Friday, August 31, 2012

The In-Between has come to an end!

Dear Readers,

We really hope that you've enjoyed our first "In-Between". We think the work was a great representation of the type of work that AL aims to showcase. Thank you for being such great readers.

The magazine is taking a slight (5 day) hiatus while we prep for Issue #002. Please come back on September 5th to see our sections full-length issue (available both on the site and as a downloadable file) as dictated by our poll results.

As a reminder, we are still accepting submissions for Issue #003 as well as our HOT October contest. Please review the contest guidelines and make sure to submit your best!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

In-Between #11 - Elaine Black

Escape Velocity

Jealous– we watch their metal bodies
break briefly from gravities enchantment 
our own escape velocity eludes
Careful calculations
On in ‘n out bags, gift receipts, and parking tickets
You name it--we’ve tattooed it with equations for freedom

M is for mass
the ever-expanding weight we carry in the pits 
of our peach stomachs.
We’re spinning our stories to please a nameless sultan
He flosses with the rising action
Smiles at inappropriate parts. 
G is the constant, fixed reminder
That we are gravities pets

We want to be higher than you
And your planes
Your parachuting skyscraper highbrow roller coasters
and college loans. 

True beauty is out of this world
We decide.
Outer space is everything!
We pack our bags for Mars
freeze-dried ice cream, moon boots

Finally. The vastness of space confirms our loneliness,
our matter is pulled apart 
after the zap of our helmets 
disengages them from around our necks 

We are back to the beginning
Ferris wheels of gas and dust 
A penny on a rubber sheet,
stretching endlessly.

Biography: Elaine Black is a Creative Writing Student at California State University, Long Beach. She enjoys driving alone, people watching and eating croissants.

Monday, August 27, 2012

In-Between #13 - Christine Kiefer

Ant Syndrome

There are ants here
in a single file song, a flute
a whole note, a B flat
murmuring across the counter
and occasionally
across my lover's face

The spraying in this house-
it has lasted days

The poison has reached our
tongues and eyelashes
and maybe even our blood
but we just keep telling the pets
to stay away, as if we are immune

To these things I am vulnerable-
the sighs of the ant-hater that is my wife
the genocide fog droplets in the kitchen
the only vapor in these parts
since the beginning
of this long damn drought

Biography: Christine is a 40 year old Midwestern lawyer trying everyday to be mistaken for a cycling poet. She drinks the most expensive beer she can find, as often as she can, and dusty dry red wine when she's trying to be a fancy business associate. She does not trust those that do not drink coffee or that smoke while walking down the street. She once stole a bible from a church and ever since has been writing poems to try to recapture that exact moment when she snuck out through a stained glass window.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

In-Between #12 - Sean St. John

ten minutes fast

skin-slashed chopping board artichoke hearts
left over from dinner broken
tipped knives used as back-garden circus throwing stars
pent up anger of adolescent sons stone
flowerpots overgrown on sills with thyme
the metallic clock runs ten minutes fast on purpose
past two am landlady in bed and everyone
a conversation I had this evening about cezanne’s portraits
with a russian artist from germany stays with me
shouting over music brushstrokes technique and images
of snow she loves as we sweat in bars and now
my new apartment has given me a new mind
dormant psychosis energy absorbsion coining words
            only writers awake dreaming about being writers
            and other writers writing hidden in the dark

peacefully drunk I flick through pages
of a Bob Dylan novel I found but psychedelic
lyrics are too long for this decade
I’ve been taught to love one-line philosophies I can paste
into twitter with phone camera shaky pictures
attached to no relevance and animals dancing
at the foot of the stairs leopard-skin high heels
kicked off two weeks ago snapshot for vogue
on black and white criss-crossed floors
where gritty factory photos remind me of watercolour nudes
I’ve never painted and I no longer know my own friends
with ex-fathers of the greed generation
while we suffer from despondent disillusions and diffidence
towards a future rental fee extortion outbid on art
the comfort of piracy everything’s ours on a two week loan

