A Poem by Fred Lamanna

A Sonnet to the Goddess Febris

Yes they were quite small in their size for a pair of feet they made a statement

Painting around the town like no one knew what was causing the commotion

Paving the way for a row of older gentlemen who knew not how to saunter by

This must be the routine for the elegant masterpiece to be painted in regiment

Lowering the strains of the most commonplace blue bell ringing from a motion

Only to seethe for a quick sick chance second she had a movement only to sigh

Clustering around the decks and fatal balconies you should be able to hear a lot

But not that that would matter to a pagan guest showing his know vital qualities

Assured of the reaching stealth she could master the vague outpourings with cheers

Lonely the victims take on a raging fever overflowing into a crusty table with a spot

Lowering the spiteful moment it can assault the most ugly version of many vanities

Hovering about the quicker taunt tight frigid posturing composing for rapid jeers


Fred LaManna resides in Chicago.  He has modeled this Sonnet after the Illuminations of Rimbaud (New Testament of Poetry).  There are 41 more sonnets in The Goddess Cycle.

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Poetry by Donal Mahoney

Fast Food at Midnight

Donal Mahoney

A drunk comes into McDonald’s

staggers to the counter

is waited on by a young lady

who looks like his wife

years ago when he proposed.

Drunk says nothing, just stares,

mouth agape, until the

manager hustles forward,

sensing a sale

leans over the counter

says to the drunk,

“Want fries with her?”

————————————————————————

Donal Mahoney, a product of Chicago, lives in exiled now in St. Louis, Missouri. He has had fiction and poetry appear in print and online publication in the U.S. and elsewhere

Review – Jacob M. Appel’s EINSTEIN’S BEACH HOUSE

By Ashley Bach

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Einstein’s Beach House, the short story collection of Jacob M. Appel is populated by teachers, doctors, rabbis, people who used to be teachers, people who pretend to be doctors, people who pretend that their house once belonged to Einstein, a pair of teen girls breaking into a sexual predator’s house, a couple dealing with a depressed pet hedgehog, PEOPLE who seem real despite their unbelievable lives. Unbelievable in a good way. If you who take their coffee black with a hint of sugar, you will find this book to fit your tastes. Not to say that’s the only way you can enjoy the stories. Throughout the collection the illness recurs, having some effect on characters in some way. Mental illnesses and physical illnesses permeate, and by extension a fixation on mortality.

It’s easy to imagine that each story takes place in the same universe. It’s a universe of literary folks, and people who want more for themselves and loved ones. In the first story of the collection, “Hue and Color,” the main character’s father opines, “I fear I’ve taught you girls too much grammar and not enough forgiveness.” “The Rod of Asclepius,” one of the darker stories, a Manhattan doctor recounts accompanying her father on his nefarious hospital visits. Visits the latter deemed as being a way of changing the world and being for the narrator’s dead mother.

Stories like “The Rod of Asclepius,” the eponymous story, and “Limerence,” work as retrospectives. They are first person narrations that relay the distance the narrator has from the events recounted, and reflect on them, while giving tidbits of information of where they are now in life, as they tell the story.

Not only can Appel construct a fascinating concept, but he can carry it out, making sure that every aspect of the story is on par with the appeal of the plot, such as it is with “Paracosmos.” A beautiful title; science fiction like, and it’s about a worry wart mother receiving a visit from her daughter’s imaginary friend. It has it’s predictability, but the occurrences of anything predictable are minimal, and sometimes, as with “Paracosmos,” there is a point where the reader can see where things are going, but they can continue to read to see if this is actually going to be where the story leads. You wonder if this is for real, and you end up surprised.

Key features of the writing are the moments of profundity, so eloquent they jar you from the quirkiness or the darkness with this speck of fantasy. A prime example comes from Einstein’s Beach House.”

My sister looked up at me and asked, “Is this what nuclear winter is like.”

