Two Poems | by Colin James

DOCILE CONTORTIONISTS EMBRACING THE IDIOSYNCRATIC 
                                                             
Family dignitaries arrive quietly for a feeding.
The mother who cooks her Sunday roast slowly
and is fundamentally fearless,
disapproves of the backward baseball caps
so plan your own arguments.
Forever reactionary in retrospect,
with affiliates and favorites 
of this excessive need to be. 

Continue reading “Two Poems | by Colin James”

Odd | by Frederick Foote

First Sighting

     We’re a small town. A very close community. There’re 3,570 people in town and about that many within five miles of town. We’re not bigoted. We are champions of diversity. We have an Arab, Muslim family, several black families, two Asian families, and three mixed race/ethnicity couples. We have gay couples and a score of gay individuals.

     I’m Jewish, married to a Catholic. We own the Country Store.

     We’re forward-looking and forward-thinking.

     In the last election, we voted fifty-eight percent Democratic.

     You need this background to understand. I hope you do understand. Continue reading “Odd | by Frederick Foote”

The Only Reason We Were Drinking Mellow Yellow in the First Place Was Because it Was Only 49 Cents | by David S. Atkinson

And it was the morning after a big party but we hadn’t come down completely yet, much less gone to sleep, so Doug and me and a couple girls went to hang out on the abandoned highway bridges. We were going to go to the Amoco for sodas but weren’t coherent enough to talk to sober people yet, so we were just up there. I saw these big piles of dirt mixed with gravel and called out to Doug that we should dig for dead bodies.

He ran over all excited, waving that weird black umbrella cane he always carried whether it was going to rain or not, something about the Penguin from the comics, but then he sagged all disappointed. Said he thought I told him I found one and he was almost kid-happy to see it. Continue reading “The Only Reason We Were Drinking Mellow Yellow in the First Place Was Because it Was Only 49 Cents | by David S. Atkinson”

Coins | by Ahimaz Rajessh

     Andy, crouched under the dense buzzing of solar-powered fans, screams, “Yes. Are you bleeps getting out or what?” His condensed cry sets the bleeps in question leap off their power-out NCs.

     Rubina taps at her sadly self-manicured thumbnail to trigger green texts blow up before her face. Junk texts and texts of unpaid bills.

     “Next. Next-t. Next-t-t,” Anand joins the reverbed refrain as Andy pretends to nap just as he prays to god only knows how many gods.

     Rubina chews on a power-out toothbrush even as Anand chews on a guava leaf he nicked last night off a 10-rupee Fruitbot.

     After fifteen nexts, Anand almost chokes on his leaf just as Rubina lets out a stifled,

     “Bleep yes. Appointed.” Continue reading “Coins | by Ahimaz Rajessh”

Prime 5 | by Doug Hawley

Julie Collins – I’m very pleased to be able to have another interview with Dook, a representative of our closest relatives, what we call the yetis and what they call the Angwin.

We have talked about some Angwin basics and your successful attempt to create homeland. Today I’d like to talk about your daily life. We’ve already learned about your sustainable life, and your creative romantic life. Would you tell us what a normal day is like for you folk?

Dook – Glad to. We always try to get a good night’s sleep and then work on our homes and communal structures and harvest our food. None of those activities take very long, so we have plenty of time for entertaining ourselves.

Julie Collins – I’m sure that our in house audience and those listening and viewing at home would like the details filled in. Continue reading “Prime 5 | by Doug Hawley”

Open Palm of Night | by Brendan Adams

My dad’s name is John Josephs Jr. and he’s a ghost, and what he misses most about being human is: SUPERFOOD SMOOTHIES.

On his plane of existence, they taste like cigarettes and feel like razorblades going down.

I know this, because Father still speaks to me, even after death. I mean really talks, which is the way it always was, and the way it seems its always going to stay.

His voice in my head, blabbing about outsourcing production and quality inspections and liability risk and my failures as a daughter. It’s torture.

‘Torture you deserve,’ is what he says.

Debatable, really. If he hadn’t been such a dick father, maybe things might have turned out better. No response to that one.

All he can talk about is how pissed off he is to be dead, trapped with all the other Astral Bodies I’m carrying around in my head. Like I can do something about it, like I’m something more than a vessel – a Life Raft stuck in the Not Quite Afterlife. Continue reading “Open Palm of Night | by Brendan Adams”

The Medium’s Daughter | by Jan Stinchcomb

     They call your mother a witch, a prostitute, a con artist. The kids at school have a lot of questions for you. At recess there is no shortage of palms to read and even the teachers think you have something valuable to tell them. Your sister, skinny and dark-eyed like you, is your only friend. Those years when she moves ahead to another campus without you are torture.

     You don’t like lying to people or stealing their money, but that doesn’t stop the steady stream of spirits from entering your life. Dead siblings and lost pets flock to you. You are at your most vulnerable whenever intimacy is possible. A cold breeze blows up your skirt at a family barbecue. A ghost boy, his tux bloody, begs for a dance at the prom. A cat slides its claws through that liminal space where she can’t scratch but can still make you cry with her silent meow.

     Your sister laughs when you say you just want to be normal. What do you mean?, she asks. Would you like to shake off unbidden spirits or would you rather evade Child Protective Services? The questions pile up over the years. Can you have an affair with someone from beyond the grave? Can a ghost be prosecuted? Is there a statute of limitations on emotional manipulation?
Continue reading “The Medium’s Daughter | by Jan Stinchcomb”