A Kelly's Cove Press Publication

The Fire Issue

Issue No. 1
May 1, 2018

Introducing The Cove

I grew up less than a mile from Kelly’s Cove, the bit of shoreline at the north end of Ocean Beach in San Francisco. The Cliff House founded in 1858 and now in its fifth incarnation, is perched just above the basalt cliff. Its third embodiment, as an eight story Victorian palace built in 1895, survived the 1906 earthquake and fire but was consumed by a raging blaze the next year.


The cove below is welcoming, with the city behind and the bold horizon line ahead, stretching as far as one’s imagination can travel. I had this hallowed place in mind when I conceived The Cove as a gathering place and gallery focused on some of the issues Northern California writers and artists face, and the creative work that grows from their interactions with these issues.


Each edition of The Cove will concentrate on a particular theme. We kick off with Fire, in response to the devastating fires that roared through the North Bay last fall, destroying many lives, upsetting so many more, as 9,000 homes and businesses were swallowed and hundreds of thousands of acres turned to ash. Our hearts go out to all who suffered and we remain grateful to the first responders.


Creative artists don’t necessarily operate as first responders, either in terms of immediate response or with the goal of eliminating the problem at hand. The job of artists is to wrestle with their own singular vision and to offer the results as honest testimony of their efforts. That said, much of the writing and the work of the fifteen artists gathered in this edition of The Cove was created in direct response to the North Bay fires.


We are very grateful to all the artists and writers who contributed to Fire. The bio section offers links to contributors’ websites and to other venues offering their work. We encourage you to explore this work and to be in contact with the artists whose work engages you. We also invite your comments as well as your submissions for our Fall 2018 edition, The Art of Resistance. Welcome to The Cove.


 Bart Schneider


Fire Art By fifteen Bay Area artists

Fire Poems

Poetry on “Fire” from Northern Californian writers.

Two Fathers 
Susan Griffin

I had two fathers
one by birth
by adoption.
One was a painter;
the other put out
You could say
one father started fires
in the soul
placing each portrait
he drew
in a symphony
of color,
the other
quite simply
saved lives.
Though both
saved mine
and, now that
both have gone,
I keep on painting them,
that is I
pull them both
from the fires of time
through the sparks
of memory
that burst
in my mind.
January, 2018, Berkeley
Lisa Summers

Tell me again about your cat –
the one you evacuated
during the wildfires
how you searched for her
under beds, in the black widow lairs 
in the woods and splintery barns, and 
how you caught her in a pillowcase
to take her to your sister’s house in Marin 
where she yowled through the night 
complained bitterly about the company 
then shredded the sofa and
peed on the Berber rugs before she 
shat in your brother-in-law’s shoe.
Tell me again about her dementia 
how you raced back past the barriers 
through the burning trees
to get her medication 
and her favorite pillow
and how she abandoned you 
for a house not yet aflame
for a family with no children, no dogs 
and 700 shopping network channels 
wet food from a can
and how, when you were choking in smoke 
marooned in a distant town,
you cared only for your cat 
left behind in a rain of 
cinders and ashes.
Then tell me of your dog 
how he comforted you 
and licked your tears
and stayed with the sheep
and never left the house 
or left and then came back 
across the wasteland
the scorch earth, the burning roads 
with singed whiskers
and blistered paws
and begged for forgiveness.
Tell me how he never complained 
how he knew it was coming
and warned you, and how he – 
how he lost his favorite sock 
his favorite buried bone
but dug a little hole in the sand 
on the beach at Goat Rock 
where you went to breath
and he stared quietly at the sea
with his gentle paw upon your hand 
and promised to be forever
at your side
wherever home might be next.
Then tell me again 
how it was your cat
who embodied home and hearth 
when you feared all was lost
and how you were rewarded 
for all your worry and despair 
with a sphincter in the face
a little cat scratch fever
or, at best, her cold indifference –
And I will tell you that
I have nothing left to say 
about the strange animal 
in the human heart.
What We Packed at 3 A.M.
Katherine Hastings

The dog
the drugs
The cash
the cards
The elder neighbors who couldn’t drive
We packed our fear
though it couldn’t be contained
We crawled in our cars
as the fire raced
through its feast
of everything
of everyone
or everyone’s dreams
Everywhere we looked
We called friends in the hills
No answer
We cried Jesus Christ!
No answer
The fire jumped and morphed
and ate some more
Garage doors wouldn’t open
Trees blocked the roads
The red sky
grew wider and taller
and shot its off-springs
into the air
to ignite their own
We unpacked our prayers
to all the gods
we don’t believe in
And when we reached safety
we watched our phones
(we packed those, too)
for news and it
wasn’t good.
Yes, we had each other.
Yes, we were alive.
But our world,
our beautiful Sonoma County world
What we packed
wasn’t the mountains
wasn’t the deer
the coyotes, the quail
wasn’t the mountain lions
or mountain lakes
wasn’t Willi’s
or Fountaingrove
wasn’t Coffey Park
or the field of larks
or the knowledge
it would take two weeks
to get back home
or that home would still
be there
or that the gorgeous golden grass
just outside our windows
would change overnight
into candles waving
their virgin wicks
Sifting Emptiness
Gwynn O’Gara

Diaphanous house. Hunger, 
birds, cartwheels, the last
taste of his voice. A chimney
among empty spaces. 
Down roads linked by
red earth, genealogies, 
picnics, animal graves, 
and baby teeth. 
Creek beds imprinted 
by mountain lion paws.
Oaks with elbows of stars,
flanks of woodpecker caches. 
We grew herbs to sleep,
herbs to soar and puzzle, 
figs, apples, grapes,
children, dogs, donkeys. 
Within haste:
wind-flame, smoke-owls, 
breathing our neighbors, 
I pull the drapes, hear TV.
Touch is plastic, public.
Hotel room where I kneel 
and pray to belly fire.
Music, ersatz smells, 
memory unsupported. 
I failed you.
Stubborn walls, come back.
No cream in the house
that’s gone. 
Drawers, cabinets, 
a bolt on the loom.
How will I know lunar new year,
if the lemons and kumquats can’t show me?
How will I feed 
the worms who died?
Will snails break their walls 
and muscle up from
the ground? Will I spiral
up or down?
Over the frogs’ low twinkling
a stone bridge connects two paths.
A woman waits to be reborn
from her own womb.
Can I grow 
in nothingness?
In a plastic cell?
Can I grow the missing?
I take a sun from my burning heart
and start a garden. It spreads up 
the valley, joins the rootless scattered cells
‘til we are one, evacuated, toxic, holy.
Drunken Mother 
Gwynn O’Gara

