Sparks

I think I’ll stay . . .

By Amie Windsor A girlfriend and I recently fell in love with a song titled, “Golden G String.” “I legit never thought I could fall in love with a song called that, but I totally have,” she texted me. I knew exactly what she meant. The title of the Miley Cyrus track makes me want to cringe. But that’s kind of the beauty of it, because Cyrus’ lyrics are all about understanding femininity and how to harness our female power amid a world dominated by men. Read a few of the lyrics: “Yes, I’ve worn the golden G-string   Put my hand into hellfireI did it all to make you love me and to feel alive Oh, that’s just the world that we’re livin’ inThe old boys hold all the cards and they ain’t playin’ ginYou dare to call me crazy, have you looked around this place?I should walk awayOh, I should walk…

Sparks

Just Write

By Ken Delpit “Just write.” It sounds so simple. It seems so wrong, and yet is so right. Planning and preconception have their places, certainly. But it really is OK, and better, to just write. Leave behind the pressures, the impediments, the anxieties. Put aside your doubts, your fears, your insecurities. Just write. Let it go. Let it flow. Write without knowing what comes next. Let yourself be surprised by yourself. Don’t peek beyond the current thought. Deal with the moments in front of you, around you, within you. Don’t make it happen. Let it happen. Just write. It sounds so easy. And it can be. When the shackles are discarded, one’s pace can go from stumbling to walking, and from walking to running. The bottleneck can move from its usual place, the mind, to the fingers, which are suddenly unable to keep up. But “Just write” as a guiding…

Places to submit

Notre Dame Review

The Notre Dame Review is an independent, non-commercial magazine of contemporary American and international fiction, poetry, criticism and art. Our goal is to present a panoramic view of contemporary art and literature—no one style is advocated over another. We are especially interested in work that takes on big issues by making the invisible seen, that gives voice to the voiceless—work that gives message form through aesthetic experience. Submission Guidelines

Sparks

Perseverance: Biosignatures and Heartbeats

By Deb Fenwick It’s February 2021, and the red planet is on the screen. News headline: We’re looking at Perseverance. The world watches as Perseverance plummets and parachutes onto the surface of Mars. Back in July 2020, we Earthlings launched our perseverance high into space with all the ambition, engineering precision, and imagination we could stuff into a carrier rocket and an SUV-sized robot. NASA’s landing of the rover seven months later was flawless—a picture-perfect touchdown of six wheels hitting dusty rocks on the red-orange Mars-scape.  According to reports, one aim of the mission is to search for ancient microbial life—biosignatures and astrobiology that will provide insights into early evolution and the universe’s future. The biggest questions about our ancient past and cosmic future, indeed the nature of life itself, are being explored up there by a Star Wars-like robotic traveler and its little mini-helicopter drone of a friend. And,…

Sparks

The rule was . . .

By Lynn Levy Daria stood with her nose up against the glass, peeking in at the door. She didn’t go in—she knew better. And when someone came out, she melted away, back into the shadows, back where she couldn’t be seen. But the tall blond man saw her anyway, and walked toward her. He was a giant, an enormous bulk of branches and limbs that looked like he shouldn’t be able to balance, let alone walk. She imagined him crashing over, like her string doll did when she pressed the button on the bottom. But instead, he folded himself down, quiet as a sheet, until he was squatting in front of her. “Are you Daria?” he asked. Daria furrowed her brow. The rule was, you don’t tell strangers your name. But another rule was that you don’t lie. “Yes,” she finally decided upon, because she liked his pale blue eyes,…

Sparks

Perseverance

 By M.A. Dooley “Dad, why do people think the moon is made of cheese?” “Because of the holes, it looks like swiss cheese.” “Dad, what are the holes made of?” “They’re craters made by asteroids crashing on the surface.” “Dad, can an asteroid crash here?” “It’s possible, but not probable.”   “Dad, is a shooting star a dying sun?” “No, they are meteorites burning up in earth’s atmosphere.” “But they’re good luck, right dad?”   The Mars landing reminded me of days of infinite possibilities. I was born to an aerospace engineer who flew to Cape Canaveral for satellite launches. The morning of the Apollo 12 lift-off, our family huddled around a black and white picture box. My little brother was just happy in mom’s soft lap. I, the older one and already like my dad, asked innumerable questions before count down. Mom shushed me so dad could narrate the details…

Sparks

California Winter

California Winter By Patricia Morris (with thanks to Ted Kooser) The wind turns the pages of rain As drops splatter on the skylights,     beating a rhythm punctuated by     the cracks of unmoored oak limbs      hitting the roof.    The rain chain dances,     brass acorns jingling,     water swooshing through its cups.    The creek rushes over rocks,       gushes into the culvert and out again,       making its overground / underground way to the river.   The thirsty earth soaks it in,    filters it down into empty aquifers. One chapter ending, another beginning.   Freewrite inspired by the poem, A Rainy Morning, by Ted Kooser   Patricia Morris misses the summer thunderstorms of her rural Midwestern upbringing, but enjoys observing and writing about the California rains from her home in Petaluma. After careers as diverse as…

Book Reviews

Diary of a Mad Poet

Jonah Raskin’s review of Diary of a Mad Poet: Robin Gabbert’s new book of poems, Diary of a Mad Poet—her first published book—comes out of pain and loss, fire and cancer, but they are also poems of healing and joy, family ties and friendships. Some take place in the far away past, others in the near present. Some experiment with form and the arrangement of words on the page. In one poem the author asks “Has God deserted you? Was he ever there to?” Altogether, Gabbert’s individual poems add up to a portrait of a life lived fully. They offer hope to readers like the author herself who have come through troubles and who delight in the powers of memory and the rigors of the English language. Jonah Raskin is the author of seven poetry chapbooks, a performance poet, and the author of American Scream: Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ and the Making of…

Sparks

The Trees on Her Block

The Trees on Her Block By Camille Sherman Thick strands, split ends, hanging in zero gravity toward the sky A morning stretch, limbs painting fine details on the clouds Noble, astute, aged and ageless Naked and resolute, spindly in its brittle winter coat Immune from human error, impervious to neglect or over-watering Pledging a sacred vow of new life in the spring Thawing those that pass below Breathing new poems into poets, Fresh brush strokes into painters Holding our attention and springing our steps Until a season-long sunset When autumn leaves start to fall Camille Sherman is a professional opera singer from the Bay Area. She trained at The Boston Conservatory and the San Francisco Conservatory of music, and served as an Artist in Residence at Pensacola Opera and Portland Opera. She currently lives in Portland, where she continues to sing and develop artistic projects with local artists.