October 5, 2021

“Architeuthis Considers the Sapiens,” by Katy Scrogin

“Architeuthis Considers the Sapiens,” by Katy Scrogin

Architeuthis Considers the Sapiens      Before, we could believe in their innocence  when they’d only seen us dead,  another limp tendril of sea-culled debris  delivered to dry land  in those in-between hours  when it was understood that nothing happened or arrived  outside the boundaries of their serene dreams    They had eons to build legends  upon our pale still limbs  to fill their need for fable  with splayed gray membranes  growing stale and sacred on the sand    But now their truth-seekers know  the cold-tingling thrill of penetration  into deep-dwelling realms        of untethered motion        volition  the stinging grasp of unstoried life.  What now, my unarmed soul,  now that they know?      * It wasn’t until 2006 that humans finally saw a living Architeuthis dux, or giant squid. Until that point, the dead specimens…

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September 9, 2021

“Party Time,” Poetry by Shoshauna Shy

“Party Time,” Poetry by Shoshauna Shy

            PARTY TIME      Everybody’s laughing at you  because you’re swinging a stick  like a fool at nothing  and because it’s June Fest   but moms made them come  h e r e.  Even Bobby Ferrell, your classroom  “book buddy” jeers.  The cake your mother served was lemon coconut for your sister  who missed out on her own party  in April when sick.  You trip on your own feet.  This makes the pitch of laughter rise –  and then ka-SHAB! – the stick  makes contact, the string snaps,   and the piñata tumbles to the ground.  Nobody understands, least of all you,   why you keep whacking and whacking   that jackass flat even after it spills  the goods. CHOOSING THE BEST TIME  TO STAGE YOUR OWN ABDUCTION      Not while your dorm mate is in Connecticut  and won’t notice how you aren’t there  but your purse and cell phone are.  Not the day…

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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 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 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 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 5, 2021

“Meeting in the Middle” — Poetry by Alison Jennings

“Meeting in the Middle” — Poetry by Alison Jennings

Meeting in the Middle, Lebanon, KS The center of these United States lies in this heartland space, where love does battle with our hates, where politicians court their base; yet there should be some room for peace: our modern civil war must cease. Lies in this heartland space proliferate, become more lies. It’s something that we need to face or else this fragile union dies. How can we mend the social quilt? Can democracy be rebuilt, where love does battle with our hates? Let’s hope it has the upper hand. The intervention of the Fates may be required for us to stand on principles, but not take sides, to have a chance to heal divides. Where politicians court their base, there’s no chance for compromise. “Dog whistles” emphasizing race – or victimizing Anglo guys –…

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June 22, 2021

“Tatiana’s Tango,” The Poetry of J.P. Christiansen

“Tatiana’s Tango,” The Poetry of J.P. Christiansen

Tatiana’s Tango    Her sex is a tango, sung in any language, please,  in a black and white picture, mono chrome,   with shadows of that desire, please.    She stands under the lamp-post dividing day and lust,  the music of a moon having come out to guide you, Tatiana.  The small orchestra plays the seductive tones,  the singer caresses words and refrain,  here in the bar in Warsaw, 1938,  where two bodies meet in a dance to celebrate life.    A tango may last three minutes.  I listen to the scratched vinyl surface of the 78.  A memory arises with each turning of the needle in its grooves.  Haunting notes and voice of a song which used to be.    Now, 1939, and the gramophone is silent.  The vinyl is broken.    Did the walls fall on you, too, Tatiana…

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June 18, 2021

Juneteenth: A Day of Remembrance and Celebration

Juneteenth: A Day of Remembrance and Celebration

Editor’s Note: Black lives matter. Creative lives matter. We’re very fortunate to see both embodied in The Fictional Café’s Residency program. In both instances, these are word-artists who had already discovered The Fictional Café and been published here. Mbizo Chirasha was asked to become our Poet-in-Residence because of the powerful messages of freedom from oppression and tyranny in his poetry. We are saddened to learn that he remains in exile, now for four long years, in large part because of his book of poetry, A Letter to the President, which drew the ire of the dictatorship in Mbizo’s native country. Against powerfully thwarting odds, we’re trying to help. Derrick R. Lafayette is, with pun intended, our Black Knight of fiction. His fierce, compelling stories captivated us from his first submission. His strong advocacy for our…

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June 7, 2021

“Sonnet to Morrow,” Poems by Yuan Changming

“Sonnet to Morrow,”  Poems by Yuan Changming

Sonnet to Morrow    Since yester twilight  Along  the borderline of tonight  With  fits of thirst & hunger  Among  storms of pain  Under  attacks of viruses   Between    interludes of insomnia  Beyond  both hope & expectation     At  the depth of darkness  Amidst the nightmare  Through  one tiny antlike moment  After  another . . .   Against       deadly despair  Until  awakening   To  the first ray of dawn   Holistic Relationship  (for Qi Hong)    99% from me plus  1% from you  Makes  Our love   Just happily perfect    Though, alas  Not exactly ideal  As anyone might wish   Tips for Becoming a Great World Citizen in the e.Age    1. Don’t argue with any numbers, but just follow the google algorithm;  2. Abide by American interest rather than international law;  3. Whatever game Uncle Sam is up to play, join the team led by him;   4. Always shore…

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