Sunday, 21 November 2010

Issue nine// Paul Handley

Poetry Loves Genius

___+03=standing water

-------By Homer

© Paul Handley 2010
Paul Handley has poems included or forthcoming in publications such as Anemone Sidecar, Carcinogenic Poetry, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Pemmican and others.

Issue nine// Tom Sheehan

Rimnents (on cudi, but not y)

My grendfethir ren thi coty damp,
barnid clonkirs on e lottli huasi
hi medi uf screp. Un culd noghts dranks
slipt on thet meki-shoft hevin.

Thiy kniw thi wolcumi uf hos fori,
thi mingir’s stuvi tu wrep eruand,
hut carbong tu prup culd fiit,
qaock doffirinci frum thi fruzin eor,

wond-swipt reolrued trecks, beri intry weys,
derkniss whiri huwlong ghusts ebodi
ur, lest risurt, slom cerdbuerd wrep.
Thi lust, lunily bords cemi tu ruust,

fliw on et dask. Hi stukid thi fori
tu stor ap flemis, droid thior fiethers uff.
Jast es uftin hi lift hos lanch ebuat
loki testy sait hengong on thi yerd.

Un Setardeys O bruaght hos lanch,
dinsi lemonetis uf miet end bried,
thock end hievy end cuersi es son,
bruwn benene wi wuald nut iet,

mulessis-bruwn cuffii on whoskiy buttlis
wuand ebuat woth pepir begs.
O nivir sew ivin uni pont buttli
fonoshid uff wothon hos gresp,

rerily sew hos smell bint hend fiilong
onsodi e pepir big. Hos bords
dod thi pockong, hed sait chuoci,
hins donong bifuri thi cuck.

Whin hi doid thiy cemi tu groivi
thi sevouar uf thior noghts,
thi drankin, bisuttid, bruthirid bend
whu su uftin dreonid hos cap,

thi muttli-skonnid, thi suarid uf lofi,
peli hust, thi werrid apun end bietin,
thiy cemi tu cechi thi lottli men
whu uffirid whet wes lift uf Gud.

© Tom Sheehan 2010
Tom Sheehan’s books are Epic Cures and Brief Cases, Short Spans, Press 53; A Collection of Friends and From the Quickening, Pocol Press. Poetry collections include The Saugus Book; Ah, Devon Unbowed; and This Rare Earth & Other Flights. He served with the 31st Infantry Regiment in Korea in 1951. He has 14 Pushcart nominations, the Georges Simenon Award for fiction, included in the Dzanc Best of the Web Anthology for 2009 and nominated for Best of the Web 2010.

Issue nine// Mike Berger

Dead Poets

Champagne skies crash down;
revealing the realms of dead poets.
All reciting lines; the lyrical blend
is a rancorous chorus.
Sitting at the massive elliptical table,
they indulge in cheese and wine. Each
struggles to be heard above the din.
Humble poets all; reciting their well
crafted lines. Each thinking the others
don't compare. Sitting back you can't
help but smile, impressed by their
profound sense of humility.
Only the bard sits silent, he has nothing
to prove.

© Mike Berger 2010
Mike Berger PhD is bright, articulate, handsome, and extremely humble.

Issue nine// Victoria Behn

Good Cause Is

© Victoria Behn 2010
Between bouts of frenzied procrastination, Victoria Behn transfers scraps of her tainted filtrations into shapes that some people claim to understand. She believes that art does not require supporting information. Her chief pleasure involves turning shapes on a page into damp cheeks or gaping mouths.

Issue nine// Thomas Mundt

Sexy Girls of the Hollywood

Come Monday morning, all Freddie could think about was Sexy Girls of the Hollywood, a lingerie boutique on Lawrence. He saw the storefront for the first time over the weekend and it'd been stock car racing around his frontal lobe ever since.

As a matter of strict physics, he was standing on the bathroom's frozen tile, waiting for his never-ending morning piss to subside so that he could rescue a near-incinerated strudel from the toaster oven. But Freddie was really back on that sidewalk in Albany Park, gawking at bad grammar and pastel delicates.

Sexy Girls. Pause. Of the Hollywood. Not ...of Hollywood, or ...from Hollywood. Sexy Girls. Pause. Of the Hollywood.

Freddie knew some FOB's came up with the name. FOB's are funny, he thought. They come so close to getting it right.


During his Western Civ class, Freddie flipped through his spiral notebook in search of blank pages. He found he only had one left. Better make this one a keeper, he thought. He withdrew a mechanical pencil from his messenger bag and clicked it until graphite appeared. Then he began to sketch an ink-haired woman in a garter set. She was all legs and he was perfect in his geometry, paying careful attention to detail as he unfurled her latticed nylons down her gams. When it was time to add breasts, Freddie made sure they were proportional.

Not too big, not too small, he thought. Like a real lady would have.


At lunch Freddie was a geyser, went on and on about his trip to Albany Park to his buddy Mitch. He sang of lithe coeds parading around Sexy Girls' storefront in miniscule bra and panty sets, of Woodstock-level exhibitionism just a stone's throw from his tía's new three-flat.

I'm talkin' a whole grip of 'em, Freddie beamed. I'm talkin' tits like ka-pow! Asses like goddamn! He told Mitch he was sure they all did sets at the Admiral, probably made a killing off all the dudes coming in from O'Hare. They were that hot.

You gotta check it out, Freddie implored. Like, today.

Mitch snorted, cracked wise about having his secretary clear his schedule.

Shit better be good.


On the westbound Lawrence bus, Freddie wondered if it was too late to abort. He didn't want to go inside. I don't have to, if I don't want to, he thought. He could leave. He could pull the cord to stop at Francisco and just book. He could run clear east to Uptown, to his hermana's high-rise. There he could take an elevator to the top floor and jump into Lake Michigan. All of that would be better than going inside.


Mitch snapped his Orbit as he watched a liver-spotted man in a Members Only jacket drape a pink feather boa around the neck of a mannequin. The fuck, he winced. I don't see any chicks. He then whipped a half-empty Coke bottle at the window. The twenty-ounce made a dull thud against the plate glass and fell to the sidewalk without spilling its contents. The man inside Sexy Girls cursed Mitch in a language he'd never heard before, a string of consonants played at 45 RPM, before resuming his handiwork.

You fuckin' lied, Mitch leveled at Freddie. He then turned and walked in the direction of The Benches, off to burn a blunt with whomever. Freddie was already next door, pretending to look at VHS tapes in a Korean bookstore's window display.

Fuck you, Polack, he thought. No one put a gun to your head.


After saying his prayers, Freddie got up off his knees and locked his bedroom door. He then unbuckled his belt and let his gamey jeans fall to the carpet. He didn't bother to step out of the puddle of denim around his ankles. The notebook was ready, waiting for him on the corner of his desk. He opened it and leafed through page after page of notes about marauding Romans until he got to the sketch. He gave the woman one last once-over, burned her form into his brain. Then he closed his eyes and drew back the taut elastic of his boxers.

She's perfect, he thought. Not too big, not too small.

© Thomas Mundt 2010
Thomas Mundt lives in Chicago. The nice people at Thieves Jargon, Dogzplot, Wigleaf, NANO Fiction and Hobart have published his recent stuff. His whole megillah can be found here.

Issue nine// satnrose

a troped poem by satnrose

lie his lie is his and your lie is yours the remnants of blood again bored
redder but there's a bread sometimes the solution saw the pulse that salt
seeds in cherry but I know without her way second back the endless nut
this is the last nothing he looks running up and rocks a long kiss making
this a time for everything but to aim one then one must be aware of it
but you can in you and it can be everlasting except she ran steps as far
away from you as she could get but it was false as music between say
the thing was where you hurt there's a sea melting forsaken at a comm-
unist pace the rain again today on this very earth a cardinal can give a
kill and maybe and gone yourself worth spring the detective from jail
and you’ll know the twice with the old going they now survive on leave
shall we just butter the toast and not filch nothing finding yourself numb
and unable to celebrate won't you live a guess my wife hears in spark ha-
ppy! tears you gave for me make me forget hell it’s cruel and the sound
of the click of the shutter means the photograph has been transferred to
glass I lit out of the house so baby let us decide now but decades down
the road we must pay ransom so the death dogs won’t come looking for
us I forgot mine I have no blood left and say if the sycamore boy is right
and the ice if having as hysteria and dawn for you if there is an impatient
difference the won't would be the only thing that made a difference and
if only I could wake lying here with the six beekeepers one for me and
one for you and the other for for I’m not sure the fool central is central
to the argument so don't tell me how much time I have and have we seen
eye-to-eye? not who was unable between getting beneath a million or the
increases but at the next turn taking missionaries as knee-babies tonight
maybe bread jets in nicely in for the whole lot and maybe you can hide
after all but don't it see you doing the what if and what I came to this sw-
eet place this street where the universe is plainly visible but I awake for
just cause and have the stones only to go away my heart it is the dream
and you when there is here with which maybe who could so take foot
and turn that around moving by touch the clock offered pity and always
there is fighting starting somewhere no matter where I stand by as what's
invasive there's a light ticking rhythm in the sun so just go let go of the
one and when burning simply leave start the near sun all over again be-
fore he jumps before he is ready given the terrified doorway called before
you I maintain here the same sunflower and then when the One does co-
me come they’re like monkeys that even if you stop go down blue tomo-
rrow is solid and the train can take us much further I have a feeling any-
way that by deep laughing even the dust will no longer be waiting this is
all I get and what I cannot accept are the years in which its awakening
suddenly the cold digs into my skin and the sun is flying past the window
and those still in the gutter are up better than we know we just have to
last long enough to here blood will tell so our intentions are noble our
appetite is a dog what you want you dissolved in crimes day after day
there's fear and then there are yesterdays you have your own cross to
bear what you see in the mirror reflects the before words time and by
falling go if you will the line you crossed is the line you lost the wolf
of our season will maybe maybe be your last friend the room shakes it
must be an earthquake the haves who have the trickery put out the fire
I am stuck with what I think is a block of time all you say came as you
remembered it was stupid to kiss the sky he said but why not try there's
people out there making babies there’s sparrows pecking through the
corpses on the battlefield there’s snow blooming so raise steady or you
will lose what was dreamed and possibly even yourself in the process
when you get that cold you pay and December is old meanwhile the ba-
ttle continues and the such and the saved saved are crying and there’s
nothing I can do about it I tried to staunch the blood but it was hopeless
be that as it may tears fall as black as the sun the secret of being what I
meant to be said was that the nothing but heart can still be just as cruel
when trying to be kind as when trying to kill tell me is this tomorrow?

© satnrose 2010
satnrose is a well-known antiquarian bookseller, and formerly a not-so-secret messenger in the innermost depths of Capitol Hill and K Street. He has been published in a number of literary magazines, but since his reincarnation as 'satnrose' last year, he has been published in Evergreen Review, Iconoclast, Danse Macabre and Counterexample Poetics, among others.

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.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Issue seven// Sarah Ahmad


© Sarah Ahmad 2010
Sarah Ahmad lives in Pakistan. Her poetry has appeared in Mad Swirl, Full of Crow, Otoliths, Stone's Throw Magazine and elsewhere. Her chapbook 'Unfulfilled Doubts' has recently been released by Artistically Declined Press.

