November 9, 2020

“Barry and the Trumpet,” A Short Story by Nancy Kissam

“Barry and the Trumpet,” A Short Story by Nancy Kissam

Barry always wanted to play the trumpet.  Sure, he was a lemur and that made his dream a bit more of a challenge, but he had faith in himself.  “Listen,” Barry thought, “if I could peel a mango in an hour, I can certainly learn to play the trumpet.  How hard could it be?”  As it turns out, pretty hard.  Barry had a sister.  Actually, he had twelve sisters if you counted his nine half-sisters.  Lemur dads were not known for sticking with one partner, not that his mom cared one wit about it.  “Good riddance,” she once told Barry.  “That guy got on my last nerve.  Did you know he’d constantly accuse me of going out at night?  ‘Of course I go out at night, I’m nocturnal. Ya dummy.’”    Barry’s sister, Colleen, always tried to encourage Barry.  If he was inclined to hang from…

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November 5, 2020

Free IPNE Writer’s Conference Starts Today!

Free IPNE Writer’s Conference Starts Today!

Independent Publishers of New England (IPNE) is hosting a virtual conference for all writers this Friday and Saturday. Free and open to everyone! Check out the details below. FREE WRITING AND PUBLISHING CONFERENCE! Please Join Us for IPNE’s 9th Annual Independent Publishers & Authors Virtual Online Conference, Nov. 6-7, “Publishing During the Pandemic!” Conference Details and Registration at IPNE.org Are you planning on writing a book? Already working on one? Are you interested in learning more about the publishing process, from manuscript to published work? How to build an audience? “Publishing During a Pandemic” is the theme of the 2020 Conference, presented for you on Zoom over two days, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 6 and 7. There’s no charge to attend and you don’t need to be a publisher, published author, an IPNE member, or…

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November 3, 2020

“Black Oranges,” Poetry by Mbizo Chirasha

“Black Oranges,” Poetry by Mbizo Chirasha

BLACK ORANGES  Xenophobia my son  I hear a murmur in the streets  A babble of adjoining markets  Your conscience itching with guiltiness like  Genital leprosy  Your wide eyes are cups where tears never fall  When they fall the storm wash down bullet drainsand garbage cities  ii)  Come nomzano with your whisper to drown,  Blood scent stinking the rainbow altar.  Darfur, petals of blood spreading,  Perfume of death choking slum nostrils  Slums laden with acrid smell of mud and  Debris smelling like fresh dungs heaps  Fear scrawling like lizards on Darfur skin  Kibera. I see you scratching your mind like ragged linen  Smelling the breath of slums and diesel fumes  The smoke puffing out through ghetto ruins is the fire dousing the emblem of the state  iii)  Belly of Zambezi ache with crocodile and fish  Villages piled like heaps of potatoes against the flank…

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November 1, 2020

“Accidental Magic,” An Art Exhibition by Brian White

“Accidental Magic,” An Art Exhibition by Brian White

Artist’s Statement: My work is about embracing the unexpected mistake. It forces me to react in ways that change patterns. I like to think of it as accidental magic.  Every so often it appears and feels like a reward for being patient or paying attention. Like you’re inside a mesmerizing piece of music heard for the first time and there is no doubt this is exactly what is supposed to be happening.  *** About Brian White: I grew up in Southeastern Virginia, graduated from Maryland Institute College of Art, and live in Livingston, Montana.  I enjoy floating the river, printmaking and sign painting.  To see more work, visit my website. This is his first feature on The Fictional Café.

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October 28, 2020

October Edition of “The Break From HOKAIC”

October Edition of “The Break From HOKAIC”

Editor’s Note: We’d like to welcome back our new monthly feature bywriter, writing coach, and longtime FC barista, Jason Brick. Here’s his October edition of writing news from around the web. Greetings all! As many of you know, I run a weekly newsletter of useful, fun, or amusing pieces of writing industry news called The Break From HOKAIC. As writers and lovers of writing yourselves, The Fictional Café thought you’d enjoy some highlights for your information and entertainment: ASU posted a list of the common traits among the best writers 7 Hacks to help you start writing A cute article about writing for kids while you’re raising some How to organize an effective writing group How to write better dialogue The latest salvo in an ongoing discussion about trans rights and author responsibility A great video on…

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October 26, 2020

“Baba Yaga” — Poetry by Raquel Dionísio Abrantes

“Baba Yaga” — Poetry by Raquel Dionísio Abrantes

Baba Yaga    He needs to learn to respect your no;  He needs to learn to hear your yes.  If he does not let him go;   You do not want a vile head upon your chest.    Unleash your Baba Yaga, the one  Who leaves scars.  You will rise from red-hot sun  And no one can tear you apart.    Believe me;  You are ready to forge your throne.  In you there are the seven seas  Beneath your growing skin of stone      Your Perseus Face    Dream after dream you split my  Soul like a glass of rum.  I spend the night by the bed,  Restless seeing your Perseus face.  But I do not have Medusa’s head  Nor any body to offer you    You are a man in the shadow  Of a lost fire. How many times  Have you seen the blaze…

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October 22, 2020

“Being Green,” A Short Story by Col. Jon Marsh

“Being Green,” A Short Story by Col. Jon Marsh

Janey was trying so very hard but her six-year-old-to-be fingers had not yet fully mastered dexterity. “Well, Poop!” She learned to cuss in the girl’s bathroom at St. Thomas Elementary. She tried again. She learned from her friend Alonda that Mommies and Daddies would get a divorce if they had arguments all the time. A divorce was a bad thing to get, Janey was sure. She didn’t want them to get a divorce. . .where would they put it? In her bedroom? There wasn’t much room in there already, with all the stuff they brought with them from their house. The apartment was too small and it smelled bad. She pulled a little to stretch the rubber band enough to get it to fit through the loop her little hands were able to form. She learned in school that…

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October 19, 2020

“Unendurably Gentle” – The Poems of Alan Cohen

“Unendurably Gentle” – The Poems of Alan Cohen

Unendurably Gentle  From the upstairs  Room, one could not tell  Cloudy from clear  Until the sun was  Well up into the leafy  Metacoloring limbs of resolute  Trees; by that    Time, a skein of noise had  Cracked like a whip and lingered like  Sustained applause, up  Over the roof of the   Room, quite invisible, in its  Passage south–voices  Of the atmosphere calling  As, one suddenly  Imagines, voices may   Also call us from water or fire    It is only later, while  Digging shallow  Trenches for spring  Bulbs, that one looks    Up over one’s   Shoulder to seek the butterfly casting  That wavering  Shadow and is surprised to see  A single red leaf hovering  On the wind  Voiceless    A handful of bulbs,  Sunlight  And the leaf-swept air    Circadian Rhythm    Receptive to a fault  The mind composes an…

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October 13, 2020

“The Trio” — A Short Story by Nick Sweeney

“The Trio” — A Short Story by Nick Sweeney

Of the men in the trio, one managed a hardware store, another was a supervisor in a factory producing plastic parts for light fittings, and the other a print shop proofer. Their white collars were discolored, verging on frayed, their shirt cuffs grubby, though they had to have a Sunday best at home. They were men out of old magazines and black-and-white movies, from a different time, I sometimes thought, yet there they came, swanning into mine. Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, they converged on a corner on the edge of the industrial district, where three roads met, then, without pausing, marched into our little restaurant.  “Never call it a diner,” Dad warned me, a long time before I set foot in there to work. “It’s a restaurant.”  But with a cook, and not a chef, and no espresso machine, it can’t even be called a café; it’s a diner. There’s nothing wrong with that. In our ad in the local rag, it says we serve ‘good, honest, home-cooked food’. Those commas are the loudest items on the page. It’s not too off-the-mark to say I’m…

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October 11, 2020

“Tumours on My Chest” —Poems of Anindita Sarkar

“Tumours on My Chest” —Poems of Anindita Sarkar

   Tumours on my Chest    Tear drops, popcorn, kidney peas,   red ants collectively navigating  through a complex quarry,   a fable of sequins,   or say like the child   with knotted limbs  who couldn’t make it   till dawn break.   Is it vitriolic?  Not like the toothache that barges in  when we are mid-flight into our dirty deeds,   but like the cramps  on arcane purple mornings  when you are buried in deep sleep.  Will they appear again?   You mean like the hairs  on my bald terrain?   Theory says yes  like uneasy questions  searching for meaning  I hope this time they are photogenic.        Robot Mom     No girly time  but a relic of disenfranchised relationship.   She weaves the worn-out pillowcase  with my butchered dreams,   ignites the chipped tile fireplace   with paper-cuts from my Origamis   she wouldn’t let my art…

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