July 26, 2022

“Spare Parts,” Poetry by John Kucera

“Spare Parts,” Poetry by John Kucera

Spare Parts I like best the ones that change: Elephant. Tiger. Bear. Old books on the shelves reflecting every self I’ve ever been. The boy who thought he’d do much better to the man who got fired for correcting his boss. The trips to the zoo and the trips to Europe and the trips back home during midterms where I carried the books in cardboard boxes up staircases to rooms that were long ago abandoned. I’ve outgrown this old house and want to let my old selves breathe. I can’t stand to leave them stacked on the shelves. Or in boxes. I open the small ones last and count the contents. I recount them later because if one went missing it would leave a hollow space. ** Determinism Boxing isn’t really about pain. To hurt…

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July 14, 2022

“What You Said About Me,” Poetry by Eric Forsbergh

“What You Said About Me,” Poetry by Eric Forsbergh

What You Said About Me The first two sips of beer are the best, you tease good-naturedly as we huddle on a second date -the dark eddy of a railway station bar. First, foam annoys the upper lip. Then bubbles bristle in the throat. On brew, the stomach bloats. But, oh, those first two draughts. A river of passengers flows past, head-on toward destinations, delays, side-tracks, cancellations. How we like to overlay our futures onto those of passersby, guessing at their plunges into rapids, cascades, often jutting rocks, hoping for a pool of calm. How are they a match? you laugh. A season on, and now you banter with me smilingly. Maybe this is more like wine, slow to unfold complexity in the us we’re tasting every day. ** Pursuit of Food The sea breathes…

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July 11, 2022

“Beauty and the Gym” by Colton Vandermade

“Beauty and the Gym” by Colton Vandermade

The gym is for the apartment complex. A majority of the gym’s population includes moms reaching back towards their fitter past and young childless men who will one day give up on fitness altogether once they begin their own child rearing.  On a given Wednesday afternoon, the random assortment of moms and bros fills the small space. Moms on ellipticals and bros on the weights. Everyone has headphones in, everyone in the same room, but everyone’s individual music tastes transport them to immensely varying experiences.  That is, until a mother of three and soon to be four cries out in alarm. A small puddle forms at her feet and she knows immediately that she is going to be a mother of four a whole lot sooner than she expected. The cry draws the attention of…

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July 6, 2022

Student Poetry by Anai Gonzalez

Student Poetry by Anai Gonzalez

my hoodie reeks of depression it has food stains and maybe tear stains too my scalp flakes from excessive stress regardless of how often i shower my hair isn’t even as beautiful as it used to be it doesn’t shine anymore and i’m losing handfuls of it and of course, my mother is right beside me to remind me of all this my smile is shadowed by my saddened eyes needless to say, it’s faker than ever these days my body isn’t anywhere as fit as it was just months ago i’m losing all my muscle fat, i don’t love my body anymore my skin consists of red dots spread across my cheeks exposing my imperfections, embarrassing me to tears my mind is way too troubled to develop concrete thoughts and translate them into decent…

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July 1, 2022

“Art as Creative Synergy,” by Hank Keneally

“Art as Creative Synergy,” by Hank Keneally

Artist’s Statement: I am very fortunate. I have always been in the arts. Learning the notes on the piano from my grandmother who was a piano teacher. Listening to classical music that my brother brought before me. Playing instruments. Becoming a photographer. Practicing counseling and social work for 42 years, which I see as another artistic process. Becoming a painter. I create every day. I start with compassionate observation. I always have a camera with me. For me, great things happen where arts merge. I use paint, cameras and digital technologies. I aim for reciprocity between myself and my media. I love to be surprised in the act of creation. My artworks are all a result of these processes.   *** Hank Keneally studied music and photography at Arizona State University, often staying in the dark room overnight…

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June 21, 2022

“Circling the Bronze Sculptures,” by Paul Germano

“Circling the Bronze Sculptures,” by Paul Germano

She first notices him at the far end of the room, lean, rugged, rough around the edges, wearing dark-wash jeans and a grey hoodie under a brown leather jacket. He has short-cropped coppery-red hair and two days’ worth of reddish scruff. He rubs leisurely at the side of his face while pondering a watercolor on bark paper, an evocative rendering of a lonely fishing boat tied to a weather-beaten dock in murky water. He steps back, slightly tilting his head. He can feel her attentive gaze, but pretends not to notice. When the moment is right, he sneaks a peek and likes what he sees. Her dress is just tight enough, a navy-blue number with white trim and matching high heels. She has chestnut brown hair that’s shoulder length and silky smooth, piercing green eyes…

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June 18, 2022

“Juneteenth: Remember That Time” by Derrick R. Lafayette

“Juneteenth: Remember That Time” by Derrick R. Lafayette

I remember in mid-march 2015, Kendrick Lamar’s second album debuted. One of my closest friends, who is white, had played it for his wife, who is also white. Needless to say, the first thirty seconds is a sample from Boris Gardiner’s “Every ____ is a star.” She promptly told him to turn it off. She was uncomfortable, and I understand. The first fourteen years of my life were a heavy combination of daily reminders and academic study into the bloated, complicated, and emotionally traumatizing history of slavery. My elementary school had taught me “Lift Every Voice and Sing” when I was four years old. Some people don’t know that there’s a Black National Anthem. I’d seen Roots, The Color Purple, Shaka Zulu, Panther, Rosewood, and Malcolm X by the time I was in seventh grade….

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June 16, 2022

New Writing by Barista Lorraine Martindale!

New Writing by Barista Lorraine Martindale!

Lorraine Martindale, The Fictional Café’s editor-at-large, has published new work which explores ideas of how one tells stories, and how the process often leads to new discoveries. “A Magical Stumble Back in Time” muses on how collage artist Joseph Cornell’s work creates visual stories, in Raft Magazine. In Shift: A Journal of Literary Oddities, “A Lemon and Almond Tart for Manny Eggertsville” reveals how a character changed when the sister’s story became more interesting, using an old, found recipe. And in “Beverages, San Francisco” an imagined conversation plays out among a certain set in Sazeracs, Smoky Ink. *** Lorraine Martindale is our Editor-at-Large. She is a freelance writer and editor who loves to read and talk about books. She has an MFA from the New School in New York, and is at work on a…

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June 13, 2022

“Ideology as a Way of Life,” Poetry by Tali Shabtai

“Ideology as a Way of Life,” Poetry by Tali Shabtai

“Ideology as a Way of Life” Women like me, yes have been added over the years to overshadow what preceded us that is mostly not in line with our agenda. The accepted wording is not what will satisfy our desires – Desires? Ours? Well then, I write in the female first person plural so as not to sound as one who sins with pretension as an individual woman, however I do not have many female friends for this journey and those who have already passed through a station or two according to the fixed rules of society A woman like me tries to stay free from society and at the same time to be in it with boycotts in double-digit ages until the arrival of the adolescence age and beyond I bear this bitter insult…

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June 7, 2022

“Virtual Math,” A Short Story by David Rogers

“Virtual Math,” A Short Story by David Rogers

I meditated on this lost and perhaps mythical labyrinth . . . on the secret summit of some mountain . . . I imagined it infinite, . . . a sinuous, ever-growing maze which would take in both past and future and would somehow involve the stars.            —Jorge Luis Borges, “The Garden of Forking Paths”  “I did it,” Professor Radiant announced. “I’ve solved the problem of faster-than-light travel.” Radiant was the most senior member of La Mancha University’s Department of Mathematics, but no one listened to him. He was well known for his quixotic quests to solve problems like the Riemann hypothesis or to show Pi did, in fact, have a last digit. Of course these efforts never ended well.  Thus, not until Professor Radiant made his claim about the secret of FTL travel…

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