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Month: December 2012

Argive Burial

by David Luntz

The long-suffering wanderer remembers the ox: pale, sticky, and shivering, gaping mournfully at his eyes, as he wrested it from its mother’s womb. (more…)

the price of traveling

by Eleanor Bennett

[Editor’s Note: We will be publishing this 11-part series Close to Heart, one photograph at a time, for 11 consecutive weeks. This is 10 of 11.]


Eleanor Leonne Bennett is a 16-year-old internationally award winning photographer and artist who has won first places with National Geographic,The World Photography Organisation, Nature’s Best Photography, Papworth Trust, Mencap, The Woodland trust and Postal Heritage. Her photography has been published in the Telegraph, The Guardian, BBC News Website and on the cover of books and magazines in the United states and Canada. Her art is globally exhibited, having shown work in London, Paris, Indonesia, Los Angeles, Florida, Washington, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Canada, Spain, Germany, Japan, Australia and The Environmental Photographer of the year Exhibition (2011) amongst many other locations. She was also the only person from the UK to have her work displayed in the National Geographic and Airbus run See The Bigger Picture global exhibition tour with the United Nations International Year Of Biodiversity 2010.

My art is often taken very close to home. Recently I have been taking many festival pictures all within five miles of my home. With everything being on my doorstep, I feel my neighbourhood is a beautiful cultured centre of its own little world. I am often exhibited in new mills and I am a photographer for disley coucil. Only about 3,000 people live in my village. I’m always the girl with a camera, and as a part of my little world people are very happy to have their images taken. With my art grown locally I have won two holidays: one to New York and one to Trinidad and Tobago. Not everything has to be exotic in photography and I have found people love my quirky local imagery. Four of my photos are globally published—share a lift home, bug eyes, get back better on, and sleep anywhere—which were all taken in my back garden.

Repent, Boy

by Rich Larson

They should make a Church of the Hangover. You know, seats nice and padded, lights dusked down real low. Communion is Gatorade (is it in you?) from frosty coolers, glacial blue or radioactive yellow, to swill your cotton mouth away and send the electrolytes scurrying back up your aching cranium. Then there’s the body, broken for you: greasy breakfast sandwiches from McDonalds, leaving a shiny trail on fingertips as the hot bags get solemnly passed pew to pew. Soft music. No drums. Maybe just one guitar, acoustic. The preacher whispers into a microphone and the message is always forgiveness of sins. Services start at noon.


Rich Larson is a 20-year-old student living in Edmonton, Alberta. His novel Devolution was selected as a finalist for the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. His shorter work has since appeared in Word Riot, YARN, Bartleby Snopes, AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review, >kill author, Monkeybicycle, Prick of the Spindle, Daily Science Fiction, and many others. His self-published work can be found at Amazon.com/author/richlarson.

“Repent, Boy” is scheduled to go live on Christmas Eve. Does that publication date in any way change its meaning?

I think the date of publication increases its resonance. Christmas time often puts us face to face with religious traditions’ polarizing nature and the familial rifts resultant.

my uncle morris

by Eleanor Bennett

[Editor’s Note: We will be publishing this 11-part series Close to Heart, one photograph at a time, for 11 consecutive weeks. This is 10 of 11.]

(more…)

This Is Bad, Really Bad

by Lee Wright

I sit on the sofa, drunk, watching her surf, black text underlined here and there in blue, reflected in the thick lenses of her glasses. She says, “Shit,” almost under her breath, lights a cigarette, sighs, and tells me, “It’s much worse than we thought.”

I sit for a moment, stunned, worried, more than a little confused. Not knowing what else to do, I put my beer on the coffee table and crawl along the scuffed hardwood floor, searching for the plug, the wire, the connection. My head spins as she rambles on and on and on about proper protection and how we might lose everything.

Lying prone under the table, I slap around until I find a blue wire with white too-small-to-be-legible words printed on its blue rubber skin. I grab it as if it’s a lifeline thrown from some distantly passing boat. Can I actually feel the ones-and-zeros, the potential, surging through it in both directions? I think I can. There’s a rhythm I can feel in my bones and behind my eyes. Everything that ever was is right there, surging against my skin. I can feel the potential, the hope, the fear.

I close my eyes and let the cable slip through my fingers.

“Goddammit,” I say, “We have a virus.”


Lee Wright is a fat, surly, bald man who lives near Chattanooga, Tennessee, with his beautiful wife (who is only a little surly) and son (who is not at all surly and has made his parents considerably less surly). An unapologetic genre-hopper, his short stories have appeared in, or are forthcoming in, Absent Willow Review, Metal Scratches, Micro Horror, All Genres Magazine, Black Fox Literary Magazine, and Apocrypha and Abstractions.

You’d mentioned in an email that the word “virus” generated this story. Could you a talk a bit about the role “virus” played in the process of creating the story and in its final appearance here, as a product?

This story started with the title. I was out of ideas so I randomly wrote the word “virus” at the top of the page and started at it for a while. A virus, whether biological or technical, is something very small that can radically alter a much larger preexisting system. While I was thinking about that, my two-year-old son ran by at top speed, probably on his way to chase the cat. I smiled. My little virus.

He’s growing up in a world that is constantly flooded with information—good, bad, confusing, and often contradictory. He’s part of the first totally plugged in generation, bombarded by compressed, instantly accessible information and entertainment. Most of the time, that makes me really happy. Other times, it scares the hell out of me.

the town cryer

by Eleanor Bennett

[Editor’s Note: We will be publishing this 11-part series Close to Heart, one photograph at a time, for 11 consecutive weeks. This is 9 of 11.]


Eleanor Leonne Bennett is a 16-year-old internationally award winning photographer and artist who has won first places with National Geographic,The World Photography Organisation, Nature’s Best Photography, Papworth Trust, Mencap, The Woodland trust and Postal Heritage. Her photography has been published in the Telegraph, The Guardian, BBC News Website and on the cover of books and magazines in the United states and Canada. Her art is globally exhibited, having shown work in London, Paris, Indonesia, Los Angeles, Florida, Washington, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Canada, Spain, Germany, Japan, Australia and The Environmental Photographer of the year Exhibition (2011) amongst many other locations. She was also the only person from the UK to have her work displayed in the National Geographic and Airbus run See The Bigger Picture global exhibition tour with the United Nations International Year Of Biodiversity 2010.

My art is often taken very close to home. Recently I have been taking many festival pictures all within five miles of my home. With everything being on my doorstep, I feel my neighbourhood is a beautiful cultured centre of its own little world. I am often exhibited in new mills and I am a photographer for disley coucil. Only about 3,000 people live in my village. I’m always the girl with a camera, and as a part of my little world people are very happy to have their images taken. With my art grown locally I have won two holidays: one to New York and one to Trinidad and Tobago. Not everything has to be exotic in photography and I have found people love my quirky local imagery. Four of my photos are globally published—share a lift home, bug eyes, get back better on, and sleep anywhere—which were all taken in my back garden.

Shinbu Unit 99

by Takamichi Okubo

The enemy is approaching Okinawa,
the officer says. The only way to turn the
situation around is Special Attacks.

On the sheet of paper Nakajima
receives are three choices: I ardently
desire to participate; I desire to
participate; I do not desire to participate.
He hides the paper from the others and
with a trembling hand circles the last
choice.

Back in his barracks, Nakajima adds
another haiku to his notebook, only to
scratch it out until the paper rips. For the
past ten years, he’s asked the same
question: How can he condense his entire
life into seventeen syllables?

The next day, Nakajima watches as
the officer writes the names of the
volunteers on the blackboard, giving each
a number. The last name to appear is
under number seventeen, and it’s
Nakajima’s.

Within a week, his unit is transferred
to the base in the southernmost tip of
Kyushu. Nakajima continues to write
haiku in the darkness of the barracks until
the day of the mission. Nothing he writes
satisfies him, except the one line he does
not blot out.

              The end—a petal

Nakajima’s unit covers the six
hundred kilometers to Okinawa in ninety
minutes. Even before they see any enemy
ships, bullets rain down on them.

Nakajima swings to the right but the
enemy plane clings to him. He
nosedives—falls, falls, falls—and levels
at the last moment so he’s flying
dangerously close to the sea.

Pillars of water splash up all around
him. He looks around frantically for an
enemy ship. His life, his sacrifice, must
have some meaning.

Ahead, a battleship. Steely-gray and
enormous and puffing black smoke as it
unleashes a storm of flashing light.

On the radio key, he taps out his
initials—dit, dah, dit, dah, dah. Then the
target—dit, dah for a battle ship—and a
signal that he’s getting ready to attack—
dit, dit, dah, dit, dit. Five signals, then
seven.

Pain explodes in his shoulder and
thigh. His wing blooms in orange and
belches out smoke. He can still fly.

He thinks of the men who are no
longer with him, him the seventeenth
syllable of this haiku called Shinbu Unit
99. He thinks of home.

              Of cherry blossom falling

The enemy ship draws closer. He
sees people milling about on deck, the
barrels of anti-aircraft guns recoiling.

Against instructions, he sends four
meaningless long signals—dah, dah, dah,
dah—before pressing down on the knob,
signaling he is attacking.

The end of this long signal, the
seventeenth, means his death, and to the
commanders back at the base and to the
rest of the country, another enemy
destroyed.

A gun on the enemy ship pivots
toward him. Holding down the knob he
screams, to keeps his hand steady on the
controls.

He sees sakura blossom, in pale pink.

              On a deck of steel.


Takamichi Okubo is a native of Tokyo, Japan, and though he’s spent half of his life in the States, he’d like to think he’s more of a samurai than a cowboy, as he eats sushi with a hachimaki headband and shouts “hai!’ after every successful attempt at mastication. He received his A.B. in philosophy from Princeton University and is currently an MFA candidate at Indiana University. This is his first publication and he can’t for the life of him decide what to do with the first check he’s ever received for his writing. Also, he proudly doesn’t own a phone.

Author’s Note

The story’s central theme revolves around the idea of compression in the form of haiku. The protagonist of the story is a haiku poet obsessed with compressing his life into thirteen syllables, and both the content and the formatting of the story reinforce this obsession. Also, this story was, fittingly, a compression of an 8,000-word story that was strengthened significantly by the process.

rekinde

by Eleanor Bennett

[Editor’s Note: We will be publishing this 11-part series Close to Heart, one photograph at a time, for 11 consecutive weeks. This is 8 of 11.]


Eleanor Leonne Bennett is a 16-year-old internationally award winning photographer and artist who has won first places with National Geographic,The World Photography Organisation, Nature’s Best Photography, Papworth Trust, Mencap, The Woodland trust and Postal Heritage. Her photography has been published in the Telegraph, The Guardian, BBC News Website and on the cover of books and magazines in the United states and Canada. Her art is globally exhibited, having shown work in London, Paris, Indonesia, Los Angeles, Florida, Washington, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Canada, Spain, Germany, Japan, Australia and The Environmental Photographer of the year Exhibition (2011) amongst many other locations. She was also the only person from the UK to have her work displayed in the National Geographic and Airbus run See The Bigger Picture global exhibition tour with the United Nations International Year Of Biodiversity 2010.

My art is often taken very close to home. Recently I have been taking many festival pictures all within five miles of my home. With everything being on my doorstep, I feel my neighbourhood is a beautiful cultured centre of its own little world. I am often exhibited in new mills and I am a photographer for disley coucil. Only about 3,000 people live in my village. I’m always the girl with a camera, and as a part of my little world people are very happy to have their images taken. With my art grown locally I have won two holidays: one to New York and one to Trinidad and Tobago. Not everything has to be exotic in photography and I have found people love my quirky local imagery. Four of my photos are globally published—share a lift home, bug eyes, get back better on, and sleep anywhere—which were all taken in my back garden.

The Beginning

by Brian Duke

I figured if I went to enough psychiatrists eventually one of them would say something I wanted. (more…)

News

Submissions

Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction/prose poetry submissions are now open. Check out our new category triptychs! The submission period closes December 15, 2108; submit here.

Upcoming

11/19 • Dan Crawley
11/26 • Bruce Robinson
11/28 • Madeleine McDonald
12/03 • Marina Carreira
12/10 • Edwin Litts
12/17 • Christopher James
12/24 • Bree Pie
12/31 • Sara Backer
01/07 • Kim Magowan
01/14 • Justin Herrmann
01/21 • Su-Yee Lin
01/28 • Nathan Long
02/04 • Paul Crenshaw
02/11 • Kevin McLellan
02/18 • Emanuele Pettener
02/25 • Jeff Friedman
03/04 • Dennis Mombauer
03/11 • Jacqueline Doyle
03/18 • Tamara Gane
03/25 • Sara Crowley