An Apology from the Editor-in-Chief
"The Silent Witness"
"Sacrifice as Triumph"
"Castle, Rook, and Raven"
"[the cruelty of the exquisite]"
"Elegy for a Sunken City"
Wade J. McMahon
"The Wraith's Tale"
James Frederick William Rowe
"Like Panther Proud"
|"Knight" | Watercolor on Paper | Jason Artemus Gordon|
Editor's Note: I thought it highly fitting to begin this issue with a poem that quite literally details the essential steps of so many fairytales, but does so not especially in an ironic or mocking manner, but in honor of the medium. The fairytale as a genre might be littered with well-worn tracks, but as in real life, the roads with the highest traffic tend to be the best paths to take. JFWR
Hearts tripped over broken chair
Legs trembled climbing stairs, almost toppled
The next morning we banged pans to frighten away another bear going through the trash. That afternoon, we pulled the car onto the road’s shoulder at a picnic area to watch bears eating trash and food left by people for them. Suddenly, our car zoomed away on the pavement. A bear was running toward it. The car was not quite fast enough. The bear left claw marks behind the passenger back door.
To avoid problems and return bears to a diet of natural foods, in 1970, all garbage cans were bear-proof and open-pit garbage dumps were removed. As a result, bears ranged farther away from people. Today,
However, the image of geese in the air, V-shaped in flight formation, or geese silhouetted against the evening sky as they pull up blades of grass in an emerald green pasture, speaks to the romantic sensibilities. Surely, the snow-white goose on the nest in the reeds by blue water is a charming sight. My advice to you, however, is, "Don’t challenge a goose unless you’ve eaten your Wheaties."
Poet’s Notes: Every conversation is two-sided. And not only are there words that are spoken, but there are words that are thought. For all the crackle of a heated altercation, the confessions of a soliloquy can be even more charged with electricity. The goose has to have her say, for she is not a creature prone to silences.
You, speck of red, I see you skipping quick:
|"Ripples" | Watercolor on Paper | Jason Artemus Gordon|
Editor's Note: The challenge of prose poetry is to capture the poetic in a prose format. This poem overcomes this inherent difficulty through an economic and tight use of imagery that paints a classic fairytale picture beautifully. I also love the harmony of the equally sized stanzas. JFWR
|"Misunderstood" | Watercolor & Ink on Paper | Jason Artemus Gordon|
Editor's Note: Combining the tale of red riding hood with that of
Editor's Note: I have not a single doubt of the veracity of this poem. The magical can intrude in ways that require only the right perspective to reveal. JFWR
villain of all
Pan enters, lures you to a land of never
Poet’s Notes: In 1911, J. M. Barrie wrote, “All children, except one, grow up.” I had wanted to be that child, never grow old, never have to go to school.
Editor’s Note: The unsung now have a song. JFWR
Editor’s Note: The twisted words are exactly as the un-prophecy-able forks so often referenced. The language is a bramble made beautiful. JFWR
They’re with me now. Talking.
And unhappy in my discovery
Flattered, all the gods set down their spears.
|"Altar" | Watercolor on Paper | Jason Artemus Gordon|
Artist's Note: As tempted as I was to provide an illustration for this one, I decided that I would allow the reader's imagination to conjure the most terrifying image instead. JAG
Oliver’s poetry has been published in Spectral Realms, Illumen, Eye to the Telescope, Star*line, Rivet, Mirror Dance, Dreams & Nightmares (forthcoming), and Strange Horizons (forthcoming). His prose has been included in anthologies from, among others, Flame Tree Publishing and Ex- Occidente Press who also published a collection of his short stories, Stars Beneath the Ships. His stories and poems generally involve the weird, fantastic, and speculative: in his collection Basilisk Soup & Other Stories (Createspace, 2016) there’s a mermaid in the bath, pickled brains plotting in the pantry, and a green man who has lost his head and isn't going to take it lying down. Oliver’s website can be found at https://oliversimonsmithwriter.wordpress.com/
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Artist's Note: As with "Soul Devourers" (see above), as tempted as I was to provide an illustration for this one, I decided that I would allow the reader's imagination to conjure the most terrifying image instead. JAG
Amid the swoosh of pines,
Editor's Note: There is always some danger in pulling threads, isn't there? JFWR
|"Lost City" | Ink & Watercolor on Paper | Jason Artemus Gordon|
Artist's Note: This poem made me think of this video, and thus ended up inspiring the piece https://youtu.be/ICxC5ekWnUc. JAG
He laughed aloud and slapped her face.
He left her crying on the floor,
But that's enough of general discussions. In respect to those features of my world that directly relate to this poem: the Cackes represent a people inspired by the Celts, which I have named the Glaiths. Like the Celts, these people have suffered the cruel fate of imperial expansion; unlike them, the Glaithic peoples had previously been the preeminent civilization of their portion of the world rather than barbarians. That the tale depicts guerilla warfare, therefore, represents the desperation which the Cackes had been placed, as this tale takes place well into the collapse of that civilization, where the ascendant Veirans are soon to take the mantle of world power. This invasion will not end happily, but for the time being victory and "glory won by cunning keen" has secured the day.
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