“Caged” – Francine Cunningham

Chelsea Rushton_Vesper xiii 300 dpi

we’ve never seen the sunset,
just the reflection of it
on the mountains
our windows face

we could drive to the other side of the island,
i guess
we’ve talked about it
packing a picnic
all of it
but we’ve never done it

tonight, we sit on the patio
bathed in the noise of buzzing mosquitoes
loud and piercing when too close to the ear
the smell of citronella not helping,
it never does

the light fades on the mountain side
light and then dark green

when twilight envelopes us
we rise on stiff legs
hobble to the bedroom
silently undress
i don’t know anymore in which emotion we look at each others bodies
indifference, boredom,
maybe even hatred
sliding under stiff sheets offers
and in the darkness our dreams take hold,

what wondrous things they are


these words by Francine Cunningham were inspired by the work of Chelsea Rushton

New prose by Josh Elyea, “Pulp Influence”


            I keep having this dream where I’m two-dimensional. This dream isn’t a nightmare, but I still wake up feeling as though I’ve lost something.  Like I’m lacking in substance, as it were. Dimensionally challenged.

            Paper cranes fall slowly from the sky, and I can taste cherry blossoms (and verbs) on my tongue. I wander through this paper forest, aimless, wondering if there’s any other type of wandering. There are characters scrawled across the trunks of the trees, messages left in languages I don’t understand. Trumpets sound as I see words I recognize, hc svnt dracones. That’s not foreboding, not one bit.

            What little light the moon emits slinks down through the treetops, leaving deep pools of shadow that shift when I look up or down. When you’re made of paper, there is no side to side. Impossible to keep a sharp eye for the monsters that undoubtedly permeate these pre-mulched maples.

            I get more and more lost as I ponder the potential for dragons. It’d be easy to lose oneself in the black of the forest. It’ll eat you up, noir. Between the paper and the concentrated instances of darkness, there’s a real pulp influence here, I say, maybe out loud (maybe not). What I’m noticing though, now that I’m paying attention, is the ways in which the darkness is growing, expanding, in spite of the moonlight. Tendrils of black extend outward as my person begins to shake, and at that moment it’s almost as though I’d prefer the monsters. There’s something tangible about a mummy or a hellhound, and it’s a well-known if little thought of caveat of life that damages to the corporeal are far preferable to those of a more ethereal nature. That’s what so devious about the dark; it doesn’t really harm you at all.

            And it’s a silly thing to fear the dark, really. But we all do it anyways.

this prose by Josh Elyea

this prose by Josh Elyea, “Pulp Influence,”

was inspired by Juan Travieso‘s “Nightmare in a Dream”