October 27, 2019

Mind-Melding with Lew Holzman’s Art

Mind-Melding with Lew Holzman’s Art

We’re pleased to showcase Lew’s unique expression of the intersection of photography and painting once again. His work first appeared here, and was featured again in our just-published anthology, The Strong Stuff: The Best of Fictional Café, 2013-2017. Artist’s Statement There are many beautiful or interesting moments that one can capture but we’ve seen many of them too many times. I always attempt to avoid the clichéd. My work is transformational so that we might look again and see things somehow differently. I am trying to blur the distinction between photography and painting with influences mainly from late 19th and 20th-century art movements including Surrealism, Dadaism, and abstract expressionism. *** I have always created either word images in my poetry or visual images. Digital photography expanded my horizons and my transformations transformed me into a…

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October 24, 2019

“Variations on the Trolly Problem” and Other Poems by JP Mayer

“Variations on the Trolly Problem” and Other Poems by JP Mayer

de rerum natura and I realized I was the pieces  I was picking up, all scattered  across the floor,     all technicolor  fragments of static jettisons from  far away;  I am a farmer in Kansas. I am a  doctor in Nairobi. I am a prisoner  in Beijing and a pilot in Lahore and  a fisherman off the coast of Jeju  Island;  the saltwater pulls at them with its    ebb tide     but all the same the         lines on my hands   are not ones that can be washed away  ** love in lost time    I shot Proust dead in an alleyway on  my way home from work. It was something  he said it was   love is a reciprocal torture  his body hit the pavement with a thud. It started   raining on my walk home and I…

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October 21, 2019

“Stan the Sous-Chef,” by Wilson Koewing

“Stan the Sous-Chef,” by Wilson Koewing

Stan the sous-chef turned forty-seven on a Sunday. A fishing rod and an apron were painted in icing on his cake. After his modestly attended party, Stan cleaned streamers off furniture and vacuumed up confetti. When the guests were gone, and Stan knew his wife, Cathy, and his adult son, Jamie, were occupied, he wandered outside and released a happy birthday balloon into the sky. Stan stood in his driveway watching the balloon rise and float away for a very long time. Stan had been given his birthday off at work, the New Orleans Country Club, and since the club is dark on Mondays, Stan received two days off in a row. A phenomenon that had never occurred in the seven years he’d worked there. Taking advantage, Stan enjoyed a quiet day of fishing for…

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October 18, 2019

Halloween’s A-Coming, But We’re Starting Tonight!

Halloween’s A-Coming, But We’re Starting Tonight!

We’ve received a number of very cool Halloween drama submissions in anticipation of Halloween, so we decided to give you Coffee Clubbers a twofer! The first is tonight, in our regular Saturday night podcast slot, but the second will be published on October 31, Halloween night. Tonight’s story is called “Opferung,” from Lightning Bolt Theater: In the town of Earl Grove, there is a legend. No one will talk about it, except for one night, the night of a total lunar eclipse. But is it merely mass hysteria affecting the town or does she exist, this Sorceress of Blood Moon Hill. “Opferung” was written, directed, produced and stars Krystal Donahue in the roles of Natalie and the Sorceress of Blood Moon Hill. Hey, this is fun! And don’t forget, there’ll be more podcast fun right here on Halloween night at…

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October 14, 2019

Please Welcome Mbizo Chirasha, Our First Poet in Residence

Please Welcome Mbizo Chirasha, Our First Poet in Residence

It’s a great honor to introduce Mr. Mbizo Chirasha to our Coffee Club members. We met Mr. Chirasha through Poets & Writers magazine when he sent us an email recognizing our efforts. After reviewing his credentials and reading, “I am a capable literary and cultural arts worker. My role and purpose is to shift perceptions, inform and educate society through my writings and literary arts activism projects,” it was evident we could ignore neither Mbizo’s internationally acclaimed poetry nor his extraordinary activism. After discussion among us baristas, we decided Mbizo should be offered a new position, created especially for him: the first Fictional Café Poet in Residence. When it was offered, he wrote: “I am greatly impressed by your offering this position. I accept with my all poetic humility. I thank you greatly.” Mbizo is a…

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October 12, 2019

“Confession of an Accidental Theocrat,” by Jacquelyn Tufts

“Confession of an Accidental Theocrat,” by Jacquelyn Tufts

The door to Carol’s bedroom swung shut behind her with a bang. The late-afternoon light streaming in through her window highlighted every wrinkle and mote of dust that had accumulated on her pantsuit over the course of her walk home from work, but she wouldn’t be dealing with that now. She had come to a decision. It was one that she had been slowly working her way towards not just since she’d woken up that morning, or since the week had begun, but for one full calendar month — and it wasn’t a February either. It was one of the respectable months.  “Okay, listen,” she said to the figure sitting on top of the table beside her bed. “I didn’t know all this would happen between us. But it did, and I love you, and…

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September 30, 2019

How To Succeed In Your Writing Career

How To Succeed In Your Writing Career

An Interview with Fictional Cafe Barista Jason Brick In this wide-ranging, 30-minute conversation about today’s writing and publishing environment, Jason shares his knowledge and experience as a writer, an author, and a publisher with curious Fictional Cafe writers who wish to create a sustainable business and income from their writing, rather than its being a hobby in which one indulges in his or her spare time. Jason Brick is a professional writer, martial artist, travel addict, and dad whose work has been published across multiple genres and formats. He has contributed over 3,000 articles and short stories to print magazines and online sites on topics ranging from home improvement, to health and wellness, to cocktail recipes, to small business management. Some of Jason’s top-level corporate clients include BlackBelt and Thrillist magazines, American Express, Intuit, and Mint.com. Jason has ghostwritten more…

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September 23, 2019

Dark Poetic Visions of Nigeria by Batunde Babafemi

Dark Poetic Visions of Nigeria by Batunde Babafemi

Reminisce   You remember when   we were too beautiful to smile?  savoring the tears for another day?  How we search our breath   In our nose?  You see the prophesy was true;  we will all die  But my lover’s death  took away my spine.  I crawl all night and wonder   about the shadow of a man  buried inside a plank—The day I heard his demise,   I thought it was a prank  Until I see tears from my eyes.  My love,  How long have you been cold?  Alone,   I buried my pain inside my gaze  looking through our memories  I heard your voice inside my speech,  & when the clergy summoned me   My words become flaccid  Like this I know how   much death took from me.   Abigail  Her silence has words burning inside her   Same as a…

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September 14, 2019

“The Brass Lantern,” A Zany New Saturday Night Podcast

“The Brass Lantern,” A Zany New Saturday Night Podcast

The Time: The near future. The place: Beacon City. The Scene: A world where insurance companies own the police and the uninsured have no recourse. The Guy: Matthew Arnold, who fights as The Brass Lantern for those who cannot fight for themselves. Mortal enemy of John Countryman, the wickedest man alive. Elaina Dare, Matt’s fiancée, is the only living person who knows about his dual identity. Blazing guns. LOTS of guns. Nerves of steel. An illuminated mask of brass. Crime has nowhere to hide from this beacon [sic] of justice. Put on those headphones and . . . Click the arrow below to listen to Episode 1, “The Devil’s Diner.” If you’ve enjoyed this first episode, you can listen to all 12 on Apple Podcasts, right here. Our thanks to the multi-talented artist and creator,…

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September 9, 2019

The Mechanics of Melancholy: Engaging Poetry by Rick Ratliff

The Mechanics of Melancholy: Engaging Poetry by Rick Ratliff

Dark hallways  Long hallway, doors on either side Like the departure platform at a rail station. No eye contact, everyone looking down, Shuffling along the bland grey floor.  Away from the new arrivals  Lighting is always dimmed like perpetual twilight   And darkness creeps out of some doors like a black fog  We come to say goodbye to those who no longer hear, And who stare blankly at the ceiling: While we are looking at the floor.  Departure time is slowly approaching,  Breathing is mechanical like worn breaks And the smell, the odor that’s hard to describe–  Body odor with musty deodorant  Exhalation is pungent.   No talking now  It goes quiet at departure  As we silently stand in ovation as we exit  FORGOTTEN SONG   FORGET ME NOT  She’s not you — yet, neither are you, (anymore) You would like her; I think. Flaxen hair (like yours)   And I trust all the understanding  A widow has of memories and loss.            That helps, as I am daily learning  To be the reluctant guardian…

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