3/31/11

Evelyn Hampton

The Largest Unobstructed Area Given to Ham


For Jackie, no thoughts came from ham. For Sean a little thought, a miniature ham. It sat on a miniature plate, but then it started to be a hat, and soon a man was wearing the hat and telling Sean to eat the ham. Without identifying him as such, Sean knew the man was the Commander, and the hat he wore would never go back to being the miniature ham, which had been so good to Sean because it had looked just like the ham he was about to eat but had also been small enough to fit whole inside his head, and its wholeness had consisted of various scenes from the past three months of Sean's life of Sean successfully leaping over large holes of known area but unknown depth that Jackie had created.

If there's going to be a plan it has to come from inside Sean, Jackie thought, in momentary lieu of a bite of ham. Only Sean knew that inside Sean the Commander wore a hat that had once been a miniature of the ham Jackie was now large-scale eating. A series of joins between disparate entities and experiences connected the men to each other; for Jackie the series of joins was visceral, transitory pleasure enduring now as ham; for Sean the series was a more static structure, a house situated on what happened when Sean thought the words "arable land". When Sean thought about its construction, the house would lose parts of itself inside itself; nevertheless, lately Sean had begun to inhabit one of the lost quadrants of the house.

In the lost quadrant Sean had begun to inhabit, Jackie ate ham and Sean tried to diminish the Commander by thinking "arable land, arable land." A notable feature of the Commander was that he was Sean if Sean were to wear a hat that had once been a miniature ham and now cast a shadow the size and shape of the average-sized ham Jackie was eating, Jackie being an important structural element of the house that was for Sean what gathered and held in coherent order all that connected the men. Sean believed that Jackie received experience through a filter or screen that corresponded to an object Sean often encountered in his dreams—a telephone. Jackie believed that Jackie received experience via the ham and Sean, whose face formed part of the background of the ham. Sean, now that the comforting thought of miniature ham had become a commander he had to combat with "arable land", tried to find some comfort in the thought that he, Sean, was receiving experience by way of the dream phone—that it was all a message being relayed to him by someone else, a dream interlocutor whose important role in Sean's life could only be known when Sean situated himself in one of the lost quadrants of the house.

"Arable land, arable land," the voice on the other end of the telephone was saying, and this voice now belonged to Jackie, and was Jackie's only voice within the house. But the voice was something additional, an overlay of voice atop the underlay of voice that was actually Jackie's, and it confused Sean, why Jackie was introducing this unnecessary technique of asserting his authority, using the dream phone to say the words that were what the house was situated on—they were its foundation.

So now that Sean's plan came from Jackie, and Jackie ate ham, Sean ate a bite of ham, connecting himself, for Jackie, to Jackie. Part of what formed the background of the ham, for Jackie, was Sean's face; the part not formed by Sean's face was a window, and through the window Jackie saw the tinted window of a van. Though Jackie could not have known this, the tint of the window was the color of the phone through which Jackie's additional voice repeated the words that had been Sean's private command, or anti-command, since they opened up space that had been occupied by the Commander and his commands to Sean to eat ham.

"Arable land." Sean ate ham. He and Jackie ate ham together. For Sean, this shared act of eating ham became part of the structure Sean had recently begun to inhabit, and for Jackie, this shared act of eating ham was a shared act of eating ham, one with a foreground (ham) and a background (Sean's face, tinted window of van), with Jackie positioned at the shared act's center.


Evelyn Hampton lives in Providence. Her stories are forthcoming in NY Tyrant and The Brooklyn Rail. Her website is Lispservice.com.

3/30/11

Molly Brodak

March


A rope end follows the coil dumbly,
as its phrase. A rope means “several ropes.”

I myself was raised by a piano
I couldn’t play, all levers and metal ropes.
When a man stomped it hummed in a rented way.
So I thought there was only one kind of everything,

one sound per grey mouse, one bundle per harp,
one cord of pine, one branch of creatures
and their boxes. Then I felt frays in a sentence:

the flatness of a hat in a mirror,
scales growing scales, locking
a fish in itself, like a tooth with a nerve.

I grew mom’s hands. I grew doors
and drafts through their cracks.
Everyone was another earth.
And earths are also gates, and gates
always forget. I thought my brain

could always love me. It lost me.
I grew diffused, marbled with black,

attracted to sheds, sham hearts.
I noticed I was crying.
I didn’t come back from anything
I met. I myself was a weapon, so.




