Sunday, 12 September 2010

Issue eight// Rebecca L. Brown

Shed Shadow

The shadow
Our neighbours’
Brand new shed
With the dark
Stained wood
Is casting on
The side of
Our house
Appears to be
The same shape
As this poem.

© Rebecca L. Brown 2010
Rebecca L. Brown (25) is a British writer currently based in Cardiff, South Wales. She specialises in horror, SF, humour, surreal and experimental fiction, although her writing often wanders off into other genres and gets horribly lost. Updates and examples of Rebecca’s work can be found on her Twitter @rlbrownwriter and in her blog Bewildering Circumstances.

Issue eight// Jake David


want to/'t want to/it's all you't want to/it's all you't
want to/it's all youond chanceou don't Please ne ju Sta.
services that just cannot
agree// from Knowing Once The Movement Had Sense
Obriwhen you're alltuary Performing
H(ave you gotten your worth) a(tleast) v(ows?) i(nterchangeable) n(ark)

ACross ingled-deirectional paths the lover's graceful f(O)o(C)c(U)u(s)S
cup of a circular
COLLISIon fairly fair-- how long to stare from
ast)---- worth foamy
m o uth li ck abl e sole s?
& degational responsibility (Gone & Going & All plaviis from here
now & never &


---(beyond &

soiled in This-Crumpled Ewearth Earth&&7778999)---
But You've got to wait."

© Jake David 2010
Jake David lives near Cornwall, ON. His work has appeared on the webmags Writers' Bloc, The Beat, Heavy Hands Ink and Sillymess.

Issue eight// Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Traffic Jams Without Meaning

we are all thin columns
of air
kleenex jellyfish sucking at one another
with paper thin gasps of rueful desperation.

for that one good hug
we remember from the family album
but somehow know
we can

we are Columbus' rudderless flagship
on its way to nowhere.
Chance crying out at the roulette wheel
as the house takes the spoils
and leaves us all drunk on the dream
and broken
with one another.

Stray cats claw out each other's intestines
over half a sandwich
as we weep at the moon
for lovers who have forsaken us
with their tardy happiness.
High rollers who may have ended up behind on the chip count
but made off with the soap
and towels
when no one was looking.

Even the crooked stems of a neighbour's garden roses
cannot conceal the way your tiny agonies
make everyone smile
in the high
The paper or plastic boy knows there is a third option
but he will never tell you.
Fingernails pulled out one by one

and still you are no closer to paying
the phone bill.
----------free thinkers
line up
for their ideas
and buy back second rate epiphanies
at four times the price.
The annunciation fell through when the child
on the back of your milk carton
went missing

and the revelation lost it's lustre
when the mother was forced to Virgin birth
a watermelon
and hold it instead.

we are traffic jams without meaning.
with nowhere to go.
Our minutes
and days
are spent chasing away weeks
and months
that climb through the windows at night
and run off with our years.
we are slivers of Valhalla
under the dark senseless moon.
The petrification of prey
in the tall grass
does little to alleviate
your childish anxiety about what to wear.
White after labour day is now a war crime

if I'm not mistaken
as are candlelight dinners
walks on the beach
and brushing from left
to right.
The salt of our tears
flavour the bounty of the gods
as Ganymede pours the wine
and Fortuna toasts our petty misfortunes.
But enough of gods
and Ferris wheels

and things that don't matter.

Are we alone with the sun?
Was there never any other way to smile
than the one your mother taught you
when you had to pretend to like something
because you were a guest?
What of lifting rocks?
Prometheus fumbling with the bra strap?
What of broken curfews
and honest lies?
There is a flotilla in my dreams
that reaches

for shore
but can never quite make out the lighthouse
--------------------I know

should be there.
A salamander in a pet shop tank

shoots it's tongue out at my childhood
with a dumb repetitive wisdom
that makes me hate it.
The goldfish
and baby sharks
are no better
and I find myself alone with the world
Alone in the flabby loins
of the $40 hooker
while her kid begins teething
on a crack pipe
in the corner.
Grocery lists are the abridged appetites of Dictators
who do not have the time
to make five year plans,
and this is all I know
of anything
as I search for your house
from faded directions on the back of my hand
and hope for the best
each time I knock.

