March 29, 2020

“Crimson,” A Short Story by Zach Lattman

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“Crimson,” A Short Story by Zach Lattman

Ester hated that dress. But it was the only thing she had for tonight. Since graduating law school, she, and four other classmates would get together once a month. Supposedly, they were all such great friends, and they didn’t want graduation to pull them apart. But to Ester, it felt fake—almost coerced. It felt more like preemptive networking; everyone was keeping tabs on each other in case they needed a favor down the road. Ester never voiced that concern to anyone. Surely, it was all in her head, she told herself. But still, in her more cynical, or rather, her more honest moments, she doubted everyone’s authenticity—even her own.  She leaned back against the living room wall and stared out the window into the late-spring evening. Chicago looked beautiful at night. From Ginny’s 21st-floor condo, it looked like…

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March 24, 2020

“Deep Fried,” A Short Story by Matt Kolbet

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“Deep Fried,” A Short Story by Matt Kolbet

“Candy bars?  “Of course. Snickers mainly. That’s what people have heard, so it rings true if they hear it again. Easy enough to envision something held in wires, dropped down in hot oil.”  “Had it.”  Dan eyed the man from Texas and felt a flash of home-grown pride. Travel had brought the two men together and Dan realized everything could be a competition: grilling techniques, the tang of a sauce, the cut of the meat. In other states they touted how high food could grow relative to elephants. Ridiculous, except when it wasn’t. Presently, they discussed state fairs and what could be fried at home. This prompted a lengthy litany and an appreciative silence.  “You ever try Rolos?”  “Haven’t. Gives me an idea though.” Dan pulled out his phone and punched in a string of numbers. “Hey Jed. No, I’m on a business trip. Met up with this other fellow. I want you to…

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March 19, 2020

“The Woman of Kutch,” Poetry by Jonathan Lloyd

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“The Woman of Kutch,” Poetry by Jonathan Lloyd

The Woman of Kutch    The woman of Kutch,  Living in grasslands  Favored by raj  And ibis, flees   The earthquake and  Monsoon that leveled  The Gujarat  Three or four   Thousand years ago.    For this occasion  She wears a dress  Embroidered in red  And yellow cotton  An aba covers  The sakral which  Begins the stem   Of a sunflower rising   To a shower   Of light, all in  Mirrors, surrounded   By grassy fields.    She carries three  Steel pots of water  On her head and   With her left arm  She caresses another.  With her right arm   She shields her eyes   Against the sun,  Into which she races.    ** At  the Track  She crosses her legs, this girl of twelve, her hat  A crown, brim bouncing in a breeze. She reads  Her book, maybe–maybe not–lost in thought  Or reverie, a boy…

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March 17, 2020

“To and Fro,” by Hayden Moore

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“To and Fro,” by Hayden Moore

Harmony is the strength of binding opposites: Heraclitus She knew the way, but the liquid path never failed to frighten her. Her arms were sure as she paddled from one to side to the other, left to right, to and fro until she convinced herself the fear was nothing more but adolescent excitement. In those rare moments of calm, something stirred within her chest as one arm gave way to the stroke of another, a harmonic song issuing forth from her sternum in a moment’s moment. But the song was too brief to name and the moment too fleeting to overtake the peril. Not a cloud in the sky. The girl swore she could see the curvature of the earth from her humble placement as she paddled across the shallow sea. When she dared to…

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March 15, 2020

“The Boggart” and other Poems by Julia Franklin

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“The Boggart” and other Poems by Julia Franklin

The Boggart   There used to be this boggart in our house. Not a big thing, really; actually quite small.   Of course, we didn’t used to see her that way; There was a time when we were the ones that were small.   She had a row of teeth for every bit of flesh we bore. She’d bring them out, all neat and sharp and small.   One day we stared her down and brought our own teeth out, And the growl that stirred in her throat was small.   The night passed without incident. When the sun rose, We found footprints out the door. We thought, “Now who’s small?”   I heard she found another house to haunt, Its occupants each Bambi-eyed and small. **   The Truckers   It’s a world that…

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March 10, 2020

“Wordsmithing Past the Editor,” CNF* by Philip Gabbard

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“Wordsmithing Past the Editor,” CNF* by Philip Gabbard

Editor’s Note: This post is an excerpt from: THISday-Words for the Vulnerable and the Venerable by Philip Gabbard, a book of essays and *creative nonfiction.   Wordsmithing Past The Editor  Could you imagine if Mark Twain or Pink Floyd wrote ad copy today? Although, while  sixty-second ad copy wasn’t a “thing” in Twain’s day—he was widely heralded for penning some poignant one-liners back in the late 1800s, like saying that  common sense ain’t so common. But even Twain had his  influencers. Perhaps it was Voltaire who similarly wrote the same line a century and a half earlier. Then in truth, the fact that common sense hasn’t been, well, common has been common since AD 130, when the Roman poet Juvenal first wrote that there was  not a more uncommon thing in the world than common sense. And I can only think that that was something Juvenal  heard…

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March 8, 2020

“Jacob the Lion Hearted,” Poetry by Thomas Piekarski

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“Jacob the Lion Hearted,” Poetry by Thomas Piekarski

Jacob the Lion Hearted  He started out trying to climb too high a ladder,  fell off, smacked his head, knocked unconscious.  But he wouldn’t give up just because the ladder  was an obstacle. He wouldn’t give in although  he had no grip on any world outside his head.    Jacob took advantage of this transcendent state   to luxuriate in the expanse of his imagination.  He ventured like Alice through fabulous realms  clinging to his unique ideals. No one else would  ever understand what thoughts were propagated.    Nor would he, for memory had fled in a flash.  His mind a dream machine, body in suspension,  Jacob manufactured fantasies, myths, religions,  gave them life, far beyond anything he’d known  during this his tenuous tenure on the road of life.  ** Andronicus Returns to Earth    A smooth landing, the toes…

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March 3, 2020

“I Shipped Myself Out of Folsom,” by Townsend Walker

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“I Shipped Myself Out of Folsom,” by Townsend Walker

Probably ought to start with how I got there.   Driving up 395, stopped for coffee in Olancha. Tall, weathered man came into the diner, pulled up a stool like he owned the place. We started chatting—horses, construction, steel work. I’d done it all. Will Thornton had a big ranch out there in the high desert, east of the Sierras. He was looking for help and hired me on.  That’s how I met his daughter Holly, not a pretty girl, but with a daddy owning fifteen hundred acres . . .  I courted her, but she didn’t take to me much. With Will, I was getting along real well. He liked my work, we chatted about what I’d done, what he’d done, about desert life. One day setting fence posts, he eased into talking about his daughter. Too much a stay-at-home, would never find a man in their town of 192 people. I wasn’t shy about telling him I was sweet on Holly, “be happy to oblige” and he helped me convince her. We got hitched in Reno with Will and Holly’s sister as witnesses.  Real soon it started not to…

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March 1, 2020

Milton P. Ehrlich — Poems of Rumination

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Milton P. Ehrlich — Poems of Rumination

ONCE Following orders   on the battlefield,  it was kill or be killed   my sergeant said,  no different than   when he taught me  to thrust and parry   with fixed bayonet.  The young soldier  wore thick glasses  and looked a lot like    one of my classmates.  Sergeant claimed  Gooks don’t belong  to the human race.  Don’t ever feel sorry   for killing an enemy,  I can’t forgive myself.  I look down at my finger,  ready to squeeze the trigger,  and hear my mother asking:  What has become of you?  ** THE MARITAL HAPPINESS QUOTIENT    I Uber my way across the country  in my Hugh Hefner silk pajamas  to study happiness in marriages  of all my old friends who are still   walking and talking coherently.  Computer porn ended a few bonds  that had once bloomed like a flower.  For those that served breakfast in bed,  a lotus blossom was…

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February 25, 2020

“Broken Hearts & Dead Flowers,” by Michael Summerleigh

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“Broken Hearts & Dead Flowers,” by Michael Summerleigh

BROKEN HEARTS & DEAD FLOWERS (February 1970 – upstate New York)  Josh stepped out into the beginning of the day, heard the steel door slam behind him as he pitched the black garbage bag into the dumpster.  He checked the door once to make sure it had locked, buttoned his denim jacket up around the paper sack of unsold apple crisps and burgers, jammed his hands down into the pockets of his jeans.  It had been a slow shift, some heavy wind and a couple of inches of snow discouraging the stoners from boarding the Midnight Munchie train that usually kept the Jack-in-the-Box busy through the night. He’d sent Kyle and Donnie home at two, started shutting everything down around three-thirty. . .picking up wax paper burger wraps and empty Zig Zag sleeves in the small…

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