Friday, August 31, 2012


by nooshin azadi

illustration by rhoda penmarq


nothing is more painful than being an individual among a herd of sheep... knowledge is just pain... what's the use of it when no one believes you? when no one even listens to you... even your very first words frighten them... they can never accept that they are responsible for their fate... they all want to cling to a power... to feel safe... all they want is a leader... a guardian... a god... to cling to... to follow... and  to blame for their lacks... for their luck... for their fate... they are lazy... they are childish... they are immature... they just cling to their primal instincts... that's why they are all the time in a state of fear and want to cling... they don't want to try something new... even they don't accept to cook their food in a new way so that they can benefit from a more nutritious meal... they are even afraid of treating their children in a new way so that they can be better human beings... less biased... tolerant of differences among people... all are thoughtlessly and obediently following a trodden path... a path leading to a deadly deep gorge... what can you do with a herd of sheep stepping into a circle of wolves? you warn them... you shout... you explain... you beg... you lovingly embrace them one by one and tell them where they are going... but they just follow the path... they cannot think... they cannot analyze... they push you aside... they just want to kill you standing on their way... you see this in their eyes...  just one force is functioning in them... being a follower... you sound like devil to them... you frighten them... you suffer from all this but try to stand up... not once... many times... each time with more wounds and bruises... soon you find out no individual can stand up against a herd in stampede... you feel their hurried and agitated steps on your body... on your soul... you know the cause of their panic... fear is lack of knowledge... you know it... but you are stamped down under the steps of fear... and die... you die while you know... knowledge is just pain... what's the use of it when no one believes you?


Monday, August 27, 2012


by nooshin azadi

illustration by rhoda penmarq


i'm wide awake
the emptiness inside me
is silent

night is moaning
waiting for the morning
to end its pains

i start hanging up a word
to each of its twinkling tears
until my fingers get numb

night is silent now
to my languishing tales

i close my eyes
night creeps in
filling up the emptiness

we wait together


tales of the hotel st crispian, chapter 71: "ten grand to bora-bora"

by Horace P. Sternwall

edited by Dan Leo*

illustrated by roy dismas and rhoda penmarq

*Associate Professor of Middle English, Assistant Badminton Coach, Olney Community College; editor of The Final Furlough: Previously Uncollected Stories of War, by Horace P. Sternwall; Olney Community College Press, “The Obscure Modern Masters Project”.

It is past midnight in the great unsleeping city, and a man of about thirty years of age strides determinedly down Seventh Avenue. 

The man’s name is Michael Chandler, although his wife calls him Henry. 

Not fifteen minutes ago he had been on the verge of passing out -- not only from having drunk nine Old Fashioneds, but also because of the natural weariness incurred from having worked over fifty hours that week drawing up unbelievably tedious legal contracts, and from spending the present evening in the company of people even more boring than he was -- and Michael, unlike a true, dyed-in-the-wool master bore, knew himself to be a fairly boring fellow.

No, Michael was wide awake now, in fact he felt more awake than he had ever felt in his life, and he walked quickly and steadily, staggering and weaving not in the least.

He felt his manly stride gobbling up the six or seven blocks from Henry and Estelle’s building to his destination, the venerable Hotel St Crispian, and these were his thoughts as they rioted through his brain:

Ten grand.

Ten thousand dollars.

Ten thousand simoleons.

And for what? 

For giving the police some information leading to the capture of the arch criminal Stanley Slade.

Stan Slade, whom Michael and his wife Carol had picked up hitchhiking in the fog on their way into the city tonight. This charming fellow in his stolen, ill-fitting clothes, a fellow roughly Michael’s age, a fellow who had readily admitted to them who he was: the infamous Stanley Slade, international jewel thief and now escaped convict.

Why had he admitted his identity so readily, even cheerfully? Why had he trusted them, total strangers, not to turn him in?

for complete episode, click here

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


by alicia pogriff turnstile

illustration by eddie el greco

love them once, love them twice
people are just so darned nice
i wish the word would never end
and everybody be my friend

but as nice as people are
dogs just have them beat by far
nothing tops a happy pup
when you want some cheering up

running through an endless park
listen to his endless bark
chasing his ball through rain and snow
see his pulsing eyeballs glow

oh if humans could but know
what makes the puppy ramble so
it is the flow of love within
untroubled by the thought of sin

Monday, August 20, 2012

tales of the hotel st crispian, chapter 70: the procedures of pete palomine

by manfred skyline

illustrated by roy dismas and rhoda penmarq

editorial consultant: Prof. Dan Leo

"yes, of course," cosima answered. "as i said, pete has brought a lot of the opprobrium down on himself quite deliberately, in order to generate controversy and publicity. and has, i am sure, exaggerated the extent he uses the techniques he describes." she laughed. "when he talks of 'hypnotizing' his subjects - or apprentices or collaborators or whatever he calls them, he neglects to mention that he has no expertise in hypnosis. he may go through the motions of hypnotizing them, and they may humor him - you get the idea."

fortescue nodded politely.

