We’ve sent out all our acknowledgements for “The Repeat Review,” so if you did not get an email back from us that we got your submission, please contact us immediately!  We’ve begun our reading round and want to make sure that we consider all works submitted prior to our 3/31/14 cutoff. The issue will go live at the end of April. Issue #13 – Slam it! is still open for submissions, and we will be opening up submissions for issue #14 soon! Also, we’re currently on Twitter and Facebook and would love to hear from you between issues.

In the meantime, we are working on some site updates, so if you see cahoodaloodaling go down between now and the end of the month, don’t worry. We are alive and well and are simply working to bring our readers the highest quality issues we can.


“Slam It” Call for Submissions – A special Slam & Spoken Word issue.

Video and audio submissions strongly preferred, but we will also consider written poetry and short prose that fit the spirit of “Spoken Word.”

Audio: Please submit audio as an MP3 attachment. Any selected audio pieces will be turned into a YouTube video, much like our prize winners’, and will be hosted on our YouTube channel.

Video: Already have yours published on your YouTube channel or elsewhere? Please include a direct link in your submission. We happily accept previously published work or recorded performances. Currently unpublished videos may also be sent as an attachment.

Shy? Please consider having a friend or fellow artist record your piece for you. We adore collaborations.

Questions or concerns? Please query.

Submissions due 6/30/14.  Issue live 7/31/14.

Coming Up – The Repeat Review – Still Open for Submissions!


Unlike many publications, we eagerly accept previously published work. Surprisingly, we receive very few submissions of this nature. We want to get the word out.

Our twelfth issue will comprised solely of previously published work (with the exception of cover art, which may be previously published or currently unpublished.) It is necessary to make sure you have permission to republish your work. Please follow our normal submission guidelines and include all previously published information.

Please consider this an opportunity to hawk your book or revisit a work you were particularly proud of. Excerpts or short chapters from longer pieces desired, as well as short stories and poems. Updated versions of the original works A-OK. As always, collaborative work is strongly encouraged.

We Do NOT consider personal blogs as “previously published” as this is a gray area in the publishing world, but DO consider self published books as “previously published.”

When in doubt, please query.

Submissions due 3/31/14.  Issue live 4/30/14.

Our Guest Judge will be “repeat” Natalie Easton, who guest edited issue #7.
Natalie Easton
Natalie Easton is a poet from Connecticut. Her work has appeared at Up the Staircase Quarterly, The Wild Goose Poetry Review, and Foundling Review, among others. Her chapbook, The Leavings, is forthcoming from Crisis Chronicles Press in 2014.

Issue #11 – It Happened in a Flash!

Flash Story #2 by Kelly Nicole

Flash Story #2 by Kelly Nicole

Guest Editor’s Spotlight – Heather’s Favorite

I Want to Laugh by Paul Beckman

I want to laugh. I really want to laugh.

Oh, God how I want to laugh. It’s been so long.

I’d settle for a good chuckle.

I so want to laugh. I want people to hear loud guffaws of uncontrollable laughter. I want to hear loud guffaws of uncontrollable laughter

I want someone to tell me a joke that is so silly I giggle—giggle and giggle uncontrollably.

I want to laugh like when I was a kid at the table and my mother yelled at me to stop or else, and when I tried to stop milk came through my nose. It spurted across the table and I got swatted and sent out of the house but I left laughing all the way.

I want to hear Billy Chrystal, Bill Maher or John Stewart. Bring me some Homer Simpson as my last wish. He never fails to crack me up.

I’ll even take Joan Rivers or David Letterman, but please, someone who is funny. The Three Stooges will do it. I need to laugh. Don’t you understand? It’s not asking too much at this time. C’mon, you owe me. I want to laugh.

All I’ve been doing is crying and I promised myself I wouldn’t. I gave my word to my kids and my word is all I have left and now the footsteps are loud down the hall. The priest comes in first and then the guards and they handcuff my ankles and arms and a guard on each side leads me following the warden with the priest walking behind reading that fucking twenty-third psalm which is enough to make me want to kill myself. There—I almost made me laugh.

I see the gurney with the arms stretched out waiting for me like I’m Jesus so maybe the priest is the right guy for the job. I try to make jokes about the room and the windows where people I can’t see are watching, but nothing comes out.

I don’t want to disappoint my kids with my tears. I pee my pants into the diaper as the guards unlock my cuffs and turn me around to set me on the gurney and I see the priest standing in the doorway not visible to the glassed in watchers closing his bible and setting it down next to him. He reaches into his pants pocket and takes out an extra large pair of glasses and they have huge eyebrows like caterpillars, a big rubber nose and a messy fuzzy mustache and he nods at me and puts them on.

I feel it starting in my stomach and rising up to engulf me and this priest, of all people, wiggles his phony bushy eyebrows as they begin to strap me down and he pops a big cigar in his mouth and stoops over and Groucho-like wiggles it goofily. He discretely waves goodbye with the fingers of his left hand down by his waist. He’s the silliest looking person I’ve ever seen and I can’t hold it any longer.

Flash Story #2 by Kelly Nicole

Grit in Your Eyes by Stephanie Valente

It happens when the subway leaves. The long legs, short little heels and calf-grazing skirt. She’s done up: thick eyeliner, baby blue eyeshadow, a bob straight from Milan or Florence. She could be sweet. She could be venomous. She reaches into her quilted bag, thumbing for a case. But, still she walks. Up the steps with purpose. She clutches the little pouch in her palm. Is it a pillbox? A set of keys? The wind licks through her hair by the subway entrance. Honey blonde. You don’t mind the leisurely stroll to work. You’re salaried. Late is an adjective. She has wide shoulders and a narrow waist. She looks athletic. You imagine her a ballet dancer; she never went to college. You think of her with a messy bun and caked kohl and hot pink lips. You think of her laughing in a crowded apartment with other nubile legs and muscular arms. You think she dreams of Paris. Her nose points up a little too much but you still think she’s pretty. Your wife wouldn’t mind. She is wearing one brown glove, standing by Union Square. You are still watching the blue shadowed blonde. You think you know all of her dreams. A secret housewife or just a bored housewife. Lonely little dancer. She puts on a brass ring and catches your eye. A languid smirk. She holds your gaze, as if to open her mouth. She lifts a waif wrist. The air kicks up, full of spring and promise. The city grit gets in your eye. Look away.

