Mark Cunningham

Four Specimens


We drew the animal with big chunks missing from its body to show the waves were washing it. He learned to spell phonetically, so he couldn’t spell the word “phonetically.” All the subtitles said was “vocalizing continues.” Her dream house was a hundred yards off the interstate and with the white noise from the cars passing all the time she was never sure if she was awake or asleep. You may think you’re a nihilist, but try to kill yourself by holding your breath.


The last radio signals we received before the ship went under said, “No one foresaw this,” but since “this” wasn’t clarified, we were able to claim the message was too garbled to make out. The window is clear to show you the light; the light makes the window opaque. Despite the findings of science, many parts of the world seem not to find white noise relaxing. One meaning of _prevents_ is _to walk before someone, to lead the way_.


The rumor’s true: the lyrics make me happy, but when I try to sing them backwards, I get a headache. Thumbing his nose at the Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, the officer came into the room and said, “As you were.” For a moment, I couldn’t tell if it was my pulse in my ear against the pillow or someone walking down the hallway. He said, “Here I am,” but we disagreed.


The most amazing power of Dracula in Tod Browning’s film is his ability to pass through the huge spider web covering an entire staircase without getting any strands caught in his hair. When you know it’s the last time, the time before becomes the real “last time.”

Mark Cunningham is the author of three books: Body Language from Tarpaulin Sky Press, 80 Beetles from Otoliths, and 71 Leaves, an ebook from BlazeVOX. He is also the author of four chapbooks, all on-line: and Second Storynightlightnight (with photographs by Mel Nichols), both from Right Hand Pointing; 10 specimens from Gold Wake Press; and Nachträglichkeit from Beard of Bees.

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