Musical Mentions – Updown by Christopher Marciano

I have a new Musical Mention for your viewing and listening pleasure!

Smooth and soul filling, Christopher Marciano’s song Updown is one to add to your repertoire of music! I felt the longing, a twinge of hopeful chaos, but all of it based in a calm presence of mind. The beat hits in that perfectly satisfying spot, a note pattern that I didn’t know I needed. For his video he included a group of dancers, the Expandablez, who enhanced the artistry of this exceptional song. And to top it off, they did it all with the impressive and kind skill of maintaining the health safety of wearing masks! The music and dance combination is mesmerizing, full of passion and heart that is healing to this broken world right now. Take a look!

-Mia Savant

Christopher Marciano:

With songs like “Runaway”, “Stubborn” and “I’m Just Me”, Pop and R&B Singer-Songwriter Christopher Marciano is no stranger to speaking his mind about self-worth. The importance of promoting Mental Health Awareness and Diversity through his music has been the reason why he continues to not let the pen escape him.

“The moment I found myself avoiding mirrors is the moment I knew something had to change. I needed to take everyone on that journey towards finding Transparency and if I helped just one person along the way, then I’ve done what I needed to do.”

– Christopher Marciano

Read More at:


IG/Twitter: @MarcianoMusic
Website: WWW.MarcianoMusic.Com


Mother Earth on a Wheelchair – Poetry by Tope Ashaolu

Adorably Horror Series – Tope Ashaolu

Mother Earth on a wheelchair’

When mother is rewritten into another blank stories

And into another dark sheet  

Little light in her should able to call to mind

Of when and how was their abode thrust with lost footprint

But how do we say it

That mother’s light has been buried even though still craving

Or how do pronounce this-

That moon birthed by Earth has been strike by the colours of pain

There are places in heaven where Earth can be heal

But her other children won’t let the path to heaven live

And not even any scent track will be spare

Cause they are fire that burn their abode slowly

Maybe her sheet will be flooded with beautiful tales again  

But scars in her is like flies after rain

And the wheelchair,  just a cover page of different strayed bullet inher

Hope a moment will live when her foot will saunter again 

But hitherto, Mother Earth is another soul with lost strength.

Tope Ashaolu


Tope Ashaolu is a Yoruba born poet, he was raised in kwara state, where he earned his primary education and secondary aspect certificate.

He has feature in some most standard poetry challenge, in the like of 2017 chrysolite wordwar,coming out as 2nd runner-up and some others competition.

His poem has been published in some online journals such as:praxis magzine,parousia magazine,Erogospel and others magazine.

He is currently studying English and literary studies at federal University, Oye Ekiti.

Evening and Other Poetry by Joan McNerney


is the dawn

of nighttime.

Joan McNerney


Night paints my room black

while I listen to raindrops.

So many dark secrets

written in its black ink.

Night is my highway to

lost dreams.  Cats in the alley

screech their wonton quest.


Joan McNerney’s poetry is found in many literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Poet Warriors, Blueline, and Halcyon Days. Four Bright Hills Press Anthologies, several Poppy Road Review Journals, and numerous Spectrum Publications have accepted her work. She has four Best of the Net nominations. Her latest title is The Muse in Miniature available on and

Call For Submissions – To What We Lost

Call for Submissions!

All formats of art wanted!

Free submission. Deadline October 31st, 2020.

Looking for art on the topic of loss of all kinds. It can be loss of a loved one, a relationship, job, home, etc. or any other type of loss. The idea is to pay tribute to that which has been lost, honoring and validating the grief process of it.

Selected submissions will be displayed on

Submit To:

Email Mia Savant at using the subject line “To What We Lost.”

Submissions Guidelines:

1. Send your artwork of any kind (written art, performance art, visual art, etc.) on the topic of loss.

-If sending video, please send it as a link to either youtube or vimeo.

Disclaimer: Submissions that include hate, discrimination, or inappropriate content will not be accepted.

