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QUIET LIGHTNING IS

:
a literary nonprofit with a handful of ongoing projects,
including a monthly, submission-based reading series
featuring all forms of writing without introductions or
author banter—of which sparkle + blink is a verbatim
transcript. Since December 2009 we’ve presented 1,100
readings by 800 authors in 110 shows and 90 books,
selected by 50 people through a blind selection process
and performed in 70 venues, appearing everywhere
from dive bars and art galleries to state parks and
national landmarks.

The shows are also filmed and loaded online—in text
and video—and rebroadcast on public access television.

There are only two rules to submit:
1. you have to commit to the date to submit
2. you only get up to 8 minutes

quietlightning.org/submission-details

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info + updates + video of every reading
sparkle + blink 95
© 2018 Quiet Lightning

cover art © Della Heywood
@dellaheywood
“E Pluribus Unum” by William Butler
first appeared in Bodega Magazine
“Why I Ran Away from Boy Scout Camp” by William Butler
first appeared in Red Wheelbarrow
“Gifted” by Jeremy Vasquez from Unshackled
“Color Haiku” by Florencia Milita has been published by Kearny
Street Press, Entremares Magazine, and Digging through the Fat
“All Night Long” by Adam Moskowitz
first appeared in Monday Night
“My Mother and the Bottle” by Jaz Sufi
first appeared in The Offing
“Flying” by Elizeya Quate from Craquelure (Finishing Line Press)

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.

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internet or any other means without the permission of the
author(s) is illegal.

Your support is crucial and appreciated.

quietlightning.org
su bmit@ qui e tli g h tn i n g . o r g
CONTENTS
curated by
Chris Cole, Evan Karp + Scott Green
featured artist
Della Heywood | @dellaheywood

BRIAN GOULART Airbnb Room 3 1
JEREMY VASQUEZ Gifted 3
WILLIAM BUTLER Family History 7
E Pluribus Unum 8
Why I Ran Away from Boy Scout Camp 9
MEGAN BREISETH Before Sunrise in the Dark 11
Saying Body, Trust Your Body 12
Starve a Fever 13
Self Help 15
MARCI VOGEL Redwood Forest Handbook 17
In California There is a Neighborhood... 20
Immortal Tree 21
FLORENCIA MILITO Ode to Hedgebrook 25
Color Haiku 27
Lullaby 30
CLARE LILLISTON The Hermit Crab and the Anemone 31
Fragmentation 34
Coelacanth 35
CAROL DORF Quiet is what wakes me... 37
Dust for My Sake 39
Islands 41
The Briefest guide to dream... 43
ADAM MOSKOWITZ All Night Long 45
Add Nature 47
TERRI GLASS The Bear that Reversed the Tale... 49
JAZ SUFI My Mother and the Bottle... 51
CYRUS ARMAJANI The Call 55
CHARLIE GETTER Avocado Toast 57
CHERYL DUMESNIL What You Never Thought... 65
HEATHER ROBINSON Goliath and David 73
ELIZEYA QUATE Flying 75
HTNING IS SPONSORED
U IE T L IG BY
Q
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 QL board is currently:

Evan Karp executive director
Chris Cole managing director
Josey Rose Duncan public relations
Lisa Church outreach
Meghan Thornton treasurer
Kelsey Schimmelman secretary
Laura Cerón Melo art director
Christine No production

If you live in the Bay Area and are interested in
helping—on any level—please send us a line:

e v an @ qui et light nin g . o rg
AN GOULART
BRI
A IR B N B R O O M 3
(FOUND POEM 1)

I work as a full-time vegan
and as a sculptress
of my daughter

no restrictions apply
solid unfinished liability
sustainably harvested spa
(for an organic fee)
pristine ping pong table, welcome
to the mattress garden, I work
as an exquisite Californian feel

interaction happens
as it is meant to happen
we do not hurt anybody on purpose

1
EMY VASQUEZ
JER

GIFTED

I tell my students everyday,
We are more than bus drivers.
I tell my students everyday,
We are more than security guards at the door,
I tell my students everyday,
We are more than their maids.
We are more than their janitors.
I tell my beautiful students everyday,
We are professor Xavier’s
For the school of the YOUNG, BLACK, BROWN &
GIFTED.
We understand that royalty
Can shapeshift to survive in certain spaces
Because I most certainly code-switch on a daily basis.
I night-crawl through my city of San Francisco
Feeling like one, looking like only.
Eyes bulging,
mouth twisted, head bent.
Trying to extend an
olive branch.
I am strange fruit in this city of
American Dreams.
Alex Nieto.
Mario Woods.
Michael Brown.
Oscar
Grant.
Jesus Delgado.
Eric Garner.
3
Stephon Clark.
Philando Castile.
Sandra Bland.
Nia Wilson.
SAY THEIR NAMES!!!
They were no angels,
But i can’t help but feel melancholy
Some of us are treated like problems
Before we are ever valued as people.
It was a longshot.
I mean it was a longshot
I would ever get my high school diploma,
So if i’m going to take a last stand,
Quiet lightning, I’m going to need first class.
I’m a
lover not a fighter.
But when society get to treating people like mutants,
Grab the hammer, I am WARLOCKED.
And no matter how many times
They continuously try to bury us,
They forget too often that we are the seeds.
Coming out of the ashes.
Yelling ashe.
We are the phoenix-rising in numbers.
We are the phoenix-rising in temperature.
Pyro; I marvel at the fact
We’ve been able to control all this fire
Without it burning us alive.

