Letter From the Editor:
It’s the first of July, door to the heart of summer — let’s take our selves a little less seriously and observe life like laughter. In this issue I present to you a poet with a knack for bright sincerity. Cynthia Orgel recently completed her senior thesis, a book of poems entitled Lately It’s the Little Things, upon receiving her B.A. in literature and creative writing from the University of California Santa Cruz.
She currently freelances for Good Times— specializing in the contemporary music scene, interviewing bands, writing their histories, and documenting their shows. Cynthia’s poetry is playfully honest and naturally crafty. Her refreshingly terse voice brings relief to the reader like bare feet and armchairs. Her keen anecdotes and clever conversations beckon us to share her window view of a world zoo.
The Poetry Loft
The crooked oak in the November nip:
a tree toppling over in the wind.
The periwinkle lights outside the pub:
wasteful and disenchanting in the afternoon.
The abandoned mugs, teapots, and bundled
a coffee shop that is cluttered, not quaint.
The speeding double-decker without
not a metaphor, just a joyride.
The English boy who refers to your bangs as
bangs, not fringe:
his older brother has married an American…
No, that’s not foreshadowing that he wants
to marry you.
Lately It’s the Little Things that
Break My Heart
Cantaloupe ice cream out of season, Lesley Gore out of the closet, the he in her songs not referring to the guys I meet, when diners put out half-and-half and artificial sweeteners, never 2% and sugar cubes, the faulty heater and my ice-cold feet, and that 17-year-old Estonian in the sports bar on New Year’s Day— he waved a white napkin two hot wings into the challenge, those Bhut Jolokia chili peppers getting the best of his boyish bravery, as he swallowed tears and snot while the grown-ups clinked pints and thought, he should have listened.
Boats on Fire
I shrugged, popped the cookie into my
and folded my good fortune in half:
Remember three months from this date!
Your lucky star is shining.
“Better mark that on your calendar,”
said the woman sitting to my left: an
She specializes in cruise ship accident cases,
and I didn’t know lawyers could get so
“There’s a lot that happens on cruise ships,”
balancing a forkful of cashew chicken.
César Vallejo Would Never
Have Done This to Me
I want to die on the beach
having sex with you,
when there are no kids around, no frisbees.
I want to die beneath you,
on a blanket carefully patted down,
surrounded by cigarette butts and seashells.
It will be sandy, because the wind,
like most things, is against me this month.
Sex on the beach was our fantasy, and it is
I killed it because you killed it,
my first romantic New Year’s Eve,
when you dumped me over the phone.
These are the witnesses:
the seashells, and the cigarettes,
the blanket, and the wind,
and December 31.
I’m Astairing at You
I heard that you are self-conscious of your hands, and I can see it in the way you dance. Those long fingers are often bent in, as if gripping a jumbo-sized soft drink. Ginger Rogers spreads her hands out, doing the classic beauty queen wave alongside her crimped blonde bob, flowing like a sea of popcorn. I want to shout big hands are sexy, Fred, but you can’t hear me, and the audience will certainly shush me. I want to yell I dyed my hair platinum for you, Fred, but you already have a female lead.
I cried for the first time in months over something that wasn’t a someone, when I thought about how I’ll be leaving soon. I know what it feels like to get dumped, and my advice is to write a book and get over it. Or jump at every happy hour invitation sent your way. Or cry — at bars, in class, at the beach, on your mom, at the supermarket, while looking at the moon, on a road trip with your cell phone locked in the trunk so you aren’t tempted to text the one person who doesn’t want to respond. I won’t tell you, “you’re great,” but make you feel like you’re nothing. You’re the best, you’re my home, you’re sex on the first date but also marriage material. Hurry up, I think it’s time you meet my parents.
by Brian Merrill
I begin to think
you left me here
to pine alone in your
solitude. Then I
envision some infinite
pure picket fence —
driving through the
paper suburbs, your
stucco is embossed
with love. When I’m
inside the front yard,
you like to
walk by invisible
and say hello. You
hold a paintbrush,
wave it to the blue
sun. By grace I know
my solitude is your
presence. You built this
fence, each of its white
posts grounded as this
driven two feet down,
into the green lawn.