Jack Boettcher

from Theatre-State: The Minister of Corporate and Regional Diplomacies and The Minister of Diminishing Public Expectations

Wrought-iron grillwork locked down the vaulted windows spaced across the pastel-pink façade of the wall outside Stone’s recently renovated office. Spermaceti wax candles—perhaps holdovers from Stone’s maritime period—burned in each window, a throb of weak flame over the vines spilling off the sill. Janus greeted his new friend The Minister of Corporate in the doorway of Stone’s office.
“What does he want with you, Janus?” the Minister said.
“It has to do with my work. He wants me to prove certain things that are still shadowy, life and death sort of things. Principal Stone has high expectations and I am learning how to deal with that.”
“You said it,” said the Minister. “He wants me to help him solve the problem of time. He keeps talking about some Mayan mumbo jumbo.”
“Yes, he certainly has a Mayan fetish of some sort,” Janus agreed. “Do you know if the Maya were ever active in what’s now Costa Sita?”
“I don’t know. That’s a good one. Well, good luck. Oh, and Janus?”
“It’s about Katydid. Do you think she likes me? I’d like to be her road manager. Magnetic I mean.”
“I’m not sure,” Janus said. “I find it difficult to understand Katydid. I can’t seem to get the facts on her. As for whom Katydid fancies, I’m not sure. But I do know that several of The Crudes are said to be competing for her admiration, and that some old-style dueling is involved, with pellet guns.”
“Well, I’m not scared of any Crudes.”
“They are not to be feared. Just use your wits and avoid sudden encounters. I hear they chew qat and can become unpredictable and aggressive.”
“Well, thanks for talking to Katydid for me. I really appreciate this, Janus.”
“I didn’t say—” Janus was saying, but the Minister had shuffled back into the melee of the noonday hallways.
The office had widened, broadened, and doubled in size, and it was now a sunny open-air courtyard bound by a colonnade of skinny vine-spiraled pilasters. Scrawny roosters pecked at inedibles mistaken for feed around a sputtering hacienda fountain, atop which whipped the olive-colored, red-starred Costa Sitan flag. The flag of a much older regime. Water grass thrived in the basin; tropic breezes sidled through. Old men in military regalia loafed on the iron benches, reading eroding Spanish newspapers. Janus couldn’t read the dates. Physical Stone sat at his desk at the far end of the courtyard, brushing a set of magnets. Hologrammatic Stone studied the moisture-warped bookshelves of the library on the wall behind the colonnade, the shelves crowded with yellowed hand maps of the central jungle and old oversized typewritten manuals on kleptocratics, the monopolization of infrastructural support sectors, and how to train your mercenaries for effective nocturnal mobilization of a capital in the hands of state protectionists, as well as one or two silk-bound books of famous dreams recorded by Costa Sitan figureheads through the ages—minor prophesies and such.
 “Who are these men, sir?” Janus said.
“Deposed generals from former, and let’s say less popular, Costa Sitan regimes,” Stone said. “They want nothing from you, and only a little sanctuary and companionship from me, in exchange for which they’re providing invaluable consultation to your very own Ms. Denton, TX as she plans your Homeroom lesson.”
“Janus, Katydid?”
“Sir, what?”
“No rush. Can’t rush love. Just remember the advantages a trainable heir can give to the scientist, who must toil upon this earth at the slothful pace of methodologies, noting futile quanta as the limits of his mortality approach at ever more hurtling speeds of perception. Such an heir would have your brains, Janus, and Katydid’s—should you choose to marry and share your lives and genetics—Katydid’s chutzpah.”
            Janus scribbled Stone’s advice regarding heirs in the margins of his notecards. Only the sound of Janus’ frenzied scribbling and the long, fluid exhalations of cigar smoke from the ex-generals interposed upon the pauses between Stone’s questions and instructions. Janus heard the occasional shuffle of a rooster or the rustling of a newspaper reporting from some brutal regime now reduced to a general’s nostalgia, then the faintest patter of the hacienda fountain through the choke bloom of the grasses.

Jack Boettcher is the author of Theater-State (Blue Square Press, 2011).


Jamie Iredell


The Kumeyaay Indians of northern Baja and Southern Alta California—in the area of San Diego Bay—first encountered Europeans on September 28, 1542. Most of the natives ran away, frightened (smart?), at the sight of the strange people and their boat. Those who remained intoned through signs that news had come to the coast from inland that other men like the Spaniards who landed by sea had already reached them. When Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s men remained onshore for fishing, within time the Kumeyaay began shooting arrows at the intruders.

In Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s diary, he writes that he landed on the California coast in the Santa Barbara Channel and met Pimungan Indians. A señora, chieftain of many pueblos in the Pimungan’s matriarchal culture, stayed aboard Cabrillo’s ship for three nights. Through signs, the Spaniards learned from her that in the land’s interior there were many more pueblos and much maize. The native woman had heard reports of other bearded and cloth-clathed men, likely from Hernando de Alarcón’s expedition up the Colorado River Delta. These “heathen” offered Cabrillo and his men their tamales, which the Spaniards called “a good food.” These same people, the Blessed Father Fray Junípero Serra, founder of California’s first Spanish Missions, would later call gentiles, lazy, uncivilized, to whom he brought God, measles, syphilis, guns, and coarse cloth. The Pimungans brought to Cabrillo fresh water, fish, and wood. In return the Spanish Captain gave to them clay beads.

Sixty years later, on November 11, 1602, Sebastian Vizcaíno sailed into what he would name San Diego Bay, for the feast of Saint Didacus was nigh. The men built a hut and the Carmelite friars sang mass. The Kumeyaay again paid a visit, geared for war. Vizcaíno reported encountering an old woman who approached, tears streaming her cheeks. Perhaps she foresaw the continued arrival of these pale men and their big ships, and the destruction of her culture. Perhaps she had been told of the white men who had come sixty years earlier. Maybe she had even been there, just a little girl, when Cabrillo offered his clay beads like a god.

In 1992 the United States Postal Service issued a twenty-nine cent stamp in honor of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo.

A portion of California Highway One is called the Cabrillo Highway, and runs between Santa Cruz and Watsonville. A girl I had met at school in my sophomore year of college turned out to be from the Santa Cruz Mountains, near my hometown on the shores of the Monterey Bay, where the Spaniards had established their colonial capital, where today their settlements are the cities of Monterey and Santa Cruz, and I offered this girl a ride home for winter break. First we stopped at my family’s cabin in Squaw Valley, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where we curled together on the floor in front of the fireplace, watching South Park. I was too shy to do much more than kiss her. After a week back home, with her calling me, and me making mad dashes past the redwoods up Cabrillo Highway from Monterey to the Santa Cruz Mountains, I got her back at my parents’ home surrounded by oaks while the folks were out of town. There we stripped naked and touched each other the way naked people do. We could have been native Californians, and in a sense we were: we’d both been born there. One night afterwards, when I kissed her, she said, We should really stop. I said, What’s wrong? The fog was thick. She said, I’ve gotten used to kissing you, and I have a boyfriend, you know. This was, as they say, news to me. The house got too hot. When that boyfriend called, that very night, and she turned away from me, her ear to the phone, I snuck out of that sweaty house and rushed Cabrillo Highway all the way home at ninety plus. I haven’t been in the Santa Cruz Mountains since.

Jamie Iredell lives in Atlanta and teaches at Savannah College of Art and Design. He is the author of two books.


Andrew Borgstrom


Violet in our light even turned. Violent is our light even turned. In now. Our under light. Light in given heat turned. Even violet even now. Turned under rot now even done. Violet is our light even now turned. In side. Our under rot. Light is given heat turned. Even veiled even now. Turned under, rot now, even done. In now. Now our worms. Our under rotted. Under now done even rot. Light is given, heat turned. Light is given, heat, turn. Is now. Given is violent, even now. Her even and turns. Turned under rotted now, even turns. Even vent even now. Violet in our light even turns. Even violent even now. Now on worms. Turned under rotted now, even turned. Under now done, evened rot. Rot our turns. Now, ours, worms. Even veiled, even now. Done ours now, even. Violet in our lighted even, turned. In-side. Ours under rot. Light is given, heated turns. Even vent, even now. Now over worms. Turned under, rotted now, evened turn. Inside. Side in done even. Our under rots. Under now done even rot. Rot overturned.

Andrew Borgstrom lives in the desert. 


David Peak

Shape of a Ribcage

On the bridge I watched a man-sized bird balance a row of neatly-lined human skulls, stopping a beat to beak at the white worms wriggling in those empty sockets, those of nose and eyes. The bird craned low its long neck and pecked, inspected, pecked, one-by-one down the line, each time stopping a beat to admire—or maybe consider—the neatly-lined rows of teeth.

The bridge is a suspension bridge suspended between two bluffy cliffs, deep-down bottom dropped out, a body gorged, belly rusting with the broken-down bodies of bombers, Second World War or something thereafter. Weather blazes a backward trail, blazed and baking sun a setting, a shadow fanning imprint in the mud, or an impression of the weight of extinction. The crushing shape of a ribcage.

History impresses its weight on the spine of the scoliosis codex. Each passing day a new layer of skin spans over the redraw, a new dead layer of skin to tusk at shed exoskeletons. And each passing day is a lesson: how to mask the crippled limp; withstand the concussions of trench warfare. Curled into the center is all our tension, suspended—the cardinal point of free fall, from which to make our leap.

