Kenneth Kesner – FIVE POEMS


angle of next

so if you sense something like me falling
and the one in the air don’t mind
you’ll come to trace seconds in fault
of nothing at all left beside senses
already before you turn to voice
stun many here among us staggered
in reach of wonder

red silent

destiny of more than alone
only mine will never leave us
within this season a warning
of innocence some just lost
time ago in octave all too fast
to number tides tie them altogether

laugh irony


that time’s wanting where left off
of frequent and near set conscious to
sun so shallow to board will it yearn if
undone a sum of shadow you could
could touch you all those close
contouring colors one facing legacy
profound day meridian of verse

torn in a circle

as strangers of cobalt nightin painters the rest of livingyou’ll see us together sloweror is this another questionwithin measured complexity somewhere else endlesslyclose and chosen onlyor hands finding her bodyspeaks past the so manycorners of i can’t live forever

when she looks on and on

feel I’m drifting all ways now
and like you seem more than same
could we remain departing
memoirs left touched from exile
so you could defer visions
bend the pale noon elation
for destiny to silence
contents of our last version
if you’re there enough to tell
down by the breeze drawn by waves

Kenneth Kesner lives and works in East Asia, where he’s held several academic appointments.  Some recent poems may be found in Decanto, Ginosko, ken*again, Line Zero, Retort Magazine and Ygdrasil





Kenneth Jobe – SILENCE, PLEASE


I sit at my large oak desk in silence. The only sound is the rhythmic
timekeeping of the grandfather clock to my left. In front of me is a tumbler of scotch which I am too afraid to drink. To pick it up and take a sip, soothing as it may be to my shaken nerves, would mean making a sound. I cannot risk it.

At first I told myself the noises I had been hearing over the past month were merely my imagination; the inevitable results of a tired, overworked mind. Then I became convinced the knocks and rattles about the house were surely nothing more than the old domicile settling on its foundation; the whispers and moans merely wind whistling through the gaps and cracks of the old, warped door and window frames.

But then, moments ago as I poured my scotch, I heard her. Clear as the thoughts in my own head.


My name, called by the voice of my wife – my dear sweet Analiz, who expired at the breakfast table four short weeks ago. Could it be?

I paused, drink in hand, and cocked my head to listen. Hearing nothing, I tried to convince myself I was indeed having a fatigue-induced hallucination. I walked to the desk, and as I eased the weight of my frame into my chair I heard her again.


Her voice was louder and clearer this time – I was certain now, despite the original doubting of my dulled senses.

I swiveled around in my chair to find the room as empty as when I sat down. My heartbeat sped to a gallop and a smothering warmth washed over me as I felt a presence in the room my eyes couldn’t see.

I turned back to the desk to set down my drink, and as the glass touched the oak desktop I heard her once more.

I know…

It is just as I feared. My Analiz has indeed come back, and in her postmortem consciousness realized that her coffee that fateful morning a month ago contained a lethal dose of strychnine. With every sound I make she inches closer to enveloping me in her wretched stench of death, determined to drag me along as accompaniment on her journey to the afterlife.

I fear that if she manages to seize my soul we may not share the same destination; she is bound to go one way, while I believe I will most certainly go the other.

I now sit frozen with fear. Frigid air swirls all around me; she is circling me like a predator around its prey, waiting to pounce. My heart pounds in my chest and my breath grows shallow. Afraid my rapid breathing may be all the sound needed to cue her attack, I draw in as much air as possible and hold it, in the hopes that the silence will drive her back to the everlasting limbo from which she came.

I sit, I wait, and I pray to God for her to be gone. Otherwise the next breath I take is certain to also be my last.
Kenneth Jobe is a Native Californian currently living in the American Midwest with his wife and their dog. He is the author of several short stories and novellas in the suspense, thriller, and horror genres, and is currently working on his debut novel.

Bruce D. Price – FOUR POEM POEMS


Unexplored POEM

In the jungle of this poem
rainbows spring from your gaudy body,
and orchids, angry and artful,
scream into flame.

Through the vines of your tenacious desire
swing blind monkeys, screeching
Insults and loathsome truths
you shudder to hear.

Crocs wait
in the sullen pools of this poem,
always friendly to your hot flesh;
and piranhas as quick as your fearful eyes
flick up to your fancies
and leave not even bone.

In this poem’s green shadows
agile killers study your silhouette
against a wavering sun.
Through a haze of heat and sweat
you struggle on, proud to have
discovered a poem to die in.


Let’s do it now,
don’t think so much,
quick, before someone
notices, read me,
feel me, right here,
oh, my God….don’t stop,
I’m going to scream….
Whew, Jesus….Now didn’t that
feel good? Want to do it


this poem is a dream
you wish to escape

if only you would awake
you could forget this poem

words pursue you through
the white pages of this dream

the voices you hear have
been spoken by this poem

people reach out, they live
here, they dream of you

now you smile, eager to dream
on, but the poem is fa d i n g


This poem has no manners
and less conscience. Kneecaps
a specialty.

You don’t want to meet
this poem in a dark alley.
You may not see the face
but you won’t forget the laugh.

Whadaya say to a 300 pound poem?
“Excuse me, I was just leaving.
No, no…I was not reading you…”

Relax! Maybe this poem will
let you live another day.
Maybe not.

Die, fool.

Bruce Deitrick Price is the author of five books, an artist, poet, and education reformer. He likes to claim that his “Theoryland” is the best long poem in contemporary literature.

Brittani Schulist – GRIM SKIES


Hatred and betrayal fill her cloudy skies,
Where it pours due to deep despise,
She braves her own storm alone.
In class she’s as quiet as can be,
Fakes a smile so you will never see,
Everything going on underneath.
The putrid hate nobody would believe,
Sadly conceiving, hardly breathing,
That everything is just fine,
Broken inside, no-one will ever find,
Her soul lurks in the dark,
Waiting for someone to spark,
A feeling nobody else could,
But who’d care about someone like me?
Her heart aches with sorrow,
That just maybe tomorrow,
She won’t awake another day.
But on the outside she’s calm and clean.
Her darkest hour turns to black,
As everyone’s knives cut into her back,
The real faces never tend to surface,
Yet they change at the slightest instance.
The scolding looks, they never stop,
Until the time someone calls the cops,
To come to confusion of her limp body,
Turn’s heads as someone says
There she is, are we the reason of her own deathbed? Now who’s sorry?
Brittani Schulist enjoys singing and dancing, yet plans to become a Special FX makeup artist in the future. That way she can prove that anything is possible to create with your imagination. She expresses herself through twisted and weird ways, which also describes her fashion sense.

Jeb Burt – THE DOGS


In various sizes and hues they came, coats darkened by flood—small fat ones buoyant cocktail weenies, long thin ones frail-looking as estuarial birds, and great ones, biblical beasts, wood barrels strapped at their chins. My girlfriend said these were saints but I didn’t see what she meant until I saw, silhouetted on rooftops, dogs howling at clouds as though against some necromancer’s spell as canines swirled by in the river in the street, heads desperately erect from its surface.

Curling on the couch, we watched water streak the glass and dogs spin through the night. These dogs were being drowned by forces beyond our control, martyred to things unseen.

You should know: my girlfriend is somnolescent. When she sleeps she’s dead as rock. Only water can wake her. Alarm clocks don’t work, nor thunder and lightning.

And: I love her.

Enraptured by rivulets on the glass and the silver sound of the river through the street, we gave ourselves over to our own damp pastime. When I woke she was gone. Clothes on the floor in mock flight: pants legs in mid-sprint fold toward the door, and the arms of her cream blouse in a Y of fright as if, caught by some horror, she combusted into the floor.

