Ancestral Travelogue

[Archaic greeting roughly translated to “Salutations my daughter.”]

You want to believe someone will hear this. Abyss. Vacuum. Space haunts your sleep-addled thoughts and your delirious mind writes down the name of every person you can remember. It’s only a fraction of your memories, a slice of the life you lived on a planet that eventually will succumb to the same type of hibernation you signed up for.

[Pleas for forgiveness, references to historical events cross checked with the Encyclopedia.]

You wonder if comfort means multispecies survival where these future humans come from. In the grand scheme of things, who do these ships benefit? Should you tell them why you’re leaving, or will they think that is a lie too?

[Graphs whose legends have peeled, chipped diagrams of reconnaissance missions to the exoplanet.]

You write by hand, by machine, slipping between your mother tongue and English so readily so only you will be able to interpret this, in the end. Was it ever about posterity?

[Drawings, stained by ink in some places, decorate the edges of the travelogue. Blue ink marks the beginning of long-term human life beyond Earth.]

Angela Acosta

The Junkie Mind Is A Bad Movie I’ve Seen One Too Many Times

There’s a scene in the film version of Parisian Literary Imposter that will remind some of early Godard, maybe A Bout de Souffle. The writer is chasing the junkie down a picturesque cobblestoned side street in Paris’s scenic Marais. The microphone picks up the different tonalities of the heavy breathing of the chased and the chaser. The junkie out of his right mind had leaped out of the writer’s kitchen window. It may have been two stories. But the junkie was basically alright. Just hobbling, favoring his right leg. Escape seemed to inhabit his blood and he overcame injury – actually he bounced on the pavement like a scuffed rubberball.

When the writer finally caught up with him, he stripped the junkie of his clothes. He had also had the wherewithal to steal some brie, a not bad bottle of rouge … and a folder of the author’s latest writing. But as he stood there, inaction got the better of him. Hesitation is the bad-knee brain fog of the career criminal. But no one would ever believe the writer when he said he had suddenly been faced with a decision: either corner this junkie until the cops arrived who would be annoyed but would not arrest him and would let him go with a warning. Warning 101. What he wanted to do instead was remember to write down the line: the cobblestones wet with mist remind me of toffee candies floating in a cup of sleepytime tea mother used to make him to … And this one: resenting reality’s intrusion into a sublime moment when for a second, vision and reality coexisted like two horseflies on the nose of the cow.

Bart Plantenga

Candy Robbing Scuzzballs

They robbed us of 8 pounds of candy. 31. October. 1966. So we changed into last year’s costumes. Me a gorilla. Went door to door again and by bedtime we had laid out our stash across the floor like colorful tiles of chocolate and sugar. We ruled the world of sweet. X refused to change out of his Spiderman costume. Although his mother sometimes insisted on washing it. And eventually hid it. May have burned it. So he had to switch to Batman. Never to ever attend school again as himself. He was memorable one moment but over time everybody forgot about him. No one remembered what he looked like. He moved away.

Then a super-8 movie popped up out of somebody’s basement. It showed X with candy corns wedged between his toes. A really bright but insincere smile for the camera. X, they say, never grew much taller & always came on like someone who’d pulled one over on the world by going trick-or-treating until he was 23. He went on to work for the FBI as an undercover agent posing as a child in costumes of superheroes we no longer saw on TV. He helped break up pedophile rings nationwide. Blackmail & bribery were involved. He died last year & almost nobody came to his funeral. Just those required by guilt or genetic pact. I went and when I looked in the coffin he looked like somebody I had never known. One fingernail, the pinkie, painted a candy corn orange.

Bart Plantenga

Lion, Colt, Cup of Blood

There’s a lion in the house wearing my father’s pajamas and silver-blue bathrobe.  He makes snide comments, like Three pianos were stabbed today in their grammar.  And Adam, wearing a black leather harness and sporting rouged nipples, courted Eve, who kept a peripatetic serpent in her hair.  I will have to shoot this lion soon.  Where did my father leave his Colt .45?  I look through the kitchen drawers and cabinets.  There, next to the flour sifter, I find the gun and place it on top of the refrigerator, so the lion won’t see it, but it will be easy for me to grab when needed.  No, I better keep the gun nearer.  I slide it behind my back, my belt holding it in place.  What’s with that lump growing out of your back, son? says the lion, staring at me with concern.  You need to see a doctor pronto, the lion advises.  I notice the gun has shifted.  It’s now in front, pressing against my stomach.Listen, son, says the lion.  I’ve been lodged inside your cheekbone for decades waiting to tell you this.  One day, after a long silence, you’ll say to the waiter, Another cup of blood, please.  And the waiter will pull back the curtain covering one wall, and the surgical students in the classroom behind the glass wall will all stand and applaud.  I pull out my father’s gun and fire.  A young girl I never noticed reaches out and catches the bullet.  She holds it out to me in her hand and then swallows the bullet— without a glass of water.  I shoot the lion in the leg.  In each thick, bulky leg.  He nods, as if he knew some vital part of my brain is missing.  As if he, no, as if I were stuffed with glittering sawdust.

