February 26, 2021

“Rising” – New Poetry Collection by Yong Takahashi

“Rising” – New Poetry Collection by Yong Takahashi

RISING: Poems In this debut collection of poetry, flashes of life’s most intimate moments are filled with love, hope, remorse, longing, and anguish. We root for the one who reaches for happiness but is not yet able to grasp it. We wince for the one who picks at festering wounds that never quite heal. We are breathless as we run alongside those who chase after a thirst that can never be quenched.   Yong Takahashi is the author of The Escape to Candyland. She was a finalist in The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, Southern Fried Karma Novel Contest, Gemini Magazine Short Story Contest, and Georgia Writers Association Flash Fiction Contest. She was awarded Best Pitch at the Atlanta Writers Club Conference. Her second short story collection will be published in 2021.To learn…

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February 25, 2021

February Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

February Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

JASON BRICK’S NOTES FROM THE LAB As a freelance writer deep in the trenches, I’m here to present your five facts and five favorites from the month of February, 2021. Just the facts…. Fiverr.com is a good place to get low-cost cover design services, and a bad place to find competent copy editing. The pandemic has shifted a lot of genre sales figures, but by now you shouldn’t change any decisions based on that.  On social media, there is an inverse relationship between how successful a writer is and how mean they act. If you “don’t have time to write” you actually just prioritize other activities Martha Wells’s The Murderbot Diaries is really, really fun to read. Five Favorites… Social Change in the Publishing Industry I don’t know if it’s going to be awesome or a train wreck, but…

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February 22, 2021

“To Your Inner Slavery,” Poetry by Selma Haitembu

“To Your Inner Slavery,” Poetry by Selma Haitembu

To Your Inner Slavery    You try really hard not to show it  I will not relent to evade my notions,  Nor my ideas, hence the color of my skin  Spoke before I could raise my head  To your foot, beneath the very grounds  I lay scythed by your scorn  I will not relent in shame  My mother, I wore as pride   Ride me into the dangers of your color  Your ignorance and frivolous abuse  Your amusement related to mine   Rooted from two different aspects  I worry not where you are from  Your stench has no beginning  I worry only what you would do next  To know, to finally see my color  My mind in this brown skin bag  Has gears twisted in complex turns  I deserve to be here as well, it will show  And below me you will fall soon  Your hate of me will beg to exist,…

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February 16, 2021

“Soliloquy in Blue,” A Short Story by Johan Alexander

“Soliloquy in Blue,” A Short Story by Johan Alexander

Did she say something?  Did I say something?   Her brow illuminates under the streetlights and pulses with the beat of the windshield wipers. She won’t look at me: her eyes flash sequins at the sidewalk. Droplets floating, floating: translucent globes hanging in space. Then they burst apart.   She shakes her hair and I can no longer see her eyes.   Rain: I yawn through the misty rhythm. My eyes close continuously. Headlights and streetlights mix in the distance and through the murk I wonder when things started to go off course.  We had danced together, squeezing particles of music from our sweatshirts. Then we ate at the Greasy Spoon, where she said it.   The air between us is a stale sponge unable to soak up all these discarded feelings. Damp inside the car and heavy on my eyelids. I try to blink.   The tires below us slime their way through the night.  She sits in the passenger seat, staring straight ahead.   What`s the point?  She glances over, a quick reflex of her neck, surprised. I realize I have mumbled my thoughts aloud. Beads of sweat wander across my hairline. I keep my face forward.   She turns away. Again.  I roll down my window an inch. I open my mouth. A few raindrops land on my tongue. …

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February 14, 2021

Laura Carter – Poems of Sensations and Memories

Laura Carter – Poems of Sensations and Memories

I pull away from the bruise. There is no bruise. It’s been said that language itself is a bruise, a collection of things to be feared. There is no bruise. I put off the pain. The pain returns. The body burns, as if in a fire, largely having been heated in winter by the obsolete feeling of the no. There is no no. I pull away from the no. The no, not having been part of the story, can’t really comment on anything. There are no people. There are people. Someone lights the proper way forward, as if in modernity, and I pull away from that. Why go? Someone on the other side of the ocean would pen a marinade and drink it down for dinner. I eat. There is no food. I see. There is no sight. I put away the bruise. Then, all…

