Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Vanishing Invader (or, Bug From Krypton)

A Short Story by Terry Mooney

I'm up at 6:30am to get ready for my morning 5-mile jog.  I shuffle into
the kitchen and hit the light switch.  My rambling morning thoughts are
interrupted by a quick movement on the floor.  A large palmetto bug,
probably about two feet long (so it seemed at the moment), was doing the 5K
run down the hallway.  Like most people, I despise these invaders! They're

I wasn't about to let this critter escape, knowing that he/she would go
home and then return with an army of brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews,
and long-lost uncles. But, I hate smashing them, or stepping on them
because then I would have to use a jack-hammer and backhoe to remove
his/her entrails from my shoe.

I grabbed the windex bottle and sprayed the beast. He/she immediately
flipped over on his/her back and started break-dancing (I know it wasn't
yoga because the legs were moving too fast).  I then walked away for a few
minutes to let the invader die in peace (or agony).  After about fifteen
minutes, I returned and was surprised to find the critter still doing the
back stroke across the floor!  I decided a stronger approach was needed to
deal with this behemoth.  I then sprayed him/her with a 50-50 solution of
bleach water.

Wow, now his/her legs were traveling at least 78.7 mph ( roach speed ).  I
know this to be true because I just happened to have a roachometer mounted
on the wall.  Also, I could now hear him (male voice) screaming something
in a dialect I wasn't familiar with.  He was probably either using dirty,
filthy, curse words, or pleading for me to dial 911.  I ignored him and
left for my morning jog.

When I returned, he was gone! WTF? Was this a BOS? (bug of steel)...from
the planet Krypton? I'm thinking that his relatives tracked him down and
claimed his body for a proper burial.  Next time, I may have to bite the
bullet (not the bug) and pound the alien with a sledge hammer!

And how was your day?

*   *   *

Terry Mooney is a retired NASA computer expert who lives in West Virginia where he writes stories and works on his artworks. You can find him on Facebook. //

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A Short Story by Sreemanti Sengupta


Somebody had told everybody I was a lesbian. I should have seen it coming on the day I nudged the girl next to me to ask what ‘fuck’ meant. She turned to me and kept chewing on an over-chewed gum, her face ruptured and taut with knowledge. Somebody threw a chair with a loud clamouring noise whenever somebody tried to talk. They changed those secret glances like fake currency notes. I must dance I thought, as I watched her thin white bare shoulders jiggling in front of me, in front of the boys. I looked at the vague disco lights and I felt hungry. I looked around for a place to sit, I felt hungry. “Where can I get a bite?” My escort looked at me with jiggling shoulders, a ruptured face taut with knowledge. It was 1 am in the night when I looked outside my window. There was bad music playing and I had been asked what would I do if I was asked to give a blowjob? Someone told me I looked like Sharon Stone. I thought of Tagore and Keats when someone accidentally stabbed me with a burning fag. I opened the window. It was immersion day for Lord Ganesha. Naked Uncle peered from the opposite window. He was of course, very naked. I was hungry. “Where can I have a bite?” I asked them. They gave me a steel tumbler of vodka and cold drinks. She was dancing. They all laughed, their faces were taut with knowledge. I saw the naked ladies coming up from the sea. When I walked into the water, it was clear, I could see through to the crabs and the snails. He pushed me over in fun. Someone called out the marks in the vernacular paper. They read out my essay. For weeks afterwards, whenever I said something out of the ordinary, they labelled me as the exotic. They did it with their fat faces, their rimless frames and their thigh length skirts. I came home and banged the door shut because I didn’t know why I didn’t have my periods yet. My father looked away when I came running out to greet him in summer wearing a torn white chemise. My left breast slipped out. “I would tell him to suck my breast” I had said. They had all sneered at me and they went on jiggling their bare white shoulders under the lights and in the river of very bad music. I understood this was a place where people could come home and wash dirty laundry at 1 O’ clock at night, this was not a place to be hungry. She told me it was bad blood that I was flushing out of my system. I looked at her face for signs of a white lie. It was calm and taut with knowledge. I needed someone weird enough not to feel weird. I do not know what he needed. I had slapped him the first time. It was just like a Bollywood film. “Is she alright?” my boss had asked. They had made me dance like a courtesan. They had cut me a cake on my birthday out of pity. They all thought it was sufficiently brave to cuss a drunk and powerful man over the phone, that too after downing a couple of beers. I had walked right past those men to get those two cans, right past the guy at the telephone shop who sent me heartbroken SMSes at night. They all told me I had beautiful eyes. “You looked liberating” he said the night I foolishly danced to the bad music, the night he said, “the trees look like peacocks at night” I could have thrown up, right there on the quality of his ideas. He smelt bad. One night when I was sexting him to bed, I asked him about love. I remember his face. I remember the shack, the sea, the women shaking off the sea water from their bodies. “Isn’t it nice that we can watch these semi-nude ladies together with a beer?” I felt hungry and I said, “Where can I have a bite? He licked his lips and looked at me. His eyes, those eyes, were taut with knowledge.

