Issue 15

scissors & spackle: 2021, Issue 15

Editor’s Note

Hello Dear Readers,

Thanks for being here. I was over the moon when Ariana reached out to me last summer about resuscitating scissors & spackle. When I started this project in 2010, I had run off to Los Angeles to follow in the footsteps of my writing idols, swaggering (and, yes, sexist) men like John Fante and Bukowski. I was so frustrated with what I felt like was a gate-kept small press industry, a world that seemed to me as deeply nepotistic and more concerned with where a writer’s MFA was from than the quality of their work. I sought to disrupt that.

Looking to presses I admired like Horror Sleaze Trash and KillAuthor (RIP), I launched s&s from the puke pink bedspread of the Nutell Motel in MacArthur Park Los Angeles through a craigslist add. I had no plan and no clue about what I was doing. What I did know was that I had read more poetry and prose than anyone else I knew, and I had damn good taste. I had no idea how s&s would change the trajectory of my life.

In the 6, I think, years I worked as Editor-In-Chief of s&s, I met and worked with so many writers who were-and still are-way outta my league. I am perennially punching above my weight. I was blown away by what became thousands of submissions from exceptionally talented writers from all over the world. I remain proud that we published the poet with a 6th grade education next to the Ivy League Literature Professor working on her novel. Exceptional writing needs no pedigree, nor is it restrained by one.

Our greatest minds exist in both the hallowed halls of the east coast academy and the hay covered barnyards of middle America. Writing is a skill, yes, but it’s also a gift. Some folx just have have the gift.

I am so excited to be back at s&s. For this issue we are featuring an old friend of whose poetic career has been pretty meteoric. Kevin Ridgeway, was one of the first writers we published back in the before time, and we are honored to have him in these pages for our rebirth.

Thank you to everyone who has had a hand in this issue: readers and writers past and present, and especially to Ariana Den Bleyker who kept s&s breathing all these years. Now more than ever, giving voice to the under-sung is, I believe, imperative.

Art saves, and who among us doesn’t need a little salvation right now?  

Big Love,


PS: Confession: I did break down and get that MFA myself eventually. I’m one of the ones without the gift.


Be Well. Write Well. Read Well.


CV-[ ] University” and “Why I Write,” Maria Picone

Let it Fly,” “Painting Love Handles into the Waiting Sistine,” and “Throwing Her Lava Lamp Into the Volcano,” Ryan Quinn Flanagan

First,” Giles Goodland

Harder Days are Coming” and “Seaworthy this Vessel,” Jesse Miksic

Waking Up in the Dark” and “19 Year Before Covid 19,” Kevin Ridgeway

Mama’s princess,” Fizzah Abbas

fledglings {those who cannot give},” G.G. Silverman


Fine Diners, Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri

The Home, a Desert, Sean Ennis

Jeremy’s Never-Agains, Nick Olson

The presentation of self, Andrew Kaye

Sick as Well and Begotten, Gale Acuff

Some Boys Sink and Night Work, Evan James Sheldon

Everything Else

The Sacrifice, Mehreen Ahmed

. , Mitchell James

The Middle, Anna Spence

A Father’s Legacy, Marilyn Duarte

Featured Writer

Interview with Kevin Ridgeway