Tim Jones-Yelvington


I reached my mother’s doorstep with an important message, written in advance and practiced in front of a mirror. She answered in a purple kimono, her lips and cheeks rouged. She stretched across the doorframe, steel-eyed and implacable.

“I balanced my checkbook,” I told her. “I wanted to tell you. I’ve been recording all my purchases in my register. I’m adding and subtracting.”

She arched her brow.

“But I suspect even this will not be enough for you. You will expect more, you will expect me to categorize these expenses, assign colors and make pie charts. You set unreachable expectations because you want me to fail you, because then you remain necessary. Well I’m here to tell you – you are not necessary. I love you, but you are not necessary.”

“Come in,” my mother said, extending the storm door. “Your sister will want to see you.”

“My sister?”

In the foyer, a tiny blond tornado whirled by.

“Say hello to your brother,” my mother said.

“Hello,” she said. Her skin was pale, her cheeks patched with red. She looked maybe eight years old.

“She must be a great deal taller than the last time you saw her?”

I said, “I do not have a sister.”

“Of course,” my mother said. “I’d forgotten. Your sister must not have been around much when you were growing up. The demands of one child are overwhelming enough, and you were an especially demanding child. Still, it’s rather cruel to deny her existence, wouldn’t you say?”

“I do not have a sister,” I repeated.

“I will make us some hot chocolate,” my mother said.

I sat on the couch and watched the small blond girl yank plush squirrels from a columnar tree trunk sewn from fabric scraps. The squirrels were stuffed with tiny horns that squeaked. These were my Woodsy family. The small blond girl was playing with my Woodsies.

She lined up the Woodsies in a row. She said, “they’re going to the opera. They’re going to see Das Rheingold.”

They’re squirrels, I thought. They can’t go to the opera. There’s no opera in the forest.

“A new flavor,” my mother said, wielding a tray of steaming mugs. “Dulce de leche. White chocolate with caramel.”

“I have to poop,” said the small blond girl, and disappeared into the hallway.
I sipped.

“Did you take an eight-year-old girl to see Wagner?” I said.

The small blond girl came back and reached for a mug.

“Did you wash your hands?” said my mother, holding back the tray.

The small blond girl shook her head, shame-faced, and turned in the other direction.

“Make sure you count to fifty,” my mother called behind her.

“They say twenty seconds,” she said, addressing me. “But young children count quickly.”

Later, on my way out the door, my mother placed her hand on my upper back.
“I’m glad you’re finally taking care of yourself, darling,” she said. “But I will always be necessary.”

Tim Jones-Yelvington lives and writes in Chicago. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Keyhole, Ampersand Review, Smokelong Quarterly, Wigleaf, elimae, Monkeybicycle, Mud Luscious and others. He blogs.


David Peak


She was happiest at home
when the people upstairs
ran their vacuum,
when they vacuumed their
rugs, and the noise
of the vacuum was thick
and hot.

At school she sat in the middle
of the classroom, surrounded,
and was happiest when
her classmates all chattered
at once—a bubbling hum—
no one voice heard,
no words emerging whole.

She opened books
only to smell the paper,
held them open close to her face,
but kept her eyes on the television,
the pixel teeth of talking heads,
all of the lights turned on
throughout the house, glowing,
and she focused on her breathing,
and the smell of the paper.

She ate onions,
Caramelized onions,
and she smoked
when she ate the onions.

She wore her clothing in layers,
buried somewhere within, her body,
and she sweat into the fibers
of the clothing, drinking off her skin,
sweat smelling of paper and onions,
buried so deeply in her clothing,
her clothing so thick,
she could not bend her legs
when she walked home from school.

At night she slept to a recording of
rain drops on a tin roof, and slept well.
Her grades did not suffer.

David Peak lives and works in Chicago where he is a real person just like other people.


Ric Royer

from She Saw Ghosts

She hears. And she wants to hear more. There she goes, walking slowly backwards and stretching her arms forward, then back, then up up up, creating an enigma of forward progress. If she is too clumsy she will kill herself, so concentration is crucial. A lightning rod, she will be a lightning rod for messages from elsewhere. Lightning, contrary to how it looks in photography books, moves like a snake, day in and day out. Along the field, up the trees, jumping from branch to branch.

Electricity is some type of knowledge, the secrets, the tissues, the secretions, the soul going electric, the body becoming liquid, vaporous. The knowledge may appear in a visitation of white fire that leaves the area on the body where the bolt enters cold to the touch.