*   *   *

Sreemanti Sengupta is an advertising professional based in Kolkata. She writes experimental fiction and poetry and has been widely published in the print and electronic media in places like Mad Swirl, Paragraph Planet, Certain Circuits, Bare Hands Poetry, Onager Editions, Ppigpen and many more. Her published works have been read at the City Lights Book Store in New York and her haikus translated to French by celebrated poet-collagist Bruno Sourdin. Sreemanti has self published ‘First Person’, an experimental novella in collaboration with Brazillian artist/photographer Ana Vivianne Minorelli. The book is now available online. She is also the editor at her self-run ezine ‘The Odd Magazine’ (now in its 14th edition) which features alternative creative art, poetry, photography, interviews and more from across the globe.

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Monday, October 23, 2017

Henny is Smart

Two Poems by Sasha Thurmond


Soft breeze wafts in summer dog days
Glancing out kitchen window I see 
Henny scratching  outside of her cage
Lance inside watching Henny his tart
Lucky Henny finds chicken buffet
Lance wondering how she escaped.
Scratch scratch... Henny is smart.
Crowing loudly Lance wants out too
Me content to watch through the pane
Scratch scratch... Henny is smart.
Heavy alert, here comes my dog Tux
I race outside yanking truck door ajar.
Tux wanting a ride more than a treat,
He vaults inside and I slam the door shut. 
Lance crowing loudly, still ready for war.
Henny franticlly scrambling about 
Me using bare hands to guide her inside
Lance held his point till she was back at his side. 
Me securing gate to their lovely abode,
Scratch Henny was home.


Henny is smart....scratch scratch...
Lancelot and Henny were as happy a couple
as couples can be....but I like more eggs
which two hens can lay
So I got Solo from my neighbor's huge lot
Solo was sweet, and tan mottled feathers 
set her apart.....but Henny is smart...
scratch scratch
Out of the blue, things popped in my thoughts
even again, past ones that flopped
Bent on success to turn this around, 
I left the gate open, just slightly ajar
Henny and Solo clucked back and forth
finally Solo edged her way out
Henny is smart...scratch scratch...
once things seemed safe, Henny walked out
Lance wouldn't join them, remembering well a previous jaunt
When I had two dogs on leashes I held,
I let all my chickens free to explore out of their digs.
soon I was dragging behind my strong team,
released them both when my face hit the dirt 
Chickens scattered every which way
Lance was mangled and down for the count
grabbing his legs, I placed him back in his cage
where he was dead, but safely away .
Five minutes later, Lance came back from the dead...even I was happy he did.

 This time I kept my distance and watched the hens feast,
after a spell, I herded them back toward their cage.
Henny was smart...scratch scratch. Soon she joined Lance
safely back inside .Solo was scared flapping wildly while running away
Lance got brave flying out to save her from me.
I scooped her up after a chase, me after her, and Lance after me
next he lanced me with both of his spurs
but I managed to grab Solo during our flight
I sprinted away clutching my prize, but suddenly she wet me
right on my shirt, I lay her down gently back in the cage
but something was wrong...she was motionless and gone.
I pivoted and scrambled out of the cage
just in time to elude Lance's rage.
Rebuking myself I locked the door shut

again I had two, and Henny is smart...scratch scratch.

