August 21, 2017

John Grey’s Poetry, Part Two

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John Grey’s Poetry, Part Two

As promised last month, here are three more wonderful poems by our frequent contributor, John Grey. ALL IN ONE DAY We drove the ocean road, smothered in fog, could barely see the blue expanse, all our vision was in the hearing as it pounded the shore below.   But then that fog lifted. The day was all of a sudden warm and dazzling.   We stopped at a meadow, picked wildflowers, spotted a fawn with its mother, hiked a trail to a waterfall and rested in a cool oak grove.   We ate outdoors at a roadside restaurant. We saw a lone surfer testing his skill on medium-sized waves at some unnamed beach.   Clouds moved in and it began to rain. The wind picked up. My wipers beat like my heart had earlier.  …

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August 18, 2017

Diego Velez – A Colombian Perspective

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Diego Velez – A Colombian Perspective

Editor’s Note: Diego Velez tells stories through his paintings. I got a chance to talk with him about his perspectives on art and life recently. He told me that being an artist is something that keeps him humble and grateful of what he has. There is so much beauty in the process of creating that he does not even need to drink when he’s working; the painting quenches his thirst. He believes an artist spiritually ingests coals made from different trees to get the essence of these different colors and after creating, the art is a way to let people experience these images for years to come. But his passion goes beyond art, as he tells me his thoughts on the universe and humanity, “The earth doesn’t ask permission to reshape itself.” We present to…

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August 18, 2017

Three Poems by Irene Son

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Three Poems by Irene Son

Battle for the Finish Line My friends step up to the starting line I look around We all look like hungry animals, Animals that were ready to get the last piece of meat I close my eyes and take a deep breath My heart is jumping in and out of my chest I open my eyes, the flag goes down My eyes are glued to the finish line I can imagine myself there, Holding the trophy with pride But then someone comes up The butterflies in my stomach wake up I take a deep breath I inhale and crank my arms up The sun’s heat is crushing me like a giant stepping on an ant Drip-drop I can’t feel my legs “I’m almost there!” I feel like I’m going to die 50 yards…40 yards…30 yards…20…

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August 9, 2017

“Amnesia,” an Illustrated Story

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“Amnesia,” an Illustrated Story

Editor’s Note: Kathryn Holzman and her husband Lew Holzman have both published here at the Fictional Café in the past, but not together – until now. Kathryn wrote this story, entitled “Amnesia,” and Lew created original digital illustrations to accompany his wife’s words. We all hope you enjoy this psychological thriller!      Amnesia       The C5 transport plane crossed the spring sky descending towards the nearby Air Force base. Low and slow, the plane had a cargo compartment big enough to supply a battalion and capable of carrying six Apache helicopters. We were taking a weekend hike with friends and had almost arrived at the summit of the low, verdant hill they called Mount Blacklock. The block of ice fell dreamily from the plane. There clearly was no intent. We didn’t see…

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August 7, 2017

Paula Bonnell’s New Book of Poetry, Reviewed by Simran P. Gupta

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Paula Bonnell’s New Book of Poetry, Reviewed by Simran P. Gupta

Editor’s Note: Paula Bonnell enthralled us with her poetry two years ago here at the Café. Now Paula has written and published a new chapbook of her poetry entitled “Tales Retold,” which Simran, our poetry barista, reviews here. Paula Bonnell’s chapbook, “Tales Retold,” can be summed up as a masterpiece of words. Bonnell’s poetry demanded (and received) my full attention, with varying tone, emotion, and clever word choice. With each re-read, a new level of understanding was achieved and a new connection was made. This is not to make the poems in “Tales Retold” out to be puzzles waiting to be solved; that depends on the reader’s interpretation. It does, however, mean that anyone reading Bonnell’s poetry will never be bored, as something new awaits at each level of engagement. Before writing this review, I read…

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August 3, 2017

“My Last Night in Paris,” a Short Story by Sandor Blum

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“My Last Night in Paris,” a Short Story by Sandor Blum

When I become incensed at prejudice, I tend to fight back with an edge of cynicism aimed at cutting through to someone’s stupidity. I am always hopeful that I can be an educator rather than a warrior against bigotry. George, a French Jew who had come to America, had told me of the growing anti-Semitism in France and the French collaboration in the deportation of his family from Lyons to the WW II concentration camps. He had grown up with French anti-Semitism, had witnessed the attack on Jo Goldenberg’s Jewish delicatessen, battled to defend Israel at the Sorbonne and finally—fed up and exhausted—convinced his family to move to the US. It was the late 1980s. I was scheduled to meet with the president of a French firm to discuss his acquisition of my client’s company….

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August 1, 2017

Light in August: This Month’s New Work

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Light in August: This Month’s New Work

Please pardon us for snitching the title of William Faulkner’s momentous novel about race relations in the 1930s South, but it’s on our minds a lot as we continue to see ugly racism rampant in our country. Which, of course, begs the question posed in the gorgeous song, “Why Can’t We Live Together“, performed by Diana King and Kyle Eastwood. We hope you’ll find interesting and provocative aspects of what’s good about a diverse culture in our offerings this month. That’s about it, save for the more obvious metaphor of our contributors shedding some light into your own personal August with our bountiful creative offerings. Fiction. Sandor Blum has given us a short story about an American Jew who encounters latent – and perhaps blatant – discrimination in “My Last Night in Paris.” We also…

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July 25, 2017

Understanding Reading Biases and My Mission to Fix Them

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Understanding Reading Biases and My Mission to Fix Them

I still have all my summer reading lists from high school. The eternal optimist in me thought that someday I’d run down that list and read each one. Years later, I still haven’t read more than a few of those books, but that collection spawned a very important way of thinking for me. As a student, I treated these reading lists like they were the word of God – that to be a writer or English major in college, these were the texts I should be reading. Still, there was a quietly blasphemous part of me that questioned that belief and as I grew older, I realized that even these holy lists were imperfect. Fast forward to last year, when I was studying my Goodreads “to read” and “previously read” lists. I noticed biases reflected…

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July 23, 2017

Three New Poems by John Grey

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Three New Poems by John Grey

Editor’s Note: John Grey graced our ‘zine with his poetry last year. Here are three new poems from his pen, and in August we shall publish three more, so you can savor each one.   THE WEDDING RING   The rotten end to a wrecked season, footsteps bring no redemption   no resurrection as wet grass on the feet merely adds to the machinery of bitterness   until I come across the river whose undermining poverty is quieted by discovery   of something illicit in the shore-weeds – a dead wedding ring   glistening like bone – it’s been lost or tossed – why not?   everything on earth finds itself in the same situation.   * BRAIN MATTERS   The question arises – do I really need all this?   I can live in…

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July 19, 2017

“Every Picture Tells A Story, Don’t It?” – Charlotte Penabel’s Collages

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“Every Picture Tells A Story, Don’t It?” – Charlotte Penabel’s Collages

Rod Stewart sang it best in song, and Charlotte Penabel’s Etsy collages take flight over Rod in image and words. Click on each image to enlarge it so you can read their titles. And for even more fun, listen to Rod sing the “Every Picture Tells A Story” as you enjoy Charlotte’s collages. ** Artist’s Statement I find a lot of visual appeal in pop culture, glamour, vintage Hollywood, femininity and anything glittery – but I don’t think I could create a feminine or aesthetically pleasing digital collage without emulating a subtle undertone of suffering and self loathing to the celebrity-crazed world we live in. I am fascinated, pained and enchanted by first-world culture and the effects, power and persuasion images can have on us as a mass consumed society. For every collage I create,…

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