By David Lukas

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Somewhere between these fantasies
of ocean parting eyed angels
and this swipe left swipe right
ephemeral bullshit
is the real thing
and if you’ve felt it
you know it isn’t special
and it isn’t different
and it isn’t anything new
but it is love
and it’s yours
and it’s heavy
and dirty
and drunk
walking barefoot down the street
sharing lips on a cigarette
with terrible breath in the morning
but you kiss them anyway.

David Lukas

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Interview w/ Carolyn Howard-Johnson

By Carol Smallwood

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of the multi award-winning series of HowToDoItFrugally books for writers, such as USA Book News’ winner, The Frugal Book Promoter. An instructor for UCLA Extension’s Writers Program for nearly a decade, her awards include Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment (given by members of the California Legislature), and Women Who Make Life Happen (given by the Pasadena Weekly newspaper). She is also an award-winning poet and novelist.

What was your first writing job?

My real first job was at The Salt Lake Tribune as a staff writer (and later, a columnist) when I was only eighteen. That was when we still used teletypes and they set the plates for a newspaper by pouring hot lead into forms! Journalism has never been more exciting than it was then!

What useful experience did you acquire at Good Housekeeping Magazine?

I learned that I liked the speed and fluster of real journalism better than the slow, careful, and detail-oriented stuff of magazines. We usually worked on an issue three months in advance so nothing was really current. Of course, the world wasn’t as speedy then, either.

You also studied outside the United States.

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Like a Whisper

By Stepy Kamei

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“Sorry to keep you waiting.”

You hurl your half-eaten protein bar into your bag as the good doctor comes into the claustrophobic examination room. You don’t know why, but you’ve always felt ashamed about being hungry, especially in front of doctors. Dr. Yee, or Yang, or something that sounds like it should be slapped onto the name of a dish at Panda Express, sits back down and makes eye contact with you, concern filling his eyes.

Is he an actor like you?

“I just really wanted to make sure I was getting the right information for you. I can tell you need help right away.” Great, now you’re a charity case. Bring in the celebrities, the dancing clowns looking for some good PR, am I right?

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The Mourning Doves

By Wendy R. Pierman

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The mourning doves arrive in March. 

Three perch on the rim of the pool and drink from the murky, winter thaw. Fresh droppings from shiny, black grackles in nearby trees decorate the plastic cover.  In shallow water is a fragile chick, plucked from its nest, of no use to the flock.  

The doves preen, side-by-side, heads bent, up and over, twisted, reaching. Black beaks nip into gray-brown feather down stripping parasites from within. Wild eyes like round Onyx pearls dart right and left, blinking, blinking. 

Three mourning doves coo ooh coo, shuffle side to side then flutter up and onto the splintered deck rail near the window.  

Beyond the reflection of the rain-gray sky, a woman lies fetal-like on the carpet. Wrecked. Her body, under her sweater, twitches.

She asks, Who are you?

But knows.  

A man leaves, triumphant. Heavy shoes with rubber soles make no sound across the shiny, lacquered parquet floor. 

No need to shut the door after one has opened the floodgates to words like useless, failure, disgust. 

She should have remembered the dry cleaning. 


They are at the door, the woman, the man, and the child. The man adjusts his golden cufflinks and checks his watch. 

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cover to cover with . . . Nathaniel Bellows

By Jordan Blum & Nathaniel Bellows

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Nathaniel Bellows (Credit: Ethan Hill)

An up-and-coming yet substantially celebrated creator, New York novelist, poet, visual artist, and musician Nathaniel Bellows is multitalented, to say the least. Thus far, he’s published two novels (On This Day and Nan: A Novel in Stories), a collection of poetry (Why Speak?), and several musical works. On March 30th, he’ll be issuing his second solo album, Swan and Wolf, a poignant collection of singer/songwriter gems.

On this episode of Cover to Cover with . . ., Editor-in-Chief Jordan Blum chats with Bellows about his various artistic outlets, the value of an MFA program, the splendor of Joanna Newsom’s Divers, and much more.


Nathaniel Bellows

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