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sparkle + blink


Pirate Lightning

Quiet Lightning is:
a monthly submission-based reading series with 2 stipulations:
1. you have to commit to the date to submit 2. you only get up to 8 minutes

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sparkle + blink 36
© 2013 Quiet Lightning ISBN 978-1-300-65939-6 This show curated by Chris Cole and Evan Karp artwork © Simon Cox book design by j. brandon loberg set in Absara Promotional rights only. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission from individual authors. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the internet or any other means without the permission of the author(s) is illegal. Your support is crucial and appreciated.
su bmit @ qui e tli g h tn i n g . o r g

curated by Chris

Cole & Evan Karp Cox

featured artist Simon

set 1
Claire MoreMan alexa Thea Suarez ava BurliSon alThea Kriney iSoBel oBreChT CaliSTa niCholSon Quinn Muller ian Child luCia Garay olivia hoffMan

My Dream A Brief Sonata for Beginners Daisy the Space Chicken Poems Look Different Paper Tigers Piano Dear NYC Midnight Waiting In the Belly of the Beast In Between (XXII)

1 3 7 11 13 15 17 21 23 25

set 2
Chloe KiM luCie Pereira aaroShi SahGal zara TaSTari Gillian BuCKner Jude driSColl dylan aMelia GiBSon huCK Shelf Kai SMiTh SoPhie eMiKo aviGayil BrozinSKy henry Gerharz JaCQueline QuaCh

A Peaceful Place Poem Buoyancy The Mermaid One Morning How to Be A Circuit Memory from A Friendship Lost in Time The Spider Strawberries The Shelter This Is How It Ends To the Sky and the New Lives

31 33 35 37 39 41 43 45 47 49 51 53


t uie


tning is sponsor



Quiet Lightning
A 501(c)3, the primary objective and purpose of Quiet Lightning is to foster a community based on literary expression and to provide an arena for said expression. QL produces a monthly, submission-based reading series on the first Monday of every month, of which these books (sparkle + blink) are verbatim transcripts. Formed as a nonprofit in July 2011, the board of QL is currently: Evan Karp founder + president Chris Cole managing director Josey Lee public relations Charles Kruger secretary Meghan Thornton treasurer Kristen Kramer chair Jacqueline Norheim Nicole McFeely Brandon Loberg art director outreach design

Sarah Maria Griffin and Ceri Bevan directors of special operations If you live in the Bay Area and are interested in helping—on any level—please send us a line:


tour through town
In 2013, Quiet Lightning is teaming up with a different literary organization each month in order to bring together the many outstanding series and organizations of the Bay Area literary world, and to introduce its various audience members to programming they might like but not yet know about. For these reasons, we will create custom-designed shows that combine the defining features of Quiet Lightning with those of each month’s partner organization, beginning with this month’s collaboration with 826 Valencia. For this show, we only accepted submissions from 6-18 year-olds.
For details on the Tour T h r ou gh T own visit our website:


- set one -





My DreaM
So here is my dream. One thing you have to know about me to understand the story is that I am on the student council. Okay, so all I can remember is that I was going to a student council meeting but everyone else who was a student council member (including the teacher) was not there. So I told all my friends they could go to the meeting with me. And for some crazy reason they all brought board games and candy. So they were all playing and I was trying to make them stop so we could talk about business, but they would not listen to me so I finally said, “you guys have to listen to me or I can kick all you guys out.” Then one said, “you can’t do that you are not in charge.” So then I tried to explain to her that I could do that since I was the only real student council

person there. But, they didn’t listen to me, and I was frustrated. And whenever a person came in and asked “Are all you guys in the student council?” I made sure I told them that only I was a real student council person and not the other girls.

watch claire moreman read "My Dream"





a Brief sonata f o r Beginne rs
i. Lesson

Understand this, you will need the patience of a poor man, and the drive of a mad one.

ii. interMission We have been practicing scales and loose rhythms and legato redemptions, as if tomorrow were Sunday. Even still, rehearsed tunes ripple deadbeat heads, dressed by accents foreign, but for a bashed down beat, we’ll lounge, hidden, beneath a defeated encore.


iii. iMProMPtu & on days when sisters ran away together and brothers learned to stand apart, my mother still fed me with cold cut sandwiches, chased down by heated words, & my books have taught me the dissonance of sincerity and not much more. I have been told that when Eve tasted knowledge, searching for intimacies known only between Greek gods, she found a weeping, naked minor chord, stripped of roots. and if patrons furrow a brow, I play yet uninterrupted, martyrs, I have been told, die well.


iV. finaLe When you are sure the song has finished bow with practiced grace. Kiss your instrument first, your Father second. Find a languid sidewalk home, content knowing you have made a clean ending.

watch alexa thea suarez read "A Brief Sonata for Beginners"

A le xA T h e A SuA re z




t h e s Pa C e C h i C k e n
Alone in my room, I sat listening. The sound was Durga, our wise porch chicken, laying tomorrow’s breakfast. She seemed lonely, for the other chickens had long gone due to a brutal massacre of feathers and fur. She was golden and fluffy, the feathers around her feet were stained with droppings. Earlier in the week, I had proposed the idea of getting new feathered friends and my mom had reluctantly accepted—but only after we had made the chicken coop more, well, raccoon proof. After a dirty and long weekend of laboring, we arrived at Western Farms, a local animal feed and care center. I made my way through the maze of cars to the chicken area. My eyes wandered and then landed on two black hens and I lingered there. I gestured toward them but my mother and sister shook their heads in disagreement. The hens shimmered with green and gold. The smaller of the two had an afro. “But Mama,” I said. “This one’s a Space Chicken!” “Let’s look around,” she replied.

D ais y

But stubbornly, I stood. I had made up my mind, not willing to “just look around.” Then they took a liking to a speckled hen and two red ones with oddly long necks. “Mama, please,” I begged. “Oh fine. Why not?” she said, rolling her eyes in disapproval. “Thank you! Thank you!” I squealed. At the end of the trip, we left with the red ones, who, later on, we named Espresso and Velociraptor. The speckled one’s new name was Sprocket and last, but surely not least, the Space Chicken and her sister. My older sister named one of them Morticia and I gave Morticia’s sister the name Daisy, after her afro, which reminded me of flower petals. Day after day, I spent hours at a time in the coop with my new best friends. My neighbor took a liking to chickens, too, and we even began planning play dates for Daisy and my neighbor’s hen, Honey, who, believe it or not, was golden and almost honey-colored. One day, when it was rainy and extremely cold, I took Daisy inside for popcorn and movies. We snuggled up under several layers of blankets on the floor. We got through almost the entire show before I felt something warm trickle down my chest before

finding a spot on my thigh. She couldn’t hold it in any longer and had released her poop on me. Over the next few months I spent most of my time with Daisy. I gave her a collar, which was really an old bracelet of my mom’s. I had even attempted to put a diaper and pink tank top with green lace trim on her, which soon failed. Then I had a chance to show off my companion to my classmates in Kindergarten. I was Student of the Day, therefore I could bring in a possession of mine to school. All of the other girls in my class brought their Barbies or porcelain dolls. But me, I brought my Space Chicken. When I arrived at school, my teacher mistook the large blue crate for a cat carrier. I corrected her, explaining that I had brought Daisy the Space Chicken. My teacher looked at my mom with eyebrows raised. My mom shook her head and replied, “you’ll see.” I approached the front of the class, laid a towel on the ground and released her. She poked her head out curiously and trotted out and perched on my foot. All of the confused eyes staring at me were now filled with happiness and the somewhat silent classroom was filled with giggles and laughter. I began to run in circles, followed closely by Daisy. That day was the first day she laid an egg. It was pure white and unfortunately was stepped on. That night
AvA Bu rli Son


I also attempted to have a sleepover with her, which did not turn out as planned. I also—unable to read— told her stories. She would follow me everywhere and I loved her dearly. Time passed and my birthday arrived. My mom sent me to the chicken coop to gather eggs for my birthday cake and I did, looking forward to telling Daisy my new age: six. But when I arrived at the coop and found Daisy, she had passed away. Tears drowned my eyes and blurred my vision. I started screaming and wailing and crying. My mom heard the noise and came out to me. She kneeled down and I rested my head on her shoulder. “Mama,” I cried, “where is she now?” “She’s in space, honey,” she replied. Now Daisy truly was a Space Chicken.

watch ava burlison read "Daisy the Space Chicken"


P o eMs



Lo ok Diff er e n t

Poems look different from words. Poems blink like car lights at night. Songs look different from poems. Songs burble like a fairy stream. Stories look different from songs. Stories shimmer like a wedding dress. Poems feel different from words. Poems are lace bought at a second hand store. Songs feel different from poems. Songs are velvet rubbed the wrong way. Stories feel different from songs. Stories are silk, old, torn, but still beautiful. Poems taste different from words. Poems are hot caramel melting in your mouth. Songs taste different from poems. Songs are lemon puckering your lips. Stories taste different from songs. Stories are green tea chocolate putting shivers on your tongue.

Poems smell different from words. Poems smell like gingerbread on a snowy day. Songs smell different from poems. Songs smell like chlorine after being in a pool alone. Stories smell different from songs. Stories smell like violets in the dead of night Poems sound different from words. Poems sound like whispers of untold secrets. Songs sound different from poems. Songs sound like large bells ringing from a castle. Stories sound different from songs. Stories sound like the snapping of a fire, as you throw more logs on it.

watch althea kriney read "poems look different"




PaPer tigers
You sit in your living room, sinking into the soft feathery cushions. The clock on the wall ticks along with the monotony. Seconds stretch into hours as you drift into reverie. You step outside, feeling the cool breeze on your cheek. Outside is bright and hurts your eyes. You walk slowly, your backyard falling away in pieces. Blackness surrounds in a sky with no stars. You realize that you are moving, a swirling black ocean beneath. Ahead a bridge of light glimmers impossibly, a city of spires on its back. From the dark stone slab on which you now stand, you can hear the ghost of tinkling bells. Your feet are bare and the stone burns them like ice. You are lured away by paper aeroplanes. Millions of them, all white, flying in the same direction. You step onto one as it passes and you feel the thrill of the wind in your hair. The aeroplanes take you through a long tunnel and out into a world of gray tents. The booths are manned by teddy bears with ripped seems and missing eyes, while the old and stained rag dolls sell cotton candy to toy soldiers. You maneuver your plane over to one of the tents and peek inside finding the inside of the tent much smaller than the outside. Tiny wooden people operate a miniature circus. You explore this world for what feels like hours, seeing elephants

the size of mice, roller coasters with no track, and a pack of wolves telling campfire stories. At the end of it all you wave goodbye to an unresponsive tiger and toss your aeroplane into the trash.

watch isobel obrecht read "Paper Tigers"






Piano, it is a beat a part of my soul. It is a melody swaying with the beat of the ocean. It is as steady as a clock. The notes can be as jumpy as a kangaroo. It can be as fast as a mustang. It can be as slow as a turtle. It can be anything. People start playing it and they want to play more. Then they want to learn more. After they want to learn more there is no more to learn. It is like candy you want more but there is no more to eat.

watch calista nicholson read "Piano"




D ear

ny C

We took a train from California to NYC, A cross-country trip from sea to shining sea. We spent two nights in the sleeper car, From the Sierra’s to the plains we went so far. After stopping in Chicago we get back on our train, Down the Hudson River valley, what a beautiful terrain. A night of roughing it in coach, but we manage to survive, Into Penn Station, our train arrived. All those feet rumbling through the downtown street, And the businessmen are sweating in the summer time heat. Cigarettes and candy wrappers thrown upon the ground, All the noise in the street a cacophony of sound. Rushing trough the tunnels in the underground stations, Going through mazes of major complications. We get to the track where we hop on train five; It seems to take forever but we finally arrive.


Now I’m down in Times Square, dodging all the Elmos. Crowds of people, taxicabs, buskers at my elbows. Now I’m smelling gyros, hot dogs and a slice. I notice most New Yorkers are actually quite nice. A night at the museum sleeping under the whale. Exploring in the dark is every kid’s Holy Grail. A midnight search through the Hall of Dino Bones. In the hall of rocks and minerals, we rub gemstones. We see hydroxides like bauxite, diaspore, and limonite, Crystal quartz and amethyst, agate and a meteorite. Now some native elements like platinum and gold, Copper, silver, sulfur, graphite, iron, diamond… mold. It’s Autumn in New York, all the trees burnt red, A Macy’s Day Parade and a Thanksgiving spread. Exploring Central Park, I’m crunching through the leaves, Running up rocks, and climbing through trees. Every corner of the city has history, It was the first capital of our country. Our revolution ‘gainst England happened here, I’m gonna tell you some stories that I think you’ll like to hear. Now England took over what became the U.S., They didn’t treat us equally and it became a big mess.

We declared independence for our glory, We went to war with Great Britain – well that’s another story… Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison, NYC’s got Alexander Hamilton. He made the banks, he made the money. He said to Aaron Burr you look kind of funny. Aaron challenged Hamilton to a duel. Hamilton agreed so he wouldn’t look a fool. The shots rang out, we lost Hamilton, But Burr’s on the run and Hami’s on the ten. Manhattan’s home to models, The Trump and The Knicks. Them Bronx got the Yankees and Queens a cult’ral mix. Staten’s got the ferry, don’t you call it the sticks, But my borough’s got my style and a whole lot of bricks. Yeah, I… sleep… in Brooklyn! Manhattan’s got the Biggies, and Brooklyn’s got the smalls. Tallest building in Manhattan 102 floors tall. Jump out the window, that’s a mighty big fall; Brooklyn’s tallest building 51, that’s all! Fall slips away, and winter soon is here. All the shops are lit up, and there’s a holiday cheer.
Qu i n Mu lle r


Our time has slipped away and it’s going by fast. So we’re gonna try to do a lot and save the best for last. Bryant Park with the ice and the skates. Take an elevator all the way up the Empire State. FAO, carriage rides and a musical on Broadway. I got choked up riding my very last subway. New York City, you’ve captured my heart. I’m sad to say that it’s time to part. I’m heading back to San Francisco, It won’t take long to get back in the flow. But I’ll miss you dearly and I’ll be back. So it’s in your honor I made this rap.

watch quinn muller perform "Dear NYC"



MiDnight waiting
Out somewhere beyond the stars Where scars are gone, and sleep I find, I fly above the sound of cars, And city lights I leave behind; And journey through the velvet black Where track the bright and unknown suns; Where light again comes ever back, And midnight water ever runs Beneath this furthest dusk I lie, And rise to walk with starlight kind, Where husk of night-bloom opens, shy Of day I left so far behind. A quiet wind comes sighing here, And stirs the face of waters deep Where stars within the shadow-mere Likened rest and softly sleep. Here on silent feet you wend To mend your troubles: take reprieve From midnight meadows without end; From touch of water; star-bright eve. And here we dance: entranced we stay, To sway to song of wind and bliss Till creeping dawn calls us away.

