Welcome! Here is this week’s Flash, posted in the order received.
The theme is Little Worlds.
First Ornamental Calamity by stephen hastings-king
1. The plastic sphere snow does not stop falling through glycerine onto the model New England village, center of a permanent storm into which no people venture.
2. In a glycerine temporality places set for lunch lift from shaking tables to describe peculiar drifting orbits just above which are visible in their intricacies from a viewpoints framed by doorways through which guests never walk.
3. In a glycerine temporality a body splayed beneath a bed can hover a short distance above the floor.
4. When the inhabitants of the model village from under beds or pinned in doorways shout to see if others are OK each sends sound waves that ripple across the interminable unfoldings of the apparent dissonance of an earthquake in winter.
5. Outside the snow does not fall. The ground rushes up to meet it.
Stephen Hastings-King lives by a salt marsh in Essex Massachusetts where he makes constraints, works with prepared piano and writes entertainments of various kinds. Some of his sound work is available at www.clairaudient.org. Other material will be at http://www.post-reality.org. His writing has appeared in a wide range of journals including Sleepingfish and Black Warrior Review (this fall. stay tuned). This piece comes from an ongoing potential radio opera, Calamity in Clamville.
Jornada del Muerto by Jane Hammons
Oppenheimer returned to his hut and waited for the weather to change. 4:00 a.m. Rain stopped falling. Winds calmed. Humidity stabilized at 80%. Clouds broke. Scattered. The time was right.
A brilliant yellow flash lit the desert that only an instant before had been bathed in the pale, natural light of a moon tinged pink by the gentle rays of a rising sun.
The new dawn broke. A furious ball of red and orange whipped itself into a swirling, fiery column, several hundred feet thick. A violet ring hovered, spitting bits of blue and purple back into the atmosphere.
A halo. Oppenheimer smiled. His crown. For a moment he contemplated success. But the halo vanished, leaving only a sinister gray cloud splashed with pieces of the yellow morning sun that flashed here and there, welcoming a new day. “I am become death, the shatterer of worlds.” The man nearest Oppenheimer stepped away.
The thunderous rumble cracked through the mountains and dunes like applause. Mesquite, agave, and cholla quieted their rustling leaves. Snakes and lizards rolled their cool reptilian eyes back into their heads. Roadrunners and cactus wrens froze, poised for escape. Rabbits, coyotes, and rats sniffed for scent of the enemy.
A mist of vapor rose where the steel tower had once cradled the bomb. A crater yawned. Through the fused green sand, crystalline worms emerged: first creatures of the new earth.
Jane Hammons should be working on her novel.
Auralette’s Psychedelic Travel Agency by cubehermit
On a side street off the main drag where chain restaurants, big box stores, insurance companies and car sales giants were sucking the life out of America stood the only business for kilometers owned by a real person as opposed to a corporate behemoth.
The owner was Miss Auralette. She stood about six feet tall, dressed in impossibly dramatic style, with luscious brown skin.
I learned it was first name: Miss; last name: Auralette when she handed me her card. I studied the card, not exactly sure what I was doing in this shop other than enjoying the air conditioning and relishing in its fierce independence.
The Psychedelic Travel Agency was full of couches, tapestries, and posters of colorful fractals. I sank into the rust colored shag carpet. I already felt transported.
“So, you want to go on a trip?” Auralette’s voice broke my reverie. “What kind of little worlds do you want to visit?” She lifted a tray of carefully labeled little foil pouches to the counter. “I offer many choices…”
I read the labels: ‘Mauve Haze’ ‘Fruity Loops’ ‘Robo Rooster’ ‘Time Machine’
“Where does the time machine go?” I asked, pinching myself to see if I was dreaming.
“Far away from here,” Auralette said, “but might I suggest this one for you,” she pointed a bejeweled fingernail to the label ‘Silken Road’. “It will bring you deep inside, which is where I think you really want to go.”
Cubehermit is master of her 4×5 foot domain. Just as you do not mess with Texas, don’t mess with the cube. You can see more of cubehermit’s work at her website at Corporate Cog Poetry.
