Contributing Writers

#eggnogriot

by on December 24, 2014 :: 0 comments

They wrecked the halls when the whiskey eggnog was snuck into the dorm after finals ended. Jeff was everyone’s hero. He bootlegged enough to of the ‘nog to keep everyone lit and alive until New Years. No one has to leave, joy demanded it. Parents were concerned within hours, though. Then snotty, boggy vomit fell from the dorm’s roof as …

’63

by on July 20, 2013 :: 0 comments

In was the summer of 1963. We lived on the fifth floor of a high rise in Sunnyside, Queens, close to the cemetery where my relatives were buried, the Queensboro Bridge, and the EL tracks. Our terrace had a view of the large water tanks by the river, and a great big bakery billboard. It was heaven. Though I didn’t …

La Loquera

by on November 26, 2010 :: 0 comments

Chicharras, I think, was the last word you taught me. Cariño was the first. The other day Erica told me cochinada and I’ve asked her several times to repeat it, same way I did with chicharras and you. Chingao was the very first, back, back, back when still living in that little hovel off N. St. Mary’s St. with Teresa …

A Dead Vampire

by on October 16, 2011 :: 0 comments

I still can’t believe it, it can’t be real. There must have been a mistake. They can’t really be after you. You’re one of the nicest people I know, one of the most protective people I know. What you did shouldn’t have surprised me. I should’ve seen it coming. ••• You’ve no idea how incredibly guilty I feel. I should …

A Good Student

by on December 6, 2013 :: 0 comments

Sean and Rose met in an online chat room. He proposed after their second in-person date, and she said yes. They honeymooned in Bali, and it was the most romantic setting either one had ever seen. One evening they watched the sunset at Tanah Lot Temple. After dark had fallen, they were entertained by the “Monkey Dance” performance with seventy …

A Kentucky Derby Hat in the Hay Maze

by on January 30, 2015 :: 0 comments

At this hour, we had the hay maze all to ourselves. Guarding the entrance stood a gang of white pumpkins on a bed of scattered straw. Tower rested his foot on the largest one as he pointed to Katie’s milk colored Kentucky Derby hat. “You wanna put that wedding cake in the car?” he asked. “No, watch me beat you …

A Knock on the Door

by on February 20, 2015 :: 0 comments

I was doing my dishes one day and heard a knock on the front door. I leave my door open in the summer and always have a pitcher of lemonade in the fridge. I love the way the lemon wheels float to the top and the glass pitcher gets all frosty. Imagine my surprise when I turned around and saw …

A letter to Frank Weatherman

by on September 24, 2013 :: 0 comments

Dear Frank, How are you? I hope the journey was smooth for you. What is life in Okinawa like? The day you left, I thought the clouds were falling on me and the sun had vanished. My lonely self consumed by the weight of emptiness. One time I thought I was going blind from the cascading tears blurring my vision. …

A Little Ghost Story (The Intruder)

by on July 4, 2014 :: 0 comments

When Joanne DuMont first opens her eyes in the morning it usually follows an intense night of waitressing. She has already slept late (9:30, or so) and relishes her slow mornings to herself. She’d waitressed all her adult life, raised a son (now grown) by herself, and now enjoys her morning to herself. Her mornings are now free, quiet, calm, …

A Mother’s Sorrow

by on November 13, 2015 :: 0 comments

I floated on golden cloud from place to place. All I had was my soft brown and white fur, my tiny pink tongue, my piercing blue eyes that melted the hearts of everyone who saw me. Meow! Meeee-ow! There were so many ways to express myself. But no meow could capture the way I felt when they cut me open. …

A Pint Short of a Full Load

by on January 7, 2012 :: 0 comments

Howard watched the plum-colored liquid drip into the bag. Slowly. Slowly. He’d seen hourglasses drain more quickly. At this rate his blood would be obsolete before it even left his body. What was most infuriating about the tedious process of waiting for the bag to fill with his blood was knowing that it would still be several minutes before that …

A Previous Life

by on October 23, 2015 :: 0 comments

It was their wedding night and Priya didn’t want to tell her new husband all about it but Bill kept asking where she had learned to walk like that. Finally she told him it was inherited from a previous life, a life she had lived many years ago in India, not far from Bangalore. She had been a cobra kept …

A Random Hardworking Man

by on August 4, 2013 :: 0 comments

A random hardworking man punches Friday’s clock, wipes the grime from his brow, walks toward his ’84 Ford Ranger that’s in desperate need of a tune-up. If I choose to rob him for his easily forgeable paycheck and whatever pittance happens to be in his wallet at that moment, would the karmic scales be balanced if I were to donate …

A Spring Awakening

by on August 14, 2015 :: 0 comments

Seventh grade chemistry class. Kenneth dug deep, like a planter’s hand. He worked a potter’s green thumb. He scratched his thinly haired groin beneath the school desk. Mrs. Garvin, his infatuation, used a walking cane that tapped tapped tapped. Her skirt fluttering in synchronicity. O Mrs. Garvin wielded her cane, O she tapped tapped broken pieces of blackboard chalk, O …

A Surprise to Many with Isolated Egos

by on February 14, 2014 :: 0 comments

But no one can know where he is if we do not ask. We came into it, blankly, without question and there is no way we would get answers. So, we didn’t ask. The ship came and we boarded on while some showed hesitation and some did not. “What is your plan?” he asked. “To get stinking drunk” I replied. …

A Swan’s Memory

by on October 29, 2016 :: 0 comments

When I was seven years old, my father dragged me onto one of those swan pedal boats they used to have at the beach. It was so hot the seatbelt buckle burned my fingers every time I touched it. Staring at the water, I wished I knew how to swim so I could jump right in. While Dad was peddling, …

A Whistle

by on May 8, 2015 :: 0 comments

So many evenings, while sitting at his desk, typing, the poor, hungry writer heard a whistle. And it was an exceptionally skilled whistle. The lips captured to a tee the sliding up the scale, then suavely sauntering back down the scale whistle associated with paying a compliment to a hot lady. Put your lips together and blow. Easy, for dreamers. …

A Wild Gallop Across The Heavens

by on May 5, 2012 :: 0 comments

Through a hollow darkness, the Cherokee son traveled. He looked up to see a moon riding the skies and stars, galloping across the heavens. Carrying the searching song of his soul, he journeyed until he came to a mountain that he looked through to see another world beckoning him; this was the world that held the spirits of all things. …

Acid, Mom

by on October 30, 2015 :: 1 comment

When I was 16 my mom told me not to do acid. She told me a cautionary story about two people she knew who took acid and drove on the highway. It was late at night and they were the only drivers on the road. Then they saw a refrigerator in the middle of the highway. The guy in the …

Ado

by on July 27, 2015 :: 1 comment

I had a girlfriend who got caught up in a tornado. And I mean up. An actual tornado. It was in Iowa, I think. One of those shitty vowel states. She was babysitting and took the kids to a silo apocalypse shelter that the crazy farmer dad had made and the youngest kid wanted her stuffed giraffe named Ollie or …

After the Anti-Depressants

by on September 10, 2013 :: 0 comments

He met her funnily enough when he had to fill out his prescription. He was working as a mechanic at the time and he kept getting these headaches, no matter what he did, no matter how many Advil he would take, these headaches would not go away and since he did not have insurance and his work didn’t have medical …

Aksinya

by on January 29, 2016 :: 0 comments

I can’t for the fuck of me understand Aksinya. One moment she’s bald and the next she wears blue hair. One moment she is demure and sad and nothing will cheer her up, than she is the tumult of the falls and starts to fight. That day we sat on a bench in broad daylight on Kozlov St., near the …

Alien’s and Booze

by on July 20, 2012 :: 0 comments

John sat on the back porch of his house in the western suburbs of Sydney, drinking from a can of Fosters and looking at the stars. Nothing out of the ordinary up there tonight, he thought (not that he really knew anything about astronomy, though he did spend a lot of time drinking in his backyard and watching the night …

Along Flatlands Avenue

by on May 25, 2013 :: 0 comments

I discovered a little playground. Preschoolers were running around. They were maybe 3, 4 or 5. I’m a white cracker: haggard, bedraggled, red-eyed, neurotic, irritated today due to anxiety—irritated more than usual, and some of it real. I visualized a minor news article: Bum found dead on the street, frothing at the mouth. At least I had I.D., so they …

ANOTHER MARK AGAINST VANITIES AND BOOK COVERS

by on October 8, 2016 :: 0 comments

Never judge a book by its cover. I learned this from a small incident that would almost disappear into the shadows of history, were it not for the power of memory that can’t help wanting to retrieve it, and others like it, and, too often, does. I was a handsome guitarist in a late-teens, 20’s and 30’s bar called the …

Anything Goes

by on April 18, 2014 :: 0 comments

One day I sat with Natasha near her house, eating cakes. Her parents hated me. They thought that I was a useless scum. Even her Father, a pathetic drunk, despised me. But Natasha sorta loved me and sometimes brought some food from home. Even booze, on occasion. She was a kind girl. Just the day before we had got shitfaced …

Apuleius

by on May 15, 2015 :: 0 comments

for Dr. David Hillman My best friend wears the head of an ass. It’s not an easy situation, but it’s one we can deal with. The head of the ass gives him access to the super-temporal realm, i.e., makes him a total nutball. He is, without question, great at parties. People are sad here in the developed world these days, …

At His Funeral He Still Looked Like Johnny Cash

by on October 24, 2010 :: 0 comments

“That sounds fine. As long as the Lord Jesus Christ doesn’t come back before then.” This was the first response I got from my grandfather, Pawbe, when I told him I wanted to draw. “When does Jesus want to come back?” “We don’t know. No one does. But it’s soon.” I didn’t respond. I just slid down the humorless, black, …

babygirl

by on August 24, 2013 :: 0 comments

“your daddy was a bastard, Lisa, never trust men, they’ll hurt you just like he did. but your mama, your mama will never do you wrong.” —— Dead Mama. 2 YEARS LATER. (camera fades in on a desolate gas station in mesa, arizona. car pulls in and parks, and a tall, busty, blonde-haired woman walks out, and into the gas …

Bad Dreams

by on August 4, 2014 :: 0 comments

Todd Smith woke to find a raccoon biting his chin. “I was at camp, dreaming that my mom wanted me to shave. Christ, I’ve only got about four hairs.” Aaron Goldberg woke to discover that all his teeth had fallen out. “I’ve had the same dream a hundred times. Out come the teeth. My therapist told me I was worried …

Bad Trip

by on March 27, 2012 :: 0 comments

Leslie decided he really was going to kill her. She was resting in the bedroom to some Oprah re-run. So Leslie removed from the inside of a shining, brown leather briefcase containing a number of forms and instruction manuals, a long-handled gun with a muzzle and blew her brains against a wall silently. He went down two flights of stairs …

Bake Up

by on September 1, 2011 :: 0 comments

She had imagined once that love was soft and squishy like carrot cake or banana bread. With Claude, it was at first, if not a little moister than she wanted. But as the initial passion wore off, she found it to be a little more light and flaky– croissants, cherry pinwheels; she found the portions bigger but less filling. Three …

Bars

by on January 11, 2014 :: 0 comments

Coming into this place, it was like I was dropped from another planet. Fruit picker at 2 ½ cents a pound of strawberries, bar room musician, block buster scholar with academic title for recommendations needed by anxious friends, dishwasher at $4.60 an hour, resident scholar of the illiterate in the slums. Then I decided to read poems in bars. I …

Battles Into Sunset

by on April 19, 2011 :: 0 comments

He crossed over the bridge to walk into the underbrush. Grasses and shrubs, small trees and mosses were sitting motionless even as they shone in the rain shadows. The Cherokee son kept his eyes to the ground searching … until he found what he was looking for; a fat log on which to sit. He plopped down on it with …

