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Mockingbird by John Grey

Sure I know it’s a forged song
but that doesn’t stop me listening.

It’s a snatch of titmouse, a little ambulance,
some Sinatra through a window,
and the opening bars of Fur Elise.

That’s not a bird singing
from the chimney-top
but the world’s first sampler.

Like me,
it has no tune of its own,
must borrow, steal,
and hope the mishmash
is unrecognizable to its source.

Out of bed I get,
drink coffee as the commercials say,
kiss my wife on my cheek
as my father did my mother before me.
I shower for no reason
other than I always do.
I wear what my job demands.

Off I go into the world,
whistling something
I must have heard
somebody hear somewhere.

About the Author: John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review.

For the Love of Bread by Joy Plummer

I first made bread in 1994. I bought a bread machine from a friend for $75. I made one loaf, and it came out perfectly. I made a second loaf, and it was about half right, half edible. The third loaf was completely wrong and inedible. I had no idea why.

[interior crumb of sourdough]

At the same time, my mother gave me an old hippie cookbook called Laurel’s Kitchen, a vegetarian cookbook published out of Berkeley in the mid-1970s. The vegetarian recipes were awful – way too bland for today’s palate. But the bread recipes were wholesome and excellent. While I was failing with my bread machine, I started attempting bread by hand. It was awesome! I made whole wheat bread, rye bread, and I don’t even remember what else, but it was all so good. I sold my bread machine for $75.

sliced multi-grain with cranberries

When my oldest daughter was born, I found freedom by carrying her everywhere in a Baby Bjorn. I remember the first time I decided to make challah. I put Sophie in her carrier, and mixed my dough. I remember kneading the dough on the counter, and noticing that the gentle rocking, back and forth from my heels to my toes, had put Sophie to sleep. It was, indeed, entirely soothing to me, too.

sesame challah

And then, I discovered a bread revolution happening around me. Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread method started sweeping through the DIY foodie community, so of course, being somewhat undaunted by the bread process, I tried it. CRUSTY BREAD!! And it was so easy and OUTSTANDINGLY delicious! I joined a bread group on Facebook, and someone recommended Ken Forkish’s Flour Water Yeast Salt. Now this was serious. I read every page and followed the instructions exactly as written. And I was becoming more advanced with every boule I made.

4 boules of sourdoughThe next big step was attempting sourdough. I’ve failed many attempts at growing things. I used to say that I could grow anything, as long as I could nurse it. But again, I followed Forkish’s instructions, and I made sourdough! I was making bread rise with a precious mix of flour and water!

3 seeded boules

I noticed that every time I put my hands in dough that any tension, stress, or frustration I had, dissipated. I was calm, focused, content. Making bread requires presence. All the mathematical calculations (it’s a ratio, yo), the weighing, the testing, and then working the dough to where it feels right, feeling how it changes over time…. You breathe into the process. It’s a meditation.

twisted chocolate challah

Now, I’m a member of a global community of people who nerd out on milling grains into flour, trying different kinds of breads from all around the world, and who strive to perfect our craft. But bread people are also generous and kind. Someone posts a picture of a crusty boule that pancaked when they put it into the oven. “Does it taste good?” That’s all that matters. Everyone makes a loaf that doesn’t perform the way you expected sometimes. It doesn’t matter. Try again.


I started selling bread to friends less than a year ago. My first week, I took 25 orders. The week before Christmas, I took 73 orders. Every week since I began, I have gotten one to two new customers. People are hungry for fresh bread. People are so happy when they get bread from me. Bread is goodness. Bread is for feeding your body and your spirit. Bread is for feeding your family. Bread is for sharing. Bread is love.

English muffins

About the Author, Joy Plummer

Joy PlummerJoy Plummer has been working in the food industry for seven years as a baker, caterer, and personal chef. A desire to set boundaries on food intake led her to a brief 2-year stint as a vegan, but she decided that she loved food adventures and her zaftig body more. She continues to serve personal chef clients, but bread is her true love. She plans to open a bread-centered restaurant in 2018. Joy lives in the San Francisco metropolitan area with her husband and three kids. Learn more about her on Facebook.

In Theory by Æverett

Open Book

I have faith in impossible things.
in angels and airwaves and mystic tarot.
angels with black wings and blacker eyes.

A metric ton of sound bursts overhead, ringing and vibrating and thrumming. Alive. Real. It digs in, it melts, it Becomes. It grows at an exponential rate and tears the flesh before its rampage to shreds. It reverberates and the onslaught repeats. It hums. It swells. It smashes all the windows.
Glass on the floor cuts my naked feet.


I believe in heartfelt androids—
he smiles so sweetly, you know.
I believe in Tongues—
it just takes learning.
Saints are just dead men. Don’t worship them.

that’s blasphemy.       It is.

I have faith in impossible things.
in the end of everything and the kindness of others.
a touch on the shoulder…

a gentle kiss—       I miss that.

I pray for impossible things. I always will.
go on, fight me! *thumps on chest*

The book sits there, untouched, and weeping. He bleeds for her. And she doesn’t even care. The ache is raw— and the cacophony is shredding his every. damn. page. Flesh thrown asunder in all directions, splattering on the walls, the ceiling. And the voice laughs. And she echoes it. It’s a friend of hers, and she loves that sound; it always makes her joy. She is, in fact, in love with him. And he is so very jealous. So very, very fucking jealous.


He lets it go, lets himself die— And cries with regret when she begins picking up his disparate pieces, still crying with laughter in echo. Crying with laughter in echo.

I love you.
damn do I love you.
Seeing your name on the caller ID makes me so happy.
Thank you for being.

Thank you for being.
On an empty street, I hear a familiar voice. I guess the street isn’t so empty. I follow it, and for the first time, see the face. It echoes in my memory with so many accompanying images. But not this one. Never this one.

Fear. Thrill.

I have never felt unsafe in a dark parking lot. I have always felt the Predator. I am a Predator now. But I will not hunt this. I back away. I watch. And I etch it in my memory— the sound of your laughing and the sight of it leaving your lips. I turn from you, completely unseen, unknown, undisclosed, and I walk away from you.

The sound of laughter chases me.

I will remain undisclosed.
You will never know.
It is my sick little secret.
sick little secret.

Little do I know, you saw me there, watching. And you knew.

You too are the Predator.
Kindred. Trouble.

I have faith in impossible things.
Theoretically, every reality is possible. So this isn’t even irrational.
String theory, man. String theory.
Shut the sound off.
and put the angel to bed—      kiss him to sleep.
And the laughter will never end.
Und das Lachen wird niemals enden.

Niemals enden.
In theory, anyway.


Photo by Cathy Mü on Unsplash

About the Author: Æverett

ÆverettÆverett lives in the northern hemisphere and enjoys Rammstein and Star Trek. He writes both poetry and fiction and dabbles in gardening and soap making. She has two wonderfully old cats, and a dearly beloved dog. He also plays in linguistics, studying German, Norwegian, Russian, Arabic, a bit of Elvish, and developing Cardassian. Language is fascinating, enlightening, and inspirational. She’s happily married to her work with which she shares delusions of demon hunters, detectives, starships, androids, and a home on the outskirts of a small northern town. He’s enjoyed writing since childhood and the process can be downright therapeutic when it’s not making him pull his hair out. It’s really about the work and words and seeing without preconceptions.


Male Voices by Patricia Wellingham-Jones

That I don’t understand a word
adds to the soaring sound.

I have no need of the richness
of gilded wood and sacred icons.

The male voices exalt
in Russian Orthodox chants and hymns.

Tenors coil crystal chimes,
baritones thread intricate melody,

and the basso profondos
hold the whole firmament aloft.

Their earth-deep, cave-dark rumbles
lodge in shuddering bone,

quivering heart, and deliver me
past the elements.

About the Author: Patricia Wellingham-Jones

PatriciaWellingham-JonesPatricia Wellingham-Jones is a widely published former psychology researcher and writer/editor. She has a special interest in healing writing, with poems recently in The Widow’s Handbook (Kent State University Press). Chapbooks include Don’t Turn Away: poems about breast cancer, End-Cycle: poems about caregiving, Apple Blossoms at Eye Level, Voices on the Land and Hormone Stew.

The Puppies by Patricia Wellingham-Jones

Cleaning house in her nightgown
Donna spots me on my morning walk,
leans out the door and yells,
“Hey, wanna see the babies?”
I do, of course .

