How to Fight the Self-Doubt that Comes with Writing Your First Book by Lauren Sapala

Photo of paper with messy writing on it
 

Writing my first novel was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It took me two full years to get through the first draft, and I felt like I was slogging my way through the entire time. I would write sections of the book and read over what I had written and cringe. Sure, I also had days where I felt like I had actually written something good, but most of the time I was full of self-doubt. I had never written a book before, so I had no idea what I was doing. I tried … Continue reading How to Fight the Self-Doubt that Comes with Writing Your First Book by Lauren Sapala

Mothers’ Day, 2016 by Joanna Lee

color photo of fallen bird's nest on asphalt
 

Joanna Lee is a finalist of Streetlight Magazine’s 2019 Poetry Contest.   We found two dead babies on the back granite slab that serves as a stoop, the same we salvaged from up home years ago, decaying in dad’s back yard. Birds. Their legs curled yellow and twisted, contracture of unbecoming; their angry mother with her shiny eye tearing the nails from the roof to get back to the nest we had so carefully sealed. Beside the bodies, the debris of a home: gaping …….hole in the gutters; pale fluffs of matted insulation; a casket-less … Continue reading Mothers’ Day, 2016 by Joanna Lee

Neglecting the Work by Ann E. Michael

Photo of white, rusty old Dodge
 

It seemed to me to have been a long time since I devoted serious focus to my creative work—I mean in terms of organizing, keeping track, revising, submitting to journals, compiling a draft manuscript of newer work…the so-called business of poetry. I resolved therefore to spend a weekend at the task. Alas. The weekend revealed to me the extent of my benign neglect: ten years of not-really-being-on-the-ball. I do not consider myself a particularly prolific poet, but I found myself faced with well over a ream of poetry pages, many poems only in their second … Continue reading Neglecting the Work by Ann E. Michael

JFK and Me by Mary Pacifico Curtis

Photo of news headline reading "Kennedy Dead"
 

In retrospect, I must have taken people by surprise, a seven-year-old standing alone on the corner of Cedar and State Street, passing out bumper stickers and campaign buttons for JFK. It was an act of irony and early independence, having been born into a solidly Republican family marred only by the fact that my mother had voted for FDR…and now me. Passing out understates my zeal; I was determined to get a button on every passing lapel, to undermine the integrity of gleaming chrome with that red white and blue strip featuring the name Kennedy … Continue reading JFK and Me by Mary Pacifico Curtis

The Moon We Landed On by Marco Patitucci

Black and white photo of moon craters
 

Marco Patitucci is a finalist of Streetlight Magazine’s 2019 Poetry Contest.   We measured small steps as giant leaps and never felt sameness, nameless lunar imposters dancing over the craters singing— but the sound didn’t travel. How tenuous is the tether to gravity in our story? Here lies his and hers— nostalgia in different sizes. On Earth, we searched for our traversing selves and the moon we landed on, chasing reflections of streetlight and headlight, and porch light. How did you steal that anti-gravity and put it in my pocket? You pushed me with such … Continue reading The Moon We Landed On by Marco Patitucci

Postcards and Authors by Anita Martin

Collage of different postcards
 

You are quirky in a very classy way. Postcards and trinkets and such. You make it all so interesting. Unathi to Anita Dear Debbie, Is your spirit smiling as I work on my third act? It’s been over ten years since the ovarian cancer took you away, and much longer since we brainstormed Mail Just for Me. Do you remember? It was before websites and social media and we were going to create a correspondence for kids. The plan was to learn about the girls and boys, individualize the notes that we sent. I loved … Continue reading Postcards and Authors by Anita Martin

Talisman by E.H. Jacobs

Abstract painting
 

Morning hunkered over the house, gray and unyielding, pressing through the spaces between the drawn shade and the window frame. Wes sat on the edge of the bed in underwear and socks, next to a newly cleaned and pressed suit, still in dry-cleaner’s plastic. The only other furniture a three-drawer dresser and two nightstands of unfinished pine. His closet door stood half-open, exposing the dimly lit shelves and the t-shirts, sweaters and pants piled upon them. In searching for a belt, he had noticed a bright blue fold of fabric slumping over the shelf at … Continue reading Talisman by E.H. Jacobs

Fear Has No Hospice by Alina Stefanescu

color photo of hospital corridor
 

Alina Stefanescu is a finalist of Streetlight Magazine’s 2019 Poetry Contest.   In my terror-hemmed flesh. The wince against their raised voices of desperate sirens, careful guarding of pulse from impatient ambulance. Fears keep folding and holding me while cars wait for normal patterns to resume. Panic is the metaphysics of knowing anything may be normal en route to normalization. An unworded dream: discovering you, the man I love, in the lobby of frightened husbands who learn the lingo of cancer to buy time for their wives’ lives. The worst would be watching you lose … Continue reading Fear Has No Hospice by Alina Stefanescu

Background! by Miles Fowler

Photo of eight men
 

In 1982, when I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, I became what most movie-goers would call an extra, or what the movie business objectifies as “background.” I was in at least four movies, three of them big releases. A friend of mine, John-Michael, told me he was an extra on the The Right Stuff and said if I wanted to be one, too, I should go to Northern California Casting in San Francisco. There I was told to get a haircut, put on a conservative suit, and show up at the Cow Palace … Continue reading Background! by Miles Fowler

And You, Do You Love Too? and Not Really a Game, Not Really, 2 poems by Claire Scott

Photo of child crossing sign ahead and narrow sidewalk
 

AND YOU, DO YOU LOVE TOO? I said I think I said I must have said don’t cross did I know should I have known did I email, call, text stay on the sidewalk he was far away was he ever far from me did I do nothing when I knew I must have known the driver sunblind was it today or Tuesday or last week I called out did I I must have after all he is my son   NOT REALLY A GAME, NOT REALLY DUCK DUCK DUCK DUCK chants Kathy running around … Continue reading And You, Do You Love Too? and Not Really a Game, Not Really, 2 poems by Claire Scott

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