Set in coastal California, The Loss Detector is a funny/sad portrait of teenage blues and of a small, transplanted family of non-conformists. The flawed but lovable characters in Pokrass' novella remind us of how the world's most beautiful places are not always the easiest in which to thrive. Moments of giddy, perceived freedom set against resignation dot the narrative in such a way that will leave you changed.
Life, Orange to Pear follows a man and his daughter Cyndi as they deal with life, the occult, Santa Claus, boys, and death. This universe is a strange and rich place, and sometimes it takes booze and a surreal understanding of sex and The Rockford Files to get through life. Mostly though what it takes is a deep and abiding love for the richness of oranges and pears, how their scent can take you over and make everything in the moment all right.
Five Ghost Stories is a collection of five meditations on isolation and absence, each with an abstract connection to the ghost towns that were quickly built in all of our hollowed-out cities over 2020. These stories drive through these new spaces in first gear, flash lighting, searching. Survivors carry those lost within them, in their rib cage, in their heart. Here are five ghost stories, the first one before you and the other four memorized by heart and waiting in their chambers.
In the New England town of Narrow Interior, 15 year old cancer survivor Gomer Faithcutt prepares for the practical Junior Life Saving Test while exploring both his own sexuality and the spectral secrets of a forgotten religious sect that once flourished in the town. As his father worries about his son’s health, Gomer learns about desire, friendship, and self-preservation. He glimpses who he can become because of (or despite?) his parents and forges a surprising connection with a mysterious neighbor.
Purgatory Has an Address is a dream state woven of origin myths, it is the search for birth parents; and it is the sober reality of living in a beautiful, pungent, red-lined neighborhood. Washington’s collection of poems speaks to the powerful desire to belong and be in community. It is an homage to the rugged determination of tumbleweeds and an encouragement to keep asking questions even if the answers do not magically appear.
In these mini memoirs, Peter Cherches revisits musical experiences, pleasures, and obsessions that have punctuated his life. A singer and lyricist as well as “one of the innovators of the short short story” (Publishers Weekly), Cherches writes here from the perspective of a voracious listener for whom music is a constant companion. Whether reminiscing about the joys of musical discovery or paying tribute to musicians who have inspired him, Cherches shares his passions with verve and wit. From an early baptism in Beatlemania, to adolescent encounters with free jazz, to expeditions for local musical treasures around the world, this collection of singles in prose is a testament to the sustaining power of music in our lives.
For playlists (Spotify and YouTube) as well as other links, please visit cherches-tracks.blogspot.com
In Every Bend, Gail Butensky's photography from a variety of colorful venues is on display, as are intimate photos the artist shot outside of the music scene that she has documented for decades. Every Bend is a collection of photographs sequenced by Butensky to resemble a road trip with diary entries for each encampment that is presented here. A fascinating journey and a feast for the eyes.
In April 1983, Upland High School senior Anna Marie Bachoc was brutally murdered by her boyfriend, sending waves of shock and disbelief through the quiet city that had branded itself “the city of gracious living.” 17 & Life is a meditation on her life, the life that might have been, and the loss that still haunts the community three decades on.
Each of the black boxes contains white pages, typed, one or two pages each, stapled at the top left corner. 300-500 word stories; all quite true, unfortunately. These are poetics of chaos. These are the stories I said I’d never write. The kind of stories, once heard, you can’t erase from your mind. Scenes you wish you’d never seen. Sensations you wish never to feel again. When I began writing, photography, and painting, I adopted what is rightly or wrongly termed the Hippocratic Oath that medical people are bound by: simply, do no harm. I’ve held these stories back.
“Words Become Ashes — An Offering” takes you on a pilgrimage in tunnels, on the ground, and above with mole, Changing Woman, polar bear, whale, and moon. Join an outsider on a journey, but not alone under Waning Quarter Moon with the protection of wolf. Tear out dead leaves and listens to the vibrations of the river. When the door seems closed of loss, letting go, and finding wisdom, “ashen trauma transmutes into music” in these ritual songs. Much for you to discover in the elements, layers, and textures of fiber art and poetry collaged together.
False Memories of a Cape Cod Clam Shack is a collection of notes, poems, past blog posts, and lyrics that explore the playful morbidities associated with daily existence. The writings will bring you into crematoriums where groceries are incinerated as well as caves full of dead NPR reporters. Witch babies align with black ops interlopers and reservoirs are filled with sentient brown trout and Irish estrogen. Blatant truths and foolish rhymes dance together throughout this collection, affording the reader to either accept the performance or move forward in horror.
The chapbook Portrait of a Deputy Public Defender (or how I became a punk rock lawyer) by Juanita E. Mantz, Esq. is a multi-genre chapbook containing memoir pieces, social justice essays and poetry. It describes the author’s love of punk rock and her quest to challenge the system of mass incarceration as a deputy public defender and the intersection between punk rock and public defense.
In this chapbook, explore three worlds in which three brave women push against the external structures of their strange worlds that almost work the same way as ours. Not all is as it seems but courage, wonder, and preservation abound.
The 909 is a sci-fi script for a movie set in the near-future and taking the form of a reality documentary. The plot centers on a group of people who discuss the implications of “The Mesh”, the technology that replaced the ’Net. Conspiracies, intrigue, and good old-fashioned camaraderie occupy these characters’ thoughts as they try to retain a sense of individuality in an increasingly watchful society.