4 J E R E MY VAS QUEZ
It shall be useful in lighting the torches of others.
The melting pot is tipping.
These are the days of future past.
We are being hunted.
We are being captured.
And We are being killed by sentinels.
20 years from now-you ask yourself.
What were you doing
When families were being seperated
And children were being locked in cages?
Legend has
it some black panthers went through that.
I ask you for 1 favor a day god. 1 favor.
Please don’t let my daughter go through that.
I hope
she never loses her mystique. 
Or questions her
place in the universe.
Instead as the world burns around her,
May she airbrush her dreams with its embers.
I’m
only 5’10 but I play a colossal role in her life.
So I
ingrain the greatest superpower
Comes from her cerebro.
And when fully operational, she has the ability
To elevate above tyranny and intolerance.
But
understand, as a black man,
If i were ever just to storm out of her life,
It would cause an apocalypse.
Inciting all forms of meteorological temps.

Jeremy Vasquez 5
I’m talking blizzards, toxic fog, tornados.
My daughter gets long-winded whenever 
I’m about
to leave the house because she knows…
She might not ever see me again.
So i wake up everyday in BEAST MODE.
A manifestation of political activist
And freedom fighter.
Get a good look, these veins,
They pump revolution.
Adamantium claws in any and all oppressors.
If walls
in America are built…
I shall raise offspring who know exactly
How to juggernaut right through them.
We are the children of the atom,
This is the school of brotherly love,
And where I come from in the bay area,
This black...and this brown…
Is indestructible.
And even on MY worst days,
A reflection of GOD.
And the last time i checked…
His people… our people…
We always prevail.

6 J eremy Vasquez
LLIAM BUTLER
WI

FAMILY HISTORY

My grandfather died from a heart condition.
When he entered a room, people went silent.
My mother’s mother died in childbirth
and after that, she was named after her.
Doctors found cancer the size of a thimble in my father,
police found my uncle dead in a house filled with
dresses.
Scott found a handgun and held my grandparents for
hours.
When they made it out of the basement, he shot
himself.
I will never have any children,
but my cousins are starting families in the
Midwest.
My twin sister in Manhattan lives a well-ordered life;
thank God we’re nothing alike.
Thank God for my aunt, who smokes weed
and writes poems and takes lithium three times a
day.
I’m just here, and that’s enough.
How grateful I am for the strange shape my
life has taken.

7
E PLURIBUS UNUM

I’m in a particular time in my life.
Still, nothing much seems to happen.
I drink coffee. I fold laundry. I try
to forget. I live, lonely as an archivist.
I read a message from a man who says
he wants to put me on a coin, meaning
he wants me in his pocket, or else, to throw
me in a well & I’m easygoing, I’m cool, I’m DL,
I’m down, I can come around to his place tonight.
I can offer him my good side, my profile in good light,
I can spread out on a bed he made for me.
I can forget my own loneliness when I imagine his,
I can expand my epic & put him in it,
I can leave through the same door I walked in,
I can go home & add what he gives me
to my own lineage told in Latin proverbs.

8 W I L L I A M B UT L ER
WHY I RAN AWAY FROM BOY
SCOUT CAMP

Don’t call home,
don’t drown in the lake,
don’t die, I don’t want
more paperwork.

Don’t sleep now,
camp is for badges,
A SCOUT IS LOYAL
A SCOUT IS KIND.

Don’t sit down,
keep on walking,
don’t get sick,
BE PREPARED.

Don’t fuck with fire;
know that anything
called kindling must
also burn, BE OBEDIENT.

Don’t mistake a bear paw
for a bleeding heart,
make your leather medallion.

William Butler 9
Don’t leave camp:
I fought in Alaska
(you little shit)
so help me God,
I will find you.

Don’t bait the bears.
Clouds aren’t the only ones
who hunt in herds
at our little campground.

10 W illiam B utler
GAN BREISETH
ME
B E F O R E SU N R IS E
IN THE DARK

It is winter and we are downtown too early.
The black branch-only trees are blank.
Except one filled with crows waking up.
And it’s eerie with no pedestrians, a
crazy traffic of crow-flight,
tree - to - tree - to - tree, greeting
or stretching, readying their day
ahead of us.

We swallow all the news that reaches us.
It’s left behind in us, it must be.
Everything that happens is a phantom in our cells.

The dark ruler does
what dark rulers do
and we decide our
response - I will try
to be ungovernable-
use my body to protest,
put it to use
while my mind divides,
thinking - my baby needs
my body. So many babies
need so many bodies.
11
SAYING BODY, TRUST YOUR BODY

Not sure if it’s burnt up like fuel or tamped hard
when you touch it
But I’m trying using rage instead of pain
And I think it works 

And can sometimes give the
tenderest
Being-listened-to feeling
A clean, determined trust
The trust that coils or grounds

Or is sometimes an astringent
I want this trust like witch hazel followed by breeze
I want it breezed clean, breezed open
I work on being
Being not free but

There’s a language I want
Being not at ease but not fluent
Being bodily
Like a signal you’ve been heard
Being revealed from above like the midcountry land
circles with their missing pieces
Being revealed from above like land wrinkles, land
forked like leaves with veins like frost
Being revealed like muscles snake
Being like muscles, revealed in their use

12 ME GAN B R E I S E T H
STARVE A FEVER

The five minute dream
is stuck on repeat, too
sick to know the day’s
news, which is sickening
everyone else; all thoughts
gross, all food gross, books
and their words, gross, eye
motion is too much motion
and you hope each sweat
is that big last sweat
and at some point you realize
you are well.

When they harvest
eggs from a woman’s
body, it’s called an
egg retrieval, like
someone’s taking them
back or they were
lost and needed to be
found.

A shade is the spirit
of a dead person living
in the underworld - a chill
passing over as with
a dark truth - I didn’t

Megan Breiseth 13
read you; I got you
to read yourself and it’s
freezing.

You know building the fire warms you
but you still want
the fire.
And it cools so gradually
you’re shocked to realize
you’re cold.
Snake lines tighten.
Snake lines loosen.
And you change shape
just enough.

14 Megan B reiseth
SELF HELP
The teacher’s having us move our faces up: Be a baby
dragon coming out of the egg!
Later, she teaches us about the gradual.
How the scratch on the skin vanishes in days.
How pruning techniques work and the tree finally
fruits.
How heat finally breaks.
I’m almost always ready for help.
I ask a lot.
The teacher says this, the phlebotomist says it too:
Quiet, find your place. Breathe into it. Listen.
I find the womb space.
My sore spine, my hormonal headache, my clicking
sinuses, open and close.
I invert.
I pull my gut up into my rib cage.
I am not pulling my body apart.
I am opening up spaces in my molecules.
Molecules are full of feelings.
I guess when I free up the space I will feel the
feelings.
It will seem like the feeling is arriving when it’s
going.

Megan Breiseth 15
I need to be more grateful for my body.
Even when I think it betrayed me.
She says, You don’t even need to know what it wants to let
go of. 

It will do it on its own.
I am trying to assert myself.
I am trying to conceive.
I want space for that little idea to burrow in.
I am held by the idea without having any control over
the part of me that holds.

16 Megan B reiseth
CI VOGEL
MAR

REDWOOD FOREST
HAN DB O O K
A tree grows in height—and a branch grows in length—by adding
wood to the tip. Our important trees never grow in height by
shooting up from the ground like corn or bamboo. A nail driven into
a tree will always remain exactly the same height from the ground.

jack reveal & arnold wallen
California State Board of Forestry, 1948

— & when you are lost
on the fire road you may come across
a young woman bearing the name
an entire country knows as poetry

& she may invite you to see
the secret library
where a philosopher invented
the new alchemy

in front of a cherry tree
bearing fruit exactly when
you begin to know yourself
as hungry & you pluck six

17
sun-filled orbs
as if they were tines of a finger harp
translating paralysis
into love &

inside your chest it feels
like a squeezebox angel
someone collaged
from broken parts —

a sounding mallet
is an instrument used to
examine trees without damage
to their bark an effective

concealer of hazards
and hollows the idea is to
tap on the trunk
until you hear what the tree

wants to tell you the idea is
not to abandon your own
fissured hull not yet knowing
you are not lost but on your way
to heights scaled by ones
who ( in long ago rings )
hammered refuge out of nails
beveled staves out of heartwood

sheltered volumes inside salvage
soldered cut glass into forest sea-

18 MA R C I VO G E L
shells — one day you will
touch the center of a purple thistle

& know the honeyed work of bees

Marci Vogel 19
IN CALIFORNIA THERE IS A
NEIGHBORHOOD WHERE
ALL THE STREETS ARE NAMED AFTER
THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW

Van Ripper Court, Katrina Lane, Crane Drive. No
horseman, but the only road out is the only road
in. SPEED LIMIT: 35 YOURS: 41. Young redwoods
sentinel the meridian. An orange earthmover readies
for the semi-annual evacuation drill. Expect delays
Van Tassel to Ichabod. In another legend, goats devour
the fire. Above the valley, at the crest, a stone bench
blooms lichen. Some tell of a secret culvert into which
someone has placed an egg. When the water comes,
it rinses meadow branches wrapped with silver. The
Subarus, the Hondas, the Jeeps—all the Tundra pick-
ups carting wide planes of glass—charge past the herd
breakfasting in the school crosswalk. Careful, don’t
lose your head. If you tarry at the cut sycamore just
after Van Winkle, you might see one spotted fawn
forage an heirloom plum on her perfect, spindled legs.

20 Marci Vogel
IMMORTAL TREE
By a twist of misfortune, another “100-year” flood tore through
Humboldt Redwoods the week of Christmas 1964. In this regional
disaster, the Eel River destroyed over twenty bridges, drowned
more than twenty people, and obliterated ten whole towns. The
swirling current undercut the roots of some three hundred bankside
redwoods, causing them to topple slowly, almost silently, into the
swollen river . . .
jared farmer
Trees in Paradise

O ancient redwood
roadside attraction
who survived lightning
which removed its top
logger’s ax & forest
fire the year my mother’s
mother turned
eight I crane my neck
to see a fish stopped
along your trunk
diameter : 14.5 feet
forever swimming in
a ring you formed
the year I was conceived
Down here on earth we
mortals launched
a mariner into space
children splashed
in a fountain of continents

