Shine

Shine

She moves soft as moonlight, pouring across the concrete. She follows the sound of the music as it reaches out into the quiet streets. She’s been following the sound for eons and still it pulls her forward, on and on through the dark. She lingers for a moment at the door of the bar with the scent of stale cigarettes and beer. She remembers a time when music smelled … [Read more...]

Inaudible

image credit: ba1969 http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1445106

Can’t anyone just give us a straight answer? He rambles, doctor. It’s dementia, isn’t it? I see no signs… Here we go. I see no signs of… Here we go… ‘no one can say for sure.’ I see no apparent signs of… It gets on our nerves, doctor. …no apparent signs of… He just rambles, doctor. Meaningless. On and on. Too much light in my eyes. Snatch the Ray-Bans off the … [Read more...]

Heebling’s Journals

Heebling's Journals

The recent, unexpected passing of Charles Heebling and the subsequent discovery of his “third-floor journals” are finally shedding light on an intriguing and relatively unknown area of scientific research. The facts about Heebling’s death, at 38, have been accurate, though sparse: an unfortunate collision with a speeding milk truck, Heebling, on foot, just a few blocks from … [Read more...]

Red Warner’s Last Painting

Red Warner's Last Painting

Excerpted from the forthcoming novel, Visual Liberties He's now had his morning coffee and finished off a bowl of oatmeal with raisins and slices of banana. From the back of his closet he digs out the old coveralls he wears when painting, takes off his shirt, puts the coveralls on and slips his feet into paint splattered shoes that have been relegated to the back of the … [Read more...]

My Otter

Photo credit: href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/wcdumonts/10028947736/ Mark Dumont

“Honey, I am going fishing.” No answer. “OK see you later.” No answer. And it will be much later since she works late. No reason to come home early and the fishing is good at dusk. In the north country, summers are hot, sticky. A rumble way off, maybe a thunder storm later. Summer storms are always just a few hills away. They show up fast, dramatic and strong. Once he saw a … [Read more...]

From Notes of an Errant A/C Man: The Secret to My Uncle’s Jalisco Style Birria

Photo credit: http://foter.com/photo/hvac-ventilation-exhaust/ / http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ CC BY-SA

THE SECRET TO MY UNCLE’S JALISCO STYLE BIRRIA i shouldn’t’ve opened my big mouth: where i’ve been accused by women of being ‘emotionally unavailable’, i make myself too available for these god-damned air conditioning gigs. but a man’s gotta make a buck in this inclement economic climate. it’s fuckin’ sink or swim… i was with my ol’ lady at my cousins quinceanyera when i … [Read more...]

Chiseled in Rock

Alvin Lee, 1975 (detail) by Jim Summaria, http://www.jimsummariaphoto.com

Literature is a morgue: I go there to identify my friends. One of them evaporated yesterday, March 6, 2013. The last pic he nailed through the ether toward me had his Woodstock cherry red 335 erecting from the lap into the skies. I was, obviously, born ten years after him, yet that tiny space in time made no difference. If one were to study history thoroughly, one might … [Read more...]

“Street Corner” and “Process”

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dandeluca/6778493258/ / dandeluca

A hypothetical encounter between poets Philip Lamantia and Bob Kaufman on a San Francisco street corner. Since both lived in the same North Beach neighborhood, loitered in the same cafes, and more than likely knew each other, this depicted encounter may actually have far-fetchedly occurred. K. is shifting from one foot to the other. He directs his utterances toward the cars … [Read more...]

I’m For an Art

bar via http://www.sxc.hu/profile/xramnet

1982 SoHo Painting can be an evil mistress. She can love you tender and she can love you raunchy, and she can rip your guts apart. When you put that last stroke on your canvas and you know you've done it right, and you step back to look at what you've done, a deep sigh comes all the way up from your loins and you say “Yes! Yes, by God, I did it.” But it can also be … [Read more...]

Post-Zen, a reflection for Reilly

collage copyright D. Raphael

When you were put away your car had a half a tank of gas. This surprised me, because I had only ever seen you put five dollars in at a time. While you drove I would watch the dial on the odometer slowly turn as we ate up every tenth of a mile. After you were put away we cried in a bar. Two boys approached us and asked us to play pool, and I said yes, but the game felt silly … [Read more...]

A Curious Stew

Los Angeles, copyright Aculine http://www.sxc.hu/profile/aculine

Silver Lake was a circus when I moved here in ‘92.  By day it was old buildings with peeling paint set against lush hillsides with hidden graffitied cement stairways and morning glories everywhere. School kids walked to and from the middle school on one end and Marshall High tucked in off of Griffith Park Boulevard on the other.  And every evening at dusk, like the flip of a … [Read more...]

