8/31/09

Gena Mohwish

the hour before dawn

i often wake
in the middle
of the night from
nightmares to
a ghost-like figure
standing
in the doorway.

i can hear noises from
inside this seemingly
massive room.

it is difficult
to tell
whether they are
coming from
inside
or
outside
of my mind.

there is
a long 10 minutes
left until
the sun
rises.



gena mohwish left ninety percent of her old life on a whim to begin a new life. she did not do this to escape her past, but to finally be happy. and she is.

8/28/09

Elizabeth Ellen

In Addition

People said she didn’t drink, but this wasn’t true. She drank but not around people. After they met she began drinking more and seeing people less. She drank what she liked to drink and then she drank what she didn’t like to drink in addition. She drank bottles leftover from people she was no longer in contact with and thought nothing of them while doing so. The man had said she was picky. She was out to prove him wrong. The man had said, “I want the last heart I break to be my own.” She wanted to disprove him of this as well. She said, “I want the last heart I break to be yours.” She went to the store and loaded her cart with bottles. She threw in some granola bars also. She didn’t want to completely compromise her nutrition. She went home and poured a drink and ate a bar. She thought about what the man had said and then she thought about what she had said. It was the same thing, really. She made a toast and drank to the idea of the man’s heart breaking. She looked around, wondered where he’d gone.

Elizabeth Ellen is the author of Before You She Was a Pit Bull (Future Tense) and Sixteen Miles Outside of Phoenix (Rose Metal Press). Her new collection of flash - Mouthfeel - is due out from Paper Hero Press any day now.

8/27/09

Blake Butler

We Did Division in a Concrete Room

In my fifth grade math class, the teacher whose name I cannot now remember would sit perched over an overhead projector with her face obscured among the light. She would write in nearly indecipherable longhand for an hour straight in one of several colors of dry pens. Often she wrote directly on the projector’s face and when there was no room left she’d wipe it empty with her hand. The ink drank to her hands then, and often would end up slathering her blouse’s arms and chest, her cheeks. She sweated in the room’s heat, in her large body. Even to my fifth grade mind, she seemed swallowed by the backlog of her life. The sour way she’d stare headlong into the glowbox, hunched above it, rarely acknowledging raised hands for questions, murmur sound. When she did speak to us directly, her voice came labored, as if why were any of us there¾why were we sitting in this small room made of concrete, manipulating numbers¾why any of us ever.

The woman’s way of seeming swollen inside herself set on the room an air that what we did in her room existed only ever there. Many of us slept or drew or read from other books.

We had assigned seats. Mine was at the back beside the window, looking onto the parking lot and street that framed the school’s front. Nothing during that whole hour ever seemed to go past.

Cattycorner to me sat Nick H., a kid still with the largest reddest cheeks I’ve ever seen. In the context of his body, they seemed like something ripped from off of someone else. The rest of him appeared ready to explode. Always in the same stone-washed-to-mostly-white ratty blue jean jacket, which he wore even during the summers. His puffy brown hair like cotton balls some shitty pet had used for nesting. He would not look you in the eye. He seemed like something someone with bad breath blew full of warm air every morning to keep going. He often could be seen to smile¾though never for any readable reason. He had no smell.

One day, in the back of that class, I watched Nick take a ballpoint pen to the flesh on his left hand. It began with scribbling, short intense strokes he used to elongate the hole ripped in his pant knee, which he ripped wider, burping ink. There was nothing at all about his face.

Soon his attention meandered from the pant leg to his own hand, drawing in quick flat circles on the top meat of his hand close to his knuckles. The deep blue ink squirreling his flesh. As he made more, his focus funneled, growing more and more intense, more machined. I watched him drag the pen’s blunt metal pinpoint back and forth against himself, like scratching, until by lengths the skin opened into rip. I could see the way the skin came up in short rinds.

Nick’s expression did not change from none. He dug into his hand in deep flat ink strokes, hardly blinking, while at the room’s other end the teacher droned. No one else was looking, including Nick, his eyes to nowhere.

