Flash Fiction, Poetry

(untitled) – Karlee Saunders

I never knew just how much I would miss the glances we would give each other every now and then as we walked

nor did I expect my hands to feel empty with every move I made

I didn’t realize the things I was taking for granted before he left

but now his eyes are filled with infatuation for another

and I’m still here



Heat Wave – Iman Messado

the heavy days of summer are over
the pregnant rain
and the ripening leaves
and the lazy breeze
embrace your still sleeping form
lying in the emerald grass
the heavy days of summer are over
sticky globs of strawberry jam
on thick cut meaty bread
gallons and gallons of too sweet iced tea
bumps and mounds on children’s legs
young blood running freely from cuts and scrapes
the heavy days of summer are over
sleepy eyes – inky, deepest black, almost celestial
i wonder
if i stare long enough
can i reach in
and pull the universe out?
i want this heavy, heavy summer to last for an eternity
and i see it in your eyes

Hey – Brooke Safferman

Hey, you say,

I just called to tell you that I love you.

Or do I? Do you? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that.

So I laugh, and hang up, and leave you hanging,

Like you always do to me.

This power dynamic,

It’s sick and it’s twisted and deliciously unbelievable

Like the kind of chemistry that they try to show in those old shitty movies

That you love so much,

You know, the ones that you always go on about

with all of your obscure references

that we all roll our Young and Fresh and Free eyes at

But your own freedom is something you crave

You’ve shown me how lost you’d be without it

Oh, but how you would find yourself if you gave it all away!

To someone you can trust,

To someone you could try to believe would never hurt you

But promises are dangerous things, I know.

Oh trust me, I know!

But I will never give up on showing you

What an amazing person I think you could be

If you would only let yourself become the guy you’ve always wanted

You were always too afraid to even try, you say,

Well, I’m here now.

So don’t you dare take my hand because that’s not the way we do romance.

What we have is dipped in arsenic, in benzene,

Like a shortbread cookie with the chocolate, oh,

The coating melts on my fingers, and my tongue melts in your mouth

It’s so damn easy to ignore the way anyone else has ever tasted inside of me

And I smile when I forget that you liked my friend

And you smile when I forget that I liked yours

And we come together, wrapped up in the salty smell of angst and adoration,

And we know that what we have is real, but that the movies tell us lies.

Hey, you say.



Regalities of Plainness, pt. 3 – Bryn Bluth

His face is sandpaper, his hands a safe-house. he passes by and I fight the urge to put pen to paper then and there. Even if I did, his face shifts this way or the other, avoiding me, my gaze, unable to be captured by something so worldly as a ballpoint. He is a poem, his hands the second stanza- not the kind you’d hold so much as the kind you want on your shoulder, holding you back from harm and pushing you toward opportunity. He is a poem.


Graffiti on the Berlin Wall – Alexandra Mayer

Another day passes outside the window of a plane
I cross dusk with 170 strangers who hold each other’s hands or thighs when the clouds quiver.

And I can’t stop thinking about your fingers running through my hair

or the way your eyes knocked into me that July.

You made me feel like feeling itself was cracking from my chest

and hurtling across the universe,

becoming every iron, nitrogen, oxygen, n’ sulfur soul that lost the sunset to the sunrise

in thoughts of “I want you”

Because your lips burn cosmic explosions into my skin:

a creation story.

Now, heads drape over the mountains

like the twinkle lights you hung out on the patio for Christmas–

You tried to play Claire de Lune on your harmonica

and remember that you loved me.

But you left 8 months later

on a Tuesday.

7:53 p.m.

The pool lights stained your words teal

and smeared my eyeliner into a glimmering sort of heavy.

You said “late summer’s nostalgic,”

noticed the fireflies had all gone,

and I could hear crickets whimper to the sun,

“don’t go.”

And I never wanted another falling moon or set of sandpaper hands to hang onto.

You said I felt frail

like a dandelion you were keeping

from the wind.

And then you just let go.

That night, I woke up laughing,

as 1,000 tiny suns sprouted from my lips,

already dreaming of drifting.

Crossing through purple skies

like telephone wires

rushing to the seaside.

Paris stole my lipstick.

smeared it across cheeks

and hostel sheets and wine glasses, Merlot,

turned my teeth violet and my heart

a violent sort

of love you,

maddened by the beauty of it all.

Like I could chase train tracks

into the self I wanted

into Budapest, or Berlin.

A decrepit sort of art,

like you could tear

my heart into dusty fallen parts

and I’d just become more,

and faces and feet would flood through me, paint

bucket lists on my thighs and think of freedom.
I was never meant to be kept from the wind.

