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At the Old Babar by Jan Steckel

At the Old Babar The poet cements her dentures in before she approaches the open mic for a semantically anarchic address to hipsters in their thrift-store best. Her cream-colored cable-knit cap looks like her exposed brain. Sea cucumbers taste like bitter tires, she informs the members of the bar. Many are cold, but few are […]Read More

Crocus by Halina Duraj

  Crocus J. and I eat ice cream bars on the front porch. I am moving in soon.   Somewhere, a shovel scrapes dirt. Today feels like spring but isn’t yet.   Purple crocuses grow thick and low by the porch steps. I put my face in dirt to smell them.   It seem right, […]Read More

Girl in Fulton Street by Sergio A. Ortiz

Girl in Fulton Street   They’re not really strangers reflecting off the windows, they’re men afoot on a crowded street. I am one of them, a girl in drag abating the neon lights. Clearing my way through a wilderness of leaves, dry and quiet rhymes without stretch marks, on the banks of a wistful sea […]Read More

The Pickle Shelves by Holly Day

The Pickle Shelves this bomb shelter is packed with corpses, jars of heads line the walls as if waiting to be used as some sort of accompaniment to mutant fresh vegetables picked from radioactive soil in some post-apocalyptic orgy to celebrate an anniversary of the end of it all. white eyes stare calmly out through […]Read More

Bird Song by Kaily Dorfman

  Bird Song oh we’re done with heaviness let’s get some light between these ribs     About the Author: Kaily Dorfman is from Santa Cruz originally and did her undergrad at Berkeley. She spent some time in Salinas working as a literacy tutor for underprivileged K-4th grade students, and more recently got an MA in […]Read More

TOUGH GUY LOOKING FOR TOUGH GIRL, MUST HAVE OWN BRASS KNUCKLES by John Grey

  TOUGH GUY LOOKING FOR TOUGH GIRL, MUST HAVE OWN BRASS KNUCKLES   Model yourself on the young Robert Downey, only with more tattoos, cuss and spit, form out of nothing but your heart and your image in the mirror, a brutal package. It will help in your relationship with the one who dotes on […]Read More

 

 

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Dear Neighbor, by Alan Chazaro

Dear Neighbor, it’s no wonder we drive spaceships and eat inside caves around here. Yesterday, a teenager confessed to seeing his first murder. Said the car pulled up his block and smoked a dude quicker than his Black & Mild. I don’t know why he told me this, standing at the bus stop but now […]Read More

Crow’s Eponymous by John Oliver Simon

Crow’s Eponymous Crow’s eponymous caw’s caught raw in my craw. Tell me something I don’t know, crow. Something rhymes with nothing, nothing rhymes with orange. Your range includes my backyard, you’ve made that crystal-clear: The air embroils your articulate passage galaxies hook tentacles to dosey-do sidewalk and street run outward to morning white spaces, uncharted, […]Read More

Through with that by Kaitlyn Duling

Through with that She says she dumped him just like this, her back upright in the chair. The chair against her shoulder blades. The chair wooden. Its arms wooden. Outside, the door of the U-Haul pushed up, he watched its mouth slam open with less noise than one might expect. Her, silent and in the […]Read More

Ode to Rob's Closet by Abe Becker

Ode to Rob’s Closet It’s not that the job market for White Ethnic Studies majors was hit particularly hard when I graduated. It just felt like it. Rotting in the privilege I learned about. Lost in the tiny matrix of my dad’s couch. The chicken-shit son come home to roost all over his earned retirement […]Read More

October 30th by Claire Scott

OCTOBER 30TH he steps into a crosswalk carefully checking the light is green again swinging a tennis racquet hop-skipping across eager to meet his friends or cane click-clacking as his twisted body step- stutters across the street again a car turns left sunblind? texting? his body thrown again sirens blaring bruises swelling blood seeping through […]Read More

Instantaneous by Carol Dorf

Instantaneous The curve’s tangents define velocity. No one tells a pregnant woman what labor or the first months will be like; that our velocity is not continuous. The body demands the chemical compounds of pleasure. As a child before gender, I desired flight, space, rockets. Later all my theories shrunk into a particular moment.   […]Read More

