December 20, 2020

Umi and Mori Haikus by Julie Brinson

Umi and Mori Haikus by Julie Brinson

Six Umi and one Mori Haiku    following bright sun  alone, he surfs a strong wave  with a young dolphin    seen in clear water  bright life on a coral reef  illumination                                     a tiny seahorse  sleeps in tropical sea grass  and moonlight falls down    drifting on currents  wishes lost in old bottles  many horizons    in cold waters deep  sad songs of the lonely whales  mourning lost ones loved    sea salted sands  shift into the greens and blues  then the yellow sun      bright sun warms noon day  overripe apples hang low  –sticky, drunken bees    *** Julie Brinson has previously published random poetry in numerous independent, underground literary magazines and journals in the 1990s. She has written various Internet articles and essays in the years since.   Two short poetry collections: Courage…

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December 17, 2020

“Squid Eyes,” A Short Story by Lisa Sita

“Squid Eyes,” A Short Story by Lisa Sita

Every time Amanda cried black ink, people thought it was her mascara running. Sometimes a concerned fellow female, in trying to be helpful, would recommend that she try a waterproof variety, since there were so many on the market and were actually quite effective at preventing embarrassing smudges. She always tried to explain after politely thanking these women that she was not wearing any makeup, but they never seemed to believe her.  Amanda’s parents first noticed the color of their daughter’s tears when she came slipping and sliding out of the womb at Lenox Hill Hospital one early winter morning. As soon as the cord was cut, little Amanda’s eyes spouted like tiny oil wells that ran and dribbled into the creases of her new baby flesh. The doctor who delivered her and others who were consulted could find no reason for it. Thinking first that the black tears…

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December 14, 2020

Martha Engber – Two Poems of Vulnerability

Martha Engber – Two Poems of Vulnerability

The House      Once there was a house.  Once there was a choice.    The house was made of inside,  while the choice lived outside.    Before that, there were many other choices,  all outside, too, but  that could be gotten to    because the house had a  door that opened, allowing a going out  and a coming in, and had, and did.    But then came this choice, of surprise  and delight and innocence,  more than any other.    A choice made wholly of outside,  it could not come in, but rather must be  gone to and embraced.    Surprise. Delight. Innocence.  Yet a choice to which the responsible  door should not open.    The house suddenly so bounded, so  permanent, so…  shut.    The windows, with their crosshatched bars,  gazed out at…

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December 11, 2020

“The Case of Murder in the Fiesta Lounge” Audio Arts

“The Case of Murder in the Fiesta Lounge” Audio Arts

From the mixed up files of Jack Justice and Trixie Dixon comes The Case of the Murder of Fiesta Lounge. One more episode where a certain detective duo gets to get drunk, waves around several handguns of various sizes, and tries not to shoot each other. For those who haven’t heard a yarn spun by Gregg Taylor, you are in for a treat. When Trixie Dixon and Jack Justice are hired to guard a certain Michael Patrick Mulligan O’Day during his mayoral campaign, their main objective is keep him from getting shot. Which is proves to be very difficult since the one thing the girl detective wants to do is shoot him herself. Things take a turn for the worse when the lights go out and their client ends up dead. Now the only thing…

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December 6, 2020

“Brevity,” A Flash Nonfiction Anthology Book Review

“Brevity,” A Flash Nonfiction Anthology Book Review

When Rose Metal Press asked if I would consider writing a review of a forthcoming book entitled The Best of Brevity, I thought, Why not? I favor brevity. After all, that famous line, “Forgive me for writing you such a long letter, for I didn’t have the time to write a short one,” is one of my favorite [mis]quotations, even if we’re not exactly sure who first wrote it. Was it Montaigne? Cicero? Machiavelli? Pascal? Wilde? Twain? Mencken? Does it matter? So the book arrived and I noted the cover read, “Twenty groundbreaking years of flash nonfiction.” I was intrigued; having written flash fiction for years and years, I was embarrassed to admit I knew little about this genre. But flash nonfiction? Now I wondered, Hmmm, this might be boring. Then I began flipping pages,…

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December 1, 2020

Hume Baugh — Paintings of Life and Love

Hume Baugh — Paintings of Life and Love

Artist’s Statement:I started painting in 2017. I had been given a set of oil paints but hadn’t used them until I was at my sister’s cottage that summer and I painted three pictures. I immediately connected with the experience. I took art in high school but hadn’t touched a paintbrush since.  I paint mostly to please myself, to set myself challenges. I don’t think I have a lot of finesse but I think I have the ability to capture energy, things happening, and I love colour, lots of it. I like to see what happens with the paint on the canvas, where the painting wants to go as opposed to what I’m trying to insist on. Painting has been a very happy discovery for me.  *** Hume Baugh has published work in Queen’s Quarterly, The New Quarterly, and won This Magazine’s…

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November 29, 2020

“Memories Like Scars,” Poetry by Topper Barnes

“Memories Like Scars,” Poetry by Topper Barnes

Memories like Scars    There is a 22-year-old somewhere   Buried beneath the layers of abuse  Curled up like a starving street cat  Its fur caked with grime, oil, and feces   Those star speckled marble eyes  Bulging from the frail skull   And the shy stomach purring   While the confident takes its milk  With a trowel she can be found  A bit of digging and smoothing over  With time  Her blistered lips that have been  Bitten by glass roses  Will heal  The gory craters dotting her face  Torn open during 4am battles  With invisible insects  Will recover  Her skeleton will grow a new coat  Night by night  Day by day  Meal by meal   A shape will appear where a spike  Once stood  And those tear tracks dipped  In mascara   Running down her cheeks  Simply vanished  With a…

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November 27, 2020

“Temujin: An Audio Drama” Adaptation

“Temujin: An Audio Drama” Adaptation

TEMUJIN: AN AUDIO DRAMA is an audio-only historical drama adaptation launched in 2020 adapting the Central Asian epic The Secret History of the Mongols. This epic follows the rise of Temujin – who would become Genghis Khan – and the fall of Jamukha – the Gur Khan, his most bitter rival and dearest friend. Told from Jamukha’s perspective on what seems like the last night of his life, TEMUJIN reveals a rarely-told moment that shaped human history: the ill-fated bond shared between two young warlords caught between rivalry and friendship, empire-building and tender brotherhood. Click here for Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Written and directed by Roshan Singh Sambhi, with Sound Design and Composition by Nathaniel Mah, this amazing multi-cultural audio production has been nominated 16 times across all 9 eligible categories of the Audio…

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November 26, 2020

Holiday Gift Ideas for Bookish Friends and Family

Holiday Gift Ideas for Bookish Friends and Family

The holidays are upon us! What better way to celebrate than with books and book-based products? I know, I’m biased. BUT there are many of us out there and we can be tricky to shop for. Here are some gift ideas for the bookivores in your life with a special offer from us at the Café at the end. I got my first Kindle recently! I finally caved because I was getting more than a stray submission to The Fictional Café as an e-book. I begrudgingly used it, hoping my REAL books wouldn’t scoff at me. Yet, I found myself loving this portable bookshelf for vacations or reading on the subway. Hey Jack, can I count this as a business expense for reimbursement? All kidding aside, here is a gift idea for readers that I…

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November 25, 2020

“Nothing Against Ms. Johnson, But . . .” by Patricia Callahan

“Nothing Against Ms. Johnson, But . . .” by Patricia Callahan

Nothing against Ms. Johnson, but when she read aloud to us, her head wobbled on her long neck. And she licked her thumb to turn pages. Nobody ever checked out a book she had read aloud during Library Hour.  The day she tried to read us The Mouse and the Motorcycle, her thumb had just smudged page one when Evan stood on a library stool and threw the recess kickball at her. It smacked her in the face. The chapter book dropped to the floor, its pages fanning out before us as Ms. Johnson let out a high “Oh!” of surprise. Then a smaller “Oh.” Of realization. She brought her knuckles to her nose. Nobody breathed. “Tissue,” she said through her hand, and brought her other hand to the blotch of pink swelling on her cheek. “Please.” The kickball, bumping across the carpet, tapped against the picture books lining a bottom shelf and dribbled to a stop. Then Evan wound up and toe-balled…

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