My Grim Reaper - David Michael Wolach

To Joe Pannock, wherever he is

There is a common misperception in America about the "Grim Reaper".  That he is always a man or skeleton personified with a scythe (1927).  I believe that he comes in whatever form suits one's level of comfort, familiarity.  My Grim Reaper is a homeless man with a degree in philosophy from The New School who roams the busy streets of lower Manhattan and only takes correspondence in hard copy by way of a courier.  He is a Nietzsche specialist named Joe Pannock; his grandfather played professional baseball and you can look him up in books.  His front teeth are mere brown stubs that don't do much harm to food.  He spits when he talks and apologizes each time, and everything is of importance to him.  Walkways, people, windows.  I see him often these days and everyone says I'm going mad…

You say sometimes, in a superstitious way: to speak those words are to prevent what they describe from happening (Borges).  Even so-called atheists will admit this-as long as the topic stays far from Joe Pannock.

The way of the Exploding Fist - Sophie Bachard

In the way of the exploding fist, the defeat of one's foe, paradoxically, is through the use of one's inherent goodness, through one's love. As you deliver your final blow, focus and channel your soul essence and inherent good through this single punctuation of the hostility. Reveal in the act your character: as the cuddly-looking dog becomes a wolf upon baring its fangs, let your true innerself shape the attack. Be pithy in retort, refined, flow along true lines, capture in your action your foe's falsity and hate. This will disarm his power. Most importantly, withdraw immediately after delivering your death-blow. The authority of your finishing stroke will resound and your foe may often go unaware of the fatality of his injury. He may foolishly attempt to fight on. It is to no avail. Do not indulge your foe by resuming hostilities: remain aloof but defensive. Remember, one cannot deliver a coup de grace twice. Your foe's fate is sealed. One's foe will sicken for days as death is delayed. The lethal effect of you having successfully turned your enemy's hate upon him is inescapable. Inevitable death will result.

Bio: David Michael Wolach, 28, was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan.  After teaching and serving as a union organizer in New York City for six years, Wolach moved to Olympia, Washington, where he teaches philosophy and literature at The Evergreen State College, specializing in contemporary aesthetics, Wittgenstein, and Critical Theory. His essays, poetry, and fiction have appeared or will appear in various publications, including Poetry Midwest, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Heartlands Magazine, The Tipton Poetry Journal, and Saint Elizabeth Street Review.  Winner of a Peralta Press Editor's Prize, a finalist in Glimmer Train Stories' New Writer's Competition, and a Broadside Press Poets Award, Wolach is also the managing editor of Wheelhouse Magazine.

Bio: Sophie Bachard was born and bred in South London, UK, where she was raised on a housing estate as a feral child by stray dogs. After losing the entire manuscript of her ten million word epic autobiography at sea, she now writes flash fiction to stay sane. Recent and forthcoming publications include Rose&Thorn / Brilliant Quarterly (Print Issue one) / PoeticDiversity / Bewildering Stories / Delivered, anthology of short fiction / Apollo's Lyre/and Mouth full of Bullets.