FOUR POEMS by CARL GERCAR

Good Old Jeff

 

They beat Jeff Dahmer to death.
Probably in the dark corner of some dark cell in some prison shithole.
Good old Jeff, one of the boys, swell kind of guy,
drank beers and watched sports and looked girls up and down as they walked by.
Good old Jeff, just a pal,
loved to go out for a cold one,
then fucking kill you
and eat you
and fuck your corpse
and keep it preserved, frozen,
stare at it
late at night
watching the light play with your
lidless eyes.
They beat Jeff Dahmer to death. Continue reading

“OYSTER SHELLS” by SAMUEL STEVENS

He took these hunting trips three times a year. He hunted one kind of game but he never had the stomach to take it.

The hunter hiked through the bush—no, it was not bush, he corrected himself. The autumn leaves on the forest floor made him think of corpses, for some reason. The sun shone over the ridge-line ahead. He had been here as a boy.

The hunter never carried many rounds. He kept ten in the cartridge loops on his belt for appearances. He breathed out and went downhill. There was a wide stream that trout lived in at the foot. He came here in the summer to fish. He crouched at the stream and the cool air was refreshing despite the autumn winds.

He was going to be back at his job on Monday, maybe, back to listening to the bitch make demands of him over nothing and expect him to act as her confessor. Coming home to an empty house was normal to him.

He looked up from the water and a deer stared at him, a doe. He stood up slowly. The doe ran up the ridge on the other side of the wide stream. The hunter sloshed across. His boots filled with water. That was alright.

He listened and stalked. He was not after this doe; it was the wrong kind of game. He went after it anyway, tracking the disturbances in the dead leaves. Continue reading

THREE WORKS by JOSEPH FREDERICK GARCIA

LINES

 

It is my new goal to fall in love with someone while waiting in line.

I’m done with dating and hook-ups and I just want to become intimate with someone waiting in line with me.

My ideal partner is someone who is ahead of me in line, but, honestly, I would gladly take someone who is behind me in line—especially as I am nearing 30 with little to no career aspirations.

With this in mind, I scan the people, ahead and behind.

I happen to notice someone scanning as well.

We meet eyes.

In some sort of unspoken agreement, we decide to give it a try.

We don’t have to connect on any one issue.

We don’t have to have anything in common. Continue reading

“CALLE DEL SNACK” by ASHTON POLITANOFF

He parked his car just outside the hillside community and then entered on foot. The neighborhood had big family homes with trimmed lawns, long driveways, and streets with Spanish names. Here and there a few windows were lit, but for the most part, everything was dark, asleep. He tried to appear casual, like he was on an insomniac’s stroll. Over his shoulder, if it were day, he would be able to see a peel of ocean. Instead, he felt only the breeze.

The fourth doormat he lifted, he found a key. The house was ranch style with a stone path leading to the front. He tried the key and the Dutch door released. He pushed it open a few inches and waited for the alarm. Then he went inside.

In the open foyer, he took off his shoes. He took off his socks. He rooted his bare feet for a moment on the oak floors and let his eyes adjust to the dark. Ahead was a living room with a vaulted ceiling. Through the big picture windows, he saw the outlines of trees and hills.

He stepped onto the limestone of the kitchen. He placed his hand on the cool marble island. He looked around. He kept the lights off. Everything was orderly in the white cabinet kitchen. The drying rack was empty. The countertop was bare except for the usual appliances. The plant on the windowsill near the sink was well maintained. Outside, just beyond, the pool lay still. Continue reading

“LAW AND ORDER” by MILES PRESTON-CLARK

Lately the most important thing in my life is television. Specifically, those complicated procedural courtroom dramas that air in six-hour blocks I can get lost in. The onslaught of technical law jargon strewn throughout each episode is only able to register in my brain for a second but it’s long enough to distract me from the stress dream that is my entire life. In fact, my life has become so unbearable,that I’ve begun this ritual of planting myself in the chaise in front of the TV in the study for days at a time, moving occasionally to eat or urinate but never to greet my son or daughter or husband when they arrive home, never to ask how their days have been. I just do what I think is necessary. I eat, I shit, I piss and I watch criminal after criminal get exactly what they deserve.

This process has become so frequent, that now my family seems unfazed by my random bouts of binge watching. They leave me to my television and my sulk, bringing me food sometimes but never bothering to see if I finish or caring if I even try. The dramatic effect, my son says one day before dropping him off at school, has worn off. Continue reading

“STONE FUR SKIN FISH BLOOD” by TRISTAN FOSTER

Something like. Like track ballast. Igneous, dense and heavy. No, weighty. Full. When you were young you had a friend who lived near the freight line. Ballast would appear in his backyard. Once when you visited you put coins on the track, waiting for a train to come by and warp them into smooth, useless flakes. Like the ones he’d brought out in the school playground at lunchtime. While you hid in the bushes by the track you thought of your mother and this waste of money. This literal sheering of cash; it made your palms sweat and your ears drum. Made you want to piss. But the train didn’t come and when your mate suggested following the tracks to the signal hut to throw stones, you were quick to hop up and pocket your coin, a fifty cent piece, now worth more than the five and the oh on its face.

