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American Mustard II

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American Mustard

Second Volume

A Collective of Mustard Poets

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Š 2015 American Mustard First Printing: January 2015 Cover painting by Kathy Avila. All rights revert to contributors upon publication. This book compiled and edited by American Mustard Collective: AJ Urquidi, David Diaz, Marcus Clayton, Olivier Bochettaz. Address digital correspondence to: american.mustard.magazine@gmail.com http://americanmustard.weebly.com/ Other correspondence should be dropped into the American Mustard mail tube


Contents

Editors’ Note ............................................................................................................................................. i Foreword ................................................................................................................................................... ii American Mustard the preserves (or this poem is not about peaches) ........................................................................... 1 the girls’ bedroom speaks ...................................................................................................................... 3 Les mots sont les flèches de l’archer/Words are the archer’s arrows… ................................... 4 ante meridiem xxvii ................................................................................................................................ 6 Filming the Understudy ........................................................................................................................ 7 The Chicago Window Washer Lets His Soap Paintings Stay ..................................................... 9 good morning armada .......................................................................................................................... 11 What to Do with My Remains ........................................................................................................... 12 Transit ..................................................................................................................................................... 13 Tom and Jerry Lie in a Box ................................................................................................................ 15 The Violated Majesty of Kobe Bryant ............................................................................................. 18 The Profiler’s Journal ........................................................................................................................... 19 spring linens like ragged swans ......................................................................................................... 23 Entre-deux .............................................................................................................................................. 24 Martyr ...................................................................................................................................................... 25 Plunge ...................................................................................................................................................... 26 Day in the Life........................................................................................................................................ 27 Precision .................................................................................................................................................. 28 L.A.’s catastrophic dreams .................................................................................................................. 29 Au crépuscule ......................................................................................................................................... 31 1.16699016 x 10-8 hertz: Betrayer Moon ....................................................................................... 32 Often and Again ..................................................................................................................................... 34


Some Notes on Walking ...................................................................................................................... 35 Mistaken Casanova ............................................................................................................................... 36 Eighteen Impossible Things ............................................................................................................... 37 A Manifesto ............................................................................................................................................. 40 Granite Apples ....................................................................................................................................... 41 Every Paradox Isn’t a Love Poem ..................................................................................................... 42 My Face ................................................................................................................................................... 43 Big Bang Theory ................................................................................................................................... 44 Kindergarten Music .............................................................................................................................. 45 Narcissistic Hoarder ............................................................................................................................. 46 cities between Anton and his son ...................................................................................................... 47 at baby’s pink palace ............................................................................................................................. 50 Here’s the Problem................................................................................................................................ 51 Manslaughter ......................................................................................................................................... 53 A Place in the Music ............................................................................................................................. 54 To See You Again ................................................................................................................................. 55 Cartoon Balloons ................................................................................................................................... 57 Polish ........................................................................................................................................................ 58 Separation Anxiety................................................................................................................................ 59 Contributors ........................................................................................................................................... 61


Editors’ Note The poets of American Mustard have been handpicked by (and include) the editors. Accepting few blind submissions, the editors joined the poets to form a collective of transparency and direct participation. Together they congealed the foundations of a true mustard aesthetic.

American Mustard intends to be read as an uninterrupted stream of poetry, which is why authors' names have been withheld until the anthology's final pages. If you can’t categorize it, it’s Mustard poetry. Enjoy our compartmentalized condiment bar of international writing. Disgusting and delicious, a vinegarous contradiction. Taste it.

in in in in in

american in mustard we trust mustard we mustard we mustard we mustard we mustard we in mustard we trust mustard

Second Volume Winter 2014/2015 Long Beach California

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trust trust trust trust trust


Foreword I.

Companion Plants Consider the modern day seed library. These co-op clubhouses defy the adolescence of modified science. They hide safe from the mechanical infinity of streets and information superhighways. Their reach is word-of-mouth: seedlings handed from open palm to open palm, and seeds mailed over oceans with handwritten notes. This network of give-and-receive begets wormy loam plots with lives cultivated elsewhere by like minds, arbitrary though thoughtfully crafted, compatible though born of disparate ecologies, and stronger for its biodiversity. AND BY THE WAY, THESE SEEDS ARE METAPHORS FOR POEMS. The first volume of American Mustard chronicled the first steps of four poets, of one collective, toward that revolutionary idea: a return to hunting and gathering, to grassroots clique formation free from internet message boards and journal databases -- a collective based on convenience and accidents and regrets, LIKE NATURE.

II.

Carnage The second volume of American Mustard is no longer under wraps. The core four have mulled their poetics to fruition. They have allowed that soupy, goopy, primordial slime to spread. The organic material crawls across the kevlar spandex of a poet Peter Parker, dancing its mitosis into a prehensile, purposed mass: a villain. Unknowing, venomous, emo, it reaches out blindly, absorbing its surroundings and growing larger than its beachy, sunny-sky host. The first volume was encased in algaic greens and pollen yellows, living still on bookshelves and virtual shopping carts -- but this is the gritty sequel. Poems are no longer handed from open palm to open palm but snatched by the sentient limbs of vengeful mad scientists; what are the editors of Mustard doing if not allowing their ideas to germinate beyond their reins? THEY MUST BE STOPPED. But can they be? Find out, in the third volume. – Z.M., Mustard Historian - ii -


American Mustard II

Some day I'd end up on a slab of marble in Auckland, a mustard seed clutched in my fist, foiled at last in my own perishable rhapsody. The damage done but no one to call it folly. James Tate


the preserves (or, this poem is not about peaches) i. when the peaches wallop to the ground—go gathering dump the bundle in a tub of cold water slip fingers through the floating bodies fleshing for belly wounds remove rotted drupes ii. chinese ministers wield peach-wood wands to ward off evil spirits grandma would just as soon snatch a switch from a branch and whip the devil out iii. pitch peaches into a pot of boiling water scalding will ease the skin from the flesh heave peaches into a bowl of ice water shock will slick the skin from the flesh

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iv. prunis persica pink and white buds glossy lanceolate leaves of the order rosales peachless branches remain nubbed waxy pliable v. gut the pits gashing calloused thumbs through yellow meat mince mindfully vi. with the promise of ripeness country peaches delight the cutworm desiring the petals vii. sugar water boil and stir the macerated mixture funnel into sterile jars— cut crystal—marked preserves

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the girls’ bedroom speaks they sequined this bomb shelter with their tears, plunged and sparkled together like reflections, howling for salvation or symmetrical martyrdom. truant siblings. co-vessels who blazed through a black tulle cave, like twin meteorites lost in their own mascara trails. two little lackadaisies bodiced in full bloom frailty, their family declared it all irresponsibility. sisters ruffled in debris. what strange archaeology.

