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Dear Reader,

Twas a lucky day the Mistress of Song and I ambled into Laila Alamiri’s Glenn Dallas Art Gallery, and took in an art show called “Stardust and Satisfaction,” inspired by pop music and festival culture. I am, it may be admitted, an ardent fan of David Bowie, who partially inspired this eclectic, inventive art show. 

David Bowie wasn’t afraid to make an ass of himself. He spent entire decades experimenting with music that was in no way commercial. He looked sharp in a rubber body suit and never stopped inventing himself, creating. When he was bad, he still had panache. And when he was good, he was a pop god from another planet, a champion of the weird. So I took a cue from Laila’s art show, and asked writers to consider the theme of stardust, whatever that means to them: Ziggy Stardust, the dust of stars, celebrity, drugs...all things David Bowie touched on at one time or another. 

You will find such things and more sprinkled throughout Volume 4. Laura Hemenway, our Mistress of Song, has prepared a section called “The Dance.” Our guest editor of poetry,  Chella Courington, has assembled a stellar selection of poetry. And Laila Alamiri, our guest editor of art, has given you some beautiful images to consider. In particular, Artist Marlyn Daggett graces the cover with her paintings “Listen to Music” and “High Art.” And did I mention the interview of T.C. Boyle? Max Talley conducts a pithy as heck interview, and Mr. Boyle does not disappoint with his answers. 

I hope you love these strange and beautiful offerings as much as I do. You may purchase Volume 4 in our bookstore. 

Silver Webb


Volume 4


October 2019

Le Menu 



A Bag of Stardust or David Bowie Explains

by Nate Streeper

T.C. Boyle Interview by Max Talley

Scales and Bases by Jeremy Gold

Wallpaper by Jesse Krenzel

Love & Shoelaces by Frederick T. Williams

Sodden and Angora by Zane Andrea

Welcome to Blue Sky Heaven by Calla Gold

Liberace’s Lover by Lisa Lamb

A Cookie & A Glass of Milk by Shira Musicant

Ashes to Ashes by Chris Casey Logsdon

Stars by Susan Page Deutsch

Do I know You? by Mona Leigh Rose

A Job To Do by Rachael Quisel 

Knife by Ted Chiles

Helen’s Promise by Nicholas Deitch

The Soul of Beauty by Stephen T. Vessels


A Myriad of Subtleties * Longing Becomes A Prophecy

by Sojourner Kincaid Rolle    

ICE Detention by Melinda Palacio


Organic by Luna Vallejo-Howard 

[a group of jellyfish is called a ‘smack.’ a group of lapwings is called a ‘deceit.’] * In the Sky Tonight by Chella Courington

Kyoto * Tokyo * 
For Jacqueline by L. B. Williams

Stardust * Starfish * Black Holes by Risa Denenberg 


Incandescent * Morning Supplication by Cyn Kitchen 

Zuppa di Cechhi * Mr. Bianchini by Meg Withers


Lyrics: The Dance

One Dance by Dan Bern

Nervous Hesitation by Dennis Russell

Sylvia Just Wants to Dance by Steve Key

Two Step by Cate Graves

Candles by Cathryn Beeks

Hard Times Social & Dance by Matt Stone

Beauty And Ruin by David Starr and Dana Cooper

Jenny’s Gone Away by Bill Lanphar

I’ll Always Love You In Three Quarter Time by Brett Perkins

Three Quarter Time by Mark Alciati

Land Beyond the Oceanby Laura Hemenway

Available for purchase

An excerpt of "Wallpaper"

by Jesse Krenzel

When Jason Brown bought the old house in Bounty, California, he knew all about its many problems, all but one. 

The heirs welcomed his lowball offer for the old, water-damaged white craftsman due to their father’s bloody suicide there months earlier. When Jason’s research uncovered the property and the relevant facts, he pounced on the chance to turn a large profit with a small renovation. Shortly after the purchase, he arrived in Bounty with his luggage, tools, and one mattress. 

Soon the odor of new paint and fresh lumber began to displace the stink of mildew and cigarette smoke. It felt good to work with his hands again, but the long days reminded Jason of how soft he’d grown working as a researcher for ZenTech Properties. His thinning red hair and growing paunch should have been evidence enough, but now the aches in his back and knees drove the point home with new clarity. 

