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After the Pause Volume 2, Issue 3 Fall 2015


Might we follow our words to the ocean and each ocean to our words?

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About After the Pause is an online literary journal based in the Midwest, featuring poetry, visual poetry, flash fiction, and artwork, published quarterly in March, June, September, and December. We look to feature the zaniest, most experimental work from new, emerging, and veteran writers. Find us online: afterthepause.com Twitter: @afterthepause Issuu: issuu.com/afterthepause

Purpose We believe art is a product of life experiences, from the joyful to the heartbreaking to the absolutely mundane. Life throws pauses at us. Art follows the pause. We want to share the best art we can find and bring hope through those artworks.

Founding Editor Michael Prihoda. He likes to think he does lots of things, one of which happens to be editing this journal.

Thanks to Everyone who somehow played a part in the mission and realization of this journal.

More Thanks To everyone who sent us work. Each of you matters. Your work matters. It is an honor to publish such astounding talent.

Cover Art M.J. Bronstein- “The Crossing”

Back Cover Art M.J. Bronstein- “Transatlantic”

Copyright 2015 All rights of the material within belong to the authors.

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…In This Issue… Poetry Emily Alexander Questions and Answers, In No Particular Order Law Alsobrook the world hurts today Glen Armstrong The Bedside Book of Fire Anuradha Bhowmik Lipstick Salem Dockery Mad-Lib Turned Into a Love Poem, Inspired by “Howl” Misquotation of Postcard, Via Text Suggestions Rebecca Dutsar Series of Haiku About Missing You Amy Friedman Bodies in Font Robert Gregory Robert Gregory Alexis Groulx Dirty Bathroom Courtney Gustafson Character Limit Nolan Liebert The Bridge, Before and After Laurie Mackie And in the News Today Nine to Five to Nowhere Peter Mason Because I Never Apologized Adam Petrash Instructions on How to Secure Your Role as the Victim in a Horror Film Instructions on How to be the Perfect Audience Member of a Horror Film AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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Psychometric Procedures Ana Prundaru Visualization Exercise Jessica Robinson coming home for the summer holidays seeking submissions suburban terror voicemail Anton Rose Six Days Meggie Royer Spilling Guts Domenic Scopa Euthanasia (2) On the Death of My Cousin David J. Thompson Monday Morning Postcard From Bedford, Virginia Meow Jeffrey Zable Well Well Well

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Flash Fiction Tommy Dean Momentary Diane D. Gillette Red Line, 3:00 A.M. Connie Guo Between You and Me Steven Prihoda Satan’s Teeth

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Art/Visual Poetry M.J. Bronstein Trans-Atlantic Barcelona Birthday Connect Curacao Shapeshifting Summer Allen Forrest city life: day dreams city life: down and out city life: news golden arches, Quebec street, Vancouver, BC robson street, Vancouver, BC J.I. Kleinberg after the pause how far this decadent W. Jack Savage A Watcher Still He Knew Their Freedom Would Be Short-Lived Summer on the North Shore

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Editor’s Note This issue has an oceanic theme in my mind, as much as fall conjures the shifting of leaves and a smell of transference. Winter must come but the whisper of summer finds its way back on occasion. Fall is a bridge and a method of remembrance. It is a journey.

Editor’s Note #2 Running this journal and reading such fine work is an honor. Tough decisions go into which pieces appear in these pages and which do not. There is art that might never get seen. Here is but a sampling of the world’s talent. Read this, read other magazines, just read. Thank you for joining this endeavor.

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The Atlantic

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Tommy Dean

Momentary Her cry echoes and fades in the sharp crackling of the fire. She’s wearing her favorite footie pajamas, the one with the monkey eating a banana. Her hair, too long and twisted from sleep, blows across her forehead and into her eyes. I pray for her momentary blindness. The kind terror brings. I look up at her from an immeasurable height. She holds her arms out, a reflex to ward off the rushing Earth. I got you, I got you, I mumble in prayer. Her feet, now, kick at the air, trying to push this moment away. Time warps. My therapist will tell me later that the brain plays tricks on our conscious. Time seems to slow down while my brain tries to make the correct bodily adjustments. Fling arms toward sky, shuffle right foot, then left, run, stop, use arms to make cradle. Hope. Hope. Hope.

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Courtney Gustafson

Character Limit I. Simple things: after I took photos of my cat he bit me hard on the calf.

II. I use filters to hide the circles. Bruises. Call them what you like.

III. There are things we can't take photos of: Last month I bled so much I worried it was a baby, too soon. For hours I was suspended in the bathroom, watching life or lack of drip out of me. Doctors tell me it's the usual, more than usual. There was no baby. (Would it have been better if there had been a baby?)

IV. Mostly I think that I am thin enough but you know: mornings in warped mirrors, last summer's clothes too small. Get the lighting right. Preoccupation, I call it. Call it a hobby.

V. Character limits limit what I say. I am always cutting articles. I am always trying to fit.

VI. Status: unhinged. Or: AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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feeling: anxious. Or: delete.

VII. I write things. I write things like this.

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Domenic Scopa

Euthanasia (2) Just before the door closes my younger brother turns toward me, clutching the cedar cremation box, bones and flesh turned decoration for a mantelpiece− Cry, he seems to say, cry with me and cave in, to create a scene, to sweep away embarrassment, cry and be an older brother the terrible speed of his turning toward me−how bravely he turns− withholding nothing, unraveling teardrops light as steam− And it’s unsaid, all the pleasure I stir in when I say it’s just a dog as acid does with metal−bleakly, lovingly.

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Domenic Scopa

On the Death of My Cousin He doesn’t speak a word, I don’t speak a word, though I can see− cemetery dirt keeps piling between us. If I had time for grief, if I had time for forgetting, I would till his garden, plant those cherry tomato vines−but I must live here, where he, too, lived−I must walk here, where he walked− here I must reluctantly leave the corridors of heaven behind. My corroded car door grinds like teeth. If it weren’t for siblings, children of my own, repeated promises to parents, I would lie down, finally, in open conversation with another sky, so our voices might talk together −fill its breathing solace.

