IN A KAFKA TENSE By Mark J. Mitchell Everyone carries a room around inside him. —Franz Kafka First Blue Ottavo Notebook, first entry It’s a real house, small, neat, blue, resting on Alchemist’s Alley— that’s a real street. Small hands tend it— never his own hands— keeping sheets white and putting pens away. His eyes flick from his white window to a whiter page. Nothing happens On this real street you’ve never seen, in a real house where he’s still dead. Mark J. Mitchell studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver, George Hitchcock and Barbara Hull. His work has appeared in various periodicals over the last thirty five years, as well as the anthologies Good Poems, American Places, Hunger Enough, Retail Woes and Line Drives. It has also been nominated for both Pushcart Prizes and The Best of the Net. He is the author of two full-length collections, Lent 1999 (Leaf Garden Press) and Soren Kierkegaard Witnesses an Execution (Local Gems) and two chapbooks, Three Visitors (Negative Capability Press) and Artifacts and Relics, (Folded Word). His novel, Knight Prisoner, is available from Vagabondage Press and two more novels are forthcoming: A Book of Lost Songs (Wild Child Publishing) and The Magic War (Loose Leaves). He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the documentarian and filmmaker Joan Juster.