Marci Vogel 21
while (for the first time)
Cleopatra married Hamlet
& a woman flew solo
around the world As
Christmas flooded into
mad rivers we
shut down the Cartoon
Division signed human
rights into law & our sky-
raider dropped 500-pound bombs
not in a forest but a jungle Far
from where you are
57 of us tunneled under
a border emerged
into the cellar of a former
bakery our mouths
filled with pumpernickel
& caraway seeds
During your century
waters’ rising we
crowned a boxer King
deemed smoking
hazardous to our health
& awarded a prize
to a peacemaker
we later shot An Olympian
ran a torch
from his natal city decimated
the year he was born
Total volume board footage Enough
to build several homes Once

22 Marci Vogel
upon a time a mustang
rolled off an assembly
line Once upon a time
Original height : 298 feet PLEASE
DO NOT CLIMB

Marci Vogel 23
O RENCIA MILIT
FL O
O D E TO
HED GEB R O O K

for Kaila Paz Bohm
She loved this place,
the island and the motley green.
She loved the trees, the moss, the ferns—
and yes—she even loved the bees!

She loved the woods. She did not sing,
but here sometimes
she sang a song or two.
A broken lullaby to her child, a little girl,
nestled in her womb.
Mauve cattails (a small field of them)
swaying in the wind,
her lute.

She loved this place, the ocean and the wind.
She loved the shore—orange crabs,
seashells, and sand dollars, her loot—
and the strewn driftwood, calcified (bone-white),
anatomical, askew.
She loved it, too.

She loved the names of things,
names like blue poppies and dogwood tree.

25
She loved the nests,
the mama bald eagle and the humming bird.
And though it eluded her,
she loved the hooting owl,
too.

And the rainbows spilling over her desk
as she wrote those early afternoons.
She loved them, too.
She loved the open twilight sky,
Venus and the crescent moon.

She did not sing, but here she heard
more than a song or two.
So many odd bird calls
and the frogs at night
as she read by lantern light:
Emma, Thoreau,
and Stafford, too.

26 F L OR E N C I A MI LI T O
COLOR HAIKU

para papá, City of Hope, Los Angeles

Imagination
tiny, petulant blue flame
morphs into a wren

In the hospital:
hazy sunlight, rubber trees
red, saber-toothed dreams

Remember, papá?
from walnut shells and paper
floated white sailboats

As they wheel you in
your gray oyster eyes widen
a final hurrah

In the Zen garden:
the yellow carps glide, just are
turtles, alert, watch

A single brown duck
among the carps and turtles
just drifting, drifting

F lorencia Milito 27
Lime-green humming bird
coy, speckled sprite waltzing by
halting, in delight

Under this purple
tree, an old jacaranda
daydream of allá

Anarchists, dreamers
divining owls of Spirit,
a lone white lily

Odd, forest-green tree
the little prince’s baobab
holds me in its eye

When the moment comes
the mind, upset, numbs itself
drifting violet clouds

Sweet forgetting, wired
even of wild mauve terror
song making in birds

Lulling childhood breeze
Vivaldi’s blue violins
I succumb to sleep

City of glaciers,
windswept, a swinging blue door
a lone chair, waiting

28 F lorencia Milito
And what of envy?
green lymphocytes waging to
no breath or avail

Oh, insanity!
yellow waking from the clocks
calling the bluff of

When you first awake
time on a white horse gallops
an old man, content

F lorencia Milito 29
LULLABY

eyes & trees
eyes & trees
& maybe a bee

I know words will not
stop the armies

or the tortures

and these days I think
of little besides

Still I draw
imaginary trees
eyes & trees
eyes & trees
& even a bee

30 F lorencia Milito
AR E LILLISTO
CL N
T H E H E R M IT C R A B
A N D THE ANEM O N E

golden shell
thin as a sheet
of parchment
gleams brassily
underwater
dries into ghost
chalky white
chitin a frock
a long tunic
a coat of armor
a linen dress
sleeveless
we can both wear
this garment at once
as you curl inside
I anchor the crown
let me be of use
let me serve our house
hold let me break
fast let me share
your company
in symbiotic fellow
ship I build

31
to your shape
spiraled abdomen
in response to
empty snail shell
the original
adapted
in form and content
to resemble
reassemble
aha in triplicate
I replicate
as you have
replicated
mimetic secretions
produce the structure
same but greater
spiral expanding
so we can stay here
within and without
as you grow
I allow you to grow
as you walk
you allow me to walk
I protect the space
with many stinging
arms I wave
in gratitude
freed from
stationary existence
co-evolved
functionally

32 C L A R E L I L L I S T ON
companionate
a burden
a boon
a balancing act
on your back
rip me in half
and I am doubled
form and function
pleasure of fit
a sympathy pair
in dwelling
in habitat
in habit
this habitus
en habiliment
or dishabille
as I attach
in a world
without firm
attachments
rooted
in motion
please
carry me
on stilts


The genus of sea anemone Stylobates exhibits a symbiotic relationship
with hermit crabs in the deep sea. The crab places an anemone on
its shell, so that its stinging tentacles may provide protection from
predators. The anemone gains freedom of movement and easy access
to food. The anemone also extends and enlarges the base shell of the
crab with chitinous secretions so the crab need not expend energy
locating a new shell when it grows.