*  *  * 

Sasha Thurmond is a graduate of the Cornell University MFA program where she majored in printmaking. She lives on a farm in South Carolina with her horse and other animals, and sometimes finds time to make art or write poems or stories.

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

A Poem by Mike Foldes


A swift current flows in my veins.
Salmon swim upstream, clearing
The rapids between heart
And lungs, fingers and toes.
Destitute, inside a box of planks,
I hide out from Main street,
Where fishermen will mistake me
For a runaway, their prime catch.
Spiders tickle my eyes under
Tired lids, their legs play octaves
On yellow ivory of the old piano.
Make no mistake, caterpillars
Caterwaul, grasshoppers drink
Green tea, and mysterious earth
Piles up in a ball floating famously
Through someone else’s inner space.
You are the ice cube in the glass.
We watch each other melt.

*  *  *

Mike Foldes is the founder and managing editor of Ragazine, an online literary magazine. He is also the author of "Sleeping Dogs, A true story of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping," and "Sandy: Chronicles of a Superstorm," with artist Christie Devereaux." 
Download at www.Smashwords.Com and www.Amazon.Com


Join Mike on MySpace and Facebook

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Ecliptic Awakening: Sasha Thurmond

Illustration by Sasha Thutmond
The beast
Within me broods in quintessential power and despair amidst my personal, and desperately driven chaos. Why do the hairs on my back strike heinous gashes only against an eclipsing sun when no one can see them?
My life as a free spirit is light years away from the tragic, and complicated one I fell into.
Horror fans my raging anguish and conflicted essence.
Can I fool my fervent darkness and yield to the light of day?

My captor says I can't. My condemnation is to live alone in misery.
But then, the opportunity to help other men, women or beast will be impossible.
Let the good in life transform me and through this selfless act, I shall help others
find redemption and joyful days toward infinity.

*   *   *

Sasha Thurmond is a graduate of the Cornell University MFA program where she majored in printmaking. She lives on a farm in South Carolina with her horse and other animals, and sometimes finds time to make art or write poems or stories.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Two Tompkins County Poems

Stephen Poleskie                        

Stone Quarry Road

When I bought the house on top of the quarry my friends asked,
why do you want to live so far out of town?
Now the town has moved closer to me and my friends say,
you can walk to Wegmans from where you live.
My road has become the short-cut to the malls on Meadow
for the people driving from the southern end of Tompkins County.
All day and all night long the traffic roars up and down my hill.
My home was much quieter when I lived “so far out of town.”
And yet the deer still sleep in my back yard,
And the birds do sing at dawn,
And the lilacs bloom in the spring,
And I can see Cayuga Lake from my upstairs windows,
And the rain water flows freely over my falls,
And the speeding drivers will stop
for a parade of wild turkeys.

*   *   *

Treman Park

Water cascades mightily over the falls.
A group at the bottom stares in awe
at the power displayed by the now unfrozen liquid.
On a rare sunny winter’s day in Tompkins County,
people are wearing shorts in February.
Today is Presidents’ Day so the schools are closed.
Everyone appears to be out and about,
walking in a park that remembers
the long absent crowds that come with summer,
but is now filled with people happy to see each other
if only for one of those few bright days
that by chance slip in between winter’s gray.