Often times Appel portrays his males as dreamers and his women as voices of reason. In addition, the females are more often than not are emotionally burdened, but he shows the flaws of both sexes in a way that we as a society have been normal for the norms, not to say it appears sexist. He seems to pay as much attention to female psyches as he does to male, and this balance of gender diversity is something that can be appreciated. There aren’t any definable archetypes. No manic pixie dream girls. No Humbert Humberts. Pretty much every child in the collection is precocious, but Appel manages to make them a pleasant aspect to the stories they are featured in.

The effectiveness of this line directly comes from the place where it occurs, during a domestic dispute between the narrator of the story’s mother and father. It comes from a child, and it’s in a nice indented line before the next break in the page.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. See for yourself!

FLASH FICTION BY JAY ROBERTS AND POETRY BY KAT BODRIE (8/24/2015)

Flash Fiction

Thundercats

Jay Roberts

Use the spice mix in the packet–but not all of it, only half. Or a teaspoon more than a half if you’re feeling funky. Fry it with a sliced onion and two crushed cloves of garlic, sauté for a minute, then add the not all that mushy bell pepper bought on the black market not all that long ago. Keep cooking it all until it was aromatic and just about to burn, and then add the noodles. Stir it all around, serve on a chipped ceramic plate, and then, if you dare, add a drop from the bottle of soy sauce kept in your father’s safe.

     And there he had it. The perfect plate of stir-fried noodles. Forget that they were noodles from a packet–that was all anyone could afford these days–and besides, packet noodles were what they’d eaten whenever the show came on. They were all that they ever ate when the show came on.

     Mark was the one who usually prepared the vegetables and spices. Fabian had the noodles, because that was all he could be trusted to do, according to Mark. Mitt’s job was to fiddle with the bunny ear antennae on top of the TV until coherent shapes appeared out of the static, and then yell for his brothers when the show finally began.

     The signal conked out, half the time. And the other half, street urchins would stand on their shoulders to peer over the compound wall and through the metal grate installed on the window, to try to get a look at the TV. At these points, Mark or Fabian, usually Mark, would have to let off a curse or a shotgun shell to get them to scurry off into the night again.

     But times were different now. Now it was Mitt with the gun, and it wasn’t a shotgun, it was a Kalashnikov. Such precautions had become necessary as the years had gone by and the neighborhood had gone bad. But so be it. This was his home, his childhood home, and he was going to stay up until midnight to watch his show with his brothers, and if the scum didn’t like that, then he’d kill them all.

     And so he entered the living room with his rifle on his back and his meal in his hands. It was almost exactly how he’d remembered it on the last night he and his brothers had watched the show together. The TV was larger and flatter and the signal was stronger, but the stained knotty wooden bookshelves, the sparkling marble floor, the sofa, all of these had been maintained well over the years, and so they had lasted.

     And Mitt had maintained himself well over the years, too. His hair was still thick and dark and sleek and his frame was still strong and narrow. And his brothers were still in shape too, from what he could tell. Mark ran marathons when he was between vacations and wives, and every one of his mansions had a weight room and a pool. As for Fabian, there wasn’t much to do in prison other than to get strong and to test your strength on other strong people.

     Mitt forced himself to smile. And then he sampled a forkful of noodles. They were spicy and aromatic and chewy, but that alkaline aftertaste, that just wasn’t right. 

     Mitt put the plate down. Wiped his mouth with a napkin. Of course the noodles weren’t the same. The company that made the noodles he remembered, it had gone under years ago.

     He looked outside and saw the muzzle flare of not too distant small arms fire. He looked back inside and saw a room that was too clean, too pristine, like a museum that no one ever bothered to visit. And he was its curator.

     The show was starting, but without anyone to watch it with, and without even the noodles he’d grown up eating, it was an under-produced animation, a half hour block that needed to be filled up with something other than infomercials.

     And so Mitt turned off the TV. And so he sat there in his clean room with his cooling noodles, all alone but for memories which seemed more and more like dreams with each passing day.


