3/27/14

Stephanie Barber, DAREDEVILS

DAREDEVILS Trailer



Find out more about Stephanie Barber and DAREDEVILS here.

3/25/14

Aaron Belz

A STAR IN THE FACE OF THE SKY

“Multiple ways to avoid stuff but really
no way to actually not do anything,”

says my neighbor Daniel as he, once again,
fails to wash/wax his Volkswagen.

Daniel works for the eldercare police.
He says he’s also a novelist and essayist.

“Well, I need to go inside now. Your wife
has been sneaking over at night,”

I say, whimsically, almost profoundly,
my hands extended in a Christ-like welcome,

though no stigmata apparent. “Haha,”
retorts Daniel, occasionally onto me.

I amble into my shady hut, my thatched
domicile, my crappy bachelor lodge

to retrieve a Diet Coke from the oven.
Those were carefree days. Innocuous Dan,

his dull car, our banter, and finally
a baked no-calorie cola, bubbly hot,

the way clues lead into deeper mystery—
a half-tuned television on somewhere.



Aaron Belz lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina. His third book, Glitter Bomb, will be published by Persea in June. Visit http://belz.net for more information.

3/24/14

Adam Robinson with Maureen Thorson

Maureen Thorson's second book, My Resignation, just came out from Shearsman Books. It's a collection of poems in four sections, three of which are named after the second quarter of the year ("April Allegrezza," "May Day," "Toward Eternal June") then there's a three year leap to a section titled "Three Years Later." One poem starts the book, "A Man for All Seasons," and it is outside of those sections.

There's a reference to "The openness of speech" in a poem called "Shortwave," and that seems like a fitting handle with which to grasp the book overall; it looks and reads in an open way. Each poem is made of quick lines in short stanzas which move around the page in various indentations. These chunks are witty and fluid, like "You should be as free / as a buttery / pink bird / that lives only / in my imagination" and "They say pretty is / as pretty gives back to her community" and "When you kiss me, I stay kissed."

Also, Maureen Thorson comes up with great titles that enrich and play off the poems. "Hymn for Those Who Lift Things Up Stairs," "'A Total Victory for Chaos,'" "Goodbye to Danger from on High," to name a few. The poem called "For the Evil Dead" never mentions Evil Dead.

It's easy to read the 43 poems in My Resignation quickly, like a breeze, and that's what I did. It was rewarding. I love being in bed on a Sunday morning and rolling over and sleepily starting to read and then, before much time has passed, finding that I'm almost at the end. Then I like to go back and skip around through the book. Poetry like this is invigorating.

Maureen Thorson kindly answered some questions I had about the new book.

Your first book, Applies to Oranges, is a long series of formal, crafted poems. What's new with your new book, My Resignation?
The organization and "look" of these poems comes from notebooks where I would quickly jot down lines -- both things I thought of and overheard dialogue. I was trying to preserve a freshness of emotion/diction, and to leave room for leaps of thought, rather than having the poems reflect a top-down organization. The line-breaks, for example, mostly reflect the way the lines were first written down by hand, and the poems are built up from fragments that have loose, I hope playful, connections, instead of progressing linearly from thesis to conclusion.

How did you write them? Did you have a specific approach or outcome in mind?
I started writing these poems when my now-husband moved from New York to live with me. I had lots of feelings, and they were jumping all over the place -- from excitement to worry to devotion to annoyance. I wanted to document my emotions, leaving them as "present" as possible. I wanted to watch them to unfold without my imposing a narrative frame over the top.

What are you resigning from?
I'm resigning from doubt, from always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Sometimes there's just the one shoe.

Your writing is marked by weaving several elements through each piece and the book overall. What's your method for ordering poems in a book?
I wrote most of the poems by typing up all my notes (trying to preserve the formatting/line breaks of the handwritten notes) into giant, four-columned pages, which I would print out. Then I started circling and drawing arrows from one thought to another. I'd even cut out pieces from the pages and arrange them around each other, magnetic-poetry style. I did a few rounds of edits concentrated on making sure things weren't too airy and attenuated, but I definitely wanted to keep the poems moving around, from one idea to another.

Ugly Duckling put out Applies to Oranges, and this new one is from Shearsman Books—what was it like working with another publisher who has done so many books? Can you tell the story of getting this book published?
Both Ugly Duckling and Shearsman have been wonderful to work with. Tony Frazer at Shearsman brings a wealth of experience to the process, but still, he allowed me to take a first crack at designing the cover, and patiently sat through a few rounds of my mulling over the placement of commas. My thanks go out to Fani Papageorgiou, whose book When You Said No, Did You Mean Never? was published by Shearsman in 2013. She encouraged me to submit My Resignation (which had been wanly perambulating the contest circuit, to no avail) to Shearsman, and arranged to introduce me, via email, to Tony, late last summer. He accepted the manuscript in late October. Everything has come together very quickly and smoothly -- a testament to Shearsman's care and experience.

How does being a lawyer interact with being a poet?
Both law and poetry are concerned with manipulating language, with trying to communicate the difficult or complicated. But good legal briefs are actually boring -- you're not supposed to be surprised by the conclusions they come to. I don't want my poems to be like that! When I'm writing poetry, I have to work to dismantle my legal writing habits, and to allow space for the poem to breathe, meander, and get where it's going on its own time.

