Riggwelter #3

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RIGGWELTER #3 NOVEMBER 2017 ed. Amy Kinsman

The following works are copyrighted to their listed authors Š2017. Riggwelter Press is copyrighted to Amy Kinsman Š2017.

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Foreword Pseudomorph The Words Drawing From Life Linearism (24) Mr Punch in love Stidsholt Woman Dear Storm Doris, Maybe She’s Born with It Elegy for Opium by Yves Saint Laurent Study in light: abandoned Mothers of the Dump The Garden Babies' Testimony Unimportant People Visit to the Wannsee Villa Museum Lights Out Leonardo Constellation Birds do mourning well Untitled 1 Here We Are Intersection Heading West During The Solar Eclipse The Meeting Place Half-life losing control seemed easiest Wet Play/Felt Shapes The Dress The Visit One Called Paul Bejantine Lindisfarne Contributors

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Foreword Welcome to the third issue of Riggwelter! Can you tell that I’m serious about this whole journal thing yet? There is, of course, something magical about the number three. In many ways the invention of the number three was a rather odd thing. One, two, even zero are all perfectly functional (although, admittedly, zero probably arrived on the scene a little later than three). Those numbers are how you differentiate something from nothing and the self from the other. There’s no essential quality that three demarks and so the concept of three was a spark of creative genius. Three has a sense of foreshadowing about it. It is the acknowledgement that there is more to existence. It is the conception of something new. It crackles with possibility and intrigue. That’s precisely what Riggwelter is about – so to celebrate that concept of threeness, here are thirty pieces of creative ingenuity just as magical as the number. I sincerely hope they can give you pause for thought, as they have for me. With every day, Riggwelter is receiving stronger and stronger work, which is making my job more difficult as time goes by but also gives me increasing joy. Thank you very much to all of our contributors and submitters, without which Riggwelter would not be possible. Thank you to everyone who has helped to promote Riggwelter on social media and through word of mouth. Thank you to my father, Phil Kinsman, for his ever useful advice on photography and art. Thank you to my sister, Bea Kinsman, for bringing me beverages as I work. Thank you very much to Brett Evans, Phil Roberston, Kate Garrett, Rob Harper and all in attendance at the fabulous Prolebooks event for their kind words, support and promotion.


And thank you, most of all, to you, dear reader. You are who we all do it for. You are that beautiful, magical, genius three. Thank you for helping to keep that spirit of creativity alive with your support and readership. Please enjoy our third issue.

Amy Kinsman (Founding Editor)


Pseudomorph If an octopus’s quick tattoos fail to bamboozle or confuse its enemies, it evades all trouble by spurting a dark cloud, a liquid double, a decoy, by inking a whole false body, a volume of untrue autobiography. Mark Totterdell


The Words

A glint from his gold tooth pinged up to the glitter ball and across to one of the champagne flutes gripped by the audience. He removed his white Panama with a flourish, placed it on the reclaimed wood table, behind the steel bucket of black tulips, and next to his tower of newly-printed paperbacks. ‘For a bestseller, you need three elements: the “inciting incident”, the journey”, the “crisis”, and, er, fourthly, the “twist”. Of course, it helps if you add a soupçon of violence and a smattering of gratuitous sex!’ He guffawed, shoulders jolting up and down inside his white jacket. ‘So, with no further ado, the signing! Form an orderly queue, please!’ He flicked out his white jacket tails behind him and sat, grasping his cigarshaped Schaeffer. But as he opened his first book, the text seemed to shimmer. It took on an extra dimension, began to jiggle, then lift up from the pages. Sentences, headings, whole paragraphs rose and swarmed before his gaping mouth, until all the pages in the book were empty. The room fell silent as words swirled like starlings, creating shapes which might have been question marks, but you couldn’t be sure. They swayed and swooped up to the rafters, where they perched and fluttered. They waited.

Louisa Campbell


Drawing From Life He scribes the arc of her face like a neat incision, shades-in the soft edge of jaw. Later, he will contour hollows, accentuate planes, but for now he has her measure. Like an emperor, he thumbs her body, divides her into abstract parts, making volume from space, the ellipse of inner thigh, the serpentine scoop of waist and hip. He weighs the invisible in the curl of fingers, the cup of palm. What seduces him is the scythe of light that slices her back carves a trapezius in her Carrara flesh, or the plunge of shadow that etches her spine, draws a sickle moon beneath her buttock's rise. He is lost in the fine lines between truth and distortion, erasure and creation, the hatchings of his obsession. Rapt with the numinous revelations of his pact with darkness and light, he draws her out of himself. Stella Wulf


Linearism (24) Alex Nodopaka


Mr Punch in love

You slip a hand into her warm, dark inside. Her head nods heavy under your fingertips. You twist her to you. She bows to your touch. Her body folds soft around your arm. Her painted eyes hold yours, but she stays silent. “That’s the way to do it,” you whisper.

Sharon Telfer


Stidsholt Woman

Unknown carbon date. Found in Jutland, Denmark, 1859 He wouldn’t want me to return. That is why I roamed. Why I burrowed in every available hole. I moved about in the wan hours when Olaf’s sight lines were shortened. His men were in drinks. Some are not right for the place they are born. Some are not rightly placed where they’re brought. My blood and brood fought our way to the table served. I was no lady. This I was reminded of each honeymoon evening, in spats, with an ugly look about him. Swollen to the size of an ox. My battle-burst tongue spoke too passionately. My skull throat resisted his grip. A cunner and vixen I was called. With my sharp ears I overheard whore, raving mad, and they said I would howl myself to death. Olaf knew my will was strong, strong enough to draw the hunger back to one's body, as a draugar risen from the grave in wisps of smoke or foxfire plume pushed through solid stone. Still, a soul cannot survive without a body. On the 30th day, Olaf removed my ring and veil, and rushed me. My headless body fell to its knees, sank into the ground where he had been standing. In the end I was not immune to his weapons. The good men, fools and minstrels, stood by, turned their eyes at the sword. Olaf ordered them to bury my head in the bog, burn the body, and dump those ashes in the sea. No resting place, no possible selfexhumation. He wouldn’t want me to return, carrying my hideous head, mouth agaped, hair tarned reddish as fox brush, eyes blackened to onyx, covering the short distance between mine moor and his howe. Catherine Moore


Dear Storm Doris, so, you’ve designs on my unsightly line – first, those saggy, half-snagged tights. Already, you’ve been twitching thinning knickers which threaten to skitter up three incredulous open-armed trees. Imagine a flight of the non-optically bright furthering their eco-uptight friendships – washed greys who won’t stop to watch bobbled cotton fly-bys of jerseys, pegs still nipping holey oxters. Then socks. Socks. Yes, plenty socks... If a lack of pairs – one hooked to a whoosh dangle bra neatly flagged up by a hard-act beach towel, newly-cracked from a case. You blow ill-intentions at knock-out knee leggings now horrifically snogging old jeans. Doris, do you want them? Bloody well take them. Let me dance frosty grass, marking my thanks blue-fleshed in fake pearls and a smile. Beth McDonough


