Mike Young

Mike Young's new book, Sprezzatura, is forthcoming from Publishing Genius in October. He is also the author of the short story collection, Look! Look! Feathers and his first book of poems, We Are All Good if They Try Hard Enough.


Madeline ffitch


Twenty years ago, my little sister Jenny was three years old, and all the way to the Lake of the Ozarks, she only wanted to hear songs that had her name in them, and she wanted to hear those songs over and over again. I was seven, so while our parents sat as far away from each other as possible up in the front seat, I sang "What Will You Wear Jenny Jenkins," and "Jenny’s Gone Away," but mostly I sang "It’s Sister Jenny’s Turn to Throw the Bomb," because that was Jenny’s favorite. At Wall Drug, she’d spent a quarter on a lime green water gun. She worked at that trigger furiously, but only succeeded in drizzling warm water in my face, one teaspoonful at a time, all the way across the country. Jenny didn’t know what any of those songs meant, and she didn’t care either.

It was my job to indulge Jenny, but when we got to the Lake of the Ozarks for my Great Aunt Mina Dill’s seventy-fifth birthday weekend, the lake turned out to be an enormous man-made cement pit, full of desperate pedal boats struggling in the dubious water, and moldy cabins on the shore, and my acned older cousin, Sport, sitting alone on the dock all day, drinking Shasta Cola. He sat at our Great Aunt’s birthday dinner with his overgrown elbows resting on the table. “Mabel, Mabel, strong and able …” said Aunt Mina Dill, and Sport shifted those elbows squarely to the center of his empty bread plate, rested his chin in his hands, and refused to make eye contact with anyone.

Sport even refused to make eye contact with me, and all I wanted that summer was for someone to tell me I would grow up to look like the woman at the beginning of Columbia Pictures, tall and robed, staring out to sea, imperious and virtuous and lonely, scepter in hand. Especially the scepter. I really wanted a scepter, and Christmas was far away.

But this story isn’t about me. It’s about my sister Jenny, who, when she turned five, came to understand the macabre lyrics of "It’s Sister Jenny’s Turn to Throw The Bomb."  She began to howl and cry each time she heard the song, and in response, I sang it to her even more often. I even learned to play it, in a rudimentary sort of way, on the family ukulele. Jenny had nightmares all that year, but she and I each had our own room now that Mom had married Dirk, so I didn’t care much that she never slept through the night. Besides, that October Jenny’s pediatrician noticed that Jenny wasn’t growing, and then Jenny’s kindergarten teacher found she couldn’t seem to learn her ABC’s or her numbers up to ten the way the other kids could. So really, I don’t know how much her nightmares had to do with that stupid song.

It’s hard for me to say this, but Pete Seeger is on our Death List for 2008, Corrine’s and mine. We make one up every New Year’s Eve, from eleven-thirty to midnight. A list of our predictions for who, sadly, will die the following year. Corrine’s my upstairs neighbor. We’ve both lived in the building ten years now. We get along okay, she and I. Her face has that shiny, cakey look of too much work and not enough to show for it. Yesterday, she told me, “You should try this dog shampoo as laundry detergent. I swear by it,” like she didn’t even remember what she told me Wednesday morning, which was, “You should wear a girdle. I swear by it.” I didn’t bother to tell her she’s the only one who needs either of those things. I don’t even own a dog.

Corrine and I spend most holidays and weekends together, though a lot of the time when she talks I only pretend to listen, and I know for a fact (though I would never tell anyone) that her cupboards contain the exact following: One jar of jelly made with NutraSweet, one box of stovetop curry stuffing, and three cases of vanilla-flavored Slimfast, and that’s it, except for possibly some spices.

This past New Year’s Eve, Fidel Castro made the list, as well as Ozzy Osbourne, the entire cast of Rent (in a plane crash), and Pete Seeger. It didn’t matter that Corrine didn’t know who he was. He was my pick. I don’t know what I’ll do when it happens, it’ll be so sad.

