Archives for posts with tag: John Brantingham



by John Brantingham

I saw your sonogram this morning, heard your heartbeat for the first time, and it got me thinking about life, how long it is, how much happens to one person. I wished you health and happiness, of course, but thinking about you fifty years from now, I mostly hoped the world would not make you disappointed and bitter. If life does beat you down, I hope you realize bitterness comes only from moments that stick out in our minds like pustules on a tongue. We chew on them, give them an importance they don’t have to have, forget that anything else exists. I hope you remember that there are good times too, beautiful times, and more importantly there are all those moments in between the good and the bad. That’s what life is, those moments in between— like when a sunset goes from orange to green. People forget the green of sunset because it’s not as dramatic as the orange burst at the end of the day or the void of black at the beginning of the evening, but it’s there for a second we all ignore. If you find you have become bitter on your fiftieth birthday, I want you to dwell not so much on the great loves and graduations as on the trip to the supermarket when you had a craving for a kiwi fruit or the long walk home from school when you just thought about your day. I hope you remember that there are so many green moments you will have forgotten, as you will most certainly forget what happened today, for these moments inside your mother, these moments you will not be able to remember, are just as important and just as real as any other moment. Today, you danced inside your mother because she drank orange juice. If you ever become bitter, remember that there was a moment today when we all watched you dance your orange juice dance and listened to your orange juice heart and though you cannot remember it, you heard your father’s voice through the thin flap of your mother’s stomach as he said, “My beautiful child, I love you, I love you, I love you.”


“The Green of Sunset” is the title prose poem in John Brantingham‘s wonderful new collection The Green of Sunset (Moon Tide Press, November 2013), available at Moon Tide Press or

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Brantingham is the author of hundreds of poems, stories, and essays published in magazines in the United States and United Kingdom. His books include Mann of War, a crime novel, Let Us All Pray Now to Our Own Strange Gods, a short story collection, The Gift of Form, an instruction guide for beginning formal poetry, and East of Los Angeles, a poetry collection. He teaches English at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California and lives in Seal Beach with his wife Annie and dog, Archie Goodboy.

Congratulations to Gerald Locklin, whose poetry appeared in the recent Silver Birch Press Silver Anthology, on the Spout Hill Press release of three novellas — The Bear Trilogy.

As noted on the publisher’s website, Spout Hill Press “is dedicated to the beauty and elegance that can be found only in the novella…Our mission is to publish the best novellas we read, whether they are from long-established writers or those who are new to the field.”

Here’s a description of the three Locklin books from the Spout Hill Press website:


The Case of the Missing Blue Volkswagen is Gerald Locklin’s classic post-modern epic of Los Angeles and gumshoe detectives. At once homage and spoof, the novella follows Bear, a private detective, as he searches for the eponymous blue Volkswagen through the meanest streets of the West Coast and into a more dangerous world, his subconscious. The novella is at once a comedy, a discussion of the detective genre, and a look into the various cultures and subcultures of the 1970s. (Available at


Come Back, Bear is Gerald Locklin’s long awaited sequel to The Case of the Missing Blue Volkswagen.  Where Locklin explored the subconscious and the idea of the detective novel in the first novella of the series, here he delves into the Western novel and the idea of loyalty. Locklin is at his best here as he becomes irreverent in his relationships, his love of the classic cowboy novel, and his view of America. (Available at


Last Tango in Long Beach completes Gerald Locklin’s trilogy of post-modern novellas that began with The Case of the Missing Blue Volkswagen and continued with Come Back, Bear. In this final story, Locklin explores the 1970s sex drama but backs away from his classic humor to take an inside look at the politics of a real couple. It takes a painfully accurate view of the way life can be in the long run even with people who love each other. (Available at

Gerald Locklin‘s poetry will appear in the upcoming Silver Birch Press Green Anthology — scheduled for a March 15 release (just in time for St. Patrick’s Day).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gerald Locklin has published fiction, poetry, essays, and reviews prolifically in periodicals and in over a hundred and fifty books, chapbooks, and broadsides. Recent or upcoming books include a fiction e-Book, The Sun Also Rises in the Desert, from Mendicant Bookworks, a collection of poems from 2008-present from PRESA Press, three simultaneously released novellas from Spout Press, a new edition of Gerald Locklin:  New and Selected Poems from Silver Birch Press (formerly from World Parade Books), and a French collection of his prose, Candy Bars: Le Dernier des Damnes, due May 7, 2013, from 13e Note Press, Paris. Event Horizon Press released new editions of A Simpler Time, A Simpler Place and Hemingway Colloquium:  The Poet Goes to Cuba in 2011; Coagula Press released the first of two volumes of his Complete Coagula Poems; and From a Male Perspective appeared from PRESA Press.



by John Brantingham

There was one time in the dead

center of summer after we’d

had a Santa Ana, and the glass

on the windows seemed ready

to melt but the Santa Ana was over

and storm clouds had moved in. A snap

of lightning and all the rain in the world

landed on our street. It poured for three

minutes and moved on. When it was gone,

the street steamed and hissed

until it was dry again. Last night,

I woke up at two in the morning.

You were lying perfectly still,

and you didn’t know I was watching you.

When I saw you lying there so quietly last night,

that’s just exactly how I felt.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Brantingham’s poetry and fiction have been published in hundreds of magazines and venues, including Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, PEARL, Tears in the Fence, Confrontation, and The Journal. His books include East of Los Angeles and Let Us All Pray to Our Own Strange Gods (forthcoming from World Parade Books). He works at Mt. San Antonio College, where he teaches English and directs the creative writing programs.

“How I Felt” appears, along with other poetry by John Brantingham, in the Silver Birch Press release Silver: An Eclectic Anthology of Poetry and Prose a collection of writing from 62 authors that centers around a “silver” theme. The 240-page book is available in paperback and Kindle versions at

Silver Birch Press blog readers who’d like to review the Silver Anthology, leave a comment and we will contact you.