Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

Build yourself a time capsule. Fill it up with the excess portion of your disappointment and disgust. Stuff it with the nausea induced by their unending, towering lies. Pour in the words you need to remember. You will need these things later, and you will be glad to have them close at hand. They will be buried there, right there, not two inches down. In the meantime, you will need to be strange and find strange ways to fight. Those who can will resist, and those who can’t will persist.

When the time comes—in eight months, in two years, in four years—your capsule will be ready to be unearthed. When you pry it open, you’ll find that the things that you saved have intermingled and coalesced. They have become a monster, a golem at your command. You will unleash it, and it will drag you uphill. You will look down at where you languished, and then, then you will not fail to act.

~Bram Shay, Editor

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Blessed Reposed image

Blessed Reposed by Douglas G. Campbell

 

The Cupboard is not where we store our politics (though you could probably infer where we stand after a relatively superficial skim), so I’m not referring to the U.S. presidential race when I say that it’s been a difficult summer. Some people are safer than ever, golden parachutes and all; others are living through violence that would not be out of place in the medieval era. If there’s a bright spot, it’s the collective human urge to catch the colorful, preposterous creatures planted in your immediate virtual environment. I’m talking, of course, about Pokémon Go and the way it’s injected the prosaic backdrop of our cities and suburbs (there’s room for improvement in rural areas, I hear) with life and whimsy. Yes, it’s artificial, but we’d never hoof five-kilometer laps around our neighborhoods to look at the same tired scenery, would we?

I won’t make the obvious analogy between a goofy monster hovering over your cracked sidewalk and the effect literature has of remaking the trusty old human experience. I’m taking a different angle with the fact that the monsters in your proximity have a shelf life of about 15 minutes before they’re rotated out for a new crop. It’s mortality (our pet obsession) at its finest: a quest—largely meaningless—to acquire all of the spoils we see. We will never succeed. But we might just spend enough time at it to run down the clock.

~T.M De Vos, Editor

Poetry

Evidence by Catherine Arra

Threshold by Gary Beck

Unfinished Business at the Halfway House by Jean Berrett

How long before I… by SuzAnne C. Cole

Without by Alexis Fedorjaczenko

An Unconventional Breaking and from Anger this Motivation by A.J. Huffman

Suicide by Gayle Newby

Elegy by Sharon Scholl

Return and Stranded on Horn Island by Richard Weaver

Nonfiction

Far from Heaven by Scarlett Gray

Fiction

Resurrection by Howard Brown

The Visible Man by Beth Sherman

 
(more…)

Read Full Post »

One remembers. One forgets. Snow drifts down and specks the tops of things. A man crosses the street to buy a sleeve of scratch cards from a kiosk. All the newspaper headlines are gloomy and ecstatic. A cheap pack of cigarettes now costs twelve bucks. Running into an old friend is like two roads converging in a wood. Turns out, one was just the long way around.

Today, we leave winter behind with an issue full of cacophony and bad sense. We leap into tales of ill-fated scuffles and ill-conceived plans, and we explore cave spaces and gorges and spare rooms and hospitals. We ask how one is supposed to know the right way to act at a party, and we wonder, and the end of the day, if politics comes down to a button and a smile.

~Bram Shay, Editor

Poetry

There Ought to Be a Manual by C. Wade Bentley

Burning Wishes  by Guiseppe Getto

One Poem by Couri Johnson

Spare Room by Suzanne Richter

Evil Wise Girl by Dvorah Telushkin

Nonfiction

Bad Creatures by Ana Prundaru

Muslim Apologies by Alia Hussain Vancrown

Fiction

Cambridge Close by Raquel Moran

Of Masters and Marionettes by Faith Thomas

The Magician by Dylan Henderson

 

(more…)

Read Full Post »

The cephalopod, specifically the octopus, is our mascot for this autumnal lament/salute to impermanence. (Thank Sy Montgomery’s marvelous The Soul of an Octopus for our current obsession.) I’m thinking not only of its amorphous shape and feats of disguise—It can escape from its tank and squeeze into cracks in the wall! It can camouflage itself to look like a cloud passing over sand!—but also of its vulnerability. It’s a nautilus without a shell, “a big packet of unprotected protein,” who received with the gift of shapeshifting the curse of perpetual defensiveness—and of hunting down the calories to maintain its constant flight and invention (Montgomery, 82).