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Les mots sont les flèches de l’archer. Il vise le cœur et tire avec la force du sien. Le cygne est messager. On est en automne à Grenoble. J’entends la cloche qui sonne et qui vient nous rappeler que l’on rentre dans une période froide. Les gens ont mis leurs manteaux et viennent se confondre aux mornes couleurs de cette saison. En septembre il y a eu la rentrée et quelques belles journées de soleil. Maintenant on est en novembre signe du retour au foyer. Les journées sont plus courtes. Quand on s’est levés tard la journée est vite terminée. Aux arrêts de tram on croise les gens dans leurs quotidiens. Il y a ces filles aux cheveux noirs esquissant un sourire provocateur. Il y a ces vieux l’air hagard. Des jeunes étudiants policés. Ceux que l’on ne voit jamais et qui forment le gros de la troupe. Ceux qui veulent paraitre agressifs parce qu’ils craignent le rejet. Ces filles sur-maquillées n’arrêtant pas de causer de mecs et de faire du potin. Les gars que l’on croise à l’intérieur du bar et qui adoptent une attitude. Les habitués échangeant leurs humeurs. En ville on doit s’habituer aux visages des gens. De la laideur à la beauté. Aux fortunés aux accidentés. L’argent permet de sortir de chez soi. L’argent ne permet pas la liberté, mais le choix d’exercer son désir. En ville il faut rester vigilant. Les promenades nocturnes se font toujours avec un radar sur soi. Les vieux quartiers ont du charme. Parfois ils transmettent des souvenirs d’enfance. On a tous besoin de clarté, alors quand le soleil se fait moins présent, c’est à soi d’aller la chercher.

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Words are the archer’s arrows. He aims for the heart and shoots with the strength of his own. The swan is messenger. It’s autumn in Grenoble. I hear the sound of the bells coming to remind us that cold is on its way. People have put on their coats. They blend in the bleak tints of fall. Schools open their doors. We had a few sunny days. Now, November—time to return home. When we wake up late, days are already over. At the tram stops we encounter people inside their routines. There are these black-haired girls with a provocative smile. There are these elders with haggard eyes. Young policed students. Those we never see, who are the wood of the tree. Those who want to look aggressive, afraid of rejection. Those overly-painted girls, gossiping. Those guys at the bar who build themselves an attitude. Those regulars exchanging moods. In the city you must get used to people’s faces. Ugliness and beauty. Fortunate, accidented. Money lets you get out of the house. Money doesn’t grant freedom but the choice to exert desire. In the city, you must be vigilant—wear a radar for night-time wanderings. Old districts have a certain charm. They sometimes transmit childhood memories. We all need clarity; so when the sun’s presence declines, we must find it on our own.

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ante meridiem XXVII a déjà that just won't quit vu-ing

3:15 mid-morn-mist the sprinklers right on time’s chaffing prickly pear thistles moonlit cactus snails congregate sketch slime trails smoke curls from your mouth like commas in single file linings the feral cat found herself a friend cicadas twine realizations that you’re always my unfinished sentence as i listen to coldheated pussies rendezvous midst periwinkle sawdust

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Filming the Understudy You are in film strips 24 frames per second frozen I enjoy every still of Technicolor denim tied to your leg one shoe gripped on brick a wall where you stand are real cool you are real with shoulders lined with chucks in frame 23 my arm bridged over your neck our eyes line up you are nothing like the actress worn faded jeans no my thumb slides along your sepia cheek like it would hers

you

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smoother even and I lean in during the 25th frame the film begins to bubble and tear and fling off the reel I am frozen skating across sepia

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The Chicago Window Washer Lets His Soap Paintings Stay If the cable snaps today, his ideas will not go with him. This time, he lets the hasty marks dry, the lines usually swallowed by his wavering bucket of water now directing the sun's traffic through. With his rosary in pocket and Wacker Street below as gray and sterile as a slab before surgery, he fastens his cable each dawn and scales the building's silent face. Invisibility is the gift he gives the city, his fingers without the documents to be fingers for real dragging the blade’s bent rubber until no trace stays behind. On the free days at the museum, faced always in his one clean tie, his eyes check off the death dates beside the frames, the record of so many cords giving way. When any body lands, what survives the blow at the bottom? He imagines the flight that follows, the dashing of breath and size and debt and the sun poised to catch the ideas and name. -9-


It is the fear of loud voices that keeps so much confined, so today, he has drawn where the yelling boss won’t see. Before the office with the door shut all summer and the mouse dangling where the modem sat, his Rothko cuts the sky in three: one layer splotchy, one streaked straight and the pure light sandwiched in the middle. On half of the corner office that the recession must have voided, the three smashed Picasso men mark his sides. The trumpeter slouches, the rim of his hat tipped just enough to count the watching eyes. The rhythm player weeps, his bass a chronic load. The singer leans back, nothing to be but happy. The intersection will always cheer. The smile left after death is the only one not facing death down.

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good morning armada A row of birds drifts past the morning blush their arms bent into the wind, cutting just enough to separate ions to skid across a cardinal direction, without even a batted wing.

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What to Do with My Remains I hope my ashes are heavy so no one can lift my urn. I'd rather they blow me, or lay me to rest in a zephyr. I don't want my bones in the ground. Already I feel hidden like a coffin in dirt. Best-case scenario: what is left of me breaches the atmosphere. If I must go, I'd prefer to take my atoms with me.

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Transit I. The sequined exit signs flicker like fish scales. Rubber slick road, tires tonguing grooves like pollencrazed freeway birds, wormhole travelers swiss-cheesing potholes, windshield cracks, hazard flares and silver tipped cones— iridescent fir trees, begging to be ping-ponged, feinted left and right the way collies dart stanchions in dog shows—this streamlined tunnel vision cannons cones past in stilted uniformity, so you count them and count them and count until the construction and cement sawdust has abandoned you, left only the isolated space between exits and reflective paint strips.

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II. I want to comb the hair of freeways, un-plant the eucalyptus trees lining them. I hate how they look like every tree in Victorian landscapes. I hate how the city cuts them—little bushels of leaves hanging like nodes at each branch end, synapse firing and firing in the jilting breeze, Q-tip palm trees puffed like poodles in a dog show. Skirting their trunks, a drunk driver tiptoed outside of the freeway dash marks, renovating the cinderblocks of the sound barrier. Roadway grooves gouge the cement to slurping water and tar. Their parallel mesas look like sugar packet tops stymied into lanes, waiting for you to dive between them, waiting for you to lance yourself into granulation.

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Tom and Jerry Lie in a Box with other ingredients needed to make a funny cartoon. See that queen-sized bed freighted with pillows? That is my box. Tom and Jerry use what the box contains. Mostly tools of violence – a stick of dynamite, a rope, a potion, a book – the latter generally harmless, unless heavy and hurled. Though words can injure. These items will help them survive. The cartoon-world is tough, the worst street in the worst neighborhood, in a city like the one where I grew up. I go back and out of courtesy, pause at stop-lights. My slowing down, a ritardando, signals locals to strip my car of usable parts. I help them. There is a local pawn shop where my mother’s wedding ring still lives and a cemetery where I try to walk around my parents, my history, but always end up cutting the corners, walking on ancient Jews. Jerry usually wins, proving the supremacy of the brain, the influence of the bible – the meek shall inherit the earth. Jerry appears diminutive. Tom is often the aggressor, but I have seen Jerry go after him with little provocation. I am allergic to cats, and scream at mice such as those that populated my garden studio. I gave them sticky square homes and they cried all night. Jerry elects to hide inside a book, as the smart often do.

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“Judo for Mice.” This could be a bestseller if marketed correctly. Spine up, we see the pages flipping, know that Jerry is the engine. Is Jerry short for Gerald? He emerges in a judogi – jacket, pants, belt. The book, his sensei. An expert on standing throws, chokes, and joint-locks. They spar. Tom is shocked at the mouse’s talents, knits a sweater from his own eyebrows, dons the sweater and learns boxing. Do boxers commonly wear sweaters? He looks like a longshoreman. It turns out this western form is no match for the martial art. Tom bobs, weaves, throws a right hook, a left cross, an uppercut, a few jabs, even protects his chest with the other hand. To no avail. Judoka Jerry hurls him to screen’s edge with one finger where a waiting anvil clobbers him. An abundance of anvils and precarious shelves. Tom submits to Eastern superiority and also learns Judo but Jerry’s skills prevail. A series of mishaps and Tom ends up back in the box, curled up in his own insecurity, realizing he cannot fight the plan, his role as bully, though it may be miscast. I have often wondered what it would be like to hit someone, connect my fist with a jaw, my palm with a cheek and hear the crack as one would in a cartoon. Such a slap would send my opponent flying across the frame, sprawling. No doubt a battalion of pots and pans, or railroad ties, would fall on his or her head, compounding the injury I assigned with my own hands. – 16 –


How satisfying that would be! Tom would watch from his box, vindicated (if he felt aligned) or depressed, thinking, why do the weak who are not weak always win? I would tell him, Tom, I have no props, no team drawing me over and over. All I have, and often they don’t serve me.

my hapless compadre, are words,

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The Violated Majesty of Kobe Bryant by George Gordon N. Byron

What is it that a Champion would not suffer, That a Lottery prince must bear? His sweat’d brow, Beset with all the thorns that would line a crown, Stamp’d by such strong emotions: as all things wear In him. He has been rash from his youth upwards, And now that o’ergrown aristocratic Hydra, The Sports Media, with hilts hot in their hands, Pen turbulent headlines of stifled treason; These worthless by-words doubt his storm-stood Virtue -Ranked but The Fortieth by ESPN -Underrate his power, which is no pageant, And cause his anger to foam itself to air. He seeks redress for this most rank accusal. Some sacrifice is due to slander’d Virtue, But what worth is Virtue if it must depend On men’s words? Virtue needs a victim. So to Court: He will unpeople palaces; He will not lop the hand, but rather the head; He will smite the scholar and then the master; He will play Tyrant; and wage cold war with Kings. Hoary vampires mourn the hues of youth -Retirement sits robed in all-sweeping shadow, Counting ring’d fingers: Indias in themselves -But a glorious life cannot be quench’d at once, And his was spent in the storms of state and war. Something has stung Kobe’s pride, not his prowess. Deep Vengeance is the daughter of deep Silence.

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The Profiler’s Journal I. After Practice Once was a trench-bred sailor with a noble hurt of which some nerve of the sky clipped off a piece to fashion a cynic, a separate entity whom I overcame. Safe place is so far away and the elders can't stop laughing. I trot through the nest in urge-laden fog. The man behind me yells, 'Take what particles you may need, take these holes, take leave.' II. Nugget Day In Court Square He called it quits as the lower rocks sank below a greasy tide. This place confronted him with unfortunate murals and moving sidewalks that couldn't move. On May 20th the crisp old muffins still held the taste of Anne Boleyn; it made the King reflect but it was not enough to make him sorry.

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III. Soft Dot Maelstrom Once you have no presence the unexpected hurls chisels. What you can't tell others about crucial natural affairs your mind makes up for in sheer number of landmarks forgotten. The best memory has collected the chisels and possesses license to build, a wet touch, a seagull lacking appetite (!). Two hearts bound together rip plastic; we laminate creatures we fear to destroy. IV. Outside World Out of contact with the inside world. The banana ripens as mud sucks it under. Can’t help but decline all major cards. Registered for big boy checkers. Keep your roses away from me, dangerous love. They try to grow sharp around my heart. A breakdown does not build permission to fix. Frilly, hollow. Do I know even what I want? That’s my own concern, please.

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V. Sorry About Your Luck The earth spins as fast as a bottle tossed from a speeding van; it's not hard to see if you climb a water tower, squint out yonder. The poles on all the buses stick to my hand but no one in the city appears covered in slime, how strange, desert plateau erosion chiseled from above to the profile of a Cherokee reposed. Coincidence or somebody's wrong. If the apartment is haunted perhaps it's your own fault; blessed be those who give a damn. Good luck finding such a saint in your nest of barbed wire. VI. Chivalry I used to have a nice camera, it was my ear. Paid for in full thanks in part to amazing corn on the cab ride. Pretty perfect dainty fingers, may I have another lick? We were lost in a warehouse, 'bring your own finch.' When I grew up I wanted to ride a forklift to school. In an open place claustrophobia; crowded like a ghost in a prison cell. What minute was it when all moving things stopped, when only a bark could hold its ground? This is the last thing you will hear from me for awhile. – 21 –


VII. The winter tents are stiff as I stroll a society of barber shop poles. Which signal tells me not to stop, which signal to prohibit— when years were long on autonomy I was a physical authority, built as a passage boat. Horny words have laid waste to my wonder. I recount a citrus taste, a number: seven buttons on her coat. She can't recall the title of my quiet. VIII. Invasive Specie Not even Anubis could decide the lesser. He awarded a silver medal for valuable wounds. The answer came at a noon to rue, preceding a night when it hurt to be somehow alive. At least a caterpillar becomes worthwhile, slick fleck of blank paint oil on milkweed linens, before of course she dies. She told him someone on earth must be incapable of mistakes. He told her that where he came from every woman was famous. Pounded nearby sand an unwanted star as they stared up the river, speechless.

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spring linens like ragged swans a bouquet of curious looks, a cascade of swerving nerves, we tap along the curvatures of wrists, inner elbows, clavicles—stammering like rain drops with each blossoming vulgarity until our chins meet in a rabbity haze you stop to speak some extraterrestrial scribble for words, and grin like a wolf went and slit your lips you kiss around my forehead a garland of flowers and fingerspell the cobwebs away from the dormitories of my body i dip farther into your laughter even as it becomes my own death gurgle untangling the air and the spiders return to claim us their winter home.

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Entre-Deux old Grenoble late copper afternoon railroad screeches brass bells chiming tout le monde à bord! and a strident whistle the train departs slides through silverstacked valleys altitudinous autumned mountains tower upon us across from me a wordless hassle: father and son reflections in the window black clouds in the wagon a cemetery by the hill and my own eyes in the sky thru the skull of the window

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Martyr One day you’ll wake and the world will be dressed in the clothes of your dreams. It will be an ill fit. You’ll stumble and slip as everything slides into right. There will be too many days, days on the corner, days on the bench, days in the dark long days outside and in-between stacked and piled to the nearest star. The weight will turn your fingers white. The colors will burn. The light will be knives. The milk of morning will sear the tears from your eyes over a dahlia’s smile. And you will long for a hammer and a few, good nine inch spikes to crack the egg of your head and spill some blood back into the world.