Dry lightning
               provokes the fire
                               and it weaves up the mountain,
               lunging at columbine,
                             scorching corn lily 
                                           and penstemon.
                                                           Up slopes thick
                                                                         with grass and brush,
                                                           flames crawl, 
                                                                                     devouring all.
                                                                       Wind drives the fire
                                                                                       deep into the mountains.
                                                                                                    It destroys the oldest firs.
                                                                                                                          Roaring to the top,
                                                                                                        the fire ravens the ridge to a crater.
                                                                                                                                             The wind dies.
                                                                                                                                      The fire stumbles, 
                                                                                                             singes a hemlock, 
                                    and drowns in snowmelt. 
                                                           Where a mighty pine lived,
                                            ashes flake in a pit.
                                                         Where red fir fell and smoldered, 
                          white lines stretch across charred ground.
                          Yet the fire    
                                 opened seeds 
                                           that need fire or bear  
                                                         to open.
                                        Kinnikinnick, bone white, 
                                                                              comes back green. 
                                                                                            Undaunted,         lupine dances.
                                                   What is wind  
                                  but the uncontainable lover?
                                                                 Flame and green are one.
                                                                              Even the drunken mother loves. 

Squeak Carnwath’s Fire Art

In 1982 Squeak Carnwath made an extensive series of fire paintings, including the following images. “I’ve always been phobic about fire,” she says. “I was carried out of a house on fire as a child and I averted a number of studio fires including one involving a pile of sawdust and a hotplate. Immolation has a finality to it.”

Where’s Willoughby?

“Fires have names, too, she learns. Like hurricanes, sort of. Like stars. But not at all like stars. These fires don’t stay put and no one seems to know where they came from and certainly not where they’re going. How do they warrant the dignity of a fucking name?”

A story by Dan Coshnear


The little red light on the fucking coffee maker is on but the fucker’s not dripping. Why? FUCK! She curses all the time when she’s alone, and she’s alone almost all the time. The fucking dog rolling in the compost, then hopping on the fucking sofa. The fucking wind tonight, strong enough to blow a box of empty cans and bottles off the deck and scatter them around her yard. Mostly, Sally curses God, and Graham, her ex. She sometimes wonders, has Graham become god-like in her monumental rage? Has God become ex-like?

She called her old friend Willoughby eight times between 10pm and midnight. He’s fucking difficult to reach under any circumstances – no computer, no cell, just a landline which he’d said he only answers when he’s in the rare mood to give money he doesn’t have to people he doesn’t know.

She called because he has called her every Sunday night without fail, ever since he’d been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. That was April. Their weekly chats began at her insistence, because she feared he might be lonely, that he might withdraw from the world; she couldn’t have anticipated how much she’d come to rely on them.
She keeps calling because it happens to be Sunday, October 8th and his home is a wooden cabin on a wooded hillside several miles west of Calistoga.

At a quarter past midnight, she takes a deep breath and calls Graham.
“Where are you?” are his first words. It’s been more than a year since they’ve spoken and the last time she’d vowed, would be the last time. We grieve differently, he’d said. Why can’t you accept that? He was in L.A. then grieving with a chick named Zoe.

“I’m home,” she says.

“It’s three fifteen!”

“Where are you?”

“New York.”

“I shouldn’t have called.”


“Take a look at the news, Graham. Call me back, if you want. I’m not fucking going to sleep.”

She clicks off the phone and clicks on the TV remote. The fire is vast and spreading rapidly. In fact, there are many fires. She hears the names of neighborhoods, boulevards, streets. The first footage shows Fountain Grove, then Bennet Valley, black swirls with flickering tongues of orange. The camera pans at what appear to be huge white roiling clouds, the entire screen goes white, the sound of crackling, then back to black sky, and flashing emergency lights. She sees maps and diagrams. Coffey Park is burning; the fire leapt over the highway. These winds are called El Diablo, she learns. They are intense, but also familiar, seasonal. It’s a new concept. Fires have names, too, she learns. Like hurricanes, sort of. Like stars. But not at all like stars. These fires don’t stay put and no one seems to know where they came from and certainly not where they’re going. How do they warrant the dignity of a fucking name?

Graham is back, urgent. “Did you talk to Willoughby?”

Willoughby presided over their wedding. And he is their only mutual friend since the divorce. They’d met and fallen in love, fucking fallen in love, in one of Willoughby’s once famous writing workshops. Sally and Graham had had a child, too. A girl.

“No. We always talk on Sunday night!”

“I know.”

“You know?”

“He told me you’ve been transcribing tapes for him, typing up his manuscript. It means a lot to him.”

“He said that?”

“What he said is, talking with you means a lot to him … hey, maybe he got out on time. Or maybe he’s been evacuated.”

“Maybe not, Graham.” A brief silence. It’s as if she can hear the words he needs to suppress.

“I’ll get a flight in the morning,” he says.

“Why? What can you possibly do?”

“I have no idea,” he says. “Call me if you learn anything.”



“Nothing … thank you.”

“Oh,” Graham says, “Willoughby is his pen name.”

“What’s his real name?”

“I never asked. He never told me.”


Sally searches the Internet. She consults Nixle and listens to KSRO. She identifies three evacuation centers in Santa Rosa, but she has difficulty getting any answers on the phone. He’s 75 to 80 years old. He might be in a wheelchair. He might have only taken his walker. He’s bald on top. Likes western wear, denim, that sort of thing, but he might be in his pajamas. What kind of fucking pajamas! I’m sorry. Sometimes he goes by Willoughby. He has blue eyes. A slight tremor.

Now she’s driving east on River Road. The tremor was slight three months ago, when she last saw him. When she last saw him, his name was simply Willoughby. Morning light feels dusky, gray-tinged, a mean yellow orb hovering in the haze. The taste of the air reminds her of a smoky fire at the beach, damp wood and seaweed, acrid, something tickling the back of her throat. A long line of cars and trucks come to a full stop near Forestville.

“I’m at SFO, still in the plane,” says Graham.

“I’m sitting in traffic, too.”

“Shit, Sally.”

“Did you know the last story he sent me is called Deus Ex Machina?”

“My Latin is rusty,” he says.

“It means, god from the machine. It means bad plot.”

“Is it any good?”

“It’s awful. I think it was meant to be awful. Fifteen pages of romance and betrayal, a love triangle, real high drama, then it ends suddenly when the man and the two women are swept away by a Tsunami.”

Graham laughs. “That’s life, isn’t it?”

Sally laughs. “Life has a way ruining good stories,” she says. “Bad stories, too, I guess.”

After half a minute of silence, “Sally, you know, I wish — ”

“I have a call coming in,” she says. “Ring me when you get up north.”