2. Include a picture of yourself or any photo that you feel represents yourself as an artist.

3. Include any bios, links to your work, or social media sites that you would like to be shared.

4. Follow the blog site If you have Facebook or Instagram follow there as well @pondersavant.

5. Spread the word! Let other artists know about To What We Lost by your social media sites or word of mouth!

Deadline for submission is October 31st, 2020

Terminal Blue and Window Pane- Art by Mark Blickley, Amy Bassin, & Beatrice Georgalidis

Adorably Horror Series – Mark Blickley & Amy Bassin

-Mark Blickley & Amy Bassin

Photo by Beatrice Georgalidis

“Window Pane”

by Mark Blickley

It was time for Ralph’s first real haircut. Ralph’s mother said it was time, as did the next-door parents of his best friend, Emmitt.  The only person who did not think it was time for a real haircut was Ralph. He did not want to go to the barbershop.

Ralph liked having his mother cut his hair. Last month she was so tired after working a double shift at the hospital she accidently sliced his ear with the scissors.  There was a lot of blood.  On Sunday Mother announced that Bright’s Barber Shop had finally opened after being closed for nearly four months because of the virus. She scheduled an appointment for Ralph on Friday.

Thursday night Ralph could not fall asleep. Every time he shut his eyes all he could see was the huge window in front of Mr. Bright’s barbershop. Ralph hated that window. He had to pass it every week when his mother took him to the babysitter before she went to work at St. Ann’s Medical Center.

Even though Ralph hated the window, he would always look inside as he passed by. He couldn’t help himself. And what he saw truly frightened him. A large bald-headed man with a bushy moustache named Mr. Bright was always chopping off somebody’s hair.  Ralph remembered seeing men, boys, and even a lady tied to a chair, looking like prisoners as Mr. Bright danced around them waving sharp tools.

Friday morning Ralph was very very nervous and refused to leave the house. He felt as trapped as the frogs he stalked, caught and tossed into his pail. For the first time in his life Ralph wished he were a frog. Frogs don’t have hair.


Mark Blickley & Amy Bassin & Beatrice Georgalidis

Murphy’s Ghost – Short Story by Steve Wheeler

Adorably Horror Series – Steve Wheeler 


I was not surprised at the shuffling of feet beyond the high wooden fence. It was Halloween night and I was working my first shift as night watchman in the old lumber company where my grandfather had worked for thirty years. They say, at the end, the owner would send a car for old Tom to take him, in comfort, the two miles each way he had walked for so long.  

     There were children and parents walking the streets outside the yard, sometimes explosions of firecrackers in the distance. 

     It was an old lumber yard, a throwback to the glory days of Bytown when timber was king. I walked around the perimeter wooden fence, checked that the big doors to the yard and garage were locked, wandered into the little kitchen for a cup of tea. I knew that drinking too much caffeine on graveyard shifts could have disastrous consequences when the lack of sleep eventually caught up to you, but this was my first shift, Halloween night and tea didn’t seem as dangerous as coffee. 

     I wasn’t one to be superstitious and all the leprechauns and little people and faeries of Irish folklore weren’t foremost in my thoughts except when I remembered my mother who was born in Galway and believed in it all. I had bad dreams about the freezecat but that’s another story. 

     There were three mugs set out in the kitchen at the back of the office. I dropped a teabag into one, plugged in the kettle and checked that day’s Sun girl. 

     The knocking at the office door sounded normal. Maybe some of the trick or treaters outside had seen the kitchen light. I walked through the dark office. 

     As I reached for the doorknob I heard the words 

     “No need for that” 

     I couldn’t believe my eyes when a man walked right through the door and shook my outstretched hand. 

     “Tom, Tom Wheeler, your grandfather, and you’ll know Murphy” 

      To my astonishment another figure stepped through the closed door and shook the hand which my grandfather had just squeezed. I felt it. I know they both squeezed my hand. 

     I recognized my grandfather by pictures I’d seen. He had a large head, a bald pate and a perpetual smile. My irreverent friends would have called him “wingnut” because of his large ears, but not to his face. 

