Sunday, February 28, 2021

Two New Books! Peel The Sun & Paper The Sun by Simon Perchik

Two New Books: Peel The Sun & Paper The Sun

As if with a beginner's scissors
you peel the sun and on your arms
each strip hung out to dry ̶ you too

need steps, reaching up to plant
the way all grapevines clasp
something still damp, careful
how to fold and your child's sleeves
almost singing, almost
one holds the other, up, up and you

are picking a small blouse
already pink, opening
for your warm mouth and wings.

You paper the sun ̶ with both hands
bury the ashes though the time hasn't come
for shadows ̶ what you darken

sooner or later becomes your fingertips
still warm, wanting to spread
as winters, be harvested

from a sky already half stone
half so often covered with snow
̶ you cling to a grave

that has no grass yet
is setting out and for a while
across the ground and the others.

 Click here to purchase on-line ($8.00)


Simon Perchik, an attorney, was born 1923 in Paterson, NJ and educated at New York University (BA English, LLB Law). His poems have appeared in various literary journals including Cholla Needles, Partisan Review, Poetry, The Nation, and The New Yorker.

New Book! High Desert Elegy by Michael G. Vail


“In this collection, Mike Vail reveals and celebrates his deep appreciation for the landscape of the Mojave Desert and the people who inhabit it. His poems and stories are wry, poignant, accessible, and strongly evocative of both time and place.” Lorie Smith Schaefer, Author of Us, Now and Then

“Whether in his short stories or poems, Michael G. Vail’s writing is captivating--poignant, but always upbeat.” Barbara Wu Heyman

“Filled with vivid details and memorable characters, Vail’s writing draws you in and captures your heart! I laughed, I cried, I nodded in agreement…and wondered what would be coming next.” Julie Boesch

“Vail’s short story, ‘The Moaning Cave’, will take its place alongside the spookiest of modern legends.” Janet Dixon

“I love how easily I’m drawn into the stories. Each one like a different ride in an amusement park—and leaving me looking forward to more. Bravo!” Lonnie Hahn

“Have you ever thought of everyday life as an adventure? You will find out about that side of life in High Desert Elegy, a collection of thought-provoking stories and poems by Michael G. Vail.” Adela Xu

“A master at capturing a solid sense of place through his visual and poetic narratives, Vail takes the reader into experiences that touch your heart and soul.” Julie Zimmerman

“Michael G. Vail’s writing is emotional and very personal. He reminds us of our frailties, and inspires us to look in the mirror.” Bruce Yeoman

“These poems and short stories are heart-warming and heart- wrenching.” Carol Webster

“The expressive quality of Vail’s writing demonstrates a unique and compelling perspective that showcases his raw storytelling and unconventional voice.” Kay Hamann

“Vail has such a wonderful way of painting images with words and creating intricate moods using minimal language.” Joan Robey

“The writing in High Desert Elegy is measured, careful and artistic. And it’s all that even as Vail’s pulling you into something that’s fun and yet revealing of the ethereal nature of human behavior and emotion.”Steve Stajich

“Michael G. Vail’s writing is smart, direct and unflinching. He details the lives of people you might recognize, sometimes sadly so. These moving stories and poems are both beautiful and brutal, like the Mojave Desert’s summer sun.” Kent Wilson

“Touching, contemplative and at times stark, Vail’s work is always engrossing and entertaining. High Desert Elegy is a stirring read.” Karl Bradley

“Stop whatever you’re doing and get High Desert Elegy. You will not be sorry. Michael G. Vail’s words allow you to lose yourself in the stories and poems he creates.” Myrna Vallely

“The stories and poetry are gritty slices of life. Not always about big life events, but they each represent a turning point or a moment to reflect for the characters. Much of Michael G. Vail’s body of work looks at the darker side of the human experience: love, lust, hate, abuse, death, fear, to name a few. Through these peeks into the lives of others, we are reminded of our own life experiences and choices. Vail’s writing draws a response out of the reader and leaves you with much to think about.” Joylyn Davis

Sunday, February 21, 2021

February Virtual "Open Readings"

 Welcome to our February 2021 Shelter-In-Place Video "Open Reading". A huge thanks is due to all the folks who have participated either as audience or as featured readers in our Cholla Needles Zoom Shelter-In-Place readings. I am pleased that we are able to continue these video experiences to share with each other until we can meet again in person. I can honestly say hearing your voices is keeping me sane. 

If you have a video you'd like to share, please - send me a note & let me know. We consider this a community page, and is not limited to only our "featured readers". This spot is here to help us experience the love of great writing until we can meet together in one spot again.

If you are browsing our pages, we consider YOU a part of our family and you are welcome to become part of our Shelter-In-Place video pages. Simply contact us at & ask how to get your videos posted on our pages. You can also use this address to send us your poetry, short stories, essays, and art for publication in our monthly magazine. 

Good Times!!! Click here for information on watching our Sunday Zoom Show live at 3 - 3:30 PM each week. In the meantime, enjoy the videos:

Kelsey Bryan-Swick reads In The Wild

Caryn Davidson reads Conjugation

Ernest Alois reads Desert Saloon

John Sierpinski reads Floppy Hats

Ruth Nolan reads from Cholla Needles 51

Heather Morgan reads Promises

Dave Benson reads Soul Soup

Jeff Alfier reads New Iberia

Tobi Alfier reads Cape Blitz

Michael G. Vail reads Desert Elegy

Mark Evans reads Bonesaw

Enid Osborn reads Three Poems 
from When The Big Wind Comes

Ginny Short reads Landscape of Drought

George Howell reads The Hole In The Night

Cindy Rinne reads Open Eyes

Noreen Lawlor Reads Two Poems

Kelsey Bryan-Zwick reads Dark Star

Caryn Davidson reads Spike

Ernest Alois reads Freedom Road

John Sierpinski reads Gypsies In Bulgaria

Ruth Nolan reads Firestorm, Southern California

Heather Morgan reads Green In The Dead Part

Dave Benson reads Re-Evolution

Jeff Alfier reads A Map of Vaughn, New Mexico

Tobi Alfier reads A Lifetime Ago

Michael G. Vail reads My Old Man

Kurt Schauppner reads from Mary's Confession

Enid Osborn reads Dirt

Ginny Short reads
two poems about her mother

George Howell reads
Dreaming About The Dead

Cindy Rinne reads Climb Tumble Dance

Noreen Lawlor reads Equinoccio

Allen Ginsberg reads Hum Bom!

Raymond Antrobus reads Happy Birthday Moon

Kelsey Bryan-Zwick reads My Name

Caryn Davidson reads Intermission

Ernest Alois reads Lost Lenses

John Sierpinski reads Prague, The Palace Hotel

Ruth Nolan reads Three Poems

Heather Morgan reads My Last Surgeon Told Me

Dave Benson reads Two Poems

Jeff Alfier reads Mojave County

Tobi Alfier reads from
Symmetry - Earth and Sky

Michael G. Vail discusses Writing

Jean-Paul L. Garnier reads Betelgeuse Dimming

Kim Moore reads And the Soul

Ginny Short reads Only Dust

George Howell reads The Scientist

Cindy Rinne reads Cycle of Incarceration

Noreen Lawlor reads Morongo Preserve

Allen Ginsberg reads Elegy for Neal Cassady

See you again in March!!!!

Monday, February 1, 2021

February issue released! Cholla Needles #50!


The featured authors in this issue are:

Kelsey Bryan-Zwick
R Mason McElvain
Royal Rhodes
Hayley McCullough
Timothy Robbins
Franca Mancinelli
John Taylor
Kent Wilson
Robert DeLoyd
Allison Whittenberg
Michael G. Vail
Jonathan B. Ferrini
Ishikawa Tokuboku

cover and inner art by Kelsey Bryan-Zwick

Keep up with our featured readers at our weekly Zoom Party every week.
Click here for more info on our Zoom Readings. . .

Book Review: Shadow on the Minotaur by Miriam Sagan

REVIEW: Shadow on the Minotaur by Miriam Sagan 
Red Mountain Press, ISBN: 978-1952204050

This wonderful little book arrived at our library yesterday with a one word command handwritten on the title page: "Enjoy!" Why not? I thought I'd keep it by my desk for the next week or so and read it though.  Well, last night when I sat down to read it I found I was unable to put it down. Sagan's writing and story line sucked me directly into Thea's world, and I found myself captivated. At some point my eyes closed to dream my version of the ending, and I woke up this morning with page 86 open on my lap. So I picked it up and read the rest of the book the way Sagan wrote it. I can't tell you if it matched my dream or not. I slept soundly.

The narrative is easy to follow, yet unlike any narratives I have read before. Thea is the main character and speaks very little though the first part of the book. We meet her through the eyes of others and learn to enjoy their company and hers even though they disappear after they've had their say. This is explained - at this point in her live Thea is not expecting characters to be permanent. The cab driver who introduces us to Thea drops her off and "as he drove toward his next passenger, her forgot about Thea." As readers we do not know when we turn the page if the main character will be Thea or the cab driver.

We quickly find out that we'll be living with Thea throughout the book. She has a past she is anxious to forget, and we live with her during a time she has decided she will never heal from, but she is willing to survive whatever life throws at her next. Sagan's narrative leaves itself open for the reader to decide if this is reality complete with delusions, or fantasy. I love the way Sagan leaves it to me to decide for myself. Early on in the book we learn how Thea's struggles are universal, and why we need to finish the book. Thea enters a yoga studio with 10 other women in the class "like a novel, with each person carrying a story, hidden pain, hidden strength."

I recommend this book, and it is available here in our library along with many other books by Miriam Sagan. You'll find it on shelf D6. Email me first to be sure no one else has it at the moment. If you love Mike's Magic Burgers by Rose Baldwin, you'll definitely enjoy this story. 

Good times! 

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Other books by Miriam Sagan in our Library:


A Hundred Cups of Coffee 


Unbroken Line 

Map Of The Lost 

The Widow's Coat 

& Star Gazing