It was about a year ago now that I saw Pete Seeger at the Old Songs Festival out in Altamont, New York. I know he’s an icon and everything, but I walked right up to him and shook his hand. He admired my ukulele, and I asked him about "It’s Sister Jenny’s Turn to Throw the Bomb."  I asked if he knew who wrote it, who originally sang it, or how old it was. I told him that it was my little sister Jenny’s favorite song, and ever since she died fourteen years back, I’ve been wishing I knew where that song came from. My dad was the one who taught it to us, and he took the secret with him when he left my mom. My mom and Jenny and me. I figured if anyone would know about that song, it’d be Pete Seeger.

But he had never heard it. When I sang it to him, he didn’t even recognize the tune.

“I’d probably place it as a novelty song from the twenties or thirties,” Pete Seeger said. “It’s a fine song, that’s for sure. A fine song, and a funny song. And I’m sorry for your loss.” But that could mean anything. I shook his hand again, and left quickly through the crowd.

To put it plainly, Pete Seeger did not look so good. He’s nearly ninety years old, and his voice is failing. Like I said, I shook his hand once and then twice, and each time, it was just bones all mashed together under skin, and he was not steady.

But this story isn’t about that. It’s about why I put Pete Seeger on the Death List for this year. I put him on the list because he’s the one person who I can’t imagine dying. Not ever. And I never want him to. I try to imagine that if they found a cure for dying, I could personally administer it to him. But even as I see myself measuring a healthy dose of the newest anti-death immunization down Pete Seeger’s throat, I know it’s just bullshit. It’s as simple as this: I had to put him on the list because everyone, every single person dies, and more than that. They die all over, and they die all alone.

I can tell Corrine needs to get out of her apartment for a few days. She mostly just sits at her kitchen table, and it’s not even a real kitchen table, but a piece of white plastic patio furniture. I forgot to mention that she also keeps cans of tuna stored beneath her sink, and she eats so much of it that I think she’s developing mercury poisoning. What I mean is, her hands shake. I think what she needs is a real vacation. One weekend this spring, we’ll rent one of those cabins they have, three nights dirt cheap, on the shore of some duck-shit lake. We’ll go the Lake of the Ozarks, except this time, I’ll get it right.

Madeline ffitch was a founding member of the punk theater company The Missoula Oblongata with whom she wrote, performed, and toured to post offices, grocery stores, farms, and warehouses. Her work has appeared in The Chicago Review and on Chuckwagon Press. Her play, Debris Upon the Forest Floor, produced with the weaver Elspeth Vance and the musician Jordan O Jordan, was catalogued in the 2012 Emergency Index, a project of Ugly Duckling Presse. Originally from Portland, Oregon, she now lives and writes in Appalachian Ohio where she homesteads and raises ducks and her small son, Nector Vine Ballew. ffitch's collection of short stories, Valparaiso, Round the Horn, will be available from Publishing Genius in December.

Pete Seeger died in January.


Alyssa Rorke

Alyssa Rorke is based in New Brunswick, NJ and is currently touring the southeast and Midwest, reading poems at punk shows. She most recently has work published in the WHAT KIND OF TROUBLE? ebook anthology.


Ronan Barbour

stir ring glitter

The newt walks alone at night

The lemonade stand abandoned

Beneath the blink of the pond

Ronan Barbour is the author of PLAYGROUNDS AFTER DARK, a chapbook collection of poems, and one novel. Born in Canada, he has lived in Ireland and currently resides in Los Angeles.


Janice Greenwood

If This Statement Is False, My Heart Is Beating

I’m going to say

is not true. Winter exists.
The woods go on and on.

There are trees. Spring exists.
Long spines of ice grow fractal.

If this sentence is true, we live
in bodies of our own

devising. It is not true that we live
in bodies of our own devising.

The body is provable,
but everything that follows

cannot be proven. It is not true
that we live in (fill in the blank).

The next sentence is true.
The previous sentence was false.

We were sometimes lonely, sometimes afraid.
There is still sincerity.

This is false.
The first person is speaking,

though the second person may speak as well.
Only one sentence is true.

Only one sentence is false.
One sentence is as good as another.

Janice Greenwood’s writing has appeared in Baltimore Review, Cortland Review, Cimarron Review, and New England Review. Her poetry manuscript, After Mercy, was named a finalist for Four Way Books’ Intro Prize as well as for the John Ciardi Prize in Poetry from BkMk Press.


