Septuagenarian Gary Blankenburg is a retired English teacher whose doctoral dissertation treated the “confessional” poets. While working on this project he often consulted with his mentor and friend W. D. Snodgrass. Blankenburg is the author of eight books of poetry and fiction and was a founding editor of The Maryland Poetry Review and Electric Press. His new manuscript, The Times Theatre, depicts the spiritual angst of an aging persona. Nowadays he reads Victorian novels and paints while gathering himself up for eternity and a meeting with The Great Perhaps.
Posts By: Tim Lepczyk
All weather is local, they say,
just like politics.
Lee Slonimsky’s work has appeared in The Carolina Quarterly, Measure, The New York Times, Poetry Daily, and 32 Poems, and has received seven Pushcart Prize nominations.
It was not unusual at that manifest turn of the century for a child to spend the entire wind-driven day alone in front of the mercantile. Odd thing was, the child was white as the vanishing snow, white and left to fend the spring wind alone with nothing but the clothes on his back and a dog at his feet.
Novelist and veterinarian.
New York Times writer.
Equine behaviour educator for the University of Guelph.
This Wasn’t Supposed to Happen
We were the infantry, the sons of Odin, the winged gods of war fighting for freedom and the American way of life. Now we’re dying in the streets of America. We survived war; it was the peace that killed us.
Rod Merkley is an Iraq War veteran and former Army Medic. He is currently a clinical psychology intern and looks forward working as a psychologist with military service members and veterans after finishing graduate school.
Meeting with My Editor
I am meeting with my editor, right now, as you read this story, a meeting about this story that I first submitted to her rather prestigious literary journal, a literary journal that will remain nameless, but one that has published three of my stories before, two of which won Pushcarts.
Daniel A. Olivas
Daniel A. Olivas is the author of eight books including the novel, The Book of Want (University of Arizona Press). Widely anthologized, he has also written for The New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Fairy Tale Review, Superstition Review, Codex, Exquisite Corpse, La Bloga, PANK (online), and Pilgrimage
Maggie and Milly and Molly and May
It begins with the false spring: warm fog and a thin film of rain always on the skin. A February thaw is sweetly cold like ice cream and doesn’t smell at all like the real thing.
MF Macpherson is the prose editor of Redactions: Poetry, Poetics, and Prose. Her work appears in The Coachella Review and Hypothetical Review as well as the anthology Love Rise Up, published by Benu Press. She enjoys crime procedurals, Candy Crush, and tumblr a little more than is probably healthy.
He was sitting next to me when he fell off his bike. We were out of our seats, pushing up a hill, and the music was so loud I didn’t hear anything.
In the photograph, the woman holds a laughing baby over her head staring and smiling at her intensely.
Margaret Divish completed an MFA in fiction writing at Queens University in 2009 and have been working on short stories and YA novels since.
The road rolled out flat and endlessly into the barren landscape. The parched ground coughed up sagebrush and broken rock, an unforgiving comfort you had to look for. Beauty, as they say out here, plays hard to get.
Kelly L. Simmons
Kelly received her BA from University of Montana, and her MFA from Queens University in Charlotte, NC.
“Literature of War: At Home and Abroad” is the best issue we’ve published. It is also the most challenging issue we’ve published.
This spring we raised $346 from our IndieGoGo campaign. As special thanks to those who contributed, we’d like to acknowledge their support. You all came through in a major way and it’s helped defray the costs of the journal.
Tim Lepczyk: Publisher and Poetry Editor
Mark Barr: Fiction Editor
Zoe Calhoun: Editorial Assistant
Daniel Grear: Editorial Assistant
Vehicle is approaching from rear on the left, friendly forces. Passes, takes lead position in convoy. We fall in behind and set proper interval for this portion of the Main Supply Route – MSR Knight.
J. Howard Shannon
J. Howard Shannon is a writer and US Army Infantry Officer with over 25 years in the military.
I write about Iraq
when her skin was
carmine, perfumed with
freshly picked celosias
Nora Alsahlawi is a writer who lives in Massachusetts.
The Dog Tag
Jim now wore the dog tag he had given his mother after returning from his first deployment. He wore the standard metal-beaded chain around his neck, but the tag itself was atypical.
Jeremy Warneke served fourteen months in Iraq with the Illinois Army National Guard in 2003 and 2004.
Two Taliban brothers huddle in a hand-scraped trench. They fire pot shots
at a passing convoy of eight trucks, plated and squat armadillos. The bullets
Matt Jones grew up in Kingston, Ontario, where he studied English Literature at Queen’s University. As a serving member of the Canadian Navy, Matt’s travels have taken him to Greenland, Nunavut, Alaska, and Iceland.
Fine Dirt and Dead Birds
A dirty brown dove sits on the small ledge created by the hightop Chevy’s box. It just sits there, looking around wildly.
Julio A. Olivencia
Julio A. Olivencia is a writer and member of the New York Air National Guard. He deployed to Afghanistan in April 2013 as a vehicle mechanic attached to the US Army’s 335th Signal Command.
Two Buddhas once stood like giants
in the Afghan province of Bamiyan
until the Taliban blasted them down.
In 2010, Randy Brown was preparing for deployment to Eastern Afghanistan as a member of the Iowa Army National Guard’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry “Red Bull” Division.
Arlington West in Santa Barbara
beneath hem of fog
Kathy French is a retired Professor from Utah Valley University. Her interest in peace and justice is strengthened by collecting an oral history of peace activists in Utah, her experiences in Uganda, and as a member of the Quaker faith. Kathy is currently a happy vagabond in the American West. On Facebook at www.facebook.com/kathy.french.927.
WMDs? No but
Not conscripted or coerced
all willing players in a nation’s force.
Charity Winters is a 2003 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy. During her six years on active duty as an Air Force Security Forces Officer she deployed three times to Iraq, conducting security operations.
I Am Nothing and Neither
I am brittle when the day springs.
My anchored tongue of aged iron
tastes of brown rust. It rests
It is not about the stars
nor the sadness
in a constellation.
The Long Struggle
The terrible and restless quiet
that preceded the thick wild smoke
and the toppling Jenga tower.
Cameron Mount served as an officer in the US Navy from 2001 to 2007, rising to the rank of Lieutenant before leaving to pursue a career in writing and teaching.
A Brief History of the Universe
She came with another female soldier on a sunny afternoon. It was Saturday and I was on the ladder, cleaning the leaves out of the second-story gutters.
Robert Wallace has received an Emerging Artist grant from the Durham Arts Council, and a Writer’s Fellowship from the NC Arts Council. He has had fiction and nonfiction published in various journals and newspapers, including the Bryant Literary Review, Wellspring, Aethlon, The O. Henry Festival Stories, and the Raleigh News & Observer. His work has… Read more »
Non-Combat Related Incidents and Other Lies
There was no ballad
for you in Balad, no
eulogy tending your ears
Heidi Andrea Restrepo Rhodes
Heidi Andrea Restrepo Rhodes is mixed-race, second-generation Colombian immigrant, writer, scholar, artist, and political activist.
A Final Goodbye
“Be vigilant, C.” Pulanski yelled over the sound of the gunfire. “I’ll see you on the other side.”
I joined the Marine Corps at eighteen. I deployed to Afghanistan in 2012, and recently was honorably discharged. I now live in Oregon and attend Oregon State University.
I see tractor-trailer tires rumbling
over the khaki-tan carcass of a deer—
John C. Mannone
John C. Mannone is the poetry editor for Silver Blade and Abyss & Apex, and an adjunct professor of physics in east TN. His work has been nominated three times for the Pushcart.
From the Cradle
Eighteen years old and off to war;
my mother broke in the idea
Scarlet graduated from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, in May 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in English, creative writing.
We walked together into the darkness
Of an undisclosed location.
It Went On
It went on, they said.
The road to Baghdad,
The one you saw on the news
With the abandoned cars.
Rick Gray was a Pushcart Prize nominee in 2014, and received the Veteran’s Scholarship from the Squaw Valley Poetry Workshop. He served in the Peace Corps in Kenya, and has since lived in Nigeria, South Africa, Iraq, and Afghanistan, where he currently teaches at the American University.
Meditations of a Sniper
They sent me up this tower three days ago,
Just my rifle, rations, and a radio.
After graduating from college, Patrick Walsh served four years as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army’s 25th Infantry Division.
Jeannie wished Walker would share his thoughts more. He’d abandoned college teaching. He didn’t write, didn’t even read. Why? He said Socrates hadn’t read or written anything, Jesus either, and Homer was blind, though hardly illiterate. Since Walker wasn’t Socrates, Jesus, or Homer, Jeannie struggled to see the relevance.
With more than sixty stories and three novellas in print and online journals, Robert Earle is one of the more widely published short fiction writers in America.
New Ways to War
Let’s count coup instead of kill, just a touch,
or sneak into enemy camps, capture a prized
horse, okay, maybe a Hummer can count.
My Marine My Grandson
A rupture in the how-it-was-to-be:
not for any child through me,
we haven’t had a soldier
since the Civil War.
