Poetry from Mahbub


The world itself a melody

where every instrument is playing with music

we sing together, we dance together

we laugh together, cry together,

die together, born together,

enjoy the whole item of beauty

with a melody that is going on always among us

proud of our birth

always hand in hand a splash of water

try to fly in the brown sky

time after time

run after the wave of the  ocean

we wander on the grass, ponder over things

break the heart again built

stand together

fall dividing

all are fixed as if from long day and night

circling the ground  there is a harmony

to bend on each other

to cross the unparalleled

beats the drum  more loudly

that weaves the heart into melody.

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Poetry from Stella Pfahler

God’s Square Mile

I imagined you struck by lightning, paralyzed and hanging in the air or above my bedside

isaiah 58:11 reading beneath you

I wanted to write you into verse psalm after psalm say it back to me echo like Presider: Congregation:

there is nothing like touch in electricity your hands

in water beneath a tall black sky

brushstrokes simmering beneath skin  draw me a riverside, blanketed in peaks considering the largeness on each side

and the smallness in the middle

you sheared the plastic off a car door handle with close­cut careful nails and murmured “cows” at every intersection whenever they appeared





Creative nonfiction from Doug Hawley

I Won’t Take Manhattan

Not that Manhattan, the Big Apple, Bright Lights Big City, this is the little apple, dim lights, little city in Kansas.

I ended up there after my third year of a math Ph.D. program at the University of Oregon in Eugene.  I didn’t care for Eugene, and I was a poor Ph.D. candidate.   When not studying, I spent my time drinking, consuming a controlled substance, getting fat and hanging out with other unmarried male graduate students.  It was an unpleasant life of my own making.

My thesis advisor decided to take a job at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.  I didn’t think that anyone else in the department would take me as a student, so I decided to go with him despite the Kansas horror stories.  Oregon has mountains, trees, lakes and canyons, but Kansas not so much.  Another four of his students also followed him.

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Cristina Deptula interviews Italian and American filmmaker, actor and screenwriter Federico Wardal

Federico Wardal is an Italian playwright, screenplay writer and director and acting instructor. He speaks widely on topics related to human rights and his artistic craft and currently lives in San Francisco.
First off, please introduce yourself! We’ve got an audience from around the world, and not everyone may be familiar with the world of live theater or independent films. 
It is not easy to introduce myself as Wardal, as I consider Wardal a “faceted character” due to the influences of the Nobel Prize-winner Pirandello, Einstein and my mentor Federico Fellini.
To be more clear, I could consider [my persona] Wardal an invented imaginary author, arising out of the ideas of the ancient authors from Greece, Pirandello, and his friend Einstein. I love Einstein’s theory of relativity and think Fellini was inspired by Pirandello and Einstein when he created his film “8 1/2.” 
From the first time I appeared on the stage as Wardal at the age of 14 years old, my aspect was (and is) an artifact, built up, never natural or simple, and sensational and amazing.

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Novel excerpt from Carol Smallwood

Excerpt from In Hubble’s Shadow by Carol Smallwood.


Midwestern Spring
     Spring is the season that brings Midwesterners the most anticipation: the brown to green, the burst of delicate pink and white blossoms on fruit trees, the low dare devil swooping of nesting birds while driving—a welcoming confirmation that we made it through. Even dandelions delight our eyes, scattered replicas of the Sun. The first grass mowing. A celebration as new leaves cover bare limbs to make changing patterns of shade. We open the car windows driving past lilacs.
Citation: Smallwood, Carol, In Hubble’s Shadow (Brunswick, Maine: Shanti Arts Publishing, 2017). Used with permission of the publisher; www.shantiarts.com

Essay from Donal Mahoney

My Parents Were Illegal Irish Immigrants in the United States

Joseph Francis O'Mahony, first row, third from left, circa 1920, age 16, all dressed up and looking older than 16 as a prisoner of the English on Spike Island a few years before he emigrated to the United States. There he became a  citizen and the judge told him to change his name to Mahoney, a decision he would bemoan like a banshee for years.  Permission to use this photo has been obtained from the Waterford County Museum in Ireland.

Joseph Francis O’Mahony, first row, third from left, circa 1920, age 16, all dressed up and looking older than 16 as a
prisoner of the English on Spike Island a few years before he emigrated to the United States. There he became a
citizen and the judge told him to change his name to Mahoney, a decision he would bemoan like a banshee for years.
Permission to use this photo has been obtained from the Waterford County Museum in Ireland.

In 1920, my father, 16, was a guest of the British government. He was a prisoner of their forces occupying Ireland at the time, a group called the Black and Tans.
One day he and seven other prisoners were brought out of their makeshift cells to dig their own graves in a small walled compound. As tradition would have it, they would be shot into their graves and other prisoners would be brought out to bury them.
By prearranged signal, the eight men dropped their shovels and broke for the wall. Bullets stopped five of them but the other three climbed over the wall and made it through the rural Irish countryside to freedom. One of the escapees eventually went to Australia, another to Canada. My father made it to America. 
The story doesn’t end there, of course, and he only told it once. But even if you were only in eighth grade, as I was at the time, it’s not a story you forget.

