July 6-12, 2015: Lana Bella and Jay Passer

Lana Bella and Jay Passer

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Lana Bella

Bio (auto)

I have a diverse work of poetry and flash fiction published and forthcoming with Anak Sastra, Atlas Poetica, Bewildering Stories, Eunoia Review, Cecil’s Writers’ Magazine, Deltona Howl, Earl of Plaid Lit, Family Travel Haiku, First Literary Review-East, Foliate Oak Literary, Global Poetry, Nature Writing, The Commonline Journal, The Higgs Weldon, The Voices Project, War Anthology: We Go On, Thought Notebook, Wilderness House Literary Review, Undertow Tanka Review, Wordpool Press, and Featured Artist with Quail Bell Magazine. I live bi-continents, in the US (Burbank, California) and Asia (Nha Trang, Vietnam). I am a wife, and a mom of two frolicsome imps. Visit me on Facebook here.

The following work is Copyright © 2015, and owned by Lana Bella and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

A Night in Harlem

Darkness dives upon Harlem,
tearing off the moon from the knife-edged snow
splinters of gold bleed the ground,
and smear the lidded heads of thick human throng.
Set bay windows stack in symmetry under the
shop awnings,
chalky flakes blur the cut-out frames,
glowing of scavenged light.
Tonight, the moon hitches on the back of sleep,
snagging flying notes ping-pong over from
the nearby Paris Blues’ bar,
where a drove of patrons loiter on pulverized sidewalk,
a ghost of mist snake round their scuffed boots,
as yellow cabs scurry upon potholed street, spewing an ocean
of acid rain.
A short-skirted dame tumbles out of a dark limousine
with spinning wheels by the loading dock,
a textile cloud of laurel green, champagne pink and licorice black,
struts up the steps,
trailing of perfume and sable fur.
Patting her puffed up hair,
tossing a hello at the bouncer there,
she digs through her long-strap purse for a pack
of Lucky Strike.
Cold air slaps wild and hard,
she lurches to cordon off the blast with her cupped fingers over
the cigarette, and the others flick fast on the flint wheel
it sputters then jolts to life in curious
states, part wind, part snow, part pitfall
the slim butt passes from stained lips
into deep smoky drags
entering, exiting,
then settling like a goodbye kiss.
She draws in the burned foliage of the evening,
tasting stale breath and hollow New York’s moon.


Jay Passer

Bio (auto)

Jay Passer lives in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, the city of his birth. His work has appeared in journals and periodicals in print and online since 1988. His books are The Dog I Fathered, Laugh Until You Scream, Only Human By Definition, and At the End of the Street (Corrupt Press / Luxembourg). He newest collection is Flower Omelette(with Misti-Rainwater-Lites).

The following work is Copyright © 2015, and owned by Jay Passer and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Native Song

I took an awl and poke and chisel
and righted the ship of oak and spruce
I’m trading in salt
Leaning port wise and jelly fish
the desiccate skies and fog horn’s boom
like a surgeon on toadstools and bad muscatel
I bought and sold
in turquoise and doubloons
minted times thrice, waving goodbye
from the journeyman wharves.
The ladies waited in the galleys
the ladies cheered from the steps of the Pantheon
I spooned and raked and thirsted and scored
I ate my city by the chunk and scale.
I fished for my city, casting nets
ran a marathon over seas churning and bombastic
geoduck and albatross had nothing on me
I’m trawling for more.
Cast your freedom in platinum of the damned
upend the unsound prehistoric tectonic backbone
send skyscrapers to your Mother back home
I’m giving my city the finger she wished for
in sewer holes and pinprick of the Eternal –
not only am I the tormentor of souls
I’m trading in stockpiles of scrimshaw and
baksheesh, the spine and the marrow
the native and immigrant and Euro.
I took a bat and a chainsaw, laser and maul
a lorry dump truck shuttle of quicksilver coal
I’m gonna build me a city
I’m gonna give it a name
Paris, Gotham, Metropolis, Rome
I’m aboard a dark craft headed for shore



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