Unbroken Journal pattern

Unbroken is a quarterly online journal that seeks to showcase prose poems, poetic prose and haibun, both from established and emerging voices. We desire to give the block, the paragraph, the unlineated prose, a new place to play.

The paragraph is an extremely difficult form. Just as the wind brushes the underbelly of the idea, a new indent appears. All this hubbub about access and the idea, the idea and cohesion, the idea and liquid space. Polymorphs, snowglobes, a barrage of supporting examples, whirligigs that flutter about before falling into the netting of the idea. Seven ideas total, or one? Suddenly before a recheck for sentence completion it’s rounding up, prosaic summations, concluding with modular force. Sonnet-shaped yet unmusical, the paragraph is fast enough.”

~ Tom Snarsky, Unbroken Contributor

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From our current issue . . .

  • image for "Petty Theft" by William Doreski

    Petty Theft by William Doreski

    Writing with a pen stolen from the elegant shop in the mall, I feel tough as Pancho Villa. As the day thickens with impasto I compose unlikely rhetoric to peddle to whichever demagogue outbids the others. Meanwhile wine and cheese shops fatten for the holidays. Celebrities divorce and sue each other while draped in the […]

  • image for "Rhythm as Wisdom" by Michael T. Young

    Rhythm as Wisdom by Michael T. Young

    This is not a way of time but of timing. It starts before the morning alarm, maybe in dream, maybe in pulses of the brain figuring a way to raise you from the burial of sleep and its nocturnal conjurings: fluttering eyelids and a memory of mother lifting you from the sea. But there it […]

  • Couch corner - imagery for "The Detective’s Chair (6)" by Anne M. Carson

    The Detective’s Chair (6) by Anne M. Carson

    Comrade Chief Inspector Chen Cao Shanghai Police, China Comrade Chen is permeable to poetry. Ineffable feelings assail him—the waft, the glimpse—how poems unfold is how crimes. Self-professed romantic, he wishes poetic justice upon crimes. 1990s; Shanghai teeters between an open door and fear of the bourgeois West. Lit major, published modernist poet, Chen is yanked […]

  • feet at lapping waves - imagery for "Postcard to John, Overlooking Barachois Beach, Late May" by Steve Bellin-Oka

    Postcard to John, Overlooking Barachois Beach, Late May by Steve Bellin-Oka

    A little after dawn and no one else is here. The sky’s an envelope lightning scribbles on with disappearing ink. Illegible handwriting, a jagged cursive S on opaque nimbus clouds. Everything here will be gone once the tide goes back out—minnow pools in the red clay sand, crab husks, live clam maws scattered like discarded […]

  • starry night sky - imagery for "The Prose Poem" by Ethan Phibbs

    The Prose Poem by Ethan Phibbs

    This blue midnight stirs with a myriad of eyes: those islands I know not even the names of; unidentified vegetation, enigmatic wildlife, unpredictable weathers. I swear I saw a bird nest perched on the revolving head of an owl inquisitive of identity. Impending clouds collapse like an airy ocean covering the streets in a gray-blue […]

  • sleeping baby - image for "Middle of the Night" by Robin Wright

    Middle of the Night by Robin Wright

    My granddaughter drags crusty dreams from her eyes, and waddles to the kitchen, diaper squishing in time. She bellows for beans then claps at the plop of the pot on the stove, bounces like a rubber ball as the can opener whirs and beans slosh into the pan. Flames on the stove flash the orange […]

  • image for "I am lying on the floor" by Liz Howard

    I am lying on the floor by Liz Howard

    I am lying on the floor & you are standing over me & you are saying things & you are saying things at me & you are yelling & I cannot hear what you are yelling & you are reinforcing your abuse with your behavior & you are denying your abuse while reinforcing your abuse […]

  • chicken - imagery for "Harvest" by Ken Poyner

    Harvest by Ken Poyner

    Six soldiers sit with their backs to the moon, looking like six chicken legs set out for this Sunday’s afternoon family reunion dinner. Six legs from chickens raised on this very farm; chickens that came when rhythmically called; chickens that received feed from the upturned, folded apron of the plaid family matriarch. Chickens that pulled […]

  • rrams on mountain - imagery for "Haruspex" by Eric Williams

    Haruspex by Eric Williams

    They say Schliemann found Troy by studying Homer, mapping the Iliad and dissecting the Odyssey for clues to its location—but this isn’t true. He found Troy by slicing open the belly of a white ram after cracking it on the head with a leaden mallet and cutting its throat. He saw the future in its […]

  • image for "The Speaker Can't Be in the Poem Today" by Spencer Silverthorne

    The Speaker Can’t Be in the Poem Today by Spencer Silverthorne

    I am on the verge of watching a terrific blockbuster. Direct your attention to the window. To some sinister expression of light. To lyric exposing the wild interiors of the insipid. Bark stripped from trunk, cast your eyes on the tender bleakness, insufficient thing-hood. You had me when you said I was prone to invasion. […]

  • playing a piano - imagery for "Contrapuntal" by J.A. Pak

    Contrapuntal by J.A. Pak

    Playing Mozart’s sonata in F major & find myself at the third movement, which is a movement I’ve never liked and rarely play. I rarely play an entire sonata & in a mood of F major, I decided I must finish the sonata. It’s as I’d expected, and why I play it slowly [in a […]

  • image for "How to Breathe" by Jack Garrett

    How to Breathe by Jack Garrett

    Her trachea: that had been sliced. As the skin of her neck was drawn tight by shaky fingers, the gristly tube was sectioned by a penknife blade, and a plastic one, ripped viciously from her little boy’s science project The Purification of Water in the back seat, was poked in, blood sucked out through grimacing […]

  • birch trees - imagery for "Birches" by Jan Stinchcomb

    Birches by Jan Stinchcomb

    The bus would never stop moving, that much Klara knew. The birches outside tapped on the rickety windows like passengers trying to get the driver’s attention. Their approach was polite but determined. First they entered in a flurry of twigs and then they pierced branch by branch through the cracks in the windows. The bus […]

  • imagery for "Hazel" by Ricky Garni

    Hazel by Ricky Garni

    Hazel filled the football with helium and the old lawyer kicked it as hard as he could and it went over one house and stuck in the chimney of another. The old couple in that house had a fire going in their fireplace and the smoke soon filled the room. If Hazel had known, she […]

  • Pencil & shavings on notebook - imagery for "A Simple Postscript" by C.C. Russell

    A Simple Postscript by C.C. Russell

    The guilt that underlies that story is, of course, a different narrative than the one that you would allow to creep into the writing. The guilt that underlies that story has eaten at you for years, decades now. The guilt that underlies the story is the reason that you are writing this postscript in the […]

  • Silhouette on shore at sunset - imagery for "Fabric" by Carol Ellis

    Fabric by Carol Ellis

    The shirt on the floor crumpled into a human face is nothing more than what I dropped after pulling it over my head. Pulled off in the final jerk of fabric my face lies crumpled in all that it has seen I walk away from my face the resemblance I imagine and the presence of […]

  • Holding hands - imagery for "Anew" by Linda Grierson-Irish

    Anew by Linda Grierson-Irish

    Where did you leave it? I asked. She didn’t know, her memory was skittish, kept spinning off sideways, she said. I agreed, reluctantly, to help her search. When did you last see it? I wanted to know. But she was off, gone sideways too. I followed. We walked a long way. In our sitting room, […]

  • image for "Lumique" by Matt Alexander

    Lumique by Matt Alexander

    I. I emplain to the oche oche oche. In the white violet night I recite the sephel-oh sephel-ay sephelee-lee, at least till the sun corylizes. I crimp a circuit for tom borrow. At last, as the final crepuscles give way to their shinder corpuscles, I perform the diminuendo of brooboo-lit day. It is the least […]

  • bright star in the night sky - imagery for "Day One" by Mike Jacobson

    Day One by Mike Jacobson

    In the beginning. Of the beginning. From the beginning. Beguine. How to put it, who to put it, created. But how do you know this? And what gender? Or was there a gender? Answers to all your questions will surely be found, but to tell you the truth, there shouldn’t be any need for answers. […]

  • City skyline - imagery for "The Only Tear in Detroit" by Lyndi Bell O’Laughlin

    The Only Tear in Detroit by Lyndi Bell O’Laughlin

    It’s a riot in there, the mind incarcerating itself with yarns, vivid festivals of nothing. It’s hard to resist the urge to fling a little chum in the water, a risky thought, say, or an unchained memory. Stand back and watch as pictures and words roil and foam, listen as they whisper to each other […]

  • woman pulling hair back - image for "Let Down Your Hair" by Carla Kirchner

    Let Down Your Hair by Carla Kirchner

    Weigh my hair—three quarters of a pound dry, one and 1/4 pound wet. Add two-pounds of large pizza plus the cardboard, peppers, extra cheese. Count the damp air burdening the trees, the strange light from the street lamps, the neighbors prying eyes as my braid coils down to the waiting delivery driver. Figure in the […]

  • seagull - imagery for "Little Joe Gould #5" by Devon Balwit

    Little Joe Gould #5 by Devon Balwit

    he was a bum, but he spoke the language of seagulls. when he flapped his arms and gave their lost-child shriek, your beer foam turned to surf and ebbed and flowed in your glass. he would cadge a cigarette, puffing with one hand, the other still a wing, rising and falling in the wind of […]

  • Man in shadows - imagery for "Enigma Machine" by Richard J. Fleming

    Enigma Machine by Richard J. Fleming

    1 During a full body scan, I am entering a phase of life where I no longer feel connected. At the bottom of the landfill, there are broken medicine bottles. I try to put together the pieces. There are traces of finger paint on the shards. My hard wired brain can’t process scrambled egg images […]

  • A couple facing each other - imagery for "Relationship Status" by Matthew Smart

    Relationship Status, Tenth Month by Matthew Smart

    During sex neither of them said much. But afterwards she would sometimes talk in strange nonsense strings of words, random and unrelated. If it was good she could go on for a long time, her eyes closed, her mouth rambling and running through a litany of nonsense. The first time it happened he thought that […]

  • Mother with two young children - imagery for "How Contentment Comes" by Deirdre Fagan

    How Contentment Comes by Deirdre Fagan

    In the quiet of a Sunday morning when with covers over my head the children play quietly while I sleep until ten. I wake completely before joining them, making myself a double espresso bedside before journeying to their needs. Upon making breakfast, a poem surprise discovered in yesterday’s pile of mail greets, and reading quietly […]

  • Marilyn Monroe - imagery for "What the Hell Is Always the Right Decision" by Wendy Taylor Carlisle

    What the Hell Is Always the Right Decision by Wendy Taylor Carlisle

    She combed the yellow light into her hair and looked out the door into a street full of forties California. I have nothing but words to say these things. No shrugs or silences. No scent of Chanel or musk. My limits are the absence of muscle, the lack of spit, of mucus. She lay down […]

  • old gadgets - imagery for "Building Blocks for Pedigree" by AJ Urquidi

    Building Blocks for Pedigree by AJ Urquidi

    Our ancestors were groomed in autonomous regions under state command. Franco roughed ‘emup real good from time to time. We pump up, fire water from our knockoffs in the driveway, bare feet stabbed by dead oak barbs. The afternoons marinate in fluoride and bloodgums from jawbutting handlebars. Our ancestors forgot we existed. We rarely think […]

  • Brooklyn bridge - image for "Walker Evans Saves The Bridge" by Benjamin Goluboff

    Walker Evans Saves The Bridge by Benjamin Goluboff

    Their fathers had been, if not friends, associates in the elaborate network of capitalist exchange whose ramifications seemed to extend to the very boundaries of the Columbus Heights neighborhood where the two young men, along with certain kindred spirits, had established a kind of demi-monde. And so it was only natural, when brought together by […]