Sunday, 15 May 2022

Exchange of Letters between the Pundit and the Painter by Paweł Markiewicz, new wine

 Bijou among pearlets of an epistolary art

The epistle No. 1 as long SMS dispatched

The 5th May 2022. At the most picturesque dawn


Dear painter!

I woke up bright and early and think of a fulfilled day, that an angel brings me. I have seen your abstract painting und I am entranced. What a superb thing!  I want to hail you. May your picture infatuate the world in an infinite way. This oeuvre is apt to conjure all sempiternity. I like all sorts of the abstract, what is therein. Your painting is abstract-most lovely, id est full of  paints, outlines, light games, fires, what I appreciate greatly (*very). It portrays a leisurely-blue hourlet, (**little tender heaven-like Blue Hour), as if the heaven would scintillate for the sake of the embers, not from this world. The Blue joins with the Red. The clouds reveal hardly, but the sun was shown really pulchritudinous  (*** archaic: lovely) because of the magnitude. With such picture-like arts I can daydream about muse-like paradise. The Abstract rules throughout mindful of moony allure. The painting seems to hold a mirror up to epistemology of images.

Your savant


The letter No. 2 valid as an e-mail-message

The 6th May 2002. During the Blue Hours.


Dear Sir scholar!

I am willing to the dreaming with the red sun before the night. I think about a midnight full immenseness which a muse will bring to me. I have read your academic vision for the sake of a primordial woman and I am avid due to it. What is a balmy thing!. I am ready to greet you. The vision is able to conjure up all the paradise. I like all Abstract, what rests in it. Your academic work regarding an enchantress from the tribe: Homo habilis is far from the actuality and hence abstract. It kindles the fire of philosophers, that is able to turn a wood into a gold. This magician female is wise and eternally moony, to wit: dreamy. One can with her dream of golden pieces. The magic power of the antiquity is more abstract than a witchcraft of the dark age (****better known as: the Middle Ages), because it senses the warmness of the velvet being- knowledge (*****according to Paul the dreamed ontology). One employs an incantation, which a primeval human being scored on rock faces in Thuringia. It’s very gripping. The abstract dominates in the world full of tender sparks.

Your painter

About the author

Paweł Markiewicz was born 1983 in Siemiatycze in Poland. He is poet who lives in Bielsk Podlaski and writes tender poems, haiku as well as longer poems. Paweł has published his poetry in many magazines. He writes in English and German.



Saturday, 14 May 2022

Morning Prayers by Marc Frazier, Black Russian

 This morning when Father Valdez was beginning to enter the sacristy, facing him was a figure, face behind a balaclava, holding a gun. “What do you want?” he asked.

“Anything of value, Padre. Everyone knows you guys have gold this and silver that. Plus

you’re good at getting people to part with their cash.”

Even kind Father Valdez could see where this was headed. He backed away slightly.

“Where you going, Father?”


He suddenly remembered Mrs. Duffy and the few morning mass attendees who arrived early and kneeled like scattered targets in the pews muttering softly into their aged hands. He moved closer to the masked figure, entering further into the sacristy to be out of hearing.

“So, is this where you keep the valuable stuff?” He threw a duffel bag on the floor and motioned with his gun to a large closet. “Get packing.”

“That’s just my vestments and garments.”

“Well, where’s all that cash that falls into your baskets every mass?”

A slight tingle of recognition shuddered through his body, a sense of familiarity with the gunmen. His slight body, his lithe movements, the unsureness in his voice.

 “All the money is locked in a safe in the rectory. I need to get out there and say mass or someone will come looking for me.”

The gunman showed signs of frustration and raised his voice, “Well, you better start coming up with things made of gold or some money from somewhere. I can take hostages if I have to.”

Father was excellent at reading people, and this intruder’s bluster didn’t ring genuine to him, but the stakes were high if he were mistaken. “I don’t think that will be necessary. Why would you throw everything away getting caught doing this?”

“Don’t try fucking analysis on me.” He raised his voice more. “You’re all pedos. You don’t even fucking remember me, do you?”

“I’m sorry but you have on a mask.”

“You guys aren’t usually picky about how a boy looks if you can get them naked at the rectory.”

“I’ve never done such a thing, I promise you.”

“Well, I figure somebody here owes me something for what Father Baldini did to me. The travelling priest you were tight with, the real grabby perv. Come to think of it, you showed up here pretty suddenly a couple of Sundays like you suspected something was going on. Don’t play dumb. Interesting thing about that was you were always too late.”

Father was conspicuously silent on the subject, only reinforcing the young man’s opinion.

He was thinking what a joke it was that his parents named him Juan Valdez, making him the constant butt of jokes. One afternoon when he was away from seminary visiting his family, his father asked to speak with him. His father related a story from when he’d been in Vietnam. Another infantryman had asked him to go into town with him. The reason was vague but he didn’t see any reason not to. Tomas paused, looked down, and continued.

“When we were walking along on the outskirts of town, Troy brushed his hand across my crotch. I pulled away and just told him he was barking up the wrong tree. For the rest of my tour, other guys gave me suspicious looks and avoided me, especially in the showers and locker room. You have to be really careful who you hang out with. Guilt by association still feels like guilt. At least it did for me.”

Juan was speechless, but eventually said, “Why are you telling me this?”

“So many unmarried men in close quarters is never a good thing.”

“Well, I know what I’m all about so I don’t think you need to worry.”

A very awkward silence ensued until Tomas patted his son’s knee and said, “Come on and let’s see what your mother’s cooked up for us.”