20:46 hrs – Chongqing, China by Finnegan Flawnt
We watched an old movie tonight, What a Wonderful Life, and we’re talking about what may come for us while we wait for Dun Che Lao Ren, the Christmas Old Man. All of us, the girls, who do not exist. I love the pretty faces, shrubbed, in clean blankets, sitting under paper lanterns and flowers. We hold hands, we sing ‘Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer’ the way we know it. Everybody’s got a voice and even if you kill them you can’t take that voice away. Even the rain flowing down the gutter and on the street and from there into the Yangtze and into the sea, knows that. Our voice goes with the rain to the ocean and touches everyone else. And if they don’t hear us because we are little, they dream us.
Finnegan Flawnt is a prose poet and purveyor of fine podcasts who lives with two females and a bad conscience under Milk Wood. He flaunts it when he’s got it at Flawnt. This piece is part of a larger cycle of 24 stories all on Christmas Day, each in a different time zone.
Little Worlds by Darryl Price
Little worlds got up as usual and stretched her crampy palms into a tiny shove against the big fat day already trying to sit on her face that usually meant nothing more than that she could use three more minutes of camping next to her dreams because she thought she saw something slightly unusual bobbing out on the river’s edge and she really should check it out as it just might prove to be important to the future’s hours after all.
Darryl Price was born in Kentucky and educated at Thomas More College. A founding member of Jack Roth’s Yellow Pages Poets, he has published dozens of chapbooks, including a dual chapbook with Jennifer Bosveld, founder of Pudding House (the largest literary small press in America), and had poems in journals including The Bitter Oleander, Cornfield Review, Allegheny Poetry, Wind, Out of Sight, Paper Radio, The West Conscious Review, Pudding, Metazen, Cap City Poets, Doing It, Prick of the Spindle, Olentangy Review, Fourpaperletters, LITSNACK and the Green Fuse.
Honeybee by Melissa Ann Chadburn
One summer, in a day plump with moisture she went in search for him. The treacherous journey took her through thickly padded bushes, distracted by the unbearable scent of a rose… she stopped. There he stood, his skin exposed. Forgetting her inhibitions, she dove for him. He thrust her toward imminent death. Her sting remained. He was allergic.
Melissa Chadburn is currently a 34-year-old social arsonist that happens to possess an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University.
China and Afghanistan by Susan Tepper
“See my knuckles,” Teddy says making two fists. “What do you notice?”
A lot of people are milling about, it’s Times Square, 4pm in July. Hot. Radiator hot.
I shrug saying, “It’s just knuckles.”
I’m looking around the throngs of people for some place cool to duck into, an air conditioned Starbucks, anywhere. I hate winter then I hate summer. I feel like I wasn’t meant to live on this earth.
“Look closer,” he’s saying extending his clenched hands. They’re squeezed so tight the knuckles have turned a sickly yellowish color.
“Look,” I say back. “OK, you have yellow knuckles.”
“Janine, you need to examine life more closely.”
“It’s hot and ugly here. There’s fumes. There could be another truck bomb right on this corner, one that goes off this time. I want to go back to Kansas.”
He laughs then. “Kansas, huh? What are you, Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz?”
That doesn’t sound too bad. A nice Kansas twister to lift me out of the hell hole of Times Square. As I’m mulling this over, a fat woman in an ugly T-shirt bumps me hard and doesn’t apologize.
“Come on, figure it out.” He’s still with those damned knuckles shoved my way.
“China and Afghanistan?” I say.
“I am clenching two little worlds. One holds everything you dream of, Janine, and one holds nothing. Which one has the ring you want real bad?”
Susan Tepper is the author of “Deer & Other Stories” (Wilderness House Press, 2009) and the poetry chapbook “Blue Edge.” Over 100 of her stories and poems have been published in journals worldwide. Susan had been nominated five times for the Pushcart Prize. She curates the reading series FIZZ at KGB Bar in NYC, and is Assistant Editor of Istanbul Literary Review. You can find her online at www.susantepper.com.
