June 10, 2021

“Dottie,” A Short Story by Kerry Breen

“Dottie,” A Short Story by Kerry Breen

Dottie looked past her reflection in the bathroom mirror to the metallic petals outlining her slight frame. She’d found the vinyl-coated wallpaper in W.T. Grants on Washington Street that Wednesday and had spent half of Thursday hanging it. Looking back to the mirror, she folded the final curler into her hair and snapped it shut. She then began her nightly routine of wrapping toilet paper around the circumference of her head to keep her cropped, platinum hair smooth around each bubblegum pink foam roller. She had thought the yellow and orange flowers traced in gold were just the springy boost the tiny bath needed, but now she wasn’t sure. “George? Hey, George?” she called into the hallway. “Yes, dear,” George replied, stealthily dipping his left hand into the candy dish on the kitchen counter.  …

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June 7, 2021

“Sonnet to Morrow,” Poems by Yuan Changming

“Sonnet to Morrow,”  Poems by Yuan Changming

Sonnet to Morrow    Since yester twilight  Along  the borderline of tonight  With  fits of thirst & hunger  Among  storms of pain  Under  attacks of viruses   Between    interludes of insomnia  Beyond  both hope & expectation     At  the depth of darkness  Amidst the nightmare  Through  one tiny antlike moment  After  another . . .   Against       deadly despair  Until  awakening   To  the first ray of dawn   Holistic Relationship  (for Qi Hong)    99% from me plus  1% from you  Makes  Our love   Just happily perfect    Though, alas  Not exactly ideal  As anyone might wish   Tips for Becoming a Great World Citizen in the e.Age    1. Don’t argue with any numbers, but just follow the google algorithm;  2. Abide by American interest rather than international law;  3. Whatever game Uncle Sam is up to play, join the team led by him;   4. Always shore…

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June 3, 2021

“Bicycling with Butterflies,” A New Book by Sara Dykman

“Bicycling with Butterflies,” A New Book by Sara Dykman

Editor’s note: Most of us are likely curious about the person who writes a book — in particular, one who rode her bicycle 10,201 miles to follow the monarch butterfly migration from Mexico across the United States to Canada and back again. So we’re introducing a new feature to our book excerpts: a Zoom interview with the author. If you like what you’re about to listen to, watch, read, please leave a note in the Comments—and treat yourself to a copy of Sara’s book. This is the best book about adventure cycling I’ve ever read, and it’s available on Amazon in hardcover, Kindle and Audible. ~ Jack Bicycling with Butterflies excerpt: “A Million-Winged Sendoff” DAYS 1 AND 2 / MARCH 12 AND 13 MILES 1–118 The sun’s warmth began to pour steadily through the branches,…

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June 1, 2021

Rebecca Hosking — Multitalented Creative

Rebecca Hosking — Multitalented Creative

Photo above: Elephant Camp, Chang Mai, Thailand Editor’s Note: This month’s featured artist is also a very talented musician and poet. Check out Rebecca Hosking’s diverse creative endeavors below. Not All Witches Belong to a Coven Not all witches belong to a coven. Put aside the stereotypes. Expand your mind and think outside of the box. Mother nature lives inside all of us. She is the mother of the earth. Her medicine lives in the plants that feed off the dirt. Get your feet wet, dabble, and expand your mind. Not all witches wear black clothing or dance naked in the garden just before dawn. This woman lives alone. She lives among her dreams, works hard like a graceful wave carrying life to the shore. She warms her skin with the sun and finds energy…

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May 27, 2021

“Never Never Land,” by Michael Summerleigh

“Never Never Land,” by Michael Summerleigh

At some point in the evening he turned around and realised he was somewhere he’d never been before; that he couldn’t remember any of the people with whom he’d been in that wherever it was he thought he had been before ending up where he was. What it boiled down to was that he was alone, when at some point in the near past it had been otherwise . . . and now he was lost . . . which had not always been the case in that same shifty construct of reality he had assumed was his normal everyday life. Mostly he stayed on top of things.  What frightened him was that it was, nevertheless, familiar; that the sudden crushing weight of what-the-fuck was not new; that he had been there in the Nowhere a thousand times since the day/night/whatever when Timothy Thomas Garmin had woken up screaming because in…

