4/30/14

Art by Kalliopi Matthios & Words by Ashley Opheim

Jelly Saliva



“Let’s get some cotton candy and eat it near the water,” you say.

“Do jellyfish have hearts?” I ask you.

The spine is a column that holds up the brain.

I observe that the jellyfish look prettier under the black light.

“How often do your feet need to leave the ground at the same time on a day-to-day basis?” you ask.
“Communicating with your feet is difficult,” I say while holding one of my hands with my other hand.

Strength is a column.
I touch the glass between the jellyfish and us.

The stars inside your floating eyes have matter.
Think about it, your ribs protect your heart from breaking.

My new lavender tights protect my bare legs from the outside world.
‘Crystals of salted phytoplankton and the radical demi-now’, I repeat.

The glass in front protects me from the underwater world.
The NSA indirectly bully me into thinking I have someone or something out to get me.

I am concerned with the ways in which I’m not protected.

These are some questions that other people have asked Google about jellyfish:
Do jellyfish make noise?
Do jellyfish have eyes?
Do jellyfish need air?
If you get stung by a jellyfish should someone pee on you?

Motion is a change in position of an object with respect to time and its reference point.

The jellyfish look like spaceships.
The jellyfish pulse.

“Did you know that Google sells your data? And that you pay for the data that it’s stored on?”
“I don’t want to think about it.”

Jellyfish have a mouth where their butt is and a butt where their mouth is.
Do jellyfish poop from their mouths?
Do jellyfish actually make jelly?
Do jellyfish have blood? Can they bleed?

“Instead of a brain jellyfish have a nerve net,” you say.
You kiss me.
My hair stands on end, defies gravity.

Gravity is a column.
Crystals of salted phytoplankton and the radical demi-now

Kissing you makes me feel like an underwater waterfall with a pulse.

“Do jellyfish think?” I ask after your mouth pulls away from my mouth.
A piece of saliva dangles between us.

“Do jellyfish know they are alive?” you ask, breaking our united spit.
Do jellyfish have hearts? I think without saying.

“Do you think they know we are present?”
“Do you think they know they have a mouth where their butt is supposed to be?”

Love is like water falling into water, underwater.


“I’m thirsty.”




Kalliopi Matthios lives in Brooklyn, NY  Ashley Opheim lives in Montreal, QC

4/29/14

Art by Sarah Jean Alexander & Words by Scott Laudati

Take the path for cocaine & Plath



i left her apartment
with nowhere to be
and no home
to hurry to.
her advertising job kept
the work-shift late
and the wake up calls
early.
in between i would show up
on her Eastside
apartment doorstep
with a bottle
of wine.

she’s been with people
i know,
people
way cooler than me
but I had an advantage-
i knew their
strategies. I’d seen
them at work,
and I remembered the times
when she was bored
and
i remembered how much
she liked danger

what could stand me out
from the rest?
     ... cocaine

i have a friend in newark
she squares up
with a guy. his family
ships the good stuff
in through some fish market or
he’s a port authority cop.
the nights we
got honest enough to share
dealers our noses
were bleeding
and the dog tried stopping
us before
our heartbeats caused seismic shifts
 -the details come and go (mostly go)
but i crossed the river to jersey,
got the candy
then took the train underwater
and
headed back
uptown

she was happy to see me.
she went to the bathroom
i pulled
a mirror off the wall
and cut two
lines. i heard the shower
water go on. i made
the lines
a little bigger.
i
could smell chemical
fruit coming
from under the bathroom door.
i shaped
each line
into
3 quarters of a
heart. They were perfect.
with a space
big enough
to
start
and
end
without messing up
the powder

she came out
and looked
at my creation.
“what
is
that?”
“cocaine”
“I don’t want any cocaine. Why am i looking
at cocaine?”
     “What says I love you
     like our noses
     sharing
     a dollar bill?”