I saw on your blog that the Tinysides chapbooks that you made back in "the day" -- which are so great and were a huge inspiration to me -- are now being made available as digital versions. What prompted this?
I've been so happy, since announcing the digitization, to learn how many people still remember the Tinysides and enjoyed them. The digitization is something I've been meaning to take on for years, but somehow never found the time for. Over the holidays, I realized that, umm, it is not exactly difficult to scan hard copies of six-page-long pamphlets. It is, in fact, easy. And quick! I feel a bit sheepish, given how simple a project it really is, that it took me so long. But hey, we're here now, and I'm posting the ditigized Tinysides, one per week, in the order in which they were originally released.

Do you sweat the difference between the artifact of the Tinysides and their digital "presence"?
Not now. When I first started the Tinysides, I wanted to make beautiful objects that would be more accessible than artist's books -- a sort of compromise between mass production and something so rarified that only one person could ever have it, or turn its pages. I made fifty copies of each Tinyside, but they sold out incredibly quickly. There went my idea of greater accessibility! But scanning the hard copies preserves the quirks of the handmade -- slightly off-center pages, the string that binds the pamphlet, even the visual texture of the paper -- while making the books freely accessible to anyone with an internet connection. While I still love the Tinysides as objects, I think the digitization fulfills their original purpose better than their first, hard-copy run really did.

3/21/14

CL Bledsoe

The Problem

Nihilism is wall street’s sa(c)red
ousin. The desperation of (t)he black

unnel ensures belief as long as (y)ou keep
our eyes forward. Everyday low price(s) mean

hop everyday. A spoonful of sugar hel(p)s the
lacibo go down. Hold the (s)tick

o I can use it on myself. I’d never ask you (t)o

ake my job. The problem with social(is)m
the same problem with capital(is)m

that both expect man to be better than he is.


CL Bledsoe's latest book is Riceland. He lives in Maryland with his wife an daughter and blogs at http://clbledsoe.blogspot.com.

3/20/14

Lucy TIven

1906

So, the horses run
for a while and become horses again

and so it is Spring, the flood, loose carriage

bulbous to shattered
state of lake

the real version of a thing
is lodged in the middle
of the red herring-thing

and the dimming
Baltic sea

is even dimmer since

Lucy Tiven is an MFA candidate at San Francisco State University and freelance writer for The Fanzine. Her book Pilot Light is forthcoming from Plain Wrap. She loves her little cat.

3/19/14

Molly Prentiss

PART THREE IN UNION SQUARE

I was thinking about Part Three of the book and how maybe it should take place in Union Square, and you could think of Union Square as New York (taxis) or as San Francisco (fog) and it would be really early in the morning, like before work, and everybody would be looking fresh like how you look when you get ready for work but by the end of the day you look disheveled, and the girl is reading a book (poems) and drinking a coffee (iced) and she could be anywhere, on a boat even, the third section of the book is blowing her hair back.

Or I was thinking Part Three might be really good if it involved two people meeting up for drinks, at that time of the day when two people are always meeting up for drinks, after work and the light's still good, and because there are drinks (pilsners) and they are outside (cherry blossoms) the two people can be really real with each other, and they ask each other: Why did we never work out? And they tell each other: Because we never would have worked out. And then a cherry blossom falls into his hair.

I was thinking that in Part Three of the book there could be these characters who are always writing to each other like they never stop writing and they write from their iPhones from Union Square and if they are in New York they're writing about New York and if they're in San Francisco they're writing about how the clouds make them feel and the cool thing is that because of the time difference and because one of them writes late at night and the other writes early in the morning they always wake up to a story, sent by iPhone from the other Union Square.

Maybe in Part Three in Union Square there should be a bookstore that's not open yet and all the people that work in the bookstore are getting the books ready and maybe the girl should look up from her book (poems) and start thinking: I wish that was my job, to get there early and set up the books, smooth them with my hands, press down on them, cherish the half hour before the doors open, when people will be wanting to know what they're about.

I was thinking that in Part Three of the book the girl could be in Forever 21 in Union Square and thinking how she is not 21 anymore, will never be 21 again, has never been 21 before.

I was thinking about Part Three of the book and how maybe there shouldn't be a Part Three because Part Three always has falling action and we never had any rising action or middle action or any action at all in the first place.

But if there were a Part Three it would have a cold wind on a warm day but it's the kind of day where the sun never comes out from the smog. And let's say someone screams HEY BEAUTIFUL HOW YOU DOING at the girl and a little part of her grows cold inside and she misses something for a second but she doesn't know what and she wonders about missing something that you never had in the first place. And then suddenly it starts raining, raining really hard, and there's a thunderstorm, right there in Union Square, right there in Part Three of the book.

Molly Prentiss writes fiction, poems, and the occasional essay. Her work can be found in Hobart, Fourteen Hills, HTMLGiant, Mud Luscious, La Petite Zine, and >kill author among others. She has been a writer-in-residence at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and at the Blue Mountain Center and received her MFA from the California College of the Arts. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

3/18/14

Ben Segal

Some Very Good Bowlers

Some very good bowlers are Mark Smith and John Harper and me. I can bowl perfectly. I believe this. I can bowl 900 over three games.

Mark Smith and John Harper have both won bowling championship titles. I have not won a bowling championship title. I do not know if I will ever be a champion of bowling in the scorebooks or have trophies or plaques. But I know in my heart that I am a champion.

My father says bowling is just for the union guys—all that shouting about strikes. I say Spare me the politics, Dad. We laugh at that one.

I have never actually bowled 900 over three games. Let me set that straight. Let me clear that one up.

I have bowled strikes. I have bowled strikes in a row. That is proof that I can.

My father is in a swimming pool. My father is in the middle of a natatorium. I am with him in the natatorium building. I am on the wood bench poolside. I do not wear a bathing suit. I wear jeans. I wear a long-sleeved shirt. My father is like a cat. He is lapping. Cats do not like water. I am like a cat. I am more like a cat than my father.