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Salem Dockery

Mad-Lib Turned Into a Love Poem, Inspired by “Howl” Holy _____________ [noun], what have you done to us, ___________ed [active verb] us, ____________ed [active verb] us, So ___________ [adjective] your disillusioned Americana, that _____________ [famous figure] would have drowned in those amber waves. Let’s ___________ [active verb] the pearly gates and pearly whites and ___________ [verb] til we see the whites of their eyes. I would ___________ [verb] for you, ___________[adjective], ___________ [adjective], ____________[adjective] Naked as I came to the __________(e)s [geographic place] of _____________ [Country], My ___________ [body part] busted, my ___________ [body part] aflame With the dry, rye __________ [emotion] of your __________ [noun] in the proper ___________ [noun]. As if enough ___________ [drug] could cure ___________ [pronoun], At least to __________ [adverb] distract it while we made our __________ [adjective] escape, ___________ [pronoun] know(s) what’s ___________ [preposition] the water But God ___________ [preposition] saw ___________ [person in this room] With Marco Malone, 7 ___________s [length of time] ago During that ___________ [adjective] Bible study session, not to be forgotten, ____________ [Deity], not to be forgotten so soon. So Mothers __________ [adverb] loosen your ____________s [body part] And let the fresh soot of __________’s [mythological place] fire slough off your shoulders Like a ___________ [noun]. Hold no ill __________ [emotion] against The blue-collar _________s [man’s name] and ___________s [man’s name], the __________ [drug] ___________-ers [noun], The wild-___________ [curse word], _____________ [adjective] hungry _________-ers [noun], Howling ___________ [famous song] like the __________ [time of day] cats ___________ [preposition] your front door, Claws out with ____________ [emotion] and weary with __________ [media buzzword]. And here, to this sound, I will ___________ [verb] you As if nothing could be more __________ [adjective] Than your _________ [oriental country] Bedouin ___________ [body part] AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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On my ___________ [scent] skin, down to my __________ [adjective] __________ [plant] bones.

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Salem Dockery

Misquotation of Postcard, Via Text Suggestions What did | are | does | if | about | time | is | ? | kind I’m so | sorry | just | doing | Sorry | fine | you | going Trying to | not | but | for | my | you | it | out | hard To get | be | make | you | do | help | see | think Say, hi | thanks | thank | shit | bye | I | that’s | it Of the | course | you | my | me | your | all | time Course, we | please | thanks | ! | I | will | not | you Is so | the | good | there | all | a | here | mine I think | was | don’t | mean | can | can’t | have Miss my | you | the | us | that | your | it | me | out You too | terribly | heaps | how | ? | want | and | so

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Peter Mason

Because I Never Apologized For Thom I. I know guilt is a long crack in a windowpane. The way shadows cling to the moon so not to fade into echo. At the wake I couldn’t make it past the table of your poems. The last thing you called me was a cunt. I’m still trying to separate the words from their marrow—the memory is as dead as what made us. I don’t know what made us—don’t know if it is dead. II. We used to joke that we would steal the poems of whoever died first. Publish them under our own names. Here it is, here is all I can remember: If I should wake before I die, turn the kettle on love, and I'll tell you everything.

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Meggie Royer

Spilling Guts Your father moved your sister into the memory of a stone. All this talk about girls growing into women, this empty whistling space between cupped breast and held hip. What about a child forced young to grow into a ladder trellis for the sky, rungs to climb up and over like breath. Her caught there, another fish among rocks scrambling for salt. Don’t believe what they tell you about all those things we forget. She still clenches into a fist whenever her mother mentions husbands.

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Laurie Mackie

And in the News Today…. B.C. teachers strike. Peace Train cracks down on prison crime. Stop weed-killing, cell phone seizures. Torch the fashion faux pas. In Canada soldiers are on Viagra after Twitter followers mushroom. Bond says yes, Harry Potter, no. Limbo in the park, tent city’s in a flap. It’s a waiting game, Ebola by the numbers. School trustees weigh-in. It’s the elephant in the room. The resort takes a holiday. Late night still belongs to men. Worst ever major parties guaranteed. 'Shark' discovered on Port Haney Wharf runs into a chainsaw and poacher arrests are rare; the price you pay for Interpol painting on new canvas, claims secret spam attack. Communities wish Fraser sockeye would shun U.S., fill B.C. nets instead. Spiller electrifies airfare discounts sparked from loss to jets. Gaza school children return two weeks late, after end of war. Deal is tentative. And Vision claims a spam attack.

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Laurie Mackie

Nine to Five to Nowhere Six a.m. cattle call. Herd scuffles off West Coast Express/ed from train to bus shit left behind the seats jockey for position on revolving escalators — Stationary

climbers

Straw boss, razor creased khaki pants, manic at missed dots on eyes crossed over tees and misplaced commas. Lunchroom revolution. Straight arrow, William Tell’s the apple of his eye he’s really not impressed. Jumper on the Evergreen. Depressed guy blew a circuit on the SkyTrain to Millenium. Fucked up the morning run. Terminal crawling bigwigs like ants will swarm meat wagons. Butcher, baker, candlestick maker, barber — time to get a haircut.

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Jessica Robinson

coming home for the summer holidays the cars file in over the hill / wheels in line / teenagers’ cheeks flattened / a smudged window / a loose headphone dangling between breastbone and cotton / it’s too cold to talk to the sun / the silent treatment still the most effective form of communication / one car with a lung made partially of plastic / one girl / dirt in her hair / wire underneath her fingernails / the wind is a piss-poor mediator, whining and complaining about his girlfriend / the way she ignores his phone calls / no one has any sympathy for him / his girlfriend doesn’t even exist right now / the road looked smooth as they approached it / the paving wasn’t done right / someone’s mother thinks she’s going to be sick / everyone is revealed to be fourteen percent denim at their yearly physical / a teenage girl wonders what would happen if all the wheels in the world were made out of recycled jean jackets / just like she is / and the neighbourhood doesn’t actually sleep anymore / they watch movies play on the insides of their eyelids / until it’s time to walk the dog / a driver is thinking about the difference / between annuals and perennials / his eighteen-wheeler nails the side of a young girl’s car / sends her spinning into the guardrail / the others just keep filing in over the hill / this sort of thing happens all the time / doesn’t it?

