Desire, Text, & a San Francisco Apartment: Interview with Dodie Bellamy and Kevin Killian

by Daniel Benjamin

ZYZZYVA Volume 35, #3, Winter 2019

I sat down with authors and artists Dodie Bellamy and the late Kevin Killian in their Minna Street apartment in San Francisco on a Sunday afternoon in early May. I didn’t know it would be my last time seeing Kevin—he died following complications from chemotherapy on June 15, 2019. On the day of my visit,

Subscribers only: to access this content, you must be a member of ZYZZYVA Studio. Membership is included with any subscription. Subscribe today, or if you are already a subscriber, log in to continue reading. (Read our FAQ for more details, and contact us if you have any trouble logging in.)


Continue Reading

National Poetry Month: Opening the Mail

by W. S. Di Piero

ZYZZYVA Volume 35, #3, Winter 2019

The notices hit my inbox once a week, it seems,dusty phantasmal names sickly and unwanted.I don’t remember them, the boys from my high school,their Irish, Slavic, Italian names in the “subject” line,put there by Principle Father Rich, once one of us,we tough tender souls weathering snotty skies.The announcements come like rude enchantments, a sullen choirbeseeching with their newly minted news. They were there,as I was, but the names are husks, blowing through time,boys I never knew: Charlie McNally, Cosimo Picucci,Stosh Grzywinski, the Two-Streeters and corner boys,vets, mummers, contractors, bankers, teachers, priests,returning to their place among the infiniteunheard-from dead. The e-mails […]

Continue Reading

National Poetry Month: In Love With a Woman

by Lady Nestor Gomez

I should die in miscommunication breed fantasies unregulated, losses innumerable Mejor hablar español o componerme en nahuat I could speak and not offend I would stop a symphony and find closure erase bus stops and listen to my sister, the violent rain waiting for your seven days This isn’t a poem of love or hate but our days traveling in gray sand black night beaches and post-birthdays to speak to you I could hide and not love die in anonymity vanish in the ’80s with the rest of my ghosts but I can’t stop searching engines for your name our […]

Continue Reading

Lawrence Ferlinghetti: The Latin America Notebooks

by Mauro Aprile Zanetti

“He traveled a lot and he traveled light. He always carried a raggedy Pan Am bag about the size of a large toaster, in which he packed a change of underwear and an old navy tie in the unwanted event that a tie might be required somewhere, and he didn’t want to embarrass his host. And he always carried small notebooks, which he filled with images, poems, political observations, character sketches.” These are Nancy J. Peters’s words portraying her business partner and lifelong friend, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Her tribute to San Francisco’s first Poet Laureate was paid on the occasion of […]

Continue Reading

Cathedral: Some Marginalia on Reading

by Paisley Rekdal

“It’s okay to be white,” reads the sign posted in November by the Social Work building on the University of Utah campus where I teach. White poster, fine black letters in Arial font. The sign disappears in a day, though photos are taken, passed via social media. Two posters with the slogan “Stop the Rapes, Stop the Crime, Stop the Murder, Stop the Blacks” are then taped up, each with a web address for the manifesto “Blood and Soil” written by Vanguard America. These, too, are torn down. Someone spray-paints racist epithets on a campus construction site. This is not […]

Continue Reading

Mrs. Sorry

by Gabriela Garcia

The first time I see her, she is buying cold cream. What she wants, she says, is a moisturizer that doesn’t feel heavy, doesn’t sit on her skin like so much weight. I lay out her options: whipped argan oil, cold-pressed and refined; our new micro-beading exfoliating lotion with gentle 7 percent alpha hydroxy; the best-selling hyaluronic acid-plus-B-vitamins gel with all-day-stay technology, patent pending. Her red fingernails tap the counter as she slides a credit card with her other hand. She buys all of them. A few days later I see her across my booth in the shoe department. She […]

Continue Reading

Hangover 1.1.2019

by sam sax

Like a hammer swung into antique champagne flutes / Like a family heirloom traded for a Twix / Like a red dictionary dropped from a replica famous bridge / Like a robe made out of skin that, turns out, is your skin & oops you must wear it / Like the man who lives in your occipital lobe slowly whittles a sad stick and sighs / Like a headwrap made of crane flies / Like a framed section of your brain hanged in a museum / Like a school of hungry kids all banging their forks & knives at once […]

Continue Reading


by Michelle Latiolais

If a diner had to ask, for escargot tongs, or for the tiny fork for prizing out the snail, for a napkin, or more of the delicious butter from Normandy, we had failed. To be asked to bring the pepper mill…but a table already had their dinner salads…hmm, no. One brought the pepper mill to the table beneath one’s arm, salads balanced along wrists and forearms. What course came next, what items would be needed for the consumption of that course, these were first laid down, ready to be put to use, the bone dish for the trout, the deep […]

Continue Reading

The Rough Beast Takes a Painting Class

by Alexandra Teague

The surface of American society is covered with a layer of democratic paint, but from time to time one can see the old aristocratic colours breaking through. —Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America / The teacher says white is not truly a color, / containing as it does, all wavelengths of visible light. / She says the Rough Beast’s claws might be useful later / for scraffito—to scratch back through to what’s beneath: / cyan and magenta; Goldman-Sachs and Donald Trump. / The teacher says Trump is not a color. But everyone knows […]

Continue Reading

Session Drummer

by Tommy Orange

I’m on a train and it’s Saturday so I don’t have to work, but when I’m not working Saturday I’m usually working. I mean it’s work only because I get paid and need the money, but it’s playing drums—like a drum set in a studio. I’m a sometimes session drummer working mainly at this studio in West Oakland where people know me as a good enough drummer to call when they need a good enough drummer for a usually mediocre album project. What I do for a living, as they say, is to wash windows. I wash building windows no […]

Continue Reading

The Bay Area Issue: Editor’s Note

by Laura Cogan

One day in July I ran into a colleague on my way to lunch. We commiserated about the state of the world, briefly, and then he asked me if I’d been to the Flower Piano program at the San Francisco Botanical Garden yet. He said he’d just been, and that after one of the professional performers finished her set, a few of the people milling around took turns playing. One played David Bowie’s “Life on Mars,” singing softly under his breath. Another, a child of about ten, played a classical sonata, with astonishing beauty. There’s still art here, he said […]

Continue Reading

In the Winter Issue


ZYZZYVA Volume 35, #3, Winter 2019

New writing from the East Bay to San Francisco, from the North Bay to the Peninsula. Fiction: Charlie Jane Anders, Rita Bullwinkel, Lydia Conklin, Chia-Chia Lin, Nina Schuyler, Michael Sears, Ingrid Rojas Contreras, and Andrew Roe. Nonfiction: Paul Wilner, Gloria Frym, and Lydia Kiesling. Poetry: sam sax, Meg Hurtado Bloom, Luiza Flynn-Goodlett, W.S. Di Piero, Sara Mumolo, Kevin Simmonds, Lady Nestor Gomez, and Matthew Zapruder. Interview: Dodie Bellamy and the late Kevin Killian. Art: Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Janet Delaney. You can purchase a copy of No. 117 here, or order a subscription to ZYZZYVA now. […]

Continue Reading