Josh Spilker

cooper is inside mcdonald’s, then outside

cooper walked outside. cooper saw a mcdonald’s sign. it was yellow. “a beacon of hope for people. it is my lucky yellow day,” cooper said. cooper went in the mcdonald’s. red plastic booths. boys with glasses. an old man with a gray beard. a woman in a shirt with light pink stripes and leathery hair.

cooper walked to the counter. flashy signs for smoothies, ice cream cones, and drinks.

a woman in a blue hat and a blue shirt was behind the counter. she stared at the cash register. the cash register was a nemesis.

“how can i help you?” the woman said.

“i need something brown,” cooper said.

“we got bun brown, we got hamburger brown, we got burnt french fry brown,” the counterperson said.

“hahahaha,” cooper said.

“what’s funny? we got apple pie brown and fudge cake brown. we got coca-cola brown and dr. pepper brown and diet coke brown and coffee brown.”

“yes. i want coca-cola brown,” cooper said.
“you want a coke?” the counterperson said.
“yes,” cooper said.

the counterperson took a paper cup from a sleeve of more paper cups. the counterperson put the cup underneath a gray spout. brown carbonated liquid plunged from the gray spout. the counterperson pulled the plastic cup away from the gray spout. the counterperson turned back around. the counterperson handed cooper the cup of coke.

“you confused...?” the counterperson said. “talkin brown and shit.”

“huh,” cooper said.

cooper took his cup of coke. cooper turned around. cooper saw a table. cooper sat down behind a plastic booth table. cooper watched other people come up to the counter. cooper watched other people talk to the counterperson.

cooper saw an old woman talk to the counterperson. the old woman was small and short. “maybe she feels excited about her life, like everything is hitting all cylinders, like everything is peachy, like everything is great, and she came to get something brown from mcdonald’s.”

cooper watched the old woman. her neck. the fat around her neck took a different shape. cooper could not tell if the woman was excited or depressed.

“if the woman turns right, her face fat doesn’t stick out. if the woman turns left, her face fat squeezes out. seems like a plastic mayonnaise tube,” cooper said.

cooper stood in the doorway of mcdonald’s. he stood over a sensor that opened and closed the doors. the glass doors opened. the glass doors closed. the glass doors opened.

“mcdonald’s is confused about my place in the world,” cooper said.

cooper hopped from one foot to another. several different sets of glass doors opened and closed. a group of women were near the doors. they wore floral printed blouses. the blouses were short sleeved. some wore black pants. others wore white pants. most had short hair.

cooper immediately identified them by the tone of their skin, the number of “spots” on their skin and the “folds” within their arms and faces. he identified them as “older.” cooper expected the women to say something to him. instead, they made other noises. Deep grunts and high cackles.

“and then... and then...,” one woman huffed.

cooper walked out through the doors. a section of plants was near the doors. plants and gravel. gravel made of rocks. cooper picked up a rock. “i will be a hamburglar,” cooper said. he threw the rocks at the glass. he threw another rock at the glass doors.

the last one hit a man wearing a mcdonald’s polo shirt.
“what are you doing?” he said.

“i am trying to be a burger-lar,” cooper said. “break in, yeah.”

“get the hell out of here,” the man said.

cooper dropped the rocks. he went to his bike. he unlocked his bike.

cooper started peddling. he rode down the street. he rode back to his apartment. cooper saw the homeless man from a few days earlier. the homeless man with a dirty dress shirt and maroon-colored overcoat.

cooper waved.

the homeless man’s eyes  grew larger. the homeless man waved. and waved faster.

cooper heard a noise. it sounded like a large machine that transports stuff and passengers.

a car swerved. cooper’s bike went off the edge of the road.

cooper rode over rough rivets and rocks. cooper felt his front wheel shake. the seat. his hands. his body. all vibrated. cooper felt his body leave the bike. Parts of his body were above the bike and entangled with parts of the bike.

soon, his head was sliding on the concrete pushed by his own mass of limbs and body fat. his mass of limbs and body fat dragged across the asphalt. the asphalt scraped layers off his body as he slid across it.

cooper thought of the many sewer lines under his head. the sewer lines feeding into an eco-system of america. dirt, tilled, slabs poured, walls fortified, ceiling juiced, how much different would an existence be in pastoral fields and long grasses and earthworms and muskrats and small prairie dogs as our only uses?

cooper saw wet corn pressed into oblong, flattened circles. Tampon sops for green avocado-ed mash, drippy salsa and tenderized cubed poultry.

a freight truck knocks into this giant mexi-cali staple flinging sour cream and shredded lettuce into the mouths of everyone lining up to return home----eventually.

Josh Spilker (@joshspilker) is the founder of I AM ALT LIT and regularly blogs at This is an excerpt from his forthcoming book Taco Jehovah, coming soon from Dig That Book Co. 


Jane Flett

The Osiris Myth

I've been kicking up an attitude at the
all-night-burger day-glo dream park.
I've been causing a stir.
Osiris says, “I can't get the night off, my dustbowl princess,”
flips an ostrich burger
hits it in the air like a pinball, like a stuck onion ring swept from the floor,
like a smoke ring lasso.
I am bored.
Dustbowl bored.
“What about a fast car,” I say, “what about a cliff?”
Osiris got plenty time to flip and sink round this town
—Osiris gonna live forever—
but as for me, I just don't know.
“Wait,” says Osiris,
“Let me cut you a piece of pie,
cherry pie for my red cheek special agent sinner.”
Damn you, Osiris.
I don't know why I stick around this two horse hole.
I sit in the booth, warm leatherette; it sticks like sick to the backs of my calves.
“Will you drive me back to your cardboard door when the last quick flip has hit the deck?”
Maybe I'm a fool to wait, because my whole life is just a whole life
and not an ever-unfurling snake with a hunger for tail.
Maybe I'm a fool—I hear even Isis spent many a night
with a little gold substitute tucked in her purse.
I hear the catfish swallowed it.
You think Osiris is a nice bloke, but in the sticks we're sick for it,
we're putting up with the getting we've got.
Truth is, I'm a sucker for a smack in the face.
Truth is, I'm a sucker for the flail.

Jane Flett is a philosopher, cellist, and seamstress of most fetching stories. Her poetry features in Salt’s Best British Poetry 2012 and is available as a chapbook, Quick, to the Hothouse, from dancing girl press. Her fiction has been commissioned for BBC Radio, awarded the SBT New Writer Award, and performed at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Find out more at


Paul Siegell

*trombone tree sprayer and a goldfish with knees*

jarred pennies. one minute yer in an ugly tie, next yer at loggerheads
w/ the toothpick of your heavyweight waistline cheapskate landlord.
G-d bless job less America. “Residents watch helplessly as a 26-story
half-built skyscraper burns. The cause of the blaze, which lasted for
four hours, is unknown.”

trumpet truths. seriously, death is cheaper than medicine. watching
the shot-put who-pictures on the tv think-sink, some are gonna “Gotta
go!” but then there are the ones, fenomenos, who drop in on the ones
that don’t know the acceptable spells: a goldfish in a fur coat? I was
like, “uh... seriously?” shrugged, “k.”

like letting a fart out, slowly, after munching half of a day-old home-
made cookie., you bet, but what are we w/o our edibles?
orchestration chocolates could. amphitheaters on amphetamines could,
too. but don’t be coy w/ me, goldfish—you know I just saw you flash
that fold of federal reserve notes.

I gots me eyes out for a new teacher: blossoms of oxygen in a trom-
bone of trees—ever give any thot to the vision? I’ve a 10 a.m. & a 12:
45, but then it’s on to tuba practice. dDeep-fFried satisfied and a cache
of goldfish would be so good to us right now: let’s reunite in the ruins—
the brass section’s going song.

Paul Siegell is a senior editor at Painted Bride Quarterly and the author of three books of poetry: wild life rifle fire, jambandbootleg, and Poemergency Room. Kindly find more of Paul’s work - and concrete poetry t-shirts - at “ReVeLeR @ eYeLeVeL” (

Annaleese Jochems

your every movement is an expression of infinite grandeur,
I said to the bull, who turned his crappy ass to me and placed his head in the sun

each and every muscular man in the world is busy,
because the world is in such dire need of muscular men

my dad’s a farmer and he waves his arms around and yells,
‘fucking yooseless’ spitting enormous amounts of phlegm

busy, busy, busy! I count so many thousands of dandelions!

ragwort stands on top of the mountain and touches the sky like a prince

my dad cooks offal

under large amounts of clouds I put on large amounts of lipstick
with all the precision of someone who can’t drive a car

Annaleese studies Creative Writing at MIT, New Zealand. She wrote her poem in high-school when the boy she had a crush on in English class refused to dump his girlfriend. She's likes E.E Cummings and boys who buy super-size beer jugs on first dates.


Katherine D. Stutzman

Heart’s Desires

He is beautiful, the genie. The golden younger son of a great house. I would wish—I should wish—but I can’t. I am distracted by the lights, the flames of the candles bobbing, bubbles of light in darkness. The genie has his own golden glow; it is the love of others that has shone on him all his life, lighting his way so well that he has never known there is darkness on all sides. But I see the darkness, made beautiful tonight by these bubbles of light that move in it, like bubbles in champagne. And the world feels like champagne to me now: a fizziness travels under my skin, and I do not know what I would ask of this gleaming golden man that he could grant me.

Katherine D. Stutzman's stories have appeared in Bound Off, jmww, and Summerset Review, among other journals. She holds an MFA from Penn State and currently lives, writes, and teaches in Philadelphia. Find her online at


listen chen

journey to the end of the night 4

like smoke-maddened rats

like a man

like thunder

like me

like liquor

journey to the end of the night 5

like me

like the pepper in a good sauce

journey to the end of the night 6

we, the befogged wounded

swallowing nails

as a rat

beautiful glasses

after a long dive

a can of meat?


ten pounds of turds on the Fourteenth of July

You are young!

battle sausage

Long live Diderot!

episcopal money boxes

these sublime truths

A ham

A hysterical bitch

the red plush sofas

grope for our happiness

killing or adoring,

or both together

mercantile aims



her rapacious instincts

the rich live together

all the rest is shit & misery

famous pastry

repugnant cumulative disharmony

portrait of ourselves

there is to it

my big head

stank of a whole past

all women

an artist in that line

an art of ugliness

free love

animal terror

waiting for my angel


little preferences

sonatas and adagios

the Argentine colony

took me for a pimp

listen chen lives in Vancouver and mucks around with words. Louis-Ferdinand Céline died in 1961 and was probably a coward.


Quincy Rhoads

The Bathtub

She hated to confide in anyone.

I hate to confide in anyone, she told him. It makes me feel vulnerable.

But she did consent to revealing this one dream.

I want a bathtub. I want my own house with forty acres of rolling hills all around it. I want my own bathtub outside of my house with forty acres of rolling hills all around and with this bathtub I will take baths outside, and after my baths I will stroll amongst the hills dripping wet and naked.

Quincy Rhoads lives in middle Tennessee with his wife and son. He is a contributing editor for Entropy and his writing has appeared in Thought Catalog, HTMLGiant, and Metazen.


Ben Gross

Your IQ will gradually decrease as you read this poem until your thoughts become invisible to you

I am doing my best to survive the war
Of happiness

I have employed certain frail strategies
To keep my ravens intact
And stabbing grids of bubble-wrap
In my brain
Which is being lifted up
By my company men
Into a safe room made of frosting


I have to pee


I just got back from peeing


I started writing this poem
But was interrupted
My sacred craft desecrated
By a buzzing noise
A cutting high-pitched burping noise
Which meant I was needed at the front
Of the liquor store where I am working as I type this

I was told to take a shopping cart
Over to the smaller liquor store down the block
(Under the same ownership
But has higher prices
I guess because of its convenience)
And fill it up with broken-down
Cardboard boxes
And bring them back
And put them in a big recycling bin

It was raining outside
It still is
And it was wonderful
The rain hitting the cardboard
In small random bouts of sound

On the way back to the bigger store
A stack of broken-down boxes
Stuffed inside a non-broken-down box
Fell off the front of the cart
Because the sidewalk was uneven
And on a slight downward slope
Which made the cart jolt

I bent down to put the box full of undone boxes
Back in the cart in a more secure position
And thought about how
Whatever it is I am in the moment
Whatever the negotiating cocktail of circumstance and will
Becomes me to be
I, upon honest, unfettered-by-intellect observation of the world
Can't find anything in particular
That I refer to
And I didn't mind that I wasn't going
To finish this poem in a way that
I might have intended

I am typing this on an iPad
In the 'notes' application
And the first word of each line
Keeps getting automatically
As well as the word 'I'
Which is fine
Unless you believe
That capitalized letters
Have an absolute significance and meaning
And view the uncorrected capital letters
As a lazy choice or annoying or distracting

I suppose I could go back
And uncapitalize the letters
But that would feel dishonest
Or at least
No less contrived
Than capitalizing them

Because I don't refer to any sure thing
Because I am not bound back to a static, isolated concept
I don't have anything to accept
Because I am not established antecedent to the present moment
To the extent that I am 'early' enough
To accept something
And could only accept things that I remember
And what is the sense in accepting
What you remember?

I started writing this poem thinking
I was going to try to make it weird
Measured I suppose by some standard
I fixed as normal so I could successfully
Deviate from it
And feel satisfied with the work I had done

The submission guidelines for everyday genius
Encourage the writer to submit their weirdest
And I think this poem qualifies
Because it has even deviated unexpectedly
From the pre-imposed standard style of weirdness
I thought I was writing in to begin with

Thank you monthly editor who I am imagining
Having already ceased reading this many stanzas ago
Which even further alienates the speaker in this poem
From its audience
I appreciate you taking the time
To read and consider this poem

If it doesn't match your aesthetic blueprint
Your normal-weird
Or if you decide it is too meta or directly derivative
Of something you can readily recognize
And you opt to pass on its publication
It is completely okay with me

I realize that you don't need me to tell you
'it is completely okay with me'
For you to not feel guilty
I would never presume that about you
But I just wanted to say that I have forgiven you
Even before you had the chance to
Do anything wrong in my opinion

I hope you don't find this poem too
Confrontational, hostile, or insecure
In its relationship to its audience
I don't know how it came to this
I'm so sorry

Motherfuck my uncompromising vision
I would debase whatever unsteadfast artistic code
I have to begin with
For the marginal amount of attention
Most likely negative attention
That I would receive for
Getting this piece published
In everyday genius

I feel ashamed of everything I have ever done or desired or dreamed about

Sincerely your everyday piece of shit who deserves to be physically restrained while he is forced to watch everyone he has ever loved get tortured and murdered and then have the same thing done to him while everyone he has ever hated cheers and makes fun of him and who you should feel no degree of sympathy, empathy, or even a touch of indirect, distant, abstract compassion for,

Ben 'doing everything in his power to prevent his work from getting published by magazines either online or in print and either relatively popular and reputable or obscure and looked down upon' Gross

Ben Gross wrote this poem about a year ago when he was having panic attacks every day. He has since stopped trying to escape them and instead has begun to gratefully include them, appreciate their hearty vitality, and develop a friendship with them. He has a tumblr:


Kelsie Hahn

Blood Lines

The mother has a long list of things she is trying to say to the daughter. Show yourself some respect. You’re not a dishrag. You’re not a vending machine. You’re not a tray of free cheeses. A real man would treat you like a person. A real man wouldn’t suck you dry. You are terrible at making choices. Just the absolute worst. She doesn’t say it nicely.

The mother’s words hit her face and run off like drops of oil on mayonnaise. The daughter blinks eyes that are thick with colors. The mother has said it all before.

This time, the daughter goes to the cupboard. She takes down a jar filled with lacy cloth and swarming dots. The mother recognizes them. Bed bugs. Just like that disgusting hotel in Yonkers.

The daughter retracts the top and breathes into the opening. The swarming intensifies. She extends her wrist, blue-veined and luminescent. She sets the mouth of the jar against her skin. The bugs rush the opening, tumbling over each other to get to her. They grow larger, darker. Her skin reddens and swells.

The mother sighs. “Aren’t you a clever girl?” she says. “That’ll teach me.”

