Issue 4, Summer 2021
4 Ali Bryan, Rebecca Davey, Daniel J Flosi, Derek Harmening, Alexa Koch, Naomi Ling, Steve Loiaconi, Ken Szymanski. Featuring our 2021 Honeybee Prize Winners: nonfiction by Sarah Lass, fiction by Koree Schueler, and poetry by Pamela Sumners.
The cherub watched from its spot on the lawn. A sprinkler coughed to life, draping it in mist. I imagined a child’s mitten reflected in its resin eye.
– What the Cherub Saw
You’re lucky, he says. To have three. Three kids he means, of course. Their fleshy thighs press against you, their sopping hair and wrinkled suits graze your arms. Know they worship you. Know the weight of their expectations. Heavy as a stream.
The dog and I return with the rescue van, which is parked close by on the road, and we pull it beneath the tree. I boost both boys up on top of the van. They’re not only lighter than me and easier on the roof, they’re also thrilled to be standing there.
– Into the Stratosphere
in that last school schooling
on the 10 o’clock news it was a magnet
high school where you just do not expect
that sort of thing like you might at a regular
school or a massage parlor in a strip mall
or at the mall so the big they call it The Galleria
– April is the Cruelest Month
twin streams of birdsong ripple
rows of wheat
teasing apart the meaning
from the music
– From the Stem
My mother tells me of men
measuring the land with their
teeth, mistaking the earth for
bread. Hunger will make every man
into resilience. Or at least, into everything
we weren’t meant to be.
– American Diorama
Yes, you’ve uncovered my diabolical scheme. I kidnapped Curious George in there so I could seduce you into taking me back. Curses! Foiled again! And I’d have gotten away with it if not for you pesky kids and your dog… Is that really what you think?
One thing about the thing on the other side of composing is this: the mossy stone leads to the bird, and the bird gives way to the crunch and the chirp. The clearing leads, once again, to the woods. The thing we’ve found–precious and specific–keeps moving, slipping away, becoming something else.
– Here, Gone, Again
We each build up our grievances, like an osprey building its protective nest. Stick after stick. It’s easier to hate than love. Jeff tells me that he despises opera. I leave them an expensive bottle of wine to apologize. They never say thank you.
– Fences for Neighbours
A more common urge was the need to break things, an impulse to smash a vase of dried flowers, to drop a glass lamp, or to hurl dinner plates at the wall. I never acted on it, but the desire was strong and lingered.
– Everything in the Middle
The baby likes to roll on this carpet. I think it reminds her of grass. She ignores me when I tell her that it is haunted. Maybe when she is older, she will start to feel how scratchy the carpet really is. At least the cat understands–she is reluctant to come into this room.
– Inspection Checklist
Thank you to all who submitted your beautiful words and to our wonderful guest judges, Douglas Manuel, Marco Wilkinson, and Kate Gale. We are pleased to present the finalists and winners for this year’s Honeybee Literature Prize in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry…
Stay tuned for the results of our stage and screen contest coming soon!
Fiction, selected by Kate Gale
- “Inspection Checklist” by Koree Schueler Winner
- “Joanie on the Spot” by Sarah Gilligan
- “A Decent Woman Doesn’t Want” by Shambhavi Roy
- “The Plat-Eye Tale” by Pamela Sumners
Nonfiction, selected by Marco Wilkinson
- “Here, Gone, Again” by Sarah Lass Winner
- “Water Land” by Melanie Hoffert Runner Up
- “Coats in Summer” by Christi Krug
- “Hiccup Man” by Christi Krug
- “Confessions of an Amateur Ghost Hunter” by Ashley Memory
Poetry, selected by Douglas Manuel
from the archives:
“Famous Checkmates in Grabowski Family History” by KP Vogell – Issue III
I. Kevin Grabowski vs. Food
Kevin Grabowski, age three, is toddling around his parents’ kitchen. A half-open cabinet reveals a large, crinkly paper bag filled with two pounds of white granulated heaven. He shoves it by the fistful into his small mouth only to taste not sugar, but salt, and vomits immediately. The vomit is, for some reason, bright orange.
“Go Get the Gun” by Jim Peterson – Issue II
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.
“Extra Large for the Lord” by Tomas Baiza – Issue I
Joey, tragically White and clueless. Joey who’s in my English and P.E. classes, but thank God not Trigonometry or Health, well, homeboy yanks the half-burnt order ticket from under the sizzling pizza. He squints at it and twists up his face, pale fingers wrapped round the intercom mic. Beyond him, a packed dining room of Friday-night customers.
read all the archived good stuff here
Soundbites, The Good Life Review‘s podcast, is currently being reimagined. Catch up on a year’s worth of gossip and craft talk with our editors and contributors from issues one, two, and three on our soundbites page or on one of these podcast platforms:
We are currently open for submissions for our Autumn issue. The deadline for this submission window has been extended to August 31st.
The Good Life Review accepts previously unpublished work in fiction, nonfiction, flash, poetry, stage & screen, translations, and everything in between, and we are always looking for original art. We nominate for the Pushcart. Check out our submission guidelines here or on Submittable.
Photo cred: Zac Bunch
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
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