We stand over the nursery,
gaze at the ten huddled scraps
of multi-colored poodle puppyhood,
barely four days old,
wearing teeny collars.

First time mama Paris
is surprisingly cool, supplies faucets
as needed to ten seeking mouths,
tolerates giants looming
and fingers poking at her children.

Donna coos, I try hard not to,
and grandpa Shadow keeps an eye on us all.
As he nudges my hand, black and white
stuffed toy in his mouth, Donna says,
“He wanted his own baby
so I bought him one.”

She looks down at her flowered gown
and bare feet, grimaces then says,
“Forgive the mess.”
I don’t see anything
but beautiful babies.

About the Author: Patricia Wellingham-Jones

PatriciaWellingham-JonesPatricia Wellingham-Jones is a widely published former psychology researcher and writer/editor. She has a special interest in healing writing, with poems recently in The Widow’s Handbook (Kent State University Press). Chapbooks include Don’t Turn Away: poems about breast cancer, End-Cycle: poems about caregiving, Apple Blossoms at Eye Level, Voices on the Land and Hormone Stew.

Eric Bogle by Fran Hutchinson

Eric Bogle

i fell a little bit in love last night
with a small and weary man
who took my hand, and smiled
right then i felt much like a child must feel on that first day
it learns real life’s not as grand as dreams
but better, anyway…

idols only tarnish when they’re shelved, and cased in glass
but handled well, and passed around
and battered for a spell,
they start to gleam, from deep within
until they seem to glow
with a small and weary sort of light

and so,
deprived of grand and glassy dreams,
i fell a little bit in love last night.

About the Author: Fran Hutchinson

Fran HutchinsonCurrently a resident of New Bedford, MA, Fran Hutchinson experienced a “poetic incarnation” while embedded in the 80’s folk scene in Boston.  Occupied variously as live calendar producer for WGBH’s Folk Heritage, contributing editor at the Folk Song Society of Greater Boston’s monthly Folk Letter, artist manager and booking agent, and occasional concert producer, she was surrounded by exceptional music and musicians, including those she had long listened to and admired.  The result was a rich source of inspiration for verse, of which she took full advantage.

No longer writing poetry, Fran has recently been the recipient of a surgically altered back and two new knees, and spends her time reading and listening to music (natch), texting and emailing long-distance friends,  and hanging with her posse at the Community center.

Rays of Sunshine through a Glass filled with Amber by Clay Robeson

Photo by Clay Robeson

The neighborhood in San Francisco called “The Bayview” is the part of the city where you don’t really believe you’re actually in San Francisco until you catch sight of the skyline between buildings, or see the Bay Bridge peeking over a warehouse.  It’s industrial.  It’s relatively flat. It’s mostly a grid, at least to the east of 3rd Street, where the street names cycle alphabetically from Amador to Yosemite and start again at Armstrong and make their way to Meade. I’m not quite sure why Z gets no love, but much like Z, Bayview gets very little love in the grander scheme of San Francisco.

Home to Candlestick Point (and the formerly Candlestick Park), Bayview was at one time known as South San Francisco, until South San Francisco incorporated and took that name in 1908.  It has seen its share of coal power plants, sprawling meat processing facilities, ship yards, and violent crime throughout it’s history, and is still widely considered the most dangerous neighborhood in San Francisco by some.

Revitalization of Bayview started ten years ago with the opening of the T – Third Street Muni line, connecting Bayview (and beyond) with the rest of San Francisco.  In the intervening years, the “Third Street Corridor” has seen an explosion of restaurants, housing, and general overall awesomeness: warehouses replaced by apartments, shuttered storefronts reopening with new shops and restaurants, and areas rezoned to allow for new industries to get a foothold in an otherwise inaccessible city.

Seven Stills Brewery & Distillery, Bayview, San Francisco, CA

But even with all this revitalization, at dusk Bayview can be a little forbidding.  And that was why, on a cold (for San Francisco) February evening, I felt a little nervous as I was walking from a MUNI stop in Bayview towards a place I had never been before.  A friend had recently written an article around this business’ struggles getting their block rezoned so they could actually sell their wares.  The business themselves had recently taken over the Instagram feed of one of the community newsletters I followed and proved to be quite entertaining. And so, when they announced they were having their first “First Friday” event, I decided I needed to support a community business and show up.

Photo by Clay Robeson Beer making equipment.

I wandered in through the big, roll-up, loading dock door, eschewing the actual front door mostly because I didn’t notice it thanks to the music coming out of the big door.  At the far end of the large warehouse space, I could see the fermentation vats and the mash tun. Closer to me was a bar with several taps and a sign that said “Beer Bar.” Closer still, were several tables with padded barrels for chairs.  And finally, to my right, was what had piqued my curiosity.  The Whiskey Bar.

Photo by Clay Robeson The still where dreams are made.

I had arrived much earlier than my friends, so I decided to start gently.  I ordered a beer, and sat down at one of the long tables.  A younger man with his dog sat at the other end, also enjoying a glass.  He asked me if it was my first time here, and I nodded and started in on my raison d’être for the evening.  You see, in my youth I had been an avid homebrewer.  The art and science of brewing had fascinated me (and still does).  One of the things I had always wanted to try was distilling the beers I made into liquor, but I was never able to thanks to those pesky laws that prevent home distilling.  So, when I read about Seven Stills, and the fact that they made their own beer, and then turned those beers into whiskey, I got really excited, and that spark of wonder from my youth returned.

The young man smiled and introduced himself as Tim, one of the owners of Seven Stills.  It was the start of a beautiful friendship.

Photo by Clay RobesonLiquid Amber

That was February 3, 2017.  Prior to that date, I had very limited experience with Whiskey. Most of it was from my father’s Scotch cabinet, and to be frank, I was particularly nonplussed. So, when my friend James arrived, we sat down at the Whiskey Bar and ordered a flight from Christine.  That was the start of the second and third beautiful friendships of the evening.  The second being with Christine, who was delighted to spend some extra time elaborating on what she was placing before us despite the growing First Friday crowd.

Photo by Clay RobesonA flight.

The third friendship is more of an obsession.  And that one is with the Whiskey that Seven Stills creates.  It’s not your 15 to 20 year barrel aged, peat tinged, smoky, oaky, or any other-y liquor.  Tim and his partner Clint start with a very specific craft beer, and distill that down into a whiskey with a very specific flavor profile.

Now, this is the point in my raving about Seven Stills where my friends usually stop me and say, “Wait, you can make whiskey out of beer?”

Photo by Clay RobesonWhiskey, aging in barrels.

All whiskey is made from beer, actually.  It’s just that most distillers don’t call the first part of the process “making beer.”  But that is what they’re doing.  Extracting the sugars from grains and adding yeast to ferment those sugars into alcohol.  Most distillers have their own “mash” recipe that the rest of the world never sees, nor likely even hears about unless they go on a distillery tour.  They distill the alcohol from the wort that is fermented after the grain is strained off from the mash. It’s the aging process and type of barrel that gives typical whiskey the unique flavors and colors of a specific label.

Photo by Clay Robeson Barrels provide whiskey its color, and some of its sweetness.

What Tim and Clint are doing is starting the whiskey making process with marketable beers first, giving the resulting distillations interesting flavor profiles before they even hit the barrel.  Aging still gives the whiskey it’s color and adds to those flavor profiles, but each Seven Stills release is complex and robust, without the 5+ year aging process.

Photo by Clay Robeson There are moments when the sunlight hits the bottles just right…

The Seven Stills team doesn’t limit themselves to their own beers, either.  Along with their core releases, there have been a few collaborations and several “Experimental Series” releases with other breweries, too. So, as I sat there, making my way through my first Seven Stills flight, I discovered this whole new world of flavor that I didn’t realize was out there. The fact that these two guys had tapped into something I had been fantasizing about for years, and were not only doing it, but doing it well, gave me hope that that maybe some of my OTHER ideas weren’t so bad, either. It was inspiring.

Photo by Clay Robeson “Sea Farmer” – Seven Stills 2017 collaboration using Fieldwork Brewing’s Sea Farmer IPA.

Half way through that first flight, I stopped Christine and demanded that she sign me up for the Seven Stills Founder’s Club, so I had premium access to EVERYTHING they did from that point forward.  And let me tell you, I have not regretted that decision for a moment.

