Circular 1/22/20

PROSE

From Fictive Dream: Delirium by John C. Mannone.

“The brick-lumps sifted through the black morph into swarms of fire ants with glassy-grit teeth.” (Delirium)

From Spelk: Letters to Dead People by Foster Trecost.

“I sometimes write letters to my father, but he doesn’t read them.”

“How do you know?”

“Because dead people can’t read letters.” (Letters to Dead People)

From The Drabble: Dreams of Unspecified Crimes by Howie Good.

“I think it was Freud who said dreams are the day’s dark residue.” (Dreams of Unspecified Crimes)


VERSE

From Caliath: To Taste of Salt by João-Maria.

“What’s it like to bow up?, that rotten soliphsism of yours by which suns dawn merely to candle your rooms…” (To Taste of Salt)


ESSAYS

From Art & Crit: “The Death of the Author” Debunked by Eric Wayne.

The belief that “the author is dead” is one of the unquestioned bad ideas that has become gospel in the art world. It’s usually just asserted — along with its companion notions that originality is impossible, and the artist’s intent is irrelevant — as if to deny it is as hopelessly naive as denying evolution. (Wayne)

From New Pop Lit: Do Awards Matter? by Karl Wenclas.

Awards ceremonies, like hall of fames– sports, music, and otherwise– are in reality highly successful PR appendages to their particular industry. (Wenclas)


 

Verse & Prose Archive Updated For The Month of November

Our archive has been fully updated for the month of November (featuring new verse and prose).

The archive will be similarly updated towards the end of December or directly thereafter (in early January).

Additionally, we will be accepting verse, prose and music submissions throughout the month of December.

If interested in submitting your work, see to our submissions page for further details.

The Dauntless Rook (§.07)

Continued from §.06.


Luned Fey leaned back in the old wicker chair she’d stolen four weeks ago, lowering the paper to behold a lithe, pale man, garbed in a corvine coat, who sat across the charred table. He settled down into the chair and poured some of the coffee Fey had freshly brewed looking impossibly pleased with himself and wholly oblivious to her increasingly dour expression.

“I see ya’ve finally returned with ya ridiculous spoils.”

“Ridiculous? Aesthetically refining, I should say.”

“Ya look like a giant bird.”

“Thouart my size, would that make of thee a giant shrew?”

“Its not funny, Dren. Ya’wert reckless.”

“My last name is only invoked when thourt in some wise vexed.”

“Vexed? Vexed! Have ya read the Evening Standard?”

“Indeed.”

“Ya made the front page.”

“No, no, no,” the man, sipped his coffee and wagged a finger before the woman, smiled and pushed up the brim of the azure-plumed hat to reveal gold-green eyes that glittered through the gloam, “Oeric Adair did.”

“The dockman saw thee. He’s been jawing to the press.”

Drake removed his hat, ruffled his matted, obsidian hair, listlessly waving his hand, as if brushing away a slothful fly.

“Let him jaw. Does it mention Emory’s condition?”

“Who?”

“The dock worker that took a dagger to the thigh.”

“No. Only mentions he were injured in the attempt on ya life. Drake, are ya even listening?”

Drake Dren tapped his chin, beetle-black brows furrowing momentarily.

“Hm, I shall just have to go and see for myself then…”

Luned folded the paper and tossed it upon the battered table, scowling.

“My dear woman, thourt either miming a prune or signalling thy disapproval.”

“Ave ya gone daft? Ya already saved the man’s life – theys naught left ta do in returning but show thy tail to the mousetrap.”

The man paused and dramatically scanned his backside as Luned rolled her eyes and shook her head.

“Its serious, damn ye. Yawert nearly kilt!”

He smiled slightly and leaned theatrically towards her, voice low and smooth and coaxing.

“Thou wert worried about me, wernt thee?”

“I wert worried about having my tenement overrun with accipiters! Which now, thanks ta thee, will be trawling the area for information, once it comes out that the man what dodged the cutthroat wasn’t Adair!”

“Ah, that is where thourt mistaken. To understand, thou must, of Adair, grow thy knowing. The ministry will hound after the assassin, but they shant come looking for me.”

“Why on earth not?”

“Because, my dear Luned, Adair won’t want them to.”

*


Continued in §.08.

Cajeta (Gimme Some Sweet!)

“Gimme some sweet!”

we scream

blessed by your MAD words

BAD words

GLAD words

SAD

letting them scorch palates

y quemar nuestros labios

like Holy Wafers

in the Devil’s mouth.

Give us a taste

of life

your loco—

salty and caramel-kissed—

with every candy-flip of the page

forming crystalizations

of lithium-pink

opiate rock (candy)

on dripping tips of lenguas

(so ready)

that hunger for the taste

of sweet poets’ milk

melting rains of cajeta

upon wanting chins and souls

under hot breaths of your WICKED verse.

“Gimme some sweet!”

gritamos

longing for a fix—

ecstatic

spasmatic

orgasms—

of your word-sugar

(tus palabras dulces)

their velvet, fatal stabs

to the heart

(mi corazón)

and the backs of throats

(releasing bad blood and MAD words)

like glistening Astro Pops

sharpened and honed

by the spit and rolling tongues

of PrOphETS—

their anointing mouths

and bleeding pens

working their brujería—

confectionate necromancies—

upon lifeless eardrums

y animas

that languished bitterly

in reductive states

of silent subtraction.

C’mon…Gimme some sweet!

(Some candied teats to suckle)

Gimme some sweet!

(Sticky trickles of sanctified honey-nectar)

Gimme some sweet!

(El fuego…la alma en mi sangre)

Gimme some sweet!

(Good, proper skull-fucks that inject your Truths)

Gimme some sweet!

(A case of “the sugars” that never felt so good)

Ándale! Dame tu dulce

y no me dejaís aquí estropeado!

(Don’t leave me here CRASHING)

Little Deaths

We implode—

explode—

in raptures

of liquid light

that set the skin

to sizzle on the spit

like slow-cooked meat,

pulled apart

in greedy clutches,

peeling

skin from skin,

limb from limb,

sinew from bone

until all is gone,

fallen away

in shreds

and trickles.

Tongues prodding,

hungrily,

for the taste of coppery bliss

of chewed lips,

these beautiful bodies—

diminished

heartbeats and exhales

of viscera and vasculature

with eyelids, aflutter—

fade

into black, into white—

dick-teasing,

mind-fucking

strobes of abstract consciousness.

Hand-in-hand,

together,

we die

little deaths,

again…

again…

and again—

every morning, a resurrection.

Nothing Lasts

Stars fall

against the murk

of the night sky,

a rain of fireflies,

dying in mid-flight,

hurtling,

heralding,

upon gentle heads blow,

cruel truths.

Nothing lasts. Nothing lasts.

Listen to the harmony,

that inaudible peal

(Ong)

that sets heavenly bodies to spin,

amidst everchanging kaleidoscopes

of the Void’s sacred geometries,

pulling,

tugging at Fate,

with the waxing

and waning

of single points of light.

Nothing lasts.  Nothing lasts.

We,

the kings and queens

of planets and moons,

tread upon paths

of celestial dust

wishing, searching

to join hands in communion

with the witnesses

to our ignorant freefall into The Bottomless.

Nothing lasts.  Nothing lasts.

The Silence & The Howl (§.28)

Continued from CHAPTER 27


CHAPTER 28


When Harmon returned to the house in the morning he found Andy’s car in the drive and a pile of boxes sitting on the front porch. Boxes filled with his personal effects. Andy watched from the living room window, his expression dour and wrathful. Harmon turned from the boxes to the window. Andy was gone.

The door burst open.

“Andy, why are my-”

Before he could complete his sentence, Andy shoved him hard in the chest, nearly knocking him off the porch.

