Posted on August 25, 2011
on Václav Havel's typogram “VÁLKA” (War), aka “Peace”
The story begins innocently on the first line with the word “mír” (peace) typed at both the upper left and right margins. Each carriage return brings the opposing demands for “mír!” closer “MÍR!!” and closer “MÍR!!!” They collide in a chaos that falls disintegrating down the page until nothing remains but a hail of deadly exclamation points pounded into the white paper sky through which they fall, whistling down.
Exclamatory fields of fire bloomed across Vietnam that year. Czechoslovakia was soon to discover its own vulnerability in the clanking shock of Soviet tanks on the streets, crushing the breath of freedom remembered as the Prague Spring. From Eastern Europe and obscure jungle hamlets, murderous surprise moved on to other jungles, obscure deserts and Western cities. Detonations echo in the daily news. So too the horror of texts written in body parts, mouthed in moans and wailing too guttural for words.
Surprise comes in many flavors, of course, including delight. But regardless of context or emotional tone it is by definition disruptive. This is as true on the printed page as in life! Contemporary authors, if they're civilized, shy away from the rawness of the exclamation point. They leave it to the consumerist carpet bombers: “Step right up. See me. Hear me. Try this; feel something.”
Mostly we would rather not, except at a safe voyeuristic distance. Destabilization risks uncontrolled transformation. The pitch of the sales associate is itself canned, designed to excite only potential customers—managers reserving their excitement for deviations from the script. Algorithms standardize decision processes and are revised to minimize unruly data. There is no time for it. Officers of the culture herd defendants along with anesthetic assurances that each step in the procedure is only a formality.
Meanwhile between terror and trance, too often obscured by the rustling of decision trees or whiz-bang flashes of manufactured dazzlement, life punctuates itself as it always has—like it or not—exclamations included. This child is born. This job is lost. The car driven by this man blows a tire in a pothole. This girl bakes cookies for a soldier she will never meet who fights a war she doesn't understand.
Expectations clash, even visions of peace. Familiar territory turns suddenly strange and potent. Havel pounds his exclamation points, smashes the smugness of the page, cratering the fabric. Pinpoints of light break through.
from Antikódy: “VÁLKA”
Michael Hopping lives in Asheville , North Carolina . His work has appeared in Spoiled Ink, The Great Smokies Review, fresh , and is forthcoming in Chrysalis Reader . A novel, Meet Me In Paradise , was published in 2007 and MacTiernan's Bottle, a collection of short stories, will appear later this year.
Posted on August 18, 2011
Midnight in Animal Control
a few minutes of running water
There were soldiers dying on the train their mothers
Searching for the butcher knife
decomposition like a noose
And then one day the needle struck bone and everything grew illuminated. But where was this disarticulated being that had shone so brightly beneath the water? This corpse that not even suicide could liberate a fallen being that still managed to read Blake
un hin der ed g r i s l y a sober climbing trauma that delivers
No, much has been written on the overgrowth of bone after death! Do they not split the breastbone during heart surgery? Do they not stop the heart and then bring it back as if nothing has happened? a dentist screws in metal fragments a plumber encases a drain in cement a child gathers u egg shells and feeds his habit for dead birds The camera levels on the top of the water and does not distinguish.
Chris Mansel is a writer, filmmaker, epileptic, musician, photographer and a permanent outsider for some reason. He is the author of While in Exile: The Savage Tale of Walter Seems , Ashes of Thoreau, interviews and two books of photography entitled, No Burden and Ahisma . Along with Jake Berry, he formed the band Impermanence who have released one album, Arito . He created the band dilation Impromptu and has released several cd's. His writing is published on the web in many sources.
Posted on August 17, 2011
Jukka-Pekka Kervinen is a Finnish composer, writer and visual artist.
Posted on August 15, 2011 by marc
We are pleased to announce that MadHat Press will be releasing Hugh Fox's newest collection of verve and sharp wit. Please keep your eyes peeled for more exciting news.
The collection is tentatively entitled Primate Fox .
Hugh Fox , born in Chicago in 1932, is a writer, novelist, poet and anthropologist and one of the founders of the Pushcart Prize. To say Hugh is a prolific writer is an understatement, over the years, Hugh has published well-over sixty works of poetry and fiction.
