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
by Dale, Your Founding Editor
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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.
Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal
a crowd, my
eyes fill with
find what I
for in this
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"
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.
barbed wire can’t hurt them.
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.
a lucid thought rides
on the wings of delirium.
time slo w s t o a t r i c k l e.
someone else’s head throbs in mine.
i am alone,
nightmares for solace.
i briefly emerge
like a hangover
between two brawls.
i wait for the screams.
frugality is a word
the neighbour has learnt well,
it has even seeped into her vocabulary
but how else do the elderly get by?
Write us a beautiful covering letter,
But how do I tell you how I write,
that abandonment is always easier than completion,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
she forgets to take my pulse
and I forget to tell her
I really drew
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,
and got the spirits flowing.
'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,
An over-humid post-Labor
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
How I am actively putting off love
Putting love away
Treating love like retirement
That I cannot foresee
Val Dering Rojas
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
Lavender and orange are doing their sly winking; slick needles
slamming into neon. Put away the cotton,
bouquets of embroidery, sew your dried-blackcolors
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
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.
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
to my room
only the walls
that hold me
and I will call my room
the white room
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.