and we only have these thoughts when the sun’s off
duty supervision from the stars climbing
the stairs we hope to find
sex in our beds and forget about fluctuating thoughts
of emotional extremes that really should be
looked into if I only knew a doctor
and ideas for inventions we don’t understand
and messy kitchens inter-continental disputes
untidy phrasing cheap replicas of life itself
we can just fuck until it turns to love
and let the world crumble under someone else’s watch
with no woman to watch him translate beowulf again
serenity in the loneliness of words loneliness
as he embraces the empty concept of humanity
non-existent realism abandoned for stories
personal glories the myth of perfection and connection

Biography: I suffer from the terrible affliction of writing poetry; it’ll be the end of me, I know it. I sleep with an unread classic under my pillow every night, but I’m yet to remember any of them. I daydream about the day poetry becomes a viable profession; those Romantics don’t know how easy they had it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

In-Between #10 - Emily Strauss

Found Poem: “Submission Guidelines”
(with apologies to the Editors)

We are happy to read
though we don't believe
in non-fiction in any
existential sense
we seek voicework
we do believe that less
is more
we seek writing that
with a premium
on freshness
we have no interest
in the pedantic
rather we look for
conspicious brilliance
in an otherwise non-
descript room without
on the sublime and surreal.
Sometimes it's sad
but necessary
to grapple with the subtleties
of our own poetics
though you should assume
the worst if you
don't hear from us
in six months
since we receive plenty
of subpar, pointless
rants and preachy writing
which we may make
the subject of mockery
since most writers try
to hide their stupidity
and given the asininity
of most people we can
only say we look forward
to your unbecoming.
We will apply our theoretical
properties and complex
algorithms to determining
subject bias
and if we find your poem
musical when read
you may hear from us.
You retain your own rights.

Biography: No one knew I wrote poems for many years after I started in college. I finally found someone to read my notebooks and since he didn't laugh too much, I decided I could call myself a writer.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

In-Between #9 - Neil Ellman

Apocalypse Zoo

So, you see,
there are no elephants
not a one
nor giraffes
nor rhinoceri
(perhaps one in an
almost empty zoo
in Tokyo
where its arthritic legs
are plaster-wrapped
and old men
fight the chimps
for scraps of food)
nor gazelles
and wildebeests
and lions
and hippopotami
for that matter cows
(except for the one
wandering the streets
of a Texas town
where it was born
and surely die
mooing at the moon
no longer there

Biography: A retired educator,Neil Ellman lives and writes in New Jersey. His poems have been published in numerous journals throughout the world, from Australia to Nepal to Zimbabwe. He has visited the first but not the last two. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

In-Between #8 - Matthew Vernon Whalen

From the Girl I Lost Track Of
Matthew Vernon Whalen

Dear Matty,

It’s sad how long it’s been since we last spoke.

I lost twenty or so pounds since then and 

I’ve been drifting in and out of the dope scene ever since I started 
       what was supposed to be my gap year after high school.

My eyes are always brick red and I feel like I could use one of your 

I feel like I smile more than I mean to.

I feel like I smile more than I feel joy.

I’m so confused, Matty, I don’t know what’s going to happen to me and      
       I can’t seem to actively make anything happen.

This is the first thing I’ve written in a year or so.

Do you still have those poems I gave you? Covered by dust in some desk     
       drawer or something?

That’s okay. I know you lost em. 

They were no good anyway.

At one time I was thinking about community colleges in California, and     
       I thought about staying with this guy I know in Colorado, and my 
       ex boyfriend says he’ll take care of my baby and he’s out in     

But no matter how many places I could go, I always find myself back in     
       that Barrington parking lot with my pretenders of friends,      
       talking about whatever we remember of the previous night.

I’m all strung out and I feel so alone,

Even though this new guy named Jack keeps telling me I’m beautiful

But he’s a couple of decades older than me and he doesn’t know I have      
       a baby yet.

Shit Matty,

I see you around town sometimes and you walk right by me.

I’m assuming you don’t recognize me now.

I dyed my hair black and I hide half of my face with thick strands of     

And I don’t have the courage to stop you and ask for your help again.

Last time you tried to help me I screwed you, I know, and even though      
       you couldn’t help, your efforts were the best thing that ever 
       happened to me.     


There’s so much I can’t articulate.

That’s why I stopped writing and started shooting dope above the     
       Salvation Army store with older guys who don’t want me to be able    
       to articulate myself.

Life like this is so much easier and so much harder.

I don’t know what to say to you Matty,

But you were always down to read my writing 

Biography: My name is Matthew Vernon Whalan. I am a devoted writer from Great Barrington, MA. I don\'t know how to have fun. I\'m afraid of flies and I put pesto on everything. As for publications, I don\'t send my stuff out too much but I\'ve had two articles published and I wish I could unpublish them and rewrite them and send them out again. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

In-Between #7 - Tim Elliott

Tim Elliott

Midnight, the magic hour,
when the would-be hunks
gather yet again
at the watering hole
in hopes of entering a world
of make-believe one more time.

We all have the goal in mind of ending
the night in the arms
of the sexiest man at the bar.
I’m right there with them
ready to make my choice
or even better, this time to be chosen.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

In-Between #6 - Thomas Pitre

A Sign
Thomas Pitre

The madman chalked red X’s
on the sidewalks of the houses
if he suspected
or had evidence
that people there

were unkind to each other,
or their dogs.

When he was a young man,
he studied hobo signs
chalked on railroad cars, mailboxes, fences,
buildings in barn yards,
in towns he probed.

Signs that said “doubtful”, “mean dog”,
“be ready to defend yourself”,
“dirty jail”, or “nothing doing here”
sent him away
or might draw him closer
to investigate.

He was a harvest hobo,
following the crops in the West.
Once beaten senseless, and left to die in a Fresno alley.
They laughed when they punched and kicked him,
stealing his knapsack and his kit.
The beating injured his brain.
He was never the same.
He lost all inhibitions and good judgment.

He couldn’t remember what rows to pick
when he picked grapes in Visalia
and oranges in Porterville.
He lost track of time, and had to write everything down.
He made little sketches so he could find his way
back to his box under the railroad bridge.

At night, he played his harmonica
until he dropped into dreams of his days as a boy
or his job with the city.

He dreamt of the beautiful woman that gave him
a whole pie when he begged for food at her door.
He dreamt of the old, black man that looked into his eyes for a long time before tears came.

The old man saw himself in his eyes.
He saw a man with even less than himself,
and it was more than he could endure.

The hobo impressed the dirt path
in front of the man’s simple cottage
with a new mark – a mark never seen before.
It was an austere eye,
a large tear in both corners,
made with polished pebbles
and shells he carried in his pack.

Bio: I am a retired educator, living on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington. My sunny days are spent with my dogs, paint box, and riding mower. I’ve been writing, seriously, for six years, which includes poetry and short fiction. My workstation overlooks my deck, and the web cam is pointed to the dog house in the back yard, where I can watch my fuzzy children nap and romp.

Monday, August 13, 2012

In-Between #5 - Brendan Sullivan

Brendan Sullivan

Fear is a mongrel child -
its slave coils
snake tight in your belly,
poised to strike hot,
and too dense and bright
to leave a scar
beyond the brush of shadows.

It aches;
and cuts in clean ribbons
and stops the easy innocence
that lurks like a child
in the corner of your eye.

It burns;
and sits on your tongue
in acrid syllables
that scorch the dreams
off soft white bones
and strips your soul clean
of artificial life.

It finds its prey
in hollow sounds -
the skipped beat of frail hearts
and the faint protests
of random doubts
that haunt your world
in cold inches...

Bio: Brendan resides in the excessively sunny and hot state of Virginia. In his past life he was an actor and appeared as Sandy the dog in "Annie" and as Godot in "Waiting for Godot". He majored in electric shock therapy in college.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

In-Between #4 - Michael Estabrook

Hill of Beans
Michael Estabrook

Keep in mind that all the crap going on at work:
the new boss, Mr. Corporate Company Man,
with his action lists and projects lists
and deliverables lists
more numerous than locusts after a storm;
and the new reorganization up top,
Mr. So-And-So now the executive VP of blah-blah,
Mrs. Snooty Pants now the Director
of Who-Gives-a-Crap . . .
Mr. Fat-Cat Big-Cheese now running
the darling start-up division in the far east . . .
and the recent explosion of meetings
like mushrooms popping from dead pine trees,
all of it, every single bit of it, everything,
is crap, pure crap, because it really
doesn’t mean anything, really
doesn’t matter at all, not now
nor ever in the past nor in the future,
doesn’t amount to even one
damn little hill of beans.


Michael Estabrook
is a Marketing Communications Manager
for a tiny division of one of the biggest companies in the world,
and man, going into an office every day can be excruciating.
The stuffy air, the florescent lights are killing me.
Thankfully I can retire in 10 or 12 years (maybe).
But I still think that somehow
I’ve got to get myself on some boat
collecting phytoplankton, or into the rich brown hills of Montana
searching for TRex bones. Then again maybe I simply
should’ve stayed on Northfield Avenue where I belong
and learned to fix cars like my Daddy did.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

In-Between #3 - Eric Dittmar

Eric Dittmar

How are you ever
Going to get out from under this?
It hunts with its nose
It is brave from lack of sleep

Onions, computers, red cabbage, loss
This tangle of things
Goes to sleep in a knot

Is that you in the picture?
Take as long as you please

Come around back now
Fierce and rambling, blasting a request
For mercy with an air horn
Pointing to an unspecified time and place

A leaflet addresses your problems
You lose your ability to use language
 Thoughts stack up but cannot be forged
There is nothing to be afraid of

Bio: My name is Eric Dittmar I live in Ajax, a town in Ontario, Canada. I have a mechanical engineering degree from Cleveland State University. I recently worked for EllisDon construction building a condominium in Miami that was called “Infinity at Brickell”, it was my first real job. By any objective or subjective means of measurement, I sucked at it. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

In-Between #2 - Ceilidh Devine

The Tea Party
Ceilidh Devine

The tea party was very significant
Only a few selected were able to join
The tea was brewing
The chatting was contagious
The talking non stop
The words were never leaving
The letters came spinning out
Some fast
Most slow
Always coming out
The few that shared the pot
Were grateful of the leave
Many wondered
That they were crazed with mess
The sentences were long
Paragraphs short
The book read
The kettle steamed
The bag split
The cup cracked
The hatter laughed
The cat stretched
The tea party was a clatter of madness

Biography: I have been writing poetry since December 2011, I have had a few poems published so far, before I was writing poetry, I was undertaking a BA honors Degree. I have dyslexia, words will not leave my mind, so I wrote them down and now I am a poet

Sunday, August 5, 2012

In-Between #1 - RB Harmon

Nexus of Wonder: A Brief Tribute to Touch
RB Harmon

My mouth salivates at the thought
To touch her, would be to touch wonder made solid
Electricity through chemistry
Surging through my fingertips, through my palms

It peaks my senses,
I hear her heart
Feel her pulse,

Animalistic craving

Stronger and faster I surge forward
Drawing ever closer to
An event horizon of sweaty ecstasy

A gateway to paradise
Where flesh meets flesh
Creating something greater than mortality

Within a series of brief moments
For a single instance I am more than alive

Bio: My name is Richard B Harmon, and I'm from Charlestown, MA. I have a terrible Boston accent and am perpetually pissed off and horny. Thats it.