Issue seven// Echezona Udeze

the love song of echezona o udeze

let us go then you and (i)
-----when the evening is spread out against the sky
like the moon goddess-----pirouetting about my brain
flinging her ideas and arrows at my pride.
and i,
----------(i) am muttering consciousness
-----lost in the---------------living abyss
a dull cast of cartoons in afternoons
to lead us to an overwhelming question
that i do not truly comprehend
oh do not ask what is it
let us go and make our visit.

in the room women love the big dick,-----an ass,

i am just plain crass.

the worn away teddy----------that lies
unanimated in the----------corner
maybe awakes at night
stares---------------at me with cute button eyes
-----falls on the bed-----it was marked on
lingered on the floor for a seeming lifetime
----------danced in the eye fire, extinguished by night
---------------kicked across the room from spite
sat near a motionless wall and never cared).

(i) never had the time with the teddy--------------------but
there will be time
to sit near a motionless wall

engulf in---------------complacency
for anarchy----------and order
day tripping and letting your hair fall down that
-----------------------------------beautiful back
time for scratching the cat’s-----back)
long hours allotted to myself
----------to be obsessive

----------“you should pick that one, no listen first, no this,”
day gone, no complaints.
to see you and know you’re not there.)

in the room women love the big dick, an ass,
i am just plain crass.

there will be time
(barbaric yawp), 8 am
-----not so barbaric-----.---------------do i dare to eat all moms cookies,
to have a little nooky), they will say---------------he shines
-----and his glow will ----------emanate through----------all time.
but i am
gone crazy.
i will rock new balance
velcro----------pulled tight
army hat i never earned
finally be
----------modest …
but still

wondering which pleasure is my next.

i do not know them all
quiet mirror-----i stare in,
unnoticed----------markings we all erase
scared---------------at the drop of a pin
i know next to nothing.

i believe i know) them all
short----------of character not tall forcer of
penis in my mouth
self confidence chiseled by …
the shit that lingers huh

shall i say i have sped down wide green fields
not knowing greatness before me
and watched the smoke that rises from pipes
baked out of my mind

(i could’ve been a painter.)

chaos chaos everywhere---------------and not a drop to drink
i sit---------------in room and think of there
-----fly off to shades of pink)
it malingers, the darkness
i have been unafraid of the coat man
, mentally insane
afraid-------------------------of invisible hauntings
(it) wouldn’t have been worth it
after the
--------------------silly afternoons
-----------------------------------the bad sex
with talk of quiet corners and who your daddy is
-------------------------not worthwhile to see her smile
plugged conversations-----on madonna
cosmo quizzes

it wouldn’t
-----have been worth it
to laugh at ignorance not recognizing my own
“he never washes”
“why are you not in the shower right now”
to give responses
---------------that mean little
-----------------------------------tiny pecks from birds)
an offer that never dances on
would it have been worthwhile
after the busy work,
---------------the boredom of it all
---------------at ---------------all ...

-----am-----the famed prince of denmark
to some)-----, sometimes myself in a way
irrational,-----brave , silly contemplating, vengeance
driven man,
i would rather be a dog -----and love my sister,)
but (i) do if her face has met mine.

really-----i am the second great debater,
sometimes---------------there for comedic release
--------------------dead-----now but not forever
the other one, at times wise.
i grow old ----- … i grow old ---------- … and this world -----is still so cold.

will she ever come?
do i dare try to remove the sword-----in the stone?

i shall sing songs on love
and know that myself is what i searched for
i have heard their monotonous chatter
and she is laughing at me.

i have seen them in dark purple lights
doing the latest dance craze
i myself their (fool

i have lingered-----in my cage a pacing tiger’s
search for prey
til human voices wake us and we drown.

© Echezona Udeze 2010
Echezona Udeze is a lump on a big toe, a stump where no trees grow, boring and obtuse, bad old news, a jumble of uncooth, a really abcessed tooth ... the main event no, no ... he is just a player in this show ...

Issue seven// Kevin Heaton

© Kevin Heaton 2010
Kevin Heaton currently lives in South Carolina but is formerly from Oklahoma, where he published 'Country Music'. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Foliate Oak, Elimae, WestWard Quarterly, Counterexample Poetics and Calliope Nerve, amongst others.