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Jessica Robinson

seeking submissions seeking submissions: more blood, less ink. no laundromats. no boys. only boys. people who tried to keep their teeth in their mouths for as long as possible. dishwashers. people with three definitions for the word “mass”. seeking submissions: a long, unpunctuated question. a little girl getting a sticker at the airport. all the half empty water bottles you’ve left behind. more nervous sweat. less chipped paint. less chipped anything. whole almonds. whole grains. whole tongues. the androgyny of a security guard wearing a brimmed hat and an overgrown braid down its back. seeking submissions: and a door that you have to force closed. a water fountain in a drought. something worth it. the salt stains before there was ever a carpet. seeking submissions: vestigial organs. we want everything you don’t. drop off the leftovers, the remains, the slick, wet things you have a hard time touching. wrinkled comic strips cut out of newspapers no longer in print. things that aren’t heavy enough to be referred to specifically. leave your family out of this. don’t come near us with your bloody lung—it’ll only make a mess in a corner of the office. seeking submissions: from whoever is in charge of time this week. especially from whoever was in charge of time six weeks ago. seeking submissions: the filled-in blanks, the chairs made of something other than wood, the post office that is sold out of stamps today. a pair of glasses you accidentally sat on. the beaker and the test tube on their second date. dirty hair and sand. the rock in your shoe: too sharp to be a pebble, too small to be a stone. seeking submissions: the glacier the angel made room for.

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Jessica Robinson

suburban terror we always knew that we were going to be crossing caution tape to get to him someday. james bent under a weak spot where the cops weren’t watching and i walked right in front of them and begged them to stop me. they wouldn’t even look me in the eye. he was sitting on the couch in a blanket, didn’t flinch when we walked in but he did when we tried to make him talk. “evan,” james said, “it tastes like sulphur in here,” she said, “can’t you taste it?” she asked, and evan just kept looking at the window. i looked at the window and found the crack from when he’d tried to jump through. evan glared at me and i looked away, i wouldn’t even look him in the eye. “it’s not like it would be high enough to kill me,” he whispered. i wished it was high enough to die, but i wasn’t going to say it out loud. if there was a god, he was spitting on the roof, and i was just jealous that he could get up there without having to climb. something about brick, something about needles. something about the neighbours and their shitty camera phones. “IT’S NOT LIKE IT WOULD BE HIGH ENOUGH TO KILL ME,” evan screamed and he ripped off the blanket and james just laughed because she was so scared, she was looking at me like i was supposed to do something, her mouth was laughing and her skin screamed “do something” and my shoulders couldn’t answer. i could see the cops through the window, i could see them pretending not to hear us, i could see the neighbours’ whispers, i could taste the sulphur. i rapped my knuckles on the wall. “evan, the ghosts are gone,” i said, “they aren’t even here, they aren’t even listening,” but of course that’s the thing with suburban ghosts, they don’t leave the neighbourhood, they just move from one house to the next, and evan knew. james was so scared, she looked at her hands and they started to shake, she looked at her hands and she thought they were mine. we got mixed up, forgot who was who, i stopped being able to tell the difference between praying and begging, just kept saying please over and over again. evan was knocking on the wall and i kept saying please, kept saying please, kept saying please, and one of the cops must have been a ghost because he knew something we didn’t, he burst into the house but he wasn’t quick enough, he ran in but evan was already naked and crying, his cheeks blue, his stomach white. AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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if there was a god, he was reading us like the economics section of the paper. the cop disappeared. i thought james did too but she was just standing with her back against the wall, her lips wet and her eyes cold. evan started singing and i hit him in the face and he looked at me like i finally understood but i didn’t, i didn’t understand a thing. evan thought i got it but i just didn’t want to be the one holding his head in my lap when he died. there was somebody on the roof but it wasn’t god. god was playing poker in the basement, and evan thought i understood that but i didn’t know til later. there were news reporters outside. some of them wanted to talk to us but they were too scared so they just sat on the steps and waited for me and james to run away. some of them sat in their vans with their seatbelt buckled and prayed that they had run far enough away from home when they were kids, and they didn’t even know they were praying til they opened their eyes. james stopped being scared and started being mad. “hit him again,” she yelled “hit him again and then let’s just go, we can all just go,” and she said it so loudly that it almost sounded true, like we could just go. like we were just the example. like we were all just going to get up and walk away. the yelling made evan put his clothes back on. we wrapped him back up in the blanket. god folded his hand. god was playing small blind. i closed my eyes and pictured the cops putting up a sign in the yard: do not enter. danger zone. something is dying in there.

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Jessica Robinson

voicemail voicemail #5 I’m only calling to record your voice on the answering machine. I’m only calling to see if you pick up the phone. I’m only calling because it’s the middle of the afternoon and the ringing won’t wake anyone. click. voicemail #7 where are you? and what’s it like there. and what are you wearing. take your clothes off. I want you in front of me. I don’t want anything to come between us. not sweaters, not atmosphere. where are you? and is it sunny, or cold. do you have a car? probably not. you probably have a bike. click. voicemail #14 do you regret anything? I do. I’m not gonna tell you though. it hurts until it doesn’t. click. voicemail #2 HOW COULD YOU HOW COULD YOU HOW COULD YOU DO THIS YOU LEFT US WHY DID YOU LEAVE US YOU CAN’T HAVE LEFT US THERE WAS NOWHERE TO GO WHERE DID YOU GO WHY DID YOU GO YOU LEFT US WE LOVE YOU AND YOU LEFT US AND I HATE YOU FOR IT I LOVE YOU WHY DID YOU GO WHERE DID YOU GO HOW COULD YOU JUST GO— click. voicemail #8 also, you gotta promise not to tell anyone about these. they’re so awful. you gotta promise to delete them before you even listen to them. promise me. click. voicemail #4 this is the last time I’m going to call. don’t look for me. don’t wait for me. don’t call me. AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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click. voicemail #1 pick up the phone. I don’t believe you. pick up the phone.

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David J. Thompson

Monday Morning My apartment smells of bleach, parrot droppings, and Axe body spray. It was a weekend for the ages.

Postcard From Bedford, Virginia I peed at a gas station, took two photos through a fence. Wish you were here.

Meow My new girlfriend hands me her neighbor’s noisy cat and a caulking gun. She says, you know what to do.

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Alexis Groulx

Dirty Bathroom Another woman who is not my mother asks:

What does a real woman smell like? She sticks the same fingers we use as a symbol of peace under my nose. I don't have an answer. Describe it – she waits I am too young to find: correct adjectives my voice a hand on the locked knob my father Her fingers reek.

I don't respond she takes my hand, un-clenches it from my peach- pit fist pulls – peace signs away. Guides: Them AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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Herself Me. Will keep pushing.

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Adam Petrash

Instructions on How to Secure Your Role As the Victim In a Horror Film Resist researching your role. Avoid the places that terrify you. Don’t jeopardize desensitization due to prolonged exposure. Develop and nurture phobias. The audience feeds on real fear. Sacrifice logical reasoning. Put yourself at risk. Supress your urge to run. Practice falling down stairs. Abandon all instincts of selfpreservation. Build the audience’s anxiety. They came to watch you struggle. Do not fight back. Do not risk the film cutting short due to heroism. Accept helplessness then hopelessness. The audience demands their money’s worth in blood. Practice your screams in public places. Count the number of heads that turn each time. Document your progress. Make the audience believe in your performance. Fail and survive. Succeed and become immortalized.

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Adam Petrash

Instructions on How to be the Perfect Audience Member of a Horror Film Remove all distractions. Attend the latest showing possible and sit alone. Shoot murderous looks to others who interrupt with chatter. You are not there to meet new like-minded companions. Pass on the popcorn. Starve yourself of. All your senses must be present. You need to hear, see, smell, and taste the characters’. Feel their excitement, fear, and sweat. Do not blink as the film plays out. Allow the images to burn into your retinas. Apply eye drops as needed. Do not document any further findings. Your research is completed. You are only here to observe and to admire. This is graduation. You came to see your future self on screen. The victim is you, the killer is you, and the audience member sitting in your seat is the real imposter.

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Adam Petrash

Psychometric Procedures1 the process of measuring employed to assess suitability abstract fluid intelligence complex aid presented in diagrammatical form verbal aptitude to effectively communicate concepts construct accurate conclusions numerical data through the interpretation of graphs basic calculations the kinetic role of visual objects the subsequent effects of the configuration of certain elements perceive, construct and deconstruct flip, rotate and/or fit together emotional components tests require the least preparation preferences do not consist of questions which have correct answers assigned to them extraversion, neuroticism, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness analytical, extroverted, emotional, opportunistic and dependable aligned establish a best fit scenario

1

Text is appropriated and manipulated from the website Psych Press: Talent Management Psychologists. The original text can be found online at www.psychpress.com.au AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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Connie Guo

Between You and Me I think I died yesterday. I think I was standing by a second story window, the big one in the guest bedroom that overlooked the driveway, and I think you pushed me out of it. You probably did it because I decided to open all the windows in the house that morning since the weather was so nice. It was one of those rare transition days, when the atmosphere was still shedding the smothering summer heat and taking on the crisp edge of autumn. The world was cutting its teeth on the first scent of decay, a lingering, in-between turning point teetering somewhere on the precipice of atrophy, an off-beaten limbo encased in stillness. The air wasn’t as heavy as it usually was, and the sky was clear and cloudless, a sun-bleached blue with faded edges tucked around the horizon. The occasional breeze carried nature’s smell, of dirt and grass and breathing plants, and the weak sun spilled more freely onto the carpet, the pale color of watery milk. But you didn’t like it. You didn't like how the wind that was blowing through the windows slammed all the doors shut. You said the weather was the kind you always hated, that it bothered you inside, made you distinctly uncomfortable. The sunlight was harsh, scraping, piercing, so sharp-edged you had to squint against it, and you told me you couldn't exist well in that type of weather. It was oppressive, gave you the feeling of being small; it made you want to cry. What you really preferred was summer snow, when the temperature suddenly dropped and the sky clouded over, a light dusting of frozen flecks brushing white ice over green lawns with snowflakes being dashed from existence on the palm of your hand. When I reminded you that something like that was impossible in the South, you got angry as you always did. Your dark eyebrows knitted together, indignant, and a red burn swept across your cheeks. You snapped, called me an insensitive asshole, and told me that I didn’t need to say it, that I obviously didn’t get what you meant. But you might have also pushed me yesterday because you liked the way insects would slam up against the glass panels, knocking their heads against the clear surface three times before realizing there was no way in. Except, with all the windows open, they darted inside, buzzing noisily in your breathing space. I think I remember you told me that out in the backyard under the shaded veranda during the summer months. You were drinking grape juice even though you were mildly allergic to the stuff, something about the juice making your throat swell up a little, but it didn't bother you because you loved it like you never loved me (which, I realize, might be another reason too). It possibly also has to do with that piano I was playing a month ago, the one my dad foisted on us because he decided that it took up too much space in his house. It was old to begin with: a creaking upright piano made of dark chocolate wood, the shine and polish worn away with time, lined with a row of keys, sallow and yellow like rotting teeth. It was out of tune, of course, and poorly maintained. The piano AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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looked incongruous, shoved in the corner of the living room against the mint green walls (a color, I had to point out when you complained, that you chose). To make it worse, when I tried it, the only song I knew how to play was a simplified version of "Amazing Grace." You said the piano and I butchered the song. The notes sagged and knocked up against each other discordantly. They even wheezed a little, you claimed, the flat slack sound of a dying instrument. It brought to mind those balloons I got for you on your birthday two years ago, the ones that weren’t properly inflated. They drooped awkwardly and tipped toward the front so they looked like oddly shaped heads bent in penitence, heavy and oversized on their flimsy string necks. And to add insult to injury, one of them was the shape of a football, which you loathed, and while we argued about its relevance to your birthday, the balloon drifted into a ceiling alcove. Neither of us could be bothered to haul in the ladder from the garage to get it down, so it stayed hunched in its corner for over three weeks until it exhausted its supply of helium and drifted to the ground, a soft, deformed brown casing that no longer looked even vaguely football-shaped. Unrecognizable. (It was kind of like our relationship.) But I digress. I think yesterday we were fighting because I forgot something. And I think you got mad again—I can’t really blame you. It probably had to do with a promise I made when we got married, a promise I most likely never kept. But I can’t, for the life of me, remember what that was. You might have done this by accident. You might have forgotten the windows were open yesterday and the neighbors were hearing everything we were saying, all the profanities and insults yelled at the top of our lungs, and you might have thought that I would bounce off the glass panels like an insect, dazed and stupid but unharmed. While I was falling, I think I saw your lips twist unnaturally, your hand moving to cover your mouth, either to hide a smile or horror, I couldn’t quite tell. I think you wanted to say something. I think you wanted to scream. And just before I hit the ground, I think I saw tears stream down your cheeks.