David Peak lives in the middle of the woods where he collects and cleans guns. He frequently deletes his blog at


James Chapman

from This

            She keeps the Absolute in her eyes, and the Absolute hovers around her. So she can walk out of the city of flowers into the desert wearing no clothes at all, and men don’t interfere. All are welcome to look at her body, because her body isn’t anything, her body was discarded by her husband. White as jasmine, devoted to my name, wild, she scares men away. Her love is stronger than their eyes.
            She's my wife in her heart, she crosses the desert alone, in pain and naked, passing between stones, singing to me. “Why don’t you show your face?” She begs the birds and the silkworms, the monkeys and the fiery sun, “Where is he, my Spek white as a book, sky-inhabitor?” She has me confused with an unknown god, my unreachability has given me divinity in her blood, she feels my divinity as pain.
            Each grain of the desert finds the dune it belongs to, and each dune helps in holding up the sky. She passes between a dune of heedlessness and a dune of anger without climbing onto either. She settles her body into a dune of permitting, which sighs to feel her back against it. Written in the sand are words that never blow away, right where everybody can see them, STUTTER, CLUMSY, MISTAKE and the words have a single heart drawn around them all, and the heart is beating.
            She sings At this very moment you might appear.
            You said my face was like a sacrifice to God. But I don’t love this god. He taught you to snare women, as he snared you. He taught you to forget women, as he’s forgotten you. He taught you to ignore the pain you cause. Then show me how to sacrifice my pain to your naked idol. Show me how to crucify pain, beautiful Spek.
            What does it mean that you’re “seeking”? where do you need to go? My pain is everyplace you can look, my pain is in the bowl of the sky, a broken sky falls on every head. There’s noplace you can go that my pain won’t gaze at you, begging you to kill it. If you walk into the future, my pain is there. If you walk into the past—but the past, before you appeared to me, was all ease and beauty. Will you infect that beautiful sky too, Spek, will you desolate even what I remember?
            In my fragile heart you live raging, a black god killing creatures who gaze into your eyes. In my evil heart you live as an attributeless miracle, you sing light from your indescribable throat. I dreamed of my hands reaching for your light, and you woke me, Spek, by stopping my heart.
            I could have been a mother, whispering sounds to a believing face. This is a mistake, isn't it, singing these words to your absent eyes? I should create a new song instead, a song of sobbing, a song of a vibrating heart, and give it to anyone who uses his ears with love. I could have married an unworshipping man with a face like flowers who would dance with me as I danced with him, who'd feel no guilt at my name’s joy. This is a mistake to speak these words to you, you who won't dance, you with absent feet, you who are all name, only name, Spek.
            Shedding my song you wouldn’t listen to, shedding my eyes you looked away from, shedding my dancing that didn’t move you, shedding my opinions that bored you, shedding my awareness that didn’t warm you, shedding my body that couldn’t keep you, shedding my mind that didn’t interest you, shedding my heart that was invisible to you, what is the container for this pain, and what would this pain have me do now, without a self and without you, Spek?
            My mother grieves because her daughter is damaged, is distracted, sits talking about a man’s eyes and hair, his voice and words, and his absence above all. She tried to teach me to protect myself, even when I was small she warned me against this. Now she’s furious at my beloved, who has demolished all her teachings. Will you still teach me, mother? Show me how to hate Spek, the way you do?
            For others, it’s like you don’t exist. They don’t know you, they're free and lost. So they don’t understand what’s in my eyes. This darkness here, it’s a picture of you, it’s the dark watcher within me, the black ball at my center. This little black object, source of my pain, I would not give this treasure away to anyone. But I'll give it to you, Spek, to rub its perfume on your body.
            I touched your body and before I could say “How strong, how soft, how vulnerable, how radiant,” how this and that, you'd already become a million Speks in my blood, and another million in my heart, and a million million in my mind. You may abandon me but I have no shortage of you. Did you know you’ve been singing me to sleep at night, and waking me in the morning, Spek strong and soft?
            If I lie here long enough I'll forget you. I can’t possibly think of you every moment, this can’t go on. If I lie here without you I'll dissolve, and the blob remaining won’t be a girl, it won’t know how to miss you. If I lie here I’ll evaporate, and rise on ninety different breaths of air, and join that cloud there, and drift across the earth. But even as vapor I’ll still know you when I see you. I’ll fall on you as rain, Spek, I’ll soak you to the skin.
            My heart is too full. If I met you now, like this, there'd be no room for you. If we ever merged together, how would there be space on the earth? We'd have to find another place to stand, a place without pain, we'd have to become formless, an idea, a banner with a symbol on it. We'd have to hide in the space between the seconds of time, or we'd crowd everybody out, Spek, the way you’ve crowded me out of my own breath.
            I know you're married to a god. You're following your Christ to the edge of time. Your goodness and loyalty have helped you flee the filth of my body. You married the father in heaven, you love the son on earth. But what about HERE, in my head, in this infinite world of invisible images? Will you hold me in your arms here, at least? Will you marry me here? Our wedding will take place hidden between two atoms. Nobody will know, nobody will see. Out of the whole vast plain of earth, our marriage will be the size of a small jewel-box, the size of my mind. The honeymoon will hide here, within me. Here in my head I can give you Saturn for your ring. Here are no boundaries, here we span the ends of the universe. Here in this other place, in this hidden place, Spek, let us kiss.

