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  April 2019
volume 16 number 1
-table of contents-
  featured poets
  Rich Follett
  Dani Raschel Jiménez
  Terry McCarty
  Simon Perchik
  Kevin Ridgeway
  Opalina Salas
  Annette Marie Smith
  Jan Steckel
  Lois Michal Unger
  Amy Uyematsu
  Viola Weinberg
  mailing list
Kevin Ridgeway April 2019



art by paradoxius

    Kevin Ridgeway is the author of Too Young to Know (Stubborn Mule Press, 2019). Recent work has appeared in Slipstream, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, and The American Journal of Poetry. He lives and writes in Long Beach, CA.



Me and Julio Down By the Abandoned Strip Mall

he was from Ecuador, I was from Los Angeles;
neither one of us spoke the same language,
and we were both in need of a friend.
I managed to teach him how to say "dude"
and "don't have a cow man" or anything
else from the Bart Simpson lexicon, which he
shouted in response to everything I said.
when I told him that my grandpa was dead,
he yelled "eat my shorts, dude" with a big
smile, so I kept the dark secrets to myself.

we stopped everyday on our walk home
at an empty strip mall with broken signs.
the Flavors of the Day hung crooked and faded
on the streaked glass door of the abandoned
Swirl on Yogurt, and sleazy towers of porn
movies sat at the center of the vacated
Class Act Video.

our favorite was the piñata shop at the
very end with the paper orphans its owners
left behind, pale imitations of favorites that
included a puke green and pissed off about it
Big Bird, his legs ripped from his torso and
buried under a foursome of multi colored
Minnie Mouse also-ran's that had shed their
long eyelashes all over the stained tile floor
like a plague of ants to rotting corpses.

we wanted to break in there and beat the
hell out of those unpopular mistakes while
we sized each other up and wondered out
loud in our native languages what could
be inside of each other beyond the catchphrases
and the silence, two more unsold rejects on the
abandoned sales floor looking deep within the other
hoping at the very least for some candy.

copyright 2019 Kevin Ridgeway