6/30/10

Shome Dasgupta

THE PALATE OF ARGENTO MAGENTA THE PAINTER


Argento Magenta The Painter pulled out his tongue and slapped it against the side of his house. He smacked it until his taste buds fell to the ground, making these clink-clink-clink sounds. Argento Magenta The Painter swept up the taste buds and went inside his house, where he put them in a glass jar filled with distilled water. He filled up a second jar with hydrogen peroxide and put his tongue in it. He let his tongue sit in the jar for 14 days, and for those 14 days, he didn't speak or eat. On the last day, the artist took out his tongue from the jar and dried it with a washcloth before scrubbing it with a steel wool pad. He took out his tubes of acrylic paint--blues, yellows, oranges, greens, reds, blacks, grays, whites, and dabbed his tongue with each color, turning it into a palette. Argento Magenta The Painter fixed his canvas tightly to a 10-by-10 wooden frame. He painted. He stroked his tongue with his paint brush and worked on his canvas.

On the day of the showing, Argento Magenta The Painter didn't attend his own opening at the gallery. He sat in the living room looking at the jar full of his taste buds. At the gallery, the crowd hovered around his piece--their eyes and mouths were large and round and motionless. They weren't blinking. There wasn’t any talking until everyone nodded their heads in unison, and then the murmuring began, and the talking grew louder. In his living room, Argento Magenta The Painter saw his jar full of taste buds emitting colors; first the water was blue, then it was green, and then it turned to yellow, then it was black, orange, gray, white, and then all of the colors came about and swirled around each other. Argento Magenta The Painter smacked his lips together. He poured a glass of Crianza; he tucked a napkin into the collar of his shirt, and he sat there looking at the jar of colors with a knife and fork in hand. At the gallery, there was clapping and praising, and then the crowd left. Looking at the jar of his taste buds, Argento Magenta saw nothing. The colors absorbed the water and it all evaporated. Argento Magenta The Painter wiped his mouth. He put his fork and knife into the sink. He threw away the jar full of taste buds. He washed his tongue and put it back into the jar of hydrogen peroxide. He kept it there for four days before putting it back into his mouth.


Shome Dasgupta is the author of i am here And You Are Gone (Winner of the 2010 OW Press Fiction Chapbook Contest, forthcoming). His writing has appeared or will appear in H_NGM_N, Drunken Boat, Mad Hatters' Review, The Coachella Review, Stymie Magazine, and elsewhere. He lives in Lafayette, La and teaches at South Louisiana Community College.

James Yeh


GIRL WITH COOL, DAMP MOUTH, OR FOUR VERY SHORT STORIES

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY ANDREW BULGER
IT WAS A LITTLE WHILE BEFORE I WAS ABLE TO START HANGING OUT WITH YOU AGAIN

It was a little while before I was able to start hanging out with you again. But when we did things were fine. I would go to your coffee shop and you would give me free coffee and, if it was near closing, free pastries, which you'd bag up for me to take home. Every now and then I would catch you looking at me and we would smile at each other and then look away. It was nice to see you again and to hang out some. Of course it reminded me of when we used to date. And of course we kept certain topics out of conversation. Sometimes I looked into your eyes longer than I probably should I have.

One night after work you asked if I wanted to hang out, get a drink or ride bikes or something. Sure, I said. After you got done closing, we rode out toward where I lived, slowly and in silence. Near my apartment we stopped into a dive bar and ordered drinks. We got $3 PBR’s and found a dimlit booth in the back. The drinks helped us feel less weird. There was an appealing red tint to your face and I indulged in thinking about how it looked similar (and also a little different) than from when I had first met you. You looked better now, more assured, untouchable.

---

YOU HAVE A GOOD LAUGH

We talked some more. I pulled off the tab of my beer and so did you. A few times we would just look at each other for a second and not say anything and then laugh. You had a large mouth and when you laughed or smiled suddenly, the gums above your teeth would show.

You have a good laugh, I said.

Oh thanks, you said. But I think it’s kind of weird.

How come? I asked.

I dunno. It’s kind of loud. I also feel like my mouth is too big and my gums show too much.

Hmm.

That’s why I smile in pictures with my mouth closed.

That’s kind of funny, I said. You’ve never told me that before.

Yeah, I dunno why not. Well, I mean, you never really asked...

---

I WAS WEARING A NEW SHIRT

You're wearing a new shirt, you said.

I got it at the store, I said.

You smiled and touched the material.

It looks nice, you said.

Thanks, I said. I smoothed out the part where you had touched. Yours does too.

Thanks, you said, and then laughed, and then got quiet.

You said, We should go put on some music.

We stood there, trying to pick a playlist. There was a lot to choose from. It was difficult deciding on what we wanted to hear.

How’s work? I asked. How’s, um, everything else?

---

WE STOOD AROUND WITHOUT ORDERING ANOTHER DRINK

We stepped outside for a moment, then stepped back inside, where we stood around without ordering another drink.

Are you in line for the bar, a girl asked us.

No, no, go right ahead, we said.

Thanks, said the girl. We moved a few steps away from the bar and found ourselves standing very close to each other.

We did not say anything at first.

I should probably get going, you said.

Me too, I said.

But we did not immediately move toward the door.

---



James Yeh is a founding editor of Gigantic and the indie books editor of the Faster Times. His fiction has appeared in PEN America, the film 60 Writers / 60 Places and is forthcoming in the anthology 30 Under 30 (Starcherone Books, 2011). He lives in Brooklyn. His blog is at yehjames.blogspot.com.

Andrew Bulger is an artist and philosopher residing in Brooklyn, New York.

6/29/10

Mark Cunningham

4 Specimens, Plus Horoscope

[specimen]


The termed used to be “white trash.” Now it’s “undyed recyclables.” “Like flies around a dead deer’s asshole,” was judged to be a bit too colorful a way of expressing our interest. Hume disproved the actuality of cause and effect relationships, so there’s no real way of knowing how this stain got on my shirt. Technically, most things moving through the air are UFOs. She was voted most likely to end up as a Bellmer doll. Cotton candy, my foot: I know fiberglass when I taste it.

[specimen]

As the guard made yet another three-point shot, the announcer shouted, “He’s unconscious!” I lie down to relax before going to bed; two hours later, I wake up, then can’t go back to sleep. Charles Bukowski has published more books since he’s been dead than most writers get out while they’re alive.

[specimen]

Using technology far beyond human comprehension, the aliens traveled eighty gazillion miles and then didn’t see me standing behind a bush. She said she missed her prime because she sneezed right then. The instructions were to imitate human beings in action, which made us wonder what we were. The dog posed with its tongue stuck out like Einstein. All afternoon free, and I didn’t make it to the post office; when I took a nap, though, my body moved through space at eighteen miles per second.

[specimen]

A lot of rocks and a steep slope, but bouncing always looks festive. You can be illiterate and still get a paper cut. Fortunately, the aliens communicated mainly by guffaws. Stop yelling at me--I didn’t lower the blinds all crooked; it was the spider on acid. He said he was firing himself inside.

