The first time and last time: New Orleans, moving through the August heat, sweating off the day. She dripped into a dark street where a voice beckoned, smiled, and pushed her off the wagon into high night flight descent.
Sleeping in the car, wrapped in his leather jacket, she shivered.
Doug Hoekstra is a working wordsmith. His short stories, essays, and poems have appeared in numerous literary journals through the U.S. Hoekstra has two book-length collections to his name: The Tenth Inning (2015) and Bothering the Coffee Drinkers (2007 – winner of an Independent Publisher Award Bronze Medal for Fiction). He lives in the Music City with his son Jude. Hoekstra is also a singer-songwriter troubadour who has released eight “critically acclaimed” albums of original material on labels on both sides of the pond, touring throughout the U.S. and Europe performing at bookstores, coffeehouses, clubs, libraries, pubs, festivals, radio stations, and castles, solo and with combos in tow. Highlights include Nashville Music Award and Independent Music Award nominations, lots of Top 10 lists, and many groovy times. As the pundits used to say, “a lot of people write songs, Hoekstra writes five-minute worlds” (Wired Magazine). See more at doughoekstra.wordpress.com.
A good Buddhist
He attends every meditation retreat
Sitting all day with others
But he gets distracted
It’s her exposed knee
Reflecting a glint of sunlight
Off the polished floor
Where shadows creep
Entering just now
A narrow gap
Between two wide floorboards
Matthew lives in Maine.
Every night on a crag a half-day’s climb above the foothills, a crooked little man dances by a campfire, whispering “Guess my name,” and the echo carries across fields and valleys, streaming into the dreams of children, who grow to believe they’ll someday be able to spin straw into gold.
Over the years Bob Thurber’s work has received a long list of awards and prizes. His most recent book is a collection of brief stories titled “Nothing But Trouble.” His first novel, “Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel,” was recently rereleased. Visit BobThurber.net.
Janie wanted hugs. She demanded them. She pestered me for them.
I hugged her but my arms began to hug her tighter. Tighter. And finally, too tight.
Mary doesn’t need hugs. She just wants a beautiful yard. She buys me shears and spades. Sharp and heavy tools.
She pesters me.
Joe Malone is living alone in Africa in a mud house. His blog is here: http://joem18b.wordpress.com/.
She stood at my door
one black glove, one red
and a lacy half-veil
Good evening, ma’am
I didn’t want what she was selling
but my kids did
Of course, they hadn’t heard
the asking price
the cost-to-benefit ratios
Just the allure
I’ve been there
This story is based on the prompt “one black glove, one red,” suggested by @big_poppa_G.
Editor’s Note: for clearest interpretation, read affect as a noun, which has been, lately, one of my favourite words.