Break Room

Walls, once milk-white, now scalded from the flame

of years, a broken black line from folding chairs

leaned back, scuffing paint. You can tell

full-timers—propped-up feet, the way they sit

on brocade cushions brought from home,

while temps eat erect, not knowing how

to spot employees from Loss Prevention.

Half a vending machine sandwich is drying out

in a plastic triangle—someone called back to the sales floor.

Lettuce too green to be real droops over

stale crusts like clocks in …

More In: Chronicles

Yellow Wallpaper Resident Alien | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Yellow Wallpaper Resident Alien

Tie my shoes, my self-portrait running for fun

in the deep woods, poisoned with the soot

of another forest fire in the distance, another Oregon
 

I didn’t know how to spell the …

Guns on TV | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Guns on TV

I like guns in TV shows.
The guns on TV shows are just like guns,
Like the people shooting other people
On TV shows are just like people.

I like …

WWW | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

WWW

In childhood, you thought that the world

could be had: consumed like cut-up melon.

 

Looking at the map curling up the classroom wall—

its gradient landmasses and oceans—

 

you thought, what sort of …

Where I Go: The Nature Preserve of Memory  | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Where I Go: The Nature Preserve of Memory 

Torrey Pines—A Mythic Hike in My Childhood Imagination—Feels Fragile Now

Like a giant’s sandy belly rising up from the gentle chill of the ocean, Torrey Pines Natural Reserve was a mythic force in my childhood imagination. Yet during a recent …

Speaking for the Unhoused

It was an absolute pleasure and a privilege to be part of this event. I value the recovery of my life dearly and wish to help as many as possible find the same satisfaction that I have. This overwhelming desire has guided me and given me new purpose. I would never in a million years have thought I would be the voice of Homelessness, but now I speak for them/us proudly!

—Shawn Eric Pleasants