Flash Story #2 by Kelly Nicole
Andromeda by Kira Ciupek

Andromeda 1Andromeda 2Andromeda 3

Flash Story by Kelly Nicole
About Our Guest Editor

Heather Bell

Heather Bell

Heather Bell’s
work has been published in Rattle, Grasslimb, Barnwood, Poets/Artists, Red Fez, Ampersand and many others.  She was nominated for the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Pushcart Prize from Rattle, won the New Letters 2009 Poetry Prize, and most recently was a finalist for the 2013 Consequence Prize in Poetry.  Heather has also published four books, including one of flash fiction.  Any more details can be found here:  http://hrbell.wordpress.com/


Paul Beckman

Paul Beckman

Paul Beckman
writes everywhere and sells real estate in CT. He’s been a paper boy, a pin boy, but not a momma’s boy. He was an air traffic controller, saloon keeper, and greeting card manufacturer. His short stories of the flash and micro varieties are published frequently. Stories published or upcoming in The Raleigh Review, Boston Literary Review, The Brooklyner, Web Del Sol, Pure Slush, Connotation Press, Playboy, Ascent Aspirations, Yellow Mama, Full of Crow Quarterly, Metazen, Connotation Press and My Audio Universe. Soundzine, 5 Trope, Word Riot and other wonderful venues in print, on line & via audio. His published story website: paulbeckmanstories.com

Kira Ciupek

Kira Ciupek

Kira Ciupek began with an electric typewriter and carbon paper, which she put to good use creating a neighborhood newspaper, The Poison Ivy Press. Today, she’s a true Texan “computer wrangler,” who lassos her imagination for stories and poems. Recent work appeared at Flash Fiction-World.

Kelly Nicole

Kelly Nicole

kaleidoscope of color, Kelly Nicole, is an artist born in Southern California and reborn in Northern California. Kelly graduated San Francisco State University where she studied Fine Art and Industrial Design. Her work is playful, explorative, and inspired by dancing light found everywhere. Her work has appeared/is forthcoming hanging at local businesses in Santa Rosa, CA, and at one of her favorite destinations: Lake Tahoe, CA. She may be reached at kellynicoleart@gmail.com.

Stephanie Valente

Stephanie Valente

Stephanie Valente
lives in Brooklyn, New York. One day, she would like to be a silent film star. She is an assistant editor at Yes, Poetry and the fashion editor at Greenpointers. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from dotdotdash, Nano Fiction, LIES/ISLE, and Uphook Press. She can be found at kitschy.tumblr.com.


In Cahoots Contest 2013 Results


Dear cahoodaloodalers,

Happy New Year! We’re elated to bring you our 2013 In Cahoots Contest winners.  Many thanks to our former guest editor, Natalie Easton, for her technical expertise and putting together the video for our first prize.  We’d also like to thank our winners for being so patient while we went through editorial delays.

Our In Cahoots Contest is for collaborative work, only, and first place shares a $50 prize for rocking our Judge’s socks. This year there was no entrance fee, and submissions were judged by Liz Napieralski.

***~***First Place & Winner of our $50 Prize***~***

Summer Salt (Nomad, Nomad) by Meghedi and Jack

[Clip 1]

[Song Verse 1]

I set my good intentions down for an impossible duration to make myself sleep sounder.

My stunned lungs lead to a silence that is such a humid burden

I strip myself naked & rough;
my frail convictions flow out the window,
scattering themselves like acid rain droplets on the sill.

[Song Verse 2 continued]

And I am not a breeze, but a sharp gust -
wind blown into an envelope like a 29-cent secret never meant to be kept caged-in

And you wore a constellation of beauty marks and curls on curls on curls
Like Spanish moss
And dizzy lipstick, the color of a sun, wordlessly godlike
Your hair looked like ground sunflower petals
Like a ritual
And you spoke like a hoarse firework working on its roar

And you were not a mistake, but destroyed yourself before
I was given the chance
to undoubtedly do the same.

You’re a dark spark
Like a fork in a socket
You look a lot like a fork in my eye socket
You’re cutlery cutting into my speech
A silent interruption over otherworldly intercoms
You enter calms raging

What does it mean to lie in someone’s wake?
To be in the ever-presence of another human,
to feel breath short and isolated against an empty chest?

You showed me patience,
but never how to recognize hopelessness
when you stretched it like a glove,
testing my hand at tolerance.

I march across Chicago from
bus stop to bus stop
attempting to prove resilience.
I am fooling no one.

I remember those blue green exhausted irises
Those clumsy incantations, you make believe, you pretend
You pre-tending to each incoming wound
You’re so wound up
Those dandelion seed eyelashes
Lip ring in my ear
Your hair looms

I wish I was colorblind
so I could experience you in black & white.
Admire your ink-stroke eyelashes like artwork,
read your cracked-skin palms as if they were poetry,

and we could hide in the gray areas together,
running from the unplanned
cowering from possibilities.

I tried to save your face by embalming progression
Like drooling matchsticks pausing a fleet of black nights
You could call it a month since we broke up, but,
I measured it in how many epiphanies I’ve skinned alive.

Sore-souls learn the slowest,
but I still let you go on time.

***~***Second Place***~***

“Night School” by Robin Wyatt Dunn and “Man and Tractor” by Sam Barnett

cahoodaloodaling grassgreen
I walk to school over the sunset,
But I come back on the weekends,
When it’s quiet.

