RAVENSONG

RAVENSONG 4

Issue 2

Contributors

  • Lesley Yadon – Poetry
  • Edwin Vasquez – Poetry
  • Aaron Hampton – Haiku Poetry
  • Triman Rice – Fiction

It’s the pause as you feel your laughter welling up. You’ve seen the smile. You’ve allowed the synapse to snap and the neurochemicals begin to speak with the noise of joy. Without knowing that it was you. Without knowing that the smile was a mirror and the synapse has been asking its question, tucked inside of time in a koala pocket, a marsupial emotion tugging at a pull string to get your attention and make its way out into the light.


thunderhead

“When you let go”

by Lesley Yadon

 

We both fought for the marriage

and when you let go

fireworks red, green, orange rent the sky

snatching me into another dimension

the landscape gross and grotesque

me a malformed blob.

Until I find myself in a meadow of flowers

growing higher than our knees where,

without warning,

I take root.

Fierce root.

Stretching taller, luscious leaves sprouting

Unrecognizable

to you-

until you catch my gaze

and spark a memory from before. . .

We didn’t want to remember

when our souls agreed

to kindly cause this pain

Fireworks are still flaring

but you are the only one still watching

I am too busy growing.

 

Lesley is a poet, healer, mother, and flower worshiper who finds inspiration where her deeply experienced emotions and nature intersect.  She has lived in Lancaster for the last 11 years.

windmill negative.jpg

RAVEN

by Edwin Vasquez

 

Soar high,

Chase the endless blue sky,

Spread your onyx color wings,

And glide with the gentle breeze,

Over those distant hills covered with purple and orange poppy fields.

In winter mornings of black and grey,

When the clouds are push by the strong Santa Ana winds,

And the tumble weeds roam without direction,

Your wings spans as a Stealth drone,

You mighty Raven fly over Lancaster

Though the desert over the majestic yucca,

And gentle Joshua tree.

Edwin Vasquez

A prolific, multifaceted artist, who has developed a unique visual language, Edwin Vasquez, offers the Antelope Valley a breath of fresh air with his photography and vibrant mixed-media work. Using mostly recycled materials (including toys, wood panels and chains), Vasquez is able to communicate his ideas, inspirations and frustrations. Vasquez’s work is fearless in its social commentary, using rich forms and colors to provoke passionate responses to his ideas around the environment, waste and human nature. Also, he is a photojournalist, published author, and videographer.

Edwin Vasquez, born in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala in 1964.

 


“Church”

by Aaron Hampton

 

Desert heat cleanses

Insects sing their holy hymns

With sagebrush incense

 

“Love”

by Aaron Hampton

 

A pale, moonlit night

The sweet scent of wildflowers

Embracing shadows

 

Aaron Hampton

I’m a hotel clerk and I write in a few blogs. I’m an avid fan of the outdoors, good coffee, craft beer, and experiences that make for good stories. I’m a man with a lot of thoughts, and I’m not entirely sure how to convey them all.

Check out more of his writing at Caffeine and Confusion

Dionysis 2.jpeg


It’s the precise instant you begin to see that matter and spirit are less like kissing cousins and more like the tea bag and the tea, a solution made by dissolution, the solid dissolved into the fluid until they are both the same. All there is: spirit matter.


“How Much to Tell”

By Triman Rice

He didn’t need to be robotic in the red box of his second job. But he chose to be. Robotically, Steve stocked shelves and used his scanner gun like an extension of himself. He spoke when spoken to. Smiled when smiled at. Showed up on time. Didn’t take days off. Saved all his energy for talking with his co-workers in the break room. And never talked about himself.

His red polo and khakis outfit was like a more like costume than a uniform -because he was a different person when he put it on. The analogy that seemed to fit best was Iron Man. After thinking on the question for a few hours one day, Steve decided that the Tony Stark/Iron Man comparison was more apt than, say, a Peter Parker/Spider-Man analogy or Bruce Wayne/Batman.

Peter Parker, in a way, was always Spider-Man. He could crawl up walls without his suit. The suit was just a mask he wore. But Stark, like Steve, was completely changed when he put on his suit.

He became not only outwardly robotic, but also changed in some deeper ways. Or, that’s how Steve saw it when he tried to justify this split-personality thing he had going on.

As Robot-Steve, there was no need to wave to people he vaguely recognized from his neighborhood when they happened to come in during his shift. He could maintain a pre-occupied stare as if he hadn’t seen them at all.

As Robot-Steve, the time spent in the red box was not time that he would have liked to be spending elsewhere. Robot-Steve understood the importance of work and had been programmed by regular-Steve to fear the black regions that would open up if his printing business closed.

It wasn’t just debt that marked the black regions. It was years of lost work and the forced-admission that, down to one job, scholarship-winning-English-major Steve, the one with the romantic aspirations and an impulsive streak, had ended up becoming Robot-Steve in the red polo.

*

Tired around the eyes, Steve took a deep breath and pushed back his shoulders. Then he decided to wade in and shake some hands.

Most of the party was in the back yard now. The sun had gone down and left a breeze behind. A group of people nearby stood with beers in hand. Two men and a woman.

“Hi, I’m Steve.”

“Hi, Steve,” the woman said, “I’m Elise and this is Jeremy and Steve.”

“Another Steve?” Steve said.

The second Steve said, “We’re everywhere, aren’t we?”

They all laughed a little and Jeremy took out his phone. The second Steve seemed interested in what Jeremy was doing, so Elise was left holding the bag.

“What do you do?” she asked.

“I run a print shop. T-shirts. Stickers. Posters. Things like that.”

“Does that keep you busy?”

“You could say that.”

This was the moment Steve had been dreading. Explaining to people what it’s like to run a business – even a small one – was always a chore.

But the real twinge in his nerves at this moment came from the fact that he had just taken on a second job. Steve was working at Target on nights and weekends as a way to keep his printing business open.

Elise was smiling a purely social smile and Steve found himself going blank. Should he explain that he was self-employed and that running a business always kept you busy, even when things were slow? Or should share the fact that he’d recently taken a second job to keep the doors of his business open?

Of course, Elise wasn’t asking for Steve’s life story. She was just making conversation.

So he wasn’t going to tell her about the run of Bugs Bunny shirts he’d printed up as a joke with the 90s rapping version of the rabbit, donning a backwards cap and throwing up a peace sign that was out of date even in 1991.

And he wasn’t going to tell her that this conversation seemed to him like stepping in dog shit when you’ve come home with an armload of groceries, you’ve locked the car and there is no where to set down the bags between here and the house. Stuck.

If he didn’t say that he worked at Target and then she saw him there one Sunday morning, she would think he was a liar.

It’s fine to leave things out, but if the things you leave out turn you into a liar, what are you supposed to do? Stuck.

Steve gave up on his inner dialogue and did what he should have done right away.

“What do you do, Elise?”

“Me. I’m in school but I work at Lucky’s.”

Lucky’s was a brew-pub in the industrial part of town.

Steve guessed that Elise was in her late twenties. She wore tight green pants and had a modish haircut. Maybe she was still a hipster. One of the last. An olive tint to her skin somehow made her look a bit younger than she probably actually was. She was what they call a millennial.         

Just a two or three years older than Elise, Steve was not a millennial. No one would have pegged him as one. Not when he walked the aisles wearing his red polo shirt at his second job and not when he took orders for wedding invitations at his print shop.           

When Steve asked about what Elise was studying she said she was only half-sure that she wanted to study biology.          

“Well, it’s the degree that matters most,” he said. “Your major is only really important if you’re going to go to grad school – and even then it might not be important.”       

“What do you mean?” she said.     

The other Steve had wandered off with Jeremy for refills on beer. Elise looked at Steve now with a mixture of interest and annoyance.  

“You know, people just want to see a degree on your resume. When you interview for a job, chances are it won’t be in biology anyway. It’ll be in whatever comes up.”           

“I guess so.”          

Elise was unconvinced. College for her, like so many people, represented the beginning of a career in a particular field. As an English major running a printing business and working at Target, Steve had let that view of college go. He wasn’t exactly a pragmatist by nature, but he was a person who wanted to see past his own bullshit. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t. He couldn’t tell if he was bullshitting now.

*

At the party, Elise had ended up giving Steve her number. He wasn’t sure if this meant the same thing that it used to mean, so he had to call a friend to ask.

“Well, what kind of vibe did she give you? Was she interested?”

“It’s hard to tell,” Steve said.

“Think about it.”

“She wasn’t really flirting or anything,” Steve said.

“Were you?”

“Was I flirting? I think most of the time I don’t know when I’m flirting. It just happens.”

“You’re giving me nothing to go on here, Steve. When a girl gives you her number, it can mean that she wants you to call, which is good. But it could just mean that she won’t mind if you text her sometime to let her know about a party or something, which is also good, because she thinks of you as safe, but safe is not as good as the first thing.”

“People give out their number to anyone these days, don’t they?” Steve said. “Maybe it doesn’t mean anything.”

“Give her a call and see what happens.”

He didn’t call. Then one Sunday morning Elise showed up at Target during one of his shifts. He saw her as she made her way toward the back of the store. She glanced around and looked right at Steve, then past him.

It was when his robot-gaze failed him and his mask dropped that she seemed to notice him, stopping in her tracks. There was moment where Elise stood there trying to place Steve in her memory. When she seemed to remember who he was, she smiled.

Rice lives in the Antelope Valley. He writes fiction and essays and walks dream streets in the desert.

 


RAVENSONG 4

About RAVENSONG:

RAVENSONG is a short-run arts publication sponsored by Sagebrush Cafe that looks to help artists and thinkers get their voices heard and get eyes on their work.

We’re headquartered in Quartz Hill, California in the southern reaches of the Mojave Desert. And there are many artistic voices in our community. We’d like to celebrate that fact. But RAVENSONG is not drawing a closed geographic line here.

We’re looking to for more voices, from near and far. If you have a story, a poem, a photo, an essay, a photo essay, a collage, a photo collage, a painting or a philosophical short play, please send it our way. We’d love to take a look at help others see it as well.


Submission guidelines:

  • Send work to coffee@sagebrush-cafe.com
  • Current Theme: Putting Down Roots and/or Finding Your Roots

 

RAVENSONG 4

Issue 1

Featured Artists:

  • Heidi Anne | Nienna
  • Andrea Young
  • Edwin Vasquez
  • Andrew Winn

 

Is this Neptune’s shanty, the song of the sea, chanted from such a distance the World Tree is just a faint smoke on the air, a color in the sky? There is a relic here, under our feet, and we can feel our cells dance to the tune it plays. And our feet stand on the cosmic rim. Beneath us the whole of the universe spins. Look down. Look down and you will know. Look down.

 


Neinna

Heidi Anne is a writer of tiny poems on Instagram under the pen name Nienna. You can find her on Instagram @niennawrites

 


Andrea Young

Andrea Young (Andrea V) has created head waves when she began showcasing her unique take on visual art via graphic design and illustration around 2005. Andrea’s visual expressions on the female form delight and inspire sub culture and mainstream fans globally. Andrea has been an art professional and showing her art locally in the Los Angeles area and nationally for almost 20 years. Her art, modeling and photography have graced magazine pages and covers nationally and internationally.

After becoming very ill in 2017 Andrea has come back to visual arts to help her continue to heal by exploring “rebuilding and acceptance” as the main themes of her art. See more at AndreaVphoto.com

 


The Temptation of St. Anthony of the Desert

       by Edwin Vasquez


Restless river zig-zagging like a poisonous desert snake

mirroring a non-existent, pale blueish color

from the grey hue of the restless sky.

On the right, in the forefront, St. Anthony stands in a catatonic state

behind a hollow tree trunk that resembles an empty cave where demons play,

his hand with painted nails holds the trunk — perhaps for dear life.

His forehead partially reflects the shadow from the twisted, carved cross,

accenting his sad and somber, melancholic face;

he resembles an animal in distress,

the saffron tunic replaced with a

tight costume – toxic green – accentuating his features,

yet he is not man nor woman,

he is animal, haunted by his own desires and demons.

The joke is on them:

the Bishop and King, the centaur and satyr, the jokers and demons;

they, in disgust, look away from him, who they want to scare —

he, who lost himself in the desert of his soul.

