Issue 3 Home Page

Issue 3, Spring 2021

3 Karen Gettert Shoemaker, David Hogan, Marian Cronin, Angela Gabrielle Fabunan, Wendy Thompson Taiwo, Andrew Moss, Emma Bernstein, Moriah Bray, Mike Bonnet, Nicholas Cormier III, Autumn Bettinger, KP Vogell, Silver Webb, Amie Heasley, Adrienne Pine, Bryan Starchman, Jade Hidle, and Katie Kalahan

Bitch, we’re old, you say to your friend over a glass of wine and laugh. And like in a commercial, she turns to you and says, No way, bitch! The forties are the new twenties.

– Disintegrate

The highway rumbling
like an easy metaphor, and me, twenty and full
of cheap chocolate, thinking I can bear anything
as long as it is temporary

– Waiting to Pee, I Invent My Future

Lips pursed, teeth and tongue twist in magical phonology
Nasalised vowels, blown like trumpets in rhythm
Mum on the phone speaking pure Twi

– Twi Phon-ology

She had wildflowers in her hair,
two blushing on her cheeks, spine and right
hand distorted in the water. She hung
in your dining room slitted eyes cut
toward us.

– Klimt’s Water Serpents II

Turn to face me, tell me is this all the change
we will ever see, these coins, scattered at Your feet,

for Your penitencia, in this march, on our way to
Your crucifixion. I drop the coin…

– Maria Magdalena

He proceeds to have a 24-hour trip during which he barricades himself in the bathroom and, while vomiting and having continuous diarrhea, personally experiences in the cells of his body the Big Bang, the Ice Age, the death of Christ…

– Famous Checkmates in the Grabowski Family History

You don’t get it, do you, Jones? The gravitational pull of wealth and power, the sweet seduction of mutual selfish interest, the glorious grab-fest of the civilized world. That’s what it’s about.

– Fore

For years I have been living with the idea of a piece, called Perfect Lovers by Felix Gonzalez-Torres. I have never seen it in person. I have never sat in front of it and cried.

– May There Always Be

Given this state of things, did she make a conscious decision to die sooner rather than later, in order to avoid the misery that lay ahead of her? Did she will her heart to fail, her lungs to fill with fluid?

– Mother

I didn’t have a clue who I was supposed to be anymore, and yet, I was still that woman who picked up people—those I loved and those I’d never even met.

– Picking Up Where We Left Off

She wanted to call Leonard, tell him about the blood-red tree, the irony in grasping for a sense of connection from an automated reply, the modern alienation of looking to her phone rather than the sky to tell the weather.

– Precipitate

I wonder aloud how it all came to this. I stand up, tray in hand and sprinkle the cabbage on the niche spreading it out evenly until the entire area is covered. My head aches. Room seems to shake. I take my seat. They won’t break me, I think as I stare out the window.

– Passport

Occasionally their trajectories would intersect, to be over or undertaken, but mostly they pressed on alone, each a distinct entity from the other.

– Rex

My fear of the unknown keeps me from
diving fully into anything. I am
afraid that I’ll never get the courage
to stray.

– Sleepless

I sat myself at the table in a corner, our old table… the one where I laughed so hard, I knocked over my glass of wine and turned your white shirt red.

– What I Lost in September

Weeks of her absence went by with only an occasional shrug of irritation from one or another of us when she missed an appointment or a longstanding date. That’s so Ruby, we’d say, some with fondness and some with a tinge of anger in our voices.

– Where Did You Go, Ruby?

In that split second, I looked into her green eyes and she mouthed something. “Could we please?”

– Read Her Lips

In the desert, my dad was all mustache and heartbreaker styled after the thunk-whir of Zappa and Rude Dog tank tops…

– Lorenzo Cain, #6


We are actively working to produce new episodes from the talented writers of our Spring Issue. Stay tuned for details about episode 3.1 coming soon! Catch up on previous episodes through our Soundbites page, Spotify, or iTunes.

Soundbites is a weekly podcast with contributors of The Good Life ReviewFollow us for additional gems and interview highlights.

contest submissions open until april 30

$200 first place prize for fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and scripts; publication in our Summer 2021 issue with judge’s endorsement; and jar of Midwest apiary honey

Guest judges: Kate Gale, Marco Wilkinson, Douglas Manuel, and Michael Oatman

from the archives

“Go Get the Gun” by Jim Peterson

I took off my reading glasses and put on my far-sighted glasses.  She came into better focus.  Yes, I could now see that she was trembling.  Her eyes were glassy with fear.  “But Martha,” I said, “it’s dangerous to run around with a loaded gun unless you really need it,” I said.  

Read more

“Linoleum” by Stelios Mormoris

Even an acrid bouquet was a gift,
and she wept. Even a window open
and hearing a chorus of girls 
carry across the valley like puffs
of dandelion blown loose excited 
her as I picked the stiff white seeds…

Read more

“Kathy Kay” by Megan Saunders

Did I sense it, in this moment? That my mother would be dead in twenty-four hours in the bedroom ten feet from where we stood? No. But it’s so easy to imagine I did. 

Read more

read all the archived good stuff here

The Good Life Review is a literary journal made with ♥ from Omaha, Nebraska. We are committed to exploring the overlooked and are taking active steps toward a more diverse and equitable publishing platform. About us


General submission window is open, and we are also accepting submissions for the 2021 Honeybee Prize. More details about the contest can be found here. Please read our submission guidelines before submitting. Send us your wild and wonderful work through Submittable.

Does your original photography or artwork tell a story? Send us an email to be featured in an upcoming issue. Photo cred: Zac Bunch

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