by Neil Carpathios Standing next to me in the pew he slipped me a candy root beer barrel to suck during the dull sermon, as if to say thinking about God doesn’t require a lack of all pleasure. Then before the priest finished his endless ranting on heaven and hell, my father sneaked us out the small side door marked Emergency Exit, which this was. He drove us to Mister Donut for cream sticks and cocoa while everyone else sat sweating in the cramped church, force-fed God-this, God-that. What we talked about I don’t remember, but it wasn’t sin or … Continue reading Sweetness


by Neil Carpathios Is each star a hole a soul made going up into heaven?  Are tears the sweat of vision? Is that formaldehyde behind my earlobes or are my nostrils being ornery?  Is God in the mirror, playing hide and seek, holding His breath beneath glass?  Is the razor in the sink dreaming of a wrist? When I open the window do I hear a bone caught in the wind’s throat?  Was that a rescue boat in my father’s pneumonia lungs that was torpedoed when he quivered in his coma at the end?  And those stars— is each the … Continue reading Questions

This Is Not a Poem, Damn It

by Neil Carpathios I swear the sidewalk wants me to write a poem about her; how hard and smooth she is, how wonderfully she provides us with safe footing from point A to point B. At the moment, she is glistening under a streetlight after a long rain, trying to look shimmery, like a woman’s drenched skin stepping seductively from a bathtub, as if I would fall for that trap. She shows me a puddle on which floats a pack of matches like a miniature of Huck Finn’s raft, as if to say: Look at what I contain, see how … Continue reading This Is Not a Poem, Damn It

Poetry by Allison Whittenberg

Waters Wine by Allison Whittenberg The balance of bliss is pain The balance of pain is enlightenment The balance of enlightenment is more enlightenment The balance of more enlightenment is transcendence The balance of transcendence is alienation The balance of alienation is bliss § Life Slips by Allison Whittenberg Life slips like two weeks like five years like coupon clippings From a thick Sunday pull out Shiny, vivid Promising bargains in primary colors Coupons expire And expire and expire § Allison Whittenberg is a poet and novelist (LIFE IS FINE, SWEET THANG, HOLLYWOOD AND MAINE all from Random House). She … Continue reading Poetry by Allison Whittenberg

“Renaissance Writer” An Interview with Steve Almond

by Dallas Woodburn Steve Almond is a Renaissance Man of the unflinchingly honest written word. He broke into the literary scene in 2002 with his short story collection, My Life in Heavy Metal, which provoked strong reactions from reviewers due to its unapologetic sexual content. Next came a nonfiction book, Candyfreak, which Almond describes as a “diatribe about candy,” specifically the emotional presence candy plays in people’s lives. Almond has since enjoyed success in the novel and essay forms, and his short fiction is regularly featured in reputable literary journals including Tin House. Through his diverse writing forms, Almond continues … Continue reading “Renaissance Writer” An Interview with Steve Almond

Iambic Pentameter and the Meter of War

by Diane Cameron In the 1940’s a young Marine returns from China to a small Pennsylvania town. He enrolls in graduate school and begins to work as a high school teacher. He marries the young woman who had waited for him through the war. They buy a house and invite her widowed mother to live with them. One year later finds the body of the mother-in-law sprawled on the kitchen floor, the body of the wife in the living room, both perforated with bullets. The former Marine is handcuffed and taken away by the sheriff. The local newspapers are filled … Continue reading Iambic Pentameter and the Meter of War