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May 24, 2021

“Lux et Veritas,” Four Sonnets by Claude Clayton Smith

“Lux et Veritas,” Four Sonnets by Claude Clayton Smith

Lux et Veritas    —for Yvonne    The light from all the stars we see goes on   to other galaxies although those stars  are dead. Where on earth does it end? In non-  existent time? Does light lose speed like cars  in neutral? Is “fading light” anomalous?  Not quite. In empty space light waves maintain  their speed until they interact with us  or meet other resistance. Light does not distain  a vacuum, but glass or water ebbs its flow,  and Bose Einstein Condensate can slow it  to one mile per hour. Black holes swallow  light forever. All Nature does its bit.  So where the hell does that leave you and me?  The truth of light confounds eternally.        B & B    Let Basquiat & Banksy paint away,  no cityscape untouched, four-handed art  on walls and bridges, cement or brick—array  of Day-Glo, long-tailed rats; vandals, one part  anonymous, one not. Subversive rap  or hip-hop punk, epigrams, graffiti…

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May 18, 2021

“The Mailman,” A Short Story by Rachel Laverdiere

“The Mailman,” A Short Story by Rachel Laverdiere

You gave me quite the fright! But I did say any time, and I meant it. Yes, yes, come in, come in! Leave your boots on the mat and let me take your coat. Funny, the only person ringing my bell these days is the mailman! Highlight of my day’s the sound of the utility bills dropping through my mail slot. Doesn’t hurt that he’s got spectacular calves, if you know what I mean! All summer long, he wore his shorts uniform—weee-oooo! Just between you and me, I’ve been having fantasies ever since. Now, when the doorbell goes, I’ve gotta catch my breath before I open the door.   To be completely honest, it’s a relief you’ve popped by—I was just numbing the old brain with some Netflix, trying to keep my nose clean. I know I’ve mentioned my pledge to sobriety at our Saturday morning staff meetings, but I had a feeling I should put a bottle of white in the fridge. Every once in a while, a girl’s gotta let her hair down, right? Let’s just keep this whole Desiree’s-got-wine-chilling-in-the-fridge thing between the two of us. One teensy glass won’t send me tumbling too far from the wagon! After all, Barney’s…

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May 16, 2021

“Bette Howland” & “Barbara,” CNF by Raymond Abbott

“Bette Howland” & “Barbara,” CNF by Raymond Abbott

Photo Credit: Magic City Books Editor’s Note: We’re excited to announce two pieces of creative nonfiction by FC member and former Featured Writer, Raymond Abbott. He details two events from his career as a writer. Bette Howland, Chicago Writer  Bette Howland has been dead for more than two years.  I have had ample time to consider some of the things written about her. She received the MacArthur Award in 1984, and receiving the grant seemed to compel her to stop writing. I had heard of this kind of thing before, but I don’t know that I believe it. What slowed her down when I knew her was the pain she suffered when a man she had been seeing for a long time unexpectedly married another woman.  Bette wrote and published several books, including W3, Blue in Chicago, Things to Come…

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May 13, 2021

“My Sister,” Poems by Susan J. Wurtzburg

“My Sister,” Poems by Susan J. Wurtzburg

My Sister  My sister enacts meal provider, family clustered  around the table.  Sustenance for body and heart, hollowed   out by this year.  Muffled emptiness behind my ribs muted  by video calls.  Strands across the Pacific from my island  to her wooded home.  My sibling draws me back to Canada, closed  pine borders.   Each call a step closer, but still stranded  on a rock in the ocean.    ** The Toad  Heavy rains, another toad in the garden, poison  to my dog.  Buffo catching, my new pastime, followed  by a marsh trip.  Bye Mr. Toad. No whimsical talking character,  Wind in the Willows cute.  Instead a mammoth, warty body, with venom  sacs behind his ears.  Toad number seven in a lineage, a hopping  invading force.  Beady eyes, fire-plug body, strong jumping legs,  garden bane in Hawaii.  Islands replete with outsiders: frogs, rats, goats,  even tourists.  If the toads arrived with…

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May 10, 2021

“Demon Road,” A Short Story by Derrick R. Lafayette

“Demon Road,” A Short Story by Derrick R. Lafayette

I lived in a castle made of mud. Solid enough to make you feel caged. Light barely escaped the brown warped walls. The house had so many ancestors pass away inside, that layers of its spirit fought each other seasonally. I was doomed.  I believe it was late autumn when my stomach’s emptiness corresponded with my heart. After fifty-five days in solitude, the hunger monster devoured me. Food was to be acquired. There used to be another person to handle these things during the summer.  However, the sunlight tempted her to search for buried treasure in the cityscape. She thought there were buildings, roads, and regular life beyond the mountains, past the desert plain. All things inside the dome. I located the area map before she did and destroyed it. I thought about her wandering hopelessly every night. Helped me sleep.  The gun seemed to gain ten pounds since the last time I…

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