“What’s your problem?”

“You.”

“What’s going on?”

“Think she wouldn’t tell me?”

“What did she tell you?”

“Take your things and leave, before I do something I’ll regret.”

“Be happy to, but not before I understand why you’re so put out.”

“Don’t test my patience, Harmon.”

“What did she tell you, exactly?”

“Oh you already know what she told me. I offer you my house – MY HOUSE – and you pull this shit?”

“I didn’t ‘pull’ anything.”

The air grew still and for a moment neither man spoke as storm clouds built in the distance, rumbling like the war drums of an wrathful god.

“I told you—take your things. Leave.”

“No.”

Andy’s face twitched momentarily before he reeled back his arm and caught Harmon full in the face with a stiff right hook. Harmon went tumbling from the porch, down the stairs and landed on the flat of his back in the gravel drive. He groaned and rubbed his jaw as blood trickled from his nose in tandem with the rain that trickled from the sky.

“I told you not to test me.”

Harmon rose to a knee and wiped blood.

“And I told you I’m not leaving til you lay things out. Can’t do that if you’re trying to put your fist through my brain.”

“Shut the fuck up.”

“I’m not sure what Marla told you. But whatever it was, its a lie.”

“Said you tried to force yourself on her. You denying it?”

“Like I said—a lie.”

Andy descended the creaking wooden porch stairs, body shaking with rage.

“You callin Marla a liar?”

“Every bit as accurate as callin you a fool. Fitting descriptions for the both of you.”

Andy’s face went red as he drew back his right arm and lunged. Harmon blocked the haymaker and took a wide step back, hands up in defense much as entreaty.

“I aint gonna fight you.”

“Then you’re gonna bleed.”

“Ain’t gonna do that either.”

Andy lunged once more but this time Harmon caught his arm and bent it forcefully and awkwardly behind the assailant’s back and brought him to a knee, then down, facefirst to the ground.

“Get offa me!”

“When you relax.”

“I’m relaxed. Alright. I’m fucking relaxed.”

“You don’t seem relaxed.”

“I am. I am.”

Slowly, cautiously, Harmon released the man’s arm and drew away. Andy rose, breath heavy, fingers furled, face smeared with mud, nursing his injured arm along with his wounded pride as the tatterdemalion sidewalkers stopped and starred.

An ill-kempt and middle aged man in a blue hoodie withdrew a phone and began recording, clucking to his disheveled companions who jeered and began to howler.

The bested man looked to the spectators, then to the source of his ire. Wordlessly, he barreled into Harmon with all the ferine strength his thin frame could muster, knocking the slightly bigger man off his feet. Harmon swiftly brought his arms up tight about his face, curling his body towards his attacker, nullifying the hammering, erratic blows of Andy’s knobby fists. Harmon then twisted hard, shucking tormentor from torso and rolling to a knee and springing onto Andy, hooking his left arm about the thrown man’s throat. Andy grabbed up on Harmon’s limbs in a futile attempt to free himself, gasping, choking, gnashing teeth.

Wriggling like a worm on a hook.

As Andy lapsed into unconsciousness and the electric symphony of the welkin reached its fervent crescendo, Marla, emerged from the house, terror-struck and bath-robed, and screamed.

*

The Spaces In Between

How clever I think I am,

pulling words from the air

like rabbits from top hats

to set them ablaze,

across pages

and ravage their pristine virginity.

I bleed.

I sweat.

I shed tears upon reams

so you can feel what I can

no longer.

Here I am

ground down to the gristle,

my passions splayed out–

spread-eagle–

for all to see,

to get…or not.

So, what is this thunder

that tears through my chest

and rattles the brain,

still?

The steely determination of memory—

its greedy clutch—

keeps my cup half-full

with unpotable waters.

Emotions—

all but chemicals—

a drop too much,

a drop too little—

rage and fade along with the dying of the day.

