“The Pale Boy” by River Rivers

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Have you ever seen straw brains lay at a pale boy’s bare feet?
His toes digging deeper into the soil that raised him?
Mimicking some mindless game he saw the grown men play on T.V?
The primer’s ignition makes a noise, but there is no sound.
It’s less disturbing to him then the tin’s clinking in the trees.
The decoy stuffed into an old red flannel, muddy boots,
and a green army helmet never stood a chance.
To his father’s revolver, a bullet, and the Pale Boy’s tears.
The crow’s inching closer, familiar with the fearful faces.
They caw and rattle a question amongst each other:
‘How could a Pale Boy be the only child brave enough to play?’
But deep down the Pale Boy knew he wasn’t so brave.
When Scarecrow lost the game, he still got to play.
If the Pale Boy lost then there wouldn’t be a game at all.
Have you ever seen a Pale Boy’s brains lay at some Scarecrow’s muddyboots?
I have.

River Rivers, is a werid-fiction writer from Southern Oregon, US. He’s been published in a number of literary presses and anthologies since he began writing. He is Modoc and Klamath Native American Indian. Spends his days working on a legal cannabis farm and dispensary. 

Twitter: @Catch22Fiction

3 Poems by Josh Olsen

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Haiku After the Nasty Boys

I much prefer it
when fat professional wrestlers
don’t shave their armpits.

Tombstone

I’m not proud
of any of my scars

except for where
the love of my life
busted me open

with a frozen
pepperoni pizza.

Trust Us (A Truck Stop Restroom Found Poem)

Don’t use
the hot water.
It stinks and
so will you.
Trust us.

Josh Olsen is a librarian in Flint, Michigan. He’s the author of two books, “Six Months” and “Such a Good Boy”, and the co-creator of Gimmick Press.

“VERSUS” by Alessandra Occhiolini

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There are only a few stories
There’s man against man
Man versus animal, animal versus man
(the order is different, it means different things)
Man versus woman, woman versus man,
Woman versus a lot of men (familiar), a lot of men versus a woman (too familiar)
Patriarchy versus matriarchy (think Zeus’ takeover of Olympus)
The matriarchy strikes back (unfamiliar, please write)
Man versus concept, concept versus man,
Reagan versus the AIDS crisis (a fiction in which disaster does not exist, too common)
Kangaroos versus the court, the court versus the kangaroos
The Russian government versus the uncertified bones of Anastasia and Alexei
The bodies at the door versus the coercive government (where will we bury them)
Man versus body, brains in bodies, brains that won’t die (we loved this in the ‘50s)
Mummies versus the tomb raiders (I only want to see it ordered this way)
Mall goths versus the elephant seals down at the beach
A genderqueer orgy versus the RA down the hall
Dionysus arrives in Thrace, battles city
King Kong and Godzilla versus the skyscrapers, King Kong versus Godzilla
Monster animal man body matriarchy versus those thunderclouds over there
The body in the corner of the classroom versus survival
That’s the thing, there’s only a few stories, If you’re not a mummy, an orgy, a kangaroo, how to tell yours? 

 

Alessandra Occhiolini is a writer and academic at UW-Madison who needs to learn to be more pretentious and stop talking about Godzilla. Her work has been published in Palo Alto Weekly, The Claremont Review, and The Swarthmore Review. 

“ANOTHER WAY TO STAY CALM” by Sean Thor Conroe

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Another way to stay calm is to focus on the miracle of your shelter.
Of your amenities.
Your refrigeration.
Septic.
To turn away from things like the length of the day, the stamina required to endure its sheer duration.
How there’s no one you want to go see.
Nowhere to walk.
How seeing no one, walking nowhere, seems somehow like Not Partaking.
Not Engaging.
To instead Settle In.
Windowside.
Porch-posted.
On your roof.
The wildest luxury: private outdoor space.
And if no private: public will do.
Public made private by your sphere perimeter.
By the focus field of the thing you doin.
The breath boundary of your book.
Out here nah’m sayin dwelling.
You gon’ be alright.

Sean Thor Conroe lives in Harlem.

3 Poems by Mike Andrelczyk

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sitcom

always imagine
a laugh track
behind every situation in your life

 

Halloween Costume Idea

The uncaring eye of a hungry shark
A negative of an eye
like blood swirling down a shower drain
an eye like a void
like I’m taking your fucking candy
and vanishing your life
doomed to nothingness
not even infinity ya fuck
just death
your kid will love this costume

 

Mike Andrelczyk lives in Strasburg, PA. He is the author of the chapbook “The Iguana Green City & Other Poems” (Ghost City Press, 2018). Find more work at neutral spaces.co/mikeandrelczyk.

twitter: @MikeAndrelczyk

 

3 Poems by Mike Andrelczyk

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motion sensors 

I like the lights that light up
Just a step ahead of me
Like they are
Following me from the future
And reminding me I am
Alive
And I am
Parked here in the cool lime green
Of Level 3 West

 

Jim Atkins

the sun comes through the automatic doors
like a dead star and stops
to watch a news report
on the opioid crisis
while Jim Atkins sings
you took the twinkle out of my eyes
and I am less and less
integrated with anything
even though that is everything

 

snakes can’t chase you on deserts made of silk

three vultures waiting in the teeth of a plow
two suns fast-forwarding up and down
one bar of soap dissolving into bubbles in the stream

tall grass whispering a story about a pie-eyed drunk
in the hallway of an apartment building he doesn’t live in
apologizing about all the dirt

and the pale corpse on the moon
and the tarantula crossing the linoleum floor
and the lurid gem in your cereal milk

sorry, I know, this should have been funnier
or at least came to a point

but one morning still in bed
you said that thing about the snakes
and that was good
remember that?

 

Mike Andrelczyk lives in Strasburg, PA. He is the author of the chapbook “The Iguana Green City & Other Poems” (Ghost City Press, 2018). Find more work at neutral spaces.co/mikeandrelczyk.

twitter: @MikeAndrelczyk

“This Certain Angle of Light” by Tyler Dempsey

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You stood
an
angle of light.

Four hundred feet
I choked uncontrollably
fear I’d missed
the personality

Fault or fracture
draws
us longing

To be a ray of light

Once seen
multiplies
a shape recognized.

Tyler Dempsey won the 2nd Annual Tulsa Voice/Nimrod International Journal Flash Fiction Competition. Other flash received honorable mention in Glimmer Train and New Millennium Writings competitions, and appeared in SOFT CARTEL, X-Ray Literary Magazine, and Gone Lawn, amongst others. He’s constantly learning to be Tyler Dempsey, with slight variations. Find him @tylercdempsey or http://tylerdempseywriting.com.