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Leaf Garden Press has been granted one time publication rights, which includes publication electronically and in print. Cover art by Adam Moursy (see page 58).
Published by Leaf Garden Press, May 2010. http://leafgardenpress.com
We say things here:
I loved working with Robert on Leaf Garden. It is hard to let go! My kids have a long summer ahead, and I will be spending time swimming with them. I love the experimental and often quirky writing people sent to us at Leaf Garden Press; Best of wishes to Robert and new editors! –Melanie Browne The submissions guidelines for this issue asked for “experimental” work, but we never made any attempt to define what we meant by “experimental.” You'll see some experimental stuff, some less experimental stuff, and maybe one or two things that will make you say, “Huh?” This is our anniversary issue. We've officially been publishing for a year, and there's no plans to stop anytime soon. It's also the last issue that Melanie Browne, co-founder, worked on. A million thank yous to her for everything. She/you has/have been awesome. Leaf Garden Press will soon be taking Crack Crack (http://crackcrack.weebly.com) under its umbrella. Crack Crack will then begin focus on distributing independently written and produced music. More information soon. Thank you to the contributors for helping us with another issue of Leaf Garden. If I had it, I'd give you each a lollipop and a band-aid. As always, if you like this issue, please share it with someone. –Robert Louis Henry
We encourage you to submit here:
Muse Cafe Quarterly accepts submissions year-round for their quarterly magazine: poetry, art, prose, short fiction, non fiction, essay, and flash fiction. The site will also be expanding to Muse Cafe Press in July and is now accepting chapbook and full book-length manuscripts for the following: poetry, prose, short story collections, art, novella, and full-length novels. Please see http://www.stacylynnmar.com/MuseCafeQuarterly.html for more information and email all submissions to email@example.com. Temporary Infinity Writer's Alliance is seeking submissions for their inaugural issue. From the guidelines: “We accept anything. Short stories, flash fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, artwork, comics, plays, photographs, napkin doodles, instructions for assembling killer robots - the only condition is quality. The only restrictions on genre are no fan fictions and no erotica. Length wise, if your piece is 6 words or 20,000, as long as it's good, we'll take it.” See http://ti-writes.com for more information.
Benjamin C. Krause (1) Brandon S. Roy (6) Brian Downey (7) J.J. Steinfeld (8) Andrew Graham (11) J.E. Crist (12) Paul Kavanagh (14) Jenna Johnson (16) Ryan Quinn Flanagan (18) Davide Trame (21) bl pawelek (22) Emma Stein (24) Martin Willitts Jr. (27) Robert C.J. Graves (28) Madison Davis (29) lyw (30) Michael Shorb (31) Taylor Gould (33) Sean McDonell (34) John Greiner (37) Arkava Das (38) Jim Fuess (39) Mike Boone (42) Joseph M. Gant (43) Alishya Almeida (45) Ryan Holden (47) Corey King (48) Chris Castle (55) Adam Moursy (58) Sarah Vetter (62) Karen Kelsey (63) Sergio Ortiz (66) Christopher Khaden (68) Chris Bowen (70) Parker Tettleton (71) Elena Kaminsky (72) Sarah Duignan (75) Corenski Nowlan (76) Just Kibbe (78) Paul Handley (80) Ronald Fischman (81) P.A. Levy (82) Steve Wheeler (86) Ricky Garni (90) Veronica Dangerfield & Annmarie Lockhart (95) Anne & Mark DeCarteret (98) Michael Ardizzone (99) Emma Sky Wolf (100) Geordie de Boer (101) JB Mulligan (103) Bobbie Troy (105)
Benjamin C. Krause
Benjamin's collection of poetry Classifieds and Other Poems is my latest favorite. I won't bother trying to give it a critical response – this book is better than poetic theory. The entire chapbook is wonderfully written, but it's these “classifieds” that especially speak to me. The ambiguity leaves me imagining that they're little peep holes in a door, skewing the face on the other side, just enough to realize you don't know who is knocking at three a.m. These peep holes are just enough to notice something that looks a lot like a heart is falling out the bottom of a shirt – just enough to see that the smallest detail is sometimes greater than the “bigger picture.” The wonderment I find in their simplicity is captured in the first two lines of “Classified 10” when the speaker says, “Wanted: the feeling I got as a kid / when snow was this magical, marvelous thing.” It leaves me with a nostalgia for a feeling I've found myself doubting, and somehow, that makes it seem not so bad. Obviously, I think this belongs in your hands, and then on your bookshelf, and then in your hands again. It's my privilege to feature Benjamin C. Krause with an interview and a few poems from Classifieds and Other Poems. Many thank yous to Benjamin for his time and contributions to Leaf Garden.
From Benjamin C. Krause's Classifieds and Other Poems
Classified 7 (First published in Classifieds and Other Poems, erbacce-press 2010) Found: the greatest story I’ve ever read, hand written, in a dumpster in The Flats. If you are the author I ask you to please keep writing, and if you will not come claim it, at least keep leaving your stories in that same dumpster.
Classified 12 (First published in Classifieds and Other Poems, erbacce-press 2010) Artsy chick looking for a single man who dreams often, like every night, and will share his dreams so she can paint them, and any time they want to escape they can look at a painting and live for a moment inside their collective dream.
Frostbite (First published in Classifieds and Other Poems, erbacce-press 2010) Bunkered inside and alone, lighting cigarettes with cigarette ends, wake up sucking on coffeepots and sleep after throwing up Scotch. Unwieldy beard grows across my face and the compost hasn’t gone out in weeks. Wild eyes look back at those who stare and they back away. She sees the months-old garbage lining the floor and it seems her sobbing will never stop. But no tears escape my eyes even when doors open to let them free. The numbness within has turned to frostbite and I fear it will be fatal.
An Interview with Benjamin C. Krause
Robert Louis Henry: Can you tell us a little bit about living with schizoaffective disorder? And does this, in your opinion, have a large influence on your writing? Benjamin C. Krause: The experience of schizoaffective disorder is very difficult to explain in a traditional linear verbal fashion, but this sheds light on the answer to the second question: yes. As art, poetry is a means of expressing the intangible and ineffable. What I cannot say through standard means of communication, I express in poetry, and that includes the experience of mental illness. What the general public usually doesn’t understand about schizophrenia and related diseases is that they run far deeper than the most obvious experiences of hallucinations and delusions, or abnormalities in the way a sufferer speaks; they are very complicated disorders which affect sufferers in both subtle and non-subtle ways. A common thread I have found in the poetry of those with psychotic disorders is the surface appearance of simplicity. Blake likely suffered from some form of psychotic disorder, and when you first look at his poetry it often appears almost child-like. Studying his poetry, however, reveals deeper meanings and themes as well as a wonderful knack for sound and rhythm, two underrated aspects of poetry these days. The original front man for Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett, was believed by most of his colleagues to have suffered from a psychotic disorder, though his family denies it. You can see the same deceptive simplicity in his lyrics, and the same focus on sonics. Because of the general stigma surrounding mental illness, though, and because of how new the field of psychology is, we will probably never know for sure which poets, if any, were sufferers. But editors have compared my writing to Blake’s before, and he is certainly both an influence and someone I feel a kinship with, despite him having lived hundreds of years before me. RLH: I've noticed that you refer to yourself as "openly crazy." Can you shed a little light on what you mean? BCK: It’s a term I go back and forth on, and have been using less often lately. On one hand, it is certainly true that schizoaffective disorder is a disease much like heart disease or diabetes, physically-based and, to an extent, treatable. On the other, as a disease of the brain, it has an undeniable influence on my identity, no matter how well it’s being controlled. In this sense, it’s important for me to look at schizoaffective disorder as a part of myself and as something I should work with, rather than against. I say I’m “openly crazy” because it’s something I cannot and should not ignore, nor do I expect anyone else to. Furthermore, I say it as a way to actively work against the stigma of mental illness. Were mental illness accepted the same way physical illness were, I would have no need to state I was “openly crazy,” but since we live in a world where the mentally ill are constantly portrayed as emotionally weak or downright evil, I feel the need to make a statement. Finally, I have a great deal of respect for the stoic philosophers, and often read from Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations when facing a crisis. I believe, like they do, that I should do everything in my power to work with what I have, rather than worrying about things I cannot control. To this extent, I am “openly crazy” because I have accepted my illness—from there, I can move forward.
RLH: As the editor at Diamond Point Press, can you tell me how you handle the work between the two literary journals and working on single author works? Does anyone else work on the projects of Diamond Point Press with you? BCK: Because I do the journals largely as a hobby, response time obviously varies—there are times when I’ll go a week without reading any submissions. But with Muscle & Blood it’s great because I have a staff of four editors, and we share the workload. On Liebamour I have a consulting editor, Stephen Naylor, who sort of helps on a conceptual level and also seeks out art for me. As for how I handle it, I don’t think it’s really something to “handle”—it’s the most fun thing in the world, being one of the first to read contemporary poems. I’ve had submissions from people who have been published in places like New York Quarterly, or people who have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, and it’s really wonderful and a blessing that so many great poets are interested in what I’m doing. RLH: We talked about a project you're interested in starting called "Chapbooks for Charity." I realize this is on hold, but can you give us the basic concept, and let us know what holds you back? BCK: The idea is raising money for charity through poetry, and as a concept, that’s no longer on hold—Diamond Point Press’s website includes an active call for donations to various charities we list on our “Help Us” page, and our first e-chapbook by Felino A. Soriano will include a link asking people to donate to autism research. Felino is a case manager for mentally and developmentally disabled adults, and also an enormously talented and hardworking poet. We both thought the chapbooks for charity idea was a great one. You can view the teaser for his chapbook at http://www.splayedrenditions.com/, and by the time this interview is released the chapbook might already be finished. As for the website I used to have called Chapbooks for Charity, that’s probably just going to be incorporated into Diamond Point Press. RLH: Could you tell us a little bit about your book "Classifieds"? BCK: Absolutely. Around October of last year I sat down at my computer to write some poetry. I was a little buzzed, and the words literally just came out of my fingers: “Blank journal for sale; belonged to our grandfather. He bought it after the war, sat in front of it every day with a pen, and never wrote a word.” I decided at that point I wanted to write more poems based on classifieds, and that night wrote four more. Though it all seemed spontaneous at the time, the classifieds were probably influenced by Hemingway's six-word short story, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." I've always been a huge Hemingway fan and cannot deny his influence on anything I've written, let alone these poems. Anyway, I eventually ended up with 14 of them, which form the first fourteen poems in my chapbook, also titled Classifieds. The remaining sixteen poems are just some of the best poems I’ve written between 2005 and 2010. I’ve written three more classifieds since the book was published, so who knows—there might be a second book RLH: Stock question. What made you become a writer? Why do you continue to be a writer?
BCK: Around the time I was 13 I decided that, being a teenager, I should start having opinions about music, so I went and bought Metalllica’s self-titled “black album.” I loved the album, and began buying more albums by heavy metal bands and getting my friends into them, and pretty soon we figured the natural progression was to start a band. The problem was we didn’t know how to play any instruments, but we wouldn’t let that stop us—we each picked an instrument; I was drums, and two of my other friends were bass and guitar. So we started learning, but we couldn’t exactly jam together with such little knowledge of music, so instead we wrote lyrics. Lots of them. Lots of awful, 13-year-old wanting to be in a band lyrics. Anyway, we eventually broke up due to our total lack of talent, but I kept writing lyrics for songs that didn’t exist, and bought a book called “Writing Better Lyrics.” Then when I got to high school, I took a Creative Writing class, which was taught by this teacher Mr. Murcko, an enormously talented poet who I’m still in touch with—I call him Terry now though. Under his influence, I decided I wanted to be a poet, not a lyricist. I began attending poetry readings, going to poetry workshops… the rest is history I guess. I continue writing because I enjoy the satisfaction I get when people read and enjoy my poems or stories. I like to know that I’ve struck a chord with someone. It’s different from the reason most people write, which is for their own benefit, to vent or express anger or whatever. But I also think it’s what makes my writing good—that I care if someone reads it besides myself. As for what happened to my bandmates—the bassist still plays the bass, and has become incredible at it. I think his band right now is called Drug Budget. The guitarist is getting married this June—word has it we’re going to Vegas for his bachelor party. So we’re all doing well in our own ways. RLH: Is there anything else you'd like to add? BCK: Yes--the first issue of Liebamour Magazine was recently released and is a really special volume; you can buy it or get a free PDF by following the links at http://diamondpointpress.com/liebamour/. Thank you very much for the review and the opportunity to discuss these things, Robert. You can order Classifieds and Other Poems from erbacce press: http://www.erbacce-press.com/#/benjamin-c-krause/4538823774 You can follow Benjamin's writing (and listen to him reading pieces): http://www.benjaminckrause.com Take a look at the publications of Diamond Point Press while you're at it: http://diamondpointpress.com
is the editor of The Panulaan Review. His work has appeared in numerous reviews and journals, including the LitSnack, Breadcrumb Scabs, and Ghoti Magazine. Bottles in the Water In that dirty ass Vermilion water; where they pull out trash, cars, boats, bodies and lord knows what else People always find little bottles filled with paper. Prayer bottles, finely written notes laced with red pepper. Patient paper Written with intent Wish bottles Spells placed in the water for the tides to flow over Problems for the wind Desperate moves but I appreciate people who try to control the world
Brandon S. Roy
lives and works in the frozen wastelands of Northern Alberta where the dirt is black and expensive. He spends his days working on an English Degree and taking advantage of a huge oil company, being paid to look like he's hard at work while actually dreaming of the next chapter of his novel. He will write at you if you request as much. (firstname.lastname@example.org) The Beginning of the End "Fuck 'em" he whispered, brushing away the single tear from his coarsely whiskered cheek. Those same words that once produced pangs of guilt at the mere thought of thinking them now rolled off his tongue easier than the vomit that currently held his gaze. "Convicted" they used to call it, "Convicted by the Holy Spirit", the words dripped sarcastically in his mind. The uppercase letters, emphasizing themselves even in his thoughts, reminded him more of an overzealous, hard-assed, English teacher than an omnipotent being. What kind of god can be so easily offended by the minutiae of written language? He rinsed out his mouth, replaced his dentures, and flushed the toilet, effectively crashing this train of thought before it picked up speed...again.