James Chapman will live in New York a while longer, drop over while you can. His most recent novel is "The Rat Veda."


J. A. Tyler

Noah Remembering the Things He Doesn't

Noah sees himself as a child and the child is one of those children violent and swinging from branches and this is when there was sun if there ever was sun because Noah’s memory is clouded with images. Noah’s memory is a gravestone in a cemetery where a pick-up has backed onto the head and now the stone is halved and what is underneath is no longer a body but remembering how bodies used to be. When Noah was a child the children were all about decapitation and sorrow. When Noah was a child there was rain unstoppered from that liquored-up sky. When Noah was a child there was no ark, because Noah had not yet built it.

Noah has no sister and this is why: To make a sister take parents in rows of two and put them together facing one another and move them up and down and wait for all the other moments in the world to happen. To make a sister crush her like a sandwich where one thing goes on the top of another on top of another on top of another. To make a sister exhaust all the boys with running or monkey bars then wait an eternity for the movement of the world to slow. This is why Noah has no sister. Noah has no sister because of these and all the other things.

Noah is a man who is building an ark. Noah’s muscles are hammers and Noah’s mouth is nails spit out. The rain is coming down. When Noah is out and up on the ark that is half-built, the rain is happening and in it he hears himself telling himself to build an ark. In this way it doesn’t come from any god or from the sky or opened up out of his own mouth but instead from the rain and the way it falls on his partially constructed deck. Noah’s eyes are saws that trim stolen and found wood to length. Noah is a man because he is building an ark or in spite of this ark building. Noah is a man because the rain is coming down and there is no one else for it to come down upon.

Noah has in his half-built ark a garden that will house plants already soaking up the water though they are only seeds and are showing no green. All the green that was leaves has turned gray via missiles, has turned gray via screaming, has turned gray with all the violent moments that were threaded together to make Noah’s neighborhood a firestorm, to make Noah’s house an only image, to make Noah a man building an ark in the rain with a garden by himself. The seeds that Noah plants are children. The seeds that Noah plants are sisters. The seeds that Noah plants are men and memories. Women. The seeds that Noah plants in his garden on this incomplete ark are nails and hammers and saws. Muscles and memories and images. The seeds that Noah plants will always be drowning in coming-down rain. Noah makes a garden, Noah builds an ark. These will be Noah’s new memories, even in this rain.

J. A. Tyler’s most recent novel Girl With Oars & Man Dying is available now from Aqueous Books. For more, visit:


Rachel Levy

I Now Enjoy The Taste Of Boiled Potatoes 

I’ve been up to so little lately; however, preparing food takes time. It is hot here. I shower frequently. The heat has dulled my mind and character, but awakened in me the instinct to migrate north. Only the very young and the very old are at risk (that is what the authorities report). But measured against the old, I am very young. And measured against the young, I am very old. I see no way out of this paradox. In any case, there is only the weather to talk about. The old highs are becoming the new lows (that is what the authorities report). Listen, I’ve decided to consolidate my vocabulary. (You still haven’t answered my question. Why else does the thesaurus exist?) There is no distance between instinct and fear, but the distance between parsley and dill is absolute. That is the simpler science and so it is more perfect. Today I am generous; I feel like a teacher. It is possible to sweeten the flesh. Please, follow my lead. Boil water. Add celery, carrot, parsley, pepper, nutmeg.

Rachel Levy is the author of a chapbook, Necessary Objects (forthcoming, Ghost Ocean Press). Her prose can be found in places like Drunken Boat, PANK, and NANO Fiction. She lives in Boulder, CO, where she teaches and studies writing.


M. Kitchell

The ordinary hallway is an oddly discordant use of space When blocked off, its full length operates in memory as a recollection of the absent movement. But in use, only a part of the hallway serves for the passage of the figure. The figure passes through the hallway never directly in the middle, towards the entrance or exit at the end. The end, which exists as negative space rather than positive space, is not functional, only present. Hallways are always uninhabited.

X       X
X       X
X       X
X       X
X       X

The hallway walls index the difficulties exposed in the building. They are set too far from the body. When using the hallway, hands fail to brush the side-walls. The space between the hallway and the body is too distanced.

M. KITCHELL is the editor & publisher of LIES/ISLE and Solar Luxuriance. He is a contributor to HTMLGiant. A collection of short narratives, Slow Slidings, will be out in 2012 on Blue Square Press. He lives in San Francisco and daydreams about endless labyrinthine architecture and ghosts.


Andrew Borgstrom


Yellow even level, level or worms. Yelling evens levels, level our worms. Even veiled evens now. Level evens veils even levels. Level even veiled even leveled. Or rotted. Worms or rot, more silence. Yellow even levels, leveling is now greeting. Evens violate evening, now silence. Levels even violate, even level silence. Level even vent even level. Or rots. Worms or rotting means silence. Even now even violate. Veiled even is leveled evening, done. Evens vote, evens now silent. Now or whispering. Level even veiled even light. Even vent even now silent. Veils even in lighted silence. Even veiled even now. Levels evening veiled evening levels. Level even votes even level. Even violates even now. Veiled evening in lighted evens, done. Even vented even now. Leveled even vents even levels evening done. Or rot. Rotted or turning, turning even, done.

