He was happily suffering there. Behind the bars. He had hailstorms in his eyes and a noose around his fingers. 
     “Do you think they’ll make a TV show about my struggle?”
     He asked his only visitor, Didgeridoo, a fan of his writing that flew all the way from Mississippi to ask him the meaning of the typo in his novel.
     Didgeridoo refused to believe it. He muttered on about how the misprint affected his life. He spoke of the trip into the forest he took, accompanied by stale mushrooms. He explained how he understood his purpose in life.
     “I am a tree,” he said, “you are the forest. You harbor me; you hold me in your stomach and digest me.”
     “I do no such thing! The earth, it’s the earth that digests you. It says you have a bad aftertaste.”
     “The blow numbs my tongue.”
     “Stop eating it.”
     “I don’t. It finds its way. We all find our way.”
     “There is no way. Just an endless road that reluctantly takes you forward.”
     “Roads are so incredibly boring. They have disgust written in the concrete. Stop. Yield. Do not enter. Why can’t life be a limitless sky?”
     “Because the sky is a limitless sky. And death is everywhere.”
     “Won’t it let me in?”
     “No shirt no shoes no service.”
     “I am barefoot.”
     “How unfortunate. Did you bring the money I asked for? All of the presidents. Hell, even Sacagawea, the old bird, has what I need.”
     “I have a straw and half a candy bar.”
     “Useless! You’re useless to me!”
     “I am broken. I need a fix.”
     “There’s no fixing you.”
     “Write me something.”
     “I’m writing you off.”
     “Digest me.”
     “Too tough. You’re too tough.”
     “Make me tender?”
     “I’ll spit you out for the vultures.”
     “I need a fix. I am broken.”
     “Give me a break.”


if i’m an equation with a 5-digit answer, what does that make you?


You are a numeral

start to finish.
Sterile digits that line up on clipboards and hallways
dixie cups with your allotment of fugue and quiet.
Skittish eyes (295.60) in the waiting room
will hiss that mirrors aren’t to be trusted.
Miss 307.10 will nod, shivering in her cotton swaddle.
You are havoc
locked into an odd geometry of needles and query.

They will call your name and say it wrong,
or say the wrong name altogether.
They do not realize that outside the door you all are frenetic molecules in wild entropy, crashing into trees and parking lots with the gospel of vindicated insanity rattling around your skulls, crippled cortex to forehead, but still alive and breathing and dreaming of equanimity and a calendar where x’s stand for bells and sex and plane rides, not plastic bracelets stuck on your wrists like costume jewelry.

One time someone got it right and said you have, not you are, and you cried,
human tears, and did not count them at all.

There are two languages in your purse, three if you look
closely. They won’t. Instead they will ask what day it is,
who’s the president, how to crush a spider
(you assume they mean the corner-dwellers, and not the tarantella of legs and poison in your head)
ask you to put a name to the wind.
They will ask to weigh you and demand to know why you are fundamentally fucked up
chemically altered. You are not obliged to tell them why.

It takes you six years to learn this.

Someone comes and changes the curtains, folds the sheets.
The stark white covers turn your lower body into a ghost.
You ask them their full name, what day it is, ask them to
explain please the etymology of the word “pathetic”. They don’t
understand the question. Are you sure (you’re alright)?

Testing, it’s simple. You have seen this
before. Swallow down the aftertaste,
the undissolved tablet of amorphous dimensions

without question.
The answers may be there in the morning.

Fourth Issue Launch/Call for Submissions!

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The fourth issue of In-flight Literary Magazine is now available. It was managed and edited by Ace Kingsly, holden lyric, and Alice Clemens. This issue is a compilation of poetry and fiction by:

Brittany Piché

M. Alden
Rich Boucher
Raymond Chase
Jesse Clemens
Teresa Córdova
Jim Doane
Nicholas Gagnier
Christian Guild
Jessica Halsey
Hadley Hideousheart
Matthew Kahn
Kirsten Imani Kasai
Robin Lucas
Nate Maxson
Mateo M. Melero
Keeley Middleton
Grace Penzell
Matt Prater
Nalini Priyadarshni
Andrew Scott
Shloka Shankar
Lynn White

Lula Avila
Ewan Cameron
Margrét Helgadóttir

Call for Submissions

Submissions for issue five of In-flight Literary Magazine are now open. This issue will mark the one year anniversary of In-flight Literary Magazine! The deadline to submit is September 1st.

If you would like your work to be considered for our fifth issue, please e-mail thepaperplanepilots@gmail.com.

For poetry, please submit 3-5 poems for consideration. To get a feel for our style, feel free to roam around our site or previous issues.

For fiction or creative non-fiction, our word count limit has no minimum (feel free to run with that) and the maximum is 2,500 words.

Simultaneous submissions are fine with us but please PLEASE please notify us as soon as humanly possible if it is published elsewhere.

Previously published work is okay, just let us know where so we can give proper credit where it’s due. Make sure to adhere to any grace periods provided by whoever has published it previously. If you’re unsure about grace periods, please contact your previous publisher.

Unfortunately, we cannot offer any form of payment at this time. We allow one submission per issue per person.

Feel free to bring up any questions in the comments below or email us if you’re a shy writer (totally unheard of).

Submissions close September 1st 11:59 PDT.



i saw you for the first time tonight
driving home too late too many
bright lights too many closed lanes
too much pride in the concrete
whispering you-will-never-break-me
hazard lights cars slammed into trees
people walking the highway like a plank
hands tied behind their back at the
mercy of happenstance i saw you
in the eyes of the coyotes ripping
the neighbor’s dog to find the meat
i saw you ripping away the flesh
i saw a glint in your eye as you
preyed and pieced apart the domestic
cowering behind the white-picket fence
but you, you never see me.

where our secrets go


ear drum to ear drum
transfer burdens through
each exhaled word.
the road will always
carry us, each breath
a choice. each whisper,
lava hardening over
our exposed skin.
there is a numbness in
silence that i have grown
to love more than the
loudest truths threatening
to break me into a mosaic
of i-told-you-so’s and
every time i contemplate
letting the words slip
from my lips i remember
they are stones fracturing
your obsidian heart.
i break the earth
and bury the words
in the crevices of
the burdened soil.

How To Be Immortal

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Turn into poetry
He who has
Is immortal
He who
Is infinite


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Couldn’t touch you
through the illusory smokescreen.

I’m doing imaginary drugs
in my indescribably bad dreams.

Facade of grandeur brought
low, low, low

by natural rabbit holes
mutual synthesis.

Your brandished wicker stick
could never lead me
to a home

I never knew.

Willie Watt

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