J. J. Steinfeld
is a Canadian fiction writer, poet, and playwright that lives on Prince Edward Island. He has published two novels, Our Hero in the Cradle of Confederation (Pottersfield Press) and Word Burials (Crossing Chaos Enigmatic Ink), nine short story collections, the previous three by Gaspereau Press — Should the Word Hell Be Capitalized?, Anton Chekhov Was Never in Charlottetown, and Would You Hide Me? — and two poetry collections, An Affection for Precipices (Serengeti Press) and Misshapenness (Ekstasis Editions). His short stories and poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and periodicals internationally, and over forty of his one-act and full-length plays have been performed in Canada and the United States. Raining Scraps of Handmade Paper Everything I do seems to be fraudulent and insubstantial. No matter how I look at my life, I can’t erase that accusatory thought from my mind today. Not only is it in my mind, clawing at my psyche, but I see it everywhere as I walk home: on the side of buildings, on the license plates of cars that pass by me, even emblazoned on overhead clouds. In the past I haven’t shied away from thinking that my life might be absurd or ludicrous, but it baffles if not frightens me horribly why this afternoon I have become so critical of my life, but losing my job and not being able to find another one for over three months certainly isn’t helping my frame of mine. And if I’m to be honest with myself, I have to admit that pondering a fraudulent and insubstantial existence is not all that far removed from contemplating an absurd and ludicrous existence. When I was looking at one of those billboard clouds announcing that my life is fraudulent and insubstantial, the oddest thing started to happen. It was a half-ordinary, halfextraordinary afternoon after I made it home, my breathing as if I had been running at full speed when in fact I had walked home at a leisurely pace, and went into my wooden-fenced backyard as if that was the most sensible place for hiding from the tormenting “Your life is fraudulent and worthless” message, that I first noticed it was raining scraps of handmade paper, each with what I believed was a revelatory message, neatly printed in red ink by a careful calligrapher guided by an all-knowing intelligence, or so I concluded from the few I had glanced at. I stood in my backyard and looked up, allowing the scraps of paper to hit my face, the sensations I felt moving randomly back and forth between gentleness and harshness, the soothing and the painful. At first, I was more concerned with the texture of the paper, its artistic beauty. Not until my lawn was completely covered with scraps of paper, did I allow myself to closely read what was written on them. The first scrap I picked up and read stated there were precisely four messages for each person on the planet but, I thought, what were the chances of finding the scraps written for me. You see, the scraps had insight and information that would alter a life, for example, the exact time of death, the moment when life will be most sensual, the instant when love will start to blossom, the second when love will cease. Later that afternoon, I checked the newspaper, surfed the web, listened to the radio, went through every TV channel and still no mention of the raining scraps of handmade paper —how could this possibly be?—and now, I suddenly realize, I must spend the rest of my life searching for those faraway souls whose scraps of handmade paper I picked up from the 8
ground. And I am certain that four of those scraps of handmade paper will be for me and at least one of them will have the words “Your life is fraudulent and insubstantial” in the most indelible red-ink printing imaginable. Authorization I had a great deal of shopping to do, and walked nearly ten miles on a drizzly, warm afternoon from my humble little abode in the suburbs to the centre of the city’s much-touted shopping district. I had a long list of items I wanted to purchase, not the least of which was a bottle of the best soul-caressing wine the liquor store had. And condoms, I must not forget the condoms, because I have a date with a woman who had arrived in this country less than a month ago, and I have been hired to tutor her in English but I must admit she has stolen my heart. “Who authorized you to be here?” a yappy dog on the street suddenly asks, exchanging yappinesss for clear-voiced enunciation. “Do you realize you look suspiciously like Edgar Allan Poe?” “I look nothing like Edgar Allan Poe,” I say to the annoying dog, touching as incontrovertible proof I look nothing like the tormented nineteenth-century author, first my curly blond hair and then rubbing my moustache-less upper lip. If those two features weren’t enough to refute the dog’s comparison of me to Poe, I argue that I have a cheerful disposition and bright blue eyes. Years ago, when I was half my current age of fifty, a woman I had been engaged to and almost married, we sharing a fondness for silent films, Poe’s short stories and poetry, and the plays of Samuel Beckett, said I looked like Godot, and I pointed out after lovemaking that no one knows how Godot looks like, no one. On another occasion, I recall, after having sex outdoors, she recited “The Raven” to me in a voice she claimed was similar to Poe’s and I argued that she had no way of knowing how Poe had sounded. She called me some horrible names and said she wished I were more like Poe, meaning his imagination, of course, regardless of his personal problems. It was not long after that Poe-inspired argument that she broke off our engagement. “Who authorized you to be here?” the rain-dappled umbrella carried by an affluent shopper courteously asks and the shopper seems unconcerned but I’m startled and riled by the repetitious, and to me, nonsensical question, the disruption to my walk through the centre of the city’s much-touted shopping district. The umbrella, as it passes me, boasts that it had a role in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, a film I have not seen, and then as the affluent shopper doubles back to where I‘m standing, I hear the umbrella say the French title with an impressive Parisian accent: Les Parapluies de Cherbourg. “Who authorized you to be here?” an empty parking meter asks just as an electric car, a happy face of a vehicle, coasts into its space, and the driver bounces out ready to put coins into the gaping parking meter. Then the parking meter eruditely informs me that there is an iconic line in one of Bob Dylan’s songs about parking meters and goes on about the role parking meters play early in the film Cool Hand Luke, which the parking meter claims it owns on DVD and has seen more than a dozen times. I have seen the film only once, when I was a teenager. “Who authorized you to be here?” a front-window display for a lingerie shop asks most sexily and I stare a little too long, looking for the mouths of the talking unmentionables. Is this madness, I think, or the script of an Ionesco play unearthed in a dingy 9
basement by a Theatre of the Absurd scholar eager to solidify an academic career? The yappy dog, the rain-dappled umbrella, the now-stuffed parking meter, the tantalizing window display, all answer in unison with a stentorian “Not quite,” reading my thoughts. I rail against the reading of minds in the centre of the city’s much-touted shopping district. The voices continue in unison, and I have become disoriented, not knowing where to go to buy the wine or condoms or any of the other things on my shopping list. Tomorrow I will visit another part of the city, I think, humming and growling and even yapping like a dog, attempting to disguise my thoughts, away from the hustle and bustle where things are quieter, and only trees and beautifully-manicured lawns dare to speak.
is currently a student studying Television/Radio/Film (yes, that is all one major) at Syracuse University. When he isn't prying his face from a pillow coated in permafrost, he's up into the wee hours of the morning thinking up naughty jokes to shout at passersby. From his position in Upstate New York, he sees no signs of a Canadian Invasion. Cleopatra’s Tits He blew the hell out of the line. I thought he was going to suck the damn table up his nose too, but it managed to cling to the ground, its tiny feet hanging onto the floor's hair with all their might. John, after negotiating the powdered wonder wandered over to the liquor bar and held a short conversation with an inquisitive bottle of Jack. It, after being sated, drooled a long line of writers’ muse into his cup. "Funny how temperamental this brand can be" he whispered over his shoulder. He only said this, of course, after capping the bottle... lest it hear him. I now recall sitting in the corner next to an all too friendly armoire, thinking that I didn't have the patience for beverages of such an inquisitive nature when I was thrown from my booze muse by the cling clanging of shattering glass against bronze. John had pitched a full bottle of Vermouth over his left shoulder into a statue of Cleopatra grabbing her tits; the result of which, of course, was a hooch lactating queen, no complaints here. In hindsight, I was, I suppose, waiting for that hypothetically, theoretically, perfect moment to dive down the rabbit hole, to glare at the twist in the binary - the break in my life’s fourth wall. I was, I suppose, waiting to see Cleopatra’s tits.
is a twenty-something poet living in her hometown of San Diego, CA until she can figure out where she really belongs. She has been writing poetry and short stories most of her life, and she is currently working on a few projects for publication in the near future. She is inspired to write about the lives of those around her, the things she has experienced on her few (but far) travels, and of course by the odd things deep within her imagination. She is grateful that her parents, if no one else, think it's great that she is a writer. A Conversation Between Two Australians (as recorded by J. E. Crist) A: Cricket? The funeral will be sometime later this month, when SA makes it a whitewash (!). Worst of all, what's going to happen in the next Ashes series? I don't need to be a fortuneteller to predict that outcome - more's the pity. B: The pommies aren't looking too good either, but Graham Smith's comment is telling - the yarpies just rolled the poms and now us, and he thinks they're better. Still, with the retirement of Hayden, things are looking up. We've got a team of players now who are learning how to lose... A: We need another captain. Punter's been a great batsman, but as a captain he's not worth a pinch of shite. I agree with you about now having a team of young-uns who are learning how to lose. I'm gutted. B: He's certainly been found wanting now that we're losing. But who can replace him? Clark is the only candidate, and he's years away I feel. Our cricket team is like our economy: a long time building to something great, a short time crashing down... A: Yes, I agree that potential captains are in short, er, non-existent supply, and Clark is a long, long way off being suitable. It's a tragedy. I agree 100% regarding our economy too, but you must know my views on that topic! B: We're in for an interesting time economically, that's for sure... And of course, we voted a Labor government in, just when we don't need them! Ah, Australia, you've done it again... A: At least we didn't vote for them... B: But we still have to suffer for it! A: And suffer is the right word, with a capital S. It's like a lucky (or should that be 'unlucky'?) dip when it comes to the Labor Party and policy ... Heaven help us, because we'll need all the help we can get with this inept lot at the helm (figuratively speaking of course - with them 'at the helm' the country will sink faster than the Titanic.) B: [sarcasm] I'm not too worried, ACOSS has Gillard's ear apparently.
J. E. Crist
A: They can have her whole head if they wish - it'd be an improvement (she'd both look and sound better ... in my honest opinion only, of course.) B: How sad that we all have to wish Rudd well - 'cause the alternative is Gillard! A: Unfortunately, we're damned either way, and throwing Swan into the mix only makes the bitter pill even harder to swallow...
lives in Charlotte. A poetry reading 1 Kitty is so happy, the house is packed with poetry lovers, I don’t know most of them. Standing before the fire is the poet, Winslow McCourt, he is about to give a reading. I invited Father Coamhanach. “I love it!” says Kitty. Kitty is drinking a lovely wine, Château La Mondotte Saint-Emilion 1967, she has a ring of purple circling her lips. I think I should inform her, but before I can get a chance Winslow McCourt coughs. 2 “My son, God is everything,” says Father Coamhanach. Kitty nods her head, she agrees it seems, I think Kitty is drunk. “God is but a word,” says Winslow McCourt. 3 Winslow McCourt is without superfluous fat, extremely good looking he is standing before the audience of poetry lovers, sedate, anatomizing, a loud sigh, he removes his designer glasses and bits his top lip. May and Lucy who are sat on the carpet, with their little feet tucked under their bottoms, are swooning over every movement. 4 The room is smoky, but what do you expect, it’s a poetry reading. 5 Although I don’t like whiskey I pour Father Coamhanach a glass, he says, “Thank you, my son.” My glass is a slightly bit lacking compared to the good priest. Father Coamhanach is old with grey hair and dandruffed shoulders. I don’t know why I invited him. It’s the first time I’ve sat next to him and shared a drink. He has a rather bulbous nose. He is the antithesis to Winslow McCourt. If I had to pick sides I think I would side with Father Coamhanach. 6 “The best book ever is Roberto Alrt’s The Seven Madmen!” I proclaim. I think I’ve had too much drink. I’m not a big drinker. I think Winslow McCourt is a big drinker, all poets are big drinkers. Father Coamhanach is also a big drinker, he’s been liberal with the booze I’ve 14
noticed. “How can you say that?” says Winslow McCourt standing above me. “It’s all about taste,” says Father Coamhanach. “Taste,” huffs Winslow McCourt disappearing. “He’s a grand man,” says Father Coamhanach advertising his empty glass. 7 I wish I was hip, cool, good looking like Winslow McCourt. Kitty is saying, “yes yes yes,” repeatedly. I know she is drunk. Château La Mondotte Saint-Emilion 1966 is good stuff. 8 If only he’d catch the damn rabbit before it Found safety in its hole, break its neck, Shut its wise mouth up, skin it, boil it, Consume it, boil down the bones, drink it, Urinate it, defecate it. If only the cat could catch the mouse, bite off its Head, masticate the hairy skin, the meat, the innards, consume it, Boil down the bones, drink it, urinate it, defecate it. And the Bird, yellow, diminutive, loud mouth Safe in its cage, if only the cat could catch it, bite off its head, Masticate the feathery skin, the wings, the tail, the meat, the innards, Consume it, boil down the bones, drink it, urinate it, defecate it. 9 “I’m not a big fan,” says Father Coamhanach. He’s about to add to this but a belch mitigates further intellectual discourse. The women love it though, I mean really love it. All women love poets that’s just the way it is, even those that don’t read poetry, they still love a poet. 10 Kitty is slumped on a chair. Sleep is weighing heavy upon her sad sleepy bones. Lucy and May are trying to get Winslow McCourt to have a three some. “Fuck Keats!” suddenly shouts Father Coamhanach and with this he punches Winslow McCourt in the face knocking him clean out. It was a perfect punch, the most beautiful punch thrown in my house. Violence is visceral some say, but I find it the most cerebral thing in the world.
hails from a small town where there's really nothing to do. Because there is nothing to do, she walks around with a camera, or a pencil, and makes normal things look like strange things. Jenna is also legally blind, which means that the pictures that she takes, and the paintings that she paints probably look different to Jenna than they do to you, because her perception of color is a little off. This is called "irony." Or perhaps it's not irony it's a metaphor or something, but it's interesting either way, don't you think?
Ryan Quinn Flanagan
takes his absurdity seriously; a clown with conviction, and makeup to boot. Picking a Poison like Socrates Over Hemlock at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention The punk crowd is too loud and messy and the disco crowd, too soft and clean and the hard rockers are too concerned with their hair and hot pants groupies as the big banders travel in packs and the jazz clique never left the speak easies and pop tarts belong nowhere but in your toaster. Easy listeners are in a perpetual coma and the blues crowd is just depressing and that just leaves the classical freaks, but they’re the worst of all… Tchaikovsky digging through the kitchen drawer in search of a nutcracker while little Amadeus heads out for more wine and Ludwig is in the bathroom flushing away his number two as Vivaldi changes all the cds in my cd changer after I told him not to.
Mouthwash is a Defence Mechanism Catherine the Great cannot stop shaking hands and cackling with Lizzie Borden while Henry Ford collects keys in a jar and Keats fingers a Pier 1 imitation urn by the door. Woolf in a cocktail dress without rocks sewn in the hem. John Calvin across the party room telling everyone not the believe. Whenever I don’t want to deal with the reality of people I drink too much and make them someone else. That’s according to Sigmund Freud in the sweater vest with Marlene Dietrich on his arm as Carl Jung throws my dreams in a blender and Babe Ruth tries to hit a home run on the first date with Mother Teresa while she shares tongue with Stephen Hawking and the whole math department from MIT.
