Fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from our favorite emerging writers
Johnny, decades on & your returning occurs without me seeing you
anywhere save in the heart, the spirit's boomerang
for great love released as energy reverberant in wavelengths
to hands which held, shared in that creation in the first place.
Memory holds all of that as well as imagination keeping track,
pacing our separate quadrants for when words are put down in love,
committed to space on paper with passion
that love supersedes denouements, no matter how messy or clean.
Closure is no more than a rosebud then, tight in its secret scents,
but still capable of unfurling: ripe spiral of petals layered
connected right back down to their source.
After I left, in the first months stretching on into years,
their heaviness was often nightmarish
as if woven of your fragrant flesh, the folds of limbs pinning,
holding me in, lying on top & I having again & again to explain & convince
we were no longer together, in a threesome with alcoholism,
though I'd still wake as if gasping, fighting off the bed spins
of being uncontrollably drunk.
Even when news of your death showed up, those accidental beans spilled
by an acquaintance L.P.N. bringing my father his nursing home meds,
the dreams did not stop nor do I ever expect
your consciousness not to pop in, occasionally coincide with mine
though these visits have become more of ease,
a subliminal shared joke that we both know
how I am on to your tricks.
You are Connie Francis again, the Connie sensation
so many knew you as, half mad & hilarious
with your drag's bit blowsy craft taken so seriously
between the vodka - (it's scentless) - mixed with Gatorade -
(it hydrates) to combat nerves of some PSTD strain
for broken-into hotel rooms & hidden rapists to forever escape.
They'd become terror desperately, valiantly turned again on its head
with "Stupid Cupid" lyrics for where the boys were
with someone waiting with no lipstick on his collar
telling tales you'd have to chide with long elbow-length gloves,
a gown of sparkling black taffeta & wig of equal shimmer
Ah, but how you shaved everywhere for that fantasy,
pulling stockings into hungry love-for-sale heels
& I watched fearing for you, small boy still before his mirror
lip-synching to the boxed turntable, the spell of the vinyl
record whirlpool, while wanting your dreams to become real.
Johnny, your beautiful medleys spot-light shine
from P. Town dives still, tinsel echoes of Grizabella glamour now
off-stage, & no longer dragging the need to be touched
in a show-stopping torch song for you are Dorothy
& the friends of, barfly by barfly, clicking the ruby slippers
to at last have found yourself an Amazing Grace salvation,
with mercy for the wretched, in some place like home.
ice storm, power outage, rear window
water weight too much to bear / limbs snapping like bone like brittle like a bite / fall or bellyflop
or widow-make onto an suv that’s not mine / but i’m watching / waiting for the other to drop /
any awake late like me / candlelit and torched and watching / waiting / moving cars / moving to
car to charge / dead phones like mine / seen unto each other like for the first time / literally for
the first time / smokers insomniacs new-parents nocturnals light-sleepers / every-day-like-it’s
doomsday-preppers / the howling dog who usually only howls during daylight / wind howling /
waiting / trees cracking like sleep-crusted eyelids / watching / just neighborly things
One pours aromatic bitters
And questions this existence, fraught,
Ever fragile in its battle to continue,
But on as that torturous aroma lingers
Does dark liquor come to engulf
That timeless dance where incantations
Are uttered and intent is set
To enlarge that primal jaunt
Where beating hearts find momentary breath
As golden tongues descend,
And burn that rigid skin
With passionate caress,
But intensity draws incantations
Deeper in receptors
Of that hear the tremor of thrust
To a tempo robust, and fixated
On those darting marbles
Whose maroon gaze
Uncovers that fleshy facade
To find the source of such vigour,
Where amorous incantations manifest
Into the carnality of blind lust,
A hook-up, or so it's called,
Distanciation I call it-
Anthony is a mixed-race poet & writer whose work tends to focus on social inequality throughout late-modern society. Anthony travels frequently and has spent most of his life in Kuwait jostling between the UK & America. Anthony's work has been published 140 times. Anthony has 1 published chapbook titled The Great Northern Journey. Twitter/Instagram: @anthony64120 https://arsalandywriter.com/ Anthony is the Co-Eic of Fahmidan Journal.
rotate in sympathy,
lacing threads like weavers,
spinning, both inside,
feeds biting bones
satiating in darkened sunshine.
Rivulets of sadness spill…
synthesising with skin;
misty layers fold
suckling nocturnal morsels
as rearing piglets –
snuffling deep in fleshy layers,
proud as truffle towers.
Clouds of sentience puff,
Semblances of consciousness
taint peripheral memories
as grandma’s rhubarb pie -
custard-comfort, sugary-crust soft.
A maroon edge wavers,
drinking in Sunday afternoons.
Liquids flow, stroking surfaces
like new lovers:
Desire swallows whole,
chewing tendrils of memories
like an obliterated octopus;
its talons stuck on empty glass
like an absent reflection.
I fold, enveloping decadence,
inhaling siphoned fumes;
breath in alchemy
as a held mistress –
heady notes drift, sway
like a tempestuous storm;
misty foam coats my thoughts
in a pretence cleansing
Emma Wells is an English teacher and a mother to a six year old daughter. She writes poetry and short stories as she enjoys the creative freedom that it allows. She has been writing creatively for nearly two years. She has poetry printed in The World’s Greatest Anthology, The League of Poets, The Lake, The Beckindale Poetry Journal, Dreich Magazine, Drunken Pen Writing, Visual Verse, Littoral Magazine and as part of the Ledbury Poetry Festival.
Saying “I love you” to someone who can’t hear doesn’t count
It’s there, hidden beneath an olive branch
Withdrawn, and all too quickly withered
A lost voice foundered in a remote valley
Where past transactions echo silently
Never dormant in the minds of the recipient
Joyous, a prowling beast of joyous occasion
But a vacuous space holds for most
Spoken words displaced
Laid to rest at the spark of a thought
Too late to utter, the moment passed
“I love you”, said
In a whisper in the car on the way home
When you passed
After the door clicked back into place,
Your perfume dragged quickly behind
In anger, sarcastically thrown
On repeat, repeat, repeat before you answer the phone
During rehearsal in a teenage bedroom,
A tragic comedy coming too soon
Me, to you
The great unknown
Lee Waddington currently lives in West Yorkshire, UK. Lee has a Masters’ Degree in Applied Sport & Exercise Psychology from Staffordshire University and has worked for several Premier League soccer clubs including; Manchester United, Nottingham Forest, Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City and Burnley. A keen writer for over twenty-five years, Lee writes in several formats from short stories to educational sports writing and poetry. Lee likes to spend most of his spare time with his partner, Anna and their family of five daughters. He also likes to travel, read, watch soccer and, of course, write.
It is that twilight hour of orange sun
sparkling across an August lake.
My father watches this familiar postcard
from a faded raft close to shore,
as awed as I am observing him
in this dazzling, dimming light.
Shadowed by the glare,
he is near skeletal,
bare skin covered loosely
by a sun-bleached bathing suit tied
with knotted string impossible for hands
now incapable of stillness.
Once, his athletic swimmer’s frame
carried me effortlessly to bed
despite my struggle against the day’s fatigue
and the thought of letting him go,
secure in the nestle of his woolen sweater
thin at the elbows with mixtured hints
of Old Spice and cedar chest,
his soft voice lulling me into childhood sleep
when ten uninterrupted hours,
a window’s moon, and the safe innocence
of cotton sheets promised our
Mary Warren Foulk has been published in VoiceCatcher, Cathexis Northwest Press, Yes Poetry, Arlington Literary Journal (ArLiJo, Gival Press), and Palette Poetry, among other publications. Her work has also appeared in (M)othering Anthology (Inanna Publications) and My Loves: A Digital Anthology of Queer Love Poems (Ghost City Press). Her chapbook, If I Could Write You a Happier Ending, is forthcoming from dancing girl press (2021). A graduate of the MFA Writing program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, Mary lives in western Massachusetts with her wife and two children. She is an educator, writer, and activist.