Strange, this sudden impulse to weep. It’s been years. A doc at Kaiser had offered her something to “help you get over the hump.” She refused. The expression made her furious. She curses the cars in front of her, then turns up the radio. Twelve fires. Dozens reported dead and many more missing. Zero percent containment. A list of neighborhoods which have been evacuated and others standing by. Breitbart News reported the fire was started by an undocumented immigrant, and now the voice of the sheriff stating there is no evidence to support that claim. But, Sally wonders, what’s to stop the story like these fucking fires from spreading? The fucking mendacity! Highway 101 is closed. Mendocino Avenue is closed north of College. She’d intended to start with the Vet’s Hall by the Fairgrounds, but maybe she should try the Finley Recreation Center first. And soon enough a man with a respirator and an orange flag sends her in that direction, southward down an unpaved road between a pair of dry empty fields.

The last time she’d been to the Finley Center was five years ago, for swim lessons. Gabby was three, in red trunks and a t-shirt, matching red water wings. She was husky and fair, full-cheeked like her father. She was already ill, but there were no indications, nothing that could be seen without a CAT scan. Sally tilts the rearview as if she might suddenly find her girl in the back, dozing in her car-seat. Her chest heaves. She almost sobs, stifles it. She rolls down the window, breathes in burnt air, and quickly rolls it back up.


At Finley, the lot is nearly full. By the entrance she sees an ambulance, the flashing yellow lights look pale against the hazy yellow sky. She sees a woman standing on the curb lift her respirator to take a long pull on a cigarette. There is commotion in the doorway, one man flailing, shouts, “Todos!” as another tries to console him. Once inside, she sees a line, mostly elderly, or women with small children. The faces are white or brown, anxious or bored, or both. Many eyes are trained on small screens in the palms of hands. At the head of the line, a man is taking information, jotting on a clipboard. She suspects she will not be permitted to enter. Who can she ask? She sees a man in a FEMA sweatshirt, a man and a woman with Red Cross badges. Each is engaged, answering questions, enunciating every syllable. She understands, they mean to project a sense of calm and order, but the slow, deliberate mannered speech has always produced the opposite effect in her. Not always. She finds a space on the end of a wooden bench, sits, breathes. Occasionally one of double doors swings open and she hears the low roar of many conversations, glimpses long rows of cots occupied by bodies and backpacks. When the door closes, nearby voices become distinguishable.

“I guessed something was wrong because my dog was sniffing and sneezing. And, of course, the wind.”

“Animals know before we do.”

“They do!”

“We saw the flames coming over the hillside. Jack, my husband, put a few things in the SUV and pushed us all out the door.”

“We were told to evacuate by the Fire Department.”

“We weren’t told anything.”

“The kids wouldn’t leave without the cat. It was terrifying. Tuxedo hid behind some boxes in the garage.”

“I tried to rescue the old man at the end of the cul de sac. I banged on his door, but he wouldn’t answer. God help him.”

Sally is moved to do something, anything. She interrupts a woman speaking to one of the Red Cross workers. “I’m looking for someone,” she says. “Excuse me, I’m looking for someone.”

The Red Cross worker points to the back of a long line leading to another Red Cross worker. “You can give her the name and she’ll check the list.”
“What if I don’t have a name?” Sally says. “Can I go in? Can I look?”

“I’m sorry,” says the Red Cross worker, “but I can’t have two conversations at once.” She points again to the back of the line.

Sally pulls her phone out of her back pocket. “I’m on the bridge,” says Graham. “Traffic is moving now, but who knows?”


“Any news?”


“I think I heard Sutter had to send its patients elsewhere. Maybe Kaiser, too. The thought of going into a hospital again … Sally, you there?”
Sally’s mind is playing tricks. There are two Graham’s speaking, like those before and after photos you see in magazines; the big fellow with the big red beard and the big laugh, the author of half-baked sci-fi stories and time machines, the super-kind critic, the generous man she fell in love with, and the other, the after, the clean-shaven one with the gym bag and the vacant eyes, always on the move, only able to speak in platitudes.

Graham says, “I’ll find out what I can and call you.”

She puts the phone back in her pocket and sees that the nearest Red Cross is turned, looking the other way. The door swings open and she bolts through. She scans the room. She was good at this, so many games of Where’s Waldo. Where’s Willoughby, or whatever his name is? She looks for a white Stetson, a bald head, a frail man on a cot. She looks for a deep red aura. She is surprised by a sonorous voice, much like her dear friend’s, but it is an elderly volunteer announcing the delivery of coffee and donuts.


On her way now to the Vet’s Hall, but why? This venture feels as hopeless as was the search for an oncologist with a new opinion. The search for solace in so many glasses of Cabernet. Though traffic is slow her mind is racing ahead. What was Graham doing in New York? Why does it matter? What will she say to him? How will she be with him? What will she ever do without Willoughby? Yes, people grieve differently. Of course, they fucking do. She just couldn’t hear it from the man she’d chosen to share her life’s path; the man who fled when she needed him most. Willoughby could say it. He said it all the time. Sunday evenings she’d unburden herself, starting with something like the fucking coffee maker or the foul-smelling dog, or the horrors in the daily news, but quickly, and almost unwittingly, on to deeper stuff, her reluctance to go back to work in a classroom since Gabby’s death, her absolute terror at the idea of dating, her sometimes crushing loneliness.

In fact, Willoughby said very little on the phone. He’d pepper in a few questions and he’d listen. Occasionally he’d offer a quote from something he’d been reading; Yeats, Rilke, lately he’d been immersed in the biography of the Dalai Lama. By Wednesday or Thursday, she’d find a cassette in her mailbox with his newest story … Prince Bradford, and the lovely Camilla, paddle out for the first of their board-sailing lessons, as Lady Enid watches through binoculars from behind a divi divi tree, when from nowhere a fifteen-foot wall of water arrives to wash away all their untapped nights and days …

“I think I can be there in an hour,” Graham says.


“Wherever you’ll be.”

“I’m on my way to the Vet’s Hall. Do you remember where that is?”

“By the Fairgrounds,” he says. “Oh, God,” he says, “Do you remember the petting zoo?”

When Sally remembers her daughter, she tends to see her in her later stages, listless and hairless, in a bed or at the treatment center receiving intravenous chemo. She remembers the mouth sores and poor appetite – she remembers holding out a spoonful of soup or Jello and waiting with a smile pasted on her face. Why this should be the case, she has no idea. Yes, she remembers the petting zoo. Gabby was was robust then, and willful, intent on straddling a potbelly pig. A miniature goat was equally intent on eating the ribbon in Gabby’s hair. She had a fit. “Hey,” she says, “I’m coming to a detour, I’d better pay attention.”

She turns up the radio and learns of more neighborhoods being evacuated and a new list of refuge centers. Thousands of homes destroyed, tens of thousands of acres, vineyards and woodland, so much fuel after five years of drought. Tubbs, Nuns, Redwood Valley, Atlas, Cherokee, once the names of communities; now, and perhaps long into the future, will be remembered as the names of fires, and the burnt topography of chimneys and chasses and the charred black trunks of trees. Those who need not be out, she’s told, should stay indoors with windows closed. And what about these crazy winds, calm for now, but El Diablo is expected to dance again tonight.

At the entrance to the Fairgrounds is Grace Pavilion, a large hall with a tall ceiling, often used for banquets or exhibits, now lined with rows of cots. To the left is a station for volunteers, beside it a large table with boxes upon boxes of chips and granola bars, Gatorade and bottled water. She steps back to avoid three small boys racing past, kicking a tennis ball. Other than the children, most of those in motion are wearing name tags, either Red Cross volunteers, or nurses or social workers. Here are people of all ages and colors, snacking or sleeping, or doting on the ubiquitous smart phones. She sees an old woman sitting, massaging her bare feet. An attendant arrives with a wheelchair and pushes the woman down a long aisle to an open door in the back where a sign says Medical Personnel Only. Sally follows looking purposeful, like she knows exactly where she’s going; surreptitiously she scans the rows of nylon and aluminum beds.

As they exit Grace Pavilion, she passes a volunteer, possibly a nurse, seated at a table.


Sally pretends not to hear.

“Wait,” louder this time. “Where’s your mask?”

“Oh, where did I put the damn thing?”

The nurse reaches in her pocket. She hands Sally a folded white rectangle with elastic ear loops. “Try not to lose it,” she says.

She paces forward, one dread step after another. The sight of gurneys and bags of saline, the smell of iodine, these are the accoutrements of her worst nightmares. Try not to lose it, becomes her mantra.

Here again, this small ad hoc city is divided into communities, on one side of the building people are being treated for burns; on the other, smoke inhalation. Thirty paces ahead, in a bed by the rear wall of the facility, she sees him. As she gets nearer, she sees he is attached to an IV, and a cardiac monitor. He’s taking oxygen through a tube in his nose. His eyes are closed, and he appears to be sleeping.

“Willoughby,” she whispers.

Slowly a smile comes over his face. “No one here knows me by that name.” He’s hoarse. When his eyes open they are red and swollen.

Her eyes swell with tears.

“How did you get in here?” he says.

She’s unable to find her voice.

“They won’t let you stay,” he says. “But I’m sure happy to see you.”

She swallows. “I’ll stay until they kick me out,” she manages.

His lids sink to half-mast.

“How are you feeling?” she says.

“I’m not in pain,” he says. “I feel lucky to be among the living.”

“And did you lose your house?”

“Oh yes, everything. I’d tried to save a few books and papers. Foolish me.” He sets one trembling hand on hers. “I feel lucky,” he says again.

“Graham is on his way,” Sally says.

“I am twice blessed.”

A doctor is coming toward them, pausing briefly at each bed, checking vitals, asking “How ya doing?”
“We better get to work quickly,” Willoughby says. “I once knew this woman -”

“Wait,” Sally says, “you have a story? It’s only Monday.”

“It’s only Monday?” he says. “Well, then you’ll forgive me because this is a very short one.”

“You knew a woman?” Sally says.

“Her house was on fire. Blazing, ready to collapse. She was out somewhere, say the garden. No, not the garden, she’d have noticed. She was at the store, running an errand.”

“Should I be writing this down?”

A long pause. He seems to have faded out.


“She ran into the burning house to save her child.”


“The house fell down around them. Neither of them made it out.”

“Oh God. That’s awful.”

“But,” he says, “something of a miracle.” He smiles again. His eyes are closed. “The child was unharmed.”

“I’m afraid I don’t get it,” she says.

Again, he appears to have nodded off. And now the doctor is at his bedside.

“Willoughby,” Sally says.

The doctor looks at Willoughby, then at Sally, “This man needs to rest.”

“He’s my friend. I’m here because –”

“You’ll have to visit another time.” And with that a nurse approaches and Sally is led quickly out of the hall.


Try not to lose it, she tells herself, walking back through the Grace Pavilion. She dodges a small army of volunteers, arms loaded with bags and boxes. All this urgency. All this energy. Is it love? Where do people get the strength? She’s exhausted, hungry; she hasn’t eaten all day. She wants a big tall beer. She feels bewildered. Wait, she says, and stops to rest on the edge of a vacant cot. Wait. I think I get it. She sees in her mind a ceramic urn, with ashes in it. The child is already dead!

When she steps out into the open air, she sees to the east a spectacular show of orange and pink and magenta on the bellies of the clouds, to the west a fiery red sun low on the horizon. She’d thought she’d used all her prayers, but maybe she’ll try again. One for rain. One for Willoughby, of course. How many do you get? One for everyone.

Graham is coming toward her. He’s big as ever and he’s wearing that red beard again.

“Oh Sally,” he says. He wraps his arms around her. It feels like a before hug. “They moved some patients down to Kaiser in San Rafael. I think we should try there,” he says, almost breathless.

“He’s here!”

“You saw him?”

“Briefly.” She points toward the medical facility. “They won’t let you in, Graham. Not now, anyway.”

“Is he okay?”

“He was in and out, you know, but he’s there. He’s still in there,” Sally wipes her eyes.

“Oh,” Graham sighs, “I’m so glad to hear that,” he says. “I’ll see him. Maybe tomorrow, or the next day. Whenever I can. I’ll get a room down on Santa Rosa Avenue.”

“Could be difficult,” Sally says, “under the circumstances.” She pauses. How exactly does she phrase her question? And how without the tone giving her away? “You don’t need to hurry back to New York?”

“No,” he says, “I think I’ve had enough hurrying. Besides, there’s nothing there for me.”

“Oh?” she says.

“I saw some old college friends, slept on their sofas. Pretty much just got in the way of their busy lives.”


“Remember how all my stories involved time machines? Remember Willoughby said, ‘what’s wrong with now?’” He laughs. “I guess I don’t believe in time travel anymore.”

“Maybe I do,” Sally says.

Graham looks puzzled.

“My house smells like compost. It’s because of the fucking dog.”


“And we’ll have to go out for coffee because the fucking drip thing is broken.”

He smiles the smile she remembers best.

“Hi Graham,” she says.

Five Poems by Genine Lentine


On the 6 Parnassus down Market
he gets on at Sixth;
the duct tape on his hooked arm
keeps it together so he can brace 
the plastic bottle of vodka against 
what is now his wrist to open it.  
He belts back the vodka
and I think, Vodka should be housed 
only in glass.  Again he drinks 
what could be water, chases it 
with pink Squirt from a litre bottle, 
its sides collapsing within the force 
of his hand.  I’m America’s Most 
Wanted, he declares, tries it out 
a few times, shifting the stress.  
America’s Most wanted
Most wanted, beloved, you are, for now, 
in measures, beloved of the form 
world, the sphincter of your iris 
narrowing in a sudden glare,
opening at dusk, your ear 
so finely tuned, it knows 
cold water from hot coffee 
just by hearing it poured.


Amber took the hill so slowly
the couch never felt the incline,
though the slope was considerable,
and though the grey sofa was bound 
by no ropes; only its own second-hand weight
and the sheer traction of its plush upholstery 
against the roof of Amber’s Honda
kept the sofa always in one place
relative to the car:  on it –
though the vehicle itself, as has been noted,
was moving.  So slowly was the vehicle moving, 
however, that in the mind of the couch 
it always felt itself to be situated on a flat surface.
The spaces between each increment of the tires’ 
rotation forward created 
in the mind of the couch
a planar surface, letting the couch 
be content to move with the car,
but never in front of the car 
or behind the car.
It never moved faster than the car
because it never had the chance momentum
would have given it to overtake the car
or the drag to lag behind; it always stayed moving 
exactly at the same speed as the car
with Amber driving it who knew with her foot 
to maintain a pressure on the accelerator so even
as to keep the car and the sofa 
in the exact relative relationship 
to space and time, at all times, on the ride home,
the ride home, with no rope.


Never think I have forgotten your kindness, nor has it escaped me 
that it comes tendered without my asking; even in spells of counting 
myself bereft of all else, I have not failed to find solace in the field 
of your force.  Held fast to the mantle, stretched in corpse pose, scanning
the length of my body, I wager existence on my weight pressing the mattress.  
As I tell you this, I fall heavier still.   No countervailing aorta, no sulcus,
not subject to your pull, drawing me here — no one else comes this close, 
but tonight Selina told me how  she reached for the doorknob at the top 
of the marble stairs, and her hand slipped, and all  the weight she gave 
to pulling reeled her back, spine sudden on stone, and on a middle stair 
she managed once to brace herself, but couldn’t correct the trajectory – 
couldn’t you let up just for a moment? –  and as she told me the story, 
at each pause, I wanted something to break her fall, but she kept tumbling 
from one clause to the next until she slumped onto the landing.  
And I see now this is how it is with you; even as I turn over to you the task 
of holding my body down like this, I do so dead reckoning the terms 
of your gift to matter: hammer, feather, you never make an exception. 


:                            Susan, 
        her two white labs, Carp 
        and Eddie, father and son,  
and myself, the dog close 
        at my side a young greyhound 
        new from the track-all of us 
        out for a morning walk downtown.  
Eddie off the leash, always out ahead, 
        Carp, the elder, hanging back.  
        Jingo, all speed, contained 
        in long easy strides. 
Outside the bakery, we tied the dogs 
        to the bench, the two young ones 
        at the leashes’ limits, 
necks stretched, noses pointing 
        across the threshold, 
        Carp slouching against the bench, 
        gazing steadily at the street, mouth 
open, breathing evenly.  I read once 
        that dogs experience time 
        as never 
        and always,  

but what Carp said 
        to Jingo and Eddie
        when Susan spoke as Carp was this:
        They come out.        
It was her delivery –
        how she made his voice 
        flat and calm, expert 
        in the routines of absence-
Not even They will come out-
        and he was right, 
        and we all walked home together. 
        After you left though,  I realized 
of everyone 
        in that story-
        Susan, Carp, Eddie,
        Jingo, no one is left alive but me.
It didn’t seem to be that kind of story.


Not my Father
As we near the station, the man across the aisle
takes off the plaid slippers he’s packed for his trip.  
He pulls on his running shoes, though he’s not much of a runner,
he confides to his seatmate – gotta watch the blood pressure.
He stands, bracing himself on the seatback
when the train takes a sharp turn, gathers his belongings 
from the overhead bin.  Bless him, 
standing ready, raincoat folded over his arm,  
medication rattling in snap-top compartments 
marked with days of the week, water bottle tight
in the mesh pocket of his backpack.  He pats 
his luggage:  Samsonite hard case, overnight bag, 
yes everything’s there.  He’s moving with the train.
He’s willing.  Who waits to receive him? 
Bless this man who can admit he’s mortal
as my father refused, and, refusing, died.

My Father is Under My Window.
Moonlight.  Floodlight.  Building
a new deck on the house,
convalescing, one lung gone.
He’s dug and poured 
the concrete footings,
fluid pooling in his pleura.
He’s framed out the structure
in treated boards.  Time now 
to lay the floor.  He’s drawn in
my little brother.  Jeffrey will never 
measure the cut true enough,
hand him nails fast enough,
hold the board steady enough
to keep my father alive.

No one Taught my Father
to fall to the garage floor, 
to slip out of consciousness, 
suspend himself there 
for three days while all 
his family gathered.  
Just at the moment he needed 
to learn he learned 
let your legs go slack 
and languid, give 
your face to gravity, 
allow your body to be lifted.

Seven Poems by Pat Nolan

From So Much, Selected Poems Volume I, 1969-1989
by Pat Nolan, published April 2018 Nualláin House, Publishers 


The day begins late
the sun ablaze above
the eastern ridge already
and coffee’s not even made
the damp cool of morning by now
gone the young growing tips and
shoots of the planted yard
pierced by yellow light
a pale shimmering green
myself I find my cutoffs
in the pile of cast off
swim wear from yesterdays
swim and slip into them to get
aroused by their damp tight fit
and day’s promised brightness
a grasshopper disguised as a
discarded clothespin makes its move
to a patch of bare parched earth
the one single thing to do today
I will plan slowly and carefully


Personally I prefer
the dangers of reality
the laws of color
white light
               only this simplicity
poetry is faith
poetry is a second childhood
I will be a poet
I will be poor
I will remain human
ambition seems so absurd
and prose is much more
terrible than poetry
a martyr’s career
success is about the worst thing
that could happen


Some days I’m just disagreeable
I think I’m at home and running
the whole show and if it don’t go
my way it just don’t go no way
why’s that
                            naturally grouchy
I guess it’s in my genes just like
I feel comfortable with my hands
in the back pockets of my blue jeans
directing the paths of planets
and the thoughts and actions of men
“You there with the stars in your eyes
put them back where they belong!”