Recollections,

the moving pictures

of my silent film,

continue to linger

like birthdays

and the need to breathe,

hungry for hints of light

that pour in from doors left ajar,

for recognition

by the lonely eyes

of morning and evening skies.

The gravity of my verse is diminished

by blood-letting shades

that haunt the spaces in between

ecstatic bodies of black ink.

But for the raging

of my muse’s vanity

these scribblings bring solace

and succor to my soul,

as I suckle at the raw teats

of my poetry,

Longing

for an empty cup.

Fiction Circular 2/15/19

Editor’s note: links affixed to author/publisher’s name will redirect to author/publisher social media, links affixed to story/article titles will redirect to the site whereupon the named piece is archived. ‘Independent authors’ section focuses on lone individuals who publish their own literary work, ‘independent publishers’ section focuses upon independent presses, lit-mags, e-zines and other literary organizations who publish fictive work of multiple authors and ‘literary ephemera’ focuses on non-prose non-fiction literature, such as certain poems, news and art theory articles, reviews, interviews and critiques.


INDEPENDENT AUTHORS

From Mr. Vic Smith, Dead Calm. A sonorously bleak tale about self-sacrifice.

He was free to be just as idle because without the wind, the runner stone does not turn.

 

— Dead Calm


INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS

From Defiant Scribe, The Eggshell Floor, by Maddie Adams. A story about family loss and dysfunction.

Imogen Beatty. Loving wife, mother, and grandmother. RIP.

Three lines weren’t enough for someone’s life.

 

— The Eggshell Floor

From Drunken Pen Writing, The Red Crown, by Mikhail Bulgarov. The story of the mental breakdown of a man confined to a sanitarium after the death of his brother. Gripping and highly recommended.

Most of all I hate the sun, loud human voices, and pounding. Rapid, rapid pounding.

 

— The Red Crown

From Ellipsis Zine, A Marriage to the Earth, by Simeon Ralph. A meditation on Nature’s savage increase.

The man turns his head and spits and his thick saliva lands in a clump of wild grass on the verge by the side of the road. It glues two blades together as it slides the length of them before pooling at the roots and seeping into the damp soil. The warmth of the man evaporates as the ground envelopes his discarded enzymes and electrolytes and absorbs his DNA. The earth accepts this gift but remains hungry.

 

— A marriage to the Earth

From Fictive Dream, Mountain Lake by Leonard Kress. On the idyll of youth.

She wades into the lake, moving slowly, using her toes to feel for sharp rocks and plants, so slowly that her movement barely disturbs the water’s surface. Three young men sit on a flat boulder at the edge of the lake. Their legs dip into the water and they watch her. One is the girl’s boyfriend, another her ex-boyfriend, and the third trembles imperceptibly in her presence. Before stepping into the lake, she removes her jeans and lets her white tunic fall to her thighs. Now the bottom of the tunic brushes against the surface of the water giving it a dark border that gradually broadens as she moves farther from the shore.

 

— Mountain Lake

From Flash Fiction Magazine, Lot, by Mary Li. A story about a self-conscious vehicle. One of this weeks stranger and more original additions.

The strange thing about the new models is that they don’t talk back. I’d like to tell them about the acoustic guitar that sales guy Dan left in my trunk on his way back from a gig.

 

— Lot

From Forge Lit Mag, Alfie, by John Saul. A deftly penned piece of literary experimentation.

A woman not a fellow plaster-watcher by the sound of her is discussing artists on her phone.

 

— Alfie

From Idle Ink, Angel Wing, by BF Jones, a tale of marriage, heartbreak and the specter of loss. As sorrowful as it is moving (and exceptionally well-written).

She likes the angel wing shadow downstairs, the warm feeling it gives her when she touches it.

 

— Angel Wing

From Literally Stories 2014, Paper Skins, by L’Erin Ogle, a harrowing tale of a vindictive sorceress and the man she loves. The author’s prose is exceptionally good.