Issue seven// Nathanael Green


-----It’s been six years of my voice echoing back to me, echoing the words I’m told to repeat again and again: "Everybody’s special."
-----The cell, my world, is small, and there’s only so much room for the same thing over and over. For the most part, my only company’s my own words, and I speak sparingly. Though, the psychiatrist visits once every seven days and adds some variety to the sounds in solitary confinement. The psychiatrist says I’m here because I don’t care for everyone else like I should.
-----Perhaps that’s literally true. But I cared for Jamie. We cared for each other. More than we cared for other students, and the teachers saw that. That’s why they tried to keep us apart. Said it wasn’t right to ignore the other students, to make them feel separate and less. Said that it was wrong to pretend we were better, when we all knew that everyone was special, not just me and Jamie.
-----They tried to separate us in school, but we wouldn’t let them. I remember what we did, how Jamie’s mouth tasted and how the spaces between our legs were so different.
-----But they found out and took Jamie away. And put me here.
-----We talk about that when the psychiatrist comes once every seven days. That and what they call my "precipitating event." They say it started with a hair when I was fifteen. And I can picture it, though the psychiatrist says I shouldn’t: Everything’s white, my whole vision is white as the snow at the holidays. The white, even pattern of a jersey shirt we all wore. And that single black hair stabbed through my shirt and just stood there, like a tree growing from a field of frost.
-----Honestly, I reveled in it. That one hair stood out because no one else had one. So I was reprimanded for my egotism and demeaning disdain for everyone else. But I endured with my studies. Went to college with everyone else.
-----And it was at college where I finally learned what Jamie’s anatomy meant, though only indirectly. I learned that English once, and not too long ago, had prejudice built right into it! Our language, the very basis of human communication and reflection of life, had at one time purposefully alienated people. It had had three separate pronouns that specifically showed differences based on anatomy!
-----That’s when I learned that I’m a he.
-----This I do tell to the psychiatrist, in my hope for understanding. They don’t understand. Or they don’t show that they understand. Once, when I asked baldly what type of anatomy they had, they calmly told me that "Everyone is special, and anatomy has no bearing on that" and rose to leave.
-----Just before they passed through the doorway and beyond my sight, they looked at me and repeated: "Everybody’s special. The whole world is special."
-----I asked once what that means, to really explain it to me. They blinked twice and cleared their throat before going on about me with phrases like "malignant narcissism" and a lot of other words they might have learned at my trial. Words like "hate crimes."
-----Sometimes, I ponder the words that condemned me here and I say them out loud now and again. I absorb their words and roll them around my tongue. Each has its own flavor and texture, is unique in meaning, in shades of emotion, in usage. But now I’ve heard them so often that they’ve lost their sharpness. Like spending too much time scrubbing with cleaning solvents until you simply don’t notice the abrasive reek.
-----"Hate crimes."
-----I enjoy the way my jaw drops with the A, the M’s humming sensation through my teeth.
-----"Hate crimes."
-----The term itself is nebulous enough, and only now do I really ponder the semantics. Truth be told, I don’t believe I’m guilty of either hate or crimes. How could I harbor that type of malevolence? Haven’t we all been taught that everyone is special, the whole world is special?
-----On the day of my arraignment I tried to explain this. I stood in a gray suit in a chilly, equally gray room. I cleared my throat and held my hands behind my back and told them how a crime affects victims, and I had offended no specific person. And hate implies a malice that I certainly didn’t feel.
-----But they didn’t listen.
-----When I told this to the judge, they cited society as a whole as the victim. I remember standing, facing a glass dais awaiting the decision while my facial hair scraped at my neck. A voice amplified by a pair of disembodied speakers hidden somewhere inside the walls boomed:
-----“Our culture is based on peace, parity and equality for every human. Everybody’s special and we cannot allow someone with malignant narcissism among this society. You are sentenced to confinement for demeaning fellow humans by subversive, unapologetic expression of individual superiority and anti-social separation. Our culture is based on peace, parity and equality for every human and everybody’s special. The whole world is special.”
-----Now, six years later, I’m here and the gray of these walls is a wet, porous one where microscopic shadows dance in the valleys of cinderblocks. I had been reprimanded because I didn’t care for everyone. And now that Jamie’s gone, I don’t care for anyone. I wonder whether that’s what they really meant all along.
-----I’m still convinced that I’m innocent of any crimes, though I think now I may have grown into the hate. But it wasn’t true back then. Back then all I wanted was to be different.
I don’t say that out loud. Not to my cinderblock walls. Not to the psychiatrist who appears in a gray jacket and matching gray pants. Short brown hair, like mine, but no hair on their face. They try to get rid of my facial hair, but it keeps coming back. I like it that way; they don’t.
-----I know what they’d say if I told them I wanted to be different: "Everybody’s special. The whole world is special."
-----Occasionally, they talk to me like I’m a child. "You wouldn’t like to be hurt like that, would you? To have someone make you think that they’re better than you? That you’re separate from them? That’s not very nice."
-----The next time they come in, they appeal to my rationality: "Your actions invalidate others’ specialness. And everybody’s special. The whole world is special."
-----I look at the gray suit and brown hair and wonder. I wonder where Jamie is today. I wonder about the person with yellow hair who used to be across the hallway. I wonder what the world would be like if we could use words like "he" and "she" like we did a hundred years ago. I wonder if there were other words, now lost, that we used to separate humans from one another. I wonder at the loss of the specificity and variety to language. To life.
-----Perhaps that is the price of "peace, parity and equality" – another phrase that I say frequently, savoring each flick of the tongue.
-----Have you ever said the same thing over and over again? Say the same word a few hundred times and see what happens. Without an association, without different words to set it apart, even the most beautiful word repeated by itself becomes robbed of any meaning. A dead sound that echoes forever in a single tone with all its discarded, identical fellows.
-----When the psychiatrist says so, I repeat what they say I should say.
-----"Everybody’s special. The whole world is special."