Writing poetry
is a lot like
being a flower
you present
a visible surface
that is esthetic
but it’s your
ultraviolet appearance
that attracts
the insects
vital to your


This looks like a big canary
                                          who’s the guy who said “yes”
              that’s what I’d like to know
                                                        fold tab A
                                                        insert wings
                            tab B
                            where’s the cat
                            ok curled up
                            on the couch
                            he’s all black
                            and sleeping
get serious
                                          its morning
                                          and the kid pissed in bed
is that resignation written across my face
                                                        I can’t accept it
              tab C
                            take your vitamin
and shut your mouth
                                          or is that month
                                                        this month
                                                        having thirty days
              have I been here that long
                            I must be dreaming
                                                                      tab D
                                          insert hand
                                          in largest bubble
                                          above head
it’s all empty
it’s all part of the anatomy
it’s fantastically windy out
it’s all ok
                            the roof creaks
                            the roof is about
                                                                      to fly off
                                                                      glue here
              my mind is made up
it’s a shame
              to undo it this way
                            unglue here
                                          and fly away
                                                                      yellow bird


Life wriggles across
              the microscopes slide
from left to right
              so I’m given to assume
though I only know
              one thing for certain
a scratched ass is a contented ass
the anchor of dogma drags bottom
whine and growl on
              the distant highway
machines hiss as
              they plow through
the orange air
              here it’s only
the dominant silence
              of a beating clock
guitar riff winds down
the scale of my nerves
and for my ears alone
where I am stretched out
              in memory of Ted Berrigan
in the recumbent position
ashtray and book at bedside
that faraway look pen in hand
“I don’t want to confuse things with ideas now”
feeble buzz
Kerouac’s winter fly
in the corner of the window
 after the sun’s gone down
as I
              great reclining Buddha of evening
contemplate these illusions
              our past and future lives


There was an ambulance
with its backdoors open
in front of an apartment
house and on the corner
a woman and two children
attracted by the siren
except for the dog behind
the fence and the white
bathrobe the woman wore
against the evening breeze
not much else stirred

Olga Zilberbourg

Four short shorts

A Wish

     The child, whose birthday it was, spent most of the party in her room, standing in front of a daybed, head resting on the pillow. When the time came to cut the cake, several adults, in turn, came to get her. The answer was, No, she didn’t want to have cake. No, she didn’t want to blow out the candles, the four trick candles that would relight after she blew on them so that every child at her party could have a go. No, she didn’t want to make wishes which could not come true because the candles wouldn’t go out. No, she didn’t want to have the Happy Birthday song sung to her, the way it was always sung for all birthdays, happy or not. No, she didn’t want to smile and feel special like everyone who had that song sung to them was supposed to do. No, she didn’t want to have her picture taken, especially if it meant that the trick candles would have to be relit. No, she didn’t want to help her mother slice the cake, decorated with a wise owl that would have to be cut into pieces. No, she didn’t want to eat the cake that would leave her feeling thirsty and then wanting more cake though she was only allowed one slice. No, she didn’t want any of this, and worst of all was the knowledge that she would have to go through all of this, because it happened to be her birthday and all the kids and adults were there to witness how she would do.
     Her mother came and prodded her to the living room.
     Was it really that bad? she was asked after the song was over.
     Yes, she answered seriously, unable to look away from her mother’s hand that was slicing through the owl’s body.
     Yes, she thought later, after the cake was cut and the pictures taken, and she was back in her room, standing by the daybed, thinking her thoughts. She collected her favorite things-a hairless doll, a notebook with stickers gifted to her on a previous birthday, a broken watch that showed stopped time-on her pillow and she hugged that pillow and made a wish that she was certain would come true because it was secret and nobody could trick her out of it.


     The growth spurts came every few years and pushed our bodies exponentially upward and out. As children we moved from our cozily canopied cribs to well-padded toddler beds to twins to futons and plain mattresses on the floor (unless our families were wealthy enough to provide the modular ever-expanding bedframes) and then, as we grew on and on, we continued to move houses. Condos in the city were advertised, “Perfect for thirty-somethings with children.”
     The forty-year olds required higher ceilings, taller furniture. An occasional forty-year old, nostalgic for her childhood, tried dating a twenty-something, but the romance was physically difficult to sustain. She had to crouch down to him, and he could not, on his own, open the door to her fridge and take out the pot of beans. There were, of course, young people who prided themselves on their early maturity.
     The fifty-year olds moved out to the farms, where they could shrug off the sense of being forever cramped, straighten their shoulders, and occupy themselves with tending to corn and sunflowers, apples and walnuts. At eighty, their parents grew so large and inert that talking to them was like trying to reach the top of a mountain. The eighty year olds were no longer heard, not even by their peers. Each of them was a heap of solitude, better able to commune with the clouds than with their fellow humans. Tending to these elderly was a challenge, for even the discovery of all the nooks and crannies where they hurt required of the younger generations long and arduous journeys. The sixty-year olds were best suited for this work. The sixty-year olds were still agile enough to really get in there, and the abounding apprehension of their own growth to come gentled their touch.
     Seventy-seven, one woman decided, was a good age to die. She could still see her grandchildren, and she was heard when she asked her son to bring them closer, though already she was afraid to pick them up for the fear of accidentally crushing them. An apple tree could hear an oak, but to an oak the words of a giant sequoia sounded like rustling. This woman scribbled a note in the smallest handwriting she could muster, “The journey is over. Love to all.” Then she took sleeping pills and wrapped her head in plastic.