Maybe She’s Born with It

The color Siren in Scarlett just wouldn’t do. Ethel Benson sighed as she flipped through her cosmetic bag. With her fingers, bent and arthritic with age, she carefully picked out each lipstick option and arranged them in a line next to the sink. The reflection in the mirror mocked her. Each time Ethel glanced up, she still expected to see her 20-year-old face staring back, not this horrifying 81-year-old sagging sack. Walter Lyle would never notice her like this. Her brassiere was the worst, industrial strength, meant to lift and hold watermelons, not breasts. There was nothing sexy about it. Gone were the days of skimpy low-cut lace with front clasps or strapless options. She posed in the mirror, rolling her hunched back and shoulders as far back as they dared go, thrusting her bosom out in front. She pulled her best frock over top of her head, the one with white daisies floating on a sea of cornflower blue, stretching the neckline out as far as possible so as not to mess up her hair. As she pulled it down, a small button on the back of the collar snagged on her hair, sliding the wig off the top of her head. Ethel cursed under her breath as she spun the neck of the frock around and unraveled the wig from the button. This was her best wig and now she would have to reprimp and recurl the defiant unruly strand. She threw the wig down on the bathroom counter. Running her hands through the brittle remnants of her natural hair, she pulled the frock back to its appropriate position. Adjusting and then readjusting the garment, she hauled it down and stuffed flabby wrinkles back into her undergarments. Sandy from across the hall had offered to lend Ethel her “sexy” undergarments for the


evening, but Ethel declined. She figured if the night went as planned to the point where undergarments were being revealed, Ethel would make sure the lights were off or at least at a very dim setting. She walked over to the bed and sat down on the edge, grabbing her thickest pair of stockings. Shaving her legs was a thing of the past. Her leg hair had given up a long ago and imagining a razor running through the sand dunes that were her wrinkled legs was a frightening thought. Struggling and pulling, she finally got the stockings above her knobby knees. She looked down to see her right middle toe waving at her through the stocking. She grumbled, pulling the stocking backward to cover the hole. No one ever looks at the bottom of your feet. She stood and slipped into a brown pair of loafers. Long gone were the days of stilettos or really any resemblance of a heel. Back in front of the bathroom mirror, she pulled the gray wig up over her head. While this wasn’t her favorite wig, it was the most natural. She wanted to look beautiful tonight, not like a sad excuse for a circus entertainer, and natural, not like she tried too hard. She simply wanted to get Walter’s attention. Ethel pinned the back to the few remaining wisps of her natural thinning hair. Pulling and prodding at the unruly victim of her frock button, she decided to try some hairspray. Closing her eyes, she filled the ozone with the innards of her aerosol can. Coughing and sputtering the contents from her lungs, she patted and teased the wig into submission. She reached back into her makeup bag and pulled out a favorite mascara. Trembling and shaking, she reached her timeworn hand up to her brittle eyelashes. She wondered if maybe she should have gone with fake ones. Her lips parted and her hand shook faster, dancing and teasing in front of her eye. She held up her other hand to steady herself as she brushed the contents onto her lashes. Attempting to repeat the


action on the opposite side, she poked herself in the middle of her eye. Ethel let out another stream of obscenities as her eye welled up with tears, smearing the contents of her previously placed eyeliner down her left cheek. She quickly grabbed some toilet paper and swiped underneath to mop the stray tears and preserve as much of her previously placed foundation as possible. Giving up on any more eye makeup, she went back to the line of lipstick. Siren in Scarlett just wouldn’t do. Mary Mathieson from down the hall had already borrowed that color the other evening to spark Ben’s attention, one of the other rare male inhabitants. Ethel, however, was attempting to retain as much dignity as she could muster. She was going for beauty, not desperation. Perhaps Very Cherry or Hibiscus Pop were more appropriate. She finally decided on Ravishing Rouge. That would make her lips pop, really grab Walter’s attention. She smeared the lip color on her top and bottom dried and cracked lips. Then, rubbing and wrestling them back and forth, she willed the contents to absorb. Pop. She smiled. “Oh, shoot,” Ethel mumbled. “Forgot my teeth.” Ethel rummaged through the medicine cabinet by the sink until she found her sealant. Applying a ring around her counterfeit bite, she inserted the dentures. Ethel clenched her teeth, securing the bite. She gathered whatever saliva her fourteen prescription medications hadn’t sucked dry and ran her tongue along her upgraded bite. This would just have to do. Ethel grabbed her bag and pulled out a picture of her late husband Fred. “Oh, Fred. If only you could see me tonight. You always loved this dress.” Kissing the picture, she turned and strolled out of her room. Tonight was a special welcome dinner for all the new additions at Far Horizons Retirement Home. Ethel was excited to meet any new male prospects, the ratio already


being four to one, females to males. While no longer a new addition, Ethel knew Walter always enjoyed scoping out the new ladies. He was guaranteed to make an appearance. Ethel had been trying to catch his eye for the past two weeks. She had tried several different get-ups and color combinations, but never did she go all out until tonight. Tonight she felt beautiful. Tonight she would catch his eye. “Hello, Ms. Benson. My, don’t you look lovely this evening. Meeting someone special for dinner?” asked Charlie the waiter as Ethel entered the dining area. “Oh, Charlie. You’re just too sweet. You know you can call me Ethel. It’s just me tonight, but maybe I’ll get lucky.” “Well alright then Ethel. Why don’t you follow me this way to your table and we’ll get you something real nice for dinner?” Ethel followed Charlie over to the center of the dining room and sat down. She ordered the Salisbury steak dinner with a side salad dressed in Ranch. Her food came and went. The other guests came and went. The lights dimmed to a soft glow and still Ethel sat. Finally, Charlie approached her again. “I’m sorry Ms. Ethel, but we are getting ready to close down for the evening. Can I get you anything else?” “No. Thank you, Charlie. I’ll just be going then. I guess he’s not coming.” She sighed. “Now who on earth would dare to skip out on such a pretty lady like you Ethel?” “Oh, that stupid Walter. It’s my fault. We didn’t actually have a date. I was just being silly and thought maybe I could get his attention and he didn’t even come tonight.”