I was the only one who saw his blood.

Later that year, that math teacher died. I don’t remember any of us ever being told what happened. She was old. Probably something grafted on her insides, eating. Something in her air. The years of ink flooding her bloodstream. At some point I learned she’d had a daughter, which I remember finding strange¾that someone had come out of that old woman’s body¾that she had nursed a child and taught a child to live and shared her home. How strange it seemed to know that this woman had a body outside of that math room, and how that body had a life.

What I do remember is how in our teacher’s death my classmates were not stilled. Some made fat jokes, mocked her drone voice as if contained inside a tomb. In the new light, kids showed up cruel. Others remained less so by not speaking of it at all, though I do not recall their silence seeming stunned. Either way, in days she became no longer mentioned. There was a replacement teacher installed in the math class location.

I do not remember anything about that room after that.

Blake Butler is the author of EVER (Calamari Press) and Scorch Atlas (Featherproof Books). He blogs at gillesdeleuzecommittedsuicideandsowilldrphil.com.

8/25/09

Adam Robison

May 1958: Harold Gets a New Boss, A Boss

Harold knew his life was off kilter since he was six, but today he felt more odd stomach than usual.

There was a horse painting that hung over the files and he looked at it.

“This isn’t going to be good,” he thought. Delores, four months in, brows arched, wadded up papers at her desk. The walls were a white that was obviously white. The boss put his head outside the door.

“Harold, ah good, come in here, come in, come in to my office here,” he said with his lips.

“Harold,” said the new boss once they were sat, “Harold, Harold, Harold.”

Harold was a district manager or something. It wasn’t clear. After the divorce he left his ex-wife’s father’s company. He did okay according to the books, and since that was a carpet shampoo place and this was a carpet shampoo place, the new boss brought him in. The new boss titled him something and sent him to a just-built office park that skirted downtown. That was last week. It was Monday. From the office park Harold went to various businesses and tried to fetch in new customers. Now he was in the new boss’s office, in the boss’s office.

“Harold,” it was warm and smelled soapy, “everyone needs their carpets cleaned. If they don’t get them cleaned, if they don’t have someone come in and shampoo their carpets, dirt will get in there and ruin them, expensive carpets, Harold.”

“No, I know—”

“It’s not like we’re not doing something that is of no value to them.”

Harold and the boss both seemed a little confused by that sentence, and there was a pause.

“We are doing something valuable for them,” Harold said, unpacking it.

“And at a reasonable price,” is what the boss said. He smiled and to Harold his teeth seemed larger than average.

Harold left the office feeling like Elvis off to war. He pulled the door closed behind him, touched a panel of its heavy oak. It felt maybe strange but acceptable for him to press his cheek to the thick glass window. On the other side Delores watched him. She was over at the cabinet filing things in crumpled wads, her belly just starting to round. Harold turned, saw her seeing him.

Later, Harold returned with three signed contracts. The workmen were deployed by Wednesday. Harold painted the walls of his apartment gray, the molding white. He drank a glass of milk for big teeth.



Adam Robison lives inside Adam Robinson in Baltimore, where he plays in Sweatpats, a rock band. He is the subject of a book by Adam Robinson called ADAM ROBISON AND OTHER POEMS, which is supposed to come out from Narrow House Books. He runs Publishig Genius.

8/24/09

Barry Graham

SEPTEMBER GOLD or DAISY'S SONG

We left Louisville two weeks after Daddy died and stayed for a month in a one room shack Momma rented from a one-armed walleye fisherman less than a mile from an abandoned mine near the mouth of the Manistee River on Lake Michigan. We spent the better half of September sifting for gold with plastic pans and screens and shovels and sluice boxes we borrowed from the fisherman's only friend, Linford, a homeless man who smelled like Smartweed and looked like Daddy, with dark hair and dark eyes that watched me while I worked; always in expectation of something he couldn't have unless he took it and he never did.

