Tag Archives: Pulp Literature Issue 17

Featured Author: John Davies

Author of ‘Tattoo’ (Issue 17), John Davies was born in Birkenhead, UK, and has had work published in Crannóg, The Manchester Review, RosebudOrbis, The Pedestal, QU Literary Magazine, Apex, and Grain. In 2016 he was runner up in the Cheshire Prize for Literature, and he won the RTÉ Guide Penguin Ireland Short Story Competition. He organizes a regular creative writing group in Navan, Ireland, which can be found on Twitter: @Bulls_Arse. And if you’re interested in what John is up to himself, check him out @Johndavies1978.

Originally published in The Honest Ulsterman, June 2017, please enjoy another poem by John Davies, ‘Tom Waits’.

Tom Waits
After Tom Waits

Has only ever owned one hat,
but repositions it on a daily basis.
He tours according to the phases of the moon.
He once brawled onstage with a two-ton upright piano–
the piano got up on a nine count that was really eleven.
The index finger of Tom’s left hand is a tuning fork.
He wrote Innocent When You Dream inside a derelict Ghost Train.
Tom was cast as one of the original Dead End Kids,
though his scenes were cut from Angels With Dirty Faces,
the negatives burnt in a wicker man
then buried in a landfill near Ghent.
He was kicked out of the Rose of Tralee contest in 1984
for lacing the judges’ tea with poitín.
For showing the Roses his favourite pictures of carnival freaks.
In his refrigerator you’ll find Keith Richards’ lug wrench,
Jesus blood in a rabbit-foot phial,
a jar of artichoke hearts.
Sitting Bull stared into the campfire once,
conjured Tom out of blue flame.
Two parts smoke to one part bourbon.
Slinky for a backbone.
His resting body shape is a question mark.
Homeless he once slept inside an active volcano.
He plays the cement mixer at Grade 7 level.
He lost a game of dominoes to The Black Rider in Singapore
and it cost him that night’s dream in which Tom
trained a pack of junkyard rottweilers to yodel Edelweiss
for the Sultan of Brunei – in town for a Sultans convention.

He once fixed Barry White’s vocal cords
with nothing but a gelding clamp
and holy water (blessed by the Dalai Lama).
The traditional way.
There have been sightings of Tom’s ghost at the Tropicana Motel–
long since a Ramada Plaza on Sunset Strip–
cooking eggs over easy with a soldering iron,
writing valentines to the residents of Hollywood Forever Cemetery,
flinging them into the stove one by one.

– John Davies

 

 

John Davies can be found in Pulp Literature’s Issue 17, along with other brilliant poetry and prose.

Featured Author: AJ Odasso

Part of Pulp Literature‘s mission is to showcase work that challenges us and delights us by new and established writers from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. Pulp Literature author AJ Odasso weaves words as an established queer-identifying poet who occasionally dabbles in well-crafted short-narratives.

Odasso is the author of three award-nominated poetry collections (Lost Books and The Dishonesty of Dreams, from Flipped-Eye Publishing; Things Being What They Are, unpublished and shortlisted for the Sexton Prize) as well as a handful of short stories.  She serves as Senior Poetry Editor at Strange Horizons magazine.  You can find her at twitter.com/ajodasso.

AJ left us hanging with Part 1 of ‘We Come Back Different’ in Issue 17, and while we’re patiently waiting for Part 2 in Pulp Literture Issue 18, here’s a refresher:

 

We Come Back Different
AJ Odasso

3 June 18—
St George’s, Bermuda


My dearest Tess,

In spite of the disagreeable circumstances under which we last parted, I hope that this letter finds you well.  It will cheer you to know that your father’s health is much improved since you left for Scotland this spring.  He delights in your single-minded love of study, and  his desire is that you should make as fine a scholar as your mother.  But I must caution you, my love, to remember that there are pleasures in this world that do not concern anatomy, chemistry, or engineering.  My ever-troublesome charge — Trevor is growing! — has found an expedient use for your old laboratory goggles.  Your brother has taken to packing them for our jaunts to Horseshoe Bay.  He has mastered the art of holding his breath underwater, during which time he is content, from behind glass through which you once squinted at dissections, to observe parrot fish the size of soup tureens.

Regarding our falling-out, I am not inclined to continue in such unseemly avoidance — for you have said that what you admire most is my forthrightness, and I hope I have not been foolish in treasuring your honesty.  Do not take your wealth for granted:  had my mother been rich, she would have wished for me an education as fine as yours.  I understand that the completion of your degree is essential; I want nothing more than for you to perfect your skill in the sciences.  All I ask in return is that you do not write off my fancies, for poetry and politics are equal to the task of improving humankind.  Furthermore, I remain steadfast in my opinion that you have done poorly by Trevor.  His musical talent continues to flourish, and although you set little stock by the performance he had so carefully prepared for your departure, he believes firmly that you are the cleverest, kindest creature ever to walk the earth.  Write to him, Tess.  He misses you.

For my part, I pass endless days in pursuit of Trevor and in seeing to your father’s welfare.  Although he is more sanguine than you will remember, his memory declines.  For each time that he recognizes me, he supposes me to be your mother at least twice.  I cannot persist in this sad affair without reassurance of your support — surely you may find the time to write more than once a month, so that my spirits might be lifted!  I can take only so much solace in Trevor’s compositions and in discovering which of your father’s favourite strays has lately hidden her kittens amidst the banana trees and knee-high weeds in the garden.  Artemis has dropped her first litter.

This corner of the world is monotonous, my darling.  Be brilliant, and be well.

Ever yours,
Amelia

* * *

12 June 18—
St Andrews,  Scotland

Sweet Amelia,

This correspondence may reach your shores by sea rather than by air, much to my annoyance.  The pilots’ strike cannot continue indefinitely, so why not apply your political acumen to that when next you submit a column to The Trans-Atlantic Weekly?  Several of the faculty here are ardent followers of your rambling yet sagacious wit.  Perhaps it will earn you a scholarship.

Please do not think that I have not taken to heart the contents of your letter, but I must report a strange occurrence that has lately beset my corner of the world.  Lansdowne, my tutor, has been ardently in favour of my chosen discipline — that is, the repair and replacement of organs and other such vital tissue through methods of hermetically sealed replacements, etc.  I will not attempt another description of these devices’ components, nor of the fusion by which they run in perpetuity.  You, lively and insightful, must populate this world with wonders, whereas I, eternally brooding, must endeavour to unlock the causes of its unhappiest misfortunes and to repair them if I am able.

The occurrence of which I speak centres on one such misfortune, Amelia — the gravest of them all, I fear, to which none of us are immune.  The body of a young woman washed ashore on the West Sands just over a week ago …  

Read the rest of part of ‘We Come Back Different’
right now in Issue 17….

… and save $2 when you pre-order Issue 18 featuring the conclusion of the story, due out in April.

Featured Author: Emily Osborne

We love it when we have good news to share about our authors. This week, join us in congratulating Emily Osborne, author of ‘Devonian’ (Pulp Literature Issue 17, Winter 2018) for winning an honorable mention in Contemporary Verse 2’s 2017 Young Buck Poetry Contest!  On top of this good news, we’ve learned that her chapbook Biometrical will be published by Anstruther Press later this year.

Emily Osborne is a researcher, translator, and poet living in British Columbia, Canada.  She earned a PhD in Old Norse-Icelandic literature from the University of Cambridge and recently held a postdoctoral fellowship in mediaeval literature and linguistics at the University of British Columbia.  She has taught mediaeval literature and poetics at Cambridge and UBC and published several scholarly articles.  Her poetry has appeared in The Literary Review of Canada and Symposium, and she was runner-up for Eyewear Publishing’s first Fortnight Prize.  Emily has also published translations of Old English and Old Norse poetry in academic journals and books.

She has kindly shared with us is an excerpt from her poem ‘Diacritics’, published in Minola Review’s 2016-2017 Anthology.

Diacritics

Maybe all vowels were once sister chromatids,
but now we carve grave and caret
on separate word trees.

I can’t read your DNA or lips.
You said my consonants split and replicate,

like cells in tumours.
Writing them makes you stressed.

Possessives are tricky on paper,
so often inked with red. After classes,
ESL students roam cities, see kids
slash ‘ł’ and ‘ø’ on concrete artistry.
Is that Polish? No.
Paint bleeds.
Later they’ll sit at library PCs,
typing home without familiar glyphs.

Viewpoints online metastasize through hashtag
alphabets, while English pushes diacritics
out of foreign correspondence.
Keyboards are capricious,
and we’re étroit d’esprit
when small things make big shifts.

 

Emily’s poem, ‘Glassblowing’, will appear in CV2’s Summer 2018 issue.  In the meantime and you can find ‘Devonian’, and more wonderful poetry in Pulp Literature Issue 17.

 

Author News: JJ Lee

JJ Lee is back on our radar with great news to report. His novel, Measure of a Man, has been longlisted for the CBC 2018 Canada Reads Contest

“The story of a father, a son and a suit,” is the subtitle of JJ Lee’s The Measure of a Man,  tracing the author’s journey altering his father’s old suit as an act of remembrance.  A finalist for the 2012 RBC Taylor Prize and the 2011 Governor General’s Literary Award for nonfiction, the memoir turns suitmaking into powerful prose — and one family’s story into a tale of intergenerational reconciliation.

The shortlist will be announced on Jan. 30th, and until then, we’ll keep our fingers crossed!

JJ Lee has been the feature author of several Pulp Literature Issues: Issue 17 (‘Desdemone’), Issue 8 (‘The Man in the Long Black Coat’), and Issue 2 (‘Built to Love’).  As well, the multi-talented author painted a custom cover to go with Robert J Sawyer‘s story ‘Fallen Angel’ in Issue 7.

Here is an excerpt of ‘The Man in the Long Black Coat’ to whet your appetite for more of JJ’s marvelous storytelling style.

 

The Man in the Long Black Coat

A Chthonic Christmas Tale by JJ Lee

 

Silesia

December 1944

I don’t remember if Mother’s eyes said it or if she spoke the words, “He’s just a boy.”  I do remember feeling anger and burning shame.  I was eleven years old, the eldest.  Father had been gone for years.  The weekly newsreel Die Deutsche Wochenschau showed boys my age working in factories, making shells and gun parts.  In school we were told to be “slim and strong, swift as greyhounds, tough as leather, and hard as Krupp steel.”  I thought I was until I saw Mother’s eyes that night in the winter of 1944.

Herr Mundt didn’t care.  He had arrived from the larger, Lower Silesian town of G______ in search of what he called ‘recruits.’  He dressed in the makeshift manner of the Volkssturm, the People’s Army.  He wore scuffed and muddy railroad boots, brown breeches, and an armband over his grey coat sleeve.  On his collar, Herr Mundt had pinned officer pips.  He topped his head with the kind of hat a butcher would wear.  His attire was theatrical, ersatz, outlandish, wildly officious, and, because he seemed so out of control, menacing.  From his gaze I wanted to hide.

“He has five minutes to gather warm clothes and boots, if he has any,” said Herr Mundt.

He stepped back into the snow and shadows and strode off in the direction of the neighbours.  Mother shut the door.  My legs trembled as I climbed up the stairs and went into the bedroom.  I took off my pyjamas and folded them.  I tucked them under my pillow.  I began to put on as much clothes as I could.  I stuffed more warm things into a canvas bag.  I went to the other side of the bed and leaned down to kiss Lena, my sister, on her forehead.  Her eyes opened.

“You should be asleep,” I said.

“Where are you going?”

“I don’t know.”

“Take this.”

She pulled from under the covers a tin soldier, my oldest, most treasured toy.

“Where did you find it?”  I fought the urge to snatch it from her and I held out my hand.  She put it in my palm.  I saw the chipped paint on its shako, the blue on its tunic nearly worn through from play, the bent rifle, and the blankness of its face.  It made me think of Father.

“Keep it until I come back.”

I tucked her in, kissed her again, and went downstairs.  Mother said, “You can hide in the forest.”

“I don’t think they will let me.”

A pistol cracked.  A woman’s wail cut through the night.  A minute later, Herr Mundt thumped on our door.  “Frau Steiner.”

… read the rest of the story in Pulp Literature Issue 8, the dystopian Spec Fic ‘Built to Love’ in Issue 2, or JJ’s current Christmas ghost story, ‘Desdemone’ in Pulp Literature Issue 17.

 

Featured Author: JJ Lee

It’s December, and Pulp Literature Issue 17, Winter 2018 is here! Featured author JJ Lee’s ‘Desdemone’ opens our winter issue with an exquisite Edwardian haunting of a most personal kind.

Multiple-award-nominated memoirist JJ Lee is author of The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit.  Every year, following in the footsteps of ‘Fireside Al’ Maitland, he  presents a Christmas ghost story on CBC Radio in British Columbia, and ‘Desdemone’ was his Christmas 2016 oeuvre.

Pulp Literature Issue 17, Winter 2018

We’re delighted to be able to bring this story to a print audience.  This is JJ’s third short story for Pulp Literature, the first being the dystopian Spec Fic piece ‘Built to Love’ in Issue 2 and the Yuletide Lovecraft, Moorcook, Nazi mashup ‘The Man in the Long Black Coat’ in Issue 8.

You can save $2 by pre-ordering our Winter 2018 issue here … and then get JJ to sign it for you when you pick it up at the Winter Launch Party, Monday Dec 11th from 5:00 – 7:00pm at the Cottage Bistro on Main St.

To get you in the JJ mood, here’s an excerpt from Issue 8’s ‘The Man in the Long Black Coat’, a holiday story with a Lovecraftian twist:

 

The Man in the Long Black Coat

A Chthonic Christmas Tale by JJ Lee

Silesia
December 1944

I don’t remember if Mother’s eyes said it or if she spoke the words, “He’s just a boy.” I do remember feeling anger and burning shame.  I was eleven years old, the eldest. Father had been gone for years.  The weekly newsreel Die Deutsche Wochenschau showed boys my age working in factories, making shells and gun parts.  In school we were told to be “slim and strong, swift as greyhounds, tough as leather, and hard as Krupp steel.”  I thought I was until I saw Mother’s eyes that night in the winter of 1944.

Herr Mundt didn’t care.  He had arrived from the larger, Lower Silesian town of G______ in search of what he called ‘recruits.’  He dressed in the makeshift manner of the Volkssturm, the People’s Army.  He wore scuffed and muddy railroad boots, brown breeches, and an armband over his grey coat sleeve.  On his collar, Herr Mundt had pinned officer pips.  He topped his head with the kind of hat a butcher would wear.  His attire was theatrical, ersatz, outlandish, wildly officious, and, because he seemed so out of control, menacing.  From his gaze I wanted to hide.

“He has five minutes to gather warm clothes and boots, if he has any,” said Herr Mundt.

He stepped back into the snow and shadows and strode off in the direction of the neighbours.  Mother shut the door.  My legs trembled as I climbed up the stairs and went into the bedroom.  I took off my pyjamas and folded them.  I tucked them under my pillow.  I began to put on as much clothes as I could.  I stuffed more warm things into a canvas bag.  I went to the other side of the bed and leaned down to kiss Lena, my sister, on her forehead.  Her eyes opened.

“You should be asleep,” I said.

“Where are you going?”

“I don’t know.”

“Take this.”

She pulled from under the covers a tin soldier, my oldest, most treasured toy.

“Where did you find it?”  I fought the urge to snatch it from her and I held out my hand.  She put it in my palm.  I saw the chipped paint on its shako, the blue on its tunic nearly worn through from play, the bent rifle, and the blankness of its face.  It made me think of Father.

“Keep it until I come back.”

I tucked her in, kissed her again, and went downstairs.  Mother said, “You can hide in the forest.”

“I don’t think they will let me.”

A pistol cracked.  A woman’s wail cut through the night.  A minute later, Herr Mundt thumped on our door.  “Frau Steiner.”

Mother clambered into the cellar and came back up holding hunting boots.  “They’re still too big,” I said.

“It doesn’t matter.  You need boots.”

“Frau Steiner.”  Herr Mundt hammered on the door.  I put them on.  I didn’t have time to say goodbye to Mother.

I stumbled after Herr Mundt to a small truck idling in front of the church.  He opened the back and waved his pistol.  I climbed in.  Three other boys from the village — Jens, Rudy, and Zeydl — sat shivering on the side benches.

“Stay in here until we let you out.  If any of you try to run, you will wish you hadn’t.”  Herr Mundt shut us in and we rode without speaking.  At first I could hardly see, but my eyes adjusted to the dimness.  The walls were wood slats with no space between them.  A tarpaulin covered the top.  In one corner, there was a small tear that flapped in the wind.  Through it fell the palest light from the night sky …

Read the rest of the story in Pulp Literature Issue 8, Autumn 2015.