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 19, 2019

Mark Greenside’s New Rabelaisian Novel

Mark Greenside’s New Rabelaisian Novel

The Night at the End of the Tunnel, or Isaiah Can You See? “It was the best of the worst of times, the worst of the best of times, the beginning of the end of the beginning.” That’s how this story begins. It’s late 70s, early 80s, New York City, and nothing works. No place is safe. Porn is everywhere. The streets are filthy, and the subways are worse. Trust is committing suicide–love is abused, and institutions and individuals are corrupt, corrupted, or corruptible. The City and country are disintegrating. Enter two of the unlikeliest characters you’ve ever met–think Charlie Brown meets Mr. Natural, or Alfred E. Neuman in The Heart of Darkness. All these guys want to do is survive, and they do–but in a way neither they nor you can imagine. What follows is…

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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 3, 2019

“Ghost Train” A Short Story by Stephen Brayton

“Ghost Train” A Short Story by Stephen Brayton

After the seven-hour drive from Connecticut, Rick and Bill were following Joe Spence’s directions to his camp on Chebuncook Pond: Nutting Road for five miles, then right onto a dirt road marked by a row of mailboxes beneath a stand of birches. Bumping along with the boat behind, they crossed the abandoned railroad line that Joe had noted. Even though he knew the railroad map of northern Maine, Rick had searched this one anyway, a Maine Central branch abandoned over a decade ago. They’d come across it at different locations on past trips. Here, its right-of-way through the woods remained clearly evident, no doubt from snowmobile and ATV use. In another half-mile, the waters of Chebuncook Pond appeared through the trees. They passed two camps and pulled in at the third. Joe’s camp looked like…

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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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January 27, 2019

“Night Embers” A Short Story by Tanya W. Newman

“Night Embers” A Short Story by Tanya W. Newman

The rains had set in two days ago and hadn’t stopped yet. Grace kept her eyes on the gleaming puddles before her on the sidewalk as she jogged while spiky raindrops hit her face and every car that passed sent rainwater splashing, soaking her leggings. She cut right so she could run down to the park, but running downhill became too much for the knees that once carried her with ease and now buckled and gave out underneath her. She crashed to the ground, her hands hitting the pavement first. She didn’t get up right away. She lay there, letting the rain fall over her in her defeat. Her hands were bleeding. The fiery singes in them told her that before she lifted them to see the scrapes and cuts for herself. They’d have to…

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January 23, 2019

“Seth Seeks Sex for Sex’s Sake,” A Short Story

“Seth Seeks Sex for Sex’s Sake,” A Short Story

We welcome Paul Negri, a new member of the FC Coffee Club today, with a witty short story for you. Seth Seeks Sex for Sex’s Sake by Paul Negri “It’s so sibilant.” Jamie picked a french fry from Seth’s plate and put it on top of her frisée salad. “That’s the point,” said Seth. He took a sip of water. “Say it fast. Seth seeks sex for sex’s sake Seth seeks sex for sex’s sake. It’s like the sound some women make when they’re having sex.” Jamie filched another fry. “I never made that sound.” “You did. Sometimes.” “I never heard that.” “Of course, you didn’t hear it. It’s like snoring. No one hears themselves snore.” At 39, Jamie looked enticingly older. Trim, pale, blonde, with startling black eyes. She’d overheard one of her high…

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January 14, 2019

“Want You Gone” A Short Story by William Torphy

“Want You Gone” A Short Story by William Torphy

It’s a pleasure to welcome William Torphy back to the Fictional Cafe. The last story of his we published was “The Invention of Numbers” in 2016. “Invention” was subsequently chosen by the FC Baristas for inclusion in our forthcoming Anthology — but more on that another time. Herewith William’s newest creation, “Want You Gone,” a fast-paced, witty-wise glimpse into a relationship between a daughter and her estranged father. Want You Gone by William Torphy Cherie was pouring steamed milk over a double espresso when her father appeared at the café dressed in a form-fitting orange anorak jacket, stonewashed designer jeans and millennial sneakers. The pegs in his scalp testified to a recent hair transplant and he had obviously undergone a mid-life crisis facelift, his face tighter than a bongo, like one of those aging Las…

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January 10, 2019

Better Latte Than Late, A New Story For The New Year

Better Latte Than Late, A New Story For The New Year

“Better Latte Than Late” by Rekha Valliappan They dined on mince, and slices of quince, Which they ate with a runcible spoon; And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, They danced by the light of the moon. –Edward Lear Rila works from home at Author, Self-Published. She was a motorbike rider once, in the days when Harley-Davidsons looked a whole lot different than they look today. But she wants to grow a jardin potager—a French urban herbal garden, and sip dynamite charcoal latte the livelong day. So she can write books. Motorbikes is where she derives her courage from—to face life on concrete terms like a man. Where she comes from girls, cradle to grave, do not even ride bicycles, although some books written a hundred years ago suggest women bicycled their…

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