The thumb wars of thalidomide babies with nothing to lose All this MALARKEY, I can=t take it, a mouth screamed from the bed. Chamber pot insanities that burn on the bottom if you don=t watch them. West African hair weaves of the Senegalese Tsetse. Finger food drive-thrus with four cylinder chequing accounts at Chase Manhattan with all the fixins. Fence post impalers and creamsicle-deficient jailers. Walks in the park with G. Gordon Liddy. Hemingway searching the barrel of his crosshairs for extra paragraphs to send to the Atlantic Monthly. Rampaging rickshaws through the streets of L.A. Tricolour flags with bipolar disorder. A Serbian clockmaker in brown overalls and 90 proof libations. Cork boards announcing the Fall of France (again). The shelf life of librarians compromised by the non-filtered kickbacks of chain smoking tobacco lobbies. Bearded revolutionaries teaching trigonometry in the hills over Havana. Pit bosses with vipers for eyes. Matchbooks and accelerants separated at birth. Printer paper with ringworm on log trucks in the rainy Northwest. Left handed firing squads killing all the right people. 49 cent burritos from the man with the handlebar moustache that reeks of tequila and dirty Sanchez offerings. Paper airplanes over Hiroshima inciting fear. Garden gnomes planting ragweed when no one is looking. Squatters with bad posture and dogs on chains and piss jars as yellow as 1/30th of the average crayon box. Birthday tiaras under mistletoe bombing raids. Fire hydrants on strike. Crossing guards in the passing lane. Absolon at the barbershop. Gandhi at the all-u-can-eat buffet. Lampshades made out of Germans and trains that run on time. Stove elements under warranty. Snow plows on vacation in bedouin camps along the Sahara. The 22 foot spears of Greek phalanxes suffering from erectile dysfunction. Page 57 of A Portrait of the Artist. Staplers without direction. Oscillating snitches in the checkout line. Broken fanbelts on fixed incomes. Laminated commandments left behind in the photocopier. Sandpaper faces in front of retirement home windows. Chandeliers and hand grenades brandished for all the best occasions. Building permits for relationships. The last balled up sock in the sock drawer. Filtration plants full of holy water. Philosophical tracts written on the underbelly of nuclear submarines. Corn beef on rye and the coffee is on the house. Adam Smith hoarding the wealth of nations in his piggy bank. Allow the tea to steep. Glowering rainbows across temper tantrum mornings. Carpenter ants with tool belts and levels. Next of kin take a taxi all the way from Manhattan. Air freshener at Chernobyl. Capone on tax evasion. The thumb wars of thalidomide babies with nothing to lose. Croupier hooks scratching the felt backs of last chance elephants. Pen knives pulled in earnest. Singing telegrams break into the top forty. Fridge magnets as a vocation. Irony as a past time. Five kinds of cheese in the macaroni surprise. A mint on the pillowcase after eleven. The toppled faces of Easter Island carved out of Time. E=mc2. Elevators are ambitious escalators and escalators are lazy stairs. Urine pucks suffering from depression. Sweaty palmed meat packers with hands that crack. Squid ink black as coal. Writer=s block made of rhetorical concrete. Nostradamus in an East Lansing opium den... By the time I stopped muttering and looked up from the typewriter she was gone.
Says, “I'm an Italian teacher of English. I have been writing exclusively in English since 1993. My poems have appeared in magazines since 1999. My poetry collection Re-emerging was published by www.gattopublishing.com in 2006.” LEAP Crossing the strait, down in the cabin, while some passengers were ritually complaining of how life is hard, things on the edge, the horizons closing, you caught a sunbeam from a chink on the leash and became mad Sweeny at “The Priest’s Leap”, it didn’t matter you couldn’t even stand in the wind, you stepped out and were in and the air welcomed the roar of your feathers. That’s to say –breathe.
has been to a million places in life and has forgotten most of them, but he is here now and trying.
The Built Drawn
is a young writer who plans to pursue a degree in Creative Writing. When not writing, she enjoys reading and eating blueberries by the ounce. Night Coffee I. she was tripping on tea spoons honey pouring out of the space between her nails. i saw her get into bed with you like mixing honey and coffee between sheets. (honey goes with tea, silly.) my mouth was dry lips rubbed with laxatives my contacts shriveling in my eyes. i can’t really see her through the haze she’s dissolved in coffee. I don’t take my coffee with tea. I mean, honey. I don’t take my coffee with anything. I just eat sugar raw. II. your skin reminds her of chocolate which her mother stopped buying once she developed hips her mother buys vegetables now leaving her to starve off her womanhood. She snuck up to her mother’s room once and under the couch found boxes of chocolate stuffed in their place like hips in jeans. She ate each piece until her jeans no longer fit until she could not move until your skin dissolved her. her hips are still here. III. she was sucking on coffee straws 24
eyes vacant, unfixed looking out of the glass as if something was there. i heard her yesterday drop the cup smooth sides splintering. she didn’t pick up the pieces, just waited for the man with the broom to work around her feet getting up most of the bigger bits. today, she just has straws left no coffee, no mug for her hands to grip. she sits sucking straws as her heart hammers spilling liquid through jagged aortas.
grays and whispers i. sometimes, she pretends to lie, and watches the words snap against each other, ensnaring themselves upon each others’ corpses, crumpling, and begetting corridors. she follows: milky eyed. she cannot see where the roads diverge. ii. he lies in that state between sleep and awake, eyelids weighted with the day. had he lived thirty years ago or forty, he would have heard ticking, but now he only has the silence. like a hollow bowl, it begs to be filled. iii. she thinks that there was a time before memory ran together with her dreams, her imagination. sometimes, she sits and stares, watching them all mingle together, drip, like colors. but, like colors, eventually all turns black. iv. her voice still swirls around him, circling, circling and refusing to relinquish its hold over him, like her perfume clinging to her gingham dress, lingering on his collars. like gravel on a record or perhaps, a clock ticking dimly.
recent poems appeared in Blue Fifth, Parting Gifts, Leaf Garden, Storm at Galesburg and other stories (anthology), The Centrifugal Eye, Quiddity, and others. He was nominated for four Pushcart Awards. His tenth chapbook was “The Garden of French Horns” (Pudding House Publications, 2008) and his second full length book of poetry is “TheHummingbird” (March Street Press, 2009). He has two forthcoming chapbooks: “Baskets of Tomorrow” (Flutter Press, 2009) and “True Simplicity” (Poets Wear Prada Press, 2010). The Girl Who Sang Forth Horses Based on the Blackfoot and other Plains Indian legends This was before there were horses and the people had nothing. This was a very sad time for all of us, although we never had much. A girl felt this discomfort. It was in her eyes, this nothing as far as she could see. She thought about this often while collecting firewood, or picking blueberries. One day shifting her hands in cool waters, singing as trout, out of the waters flew herons, their wings becoming manes, water falling off a drying body, their webbed feet became hooves as they rode out of lightning. She mounted one as they cascaded through air onto land. She did not know to let go of her breath. She rode a spotted stallion with markings swimming in flight just like in her dreams. She lived a long time among these wild horses her heart grazing until she was no longer human, her hooves striking the ground with questions, singing the wildness of blueberries.
Martin Willitts Jr
Robert C. J. Graves
lives with his wife, Emily, in Emporia, KS, where he teaches general education classes at Flint Hills TechnicalCollege. His poetry and fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals, including 491 Magazine, Bijou Poetry Review, Chickenpinata, Crash, the Chiron Review, Eclectic Flash, Eleutheria - The Scottish Poetry Review, Haiku Ramblings, Mikrokosmos, The New Flesh, Poetry for the Masses, Prairie Poetry, Vox Poetica, and Word Salad Poetry Magazine. A former bartender and freelance sports writer, Robert holds a Ph.D. in English (Rhetoric and Writing) from Bowling Green and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Wichita State. The Inquisitor You’re not heard by the shrink, and he is oblivious to the window where the inquisitor peers in from the dark and remembers the ape-man that is you. How you ran from those dark highways, those dark woods—a thing still on all fours, running from the horrible headlights. But you went home to your human wife, you animal, and you locked her in a prehistoric egg. Now, despite your constant watch, the inquisitor has found a crack in the shell. [Your coat capes in the cold air as you jump ship.] When witches dine on one other in the fire, and you’re led away to recline, the ape king, presiding sub-pharaoh of degradation, there!—the inquisitor in the doubling shadows. He rolls over and mounts your wife. She moans, and you examine the scene as a painting hung on the shrink’s wall. You’re talking, but the shrink’s not listening, and the inquisitor looks in from the night as your naked wife arches on dark grass, legs open to the window.
is a poet and musician originally from the Seattle area. She recently earned a BA from Sarah Lawrence College in New York. She has worked for Vista Magazine in Florence, Italy and most recently with poet and filmmaker Abigail Child on her short film, Ligatures. She currently lives in Brooklyn. SCHUMANN ALLEGRO 12. Clara cut. 11. 10. Shallow skin with Robert’s grip. 9. Stripped lucid notes from barley hops, grounded dainty pitches. 8. Bitch begrudged a daring man his sizable reaction. 7. Fraction of a beat down. 6. 5. She tipped her back. Topped her off. Drowned in every dribble. 4. Drivel carved by Robert’s rust and razor. 3. Clara cut 2. Through pale peach, into 1. Pepper flake in Liepzig.
is a volunteer dance and music writer for the arts, community website, This Business of Dance and Music. She spent her post-University writing career publishing pieces of poetry and short fiction in literary journals such as beet-red, INK, the Dandelion, the Diviners and Existere. She is currently studying playwrighting and is drafting a two-act script. the Minotaur on being cubed every storyteller needs to be a story, retold over two thousand years, so says all his lovers who balked at the loving painted portraits that feast on their comely parts. every monster needs to be a hero, torn apart over two thousand years, so says all the wars that blushed at the loving painted portraits that freeze them to a piece.
: his work reflects an abiding interest in efforts to express and explore the confluence of myth, drugs, and history. His poems have appeared in over 100 magazines and anthologies, including The Nation, The Sun, Michigan Quarterly Review, Queen's Quarterly, Poetry Salzburg Review, Commonweal, Rattle, Urthona, and European Judaism. THE INDIAN WHO DISCOVERED GOLD They tell of a man whose name is forgotten now, back in the time before whiskey when trickster’s like raunchy old coyote’d consort with less reputable humans, exchanging company for strange thoughts and visions. One day for no reason coyote pointed to gold pebbles scattered near the river bank. “Look at those shiny rocks,” said coyote, “some would call them a thing of great beauty. Why not gather many of them and weave them into the fronds and branches of your hut?” This man was no hunter, and not the brightest when it came to memorizing the names of plants and berries, so he did as coyote suggested, making his hut on the village’s edge glitter with the light of the sun. The other tribesmen found this behavior strange. “why put these yellow stones in the side of your house?” they asked him. he just grinned and played the frequent fool. 31
Another time, strange men called “Spaniards” came riding on the backs of horses, although some who saw these creatures first ran into the hills thinking them unusual beasts with both animal and human parts. The new men descended and took over the village as the new masters, allowing most of the tribe to gather and hunt for them as they were wont. But seeing the shining hut of coyote’s friend they gathered around, speaking in an agitated tongue, dragged the hapless dreamer to their council fire. “Where did you find this gold?” they demanded. “It’s everywhere,” the man stammered, “by the river, in the water, anyone can see it.” The priests riding with the Spaniards agreed after solemn deliberation that this man, with his special knowledge and unusual habits, was possessed by the devil, and promptly ordered him crucified to a nearby oak tree. Dying, the unlucky friend of the trickster laughed ruefully at his bad fortune, the last thing he saw was the Spaniards dancing around their fires, celebrating their sudden riches.
is a 19-year-old student at Emerson College in Boston, MA, and is an aspiring poet, playwright, and drunken romantic. He was born and raised in Corinna, ME, and enjoys writing, the Red Sox, and pursuing fame, fortune, and happiness. Being the Inside of an Evergreen Have you ever been the inside of an evergreen— skeletal dark, boney bark and broken knuckles gnarled in hidden quarrels with themselves. No one ever sees beyond the gleam of dawny dew to the withered bone of tawny shoots— withdrawn—
lives in Ottawa, Ontario. He has been writing for about five years. brokeakenededown His grasp of reality is tenuous. He knows this. He feels it, slipping. And he thinks: Is this for the better? Often he finds himself sitting on a stool alone in the kitchen, at the table, with the blinds drawn, the lights off, holding an empty mug in his hands. It does not matter if it’s for the better or if it’s for the worse. His grasp of reality is tenuous, slipping. He has no input in the process. Still, he thinks, in rare moments of crystalline lucidity, I don’t see why it is necessary for anyone to suffer a tenuous grasp of reality. Especially not me. In my prime. In my youth. I do not require an even greater tenuousness than normal incurred upon my grasp of reality. Please, please. Please. Please. Please. Please. That day he sees a cat run out into traffic and get its head hit by the hind wheel of a blue convertible. It is. Unpleasant. He. Stares. At it. Stares at it. Flat and limp. On the pavement. Tail twitching. Still. Then and there he hates the day. As if already he has reached a new lowpoint in his life. He marks it, in his mental journal: TODAY: A NEW LOW-POINT. For the next three hours he sporadically repeats the word “why” in his head until it is nothing more than a strange sound. When he gets home he puts on a pot of water on the stove and makes spaghetti. Watching the water boil he begins a prayer, despite the fact that he does not know how to pray, nor does he believe in any god, of any kind. His Prayer (for the Dead Cat): Dear god, who is there, if he is there, for what is living? for what did you brutalize that cat? did it have a soul? I don’t know. Why is death? Are you? There? Death is another one of those unpleasantly factual aspects of my existence, he thinks, after his prayer, and he begins to imagine, himself, his body, in the days that approach his death. He once visited a great-great aunt in a metropolitan nursing complex late one autumn as a child. She did not remember who he was. “MY SON!” she screamed, weeping, “AT LAST, MY SON!” Then they took his great-great aunt to church in a room near the lobby. He watched the elderly who lived in a near-vegetative state, being wheeled into the room and parked in front of the pulpit. He imagines being wheeled through dimly-lit, carpet-smelling corridors to church, unable to speak, or move. I should learn to pray, he thinks, then, There is no god, there is no god, there is no god. Visualizing the word in his mind to ensure every letter of g-o-d is small, and therefore less significant. That afternoon, he receives a telephone call from his first high-school girlfriend, distinguished from the girl he slept with one time in middle school then never talked to him again for reasons he never understood, and the girl who kissed him underneath the desk in grade two, very different from his first high-school girlfriend, who was Catholic. “I think I’m a lesbian,” she says, over the phone. He pictures her hair, on her shoulders, filthy, blonde, 34
wearing a yellow shirt she had already worn that week, two days earlier. In high school, he had the persistent feeling, that, whenever they were engaging in any form of intimacy, whether it was game of go-fish or mutual masturbation, that she wanted to hit him. Once she puked. She ran out of the room, and into the bathroom, and puked in the toilet. I’m fine, she said, without prompting, I’m fine. “The puking ought to have indicated something,” he says. “Yeah,” she says. There is silence. “Goodbye.” “Goodbye.” All his dealings unwind. His assets disintegrate. He can no longer. Collect his resources as he did before. He oscillates between thought and seeing. At night he dreams he has survived a nuclear apocalypse, and his mother is there, knitting a gray cardigan, the only other person. He is in the street, surrounded by corpses. They resemble mannequins. He dreams, also, that he is a woman, and that he wants to fuck a man. He is wearing spandex. He feels very attractive. In a dim, half-waking fog between sleep and wakefulness, a militaristic metaphor seems apt, for his dream life, for his tenuous grasp of reality. He can not think of one. There is not a single militaristic image that he can propel frontwards in his consciousness, and thus he finds himself incapable of real articulation. He begins to mutter. His enunciation. Fails. If he cannot be heard. He will not be spoken to. Is this a delusion? Yet another logical trick of his tenuous grasp of reality? He mutters, unperturbed. He grows quieter, each day. At some point, in future, if this continues, if he continues to speak, to mutter, and if his need for verbal communication continues, he will only speak in nighinaudible whispers. Quieter and quieter. Yes, he thinks, a conscious decision. He tries to envision hallucinations, but cannot come up with anything that does not seem computer-animated. He does not believe hallucinations will appear computer-animated. They will be so real he cannot discern them from reality. He imagines schizophrenics. Schizophrenic hallucinations. They must seem. Real. If he was a schizophrenic. His grasp of reality would be even more tenuous. Un-reality would be invasive. He tries to think of a reason to take a bus. A spot of cloud moves across the sky. He walks down a red dirt road overgrown with tall grasses, alone. It seems as though there are cicadas on every tree-branch, calling, loudly. He finds an empty fire-pit in a clearing by the road, surrounded by plastic alcohol bottles. He picks one up to throw it in the garbage back home. The hooker shits on his chest. Why did I pay for this? he thinks. It seems amazing that death has not occurred to him as a possibility until now. Was his grasp of reality so tenuous that death was invisible? He begins to notice. Dead things. Houseflies gathered at the base of a window. Meat at the grocery store. Autumn leaves. He was once told that the wood of a tree is in fact dead material. He recalls childhood days at the beach, when he would find smashed shells and crab fragments. He picked up small white claws and legs from the beach sand and collected them. His parents disposed of the collection in the night as soon as it began to smell. I should have a funeral, he thinks, A funeral for my tenuous grasp of reality. Yes, and a priest. I want a priest there, to wave my tenuous grasp of reality goodbye.Goodbye, goodbye. 35
He is in the kitchen, wearing only his housecoat, the drawstring left undone, the curtains drawn, an empty mug in his hands. Yes yes, this is me, he thinks, this is me, merrily losing my grasp of reality. The phone rings. “Hello.” “Hello.” Silence. “I didn’t know who to tell.” “Yes.” “So I thought I’d tell you.” “Yes.” “You were the last person… the last person I ever… oh God…” “Yes.” “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do.” “Yes.” “I thought you’d know. You’d know what I should do.” Silence. “Find another lesbian. Or two. Ha ha.” “Oh God…” You are a bastard, he thinks, you have always been a bastard. That night he finds silence roaring within himself. When will I stop hearing things? When will I stop seeing things? I can still see. I can still hear. The things. All around. Will they still be here? Will they still be sea? Will I still think? Is it necessary that my grasp of reality be tenuous? Could my grasp of reality not be mechanical? Resistant? Durable? Bulletproof? Infallible? Could I not become these things with a less tenuous grasp of reality? Do I need a tenuous grasp of reality? Is it possible for a man to develop a false but nonetheless very firm idea about what his grasp of reality— Goodbye, goodbye, he says, goodbye.
