Affectionate Weather

The fog came back
like it missed us,
wrapping the city in pearl gray,
kissing eyelashes and windows.

The great red bridge
became a myth, a short road
to a mystery you
aren’t meant to solve.

Her towers poke upwards
like lost fingers never
quite escaping to the sky.
All the islands are swallowed.

Mark J. Mitchell’s latest novel, The Magic War, just appeared from Loose Leaves Publishing. He studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver and George Hitchcock. His work has appeared in several anthologies and hundreds of periodicals. Three of his chapbooks—Three Visitors, Lent, 1999, and Artifacts and Relics—and the novel, Knight Prisoner, are available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. He lives with his wife, the activist and documentarian Joan Juster, and makes a living pointing out pretty things in San Francisco. A meager online presence can be found at https://www.facebook.com/MarkJMitchellwriter.

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Litany: The Language of Silence

            The language of silence

                        is a loose windowpane
                        while fog licks past

                        a wound that doesn’t bleed

                        it is music in a lab coat

                        waits on the other side
                        of the street, raincoat open

                        is chiseled with a plastic ring
                        in unraveled yarn

                        lurks east of tomorrow
                        peering through blinds

                        is folded by a blind dancer
                        into his paisley suitcase

                        is where melody
                        swallows misspelled words

                        hides in a cereal box
                        under your ruined house

The language of silence

                        arrives when it wishes
                        and it won’t let you leave

Mark J. Mitchell’s latest novel, The Magic War, just appeared from Loose Leaves Publishing. He studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver and George Hitchcock. His work has appeared in several anthologies and hundreds of periodicals. Three of his chapbooks—Three Visitors, Lent, 1999, and Artifacts and Relics—and the novel, Knight Prisoner, are available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. He lives with his wife, the activist and documentarian Joan Juster, and makes a living pointing out pretty things in San Francisco. A meager online presence can be found at https://www.facebook.com/MarkJMitchellwriter.

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The Uncle You Never Knew About

            after “Happiness” by Jane Kenyon

When he sputters above town in that single-engine plane
he inspects the bright palatial landscape: its
drying bedsheets, roaming dogs, two girls who look up
and wave as they climb a hill.

Who could sleep through the splendor of this town
at midafternoon? But your uncle has flown all this way
not to judge you ungrateful but to save you
from the hollow Sunday hours of your life.

This portly pilot is nothing like the drunk uncle,
the bitter laugh uncle, the famous molesting uncle.
Is he Santa? Is he your mother’s brother, or your father’s?
Or no blood relation, like your parents’ school friends?

They never mentioned him. It turns out your mother
met this uncle in town, in front of the supermarket,
when he asked for directions. Now he stands at your door;
you know him before he speaks. He opens his hand and presents
the nose an unkind person snatched off your face.

Ziggy Edwards is the proud owner of a loft bed. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her poems and short stories have appeared in publications including 5 AM Magazine, Confluence, Main Street Rag, Illumen, and Dreams and Nightmares.

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From an end is the towards to

Gossip shirted more your expositions the state fair

the state fair hang out at the race track with your father
your father dangles you upside down all your money
all your money falls out he hands you a ticket if you win

if you win he’ll give you your money back he’s said this
said this before he’s said this before he’s never meant it
said this before he says it again he won’t let you down

he won’t let you down you’re lucky in this position the horses
the horses see you in this position they decide who’s going to
who’s going to run by how you shiver when you’re so shirtless.

Hugh Behm-Steinberg is the author of Shy Green Fields (No Tell Books) and The Opposite of Work (JackLeg Press), as well as three Dusie chapbooks, Sorcery, Good Morning! and The Sound of Music. He’s a steward in the Adjunct Faculty Union at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, where for ten years he edited the journal Eleven Eleven.

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From an end is the towards to

Growing older then normally your own eyes split
seeing more, more which means not seeing
none of which works for everyone what

you need will warn you when it approaches

so it’s around, of what there’s been starting, three
cigarettes in a box of cigarettes / all manners no
lightning their blossoming like prayers coming

true costumes that simplify who you actually are
your sharp claws, your sharp claws, your sharp claws
gently picking what you love out of its shell.

Hugh Behm-Steinberg is the author of Shy Green Fields (No Tell Books) and The Opposite of Work (JackLeg Press), as well as three Dusie chapbooks, Sorcery, Good Morning! and The Sound of Music. He’s a steward in the Adjunct Faculty Union at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, where for ten years he edited the journal Eleven Eleven.

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From an end is the towards to

Take your wilderness itchy all over go along
convert it into privacy what you miss is going
to be a hole you don’t know you don’t know you

the young night, the blank, eyes not your own

have a forest there nobody owns it a mind on
top of all the subjects the same words everyone
thinks disjunctively it’s a curl on your speech

they’re just beetles and radically uninteresting
they’re just beetles the same words over and over
filling different holes with the same dirt didn’t you.

Hugh Behm-Steinberg is the author of Shy Green Fields (No Tell Books) and The Opposite of Work (JackLeg Press), as well as three Dusie chapbooks, Sorcery, Good Morning! and The Sound of Music. He’s a steward in the Adjunct Faculty Union at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, where for ten years he edited the journal Eleven Eleven.

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From an end is the towards to

A lot of ghosts in those factories they got
irregular heart beats it makes them excellent
drummers they’re philosophical about it

swapping the infinite for the good the elastic
time signature the helix or the clock stenographers
an office upstairs makes more clocks all those beats

out of do without either steady or until the medicine
works let them fall. They don’t have to struggle
with taking their bodies seriously assuming

nothing else is important or going on at all.

Hugh Behm-Steinberg is the author of Shy Green Fields (No Tell Books) and The Opposite of Work (JackLeg Press), as well as three Dusie chapbooks, Sorcery, Good Morning! and The Sound of Music. He’s a steward in the Adjunct Faculty Union at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, where for ten years he edited the journal Eleven Eleven.

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