September 7, 2021

“The Sword of David,” An Excerpt by Charles Lichtman

“The Sword of David,” An Excerpt by Charles Lichtman

Editor’s Note: This month we are featuring four novel excerpts—debuting one each Tuesday. Our first is Charles Lichtman’s The Sword of David—a brand new novel, which came out today. In this action-packed thriller, an Israeli commando must search the globe for a long-lost biblical treasure. Hope you enjoy!       PART ONE  CHAPTER 1  Jerusalem, Present Day  “Excuse me, Ms. Klein, I hate to impose, but may I please have your autograph?” asked a middle-aged woman who was holding out a piece of paper and a pen.  “Ma’am, I’m sorry. People come up to me all the time thinking I’m the woman who saved the president. I know I look like her, but it’s not me,” replied the younger woman.  “Oh, I’m sorry,” the tourist said. “Please forgive me.”  “Not a problem,” Debra Klein replied. “It happens…

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August 30, 2021

“T.S. Eliot Homage,” Poetry by Timothy Resau

“T.S. Eliot Homage,” Poetry by Timothy Resau

T.S. Eliot Homage  (a love poem)    Looking, now, at myself,  do you think of me, later?    When the tropical sun and high waves  wash across my thin ankles?    White-haired and crazy with spider-like legs,  stumbling over small sand dunes—  dunes I shall call memories.    Should I be calling:  — More champagne? Hashish? Incense?         Should I be laughing:  — Why have you forsaken me O Lord?    Looking, then, at myself, and you,  seeing you over my Paper-Mache shoulders—  brittle, like old bird bones,  these once worldly shoulders.    Do you think of me?  — And the angel of the Lord declared unto Mary  that she was to be the Mother of God . . .   White-haired and crazed, red bandana and erotic music.  Original, native paintings upon my clay walls, so modest—     The Mother of…

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August 26, 2021

“Tiny Shredded Pieces,” A Story by Unimke Ushie

“Tiny Shredded Pieces,” A Story by Unimke Ushie

When my husband told me his mother was visiting London after our wedding in Nigeria when we last saw her, I remembered her not so soft hands tapping my buttocks, touching my breast and every crease around its plumpness, and saying –with a smile that did not wrinkle the skin around her eyes– “nwunye anyi, our wife, I’m just checking if your breasts have enough to support my unborn grandchildren.” I had a bland look on my face when she touched me, that is somehow the same now listening to my husband tell me of her coming to London. And soon I felt something I cannot see or name entering my body, and a damp wetness between my legs. “I’ll finally eat good food” he added. Avoiding my face. “Oh, Chikelu you know cooking is…

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August 23, 2021

“Drawing Mannequin,” Poetry by Julia Franklin

“Drawing Mannequin,” Poetry by Julia Franklin

Drawing Mannequin    Mischief in monochrome.  Subtle sidekick, sleek home of souls.  Cold conjuror, no-face freedom.  No life out of reach.           The Pasta Hour    Late walk,  home again.  Dark sky above,  weak legs beneath.    Fifteen-minute era  of Waiting,  Watching,  and Stirring . . .   To be rewarded  with chewy-salty  Victory,  butter-cheese-fork  Relief,  calorie-laden  Defiance,  primal-unconditional  Devotion.       The Fire    I come  not from one house,  but three.    House Number One  was festive,  dependable,  full of sweet dreams  and hypotheticals  that I shrugged off.    House Number Two  was empty,  frigid and aloof,  stripped to its skeleton,  and infected with smoke.    House Number Three  was recuperating  in the balm of springtime  and accepting,  sheepishly,  the cardboard boxes  that held its Number One face.     …

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August 15, 2021

“Sandy Ajax, We Hardly Knew You,” by James Hanna

“Sandy Ajax, We Hardly Knew You,” by James Hanna

The World Baseball League was born in the sixties in our suburban home in Virginia.  My kid brother and I invented it on a sweltering Fourth of July. It was a heroic invention—a vehicle by which two nerdy kids might share the aura of champions. Armed with dice, meticulously drawn charts, and a cardboard baseball diamond, Robbie and I commanded the destinies of twenty baseball teams. We played daily throughout the long hot summers—up to six games a day—and we tweaked team standings and player averages after every game. So absorbed were we in horsehide heroics that we rendered the summers neither long nor hot.      Our rosters consisted of four hundred individual players each represented by a 2” by 2” square of cardboard. Batting averages, fielding percentages, slugging potential, and base- running speed were recorded on each of these squares along…