Lost Angeles: Writers on the Storm

The Last Stage - novel by Jim Cherry

"Lost Angeles: Writers on the Storm" is an excerpt from Jim Cherry’s novel The Last Stage. We pulled up in front of a u-shaped apartment building that opened into a courtyard, the address the writer gave me. Jimmy and I walked up to the apartment. It looked like I was expected, the inside door was opened and I could hear the TV show The Price is Right coming from inside. I … [Read more...]

One Man, One Vote

One Man, One Vote / Photo http://www.flickr.com/photos/51408284@N02/5544777964/ Mortimer62 / CC BY-SA

It was Election Day and the lines were as long as anyone could remember. Even longer. To be sure this was the age of advanced technology so in many places people could vote on their computers and iPhones and some pundits were predicting, surely in jest, that the age of the telepathic franchise wasn’t far away. But not in South Carolina, which has always prided itself on … [Read more...]

Students: A Play by Peter Rose

Students: A Play by Peter Rose

The living room of a student house in London. Emma sits holding a mug of tea. Robbie stands looking out of the window holding a bottle of beer. She is twenty. He is sixty. ROBBIE:You think you know something about men? (Pause) Would you say you knew much about the opposite sex? EMMA:I think I do. ROBBIE:Well, you don’t. EMMA:I know one thing/ ROBBIE:No … [Read more...]

Absence

Absence by Mustafa Abubaker / photo, Blue, via http://www.sxc.hu/profile/micheli

I woke up and you were gone. I rolled a joint and I stepped outside and lit it, saw the smoke linger in the sunlight, felt the THC enter my lungs and my bloodstream, realized it was the earliest I’ve ever woken up. It was so bright out that day. The Sun wanted to know why but I didn’t have any answers. I turned my back to the light and took a seat on the balcony. I read a book. … [Read more...]

Dancing the Blues

San Francisco / Eric Fisher via Flickr

Friday night is blues dancing in the South of Market district of San Francisco. A small studio space filled with about thirty people freely moving to the music in a way that can only be described as a one night stand. A combination of jazz, swing dancing, and personal rhythm. The original “freak” dancing. It’s a musty little room, the air is thick with sweat, but no one cares. … [Read more...]

from a novel-in-progress . . . .

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i We backtracked from the northern path after losin’ our way, me n’ my brother, to Tempest County. We’d been on n' indian trail for three days, movin’ by night, restin’ in orchards n’ groves n’ swamps and two times we stayed in some ole’ huntin’ shack when the elements got right difficult to continue any longer. We found bear grease and scooped it for eatin’. That was our only … [Read more...]

Everything All at Once: A Short Story

Everything All at Once - Natalie Wright

I left my poetry somewhere...dropped it...didn't even know it was missing until recently. I found it tucked inside an old book given to me when I was younger from a poet with sparkling eyes. Given to me at a time when I wouldn't dare lose it. I took it with me everywhere in that old tattered army satchel stuffed with poetry and dreams. I found it recently while I was going for … [Read more...]

Hollywood Rooftops

Hollywood building copyright by viramontes / http://www.flickr.com/photos/33549343@N04/ / photoshopped for texture and color by EmptyMirror

The ghosts of that 1920s apartment were in the air when we sat on its rooftop drinking wine, one summer’s eve at dusk. We could almost see old Betty’s skinny frame still making her way up Las Palmas Avenue, taking a walk with Kooky Carol or visiting Mary Ann Andrews next door. Of course, after a few good glasses of wine, you really could imagine almost anything up there on … [Read more...]

Everything Must Go

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Larry was a rare one. Very nice and helpful – he would expertly fix the leaky faucets when my landlord didn’t get around to it. Unfortunately when it came to most everything else, Larry was like the many nomads who had previously lived in that apartment across the way. There are those who will do whatever it takes to get the job done and those who will stop and smoke a … [Read more...]

Christina’s Portrait

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My pal Silvi used to spend all her time cooped up in a rather distinguished arts studio in mid-town Manhattan sketching and drawing and painting and molding and shaping and all that other stuff that artists tend to do -- On the occasion that she did leave the premises, I usually waited for her in small restaurants and joints across the street, the local McDonald’s would do, … [Read more...]

The Home Helper

copyright cdsessums / Flickr

The knackers were done with it, everything removable, the iron stoves standing like Celtic monuments in the adjacent lot, the cheap roof slates brought from Bangor in Wales when there was employment there. The cheap zinc flashing piled in crumpled sheets looking like El Greco draperies, the plumbing, the removable porcelain fixtures, watercloset cisterns and cast iron bathtubs … [Read more...]

Lottie – by Kenneth Tindall

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Lottie lived in a little house close to the summit of one of the Hollywood Hills. Once every two weeks we would take a Pacific Electric bus which ran out the Hollywood Freeway, and then the arduous walk up to Lottie's. There was a garage, dug into the hillside and considerably below the house itself, and a switchback front walk with precipitous and rickety wooden steps up … [Read more...]