When he is resting, my father is dispensing advice. If I listened. If I only please listened imagine what I might live like. Or who.

I think of strikes. I knock those pins down and down. I spread them rolling and leaping into different lanes. My father is talking about industry.

But what I am thinking then is dust to dust, in dust, a dusty tree. A gray dusty tree hung full of bowling trophies. The faux-gold men on them are just about to release their many hundreds of balls. There are hundreds of men and they are dusted. They are polished. The men are frozen shining.

The wind is whistling in the bowling trophies and I am dusty among them, rag-handed and cleaning. It is so hard to keep so many trophies bright! And my father's hand is wet on my shoulder. My father's hair is wet across his too-broad chest. And his voice is droning kindly.

The bowling trophies in the branches would surely gather birds to them. Such gleaming little men—are there more perfect perches? Are the birds to shit on the trophy-men's heads? Surely they are. Surely this will happen. My father has returned to the pool. It is hard to tell if I am a sadness in his life.

Half-watching my father swim, I realize that the trophy men are perfect bowlers who will never bowl a perfect game. Am I a trophy man? Am I too more suited to the drizzle of wet shit down my face? I look up at the sky in the hope of birds but all I see is a moist white ceiling, a duct for ventilation, the inscrutable braille of dead insects in electric lights.

Ben Segal is the author of 78 Stories, co-author of The Wes Letters, and co-editor of the anthology The Official Catalog of the Library of Potential Literature. His chapbooks Science Fiction Pornography and Weather Days were published by Publishing Genius and Mud Luscious Press, respectively, and his short fiction has been published by Tin House, Tarpaulin Sky, Gigantic, and Puerto del Sol, among others.

3/17/14

Felicia Ferrara

Ploppage

Say it again.

"Ploppage."

Say it again. She was rubbing the underside of her arm.

"Ploppage."

She chuckled.

Say it again.

"It's not a word." I pushed her. Her nose hit the wall, and she laughed.

"Ploppage," I said.

She stroked the bridge between her shoulder and back. She smiled to the ceiling.

Now say it in French.

"If it's not a word, I can't say it in French."

Say it in French.

Tu me fais brûler comme le fleuve Mississippi en Juillet craquelé et sèc, mes cheveux et tes chevilles grandiront épais, mais je ne peux me séparer de ton image et du bruit du ventilateur qui me lance, m'engourdit, de chansons apaisantes que je n'entendrai jamais à la radio.


Felicia Ferrara is from the Midwest and spent seven of her formative years in boarding school in Southern Africa. She is a writer, filmmaker, and photographer living in Chicago. Her fiction has also been published in apt - a literary magazine.

3/14/14

Timmy Reed

Memories of Early Target Practice

I have this memory of being about four years old in our old sunporch with my father and my new friend, Garrett Kennedy. I always referred to people by their first and last names back then as if I was unsure whether my parents, the only people I ever talked to, would believe they existed otherwise. In my memory, Garrett is dressed like a G.I. Joe with a tiger-striped scarf. I look tiny in my turtleneck and paper Indian costume. But I know that is not how we were dressed. That image is from a Polaroid my grandmother took years later on Halloween, in a different room, in a different house. The photograph still exists in a messy box in one of the houses where pictures of our family are still kept. We have divided ourselves a few times since the day in my memory.

I can remember for sure that it was the first time Garrett had ever come to play with me. I am not sure if anyone had come to visit me before that. People had visited my parents and my older sister, but nobody had come for just me. I was nervous. I’d just finished showing Garrett the bucket of tadpoles my sister and I had collected from the reservoir. Most of them were already dead, but I didn’t know that yet. I don’t think Garrett did either.

We were playing with action figures in a way I didn’t understand, but went along with anyway. Garrett liked to set up strategic battles, moving troops in relation to one another as the action unfolded. I had always just smashed them into each other head on to indicate that they were fighting. I could tell Garrett was more sophisticated than I was, even without knowing the word. My father was sitting on the other side of the room watching us. I worried that he could also tell.

After the war grew boring for both of us, there was an awkward lull in our play date. I wanted to show Garrett something that I liked, But I wasn’t sure what to show him or even if the things I liked were any good – I suspected they were for babies and that I was the biggest baby of all. I doubted that anyone would like me if they knew what I was interested in.

I took Garrett just outside the door of the sunporch and showed him the bucket of dead tadpoles again. I also showed him our golden retriever, who he already met when he first came in and was fast asleep now anyway. I had the feeling my friend was unimpressed.

Back inside, I consulted with my father. We spoke very quietly on the far side of the room so Garrett wouldn’t hear us while he poked around at my toys. I always spoke quietly then, but this time I made sure my Dad did too. We talked about Robin Hood.

Robin Hood had been my recent fascination. I was into the Disney animated version, where the bandit is depicted as a dashing fox. I dressed like him at home; in all green with a hat made from a paper plate I had saved from my birthday, six months before on St. Patrick’s Day. I even wore a tiger tail my mother had brought home as part of an Exxon promotional campaign. The tail was supposed to go around some part of your car, your rearview mirror or door handle or antennae, but I was small enough to pull the stretched-out elastic band around my waist. I never wore this outfit at school or around other children except for my sister. I never even mentioned Robin Hood. The movie was popular on home video, but for some reason it seemed inconceivable to my little brain that other boys would be interested in Robin Hood.