Horoscope

You might want to approach a situation differently. Not everything needs to go your way right now. Let someone else choose. Why not jump on the occasion and pretend you are an easy-going Taurus or some other sign? Know when to back off and do something very differently. Defer, and you’ll come up with answers. Defer to others more often. Others clearly want to and will dominate, no matter what goes on. Tomorrow night: as if you have a choice, let someone else dominate.


Mark Cunningham is the author of 80 Beetles from Otoliths, Body Language from Tarpaulin Sky, and 71 Leaves, an ebook from BlazeVOX. A new chapbook titled Leftovers is on the Gold Wake Press site

6/28/10

Joshua Cohen

Rip off the wings of dragonflies

Rip off the wings of dragonflies, take their “spines,” their central lengths and a bit of paste, affix them down noses, between the eyes, one per customer. A dream.


The most important thing

The most important thing, about this pen, is to maintain inkflow: (the idea that) the ink must flow and continue flowing, at all times.


A Certain Angle

Remember, he said, when loaning it to me, this pen won’t write unless held at a certain angle.


It is said of the Emperor Fu Kang

“It is said of the Emperor Fu Kang: that He, with eyes unflinching, and a hand at peace, would have His enemies, and He had many, executed by decapitation. Further, that He would have their heads scooped out, embalmed then impregnated with magnet: the cavity that held the brain would be filled with iron, mined in the furthest West. During His ample leisure He enjoyed tossing these magnetized heads at a metallic surface. Actually in later years, with His son gaining influence, His Empire modernizing and so falling to ruin, this metal surface was often the door to an enormous refrigerator, then the largest to be found in the universe (opening it required two teams of oxen and an equator of rope). Inside this fridge the Emperor kept his foodstuffs, luxuriously imported at our expense, at a temperature most appropriate.”


Joshua Cohen is the author of three novels, including Witz.

6/25/10

Mark Edmund Doten

Letter (excerpt from Green Zone Kids Vol. 2: John McCain)


You prepare for a great battle, you train your boys for decades, you hone their gifts. You save them up, you do not reveal their gifts to the world. In your underground mansion, a railroad baron’s vast red sandstone heap you’ve inverted and buried at great expense – absolute secrecy raising the price tag by two orders of magnitude (and the citizens of St. Paul never once took note, check the Pioneer Press, check the Dispatch, 1921, 1922, a mansion turned upside down, buried and sodded over for a public park, no mention of that) – in these headquarters, these dormitories and training grounds, on those ceilings retiled as floor, you nurture your boys, hold them to one side; amid roof beams sprouting pommel horses and parallel bars you suit them up, mentally, physically, for the war that’s coming. The breath and scent of exhausted sleeping boys eight or ten or twelve years old. The sweat. How it assumes presence throughout those long nights without electricity. In the Institute’s repumped air, over and above the oil soap and the heady rot of Flemish tapestries, a cleanish fug that cleaves to the subterranean blackness, more and more it insists, to very point of declaring itself as substance, never quite in time: because now it’s dawn. And the incandescent bulbs on their timers tick once and domino down the hallways, and bells clatter off-key, and in white socks and pajama bottoms boys stumble from door after door to the washrooms throughout every wing and level, blinking and shuffling through hot angled beams of natural light that cut from the dilating apertures of the mirror chimney network and strike random slipping ovals of yellow or brown or white skin – and sometimes, when the sun flares off the speck in a boy’s pupil, he sneezes. Then the day of fire, and you are undone. You thought you had prepared for all contingencies, but this was not one you’d prepared for.

And you are utterly undone.

And your boys are slaughtered.

And none of their gifts means a fucking thing.

You did not study your history – or you did, but not at the broadest level, it had not occurred to you that all your work, all those lives you’d trained so well and yes had loved so well, that they could all be snuffed out before the battle was even joined.

I am asking you to try to understand, Beezer.

Beezer, I love you so much, but I am writing to tell you: I cannot live any longer.


Mark Edmund Doten is the managing editor of Soho Press. His fiction has appeared in Conjunctions, Lamination Colony, elimae, Exquisite Corpse, The Agriculture Reader and Dennis Cooper's Userlands anthology. His website is greenzonekidz.blogspot.com

6/24/10

David Rylance

Third Plane


No thing is nothing as nothing is never itself. For always and still, the is wavers backwards and forwards as the is not of what is, which is itself an is not on the inside of some other thing else.

Yesterday, as I sliced the thumbs from my hands, I said to the stumps that a new circumference awaited them, a sort of titanium zeppelin of the most impossible dreams they could never imagine, given, of course, they were stumps.

Within this inconceivable fantasy of the stumps, there drifted in sacs not only the lighter than air flotilla of hydrogen gas, awaiting the spark, but, in glowing cells cocooned in the airship’s cavernous centre, the isotopic ratios of the xenon that is imagination itself, ringed round, serenely, by the intestines of cows.

The thumbs, obviously, were not nearly enough. The toes and metatarsus were forced to go too. I was at war, you see, with each of my extremities, all the ends and reaches of me. My body was an attrition between the ulterior and the in. There was no exterior empty enough not to contain a VIP section, revolving like a restaurant on the tip of a tower within it. And every instant I went on living was an elimination of the inevitable. I was a plateau at odds with the plains.

One of the paradoxes of my pruning was that the fingers of my right hand – the hand I happen to use – would have to be the last thing to go, if I wished to see the task through with lethal success. To become an amputee, I knew, would only aggravate the condition. And yet the fingers themselves were the hub of the problem – these deft manipulators of items and everything, from wiping my ass to signing my signature, yet also the dropper of plates and slapper of faces, a klutz collective of the soul.

To think that I needed them yet! - to cut away lips and nose, nipples and dick (for I am a man), to scrounge out the anus and to scissor the eyelids, to razor the chin and the ears, to barber the tongue. These little piggies were the first to go to market; they were the invisible hand, the providential forces; and they stood like tiny, bloody totems, bringing home the bacon til the end.

By this juncture, as you may gather, I was in terrible pain. My mouth geysered with blood, which welled from the root of my tongue, and which I spat up in screams around me. I did not try to carry out this deconstruction with stoicism or gravity – to die, as they say, ‘with dignity’. It would be a slap in the face of the process, I believe, to pretend to stomach it. Rather, one must slowly remove oneself from the picture in the most painted possible way.

Then, when at last all that was left were the four standing digits of my red right hand, my Archimedean claw, I climbed into the bathtub and hulked the palm of my fingerless left around the handle of a cleaver, taping it shut. I next positioned my remaining flanges on the tub’s chipped rim, aligned the shaking blade, levered it up and took a deep breath. Then let my cutting edge drop. The blade slammed down unevenly along the ridge of my knuckles, shattering bone, mulching marrow, launching my digits like tiny toy NASA rockets thrown up into the air, their sputtering red stream running out of fuel in mid-flight, tumbling them down to watery graves, in the already bloody, human-sized basin below. After that, I slumped back against the enamel and huffed out a shriek. I had never experienced an agony that could compare to anything like it. The only ethics ever are rouge.