Kelsie Hahn holds an MFA in fiction from New Mexico State University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Barrelhouse, Caketrain, NANO Fiction, The Southeast Review, and others. "Bloodlines" will appear in her fiction chapbook Responsibility, forthcoming from Eastern Point Press. She lives in Houston, TX with her husband, Stephen Cleboski. More at


Sophia Katz

i don’t want to convince anyone of anything

snoop dogg is obsessed with hot pockets
snoop dog received unlimited hot pockets
just by smoking a lot of weed
and emailing them asking for some

is it possible to do a lot of one drug
and as a result develop a tolerance
to a completely different class of drug

eventually all the lights burn out
and our eyes can’t see colour in the dark
so we’re pretty much fucked

i promise to look at my dinner
with more love than i look at you
and pet the dog more often
than i hold your hand

math is hard
and life is hard
and drugs are [sometimes] hard

and you are gigantic
and beautiful
and tired as hell


my mom’s cat vomited on the carpet and immediately started eating the vomit

it ate all of the vomit, moved ~3 feet down the hallway and vomited again

this time it isn’t eating the vomit

it moved into the study, threw up again, and left

i like the feeling of existing in the social networking atmosphere

right now i feel like sobbing

mostly because of how much love i feel for my friends

i feel like someone that people feel sad looking at

i am looking at pictures of my friends and i miss them

i hate living in this city and i wish i were somewhere else

the vending machine in the basement of my apartment was re stocked tonight

i am furious and ecstatic

i have had 2 solely sexual relationships with curly-haired men of average to low intelligence that play the saxophone

Sophia Katz (b. 1994) is a Toronto-based writer and art school student. Her work has been featured on That Lit Site, Pop Serial, Sappho Zine, and other places in print and online. She is currently compiling her debut poetry/prose collection which will (hopefully) be released late 2014. She has a Twitter account that is funny sometimes.


Mike Lala

from In the Gun Cabinet               

in the theater of fear               
the curtain rises               
when it falls, I applaud               
& move back a row               
through the orchestra, mezzanine               
on stage, the same scene               
repeats as I lip-synch               
the score in each seat               
up the stairs, in the nosebleeds               
exhausted, I wear               
my language trailing               
like a bride’s train extending               
up the steps I descend               
to the last seat I left               
with the pair of lorgnettes               
I needed at the end               
of my vision, a door—no               
a veil               
at the edge               
of experience, a curtain               
a garter on the border               
of my tale, a vestige               
a bride’s train extending               
to the lip of the stage               
an old picture, bleaching               
my actor, the way I recall him               
my lips part, I pin him               
his spine with my tongue               
                  to the frame               
my spit like glass               
his body in motion               
beneath it, pulsing               
a sentence, looping               
its speaker, a garter, who               
wrested like gun               
then turns on her self               

Mike Lala was born in Lubbock, TX and finally lives in New York. He has two chapbooks: [fire!] ([sic] Press 2011), and Under the Westward Night (Knickerbocker Circus 2010), and poems (soon) in Boston Review, Fence, The Brooklyn Rail, Colorado Review, The Awl, VOLT, and others.


Ryan Bender-Murphy


An airliner is hiccupping mid-flight, calling the sky
“doctor,” hoping for rescue.

Greeting cards swirl in a gust; then a twister
of them charges to the machine.

It says:
“Discard everything from your pockets, airliner,
take the cheapskates to the grave, but nobody else.”

The plane cracks open and stumbles to its fiery suit.
Passengers place their feet onto cards
and fall into the wind
as it chirps across the plains,
as it knocks around mountains and blistered streets.

Houses are whimpering
during this hour.

They rise from their foundations
and march to the airport
where the incapacitated vessel left.

They leap onto all the planes.
Crying for engines to crack, for
one more cockpit to smash.

Pilots run out, screaming, “What have you done!
What have you done!”

The houses crowd around the pilots, snarling.

The houses fling open their red doors
and suck air into their living
rooms and dining rooms and bedrooms and kitchens.

Now they have the pilots
right where they need them.

One pilot even
pushes a couch to a different
room, rearranges clothing
in a dresser, and takes off
his hat and silver wings.

RYAN BENDER-MURPHY is the author of the chapbook, First Man on Mars, which was recently released by Phantom Limb Press. His poems have also appeared in Better, FLAG+VOID, Front Porch, Phantom Limb, Spork, and elsewhere. He is the editor-in-chief of Hardly Doughnuts, a newly developed literary journal that aims to showcase challenging and experimental narrative poetry.