Essay, Flash Fiction, Prose

A Simple Thought – Aksel Taylan

We spend a lot of time in our short lives thinking about the long term. What’s going to happen to me in ten years? Fifteen? Thirty, even? In severe cases, we let this presumptuous worries diversely affect our everyday actions and choices. This principle has a number of glaring flaws, but the main one to focus on is that the future hasn’t happened yet. You are writing your own novel; you are the only one with a pen. In other words, it is fully within your capabilities to control most of what happens in your life. However, we fail to understand that not all of it can be controlled. People get in car accidents. People get deathly ill. People are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Why, then, should you let these worries take hold of how you express yourself if we don’t have absolute control? Sometimes, doing something wrong allows a person to grow, to become stronger, possibly even teach others the right way. The right way, which everyone hungrily seeks, cannot be found without failure. Take a left when you think you’re supposed to take a right, eat raw cookie dough, or even, if you’re feeling really adventurous, stay out an hour later! Fight the norm with all you’ve got, because succumbing to the proper choice makes for a dull, uninspired life. Need I remind you, you only get one of those. I think it’s in your best interest to make it count.


Her – Iman Messado

She didn’t move mountains–

she couldn’t swim rivers–
she didn’t know how to fly figure eights around the redwoods of California—
Her eyes weren’t romantic–
And the curve of her lips was rather sinister–
She wasn’t the least bit interesting–
the left pinky toe held more mystique than her entire head of thin brittle hair—
She walked like an old dog that knew no tricks–
Her voice was a high whine–
her hands were large, knotted and manly—
yet she was enough to drown me in the lakes of Venus—-
she was enough to singe my eyelashes in the heat of her gaze—–
she was enough to make me drink from all the moon’s glory——
her name was indistinguishable yet it is all I can mumble in my sleep——-

Regalities of Plainness, pt. II – Bryn Bluth

I gasped,

Over and over again I gasped.

Maybe he was in my lungs

And that’s why I had such a hard time breathing,

But he wasn’t there-

I know because I’ve always had bad lungs.


Perhaps that’s the reason I haven’t caught him,

My lungs gave out

When he took his leave.

Which I’m okay with- 

You can’t run very far without a spine.

Short Story

Existential Angst (Act I) – Esteban Mayorga

Why me?

Of all places.

Of all possible places, in all possible planes of existence, did I really have to be here? It’s not like I chose to be here, or was born as part of some centuries old legacy foretelling the horrible doom of the human race, or anything actually interesting. In fact, I was just dumped here as a baby 15 years ago and no one bothered to tell me who brought me or if I even have a family.

And if it ever crossed my mind to leave, I would simply be shot. Thank the shady, nameless, government organization that collects superhumans and stuffs them in a floating city for that. They say its because superhumans are too dangerous to be released into the “normal” population. Doesn’t make them sound any less like comic book villains.

Today is the first day of my sophomore year of high school. This is where they train us to act as everything from assassins and bodyguards to intelligence operatives and soldiers, depending on your skill set. No seriously, they’re actually doing that. The government is pretty much just a comic book villain, i’ve mentioned this already.

So the idea is generally that we’re supposed to make friends here and be all happy for a few years; before we become the world’s cutest little murderers that could at the tender age of 18.

Yeah, it hasn’t exactly gone well so far.

Well, freshman year started off well enough. My abilities hadn’t kicked in yet, so I might as well have been in training for the CIA or S.H.I.E.L.D or something like that.  My grades were good, I did well in combat training, and I generally pleased the all seeing big brother style governing body.

But then, something unfortunate happened. I started Doing very well in combat training. my reaction times got quicker and quicker, and so did everything else about me.

I started processing everything in split seconds, my body started reacting and moving faster than anyone could see, I started hitting harder than anyone else could, and they started telling me I was the most naturally talented fighter they had ever seen. I bristled with pride. I made friends, friends that respected me and looked up to me.

And then about halfway through the year, something happened so fast time stopped. I had been sparring with Daniela, the only person in class that could still beat me. I lost focus and the next thing I knew, her knee was flying towards my face like lightning, I instinctively threw a punch at her face knowing it would never have time to connect, and then…

Nothing happened.

Everything in the whole world slowed to a crawl, her knee sluggishly dragging through the air like so much molasses. I had already drawn my fist back to my face, and I realized that my strike had connected and she was dripping backwards, her knee following a new path.

I had discovered my power.

They moved me into the true school, the school for superhumans. I was classified as a speedster, rank 6 out of 10; 1 being Usain Bolt on crack, 10 being so fast you could smash atoms by snapping your fingers.

It was at here I discovered something truly, gut wrenchingly, terrifying. Teenagers don’t have souls. They are far too cruel and hopped up on hormones to have souls.

Superhuman hormones are what you would get if you threw normal hormones, crack cocaine, and the blood of a virgin in a blender and then fed it to an entire frat house. Except the frat kids try and outdo each other by seeing who can throw cars furthest.

Long story short, being the weedy kid with glasses, and being an irritating smartass in a school full of those people doesn’t mix well. I immediately started making more enemies than friends, and tensions heated until they boiled over and exploded right in my stupid, stupid face.

I got into a fight with the resident alpha jock, and we ended up demolishing the gym by way of him being a pyromancer/maniac, and I may have accidentally drunkenly made out with someone’s boyfriend somewhere in there, and there might have been some other stuff I greatly regret now…

Needless to say, Big brother was not pleased.

I was sent off to do hard labour in the worst parts of Russia for summer vacation, which was in no way shape or form fun. Or painless. Or free of head trauma.

But enough of the troubles of last year, let’s talk about how this year is going. You might say, “what could possibly go wrong? It’s only the first day after all”.

And there was a time I would have agreed with you. That time was before today.

As it turns out, i’m one of the highest ranking powered individuals in the world, and that tends to draw attention from time to time.

Today, attention came in the form of Valentina Valentine during first period, who is dedicated to damaging the vital organs of those who might question and/or insult her name. My kidney still hurts.

She sought me out  because she wants me to join a little unofficial “club” she’s starting. The objective of this “club” is to overthrow the oppressive government by way of excessive force and bloody revolution.

I told her to bugger right off and leave me alone, which she wasn’t too happy about.

Now, don’t get me wrong, i’m all for revolution, but does it really have to be so bloody? I honestly have no interest in becoming a murderer, that’s why i’m all for revolution in the first place.

She says she can’t do it without me. As someone of my power ranking, I would be a figurehead in this revolution. I would be a general, someone to rally behind. I would be responsible for all of the death and suffering and liberation and freedom and happiness it might cause. I don’t know if I can handle that.

Another option was presented to me during lunch, just 10 minutes ago.

Here I was, eating lunch by my lonesome on the roof of the school. I love it up here. You can see down to the ground below the city; and the horizon seems to stretch forever.

Sometimes I try to figure out where we are by looking at the land or the ocean. Sometimes I just think about jumping off that roof and landing in what looks like kansas. Living on a farm, learning how to herd sheep and milk dogs or whatever they do.

Anyway, my little game got interrupted by a government official, all bald headed and fancily dressed and the like. Turns out Valentina isn’t the only one who wants to put my powers to use.

The school wants to put me through an accelerated program, and turn me into an undercover intelligence operative by next year. I could be the best. I could get anywhere in the world in the blink of an eye, snatch classified information out of someone’s hands and put it into different, very wealthy and very generous hands.

So here I am, wondering which side will involve the least death and destruction, trying to choose between the lesser of two evils hell bent on destroying each other. Of all places, I had to be here?

My head sinks into my hands, fingers tussling and combing through dirty blonde hair. One of those little ticks I get when i’m stressed. While the government option isn’t exactly a moral victory, at least I wouldn’t be hurting anyone. Not directly anyway. I wouldn’t be doing any murdering.

But everyone else would. Valentina says she can’t do it without me, but that doesn’t mean she won’t try. What if she tries without me and fails because i’m not there? What if I cause her and those that follow her to die meaningless deaths? What if she fails and we keep going through this system, committing the worst atrocities known by mankind because we’re better at it?

Can I really sit back and let that happen?

No, I really can’t.

Besides, what’s the worst that could happen?


Sleeping with God: “Minnie” – Danielle East

I remained too much inside my head; I began to lose my mind. –Edgar Allen Poe


The Antebellum



“Would you marry me,” I begged him to say yes. I spoke the request I had been wanting for so long.

The more the world wanted us apart, the more we gravitated towards each other. The world hates what cannot be comprehended. Beasts and human? An abomination, a sin. The Lord clenched his chest and fell to his knees at the sight of such an un-Godly social experiment. Yet it was not our fault that we fell in love. Like Adam and Eve, we knew right from wrong, but it was temptation that brought us upon one another. It was always temptation that made the most bias and greatest fall and lose strength.

I didn’t care if it was morally wrong to fall for whomever I loved. With all the wrong gone on in the world, how could true love fall in this category? It was only hypocrites, self-loathing hypocrites that defiled everything that was good in the world. Oh how I hate people like that. They go around living their lives with their heads held high, nose at an angle and spiting on everyone who they think is beneath them. It’s just child’s play for them to detest me. I know God hates ugly, but you don’t even have to dig deep in my heart to know I have no love for them.

“Don’t you love me?”

Anyone might think I just hate white folks, except my lover, because they are white and the world is hateful, but I don’t too much like black folks either. None of us will ever leave slavery if we don’t all band together. You don’t need to be self-educated to know right from wrong. Right and wrong ain’t something them book with them English words in it can teach you. Yet, some even know right and wrong, but can’t live by it.

Despite my hatred for the world, there was only one true person that held my heart. My Clarence dear. So loyal to me he is. Greater than any man in the South. I can hardly remember a time when I did not cling to my lover. He always gave me that feeling of hope. Something in him always told me, even though we were in the midst of a troubling time, there was still a beating heart in the world.

But don’t none of them Negroes like me since I have been with Clarence. To what I suspect, it may be jealousy at the least. I believe many of them desire to be with him or if they have to, be raped by him, just something to make them cry at night and wish even more they were dead. Even if I tried, I wouldn’t be able to hold a nice conversation with one of them. My whole race card had expired. None of them merely talked to me. I am a black sheep, exiled by my own kind. No one to relate to, no one to braid my hair and discuss whatever the hell with.

“Would you marry me if I was white?”

I burst out with a different approach to make the question more suiting. Clarence I knew loved him. Although he was taller than average, blond-headed and blue-eyed, he had my heart. I know, slave masters kept wenches all the time, but our relationship was different. I was more than just a bed mate. He wasn’t a racist bigot. How unusual and unbelievable it was, it had been too long under his protection to know him in any other way.

To be a person born into the slave trade is as like being conceived at the gates of Hell. My burnt crisp skin that which was cooked by the devil’s roasting pan. The way he fiddled at my hair with his pitchfork to conduct a nappy mess on my head. And the way he placed me in the world at such an un-Godly time.

Being black in America when a system constantly works against you is a curse. My appearance was not a choice but; white folks treat us as though we willingly picked to jump into this lake of fire. Unfortunately, my outward appearance will not change in the years to come. Nor will the way I and all the other Negroes are treated because of it. It’s preposterous that at this time a white man can steal a horse and be hung because of it but kill a black person and live.

But there was no need for me to complain. Unlike my other equals that produced their only means of surviving in the field, I did not work. My master, he did not pay attention to if I got the work done or not. An unusual black woman I was, but I did help out in the kitchen. My hands had not touched a crop since I was eight years old. This is when I took to the kitchen like my mother and those mothers before her.

This is also when I took a liking the Master Clarence; who I only called Clarence. And when he would call, “Minnie, Minnie… You stay out that field. They don’t need you. Too pretty to crop, to pretty to pick.” So I say he took a liking to me too. Harmless or not, his heart was set on me. That’s why I’m set apart from the rest of the Negroes.

To say I was in love with Clarence was just an understatement. What would I do without him, and him without me as his companion? Being with my love Clarence was like sleeping with God.

“Answer me!”

His silence left me with the question of whether he loved me at a different level than he had before. Laying in the lush that be in his master quarters was where I stayed. The rest of the Negroes were outside in the slave quarters. This is where they stayed at night but, many of them did not remain in the homes. But none of them were stupid enough to run away and not come back. Just recently, many that choose to roam the land at night did not come back.

“I…,” he said.

Lying next to Clarence was like being closer God. His whole physique and personality is the opposite of me. The way his hair flows from his scalp to create the cows lick at the front of his forehead. I always wondered why the white man’s hair came out all straight like grass and got real oiled up. And the fact that my hair was dry like all the other Negroes. I prayed for hair like his.

His fair skin that contained little patches of freckles on his face and arms. His jaw was cut and structured like the no one other. His high cheek bones looked like they begged for me to rub my lips upon them. And I enjoyed them, even though sometimes all I could taste was sweat.

His height is what set him apart from the other white men I Knew in Forees County. His height, counted from the scratches marked beside the barn in the field were higher than any man on the plantation. I had never actually measured him but by the height of other men I had seen, I guessed her was seven feet. His bulky body and the awkward way he walked was much different than those of the Negroes. The cotton picker men smelled of hard work and hard days gone by. I preferred Clarence’s aroma to theirs.

He completes me. Whether be a good or a bad thing. His love matters much more.

“How would they react, “Clarence asked as he pushed his hand into my grasp. His eyes my caught my glance and I could see the sparkle in his light brown eyes. “When the time comes and we can. Don’t over think things. Good things come to those who wait Minnie.”

The sound of his voice alone was comforting…But his answer did not relive the empty hole in my heart. I rolled over in bed. Facing away from Clarence. Screeching voices, horrible moans, scratching at the roof of the home and my beating heart were the sounds that filled my desperate soul. I couldn’t stand the sounds, especially that out my heart, but I had too. I starred at the blurry wall. I could not let him see me cry myself to sleep.