John Bradley

I Could See a Clump of Dead Leaves Behind His Eye

The last time I saw my father he was waiting for a bus on a back street in Portland.  My upper lip twitches slightly whenever I hear someone say: jackfruit, steeplejack, jackboot.  He had on his pink dress shirt and the too-tight wing tips that he’d sliced a hole in for his right little toe.  I asked him where he’d been, and he said, Near a river, under a river, above a river.  He added: I’ve installed a small safe in my stomach where I keep a pencil, a paint brush, and a safety pin.  I didn’t tell him I’ve never left my body, except for the time when my ex-wife kissed a 100-year-old turtle chained to a post.  My father asked me if I happened to have a piece of bread, and I knew that was code for: I’m followed day and night by a raincoat full of crows.  His upper lip twitched slightly as he warned, Remember, the rain in Rome leaves its alibi on the ceiling.  Another way of saying he needed to sleep on a matchbook with a burnt cover, his heart placed exactly over the char.

John Bradley

Acadiana Rickshaws

Rickshaw runners—their dhotis, like parachutes used for navigation, flapped against the Kolkata heat, and I sat there in a machine with an air conditioner, almost embarrassed, and looked at their calves, held up by thin sandals—thin like they’re the streets themselves. There was a black cow amid the smog full of honks and dirt—unbothered by the crow on its back, pecking away with a bright yellow beak. At a light—just ahead of me, a large metal construction pipe on its side where inside were two children, one taking care of the other—the other much younger, wrapped in cloth. No faces—all holiness. There was the sun. I took a picture to capture the beauty of silence amid all the shouting engines, like driving under a canopy of oaks while it’s raining. That was twenty years ago—I don’t have that photo anymore, but I think about that moment every time I’m at a red light here in Acadiana. I was on my way to pick up a bowl of gumbo and a po’boy for my own pleasure, once—or many times. How lucky I am—so spoiled and fortunate. I’ll never see those two again, but I meet them every day, in my mind. It’s quiet now here—just a gentle hum of cars in unison—a humming that brings me back to them. There was no world to them—they were the earth. I bought the gumbo—I took home the sandwich, but I ate neither of them. I put them just out on the street in front my house, an offering, perhaps—to a memory.

Shome Dasgupta

An Ocean Between Markets

Gariahat—Ma bargained her best: eta, she pointed. Oita, she pointed—koto? An experienced index finger, one where I’ve seen before when bhai and I were in trouble. That was how I learned Bengali best, cursing strangers and relatives for practice. Her usual nodded head, feigning to walk away before being asked to return. Na, she’d say with a quick and stern voice, pretending, moving to the next table. We’d make our rounds, bangles, tin cups, and mounds of shawls—the scent of fish roamed  and sauntered—tugging Ma’s hand at the bright lights of colorful toys and games. Soon, we’d be back at that table, our hands full  of brown paper shopping bags, full and stuffed: koto? A pause. Haa, she’d say, tilting her head in agreement. Now, past the ocean: at the Lafayette Farmers Market, jarred honey, pecans—watercolors and plates, fresh cracklin. Saturday mornings, walking from table to table, thinking about Kolkata in December when I learned the craft of buying saris and purses while holding my mother’s hand, lost in language.

Shome Dasgupta


The summer before high school our language would change when the dusk drifted into our blood.  Eventually, all of us were walking inside the dark, only the street’s familiar dogs barking at the edge of a yard.  There were no streetlights.  We could have walked naked, the fingerprints of our dreams undetected. What we saw: failure in the houses of our parents.  It shrank the street until there was nothing to absorb but words.  One father was dead, his suits stored in a hall closet; one father wore suits which were foolishly styled; one father worked shifts and refused Sundays because they asked for suits.  All those suits belonged to us.  We wore them and made ourselves fit into the street.  Walking between the six-house rows, we stopped each night at a field where none of our fathers lived.  The summer began to die there.  By August things crackled when we rolled over.  We could hear yellows and browns in the dark.  Always there was an age in our imagination, coming up from underneath us like an arthritic storm warning—knees, hips, ribcage, those places where the clothes of our lives refused to fit, rising inevitably to our shoulders.

