Wednesday, March 03, 2021

New Flash Fiction by Felipe Rodolfo Hendriksen

 Objectivity in Art 

He stops the offensive to see a painting by Le Brun he had always admired, the one with Alexander in the tent of Darius. The queens, supplicant, at his feet. The dark-skinned servants, frightful, with their hands on their heads. He’s on the left, great, hands wide open as if he were vainly pontificating or asking for forgiveness. The general sentiment of the piece is one of incredulity. In all that he sees a symbol and an allegory of what was happening and was going to happen. 

Satisfied, he leaves Versailles: he’ll soon have to march down Champs-Elysees.


- © Felipe Rodolfo Hendriksen 2021


Felipe Rodolfo Hendriksen studies Literature at Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina. He currently lives in Buenos Aires.

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

New Poetry by Ute Carson










Seasons of the Body 

Youth is spring, 
blossoms, smoothness, idealized perfection. 
Old age is winter, 
frost, concealment, farewells. 
Only summer and fall build bridges, 
ripeness and golden harvest time 
gliding toward wilting and letting go. 
Through different lenses we may see 
the lustrous skin of youth as cold as marble, 
while wrinkles of age show warmth and wisdom. 
Young eyes may shine bright and proud, 
but lack insight. 
Muscular legs can run fast, 
but be unable to slow down and meditate. 
Dark locks of hair entangle in an embrace, 
while silky gray strands are caressed by the wind.   
The fit body finds admirers, 
but tenderness hovers over frailty. 
The young heart beats with optimism, 
but may neglect to open its chambers to listen. 
If we accept our bodies, ourselves across time, 
we find beauty in every season. 


- © Ute Carson 2021


A writer from youth and an M.A. graduate in comparative literature from the University of Rochester, German-born Ute Carson published her first prose piece in 1977. Colt Tailing, a 2004 novel, was a finalist for the Peter Taylor Book Award. Carson’s story “The Fall” won Outrider Press’s Grand Prize and appeared in its short story and poetry anthology A Walk through My Garden, 2007. Her second novel In Transit was published in 2008. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and magazines in the US and abroad. Ute Carson resides in Austin, Texas with her husband. They have three daughters, six grandchildren, a horse and a clowder of cats. www.utecarson.com  

New Poetry by Karen Pierce Gonzalez










Childhood Home 

Happily-ever-after did not
paper the walls. Pencils
did not mark inches grown,
or the spine’s curve
bending right when, at 9,
I learned there were only
barbed angles in this house,
a skewered patchwork
of heated arguments, splintered
door frames, tainted truths,
and a roof that leaked
every time I cried.


- © Karen Pierce Gonzalez 2021


Karen Pierce Gonzalez’s fiction, non-fiction, and poetry have appeared in numerous publications. A former journalist and folklore columnist, she facilitates creative and folktale writing workshops in the San Francisco Bay Area. karenpiercegonzalez.blogspot.com
 

Monday, March 01, 2021

New Fiction by Ken Kapp

 Mr. Big

 “Yes,” he tooted, “there’s spring in my step and I must be spring itself!” Moments before, he had popped out of the baby’s mouth, landed on the ground with a comfortable squish, and taken his first steps still wet from the sucking.
 He rolled from side to side taking in his surroundings. Clearly, he was the biggest, and from where he was standing, he was also on the inside track. “I’m Mr. Big,” he muttered tentatively and, when no one said otherwise, shouted, “I’m Mr. Big and we’re going places!” Without another thought he set off at a quick pace down the inside track.
 “Ouch, ouch!” he complained after stepping on a rough stone. This will never do. I’ll need to walk on somebody. He was pleased with his idea and jumped on the first person to come by. “I’m Mr. Big and the only one that counts and my father is richer than yours.” Two steps later he stopped, wiggled a little, and bragged, “Now I’m richer than my father. And I’m going for a makeover.” He bent over and whispered, “You can be my apprentice; I promise never to fire you.”
 Mr. Big chuckled. I’m lying, but as a toe I don’t have any fingers to cross…well, I don’t have them, so it doesn’t matter. It’s not a lie anyhow if it helps me. “OK, we’re here.”  
 Curling back, he looked up at the sign: MAKEOVERS – CHEAP!
 Yes, this is the very place.
 There were bells attached to the door and the ding-dinging reminded him of a cash register so when the makeover artist asked how she could be of help, he said, “Make me look very rich.”
 She smiled. “Follow me, sir, we’ll go into the rich room.”
 Mr. Big felt rich already. I can do anything I want. He reached up and pinched her in a very private place. She was hurt but, as a poor employee, swallowed. However, she had an idea. Instead of bringing him to the green room she continued on to the orange room. There was a picture of an orangutan on the door with a cautionary note that the color treatment in this room was not without risks.
 The list was posted on the door for everyone to read. It was long, including wanting bananas at all hours, swinging from trees, and having delusions of grandeur. But Mr. Big was too lazy to read and in too much of a hurry to even look at the picture. He reached up for the employee’s private parts again but she was one step ahead of him and skipped away.
 “Why don’t you sit down and put your foot up here. This won’t take long at all. And if you wish, I can put a hot wrap around your head. It’ll feel wonderful and I’ll be through before the towel gets cold.”
 Mr. Big leaned back in the chair, put his foot up, and was soon sleeping. Layers of orange paint were applied to the nail and other parts of his anatomy (but no one ever said). He slept on until the paint was dry, dreaming of glory and riches. When he woke, he looked at his orange toe and started to yell,   “Green is the color of …” but was assured that that was old-fashioned.
 “Orange is the new color of riches and you look simply wonderful.”
 He had a moment of doubt until she assured him, “And this special makeover also makes you a stable genius.”
 It was enough to make him a very happy man and in gratitude he left without trying to pinch the makeover artist. He also didn’t pay for the service, which he thought was the first flowering of his genius.

MORAL: The first steps on the path of unrighteousness are often small.


- © Ken Kapp 2021


Ken was a Professor of Mathematics, a ceramicist, a welder, and an IBMer until downsized in 2000. He taught yoga until COVID-19 decided otherwise. He continues writing, living with his wife and beagle in Shorewood, Wisconsin. He enjoys chamber music and mysteries. He's a homebrewer and runs whitewater rivers.

Please visit www.kmkbooks.com.

New Poetry by Rachel Nolan










Pan-Tomb

Does grief transform? Into what? 
There is a controlling and condensing of language,
a welling-up,
a regurgitated mass.

There is a controlling and condensing of language 
indescribable and useless to us, 
a regurgitated mass 
of dead leaves and teeth 

indescribable and useless to us. 
No lesson was taught 
of dead leaves and teeth 
and then some kind of Something Else. 

No lesson was taught,
a welling-up 
and then some kind of Something Else. 
Does grief transform? Into what?


- © Rachel Nolan 2021



Rachel Nolan holds a BA in poetry from Hampshire College, edits for Green Writers Press, and is managing editor for Millennial Pulp Literary Magazine. Past accomplishments include being a finalist in jubilat’s Make a Chapbook Competition in 2017, as well as being a finalist for Heavy Feather’s Zachary Doss Friends in Letters Memorial Fellowship in 2020. Rachel’s work has most recently appeared in Tilde, Trouvaille Review, Second Chance Lit, and Beyond Words Literary Magazine, among others.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

New Poetry by Kris Spencer










Some form of blocking 

Iggy Pop is in his clapboard bungalow  
in Little Haiti, Miami; 
he is talking about his paintings. 
to Sky Arts. 

On his sofa  
a pregnant woman 
carved in foam. 

He works on a canvas 
which might show a face; 
adding a stroke of acrylic, 
he steps away  
and smiles to the camera - 
nothing is slyly transposed. 

Then, filmed at a gallery show, 
he seems hurt 
when his paintings are 
bought as souvenirs. 

Another time, 
talking with Stefan Brüggemann, 
he says: 
You block the areas,  
and then you allow the rest to happen. 