is a poet, playwright and short fiction writer living in New York City. Most recently his work has appeared in The Packingtown Review, The Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Red Fez, Interrobang, The Toronto Quarterly, Midnight Screaming, Bottom of the World, iddie, CEIIA’s Round Trip, Qwerty, Pax Americana, Knock, Tangerine, hitotoki: Paris, Bent Pin, Burst, ditch, Hecale, Sein und Werden, nthposition, Unarmed, Audience, SubtleTea, Zygote in my Coffee and Inscribed. His theatrical pieces have enjoyed successful runs in New York, Chicago and Gloucester, Massachusetts. Greiner’s work with photographer Carrie Crow has appeared at The Queens Museum of Art (Queens, NY), The Emily Harvey Gallery (New York, NY), Mairie IX (Paris, France) and the Otis College of Art and Design (Los Angeles, CA). Garden “Don’t chase me, thank you.” She always conducted herself in a manner that her mother would find fitting. “First off, we are all comrades. Fellow travelers down the roads where the old time slaves wandered before they were tracked down and lynched.” She always deferred to my great nation’s past. All of this in spite of her being a Canadian who had never been to Hollywood, or lived in a D.W. Griffith film and who didn’t need to take responsibility, or even an interest in sins that had nothing to do with her. It was her bombastic politics, brought up from the intestines with outsider’s guilt and seeking examination and expurgation that attracted me to her. I’d always add in a bit of flattery when flattery was called for, but there was always the fear that it would descend into a public killing spectacle with half priced seats along the periphery. “It’s the yin and the yang and everything in between that’s got me and that’s the kicker. It’s my interior that’s got me spaced out looking for the decorator and engineer. I listen to sambas every night waiting to die, but that doesn’t make me unique. It’s one of the oldest things in this city to do. The Dutch were even in on that ballgame. I’ve added blue eggs to my tea, but I’m still me and that’s nothing more to you. You should know this and not chase me. What are you going to get that’s new? You’d be better served in selling all of your spices.” I had wanted to find a garden, but distractions had put me in pursuit of more memorable things. Soon it would be dawn and it didn’t seem like a good idea to keep going after the moon. I knew that someday I would get to the mountain of myrrh, but for now I would have to keep myself occupied with all of the droplets of light lacking salt and night. “Kiss my breasts, but don’t chase me. I’m letting the meat dry. I’m taking a breather while the grand tomb of the babes is being filled with various plastic playthings. I’m going to wear feathers in my hat when my hair turns gray and then I’ll watch Sugarloaf burn to the ground. Show me a juicer who roams the wilderness and I’ll show you a dying god who doesn’t dare to lay his hands on the girls.”
has lived in the beehive metropolis Kolkata, India all his 27 years. Having majored in marketing management and with an electrical engineering degree to boot, he has taken to his room circa 2008 and divides his time equally between reading and woolgathering.
Combiner But sufficiently in the Way; as for echo or here confusion, the medium-sized route of the modification that a sower brings it resists-thus Export, Declaration, Personality, Being soonthe expansion of which finishes unifier towards the Solid one, the investigation. Which I? As for address it begins-Bend! You speak. Large portion of the stroboscopic attempt it removes in order to end in order to resist in order to open to that (Echo). Relationship to the address (Confusion, Echo) is broken. As for the investigation you better speak to the body in order to resist concerning the modification to the edges. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear (this by Luke) better.
Houri I does not occur unbidden in the scales of color anymore: reliving a conspiracy theory which promised on a whim one night to protect the man on the moon. Expertly, when the condensed organization of the chimneys and hidden from the road where some poor bastard smoked a Chulha, the girl, a Jeweler on the balcony at her parents’, brings up her hairball, many long nights in the womb now, and on a lovers’ dawn-“Hayya ‘alas salah “ -As I said, a tin cat lodged in the perimeter of one million of brick-weighted tarpaulins, not fazed by my pledge of innocence to the zenanapurred next to her: Most beautiful of eye: she leant to kiss its back.
See more at http://www.jimfuessart.com.
Abstract 89 Originally published in Spectrum, Pocket Change, and Orange Alert
Monkey God Previously published in Orange Alert, and Houston Literary Review
Fleeing of the Furies Previously published in New Works Review, Flutter, and Burst
is a thug from Charm City who spends his time rollin' around the Block shoutin' out the broken window of a broken down '98 Monte Carlo looking for somethin' to slam, whether it be a nice tall female or some loud loud loud noise runnin' out into the streets from the basement the garage the 7th floor of a warehouse. Currently located in Beantown, currently sitting in a kollege, bored. I'm a grinner, I'm a lover, And I'm a sinner, I play my music with Sun Ra. Growing up I wanna be a space cowboy; six shooters whipping across my fingers; I'd shoot first always and when the dust settled I'd still be floating across the infinite plains of the cosmos searching for more criminals to pump full of space bullets Speech Class Our country is changing//constantly Our state is moving//constantly Our classroom is shaking//constantly Our friend is melting//constantly The cannons of rhetoric blow us away leaving splinters of ideas the same//always
Joseph M. Gant
is a poet trying to breathe in a punchcard world. The most interesting thing he has to talk about is his degree in Scientific Glassblowing. But don’t ask him what a scientific glassblower does— he’ll charge you a nickel; it’s how he pays for pens. He resides outside of Philadelphia where he edits poetry for Sex and Murder Magazine and is a contributor for Outsider Writers Collective. His first full-length collection of poetry is being released through Rebel Satori Press in summer of 2010. Anew in spite of villains, heroes, spiders, or time. Smiles in a Room I traced angels on your eyebrows. you blew smoke rings at heaven, neither of us knowing what the paupers took from god, and giving back a stroke of mind, we died and left the paleness of the world behind us wanting the return of its heroes a postcard stamped eternity— lipstick smudges where no one cared to look, and smiles no one understood.
Out of Tune I dropped a pill on a guitar string. it rang dull and perfect C. I picked it up and played a bit the metal ran like jazz beneath my fingers and flowed with the melody of laceless pranksters on a halloween night. I put it down and wait a while, then strum D7maj— it sounds alright; the cat meows, she ate my pill.
grew up in Bahrain and is currently studying in Bangalore, India. Her poetry has previously appeared in Gloom Cupboard, Thirteen Myna Birds, a handful of stones, Asphodel Madness and Bolts of Silk. She likes late night walks and 90’s music. She can be found sleeping in class or walking aimlessly in her college campus. walking past the grey how i sometimes am fullfilled by curvature the lack of your simple story groaning like sorry states and mansions, the spilling traffic of life and the existance of gasping girls, the ones who will never be you the ones who are never trouble, you are running red for miles, winged by the anger of tragedies they whisper, you pass untouched
Lost handbag me when we’ve rung into the shady spelling of night, all this severe need to excuse my dream from you when i’m deliberately half falling into disaster then we speed boat into light, the kind of communication i cannot trust, learning ourselves or maybe just trying and it is difficult enough when my memories have been already hitched between battered days, but you hand me an empty bottle and i fish out my future to seal i remember to reverse you with a sigh, my fist slamming repeatedly against the marriage of lost causes and crashing fates all these noncommittal conversations crumpled among my lonely Sundays the kind when you pack your bags but go nowhere wish you were somebody else
is a graduate student in Creative Writing at Arizona State University. He has been published most recently in The Blue Guitar and received an Honorable Mention for The Katharine C. Turner Prize of The Academy of American Poets in 2009. Screamin’ Tub Mannequin 24235 Eagles Roost Rd. Shasta Lake, CA three young boys walk into a gas station bathroom the oldest son opens the door for the younger ones there is a body in the bathtub—a woman fully dressed their mother hears the youngest boy scream (the older boys laugh)
& a recorded female voice shouts the same three phrases stop it… don’t do that… don’t touch me there… it’s a machine so it’s ok to enjoy this
is an award winning filmmaker, a freelance journalist and author who co-owns a small business with his wife in Winnipeg Manitoba. Fountain of My Youth There it was looming over me again after so many years –the perfect image of family. A reminder of my first attempt at freedom. Held to the ground by gravity and concrete, the collection of bronze and human spirit never escaped me in all the years since I left this city. The smiling couple leaping heroically into the sky without so much as a loin cloth covering their bits and pieces. Their infant son floating gracefully in mid-air, nearly escaping his mother's grasp. Combined they mark the legacy of my difficult past. Frozen until the apocalypse –or until local opinion sways– the couple is struck with swooning jets of water which arc towards the heavens, narrowly grazing the woman's genitals. Hoisting their son high above the jets, she seems intent to keep his bottom dry. If such a family ever managed to exist in flesh, I would probably feel more comfortable about the lingering thoughts of hope I still carry for humanity. Looking up at the figures as a boy, I remember feeling a strange emptiness, as if the passion and love they depicted made me feel deprived of something essential. I remember staring at the nipples of the woman and trying to determine if that was how a real woman's nipples looked when they were erect. I had hoped the answer would help me determine if the statue was cold or not, and in turn, provide the data necessary to qualify my father's claim that my mother was frigid. Every couple of minutes I'd look around to make sure no one was taking an interest in my nipple examination. It was during one of these scans that I experienced my first acknowledged run-in with human absurdity. It was a feeling that hit me more profoundly than anything my public school education had managed to show me. Think of it, my seven year-old self staring at a scale statue of a family playing about the water naked… in the middle of an otherwise conservative town! I mean my sister was grounded for three weeks when she was four, because she ran outside and called on the neighbors naked. Yet here, right in the heart of town, a block from City Hall, two blocks from the train station, the central façade looming over the city buses as they arrived and departed was a statue that mocked me with its tenacity. Alongside the bronze family is a drinking fountain crafted to look like a bull frog. This frog spits a stream of water into the moat surrounding the family. During my run-in with absurdity this frog worked to enhance my confused feelings surrounding human nature. For as I pondered how something as shunned as public displays of nudity was given a crown jewel-like presence in town, I was challenged further when a teller from the nearby Bank of Nova Scotia drank from the frog's spit stream. The same spit stream which mingled with the moat of water, and in turn cleansed the genitals of two fully grown bronze adults. As I watched her drink, I wondered if hidden behind all those arcs of water the statues were secretly peeing in the fountain. That would mean the poor Scotia Bank teller, who looked nervous in her own skin, would be drinking piss. As I inspected the mother’s genitals, I became convinced that these bronze figures were indeed mocking the entire city, corrupting the water-table with their urine. Maybe that explains why the parents appeared to be laughing as they held their child above the plums of water ― they were pissing in it! 48
I supposed they did it because they resented being displayed naked, especially when winter hit. So when the ice melted, they sought revenge on the town that refused to face such inhuman conditions themselves. To my mind, it was prejudice against statue people. Secretly I was proud of their insidious rebellion, despite it causing me to avoid tap water for months at a time. The whole situation reminds me of when my delinquent stepbrother and I had a little pissing contest of our own. Being from a large family, Sid and I were often forced to share the bath. While splashing each other and making odd animalistic noises, I purposefully pissed in the water. Then, with the devious plan known only to me, I bombarded Sid, with the powerful blend of water, bubbles, soap and piss. After a moment had passed, I was overtaken by a fit of laughter. This made Sid suspicious. Heckling me for the source of my amusement, I eventual gave in and revealed to Sid what I had splashed into his eyes. Being a boy of small brains and large ego, Sid attempted to raise the stakes by standing in the tub in hopes of firing his urine at me directly. As he prepared to fire, I kicked him in the kneecaps forcing him back into the tub. This caused his tiny pistol to spray in all directions. With both of us laughing, we decided to challenge oneanother to something we likened to the Olympics. The challenge was simple. We'd both piss in the water in an attempt to force the other out. The last man in the tub was the winner and would be graciously rewarded the great honour of gloating for months on end. As we let our little fountains fly, the urine-to-water ratio slowly began to balance. To be honest, I'm still amazed that the two of us mustered such a steady production of urine, without drinking excessively in preparation. It was as if the mere thought of competition convinced our urine production centers to work double time. After about 20 minutes the smell became quite intense. Being too lazy to take action ourselves, we hollered for my father to come in and change the water for us. With a loud, “What the fuck!” my father entered the room; my silly stepbrother pissing on the 70’s green porcelain that encased us. “We need the water to be changed, because our urine has caused sanitation levels to drop to an unhealthy level,” I calmly tried to explain. “And the liquid concoction, as you can probably tell, is starting to reek.” “So?” “Well we're having a competition, and are willing to call it a draw if you drain the tub for us.” Father looked unsympathetic, perhaps wondering why he chose to rear so many children. “You wouldn't want either of us to feel like losers, would you Daddy?” I asked with mock-innocence. A vengeful smirk came over my father as he demanded we wash in the water we had soiled. We protested, but he would not budge. So we agreed to his silly sense of discipline. Several minutes after he'd left, when we thought the coast was clear, we drained the tub and declared ourselves bathed. Then we quietly exited, put on our boxers, and sat next to our sisters who were watching TV, making sure to be more cuddly with them than usual. Piss can be so insidious. Feeling guiltier than these sneaky statues, I reassured myself that I was just a boy, while they were adults complete with replica pubic hair. I looked curiously at the artistry of their pubic hair, when an older woman stared in my direction. It wasn’t my fault she didn’t share my refined sense of art, but I took her glare as a challenge, refusing to let her social 49
pressure stop me from enjoying what I had come to enjoy. For I often felt that this statue would unlock some great secret, if only I was loyal enough. If only I investigated its form enough. Among the questions I'd hoped to find answers for, was the usual lineup of 'perverted' boys' queries. Like, why was I compelled to sit in the front row in kindergarten just to look into the darkness between my teachers legs? Or, why anyone would prefer to look glum in drab clothing, when these statues seemed so pleased in the nude? Why did living women wear underwear while the Bronze Lady did not? Did the Bronze Lady menstruate as my mother and older sisters did? And so on. I did also wonder about some less 'juvenile' things concerning the nature of the universe. Like what made me animate and the statues inanimate when we're all just blobs of atoms at the molecular level? But to recount these sorts of questions gives me a headache. As life seems intent to show me, I still don't have good answers for most of these questions. I've never been much for talking to women, or anyone else for that matter, and as I got older I simply realized that asking questions leads to more and more questions. Inevitably, I become unsure of if I'm even real, suspecting I could be merely an inane thought inside the mind of some more intelligent creature. This evolves into wondering if being a thought is enough to make me in some sense real. “I am a thought, therefore I am,” comes to mind. And on and on, until I got hungry, or a cramp, or something. In other words, it ceased to be worth asking. The important thing in all this turns out to be that I prefer humanity in its natural state. Many will argue of course, that it was natural for humans to adopt clothing. All I can say in response is that, though this may be true, it hardly seems fair to punish those who naturally reject that nature. For even as a boy I preferred the naked version of a woman. Hell, even the male form isn't so bad. Yet my natural state of mind is considered socially deviant. You can't win as it turns out, just adapt. Speaking of the male statue, I often looked at the him and compared him to my own youthful form, and wondered if the statues' penis was to scale. After years of silent contemplation I was informed by a one-night stand on my 23rd birthday that it was indeed to scale. Using my fingers to approximate the statue's length, the woman blushed explaining to me that in her years of experience, the statue seemed to be just about perfectly average. Which is tragic. The average is tragic. And those childhood showers with my father only made things worse. They set an unrealistic benchmark that haunted me until I found a woman that actually cared for me. Which I suspect was a miracle in and of itself. She's not here now though, which maybe why my mind is wandering back through the muck. Incidentally, my father was later discovered to have given his 'one great gift' to many, many women. He died alone, mostly due to that fact. On the bright side, that was likely perceived as a consolation prize to both of his ex-wives. Focus. I'm here for a purpose. Anyway, even at a reasonably mature seven, I had yet to see a real women naked and thus, due to my love of the form, I was forced to make frequent visits to this statue. As I gazed upon the marvelously detailed pubic hairs, I thought about my kindergarten teacher often. I sighed with notion that some other 'perverted' five year-old would have taken my place at the head of the class. Maybe the little bastard mistakenly called her 'mommy' as I once did. I of course realized that he'd be unceremoniously removed from his position as I was, only to be replaced by another 'prevented' young male. This would go on and on until my dear Miss Avery became old and unattractive, as I'm sure she is now. If she's even still teaching, I doubt 50
any child would want to sit close to her now, as they'd likely feel the death encroaching around her. Fresh human creatures do their best to avoid thinking about such things. Don't we all. But I’ll tell you no word of a lie, I did not call her mommy because I was confused. It was because, to the best of my knowledge at the time, 'mommy' meant adult woman who was federally mandated to try and care for me, and not specifically the adult woman that birthed me. I'm trudging back into the muck again. I should have brought my wife. Year later, I'd ask my foster mother what would have happened had I seen what was between Mrs. Avery's legs. “It would've been a moment between you and God. That no one else would ever need to know about. Ever.” She'd carefully explain. The problem has always been that I never believed in a God per say, just a series of lights, smells, textures and sounds that come spiraling out of the aether. “The passing show,” as a university philosophy teacher would later explain. It's as good an explanation as any, and I've found it quite useful. For even when I became fascinated with the shape, and size of the Bronze Lady's nipples, I was able to convince myself that it was of vital importance to my understanding the aether machine. For if they weren't important, why would so many exist, yet most be kept hidden? Why would men covet them, and women banish them? Due to the limitations of sight when examining such things, I decided I needed to inspect the nipples more closely. Nothing short of a touch would have done. I needed to touch them! I longed for them. Dreamed about them. But they were protected by a large moat and a roaming street portal. I became nervous and afraid. Afraid of being embarrassed. Afraid my questions had become an unhealthy obsession. Fortunately, earlier that week my history teacher talked about famous inventors, investors and politicians. In his lesson, he explained that those who succeed do so based on their determination and problem-solving skills. I figured if I was to take anything I was told to heart, I'd take that. It seemed useful when exploring this universe and becoming an expert in female anatomy. Among other things. So, I took my eyes off the statue and looked around the square to get a full understanding of the problem I had to solve. According to the clock atop the Bank of Montreal – even then the square was encased by several Banks and a defunct Eaton’s building– it was time for me to scamper back to class. I weighed my options: go back to class and smell the hair of the girl who sat in front of me but couldn't stand me, or stay here for an hour more and have to explain to my mother why I was absent from class. While pondering my immediate future, I noticed that all the business people who had filled the square during lunch hour, were now drifting back to whatever it was that made them dress so stiffly five days a week. It was then I was struck with my second absurd realization of that absurd day… my lunch hour was merely a training ground for a lifetime of lunch hours. I was being deceived into believing that I was working towards something, when really all they wanted me to learn was how to take a break in an obedient manner, so that I would work in an obedient manner. “Thanks, but no thanks you deceitful bastards! Whomever you are.” I decided then and there that it would be a day of protest. I was not going to go to class. No, I would look at the statue for an hour more, consider whether or not I should climb it and try and touch the woman's nipples, chicken out, get upset that I chickened out, then head home a full hour and a half early to look through my oldest sisters underwear drawer. Not because I liked my sister –for she had a bad attitude and wasn't very attractive– but because I was interested in the mechanics and I knew that to look at mother underwear was unhealthy. 51
That evening, after the explanation that I had skipped class in order to “truly come to understand the nature of this odd and abstract universe,” failed beyond all conceivable estimates to convince my mother of my noble intent, I was sent to my room without dinner. Hiding under my bed, I ate a stale peanut butter sandwich and searched through my postcard collection. I was looking for the postcard of my beloved statue. Sifting through images of all the places I had yet to travel, like the Vatican and Egypt, I eventually arrived at the postcard of the perfect bronze family. Looking through the cellophane wrapper I had stolen to protect it, I mumbled the text that glittered across the top of the card. “Glorious Guelph!” I chuckled thinking that it was indeed glorious. The only town in as many miles as I had ever been that would dare to have streets so clean, yet statues so bare. With the postcard firmly in hand, I climbed atop my bed and began to jump. With each leap I imaged that I had replaced the bronze baby as the joyous nude child who soared above the people and urine below. I imagined that the statues would come to life and sprint about the city with me, nude. I imagined the mother's breasts bouncing merrily as we ran into Scotia Bank to let the teller know what we had really been up too. As I thought about how fun it would be to drink from the Bronze Lady's glorious nipples, I got what can only be describe as my first erection. Though in my defense, I cannot control what arouses me, no matter how crude it may be. Anyway, as I jumped harder and higher –my head narrowly missing the speckled ceiling above– my mother began to scream. As her stomping feet climb up the stairwell towards my room, I wondered why she thought sending me to my own little kingdom was a smart way to convince me to “stand straight, fly right and disappear safely into the society of the normals.” Absurd I thought. It’s all so damn absurd. Falling butt first onto the mattress, I imagined pushing the male statue away from the nipples he also longed for and sucking them harder. My bronze lady just smiled, for her tits were made of metal and so my feeble attempts to make her scream were, of course, in vain. I suspect my mother screamed. That's likely why she put me on formula, believing that she alone had the right to deny me nature's delights. Goddamn it! Stay out of the muck. With broom stick in hand, mother entered the room and my first erection instantly returned to its former status of 'cowardly little prick.' Dodging her feeble swings and crawling between her legs, I escaped to the dinning room where I took a bite of her roast, just to prove I could, and escaped out the front door towards the setting sun. Stripping myself to the flesh, I sprinted merrily past all the neighbors screaming as loudly as I could, “My mother tried to beat me, but as usual she failed completely.” After that, mother did not dare to follow me, though I knew her eyes lurked behind the curtains waiting for my return. But such an event would not occur. Racing through the park I giggled as my tiny penis flailed about. It was there I noticed two simpleton neighbor girls. I smirked joyously as they allowed their jaws to drop. “Come, be naked with me,” I called to them. “Fuck you pervert! I'm telling my mom on you.” As they ran off they gave me the finger and stuck out their tongues. “Too bad for you,” I chanted joyfully. “To bad for you.” Scurrying past my school towards the perfect image of family at the center of this absurd city, a bus full of people drove by. Most of the passengers either laughed or jeered at 52
me as I waved to them as if I was their monarch. Except for one male voice, which I heard cheering in the back. I thought perhaps he alone understood me, or that maybe he was a paedophile… I’d never know for sure. Frankly it didn't matter, I was in a state of bliss for first time in my life. Bliss. That was the essential feeling I had been missing. Have you felt bliss before? It's truly the bit of love that makes love worth seeking. It's the feeling the whole of the world tries to keep tucked away with their bits and pieces. It's as taboo to express publicly as pubic hair or any other 'vile' matter or phrase. Yet it's better than crack or ecstasy –though some claim it can be acquire through such means. Regardless of the the mystery, I found it! And embellished each moment I had with it. Which is highly recommended, because like an orgasm it passes fast and is quickly forgotten. Before long I was there, in the heart of the city. The excitement granting me my second most beloved erection. People claim this feat is biologically impossible at such a young age, but I protest to them and you –everything I say is true. Cupping my hands, I collected the water that was being spat from the frog. Pulling it to my lips I took a sip, holding the water in my cheeks. Summing up all my courage, I climbed the stone barrier and leaped into the penny laced moat of water. Splashing high into the air, the waves I created competed with the fountains for areal dominance. Looking up I gazed at the crotch and breasts of the bronze lady as I sloshed towards her. Stopping at her feet, I gulped down the water that had been resting in my cheeks. “I do not fear the liquids that comes from you any longer,” I shouted. Howling at the unveiling stars, I fired my little fountain of urine, aiming for the well crafted hairs of the Bronze Lady. Those who had not noticed me before, were aware of me now. “So please, do not fear mine.” I missed my target and hung my head in shame, watching my urine dribble into the moat beside me. One the bright side, now I knew for sure that someone had pissed in the fountain. “Damn,” I protested. “Not enough pressure.” Though I now believe that the problem was not a lack of pressure, but too much pressure for a boy of my modest age. Too many questions, too much determination and too little social and economic luck. The aether machine had not made me to figure such things out, merely to question and act out of outrage. It was not long that the coppers arrived and dragged my squirming body away from the urine tainted crime scene. “Secure me to the concrete,” I cried. “So that I can be acceptably obscene.” The cops just shook their heads. Clearly they didn't sympathize. Judge Hobby wouldn’t say, but I think it was my neighbors who tattled on me. For it was my exaggerated claims of abuse that were used to prevent me from ever jumping on my bed again. I don't blame the system though, I was given as fair a trail as can be expected from this condescending species. They were made ignorant by the same damn aether machine that makes me ignorant. The whole courtroom looked down at me, and turned up their noses. “Poor little shit. Poor, poor little shit.” They'd never accept that I was searching for meaning, searching for what makes me tick. No, I was a foolish child who, due to an unfair shake a life, was unable to understand the 'proper' way of things. 53
In quick succession I was taken far from home and school, but I regret nothing. The only downside in my opinion was that I was forbidden from ever stripping naked again. Actually, it took me a good couple of months before realizing that there was an exception for showers and the like. So many battles with my foster parents could have been avoided had I known. “This is a trick so you can be rid of me!” Once I did learn, I took advantage of every naked moment to imagine myself running back to this perfect image of family. Little would anyone know how that brought me back to bliss. I refused to talk about it, fearing they'd take my 'perverted' thoughts away. But here I am with my Bronze Lady again. Being dragged back into the muck of old. Businesses have come and gone. The train station is now a convenience store, and the buses are all electric. Some of my old schoolyard chums are coppers now and the home I fled from has been converted into a condo. But some things remain the same. My legend for one, though I'm not fond of the slant that was put on it. I resent being referred to as 'crazy,' 'troubled' and 'perverted.' But looking at what has happened to all the 'normals,' I don't take it too seriously anymore. They, like their parents before them, wear drab clothes and take their breaks obediently. They've resolved to live as surfs for their unseen masters. Only speaking out to maintain the safe feeling of status quo. They've kept up the tradition of hiding their nipples, navels, and genitals and yet allowed my bronze family remain as they've always been... beautifully obscene. The only such display in many, many miles. And of course, as I've come to expect, the banks remain. Absurd. How absurd. In my long and odd life, I've made many attempts to escape to freedom. Having failed many times, I look back on that first attempt fondly. Never have I felt more myself than in the moments leading to my capture. I was closer to a dream than I have ever since been. Closer to being kin to that perfect unchanging family. This is why I've returned as a mature, but equally confused adult. After a hour of gazing and remembrance, I must do what I promised my wife I'd do. “My dear bronze mother, I say Adieu.” How I've loved her.