Gary Fincke

On the Eve of the Presidential Election 

My father, one night, was robbed at gunpoint for sixty-seven dollars the same year I watched a friend shoplift records. He’d promised one of them for me, desiring nothing in return but my knowing “Party Doll” had come for free. “There’s the atom bomb now,” he said by way of excuse. “No sense waiting for what we want,” something I remember, just now, because seven days before this store will open, a woman has been caught on camera emptying another employee’s purse, both of them trainees for bath-oil sales, soap and shampoo, beautiful, thick towels. New jobs created, the window sign says, the shelves stocked with grand-opening prices. In the department store next door, there are two aisles for toiletries, purses resting in eleven carts I pass, cameras along the walls.  Eighteen televisions show the faces of this year’s candidates, their last-day voices muted to puzzles.

Today a woman showed me my borough on a screen centered upon her steel desk. She zoomed to my street, enlarging my house until I was afraid my wife would walk naked from the shower or the arms of a neighbor.  Suddenly, my address looked so much a site for investigation I was nearly afraid to drive home.  A candidate’s name circled the violet mug she sipped from.  When she said, “I can’t stop looking,” her voice was full of launch codes. The widespread weapons that may murder us have been diminished to mortgages and stocks and credit cards.  I know a man, now, who pretends to be a customer, searching for shoplifters. Soon terrible thoughts will be photographed. Tomorrow half of these shoppers will not vote. Always I’ve known the world is about to end.

Gary Fincke



C. M. Gigliotti


C. M. Gigliotti

Angela Acosta (she/her) is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies at Davidson College. She is a 2022 Dream Foundry Contest for Emerging Writers Finalist, 2022 Somos en Escrito Extra-Fiction Contest Honorable Mention, and Rhysling finalist. Her writing has appeared in Shoreline of Infinity, Apparition Lit, Radon Journal, and Space & Time. She is author of Summoning Space Travelers (Hiraeth Publishing, 2022) and A Belief in Cosmic Dailiness: Poems of a Fabled Universe (Red Ogre Review, 2023).

bart plantenga is the author of novels Beer Mystic, Radio Activity Kills, & Ocean GroOve, short story collection Wiggling Wishbone & novella Spermatagonia: The Isle of Man & wander memoirs: Paris Scratch and NY Sin Phoney in Face Flat Minor & LIST FULL, a book of lists as poems of utility & humility. He is one of the founding members of the NYC agit-prankster-writer group, The Unbearables. His books YODEL-AY-EE-OOOO: The Secret History of Yodeling Around the World & Yodel in HiFi plus the CD Rough Guide to Yodel have created the misunderstanding that he’s the world’s foremost yodel expert. He produces 2 monthly podcasts: Dig•Scape & iMMERSE!. He’s also a DJ & has produced Wreck This Mess in NYC, Paris, Amsterdam, Rotterdam since forever. He lives in Amsterdam.

John Bradley’s prose poems have appeared in the American Poetry Review, Caliban, Cloudbank, DMQ, Lake Effect, and other journals, as well as in the prose poem anthology No Boundaries (Tupalo Press).  A frequent reviewer for Rain Taxi, he is currently a poetry editor for Cider Press Review.

Gary Fincke’s collections of poems have been published by Ohio State, Michigan State, Arkansas, BkMk, Lynx House, and Jacar. His new collection For Now, We Have Been Spared will be published in mid-2024 by Slant Books. His poems and prose poems have appeared in such places as The Paris Review, Poetry, The Georgia Review, Harper’s, The Missouri Review, and Ploughshares.

Shome Dasgupta is the author of The Seagull and the Urn (HarperCollins India), and most recently, the novels The Muu-Antiques (Malarkey Books) and Tentacles Numbing (Thirty West), a prose collection, Histories Of Memories (Belle Point Press), and a poetry collection, Iron Oxide (Assure Press). His writing has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet TendencyNew Orleans ReviewJabberwock ReviewAmerican Book ReviewArkansas ReviewMagma Poetry, and elsewhere. He is the series editor of The Wigleaf Top 50. He lives in Lafayette, LA and can be found at and @laughingyeti.

C.M. Gigliotti is an American writer based in Berlin.