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Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal, Mark Danowsky,
Howie Good, Shobhana Kumar, Jeffrey Park,
Alan Perry, Cynthia Pitman, Val Dering Rojas,
Brad Rose, Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri, Alifair Skebe, Ray Templeton, Sylvie Tittel

 

The Note

by Dale, Your Founding Editor

Some of you have likely been around long enough to recall the days when computers required us to choose between the Courier font and Times New Roman. Of course, now the choices are staggeringly broad.

 

Avenir Light is a clean and stylish font favored by designers. It’s easy on the eyes and a great go-to font for titles, depositions, barnraisings, Ethel, paragraphs & more.

 

Signika is a delicate font and takes inspiration from visiting people in nursing homes. Use it to emphasize small sections of text in paragraphs. Print notes to your local butcher in this font. Tell him that you have loved him from afar and always will. This font is legal for use only in Georgia.

 

Josefin Slab is a chronically anxious font with trouble sleeping.  She got married at 17 in 1998, not decades ago when such a thing was more common. Her husband died 8 months after they were married when a cable snapped on the construction site where he worked, lashed out like a bullwhip, and struck him in the throat. 

 

Futura Light is a much-loved font inspired by elements of Bauhaus design. Ideal for headlines, banners, logos & more, it will make your words lose their temper and demand a meeting with Human Resources down at the local Verizon store, where you have to work with an abusive boss. You're not going to take his crap anymore. 

 

Bree is a spirited and standout font that takes its inspiration from suffering, French cuisine, and Robert Bly. It’s sure to grab your reader’s attention, especially those on parole.

 

Libre Baskerville is a classic font with a modern twist. It’s easy to read on screens of every shape and size, and perfect for long blocks of text. Libre Bakerville is awaiting results from medical tests. Both parents and three of four grandparents died in their 60s from cancer. Libre was told the test results would be ready on Friday. No one called. This font called the office the morning and was told the doctor had the results and needed to talk to him on the phone. He didn't call. He didn't call. He didn't call. At 4:55, Libre called the office and was told the doctor was gone for the weekend and would call him on Monday. Libre stayed in bed all weekend. His wife of 28 years stayed in bed with him for most of it, rubbing his chest in soothing circular motions with her hand.

 

Enriqueta is the font that is standard for Right Hand Pointing.  On behalf of our fantastic team of editors and myself, we thank all the contributors to issue 127. And, as always, thank you so much for reading.

 

Dale

 

 

 

Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

Crowded

Combing through 
faces in 
a crowd, my
eyes fill with 
tears because 
I cannot 
find what I 
am searching 
for in this
crowded world.

 

Brad Rose

Ghost Writing Love Letters

The ghosts write letters. 
One is addressed to me.
They like to use the word-of-the-day.
Today’s word-of-the-day is "Cadillac" 
or "romance."
Maybe both.
Ghosts are always naked, always falling in love.
Of course, they’re good looking, they’ve been places.
Boneless as a bowl of Jell-O 
they’re on the lookout for that special someone.
When they climb into bed with the living, 
the bed shimmies and ripples, swells and surges.
Don’t worry,
barbed wire can’t hurt them.

 

 

 

Alifair Skebe​

Love Poem # 2

The tea, he said. I might

have cried. I want to write

you a love poem. Harsh

words spilled on the page.

 

Shobhana Kumar 

Morphine Diary

10 a.m.
a lucid 
thought rides  
on the wings of delirium. 

 

10.02 a.m.
time s
lo w s t o a t r i c k l e

 

10.02 a.m. 
someone else’s head throbs in mine.

 

10.03 a.m. 
i am alone, 
nightmares for solace. 

 

10.04 a.m. 
i briefly emerge 
like a hangover 
between two brawls. 

 

i wait for the screams. 

 

 

Shobhana Kumar 

Ration

frugality is a word 
the neighbour has learnt well, 
it has even seeped into her vocabulary
haikuesque

but how else do the elderly get by? 
 

 

 

 

 

Shobhana Kumar 

 

Post box

Write us a beautiful covering letter, 
you say. 
But how do I tell you how I write, 
that abandonment is always easier than completion, 
or contemplation, 
that the most beautiful sounds in the head 
turn into meaningless rhyme on screen,  
and 
that favourite themes have been slow cooking 
for decades now.