My work thus complete, I settled. I looked up at the ceiling as best I could through the red curtain drawn down by the removal of my eyelids. I could feel myself ebbing away into the liquid around me, becoming a situation, an environment, a time and a place. I had learnt at a young age to think of suffering as a kind of exquisite refinement of the educational faculty, though now I couldn’t think much at all. Had I been able to reflect, I may have weighed the merits of the hydrogen theory against the incendiary paint theory in deciding what set off the immolation of the Hindenburg. Or perhaps I would have recalled that xenon was first discovered as the left-over dregs of an experimental evaporation of the elements of liquid air, by scientists that hadn’t been looking for it.

But I was too dispersed by now to do much else but convulse. I drifted away in the tub of my refusing. I looked deep into my mind and saw nothing repairing.

You get as far as the third plane but you go no farther.

You come as far as you come.


David Rylance is a graduate in literary studies – which is to say, free of all the qualities that make for a compelling biography. He lives in Sydney, Australia.

6/23/10

Joseph Riippi

Something about Borges and the Blind in Chelsea


1

Sometimes I pass them tapping their white sticks on the sidewalk and I’ll think of Borges. Yesterday I watched a man in black sunglasses at the Starbucks on 8th avenue reading Braille. He seemed to be staring out the window at the butcher’s shop, petting a cat. Does he write, too? Maybe with one of those complicated typewriters. I watched him run his old fingers back and forth across the pages for a long time. It made me a little jealous—I would like to know what a Borges story feels like. I’d like to know what the word goosebumps feels like. This morning I thought of him when I passed five men tapping their sticks together, almost in unison, moving past the art supply store on 23rd. They weren’t speaking, which seemed odd. They weren’t asking directions of anyone. I remember a cousin once gave me a book for my birthday called The Book of Questions. One of the questions was, Would you rather be blind or deaf? Another question was, Would you rather be burned alive or drowned?

2

I had a dream in which an army of blind men and women tried to beat me to death with their sticks outside the Chelsea Hotel. Tap! Tap! Tap! I didn’t see if Borges was among them before I ran inside and hid. I don’t know why I needed to hide. I woke and decided I would rather be blind than deaf; people could read to me while I learned Braille. I would write stories that felt like the sidewalk or a rash or a basketball. I would write a novel called Acne; my memoir would be called Listening.

3

In Borges’ “The South,” a man gets in a knife fight with his country. The story ends without us knowing who wins. I suppose his country; just by the act of fighting I suppose he is beaten. In the sixth grade my next-door neighbor Ben punched me in the face when I teased him for liking the neighbor girl. The three of us were walking home from the bus stop and I told the girl: Ben wants to suck your pussy. I didn’t know what the words meant but I knew they were powerful and would make the kids at school laugh. Ben punched me in the face and the girl ran home when she saw all the blood. We were never friends again, and that was the last day we walked home together. Sometimes, not often, I wonder where he lives. Sometime, if we meet on the street in New York or Seattle, I’ll ask if he wants to get a drink. Will we shake hands or hug? Maybe he will pull a knife; maybe he will lead an army of the blind and they will beat me to death. I suppose I deserve not knowing—it was me who ruined everything. I was the one who took him for granted; I was the one who moved away.

Joseph Riippi is the author of Do Something! Do Something! Do Something! (Ampersand Books, 2009). Recent writing appears in The Brooklyn Rail, PANK, The Bitter Oleander, Ep;phany, and others. His new book, The Orange Suitcase, is forthcoming this winter from Ampersand. He lives in New York. www.josephriippi.com

6/22/10

Joseph Goosey

I Don't Even Pee I Don't Have to 'Cause I've Got a Full-Time Staff of Seven


I am going to tongue your dog mouth.
I am going to evaporate my little girl.

Is that a big deal for such you?
You should be fired.

The enema backwards is a jalapeno.
My splits gain a forward thickness.

Snoring during interesting.

Your teeth are yellow blind under this light.
Your pores are banana creme pudding.

How does one access the Howard Johnsons?
How does one save Grandma, drink with Aunt Ethel?

My BAC is a neighbor crying the bathroom.
My sincerity pisses post-modern.

I went to the locker room to hide for a little awhile and maybe do a
little bit of screaming. I sat down on the tile took photos of my cock
with my phone.
I emailed the photos of my cock to myself. Later I'll post them on
Craigslist using the company computer. My 401K will suffer.

There is so much fear of bankers working from home. Tattooed bankers
who wanna make you think they do drugs, who wanna be your friend, who
would decline even a Mocktail.

In addition my poo job as animal keeper is giving me anxiety.

The listings have always been so incorrect.

My handle, as you know, is littleasiancumwhore3010.

How paint can you assemble?

Mom's shopping, my eyeballs are your worst.

No reservation = No gloryhole

Fit males only for CA$H Number one service in town

Cool way to have a seventeen year old girlfriend. We never suspected
you for a reader even then the atmosphere dreads this. Even the turkey
needs. Every Filipino man in the century is surprised to hear about a
snake in the room of storage.

3 grants now available for adorable St.Louis lesbians only.

When is Mrs.Houston going to realize we can't all serve as her new kneecap?

The only thing I want to own is a large house with nobody else ever inside.


Joseph Goosey is unemployed in DC. He has a chapbook called Mostly Spinach forthcoming through Virgogray press and is trying vaguely to pimp out a novel.

6/21/10

Ricky Garni

Discovery



I found a wicker basket.

Shaped like an egg.

I bet you could fit in it.

I could carry you.

I could take you anywhere.

You could tell me stories.

I could tell you the same stories.

I could spray it with perfume.

After you died. I could still walk

down the street with my basket.

I could meet new people.

I could tell new people stories.

Old stories that you loved.

I could even make up new stories

to tell new people. Stories that you

would have loved. Stories that would

have made you say I love it when

you make up new stories. Stories

that would have made you say OH

but how I do miss the old ones.

••

Ricky Garni is a graphic designer in Carrboro, North Carolina USA whose poetry (what? poetry? what's the connection?) anyway, whose poetry can be found at Anemone Sidecar, Tinfoiled Dress, Modus Operandi and other places but most especially at www.tinyurl.com/rickygarni

6/18/10

Matthew Salesses

At the Intervention to Stop the Epidemic of Obsessing



At the intervention to stop the epidemic of obsessing I found our old King of Unrequited Love with his obsession, Samantha. We’d all brought our obsessions if we could and we wanted to know how he’d gotten her to come with him. It had been a long time since the epidemic of unrequited love—when we’d all loved Sam—the epidemic he’d always had and which had seemed to spread from him, but which now seemed to be requited. He told us a long story.

During the epidemic of unrequited love Sam had carved a statue of her animal god, the thing she loved instead of us. Later, during the epidemic of magic, the animal god came alive. It jumped around destroying her apartment; she pleaded for it to stop but she’d made it an erratic and violent god. Our old King of Unrequited Love said it was a squirrel-like god with a tiny tail that never stopped wagging. As it bounded out her door it screamed, “Justice, justice." And soon it began to hunt down people and stomp them to death. (We’d thought this was the start of an epidemic of crushed bodies then.)