The immolations of tapeworms

are NOT for everyone
--------------------when you consider the vociferous way a calendar
----------repatriates a wall
and w h i m sic al cheekbones that paw at your face
----------------------------------------with gentle Matisse-induced incursions
----------against the rouge-soaked-windless-sky.

------------------------------Someone gave me a book about something
--------------------and I made a paper frog out of page 18
and then I used a further bunch of paragraphs
----------------------------------------as napkins
----------when I spilt some wine on the cat.
get it before it gets into the linen closet, a voice screamed

---------------------------------------------there's a linen closet?, I said

----------------------------------------you're letting it escape.

----------There's nothing wrong with jailbreaks, I said
----------as long as the right men are broken.
The cat got into the linens

and made faces that won't come out.

--------------------The gun in my glove compartment is not loaded.
------------------------------I was asked to hold onto it for someone

----------I won't be seeing for awhile (sent upstate).
There is also a corkscrew
--------------------a flashlight (without batteries)
----------and a road map for the area
but those things would not interest you.
When I back out of the drive
----------the yellow hard hat on the floor makes a r-o-l-l-i-n-g noise
that makes me think it may be prudent to pull over
-----------------------------------and look for the corresponding head
------------------------------under the seats.

Selling postcards of made up countries,
nailing diarrhea to the wall,
----------there are worse things you could be doing
----------when you retire.

© Ryan Quinn Flanagan 2010
Ryan Quinn Flanagan presently resides in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada. He is the author of three books of poetry, the most recent entitled Pigeon Theatre (JTI Press). His work has recently appeared in The New York Quarterly, Word Riot, Leaf Garden Press, Zygote in my Coffee and The Antigonish Review.

Issue eight// Caleb Puckett


Oh, he’ll pay alright! What a stupid—he’s got be the stupidest—cacophonist cacophony cacti cactus cadaver […] cataract catastrophe catastrophic catatonia […] catbird catcall […] Such a cheap little—catchword catchy catechism […] stupid— that B word […] centaur centenary […] centipede central […] ridiculous—I can never remember that BR word […] centrifuge centrist […] cloak cloakroom—Apparently they got together for a few drinks at that industry convention down in—clockwatcher clockwise clockwork clod cloddish [...] cloister clomp clone […] connubial conquer—His excuse was so ridiculous—couple coupon courage [ …] weird—I should remember that BRO word […] court courteous courtesan courtesy courthouse— Definitely. You can tell she’s a whore by just listening to her show—creepy cremate cremator […] cry cryogenic cryostat crypt cryptanalysis […] cull culminate culpa—So I called his room to let him know about William’s spelling bee—culprit cult […] really—I’ve got to remember that BROM word—No question. You could tell by his voice something was going on— cultivate cultural culture […] current curricula […] curse cursive cursor cursory curt curtail curtain […] yes—I will remember that BROMI word […] cylindric cynic—Oh yeah, I know. So then I really laid into him last night—maybe—I do remember that BROMID word—“ a sedative […] an anaphrodesiac […] a cliché” […] wait—I know that—that word—BROMIDE. Yes! Ha! Applause and the lights shine! The lights shine right on me!—Big mistake—There’s your BROMIDE, ladies and gentlemen!—Just plain stupid— Ha! Word Master! Spelling Champion! —Hold on a minute, Jan. It sounds like William’s screaming about something again—Best of the Best! Ultimate Memory!

Waste Receptacle

Dispose of sharps here. Do not fill above the feel line. Close cover and secure when feel level is reached. Incinerate the contents without ceremony. Call it self-restraint. Shantih shantih shantih.

© Caleb Puckett 2010
Caleb Puckett is a writer and visual artist living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Some of his recent work may be seen in Softblow, Tryst, Dirt, and Philament.