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Poetry from Vijay Nair


Hi’story is a fiction false Wolf clothing in Sheep’s Run against the clock Closet in truth that coffin Wonder longer not nine that trumpet Everywhere all tricks of trade An old dog not to be taught A new Shakespeare chance upon Has greatness that Hamlet thrust upon Water no hold, a waterloo Hearing you not that whistle blow? Wicked flee not if Man pursuits it in soul Bacon a foster soul Blessed in disguise Shakespeare Some six fold six plays All sonnets a legacy Art lies in concealing art, irony What Ovid foreseen An answer, no Shakespeare is enigma Hamlet in heavenly procrastination Claudius not upon him avenge Annoyed that man delighted not him Truth untold a broken heart hubris His honest a hideous mirror debris Word play in he a Pete Sampras What a piece of work a man! Philosophy, brother double a mankind Dubbed verses of Denmark Prince Defenceless was he a pseudo Christ Ethos his passivism embodied inaction Pagan he an Achilles no Don Quixote Out of joint time was his revenge With wings as not with swift as meditation Daggers at her Cost a terrible dapper Malleable Mom she frailty not With rotten son adultery not His mother fixation a failed Psycho fancy

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Poetry from Tony Nightwalker LeTigre

goodwill gone bad

didn’t it used to be cheaper?
I swear, there’s new stuff at Wal-Mart for sale for less than this
donated shoes for fifty dollars?
security closely watching the floor?

imagine a huge free pile
where people throw all their giveaways
open to the sky & free for the taking:
a mound of unspoiled human generosity

“the money we make helps us fund all the programs we offer,”
says the clerk in a perky voice
& it helps pay your CEO that million-dollar salary he enjoys
what programs does Goodwill offer?
job search assistance, that’s right
the one time I tried to make use of that, they told me,
“the only position we have right now
is a receptionist for the church of scientology”

I decided to pass on that

GIVE says the sign
yes, I agree
but not to Willamette Week
not to Goodwill, International INC. (emphasis mine)
not to nonprofit wolves in sheep’s clothing
directly to the people who need it

white yuppie privilege

at Peet’s, sipping coffee purchased with a christmas-present gift card
only place I have to warm up on this holiday
(christmas was a lot nicer indoors)
small cafe, seats filled
white arrogant yuppie couple comes in
complains about no place to sit
long-term portland resident gets up wordlessly
to yield his seat to these crocodiles
who promptly sit down & begin talking with their fellows at the next table
about what part of california they come from,
& how nice the real estate is here

and the tourists wonder
why I’m so rude
when I almost knock them down at Powell’s books

and the new gentry wonders
why there are so many houseless people sprouting up everywhere

look in the mirror, creepazoids
you’ll find at least part of the answer
to your oh so pressing vexations
they could make a movie about you
“Invasion of the Property Snatchers”



frozen fingers

slept outside again last night
in the leeway of a foursquare church
that was kind enough to leave its searchlights on
so I could read myself to sleep
except it was too cold to read

didn’t sleep well
took a sleeping pill at 330 am
thinking I’d sleep in a bit
woke up at 730 am to a large black man shouting
fight-or-flight surge: norepinephrine reflex
but he’s “nice” I suppose
I hope you’re warm enough
You’re welcome to sleep here
but please don’t leave any garbage when you leave!
Here’s a receptacle to throw it in”
He stresses the garbage thing several times
If I’d just throw myself in the bin it’d be more convenient I suppose

I’m not warm enough, actually, but… thanks for the hope
I walk away rubbing sleep out of my eyes
with frozen fingers & toes
trying to contain my falling-apart sleeping bag
thinking, “I’m supposed to be grateful for this, I guess”

stash my stuff in a hopefully safe spot
go to the yuppie grocery pavilion
buy coffee I could have made free if I had a house
go to pour almond milk on my granola for breakfast
the milk that spend the night outside with me
it’s frozen: doesn’t pour


The Moment We Decide to Rise, We Thrive

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Christopher Bernard reviews Antigona at San Francisco’s Z Space Theater

Marvels and Terrors


Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca

Z Space

San Francisco










Reviewed by Christopher Bernard


“In the world there are many terrors and marvels,

but none more marvelous, and more terrifying, than man.”

—Sophocles, from his tragedy Antigone


Noche Flamenca brought its dance version of Sophocles’ famous tragedy to Z Space in San Francisco for an unfortunately short run this February. (Short because, as the result of an injury, the first week of performances had to be cancelled.)

However, the rest of the run remains, and there is still time to see one of the most intense evenings in dance you are likely to see this season.

Sophocles’ searing play touches on some of the profoundest issue of human life: family versus the state, love versus politics, the gods versus man, feminine versus masculine values.

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Shining determination: A Thousand Splendid Suns at San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater


Last week I enjoyed a production of A Thousand Splendid Suns, a stage adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s novel by Ursula Rani Sarma and directed by Carey Perloff, at San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater. 

The title, from a 17th century poem written by Saib-e-Tabrizi as he passed through Afghanistan on his way from Persia to India, celebrates Kabul’s landscape and people. 

Taking place over the past forty years of Kabul’s history, the play reveals more of the Afghan nationals’ raw fortitude than the place’s evocative beauty. Yet, the strength and determination of main characters Laila and Mariam becomes its own kind of splendor. 

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