Sam didn’t know who to turn to, as she suffered a crisis of faith, until our old King of Unrequited Love stopped by as usual. His magic in the epidemic was full of his love for her: dragonfruit sprouted from his fingers. Maybe he seemed like a god himself. He told us how she was always looking for something to believe in, ever since she burned down her parents’ dragonfruit farm on the east side of the island and they had to abandon the home she loved. He said she’d only ever believed in what she’d believed in then, all of which was now gone.

Though probably he hadn’t seemed like a god.

He chased after the animal god and when the murders stopped he knew where to look. He climbed the hills where the forests was full of animals and found the animal god quietly holding court. The animal god gnawed on a human thigh as the other animals did its bidding, hares hopping with torches between their teeth, reindeer pouring wine from bottles stuck in their antlers. The court was in and around the trees and seemed to have no structure, no bounds, as if the whole forest was one regal plaza.

Our old King of Unrequited Love approached with his hands up in surrender, giving the animal god no reason to crush him. He was welcomed to a seat on the leaves.

“Justice,” the animal god said. “Justice, justice, justice.”

“Is this justice?” our old King asked. “Is it justice that I love someone who does not love me? Is it justice that the magic in my fingers is for her? That even the epidemics, in me, are hers? What is justice?”

The animal god said, “Justice justice justice justice.”

The King of Unrequited Love felt the magic fading as the animal god spoke, as if the island were saying, justice justice, back. His fingers tingled with dragonfruit as a last flame curled from his thumb; then he felt his skin cool. “You should know, you will soon turn back to stone,” he said.
“Justice,” the animal god said. But he seemed calm, as if something in those hills had already quieted his soul. He didn’t seem like he’d ever stomped anyone.

“I have to take you back. She needs to believe in you. I will do that out of love.”

“Justice,” the animal god said again.

Our old King of Unrequited Love rushed toward the animal god and the other animals tried to protect it. “Justice,” it said brokenly as it returned to stone. A deer put its horns into our old King’s side and he felt blood leak out of him. Justice, he thought. The animal god deserved to stay. Yet the animal god was only carved out of stone, carved by the girl, Sam, everyone had once loved.

He dodged a badger's teeth and grabbed the statue, and when the animals saw that it was a statue they started to moan. He swore to us that they moaned words. “What is love?” they moaned.

And when he had the statue in his arms he couldn’t lift it.

He took Sam up to see the statue of her animal god every day, and they were on their way that day when they dropped by the intervention. The truth was they both wished to stop obsessing.
Three days later the epidemic of hirsuteness struck and they disappeared into the hills for a long time.



Matthew Salesses holds an MFA from Emerson College, where he edited Redivider. He is the author of a PG chapbook, We Will Take What We Can Get. The other stories in his island of epidemics series have or will appear in Cavalier Literary Couture, Hobart, Wigleaf, Word Riot, Kitty Snacks, Corium, Necessary Fiction, PANK, Thieves Jargon, and Pindeldyboz.

6/17/10

Justin Dobbs

a question posed to the mayor at a town hall meeting and answered


Yes, I agree with you about the situation regarding the fence and the giant pile of manure, and actually, I anticipated it from the start. But let's start at the beginning. You have already told me that your life is really bad, that it's already been so, and we shall have to factor that into whatever decision I might make. I won't lie to you Tom, I believe that removing the manure that's been dumped over your little pink fence and into your rose garden is completely out of question. I don't tell you this in order to make you cry, although I don't mind seeing you cry, but only to remind you of your responsibilities to the town and first of all, to yourself!

Yes, it's very unfortunate what's happened to you and your children, your wife, and the postal delivery worker, but these are things that you will have to accomodate if you are to grow as a responsible citizen of the town, which all town members must do, and to attend the annual dance, which most must also do, but there is something else that few of us has accounted for, and that is we must now be bolting from this room, for as many have predicted the volcano that we are all quite familiar with is truly about to blow, and will knock off some of our hats!


Justin Dobbts lives in Seattle and can be found online at thebluemayor.blogspot.com.

6/16/10

Brennen Wysong

Surviving You Always

Here are kilowatt hours measured from the luster of a dozen spark plugs firing. Termites drive this engine within a scorched toy clanging gongs along the floor of a porn theater. Welcome to this fragile glass gangland. Here, a knife can be a vehicle. Drive it through a foe. Foil tiny muggers. Drug bloodborne murderers. Swim in an ocean of pills. When a chair is a weapon, it’s not surprising to find the room full of darning eggs and coughing. Yes, we will wear our infants in their slings everywhere, even in knife fights, even in tilt-a-whirls. Yes, my iron lung sings. And yes, it’s in the key of X to please the queen. And yet, it appears everyone here just wants to claim their spun sugar crowns can’t stand up to a buffing. See figure 4.1. It depicts three life-sized angels sleeping inside a tiger, its captors tormenting it with paper airplanes in a cage. Then the coal cars’ clacking subtracts the blackbirds from the calibrated miles of a racehorse’s veins. Add a clef. Measure a sentence by its circumference. The die back is almost done now. A thousand false eyelashes cover the framework of the fans you use in a burlesque dance. Once again, four brothers are picking off tiles lined against the marquee above a movie theater. If a bright furriness blinds you, then it might be your guide beyond a cabin through the woods with fireworks blooming two by two above you. Wooed, you swoon. The fourth lark flew from the baby’s throat into the wishing well, where neon lightning strikes a skeleton key, the inventor of suspicion. Why? Because every good boy deserves a goat inside him. So mom, you wanted to ask me then, is in an animal again?

Brennen Wysong's poetry has appeared or are forthcoming in Fou, Denver Quarterly, Fourteen Hills, The Corduroy Mtn., Word For/Word, GlitterPony, New CollAge Magazine, Spring Formal, Bateau, Copper Nickel, 42opus, and other journals. I live in New York City with my wife, Debra, and son, Calder Birch.

6/15/10

Michael Bible

So, What's Up?

The girl is crying. Margaret keeps the milk cold. Bruce has a box near the tree. Virginia doesn't own a fancy hammer. This is Debbie's little knife. Richard owns a dry book. He has a pen by the sea. Rita's aunt has some guitars. Ned doesn't have a camera at the barbershop. I don't have a cold knife.

Do most bus drivers surf four or five times a day? Do plumbers very often weep? Do doctors shave badly? Do you jog near the tree? Don't you talk behind the post office? Do most scientists pray every night? Do most singers eat three times a day? Does Doug read in the doghouse? Do those carpenters shave all night? Do those pilots frequently shout? Do those doctors pray well?

Edgar will not burn Mr. Cook to death this week. Harry ate a lot of caviar for breakfast. Isaac is living with Kate. Peggy comes from good stock. Earl is said to have been born in Denmark. Captain Furt gave me a hint. Cliff likes anything sweet. Ruth's old canary is still alive.

