Archives for category: Where I Live

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.

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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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In Another Fish Tank
by Thomas O’Connell

Wherever I reside,
I am always in love
With the next
Town over, Coveting
My neighbor’s chamber
Of commerce. I eat

At the luncheonettes and
Frequent the barber
Shops, longing
For charging privileges
At the public library.

I buy squash
And local honey at
Their farmer’s market
And forgive them
The sulfuric stench emitted
From the match company.

When a storm puts their
Main Street two feet
Under water, I only
Feel compassion.
I don’t have to think

About getting my car
To higher ground and
Am free to worry: What
Will become of the windmill
At the miniature
Golf course?

SOURCE: Originally published in the (unfortunately now defunct) literary journal Gator Springs Gazette, issue 4/2005.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: There is a little bit of “grass is always greener . . . ” to this poem, but the other element that I wanted to convey is the connectedness of localities. So, even though it is not about the town I live in, it is about the links that allow communities to exist. I guess no island is an island either, and towns flourish in a sense of cross fertilization that feeds each town and its inhabitants.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Beacon, New York” by Mahopa.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Thomas O’Connell is a librarian living on the banks of the Hudson River in Beacon, New York, where he happens to be the 2015-2016 poet laureate. His poetry and short fiction has appeared in Elm Leaves Journal, Caketrain, NANO Fiction, The Broken Plate, and The Los Angeles Review, as well as other print and online journals.

Miodrag Kojadinovic  Guangzhou Tower, monsoon midst

PHOTOGRAPH: “Canton Tower” (Guangzhou, China) by Miodrag Kojadinović. At 1,969 feet, Canton Tower is the third tallest tower and the fifth-tallest freestanding structure in the world.

Miodrag Kojadinovic

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER: Miodrag Kojadinović writes, teaches, and looks at the world with his eyes wide open, which includes taking photos. Had he lived in Holland or Flanders when he was 24 to 38 years old, or in Portugal ever since, he would have been happy. But the Great Mother Goddess did not find it to Her liking to love him more and fulfill this small, innocent heart’s desire of his. She sent him on a penurious, tedious journey through the Pacific Coast of the Americas, back to Central Europe, and onwards to East Asia. He lives in Guangzhou and hates it, albeit not as much as he hated Vancouver, and is dying of saudade, yearning for glorious, beloved Lisbon.

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Land of eucalypts
by Roslyn Ross

In secret, slivered slip of leaf
the frame is put in place,
a languishing of eucalypt;
as perfumed, drifting grace.

The myrtle from the southern land
is born in fire and death,
and drapes the days in waiting
until it burns again.

With serpentine releasing,
its skin is shaken free,
revealing flesh fair beautiful
as bark surrounds the tree.

The moon shines on its purity,
caresses milky trunks,
as phoenix-like she rises
on watered, ancient roots.

Like demons born in torment,
they raise igniting arms,
as if to cry for mercy
when nature calls them home.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The eucalyptus, while now common in many parts of the world, having been exported for nearly two centuries because of its fast-growing nature, is native to Australia. The smell of eucalyptus, or “gums” as Australians call them, is ubiquitous and redolent of home, and expats over the centuries have carried leaves with them, as evocative reminders and salves for homesickness. The eucalyptus varieties, members of the Myrtle family, are also highly flammable and contribute to the frequent and deadly bushfires which ignite every summer and which are, and always have been, a part of life in Terra Australis. The smell of fresh gum leaves and that of burning gum leaves, is embedded deep in the Australian memory.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Gum Tree and Smoke” (Australia) by Claire Hull. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Roslyn Ross is an Australian writer and poet who currently lives in Africa. She has been writing poetry since she was a child and has also completed five novels and one work of nonfiction.

