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Gabriel Ricard

Liberation at South Vanderton Beach

There’s no shame in going to the beach with a potential loved one, and trusting them enough to bury you up to your neck in the sand, and leave you there overnight.
It’s only a problem if you keep doing it, and keep acting absolutely stunned that it keeps going down in the exact same way.
If she bites off the more stressed-out parts of your forehead and eyebrows, tells you to strongly consider praying for a sudden oceanside hurricane, and leaves with your wallet, you need to decide then and there if this is really the best way to find someone who can guide your heart, without wrapping theirs up in cheap scotch tape.
Do you really think so?

Then go ahead, and keep your weekends free through the duration of the longest endless summer any of us have ever known.
Just try to act like that stupid look on your face is something you’re working on for yet another one man show about yet another aging white guy who thinks its more relatable for the audience when there isn’t a drop of per…
Recent posts

Robert Pope

Hitting

I do not know how many times my father hit me with his hand or kicked my backside. Oh, there is more than this to say about my father, but this is the time to say he swung at me in the backseat, a boy no more than eight, struck glancing blows. I had laughed, it bothered him.
At thirteen, he sent an engraved, silver lighter whizzing past my ear as I fled a growling anger, imbedding in the solid wooden door, sticking there instead of in my head. Fifteen, he struck me with the back of his hand because I flinched as he reached in his jacket, kicked the back of
my legs for infractions I could not comprehend. He broke yardsticks on my back, swung his belt at me after whipping it around his waist. Each time he struck the impact reverberated through the years. If the air is right, I feel the stinging on my face or head, not all I have of Dad, but part.
Robert Pope has published a novel, Jack’s Universe, and a collection of stories, Private Acts. He has also published many stories and pe…

Gary Glauber

Little Cherub
The boy seems to know far too much. He’s young but seems less than innocent, an old soul I wouldn’t have trusted even in some earlier incarnation.
When I see him at the public pool, doing things no youngster should do, it makes me crave a strong drink.
Beware both baby and bathwater; beware everything you can possibly think.
Whiskey hits gullet with fire, reminding me of all that I love and desire to protect, now and always, to never forget.
In church, he looks heavenly in white robes, little angel incapable of evil, dreaming only good. Altar boy altered, knowing open hearts make easy targets.
His secrets are troubling, what occurs behind the giggling. His private hell is burning beside lessons he’s not learning.
When fire catches into flame your children will be safe again, when all I loved before today catches wind and melts away.
Gary Glauber is a widely published poet, fiction writer, teacher, and former music journalist. He champions the underdog, and strives to survive modern life’s absur…

Chuka Susan Chesney

Post Mastectomy Shoppe

On Brand Boulevard in a suburb of Angels is a corset shop a lingerie store Inside you’ll find along with sexy bras a full array of breast prostheses I visit the shop with my friend Alexis after her mastectomy as she recovers
The breast forms have nipples made of plastic Alexis tries one on behind a curtain The form fits neatly into the pocket of a wire-free bra beneath her blouse
The owner steps inside to assist Alexis who’s sobbing as she fastens the hooks into eyes
The owner says Don’t cry or I’ll start crying
While Alexis swipes her card for bras and plastic we noticed nipple labels in the case below peony and rosewood-tinged areolae similar to wreaths and other stickers Alexis pastes on backs of Christmas envelopes
After a while Alexis decides her new breast forms protrude like ping pong balls She drives to Nordstrom and purchases some more says the new ones are homey like squishy bean bags
Chuka Susan Chesney, a graduate of Art Center College of Design, is an artist, poet, short-story writ…

Michael Brockley

Bruce Springsteen Joins Aloha Shirt Man in the First Turn for a Cornfed Derby Dame Bout
Scooter van Zandt, he says while shaking my hand. He’s wearing a Jersey Devil sweatshirt, Maui Jim sunglasses, and a Cornfed Derby Dame baseball cap he bought at Kim Karsmashian’s souvenir stand. But the jazz dab from the Soul Crusaders tour gives him away. Springsteen doffs his shades and winks. He’s looking for Maria Roberts. Says she ditched her husband after his outlaw brother disappeared into the Canadian wilderness. Springsteen heard Maria took up skating on the flat rinks, jumping from one midwestern team to another. We watch Bona Petite slip through a Debbie Darko shoulder block to lead a jam against the Quad City Rollers. And five points. Springsteen studies the skaters jostling each other in the scrum. She’d be in the middle,  he says, Throwing a hip block or a can opener. Bona Petite tiptoes through a cougar trap to lead another jam. Springsteen picked Muncie, figuring Maria would be draw…

William Soldan

Missoula

1.
Rolled in late and slept beside a Taco Bell, woke up dried out and soaked, gasping with the windows closed.
First coffee, then our sense of direction, looking for labor, meet a trio hoofing off a main drag, tell them to tag along, soon headed west to that city of rain.
But then a cold case and respite on the brambled bank, a patchwork gaggle passing-through from every point: kid from New York going to or coming from, can’t hold still to tell the tale, and some woman calling herself Iron Butterfly, maternal with sandwiches and soup, passing around papers and a pouch of moist shag. A Scorpio named Cula singing Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida Baby like some primitive mating call.
Later, a guy named Doc with knotted locks knocks out a dude named Buddha, makes him bleed beneath a sliver of summer moon, while a girl with a drum hangs upside down by her knees in a tree, laughing.
His farewell bid alliterates in the distant hills:
Best ‘member me,Muthafucka.
2.
Wake in a field of flattened grass, bodies sprawl…

M.J. Iuppa

Advent

I can no longer tell the hour in constant darkness. Is it night or morning, or a week later, a gathering snowstorm?
I hear a thin whistle of a red bird as it flies into the crabapple’s crown, twitching like a tiny flare, its carol, a lesson in light. 
I take no energy or spirit, other than the weight of clouds, lifting this shroud— my lungs burning in winter’s incessant cold.
The news, the terrible news arrives in threes:  a text, a call to call back— a result. Still, I wake to gauzy
gray light— this ragged woolly essence— something fuzzy, or is it scratchy? Something, still mine.


Nothing Is What It Seems
Today, beneath the crab apple, I found a red feather lying near puddles
and loose stones, like a tiny flame, it dazzled briefly in noon’s chilly over-
cast—this flicker of the past—my desire