Does Edgar laugh five or six days a week? Elmer caught a ball after he drank diet coke. Tony burned Mr. Chapman to death. Lucy broke the speed limit early the next morning. Jamie died the morning after he became carsick. Darrell alone became a good thief. Eugene cut Mrs. Smith to pieces. Hilda has never become a good dentist. Editor Sash's affection is cooling. Ernest's failure is out of the question. Hank learned to make a fire without matches. Mrs. Estrada's karaoke voice would put a professional to shame. Raymond burns Ms. Huntley to death all day.

Michael Bible is the author of "My Second Best Bear Rug" (Paper Hero Press) and Gorilla Math (Greying Ghost). His fiction can be see in Lamination Colony, Wigleaf, elimae, FlatmanCrooked Print, and Artifice. He lives in Mississippi where he edits Kitty Snacks Magazine.

6/14/10

John Minichillo

Will

Mama’s assets are divided among lawyers, real estate agents, Catholic Charities, nurses, domestic servants, and Uncle Sam. Coach is not entirely left out. Mama has bequeathed to her son the Mercury station wagon with 70,000 miles and the Schwinn stationary exercise bike with the worn-out banana seat. Mama had the money to do more for Coach and Cindy but she wrote up the will after a trip to Mexico City, when she donated the bulk of her accounts to Mother Teresa with a swelling of her heart.

Coach and Cindy had been living on a thread for some time, Coach’s socks with holes in them, his team jacket in need of dry-cleaning. Cindy boils pasta without sauce, rice with frozen vegetables, and she quits her shelving job at the library for a daycare job that pays more. She misses the freedom of wandering the stacks. Her old boss had caught her curled up on a third floor couch with a book and didn’t care. She checked out books and brought them home but never felt like reading when Coach was around.

Brad is six, he knows Grandma is dead but they opt not to bring him to the funeral. Coach puts the stationary bicycle in the back of the Mercury station wagon and Cindy drives Mama’s car, now hers. Coach had written in calligraphic letters on the windows of the car with a bar of Ivory: “In memory” and “Pray for us.” They drop Brad off at the baby-sitter’s and Coach and Cindy drive home to pick up the Datsun, the Datsun and the Mercury station wagon the only cars in Mama’s procession.

At the climax of the funeral the reverend reads Psalm 23, Mama’s favorite: I shall not want. Coach smacks the coffin top with the fullness of his hand and it makes a hollow sound. The reverend imagines ghosts startled awake in the empty folding chairs then resumes Psalm 23 exactly where he left off: He taketh me. Cindy fiddles with her wedding ring, twirling the diamond round and round. Coach keeps his hands hidden in the deep pocket of his dull team jacket. He hasn’t given Cindy the negligee he bought on a whim, but has developed the habit of fondling the items in his pocket. He took four pills and they’re working on him, he’s emotional, the tears are streaming.

After the service, Coach and Cindy thank the reverend, they sit in the Mercury station wagon, and they eat the ham sandwiches Cindy brought. Groundskeepers collapse the funeral tent and load the folding chairs onto a flatbed truck. The crew leader drives a backhoe over the grass and begins shoveling the inconspicuous pile of dirt back into Mama’s hole. In an uncharacteristic move, Coach wipes his wet face with the wadded silk pajama bottoms.

“What’s that?” Cindy says, and she takes them.

“There’s more,” Coach says. He pulls the silk chemise from his pocket and the small panties. From the same deep pocket he produces the dark green crushed-velvet gloves. He says, “I bought all this but haven’t had the chance to give it to you. I hope I haven’t ruined them. Or the surprise.”

“No,” Cindy says. “I love it.” She applies a dab of saliva to test a mustard stain. “It’ll wash.”

They leave the Datsun parked at Mama’s grave and Cindy drives the Mercury station wagon. They pick up Brad from the baby-sitter’s. Brad understands the car is now theirs and he’s excited. He lays out on the spacious back seat with his hands behind his head.

“Grandma’s in heaven now?” he says. “Is that what happens?”

Coach stares at the road ahead. His mother has finally been laid next to his father in the ground. He buckles his seat belt and scans the CDs in the changer. He seems to remember Mama had Big Brother & the Holding Co. He finds it then skips ahead to “Piece of My Heart.” He cries and doesn’t say a word.

“Grandma’s with Jesus,” Cindy says.

“Do we get her money?”

“You do, honey,” she says. “Or you will. When you’re older. She left a trust.”

“A what?”

“Money for college.”

“How long do I have to wait?”

“A few more years.”

The wheel of the stationary bike juts out over the back seat and hangs above Brad’s head. It spins freely. Brad stares into the spokes and tries to imagine college. Grandma had made it sound like a kabuki. To Brad’s father college was a vague set of memories he referred to as his “ball playing days,” mostly conquests of cheerleaders, feats of strength, feats of drinking, then his senior year and the romancing of June. Brad knows college has changed since Coach and Grandma’s time. A world-renowned school advertised itself on TV during the football games as “the college of the future.” Brad imagined college as the hardest math class and the hardest reading group all rolled into one. He imagined a thin-boned judge at a tall podium asking labyrinthine questions. Brad doesn’t think he could live up to that and he’s anxious. His mother is a high school dropout and the smartest of the bunch. He’ll never get Grandma’s money. Brad lets out a sigh.

Cindy places her hand in Coach’s pocket. He’d taught himself to draft and to writer calligraphy to get the job at the high school. She has faith in him. She wraps her fingers between his and squeezes. She takes his hand from the pocket and draws it to her chest.

“Mama’s in heaven,” she says. “Everything will be all fine.”


John Minichillo's work has appeared in Night Train, Mississippi Review, Third Coast, the anthology Next Stop Hollywood (St. Martin's), Monkeybicycle, DeComp, Metazen,
Dogzplot, Gigantic Web, In Posse Review, Staccato Fiction,
Glossolalia, Nashville Review, and elsewhere. Work forthcoming at
Northville Review, Moon Milk Review, Writer's Bloc, and Hint Fiction:
an Anthology of Stories in Twenty-Five Words or Less (Norton).

6/11/10

Roxanne Carter

Alike Bewitched, from Beyond This Point Are Monsters

darling is sure that she is staunch. she has been completely motionless and compliant for the last
few hours, standing in the sea and allowing each one to cross her, the apex of each wave dividing
between her legs.

if she knew about the rusted battleships buried in the sand, she would disappointed. some things i keep to myself: i sing, flip my tongue rather than tell.

i look at her, even though she hasn’t moved. i watch her as i often do. i shuffle in the sand, making noises that don’t quite reach her. the house on the cliffs above us is dark: duchess has been persuaded to turn out the lights. duchess is walking in the inner perimeter, holding up her skirts, stopping at each window. trying to find the best view, stumbling over shadows.

there is something too close, near presence: something wrong. when i glance up, a glitch: long black hair hanging from a window. a stiff mountain, a poisoned comb. there is no one besides darling

and i am
and there is venom running down darling’s neck.
i am feeling wondrous, enormous pain.

i don’t realize it is blood until a drop begins to slip from the corner of my mouth. i wonder if it is enough.

a few minutes pass. are you there? says darling

her body has swollen, lewdly ripe, the flesh possessive of its organs. her body beyond lace curtains,

candlesticks.

i am still grimacing

and grunting - it makes her nervous, now that she can hear me.

it feels like i am still biting her.

this throbbing, these symptoms. all the times i have made her nervous; i kept interrupting her pacing from room to room. i have never had to answer. i know her typical activities - enough to last me a long time. i wonder if i can keep watching, all the way until the end.

my flesh has become warm. i can feel pain in my joints - startled, the crying starts with a wail and a whirlwind of dust.

a purple flume, her halted breath.

darling returns to the house despite the fact that it is still progressing. her hands are unable to move. there is a tight air in the corridor and a certainty that it will take her a couple days to recover. a paper moon, a paper heart, floundering in the fire.

her unwashed hair, damp from the fog.
some girls have fallen into a coma from such a bite.

duchess not really looking at the sea - looking at the window, the glass, the water caught there. you have to stop,

duchess says. sounds she doesn’t recall making, too concerned about the possibility of broken glass. she closes

her half-open mouth, sends darling to the only room she knows. the room is alarmed and monitored.

duchess is regretting her vow. if she could leave the house she could have covered darling’s eyes with her own hands, lifted her hair and wrapped it around her neck, snake of silk. duchess, suspended between the roof and the floor, is no longer convinced that she can answer the question. what happened here?

i was wrong about the pain subsiding. completely wrong. i have lived, hoping to be found, guiding my light through the mist to the first granite stone. i have been here ever since, unable to contain the scream: from my mouth comes a red dress.

some of it must be real. i can’t believe this, otherwise.

darling limping down the hallway, walking on sharp stones, bare feet. her tendons severely stretched as if used for the first time. she did not expect her inclination to cry.

she was quite nauseous, but that has passed. soon darling will go to bed wondering whether she will wake tomorrow experiencing something completely new that she hasn’t even thought of, or if tomorrow will be one of many ordinary days. some heaving and then some fumbling. none of this is darling’s fault. she didn’t ask to be put in this situation, and merely reacts out of fear. any fault, if there must be any, is mine.


Roxanne Carter is searching for a woodland cabin to move in in the front range. She currently lives in Denver where she is pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Denver. Her writings have been included in Caketrain, La Petite Zine, Finery, and The New River. She can be found prancing around at www.persephassa.com.

6/10/10

Tadgh O'Criomhthain

O'Groifa


Bury the toenails in the back yard, build an entity that is nearly all soul, very little mouth; breathe, pestle fools to cinder, mount a horse and travel to Borodino like you grandfather after the war. Small mouths elicit very few altruistic neural firings, mesocorticolimbic clefts left drying like small finger holds, collecting bat guano, stale comment, little else. After the egg, after the ox, grandma and the booze and grandpa at the helm of a mad torrent of damp skin and nostalgic finger picking; you live in reverse with the past pending, a remonstrating Sullivan leering from behind barns, tossing rocks to piss the horse. You will continue to stack dirt on top, well beyond necessity, mounting a geologic oddity, unwell famous paupers beating glass, pacing the walls of an insomniac’s ant farm, unshaken. Hoot, breathe, still, patting dirt, a patriarchal mound; a fallow pubis governed by a merkinship of silent soil is bristled by wind. Crows flock. I will kiss at your sweaty face as you pat your shovel, whistling the pool hall madrigal of whipped saints. Do you realize all that we’ve done despite the taste of sour children, the ripe bruises on their small little backs, that stone throwing O’Groifa and all he’s done? When your hair was dark as clots and my smell was of March we stole away after the barn burned and the first murdering Griffin banged the slowest cow, a mewling cant of smile and wet grass and we looked at one another and we knew it was the work of O’Groifa, calling tunes from his hare-lipped rookery, hostel of intransigent bastardry. Pat your shovel. I scratch my skin, lamb’s bladder stuffed with river rock, repulsed from the inside, pressed outward by endocrine and animus and gravity and moonlight. Look, I know, we have made a leap and he cannot throw stones from a snake’s briar any longer, and yet you drink for what, a remorseless night’s rest? We know, the death, a dying, O’Groifa, at the door for a truce and a slow stew, sewing together neighbors in a grey roil of pipe smoke and cocksong, and you knew it, the hollowness of the sham; his very teeth could tell stories that his mouth would feign, eyes belie. O’Groifa, I remember how he held his neck when you stabbed him with your own hickory pipe, slamming the Dutch door to spare the carpet. He twirled, and the crows in tow picked him at his edges until he stood like a wraith pinned to the devils lorry, spurting Sullivan, folk folly, and phlegm; goodbye, O’Groifa, you shovelman’s delight, I cried. You exhaled half, and what remained issued from the broken pipe stem with the slow candor of burning peat. He fell, you hushed, I comforted; don’t worry, guilt is for the gull that spoils the picnic and you are a stone wall unturned.


Tadgh O'Criomhthain lives in Baltimore and is finishing his first novel, 'Unknown
Categorical'.

6/9/10

Joseph Marcure

The Unworn Sweatshirt



A slice of onion curled in the rain

recalled the glowworm:
eleven years of that thing called a crush,

attendant driftings, netherworlds quite charted

by now, outbursts before, and after, epiphanic walks
interrupted by rain, as though drops of punctuation, carefully

crafted chocolate arriving somewhere, in a lunar month,

with no intention.

Unlike the mood swings

which may have stood out most
to others, it's important to consider how

each is perceived. The crush, a state and a direction,

an endless jaw pain being caused by

and addendum to. All poorly folded
as a sweatshirt in a makeshift closet drawer.

Followed by laughter in a rain forest, a space where
a memory could be. The first steps a child takes

after fumbling over. Machine cut pieces of wood,
bite sized from our vantage, carefully placed together
out of phase, striking up a miniature dwelling.

Slice of onion laying bare on concrete, crisp
and conjuring the glowworm, its misguided floating
in eleven years of that diseased mobility,
no longer sessile, called a crush.

Eleven years of beautiful sex that slept in,
making breakfast whenever it pleased, until carelessly
it, too, came to seem a translucent piece of puffy onion – or was it lithe,

moist and nonetheless versatile in fast breaking forms?

Who can tell? When it's good it's great, like lemons
removed from their thorny apartments and happier than happy.

A collapse was only a part of the longitudinal process.

An expanse followed along in a rare wave, a push-pull, or just a parallel
sexual frustration to the screaming for release converging

on an imaginary window in a bedroom door.

Seven fish in a bowl swimming at once side by side
or dressing nicely – caring about how one looks again, at long last.
Each heterotrophic guppy nipping at the water before them
as do so many moments of trust. But, returning to the sartorial
folding, I cannot deny it is too late. Taking out your sweatshirt
to find it can only be folded poorly, the majestic plural,
on pedestrian footing, being all that is left.


Joseph Marcure lives in Fresno, California. This is his first published poem. Previously he had a short story in Dennis Cooper's Userlands anthology. He occasionally blogs at youwrote.blogspot.com (where you can also jump to his past writings on DC's) and releases music via Japanese Alice. Even less occasionally he contributes to Transductions. Presently he is working on more poems and (very slowly) a novel.

