April 12, 2019

James Croal Jackson’s Slice-of-Life Poetry

James Croal Jackson’s Slice-of-Life Poetry

A Note on Jealousy When I ran into Heather at Union and said hello Jennifer asked who’s Heather with smoke alarm eyes I said a friend I meant it jealousy is the kind of thing that puts teeth in a line of vision I was jealous of your Emi too sometimes one must chomp the string one time I believed I could love without caring about the past but stones settled along the path can still be pushed by gusts under a sky wherein there is no ceiling or ending except for the vastness of our longing in space Terminated Rip the last life-supporting limb off the tree; no money grows here now, no more sustaining green   glints the grass, just faces of dead men we don’t know preside over lives with a capital…

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March 28, 2019

Tributes to Heritage: Preeti Shah’s Poetry

Tributes to Heritage: Preeti Shah’s Poetry

Mother Hindustan In the years that you have been inked into a map, laid down, unraveled, all corners of you outstretched,  with man who has always crossed at your borders, you have sung the songs and poems of martyrs. But will another song ever be sung? Your tongue was made of the lakes from the Kashmir Valley. You still hold it still. Even as your children suckle from you, bite down, swallow blood, when they  fear the milk will stop flowing.  You still hold your tongue still.   All of your children were born under the  mountains of your body and the stars from your eyes.  All of your children fell asleep to the coolness of your  breath. But forgot its sweet lullaby.  But, none ever forget the sounds of burning flesh.     They…

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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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