Next morning, the investigating detectives shook their heads and laughed. Twins but for their hair—one had none, the other a lot—the same smashed bulldog face hung from the fronts of their heads like trashed  masquerade masks.

“Women, and people, don’t vanish into thin air,” the bald one grunted, chewing a hairpin. I didn’t notice the pin when they came in, wondered if it was my girlfriend’s. Rooting through our belongings, drawers, closets and used-underwear hamper (the bald one lingered long in nipping pungency, hunting some ripe clue), they found nothing. They upturned my silk screener and surf apparel forging equipment, thinking them components of some elaborate clothing press. (Aquasilver and Hog Dog ponchos sold the best, talismans from the days of protective ozone and uranium-free ocean.) “And if they do, they leave something.”

I nodded to the clothes on the floor. “She left those. She was wearing them when she vanished.”

“You sound so sure, Ace. Why?”

“Would she leave naked?”

“All those silk asswraps in the closet are yours?”

The detective with hair didn’t laugh so much as grin by violent slurps, hocked pink thrilled snot into my sink. “Too skinny for those skirts. Look at his little legs.”

They looked at my legs. I crossed them and leaned against the hall doorframe. “I went through her clothes,” I said carefully. “None missing.”

The hairy detective’s eyebrows arched in delight: “You mean you know your girlfriend’s wardrobe by heart?”

I turned to the bald one, now seeming more of an ally if because slightly less of a dick. “The door was bolted from inside. Windows locked.”

A laugh of amused condescension came from his haired partner.

“So: she just disappeared,” the bald detective said.

“Another possibility?”

Scrunching his eyes, he put balled fist to chin, stared at the floor for a minute: “You got a cellar door?”

“It’s an apartment. No.”

“What do you mean, ‘No.’” He thrust an enormous knuckle to my breastbone. He pushed me to the couch, where I had mingled and wrangled with my girlfriend the night before, and shoved me down. “You hiding something?”

“Of course not.”

“Billy,” the bald one said. “Keep an eye on this slick ricket. I’m checking exit-entrance contingencies.”

I heard him in the bedroom, hallway and bathroom kicking things he examined five minutes earlier. Glass shattered, my hatchet fin trophy (imitation).

Billy, the detective with hair, walked to the window. Pale light through storm clouds glazed his face. Not staring out so much as in, as if viewing a diorama of a farcical disaster scenario, he passively scanned the waterlogged avenue. Red water braided through the gutter, caressing the swollen and fissured asphalt. “No trace of the dogs,” he said quietly, touching pinky knuckle to the glass. “It’s like they never were.”

I said nothing, listening to the hiss and squeal of the showerhead turned on in my bathroom, surely without the curtain drawn. Medicine cabinet slammed open, bottles and razors jittered onto tile, more shattering glass (the drinking glass in which I soaked my toothbrush in a tincture of bleach and distilled H2O). And then, after a curiously long silence and a zipper’s growl, the roar of a column of urine into my toilet, the swish and sizzle of the stream aimed around the bowl and through the center pool and beyond the rim. Toilet flushing. The bathroom door slammed open then closed. The bald detective sauntered into the kitchen, a tiny stove and sink set on parquet in the living room. Instead of washing his hands, he wiped them on the stove mittens. He smeared a German roach along the rim of the sink with his palm, wiped it on the stove mittens too. Then he washed his hands in the sink, dried them on wrinkled slacks.

“Lavish place you got here,” he observed. “You and your girl grease each other into that bed?”

“It’s small,” I said. “But also cheap.”

“With a view of money like that,” he said, “no wonder she left.”


“One word for it. Poof,” he said, hand blooming open in the air.

“She didn’t leave me.” They grinned, and outside my window a thick red rain battered the concrete and leaves of the potted trees along the street. After a silence, and a hard rattle-burst of drops against the glass, the roof dogs again set to howling. “She disappeared, and if you can’t figure how,” I said, “I’ll have to hire someone who can.”

