We Need to Talk by Erika Raskin

Photo of snarling black dog
 

  People have lost their minds. Seriously. They’re comparing masks to yellow stars and saying vaccine passports are signs of tyranny, refusing to comply as a sign of resistance. Please. My dog has to produce a vaccine passport before getting his anal glands expressed. Asking for evidence that he’s up-to-date on his boosters is hardly symptomatic of a dictatorship. It’s proof that as citizens we care that the groomer is not exposed to rabies if bitten while performing an unenviable task. Our fellow citizens are being manipulated into believing that Democrats are manufacturing a pandemic, … Continue reading We Need to Talk by Erika Raskin

Deconstructing My Process by Jury S. Judge

Photo of bird in front of sun-reflecting water
 

  Art creation is an organic process for me, where inspiration takes the lead and my hands merely follow. The traditional media in my repertoire includes pen, colored pencil, and acrylic paint. I am also fond of using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I explore the juxtaposition of traditional and digital mediums within my art because this combination is a versatile method of self-expression. I blend realism and surrealism to represent the beauty and strangeness of my subjects. I find inspiration in majestic natural wonders and in small, delicate objects such as wildflowers.     My … Continue reading Deconstructing My Process by Jury S. Judge

MX-76 by Dana Miller


 

Sneerwise, I’ve seen better Dearborn, without the metal I’d go on to abort you like any other paperweight hitchhiking across my belly and just that fast Grace Kelly has figured out the new math, I’m afraid and lordess, but you’re a strict equation Despite the munitions manifest under the crown of your abdication I just keep on loving you like caloric restriction and late-70s cocaine stretching myself out like St. Swithin’s Day across your salt lick whole oceans of Tawny Kitaen Ready for my Helen Reddy moment I’d sober up if I were you The … Continue reading MX-76 by Dana Miller

Here’s One Quick Secret Writers Can Use to Conquer Self-Doubt Forever by Lauren Sapala

Picture of mirror by bookcase
 

Do you constantly compare yourself to other writers? Do you set goals for yourself as a writer and then somehow fall short of them every time? Do you start new writing practices full of enthusiasm, but then sooner or later you dread sticking with it? If you’re like so many other writers out there, the answer to these questions is sadly, “yes.” And every time something like this happens to you, you end up in a pit of despair, right? You question yourself, your writing talent, and your ability to make your dreams happen. It’s … Continue reading Here’s One Quick Secret Writers Can Use to Conquer Self-Doubt Forever by Lauren Sapala

Pink Peonies by Alexis Kelleher

Photo of pink peonies
 

    Aunt Maggie laughs with a Marlboro Red clamped between her lips. A metallic party hat sits atop her matted, white hair, fastened with a cheap elastic band under her turkey-wattle chin. Today she’s eighty, and while sitting in the shade of the big farm house, has overheard people say more than once they can’t believe she’s still “kicking”. They say it with astonishment, they say it with disdain. Somehow, she was forgiven by her siblings for selling the surrounding acreage, the family legacy, to a developer who put up McMansions with lightning speed. … Continue reading Pink Peonies by Alexis Kelleher

Departing in McKittrick Canyon by J.R. Forman

green rocky canyon
 

you and I bedded down in the canyon the nine ply of heaven folded us in rain the next morning the firewood smoldered with dew as you bathed the stones in the springbed trembled like flowers seen through campsmoke then we parted like petalfall as the gibbous old man looked on still early without yet his companion our horses neighed as they turned away they too are old friends over this land of spines and cactus quills the sun and moon keep moving not finding anywhere a soft seat J.R. Forman’s work has appeared in … Continue reading Departing in McKittrick Canyon by J.R. Forman

Two Tasks by Fred Wilbur

Photo of hay bales in field
 

  This summer, I have performed two activities that strangely seem similar: shredding dozens of family documents and serving as a screener for a poetry manuscript contest. Many of our older readers have, no doubt, had to settle their parents’ or close relatives’ estates. I am past that stressful situation, thankfully, as my mother, pre-diseased by my father, died ten years ago. For that decade six or seven banker’s boxes squatted on sturdy shelves made especially for them. After consulting my surviving siblings, I spent many hours sorting (in some cases saving) and then shredding … Continue reading Two Tasks by Fred Wilbur

From One March to Another: My NICU Baby and the Pandemic Turned One by Jamie Farnsworth Finn

Photo of cake with rainbow colored layers
 

I stared at the thick frosting of the cake, dotted with rainbow sprinkles, wondering if this would be what made him sick. I’d messed up the recipe, not realizing that “pasteurized egg whites” were different from just regular eggs that you took the yolks out of. So, the buttercream frosting included a decent amount of raw eggs. I’d already spent every day since his birth worried he would get sick. Today, on his first birthday, I worried the cake would be the reason. When you’re born in a pandemic, death seems as likely as life. … Continue reading From One March to Another: My NICU Baby and the Pandemic Turned One by Jamie Farnsworth Finn

I Love You* by Howard Algeo

Photo of tons of candy hearts
 

*Certain conditions apply. Statement is not an indicator of future performance, nor does it constitute any promise, guarantee or warranty. Cannot be combined with other offers. Void where prohibited. Howard Algeo has been published in the online editions of Crack the Spine and Paper Darts. He is a home health care executive, currently serving as Director of Business Development and Training for Seniors Helping Seniors. Howard holds a BA from Temple University and an MBA from the University of Michigan. Also a stand-up comedian, Howard feels writing comedy and writing poetry are very similar: It’s … Continue reading I Love You* by Howard Algeo

Once Upon a Time In Montecito by Trudy Hale

Photo looking through open french doors
 

This is a true story. After my husband Billy died in June of 2020, his ‘step daughter’ Zoe, a beautiful and vivacious woman of fifty offered her home in Santa Barbara to hold his memorial. We waited until the 2021 vaccines and chose the month of August. Zoe’s mother had been Billy’s girlfriend in the Seventies, and she and Zoe lived with Billy in Hollywood. Zoe’s mother and Billy never married. Zoe would laugh and refer to herself as the ‘step-daughter’ and make quotation marks in the air. While our daughter Tempe and son Charlie … Continue reading Once Upon a Time In Montecito by Trudy Hale

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