Fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from our favorite emerging writers
It’s not the myriad prisons
The walls that are everywhere
The men of terror
The women of no sympathy
It’s not the calls unreturned
Or the mirror spitting back at you
Even the sparrows falling to their deaths
On fallow ground
Beaks broken upon the weeds and the dust
How the music becomes nothing
But memories of something
With the decades listening
It’s not the alcohol
It’s not the job
The search for work
That grinds one down
It’s not the rituals
Of eating, earning
The piss dribbling
From a middle aged cock
With a middle aged prostate
It’s not even the vacancy of emotions
Meeting the logjam of words
That coagulate in the river
Tepid with nonchalance
As we count shekels
And lose them gambling
It’s not even the inevitability
Of the death
Of a star
It’s the endless days
That become nights
Of threadbare sanity
Decimate the soul
Or in a crowded room
As we draw our cards
Waiting for the shreds of love
Among the scrapple
In the slaughter
Waiting for love
Waiting for the end
And killers of love
Of a star
For the shreds
In the scrapple
I’m wrapped up in your arms, wearing nothing but a thong
Every time we move some part of me ends up in your mouth.
This time it’s my nipple and you suck on me like you need nothing else.
I hold you and savour the feeling of being worshipped.
Your body is a temple, I’ve heard people say.
And when the heat rises over us, you prostrate yourself before mine
Bend low and drink deep from my holy waters
Like it gives you vigour purpose life.
You tell me we don’t need to leave this bed.
classes calls meals showers.
We follow each other
to the kitchen
Unable to bear a moment without skin on skin.
Your eyes linger greedy all over me.
When I begin to cover up you peel the cloth right off me
And when you stiffen for the hundredth time
in these past few days? weeks? months?
It is my turn to worship.
I make offering of myself my soul my blood
And rapt, you accept.
No other possibility exists.
You can’t imagine a world in which you would give this up.
We drain our bodies into peace every waking minute.
A moment finally comes
when the peace lingers even after dreams.
You take up my hand and we know.
We feel it
A shaking dread.
The honeymoon will soon be over.
In absolute defiance we go out and you finger me in the cab.
We barely make it through dinner.
You slide your tongue over the sashimi,
I squeeze my legs together in an almost painful anticipation.
We wonder why we ever left the warmth of your bed
How we can ever stand the separateness of the outside.
We make no conversation.
There is only baited silence,
Desperate, longing gazes
and whispered promises of the ecstatic undoing to come.
We decide to walk home and the moonlight washes over us in a cold relief.
Suddenly we feel powerful,
like it’s us against the world and there’s just no contest.
When you’ve faced demons alone, one trusted ally is an army.
We amaze each other in tiny moments,
simply because we’re paying attention.
Maybe the end of the beginning won’t be so bad.
Maybe our luck changed when we met each other. Maybe we’ll make it.
The long haul.
You gulp and I shudder.
It’s too big, so uncertain.
Can the path of shooting stars align?
Or are we facing collision? A stellar explosion.
The stink of fear rises from the river and we quicken our pace.
Wind whips my hair and pulls your jacket open.
Why did we ever leave?
We turned this fantasy thing real.
I look up at you, scared to see.
Don’t regret me, I think.
You look back at me and something surges in your chest.
Fuck, you think
And you kiss me.
You call me beautiful, and the dread lingers between us.
It circles casually around our fingers between our hearts
But it reminds us of what’s here and unspoiled
And now it’s even more urgent
To know and feel everything everything everything.
We race inside before real life can steal any more from us.
We cling to each other and burn
But now there are pauses that hadn’t been there before-
We swallow them. It makes us sluggish.
It forces us slow.
The deliberate motion is new
It entrances us.
Something else is different. A notion conceived.
Something about a slow burn or a slow fall doesn’t seem half bad anymore.
Christie Borely is an attorney and emerging writer/poet from the twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago. Her multi-ethnic heritage is made up of East Indian, West African, and French Creole ancestry and is characteristic of the ethnically diverse population of the Caribbean nation. She aspires to tell vivid, poignant stories that convey a philosophy of inner peace and strength in community. Her short story Grass is Greener has recently been published in Rebel Women Lit literary magazine. She loves meeting new writers and readers. Find her on IG/CH: @christieborely
Sunlight on flesh -
the blood knows it’s there –
even the marble statue
thaws a little –
(did her naked toe just move?) –
your kiss -
similar effect –
even the memory,
that shopping aisle
of enjoined lips –
the rose garden
of fluttering color
and thornless stalks –
or the ascending stairs
where the room at the top
reaches down to pull me up –
one shadow slinks away –
another dissolves –
a departing bird
leaves its song behind –
the field is free for me
to sing it.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, Leaves On Pages and Memory Outside The Head are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Lana Turner and International Poetry Review.
9/24/2021 0 Comments
Jesus went to Hell, I hear, in Sunday
School, I mean that that's where I heard that but
He didn't hang there long, He worked His way
out and up to Heaven and I wonder
if when I croak I'll do likewise, go to
Hell for a space even if I'm lucky
enough to score Heaven, which I doubt, and
have a look-see maybe at the torment
and torture that might have been for me, then
an angel whisks me away to Heaven
and if I know me then in Paradise
I won't be able to get out of my
head or mind or but most likely soul Satan
and Hellfire and losers and Perdition.
Maybe the best Good Place is back on Earth.
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.