Return I far from distant world Of dream, to dawn and waking rise. I lonely lie and desperate hold To sight of starlight in your eyes. Beyond my touch, you wake as well, And, by waking, sundered still From dream and joy we cannot tell But to the midnight, whispering This day is old; the sun has set; I wait for you on dream-far shore In burning hope, as so we’ve met In starry midnights, evermore.

watch ian child recite "Midnight Waiting"




o f th e Beast
While I was a’sleepin’ A monster came a’peepin’ over the side of my bed He swallowed me whole then slithered back down the pole on the side of my bed Once inside his stomach it really wasn’t that bad Warm and cozy but soggy a tad And if you covered your nose You couldn’t really smell the frog toes or regurgitated garden hose And I slept through the night without a plight Unlike I usually did And in the morning he spit me out Expecting me to shout or pout But I didn’t I looked him straight in the eye, green as lime And said “My friend could we do this again sometime?”

i n t h e B e L Ly




i n B e t w een (X X ii)
i remember when i was a little girl and i fell from that tree you let me climb there was that pause that moment of impact where i stared up at you and you stared down at me and waited as the blood trickled down from the scrape in my tights for the tears to start that’s the best i can explain how it felt when mom held me as the man on the other side of the phone completely separate from us delivered the news that would change us forever cause of death unknown that free falling moment when we held each other

and didn’t breathe and didn’t cry and didn’t blink and didn’t know what this meant the words seemed jumbled no rhythm or logic and then as quick as it stopped my heart started beating again in the loneliest pattern i looked up at my mom and she broke the illusion and the connection with the before with the words i’m so sorry and the tears that spilt down her face just like that there was no going back there was no going back from when we were on the couch my fists were balled and i screamed for you to hear me and change your mind and come back even though you couldn’t even if you wanted too. (i guess i wasn’t sure if you wanted to) (i’m still not) people always say you’re so strong or

there’s no way i could do as well as you're doing and there’s something about the pity in their eyes the pity mixed with relief that i’m not them that makes me want to prove them wrong that makes me wish i could be weak because being strong it isn’t a choice there is no other way for me to react or to handle this there’s no choice every morning to stay in bed to close off even to die there’s no choice or option ever since mom looked at me with the purest most beautiful pain and loss i have ever seen and whispered i’m so sorry there was never a choice.

watch olivia hoffman read "In Between XXII"

oli vi A h of f MAn


- set two -


a PeaCefuL PLaCe
A breeze whispering softly Through the willow leaves That flutter like fairies Drooping branches Tips dipped lightly In water And thin leaves Fall loose of the branches and settle down On the silvery clear water A light sprinkle of tiny crystal raindrops That makes circles spread In the lake Where grass grows spread apart wide Black as night Against the setting sun Surrounded by a sky Painted pink and orange Reflections of the grass And the trees Green giants that tower above And the misty purple mountains standing tall Like majestic amethyst kings Big and powerful Crowns of snow atop their heads And a bird

Calls out high, sprinkling notes On an early spring morning

watch chloe kim read "A Peaceful Place"




Someday I’ll figure out how to capture the still-minty taste of your betrayal and spritz it on my skin to repel the mosquitoes that buzz in my bedroom. The silken static playing on my radio is simply something to listen to besides your voice echoing in the caverns between my brain cells. Because sometimes if it’s too quiet, I can hear the scraping sound of your yells. On the streets people babble in a million different tongues Chapped lips sliding over crooked teeth And I wonder, Who are you to think that you are fluent in this too-colorful language? I wish I could have led you toward The safety of a schoolyard I once knew. Where the familiar static of the slide is no longer shocking Where the rusty swing set knows your weight

And maybe for a split second Leaving your anger buried in the gravel You can soar. I sink. Feel the smooth tiles at the bottom of the pool with wrinkled fingers spread wide. Hair billowing like smoke sour chlorine on perplexed taste buds

watch Lucie Pereira read "Buoyancy"




t h e M e r M ai D
A mermaid played with the laughing waves She chased them to the shore They lapped the feet of the sandy beach As she basked in the stickiness of the summer sun A fisherman saw her sandy tail And he saw the rolls of her sun kissed back “Ah,” he said with a smirk that chilled. “Now here is a fish too sweet to cook.” Throwing back his whip and pinching net, he snapped Once, twice, and then once more Snickering as her cries echoed in his grimy ears Once, twice, and then once more She bit and yanked the gnawing rope She panted and clawed at her ensnared neck She saw brown hands lunging for her throat She grabbed them and pulled them close

She pushed her lips up against his Writhing from their grubby crust She parted her lips and bit down with all her might Once, twice, and then once more He yelled in shock, and she dug her nails deep Smiling with satisfaction as trickles of red oozed from the roughness of his flesh She pulled herself to the water; she pulled him to the water Pools of red emerged within the blue She flicked her tail to summon the waves Loosening the ropes, they set her free Pushing her towards home All as the fisherman drifted farther and farther away Into the murky waters of his grave




o n e M o r nin g
Once upon a time, deep inside the woods lived a young wizard sleeping peacefully on his bed. Tick, tick, tick, tick went the clock ticking slowly and softly it went. Once the clock struck 7, ring… ring… ring went the alarm clock and the young wizard zapped the alarm clock with his magic. The clock was instantly destroyed and vanished by his magic, leaving a burn mark on his desk. Satisfied, he got up and at the same time he rubbed his eye and stretched his arm. He yawned as he got out of his bed, lifted both of his arms gently like a ballerina and started to move his arms and hands up and down, right and left, side by side, crossed in and out, fingers move twirly, he moved his arms, hands and fingers as if he were conducting. The things around him responded gracefully to his magic and flew towards him and surrounded him as if they were hearing the music and dance in the air. The music, of course, was magic. He went downstairs while at the same time conducting his surroundings. The young wizard himself started to have fun and to dance with the rhythm of the magic. As he went inside the kitchen, pots, pans, glasses, and foods moved as if they were alive. The sound of pans and utensils clashed together: the sound of milk pouring, bread being de-crusted, eggs

cracking, and water rushing down and dishes being washed created a melody of music in the kitchen. As the young wizard looked outside he saw that a ton of white fluffy stuff was lying all over the place. My goodness, it’s snowing on San Francisco, he thought. The scenery outside so shocked him that he stopped conducting his hands and became frozen. Because of that, all of the things he had been conducting stopped and the things dropped so hard it shook the house. But he ignored it and all that mattered was that he was happy because school was canceled and he lived happily ever after.

watch zara tastari read "One Morning"


h o w t o Be a Cir C u it
First you have to choose whether you are a parallel circuit or a series circuit choose if you have a switch or a lightbulb or a buzzer or if your inside inside Rudolf the red-nosed Reindeer but even if you choose a bee that flaps its wings you have to have a flowing connection of electricity maybe from a batterie or an outlet the connection has to be clear If not, the light or buzzer goes out for a series circuit you’re in a loop, you’re more simple but to be a parallel circuit is more complicated but if one goes out the others stay on hopefully your batteries will never go out out



watch gillian buckner read "How to Be a Circuit"




MeM o ry
Who knows why some memories last as others seemingly float away? Many memories are miniscule and often seem unimportant. Is there some underlying reason that explains why one memory is there and many others are not? In one of my first true memories – meaning I remember it firsthand – I am awakened by the warm embrace of sun licking my cheek softly. I open my eyes and am lying in a bed of snowcapped mountains. It is my mother’s bed, and I know that I am more home than I could be anywhere else. As the sun grows more golden and the comforter surrounds me, I notice my mother’s sleeping next to me, back turned. I nuzzle up behind her and can smell coconut clinging onto the fibers of her hair. I turn away again to look at the sealing. We are on the top floor of my house; the ceilings have strange angles and create interesting shadows in this early morning light. Time is not yet a language in my vocabulary. My mom wakes up and, just for fun, I pretend to be sleeping as she makes her way to the bathroom and starts the shower. The water of the shower melodically woos me back to sleep until I am woken up once again by my mother’s soft voice.” “Honey, it’s your first

