“Hitler the Dating Meister” by Nick Johnson

Sophia Paulson was a fantastic performer. Her body was sculpted and toned by hours spent with physical trainers, her wardrobe was the latest to grace the pages of the fashion industry’s most recognizable trend setting publications. She adorned her near flawless oval face with thin wire frame glasses that added a subtle complimenting component of intellectualism to her sex appeal. She was a young upstart. She had gone to the best schools, had met the right people, and at the relatively young age of 32 had established herself as a respectable practitioner in the field of psychology.

There were tumultuous undercurrents of stress running beneath the well crafted facade however. She had been able to hide them most of her life from just about everyone she knew, everyone except her fiancé. Her engagement, once a countdown to the day she would finally have the final piece of her perfect life, had now become an indefinite and agonizing period. In her attempts to expedite the process she had accomplished just the opposite, and driven him away. Now things appeared more uncertain than ever, and the always cool and collected Sophia had finally shown her vulnerabilities and insecurities. She was aware of just how attractive such qualities made a person appear. Unfortunately it had ran into a vicious cycle. Every time she called or texted she was sure she had just the right thing to say to make this all go away, but afterwards she always walked away with the feeling she had made things worse. Continue reading


Sleepless Stories: The Work of Rachel O’Donnell

SwingingSwinging, 30″ by 48″, acrylic & oil sticks on canvas, 2014

Born in Dallas, Texas, Rachel O’Donnell is an artist based out of the Brooklyn, New York area. With her BFA in Fine Art from Pratt Institute, she has spent the last five years pursuing an art career on the east coast. She has studied abroad and completed courses at Parsons Paris as well as London College of Fashion. Her work has been featured in art galleries, such as, The Painting Center, Westbeth Gallery, Greenpoint Gallery, and in the famed Seagram Building for a Gagosian Gallery sponsored show. She has also been published online by Vice Magazine and featured in the New York Times reviewed Bushwick Open Studios twice. Painting primarily portraits, Rachel O’Donnell’s work is known for its intriguing use of colors and expressionist qualities. Working primarily with acrylic paint and oil sticks, Rachel creates her works at her studio located in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
Continue reading


“The Fat Purple Cat” by Stephen Unger

Along a very small street is a small cafe nestled in the southwest corner of Paris.: Le Bougie. It’s where the sun had casted its warmth on the few flowers that make their home in the flower pots and vases along the widow sill.

The smell of roasted coffee and freshly baked croissants always attracted the artists and writers seeking early morning inspiration.

One such artist was Dameon Ricard who spent the long nights contemplating his next painting. Most of his works adorned the walls of the little cafe. He preferred to keep his work there at no charge. His hands where soiled with a variety of paint stains.

“I wash my hands,” he’d say. “Although not very thorough.”

Continue reading



Michael Alpiner, a resident of Queens, NY, has been a teacher/professor for 26 years. His work appears in online, print journals and anthologies, most notably, Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust.
Continue reading


“perception is anything” by Peter Beda


K. is a lonely boy
doesn’t see too many people
always in his room
smoking weed, playing poker

he doesn’t remember
where he puts things

he barely leaves the house
works hard and saves money
talks a lot, most of it imaginary
troubles ahead

in the outside world
a solitary child is waiting
for Big Brother to come home Continue reading


Selected Works by Elle Kennedy

Tori’s Kandy Dream II

I am a 23 year old British based artist seeking to document my experience of being transgender within a rapidly changing British society. I consider my work to be mixed media and conceptual. In addition to this I seek to illustrate the transgender experience internationally, notably within countries and societies which persecute the LGBTQ community. Continue reading


“Lost River Suite” by Ben Nardolilli


Asphodel, asphodel,
Symbol the silence, the river
You crossed over the moon bank,
The moon bridge, heavy with toil,
Asphodel charming, charm
Again over the pinecone races,
Track through the field your old love

River blues over the sandy cove,
Through the grass, you
Face of all faces and branches,
Seal off the lagoon and dreams,
No barrier but blindness now,
To circulate over the boundary with you,
Together under the same hood at last

You open your hand and crush the pill,
You ask me to taste
Terrible sweetness, the twisted cures,
Terrible the forgetting of the song,
The tongue of the rock speaking,
No dam of dustbin thoughts,
Bring out the forbidden seeds
And save yourself from the season.