 

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Fruitvale Is by Rohan DaCosta

Fruitvale Is I know a place held together By a level stretch of road Two expressways And a perfect myth Where the houses are pastels Broken Easter eggshells Scattered about the chewed up hills I know a dog named Bunny That gets loose and chases pigeons On the downward slope of Manzanita I know a […]Read More

What is Male Entitlement? by Meg Johnson

What is Male Entitlement? Please give this poem a chance even if you despise the title. I love men. Most guys are superb. This poem is not about a first-rate guy. This poem is about my ex boyfriend masturbating in the woods and ejaculating on a tree. Imagine the serenity of nature and then Once […]Read More

For Jake: by Hanna Pesha

For Jake: energy flows like a blue dragon through your life snaking through the time of your days fast and bright as fireflies magic birthright blocked only by unwillingness to feel the anger that is yours nothing is wrong with plunging a knife violently into a lie About the Author: Hanna Pesha lives in Oakland, CA. […]Read More

Control Group by Heikki Huotari

CONTROL GROUP The ingredient in question is extruded, pressed into the shapes of animals and offered to the criminals, but not the kind we like. The kind we like are put up in hotels and given new identities, careers and social skills. They can have anything they want delivered to their doors for their last […]Read More

COURTS-MARTIAL AND INCARCERATION: THE TRAVIS AFB ECSTASY INTERDICTION AND ITS AFTERMATH by Charles Von Nordheim

COURTS-MARTIAL AND INCARCERATION: THE TRAVIS AFB ECSTASY INTERDICTION AND ITS AFTERMATH Midnight is when we cast our net at the base’s main gate Seeking hints of a pill with an X from a Berkeley rave Every third car popped with a written golden flow order Unless dogs provide cause by alerting on an odor Seeking hints […]Read More

If Grasshoppers Could Shoot Me by Nancy Kangas

  If Grasshoppers Could Shoot Me or bite me venomously I would not cut off their heads with scissors as I currently do About the Author: Nancy Kangas writes a poetry column, “Slides (Interpreted by Nancy),” for the online journal Ohio Edit, and a monthly humor feature for the children’s magazine Muse. For over a […]Read More

I Want to Drink Like Don Draper by Alison Moncrieff

  I want to drink like Don Draper —from an Old-Fashioned glass, all day long and a TV hangover. Safe in my starched white shirt, soft & thick in the shoulders. Easy in my creased American pants with their careless power, my missing self gently folded behind this drama-mask hairline, behind my 5 o’clock shadow […]Read More

 

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NOW, FOR REAL by Paul Corman-Roberts

NOW, FOR REAL –   For Richard Loranger Manners and mind games and mind games and manners matter more than mind games matter in the never ending I you we, I you we, I you we times three is all I need to get through this poetically selective gallery of vowels and/or processing to you know […]Read More

Backstreet by Anne F. Walker

Backstreet The ambulance sloshed by today siren cut and re-ordered by leaves. The harder you have to think the simpler the answer must be. About the Author: Originally from Berkeley, Anne F. Walker grew up in Toronto, Canada.  There she began her writing and publishing career, studying with bpNichol, Frank Davey, and Susan Swan while earning a BFA […]Read More

Who Ate Fire by Brynn Saito

WHO ATE FIRE I’ve seen the best men of my generation made starving and small, made dust by the thumb of oppression. I’ve seen the best women of my generation tend lonely to the men who claim to love, plant bombs in their own throats for slow exploding. What is the way of structural suffocation? […]Read More

Like Dinosaurs by Leah Tieger

Like Dinosaurs We ran out of beef in Texas and the women are chewing their boots, hawking silver and turquoise for lamb. They use their hats to catch the neighbor’s chicken. They’re feeding children hops and cornmeal mash, anything the cows would eat. We slice the bison so thin the marble becomes stained windows and […]Read More

what if we knew by Georgie Abel

what if we knew i wonder if the haters would still gossip if they knew i would probably make out with them after hanging out three times. it wasn’t always this way. i used to believe in their words, in whatever i heard, in the tangles of lies that they spurred, and in their lists […]Read More

