But Who's Hugh?

by Victor Lembrey

During the course of tracing my family's lineage (a hobby I've been pursuing lately with great fervor), I discovered something disturbing. Something that REALLY angered me. It turns out that 500 years ago, the Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch referred to my great great great great great great great great grandfather as a "dillweed." If you're not familiar with Bosch, he's basically considered one of the greatest medieval painters of all time. He's now considered by ME as one of the greatest punk-asses of all time. And after five centuries, it's finally time for some payback, so, I'm rubber, and Bosch is glue, and whatever he said 500 years ago bounces off me and sticks to Hugh.


Victor Lembrey, quite some time ago, explained his cupcake habit.


Indelible in Pencil

by Sheila E. Murphy

Her hair, a tumbleweed of steel wool framed a face perpetually irked and disappointed. It was each one's fault in turn. She arrived places like a noun you might feel sorry for. And reminisced about safe moments in her life, laughing in a way that begged you to laugh with her for the few moments she could stand you. Very little happened except alcohol. She might have toasted someone who would later die, confirming her worst suspicions, starting the cycle over.


Sheila E. Murphy is an American poet who has been writing and publishing actively since 1978. In 2020, Luna Bisonte Prods released her latest work, Golden Milk. Murphy's book Reporting Live from You Know Where (2018) won the Hay(na)Ku Poetry Book Prize Competition from Meritage Press (U.S.A.) and xPress(ed) (Finland). Broken Sleep Books brought out the book As If To Tempt the Diatonic Marvel from the Ivory (2018). Murphy is the recipient of the Gertrude Stein Award for her book Letters to Unfinished J. (Green Integer Press, 2003). As an active collaborator, she has worked with Douglas Barbour on an extended poem called Continuations. Initially educated in instrumental and vocal music, Murphy is associated with music in poetry. She earns her living as an organizational consultant and researcher and holds the PhD degree. She has lived in Phoenix, Arizona throughout her adult life.


The Comfort of Pointlessness

by A.M. Fontana

After a particularly rough day at work, I took an evening walk to try and clear my head. Thinking about my boss’s gruff warning that I needed to shape up and pull my weight around there, my girlfriend’s ultimatum regarding more quality time and the bills that were piling up on my desk back home, my eyes wandered up to the sky. In that moment, through wispy clouds, flash, I saw an image of our swirling, churning cosmos, and the void that surrounds it, billions of years in the making. Feeling small, I brought my eyes back down to the tips of the trees, just as one of them let go of a leaf, which slowly, sadly meandered its way down to earth. I froze, then, realizing that in the scheme of things, my life - even if I live to be 110, make a billion dollars, own 17 houses and a Maserati and conquer an entire continent through the sheer force of my will - is probably no more or less significant than the falling of this leaf. A smile formed on my lips and I skipped the rest of the way home.


A.M. Fontana was raised in Michigan and now lives and writes in Southern California.


Nocturnal Red

by Marcelo Medone

The night was quiet, with all the inmates sleeping peacefully. The young woman adjusted her cap in front of the mirror and smiled a perfectly professional smile. She walked silently into the room in her white rubber shoes and deftly advanced in the semi-darkness, illuminated by the moonlight streaming through the barred windows. She went from bed to bed, from sleeper to sleeper, whispering prayers of absolution and plunging a shining steel scalpel into the throbbing arteries of their exposed necks. Blood spread through the floor in scarlet rivulets and trickled down the sewers. The new nursing assistant loved the color red.


Marcelo Medone (1961, Buenos Aires, Argentina) is a fiction writer, poet and screenwriter. His works have received awards and have been published in magazines and books, both in digital and paper format, individually or in anthologies, in multiple languages in more than 30 countries all over the world, including the US.


Mystery Loves Company

by Brad Rose

Saturday night was quiet as a deer, so I went outside to sit in the dark breeze. I noticed the stars were taking place again, beautiful flecks glittering in the black anonymity. Everything in the universe vibrates. Everything shudders and undulates. Mystery loves company. Seconds later, I nearly forgot.


Brad Rose's website is here.


After the Reign of Jimmy Carter

by James Thrasher

There once was a man named Riley who began every new year in the exact same fashion. He would wake up, do ten pushups, then shower and fix himself a bowl of oatmeal. After eating and washing the bowl, he’d begin to read Moby Dick. In ’77, he reached page 10; in ’78, page 16; in ’79, page 18; in ’80, he regressed to page 5. Finally, mercifully, on the day the New York Yankees made Dave Winfield baseball’s highest paid player, a friend of Riley’s - not a great friend; more a casual acquaintance - suggested a different resolution. Riley took the suggestion to heart, set his copy of Melville’s masterpiece adrift on Lake Michigan, took up the flute, and played badly and happily for over thirty years.


James Thrasher lives and writes in Maryland.