coalitionworks | fall 2022

Our Contributors

Jerome Berglund, T.F. Burke, Kyla Houbolt, Theresa K. Jacobsen, Colin James, Joan McNerney, Navilan, Kushal Poddar, Ken Poyner, Ann Privateer, Nelly Shulman, Ken Towl, Lynn White, Lorna Wood, Perry Wyatt

Editor’s Note:

Hi there,

I am ecstatic to share the debut of coalitionworks!

This issue features bold perspectives from all over the world, eager to reconcile the absurd. These short works convey the intimate and the cosmic through the everyday weird. There is an unflinching quality to these works, along with a hint of sweetness and beauty. Some damn good writing! Although coalitionworks is a brand new publication, I find that this project’s identity is quickly becoming clear thanks to our incredible contributors. I am forever grateful for your trust, for taking a chance on a journal in its most nascent form.

Enjoy these moments of exaltation in the throes of impermanence. Much love,


EIC/Coalition Artistic Director


Jerome Berglund | Five Haiku

T.F. Burke | Sugared Lies

Kyla Houbolt | 2 poems

Theresa K. Jakobsen | NUR (self-translation)

Colin James | The maniacal coolies would dress sagaciously

Joan McNerney | Hope is the opium of our hearts

Navilan | Black Hole

Kushal Poddar | Poems

Ken Poyner | Worth

Ann Privateer | Visual Art

Nelly Shulman | The Boy

Ken Towl | A Drabble

Lynn White | Poems

Lorna Wood | Camp Yes!

Perry Wyatt | The Lost Rhino

Perry Wyatt | The Lost Rhino

Perry Wyatt | The Lost Rhino

It wondered how it came to be,
Why the sky was quite so close,
And earth watched on in amazement,
As the horned beast started its orbit.

Olympus shared a glance,
The zodiac raised a brow,
As Andromeda smiled in glee,
The rhino sped into the constellations.

Sagittarius considered it a rival,
Leo salivated, Scorpio winked,
And Virgo, it seemed,
Was the only one concerned.

Perry Wyatt (she/her) is a writer from Wales with a love for all things strange and magical. After achieving a BA in English from the University of Exeter and a Masters in Creative Writing from Swansea University, she has returned to writing whatever wild nonsense inspires her. She is a true jack-of-all-trades wordsmith with screenwriting, journalism, and two novels under her belt thus far. Poetry is her most recent adventure and has been shared in Gaia Lit, Fahmidan Journal, and Ice Lolly Review.
@pg.wyatt Instagram 
@PerryWyatt1 Twitter

Lorna Wood | Camp Yes!

Lorna Wood | Camp Yes!

(derived from a can of Well Yes! New England Clam Chowder)

Lorna Wood is a violinist and writer in Auburn, Alabama. Her absurd poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Bullshit Anthology 01, 2% Milkubu.Angel Rust (Best of the Net nominee), Brave New WordM58, and Five:2:One {#thesideshow), among others. She has also published other poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and scholarly essays. Find out more at  

Lynn White | Poems

Lynn White | Poems

Board Meeting

This is no picnic.
There will be no picnic
not for these bears.
Not all bears are cuddly
Some will conspire
to take it all,
all the gold
locked in

A facade
that’s all
it is.

Goldilocks knew it.
She ran away.
Others stay.


He was a hermit living in a cave with his cats.
He had a long strong thread made of catgut.
The vultures had eaten the meat.
He didn’t eat cat.
He sat all day each day
playing cat’s cradle and all that jazz
until one day they’d had enough.
So they ate him up and played rock and roll
clapping their wings in time
as good as any drummers could be.


A lesser man would have been turned to stone
by such a look,
certainly worthy of a Gorgon,
but I survived it
with my family,
though I still look uneasily
at stone statues.
Was it the skill of the unknown carvers,
or was it just a look that did the trick?
I wonder how long my protection will last,
I’ll never know for sure.

Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud ‘War Poetry for Today’ competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and a Rhysling Award.

Find Lynn at: 


Ken Towl | A Drabble

Ken Towl | A Drabble

     In the sculpture museum of Valladolid, the assorted polychromatic saints and saviours gurned in agony or reposed in ecstasy on their crosses, all of them naked but for wooden loincloths.

     Thus, when he came across a crucified woman, he was struck by the fact that she was clothed in a pretty high-collared dress. He checked the information plate to the side of the cross; Santa Eulalia, martyred at the age of thirteen.

     There was, he thought, some small comfort in speculating that the Roman executioner, embarrassed at punishing a child, had at least let her die in her favourite smock.

Ken Towl was born in Bedford in 1960, raised in South Wales, lived in Spain for seven years, worked as an archaeologist, a surveyor’s assistant, an exports manager, a debt collector, a facilties manager and a teacher.

More information:

Nelly Shulman | The Boy

Nelly Shulman | The Boy


     He was a sickly child. Instead of sending him to the kindergarten, his parents decided to keep the boy at home. An elderly neighbor, a quiet woman with a timid trembling dog, looked after him during the day.

     On a damp March morning, after the obligatory porridge and a slice of bread with a thick layer of butter, they would begin to dress up for a walk. Being somewhat slow, the boy would often freeze, pressing his nose against the window, contemplating the wet ochre of the city roofs. Having put the dog into a vest made from an old raincoat, the neighbor would patiently wait for him on the threshold of the apartment.

     After descending the echoey stairs, they walked along the canal to the only tree in the neighborhood. Examining the cast-iron chains of an old bridge, the boy breathed in the whiff of the rotten algae. They returned home through endless passageways, dissecting the crumbling buildings.

     The dog trailed behind, and the boy thought about his great-grandfather, who died here on the way from the factory. The child always avoided one particularly neglected corner behind the trash cans, thinking for some reason that the emaciated body of his great-grandfather, revealed by the melting snow, was found exactly there almost a hundred years ago.

The Summer Rain

     The rain rumbled behind the wooden shutters. As a child, he rejoiced at the damp summer days when the poor northern greens smelled so sweet, and the mallow and wild rose shone with silver drops. The wet grass squelched under his scratched bare feet. His bike leaned against the wall of the country barn.

     The boy waited for the clouds to move to the empty sand strip of the seaside. Wrapped up in a blanket, he settled on a sagging ottoman, standing on the cramped terrace. Leafing through a volume of an encyclopedia, he drew the maps of medieval cities and strange lands in his school notebook.

The Chest of Drawers

     Grandmother allowed the boy to rummage through an old chest of drawers. The left side was burned in the spacious stove that still occupied the center of the kitchen. After the war, his grandfather nailed plywood to what was left of the previously magnificent furniture.

     The boy loved to touch the scratched but still noble walnut panels, hiding the mysterious vials of dark glass wrapped in gauze faintly smelling of drugs and the yellowed photographs that had survived the war.

     His grandmother, wearing a crepe de chine dress and beret, put aside the round toe of her shoe. She smiled at the camera of a photographer from an atelier, where the boy posed as a baby in a sweater knitted by his grandmother, suspiciously looking sideways at a shabby bear taller than him.

Nelly Shulman is a writer currently based in Berlin. She is a Hawthornden Fellow and a Fulbright scholar. Her work has appeared in the Vine Leaves Press Anthology of the Best 2021 Flash Fiction and in the various literary magazines.

Ken Poyner | Worth

Ken Poyner | Worth

His job was to latch the fire. He thought of nothing else. A team only works when each member understands and executes his special duties. It might look from the outside like an artful flow – but in reality any accomplishment is the completion of small parts, separately and anonymously. Each its own undertaking, with its own luster. He was to latch the fire. This wondrous thing he could do. But when latchless fire came along, he was adrift. He knew nothing else; he had no other purpose. It brought him to question purpose itself. What sort of puzzle was he a piece of now? But then he met a collection, a society, of anachronists. With them, he could still mindlessly latch fire. So what if the world at large was happy with its latchless fire? He had a calling with the other useless actors in the world. His skill had application. His fingers could still smolder with meaning.

Ken’s four collections of brief fictions and four collections of speculative poetry can be found at most online booksellers.  He spent 33 years in information system management, is married to a world record holding female power lifter, and has a family of several cats and betta fish.  Individual works have appeared in “Café Irreal”, “Analog”, “Danse Macabre”, “The Cincinnati Review”, and several hundred other places.

Kushal Poddar | Poems

Kushal Poddar | Poems

Hiroshima Tree

Behind us, one tree flares up
a second-hand memory of Hiroshima.
Behind us, one solitary tree is Hiroshima, the blast-moment city.
We break our breads, sweet, too dolce,
with a promise of the cherries on top
in the middle, but not quite the real ones.
We suck those sugar-glazed red globes.
We have inherited the faux world,
and we feed the bird because life
feels like a taut skin at any moment
it can be singed, peeled away.
We should kiss – we think together.
The air in between us plays a refrain.
The notes scattered all over the park
to the applause of the pigeons.
One moment they are here; in the next not.


Without the bees
the world as we know it
will be stung to nullity.

I tell my daughter.
Her hand guards her eyes
as the buzz flares in

its sun-like buzz
spiking the ovulating breeze.

Music Left Me

The butter knife I strike against
the dish and the plate with
a soggy biscuit
spills some music.

The newspaper states that there
should be no note left
in my head.
The flash is – the music

has been last seen standing
holding the mast of a bridge
the authority forgot to build.

White Reverie

In the white reverie
of this weeds’ field
on a sunless day

we roll together.
The act of love is grass-bottom here.
The act of love sins,
gently releases thin petals in the air.

One yelping dog stares
from his ninety nine degrees angles.

An author, journalist and a father, Kushal Poddar, editor of ‘Words Surfacing’, authored eight books, the latest being ‘Postmarked Quarantine’. His works have been translated into eleven languages.


Blackhole | Navilan

Navilan | Blackhole, and spoken re-rendering in Tamil

Light slowly creeps in. I struggle to crack my eyes open. Someone is pulling me up by my armpits, my body feels heavy, my spirit absent. I put no effort to lift myself up, I am tired. They throw me down on an old, rusty iron chair. I hear a lot of noise but can barely make sense of any. I don’t even know if it is people talking or just random sounds. My eyes open wider. It looks like a train station. People are moving on tracks, but I don’t see any trains. It’s foggy like the entire place was run with steam engines, but I hear no hiss. Two baby rhinos push a block made of stone in front of me. Is that a table? Are they going to serve food? It’s not that I am not hungry, it feels as though I can never be hungry. I’m startled by something large and fuzzy brushing up behind me, I turn back. I see a panda wearing glasses with a cheap plastic frame. She is chewing bamboo shoots on the side of her mouth like a cigar. Sucking in the drool, she throws down a large stack of what looks like ancient papyrus and a couple of nails on the table and says, “Write!”. “What do you want me to write?” my voice barely makes a sound. “How should I know?” the panda barks back. “When should I give it back?” I try hard to get any information out of her. “Never. Oh, please, never”. She blurts through her insulting giggle and walks back. I don’t know if this is heaven or hell. But I am certain that I am dead.

Navilan is a father for sure, programmer by profession, poet by identity and educator in a dreamlike past. He has told over 20 long form stories to short form humans, ran a parallel school whose comorbidities didn’t agree with COVID. He’s happy in his nook with his family, reading, playing and trying to fall in love with life again.

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