6/8/10

Amber Sparks

The City Outside of Itself

The City longed to travel. It hadn't been anywhere in ages, and it wanted to see what things looked liked outside of itself. So the City asked his best friend Tammie if she would mind giving him a lift. Tammie took her gum out of her mouth and twirled it around and around her index finger, pink on peach on pink, while she thought about it.

Okay, she said, and popped the gum back into her mouth. The City thought that was kind of gross but he didn't say anything since she was giving him a lift, after all. He barely had time to wince before Tammie was hoisting him up onto her shoulders, where he rested like the set of a complicated play.

Where are we going, Tammie asked. The City hadn't thought this part through. He asked Tammie to give him some time, so she tried on dresses at Topshop while the City read through his guidebooks. Hurry up, she said through a layer of fuchsia organza. I'm just about done here. While she was ringing up her stuff, the City decided on Mexico. Airfare was dirt cheap right now. Plus he'd never been there before, and yet it wasn't that far away. He could get back pretty quickly if he needed to.

Tammie told the clerk thank you and reached for her bag. The City was super excited; he was scribbling notes about all the places they would go, like the ruins, and the beaches, and then maybe to visit his cousin, Mexico City. That would be sweet. The City told Tammie he'd decided, but she shook her head.

I changed my mind, she said. You're getting really heavy, and anyway, I have to go to work tomorrow. And she lifted the City from her shoulders and settled him gently back into the spot where he belonged, the spot that he'd worn into the general shape of him from all the years of being there.


The streets of the City were flooded with sadness for a long while after that.



Amber Sparks's work has been featured or is forthcoming in various publications, including New York Tyrant, Unsaid, Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens, Wigleaf, and the Collagist. She is the fiction editor at Emprise Review, and can be found online at www.ambernoellesparks.com.


6/7/10

Daniel Gallik

The Dementia in Lazy Life


On February 20, 1989, David R. Birstle coined the phrase, “lint within the doom.” Ken Smitt fired off a series of questions on the event. His class at K.S.U. took rabid notes. Mr. Smitt was first interested in the meaning of the word, “lint.” He said, “I believe it is a four letter word meaning the bits of fuzz from clothing. However, there could be deeper meaning here.” Smitt went on to say that the word and the phrase might be an explanation of the troubled life of Mr. Birstle. It seems he was once a hat maker in Danbury, Connecticut in the forties. In the trade it is a sin to allow any lint on the product. Many hatters were fired on the spot if inspectors found the substance on the finished product. Mr. Smitt thought that this little fact had strong implications within the phrase,

“It seems to me that the word means more than tiny pieces of cloth. It means the very dust left on every finished product in our world. That dust implies that nothing is perfect. Every bit of civilization has imperfections that will eventually lead to the demise of that society.”

Georgie Angir raised his hand like all students do. When asked what he wanted he said, “Aren’t we making more of this than is intended? ‘Lint in the doom’ only means that any philosophy whether negative or positive has its dust, and that dust represents the author’s stupidity.”

“Yes, of course, there is a certainty there.” Mr. Smitt continued, “Lint and doom are synonyms. Both are very fuzzy words. Both mean that not all events are catastrophic. Some, in fact, most, are casual and quiet. Yes, many of the day to day happenings are not even noticeable. Yet, they have an impact on our world.”

Ken Smitt then told the class to take a break and get a little water, that there was much more in depth topics on this phrase to discuss. Angir smiled, got up, and asked the girl next to him if she knew what was going on. Cynthia R. Gladstone said, “Yes.” She did not say another word, went to the lavatory, had a sip of water from the fountain, and walked back to the classroom, retrieved her books and notepad and left. She owned a late model Datsun, and wanted to get some gas for it before she went home to her two kids (age eight and 14) who lived in an apt. over on E.18th in Cleveland. Gladstone also remembered she had not vacuumed the apt.’s rugs in weeks.

Angir had his hand raised again when the class began, “I have one further thought. Isn’t life nothing but lint and doom?” No one had any input that evening. Smitt only said, “Thank you.”

R.L. Ashley died that evening while walking to her car. She owned an old Continental. Later, it was found that Ms. Ashley was afraid of deep philosophy. She feared psychological meanings in any phase of life. Also, it was found that an adolescent named J.E.T. Jones also hated deep thoughts. After confronting Ms. Ashley the fourteen year old had shot the young woman because her purse was very dirty. Even the money in it was stained.



Daniel Gallik has had poetry and short stories published by Hawaii Review, Parabola, Nimrod, Limestone (Univ. of Kentucky), The Hiram Poetry Review, Aura (Unv of Alabama), and Whiskey Island (Cleveland State Univ). He has place writings in hundreds of online journals. His first novel, A Story of Dumb Fate is available at
publishamerica.com.

6/4/10

Corey Wakeling

60th Floor



“Dare for once to believe yourselves – yourselves and your entrails!
Whoever cannot believe himself always lies.”

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Septicaemia of bleach, bleach of supposition,
Dragon pontificating, playing with one paw on the sea creature,
a mud pile – he is mud and to be played with – a phallus with a light

from which the overman extracts pollen. Tassles don't make a cape,
the cake a last resort, mud chocolate, we wallow in past tenses. Feline
wisdom draws bleak birches of the underwater, which is a long way down.

And parsing the spine finds meat. Always the guts go away. And then,
like a shower of toads, or Tom-Cruise-Realism, Dragon marinates the sea
creature in gut-fluid, or petroleum. Sashimi feasts dabble with death

from which there is no easy gill. Sometimes I have to help Dragon with
a knife, running it along what feels like a jaw, but is also a cranium. Mostly
ripping though; this is the deft hand of the Arranger, who can discover deserts.

The guts of a sea creature are the same as its head. Except more efflorescent.
Arranged, the entrails are burgeoning glass, then crystal, then natural gas and then
petroleum. They simply don't know fire. Dragon, with it at disposal, can recycle
every supposition into warm water, which is bleach diluted, which is a tender
throat that swallows all of this. I believe this ocean-home. There is no more
perilous a going-under. We make burrows of bowels and he is eating lamb again.

Flushing the wound, the joint, the lesion, the bare bone, the spine,
the bowel, the naked beach, the contusion, the cavity, the bleach, the empty
pot, the rubber washer, the lost memo, the shedded skin. Besides, I met the 60th
storey-teller from Eureka and he's a radiologist. He's got an x-ray of our man leaping.



Corey Wakeling is a writer of poetry and prose from Melbourne, Australia.
His work has been published in Otoliths, Etchings, Peril, Yomimono, and
The Age. His current projects include a PhD thesis on Samuel Beckett and a
soap-opera in verse called The Drifting.

6/3/10

Christina Goldstein

Letters to Maxwell Solomon, Unsent


1.
Well, I had, of course,
thought about it before
(your long lovely bones,
childlike rightness of every
motion) but this, darling,
was not grown in a
bubble in space--
the welling up in you,
then the hot summer
night the liquor
brought it up burning,
sent us, smelling of chlorine
and charcoal, clumsy
tumbling down and
down into a bright
roaring, all hot and
white and swimming,
and the quiet smiling morning
I left you (looking
soft as memory) for work,
and couldn’t wait
for the lunch hour to
come home and
kiss you sweetly.
But you had gone.

