Summer 2022

The Coachella Review

Shaping by Hilary Schaper

All men will resemble one another in the way they use their feet. But no one can tell what any given man will do with his hands. . . . The hand is the direct connect with man’s soul. . . . When a free spirit exists, it aches to materialize in some form of work, and for this, the hands are needed. Everywhere we find traces of men’s handiwork and through these, we catch a glimpse of his spirit. ~Maria Montessori   My father stands before a worktable in a small greenhouse that adjoins the living room. Nearly six…

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Light Lines by Geoff Cohen

Thin, light-etched yellowish-orange lines where her eyelids met. Red Rothko squares stamped her eyelids. Bright white light framed Chuck’s goggled face the moment before Jen opened her eyes. She breathed in smoke, ash, particles, and dirt. It hurts to breathe: searing pain.  It was May 25, the start of a new year. The blanket wrapped around her quickly became too much, heat rising, sweat coming. She leaned forward. At her feet, an aerial photograph of Merriwether’s intaglio in all of its fluorescent fury. The ground: cracked concrete and Em’s chalk drawings. Next to the paint can kiln with three small-plugged…

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Landscape with Fall of Civilization: Imaginings After Touring Chaco Canyon and Canyon de Chelly by Tim Moder

The rain has come to ionize the alien frontier, calling out storms over a smeared earth. We sit in varying stages of anesthesia staring at the long sky, the secondhand measured in lives. We disciple new religions with the sun and the moon. We abandon them as they dismay. We survey the rim of heaven with our elastic eyes. Rivers of rock cramp down the divine slide. A world of slants and angles, temples and monuments. Here are the pyramids of America. Hard love flowers in the stoic ground, mixed blood pushes up strange vineyards among ancient runways. Here we…

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The Man and the Boy by Emma Cort

  Emma Cort (she/her) is a 20-year-old actor, writer, and director from Center Valley, Pennsylvania. She is a current student at NYU Tisch School of the Arts pursuing a BFA in drama. Emma serves as the education director for The Virtual Theatre Co, a nonprofit theatre organization geared towards increasing inclusivity, diversity, and accessibility in the arts. This is Emma’s first publication and is incredibly thankful for this opportunity. You can find her on Instagram @emma.cort.

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Planting St. Augustine Grass by Ramsey Mathews

  Before enlightenment chop wood carry water. After enlightenment chop wood carry water. ~ Zen Kōan    My father’s mother churned the deep litter with her bare hands. Her gnarled knuckles pounded the earth or shooed away clay pebbles as she expertly swooshed gnats with a puff of air out the side of her mouth. Her humming of hymns haltered with the occasional fuck!—five seconds between f and k—when bitten by a fire ant. Her Southern drawl translated the four-letter curse into a lengthy abysmal revelation yet Granny Carrie seemed immune to the sting never breaking rhythm with her hands.…

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My Mother Sends Me an Obituary of a Kid I Went to Middle School With by George Briggs

Which reminded me of those middle school dances when we would slow dance to “Under the Bridge” the end-of-the-dance song, the finale the last chance to be close to your crush or watch your crush dancing with someone else under taped up streamers or maybe balloons for Valentine’s Day that turned from blood-red to bruise-purple in the swaying darkness. Or maybe there weren’t decorations at all just that tired PA system and the CDs we brought from home. Someone’s older brother would play DJ press play and watch the bodies rock methodically in the deep echo next to each other…

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Mapping the Imperfect Body by Eleonora Luongo

My hips are tectonic plates shifting. A heart-shaped bone.  In the seams: a spiral vine roots, Fibonacci unravels into feral cliff road. serpentine spine carved from stone I’m strong like the weed is stubborn. Not beautiful but alive. Bent back to an approximation of flower. Reaching. Still. The most scenic roads curve madly, a sweeping dare. Don’t think, drive, don’t die—trace your hands along this map this improper bony land.  each vertebrae a trail leading further in Sky, asphalt, rock, sea smash together, break apart. Skin covers bent bone this grand costume, hair, makeup: splendor          …

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Two Poems by Bex Hainsworth

  Fin A small mountain rises from the swell beyond the bow. Grey-black, sleek sheet metal, ready to be scrapped for parts. The hammerhead is hauled onto the deck. A silver hook of fear, pulsing, panicked, twisting like an exposed muscle. Pinned down, she is shorn of her angles, pared to a slender carcass, eel, submarine, then tossed overboard like a surplus torpedo. On the dock, a thousand triangles are laid out to shrivel, a distant sun squeezing them dry. The rest hang from apartment balconies like bunting. At market, the fins are amber flags, half-mast. Layered across the stalls…

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The Laws Which Govern Chaos by Libby Cudmore

Gaz hadn’t told Claire about the dress yet. Better to wait until they were all at the hotel, when there was nothing she could do about it. No sense searching every bridal store in the state, only to come back with the exact same outcome—no dress. Her mother suggested she use the beaded scarf—that much she had—and match the eggplant color as close as she could to an overpriced sheath dress from the fancy mall. Keep the problem quiet until the last possible second. After three of Claire’s weddings, her mother knew the bridezilla’s triggers. The wedding was at the…

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On the Five, at Ten by Anthony J. Mohr

It’s 10 p.m. on a drizzly Friday night in Los Angeles. The temperature is in the fifties. My wife, Beverly, and I are home, relaxing on our double lounge chair with a red Scottish blanket draped over us. Cuddled next to us is Ben, the Lhasa Apso we rescued nine years ago. Outside, the backyard lights illuminate the palm trees and the ivy-covered hill. Our bedroom is the ideal place to watch another police pursuit. Two highway patrol cruisers are chasing a car that’s going over a hundred. It’s swerving from the carpool lane to the number one lane, then…

