Monday, March 18, 2019

Benjamin Welton


Flashlights like fireflies
illuminate the emptiness
breathing between the trees.

They search among the stones
wet with water and blood.
Upturned and they reveal
things spectacularly gruesome.

On this night,
the desolate, rough-hewn woods
return to the primordial—
the ancient fear of the owl’s eyes
and the wildcat’s lonesome call.

Ben reads "Search the Hollow":

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Ben confesses: "'Search the Hollow' was inspired by two things: 1) a story I heard years ago while fishing with my father about a nineteenth century murderer who killed his wife and spread her body parts underneath stones on the Glady Fork; 2) a true crime podcast featuring a similar, real crime."

BENJAMIN WELTON is a freelance writer based in Boston.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Six Questions For...

On his Six Questions For... blog, Jim Harrington invites magazine editors to go into as much detail as they wish about what they look for in submissions. My interview about The Five-Two is up today.

Monday, March 11, 2019

David Cranmer


From the echo chamber of a Gab outpost,
the coward was hated up.
“Screw your optics, I’m going in,” he wrote
to like-narrowminded.
Armed with multiple weapons, including a Colt AR-15 rifle, he stormed the synagogue, his brain-twisted ‘battlefield,’ and murdered,
the good, the kind, the peaceful.

Malevolence defiled the Tree of Life, spilling blood of congregants gathered for Shabbat morning services, among them were brothers David and Cecil Rosenthal and 97-year-old Rose Mallinger. Later, Rabbi Myers would recount the haunting screams of Bernice Simon as her husband Sylvan of sixty plus years is shot before her, until he hears something even more deafening ... her silence.
11 killed, 6 injured,
the good, the kind, the peaceful.

This horror was not perpetrated alone.
Hate didn’t conveniently slip through a rip in the fabric of time
or arrive fully formed out of a vacuum of space.
White nationalists, vitriolic alt-right pundits, and racist sycophants propelled the ammunition that took away Daniel Stein, Richard Gottfried, Joyce Fienberg, Jerry Rabinowitz, Melvin Wax, and Irving Younger,
the good, the kind, the peaceful.

And yet, evil does not triumph over good.
At Allegheny General Hospital the wounded coward continued to shout,
“I want to kill all the Jews!” as he’s cared for by a Jewish nurse and a Jewish hospital president who checked in on him.
While the bonds of an already tight-knit community strengthen, a united front grows.
His battle is lost—succumbed to an ‘enemy’ armed with humanity,
the good, the kind, the peaceful.

David reads "the good, the kind, the peaceful":

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David confesses: "Writing letters to congressional and senate representatives allowed me to voice my concern over the mass shootings in our country, but poems allowed me to express my anguish over all the senseless, heartbreaking losses, like this poem devoted to the Tree of Life synagogue victims."

DAVID CRANMER is the editor of the BEAT to a PULP webzine and whose own body of work has appeared in such diverse publications as Needle: A Magazine of Noir, LitReactor, Macmillan’s Criminal Element, and Chicken Soup for the Soul. He's a dedicated Whovian who enjoys jazz and backgammon. He can be found physically in scenic upstate New York where he lives with his wife and daughter, and he can be found virtually on Twitter @BEATtoaPULP.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Nicholas Bush


Jon D. Maseb. 34 years old, Caucasian male. Found
hanged in a mall bathroom stall, in Green Hills, TN.
Suit and tie immaculate, no suicide note, no signs
of struggle. You know that feeling you get when your brother’s

been in your room, but you’re not sure why you know,
something’s just...out of place? This was no suicide.
I questioned his estranged wife, his neighbors, and siblings.
All have alibis, none have a motive. His life

was cleaner than a bleached counter top. Anyway,
I called my conspiracy theorist brother on his birthday,
who has complex explanations for the world’s most famous
true crimes. Between small talk, he theorized that our

victim was a digital spy with an unassuming cover, hacked
into China’s computers, stole Iranian secrets, and murdered
by Russian mobsters. The autopsy found Rohypnol in his
system, which explains the lack of struggle. And I just got

a surprise visit from the CIA, telling me the investigation
was “officially over.” My brother, with his wild hair
and wrinkled suit was right. He even pointed out that,
"Jon D. Maseb is an acrostic for James Bond."

Nick reads "The Complex Solution...":

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Nick confesses: "I've spent the last year or so honing my detective writing skills. I wondered if I could do it in a flash fiction format. I knew I wanted the last line to tie the poem together. I also knew that I wanted to use an acrostic as part of the poem's reveal. I enjoy the homicide that looks like suicide trope and have learned it works well for short narratives. With those things in mind, I assembled my poem."

