“FANTASY MOUNTAIN” by USERCORPSE

I spent time with women spanning four years before the salve of Cindy, from late in high school to early in college, until dropping the last (physical) girl in favor of a fleshed out system of head-mating qua productivity tool, which I’d found I’d need to take down a dangerous Algorithmic Design final.

The first sucked my cock while I drove. We dripped warm spit in each other’s mouths and she’d suck her own toes as I fucked her. We birthed and nurtured ever larger beasts of angry salivation to slay together for fun, until these outgrew our joint strength and we had to side with them against each other to make our own ways out alive. I learned from her to fantasize.

The second sucked my cock while I wrote K. She’d edge me overbrimming with spunk until I fucked her like an ape until her squirms gave out and her elevator melody of squeaks gave way to a vital moan, yeah: she enjoyed that position, photonegative sister to that of a man under torture. I learned from her to be practical.

The third was the daughter of a Chinese diplomat or summat whom I caught in Galaxy and fucked through Skype. She cut a J in her foot for me, a screenshot I still use. From her and her masochism and shit-fetishism I learned a law: extremism fills the void left by contact.  Continue reading

“CIRCLING A STAR” by MISTI RAINWATER-LITES

All the important people were dying off that spring. First Dolly Parton then Reese Witherspoon. I expected Tom Selleck to go next. But then Tommy Lee Jones died and that is the one that really threw me for a Froot Loop. So I walked down the road to Buck’s Dollar and first thing I did was put quarters in the jukebox for “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and “Defying Gravity.”

“Here’s to Mister Jones,” I said to nobody in particular. I was sitting there at the bar raising my bottle high. Sandi Jo looked moronic, even with all that blonde hair and cleavage, gaping at me from behind the bar with her ridiculous fake turquoise earrings dangling.

“Who you talkin’ bout? George Jones?” Sandi Jo asked.

“Girl, hush your mouth. You ain’t heard the news?”

“I guess not. Clue me in?”

“Tommy Lee Jones died this morning. Tommy damn Lee Jones. Best actor ever born. But at least he died peaceful at home, not in some massacre or car crash. Tommy motherfucking Lee Jones. Here’s to him.” I raised my bottle again, took a swig. Continue reading

“REAL ESTATE” by CARL GERCAR

I’ve purchased a house on the west side of Chicago. I think you would like it. It’s very charming.

I only got the house on the west side because it’s so charming and I thought you’d like it. There was a house south of Waukegan that I liked more. It had better foundations and I know the neighborhood. Or I knew the neighborhood, it changes every few years. The leaves get orange and red and brown and fall off and dust away, and the people get older and crazier and start voting Republican, and the places I loved are demolished or covered in graffiti by some kids that don’t see the world like we did. Then we grew out of passenger-seat romances and into homebody holidays. We thinned out and shrank up and took up more room than we needed but less room than we wanted.

You didn’t re-sign the lease to our apartment in Waukegan. I know that because I saw you walking your dog on the west side of Chicago. I bought the house that same day. The garage has enough room for my car and your car and maybe a little art studio. I don’t know if you still paint or not. I haven’t tried to find out, and no one will tell me anything about you anyway.

I think people are concerned that I’m losing it. Continue reading

“CHAOS KNIGHT BOTSURAKU GAIDEN” by M.L. CHEZAKKU

Chaos Knight lost balance in a backward contortion to red ovals, slipping onto the electrified floor of the Twister room fretted with brutalist ridges and crowned by observation balconies where sat mandarins in white face paint looking on glumly as bone spasm knives threw him into boomerang posture, as if his abdomen were trying to escape, and the lightly singing blue fabric of his sweat-lacquered elastane bodysuit sucked into the shape of his open mouth gasping for air. He relaxed. There was a malfunction, excess punishment. Tampering? Maybe. He had many enemies. Med coats wheeled in the gurney and hauled him off through successive UFO ceiling lights, rumbling of tile in duet with the squeak of an ungreased wheel scoring the dawning horror that he could not feel anything below his clavicle. Beyond touched-up photographs of his pearly whites and profile, a rag from which little capital could be wrung, the PR team assured him he was useless, done for, washed up. Something like weeping came over him and he booed loudly, not knowing what noise was acceptable. He was deferred to therapy, physical and interrogative, then to his wife and children, but they left him, and having no other recourse he gave himself up to government testing. Continue reading