Jay Roberts is a writer and dark satirist originally from the New York metropolitan area who got his start on a few websites here and there when he was a teenager. When he started to realize that writing is something that he really enjoys, he started to take it a little more seriously, and the result was Mercy, his first published piece ever. He has other novels and short stories planned, so look out for those soon.

These days, Jay is gainfully employed in aerospace/defense and spends his non-writing free time on Reddit, Youtube, 4chan, et cetera.

http://jayrcreative.com

https://twitter.com/JayRAuthor

http://jayrcreative.tumblr.com


 Poetry

A Found Thing

Kat Bodrie

I found a Thing on the floor today.
It’s silver, metal, round,
with a hole in the side
where it screws
onto something.
It likes to roll around
the creases of my hand.
Maybe it’s vital to the bed frame
and I’ll be jostled awake
during a dream where I win
the lottery and revisit Europe
but can’t because my head has rammed
the headboard since this Thing decided
to unscrew itself. I’ll yell and scream
and it will stare up at me
like a puppy that’s been bad.
Its surface will glimmer
as if to say, I didn’t mean
to make you mad. I just wanted
some company.
I’ll feel sorry, apologize,
tell it it can stay, that I
know how it feels
to be far away from home,
lost and alone.


Kat Bodrie holds an MA in literature from UNC Wilmington. Her prose and poetry have been published or are forthcoming in Pilcrow & Dagger, Slim Volume, and Coraddi, in which she won first and third place in poetry. A freelance writer and editor, her articles have appeared in Winston-Salem Monthly, Forsyth Woman, and Forsyth Family. Visit her website, katbodrie.com.


FEATURING POETRY BY JOHN GREY AND RICHARD KING PERKINS II (AUGUST 17TH, 2015)

Checkmate?

John GreyA Friendly Game of Chess

Such a bizarre game of chess.

Your bishop cheated with my queen.

My knight beheaded your lead pawn.

Your king rustled one of my horses.

Pieces drifted onto the wrong color squares

or made moves not in the rule book.

Blood was spilled during en passant.

Check was nothing less than an insult to integrity,

a stain on the other’s honor.

There’s was fencing, forgiveness,

Verbal abuse, power-plays, hugs and kisses.

and even a riot at KB 1.

I don’t remember who won.

It could have been a draw.

It may not have even been chess.

Gator Watch

John Grey

Below your reflection’s brown ripple

among rotting logs and cattails,

an alligator’s gray-scaled head breaks the surface.

In your mind, there’s only ever

been the one of these giant reptiles.

It’s a million years old.

Its hunger is prehistoric.

And it has always dwelled here,

within a jaw’s-reach of the fishing hole,

where you dangle your line and lure,

a modest trap compared to its

occasional murderous thrashing rampage.

Unblinking eyes excuse its lack of memory

What it can see suits the monster well enough.

No, it means you no harm.

Your thin tough body

is not in its repertoire of kills.

It just wants you to know

that all of time is watching.

And it is still and silent,

infinitely cold-blooded.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Perceptions and Sanskrit with work upcoming in South Carolina Review, Gargoyle, Owen Wister Review and Louisiana Literature.


Low Clouds

Richard King Perkins II

The young married guy at the diner
whispers loudly
to his unsympathetic wife:
Please, please.
I don’t want you to leave.
Stay with me, please.
You’re the only one
who understands my farts.
She walks out into the low clouds
never looking back.
He sinks into the padded bench
passing gas, misunderstood.

Yuma Air

Richard King Perkins II

You have heard the owls questioning below the cloud circus,
slow talons releasing earth. If a balloon could feel

this is the dangerous love it would submit to. In Yuma, the owl
is a tangent of horizon, a focused thirst above constant night.

You are small and lithe; you wear it perfectly, but someday,
you too will feel the slash, then the slowness of escaping air.


Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage.