Fiction / Poetry / Art


To Respire
by Ani Artinian

I discovered that
When I press my nose against
My window’s wire screen and
The emitted sound is delectably
similar to that of
The wind.
It was in that instant I understood
more about that being
That force that
Presses its nose against the world,
Expelling his breath over us all­
Through each divine creation,
Mermaid to cockroach.
Today, she dispels a sweet sigh
That makes an oak tree stir
Drawing groans and creaks
Rattling, ruffling
Every leaf.

What Warms Me
by Ani Artinian

Last night we were breathing with
Clasped hands.
You were singing to me,
And your eyes were shimmering
with hope
They told stories
Of the years to come
And then a sharp buzzing told me
I was mistaken.
So now as I trudge through
Layer upon layer of snow
Cold as a bone
I wear this dream around me;
A quilted blanket

The Darkness Of Light
by Emily Krol & Alanna O’Reilly

the darkness falls over me like a
as i close my eyes to let sleep
envelop me in its velvety hands
i see the world so differently
as light disappears completely
the light of peoples words
the darkness of their actions
so different
under the cover of the stars
blindness becomes a closeness
as thoughts become words
words become actions
all in the safety of the night
who’s shadows hold our secrets
til morning light
dawn breaks the spell of honesty
only seen by moonlights glow
only when the world is asleep
the mind is free to wander
explore the truth behind the lies
the look before the leap
the thought behind the touch
the stars stare past what the sun
can see
dive into the depths of what is real
their shadows loom above me
obscuring reality
their whispers speak with honesty
the night sees more than the light
dare dream

Paradise Scum
by Jake Matthews

In a hometown wasteland
Steel town scum run wild
I feel right when I’m beside them
Slugging’ from the same brown bag
Their judgmental eyes see only us
But they can’t feel what lies beneath
The black smoke fills our lungs days at a time
Coldness grasps my tinted skin
Ground only offers me unsettled sleep
Prayers I have to see tomorrow
They don’t understand
Why I like the way I live
They think of me as scum
Perceive me how you will
I am what I am no matter what scrutiny you bring
Darkness starts to fall
Creeping death follows
I do not fear judgment nor death
I’ve enjoyed my time here
Not going to look back
Forever this city is me, my home
Scum, will forever roam.

City Of Plastic
by Andrew Scott

There is a lady sitting at the step, tea in hand
Flashing her surgically enhanced smile at each
A flicker of her fingers is the wave of her hand
As each neighbor walks by
She is watching her son on the street
Playing spiritly with others
While she stares at a potential meet
Making sure her tight clothes make everything
They boy will stay outside as she holds the
She does not think anyone will think or ponder
As she spreads without question
For the hope of getting the boy a new father
Behind closed doors makes everything tick
In this City of Plastic
There is a home down the street with the
perfect manicure
Perfection is all in the presentation
For when everyone else looks and keeps the
The perfect landscape for consumption
Kids well dressed and always smiling
Grades high so the parents can brag about
A wife that is always current day styling
Behind doors, it makes the husband shout
She loves the extracurricular activity
Of the other side of town’s swingers way
But everyone’s neighbourly
As long as the landscape is perfect by day
The strive for perfection is toxic
In this, the City of Plastic
The head of the place is a natural born leader
Big poise, photogenic smile
The city’s official greeter
Selling the land with such style
Preaching trust, integrity and kindness
Touching all while cameras are flashing with a
gentle hand
But he is the biggest contributor to this madness
The big man behind a closed door
Kicking out the tattered poor
While playing with his weekly whore
Leaving all battered and sore
Just as long as there is a perfect pic
In this City of Plastic
It may be time to repack my bag
Before it is all too late
And my hopes and dreams, like them, sag
Before I take the artificial bait
Forget that I walk in the everyman boot
Give up what makes me, me
Start shaving and wearing the perfect suit
No Hat, bandanna, just so certain people can see
It just makes me shake
How easy it would be to join it all
This land of the fake
It will only bring you back to the wall
Walking away ought to do the trick
Never to look back at the City of Plastic

(on television)
by Malin Kundang

En route Madrid to Paris
Bloody mess. Cape on the ground
Sword in the dust
Four stabs and still not dead
545 kilos of flared nostrils and knotted muscle
Seeing cape-red or the pink calf-high socks
Once a calf, in a pasture, on a farm
Far from the arena ritual
From the spectacle
Timing and panache, e voila!
Tele-close-up of adrenaline and concentration
One false step, one slip, one hesitation
Man and minotaur
The ego of the dare against brute naiveté
Panning the somber crowd, few smiles
Among the honey shots
A woman with a cigar and a man’s suit
Amid the smokers, blood addiction
Of proving manhood with weighted dice
Parade of the contestants, sin toro
Matadors, bandarilleros, picadors
Mincing toward the lengthening western shadow
Pomp and pads, circumstance and swords
Accoutrements of subterfuge and martial “art”
Prelude to destiny; a swirl of cape
Bring him in, closer, closer, figure eights
Tighter, tighter, baiting him till his
Knees scrape the dust and lowered horns
Illuse that he still has a chance
Lanced picadors agitate el toro
Padded pony–now a close-up–bull’s eye
Trying to gore under the pads
Distract him, matador. Play on his instincts,
Once again.
Enter the bandarilleros, two-lanced daredevils
Working without a net
Head on, plant them as far back as one can
And still jump away, to the side, slo-mo replay
Now six wands surround the kill spot
Hurt, frustrated, teased
Tangry of ploys, yet shackled by a gene
That defies reflection but commands reflex
He charges again and again
At the red drape, held unfurled by the hidden
The television shows no replays of
The bull going down, no extra footage of the
final thrust
No shots of the bleeding carcass being hauled
Only an interview. What a contest! What was
going on
In your mind, as you confronted the savage
In rodeo the bull always wins
The cowboy just hangs on, 8 seconds if he can
Before a bone crushing dismount. Cowboy up!
In bullfighting, the matador breathes hard and
breaks a sweat
But the parity is fictional

(When) I Float, You Fall
by Ronald DeStefano

it was moments after i severed my wings (using the dull end of a blade
borrowed from an angel) that i began to float,
and with my left hand i pet the fingernails, unpainted, that clawed
my cheek just moments prior,
you were angry with me for wanting to be different, for trying so hard
to stand apart from others when
in fact
i was already unique; because of my wings,
i held you as you cried and screamed, clawing once more at the skin
my eyes and nose,
together we float over all the waters and all the cities of the world,
where i try to
kiss you but am turned away by your neck,
i promise to show you atlantis and the city in the clouds that men will
discover for another hundred years but
you disagree
with me and demand to be returned home
to the place where my bloody wings rest, to that spot of black tar and
where your knife lies, unsharpened but overused,
you gather my wings against your chest, holding them in a way which i
have never
(and will never) experienced in your arms,
such a strange thing, you say, for a boy to have wings and for an angel
to be without,
so you try them on over your shoulders,
smiling and laughing
as my wings fit perfectly on your back.
and (if) ever (when) i float, you fall, remind me of today
and (gladly) happily (always),
i’ll remove another piece of me to give to you.

Bad Dreams And Nightmares
by Talor Gould

You know you’re an adult
when you stop having bad dreams
and start having nightmares.
When the night is filled with hollow dollar signs
and two first names with ampersands
on monogrammed towels in the bathroom
(and neither of them are yours.)
With paper walls that collapse and crush and cut
and the sound of children’s voices, in a tiny echo:
“You’re alone.”
With ties-tied-too-tight
and eyesight that begs for better days—
bad habits and the way
seeing your breath stops being magic
when you’ve always got a cigarette in your mouth.
With the sorry exclamations
of broken wedding bells
that shout your name
and the beckoning bellows
(the ice cold hellos)
from the mouth of death
as he comes your way.
You know you’re an adult
when you stop having bad dreams
and start having nightmares—
when the night is filled with ugly wonder
trying to remember
what it was like
to be a kid.

The Unchanged
by Andrew Fortier

After I left,
what did you do?
Did you get up and
decide to change?
I like to think
you took the time
to ponder
your very existence.
Did you go
on a late night
summer stroll?
More than likely
you sat in the dark,
an ancient stone,
watching the dull blues
of late night television.
Something at my core
tells me
even after I left You
remained unchanged.


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