I first met Ben (name changed for privacy) while working a booth at Costco. I was a “salesman” whose job was to pressure people into buying overpriced items that no one really needed. At this instance I was selling large hypoallergenic bamboo pillows that only came in a set of three. I didn’t have to call Ben over or use any of the other techniques they taught us. He immediately was interested. I felt like I was the one giving him my attention rather than the other way around. He had an electrifying presence. He shot off question after question…
Unfortunately, this wasn’t an unfamiliar experience.
I walked in hoping to buy a product from behind the counter. I saw no one in line so I went up to the register rather than walking through the empty queue. As I reached the cashier, an ordinary looking white guy and his girlfriend were rounding the corner leading to the register.
The guy blurted out, “What do you think this is? You think you can just walk right in and go first?”
I laughed, thinking he was joking. However, when I looked at him, his sour countenance revealed otherwise. “Oh, my bad,”…
An authentic look into the opiate epidemic
Author’s note: While this story is fictional, it strives to be an accurate representation of people, language, place and time. The characters and their experiences are an amalgam of real people’s stories —painstakingly collected over the course of many years. With their blessing, I wrote this piece to shine a light on the daily struggle of addicts everywhere. We often hear the statistics and numbers from this epidemic, but rarely do we take a hard look at the lives that make up those statistics. This story aims to do just that. While it…
Interest in poetry is currently at a fifteen-year high. In fact, according to the National Endowment for the Arts and the global information company NPD, poetry sales are up by fifteen percent and poetry is now one of the fastest growing genres in the publishing industry. A large portion of this interest can be attributed to technology and social media, which are creating vast new mediums for literary expression. Instagram has helped poets like Rupi Kuar and Nikita Gill gain worldwide recognition. Online literary journals are now giving voices to people who once would have been marginalized by this industry.
A Narrative Poem
Imported from Coffin Bell: A journal of Dark Literature
A caressing breeze from a ghostly lover
her dainty touch causes a shudder.
My body lies asleep in bed
while my head communes with the dead.
A dance with her fleeting scent on the wind.
I speak to murmurs in the dark,
lying wrapped in a blanket of shadows,
I see her green eyes gleam, then disappear.
I long to summon this apparition
for she is not mere superstition.
Her warm skin I long to feel
brought to the world of the corporeal.
I plead “if I could…