“Walter Lyle? He left about ten minutes before you showed up to dinner. He usually dines with the early crowd. Shows up about 4:30 every night.” “Oh. Well, okay then.” “Yeah. I think I saw him leaving with Miss Mary Mathieson.” “Oh.” “And Rita Beity.” “Oh, my.” “Yes. And matter of fact I think I saw Helen Jameson follow them out as well.” “Oh, fiddlesticks.” Ethel groaned. She would have to repeat this entire endeavor again tomorrow. Next time, she would start getting ready three hours ahead of time instead of two. Maybe it was time for Siren in Scarlett.

Brooke Reynolds


Elegy for Opium by Yves Saint Laurent My mother wore Opium when I was small, always a gift from my father, predictable, yet she delighted each time she unearthed the frosted amber glass from tissue paper, the bottle slipping seamlessly into her palm before she buried it in her sock drawer. My mother wore spring green Versace when she could buy it for herself and when my father would not. I hold bottles of Opium at department stores, cover my wrist in cedarwood and tangerine, cover my wrist in the scent of the last time I believed a thing could be unbreakable. Sam Stebbins


Study in light: abandoned (Cover Image) Pat Berryhill


Mothers of the Dump It ended in a party, a twilight fiesta with warm spiced drinks and fireworks. Voices overlapping, stories unfolding, a future that unravelled backwards to the rhythm of a nursery rhyme. The congregation tried out her new name, sucked it away like candy. Unknown babe, she had become an idea too big to fit inside the little white coffin, no larger than a shoebox; garlanded with blooms as wide as her finger spread. The story was well known, that her new mother The sainted flesh, had called her forth from the night, from the dust and the heat, from the tangled dump; all cardboard, mouldering food and broken glass shining back like the eyes of stray cats. The tip, heaves so close to this city, waves of rotting stench roll down the narrow streets, like the spirit of an angry God. Her new mother called her forth, in pieces, and under the moon she fixed her with a name, let it whisper so low it rumbled under foot and the ancestors shook. It began, as it sometimes does. An ache in the arm of the blood mother, too small to carry the weight, of the baby that rocks, a broken doll in a plastic bag. Still hot and gory between the legs, she cannot hold it to her leaking breast. Her face is wet. Everything fluid, the lights of the town dissolve in her eyes. She hurries away through the streets She hurries away from the house She hurries away from the room The red brown towels, the knife she used to cut the cord. And then after, with rusty nails, more slowly, and feeling each


she turns back to scrub at the stains on her knees using her tears and her hair, feeling that names and titles mean nothing to her anymore. Jennie E. Owen


The Garden Babies' Testimony Do not think, even for one moment, that this woman had no regard for us. It's true that, having given us breath on the floor of her turquoise bathroom, in the back kitchen, and in the cellar, she took it back, at once. True that, having removed our breath, she did not contact the emergency services. But each of us got his/her own grave and a flowerpot placed on top, different flowers for each of us. Geraniums for one, marigolds for another, purple, mauve and silvery heathers, oregano and rosemary, thyme and mint. Sheila Hamilton


Unimportant People “For you,” Emma said, handing Lina a letter. “Looks official.” Lina walked to her service window. She opened the letter. For the third time, she had failed to make the cutoff score for promotion. Now she would have to wait a year before she could sit for the exam again. A promotion would have meant a desk job and a move to the district office in the city’s center. She looked around her. The walls were dotted with torn and faded posters. A single ceiling light filled the room with a dull yellow haze. There were no windows. The stale air smelled of cardboard, old paper, and dust. Lina struggled to breathe. She hated this nothing office, in this nowhere place, with every day the same—Russians, Ukrainians, Moroccans, Algerians, Tunisians, Romanians, Poles, Iraqis, Americans…, all needing something, all smiling while fumbling for words in a language they didn’t understand. She folded the letter and put it away. She unlocked her register, opened her service window, and turned on the monitor. * The man’s stomach hurt. He wasn’t sick, or hungry, nor had he eaten anything particularly disagreeable. The problem was that he needed to mail a letter, which meant he needed to go to the post office, which meant dealing with the cranky redheaded clerk, the one who didn’t speak English. And his Hebrew? Well, it needed some work. “Perhaps, she won’t be there,” he thought. “What if she’s ill, or off today? She could be on vacation. And there’s always the chance that I’ll get the other clerk, the pleasant one.”


He put his letter in his bag and checked to see that he had his phrase book. He walked out. The day was pleasant, and he hadn't far to go. He opened the book to the section titled “Post Office.” He had marked what he wanted to say. It seemed simple enough. “Excuse me. I would like to mail a letter to the United States.” Hmm… United States was complicated. He decided to use America instead. Then he would hand the clerk his letter, and a ten-shekel coin. He stopped at the door of the post office to a get a number from the machine. He stood, staring at it. Machines confused him, even when the instructions were in English, and these were not. A woman leaning against the door said something he didn’t understand, then reached across him and pressed the English option. He smiled at her and nodded his thanks. He took his ticket—73. He looked at the monitor. Number 58 was being served at C2, the redhead’s counter. The numbers moved quickly. Number 72 was directed to C2. He rose, feeling hopeful. But no, the person at C2 finished, and number 73 displayed on the monitor for C2. He took a deep breath, repeated the phrase he had practiced, and walked to the counter. He smiled. “Excuse me…” he began. The clerk interrupted him. She was saying something to him, repeating it over and over again. She sounded irritated. He paused, looked at her, smiled, and began again. “Excuse me, I would…”


The clerk repeated what she had said before, louder this time. An elderly man rose from his seat in the waiting room, walked up, and whispered in English, “She wants your number.” “Ah! Thank you.” He handed the clerk his ticket. She looked at it, crumpled it up, tossed it in the wastebasket, then looked at him. He decided to skip the opening and go directly to “I would like.” The clerk reached across the counter, plucked the letter from his hand, and looked at it. She said something that sounded like “bool,” a word he didn’t recognize, though from her inflection, she seemed to be asking him a question. She sounded annoyed. “Must be the money,” he thought. He placed the ten-shekel coin on the counter. The clerk frowned, looked at the ceiling, and mumbled the word “anglit,” a word which he did know. She picked up his coin, and dropped it in the cash register. She removed some smaller ones, and in one quick movement with her right hand, plunked them down noisily on the counter. He looked at her, smiled, and with fingers like water, picked up his change, and left. * “Lina, why don’t you tell him you speak English?” the C1 clerk asked. Lina grinned, and pressed the next number for the service monitor. And she felt better.

Gershon Ben-Avraham


Visit to the Wannsee Villa Museum I am a mischling: the chart on the wall tells me so. The word: innocuous to my untrained ear, at first conjures images of sprites, fairy circles, tiny doors built into trunks of amanita mushrooms. Its trill, incongruous against its backdrop: a chart outlining approved bloodlines, marriage and murder in black and red script. The chart tells me the word means mixed blood, as if you could cut a disk of my flesh and count undesired genes like rings in a tree. Nobody is coming to cut me; I must remind myself of that. It is too easy to slip into old fears in this house. Innumerable time passes and then – she arrives. The girl with the Cheshire grin, trailing a lover behind her. Pointing to a star of David tattooed on her collarbone, she tells me she hopes the men who walked these halls still haunt this place. Still see us surviving in spite of them. She tells me she hopes they’re watching us right now, as she kisses her girlfriend’s Adam’s apple and laughs, and laughs until I swore their portraits could hear. Joanna Nissel


Lights Out She hid Jews. Spend time and they all speak to us, saying interesting things. And they don’t have to lie to do that. It's a myth that fingers and toes fall off. Nothing falls off. You don’t want your mom to see something like that happen to you. No, no, no! This is just one of those moments that we walk past every day. People ask why. My answer is, every space has light of some kind, and we act as if it isn’t there. * There was an explosion so loud that it shook our insides. All the windows burst out. Give it a week, people are going to start looting. I often get asked, “What’s taking so long?” That’s the kind of place this is. When I close my eyes, I smell ground zero, a lot of gushing blood, gurgling almost. Don’t assume it’ll go away on its own. There’s always a price to pay no matter where you live. People want to know is it climate change. I can’t help them as the door is already on fire. * I don’t trust the weather people. Some of them were holding their heads, some were limping. One older woman fell to the floor. Seeing all these accidents changed my vision of the world. It’s very muddy and raining every day. We’re living off crap from vending machines. You think of the worst: bombs, terrorists, shootings, stabbings. I’m not afraid of dying, no, but want to live another year, maybe two. We’re here. We’re working. We exist. This is my ordinary quiet speaking voice. It's your turn to talk. C’mon. * They think they’re better than us. They say we’re created different from them. They even brag about cutting up bodies and throwing them in the river. We shut the lights and sneak out. The stop sign on the corner is missing. People are fighting in the streets for what’s left. The wind sounds terrible. There isn’t one tree still standing. You ask, “Oh why can't they get that baby out of the ground?” After all we've been through, that seems irrelevant. The next day I'm sitting on the park bench with my dog and I see my mother in the window of the plane waving. We have a strange way of repeating history. I say “holy fuck” about 1,400 times a day. Howie Good


Leonardo Constellation They form a Last Supper line-up as the doors close open close and with a jolt we’re off to Hainault. Jesus centre, base-ball hat, dark-skinned glittering charisma face watchful for salvation. On his right, tired, with St John mascara-laden eyes, a woman leans towards her stolid partner, head buzz cut grey refuting ‘elderly’ and the discomfort of his prostate; needs that pee. Left, two women. Young, with bright hennaed hair, single breast-plate earring, wired-in, worshipping her phone; older, bobble-hat in black with badge, Doubting Thomas stare at hand-outs on her lap, and purple trainers. London Underground signalling betrays us. Crumbs of tedium, and our own sweat seeping into the corners of our mouths. But drink this coke, eat this oat bar as a sign there is gold in the everyday mud sparkles of the extraordinary. Ruth Aylett


Birds do mourning well

Between the wheeze of a yellow hammer and a buzzard's kah, I imagine I hear a distant chainsaw drone as defiant heroes bow, succumbing to the fellers with their blades. I will try to capture the scene of buckling limbs and trunks as the cutters close in. Their targets are silhouetted Levant-wards now, as they stoop stiff against the garish backdrop of another tortured dawn. Searchlight beams single them out as wood pigeons call -

‘See these brave guys. Their end is nigh-on here’. Yet twisted limbs still provide perches for raptors, poised to strike, carrier pigeons that fail to deliver the SOS, carrion crows who know that blood is thicker than sap. Sharon Larkin


Juliet Seth Crook


Untitled 1

I’ve seen God in a swarm of flies delighting in the summer day’s sweaty cuisine I watched my generation as they tasted the world fresh from the lips of ultimate lust And I’ve seen Plato outside a Wetherspoon’s smoking a shredded book I asked him what it was; it was “Republic” and he was high on classics I’ve seen myself in a haze of ink and Benzedrine chasing the spirit of Ginsberg and the secrets of his craft I watched Orpheus as he was killed – he took pleasure in the Mænads’ rending hands And I’ve seen the shadow of the hanging gardens on the wall it’s been an age since they were last watered David Dobson


Here We Are when people speak of a flat earth and the conspiracy behind it the need to keep us in the dark that we are more two-dimensional than we would like to admit the early 90’s come calling James Cameron playing pogs Bill Clinton hunched between railroad tracks games that don’t deserve your time in the dark, on a Thursday night the bar mirror shows us long form birth certificates load bearing beams lined with C-4 the CIA confiscated from Pablo Escobar which someone planted before they got there laments of news cycles turned carousels the ups and downs coming rhythmically but no one ever mentions the quarter in the machine started in their pocket it really has begun to feel like a carnival or a set piece, just boards and paint we move around at will to suit the lighting each headline like powdered sugar cascading in waves onto dough they fried in the grease stripped from the rides that broke down an entire country on an asphalt midway with Pepsi curdling in their small intestines wondering if the hot dogs are any good Benjamin Brindise



I pulled up a to a light in my pickup, which sputtered and coughed like a twopack-a-day smoker. I never knew if the old green Chevy was going to stall. I always felt anxious at a red light because anything could happen there. It was after my divorce, and between alimony and child support and rent and groceries, there wasn’t much cash left for car repairs. So you could say the Chevy was a casualty of my inability to form lasting relationships, if you want to use that kind of psychobabble. That light seemed to last for years. It was the middle of the day, a busy intersection bounded by gas stations and stores and offices, with traffic lights timed to maximize drivers’ frustrations as they waited in their air-conditioned metal coffins. Except that my pickup’s air conditioning had gone the way of all sinners. So I waited and I looked across a traffic island toward a shopping center on the other side of the road. I saw this poor guy on the corner, all ragged and dirty, not doing anything really, he looked to be in a stupor of some kind. I stared at him for a while and then I realized I recognized him through his scruffy beard and wild ginger hair sticking out from underneath a stocking cap he had no business of wearing on a humid overcast day in August. He was sitting with his legs splayed on the sidewalk and his back resting against one of two thick wooden stakes supporting a sign that read Now

Hiring. I recall laughing about the sign. It wasn’t clear who was hiring and what they were hiring for, but there it was, Now Hiring. Frank Bidwell was the ragged guy’s name. He and I had worked construction some years before and I remember I didn’t like him. He showed up drunk a lot and I knew from second hand talk he was into cocaine and other stuff. He was a wife-beater


too, and I knew that partly through rumor and partly because I saw his wife Rosie one day at a Walmart. I’d known Rosie in high school, and I noticed she had a bruise under her eye. I looked at her, she looked at me, and without a word passing between us, I knew what the bruise meant and she knew I knew. So, Frank Bidwell, a nasty piece of work who now sat, apparently homeless and gorked out, watching nothing in particular as my Chevy idled at a red light that had overlooked a simple fact of life, namely that it had to turn green at some point. I remember not feeling all that bad about Frank. Some people get their comeuppance, and I guessed Frank was among them. Still, my conscience stammered like an engine with two-hundred thousand miles on it, and I remembered something my mother used to say, there but for the grace of God go I. Next thing I knew Frank was surrounded by a group of guys, three or four of them in their twenties maybe, completely normal looking if my recollection serves me, like they worked in one of the nearby insurance companies or real estate offices. I saw polo shirts and khaki pants and black loafers and regular incomes and savings accounts. They started beating on Frank. One of them had a truncheon or something and the other a baseball bat. I had my window open and even with traffic noise I could hear the blows make sickening thwacks on Bidwell’s body. They were beating and kicking him, not saying a thing but going about their business calmly and professionally, like satellite-TV repairmen. Soon Frank’s face ran red, and still the men didn’t stop, not even when the Now Hiring sign was splattered with blood. One of the men picked up an old shopping bag Frank had with him and scattered stuff about. There were crushed tin cans and some clothes and a few yellowed newspapers.


I don’t believe I thought much about what I did next. I may or may not have looked at the light. I may or may not have turned off the ignition, but then I didn’t have to because once left unattended, that old engine did pretty much what it pleased anyway. I reached behind me and took my rifle off its window rack. I got out of the truck, walked to the traffic island, and aimed it across the street and at the guys. I told ‘em to get lost, or something like that, and leave the guy alone, you got no business beatin’ up on him. The guys didn’t even look at me, they were still staring at Frank, maybe considering what further damage they could do. Next I heard a siren and then screeching tires. A police car pulls up right in front of me as I lower my rifle from my shoulder. So between me and the guys and bleeding Frank there’s a white and blue SUV with rotating blue lights on the roof. Two policemen explode out of the car, point their service revolvers at my heart. They yell drop it and get down, and next thing I know I’m cuffed with my face smashed against cool grass on the traffic island and the cop is calling in the incident on his shoulder microphone. I couldn’t see Frank and I couldn’t see his attackers. I remember a lot of police chatter on a radio. But what I remember most at just that moment was that people were honking and yelling. The light had turned green and my pickup was sitting there and I could see a line of Hondas and Buicks and Volvos behind it. Some words stick with you even when they’re buried in a heap of unwashed memory. Hey, jerkoff, we got jobs to get to, someone yelled. A woman rolled down her window—I think she had two kids in the back seat, mind you—and she yelled, serves you right, asshole, keep your nose out of other people’s business.


I sat at the police station for hours. They questioned me and wanted to know what I planned to do with the rifle and if I had suicidal thoughts and whether I was an Islamic terrorist, and I said Jesus Christ at one point, and so they made me stay the night and then released me and told me they came this close to charging me with assault. Instead they ticketed me for disturbing the peace and let me know where my Chevy had been towed. I seriously considered not retrieving the truck, but finally I got an ex-girlfriend to give me a ride to the auto yard where it was impounded because what other transportation did I have? I heard later that Frank Bidwell died in a hospital, and the Polo Shirts and Khakis were never even brought to trial. Sometimes I think that a dark cloud of cruelty descended on that intersection for a short time that day and Frank and me and the police and the murderers and the people who shouted from their cars were caught up in it. It was like some perverse reality lasting no more than a few minutes had intruded on the everyday world, which then switched back to normal mode. But then I glance at a newspaper and I say, no, that’s how it is everywhere now.

Rudy Koshar


Heading West During The Solar Eclipse

When I began I had wanted to write a poem for the cat we watched crumble beneath a pickup or for the travel station shower we rented for eight dollars and fucked in— all hands, breath held snug in our throats. I had wanted to write an elegy for us, some analogy with the cat—how we were once firework and lily petals and the last sip of wine, how by now we are six states apart and speak only on the Wednesdays that you’re not busy and I’m not hung-over. I didn’t know what to call that trip. We painted west on the windows with cacti beneath our feet. When I said west, you never said south, even when the sun stuck itself to the sides of my car for eleven hours, then fifteen hours more. You had wanted me to find something new in Houston, an awakening, a way to unravel the thread that led me back to you. But now that I’m here all I want to write about is the cat— the dark hollow of her eyes, her paws skidding against the pavement. Because this poem isn’t ignition, watering the soil, removing the cork. It is how the sun sets in Texas—all gold and fire and looming, then sudden darkness. The way it fills you


and empties you all at once. Paige Leland


The Meeting Place Gillian Rule


Half-life The boy from Nagasaki doesn’t want to be in Somerset especially not Hinckley Point so mows grassless gardens in the rain until they become mulch. He glows iridium yellow and gets paid in fifty pence pieces buckets of them in order to work on his goodbyes and is surprised when he catches me slicing stones like potatoes with my tongue. His mother’s made of chalk and she has pills for teeth that try to run away every time she grimaces at her ionizing husband who hiccups sunshine like glue radiating sticky sentiments about the best job he ever had, where he ferried mystics across the River Styx. He taught them the importance of coaxing karma like a boomeranging hatchet and that nuclear fission is just another way of flaying sense from reason. Violet Dahl


losing control seemed easiest

loosen me from of expectations. i saccharine covered inhibited, noting giving crisis of notion that radiate ordinary last

Rachel Nix


nor fault way that fabricated of leave off



do not charms

how without to a


issue such sort

unravels my solidarity power, in me without

a flames, ditch

heat but efforts

know of a ill of

hazards the the claim nature delusioned

shaky core feigning a brief moments clarity, so i


burns still of

unlike scorches amendment.

Wet Play/Felt Shapes Charlotte Begg


The Dress

I The converted greenhouse ceiling, half-covered in seagull droppings, flings dull light onto desks. The desks are stacked back to back, on top of each other, their legs to the air. They expose flat wooden bellies speckled with pink and white chewing gum, which still holds the dint of fingerprints from children who have long left the college. Pocked floor tiles hoard pockets of pencil shavings. Untrimmed branches thwack against the ceiling and sound echoes through empty easels. The door has lost its rectangle of frosted glass; it leans open as if straining to see into the exhibition next door, where lone footsteps begin to resound. They come to a halt, and a second pair follow suit. Silence settles, and then, “Didn’t she do well, considering?”

II Applique flowers, pinks & yellows, trail the bodice – cotton on silk, their threaded outlines raised like braille. The pink silk skirt splays, opening like a half-plucked tulip; brown petticoats unfurl in tiers, burnt & decayed – layers of ripped nylon flitter over stiff swells of starched nuno felt. The blackened fabric’s fragile fringe of ash crumbles & stains on contact



Friday 7th June 2013

THE ANNUAL art prizes were awarded last night at Sussex Downs College, Lewes. The common room was filled with flocks of parents, friends, and well-wishers. The big prize winner of the night was a dress in the “Habitation” category. The dress, made by Roberta Daniels, details the decimation caused by a natural disaster with a two-part dress that depicts the environment before and after said disaster. The student was given a special award for dedication to the arts. The college’s end of year exhibition remains open until… June 25th

& residue from chemicals, bleach & mingled inks, irritate the skin. Sewn in clear thread on the lowest tier, hurried, crooked letters whisper “Goodbye,” where nobody will see it. IV INT. COUNTRY COTTAGE – DAY Many people in black clothing sit on sofas and spare chairs. Those that walk, walk through the house slowly. They make small talk, eat sparingly, and laugh tearfully at old stories. Many have to duck under the low Tudor beams. DISSOLVE TO: THE KITCHEN DAUGHTER, 17, in cap-sleeved black dress, leans against a counter holding a cup of tea. The kitchen is filled with wreaths and bouquets of flowers. She stares at nothing in particular. MOTHER, 51, enters with another bunch of flowers. MOTHER Do you mind finding a space for these? Daughter takes them, shaking her head and smiling. DAUGHTER Dad hated lilies. MOTHER Me too, but it’d be rude to throw them away. You like them though, right? DAUGHTER


Yeah, they’re not bad. Mother leaves. Daughter searches through cupboards and brings out an old vase. She fills it with water and begins arranging the lilies. She pauses, looking deeply at the flowers, and then moves to a bunch of older lilies that are wilting. Daughter runs upstairs to her bedroom. When she comes back she has a sketchbook, a camera, and a box of coloured pencils. She carefully photographs every flower in the room. She opens the sketchbook to a clean double page spread. On each page she draws a flower in exquisite detail: one fresh, one wilted. Joanna Nissel


The Visit

So here he is once more on my door step, with his metal case – not a large one at all which, with its reinforced corners, scratches and dimples, looks as though it’s quite heavy. If you didn’t know, you might think it was to do with photography, but then you’d expect him to have something bulky like a tripod tucked under his arm. Or that he was some sort of salesman, but his items would be small – possibly watches, though who’d be selling watches door to door, from such a well-used workaday case? Stamps, coins, semi-precious stones? No, you’d need a different sort of container for each of those – not this particular small, rectangular case. And he doesn’t look like a salesman. Perhaps even a visiting doctor? Possibly – but with his old car, unassuming manner and, well, a certain general modesty, that might not be your prediction. I welcome him. He shakes my hand warmly as an old friend and, as someone who’s been here before, heads off in the right direction. “How’s it doing?” “Fine really,” I hear myself giving the reply one usually does. I wonder if this is this how a patient being visited feels, and responds. “But the outer edges have drifted a bit…” And here we are, by the piano. He puts the case down on the floor and opens its lid. I remember the contents – pockets with various tools, a removable canvas roll with smaller tools wrapped up, various bits of material and an old Strepsil tin. I stand by his side watching as he lifts the music stand off the piano. He flicks a duster across the ranks of pins and strings in a sort of welcome, then plays that distinctive set of arpeggios I remember well. His fingering is unorthodox, confined to the first three fingers. He sits for a moment, reflecting. I remain, unnoticed now. In that moment of


silence, introduced by his little cascade of piano sounds before the task is addressed, it’s as if he’s preparing himself for a rite. It’s a moment almost as significant as that in which the concert pianist, having adjusted the height and placing of the stool, sits gathering himself for the important task ahead, keeping the audience respectfully waiting. I stay quiet. The tuning fork rings, bringing everything to attention. Its high-pitched ring seems to reinforce the silence: it commands silence, although no note would dare to sound, nor me to speak. Now he gets to work with a wedge of felt and angled spanner. He strikes a note, then waits, savouring it like a wine taster, taking his time. The felt is moved and the note repeated. The gap between the notes has a sound of its own. A creak from his spanner, another striking of the same note, another little silence. The note sounds the same to me. That A in the middle has three strings – is this the same string being struck? I’m already not sure where he’s got to. He looks up. “Start with the A” he says, in part answering my unasked question, partly telling me what he’s doing, and partly almost as if he’s instructing me. I nod. I feel able to make some conversation. “Then what next?” My unnecessary little question melts into the significant silence. His head is angled into the piano like an attentive robin in an act of more than simply listening – it’s as if every sense has been recruited. Abruptly, the wedge is moved and another note


sounded, to be followed by yet another silence. The piano creaks somewhere; the source of the sound is hard to locate. “You follow the fifths.” That ‘you’ – is it a direct approach to me? I can’t follow them – it’s him who does that. I nod again, and try to look knowledgeable. Yes of course, fifths: open intervals, pure and – perhaps – simple. He isn’t unfriendly. I know from many a previous visit he enjoys chatting. I like to think he even enjoys coming here, and that he has a special relationship with my piano, having restrung it some years ago. And therefore with me. But I feel like a child: ignorant of his technique, impressed how he can hear tiny differences in pitch which I can’t and conscious of my complete inability to do what he’s doing. I am no more than a little boy watching a skilled practitioner – a farrier putting on a horse-shoe, a surgeon at work, a panel beater, a concert pianist… a piano tuner. I am being looked after. “Follow the fifths and fourths back and forth…” It sounds like poetry. He smiles at me kindly, probably aware of what I was thinking, and knowing that these could no longer be thought of as instructions. I wonder if he’s enjoying the alliterations. I’ve never thought much about fourths. I ask him if he’d like a cup of tea. I leave the room, leaving behind the pattern of sounds – note, delay, creak, note again… a new note, followed by the same pattern. Then that arpeggio. When I return with tea and biscuits, he rises from the keyboard.


