poetry Festival), featured at the Humber Mouth Literature Festival in Hull. She is the author of the literary memoir Charles Bukowski Epic Glottis: His Art & His Women (& me) (Silver Birch Press, 2012). Her writing is featured in LADYLAND, an anthology of writing by American women (13e note Éditions, Paris, 2014). Her poem “Uncle Ray on New Year’s Day . . .”  won the 2012 Philadelphia Poets John Petracca Prize.

burton

Kiss Jail Goodbye
by Marilee Robin Burton

Bad Boy Bail Bonds: Because Your Mama Wants You Home; Fair Bail Bonds: Don’t Wait For Jail, Call Fair Bail; Straight Up Bail Bonds: We Get to You Before Your Cell Mate Does; People’s Bail Bonds: You Ring, We Spring; Lipstick Bail Bonds: Kiss Jail Goodbye . . .

People don’t want to live in Van Nuys. But it has its advantages. Interest-free plans, zero down, low rates, open 24/7, fast approval, quick release, confidential, we come to you.

Van Nuys is home to a bountiful supply and selection of bail bondsmen (or, bondswomen, as in the case of Lipstick, replete with her fuchsia fleet of vehicles adorned, all, with candy-apple red smooch icons). (And you can purchase Lipstick Bail Bonds gear online, if you’d like — hoodies, tank tops, shirt and beanie outfits, lipstick shaped pens, or pink fur handcuffs, even.)

Fortunately, when I was arrested and sent to jail at 18, charged (erroneously) with felony burglary, my father bailed me out. But, he’s dead now, and my boyfriend has no ready extra stash cash. So, since you never know, it’s always good to scout out the resources available to you nearby in the neighborhood where you live.

Valley Bail Bonds: Bail Now, Pay Later; Mugshot Bail Bonds: It Happens to the Best of Us; Family Bail Bonds: I hope you never need me, I’m here when you do; England Bail Bonds: If We Can’t Get You Out, You’re not Getting Out; Smokin’ Ace Bail Bonds: We’re Your Ace in the Hole.

All this, and more, within two miles of my home. Easy walking distance. A stone’s throw away. Van Nuys has its advantages.

SOURCE: “Kiss Jail Goodbye was previously published in FRE&D.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Bail Bonds” (Van Nuys, California) by Marilee Robin Burton.

M_Burton

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marilee Robin Burton is a children’s book author-artist and freelance educational writer. Some of her children’s books include Tail Toes Eyes Ears Nose (also an ipad app), and Artists at Work. Her professional articles have appeared in Creative Classroom Magazine. Her adult literary work, a new genre for her, has appeared or is forthcoming in Crack the Spine, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Writers Tribe Review, Free State Review, Knee-Jerk Magazine, Rubbertop Review, and FRE&D. She lives in Van Nuys, California, with her partner and their two Rhodesian ridgebacks.

NORTH HOLLYWOOD PARK SUNSET PHOTOGRAPH: “Sunset in North Hollywood, California, park” by Joanne Chase-Mattillo.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I love the natural settings of Los Angeles. Neighborhood parks are crucial to the environment of our great city. Having lived in Los Angeles for so many years, I have seen changes our North Hollywood Park. In the 80s I would not have gone there. It was not safe. Then with revitalization of the park there are now paths to walk on, a community center, exercise equipment, people practicing yoga and martial arts. It is still a refuge for the homeless, but everyone seems to be respecting each others space for everyone needs a home away from home and a place to walk and enjoy the beautiful Southern California weather in a comfortable environment.

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ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER: The beauty of nature surrounding Los Angeles was the impetus for Joanne Chase-Mattillo’s entrance into the field of photography. She began vigorously studying photography and other art arenas to hone her skills as a visual artist. In 2000, Joanne graduated from California State University, Los Angeles with a Masters of Fine Art (MFA). During the time she prepared for this degree, she continued as a tenured teacher for Los Angeles Unified School District. Joanne is now a full-time artist. She began this life’s journey in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and graduated with a BA from Eastern Michigan University. Though the natural settings of Michigan are also quite beautiful, Joanne always dreamed of living in California. It was when she found the Santa Monica Mountains and her many hiking trails that Joanne learned to absolutely love Los Angeles. In addition to color and black and white film, she now shoots digitally and employs the techniques of infrared imaging and enjoys creating 3D anaglyphs to be viewed with red/blue lenses. She also combines images of nature with movie stills, mannequins, or human subjects in photo montages, with occasional text included in these artworks. Joanne has exhibited her photographs throughout California, nationally, in Korea and England.

laurie_search
Remembering Jack
by Robert Lee Haycock

Fog meandering eastward across Browns Island
Remembers Jack the erstwhile oyster thief
While it dallies over the Antioch waterfront
Fingering its way upstream toward Big Break

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Jack London wrote a knuckle-biting story about rounding up a bunch of salmon poachers and throwing a message in a bottle asking for help as he passed Antioch [California] on the way east to what was then an island but became Big Break.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Some Dreams Never Die” (Antioch, California) by Laurie Search. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Robert Lee Haycock grew up in California’s Santa Clara Valley, “The Valley of Heart’s Delight,” and now resides in Antioch, California, “The Gateway to the Delta.” Robert has been an art handler at the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum and the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco since 1988.