"if he is hypnotizing these people," cosima went on, "i am sure he does it much more efficiently with bottles of scotch or sticks of tea."

"so he has these - apprentices or collaborators - doing how much of the work exactly?"

"until quite recently," cosima replied drily, "all of it."

"i see." fortescue nodded politely and picked a cup up from the coffee service that lay between them.

"of course, as he points out whenever pressed on the subject, the use of apprentices could hardly be a more time-honored procedure."

"indeed. but do the buyers in today's market accept that? excuse me for saying so, but i have noticed that the yankee mentality has a partiality for what it is regards as the "real thing".

"yes. and that accounts for some of the hostile criticism, but by no means all. much of it is the usual - a monkey could do it, a child could do it, and so forth."

for complete episode, click here

Saturday, August 18, 2012

professor zender's experiment - 3. the unseen man

by coraline o'connell

illustrated by konrad kraus and roy dismas

zobo went back into the shadows behind the bar.

morden looked around casually. insofar as it could be ascertained in the gloom, none of the drinkers seemed to be paying any more attention to the professor and himself. "why frommer, professor? perhaps i can answer your questions. about the times you are interested in. after all, i was here, no less than frommer."

"i suppose you were frommer's right hand man," the professor replied good-naturedly. foul as it was, the schnapps he had imbibed seemed to have put him in a good humour, and relaxed his stern manner towards his former (100) pupil.

"well, no, but i did talk to him once or twice, at the bar."

"ah, you talked to him once or twice at the bar. and what did you talk to him about?"

"i can't really remember. i probably flattered him a bit, maybe tried to get him to buy me a drink."

"and did he buy you a drink?"

"probably not, i will tell you one thing about frommer. he was not very generous."


"no, he didn't know how to take care of his men."

the professor laughed at this. "what an expression! take care of his (200) men! you make him sound like some type of military officer."

morden was mildly discomfited by the professor's gently mocking tone. "well, it don't have to be military. i mean anybody who wants followers for anything, who wants to be a big shot and have people look up to him, he's got to know how to treat them, make them feel wanted. like he respects them."

"and you, morden, have you ever wanted to have followers - followers that presumably you would treat right."

morden took a sip of his drink. "oh, no, i just try to get by."

"a most judicious stance."

for complete episode, click here

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

tales of the hotel st crispian, chapter 69: cosima gets down to business

by manfred skyline

illustrated by roy dismas and rhoda penmarq

editorial consultant: Prof. Dan Leo

williams had just finished trimming the crusts of the last roast beef sandwich for conrad and his two guests, when he heard the front door open. he stopped and listened, then relaxed and proceeded with the sandwiches when he heard cosima's unmistakable authoritative steps approaching.

he was neatly arranging the sandwiches on a china plate with olives and radishes when cosima entered the kitchen.

"good morning, miss."

"good morning."

"these are for mister conrad and his guests. then i will make yours. your guest is not due for another twenty minutes or so, correct?"

"sure, sure. no problem. no rush." cosima took a pack of tareytons out of her pocket and lit one with a match from a box on top of the gleaming white stove. she leaned back against the kitchen counter.

"tell me, williams. did conrad and his friends arrive in a cab?"

"i assume they did, miss. they didn't say otherwise. and i took a quick look at the street outside and there were no private vehicles."

"did you notice a cab on the street, between lexington and park?"

williams thought a moment. "i might have seen one. headed west?"


"there may have been one. a fair way up the street though."

"probably not the cab they came in?"

"i suppose it could have been, if it made a u turn or backed up half a block. " williams was used to curious and apparently pointless questions from all the family. also to their artless prying into each other's affairs.

for complete episode, click here

Monday, August 13, 2012

2 very early poems

by horace p sternwall

illustrated by danny delacroix and eddie el greco

modern age

this is the modern age
so they tell me anyhow
things used to be one way
but they are different now

how fortunate we are
to live in these bright times
when the burning fires of truth
have devoured history's lies

how terrible the darkness
in which poor humans lay
farewell to folly's shadows
hello to bright new day

i hope that none among us
dwell fondly on the past
now let us all march forward
for we are free at last

nature's way

see how the little seagull
floats over the stormy sea
see how the little termite
devours the mighty tree

see the little mosquito
spread oceans of disease
as in the river's placid flow
the crocodile take his ease

see the platoons of scarlet ants
munch whole sugar plantations
and the humble tsetse fly
devastate human nations

see the smiling monkey
slowly peel a pomegranate
as wind and wave and eternity
erode the spinning planet

Sunday, August 12, 2012

tales of the hotel st crispian, chapter 68: "snake dance"

by Horace P. Sternwall

edited by Dan Leo*

illustrated by roy dismas and konrad kraus

a penmarq studios production

*Associate Professor of Classic Literature, Assistant Morale Advisor, Olney Community College; editor of The Dawn of Dread: 36 Previously Uncollected Tales of Domestic Strife, by Horace P. Sternwall; Olney Community College Press, “The Sternwall Project”.)

In a luxurious high-rise apartment not very far from the venerable Hotel St Crispian, the party has wound down to three people: Estelle (known as “the eviscerator”), her husband Peter, and their supposed “friend”, Michael…

for complete episode, click here

they talked...

by nooshin azadi

illustration by rhoda penmarq


they talked
i listened
i talked
they didn't listen
i kept silent
like a mountain
and echoed their cries


Thursday, August 9, 2012

the invitation - 2. eugenie

by celine de courtot

illustrated by rhoda penmarq and roy dismas

the storm of the night had abated, but dark clouds still held sway in the sky when babette, the housekeeper, approached the comtesse, who was staring out the front window at the leaves and branches scattered on the wet grounds.

"i am going to the village now, madame. the storm looks as if may return, and i would like to go and return before it does."

"i am sure you know best, babette."

"would madame like me to obtain anything extra, for our guest?"

"who is, i assume, still asleep?"

"jeanette and arette tell me she is still in her room."

"and who has, therefore, given no indication that she wants anything to eat at all."

"arette said she looked healthy enough when she arrived. i assume she has at least a normal appetite."

"maybe she is a werewolf. in that case she will no doubt feed herself."

"madame is pleased to be droll."

"her appearance seemed to partake somewhat of the miraculous and mysterious to me. jeanette was skeptical. what do you think?"

"the mysterious is quite outside my purview, madame. as to the supplies from the village..."

"oh, use your own judgment. for one or two days i don't suppose she will bankrupt us. if she wakes up and wants a whole roast oxen for her lunch, we can always send one of the boys out to find one, eh?"

"indeed, madame." babette took her leave. the comtesse continued to look at the window and through the trees at the darkening sky. presently babette appeared on the path, accompanied by one of the kitchen maids with a basket on her arm.

"excuse me madam, " a squeaky little voice behind her interrupted the comtesse's reverie. she turned and saw the young maid referred to by the other servants as "little margaret" with her hands clenched nervously in front of her. behind her, in the wide doorway of the drawing room, stood a woman of about thirty years, of medium height and haughty bearing, wearing a plain blue dress.

for complete episode, click here

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

no words...

by nooshin azadi

illustration by rhoda penmarq


no words are written on paper ever
words flee into oblivion
the moment they are released from
the cage of our thoughts

what you see on paper
is their footprints


nov. 21, 2011

Monday, August 6, 2012

tales of the hotel st crispian, chapter 67: import/export

by manfred skyline

illustrated by konrad kraus , roy dismas and rhoda penmarq

editorial consultant: Prof. Dan Leo

for complete episode, click here

Thursday, August 2, 2012

the fourteenth princess - chapter 8: the determination of dorine

by emily de villaincourt

illustrated by rhoda penmarq and roy dismas

"so what exactly happened?" dorine asked jolene.

"excuse me?"

"in your dream. what exactly happened in your dream?"

"oh - nothing much. it was just a dream. i was walking up and down. there was a lot of empty space. i had to be somewhere but i didn't know where."

"a lot of open space?"

"yes." jolene answered politely.

"my dreams are usually in closed spaces," dorine persisted.

jolene nodded again, obviously uninterested. nobody else at the breakfast table - miss prue, the other two girls who had arrived - sabine and coraline - or any of the guards - even pretended to show any interest.

good! dorine had not really had any dreams at all the night before, because she had not slept at all. one of the things she had thought about was escaping. another was talking about escaping with the other girls. and another was devising a way of talking in code, so she could talk about escaping with the other girls. dreams... could they use talking about dreams as a way of talking in code? it was worth thinking about.

for complete episode, click here