My bold indignation shriveled in their stares.

The bald one turned to the window. “Billy,” he said to his partner. “What do you think of these acid rain squalls? More and more unpredictable, huh?”

They exchanged encrypted glances. “Violent and unpredictable,” Billy said, throwing me a sidelong glare. “Can’t tell when they’re gonna hit. Crazy. And unpredictable. They make people do things, you know, Ron. The crime rate goes through the roof this time a’ year. Acid goes to people’s heads. Family kill each other. Lovers kill each other. Then, when they regain their senses, they try to cover it up.”

They watched me.

“Some,” Billy went on, “don’t even realize they murdered someone. The acid fumes force them to forget. Sometimes only we can serve as memory-jumpers, by collecting evidence and showing it to them. In a court of law.”

Ron, the bald one, grunted. “It’s a crying shame.”

I crossed my legs. Uncrossed them. “Where could all those dogs have gone?”

Billy said: “The same place those missing family members go— husbands, mothers, girlfriends.”



“Family friends. Grandmas.”


I waited for them to tell me.

“Well?” I said.

“You don’t know?”

“Why would I know?”

“Why would he know,” Ron asked Billy. “Huh? Why would he know?”

“Don’t know,” Billy said. “Maybe he’s too smart to know. Maybe he isn’t.”

They looked through the suddenly calm air to two tired silos along the horizon, beyond the end of the boulevard that led past my apartment to the bay. The silos marked the western edge of town and the beginning of the turbid, cold ocean and a stretch of dunes pregnant with outmoded landmines.

“I’ll tell you where they are,” Ron told me: “Under investigation. Like you.”

Billy, in a contemplative mood, freed from the repartee, stood staring out the glass. “What did you and your girlfriend see through this window?”

“Dogs,” I said, “floating.”

“Of course,” he nodded. “And you sat with her, here, and watched—” he moved his hand slowly, palm down, from one side of the window to the other, a dog floating calmly by.


“And touched her. Felt her—”

“What’s that have to do with—”

“Answer the question,” Ron hissed. He rooted casually through the freezer. Closing it, he grabbed a broom from the corner. He thrust its handle-tip to the floor, and into the cabinets over the sink, a sadistic dentist probing for caries to my nerve.

“Yes,” I said to Billy. “I touched her.”

“Here,” Billy said, blessing.


Billy nodded with slow savor, as if rolling the sole clue he needed along his tongue. “So strange,” he said, staring out the glass, “the way people touch each other. Magnetic fields, squids. Here we are, we’ve touched you, and it’ll affect you, but we don’t know how yet. Do we? Did you love her?”

“What do you mean?”

“What do I mean?” Billy asked Ron.

“What does he mean?” Ron stabbed the broom through the back plaster of a cabinet. He stared at me. “He means, when you greased her into that bed, did you grease any parts especially tender, he means.”

Ron, seeing no one would laugh, roved the broom through the cabinets explosively, tore cans and foodstuffs onto the parquet.

Billy moved to my desk. Lifting a small snow globe from the papers, he peered into its divided hemispheres, one a tableaux of Santa kneeled amid a group of jubilant styrene children, the other a nightscape of burnt homes and skeleton-strewn stone. Billy grinned at Santa Claus and shook the globe to make it snow. Through swirling motes of cellophane he noticed the bone-decorated side.

He looked at me. “What the fuck is this?”

“Where could those dogs have gone?” I said quickly.

Billy cradled the paperweight like he might thrust it through my eye. “What’s the idea?”

“Man’s Faces, I guess.” The globe said so itself, a plaque at the base.

“A sick joke?”

“I think it’s a gimmick.”

Ron tore the last cabinet door from its hinges and tossed it on the cans on the parquet, yawned. “No alternative entrances in cabinets or floor,” he said. He speared the broom into the ceiling. Washes of dust came from the plaster. He announced officiously, “No contingencies in roof,” snapping the broom on his knee.