Andrew Borgstrom lives in the desert.


Taylor Jacob Pate

a million afternoons

trouble was: 6:53am & i didn’t know how to get back to potsdam. i’ll show you which train to take. she blinked. we closed the door on the party & stepped into sunday, empty berlin. it drizzled blue dawn. when was the last time you were in america by the way? 10 months ago i visited my sister in new york, she buttoned her pea coat, other than that, it’s been 2 years. i touched her lip, then the small of her back, how’d you get those rain drops stuck under your skin? we turned a corner. if there had been tread on my sneakers, they would have squeaked on the wet pavement. sometimes i can’t remember the words to my favorite song,  she took my hand. the train station was across the street. i pulled her from under the awning, we belong in a movie, & let my nose rest on hers. take this line all the way to the end.  i lit a lucky strike, i wonder if my dad ever felt this way, i hope so. we walked down our own flights of stairs & stood facing each other from our platforms. i’m less than amazing, you know? she jammed her hands in her pockets, her irises retreated to ovals of white & dark blue halos. i think i’d like to be in love with you for a long time

Taylor Jacob Pate is the author of shoegazers and the editor of smoking glue gun magazine.


Sean Kilpatrick

Shucks About Everything

Your sex is adjustable according to level of terror.

To take the factory out of saying, to dismantle the mind by returning to people’s earliest output and to construct of that study root cognitions free of contemporary abstraction and cliché, to relieve the constriction of condensed verbiage into less popular contents, breaking by syllable until the recomposed thought has reached mystical apertures between purpose and sound, the ideogram and glyph dumb on the page point without decision, simplistically, but felt.

If a poem could start breathing new paths with its own arrangement, grow eyes from multi-fractured narrators in the same take, a suction of stationary vowel made component within.

What semiotics lifts the creature angry from its bleating, changes our instincts?

The movement seeker protects consumption. Informed by loss consumers advertise. To blunt definition, omitting surface from emotion, to narrowly avoid Catholic techno, elaborating smog for America, equitably sappy, adolescent, progressively sweltered, a family gets particular about neighborhood. Teenagers invest satanic swagger, determine guilt by evolution, because months cost. “My dick finally became huge on my twentieth birthday.” Compared to taxes unsubstantiated, safety the upshot, a parent will kid their mugger. It could be a vast percentage of relatives who say private troughs spill glue.

Mandatory economics shovel the passage right to martyrdom. An unctuous putting of birth cords in the wicker. Students of hapless fact cantankerously unspecified by the hinder they suck. The faculty budget killed a door. What’s on the docket for disease? Usurp a type of equivocal hygiene. Bodily handbooks conduct scars to meaning, ultimatums of pubic liposuction. Superficiality for tit sex in classrooms while aging. Through some bubbles you see girls you loved with scripture in their names. Some you never touched without the police nearing all shrunk and esteemed.

Restricted voluminous to self-injury, big wounds as small media (imagined and physical, masturbation causes tinny choleric grip, quivering cancer glide, plague to the third degree, bionic gimp moves).

Accumulate by mistake, love too young, gloaty religious violence, an attempt to retract all the awkward coitus with each phrase and only creating more.

Squirt 100 percent confetti – the drip you drop, the slip you slop. Spatter during group. Mess improves stanzas. Dowse your iodine with place. Freeze a poem until it’s ready for submission. Some go in your ear. Cake the home, romance and powder, bathe in people’s kids.

Get a lid of sag round your play, a slurpy for quotes.

Wrangle filth a cleaner purpose, step loudly into ninja clothes.

Existing is a plenitude of health and hostility, of sickness and pleasantries.

Sticking your arm inside a radio to chew the skin harmonious, break into song at the sight of chemicals, walking glib between genre fondled kinds of plain for transvestite sayings, arrival toward meaning through fracture because meaning is such a limp chemical implied stochastically. People shit their own meaning in beautiful ways. Survival is the perpetual flaw of our vocation as animals. After all cadaverous humpings drolly laughed through. People could die with such spuriously delicious adjectives.

I am an arsonist when I smile. I think thinking is murder. History is a silly fetish sometimes. But I like history too, because I have some. All this god stuff crowds the orgasm. Baudelaire masturbates like someone with a broken mother. He finds a weapon to carve people out of their separate hibernations from god. Baudelaire is god.

A short history of drive-by shootings via the height of each assassin.

Nothing your labor produces has significance, how freeing, the smooch of torture, the necking dreads.

Sliced aphasic for meaning, words fail the brain - a grand disease disguised as itself - click into vacancies fondled and huffing tune, are punished further, grope the cleft adoringly reset by frictions circular and droned, rabid and nuanced.