Originally from Michigan, Molly Brodak currently lives in Georgia. Her first book, A Little Middle of the Night, won the 2009 Iowa Poetry Prize.

3/29/11

Ben Kopel

BLACK DIAMOND SUTRA

Thus I have heard this / that guided by beer light / I came into town / fucked under / by days slept late / good enough for the future / and all the white that / happiness writes / chest out / and stomach in / and shoulder back / against waves not ocean / nor radio / could cure me clean / the way once / I was / yet when / what never comes / comes to / so too shall you and I converge / and collapse and begin / again / to get born / with or without a war / I love to you / when you say / waiting is so beautiful / you don’t believe you / but from my brightest eye / to my blackest heart / I do



CONSOLATION PRIZE SUTRA

Revenge plus guilt / equals dancing / divided by architecture / and in the end every ex-boyfriend ends / up underground / Thanks God / what makes me feel better / feel anything / often I imagine myself / up and awake and hanging / on the phone / saying something untrue / I bought a dog / I named him Blood / the city you destroy / destroys you / and here come the dead friends / there is work to be done / for real / I am earning my living / with the wolves / I believe in one enormous desire / to protect one thing / so well / it forgives itself



KING RABBIT SUTRA

Rabbit she called me / and absolutely rabbit / I remain / be it in the dirty snow / or watched over / by a mercy killing of crows / let me stay awhile / inside of some lovely thing / making my way / from megachurch / to megachurch / like a window mounted AC unit / dripping my bad waters everywhere / dreaming about an earth full of blood / last night I got so sober / I shattered someone’s weekend / with laughter / emptied out the empties / now I’m forgetting / how I got here / to get her together / I carried her aquarium / across the river / and I damaged no one / and I changed and / still I shine so rabbit


Ben Kopel is the author 'Because We Must' (Brave Men Press) and has had poems featured in Conduit, The New Delta Review, Makeout Creek, and elsewhere. He helps curate the jubilat/Jones reading series in Amherst, Massachusetts.

3/28/11

Leora Silverman Fridman

Grow-snake

If you’d asked a year ago, I would have
said it was water weight. It’s the juices
that keep the fridge looking
full. I only have one more bail-out
reminder: please describe descent in

full detail. You never know who
isn’t alone when you’re on that

harbor cruise. We ferry supplies out
to one another, dropping soluble fibers
into the water as we go. The harbor is only
chiclets. The smaller the particles, the less likely
taxes en route.




Single Room Occupancy

I have a person here who
thinks you’re alive. I mean, a
five. On a scale one to within, I loved
him a dead baby. All of that dirt clodding in
its half-formed eyes. See, your dose
is rubbing. I need a place to keep all
these knifings you make me think. Might
as well return to the scene. The kind of loving
is an appalled hallelujah. I like rating
your productivity on how much you
have messed. You have all that knowledge
about when to expire. You have all
those retirees cozed in.



Leora Fridman is a writer, translator and educator living in Massachusetts. Her recent and forthcoming publications are included in Denver Quarterly, Shampoo, elimae, H_NGM_N, and others.

3/25/11

Travis Macdonald

0921861173

. . . shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his
unnatural state . . .

Nevertheless,
be supplemented by such a definition of time,
sorrow and thy conception (in sorrow)
of
time
when crossed in comparison with the same
results of measurements.



8193261179310511854807446237996274956735

Capable of observation, if we take our stand
unto
the ground of classical mechanics we can satisfy this
voice of thy
illustration in
the following manner: We imagine two
Fuchsia
of
identical construction; the man at the railway
(many of these hybrids seed freely) for instance; Herbert
in sorrow shalt
hybrid.

Eat of it; all the
species
of
the position on his own reference-body occupied
perfectly, as if it had
tick of the clock,
herb of the field; in the sweat of
connection we have not taken account of
the degree of fertility,
the finiteness of the
velocity of propagation of light. With this
thou art
and unto dust
prevailing. Here, we shall have to deal
in detail later. As is well known, the fundamental
grafting: from a hybrid between Rhod. Ponticum and Catawbiense,
did the Lord God make coats
of skins.
Thus, a body removed sufficiently far from
when fairly treated (gone)
is become as one of us. To know good:
a straight line. This law
he put forth his hand and,
notorious to nurserymen, horticulturists raise large beds
of the same
bodies or systems of coordinates.