     Murphy’s theory was the reason I was here in the first place. His theory of gambling on sporting events hit a few rough spots when I tried it after his death. Or maybe I didn’t get the full gist of it. Whatever happened, I lost my shirt over those bets and was forced to take this job. The last time I’d seen Murphy he was sitting up in his casket with my coffee cup in his hands and a brawl going on all around him. 

     They made their way through the office to the kitchen where my grandfather refilled the kettle and washed out an old teapot. He made tea while Murphy and I sat down at the table.      

     I wasn’t sure what to do about it and the manners of these two ghosts, for that is what they must be, were impeccable. 

     “I thought we came here to decide” said Murphy, filling his pipe. 

     “Yes, we can decide tonight, all right. Tonight’ll be the night we’ll decide” Tom said as he set the pot down on the table to steep and pulled up a chair. He too filled his pipe. 

     “You didn’t follow through on the system I told you about just before I died” Murphy said to me. 

     “What do you mean?” I piped up. 

     “A team usually loses at home the first game after a road trip. That’s part of it. There were a few more tricks of the trade which you failed to employ when you made those bets. You would have bet the opposite and cleaned up if you had” Murphy lined up the sugar and milk near his cup just behind the spoon. 

     “Hm” I grunted.  

     Tom poured tea into our cups and spoke to Murphy as he added his sugar. 

     “I think three” 

     Murphy took his time, measured his sugar carefully with his spoon, added milk and stirred the combination vigorously. 

     “After a lot of thought, I have to conclude that the answer is two” 

     A long silence broken only by the sounds of tea drinking and the unwrapping of a package of biscuits Tom had produced. Peak Freans. 

     “Maybe, if they were doing a proper Irish jig. But even then, with the footwork, you’d have to hope they were once Irish in order not to step on each other’s toes.” 

     “See, three is the superior number” Tom answered,” being half again what your number two is It could be easily done by three angels dancing a Highland fling on the head of a pin” 

     My grandfather’s father was a stonemason from Putney but his wife was a Ross from the Highlands and he defended the northern clan at every opportunity. 

     “We’re not talking about a needle here” Murphy proclaimed. 

     “The thick end with the eye in it. Only Irish angels could dance on the head of a pin and there’d only be room for two of them” 

     Tom disappeared for a moment behind a cloud of grey smoke from his pipe. Anger showed on his countenance when he reappeared. 

     “Three Scottish angels could do it” 

     Before I knew what was happening they had jumped up and were circling the table, Murphy with a large shillelagh, Tom with a battle axe. 

     I sat still and watched. 

     Murphy swung a vicious two hander which caught Tom in the neck. His head was clearly separated from his shoulders but just popped up and landed back in its spot. It was facing the wrong way, but Tom adjusted it and caught Murphy on the side at hip level thereby cutting him in two with the axe. 

     Murphy separated in the middle but his upper body, after popping up, returned to the bottom half at the waist. 

     I could hear laboured breathing as they sparred and clashed but no more than the sounds of two old men exerting themselves. 

     Finally, they put aside their weapons, drank tea, smoked their pipes and resumed the debate. 

     “Two is a balanced number, equal on both sides of its duality” Murphy declared out loud. 

     “Well, we could add them together to equal five or put them side by side and come up with thirty two” offered agreeable Tom. One of his brothers had been an accountant. 

     “Ihirty two would be a little crowded on the head of a pin” Murphy observed.    

     Both disappeared behind clouds of grey smoke as they contemplated the problem with newly fired pipes. 

     “The angels would have to step lively all right” Tom observed. 

     “Thirty two Scottish angels could do a Highland Reel on the head of a pin” he declared. 

     “Mind you, they’d need eight circles for the teams of four” 

     “Hm” responded Murphy. 

     “I could see putting them side by side and coming up with twenty three”   

     I was wondering if they would again arise to resume hostilities but all they did was wash and dry the cups together like an old married couple. I could hear them mumbling to each other as they stood at the sink with their backs to me. 

     My disbelief was in a suspended state.  Except that it wasn’t a trick in my head. 

     They sat down at the table again and looked across the office to the front door. 

     The knock on the front door came after a long minute of waiting. 

     I made to rise but Tom put up his hand to stop me and Murphy said 


     The door never opened but four little men carried a log fire with a bubbling pot slung above it through the office to where we were sitting in the kitchen. Behind them a mad cackle blended with the whooshing sound of a wild wind and a dark figure flew through the wall, did two circuits of the office and landed deftly behind the pot. 

     My mouth was hanging open when I looked at my grandfather and Murphy. 

     Both nodded and smiled at the woman in front of us. 

     “Hello, Zelda” they said. 

     “Boys” the woman spoke while her appearance changed like fluid before my eyes. First she was an old hag, then a beautiful maiden, then an ancient crone with a wart on her nose and finally she settled on a plump milkmaid who peered curiously into the pot. 

     “This is Steve, Tom’s grandson and an old friend of mine” Murphy spoke up. 

     “He’s on the other side, is he?” she stirred the bubbling broth with great concentration. 

     “Yes, he’s still there” Murphy nodded agreeably 

     “But not for much longer” 

     This conversation troubled me. 

     “And how’s tricks and treats tonight then, Zelda?” Tom inquired. 

     Zelda turned into a smartly dressed businesswoman while she surveyed the pot and the four little men. Were they elves or goblins or gnomes? I didn’t know and no one was telling. 

     “It used to be better in the old days” she said 

     “You can’t scare anybody any more. Then there’s all the white witches. Dogooders I call them. I mean you can be spooky without being evil” 

     She joined Murphy and Tom in puffing on a pipe. With all four of the little men smoking their pipes as well, we disappeared for a moment until the cloud moved on. There was no smoke from the fire under the pot though, I will say that.      

     As if on a prearranged signal, the little men picked up the fire and pot, waited till Zelda stepped out of the way, carried it through the office and the closed front door. 

     Zelda watched them go, an ever changing expression on her ever changing face. 

     “Goodbye, boys. I sensed you were in the neighbourhood and thought I’d drop by to say hello. See you round” 

     She did a high speed circuit of the darkened office, one second mounting her broom, the next a black blur, the next gone through the wall. 

      After this display my grandfather produced a pint of single malt Highland whiskey and Murphy found a pint of Black Bush in his pocket. 

     The tea mugs were used to share the shots. 

     “Tell you what” said Murphy “We’ll meet next Halloween night here and decide for good” 

     “Agreed” said Tom “Next Halloween night. That long enough for you?” 

     “Oh yes. By that time there won’t be any doubt. I’ll know by then” 

     “Same here” said Tom. 

     They stood and proferred their hands. 

     Each squeezed my outstretched one. 

     As I followed them across the office, Tom said 

     “Halloween night is over here now. But it’s just starting west of here” 

     They waved goodbye and walked through the door. 

     I opened it and watched them walk to the outer fence. They turned to me. 

     “I’ll say hello to your Dad” Tom spoke in a loud voice. 

     “And don’t bet on anything more than five to one” Murphy shouted 

     They turned west and walked through the fence. 

     Up in the sky, silhouetted against the full moon, Zelda flew by on her broomstick. 

     I walked back to the kitchen to turn out the lights. 

     I felt that glorious buzz which just the right amount of good whiskey produces. 

     It was time to do my rounds and make sure nothing strange was happening in the yard that Halloween night. 



Steve Wheeler 

GHOST-IT NOTES – Short Play by Allison Fradkin

Adorably Horror Series – Allison Fradkin



When it comes to ghosting, Tori has a habit of going to town. Which is why she ends up in Ghost  Town, where she is taunted, daunted, and haunted by her ex-girlfriend Cassandra. Will the  reconnection spark a resurrection of their relationship? Or will Tori insist on remaining a ghost about-town? 



any age 

female-identifying or non-binary 

open ethnicity 

witty and gritty, flirtatious and vivacious 


any age 

female-identifying or non-binary 

open ethnicity 

classy and brassy, testy and zesty 


Purgatory (sort of). 


The present.

At rise, CASSANDRA is present—and primed for a confrontation. TORI enters. 