Billy, who’d been quietly examining me, said, “You’re the bastard who killed those dogs.”


“Dogs,” he said.

“They were killed?”

“What do you think ‘happened?’ God’s vengeance? Please,” he said. “It’s bastards like you that make this world hell.”

“What?” I said.

“The flood was your fault,” Billy said.

“How could I have caused the flood? I’m a normal man.”

Billy thinned his eyes. “Sabotage.”

“Of what?”

He stepped forward. “You tell me.”

“No,” I said. “I mean,” I said, “I have no idea.”

Watching my face, he put the globe to my nose. “Where’s the good?”

It shattered against the wall; glass and styrene children’s parts strewed through the room.

“Where’s the good in a flood? Or in my girlfriend vanishing?” I shouted. “Did I cause that?”

“You confess?”

“I profess, gentleman, you’re the brightest radiation twins I ever met.”

Billy lunged but his partner, there anyway, swung the handle of the broom into my eye.


They left in the early afternoon. The streets were dry. They left me with their cards, in the sides of my mouth, as I fought from the bedframe they’d tied me to with her clothes. As they left they told me they’d get her abductor—who was me. A matter of compiling the evidence or, they said, making time to fake it. “Don’t worry, Ace. We’ll solve your case.”

They left me with her pants—they took her blouses, sandals to their wives. I wore her pants around my neck and stared through the glass, listening to the silence that follows rain.

I heard a howl. On the building across the street a dog, tall and black, watched me. It lashed its tail against the sky, crying accusations, each slowly falling to the broken street past my closed window.
Jeb Burt lives in New York. His work has been published in the Lilies and Cannonballs Review and he has had plays produced at Columbia University.



Hammy Hamartia, we called him, but not to his face.

He was an odd one, alright, young Hammy, and this is his story, but before I tell it, let me give you some background info.

My name’s Claudius–‘Claw’ to me friends–and I was Hammy’s supervisor. We worked in Elsinore Meats, specialising in spam, but branching out nowadays into all kinds of meat and meat-related products. Hammy was in charge of swine meat reclamation; turning bone, gristle and lots of other gunk into cat food; or as he put it, ‘melting, thawing and resolving this too too solid flesh into a dew’.

He had a wonderful turn of phrase, young Hammy. University man, you know, down in Wittenberg, that old place near the sewage works. Of course, the young tramp dropped out.  Never could finish anything, young Hammy–that was his problem. Lots of great ideas, dozens of big plans, lorry loads of grand designs, but when push came to shove, he never finished nought.

Tragic waste of talent, don’t you know, but what can you do with a wastrel like that? God knows I told him off often enough: ‘You could be the next Pig Chief’, I used to tell him, ‘if you pull your socks up’. But did he listen? Pah!

Off he’d go, moping around the office, mumbling rubbish to himself, and never so much as a friendly word for the rest of us, not even old Polonius, the Deputy Office Floor Facilitator. OK, I’ll admit my Deputy O.F.F. was a bit of a senile old cad at times, and he often mixed up his T22’s with his P45’s, but he was an important old shyster, and awful sharp in his day, and nothing happened without his say-so.

But none of that meant anything to our inky hero, did it? I mean, it costs nothing to be civil, does it? But even that was too high a price for our Hammy Hamartia. Let me give you one example, just to show you how difficult he could be to deal with, so you can understand why I did what I did, so you can see that it was the only thing I could have done.

Ole Polly Polonius sidles over to Hammy one day, smooth as a cucumber, and tries to pass the time of day with him, trying to weasel out what’s got the young guys goat up, but young Hammy’s not having any of it. He starts pointing out the window at all the clouds, like some kind of loony, and tries to tell Polonius that they’re like different parts of a pig.

Polly plays along, the old duffer, and then Hammy turns on him all of a sudden and starts giving him grief, so that all and sundry can hear him. He goes and calls Polonius a ‘tedious old fool!’ if you wouldn’t be minding. What a steamer!

