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.

Desperate Islands Are Ours by Cheryl Anne Gardner

I find you, sitting in a piazza at a café table, alone, a dusky bowl of prime opaque in front of you, served with a side of sticky bacon and gin. “Soon,” you say to me, but you always say soon when I’m late, so I tap my foot and wait while squids serenade us from a balcony above; then after a brief violin concerto and a careless “Thank you mister” to God for all the small matters he’s chosen to ignore, we ride raindrops on eucalyptus dust, lace handkerchiefs crumpled in our pockets. I only fear you when you’re near me. I want to tell you that, but just then, the waiter arrives with a stone tablet. You pay the bill with a fist full of coin and ask if the pharmacy’s open all night. It is, so you make mental notes in time and shadow while walking behind me in irritation as I foretell the future in condescending rivulets, my rubber boots flip, flap, flopping against a sunset that isn’t ours . . . and never will be.

When she isn’t writing, Cheryl Anne Gardner likes to chase marbles on a glass floor, eat lint, play with sharp objects, and make taxidermy dioramas with dead flies. She writes art-house novellas and abstract flash fiction, some published, some not.