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August 9, 2021

“Finding Progressions in Mere Lists,” by M. A. Istvan

“Finding Progressions in Mere Lists,” by M. A. Istvan

finding progressions in mere lists    when none of the facts  so integral to who you are  can be reached    absenting oneself from a situation by fainting    sitting on a wood fence for hours  in hope that a new face   will show itself to talk    failures loom larger in places where little else is around    pinching the tongue of one seizuring      the flood displacement would have been  a glorified camping vacation  had he not learned of her betrayal     feigning knowledge of facts  mentioned in an offhand tone  as if you knew them already    thoughts of suicide   to stay in the game when   mere to-do lists fail     making the position clear threatens to make it vulnerable    even the sexual organs of family  are open for dinner conversation  once…

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July 30, 2021

“BugSplat,” A Short Story by Karen Lethlean

“BugSplat,” A Short Story by Karen Lethlean

So boring. No one her age. Already run out of books. Less to do than being at home. Sandra felt her feet get heavy in loose beach sand as she tried to dispel inertia by taking a walk. “Get out and find something you enjoy. Nature is therapeutic you know.” Why the hell did her mum think therapy was required? Strange how once upon a time she and her father wandered along these same beaches, christened these walks Morning Explorations and set the task of finding The Most Terrible Thing washed up overnight. Now Sandra stared out at water, twisting her hair or shooting an imaginary gun at squawking gulls. Couldn’t even get much of a signal on her phone. Limited people about. Not even any good waves to attract surfers. Cute blonde boys she…

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July 20, 2021

“Incompletist,” Poetry by Tom Pennacchini

“Incompletist,” Poetry by Tom Pennacchini

Incompletist    It’s all a bit sketchy don’t you know what with the RMS and all.   Formal education and I didn’t work out but I was on my way across the country to fulfill my own peculiar  and  particular manifest destiny which at the time (at the time)? was a semi – conscious state of befuddled uncertainty laced with a lack of pragmatics that was nothing short of utter ineptitude.     (Oh essential humor I laugh to myself now at the notion of then going clear across the country to maintain my standards and my continuous quest for success in failure).    We arrived at the train station and said our goodbyes.     After you left there was a welling and a filling and at the same time a depletion of air.   I rushed outside after a constricted couple of…

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July 15, 2021

“Seal on the Run,” A Short Story by Ewa Mazierska

“Seal on the Run,” A Short Story by Ewa Mazierska

Whenever Robert and I travel to Scotland, to our house in Aberdour, we go for a walk towards Kirkcaldy, where one can see seals lying on the rocks. Sometimes we are accompanied by a friend named Scott, who spent many years in the British base in Antarctica. He entertains us describing the lives of different types of seals. What all of them have in common, however, is that they are patriarchal. Dominant male seals take possession of their territory by forcing other male seals to lie down in submission and fight with those who dare to challenge their power. Once these macho males announce themselves as winners, female seals start climbing to the beaches, waiting to be impregnated. In this way, their life in harem begins. It is a slow and passive life: waiting for…

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July 12, 2021

“A Walk in the Woods,” A Short Story by Robert Perron

“A Walk in the Woods,” A Short Story by Robert Perron

Johnny knocked at the kitchen door, side of the house, just like when he and Mike were kids. But this fall day they were thirty and Johnny wore his deputy sheriff’s uniform, olive jacket over beige shirt, a badge on his left breast. In the driveway, his Department of Corrections sedan. Mike turned the inside knob and pulled open the glass-paned wooden door. “Should I put on a pot?” he said, lips crinkling to a smirk, knowing the visit wasn’t social, certain it had to do with his soon-to-be ex-wife. Every day papers in the mail, his lawyer, her lawyer, the town, the state, the county. Now a visit from the sheriff’s department. Mike’s parents’ kitchen of faded linoleum, paneled cupboards, and fixtures from the forties centered on a square, wooden table with four chairs….

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