The Classmate Who Tells Me Things by Priscilla Atkins 

On an island far away, I study for a semester with a white-haired woman who wears black polish, slender (black) clothes over a skeletal frame and, in the one extant photograph, sunglasses. “Witch,” a classmate whispers. Yes. The visiting prof is old enough for a few hairs on her chinny-chin-chins…and why is she here for the year except for the money (necessity—not greed)? She is … Continue reading The Classmate Who Tells Me Things by Priscilla Atkins 

Axis of Distraction by Max Talley

Macy goes through her scribbled “to-do” lists, adding forgotten or neglected items from previous ones onto the current master list. Then she reviews things she texted to herself and writes those down too. Beyond belief. How can she ever complete it? And new tasks are always incoming. Separately, she has a running internal monologue of reminders playing on a loop: Do the laundry, pick up … Continue reading Axis of Distraction by Max Talley

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The Opiate Books Presents: The PornME Trinity, 2nd Edition

Perhaps too unbelievable to fathom at the beginning of 2020, The PornME Trinity by David Leo Rice has taken on an entirely new meaning and resonance in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. An (ongoing) era, as we all know, when everyone was forced to acknowledge just how bleak and ersatz their existence really was when confined to four walls (whether at work or at … Continue reading The Opiate Books Presents: The PornME Trinity, 2nd Edition

On Reaching Old Age by Colin Ian Jeffery

Time is fleeting in its passingAnd does jolt the memoryRecalling images of long agoWhen life seemed to stretch far awaySafe from Death’s stalking shadow. As a child I thought as a childSeeing only bright summer daysWith friendships I thought to last foreverAnd parents who could never dieOld age a distant foreign land. Now walking the land of the elderlyOld bones and old man troublesWondering how … Continue reading On Reaching Old Age by Colin Ian Jeffery

Maybe The Only “Good” Thing About The Attack on Rushdie Is That It Proves Literature Still Has Power… Or Not, Since It Only Does If You “Speak Ill” of a Very Particular Subject

Salman Rushdie’s August 12th stabbing in “idyllic” Chautauqua, New York brought up many emotions for those with enthusiasm for literature (and even those without it). Or, more accurately, the freedom of speech element it champions. On the one hand, there is something “encouraging” about the fact that the power of someone’s words in novel form could hold such weight. On the other, that it took … Continue reading Maybe The Only “Good” Thing About The Attack on Rushdie Is That It Proves Literature Still Has Power… Or Not, Since It Only Does If You “Speak Ill” of a Very Particular Subject

Why Marilyn Monroe and Sylvia Plath Go Hand in Hand

On what marks the sixtieth anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death (a suicide, an accident or a murder, depending on who you ask), there seems to be more interest than ever in the icon that captivated the world and incited a sexual awakening within a repressed American culture. From Kim Kardashian effectively dancing on Marilyn’s corpse by forcing her ass to squeeze into the Jean Louis … Continue reading Why Marilyn Monroe and Sylvia Plath Go Hand in Hand

“I’ve Turned Depression and Anger Into Vaudeville”: An Interview With Leanne Grabel

In an interview with Brontosaurus Illustrated author Leanne Grabel, The Opiate probes the mind of this Portland-based luminary to get her thoughts on everything from the creative process that went into the book to her advice on how to cope with sexual assault, itself the subject of her new graphic novel released on The Opiate Books imprint.  The Opiate: When did you first know that … Continue reading “I’ve Turned Depression and Anger Into Vaudeville”: An Interview With Leanne Grabel

New York Is A Town of Ghosts (You’ve Fucked): Cult Classic

It’s no secret that staying at the fair that is New York for too long (to paraphrase Joan D.) will lead to irreparable damage. Usually of the emotional variety—though you might also need a liver transplant after all the drinking expected of you as well. Sloane Crosley is here to crystallize that fact in literary form with her sophomore novel, Cult Classic. In contrast to her … Continue reading New York Is A Town of Ghosts (You’ve Fucked): Cult Classic

Being There by Billie Pritchett

Una played this game where she circled around the professor’s chair, over and over, hoping he would look at her and, if not her, then the shadow of her naked body swirling against the maroon walls in the lamplight of her rented home. He read Sein und Zeit, the black jacketless hardcover gripped tightly in his hands. She leaned in and lifted his thumb from the … Continue reading Being There by Billie Pritchett