There you are! I’ve been waiting. Not for you. Anymore. I’ve been waiting tables. That’s short  for I’ve been waiting to turn the tables—on you. What’s the matter? Do I look like I’ve seen a  ghost? Well, good, I should—because I did. You look similarly spooked, which is  astronomically asinine, because I’m no ghost. I’m Cass. 


That isn’t short for Casper? 


Well, I am friendly. However, I am not comparably colorless, bigheaded, or prone to fright or  flight. You don’t recognize me, do you? Can’t put a name with efface? Specifically, with  someone who’s effacing you? No surprise there. You are, after all, beyond the pale. 


As in the pallor typically associated with apparitions? 


No, no. Beyond the pale isn’t short for anything, although it does bring you up short, doesn’t it?  


Not for long. Speaking of bad timing, am I not long for this world? Or am I just, you know, dead  to the world?  


The world? Please. This is a guilt trip, Tori, not an ego trip. I’m afraid you’re just dead to me.  And countless others. 


(flirtatiously) So…do you see dead people? 


I am not, have never been, and never will be that desperate. 


But I am a ghost and you are seeing me—for observational purposes. Is that accurate? 


Well, this certainly isn’t where you go when you die…al [dial]. Or text. Or even email. This is  where you go when you…go without saying.  


Saying what?


Good-bye? Hello! Welcome to Ghost Town. There’s a new sheriff in it. Put ’er there, former  pardner. 


No, thanks. My hands are shaking enough as it is. Cass, if you’re trying to scare the crap outta  me— 


Not the crap, Tori. The crappiness. I too have undergone a successful disrespectomy, so I  speak—and critique—from experience. 


You were a ghost? 


In a past life. Now that you’re finally here, it’s time for me to pass on—what I’ve learned. 


We could always share the shame. 


Sorry, toots, this is a one-ghost town. 


And I’m the Town Ghost? 


Which, by default, also makes you the Village Idiot. It takes a village to raze—that’s r-a-z-e,  FYI—a childish ghost. 


The other vengeful villagers are where, exactly? Waiting under tables at the Motel 666? Come  on, pitchfork ’em over and let’s get whatever this is over with. 


You’re not in hell, you little devil. You’re in Purge-a-Tori. 




Much like the ghosted—or the ghostee, if the ghoster would prefer—“purg” is nonexistent. That’s why we’re going to purge a Tori. This is your chance to expiate your execrable treatment  of your exes.


Atone it down, would you? 




What’s that short for? Scared to eat crow? 




I’m not scared. I just have a lot of exes and therefore a lot of…owes. Exes to whom I owe an  apology. And why, out of all of them, have you come back to haunt me? 


You want a comeback to haunt you? All right. You may have been the one to leave me hanging,  but I’m the one that got away. 


So this is all a revenge fantasy? 


Bingo, bozo. And it’s all yours. I see right through you, Tori. Well, not like that. You’ve been  pulling this out of sight/out of mind crap for how many years? Well, you know how long it’s  been and, more importantly, you now know how wrong it’s been. You feel—what was the word  you used—shame? 


Yes, I regret the way I ended things— 


You didn’t end anything. You deserted a ’ship that wasn’t even sinking—’ship being short for  relationship, of course. One minute you were dating me, the next you were invalidating me. 


I know, and I’m sorry. But it never would’ve worked. 


It was working. Until you quit. 


I had to. What I did was despicable, okay? But it was also preemptive, precautionary—




You would have fired me eventually. 


Why? So you could collect un-enjoyment? That would have put me out of work too. 


Are you saying I sabotaged everything for nothing? 


Everything with everyone—but none more so than The One That Got Away. All caps, all that— 


All in? I’m ready to give up the ghost…ing. It’s time to purge the Tori who never thought twice  about being thoughtless but who always had second thoughts about herself and her…pardners.  I’m shutting you down, Ghost Town. In fact, I’m gonna run myself outta this town. When I wake  up from this dreamy nightmare in the morn, I’m gonna get on my horn— 


Sounds to me like you’re already blowing it. You seem to be under the impression that this  reconnection will result in an instantaneous resurrection of our relationship. That’s both spooky  and kooky. Besides, I wasn’t out of your mind and I am not out of mine. 


You’re really making short work of me, aren’t you? 


You’ll thank me in the long run. 


Long run. We could have had one of those, Cass. We still can. I didn’t end anything, remember?  So technically…(realizing) technically I’m still dating—or, more accurately, invalidating— everyone I’ve ever dated.  


Perhaps if you proceed with terminating those pardner-ships officially, and reaching out to me consciously…someday I’ll cease interrogating, humiliating, and Cass-tigating you and consider  communicating with, associating with, and even…exonerating you.  


So…I have a ghost of a chance?


Only if any and all future ghostings are performed posthumously. 


If that means you’ll go from purge-a-Tori to laud-a-Tori [laudatory], you have my word. 


Good. Because if I have your word and my way…you’ll never work—anyone over  emotionally—in this town again. Curtain.


Allison Fradkin (she/her) delights in creating satirically scintillating stories for the stage and the page. An enthusiast of inclusivity and accessibility, she freelances for her hometown of Chicago as Literary Manager of Violet Surprise Theatre, curating new plays by queer women; and as Dramatist for Special Gifts Theatre, adapting scripts for actors of all abilities. In addition to writing, Allison has a gay old time vintage shopping, jewelry making, and tending to her thespian tendencies.

Follow: To learn more about this absurdly adorable gal, please visit

My Body by Tali Cohen Shabtai

Adorably Horror Series – Tali Cohen Shabtai

My Body

Depersonalization/Tali Cohen Shabtai

The neck is stuck
I‘m trying to remove it
From its place.
Claustrophobic organs

Where am I more present
In the face or
In the lower part of the body?

Oh, God?

Part 2:
I am new\Tali Cohen Shabtai

They don’t know
Where I came from
I must connect the- leg
With the waist
And the pelvis to the spine

That’s the way when items
Are separated from bodies
And an artificial
Lens is implanted
In the – eye.

Who said it’s possible to move
Away from their

Who said?


I read prose only in the third person,

And only translated prose,

Poetry, I also read in Hebrew.

I have been writing since the age of six.

Mainstreamism repels me.

Bestsellers I do not touch.

I love nonfiction books.

Newspapers do not count at all as the writing and reading genre.

I love homeless people, authentic views of life and art.

I have hallmarks I keep — my thick eyebrows, and the gap between my teeth. I have managed to live in several countries in my life.

And I will dedicate my forthcoming book to my six-year-old niece.

We Told Them Not To Roughhouse by Alan Bern

Adorably Horror Series – Alan Bern

We Told Them Not To RoughHouse


Photographs often capture and present moments. To collect these moments and for the great good health of body and mind, I take walks— yes, I walk my neighborhood streets and also beyond— and I capture moments, sometimes with the camera on my phone, sometimes with a few words, and sometimes with both. Snap snap. I regularly walk in my neighborhood where I have lived for 95% of my life. And, yes, it’s often awfully familiar, but there is always something new to see. Day of the Dead wooden sculptures, one a head-in-a-basket. Snap snap. 

Poems, too, can capture and present these moments— especially short poems such as haiku and haiku-like poems. I capture and presents such moments in both my photographs and my poems, and sometimes I combines the two in what are called photo-haiga.* At other times I merge both into longer narratives that may tell a story, but more often present a flow of images and words that magnify and transmit thoughts, feelings, and dream-traces. 

*”Haiga [paintings] are typically painted by haiku poets (haijin), and often accompanied by a haiku poem.”— with Alan’s photos standing in for the paintings.


Retired children’s librarian Alan Bern’s poetry books: No no the saddest and Waterwalking in Berkeley, Fithian Press; greater distance, Lines & Faces, his press with artist Robert Woods, Alan has poems, stories, and photos published in a variety of online and print publications from which he has won awards. Recent photos published: and Alan performs with dancer/choreographer Lucinda Weaver as PACES and with musicians from Composing Together,