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The Horizon

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M.J. Bronstein

Barcelona

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M.J. Bronstein

Birthday

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M.J. Bronstein

Connect

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M.J. Bronstein

Curacao

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M.J. Bronstein

Shapeshifting

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M.J. Bronstein

Summer

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J.I. Kleinberg

After the Pause

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J.I. Kleinberg

How Far?

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J.I. Kleinberg

This Decadent

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Allen Forrest

City Life: Day Dreams

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Allen Forrest

City Life: Down and Out

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Allen Forrest

City Life: the News

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Allen Forrest

Golden Arches, Quebec Street, Vancouver, BC

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Allen Forrest

Robson Street, Vancouver, BC

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W. Jack Savage

A Watcher

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W. Jack Savage

Still He Knew Their Freedom Would Be Short-Lived

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W. Jack Savage

Summer on the North Shore

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The Pacific

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Diane Gillette

Red Line, 3:00 A.M. (Another Attempt at Being Missed in a City Too Large, Too Lonely) I am not drunk, though I should be. We are the only ones in our car of the train, though we shouldn’t be. I don’t know your name, but I want to. Your hand creeps up my skirt; I let it. It shouldn’t. I shouldn’t. The intensity, the anonymity, the random chance of it all brings my sweet gasp sooner than I anticipated, though I should have. Your smile is knowing, though it shouldn’t be. I exit one stop too soon, walk home down the middle of the deserted street, though I know the danger of such choices. Tomorrow I will look at the missed connections section yet again; I will be disappointed, though I shouldn’t be.

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Robert Gregory

Scrolling Down Sign on the door: Remember--approach from the broken side. Thank You. The Vertical Witch, a restaurant she dreamed of opening some day where everything would have the flavor of the local dirt, the local gossip, the local rain, the local accent where everyone swallowed their v’s and mumbled their w’s. Today no sky at all: closed for repairs. We apologize for the inconvenience. The lonely sound of the insects repeated from their temporary hiding places all night long. Maybe just a single note. Over and over and over. They don’t care. A note they love. Ancestors are no help: were just as confused as we are and they did not admit it either. Distance, business, pleasure: pollen blazing on the black legs of a fat bee. Inching forward toward perdition, one should at a time. Said the grandfather. The unfortunate angel in the funny hat. But that’s how it always is with calamity—hard to dress for it appropriately. Someone's cat staring in through the screen at the resident cat staring back, each amazed and disgusted to see that there's more than one of them in the world. Infallible test: the ambitious person is the one most afraid of laughter. Hoarse insistent voice of the approaching rain, AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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walking with an uptown cloud on each arm. Strange. The damage seemed like a blessing at first. Lean back against the silence to test it— what kind of advice is that? Just like any ordinary monster, the baby laughed and roared and shat. Better to wish for big temptations and no more of these neat collapsible completely washable days. The restless thing comes out to the far end of its chain to butt its face against the gate. But gently. It’s learning.

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Rebecca Dutsar

Series of Haiku About Missing You Come home already. Please? Okay? Okay. Now? Okay? Okay. Sometimes I say dumb things, but what’s dumber is not getting to touch you. It is cold and these blankets can’t make me feel safe and warm like you can. Why are plane tickets so damn expensive and the semester so long? I don’t run, but would sprint across the sea just to kiss your handsome face. FaceTime needs to get its act together and stop disconnecting us. Who was the fucker that invented time zones? I would like to kill him. It’s not fair that you live with three girls and I’m not lucky to be one. Will you come back and hold me? It’s been so long and I’m tired of waiting.

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Amy Friedman

Bodies in Font Times New Roman: The good girl, the valedictorian, the one with all the press and none of the love. Never truly been kissed, not in the way that speaks of swooning. Keeps a strict schedule. Wears granny panties and sensible shoes. A soccer mom who martyrs herself to her children. Garamond: A WASP. A stage mom. Member of the country club on the east side of town. Gets Botox in her forehead four times a year and filler in her laugh lines in January and June. Had an affair with Georgia script, but only briefly and discounts it since Georgia's a woman. Summers in Napa. Couldn't pick her husband out of a lineup of two. Georgia: Named her daughter Charlotte after Garamond's kid. Volunteers at Charlotte's preschool to make friends, but the other mothers ignore her. Always wears a single strand of pearls. Refuses to wear the same dress to more than one charity event. Shops at Ann Taylor. Smokes pot in the garage during Charlotte's naps next to a desk fan and Febreze Island Fresh. Cries herself to sleep when her husband works late. Helvetica: The invisible sister. Went to a state school. Steps in when the others can't get their shit together. Around town in all the right places, not that anyone notices. People pleaser. Cuts herself on the inner thigh. Eats 800 calories a day. Papyrus: Wears reading glasses around her neck on a beaded chain. Bakes banana bread but adds cranberries instead of chocolate chips. Began using her maiden name as a middle name at 50, though still married to her husband (an actuary). Secretly rejoices when her friends' children fail.

