November 9, 2019

The Contemplations of Kathryn V. Jacopi

The Contemplations of Kathryn V. Jacopi

One of Us    A sucker-punch thought,  we will end.  The assault turns into a cold sweat  from the contours of my couch.    One day we might fight over  the over-due mortgage,  you promised to pay.  The dent in the new hallway’s paint,   I never denied.  Who keeps the dog   when we sell the house?     We fought the morning  a bus crashed into the glass store.  The highway exit was blocked  and first responders’ lights spun.  I read on my phone that no one’s hurt  and we held hands the drive home.  What if we’d decided   to replace the glass in the tv stand  an hour earlier.    The first time I wrote this  you sat next to me on the couch.   TV commentaries must-know insight,  scores on your phone,  notes for a fantasy,  but you…

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November 6, 2019

Novel Excerpt 2: “Kado,” Chapter 10, by Rusty Braziel

Novel Excerpt 2: “Kado,” Chapter 10, by Rusty Braziel

Editor’s Note: This is the second excerpt from Kado, a just-published novel, from which we excerpted the Forward and Chapter 9 yesterday. This exciting adventure novel is available from Amazon in hardcover, Kindle, and Audible formats. The Red River This was the damnedest thing I ever seen. Mon Ami, how did you know? Over the next two weeks, we made our way down the Mississippi River to the mouth of the Red River. The trip was easy and rapid, thanks to the current being in our favor. The workload was light, and the variety of river traffic provided occasional entertainment for those of us who had spent most of our lives staring at fields of corn and cotton. Sometimes we saw keelboats such as ours heading upstream, while other times we overtook a flatboat moving…

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November 5, 2019

Novel Excerpt 1: “Kado,” by Rusty Braziel

Novel Excerpt 1: “Kado,” by Rusty Braziel

Editor’s Note: We’re excited to premier Kado, a new adventure novel, today and tomorrow. Today, the Introduction, Foreword and Chapter 9, followed by Chapter 10 tomorrow. Kado was published today on Amazon and is available as a hardcover, Kindle and Audible book. Get yours here. Introduction It is the early 1800s in the new frontier west of the Mississippi. Eighteen-year-old Tom Murrell could never understand his father’s dreams of carving a new life out of the wilderness. He wanted to do something else with his life besides spend it behind a plow, but with the family moving to the Red River in Arkansaw Territory, he was stuck. Everything changes for Tom when he witnesses the death of Tiatesun, spiritual leader of the Kadohadacho tribe, and is drawn into a raging conflict between the Kado and…

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November 2, 2019

“In Thought, Word and Deed,” by Jose Oseguera

“In Thought, Word and Deed,” by Jose Oseguera

By the time Paul and Ariela reached the Caravaggio exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, they decided to stop avoiding the urge to hold hands, and finally interlaced fingers. The tingling sensation first came to him when he handed her the red LACMA sticker, she needed to wear in order to be allowed in all the special exhibits. Paul squeezed her hand as if it would fall out of his if he didn’t. She blushed. He smiled, showing more teeth than he’d intended. Paul was born in Mexico, but was adopted as an infant by white evangelical Christian missionaries who decided to bring him home to Rialto, California along with all the goat’s milk candy they could fit in their luggage. Although his parents had tried to instill as much Hispanic culture in him…

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October 27, 2019

Mind-Melding with Lew Holzman’s Art

Mind-Melding with Lew Holzman’s Art

We’re pleased to showcase Lew’s unique expression of the intersection of photography and painting once again. His work first appeared here, and was featured again in our just-published anthology, The Strong Stuff: The Best of Fictional Café, 2013-2017. Artist’s Statement There are many beautiful or interesting moments that one can capture but we’ve seen many of them too many times. I always attempt to avoid the clichéd. My work is transformational so that we might look again and see things somehow differently. I am trying to blur the distinction between photography and painting with influences mainly from late 19th and 20th-century art movements including Surrealism, Dadaism, and abstract expressionism. *** I have always created either word images in my poetry or visual images. Digital photography expanded my horizons and my transformations transformed me into a…