Clare Lilliston 33
FRAGMENTATION

I can see the structure at a cellular level.
I want to get out of my body but I leave
and I have another body and I have another
and then I return to the original. Full circle.
And the size of the body is the size of the house,
and the size of the house is the size of the world,
the size of the world is the size of the body.
Walk in the footsteps of the fish who left the water
(but some went back, some went back, some went back).
Try to stay here. Cut cuticles with tiny scissors.
Slough off a few layers. Retract from touch.
into the mouth of the sea. It’s a problem of surface area.
Once I was a tide pool and every day the tide came
and took my body away and gave me a new body
and I could touch the bottom and I could see a way out.
I pull myself apart into two halves until
the thin strand of connecting
tissues
breaks
(and each half heals, each half heals, each half heals).
Sitting insatiable at the table of desire.
The relationship between patience and suffering.

34 C lare L illiston
COELACANTH
and what if it is a small life

and what if I once tried the other way

and what if outside there was smog and relentless
unease

and what if fear didn’t stop me but a certain sense of
ugliness

and what if I fossiled myself between the shale

and what if underneath at least the pressure felt right

and what if I laid low for 66 million years

and what if I re-emerged in midst of same and new
and same

and what if as they changed I remained unchanged

and what if I drifted and ate anything in my path

and what if I outlived all branches of my tree

and what if I was caught up in accidental nets

and what if, god forbid, I was meant to stay

Clare Lilliston 35
L DORF
CARO
Q UIET I
S WHAT WAKES ME
I N T O A C C O U N TI N G

One plant droops in the cold
long purple leaves thick stem
could be bromeliad.
What do
I know of plants? She told me
the baby would learn to love
her playpen
a personal space.
Years ago my brother pulled
himself to a stand on the bars
of the pen in the living room –
up and toppling backwards
over and over again.
Silent.
My daughter screamed never
tolerated the pen or the crib
for that matter. A moth flutters
towards cirrus clouds.
Birds –
I hear them can’t see any.
Winter light. Her first word
was bird then bus
an electronic

37
hum that passed our house
every half hour.
Running water
in the fountain drowns out little.
I would need the ocean.
When I was young
like water
I was a shape shifter oozing
into any closed container.
I am too free
with advice.
It is so hard to listen
to the small plane low in the sky.
A warning
then nothing.
This plant thickens with the rains.
I never could stop being water.

38 C A R OL DOR F
DUST FOR MY SAKE

Two notes: 1) I am dust. 2) For my sake
the world was created. Together they connect
despair and the grandiose, create the sea
between worlds for neo-kabbalists to think
into being; an earth with gravity to hold
the atmosphere and the waters, to keep

all from shooting off into space, to keep
each box of memory intact for the sake
of the children who don’t forget being held
against a mother’s chest, interconnected
heartbeats giving both space to think
again after infant misery and its sea

of tears. Walking a path above the sea
shore she remembers rocking a child to keep
the peace in a disintegrating house she thinks
belonged to someone for whose sake
she was told to hush, to disconnect
impulse from expression, and to hold

still, god-dammit; what has become of her hold
on the storyline? Bring back the sound of the sea
with sanderlings rushing waves, that connect
the earth and the oceans. Even now they keep
sliding their thin beaks into the sands for the sake
of their next meal but somehow she thinks

Carol Dorf 39
it refers to continuity, the way when we think
of the long-gone complete with suitcases, it holds
them in this world, not really for their sake
but as a ballast against the rising sea
which absorbs barrier islands and keeps
reminding us that all the oceans are connected

underneath. We need to map connections
as we build globes, however many ways we think
up to distract ourselves, plans that keep
enumerating distinctions that hold
separate dust and sands that underlie the sea.
Who has the chutzpah to say, “For my sake,

the planet keeps to its course, holds
steady; when I think of the sea,
I remember dust. For my sake.”

40 C arol Dorf
ISLANDS

A Golden Shovel after Muriel Rukeyser

In the expansive nature of “O”
that open mouth most often reserved for
shock or love, secular reference to God’s
names, outpouring of sound for the sake
of sense, in so many cases we say they
pack too much into too small a space and are
at a loss to understand islands connected
by the earth’s mantle underneath
the sea. Sometimes we ask why they
move away from our gaze, as we look
out towards the horizon—nearly lost at
sea now and we must hold each
layer tightly against the cold. On other
days we watch little boats bob their way across
the waves at the shore’s edge, the
eddies at the break washing glittering
foam towards them, towards the sea
shore. Late at night we hear some
one or something call out as if to keep
reminding itself of a name or a
date before the world was full of low
humming. Then, the sound profile
so jagged, full of interruptions. Some
sounds can break your ears when they are
continuous, variation in volume cliffs

Carol Dorf 41
you topple over, hands over your ears, while the
argument between drums and horns sends bathers
to their sweltering hotel rooms. When you think
about distance and little boats, islands
provide short respites though they are
stingy with promises, and appear separate
from each other, and cold at night, like
the way darkness makes us afraid of them.

42 C arol Dorf
THE BRIEFEST GUIDE
TO DREAM INTERPRETATION:
WITH CLOUD FOR EYE

You’ve seen that postcard,
refrigerator magnet, sky in the eye

which screens out most of what I’d prefer
to avoid. The card of Heaven

guarantees success and it’s 1979
again, or ’86, before all the making

and unmaking. Lay out your sticks
and hopscotch between. The girl waits

impatiently behind you, “My turn, my turn,”
and your mother has abandoned

the field. You want to ask her, “Why,”
but you already have. In the café

you sit together at a rusty table
while the girl wanders past picking up

pebbles for her collection.
If you could stop time you wouldn’t,

Carol Dorf 43
even though you long for those days
of milk and cookies, of sewing dresses

for the preschool pageant. Roses and Calla lilies,
the garden is chaos, like your mother’s,

even though you’d promised yourself all
would be different. The cards say heaven,

six straight lines to the future.
You ask for more sky.

44 C arol Dorf
AM MOSKOWI
AD TZ

ALL NIG HT L O N G

At three in the morning there’s an infomercial
guiding you to a forest for $19.95. For a few dollars
more they’ll include some 3D glasses, but the glasses
won’t do anything because those glasses are for movie
theaters with 3D movies. You can bring your own
goal-oriented attitude if you want but don’t mess with
the trees.

Probably best to go at dusk. Get a glimpse of things.
Watch the last of the light. It’ll be great. Watch the
death of things. It’ll be like watching the life of things
except it will look backwards.

Trees are everywhere, but pick one. Plan to journal
about it later. About your private moment. Your mini-
contemplation. Your bonding with the seeds. You paid
them homage because they’re really good at sprinkling
just right. You regarded the earlier and infinite set of
conditions.

You felt holiness. You realized it was happening. It was
really great while it lasted. It made you think, hey,
there’s gotta be a holiness in the woods. Hey, that
wind’s gotta be holy.

45
Don’t forget about those roots. Even at dusk those
roots work through ground. Even now they’re working.
Even though this city exists, this city throbs. Even
when you were everywhere you’ve ever been. Even
though there are such things as plastic and potholes
and microchips and better microchips and the better
microchips are better because they are smaller.

There are roots under the city. In the pure dark they’ll
keep working and looking for life.

Say something about Mother Nature, Jesus Christ or
whatever you like. You believe those pine needles?
They’re whispering if you’ll hear. In light of the wind.

Listen hard. Hear the ones way up high and hide near
a big rock. Wait and watch for the moon. The trees
will look wet in the moonlight. Look at everything.

Watch things turn to crooked shadow. Detect
movement. Be confused about whether you’re
trembling or just cold. Don’t leave. Get dosed by a new
kind of night. Get dazzled by the noises of the unseen.

Find your heart when the coldness hurts bad. See how
bad your body shakes in the cold. Hold on tight. Wait
for the chirps. Don’t say it, but think it. And remember.
How the sky-high needles shine in the moon. And the
wind brushes the needles. The wind and the needles—
they go all night.

46 A DA M MOS K OW I T Z
ADD NATURE

Some science people are saying it’s good to take off
your shoes, and take off your socks and stand on the
ground. Some reminders are to check to make sure
the ground is not the floor in the house, concrete, or
pavement. The ground, according to the study, should
be the ground. Dirt, perhaps. Maybe standing on a
rock would also be acceptable. There are real scientist
people and even some psychologists out there who
are really promoting this kind of thing. Just thirty
minutes three times a week, they say. Try your best to
put your cell phone in a separate location first, they
say. It’s a good reset, they say. Add nature, they say.

A dam Moskowitz 47
GLASS
TERRI
THE BEA ED
THE TA R THAT REVEROSCKS
L E O F G O L DIL
Driving along Eldorado Highway
from the eastern Sierras,
I stop at a country store
that replenishes hikers.
At the entrance stands
a wood carving of a 10-foot bear.

The shop owner in yellow t-shirt and shorts
waits on me as I buy snacks,
expounds a tale of when a black bear
rambled right through the front door
and chose a box of Lindor chocolates to eat.
What good taste, I thought of the bear.

The next story, the same bear
walks into the owner’s house
behind the shop and gobbles down
a large Tupperware container of potato salad

49
without puncturing the plastic.
How courteous, I thought of the bear.

Final story, the bear meanders
into the owner’s bedroom
and leaves a huge dump
on the carpet next to the bed
almost the size of elephant dung.
What a magnanimous conclusion, I thought
of the bear.

50 T E R R I G L AS S
JAZ SUFI
MY M
O THER AND THE B O TTL E ,
IN TWO PARTS

after Warsan Shire

I. death

I imagine the bottle cracks open like an egg.
I don’t know what dead miracle she thinks to find
inside of it,
only that it comes to life again in my mother’s hands.
The egg, I mean. The bottle.
I wasn’t raised in the name of the Lord, but my
mother was.
On the night before Easter, she becomes a child
again. She dyes an egg red as wine,
she hides it in the kitchen, she finds it,
a careless and forgotten joy spilling from her hands.
She pours it into a glass, and when
the glass drops, the glass breaks, and then her skin
breaks,
birthing a flood of blood,
a resurrection in reverse.

51
Here is when I hear its syncopated hatching.
I see the blood and think it wine,
I wonder if she will lick it from the floor,
suck the dye back out from the egg.
Instead, she cries — not in pain, as a child
might, she is a mother now, and
there is still so much left to hide before the morning.
I beg her to stop, to staunch the wine. I mean,
the blood. I mean, the crying.
She nests color in the shadows,
and I follow her, licking up the splattered trail with
a rag
before it stains, before my brother wakes up
in the morning and sees something
neither of us understand, we children who never
found the Lord
hidden under a bush in the backyard
or slicking the kitchen floor.
In the morning, we hunt: my brother searching
for what my mother hid for or from him, me
for anything dry, any messy nest
still smeared on the floor. The search never seems to
end.
Even she has forgotten where she put her hands.
Somehow, there is always another egg.