The cold hand of time knows my footprints are like yours,
Their dust rime like bearded monographs,
Prepared carefully for the wasting iron of the tractor.

Every sun remembers me,
And I remember every sun,
Each different,
Each unstoppable caressing every birth I can know,
The day I failed,
Which is every day,
I am freak and heretic confirmed,
But that confirmation gives me this,
My road away from all the others.

***~***Third Place***~***

Sinkholes and Volcanoes (Whichever Works)” by A.J. Huffman & April Salzano

I wish you volcanoes the size of Krakatau and just as fierce,
craters that appear dormant, enticing inclines for you to hike.
I wish them bubbling below the surface, deeper than you perceive,
exploding in rings of fire under your feet, the river of lava
carrying you away from the sea, your charred body finally found,
unrecognizable. Even tell-tale teeth melted into sand.

I wish you sinkholes the size of those in your conscience,
monstrous gaping maws that will swallow you, suck
you into the ground when your apologies fall
on unreceptive ears. When you have been caught
with your hand in something that looks nothing like a cookie
jar, when you have no place to hide, I wish its shadows to keep
you out of my sight, give you space to lick imaginary wounds.

I wish you volcanoes masquerading as lakes. You, landing
in a foreign country, hoping to explore something unique, find bathers
just like you, slowly melting in a molten Jacuzzi without warning.
I wish you taken by surprise, cooked from without, your last thoughts,
regret and remorse, a painful need to do it all over again just
when it’s too late.

I wish you sinkholes so deep you land in China.
Emerging muddy and covered in visibly appropriate slime,
maybe you will fare better in translation, lack of full comprehension
might help you convince strangers that you are not
an oversized reptile, hell bent on destruction. Though I bet
the smart ones will see you and run
screaming in whatever direction you aren’t going.

I wish you volcanoes with selective gatekeepers,
thin, tired mountain men with consciences, saving
those who deserve the chance to flee to village safety. I wish you chased
by rock and rivers thick as blood, left behind to perish in flames,
to choke on smoke as dense as the lies you have told
to get what you need at the expense of people who were only trying to help.

I wish you sinkholes black as midnight and just as transformational,
that final toll expelling your magic, revealing your distasteful beginning.
You will see me standing on solid ground looking down, holding contract
for wand’s retraction. Poof! Cheshire grin grows whiskers. Poof!
Surfer’s hair turns gritty, course, bursts into patches of non-descript gray.
Poof! Your tail is showing. Poof! Disease-infested rat is all that is left.
Proof. I will not be surprised.

I wish myself a volcano to burn the last of your prints from my body,
my peaks and valleys filled with lava that petrifies
into smooth stone. I will watch your contamination rise from my mouth,
exhaled dioxides released to the sky, projected high but weighted
with gravity, landing sterile in the farthest corner
of a country undiscovered and cruel.

I wish myself a sinkhole to swallow memory. I will fill it
on my knees, finger down my throat. I will expel you, propel you,
vomit for the gorge. I will not move until you are gone, every drop,
every bit, every lingering odor. I will watch you slide down the sides,
refuse to listen to final pleas, screams, tears turned on in desperation,
panic. I will smile, find comfort in the feel of shovel against my hands,
endure the months of labor necessary to erase the last of your tracks.

About Our Guest Judge

Liz Napieralski Liz Napieralski lives in the high desert of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and has finally resigned herself to the fact that she’s not leaving anytime soon.  If you were to steal her purse on any given day, you’d find a book or two, a whole lot of pens that she’s not that nice about sharing, a notebook shamed by all the scraps of paper she inevitably writes on instead.  (And not much cash.  So don’t steal her purse.  It’s not worth it.)

Liz has worked as an editor and writer for Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine, FlagLive!, Santa Fe and THE magazine.

Her work has recently appeared in The LegendaryNavigating the Heavens, and The Más Tequila Review.


Sam Barnett is an animator, writer and photographer living in Los Angeles.  Born in Colorado, he is a graduate of the University of Southern California.  You can find him at www.growingobjects.com.

Robin Wyatt Dunn lives in The Town of the Queen of the Angels, El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles, in Echo Park.  He is proud to have been born in the Carter Administration.  He is a Member of the Horror Writers Association. You can find him at www.robindunn.com.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA.J. Huffman has published five solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses.  Her sixth solo chapbook will be published in October by Writing Knights Press.  She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and the winner of the 2012 Promise of Light Haiku Contest.  Her poetry, fiction, and haiku have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, Kritya, and Offerta Speciale, in which her work appeared in both English and Italian translation.  She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.  www.kindofahurricanepress.com In addition to their solo work, A.J. and April have been writing joint poetry for over a year.  They have co-authored a chapbook, Once Upon a Time, that is currently available for download at Barometric Pressures Author Series.

Jack is a Philadelphia native poet who has been active for 10 years and is in his early twenties.

Meghedi (muh-hed-ee) is from the ever-so allusive windy city of chicago. Muses tend to strike her at odd times during the day/night,and she tends to write about historical events more oftenthan one would assume. she has been published numeroustimes in her school’s literary magazine and mentors elementary school-age children in the craft of weaving words together.

April Salzano Head ShotApril Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania and is working on her first (several) poetry collections and an autobiographical work on raising a child with Autism. Her work has appeared in Poetry Salzburg, Pyrokinection, Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, Deadsnakes, The Rainbow Rose, The Camel Saloon and other online and print journals and is forthcoming in Inclement, Poetry Quarterly, Bluestem and Rattle. In addition to their solo work, A.J. and April have been writing joint poetry for over a year.  They have co-authored a chapbook, Once Upon a Time, that is currently available for download at Barometric Pressures Author Series.

cahoodaloodaling Changes, Issue Delays & Pushcart Nominations


Dear cahoodaloodalers,
       I was hoping to have better, more cheery news to share, but unfortunately our special issue delay is going to continue for a bit. Kate has sent me an email to  pass on to all of you:

Hello guys. I am here to tender my resignation
from cahoodaloodaling.  The past year has been a mess of liver failure
& cancer & compromised immune systems & a bunch of other technical
sounding crap.  The fact is I cannot reliably keep up my end of
editing & publishing here at cahoodaloodaling.  Our lovely & talented
Raquel Thorne will be in charge until she finds another permanent
editor but I am sure the best will come from here & all the incredible
work everyone continues to send in.  I will miss being a part of the
team & your writing lives.  Love & words to you all.

Kate Hammerich

Kate, who has been the technical brains of our operation, will be sorely missed. Hopefully, at some point in the future, she will be well enough to come back on board as a main editor; however, in the mean time, she has secured us a boon of a guest editor for our upcoming January Issue! (We are still accepting submissions.) It Happened in a Flash will be guest edited by Heather Bell. I’m personally very excited as I’ve been following her poetry escapades for years. Here’s one of my personal favorite interviews.

Heather Bell Heather Bell’s work has been published in Rattle, Grasslimb, Barnwood, Poets/Artists, Red Fez, Ampersand and many others.  She was nominated for the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Pushcart Prize from Rattle, won the New Letters 2009 Poetry Prize, and most recently was a finalist for the 2013 Consequence Prize in Poetry.  Heather has also published four books, including one of flash fiction.  Any more details can be found here: http://hrbell.wordpress.com/

I am also excited to formerly announce our Pushcart Nominations for the year (with links to the issues in which they appeared):

Man in the Moon” by Camille Griep
“Mother’s Back” by Karen Jakubowski
“little worlds” by Art Heifetz
“Little Yellow Horses” by Neil Ellman
“Marianne” by Maude Larke
“Senior Citizens at the Retirement Center Discuss John Ashbery’s ‘More Reluctant’” by Faith Paulsen.

I hope to get our special contest issue up soon, but please bear with me as I learn the technical ropes and while we have staffing changes. Please keep Kate in your thoughts as she continues to battle health issues.  And as always, those of us on staff appreciate getting to read and publish your work.


Prompt #11 – It Happened in a Flash!


We’re happy to announce that we’ve settled on both our Pushcart nominations and our winner and runner-ups for our In Cahoots contest. We’re looking forward to sharing them with you in our special issue in November. In the mean time, we’re putting up our next prompt.

Issue #11 – It Happened in a Flash!

Submissions due December 31st

Our 11th issue will be dedicated solely to short fiction. Send us your best Flash. We’re not going to be too nit-picky about what constitutes “flash” – but we’re not looking to publish short stories this go around. Tell us: what happened in a flash? We’re looking for brief, poignant moments. Minute stories that will stick with us.

Please review our submission guidelines and submit your best flash for our January issue!

Issue #10 – Inspired by the Artist


Dear Readers:

Over the last ten issues, cahoodaloodaling has gone from a  very small online press to surviving past its first year – a feat for a small press, many of which do not last long out here on the internet. As we’ve grown, we’ve gone from receiving primarily submissions from yet unpublished poets to having a mailbox of submissions from both fledgling poets and veterans.  It has been incredibly exciting for us watching our readership and amount of submissions grow; however, that has made our job harder. There were submissions we loved, but could not include in this issue. So let us know what you think. Or, better yet, leave the author some feedback in our comments.

Submissions will be closed until November/December as our next issue will be dedicated to our In Cahoots Contest winner and runner-ups. In the meantime, tell us what YOU want to see as prompts up at cahoodaloodaling – right now we are considering “Where I’m From” and a special “Prose Only” issue as future possibilities.


Raquel Thorne


Guest Editor’s Spotlight – Jessica’s Favorite

Aubade by C.J. Matthews

Under the darkened sliver of dawn’s sleek seam
Morning possums, awakening, but not awake
Poised on the high cliffs of daybreak, motionless
In an imminence that longs for light.
Now my thoughts flare in a tarantella of fireweed worries
Then settle heavy into the lonely proposition of night’s edgy allure.

Under the lingering sickle of a wandering moon
When 4am’s chameleon reversals orphan distractions
When stiff winds spread songs sung into the flat face of an aged night
When all year long, I am fluent in the bald language of winter
Its terrible pleasure grows stronger, sadder since you were lost.
Rushed away, you now voyage starlight alone.
I worry you are burdened by my smoldering grief.
Do you remember the way your death set fire to our maps?
Now I carry only rocks in my disappointing guts
Leaving no trail of crumbs
Only a hard comma grimace bedraggling my aging face
A face you may no longer recognize.

Sometimes your voice comes, imagined:
Hey sweetie sweetie hey
And then I quicken my song to you
Eager to apologize
The ground note of my milled sorrow: regret
I promised you bravery in your absence
Yet the slow, ascending syllable of my sorrow
Disturbs your peace, I suspect
My displaced love lugging its shadow of sadness still
Into the dark, drape-drawn room.

Shelled like a tortoise was your goodbye
Your leave-taking, even to the last, oblique
Yet my love for you refuses easy dispersal.
Your grave is, to you, a small unfocused blur–
An anaesthetic link to sight, to sound.
To me, your grave is the call for all extinction
Its reality having travelled the map of my soundless dark
Never arriving at my not-quite-nearly-half-drunk heart.

I was inspired to write “Aubade” by reading a set of aubades the poet Michael Morse shared with me in Iowa City, including “Aubade” by Linda Hull, “Waking, 2:34″ by David Wojahn, “Appalachian Aubade” by Traci Brimhall, “Aubade” by Catherine Barnett, “Aubade” by Terese Svoboda, “Aubade in Autumn” by Peter Everwine, “Leave-Taking” by Louis Bogan, “Aubade” by Devin Johnson, and “Aubade” by Philip Larkin. The aubade is a poem born in the wee hours of the morning that features a quiet farewell to a lover or loved one. A special form of poetry, the aubade strikes me as complex and meditative, lonely and longing, in a loving sort of way.

C.J. Matthews (not pictured), a teacher of writing and a facilitator of writing groups for nearly two decades, earned her B.A. at Cornell College and her Master’s at the University of Iowa. She adores reading, writing, traveling, live music, elegant food, bold red wine, and her two little dogs, Hercules and Hucklebee. Sometimes, like Emerson, she is glad to the brink of fear. Mostly, like the rest of us, she’s simply grateful to be alive. C.J. is a managing editor at 3Elements Review and her poetry will appear in the October 2013 issue of Spoilage Magazine.


Little Yellow Horses by  Franz Marc

Little Yellow Horses by Franz Marc

Neil Ellman
Little Yellow Horses

In the golden dew
of the dappling sun
little yellow horses
graze on yellow grass—
it is a morning
in October
and they know
the scent of autumn
winter on their heels
and they must move
to greener ground.

What struck me about this painting was its simplicity in creating an
image without pretension or embellishment. I tried to write the poems in the
same way.

Neil Ellman

Neil Ellman

Neil Ellman
discovered his love and poetry and art while in high school. Because he fancied himself a poet, and quickly realized that the had no artistic talent whatsoever, he devoted himself to the literary arts. However, he did not write seriously for another forty years until after his retirement from a long career in public education. It was only then that he discovered a way to combine poetry and art, and it was only after that he discovered a word for it–ekphrasis. As a result, he has published more than 800 poems, more than 500 of which are ekphrastic, in print and online journals, anthologies and chapbooks throughout the world.


Faith Paulsen
Senior Citizens at the Retirement Center Discuss
John Ashbery’s “More Reluctant”

I was doing okay until I got to the
wake-up call part. Is he famous, this
Ashbery? Rambling on about
nobody knows what –
That’s what
he’s doing. Is all his poetry like this?
I thought there were going to be snacks.
What’s that word ‘spalls?’ Did anyone bring a
dictionary? Maybe it’s a typo.

I think he’s talking about a dream.
I like the part about out of control
but mature.
Sometimes I feel that way.
Don’t we all? What’s that noise?
Lummox? What lummox? It’s just Al,
winding the clock. No, I mean

in the poem. How old is this Ashbery guy?
I like the part where he says,
When I was young, I thought of myself as
Maybe he’s visiting his home town
after being away. He says it’s changed.
observe customs of the spruce of the year—
It must be Christmas. Why’s he talking about pee
all of a sudden? What’s an
awful leaf and how is it congruent?

You brought it– You explain it.

Maybe it’s not that
I’m stupid; maybe he’s just a bad poet.
Maybe this is one of his rejects.
It was in the New Yorker. It must be good.
Who says? Wait. Do you think– maybe you’re supposed to
not analyze it, just kind of
feel it, like
In the last line – it’s not easy
for the poet either.

A few years ago my mother invited me to accompany her to a class on American Poetry being taught by a retired teacher at her retirement center. I was impressed with the quality of the discussion on Yeats and other poets, but when it came to John Ashbery, even the teacher was confused. I simply took notes on the discussion, finding them perceptive, bright, poignant and delightfully honest.

Faith Paulsen

Faith Paulsen

Faith Paulsen
works full-time as all of the following: mom, wife, pet lover, insurance customer service rep, volunteer and writer – and possibly more, depending on the day of the week, not necessarily in that order.  Her work has appeared in journals and collections including philly.com, Apiary, Wild River Review, Literary Mama, Blast Furnace, Musehouse Journal, three Cup of Comfort collections, and four Chicken Soup for the Soul books including the Chicken Soup for the Soul: Parenting on the Spectrum. She lives in Norristown, PA.


Deborah Edler Brown

you make me want to hold my breasts
and keep them where they belong.
What is this fury
and fascination with women?
Multiplying and dividing
lives, loves, lines and geometry,
separating east breast from west,
nose from mouth,
like households:
one here with a wife
here, with a lover and child,
moving together
but never whole.
I weep for your women,
hung in oil and fragmented.
I hold my breasts in this bustling gallery
look at image after image
with arms wrapped tightly around me
before body parts fall off in despair.

True story. I was walking through the Picasso exhibit in Los Angeles and realized that I had my arms wrapped around my breasts, as if to keep them where they belong. I made a joke about it, then pulled out my notebook to record the line. The whole poem spilled out.

“Cubism” was first published in Kalliope, where it won the 2005 Sue Saniel Elkind Poetry Prize, and then again for Moontide’s Press Poet of the Month in September 2010.

Deborah Edler Brown (not pictured) was born in Brazil and raised in Pittsburgh. She was the 2005 winner of the Sue Saniel Elkind Poetry Prize, and her fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart. She loves to dance…in body, imagination, and in words. Links to her work and performances can be found at www.DeborahEdlerBrown.com.

m.f. nagel
Anaïs Nin. A Poem. Unread.

They Walk
Fresh from the Fire.
From the head
Ambered souls.
One- hundred pairs of ambered feet.
Pale they walk.
Fresh from the fire

A tis’it a task ‘it
A little straw basket.

A Poet killed by other poets.
A poem. Unread.
Anaïs Nin.

She knows them.
The named. And unnamed.
Dancers Flamingo
In Harlem and Spain.
Memory is a great betrayer.
Betrayer between
The naked and the dead.
A poem. Unread.

In the forests of
Getting and forgetting
Old trees sing
Eve’n tide vespers
In tones of green greys.

Weird wing’d Nightwinds
In turquoised whispers.

Woman as houseboat.
Une oeuvre inachevee,
A poem.
Anaïs Nin.

m.f. nagel (not pictured) lives in Alaska.


Najai Khaled
The City

these are the things I leave behind:
love like a headstrong art,
a barrage of skyscrapers lined up
like battleships,
a strange, surreal cityscape
with furtive alcoves and concave places
in which I hid my secrets.

perhaps one day I will
walk these streets without
stringing regret along at my heels—
I will greet the weeds
that struggle through the concrete
like lovers.

