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Christmas with Stanley-Fiction by Robert Kokan
Gravedigger Sunrise-Fiction by Zach Wilhide
Billy at One O'clock-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Christine's Tune-Fiction by Andrew J. Kolarik
Paid in Full-Fiction by Bill Baber
Is Today the Day?-Fiction by Thomas X. Cross
Dead Bodies Everywhere-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Murphy's Law-Fiction by Edward Ahern
The Ghost in the Factory-Fiction by Jeremiah Minihan
Communication Breakdown-Fiction by Joe Surkiewicz
So Long, and Thanks for All the Texts-Fiction by Jay Adair
Time-Share-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
It's Xmas and Maureen Feels Like Death Warmed Over-Flash Fiction by Gay Degani
Uncle Andrew-Flash Fiction by K. A. Williams
In a Nearby Church-Flash Fiction by Bethany Cody
What Happened after His Head Oozed-Flash Fiction by Michael Dioguardi
Prospero's Last Party-Flash Fiction by Jacqueline Doyle
Slick-Poem by David Spicer
Word Cruncher-Poem by David Spicer
The Life that Lives on Man-Poem by John Short
Pet Shop Story-Poem by John Short
dear tom-Poem by Meg Baird
the canvas-Poem by Meg Baird
A Killing-Poem by Ian C. Smith
Green Grass-Poem by Ian C. Smith
No Joke-Poem by Ian C. Smith
a soft landing-Poem by JJ Campbell
going through the motions-Poem by JJ Campbell
the shotgun still rests in the corner-Poem by JJ Campbell
an earthy affair-Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
death loves the deep-space pirate-Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
robotic mistress-Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
A November Morning-Poem by John D. Robinson
Hard & Heavy-Poem by John D. Robinson
The Storm-Poem by John D. Robinson
The Earth Keeps Sabbath-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
Obituary-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
Rock Whisperings-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
Longing-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Angel of Manslaughter
Strange Gardens
Gutter Balls
Calpurnia's Window
No Place Like Home
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

No Joke

by Ian C Smith


All along the cell block, sang the lawyer to the cop. The old lag’s mimicry echoes in here, voice flat, adenoidal like Dylan’s, threat loaded with false jocularity disturbing my reverie of A-list dealing days, that lush intellectual glamour, my domain high above Market Street, leaning on my balcony wearing a crisp white shirt, sleeves rolled just so, listening to distant sirens, ambulances, cop cars prowling the night canyons of the glittering city, looking down on poor sods whose lives run into dead ends.

Fuckfuckfuck I mutter, sweat sour, reflection in stainless steel blurred, a fallen star, boring months, years, stretched ahead as good, or bad, as finished. Over.  My erratic schooldays, the ballooning differential between brainpower and behavior, kindled my father’s favourite cark and care comment re fees; Flushing cash down the lavatory, remembered now, pissing, desultory, alone yet not alone. I blew bigger sums, actually, I tell the swirling water, than you dreamed of.

My neighbor, this tone-deaf troubadour of trouble, warbles There must be some way outta here; me, brainwave bankrupt to find this way, inflexible hierarchies being such, my last, dumbest, deal is done. Passion, ignorance, concupiscence.  They bludgeoned Fat Carl, another high-profile snitch, brained him with a barbell.      




Ian C Smith’s work has appeared in, Amsterdam Quarterly, Antipodes, cordite, Poetry New Zealand, Poetry Salzburg Review, Southerly, & Two-Thirds North.  His seventh book is wonder sadness madness joy, Ginninderra (Port Adelaide).  He writes in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, and on Flinders Island, Tasmania.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2020