Author’s Note:
π (pi or 3.141593) is a transcendental number, which suggests, among other things, that no finite sequence of algebraic operations on integers (powers, roots, sums, etc.) can be equal to its value. Consequently, its decimal representation never ends or repeats. It divides in endless variation. This text is composed solely of language borrowed directly and in strict numerical sequence from The Book of Genesis, The Origin of Species (Chapter 8 - Hybridism) and Albert Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity. Each selection is comprised of individual lines whose word count corresponds directly with a relative decimal point of pi to its first thousand places. While the original language of each line is strictly preserved, each selection has been re-punctuated for narrative purposes.



Travis Macdonald's recent books include: The O Mission Repo (Fact-Simile Editions 2008), N7ostradamus (BlazeVox Books 2010), Basho's Phonebook (E-ratio 2009) and Hoop Cores (Knives, Forks and Spoons Press 2011). Other poetry and prose has appeared in print, online and elsewhere. He currently lives, works and writes in the Philadelphia area.

3/24/11

Buzz Mauro

Delicious Noodle

“It’s a fascinating time to be alive, really,” the one guy said. “When you see what the media make of something you personally know something about, you really start to see that.”

The other guy ate some of his steamed vegetables. The first guy was having kung pao chicken. I had the Singapore rice noodles, because it’s $3.95 and it sits out on the buffet all day, so it’s consistent.

The two guys were dressed exactly alike, the first one in a pink shirt with cufflinks and the other one in a striped shirt with button cuffs and a blue blazer.

The second guy said, “You guys were involved in that?”

The first guy said, “Oh, yeah. From the beginning. Before the media ever got ahold of it.”

The second guy said, “No freakin’ way,” while the first guy picked his nose with his thumb, in a way you knew he thought did not really count as picking his nose in public.

Then the first guy devoted himself to his kung pao for a minute. He reminded me of my maternal grandfather, the determined way he cut each piece of chicken in half, not that my maternal grandfather ever had kung pao chicken in his life. He died in some piece of machinery as a young man, long before Chinese food ever came to our area. I always imagined him as a man who would cut his chicken like that.

The second guy said, “So, you personally?”

The first guy said, “Yeah, some. I was instrumental in a lot of the early briefs.”

I pictured him with a violin, in his underpants.

The second guy said, “When you think about the long-term impact, I mean whoa.”

Deadly asteroids, horses and buggies, phraseology of cultures not my own. I began to feel these men’s sexual attractiveness. Their proximity made my noodles that much more delicious.



Stories by Buzz Mauro have appeared in New Orleans Review, NOON, River Styx, Tampa Review, Willow Springs and other magazines. He lives in Annapolis and works as an actor and acting teacher in Washington, DC.

3/23/11

Hannah Tarr

The 4th Dimension


Difficulty of dogs
Difficulty of cats
Difficulty of snakes
Difficulty of remembrance
Difficulty of last week
Difficulty of harassment
Difficulty of garbage bags
Difficulty of birds
Difficulty of snails
Difficulty of hallelujah!
Difficulty of marzipan
Difficulty of bad boy
Difficulty of west coast
Difficulty of ride share
Difficulty of each time
Difficulty of last time
Difficulty of how many times
Difficulty of coarseness
Difficulty of fragility
Difficulty of God bless you
Difficulty of annunciation
Difficulty of who’s that?
Difficulty of who’s there?
Difficulty of Natashia Beddingfield
Difficulty of Tom Hanks
Difficulty of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Difficulty of Friday
Difficulty of yesterday
Difficulty of wedding day
Difficulty of frankness
Difficulty of Your Majesty
Difficulty of hello, my name is Brian
Difficulty of hi, nice to meet you, Brian
Difficulty of rainbows
Difficulty of airwaves
Difficulty of x axis
Difficulty of y axis
Difficulty of never again
Difficulty of the divine
Difficulty of I love you
Difficulty of robots
Difficulty of rabbits
Difficulty of you know what I mean?
Difficulty of genitals
Difficulty of proximity
Difficulty of bears
Difficulty of tamari
Difficulty of French onion
Difficulty of no one
Difficulty of plants
Difficulty of how much
Difficulty of not enough
Difficulty of too much
Difficulty of possibly
Difficulty of water


Hannah Tarr is a painter. This is a poem about 4-D, the fourth D being difficulty.

