September 20, 2020

“Frank Olson” — The Poetry of Charles Rammelkamp

“Frank Olson” — The Poetry of Charles Rammelkamp

Frank Olson    “Webber,” my editor barked  when I walked into the office  that day just after Thanksgiving, 1953.   “I want you to look into this story  about the CIA guy who jumped  out of the tenth floor window   at the Statler, on Seventh Avenue.  Why did he do it?  Could he have been he pushed?”    My beat? CIA, MK-ULTRA, “mind-control” drugs.  Brainwashing.   I knew about Frank Olson already;  worked at Camp Dietrich in Maryland, Special Ops,   an aerosol expert, his specialty   “airborne distribution of biological germs.”   Worked on Operation Sea Spray a couple year earlier,   where they released a dust   that floated like anthrax, near San Francisco.   At Dietrich, he directed experiments  that involved gassing and poisoning lab animals.    “I’ll look right into it, sir,”   already booking a flight and hotel  in my mind, thinking,…

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September 13, 2020

“Leap of Faith” — An Ekphrasis Poem by Mark Blickley

“Leap of Faith” — An Ekphrasis Poem by Mark Blickley

Image by Mark Blickley  Leap of Faith  I’m a dead frog and I don’t say this with any pity or understanding or shame, it’s just an observation that people seem to like us, like us a bit too much because they like to push hooks through our jaws and cast us out to sea, as well as amputate us for fine dining and draw us as a cartoon shuffling cigar smoking smart ass, and they like to blame us when they choke on the phlegm in their throats, and they swear that some of us give them hideous skin infections while the evil ones enjoy tossing us into their steamy potions as the younger ones imitate us with a game of leaps and crashes, perhaps because we abandon our young and we larger ones like to…

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August 17, 2020

“The Leopard’s Good Idea,” Poetry by Mark A. Murphy

“The Leopard’s Good Idea,” Poetry by Mark A. Murphy

The Leopard’s Good Idea   or Costume Change    The pen is mightier than the sword. Behold  The arch-enchanters wand! – itself a nothing! –  Edward Bulwer-Lytton    1    One day the crafty leopard hit upon  the neat idea to turn out   his old wardrobe  in favour of a whole new look.    Out went last season’s winter warmers   as if a change of pelt might bring   about a change in personality.  Nonetheless, the inclination to swindle     outweighs any kindness.     So, the cheating and subterfuge runs  its course, until the cheat    and the cheated part company  in the face of wild promises and denials.    2    Now we journey to the end of time  to ascertain whether the pen   really is mightier than the sword,  only to find what we always suspected.   …

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August 9, 2020

“Meteor Shower,” Poetry by Mark Hammerschick

“Meteor Shower,” Poetry by Mark Hammerschick

Meteor Shower   Canvas black  the eternal oil spill galactic  dark matter  speckled waves of crystal  diamond sky  ruby, emerald, sapphire   lightspeed  silent night bright   terminal velocity  eyes focus  straining in the dark time  as seconds, minutes, eons  stretch galaxies  into small hands  that even rain cannot  feel  for in feeling  we begin to fall  headlong into night  riding the meteors  of our past   knowing the showers  of our future  will smother  those small hands  someday  not even the rain has such small hands  Smokestacks of oak, hickory and birch  lurch in the balance of sleet and snow  on a confused Sunday in early May  as my woods fill up with snow.  It’s a snowy evening  tucked away on this Highland Park cul de sac  hugging Lake Michigan’s shore  as the gales of this Spring day  recall the final…

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July 21, 2020

Kira Rice-Christianson — Six Poems

Kira Rice-Christianson — Six Poems

Little White Lies     I started carrying around   these little white lies;   they live here on my face.   Like when I ask you a question and   your answer seems ingenuine but   I smile at you softly, anyway.   Or when I fix you a plate  and you give me your thanks,  and I kiss the side of your head.   While inside I scold   the woman who does as she’s told,   though I lay with her each night in bed.   Or when you don’t come home  for three nights in a row  and I lay awake cracking my knuckles and toes.  I picture her holding your body, unclothed.  The thought leaves me paranoid,   and I look through your phone.   I shouldn’t have done that, now I can’t sleep.   My body is filled with anxiety and heat.   I…