day of preschool.” For some strange reason, I don’t ever remember being told beforehand that this was the first day of a school schedule that would go on for the next twenty odd years of my life; I also don’t remember too much nervousness or fear. We get up and go downstairs to my bedroom and my mother helps me get dressed, pulling my shirt over my head and looping my belt. A bagel for breakfast and we are off. The Volvo we have is still in mint condition as we make our way across the Golden Gate Bridge into the hills of Marin. “How many times is school?” I ask. “Three days a week” my mom replies, distracted on the highway. This is the first time there is any sort of known structure in my life, one that I would have to follow weekly. From this day on I fall into the droning rhythm of school life. I learn to read clocks, the days of the week, and finally, how many days in a month. Now I was able to fully structure my future. Timeless mornings no longer exist, lying in my mom’s bed and watching the beautiful shadows. However, every so often, I will get a glimpse of this innocent cluelessness. In moments of excitement or fear I realize the child isn’t gone; he is just hidden under layers of time, age, and knowledge.

watch jude driscoll read "Memory"






Lost in tiMe
Chapter 1

a f ri e n D s h i P


The sun had just risen over Shellville. Ding a ling a ling! Grace sprung joyfully out of bed. Then she sprinted to the table. “Calm down, Grace. Sit down and eat your breakfast!” said Grace’s mom. “Sorry Mom,” said Grace. “I’m—” “Oh, I know. You’re excited for the last day of school,” said Grace’s mom. Honk honk! “Oh! There’s the bus. Bye Mom!” Grace ran onto the bus and sat next to her friend Isabella. “How are you doing?” said Grace. “Good, but Grace I have to tell you something,” said Isabella. “I’m moving!” “What?” asked Grace. “Why?” “I don’t know!” said Isabella desperately. Just then the bus passed through the woods. A shape loomed in the shadows. Something slashed at the bus. “Whoa! What was that?” asked Grace. “I don’t know,” replied Isabella. Soon they arrived at Shellville Elementary. “Wow, fantastic. We’re late!” exclaimed Grace sarcastically.

“Now we’ll miss the math test!” Later Grace took a walk in the forest. She trampled through the leaves until she got to three groves of trees she had never seen before. “What are those groves of trees doing here?” She went through the second one. “I’ve never seen this part of the forest before,” said Grace. It was very unusual. Soon Grace came to a vast open plain. But to her surprise, instead of deer, cows, or mice… there were dinosaurs! Yes, there were dinosaurs. “This is impossible! I am in the Jurassic era!” yelled Grace. “Awesome!” After taking a ride on a diplodocus and petting its long neck, and playing tag with a herd of dryosaurus who were very fast, Grace noticed that there was an egg lying on the riverbank. “Where’s its mother?” thought Grace. So she took it home and hid it under her bed. Just then, the egg started to crack. Grace swiftly leaped away. Grace stared at the creature. It was a baby allosaurus!

watch dylan amelia gibson read from "A Friendship Lost in Time"



t h e s Pi D e r
I spun my web of silken threads, it took over a week The details and the patterns, of art they are the peak The fly flew in disrupting it, don’t give me any buts He doesn’t even apologize, I think I’ll suck his guts

watch huck shelf read "The Spider"



Your truth. The sign of strawberries and new youth after the Picking season has just begun and the Hospital hallways are filled with love






the sheLter





One more boring day at the shelter… Other pets are getting adopted but not me. Why not me? It seems nobody wants a little Maltese puppy when they could get a more highly prized dog like an Akita. Will I ever find a home? A young girl is coming down my aisle! First she throws a treat into every dog’s cage. Then all the dogs begin to bark like mad! They are so excited, but I’m afraid to be excited. What if I don’t get picked again? Wait! She’s walking past their cages and has stopped in front of mine. The other dogs look very disappointed. I start to walk towards the glass tentatively, trying to hide my excitement. I can’t help myself and bark excitedly. “Pick me! Pick me!” Evidently all she heard was barks because her face didn’t seem to register what I’d said. I felt the disappointment well up inside me. I turned to head back to my corner when I heard her say “That one!” and point right at me. She had just chosen me! I ran back excitedly towards the door. I heard the