2.
And the day of
hermit crabs and
cheese sandwiches,
riding home with
the ocean on our lips
and in our bones,
letting my papers fly
out the car window
(the sand broke stars
in your black hair),
highway glittering, for us,
everycolor blue--
we stopped only to
hold forever
the sound of wind
through momentary
trees.

3.
That night I found you
so drunk you couldn’t
stand, couldn’t stand
yourself, tearing
at your clothes
like you didn’t know
they were nothing,
I could have laughed
the names of lovers
forever on ice and
the so many poems
about you,
Maxwell Solomon,
but here I am,
alone, with
letters, unsent.

IV.
Last night
I dreamed you
white and frail
as the picked-over
bone of a bird,
eyes like bruises
in your face,
black frozen lakes
weighting the tundra
of your skin.
It was no use,
my calling,
my self.
And now,
even my
bottle of Saint Jude’s
won’t help me
forget.


Christina Goldstein is currently living and writing in Tampa, FL. This is her first published piece.

6/2/10

Shane Anderson

Multiple Places, 2013


They said: Hello, are you there? Hello? Are they on the line yet?

Boot clack reverberation in a stairwell.

They said: Hello Bastian, hello Jean-Marie, how’s the weather in jolly ole? Congratulations on the Pritler. Wonderful news. Tell me, what was it for? The floating bank or those museums that are disappearing?

A ceiling to floor clogged rain gutter mark in an apartment shaped like an upside down Mayflower.

They said: Most excellent. Call me sentimental, but I’ve always loved what you did for us down in Houston, you know, the one without a façade? Every time I’m there, I stop and admire, my oh my is that a fine building – I just wish I could find it! Ha ha. But that’s another story, am I right or am I right? What do you say gentlemen, shall we get down to business?

Gnawed on gristle politely placed in a napkin.

They said: I’m having a little trouble understanding you. This PDF here says and I quote: Las Vegas, Las Vegas, the hotel/casino projected by the award winning Swiss architecture firm Sieg & de Gagnant, ventures to map out the triumphs and treasures of the Brightest City on Earth from its marshland beginnings to its current hydrochloridization of long-gone epochs and foreign metropolises in a complex of buildings – duh duh duh, skipping ahead – weaving new recreation history into a sinuous maze of sensations, Sieg & de Gagnant will overturn/perfect the Brightest City on Earth as a towering miniature of itself, converting all expectations into a wide-eyed sense of wonder and wonderment. OK. Right. It’s just that, uh, how do I say this? Just, uh… What does that mean, exactly?

Eraser leftovers lined up like javelins.

They said: Gotcha. Ooooh, gotcha. Gotcha. Ooh, ho, ho.

Pitchforks then boilers then lipstick. A cloud of fat loiters over the animal rendering plant as the American flag whips in the wind.

They said: Hot damn if I don’t – this is going to be big. Jumbo big. Bigger than the, theeeeeee uh, shit, I don’t know, that uh, that sailing opera house in Sydney? Or maybe even that that that that radio tower in Paris? Don’t you think? I wager to say not even the Brightest City on Earth has ever gone to such extremities. Can anybody confirm this?

In a circle, one child whispers to another who whispers to another who whispers to another and so on. What starts as a giggle from an inside joke is then flustered further and further until this now public secret is mocked and ridiculed. Laughing and laughing, the children can’t stop laughing at how muddled up everything’s become.

They said: Every son of a bitch who prints knock off postcards, T-shirts, tote-bags and whiskey flasks will be sueable and/or ownable by us. We’ll be the Brightest City on Earth and the Brightest City on Earth will be us, you understand? Looks like you’ll be buying that second beach house after all, eh –-

Some dissolvable pills become porous flamingos and dolphins. Others elephants and chickens. Defective pills grow so large that children are pushed out of bathtubs.

They said: This is going to be big. Jumbo big. People will close their eyes and ruminate and what will they see? You better believe it.

A colonial tapestry rendering the New World with maps and landmarks and people fills up the gallery’s wall, then walls, then weaves itself into the floor, slowly seeping into the foundation.

They said: this is going to make us piles and piles of money – ha ha ha ha ha!



Shane Anderson lives in Berlin and blogs at http://shane-anderson.blogspot.com/. "Multiple Places, 2013" is excerpted from a larger manuscript, whose working title is "Las Vegas, Las Vegas; or Between Two Mysteries; or Good News Las Vegas." "Las Vegas, Las Vegas" is about two Swiss architects (Bastian Sieg and Jean-Marie de Gagnant), their attempts to build a second Las Vegas and a number of other things. Another section of "Las Vegas, Las Vegas" appeared in > kill author.

6/1/10

Lauren Spohrer

Mrs. Krups

We liked Mrs. Krups a lot. She and Mr. Krups had two boys about the ages of Pete and William, and because I didn’t want my boys outside tripping and bleeding and hurting animals, especially with Pete's needing glasses, the Krups boys usually came to our house to play indoors. Mrs. Krups came too.

We lived in the woods, my husband and my boys.

My boys were Pete and William.

William said, “What a good big brother I am!”

Maybe the Krups family took some amount of pride in being in the woods. My husband, with his long oiled hair, he said he’d taken our family out of “littleness” and brought us to a place where “our problems are solved by walking.”

My husband said, "When did the standards of success change?"

He said, "The standards can change. They changed when we stopped respecting long hair on a man."

My husband had very long hair, as I said, and it was oiled, of course.

"The bear eats the moth," my husband said.

My mother used to say, "In marriage, you never stand in the same river twice."

Mrs. Krups had a cleaning lady to help her prepare for the picnics. Mrs. Krups had a natural sort of prettiness and once told me that her husband cried when both of his sons were born. I rarely saw Mr. Krups, just the four times a year at the picnics. When I did see him, he sagged under the tonnage of my expectations, except that he looked like someone with rich parents.

It was getting into winter and I was setting squash and eggplant and cheese aside for the fall-winter picnic with the Krups Family. We were peeling when the Krups boys came running in through the kitchen door.

“Hello, boys,” I said.

“My dad is gone,” one of them said.

“Where is your mother?” I asked.

“She is coming.”

“He’s gone,” Mrs. Krups said.

“Gone where?” I asked.

“It’s been eight days,” she said, “he didn’t even take clothes.”

“Have you called his friends?”

“No one knows.”

“The police?” I asked.

“I called them yesterday.”

“Let’s go inside and have some coffee,” I said.

“What about the bank accounts?” my husband asked.

“I don’t know,” she said.

“Please do stay with us,” I said.

“Absolutely,” my husband said.

“I’m pretty shaky,” she said.

Mrs. Krups was becoming mentally ill.

Naturally I did not know how it happened until it was well over, and I don’t even know why I tell it, except that sometimes women are expected to tell what happened so everyone can have it said.


Lauren Spohrer has recently published fiction in The Mississippi Review and Failbetter.