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Eye to Eye by Moriah Hampton

[This piece contains violent content.] for EL On the morning Lora M. Berty broadcast Doug McKillan’s violent diatribe on the Uplifting Words for the Day program, the people of Merryville left their homes, impromptu, to congregate at the town square. In a mass, they stood before the 45-x-25-foot-tall screen, large enough to show a drive-in movie if the mass media hadn’t been banned twenty years prior “for the sake of public health.” Together, they watched their neighbor, Doug McKillan, shout vile, horrific words at them. “I want to bash in Jill Henderson’s head with a baseball bat. I want to…

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Shoji by Chris Yamamoto

photo credit: The Yamamoto Family Chris Yamamoto is an aspiring screenwriter raised in Pearl City, Hawaii. He is pursuing a degree in screenwriting from Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts and will graduate in the spring of 2023. He was also the grand prize winner of the 2021 UCLA Terasaki Nibei Video/Script Contest for a short script written in Japanese.

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my name is wolf (a boy/then a young man) by Chiwan Choi

  at school from 1st grade through grad school / through four different languages the teachers / didn’t tell me about the weight of time / embedded in your body like hauntings / in this house made of bones and skin // a year lost walking on my complexion / and first footsteps at venice beach / as demarcation of assuming this life / that was meant for someone else // all the years at my father’s church in culver city / filled with addicts and the lonely / i never wanted to meet god / i wanted a life…

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Brass City by Tiana M. Reynolds

Once upon a time, I dreamt of sirens bruising the morning sky over coffee. There was no relief in the shadows of the buildings, sticky hot fingers reaching across the sea, crawling out of the waves to cast themselves heavy over the fishermen, the beach while I poured a second cup from the pan. The kitchen smelled of breakfast and powdered soap. If I was lucky, he wouldn’t come home that night. Brick by brick, the skyway shrinking but the sun blotted out my name years ago, and I doubted a few bricks could give it back. The day I…

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Mina’s School for Fanged Girls by Melissa Darcey Hall

In her hundred years of teaching fanged girls, Mina has seen the rules for turning change twice. When she was a teenager, girls only turned if a vampire bit them. They were mostly safe if they stayed home after dark and didn’t fraternize with men. The rules changed in the 1930s, when unmarried women turned overnight on their thirtieth birthday. The newspapers said their spinsterhood turned them into feral man-eaters, desperate for male attention and comfort. This lasted through the 1960s, until the rules changed a second time and lost predictability. Both the quiet, dutiful housewives and openly lesbian shopkeepers…

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Two Poems by Janice Kennedy

  The Journey There is but one road here in this desert, where mountains rise in the distance only to disappear. At night, when you stop for sleep, the stars fall all around you. What you have left behind, you cannot remember. What you are going toward, you may never reach, like the mountains or that star. But what does it matter when you are a traveler, when there is only one road, and you are on it.   Watermelons This year, my father is growing watermelons. I go out and walk among them in the fields, ripe and ready…

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Click Here to Relive This Memory by Elizabeth Hazen

  When I am overwhelmed with adult life, I think of childhood days home from school with a cold, cozy in bed. My mother moves the living room TV into my room, and I spend hours watching syndicated episodes of I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched and reading Sweet Valley High. My mother brings me snacks, presses her palm to my forehead, and leaves my door open a crack so I can call her if I need anything. With my father at work and my brother at school, I bask in the rare light of her focus. My memory stops…

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It Was the Hipster Who Done It by Caleb Coy

  We didn’t want to go to the mystery dinner theater, but we kind of always wanted to, and so none of us knew which of the others would be the one to offer it as an option. It was Asa, Jude, myself, and our friend Raoul, who was a total hipster. Paint the town; that’s what we had in mind. We were general practitioners of the metropolitan class, and so having a night free meant we had to hang out downtown, but without going to any of the typical venues. We tried to figure out where to get a…

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Interview: TCR Talks with Francesca Lia Block

photo credit: Madeline Northway By Natalie Ferrigno Francesca Lia Block is the award-winning author of the beloved young adult series Dangerous Angels, which is set to be adapted for television. Block has written a vast bibliography of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for all ages, across a wide spectrum of genres ranging from thriller to magical realism. Her newest novel, House of Hearts, is set for release on July 12. She is also a graduate of UCR Palm Desert’s MFA program. You can book one of her online courses at francescaliablock.com. We caught up with Francesca to ask about the Egyptian…

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Dexterity by Robert L. Penick

We are the damaged ones making the art singing the songs acting the roles to distract you from self, time and mortality. You can find us at three a.m. on the public radio cleaving time planting hope meaning, joy and, perhaps, stamina. We wait your tables serve your coffee stock your shelves then work our quiet unhinged hours to create the things that keep you human.  The poetry and prose of Robert L. Penick have appeared in over 100 different literary journals, including The Hudson Review, North American Review, Plainsongs, and Oxford Magazine. His latest chapbook is Exit, Stage Left,…

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The Happiest Girl in the World by KJ Stewart

    KJ Stewart (she/they) is a playwright/director based in Brooklyn, New York. KJ graduated from NYU Tisch in December of 2019 with a BFA in Drama. Their work as a playwright lives in the realm of horror comedy, with a keen interest in the experiences of queer youth in the age of the internet. Their full length play Cowgirl Summer was produced as an audio drama and featured in the Theater Is Dead festival with First Kiss Theater Company in 2020, and can be listened to in full at firstkisstheatre.com. Find them on instagram @kjessicastewart.      

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