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Glen Armstrong

The Bedside Book of Fire 1. She lived in the city. She knew better than to say that acts of arson could never contribute to aesthetically pleasing shadows.

2. Discussing intentions was ingenuous. She could barely hear the sirens. She blew shit up in the alley while her father crafted miniatures.

3. Deep within unmarked cardboard boxes the vinyl records warped. It was looking as if she would never again listen to The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.

4. A cold front approached from the west.

5. She was talking and praying and taking other steps to insure against closure. AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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She was counting the cracks in the sidewalk. Just around the corner: Parade season.

6. She vacationed upstate where the stars gave her pause, then retuned to the city’s light rail and carbuncles. The rhythm of the belly and fire. The rhythm of the empty and belly. The rhythm of the fire and the empty lulled her to sleep as she rode the train.

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Anuradha Bhowmik

Lipstick I’d let her brush my hair, but I was already dressed for Nick Carter. Boyfriends are for Americans. Barbie sat on the dresser, we leaned into store ads unfolded inside a drawer. Did she remember the commercial, before Ma walked in? It’s called lon-jher-ay not lin-jury. She left, I peeked for progress. We stared in the mirror together. Shared the same straight bangs. Slipped on the tiara, unstrapped her dress from the Velcro. I had spandex before zippers. She remembers me in a pink one-piece with two socks shoved down the front— I wanted my own. Would mine look like hers, the ladies in paper? AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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Maybe if I grew out my hair. Bar-bee: she was cut in two, I was pieced in four. I wondered when I’d catch up to her.

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Nolan Liebert

The Bridge, Before and After It was 2004, before the bridge on I-35W collapsed. I came to town to see Dashboard Confessional go electric at the Target Center, visit the Guthrie before it moved, watch old Pilobolus dance videos on display at the Walker, and to see you. We met up at the Mall of America, where I almost didn’t recognize you – your face and hair all edges stuffed inside the white hat of a cowboy, but your smile, all ruby blush and pearl, gave you away. The damned rain pushed us into an Indian restaurant and you showed me how you used your hands now, all multitasking fingers texts, paperwork, deep swipes in the shallow bowl. We stole flowers from your neighbors that wilted before I returned from the concert to sleep in your bed instead of exploring – when I drove home the sun rose over the horizon as I crossed the I-35W bridge. The bridge trembled from the sound of my stereo and my shaking hands; three years later, the bridge collapsed, and you never spoke to me again. AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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Ana Prundaru

Visualization Exercise #9 And if the muse ever leaves my freckled skin, let's at least try to enjoy the pain; let's pretend that right now, I need golden rubber trees to thrive inside my piano-shaped belly. Let's assume, I crave those tender moments, when poison-leafed staircases inside your ribcage cut the soles of my feet like boomerangs in semi-darkness. Let's say you like to decorate my feet with wilted daisy crowns. And let's imagine a world, where I remember that this love has no way out; except when night-worn beehives pierce the sealed air out of me like bubble wrap. Let's fantasize that you never left my pillow.

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Law Alsobrook

the world hurts today2 things fall apart—a test and testament to addressing human trafficking in that which gives us this misery where street battles and gunfire bring us no pleasure. on the brink, the spiritual journey is the true cost of operating jails and is what keeps us miserable. the truth of suffering is found when we dismiss domestic violence charges and stay with that shakiness. it is tender our hunger, 15 people have been killed, restless and worried. things are in transition, we search the sea for stranded migrants to put ourselves to sleep. with a rumbling stomach suspect in the killing the midst of chaos, a hopeless cycle that goes on killed in a shooting to stay with a broken heart. life is a teacher and train derailment is life as pain. the end of the story file sex crimes charges the knack of catching ourselves.

2 text culled from May 21, 2015 online edition of The New York Times and When Things Fall Apart by Pema ChĂśdron AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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room for grief, for misery indicted on six charges, the point is to pass the test. our hunger for security is loaded with cocaine crashed finding some lasting pleasure. the paper closes; the inkwell, ideogram of dust— is empty.

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Anton Rose

Six Days We are at war, my neighbour declares with a smile. On the television they say it is good, but the first of the shellfire sounds like a question. The Lord will keep you, the Lord will keep you Samuel weeps for his father but sleeps. I cannot. I picture him airborne in metal armour, a hand of the state or a hand of god. An angel of death. The Lord will keep you, the Lord will keep you Jerusalem is at war with itself. I think of a dream or a memory, the river running with blood. At the grocers, still standing, they parade a flag. The Lord will keep you, the Lord will keep you We hear battle reports and lists of spoils: West bank, Golan heights, even the mount of the law. It is all dust and dirt until he returns. The Lord will keep you, the Lord will keep you There’s a wrinkled map in the cupboard. With my finger I find names and places, trace billowing borders and pencil in changes, lines and smudges. The Lord will keep you, the Lord will keep you. Still no word, I play weary games with Samuel, run on memory, dust the furniture, scrub the floor. Turn away from my reflection. The Lord will keep you, the Lord will keep you On the seventh day I sleep. I wake to find Samuel scribbling on the map. Politicians say we are greater now, but I’ve never felt so small. The Lord will keep you, the Lord will keep you

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Steven Prihoda

Satan’s Teeth3 In the fall of our second year, Cyrus and I formed a death metal band. We threw out our white t-shirts, stole some black nail polish from the corner Walgreens, and called ourselves Satan's Teeth. We invited another kid in our class named Harold who had found a beat-up guitar in his father's attic. Cyrus stole some money from his blind grandmother and bought himself a bass. I saved up and bought myself a drum set. We didn't know a single metal song, but Harold said he knew how to play “Here Comes the Sun.” We figured that it wouldn’t really matter that we didn’t know any songs because with His dark blessing we'd be able to play something soon. We gathered in Harold's room on Friday nights, when everyone our age was at the football games, and prayed to His Holy Darkness, asking him to bless our idle hands with blood and darkness before we rehearsed. We came up with song names before any songs, and tried to find noise that fit titles like “Hail the Master of Sin,” and “The Beast of Denton: 666,” and “Damned Sons of Satan's Visage.” But songs never really came to us. Harold said if we didn't summon Satan or at least a minor demon we would never get inspiration for our first song, much less a record deal, so we taped off a pentagram in Harold's room with blue Scotch tape. Cyrus suggested candles would add that special something to our summoning, and he said he could probably steal some from his mother's craft store but he only showed up with four, so one point of our unholy star went unlit. We knew that only blood could summon the Lord of Darkness, so Harold found the sharpest paring knife in his mother's kitchen and set a saucer in the middle of the pentagram to collect our sacrificial blood. Harold volunteered to go first, but only mustered a blood-less scratch. Cyrus got a couple drops; I only managed a single drop from pricking my right middle finger with the tip of the knife. We waited in the pine-scented darkness of the softly flickering candles for what must have been an hour, listening to the muffled cheers of the football game six blocks away. The candles pooled wax on the carpet and left stains that pissed off Harold's mom something fierce. Satan never showed up and our songs in praise of him went unwritten. Come spring, we threw away all of our black clothes and let our instruments gather dust.

3 Based on characters from John Darnielle’s “The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton” AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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Emily Alexander

Questions and Answers, In No Particular Order after Sarah Kay How did you measure time? Dirty underwear, fingernails, it's hard to take inventory of all the ghosts. Have you ever seen the sky like that again? I am constantly reminding myself that I am a body and not just a series of small secrets searching for the right order to tell someone in. Where is the farthest you've been? Something like driving at night and getting onto planes alone. What's hiding under your bed? No, but I can see the shapes of letters rising up like cityscapes. What did mornings taste like? Corkboards covered in photographs. Do you ever mistake dry skin for canyons? Sharp cliffs? In the dark - digging through my throat. In the light - eating breakfast on my best friend's porch. Do you remember the street names? Orange light coming through the window like a square of color painted on the wall. When was the last time you threw up? Arms and legs. Like if we twisted them together, days would be longer. Which way is home? Oceans. All 5 of them.

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Jeffrey Zable

Well Well Well The orgasm was shockingly minimal. I should have done handstands instead, played cards with a mannequin, joined a ladies coupon saving group, or paddled a canoe down a lazy river. I should have called up old friends with whom I’d lost contact, told them I had a wonderful life and wouldn’t change a thing. And even though they’d suspect I was lying, each would say, Let’s get together soon for a drink. Do you still live in the same place? Oh, you now own that beautiful house! Well at least you’ll always have that. Do you remember that song, “They can’t take that away from me!”

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…Contributors… The Poets Emily Alexander Emily Alexander is an aspiring writer, mediocre (yet enthusiastic) chef, and nervous driver. She is slowly working her way through an English degree at the University of Idaho, while learning to be a functional human being. More of her work can be found in A Literation and Blue Monday Review. Law Alsobrook Law Alsobrook is a graphic designer and educator at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar. Presently, he is pursuing his PhD at Plymouth University’s Planetary Collegium in the Centre for Advanced Inquiry in the Interactive Arts. His research focuses on the role of narrative and language as mediating agents of consciousness. Glen Armstrong Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters and has a new chapbook titled Set List (Bitchin Kitsch,) and two more scheduled for 2015: In Stone and The Most Awkward Silence of All (both Cruel Garters Press.) His work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, Conduit and Cloudbank. Anuradha Bhowmik Anuradha Bhowmik is a Bangladeshi-American poet from South Jersey. She is an MFA candidate in poetry at Virginia Tech, and she graduated with a B.A. in Women’s & Gender Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2015. Anuradha has been awarded a Grin City Collective Emerging Artist Residency, as well as scholarships to the New York State Summer Writers Institute and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Susquehanna Review, The Boiler, Lunch Ticket, Star 82 Review, and elsewhere. Salem Dockery Salem Dockery is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, receiving degrees in English Literature and Romance Languages. She is an alumnus of the Xi chapter of the literary and arts fraternity St. Anthony Hall, and her work has appeared in her university's non-fiction journal, "Carolina Passport," as well as the University of Oslo's English language publication, "the Moose Monthly." She has poetry forthcoming in the podcast "Hello, Uncle Tony." Rebecca Dutsar Rebecca Dutsar is a 20-year-old from Newtown, CT. She is a junior at Ithaca College where she is pursing a BA in Writing. Her work has appeared or are forthcoming in Harpoon Review, That Lit Site, Souvenir Lit, and Unbroken Journal. Find her on twitter @beccsdutsar. Amy Friedman Amy Friedman teaches English at Harper College and earned her MA in Comparative Literature from Northwestern University. She is a regular contributor to Newcity, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in *82 Review, Melancholy Hyperbole, Fractal, Extract(s), Referential Magazine, Crack the Spine, Black Fox Literary Magazine, Rougarou and elsewhere. Diane Gillette Diane D. Gillette has a couple master degrees, two demanding cats, and lives with the love of her life in Chicago. When she isn’t too busy reading, writing, or appeasing her cats, she blogs about writing at www.digillette.com. You can find more of her published work there. Robert Gregory AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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RG has published four full length collections of poems, most recently The Beautiful City of Weeds (Hanging Loose), and three chapbooks, most recently You Won’t Need That (Willow Springs/Acme Poem Company). Alexis Groulx Alexis Groulx is a senior at the New Hampshire Institute of Art where she studies poetry and prose. Her work has previously appeared in Ayris magazine. Courtney Gustafson Courtney Gustafson is a PhD candidate and writing instructor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She writes from the woods of Western Mass. Nolan Liebert Nolan Liebert hails from the Black Hills of South Dakota where he lives with his wife and children in a house, not a covered wagon. His work appears or is forthcoming in freeze frame fiction, Plasma Frequency, An Alphabet of Embers, Synaesthesia, and elsewhere. He can be found editing Pidgeonholes or on Twitter @nliebert. Laurie Mackie Laurie Mackie is a graduate of Douglas College’s Associate of Arts Program, specializing in Creative Writing and is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Creative Writing at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Peter Mason Pete Mason is a poet from Rochester, New York. He received a B.A. in English from SUNY Fredonia in 2014. His poetry was nominated for the 2014 Best of the Net Anthology and has appeared in Muzzle Magazine, Spry Literary Journal, Rust+Moth, and elsewhere. Adam Petrash Adam Petrash is a writer, poet, and journalist, and the author of the novella, The Ones to Make it Through (Phantom Paper Press 2015). He's written articles, book reviews, and interviews for Canstar Community News, Drums Etc Magazine, The Uniter, The Winnipeg Free Press, and The Winnipeg Review. His fiction is forthcoming or has appeared in journals such as CHEAP POP, Luna Luna Magazine and Whiskeypaper, and his poems in Lemon Hound. He lives and writes in Winnipeg. Ana Prundaru A trilingual translator, Ana Prundaru has contributed work to Blue Mesa Review, Literary Orphans, Cactus Heart Journal and A-Minor Magazine. Her debut poetry chapbook will be published in late 2015. She is presently pursuing a MSc in legal sociology at Lund University. Her website is www.posthaltelei.wordpress.com. Jessica Robinson Jessica Robinson is a young Canadian writer based in “The City Above Toronto,” who spends her time watching people and trying to do them justice on paper. She has had poetry published with Soliloquies, Belleville Park Pages, and Room Magazine, among others, and is currently a contributor for The Lambda, the Laurentian University newspaper. You can find her on Twitter @hey_jeska. Anton Rose Anton lives in Durham, U.K. He writes fiction and poetry while working on a PhD in Theology, all fueled by numerous cups of tea. Find him at antonrose.com or @antonjrose. Meggie Royer Meggie Royer is a writer and photographer from the Midwest who is currently majoring in Psychology at Macalester College. Her poems have previously appeared in Words Dance Magazine, The Harpoon Review, Melancholy Hyperbole, and more. She has won national medals for her poetry and a writing AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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portfolio in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and was the Macalester Honorable Mention recipient of the 2015 Academy of American Poets Student Poetry Prize. Domenic Scopa Domenic Scopa is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee and the 2014 recipient of the Robert K. Johnson Poetry Prize and Garvin Tate Merit Scholarship. He is a student of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA Program, where he studies poetry and translation, and he is a literature professor at Changing Lives Through Literature. His poetry and translations have been featured nationally and internationally in Poetry Quarterly, Belleville Park Pages, Visions International, Cardinal Sins, Misfit Magazine, Poetry Pacific, and many others. He currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts. David J. Thompson David J. Thompson is a former prep school teacher and coach who has been traveling since October 2013. His interests include film, jazz, and minor league baseball. His latest poetry/photography chapbook, And Thou Upon Earth, is available from Nerve Cowboy in Austin, Texas. Jeffrey Zable Jeffrey Zable is a teacher and conga drummer who plays Afro-Cuban folkloric music for dance classes and Rumbas around the San Francisco Bay Area. He’s been publishing extensively in literary magazines and anthologies since the mid-70’s. Recent or upcoming poetry, fiction, or non-fiction in Kentucky Review, Serving House Journal, Pound Of Flash, 2015 Rhysling Award Anthology, Braenhead Review, Abbreviate Journal, Third Wednesday, Mas Tequila, The Vein, Flint Hills Review, Uppagus, Robocup Press: Revenge Anthology, Blue Bonnet Review, Chaos Poetry Review, and many others.

The Fictioners Tommy Dean Tommy Dean is the author of a flash fiction chapbook entitled Special Like the People on TV from Redbird Chapbooks. A graduate of the Queens University of Charlotte MFA program, he has been previously published in the Watershed Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, r.kv.r.y, Boston Literary Magazine, Foliate Oak, and Gravel. Find him @TommyDeanWriter on Twitter. Diane D. Gillette Diane D. Gillette has a couple masters degrees, two demanding cats, and lives with the love of her life in Chicago. When she isn’t too busy reading, writing, or appeasing her cats, she blogs about writing at www.digillette.com. You can find more of her published work there. Connie Guo Connie Guo is currently a senior at Seven Lakes High School and resides in Katy, Texas. Her work has been accepted at The Apprentice Writer and Menacing Hedge. Steven Prihoda Steven Prihoda was born in Medford, Wisconsin. He studied English Literature at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse before moving to Minneapolis, MN. He has been heavily influenced by Milan Kundera, Haruki Murakami and David Foster Wallace.

The Artists M.J. Bronstein AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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Painter, photographer, author, designer. M.J. Bronstein has been a studio artist for more than 25 years. An art educator and creator of ArtLab for All Ages, a hands-on program at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, she is also the author of PhotoPlay, (published by Chronicle Books, March 2014), the first-of-its-kind photo-based prompt book. Allen Forrest Graphic artist and painter Allen Forrest was born in Canada and bred in the U.S. He has created cover art and illustrations for literary publications and books. He is the winner of the Leslie Jacoby Honor for Art at San Jose State University's Reed Magazine and his Bel Red painting series is part of the Bellevue College Foundation's permanent art collection. Forrest's expressive drawing and painting style is a mix of avant-garde expressionism and post-Impressionist elements reminiscent of van Gogh, creating emotion on canvas. J.I. Kleinberg A freelance writer, artist and poet, J.I. Kleinberg lives in Bellingham, Washington, where she works and plays with words. She has been nominated for a Pushcart prize and her found poems, from a growing collection of over 900, have appeared recently in Diagram, Atlas & Alice, Truck, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Star 82 Review, and Journal of Compressed Creative Arts. She spends a lot of time tearing up magazines. W. Jack Savage W. Jack Savage is a retired broadcaster and educator (wjacksavage.com). Jack and his wife Kathy live in Monrovia, California.

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Editor’s Note #3 Thanks for reading. Please do come back.

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After the Pause: Fall 2015  

The fall issue includes experimental poetry, flash fiction, art, and visual poetry from 28 incredible, global artists.

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