Photo by Clay RobesonEvery flight is different, depending on which of their releases are available.

In the ten months since, I have stepped out of my alcohol comfort zone and tasted the world beyond what I thought I knew.  And I get it now.  And every time I sit at a counter and try a new whiskey, I hold the glass up to the light and laugh a little at January me, who had no idea at the wonder he had been missing for so long. I hope I keep on finding new things to challenge me and open my mind like Seven Stills did.

About the author: Clay Robeson

Clay RobesonClay is an improvisor, photographer, puppeteer and part-time goat herd living in San Francisco. He likes to make things.

To learn more about Clay, or find his social media links, go here:

To learn more about Seven Stills visit

My Wise Elder by Patricia Wellingham-Jones

My grandmother died when my mother was five,
our only photo shows her cradling
the last child, smiling over
the lace-drenched, long white christening gown.
In family memory she was gentle
with a snap to her tongue
and a Scot’s practical bent.

I hope I inherited some of that.
The only gift I know for sure
was breast cancer.

Her image floats to the front
of my mind as I grapple
with the loss of two friends
and the advanced cancer
of two others. I feel her smile
as I sign up for a long-desired
trip to Costa Rica, daunted

by the logistics of getting there
but determined to live actively
as long as I can.

About the Author: Patricia Wellingham-Jones

PatriciaWellingham-JonesPatricia Wellingham-Jones is a widely published former psychology researcher and writer/editor. She has a special interest in healing writing, with poems recently in The Widow’s Handbook (Kent State University Press). Chapbooks include Don’t Turn Away: poems about breast cancer, End-Cycle: poems about caregiving, Apple Blossoms at Eye Level, Voices on the Land and Hormone Stew.

Land for Sale by Pat West

Time and time again,
in the darkest hours of the night,
I have gone down
on my hands and knees
and painstakingly measured
the empty space you left
when you died, so vast
and deep: I’m tired of living with it,
so I’ve decided to put it on the market.

Property values are soaring,
there are even bidding wars.
Oh, I won’t sell to just anyone,
wouldn’t want to wake up one morning
and find a strip mall in my heart.
But I could live with an art museum
or maybe . . . yes,

a library with vaulted ceilings,
sprawling wings, quiet reading alcoves
off the main lobby, tables, lamps
with puddles of amber light
dotting the landscape.

About the Author: Pat West

Pat Phillips West lives in Olympia, WA. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, her work has appeared in Haunted Waters Press, Persimmon Tree, VoiceCatcher, San Pedro River Review, Slipstream, Gold Man Review and elsewhere.

The Blackout by John Grey

By day, Ted has much to say on any subject,
especially what’s in the newspapers.
Damn unions, he snarls. Damn government.
At night, his tongue retreats,
his head diverts the total darkness
by remembering this and that.
Gloria’s sunbathing. Ray’s in swimming.
Dave’s out fishing.
Gloria’s as thin as she’d like to be.
Ray can dive to the bottom, then float to the top,
breaking the surface with a gulp that snares half the air.
Dave claims to have reeled in a whale.
He just hopes that the sun doesn’t burn,
that the water is warm,
that the real fish do bite eventually.
But come the morning, it’s right back into politics.
The mailman gets an earful.
His neighbor knows everyone he hates
but no one he loves.
But then another night
and Ray’s swimming towards a lighthouse
and doesn’t that lighthouse look like Gloria
and what’s Dave going to do
but avoid the rocks thanks to Gloria’s light
and maybe even go after the schools of fish
that Ray is splashing in his direction.
Another day, this time the man
from the gas company cops the earful.
And then night and Gloria’s skinny and brown.
She’s lying on the shore of a lake.
Ray’s in swimming of course.
And Dave is salivating over the fish that leap out of the water,
so close he could reach out and grab them.
“Look, “says Gloria. “Here comes Ted”
Ray dog-paddles, looks in the direction she’s pointing.
Dave turns his head away from the dancing trout.
Ted crashes through the peacefulness
cussing out Democrats and Republicans equally.
Thank God they’ve finally fixed the power, he says.
First to them. Then finally just to himself.
He argues with the television until he falls asleep in front of it.
And then he dreams.
He dreams they never do restore the power.

About the Author: John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review.

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