The Meadow
The Meadow on Awakening
     Pt. Reyes National Seashore
by Sandra Anfang

Light mounts the roofline
a thief on nimble feet;
the windows pastel with rose
pool with dew.

I unzip the nylon bag of dreams
feel the chill on each goose-fleshed limb
sleepwalk from my bed
                    every cell yearning for sun.

opening the cabin door
a velvet net of birdsong
draws the boundaries of my world.

dew glitters
twists off a railing;
                    a genie rises from a lamp.

silvered brush considers stirring
thinks better of it;
pines stand at attention
reverent in their pews.

the soft complaint of quail crescendos
joins the chitter of songbirds
at their ablutions.

across the creek a raven’s cry
slashes
               the
                    somnolent sky.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem last April on a weekend writing retreat at the Point Reyes National Seashore in West Marin County, California We stayed in cabins that were icy in the early mornings, and wrote perched on the edge of creeks and under Coast Redwoods. I live down the road from the meadow depicted in my poem. I consider it my backyard.

PHOTOGRAPH: “The Meadow” by Sandra Anfang.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sandra Anfang is a teacher, poet,and visual artist. She is the author of four poetry collections and several chapbooks. Sandra has won several writing contests and awards, most recently a first place award for her poem “Surprise” in the 2014 Maggi Meyer Poetry Contest. Her poems have appeared in various journals, including Poetalk, The Shine Journal, San Francisco Peace and Hope, West Trestle Review, Healdsburg Literary Guild For Love’s Sake chapbook, The Tower Journal, Mothers Always Write, and Unbroken Literary Journal, with others forthcoming. Sandra is the creator and host of the monthly poetry series Rivertown Poets in Petaluma, California. To write, for her, is to breathe.

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Animals From An Ancient Shore
by Ione Hunt von Herbing

Stretching across the ancient world,
A vast sea did exist,
Three million years ago
In places known as Texas,
And southeastern New Mexico.
Full with brittle star and coral
The sea-filled basins –
Where now resides the oil.

Here she came from other coasts,
And found to her delight,
A big blue sky, cowboy boots
Endless space, for a mind to take to flight.
An odd home for a marine explorer she thought,
But then found more . . .
For amongst the cattle and the Jimson weed,
Lived animals from an ancient shore.

The Permian Sea – they call it now,
Through oil it lives still . . .
In every car and truck,
At every station –
The world can take its fill.
So from waters of a planet blue,
To a land of bluebonnets in the spring,
This marine biologist wandered, and finally settled in.

What of the oceans she held so dear
They live here yet . . .
In white sands of ancient seas,
Once seen – never to forget.
Here, pinon jay – not cormorant,
Ride on desert breeze.
And juniper, mesquite – pine,
Hide shells from prehistoric time.

On this forgotten seabed she did build
Not ranch or fossil excavation
But oceans of her own . . .
Tall seas of glass and steel,
Which fish of modern time call home.
Each day in gratitude she kneels
To pay tribute to life that came before,
Tribute – to sea animals from an ancient shore.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Sometimes I question why I moved to North Texas — seven hours drive from the oceans I love. “For a job” is the answer — a position as a professor at a University. These jobs are hard to find and getting ever harder these days. So I am grateful for my job and for the memories of ancient oceans that lie beneath my feet, which inspired the poem “Animals from an Ancient Shore.”

PHOTOGRAPH: “West Texas oil well” by Texas Raiser.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: In 2007, Dr. Hunt von Herbing arrived to the University of North Texas (UNT), where she is Associate Professor of Biological Sciences and Director of the Marine Conservation Aquatic Physiology Laboratory (MCAPL), whose mission is to preserve global marine biodiversity and support sustainable aquaculture practices. Born in Canada, Dr. Hunt von Herbing carries advanced degrees in Oceanography and Physiology. As a research diver and marine scientist for 20 years, she has witnessed the collapse of fisheries across all the world’s oceans. Today her attention is on the preservation of threatened coral reef fishes and developing sustainable methods for commercial food fish culture. Dr. Hunt von Herbing is dedicated to finding ways to make aquaculture sustainable internationally and is working in Mexico to grow fish protein for a country with many poor. When not in the field, she spends her time teaching and conducting research on fish stress physiology with her students in her laboratory at UNT.

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