Joyful, Sorrowful, and Ordinary Mysteries
Author Raymond Fortunato
Review by Julie Carpenter
This book of short stories spins some entertaining yarns that often defy expectations, especially when you consider that the stories focus largely – though not completely – on what society expects of men and what they expect of themselves. Though these stories sometimes look backward into the twentieth century – the start of the computer age, even back to pre-revolutionary Russia – they wrestle with a problem that has become more and more clearly delineated in the twenty-first century. What exactly is masculinity and how can individual men define it for themselves?
The Malediction of Llewyn Glass
Author Frank Reteguiz
Review by Roy Peak
The Malediction of Llewyn Glass is the story of a man tricked into selling his soul to the devil and his journey to salvage his humanity. Mostly, this is a story about stories. And of stories within stories; stories intertwined amongst each other like a nest of snakes.
by Ahmad-Al Khatat
I once played the role of
I found myself in a closed coffin
on a sorrow’s theatre, as
ageing alone until I found myself
in Baghdad in a friendly
by Julie Carpenter
Lately I’ve been having some odd experiences with time. So, this going to be an odd, drifting sort of blog post. I like that the topic of the piece is also my excuse for the disorganization of my thoughts. I don’t know where to start, so I will start with a dream I had about eternity. (Yes, my subconscious is an odd place.)
I was in my early twenties, and I had a dream about the afterlife. I dreamed I died, and I’d woken up in the living room of my parent’s house, a small cozy wood paneled room with a picture window looking up a hill, past the rustic woodshop, and up to the garden and meadow at the top of the property. In my dream of death, this room was all there was. This evening was the only day and time. A heavy snow fell beyond the window, a single lamp gave off a warm light that didn’t quite reach the dim corners of the room and a fire burned in the woodstove. I was there with the boyfriend I was dating at the time (we weren’t quite getting along in real life, so it seemed strange that we’d somehow chosen to spend the afterlife together – but dream logic does not have to offer reasons). We sat on the couch together, not speaking, looking out into the snowy night. It was very nearly dark, the sky was heavy with clouds, and the tiny light in the room allowed us to see that it was still snowing huge, puffy flakes just outside the window, but beyond that everything had already faded into the silence of night and snow. I was warm and comfortable, but at the same time I felt a deep well of sadness because I knew that this was it. Eternity. Forever was going to be sitting in the same place watching the flurries pile up, fire flickering, in the small circle of light. The moment stretched forward as far as I could see and I could feel memories sinking under the somnambulant weight of the infinite, as though not only the future was disappearing, but my past as well. Everything I was or had the possibility of being had been swallowed by the forever moment, which made it more than just a stop on the space time continuum. It was a black hole of now, sucking everything into it.
Hit Me Baby
by Jeff Hill
Sacred Chickens is delighted to publish this original story by Jeff Hill, a truly original writer and friend of the chickens.
Traveling back into the city from my small hometown of a less-than-impressive population of three hundred, I couldn’t help but think of what had transpired over the last week. I had quit my job, broken up with my girlfriend, lost my best friend, and the strangest thing is; none of those were what had changed me as a person. It was a strange encounter on the interstate that made me question everything I had ever known to be true, whether it was the laws of physics, the existence of a higher power, or even something as simple as the horribleness that lurks deep within every human being.
Psych ward patients are good listeners, and that is why I chose to work as a doctor in a low-security facility in the big city. Small town guy from a sheltered life, full of rich parents who don’t look it, six older sisters, one younger brother, and the notion of high school let alone college being unthinkable. That pretty much describes the first twenty years of my life. A doctor in psychiatry, living in a not-too-shabby apartment with his best friend of eight years, until just recently, and looking for a new reason to not give up on the entire female gender.
Kings For Sale
Emotional and Rough-Edged Jazzy Country-Blues
Afton Wolfe released his debut EP in 2020;. Petronius’ Last Meal and was full of jazzy Country-Blues and rough-edged vocals, with a batch of well-written songs.
Kings For Sale reprises that formula; while kicking it up a notch with a colorful production by Grammy winner Oz Fritz that includes plenty of horns and some winsome pedal steel to go with Wolfe’s gruff, evocative voice.
The cover image shows Wolfe seemingly looking backward and forward at the same time, his inner thoughts reflecting on his outer self? A good primer for the music it accompanies.
The lead off track, “Paper Piano,” is a rocking delight complete with a perfectly matched horn section and rollicking piano.
The risqué “Dirty Girl” has a New Orleans flavor, making broad use of Wolfe’s sandpaper rough vocals and some simmering blues by his studio band.
Click here to read the rest of the review!
by Charlie Robert
Like Heathcliff on the Moor
He comes in the worst part of the night.
The moon has either set
or never risen.
There are no intelligent constellations
His Mother rips off her dress as
he slides fishlike from her V.
His Amniotic Sack.
The Caul of Good Fortune.
Dark and bright.
She names him Judas
because she likes the name.
When he is twenty-two he will
Win the War.
Across the hall someone else is born and
lives three minutes.
Filled with a high pitched keening.
Like Heathcliff on the moor.
Fragments of a Revolution
Author, Seb Doubinsky
by Naomi Ulsted
Seb Doubinsky’s novel, Fragments of a Revolution, plunges the reader into a world of violence in the first few pages. The reader will come to find the nuances, quirks and beauties within our narrator, Lorenzo’s memories of this failed 1969 revolution in Mexico, but Doubinsky makes sure the reader can’t forget this is no joke, an idealistic adventure, but not without violent consequences.
by Jarad Johnson
If you know anything about Julie and Jarad, it’s that they love plants. In fact, they are plant obsessed. So, what did they do during quarantine? They gardened. They planted, and they dug around in the soil to find some sanity in an otherwise topsy turvy world. Good grief, this time last year, we feared for our democracy, were sheltering in place, seeing people in masks felt apocalyptic instead of normal, and everyday the news reported more and more death from a virus with no vaccine and seemingly no end. We lived (and live) in dark times. The only solution the two of them knew was to garden. It’s a source of solace, a cure for depression, and provides a sense of fulfillment.
Pink Moon in Scorpio
You Wouldn't Understand
by Lane Mochow
Pink Moon in Scorpio
I count how many times
the moon yanks on her
it may only be two,
but the tunnel divides himself,
by viscose cellophane or irradiated glass
last night, I forgot her face.
instead, the black
is now split by oil lamp
steel toed boot at a time
a miner's floorboards.
I choose to clutch
right is right
and left is nothing
but a hopeless chimera,
its body but
a mutilated yellow jacket
who stings until
light rolls the sky.
I suppose I will never
hold my own fate.