REVIEW: You’re Pretty Gay by Drew Pisarra

Review by J.L. Corbett

Writer: Drew Pisarra

Publisher: Chaffinch Press

Release date: 25th June 2021

Price: £10.90 ($14)

The Matter of the Oilliphéist by Brendan Shea

When Bryce Garner and Deirdre Murphy skipped their morning class at the National University of Ireland, Galway, on the morning of October 7th, their absence was noted by their professor, Dr. Seán Riordan. He spoke with us months later, following the discoveries near Clashganniv, County Kerry.

“I didn’t like the American fella, if I’m being honest,” Dr. Riordan, professor of Early Irish Folklore and Heritage, said. “But Deirdre was lovely. Galway girl. Worked at the sandwich shop. Made a wonderful bap. They had taken to sitting together. Drawing doodles, smiling. Thinking I didn’t notice. It was the lack of giggling—that’s what caught my attention that day, when I realized they weren’t there.”

Time Lord by Jennifer Benningfield

The ceaseless circle of life.

The sour-spirited myth of timelessness.

Not enough people think about those things.

Remember when you learned to count to ten? Big accomplishment. Right up there with potty training and first steps. From early on, the importance of numbers is pressed into us.

“Time flies”….”time drags”…mind tricks. The Egyptians would be wildly disappointed in us.

Chopped by Erika Nichols-Frazer

Since Mike, our youngest, went away to college, Derek and I have been eating a lot of meals in front of the TV, or, specifically, while watching Chopped, which seems to always be on the Food Network. We’ve started to eat dinner in front of it most nights, not sure what to say to each other. We need something to fill the silence.

I’ve never considered myself much of a cook, nothing special, anyway. I made meals the kids liked, homemade mac ‘n cheese, lasagna, hamburgers and roasted potatoes. But now that they’re both in college and thousands of miles away—they both insisted on getting as far away as they could—Derek and I have been eating a lot of premade and frozen meals. It’s different with half as much food to make. I keep buying more than we need and having to throw out rotten apples and potatoes with eyes. I have to halve recipes. Sometimes I buy things out of habit, like beef jerky or Double-Stuf Oreos—Mike’s favorite—and they go uneaten for months.

Scrubland by Leela Raj-Sankar

After the funeral, Andy took me on a drive into the desert, past where the roads turned to dirt and the cookie-cutter suburban houses turned to scraggly, thorn-filled bushes. Predictably, he didn’t say anything for the whole hour, just tapped his fingers against the steering wheel rhythmlessly. Andy never talked much, even when we were kids; it’s why I liked him. But now, suffocating under the bone-dry August heat, I wished he would offer me something to hold on to, even if it was one of the meaningless platitudes I’d spent the entire afternoon fielding.

The day of Kaya’s death marked the end of an extremely anticlimactic monsoon season. Arizona had been drought-prone since before I could remember, but this summer is a different beast, Kaya had told me. I remembered, with sudden, terrible clarity, the redness on her cheekbones that never had time to turn to a full-blown sunburn. This summer is a different beast. She had been warning me the whole time. Why hadn’t I listened?

Worlds Collide – A Hero Returns by Robert Scott

ACT I

Welcome to my world. I am happy.

My den is at peak den. I have all I need, and more. After months, years, of ups and downs, I have finally arrived where I want to be. Peace, comfort, security. A room with a view. A sea of tranquillity stretches out to every point of my horizon.

But then the ground shakes. A messenger from the old world comes, unexpected, and with an unwelcome invitation.

Hitting Trains by Yash Seyedbagheri

I laugh at railroad crossing PSAs when bad actors gasp at oncoming trains, are too immersed in headphones, or think climbing on boxcars is dope. I guffaw at YIELD TO ALL TRAINS signs.

And I roar at the footage itself, the footage some railfan with cat-eye glasses caught by sheer, dark chance. No 90s quality footage and actors who could have been kidnapped from a family sitcom. Just a car, my sister’s Toyota Corolla, actually striking a train. Not being struck by a train. Striking a train. Ramming a boxcar, as though her Corolla were a Panzer rolling down the streets of some occupied European power, and not being dragged and spun around.