52 J A Z S UF I
II. resurrection

There is always another egg. Somehow,
even she has forgotten where she put her hands.
The search never seems to end for
anything dry, any messy nest
still smeared on the floor. In the morning, we
hunt: my brother searching
for what my mother hid for or from him, me,
hidden under a bush in the backyard
or slicking the kitchen floor.
Neither of us understand, we children
who never found the Lord. My brother wakes up
and sees something before it stains,
before I follow her, licking up the splattered trail
with a rag as she nests color in the shadows.
I mean, the crying. I mean, the blood, the wine.
I beg her to stop, to staunch the morning.
There is still so much left to hide
before pain, as a child might.
She is a mother now, and instead
she cries — not from the egg. I wonder
if she will lick it from the floor, suck the dye
back out and think it wine. I see the blood,

Jaz Sufi 53
its syncopated hatching.
Here is when I hear a resurrection
in reverse, birthing a flood of blood.
Her skin breaks, and then the glass breaks,
and when the glass drops
she pours it into a glass,
a careless and forgotten joy spilling from her
hands. She finds it, she hides it in the kitchen,
an egg red as wine. She dyes and she becomes
a child again, on the night before Easter.
I wasn’t raised in the name of the Lord,
but my mother was. I mean, the bottle,
the egg, it comes to life again
in my mother’s hands. I don’t know what dead
miracle
she thinks to find inside of it, only that I imagine the
bottle
cracks open, like an egg.

54 J az S ufi
RUS ARMAJANI
CY

THE CALL

Street.
Concrete movement.
Boy scouts still at large

hold
their generous union-negotiated
penis close to bulletproof vest

synonym
for commission on a flip
someone’s home

air
was once heavy with moisture
now loaded with down

payments,
interest, and a commute
also known as tear

gas.
This anger has her own way of dancing.
Sway with her and try to learn

55
how
to fall off a failing horse
or jump on a falling train.

Tell
anger you love her
search for a myth without

boulder.
You can look at her face
upside down and not get dizzy.

Remind
the policy makers and muezzins of the city
jail is no place for a bar mitzvah.

56 J az S ufi
ARLIE GETTER
CH
AVOCADO TOAST
“… the aura is sucked clean out, like a living breathing person,
reduced to a glassy-eyed doll…”
Kate Folk

I’ve re-wallpapered my block
where you could once see cracks
now you can’t
they’re still there
but you can’t see them

I’ve repopulated Soma streets
with Wal*Mart greeters
who ask for nothing
just
say “hello” with a hollowness
behind their eyes

I’ve adjusted the color balance of the sky
to a
bright marine layer gray
so all of the outdoors
is blanched
like the set of the
Channel 5 news

not sure what is more shocking…
blood

57
or
bloodlessness

there was once a river running
in place of eighth street
before all this probably no more than
a thick brook

and I wonder if the live oaks
grew up to the end of
what is now the
600 block of Minna

covered with monarchs
and pale blue butterflies

and those strange
thick California deer
would graze the high bank
where my second floor
bedroom window is…

Not sure if it’s true
but it’s been said that
the city fathers—back in the day
named the alleyways
after their favorite prostitutes

if I squint
hard enough
I can see Minna
in the light of a
kerosene lamp
in a sparsely furnished

58 C H A R L I E G E T T ER
nineteenth century room

as far as alleys go
Minna is more prominent
than most
so I would assume that
more than one city father
succumbed to her charms.

In my mind she has raven hair
and when she moves she could be asian,
or mexican, or native, or russian
or black
in the dim light
she can be anything
but for sure she’s always

half something
and
half something else

and somehow against the circumstance
of her times

she overcomes the fate
of so many other
Soma alley girls
and outlives those who
paid for her service
and tried
to win her affection
with a street sign
or not

Charlie Getter 59
maybe her paramours
the city fathers
named the street
to assuage the guilt
they felt
for treating her the way they did

her blood on their hands
like the blood on the needles and hand wipes
and sidewalks
that litter her namesake

where people punch their feet
sitting on the street
trying to summon something
where there is nothing

decorating my environ with
snack cracker wrappers and
orange plastic needle caps

and the river that was eighth street
is again a river
and it has no water
only blood
and it’s always in flood
drains clogged with bodies
killed by a contagion of despair

and I can’t step outside
for fear of being swept upon it

and the sky cries blood
until

60 C harlie G etter
it doesn’t

and that rare rain falls

a powerful cataract from above

and everything that seemed
irredeemable

is brightened
by heavy clouds

and my neighbor hands a roll
of garbage bags
out through
the gate
to those waiting
on the sidewalk
to become
improvised plastic ponchos

and the drains are still clogged
but with the leaves of magnolia trees
falling from the branches
to imitate armadas of boats
piloted by incompetent sailors
bouncing off each other
and wrecking in a pile
in a pond
caused by
the incompetence of the
Department of Public Works.