Momma and I slept together under a black and blue blanket on a blood stained queen sized mattress in the corner of our room. The wind blowing in from Lake Michigan made the nights unbearable, so Linford lent us his kerosene heater and we let him sleep on the floor beside it. He owned lots of things for a homeless man: old carnival bumper cars and bird cages and Korean binoculars and empty egg cartons and two more kerosene heaters, both black, both ending up in our shack as September ended and the nights grew colder and my space in the bed grew smaller. I slept with the front of my body pressed hard against the weather-beaten wood wall while Momma pressed hers against my back and breathed and bucked and braced and bit into my shoulder blades while Linford dug his dirty fingernails into her bare hips and fucked her.

She made scrambled eggs and sausage and blueberry muffins for breakfast and we ate them while Linford put his jeans on overtop his long johns and filled the kerosene heater before he left. Momma wrapped her arms around my neck when she heard the door close and whispered, “he did it Daisy, he found gold.” She repeated the word gold and we both cried.

We sifted through sand and rocks and gravel for most of the morning, watching the mud spill over the sides of the plastic pans, but the bottoms were always empty after the water washed everything away. Momma found a fishing pole with a spin cast reel and a brown tackle box full of flies and fishing line and lures and fake worms when she went to take a piss. They were underneath an upside down paddle boat left alone along the edge of the lake, so we put it in the water and pushed it a little ways from shore and got in while the salmon fishermen heading out to the docks watched and whistled when Momma's shirt got wet. We sat quiet and floated for hours and listened to the sounds the sky made and counted the clouds as they passed by us or we passed by them and I wondered if Daddy knew I was looking up hoping to find him. I wonder if he knew about Linford and the gold.


barry graham teaches writing at rutgers university and wrote the national virginity pledge (another sky press). look for him online at: www.dogzplot.com

8/21/09

Jane Hammons

Party Line


We live in Midway. It's a place that isn't even a town. Midway between nothing and nowhere is what Mama says. We sell gas and groceries in a little store that sits on the highway by the railroad crossing. All around us are farms and down the road is Walker Air Force Base. That is where the government took the aliens from the flying saucer. Mama says they are in some kind of freezer there. We have a freezer here at the store. It has meat and popsicles in it.

Mama reads about UFOs in paperback books and newspapers with big cloudy pictures. Her girlfriends know about flying saucers, too. They get drunk at night and when they are sitting all alone in their living rooms because they are divorced or married to men who have run off or to farmers who are out bailing hay, they call each other up on the telephone. All I can hear is Mama's end of the conversation, but I know what they are talking about.

Cigar shaped.

They can get you pregnant.

She blows smoke out both nostrils. She picks a fleck of tobacco off her tongue with her long fingernails that are painted a cloudy color.

We have a party line. To get the other half of Mama's conversation, all I have to do is listen in on Mrs. Harold Day when she is pretending to plan a bridge party or a church supper, but what she is really doing is gossiping. I can only do this when Mama isn't looking, which is most of the time. She is either working up front in the store or lying around in our apartment at the back of the store with a sick headache.

Mrs. Harold Day thinks Mama and her friends are crazy. When she talks about Mama's friends, she doesn't call them Mrs. Jack Ransome, or Mrs. Buddy Smith the way they call her Mrs. Harold Day. She says that Cora Smith sees pink cigars in the sky and that Dixie Butler wakes up electrocuted by sex. She knows that Babs Hanson calls the weather bureau at White Sands Missile Range so often that her name is on a list and that my Mama can't sleep.

And she knows about Dad, too. Dad calls from tracks in Florida and California and all around the country, even Chicago, where he says he goes to train horses but what he is really doing is gambling. When Dad ran off, he left me behind. I heard he had girl trouble, so he couldn't take me with him. But he took my brother Tommy. He promises to bring Tommy back real soon. Mama doesn't call the sheriff. Dad has been in jail before.
I don't sleep so good at night either. Some nights there are little lizard men whispering beneath my window. They want to electrocute me. Some mornings when it is still dark and Mama smells like an empty glass of whiskey, she wakes me up and we take off in the station wagon with its bald tires and whiney engine.