Crossroads by Jenifer DeBellis

Crossroads Hours after last call, after bars send their last groggy-eyed patrons home with a goodnight & hope to see you soon, a man dressed in black stands in the intersection of the divided highway, shouting obscenities at cars that slow once they realize the shadowman in the road is real. His pale face & […]Read More

 

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A Blue Jay Screams by Cassandra Dallett

About the Author: Cassandra Dallett lives in Oakland, CA. Cassandra is a Pushcart nominee and reads often around the San Francisco Bay Area. She has published online and in many print magazines such as Slip Stream, Sparkle and Blink, The Bicycle Review, Chiron Review, River Babble, and Up The River. A full-length book of poetry, Wet […]Read More

“The right to be forgotten” by Mindela Ruby

Being bad in a fun way is cool when I’m young Dropping sugar cube acid with a poet at Mantara Beach Grooving on pelicans, breakers, sand dunes ‘til we’re scared off by the cold and dark and a seaside lurker we suspect of ill will By sheer luck we escape both car crash and DUI […]Read More

Ode to MRE No. 08 Beef Patty by Aaron Graham

  Out of sky or stratocumulus you drop sailing like a segmented, rotting lemon once cool yellow hemispheres matte brown. Rhinoceros hide, you remained there attached to nothing. Bird beaks cannot gash jaws of jackals never puncture your Internal organs. Your life your death your sand falling, moveable feast My ka-bar scalpel measures you and […]Read More

Pour Marcel by Allan Tinker

“Et avoir un corps, c’est la grande menace pour l’esprit.” – Marcel Proust The absence of Proust’s brother while his mother’s split in two, good granny and rival mama, suggests the anxious splintering of an imaginal if not wholly conscious fratricide, as in the cage with two fighting rats brought into the room of the […]Read More

chairs by philip kobylarz

chairs are publicly accepted skeletons, this being more evident when they are paint-peeling white. At best they are architecturally concealed plates for the ass and genitals. Like horses, we dispose of them if they have even one fractured leg. They are the unsung heroes of any meeting or gathering. Skyscrapers as compared to toilet seats. […]Read More

Habit by Danna Ephland

Halfway through the evening he reaches across his chest for the soft hem of his shirt sleeve, rolls it up over smooth bicep, pulls it past rising deltoid just short of the clavicle. His beautiful habit. Needle comes to her senses, falls out of her head into her own muscle and reach. Her hands fold […]Read More

Et cetera. by MK Chavez

  About the Author: MK Chavez is the author of Virgin Eyes (Zeitgeist Press) Visitation, Next Exit #9 and Pinnacle (Kendra Steiner Editions). Recent and upcoming work can be found in Eleven Eleven and Sparkle & Blink and Rivet. She has been a fellow at Squaw Valley Writers Conference, Antioch Writers Workshop and VONA. She is co-founder and […]Read More

Fuck You by Riss Rosado

Fuck the lower back pain I got Bending over backwards for you. Fuck your Oedipal complex Your mom is out of her fucking mind. Fuck whatever she did I’m not her. Fuck every night you were too stressed out about work To get it up. Fuck you for not leaving work at work And thinking […]Read More

 

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Just Black by Jan Steckel

    Just Black Machine-gun-fire rain on the zinc roof. I wheezed like a calliope. The cats’
eyes guttered with the kerosene lamp. They stalked me, tails twitching. Always want to sit in the allergic person’s lap. The succubus story: a cat perched
on a man’s chest, sucking his breath. My abs burned. The river was high. […]Read More

Beach Town and August, Adolescence by Leland Seese

      Beach Town and August, Adolescence Flotsam from a vessel sunk a half a century ago Sunburned afternoons surveilled by the owner of the general store Subtle as raccoons around a trash can as we sticky-fingered Ads in black and white at the back of hot rod magazines To glimpse the montes veneris […]Read More

Disintegration by Richard Pacheco

Disintegration  Along the shore the seagulls break formation, dive like kamikazes scrape the water’s tip furrow wave tops then loop skyward sun-masked dimly conspicuous as ·ghosts.   About the Author: Richard Pacheco is an award-winning playwright, poet, artist, journalist, filmmaker and educator. He was a finalist in the grant competition in playwrighting for the Massachusetts Artists Foundation […]Read More

Condolence Call by Sandra Kohler

Condolence Call H___T___’s cock paid me a condolence call when I was sitting shiva for my father years ago, called home from college by his death to the apartment I’d never seen before – his, my stepmother’s – they’d sold our house that fall when I left, were waiting for a new one to be […]Read More

A Perfect Line by Yume Kim

A Perfect Line When the mother was young, she grew up in Busan, South Korea. One day, she was happily chatting with her friends. Suddenly, her teacher slapped her face. “Learn to write better,” he scolded her before walking away. Many years later, in Baltimore, Maryland the doctor informs the mother that her three year-old […]Read More

Here Are Instructions for Removing the Scissors by Kelli Allen

  Here Are Instructions for Removing the Scissors Take the bribe offered and just plunge your entire arm, full past the twist of elbow, into the cool muck. Take this moment as opening of determined appetite— the blades are yours once pulled into the grass. Yours. Take whatever weird laughter you hear behind your shoulder […]Read More

 

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SO WE SAT DOWN AND SAID by Steffi Drewes

SO WE SAT DOWN AND SAID Rise and shine Guanajuato, Sebastian’s got five tongues to your one, odds and ends the acrolinguist flings into his breakfast banter. Not just the number of bricks it takes to build a church or trips to Peru before he stopped eating papaya, tell me how to launch a comeback […]Read More

Irreversible by Peycho Kanev

    Irreversible The body of the dead bird soon enough becomes dirt where the worms live which soon enough become food for the newly hatched birds. I picked a flower and smelled it – Spring, death and              swallows’ wings. About the Author:Peycho Kanev is the author of 4 poetry collections and two chapbooks, […]Read More

prosaic hell by Courtney Leigh

    About the Author: Courtney Leigh is The Bowhunter of White Stag Publishing. You can read more of her recently published poems in MadHat Lit, The Doctor TJ Eckelburg Review, Ginosko, & Thank You For Swallowing. Artwork: Sarah Walsh   Read More

Time And Its Relatives by Peggy Aylsworth

   TIME AND ITS RELATIVES I hobble in the ruins of myself, grateful as a bronco out to pasture. Layers of dust find ways to hide the glisten underneath.  Red, as in coral thanks the longest waves of light. I didn’t die at 24 as I once thought. At 93 my wits remind – the […]Read More

Revel by Ana Maria Caballero

  For Dr. S. Rueda On the night Chavez died I needed to feel drunk So I called my son’s pediatrician Told him I wanted to be happy He said I should be happy I didn’t mention the wine Maybe he figured and it wasn’t the first time So I mixed white formula with water […]Read More

AUBADE by Simon Anton Nino Diego Baena

Aubade Breaths are slower, and nobody climbs mountains just to hear a song. Creaking doors are ubiquitous, as well as stains in the statues of saints in churches, birds shit and grave faces. How do you welcome epiphanies? Please tell me. An open window is not enough for a mouth full of ruins. Of course, […]Read More

 

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After Visiting Jack London's Grave on the Day of his Death by Iris Jamahl Dunkle

            About the Author: Iris Jamahl Dunkle’s debut poetry collection, Gold Passage, won the Trio Award and was published by Trio House Press in 2013. Her chapbooks Inheritance and The Flying Trolley were published by Finishing Line Press. Her poetry, essays and creative nonfiction have been published in Fence, Volt, […]Read More

Ballpoint Pens as a Point of Reference by Mercedes Lawry

Ballpoint Pens as a Point of Reference Let’s talk ballpoint pens, and do they reproduce and how can one be found at a moment of critical need and do they resemble paper clips in some utilitarian matrix and what is their relationship to nostalgia? Ah, gibberish, the high notes, the low notes, such and much […]Read More

Truckee River Rock by Julia Park Tracey

  Truckee River Rock   Half moon floats in an empty sky, Like a slice of lemon in a cool drink. River calm and silent. Water skeeter. One small fish. A tree carved by a bear, And a bear carved from a tree. The wind says shush and whoa. Shush and whoa. About the Author: […]Read More

Etched Indigo Blood by M.O. Mc

  Etched Indigo Blood Seen series of an afterlife when I walked through the catacombs It was June, scorched un-nameable animals & dye skirted the walls I saw how Osiris cut successors’ way walked a few feet in the dark towards an Egyptian Syria using deadly combination of expertise brutality classically associated with disturbing videos […]Read More

Carrying the One by Kevin Brown

Carrying the One   We both learned languages—you started Latin in sixth grade, row after ordered row of declensions, while I was forced into French my freshman year, rules so random they seem pieced together by three teenage boys in a basement passing the time until the rain stops.  Our brains are built for words, […]Read More

Ice by Michelle Gil-Montero

Ice Salt dissolves this mirror which is finite, blotched with the heat and wet of a benignant winter in the body, a kind austerity, the exsufflation of a needy sentence whispered softly to fog a surface. Outside the neighbors string lights around the trunks of lifetime oaks, like necklaces of bejeweled tears, as might costume […]Read More

 

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[johnny appleseed] by July Westhale

  [johnny appleseed] Look. I lived a life of pure good. Even the animals loved me, & the savages, too. I wed no wife, just the hills of colonies. They gave me children of knotted wood, spines of pines, the personal luxury of shade. I know a man who gave up the ghost, once he […]Read More

The Best Pozole in Santa Cruz by Shane Book

Essay written for broadcast on the radio show This I Believe The Best Pozole In Santa Cruz That big other was like my big other from another. Was all, “I’m a kidnap your kid, make him feel like a kid again” made it             easy      to work over the No Knock Police Raid (with the […]Read More

As A Lemur At A Wedding by KT Gutting

As A Lemur At A Wedding No one can see me. Princesses gather around flowers and doilies and ribbons at table four. “Do you know where the photo booth is? I just love photo booths.” I was looking for someone earlier, or waiting for a text, and drinking raspberry raspberries at the bar after four […]Read More

Night Music, A Whalesong by Andrena Zawinski

Night Music,                                                                                                           […]Read More

I Live With Clicky Introverts by John Bruce

I Live With Clicky Introverts I live with clicky introverts, whose soundtrack is a cricket shrillness with a bullfrog growl undertone leaking from the motor of my refrigerator. Echoes from the tubes of my television pump out images and voices and I assume that they are about otherworldly matters, but I am not really listening; […]Read More

The Matter by T. Allison

The Matter Dance, she instructs winkingly, within a ring of men, So he, watching, will be aware that you are wanted. Or, perhaps, count three dates until he puts his hands On your inner thighs. Pressing outwards, inwards — wait. My fortune told me silence can be a catchall. Well, I can’t quite recall. Maybe […]Read More

he strings by Barry Blitstein

he strings About the author: Barry Blitstein began in theater (MFA); he has lived in New York, The San Gabriel Mountains, Los Angeles, and Berlin, Germany.  He feels very much at home wherever he is. Most recently his poems have appeared in Off The Rocks, Hartskill Review and The Inflectionist Review. His objective is to make each poem’s form […]Read More

Poor K by Allan Tinker

Poor K As K stands before the (not Jewish) grave digger, for whose benefit the author worked in his professional capacity as a government legal, investigative and administrative agent with executive authority, brought into the government by a converted Christian who knew him to possess the brilliant and creative mind necessary for handling the newly […]Read More

 

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In Paris by Charles Bane Jr.

  In Paris In Paris, all the streets were rained and magpies in the shadows of Notre Dame poured tunes. The cafes dripped and all the city was wet that afternoon; you said, look at the long haired Seine; do you want to walk in the Jardins des Plantes ? No, I said, let’s hold […]Read More

doxology from a barroom window by Leland Seese

  doxology from a barroom window the fire engine blasts its horn and siren southbound toward an elsewhere accident two women in their twenties drinking vodka flit about the edges of their readiness to kiss a cough drop wrapper gold and black blows up from the gutter to the sidewalk near a tree a zillion […]Read More

Just how we say what we say is what we say. by Julia Tranchina

  Just how we say what we say is what we say. This valley. Death shall be at the start. Drown the object in its history. Sank after it capsized; exploded in a ball of fire; derailed and plunged into a canyon; died at 97 of pneumonia. Tell the truth gradually, carefully. I’ve never met […]Read More

"Mr. Jones" by Counting Crows by Larry O. Dean

 “Mr. Jones” by Counting Crows I heard it in the grocery store, piped in so clear, there in the canned food aisle; my hand hovered in mind-reach for eight ounces of tinned peaches I planned to cook into a pie. So taken was I my peach-search was abandoned and I ran, frantic and alive, to […]Read More

Wanting What You Can't Have Anymore by Jason Bayani

Wanting What You Can’t Have Anymore We were long and far away from the old city. When everyone grew above the wild stalk. We grew wild and then grew into our bodies. We named and then named ourselves again. We learned to be weightless and floated above the ground. We danced until the sun came […]Read More

Open Reading by Trina Gaynon

    Open Reading Shattuck Avenue Bakery  The new manager is atwitter with reminders to exercise caution going down the back stairs to the bathroom in the corner of the working bakery that turns out 10,000 croissants a day and gallons of coffee for the free refills. The chest beneath the Yale sweatshirt decompresses when […]Read More

Once the Conundrum is Dispelled by A.J. Huffman

Once the Conundrum is Dispelled It comes like this sometimes.  In waves of grief higher than my head.  I hold my breath and hope it will not consume me.  More often I hope it will.  Why can’t the breaking be complete? The pain is severe.  But what is enough? My mind slips out for a […]Read More

Doomed Romance by Jan Steckel

Doomed Romance I met a blond man in an erotic bookstore. We stood overlooking the Pacific Coast Highway. He said, “Night is for man to press pedal to metal. Night is for woman to be safe at home. I pressed his hand so he’d know how I felt. Then I unhitched my girdle, dove into […]Read More

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Epitaph by Ishmael Reed

Epitaph HERE LIES EARTH MURDERED BY PROGRESS About the author: Ishmael Reed is author of twenty-nine books, including his tenth non-fiction work, Going Too Far: Essays About America’s Nervous Breakdown(2012); his tenth novel, Juice! (2011); six collected plays in Ishmael Reed, THE PLAYS (2009); and New and Collected Poems, 1964-2007 (2007). In addition he has edited […]Read More

Higher Planes of Light by Masin Persina

        Higher Planes of Light My frantic mind entered an acre Of sheep munching peace, and then It stepped back, then back again As their gazes turned upon me. I was back with my wants, my wants As needs that fill the space between Thoughts, so I kept thinking, But it petered out […]Read More

Sardine Machine by Adam Cornford

SARDINE MACHINE (Monterey Bay Aquarium Kelp Forest) They shoal in sweep formation, swarming gleam with tail-flick wave through smooth curve like a wrist volplaning pivots, wheels, quick tinfoil stream- line motion shines a mirror-clouded twist; upspiraling, the myriad uncoils wide slowly to merge, a heartform of barbed glass in ripple assembly, pours to hanging glide, […]Read More

Flight by Daniel Romo

Birds cry and the wind replies, What of it? One by one they crash to the earth like leaden leaves. Wings become flapless and little more than diseased appendages, merely by the body’s side for show, as if to denote and condemn the futility of the soaring metaphor. Broken bodies pile like a metropolis of […]Read More

Harry Dean Stanton by Lisa Douglass

  Harry Dean Stanton It was hot outside I was working at the Grill in Beverly Hills After work I slid up to the bar at Dan Tana’s and ordered a beer Harry Dean Stanton was there drinking me one for one He drank silent like me I said, “you must hear this all the […]Read More

Las Manos De Mis Padres by John Olivares Espinoza

         Las Manos De Mis Padres      Once, the backs of Dad’s hands were smooth, like a panther’s tail, like a jaguar’s coat.      Years of work turned the skin into leather that shines like polished Florsheims.      The hash marks left by the bramble bush thorns are perpetually […]Read More

L.R. Californicus by Tennessee Reed

PART I It is around 1:00 PM on May 6, 2013 I, the Mearns bobcat species of California, west of Sierra Nevada, am minding my business, hunting in the tall grass near the Marin Headlands Arts Center for insects, rabbits, small rodents and deer It is unusual for me to hunt at this time of […]Read More