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Plunge —‘cause I’m a pool to love you and no, this isn’t dyslexia. If it was, I’d be a loop to love you and there may be something to that because I curl, I bend, I whorl to love you. I kink and arc; I span to love you but not in the way I can pond, splash. Not in the same way I am reservoir. I’m not to be confused with an artificial lake or cistern, my waters saved up in a font. No. I’m more water garden and you do remember, don’t you, what it is to puddle like that? You’re no swimming hole or bird bath, but oh, oh well, you’re like this: bayou, plunderbund, my still-water darling, my watering hole that I’m a pool to—

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Day in the Life Acting normal while they take us to war. Acting like red maple’s dried blood. Acting like acting ever did us any good. ?

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Rain pounds magnolias. Cucumber tendrils’ lacy attitudes, high fashion. Pregnant 767 scours zero visibility. ∞

Slapping the carport with swordfish. Cardinals compose a garnet duet inside my straw-colored bones.

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Precision Perched on one palm’s strength, his knees content and smeared, he jabs his stick hard and corrects the stream’s algebra. Under his muscle, one rock topples, then another, these fast arrangements of sand and sharp edge setting the current at new diagonals. In her purse, his mother slips the biography of Amelia Earhart, her gift to him this Sunday at the park chosen from the titles she leafed through on the shelf at the bookstore the night before. His eyes too young to glide across the page, he will lean in to follow later as she reads the story. When they unroll the map, as they do after books, what will the revelation be? The flight from Honolulu may thrill the most: the first pilot ever to cross solo to the mainland, the few islands in the Pacific and the black dot for Oakland left scattered like trophies after the finish line’s release. On this flat paper, Howland Island hides unlabeled, its mystery as the finger traces around it the truest depiction of the fade into the blue. It may be years before the epiphany that the effort outshines the safe landings: the mark of achievement not the descent on the marked spot but the disappearing farther out than the rest. For now, the stream’s boundaries declare the hour’s task. His stick too thin, he stretches flat to pull the thickest one from the bottom, this tool barely light enough for his wrist gouging weeds aside, splitting the current’s flow. Was it wrong before? He never stops to explain, but the stick will not drop until the flow is right. As the rocks shift, the surface splays its fingers, each twist on the ground changing the sky’s receptive shape. –

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L.A.’s catastrophic dreams wake me to the black circumference of your pupils, brown enclosing them like calamitous dust you are part shivering-boy and part earthquake i don’t know if you’ll collapse me or into me but either way i sprawl like a watercolor landscape, brushed in a trove-molten-gold for you, the last glint of day bright as the summer we went shoegazing, autopsied our babysteps and realized we could not find each other in this— look for me in the timbered skyline when the sidewalks wrinkle in to gently taste the underground my immaculate innards shredding into fruit rinds, coffee grounds, compost, granulate with me into the earth's post-coital flutter watch the city chapter itself into sunsets surreal

– 29 –


you, me, and the palm trees glowing like eyelashes in a campfire by the first gauze of night we will settle, speechless as our beautifully crumbled home nothing but dust billowing from our throats, our blood speeding through the freeways we built over water, together in rivulets.

– 30 –


Au crépuscule when the rose orange base of our dome ripens into pinks mauves and purples the egret’s irises swell her steps cause no ripplets as though she walked on the silver peach sky the lagoon reflects

– 31 –


1.16699016 × 10-8 hertz: Betrayer Moon The Dior girl applied cerulean mascara, the wand, a bristled swallow, swooping over up, under up, the want magnified layer by layer – then produced a Laura Mercier liner in a pot (with a drop of activating serum creating a paste) that she pressed inside my upper lash-line, making my gaze upon the world rimmed, limned. Full sturgeon, full red, green corn, grain. At Nothing Bundt Cakes they offered samples of a blueberry-white chocolate bundtlet – I took three – and tossed dried blueberries into my golden beet salad to beckon the powers that be and eat with blue corn tortilla chips. My Roquefort – the king of cheese, from the time of Jesus – bloomed, its blue-grey, blue-green mold, spores gorgeous. Full sturgeon, full red, green corn, grain. After tonight, the next will appear in three years, in May, but requires a forest fire or active volcano, soot and ash flung into the upper atmosphere, to turn the second full moon of the month or the third in a season of four (competing almanacs) blue, so the metaphor for treasured rarity holds tight while facts hide in plain sight: Full sturgeon, full red, green corn, grain. – 32 –


for the extra show, whatever the frequency, to assume promised hue requires a conspiracy of phase and disaster, but when it occurs, say the sweet witches, not the toiling, troubled brood, gather your ingredients – silver cord, cinnamon stick, assorted notions, wine, a vial of success potion – I may have run out – Full sturgeon, full red, green corn, grain. inscribe your wish on parchment and petition that pocked vehicle, reflective wheel that undoes the clock and mocks tides, while those who ignore bellweather, harbinger, have no excessive fear of the gods – Ovid laughed at superstitio – those who went inside for enlightenment centuries ago, rational, full of rationale – Wider than the sky, the brain stay there while stars form ellipses at the end of the moon’s sentence, bright breadcrumb trail to the empire of the unsaid. Explain it all away. I accept the lunar decree unscrolling delayed light across the firmament, naming whatever grows during this prolonged summer, whatever can be caught in abundance, under this moon’s domain.

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Often and Again Often I have dreamt of your elbows your knees, your back— the places where the body bends— and pulled myself from sleep to light a cigarette and lean over the iron railing outside my rented room, littering the patchwork swell of your body with smoke and ash. Often I have woke to the sound of sirens and low flying helicopters, searchlights blazing through the cracks in the blinds, circling, illuminating the broken bodies propped against cinder block walls entangled, squatting in the broken glass strewn across the asphalt, a pair of feline eyes returning the light, its body crouched and hidden beneath a dumpster. Often I have followed the sound of my own footfalls, punch-drunk on memory and the imaginary lives of everything and everyone I know, circling, stuttering my steps to slip between the cracks in the sidewalk, searching, kicking at the diamond piles of glass to send another cat streaking into the dark, returning again and again to smoke and ash.

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Some Notes on Walking Two A.M., rain-slicked rue— you know the one. He asks me to define the word and I stop, say I can’t, at first, because actually it’s that Indian restaurant where we’ve shared so many courses and words, where we always ask for a refill on the spiciest sauce. It is the spiciest sauce, and it is all those words, but I can’t say that to him, about you, so I stammer, shift my weight from leg to leg. Such heavy thoughts so late at night. I say it lasts, that it’s knowing you can only hurt an object. It is itself an object, a common noun pursued sometimes with such fervor that it can only be rendered priceless. And it is a transitive verb, so you can do it to money and freedom. You can even do it to your gilded cage. It is the line I traced down his back with my tongue almost as soon as I wanted to. Even then it was that, and I knew it, and I said it, too.