Because of You

by on March 21, 2014 :: 0 comments

Making a big entrance, Uncle Tutti arrived late at my high school graduation party, like a Hollywood star. He wore a smart black suit, buttoned near the collar and black and white Domino shoes. “My godson,” said Uncle Tutti, pinching my cheek with the thick fingers of one hand and slyly handing me an envelope with the other. “Now, I’m …

Bernie’s Plum

by on July 27, 2013 :: 0 comments

Privy to the indiscretions of the local girls, we gathered outside the general store for our weekly ritual. I supplied the Mary Jane just to keep them talking candidly in my presence. I learned more than any boy could have ever known with the amount of experience I had – which was none. Bernie, we can tell you because you …

Bestial

by on March 14, 2014 :: 0 comments

“‘Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial. My reputation, Iago, my reputation!’ (Shakespeare, Othello Act 2 Scene 3, Cassio speaking to Iago).” Kevin finished reading aloud from the dog-eared book of quotations on the table in front of him, and took a mouthful from his …

Between the Barricades

by on July 2, 2013 :: 0 comments

A friend of mine had once advised me to refrain from making friends with my neighbors. This advice proved to be useful, but had I followed through with it, I would not be writing this. At the time I was naive, and thought nothing of a friendly chat with the neighbor next to whom I had just moved. I lived …

Big Thanksgiving Snow

by on November 27, 2014 :: 0 comments

“Sometimes Jesus walked around with a big staff, just like me,” Mrs. Day says to herself as she looks at the frayed picture on her kitchen wall just above the little kitchen table. She cut that picture out of a magazine fifty years ago when she subscribed to Life and Look and Colliers magazines. “Jesus doesn’t need that staff,” Mrs. …

Bondage Games

by on April 11, 2014 :: 0 comments

Oh yeah. They wanna make ravens out of all of us. Like, how many ravens can a guy see in Miami, Fla.? Don’t not ask me how, but I did see a raven. Kind of a square head, looked downtrodden, dusty, sickened, perhaps because of the heat. I thought about Edgar Allen Poe’s “Nevermore,” and even said it to the …

Boredom

by on June 10, 2016 :: 0 comments

In the evening my phone rang. Nobody had called me for ages. I thought that all the people I ever knew had died already. It was so boring. And suddenly it turned out an old friend remembered me. I have not seen him for a thousand years. Since he had gone into business, we parted ways. Here, all of a …

Boundaries

by on November 20, 2015 :: 0 comments

It is 7:35 in the afternoon and Kris is sitting in the middle of a row of kids at church. She is sweating and her leg is shaking and her heart is beating fast and the back of her eyes hurt. She is the most awake that she has ever been in her entire life. She has a lot of …

BRAAAAPhooooooo!

by on March 20, 2010 :: 0 comments

BRAAAAPhooooooo! HIT that loud pedal. RATTLE those neighbor’s windows. BRAAAAPhooooooo– BRAAAAPhooooooo– BRAAAAPhooooooo– Roll bar. Got to buy a roll bar for this beast. The class I’m gonna run in requires it. The car goes BRAAAAPhooooooo– Let’s see. A Remington 870 would do the job. That’s a good compact shotgun. Need an Optima Red Top Battery. This big engine takes a …

Bros Before Hoes

by on March 19, 2013 :: 0 comments

I wished I’d never picked up the phone. But obeying drunken friends was a familiar formality so they wouldn’t swing or cry. Listening to inebriated chicks I’d never met turned out to be a different situation altogether. Unfortunately, it was second nature for me to follow instructions. I ended up driving to meet her, that drunken girl in my phone. …

By Their Fruits

by on August 20, 2013 :: 0 comments

CARMODY I have been looking all my life for someone who would tip me up straight and point me in the right direction. BLIGHT “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” ••••••• When the police arrived, the old woman was still in a state of confusion, having stumbled over the row of decorative bricks by the bay window and rolled …

Cable TV Commitment Phobia

by on June 7, 2014 :: 0 comments

I hung up the phone, mentally exhausted from the battle that had just ensued. I had just survived something worse than negotiating with a used car salesman. Talking to my cable TV provider. After receiving the flyer advertising the new-to-me feature of On Demand, touting thousands of movies and channels at no extra cost, my interest was piqued. Weary of …

Caucus at the Parking Meter

by on April 25, 2015 :: 0 comments

For years Rocky’s Diner had always done a great business for breakfast and lunch but his dinner business had fallen off recently as folks moved to the suburbs, got married, died or simply went elsewhere to eat. He thought about closing early but he had a small cadre of elderly men, many of whom had been his customers for two …

Celestial Gaze

by on October 26, 2012 :: 0 comments

If ten years of staring up through the atmosphere had taught Quince Skine anything, it was that a truly cloudless sky was a miracle. His nights were all the same; they began with him shoving a ragged and reddened eye into the end of a long, rectangular device. He scanned the cosmos with reckless abandon, dreading the eventual moment when …

Chapmans Lake

by on April 17, 2015 :: 0 comments

Uncle Nat was definitely my favorite uncle. He was my mother’s younger brother and lived in Scranton, Pennsylvania with his wife, Sadie, and their two daughters, Lillian and Dorothy. Dorothy, the younger girl was just one year my junior and we were great friends for years. Uncle Nat, born Hershel Newtah Jochnewitz, Americanized his name to Nathan Young while still …

Chocolate Fate & Pinball Circumstance

by on August 31, 2012 :: 0 comments

OK, I’m sitting in a restaurant at Trudeau Airport, Dorval (My ignorance abated by the patronizing smile of the bus driver who informed me that Dorval was Trudeau—how am I to know these things?). An enormous piece of chocolate cake, on a large white plate, criss-crossed with drizzles of chocolate syrup, is before me. The syrup drizzles are surely arranged …

Christmas Eve at Rosen’s Deli

by on December 22, 2014 :: 0 comments

It’s Christmas Eve and Paddy Kelly is on his way home from work at the Post Office. He stops at Rosen’s Deli and orders a brisket of beef sandwich on pumpernickel rye with a smear of horseradish and a new kosher pickle on the side. Ever since he came from Ireland to Chicago, Paddy has preferred the new kosher pickle …

Clinical

by on June 12, 2015 :: 1 comment

My Mom was the first candidate to be subjected to those medicines. It wasn’t voluntary. We had no choice. I was tied to my imaginary chair, hands tied behind my back. Can’t I stop them? As a child, Mom had protected me from any harm, when a neighbor boy had bitten my arm, she told me I didn’t deserve this …

Closer

by on December 12, 2014 :: 0 comments

He had been deeply in love, but love had stretched and thinned and wandered in three years. She wasn’t as into him, either. And that gave him panic attacks as he questioned his mortality, his relevance. Three years ago she climbed on him in the back of a taxi heading home. With real animal aggression, she didn’t give him a …

Clown

by on May 23, 2014 :: 0 comments

The frat near Whittier decided to have a clown party. It was Good Friday and seemed like the thing to do. Nine teenagers from the party decided to cram into a top-down convertible and drive home. It’s what clowns do. Pile into a car. But clowns usually don’t do that drunk on a major California highway. The car hit a …

Clown Car

by on December 27, 2013 :: 0 comments

I drove the clown car (used to, anyway) before I quit the shows. To be clear, I ain’t talkin’ about ass clown drivin’… racing like these young no class fools do. No. What I say is that KiKi LeBlanc worked the circus. Never mind white face, never mind Bull Clown. My job was take the falls, act the dope, finish …

Cockfight

by on September 7, 2012 :: 0 comments

I loved my cock. El Pollo Diablo. He was a quiet cock most of the time. None of the hens could make him screech. Proud and strong, he’d swagger ’round that barnyard, and if any of the gals got in his way, he’d peck ’em to death. With or without his silver spurs, that ol’ blood lust would kick in …

Coffee Break

by on June 25, 2013 :: 0 comments

Under one of the oaks of the dense hammock, Bryan poured the last of the coffee from the thermos into the stainless mug. It would have been good on ice, but it was strong coffee, and it would do and hold him over until they got to camp. The tiny myrtle warblers traded calls and flickered through the oak’s shadows. …

Coiffeuse

by on October 2, 2015 :: 0 comments

Mary worked as a coiffeuse and drank rather heavily. She even sold the toilet bowl in the apartment. Then she met a businessman named Volodya, fell in love with him, quit drinking and married. With Volodya’s help, Mary bought a bistro, where in the old days there got together all sorts of local drinking profligates. She herself often dropped in …

Collision

by on May 15, 2012 :: 0 comments

“Shit.” The words escape my mouth as the headlights roar towards me. My seat belt tenses across my chest, and my car lunges into fast turning circles. The lights outside are blurry against my window, like someone smeared soapy watercolors across them. The air inside my car stands still. I relax against the headrest and feel the figure eights deep …

Coming This September: The Antichrist

by on June 29, 2013 :: 0 comments

Mark your calendar. This September 15th, the Worldwide Christian Family Missions Network presents Antichrist: The Reality Show. Six contestants will compete over six weeks and complete six projects. They’ll use every underhanded, dastardly, sneaky trick in the book (not the Good Book, of course) to succeed. We all know that the world is going to hell, that the Apocalypse is …

Confession

by on September 14, 2012 :: 0 comments

I think the worst part of this whole story is how few details I remember about the guy. I don’t remember his name, but he worked as a bartender where I was a waitress. He had a real job, too, somewhere in an office. I remember that part because one year I needed my tax return postmarked on the 15th …

Cooder

by on April 25, 2014 :: 0 comments

The funeral was big. Cooder sat at the back. He was dressed in a black suit. He hadn’t shaved. He fiddled with a puzzle. He twisted it left. He twisted it right. He could not solve it. He’d probably never solve it. The person next to him told him to shush. Cooder slouched into his chair and scowled. He slouched …

Coroner’s Office

by on January 22, 2016 :: 0 comments

I thought the worst part of going to work for the Coroner’s office would be the emulsified bodies, the stink of rot hanging in my clothes, an air of finality about my demeanor, decay of the soul and spirit, moral jaundice, an urge to buy new shoes every other week, and wondering at the end of each shift what the …

Crooked

by on September 12, 2014 :: 0 comments

It happened after a night of drink and drugs, licking, sticking, sucking and fucking her way into friendship at a party. Jenny was speeding the streets trying to make it home before her father found her gone. He was always up with the first chirp of an early bird, and her time was quickly dwindling, as the fading moon foreshadowed …

Cured

by on September 25, 2015 :: 0 comments

Featureless, he sat before the therapist. Blank faced, serene, just a slit of a mouth in his smooth round face to go on, to speak, to answer; no eyes, no nose, nothing. So how do you feel, asked the therapist. How do you feel today? What brings you here? The mouth moved in the smooth peach fuzzed face making words. …

Cussin’ Paul Gets Religion

by on January 15, 2016 :: 0 comments

Word spread fast at the poker club where the retired men of the community meet to play almost every day but not on Sunday out of respect for those who went to church. But this is Saturday and the word is out that Cussin’ Paul, in his 80s now, a charter member, wouldn’t be coming to play anymore. The word …

Diane

by on April 15, 2016 :: 0 comments

The way I see it, Diane, you know, I did her a favor, the way things were going I hate to say it, but I would have needed to kill her, reporters flying in from New York and Los Angeles to interview her and write her up in magazines, she got her colored picture in Gentlemen’s Quarterly, couples we knew …

Dr. Chapman’s Insight

by on April 8, 2016 :: 0 comments

Dr. Chapman had been valedictorian of his class in high school and college but had finished second in his class in medical school, something that still bothered him after 30 years of successful practice in a small city. Many patients traveled from all over the state to see him. Over the years, he had hired a number of practical nurses …

Draw the Line ‘Tween

by on October 31, 2013 :: 0 comments

Elevator got stuck. It jam jam, man. No go. Like a can o’ spinach with no Popeye, no extra virgin Olive Oil no ga-ga-ga-ga and no two men vying for the rape of that extra virgin. No crime so long as she’s ripe, man. I crawl down its hole. Like peace. Without the prosperity. Too much dust. I ain’t no …

Dream On

by on August 18, 2015 :: 1 comment

“Dream until your dreams come true.” — Aerosmith Who minds making love to a beautiful woman? B5 was a man like any other, and making love to a lady who had powers was indeed special. But it was late at night when he dreamt of his soul mate and his reason for being. He fought this before, when to him …

Dreams in the Kingdom of Chaos

by on October 9, 2015 :: 0 comments

There was a man in the kingdom of Chaos. His name was Melodious Music. He was all contrasted by the warring elements of the kingdom, by their uproars, their thundering beats and plays. He was silent, all pervading among the syllables of coarse voices, hence being-less the passers-by believed him to be. For decades there came no Columbus. And one …

Dreams That Trip

by on January 9, 2015 :: 0 comments

The train rocked her to sleep, though she drifted in and out of consciousness. Her eyes popped open every five-ten minutes with each jerk of the train. Her mind half-registered the beggars, the vendors, the passengers, her father next to her… Suddenly, she was naked. She was standing in the middle of the field, one very much like her grandmother’s …

Earth Angel

by on September 9, 2016 :: 0 comments

Soon after it happened, police cars swarmed in, followed by a fire truck and an ambulance. She watched them all evening from her second floor window that looked out over the parking lot, red and blue and green lights swirling through the darkness like kaleidoscopic searchlights. Around midnight, upset and nervous, she went to bed, wondering if she should check …

Echoes

by on May 29, 2015 :: 0 comments

Ralph got the phone call around 3:00 pm. The sun was at that place in the sky where it always seemed to hit his eyes the hardest. He had gone inside to take the call, a welcome relief from the afternoon heat. The relief didn’t last long. The voice was dripping with prepackaged compassion, and the official tone made the …

Editor

by on January 24, 2014 :: 0 comments

I am not a morning person. That being said, most weekdays I am up at five o’clock to make Alex breakfast. Somehow, the eggs are not broken, the scramble is light and fluffy, the bread is perfectly toasted, the myriad of pills Alex takes are all laid out in the right dosage. I lay the food and accouterments on the …

Emergency

by on July 1, 2016 :: 0 comments

“Nine, one, one. What is your emergency?” asked the Dispatcher at 6:03 in the evening in the County San Diego Operation Center. “My daughter is being abused by her father,” yelled a woman. “What’s your name?” “Susan Johnson.” “Are you a witness to the incident?” “No. A neighbor heard my daughter’s screams and called me.” “Is this the first time …

Entropy

by on March 12, 2012 :: 0 comments

“Out there it’s bloody, fucking chaos, mate” He spun on his left leg. The apron settled in front of him, he began shaking the spatula at the younger and then turned back toward the stove. “In here, you think about it, and the whole fucking thing seems simple enough, yeah?” He pressed down into the skillet and something seemed to …

Eugene’s Crayola Will

by on November 21, 2011 :: 0 comments

The children’s screams were completely deafening and were centered within the plastic ball pit of Buck N. Ear’s Pizza Joy Palace. Every single tot ran to the sanctuaries of skirts and mom jeans, their heads being massaged by manicured hands. Cory was the assistant manager on duty for the night, perplexed but determined to define the cause of this strange …

Evolution Days

by on July 30, 2013 :: 0 comments

Some bitches don’t know when to quit. Or maybe most bitches. Was there ever a bitch that wasn’t a bitch? Somebody oughta research it. Cassie, the biggest bitch of all, is still here in his trailer still screaming some stupid shit about some stupid shit. Seriously what he’d really like to do is he would like to clobber her with …

Exploring Space and Time in Rappahannock County

by on December 20, 2013 :: 0 comments

Millie and I bunkered down against the cold months in Rappahannock County by sitting near the fireplace and reading books aloud to one another while watching old black and white films. I had never felt peace like that before or since. I grew up in a household with an abusive father and an overbearing mother. My sisters were loud and …

F.T.P.

by on May 24, 2016 :: 0 comments

“I think you like it rough.” Her eyes stared at the detective blankly. “Excuse me?” “And I think…” he sat back in his chair and clasped his hands over his belted khakis, “you didn’t want your parents to find out that you had sex with a black guy. You’re embarrassed, so you said it’s rape. Am I right?” His gold …

Fat Andy

by on February 27, 2015 :: 0 comments

That could have been me getting nearly killed that day as I sat on the schoolyard steps getting high with Ferrone. But it wasn’t my turn, yet. Only a few weeks earlier I had bought a ten dollar bag of weed on credit from Fat Andy. Fat Andy was a new dealer in Astoria Park. Being a little taller than …

Female Lovebird Available to a Home, Any Sort of Home, Doesn’t Even Have to be a Good Home

by on March 7, 2014 :: 0 comments

They were a cute couple, those lovebirds. Sporting deep blue feathers and black heads; they were almost identical looking, except that the male was a bit plumper. They were known collectively as the Nummers. We never even bothered to assign them individual names. Sitting together side-by-side on their perch with their little birdie torsos touching is how they spent their …

Fifteen Round Fight

by on October 18, 2013 :: 0 comments

Round 1: In every profession there are a few who choose to rise above the commonplace. Fighter 1: Undamaged. Fighter 2: Undamaged. Round 2: Along the path, each in his own way must, of necessity, exhibit judgment, accept the burden of responsibility, and with diligence fulfill his vital role. Fighter 1: Undamaged. Fighter 2: Cut ear. Round 3: Your visit …

Fighting

by on September 28, 2013 :: 0 comments

Sometimes it gets into my dreams. English/Italian words, one language turning into see jack fuck you geloso cagna asshole và a farti fottere! run. Someone’s hammering nails, soda bottles are falling, marbles are rolling on the floor. Then I wake and I know just what it is. They’re fighting again. Mommy and Daddy screaming around the house, doors slamming, Daddy …

Five Weekends

by on October 24, 2014 :: 0 comments

Tony was trying his thirteenth draft on this piece, 1234 words, into the top of the fifth double spaced page. It was a true story in Tony’s own life about how he almost got screwed, due to the follies and games that men play, out of a musical gig. The musical gigs were important to Tony as a livelihood and …

Flurry

by on June 12, 2013 :: 0 comments

“The initial word of her pregnancy came in a flurry on Monday from St. James’s Palace,” said the NBC news anchor Natalie Morales as she stood in the winter sunshine outside the King Edward VII’s Hospital in London. Susie turned off the TV and dropped the remote on the coffee table in front of her chair. She felt no ill …

For Rosealie

by on January 8, 2016 :: 0 comments

Outside, the chair was right in front of the building, and they were drinking rotgut wine. I noticed two Latinos and a West Indian with one of those high caps with yellow, green and red swirls. One of the Latinos wore a waist length, brown army jacket. The third guy was in a big, overstuffed armchair, springs splitting through. He …

For the Love of Snakes: Dr. Veenum and Dr. Wang

by on October 18, 2014 :: 0 comments

The letter said this project could change your life, so he sat in his University of Arizona-Herpetology Dept. office waiting for this Dr. Wang to appear before the United Nations. They were showing the general assembly on the cable news station, which was full to capacity, with folks standing on the sides. Protocol and safety were at their usual high …

Friends

by on April 3, 2015 :: 0 comments

The two sat in an empty plain windowless room with one door, at a thin legged wooden table, on folding metal chairs. They’d been playing cards. You know I want to hear it, said the larger, heavily bearded man. What? said the skinny bald one. That you’re my friend. I want to hear you say that you’re my friend. The …

Frieze in Miniature

by on June 3, 2016 :: 0 comments

Sunday and snow. A promise made— a promise kept. Laden with oranges, apples, chips, crackers graham, muenster, and wine to placate my misgivings, a thermos of cold water, mittens, blankets, and four rain-booted children bundled for snowball battles, quivered with impatience— up Angeles Crest we plunged. Destination— snow— 7000 feet. Carsick children— and me. Still no snow. Destination— Big Pine. …

Getting My Goat

by on June 5, 2015 :: 0 comments

Long ago I had the bittersweet pleasure of briefly sharing my domicile with an unforgettable being. I had cohabited with cats all my life, yet I never would have envisioned myself the owner of a goat. The word owner doesn’t exactly apply. Not regarding these recalcitrant ruminants. Nor perhaps is it valid for any living creature, unruly or otherwise. Whatever …

GI Magi

by on December 21, 2014 :: 1 comment

When word from our platoon commander came at 1800 hours saying that orders from Regiment was that we were to be heading out on patrol at 2000 hours, in full battle rattle, none of us were surprised. The Corps didn’t give a squat what day it was. Why would Christmas Eve be any different than Labor Day, Veterans Day, or …

Goddamn You!

by on February 25, 2013 :: 0 comments

She liked to let the bird out. She liked to let her out and watch it fly free from room to room of the house, from windowsill to windowsill. She liked the flurry of the wings and the mild brush of air that wafted over her when the bird flew by. Nothing should be caged up all its life, she …

Going Nowhere

by on September 17, 2013 :: 0 comments

They came for me in the morning, so I’m told. I had just gotten off the phone and fallen asleep. “Something something mortgages from First Bank National,” they said. I couldn’t understand them. “Your boss something something.” “Is that so?” I asked. ••• In first grade, I took spelling tests. My mom would make me spell out words for practice. …

Good Morning, 26 Degrees

by on April 17, 2012 :: 0 comments

A slight chill wakes me from the deep, hard sleep; the cracked window, which has never been fully closed since May, directs a breeze into my nostrils. The air is salted from the nearby ocean, accented with the smell of a dying onion patch across the street. The cold makes me jump to immediately. Flipping the baseboards on with my …

Hallucinating Pigmies

by on September 11, 2015 :: 0 comments

The first time I’d dropped acid, I was nineteen and living in Seattle. A guy I worked with at a coffee shop in the basement of the Elliot Bay bookstore said he had a connection. After work we drove out of the city, into the hills, where his guy lived. The exchange was quick but eventful. The old hippie lived …

Happy As Is

by on February 18, 2013 :: 0 comments

Hendrik Mogul lives in a box and is happy as is. Natural, box-making materials are his horizon. The four corners give Hendrik direction and order. Choices. Send a toe into the west corner, thinks Hendrik, and he has new ease. The smells of Hendrik and of his box are the smells of home. As Hendrik hums, a lilting rhythm resounds …

Have a Cookie

by on April 10, 2015 :: 0 comments

My first graders bring in something they like from the outside world to share for Show and Tell every Tuesday morning. Martin Taccone does his presentation last. He slowly walks up to the head of the class carrying a heavy satchel that looks like it has a bowling ball in it. He carefully takes out something wrapped in a blanket. …

Headbang

by on December 26, 2015 :: 0 comments

The jukebox dared to play New Moon. “Charlie, who put this on?” “Weren’t me, it’s one of those tossers over there,” shrugged Charlie. Tony cast a fury glance at Soulboy, Dollop, who wore his muscles under his belly and Library Lad. “They come in our pub and stick their crap on, it ain’t right is it, Sid?” Sid followed Tony’s …

Hennessy on the Rocks

by on August 26, 2016 :: 0 comments

I know this older lady who left her soul in every barstool across the city. She appeared to be this beautiful shade of lost with just a hint of recognition. Her eyes told this alluring story that I was interested in finding out, and I eventually did. The night I met her she told me she dreamt of being a …

Henry Showed Wendy His Paintings

by on August 13, 2016 :: 0 comments

Henry and Wendy Throckmorton had been married a week when Henry took Wendy to his garret 100 miles south of their estate in posh Kenilworth, a suburb of Chicago. Wendy thought she was going on a delayed honeymoon. Henry had never told her that he was a painter by avocation. She knew only that he was a successful patent attorney …

Hoot

by on October 10, 2014 :: 0 comments

Shirtless and covered in blood, I walked into the Hooters. John Donne said, God is an angel in an angel, and a stone in a stone, and a straw in a straw. God is a bloody, shirtless man in a Hooters in a bloody, shirtless man in a Hooters. I’d fallen on glass. I was drunk. My sister worked there. …

House Hunting Through Space and Time with Rhonda Hillap

by on May 14, 2013 :: 0 comments

In the Yed Posterior system, the widely loathed planet DSM-IX gave rise to a race of lumpy beings known as Quacksalvers whose uncommon penchant for diagnosing their neighbors’ maladies drove everyone mad. (Yed Posterior should not nor could not be reasonably confused with Yed Prior, the commonly hailed region known for inventing naps.) At first, folks thought the case studies …

Hypnosis

by on August 28, 2015 :: 0 comments

Jacey: “Professor Trigger believes we can rediscover childhood through hypnosis.” Bruce: “Pass the cheese puffs.” Jacey: “Really! Reduced peripheral awareness and all that. Think of it! Back to diapers….” Bruce: “Kidding me?” Jacey: “No. Back to bullies….” Bruce: “Who’d want…” Jacey: “…and high school babes.” Bruce: “Stoner. How’d you get into this school?” Jacey: “Rich uncle. Big donations. Kidding. Good …

I Do Not Exist

by on February 7, 2014 :: 0 comments

I do not exist. I died yesterday. I can’t recall the exact date. It doesn’t matter. A year ago, 10, 50 years ago, 1 day, yesterday, it happened. A mad metamorphosis occurred. 1 hour, 1 second, 1 nanosecond ago. Puff! I died. “Oh no,” you say. “You’re still here. I see, hear, and smell you.” “So what?” I say. “But …

I Imagine Her Reaction

by on August 1, 2010 :: 0 comments

‘What about this one?’ my mother says. ‘Don’t you think it looks nice?’ ‘If you want me to look like a traffic cone,’ I say. ‘Don’t be silly.’ She pushes the dress to me. Boxing Day sales have never been my thing. But my mother had insisted, so this morning we drove into town leaving my father, my brother and …

I Was Here First

by on July 22, 2016 :: 0 comments

People leaving the stairwell entry in the front row of the bullring’s top tier kept stopping to admire the view, moving on when hearing: “Fucking move!” When Mohican screamed, he stood up. He had stood up a lot. He was in the front row beside the entry. “You’re in the fucking way!” he belched, for the twenty-fifth time. Stunned faces …

If Dog is God Spelled Back Ways, What is Cat?

by on December 4, 2015 :: 0 comments

When Markie was a freshman at Irving High, he used to lie in bed and think about murdering his parents. He did not think about getting caught. He did not think about what he’d do with the bodies. He merely thought of getting rid of their unendurable pressure. Markie planned to do it in the dead of night, when his …

If You Bleed, It’s Your Own Business

by on August 17, 2011 :: 0 comments

Already the second Friday of school, seniors had yet to punish a single freshman boy for his classification, so that night, girls still filling out would be baited by bottles of Boones Farm, and freshmen boys, testicles freshly dropped, could only enjoy beer if they consented to a match in Josh’s hand-built, backyard boxing ring. Though Josh had never beaten …

In the Car

by on March 6, 2015 :: 0 comments

I sit in the front seat of my dad’s brown shitbox Honda Civic. It’s my weekend with him and we are on our way somewhere fun at four o’clock on a Friday afternoon. It’s mild outside, even as the sun begins to set. I wear a white shirt and so does he. We match today. We drive past his condo …

In the Summertime

by on November 19, 2016 :: 0 comments


I remember one outstanding summer day. Not very hot, with occasional warm rain, but also with a lot of sunshine when you can sit with your buddies in the yard, in the shade, and drink vodka. Perfect. 

The day before I had drunk with my wife all night long and in the morning, she, as usual, went to look for …

In Vino Veritas

by on April 29, 2016 :: 0 comments

I hit the bell boy up for breath mints and on the way up to the bar in the lift and finger combed my hair and repeated my drunken mantra which I believed would allow clear speech: A proper cup of coffee from a Proper copper coffee pot A proper cup of coffee from a proper Copper coffee pot A …

Independence Day

by on January 17, 2014 :: 0 comments

On Independence Day we sat with a former translator Phil in the park near the bronze deer. Soviet soldiers brought it from Goering’s hunting ground and gave it to civilian children. Phil quit translating right after the last default, then worked as a guard and drank like a pig cheap counterfeit vodka called Freedom. We sat, drank Freedom, and talked …

Indian Summer

by on December 2, 2014 :: 0 comments

It was about that time that I first started to notice girls. I was twelve and the girls I had known since elementary were growing what my father called “A woman’s curves.” I would spend the summers with my uncle and grandfather in the country, while my parents went on missions with their church. The house was close to a …

Instructions for Making Instant Coffee

by on September 21, 2012 :: 0 comments

1: Get up in the morning. It’s definitely tricky, especially because she always used to wake you up in the morning, and now the side of the bed is cold where she used to sleep. She was always a morning person. But you’ve got to get up in the morning, nonetheless, and morning is technically before noon, so that’s a …

Integral to the Whole: The Voyeur’s Role in Culture

by on September 3, 2013 :: 0 comments

I’m a voyeur. But rather than surreptitiously stealing glances through the open blinds of a neighbor’s windows while sauntering or crouching behind a bush for a longer gaze, I sit in plain view. I’m right here. I am not a peeping Tom. My name is not Tom. I feign the look of disinterest, but I watch and see what’s going …

Internet Dating

by on May 20, 2016 :: 0 comments

Mick went out that evening. There was the Purity Restaurant over on 7th Street and 7th Avenue. Mick was a little down on his luck, figured 7, 11…dice, numbers like that. Walked into The Purity. The place used to be owned by a couple of Greeks and is now owned by a couple of Italians. It also relocated from Union …

Inverse Veritas

by on October 8, 2016 :: 0 comments

“Detective Earl Horsewhite, as I live and breathe, it is you!” Mona LaPiere, chanteuse extraordinaire, had been lounging in the San Angelo P.D. interrogation room for a half an hour, behaving as though she was pool-side at the Hilton. Earl had been observing her the entire time, memories of love and suffering fighting his professional judgment. She’d been exonerated of …

It Begins

by on September 28, 2012 :: 0 comments

It begins in the present. A man sits to write letters. He finds his pen has no ink, but continues to write. This solves the problem of his fear: it frees him. So he writes the letter, puts it into an envelope, addresses it invisibly and prepares it to be mailed. Satisfied, he begins another. And he is freer with …

It Must Be the Coffee

by on June 4, 2013 :: 0 comments

Among the soft darkness of the coffee house, a distinct scent of rich aroma instantly overwhelms one’s senses, almost purifying them from deep within. It is as if some strange, unforeseen magic had long been buried here, only becoming active when someone crosses the invisible threshold that lies between this hectic, modern world and a completely quiescent world. The wan …

It’s Almost Sunday Morning

by on June 15, 2013 :: 0 comments

In the summer of 1956, on any Saturday at midnight, especially when the moon was out and the stars were bright, you would be able to see Grandma Groth sitting on her front porch swing waiting for her son Clarence, a bachelor at 53, to make it home from the Blind Man’s Pub. He would have spent another evening quaffing …

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas

by on January 23, 2015 :: 0 comments

Janice picked up her phone to call her mother. I kept my mouth shut. I’d offered a lot of useless advice in the past, but had learned to keep quiet. It was almost the end of October and the phone call was just something that had to be done. I was grateful that Janice was willing to call. “I’m ready,” …

Janie

by on February 4, 2013 :: 0 comments

Janie was this girl I knew when I lived on East 29th Street near the FDR Drive. I remember her best the night the ambulance came. We’d spent the afternoon drinking and her skin had had this grayish tint like spoiled milk. Her wiry arms were a network of pinholes, a junkie’s connect-the-dots. The apartment was three monastic rooms in …

Jimmy the Human

by on August 5, 2016 :: 0 comments

Jimmy the human. Well, vaguely human. It’s been a long thirty years on the factory floor, A robotic existence, but you’ve made a feed For yourself and the factory fodder you and your wife Spawned at intervals: Funny how their conception times to Celebrations of promotion and pay rises. Like hey baby, I’m financial: let’s procreate! Escape. Lest the mewling …

Just Another Juggernaut In Texas

by on January 24, 2011 :: 0 comments

To this trucker, 9:17 in the morning feels the same way as 9:17 in the evening. But unlike the night before, my rig’s gas gauge was nearly on E outside Vernon, a town that makes the Great Chihuahuan desert a little less bearable. The terrain seemed to be bursting with bulbous water towers, and hotel signs poked out of dead, …

Just Sleeping

by on October 2, 2013 :: 0 comments

I’ve always hated the smell of almonds. One time when I was fourteen I was baking some cookies. I think they were some sort of vanilla cranberry shortbread cookie. I was very proficient at baking. The recipe called for two teaspoons of vanilla extract, but I wasn’t looking when I pulled the dark brown glass bottle out of the revolving …

Kathleen Malone, Genius Detective

by on June 20, 2014 :: 0 comments

“Esmeralda seems to really like you.” “She’s a cat.” “Right, and a cat has no motivation to lie about how she feels about others. She’s very useful when trying to decipher the intentions of those who are in question.” “Does that mean I can leave now?” “No, no, you won’t get off that easy. Even if you’re not directly involved, …

Killing Field

by on July 18, 2014 :: 0 comments

The way you can’t swallow, a thick throat, swollen with the need for a wet drop, that was their country. The hunter left his family to gather supper, a hog to slaughter. The kill would happen early, while the woman and children would pick cotton. The hunter would return with blood on his hands, food for bellies. With death, there’s …

Killing the Rapist

by on March 4, 2016 :: 0 comments

He buried his corpse in an open field. The evening was filled with utter silence and no living person passed the site. The sky looked perfect pale by the rays of glowing moon. Ajay dusts off his hands clapping strongly, lifts the shovel and starts punching the mud to flatten it. After finishing up he stands unmoved, overwhelmed with pride, …

King of the Nighttime

by on September 18, 2015 :: 0 comments

Nick was in the bedroom, occupied with a musical question. He held a red, Guild Sunburst acoustic guitar. Nick was a musician, and contributed to the support of the small family, along with Donna, the wife. She worked mornings as a kindergarten teacher in a private school. The school was one block east, on Utica Avenue. They were on East …

La La Love Ya

by on November 7, 2014 :: 0 comments

So, today I drove to work in a car with no heat on a day that was so cold people even started caring about the homeless. When I got to work, my boss was waiting for me, ready to nag for twenty-five minutes about something somebody else did but averted reasonable suspicions to me because they knew I would just …

Letter to Myself

by on April 1, 2016 :: 0 comments

Hello, Nearly Departed: Death has visited you, but yet you still remain. Death has no sting, only a stench. I am writing you to keep the light of life burning bright in you. I wrote this to myself after I was nearly murdered two and a half years ago. Here is what I wrote for all of you, who like …

London, Here I Come

by on December 5, 2014 :: 0 comments

I had been accepted to Oxford University after writing and winning an essay contest entitled, America and Britain-brother countries. In my essay I had wrote how America had gained its independence, yet there was still a connection between the two countries. We are sometimes brother countries. The university would pay my flight, room, board and tuition. I had never visited …

Looking For Clues

by on June 20, 2012 :: 0 comments

Most people thought our house was haunted because my brother killed himself in the attic. The police said it wasn’t really a suicide. It wasn’t neglect either. No one would’ve thought Grandpa’s old war guns could’ve been loaded. I guess I shouldn’t have told him what was up there. But no one would’ve guessed they still worked. I haven’t been …

Looking Forward

by on July 25, 2010 :: 0 comments

Nathan and Mona both were looking forward to Aaron’s arrival. Besides the fact that they both enjoyed his company, his presence kept them from fighting. Things were becoming difficult between them since Mona had stopped having sex with Nathan around the time she started pursuing Trevor. Aaron was coming over to watch movies with them. It had evolved into a …

Love That Moon: A Poem in Three Parts

by on June 21, 2016 :: 1 comment

One: Jefferson We sat on the front porch, the whole lot of us, the Washington family, knowing that yes our folk of all different hues of brown, were born of the first father of our country, our country too. Granny, born of a young slave girl, had nearly died today, fell down once again, not good for much, she was …

Maybe It Was Sleep Apnea

by on July 1, 2012 :: 0 comments

Zenobia Jackson told Officer Murphy that her husband Rufus was 73 years old and a wonderful man when he was awake, but for the past year he had been jerking. Something terrible during his sleep and had kept waking her up. He’d swing his arms, she said, like those martial arts men he liked to watch so much on television. …

Meeting the Replacement

by on February 3, 2015 :: 0 comments

I sank deep into a worn out couch that had felt the weight of more bodies on it than the world’s shoulders. I glanced around the room whilst taking a sip of my drink. Saturday nights always drew large crowds into the city. The stresses of paid slavery seemed to drive the people crazy and they loved to pound them …

Michael Jackson Stole My Career

by on July 10, 2011 :: 0 comments

I am under seige. It’s late, a fierce Wyoming wind is rattling the aluminium walls of my trailer and during lulls I’m sure I can hear footsteps scrunching outside. Fools. This ain’t my first rodeo. Just this evening I flipped on the tube and there, like some hideous golem from my past, was Exhibit A – leering at me from …

Midas Eye

by on February 19, 2016 :: 0 comments

I am aware of the fingers clutching my jaw, the green eyes that incarcerate my shrinking visual field. He won’t come with me, not this time, this time it’s a rite of passage. He blows the smoke into my mouth. I feel my uvula shudder. Today I become a man or I lose my shit trying. Leaves and slicks of …

Midnight Satan

by on July 6, 2013 :: 0 comments

I found a new thrill in the summer of 1968. I compiled a list of New York cemeteries allegedly haunted by ghosts. Then one afternoon, I drove upstate in search of Scarlet Hollow Cemetery in Freaksburg, New York. I got lost a few times before I arrived in Freaksburg. When I found the town, I parked my car, went to …

Milk Thistle and Fenugreek

by on March 11, 2016 :: 0 comments

While I’m the recipient of Happy Springs’ Senior Citizen Prize, I can’t comprehend why my art’s heralded as precious. Five-year-olds can knock together found objects. True sandbox pals attribute value to most refuge, even stuff, which after being turrets and moats, is tossed aside as bottle caps, lost memory sticks, broken rubber bands, and paper clips-gone-wonky. When my neighbor Jim-Jam …

More Decaf, Please!

by on November 21, 2014 :: 0 comments

We took Shelly’s car. “Shelly,” I said over the phone, “have you looked outside today? It’s a sheet of ice. My car door won’t open.” “Oh, so you don’t want to go visit Willie today?” “I didn’t say that. Of course I want to visit your brother. I just don’t want to drive. Can you pick me up?” Naturally I …

Morning of the Friendly Dead

by on August 7, 2012 :: 0 comments

That morning, I felt as miserable as a vampire with a toothache. Sure, no one forced me to watch an Evil Dead triple-header until four a.m., but equally the world had to be a fault for making me get out of bed, let alone go to work. I crawled into yesterday’s shirt and trousers, ate toast and stared vacantly at …

Most Pay Homage

by on January 13, 2015 :: 0 comments

David was studying when his father came home. His father’s face glowed, same as the mahogany table David sat upon. The wood looked burnished by silver light. “Elizabeth and I are getting married,” his father said. Frank sat for the first time ever with his son at that table that was owned by Frank’s mother. “When?” David asked. “The date …

Mr. & Mrs. Mosquito

by on August 17, 2013 :: 0 comments

A mosquito turned to his wife one day and said, “You’re a blood-sucker.” “And you’re an asshole,” the wife shot back. “What?” the husband said. “No, no, no. You misunderstood me. I didn’t mean it like that. I was just stating a fact. You are a blood-sucker. You land on animals and poke them and siphon blood from them like …

Mr. Piper’s Lament

by on June 8, 2013 :: 0 comments

As kids, most of us listened to nursery rhymes; as adults, many of have read nursery rhymes to our own children or grandchildren. But seldom do those verses show the nursery rhyme parents. To remedy that oversight, here’s a brief look at one parent. “Say there. Piper. I haven’t seen you at the bus stop for about a week now. …

My Dog Converted to Islam

by on November 22, 2013 :: 0 comments

Sheila, my dog, used to be a very fine dog. She was quiet, well behaved and a gentle companion. She’s a Toy Australian Shepherd, 15 inches tall and 15 pounds, with no tail to speak of and a fondness for chasing rabbits. For a few years I really did not believe that any finer dog ever existed.’ So you can …

My MFA College Application

by on April 30, 2013 :: 0 comments

300-500 words concerning your purpose for undertaking graduate study your reasons for wanting to study your research interests professional plans career goals. Dear Mr. and Mrs. School Monger, I am an important figure in the history of writing here in the United Republic of the State of My Apartment’s Swimming Pool. And I will be a very important figure in …

New Year

by on December 23, 2014 :: 0 comments

On the eve of the new year, Oksana invited me to her place to acquaint with her parents. In the corner of the room stood the Christmas tree, and in front of it, right on the floor, sat Oksana dressed like a toy from a Department store. “Well, you look okay, ” I told her, not even daring to sit …

Night at The Dakota

by on July 15, 2016 :: 0 comments

Nobody likes “the professor,” but he does throw great parties. Lots of good-looking yuppies, excellent food and an open bar. A distinguished professor of psychology at the City University, he owns a huge apartment in The Dakota, a landmarked building on Central Park West. He never could have afforded it on his salary but he earns substantial royalties from his …

Normal Daze

by on September 7, 2013 :: 0 comments

There are normal days on highway 56 going Southbound: Traffic at standstill, the late august heat making the air sticky and heavy with the pungent odor of gasoline, the sounds of a hundred cars clenching on their brakes at various intervals, and the disharmonious din of opposing music genres melting together through the tops of open windows, every driver sighing …

Northern Boredom

by on May 28, 2013 :: 0 comments

There is a light in the abandoned house across the road; a half crescent shape winks towards me, a solitary tooth in a cold grin. What would it be like to be a clock? To feel time, to understand each second like a friend or lover? Would every second be the same and act the same as it passed over …

Nothing If Not Critical

by on September 26, 2014 :: 0 comments

The problem is that there are three problems. First problem is that Clyde can’t cry. Hasn’t cried in, what, a year? Second problem, he has stopped moving. Literally. Well, not quite literally. He goes to the shop to satiate thirst and hunger with cheap food—chocolate-covered matchsticks, milkshakes and matzos. But still, his movements are decreasing. He stopped going to work, …

Nothing Seems to Ever Get Better

by on July 30, 2012 :: 0 comments

I can no longer look at them. They make me sick: the kind of nausea that a sheltered catholic school girl gets on her first night at the university. They’re very white and very dreadfully boring, but there’s nothing else to do. At least I can say that they’re strong enough to barricade all of the hideous things from which …

Objects and Illusions

by on April 4, 2014 :: 0 comments

They had the kind of house that looked like no one lived in it. It was a beautiful three story brick home with a brilliantly polished wood staircase curving down the middle. Each piece of furniture in the living room was positioned too far apart from the others, as if to avoid confrontation. On the coffee table a photo album …

Oddly Mandible

by on September 19, 2014 :: 0 comments

“Have we got anything to eat?” she asked, shattering the silence with her jagged crystal voice, “Have we got any fish? I want a fish,” she added, looking at me sidelong, not quite sure of her own motives. Her face was shadowed by the headrest. To me, she seemed like a horse underwater, not struggling but submitting to the environment. …

On A Monday Morning

by on April 9, 2013 :: 0 comments

He casually looks around, and his eyes begin to swell with a sort of impatient madness. He begins to fidget, leaning from one leg to the other, grinding his teeth, as an infant howls throughout the confined corridor. He hates himself for having become one with the many who thrive on the caffeinated concoction of original blend with milk and …

On Radishchev Street

by on October 10, 2013 :: 0 comments

At the beginning of the summer, in the heat, I hit the bottle. My wife, as usual, kicked me out of the house. I had absolutely no place to go. For a while I cried at the window and begged her to let me in, but then I remembered that Father gave me the number of his new mobile the …

One Billion Stoned

by on February 12, 2016 :: 0 comments

So it goes like this. My good friend Morgan and I assumed the driving duties. Our other good pals Justin and Nick were in the back seats tripping their balls off on mushrooms saying how beautiful the trees were. Morgan drove the first half of the trip from campus and then we switched and I took over for the rest …

One Day in November

by on November 16, 2012 :: 0 comments

Where to begin? I guess it all started one day in November. I had recently extracted myself from a relationship that I will not mention to spare myself any embarrassment that I might have brought upon myself. I was a fool to think that anything would work with Linda. She wanted to settle down to a life of banal necessity. …

Paddy Murphy’s Wake

by on January 28, 2013 :: 0 comments

The priest had been there earlier and the rosary was said; relatives and friends in single file were offered condolences. “Sorry for your troubles,” one by one they said, bending over Maggie Murphy, the widow silent in her rocker, a foot or so from Paddy, resplendent in his casket, the two of them much closer now than they had ever …

Paper and Pearl

by on February 21, 2014 :: 0 comments

On paper, everything had been done more or less correctly. Married her college boyfriend, they both had good jobs, their son, albeit skinny and spotted, was doing well in school. Money in the bank. Equity. It was their thirtieth wedding anniversary and it was the year they were supposed to open the wine they bought on their honeymoon and saved …

Payback

by on January 1, 2013 :: 0 comments

Out in Brooklyn, they wore fedoras, but their mouths sounded different. ‘The problem I have is that he’s fucking lying.’ ‘I have a problem with these cocksuckers, too.’ ‘Sartre would be turning over in his grave.’ ‘Yeah, he hated when a man disguised the social for the personal.’ Frankie called Uncle Paulie, 718-258-1212, at the Boston Road Lounge, Bronx. A …

Pedro Seaman (Fishing for Tales)

by on November 9, 2013 :: 0 comments

Dave and I sat outside the coffee shop on 6th Street, the one with the crazy Russian Barista who told stories, mostly with an insane and violent bent. The coffeehouse was the place for the dregs, the crazy and the downtrodden, sipping small coffees in between screams, fearful ranting and meth-induced rocking. I knew Dave through Gonzalez, John Gonzalez to …

Permission Slip

by on February 26, 2016 :: 0 comments

I, __________, do hereby grant permission for my wife, Lucia Lopez-Costner, to have discreet sexual adventures with other men (or women) provided she agrees to the following terms and conditions: 1. Lucia agrees to have protected sex unless provided with current STD test results. 2. Lucia agrees to make clear that their business is strictly for pleasure, and nothing else …

Pitch for a Picture Book

by on May 2, 2014 :: 0 comments

“Hello, Trisha Donnelly, Mindful Child Publications, correct? Sorry I read your name tag there, well, in advance, thanks for a moment of your time, Trish. Can I call you Trish? Oh, sorry, no that’s better isn’t it, Mrs. Donnelly? Oh, of course! More business-like. Thank you. You see I have this fantastic idea for a children’s picture book that I …

Plague

by on May 1, 2015 :: 0 comments

She grabbed me by the balls in the alley near the fashionable beer joint Mug, where all sorts of outcasts usually hung out. Intelligent, sometimes talented young people thrown out of the roadside of life by the damned community of worst philistines, punitive organs and the middle-class hypocrites. We drank all that was available at that plague time: the fatal …

Planet

by on October 21, 2016 :: 0 comments

Researchers at the Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence Research Center were talking while looking at the wide screen showing numerous stars as dots, floating rocky planets and gaseous clusters. “This one is located twenty light years away. The planet should be habitable with the right gravity and pressure as is revolves around its star very comfortably in the goldilocks zone” “Does it have …

Please Don’t Argue With Me, Okay?

by on June 1, 2013 :: 0 comments

Christmas had come and gone and he was home alone. So he started drinking heavily. It was an easy life when he was by himself with no one to tell him what to do. He sat on his couch in his living room and looked out the window – he saw a park with many trees across the road. He …

Pretzel Jacket

by on June 3, 2012 :: 0 comments

I went for a walk the other day. I stepped out with no place in mind. I was tired of seeing the same old things, and needed some fresh ideas. Sadly, each corner had old branches hanging over stop signs, bent from vandals. That 76’ Sedan Deville, still hanging on to chromed spoke wheels, was as stuck to asphalt, as …

Rape of the South

by on August 13, 2013 :: 0 comments

I suppose I am a little boy now? How in the world did this sex change occur? When I wasn’t looking. Oh, I suppose like a manikin. I will never forget those goddamned Southern Baptists blaming me for having been raped and then condemning me, shunning me, throwing me literally out of the band. I do not forget. I will …

Reason to Buy a Toothbrush

by on October 12, 2012 :: 0 comments

You never invite the women you sleep with into your bed because she’s the one you’ll eventually marry. The couch is for the girls you pick up, and while they aren’t always prostitutes, your luck with women usually mean they are. You can’t recall her name, but nameless is better. The woman lies on the couch where you’ve both done …

Regular Maintenance

by on March 25, 2016 :: 0 comments

Over the weekend my wife’s Honda wouldn’t start. I went out to the garage to tinker under the hood but I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Monday morning, she said she was taking my Pontiac to work and I could walk. The bus stop was just around the corner from our house but I had to get off at …

Rendezvous with Dr. Spirit

by on October 25, 2013 :: 0 comments

I’m dying. I need emergency surgery. But I can’t leave my blood-red studio apartment, an antediluvian basement in a 2-family house on Thanatos Street, Brooklyn, New York. I’m too ill. In the past few weeks, I’ve called 911 a couple times, and when EMS arrived, they took me to the ER. On these occasions, the doctors admitted me for a …

Riding a Broomstick

by on August 29, 2014 :: 0 comments

As a little girl I always puzzled over the idea that witches, like Elizabeth Montgomery in Bewitched rode broomsticks. Of course, I was young and a little too literal-minded to realize that a broom is not always a broom, and that there are many forms of “brooms,” kind of like the proverbial “womb broom.” When I came of age I …

Roken Is Dedulijk

by on August 6, 2013 :: 0 comments

“Make less noise,” said the hotel owner, somewhere between a request and a command, while I walked up the stairs to my room. His near shout left me befuddled. But I most certainly sensed aggressiveness in his tone, something I had probably earned during my three day stint at the Hotel whatever-the-fuck it was called. I made my way up …

Santa’s Viewpoint

by on April 2, 2013 :: 0 comments

Don’t cry to me about your shopping stress in December when parking lot surveillance cameras are capturing men with white beards who only look like me breaking into automobiles and mugging people in mall parking lots, while local news outlets vie for coverage, reporting on Santas pretending to collect toys for charity, or worse, rampaging in red-clad mobs like those …

Sedentary Escapade

by on September 21, 2013 :: 0 comments

In the corridors outside I can hear footsteps receding softly—there they go, receding into chambers, chambers that I have never managed to find, although I know they exist somewhere in this portentous building, the echoes they create seem to be a physical lasting memory, a manifestation certainly. I sit here at this table squinting my eyes at the glaring fluorescent …

Separation

by on January 3, 2014 :: 0 comments

“Why did we separate?” my son Theo asks. He’s seven years old. “We’re not separated now, right? I’m with you tonight,” I say. “’Today is Monday and l will see you Wednesday, and Friday too.” We’re drawing; we always talk when we draw. I can never get him to talk if I just ask him questions directly. I bought us …

Serpent’s Tale

by on April 22, 2016 :: 0 comments

My eyes are like diamonds, finely cut in the mirror. The outlines of my face waver, melting into the cracked walls behind me. My tie represents who I am. Neat, perfectly-strewn, nice. Together. There is no image in my head as I drive through the night. No faces of my dead mother or vanished father, just the recurring voice of …

Sex Machine Metamorphosis

by on January 15, 2013 :: 0 comments

We’ve all most likely read Franz Kafka’s story about Gregor Samsa turning into a cockroach. We tend to remember the poor young man as he squirmed, legs-up in his bed, worried like all of us from time to time whether or not he was going to be able to get to the labyrinthine confusion of his daily workaday experience. Unlike …

SGLI

by on July 24, 2015 :: 0 comments

$400,000. SGLI. Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance. Fucking Robbie. I hadn’t even heard he had been killed until I got all the paperwork, forwarded from that years’ old address on the base in Kansas. He had died in Mosul, or somewhere like that. Some kind of explosion. I found his name online in a list of soldiers killed that month, but …

Silver, Black, and Red

by on January 31, 2014 :: 0 comments

His eyes were clouded with something. It was only on closer inspection that she realized, feeling a pang of something unidentifiable in her chest, that it was tears. His hands were shaking, but he still held the brush with undeniable skill. He dipped it slowly in the paint and brought the blood red tip to the canvas. She watched as …

Skies of Hell Flame


by on July 29, 2016 :: 0 comments

Texas heat beats down on the lawn in front of the house. There is a scorching wind gently blowing the blades of inch high grass. The grass is wet green, as if oils soaks through the surface to slicken the grass. The sun’s blaze doesn’t reach the inside of the house. Along with the tarantulas and snakes, it’s stopped at …

Small Matters

by on October 31, 2014 :: 0 comments

We got the call at 5 A.M. My father had woken from a coma after forty-eight hours and asked to see his family. Before he had fallen into the coma, we had brought him home from the hospital. “Take him home and make him comfortable; he doesn’t have long,” the doctor said. We came home and ordered food. For my …

Small Town Noir

by on June 18, 2013 :: 0 comments

Phil called his penis “Pounder” because it was so heavy it bowed when it was hard. You might say it was Phil’s version of the L’arc de Triomphe. Anyway, after Maxine personally verified the nickname’s namesake, she spread the info all over Bonita. Soon Phil had rep n’ cred, not to be confused with crabs n’ stank, her info on …

Smells

by on May 6, 2016 :: 0 comments

Working at home, I decided to take a smoke break. I started a doobie and after what seemed like hours and my coffee smell stale I decided to go out and get a beer. At 7-11, I smelled hotdogs so I got the twofer, it was getting to be lunch time after all. I added some onions some mustard and …

Soothe as Excalibur

by on May 21, 2013 :: 0 comments

I’m gonna draw comics, for the prestige. Not for me. But for those all-over guys just like me, for every glimpse of doubt, for that stand-still paralysis and the way those moments can convince you something is missing… And something is always missing. If I can I’ll draw that on paper, because it’s the one thing I might tell myself …

Sprinklers

by on April 23, 2013 :: 0 comments

Do what you love was the message of a self-help book that Sam was reading on his lunch break at Acme Mega Corp. He worked in the sewage billing division, processing invoices for plumbing fixtures and toilet components. Sam was not doing what he loved. Looking up from the book, Sam gazed out the window at the manicured lawn of …

Statement of Proof

by on July 23, 2013 :: 0 comments

I look around the psychiatrist’s empty waiting room. All chairs. Thin skeletons of chairs linked together at the ankles like prisoners waiting for lunch. At least two dozen of them crammed in here. Surely there must be a couch, if not out here, then back in his office. There’s always a couch. Sometimes they are faux suede, sometimes cloth, and …

Staying Home

by on June 13, 2014 :: 0 comments

“I dream about you a lot these days,” I say to my dad. “And for some reason I show you up in your dreams,” he responds, laughing. It doesn’t feel like I’m dreaming. His voice is clear. The wisps of his grey hair are fine and crisp. I see the individual strands layered on top of each other. I always …

Still Life

by on November 11, 2012 :: 0 comments

Somebody get me out of here. I have no idea what is happening and if you’re reading this, you’re an American (maybe) and you must, by the law of culture, help me out. We do have only a little control of our lives as we know in our lizard brains that life itself is totally out of control. If any …

Stoop Dreams

by on January 2, 2016 :: 1 comment

We used to lay together on days so hot the hydrants spewed water with firefighter’s blessings and I’d throw off all but my big girl’s panties and feel your holy brown stone on my bare stomach as you cooed the hum of air conditioning units into my soul “Do you mind?” I’d ask, smothering you with chalk till you breathed …

Sunset At Mallory Square

by on February 17, 2011 :: 0 comments

In ancient times, I watched the sunset at Mallory Square in Key West. While I gazed at the exquisite, surreal dreamscape that engulfed me, I felt the heat of the glorious sun, my spirit moved by its majestic beauty. But its red sunset drove me mad too. Couldn’t bear the pain and agony of its beauty; couldn’t witness its celestial …

Taking Flight

by on September 29, 2011 :: 0 comments

Melissa disliked it when people at the residential care home call her grandmother “Dearie.” She knew they meant well, but she found the word annoying, condescending-like. So one day she told Grandma how she felt. “There are worse things they can call me,” Grandma said, smiling. “Dearie’s all right. I’ll take it over ‘old bag’ anytime.” Melissa laughed. She was …

Ten Minutes and One Second

by on June 26, 2015 :: 1 comment

King’s Dominion, July 28, 2009, 5:50 PM. Sharp beaver claws and teeth gnawing, grasping; broad flat tails slapping. They walked along on the crowded hot blacktop. What a day we have had here don’t you think? Yes—I’m pooped. Gnaw—gnaw the wood. Must have wood. Must have lots of wood. Find wood. Look—a Fudge and Fun stand. Want to have some? …

The Beach Out of Reach

by on May 7, 2013 :: 0 comments

The sea is at low tide, the muddy sands covered in worm casts. You’re walking along by yourself and you see three figures far on the horizon by the distant water’s edge. You try to catch up, but you can’t. You wonder why you’re having trouble walking; you look down and realise why. You’re a swan. You’re in the wrong …

The Beastly Parchment

by on February 12, 2013 :: 0 comments

“Why do people always die early?” Marshal Marquette wondered aloud as he and Armando St. Germain sped through the damp, steamy streets of Calais at six AM. “They don’t. They die at night and are discovered in the morning,” St. Germain said, trying to keep a cardboard tray of coffee mugs steady as Marquette took out his frustration on the …

The Boy Who Laughed Too Much

by on August 8, 2014 :: 0 comments

No one really knew him. He was just a 20-year-old kid who sat in a corner and didn’t speak; another mental case and a mute. When he arrived, one of the psychiatric aides introduced him to me. I said hello and forgot about him immediately. Then the rumors spread. I heard three of them. First, the boy swallowed a bottle …

The Brooklyn Hallelujah

by on March 19, 2016 :: 0 comments

I’d like to thank God and Long Island and the Dutch for giving me the Hallelujah of naked sunbathing 300 feet above Red Hook with Russian dicks and rooftop fellatio atop century old abandoned warehouses with their apathetic dock workers, black netting condemning the building and freeing our nights to watch the sunrise, to camp out in this cement sanctuary …

The Bubble Gum and The Bullfrog

by on December 10, 2012 :: 0 comments

Dandy Wharton and his son had put the boat on the trailer and were heading out of the lake. “Dad, I see that frog again!!” “What? Where?” He stopped the car, and the two guys saw a raccoon struggling with gum all over it’s head and paws. The frog hopped off into the water. Peabody had some licorice and a …

The Bully, the Psychopath, Libby and Lorraine

by on July 10, 2015 :: 2 comments

Fred was a bully who always bothered Lenny on the way to school. Fred was four years older than Lenny. One day Lenny told him that when he grew up he would kill him. Fred laughed and probably didn’t expect to see Lenny that night, twenty years later, when Lenny waited for him in the alley next to his garage. …

The Cage

by on June 15, 2011 :: 0 comments

I live in a cage ten stories below Grand Central Station. My master used to lock the cage and disappear for days. He left no food or water. Now, each morning when I wake up, I find food and water and discover he’s left the cage unlocked. What shall I do? Perhaps, he’s poisoned the food and contaminated the water. …

The Case of the Cross-Country Skier

by on November 27, 2015 :: 0 comments

At last, at last, Wendell rests his skis at the other side of the lake in sunset, exhausted, satiated. He senses the water conscious and raucous down under the lake, glaring, straining upward, knocking against the depths of the ice again and again, enraged at his escape. He’s unwilling to look away, but does not want to cross the lake …

The Cherokee Log of Time

by on October 7, 2012 :: 0 comments

The Cherokee son was wondering where to go next when a thundering surge of water hit him full force. Pushed backwards, he was knocked to his knees. Before he could know what hit him, the waters rushed on him again. This time, he fell flat out on his back with waters splashing around to over him, ‘as though I am …

The Cosmic Cardinal Coastal Club

by on May 9, 2014 :: 0 comments

Golf on television. What’s up with that? Do you know anyone who plays golf? Here it is, Sunday afternoon, and I have finished my chores, emptied the garbage, cleaned the sink, brushed-out the crapper, and now, when I’m ready to sit down on the couch, there it is: another dumb golf game. I am not knocking golf. Sure, golf is …

The Decisive Moment

by on August 16, 2012 :: 0 comments

“God,” my grandmother once told me, “what an ugly thing you are!” Before the black-and-white television, (speech forbidden), she jerked, the expression left her eyes… A stray cat, once owned by previous tenants in our block of council flats, its upkeep shared by the remaining occupants, was in the room observing the urinating woman’s tormented memories spiraling into the abyss, …

The Drowner

by on August 22, 2014 :: 0 comments

After praying all night at the foot of his bed searching for answers to questions that never got answered he decided that today was the day he was finally going to kill himself. After an exhaustive search online of the many and varied ways he could shuffle off this mortal coil. He decided on drowning. The beach was preferable, although …

The Garden of Paranoia

by on March 5, 2013 :: 0 comments

It returned every night for months and frightened the middle-aged reporter, aspiring novelist blessed and cursed with an uncanny imagination. The haunting dream swept across his unconscious psyche and implanted the eerie seeds of terror in his battered flesh, the pounding and thumping of his heart, the crushing blows of death, profuse sweating mixed with the stench of a thunderous …

The Generosity and Versatility of Scatology

by on March 28, 2014 :: 0 comments

“Da-da, do-do, do-da-da.” That’s some good shit, man. You’re shittin’ me. It ain’t worth a shit. It’s all bull-shit. She’s just talkin’ shit. You don’t know shit from Shinola. No shit, Sherlock. Scared the shit out of me! I don’t give a shit. That’s some sorry-ass shit, all right. “Here’s the thing. It sounds low-class. It’s street talk. You’d never …

The Golden Sunshine

by on November 11, 2016 :: 0 comments

I saw Jadene, my neighbor across the street, take a sledgehammer to her small brick house. She was working on the east side, smacking the red bricks cemented in a row right above the cement pad, cracking bricks and then removing chunks with a small crow bar. I don’t know how long Jadene had been at the task. When I …

The Gun Shop

by on May 13, 2016 :: 0 comments

The gun shop sign, I have to admit, was shimmering. Other than that, it was a piece of shit, but the sun blessed the thing when I drove up. I was armed with statistics. My hands were shaky. I’d wanted to do this for a long time. I knew how many kids kill themselves with guns each year. I had …

The House

by on February 1, 2010 :: 0 comments

The House Sunday December 7th, Bristol St House Finally got a chance to sit down. It’s been a busy shift with Jill leaving the ironing (tempted to repay favour next time she’s on after me), vacuuming, and Gary messing his bed again. Robert’s still outside. Silly bugger. I can understand why he’s upset but it’s hard enough working here without …

The Hunger of Heaven

by on July 16, 2013 :: 0 comments

Mage Allia of House Themis dug her slipper-clad toe into dry soil as she waited for the young girl. She ran a bony, liver-spotted hand over her head and looked up at the Six Houses. They towered above the scattered huts of the forty tribes who clawed this land for sustenance. The Houses stood on towering poles of blue steel, …

The Idiots Heritage

by on November 4, 2016 :: 1 comment

Each street has its own imbecile, and such was the case with ours. His name was Vaja, with a stutter that caused him many troubles. Anybody could “pretend to be” Vaja and allow himself to babble everything. Nonetheless, sometimes it is useful to have such poor idiots. Vaja invented the word “Ке-ке”, which means: “someone has died.” One day some …

The Jazz Mine

by on March 27, 2015 :: 0 comments

Yola stepped up front to check the hedges. I slipped the rag from the slit between the seats. It’s the rag she wipes—or should I say swipes?—her mammalian gourds up with eagerly each day’s end, her mammalian gourds meatly, not enormous exactly, but filled to bursting with stuff, call it guts, might as well, or grits, what the hell, or …

The Las Vegas Hangover Cure for a Poet

by on November 16, 2013 :: 0 comments

I was hungover and alone on a Thursday morning in a Las Vegas hotel room and decided to go to a cage fighting gym and do some training. I took a taxi to 4055 West Sunset Road. The gym was full of guys I’d been watching on pay per view and dodgy pirated DVDs. I looked at the schedule and …

The Legend of Bo Grass

by on December 26, 2011 :: 0 comments

A pretty long time ago, when perfumes were new, there were perfume factories, and behind a particular perfume factory rested a toad named Bo Grass. He was a goddamned giant animal, the size of a boisterous shrub, or a small school bus. Bo ruled the city by suggesting new scent formulas in a booming croak of a voice that shook …

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

by on September 23, 2016 :: 0 comments

“Did you come?” She was quiet, laying there on her back, her eyes closed. I guessed she did. She acted that way. I was just asking. She didn’t answer. I felt stupid asking a second time, but did anyway. “Did you come?” I asked. “Yes! Yes!” she said in an exasperated tone. “I did.” “Sorry,” I said. “Don’t be sorry. …

The Love Letter is Dead

by on February 13, 2015 :: 0 comments

The love letter is dead. Love letters are not being written anymore. They’re not being lovingly folded, placed in an envelope, and sealed with a kiss. They are not being sent, read, and cherished. There is no reason to anxiously wait for the mail carrier; no need for a length of satin ribbon, fat rubber band, or corded twine. Why? …

The Love of a Dandelion

by on August 10, 2015 :: 0 comments

Even as a boy, he felt yellow, even just looking at it on a page, his skin heated by its invisible rays. In school he drew suns with fiery light rays shooting off of its surface. “You should draw something else, Colin,” said his teacher Mrs. Lipshitz. “There are trees, grass hills and houses, too.” “I like suns. I draw …

The Love of Fathers

by on July 17, 2015 :: 0 comments

I woke early, shaved, taken a cold shower, then with a glass of fruit juice and some crackers, I occupied my favorite chair before the television. It was to be a twenty–overs cricket match, meaning excitement non-stop. The channel messaged that the match would be televised thirty minutes later because they were wishing a happy Father’s Day to all fathers. …

The Marquis hates his cell

by on March 19, 2011 :: 0 comments

The Marquis hates rotting away in this cell but has decided to make the best of it. Servants provide rich food, oysters and asparagus tips, and once a week I present myself for him to do as he wishes. For a token sum, I submit to a dozen mice gnawing at my feet or patches of bloodsuckers at my hips. …

The Mystery of Mister Hollywood Zero

by on September 15, 2014 :: 0 comments

Oh, roll me over, in the clover, red hot rover, white cliffs of Dover… Yeah, man. Cry me a river, baby. You came alive once, once in a blue moon, Angie, and it hurt me so badly to see your frantic performances on the patio stage as you, demonstrating no talent at all, sought to rely on your physical beauty …

THE NEW NO NOVEL OF CHAPTER 4

by on September 7, 2013 :: 0 comments

Jeff was seeing her. There was a series of events long before her that led to the male doctor. But first there had been the two musicians. Then they built the group up to three, then it was knocked back down to two and those two went out and conquered the world for a while. Music, that band, was the …

The Other End of the Bar

by on July 8, 2016 :: 0 comments

Jesus! What am I doing! Robert thought to himself. It was midday and he was alone in his tiny room with his mind in the salt shaker. He is quite strong. He benches 280 and arm curls 130. He is a writer who just lifts weights for something to do. He has been watching a lot of mixed martial arts …

The Oval Mirror

by on January 20, 2015 :: 0 comments

On sultry August nights I often close my wet-baked eyes and see the old doc and his oval mirror in my mind’s eye. When I taste the sweat pouring down my olive face and inhale the sweltering heat, I remember how this eerie journey began. I met Dr. Jacob Lightman, the eminent psychiatrist and founder of Mirror Image Therapy more …

The Polygamist in Me

by on July 29, 2011 :: 0 comments

I wonder how much time I will have to write, free of the others droning on about how much time I spend without them. How much of my time has been taken from them to serve my fingers and thoughts with no regard for their feelings and desires? This is the constant bicker of the three spouses that I could …

The Robot

by on November 6, 2015 :: 0 comments

It may sound simple enough to go to your father’s house for Christmas dinner, but the fact is for me it wasn’t. I have tried over and over again to figure out what happens. I start out filled with the resolve to act natural— just be myself— talk to Father as though he were anyone else. But it’s always the …

The Ruin

by on July 8, 2012 :: 0 comments

‘Well, when you put “I” in the story, it doesn’t mean it’s about you?’ Harrison asked in an empty bar in Red Hook. ‘How’s that?’ Jameson asked. Harrison repeated the question. ‘No,’ Jameson said, ‘because it’s a fiction piece, even if it’s based on something that’s true.’ ‘That gives you a chance to twist it around a little bit, huh?’ …

The Self Apart of Harriet Sparks

by on August 21, 2015 :: 0 comments

On the day of her mother’s book launch, Harriet Sparks unlocked her second self. This was convenient because she had previously cancelled an important date, in fact a romantic date with a boy, so as not to disappoint her mother. While she didn’t care much for her mother’s free verse she cared deeply about their relationship, and so she would …

The Shell of Mariette

by on December 6, 2011 :: 0 comments

“Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie.” ~ William Shakespeare Hijacked by the wind, dropped down towards earth like a used lead condom a winter twig – unwraps her skeleton – unzips her buds. Bare, shameless, transmuted, a first-fruit offering, quiet–still-glad, on a rutted asphalt altar. Waiting – like a seed to be planted. Listening- for the prophecy of spring. …

The Shy Man

by on January 16, 2015 :: 0 comments

Shyness is climbing a circling staircase. Shyness isn’t stasis, paralysis, paranoiac fear of leaving the house, venereal disease, fire ants, or rain storms. Shyness isn’t cabin fever. Shyness is ambling along beneath cloudless weather and noticing the same buildings the same houses. Again. Again. The dead lay down. The terribly shy keep walking. The staircase leads beyond the passages beyond, …

The Sky Looked Like Cotton Candy

by on March 26, 2013 :: 0 comments

The light turned green and I pressed softly on the accelerator. The beginnings of a post-rainstorm sunset sat painted the sky above the streets we’ve both driven on for years. The only difference between the nights in this town is the way the sun decides to disappear. He turned to me. “My mom’s really been on me to spend more …

The Spanish Drummer

by on March 13, 2015 :: 0 comments

We first wanted to start a wedding band. This is where I met Scott Howard. He was a fat guy playing keyboard across from me in a Manhattan rehearsal studio. The next week I had him over at my house. I watched him wobble up the walkway. We lived in a place called the Butcher’s Co-op on Midwood Street, Brooklyn. …

The Story About a Dog’s Name

by on November 14, 2014 :: 0 comments

One day a twenty-something white woman was walking down a sidewalk, in the suburbs, when she bumped into an elderly black man. She was startled because this man was walking the biggest Rottweiler anyone has ever seen. “What a big dog!” the white woman said. “What’s his name?” The man then tied the dog to a tree and told him …

The Swim Club

by on August 3, 2015 :: 0 comments

Look at me. Four days later. The black and blue marks only get denser and that arm of mine. “Go to the doctor,” everyone tells me. “You might have a torn rotator cuff.” It’s the arm that’s the worse. When I got home from the competitive swim, with Band-Aids on my feet, I couldn’t move my right arm. Although I …

The Tickler

by on February 17, 2015 :: 0 comments

Tonight would be special. I would be allowed to stay up an hour past my bedtime. There would be punch and cookies with the grownups. Music and dancing would make the living room and mother’s face look happy. The sounds of a party were beginning to drift upstairs. My older sister and I combed and fluffed in white pinafores, sat …

The Train to Discomfort

by on June 24, 2016 :: 0 comments

David McConnell didn’t realize how tense he’d been until the train left German soil and entered Austria. In a few hours he’d be in Vienna and he and Julia would shop for a cleric. He let out a sigh and looked up from his week-old edition of the London Times. Sitting across from him was a large man with a …

The Twilight’s Last Gleaming

by on December 19, 2015 :: 1 comment

The thing he missed most was the sound of birdsong. After the change, you no longer heard birds. You might see birds high in the sky, now and again, far from humans, as if too frightened to come near. But you didn’t hear them. You couldn’t hear anything. There was a ringing that droned in his ears but he wasn’t …

The Unselfing of Dr. Selby Leigh

by on December 19, 2014 :: 0 comments

Dr Selby Leigh had never been very happy, despite his successes in life. It was a Saturday, sun out and birds singing, that he stopped by the village café on his way to work. Any day before this it would have been routine procedure. Order a coffee, chit chat a bit with the wait staff while paying and tipping, browse …

The Wall

by on September 16, 2016 :: 2 comments

Once upon a once upon a time time time I gave up on my life—that is I gave up all the things that make life worth living. Like hoping, wanting, wishing—in fact I gave up as many feelings as I could get rid of. Strange how that works. You decide—only semi-awarely—to stop feeling pain. You put up a wall—invisible, impenetrable—surrounding …

The Warehouse

by on October 16, 2015 :: 0 comments

We’d cop 40s from the mafia front on Smith and Union (the one on the corner, not the bodega next to the pizza joint—they’d just laugh at our fakes and tell us to try across the street) and run down President till we hit the water. “Take the F to Carroll and walk to the river,” we’d tell anyone who …

The Weary Enforcer

by on January 27, 2015 :: 0 comments

Her hands hurt. With great effort she whipped them. Born in the family of enforcers, she was destined to live cruelly and punish offenders. The queue of little labours persevered with their burdens, sometimes their backs broke with the weight. She would strike the poor creatures until they shrieked in action. With the advent of winters, she became brutal. There …

THE WEDDING SINGER

by on June 19, 2015 :: 1 comment

Frankie Mann operated a small, Brooklyn music office. He often hired a junkie sax player named Freddie. Frankie’s father, Mambo, was a gangster down in Florida. He financed Frankie as a front. He also used a fat singer named Peter Vallone, who told jokes, usually with an Italian accent. Now Doctor Frankel stared kindly at Brown. Frankel sat erect in …

The Wizard

by on September 4, 2015 :: 0 comments

I think most people called him the Wizard. To me he was just a monster because there was no way that a guy that keeps an 18-year-old girl in a shed for 23 hours a day was going to win kindest person of the year. Although the shed had a window so it wasn’t as bad as it seemed. Who …

Their House Is Not a Home

by on June 22, 2013 :: 0 comments

This is true. There were three of them. They lived down the street on the opposite corner – father, mother, daughter. They lived in the suburbs and their daughter grew up. Her name was Mary. Mary Beth, really, but the boys in the neighborhood shortened it. This seems ironic now, because her name had a mere three syllables. We were …

They Run Hollywood

by on September 10, 2010 :: 0 comments

Wildman stood on the soapbox on the corner crying out words from the great handwritten book open in his arms before him; he had worked writing the book for weeks on end, he had planned this day carefully. Hair flying atop his tossing head, he stood screaming. —blanket is fuzzy is flannel is called a comforter, not a quilt or …

Things I Remember

by on July 31, 2015 :: 1 comment

The weirdness finally wears off when there’s only five minutes remaining. It takes the dregs of my limited self control to stop myself from jumping off the nutter couch and pointing triumphantly at Laura and shouting ‘Ha!’ I don’t move. But my face must have. Because she pauses in the middle of her sentence. “You wanted to say something?” she …

Time, Dreams and Broken Stitches

by on October 14, 2016 :: 0 comments

My first born of two sons died nine years ago. It was the day after Easter Sunday and the month prior to his 18th birthday. Without warning and within moments our lives were unequivocally altered. We were pummeled to our knees, bloodied and broken by the happenstances of life. He died within 20 feet of his father and I… horrific …

Trade Relations in the Horseshoe Galaxy Cluster

by on December 11, 2015 :: 0 comments

Reid was optimistic. The latest sales forecast located his zone in improved prosperity. Other leading economic indicators, too, looked rosy. There was a sharp increase in building permits in his region. As well, the dollar exchange rate had climbed, and unemployment claims had dropped. Whereas Reid wasn’t yet ready to invite Deidra to sample Champaign in his apartment, he was …

Transfiguration

by on February 5, 2016 :: 0 comments

There was no getting around it anymore—Annie’s stomach had become a definite protuberance. The problem seemed to be her fondness for food. Still, Annie was not devoid of the tendency toward self-evaluation. Browsing through the fashion-filled pages of Damsel magazine, she had become aware of another hunger experienced when studying the color portraits of lean, hollow-eyed models, accompanied by a …

Tuesday

by on December 4, 2012 :: 0 comments

It’s snowing brass under orange lamppost night, shrapnel, the slow motion petals of an exploding Eden. Somewhere out there Mommy’s feet work like pendulums; a kind of guided meditation to see her through the cold and the dark and the poor that, like her, will do anything to take care of their own. Anything. Still, “He’s safe,” she tells her …

Two Assholes

by on August 17, 2014 :: 0 comments

There are lots of ways to get fired. Take today, for example—a call from dispatch that I should attend a nine o-clock meeting. And it’s Friday. I’m not talking about reasons for getting canned—just the methodology, the setup, the protocol. But I’m observant, notice I didn’t say smart, just observant. I watched a year ago in dispatch when Bob S. …

Velvet Skies and Paper Storms*

by on January 11, 2012 :: 0 comments

The velvet summer sky hovers above the forgotten suburban street light, the orange glow lighting the car like a blazing chariot from the inner depths of hell; hitting the sharp curves at seventy, side streets calling our name, just whispering all the depraved pleasures the night has yet to offer in our half deaf ringing ears. Now up to seventy …

Vote

by on September 2, 2016 :: 0 comments

The flyers up around the gayborhood didn’t say much: no date, no time, and no location. They just say VOTE: A NEW GAY DANCE CLUB – COMING SOON. It’s rumored to be inspired by Studio 54 back in its heyday—you know, when the bouncer handpicked the hot and important people outside the club. The address everyone is passing around is …

Waiting

by on March 12, 2013 :: 0 comments

Three blondwood, circular tables joined together for the writing group. She had arrived earlier. The tables faced two large plate glass windows that faced out on the street. What you saw right outside the window, across 7th Avenue, were green-lit neon letters that spelled, PITA. He had two coffees in front of him. She said, “Is that your system?” She …

Waiting All Day for the Mailman

by on July 10, 2014 :: 0 comments

I’m awake, I’m awake—I only look asleep because I am in the daily trance of waiting for the mailman; I’m sitting on the front couch with a cold coming on. But my mood is good—the mailman will come. She will— When the mailman comes, it will just be wonderful! Who knows what she will bring what it can be what …

Waiting Room Madness

by on July 3, 2015 :: 0 comments

You know the waiting as well as I do. You hate it too. The terrible waiting. The time you dread more than a five-foot needle stuck in your backside. You feel the rage. You work harder than hell for some decent medical insurance only to wait like a flea-bitten dog for a miserable bone. Waiting in line to fill out …

Warm Company

by on October 4, 2014 :: 0 comments

In the morning I woke up knowing that I was absolutely broke, but it was necessary to have a drink. Very urgent. A matter of life and death. I got up, thanking God it was not necessary to dress because yesterday I fell asleep fully clothed. Outside it was very cold and my zipper was broken. I almost froze my …

What We See

by on March 12, 2013 :: 0 comments

Ice chunks flew at people dashing prematurely into the ring. A worried woman shielded her face as icy, Roman artillery pellets flashed around heads as the crowd chanted, “Sons of bitches. Sons of bitches…” A New Zealander looked on and said, “A crowd of heroes.” Entering the ring safely to avoid paying to sit in the stands was taboo. A …

Where Poems Comes From

by on December 18, 2012 :: 0 comments

Lee wrote a poem every day. Sometimes two. He’d done that since he was fifteen. Now he was sixty-seven years old and retired. Friday night, he decided to walk to a small bar that had a monthly poetry reading. Lee had been to absolutely no readings, so he wasn’t sure if he would like what he saw. Inside, there was …

Whiskey World Peace

by on September 14, 2013 :: 0 comments

It should be required for everyone to get trashed underage, and at least once a month overage. Nothing quite like talking to random people that you won’t give a shit about the next day. And there’d nothing quite like being best friends with them for 52 minutes. There’s your world peace! The wells are only $2.00, and we’re all poor …

White Angel

by on March 19, 2015 :: 0 comments

Well, I’d say I’ve done fairly well in this hardball game of life we all come to naked and crying. I’ve got two great grown kids—Sarah and Mark—who seem sane and happy, I’ve got my loving wife Mary of thirty years, I’ve got my two story home in suburban north Dallas, and a job with Grace Insurance that I’ve long …

Who’s Who

by on August 20, 2016 :: 0 comments

Mr L.K.J. Portland was in shock. He couldn’t put his finger of what he’d done wrong. Well, to be truthful, he had done wrong—he’d taken an illegal turn and collided with an old car driven by a young woman. A nobody. That was what troubled Mr. Portland. The nobody was but a fly yet she stood her ground when he …

Wisteria Island

by on November 25, 2012 :: 0 comments

In the small backyard surrounding my parents’ crumbling house that might be foreclosed in a week, mother wishes we could be the pallbearers for the Weber grill that is rusted to shit and falling apart, to relocate it out of the walking path, and since the five foot chiminea is in the way, to relocate that as well. “Let’s do …

[Untitled: nouns and unnouns]

by on August 24, 2012 :: 0 comments

I watched a bird jump from the side of a building, rising for a moment with a gentle arc, like some fucked-up angel dust fiend; then beginning to move up and forward less and less, then downward more and more, beginning to flap its wings that angel dust fiends do not have, and flying away. And I wonder What did …