Prometheus Felled | Heather Bourbeau

Image: David Matos

Bristlecone twist upon twist, layer upon layer, like fingers
of the crone or braids of her mother, reaching for the sky.
Cold air, hot sun. High desert survivor

dared erosions and fires, needed only a few small strips
of bark to stay alive, outlive them all.
But 5000 years were undone in one afternoon.

We want to know, to name.
We are Machiavellian in this pursuit.
Prometheus stole fire from the gods, carried it

in giant fennel stalk, gifted it to humans.
For this, he was bound to a rock, his liver to be eagle-eaten
every day, regrow at night and be eaten again.

To understand the brain’s hemispheres, we cut the corpus collosum.
To learn the spread of virus, we cull the herd, open skulls.
To know the oldest, we bored the bark,

failed, then cut and sectioned, hauled and processed.
Counted rings, counted time. Only then did we understand
the ignorance and arrogance.

Still, we kept one slab at Ely casino, then convention center.
Respect reserved for the lab or the field, now national park
in part because scientist-cum-lumberjack pushed

to protect remaining pine, hobble the folly
of men, like him, believing they need to know,
no matter the damnation, no matter the pain.


Heather Bourbeau’s fiction and poetry have been published in 100 Word Story, Alaska Quarterly Review, Cleaver, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Short Édition, The Cardiff Review, and The Stockholm Review of Literature. Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, she is the winner of La Piccioletta Barca’s inaugural competition and Chapman University Flash Fiction winner. She has worked with various UN agencies, including the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia and UNICEF Somalia.

This piece is a part of South Broadway Press’ March issue, Language of the Earth.

Suburban Garden Evicts Vegetables | Wendy BooydeGraaff

Image: Alexander Sergienko
Peas zigzag through weeds, scaling borage instead of trellis. 
Tomatoes stagnate, grass and clover thrive, tender beets

sprout alongside dandelions tubers. Uprooting one hefty weed 
evicts the fledgling vegetables. It all grows, though the weeds 

grow best. My own roots reach back to clean plow lines and blooming 
rows: eighty acres of fruit farm plus a rectangle of Ontario’s Eden 

beside the old garage: all-you-can-eat green beans, snow peas, cherry 
tomatoes, rhubarb for pie and stewed berries over ice cream.

I grew up knowing a weed is a weed and a plant 
is sacred. Behold my upscaled quagmire—Royal Burgundy Beans, 

rainbow chard, heirloom Spanish radishes, yellow pear tomatoes—
mingled with timothy, dandelion, broadleaf plantain. A feast of colours 

descendant of rain-scented soil spread down a long laced 
table, paired with a leggy wine. Inside, I hear the garden 

call. Dillweed whispers and waves, its delicate imitation 
fern summons rusted canning rings while blue morning 

glories drown everything by mid-August.


Wendy BooydeGraaff’s poems, stories, and essays have been included in Critical Read, Not Very Quiet, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Meniscus, and elsewhere. Originally from Ontario, where she grew up on a fruit farm, she now lives in Michigan suburbia.

This piece is a selection from South Broadway Press’ March issue, Language of the Earth.

Alienor | LindaAnn Lo Schiavo

Image: LindaAnn LoSchiavo

To unobservant eyes they seem like plants.

Long, limber stalks with out-sized bulbous heads
Could be confused with other specimens,
Especially to folks who’ve never seen
Exotics rooted in a foreign pod.

By night they leave protected flowerpots.

Exhaling oxygen, these beings fly,
Determined to reverse what climate change
Eroded by offsetting greenhouse gas
With purifying breaths, restoring trees,
And tackling global warming, ice-shelf melt.

I won’t reveal this methodology.

My job is to provide fresh nutrients ― ―
Ingredients from our rare biosphere.

Then curious balloon contraptions sail
These pods to sites that need repair and care.

Disguised as gladiator allium,
Purple florets compressed inside a round,
Attractive head, the team disperses from
Each stem ― ― a green antenna ― ― gets to work. 

Earthlings don’t know extraterrestrials

Are wise, solution oriented, pained
By man’s destruction, astral gifts blood-stained.


Night winds blow golden over what’s reclaimed
And what’s unfinished. Damaged nature won’t
Regenerate except through tender tips
Renewing fruited plains, life’s green wealth,
’til Earth rejoices in its own undeath.


Native New Yorker LindaAnn LoSchiavo, recently Poetry SuperHighway’s Poet of the Week, is a member of SFPA and The Dramatists Guild. Her poetry collections “Conflicted Excitement” [Red Wolf Editions, 2018], “Concupiscent Consumption” [Red Ferret Press, 2020], and Elgin Award nominee “A Route Obscure and Lonely”‘ [Wapshott Press, 2019] along with a contribution in “Anti-Italianism: Essays on a Prejudice”  [Macmillan in the USA, Aracne Editions in Italy]  are her latest titles.

This piece is part of South Broadway Press’ March 2021 issue, The Language of the Earth.

Editor Interview | Huascar Medina


Huascar Medina, Poet Laureate of Kansas (2019-2021), is the Lit Editor for seveneightfive magazine and an Op-Ed writer for Kansas Reflector.  He’s published two collections of poetry Un Mango Grows in Kansas (2020) and How to Hang the Moon (2017). His words have appeared in The New York Times, Latino Book Review and elsewhere.

It is what it is.

Unknown

What does this quote mean to you?

A constant reminder that at the end of the day the universe will always have the last word.

What books have made an important impact on you and why?

“A Separate Peace” by John Knowles. At a young age, I learned that rivalry is the ego at war with itself.

What is the value of writing and art in the current state of the world?

I commend creatives who expend so much energy trying to add light. When hope is a scarcity their work naturally intensifies. They shine a bit more through the darkness.  I view this abundance of output as a vigil for opportunity. A chance to see things in a new light —a beacon.  

How has writing and art helped to form the person you are today?

Poetry is a lens I apply outward and inward to observe, explore, evaluate, document and admire life. I am more aware with poetry.

What is something that matters to you?

My family, love, being kind, truth, equality and compassion. Being supportive of creatives. Finding/creating and accepting peace. Words.

Editor Interview | Erica Hoffmeister

Erica Hoffmeister was born and raised in the fragrant orange groves of Southern California, but has been chasing that elusive concept of home since she witnessed the vast, east Texan sky bloom on her first cross-country road trip at the age of seven. She now lives in Denver, where she teaches college writing and advocates for media literacy and digital citizenship. She is the author of two poetry collections: Lived in Bars (Stubborn Mule Press, 2019), and Roots Grew Wild (Kingdoms in the Wild Press, 2019), but considers herself a cross-genre writer and has a variety of work published in several journals and magazines. Learn more at: http://www.ericahoffmeister.com/

With all due respect, I’m not the one hanging off of the back of a ship here.

Jack Dawson, Titanic

What does this quote mean to you?

My undying love for Jack Dawson is not something to take lightly. So, let’s just start there: reading into Titanic quotes until you have some sort of identity crisis. Trust me—it’s kinda fun.

What books have made an important impact on you and why?

I’d love to make a long list of impressive poets and writers that have impacted the world in an important way, that we should all read and cry and joy over. But honestly, sometimes I feel like those lists are often just used to frame one’s writer ego. Kind of like the guy at the back of the venue that only listens to the most obscure bands. So, if I’m being honest, my list of most impactful books to me are probably not very impressive. I’m a simple girl. I like to read to escape. I read the Harry Potter series for the first time at age 25 and it changed my life. Before that, I basically only read anything about Paris because I’m a total Francophile – my favorite being Sacré Bleu by Christopher Moore. In grad school, reading War & Peace felt like the biggest accomplishment of my life, and was one of the most beautiful escapes I’d ever experienced. I took Into the Wild so seriously after one read, that I dropped out of school and hit the road for 6 months until I ran out of money somewhere in Kansas City. I can’t keep a copy of Prozac Nation on my shelf because I always end up giving it away to someone who needs it. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly remains my favorite book of all time, despite being written for eleven year old’s. I still cry my eyes out each and every time I re-read Cold Mountain. I had kids specifically so I could pass down my first edition Hardy Boys books to them. And yes, I own Twilight. What can I say? I just want an adventure and a good cry.

What is the value of writing and art in the current state of the world?

It is of the most value fathomable! The arts are our single most important tool for connection—to each other, the earth, our existence. For revolution, for joy. The world would be a better place if we could all just read and write and create and listen and love within our communities. The more we can inject our lives with spaces for art and creation, the better chance we have at surviving human beings’ imminent self-destruction. Or at least be able to enjoy the apocalypse with good books and a badass soundtrack. 

How has writing and art helped to form the person you are today?

You can’t disconnect writing and art from my identity. I don’t have memory that exists before I read and wrote stories. Books, music, movies—through these lenses are how I understand meaning in living. I simply can’t imagine me as a person without the conglomeration of created works of all artistic genres that live and breathe inside me. I basically contain a vast universe of song lyrics, film trivia, and sad poems all wrapped up in musty old pages of books.

What is something that matters to you?

Revolution! Words, art, movement, food, water, travel…literally all facets of society can—and should be—revolutionary. I try to live in a way that actively interrogates social norms—especially within the framework of American exceptionalism that the entire globe has suffered because of—and try to advocate for and alongside my community in ways that seek radical change for the better. As an educator, I prioritize digital and media literacy at the forefront of the people I have the most access to—my students—in hopes to build a generation of learners who understand the importance of free and true exchange of information. As a member of my community, I am politically active and am a member of the abolition group for Denver’s DSA organization. As a writer, I aim to use my tools and talent as a voice for trauma healing through art and writing. As an Aquarian, this is just how the blood runs through my body—radical rebellion following the winds of change, always.

Anything else you’d like people to know?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the greatest television show that has ever existed. Fight me. 

Second Surface | Amanda EK + Jesse Livingston


Glass Cactus is a Denver-based screenwriting and filmmaking team – Amanda E.K. and Jesse Livingston – currently pitching TV pilots and creating surreal short films.

Amanda is a queer writer, filmmaker and writing coach, and the former editor-in-chief of Denver, Colorado’s Suspect Press. She writes for Playlove and Out Front Magazine, teaches a weekly drop-in writing class, and she’s currently pitching her memoir about growing up in fundamentalist purity culture. Follow her on IG @amanda.ek.writer.

Jesse is an author and musician from Denver, CO. In addition to writing non-fiction articles for local and national publications, his fiction has appeared in audio magazines such as Pseudopod and The Drabblecast and in print venues like Suspect Press and Speculative City. In 2019 Jesse wrote and directed his first film, the Lovecraft-inspired horror thriller The Blue Room.

Together Jesse and Amanda have written a TV pilot called Hazelwood about a small-town musician searching for a collection of his vanished mentor’s mysterious paintings. The screenplay was a Second Rounder at the 2020 Austin Film Fest.
Second Surface is their first filmmaking collaboration.

Four Poems | Margarita Serafimova

Image: Paweł Czerwiński


The Witnesses

We were observing ourselves colliding
with ourselves as if in a dream,
as if on a king’s road,
with horses, with dogs, with spears,
the air tinted in red,
the age-old branches between us and the hidden stars.
We were keeping a record of proceedings.


Underneath the skin, upon which the devastating battle for tenderness
is being played out,
there is a cocoon.
In a cocoon of blood,
I am bathing –
a red egg,
a red butterfly –
in full safety
behind the curtains of the bloodfall.


Yes, I brought my shield down.
My breasts were bared, elongated.
Around my ankles, there was dust.


The roads wept.
I gave them my eyes.


Margarita Serafimova is the winner of the 2020 Tony Quagliano/ Hawai’i Council for the Humanities International Poetry Award, a 2020 Pushcart nominee and a finalist in nine other U.S. and international poetry contests. She has four collections in Bulgarian and a chapbook, “A Surgery of A Star” (Staring Problem Press, CA: https://bit.ly/3jDU793). Her digital chapbook, ‘Еn-tîm’ (Wilderness), is forthcoming by the San Francisco University Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange in 2021. A full-length collection, ‘A White Boat and Foam’, is to be published by Interstellar Flight Press in 2022. Her work appears widely, including at Nashville Review, LIT, Agenda Poetry, Poetry South, Botticelli, London Grip, Steam Ticket, Waxwing, A-Minor, Trafika Europe, Noble/ Gas, Obra/ Artifact, Great Weather for Media, Origins, Nixes Mate. Visit: shorturl.at/dgpzC.

Word Counts | Samantha Steiner

Image: Simon Pelegrini

Fuck word counts, and fuck regret, and fuck enjoyment, and guess what? Fuck origin. That’s right, fuck origin, and fuck memory. Do you know what fuck means? A girl told me back in middle school: Fornication Under Consent of the King. She said the word was posted on the front door of every reputable home, and that it meant yes, we got the okay from our royal leader to mate, copulate, dance the horizontal polka, put the thing in the other thing. We’re sinners with a lifetime indulgence we bought in advance. We fraternize with the devil, but only according to protocol, baby.