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Mistaken Casanova I saw her my first day of college, her long bare dancer's legs teasing me from her ballet skirt her smile inviting as she flirted with me without words from across the cafeteria I ran my hands through my buzz cut and checked my halitosis in the palm of my hand I dumped my tofu stew in the trash and said hello, how do you do... she laughed and apologized, told me she thought I was a hot lesbian and never mind as she turned to leave a couple of other girls laughing as I wondered what the orange jello I wasted with the rest tasted like

– 36 –


Eighteen Impossible Things After a Series of Paintings in the “6 Impossible Things Exhibit” Los Angeles Craft and Folk Art Museum, 2013 1. You're laying flat on the ground between Big Bird's legs. He stands over you ready to nest. Or is it a she? 2. An upside-down man lives in a Christmas tree. He wants you to hang ornaments. 3. A penguin hides in a painting of a screaming man. Early sketch. 4. The Cloud City of Bespin, pre-Lando reveals the artist's true nature. 5. An abstract foreshadow of the vagina yet to come. They commissioned Picasso to do this one, years before you were born. 6. This is where they hid the dagger that eventually was used to slay the emperor. – 37 –


7. Charles Atlas kisses Pharaoh on the chest. Neither have shirts. Neither knew they were being filmed. 8. An airplane marries two umbrellas. They live together in the sky. 9. A starter totem used to scare the Onandoga children. 10. A lion gets an unfortunate haircut on picture day. Makes the best of it. 11. There she is, and surprise! She's brought a volcano with her. 12. Broccoli at the convention. One of them is angry. 13. The dreidle that no-one could afford. 14. This is where his face went after it had been removed. – 38 –


15. That penguin again. I think he's getting away with it. 16. They waited too long and now The Vagina is hidden behind this. It's impressive but I won't tell you what it is. 17. With a hat like that you're irresistible. 18. The newlyweds have a friend over. They face opposite directions so it's less awkward.

– 39 –


A Manifesto We were keen on stolen rolling tobacco, carbon copied freebies of Noam Chomsky, scrapped change for forty ounce bottles of King Cobra—when emptied, we’d chuck into gated communities. We chilled in the back of coffee shops only venturing past the parking lot to pop a squat, bum cigarettes from hookah inhaling patrons we deemed reformers—sometimes picking used butts right off the ashtray. We defended the Unabomber, threw around the word pseudo like a loose machine gun spinning on the concrete, rejected veganism; freeganism our excuse for eating meat. We bragged about pissing on BMWs, dine-and-dashing the Spires at the mall, unshaven armpits, songs about globalization. We decided protests were for liberals, jacked gallon jugs of Safeway vodka to get hammered on lunch benches in middle school playgrounds, instead. We blew each other behind dumpsters, on the rooftop of a Trader Joe’s. We fucked, unprotected, in open bathrooms at the Galleria, often in front of each other. We owned all of this then we went home, to our microwaves and wrapped dinners, swore to our father we were looking for jobs, climbed into warm beds our mothers made.

– 40 –


Granite Apples

Waist deep in gravel a boulder leans by a tree. Its quartz-flecked torso rises from the ground like a kneeler at a pew. You buff its granite shoulders while munching an apple, somersaulting the pulp in your mouth. Beside you a lizard idles, shot still by the dirt grinding under your feet and the apple whose skin cracks when you bite. In the stillness you hold your breath, feel your heart knock on your ribs. A pinecone clatters down a trunk like a child’s rattle tripping down stairs. On the distant highway a truck horn whispers— so far you’d swear you can feel the sound wave as it loosens before you, so far that every rock between seems a tangent shambling the thin slice of sound—whispers to you and the lizard some small elided phrase. – 41 –


Every Paradox Isn’t a Love Poem I am a woman and, as you know, riddle this. * One nervous, garrulous bird on my balcony smells * the smoke and isn’t a bird, but a river or a valley. * Neither a beginning nor an end. * These moments (willow or windmill) can crush love. I promise.

– 42 –


My Face I thought I'd grow up to be a fish. Or a tree, or a piece of wind, like God. I thought I’d scrape against myself until my face became my face. I never thought I'd grow up to look like my mother, much as I craved her one pink dress, stuttered around in her high heeled shoes, tried to sing the songs she sang. Or like my father, with his shadow in his shadow, pockets, keys. I planted tulips upside down, thinking those flowers would bloom in hell, and that hell was deep inside the earth. I walked around when I was small and spit my name into my hands. I wanted everything to shine. But I was dark. And could not swim.

– 43 –


Big Bang Theory They say the sound of the Big Bang must have been more like a deep hum, an A note too low for a human ear to detect. I’m disappointed. I’ve always imagined it was more like God slamming a door. Maybe it was after a fight with his wife over the fact that she had copied him and made a world of her own. I imagine their estrangement as her world and his continue along parallel paths, but her beings cooperate ceaselessly with one other and the only conflict anyone ever has to deal with is sex – the pull of attraction and the resistance, bodies colliding joyously, perhaps in defiance of gravity. God can’t get over her nerve but since the Big Bang, when he slammed the door and then punched his fist into the wall to make Hell, he can’t get it up to make another explosion and now, well, why bother? He knows that someday we’re gonna do it for him.

– 44 –


Kindergarten Music our teacher played gentle, friendly songs on his beat up old acoustic Les Paul while the other kids strummed along on their air guitars, I grooved on air piano pretending I was Ray Charles in those Diet Pepsi commercials surrounded by a trio of supermodels up in the clouds not in this hall of urine, bloody noses confusion and vomit as I quietly sang the blues of my missing Pee Wee Herman trapper keeper that disappeared after show and tell Cowboy Curtis, Miss Yvonne and the King of Cartoons on a flat mural of explosive crayon pastels never to be seen again as I pound it out on the keys like an old boogie woogie killer waiting to drown my sorrows in Capri Sun and Elmer's glue that the adults screamed at us not to eat as I chewed and swallowed defiantly

– 45 –


Narcissistic Hoarder For years, I have saved my tears in a salt shaker. Unbeknownst to my girl I store my semen in jars for her, kept cold in the freezer or for my heirs to sell when I’m gone. I don’t have much time. My beard clippings filled the garage. The ecosystems of my spittoons appear to create new species. I’m not sure what value existence has produced. I’m simply preparing for the worst. Adjusting to the stench of what I leave behind.