3/22/11

Edward Mullany

Don’t Come to Reykjavik in Winter

“The funny thing is,” she said, “my sister was better than any of them. Not kinder, or nicer, or morally superior, but a better artist. But neither she nor her work ever achieved the kind of recognition both she and it deserved. At least not while she was living. It wasn’t until she killed herself that she and her work received any critical notice. Though by then I don’t think she even cared whether she or her work ever would. Mind you, I’m only speculating. She and I weren’t on speaking terms. But, all the same, I believe I knew her better than anyone else did. By the way, do you mind if I smoke?” The interviewer, a man, said he did not. “I’ll stand by the window anyway,” she said. She went to the window and cranked it open a little, and lit a cigarette from the pack she’d dropped on the bed when she’d come in. “This is a nice hotel,” she said. “It’s got a lovely view. All my life I’ve lived in this city and I’ve never known that the city looked like this from above. Where are you from, America?” The interviewer said yes, he was.


Edward Mullany's writing has recently appeared in Green Mountains Review and Tampa Review.  His book of poems, If I Falter at the Gallows, is forthcoming from Publishing Genius in October 2011. 

3/21/11

Krystal Languell

Do you have brain damage too? Me three. The short memory.
I miss Toledo.               I don’t think Vespa scooters are sexy.
Do you mind hearing it again?              I just don’t.
During commercials, forget what I’m watching. Jersey Shore:
I feel superior. Golden Girls: I feel empowered, rapt & unmoving.



A slow talker says, “Where are the bodegas? In Brooklyn
you can go to a bodega                and get a Snapple.” Indisputable
& at the flea market you can buy milkman receipts from 1907
              & personal correspondence. The din in my museum
overpowers what’s outside the window—it’s old noise, vintage.



Trend: scrolling through ringtones      Trend: bees trapped in the bus
Trend: high school fight songs            Trend: stoned at the Little Debbie display
Trend: dorm room porno                    Trend: filesharing software / ethernet
Trend: shower stall sex                      Trend: sometimes recycling batteries
Trend: the keg party tantrum             Trend: spring allergies blooming



Krystal Languell is a member of the Belladonna* Collaborative. She is the poetry editor for Noemi Press as well as the founding editor ofBone Bouquet. She can be found in Brooklyn.

3/18/11

Jeremy Bauer

The Beers

The Beers are gasping fish
and it’s too bad about their intelligence
because they are your children because sharing blood
makes them so. They foam and look like
my piss, sliding to me deep while
feeling like dusty grays.
Bobby Knight felt peace as he chucked
a White Castle at Asia over a
misunderstanding.
The Beers are too smart for your evolution
and will chuckle behind your back as you
lift glass with both hands.
What happened to the orange groves and tarantula
farms God hid by the creek
You don’t need to be botherin’ wit dat chickenhead.
The grainy television of happiness is cable-ready,
do not fret, you’re safe
as raw chicken and hair triggers.
As Bobby Knight awoke he found himself
knitting the veil of darkness that would cover the sun—
it smelled of bacon grease, felt of five o’clock shadows,
and within its fibers he could hear the whines of his
elephantine heart.
Jesse tastes the bees of life but talking about it’s
what makes them sting.
There will be a day when space comes to us and
so will The Beers.
Everyone will love you when you become
sticky enough to force them to.
Voici l’aisle.
The Beers stole your bicycle and girlfriend Patty.
The Beers smothered your cat because you said it
was okay.
The Beers knitted the sweater of darkness that
would fit snug around the sun—
smelling of dog-carpet, feeling of a decade callous,
and within its yarns you can hear the laugh track
of the television of future.






Jeremy Bauer is a senior creative writing major at Ball State University. He has been published in The Broken Plate and is the author of the chapbook The Jackalope Wars (Stoked Press, 2010). He blogs at Oh Baby, Oh Man (http://ohbabyohman.blogspot.com/). He smiles like Colgate darkness.

3/17/11

Jamie Felton

sitting gently
palms on floor
lifting up
& up
& up
until we are
far




Jamie Felton has published some short things here and there. The Anthology of Hint Fiction contains 25 of her words. And forthcoming from the literary magazine Her Royal Majesty, out of England, you can find 36 more. She has also been included in the next issue of the zine Paper Brains. Right now, she is farming and writing and farming and writing on Vashon Island, Washington.

