Ed Shacklee is a public defender who represents young people in the District of Columbia.  His poems have appeared in AngleKin Poetry JournalLightShot Glass Journal, and Snakeskin, among other places.  He is working on a bestiary. 

Rostislav “Russ” Spitkovsky, a New York based artist, is the founder of Carrier Pigeon: Illustrated Fiction and Fine Art, an artist-run limited edition magazine. He has worked as a printmaker and a freelance illustrator at Knoft books, Stocks & Commodities Magazine, Red Henn Press and various other self published and small press projects. Spitkovsky continuously writes, makes drawings and prints as a fine artist, and has shown his artwork nationally and internationally. Spitkovsky earned his MFA in Illustration with honors from the School of Visual Art in New York.

art by Rostislav "Russ" Spitkovsky

art by Rostislav "Russ" Spitkovsky

The Kraken

Ed Shacklee

Though krakens are a slimy lot, they’ll freely lend a hand

to sailor boys grown bored with building castles in the sand

who’ve never peeked at maps with monsters drawn just past the land –


merry lads who climb the masts as nimbly as chimpanzees,

who like to drink like devils and to sing as loud as banshees,

and never counted Tennyson among their idle fancies;


who sleep like logs, and never dream of reaping what they’re sowing,

who mainly roamed the halls at school on days they bothered going

and never studied or engaged in sports, except for rowing.


It’s just this sort of boy whose craft will sail without a care

above those azure grottos where the lonely krakens lair

and find themselves invited to a sumptuous affair:


while children who read Tennyson and heed their parents’ wishes

may never hear a mermaid sing, or sleep out with the fishes,

but might eat little octopi in cream, which are delicious.