Sunday, April 12, 2009

"The fairy tale...takes these existential anxieties and dilemmas very seriously and addresses itself to them: the need to be loved and the fear that one is thought worthless; the love of life, and the fear of death."
--Bruno Bettelheim, in The Uses of Enchantment

My first experience of fairy tales was my mother reading at night before we went to sleep. She read other stories, recited poems, but nothing in a fairy tale stopped surprising. I'd like to know your take on any fairy tales that sticks with you: essay, story, poem. Send to, whatever form it takes.

Steve Smith, "black dreams and blue thieves"
Dave Materna, "Boondockle"
Robert Pope, "The Tailor's Boy"Mary Biddinger, "Show Pony"
Shurice Gross, "The Princess of Building 4"
Tony Bradford, "Slumbering Siren"
Alex Cox, "The Edge and the Other Side"
Dave Materna, "Pre-Mortem"
Gillian Trownson, "True Love Waits"
Tara Kaloz, "Mr. Horner's Heads"
Brittany Stone, "In Support of the Little Guy"
Two by Kristina von Held, "Transformation," "The Pull of the Water"
Nick Elder, "Sandy"


Steve Smith

black dreams and blue thieves


a pregnant wife should dream of

willows and cotton and children

pattering across blanched linoleum


mine dreamt that construction was

going on across the street at 4 am;

the elementary school—crews had been

there for summer weeks.

but nowthe school was vacant and black


so her mind's rattle of saber saws and

clanging scaffolding had to be

the work of a sinister imagination.

REMs spinning like a cockeyed phonograph

they buzzed and screamed in her

wee hour ears and

she thought someone sawing and

grinding and sawing through chains.


she awoke.


sat up, belly full, upright and

cautious—stole a glance

through the window gauze

like deer at leafy branches

watching evening shadows

fall across fallen corn


there, in the back yard, were

the workers that had been laboring—

at least in the black electric dream of hers.

now they'd come back to life

as thieves in midnight blue

wheeling her gas grill noisily through

wet grass—a broken security

chain dragging behind like a brat

by the hand.


for the man next to her side

half nude, open-mouthed and

exhaling dryly like fine sand,

for him

summertime poverty

whispers a strange psalm

that the killing verse

should follow a blue thief to

the grave. final.


here’s the shotgun loaded

in my hands and i pull back

sleep's webbing and

whoosh through

the front door in underwear

boiling blood


Harrington & Richardson is a

tunnel that does not change course or

bird shot in the chamber

and low-brass in the hand.


when you draw a bead

on another man you decide

right then—if you take a chunk of

the criminal mind, you just might

blast something else from the midnight sky.

About Me

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I write short stories and essays. I have published over seventy stories and essays in magazines, as well as a novel, Jack's Universe, and a collection of stories, Private Acts. I grew up in a military family, so I'm not from anywhere in particular except probably Akron, where I've lived for forty years. Before I came here, I never lived anywhere longer than three years.