3/16/11

Matthew Mahaney

Self Portrait as Eulogy


Last night I held my head
underwater and thought
her name over and over. When I came
up for air I didn’t have anything to say.
I’m tired of eating dinner in the hospital.
I want to go back to church.
The burn victims were wheeled past & I took
smaller bites, sat up straighter.
No one else seemed to notice.
Lately I keep picturing her
in the kitchen, kneading black bread
& singing Russian folk songs
under her breath. Threats & promises
are easily made, soups & sauces less so.





Matthew Mahaney was born in one place, grew up in another, and has since lived in several more. He currently lives in Tuscaloosa, where he is an MFA candidate at the University of Alabama and eats more than his share of pulled pork sandwiches.

3/15/11

Nate Pritts

Please Don't Tell

Wednesdays I always wore a suit – nothing flashy but a good solid business style get-up. Some of the guys around here wore suits everyday and to me this was my one concession to the way people’s expectations might spiral out of control if I dressed sharp all the time, in that I need people to see me as a serious peer but also need them to be aware that I wasn’t going to let this place turn me into something I wasn’t. All of which was asking a lot, I suppose, from the simple act of wearing a suit.

Purvis came over to my desk and leaned down and that was it. I have low tolerance for those kind of placating gestures. I almost punched him right then because I knew that everything was dying, and that there’s no way we can really trust all the data that gets jammed into our heads, and that it’s such a beautiful world we live in but so tragic too. So what bothered me, because maybe I was seeing it for the first time or because maybe it was happening for the first time, is that one wall of the office started to fall in, to crumble away, & I decided this would be my last heroic act before going to lunch with Purvis.

I placed one hand on it to hold it up & when the other walls started to fall, I tried to hold them in place too. I noticed outside the window that whole buildings were sort of swaying or bending and I knew I was going to have to grow larger if I was going to save my this whole doomed city from destruction. I knew, also, that if that happened, I would rip my suit.




Nate Pritts is the author of four books of poems, most recently THE WONDERFULL YEARE (Cooper Dillon) & BIG BRIGHT SUN (BlazeVOX). His fifth book, SWEET NOTHING, is forthcoming this fall from Lowbrow Press.  He is the founder and principal editor of H_NGM_N. Find him online at http://www.natepritts.com.

3/14/11

Kevin Sampsell

Song for Spare Change

The girl looked normal at first

She came right up to me
On the street.

She was blocking my path.
Then I noticed that she looked
Scrawny, deflated,
Somewhat sucked out

She asked if she could sing
Me a song for a dollar.
I said no

But I was curious
So I walked around the block
And spotted her asking
Someone else.
This man pulled out a dollar.

Her voice was not beautifully sad
Like I thought it might be.
It was normal and
Kind of bad.

Too sing-songy.

That was fantastic, the man lied to her.
He gave her another dollar and smiled.

She did not smile back
and he became angry.

He leaned toward her and
sneered,
Do you do anything else
Besides sing?



A Group of Them

One of them is fifty years old today.
One of them is wearing jeans that once cost $120.
One of them has three cats.
One of them still has perfect teeth.
One of them remembers the night they met Bon Jovi.
One of them is reading a thick paperback with the cover torn off.
One of them is talking to a woman with a nametag.
One of them says they were in a Skechers commercial.
One of them eats a burrito that is too spicy.
One of them is pretending to knit with a stick and a pencil.
One of them asks for "spare cash."
One of them says they live in a cave.
One of them used to be friends with Michael Jordan.
One of them believes in the devil.
One of them has two cell phones.
One of them is from Hawaii.
One of them has letters to mail.
One of them never takes off their shoes.
One of them has slept with many of them.
One of them sees their mother only on Thanksgiving.
One of them has faked their own death.
One of them has a gmail and a hotmail.
One of them does a crossword puzzle every day.
One of them has soft, pretty eyes.
One of them won't stop looking at me.



Kevin Sampsell is a Portland, Oregon author, publisher, and bookseller. His latest book is A Common Pornography. These two poems are from a series in progress called "The Homeless Poems." Kevin Sampsell has never been homeless but is afraid he will be someday.

3/11/11

Elizabeth Ellen

And Rin Tin Tin Died in Jean Harlow’s Arms

I’m on my bathroom floor. I’m reading Joan Didion. I’m masturbating, but noncommittally.

I am easily distracted. There is the confusion of past encounters with cinematic history. The Misfits, specifically. Your head – on the outskirts at first - was gauze-wrapped and downcast. Suddenly here I was, the one of us up-sitting. I kept my eyes open. I was careful with the names Monty and Perce. I called you honey, sugar, darlin’. I was working a diner counter in my mind. Your shirt was ripped up the back, the result of a dance or bullfight or unsatisfied woman. I said: Don’t say anything, just be still.

