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Month: August 2022

The Man Who Helped Me

by Kim Chinquee

 

My apartment got so hot. I finally shut the windows. It’s hotter to keep them open, which lets in the heat and the noise of motorbikes blaring off the Interstate doing wheelies. And the bus: loud even in its rule-following, letting people off and on and off…

I’m healing from a bike crash. It was my fault. It was a time trial. I was going fast, then tried to stop and couldn’t unclip my shoes right.

I found a way to use my SkyMiles to get myself and my two dogs a hotel that has AC.

We’re on the 12th floor. I look down into the city and out to the great lake—where I ride along it on the bike path. I look out to the break-wall. I know what it’s like to walk there.

The dogs tilt their heads. I tell them: Hey guys, I could’ve found a better hotel, but not every hotel likes you.

On the bed, I sprawl the best I can. One of my ribs is fractured.

I turn up the AC.

I go to Walgreens for the third time since my crash. Buy more dressings. I’m getting to know which kinds work better for the road rash on my knuckles, on my fingers, on my elbow, knee. The raw skin on my shoulder.

I take off my old dressings. The bruise on my hip has turned a lighter purple.

I run the shower and feel the water with my fingers. The sting.

I step in, adjust the temp. I address my wounds and wash them.

It’s my goal to find the man who helped me. He picked me up and drove me to the ER. He even brought my bike there, all banged up except for a wheel.

 

Kim Chinquee grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, and served in the medical field in the Air Force. She’s published hundreds of pieces of fiction and nonfiction in journals and magazines including The Nation, Ploughshares, NOON, Storyquarterly, Denver Quarterly, Fiction, Story, Notre Dame Review, Conjunctions, and others. Her seventh collection, Wetsuit, was published in 2021 with Ravenna Press, and her debut novel, Pipette, is due out July 2022, also with Ravenna Press. She is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes and a Henfield Prize, Senior Editor of New World Writing, and co-director of SUNY—Buffalo State’s Writing Major. Her website is www.kimchinquee.com.

 

See what happens when you click below.

What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “The Man Who Helped Me”?

This flash resulted in a set of prompt words from my Hot Pants writing room–worldwide, suit, joint, hip, salute. (Though it appears some of those words were edited out.) I had also experienced a bike crash, tried to endure the heat and live through the pandemic; this is a fictionalized/revised account of that.

The Problem with Quantum Entanglement

by Christina Cook

 

An alchemist, a Theosophist, and a physicist walk into a bar.

“Give me a shot of the most potent elixir you distill in your back-room alembic,” says the alchemist.

“I’d like a shot of your finest spirits,” says the Theosophist.

“I’ll take a shot in the dark,” says the physicist.

The bartender lines up the three shots, but finds he can only see two of them. He hands these to the alchemist and Theosophist, whose arms span centuries to clink their glasses together.

The bartender turns to the physicist. “I’m sorry, but I seem to have lost your shot,” he says.

The physicist laughs and slaps his hand on the glossy wood bar top: the sound of the slap emerges in a bar three ungentrified blocks away. “I can’t believe you fell for that trick again!” he shouts. Intoxicated with the lack of liquor, he falls off his stool and straight through the floor as if it wasn’t ever there.

 

Christina Cook is the author of the poetry collections A Strange Insomnia, Ricochet, and Lake Effect. Her poems, translations, essays, and book reviews have appeared widely in journals including the Prairie Schooner, New England Review, and Crazyhorse. Formerly a senior writer for the presidents of Dartmouth College and the University of Pennsylvania, she is now an assistant teaching professor in the English Department at Penn State University.

 

See what happens when you click below.

What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “The Problem with Quantum Entanglement”?

The three personages in the piece are main characters in my novel-in-progress, American Alchemy. Two are based on historical Philadelphia residents: The “Alchemist” is Magister Johannes Kelpius, a.k.a. “The Mystic of the Wissahickon,” an alchemist and Pietist monk who led his adherents from Transylvania (I’m not even kidding) to Philadelphia in anticipation of the Apocalypse in 1694. The “Theosophist” is Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky—spirit medium, occultist, and founder of the Theosophical Society—who lived in West Philly in the 1870s (though she fabricated many of the events of her life, so we can’t be too sure). The “Physicist” is Cassius Ilinga, a fictional character whose efforts to save the country from itself in the late 2020s entangle him with Kelpius and Blavatsky deep in the forested Wissahickon Park.

News

Check out the write-up of the journal in The Writer.

Matter Press recently released titles from Meg Boscov, Abby Frucht, Robert McBrearty, Tori Bond, Kathy Fish, and Christopher Allen. Click here.

Matter Press is now offering private flash fiction workshops and critiques of flash fiction collections here.

Submissions

Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction/prose poetry submissions are now closed. The reading period for standard submissions opens again September 15, 2022. Submit here.

Upcoming

08/01 • Christina Cook
08/08 • Kim Chinquee
08/15 • Michael Czyzniejewski
08/22 • Len Kuntz
08/29 • Thaddeus Rutkowski
09/05 • Candice May
09/12 • Bonnie Jo Campbell
09/19 • TBD