November 18, 2019

The Joyous Poetry of Kufre-Udeme Thompson

The Joyous Poetry of Kufre-Udeme Thompson

I Feel Like Dancing  I woke up this morning–– when the night was making love with the day: Mbodibo all over my body! when the sun was about to be conceived; I felt my spirit yearning; my pulses ticking, for a thing I fought in vain to understand.  Then just when the tiny sweet voices of birds–– Ebomo nkuku, kuku! began to escape the thick bushes behind my hut, resounding new songs of joy and laughter–– my feelings became clear as the mirror; I understand now my long deepest yearning:  I really, really feel like dancing! The urge far surpasses the desire for a woman, but `tis with a woman I want to dance–– Nka iferi, to be precise: the smartest and darkest of all, who’ll twist to my desired feat.  I swear, I feel like dancing! Play me the evil drum made with human flesh–– the flesh of an old woman will give a spirited rhythm; Ntap nkanam, ntap nkanam nkanam. Let Anansa sing me the tune–– Anansa, the water goddess of the Ifa Ibom nation.  I want to dance ekombi; Oh, ekombi itiad ntokon! Let me return to the past. Oyebap, oyebap Bokondo! I want to sway with the ancient; Fetch me my wrapper!  Ekombi is…

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November 12, 2019

“No Man’s Ghost” – Chapter 1 – Jason Powell

“No Man’s Ghost” – Chapter 1 – Jason Powell

WHEN THE FIRE STARTED in the Johnsons’ apartment, it probably looked worse than it was. But then it was allowed to spread and became worse than it probably looked. There were a lot of contributing factors to the spreading. The first one, obviously, was the gasoline; but a close second was Mrs. Knudson – the neighbor in apartment 6A next door. She should’ve been the first to call the fire department but at the time of the fire, she closed all of her windows and put a towel at the foot of her door and kept it to herself. She didn’t do those things because of any smoke or heat, she did it because of the sounds of the commotion. To Mrs. Knudson, it sounded like a fight next door and it made her angry….

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October 9, 2019

“Construction Season,” a Short Story by Brian Moore

“Construction Season,” a Short Story by Brian Moore

Shelley and Celine were halfway across the Rockies when they passed a sign beside the highway that blinked BLASTING AHEAD in angry orange letters three feet high. Blasting what? She imagined dynamite and geysers of rock cracking holes through the hearts of mountains. This was the Trans-Canada. Weren’t they done with all that in the sixties? The traffic oozed to a stop at the chin of a long valley. Campers and minivans glittered a mile down the road, around the toe of a cliff, and out of sight. No town, no stores, no houses, no exits. Not even a signalman flashing a STOP / SLOW triangle. They could be waiting a minute or an hour. She shifted to park and turned off the ignition. The July sun puddled over the fenders. The car smelled of…

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October 5, 2019

“Little Black Dress” and “Collegiate Correspondence” by Rachel Gonzalez

“Little Black Dress” and “Collegiate Correspondence” by Rachel Gonzalez

Two Stirring Mise-en-Scènes Little Black Dress Lilia walked 7,392 steps to and from her apartment on an average day. And being a woman, Lilia was, on an average day, cat-called at a new corner. A new stoop. A new shop front. Since her body became what it was meant to be, they were there, noticing out loud. A new man. The same bullshit. “Ay Ma, lemme talk to you!” “Yo Shawty! Where you goin so fast?” “Baby Doll! I got something for you!” Day in and day out, Lilia would leave her house in any manner of outfits—slacks, skirts, blouses, shorts, dresses, blazers, heels, flats—didn’t matter. Whatever it was, she shouldn’t be wearing it. Whatever she was wearing was subjected to a sordid request to the men she passed. If she was outside, she was…

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October 2, 2019

Your Habit or Mine? Two Poems by Chad Lutz

Your Habit or Mine? Two Poems by Chad Lutz

859 Years they were singing Ave Maria in the streets when the flames leaped out of its crown like a scurry of small animals glass popping wood hissing from years of accumulated moisture they’re calling it a shared sadness it’s madness what we find in the losing ** If Anything, We Played Each Other you only smoke on occasion you smoke every day of your life fingers caked with the cancer you’ll contract the Turkish spices and menthol chards your lungs draw deep your mouth purses saying you’ll quit tomorrow telling me you’ll quit today we share a Size 8 waistline & every order of nachos you plant kisses on my earlobes & tuck your hands into the seat of my pants we dance but that’s it you’re everything to me a habit to pass…

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September 28, 2019

Posing the Tough Questions — Poetry by Casey Aimer

Posing the Tough Questions — Poetry by Casey Aimer

Lawrence Sullivan Ross In Aggieland where the Kool-Aid is laced with bled maroon were they conscious of the irony in 1918, preserving their confederate general in bronze skin? Today, Sully, I mapped out your statue like you mapped out the west, legs dangling as I sat on your copper head and Van Dyke beard. All so I could say this: That when the immigrant sculptor, Pompeo Coppini, was re-forging your sole into existence I bet you struggled and resisted your creator. When your fingers were being hammered into submission you clutched in desperation didn’t you at the white work floor lights before being carted away in a colored wheel barrel. At your dedication you protested the brown and black pebbles underneath your podium. They reminded you too much of the people screaming freedom amid reconstruction…

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September 21, 2019

“My Year in Art,” by Steve Sangapore

“My Year in Art,” by Steve Sangapore

After graduating from college in 2013 with a degree in art, I spent the next five years maintaining a sharp focus on honing my craft as a painter. Countless studio hours were matched with even more time pursuing opportunities, schmoozing with gallerists, and making my presence known within Boston’s, and the greater Northeast’s, vibrant art communities. While each year yielded great leaps in my technical dexterity and academic proficiency as a painter, the art was virtually devoid of the most important component that separates art from craft . . . and I just couldn’t see it. Or, perhaps I could see it—I just didn’t want to. The debates between, “what is good art” and “what is or can be art” have been raging on for years – particularly since the mid-19th century with the birth…

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September 19, 2019

“Gods of Death” and Other Poems by JC Mari

“Gods of Death” and Other Poems by JC Mari

gods of death field of clover spread like multitude of hands extended out for you, and they trot a mild-paced approach river-stream of manes and tongues and eyes and belly and hoof breathing out a strength you’ll never know, like stained-glass mandalas pierced by dawn or storm on the eagle’s beak. strangers to each other and ourselves we limp and gaze our puzzlement away befuddled, secret enemies of the wondrous empty all around. this is also how they will approach and enter death. you’d have to be a god to live even a minute of your life this way. ** for the 2 or 3 who read my poems when you ask to read one of my poems i’m 12 again, untouched by whore and booze. when you pick up a copy of my book…

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September 17, 2019

“The Good Pimp,” A Short Story by James Hanna

“The Good Pimp,” A Short Story by James Hanna

While sitting in a Starbucks on Mission Street, I met a splendid pimp. The breakfast crowd had dispersed when he ambled into the restaurant, and he gave me a friendly nod before sitting down at the table beside me. He was a towering man with a heavy, black beard and menacing scar on his cheek, but his eyes were as kind as a minister’s and softer than poached eggs. “Good morning,” he said, his voice as smooth as butter. He was toting a leather briefcase, which he placed upon the floor, and he gazed at me like a spaniel hoping to gobble a tidbit. “Have you tried the strudel?” he asked me. “All my girls love the strudel. I assure you it’s the finest in all of San Francisco.” Having already sampled the nut bread,…

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September 12, 2019

“True Blue,” Every Man’s Fantasy – A Short Story by Paul Lewellan

“True Blue,” Every Man’s Fantasy – A Short Story by Paul Lewellan

For fifty-three years the Hilltop Diner on College Street fed the academic community of the University of Southern Iowa (USI). Dr. Benjamin “Blue” Boru’s usual table occupied the back corner by the bathrooms underneath the giant wheezing room air conditioner. Blue arrived daily at six a.m. and ordered The Special: two eggs (fried hard), two slices of buttered toast, hash browns, pork sausage links, and black coffee. After breakfast, Sheila Morgan, the owner’s redheaded daughter, cleared away his plate while Blue poured over Nag-Hammadi manuscripts. She left him alone, except to refill his coffee. She waitressed mornings, cooked for the lunch crowd, then called in the produce orders. Late afternoon and evenings she studied. Sheila began a master’s degree in religion the year she turned forty-three. Her first class was Blue’s. He’d been a regular…

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