March 14, 2019

The Poetry of Keith Carreiro

The Poetry of Keith Carreiro

A Caprice of Nature the earth, a drop of cerulean dew in a black puddle ocean of space, whirls on its news paper axis, while I walk by portland amazed at a barber seated in his cutting chair — he plays paganini on a violin. the ancients thought the soul capable of re-remembering life if asked precise questions such acuity would provide a channel through which the mind and heart might flow   as a modern when i again experience what an ancient knew i see the might and decay of empire wane and glow   in the yes of joy in the no of sorrow   time a current of mystery with its own tug and pull rushes my spirit within its tidal pulse   knowledge re–born is useless without wisdom as a sage…

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February 27, 2019

The Poetry of the Prolific Mercedes Lawry

The Poetry of the Prolific Mercedes Lawry

A Woman Who Paints Saturated sky, two figures buta suggestion near a yellow blushof wheat. The eye regards, sensesthe repetition of hours, a trajectoryof absence, a pause. Whatcollection of brushstrokes emergesfrom this woman, dismissed or chided,discouraged or sick of the moon’sromantic lies. To choose this roundedshape, smear of viridian, she bravesthe tyranny of time and place, her children and the hungryhouse, all that love regrets. When she paints, she is betweenellipses, melds hand and eye,draws in the gases of the sun,exhales this field, empty of wind,and these two who might be toilingor traveling or devoted. Message intention of rootsdown and around earth seethes invisibly,a conjunction of hunger the knowing of treeto tree, beyond a pale, cream sky the wind is emphaticleaves, unanchored, blood red to dun brown,become a handful of flakes mingled with bird wingand seed, November’s pulse of loss I…

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February 23, 2019

My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard: Book 1 Review

My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard: Book 1 Review

I have learned over the past few years if I am in need of a good book to read, all I have to do is peruse the current issue of The Atlantic. It has yet to fail me. I have discovered books such as Stuart Dybek’s Paper Lanterns and Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City. Thanks to the November 2018 issue, I read an essay written by Ruth Franklin entitled “How ‘My Struggle’ Transformed Karl Ove Knausgaard.” In it, she reflected on the worldwide phenomenon of his autobiographical novel My Struggle. Her article compelled me to experience all six volumes for myself. Within two weeks, I visited my local bookstore and purchased a copy of Book 1: A Death in the Family. I was hooked! Knausgaard brilliantly alters the storytelling paradigm. Typically, the writer has his or…

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February 6, 2019

Old Age: Three Vignettes by Jo St Leon

Old Age: Three Vignettes by Jo St Leon

Dementia I can’t find the word. Somewhere, in the swirling mist of my mind, I know it’s there. Just out of reach. I chase it but it skips away from me as it laughs. It doesn’t want to be caught today. I used to use it, the word, with such ease. It would trip off my tongue, along with a lot of other words, to make sentences, stories, jokes. A whole river of words, ever-present. Unappreciated, until now. Now, I would give anything for this one word—the perfect word—to say just what I mean. For the uncomprehending face which frowns before me to clear and shine with understanding. Still the word prances, dances, teases me as I reach out to grab it. Always on the periphery, never centre stage. I begin to get angry. I…

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February 1, 2019

Tracy K Smith’s Poetry Podcast, “The Slowdown”

Tracy K Smith’s Poetry Podcast, “The Slowdown”

Like current poet laureate Tracy K Smith, we love poetry here at the Fictional Cafe! During her tenure, she is hosting a poetry podcast entitled The Slowdown.  Each installment lasts a short five minutes, but they’re powerful. The musical prelude is a lilting jazz composition which lags ever so slightly behind tempo. This subtly encourages the listener to . . . slow down. Next, the audience hears Smith’s smooth, measured lyricism, and heartfelt expressions regarding the subject of that installment’s featured poem. Three recent podcasts in particular had personal resonance for me. One delved into the legacy of Sylvia Plath, another remembered the indelible mark left by Nina Simone, and the last dwelled on 21st century gentrification. I hope you enjoy these samples, and take extra time to slow down and become a regular listener! ***