- © Kris Spencer 2021


Kris Spencer has written seven books, most published by OUP. He is a regular contributor to magazines in a journalistic career that spans over 20 years. His poems have been published in a number of journals; most recently, Acumen and the Balloon Literary Journal. Kris is a Headteacher living and working in west London. He was born and grew up in a village outside Bolton. Previously, he has studied, worked and lived in Hull, Cincinnati, Oxford, and the Bailiwick of Jersey.

New Fiction by Nick Mann


Russia, 40’000 BP
Homo Deus

Cold hands burn in the winter chill…
— Lily Rose, Winter
 
 Snow crunches underfoot. Cold, painful. He must move quickly if he’s to see another sunrise. He breaks out into a sprint. Thick, muscular thighs, well developed from years of experience, pump hard. He sprints past a line of trees—too small—then sees a big one to his left. He scrambles up the fat trunk with ease, begins to climb the branches to put more distance between himself and it. He stands on a branch, leans back against the trunk, panting to get his breath back. It, a flash of grey fur and claw, races past the tree before realising he has disappeared. Confused, it wanders around, sniffing the air. A breeze of frost-wind blows through the branches and the man tightens his grip. His hands, rough, hairy, are bone-white. He can’t stay here for much longer, but he can’t get down just yet. The animal below stops meandering, cocks its head ever so slightly. A twitch of the ears and it’s off, back the way it came. The man sighs, waits until it is out of sight before climbing down.

 The man finds the river nearby. No more than a trickle, he treks up the valley, through the wet grass and snow-laden trees, until the trickle becomes a stream, until the stream becomes a river, until the river becomes a waterfall. Behind the waterfall, he finds his people again, safe and sheltered from the wet and cold. The smell of rotting flesh reeks from the far end of the cave where’s a scattering of dead creatures, some scaly, some furry, some small, some big, and a smattering of wood—branches, twigs, leaves—where a fire is yet to be lit. When his people see him again, a babble of noise bursts the silence. He embraces all of his men with big bear hugs, and then she comes to him. His woman: crystal blue eyes, thick black hair, small-breasted, tall. They touch foreheads for a moment, and he allows himself a moment to relax in her arms. Then they separate and he has to be strong again. Strong for his men, strong for himself. He goes to the back of the cave to get something to eat. Something small and slimy, with eyeballs bulging out of their sockets. He gulps down big chunks of meat, then picks the bones out of his teeth and throws them to the side.

 Night closes in. He gets up slowly, careful to not wake anyone, and tiptoes to the mouth of the cave. All around him, the snow on the trees and forest floor and the torrential waterfall glow in the moonlight. He looks up at that silver disk in the sky and shudders. He looks away from the moon to a clear patch of blackness, briefly grazed by two shooting stars. He sighs. He stays out here for a bit longer, contemplating the inexpressible beauty of nature before going back inside and huddling with his people.

 The next day, the men are up early. There’s a certain energy among them, animating their movements and lifting their tongues. They grab their spears from the back of the cave and then they’re out. Past the waterfall, they follow the water down, until the waterfall is a river, until the river is a stream is a trickle, past the trickle until it widens up into a river again and the river runs into a lake. The lake is big, too big to try walking across, but small enough to see the other side.

 Silence. The air is heavy with silence. Not a single animal can be seen, hidden among the snow-laden vegetation. One of the men motions for the others to stop. He points at the floor, ten feet ahead, and leads the group to it. A footprint. As big as his hand, with four toe marks. Looking up, they can see the rest of the track going backwards. They all share a look and he, the tribe leader, nods affirmative. They follow the tracks back through the bushes, around the lake and into the valley. The wind is biting and the sun hides behind a cloud. They are on the verge of giving up when they hear it: a low howl, somewhere distant. They follow the tracks further, losing and finding them in quick succession. They’re coming out of the forest when they see it: a grey furred creature, alone.

