Issue 41 is now Live!

The staff of The Pacific Review is proud to present “On The Edge of Light” a stunning and intimate collection of writing and art from the CSUSB community, the Prison Education Project, and many more.

This collection of works speaks to the tumultuous state of the world and the personal emotional revolutions we have experienced in our time together apart.

Fall 2021- Issue 41 is available to read below at no charge.



Issue 40 is Live!

Our latest issue, “Aflame and Unafraid” is now available to read for free. We all hope you enjoy our Spring 2021 issue. It has been another challenging year with its consistent highs and lows, yet it’s been a tender and luminous one. It seems to ask as well as demand of us to look deeper within and with those discoveries seek truths within the intricate systems and entities that oppress and liberate us. In the spirit of a full year of protest, we would like to dedicate Issue 40 to our local organizations and collectives committed to protecting and enhancing social and transformative justice practices in our communities.

You can find the latest issue under the “Issues” tab.

Issue 38 Now Live!

Our latest issue, “Alone Together: Confined in a Connected World” is now available to read for free. Featuring artists, writers, and poets from the CSUSB and Inland Empire community, our aim is to help one another connect during the difficulties of the pandemic. The issue is embedded for you below to read, and can also be downloaded.

Note from the Editors – COVID-19

Dear Readers,

We at Pacific Review would like to extend our gratitude and appreciation to all the communities and its thriving members of CSUSB, San Bernardino and the greater Inland Empire. You are all in our thoughts, our stories, our visions of the future during this tumultuous and uncertain time of COVID-19 and other multiple happenings occurring in our world. Thank you to the talented contributors who have their work in our first online issue. We highly value your words. Many thanks to Juan Delgado, Rachelle Cruz and Briar Rosa for taking the time to converse with us and share with us what inspires them to be dynamic and responsible educators, cultural producers, writers and artists in our communities. At Pacific Review, we are dedicated to highlighting the stories and people that make our region and our region’s history diverse, beautiful, strong and worthy of preservation. We hope to continue to hear from you even in these dark times. Although we are a tight student-run literary arts operation, we are also susceptible to the same pains, struggles and obstacles that all of you face. However, we will strive to be part of the collective transformation and work that is a part of community healing and bridge building.

In solidarity, resilience and care,

The Editors and Staff Members of The Pacific Review

March 2020

Noah’s Ark

Emilee Corral

Rain rattles, paddles, and pours
right into the pores of my skin.
It drips,
Or (in other words) Baptizes.

Cleaning the Earth,
Gathering and showing us dirt
In places we didn’t know it existed
(or doesn’t).
I listen to the rain,
The kind that helps mothers
and grandmothers to sleep,
And wonder
If the Noah in us could fall asleep too,
Or if he’s always still just
I open my eyes, reach for the paddles, and row.
I gather the ones
he accidentally left behind.

Below the Surface

Vicki Mandell-King

– after an untitled piece by Naomi Richman, a 10th grader at Boulder High

The kitten stares out above a spill on the kitchen floor.
Unlike Narcissus, the kitten does not look down.

If he did, he would not see himself as he is,
A kitten, or even a grown cat. He’d see Tiger.

I see this depiction not as growth and maturation,
but the artist’s dream of her own transforming.

This seeing may be no more than
my own desire surfaced and mirrored back.

On the anniversary of my mother’s death,
I leaf through an album she made,

pasting in photos of wildlife
– she loved animals – and labeling

lion, grizzly, antelope, cardinal, cobra
in her instantly-recognizable script.

Passing by a storefront window, I glimpse
an aging woman – white hair, lined face –

and must remember to strut
– a gait once so natural – and break

a recent habit of hesitant step
in fear of falling.

I do not recognize myself. Like Mother,
I carry within me a younger,

more lovely image that sometimes is
mirrored back in the eyes of the beguiled.

Turning the drawing around, Tiger stares out
above brooding cloud.

If Tiger looked down, he’d see a sweet cub
before ferocity became necessity.

Distant Souls

Esmeralda Gomez

Your language is foreign to me.

I can hear you speak but-
I don’t understand what you mean.

The music’s loud so you grab my hand to show me.
Step by step
You lead me to a bedroom door.

I enter the room.

I can hear you speak but-
I don’t understand what you mean.

With a bottle of whiskey, in your hand
You lock the door,
I understand now…

But you’ll never understand me.

I am not distant.

Like your drunk and sexually frustrated friends
You’re one of them,
Lost in drugs and sex,
You see no need in speaking.

I look away,
Admiring New York’s peaceful city lights
With watery eyes.

You’ll never understand me.

“You lost communication” I finally say,
But your mind is in blank space.

I am not distant.

Magic Lamp

Nicole Barrera

If I found a magic lamp I’d know
what I’d ask for
He’d come out in the most grandiose way
Smoke and fireworks coming out from the lamp
Maybe he’s blue maybe he’ll be cyan or like me
and ask me
What is it you seek my child?
My eyes wide open in excitement
I would ask to look more like my parents
The bafflement on his face is clear so I elaborate to avoid confusion

I explain not entirely, just my skin color
I’m tired of getting asked at school what my ethnicity is
Hearing people say you owe me money to one another
As if my ethnicity was a simple numbered color on a roulette table

Now that that’s clarified I go into my second
wish giving him no time to rest.
I would ask him for a better tongue
I can see how he could take this a variety of ways so I go on

I just want to properly speak Spanish I need
to be able to roll my tongue
Being blessed with the most possible R’s
I need to be able to use the voice of my ancestors
not the one of the people who gamble on me
I see him raise an eyebrow and say Well? and the last?

A lot of money so that I have the privilege to have both.


Kent Rogers

My mother passed a few years ago.
She’d made it to ninety-two,
Quite a time,
More than I expect myself.
Her presence occasionally wafts about, becomes apparent:
A tattered quilt in the back of a closet
A brown photo between two pages.
I used an old desk phone a while back when my cell phone died.
The old phone had an answering machine in it.
I plugged it in and the message light began to flash. The notes of a past sounded in the room:
Two wrong numbers
Two advertisers
Two scammers
Two hang-ups.
And then there she was, clear, present, alive.
I held my breath: she said the weather was too hot and nobody had called her all day.
Last night I lifted a plate from my cupboard,
An old teacup saucer that I used as a remnant, a mismatch,
the last of a set whose other members had long ago vanished.
Made of bone china with a light gold inlay, roses painted across the borders.
The last of my mother’s tea set.
The plate slipped from my hand, shattered on the counter, plummeted to the floor.
Pieces, pieces.
I stood, stared, gathered the sight:
One more last remnant of her splintered, fractured, gone.