Welcome to the Good Life Review

Issue 2, Winter 2020

2 Inside: Jim Peterson, Kendall Klym, Caleb Nichols, Stelios Mormoris, Tyler Jacobs, Kerby Caudill, Megan Saunders, Lynn Magill, Clare Bercot Zwerling, Gabriella Bedetti, and Don Boes


When Dusty finally comes around to my window, slurring, I roll it down. Just a few inches. “Birdie girl, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to say that. I don’t not love you. It’s just…” He trails off and cracks open another beer, spits a brown gob on the concrete.

– Birds of Prey


And I do not want it. I feel a frantic scrabbling in my chest to push it all back down. Not yet, flowersNo more, birds. Wait. Stay dormant. Because when they blossom and pollinate and sing, you will still be gone. And, selfishly, greedily, furiously, I am not ready.

– Selfishly, I Planted Flowers


He grips me tight upon arrival.

Tears off a small bud

of rosemary from his garden.

Holds it to my nose and asks

“ain’t that nice?”

in a pitch and tenor

that sounds like a bear cub yawn.

– “For Kenny”


Vanilla pods sway on their branches, a tender calling,
french-braiding thatch palm baskets, bring back to me.

Sun brews beneath our sandals, sinew of Nyabinghi,
replant post-colonial conscious seeds, bring back to me.

– Ras Tafari Ghazal


no guitar played soft from your room at night,
sketches scattered on tables, it

doesn’t sound like a lot of weight, but,
without it, this house

drifts on its foundation, bends
in the wingbeats of hummingbirds outside

– Why We Cry


I hang on, making up names
for the trees, the birds, for ornamental concrete decorative holiness.
Forgive me, Frank,
for the pathways I wear into these woods, you
disappear under vines,
invite the landscape in to warm you

– Poem in Celebration of My Death


The note you left in your beater car,
the car I drove the next ten years,
I still haven’t read. But I’ve kept
the scraps of paper you used
to teach me the Pythagorean theorem.

– To Brother-Ghost on Halloween



These days, the temptation
of Christ might just be

like you & me:
not getting ourselves up,
poor at picking up after,

failing to put things right

– Amnesty Week



Well, I mean, I just thought that it would be more… ethereal, or… weird, you know?


Are you disappointed that it’s not like you imagined?

– Purg City


In the sunset,
seeds of blue corn
grow with joy in the milpa.
They give their prayers
to the roundness of the moon,

– Ixim


Miri considers how some things in Korea never change. But not Yaewon’s son. Chubby second grader transformed into a mousy man wearing rimless glasses, he greets Miri and pulls a chair for her at the dining table. The earthy scent of Solomon’s Seal tea wafts from a chipped, bubble-round teapot.

– The Language of Family


His father said once that a good woman will make you feel like a man in all the right ways, and yet he was attracted to Avie for her own brusqueness, all the ways in which she made him feel not at all like a man.

– Pretty Women


My eyes were adjusting to the change between the hospital room and the outdoor light when I saw a stray dog near my car. I looked around for its owner but as I got closer and got a better look at it, I realized it was a coyote.

– Coyote

news & updates:

02.04.21: Check out the lineup of great conversations and food celebrating Black History Month hosted by UNO. Details here.

01.09.21: Submissions are now open for the 2021 Honeybee Prize. Winners in 4 categories will be awarded $200 and publication in our Summer 2021 Issue. More about the contest and judges is available on our contest page and also in Submittable.

12.31.20: Issue #2 is live. View the full issue here or peruse by genre: translation, nonfiction, flash nonfiction, poetry, flash fiction, or fiction.

12.12.20: The Good Life Review is nominating for the Pushcart Prize! 2020 Nominees include Clif Mason, Tomas Baiza, Mary Duquette, and Jamie Wendt.

12.01.20: Interested in connecting with other readers and writers? Check out our new community board, a curated list of events, readings, and workshops to inspire and motivate.

11.10.20: GLR is pleased to offer a new submission category: Stage & Screen. Send editors Jake Lawson and Joe Atkinson your scripts. Read what they’re looking for here.

9.15.20: It’s such a difficult time in the world, and your art is important! If for any reason you find our submission process inaccessible, please contact us. In addition, submission fees are now waived for BIPOC.

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

GLR publishes four online issues a year. We’re interested in fiction, nonfiction, flash, poetry, translations, scripts, and anything amazing that doesn’t fit into a tidy genre. We have published first-time, emerging, and established writers. We read submissions blindly and let the work speak for itself. | Past issues


Rounding out our second series, episode 2.6 includes highlights of the interview where Fiction Editor Trelana Daniel talks with Tyler Jacobs about his poem, “Standing Water in Central Nebraska.” Tyler is a student at the University of Nebraska at Kearney where he studies English and Creative Writing. He recommends taking classes with Brad Modlin and Jessica Hollander, but says that any class with the English department there is bound to be enjoyable. You can read his poem which appears in Issue #2 here.

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

The 2021 Honeybee Prize

Submissions for the 2021 Honeybee Prizes will be open until April 15th. The 3-5 finalists in each of 4 categories, Poetry, Nonfiction, Script Writing, and Fiction, will be sent to our guest contest judges who will select a winner and runner-up. This year’s judges are as follows:

Poetry: Douglas Manuel
Nonfiction: Marco Wilkinson
Fiction: Kate Gale
Scriptwriting: Michael Oatman

The winning entry will receive $200 prize, publication in the Summer 2021 issue of The Good Life Review that will include an endorsement from the respective judge for that category, and a jar of honey from a Midwest apiary.

Visit our contest page for more info about the judges and submission details.

featured from the archives:

“Flash” by Nebraska State Poet Matt Mason

3am, naked man in Nebraska
drives his truck through a church,
sideswipes a school,
ends up spinning on the State Capitol’s lawn; | Read more

“Alice and Juno in Hell” by Mary Duquette

The first call came on Thursday over the landline. It rang ten minutes after Alice got home from her new job as Kitchen Assistant at Jacque’s. She sat in her apartment in front of the television set with her coat on and her feet stretched out over the ottoman and picked up the phone on the second ring. | Read more

“Rabelais” by Tim Tomlinson

I once had a writing teacher who told me you can’t write about shit and piss and farts and vomit and I said oh yeah, why not? Didn’t Rabelais’s Gargantua let loose a torrent of piss over the city of Paris? | Read more

We are currently 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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