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October 24, 2019

“Variations on the Trolly Problem” and Other Poems by JP Mayer

“Variations on the Trolly Problem” and Other Poems by JP Mayer

de rerum natura and I realized I was the pieces  I was picking up, all scattered  across the floor,     all technicolor  fragments of static jettisons from  far away;  I am a farmer in Kansas. I am a  doctor in Nairobi. I am a prisoner  in Beijing and a pilot in Lahore and  a fisherman off the coast of Jeju  Island;  the saltwater pulls at them with its    ebb tide     but all the same the         lines on my hands   are not ones that can be washed away  ** love in lost time    I shot Proust dead in an alleyway on  my way home from work. It was something  he said it was   love is a reciprocal torture  his body hit the pavement with a thud. It started   raining on my walk home and I…

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October 21, 2019

“Stan the Sous-Chef,” by Wilson Koewing

“Stan the Sous-Chef,” by Wilson Koewing

Stan the sous-chef turned forty-seven on a Sunday. A fishing rod and an apron were painted in icing on his cake. After his modestly attended party, Stan cleaned streamers off furniture and vacuumed up confetti. When the guests were gone, and Stan knew his wife, Cathy, and his adult son, Jamie, were occupied, he wandered outside and released a happy birthday balloon into the sky. Stan stood in his driveway watching the balloon rise and float away for a very long time. Stan had been given his birthday off at work, the New Orleans Country Club, and since the club is dark on Mondays, Stan received two days off in a row. A phenomenon that had never occurred in the seven years he’d worked there. Taking advantage, Stan enjoyed a quiet day of fishing for…

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October 12, 2019

“Confession of an Accidental Theocrat,” by Jacquelyn Tufts

“Confession of an Accidental Theocrat,” by Jacquelyn Tufts

The door to Carol’s bedroom swung shut behind her with a bang. The late-afternoon light streaming in through her window highlighted every wrinkle and mote of dust that had accumulated on her pantsuit over the course of her walk home from work, but she wouldn’t be dealing with that now. She had come to a decision. It was one that she had been slowly working her way towards not just since she’d woken up that morning, or since the week had begun, but for one full calendar month — and it wasn’t a February either. It was one of the respectable months.  “Okay, listen,” she said to the figure sitting on top of the table beside her bed. “I didn’t know all this would happen between us. But it did, and I love you, and…

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September 9, 2019

The Mechanics of Melancholy: Engaging Poetry by Rick Ratliff

The Mechanics of Melancholy: Engaging Poetry by Rick Ratliff

Dark hallways  Long hallway, doors on either side Like the departure platform at a rail station. No eye contact, everyone looking down, Shuffling along the bland grey floor.  Away from the new arrivals  Lighting is always dimmed like perpetual twilight   And darkness creeps out of some doors like a black fog  We come to say goodbye to those who no longer hear, And who stare blankly at the ceiling: While we are looking at the floor.  Departure time is slowly approaching,  Breathing is mechanical like worn breaks And the smell, the odor that’s hard to describe–  Body odor with musty deodorant  Exhalation is pungent.   No talking now  It goes quiet at departure  As we silently stand in ovation as we exit  FORGOTTEN SONG   FORGET ME NOT  She’s not you — yet, neither are you, (anymore) You would like her; I think. Flaxen hair (like yours)   And I trust all the understanding  A widow has of memories and loss.            That helps, as I am daily learning  To be the reluctant guardian…

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September 5, 2019

Jennifer Judge’s Poetry Tells Us The Way Things Just Are

Jennifer Judge’s Poetry Tells Us The Way Things Just Are

PEOPLE Always say you know what to do when your child cries, you just know, like some parent gene kicks in, the knowledge springs up in your brain like it’s always been there, a priori knowledge.  But that’s a load of bullshit.  Watch a baby fall backwards and drop a chair on herself. You see the chair going but you can’t get there in time to stop it, and you can’t control the gasp that escapes you. You’re not supposed to gasp, have to remain calm so that the child does. And when there’s nothing, nothing, nothing that calms her after the fall—walking, talking, hugging, singing, kissing—you know your love is not strong enough now for anyone, that you are what you are, failure of a parent, and you know this is your life now….

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