"Keep an eye out for the lights," Mama says. She taps the windshield with her fingernails that make a cloudy clickety click. But I keep my head down. We can't outrun a flying saucer.

One time Mama drove right into a bar ditch and screamed at me, "Look at the goddamned lights!" But the only thing I saw was the morning star. All summer long we wait for Dad to bring Tommy home and chase Venus into the dawn.

When school starts, I sit behind John Day. His clothes are so clean and stiff that he can't help but sit up straight. His crayons never wear down into dirty stumps. The last time my teacher rapped my knuckles for staring into space, I was right in the middle of figuring it all out.

Mama is not running away from flying saucers. She is running to them.


Jane Hammons teaches writing at UC Berkeley. Her writing appears in Able Muse, Word Riot, Opium, Columbia Journalism Review and other places.

8/20/09

Luca Dipierro

If I Choke


Wrap your arms around me, from behind. Make a fist with one hand, placing the thumb side just above my navel and well below my sternum. Grasp this fist with your other hand and press firmly into my abdomen with quick, upward thrusts until I begin to breathe again.

The one time I choked in your presence, you looked down at my plate. That is where you sent your thoughts, to my food, inaccessible to me.

I never let you look inside my mouth. My teeth a few are yellow, a molar brown, most white. The reason is: I never used them much.

I have no patience to chew. Once I feel hungry, food has to be in my stomach. I refuse to cook or watch one cook.

Do not read me shopping lists. Do not show me ingredients. I want my meals unannounced from now on. Come where I am and shove the plate under my face.

You will see me grab at my throat. My face will turn blue.

Dine closer to me.


Luca Dipierro is a writer, filmmaker and visual artist born in Northern Italy and living in Brooklyn, NY. To know more, go to www.lucadipierro.com. For some biscotti, go to blackbiscotti.blogspot.com.

8/19/09

Ingrid Burrington



Click images to view in larger window.
This piece won on Five Star Friday.
Five Star Friday



Ingrid Burrington is an artist and writer in Baltimore. Her website is www.lifewinning.com. A collection of her Venn Diagrams is forthcoming from Publishing Genius.

8/18/09

Sasha Fletcher

talking about ghosts

She said I’ve been thinking about people in coats with big buckles. Big red coats that are faded, and they are all praying in mud. There are horses nearby sometimes. She said everyone there is wearing blindfolds. She said everyone has kerchiefs tied around their faces. I said maybe they have colds. She said maybe they are bandits. And, making a gun with her fingers, took aim somewhere around my face.




sasha fletcher is an mfa candidate in poetry at columbia university. he used to live in philadelphia.

8/17/09

Matt Bell

Domina, Doreen, Dorma

What month then, what spring or fall, what meaningless season of locusts and black flies besetting our town, flown in on thickening air, on sickening smell? And then, in the middle of its days, this chrysalis, this cocoon, found wrapped between us, tangled in our morning sheets, in the space where our toddling daughter once slept, dream-thrashed, nightmare-ridden. Where she once clung to our skin, our heat. A chrysalis? I ask my wife. A cocoon? What's the difference when it's your child inside, when it's your caterpillar?

We vow to keep it close, to sleep beside it, until it cracks, until it ruptures. What cocoons are for: Until she emerges, no longer a child. What joy, to cradle my pupa in my arms! To rock it in the rocking chair. To at last see the new shape pressed against the chitin. To crack the chrysalis wide with one hand, to force her free with the other. To behold the dripping wings, the glistening thorax. To behold the head, the new mouth. To open the nursery window, to fill the room with those other black wings, other black legs, other black mouths, devouring what they can catch: only me, only what flaking skin I have left. And then my daughter's fresh wings, her span of translucent amber. And then the flapping, the loose scent of molt dust, of moth smoke. And then the heavy touch of her hairy legs on my legs, on my hips, on my chest. And then the click of her mandibles, clipping locusts from my ears, knocking flies from my lips and eyes.

And then my wife and I at the window, watching her leave. Watching her join the town's other golden children, all flying a sky clouded shut. Keeping us safe, until the locusts run out. Until the flies are gone. Until the trees and grass and shrubs are empty of leaf and branch. Until we run out of food ourselves. Until my wife disappears.

The rest of us shut ourselves away, whisper through glass pane, through locked door. You can't ever come home, we say, but it doesn't stop the banging against our lit windows, our delicate houses. See my only daughter: How big she's gotten. How all grown up. And then her string of milky eggs across the window. And then her caterpillars, hungry for what remains.

Matt Bell is the author of two chapbooks, The Collectors (Caketrain, 2009) and How the Broken Lead the Blind (Willows Wept Press, 2009), as well as a full-length fiction collection titled How They Were Found, coming Fall 2010 from Keyhole Press. His fiction has been published or is upcoming in Conjunctions, Willow Springs, Gulf Coast, Hayden's Ferry Review, and many other magazines. He is also the editor of The Collagist. He can be found online at www.mdbell.com. "Domina, Doreen, Dorma" is the first published piece in a series of short-shorts.

8/14/09

Kim Chinquee

Blast

It's a blast, she told him. She handed him the slide, which needed his opinion. The lymphocytes were purple, with a blackish pigment, which meant the cells were immature and spilling out too early.

The two of them worked night shift. Nothing had come in yet, so they'd drawn their own blood and tested without labels. She figured his was normal. Her insides didn’t feel right. She'd passed out at her daughter's ball game, blaming it on sunshine. Sometimes she felt blades cutting through her jaw line.

She told him she was fooling. It's the control, she said. But she knew. She laughed so hard she almost passed out again.



Kim Chinquee is the author of Oh Baby (Ravenna Press) and the forthcoming Pretty (White Pine Press). She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and lives in Buffalo, New York.

8/13/09

Catherine Moran

Pocket

While you were in the washroom,
I have to admit, I stole a feel
Inside your coat pocket

Saw it sitting there empty, alone.

That space
your hand rests in
sometimes.



Catherine Moran is from Toronto and works in a library there. She has a large collection of found tiny things and likes to use them to make shadow boxes. She has been published in online journals such as Elimae, Taint, Forget, Avatar Review, 3am Magazine and Lamination Colony. She can be reached electronically at cathy999 at sympatico dot ca.

8/12/09

Ingrid Burrington


click images to see them bigger.


Ingrid Burrington is an artist and writer in Baltimore. Her website is www.lifewinning.com.

8/11/09

Andy Devine

Body of Work

Armchair, Armenia, armor, armrest, army ant, backboard, backish, backless, backmatter, backrest, backrush, backstay, backstitch, backstreet, backward, backwater, backyard, belly flop, bellyland, bellyward, bloodroot, bloodstone, bloody, bloodwort, bonefish, bone knife, bone meal, bonespace, bonespring, butt, butter, butterfish, buttermilk, butternut, butterscotch, butterweed, butt hinge, button, button bush, chestnut, chestward, chesticular, China, eyebolt, eyebright, eyecup, eyehole, eyehook, eyelet, eyetooth, fear, fingerboard, finger bowl, fingerling, finger post, footboard, footcloth, foothill, foothold, footlights, footmark, footnote, footrest, footstone, footstool, footwall, Great Neck, haircloth, hairpin, hair shirt, hair space, hairspring, hair stroke, hairworm, handball, handbarrow, handbill, handcar, hand down, handle, handoff, hand out, handrail, handsome, head off, headband, headboard, head gate, headlamp, headland, headlight, headmost, headrest, headsail, head shop, headstone, heartdom, hearty, heelpost, hippo, kneel, knuckler, Lake Erie, leghorn, legible, legume, lipread, lipstick, lung fish, nose cone, nosepiece, shoulder belt, shoulder harness, skin effect, skink, skinny, thumbnut, thumbscrew, thumbtack, thump, toecap, toehold, tongue and groove, tonguefish, toothache tree, tooth shell, toothsome, wristband, wrist pin, wristwatch.