Chris Castle is English but works in Greece. He has been published over seventy times in the last year and can be reached at email@example.com. The Bed That Ate The World The Bed That Ate The World began as a normal Double bed. Then one day, it felt a rumbling in its heart, just at the spot where people lay, that wouldn’t go away. The boy who slept on The Bed walked into the room. He lay fully clothed, as he always did, without taking off his shoes and socks. The music in his ears drummed into The Bed’s pillow, over and over. The rumbling got louder and then in a burst of sound and fury the boy was sucked in, folded out of life, his body first, then his head and last of all his hands and feet, reaching up to the ceiling before being sucked in. But still the bed was hungry. It went on this way, a new family buying The Bed, the hunger bursting forth, and then taking what it needed. The Bed made its way across the country, eating all that lay on its heart. It was shipped abroad and kept its hunger satisfied in towns and cities and villages and Presidential suites. When it was done with those places, it was placed on boats and found itself in jungles and temples and tombs and capital cities. All the while the rumbling growing louder; all the while no-one ever suspecting The Bed. The Bed lay in wait for its supper, the television always on in one corner, reporting more missing people. More panic, more hysteria but never the right answer. Wars began and cities were wiped from the face of the earth. Accusations flew thick and fast and brother turned on brother inside each house. Soon there were no children and mothers were barren from the traces of war. The population changed to a number that could only ever dwindle. The Bed did not understand this; it did not feel guilt, nor did it feel remorse. Instead it only listened to its calling; the rumble in its heart, the tremor of the four castor wheels and the mattress itself, never ending and as vast as a bottomless pit. The world grew smaller but The Bed stayed the same. The pillow listened to the news and listened to the radio reports, but it stayed forever a simple rectangle, sometimes creased and other times smooth and folded. As the cities fell, The Bed moved into smaller places, underground bunkers and homes built at the bases of cliffs. Then they fell and The Bed found itself abandoned in a desert. For a long time no-one came and rested on The Bed. The rumbling grew louder and louder until it filled great stretches of land. Then it settled in a second. A stranger came into view. He walked up to The Bed and stood a few feet from it. He crouched, looked at it from all angles, then stared directly at The Bed .“I know what you’ve done,” the man said. His voice was quiet but it didn’t matter. He was the last man left on Earth. He sat a few feet from The Bed and put his head in his hands. For days he lived close to The Bed. He talked at it, he spat onto it. He almost placed a kick to it, but edged away at the last moment. But The Bed didn’t rumble. It didn’t make a sound. Instead, it waited. The sky was red and the dust and sand both yellow and magenta when The Last Man On Earth made it’s way to The Bed. He was inches from it now. He left the bag he kept on his shoulder, which he had rested against on the other nights, in the dust. He looked down to the soft heart of The Bed. “I don’t want to be alone anymore,” he said, his voice thinning now and barely a whisper. “I 55
don’t want to sleep alone, not one night more.” He looked up to the ever changing sky. He sighed and then slowly climbed onto the bed. He put his head on the pillow and waited, watching the sky. The Bed began to get to work. It opened and it reached and finally it folded and then he was gone. All that was left was the world itself. The Bed settled itself. It waited. And it rumbled. X-mas with Shelly So I sit down on my one good seat, hell the one good thing in my apartment. Christmas Eve, 10am. I listen to the city. The world rumbles and tears, rips and dries out. I open the door. She says her name is Shelly, sorry that’s she late, and she’s breathless. She is wearing a powder blue dress, with a halfway slit. Red heels and countless straps. A bruise around her knee that matches her dress. I think about kissing her, handing her the bills, or shake her hand. I point to the good chair and close the door. I catch her blonde hair, dirty honey and one black pearl earring. I walk over to the record player, put on a record. I turn round and see her sitting with her hand in her lap, like she’s at an interview. I come back in with two bottles of wine. I begin to walk, the bottles clinking, and she looks up sharp. Occupational hazard I figure. I put them down on the table. Ones cheap the others cheaper. The first one alludes to enough class to need a corkscrew; the others honest. I tell her I like her dress; tell her I like that its sun faded. She tells me she picked it up in a thrift store, says she likes the idea of that; a dress with history. She smiles and for the first time sips her drink without waiting for me. I ask her what colour she’s painting her place; I look at her shoes, all the angles curls and tell her they are Vegas shoes. I pour two more glasses and see each of her fingers are painted a different colour. Tells me she paints each one from a tester. I wonder how long it takes to find out some of everything about a person; how many questions, hours, how many breathes, pauses, tears and liquor it would all add up to. Sometimes she tells the truth, sometimes she lies. I do the same. We become who we want to be, our best intentions, what we want to happen; who we are rises up on the side from time to time. Every detail until it gets to where we are now. I say I could order up some food, maybe a little more drink. I ask her if she’s got someplace to go. She said she didn’t have anyplace to go right now. So we sat back with the last of the wine. I knew she was going to leave me, but she was going to stay a little longer. I headed over to the Delhi, ordered up. I walked back, not knowing if shelly had robbed me blind. She had cleared the table and was thumbing through the record stack. She even smiled when I walked in. Paper plates and fold up cutlery, no past, no memory, just a disposable now. We sat on the floor, Shelly to one side, like she was on a beach. We pile it all high and heavy, until it’s as high as her cracked heels. Shelly takes one of the bottles and opens it up, pours me a glass. She puts it by my plate and it’s about as beautiful thing s I’ve seen. I want to reach out, feel the fire and heat of her grace but I don’t. I say thank you and we begin our meal. We eat in silence, a good silence between two hungry people. It tastes better for her being by me. Shelly tells me she would like the keys to the boutique in the city. Said she’d go in there at three a.m. and try on every dress, one for each day of the year. I collect the dishes. I look back and see Shelly is checking the time. I walk back in and ask her if she’s got someplace to go and she nods a little. 56
She stands up and sways a little. I pull out the bills in her palm and then I let her go. I watch her walk away and then I turn and pour myself another drink and walk to the window. I watch her walk down the street, powder blue dress in the light rain. I turn around and hope to see something of her in the room, a trace of powder blue, an echo of her voice. But all that’s left is a faint scent, dirty glasses. One bottle of red unopened, 7:18 p.m. Christmas Eve.
is currently 23 years old and living in Brooklyn, New York. There, he spends much of his time wrapped up in the seemingly lost art of instant photography. Working with a collection of various old Polaroid cameras and expired film, Moursy's photos are proof that analog is still very much alive despite being in an increasingly digital world.
Says, “I'm currently a student at the University of Kings college. I'm 19. I'm a William Blake fan, though my poetry might not embody this. I'd like to become a poetic muse, rather then have the privilege of being consumed by one.” Mezzo I have a friend who plays cymbals— he has the softest hands. Not so much because of their suppleness, but for their ease. Vibrations, he says, are tears in tension. I watch him smash together the metal discs to no noise. See, he gestures with the instrument, how they join in silence. Soundlessly, the cymbals collide. As an instrument, it has no conflict. He keeps the discs held fast to the other. No instrument makes music— you know this, right? I don’t know this, or know that I believe it. All instruments are silent, he looks disappointed, at their best. It’s the silent musician you should be watching And here he trails off, hands still pressing together something whole. I saw a tremor. Saw his right wrist twitch, and just like that I notice his whole arm is tense.
is a native Californian who spent most of her childhood weekends on a boat. Her husband is British, and she travels to England regularly to visit family and to get inspiration for writing her poetry. She received a Pushcart Prize nomination for “Hymn of Autumn” in 2009, and is the author of four chapbooks, A Fist of Roots, Song of the Bluebell Fairy, In Spite of Her and Somewhere Near Evesham. Some of her recent poems have appeared in Boston Literary Magazine, The Lyric, The Christian Science Monitor and The New Formalist. Breakfast at Las Brisas We'll breakfast by the window when we're gray, discussing differences and commonalities of our American and British ways— evaluating scones and cups of tea. Above the narrow, palm-tucked paths of roses you'll remark: We could be in Torquay enjoying July there; I miss the promenade along the sea. And afterward we may explore the sandstone tide pools down below, where as a child I counted sea urchins, arranging purple butterfly-shells into rows. We'll pocket time between these summer cliffs, remarking how the distant curve of Catalina is revealed in midday sun, rising like a crown set on an ancient Goddess in the distance, whispering my name.
Between Midnight and Dawn Through window lace she watches the lemon tree's shadowy globes layer the branch, like fruit displayed in the crystal bowl on her polished table. As low evening light slants across the wall, a summer moon rises in an aster gown, to flicker through heaven like the ghost of a butterfly. Skies, purple as a peacock neck, arch over the trumpet vine. In an outpouring of joy through a muffled cloud, she imagines his touch, but only feels the pain of a raindrop screaming on a pointed thorn. This is when she treads the secret steps between midnight and dawn-looking for the tranquil meadows of Eden.
Lotus Petals During late evening hours, elements arise to bridge the void between us. Thoughts are winding, weaving, reaching beyond the moon, to meet where dreams rustle through heaven's trees: distant galaxies. There, as stars dim their attire into celestial fretwork, our minds gracefully touch together like two sacred lotus petals.
Riding Big Sky Country One day the sky will lean so close, a mare’s tail cloud will switch me, like a horsefly, over Montana’s mountain range. I’ll buzz past fields and hover over thousands of red barns, while following the Blackfoot River. My hair will become brown and coarse-a mane that drags through trout-filled waters, snagging on dark stones and innocent pine branches. At dusk I’ll bed inside a valley, then take one hearty breath before releasing twilight’s reins. I'll lie beneath a gold rimmed sunset, where all of heaven will crowd around the edge-waiting to brush against my dreams.
has a B.A. in English literature from Inter-American University, and a M.A. in philosophy from World University. His poems have been recently published, or are forthcoming in: The Battered Suitcase, Zygote in my Coffee, Right Hand Pointing, Poui: Cave Hill Journal of Creative Writing, and Writers’ Bloc. Flutter Press published his chapbook, At the Tail End of Dusk (2009). Kiwi News Yesterday Mr. Rudd announced to the Aboriginal Social Justice Commission his plans to fingerprint the daisies making him sleepy and face-scan white rabbit visitors from 10 high-risk countries. Mr. Rudd said the sides of the well were filled with cupboards and bookshelves, a growing threat from Islamist radicals born in Alabama. Three months ago, six Alabamans of foreign origin exploded a number of questions. Do bats eat Australian cats? Do dingoes eat Alabamans? They received AstraZeneca coupons for conspiring to launch this jihadist attack.
Imago Where did the mosquito come from? -The molted skeleton of a salmon pink birdeater. What did the holly-leaf cherry hear? -Glass shatter, an executioner penetrate a murderer, the murderer ejaculate on the velvet cushion, confusion sloughing in the mirror shards. Why did the pirate sing? -His lover seduced him under the Arc deTriomphe before the chandelier broke the mirror..
Angela Davis is my last name silence tempers the glass I blow I am a used rainbow an indebted immigrant a cooked-up Wall Street number ready for Main Street & unemployment lines
is a student of literature at Royal Holloway, University of London. Charles Olson said that form is never more than an extension of content, Christopher quite likes this idea. His work has appeared on both sides of the Atlantic in Dead Letter Office (UK), Calliope Nerve (US) and Breadcrumb Scabs (US). He co-edits the creative blog/magazine Disingenuous Twaddle. (http://disingenuoustwaddle.blogspot.com/) quoteUntitledquote Quoting nothing, or as close to nothing as possible. Getting as close as possible it's not black/red/pink here, hardly a colour at all. A low, humming absence####################### ###b###lack######not#######b##lack########### ############################################# Th##is. It isn't it, is it? A gust of wind exhales over the page making tides and making waves. Their grass is a different colour, I'm sure of that. Prove it. How do you expect me to cross this stream? There is no bridge. There was no bridge but you are taller than me but I am made of paint. /Aah Even standing back and taking a breath/break. it is not black/red/pink/orange/brown/down here Quoting nothing, and therefore, covering everything in##############################################
Minutes Have we reached a consensus on news pollution? Have we reached a consensus? Parapraxis is issue number one, or it would be, if you could find the agenda. Three easy ways to object to this (and that), say aye. I. I. I. I have changed to We. We are making changes to your store. Your store will reopen. People aged 16-74 with: Highest qualification attained level 1 (Persons). Three fifths of all other Persons. 2001 Population: Males – 2,809 2001 Population: Females – 2,915 2001 Population: All people – 2 1251 stains, the coffee makes the paper look old, like you. They raised concerns to their local policing team about anti-social behaviour of youths in the area. A Section 30 dispersal order was brought into effect in August last year to counter such incidents. i/you raised/razed
has work that previously appeared or is forthcoming in Hobart, Fast Forward Press, Penumbra and others. He resides in Cleveland where he operates the small press and website, Burning River. Stepping Down Like Stepping On Water Lilies The Monet print hung behind a half-crescent bald gray head and he was in a suit. There were notes in front of him and notes inside of him about spending time fishing on Sundays and how to worship God in that way. Todd knew stepping down was like stepping on water lilies. He knew water and life and the color green like the Monet that hung behind his desk in the office with chicken scratch notes laying in front of him on a plain yellow, legal pad. ‘The congregation will think I am yellow,’ he thought, ‘They will think I am chicken.’ A rainbow trout flashes through his head and how it leaps from the water snagged on a fishing wire like the way stepping on water was something Jesus did and that he, the minister, could do it just as well if only because stepping down was like stepping on water lilies. ‘Could’ve been a painter,’ he thinks. ‘Could I have been anyone other than me?’ And he thinks there is still time to be a painter in Paris or better a fisherman on Sundays or anyone in life, so long as Jesus was ‘the and the only mentor’ and he writes this down. The board of trustees already knows. The district head has been notified. Pastor Todd is retiring. He thinks of his first memory of church as a child and how misunderstood it was through so open eyes soaking in everything but really wanting to catch fish in the back pond and step on water lilies like a frog; how love is so misunderstood sometimes and how, like the curiosity of the child, it is beyond containing and always seeking. ‘Seek peace,’ the Monet says to him. Remembering college art history class he sighs, scribbling more, making a map on yellow, lined paper of circled words and arrows and the treasure to be found someday, any day, this Sunday when he preaches it to his flock and they see the tired, old man he is. ‘Stepping down is like stepping on water lilies,’ he thinks aloud, alone in his office, the dusk setting but just a desk light on and finally writes this.
is an English major at Kennesaw State University. His work is featured in or forthcoming from Short, Fast, and Deadly, Soundzine, The Chimaera, Right Hand Pointing, tinfoildresses and LITSNACK, among others. He blogs at http://parkeraugustlight.blogspot.com "Does It Take What You Have" Amelia measures the amount of breath taken when encountering death for the first time. Their swallowing throats a continuous thrum on magnetic tape. Sucking in the tepid ether between dreams. Grating inside the vitreous china bowl when she lingers over a chapter, a page, a sentence, a word, a letter… Monday: a cyclist torches her Honda Civic. Tuesday: government officials discuss the potential of interplanetary trade. Wednesday: Joey bites her left leg. Thursday: PTO. Friday: she picks the scab and feeds it to Joey. Saturday: Joey dies in a dream. Sunday: Amelia hides with Joey in the toilet.