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February 11, 2021

“Walking to Rhode Island,” A Story by Stephen Brayton

“Walking to Rhode Island,” A Story by Stephen Brayton

The call came in just after 1 a.m.  “Hey, I got a question for you,” the male voice said. “Am I right that it’s not OK to walk to Rhode Island on Route 1?” O’Connell on dispatch managed to get out “What?” before the guy continued. “Walking on Route 1 .. I didn’t think it was allowed and just wanted to check.”  The voice sounded semi-sober; O’Connell had heard plenty worse. But sober or not, who would think of walking to Rhode Island on Route 1, aka Boston-Providence Highway? A four-lane divided highway lined with shopping malls, office buildings and car dealers. It had to be at least 30 miles to the Rhode Island line. Sure, there were stretches in Grenville with sidewalks; but had he ever seen anyone on them? And going south through Norwood, Walpole . . . Sidewalks?  He had no idea. Still, the guy had asked.  “Well, I don’t know there’s any law against it,” answered O’Connell. “Why are you headed to Rhode Island?  Kind…

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February 9, 2021

“The Girl on the Train,” A Review by Jennifer Green

“The Girl on the Train,” A Review by Jennifer Green

The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins To be totally transparent, this 2015 psychological thriller is not one I would have picked up or sought out on my own. However, as I’m always looking for new books to read and making a conscious effort to expand the genres on my shelf, when a colleague mentioned this page-turner in a recent Zoom meeting, I picked up a copy and dug in. It’s a quick read, and the premise is interesting: struggling alcoholic rides a train into London every day and muses about the inhabitants of the houses along the tracks, two of whom are her ex-husband and his new wife. When she observes suspicious behavior just before a young woman goes missing, the tension rises. However, it’s the narrative perspective that really gives the novel its…

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February 3, 2021

“Requiem of a Thursday,” by Luca Agostini

“Requiem of a Thursday,” by Luca Agostini

Steffan looks up at me, a cone of light following his gaze. He is wearing a miner’s headlamp and I can’t shield my eyes in time. I have already drunk too much and the Ketamine is starting to kick in. The music thudding from behind the closed door of the narrow bathroom seems that much further, dripping through the concrete walls of the 1960s East Berlin Platte where the party is. I rub my eyes, the cone of light still fixed on me. Is it gone? Yes, the cone has moved. I am relieved as Steffan’s earnest, slanted face looks up at me as if emerging from the black depths of an ocean, his face ghostly and shimmering in the light. I want to lean forward, to break the surface of the blackness around him, but I…

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February 1, 2021

“Shush Please,” Poetry and Art by Tamizh Ponni

“Shush Please,”  Poetry and Art by Tamizh Ponni

Shush please        On a cold winter night  I lay in the comfort of soft blankets and cushy pillows  The non-stop titter-tatter against all tangibles  mercilessly broke my hard-earned slumber  Sliding and slithering over and over   Crystalline droplets raced on the glassy tracks  without much caution or trepidation.  The uncoiled skeins of climatic emotions  were desperate to bring glee into doldrums.  I woke up, sat up and stayed up  leaning towards the window pane, listening to their tantrums  All night in silence, eyes closed, ears open  It was a performance that clamoured for attention  from lonely souls and midnight owls.  I wish it came with a volume control  The loud clatter and yellow lights, were acting like partners in crime  brutally stirring up memories of good times  Days that could not be reclaimed  Nights and people…

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January 28, 2021

Mbizo Chirasha – My First Year as Poet-in-Residence

Mbizo Chirasha – My First Year as Poet-in-Residence

Time has legs: it walks and of course it runs. Somewhere in the cybernetic land of the brave, America, a trailblazing coffee shop is situated, born from assortments of poetry biscuits, flash fiction soups that wink likea jolt of rainforest lightning. The Fictional Café, a buffet of literary commentary and steaming cups of cappuccinos,the sweet aroma of words waft through its glowing virtual walls,  beckoning and satiating all sure creatives.Inside the Café, you are welcomed by a band of poetry baristas. I joined the Fictional Café as the Poet in Residence and the greatest blessing is a myriad of my experimental writings have been serialized, featured, and published within its digital pages.  Jack B. Rochester and your team of literary champions:I salute you for the Poet in Residence position and for your confident investmentin my writings and mutual collaborative efforts.  ***…

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