I asked my father if he thought Garrett might like Robin Hood. He told me of course, but I shook my head. I was embarrassed to be so shy in front of my father. I didn’t want him to see me being weak, afraid to ask my new friend a question or tell him about myself. I was afraid to look either of them in the eye. I wanted my father to think I was as neat – a word he had taught me – as I wanted my new friend to think I was. On top of that, I had the strong feeling I might cry and I just knew that would make everything worse. I hated myself for how much I cried all the time.

I turned from my father and took a long walk across the room. In my memory, I am still wearing an Indian costume and I have war paint on my face; the room is many paces long.

I thought I could feel my father’s eyes on my back, whether he was watching or not. I got up close to Garrett, who was still playing with my toys. I waited for him to look up at me, but he didn’t. He was focused. I worried he had been able to hear us talking about him.

I cupped my hand and leaned forward. I whispered in his ear. “Garrett,” I said. It felt like the loudest thing that had ever left my mouth. I had to take a step back.
If he bothered to look up at me, I never knew it because I was staring at my feet. I was waiting. It was terrible. Hours later (really only seconds) something desperate rushed my nerves and I was whispering in his ear again.

“Do you like Robin Hood?”

I don’t remember his face or his voice when he answered but I know he said yes and we watched the movie later that afternoon. It was pretty uneventful.

What I do have a vivid impression of - a memory of the senses, like a bandage pulled, hand over hand, from my mouth - is how proud I felt for asking my question and how much I wanted my father to be proud of me, too. I was going to be an okay person, an adult one day even, now that I had learned how to ask someone outside of my family a question.

My cheeks felt hot when I looked back to see my father’s reaction, but he had already left the room. There was a hole in the air where he had been sitting. It was like a big target you could shoot arrows through.

Timmy Reed is a writer from Baltimore, Maryland. He has recently published or has work forthcoming from Akashic Books, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Necessary Fiction, and Atticus Review. He has recently published a book of short stories, Tell God I Don't Exist, and has a novel forthcoming from Dig That Book, Co. in 2015. Learn more at underratedanimals.wordpress.com.

3/12/14

Anis Shivani

Soraya

31.

Correspondents swayed by craggy coxcombs
in cow towns across saltine craters, Soraya,
know our salt lick has been volatile for years,
search engines having collided with turtles
and urchins climbing the sea wall as planets
characteristic of stress: Shri shrew mole
asked me last night about the showdown,
and I was shroud-laid, shrunk in my shtetl.
Kashruth in Kathiawar, Soraya, involving
AK-47s frozen like katabatic Karajan,
kapellmeister rising like a fleche among
the flecks of campanile sunshine, our flax
flautist whose drogue parachute droops
in song, town droogs daydreaming of jobs.



32.

Dateline Karachi: checksum, checkered flag
of chemical abuse, casting bread upon the
waters of laughter, the bravura of bilboes,
binary operation upon the beach buggy of
my favorite bawd, while you, Soraya, bead
of hijra, high holiday leaping over Hilbert
space, monofilament for monition, fjord
between my legs, discover the fissionable
rush basket, my earphone to earth. Soraya,
the monkey on my back is a mongoloid
nitwit, Nkrumah’s noetic no-fault prize,
drinking palm wine, Pandarus panicking
me to monoglot cycling. I am left mucking
about the misprision of my mulatto rule.



33.

We were spellchecking the Gaza sphinx
for Spenserian stanzas, Soraya, spermaceti
drenching spicy candles originating in our
spine. Spin doctors came out in touring
cars, unloading touchwood, yanking off
toupees and prayer shawls, precipitating
fetuses knocked by ferules. You make me
a diorama in a field of camping dinosaurs,
intermezzo in crocket. Crones hoping to
die, Soraya, are bespoke units, precentors
whose prebendary we never begrudge.
Still, the pratique you worked hard to get
is never immune to revision, even Quetz-
alcoatl abandoning mornings to quinine.



Anis Shivani’s sonnets are from a collection by the same title forthcoming in 2014. Anis’s recent books include My Tranquil War and Other Poems (2012) and The Fifth Lash and Other Stories (2012). A novel called Karachi Raj is forthcoming in 2014. Books in progress include a novel called Abruzzi, 1936, a poetry collection called Empire, and a book of criticism called Plastic Realism: Neoliberal Discourse in New American Fiction. New work appears in the Yale Review, Boston Review, Georgia Review, Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Antioch Review, Epoch, AGNI, Volt, and elsewhere. 

3/11/14

Mark Cugini

IT’S CLOBBERING TIME

Remember when I said, “this poem
makes you look fat?” Me neither,
you beautiful little corn muffin.
It looks like no one’s going to win
the Oscar this year, so I’m thinking
we dedicate this one to James Franco,
as well as the other mother fuckers
who didn’t bring enough pumpkins
to the white people party.
I know those two cars are parked
too close together, but there’s
enough room in my heart to fit
900 of your best bicycles. So
down’em, sweet thang—ain’t nobody
give no shits about your back taxes anyway,
besides maybe my mother, and definitely
that guy with the bow tie who might as well
be the Michael Jordan of your W-4 form.
And the thing about that guy is that guy,
he fucking cares man. And I do, too.

Mark Cugini edits Big Looks Bucks and wrote I'm Just Happy to Be Here.

3/10/14

T.J. Lyons

Barely altered Youtube transcript of my 851 reading

0:00 closer to be game
0:03 I'm a dude and that's all you need to know about I don’t know
0:08 I'm gonna start off with 12 talks
0:12 like collaborated also with anchors
0:15 arm or hand capping all farm you but we're ok
0:19 he says PA loose on Halloween was high
0:22 grip of a macho films arsenal tax dollars during a scary
0:26 we have fun sundry trawlers doesn't end the punchline
0:31 nice yes your
0:34 a bird skeleton sits on top
0:38 this is when you invite me I can't help but clearly picked
0:42 chocolate from its bounds I put one foot behind the other
0:47 I stepped one step lowered without stairs
0:51 I'm trickle through the forwards until my black fur
0:55 get stuck pour some body parts into work and aim for Myra
1:01 outline on a tree in the distance with your burgers
1:04 by branches I feel way too much
1:09 I don't think I need anything at all I don't even use my hands
1:12 which had been lying to me things are so we're
1:17 after my conversion being the wolf I am sometimes
1:22 loneliness that won't fit into my mouth put this she
1:27 over your head and be like all air inside
1:31 and all tired rolling down your road page along
1:35 all planet pancakes
1:39 and she is your intestine line so that I will stay in and practice with you
1:44 how much butter G a room so
1:48 right you can't see I wanted art mismatch for shadows
1:53 tell me the horns are mine I can't tell the difference
1:56 nothing in my life
2:00 was sweet as the moment I left it for you
2:03 I watch you from the ceiling and swoop down to cut your hair
2:07 condom disappeared in the woods in my backyard
2:12 I was looking at you when I should be climbing the footprints
2:16 countries ahead on a scale
2:20 I need to learn the difference between wrong
2:24 right on figure it out if you keep looking at me
2:27 um
2:30 looks are sleeping a new the broken floors with my parents
2:34 arriving afterlife makes dollars of us all
2:38 well at the lake on the whole
2:42 I wish my hands were meant for other places
2:45 our pockets the entire life about expression
2:49 I'm turned into a hedge and I hold our squirrels
2:52 the reason my name is important here I am collecting my hair and shower
2:57 trains make their doors I find common stock into green seems that my A's hat
3:03 while washing man
3:04 way Lake Merritt sucking the flash I don't muscles for lunch
3:08 I wonder if on better off I wonder why I think people back
3:13 empty shells at their head to prove they are texting
3:16 all the freeway and you'll end up here
3:20 all a single fish no I'm not concerned with an S O B
3:24 this I'm only watching wanting to be a part
3:27 what I'm caught up in my cop
3:30 you are all watching and I'm not supposed to be dreaming
3:34 or am I what's the difference when this moment
3:37 is the next the future isn't cancelled right
3:41 join you in the graveyard if I can do my living there
3:45 join you in a graveyard
3:48 if I can do my banking there as long as I keep getting my face murder
3:54 I know I have heard this living
3:57 like a light ball at the mercy of a twist
4:01 tattoo ourselves into a tree branch so we are mural
4:05 leaves injected with hearts and mystery living
4:10 as above underachieving boo deposit some bones for safekeeping
4:15 call it a long term investment long-term digestion
4:20 as long as you agree I'll keep holding these movies inside my wallet
4:25 keep hurling myself into the ground like my life depends on it
4:29 I'm trying to meet a measurement
4:32 I join you slot and now I can do my noting here
4:36 I want you to know that we are
4:40 on it books nate is bankrupt
4:43 I'm 25 enough lawyers in both my eyes
4:47 stream retreats to a source the fish swims
4:51 into a bigger mouth I have too many eyes to choose what I see
4:55 I stare at my computer screen never look at my bank statements
5:00 there are seven lunches on the counter never require virtual bad times
5:06 stowaway call come on always go
5:10 in the attic music says you shouldn't room I once a little earlier
5:15 home liar please make me cringe
5:19 I admire the jury pool and pay it and pay it
5:22 the truth will set you on fire answers are in the attic hiding in boxes
5:28 you haven't open you are an ass and I'm the office
5:33 no matter what I eat my stomach is Andrew Holtz
5:36 my breath smells like makes me feel like my spine was ripped out to whip me
5:41 into a scandal
5:44 we got married in a drive thru chocolate also does
5:48 we got married and driving chocolate also changed our oil
5:52 what a steal from we lock ourselves in the shed and feasting on the trees
5:57 fruit I hit you the skin from that and make a quilt
6:01 to call true always follows me home
6:05 where's the mood on for the fingernail pounding at the inside of my eyelids
6:11 I like to think I'm the king of sleep and stand in front of my open
6:14 refrigerator dressed in full snow
6:16 year matching house reasons I you stopping me n
6:21 stop me stop me
6:24 stuff me and you start stuff mean you're not here so I can know what you value
6:31 I was conceived on a tire swing do you value motion
6:36 do you value time
6:40 I don't keep clocks in my apartment
6:44 I don't keep clocks in my apartment
6:47 someday all the face
6:50 Sunday all for the face
6:54 Sunday is my apartment have teeth and
6:58 for the clocks I don't be
7:01 just got your nostrils at all tire pile
7:05 dust out your nostrils at all tired