A Creation Myth by Bernard Heise
On this the first Monday of the celestial year, He dons his argyle sweater, knickers, and cap and struts along a well worn path towards the edge of heaven. “Boy, get your ass in gear,” He yells. Jesus struggles to keep up, burdened with a bag of drivers on his right shoulder and carrying the bucket of balls in his left hand, which pains him still. They make the journey in a silence thickened with mutual resentment, and the Father is already impatient the moment they arrive. “Come on, boy, tee ‘em up!” Without a word, the Son inserts the tees into the dirt. He then selects the golf balls one at time, spits on each the thickest loogie he can muster, and lines them up. This mucous is the precious stuff of life. Originally the theory was that the slime’s precise bacterial composition would change with variations in the divine diet and thus produce an infinite biological diversity. But although Father and Son have feasted on many different types of sacrifices, the bacterial slime has remained remarkably consistent and the results have been uniformly disappointing. Sure, the Father still enjoys swinging His clubs and driving the fucked up little worlds into outer space – a slice to the left, another to the right, then one straight down the middle that makes Him smile and forget about His aching bones. But for years now, Jesus has wanted to break the damn clubs. He mutters. He’s grown weary of the repeated crucifixions.
Bernard Heise lives on a sailboat in the South Pacific. He monitors the sun as it rises and sets; he keeps a watchful eye on the tides. And when the spirit moves him, he animates the mummified corpse of 15th-century Anglo-Saxon bishop and mounts the pulpit at the Church of Rebar Jesus.
Total destruction, the only solution by Guy Yasko
There are no unintended consequences, no butterfly effect. Each act of
destruction is discrete, because each snow globe is discrete. Assuming
no increase in the value of n — a dangerous assumption — the
smashing of any one snow globe increases the probability of any
remaining snow globe being smashed by the value of 1/(n-1) – 1/n.
But it is never like that.
It is always love, even as the hammer comes down, even as he fetches
the hammer. It is love as he wipes up the viscous fluid and the broken
crystal and the figurines, the peas in the pod, the bean in the
cake. He doesn’t understand the why the urge to collect ends in
destruction, but he knows both come from the same place.
It isn’t always this way. That’s why he knows this is best. Once he
dropped one off the bridge. It sunk, which was both heart-rending and
anti-climactic. A plastic globe would float, and that would be
worse. Another went into the fire. He had hated the black smoke and
the passivity of waiting, watching for the end. He prefers the ritual
of cleaning. It is a way to say goodbye, a chance to feel the fluid,
which would otherwise be forever confined within.
He understands all of this, but is still tempted by the microwave.
Guy Yasko destroys computer hardware, pens, and books.
What Might Have Been by Catherine Russell
When she saw the small jello pyramid, she knew she’d waited much too long to clean the fridge. Tiny green creatures bowed before the surprisingly rigid structure, prostrate with piety.
Then they spotted her.
The descendants of some particularly nasty leftovers screamed in terror at the sight of her. Well, some of them did. Others cowered behind either the lime colored pyramid or an open box of baking soda. Many ran to a tinfoil monstrosity covered by mold spores, but for all she knew it might have been their nursery. Still others gathered weapons to defend themselves against the coming onslaught. Their wise men (wise molds?) had prophesied of the time of the coming of the great blue bottle, unleashing its deadly spray, and the monster who would one day wield it. They stole toothpicks from ancient leftovers and waved them at her.
Sally sighed and sprayed the cleaner, wiping out the beginnings of a promising new civilization. She really needed to clean the damn fridge more often.
Catherine Russell is currently trying to publish her first novel. She writes short fiction, poetry, and learns more about the craft every day.
Mob by Ajay Nair
He pushes his glasses up the bridge of his nose using his middle finger; a tiny, self-conscious gesture. His finger collects a layer of oily sweat. The other hand grips the paper cup tightly, though it’s long run out of juice. He is leaning back against a pillar watching the dancing; a spectator to joy – both planned and spontaneous – that’s unfolding in bodies fourteen and fifteen years old in front of him.
This is when Lila bursts into his vision and smiles – that smile, that smile. He can’t believe it when she offers her hands to him, those hands. He drops the cup, wipes his fingers on his crisp, white shirt and meekly submits his hands to her. She pulls him to her, so close, he can taste her breath. His knees buckle and he falls to the ground. When he finds his glasses and puts them on, there are four of them looking down at him, laughing. Sia mimes her action of taking him out from behind; causes a fresh explosion of mirth.
He can feel the paper cup crushed under his body. Something oozes.
There’s so much joy, so much laughter. Lila’s teeth are tiny, perfect. If she were to bite him, he’d feel no pain. If they were all to eat him, he’d feel no pain.
Ajay Nair lives and works in Mumbai. He is an entrepreneur at a live music events firm, having been a private equity investor, an investment banker and a business consultant in the past. He believes that Tendulkar is god, which regrettably is a notion his wife Anita disagrees with. More of his writing is up at his website If I sang out of tune and at Fictionaut.
Young Journey by Matthew A. Hamilton
A golden ray trickle of
the sun slowly rises
from its watery chamber.
The waves of the metallic blue sea quietly slap
the sides of the lonely sail boat.
a school of awkward fish,
jump into the blue experience
and slowly make
their way to a nearby atoll.
The quiet sea explodes with foam and bubbles.
Chthonian voices echo beneath skeletal ships.
Barracudas swim at a close distance,
curious at the sight of unfamiliar creatures of the sea.
Stingrays stealthily search for small fish.
A sea horse gallops nearby.
Above the water is Nassau.
a poor and beleaguered people,
for knickknack buying tourists.
A baby girl cuddles on her mother’s lap.
Children run around barefoot,
torn shirts bleeding into their skin.
Parties stimulate the evening.
The streets are cluttered with smack agents,
barhops and vice girls.
The rhythmic sound of Reggae Music
burns the sultry air of smoke and mixed drinks.
Sweaty bodies pop like champagne bottles,
their dreams explode into white bubbles of
crystalline essence and turquoise honey.
Matthew A. Hamilton is a US Peace Corps Volunteer serving in the Philippines. He has work in Metazen, Crows Nest Magazine, Long Story Short, and others. He has forthcoming working in Black Lantern Publishing and The Battered Suitcase. After service, Matthew will pursue an MFA in Creative Writing at Fairfield University.
Little Worlds by Lou Freshwater
She looks out of place in this desk. It is the same kind of desk you find in any crappy middle school in any crummy town. But she is glamour in this desk. She takes her compact out while the Professor drones on about the importance of a thesis statement and after that she takes out a tube and puts it on her lips. It is a clear gloss that really just makes her natural deep pink color shiny. She turns her lips in toward each other like a Venus Flytrap and she rubs them together. The obese kid with the long ponytail who always wears the Metallica T-shirts watches her. His mouth opens and hangs, he leaves his eyes open but he doesn’t seem to be there anymore. She takes out a bottle of lotion and squeezes some out on the palm of her hand and rubs her lips together again and starts to rub the lotion into her palms and into the backs of her hands and she seems to be taking such pleasure in all of it and he is with her, he is with her, he is there in her own little world.
Lou Freshwater is a reader, writer, life-long student, and fan of Steinbeck, Camus, and Howlin’ Wolf. Her ramblings can be found at Baby’s Black Balloon.
Bounce! by Katherine Nabity
One day, the world fell. People in the southern hemisphere felt
slightly flattened. In the northern, everyone was on a roller coaster
as their guts jumped, briefly into their throats. That went on for a
little over a day. The effect wasn’t quite enough to panic over. The
entire world felt…off. Queasy, no matter where they were.
After a twenty-six hours, it reversed. The northern inhabitants felt
like they were in an express elevator that was a little too express.
Below the equator, men and women put their foot forward only to find
that the earth was a fraction of a fraction of an inch lower than they
Twenty-four hours later, the reversal occurred again. Ivan
Solomonovich of St. Petersburg felt just a tad like he was floating,
while Ben Simons of Perth felt the sky weighing down on his head.
Science had no explanation. In all other ways, the universe was still
in tact. The sun, moon, and other astral bodies stayed in their proper
relative positions based on the calendar day. The tides remained
unchanged. Physics, too, was unaffected. It was only that people, and
perhaps animals based on their behavior, felt that the world was
moving up and down, every cycle two hours shorter. Over the period,
the sales of Maalox and Pepto-Bismol quadrupled.
Philosophers came to one conclusion: while God does not play dice with
the universe, He does play jacks with worlds.
Katherine Nabity is a full-time writer and part-time ultimate frisbee enthusiast. She’s married to her writing collaborator and lives in a five computer household. Her other writings can be found at Entangled Continua and her long-standing LiveJournal.
How I Used to Ponder Stars by Christian Bell
Every December ten of us gather to watch the Star Wars Holiday Special, drink eggnog, ridicule cult film dreck. Jack’s bootleg, flea market purchased tape has vintage commercials: No Nonsense pantyhose, The Wiz in theaters, sitcom Alice Sundays on CBS. The movie has baby Wookiee Lumpy, Jefferson Starship singing “Light the Sky on Fire,” Art Carney and Bea Arthur sleepwalking along with the original film cast. It sucks—even Lucas disavows it. Watching grainy, static-lined footage from 1978 can be painful. But it’s always been about camaraderie.
This year, I sit near Vince, old college buddy, thinning hair, two-marriage veteran. Cartoon Boba Fett appears on screen. Beth’s pregnant, I say, life’s changing fast. Congratulations, he replies in monotone, finishing his eggnog. Vince’s second wife cheated on him, peddled his comic collection to buy heroin.
Beth never comes but she indulges me. Five years ago, pre-Beth, I told newcomer Rose, it’s trippy, like doing acid. Her face crinkled below her pink-blond hair like I’d farted. She walked away. The following year, no Rose. By then, I was engaged to Beth.
The night ends. We exchange goodbyes, Merry Christmases, Happy New Years. Outside, crisp cold air. My head twinkles with eggnog. Car doors slam, engines fire. Quickly, there’s silence. I look skyward, remember how I used to ponder stars, what worlds orbited them. Whenever I asked Beth, what if Star Wars was real somewhere, she’d reply, the Empire’s dead, babe. I drive home, think about Beth and the baby, our new world.
Christian Bell lives near Baltimore, Maryland. He primarily writes flash fiction and his work has appeared online in various publications, including SmokeLong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Pindeldyboz, and JMWW Quarterly. He has a blog at imnotemilioestevez.blogspot.com.
I Call it a Compatibility Test by Martin Brick
Lorraine felt excited, like a teenager again, lying in bed, remaining silent. Instead of hiding from a lover’s parents, she hid from his son.
Her mission tainted the giddiness. The front door clicked. Her feet hit the floor before his car started, into the closet before they even left the driveway.
“A person’s home tells you who they are, but their car says who they want to be,” Lorraine’s carsalesman uncle always said. Reverse the axiom. She’d seen his car, so in essence she only knew who he wanted to be.
His closet was too neat for a man. Dress shirts here, casual there, all arranged by color.
Most people wouldn’t understand. She wasn’t snooping. A snoop looks for secrets – forbidden things. There was no possession she sought , whether love letters, drug stash, embarrassing medication… Rather it was a matter of patterns. Where was stuff kept? How neatly? Case in point: she found a selection of college textbooks – not in a box in the attic, but together on a shelf. This suggested he considered all of the past relevant, something that might be needed at a moment’s notice. Dangerous proposition in a widower.
In twenty minutes he’d be back and they’d make love again, shower, have breakfast.
In his dresser she found a cigarette case – antique, silver. Family heirloom? Or a secret smoker? She opened it and found a folded paper. Interesting, she thought.
Of course she read it: I know you better than you know me.
Martin Brick is an Assistant Professor of English at Ohio Dominican University. His publications include The Cortland Review, Vestal Review, Sou’Wester, Pindeldyboz, and other places. He is a past Pushcart nominee and a former editor of Wisconsin Review.
Smoke by Damian Pullen
The plane drops through the thin layer of smog and shudders on the rubber-scarred runway. After hours over the infinite dreamy blue Pacific, LAX is another world. Science fiction. Beside me, Tomasi grips the armrests and stares. He’s never left the atoll before. Now 18, he’s on his way to Germany, to join a merchant ship.
LA burns. A river, a torrent of oil, feeding this furnace, driving the frenzied, incessant movement. Heat haze and exhaust fumes blanket the acres of concrete, glass, steel and seared brown grass, dulling the bright early morning sun.