FIVE POEMS by RYAN QUINN FLANAGAN

Out of Sink

 

soldiers in tandem
stone statues in parks
mushroom visions from the company
test tube
and we needed a new sink
but the guy at the Rona said
it would be weeks before they had
any sinks, that he had placed the order
but things took time
and then he started talking to us
about faucets,
showed us many long gold ones
that looked like a woman’s shoe,
but we didn’t need faucets
we did not even require nice weather
as we drove back home in the rain,
an empty school bus tailgating us
the whole way. Continue reading

FIVE POEMS by COWBOY ROLAND

on an older tv you can feel static if your face is close enough

 

i watch Scrubs and think “doctors are incredible”
doctors keep our hearts beating, doctors are stressed out

i watch Scrubs to learn tv doctors think life is inherently meaningless
i eat food i don’t like and think life is inherently meaningless

doctors exist because people don’t really want to die yet
i exist because i don’t really want to die yet either

let me try again
let me express something close to you
so you hear, i think
i deleted this line because of fear
a tv doctor’s actions have no real consequence Continue reading

“AVARIZIA” by SPIGOT

Bright lines of shining white packaging fire their logos at you in the new cornucopia.

Your clothes are crumpled and you feel them on your skin rustling like brillo pads. It’s uncomfortable to wear clothes, and being in the light makes you feel aware of your face which you picture at once in your mind’s eye: It looks tired. People are cavernous insects with stains hanging over them; they stain the shining white hallways of package elysium and remind you of your own face. You feel uncomfortable and your cock shrivels. They all look at you without eyes, the moment you stop looking.

The shopping lights shine through a colonnade of water bottles, producing a series of predictably differentiated repetitions of globular light on the upper end. You wish you could drink the image itself, and you visualize it passing through you without taste; the essence of plastic.

You can’t feel yourself moving through the aisles – goods parade past, bright carnival colours exploding in mind’s eye and uninterrupted by desolate interlopers. Nothing gets between you and the goods, fascinating you, talking to you, all the efforts of dozens of marketing minds distilled into a package bright shining with perfect proportions and flickering character. You see the work that went into each one and give each one a prayer of attention, a moment’s silent benediction. You’ve never once handled a trolley – you come here to watch, packages sending silent cacophony across the aisles. You look at the labels, imagine them meaningless: hieroglyphs of desire. You have never apologized. Continue reading

“RED-SHIFT” by RYAN SILVA

Down It went — direct, sans demur — descending as if determined by doubtless deities. On the palace’s poolside patio, a picked selection of patrons puckering lips on Perrier spritzers perused the parabola of the projectile dematerialize into the pink horizon point.  Murmurs manifested throughout the mansion as the missile disappeared from view. The reaction of the soiree’s host, M. de Kuhn, was a simple stretch of his supremely ambivalent expression into a subtle smirk.

I had the opportunity to watch the whole affair from the patio’s private mezzanine. The gasps, the booster’s disappearance into the desert scrub, and the angular, severe face belonging to the angular, severe body of M. Martin de Kuhn, whose eyes were squarely laid upon me in his dashing dinner suit.

“Did you want to visit Cyrene tomorrow?” He asked, lifting an eyebrow.

I reeled at the suggestion rather reflexively, but I did my best to remember the advice of my editor, Tony Bactria of Wire — “go anywhere he wants to go, agree to anything he wants you to agree to.”

Wire is Silicon Valley’s premiere tech magazine. Prior to this, I was a one-time contributor. Now I’ve got the fancy title of “Guest Editor”. A month ago, I had written an article of sorts on my own personal blog called “40 Years of Vaporwave 2009-2049” that one of Bactria’s associate editors, Mara Wesley, enjoyed and syndicated on their entertainment sub-vertical, ArtWire. The site traffic app recorded 3516 hits. ArtWire averages 750,000 hits a day. It appeared on Election Day, when no one on the country is reading musical sub-genre retrospectives. I had been jobless that month. Continue reading