Pomp & Circumstance

by Travis Stephens

She ladles dressing on the salad
with a distracted profligacy; it
is called Green Goddess, and I drop
two cherry tomatoes to the floor.
Or are they grape tomatoes? Tiny
orbs of seed and acid, like the
scrotum of summer, perhaps,
or the tiny budding breasts
of memory. Or fruit.
Not a vegetable except in
honorarium, like the Doctor
of Letters granted to the
celebrated oaf in the gown
making cliches echo across the
football field on this, another June
full of promise, of fresh mosquitoes,
of tomato juice and strawberry jam.
To the newlyweds and to the nearly
dead, June is the cruelest month,
half sticky, half rainy, halfway into
the carcass of another year.
Worse, it is when graduates
are chucked out into the world,
free to feel maudlin during
speeches, put clever
things onto mortarboards,
and maybe even find a job.
Who knows, maybe some fresh-
faced bachelor of arts
may replace the grumpy
moms putting way too much
salad dressing on the tiny
tomatoes, skinned cucumbers,
and the carrots whittled down.
This to pass around.

Prized by the Superficial

by Jeff Hersch

Travis Stephens is a tugboat captain who resides with his family in California. Recent credits include: Gyroscope Review, 2River, Sheila-Na-Gig, GRIFFEL , Offcourse , Crosswinds Poetry Journal, Gravitas and The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.Visit him at: zolothstephenswriters.com

Jeff Hersch provides analog collages for the modern being. Like his thoughts, these pieces are often constructed in short, frantic spurts of energy, with bursts of self-doubt, though calm and subtle. Also like his thoughts, these pieces represent everyday observations and conclusions about the vast world that erratically suffocates us, with little time for a quick escape or chance to relax, as we are currently inhabiting an advanced state of infinite stimulus.

His works lend themselves to your own interpretation of meaning – if any – but should also serve as inspiration and demonstrate the simple notion that you too can and should create something/anything on a regular basis.

When he’s not hunched over his desk cutting and gluing clippings, Hersch finds the time to play in bands (Glazer, Civic Mimic, Postman Agitator) and volunteer as the executive director of Flemington DIY, a non-profit community arts space in the town he grew up in.

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