“Before writers are writers they are readers, living in books, through books, in the lives of others that are also the heads of others, in that act that is so intimate and yet so alone.” Rebecca Solnit
The Redness of the Setting Sun
Daniel Bartkowiak knows how to make a sentence glide and dialogue slip into your mental sphere in a most understated way: “We have to go soon.” “Better start drinking then.” And this story is not quite what it seems.
In the Gothic horror tradition of Edgar Allan Poe and E.T.A. Hoffman, Tim Rico brings us a gripping tale of a purloined galleon, a grotesque prisoner, and a shipwreck in “The Foundering.” The ending satisfies horror expectations.
Michael Chapey’s uplifting story is about a dad who ruined his iPhone in the pool and is generously helped by an Apple “genius.” The name of the Apple genius? Carlos.
Rummage Sale – A Mathilda Dupre Story
“Rummage Sale” features Mathilda Dupre, the main character in a short story series by Piper Templeton, whose sixth sense leads her to problematic situations and compels her to act in the most surprising of ways.
In the tender love story by Robert Hilles, Scott sees his wife Cheryl holding his six-month-old daughter Denise, reminding him of the dream he had earlier that morning. It was the happiest he had ever been.
On the staid street in Boston, Vinita manages a manicure business for her cool boss Leo while he’s on a short vacation. But Vinita makes plans, and they have nothing to do with staying where she is.
Aaron J. Heil's story steps ever so sensitively into the marriage of Justin and Renee, which is complicated by a family wedding, a misunderstanding, and a junk mail offer for on-demand weather.
In The Past
“In The Past,” Maria Savva takes us into in the lives of Roger Bainsford and Paul Squires who have “issues” from the past. One wants a job; the other gives it. It is a synchronous moment in the lives of both.
Half As Good
Stela Dujakovic meets men and draws them as characters in fictional realms, sometimes several into one in “Half As Good.” The story explores the tension between reality and imagination.
A Boy Who Was an Orca
“A Boy Who Was an Orca” is one of those stories that come along every once in a while to upend one’s notion of perception and intuition. By rainteller, it is mystical, spiritual, and transcendent.
2 Regular & 26 Long
The push and pull in Samuel Cole’s “2 Regular & 26 Long” reaches deep between the married Mitch and Victoria, who play an alphabet computer game which Victoria has compiled and which Mitch can hardly bear.
Tomnahurich Poems: “The City of the Sleepers”, “Plaza of the Dead” and “‘Devoted Wife'”
In this cemetery down the road from Inverness in Scotland, David McVey meditates on the dead in Tomnahurich poems: minor gentry, Indian Army subalterns, Anne MacKenzie, and others whose stories are untold, forgotten, lost.
Bronx Poems: “Untitled 5”, “We are Loners (for my brother)” and “For Kalief”
Kay Bell’s Bronx Poems wrestle with hurt and loneliness, anger and love as only poetry can do to reach the inner core of empathy and understanding. Her poem “We are Loners (for my brother)” touches at the heart of love.
“Road Rain”, “Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge” and “Scanning”
In the poem “Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge” by Elizabeth Elliott, the driver depends on the cables that hold up the bridge suspended “like belief in a higher power,” but fear of the big earthquake lingers. What then?
“Wonder Woman’s Journey: Parts I, II, and III”
Jacquelyn L.M. Scott bears witness to a woman’s experience being treated for cancer. There is no place to hide from these poems.
“Woe of Women”, “Farmhouse” and “A Semester at Chicago Arts College”
You know the voice of the poet is strong when you feel like you and she are in the same room; such is the case with Shelby Curran’s narrative poem “Farmhouse.”
“The Stars and Icarus”, “Out of Order” and “An Official Removal of the Nicknames”
Takáts Márk retells the myth of Icarus in the poem “The Stars and Icarus,” with an ingenious twist that can’t help but make you laugh at the irony. And in the companion poem “Out of Order”? Oh, the hubris of the poet’s ego.
“Swim in the Light”, “Walking Along” and “I Say”
Jordan Lindsey has a passion for poetic expression, which becomes clear as he blends form and content in one meaningful whole. See: “Swim in the Light.”
“Nana’s Tears”, “Birth of Shaman’s Dream” and “Ghost Voice”
Mary Leoson describes the relationship between the poet and her “Nana” in a pontoum, a poetic form in which content and form intertwine. See also “Shaman’s Dream,” a prose poem.
“January”, “The Only” and “Told Me”
Just when you catch the linear threads in Chelsey van der Munnik’s poems— “January, “The Only,” “Told Me”—they shift and pull you in and in.
“I Can’t Find My Brother”
The pathos in Sarai Seekamp’s trilogy of poems “I Can’t Find My Brother” is apparent on first reading, but read them over and over and you might find yourself weeping.
“Hitchhiking”, “Sailing the Ship” and “Blush”
The poet blends narration and metaphor in a morality tale when the roads were supposedly safe but not for “Renee” who was raped by a driver in the woods. The Revolution didn’t happen and they “fled to the suburbs.”
“Entreaty”, “The Tangled Skein” and “On the Wings of the Wind”
In Brandon Marlon’s poetry a “gnawing angst” permeates his poems about existence. There is not a poem richer than “On the Wings of the Wind” to explore these “depths unfathomed.”
“Elegy”, “How To Make It In Business” and “Child Saint”
When you read Lynn Lipinski’s poetry, you sense the command she brings to her poetry, especially in the poetic line. She does not miss an elegiac beat in “Elegy” to her father.
“An Animal Resembling Desire”, “The Last Threshold” and “The roof”
Sergio A. Ortiz paints his poetry with recurring images of birds and old trees and abstractions like desperation and desire, or “The roof” to cure loneliness where the poet “loved a man while dancing.”
When the Bubble Meets the Needle
Carter Vance lays out a trenchant analysis of Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential contest. He takes stock of his own position and concludes that the media must help to bring the opposing worlds “into conversation with each other.”
What I’m Really Like
The word “mean” connotes “cruel,” “nasty,” or “malicious,” but Yalei Wang proposes a different way of looking at the word, and doesn’t apologize for “living life without getting caught in the weeds of emotion.”
Revolving Like Ixion
An existential disquisition on the ultimate question: “Why are we here?” Doubting his teaching career, Martin returns to the novel Moby Dick to seek an answer to this perennial question. Perhaps in the end, it is unanswerable like “insight joined to silence.”
You would be forgiven if you read “Nobody’s Daughter” as fiction. It is, however, an essay. Either way, the subject is difficult to absorb but absorb you must to feel the full impact.
The Waves of Dissonance
It is thirty years after the 2020 Plague, or WW III, and Waverly Nelson is lying on the gunmetal metal leg of the bearded sculpture The Awakening half-buried in sand. Around her neck is a ladybug-shaped pendant, a product of her company Cis-Star Technologies that patented the VEE—Virtual Energy Emissions technology producing holographic images. Waverly Nelson’s personal pendant is a prototype that can move data around in mid-air. This morning before dawn she is activating the message that will derail the election of Marshall Danforth after years of manipulating his political career.
Tadhg and the Seven Dragons: Story One
It is Halloween and Tadhg and his friend Jayden have been flying his new dragon-shaped kite, one with widespread wings and a long, spiked tail. On their way home to get ready for trick-or-treating, Jayden’s older brother Tavin stomps on the kite and ruins it. Ringing the bell of the home of a scary lady (Jayden) and a “nice” lady (Tadhg) on Halloween night, they are greeted by a pleasant woman named Miriam and her cat Dreyfus. Tadhg feels compelled to tell her about Tavin who steals their treats and teases them about dragons. Concerned, Miriam leaves them to reappear only moments later and gives Tadhg a small amulet “carved in the shape of a green dragon, with a Celtic symbol emblazoned on the wings.” Miriam tells the boys that the dragon on the amulet is Greatwing, a gift from one spellcaster to another.
Last Night in Granada
Chris, the main character in Last Night in Granada, takes Ambien at night to mitigate the effects of anxiety, depression, and insomnia. To avoid the panic attacks that inevitably punish him when he gets anxious, he reflects on the four months he studied in Granada, Spain, during his junior year in college. He fell in love with Vera, the girl he met there, and together they fell in love with the city of Granada. It was the happiest time in his life. In Chapter 2 we meet Chris in his apartment in Westmont, Chicago, dealing with the cold weather and his insomnia. When he senses the anxiety begin to take hold, he reflects on the places he and Vera explored together: Granada and the Alhambra, but also “Madrid, Toledo, Sevilla, Barcelona, Nerja, Almeria, Cabo de Gata, Guejar Sierra.” We also learn about Chris’ favorite poet, Frederico Garcia Lorca, who plays an essential role in Last Night in Granada. This novel is a love story—between Chris and Vera and Granada—and the narration is deeply satisfying.