7:09 might be 80 is strong enough to lower a sock
7:13 my big toe is strong enough to lower saw
7:17 piled us tumor strong nostrils
7:21 not is a big out your toe
7:24 that tired my sock
7:28 we are slowly becoming car more
7:31 we are slowly becoming carpet lore
7:34 roll down your window smell hair
7:39 roll down your window smell the hair
7:43 rule you smell we are the air
7:46 carpet becoming window slowly down lore
7:52 I don't keep your dust in my saw
7:55 nostrils for the strong car have that
7:58 more a big toe is here
8:02 we're down pile out
8:05 rules higher smell your apartment
8:09 Sunday if the store window becoming mighty
8:13 slowly enough to move the clock
8:18 let's make time matter I'm a dude
8:22 I eat my sleep for breakfast and spend most of the day journey
8:27 that doesn't mean I know that means for an hour so I hang like a possum
8:32 and our room so my head purple
8:35 with let my body refuses
8:38 people last night lol sleep hysterical
8:42 with an M would you like some mindlessly
8:47 you have some banana sleep and gates
8:50 won't you be my possum and maybe hang you by your feets
8:54 so sleepy digest properly
8:58 will spend our dreams wondering what consumers there
9:02 will choose our case yes nightmares and panic
9:05 all the way to practice
9:09 please walk with me in sleep so that I never wake on my back
9:13 so that I know where we are
9:17 I said bearing in mind that night will he said okay
9:21 yeah
9:24 I said bearing in a pile the Super Mario World
9:27 cartridges and he said okay give me your face like
9:31 love dust out you
9:34 I said bury me in a pile teething puppies
9:39 I said no man's cannot remove this tension mind on
9:42 you said I know I said
9:45 missing parts from you lives in the absence of me
9:49 lying down the street my body is in
9:52 other my body isn't so far
9:57 I can hear my voice following
10:00 I'll wing although wing
10:05 I can hear my always following me as if I were never empty
10:10 as if his body was handed down by talk myself into
10:16 his poems for the win when
10:19 you already know I exist joins along
10:23 my body is the city attorney's ever-expanding passing
10:27 where buildings where party hat
10:31 this is not lost on it is below shit on other key
10:34 room up in ya to pin gotta
10:38 man in the tree hang by my knees
10:42 man cram the canyon asking him
10:47 today is your new birthday
10:51 I said Mary Anne you said up yeah
10:58 I said marry me and he said up he walked with me
11:01 yeah I said marry me and I'll fuck you like his signature you can shred
11:07 he said okay yeah
11:11 I said other series of conflicting directions
11:14 situating me in the center of my own mattress you said
11:18 no shit do you know my brain
11:21 is just another having a stranger's plane arriving
11:26 where to our share over the same Bridget grid
11:29 Midwest Winger let me be is cemented lol
11:35 let me be a cemented shovel
11:40 confessional on upon without trees home without murders
11:44 without them without the sky without a body
11:48 a poem about stupid fucking hard yeah
11:51 remember this guy lost know why not %um
11:54 errors I feel the need to conquer nothing
11:58 doing the best I can with what I don't have
12:01 group I've never been this way since 1999
12:06 that was the year might of gave birth to alligators my wife's me
12:10 fireplace something was in the water back
12:14 am my arms were followed party Gators
12:17 and crying and we and that firing out with anything we could scavenge
12:23 we lost all our furniture the puppies Barton
12:26 or your browser Ben shit ash all over the carpet
12:31 pork it was terrifying now they get along famously
12:36 sibling rivalry is only a every child needs Gators to grow up with
12:41 my heart secondary
12:45 a little fireplaces mature into a well mannered young production
12:49 their egos out the door walking the pooches to the swamp
12:55 did you know I slept on a bed native Dawson for
13:00 every night iraq myself and get more wells football energy your ears
13:05 rest my face on domination pillowcases stuff
13:09 100% sure she
13:12 deposit the Husky packed hall not my bed
13:15 their matches back small around me
13:19 my dad taught me how to play dead when it really matters
13:24 before all this I rented ease into bedroom uptown
13:28 will need approval everything I know I'm from Queens
13:33 and I guess we're all guilty
13:36 filling the air with more air
13:40 I hope my imagination says you you are only a consequence
13:47 when I know where people are come back as an other knee
13:52 body is no place for us to share
13:55 only one shackled to each other near
13:58 and you that ace looking back at the same
14:02 I as we see with you fucking mired in the mirror
14:06 washing in the position I can't reach
14:11 and shoot everything not me and into cheering
14:15 tell me menu and choose your cell she strips
14:20 the ceiling is dangerous only cuz
14:24 will never reach it watching pace
14:27 washing liked you fractured or slamming into a single frame
14:32 I'm not sure if my body is near my body is not me
14:37 starting to realize sometimes the only way out is another day
14:40 and what he's pulling this
14:44 into each other autre slotting is why
14:48 slapping their daughter slapping her doll the way I press my face on yours
14:52 like a child on a toy store window
14:56 the answer and he is just inside the planet
14:59 and the shower you
15:03 thanks you thanks you thanks you