NICHOLAS BUSH is an associate professor of English at Motlow State Community College, a PhD student at Middle Tennessee State University, and an amateur standup comic in Nashville. He also serves as co-editor of The Mosaic literary magazine.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Andrée Gendron


our legacy is our many tools
thank god he made us feeble fools
with no claws, tails, fur or wings
we had to manufacture most everything
both blessings and burdens are our tools
they come with directions but not any rules

grandpa stored tools in a sturdy shed
on hooks, in nooks, or cradled in beds
a quiet craftsman in high demand
who spoke plenty through his hands
back when fine workmanship sold
then people lost interest and gramps got old

daddy kept all his tools in a box
he carried them with him on his long walks
doing odd jobs for poor folks around
trading for goods when no cash could be found
he cussed when that old toolbox busted
the lid snapped off…his wrenches rusted

I toss my tools in a cloth feed sack
carried over my shoulder and back
I like to feel their weight with each stride
right in plain sight, the best place to hide
thank god he made us feeble fools
our legacy kept with only three tools

which three tools? you may well ask
whichever one feels up to the task
gramps’ wood chisel still does a fine job
while daddy’s pipe wrench is one vulgar slob
my hatchet is sweet when she’s got a clear shot
but likes working in close more often than not

long as marriages and partnerships sour
hitmen and cleaners are on call at all hours
just pay us up front in cold hard cash
and don’t ask us where the bodies get stashed
you best believe I am able and willing
my tools and I plan on making a killing

Gerald So reads "Legacy":

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Andrée confesses: "'Legacy' started out as a bluegrass song that went dark fast. Spanning three generations of craftsmen, it notes their differences and similarities and shows how they saw their roles within their family, community and society. Although morality had vanished the need to provide and pride in good workmanship remained."

ANDRÉE GENDRON lives in Massachusetts. In the past her work has appeared in various small publications and online. After a lengthy break from writing she is back at it. If anyone wishes to check out her poetry, fiction, artwork and more please visit her website at

Monday, February 18, 2019

Sally Weston Ziph


You thought they'd never find me
that I was fish food, just bones,
no flesh to tell the tale, the truth.

You black-smithed metals
into a tin can sub, tricked me
dropped the lid, and I went under

down to Hell. You strapped me in
used all the tools in your black box,
and no one heard me scream.

O fear the Siren’s silence,
when they found me on the beach
my flesh, stab wounds

and bruises sang—
your tale held no water,
your knives and pipes, your lies,

they drowned you out,
Mad Madsen, psycho-killer,
your fish tale horrified.

Now you're locked up in shackles,
so how do you like me now?
You're swimming with the sharks, don't scream—
they're eating you alive.

Sally reads "Kim Wall Speaks":

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Sally confesses: "Kim Wall was an amazing Swedish journalist and young woman who fell into the clutches of a Danish madman while trying to interview him about his amateur submarine in 2017. This crime horrified me, because I could see how she could walk into this trap as a journalist, when other women (non-journalists) had already pegged him as a major creep. My two daughters are now thirty, the same age Kim Wall was when she was murdered, and this crime reminded me that no matter what you warn them about, you can never foresee every bizarre and horrible possibility out there. This poem is for Kim Wall and all the women journalists who continue to venture out into the world, pursuing stories and dreams despite the dangers."

SALLY WESTON ZIPH a librarian at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. She has recently had poems published in Third Wednesday, Open Palm Print, and the Rat's Ass Review.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Ben Szakovits


it was on a cold day in Texas
When the cat came to her
patio door
he cried, exigently
his hunger and agony
Low, low
just short of a growl
an ugly sound for
such a natty siamese

opened the door for him
as I laid on the
couch, phobic of movement
he sang his rakish tune
while strutting the room
toward Her
Low, low
like Satchmo bleeding through the radio
"Would you like some water?"
She asked,
grabbing two small bowls
from the small kitchen

mixed bread with milk
in one
and poured water
in the other
I watched him move
zealously, now
around Her flitting feet

brought the bowls
to the patio
his once low, implacable growls now
replaced by
a loving purr

and I thought to myself
we weren't so different
he and I

Ben reads "Tomcat":

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Ben confesses: "I found myself nursing a hangover on the couch of a lovely girl I spent the week with. When the cat showed up, I noticed the selfless care in which she accommodated his needs; how she invited him into her home and showed him unconditional love—not unlike myself."

BEN SZAKOVITS is a writer of poetry and prose focusing primarily on realism through the eyes of a wastrel. He pieces together fragments of experiences past and present onto paper in the hopes of creating something beautiful out of ugliness; trying to find the common ground between degeneracy and decadence.