– 46 –


cities between Anton and his son I. There is a shrine built in Chicago for Anton Lavey In Dunham Park behind the civic center, beneath the biggest tree in the western end of photographs there are rarely ever winks of blacked out catholic votive candles circling the trunk 99-cent religiosity equal acts of glory and convenience II. Growing up named Satan, it was important to be stronger than everyone else As irresponsible as Sue, he began to crave impairment As sweet as learning curse words, he learned the art of reciprocity. Coming of age usually hints some gradual change but for some the climb begins promptly, as time slips discernibly about seeking out instead of waiting to be found I. There is a shrine built in San Francisco for Howard Levey. At Julius Kahn to the side of Washington St past Veterans Blvd, in perpetually wet earth sits his creepy picture on a placard with the dates he carried on At times tea lites pepper dirt with their six hundred and seventy-one miles of bobbing paid dues, checkering the base of a New Zealand Christmas tree for the few who still admire and miss his fanaticism like an aptitude – 47 –


III. twenty one degrees are plenty to white-mask breath swells of steam like a refinery leave dampened circles on scarves or sweater-necks. Evening friends walk to bars and to other friends’ houses with bottles of garbage cabernet wrung from car trunks, warm and sweet to slop down their throats like medication pretexts for poor quality as they open another bottle preparing each one’s trek towards warm beds cold comes closer after heavy sleep the blend of purple light and weathered door jambs press morning’s tile into shards of glass I. There is no shrine built in Los Angeles The desert floor is not so acquainted with the craft of preservation. Endless settlers divided cut in half by filthy run off l.a. ditch water churned into acid piss ocean through and over inclined walls and trains with sprawling varied cordials, discreet rites performed by wanderers in the arena of an open sewage pipe, the auditorium of an unused freight door. But still, there’s no focus for the keepers of faith no adorned tree in a city park only impermanent sites of veneration waiting to be painted over – 48 –


dome lit cum soaked doorways quiet receptacles line the catwalk alleyway, straight to the bank building Here, the city is only an experience Worship here remains self-aware III. Summer stays longer every year In the middle of January, 80 on a winter evening we lie naked in bed watching late-night the city lit by a waxing, or waning moon It is only natural that we stew in dissipation cooked by the sun, insides puckered eggs and water. Still grateful in love with being here we filter our vision through sunglasses, burning incense like a radio station cycles the same Van Morrison since all they want to do is make us smile. II. Satan was the only son the only one with the nerve to manage something like a family name, but he too had to compromise since family always supersedes the make believe each for their share, he surrendered to his sisters. Satan, then, was only one third as spiritual as he would have pleased he was just a part time beneficiary

– 49 –


at baby’s pink palace she recycles tea bags and rifles cigarette butts from the art gallery ashtray next to her flat baby says the art crowd don’t have cooties she is made of strawberry milk and everything she eats is pink baby’s boy says goddamn woman tastes like a multiverse ruled by unicorns baby perches on a throne of combat boots on a pile of pizza boxes and beer cans baby’s queen of the garbage girls she and her boy two crust punks swapping spit on mountains of cultural detritus that avalanche under their love

– 50 –


Here’s the Problem A third of the way to the airport I realize I left my wedding ring at home. As long as it's not a statement Addie says. At breakfast in Terminal Three my coffee mug comes with lipstick from its previous user. Addie tells me about how they never clean glasses properly in hotel rooms. She doesn't want to go into detail before our food comes but the image is there. The waitress tell us they've run out of egg whites. I wonder how that's possible if they still have eggs. Have they lost the technology which allows them to be separated? That is a question only ass-holes would ask. It is too early in the trip to take that path so I keep it to myself. Ass-holes I think… And already this book is unsuitable for children.

– 51 –


It is so presumptuous to assume I'm writing a book. I'm going to have to earn my wedding ring back. It begins by not putting my lips on someone else's lipstick. The coffee is okay. The kitchen has figured out how to provide egg whites. My naked finger… I've got twelve nights to make this right.

– 52 –


Manslaughter To Casha Cheema May there be an after life. May you meet [her] there. -Charles Webb May your grass bathe in green and sprout from subsistent soil that Yuli pollenated with her ashes May you find a husband, not a transitory lover, that covers your bare arms with his balmy bones, covers your frigid neck with pillowed lips, gives you flowers stolen from the ground May he never ask about the blood on your sedan’s bumper washed off by the wind in your various escapes from the freeway or all the concrete tattooed by the black of your tires May you find financial security and never have it spill into stranger’s wallets to repaint their scratched doors, cracked rearview mirrors and spiraling wheels of demolished motorcycles May no one wish death on you for that last hit and run May the blood dried on the 405 hug you tighter than your perfect husband, but without the warmth of sympathy drying tears that will roll down your cheek and splatter onto your neck freezing the droplet in place every time you drive by May you shiver every time. – 53 –


A Place in the Music Once, in a dream that wasn’t a dream, I saw them walking away from me. Or not away, but just ahead. In a little shiver of silvery wind. They knew I was following, and kept on. Arms linked, walking side-by-side on a road between fields of waist-high grass. The wind tossing their hair and the hems of the flowered dresses the women wore. Some uncle or other, still a boy, running after the rest — was that joy? And what it said to me, this picture in my mind, was to not be afraid: that it's only a kind of magic, death, and the story is rich, the story goes on. I was behind them, watching them walk into the wind, when I heard the hum beginning inside me— a place in the music, high and sweet — as if they were singing or also heard the song I’d begun to hear, and were glad. And loved me still. The sky that silver, too. Although none of them turned around.

– 54 –


To See You Again I imagine you on a bar stool in a place called Rusty’s, no O’Toole’s, twisting a cherry stem between your teeth, chatting up the bartender about crab diving in Oregon or almost bleeding out in Bombay. He laughs at your joke about hotel towels, hands you a free Jack Rose. He sees you. I’m home fishing for a meat thermometer no one’s seen since 93’ baking quail in memoriam of old plans of dinner parties we were going to have when the world turned upside down and we grew up, you with a silk tie, me with a library card used for more than cutting lines, eating meals with the TV off. I dreamed of you jogging the other night, on a dark road, fogged and bogged, an owl on a Boogerman pine refused to unveil his eyes, a mangled scarf abandoned and run over a thousand times resisted the wind, or maybe a diaper, a boot, a shattered trundle, a Diaspora of cargo. You ran through it all, hooded in blue, you winked at me, that kind of wink that sets machines on fire, you grabbed the sky. I woke up sweating, legs aching; I looked for a watch, for time. I stayed awake reading Hemingway, counting corners, anything to kill the night.

– 55 –


I saw you yesterday. I was wearing the beaded sash you swore would bring me serenity. You were sitting on a curb tying shoelaces. You stayed there, planted on the pavement in front of a store that sold wind chimes. You laid your head back, stared into the sun, rocking to the unsynchronized sound of five hundred wind chimes stumbling around drunk on weather. I was close enough to see your bangs, close enough to undo whatever shape you aspired for with an aggressive palm. I almost felt the hairs slip between my fingers. I should have run over to you, convinced you, told you Dad’s been dead two years. You can come home. I pretended to shoot you with my index fingers, blew smoke off the tips, spun them around, holstered my thumbs in my pockets. I got you good then turned around.