she was angry.
i’d had her all
wrong. i went for a walk
while she calmed
down.
how could i get
this girl
to fall for me?
i looked for
a park.
i was going to find a dog park
so i could
steal
her a puppy,
but
a used book store
had a cart
out on the
sidewalk.
i wanted to read something
about failure
but
i didn’t.
i bought a copy of
the sun also rises- for me
and something by sylvia plath- for her

she opened the door on the first knock
i handed her
both books.
“why?” she asked.
 “i want to build a library with you”

we ate pho
and used
our
first two books as coasters
   i
   don’t
   know
   if she fell in love with me that night,
but i’m pretty sure
she will




Sarah Jean Alexander lives in Brooklyn, NY  Scott Laudati also lives in Brooklyn, NY


4/28/14

Art by Jessica Rowe & Words by Johnny Bryan

The Poke


I’m not going to tell you about how I died – what killed me, how much blood there was and all that, because it’s not important. What is important is that I wasn’t brave, and when you aren’t brave you become a ghost.

At the ghost factory they told me I had to choose something to haunt. I could choose anything I wanted, but I had to choose quickly, in under five minutes, or they would choose something for me, at random. This was difficult. I did my best to think of something good and beautiful to haunt but I was distracted.

I was thinking about this one time we were together in your bathroom. We were brushing our teeth – rather, I was brushing my teeth, and you were fooling around. You were trying to make me laugh by poking me in the stomach, trying to locate my belly button through my T shirt, egging me on, asking me if I even had a belly button, and then you found it – you poked it extremely hard, and I doubled over and got toothpaste and spit all over myself, and you clapped your hands and laughed a girlish, witch laughter.

I didn’t find it funny at the time, but there in the bleakness of the ghost factory I couldn’t help but smile to myself.

“What’s so funny?” asked a ghost factory worker.
“Nothing,” I said.

And as soon as I said that I realized it was true. There was nothing funny about it because it was over. It had probably been the most beautiful moment of my life and I hadn’t even realized it until now – now that it was long past, getting smaller and more dreamlike in memory, obscured by quarrels, and tiresome questions, and stomach aches. I wasn’t ready to accept it. Meanwhile, I had used up all of my time, so I chose the only thing I could think of to haunt – your toothbrush.

It wasn’t so bad haunting your toothbrush. You’d brush your teeth twice a day and while you were brushing your teeth I’d be haunting them, and haunting all of your beautiful mouth, like before, and you had no idea. I was content to do that, until one day you brought home a new toothbrush. You picked up the haunted one, dropped it in the waste basket without any hesitation, and replaced it with the new, unhaunted one.

I lay there in the waste basket, pouting, but only for a few seconds. I realized that you hadn’t replaced me, only the toothbrush, which was old, and needed to be replaced – that it wasn’t about me at all, that much of life wasn’t about me, and there was no use in pouting about it. I wanted to be brave.

I knew it was going against ghost rules, but I didn’t care. I had to try something. I left the toothbrush there in the waste basket and floated over to where you stood brushing your teeth. I saw myself in the mirror next to you. I saw my ghost-eyes and saw that I could be brave. I turned to you. I reached out my ghost-finger and found your belly button through your blouse. I gave it a tremendous poke – and everything happened at once.

You wilted with laughter, like a petal, and toothpaste and tears and spit painted the floor beneath you in blues and greens and blacks and yellows, and meanwhile something was blooming out of you, rising above you like a Chinese lantern – it was your ghost.

And I realized that when I’d poked you, I’d poked her as well. She looked down at me cross, but only pretending to be cross, and she couldn’t pretend very well, because she loved me too much.

And that’s when it hit me – it wasn't over. It was still happening. I didn’t know how, but it always had been, and it always would be happening. We would always be there, brushing our teeth, and poking each other, and haunting each other, and it wasn’t sad, and even if it was sad, it was only sad in the most beautiful way. And that was enough for me, I was ready.

Your ghost folded back into you, or you folded back into her, I’m not sure which. I turned to myself in the mirror and waved –

“Goodbye, ghost! Goodbye, self!”

I ballooned out and blanketed your whole body in dust, and blanketed your bathroom, and the city, and the countryside, and the ocean, and I was above you, cloudlike, and also below you, mixed in with the blue and the green and the black and the yellow, at the bottom of the river of your laughter, and in between every sigh, in a moonlit flowerbed, poking at flowers, and blouses, and belly buttons, and I couldn’t decide if I was the one haunting all of it, or if all of it was haunting me, or if we were each of us only haunting ourselves, but that didn’t bother me too much – it wasn’t important. 




Jessica Rowe lives in Baltimore, MD  Johnny Bryan lives in Paris, France

4/25/14

Art by Evan Bender & Words by Henry Greenfield

Three Vignettes


You could hear Jason and Grace fucking the shit out of each other in his room but we didn’t say
anything about it. The walls were thin so we heard them all the time.
Hannah couldn’t fall asleep.  “Every second is less time I can get sleep,” she said.  She had just started waitressing at a new place and she wanted to be awake for it.
“You can’t think about it that way,” I said. I was pretty tired but the next day was Sunday so it didn’t matter for me.
“It’s the truth,” she said, “plain and simple.”
“Only if you look at it in a certain way.” I didn’t know what to say to her.
She asked me to tell her a story but I couldn’t think of one. She asked me to tell her stories all the time when she couldn’t fall asleep and I could never come up with anything, it was crazy she still asked me. This time I didn’t try that hard, I was so tired.
Jason and Grace were still fucking. They got louder and louder. Then it stopped. They started talking a little and Jason said to Grace, Your body’s made for sin, and they laughed and just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, it started all over again.






Rob asked me why I didn’t have a tattoo.
“I don’t even know what I’d get,” I said.
“See that’s crazy to me,” he said, “I have, like, too many ideas. Like every second I have an idea for one.” His eyes got big at this. “That’s my problem.”
We were sitting on his couch.  Before we started talking about tattoos, he was showing me his drawings.  Whenever I came over to buy an eighth, Rob took out his big notebook and made me look at his drawings.  They were all of karate guys in crazy Dragon Ball Z poses. I didn’t even try to ask if he drew anything else. But I had to admit they were pretty good.
“I want you to see something,” he said, putting away his notebook.
I went along with it. He seemed like he could get angry for no reason.
He led me into his room. It was very organized.  This was a guy who liked his stuff.  Against the wall was a giant fish tank. That’s what he wanted to show me.
The whole thing was lit up with cool blue lights that made the pebbles on the bottom glow.  There were a few decoration pirate ships in it and a filter system made neat lines of bubbles in the corners.  The tank was truly huge, bigger than a person. There weren’t any fish in it yet.
“I’m going to fill it with Piranhas,” he said.
“Why?” I asked. I couldn’t help it.
He had no idea what I was talking about. “The fish aren’t the hard part. I can get like twenty for $380,” he explained, going over to the tank.
“You’re going to have twenty fish in there?” I asked.
“Oh yeah,” He said, “I did the measurements.” He looked the tank up and down, checked the filters and lights and then dipped his fingers into the water for the temperature. He took a step back, admiring tank, and said, “$5000.” That’s how much it cost
Then he turned to me, and the way he was smiling made me even more sure that he was completely out of his mind, but, really, I couldn’t talk. I’d never saved that much for anything, and the idea of it felt impossible.






Jake and I were sitting Indian style on the floor in his room with the cards we were trading laid out between us.  We were talking about the bases and sex.  Jake was saying how if he had to choose he’d rather go to both second base and third base with a girl than just sex.
“It’s like baseball,” Jake said. “It’s obvious.”
“Feeling her up and getting a blow job,” I said, so he knew I knew exactly what we were talking about, “or fingering her.”
“Fingering a girl isn’t third base,” Jake said.
“What is it then?”
“It’s not anything,” he said. “It’s not a part of it.”
I didn’t want him to think I was completely clueless so I just shrugged and said people had different definitions.
The whole reason Jake was trying to do this trade was so he could get my Mike Piazza rookie card. He was always trying to trade for it and I always said no.  He’d trump up his cards, like he was doing me a huge favor, but he was so obvious about it, it made me want to say no even more.  
“Pudge, Paul O’Neill, and Benny Agbayani.” That’s what he was offering this time.
“No,” I said and I couldn’t help smiling. It’s not that the players weren’t good; it was that there was nothing special about the cards. They were just normal run-of-the-mill cards.
“Pudge will go down as the greatest defensive catcher in the history of baseball,” he said.
“I don’t care.”
Jake lost it. I could see it coming a mile away.  He was yelling about how unfair I was and his face was getting red.  He was about to cry.  This was how it always happened. Jake would spaz out and his mother would bust into the room like I’d done something wrong when I didn’t even want the trade in the first place.






Evan Bender lives in Paris, France Henry Greenfield lives in New York, NY

4/24/14

Art by Samantha Conlon & Words by Benjamin Clancy

Every Single Night


               

good morning. the weather is sick. don’t open your eyes. stay in bed and keep the windows drawn.

i am a smooth stone in your sink. i have grey elephant skin. the water runs over me in shining curls like balloon ribbons.

i am dead below your window like a sparrow. i am a set of old guitar strings belonging to the man who made you pregnant. i am your stomach: cool, flat and empty. i am a million miles away from you and all of your experiences with grief. i fling my love at you like something i want to get rid of.

i pack our love up in a vintage suitcase, worn in some places, the leather alligator green. i drop it into a river where you can see straight through to the bottom and the current is fast and in some places white and frothy. you can tell how cold the river is by looking at the air right above it. the river is almost-freezing. the suitcase makes a noise like a tree branch snapping as it splits the surface tension into hyacinth blooms.

you are still sleeping but when you wake up you will want me gone. i step into your shower. i note the brand names of your various soaps and conditioners. i note the small spider of hair stuck to your tile wall. the water runs over me in shining curls like balloon ribbons. i try to believe that my body can repel all of this water. under my skin, there are roots and roots that soak up moisture, gorging themselves. they exist to keep my flesh from eroding and sliding off of my bones.

when i am clean, i stand in the hot cloud of the bathroom in front of the mirror. there is nothing i can think of to write in the steam. as i dress, i dress like someone who exists to keep you from sliding off the face of the earth. the spaces outside of the spaces we inhabit together are shoddy paths that skirt cliff sides. these paths long to fall down the mountain’s face.

when we cease to need anything but ourselves we become merciless. when i think of you i see a vintage suitcase, worn in some places, the leather alligator green.

every night i searched for the doorway between your breasts that would lead out of your apartment and into the future. my tongue was a key at first but its special ridges rubbed smooth. now i speak with a knife that is much too dull to kill you.

you are a wolf and i am a lamb but i am also the wolf’s teeth.

every morning before you wake a pair of hands opens a window and lets in pitchers and pitchers of light. you do not want to look out the window but the hands take you by the hair and the neck and force your head across the threshold. the hands know you can’t keep your eyes shut forever.

every morning you awake into a world where i am closing the door softly behind me so i don’t wake you into a world where i am closing the door softly behind me.  

i had a dream that you gave a name to each passing moment of my life. as i blew forward in time your lips could not move rapidly enough to keep pace. your jaw grew weak, your tongue chapped. your vocal chords cracked like a teakettle. years after i died, you finally ran out of names.

i woke up and the weather was sick. i would have stayed in bed. i would have kept the windows drawn. i would have broken your patience. 





Samantha Conlon lives in Cork, Ireland  Benjamin Clancy lives in Austin, TX

4/23/14

Art by Ariel Fintushel & Words by Oscar Bruno d'Artois

or maybe I was awake




spring is fall in reverse, as @Beach_Sloth taught us


& is it just me or did taking a right onto this block
feel like stepping onto a different planet?


& ok here is a question
do you think bears had antlers
back in the 80s?


ok, no, ok


but what about
back in the 1480s?


i am taking this top bunk
& i am taking it out to sea
& there is literally nothing
that you can do about that


i step on a piece of cracked cement &
suddenly i am reminded of the dream in which
the clouds were orcas &
we had the superpowers of a pineapple &
well that doesnt make much sense


my new thing is
confront me with an aspect of myself i dont like
& ill run to the nearest cave
on the other side of the continent


o, ok


listen asshole
there are at least 500 subways
grinding to a halt
at any given time
& they all make different sounds, ok?!


ok. BUT
if 2 people
have 2 bikes
& each bike only has 1 wheel
dyou think that if both of them get on their bikes at the same time
while going down a ste
e        
e     
 e
  e
   e
    e
     eeeep hill that [something about gravity relenting] ?



& if the sun tries to hide behind a cloud
but its rays still poke out like
an erection poking thru a waistband
does that still count as it being shy


because, i’ll be honest
i cant walk between two lampposts
without my heart skipping a beat


& isnt it funny how people try to explain how their pain is physical
like, ‘i felt it in my heart, right here’
& then they point


& isnt it funny who it winds up being who tells you that
yr being an interstellar piece of shit
& that you need to stop pretending like you can just not live


yeah
it is nice to be alive feeling [mood] with you at the same time for now but
who knows what it will be like in a couple hours
given our just-keeping-it-real lifestyle


wat im saying is
hello humanity can we just slow down
bc idk bout you but mostly im just like


fuck o fuck o fuck fuck o help
i am alone with this streetcorner where we did
that thing that one time &
it’s threatening me with these whirlpools of you


anyway
enuf abt me

did you know that sea mammals can stop breathing at will?






Ariel Fintushel lives in Brooklyn, NY Oscar Bruno d'Artois also lives in Brooklyn, NY

4/22/14

Art by Nic Rad & Words by Stacey Teague

Affirmation / London, Winter



i escape the wind and light pollution
taking my gloves off with my teeth 
as i descend into marble arch
*
i can feel the thames
moving through me
most days
*
getting off the train
i want to kiss
the streets of victoria & you
*
drunk and tired
we take the night bus
in the wrong direction
*
middle of the night
heavy rain
heavy body
*
i watch my friends
dance around a kitchen
somewhere in hackney
*
we ignore the weather
stay in bed listening to beyonce
on the shortest day of the year
*
it has rained
for so many days
i miss you




Nic Rad lives in Brooklyn, NY  Stacey Teague lives in London, England

4/21/14

Art by Emily Horn & Words by Andrew Worthington

How to Chill Out, or A Hitler and Stalin Sort of Pact


Over and over again, the same 

old argument where we disagree for the sake of argument and end 

up agreeing to disagree about our disagreements

for the sake of open-mindedness and keeping everything 

on the table until the table falls apart, making us 

cut down a tree to build another table.

I’m really hoping this isn’t actually the last tree on earth.

It sure seems that way, though.


If it is we will

cut it down for the sake of the advance of our higher 

knowledge to reach a higher peak to reach 

the top: Enlightenment.


We made it guys.

We reached the top

Wow.


Alright so


We can definitely take over the world together

if we work together.


If we work together we can 

definitely do that shit. We can 

conquer the world. We just 

gotta work together. We 

can still kill lots of other people. Tear 

those cuties bodies to shame.


Don’t worry


Positive thinking is the answer.

Positivity and teamwork .

Positivity and teamwork and forgetting 

all the horrible shit and forgetting all the shit we will 

have to do to take over the world,

as history has proven that power usually comes 

with violence or at least being really

mean. We definitely gotta 

forget a lot of this shit. We 

gotta wipe it out.


So ok


So we need 

Positivity,

teamwork

and selective memory,

although amnesia would work 

better, but you gotta work 

with what you 

have, and you gotta 

work together.


Otherwise this whole thing of ours falls apart.

It comes crumbling down like a McDonald’s play palace

that was poorly designed

or maybe a McDonald’s play palace 

that was perfectly designed—

perfectly designed to kill the maximum amount 

of young capitalists, or proleterians, or what’s the difference

these days.


I am the communist Joseph Stalin.

I am the communist Joseph Stalin .

The first time he walked into a communist party meeting

he must have had ideals. He must have 

really wanted to get involved and change 

things, unless he was there just 

to get girls, which is probably why I am the communist Joseph Stalin,

just writing hardcore political poetry to get the girls


I’m marching.

I’m finally a political leader and famous poet.

I’m marching.

I’m the most popular writer and public speaker in history.

I’m marching. On the internet 

I am known as The Guy. On the streets

I am known as 

The Guy. I am The Guy

My identity isn’t very particular or unique or original.

But I’m The Guy.


I’m pacing. I’m

pacing back and forth around the room I grew 

up in. It isn’t that big. 

I could throw a touchdown to myself 

in my room, but it was also only 

a two and a half yard touchdown, assuming 

that I was running the long way in my room to catch the pass.

If it was the wide way then it was just like a yard and a quarter 

touchdown or something.


To chill out I overdosed 

on weed I did 

almost 5000 pounds of weed using

a gas mask. So did you. It was our Peace 

Pipe, or actually I guess you should call it Peace Mask.

It turned us green. Neither of us liked 

it but we liked that we weren’t distinct even 

in superficial ways, at least not 

from each other.


I wrote the weed overdose into my poem,

because it is so lame to write poetry about weed

you wouldn’t even think I was being ironic

because, like, even ironically, weed is not funny in poems

and definitely not sincerely.

So you will take me seriously.

You will take me sincerely.

We will conquer the world together.


Lets do it baby.

Lets make a Hitler and Stalin sort of pact.


Lets sign something,

say we love each other,

and then hate each other,

know it won’t work,

kill each other later,

at least financially.


No, I wasn’t talking about the marriage culture in the United States.

I was talking about a Hitler and Stalin sort of pact.


You know that song “Bills Bills Bills” by Destiny’s Child

Where they talk about some guy being like “Can you pay my bills?”

Oh you don’t know it?

Anyways, can you buy that song on Spotify for me?

I want to listen to it on my phone even when I am underground.


I went underground about 11 years ago.

10 or 11 years ago.

I think probably at least 9 or 10 years ago.

I went underground

to do all the opposite shit from Henry David Thoreau.


Not that I could have anymore


The world was calling it a night:

extreme disparity in the division of resources,

ecological disaster,

people swarmed for buildings in cities,

or, if they could, closed 

roofed sports complexes on the outskirts of cities

but nothing was safe, so I started out 

underground in the subways. Now I am 

in different tunnels I don’t know. I know 

Spotify still exists, although I am fairly sure 

iTunes is gone, along with google. Yahoo 

survived somehow.


Any ways I am reptilian.

We are all reptilian.

We become reptiles when we are so dumb.

We need to be able 

to swim in the ocean. Cold blooded.


“Stay safe,” I say to you, as I thrust 

the knife in and out your lung, then send you on 

your way. 


Streets that we don’t need. We can live 

together. I need living space. I can’t 

sit here if you forced me

to know where I was you would force me 

to know you. That would be the main problem

I know where I 

am. I know the maggots you put in your underpants when 

you swim through lakes of fish suffering from obesity.

I wonder who they got it from?

You like when the fish 

eat your dick. I sure won’t.


One more step in the right direction

and you will fall off the cliff. I will fall off 

it too. If we’re lucky.






Emily Horn lives in Toronto, ON  Andrew Worthington lives in Brooklyn, NY