Graduate School

     The English department had a stench to it. It was the morning after Spring break, and Sonya had put off grading the essays far too long. She sat down in the faculty reading room, where people could see her at work, and pulled out a green pen. Her comments would be generous, insightful, plainly phrased. But the essays were awful. One eighteen-year old argued that people who didn’t believe in God were inviting misery and suffering into their lives. Another, a young man, wrote, “Thus, school uniforms are necessary to protect women from dressing however they want for their own good.” Sonya lifted her head. The reading room was empty.
     That afternoon a biohazard truck obstructed the exit from the Humanities building. Sonya went home to drink wine and read her email. She’d been collecting rejection letters from the PhD programs she’d applied to; waiting in her inbox was the last of the bunch. A PhD in literature was likely to land her, six years later, in the same job, grading the same essays. The only difference would be that a PhD made her eligible for a tenure-track position. She would never see the end to grading. Perhaps these rejections were a blessing in disguise: it was time to get out of teaching. She once had held a position in market research. Returning to that work, she could quadruple her income while regaining her nights and weekends. She could.
     She opened the email. It was an acceptance. Sonya had been accepted to a comparative literature program. Full funding for two years. A rural town across the country, known for heavy snowstorms. Star faculty. Small program that encouraged cross-departmental collaboration. Opportunity to apply for funding to study abroad. We were impressed with your writing sample and would love to have you.
     The last email in Sonya’s inbox was from the president of the university where she was an adjunct. He was saddened to inform the dear campus community that a faculty member had been found dead in her office in the Humanities building. Jane Polk, sixty-two years old, had contributed to the university’s success for the past nineteen years and her body had stayed rotting behind the closed door of her office through the Spring break. Nobody, not a student, not a janitor, not a fellow faculty member, had approached the door of her office in that time. The university police chief said that although the cause of death had not yet been determined, it appeared to have been the result of natural causes. Jane had no immediate family. Short-term counseling was available for employees, including adjunct instructors, through Life Matters, the university’s employee assistance program. A one-eight hundred number was provided.
     Sonya went for that bottle of wine and poured herself a glass. Jane Polk’s death was Jane Polk’s death, and was it so bad? Lots of people died doing their jobs, the jobs that they loved. Sonya’s life was Sonya’s life. She and Jane Polk had little in common.

Her Turn

     In 1992, when the boy Oksana loved abandoned her and their five month old daughter, Oksana’s mother shipped her off to America. Through a brand-new agency, her mother found Oksana a husband in California. Her mother wouldn’t let Oksana take her newborn with her. No man, her mother lectured, wanted to raise another man’s child. Oksana weaned the girl and left her in the grandmother’s charge.
     Twenty four years later, the boy Oksana once loved, her daughter’s father, turns up in San Francisco. Here’s how Californian Oksana has become: she meets him for coffee. They sit on bar stools in one of San Francisco’s public parklets and chat about the global trends that brought him, a programmer, to the Silicon Valley. He took a pay cut and a step down the career ladder to get out of Russia. His is an immigrant’s story: trying to figure out his housing situation, a job for his wife, schools for his two pre-teen kids, the clauses in his auto insurance to get some money back after a highway accident he caused took out his bumper. He looks out of place in this café of hip entrepreneurs. He wears a suit and his forehead is creased with worry.
     Looking at him, listening to the stories of his woes, hearing him order a cappuccino in barely comprehensible English, Oksana plays with her flip flop, sliding it off her foot and picking it back up with her toes. She can’t help but admire her latest pedicure, the mauve nail polish that’s holding for several days without a single chip.
     Toward the end of the hour, the man asks, “How’s your daughter?” He’s looking at her sideways as he tentatively speaks the girl’s name. How do you think she is? Oksana wants to ask him. The girl had grown up without her parents, and when she finally came to the United States to go to high school, she learned English in a month and took to pretending that she could no longer understand anything her mother and her grandmother had to say.
     “She lives in Alaska and works at a fishery.” Oksana has practiced giving this information in the way that emphasizes the pride. Nevertheless, she’s glad when he pales. She steps into her flip flops and picks up her guitar, that same guitar that twenty-four years earlier, not wishing to seem destitute, she’d brought with her on the plane from Russia. She’s off to a music class for toddlers that she teaches twice a week, just for fun. The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round. She has a toddler of her own, an almost four-year old who’s been going to a Montessori preschool.
     Oksana’s main gig, the one she’d worked up to for twenty years and can now run independently, working out of her home office while taking care of a toddler, is headhunting. She helps large businesses recruit high-level executives. Leaving the café, she shakes the man’s hand and promises to keep his resumé on file.

In This Issue


Chester Arnold

(Paintings: “Fire in the Hole,” “From Childhood’s Hour,” “Hard Rain”) is a California born, European raised painter whose work on canvas is a bridge between the craftsmanship of past masters and the turbulent concerns of our moment. His paintings have been widely collected and exhibited. “Borderline,” a current exhibition of his recent paintings, closes May 5 th at  Catherine Clark Gallery in San Francisco. Arnold has taught painting and drawing for many years at the College of Marin.


James Brzezinski

(Paintings: “Wading In” “Hearth” “Wall of Fire”) is a retired art professor, artist, musician, and writer, who divides his time between studios in Pacifica and Mariposa, CA. His work has been included more than 150 solo and group shows in the United States and abroad, and is included in public, private, and corporate collections. He has published many articles, mostly for Artweek


Squeak Carnwath

(“Fire Art”) draws upon the philosophical and mundane experiences of daily life in her paintings and prints, which can be identified by lush fields of color combined by text, patterns, and identifiable images. Her work is exhibited widely in the United States and internationally and is in the collections of many major institutions. Carnwath has received numerous awards including two individual artist fellowships from the NEA and a Guggenheim Fellowship. 


Kristen Garneau 

(Painting: “Fire”) is a Northern California painter. With children out of the house and parents gone, she is struck with the desire to slow down time and to find a point of stillness. She builds and sketches on the canvas, taking away what is unnecessary, paring down the visual language. Her influences include the landscapes of Gottardo Piazzoni as well as the work of Rothko and Milton Avery. Seager/Gray Gallery in Mill Valley represents her work. She will have a one-person show in November. 


Susan Griffin 

(Poem: “Two Fathers”) is a philosopher, essayist, and playwright. Her books include Women and Nature and Chorus of Stones: The Private Life of War. She received the Fred Cody Award for Literary Lifetime Achievement from the Bay Area Book Reviewers, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an honorary doctorate from the Graduate Theological Union. Susan contributed an essay, “If the Clothes Fit” to Viola Frey, Women and Men, published by Kelly’s Cove Press. 


Katherine Hastings 

(Poem: “What We Packed at 3 AM.”) is the author of 3 books of poems, most recently Shakespeare & Stein Walk Into a Bar.  She is the editor of several anthologies, including Know Me Here – An Anthology of Poetry by Women (WordTemple Press, 2017) and What the Redwoods Know – Poems from California State Parks (2011). Poet laureate emerita of Sonoma County, Hastings founded and hosted the WordTemple Poetry Series and WordTemple on KRCB FM for over a decade. Her archived programs can be found at radio.kcrb.org.


Michael Kerbow 

(Painting: “Sear”) is a San Francisco-based artist who works in a variety of media including painting, drawing, assemblage, and digitally-manipulated photography. He received his MFA from Pratt Institute in New York. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and has appeared in multiple publications.


Margot Koch 

(Painting: “Fire”) grew up in Hollywood, California but has lived most of her life in Marin County. She has worked as a prop fabricator, set painter, book illustrator, art teacher and oil painter. She also had a stint as a back-up singer in San Francisco. Her formal art education has been primarily the study of Japanese kanji and oil painting but her primary teacher is nature.