– 56 –


Cartoon Balloons Who would you rather be, my son says, Tom or Jerry? Daughter: Jerry. Tom gets hurt more. Son: Tom is bigger. He’ll win in the end. Daughter: Not necessarily. Jerry is agile, can fit in a hole. Son: And smarter. Daughter: But he seems to take pleasure in foiling Tom. Son: It’s kill or be killed. Foucault: The power to punish is not essentially different from that of curing or educating. Daughter: Tom learns nothing. Son: Not true. He never tries to catch Jerry the same way twice. Daughter: Without success – and yet, he persists. Son: The human spirit -Mother: Time for breakfast. Daughter: I’m not hungry. Foucault: If repression has indeed been the fundamental link between power, knowledge, and sexuality since the classical age, it stands to reason that we will not be able to free ourselves from it except at a considerable cost. Son: Can I have a waffle? Daughter: Jerry wants to enjoy a hunk of cheese in peace. Chesterton: Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese. Son: The big dog likes Jerry. Daughter: But he’s dumb. And no one likes Tom. I feel sorry for Tom. Son: There’s a guy named Tommy on my soccer team. Daughter: Does Tom really want to eat Jerry? Or just punish him? Foucault: The soul is the prison of the body. Son: Punish him for what? What did he do? Daughter: Maybe he didn’t make his bed, brush his teeth. Son: They don’t have to do that. They’re not real. Daughter: You’re not real. Son: You’re not real. Mother: Time for breakfast. Michel, sit up straight.

– 57 –


Polish The window cleaner winks from his dangling scaffold—he knows that we both exist only to polish our peering-inside-others’-lives. His office complex reflects a bloc of red, blue boys converging on a white ball. Near the sidewalk beetles converge on farm-green manure. The maternal referee turns her back on the game, reaching to the street as if for a second opinion or deliverance. I cross the parking lot to offer her neither, just as a birthday clown, painted worried, hands me a weighted paper bag and hops aboard an accelerating trolley. When the paper crumbles to reveal a glossy Magnum, serial number filed down, I misstep the pavement, plummet. Jaundiced skies offer a shower to confuse the Roman fountains— where lies the line between authorized / immigrant pouring? they scream. Oh, but droplets bounce off one another in distinct striae, refusing above all to mix! The next tour bus arrives announcing local curios, discharges parents with shorts strung up to their chests to snap a scrapbook photo: my knees embedded in glaucous manure. – 58 –


Separation Anxiety When he returns home he leaves the abyss just outside the door -Zbigniew Herbert

Isn’t there a more efficient way to differentiate the snooze-heavy mouth of morning and the stiffness of a room when a fan has been freezing it all day outside pedestrians kick pigeons into the air their fluttering is like the abrogation of self that accompanies each morning’s dressing their fluttering like footsteps pattering up the wall fat bland eyes blink past the window cod fish with wings how nice they are to visit so early in the morning

– 59 –


Contributors Suzanne Allen Some Notes on Walking .......................................................... 35 Suzanne Allen is an interior designer turned writing teacher from Los Angeles, California, an actual native. A second printing of her debut chapbook, Verisimilitude, is now available at corruptpress.net. Her poems have been anthologized at home and abroad in Not a Muse, Strangers in Paris, The Heart of All That Is, and in Everyman’s Library: Villanelles; her journal publications include Tears in the Fence, Spillway, Nerve Cowboy, San Pedro River Review, Upstairs at Duroc, Spot Lit Mag, Pearl, California Quarterly and Cider Press Review, who has archived her poetry online, as have Carnival, Hobo Camp Review, and Crack the Spine. She co-edits The Bastille: The Literary Magazine of Spoken Word Paris and holds an MFA in Poetry from California State University in Long Beach, the city she currently calls home with her dog, Filou. Olivier Bochettaz Entre-deux................................................................................. 24 Au crépuscule ............................................................................ 31 Born in the French Alps, Olivier Bochettaz recently migrated to Long Beach in order to join the local community of poets. He has a B.A. and a M.A. in Literatures in English from Stendhal University, France, and was granted the EAP Scholarship in order to spend his last year of undergraduate studies at UC San Diego. He is currently part of the M.F.A. program in Poetry at CSU Long Beach. His poetry can be found in Hummingbird Magazine, Synesthesia Literary Journal, and Electric Windmill Press, and his critical works in DUMAS and The William Carlos Williams Review. Bonjour. Alan Britt Day in the Life ............................................................................ 27 Preferring to "lean and loafe at [his] ease," Alan Britt is troubled by the corruption and ambivalence that permeates the Great Experiment, so politically speaking he has started the Commonsense Party, which ironically to some sounds radical. He believes the US should stop invading other countries to relieve them of their natural resources including tin, copper, bananas, diamonds and oil, that it’s time to eliminate corporate entitlements and reduce military spending in order to properly educate its citizenry, thereby reducing crime and strengthening the populace in the manner that Jefferson envisioned. He is quite fond of animals both wild and domestic and supports prosecuting animal abusers. As a member of PETA, he is disgusted by factory farming and decorative fur. – 61 –


Rolon Byrd (as George Gordon N. Byron) The Violated Majesty of Kobe Bryant .................................. 18 George Gordon N. Byron is an English poet and leading figure in the Romantic movement. Among Byron’s best-known works are the lengthy narrative poems “Don Juan” and “Childe Harold's Pilgrimage” and the short lyric “She Walks in Beauty.” He is regarded as one of the greatest British poets and remains widely read and influential. (Rolon holds an MFA from the Villa Diodati in Geneva, Switzerland.) Marcus Clayton Filming the Understudy ............................................................. 7 Manslaughter .............................................................................. 53 Marcus grew up in South Gate, CA, and is currently working on an M.F.A. in Poetry from CSU Long Beach. He taught a section of Creative Writing at the same school in the Fall of 2014, currently coordinates poetry reading events in Long Beach, and tutors extensively at the Los Angeles Southwest College. Some of his published work can be seen in Tahoma Literary Review, San Gabriel Quarterly, RipRap Journal, Bird’s Thumb, and Canyon Voices Literary Magazine among others. David Diaz good morning armada ............................................................... 11 cities between Anton and his son ........................................... 47 David Diaz has been growing up in Los Angeles. He received his B.A. in Literature and Creative Writing at Long Beach State, and is now pursuing his M.F.A. there. He lives in L.A., and usually hangs out around downtown, or Long Beach, or here (wherever you are currently reading this). His work has been published by Bird's Thumb and Silver Birch Press, and his chap book, "Loogie Papers," was published by Tiny Splendor Press in 2012. Larry Duncan Martyr .......................................................................................... 25 Often and Again ......................................................................... 34 Larry Duncan lives in the smallest apartment in Long Beach where he writes, drinks and wakes at an ungodly hour everyday to go to work. His poetry has appeared in various online and print magazines including The Muddy River Poetry Review, Citizens for Decent Literature, Black Heart Magazine, The Mas Tequila Review and Dead Snakes. You can learn more about Larry and find links to his other poetry at his website http://larrydunc.wix.com/larry-duncan – 62 –