 

How do I convince you to try them 
except say, “please consider.” 
You won’t need to return them, 
these homing pigeons.

 

 

 

 

Howie Good

Strangers and Angels

I would be nervous 
about putting my faith

 

in the robot bees. 
People say we’re living

 

in a golden age,
but giant telescopes 

 

search for Planet Nine 
and find only a rainy place 

 

with lots of crows 
and very high ceilings. 

 

If I could, I wouldn’t be here.
It has nothing 

 

to do with religion.
It’s simply physics. 

 

Sometimes I have to grab 
onto a stranger

 

just to keep myself 
from falling down.

 

Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri

Carpe Diem

I love Mama, but she weeps too much, soft little cries, or deep, intense ones that sound like she’s coughing. She’s a Romantic, she says. She always wears lavender, smells like perfume and weeps when she listens to Tchaikovsky, when I get good grades. She weeps watching the sunset, and she weeps because she’s proud of me, even though I’m twelve and too old for that. I feel so overwhelmed by the weeping, as if I’m in this boat and it’s being sunk by an ocean of tears, and I can’t do anything else but drown in them. I try to tell her that, tell her the weeping makes me feel odd, but she says I need to get in touch with my inner emotions. I’m too cynical, she says.

 

But her life seems so boring, a woman who writes stories, who weeps, who likes drinking White Russians. It doesn’t seem like she does anything, anything exciting, even though she says writing and me are her life. She hovers around me, this lavender mother, because she says she wants to be in “your life.” I guess Grandma took off on her, so she says, with an Episcopal priest, and she wanted me to have a mother. And I love her for it, but I need to be normal. The house feels kind of like being in a prison sometimes, but a prison where you’re loved.

 

I start doing things, stupid things, things that my friends do, friends whose parents don’t give a care about them. I seize the day, as my Latin teacher always says. Carpe diem. I ride my bike down the steepest hill and leap off as it strikes a curb. I go on the roof, looking down at the danger, at the possibility of things painful below. I step right out on the ledge, on the precipice of danger. I even walk on the railroad tracks, play chicken with a train, narrowly survive. That one is the most exhilarating, dodging in front of the train by a mere inch, feeling the pressure of the mighty engine roaring by, as if it’s going to crush me, or even suck me into its huge mechanical heart. I’m scared, but laughing and alive.

 

This Mama she doesn’t weep, though. She just looks sad, disappointed, tells me how worried she is, and I feel a little bad, but all the pain, all the adventure still lingers in my mind. It’s something full of energy and life, something I can’t and won’t share with her. Something my own. Something she can’t imagine, even though I wish she could.

 

Jeffrey Park

Untitled

Last stop on the tour:

the champion dart-thrower’s home.

 

Each room has its own distinctive

musical tone, caused by

 

air whistling through

the tiny holes in the walls.

 

Alan Perry

Physical Time

The nurse weighs me,
says I’m in good shape
for a senior citizen.
The mental test:
she tells me to draw
hands on the paper clock
at 11:10.
Poor dear—
she forgets to take my pulse
and I forget to tell her
I really drew
1:55.

Ray Templeton

 

Lili

That was the shibboleth,
but who'd have thought it?
They'd told me all about 
the land mines in the marram grass,
deep barbs in the sand dunes,
but what I'd never dreamed
was the word that opened doors,
loosened tongues
and got the spirits flowing.

 

Ray Templeton

On Track

'It's going to be fine,' I said, as
reaching out to touch wood
my fingers found only plastic
but touched anyway,
thinking, 'Plastic's OK,
plastic's OK.'

Mark Danowsky

 

Refusing Wanderlust

An over-humid post-Labor 
Day night 
I walk my still-dying dog 
And consider if I should go out
And continue to hustle
Life under Trump’s gig economy
I am profoundly alone
Walking and ruminating
About debts 
How I am actively putting off love
Putting love away
Treating love like retirement
That I cannot foresee

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Sylvie Tittel

 

Val Dering Rojas

 

Fog

They say if you want to be immortal, then tell your own future: 
any road in Los Angeles will ultimately take you underwater.
If the sea is marbled white, I am a gorgeous cut of meat.
If I can be the storm, then I am not drowning.
They say the wailing of a bell’s decibel, like whale song, 
disappears in one place, and
reappears in another.

Val Dering Rojas

 

Coyote Tactics

Lavender and orange are doing their sly winking; slick needles 
slamming into neon. Put away the cotton, 
bouquets of embroidery, sew your dried-black
colors 
into a sachet, walk away, rosehips swinging. 

 

Let’s get back to our regular jealousies; blue sky giving the side-eye 
to sunset. Except for the lambs, let’s all be coyotes again. 
Because, all of us, we’re the same beast, our eyes darkened signs 
blinking on again.

Val Dering Rojas

 

Horoscope

If fortune is gravel tossed in the air, then fate is hummingbird, butterfly. The more we try to soften the sound of sky, the harder we brush against it. Does the universe think you’re the apple of my eye, meaning that the universe hungers, so the universe eats? If the truth lies in the stars, then the stars know how to fondle the truth. The stars are stones skipping across the dark.

Cynthia Pitman

 

The White Room

I will make me a room
and I will call my room
the white room


and I will mark the boundaries
at arm’s length all around
and I will chisel the walls 
from the air that I breathe


and there will be no windows
or doors
to my room


only the walls 
that hold me
airless


broken


and I will call my room 
the white room

 

Contributors

 

Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal works in the mental health field in Los Angeles, CA. He lives in Southern California. His first poetry book, Raw Materials, was published by Pygmy Forest Press. His latest chapbooks and books have been published by Kendra Steiner Editions, Polish Beat Press, Poet's Democracy, and Alternating Current Press.

 

Mark Danowsky is a writer from Philadelphia and author of the forthcoming poetry chapbook As Falls Trees (NightBallet Press, 2018). His poems have appeared in About Place, Cordite, Gargoyle, The Healing Muse, Subprimal, Third Wednesday, and elsewhere. He is Managing Editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal and Co-Founder of Wood & Water Press.

 

Howie Good is the author of I'm Not a Robot, available from Tolsun Books and on the White Knuckle Press website.

 

Photo by Sylvie Tittel

 

Shobhana Kumar's work has appeared as two poetry collections: The Voices Never Stop and *Conditions Apply, and in anthologies and journals. She has been published by Right Hand Pointing (Pushcart nomination, 2015) and recently, Coldnoon and Cafe Dissensus. She is deeply influenced by haiku /haibun.

 

Jeffrey Park lives in Ebergötzen, Germany, population 1,800 and home of the European Bread Museum (really). He teaches English to aspiring scientists at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen and occasionally writes poetry.

 

Alan Perry is a Minnesota native whose poetry has appeared in Heron Tree, Sleet Magazine, Gyroscope Review, Riddled with Arrows, and elsewhere. He is a poetry editor for Typehouse Literary Magazine, and splits his time between a suburb of Minneapolis, MN and Tucson, AZ.

 

Cynthia Pitman is a retired English teacher from Orlando. She initiated the school’s writing program, and she created and taught its first poetry and writing classes. She also created a club called Brown Bag Poetry. They listened to one another's poetry while sharing lunches from their "brown bags."

 

Val Dering Rojas has also studied Addiction and Recovery Counseling and Psychology. She is the author of the chapbooks TEN (Dancing Girl Press, 2014) and Waspfish (Glass Lyre Press, 2016) When not writing, Val is obsessing over her Dutch vs. German language apps, though Spanish really should be her concentration.

 

Brad Rose was born and raised in Los Angeles and lives in Boston. He is the author of a collection of poetry and flash fiction, Pink X-Ray (Big Table Publishing, 2015) Two new books of poems, Momentary Turbulence and WordinEdgeWise, are coming from Cervena Barva Press.

 

Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State's MFA program in fiction. His short-stories have been published in various literary journals such as Monkeybicycle and Crack the Spine.

 

Alifair Skebe is a visual artist and author of four books of poetry, the most recent of which is Thin Matter (Foothills Publishing, 2017). Her work has recently appeared in eratio, The Ekphrastic Review, and Poetry Bay.

 

Ray Templeton's mother always denied that he was named after his father's favourite writer, but he has always suspected that he came this close to being a Dashiell. Some of his songs are available here.

 

Sylvie Tittel is a 21-year-old graphic designer from Germany. Apart from pizza and kittens, she loves typography, minimal design and our planet. Which is why her work as a designer and photographer primarily surrounds the topic of sustainability, minimalism. and feminism. Her Instagram is here.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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