Genine Lentine 

(“Five Poems”) is the author of Archaeopteryx (Artifact, 2016), Poses: An Essay Drawn from the Model (Kelly’s Cove Press, 2012), Mr. Worthington’s Beautiful Experiments on Splashes (New Michigan Press, 2010) and co-author with Stanley Kunitz of The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden (W.W. Norton, 2005) Recent work appears in  Lion’s Roar, and in  Renga for Obama. She teaches privately and at San Francisco Art Institute.


Linda MacDonald

(Painting: “Message Within,” “Antipodes”) is a native Californian, has lived in rural Mendocino County for many years. Her current concerns are the California redwood trees:  their conservation, appreciation, knowledge, discovery, and stewardship. She hopes to increase awareness of their plight through her artwork. MacDonald taught high school for many years. Her artwork is in the collection of the White House, the city of San Francisco, the Museum of Art and Design (MAD) in NYC, and the University of Nebraska International Quilt Study Center & Museum.


Greg Martin 

(Paintings: “Consumed by Fire” “Incarnate”) “Realism not imbued with an artist’s imagination is, at least for me, a lifeless form of art. I strive for realism within an offbeat composition of landscape and culture. Realistic scenes with just enough out of place to make the viewer pause. Whimsy and darkness, metamorphosis and solitude are common themes in my work. I live in Marin County with my six-year-old daughter. “


Pat Nolan 

(“Seven Poems”) lives in Monte Rio along the Russian River.  His poems, prose, and translations have appeared in literary magazines and anthologies in the US and Canada as well as in Europe and Asia.  He is the author of over a dozen books of poetry and three novels.  He maintains the poetry blog Parole for the New Black Bart Poetry Society, and is co-founder of Nualláin House, Publishers.  His serial fiction, Ode To Sunset, is available for perusal at odetosunset.com. 


Gwynn O’Gara 

(“Poems: Sifting Emptiness” and “The Drunken Mother”) Gwynn’s books include Snake Woman Poems and the chapbooks Fixer-Upper, Winter at Green Haven, and Sea Cradles. A long-time teacher with California Poets in the Schools, she served as Sonoma County Poet Laureate 2010 through 2011.

Jude Pittman 

(Painting: “The Douser”) Jude Pittman makes drawings, paintings, digital art, videos and mosaics at her California studios in Pacifica (Bay Area) and Mariposa (Sierras.) Most recently her focus is on video drawings. 


Theresa Rife

(Web Designer) has been working with Kelly’s Cove Press as a website administrator, designer, editorial assistant, and general fixer since 2011. Theresa also works as an audio engineer and enjoys singing to dive bar audiences in her off-hours. She lives in Oakland.


Bill Russell 

(Drawing, paintings: “Fire Car,” “House on Fire Sketch,” “Fire Scape”) is a painter, illustrator and visual journalist. He earned his degree from Parsons School of Design in New York. Bill was an adjunct professor of Illustration at California College of the Arts and a staff artist at the San Francisco Chronicle. He recently completed an artist residency at Recology in San Francisco and at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley. He is an expat Canadian and lives with his wife and dog in San Rafael in a restored Eichler home.


Bart Schneider

(Editor) is the publisher of Kelly’s Cove Press. He was the founding editor of the Hungry Mind Review and Speakeasy Magazine.
Schneider is the author of five novels, including Blue Bossa, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and Secret Love, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. He lives in Berkeley.

Deborah Seidman 

(Painting: “After the Fire”) was born in Boston and went to Vesper George School of Art. She studied painting at College of Marin in the 1980’s and is again studying at College of Marin, Indian Valley campus. She has participated in Marin Open Studios for years, selling over fifty paintings. Along with painting, her work includes drawings, and mixed media watercolors.

Natasha Sharpe 

(Pen and ink with digital enhancement: “Cilvilian”) is an illustrator, animator, and storyteller who amuses herself by projecting personalities onto inanimate objects and distilling the chaos of the real world into an easily digestible biscuit. She was born and raised in San Rafael, California, and graduated from the RISD Film/Animation/Video department in 2017. 


Spence Snyder 

(Paintings: “Followers,” “The Edge of Midnight”) is a Bay Area native who grew up in Novato and who currently lives and works in Mill Valley. He received a degree in illustration from Academy of Art University in San Francisco and a degree in Fine Art from the University of San Francisco. His most recent studies at College of Marin and City College of San Francisco have focused on a deeper understanding of the human figure working with live models as a foundation for both drawing and painting. He has been exhibiting work since 2013.  Instagram – ArtOfSpence


Lisa Summers 

(Poem: “Firecats”) is the author of two collections of poetry – Star Thistle and Other Poems (FMRL, 2012) and Ogygia (FRML, 2014). Her latest book, The Green Tara – is a wine country caper set in Northern California (FMRL, 2017). She is the co- founder of the Sonoma Writers’ Workshop, which hosts a popular series of poetry readings at BUMP Wine Cellars in Sonoma. 


Stephanie Thwaites 

(Paintings: “Of Desire,” “Scar”) holds a BFA from Yale University, where she studied painting, graphic design and photography. She did further graduate study in design in Switzerland. After a 20-year career as a graphic designer, creative director, and brand manager, Stephanie returned to her fine arts background full time in 2009. She has exhibited in several solo and group shows and in November has an upcoming solo show at the Belvedere-Tiburon Library.


Tami Sloan Tsark 

(Paintings: “Where There’s Smoke” and “Safe Harbor”) is a San Francisco painter who also works in mixed media and sculpture. Her work has been exhibited in Los Angeles, Sonoma County and San Francisco, and has been published in Artweek. She received her BA from UCLA in Film/TV, where she specialized in animation.


Keith Wilson 

(Paintings: “Firedance,” “It Will Be Green Again”) graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA Environmental Design (minor in etching) and a Master Degree in Architecture, having maintained an architectural practice until 2001 and an active painting practice since the 1970s. He maintains studios in San Rafael and on the Sonoma Coast.  


Olga Zilberbourg 

(“Four Short Shorts”) is a bilingual author who grew up in Russia and moved to the United States at the age of seventeen. Her third Russian-language book of short stories was published in Moscow-based Vremya Press in 2016. In English, her fiction has been featured in Confrontation, World Literature Today, Tin House’s The Open Bar, Narrative, Outpost19’s Golden State 2017, as well as other print and online publications. Her short fiction won the 2017 San Francisco’s Litquake Writing Contest and the 2016 Willesden Herald International Short Story Prize. She co-hosts the weekly San Francisco Writers Workshop.