19-37



Better Be

A part-time amateur spirit reader told me,
in her unsolicited opinion,
my work will be published soon.

I sit,
wait
and hope,
for her sake,
that is true
so I won't have to write
a scathing Yelp review.

by Douglas S. Malan

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Douglas S. Malan is a writer who lives. A devilish risk-taker, he signs contracts and checks in pencil and refers to hashtags as pound signs.

19-36



The Traffic

Traffic!  Traffic!  Burning gas,
On the highways nose to ass,
What deranged, sadistic mind
Would jam commuters to this grind?

In what deepest darkest hells
Burns the poisons thou expels?
On what tires dare He roll?
What the wheel that lost control?

And what tolls, what breakdown lanes,
Could speed the neurons of thy brain?
And when thy brain should overheat,
What dread voice?  On what dread street?

What the road rage?  What the gun?
In whose brain should I put one?
What the horn?  What baseball bat
Dares the driver to combat?

When the drivers shout their jeers
And ram the others, sides and rears,
Did He smile his work to see?
Does He run the DMV?

Traffic!  Traffic!  Burning gas,
On the highways nose to ass,
What deranged sadistic mind
Would jam commuters to this grind?

by Bob Lorentson

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Despite not having an MFA, Bob Lorentson persists in writing. When not writing he likes to indulge in his passion for wondering. He is a wonderful wonderer who wonders about nearly everything, including why he would write this silly bio when he could be wondering why he can't find a publisher for his novels. Recent stories and poems however have found homes or are in the adoption process at Sleet, Praxis, Better Than Starbucks, Leaves of Ink, and Quinnehtukqut. He lives in rural Connecticut.

19-35



Calling in Sick

"I cannot go to work today,"
Said middle manager Peg McKay.
"I've had enough of bullshit meetings,
Mindless tasks and smarmy greetings.
My inbox fills me up with dread—
Two thousand emails still unread.
So many deadlines I could cry,
My blood pressure is crazy high.
My jaws are clenched, it's hard to speak,
My headache's pounded for a week.
My nails are chewed to bloody nubs.
My ego's bruised by boss's snubs.
Carpal tunnel wrecked my wrists—
I cannot type more to-do lists.
My shoulders hunch, my back is sore,
There is no strength left in my core.
My pants are tight, I chafe and groan,
I've gained ten pounds this month alone
From being chained to my desk chair.
I want to rip out all my hair.
Then I'd be bald as well as stressed.
I might be clinically depressed.
My head keeps bumping ceiling glass,
My lips are chapped from kissing ass.
My tongue is raw from licking boots.
Do I enjoy my labor's fruits?
No raise, promotion—not one perk.
My sole reward is tons more work.
I've lost all hope, my heart is—what?
What's that? What's that you say?
You say today is... Saturday?
I'm off to yoga, Namaste!"

by E.A. Cockle

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E.A. Cockle is as dedicated to writing as she is to being a good cat mommy. She lives in Toronto, ON, where she is a member of CITADEL. Her work has appeared in Hello Writer, Poetry Atlas, Bonsai Journal, and 2Elizabeths. You can find her on Instagram @ej_colling.