Cupid’s Vacation by Craig Kurtz

I say, it’s getting tricky lately
for a chap to have a cigarette
With all this fuss about the ladies throwing in
with those marching suffragettes;
Not that the gents are blameless
— they’re either effeminate or celibate
Reading Schopenhauer and moping
every hour. How deplorable!
What happened to the spirit
of bacchanalian high-jinks
And where is that waiter
who took the order for our drinks?
I used to think it was
rabble-rousing radicalism
Or the torpid symptoms of
contemporary existentialism;
The problem isn’t politics, nihilism
or its discontents; it’s men and women!
It’s more than just a little
squabbling and beshrewing,
It’s positively worse than a crisis
of neurosis
Or collapsing capitalism:
It’s Cupid on vacation — that lout.

Now, let me tell you something
(do forswear your interrupting):
I, for one, have had my fill of machismo
and dare I mention mustache-twirling.
It’s brutes like you fomenting
partisan imbroglios
and conspiracies of protocol
inveterately feudal. Indeed!
Blame it on the liberal press
stirring up those abolitionists
Or point to global brinkmanship
from a factious working class,
Do what you will — now, where’s
our drinks? Let’s just get the bill.
The Devil’s in the details,
the issue is societal;
Upheaval in the colonies 4
is a trifle when you think of this:
It’s men and women! There’s the gridlock
in another campaign cycle
When demagogues are querulous
and filibusters universal;
It’s positively irremediable
When Cupid’s on vacation — what a rout!

Craig Kurtz lives at Twin Oaks Intentional Community where he writes poetry while simultaneously and crafting hammocks. Recent work has appeared in The Bitchin’ Kitsch, The Blue Hour, Drunk Monkeys, Literati Quarterly, Outburst, Regime, Indigo Rising, Harlequin Creature, Reckless Writing and The Tower Journal. Recent music featured at Fishfood & Lavajuice.

Self Portrait by DS Peters

My heart an old woman
skirt hiked up mid-thigh
as she slowly crushes
porto grapes with her
smooth bare feet
My blood is not porto
but magma rolling
sluggish as it cools
in a stream at the foot
of the calming volcano
though it still tastes of the grape

My head a red clay pot
my cerebrum soil, synapses seed
my hair grows thick and long
Dionaea muscipula
good only for consuming flies

My mind is quicksand
not even my mind can escape

My Spirit a Spirit
not a soul, covered
in soft feathers, deep
eventide tinge, with eyes
the color of the sky just before
a morning storm at sea

The rest of me is
as the rest of me appears
once a desire churning to burn
one day ash carried by the wind

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 behavior.

Featured Author: Daniel Wallock


Styrofoam, ice, and a holy vessel flew across the ICU hall. The ending of life, begins with the falling of rhythm. The first lab coat flew parallel-left, the second lab coat flew parallel-right. Time seemed to slow; air did the same. The lab coats hit the floor and glanced up at the light. She stood in her gown with her palms covered in red, she saved her heart and for that she’s not dead. – Daniel Wallock

Daniel Wallock was born with seven life-threatening heart conditions. His heart and love for life are at the core of all his work, and he dreams of sharing his life story and inspiring others to love their life. In the past year he has won four writing awards, and his work has appeared in Burningwood, Wild Quarterly, Paragraph Planet, ExFic, and The Bolt Magazine. His first book – Right-Hearted: Finding What’s Right With a Wrong-Sided Heart, is available on kindle. You can read more of his work below.

On Light

Cavernous blacks envelope thick suffocating waters. A lone fish sways, while the current sits stagnate. Beaming in the distance a low hazy glow. The fish floats forward with a crystal-light reflection in his eyes. His eyes are bright as he touches down right next down to the glow. The water quaked, the light flipped up, and the jaws shot forward. The fish was gone, but the light remained.


