This Season’s Decorator: 10 Tips by Pat Tompkins

I just adore the realness
of dust. Kyrgyzstan never
goes out of style. We always
use fur for holiday meals. You
can’t have too many pearls in
a kitchen. This year’s color is
hand-knotted Turkish carpets.
I simply can’t say enough about
napkin rings. Small pots of chartreuse
enliven any room. Don’t underestimate
the power of vetiver candles. Nothing
personalizes a space like lapis lazuli.
Invest in the very best-quality
curtain rods you can afford.

Pat Tompkins is an editor in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her poems have appeared in Confingo, The A3 Review, bottle rockets, and other publications.


What’s Your Poison? by Mark Mayes

We bought a bar
for the dining room,
to entertain ourselves
and non-existent
friends of the family.

We stocked up on mixers,
European lagers.
Stuck mirrored squares
behind the bottles
to catch reflections
of pretend barpersons.
Sunk muted spotlights
into cheap, beige wood.

Angostura Bitters
and grenadine
lent their cachet
to the gift-set tumblers
and clear plastic coasters.

The months passing,
novelty grew brittle.
And barely noticed
the bar went dry.

The optics glued.
And one by one
the upside down
empty spirits
their false glamour.

The ice bucket grew musty.
Even the maraschino cherries

Mark Mayes has published poems in various magazines, including: The Interpreter’s House, Ink Sweat & Tears, Staple, The Reader, The Shop, and Fire, and has had work broadcast on BBC Radio. He has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize.