FOUR POEMS by B. DIEHL

TODAY IS THE WORST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE

 

I’m an office clerk now ––
trying not to think in pessimist clichés.
Trying not to think I’m a robot.
Trying not to think of the movie Office Space.
Trying not to image that my cubicle
is a jail cell and that my stapler
and highlighter
and computer-with-forbidden-Internet
are my cellmates.

There is an air conditioner in the corner.
“Air conditioning is a luxury,” we’re told.

And maybe that’s true.

No more panting in a warehouse.
No more almost-strokes or swamp crotch.
No more clumps of powder falling down my pant leg.
No more leaving powder footprints
as I sneak away for a quick affair with the water fountain.

Every morning, documents are delivered to my desk
by a guy named Tim with a wart on his forehead.

Tim got yelled at last week for taking a 50-minute shit
on company time. Now he walks
with a slow shuffle and never says hi to anyone.

“Tim should cheer up,” people say.
“Yeah,” I say, and point to the air conditioner.

One of my tasks is to skim the documents on my desk
for insurance-policy numbers
and policy-holder names. I type
this information into Microsoft Excel, then toss
the documents into a “TO-BE SCRAPPED” bin.

I’m making it a point not to daydream
about tossing myself into that bin.

I’m also making it a point not to call Child Services
on my pregnant supervisor. (She is currently rambling
on the other side of the room. She says
she has recently binge-watched all 5 Twilight movies
and is now considering naming her baby Renesmee.
She is completely serious about this….)

I walk to the men’s room
to check Facebook on my phone. Continue reading

FOUR POEMS by MARGARITA ATHANASIOU

FEARS

A fear is a funny thing. It’s a thing you have: I have a a pen pal in Thailand who has a dog with a fear of heights. Fear sounds like the humming of the elevator shaft when inactive and like elevator music when activated. To get over a fear means to no longer be under it, carrying it like a huge backpack; up a steep mountain hill, in July, in the south of France with an ex- boyfriend that smells of beer. If fear was made out of matter it would be the hugest backpack ever, made out of your own skin and bones. It would sit in your chest humming elevator music. To no longer carry the fear means to no longer be the same person. All fears are ultimately one.

Continue reading

FROM ANALECTS: CAPRICHOS SEQUENCE by R

 

 

Prose adaptations of Francisco Goya’s Caprichos, I-XXVIII

 

 

Artist Portrait

His expression is a pretence at inscrutability, but it gives him away: there is that haughtiness of the besieged, the embittered mercifulness, that tense, intermittent truce of compassion and disdain that distances a man from mankind as he finds men caught in the crossfire and sees them hurt…

 

They Say Yes and Give Their Hand to the First Comer

Every man is a boatman on the infinitely branching river of his possible lives, and every man is condemned to the course ordained by those faults and misfortunes particularly his, and she will marry one and embark, as first mate, siren and captive, with those faults and misfortunes particularly hers, to certain death amid the wreckage.

 

Here Comes the Bogeyman

A mother and her children cower before a hooded figure, who is perhaps the bogeyman, or a comparable human evil, as he prepares to eat the children, or extract his payment, or drag his family back home.

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SIX POEMS by TAYLOR COLLIER

MOONSONG

 

The only thing sadder, or so
the saying goes, than a washed-
up whale carcass, the body
plopped on the beach like
a slimy, meat-stuffed puppet,
is a dozen whale carcasses
fanned out in some apocryphal
testament to the accidental
power of chemistry and greed.
But by that logic a couple dozen’s
worse, et cetera, ad infinitum.
And maybe it’s not so much
that I don’t care about degrees
of suffering—as if each flavor,
shade, make, model, and stink
deserves, no, requires some
specialist with two decades of
experience in a field utterly tan-
gential to the pulse behind
the human condition—I’m just
never sure which way my head
should turn, which stories most
need my funneled sympathy. Continue reading

THREE POEMS CONCERNING BRANZINO by ROBIN GILES

WELCOME

I am up on the mezzanine
watching you all
eat branzino

you are all very nice
and very interesting
you are people of the arts

you are at a fundraising gala
hosted by the magazine
for which I intern

some of you are seated with my coworkers
who I don’t really know
because we never really talk

they said I would get food upstairs
but there is no food which is too bad
because I love branzino

but I hope you are enjoying yours Continue reading

SEVEN POEMS by MIKE ANDRELCZYK

Air guitar

 

For music

all you need is:

air

and

guitar

 

 

I Don’t Care If I Never Get Back

 

current style is I swear I’m not a cop

sitting in the empty
wooden bleachers behind home plate
at the abandoned little league
field on Filbert Street
where a cop got stabbed last week

today there’s a gang of starlings pecking at the grass
in the shadows of deep center
and every day there’s a group of people huddled
on the picnic table beyond
left selling dope Continue reading

“EXTRA WONDERFUL SENSATIONS” by XIM XOM

Extra wonderful sensations spontaneously bombard you at Office Max, causing you to lose focus on choosing which trapper keeper you will take to the first day of 4th grade.

You turn to your mom and say to her the most beautiful combination of words ever uttered in the history of the English language.

She goes white as a sheet and falls to her knees.

They close the store early and just give you the binder for free.

A week later, you are sitting across from Ellen trying to remember what you said.

Everyone is getting impatient. You can hear rustling in the audience. You fidget in your chair, uncertain what to do next.

You close your eyes. Continue reading

FIVE POEMS by AJ

Reprise

Am I to mitigate time?
Sipping cups of coffee the blue bench is torn.
Ringing out from the sides false piano a pedal pressed.
Heartily reverbs, pleasant fly by night conversations.
I am not afar from this I touch the lowly breath.
Reminding me of missed passes.
The clouds above and people around singing poor tunes.
Eternal return another, another I will deal with later.
Tightrope walking through emotion.
Heavy handedness loses me another. A sin I will not forget
A sin committed in restless dramas Continue reading