James Conrad San Francisco - Rough Cut Press

James Conrad is a photographer who lives and works in San Francisco, California. These photographs are excerpts from a series that explores how the pandemic and the ensuing shelter-in-place order has rendered us disconnected from our routines, our favorite places, and from one another. They also explore how we come together in solidarity and resilience. 

James Conrad San Francisco - Rough Cut Press

James Conrad is a photographer who lives and works in San Francisco, California. These photographs are excerpts from a series that explores how the pandemic and the ensuing shelter-in-place order has rendered us disconnected from our routines, our favorite places, and from one another. They also explore how we come together in solidarity and resilience. 

In this issue, you will find a cat, a rattlesnake, and bumps raising like braille. 

You will also find an interview about the philosophy of aesthetics with Professor Jay A. Gupta. He teaches at Mills College and once gave me a C on a paper. When I went to his office to ask why he said: “You told me where you arrived but you didn’t show me how you got there.”

You can read the entirety of our conversation here.

Rough Cut Press July 2020 Theme: Glory

Sometimes I think about how Frida Khalo said, “I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do.”

So this summer we are looking at strangeness and glory.

Where is glory located? What does it sound like feel like taste like? Tell us in 650 words or less by July 27th.

Love,

 amanda lezra 
Editor-in-Chief

In this issue, you will find a cat, a rattlesnake, and bumps raising like braille. 

You will also find an interview about the philosophy of aesthetics with Professor Jay A. Gupta. He teaches at Mills College and once gave me a C on a paper. When I went to his office to ask why he said: “You told me where you arrived but you didn’t show me how you got there.”

You can read the entirety of our conversation here.

Rough Cut Press July 2020 Theme: Glory

Sometimes I think about how Frida Khalo said, “I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do.”

So this summer we are looking at strangeness and glory.

Where is glory located? What does it sound like feel like taste like? Tell us in 650 words or less by July 27th.

Love,

 amanda lezra 
Editor-in-Chief

LIKE BRAILLE

This lightlent night, we sit inches
apart on the rooftop,
listening in silence

to the claptrapping
cars on I-95 & the skittering
rats in nearby trash-heaps

& curse Earth, a cluster of distrust.
We fear our fathers will drink
foam after foam

til the day they die,
& like all those doomsdayed diner girls,
we’ll never leave this town.

Why does everyone here
treat dating like speedreading?
I love yous dissolve

faster than a milktooth
in Coca-Cola—or worse,
shatter like glass.

& broken bottles line alleys,
doors lock shut, the wind
picks up: weaving, breathing,

gustgales heaving in the night.
& you shyshiver—
bumps rising like Braille

on your legs & back & solar plexus.
Then everything slows.
Slow red-rusted pick-ups.

Slow corroded horse-trailers.
Slow growing fear: my fingertips
fluttering

over your thigh. Fireflicker.
Just above thin skin. Your smile
gleams. My heart speeds.

Your green eyes meet mine:
go ‘head,
go ‘head, granting me reading rights.

Despy Boutris is published or forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Copper Nickel, Colorado Review, The Adroit Journal, Prairie Schooner, Palette Poetry, Third Coast, Raleigh Review, and elsewhere. Currently, she teaches at the University of Houston and serves as Assistant Poetry Editor for Gulf Coast.

Lauren Dougherty - first - Rough Cut Press

This is one of my first pieces, very early into my discovery of a “true  process.” It is made up of about ninety individual layers and remains my playful exploration of what it means for a work to be “mixed mediums.” It includes acrylics, oils, iridescent sealants, rubber glue, melted crayon wax, ash, epoxy resin, gloss, charcoal, linseed oil, dirt, pastel, and dried flowers.

 lauren k. dougherty 

LIKE BRAILLE

This lightlent night, we sit inches
apart on the rooftop,
listening in silence

to the claptrapping
cars on I-95 & the skittering
rats in nearby trash-heaps

& curse Earth, a cluster of distrust.
We fear our fathers will drink
foam after foam

til the day they die,
& like all those doomsdayed diner girls,
we’ll never leave this town.

Why does everyone here
treat dating like speedreading?
I love yous dissolve

faster than a milktooth
in Coca-Cola—or worse,
shatter like glass.

& broken bottles line alleys,
doors lock shut, the wind
picks up: weaving, breathing,

gustgales heaving in the night.
& you shyshiver—
bumps rising like Braille

on your legs & back & solar plexus.
Then everything slows.
Slow red-rusted pick-ups.

Slow corroded horse-trailers.
Slow growing fear: my fingertips
fluttering

over your thigh. Fireflicker.
Just above thin skin. Your smile
gleams. My heart speeds.

Your green eyes meet mine:
go ‘head,
go ‘head, granting me reading rights.

Despy Boutris is published or forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Copper Nickel, Colorado Review, The Adroit Journal, Prairie Schooner, Palette Poetry, Third Coast, Raleigh Review, and elsewhere. Currently, she teaches at the University of Houston and serves as Assistant Poetry Editor for Gulf Coast.