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January 31, 2019

Editorship is a Partnership

Editorship is a Partnership

I am a nascent editor. I started submitting my poetry to journals when I was 20 years old. The more I started receiving acceptances—and personalized rejections—the more I wanted to continue improving my craft. I knew the best way to do this would be to read submissions for literary magazines. Not only do I read poetry submissions for South Florida Poetry Journal, but I am also the Associate Editor Barista for the Fictional Café! This brings me a great amount of pleasure. What excites me about being an editor is that I actively and regularly consume language. As eating food strengthens the body, reading and thinking about writing keeps me mentally active, and helps me write better poetry. I don’t ever want that to change. With the advent of online publishing, more and more people—especially…

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December 21, 2018

M. Stone’s Passionate Poetry

M. Stone’s Passionate Poetry

Tryst mid-afternoonthe hotel corridor is quietoutside our room where feeble lightdulls bleached sheets later on when the sky is dueto erupt and hasten darknesswrapped in a fog shroudI have a fifty-mile drive home but right now I am malleablebeneath your calloused palms I am a well-fed bird eager to settlewithin the coarse and tenderthe flesh-and-bonenest of you Unincorporated Places at night you drive, alert for deer and drunkswhile I gaze west, my retinas gather the glowof stray porch lights and second-story windows  from communities tucked into collarbone hollowsalong the interstate, which reeks of a paper mill some of their names I mispronounce, but you nevercorrect the strange syllables in my mouth Tenuous is the Thread chaos barely constrained by butterfly wings that make figure eights yet tectonic plates gnash their teeth and continents break  could be a low-flying planeor seismic…

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December 18, 2018

Robert Hamilton’s Carefully Crafted Poetry

Robert Hamilton’s Carefully Crafted Poetry

Easter Vigil I had imagined it otherwise.Not as we are, on the white sandpossibly surrounded by peacocks and peahens.I meant the other thingwhich I no longer remember. The year Igor Markevitch diedthe batons of conductorsturned to asps and slithered offuntil spiked to death by the cellists.A pistol cracked in B-flat.Aldo Moro was no more. The cognoscenti raisedtheir little coffee cups;thei rsaucers whiteunfractionable hosts.Pop the trunk: Morois not there, for he has risen.The brigades reddenand limp off, firing Kalashnikovs into hollow desert. Asice locked Lake Como’s secretsdeep within, no one sawMarkevitch descend to Hadesin the form of a bee, orMoro,saints, and Caesarswho swatted him away.The peahen’s voiceis a cry for helpbut Lazarus cannot help her,waiting as he must for his second death,knowing full well what to expect.Romano Prodi staggers from the gravesmiling fatly. He smells of eucalyptus.Like bits of…

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December 6, 2018

“Deception Pass” by Daniel Edward Moore

“Deception Pass” by Daniel Edward Moore

Deception Pass   In the daggered dreams of moonlight, in what cannot wait till morning.   A driver on the bridge’s back, on the way to the worksite’s weary yawn   leaves his car and leaps like hope into water’s frozen hands.   On the spine of Deception Pass, courage leaves prints on the bones   and mercy is late for work.   *** Daniel lives in Washington on Whidbey Island. His poems have been in Spoon River Poetry Review, Rattle, Columbia Journal, Western Humanities Review, and others. His poems are forthcoming in West Trade Review, Duende Literary Journal, The Inflectionist Review, Magnolia Review, Isthmus Review, The McKinley Review, Glass Mountain Magazine, Columbia College Literary Review, January Review, Under a Warm Green Linden and Yemassee. His books, “This New Breed: Bad Boys and Gentleman” an…

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November 28, 2018

Flexible, Fluid Verses from Ariana Turner

Flexible, Fluid Verses from Ariana Turner

  Bent   I can bend and break, mend and make amends, start riots and cry out— in surrender of once feeling stifled.   I can close my eyes and still see what is gained, lost, and corrupted;   for what is done does not die. It festers and flourishes— seeps into the hollows of every passing moment;   for pain itself is simply a shelter that serves to protect the past from the threat of being forgotten.   And yet how can I ever want to straighten my back   when I am stronger through this weight I carry?     Finite   You were not the orange hue from the streetlamp. You were the streetlamp as we lay upon my parents’ driveway on nights that were heavy with humidity and our quick, quick…

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