We taxi, kilometre after kilometre, though the flat, disorienting landscape of lines, numbers and signs. The hostesses, with fresh makeup and stale smiles, thank us half-heartedly as we shuffle out, and down the steps into the kerosene-flavoured air. Tomasi, tense and bewildered, stays close.
Hostile airport cops with guns and batons shout instructions against the roar of the machines and marshal us into the transfer buses, great low-slung things with black concertina middles. “Back of the bus! Move down inside! Let’s go, let’s GO!” A tired-looking woman mutters “Welcome to America” to no-one in particular, as we are packed in.
The doors hiss shut and the bus accelerates. Another long ride, speeding past rows of parked planes, warehouses and hangars. No-one talks.
One day, the river will be dry. I see grass growing through cracks in the concrete and people living in the smoke-blackened stairwells of our fantastic monuments. Tomasi turns cautiously, and smiles.
When Damian Pullen attempted to kiss his Ethiopian wife Bisrat at their phony marriage ceremony, she flinched. When caught hiding under his bed to avoid mass at Catholic boarding school, he was dragged out by a monk and beaten. While riding a cantankerous donkey in North Yemen he fell off. When he attempted to become a sperm donor, he was rejected because my sperm count was too low. When living in a commune, he failed to participate in an orgy.
A Deaf Man by Mark Waldrop
Billy had crystal blue eyes
A small mouth
And long hair to cover up his
He told me once, with his hands
How he liked to submerge
His head in water and yell
So loud he could feel it.
“I can hear myself that way,” he signed.
“What does it sound like?”
He smiled and whispered with his lips,
“A Deaf man.”
Mark Waldrop lives and writes in Mesa, Arizona.
Little Worlds by Derin Attwood
Why did I decide on black slate for the kitchen floor? It looked good when I redecorated, matched the shinning black bench, the stainless steel appliances.
That was then. Now, well the light drift of flour on the floor was the first thing I saw. Further in was a pile of salt, a puddle of milk and two broken eggs. Smudgy hand prints on everything.
Against the bench, two powdery wraiths floated into view. A big toothless smile from one as the other dripped milk from her hair onto the globulous mess she knelt in.
“We’re making a world,” she said.
“Mapth and thingth,” her sister corrected. “Daddy thaid we can help him cook dinner.”
“We started without him.”
His words floated past me.
“They’re precious, the light of my life, my whole world.”
I sat in the car and heaved a sigh of relief. It was my night out.
Born and raised in New Zealand, Derin J. Atwood has been telling stories all her life, first to her younger brothers and then to her own children. She now writes novels and stories. Derin lives in Whangarei with an adoring husband and a small green car called Kermit.
Microcosm by R.G. MacLeod
I’m standing chest deep in gin-clear water.
I have to be in the right place at the right time with the right bait.
The right bait is the easy part. Pompano and permit cannot resist a big fat juicy sand flea. Not a gravid female with a bright orange mass of eggs under her belly.
The right bait is the easy part. I can scoop dozens and dozens of them out of the sand where the water meets the land.
I know they exist in that finicky littoral zone. Capturing them is easy. They are packed into the wave washed sand by the dozens, by the hundreds. It’s their lot in life, to extend their feathery filter antennae, nourishing their acorn bodies with the nutrients of the surf zone. Losing their tenuous grip, being washed away from their domain instantly converts them from predator to prey.
I put a circle hook through one and cast, waiting for the tide to carry it to a hungry mouth.
As I wait for that tell-tale tug, a clump of sargassum floats by.
I reach down and lift that innocuous clump of amber flotsam. In my hand, it’s a blob of shiny blobs of earthy fibers. As I look below, pieces of jetsam fall from the flotsam. Little fish, crabs and shrimp, seemingly parts of the sargassum are cast adrift.
I feel like an ass and drop the clump. It appears to suck them back into its tendrils. A tiny brownish world floats away.
R.G. MacLeod lives and writes on the Gulf Coast of Florida where he is hard at work creating a more interesting bio.
Strange Fruit by Sam Rasnake
Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
— Billie Holiday
Her voice sounds like
the moon must look
through trees in winter,
and when she sings,
the wind blots over
the burned out nebulae
of her head so no one
can see her fall
until the song is through,
until the song does her in.
She sounds like scars
that bleed over the moon’s face,
leaving their cold reminders
for fanciful pairs of eyes
to pause from love
just long enough to take them in.
– first published in Pudding Magazine
Sam Rasnake’s poetry has appeared recently or is forthcoming in OCHO, FRiGG, Oranges & Sardines, Shampoo, BOXCAR Poetry Review, Press 1, BluePrintReview, Metazen, Corium Magazine, Otoliths, and Naugatuck River Review, as well as the anthologies Best of the Web 2009 (Dzanc Books) and Deep River Apartments (The Private Press). His third poetry collection, Inside a Broken Clock, will be published by Finishing Line Press in 2010.
History and amnesia by Peter Larsen
The ideas here are rubbed out,
rewritten, rubbed out, rewritten
again and again
riddling the blank page
with the impression
of this new erasure.
Peter Larsen is a poet living in Whangarei, New Zealand.
Spaces by Walter Bjorkman
The first thing Stephan remembers as being made of gas but seemed at the time more like space was the hole in the middle of one of the granny squares on his favorite blanket, a delicately woven one made from real wool yarn and natural earthy dyes, not like the one over at Aunt Margrit’s place that was big, fat and not wool and with those loud fake colors. His blanket itched more, but was much more comforting. Stephan would poke his finger into those holes so craftily created, noticing that it passed through the blanket, but never really went into it and through to the other side, so what was this stuff between the solid? Stephan wanted to ask why is this stuff there? You can’t feel it, touch it, experience it, but it surely was there.
Walter Bjorkman is a writer of sorts, meaning there is no sort he will not write about. He was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, but always had a taste for the wilderness, be it city, forest, beaches or desert. He is published in various editions of Poets and Artists (O&S), metazen, Blue Print Review and OCHO. He has spent the last what seems like forever as Co-founder and Editor of the website VOICES – Where Characters (flawed or not) have their say, and he’s just recently been promoted to Editor of 52|250.
Blind by John Wentworth Chapin
“Global horseshit is what it is,” she said at the television newscaster, pressing ice cubes down into her glass of chardonnay which was freshly poured from the sweating magnum beside her, seven more like it chilling in the fridge out in the garage next to the enormous garbage can which eschewed recycling due to economic restraints of her gated golf course community.
John Wentworth Chapin teaches writing and runs the writing center at the University of Baltimore. He is an Editor of 52|250, but he knows who wears the virtual pants around here.
Berlin Story by Michelle Elvy
Once upon a time there was a man who loved trains. He rode a train to work. He vacationed in old-timey steam engines, took his family on countryside train-rides. He dreamed about trains that lit up all corners of his city, that didn’t speed through dark spaces where no one got out. He built a model railroad in his basement, with trees and mountains and people and villages and trains that went wherever they wanted to.
Once upon a time a girl met the man who loved trains. He took her to his basement and showed her his little city. He walked her out back, along the traintracks as far as they went, which was not very far at all, because overgrown weeds greened over rusty red, and just beyond was a wall that could not be climbed. The man told her of a past she knew from books: airstrikes and airlifts, hunger and hope. His life was in those tracks.
Once upon a time the man and the girl danced together, smashed concrete with hammers, thumbed their noses at ol’ Erich and laughed at outdated regimes. Trains rumbled behind his house again.
Once upon a time, the man who loved trains was dying. The girl recalled the tiny free world, and the bigger walled world. She remembered Tanzen and Klopfen, the feel of history’s concrete weight in her hands. She reckoned the man had a good life, because he and his city lived a life that always got better.
Michelle Elvy lives and writes on a 43′ sailboat and is presently located in Whangarei, New Zealand. She is co-editor of 52|250, and she has published work at Metazen, Words With JAM, and 6S. When not flashing here, she’s writing at Glow Worm, listening at VOICES, or sailing on Momo.
Some of these stories and poems were not written specifically for the 52|250 Challenge but were submitted in the spirit of the theme this week, and we are honored to have them here.
The Editors of 52|250 thank Guy Yasko for his drawing, Apple Branch. Guy likes to work in media that doesn’t allow for reworking such as brush and ink and watercolour.