© Nathanael Green 2010
Nathanael Green holds an MFA in Creative Writing (though he does so gingerly because it's fragile). His work has featured in New Myths and Lost Innocence: A Niteblade Anthology, and he is currently working on a novel inspired by pre-colonial Native American traditions and mythology. You can find his blog - about all the strange things in the English language your teachers never told you - here.

Issue seven// John Lambremont, Sr.

Don't Go There

---------------guy you,
------------to pass it
---------off as pure truth.
--------I have lived in the
------shadow of the Big River
-----all of my days, and I know
-----the scent of the sea. I know
---rivers, lakes, bayous, creeks,
---marshes and swamps and canals,
--oxbows, borrow pits, and oceans.
---I have hiked the levees of the
----muddy Mississippi, peed into
----its currents, and crapped on
----its banks. I have been and
------am still a fisherman in
-------paradise. I have been
--------through hurricanes,
----------Now I don't know
---------if I should vent
----------or just go mad,
---------as once again we
---------are in the way,
---------and told it is
---------our own damned
--------fault for being
---------such dumb fools.

---------I remember the day
---------our Paulie, then age
----------four, fell into the
-----------Mississippi River in
------------a final, nearly fatal
-------------attempt to skip a rock
--------------more than three times.
---------------We'd finished our throws
----------------and I said "Let's go now,"
-----------------and we turned our backs,
------------------heard a loud splash, and
-------------------found Paulie in the water
-------------------clinging grimly to a small
---------------------patch of rocky ground his
---------------------feet swaying in the eddies.
---------------------We pulled him out okay and
---------------------made a conscious decision not
---------------------to tell his mom about it, no
---------------------need to scare her with a thing
--------------------that did not happen. We kept
-------------------this secret for fifteen years.

