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The Storm-Fiction by Sean O'Keefe
Claire Morgan's Key to Happiness-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Badass Ted's Christmas Adventure-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
As Good on Him as on a Dead Man-Fiction by Jeff Esterholm
Using Your Kit-Fiction by Andrew J. Hogan
The Apathetic Tide-Fiction by Alan Edward Small
Christmas Karma-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Salt Lake City Slaughterhouse-Fiction by J. Brooke
Mean Mama-Fiction by Tom Barker
All You Can Drink $5.00-Fiction by D. L. Shirey
Shell Shocked-Fiction by M. A. De Neve
The Present-Mark Joseph Kevlock
Red Christmas-Flash Fiction by Morgan Boyd
Samurai Santa-Flash Fiction by BAM
Guns and Rose-Flash Fiction by Paul Beckman
Christmas Eve Blow and Doll Houses-Flash Fiction by Luke Walters
Holly, Jolly-Flash Fiction by Mandi Rose
Pineapple-Poem by Cindy Rosmus
Life is Weird-Poem by Meg Baird
Appendages-Poem by Samuel Cardinale
The Means of Production-Poem by Robert Beveridge
Suicide of Living-Poem by John D. Robinson
It's On My List-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
Hoarding Life-Poem by Michael Keshigian
Homeless in NYC-Poem by Michael Keshigian
Death Speaks-Poem by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
Time Stops-Poem by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
House of Un-Reality-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
The Ghosts of Borges-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
The Bitchers-Poem by David Spicer
Voltaire and the Literary Guerillas-Poem by David Spicer
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Angel of Manslaughter
The Gazing Ball
Strange Gardens
Gutter Balls
Calpurnia's Window
No Place Like Home
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Art by Cindy Rosmus 2018



by Samuel Cardinale



A friend once told me that I wear my depression like an appendage.

What kind of an appendage?

A screwdriver on a swiss army knife?

Well, in that case,

the depression should be able to screw in the screws of an Ikea bookcase.

Or maybe it should be able to open a bottle of Coke?

The depression is not an appendage!

It's a big, fat pain in the ass is what it is, and it follows me everywhere we go:

it follows me to the movies,

it follows me to the drive-in at McDonald's,

it follows me to the Dr's office.

Even when I'm chasing the Lithium and Lexipro with some vodka.

No, folks—I don't drink.

I just try to lick the silver spoon

that my parents failed to provide me with, at birth.

I love my sanity. I truly do.

But the truth is, that it clearly does not love me.

Actually, we're in a love/hate relationship with each other.

I've tried to hate it.

I've tried to outrun it—

but it loves me SO MUCH, so DESPERATELY,

that it can now be classified as my stalker.

It's amazing—when I was first diagnosed with "clinical depression,"

I was in complete and utter denial.

Simply because clinical depression meant crazy with a capital “C.”

Even though I'd been in therapy for years at this point,

taking meds made it officially "official;" and

it forced me to take a very long and soul-baring look in the mirror.

What did depression mean for me?

Was I in fact, crazy;

or was I just in need of a mental and spiritual adjustment?

I often wondered if sanity is a permanent kind of existence—or if it is,


a state of being that is characterized by

a much more transient set of natural laws.

One that is in a never-ending state of flux?

Would I eventually morph into my mother?

A Joan Crawford-like maniac

in a series of really bad 70s-era housecoats?

A cigarette dangling perpetually

from a cracked and lipsticked set of lips.

Was I doomed to meet her fate?

Would I not be able to conquer my illness?

After all, she was an undiagnosed manic-depressive.

But of course, back then,

people who experienced sudden and extreme shifts in mood

were usually labeled as "difficult,"

or, at the very least, "Big bitches."

Was it all as simple as that?

Is that what my mom was?

A bitch?

I remember taking guitar lessons when I was seven or eight years old.

She had bought me a brand-new guitar

that ended up high above her head and shoulders

during a rage-filled tirade.

I also remember that it came crashing down

on the hardwood floor and

it shattered into a huge mess of splintered wood.

She could've taught Pete Townshend a thing or two(or three),

about how to demolish a guitar in 10 seconds flat on stage. 

It leads one to wonder

Will I, too, have similar tirades and lift guitars over MY head, and over MY shoulders?

Will I, too, forever brand upon the brains of my children

the horrifying images

of a seven-room apartment being totally leveled

simply because my spouse failed to buy all of the items on a grocery list?

Apparently, eggs and honeydew melon missed on a grocery list

is a trigger for some people.



Sam Cardinale is a writer and visual artist from the Hudson County area. He started putting his thoughts down on paper at a very early age; and that desire to express himself has been with him ever since. This is his first foray into the online literary world.

Cindy Rosmus is a Jersey girl who looks like a Mob Wife & talks like Anybody’s from West Side Story. She works out 5-6 days a week, so needs no excuse to drink or do whatever the hell she wants She’s been published in the usual places, such as Shotgun Honey, Hardboiled, A Twist of Noir, Megazine, Beat to a Pulp, Out of the Gutter, Mysterical-E, and Twisted Sister. She is the editor/art director of the ezine, Yellow Mama. She’s a Gemini, a Christian, and an animal rights activist. She has recently been branching out into photo illustration, under the guidance and mentoring of Ann Marie Rhiel.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2018