Inspired by The City, a song written and performed by Unwoman.

Najai Khaled

Najai Khaled

  Najia Khaled is a poetess who enjoys reading, playing ukulele, and drinking more tea than is probably strictly good for you. She attends University of Rochester and is working on a double major in English literature and astrophysics, the latter of which finds ways to sneak into her poetry rather often. She has been published by Creative Communication, Anthology of Poetry, Inc., and Word Smiths, among others, but the best place to find her is at toxic-nebulae.deviantart.com. Some say that she can be invoked by sprinkling glitter over a field of wildflowers at dawn, but these rumours have yet to be confirmed. She is a former contributing editor to cahoodaloodaling.


About Our Guest Editor

Mighty Jess

Mighty Jess

  Jessica Lindsay began poetry the same way she began photography: when someone told her “Hey, you’re pretty good.” Of course, “pretty good” is seventh grade was actually morbidly bad, and it wasn’t until her junior year of high school that she realized that poetry could be something more than teenage angst. So her poetry turned more into snapshots of her life, and when her interest in photography grew, her writing hit a rather large block that she constantly struggles to get through. Well, that and inner peace doesn’t really give an emotional writer much to work with.

To date, all of her favorite poems happen to be the ones about her very dysfunctional family. Figures. She is currently trying to write a novel, but that is forever a work in progress simply because she always wants to skip to the “good stuff”.

She is very shy about people in her life reading her poetry, so it can only be found on Jessicaconk.deviantart.com. She was once published in her community college’s lit mag and got honorable mention for a horrible story back in eighth grade.


“Inspired by the Artist” Contributing Editor Announcement


To submit, please read our current prompt page and submission guideline page.  Submissions due September 16th.

Kate and I are happy to announce that our contributing editor for Issue#10 – Inspired by the Artist – will be Jessica Lindsay!  We would have shared the good news with you earlier, but we were too busy meeting up in IL doing this and this:


Raquel & Kate


Kate & Raquel













And generally doing no editing at all.


Mighty Jess

Jessica Lindsay began poetry the same way she began photography: when someone told her “Hey, you’re pretty good.” Of course, “pretty good” is seventh grade was actually morbidly bad, and it wasn’t until her junior year of high school that she realized that poetry could be something more than teenage angst. So her poetry turned more into snapshots of her life, and when her interest in photography grew, her writing hit a rather large block that she constantly struggles to get through. Well, that and inner peace doesn’t really give an emotional writer much to work with.

To date, all of her favorite poems happen to be the ones about her very dysfunctional family. Figures. She is currently trying to write a novel, but that is forever a work in progress simply because she always wants to skip to the “good stuff”.

She is very shy about people in her life reading her poetry, so it can only be found on Jessicaconk.deviantart.com. She was once published in her community college’s lit mag and got honorable mention for a horrible story back in eighth grade.

Prompt #10 – Inspired by the Artist



Submissions due September 16th

For our 10th issue, we want great writing inspired by other great (although perhaps unknown) art. Did another poem inspire you to write something? Did a photograph inspire a short story? If it’s a famous piece of work, say Van Gogh, make sure you include the picture for us, otherwise, please give us a description of the work. Other “inspirations” can include a song or album (send us a quote!), or perhaps it’s an artist’s life or style that inspired you.

Please review our submission guidelines. Also, for each submission, please let us know a little more about it. Consider: How did this work inspire you? Where were you? What did you want to demonstrate? Maybe it was a poem you’d wanted to write forever; perhaps it was a short story that was inspired after the 103rd time you’d heard that song on the radio.

Here are some of our favorite examples:

Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes by Billy Collins
Love by Heather Bell
Why I Am Not a Painter by Frank O’Hara
Jack London by Red Shuttleworth (“Look Inside” Page 28)

We look forward to your poetry and prose!


Also, we are still taking submissions for our collaborative contest.  Check it out! http://cahoodaloodaling.wordpress.com/in-cahoots-contest/

$50.00 first place prize, no entrance fee.


Issue #9 – Speculative


Editor’s Note

We’ve made some changes to our formatting, and will now be posting our newest prompts under our “Current Prompt” page, which we will be updating shortly with our next issue’s prompt, which will be “Inspired by the Artist.”

Our Speculative Issue was a blast to read submissions for, and we hope you enjoy what we’ve selected, which ranges from the more traditional science fiction to the more silly and absurd. Please feel free to leave comments for our cahoodaloodaliers to read.

Lastly, we wish to apologize for the delay. Word press wouldn’t allow us to insert photos on the 31st, and we just didn’t want to publish our issue without them, but two days later and we still haven’t managed to get them to work. So this go around, we’ll be sans photos, which is really a shame. Just take our word for it: this issue is full of lovely people.

-Raquel and Kate

Guest Editor’s Spotlight – Najia’s Favorite

Martin Elster
The Loneliest Road

Another planet grows and shrinks away,
the heliosphere an ebbing memory,
you streaking like a wayward gamma ray.
Around your vessel blooms a potpourri
of comet, nebula, dark energy
rushing you through the void, accelerating,
all you’ve ever cared for quickly fading.

What road is lonelier than the universe?
For decades one could sail and never stumble
across another soul. Things could be worse.
Distracted, you could accidentally bumble
too close to a cosmic gullet and wildly tumble,
yet really no more lost than where you coast
past eagle, spider, witch-head, horsehead, ghost.

Though wandering through space entails great risk,
you have no choice — the sun’s begun to swell.
While moving at velocities as brisk
as jets of interstellar wind, you smell
the rabbitbrush, the desert breezes, dwell
on sounds of soughing yucca palms and creeks,
glimpse bighorn bounding boulders, rusty streaks

of sunsets. As you near the edge of space,
you think of the stone tools your forebears used
while breathing mayfly lives, a vanished race
in tune with wilderness; and, though you’ve cruised
for torrents of time now down this road suffused
with radiation, your single mutant eye
still sees, not stars, but fireflies in July.

