Tag Archives: Short Story

“Utopia Lost” by M. Earl Smith

Selma. Soweto. Stalingrad. Hallowed ground, places where, in the last seventy years, the forces of humanity managed to conquer the lesser beasts of our nature, bringing us one tiny step closer to the utopia that was promised in Paris, by Marx, so many years ago.

Trayvon. Matthew Shepherd. Michael Brown. Young men slaughtered, either by a police state, or by the same savages that would deny most the basic tenants of happiness, simply because they couldn’t see past their own darkened, fears, and past the fallacies of their own arguments.

Being a Marxist that grew up in the South, I’ve seen the ravages, on both sides, which seem to defy the logic of our existence. After all, how can a species that propagates as well as ours seem so hell-bent on its own destruction? On the flip side, how can the Southeast, marred with the scars of Jim Crow and slavery, play host to some of the most charitable, most hospitable people on the planet?

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“Sometimes I Find Time” by Brad Rundblade

Sometimes I find myself trying not to sleep while I’m biting down on my own teeth realizing I just need to think and breathe. Counting sheep doesn’t work but the thought of counting does.

During times like these I form into a shapeless mass like what happens when water and street oil meet. And although there isn’t much to hold there seeps a feeling deep beneath the thick comforter that is my psyche and waits for sleep as it lingers on to all the colors and shading. There is where I reflect universally. Continue reading


“Dark Wood” by Christine Emmert

Walking proved itself a burden.  Each step moved me slowly towards the darker center of the forest.  I understood it was Time’s forest where no sunlight of redemption could fall.  I had expected wolves,bears, and creatures of deep bites to follow me in.  I had run through the tunnel of light promised to take me to clean death only to find the forest ahead. I had wanted death, not terror.  I had wanted to find the ending, not the continuation.

My heart betrayed me with its loud beat.  Even the trees were leaning in to hear its call.  Even the comet stopped in the heavens overhead.

When he turned, unfolding out of a tree trunk, I stood still.  Finally.

He asked me where I came from and why.  I countered with the same. He smiled.  He invited me into the tree.

“I don’t want to stay,” I said. “I want to go on.”

“Only Time goes on,” he answered.

“Then I want to go back,” I sighed.

“No back.  Time goes straight through the tunnel of light, through the woods, through the hole in the universe, and starts again.  You can hide in the tree.  Time won’t find you there.”

“I found you there,” I laughed, suddenly running with the beats of my heart deeper and deeper until the big mouth at the end swallowed even my concept of flight.

This has been “Dark Wood” by Christine Emmert, the fourth piece in our “Lost In Time” Sleepless Stories series.

Christine Emmert is a writer, actress , director and educator.  She lives at the edge of her own dark wood in Pennsylvania with her husband Richard and her amazing dog, Raja.  Performing throughout the eastern half of USA her plays,  poetry and prose writings have been seen throughout the English speaking world.  Presently THE NUN’S DRAGON (a novella) is out on Amazon Kindle and her blog can be accessed at christineemmert.wordpress.com.


“3am, Here, Again” by Kiernan Norman

The Insomniac Propaganist is pleased to announce the next installment of our Sleepless Stories series. Edition four, “Lost in Time”, explores the several ways in which one might become lost, be it physically, cerebrally, or something in between. Yet time, the consistent drummer, marches on, beating out the minutes and hours that mark our passage through life. What then, would become of a person who got lost in time itself?

Below, please find “3am, Here, Again”, an evocative and gritty piece of prose by Kiernan Norman, the first offering from our “Lost in Time” series.

I try to live Here. Here is humid-sticky-underground-dance-hall hot. I’m caught tight in a mess of limbs- bodies stretch and sway from this to Eden. I have never been more lonely. Together we inhale metallic Old Spice. Together we exhale stale tap water hymns. I am breathing all alone. 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.”

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“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


“Avocado” by Amy Dusto


It was so terrible when I asked that nice guy with the Bluetooth who I always see heating up his lunch in the kitchenette, I asked him if there were any extra spoons around. I wanted to eat this avocado half I had in a baggie that I was kind of hiding behind the coffee maker while I asked, because it was kinda gross, but you know, so delicious.

And, as I’m asking, this cute guy—cute like he’s young and fit, and seeing him in a tie and collar doesn’t make my neck itch (he wears it well)—and of course he’s suave, all “I have a spoon. Let me get it.” Continue reading


“Nile in the Snow” and “A Photograph in Los Angeles, 1987″ by Jack Caswell

Jack Caswell - Nile in the Snow

Jack Caswell – Nile in the Snow

“A Photograph in Los Angeles, 1987″

When poets and prostitutes speak of the glory and freedom of the road, my heart explodes in summer showers of fiery passion. The dancing dream of leather and rubber grinding the gravel sends songs to my soundbox and bakes my beating breast piping hot.

But the parents’ eyes cut a black hole in the world, raging with forgotten dreams and ancient aspirations, every hopeless hope endowed on their children, whose spines already creak from months sleeping in a twisted heap in the back seat. The father’s arms clutch desperately around his bride’s worn, pale shoulders as his gaze pleads for shelter.

I stand here on the ledge, gazing down as a god. The portal remains closed, and, giving up, I turn to run. My palm across my face, I try vainly to remove the skin of a war-torn infant. The gravel itches my feet. Bleeding blisters slither against one another, as they did that night we lost our car, gambled away by my father’s monstrous beard, a universe to parasites.

And all at once I stutter and stop, silent, still, like stepping on the moon for the first time. And I see myself. I am my own, I swear, because tombstones gasp from the soil, waiting on names much like mine. I am my own, I swear, because my old back seat companion fucks a stranger, and a fountain springs out of her riches. I am my own, I swear, because the pale, worn shoulder hides in the mud, and it slowly ceases. Because I am still brave, and I am still compassionate, and I am still a man, I think.

The has been “Nile in the Snow” and “A Photograph in Los Angeles, 1987″ by Jack Caswell.

Jack Caswell is a playwright, screenwriter, and photographer living in Brooklyn, New York.

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