“After fourths, you try the thirds – keep them close and tight.” He sips his tea. I know how he likes it. I nod again, this time in acknowledgement and he smiles, happy to play this game with me. “Mind – make sure they’re sweetly warm and agreeable. Nice cup of tea thankyou.” I know about thirds and their pleasantness. Yes, fifths can be empty, cold. But thirds – they’re friendly, close to each other and comfortable. I’ve brought my cup in as well to keep him company. I sit down and take a sip. And I know how he likes two heaped teaspoons of sugar. “What’s happened since you last came then?” I ask, knowing that he’ll always have a story. And here it comes. I remember that he has the contract to tune the piano in the concert hall in the nearby town, which he does regularly and scrupulously, not least since there are visits by famous pianists. But when such a concert approaches, he makes a special visit on the day. This time, he was just finishing when the artiste appeared. She ran through the start of some of her pieces as he was gathering up his tools, then suddenly stopped. Had he completed the tuning, she asked? He said he had. She stood up and insisted he do it again, as it was out of tune. The tuner puts his cup carefully down on its saucer, rattles through a cascade of arpeggios as if delivering a cadenza, and looks at me with a knowing smile, enjoying and making the most of the pause in the story, the moment in which the soloist can show off, before being rejoined by the orchestra. Then he continues.


He told her he was terribly sorry, of course, and would see to it right away. He reopened his case and the pianist left the hall. He set about going through his usual routine: the little cascades, the ring of the fork, the felt wedge and spanner… When he’d finished, he asked her to try the piano again. She began to play the same opening piece from her recital, then stopped, stood up and told him it was much better. There was no thank you from her – just a declaration that it was now in tune, as it should have been all along. He smiles again. “You probably guessed. I didn’t alter anything at all.” His tea is finished, but he’s still got a little more to do. “Now where were we? Fixed the thirds, hadn’t we, so now the scale’s laid out you can step out in octaves. Yes, you can go as far as you want.” We’ve now become ‘we’, but there’s still the direct ‘you’, I notice. I take the tray away. From the kitchen I hear the top notes being reached, then a repeat of those arpeggios – more this time, over the whole range, which I know means he’s finished. I return with the money. He packs the tools away, bids farewell to the pins and strings with a flourish of the green duster and replaces the canvas roll. There in its usual place is the Strepsil tin, with whatever it contains. He clips down the lid and picks up the case from the floor with an accustomed swing. “Six months again?” he asks. I thank him, opening the front door. He shakes my hand like an old friend, puts the case in his boot and is gone, with a wave.

Richard Westcott


One Called Paul

Five drab juveniles land outside my window; goth eyeliner, raucous and rucking over territory, fouling up my window ledge, five floors high. Under murmured shadows, three leave suddenly, startle the two, who, drawing close, look to each other, before the larger wings it with thousands in late city skies. The smallest catches reflections in the high-rise glass, checks its rag tag feathers for signs of iridescence emerging in the half-light of a noisy urban dusk. But through my window, I see only reluctance in movement. I wonder if this one’s worried; ill-prepared to join in and just needs a little more time to practise. Jonathan Humble


Bejantine Students, all women in our freshest years, we settled on landings with mugs of tea, and, late into the night as Sweet Baby James floated up the stairwell, we gossiped, fell out, time -shared bedrooms for lover trysts, never thought to lock our doors. Then she disappeared, that girl of the fiery perm and Scouser sound. We wondered in the silence. Her space filled over like a river after extreme rainfall. I imagined her walking back after drinks at the Union, in her silk halter neck and corduroy flares, humming Joni Mitchell in her head, caught in a clutch, dragged into a flowerbed, calling for her Mum. We stopped walking alone. We avoided the garden. Then we forgot. Maggie MacKay



Yellow celandines brush my legs with pollen dust and for several strides I share the holy work of bees Ceinwen Haydon



Ruth Aylett lives in Edinburgh where she teaches and researches university-level computing. She was joint author with Beth McDonough of the pamphlet Handfast, published in 2016. One of four authors of the online epic Granite University , she has been published by Prole, Antiphon, Interpreter’s House, New Writing Scotland, South

Bank Poetry, Envoi, Bloodaxe Books, Poetry Scotland, Red Squirrel Press, Doire Press and others. See www.macs.hw.ac.uk/~ruth/writing.html for more. Charlotte Begg is a mother to four and a mature student living on the Isle of Wight. She is a writer and abstract artist, with many of her works inspiring another form. She hopes to complete her first pamphlet of poetry next year. Gershon Ben-Avraham holds an MA in Philosophy (Aesthetics) from Temple University, Philadelphia, USA. He lives in Be'er Sheva, Israel. He writes short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Recent flash fiction publications include “Remembering Robert Angus McDavid,” Jellyfish Review, September 2017; “Already Lost,” Gravel: A Literary Journal, October 2017, and “The Keyboardist,” Crack the Spine, October 2017. Pat Berryhill is a visual artist and writer. She lives in Winston Salem, NC with her adult children, her finance', and five cats. She has been published in several literary magazines and currently writes reviews and articles for AM: The Arrival Magazine. She is Publisher and Editor in Chief of Wraith Infirmity Muses, a magazine that gives platform to writers and artists with invisible illnesses and has a blog on The Mighty.

You can find her on Twitter: @dp_pat, Facebook: Pat Berryhill writer, PAT PUNK POP, and Wraith Infirmity Muses. Benjamin Brindise is the author of Rotten Kid (Ghost City Press, 2017) and is a Teaching Artist at the Just Buffalo Literary Center. He has been a guest speaker at various colleges and universities and was a featured guest for Creative Mornings giving a talk on Transparency in art titled On Being Understood. He has most recently been published in Your One Phone Call, In Between Hangovers, The Magnitizdat Literary,

Ghost City Review, Peach Mag, Page & Spine, and Foundlings. Better known for her poetry, Louisa Campbell has also had stories published in Fiction on the Web, Literally Stories and Lonesome October Lit. She lives in Kent, England. Seth Crook loves puffins, has taught philosophy at various universities and lives on the Isle of Mull. His poems appear in such places as The Rialto, Magma, Envoi, The

Interpreter's House, Gutter, Northwords Now, Poetry Scotland, The Journal, Southlight,


Antiphon, Snakeskin , various anthologies from Three Drops Press. His photographs have appeared in the Scottish Islands Explorer and The Projectionist's Playground. Violet Dahl was born in Oxford, in 1988. She spent formative years in America and Finland, and is now based in Bath. She has previously had work published in Picaroon, Prole, and some other publications not beginning with 'P'. She is a freelance writer and barmaid in Poe’s pub, The Raven of Bath, and is currently working towards her first poetry collection. David Dobson is a poet from Bradford, West Yorkshire and is currently living in exile in East London, where he studies English Literature at Queen Mary University, though he intends to return to the North when he has come to his senses. He regularly reads his work at open mic nights and other poetry events. You can follow David on Twitter @David__Dobson Howie Good is the author of The Loser’s Guide to Street Fighting, winner of the 2017 Lorien Prize for Poetry from Thoughtcrime Press . He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely. Sheila Hamilton lives in the NW of England and is a widely-published poet. Her new collection, The Spirit Vaults, came out in July 2017 and is available from Green Bottle

Press. Ceinwen E. Cariad Haydon worked as a Probation Officer, a Mental Health Social Worker and a Practice Educator in the NHS. She now lives in Newcastle upon Tyne and writes short stories and poetry. She has been widely published on curated internet sites and in print anthologies. She is due to complete her MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University in Autumn 2017. Jonathan Humble’s poetry has appeared in The Big Issue In The North, Poems For

Freedom, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Teacher, Obsessed With Pipework, Clear Poetry, Atrium and on BBC Radio. His short stories and poems for children have been published in The Caterpillar, Amazing Magazine, The Looking Glass Magazine and Stew Magazine. Rudy Koshar is a writer from Madison, Wisconsin, whose work has appeared in

Literary Orphans, decomP magazinE, Stockholm Review of Literature, Eclectica, Corium, Riptide Journal, and numerous other print and online magazines. He is a former Pushcart prize nominee and Guggenheim Fellow. His "Saving Hermann Hesse" was chosen as a Notable Story in storySouth 's 2016 Million Writers' Award competition.


He teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, blogs at rudykoshar.net, and can be followed on Twitter at @RudyKoshar. Sharon Larkin’s poetry has been published in anthologies (Cinnamon, Eyewear, Indigo Dreams, Zoomorphic); magazines (e.g. Prole, Picaroon, Obsessed with Pipework, Here Comes Everyone) and e-zines (including Ink, Sweat & Tears, Clear Poetry, Amaryllis, Atrium, Algebra of Owls ). She jointly runs Cheltenham Poetry Café - Refreshed, is Chair of Cheltenham's Arts Council and Poetry Society, and is founder/editor of the Good Dadhood on-line Poetry project. She has an MA in Creative Writing and a passion for Welsh language, literature and history. Website: https://sharonlarkinjones.com/ Paige Leland is a serial Cap’n Crunch eater, elephant collector and native of MidMichigan, USA who graduated with a BFA in Creative Writing last December. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Chicago Literati, The Tahoma Literary Review, The 3288 Review and more. She currently lives in Houston, TX. She plans to spend the remainder of the year writing and to pursue an MFA in poetry next fall. Maggie Mackay, a Scot and recent Manchester Metropolitan University MA Poetry graduate, has work in a range of print and online publications, including Prole, The

Interpreter’s House, Three Drops Press and Ink, Sweat & Tears . Beth McDonough has a background in Silversmithing and teaching, completing her M.Litt at Dundee University. Recently Writer in Residence at Dundee Contemporary Arts, she reviews for DURA. Her work is strongly connected to place, particularly the Tay, where she swims. Handfast, (with Ruth Aylett, May 2016) explores autism and dementia. McDonough’s work is published in Agenda, Causeway, Gutter and many other journals and anthologised widely. She continues to work in an intermedial way. Catherine Moore is the author of three chapbooks and the forthcoming Ulla! Ulla! (Main Street Rag Publishing). Her work appears in Tahoma Literary Review,

Caesura, Tishman Review, Southampton Review, Still: The Journal, Mid-American Review and in various anthologies. She’s been awarded a Walker Percy and a Hambidge fellowship, her honors also include the Southeast Review’s Gearhart Poetry Prize, a Nashville MetroArts grant, inclusion in the juried Best Small Fictions of 2015 and Pushcart nominations. Catherine holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and she teaches at a community college. She’s tweetable @CatPoetic. Joanna Nissel is an MA student at Bath Spa University. Her work is featured or forthcoming in Irisi, Amaryllis, Clear Poetry, DNA, Glove and Eye Flash magazines. She is also the social media editor for Tears in the Fence.


Rachel Nix is the poetry editor at cahoodaloodaling, associate editor at Hobo Camp Review, and an editor for Screen Door Review. Her own work has appeared in Cold Creek Review, Rogue Agent, and Up the Staircase Quarterly . She resides in Northwest Alabama, where pine trees outnumber people rather nicely, and can be followed at @rachelnix_poet on Twitter. Alex Nodopaka originated in Ukraine in 1940. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Casablanca, Morocco. Full time author, artist in the USA. His interests in the visual arts and literature are widely multi-cultural but he considers his past irrelevant. Jennie E. Owen’s writing has won competitions and has been widely published online, in literary journals and anthologies. She is a University Lecturer of Creative Writing and lives in Mawdesley, Lancashire with her husband and three children. Brooke Reynolds is a veterinarian from Charlotte, North Carolina. Her story 'Dr. Google' won 2nd place in the 2016 Short Story Contest for Channillo. Her stories have appeared at such markets as Massacre Magazine, Fantasia Divinity, The Airgonaut, The Literary Hatchet and Ghost Parachute. Follow her on Twitter @psubamit or check out her website reynoldswrites.org Gillian Rule is an Irish artist based in Donegal. Gillian takes her inspiration for her paintings from her coastal surroundings, rural landscapes, angels and her great love of animals. More of her work can be seen on her Facebook page, Gillian Rule Art. Do check her page out. Sam Stebbins is a poet from Grand Rapids, Michigan. A recent graduate from Grand Valley State University, Sam enjoys listening to punk and wearing turtlenecks. To pay the bills, she writes about people who make wire refrigerator racks. Otherwise, she writes mostly poems about insects, fruit, and maternal figures. Some of those poems have or will soon appear in Red Cedar Review, The 3288 Review, and Omakase

Magazine. Sharon Telfer lives near York. She won the Bath Flash Fiction Award and the Hysteria Flash Fiction competition in 2016. In 2017, she has stories in Sleep is a Beautiful Colour (National Flash Fiction Day anthology), Stories for Homes 2, Spelk, TSS Publishing, and

Reflex Fiction, and in forthcoming anthologies for Paper Swans Press and Bath Flash Fiction Award 2017. When she’s not writing fiction, she wrestles complex social research into clear, concise prose.


Mark Totterdell’s poems have appeared widely in magazines and have occasionally won prizes. His collection, This Patter of Traces, was published by Oversteps Books in 2014. A second collection is due in 2018 from Indigo Dreams Publishing. After hanging up his stethoscope a few years back, Richard Westcott now listens to himself talking, rather than others. And animals too, living as he does on the edge of Exmoor and spending a lot of time outdoors. He’s won a prize or two here and there, and his poems can be found in various places including the Mary Evans Picture Library poetry blog, Lighten Up Online and Sentinel Literary Quarterly . Stella Wulf lives in South West France. Her work has been widely published both in print and online. Publications include, Obsessed With Pipework, The High Window, Raum, Prole, Ink Sweat & Tears , and many others. Her poems have also appeared in several anthologies including, The Very Best of 52, Three Drops From A Cauldron, and the Clear Poetry anthology. She has an MA in Creative Writing, from Lancaster University.