I fisted your hair then spread open my fingertips just as easily. I searched my purse for a needle and thread, pushed you forward onto your knees for better angling.

I’m not a man, you said. I don't know what I am.

(This wasn’t any great realization though I pretended for your sake that it was.)

Didn’t anyone ever cry for you before? I said. I hadn’t been crying but I wanted you to know I was willing. Bull or no bull, I’d leak out a tear.

I’m not human, you said, which felt for the most part a reiteration.

You’re the only person I know who is in worse shape than I am, I said, which was my way of saying when you wreck your car I’ll be the first one on the scene; I’ll run from the party in my heels, pull your upset body from behind the wheel into my lap. The configurations will be much the same as they are now: the immaculate wounds, the distraught face.

Maybe you’re not supposed to remember anybody’s promises, I said, but you were already gone. You had shuffled off somewhere I couldn’t see, into the arms of another jealous woman or barside another roughneck ready to stack dollars on your backside.

When they write your biography it will be absent the singular love that is a requirement of the genre. To fill this section the author will scramble for female names, of which mine will be one. There will be speculation as to the true nature of our relationship. They will retell the story of your crashed car, of you leaving my party in an inebriated state. They will mention my nine husbands; the men and women squandered. They will refer to us as “lifelong friends;” to feelings defined as maternal.

This is the way it goes when I masturbate to Didion. The sentimentality spills forward. I have trouble getting off. I have trouble distinguishing my history from what has been set before me in books and on the screen. I remember everything that was said. The years will do nothing to diminish my affection. I have a needle and thread with me still. I remember no promises.


Elizabeth Ellen is editor of Short Flight/Long Drive books, has published a few things online and lives in Ann Arbor.

3/10/11

Sasa Ibragimov

I still haven't figured out infinity.
I understand it's blue at the edges
And my dog isn't there; that's heaven.
Someone should write a book about it.
Infinity, I mean. That's what I always mean.
Where's my get-up-and-go? What will I say
to the President's wife? Who's that tromping
over myyyyy bridge? Infinity,
that's who. And it's not happy.



This is Sasa's second piece in Everyday Genius (the first is here). Her first book, It's Also Like I'm Begging Your Forgiveness, a collection of interview/poems with Derrida, Cornel West, and other celebrities, is now available as an eBook from Wichita Hunger Press.

3/9/11

Stephen Tully Dierks

Serious European Art Film

Sven lies frozen to death in a ditch by the side of a road. His nostrils and lips are pale blue, jacket, pants, and boots encrusted with ice. His eyes have rolled back in his head.
            I sit alone in a theater.
            Sven wakes up in bed. He stands, revealing his bare ass, calves, shoulders, and penis. He puts on a sweater and stares at a mirror, touches his stubble.
Outside Sven’s house the air is a smoggy gray. We lurk behind various trees as Sven walks to his car with a decidedly grim facial expression. We are at a zany angle directly below him as he opens his car door and gets in. We are in the passenger seat. We are drifting in an aimless, perhaps symbolic fashion outside the cracked dashboard, looking in at Sven’s eyes. Once again we are inside the car. He seems to be having trouble starting it. He slams the steering wheel and mutters an oath that translates into English as “fuckers of shit.”
            At a café Sven sips an espresso and stares vacantly at the street. We anticipate but do not actually see a single tear dribble down Sven’s cheek. Five to twenty minutes pass in silence.
A balding man with a thick beard sits down next to Sven. They talk at length about aesthetics, Foucault, Nietzsche, Faulkner, Jerry Lewis, the economy, the balding man’s wife, his students, and his mistress, who is one of his students. Sven mentions that his car is dead. The balding man mentions the recent deaths of his cat (postal truck) and youngest son (seizure, swimming pool). The balding man invites Sven to his lake house for the weekend. Sven says no, he has to work. The balding man asks Sven if he needs money. Sven says no and thanks him. He tells the balding man not to worry.
            Sven exits the café, crosses the street, enters a patisserie and buys a croissant. He carries the croissant down the street.
I fidget in my seat. My eyes are tired and dry. 
            Sven is in his bedroom wearing long underwear. He gets into bed.
            Sven enters a factory. A woman in grease-covered overalls waves to him as he walks by. Sven is working in the factory, operating a machine. The loud, grating noises of the machines begin to sound rhythmic. We see various other factory workers with grins on their faces. Sven begins to sing in time with the machine music. His voice sounds like a studio recording playing in sync with his opening and closing lips. Some kind of factorywide dance number is underway. Workers are doffing their hardhats in time to the music. We hover above the workers as they dance in rotating formations that seem choreographed.
After a few minutes, the music and dancing stop. The workers return to their machines. Sven frowns a little, breathes deeply, and returns to his machine.
Sven waves to his friends as he leaves the factory.
He is walking down a highway.
We see snow on the ground and his footsteps in the snow.
He moves away from us until he is a shadow on the horizon.
We are right alongside him and can hear his heavy breathing.
He is walking. His boots are cracked and a toe is visible.
It is snowing. We can hear the wind.
Hair blows in his eyes.
He is staggering. He moves slower and slower and slower. There are no buildings in sight.
We wonder where he is going and he drops to the ground.
He pants and tries to move his arms and legs.
We see his face and try to interpret his expression.
His head sags, and his body slumps over into the ditch and is still. 
Everything ends and we are sitting in the dark. Names scroll and music plays. Lights come on.
I open my phone and see a message from Natalie: “hey can u come by and pick up your stuff tomorrow? i have your bluray player & your clothes & that book hopscotch.”




Stephen Tully Dierks edits the magazine Pop Serial (http://popserial.tumblr.com), and has had work at Metazen and New Wave Vomit. Video of him reading this story at the Ear Eater series can be viewed here.

3/8/11

Cassandra Troyan

If There Is Evil In The World It Remains Hideous
Because We Cannot See It


She’s too embarrassed to
admit she has no sense
of time or place.

Always confused
why Indiana Jones was
fighting Nazis, or
the realization that
she went three years
in class without
understanding that
palabra
in Spanish means
word,
which came
from the same
empty opening that is
singing lyrics to a
song during karaoke
and she’s actually
hearing them for the
first time
as she reads
and mouths,

I look inside myself and see my heart is black
I see my red door and it has been painted black
Maybe then I'll fade away and not have to face the facts
It's not easy facin' up when your whole world is black


and she sees herself again in that same
hole, as they
open onto each other,
back and
forth and
back.


Cassandra Troyan is an artist and writer born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. She is an MFA candidate at the University of Chicago for Visual Arts. She has a chapbook written with her brother Cody Troyan, entitled, Big Bill and the Lonely Nation. She curates the reading and performance series EAR EATER in Chicago, IL and her work is currently or forthcoming in amphibi.us, Bluestem, Double Shiny, H_NGM_N, JMWW, My Name Is Mud, Negative Suck, New Wave Vomit, Pop Serial, Right Hand Pointing and The Scrambler. She hopes to live on a boat in the main harbor of Stockholm after graduation.

3/7/11

Adam Peterson

George Washington

George Washington arrived in America in 1776 as a stowaway on a Spanish galleon named for a god he would father. He removed his teeth in order to hide doubloons and silkworms in his mouth as he crouched inside a cask of gunpowder. Inhaling scorched the hair from his nostrils and the accent from his throat. Exhaling started a fire which consumed the ship and cast him into a black sea. Here be monsters, the Spaniards drowned. George Washington swam for 40 days until he washed up in Virginia. When he coughed to clear his throat of silkworms he burned Norfolk to the ground. He tried to say, I name this land George Washington but the British couldn’t make out the words through the flames. So George Washington took the fire in his stomach and evaporated the ocean and chased the British back to England, blacking the backs of their red coats. George Washington learned that countries begin with fire, but there are many types of fire. Fire drinks oceans. Fire tempers earth and consciences. Fire from the mouth of a man in a 3-corner hat keeps British children up nights. Though the children never heard it, they remember the sound from his throat. They remember it sounded like America. They remember how there used to be an ocean between them and their cousins and how impossible it once was to cross that distance.


Adam Peterson lives in Houston where he co-edits The Cupboard, a quarterly prose chapbook series. His series of short-shorts, My Untimely Death, is out from Subito Press, and his other work has recently appeared in La Petite Zine, Ninth Letter, Open City, and Denver Quarterly among other journals.

3/4/11

Emily Kendal Frey &
Sarah Bartlett


7
When a baby has a rash
we get so sad. It’s hard
to love a scabby baby.
But we try anyway.
We kind of touch a little
extra on the rough parts.