Strike up the currents to dance,
Mingle over the roots to excess,
Make tree statues in the shadows,
Stalk and grind your bone footsteps guide,
Bend the wind to the old bow,
Asphodel, asphodel emerge
With your bitter winter wings

This has been “Lost River Suite” by Ben Nardolilli, the fifth installment of our Fractured Retina series.

Ben Nardolilli currently lives in Arlington, Virginia. His work has appeared in Perigee Magazine, Red Fez, Danse Macabre, The 22 Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae, fwriction, THEMA, Pear Noir, The Minetta Review, and Yes Poetry. He has a chapbook Common Symptoms of an Enduring Chill Explained (http://bit.ly/lTj5ve), from Folded Word Press. He blogs at mirrorsponge.blogspot.com and is looking to publish a novel.

Photo illustration by Allison Fabian


Paintings by Marc Moses

IMG_0519 No Time 2 Spare, 36″ x 36″, acrylic on canvas

I used to worry that I intentionally aimed for accessibility where so many of the artists I most admire, like de Kooning, aimed for the more abstract? Recently, though, I’ve begun to feel that if my orientation is toward the observer, it is partially because my transition from pure observer to artist occurred so late, and also because my vantage point is no longer at the center of the map. Now when I reach out to the observer, it is through the angles and abstractions of others who have pushed and distorted the envelope. Art is, for many, a spiritual endeavor. Still, I personally believe that it is in the context of a non-theistic world that artistic expression holds even greater significance. Every artwork does, in fact, represent its own particular affirmation of intentionality over randomness. It was an encounter with color later in my life that triggered my birth as painter, but it occurred decades after I had first learned to sketch, which I did sitting in on life-drawing classes a friend’s father taught at Parsons in my early teens. I developed some facility drawing with charcoal back then, but never considered venturing beyond black and white, where there is an obvious right or wrong. Color would, I worried, only introduce more complications and aware of my difficulty with decisions, as basic as buying toothpaste, it seemed safest to stay away from color.

phpThumb_generated_thumbnailjpgView from the Office, 36″ x 44″, acrylic on canvas

I continued to sketch sporadically over the years. Nevertheless, the feeling of being intimidated by color made it hard to take myself more seriously as an artist. Not until decades later, in the aftermath of a drug addiction and having lost my apartment, I ended up living at a city shelter on the lower east side. This shelter, however, had an art studio that had been sponsored and subsidized by a philanthropist with a true love for the arts. I can honestly say that I spent most of my waking hours at the shelter there in that art room. And given the shelter’s 6:00 a.m. wake-up call for breakfast, I had a lot of waking hours during that year. Rejecting a history of only sketching and drawing in black and white, I started exploring and I soon discovered a passion for color which has kept me painting ever since.

phpThumb_generated_thumbnailjpg-1L.E.S. 2012, 48″ x 48″, acrylic on canvas

Avoiding color was one of those decisions that had made perfect intellectual and logical sense. Also it is a decision which proved to be entirely wrong when I discovered a sensitivity to color that allows me to match a given color or shade. Had my life followed a less tumultuous path, many things would be quite different and it is most likely I would not be a painter, and that would be too bad because painting, more than anything else, really feels like what I should be doing.

To see more work by Marc Moses, visit his website at www.marcmosesart.com.


“Midtown Crosshairs” by Brian Alvarado

Circa- 2:00 AM,

Circa- the West 50s,

and yet impedimentary

flows of traffic persist,

mostly droves of

taxi-worker drones

finally calling it quits.

The transcendent traverse

of shame and defeat

is always an undesirable one.

Because going crosstown then (or anywhere for that matter)

was indicative of specific resolutions.

The internal wake-up call—

the hand spent too long on

the surface of the most

hellacious of stoves,

the reminder that in this dog-eat-
cat-eat-dog-and-cat world,

slow and steady skims the lace,

and ultimately,

the nicest of predators

do finish last.

This has been “Midtown Crosshairs” by Brian Alvarado.

Brian Alvarado is a sonnet, opera, and craft beer enthusiast born and raised in the Bronx, NY.