The Artful Dodger by Qazi Mustabeen Noor


“I’m actually planning to give up smoking for one last time”

“Huh?” I raised an eyebrow, for I knew this guy all too well. In twenty six years of life he has made countless such promises to himself and all his friends, nineteen times to be precise. So with a chuckle and an ‘oh dear Lord’ expression, I hid my face behind a dog-eared magazine.

However, there was no deterring him with sarcasm. Once started, Rishad was unstoppable “I have a simple enough plan, hey. Every time I want to smoke, I’ll go to the tong, buy a banana and a bun…” which comes to about the same price, he told me in an undertone “and give it to some kid to watch him eat it. With that feeling of contentment, I’ll go my own way” I snickered as he smiled from ear to ear. Continue reading

Looking and Seeing by Clare Moore


I took this photograph at the Art Institute of Chicago on a trip in 2014. It happened in a moment. I was in the museum looking at painting after painting hanging on the walls, walking from one to the next, when I turned and looked down the hallway and saw this elderly couple gazing at the painting (you know, the one from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). Almost without thinking, I snapped a photo and moved on. It wasn’t until I downloaded all the photos onto my computer and started sifting through them that I really stopped and saw this photograph, this moment, for the first time. To me, that’s the distinguishing factor of photography–the difference between looking and seeing.

IMG_2279.JPGClare currently lives in Virginia, just outsider her beloved D.C., where she is in the process of getting her M.F.A. in Creative Writing at George Mason University. But more metaphorically, she lives in the realm of possibility and imagination. She loves all things creative–drawing, photography, writing, composing music–and believes in creating an artistic community that can grow and thrive together.

The Breakup by Anne Mulrooney

carimageOnly you will mourn the death of the secrets you keep. And only you will celebrate them. Those are two reasons to keep your secrets.

Here’s something I’ve learned: it’s relieving to protect your sorrow from public spheres. Self-pity must be done alone if it is to be done well. Below and beneath your clavicle, it can mix freely with giddiness, desperation, and hope. If your affairs are made public, people might demandor worse, and more likely, offerexplanations of and for you. Continue reading

Poetry by Linda M. Crate


dagger of wings

i remember
once wolves and ravens
ran and flew together
in the autumn of
a wood as
but now i’ve fashioned my wings
and words into daggers
to shoot arrows
into the heart of the wolf
foolish enough to
cross me;
because somewhere beneath the crimson
lullaby of autumn leaves
and the cold breath
of winter’s kiss
you shattered our love on your fangs of oblivion
because you are a man dead before his time
devoid of imagination, hopes, or dreams
and had you not buried me
beneath praying for me to die beneath the snow
to become a blue lipped angel
on your bed stand
i may have shown more empathy—
but you used my words and my love for you against me
so now it is a war
i will conquer
and cut you into every ribbon of winter’s frost
so you can know sorrow without an end;
and allow me to enjoy autumn again
in all her regal glory.


i’ll break that mask

you must think you’re the
cat’s meow
with all these girls
fawning over
but then it must all be in your head;
i remember how the girls
at your church
cringed away from you and looked at me
as if to say
“poor bird”—
i was the butterfly caught in the net
falsely believing it to be freedom
until you devoured my wings,
but i am here to remind
you that i, too, have claws;
that you have not
one day i’ll smash your little glass house and
watch the bones of skeletons roll on out,
and when you’re distracted
smash your mask so you can no longer hide behind
a thousand faces
simply your own.


the dreamer

i want to run
have i wanted to flee
from reality,
and dance with talking trees
learn the wisdom of the ancients
fly with the fae and swim with the mermaids
laugh with the fauns and chase away
the satyrs and sing with the
crows and ravens;
i have wanted to learn the battle cry of dwarves
and to pull a bow back like the elves
with such grace and beauty
in the violent act—
sometimes i shed my skin like snakeskin and leap so
far away from myself no one can find me
because i’ve gone magicking again
leaving this world of sorrows and transgressions
behind to embrace worlds
only i can make a


so i think of you

cold, grey
reminds me
of all the words and worlds
that were left unsaid,
and i still have your last letter and
the nutcracker book you
gave me whose cover
my friend told me
was creepy;
but i’ve always found the strange and bizarre beautiful
have always found myself caught somewhere
between fantasy and madness
perhaps a shade of both admitting neither—
i never realized
how you struggled to find the light
until you killed yourself
lost the battle to your depression and were gone from us,
and i still miss you;
sixteen years later and it feels like sometimes
you disappeared from us
just yesterday—
the day is silent
not even the birds remark,
and so i think of

2007Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. Her fantasy novel Blood & Magic was published in March 2015. The second novel of this series Dragons & Magic was published in October 2015. The third of this series Centaurs & Magic is slated for a November release. Her third poetry collection If Tomorrow Never Comes (Scars Publications – August 2016) was recently published. Her poetry collection Sing Your Own Song is forthcoming through Barometric Pressures Series.

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Accidents & Emergencies by Carter Vance


We met in ward light,
hands bandaged from climbing cuts,
scaling places we couldn’t control,
with paper and pens and violin trills:
world seemed so sharp, without graces.

But we spoke like prisoners, batting away
winking sunshine, locked in jabbing
rhythm to see which gave first:
my flat regionalisms, your wordly

First things handed as struck metal,
a running of corridors we get let
on, as careful dancers do when they
can’t face a breaching of light,
a cutting of fabric sheet.

Then it was open, warming song
of jumping fumes from open street
air, covered pound notes in cooling
of August fabric, but something
more than that to melody

of scamper-flashing ambulance lights
you could be heard to say:

“Is this in A, is it in E?”

“No, both.”

1918701_10156659253330293_7510470757135419828_nCarter Vance is a student and aspiring poet originally from Cobourg, Ontario, currently studying at Carleton University in Ottawa. His work has appeared in such publications as The Vehicle, (parenthetical) and F(r)iction, amongst others. He received an Honourable Mention from Contemporary Verse 2’s Young Buck Poetry Awards in 2015. His work also appears on his personal blog Comment is Welcome.

Mystery Gardens by John Accurso

There are a number of ideas that come together in the series of drawings I refer to as “mystery gardens.” Most obviously, they are explorations in texture, shape, and scale of invented tree-, shrub-, and groundcover-like forms. While some drawings stop at this point, I feel prompted to suggest a narrative in the progression of the series. It seems correct to begin to include architectural objects, statues, sculptures, and lamps with unidentifiable light sources.

Further, the appearance of faces in the forms is a deliberate choice on my part to break a long-held rule of keeping my drawings free of such Disney-like corn. This choice has freed me to allow natural forms to be humanly expressive and to begin to insert odd fairy tale-like characters on occasion. I think this series could be described as illustrations for fairy tales yet to be written (not by me!).

John has an MFA in Sculpture/Painting from UC Berkeley (1990) and a BA, Practice of Art, also from UC Berkeley (1986). He has been drawing for years and teaching art and art history in California’s Gold Country since 1995. More drawings and examples of his book sculptures can be seen on his website.