Since it wouldn’t be Gloom Cupboard if we didn’t find some metaphor for human mortality and general fallibility, I would suggest that we’re in similar straits. We need just enough intelligence to communicate, and ingratiate ourselves, with one another; too much, and we’re melancholic, antisocial, and misanthropic (and read online literary journals with names like Gloom Cupboard). Too much, and we store our collective memory and cultural markers on external servers (like GloomCupboard.com) and keep little inside. Worst of all, it makes life too hard to give up. All of the shapeshifting and makeovers and striving and dragging our packets of protein through school or work or traffic or behind a lawn mower. We know how it will end, but we need to see the shadow pass over us. We need to escape our tanks.

~T.M. De Vos, Editor

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Before Donald Trump began his march to the White House, before he had his own line of clothing, and before he had his own television show, he was simply a real- estate mogul, setting up casino after casino in Atlantic City. Before Trump dug his grubby paws into the sand, though, Atlantic City was a place of fortune tellers and food stands, a place where families could go for a day or a week to get away from their lives in the New Jersey and Philadelphia suburbs. Louis Greenstein’s debut novel, Mr. Boardwalk (New Door Books, 2014) chronicles that time, when things at least seemed simpler—not counting the racial politics that are glossed over by the suburbanites, narrator of the novel included.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

You can’t even be somewhere without spending money anymore: to earn the right to perform your cellular respirations in any given square foot, you’d better have a receipt or be standing in line to get one. A cup of coffee buys you an unharassed half hour on a high stool; a jaunty shopping bag shields you from suspicion while you linger for a moment on a bench. I once spent time in a city where the mall for the affluent was protected by security guards with machine guns. The people they let in were taller, robust, pressed. The ones whose path they stepped into were slighter, hungrier, looser in their clothes. In another city a hemisphere away, sidewalk guards stepped in front of men from the provinces and told them that the parks and stores were closed. 

To be treated humanely, you must seem to be doing well. 

We’re still more interested in the friendless, the bereft, the people who are left out of the sanitized exchange of the marketplace, the bleaching streetlamps of public life, the invisible fences around gated communities. There are those who are completely outside, and those on the edges, who eke out their positions every day.  The story of the have-not is the only interesting narrative; stories of success are all alike: find your market, trade up. 

~T.M. De Vos, Editor

Current Issue

Poetry

Cathedral by Samir Atassi

Like Brothers and People Who Have Nothing by Roy Bentley

Friendless by Colin Dodds

Two Poems by Simon Perchik

Creative Nonfiction

The More Things Change, or How Facebook Has Ruined Reincarnation by Zeke Jarvis

Potato Chips by Jessica Wiseman Lawrence

Art Untied by Katy Masuga

Fiction

Cassandra by Lindsay Merbaum

The Greyhound by Wendy Vaizey

(more…)

Read Full Post »

I just returned from a work trip to Vegas and was reminded again of the immense darkness that lies behind the relentless marquees, the canned attractions, overdone resorts, and extraverted casinos. What intrigues me are the people, the ones who live off the scraps: the immigrants in stained shirts flicking pornographic cards at tourists; the oversunned men undoing the failed Harmon Hotel, tier by black-shrouded tier; the old men levitating objects on the sidewalks for spare change; the trio of girls in extensions and eyelashes who stood in the Cosmopolitan, smiling nervously at the men who ordered them. Those who have nothing extraordinary to show, or no money to buy the time and wares of others, are seen only in flickers: shadowy figures crossing the six-lane intersections, dragging their bags or carts or unresponsive limbs. They do not rest until the others have finished consuming and, when they do, they are always waking.

This issue is dedicated to the darkness—not necessarily melancholy or evil, but the unseen, quiet vacuum that lies between the attractions that compete for our conscious attention. From what do we turn when we look for diversion? From what do we hide when we fill our time with noise, with conversations, with souvenirs, with spectacles—with what I call the dimestore world?

~T.M. De Vos, Editor

Current Issue

Poetry

Meat and three by Rachel Adams

Dim, but not darker than me and What he pawned was black by Ashlie Allen

Inviable and Who Was the Girl in the Window? by Maureen Alsop

Deciding When to Die by Paul R. Davis

Our Dimension by Peycho Kanev

Three Poems by Simon Perchik

Strand, The Golem Visits Coney Island, and The Golem Rides the Amtrak by Yosef Rosen

Creative Nonfiction

Exhibit I[ntrovert] by Kristin Fitzsimmons

Fiction

Sleep Paralysis by Valerie Borey

Public Viewings by Chase Eversole

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »