Poetry (any form or style) and Micro or Flash Fictions wanted for an anthology on SMOKE. Not just the black clouds rising from the five-alarm fire next door, or the billowing plumes of smoke warning us of a forest fire, or the emissions from factory smoke stacks, apartment house incinerators, and crematoriums, smoke rings rise from cigarettes, smoke pours out of headshops, pipe shops & cigar stores--see that purple haze rising over the fields of poppies and marijuana we just planted--we've used it to communicate via smoke signals and skywriting, to cover our tracks and disappear with and without mirrors, combat the enemy on and off the battlefield, kill bugs, flavor food, cure illness, declare peace treaties, and fragrance our homes. Got the idea? Release it onto the page.
Guidelines: Submit up to three poems/micro fictions or two flash fictions at a time with a fascinating bio of 35 words or less, not just limited to publication credits, copy/pasted in the body of an e-mail (no attachments, please) to roxy533 at yahoo dot com & violetwrites at nyc dot rr dot com. We will also entertain up to six one-liners or 2 short stand up routines at time. Previously published work is OK as long as authors have retained the copyright, which will be returned to them after publication. Simultaneous submissions are encouraged. If your work is accepted elsewhere, and you still have obtained rights to republish, just let us know where and we'll be happy to acknowledge the other publication.
If you do not receive a response from us within a month of your submission considered it rejected and feel free to submit again. Due to the volume of submissions we cannot respond to each and every individual submission. Selection for the on-line edition are made on a ongoing basis as we receive your submissions. However, final selections for the print edition will made after the October 31st deadline. (In otherwords not everything that made the cut for the online edition will appear in print.) Please do not query. When in doubt, send the submission to roxy533 at yahoo dot com & violetwrites at nyc dot rr dot com.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
He smiled a carnivorous smile and stuck a lit cigarette between his teeth. "I'm not going to tell you. You'll have to find them yourself." He was trying to be funny but he was never funny when he was trying.
"Just give me a cigarette. You're really pissing me off." She looked away from him. "Really you know, you're not funny."
"Guess the brand name and you win one." He could tell she wasn't amused so he threw her a cigarette from his pocket. "You're no fun sweetie, no fun. When we first met, you weren't like this. You're so neurotic now."
She picked up the cigarette and lit it. It tasted funny and suddenly she no longer wanted it. She could feel the smoke pass down her throat and enter into her lungs. She had been smoking for years but now it disgusted her. She visualized the smoke eating away at her throat, lungs and could almost feel it invading her legs and arms. She smashed out the cigarette and turned to him. "I'm giving up smoking. You should too."
"What's with you? You just begged me for that. If you quit smoking what will we have to talk about? What will we have to do together? We'll have nothing in common – nothing to fight about. You've got to keep smoking or you'll destroy our relationship. You don't want to be a homewrecker, do you?" He was laughing and she, disgusted, walked into the kitchen.
From the kitchen she could still vaguely hear him laughing so she turned on the faucet. The water sounded strong so she stood and listened to it for awhile. It calmed her down so she left it on and rummaged through the refrigerator. She pulled out the container of cole slaw and ate it with the plastic fork that had been left in it.
"What are you doing in there, drowning yourself?"
She turned the water off and her calm melted away as his voice got closer. "Nothing. I'm eating."
"Ah, that's what happens when you quit smoking. You start eating more and you get fat. Honey, are you going to get fat?" He started laughing again and she felt trapped. She turned the faucet back on and continued eating the cole slaw. "Are you alright, sweetheart? You seem a little high strung lately. Why are you running the water?"
She mumbled as she put the cole slaw away and took out the potato salad. "It calms me but you don't. Please go away." He smoked another cigarette and turned off the faucet. He paced for awhile and watched her eat. She sat at the table with her head down and her legs crossed scooping chunks of potato into her mouth. He kept pacing.
The phone rang but neither of them reacted. "Are you going to get that?" She didn't answer. She just stared blankly into the container playing with the potatoes. "What!" he shouted into the phone. "I'll try and get her but I think she might be in a coma." He dropped the phone and as he walked out of the kitchen he looked at her and said, "Your mother."
She got up and turned the faucet back on. Turned it as high as it would go and stood over it feeling the drops jump on to her face. She silently picked up the receiver and cautiously hung it up. "Can't talk now mom," she whispered.
He rushed into the kitchen with his coat on. "I'm going out. I need some air." He hesitated for a minute but she didn't respond so he slammed the door. A minute later he was back. "Do you need anything?" She didn't answer. "More potato salad?" Nothing. So he left again.
The phone rang. She knew it would. The ring sounded desperate so she lifted the receiver.
"Honey, are you alright? What just happened? Did you hang up on me?"
"Mom, I quit smoking. I decided to this morning. Now I'm trying to get Dan to quit. I don't think he wants to though."
by Regina Walker
Regina Walker is a writer and psychotherapist in NYC. Her work has appeared in a number of print and online journals.