Note: The title alludes to Highway 50, The Loneliest Road in America.

Martin Elster lives in West Hartford, CT. His poems have appeared in journals including The Centrifugal Eye, The Flea, Mindflights, The Speculative Edge, Thema, Victorian Violet Press, and in the anthologies Taking Turns: Sonnets from Eratosphere and New Sun Rising: Stories for Japan. His poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Rhysling Poetry Award.


Denny Marshall

Criminal robots
Police shout through the door
“Is anybody chrome?”

The last bio Denny E. Marshall did the editor said if she had to grade it; she would give it a “D”. History will show both Denny and his bio were bio D-grade able. Denny does not have a Facebook page or Twitter account but does have a website with previously published works.


Richard King Perkins II
Heroic End

You have read all the stories about Captain Dagger
and his trusty sidekick, Switchblade.

Except for the sharpened carapace
he is more like you than most would believe. 

When the sinister Mr. Machete
gets the drop on our heroes with his flying guillotine,
you know two pages in advance
that the only thing needed is a temporary
reversal of gravity to save the day.

A localized distortion of common physics causes
your water clock to be off by exactly twenty-four hours.

In the early stories, The Captain is a roguish sort,
who gets all the girls you want him to get
while many subtle references
regarding his ample endowment are made.

You’ve done the math, and sadly admit you could never
come close to measuring up to that degree of manliness.

To become a true hero in his own right,
the later stories send Switchblade off to Mongolia
to train with The Desert Ghost Warriors and become
an initiate of a mysterious fighting style
that has no defense in the western world.
Surprisingly, his newly acquired Fēng de Quántóu method
is met with resistance on more than one occasion.

Switchblade’s minor failings help you to cope
after you’ve flooded your apartment with bathwater.

Meanwhile, The Captain has a couple of undertakings
of his own which go poorly.
In The Adventure of the Hermit’s Cave, our hero
is hypnotized and nearly made to walk into a bottomless pit.

You were hardly surprised to learn that The Captain
was only pretending to be under the control
of the Dark Hermit of Abyssinia.
It seems that chrome-plated armor
is a natural insulator against suggestion and mind control.
You take measures to ensure a lifetime of independent thought.

It was also a little disappointing to discover that the Captain
was to find his one true love
held captive in a small alcove of the hermit’s cave.

The Captain swore off his indiscreet ways
and would stay true to his girl Ruby until his final days.
Even when Switchblade returned to The Captain’s side,
things would never be the same.

You got the autographs of Ward West and Burt Adams,
the original Captain Dagger and Switchblade,
at a comic convention.  Strangely, not many people
seemed interested in their golden-age booth.
The saga of our heroes comes to an end when
Ruby gives birth to a son named Dirk,
and the Captain, now calling himself Douglass Dodgson,
retires his indestructible body armor to become a family man.

You know that Dirk Dodgson grows up to become the chronicler
of the stories you so dearly cherish. This ending was inevitable,
but it still seems heartbreaking and unfair.
Switchblade could never give up the old life.
You imagine him sometimes, atop buildings at night,
blending with shadows, striking dynamic poses,
hoping someone will remember him as the hero
he once was, or at least had hoped to be.

Your own story has ended as well. 
When the landlord’s crew comes to clean out your apartment,
 there is no context for understanding.
They briefly try on the strangely insulated helmet and suit
 you constructed and wore for most of each day.
Without you, your treasure has become garbage
to be buried in the earth forever
and the pulp lives of Captain Dagger and Switchblade
are enshrined in the same casket as their last devoted fan.

ichard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He has a wife, Vickie, and a daughter, Sage. His work has appeared in hundreds of publications including Prime Mincer, Sheepshead Review, Sierra Nevada Review, Fox Cry, Two Thirds North and The Red Cedar Review. He has work forthcoming in Bluestem, Poetry Salzburg Review and The William and Mary Review.


John J. Brugaletta
A Different Beginning

What if
instead of us poor primates
learning how to speak,
the squids already could,
rippling their chromatic sentences
while scooting like hovercrafts
across the California beaches,
setting up tilapia farms
among the bush lupine,
raising more articulate offspring
and discussing amid dinner
the reddening expense of colleges.

The youths would leave
the blood-soaked sand
of scales and tails of fish
to be with their friends,
occasionally causing an argument
between two Humboldt types,
and one entire family would be
wiped out just because it could be done.

I guess it doesn’t make much difference
what assumptions you begin with.

John J. Brugaletta lives on the redwood coast of Northern California, where he feels free to indulge his addiction to writing and walking his dog among the cougars and assorted dealers. He is retired from Cal State Fullerton, where he edited and published South Coast Poetry Journal while see two of his poetry collections reach print. A third collection, Mountaineering by Candlelight, is currently a finalist in a major contest.


Camille Griep
Man in the Moon

The summer heat shimmies off the roof of the squat grey building. A small placard on the door reads “Mary Lamb Employment Agency.” Inside, I’m intercepted by a big blonde in a denim dress and cowboy boots.

“Sit down. I’m Mary,” she says. “You know, the broad with the sheep.”

I laugh. She doesn’t. I sit. She flips her dry curls from one shoulder to the other.

“Says here you’re Felix. That right?”

I nod. The job posting read: “Wanted: Caretaker. Nightshift. Animal husbandry. Travel required.” I’m 35. There’s no one to make dinner for, even if I could afford dinner. Which I can’t. Which is why Rufus left months ago, saying he couldn’t ‘do this anymore.’ Now I can’t do it either: sit at home dreaming about the kids we’ll never adopt, trips we’ll never take, and goals we’ll never realize. I barely care what the job is, as long as it keeps this insistent ache at bay.

“So, Felix, what are your qualifications for this position?”