is currently attending law school at the University of Western Ontario, but still finds plenty of time for reading, writing, and her friends, all of which she is passionate about. She also enjoys not sleeping and playing her little red guitar. The Cherries are Falling September, we meet under the cherry tree, and you speak in riddles. I nod my head every time you speak, allowing my brown hair to cover my pale face. We sit in Irish pubs, drinking whiskey until two a.m. Maria tells me that she is not surprised that I am with you. You talk in Shakespearean soliloquies and you challenge me to look for blue shades in red sunsets. You make everything disappear. October; trees are bleeding yellow on the ground. You are eating a red apple; its juice smears your purple lips. You tell me that I am not a ballerina in a Degas, more like two red lines on black cardboard. I watch your wet eyes and imagine your fingers running over my nipples. You insist that I am beautiful. “Not like the girls on TV,” you tuck a strand of black hair behind your ear. I think about fucking you on my cotton covers. November; the sky turns black. I walk quickly after six p.m., clutching my purse. I wake up at seven a.m. and drink my black coffee. On my way to school, instead of listening to 80s Hits on an old CD player, I remember your dark hair and my white fingers in contrast to it. You call once a week and talk about politics. I try to breathe in that bitter smell of you. At night, I read War and Peace. I am still on page twenty, and the characters never come to life. December; I create an igloo with my jacket. I cover my nose with a red Gap scarf and count trees that look like scarecrows. When I pass you by, you talk about meeting up and drinking a bottle of Shiraz. I watch your back after you leave and run as though I am drowning in the crowd. Whenever I come back from school, I pause to look at a pink psychology ad beside the bus stop. I take up smoking. January; New Year comes in a white blanket. We sing Russian folk songs while exchanging presents. You smile when you see me but you never stop. After midnight, Brian shoves his tongue down my throat and I bite him. I apologize but I enjoy hurting him. I drink champagne, pass out on Simon’s green couch, and wake up with sparkles plastered to my left cheek. 72
I miss work and my supervisor, Daphne, does not even bother calling me about it. February; I fall on the ice in our backyard. The sky looks like a skating rink. I wait for the clouds to stop floating. I get a package from you with no letter. You return my brown scarf. I call you but a mechanical voice informs me that you have moved. I miss my psychology exam and visit Starbucks, ordering caramel lattes. The server writes my name in golden script on the white foam. March; I stop going to my classes. I write poems to my TAs as excuses. One of them calls me, crying and I hang up. Jenny tells me that she saw you and your hair is longer. You switched your theatre major to business. I crawl deeper under my blankets. My mother thinks I have pneumonia and asks the family doctor for advice. He asks when was the last time that I ate. I suddenly feel hollow as though I have no organs. I chuckle and close my eyes. April; birds come back. I hear them outside my burgundy curtains. I start going to school again. I cannot speak when I see you, so I just stand there with an open mouth. You seem scared. In class, I think the walls are hemorrhaging paint and I draw lines on porcelain desktops. I have orgasms in the subway, between St. Patrick’s and Osgoode. Stations change, and I imagine sliding my hand down your beige corduroys. An old man screeches like a wounded cat and tugs at his green tie. The other passengers clap as though I am a circus performer. May; cherries melt in my mouth. I pluck them off our neighborhood’s tree. I take off my shirt, pants, underwear, bra and scream from the rooftop. I shout the order: amber, blue, pink, white. My parents try to get me to come down. I threaten to jump. Darren tells me he saw you with a redhead. “Just like a girl on TV,” he exclaims. He says that you were glued to each other. I swallow rotten cherries and vomit for days. The doctor says it is food poisoning but I think I am dying. June; flowers are growing towards me. My mother buys me a blue rose. I eat its leaves. Our yard is looking like an artist’s palette. I wait outside your brick house behind your mother’s hedges. I hide when you come out. I stop writing and notebooks litter my velvet carpet. The phone scares me. When it rings, I pretend that I am Victorian, toss my nonexistent yellow skirts and sit down. My parents’ faces blend and I cannot hear them. July; I wake up singing, “Somebody that I used to know…” in the night. I give our China names and refuse to touch cutlery. I bump into you in front of your house without saying anything. Mosquitoes bite me and I spend afternoons scratching away. 73
August; the cherry trees are dying. I disappear, even though I still smell alive. In the sun, I am in the desert and there is no water. I refuse to drink. You have forgotten me but that seems insignificant. I cannot remember my name, just you burning inside of me. Last year’s September. I tug at your green jacket and you turn away. I try to pull you closer. You resist and I almost fall off the railing. I lean towards you, beg to meet me underneath the cherry tree. You warn me not to fall. September, the cherries are falling.
says, “I'm currently an English major at the University of Guelph, and when I'm not writing I enjoy going for long runs in cold weather and drinking large amounts of chocolate milk.” apologies to kalle lasn yes, i am a consumer: biologically i must consume to survive. and yes, this extends to materialistic consumptionon occasion. i cannot change this. and as much as i wish it were not so, i will never be photosynthetic.
is from the east coast of Canada, in a tiny province, in a tiny city. He has been active in underground zine culture for over ten years, self publishing more then thirty zine projects, and assisting/contributing to countless others. He has also been a frequent contributor to the local theatre community, writing and directing seven complete plays, as well as acting and assisting with several other productions, and in 2007, organizing a full week independent theatre festival to showcase local work. Yes, Extremism: Cannon shot, can you wrap your head around, the blood clot wrapping the grey matter? Like the testi-clamper, leaves dehydration. Femi-nazi fought, can’t wrap their head around. Polite-small-talk not, the bitches and dolls. Solid misinformed balls over diagnosed. So is my night, loneliness pussyfooting around. Vicarious TVO life - critical/analytical cows. Paranoid judgment vows, for certain. My hate the hate fight, still stigmas tip-toe around. Bare-knuckle-box or flight, yes, extremism. Your fav-suffix ism archaic at best. It will happen someday as is said about what comes around. The pressure RX bill way, no pill popping - no function me. False medicine courageous glea, oh pooh, the low. Chronic fatigue white out paint, the whole room all around. Got no Ma to cry out a no it ain’t - to cameras confess. Off the self is a go, sir, yes, capitol E measures.
Greasy, Grey, Corpse (Smells Like McD’s...): Surrender time. Summer beach. Suspicious highs. Just uncovered super-improv, peel, slicks, disposed, and hello repo! Caverns to sewers, floodgate, none the less, wrinkling the face. Gorilla theatre taken to the streets, combat failure, dig more trench pores. Self esteem in three easy monthly installments. Corporal Lardo calls in his troops, “there’s a grey, greasy corpse out there, malnourished, but obese, arteries, swelled, clogged. You’ll smell the McD’s in the air.” Surrender time. Weight decline. Hey keener, looking one layer thinner, charge-card membership only, monthly supplement, Stroke! ... maxed out, go black and white in the mud, if this is rigour mortis, it’s spa-tacular! Mud pack boggle oil, fossil chips, you’re going, gone. Paranoia preaches acappella, despite tickles. Piano keys atop ghastly garble static bees. Look sharp men, here she comes. Small town. Small minds. One thing in common, slickster perfect peel, upload to your space. Photo slide show, airbrushed pics of the narcissist. Shovel loads... PJs become clothes, carpal tunnel syndrome sure to come from this. Tunnel vision, as seen on T.V... solutions come in one colour, and honey, it’s green! There is hope, there are pills to correct blubber inch by inch. Surrender time. Oh sweet greasy, steamy, flame broiled burger of your heart’s nightmare. Recycle, re-hash, remix, rummaging round a’bout back to the ravage. Which is nature swirled in a lukewarm cycle. We have some really powerful blenders now. Surrender time. Supplement knowledge, science finds it’s actually good for life expectancy. Loops levitating through hoops; repeat step one for endless loops. Cycles sometimes warm, looping together commercials. This is adrenaline, super pumped, ultra gear fast. Supper/surrender time. Dump truck. Land fill.
This is the true story of Just Kibbe, creator of Baby Obama - look for the mermaid on www.PiratePig.org. Just Kibbe can neutralize, pluck, and eviscerate a chicken in less than five minutes. His muses are many. An ex-Marine, he was awarded the "Pizza Box" for his lack of prowess on the rifle range. The vice-grip, he's discovered, is next to duct-tape in godliness. By twisting a few arms, he found his way to Saint Mary’s College of California, from which he absconded with an MFA. His ability to legally, politely and professionally accept money in exchange for intellectual abilities continues to line his pockets. Just Kibbe, with two cocaptains – Nate Mohatt & M. Thomas Russell – built his own ship, the Pirate Pig Press, which he’s learned is more difficult to steer than a bull through a heifer pen. But come hell or high water (and come they both do) Pirate Pig Press promotes the integration of the arts and sciences through a semi-sporadic journal of creativity: Behold: The Pirate Pig; an onslaught of pocket sized books, and performances known as the “3-Ring Artist Circus.” He is a long way from that dairy farm in New Hampshire. And for butter or Worcestershire sauce, there is no going back home. Too many chickens under the hatchet. Too many cowbells over the fence. Too many poems through his neurons. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org. Mother Teapot. Father Badger. 1. A brood of teacups hold sake without judgment. 2. Warm with matcha monks’ mouths serenade the centuries. 3. Caterpillars collaborate dream of Rengetsu awake dancing their wings inscribed with calligraphy. 4. A buddhist priest rice wine in hand 78
returns to his lotus moon. 5. Bullfrogs and butterflies say their goodbyes to Li Po.
is an entity in a shell of a body. It’s been a long hard journey. The only way to break out of the monotony of the screams in his head is through intense yoga and meditation. The spectrum of serenity to chaos is used to write poetry. Links to his work are at http://editred.com/mcdede. Blueprint Karma sutra Get the video Buy the book Sexual nirvana Needs practice. Nihilism, Read the philosophy, Discuss its goals, Go to camp, Plan a suicide bash With your fellow Weenie toasters And enemies. Praxis fits here. Convert to a hobbiest, Careerism, perfectionism And striving is borism. PhDs in the fastest races Or highly crafted bell towers Provide a monument for Worker bees. Fake accents during coitus
can impair reproduction
and over time be a conversation starter, wondering where you were raised in Iowa.
lives in Philadelphia, PA, where he teaches middle school math and science. He has several full-length publications; however, they are all musical scores. He spent twelve years pursuing his dream of being an opera singer prior to becoming a teacher with a retirement plan. Fischman’s current output can be found at http://aquaversepoetry.blogspot.com. Fibromyalgia factory opens haze precipitates precious sleep dances mockingly away from my gnarled form millions of jagged crystals each unique beyond remediation millions of crystals myriad million sawblades whirring abrading debriding diamond grit spread on a grindstone flay fibers in a fan like a fishmonger lays out flounder cheloid chemicals cut my soleus cell by cell diatoms fillet a million mignons from mangled muscle
Born East London but now resides amongst the hedge mumblers of rural Suffolk. He has been published in many magazines, both on line and in print, from ‘A cappella Zoo’ to ‘Zygote In My Coffee’ and many stations in-between. He is also a founding member of the Clueless Collective and can be found loitering on page corners and wearing hoodies at www.cluelesscollective.co.uk Victorian Novel I first saw you
half way down
in a paragraph
I knew it then
that you and I
would be more than
but we would
have to wait
until the bottom
before we would
and then wait
until the bottom
of page three
hundred and sixty
seven before we
we could have
at the start
Originally published at Ink, Sweat&Tears.
THE REVENGE OF ULUWATU
lives in Ottawa. He always wanted to steal a cigarette from a baby's mouth.
We heard of Uluwatu from a Canadian, at the beach in Parengtretis, Java. Most of the good places we visited, we heard of from other travellers. The exhaustion and heat of Jogjakarta was replaced by the air conditioning of the bus which dropped us off at Parengtretis. Cooling at the beach helped temper our return to the heat. We were sitting on the dark sand, enjoying the sea breeze, when a man approached us with a hash joint. He was the Canadian who told us about Uluwatu. He first came to warn us about the rip tides in the ocean. He was concerned, good enough to ask when he saw us swimming. "Know the rips?" He explained that seven different currents in the Java Sea converged at Parengtretis, nobody swam there. The rip tides were like undertow, travelled parallel to the shore before returning out to sea. The strategy, he said, if one did get caught, was to let the current take you out to sea, body surf back to shore. We felt only the cooling water when we waded around after that, too wary to swim. We were grateful to him. He recounted stories of people wandering into the ocean at Parengtretis, never to be seen again. Most were stoned on the mushroom soup and omelettes which were cooked at the crude restaurants behind us. Psilocybin mushrooms grew in buffalo dung around Parengtretis. The children sold them in the street in a conical palm leaf for pennies. The restaurants were full of western travellers talking, listening to music. Some sat motionless, staring out to sea. The only western dishes the locals knew how to cook for the visitors were omelettes and soup. The Canadian from near Ottawa had hung out with some surfers in Australia, joined them for their trip to Uluwatu. They had spent the night there at full moon. He recommended it, but said he wouldn’t do it alone. We went on to Legian Beach, in Bali, where we found a comfortable losmen, settled in. The day of the full moon approached. I had spent too many cold, wet winter days in Canada to run around checking out every sight which the travel guides had recommended. I was content to read on the porch of the losmen or swing in the hammock beneath the green papaya trees. For meals we walked to the restaurants. Our furthest trips were to the beach where everyone went to watch the sunset. The beach at Cuta and Legian is miles long. It is wide, the jungle doesn’t impede sight by hanging over the water, the sand is fine. The dangerous surf rumbles in white, foaming lines. It is common knowledge that frequent drownings are kept quiet because it’s bad for the 86
tourist trade. People regularly drown in the sea even near the part of the beach marked ‘safe’ in five different languages. The French had a direct flight from Paris to Denpasar which enabled them to leave France one day, arrive in Bali the next. Unfortunately they behaved like the other tourists. When the day of the full moon came I went to Uluwatu alone. I was the one caught up in this romantic adventure, Joyce wanted the relaxed comfort of the losmen. Uluwatu is forty kilometres south of Denpasar on the easternmost edge of the round bulge at the bottom of Bali. The trip, by bus, bimo, motorbike and horse cart, took most of the day. The temple of Uluwatu stands on high cliffs overlooking the ocean. It is the ruin of an ancient stone structure, the holy site of several different religions. In the past, many people threw themselves into the sea from the five hundred foot cliffs during a religious rampage which swept down from Java. The temple looks down on a small strip of sand which is the beach used only by expert surfers. In high tides and treacherous currents they paddle over razor sharp coral reefs, homes of poisonous sea snakes, to the waves. From the centre of the old temple there is a three sided view of the coastline: pale blue, giant waves roll in sets, in slow motion. The cliffs are carved into jagged walls by the sea and the weather. When I left Legian Beach, that morning, Joyce had been smoking a joint of Afghan hash with Rosalyn and Sally, Australian women, who believed in the power of black magic. It was practised everywhere in Java. Rosalyn stayed with a Javanese family on vacation. She said the son, the guy she was with, could butt out a cigarette on his arm without leaving a burn. Sally told us of a tourist couple who had everything stolen from their losmen room while they slept. She said they were put under a spell by the thieves. I had equipped myself lightly after hearing this, carrying only a small pack with a hatchet, a canteen full of well water and a groundsheet. I was drawn to the ocean from the hot, dry ruins of the temple. At the road beneath the temple an old man sat carving. Grey stone parapets surrounded him upon which were perched families of monkeys. An old one with a crushed left hand jumped onto a nearby wall, stared at me. I yelled at him but he just blinked. The old man smiled, handed me a fist sized rock from a pile beside him, made a throwing motion. I threatened the monkey. His face registered surprise as he retreated. The old man produced a book which was signed by visitors, a box for the admission price. He warned me about "the monkey people" when I told him that I had come to stay the night, asked him how to get to the beach. 87
I reached an agreed price with a local boy, both of us sweating. I followed him through parched fields fenced by hedges of cacti and bamboo barricades. I clambered awkwardly over mounds of earth, trying to control my swinging pack, keeping my sarong free of branches. An open valley appeared before us, a jagged crevasse had penetrated the land. Women were descending into it, in a line, baskets on their heads. I paid the boy, sat in the shade, sipped water from my canteen, the cold Fantas I bought at the temple, long gone. I watched the women move gracefully up and down the trail. The vessels on their heads never wavered, all of the impact absorbed by their rolling hips. I followed them to the bottom of the crevasse where they turned off. I kept going straight ahead. The Java Sea was rolling in loud, spectacular breakers into the small beach where a group of western women and a photographer stood. They looked out to sea, turned to follow the photographer up the trail. Publicity pictures for the surfers. They greeted me on the way past, impressed to hear that I was staying at Uluwatu, alone, under the full moon. They warned me about the rock throwing monkeys. The spectacle of the booming surf held me. I sipped from my canteen in the blazing, windy, stereophonic roar. The power of the sea put the world into perspective. I returned up the trail before sunset to watch it from the top of the cliffs and heard the last of the surfers’ motor bikes leave. I thought I was alone. Below me, bobbing lights appeared and small fishing boats braved high tides near the cliffs. I laid with my head on my pack, staring at the stars and the moon. The moonlight looked impossible to capture in a painting or a photograph. I felt the first stab of pain in my abdomen at the same time that a rock landed beside me. The monkey people. I realized that I was surrounded and the rain of rocks began. One hit me at the same time that I vomited. An uncontrollable attack of diahorrea overcame me. The rocks came faster, liquid poured from both ends of me. I staggered toward the road holding my fouled sarong, cursing the rock throwing monkeys and the well water. The night heard my spasms and loud retches. Having been in Asia for more than six months, I felt acclimatised, adjusted, immune, cocky. I had drunk the well water without putting a chlorine tablet into it. The band of monkeys were fast moving shadows, small stones were hitting me. In desperation, I jettisoned the pack. The rocks stopped. When I looked back, the monkeys had fallen upon it, one was brandishing my hatchet, another drinking from my canteen. I staggered down the road, each step causing a squirt, a belch, a knee trembling retch. 88
At dawn, I endured the giggles of women and schoolchildren when I crouched by the side of the road, stinking, dehydrated, desperate. A young Balinese with a two fifty Honda drove me back to the losmen in Legian. Joyce paid the guy an outrageous price. I showered and collapsed in bed.
