On the People’s Business

John C. Wright

I was passing through one of the poorer sections of the country, going toward the capital.

Travel was difficult. There was occasional rail service, and overloaded trains (their roofs overhung dangerously with half-naked children, calm-faced mothers bent beneath drooping bundles) clattered their smoky way through narrow cuts and under stunted bridges—but no buses were running. To go from one tattered train station to another, one walked or hitch-hiked. Despite the recent violence here, people with cars (Europeans, shop owners, or Party Members) nearly always stopped, and nearly always made a detour if you were in need. [Read more…]

Hamlet, reviewed

Gabriel Olearnik

Rzelenko Konstantin was the Prince of Denmark
his peace a parried extinction, clutching at a friend’s head and
whirling a sword stick into the line of the sea
the revolution of circles
two faces forerunning the hot foam
the bones burnished by the gentle rub of sand.
He ached. This choice between
consumptives and skulls.
Absurd. In this hissing hinterland
death by water.

Gabriel Olearnik studied medieval history at University College, London. He is currently an attorney and practices corporate law.

Pulling Free

John Savoie

From the neighbor’s backyard fence
one plank is pulling free—
popping eyes of paired nails,
startled mouth that did not know
it would hurt so much, or guess
that pain could move so slow,
and the deep grain whorling
around that knotted O.
[Read more…]

Outside a Clinic

Mark Amorose

A crimson window framed in black and white
that cracks the slate of February’s sky
lets in a ray of rectifying light
to startle from their sleep the passersby.
What is this great and ghoulish valentine
from which the ruins of a cupid cry
a sanguinary season’s wish? “Be mine,”
the ruddy little body seems to sigh.
Can we still walk in shadow past a place
where lust pays brutal avarice to kill,
and see unmoved a butchered cherub’s face
outside this latest dark satanic mill?
Or has the crimson sign held in the light
turned February’s gray to black-and-white?

Mark Amorose lives in Mesa, Arizona, with his wife, Maria, and their six children. He teaches humane letters and poetry at Tempe Preparatory Academy.

The Theology of Waiting

Genevieve Cunningham

Imagine a flawless note, particular,
Uninhibited, unwound, consummate;
Stroked from tamed wood
To breathe, expand, fill a room,
Press against wall and ceiling,
Seep into the stairwell, seeking
An attic window, escaping;
And pursuit is futile. Listen:
All is silent, vast in the new soundlessness,
Heart racing in the recent absence
Of instrumental sound. [Read more…]

Reaching to the Choir

R.S. Mitchell

For all the symphonic splendor,
how quickly we up and render
a coterie into a crowd
(bumptious, brazen, and very loud)
before the maestro leaves the stage,
despite the blaring program page,
which pleads in large, bold, roman font
PLEASE DO NOT. For it is our wont
to bustle on our breathless routes,
a trodden troop of resolutes,
hacking, feverish, ill at ease,
resolved to hear no melodies
upon this dark atonal night,
no tunes that can’t be heard on sight. [Read more…]

“The Soul of Sci-Fi”: An Interview with John C. Wright

Janice Walker & Eleanor Bourg Donlon

The most widely attributed quote to John C. Wright (at least, in the realm of blogs and livejournals, to which he is a regular contributor) is, “If Vulcans had a church, they’d be Catholics.” This remark brilliantly encapsulates the nature of Wright the writer: a man deeply entrenched in the landscape of popular science fiction—a genre he once described as “one chamber in the sprawling, Gormenghastian pile” of fantasy and horror (and which this interviewer could not resist quoting as any sentence that uses the word “Gormenghastian” ought to be shouted from rooftops)—and gravely committed to the presupposition that “objective moral order” is the bedrock of all good literature. [Read more…]

The Birthday Suit

Tony France

Jimmy Barbucci slept peacefully through the continuing devastation of the Asian markets. He always awoke famished, unperturbed by the streak of bad news from Europe. Whether the markets were up or down, money could be made both ways with a little foresight. His bets were covered—or so he thought. As he left for work one bright summer morning Jimmy Barbucci faced something he didn’t foresee. A tarot card was nailed to the door of his apartment: a young man clad in princely attire dangled upside down from a cross beam. [Read more…]