Diffusion / NBA Finals, 2016

A poem by James Croal Jackson


Pacing around the bar crowd, watching
the Cavaliers transfer heat to one another through
bullet passes around invisible perimeters, Kurt

and I keep drinking the strangers toward us.
“Gaseous diffusion,” he offers. “Alcohol
is only molecules bumping into each other.”

Our bodies generate more heat with every swig,
the atmosphere tense but warm through
our gullets. We chug chaos in the blur,

invite a thousand basketballs to bounce up
and down halfcourt. The players don’t notice
our dribbled words in soundwaves processed

a million different ways in the space between
earlobe and brain. Endlessly the spectators
chant go to sleep because no one we want

to talk to wants to talk to us, our zigzagged steps
combining with the sound of a team on the verge
of climbing a challenging mountain though

the peak is steep so we try nothing more
but the drinks that keep us moving. To stop
would be to hear the room’s haunting cheer.


James Croal Jackson is the author of The Frayed Edge of Memory. (Writing Knights Press, 2017.) His poetry has appeared in Hobart, FLAPPERHOUSE, Yes Poetry, and elsewhere. He edits The Mantle, a poetry journal. Find him in Columbus, Ohio, or contact him via his website.

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The Christmases That Were Forever

A poem by James Jackson


my own advice: treat every gift
like you’re nine in ninety-seven.
rip the heart out of your parents’
wrapping jobs. don’t notice
the hanging phone calls,
the coils of collection,
the foggy snarls at the door,
the stay-in-bed allure radiating
from big, red boxes hidden
behind the couch for after
we opened all the other presents,
for after we grew up,
got jobs.


James Croal Jackson is the author of The Frayed Edge of Memory. (Writing Knights Press, 2017.) His poetry has appeared in The Bitter Oleander, Rust + Moth, Cosmonauts Avenue, and elsewhere. He edits The Mantle and is a former winner of the William Redding Memorial Poetry Contest. Find him in Columbus, Ohio or at his website.

“Bill O’Reilly Officially Endorses Sanders, Vows to Emigrate If Sanders Elected”

A satirical article by James Brooks


Taking several of his fellow commentators by shock, noted conservative media figure Bill O’Reilly has formally declared his support for Vermont senator Bernie Sanders by promising on a live January 14th television broadcast that if Sanders is elected to become the President of the United States in 2016, he will leave the country for the Republic of Ireland.

“I’m fleeing,” said O’Reilly on air. “If Bernie Sanders gets elected president, I’m fleeing,” citing the candidate’s progressive tax policy as the main reason for his feelings. When reached for comment, he declined to elaborate on why he chose to go so far as to offer his own expatriation as a reward for the American people electing Sanders, simply repeating thoughts he vocalized on his  television broadcast: “I’m not going to pay 90 percent of my income to that guy.”

The announcement came as a surprise to many on the right wing, who have considered O’Reilly an eminent figure in the field of American conservatism throughout his career. Many are left questioning his motives for suddenly choosing to incentivize voters to elect the self-described ‘democratic socialist’ Sanders in the 2016 election cycle.

“I just don’t get it,” remarked fellow conservative commentator Sean Hannity, regarding O’Reilly’s sudden, unexpected support for senator Sanders, whom both men have previously harshly criticized. “At first I thought it was a joke, but… when someone like him makes a statement that strong, there’s no way he’d back down.”

As of press time, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service has not released any information on whether or not they have already been contacted by O’Reilly, nor has O’Reilly released any update on the status of his visa application.

Regardless of the confusion surrounding this development on the trail, this news was welcomed enthusiastically by many in the Sanders campaign. Kelly Moran, an aide for Sanders, said, “as a person of Irish ancestry myself, I’m glad to see that Bill has not only had a change of heart on Bernie, but chose to invoke our shared ethnic background to celebrate it!”


James Brooks is an American musician and student currently living in Montreal, Canada.

NOBODY BLATANTLY

A poem by Colin James


I slipped out the back door
where a white limousine was waiting.
The driver informed me
there was a very large thermos bottle
in the back seat of the limo that I
could urinate in should the need arise.
I found this information less than useful.
It would have been easier to put
a worry blanket around my shoulders,
but then things could have become too warm,
like the person who adheres to conformity
after years of feigning credulousness.


Colin James has written a chapbook of poems, A Thoroughness Not Deprived of Absurdity, available from Pski’s Porch Publishing.