Wild Embrace is a collection of poetry written by Tim Hatch (a damaged-but-resilient child abuse survivor) that explores themes of abuse, fragility, and our human obligation to one another.
A privileged bird leads a sheltered life of slow decline while the birds in the village work hard to improve their lot.
In the spring of 2020, shortly after he had started wearing a face mask outside his home, Peter Cherches began writing about masks, literally the face of COVID-19. These 16 stories, written between April and December of that year, capture the surreal experience of living through a global pandemic and all its attendant challenges—personal, political, and social. This small volume is both a mask-muffled cry and a full-throated belly laugh. Reactions are to be expected, and are no cause for concern.
God in a Can is a collection of flash and micro fictions that looks at life through a surreal, and often humorous lens, at various societal behaviors, perceptions at a slant, and unusual scenarios. Paradoxically, the underpinnings, at the core, can be very real in the way the stories explore how we live, struggle to live, and hope to.
The poems in Novel are what happen when you teach a cat to type. They will lead you across a bridge made of bread, through a door in the forest, to a paddock containing stories. They will tell you that it’s not that the dead cannot tie their shoes, they just refuse to. That architects design the elements to withstand the structure. That loose ends are beautiful if not useless. If you’ve picked up this book because you like poems that know where they are going, hurry. Put the book down. You will need to run after them.
In Border/Between: A Symphony in Essays, Carol D. Marsh writes about death, addictions, and war while also exploring how written form and expression have a counterpart in music. Structured upon the 4-movement symphony and incorporating other forms such as the rock song and the Requiem, Border/Between seeks and finds its place in what lies between the sharp and unforgiving edges of ideology and judgment. In refusing to allow borders to govern her, Marsh is able to bring compassion and hope to what seems irredeemable.
In this mini-collection of city/country poems in mostly free verse, Stephanie Barbé Hammer runs in and out of sprinklers in a Manhattan playground, picks up a slug by accident in the Cascades, reads about sequoia on 5th avenue, make an uncomfortable journey to the Hôpital américain in Paris, strolls a surprisingly sensual Geneva Switzerland at 2 am, encounters a mountain lion in Anaheim Hills, boards buses and trains In Los Angeles, and attempts repeatedly to make peace with living in rural Washington State, with the spiritual assistance of Eva Gabor.
Shaun was an accomplished musician, and singer. He started singing and playing the clarinet when he was young, and sang in an a cappella group in Hollywood. I started writing the poems for Missing Shaun because it was my way to get my emotions out, to lay them down on paper, and to try to leave them somewhere safe. These poems were written mostly in the first few moments and days when our emotions were raw, when it was still hard to believe that we had lost him. The last section of poems are a few small letters to you.
In After the Dome Fire, author Ruth Nolan takes readers on an eco-poetic journey through the wilderness of California's Mojave Desert and Southern California, and the work of firefighting and raising a daughter as a single parent in a rough yet nurturing landscape. The poems also evoke a fierce and beautiful "desert" revealed as a vibrant character with its own agency to survive and regenerate from the devastating impacts of wildfires, and remind us all of the power of our desert environment to inspire and regenerate the human spirit.
Lyon Street is a love letter to a perpetually reincarnating city that often fails to remember itself. Reading Lyon Street, says novelist David Scott Ewers, is to imbibe “a San Francisco of the Mind.” This art piece’s linked poems, playing as jazz solos over common changes, evocative artwork, street map design, and playfully archival elements conjure a San Francisco in which past and possibility provocatively entwine. Its poems animate a more dangerous, often tragic, yet truly gentle San Francisco lost, reckon with seismic shifts in this forgetful place, and come to embrace the enduring openness of life at Pacific’s edge.
Like a farmer rotating his crops, Peter Wortsman periodically ploughs words back into the mulch of meaning. Romanian émigré DADA poet Tristran Tzara (aka Samuel Rosenstock, 1896-1963) gave it a name: cut-up (or “découpé” in French). Wortsman reverts to cutups when he's too distracted, depressed, dumbfounded or deranged to write in the regular manner. As the isolation of virtual lockdown during the seemingly interminable Covid-19 pandemic stretches into its third year, Wortsman, a modern-day monk, languishes in the solitude of his cell, longing for meaningful communion. Absent belief in a transcendent being, cutups take the place of prayer.
The twelfth studio record by Refrigerator expands the line-up to five with the addition of Mark Givens from WCKR SPGT on second guitar. Along for the ride are guest appearances by legendary singer Claudia Lennear (vocals on the first single “Broken Glass Shore”), Shrimper Records stalwart Franklin Bruno, and the additional hand of Scott Solter, who mixed the record, which rests in a gorgeous sleeve with artwork by Jean Smith. The lovely live bleed of a band playing together in one room—guitars spilling onto the drum tracks, cymbals biting into the feedback from the amps—captures the live sound of Refrigerator as never before on record as caught by engineer Steve Folta.
There are two physical versions of the record, one on black 160 gram vinyl, as well as a deluxe edition, available on green and white swirled vinyl that couples a bonus CD with six tracks to a fifty page Bamboo Dart Press chapbook that features drawings, short stories, photographs, lyrics and essays by the band, in an edition of 150 copies.
Horde of Two’s I Knew I was a Rebel Then features a six-song CD and an accompanying chapbook, which includes two intertwined stories on the nature of triumph, defeat and legacy.