Meredith Trede’s book, Field Theory, was published by Stephen F. Austin State University Press. As a founder of Toadlily Press, her chapbook, Out of the Book, was in the inaugural Quartet Series.
The proper translation
isn’t All is vanity though
such is found everywhere—
WI sends names to war
our voices cinch at home
Whether it’s my spit-polished boots, the crease
In my trouser, the belt buckle shine, the helmet
Adam Berlin is the author of the post-9/11 novel The Number of Missing (Spuyten Duyvil), the boxing novel Both Members of the Club (Texas Review Press/ winner of the Clay Reynolds Novella Prize), Belmondo Style (St. Martin’s Press/winner of the Publishing Triangle’s Ferro-Grumley Award) and Headlock (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill). His stories and poetry… Read more »
My Discussion with Sergeant Brian Turner, 3BCT/2ID
I didn’t read Here, Bullet.
I saw the movie.
Shopping in Kabul, 2002
We felt like The Beatles
slinging rifles, not guitars.
Kids mobbed us. We moved.
They moved —
Iraqi Army Unit on Camp Striker, Baghdad Iraq
Their colonel met our colonel inside
the TOC to build
Thank you to our wonderful editorial assistants Ryan Bry, Zoe Calhoun, Taylor Foremon, Daniel Grear, and Lindsay Lloyd.
Tim Lepczyk: Publisher and Editor
Mark Barr: Fiction Editor
Ryan Bry: Editorial Assistant
Zoe Calhoun: Editorial Assistant
Taylor Foremon: Editorial Assistant
Daniel Grear: Editorial Assistant
Lindsay Lloyd: Editorial Assistant
When I think of fall, I remember warm, sugared donuts and fresh cider from a farm in Michigan. Fall brings a sense of renewal as my life remains rooted in the world of education. A new school year, a new beginning, and in that way Fall trades on the goodwill of Spring.
We didn’t call it bullying back then,
and cyber was a word relegated to sci-fi
April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two sons. She is working on her first several collections of poetry and a memoir on raising a child with Autism. Her work has appeared in online and print journals such as Poetry Salzburg, Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, The Rainbow Rose, The Camel Saloon, Bluestem, Centrifugal Eye, Weekenders Magazine, Deadsnakes, Montucky Review, Daily Love, Visceral Uterus, Work to a Calm, Crisis Chronicles, Windmills, Inclement and is forthcoming in Poetry Quarterly. The author also serves as co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press.
The Yard in Alma
Is X alive? Did Y pass away? Z
still run the stable? My grandmother
Nels Hanson’s fiction received the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award and two Pushcart Prize nominations. Stories have appeared in Antioch Review, Texas Review, Black Warrior Review, Southeast Review, Montreal Review, and other journals. Poems have appeared in Word Riot, The Oklahoma Review, The Heavy Feather Review, Citron Review, Emerge Literary Journal, Poetry Porch, The Ilanot Review, Drunk Monkeys, Paradise Review, The Hoot & Hare Review and other journals.
Trying To Get Comfortable
I disturb a vein of sand
In your kitchen
I perch and starve
Lauren M. Plitkins
Lauren M. Plitkins received a BA in English literature and creative writing from the University of St. Thomas in 2010 and is currently an MFA candidate at Pacific Lutheran University. She lives in Seattle, WA where she writes and teaches. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Open to Interpretation, So to Speak, Meat for Tea, Blast Furnace, Wrist Magazine, Post Defiance, Blue Lyra Review, and Sundog Lit.
In this season
Of hollow October light,
Daniel James Sundahl
Daniel James Sundahl is Professor in English and American Studies at Hillsdale College where he has taught for thirty years. He’s the author of three books, and numerous articles, book reviews, and poems both here and abroad. He’s been married to Ellen for thirty-eight years. They have one well-behaved German Shepherd and three less well-behaved mackerels cats. Retirement beckons….
Will the Singularity Be Televised?
I lie in bed
Engulfed in the buzz
Half-dreamt But Earnest
I was thinking the other day
About how the world ended.
I’m an English professor and librarian currently living in Alma Michigan with my wife and two kids. I have a BFA from Bowling Green and a MFA from Indiana University. A long time ago I won an Academy of American Poets award but I took a long break from writing. I just recently started to send out my work again and I am fortunate to have work in the current issue of Bareback Magazine.
The Barbarians Were Never at the Gates
They were always inside them—
often smiling like we liked to do
Tim Suermondt is the author of two full-length collections of poems: Trying to Help the Elephant Man Dance (The Backwaters Press, 2007) and Just Beautiful (New York Quarterly Books, 2010). He has been published in many journals, in print and on-line.