Andy Devine’s alphabetical fiction and essays have appeared in a variety of literary magazines. In 2007, he published a chapbook, “As Day Same That the the Was Year” (Publishing Genius Press). WORDS (2010, Publishing Genius Press) is his first book. Andy Devine Avenue — in Flagstaff, Arizona — is named after him.

8/10/09

J.A. Pak

Tony Takitani
A Film Directed by Jun Ichikawa
Adapted from a Novel by Haruki Murakami


He’s a man with no sense of other people at all. He grows up alone. His mother is dead. His father is always traveling, a jazz musician. A lady comes in once a day to cook for him. One day he tells her suddenly that he can cook his own meals from then on. At an early age, he’s so disconnected to people, he genuinely doesn’t need them.

One day this woman comes into his office. He’s a graphic artist now. This woman is dressed in the most beautiful clothes. But it’s not the beauty of the clothes that strikes him — it’s the way she wears them. The clothes become alive, beautiful to watch. He falls in love, not with the woman, not with the clothes, but with the conjunction of the two, like watching an array of stars. She’s fifteen years his junior and she has a boyfriend. But he continues to woo her, proclaiming that he’ll die without her. She knows he’s not the kind of person to make remarks that he doesn’t mean. So she marries him. But before she does, she tells him about her clothes. She spends every cent she makes buying beautiful, expensive clothes. Without these clothes, she feels dead inside. Like so many lovers, he doesn’t really care what she’s saying. It’s all about the having, not the understanding, isn’t it? They end up having a good marriage. She turns out to be a good housekeeper, taking care of all his needs, including washing the car. It’s his first real human contact and he finds he needs it. But, of course, the clothes become their downfall. Her obsession grows. She buys so many clothes, a large room is dedicated to them. One day, he says to her that maybe she should slow it down a bit. It’s not just the money — and it’s clear she’ll bankrupt them soon — but he’s genuinely worried about her mental wellbeing. She knows he’s right. And she loves him. So she decides to go cold turkey. She stays in the house, doesn’t go into town, tries to keep herself busy with housework. She even thinks that she doesn’t need all these clothes, so maybe she’ll return a coat and a pair of shoes she’d just bought. She goes into town. Bravely returns the clothes. What she feels immediately afterwards is an immense sense of relief. But then, as she drives home, she keeps thinking about the coat and shoes. How she needs them back. Without thinking, she makes a quick U-turn. Of course, she dies in a terrible car accident.

All he has left are her clothes, rack after rack after rack. But without her, the clothes are dead too. So he hires a girl to wear the clothes, just so he could get used to her death. But as soon as he sees the girl in the clothes, he realizes his efforts are ridiculous, even creepy. He gives the clothes away and loses his last connection. Except there’s the girl he’d hired, who’d cried at the beauty of the clothes. Death and shadows.

The thing is, I know how the woman felt. What the clothes did for her. That incredible sense of being fully alive when you see something so beautiful, so well made. And how that beauty can enclose you, become a part of you, give you life.



"Tony Takitani" is an excerpt from J.A. Pak's So Easy To Love, a blog that's a novella that's also a contemplation of films.

8/7/09

Tria Andrews

The World is Tall

All she can see is legs. And black doctor’s bag. Bag over head. Things going white. Her hands to my throat. A birthday party. My birthday party. Breathe all your air out. Have you ever passed out? This will be fun.

Head between your knees. Is all your air out? Nod your head. They are all watching. Cold hands to my throat and blackness.

She wants to try. She is not very smart. We all know she is not very smart. Little raised bumps on her skin. The color of her skin. Her mouth is always red and wet. She lisps. Breathe out. Are you breathing out? She wants to try. Don’t know why, but something in us wants to hurt her.

