March 13, 2024

“Switch” A Short Story by Yuan Changming

“Switch” A Short Story by Yuan Changming

*Featured image courtesy of Shelby Deeter on Unsplash Love can be many things: intimate, passionate, and also . . . complicated. Read along for Yuan’s take on an interesting and unique love story. Before they joined each other in Zhuhai, Ming often complained to Hua that her love was like a loach in a rice field, full of splashing vitality, but really hard to catch, let alone hold it firmly in his hand. Given the fact that theirs was an unspeakable extramarital relationship, he knew that she had every reason to hide her affection even from herself, but since they began to honeymoon as temporary elopers on October 12, Ming has become increasingly aware that there seems to be an invisible switch that controls her emotional being.   “What do you mean, what kind of switch?”…

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June 26, 2023

“No Man’s Ghost,” A Novel by Jason Powell

“No Man’s Ghost,” A Novel by Jason Powell

The Fire: Is fire alive? Does it possess intent or emotions or is it simply one of the four forces of nature, indifferent to human life? What would a fireman say if you asked this question? We asked Jason Powell, author of No Man’s Ghost, a brand-new, engrossing novel about a rookie New York fireman. See the interview with him following the Chapter 1 excerpt where he answers this question. No Man’s Ghost: This may be the most popular quotation among firefighters: “Let no man’s ghost ever come back and say his training failed him.” The Tale: Charlie Davids, freshly graduated from the New York City Fire Academy, is starting his first day at the firehouse. He’s considered on probation and thus called a “probie” by the other firefighters at Engine 99 and Ladder 88,…

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February 10, 2023

“Café Chimera”

“Café Chimera”

A Short Story by Bill Suter Fictional Café may be getting upstaged by the goings-on at Café Chimera, and that’s a good thing. Calvin yawned, barely functional, as the road crew shuffled into the cafe before their morning rounds. He needed a path back to the land of the living, but this muddy cup of coffee wasn’t helping matters.   “Too strong?” the server asked.   “Chewy, but it will do.”   “I’m sorry. I’m new here.”  “Yeah,” he forced a smile, “I can tell.”   “I could always cast a spell over it,” she suggested. “I’m better at that.”   “Beer flavored?” He forced another smile in spite of himself.   “Elderberry,” she said brightly. “It’s already in the syrup on your pancakes. I just need to activate it.” She gently waved a hand over his plate and stepped back…

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April 12, 2022

“Night Skies” — Poetry by Gopi Kottoor

“Night Skies” — Poetry by Gopi Kottoor

Night Skies  And love turned me Into a fish, swimming in your eyes, And I was content, As though your small pools Were more than ocean. And so I swam. How you turned me, just a body, To all of colours, How you blossomed out your heart As a sea flower For its clown fish. And you had me there, Brightening myself for you Over and over, Forgetting the splendour of red sunsets Turning to loss, Eternally in the tossing high seas, Forgetting, That love is but imagination, Put to test for truth In dying night skies.  ** Eyes  Take away from me The nibbles you made on my flesh. All the whispers you made as we sat by the river bank  Making paper boats. And when I came closer, you said,  careful Even the leaves Have eyes. We let the sundown Turn to goldfish And sink down to sea. Back in the car It is me All about you All over you And your words Breathing poetry  Into my face And…

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February 14, 2021

Laura Carter – Poems of Sensations and Memories

Laura Carter – Poems of Sensations and Memories

I pull away from the bruise. There is no bruise. It’s been said that language itself is a bruise, a collection of things to be feared. There is no bruise. I put off the pain. The pain returns. The body burns, as if in a fire, largely having been heated in winter by the obsolete feeling of the no. There is no no. I pull away from the no. The no, not having been part of the story, can’t really comment on anything. There are no people. There are people. Someone lights the proper way forward, as if in modernity, and I pull away from that. Why go? Someone on the other side of the ocean would pen a marinade and drink it down for dinner. I eat. There is no food. I see. There is no sight. I put away the bruise. Then, all…

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November 17, 2020

“Your Rising Moon,” Poetry and Photos by Jon Meyer

“Your Rising Moon,” Poetry and Photos by Jon Meyer

Editor’s Note: We present the poetry and photos of Jon Meyer, paired together as he has done in his book, Love Poems from New England: reflections on states of mind and states of heart. This excerpt is reprinted with the permission of Brilliant Light Publishing, L3C. Copyright © 2020 by Jon Meyer. All Rights Reserved.  *** Jon Meyer‘s previous book “LOVE POEMS FROM VERMONT: reflections on an inner and outer state” has won these awards: Reader Views Choice: Best National Poetry Book 2019/2020 Best Regional Book 2019/2020 Best Northeast Book 2019/2020 2nd Place Travel/ Nature 2019/2020 Next Generation  International Indie Book Awards: Finalist: Poetry 2019/2020 Finalist: Gift/ Specialty 2019/2020  This is his first feature on The Fictional Café.

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February 23, 2020

“Ethereal Tryst,” Poems by Horacio Chavez

“Ethereal Tryst,” Poems by Horacio Chavez

Ethereal Tryst    Meet me where the pink hued clouds entwine with infinity  So, will we conjoin in our appointed waltz  Upon that coral floor together in unity  To enjoy what is and bemoan that which remains  Our fate to hunger…  Our union asunder    Our feet skillful  We dance the dance fate has called out  Without malice though willful  We are without doubt  For all but our destiny…  We step carefully    Accepting that which is within our grasp  In lieu of that wish that eludes  Satisfied with the fortuitous clasp  Of mind and spirit to conclude   The interlude…  Of our love subdued    Perhaps fate will grant our desire  Beyond the tryst that both plagues  And blesses the fire  Kindled by the wave  That we may forever crave…  Our ethereal tryst  ** In Love With a Poet    So you’re in love with a poet you say …

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September 23, 2019

Dark Poetic Visions of Nigeria by Batunde Babafemi

Dark Poetic Visions of Nigeria by Batunde Babafemi

Reminisce   You remember when   we were too beautiful to smile?  savoring the tears for another day?  How we search our breath   In our nose?  You see the prophesy was true;  we will all die  But my lover’s death  took away my spine.  I crawl all night and wonder   about the shadow of a man  buried inside a plank—The day I heard his demise,   I thought it was a prank  Until I see tears from my eyes.  My love,  How long have you been cold?  Alone,   I buried my pain inside my gaze  looking through our memories  I heard your voice inside my speech,  & when the clergy summoned me   My words become flaccid  Like this I know how   much death took from me.   Abigail  Her silence has words burning inside her   Same as a…

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August 28, 2019

Aphrodite’s Revenge: Two Poems by Madison Culpepper

Aphrodite’s Revenge: Two Poems by Madison Culpepper

Even Aphrodite Has Lazy Days  I apologize for the days I don’t wear make-up or dress in tight gowns, and for the days I don’t try to seduce a man to feel worthy.  I used to bathe myself in lavender to attract men. Right now, I’m tired and alone. My confidence wilts when I don’t plaster my face with a glow brighter than the sun.  Today, I’m lying beneath blankets in nothing but sweats and skin. My hair is tied into a bun, purple scoops under my eyes. I wish a man could see that even without my highlight I’m still beautiful.  Most days, I may appear  like the pink sunsets pouring into violet streams. But beneath the gloss and glow and goddess sheen, I’m just a woman, a person. Someone who is more than vanity. And with my face bare, I hope my soul can finally shine, lilac light blooming freely through my skin after all this time.  Citrus Grief  Rows of oranges make a masterpiece in…

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July 5, 2019

“Wash, Rinse, Dry… Repeat” by Zee Mink

“Wash, Rinse, Dry… Repeat” by Zee Mink

Lie, then smile with penitent lips, as you continue to cheat Wash with repentance. Rinse with remorse, Dry tears of regret Repeat  It is your anemic nature, your compulsive rogue swagger Coffee break room champion, scalawag bragger  My own weakness, craving your wayward arms My insanity, always falling for your charlatan charms  I am the princess of poor personal choices Never listening to the warnings of my inner voices  My logical head knows, my deceiving heart excuses The blatant deception, the revolving heart abuses  I tell myself to walk. NO RUN away and never look back He’ll change, this is the last time he’ll jump the loyalty track  Truth be known, I am the genuine liar, the authentic phony I could have a steak, instead I feast on cheap baloney  My table is set, same old menu, no wisdom served today Eating with a spoon of shame, digesting familiar foul play  Zee writes from…

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