 The men break into a sprint; the creature sees them coming out of the corner of its eye. The tracker and the tribe leader lead the pack to surround the animal. It whips around, snarling and snapping at the men, feeling each sharp point dig into its fur, enraging it all the more. It jumps up onto its hind legs and lunges for the tracker, connects and takes his arm off. The thing shakes the man’s severed arm from side to side, spraying blood everywhere, and the man screams. He drops his spear and tries to cover his bloody stump with his other hand but it’s futile. He’s a dead man. The animal bears down on him, tears out his throat—and finds a spear in its own throat. The tribe leader grunts, pulls out his spear, blood running down the tip.

 Two other men put the animal over their shoulders, and then, with one last look at the tracker, already starting to freeze, they head back. Up the valley, around the lake, up the river, the stream, the trickle, the bottleneck, up and up until they come to the cave behind the waterfall. It’s a long journey, and they take turns carrying the animal every so often.
 
 When they enter the cave, the tracker’s woman looks for her man. Upon seeing him not there, she lets out a wail of grief. The tribe leader places an arm around her to comfort her but she pushes him away. She needs space, time. He too needs space. He is numb; his men are numb. They heave the animal onto the fire pit and crouch down, thinking about how to light the fire. The man, the tribe leader, still holding his spear, suddenly shouts and throws it down. His woman comes rushing to him, and he pushes her away. He staggers to the mouth of the cave, tears filling his eyes, and he opens his mouth let out the deepest, longest shout his people have ever heard. With all eyes on him, they don’t see the flame hidden in the kindling.


- © Nick Mann 2021


Nick Mann is currently studying Creative and Professional Writing and Film and Screen Media at St Mary’s University in Twickenham but is originally from Royal Wootton Bassett. As a writer, Nick is a jack-of-all-trades because as well as prose, he's written poetry, screenplays and adapted a short story into stage script. Nick also plans to write an original play at some point.

Friday, February 26, 2021

New Poetry by Melissa Chappell










Twenty Summers

Twenty summers have passed,
and the river’s memory stretches
warm on a boulder,
waiting for her lover
as I wait,
in the deep hold of winter,
a stone in my shoe,
bothersome boulder
where many 
burnished suns ago,
I excelled
in every way
in his eyes,
oceanic gray
watching me
stretch
above the waters
roiling
as every 
pool of remembrance is
in flames,
and I am warm,
restless beneath
the ice floes,
bereft of your body,
twenty summers gone,
twenty silvered stones,
twenty rivers reimagining
us
twenty times
again and again,
that I have lost you.


- © Melissa Chappell 2021


I am an author living in S:outh Carolina, USA. I have been published in Amethyst Review, Dreich Magazine, A New Ulster, BlazeVox, and Adelaide Literary Review. My latest publication was Doors Carelessly Left Ajar (Alien Buddha Press, 2020).  I was a Pushcart Prize nominee in 2019 and a Short LIst Nominee for the Adelaide 2021 LIterary Award. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my poetry. 


New Poetry by Milton P. Ehrlich










Beyond the Next Horizon

I’m entering the final decade of my life
and will wait for my next transformation.
I don’t plan to spend any more of my savings—
knowing my money could be enjoyed
by the extended family I leave behind.
And when my turn comes to leave,
I hope it surely happens as seamlessly
as getting on my warm winter jacket
and fitting my arms into the sleeves.


- © Milton P. Ehrlich 2021


Milton P. Ehrlich Ph.D. is an 89-year-old psychologist and a veteran of the Korean War. He has published poems in Poetry Review, The Antigonish Review, London Grip, Arc Poetry Magazine, Descant Literary Magazine, Wisconsin Review, Red Wheelbarrow, and the New York Times



Thursday, February 25, 2021

New Poetry by Amy Bobeda










It’s called apheresis
it’s the thing–– 

I have a friend you should see in Santa Rosa
the doctor in the purple shirt says 
a blood cleanings without
crystals
on the windowsill
a $4000 dollar treatment
an appointment in a week
and if it works––

the language of medicine
once Greek
transposed Latin and English
to become a militarized
word
inventing scenarios
graphically understood
the 17th century
introduced: 
battle, enemy
and attack
declaring war against
nature
of the body
of the land
man’s attempt to 
disband 
fathers of Olympus
who
wared their own


- © Amy Bobeda 2021


Amy holds and MFA from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics where she founded Wisdom Body Collective, an artist collective rooted in the sacred feminine. Her work can be read in Humble Pie, Vol 1 Brooklyn, and elsewhere. @AmyBobeda on twitter. 

