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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June 1, 2021

Rebecca Hosking — Multitalented Creative

Rebecca Hosking — Multitalented Creative

Photo above: Elephant Camp, Chang Mai, Thailand Editor’s Note: This month’s featured artist is also a very talented musician and poet. Check out Rebecca Hosking’s diverse creative endeavors below. Not All Witches Belong to a Coven Not all witches belong to a coven. Put aside the stereotypes. Expand your mind and think outside of the box. Mother nature lives inside all of us. She is the mother of the earth. Her medicine lives in the plants that feed off the dirt. Get your feet wet, dabble, and expand your mind. Not all witches wear black clothing or dance naked in the garden just before dawn. This woman lives alone. She lives among her dreams, works hard like a graceful wave carrying life to the shore. She warms her skin with the sun and finds energy…

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May 24, 2021

“Lux et Veritas,” Four Sonnets by Claude Clayton Smith

“Lux et Veritas,” Four Sonnets by Claude Clayton Smith

Lux et Veritas    —for Yvonne    The light from all the stars we see goes on   to other galaxies although those stars  are dead. Where on earth does it end? In non-  existent time? Does light lose speed like cars  in neutral? Is “fading light” anomalous?  Not quite. In empty space light waves maintain  their speed until they interact with us  or meet other resistance. Light does not distain  a vacuum, but glass or water ebbs its flow,  and Bose Einstein Condensate can slow it  to one mile per hour. Black holes swallow  light forever. All Nature does its bit.  So where the hell does that leave you and me?  The truth of light confounds eternally.        B & B    Let Basquiat & Banksy paint away,  no cityscape untouched, four-handed art  on walls and bridges, cement or brick—array  of Day-Glo, long-tailed rats; vandals, one part  anonymous, one not. Subversive rap  or hip-hop punk, epigrams, graffiti…

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May 13, 2021

“My Sister,” Poems by Susan J. Wurtzburg

“My Sister,” Poems by Susan J. Wurtzburg

My Sister  My sister enacts meal provider, family clustered  around the table.  Sustenance for body and heart, hollowed   out by this year.  Muffled emptiness behind my ribs muted  by video calls.  Strands across the Pacific from my island  to her wooded home.  My sibling draws me back to Canada, closed  pine borders.   Each call a step closer, but still stranded  on a rock in the ocean.    ** The Toad  Heavy rains, another toad in the garden, poison  to my dog.  Buffo catching, my new pastime, followed  by a marsh trip.  Bye Mr. Toad. No whimsical talking character,  Wind in the Willows cute.  Instead a mammoth, warty body, with venom  sacs behind his ears.  Toad number seven in a lineage, a hopping  invading force.  Beady eyes, fire-plug body, strong jumping legs,  garden bane in Hawaii.  Islands replete with outsiders: frogs, rats, goats,  even tourists.  If the toads arrived with…

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April 27, 2021

“Head Space,” Poems by Ted Millar

“Head Space,” Poems by Ted Millar

Head Space    I still know my childhood best friend’s  telephone number even though  I’ll never dial it again.    I’ve taught certain poems so many times  I can recite them on demand, yet  some claim that has no practical application.    Most find my ability to name the American  presidents by years in office amusing  before urging me to remember “something important”    (like last night’s winning Powerball numbers?).  I embrace my savant-esque ability to rattle off  every Bob Dylan album and the songs featured    on them. I prefer not to cram my head   with empty crap on the radio and celebrity   gossip, thank you very much.    Want something proofread, I’m the resident  grammarian, but if it’s scores to last night’s  game, I suggest turning on ESPN.    I’ve actually read the whole Constitution,  not cherry-picked excerpts. Ditto   the Declaration of Independence,     the United Nations’ Declaration of…

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April 15, 2021

“Botticelli’s Oranges,” The Poetry of Reed Venrick

“Botticelli’s Oranges,” The Poetry of Reed Venrick

Botticelli’s Oranges In an Italian port village near where the boy called “Allessandro” grew up, some thought his circles drawn must be made with a mechanical compass, so round, so fine, there in the Mediterranean sand, where Botticelli grew into youth, wandering through the orange and lemon groves of the Italian littoral; even then sketching lines of muscular trunks and extending arms branching into fingers of leaves, mixing into colors of rinds of reds and yellows. But when youthful fingers grew long enough to put a brush to canvas, he tinted the precious fruit In Madonna with Child and Angels, where she sat under blooming orange trees in spring, for the artist used orange trees to symbolize the virgin, because as he said: among fruits, only oranges are evergreen, “if one sees the mean.” So…

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