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Winter 2016

Whiskey Fish Review Issue One: The Buzz Winter 2016 Published by Whiskey Fish Review Editor: Zack Nelson-Lopiccolo Cover Photography by Pj Santos Cover Design/Layout by Pj Santos Copyright 2016 Whiskey Fish Review Printed in California, United States All rights revert back to authors upon publication

Contents The Editor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . An Inaugural Toasting Larry Raymond Duncan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bitte Jennifer BradPiece. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Day the Answers Fled George Wallace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The King of Spain’s Daughter Howie Good . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Most Remarkable Substance Ever Sarah Thursday. . . . . . . .What I Mean When I Say We Can Talk Without Poetry Kevin Ridgeway. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Two Dimensional Lover Alan Britt. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Momentary Illusion Carol Alexander. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . For Ghislaine Ace Boggess. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Eye Exam Thomas R. Thomas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Schrödinger’s Cat Larry Raymond Duncan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Praying to the Fumes Thomas R. Thomas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Jelly JL Martindale. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Deliverance

A Toast to Toe Dipping

Whiskey Fish Review is an attempt at a crossroad, a place where two dimensions meet in a time where information and satisfaction are in an instant demand. The goal here is to bring readers, you, fresh writing in multiple formats, online, and traditional print while attempting to broaden the intellectual stimulation that seems to lack in mainstream culture and media. There’s much to appreciate about physical books that just cannot be grasped by the digital medium. For instance, that ever lingering line or stanza that fire brands vivid imagery into the mind; it’s only a turn of the page away with a book and allows a reader to revisit that feeling and gain some new knowledge with each passing, and that’s something that just can’t be done with an ipad, or kindle. Battery low? Out in the wilderness? Black out? Well you’re shit out of luck. And there’s also that ever glowing screen, which just about ruins any scenario. Sure there’s a convenience of instantaneous accessibility, but where does that leave one? What happened to patience to gratification? Digital however does and has brought us as a species closer, a more interconnected collective of ideas. A Web that allows us to see many aspects of one another for better or worse from the most hard to reach places on Earth to the easiest. Poetry, fiction, reviews, experiments, videos, music, everything can be seen within seconds of being published on any type of internet forum. The ever growing database of knowledge is no longer the thing of sci-fi and we are here at that intersection. There’s no denying a broader audience can be reached with the internet and that’s half the battle. Now having said that, there is nothing better than holding the physical and always being able to reference it even in a black out, in a disaster, a swimming pool, space, the moon, the Andromeda galaxy, anywhere. This is what and where both mediums connect and allow Whiskey Fish to bring forth something fresh and exciting to richen the human condition now and for . So dip your toes in the now and then and yet to be. Read the issue online, and maybe you’ll love it enough to grab a copy of the physical; a one of a kind piece that you’ll cherish forever (or hock to a used book store for some kind stranger to find). Either way enjoy the spoils of lots of sifting and sorting.

Live long and prosper, Zack Nelson-Lopiccolo

p.s. Enjoy the buzz of issue one, paired best with any whisky (ey)!

Bitte -Larry Raymond Duncan Bitte “…they tore off her dainty clothing, and cut her beautiful body to pieces and sprinkled salt upon it.”-The Robber Bridegroom, German Fairy Tale How many times had she bitten lips plush cherry and full of blood— loose tongues of hair licking between the fingers of his fist— before she measured the length of his teeth and read the lipstick stain? Bitte, baby, bitte. Beneath the cathedral boughs of the pine thicket, she spreads in the furrow and the needles bite her back. A pocket full of dried peas she doesn’t spill on his trail of ash. Home long lost beyond the trees. She’s already read the way it turns, written in the calligraphy of red like lash marks, like stained smiles hidden under the softness of her skirt. She doesn’t plan on coming back. Bitte, baby, bitte. When she rises, the branches are full of birds, black as oil. She makes a body of their wings, a piece in every feather. When they scatter, they take the last bit of pink from her palm. At the door, she doesn’t have to knock. It’s open and he’s in the kitchen, hand on his knife. The other already in the cupboard, eye in the crease beneath the sink, tomorrow’s leftovers. She wants her to see the way he feeds. With one foot on a chair, she sets the table with her knees and reaches for his open smile to put her fingers in his mouth. Bitte, baby, bitte.