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Childhood in West Preston and Surrounds
by James Fogarty

I grew in West Preston,
a little wedge of Preston proper,
Melbourne’s best worst suburb.
Some called it Western DePreston
(Self-deprecation, I guess),
but it was always a special place.
J E Moore Park, with cricket nets sporting broken links,
and forgotten, sometimes broken balls resting on top,
which we’d take home anyway.
Sometimes we’d go the extra few minutes to Crispe Park –
when there was a game, or someone beat us to the Moore Park nets –
damped Merri soil there, my grandpa would tell me,
muddy in footy season.
Before that, Edwardes Park,
its black locomotive our gigantic playground,
worth six-hundred-forty in 1968 but
beyond price in my youth.
Nearby, we’d cut from Henty Street to the Wright Street Park,
between two leaning wooden fences,
when suddenly, a giant, rotating swing would appear,
a now-fading clown painted on top.
Once, an old lady across the road took us to W K Larkins Reserve,
where she told us: “There, a man died once”
and we believed her!
(The red paint on the rock a testimony to this day).
Back around the corner, through the laneway and up the hill –
back at home –
my newborn brother couldn’t have his name,
because that old lady’s dog already had it.
Throughout the years, with a new name settled,
the closest, J S Grey Reserve, proved favourite –
a bent tree our as goal posts,
later cut down and never replaced.
Later, I’d observe more from the bus,
and sometimes the car, like
that strip of yellow-green grass down Cheddar Road,
leading to those dustbowl ovals at J C Donath Reserve, or
H P Zwar Park, flashing between NMIT classrooms, or
G E Robinson Park, complete with spinning egg for play.
Still, the one I remember most
I’ve never visited:
Coburg Cemetery, on Bell Street.
“People are dying to get in there,” my grandpa would say,
without fail,
every time we passed.
I miss that joke,
and those parks,
but I don’t want to die in one,
like that man at Larkins Reserve.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Edwardes Park” (Preston, Victoria, Australia).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: James Fogarty is a teacher and writer from Melbourne, Australia. He was going to write a panegyric about his childhood suburb, in Melbourne’s north, but ended up writing about the parks he frequented and the memories associated with them.

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My Father Dreams of Ships
by Trish Saunders

My father dreams of ancient banyan trees.
He sees ghosts in the tall temple grass,
smells rain on abandoned sugar cane.
He watches the ocean and waits.
Lately, he sees a tall ship in Honolulu Harbor,
silent and crewless, bobbing with the waves,
and my father thinks it is
there for him.

Listen, I tell him, that ship is all in your mind
,
but he counters, You see it too.
It’s true. I see it, pale and shifting
like Molokai sands.

My father dreams of battleships in flames,
and torpedoes flying over the Ko’olau.
He sees a young girl pin a hibiscus
behind her left ear 
as she descends the stairs.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Sunset Tides” (Hawaii) by Mike Dawson. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Trish Saunders worked as a journalist, technical writer, and caregiver for her parents before she began writing poems. She has work published or forthcoming in Blast Furnace Press, Off The Coast, Seattle Poetry Bus, Carcinogenic Poetry, and other journals. Formerly from Seattle, she lives in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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Aubade in Casselberry
After Milosz’s “Mittelbergheim”
by Amy Watkins

Alex sleeps in a nest of cotton sheets.
I am wakened by the firing of an engine in the streets
of Casselberry. I hear my young daughter
whispering into her pillow in the next room,
a door slam in the still-dark outside.
I keep my eyes closed. Don’t rush me,
jealous god that you are, for it is too early.

Here and nowhere else is my homeland.
I carry it with me: a breeze, a palm, a fire ant,
lightning splitting the low clouds, walking sand dunes
in the hot gold of day beside waters green
as my love’s eyes in the morning.

I have lived through thirty years and never, even in dreams
attained anything beyond these few rooms
and the limited frontier of my imagination—
no truth, no insight, no unity more profound
than my foot against his calf and our daughter
nearby sleeping. Let me believe it is enough.
Let the family sleep in Casselberry

SOURCE:  Originally published in The Louisville Review.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem after reading Czeslaw Milosz’s “Mittelbergheim,” in which the poet slowly wakes up in a strange city feeling a sense of connection to the world that is almost transcendent. Unlike the world traveler Milosz, I can’t say, “Here and everywhere / Is my homeland.” I love his poem, but the connection I feel to the world is smaller in scale.

PHOTOGRAPH: “North Triplet Lake, Casselberry, Florida” by Seldom4.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amy Watkins grew up with the armadillos and scrub oaks on the Central Florida ridge. Her poems and essays have recently appeared in Atavic and Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine. She lives near Orlando with her husband and daughter, a maniacal cat, and a very patient dog.