is a graphic designer whose poetry (what? poetry? what's the connection?) anyway, whose poetry can be found at Anemone Sidecar, Tinfoiled Dress, Modus Operandi and other places but most especially at www.tinyurl.com/rickygarni. TELE-FRICASSEE An episodic roux brought to you by The Honeymooners, Mr. Lucky, Hazel, Meet Mr. McNutley, Oh! Susanna, Our Miss Brooks, The Twilight Zone, Leave It To Beaver, Astro Boy, The Real McCoys, Make Room For Daddy, Outer Limits, Father Knows Best, Mr. Ed, Ben Casey, My Mother the Car, The Addams Family, Lost in Space, Honey West, The Mod Squad, My Favorite Martian, Green Hornet, Batman, Family Affair, Candid Camera, Mr. Terrific, The Wild Wild West, Diff’rent Strokes, The Rifleman, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The Time Tunnel, The Bionic Woman, Love American Style, That Girl, Chico and The Man, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., The Flying Nun, Get Smart, Fantasy Island, Gidget, Have Gun Will Travel, Green Acres, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Petticoat Junction, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Sea Hunt, Colombo, Then Came Bronson, The Living Doll, Nip/Tuck •• #1 I live in a remote mining town. I want a new bicycle. I am afraid that if I don’t get it, I will be sent to a robot circus. I would like to perform a daring rescue instead of a beautiful girl from a religious cult on my new bicycle. •• #19 Betty Jo loves Orville; Orville loves cars a local store keeper gets more than he bargained for when he is temporarily appointed sheriff people popping their bubble wrap
kids getting married by vending machines Dimitri, Grillak, and Zukor speaking a rare Himalayan dialect everybody singing Happy Birthday to Fang so loud a local store keeper can’t keep order Betty Jo can’t love Orville anymore •• #25 I am mentally disturbed If I could have my way, this campus demonstration would turn bloody it would take three weeks for you to learn to cook spaghetti and meatballs for my birthday I would steal a camera that predicted the future I would tinker and tinker but I would never give it back •• #31 “Stop saying such terrible things!” Is what I say to the mirror in the cheap and dirty hotel I never thought I would regret being a gangster taking the brain power pills 91
and I don’t I only regret the heist at Van Tilden’s with the bra-burning gals the gems that disappeared under impossible circumstances •• #81 To exact my revenge upon Charley who brought me a box of cats and a smaller box of mice and put them all in my room I put on my thinking cap the one I wore to fix up my $25 fixer-upper that I couldn’t even get out of the driveway until I did! And when I finally got it going, was Dad proud! GEE I’m proud, Dad said, and then died And so I put it on again because it worked so well and with my thinking cap firmly in place I bought Charley a parrot, descended from General Custer’s parrot and placed him on Charley’s horse
descended from Sitting Bull horse the proud Sioux Chief who loved his horse and waited for the fireworks that never happened Charley’s parrot wasn’t descended from anybody Charley’s horse, who knows? he loved to brag is all and secretly was a little insecure about his heritage and a little lonely he doesn’t like to talk much he just pretends to love and be loved •• #88 No one wants Nora to make a comeback and so Nora goes to Honolulu What do you know? Everyone who doesn’t want Nora to make a comeback is waiting for Nora in Honolulu What happened to the days of joy 93
Held together by strong love and soft hands the days of waiting for an egg to hatch waiting and waiting and waiting and that little egg-like rock is still there sitting pretty on a nice table in a big kitchen there is nothing to fear No hatching here Nora says
Veronica Dangerfield & Annmarie Lockhart
Veronica Dangerfield is an award-winning speaker, trainer, comedian, and performance artist who has been performing throughout the Bay Area since 1994. She has numerous performance, teaching, and publication credits to her name. Veronica's mission in life is to empower, uplift, and encourage people on their quest toward manifesting their dreams. Annmarie Lockhart is the founding editor of vox poetica, an online literary salon dedicated to bring poetry into the everyday. She has been reading and writing poetry since she could read and write and she lives and works in Englewood NJ, two miles east of the hospital where she was born. You can read her poetry (and flash) at Caper Journal, Eclectic Flash, Ink Node, Leaf Garden, OVS, and vox poetica. Geography By Veronica Dangerfield and Annmarie Lockhart The earth, once flat, has shifted, throwing up perfect meringue peaks over bumpy double-crust apple pie. Steamed-milk foam floats frothy over plains of chocolate bar squares. Microclimates and tectonic shifts. From the sky, mountain and desert look like dessert. I am a microclimate. On my birthday my mother revealed a brand new continent, my vast new geography full of microclimates: my head a sunflower framed by curly white vines, my arms thick branches of a redwood tree, my torso a desert tundra hot and steamy by day frigid cold and abandoned by night in the mist of a steamy swamp. The north and south poles help me to stand. That’s why my feet are always freezing. 95
Wake Up, the Dream Is Fleeting By Veronica Dangerfield and Annmarie Lockhart Like Alice, I fell down a hole last night. I was raped in a hotel room. I did not want to relive it and tell the cops, you see, my memory is bad. I felt responsible, believed it was my fault. I tried to tell A, but could not reach him. In the middle of it I was on a tour with my kids and I lost B. I was raped, could not stop crying, and I lost my baby. C showed up, I could see him once in a while but I couldn’t call him. Horrible night of dreams and reality. Dreams and reality tell the uncomfortable truth. Denial of touch is a form of rape too, the flip side of the coin, the nonviolent hijacking of one’s sexual essence. Women are called to witness at the cross, to stand and watch the crucifixion, to prepare the bodies of sons, friends, lovers, and teachers for the tomb. In a dream, rape signifies the theft of the dreamer’s power, and lost is when 96
the dreamer loses sight of what she wants, stark naked in a windowless reality. Take back the power, bathe the body in oil and myrrh and find your way home to the foot of the cross.
Anne & Mark DeCarteret
met during a production of Jesus Christ Superstar. She was a leper. He was an apostle/centurion. That was pretty much it for their theatrical careers. Though Anne sings with Voices from the Heart, a 200-voiced women's alternative chorus and Mark occasionally performs with the dadaist troupe, Carteret Voltaire. the ad age for Martha if one never eats any bread without tears then one might never sing out in the hot sun when one has only sampled some place as a map or as a plan of attack then only the most fleeting of gestures has been made and if one only names the most manageable of demons then one is often dreaming of the other possibilities when we’ve sung mostly of guns and that firestorm of sun then one has stomped on the accelerator too often but if we were all too kind we’d just be watching blue jays
says, “I'm a software developer, fresh out of college with a BS and MS in computer science. I've been published in Marist College's literary magazine several times as well as in a few small independent publications. I practice the art and craft of poetry out of grudging intellectual necessity. I am an editor for the forthcoming Muscle and Blood Literary Journal (http://muscleandblood.com/). I also write a blog about game design, That's A Terrible Idea (http://thatsaterribleidea.com). Interrupted Poem: Realism A child asked me what a dream was and I told him to go away. A child sat at my foot and pointed to an oddly shaped cloud and I told him to go away. A child sat in my lap and asked me about the future in a stupid wondering tone so I told him to go away. A child insolently prattled about something unimportant so I told him to go away. An angel descended from somewhere (I wasn't looking--I was minding my own business) and told me to go away.
Emma Sky Wolf
is a Poet and Illustrator living as the resident curator in the oldest house in Arlington, VA. A graduate of The Maryland Institute College of Art. She loves to "paint poetry, and write pictures,"and explore the intersection of image, language, and human nature. Vital Structure His own feet creep him out, look at the veins how close to the surface all that blood - he states: “I don’t like blood.” I whisper “I like your wrists.” Ropey, transitions. “I hear your heart.” “You’re on the wrong side,” he informs me. It’s beating loudly so I can hear Anyway. Anywhere. My unkempt head rises as his chest inflates “What’s it saying?” It’s saying: “I’m alive, I’m alive.”
is a rambler and writer of fiction and poetry, and lives in Washington State. He has been published by Eclectica, Offcourse, Peter Parasol, Bird’s Eye reView, among others. Frag(ments), vol. 2: some variations on shot …aren’t you afraid of being shot for wearing a hat like that? …well, ya gotta give life yer best shot… “Live life as if you’ll be dragged from your house at any moment, be bound, blindfolded, and then shot. And why worry? If you’re to be shot, you’ll be shot…” Alan Lao-tzu Krishnamurti Jones …gotta stop this gaddam warring; when I get up in th’ mornin’, I’m shot to hell… …yer a crack shot, so try a little whoring instead… …so, I tried a little shot in my breakfast coffee. Know what? I liked it. Now I do it every morning…only now I put a little shot of coffee in my breakfast booze… ------from Egregious Epigrams & Crude Couplets (with permission from the author, joaquin miller macquilley) 1. See Cox on the town in a drunken debauch… his hand always lands on some woman’s crotch. 2. A shot in Cox’s juice, beer with his mush — “If not for this food, they’d call me a lush.” 3. When Cox is well oiled, he’s a wild whirlwind. If you can’t see his hands, ladies, cover your quims. 4. Cox takes as a tonic for a case of the blues a roll in the sack and a booze-enhanced snooze. 5. Cox in a bar, a rat in a roar — one hand on a drink, one hand on a whore. -------
Geordie de Boer
Is the bartender here? No, it’s solid wood shot through with steel rods, and if you don’t like it, tell it to the judge, toper. Judge Toper? Is he still under the bench? ------…drinking relieves stress in my life; you know, crappy boss, gridlocked traffic, Congress…no congress with the wife…whether to get a flu shot, or not…hell, I could get shot by some feckin’ maniac… …here, have another shot, bud, and don’t worry, be happy… and th’ Kozmik Muzak blares— Whisky, gin and brandy With a glass I'm pretty handy Vodka, beer and rum Have a party, have some fun… Gonna toke some pot Get tied up and shot Have a drink on me Have a drink on me Don’t worry ‘bout your dyin’ Have a drink on me (words and philosophy by Acey/Dicey)
has a patient wife, three grown children, half a dozen cats, a dog, a bird, too many bills and almost enough fun. behind a painted peeling nose who is he small man round hair like weeping willow leaves out dreams fallen like stars alight brightly finger-pop gone beer cigarettes vague erections like bubbles in mud nekkid wimmin moving ways he's never seen piece of the christ on spindly legs like a holy ostrich devouring sand he looks by the blade of hope at his always laughing children warn and water them fruit of the garden from which he has been cast stricken
for seabirds to circle taunting raucously vacation closes like a window in a small room with no world around it children tumble like disagreeable
dice into the back seat the wife squawks in beside a gull like a blown-away beach umbrella follows them for half a block chips of light diamonds of what would be glow inside him his heart is hope his eyes are arson
is a freelance technical editor/writer living in rural Virginia. Her real passion is writing flash fiction, poetry, and original fairy tales with a 21st century twist. Her poetry appears in Concise Delight Magazine of Short Poetry, Issue 1, vox poetica, poetryblog, among others. Her poem “Dear Diane” was nominated for the 2010 Pushcart Prize. Dear Dali Dear Dali: floating past your house I noticed myself sitting in front open-mouthed, bloody-toothed (big enough to swallow a child with one bite) Dear Dali, for Christmas I would like to see your cigar store all the roots with pockets the pockets are the souls of individual purgatories mortuaries Dear Dali, when judgment comes will you be able to say that you steadfastly stuck to your alternatives to death: the oranges, apples, pears? Dear Dali, meet me in St. Judas tree land if you can Dali replies: floating, splashing, timeless: I see you sitting there stump-toothed, bloody-mouthed I see you joined to self: hand clenching breast I see you grasping at nature: arm reaching for tree I have premonitions too (the oranges disappear the apples are Magrite’s and the pears, alas the pears)
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