Archive for April, 2011

Prose 127

Issue 127 of Fiction brings you great beginnings.  Our fellow soldier in ink, King Wenclas, hosted a contest for the best beginning to a story.  The top picks are here for your journey, each under 200 words.


The Diadem

Anthony Jones

It was just like every other day in the land, full of darkness and evil. The evil king sat at his throne, thinking of what to do to the citizens next that would give him pleasure. At that time, a man dressed in black garments ran into the great hall. He didn’t waste any time.

“It’s been found!” he yelled. The king’s eyes grew wide. It was the very thing he had hoped to never hear. He stood up quickly and looked all around. He shook his head in fear. He thought he had hidden the diadem well. Such a good hiding spot, that even he had a hard time remembering where it was.

“Who has found it?” the king asked. “How much time do we have?” It had been long told that he who found the lost diadem would have the power to overtake the king. He would have the power to rid the land of evil and become the most powerful man ever lived. He knew it was only a matter of time.

“A boy,”

“A boy?” the king asked. Laughter filled the great hall. He sat back down and seemed to relax. There, he continued to laugh.



Pablo D’Stair

I’d almost forgotten I wanted to keep an eye out for this certain customer after having seen him at a restaurant with his wife and kids two weeks prior—he walked into the store and I nodded hello before I’d even looked up. It was him, certainly the man from the restaurant. He lingered around the new release wall, then slyly ducked through the curtained partition into the adult section.


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I’m loath to knock the idea of self-publishing, or self-published poets, especially as I went down that route for my first three chapbooks, but there are many worthwhile lessons to be learned by submitting to and publishing in literary magazines, establishing a track record of publication before seeing one’s first full collection go into print. One of the first lessons one learns is that not everyone will like your poetry – no matter how momentous or full of personal importance it may be – nor should they. Poetry is very much a matter of taste and many of the greats are reviled in different corners. This collection, ‘Map of a Distorted Mind’, exemplifies many of the attributes of writing and writers in the burgeoning world of self-publication, inconsistency being chief among them. (more…)

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A Review of Craig Sernotti’s Forked Tongue—If You’re Into That

Very early in the movie Meet Joe Black—far too soon for anyone to expect it—Brad Pitt gets creamed by a speeding van, and the theater, at least the one I was in, hung back in silence before nervous laughter bubbled out into the air as though the entire audience meekly claimed responsibility for some inopportune flatulence. It would be too polite and innocent to say Craig Sernotti’s Forked Tongue poetry collection evokes the same kind of guilty giddiness. No, you would have to add to that feeling a hairy, pinky-ringed uncle hand creeping up your thigh en route to untangling all unmentionables.

And that still might not be yick enough. (more…)

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Poetry #132

We’re going to start this off with an apologize on my behalf for being late. March’s issue has transformed into April’s issue.  It was magic.

So, without further ado, we present you with bittersweet Johnnies, unknown killers, future literary divebar loners, readers of Kafka and Grouche Marx (that other Marxist) and quiet-minded genuises that speak without moving their lips.

Luis Rivas
Amber Bromer
Poetry Editors
Gloom Cupboard

The Remains
By Laurie Mackenzie

It being an easy thing to practice in the darkness

Will bleed you,

Leaving your stomach half full.

And everything you lie around

A bed, a desk, a chair.

Paint bubbles coming out of the walls

Where the rain has leaked in and drained.

These objects,

Tormenting the jugular vein.

They beat you from all the insides of the room.

Until the soul is moist with blood.

Time folds you out of the life God has granted.

Seconds tick against your impulses.

Here is death, as you bite your tongue.

Isn’t she sweeter than any other?

Shake her hands.

Lie still and frigid underneath her belly.

As if for warmth.

But no fire is there.

No flame burns here also,

In the room.

Or what we have left was burned up already

Down to the cinders.

A pile of new and black ashes

I’m about to rub my face in

Then rise, look into a glass

And pretend I’m someone else again. (more…)

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