Charlie Getter 61
Minna, oh Minna!
The DPW let you down
and the junkies
let you down
just as the city fathers
let you down
and I know
that I’ve let you down
especially, because
everything I know about you
I’ve made up
past your first name

and knowing people in the sex trade,
that’s probably fake too

but I try
to put color in your cheeks
and
a sparkle in your eyes
and bridge our times
before
you and me and
everything that has been
will be
wallpapered over

and your street
my street
our street becomes
“Salesforce Place” or
“Über Way”

and no one walks on it

62 C harlie G etter
it’s only traversed by
autonomous vehicles
delivering organic avocado toast to
phallic hi-rises

and although avocado toast
is delicious
my wish is
it can’t block
your memory
or chase me away
from you

we still have things to do

Charlie Getter 63
ER YL DUMESN
CH IL
WHA D
T YOU
N E V U G H T W OUL
H ER THO
A P PEN K
EEPS HAPPENING

I. Ember

Fifty miles southwest of the fire line, I expect
refugees to arrive any minute, jays swooping down

from the mountain, bewildered deer sniffing
the air. What can I offer but a handful of acorns

and empathy? Why would they trust me anyway?

*

II. They Name the Fires

and we watch the statistics rise:

Ferguson: 57,846 acres, 2 fatalities, 33% contained.
Carr: 100,154 acres, 6 fatalities, 27% contained.
Mendocino Complex: 74,408 acres, 0 fatalities, 9%
contained.

From evacuees: words like hellfire, end times.

65
*

III. Glow

The billboard spells out Yosemite Valley Closed
in lights orange as the sun behind this scrim of
smoke.

*

IV. Cause
Vehicle Mechanical Failure could mean a tractor
backfired
or an old carburetor emitted a spark, which means

it could just as easily have been me who pulled my
ailing
Mercury Lynx over to the shoulder and left it idling

too long in the tinder box. Except when the
mechanic removed
my car’s salt-eaten converter cover from the
undercarriage,

she warned me not to drive my car into a field of dry
weeds,
which means the difference between an alpine-blue
sky

66 C H E R Y L DUME SNI L
and a great-grandmother found huddled under a wet
blanket with her two great-grandbabies, all of them
dead,

is the right words at the right time, a bit of dumb
luck.

*

V. Mama Said

I’m sure my grandmother
did the best she could

to take care of my babies.
I’m sure she did.

*

VI. Spark

A man recovers his deceased
mother’s engagement ring
from the ash heap and calls

the charred jeweler’s box
a miracle, the impeccable
diamond, a swirl of rose gold.

Cheryl Dumesnil 67
*

VII. Freeway

The white flakes whipped up
in the car drafts

look like ash until you hear
the migrant butterflies

smacking your windshield.

*

VIII. Answer

Is it possible that love,
which is too small an answer,
is also the only answer?

*

IX. Firescape

The black cow grazing the charred hillside
would be invisible if not for her flank

rippling as she steps forward, nosing the ash.
What can she expect to find? The only

bovine for miles in this charcoal on charcoal

68 C heryl Dumesnil
sketch set against a parchment sky.

*

X. Ownership

I can’t breathe belongs to one man’s
chokehold, one man’s throat, and

countless others fearing the same
for their loves. Just as Be like Mike

belongs to the Adonis-man who
learned to fly, his silhouette lifting

to the heavens a sphere that could be
the answer to all questions, or

a rust-colored sun continuing its arc.

*

XI. Echo

How can I help?
she asks again,
but the world has turned
to stone.

Cheryl Dumesnil 69
*

XII. Glossary

Today’s vocabulary: fire whirl,
fire devil, fire vortex, hot enough

to stir its own weather system,
wind toppling trees miles outside

the burn zone: upturned roots,
a crater in the lawn, the willow

smashed against the eaves.

*

XIII. Image

A two-year-old girl
wearing a red dress

and firefighter rainboots
delivers burritos

to the line crew
while her mother films

and the Internet sighs.

70 C heryl Dumesnil
*

XIV. Smoke

presses its truth against the sky:

either your house is on fire, or you’re pulling
someone else’s tragedy into your lungs.

I force my chest to rise.

*

XV. Manzanita

I’m not going to tell you
Greenleaf manzanita seed dormancy

is partially broken by fire.
I’m not going to tell you

Greenleaf manzanita seedlings
appear in large numbers

during the postfire spring.
Forecasters predict there is

no post-fire to this hurting.
Just ink, transcribing the ache.

*

Cheryl Dumesnil 71
AT HER ROBINSO
HE N
GOLIATH AND DAVID

I am David
and I’m Goliath
I’m David’s pissed off little sister
who never got a sling shot
and rips the heads off her dolls.
I’m Goliath’s mom,
The only one who knows his heart is as tender
as a kitten’s paw
and that he would rather be a poet
or a cloud
or almost anything else.
I’m the white knuckled grip around the handle.
The rock slicing through a true blue sky.
The Earth as it softly trembles from the fall
Blades of grass bending forward and back to absorb
him.
I am the quiet of last breath.
The howl of first.
I am a bird circling overhead who knows the
answer.
I am the question. 73
ZEYA QUATE
ELI

FLYING

A-
cross
the
sky
I’m
think-
ing
how
the
air
is
not
really
emp-
ty
up
here
at
all,
in-
stead
the
air
is

75
full
of
tiny
hands
we
can-
not
see.

76 E L I Z E YA QUAT E
ber 16, 2018 -
- septem