Whose hands are against her throat? Are my hands against that soft white throat? She must sustain. She must please. And so she chokes.

Close your eyes and go to sleep. But she will not. She is too stupid to sleep. She is too stupid to let go and so she goes and tells our mothers.

Doctor’s bag. Cold stethoscope against warm back. Breathe in. Breathe out. I welcome you.


Tria Andrews has published critical essays, fiction, poetry, and photography. She currently resides in San Diego, CA, where she mentors for the American Indian Recruitment program and teaches yoga to incarcerated adolescents.

8/6/09

Aaron Burch

How To

Cut from the front of scalp back to the temple. Start where the tip of the widow’s peak might be, if you had one, following the hairline. Make sure the blade is sharp to pull through the skin with ease, though be careful to not let it slip in too deep. Holding your forehead down with one hand, pull the skin above it back slow, like peeling the plastic off the top of a container. Tools that may help: tweezers, scalpel, any of a variety of dentistry instruments you may be able to acquire, the tip of the blade itself. Peeled back, the skin may stay on its own or you can hold it in place or, most recommended, pin it back with some kind of clamp, hair pin, binder clip, etc. Retrieve the small piece of metal or plastic or even paper that you’ve been keeping though you never knew why, and place it against the exposed area. You may need to move it around until in place; when there is a pang of regret or forgetting, you’ll know how it fits. Fold the scalp back into place, reattaching as you best see fit. Don’t worry about the scarring or healing, it will have already happened.


Aaron Burch edits Hobart and has stories upcoming in New York Tyrant, PANK, Barrelhouse, and Another Chicago Magazine. His chapbook, How to Predict the Weather, is due out by the end of the year from Keyhole Books, and another "How To" chapbook (including this short!) is quietly looking for a home.

8/5/09

Ingrid Burrington


(Click image to enlarge.)




Ingrid Burrington is an artist and writer in Baltimore. Her website is www.lifewinning.com.

8/4/09

Amelia Gray

Questions Asked While Sitting on the Laundry Room Floor

1. What would it be like if all the rooms in the house were small and warm like this one? Could I find someone who would build me a house of small rooms? What would it cost to finance the construction of such a house?

2. Has this become the only I way I can solve my problems?

3. Are they talking about me? I heard my name. They're talking about me. That was definitely my name she just said. What are they doing out there?

4. Would this not be a great place for an aluminum can crusher?

5. Is it my detergent causing the rash?

6. I used to be able to fit my whole body between the dryer and the wall, but now my hips are stuck. Am I becoming a woman?

7. Linoleum? Really?

8. Nobody ever remembers the laundry room. How can I work that to my advantage?

9. What will my life be like when I learn how to sew a button?

10. What in here could I eat to survive, if I decided to never leave this room? Does dryer lint have nutritional value? Has my mother ever asked these questions?



Amelia Gray is a writer living in Austin, TX. She is the author of AM/PM, published by Featherproof Books, and Museum of the Weird, due Fall 2010 through Fiction Collective 2. Her writing has appeared in American Short Fiction, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, DIAGRAM, and Caketrain, among others. She blogs at ameliagray.com.

8/3/09

Sam Pink

SPINA BIFIDA

Today I called to make a doctor’s appointment for my infected ear. I had a towel wrapped around my head to dry my hair and I was eating string cheese. The secretary asked me a bunch of questions and I answered them. I said, “I’m eating string cheese right now. Do you need to know that?” She said no. I said, “I have a towel wrapped around my head like a girl. Do you need to know that?” She said no. I said, “But it’s kind of fun to imagine right?” She said yes. When I hung up, I felt like I missed her a lot.


sam pink is 26 and is on chicago blueline asleep hoping to wake up for right stop gets along with everybody and wrote I AM GOING TO CLONE MYSELF THEN KILL THE CLONE AND EAT IT (paperhero press, 2009), THE SELF ESTEEM HOLOCAUST COMES HOME (six gallery press, 2009) and FROWNS NEED FRIENDS TOO (afterbirth press, 2009).