Issue eight// Colton Huelle


Liam Grant addresses his psychologist:

The first time, I woke up laughing,
the second, the third, the fourth…

three weeks in, it wasn’t funny anymore.
By the fourth week, Irene was catching on.

On the nights that her & I spent together,
entering my dreams felt more like waking
up from nightmares—— I

love you, she tells me, I
love you, I
love you. It seems
so easy for dreams to fall in love
with their audience & this particular dream,

Arielle, this dream-girl:
Casmir skin & eyes like so many clichés but not
a single photograph. I was unprepared;

in dreams, love feels like watching John Cusac movies
on acid, leaving Irene
a valentine card——you know, the ones we toss
once we’ve eaten the candy taped to it.

Open case notes regarding Liam Grant:

Liam is experiencing a recurring dream, in which,
a girl, whom he refers to as Arielle, visits him and tells
him that she “loves him”. At first, explained Liam,
he thought nothing of this. However,
after weeks of Arielle’s presence in his life, he began
to reciprocate her love for him. It started as a small
crush, he said, explaining that Arielle possessed certain qualities
which, he felt, his girlfriend, Irene,
was missing. Now, he describes his “relationship”
with Arielle as, “more passionate than any [he] has
ever experienced”.

Perhaps, this behavior is indicative of an
unhappy relationship with Irene, whom
he tells me he has been with for over four
years now. Or, more interesting yet,
his discontent spreads much deeper than

boredom with a relationship; maybe Arielle
is a persona that Liam has created to cope
with his reported feelings of misanthropy and
“insufferable boredom” with his daily routine.

I am recommending weekly counseling in
hope that discussion will reveal to him
the irrationality of this “love” he feels for Arielle.

Irene’s journal, left open:

I feel empty, as if swept away by a giant
tempest——another woman! another woman! who?
where did he meet her? today, at work, I wrote a poem
for him:

Liam, for your love I’d sing to the sky Just for one chance to look you in the eyes And tell you how much I need you in my life Without you, all I know is strife. I hope you come back to me soon, my love, You never should have flown from me, my dove. Someday, sweet Liam, I know you will See, that the only girl for you is me.

I don’t understand! We’ve been together four and
a half years without ever fighting for longer than a few minutes. I
hope he realizes what he’s walking away from. I’m not certain that he
will come back to me, but
if there’s one thing I know, it’s that nobody will ever care about him
the way I have for the past four years.

Liam recalls the night he left Irene:

I broke up with her in our favorite
café & then crossed the street to get a drink.

In the bar, I sat next to a man with combed hair &
a well-tailored suit; he sat with good
posture, like one of those marine

recruiters that used to come around here.
After a few rounds, he leaned over and asked
me, “Woman got you down?”
“Yeah,” I told him, “something like that.”

We started talking & we drank to being men &

then it was last call. The patrons stumbled

out of the bar the way
latent Christians leave church
on Sundays. We sat outside
under the awning of the bar, passing a cigarette
back & forth.

He asked me what I thought
about love. “Love only comes
in dreams,” I told him. He laughed

as if my answer was some inside joke
between us & then I laughed too & sighed,
“Well, what can you do?”

“Actually, Liam,” he replied, “there is
a lot that I can do.”

The Devil addresses new tenants:

it’s a simple trick——no fine print, hidden
clauses or loopholes. you make it so easy
for me these days. if I were to ask you to define

soul, the part of yourselves that you value and fear

over all others——soul: the essence of being, the ghost in the machine, the accumulation of self——it’s funny

what you think that you know
and what I know that you don’t
and sometimes I want to tell you

to stop worrying about your souls
and start worrying about the parts of yourselves
that you already understand. your souls

aren’t worth shit until they are everything and

yours never will be
so long as I am in possession
of that single sliver of your life that each and every

one of you gave up
in exchange for a petty

good evening and a happy damnation
to you all.

A moment that Liam chooses to part with:

I think it was the smell of piss
that woke me up. I remember lifting the sheets
in hopes that I was only drenched in sweat.

