March 16, 2022

“Catch the Spring Young,” Poetry by Sunil Sharma

“Catch the Spring Young,” Poetry by Sunil Sharma

Catch the spring young! A brief season that brings vitality to the faded flowers the wilted gardens and fields. The spring! It removes the effects of the winters in the frosty climes or the harsh sun in the moody tropics and ushers in dappled days dipped in fresh hues and light restores smiles on the  tired lips. Also, significantly, the young spring revives a hibernating artist by replenishing Within! ** The Snow the snow is deep outside the door shut inside in Toronto in the winter a whole world opens up Inside! ** Deep Darkness Evening no longer signals the darkness that thickens quickly, these days the tired eyes have seen darkness descend in the daylight also darkness that shines on despite the bright sun In a bleak country, where folks die quickly, fires burn merrily…

Continue reading →

March 9, 2022

“Counselling,” by Brandan Hingley-Lovatt

“Counselling,” by Brandan Hingley-Lovatt

Editor’s Note: We keep the author’s original spelling when it differs from U.S. English. In this case, Brandan’s UK spelling of “counselling/counsellor” with two Ls persists throughout this work. If I were to write my suicide note I think I’d sign it “I’ve never liked anyone more than myself and I like myself this much.” A parting statement which I think is honest. I can picture it—the note attached to my shirt with a safety pin, my limp body hanging from the ceiling; a plastic bag wrapped around my head for good measure.  Anyway, my counsellor says, “There are a lot of bad people in the world but there are good ones, too.”  I agree but respectfully say that the good ones are too small in number so it doesn’t really make a difference.  My…

Continue reading →

February 28, 2022

“Painting for Personal Joy,” by Hume Baugh

“Painting for Personal Joy,” by Hume Baugh

Artist’s Statement: I’ve been painting for five years. I am mostly self-taught. When I started painting, I decided right away that I was going to paint for my own joy, not to please other people. I wasn’t going to worry about whether the paintings were thought to be good or bad but was going to celebrate whenever someone found something in them. I have worked in other artistic contexts and there is always pressure to do well, to excel. But what this resolution regarding painting did for me was free me to simply play. Like when I was a child and I had paints. Sheer playing. This has been my method of operation since. I learn all the time, I am always experimenting, facing challenges, correcting mistakes, following unexpected paths – that is part of…

Continue reading →

February 23, 2022

“Peter Roget,” Poems by Charles Rammelkamp

“Peter Roget,” Poems by Charles Rammelkamp

Little Red Man My minister father composed sermons. My uncle praised their “taste and elegance”: a word man long before me. Son of a Geneva clockmaker, mon pere, Jean Roget – “little red man,” from the French rouge – immigrated to London at 24 to become pastor at Le Quarré, the French Protestant church in Soho. Papa preached in the little Huguenot church on Little Dean Street, a few blocks north of St. James’s, the colossus near Piccadilly Circus, Christopher Wren’s  largest church – where I was christened in 1779. Papa’d married Catherine Romilly a year before, in St. Marleybone Church, welcomed into their family without reservation. My uncle, Samuel, rhapsodized about our happiness, “as complete as is ever the portion of human beings,” but only months after my birth, Papa was “seized with an…

Continue reading →

February 8, 2022

A. Rayan El Nadim Presents Performance Poetry

A. Rayan El Nadim Presents Performance Poetry

Editor’s Note: A. Rayan El Nadim is an Egyptian poet whose work has been translated from Arabic into English here for your enjoyment on The Fictional Café. He categorizes his work as conceptual and performance poetry, specifically, “a deep dive into myths, folklore, and the secrets of inherited improvisational folk songs that deeply express pain, suffering and dream; the history of the Egyptian folk treasures; the songs of Rababa, a rediscovery of the true history buried in the walls of Egyptian houses; and the rituals of joy and sadness that lived for thousands of years on both banks of the Nile.” My name has been crossed out a long time ago on a brick wall  -1- I searched for my name in my body  I found it engraved in aversion, estrangement, and revulsion  I searched…