The Day the Answers Fled -Jennifer Bradpiece the house moved away with its white halls and uneasy storage. Folded up each box of a room. Blew the echo out the fireplace, the frozen faces off the mantle, the vacuum packed air. Shook out the yard and covered the nostalgia in linens. Each bedroom burst like overfilled balloons leaving only spent dreams on the skeleton of a bookcase. The tea kettle whistled once and the whole kitchen rattled. Utensils and chopstick exclamations clamored, and the bricks dismantled each memory carefully. The garage: shovel, trowel, and iron dug and smoothed the secrets out to seed the lawn. Twisted trees bared rotting fruit for years, each fleshed with one eye pressed tightly shut. The neighbors all had conflicting stories and scratched their heads around the bicycles and leashed dogs. Only fragments of foundation remained in the shape of a question mark. The questions mounted the forgotten bookcase until it collapsed. The address numbers spelled an epitaph:

Home is assembled only at the site of violent deconstruction.


King of Spain’s Daughter


-George Wallace

"we are weaving tiny roots in the strange today" she is bored, she goes outside for a smoke, her hair does not disturb the universe, the winter air is deep, aroma of green green sea, the morning fog is indifferent to her, she imagines him, he embraced her like a child,like a forest creature, a penitent at the devotional font, admit it, you were aroused, fossilized sea creatures began to move their gills in solid rock, now he’s gone, he’s a blue spectre inside her head, rode away, stupid man dissipates like morning fog, she wants more, more, him, anything, she wants her mother to sing to her, an acadian song, prince of orange, king of spain’s daughter, the one about the cavalier who dives into the sea to recover a golden ring, the cigarette is bitter in her mouth, worse than fog, fog around here is unbearable, she comes inside, bored, bored, spells his name in window frost, her finger traces his lips, this is the green sea beyond the horizon, she is an anchor chain, beard of kelp, she is a horse in an open field riding nowhere, muscular, she’s muttering to herself, an orphan, she has no mother, this cupboard of empty dreams, if things do not change around here she will be forced to take up a trade, spinning wheel, tatted lace, beat the wash, weave flowers thru a lady’s hair, any trade will do

The Most Remarkable Substance Ever -Howie Good Hundreds line the street in excited anticipation. A photographer, a black drape over his head, is about to snap a picture of a skinny guy hoisting himself up onto a cross. I have returned repeatedly throughout the process, encountering the same insults, the same anachronistic aesthetics, the same darkness in the same unknown. It’s hard work being stranded at the end of the industrial age with a McDonald’s meal and something you can never really be sure is there, the most remarkable substance ever, a kind of thunderstorm blue. But the terrible part isn’t how cold it is out. No, it’s how much I tremble.

What I Mean When I Say We Can Talk Without Poetry


-Sarah Thursday

When I dance for you and our knees brush at the bar, we begin to forget. The more I think about the space inside your coat, the more you learn the names of my favorite drinks, we stop saying them. Words like wife. Words like marriage. We become teenage-nervous where mouths cannot form words like separation. All I know is giggle and heart-dotted-i's. We are back at the edge of unknowing. Where our grownup selves are strangers we might not want to meet. You use the word awkward when I give you a book on a poet's divorce. You are a teenaged father all over again. Except your children are leaving now, one-by-one. You regress a decade for each one. If I am fifteen and you are seventeen, sitting in my living room listening to records, maybe we also forget the word husband. You are just a boy with grown man scars. I am only a girl biting my nails, chewing at the cuticles, wishing that boy would lean down and kiss me, but fearing. Fearing if he does, it means we need more words for you and me. And if you hold my hand, are we steady? If I wear your coat wrapped around me in the dark, what will be a word for that?

Two Dimensional Lovers -Kevin Ridgeway my mother had to look at every item on sale at every department store we went into and she always made these bargain hunts ten times worse when she dragged me into the forbidden aisles of the lingerie department filled with women as they held up their potential unmentionables that I ran into, trying not to look at them, but that changed with puberty when I even gawked at the scantily clad headless mannequins and, wearing only a skimpy black lace negligee and gazing down lustfully at me from her massive fading Montgomery Ward poster advertisement was my sweetheart that I secretly called Sharlena, her never ending smile making out with me when I saw the shell shocked faces of other sons, frightened refugees smoked out of their cavernous mall video arcade hideouts, and the heartbreaking day came when they replaced Sharlena with a homely woman modeling a bra that was first introduced at the 1939 World's Fair and I was unable to track down my captive Sharlena before wrecking balls shattered through that confusing land of cup sizes, peek a boo nighties and support hose that cried pervert at me for peeping before I had grown old, dirty and creepy enough to get arrested for still hanging around women's lingerie departments and when security asks me what the hell I think I'm doing, I'll tell them I'm waiting for Sharlena.

Momentary Illusion


-Alan Britt White matchbook, spine raised in indignation at the very thought of the very thought, at the very notion the very thought that led to the notion was akin to Albert's notion that light speed is a blindfolded lady in hemp tunic spinning plates of irony with sword prepared to stab the eyes of Supreme Justices like martini olives with each spinning plate's value exploding white matchbook's curled tobacco mustache exceeding the known world, beyond the Cape Buffalo's drooling stamp of forked ferocity sending static electricity through innocent acacias, rattling primates like they've never been rattled, rattling tamarind sheaths in a Cuban gale jiggling florescent kitchens & bedrooms like freshwater bait, rattling raindrops on burning oak leaves, rattling the first time you sputtered I love you! without clue to late blooming hormones like freight trains rattling your eyelashes or bunk bed with one round left in WWII Luger, rattling like symbolic flames rising from the pit of imaginations too terrifying to hold the eternal torch of regret like a bruise at the center of straw astral bodies, yet our best days lie ahead, some good ones passed in anonymity but appreciated in dreams about removing knives & bullets from exalted attitudes impervious to evil → control at last.

For Ghislaine -Carol Alexander By the board, pupils like black holes, a North Philadelphia schoolgirl, three years in fifth grade, is fragged by the laughter of the back row. The word is Chesapeake, as in the bay. Cheapskate, she tries, bringing down fire. Desks etched with curses and pleas, oaken stupor of midday, waxy boxes of cool milk, but she gives off the heat of moving targets, stumbling in the crosshairs. Rungs of chairs implacable, first frost muffles light beneath the blackout shade. We are in the Cold War and could lose even this weak light. Ghislaine, I wonder at the ignorance: mother plaiting your dark hair, sending you into the tangle of the day, struggles with small hostages. The courage of it, the march to the front lines, the bloodied heels in boots. My daughter rises now at six, laptop crammed with lesson plans. She greets children off the short bus, who hardly speak, who twirl, who flap, who cool their heels in the special room. Work well, I say, for Ghislaine, who must be sixty-three, a grandmother in a street of houses, peaceful now, this winter day.

Eye Exam -Ace Boggess I need correction so lean forward against the machine resting chin on steel as I stare at a farmhouse in a field of pastel green I wonder could I walk up & knock on the door if my eyes saw less than two apparitions in the fog? “you’ll notice there will be changes” says the doctor—that young god who knows his power as I know I will not see however clear my vision is a gust of wind startles my eye I try to read vaporous runes appearing as if by magic on the wall then fading into mean mysterious light

Schrödinger's cat -Thomas R. Thomas Schrödinger's cat is bored sitting in the box all day so he orders pizza anchovies and sausage


Praying to the Fumes -Larry Raymond Duncan The depots had it easy even with their ghost trains, the ordinance of time, and legion of sick sweat staining the boards between the rails. It’s the cars I worry about, disconnected at the neck and strung along on loose chains to the wrecking fields. Their salt stained frames riddled with rust and miles. Wrapped in the knot of the Southern California interstate on-ramps, it’s hard not to count the cracks in the asphalt. I’m old enough to be on the edge of the powder blue curves of headlight casings and the erect fins of the Fairlane, human enough in design to arouse lust, before everything went plastic, nothing outside the body of steel. I’m driving still, drifting the line from brave to reckless, from potential to procession, the needle buried beneath empty. My eyes off the line of red piercing the horizon, locked in the golden flare of headlights made halos by the smudged glass of the rearview and dangerously close to the soft shoulder of resignation. Praying to the fumes the engine won’t stall mid-stream, the piston compressing an ignition-less vacuum, the machinery reduced to the assembly of its parts with no hope of motion. But there’s no station in sight, no rest-stop along the road, no exit, no off-ramp, no way to slip the seamless stream. Only the wrecking yard and the mountain towers of scarred and discarded shards of sheet metal bound for the crusher. The last light lost on the diamonds of galvanized steel.


The Jelly -Thomas R. Thomas The jelly (you know it’s not a fish) is smarter than we thought floating in my face in the sea I've seen them smile.

Deliverance (Birth is a Violent Lover) -JL Martindale Heart halting contractions debilitating waves like approaching orgasm, hard earned from hours of cramped, tantric neglect. Mosh pit, candle wax, razor blade seizure, rising, rising, rising crashing against clitoris. Despite public violation, a sex, deadened by fear of motherhood, reawakens on sterile slab. Swelling breasts that shunned all touch, beg for teeth, for claws: shred flesh, drain blood, kill breath. Centimeters away from releasing other-self, creature after months hosting, obsessive fear, forgotten, thinking now, only, of tangled spider limbs, handfuls of ass flexing in pelvic-smack rhythm. Fingers, lips, and tongues pressing, pressing pressing all points to pain persuading floods. Death-prayer-screams give life.


Carol Alexander's poems have appeared in such journals as Bluestem, Canary, The Common, Chiron Review, Illya's Honey, Mad Hat Lit, Mobius, Poetica, Poetry Quarterly, Poetrybay, Red River Review, The San Pedro River Review, Sugar Mule and Zymbol, as well as in various anthologies including Through a Distant Lens (WriteWing Publishing) and Proud to Be. Her chapbook Bridal Veil Falls is available through Flutter Press. Ace Boggess is the author of two books of poetry: The Prisoners (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2014) and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled (Highwire Press, 2003). He is an ex-con, ex-husband, ex-reporter and completely exhausted by all the things he isn't anymore. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, Atlanta Review, RATTLE, River Styx, Southern Humanities Review and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia Jennifer Bradpiece was born and raised in the multifaceted muse, Los Angeles, where she still resides. She try to remain active in the Los Angeles writing and art scene: She interned at Beyond Baroque, and often collaborates with multi-media artists on projects. Her poetry has been published in various journals, anthologies, and online zines, including Mad Poets Review, 491 Magazine, The Mas Tequila Review, & Redactions. She has poetry forthcoming in journals including The Common Ground Review, Paper Nautilus, and Edgar Allen Poets Journal 2 Alan Britt attended the first Cultural Exchange of Poets between Ecuador and the United States (August, 2015) and read poetry and presented the “Modern Trends in U.S. Poetry” at the VII International Writers’ Festival in Val-David, Canada (May, 2013). He served as judge for the 2013 The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award. His latest books include Lost Among the Hours: 2015, Parabola Dreams (with Silvia Scheibli): 2013 and Alone with the Terrible Universe: 2011. He teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University. Larry Duncan currently lives in the smallest apartment in Long Beach, CA. It's actually more of a broom closet with a fold out couch. His poetry and fiction has appeared in various print and online publications, including the Mas Tequila Review, Emerge Literary Journal, Citizens for Decent Literature, the Muddy River Poetry Review, Mused, and the Fat City Review. His Chapbook Crossroads of Stars and White Lightning is available through Arroyo Seco Press. You can learn more about Larry and check out links to his other poetry at his website Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the forthcoming poetry collection Dark Specks in a Blue Sky from Another New Calligraphy. He is the recipient of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry for his collection Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements. JL Martindale writes stuff. Sometimes it’s stuff about bootleg theft, motherhood or peanut butter. Sometimes she isn’t sure what she’s writing about. She’s honored to have poetry published with Cadence Collective, Bank Heavy Press, Lucid Moose Press, A Poet is a Poet anthologies as well to have released, The Bottle and the Boot, a chapbook and CD written and performed with one of her favorite poets and people, Daniel McGinn. Kevin Ridgeway lives and writes in Long Beach, CA. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, his work has appeared or is forthcoming in Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, San Pedro River Review, Lummox, Bicycle Review, Misfit Magazine, Right Hand Pointing and The Mas Tequila Review, among others. He is the author of six chapbooks of poetry, the two most recent being On the Burning Shore (Arroyo Seco Press) and Riding Off Into That Strange Technicolor Sunset: Dallas-FT. Worth Poems (The Weekly Weird Monthly).

Pj Santos is une femme est une femme. A devout Francophile whose favorite year of education was spent in the pigeon infested diesel streets of Paris, she would like to live in a city where madeleines litter the cobblestones, bookstores are as common as certain un-endorsable mass corporations, and everyone quotes AndrÊ Breton and Dorothy Parker with Tourette style necessity. Emerging from the educational vacuum with a B.A. in Film Studies from the University of California, Irvine, she didn’t quit the joint until dabbling in Literature, Critical Theory, Visual Studies, and a variety of other subjects that qualify her for the title dilettante at large. Her creative pursuits include quilts made of words, photo-collages, mass chaos and uncertainty, and unrefined systems of optical delusion which have yet to be translated into english or abstract art. Any philosophical inquiries, random thoughts, or messages in a bottle can be directed here: Thomas R. Thomas publishes the small press Arroyo Seco Press. publications include Carnival, Pipe Dream, Bank Heavy Press, Chiron Review, Electric Windmill, Marco Polo, and Silver Birch Press. His books are Scorpio (Carnival), and Five Lines (World Parade Books). the art of invisibility is coming Summer 2015. His website is Sarah Thursday calls Long Beach, California, her home, where she advocates for local poets and poetry events. She runs a Long Beach-focused poetry website called, co-hosts a monthly reading with G. Murray Thomas, and founded Sadie Girl Press as a way to help publish local and emerging poets. Her first fulllength poetry collection, All the Tiny Anchors, is available now. Find and follow her to learn more on, Facebook, or Twitter George Wallace is writer in residence at the Walt Whitman Birthplace, editor of Poetrybay, co-editor of Great Weather for Media, and author of 29 chapbooks of poetry. A fixture on the NYC poetry scene, he travels internationally to perform his work.

Profile for Whiskey Fish Review

Whiskey Fish Review Issue One  

An eclectic collection of poetry and flash fiction.

Whiskey Fish Review Issue One  

An eclectic collection of poetry and flash fiction.


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