ISSUE TWO: July, 2019



At Shuffle Beach see the freighters with stacks of colorful boxy crates that remind of Rubik’s cubes churning by, and dolphin-gray Navy ships, and see the horizon stretching vast—“shots out to the earth’s sphericity, Magellan and Pythagoras too”—but now watch out because WOW

here come the blue and gold jets that go rip-ZOOMING sonic-MOSHING out like scissors of apocalypse over the great expanse of active salty water with its whitecaps fishes and seaweeds and endless shuffling (sometimes bunching together in tight disciplined formation, diamonds of four or pairs of aces, other times peeling out like panicles of a butterfly bush all abstract and wild)

See the other fliers too, gulls, watch them circling humans’ awkward fishing pier with crooked posts like slow-rotting giant’s teeth prefiguring lunch

They have their own technique—it’s like: hover and glide gracefully above the slinking sloshing sea surface just past where the waves break and crash until wait okay NOW!//SHOOT!//BODY!//DOWN!//FAST!//STAB!//BEAK!//PLUNGE!//SNATCH TORPEDO UP!//DISPATCH TORPEDO DOWN!//THROUGH THE GULLET LIKE MAGIC BULLET!//FEELS SO GOOD!// FEELS LIKE REVERSE WATERSLIDE!/PLUS I’M FLYING WHILE I EAT!/AAAHH SO REFRESHING!/

But the birds are not always so noble-athletic they sometimes slack off and go stepping begging through the makeshift psychedelic plastic human honeycomb of encampments along the great bar of sand where the humans might fling out bright orange slivers or spongy mushy bits and these hit the spot too; when this happens the gull needs to charge beak thrust out like bayonet because after all this is civil war this is move shuffle take and Take Again or be swallowed by void

(Tell me O Vast Impersonal Universe is this really ‘vacation’ or something more Dire? And have you ever heard of global warming? How about firewalking? Funny how the sand gets hotter the farther from the water you get the closer to the concrete one wanders the more furnace flame the feet-bottoms feel

I bet Stephen Hawking could explain all this but he might also remind how early earth was much worse so cool it a little you know? Like: don’t think this is so bad in the beginning we’re talking fiery gassy atmosphere with no surface water and plenty of asteroid bombardment so total deathtrip rather than melanoma think skin melting off your skeleton


If you crave a different taste flash forward or back a few hours when this bar of sand under cover of darkness becomes like a nightclub and sees an army of ghost crabs creep out on the cool surface with the fishing vessels bobbing gently on the sea swells with blinking-blipping red green white and blue lights and everything under sway of DJ Silvershine: “Now let me see all you decapod crustaceans in motion! Yes get that mineralized chitin in those exoskeletons moving and shimmying, that’s it, and I must say you all pull off that eyes-on-stilts look so well, keep it up I’m here all night!”)

Meanwhile back in day the little smelts or sardine-likes through no fault of their own will sometimes flash like crisp new cash in the eyes of the gulls hovering above so here is your original more ancient ATM situation

The clouds move differently—sliding sneaking they steer like meditative thought selfless and patient even the cumulonimbus ones with bruising color that mass with ominous promise

The clouds I gather mirror the huge distant ships that seem to get along at very deliberate crawling pace as if specially engineered to have the heart rate of a giant tortoise just out for a stroll

Giant seafaring snails with Rubik’s cube shells

Don’t forget back inland there are others the bridge gulls who base their many fishing expeditions on the colossal concrete steel construction spanning another stretch of profound water—or in other words here is the real fishing pier!

For those driving through in shining glinting metal cases it’s easy to see the birds alighting atop the tall lamp posts lining either side of the massive fabrication sometimes they fly out on solo sorties other times flap into company of comrades and commence familiar maneuvers targeting some exquisite submarines below—living pulsing morsels stemming from a fountain of life that seems always to spew more-more-more

Watch the humans slithering through their sculpted painted steel and aluminum traps shimmering something fierce watch how they gaze over the sturdy boundaries at the awesome water their brains getting tickled alarmed massaged in a sort of psychological frottage

It’s easy to look up and see a white-and-gray-streaked or brown-speckled seagull standing atop the head of a lamp fixture and notice how funny it looks and how even more beautiful

But do they realize?

Seagulls live in the razor-thin moment

As do the ghost crabs and scaly silvery subs just beneath the frothing green ocean surface darting round the twists of seaweed and bodysurfer legs knowing zilch of automated teller machines

Meanwhile back at the immense shore something keeps shuffling the deck, deals a new game, explaining nothing and keeping wildcards secret


WARREN J COX writes and paints in southern Virginia, USA, where he also works as an academic editor. Beyond creating he is passionate about human rights, animal welfare, and tennis. Cox's work has appeared previously in Eunoia Review, Ducts, Defenestration, Empty Mirror, Fluland, Soft Cartel, Boston Accent Lit, and other journals.Find him on Twitter @WarrenJCox