Shane Eaves Transit .......................................................................................... 13 Granite Apples............................................................................ 41 Separation Anxiety .................................................................... 59 Shane Eaves recently received his MFA in poetry from California State University Long Beach. He is a big fan of mustard, especially American mustard. He enjoys being outdoors, camping, and hiking, and has an affinity for staying up late. Rick Lupert Eighteen Impossible Things ................................................... 37 Here’s the Problem .................................................................... 51 Rick Lupert has been involved with L.A. poetry since 1990. He is the recipient of the 2014 Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center Distinguished Service Award and was a co-director of the Valley Contemporary Poets for 2 years. He created the Poetry Super Highway (http://poetrysuperhighway.com) and has hosted the weekly Cobalt Cafe reading since 1994. He’s authored 16 collections of poetry, including “The Gettysburg Undress” (Rothco Press, September 2014) and “Nothing in New England is New,” and edited the anthologies “Ekphrastia Gone Wild”, “A Poet’s Haggadah” and the Noir anthology “The Night Goes on All Night.” He also writes and draws (with Brendan Constantine) the daily web comic “Cat and Banana.” He is regularly featured at venues throughout Southern California. Tamara Madison Big Bang Theory........................................................................ 44 Tamara Madison is the author of the collection “Wild Domestic” (Pearl Editions; July, 2011) and the chapbook “The Belly Remembers” (Pearl Editions, 2004). Her work has appeared in numerous small press journals and anthologies. Two of her poems have also been featured on Garrison Keillor’s Writers Almanac. Tamara is a California native who grew up on a citrus farm in the Coachella Valley. She teaches French and English in a high school in Los Angeles. Zach “Mann” Mankofsky (as Rolon Byrd) Zach spent all 24 hours of his 21st birthday on a train between Archangel and Murmansk, Russia. He holds a BA in English from UC Berkeley and an MFA in Creative Writing, Fiction, from CSU Long Beach. He currently lives in Los Angeles.

– 63 –


Michael Miller The Chicago Window Washer…............................................. 9 Precision ....................................................................................... 28 Michael Miller is the co-founder of Moon Tide Press and the author of College Town (Tebot Bach, 2010) and The First Thing Mastered (Tebot Bach, 2013). He was the 2014 visiting poet at Fullerton College and has served as a judge for Poetry Out Loud, the San Diego Book Awards and the OC RYSE high school poetry competition. Jax NTP ante meridiem xxvii ..................................................................... 6 Jax NTP holds an MFA in Creative Writing - Poetry from CSU Long Beach and currently teaches composition at Golden West College. Jax was the former editor-in-chief of RipRap Literary Journal and associate editor of The Fat City Review. Jax has an affinity for jellyfish and polaris and a fetish for miniature succulent terrariums. http://jaxntppoet.tumblr.com René Prade (translated/adapted by Olivier Bochettaz) Les mots sont les flèches de l’archer… ................................... 4 “I’m René Prade from Marseille. I speak about interbreeding ‘cause my father is from the south and my mother is from the north. Marseille, dear American friends, is the city where the French Connection is born. I am mixed with Italian and African blood and I will bring heroin into your country. My poetry is chemistry.” Mae Ramirez the girls’ bedroom speaks ........................................................... 3 spring linens like ragged swans ............................................. 23 L.A.’s catastrophic dreams ....................................................... 29 Mae Ramirez is a poet from Montebello, CA who spent much of her adolescence playing bass guitar in the backyards of East L.A.'s early 2000s punk/ska scene. She now holds an MFA in Creative Writing from California State University, Long Beach. She has led numerous Spoken Word and Zine-making workshops at high schools and colleges across Southern California. Currently, she resides in Berkeley, CA.

– 64 –


Kevin Ridgeway Mistaken Casanova .................................................................... 36 Kindergarten Music .................................................................. 45 Kevin Ridgeway is from the suburban sprawl that surrounds the Los Angeles area, where he currently resides with his girlfriend and their one-eyed cat. Recent work can be found or is forthcoming in Re)verb, The Mas Tequila Review, Bank-Heavy Press and Trailer Park Quarterly. His latest chapbook/pocketbook of poems, All the Rage, is now available from Electric Windmill Press. Gideon Rock What to Do with My Remains ............................................... 12 Narcissistic Hoarder.................................................................. 46 Gideon Rock is a surfer from Fullerton, CA. He received his bachelors in creative writing and literature from California State University, Long Beach in 2010. He enjoys reading fiction and poetry, watching movies, surfing such waves as Pipeline, and hopes to add Mavericks to the death defying list in the near future. His motto is, "I always come up, and if I don't, I won't know the difference." Patty Seyburn Tom and Jerry Lie in a Box..................................................... 15 1.16699016 x 10-8 hertz: Betrayer Moon ............................ 32 Cartoon Balloons........................................................................ 57 Patty Seyburn has published four books of poems: Perfecta (What Books Press, 2014), Hilarity (New Issues Press, 2009), Mechanical Cluster (Ohio State University Press, 2002) and Diasporadic (Helicon Nine Editions, 1998). She is an Associate Professor at California State University, Long Beach and co-editor of POOL: A Journal of Poetry (www.poolpoetry.com). Currently, her favorite words are “cruller” and “compote.” Olivia Somes A Manifesto ................................................................................. 40 To See You Again ...................................................................... 55 Olivia Somes is a recent graduate of California State University, Long Beach where she earned a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing and an MFA in poetry. She was president of HipPoetics and a section editor for RipRap at CSULB. You can find her poetry in Verdad, Carnival, Crack the Spine, Cadence Collective, and Bankheavy Press. Her first chapbook, Life After Purgatory, was released in the Fall of 2012 (Bankheavy Press). – 65 –


Lynne Thompson Plunge ........................................................................................... 26 Every Paradox Isn’t a Love Poem ......................................... 42 Lynne Thompson’s first collection, Beg No Pardon, won the Perugia Press Book Award. Start With A Small Guitar, her second collection, was published by What Books Press in 2013. New poems are forthcoming in the African American Review and Prairie Schooner. Thompson is the Reviews & Essays Editor for Spillway, a literary journal published in Orange County. AJ Urquidi The Profiler’s Journal ............................................................... 19 Polish ............................................................................................ 58 AJ Urquidi hails from Monterey, California. He received his B.A. in Creative Writing and Film from UCLA, then studied guerrilla poetry for two years in the NYC streets. AJ's poems have appeared in Carnival, Lummox, Marco Polo, West Trade Review, and Great American Literary Magazine, to name a few. His first collection of conceptual writing is The Patterned Fragment (LUMA Foundation, 2014). He is currently earning his M.F.A. from CSU Long Beach, where he tutors and teaches introductory creative writing. Janea Wilson the preserves ................................................................................. 1 at baby’s pink palace .................................................................. 50 Janea Wilson is the founder & editor-in-chief for lipstickparty magazine, an online general interest mag with a strong focus on creative writing. Her myriad passions include Flannery O'Connor, Diet Coke, feminism, and finding the perfect falafel. Cecilia Woloch My Face ........................................................................................ 43 A Place in the Music.................................................................. 54 Cecilia Woloch is the author of six collections of poems, most recently Carpathia (BOA Editions 2009) and Tzigane, le poème Gitan (Scribe-l’Harmattan 2014), the French translation of her second book, Tsigan: The Gypsy Poem. A novella, Sur la Route, is forthcoming in 2015, as well as a chapbook of new poems, Earth. The founding director of Summer Poetry in Idyllwild and The Paris Poetry Workshop, she teaches independently throughout the U.S. and around the world. – 66 –


Profile for American Mustard Magazine

American Mustard Second Volume  

A new 2015 anthology of mustard poetry assembled by a poet collective in Long Beach, California.

American Mustard Second Volume  

A new 2015 anthology of mustard poetry assembled by a poet collective in Long Beach, California.

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