The hall bathroom had a shower-tub combo and dated wallpaper that was both bizarre and fascinating. During his frequent pee breaks, Jason faced its repetitious pattern of black-and-white sketched characters in what looked like an 1890s bathhouse. Men with handlebar mustaches, and a woman with hair pinned up in a bun, preened before mirrors and relaxed in great claw-footed tubs. By the third day, Jason found himself focusing on details in the wallpaper pattern. In his favorite scene, the buxom woman climbed out of a bathtub with a towel clutched against the generous curves of her chest. Kind’a hot for old wallpaper. Her curvaceous figure spawned bittersweet memories of Diane Miller back at ZenTech Properties. She’d had a thing for him, but he’d been too busy to pursue a relationship at the time. That night, after a tall whiskey, he found her number through a paid Internet service and called. 


“Hello?” she said.


“Hi, Diane? It’s me, Jason.”“Jason?”


“Yes, from work.”


Pause. “Oh, Jason-who-got-fired.”


“Yeah, that was nasty of ZenTech, but shit happens. Anyway, I was wondering if you’d like to get together some time. You know, for coffee or something. I’m not far.”


“I heard they sued you for stealing a property lead.”


“Nah, they just say that to keep the other researchers in line.”


“Oh? So, how’d you get my number?”


“I looked it up.”


“It’s unlisted.” 


“That doesn’t really mean much anymore.”


Another pause. “Yeah, well this still feels a little creepy.”


“Oh, come on. It’s just a coffee.”


“Sorry, but I don’t want any trouble at work. I need to go.” Click.


He called again to apologize, but no answer. He shuffled to the bathroom, grumbling, “My research found this house. It’s mine.” He unzipped his pants and let his eyes wander across the wallpaper. All those little men involved in their lives, soaking in their tubs, trimming their mustaches with long-handled scissors, and the woman . . . she was looking straight at him. His heart fluttered. He zipped up and started back to the living room but stopped at the door. The woman’s eyes seemed to track him. He shrugged off the illusion. That night, a thump in the dark somewhere down the hall woke him. The clock on the floor next to his mattress read 3:00 a.m. He lay awake for a long time after that, thinking about Diane and that crazy wallpaper thing.  

To find out how it ends for Jason, please visit our store and purchase Volume 4: Stardust.

"A Myriad of Subtleties" from the Poetry Section

by Sojourner Kincaid Rolle

In the instance of encounter
I am taken for the stranger
the unknown interloper

Between two worlds 
I am the interlocutor
indivisible inextricable 

I am the duality—
seen and unseen 
dark and light

I am love and hate
the top and the bottom 
the ocean and the land

two sides of a mountain 
the sun and the moon 
the day and the night

I am the diaspora 
Everywhere all the time
the truth-speaking mouth the all-seeing eye

I emerge from the hidden quarters 
claiming my rightful place

"One Dance" from the Lyrics Section

by Dan Bern

Because I love you
I get tongue tied around you
I never say smart stuff around you
I never say anything around you
That makes you want to be with me
So, because I love you
I will never be with you
There’s plenty other people
Who I always find the words for
That I have the sweet gift of gab for
That I’m magical and good for
Who because I do not love them
Always want to be with me
Everything I say is true
So there’s nothing we can do
Then what the Hell I’ll say to you
Let me have one dance  with you
I recognize the look
In my eyes when I see you
It’s the look of one who loves you
Who wants nothing except to be with you
It is not the look that often
Gets returned in kind
Same old tales ain’t nothing new
What the Hell’s a soul to do
But maybe you can help me through
Giving me one dance with you
One dance with you
Why do all the rules I make
About how to act around other people
Like don’t write them private notes
Trying to explain your foolish actions
Like not hanging around
For hours after it’s obvious
That your presence ain’t desired
Like names are not important
So if someone forgets your name
They’re forgetting something intangible
That has nothing to do with you
So it’s stupid to feel bad
If someone forgets your name
Why do all the rules I make
About how to act around other people
Always fall by the wayside
When I get around you
There ain’t no more carrot stew
That old sky ain’t never blue
That’s a lie but this is true
All I want’s one dance with you
My bed’s unmade
My stuff’s askew
I ain’t heard the dumbest clue
I just want to squeeze on through
By getting one more dance with you
Stick it while there’s still some glue
Move that stuff while there’s a crew
Before I stumble someplace new
Let me have one dance with you

For more poems and songs, please visit our store and purchase Volume 4: Stardust.

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