Clapping your hands on other people’s hands until human similarities combust creams nannies pile in the closet.

The world outside your bed keeps growing. Beneath the covers your cuticles recede. Cold plumbing welters your infections.

Everything is a job without instructions. Everyone is a boss whose piss becomes your vision.

Nightmares linked endlessly preposition to preposition, the comma as perpetrator, the right ten seconds of trauma the same as ten million.

Risk your prose as purple or bleed so stupid everyone hides.

Pretension means you write.

To write like this:


The fragment is a halo for music only your skin can spoil.

Go past your bandages, regardless.

That there is edification in the art itself is a perverse lie. Gut the singer of this song.

Study process how a corpse smells.

The cluck dumb telling of your vice all willy nilly.

The costume that fears itself.

The king scalped by his crown.

Say fuck yes after every line or admit you are asleep.

Revision of revision, you edit when you blink.

Inkling for the Tarot as porn.

Cacophony bares little beyond cacophony: yikes and good.

The consonant as vehicle of hate to pace typing. Alliteration works during scenes of castration or disembowelment. All that is allowed is disembowelment.

Marginalize your tinker.

Don’t write to be digested.

Be alive worse than anything.

What you conjure while giddy places little connect.

The world ain't your business. Breathing ain't your business.

To search assward for yesterday’s supper using a blowtorch for light and to live in the resulting wet maze of tubes.

You didn’t have enough grins tied to your birth. You found a pencil and stuck it in your importance.

People study to be lawyers.

You are glitter succulent for page.

You’ve got microcosms in your stammer.

Blown eventually through a tube of hair.

Poets lick their gravestones, deserve less than gravestones. Poets for the order of their own mass grave.

I have a second prostate blanking soot behind my eyes.

Shucks about everything.

Sean Kilpatrick's first book, fuckscapes, packaged with an excerpt, Stab Pyramid, of a collaboration with Blake Butler, is forthcoming Dec. 2011, from Blue Square Press.


Nikkita Cohoon


I want to write a poem
about the way Winnie noses
her way into the first wind
of the morning,
the thrust of scent
that defines everything around her.

She noses the wind
she has defined this place
can account for strangers
for things unseen
for the angle of your missing
and the basil that has tipped on our patio

and the smallest things I could say
in the room of (quiet).

And everything shifted. This was not a spurring this was how it began. The smallest moments of clarity all begin with an “and.”

And in the room of quiet we made small lights of our fingertips. Words never entered there, only the things that have always existed. The skin on my lips is dry and I can taste cinnamon where the new flesh is exposed.

The smallest is this:
everything you can’t fit
in a ring box.
It is also mulled
and simmered
so the aftertaste
has its own voice
left untested.

(It floated by on the nicest Tuesday.)

And. There was our blanket
but our feet neither dry nor warm
we had to accept the chill.
Our mittened hands have slowed
they do not make the same sounds
do not carve homes into lovers’ bellies
or press the wrist until it glows white
with the pressure, instead
stay still in our laps
don’t flinch when flakes melt on knuckles and palms.

So I signed them--
not in any known language
but my fingers moved into shape--

I remember when cross-hatched lines filled my vision
how I saw them as the equation for everything.
What I learned of edges and their permeability.

I cut the proof.

My edges soaked with the loss.
Carve here
then kneel
where the plaster crumbles
at the base of the alter.

I let the shadows
have their say

I could have piled
so many things here.

I watch Winnie extend
beyond her own space

& consider what I should
be filling my time with.

And like I had before
I pictured
what I could not say.

I spread my arms
wide to make room
for the visions.

With connections, I could
show every one, thing
without a word.

Weeks later the after-image
still burns.

I looked into yesterday,
but mostly into oncoming Tuesdays.

And her arms stretch farther
to fill my place.

Nikkita Cohoon’s poems have appeared in elimae and The Bridge. Her artwork has appeared in Dear Camera Magazineand Mid-American Review. She is the online editor for Black Ocean.


Robert Kloss

from The Valley below His Black Mountain

And so your mother lay bleeding and pale in the tangled sheets and the women in their bonnets and house dresses before her crossed themselves and muttered prayers unto her soul as you red faced and dripping announced yourself wailing into the world. And your father called from his sorrow that he could never again gaze upon this woman, nor could he again name her but with a strangled sound, and when with his moans and gnashing he commanded her taken away they wrapped her and carried her in those very sheets, blood matted and sticky with viscera, fly gathered already, to the edge of what was considered the yard. And so too were all images and possessions of this woman carried in bed sheets to the yard and set afire. Of this woman there now remains but a single marker; and one may find some remnant of her stone, even now, if they understand where the pasture once lay. And your father regarded you from the edge of the room, you the last vestige of this lost life, and he said unto his sister, “What shall I do with this one?” and only after some consideration did your aunt say, “I will tend after him. I will tend after the both of you.” And how in the brief years to follow your aunt was carried off in a fever and then your father was himself compelled to the soil, his blood misted before the plow and into the mysterious overgrowth his hired man fled with the woman your father wed to raise you, to instruct you, whose image you carry even now within your mind as “Mother,” and so it was you toddled into the dust and lay upon this man and when they found you against your father, in the full gaze of the sun, they said you were “red with [your] father.”