Translating the Colour Breen by Carol Shillibeer

swimming, before the new moon
crescents-out all over the night,
my wet skin feels breen like yours does heat,
the mouth of the warm spring sun
on the skin over your heart

Carol Shillibeer is a synestetic and an epileptic, hence her obsession with “translations.” A writer, who also takes pictures, makes sound files, reads tarot, edits poetry manuscripts and teaches workshops, she publishes a few bits and bobs. Her list is at

Elephantal Humans by Laura Taylor

eugene asked why I liked women
I should have said hectocotylus that’s why
duck sex with screwdriving gangbangs that’s why
invertebrate hypodermic insemination
that’s why
but no
elephants are matriarchal
built with chastity-belt shaped penis-clits
it’s true
for the giants of drum-beating hearts
their consent is holy, is sexy, is built-in
my dark friend from cameroon
thinks lesbian sex is practice
likes his girlfriend to kiss girls
but not other men
eugene, I like elephantal humans.
more often than not,
their earthsuits are female
just as the packages you prefer
that’s why
and when your girlfriend prefers other lips
to yours
her yes is holy,
her kiss is never practice.

Laura Taylor was raised in Hawaii, but currently lives in Oklahaoma, which she says is Ok! For more poems and such, check out Laura’s blog.

Things I May Never Understand by SaraEve Daly

Daytime drinking on a rainy Monday
is always going to make me think of

my mother.

If you met her now, you would not
have any idea why she’s the reason I
scared myself straight

for almost a decade.

The last time I saw my mother drink,
I bought her a shot of top shelf whiskey
at one of my features.

Like a real fucking grown up.

Born and raised in New Jersey, SaraEve is a performance poet and epilepsy advocate from Union City. She is currently the editor-in-chief of Wicked Banshee Press (2014) and has competed in the 2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam. She volunteers regularly at National Poetry Slams and facilitates advocacy in poetry slam workshops. She is a Stephen King nerd, and writes [H]ouse fan fiction in her spare time. You can find out more about SaraEve by visiting her website –

Congenital Conditions by Daniel Wallock

in the
I forget
the scars.

This sometimes
is so
I can’t recall
the last time
I forgot
my heart.

Daniel’s writing has appeared in Burningword Literary Journal, Paragraph Planet, and The Bolt Magazine. He’s received four writing awards including first place in San Jose State University’s Nonfiction Short Story Contest. He also received a Gold Key for nonfiction, the highest regional honor, from Scholastic’s Art and Writing Awards. Daniel worked as manager of marketing at Ginosko Literary Journal and he’s founder of This Very Breath Journal.

Some Kind of Conversion: Half of a Conversation Overheard at Starbucks by Kenneth Nichols

…Yeah, so this atheist guy I’m talking to…

…Next semester, we’re doing a lot together…
…Having breakfast…
…Talking C.S. Lewis…
…He likes to work out…

…I refuse to do that with some of these guys, but he’s workable…

…He was Poli Sci, but now he’s going to law school…

…Yeah, the Christian Legal Society had a tremendous lawsuit two years ago because they wouldn’t allow homosexuals on the board…

…That’s what they’re about. They want to do stuff like that…

…And that’s another reason I want to go…

…I have no idea what that looks like…

…I’m praying God leads me though this long, arduous process…

Kenneth Nichols teaches writing at two colleges in Central New York. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Ohio State. (Go Bucks!) His work has appeared in publications including Coup d’Etat, Main Street Rag, Lunch Ticket, Prime Number, Skeptical Inquirer, the Tin House blog and PopMatters. He also reviews literary journals for NewPages, and 1.5 sentences of his work for the Not For Tourists Guide to Queens were quoted in The New Yorker.

Wrong Man by Darren Cormier

Upon receiving a notice from his hometown to attend a ceremony in recognition of his
achievements, D. scribbles:

this man
this man who
this man who can’t
this man who can’t even
this man who can’t even finish
this man who can’t even write
this man who can’t even write a sentence
this man who can’t even write a sentence properly
this man who can’t even write a proper sentence
this man who can’t even write a sentence without

He throws each crumpled sheet of paper across the room toward the wastebasket, missing each
time. Another thing he can’t do.

Darren Cormier is the author of A LIttle Soul: 140 Twitterstories and the editor and creator of the collaborative project The Adventures of Tequila Kitty. His work has appeared in numerous publications including NAP, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Amoskeag, meetinghouse, Thrice Fiction, and Opium Magazine, among many others. He lives in the Boston area with a growing collection of books.

