Taking the Right Step by Cheryl Traylor

Concrete stairs surround by greenery
 

Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual. We are not handed a guide at birth entitled Fail-proof Steps to Living This Life. As such, I’ve lived most of my life through a lot of trial and error—heavy on the error side. I’ve also learned that sometimes I just have to take the next right step and try not to run the entire marathon at once. I’m getting ok with that practice. There is a source that I go to often for life advice. Poet Mary Oliver never fails to enlighten me or ease my weariness. She … Continue reading Taking the Right Step by Cheryl Traylor

Between Lanes by Stephen Poleskie


 

Off to my left the dark current of the Hudson River rushed downstream at 65 mph, a magnificent sight, but at the moment my mind was concentrating on the tail lights bobbing and weaving in and out of traffic in front of me. I was somewhere in the middle of the pack, an anonymous group of motorcycle enthusiasts who met on summer evenings on Eighth Street in Greenwich Village to ride out together. Being, more or less, one of the regulars, but never the leader, I would hang around, chatting and ogling the passing chicks, … Continue reading Between Lanes by Stephen Poleskie

After the Magician by Stephanie Milner


 

Jessie had worked at Meyers Auditorium for six years, by then. When she had started during her fourth year in college (it took five to finish her social sciences degree), she hadn’t planned to stay that long. It had just been a good arrangement. The job paid better than others on campus. She controlled her own schedule because crew members picked which shows they worked. But in any case, she had stayed. She didn’t regret it. She liked how physical the work was. There was equipment to push, pull, and carry. Ladders to clamber up. … Continue reading After the Magician by Stephanie Milner

William Crawford’s DRIVE BY SHOOTING

Photo of man painting
 

Some of America’s greatest photographers roamed the country by automobile. They forever changed the context of artistic imagery. They eventually replaced traditional monochrome with color, and they shot the unnoticed aspects of the backside of our country. Stephen Shore, Bill Eggleston, and Lee Friedlander were well known, working members of this New York school of photography. I am their present day disciple. An avid minimalist shooter, I helped to invent “forensic foraging,” a throwback approach to modern digital photography. The heavily saturated, vivid color of these pictures drive the work. The subject matter is often banal … Continue reading William Crawford’s DRIVE BY SHOOTING

Learning the Names of Flowers and As Close as They can Whir to the Porch Light, 2 poems by Rodney Torreson

Photo of landscape covered in red and purple flowers
 

Learning the Names of Flowers Each day, when my wife reaches inside the mailbox, her eyes catch on the bright morning glories, whose vines have twirled up the post with glad faces. Somehow they know, better than she, her hidden will, that it’s for them she settles a foot on every porch step, one arm bearing the bluster of the bushes before she lingers in her strides toward the street, all the while maintaining an eye with irises and white gardenias, so that I’m surprised their spell has not swept her from our cares, drifted … Continue reading Learning the Names of Flowers and As Close as They can Whir to the Porch Light, 2 poems by Rodney Torreson

Erebus by Patrick Christie

Light barely penetrating through darkness
 

The Captain had not been himself ever since we extracted the frozen bird carcass from the ice. He had become withdrawn, seeking solitude, showing disinterest in his duties even as four of his men resided in the makeshift infirmary, coughing up blood all hours of the day.   The expedition had begun without incident. We departed from the Port of Bluff in New Zealand on the 3rd November and spent only five days caught in pack ice in our passage across the Ross Sea. We entered McMurdo Sound under sail and landed on Ross Island … Continue reading Erebus by Patrick Christie

The Enormous Gift by Laura Marello

Rocks in water
 

Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer. Simone Weil Love is not merely an emotion. It is a meltdown that reestablishes a more unified space of brilliance, goodness, and sadness. This is the real function of love in spiritual tradition. Lama Lodro Dorje   Last week, the week before my last semester of university teaching (online, in an unprecedented pandemic), I had the most extraordinary experience with a stranger that I have ever had in my long life. I was nervous as always about the semester starting, but extra nervous because of what that last full-time teaching … Continue reading The Enormous Gift by Laura Marello

Elmer Toon by Phil Gallos

Silhouette of man against water and sky
 

Summer Elmer Toon was always a little beyond the edge. Elmer shot across the bridge from Dorsey Street and onto the big parking lot, head thrust out over the front wheel as he peddled full tilt on a right-hand arc toward the river bank. Almost at pavement’s end, he stood up and threw the bicycle into a skid. The machine did as he wished. When it stopped, he was facing the direction from which he had come. Elmer scanned the backdoor faces of the Main Street buildings and the car-spangled field of blacktop that spread … Continue reading Elmer Toon by Phil Gallos

Maps: Surviving Social Distancing by David Roach

Old map of the world
 

Right now, sitting in my armchair, I’m imagining myself at the Camilla House bed and breakfast in Penzance, listening to Fiona, the charming proprietor, as she tells me about her favorite local restaurants and pubs. How can I be two places at once? I’m recalling my visit to Cornwall three years ago by looking at my Ordnance Survey Motoring Atlas of Britain. I love maps, especially road maps. Studying a map, I can see where I am, where I’m going, or where I’ve been. In my imagination, I convert its two dimensions into three, and … Continue reading Maps: Surviving Social Distancing by David Roach

Full Circle by A.R. Bender

Photo of Tacoma
 

Not long ago, I walked along a rustic road that wound its way through a thickly forested area, taking in the sounds and sights of nature. Eventually the growth of trees thinned out and I came upon a somewhat ramshackle building situated behind a gravel parking lot. There I stopped, as if waking from a trance. Just a short time before, I’d been strolling in a neighborhood of stately, craftsman homes that were built during the time when Tacoma was first being settled in the late 1800s. From there, however, I must‘ve followed a road … Continue reading Full Circle by A.R. Bender