None of the other boys were awake yet &
they were never going to find out. I snuck

out of the room, carrying the soiled Batman sheets.

In the bathroom, I removed my slightly-off-whitey-tighties, grabbed a
towel to cover myself & headed

down the hall to the laundry room. It seemed easy
enough: dirty clothes in the washer & then the dryer.
I just might make it out alive, I thought. I poured

the detergent over the sheets
like milk. I’m in the clear, I’m in the clear.

I pressed start and readjusted
the towel around my waist. It was a thirty-five
minute cycle; two minutes passed, then four,
five, but at six, something went

wrong: the machine
started shaking & making a noise somewhat
like a helicopter & I wished that it were

so that I could get the heck out of there.
the machine just raised its voice and started

spitting out foam like a rabid dog. Within minutes
the others were out of bed—I could feel them

breathing. Accepting defeat like a proud,
reverent general, I turned to my audience

& bowed.

The devil on love:

to give yourself away
in all tenses——a compilation
of past, present and yet to be determined——

is to say, “this is I, take it all.”

Even the lowest moment is a prerequisite
for the most beautiful thing

this world has to offer.

Liam Grant to his hospice nurse:

It is decades later & I still
think of her, still wonder why

she left without an explanation or even
a last name. I gave up on looking

for love a few months after she stopped
showing up when I turned out the lights.

as if I were the dream & she
had finally woken up. Last night, I dreamt

of a man who once asked me what I thought
about love. This time, I woke up before I had a chance

to answer him. I had pissed myself
again. I didn’t get out of bed; I had no one

to hide from.

© Colton Huelle 2010
Colton Huelle lives & writes in Manchester, New Hampshire. His work has been published in
The Houston Literary Review & The Catalonian Review. He is the author of one chapbook, Human Despite the Fire (Sargent Press, 2010) and is currently working on a full length manuscript, tentatively entitled, The End of the Calender. As a child, his grandfather told him, “Aspire to inspire before you expire”. He’ll get around to that someday, but for now, he’s focusing on his grandfather’s other piece of advice: “The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse to the trap gets the cheese”.

Issue eight// Ray Succre


I tore off the white paper.
Under the paper was a hat box.
From the box hung a string,
and on the string was a black paper,
a note folded twice.
I opened the folds and found the word:
I was of too mediocre an age
to enjoy surprise, but I pulled the string.

The lid lifted and fell off.
I moved over it and looked down.
Inside the box was a little ship,
and on the main deck
were two little, waving, black women,
peering up at me as if I were
deep inside a demise at sea.

I leaned in and was going to speak
but the ship’s foghorn shook the box,
and when it cleared:

"You’re wrecked," one of them said.
I looked at my scarred, young arms.
"Nah, you’re not so bad," said the other.
I didn’t blush, I was thirty.
"He is. You look like those hairy ...
oh, what are the hairy ones - yaks,
yeah, you have yak-face."
I liked her.
"Uh uh; he’s a pale handsomite,"
the other responded.

This was a box of ends met.

I tossed them the note,
held the string,
and waited.


Collision impart------graze of hysteria
Collision imminence------poultices on blacked orbits
The crack is fished------eel as from orifice
The chip-truck overturns------sawdusted blacktop
Marcus Ulpius Nerva Traianus is reported a festive man
in Gentleman’s Quarterly------August------a.d. 107
How slowly the hornets fill my mouth like a bowl
Necessity------two fat people fucking in a collision of shake
Collision impartial------dugongs------groping their
flesh in a turnstile.

© Ray Succre 2010
Ray Suc­cre cur­rently lives on the south­ern Ore­gon coast with his wife and son. He has had poems pub­lished in Aes­thet­ica, BlazeVOX and Pank, as well as in numer­ous oth­ers across as many coun­tries. His nov­els Tat­ter­de­malion (2008) and Amphis­baena (2009), both through Cau­liay, are widely avail­able in print. Other Cruel Things (2009), an online col­lec­tion of poetry, is avail­able through Dif­fer­en­tia Press.