10
Can your baby handle
a needle? I have a snag
in my sweater
and the sweatshop
is too far away.
I tried trading favors
but your baby doesn’t want 
my kale smoothie recipe.






These poems are a selection from Baby on the Safe Side, a collection of poems released this week at Chapbook Genius. Read the whole thing.

Sarah Bartlett lives in Portland, OR. Her chapbook (co-written with Chris Tonelli), A Mule-Shaped Cloud, was published by horse less press in 2008. Her recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Filter, New Delta Review, Jellyfish, NOÖ, Burnside Review, Raleigh Quarterly, Coconut, Sir!, Sixth Finch, Diagram, and elsewhere. Poems co-written with Emily Kendal Frey have appeared in New Pony: a horseless Anthology, Bat City, Portland Review, Caffeine Destiny, Alice Blue, and elsewhere.

Emily Kendal Frey is the author of Airport (Blue Hour 2009), Frances (Poor Claudia 2010), and The New Planet (Mindmade Books 2010) as well as three chapbook collaborations. Her first full-length collection,The Grief Performance, was recently published by Cleveland State University Poetry Center. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
 

3/3/11

Elizabeth J. Colen

NOTES ON FEEDING


I wait a few minutes for the horse to nose my palm. She’s uninterested in my handful of grass. She’s uninterested in a Tootsie Roll, wrapped or unwrapped that Fancy forces between her teeth. The air is muted yellow with the chaff of thrown hay. There’s hay in my hair. Hay in the mare’s mane. Fancy’s itchy and she won’t calm down. The horse is tied to the fence in front of us. I can tell she wants to run. The sun falls behind the barn. It’s cold in shadow. The red shed has seen deader girls. I don’t know how to reckon this. You with the answers inked all in. You with lipstick smeared. You on your knees. Playing at house with boys, with girls. You call me up, sobbing. We refuse to hang up, admit defeat. I can’t take Fancy back. This fence becomes a home. One will make amends. One becomes a dial tone.




Elizabeth Colen's first book of prose poems, Money for Sunsets was released last year. A flash fiction chapbook Dear Mother Monster, Dear Daughter Mistake will be published with Rose Metal Press in May 2011.

3/2/11

Nicholas Liu

Ghazal of Insufficient Research



I wanted to find the enemy in you
but I got distracted.
We stood in a field looking into another field.
Mouse deer came into the field.
Some had all their teeth, others had both their horns.
We called that deeply satisfying.
Fumigators approached, so we made the deer choose
ten favourite flies to shelter in their mouths. They sat in a circle,
tails swishing angry little eyebrows in the dust. Next to them
I felt like a robot with limited social experience
and that felt like no bad thing
so I told them of the importance of consistent tense,
how it’s no good to end up doing
what you started out having done.
You had them write “I Remember”s.
One of them wrote, “I remember eating the candles
though the whole cake was laid before me.”
It was a good sentence, but I marked it down for lying—
the cake had gone off and the candles, as always, were delicious.
Grading was tough. We told ourselves they had
no names, needed no names
(we had read this somewhere, to be honest),
but the truth is they wanted them very much.
In the end we put down “1–25. | Deer, Mouse | A/A-/B+”,
left the registrar to sort it out.
I’ll write a ghazal for them in atonement, a proper one
with a refrain and everything.
I’ll call it “Your Choice of Sides.”





Nicholas Liu lives in Singapore. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in elimae, Mantis, RHINO and Viz. Inter-Arts and his first book, Versions from the English, will be published later this year by firstfruits publications. He blogs at The Placeholder.

3/1/11

Andrea Kneeland

Anchor


Perhaps there has been less
to say, perhaps lately as a fault
of mine; you are beyond
my inquiry. But you know

the pillow soft heat of a feather
unhinged from original bird
to pack itself wingless and
tethered in a trap sewn tight

for flightless comfort. It is not
to say that I feel a strange veil
of sadness for a feather detached
or for a bird’s corpse; it is to say

that I know there are things made
to cause comfort by being still.

Andrea Kneeland's first collection of short stories, the Birds & the Beasts, is forthcoming from Cow Heavy Press. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Annalemma, American Letters & Commentary, Barrelhouse, Quick Fiction, Caketrain, Pank, Noo Journal, The Collagist and Wigleaf. She is a web editor for Hobart.