Going Bowling with Mohammed – I Wanted To Write A Short Story About by Ron Riekki

Going Bowling with Mohammed—I Wanted to Write a Short Story about
Mohammed, but I live in France and Charlie Hebdo happened recently, so I thought I’d keep it safe and just go bowling with Mohammed, so I called him up and he didn’t answer, so I started wondering if he was pissed off at me, but he was just working and then had to pick up his nephew, but after that he called me back and we went to this bowling alley in Ishpeming where my dad likes to go and nobody recognized him, which surprised the shit out of me, except it’s true that you don’t see a lot of depictions of Mohammed so it sort of made sense, like the time I drove Arthur Miller to a hotel in Boston and everybody at the front desk just walked by him like he was a nobody and I asked Arthur Miller why nobody recognized him and he said that’s the beautiful thing about being a writer is that you can be famous on the page and unknown in the face, which is basically how Mohammed is—real laid back and nice, so nobody needs to get worked up about how I’m portraying him; I’m just saying that Mohammed is a pretty nice guy, I mean, we got in a fight when I was in twelfth grade and he kicked my ass pretty bad in the back of my grandma’s car, but besides that we’ve pretty much been kinda cool with the exception that I never saw him again and he didn’t come to my wedding because it was completely Christian, because my girlfriend is French, I mean wife now and her dad is all French Catholic, which means he goes to church when he’s hungry and Mohammed bowled a 93, mostly because he doesn’t bowl, because he’s way too busy being this like massive iconic figure, sort of like Sean Penn, but with a lot less scripts to read and on the way home I asked Mohammed about the terrorists and he basically said that the word homosexual doesn’t actually appear anywhere in the Bible and look how fired up the evangelicals are, so imagine a text as thick as the Qur’an and imagine how badly that can turn into a landslide and he said that the more peaceful someone is, the more they’re being Islamic and I tried to trick him with a bunch of Hitler counterargument stuff, but he just stayed all calm as a rose in a field with absolutely no wind and it was then that I realized it wasn’t Mohammed who kicked my ass, but my cousin Todd who has a bit of a temper from his cerebral palsy and that Mohammed pretty much never did anything wrong, just like Jesus, and I wish I could be like that; I wish I could be like Mohammad and Jesus, but I’m a writer and it’s only people who don’t write who are really peaceful, because writing turns you into a beach in a hurricane.

Ron Riekki’s books include:
U.P.: a novel,
The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works (a 2014 Michigan Notable Book)
Here: Women Writing on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
His play “Carol” was included in The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2012 and his short story “The Family Jewel” was selected for The Best Small Fictions 2015. 

You can follow Ron Riekki on Twitter.

Talk Like a Pirate Day on D Block by SaraEve Fermin

Is that why they call me
A sullen girl, sullen girl
They don’t know
I used to sail the
Deep and tranquil sea
-Sullen Girl, Fiona Apple

Call her fish out of water.
Broom unenchanted.
Pussy unpurred.
Dragon unroarred.
Bitch unvoiced.
Rage unfisted.
Cackle unsharp.
Pack separated.
Call her tame.
Call her caged.
Call her complacent.
Call her bae.
Call her wifey.
Call her domesticated.
Call her Stockholm Syndrome.
Call her statistic.
Call her get over it.
Call her ‘NOT ANOTHER’.
Call her proper.
Call her property.

call her.
The power that resides in your most dormant
place, right now, it begs to sing. Call her now.
Call the Mermaid, Call the Sirens,
call the Moon and tell her the Sea wants to play.
We have yet ANOTHER story
to tell.

SaraEve is a performance poet and epilepsy advocate from New Jersey. She is the founding editor of Wicked Banshee Press (2014) and a 2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam Competitor. Her work can be found in GERM Magazine, WordsDance, Transcendence and Ghost House Review as well as sever other online journals. You can follow SaraEve on Twitter.

Ode To A Blank Page by DS Peters

Stark beauty
and vast potentiality
you are the foundation
of all that I was
all that I am
all that I ever will be
Pristine in any shade
with lines
pale grains
or absolute nothingness
you are a poem before ink
ever mars your surface
I look at you
and love you
love you
love you
for hours until my hands
shake, my spirit
bursts and I scar you

DS Peters earned his MFA from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY, and obtained his BA from UW-Milwaukee. He writes speculative fiction, earthbound fiction, poetry and odd bits of non-fiction. He is a traveler and currently resides in South Korea where he works as a professor, and observes human behaviour. You can keep up with DS Peters at http://www.dspeters.net

October Spotlight: NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, takes place every November. Participants from around the world bash away at their keyboards, scratch their pens across paper and drink more coffee than is medically advised in order to write 50’000 words of a novel in thirty days. And yes, I know how crazy that sounds. It’s something that garners mixed reactions from the writing world, with supporters arguing that it’s a powerful tool for getting them in gear to put words on the page without being stopped along the way by their inner editor, and detractors voicing the thought that if any of the 50k words written turn into anything good it’ll be a miracle. Having taken part in NaNoWriMo many times, some more successful than others, I can sympathise with the detractors as much as with the supporters but that’s not what I want to talk about here, though.

NaNoWriMo isn’t just a writing challenge, it’s an opportunity. I participated in NaNoWriMo several times before I finally crossed the 50k finish line in 2010 and I wouldn’t be being at all dramatic in saying it was a turning point in my life. I’d always felt like a writer on the inside, but winning NaNoWriMo that year gave me a confidence to put my writing self on the outside. Within a month I had joined my first writing group. Within a year I had joined a second writing group and started attending open mic poetry nights. When 2011 rolled around I put my name forward to be a NaNoWriMo ML for my local area. The role of an ML is essentially that of a regional organiser. In previous years our area hadn’t had any proper meet-ups so I organised one. It was terrifying and exciting and a complete surprise to me when people actually turned up. And these people were all like me – writers looking for community with other writers. We met weekly through that November and most of that original group have continued to meet on a monthly basis ever since. I’ve taken more of a back role in the group now, with another girl stepping up to the main ML role but this in itself is amazing. This is a girl who suffers major social anxiety. During that first month of meetings it took everything out of her just to come along and talk to a small group of people about a shared love of literature but we’ve all had the great honour of watching her flourish in herself to the point where she now has the confidence to run this group, meet with strangers to organise room hire and she has even started her own writing-related business. And I haven’t even mentioned the growth of her own writing.

What I’m trying to say is that NaNoWriMo isn’t about the writing. It’s not about managing to write 50k words. It’s not about pumping out a bestseller in a month, or penning the greatest bit of literature man has ever dared to dream of. NaNoWriMo is about giving people the courage to put their hand in the air and say they are a writer. It’s about shy people finding a type of confidence they never thought they had. It’s about showing writers that writing doesn’t have to be a solitary sport. NaNoWriMo is about writers and that is why I would recommend it to anyone.

Ponderous Things by Olivia Olson

I am clogged with things, with plastic
artifacts. I am mothering them,
rummaging through them. I roll these droppings
of time between my palms, sniffing
out the only deity who remembers me.
I carefully follow her tracks down the long, arching
phallus of the sun, kiss the yawn of the stars
and awkwardly stumble upon her. We will sit
in reminiscense, etching lines into our bald palms.
I imagine she will beg me to stay, persuade me
to drink from my grandmother’s cup of tea
and make potpourri from my long dead birthday
roses. We will grow corpulent together.
Before long, even my skin will get soggy
with sentimentality, and I will drop
like a midsummer rain. This body I have loved
will become a breath, a blink,
and I will have nothing to remember it by.

Olivia Olson lives in Rochester, MI in her secret identity as a spinster librarian. Her poems have appeared in Miller’s Pond and are forthcoming from Bird’s Thumb.

Meditations of an Aging Whore by Shannon Barber

“Call me a pig.”

I hate this guy.

He is just like every other shit fuck dudebro I see.

“You are a filthy fucking pig.”

At least the dirty panties he has on are cute.

“I hate your pink porcine shit fuck face honkey.”

I boot him in his lace covered ass. Now I’m on autopilot, a few more swats, epithets and he’ll jizz in his drawers and I will be 700 bucks in the pink.

Later, after he’s gone, I have the hotel room to myself. I’ll order some Chinese food, balance the books and zone out on cable TV.

Two servings of extra spicy pepper beef, one beer and two reality shows later I’m ready.

Two more White guilt fueled domme sessions, one sissy, three more Bad Mommy scenes and I’ll be able to breathe for a couple of months.

I’m so close.

With my rent paid up for another few months by Daddy Moneybags I’ll be golden and in new shoes.

When I was just a little hard scrabble ho, I wish I hadn’t been so afraid of the weirdos with deep pockets.

Oh well, shit in one hand wish in the other.

Sometimes when I clock my ever downward heading tits and the start of crow’s feet around my eyes I worry.

Am I too old?

Or, am I just getting to be perfect?

Before I can drown in self-pity my phone chirps.

Daddy Moneybags texts me begging for titty pictures and letting me know he dropped a hefty deposit into my account to “help with my lady problems” – his code for PMS and my need for meat and new shoes.

My worries about aging and my own marketability dissolve away as I peel off my jammies to reward my patron.

For right now, I’m okay. I’m safe. I’m perfect.

Shannon Barber is an author from Seattle, Washington where she lives with her partner and a small collection of oddities. She is an avid writer, reader and blogger. She has a new self care book out and can also be spotted at Luna Luna Magazine, on Facebook and Twitter.

Bad News For Bunny By Bruce McRae

The bad news is
you’re not one
God’s little ponies
or an old hit
on the radio.

You’ll never be
a clever trick
that they drag out
at parties.

The sun will never
come from you.

I’m sorry that I have
to be the one
to tell you,
but it’s a short ride
and it’s a fast one.

For those of you
with aspirations —
aspire. But you,

you the one in the back
looking decidedly
sick at heart:

that feeling that you’re feeling
is right on the money.

You’ll never be one
of Heaven’s shiny pennies

Pushcart-nominee Bruce McRae is a Canadian musician with over 900 publications, including Poetry.com and The North American Review. His first book, ‘The So-Called Sonnets’ is available from the Silenced Press website or via Amazon books. To hear his music and view more poems visit ‘TheBruceMcRaeChannel’ on Youtube.

Haiku of the Synesthete by Kristina Butke

Did you know your voice
Sounds like salted caramel
Fluid, thick, and dark?

The vowels are slow
And the consonants, tender.
Your words stain my ears.

Whenever you’re gone
I escape to the South Bend
With Jeni and Fran.

But they aren’t you.
Their voices convey silence.
That’s when I decide.

I devour them.
One by one they disappear,
And as they’re swallowed

I pretend I hear
Your voice echo inside me,
A noise like candy.

Kristina Elyse Butke writes fantasy and horror, and occasionally dabbles in the world of digital art and comics. She has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and is an adjunct English professor at North Central State College. When she isn’t writing or arting, she indulges her geekiness by cosplaying at fan conventions. Say hello Kristina on her website or follow her on Twitter.

Featured Author: Mark Roberts

building site at midnight

star light bounces off timber scaffolding
illuminating sawdust dancing
in the thought of a breeze
everything smells of freshly sawn wood

i am miles away & will
read of it tomorrow in
a newspaper which will omit
important details
or maybe i will wait
for the despatches
single words carried on
a breath i can assemble
them how i choose

but the starlight is still there
even during the day
like this poem was here
even before the scaffold


Mark Roberts is a writer, critic and editor currently living in Sydney Australia. He has been publishing work in numerous magazines and journals since the early 1980s. He runs Rochford Street Review (A Journal of Australian & International Cultural Reviews, News and Criticism) and Rochford Street Press (one of the smallest Australian literary presses) . He is a founder and editor of P76 Magazine and is currently poetry editor of Social Alternatives.


green balloon

sometime in the late seventies he disappeared into the sky under a large green balloon he left a note behind an almost poetic message of lost love & a shattered heart he floated high above a street he wanted to forget pulling ropes & pushing levers to go higher finding that his heart beat slower in the thinning air

his old word disappeared in a haze he looked down on a blue green sphere as the sky above turned black & the pin pricks of stars grew larger he heard that below great advances had been made in poetry he didn’t care he watched the earth curve as he rushed around it again & again & longed for a straight line


October 1933

wish i could get it full
calm & unconscious but
a perpetual little spatter
of comments keep me awake
only a rain drop, a frog
in the bed of an administrator
& i refuse to take life
more strongly & steadily
open eyes open mind
a pot shot with substance


You can view even more of Mark’s work at:


I Never Said I Wanted to be President by Moneta Goldsmith

Yuputka, noun. A Japanese term of endearment meaning ‘the phantom sensation of something crawling on your skin.’

In my life I’ve been with two Lindsays, one Kendrick, two Sarahs. I’ve heard oh yeahs and ooh babies, let me turn over, let me be on top of you. I’ve had one Jessica, a Shulameth, four Katelyns/Caitlins/Katies. Or some variety therein. I have screamed out ‘mother’ once (that was a mistake). I’ve let her turn over or be on top of me. Once I almost let a girl turn me over.

I never said I wanted to be president when I grow up.

I’ve been slapped and pinched until I was dizzy, and swung at harder than I was ready for. I have finger-banged girls who were scared, fondled dry clothes until they were wet dishrags. I got drunk and didn’t get up, and lied that it never happens. I got naked and yelled at on the streets of Denver; bird-dogged in the rain on the streets of Denver, in a lake in Maine with swimming fireflies. Under a skirt with a flashlight once—that was second grade.

I never said I wanted to be president.

I’ve had it in a movie theater, in a hammock, a Taurus, a Rav4, a pair of Priuses – that was a party. I’ve been with white trash, heard words like mean-mugged and motorboat and popsicle-raid. I’ve had three actresses. All of them rich, and melted into the same person.

I met the first lady once. She wasn’t so great up close.

I heard her make stirring speeches about kids and food and jazz.
I watched her give tired hugs and smiling handshakes.

When it was my turn to shake her hand I gave it a big squeeze and whispered,

‘Sheraton room 766.’

I told her, ‘I know what it’s like to want to be a man.’

Moneta Goldsmith was the 2013 Grand Prize winner of Spark Anthology’s poetry contest. His prose & poetry can be found in such places as Sparkle & Blink, Under the Influence, & Best New Writing 2014. Most recently, he co-founded the popular lit mag & reading series ‘When in Drought‘, which is based in Los Angeles.