Robert Kloss is the author of How the Days of Love & Diphtheria (Mud Luscious Press/Nephew) and The Alligators of Abraham (Mud Luscious Press, 2012). He is found online at


David Peak


Born of the same womb,
Some warped ovum

Twins in tissue, equal parts
blood and tonsil

A brother kind, lungs healthful
Arms malformed—a blue-faced horror—

The eater: wrangled freak
Black-cord monster

Mother husk, her dying
Wish for a total terror death

 David Peak lives in the middle of the woods where he collects and cleans guns. He frequently deletes his blog at


Andrew Borgstrom


Red even done. Rot even done. Even now even now. Done now over even. Red now evened now. Even violence even now. Now now. Done now, over even. Even now even veiled. Now over worms. Even even. Now worms. Even evened even. Violence in our loss even now curved even. Even violence even rot. Now rot. Now over rot. Now always rot. Always loss always worms always always. Now over rot. Over vent even rot. Even vent even now. Red venting even now even done. Now our worms. Even veiled even now. Violence is our level, even now, curved even. Even violence even now. Even over worms. Now over worms. Now over, worms. Done over now, evened. Now ours, worm. Over vented, evened rot. Worms over rot means silence. Even vented even now. Even now.

Andrew Borgstrom lives in the desert.


James Pate

Pig Beach

The noise in the pig. The pig in the noise.
The time for pig time.
The end of the start of pig time.
The time of the pig thorn.
The mouth drooling in the heart of the pig thorns.
The heart drooling in the shape of the pig.
The hour of the pig light. The arson in the pig dark.
The noise of the pig in the human head.
The noise of the human in the pig head.
The pig fever in the human brain.
The pig light in the human eye.
The pig eye in the dark staring.
The lemon of the pig. The glory and run-off of the pig.
The pig wall alone on the human beach.
The human sand pink and the pig wall burnt.
The human hand scurrying in the pig night.
The mouth drooling in a human night.
The hour of the pig hour.
The hour of the blood drool.
The hour of the pig drool slipping from the light into the dark.
The pig eye staring down.
The human eye staring at the pig eye stare down.
The human spew in the pig head.
The human dark in the pig light.
The peeled lemon of the pig. The hour of the pig lemon.
The crown of pig thorns on the pink sand.
The beach light bright in the pig eye.

James Pate has been published in The Black Warrior Review, The Cream City Review, The Berkeley Review, Action Yes, Rhino, and La Petite Zine, among other places. He is also a contributor to He lives in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.


David Ohle

Daddy's Home

Jerry’s Daddy, looking half dead, sat in the kitchen smoking a Camel and sketching comic faces on a napkin with a stubby pencil. There was quite an odor about him, mostly of sour, poorly washed clothes. A thin white paste leaked from his mouth.  Jerry sat at the far end of the dining table.  “Where have you been?”
“All over the place.  Don’t worry about that.”
“How did you get into the house?”
“The basement window. I was careful, I was quiet, I didn’t want to wake you up in the middle of the night. I scraped myself, but don’t worry, I don’t bleed anymore.”
“I assumed you were dead.”
“It’s an assumption, Jerry. You never knew this, but at times I had to rest.  I came here, a familiar place. I stayed in the basement. I’ve got a little niche back there in the corner.”
“That’s crazy. What’s that white stuff you’re drooling?”
“I don’t know. It just started happening a few years ago. I know it smells bad.”
“Why don’t you bathe? I’ll take you upstairs. You can get into the tub. I’ll give you some soap.”
“The least bit of water on my skin burns like acid.”
“Right. I’m sure it does. Would you like a cup of coffee?”
“I’ll have a sip or two. If I drink too much I get animated…. What kind of coffee do people drink these days? Is it still Maxwell House and Folgers?”
“I get better stuff. It costs twice as much. It’s organic.”
“It’s what?”
“What in the shit does that mean?”
“They don’t use pesticides on the coffee plants. They don’t treat the beans with chemicals.”
Jerry’s Daddy watched him pour three scoops of beans into his Braun grinder and held his ears when it was turned on. “Jesus Christ, what is that thing?  Cyclones in Hell that don’t make that much noise.”
“It’s an electric grinder. You buy the whole beans and you grind them yourself. It tastes fresher.”
“Have we gone to the moon yet?”
“We have, yes. In 1969. Where the hell have you been?”
“Fantastic. I knew they would. How old is Kennedy now? He must be eighty or ninety.”
“He was assassinated.”
“You’re kidding.”
“In Dallas. A little guy with Cuban sympathies shot him dead in his limousine. The top was down.”
“Somebody shot Kennedy? Hard to believe.”
“What am I going to do with you? This is a small place. Just a kitchen, a tiny parlor, one bedroom and a bath upstairs.”
“I said I would stay in the basement.”
“The bathroom is upstairs. You’d be going up and down all night.”
“I don’t need a bathroom. I’m dried up. Kidneys don’t work.”
“That’s interesting, Daddy.  Here’s your coffee. I’m taking you somewhere, a facility where you can get some help.”
“I don’t need help. I’m fine.”
“What will you eat down there, slugs? Roaches?  I’m taking you somewhere. Let me make a few phone calls.”
Jerry fished an iPhone from his robe pocket and spoke into its receiver: “Social Services, Geriatric.” He looked intently at the little screen for an answer.
Daddy pointed at the iPhone. “What in the hell is that?” 
Several social service geriatric sites had scrolled up and Jerry wasn’t paying attention. “What is what? I’m busy looking something up.”
“Don’t tell me they’ve got little bitty televisions now. Why did you talk to it?”
“It’s a telephone and it’s also a small computer. It gives me information about things to do with you. Right now it’s telling me to call St. Vincent’s, which it says has a good reputation.”
“I read about them in Popular Science, the little computing machine of the future you could hold in your hand. No wires. Dick Tracy had a wrist phone. It might have been a radio too. I don’t remember.”
Jerry said, “Fifty years, Daddy. You’ve been gone that long.”
“Was I.…? What about your mother? Whatever became of her?”
“She died in eighty nine. Cancer of the colon.”
“I bet she suffered. I’m sorry I couldn’t be with her. I wish I cared more, but I lost all my feelings when I moved on. Physically, mentally, nothing there.”
Jerry punched in the number for St. Vincent’s and waited for an answer. “I was with her,” he said, spite on his fleshy face. “I took care of emptying her colostomy bag and trying to talk her out of taking an overdose of her pain pills.”
“I’m guessing it wasn’t fun.”
“It wasn’t…. Hello? St.Vincent’s? I’m calling about a situation I’m having with my father. He’s been gone fifty years and now he’s back and he needs care. Are your services free?”
“I’m not going there, Jerry. Think of something else.”
Jerry shushed him with a finger to the lip and listened for awhile with his ear to the iPhone. “I’ve already thought about this for a long time, in case you came back. I can’t take care of you. It’s way too late. You’re going to St. Vincent’s.”
Daddy took a small sip of coffee. “Did you ever hook up with a woman and get married?”
Jerry pressed the End button and slid home the cover of the iPhone. “The damned place is closed three days a week. They won’t be there till Thursday. I got a recording.”
“Did you?”
“Did I what?”
“Find a woman and get married.”
“No,  I’ve been going it alone. It’s noon already. We’ve got to make some kind of arrangements.”
“I’m living the dream. I couldn’t be better. I don’t need any arrangements. I told you that, didn’t I?”
“I’ll call them back on Thursday.”
“Son, are you religious? Do you belong or go to any church? All that Heaven and Hell shit?”
“No. I don’t believe any of that.”
“Let me tell you, I’ve been to Hell.”
“Of course you have.”
Jerry began to make a sandwich. He took sliced ham, mayonnaise, yellow mustard and a leaf of lettuce from the fridge, placed them on the kitchen counter and dropped two slices of split-top white bread into the toaster. “Go on, Daddy, tell me all about Hell.”
“The first morning I woke up there I felt more rested than I had in years. My big surprise—there wasn’t enough fire to roast a marshmallow. The place that terrified us had burned out long ago and a cool drizzle had turned everything into a slimy black tar, still warm enough to burn your feet, but that’s it. I saw familiar faces right away, friends from home. They were in single file, pushed along by the Devil’s trustees, on their way to one of several Hell-based factories for a long, steamy day of work. There were two Hells, one for women and one for men. A river of boiling plasma separated them.”
“I think St. Vincent’s is the place for you. Good priests, good nuns. They’ll treat you well.”
“I’m not finished with Hell yet, Son.”
“All right.”
“There were a few children to be seen, mostly males, idling their way through eternity, too young to work, too old for Limbo. There were no clouds, tobacco or animals. And the condemned ate half-cooked flesh soaked in mother’s milk at every meal. People were trying to distill whiskey down there. They were going to call it Deep Shaft Bourbon—Bottled in Hell, but you can’t make good whiskey without corn. And for corn, you need good water. The Styx doesn’t have it. It’s eighty feet under the ground. It gets every drop of toxic effluent from the City.”
“Is that it, your treatise on Hell?”
“It’s my report. I was there. Look, I’m going down for a nap. I can’t hold my eyes open.”
Daddy struggled up from the table without help from Jerry and shuffled to the basement door. “Good night, Jerry.”
“Daddy, it isn’t noon yet.”
“Oh, don’t worry, it’s dark enough in the basement.” He opened the basement door. “Don’t try to raise me in the morning. I’ll be sleeping in.”
“All right.”
Daddy stepped onto the basement stairs and closed the door behind him. 

David Ohle lives in Lawrence, Kansas.