T.J. Lyons's work has been published in Word Riot, Up Literature, Plain Wrap Press, HTMLGIANT, Coachella Review, and other journals. Check him out at tjisadude.tumblr.com.

3/7/14

Joseph Riippi

from Puyallup, WA

Five miles south of Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest, there lies a valley. In 1829, less than two thousand people lived in this valley and drank from its river. Tall mountains rose to the East, a smaller range to the West. Cedars flourished here. Salmon spawned. There were birds, daffodils, wilds. To the Southeast, an enormous peak rose above the valley like a happy other. The river curled from it like an umbilical. There are noticeably more people living in this valley today. There are noticeably fewer trees. The fish are delicious. The mountains stand. The river rises when it rains.

Please read Joseph Riippi's new chapbook from Chapbook Genius, in its entirety, here.


Joseph Riippi lives in Brooklyn. He's the author, most recently, of the novel Because.

3/6/14

Natalie C Graham

Pelican Deferment

Wednesday

I am walking very fast while listening to Neil Diamond.

I am walking to work.

The space between work and the first part of my day is narrowing,

I am closing the gap … my office building looms immediately ahead.

The office building juts out on a rocky jut that overlooks a deep sea.

As I near the entrance to my office, Mason—an over zealous co-worker—appears in the space that is the door.

He makes eye contact with me and holds his hand up, than jerks his head over his shoulder.

There is no way to pretend not to see him.

I smile.

“Good Morning, Mason!”

I wave a snappy little wave.

He smiles and jerks his head. With a jaunty jerk of his head he indicates that he would like to have a brief informal chat with me.

I hate him. I hate his jaunty head tilt and his phony informal work chat demeanor.

I just want to listen to Neil Diamond.

“Love on the Rocks, ain’t no big surprise.”

So true.

I step aside; we stand to the left of the door.

There we are.

Mason clears his throat and says to me,
“Sophia, yesterday when we were in the vault counting the money your knuckles brazed the front of my pants and I felt a slight pressure on my penis. I just wanted to take a few moments before work to address it, we are both adults and these things happen, I know it didn’t mean anything to you, and I am engaged to a woman who makes more money than you soooooo, I just wanted to clear the air before it got weird, you know.”

It is true my knuckles did slightly braze his dick yesterday in the vault, it was embarrassing but I had forgotten all about it after I went home. The idea of handling Mason’s penis in an attitude of sensuality is ludicrous to me.

Against my will, I picture Mason and his wealthy fiancée sweaty, panting, lusty, grasping each others genitals. It is a vivid and horrible image.

I just want to listen to Neil Diamond.

Waves crashed below on the rocky beach, birds flew overhead. Somewhere, from a long distance, there was a vague shout, a plea, a declaration?

I speak,
“Well, Mason thank you so much for clearing the air, now we can proceed professionally through out our work day, thanks.”

I fish in my bag and pull out an apple. Casually I take a bite.

I saunter to the elevator.

My refection in the polished metal doors looks good, really good.

I sit down at my desk and I work.

And I work.

I work on the Henderson account.

I calibrate the Hargraves directive.

I return emails.

I return phone calls.

I listen to voice mail.

At noon I go outside to eat lunch.

The sun shines down on the island but a dense grey fog hangs in the channel and I can not see the mainland.

I walk to the post office and check my mail.

There is a Graham Greene book.

Graham Greene is elegant.

I don’t open the rest of the mail.

Back at work I drop the un-opened mail on my desk and head to Conference Room B for the staff meeting.

The meeting begins.

Out the window a giant pelican sails on the breeze.

What a magnificent sensory experience it must be having.

The pelican pulls its wings in.

It … Falls! Falls! Falls!

SPLASH!

It is all I can do to keep from clapping.

The fall of the pelican is that exciting.

The general manager is in front of the room. He loads a complex graph onto the over head projector.

He smiles, but his eyes are dead.

I try and decode the graph. I want to understand.

He is speaking with dead eyes and a frozen smile.

His pants are pleated in the most unattractive way a pair of pants can be pleated.

“Profits are down, as you can see, we have tried, we have tried and tried,”
He pounds the table with a fist then leaps back, startled by his aggression.

The room is quiet. The assistant secretary to the general manager is crying.

The general manager continues, in a softer voice.

He is showing us his gentle side.

He wants to let us down gently.

He tells us,
"The department has been outsourced. In two months time you all will be out of a job, all of you. The accounts and client service department on the eighth floor will be no more."


Thursday

The client services department is running low on morale this morning. We sit at our desks and we do all the things that previously gave shape to our days. But, without the passion, or the hate, or, whatever emotion kept it interesting or real for us.

This morning on my break some one leaned out of the ninth floor and shouted,
“FUCK YOU, CLIENT SERVICES.”

A seagull screeched over head and the window slammed shut.

I could have yelled back, but what would have been the point?

You would think everyone getting laid off would have brought us together. It hasn’t. No one ever really liked each other. Now there is no motivation to hide it.

It makes me sad.

If everyone stops pretending to like each other than what separates us from the ninth floor?

We are just assholes.

It is uncomfortable, and depressing.

I try as much as I can to hide inside the Henderson account or the Hargraves directive.

I give good customer service.

It is not valuable.

It is not profitable

When I came back from break this morning I opened my mail.

All of the mail was unpaid bills. I always meant to set up a payment plan, I would always think
“Next pay check I will finally pay off that parking ticket I got in my cousin’s car in Dallas.”

Not now … not ever … it has gone on too long, gone too far.

Eat my pussy Dallas, I hate you so much Texas.

The only real proof of my existence is the bills I cannot pay.

If I paid them off, I may cease to exist.

I could commit suicide. That might be nice. My debt would be transferred to my mother.

I can not commit suicide till my mother dies.


After work: in my apartment.

I can hear people walking up and down the stairs. I can hear shouts and laughter echoing off the buildings. I can hear harbor seals.

The seals seem really competent; they seem to be communicating effectively.

Eventually the night will end. I will have to get up and go back to work.

I keep breathing, and, sleeping, and moving.

Why?

In the summer I could accidentally drown.

That might be good.

Still who would pay off my Capital One card?

“Love on the rocks, ain’t no big surprise, pour me a drink and I will tell you some lies.”

Help me Neil Diamond.

Neil Diamond can not save me.

Not only can I not commit suicide, but, I have to actively avoid dying.

So I can continue to consume.

I am what I owe.

I will be consumed.

It is all too much.

Only profit.

Only endless night.

Pelicans and Graham Greene.


Natalie C Graham lives and writes on Catalina Island, in the city of Avalon. She writes different types of stuff, some times it sucks and sometimes it's good. She has also written under the name Callan. She loves to swim and wishes she were a dolphin instead of a person. They never sleep and they don't have pockets, and they mate for fun!

