Spring Quarterly – Urban (May 2014 / 14.10)
Francis Denis is a semi-professional French painter. One reviewer states emphatically: “Francis’ abstract figurative paintings evolve around the single theme of emotion. Everything in these mysterious works is centered around the humble and sad angst that the figures portray. How Francis does this is quite spectacular. Set on a single tone backdrop, an immediate mood is set by the colour of these bold platforms. The expressive brushwork uses contrasting tones and the white outline of his subjects creates an almost collage-like aesthetic. [His work] allows for a playful and engaging guessing game for the viewer.”
Schoenberg, Los Angeles
Eighty degrees as the marine layer peeled away, he stood in his brown suit by the walkway gate to ponder the chirping of migratory birds. The palms were deceitful, their spiked shadows presaging a darker clime as the sun fell softly on the wide street lined by enormous cars of the new empire. The air slowly gathered with nasal tones of distracted Americans and the rumble of an airliner. The overwrought hairstyle of a teenager caught his eye. He thought of Webern’s last cigar and his breath loosened. A suite of flowering tension and harmony, a discordant balance, washed across his mind as he lowered himself to sit on the grassy berm. He had chimed the bells for the old gods that would not survive the twentieth century, but he would not make the night’s recital. In this enterprise of painlessness, this Los Angeles that saved him, the final piece could not be scored.
Gary Sloboda is a lawyer, writer, and musician, but not necessarily in that order. His work has appeared in a variety of venues and is forthcoming from Blackbox Manifold and Nerve Lantern. He is currently writing a book-length collection of prose poems entitled Tremor Philosophies. He lives in San Francisco.
For the advertisement I’m using slanted beams, rust and light brown, and letters in different fonts. Ludwig is excited about my new store. He publishes a newspaper read in three cities. When people come, I will have to lie on my back. They will then climb on me and walk around my navel for entire afternoons. Strange feeling on the skin. I still have to write the text and Ludwig urges me to do it today. I add yellow and blue semicircles, but I forgot what it was I wanted to sell.
Rupprecht Mayer was born 1946 near Salzburg. After some 20 years living and working in Taiwan, Beijing, and Shanghai, he recently resettled in SE Bavaria. He translates Chinese literature and writes short prose and poetry in German and English. English versions have appeared in AGNI Online, Bicycle Review, Frostwriting, Gravel, Hobart, Mikrokosmos/Mojo, NAP, Nano Fiction, Ninth Letter, Orange Quarterly, Postcard Shorts, Prick of the Spindle, Watershed Review, and elsewhere. More here.
They were renting out rooms in a converted morgue.
The day we visited, you climbed into one of the cubicles
they called a room and pulled me on top of you.
There was minimal marring, but you were rough
so I made a citizen’s arrest. Nothing came of it,
no policemen in their little suits. I looked everywhere
for flowers but didn’t see any. I thought maybe
there would be holdovers from when there were
dead people, the toxic pattern of abuse we put
ourselves through in order to mourn. Or maybe
it’s just a means of getting out our disappointment
in a beautiful way. Outside the old morgue,
when we were leaving, I saw a family
of little brown birds lying in a nest. I couldn’t tell
in the time it took for you to pull me away
from that scene, that small family, what love
might exist between them. I do know that you
have healed yourself of all feelings of empathy.
I am witness to that, and victim also. I am what
you might call a spoke on the cycle of heart-
ache. Some days, I am capable of confrontation,
but there are times I kill my insides like pouring
acid down a chute you know has live things
clinging to it. It might not be a pretty picture,
the one in which we live, but we do reside
together, our toxicity, our grief.
Kate Lutzner’s poetry has appeared in such journals as Antioch Review and Rattle. She has been featured in Verse Daily.
We all go to our living room windows at the same time and look out across the courtyard at each other. Four buildings, six stories each—arranged in a square with each apartment exactly alike—the living room facing the courtyard. This might have been student housing at one time and now it’s subsidized Manhattan rentals. No one seems to know who started the six o’clock Peek.
I use binoculars but some people use telescopes to look at each other. No one seems to mind but they do care if there is no one looking out from an apartment. Also, no one seems bothered that besides the six o’clock Peek there are neighbors looking in at neighbors at all hours of the day and night. For years people have waved to the same people and feuds have broken out if someone you’ve waved to at the Peek suddenly is waving to someone else.
The Peek lasts five minutes, tops—that’s all—five minutes and then people go on about their business. Sometimes a whole family will be in on the Peek but most often it’s just one person who takes on the responsibility.
I’m subletting for six months after waiting a while to get into this building. I have my favorite “Peeks”—the blossoming teenage girl in 4C, the elderly couple who don’t peek but stand holding hands and smiling in 5A, and the woman in 2C who barely gets home in time for the “Peek”. She’s lovely and has a telescope but uses it sparingly. She stands in front of her bay window most evenings and lights up then looks around before honing in on my window appearing to be staring only at me as I stand back in the shadows. I wonder if she was used to Peeking at the person I sublet from.
Last night she held up a sheet of paper where she had written, “Phone?” Since I couldn’t comfortably show her my cell phone number I wanted to show her the apartment phone number with its answering machine using my own sign, but then that could lead to a phone message which could possibly lead to a courtyard meeting (and there are many) which would mean that she’d ask me to take off my ski mask and I’m not quite ready yet, after only two years, to let my former wife know that I’m still obsessed with her despite the court-ordered injunction.
Paul Beckman used to be a realtor, air traffic controller, pin setter,
numbers runner, and other things. These days he’s a zeyde who writes, travels,
and takes pictures both above and beneath the water. Publishing credits include Metazen, Connotation Press, Existere, Molotov Cocktail, Pure Slush, The Brooklyner, 5 Trope, Blink-Ink, Litro, Soundzine,Opium, Playboy, The Connecticut Review, Ascent Aspirations, and other publications online, in print, and via audio. More here.
Michael T. Young
Whatever the fog was getting at this morning
needed time and a large canvas, had something
to do with bird flight and the luxuries of risk,
all the conflicting possibilities hanging
in a blue-gray tent canopy sagging over buildings,
the tallest draped like statues hesitant before an unveiling,
the marble features shoving through into beautiful
shadows, then later, dropping to the ground
like a down quilt shrouding the sidewalks,
not in the expected folds but in a thought of feathers,
a molting in cycles of the Hudson’s current
and the Colgate clock lifting its face just above the creases,
timing each variation, because at any moment
from the bank of crystal fragments, the discards
of high altitudes, the hollow bones could split off,
but only later, much later, thinning out over the water,
spreading up in imitation of a landscape
where the mind is ready to find its own way.