In the future, some will likely say it need not have happened. Others will say it was inevitable. History may refer to it as the War for Water, but that will be a misnomer. The true causes of the war had simmered for centuries, the pressure steadily building until it exploded like a volcanic eruption. Water merely brought the endless conflict between The Collaborators and the Awethu to a head. I know these things are true, for I was an eyewitness. - Bookman
Except for the chirp of crickets and the occasional splash from a leaping fish, all was quiet. The pine and deciduous trees surrounding the reservoir cast tall fractured shadows on the land and along the water’s edge. Crouching behind a pair of fallen trees with fan-shaped mushroom conks growing out of crevasses in their gray trunks, I stared at the water. I couldn’t recall when I last bathed, but for a moment, I imagined feeling its refreshing coolness on my skin.
The life I now lead is unlike anything I could have imagined. By training, I am a historian. Before the war, reading, researching, and writing filled my days. Hence they call me, Bookman. But now, with matted hair hanging below my brown shoulders in thick black coils, a shaggy beard covering my face, and crusty patches of dried blood on my sweat-stained, mud-caked denim shirt and pants, I am a freedom fighter among the Awethu for justice and equality.
The Collaborators say we are criminals, lawbreakers. They whip up fear of us by saying we will rape and murder their women and children. But such things are lies, have never been true, and are products of their acute paranoia, self-induced hysteria, wild imaginings, and completely baseless fears. Many Awethu who have challenged injustice; Medgar, Viola, Martin, Addie Mae, Cynthia, Carole, Carol Denise, James, Andrew, Michael, and countless others have been killed. Breonna, Ali, Ahmaud, Dominique, Trayvon, Eric, Natasha, Michael, Atatiana, and George are among the latest of the recently martyred.
For many years, scientists had warned that the amount of potable water on the planet was declining. Those living on some of the continents heeded the warnings and took serious steps to address climate change, pollution, and the other factors creating the problem. On others, half-hearted measures were taken. But directly below Canada, on the North American continent, the T.W.S., the latest incarnation of a cult-like sub-group that has always existed within The Collaborators and traffics in conspiracy theories, had disparaged and attacked scientists and environmental advocates for years. They convinced corporations there was no quick profit to be made addressing the water issue, so it was ignored.
When the water shortage began, The Collaborators, with the T.W.S. ensconced throughout the political system, claimed ownership of every significant public source of water. Overnight, armed guards cordoned off dams, reservoirs, town wells, water treatment facilities, etc... leaving only rivers, lakes, ponds, streams, and other water sources of questionable health safety unclaimed.
6/26/2021 2 Comments
Think of all the things to save:
those sheets of shirt cardboard,
the Rabbit, rabbits I say aloud
to no one on the first day
of every month, the embroidered fabric
I found in the night market of Chiang Mai,
pens with thin nibs, what my mind finds
like a planet devoted to spinning,
that miniature metal sculpture of a woman
riding a bicycle the black flap of her dress
curled from imagined wind in Vietnam,
pockets of letters, the tile from Istanbul
symmetrical and filled with hues of blues
like my daughter’s eyes & her voice in the dark
at four-years-old, I don’t want to die
alone, and the fact that each kernel
of corn is attached to a thread of silk
under the husk. Maybe the end
will be like diving into a channel
with a shore on the other side
that we don’t know is reachable.
Maybe we’ll carry what we’ve saved
as we fall into water or become water
falling or at least feel touched
by its weight, its glistening,
that last breath unribbed.
Sarah Dickenson Snyder has written poetry since she knew there was a form with conscious line breaks. She has three poetry collections, The Human Contract (2017), Notes from a Nomad (nominated for the Massachusetts Book Awards 2018), and With a Polaroid Camera (2019). Recently, poems appeared in Rattle, Lily Poetry Review, and RHINO. She has been a 30/30 poet for Tupelo Press, nominated for Best of Net, the Poetry Prize Winner of Art on the Trails 2020, and a 2021 Finalist and Semi-Finalist in the Iron Horse Literary Review’s National Poetry Month contest. She lives in the hills of Vermont. sarahdickensonsnyder.com
To Marie Antoinette, from a Woman Who Also Was
the Talk of
In the corridor back when
and in the in-between.
He said people are too busy to care about anything
but themselves, but
he was wrong.
The illustrations did you harm.
And all the salon talk:
Did you hear?
Did you know?
As if they did.
Sticks and stones.
Sticks and stones.
Later: another woman’s
head on a spike.