3/5/14

Jayinee Basu

pena

surfactant fluorine in long tubes
pale yellow opaque lights
fluorescent halogen rarest star
flowing salts teflon teeth
gaseous yellow green topaz
transparent gel atmosphere
bright yellow liquid cubes
violently shattering neon oxygen
repulsion and attraction, reaction to
a weakened peroxide blonde
easily cleaved significantly larger
powdered steel, floral glass
fragments of burning water
wolves of cosmology
red giant lisping crust
florid blue silicates
geothermal springs flux
soft glass super heavy
killing or blinding dry
platinum liberated presence
copper head hex nickel
breathable rainwear wire
steel limes cracking rods
invisibility research on
exchange membrane lips
thin coating plasma etching
propellant toxic corrosive
lust repellant integrated
a viscous meniscus into
shimmering hibiscus.

Jayinee Basu is a writer based in San Francisco. Her work has been published in Metazen, Housefire, Gesture Magazine and Times of India, among others. A book of her poetry, Asuras, is forthcoming.

3/4/14

Scott Daughtridge

from I Hope Something Good Happens

April 21, 2002
I think my mom has gone crazy. I turned my phone off last night when I was at Sasha’s house and said, “Fuck it, I’ll deal with it in the morning.” I’ve left too many parties right when they’re starting to get fun because of my lame ass curfew. Nobody else has to be home at 11:30. I figured it’d be worth it to see this one through because yesterday was 4/20, Sasha’s mom is out of town and the weather is starting to get warm. A lot of people were rolling and drinking and doing coke. There were about six of us about to pass out in Sasha’s mom’s room around 3:00 when someone came to the door and told me my mom was outside. I went outside and sure enough, there she was in that minivan. “How the fuck did you get here?” I asked her. She said she was driving around where she thought I’d be, saw a car of young people, which was Callie and Sasha, and followed them. When they pulled up to the house, she asked them if I was there. I told her that’s the craziest shit I ever heard. She asked, “What am I supposed to do? Go to sleep and wait until she got a call from the police or a morgue?” Obviously I’m in deep shit, but the party was fun. Phil pretended to bite into a wood decorative apple and chipped half his front tooth off. Brendan found the half tooth and threw it in the garbage disposal and told Phil that’s what he got for being an idiot. Phil’s tooth whistled for the rest of the night.


May 1, 2002
Phil and Brendan wanted to go to Best Buy yesterday and I said I couldn’t go in because they caught me trying to steal a CD there the other week. Phil said they’d probably forgotten all about it, that I should just come in. I waited outside of the store and smoked a cigarette. After about 10 minutes, one of the employees came out and said that I wasn’t allowed on the premises. I guess they have cameras outside too. I told him I wasn’t going to go in the store and he said the sidewalk was considered their premises. He said if I didn’t leave he would call the police. I had an eighth of weed in my pocket so I apologized and waited by the car. Thank fucking jesus I didn’t listen to Phil.


June 24, 2002
Rob’s been picking me up lately, which I feel kind of bad about because it’s about fifteen miles for him to come get me and drive us to the mall. When he picked me up the other day, I was in the driveway shooting at squirrels with my BB gun. I’m a terrible shot and missed every one I tried to shoot. I put the gun in the back seat and covered it with his jacket. “If we get pulled over,” I told him, “we’ll just tell the cop that it’s your brothers and we didn’t know it was there.” He nodded. “I don’t think it’s illegal to have a BB gun anyway,” he said.

Rob told me Will and some of his friends gave a ferret a hit of acid and that it clawed itself to death. “Fuck,” I said. “That’s fucked up.” I wondered what they did with the body, but really, I didn’t want to know.

We had to search for a long time for a parking spot at the mall. Then we drove past Ben Shipman’s Tahoe. There was no doubt it was his truck. There aren’t many red, two-door Tahoes with a ten inch lift and metal bull balls hanging between the dual exhaust pipes. A few weeks ago Ben knocked all my folders out of my hand. My papers spread throughout the hall way and when I picked them up him and his friend Nick laughed their asses off. I grabbed the gun from the back seat. The sharp snap of the trigger was followed by the crashing of glass. I didn’t think it would blow out the whole window. Rob drove away slowly. After a few seconds of silence I said, “I guess that’s what you get for being a dick.” Rob nodded and we both kept looking in the rear view mirror, expecting to see security guards or cops pull up behind us. We drove away from the mall looking for something else to do.

Scott Daughtridge was educated in the back room of a thrift store in Danville, Kentucky. His chapbook, I Hope Something Good Happens, will be released this summer through Lame House Press. You can find him online at www.notmuchisreallysacred.com.

3/3/14

Kelly Schirmann

THE PROBLEM

if you believe I am a compendium of my wants
then one of us has a belief

& the other one will never be an adult
the way the television describes.

the truth is: the world hurts my feelings.
I am bored with the fantasies

we have been allotted.
I am very curious

about the way my organs bump together
but not enough to cut myself open

& this is the problem. everything I see
sinks in water

so it sinks right through me
& then sits at the bottom of me

waiting to be discussed.
everyone says we are all going to die

& I practice believing it. the truth is:
truths are too shiny to look at directly.

we slump our bodies
around the pure fire of them

because we like to feel
all the temperatures at once.


Kelly Schirmann is the author of Activity Book (NAP, 2014) & the co-author of Nature Machine (Poor Claudia, 2013). She sings in the band Young Family & runs BLACK CAKE, a web-based audio-chapbook label. She lives in Portland, Oregon.