Lauren Dougherty - first - Rough Cut Press

This is one of my first pieces, very early into my discovery of a “true  process.” It is made up of about ninety individual layers and remains my playful exploration of what it means for a work to be “mixed mediums.” It includes acrylics, oils, iridescent sealants, rubber glue, melted crayon wax, ash, epoxy resin, gloss, charcoal, linseed oil, dirt, pastel, and dried flowers.

 lauren k. dougherty 

Rattle

My cousin hunts rattlesnakes. He posts Snapchat videos of his killings. He traps and corners them, into boxes, against stone walls. He chases when they try to run.

A coworker used to stop by on security rounds when I would be cleaning up the theatre, used to linger while I vacuumed up popcorn. Showed me his security belt, said he carried bear mace because it’s more powerful than pepper spray. Said he was the protective type. Talked about his girlfriend, how things were rough, how I was friendly, said we should talk more, asked for my number. He knew I lived on campus, what dorm I was in, would text me when he was outside. Said the walk home was a little longer but worth it if I was around. I would text him the next day, make up a lie, say I was out with friends.

He uses an old shovel, rusted and covered with dirt. He holds his phone in one hand, takes the shovel in the other, and spears the throat. The snake rattles, kicks up sand, tries to run away. It’s almost too dusty to count the jabs he gets in.

One night at work when I was vacuuming up popcorn I shut off the machine and felt him behind me. I don’t know how long he stood in the frame of the open double doors, how long he had been watching me.

Cat - Rough Cut Press

When a rattlesnake is scared, it coils its body to anchor itself before an attack. Fetal position. Weighted blanket. Locked doors. A spring standing upright, always on the edge of defense. Stay away from me.

I told him I was moving to Ohio at the end of summer and he said he had family in Indiana, maybe he should move back home and we could visit each other on the weekends.

He doesn’t listen. He severs the skull. Fragile bones snap. I hear him laughing.

I told my boss I was uncomfortable and she said he didn’t seem dangerous, said she couldn’t fire him if he didn’t do anything.

When the dust settles back into the desert, the sand is clumped red; the sound of the rattle replaced with heavy, human breathing.

I grew distant and he grew angry. Said I had led him on. Said I had acted like I was interested. Told everyone at work I was a tease. Girl who cried wolf. Wanted attention and now that I got it, didn’t want it. Said I was a liar. Said I was embarrassed, ashamed. Said he would wait for me to come around. Said he would still walk through my campus each night. Said he wanted to know what I looked like when I slept. When I didn’t know I was being watched.

He buys a gun. He points it at the camera.

Josie Kochendorfer is an MFA candidate at The Ohio State University, where she serves as the Online Editor for The Journal.

Rattle

My cousin hunts rattlesnakes. He posts Snapchat videos of his killings. He traps and corners them, into boxes, against stone walls. He chases when they try to run.

A coworker used to stop by on security rounds when I would be cleaning up the theatre, used to linger while I vacuumed up popcorn. Showed me his security belt, said he carried bear mace because it’s more powerful than pepper spray. Said he was the protective type. Talked about his girlfriend, how things were rough, how I was friendly, said we should talk more, asked for my number. He knew I lived on campus, what dorm I was in, would text me when he was outside. Said the walk home was a little longer but worth it if I was around. I would text him the next day, make up a lie, say I was out with friends.

He uses an old shovel, rusted and covered with dirt. He holds his phone in one hand, takes the shovel in the other, and spears the throat. The snake rattles, kicks up sand, tries to run away. It’s almost too dusty to count the jabs he gets in.

One night at work when I was vacuuming up popcorn I shut off the machine and felt him behind me. I don’t know how long he stood in the frame of the open double doors, how long he had been watching me.

Cat - Rough Cut Press

When a rattlesnake is scared, it coils its body to anchor itself before an attack. Fetal position. Weighted blanket. Locked doors. A spring standing upright, always on the edge of defense. Stay away from me.

I told him I was moving to Ohio at the end of summer and he said he had family in Indiana, maybe he should move back home and we could visit each other on the weekends.

He doesn’t listen. He severs the skull. Fragile bones snap. I hear him laughing.

I told my boss I was uncomfortable and she said he didn’t seem dangerous, said she couldn’t fire him if he didn’t do anything.

When the dust settles back into the desert, the sand is clumped red; the sound of the rattle replaced with heavy, human breathing.

I grew distant and he grew angry. Said I had led him on. Said I had acted like I was interested. Told everyone at work I was a tease. Girl who cried wolf. Wanted attention and now that I got it, didn’t want it. Said I was a liar. Said I was embarrassed, ashamed. Said he would wait for me to come around. Said he would still walk through my campus each night. Said he wanted to know what I looked like when I slept. When I didn’t know I was being watched.

He buys a gun. He points it at the camera.

Josie Kochendorfer is an MFA candidate at The Ohio State University, where she serves as the Online Editor for The Journal.

Subscribe to receive a new issue of Rough Cut Press on the first day of each month.

We will process the personal data you have supplied in accordance with our privacy policy.