“I did my undergrad in biology and my masters in sociology. Not exactly a caretaker, but I’m pretty sure I’m up for it.” I wink at her.

“You think so, do you? Tell me about your previous job.” Her office smells a little like manure, though her boots look clean.

“I’ve been out of work for awhile, but before that research.”

“Hmph,” she says. I smile, hoping the freckled hide around her eyes will ease a bit. It doesn’t. “Got any experience with cats?”

“I do have a cat.” I can’t see what this has to do with anything, but I’ll play ball. “His name is Buster. He’s orange and he likes catnip and La-Z-Boys.” Buster dislikes the cheap food I’ve been giving him. He probably wishes he’d gone with Rufus. I leave that part out.

Mary sits upright. “Can he fiddle?”

“Um, not that I know of.” I chortle.

“You think this is funny?” she asks. I shake my head. Bizarre, but not funny. “What about dogs?”

“I have a bulldog. Winston. He sleeps a lot.”

“Does he laugh?”

“What do you mean, ‘Does he laugh?’ He’s a dog. He does dog things.”

Mary’s mouth morphs from a thin line to a series of accordion creases. She breaks her pencil scribbling something in my file. “Any experience with cows? Plates? Silverware?”

“I’ve eaten quite a few cows on plates with silverware.” I imagine telling Rufus what a big mistake I’ve made. I imagine my empty apartment. The ache rolls up my chest into my throat.

“You humans,” she says. “Everything is a joke to you.”

Mary sidles to the window behind her desk, pulling the miniblind cord with a flourish. Outside, a chartreuse hill is dotted with black and white sheep. This is not possible, though, because this window should face the Sawyer Cafe — a place I no longer visit because the way the waitress looks at me when I say “table for one” and pay in quarters.

“Make sense now?” she asks. “I’m hiring the Man In the Moon.”

“That’s not a real thing.”

“Who helps the cows jump over the moon?”

“The cows don’t jump over the moon. It’s just a story.”

“I suppose you’re gonna tell me that I’m just a story too.”

This isn’t getting us anywhere. I stand, offer my hand. “Thanks,” I say. “This has been … entertaining.”

“What about my sheep?” Her face is equal parts anguished and disgusted.

“Fine.” I sit back down. Either Mary is telling the truth or she has an admirable commitment to her prank. “What happened to my predecessor?”

“He quit. Moved to Norwich.”




“He missed the food.”

Maybe crazy was exactly what I needed. What did I have to lose? I took a breath. “I’ll take it.”

That afternoon, Mary and I load Buster, Winston, and my cutlery into a silver airstream attached to an ancient, matching Cadillac. Like the Men In the Moon before me, I supply my own cat and dog and tablewares. Without Rufus around, I have an excess of dishes.

We roll through the city, humid and humming, to the outskirts of town. The first fireflies are blinking on the edges of the cornfields, celebrating the setting sun. The chewing Holsteins watch us gather speed. I wonder if they know we’ll meet again sometime, somewhere else, on a night they decide to take a chance, just like me. I’ll intercept them on their way past, give them some dinner, and correct their trajectory home.

I’m lulled to sleep by the scent of green fields and cooler air. When I wake up, I am still in the passenger seat of the Cadillac. The ebony sky and colorless sand is perfect and still. The airstream has morphed into a silvery palace erupting from a moon crater. On the steps, Winston laughs as Buster accompanies a group of dancing spoons.

“Good morning, Sleeping Beauty,” says Mary.

“Is she here?” I yawn.

“Seriously? Sleeping Beauty isn’t real. Let’s get you unloaded. I’m interviewing a new Humpty Dumpty tomorrow morning.”

“You’re leaving? You can’t leave.”

“You’ve got old friends and new friends.” She sounds incredulous. “Same as before.”

A festive tableau surrounds us. There’s a dog in a space suit trotting up from over the rise and music from several directions. A group of people beckon, raising glasses of champagne at me from the gazebo of my new home. Instinctively, I grab for Rufus’ hand as I look at the earth, distant and silent. I didn’t say goodbye. I brace for the ache again, but it doesn’t come. I start to bound toward the party when I remember I haven’t said goodbye to Mary.

“Why did you pick me?” My eyes hurt — I can’t tell if it’s the contrast of the light or because I’m feeling every emotion at once.

She smiles to herself as she returns the key to the ignition. “Felix, honey, lonely is a choice. All you had to do is look up.”


Camille Griep lives and writes north of Seattle, Washington. Her work has been featured in online and print journals such as The Lascaux Review, The First Line, and Treehouse, among others, and is forthcoming in the genre anthologies Blaze of Glory (Song Story Press) and Witches, Stitches, & Bitches (Evil Girlfriend Media). When she’s not hard at work on her obligatory first novel, she can be found feeding neighborhood cats masquerading as strays, conquering her fear of car washes, and customizing perfectly good recipes.


About Our Guest Editor

Najia Khaled is a poetess who enjoys reading, playing ukulele, and drinking more tea than is probably strictly good for you. She attends University of Rochester and is working on a double major in English literature and astrophysics, the latter of which finds ways to sneak into her poetry rather often.

She can be found devouring the poetry of Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Sandra Cisneros, and Edna St. Vincent Millay at all hours of the night in all manner of strange and indecent clothing. Her hair is rarely the same colour two weeks in a row, which she claims is due to her identity as a Metamorphmagus, but her closest friends swear that they have found empty bottles of Manic Panic in her rubbish bin. She rejects the strict and oppressive beauty standards of the modern day in favour of the strict and oppressive beauty standards of 200 years ago, which is exactly as pretentious as it sounds.

She has been published by Creative Communication, Anthology of Poetry, Inc., and Word Smiths, among others, but the best place to find her is at http://toxic-nebulae.deviantart.com/. Some say that she can be invoked by sprinkling glitter over a field of wildflowers at dawn, but these rumours have yet to be confirmed.