------------------Many years later, I found a
-----------------brass bust of Shiva, a god
----------------of rivers, in a curio shop
---------------in the French Quarter. His
--------------hair was all snakes, and I
-------------found his stern glare was
------------interesting. The price was
-----------right, so I bought him and
----------took him home, and hung
---------him on our living room
--------wall. Everything then
-------turned immediately to
------crap. No money would
-----come in, and no new
----work could be found,
---so quarrels ensued.

-Then one night over
--Sunday dinner, the
--tale about Paulie's
---dip in the big river
----was revealed, and his
-----mom, who was born in a
-----Snake year, was angry.
------She said we should have
-------told her about it right
--------away; she would have, as
---------would any wise Buddhist,

----------have set up an altar at
-----------the point of his entry,
------------burned joss sticks and
-------------offered flowers to the
--------------kind river god for not
---------------taking away her child.
----------------No wonder, she told us,
-----------------that Paulie had been so
------------------beset with psoriasis and
-------------------adolescent obesity; the
--------------------god of the river wrought
---------------------his revenge on Paul for
----------------------our rude lack of thanks.

----------------------I thought about this for
---------------------many days, and I was well-
--------------------determined to make amends.
-------------------I took the Shiva with me
------------------downtown to the same spot
-----------------where Paul had taken his
----------------plunge. I clasped Shiva
---------------between my palms, and
--------------I bowed and kow-towed
-------------ten times, giving the
------------god of the river our
-----------thanks for sparing my
---------son, adding my true
--------apologies as I asked
-------for his blessings.
-------Then I hurled the
-------Shiva into the big
-------river as far as it
--------would go, and watched
---------it splash into the deep
----------water beyond the eddies.
-----------Everything then took an
------------sudden turn for the better,
-------------but my wife said I was silly.

---------------I worked the tugs and crew boats
----------------as a youth, through the canals and
-----------------in and out to the massive oil rigs
------------------we supported. I have seen injury
------------------and death come from mankind's
------------------pursuit of the almighty crude.
------------------The man-made canals were a
-----------------large part of the intrusion
---------------of sea water that caused the
-------------------levees to fail after Katrina

-------------barely touched New Orleans;
------------but, through the greed and
-----------short-sightedness of our
----------so-called leaders, most
---------of The City That Care
--------Forgot went under ten
-------feet of water, and we
-------wonder still if anyone
------cares, as much of Haiti
------is being re-built faster
------than is New Orleans East.

--------So now we have an "oil leak"
---------in the Gulf below the mouth
----------of the river due to the cheap
-----------Charlies that run Blimey Petrol
------------and the rig-wrasslin' cowboys of
-------------Holy Burton. This "leak" made an
--------------oil slick bigger than Rhode Island,
---------------but where is the hue and cry like
---------------we heard for the Exxon Valdez? Of
--------------course, that was pristine Alaska
-------------shore-line invaded, not a grubby,
------------trashy, Louisiana waste pit that
-----------has nothing to offer but gators,
----------swamp rats, and mosquitoes
--------"as big as birds," according to
--------one Alabama ass-clown's Net
--------missive. Oh, wait. The winds
--------are shifting. Mobile Bay and
---------the Emerald Coast are next.

----------You may have to cancel
-----------your trip. That is a
-----------real catastrophe, so
------------eff the shrimpers,
------------fishers, crabbers,
-------------processors, and
-------------vendors at the
--------------butt of the
---------------food chain.
----------------Your fish
------------------you want

© John Lambremont, Sr. 2010
John Lambremont, Sr. is a poet living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His poems have appeared most recently in A Hudson View (2010 Pushcart Prize nomination), Notes from the Gean, Boston Literary Magazine, Foundling Review, Poetry Quarterly, The Fib Review, Shot Glass Journal, and Raleigh Review. He enjoys modern jazz, adult baseball, and writing country songs.