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The Librarian: a dark fantasy short story

The Librarian

a Short Story by Jessa Forest

Download your free PDF version here.

The big table makes you look smaller than you are. Like a little morsel, a macaroon, a petit four alone on a dinner plate. You twitch, fidget. You curl your spine protectively over your phone screen despite the towers of books that surround you. Ponderous tombs of science, philosophy, and madness.

The World Atlas Extraordinaire sits on a stand older than this building next to you, propped open to the Pacific Islands, resplendently corralled by the cartography of the currents, dancing whorls of sacred scarification.

Each time the door slides open your eyes dart around in your skill like scared rabbits. You’re looking toward the door now; the shining glass, the herald of the morning sun. You are waiting for someone.

Continue reading “The Librarian: a dark fantasy short story”

Namaste Apocalypse: a zombie/yoga short story

Namaste Apocalypse

a Short Story by Jessa Forest

If you’re interested, you can download a free PDF of this story right here.

And now…bring your attention back to the present moment and sit up whenever you are ready. Next time you feel inspired to practice this sequence, consider going out barefoot and dancing under the bounty of the full moon or the light the sun shines down to us through her divinebeauteousness,” the soft breathy, melodious monotone of Lucky’s husband’s voice made me want to puke in my mouth.

From Corpse Pose, with all my attention glued to the creaking of my ribcage as my bones and cartilage moved with my breath, I felt irritation looming up like a malevolent zombie hoard.

You try going out barefoot and doing yoga on the rocks and spilled blood you stupid rhododendron, I thought.

When I was little my mom told me to substitute every bad word with the name of a flower. When you get a tranquility lecture from someone who never had to leave the confines of his wife’s meticulously manicured yoga studio and spa attachment and had no realistic grasp of what the word apocalypse actually meant, you can’t help being slightly prickly.

Continue reading “Namaste Apocalypse: a zombie/yoga short story”

Poem of a Poet I Admire

after the death of Wislawa Szymborska

February 1, 2012

I take the petit four

of your poem and put

it in my mouth,

let my tongue soak it up—

soft words

dissolving

soft as a

spring weekend

—inhale the sugar flower.

The decadent scrim

of icing glosses over

everything.

The sun rises and the sun

sets and I eat

this cake and you are

no longer here. In this world

a violet grows at the edge

of yard and street,

efficiently crystallizes

into another poet’s

greedy panting

despite your vacant house,

your supercilious cat,

and your mouth that

will never eat cake again.

I am eating

cake and I am not

efficient. Pieces of your

poem clot against my teeth

and I cannot speak.

*

This poem was first published in Requiem Magazine and appears in both my chapbooks. I put it in both Girl + Muse and Lupercalia because I love it and the poetry of Wislawa Szymborska very much. Saying I love her work isn’t enough, really, but it’s the best I can do now.

When I was growing up, as a baby poet in college, surrounded by all the “great voices” my creative writing professors had raging boners for told me I had to read and respect because they were the great, white male voices, Szymborska kept me out of the mindset of conformity and academic elitism because she wrote about real struggle, real human suffering so perfectly. Her and Ginsberg.

Note: My grad school professors were much better than my college professors.

Here’s an article from the Poetry Foundation about the great WS.

Here’s my favorite poem by her.

*

Photo by Deva Williamson on Unsplash

I just want to say I know the cake in this picture isn’t a petit four. I scoured the internet looking for not copywritten pictures of petit fours and couldn’t find one that fitted my feelings. This cake works. If you have a picture of a gorgeous, yummy pastry, please share it with me. Thanks!

Check out my chapbooks here 🙂

New Website and New Pen Name

I’m using a pen name now.

-Because I want to make my writing professional and I want to separate professional like A (the writing) from professional life B (the day job).

-My surname is the same as someone famous.

-My pen name fits the genre better.

What is the new name???

Jessa Forest 🙂

It’s my middle name and a variant of my given name. So I still know it’s me and I won’t get confused.

What’s new with my blog?

-I’ve started working with an editor and project manager so hopefully things will get a little less chaotic and random around here. I’ll be able to make news updates more consistently. And more fun stuff for you to read.

What’s new with The Slaughter Chronicles?

-Everything I’ve previously published, all 1 short story and 1 novella, will be re-published in a short fiction collection I’m working on (Pulling Teeth and Other Stories of the Slaughter Chronicles).

-All of my fiction will now be released under the name Jessa Forest.

What’s new with my poetry?

-Girl + Muse and Lupercalia have been re-launched with my new name and are only available for download directly from me on this site. They are still free 🙂

-All previous publications in print and online magazines still carry my real name. They will not be changed.

-All new poetry publications, self-published and published in literary journals, will be under the name Jessa Forest.

I really appreciate y’all sticking with me and being patient while I get things organized.

*

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Long Distance Relationships Part 2

Mr. J. and I have been living apart (work reasons, we’re still married) since December 4, 2018 and I’ve surprised myself because thinking of all those days and all the days to come that we will still be apart doesn’t bother me.

Instead I putter along, going with the flow of the day, happy and motivated because we are doing this long distance thing to make a better future for us. But then some stupid little thing that makes me realize I haven’t seen my husband/best friend in forever and my carefully rationed optimism and positivity leave me and my mood sinks like a concrete block.

IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS YOU NOTICE.

The first time I noticed the little things getting to me was when I had to do laundry for the first time since moving. And I thought to myself, ‘Seriously? I’ve already run out of clothes? And this is my first time doing laundry away from Mr. J?’ And then I thought about how many loads of laundry I will be doing in the 3 (maybe 4) years we will be apart.

That’s a lot of fucking laundry.

The second little thing was cutting my fingernails. I cut them the day before we said goodbye. Sorry if fingernails gross you out. But as I was cutting them I thought, ‘Seriously? I have to cut my nails already? Surely it hasn’t been that long.’ But it was. And my nails don’t grow very fast.

And then, a few months later I noticed my “new” (purchased the week before my move) bottle of Vitamin C was almost empty. I don’t take vitamins regularly even though I should. You could hold a gun to my head and say, “If you don’t take your vitamins every day for a week I will kill you and your cats.” I still wouldn’t be able to do it. And now that fucking bottle is almost empty. I can see the bottom of the fucking bottle.

It’s like hitting the pan on your favorite eye shadow and going, “WTF I just bought this!”

And the best part is I have thousands and thousands of other little moments waiting in the wings to jump out at me.

I turned 34 in February and I’ll be 36 or 37 when we can live together again. Almost 40, y’all. I know 40 is the new 20 but that in itself gives me pause. And like a cat that’s just fallen off of something and doesn’t want to admit there was a moment when it wasn’t graceful and in control of everything around it, I pretend I’m not upset, that that little thing/monster didn’t happen, and I move on with my day.

I don’t know if that’s the most healthy thing to do or that it will keep working but it’s working for me so far and that’s really all I can ask for right now.

Having a creative outlet also helps. Working with characters that I love helps.

My emotions aren’t going to be healthy 100% of the time. And that’s okay, as long as I don’t obsess over them. Obsessing, dwelling on the “poor me’s” or throwing myself a pity party are luxuries I can’t afford. And it’s not just because he wouldn’t want me to be sad. I want to look back on this time when we are together again and say, “Here a list of all the cool things I did.” Not, “Here’s how long I was sad for.”

*

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash