We lay in bed and smoked cigarettes. She wasn’t allowed to smoke in her apartment, but figured she’d find a way to cover the smell when the time came to move out. The future never concerned her much. Untouchable, unknowable things never did. Her naked leg rested on my stomach as we talked about the past, about music, about films. We both vowed to re-watch Twin Peaks, this time with each other. I worried that I’d never make it as a writer. We discussed this while listening to something like goth music, something she liked and wanted me to like too.

She said, “Hush. Don’t talk that way. Bukowski didn’t publish his first book until he was fifty-one.”

I said, “But Bukowski wasn’t serious literature. Philip Roth won the National Book Award at twenty-seven.”

She laughed and blew smoke in my face and said, “You can’t break out of prison and into society the same week.”

“What?” I said.

“John Wayne,” she said. “It’s from a John Wayne movie.”

“You don’t seem like the type.”

“I wasn’t born with black eyeliner and lace. Besides, Bukowski is twice the writer you are.”

I shut up and we made love. Later, she apologized about the Bukowski remark.


by Jason Christian


Jason Christian traveled for more than a decade, first with a carnival, and later in search of adventure. He is currently studying creative writing at Oklahoma State University and plans to pursue an MFA after that. He has published in This Land Press, Mask Magazine, Liquid Journal, and has a story forthcoming in Oklahoma Review.

Jean C. Howard


for my sister (Hep C Series)


Just as they have aged,

seven days within the vase,


Just as yellow turns

onto itself

to view the summer’s

guttural dreams,


And red has let loose

its fiery skill,

turning heart’s layers

to flames and film,


They now curl up

as most delicate friends,

or fingertips brushing

within a woman’s drawers

against that which lives

clung to skin,


Or the fine

dust layering a crystal

bowl left for weeks,

then months, then years,

within a womb of mahogany.


They all speak

quietly within the room,

of riotous life

and boisterous boom,

of raucous youth and blooming

almost off the stem.


So hard it was

to be contained.


So now, dear sisters,

let me near

to see grace swirl,

then rest

into a withered edge,


How its deepening

bends each head

on stem,

how green thrusts summer

against each bloom,

then dances, childlike

in the air.


I’ll stay, I promise,

as each petal turns

into closed hands

and prays for sleep,

so soft, so real,


Forgets all form

before this.


POEM 2014

There is no escaping—

wine glass

shot glass



You walk down the hall
to the chair

to the door

to the chair

to the bed

eat some fruit

glass of wine



Birds are cackling

giddy beaks

rays of late

it is spring

a plane-

like bird

flight unseen

only heard

blue sets its hem

fading silk

along the seam

of the hill.


Legs up now

bent at knee

rocking back

to the heart

and then forth

the one pump

that can keep you

in place.


A ticking like the lost

owl in the pine

every night

every hour

sending blips

desperate search

for a mate.


You cannot be contained

nor released

cocktail glass


tongue now numb

house asleep.


Find a pen

then poem.


by Jean C. Howard

Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, performance poet Jean Howard resided in Chicago from 1979 to 1999. She has since returned to Salt Lake City. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Off The Coast, Clackamas Literary Review, Harper’s Magazine, Eclectica Magazine, Eclipse, Atlanta Review, Folio, Forge, Fugue, Fulcrum, Crucible, Gargoyle, Gemini Magazine, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Painted Bride Quarterly, decomP, The Tower Journal, Minetta Review, The Burning World, The Distillery, The Oklahoma Review, Pinch, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Penmen Review, Pisgah Review, ken*again, Chronogram, The Cape Rock, Quiddity Literary Journal, Grasslimb, Rattlesnake Review, Concho River Review, Spillway, Spoon River Review, Verdad, Wild Violet, Willard & Maple, Wisconsin Review, Word Riot, and The Chicago Tribune, among seventy other literary publications. Featured on network and public television and radio, she has combined her poetry with theater, art, dance, video, and photography. A participant in the original development of the nationally acclaimed “Poetry Slam” at the Green Mill, she has been awarded two grants for the publication of her book, Dancing In Your Mother’s Skin (Tia Chucha Press), a collaborative work with photographer, Alice Hargrave. She has been organizing the annual National Poetry Video Festival since 1992, with her own award-winning video poems, airing on PBS, cable TV, and festivals around the nation.

West Bank

My grandfather snapped

fish spines off the coast of

Tel Aviv. Slick carcasses

slipping through his coltish


grip as though they were still alive

and thrumming, kicking in the Adriatic.

Latent instincts for survival sparking through

the only dormant muscles in the desert.


Stripped to his tawny chest he would wade

knee-deep in the algae & water pooling

under the orange groves, catch the rainfall


of citrus in skyward arms.

His soles thickened to leather from

skittering across the baking streets,

parched & shriveled like denied lips.


In the gravel he gathered you,

palms coarse, desiccated, groping

for your final strains. You escape

in relieved exhalations, lifting from

the earth at intervals wider than




Saba tugged Shoshana’s umber

plait, twined it around his enchanter’s

finger. They were twelve when they met—

she, staggering in from Jerusalem, caked

in Masada’s dust. Eighteen when they


holstered guns & swallowed smoke.


I do not know this place, embedded

as it is with the bodies of my ancestors

& their enemies, dyed in blood hot,

livid from the midst of battle. I scrawled


my prayers once on notepad paper

& twisted it within the crevices of the

Wailing Wall but can’t remember its contents

or whether it rests there still, atrophying.


I do not know this place, though I

am derived from its crumbling dirt


as my classmates do not know my

name was snatched from a city

on the West Bank, not from Plath poems

& air spirits, though sometimes I wish

that were the case.


I will not tell them.


Mother caresses my chin to tell me

I am my name—Ariel, the Lion.


Yet my grandparents’ steps

still thump in my ears, the bombs

will always shudder and rattle

my white-washed bones. I dart

back into my burrow, and I know


their smoke lingers.


by Ariella Carmell

Ariella Carmell is a senior at Marlborough School in California, where she is Editor-in-Chief of the literary magazine and Head Copy Editor of the newspaper. A Foyle Commended Poet of the Year and a recipient of Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, she has work published or forthcoming in Cadaverine, Crack the Spine, Vademecum, Crashtest, Eunoia Review, and Canvas Literary Journal, among others. She also blogs for The Adroit Journal about the intersection of film and literature. Come next fall, she will attend the University of Chicago.


wrapped in headscarves and blankets

you wait on your wooden rocking chair

sky black with the stars falling

around you like leaves of autumn

for it is that season where change

is inevitable and the air carries cold

and new riches to your nose and mouth

with dawn approaching as fast as it does

you aren’t sure which birds speak first

though a cacophony sets your spine

more erect in that sitting position

so you begin to release yourself against

the covers you’ve brought and suddenly

your body shivers with the first sight

breaking the horizon at eye level

a shriek of color sends vibrations

through your ears and down to your toes

with the birds wailing and the sky brazened

like you’ve never before felt

so that lake ice before you begins to melt

and the release of methane shoots

in all directions to mirror that light

so you unfasten your layers to the ground

for our sun’s enduring warmth


by Andrew Gavin


Andrew Garvin completed his undergraduate degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California. He now lives in Wilmington, North Carolina taking Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Footnote to a Footnote

Jacuzzis are holy.

Garage door openers are holy.

Back-up cameras and recycle bins—all holy.

Putting the red flag up on the mailbox, waving at the elderly

getting my toes wet with dew—holy, holy, holy.

Keeping my eyelids open and trying to sleep like fish,

signing my name with less letters and more scribbles,

counting crows feet, counting yellow toenails,

counting haircuts, counting plucked whiskers,

counting constantly.

Bookshelves are holy.

Missing dust covers are holy,

magicians and black and white T.V. shows,

Penn Jillette theories and Andy Griffith justice,

Uncle Walt songs and Ginsberg poems—holy, holy, holy.

Drinking beer before noon, drinking liquor right after,

drinking it warm (or on ice) with a friend (or not).

Waking up drunk, waking up sober,

waking up tired, waking up hungry,

waking—always holy.

Table wine is holy.

Candle sticks are holy,

dishwashers and cloth napkins,

the folk art cricket made from wire and a railroad nail,

rock salt from the salt flats in a salt cellar—holy, holy, holy.

Opening an empty cedar chest to still moths and crumbs,

staring at stretched cobwebs immersed in the sun,

swallowing nests, swallowing nectar,

swallowing chimes, swallowing saliva,

swallows—always holy.

Self-portraits are holy.

Ceramic urns also are holy.

Tape recorders and keyboards,

drawing pads and gold-plated ball-point pens,

calligraphy and stipple—holy, holy, holy.

Unfolding a letter, unfolding a chair, unfolding

into downward dog, from child’s pose, into corpse pose.

Picking apricots, picking green grapes,

picking out a husband, a shower curtain,

selection—always holy.

Twist-off caps, dresser drawers, remote controls,

carpeted stairs, revolving doors, product recalls,

keycodes, passwords,

restaurant reservations,

last-minute invitations,

cell phones, voice recognition,

land minds, and secrets—holy,

holy word, holy water, holy book,

holy soap boxes, bathtubs, soap dishes—holy,

holy drains and draining, empty.


—originally published by Chagrin River Review online journal, Lakeland Community College, Fall 2013. Online.


by Trish Hopkinson

Trish Hopkinson has always loved words—in fact, her mother tells everyone she was born with a pen in her hand. She has two chapbooks Emissions and Pieced Into Treetops and has been published in several anthologies and journals, including The Found Poetry Review, Chagrin River Review, and Reconnaissance Magazine. She is a project manager by profession and resides in Utah with her handsome husband and their two outstanding children. You can follow her poetry adventures at trishhopkinson.com or on her Facebook page.


ju·ve·nes·cence ˌjo͞ovəˈnesəns/noun: juvenescence

The state or period of being young.


Hours unrequited in coils round the orb

Fled skins ride slip shod over freshly mown lawns

A hiccup, a sneeze, a tongue clipped by the shut door

Beyond reach of recovery in the suburban predawn

Bottle fed hours a morning worm tried down throats

Hands and often mouths washed out with soap

Saturday morning, rug burns, quest for the lost remote

Fatherless but not unwilling to cope


Nestling the soft belly asleep in the garden weeds

Sprung from the rain dark soil in beds

Wild and abundant fury of split seeds

To roost and rabble rouse to apprehend

Inspires ancient capillaries to shine out blue

Or purple abloom with new bruises



by Tina Garvin

Tina is currently completing her BFA at the Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. Her poetry has most recently been published in Blueline Literary Journal and Shoe Music Press.

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