click as the key opened the lock. As the door opened, one of the workers scooped me up and took me in his arms. I couldn’t believe this was happening. Could it be real this time? The worker carried me into another room where the little girl was waiting. She looked as excited as I felt and I saw her arms outstretched eagerly. All I wanted to do was leap into them. But I was too nervous to. What if she changed her mind? I tried to remain hopeful. I felt her small hand wrap around me and a warmth spread through my body. My tail was going a mile a minute. I was so happy! She pulled me in and I could feel her arms wrap around me and hug me close to her body. I felt her head rest on mine and felt her hand stroke the fur on my back. This was the best feeling ever! I never wanted it to end. Then she pulled me away and for a minute my heart almost stopped because I thought she had changed her mind. Instead, she held me at arm’s length, looked into my eyes and said: ”She’s perfect. She’s the one!” My heart was so full. I leaned forward excitedly and answered with a lick on her cheek. This sent her into giggles. It was music to my ears. I had finally found a home.


watch sophie emiko avigayil brozinsky read "The Shelter"


rY gErHArA

t h is is h o w it e n D s
Somewhere in the endless darkness of this room, a voice yells, “What happened?” And the room gets darker. Then the noise starts. A vibrant siren, the sound of the streets, Korean chatter, and a machine is wheeled out. I don’t see it. I hear it, the rusty clinkclunk of the wheels, and a low feedback sound, like a pop star has dropped their microphone. I bite my lip, and through a blinding burst of light, I see that the cart with the rusty wheels has a car battery on it, and the man with the cold eyes rips off my shirt. The other man – he is Korean – brings two alligator clamps and attaches them to my chest, and turns the voltage on. The static does something, shakes a memory, like hearing an old camp song, and then remembering all the verses. Or seeing your favorite childhood cartoon, and remembering the theme song. I remember that I have already lived this, and I know how it ends. He doesn’t shoot me. I don’t die. I am exchanged. I am a prisoner in North Korea; there is a North Korean prisoner on the other side of this shipping container. And I will be traded like livestock tomorrow. The light comes back, this time in full, and the

shipping container fades away. There is an Asian paramedic with a defibrillator, and I am in a fast food restaurant. A mascot is staring at me, and a cold washcloth is in a bowl of water next to me. It happened again, even after 50 years, it comes back, and will come back again, until it kills me. I’m not shot. I don’t die peacefully. I don’t die honorably. I die being a senile old coot, in a rant caused by post-traumatic stress disorder, from an experience from 50 years ago. This is how it ends.

watch henry gerharz read "This Is How it Ends"






a n D t he ne w LiV e s
I come from many shops, from the imported French perfume and shoes, Vientiane of Laos Humid, unbearably rainy, persistent weather I am the son of red envelopes, of “good luck water” thrown at New Year’s, Of ghost stories, like Pee Krasue, the hideous witches with flying heads Of the restaurants on Mekong River, without walls and built on stilts, Where we would dine on Sunday and watch our soldiers Standing at the murky, beige river Women wearing ao-dais, men with nothing but pants I’ve known the taste of exhaust from cotton-candycolored scooters My soul has known the burning dead At Wat Si Saket Temple Hollow bodies lie horizontally on the platform, nobodies in this life Schoolchildren watching in suspense: tan skin to black powder Is this how we will smell? A repulsive scent, carried by the wind?

to the sky

The corpse suddenly sits up, our eyes wide open Little innocents scream and wail Leather shoes on the pavement towards phaw and mae. What will they be in the next life? A monk? A businessman? A president? My pregnant aunt’s newborn baby? Phaw and mae come over. In the Volkswagen we go home. Outside the window, an airplane. That’s me, the pilot. Or a baseball player in the next life.

watch jacqueline quach read "To the Sky and the New Lives"


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- february 4, 2013 -

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