Double Stuffed Oreo by Star Spider

I ate a double stuffed Oreo. You said life was meaningless. I considered the possibility of a sunny day in the midst of a snowstorm. You drank red wine with breakfast. I consecrated the bathroom with fire. You stood out in the rain. I asked my sister what she thought of communism. You spat on the dog by accident. I smiled at a bumblebee. You smiled at me. I sank my teeth into a stone and it cracked. You joked that there would be no more air soon, but it wasn’t funny. I revved the engine to make us go faster. You took a trip to the jungle in your mind and ate a wild flower there. I found a rabbit in the backyard and named it Frederick. You sang songs that were old and full of meaning you couldn’t quite grasp. I painted a picture of laughter with my fingers. You fucked your way to the top. I sank to the bottom of bathtub and noticed it was still black. You bared your teeth at the world. I cried tears of peppermint and olive oil. You told me things would never work out. I held you while you screamed at the night. You mourned a distant cousin who died of malaria. I danced around in circles until I puked. You walked until your feet got blisters but refused to stop. I went to the end of the world and looked over the edge. You blew the stars out like candles, but it wasn’t your birthday. I told a lie about elephants and cotton candy. You didn’t know how to ease my pain, so you cast a circle made of earth. I elevated myself to the status of a king, but in the end I was only a pigeon. You bowed before me like a branch in a strong wind. I ran faster than day or night. You circled in my orbit for far too long. I gesticulated wildly to the march sky, willing it to hail. You ate the last mango and the juice fell on the floor. I played the trumpet, although I hadn’t practiced since high school. You felt as though life wasn’t just. I aimed high and hit my head on the ceiling. You ate a wild flower in real life and shrank like Alice. I cupped holy water in my hands and drank, it tasted of salt and bygone hope. You promised blood and ceremony. I gave you half a pecan and an old piece of dried barley. You believed in ghosts and kept one nearby in case of emergencies. I allowed for all manner of ruckus fornication in our bed. You became an iron smith and forged a sword that could kill a giant. I dined on sugar plums and cognac with a high born elf. You learned voodoo from a woman with a pet goat. I bled in the basement to raise the dead. You swam with an otter and held hands while you slept. I devised a plan for a time machine I didn’t have time to make. You anticipated a journey to Alaska. I learned to speak dove and cooed over a lunch of bird seed and pink cupcakes. You painted an easter egg the colour of death and rebirth. I made my own pickles. You demanded a pool full of jelly beans to match your dress. I recognized my great great grandmother in a picture at the Louvre. You collapsed a wormhole in our den, causing the momentary dissolution of existence. I prayed to every god I could think of and only seven responded. You picked leaves from trees and dried the tears of a thousand children with them. I snuck into the porn theatre to listen to the men weep and moan. You decided you would be an opera singer because you liked the fragrance of music. I tried to chase my shadow but tripped on a penny instead. You wrote me a note for every day you were away. I put a tag on an empty bottle and sold it as enlightenment. You ingratiated yourself to distant tzars and minor demons. I sat on the dock at the cottage and watched the boats capsize in the storm. You drew runes on the wall and in the night they glowed. I made masks in Africa with horn and bone and hair. You dove so deep that something changed in you. I walked on water, but it was only a magic trick. You salivated over a grain of sand from an alabaster beach. I connived to build something so big it would make the world feel small. You kicked a bucket full of bottle caps and they scattered. I put a line of black paint on the couch. You promised you would join the circus when you were seventy. I catalogued all the ways miracles had let us down. You swore at a piece of sandwich meat. I vowed to make all things right and then wrong again. You felt as though you ought to put more effort in. I collapsed the table and put it away. You assembled the puzzle on the floor. I barred the doors with rosemary and wishful thinking. You misunderstood my riddle. I forgave all the sins of the world. You made the plants grow with your mind. I called three hundred random numbers and only seven people picked up. You were smarter than I gave you credit for. I was the greatest fool that ever lived. You kissed me in the gloaming. I wrapped my arms around you. You ached for the helpless insects. I danced on an unknown grave. You sang one last note. I combed the papers for word of my absolution. You cut the cantaloupe with a knife made of wood. I opened the portal at midnight. You dreamt of something more profound, a life where things meant something. I offered you a bite of my double stuffed Oreo.


Star Spider is a magic realism writer from Toronto, Canada, where she lives and works with her awesome husband Ben Badger. Star is currently in the process of seeking representation for her novels while she continues to write, play and frolic on the beach. Her work can be found in Grim Corps, Stories from the Fringe, and she was recently shortlisted for the Frends of Merril Short Story Contest. You can follow Star’s writing on her website,, or @MusingStar.