August 22, 2019

“Water,” A Fiction by Rob Swigart

“Water,” A Fiction by Rob Swigart

“Water? What do I think about water? I’ll tell you what I think about water.”  Lyman was angry.  The silence went on.  “Well?” Alford prompted. “What do you think about water?” He tried to keep his question flat, so as not to acknowledge Lyman’s fit of pique.  “I try not to,” Lyman said, at last, deflated. He put his head back and closed his eyes.  Alford did not see how this was possible. Lyman sat in it. Or rather, he lay in it. Was lying. He was lying too. Alford knew that as well.  Lyman did not try not to think about water. To try to not think about water would have meant humming meaningless jingles or reciting nursery rhymes or doing advanced algebra in his head or most likely doing nothing but think about not thinking about water, which Lyman, for one, was unprepared…

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August 19, 2019

Karen Toralba’s Flash Fiction, “Pragmatic Spirituality”

Karen Toralba’s Flash Fiction, “Pragmatic Spirituality”

     “I’m sensing you’re burdened,” she closed her eyes tightly. “Can I pray for you?”        Well, this seemed appropriate, Carrie mused, in a church of all places. “Sure.”       The sensor, young and fresh, placed her hand firmly on Carrie’s shoulder and held it in a grip deep with passion as she closed in to a personal space intended for more intimate persons.       Her eyes still bound without earthly vision, the woman began: “I’m feeling you’re burdened. Yes, a heavy burden. I’m sensing someone’s hurt you. Someone stabbed you in the back.”       Carrie’s mind shot to one or two people, then more. Yes, she had been hurt, within the past year even. But, burdened? Perhaps if she had thought about it more, one might label it as a burden. Stabbed in…

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August 18, 2019

The Resilience of Life – Captivating Poetry by Marianne Brems

The Resilience of Life – Captivating Poetry by Marianne Brems

Flower Stems If heaven were a place  to walk without fear before an audience  jaded in judgement,  a place to love without concern  about running alone on earth’s curve, a place to rise in the morning  without tripping on stones by evening, a place to play in dangerous rivers without swallowing water, a place to carry wood to a fire  that never burns out, a place to throw out regrets  with the dust swirls of empty rooms  A place where traffic lights are all green, the sun sets peacefully after dinner,  and sleeves are never too short.  Then resilience would wither, muscles atrophy, bones relinquish their density  without resistance to strengthen them in a field where flowers fill every space and their stems, though succulent, are the sturdiest pillars.   Night Siren  The too near wail of an ambulance  assaults the quiet core of night, its rising then falling crescendo repeating repeating  unsettling all that’s settled as it announces  an unidentified human incident rife with pain or loss or both.  Yet this ambulance,  defying disruption and speed limits,  delivers with singular purpose  a medical team  eager to serve, to make whole, to mend the punctures of sharp protrusions or the malfunction of a dusty heart  and to begin a restitution  that even in darkness has…

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August 15, 2019

Linnea Skoglöv: Portraits of Love

Linnea Skoglöv: Portraits of Love

Cigarette  Waking up slowly to a room set in darkness, eyes searching for light but finding nothing buta silhouette.  You on one side of the bed and I on the other, not touching but I still feel you on my skinlike my mouth senses the aftertaste of a cigarette.  A cigarette you smoked even though I begged you not to, I turned and said I won’t kiss youever again but you hugged me from behind and what was I supposed to do.  So I kissed you.  And you tasted worse than when you apologise for your breath in the morning, but the secondyour lips touched mine I had already forgiven you.  Because when you look at me my heart suddenly belongs to a hummingbird, beating right out of my chest. And I need to feel your fingers…

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August 13, 2019

“The Gift,” A Wry Story by Maureen Crowley

“The Gift,” A Wry Story by Maureen Crowley

     You think you know a person until you have to buy her a gift—then it feels like you don’t know her at all. I realized I didn’t know my roommate Amanda as well as I thought I did, even though we’d been living together for two years. Most of what I had was speculation: she was from some cul-de-sac/suburban utopia where all the houses sit evenly spaced from one another and look pretty much like the builders used a Xerox machine while constructing them. Her mom was the kind of parent who seemed to be heavily involved in the PTA and was the chaperone of every school dance. Amanda probably got her expectations on what romance should be like from watching Disney movies—where happily-ever-after is the end–all, be all. She also didn’t think Nala qualified to…

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August 12, 2019

“The Music Boy,” by Claire Tollefsrud

“The Music Boy,” by Claire Tollefsrud

The Music Boy         He was young and made of sound. Rhythms followed him. They drummed through his fingers on school desks and sang through his dreams while he slept.        His mother was a wildcard who wore her heart on her sleeve. She made sculptures and saw beauty everywhere, raised three boys while finishing her art degree. Many nights the boy slept on the floor of the art building with his brothers, tucked into blankets among the half-finished pieces of desire. So, maybe music was in his skin. And perhaps it also crept into his soul on those nights, like creativity tends to do.        The boy was made of different mettle. It took him some time to find his way into the hearts of other people, but the melodious metronome in the back…

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August 11, 2019

Bridging Two Cultures: Emma Wang’s Fierce Poetry

Bridging Two Cultures:  Emma Wang’s Fierce Poetry

Variations on the History of the People’s Republic of China  i.  Sometimes the skin retreats into the bone, jagged edges of tongue tasting the summer heat.  ii. Imagine the ownership (or lack of) a sunken statue turning whispers behind closed conversations and blood against blood.  iii. The first time I saw my father cry, there were ghosts in his lungs.  iv.  When the star-crossed, green-costumed women dance on skeletons My father averts his eyes like they’re the decapitated deer.  v. On my passport every stamp sounds like yeye’s warnings, every printed word the broken  English of my mother, every second of silence the wrath of old men.  Abecedarian for the Chinese Immigrant  All you can take are your Blouses and your tongue; Children & rice cakes should be Dropped into the sea to the Very last one. You will Find new building blocks to reassemble your Girls, new letters to construct your Houses – oh wait –  It’s the other way around. Jackets you’ll buy at the  K-mart, but only if it’s  Local. You cannot carry your Mama nor your baba No matter how  Oversized…

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August 9, 2019

Burbuqe Raufi’s “Life” Triptych, Part III

Burbuqe Raufi’s “Life” Triptych, Part III

Editor’s Note: We’ve been honored to publish Ms. Raufi’s “Life” novella which, due to its length, has appeared in three parts this month: Part I, Part II, and herewith, the final panel of the author’s triptych. Please read them in order for full appreciation. “Life” Part III Samuel Blank/the one with the truth. Celestial morning sunbeams covered the Pacific Ocean. Soft, salty-smelling wind blew the papers Samuel held. He sat straight, looking at something on the horizon. I don’t know whether I’m going to miss this, he thought, but it really was an unforgettable experience—finally, everything is clear as this July sky. He dropped his papers, and the wind blew them away. A young man, wearing black, caught the papers and tried to put them in order, his feet sinking into the soft sand.  The…

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August 8, 2019

Dayna Lellis: Telling Timeless Truths

Dayna Lellis: Telling Timeless Truths

Your Value   Instagram followers Twitter retweets Facebook likes Snapchat views Numbers we use To quantify #Popularity #Beauty #Wittiness #Worth These numbers mean #Nothing Compared to the people In your life Yearning for quality time With you They don’t need numbers To see your value    Emotional   We develop strong arms, carrying around emotional baggage for months, even years.  We mistake this for strength.   We weaken our grip on our baggage,  opening it to reveal  its untidy contents to others. We mistake this for weakness.   May Day  Unnecessary clicks, swipes, and likes are taking away  precious seconds,  minutes, hours, days of our lives,  of our budding dreams. “Just a little longer, okay?” “I’ll do it tomorrow,” you say.  Tomorrow is growing impatient. Tomorrow is ready to bloom today.   Two Vows  I’ve walked this path for eternity. Its minutiae are etched into my mind.  One random day, to my surprise, I notice stairs that reach the sky.   As I ascend, I glance below.  I see paths that swerve, with shadows galore.  Others appear straight with a sunlit glow, but on closer inspection  they have bumps as well.   I search for mine.  It takes some time. Its gentle curves are…

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August 5, 2019

“Life” – Burbuqe Raufi’s Epic Novella – Part II

“Life” – Burbuqe Raufi’s Epic Novella – Part II

“Life” Part II Angela Miller/the one who served justice for women. The storm was coming sooner than anyone expected. Garbage bins, branches, and road signs flew through the air as she drove her rented white Ford Cabriolet. She ducked her head in fear of getting hit by the flying objects. “Why did I come? Damn it. I knew this was coming,” Angela whined to herself while trying to keep the car on the road. She could hear the cyclone coming closer and closer. Her heart beat fast. Fear had conquered her whole body, and she couldn’t focus. She hit a tree, and the car stopped. She looked around. The air was thick with dust. She coughed; her lungs were full of filth. Her right leg was stuck underneath the steering wheel. She tried to free…

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