            Could you take off that mask so I know who you are. I never harmed you. Father was surprised when the youngster immediately pulled it off. Standing before him was Mrs. Duffy’s nephew who Father had taken under his wing after his father passed away after eighth grade.

            “Patrick, what’s going on? Are you high? Where’d you get that gun? Give it to me and I’ll not say a word. But if you don’t, I’ll call the police.”

            “I’m not giving up this gun. I may be high but I’m not stupid.

            Father noticed Patrick’s blue eyes which stood out like ancient marbles against his black hoodie and black everything else. He had been convinced Patrick could be set on the right path, but this other anger stalled him. Father knew he was trying so hard to be a thug to make him “somebody.”

            “If you put the gun down now, I’ll take no further action and we can talk later. I’m on your side though you don’t believe it.”

            Suddenly, Mrs. Duffy was standing in the doorway, her rosary attached to her like an appendage. “Patrick, what have you been up to? Is everything okay, Father.” She took the gun from him, slipped it into her purse, grabbed him by the ear and led him to HER pew and said, “sit,” and then to Father Valdez, “Let’s say mass.”

About the author

 Marc Frazier has published poetry in numerous literary journals. He has also published memoir, fiction, essays and reviews of poetry collections. He is a Chicago area LGBTQ writer whose books are available online. He is active on social media especially his Marc Frazier Author page on Facebook. Twitter: @marcfrazier45.

Friday, 13 May 2022

The Blind Captain by Nina E. Larsen, espresso

Now after a few years, I can finally tell you. There is a blind captain out there somewhere in the English Channel with his skipper certificate in a plastic folder around his neck. It is supposed to be an immediate recognisable proof of his skills,  in case he crashes into a rock or a boat. You could argue he will not need the certificate anymore if he get’s into trouble, but it seemed a good idea at the time.  I noticed he had trained himself up to become an excellent guesser when we did the sailing training, in many cases he did better than the seeing sailors.


The last day I took him apart from the rest of the group on the boat and told him that normally I would not let a blind man pass the skipper exam, but I had decided to do it. He must look disappointed so the others would not know.

You can blame me for it and say that it is madness, but who has the right to deny an old

man, who has no other choice but to live on his boat, to return to a life on land where he has nothing. No, I told him to stay away from the summer holiday places during daytime and keep quiet with his loud singing, but please be careful out there, and look out for a sailor with black hair and sunglasses, singing Shenandoa somewhere in the middle of the night.

About the author 

 Nina E. Larsen is born in Norway and live in France. She has published work in Norway, the UK, Ireland and the US, been chosen by Billy Collins for an Honorable Mention in the 2012 Fish Poetry Prize. Recently published "Where Salt and Horses live without Man" Finishing Line Press.

Thursday, 12 May 2022

The Last Twirl by Hannah Retallick, luke warm cocoa


Standing in the kitchen, with the cupboard door open, Kevin pushed the whole chocolate bar into his salivating mouth.

They call him an addict – his friends, his family, his mortal enemies – but he isn’t an addict, he’s a ‘self-soother’. That’s what they call babies who make themselves go to sleep, isn’t it? Druggies and alcoholics obliterate everything with drugs and alcohol, don’t they? Kevin wasn’t obliterating, merely swallowing his pain whole.

What was so wrong about that?

And yet, he couldn’t bear binging publicly, which was fine, provided the chocolate bar melted or broke and didn’t become wedged in his–

About the author

Hannah Retallick is a twenty-eight-year-old from Anglesey, North Wales. She was home educated and then studied with the Open University, passing her Creative Writing MA with a Distinction. She has been shortlisted/highly commended in many international competitions and won Second Place with Cranked Anvil Press in January 2022.

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Doing the Right Thing by Gill James, black coffee in a reusable cup


If I take the tram and the bus, it will take forever. I'll need to wear a mask, and I ought to test myself first. That creates a lot of single use plastic. Two tests a week per adult in the UK creates 50,000 cubic metres of plastic waste. 50 average houses full. 50,000 tonnes. 1,500 twenty-foot containers. If I drive I'll be using energy that pollutes and it may be difficult to park. I opt for public transport. Another test soon, then? 

"It's good to talk face to face," they say. "It's nice to meet you in person at last. But your hair's different from your photo."

"I grew it in lockdown." But I have been to the hairdresser since and I cringe as I think how they've replaced their cotton gowns with plastic. 

The energy is different, indeed. It is good to see people in the flesh. Zoom was okay, though.

They provide us with sandwiches in plastic wrappers. There are paper cups and serviettes. But which is worse, detergent in the water system or plastic waste in landfill?

We can take off our masks to eat. We shiver because of the open windows.

My husband cooks our evening meal. He uses fresh ingredients. Why would anyone not? It's easy. We do eat meat. Organic meat. Just twice a week. But it still farts and warms the air. And what of those that have to rely on processed food? With its hyperbolic packaging?

I work in my book-lined study. I am surrounded by dead trees. Alive ones dance outside my window. Are they sweetening the air?

I try to be paperless. I rely on my screens and keyboards. It seems sensible. But. Their light distorts my body clock. And what of all that whirring and huffing from the servers? That compromises the air, doesn't it? And how often is the energy created through fossil fuels? Still?  

Can we be gentler with the earth? Must we always be a doing? I resolve to take more time just to sit and stare. Just to be.   

About the author

Gill James is published by The Red Telephone, Butterfly and Chapeltown.  She edits CafeLit.

She writes for the online community news magazine: Talking About My Generation