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July 14, 2020

“Another Day of Quarantine,” Poems by Michael P. Aleman

“Another Day of Quarantine,” Poems by Michael P. Aleman

Another Day of Quarantine    The morning sun bathes our bedroom with soft light  on a morning more than serene, a real gift on another day of quarantine.  Cool March air via a slightly opened window drifts in.  I welcome the freshness of the air and the sunlight.  They bring the end of night, and assurance that darkness won’t prevail.   The true blessing, of course, is being quarantined with you,   having you beside me, the halo of your silver hair soft upon your pillow.  The morning air billows the window curtain, offering a badly needed certainty   that normalcy remains, will sustain us to the end.  I abhor the thought of living through this quarantine alone,   for you are bride, lover, companion and friend,  and if the end is at hand, we’ll weather it together.  I will, however,…

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June 22, 2020

“Up There” — Three Poems by Chad W. Lutz

“Up There” — Three Poems by Chad W. Lutz

Up There      this one goes out   to anyone that’s   ever made me feel   I wasn’t enough    or     felt they were too good  & drifted away    I remember   we fucked   in the auditorium       your idea       & how carnal &   playful you were    wore a skirt  and it hurt  but I’ll admit  I wasn’t ready    here’s   to the loves   that didn’t last  couldn’t last  it’s all in the past now  but I still daydream  time to time    Acan Glaske  big border  you know what that means  government shutdowns  partisan bickering  sniveling banter  back and forth we go    the first settlers  built walls around their encampments  wanted to keep the threats out    the Lakota  the Apache  the Comanche  they lived on the open range  in communion with nature …

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June 18, 2020

Poetry and Prose to Honor Juneteenth

Poetry and Prose to Honor Juneteenth

We at The Fictional Cafe are shocked, dismayed and angered by American policemen gunning down American men of color. We assume you feel similarly. Times of great stress, like the COVID-19 pandemic, bring out both the best and the worst in people. It is a time in which we must be patient, calm, understanding, even forgiving, even while we protest for change. We have no way of knowing what strife and pain, or growth and joy, await us in the endless days of this pandemic. All we have is today to be the very best humans we can possibly be, and that today, today, is Juneteenth when the world bows its head to remember the end of slavery in America, circa 1865. Of course, we know it wasn’t the end and that racism still runs…

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June 11, 2020

“Silenced,” The Poetry of Joan McNerney

“Silenced,” The Poetry of Joan McNerney

Silenced      What is never spoken of and pushed down  becomes mold crawling over hearts.    Strangling our voices, it scuttles though   corridors, tunneling, warping each day.    My body. . .this swollen thing carried by   legs too thin and crippled to uphold it.    Pushed down, tightly clamped in now  full of pain, gasping for each breath.    Smothered, silenced.        street corners      enveloped in  exhaust fumes  slate-like formations  wait for light  to change  her carbon dress  his face of ashes    crushed within  this granite body  we eat grey food  pulling empty  air thru narrow  passageway to  ink stain train  smudged  along blurred  landscape of city    inside myself  searching a  designer  1 clear line  of perspective  which distinguishes  buildings from  streets & points  to where  the synthetic  sky ends   …

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May 7, 2020

“My Girlfriend, the Narcissist,” Poet Natascha Graham

“My Girlfriend, the Narcissist,” Poet Natascha Graham

My Girlfriend, the Narcissist   She’s called Gillian. She’s got brown hair, and eyes the colour of a bleached winter sky.  She’s about 5’5″, but she’s tough.  My girlfriend was a narcissist. She didn’t like me having friends, or seeing family.  So, I didn’t really.  Gillian stuck around, though.  In fact, that’s when I first met her.  A few months in.  I met her on the school run.  She was standing in a driveway nudging gravel with the toe of her Converse.  I asked her if she’d lost something.  Her wedding ring, she said. Not that it mattered.  He was a cheating bastard.  We walked to school together, her black wax jacket similar to mine, though I envied its collar, and the zip doesn’t work on mine. It broke on Melton playing field when I bent…

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