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

Jenny Rossi: Many Shades of New England

Color photo closeup of leaf with water droplets
 

  New England is fertile ground for any photographer, and I enjoy drawing from this environment. I’ve long had a love of taking pictures. There’s the heft of a camera, the frustrating magic of lens, light, and alchemy of movement—the frozen awkward smile, or the contemplative stare unknowingly observed and crystalized in time. I took a photography course in high school and I’ll never forget the awe of first seeing Ansel Adams’s landscape photography. The expansive views, the richness. Until then, I didn’t know black and white photography could actually be that expressive. Unlike Adams, I don’t do … Continue reading Jenny Rossi: Many Shades of New England

Return To My Old Neighborhood by Yvonne Leach

color photo of empty street of old neighborhood and brick storefront
 

As I pass the willow-lined pond, the wheels on my bike click over new cement cracks from the toll of winter’s thaw. How is it that not much has changed? The arms of the same cedars droop over the same sidewalks. Patches of drenched lawn sprout through snow, and the two-story houses still sit clotted in time. The early spring sun braids through the pine-dotted park. I turn the familiar corner toward my elementary school; the now-faint rain paints a black scrawl across the playground. The old oak we climbed, stark gray trunk blotched and … Continue reading Return To My Old Neighborhood by Yvonne Leach

Writers and Artists—It’s Time for You to Stop Trying to Fit into Society’s Conventional Box by Lauren Sapala

Black & white photo of woman holding small box
 

All my life I’ve gotten into random conversations with people where the subject of our life trajectories comes up, and I always end up feeling kind of weird. This past weekend I hung out with a friend who told me he decided on his career path in high school, diligently researched colleges, applied himself strenuously to his field of study, threw himself at the best internships available, and then went on multiple rounds of job interviews with companies he had also heavily researched, and that’s how he ended up in his current job. He made … Continue reading Writers and Artists—It’s Time for You to Stop Trying to Fit into Society’s Conventional Box by Lauren Sapala

In My Dream by Stuart Gunter

Purple sky with lightning bolt
 

For Steve Gray, in Sarasota The pine tops burn orange, loud and strange: a train screaming on burning tracks into the full moon. The moon flutes sunlight to my upturned eyes: I am as unable as the stars to look away. The cinder block wall crumbles over the table of smoked meats, fire in the brazier casting tiny orange stars that drift toward the white moonlit clouds. The cows low. And I am crying. I am holding my life together with bubble gum and paper clips. I cannot hear the music coming from the basement. … Continue reading In My Dream by Stuart Gunter

Time To Write by Laura Marello

Little sign that says Write
 

So delicious—this light, this air, this time, my time, because I have constructed a solitary life in order to free up time to write. Ice chatters in cool, stevia-sugared lime juice; I look out through the window and see the avocado tree needs watering. But I do not get up because this is writing time, not plant-tending time, not cat-tending time, not house-repair time, nor house-cleaning time, not errands time, or social time, or work-for money-to-keep-me-alive time. It is not even job-application time. This is writing time. Even if what I write is shallow, or … Continue reading Time To Write by Laura Marello

Cold Beds by Michael Sandler

Photo of man gardening in muddy bed
 

Lobster mitts might cushion the ache, my hands numbed by these cold, rain-wet stalks. The stakes tenacious, anchored in beds slimed here and there with rot. Cut twine and a vine collapses, limp as kelp. Tug upward and a tired length slips from its dimple of earth dangling a matted root. I weeded, watered, pruned and came to believe I had claim to a red firmness slicing so cleanly it would flake onto my sandwich—I tried to persevere…But the fruit was blighted. The stems now lie in a composting reef—bed of bladder-wrack more fecund than … Continue reading Cold Beds by Michael Sandler

The Young Man at the Gym by Martha Woodroof

Photo of inside of church with vaulted ceiling
 

“I seem to have become an outrage addict,” I say to a young man at the gym. I’ve just glanced at the TV screens mounted on the wall in front of the aerobic equipment. As usual, CNN is in full eek mode, and so—like one of Pavlov’s well-conditioned dogs—I am eeking away. The young man is tall, thirty-ish, with dark, curly, blunt-cut hair. I am tall, seventy-one, with long, greying, ash-brown hair that stays permanently ahoo. We are both serious weight-lifters, albeit his free weights are a lot heavier than my Cybex stacks. “I gave … Continue reading The Young Man at the Gym by Martha Woodroof

Vena Amoris by Kathleen McKitty Harris

Photo of hand with wedding rings on ring finger
 

When he put this ring on my finger, my skin was smoother, and more supple. My hand was thinner, and less freckled than it is now. When he asked me to marry him, he got down on one knee in front of the London flat where he had once lived, and where our love had blossomed—when we were both study-abroad college students living on Dunhills and half-pints of lager and takeaway curry fries, and falling outrageously in love with each other. On the night we got engaged, we lay in a hotel bed after too … Continue reading Vena Amoris by Kathleen McKitty Harris

Salmonella Summer by Suzanne C. Martinez

Photo of person in sky hanging from a parachute
 

I spent four days and nights smashed against a bus window in transit to my first husband’s family reunion half nauseous from breathing in the diesel fumes and the aroma of the chemical toilet a few feet behind us. The vinyl seat stuck to the back of my thighs, as he seeped into my half of the bench I was sharing with him. He was a big guy, Swedish-Norwegian and a lapsed Mormon. Six months earlier he’d announced it was necessary for him to move out so he could enjoy anonymous sex, drugs, drinking and … Continue reading Salmonella Summer by Suzanne C. Martinez

Streetlight Magazine is the non-profit home for unpublished fiction, poetry, essays, and art that inspires. Submit your work today!