New Poetry by Karlo Sevilla










Rosary

Year One

The penance of one who looks for the disappeared
The penance of one who looks for the disappeared

Year Two

The penance of one who looks for the disappeared
The penance of one who looks for the disappeared

Year Three


- © Karlo Sevilla 2021


Karlo Sevilla of Quezon City, Philippines is the author of three poetry collections: “Metro Manila Mammal'' (Soma Publishing, 2018), “You” (Origami Poems Project, 2017), and “Outsourced!...” (Revolt Magazine, 2021). Recognized among The Best of Kitaab 2018 and twice nominated for the Best of the Net, his poems appear or are forthcoming in Philippines Graphic, Small Orange, DIAGRAM, Matter, Eunoia Review, Black Bough Poetry, Ariel Chart, Sanctuary, and elsewhere. 


New Poetry by M.J. Iuppa










Left Behind
                     ~ after Meindert Hobbema’s painting,
                                The Avenue at Middelharnis

Infinite— as you might imagine, the air
suddenly welcoming in a time where you
are unsure of each step on a wide dirt road,
gauging deep ruts made over time— mud’s
thick softening that hardens to shape stead-
fast into an emotion echoing the sound of
parting, that’s the wavering of slender trees
lining the avenue that holds up the clouds—
                                                  the clouds . . .
 never seem to disappear . . . do they?


- © M.J. Iuppa 2021


M.J. Iuppa’s fourth poetry collection is This Thirst (Kelsay Books, 2017). For the past 32 years, she has lived on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Check out her blog: mjiuppa.blogspot.com for her musings on writing, sustainability & life’s stew.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

New Poetry by John Maurer










Individualized Reality

Shawn Carter taught me that nothing unreal exists
but that doesn't mean untruths aren't as ubiquitous
as drug dealers with sun-faded tribal tattoos

It's not a lie if you believe it
it's two lies if you convinced yourself to believe it
A lie for them and a lie for you
isn't this the contemporary template for a career?

Failure taught me to fear success
but not to stop chasing it
Hate taught me to fear love
but still, every day she wakes up and I tell her I adore her

If you like solving math problems, you aren't good at math
One must reserve themselves for the unsolvable
The zero too heavy to be carried over
I know I'm wrong as soon as I enjoy being right


- © John Maurer 2021


John Maurer is a 26-year-old writer from Pittsburgh who writes fiction, poetry, and everything in-between, but his work always strives to portray that what is true is beautiful. He has been previously published in Claudius Speaks, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Thought Catalog, and more than forty others. @JohnPMaurer (johnpmaurer.com)  


New Poetry by Kitty Jospé










After the Carnaval in Trinidad— Tabanka


T o feel longing for what is no longer: In Trinidad they say tabanka:
A  yearning to be a wound’s nectar, but there's no flower.  Ask
B eauty to wind its silk, how it wants to be. What is known
A s quality ?  Watch how spirit dances, performs its aria.
N ourishing music that soothes.  What kind of dancing limb,
K arma, carried by wind, crafted by breath?  Pause in its comma,
A s this ache rises, like geese in winter, gone at sunset.

II

Some say longing can only fill with more
of itself—a yearning to be a wound’s nectar,
a sweet healing offered to bees so they may store
honey on the hive’s shelf.  We watch their

dance reeling, does it reveal some purpose,
like our desire—our soul’s unfolding—
this spirit dance we craft with wind, fire
of our breath?  It is winter, the ache in us

rising to join again a world, leave the frozen
edges like the geese rising from the break
in the ice to fly to warmer climes. Those chosen

make so smooth a splice indeed, you cannot
see the join. Nothing needed to get, what’s got:
but love of life, in self and others like hand in glove.


Note: “Tabanka” is particular to the culture of Carnival in Trinidad, and the feeling when it is over. 
Thus the acrostic in capital letters of Part 1.

- © Kitty Jospé 2021


Kitty Jospé loves the possibilities of language! After living and working in Europe, she delighted in teaching French (MA, NYU 1984).  Since 2008, midway in completing an MFA at Pacific University, OR, she delights in  moderating poetry appreciation discussions at two of the Rochester, NY Libraries.  Popular reader and speaker, she also has 6 books and appears in many anthologies and reviews such as The Ekphrastic Review, Atlanta Review, The Orchard Journal.



Monday, February 22, 2021

New Poetry by James Diaz










Poem in which my mother cuts off all her hair, 
asks for 150 dollars 

See this picture here
it's a wounded deer, it's a scoliosis ghost
sat in wheelchair 
under ER fluorescent light 
I swear I never came from there
but I did 
I did

it's her lamentation - I know - for her mother 
her sackcloth and ashes 

I imagine how she held the scissors 
until my father relented and took them in his hands
and cut it all away;

the pain

it's still there 

only the hair is gone

and her mother 

there's nothing sadder than knowing 
that you can't really fix any of this

how grief, like Samson’s strength, 
was never in the hair

it was just there
just there.


- © James Diaz 2021


James Diaz is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (Indolent Books, 2018) and Poetic Disasters (forthcoming, Alien Buddha Press, 2021,) as well as the founding Editor of Anti-Heroin Chic. Their work has appeared most recently in Cobra Milk Mag, Bear Creek Gazette and Resurrection Mag. They live in a far too cold and snowy upstate New York, where they are waiting patiently for the Spring. 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

New Poetry by Peter Magliocco










The Lady Diarist from Wales, Who Read the Poets as Washington Burned (1968)

Sometimes the spirit is left to crawl
with a lost dog in the streets,
bound to whatever unites the living
in life.

Even if it's the lowest common denominator,
even if it's the wind riffling
through caged beings
evolution has yet to define
in better shape, towards a better end:
whatever propels our particles
into the sea of human destiny.

She wrote these words in the library
of surrounding streets
before they were singed by fire & smoke.
Her personage modeled a helmet of hair,
with each ebony strand in alignment
compacting the infinite curls taking root.

As the black citizens roiled about
she sat writing on a tattered porch,
strewn with burnt-out cinders,
hardly noticing my M.P. jeep passing;
or seeing the olive drab troops either
who came to protect her building
from vandals near the White House.
Wood smolders best, she scribbled,
but please protect the cherry trees

& the flame of immortality
in Shelley's heart
today so far away.


- © Peter Magliocco 2021


Peter Magliocco writes from Las Vegas, Nevada, and has had poems published through the years in print and online publications. His latest poetry book is The Underground Movie Poems from Horror Sleaze Trash.


Tuesday, February 16, 2021

New Poetry by Michele Seminara










Embody

This body is not a temple but a vehicle 
for pleasure and pain.
This body is not a vehicle but 
a manifestation of pleasure and pain. 
Pleasure and pain are both sacred 
and profane revelations of body.

My body swimming in water is a mere drop in a body of water.
The body of water sometimes appears as a wave.
Wave and drop are only briefly appeared
by mind’s slippery karmic confluence. 

When I swim with you in this precious body of seawater,
we co-create. Later, when sense perceptions urge 
and attachments merge, we procreate.
Roused energies rise in steamy flesh 
and ahh into the other’s supple body.

Sometimes the ahh dives down like a fish and quickens into being. 

Three babies have anchored in my maternal cove:
nascent body/minds blooming in mine 
as I float like a yoke on the surface of 
this shimmering ocean’s grand dream. 


- © Michele Seminara 2021


Michele is a Sydney poet and mother of three and chief editor of literary mag Verity La.