Naked Astronaut, by W.Y. Johnson

A naked man wearing nothing but an astronaut’s helmet walks down a lonely stretch of highway. I first see him up ahead as a tiny speck, but each second brings more clarity in my vision. On an empty portion of burning pavement in pancake flat Kansas, this man steps toward his destination, whatever that might mean.

“You need a ride?” I ask through my open window, my car creaking to a standstill.

He opens the door and slides into the front seat, inches away from me. I can’t see his face through the copper-colored screen. I think: should’ve got those damn seat covers.

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Silence – A Fable, by Edgar Allen Poe

     ALCMAN. The mountain pinnacles slumber; valleys, crags and
     caves are silent.

“LISTEN to me,” said the Demon as he placed his hand upon my head. “The region of which I speak is a dreary region in Libya, by the borders of the river Zaire. And there is no quiet there, nor silence.

“The waters of the river have a saffron and sickly hue; and they flow not onwards to the sea, but palpitate forever and forever beneath the red eye of the sun with a tumultuous and convulsive motion. For many miles on either side of the river’s oozy bed is a pale desert of gigantic water-lilies. They sigh one unto the other in that solitude, and stretch towards the heaven their long and ghastly necks, and nod to and fro their everlasting heads. And there is an indistinct murmur which cometh out from among them like the rushing of subterrene water. And they sigh one unto the other.

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“Where Time Dies” from Erased to be Remembered, by Brandon Arthur

Mountains fall into a valley; a bridge collapses into a river. A crooked worm noses into the split core of an apple and into the darkness of flesh …

The world and his mind are blotted and muffled but for the cries of a child and a mother’s voice. Like a cabin window approached at night a scene begins to grow in his vision and the shadowed interior of a one-room sod house rushes up and surrounds him, with the cackle of a fire the only light. The shape of a woman is seated before the flames on a low wooden stool, but all he can see is the black silhouette of her back. Softly she sings.

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After-Life, by Diego Valdez

 

Tony came because my mother had been a valuable customer.  I guess there’s no other way to describe a woman who’s dropped that kind of coin.  He hadn’t changed much since the last time I’d seen him all those years ago. Time had been generous to Tony.  He had slivers of silver through his hair — that was new — but he wore the same style dark suit and red tie I had seen him in the first time we’d met.  He was cool, calm, and never let his smile drop.  The qualities of every good salesman.

“What’s going to happen to my wife’s soul?!”

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The Eskimo Vaporizer, by LB Sedlacek

 

A telegram beeps across the screen:

“The Whirlpool Galaxy,

sculpted by wind and

radiation along with shock

waves generated by supernova explosions,

headed this way.

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Chapter II from “On The Graves of Dragons: A Journal of Sex, Elf Dust, and Magick in The City On The Cliffs,” by Raelin Saretti

Chapter II: The Red Rooster

The drugs had begun to have an effect.  The incessant chatter from the women ahead of me and the lizard’s heaving breathing produced uneasy rhythms that didn’t match, and it began affecting me more and more.  Chchch-huh-chch-huh-chchchch-huh-u-huh…the pattern became random, chaotic, violent.  I heard the piercing, echoing chirps of birds that rung off of the few walls that remained standing in this dead place, and my anxiety built to a dull roar as we passed by ruined home after ruined home.  This had been the place where the common folk had lived before He took over and killed every living soul, and even now five years after His defeat only a few looters and distant cousins in search of a few coins or a family heirloom had touched any of what remained of the buildings.

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Spirit of the City, by Todd Ferrante

It was 3:30 in the morning when she woke me in her usual, horrifying way – with a sharp throb in my chest that sent me immediately upright in bed.  Once awake the pain dissipated, while the sudden surge of adrenaline helped keep me from falling back asleep.  It wasn’t the most comforting wake-up call – I’d much prefer soft lighting and gentle music – but she needed me awake and alert, so it accomplished the goal.

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Two poems by rob mclennan

lake, serious

a ship to shore; constructed
out a tin man, last seen reading

an elementary curve
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Jubilette by Sarah Kramer

You are a child, riding in a car being driven by your mom. They tell you that you are going to the fanciest restaurant in the entire world. You can barely contain your excitement. You are jumping from seat to seat like a monkey, making up songs in celebration of your trip. Your mom shows no signs of irritation from this behavior, so you continue, getting yourself more and more amped up as you dance. Suddenly you ride right off a cliff. You scream with a mix of fear and excitement as you plummet to your destination. You are thrown around the car as it makes a bouncing crash at the bottom. Your mom remains calm, and rolls the windows down.

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“As Theatre Light,” a response to “Lunar Natatorium” by Greg Bem

Greg Bem read the excerpt we published from Nicholas DeBoer’s  “Lunar Natatorium,” and was compelled to write a response poem.

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