Continue reading →

February 3, 2022

“A Hail of Stone,” A Short Story by Jane Nkiwane

“A Hail of Stone,” A Short Story by Jane Nkiwane

The cry of the KWEREKWERE A hail of stones ran through Shoko’s Shack. His heart pounded so hard as he heard the thundering of the rocks every time they hit his corrugated iron shack. It was a chilly day but he found himself drenched in sweat, his mind was in turmoil. The only instinct he had was to save his life from the marauding monsters outside who were baying for his MaKwerekwere blood. “Come out you maggot!” “Cockroach!” “Scavenger” different voices called out from the mob gathered outside his one roomed shack. On top of the bed was a buttered and worn-out black suitcase with his meager belongings which he had hastily packed inside resting on a threadbare greasy quilt. The zipper had ceased to function. Shoko had wrapped a thick red string around it…

Continue reading →

January 31, 2022

“Landscapes,” Photography by Fabrice Poussin

“Landscapes,” Photography by Fabrice Poussin

Artist’s Statement: There is something grand to be said about solitude. Although it is not perhaps the ideal state most seek, it is nonetheless a privileged place in which to rest. When the noise stops and the silence of a pristine world sets in, things merely change within. Imagine inhaling the thinning air of high altitudes, of the desert, or the thicker atmosphere of one’s backyard. There is life in every particle if you take the time to slow down and abandon the humdrum of the city where it may appear everything is. It is quite unfathomable for many to understand the possibility offered by a solitary journey to where few venture. These images are an invitation to join and commune with something much larger than the daily unwanted duties of a busy human life. …

Continue reading →

January 26, 2022

“A Sad Tale,” Poetry by Vera West

“A Sad Tale,” Poetry by Vera West

Editor’s Note: This is Vera West’s first full poetry post on The Fictional Café as our new Poet-in-Residence for 2022-2023. Please help us welcome her to the Café and be sure to read her haunting, heartbreaking trilogy of poems at the end, called “A Sad Tale.” loneliness It’s an odd thing to grieve in advance, to let your mind give you a sample taste of the things you fear; the most flavorful being: loneliness. I’m anxious about the day when my loved ones are all gone, and I’m truly alone. between sisters the first time I told her our father had killed our dog, she hadn’t believed me. Perhaps it was the way I’d said it; “he killed our dog,” was all I’d said. the second time I told her she asked our father and…

Continue reading →

January 24, 2022

“The Last Professional,” A Novel by Ed Davis

“The Last Professional,” A Novel by Ed Davis

Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from the novel The Last Professional, copyright (C) 2022, by Ed Davis. Cover and interior Illustrations copyright (C) 2022, by Colin Elgie. Published by Artemesia Publishing, Tijeras, New Mexico. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. You can purchase Ed’s book here. A story of the River of Steel  By Ed Davis  Illustrated by Colin Elgie  So pay attention now my children  And the old story I will tell About the jungles and the freight trains  And a breed of men who fell.  –Virginia Slim   A four-lane highway passed over the Sparks yard at its eastern limit. The highway bridge had pedestrian spirals at each end and a jump-proof fence all across both sides. From mid-span, looking west, Lynden and The Duke could see the entire layout—freight cars hulking in the darkness, car-knocker’s lanterns…

Continue reading →

January 19, 2022

“Observations Through Yellow Glasses,” Yong’s New Book!

“Observations Through Yellow Glasses,”  Yong’s New Book!

Yong Takahashi moved to The United States with her parents when she was three years old. She grew up in a traditional household where her Korean and American worlds pulled her in opposite directions. Shortlisted for The Sexton Prize for Poetry, Observations Through Yellow Glasses: A Memoir Through Poems invites you to follow her journey as she learns life’s bitter lessons, longs for love, and attempts to heal the wounds she collects along the way. A few words from Yong: “I set out to write a memoir by my fiftieth birthday. Several people asked me not to use their names. I tried to figure out how I could tell my story without pointing fingers so I decided to write about snippets of my life through poetry. Each poem highlights a snapshot of a feeling or…

Continue reading →