 

Edwin Vasquez

A prolific, multifaceted artist, who has developed a unique visual language, Edwin Vasquez, offers the Antelope Valley a breath of fresh air with his photography and vibrant mixed-media work. Using mostly recycled materials (including toys, wood panels and chains), Vasquez is able to communicate his ideas, inspirations and frustrations. Vasquez’s work is fearless in its social commentary, using rich forms and colors to provoke passionate responses to his ideas around the environment, waste and human nature. Also, he is a photojournalist, published author, and videographer.

Edwin Vasquez, born in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala in 1964.

 


Roots 

by Andrew Winn


Here we are

at a coffee shop,

a circular table,

with two chairs seated around it.

Surrounded.

By some welcoming mats and the chit-chat of chattering voices.

Like I said,

Surrounded.

By the workers of art

the busiest of bees

& all the things

of all

The light

reels in from behind

and from the left.

Surrounding.

It’s warm, like a blanket over the back.

A bucket in the corner ahead fills with dirty dishes

unaware the magazines on the shelf beneath it

sit, wait, wish,

if only its pages were being flipped.

the collections of life lived

to be continued,

caged words like caged birds

Should they share?

What could they share?

Why wouldn’t they share?

The door opens.

The front of the counter checkers between orange, white, silver, grey, reddish brown, and black tiles, and all the while

the register rings.

Or maybe it sings.

“This is a place

where I don’t

feel alone.

This is a place

where I feel

at home.”

Now

this particular table

is not particularly unique

in any particular way,

but it did as a matter of fact choose us without making any kind of

particular sound.

See, we were drawn in like a magnet is to steel,

why?

I can’t particularly explain,

but here we sit with

roots and oak stains and birthmarks and fingerprints.

Each particular table has its own particular ones, you know.

See, they declare its age but never will they ever say it aloud

and well this particular table happens to be, well,

particularly proud.

So we’re left to imagine the life experienced here.

The names of all the particular people it’s met,

the particular secrets it’s kept,

the words it’s heard that stole its breath.

The kind of moments we live

and all too easily forget.

Traced in the base of this particular table,

This is the present,

Sincerely yours.

In the sunshine

these may appear to be just tables and chairs but

they’re so much more…

the weight they carry is never truly relieved it’s safe to believe, I mean, they hold it all,

just like

these particular walls.

Now these particular walls,

they hold

the projectionist – a heart with a polaroid camera

capturing the perfect angle.

They keep

the magician on a voyage with an animated tripod & a painted tune

safe.

They play

the stories of our lives & how they intertwine

as if no one is watching.

And if there is a God,

And if God captured that light

I’d swear God did it just

right

Looking in,

through the windows,

you from behind your windows,

me from behind my windows,

these particular windows

they line the front of the shop.

They’re high, somewhat wide, and separated into individual panes as if though these particular windows they were made for this particular kind of day.

They rise above and stop where the roof begins, displaying all of us nomads safe within.

The different shapes and sizes and various disguises, I mean good Lord,

the windows’ wonderful surprises!

And when I turn to look outside

I see

familiar grounds filled with

dream works

& planetary disruption

organized chaos

& all the other lost souls

wandering along purgatory’s path

and whether we’re headed towards heaven or hell

I couldn’t tell

but I know deep within my heart we’re all angels who fell apart,

we’re all

one step

& a moment away

from taking flight.

And suddenly,

I see this place

my home

my roots

for the very first time

all over again

older than I remember

and I realize

through my eyes

despite my lives

this,

this is where it all begins

all over again

in this particular scene

filled with particular tables and particular chairs and particular windows

occupied by poets, dreamers, caring couples, solo yolo’s,

each of us are immersed in our own particular scene,

unaware of the particular extras in between

as the movie’s reel continually feeds a moving screen.

And it’s in this particular coffee shop

that feels particularly

like home,

on a white blank page

where a caged bird

& some caged words

don’t feel so

alone.

 


RAVENSONG 4

About RAVENSONG:

We’re looking to for more voices, from near and far. If you have a story, a poem, a photo, an essay, a photo essay, a collage, a photo collage, a painting or a philosophical short play, please send it our way. We’d love to take a look at help others see it as well.


Submission guidelines:

  • Send work to coffee@sagebrush-cafe.com
  • Current Theme: Putting Down Roots and/or Finding Your Roots

 

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