Dear readers and writers,
I’m the guy who gets the final vote on what you send to Scribes*MICRO*Fiction. Very possibly a mistake on the part of the other editors, but here’s a thumbnail description about who’s giving your words a last read.
I’ve been published a lot. Not always glowingly, but a lot. Over three hundred stories, poems, essays, and six books. Counting reprints, around seven hundred publication credits.
My fiction writing sputtered to life when I was sixty-seven, and poetry began oozing out at seventy-one. I've been rejected far more often than I've been accepted, and I encourage you, regardless of age, to submit to us and elsewhere until people say “yes.”
So, when your poem or story drops into my file, there’s a reasonable basis for evaluation. But not to fear. We encourage new writers, and even if we decline a piece, we’re apt to offer suggestions. We like both dense literary items and horror, but among my many biases is that writers write for readers and not just for themselves. If I don’t understand it, many of our readers won’t either, so lead me gently through a complex poem.
There’s no money involved, but if you are published with us, you get serious credit for being succinct and interesting. Starting in February, our issues will feature an interview highlighting one special contributor for each month.
I hope to see your stuff.
P.S. This is twice as long as what you need to submit.
by Marla Sterling
He’d given Janet a wide price range, saying neighborhood didn’t matter. The apartments she’d shown in Cobble Hill—large, sunlit, well-maintained—didn’t spark his interest. She’d plowed through her A-list of availables, but he’d rejected even beauties with a perfunctory, “No. Not right.” Maybe price really was a problem, she thought, and he’s too proud to say.
She showed him the top floor of a five-story in Dumbo, old but modestly redone. New appliances but pink bathroom tiles.
Greg strode to the open window, shook the rusty fire escape. It wobbled.
“Yes,” he smiled. “This’ll do.”
* * *
Marla Sterling’s writing is a third passion in her life following careers as actor and teacher. She has an MA from Manhattanville College in Creative Writing, and her writing has appeared in Plum Tree Tavern as well as in several anthologies.
by P.C. Keeler
It’s a long way to Tipperary...
Not a song I’ve heard on the radio before, even on the oldies station. Maybe in movies, to show the film was set in World War I. But there it is now. Not sung by an Irish voice but a wistful English accent, looking out across the Irish Sea.
The borders are rising and the way to Tipperary is getting longer. The vote in Northern Ireland will be for reunification, to rejoin Europe and leave England’s world smaller and smaller still.
That’s why I’m visiting now, to see the United Kingdom while it’s still here.
* * *
by Karen Southall Watts
“Would you like some tea, dear?”
I looked down and, sure enough, I was holding an empty cup. I was also wearing soaking wet pajamas and ruined fuzzy slippers. This morning’s fight happened before I even had coffee.
I held out my mug and watched while she poured steaming brown liquid from a large silver flask.
A dramatic exit into the rain had seemed like a good idea. Huddled under the awning at the bus stop, dreading a squishy walk home, I reconsidered that logic.
When I woke up in a cottage that smelled of fireplace smoke and spices, I realized there is no bus stop on my block.
* * *
Karen Southall Watts teaches Humanities at a college in the Pacific Northwest. She writes business and fiction under her real name, and erotica under a secret pen name.
The Scavengers of Lost Time
by Russell Hemmell
Titan’s washed-away reflection on the spaceport panels reminded Gillian of a squeezed orange over monochrome tableware. Under her feet, the surface of Enceladus was as white as a funeral mausoleum. A mausoleum called home, space colony standards.
“Earth awaits.” The Captain pointed at the pilot seat. “I’ll retrieve Gothic artifacts and Corinthian marbles. You?”
Nothing remained of the once-blue planet but solar flares and submerged megalopoleis. Deprived of humans, teeming with fish, a hunting ground for nostalgic souls.
She strapped herself on. “Seashells and broken hearts.”
The Earth-bound Harvester shuttle lifted off, crossing Saturn's rings like a shooting star.
* * *
Russell Hemmell is a French-Italian transplant in Scotland, passionate about astrophysics, history, and Japanese manga. Recent work in Aurealis, Cast of Wonders, Flame Tree Press, and others. SFHWA and Codexian. Find them online at their blog earthianhivemind.net and on Twitter @SPBianchini.
The First Open Mic
by John F. McMullen
As I get ready to read at an Open Mic
I stop to realize that we are very lucky
that the first one of these didn’t
put a death-knell on the whole idea.
As the great Garrison Keillor tells the story—o
and he would certainly have never made it up—o
the very first Open Mic was held
in Florence, Italy sometime around 1300.
The first reader, a bit nervous, stood and said,
“Good evening—I have three poems to read.
My name is Durante Alighieri
but you can call me Dante.”
* * *
John F. McMullen is a writer, poet, college professor, and radio host. Links to other writings, Podcasts, and Radio Broadcasts at his web home, www.johnmac13.com. His books are available on Amazon. He may be found on Facebook, LinkedIn & Skype as johnmac13 and he blogs at Medium. He is also a member of ACM, American Academy of Poets, Poets&Writers, Hudson Valley Writers Center, Mahopac Writers Group, Mahopac Poetry Workshop, Yorktown Poetry Workshop, and Freelancers Union.
An Ice Sonata
by John Grey
Slept with summer’s memory.
But awoke like a man
breaking with warm’s tradition,
greeted by stillness,
bunched at intervals
between distant cracking,
a sun doing no more
than skimming the surface,
glistening the frozen ground.
It’s spring, I’m told,
but everything is holding to form,
the sculptures of some winter Rodin,
a disoriented, even abstract naturalness,
that is still Earth
but only just.
I’m in a camp
by the Beaufort Sea,
with a handful of companions,
a clash of dialects,
but a symmetry of awe
at the scenery outside...
and the coffee is not even poured yet.
* * *
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Orbis, Dalhousie Review and Connecticut River Review. Latest book, Leaves On Pages is available through Amazon.
I Used to Wish
by paul Bluestein
I hear it before I can see it,
the sound of distant thunder.
Then the cloud-curtain opens
and there is a jetliner glinting in the sunlight,
painting white contrails like railroad tracks
on a flat blue canvas of sky.
The passengers can’t see me
staring up, wondering who they are
and where they are bound
but nonetheless knowing that sorrows
and celebrations, triumph and tragedy
are packed together for a few hours,
sitting side by side.
I used to wish I was traveling with them,
on some adventure of my own.
But not anymore I don’t.
* * *
paul Bluestein is an obstetrician and blues guitar player who began writing poetry after joining The Poet’s Salon in Fairfield, Connecticut. His work has appeared in Heron Tree, The Linden Avenue Literary Review, Third Wednesday and Penumbra, among other publications. His first full-length collection, Time Passages, was published in 2020 by Silver Bow Publishing.
The Poets' Salon
If you're looking for more poetry, including a place to read your work, receive critiques, and explore poetic forms, check out The Poets' Salon. Two editors of Scribes*MICRO*Fiction, Edward Ahern and Alison McBain, run this free poetry workshop.
Meetings take place on the second Saturday of every month from 10 a.m. to noon EST via Zoom. More info, including how to sign up for the poetry workshop, can be found on The Poets' Salon website or via Meetup.