So I say fuck word counts, and fuck regret, and fuck enjoyment, because that’s what fuck is. Fuck is enjoyment. Fuck is regret. The Fuck Word Counts. Fuck is the apology before the infraction, the permission before the play. And who is fuck for? Fuck is for the people who look like Matt Damon and Marilyn Monroe, for bodies concealed just well enough to display. Fuck is for paleness and paler-than-paleness, a certain shape of eye, a certain girth of waist, a certain functionality of limb, a certain history of genitalia. And I say fuck that.

I say fuck origin, and fuck memory, and fuck death, because fuck is a gift, and Fornication Under Consent of the King is Matt Damon in a red velvet hat and a red velvet cape, a walking blood-filled penis with a golden wand, pretending to give out fucks when in reality, he doesn’t give a fuck. I say fuck origin because fuck is origin, because before you and I were you and I, we were twinkles in the eyes of people, maybe lusty, maybe frightened, maybe willing, maybe not. I say fuck memory because fuck is memory, because no one was watching when you or I morphed from a twinkle in those eyes to a glob of cells, as the glob of cells halved and doubled into the tube that formed a mouth and an asshole, two instruments of fucking, consent of the king or not.

Fuck is one person. Fuck is two. Fuck is three. Fuck is more. Fuck is rapid addition. Fuck is no gender. Fuck is all genders. Fuck is silent. Fuck is loud. Fuck is ordinary. Fuck is occasion. Fuck is insult. Fuck is compliment. Fuck is monetized. Fuck is freely given. Fuck is hot. Fuck is cold. Fuck is chafed skin, hidden liquid, violation, ceremony. The Fuck Word counts.


Samantha Steiner is a Fulbright Scholar and two-time Best of the Net nominee. Her 2019 essay “To the Current Tenant” appears in the print anthology Coffin Bell 2.2, and other works are published or forthcoming in The Emerson Review, Apple Valley Review, and The Citron Review. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @Steiner_Reads.

Problem Child | Jesse Lee Pacheco + Lillie Fischer


Lillie Fischer is a storyteller and director. Her work explores loss, honesty, our relationship with the earth and how to reach out to our inner child. Currently she is prepping for several experimental short films on an artist commune in Northern Colorado with her husband and dog. @lilliefischer


Jesse Lee Pacheco is a Performance Artist from Denver, Colorado. Life is wonderful. Life should be positive. When it’s blown to pieces, that’s when it becomes art. @jesselee_sent_ya

Pretzels | Danny Mazur

image: jose aljovin

Every night before bed
I would wander into my Dad’s kingdom
Laying on his king-sized bed
With a book and pretzels scattered across his hairy chest
His trusted steeds (10 lb. twin toy poodles)
Intently waited for treats
A low static from AM talk radio filled the room
He removed suit and tie
Donning blue converse shorts, no shirt

I remember the way his toes would wiggle
How he would tell me what he was reading about
How crumbs would fall from his lips
As he laughed at his own jokes

My mind was much quieter then
No concerns of burning forests or abused children
I wasn’t stressed
By the weight of earning paychecks and paying off loans
I didn’t find myself overwhelmed
How my dreams often feel like the Amazon River
7 miles wide
And I’m on the bank
I can’t swim and my boat is on the other side

On good days,
I’ll remember the world isn’t about me
That dreams come and go
That I live with my best friend
In some sort of Earth fort
That I get to walk to work
And spend my days with kids

And when the night comes
I lay in my bed and give thanks to tired legs
I open a comic book and my toes begin to wiggle
It’s in these moments
I find my hairy chest full of pretzels


Danny Mazur’s fascination with the human experience led him to founding Soul Stories, an organization that facilitates conversations for personal healing and social change. Over the past six years, Danny has produced and facilitated over 100 Soul Stories events in the Denver community, ranging from community dialogs to live performances. Danny collaborates with members of the Denver community to create events that unpack challenging topics such as consent, personal identity, relationships, race, and even the political divide of 2020. Soul Stories events are unique spaces where people go to practice authenticity and find connection. 

This poem is from the Thought For Food anthology,
a poetry collection benefiting Denver Food Rescue.
You can purchase a copy of the book here.

Thought For Food Promotional 1