-hunks of bread I baked turned sharp as the blade of my rage, cutting the mouths of my family-

 

— Paper Skins

From The Molotov CocktailThe Kitsune, by Candace Hartsuyker. Concerning the grim and conflicted adventures of a fox-girl.

Days go by. In the hollow of another cliff she finds newborns, eyes closed shut. Pink bodies twitch, hairless and warm. She licks her lips. Swallows them whole.

 

— The Kitsune

From Red Fez, On Death Row by Jared Blakely. Many people think of themselves as heroic, until the moment to act as such occurs, whereupon they are paralyzed by fear and indecision; this, Mr. Blakely’s story capture’s beautifully.

Nick’s eyes shot up and scanned the room. Nobody cared. They were staring out of the window or on their cell phones or looking down at their own feet.

 

— On Death Row

From Reflex Fiction, Terror Attack, by Nina Pandey. A cautionary tale about the dangers of living “like there’s no tomorrow” (even if there really is none).

The minute she was told she had cancer she realised she’d never felt happiness before.

— Terror Attack

From Spelk, The Forgotten Man, by Jason Beech. A gripping portrait of one man who has lost everything.

I exit the prison with a pogo stick in my step. Five years in that cold, green-tiled Victorian relic has dulled something inside. I scratch my cauliflower ears and shake some recognition of the outside into my concussed brain.

 

— The Forgotten Man

From Terror House, Sweethearts, by Robert Ragan. A horrifying tale of lust, obsession and revenge.

 For the first time, he saw common houseflies buzzing around instead of butterflies when he thought of her.

 

— Sweethearts

From The Arcanist, Nannybot by Ophelia Leong, wherein a mother’s idea to purchase a robotic caretaker for her child goes somewhat awry.

It’s eyes glowed with a malevolent red light and for a moment Priscilla was paralyzed with fear. — Nannybot

From The Story Shack, Rex, by Jonathan VanDyke. A slick, over-the-top, action-thriller parody. Funniest piece I read all week.

Several bullets punctured the grill of the car and shattered window glass as newspaper stands passing by exploded into clouds of shredded paper, but Rex didn’t mind, this was a slow Tuesday.

 

— Rex


LITERARY EPHEMERA

From Channillo, On The Outside, Looking In (1), by David Estringel. On indolence, inspiration and becoming a writer (part one of a series). Highly recommended.

My intrigue with the written word came about in a rather non-traditional way: Charlie Rose. Apart from the rather strange May-December, platonic bromance vibe between us (well, my TV), the main appeal of staying up until 3 AM to watch his show centered around the writers he often had on as guests. My first glimpse into the lives of the literati, I knew right there and then that I had a place in that world. Quick-witted and wickedly smart, they saw life in ways I never dreamed possible. I wanted to be them.

 

— On The Outside, Looking In (1)

From New Pop Lit, Thinking Beyond The Flat Narrative. On news, information dissemination, one-sidedness and (re-)thinking narrative interrogation so as to better navigate hyperreality; part one of a series.

The three-dimensional thinker is ahead of the curve.

 

— Thinking Beyond The Flat Narrative

From The New Republic, a fantastic piece on of the greats of the western canon, The Significance of Herman Melville.

“-life becomes intensified and purposive when the battle with the forces of Nature, like Ahab’s battle, is a deliberate pursuit and challenge-”

 

— The Significance of Herman Melville

From Tim Miller, Daedalus & Icarus (poem), originally published via Poethead. A beautiful, if mournful, ode to the mythic craftsman.

he strikes them away and leaves them on the wall,
all of them, as well as the envy and
revenge his talents inspired, all hammered
forgotten. But not his son. Twice he’s tried

to let him go, as the sky did before
the sea took him; twice he’s tried to fashion
his face or his descent or his youthful limbs
or just his eyes, and twice he’s stopped in tears.

 

— Daedalus & Icarus


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