The lightning it will not strike those who are afraid or standing in a hole in the ground at least three feet deep. She will stand on the precipice of sanity for her whole life to receive this white fire, the natural spirit. This is her ambition: to believe and hope, to love to believe and hope.

Bodies (also known as “the unknown”, “the transparent form”, and “the airy dream”) can fall apart so easily. There are no voices for bodies, only air. Air is life, with or without it. It hangs all around suspending different types of bodies, fixing them in place or spinning them around in play with gravity. The same air that holds the universe together, that reaches to heaven, is the same air that goes up our noses. And like air, the bodies of our world can be written about as if magic or prodded as if nothing special. Very few existing languages have phrases that even attempt to describe the tenuous nature of animated corporeal form.

Quello estato un bacio molto dolce. (This is a sweet phrase.)

La mia casa è la mia casa di carte. (This is a portentous one.)

Ric Royer is a “writer of strange performances and performer of mysterious writings.” Here is his blog and here is a really nice review of Time Machine, his latest chapbook (just out from Slack Buddha Press).


Victoria Sroka

Three Poems

Platypus Records

Broken plaster plays reckless in the heath-cliff
The sandpaper’s majesty was a fix
& barbles rifted papa’s keyed liver on the table with the revolver

Feeling the mark of the table top collective boots
Ringlets of yellow fire cracked sun cakes—
a wolf on the hunt for the opal fox
Both are poured in wax as the thief flew out the window.

War Along the Faults

I’m sorry to tell you but we’ve been mapped

A war of Nebraska wanting to lie over Kansas—

We caught the drooling Michigan peach spit.

So a fiddle jar plucks honey on a string

I sell it for twelve dollars

You need to yield more.

A rosemary bush plants its egg

Tenderizing the pork mogul with her giants hooks

I like the symmetry of our days

As if angles were never just lines.

Pressing Into View

We crapped soot in the audio

Tell me how long it is that you’ve been with two left ears?

A skid milk drops cluster into a fruit basket
As a basket of fleas fled for warmer moons.

Our chins catching the drooling Michigan peach spit

A carp cannot access the key to unlock you,
But there’s a window in your stomach
& it’s marked in bars

I lay my head all in your simple

Victoria Sroka is unemployed, Polish, and lives in a seedy basement apartment in Chicago. One day she hopes to fulfill her dream of writing poems in a hot air balloon. She will be blogging at Mrs. Peacock in the Conservatory soon.


Chris Toll

Two Poems

What the Wind Told Me

Something is hungry to be born,
something must die
– and what has to die doesn’t want to
and is vicious.

Monday Morning
(Old World Blues)

for David Beaudouin

Jesus wears a crown of stars
as he stamps out massacres
on an assembly line in the War Factory.

Chris Toll’s book Be Light was published by Apathy Press in 2006. His chapbook I’ll Be the Invisible Girl Till the Day I Die was published in This PDF Chapbook by PGP in 2007. He co-curates the Upward Spiral reading series in Baltimore.


Molly Gaudry


lately the others’ complaining has increased

which means the end of summer and red roses

have you heard the one about the end of red roses

it is not a joke

it is a story

and it is called soldier beds

we shall return to it many times

but first

in order to understand it you must assume that red roses grow not on a bush but in beds of soft dark soil and thrive not under sun but in shadow and upon full bloom become soldiers that watch over and protect us when we need them most

like all stories about red roses mine is about restraint


and rather romantically begins and ends in bed(s)

but in the middle of this story

which is the most interesting part

is a crystal cage inside which lives a chicken whose claws and beak have been cut off

whose feathers have been plucked

whose skin has been stripped to reveal a smooth plump breast the shade of salmon

an uglier chicken you have never seen

I guarantee

but the chicken is a kind chicken and wears its difference like a dress

out of necessity

who can say

all that is known for certain is that every day the cage grows smaller


as the crystal walls grow thicker and the chicken’s aches increase

and as if that were not enough the cage rests upon water

free water



wild water

and if the chicken remains calm the water remains calm but if the chicken is particularly sore and feels nothing but outrage the water too becomes a pounding authority

so the thing is someone should have killed this chicken by now

but for some lamentable reason

a lapse of judgment


upper-level mismanagement


or the resolved hardening of a soul

or lack thereof

this chicken has become a victim of carelessness

we are all this chicken


we are all this chicken

or not

in any case

the thing to remember

the thing this chicken refuses to ignore or forget

is that it is not a deer

not a cow

has not been shot from a scoped distance

has not been sliced lengthwise along its four stomachs

and does not hang to bleed from between two poles until it is an empty sack of brown skin and bones extracted from its own meat


