Sputnik Dreams, by Joseph E. Lerner-Print Books-Bottlecap Press

Sputnik Dreams, by Joseph E. Lerner

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Joseph E. Lerner
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Prose, poetry, chapbook, 36 pages, from Bottlecap Features.

Cicada shriek, and the bare trees tremble, blazing in the sun like an engorged eye. I stare at my ruined garden and swing wide the gate. Only one plant still stands, my last dragon’s tongue, the soil all about trampled and strewn with twisted roots and limbs. (from “Dragon’s Tongue.”)

Sputnik Dreams is a collection of poetry, micro fiction, and prose-poems that explore the liminal spaces between dreams and waking nightmares, as viewed through the prism of the author’s life and culled from memories and fantasies spanning childhood, youth, and middle age.

A man on a business trip to a foreign city sees his elderly parents at a bus stop, and then, throughout the day, runs into other family members: cousins, aunts, uncles, and relatives long dead, none of whom recognize him (“In the City of K”). A couple driving down a coastal highway are deluged by a giant landslide; they survive, wander into a wedding on the beach, but soon discover the ceremony turns sinister and foreboding (“This is Not a Ghost Story”). And in “News of Sputnik,” a boy and his older brother, after the world’s first satellite is launched into orbit, attempt their own space flight, a kite that turns magical: “The kite’s invisible, but the line holds firm. Nearer the Earth, above houses and treetops, other kites bob like acolytes genuflecting to their unseen god.”

Joseph E. Lerner’s micro fiction, flash fiction, and poetry have appeared in such publications as 100 Word Story, [Alternate Route], BlazeVOX, Decomp Journal, Fictive Dream, Gargoyle, matchbook, Mojave River Review, and the new print anthology Fantastic Imaginary Creatures, edited by Gerry LaFemina (Madville Publishing). In 1981 he founded, as editor/publisher, The Washington Book Review, and, in 1992, Furious Fictions, a Magazine of Short-Short Stories, one of the first literary journals devoted exclusively to flash fiction. He lives in Las Cruces, NM.