Coin in your pocket, you followed your friend. You kept an eye out for the train, an ear out for its approaching rhythm; dogs barked at you from backyards. Eventually you arrived at an old hut. The door was kicked in and each wall had a scribble of graffiti on it. Every window was already broken but, even so, it was a thing to throw rocks at. The scrub around the signal hut sprouted from small pebbles. Before long, you were scooping them up in handfuls and catapulting them into the air. Of course, soon, your mate threw the coin he was ready to let the train press flat. Threw it at one of the broken windows but it curled sharply and missed the hut altogether, tinkling as it landed on the other side. He turned to you, as if expecting you to do the same with your coin, but you grinned and hurled another handful of pebbles at the hut’s roof. Continue reading

FOUR POEMS by FLORENCE LENAERS

words in italics are from ResearchGate

 

this job
could
interest you.
_____________JOB, n. is of uncertain origin.

you & I are of uncertain
___un(te)rest
_____gonzo

Keep your profile
up to date to get the best
job suggestions.

_________SUGGESTION, n.
_________(Hypnotism)
_______The insinuation
_________of a belief or
_______impulse into the
___________mind of a
__________subject by
_______words, gestures,
________or the like; the
_______impulse or idea
_______thus suggested.
_______[Source: OED]

Insinuously trigger me
___cosinuously
_____hypnotenuze me
insinuate a belief or impulse
in my many-slotted mind—see diagram Continue reading

“THE RORY THIBODEAUX VOICEMAILS” by AVEE CHAUDHURI

In late 2004 and the early winter of 2005, Richard Cooley left approximately 100 voicemails on the answering machine of Patrick and Nancy Boson as the depraved dog groomer Rory Thibodeaux. Despite a majority of these voicemails being left in a state of glowing intoxication, they create a cohesive, thrilling narrative about one man’s lonely quest to wash, trim, and masturbate Henry, the Bosons’ fey and cowardly Papillon. Cooley has known the Bosons for years.

         The normally unassuming Cooley, who is a high school music teacher in Lake Charles, found solace and refuge in Rory Thibodeaux, a caricature of savagery and lust, perversity and contempt, gleeful amoralism, and a nostalgic entrepreneurial spirit.

         These selected voicemails have been transcribed by Mr. Cooley’s close friends in order to preserve a doubtlessly unique era in his life. With the resolve of a new year, he has decided to quit drinking “once and for all.” Naturally, this means the death of Rory Thibodeaux, who will be mourned, most of all by the Bosons. They looked forward to each new chapter of what would become a transnational, then transglobal, epic, often shooting tequila or sharing a marijuana cigarette as the recordings played back. For both the reticent Cooley and the more sociable Bosons, Thibodeaux’s misadventures served as a singular distraction from the anxieties of modern American life. Continue reading

“TUGBOAT” by SAMUEL HURYN

The smell was almost pleasurable, in the wholesome, natural way that the smell of sawdust or rain is. I rested my hands on the glass barrier separating me from the room of dirt. I had read that it weighed over a quarter million tons and the first thing I thought about was the building’s structural integrity. Now, actually standing in front of the Earth Room, my mind drifted from Manhattan’s lower east side to some hazy midwest destination, of corn and other basic agricultural staples growing out of dirt tilled over every day, of young children with muddy feet running through a backyard, of retirees lovingly examining their gardens under bright blue skies.

Adam had told me it was called the Earth Room, one of those ambitious art pieces that radical schools so adored in the 20th century’s last decades. It was just that; a room full of earth, dirt, feet of it, layers upon layers contrasted with the stark white walls that held it in. It was located on the second floor of a loft that we had had some difficulty locating. A permanent exhibition. I ran my hand along the surface of the dirt and was disappointed when it was clumpy and not fine and smooth. I stepped back from the opening and let the people behind me have a look. Continue reading

TWO STORIES by JORDAN CASTRO

Aunt

 

My aunt spoke to me quietly, in a confused and troubled tone, on the landing of the stairwell in my grandmother’s house, which was inexplicably crowded.
__I know you’re sad and you have problems and things, she said, but please do not bring them to Twitter.
__A tall, thin creature with a human head and the body of an iguana walked slowly past us up the stairs.
__My aunt waited until the iguana man was out of earshot then whispered, It’s just, then paused. Nevermind, she said, visibly struggling to hold back tears.
__I noticed paintings on the walls behind her. They looked antique, but had shiny new price tags on them.
__Running, she said. Or basketball? What about basketball? You used to love playing basketball, she said. Continue reading