*   *   *

The two above poems appeared in a collection of Tompkins County poems compiled by The Tompkins County Public Library in Ithaca, New York as part of their 2017 Poems in a Pocket series 

Stephen Poleskie’s writing, fiction, non-fiction and poetry has appeared in numerous journals in the USA and in Australia, Czech Republic, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, the Philippines, and the UK; as well as in five anthologies, and been three times nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  He has published five novels and two books of short fiction. Poleskie has taught at The School of Visual Arts, NYC, the University of California/Berkeley, and Cornell University, and been a resident at the American Academy in Rome. Poleskie lives in Ithaca, NY. with his wife the novelist, Jeanne Mackin.   website:

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Verlaine Boyd: Two Poems

Flat File 

Sorting through 
His drawings/
Prints/works on paper
I come across ones
I’d never seen
New friends
Among familiar faces
I’m an archeologist
Digging up the past
Eager to know
The whole picture

Lament for a Lady

My right-hand man
Left me
And now I must
Handle all the
Fix-up clean-up
Pay up and
Keep up alone
It is too much
To keep track
Of if in fact
That is what
I am expected
To do and still 
Have time to
Put words to paper
Write poems
And other fictions
Think thoughts
Profound and witty
I’m all caught up
In getting by
Making do
Life’s small triumphs
The nitty gritty
Of survival

*   *   *

Verlaine Boyd is a writer who lives in New York City and Ithaca, New York. She has been published widely and can be reached at her website:

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Friday, June 30, 2017

A Poem to Marina Abramovic by Mike Foldes

O, Marina (Distended Version) Abramovic

I do not want
to see anyone
cut themselves.
I do not want
to see anyone
I do not want
to carry a body
to the grave,
or to an ambulance
because they have ingested
too many colored pills,
put a needle
between their toes,
into lifeless arms
or under eyelids.
Who done up
these sorrows,
Assessing, subtly
casting stones
in some direction
directionless living
observer, observed
subject and subjected,
jackal and slave.
How unclever to discover
in the deeply enriched
entrenched echoing ego
asshole observers
sitting up straight
straight up your ass, man,
straight up your ass,
veil of veils…
vile pleasure in pain
mixed autonomy
mild anxiety
that can, too,
be mined
if one has a mind
bringing out the best
where the worst
is the best it gets.
Imagine that
Cling to your carpet
One with carpet
One with wall
A squall gathers
At the door,
A squall gathers
In your belly,
A squall gathers
In the room
Where everything
Moves magisterially
Passing priests pissing
Blood on the path
To purgatory,
Barking dogs,
Hissing cats,
In holiday season
Medial lobotomy
Santa Claustrophobia

Take a flyer.

What the fuck else
can happen.

*  *  *

Mike Foldes is the founder and managing editor of Ragazine, an online literary magazine. He is also the author of "Sleeping Dogs, A true story of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping," and "Sandy: Chronicles of a Superstorm," with artist Christie Devereaux." 
Download at www.Smashwords.Com and www.Amazon.Com


Join Mike on MySpace & Facebook

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

A Memoir of Delirium & Dementia

Girl Behind the Door/Stephanie Dickinson/ Rain Mountain Press/ April 2017

The subtitle of this book is “a memoir of delirium & dementia.” I would say it certainly is that. Several of the chapters have also appeared as short stories in various journals.

I found the book very hard to read; not that the writing was difficult, in fact the writing is quite fine. The main problem was that I had, in the not too distant past experienced the death of my mother and felt too close to the scenes that were created. These were incidents that I had put to the back of my mind. And while I had never been shot by a friend, accidentally or otherwise, and lost the use of my arm; I have had a number of motorcycle accidents that have left some parts of my body functioning less than perfectly. This is even more so now that I am no longer a young man.

Yes, Stephanie was wild in her youth, or so she tells us in this memoir; but weren’t we all. Reading through the book I kept finding parallels to people and situations that I encountered in my younger days. The question was did I want to be reminded of these moments of my past. We were Poles in Pennsylvania not Czechs in Iowa; however, the only difference was the geography.  My friend Price, who was my competitor for best writer in high school, who became a high school teacher, and who drank himself to death competing in a drinking contest at a local bar, could easily have been an inhabitant of Dickinson’s sadly changing Iowa landscape.