The only thing Hammy wanted out of Polonius was his daughter, Ophelia. Jaysus, what a ride she was! Blond as a golden retriever and the body of a thousand-pound-a-night hooker!But she had an innocent looking face on her too, and that only added to her pulling power. The office dogs would salivate every time she walked by them, drooling like piss heads at the sight of a sizzling sausage.

But the only one she ever showed any interest in was our Hammy. Don’t ask me why! She could have had her pick of any of them. And they wouldn’t have been shy about splashing out on her either. But bling was not her thing, you see, and Hammy used to butter her up big time with his wordy ways, spouting poetry at her and all that guff.

Anyway, I had a word with Polonius to get him to persuade his daughter to ferret around a bit and find out why Hammy was acting so weird. It may sound a bit sneaky to you, but I’ve gotta think about the company, and I can’t have some fruitcake wondering around the office distracting everyone and asking question that don’t make any sense.You can’t let madness go unwatched, not in a place like Elsinore Meats.

Well, young Hammy sussed her out in no time. For a lune he was fairly sharp, I tell you. Made me wonder if he was putting it on a bit, you know. I’m a suspicious man by nature, you see. You don’t get to be Pig Master without being able to sniff out porky pies.

Anyway, Hammy goes berserk when he wises up to Ophelia’s wheedling. Even so, he was bang out-of-order, calling Ophelia all kinds of names, and telling her to feck off to a nunnery cause she was a bleeding sinner. I might have let it go, and called it a lover’s tiff, but then he starts leveling insults at all the women in the office, calling them weak and frail and whatnot.

Well, that’s when I gave him his first official written warning. Had to, you see. You can’t ignore that kind of stuff, can you, not in these days of sexual equality and all? And not with me banging the Human Resources bike on the sly, Game Gerty. She may be on the wrong side of forty, but there’s a still a bit of thread left in her plump old tires, you know. And she’ll know how to show her gratitude to the old Claw with the Promotion Board. She’ll scratch my back and I’ll pump her tires and it’s a quid-pro-quo world, baby. Quid pro quo.

And did my written warning make the young pup change his ways? Well, the very next day, I clocked him standing on a desk behind me, with a real shifty look in his eyes, making out that he was changing a light bulb; and then he looks down at me and he says ‘to be or not to be, that is the question’. ‘To sack or not to sack?’ I thought to myself: now that’s the real question.

But sacking’s not as easy as it sounds, not with labour laws the way they are, and the union here so strong and militant. So I had him shipped off to another branch for a while, somewhere in England. Out of sight, out of mind, eh?

But then the sod came back. But to be fair, when he came back, he seemed to be OK for while. Still a bit of a smart arse, you know; still quoting dead Greeks homoslike it was going out of fashion, but nothing you couldn’t ignore.

The office had changed too and I had other battles to fight.

Game Gerty wasn’t nearly as game as she used to be, and I hardly got me leg over at all. And every time I’d mention the Promotion Board and me own prospects, she’d get a sulky puss on her and I had to make meself scarce. I’ve a sneaking suspicion young Hammy was e-mailing her from Blighty, spilling poison in her ear, but I can’t prove anything.

Old Polonius had been put out to grass and his daughter wasn’t with the company any more either. She’d fallen in with a bad crowd after Hammy and her broke up and she’d gone from drink to weed to acid to smack and who knows what else. Ah, sure she was a sorry sight to behold, tarting her wares down the back streets of a Saturday night, off her face on E and whatnot, trying to trick her way to her next fix. From angel to hooker in a single cycle of the moon. A tragedy, it is, but only willows weep nowadays.

And that’s when things really blew up. I was down near Anagnoresis Alley one Saturday night, boozing a bit with me mates, letting off steam, when I see Ophelia being carried on the shoulders of two low-life scum, doing the smack shuffle, dead to the world.

And then, out of nowhere, Hammy pops over the alley wall with his mate Horatio, and starts laying into the skank heads. He must have been doing some kind of self-defense classes over there in Britland, cause he could sure handle himself, I tell you.

There was lots of biff-baff-boff for me and me mates to watch, but then the fuzz comes and breaks it up and they brings him handcuffed to Peripetia Police Station.

As he was being bundled into the pig’s car, he spotted me in the crowd and gave me a look that froze me giblets. There was real hate in his eyes. The man wanted me dead–I could see that. And this wasn’t the pussy cat who had left Elsinore Meats a few months before. This was a new Hammy alright. Something had changed deep inside him.The git had grown gonads!

And then I knew that I had to take him out before he got me. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there and the old Clau has teeth.

So, on his first day back, I called him into the office, with Lenny Laertes the security guard beside me, in case things got nasty.

I told him that he’d brought the company’s name into disrepute after his antics on the weekend. And then Imade up some spiel about all the anonymous complaints I’d been gettingabout him from his colleagues in the office. I made out that Human Resources wanted shot of him too, cause Game Gerta had him pegged as a woman-hater. I spun a few more yarns, cause I’m quite the storyteller when the mood takes me.

He swallowed it all without so much as chewing a morsel. You could stick a whole tuna under that guy’s nose and he still wouldn’t smell anything fishy. You see, young Hammy had a bit of a persecution complex, and he just wasn’t devious enough to suspect that I was making it all up. Strange how clever people can be so stupid, isn’t it?

So, I told him I’d no alternative but to let him go. I gave him some bla bla about how sorry I was that it had come to this, but neither of us believed a word of it.

And that’s the last time I saw him.He stood up, walked towards the door, swaggering like he owned the place, like he couldn’t give a toss about being booted out of Elsinore Meats.

He opened the door and turned to me, all cocky and confident, like he was in charge, and I was sure I saw a snarl grow across his the jumped-up little loser’s lips.

‘Any last words?’ I said to him.

‘The rest is silence…’ he said.

Ha! So, the young prince of Elsinore Meats didn’t have words to fight me with. ‘Another pratt bites the dust’ I thought…

But hadn’t the weasel only gone and recorded his sacking on a tiny video camera he had stashed in his leather jacket.He uploaded it to YouTube and sent the link to all and sundry in the office, and then it was me own neck on the chopping block.

Accounts started digging into some of me more creative expense claims; some tarty temp slut from years back rose from her hoary grave and claimed I’d tried to molest her in the photocopier room; every pimply geek with a grudge to bear started hollering harassment; and at five in the afternoon on Friday I was called into the Director’s office and Gerty herself plonked the dagger of dismissal in me gaping chest.

They asked me if I’d anything to say. I made them wait a while, and then it came to:

“This is a tragedy and a travesty.”

This short story is taken from the novel Kev the Vampire, available from Rebel ePublishers from the Summer of 2014. Letters from the Ministry, an Orwellian satire on office life, was published by Rebel ePublishers in 2013.

About 25 pieces of Phillip’s writing, both fiction and travel writing, have appeared online. They have been collected in Boots, a free e-book download.

See Phillip’s website for more information:




Michelle Gaddes – LES YEUX


Les Yeux


Three weeks into solitude,

the eyes that shot uncaptured

remark, welled.

These embalmed crescents lay

hollow now, asunder the mute

limestone urn.


Michelle Gaddes lives on the far south NSW coast in Australia. She teaches English literatures and histories for the University of Wollongong, NSW. Her poetry compilation, Pariah, is available from Ginninderra Press, Port Adelaide. Her new poetry book, The Sun Chasers (2013), is available from Amazon: . Michelle’s poetry has been published in the USA, UK, France, Australia. Michelle is currently undergoing her third degree – a Masters of Teaching and she is still recovering from her holiday to Paris.


HAMMER n ANVIL 1 w addy