Editor's Note

California has always represented a second-chance, a hopeful beginning, a little sparkle of something golden off in the far-flung horizon—at least for those who were born and raised back east. To native Californians, the experience is most certainly different; it is a place full of constant change, wonder, and adventure, and to others it is a cesspool of plastic living, a cultural wasteland. The truth is somewhere in between and is different for every single person you will ask. In this issue, we did just that. You’ll find interviews with three Los Angeles poets—Kevin Ridgeway, Jeffrey Alfier, and Lola Nation—as well as poetry and fiction from or about California. I have also reviewed Frank Reardon’s new collection, Nirvana Haymaker, due out later this year. It isn’t California poetry, not exactly, but his search for something better, for something honest and true, is very similar to what California has represented in the minds of poets, artists, and writers for ages. I hope you enjoy these works.

See you down the road…

James H Duncan

PS: Photos of LA throughout this issue are by Billy Burgos; the cover image of the Golden Gate Bridge is by James Duncan.  

***PPS: I forgot to add some poems to this issue!! Destini Vaile is a writer from Montana who has traveled from one side of this country to the other, and I've always been a fan of her ability to make any place or any moment profoundly intimate and personal. I'm honored to have her work in this issue, and I've added her three poems about LA below as a BONUS for you! Enjoy!***

Los Angeles 1: New Year

LA, you're not an angel
Just because you lit me up
Blew out the lamp
And let me hear the dark

There are no wings behind your back
Just a long string of traps you're trying to escape
By digging your nails into my past

Your dragons hang around
Like girls in red behind the glass
So you whisper past my smile
A prayer you can't answer
And it shatters on my tongue

I wander now in static
In piles of dusty stars
I sift through the sand
For your last gaze

-Don't worry, you're already holy.
You don't have to burn.-

Los Angeles 2: Midwest

LA, you're not even from there
You grew up in the corn
The yellow bones broke
And sliced into your feet
Until you had to leave
That lonely center
Of everywhere that touches


Where the clouds roll forever
Where houses hold forever
Where people love forever
And stay forever
And ever

So, I understand
If you move toward an ocean
At least there's an end
And in the end, there is one part
Who reaches out and touches

Los Angeles 3

Maybe you blew out the light
And I became waves and grass
As stars bloomed and sparked

But someone lights the wick
Inside the lantern and I watch
As the holy night fades to memory
And you become a figment across the glow

I can't see anymore
These pretty flames hurt my eyes
They pour bright shadows over the night
And I shut myself against the light
Push away the glass box
Try to feel the dark

And I wait
For you to burn through the lamp again


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The views and opinions expressed throughout belong to the individual artists and may or may not coincide with those of the other artists (or editors) represented within the magazine. Hobo Camp Review supports a free-for-all atmosphere of artistic expression, so enjoy the poetry, fiction, opinions, and artwork within, read with an open mind, and comment wisely. Thanks for stopping by the Camp!