Where Dickinson excels is in the understanding she shows of her mother and the descriptions of their relationship. She reveals herself in conflict with the woman, loving her for who she is, but wanting to escape from all she stands for. I found myself relating strongly to these parts, as I had made similar choices in my past; choices I tell myself worked out well, but wonder still what might have been.  As I write this I am flipping through Girl Behind the Door. Tomorrow I shall begin reading it all again. I am looking forward to Stephanie Dickinson’s next book.

*   *   *

Sidney Grayling

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Hunters, gatherers and modern man

a poem by
Mike Foldes


They fed themselves
And fed upon themselves.

They tried wet roots
And dried mushrooms

Bamboo shoots
And intoxicants

Berries, beans, seeds
And choke cherries.

Animals that moved
And those whose bodies

Lay still at water’s edge,
Hunted, gathered.


They fed themselves
And fed upon themselves

Advancements notwithstanding,
Technocrats and alley cats

Much changed
Remaining animal at the core.

The upright man
On hands and knees

Goes begging
at the open door

The door at water’s edge
That moves no more.

 *   *   *

Mike Foldes is the founder and managing editor of Ragazine, an online literary magazine. He is also the author of "Sleeping Dogs, A true story of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping," and "Sandy: Chronicles of a Superstorm," with artist Christine Devereaux." 
Download at www.Smashwords.Com and www.Amazon.Com


Join Mike on MySpace & Facebook

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Monday, May 15, 2017

A Story by Sasha Thurmond

Our dragon disappeared

My castle, my Queen, my children, my subjects, our home, love, and power,  our Kingdom,
we fought to preserve it all, we fought for freedom from our enemies, and others who threatened it, including adversaries within our own castle walls.
What fuels life and one's heart to keep alive the desire to live well, not just for survival?
Writers, artists,  musicians create their craft through their word, their images, their songs, their deeds as heartfelt expressions. The amount of things people seek in a lifetime is daunting.
My juvenile dragon, named Zippy, was missing. I tore up my lair while desperately trying to find him.
Our moat and our castle walls weren't guaranteed protection. My dragon was gaining  empowerment to protect our kingdom . However, he was still very small and was also the family pet that the children played with out of sheer fun and glory.
 I promised them their beloved dragon Zippy would be home soon. He was on a mission. I knew it would break their hearts if I was wrong, but they, and I, needed hope. A loyal dragon was worth it's weight in gold.
Our soldiers were preparing for a battle with a neighboring country who wanted to conquer us, and take our land and  entire Kingdom.
My mind was busy planning for the approaching war, and I checked out all our entrances and exits, how secure our castle walls were, and how many soldiers were staying home to fight  the invaders  from inside the castle walls. 
Looking high at the top of curtains draping from one spire, I thought I saw something that varied from the curtain's pattern. I summoned a ladder and though I was King, I climbed up it myself to investigate this oddity. As I drew closer to it, I held my breath....blinked my eyes, and prayed that what I saw was true.....that I had finally found Zippy ! 
Sure enough it was, but he was ice cold and in a dormant state that dragons lapse into when they become too cold or are ill. Zippy allowed me to pick him up without protesting as he tried to awaken. I descended the ladder cautiously so as not to drop Zippy He had been lost for three weeks. He had lost a considerable amount of weight, and was very dehydrated.

I immediately placed him on the hearth of a blazing fireplace, and summoned food and water for him. I headed to my children's bedrooms to awaken them, and tell them that Zippy had indeed returned to us, and told them to go see him with their own eyes. They clamored out of bed and rushed off to the great hall where Zippy was thawing out.
While they fussed over him, I reflected how fortunate I was that Zippy was home safely, and my promise to the children had come true  
When Zippy heard we were preparing for battle, he wanted to go with the troops to fight our enemies, but I told him that until he was older, his job was to protect all the children and keep them out of harm's way. Zippy was exuberant and gladly went back to being the family pet. In time, he knew that he would be the protector of the entire Kingdom.

*   *   *

Sasha Thurmond is a graduate of the Cornell University MFA program where she majored in printmaking. She lives on a farm in South Carolina with her horse and other animals, and sometimes finds time to make art or write poems or stories.

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illustration by Sasha Thurmond