g. emil reutter

 

 

Monday Night

Encased in Wissahickon Stone walls
heavy pine tables are circled by
padded chairs.  A couple sits
across the room, she’s not too happy
as he orders take out for his wife.
Through the divide a mahogany bar
ornate mirrored back with chalk boards
listing today’s brews. Bartender serves
the three or four sitting there together
yet alone, he of black circled eyes, two
days growth of beard an echo of a
weekend better spent. A third couple
sits to our rear in silence as the waitress
appears to gambol from table to table
as the dining area fills, faces blurring
into one.  Our meal arrives as you tell
me of your day, I listen as you trim
the fat from your pot roast and I split
the yoke atop my meatloaf, listen to
the crunch of our spaetzel.

 

 

g. emil reutter lives and writes in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pa. (USA). You can find him at www.gemilreutter-author.com. 

 

 

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Wendy Ann Greenhalgh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wendy Ann Greenhalgh, is a writer, artist, teacher and story scavenger. http://www.storyscavenger.com Follow her on Twitter @storyscavenger.  Marilyn Diptych was commissioned by the De La Warr Pavilion for a book of writing on Andy Warhol

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Stephen W. Leslie

 

 

Did You Drop Something?

In my twenties I worked at a food co-op bakery in Minneapolis.    This was back during the peak of the hippy days.  I had long curly hair and a beard.   We were areal odd mixture of people.  There were draft dodgers, people wanted by the IRS for tax evasion, people on the lam from creditors, young men and women newly divorced, people getting stoned every day on pot or hashish, ex-cons,political activists, anti-war protestors, young hippy women looking for a man,young hippy men looking for a woman, and a few who were mentally ill.
We made all the decisions in the bakery in a group meeting.  Each of the twenty five workers got a vote.  Every decision had to be made unanimous.   Before the meeting started we would sit in a large circle and pass around some joints.     The odd mixture of people plus the heady Panamanian pot made for interesting discussions.   By the time the third joint got passed around we could not remember what we were talking about.  By the fifth joint we no longer cared.

An elderly woman filed a complaint
Claimed someone dropped LSD in her bread
We all checked our pockets

 

 

Stephen W. Leslie is an award winning haiku poet and has published 33 essays and poems.  His haibun, Elevator Music, was selected as one of the best haibun poems of 2011.  He is a retired hospice chaplain and lives in upstate New York with his pet rock Fifi.

 

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Dan Micklethwaite

 

 

Aflutter

He teaches himself dance theory from books, and, when the others have gone to bed, he turns the lights lower and starts up with practice.

He takes in the black ink of the words and translates it to footsteps and slow, jerky (at first) swings of his arms.

He studies the text and attempts to breathe properly, to inhale the humidity of this small room and exhale the warmth of his body back out. To do so in time with the press and the slide of his bare soles on the carpet. Ignoring the burns and the chafing of the weave at his insteps; at the white, callused flesh of his heels.

He cradles the book, open, in his palms as he spins, as he attempts, gamely, to master the moving of his hips side to side, sensuous, softly.

He closes the book with a slap that sounds like maracas, a little, and throws it down amongst the sofa cushions before attempting what he thinks is flamenco.

A moth is in the room with him. It must have snuck in earlier – covert cousin of the butterfly – when a window was open to temper the heat. Like a glasshouse, a greenhouse this place tonight. Sweat binds his shirt with his flushed pink skin. He stops to catch his breath and lets his eyes follow the rapidfire shake of the visiting wings.

He wonders, if that moth could see instead of simply feeling its way – he wonders, would it be curious, amazed, or amused? He wonders, if that moth became human, would it be impressed with the fruits of his learning?

When he moves again the moth is caught in his orbit, for a second, two seconds, then flutters madly away.

 

 

Dan Micklethwaite is writer of short fiction, poetry, and, lately, a prolific producer of (as yet) unpublished novels. Besides IS&T, his work has recently featured in BULL: Men’s Fiction and Birdville. A selection of his work is available at:  http://smalltimebooks.blogspot.co.uk/

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Robert Nisbet

 

 

He Arrives Home Drunk (with Stage Directions)

He is downstage right, half-sitting on,
half-across an armchair,
in a fairly slobbed-out bodily situation.
The light from the neon strip is garish.
She enters upstage left
and walks quietly towards him
but moving in a slight arc to the left
before gazing down at him. She shifts her elbows
slightly, as if about to fold her arms,
then lets her arms fall. She leans forward
and sniffs a couple of times. Her lips move slightly
in an unheard phrase.  There is a ten-pound note
pushing a crumpled way out of his shirt pocket
and she slides it loose, before going to the sideboard
(upstage right), folding the note neatly
and stowing it in a biscuit barrel.
She comes back downstage and tries for a moment
to straighten his leg, which is spreadeagled
half-across the chair arm. His leg drops with a crash
and she skips, as if startled.
She tries for a while to straighten his head and neck,
before crossing to the other chair (downstage left),
to bring back a cushion  to protect his head
from the worst of its crick. For a moment
she seems about to straighten his tie, but leaves that,
and then she does fold her arms and her lips move
in some sort of murmur.
She crosses back to the doorway (upstage left),
turns off the strip lighting and switches on
a small side lamp. Exit, upstage left.
He lies quite still, the room now lit
with a low glow.

 

 

Robert Nisbet published short stories (100 of them in total) between 1975 and 2005, before turning then to poetry. His work has appeared recently in magazines like Smiths Knoll, Other Poetry and Orbis, and on the London Grip website.

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Adam Warne

 

The Trees & Their Names

I’ve been given a list, the names of the trees.
The task is to go into the forest
and match the names with trees.

I start with an easy one: English Oak, Quercus robur,
I pick a tree which looks to be about 500 years old.
It is a gathering place for tiny wasps, earwigs, woodlice,
somewhere to cower under an old twisted root.
If I’m really quiet I can hear it grumble and groan.

Next is Wild Cherry, Prunus avium, also called Mazzard or Gean.
Under the names someone with pretty handwriting has noted –
‘A favourite of blackbirds and starlings.’
I think it is the blackbirds which call it Mazzard
and the starlings which call it Gean.

After 15 minutes I can find no tree which matches
any of the Cherry’s names. I’ve been trying my best
to see what the people who wrote these names must have seen.
I must try harder. I will eat my packed lunch
in a patch of sunlight and think clearly.

By the time I make it to the bottom of the list,
Black Poplar, Populus nigra, the Devil’s Fingers,
I am very tired. When I close my eyes I see the Poplar.
It grows and grows to reach a tremendous height
and pluck aeroplanes out of the sky. I must go home.

Tomorrow I’m to be given a new list, the people and their jobs.
The task is to go into the town
and match the people with jobs.

 

 

Adam Warne has been published online, in The Rialto and was one of the poets in 28sonnetslater.blogspot.co.uk. He currently lives in Suffolk where he’s paid to push trollies around a supermarket carpark.

 

 

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Andy S. Barritt

 

 

Miracles have plagued this town …

 So when the blacksmith saw Father drop his crutches, and go running bow-legged down the street, he simply spat and swore; hammering his fizzing curse into folds of hot metal. Later a passing carter found our old man cowering in a fox hole. It cost some apple brandy down both their necks before we discovered Mad Tom was the cause. Father had come upon the moon-calf running naked through an orchard and surmised that the days of the Free Spirit were come again. Who could blame him? We still all shiver in the shadow of that sick season which set men and women to aping the ways of animals and brought forth a flood of soldiers from the Bishop’s seat. To this day the trees of the forest are torn and bent from the weight of the hanged, the wells not yet free of stench. Yes, miracles have plagued this town.

 

 

Andy S. Barritt is a poet and writer based in the East Midlands, U.K. and currently a part-time student on the MA Creative Writing course at Nottingham Trent University. Apart from reading and writing he enjoys ornithology and wuxia movies.  He is on Twitter: @AndySBarritt

 

 

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