“Pale Blue Whisper” by D. Price Williamson


“Why are you sad, Daddy?”

“I was thinking about Grandpa.”

“Why, Daddy?”

“His eyes.”  

Pale blue eyes,
Colored by the horror of war in the South Pacific,
Once filled with promise in the redemption of a returning Marine,
Alive, warm in the embrace of young love,
Those eyes, stern and fair, glowed with pride for his family and grew calm with the wisdom of a well-lived life.

But in the twilight before his mind disappeared, those eyes begged me to stay;
Lenses clouded, they pleaded to understand the loss of will and control.
Eyes that searched mine for peace, finality,
Until the last flicker of reason was but a pale blue whisper,
Haunting me.

“I love you, Daddy.”

“I love you, too.”

“We love each other.”

“Yes, we do.”


D. Price Williamson is a veteran, dad, lawyer, occasional writer, and wannabe outdoorsman and athlete.  He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, youngest daughter, and a silly dog named Isabel. 

Twitter: @PriceWilliamson



In regard to me, in regard to us
So it possesses the burden of the blood

Who put her on the floor?
The preparation of her body 

Was a charitable event
Her edges would brighten 

Her father placed her there
Nearest to the grave

Between the blankets being fathers
Between the fathers being graves

It was a charitable event
She looks happy smiling iridescent

Are my legs shut?
Is the music still on?


Nicholas Beren is a New Jersey native. In addition to his poetry, he has written film criticism and features for sundry outlets, online and in print. You can find him on twitter @BerenNicholas. He still lives in New Jersey.

“THIEF” by Jeffrey Yamaguchi


The refrigerator is there and it always will be,
until the building gets torn down.
I have the urge to move it.
That is likely impossible, but certainly I could topple it.

Someone stole Ronald’s sandwich and this has happened before,
so he was on a tear.
He was going to find The Thief.
He kept saying that.
And once he did, I wondered,
what exactly was he going to do?
Thrust his arm down the person’s throat
and pull out the remnants of his sandwich?

I don’t even know how it happened.
I was in Maxine’s office working on the just delivered
last chapter of the manuscript,
only to get disturbed by some writer that I had never seen before.
He talked about Maxine like he knew her well,
and I kept explaining she was out for the rest of the day.

Finally, he left.
When I settled back into my seat,
I realized the manuscript was gone.
I’m staring down to the streets below and looking at all the people.
They don’t look like ants.
They look like people, and any one of them
walking this way and that way to who the fuck knows where
could be the crazy person who stole the manuscript
and is about to collapse the charade of my career
before I even get a chance to start one up.

Are these windows really unbreakable?
I’m not even supposed to be here.
I haven’t eaten anything all day.
Fucking Ronald and his sandwich.
I walk over to the refrigerator and pull.


Jeffrey Yamaguchi creates projects with words, photos, and video as art explorations, as well as through his work in the publishing industry. @jeffyamaguchi (https://twitter.com/jeffyamaguchi) | jeffreyyamaguchi.com

“Anvil eyelids fall– ” Kayla Lutz



And I don’t remember a damn thing
You could have told me:
that you were a ghost or
perhaps the dog was carried away by
an owl or that you wanted to
leave the country and wouldn’t be
home to make coffee in the morning or maybe
the dryer was on fire but
the woodstove was already broken so
at least we’re warm for the night or
that you want to streak while
jumping out of a plane! Your penis
airborne for the first time!
You could even have told me that Atlantis was
discovered inside the stomach of
a beached Loch Ness monster but—
why would it have mattered anyway?

You would still be gone—
so let me sleep.


Kayla Lutz is a poet living in the Seacoast area of New Hampshire. They are a poetry editor and the social media manager of Periwinkle Literary Magazine. Their work has previously appeared in Royal Rose Magazine. You can find her unpublished ramblings on

Twitter: @Oh_Kay_Poet.

“The Next Number” by Kyla Houbolt


The Elvis impersonator sings to the jungle. It is the only place he can go to practice undisturbed because neighbors, also family. The jungle does not provide feedback, instead it swallows the music in great wet silent gulps. It also makes him sweat through his costume, but this is a dress rehearsal so he must soldier on. He must get really good because he craves that applause. Here is a rehearsal for hecklers. The monkeys and birds threaten to drown him out so forget crooning. The trees continue to drip on him and fill his eyes with alien water. Not his, not his at all. Come on, he tells himself, sing the next number. A snake slides along a tree limb above. He does not see it, already thinking of chemical relief, his personal porcelain ending.


Kyla Houbolt writes, mostly poetry, though she is old enough to know better. She has a micro chap coming from @IceFloe Press and is Best of the Net nominee 2019. You can find her work in Mojave He[art] Journal, Barren Magazine, Burning House/The Arsonista, Neologism, The Hellebore, and elsewhere. Most of her published work can be found via her Linktree, here: @luaz_poet | Linktree and she is on Twitter @luaz_poet.

“Nashville Shirt” by Josh Olsen


I bought a western shirt in Nashville
I now refer to as my “Nashville shirt,”
because it’s so resplendently ugly
it should only be worn in Nashville,
but I’ve taken to wearing it in Detroit,
because Detroit can appreciate
an ugly shirt, too.

Our last night in Nashville,
outside the hotel,
there was a highly intoxicated woman
in an NSYNC t-shirt.
“I ain’t got no shame,”
she was saying to the doorman.
“I like to party.”
The next morning,
we saw her at the hotel
continental breakfast,
clearly drunk from the night before,
and still in her NSYNC t-shirt,
but silent now,
and stuffing her mouth
with scrambled eggs.

On the drive home,
from Nashville to Detroit,
we paused at a truck stop
in Lebanon Junction, Kentucky,
where I saw a t-shirt that read
and I desperately wanted to buy it,
but didn’t feel like I earned it,
having never been a long-haul trucker,
just an adjunct writing instructor
turned academic librarian
who drives 140 miles per day
to work and back.

My first day back to work,
at a library in Flint, Michigan,
I proudly wore my Nashville shirt,
but no one commented
or asked about it,
good or bad,
which made me think
it was probably even more ugly
than I originally thought.

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.

“The Pale Boy” by River Rivers


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