in fact

it rather enjoys its crystal cage because at least it does not have to share it

and besides its own body that has miraculously grown stouter

the cage is empty

and if only the chicken can stay true to itself and keep always relaxed in its cage bobbing gently upon the water

solid crystal bobbing gently upon liquid crystal mounting wave after wave

then maybe one day one of these waves will

but until then

there is a harmony between the chicken

the cage

and the water

so this is music

the chicken thinks

the chicken thinks

I guess this is a pretty good shelter after all

Molly Gaudry publishes other writers' books at Willows Wept Press, edits Willows Wept Review, co-edits Twelve Stories, and is an associate editor for Keyhole Magazine. Find her online at


Jamie Gaughran-Perez

To Be Continued

Hope grew up on the East Coast and attended public school. She had great teeth.

Constance always said, “Want in one hand and shit in the other, and see which one fills up first.”

June was tough and quick-witted. She moved to Germany after college. Later she moved to Texas, I hear.

Will lived through his job. Late at night he could be found in his office, staring out the darkened window.

Charity was a serial monogamist. Some people habitually change up their style to match their partners. She was the kind of person you’d do that for.

Chastity was never very close to her family. She had to file multiple state tax forms year after year, too.

Happy was never very credible. Beyond the ridiculous name (what were they thinking?), he always had horrible breath.

April lived in a 70s-style split level ranch and came from a traditional “broken home.” She was good people, though.

Our heroine sees all these faces and more when she closes her eyes, and yet manages to get out of bed every day.

Jamie is a co-director of Narrow House and is pretty serious about fish tacos. He lives in Baltimore and works in DC. His blog is Very Most Good.


Michael Kimball

Acoustically Sound

Apollonius of Rhodes. Geronimo.
Galileo Galilei. Lady Jane Grey.
Mad Anthony Wayne. Maximilian.
Napoleon Bonaparte. Dirk Strikker.
Zelda Fitzgerald. Basil Mumma.
Samuel Maverick. Friedrich Nietzsche.
Francis of Assisi. Leon Trotsky.
Nicolaus Copernicus. Billy the Kid.

Michael Kimball is an acclaimed novelist whose poems have been published in Gordon Lish’s journal The Quarterly. He was a contributing editor of Taint.

Shane Jones

A So Sad Big Man

A so sad big man sat in a bathtub. There was a yellow light that hung near the ceiling and a white fog that surrounded the bathtub. The bathroom door opened and a man riding a bicycle came into the bathroom. “It smells like a so sad big man in this place,” said the man on the bicycle. The man on the bicycle started riding in circles around the so sad big man in the bathtub. He rode as fast as he could, the back tire sliding out on the wet tile. “Feeling any better?” said the man on the bicycle. “A little,” said the so sad big man breaking a smile. Around the bathtub a yellow tornado stood up.

Shane Jones has been published in a lot of places. Light Boxes (PGP) is his first novel. His next book, The Failure Six, is forthcoming from Fugue State Press in January 2010.

His blog is called
I Think You Are A Good Person.



Previous Editors:
April and May: Adam Robinson
July, w/ photos: Stephanie Barber
August: Michael Kimball
September: Robinson/Kimball
October: Lee Rourke
November: Joseph Young
December: Sasha Fletcher

January: Lauren Bender
February: Fortunato Salazar
March: Laura Ellen Scott
April: Blake Butler
May: Adam Robinson 
June: Alec Niedenthal 
July: Kate Zambreno
August: Luke Goebel
September: Phu Pham
October: Adam Robinson
November: PG's 4-year anniversary lookback
December: Chloé Cooper Jones

January editor: Joseph Young
February editor: Adam Robinson
March editor: Adam Robinson
April editor: Adam Robinson
May editor: Justin Sirois
June editor: Adam Robinson
July editor: Fortunato Salazar
August editor: Sommer Browning
September editor: Chris Toll
October: Mary Miller
November: Ben Spivey
December: Adam Robinson

January editor: Mike Young
February editor: Valentine's Day Music
March editor: Andrew Borgstrom
April editor: Jane Wang
May editor: Adam Robinson
June editor: Adam Robinson
July editor: Jackie Wang
August editor: Elisa Gabbert
September editor: Michael Kimball
October editor: Megan Kaminski
November editor: Penina Roth
December editor: Sandra Simonds

January editor: Ellen Frances (videos, curated)
February editor: Stephen Tully Dierks (solicitation)
March editor: Zack Pieper (submissions)
April editor: Adam Robinson (submissions)
May editor: Sarah Jean Alexander (videos)
June editor: The June Issue 2012 (reprint)
July editor: Really, really bad poems (submissions)
August editor: John Dermot Woods (comics, solication)
September editor: Adam Robinson (submissions, lost time)
October editor: Molly Brodak (solicitation, submissions)
November editor: Artichoke Haircut (collaborative journals)
December editor: Amy McDaniel (food issue)

2014 editors
January: Joe Hall
February: Rahne Alexander
March: Adam Robinson (submissions)
April: Lucy K. Shaw
May: Brian Foley
June: Adam Robinson (submissions)
July: Mark Cugini
August: Michael Seidlinger
September: Adam Robinson (submissions)
October: Dolan Morgan
November: Metatron (Everyday Canadian)
December: Amy McDaniel (Eat Genius)

Everyday Genius, March (Laura Ellen Scott, editor)

Here is an excerpt list of the March 2010 posts.

March 1, Mon: Ravi Mangla
I sat next to Richard Yates on a plane to Los Angeles. He was knocking back glasses of bourbon. One, two, three, four … Nervous, I asked.

March 2, Tue: David Kaufmann
Attention now count the damns

Of remonstration the damn

Was cold was still damn

March 3, Wed: Kathryn Scanlan
She developed a dappled scarlet rash and used it as a passport. When at last it seemed as if no more good could come, she collapsed into a sweat and the doctor was called. He diagnosed an acute consumption of nerve.

March 4, Thur: Jimmy Chen
Which is how you ended up in the hospital, or, because we are in France right now, hôpital;

March 5, Fri: Barry Graham
The opossum in the far left lane, looking me in the eyes, just before I splattered his brains on the highway. My envy of his inability to fear death.

March 8, Mon: Ben White
And then I will quit. I will uninstall my copy, and I will walk away. For good this time. My computer will stick to running Microsoft Office, Firefox, iTunes, and the extensive collection of videos I have amassed in a hidden folder since the sixth grade.

March 9, Tue: Tara Laskowski
The ice screams as it folds over itself.

March 10, Wed: Gabriel Orgrease
And there was a cattail growing there in Brooklyn.

March 11, Thur: Danny Collier
The gods crown the woman. She gives speeches. The smiths forge iron. She wears the armor. She leads the troops. She crushes the enemy. She is victorious. She is betrayed. She falls. She is victorious despite this. Wounded, bleeding, she founds the Republic. She dies. She is victorious despite this.

March 12, Fri: Donna D. Vitucci
You cannot know her pain, and your imagining it is a slight form of honor, as well as choice betrayal.

March 15, Mon: Michelle Reale
She’d have cut a woman like that off at the knees before she had kids, but that seemed like such a long time ago and she knew that a leaking woman had no leverage.

March 16, Tue: Dawn Corrigan
Each of us wears a .45 and each of us is supposed to shoot the other if the other is behaving strangely. We sit still for a long time, until I feel itchy all over. Is my gun loaded? Suddenly I want to double check. Would he consider this strange, though?

March 17, Wed: Tamm Walters
The loose bachelor herd of wildebeests, having no territory to defend and therefore no stray estrous females to court, decided to make it a Blockbuster night.

March 18, Thur: Joseph Young
Facebook lived in midtown, for there the people and windows shone like water.

March 19, Fri: Kyle Hemmings
She woke up with lily pods in her eyes.

He rolled over with a strange hum . . .

March 22, Mon: Roxane Gay
They take pictures, then flip their cameras around and laugh and shout, “Dude!”

March 23, Tue: David Erlewine
When I wake up, he is upstairs, banging things around, yelling. A few minutes later, he unties me and leaves.

March 24, Wed: G. Walker
“So it’s true; they broke your arms and legs and put metal rods inside,” he said.

“It was an experiment,” she told him.

March 25, Thur: Jen Michalski
Keep moving, she would say. She would take his hand and pat it alive, stick it in her mouth, warm like that . . .

March 26, Fri: Erin Fitzgerald
There's a saying that all it takes to leave the adventuring life is one day in town. I just got tired.

March 29, Mon: Cami Park
There, there already, the wish, the air.

March 30, Tue: Robert Swartwood
You’re just eleven, she says. What do you know? She lets me drive back home.

March 31, Wed: Steve Himmer
And like that my days in the garden began to go by.
Coming in May
Four Great Writers
One Week Each
What Will Happen?