Posted on August 12, 2011
AN INCREASE IN SILENCE
Harm is the scholar of thorns and thought its repetition and what is that smell, dear Lord,
And they say in their multitudes to remind us of good deeds/ kind thoughts, what brought
I have analyzed paintings in my day, I have sought to dance animated to illustrations but
I have finished first, beyond the grave from where I'll speak, though planted like a crop
Life venerates the bedding of the dead.
Bobbi Lurie is the author of three poetry collections: Grief Suite, Letter from the Lawn and The Book I Never Read . Her work has been published in numerous print and on-line journals including Mad Hatters' Review, American Poetry Review, New American Writing, diode, Born, Big Bridge , Gulf Coast , Otoliths and many others. She lives outside of Albuquerque , New Mexico .
Posted on August 10, 2011
A watercolor tincture
Wash the hulls stuffed with trees,
Sensei, do we really need
Below the third eye, bands of
Two flower peaks atop spiky
Cut into chunks, no obvious
Keith Higginbotham lives in Columbia , SC. His work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in The Beatnik, Blue & Yellow Dog, ditch, Cricket Online Review, Eratio,The Montucky Review , and Otoliths . He is the author of Carrying the Air on a Stick (The Runaway Spoon Press) and Prosaic Suburban Commercial (Eratio Editions).
Posted on August 8, 2011
The Carleton Tavern, shadow
held in my mouth, habitable
when geography confounds, the sky
behind thick smoke
again, to where the doors
penance of still life,
protecting what; a fury
& rotting fence, where I have
Born in Ottawa , Canada 's glorious capital city, rob mclennan currently lives in Ottawa . The author of more than twenty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, his most recent titles are the poetry collections A (short) history of l. (BuschekBooks, 2011), grief notes: (BlazeVOX [books], 2011), Glengarry (Talonbooks, 2011), kate street (Moira, 2011) and 52 flowers (or, a perth edge) (Obvious Epiphanies, 2010), and a second novel, missing persons (2009). An editor and publisher, he runs above/ground press , Chaudiere Books (with Jennifer Mulligan), The Garneau Review , seventeen seconds: a journal of poetry and poetics and the Ottawa poetry pdf annual . He spent the 2007-8 academic year in Edmonton as writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta , and regularly posts reviews, essays, interviews and other notices at robmclennan.blogspot.com
Posted on August 4, 2011
MERMAIDS ARE SUPERMODELS
Faint light shines on your actions without illuminating your fate. Someone hands you the
Photo: Ben Chapman, who played “Gill Man” in the 1954 classic film “The Creature of the Black Lagoon.”
Marcus Speh is a writer, ex-particle physicist, professor, executive coach, project lead, web head, father, fictionaut, former fencer and paratrooper, who lives in Berlin, Germany, blogs at Nothing To Flawnt , curates One Thousand Shipwrecked Penguins and serves as maitre d' at the Kaffe in Katmandu .
4 Responses to Flash Fiction by Marcus Speh
Bruce Spear says:
August 5, 2011 at 8:59 am
I'm not sure if I should thank you for momentarily returning me to the secretive late-night horror movies of my childhood, especially at Nicky's house with the big TV, I'd return home exhausted and wary.
I do thank you for sending me off, with the spinning of yarns and sea shanties, to the songs that infected the landsmen, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3J9utqO-E8Q . Except they are designed to ward of isolation and fear, when you want to tempt the opposite … ?
michael j. solender says:
August 5, 2011 at 11:05 am
bizarre as not to be confused with bazaar, which is a place of commerce
August 6, 2011 at 11:59 am
Still laughing at buzz kill. And this is a great line:
August 16, 2011 at 9:09 pm
Posted on August 2, 2011
Any migration is forced
Gravity's not downward
just how it works. Don't
Let's put some shades over
Any migration is forced.
It's what was best. For you.
Sara Fitzpatrick Comito writes and gardens in Fort Myers, Florida . She's achieved exponential propagation of her plants without garnering any fruits. Her poetry has been published in places like nthposition, The Smoking Poet, Hip Mama Magazine and Bloody Bridge Review . She edits the online journal Orion headless .