FOUR POEMS by KAT GIORDANO

YOU WILL BE SEEING UNIQUE ACCOMPLISHMENT

 

Around the turn of the century, a man named Ed Leedskanlin fell in love with Agnes Scuffs, a 16-year-old girl, in their home country of Latvia. They soon got engaged, but on the day before they were to be married, she left him, citing their ten-year age difference as the prime reason. He then moved to the United States, where in 1920, he began building what is now known as the Coral Castle: a massive structure including two obelisks, a tower complete with furniture, and even a perfectly-balanced swinging gate entrance – all made entirely of limestone and constructed solely on his own. Rare pieces of photographic evidence suggest that the five-foot-tall, hundred-pound man used practical methods, such as simple machines, to build the structures, but others assert that he must have harnessed secret or perhaps even supernatural energies in order to do so. Though Ed published many writings claiming that he discovered the secrets of the universe, he never divulged exactly how the Coral Castle was built, and his so-called “Sweet Sixteen” never saw what her scorned lover constructed in her honor.

 

it finally occurs to him,

as he leans on the wall of his finished monument

to love, that the girl ten years his junior never asked for

an obelisk, that those heavy stones he moved had done nothing

to move her, and she shouldn’t be blamed for the ache

that settles now in his bones.

 

but he’ll go on like being lovelorn is his only sin,

charging tourists ten cents to roam the tomb

of his heart, take pictures of the crude limestone slab

he called “bed” and cut to the length of

her unfinished body. and they will call it beautiful:

his love alone enough to lift those hunks of earth

into meaning; some strange, ancient magic. Continue reading

“THE QUESTION OF MAURICE PINKHOVER” by EDWARD CONE

The fat lump of consciousness called Maurice Pinkhover is on his bed before a screen aglow with moving imagery. A blanket covers him. (This blanket is a metaphor representing my memory.) Shocking he’s there so easily now—I had written about him last year, when I lived in New Mexico, he’d all but materialized in the Santa Fe air, borne by me over the pages of what now amounts to a secret monograph. No one will read him then. I hadn’t anything for him since, and describing him now it’s obvious he’s reestablished his immediacy, this factorial Maurice. In other words he is asleep, in his corner room just off the front door, and now wakes. He is immediately tired, it’s as if he has actually not slept at all. But the story only rubs his eyes and moves to the desktop computer running FreeBSD in the corner, stares into the monitor, hits a few keys. This is fine busywork. He is active, at least, if assuredly unfit, although even this meager activity thins him. Maurice’s hair is shorter than it was last year, and his interest in and devotion to technology, especially network and most especially mobile security, is more obvious. (In Santa Fe it had been an obsession with bitcoin, but with the bust of ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’ and the takedown of Silk Road, and the collapse of the Tower, so symbolic in the unreality of dreams and poetry, that had been erected between them, something new was necessary. So now to protect against everything Snowden showed us, he spends time teaching professedly non-violent psychedelics dealers how to use strong encryption and how to set up their own wireless mesh networks. The iterative lives of an internet troll.) At the keyboard he fucking rm -rf’s everything (/*) out of frustration. Continue reading

“THE SHOW ABOUT NOTHING” by SIMON GRAHAM

Doctors categorize me a genius. Apparently I could be a millionaire too if I’d like. That is if I put my mind to something, like playing poker or shorting currencies or solving equations in sparse echoing rooms. At the very least, they say, I should join Mensa and be with the like-minded. Find a partner, a female to whom I can relate. But I don’t see the appeal. I prefer to eat my peanut butter cups and watch my shows. They’re always on, reliable yet forever changing and never boring. I’m a Milanese Casanova for an hour and Capote for the next. Shooting outlaws in the Wild West then slamming gavels on wood grain. Eating truckstop waffles then atop an Olympic podium circa 1968, my right hand clenched to a fist and raised high, my head down. It’s exhilarating just to list all of my lives, let alone live them. I don’t know why anyone would settle for a singular narrative. Continue reading

THREE WORKS by Z. MARGARET

Internal’s House

 

(media res counterpoints)

“Show me someone who doesn’t warrant inspection and I’ll grant you your hormones,” the father says.

“Oh and which sadistic pill is that?” the daughter screams.

“Hey now, knowledge is not the answer, we both know that. Perhaps a little tipsy in the granulated downtime, but that’s all, I can assure you.”

“Did not!”

“Um yes, did two. Two pills with one swallow.”

“Have you even been bickering with me? what do your words—uh!” flapping hands.

“I see it as kind of like those days where when the day begins, with a sort of groggy eyesight. The first thing you hear from your mother’s mouth is—hey, woah, where do you expect you’re. Stop, okay—the very first noise you hear is some insect-y reminder from your well-intentioned mother, that the garbage disposal ate your garments. Or even your undergarments, like panties, and she forgot—hey, where.”

“F-you!..and hey, in case you didn’t know, plants have hormones too!” the daughter projects over her shoulder, down and out the staircase.

(out the door with her)

(back to the father, portrait)

“You know, I never dreamt about notebooks or that kind of thing, mainly (melting.horror.). But it’s all working out fine right about now. Really. Not so much as a gaper in the sky tell you the truth,” he pauses, waiting. Continue reading

“LAWS OF PHYSICS” by BRIAN ECKERT

Roger knocked on the door. Yvette answered wearing a bathrobe.

“Hi love,” she said, turning her head to the side for a European-style double cheek kiss.

Roger hated the Euro-kiss. Yvette had picked it up from a new French friend. He took solace in the fact that the Euro-kiss phase would pass, like every other phase before it: the cat-eye makeup phase, the barefoot running phase, the tarot card phase, the feminist literature phase, the vegetarian activist phase.

This too shall pass.

Yvette’s white toy poodle was standing behind her legs, showing its teeth at Roger. Continue reading

“CROSS-CHANNEL” by RYAN SILVA

You’ve got to let the Soylent slip down your throat. Don’t taste it. The moment it touches the tip of your tongue the gag reflex starts activating — especially when it’s been your only form of breakfast for a year or so. It sounds horrifying — I realize that, but it’s one of those things that ends up tying itself to your daily routine pretty tightly once you get into the swing of it. Soylent brings you closer to God — especially if you’ve got the right One.

My God is Patrick Bateman.

As the Soylent self-discipline session gives way to the morning shower, I submit myself to the Islam of Aesthetics. The Kauai-sourced coconut-milk and pumice-pellet infused body scrub goes first, followed by the charcoal face-mask. I do stray a bit from the O.G. P.B.’s routine as I’m partial to an alcohol-based aftershave following the morning shear. There’s something about the burn that keeps me coming back. I compensate with a special Japanese offal-paste lotion that traps free radicals in your hair follicles to prevent inflammation and skin cancer.

Innovation is its own sort of piety.

After stepping out from the bathroom and into the living room, I summon my bitch.

“Ali, can you be a doll and bring up the itinerary for today?”

“Of course, Patrick.” The computerized taint in her voice is almost inaudible now. I customized her — at great expense — to make her, an Alexa 4.0, sound like Chloe Sevigny. A Russian mod-site put the protocols together. I have her call me Patrick, but that’s not actually my given name. That’s Lawrence Lacy. I prefer the actual whores to call me “daddy”, though. Sometimes I think about putting Ali in one of those Chinese body-sex-dolls that they build in the Shenzhen, and just giving her a good fuck in the animatronic ass. But I check myself — I’m not actually a degenerate.

I’m also far too attractive for that anyway. Continue reading

“MODERN DENTISTRY” by SHARON LAM

Remote, like a stone statue on a high hill. Clara looked up at the plastic anatomical skull. It looked back down at her from its home at the top of the bookshelf. Clara sat cross legged behind the receptionist’s desk, head rested in left hand. “Hey boy,” she said in a low voice, blowing two kisses at the skull. “You have such beautiful orbital cavities.” She waited for the skull to flirt back. She winked. The telephone rang and interrupted the budding romance. “Hello, Mr Smedley’s Dental Surgery, how may I help you. Let me have a look. Okay. Sorry he’s all booked up on Tuesday, would Wednesday work? Great. I can book you in at either nine or three. Three. Great. Great. Could I please have your name. Sorry? How do you spell that? S – M – I – T – H. Great. Thanks. See you Wednesday.” Continue reading

“PORTRAITS AFTER THE CAMERA” by ROBERT BROTON

An old man woke every morning to look at his disease-ravaged face in the mirror. A servant once saw the ritual and told him, “Master, it’s only a painting! You look healthier than ever.” Nonetheless, the old man was dead by the year’s end.

-From The Epigrams of Dr. Neste

 

Our city, with its short white buildings, it pyramid roofs, its copper cupolas, its black windows deep as neglected ponds, seemed a Bosch painting.

We found tremendous views at the city park. It was on a tall, wide hall with a flat top and carefully planted trees. From its east side the hill declined into suburbs of white bungalows with crimson shutters, which thinned into country neighborhoods of dusty yards, which ran to the side of a black ridge. Sitting at our benches on yellow days, we saw the tiny houses, their brown fields undulating in the cool fumes of fall. Tiny coal-fires lit the ridge like smoky stars on the night sky. White birds flew in front of the ridge like bits of paper from a book-burning.

In October the painter Gauron came. He stood, with his canvas and easel, between a privet hedge and a beech carved with obscenities.

He offered to paint our portraits for a mild fee. Most refused him, as the camera had rendered his skill an affectation. His dubious appearance did not inspire our confidence either. He had short-cut black hair and pocked cheeks. He went in yellowed shirtsleeves and dungarees that trailed threads.

He is not a gentleman, we said. Continue reading

FOUR POEMS by THE KNIFE CITY BOY

It’s only because I dropped out

 

“we’re going into something on fire, and we do not have respirators. we do not know what water is. all we have is this scotch tape for where the seams are detached, and for whatever reason we believe scotch tape can’t melt.” – some valedictorian somewhere, I hope

 

 

 

it could have been Renee

 

there was this one time i drove a goth girl to the airport because we met at a gas station and she said something about walking there, but i said no. her friend Dougie had to come along, which was fine because Dougie sat in the back and really didn’t say any words. me and the goth girl talked like old pals about where we were from and the big dogwood trees in bloom out along the highways. Continue reading

“SEXY MEAT RAMPAGE” by JEFF HOILAND

Phillip was awake. He was lying on a bed under a sheet and a blanket. Rain was hitting the only window in the room. Phillip pushed buttons on an alarm clock. He looked at a glowing phone. He had received a text message from Cindy, “I don’t feel good today :(.” He nudged the phone off the bed with the back of his hand and the phone fell to the floor. He flipped a pillow over and pressed his face to the pillow. He thought, “Am I cold? Am I warm?” Phillip was asleep.

 

Phillip was going on a rampage today. Not an insane killing rampage—he had considered that too. He was going on a small, personal, controlled rampage. He was bored with life. “I’m bored with life,” he thought. He was not excited about—things.

 

The sky was grey and bright and it was lightly raining and Phillip was walking, drinking ice water from a clear plastic cup. He was walking across a college campus. He was thinking about rampaging. Phillip felt rain on his skin and drank from the clear plastic cup. He thought, “I want to rampage now. I am going to start my rampage. What is my rampage? Don’t make weird faces; it’s not an accurate form of communication. Am I cold?” Continue reading