Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Cage We Cannot See

 by Thinkingtoohard

You didn’t tell me we were too different.
Or that your job was too time-consuming.
Or that you might be in love with me. Or that you were just too fucking scared.
You didn’t say I was too good for you, or not good enough.
You didn’t tell me she was pregnant, nor did you share your real name.
You didn’t say anything of substance, actually.
Just “I can’t.”
And that doesn’t leave much to weigh, other than possibility.
The heavy burgundy drapes would have been closed against the orange
glow of the parking lot lamps, shutting out our spouses. And I
definitely would have watched your chest rise and fall under the downy
blankets, so I could ingrain it on my memory. Because later, I would
need to recall that time, reassuring myself it was not another 3 am
visceral fantasy.
Then I would marvel at the gods again for having the grace to share you with me.
The kiss truly was a prelude. A taunting, warm, wet recollection of
who we are beneath the caricatures. Her Husband and His Wife, and Mom
and Dad, and all the things we pretend to be for the sake of
Your brilliant smile pulled up the corners of your mouth and showed
off your dimples. It told me you were afraid. Your soft lips on mine
told me the fear was your lion to tame, and that you were more than
It’s counter-intuitive, I know, to stand against the biting cold yet
feel the blaze within.
We peeked through the plexiglass walls, realizing too late that they
weren’t thick enough to guard our wounded egos. We were exposed and it
was okay, maybe for the first time.
Pieces of lovely blue sky and warmth, woven with tryst, raw emotion,
need. The universe was about to grant our innermost unspoken wish.
My hands trembled with joy and anticipation; yours with trepidation.
The lion’s cavernous jaws had ripped off too many chunks of your
steely flesh. In the end, you thought it easier to let him consume
So, no, the lies don’t count. But I cannot restore you. Your faith
must come of its own accord.
Our fountain pen is poised over the paper, dripping great blots of black ink.
Please. Slay the lion.

is the girl next door. Keep an eye on your husband. She is proud this week that she has not lost her cool with her own husband, and it's Wednesday already!
She writes here:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Letter to Yang Chu

by Russell Streur

Dear Yang Chu:

Home tonight for me is Bear Dancer on the blue ridge.  You know the place.  I am with the certain Miss Southern Ocean so you are out of luck and definitely not invited.

Sorry but this is something special and that’s the truth.

And I hope your crowd isn’t still arguing whether any this can equal any that or whether only this can equal only that.

You deep thinkers need to drink more.

Or take up poetry:  except to the Muse, we’re not accountable for anything we say at all.  The government ought to start charging for the license.

Don’t tell them I said so.

And don’t tell High Hat either.

Seriously—don’t even think about dropping in by accident.  I’d have to call the authorities and the sheriff up here has absolutely no sense of humor as in none and zero.  He’d arrest you for breathing if he could and for not breathing if he couldn’t.

Especially you.

Speaking of the law, I ran into our friend Robber the other day.  He’s as handsome as ever and must be nine feet tall.  He just keeps growing.  All the Peach Blossom girls are crazy for him and a lot of them are tired in the morning. 

I want to know what he eats for dinner but he still won’t tell anyone.  Go figure.  

While we’re on the menu, Robber is still furious that he didn’t eat High Hat’s liver for lunch last month after that old charlatan tried to sweet talk him out of the criminal life. 

Personally I think Robber would’ve died of food poisoning after the first bite.

Anyway, Robber sends his best to you and offers up the latest version of his five rules:

Plan carefully

Steal only what’s worth stealing

Be the first to take it

Be the last to keep it

Share the loot equally.

Incidentally, the Three No’s of the certain Miss Southern Ocean are not what you think.  And there’s actually four.  (One of her ancestors must have been a fox; she has a very sly sense of humor if you haven’t noticed yet.)  But I am sworn to secrecy on the No’s so do not ask.

And since we’re on the ways of life, I have something to say about your chapter on how a man can not spend all his time in a fine bed, listening to lovely music and playing with a beautiful woman:  Guess again.

Your pal,


PS  You forgot to mention wine.

by Russell Streur

June 22, 1876

Dear General Custer:

The banks along the Little Big Horn are beautiful this time of year. 
I am happy to hear you plan to visit soon.
Chief Gall and I would like to invite you to breakfast.
How does the morning of June 25th sound to you?
By the way—
Rain In The Face says he would much enjoy a heart to heart  
with your brother Tom.
Crazy Horse says he will come too.
But you know him.
He is always late.
Because his horse is always off somewhere
Acting crazy.
I laugh so hard I could die.
So could you.

With Best Regards,

Sitting Bull

Bring your friends along. 
All of them.

Russell Streur
was hit on the head by an insistent muse from Crete in 2004 and hasn't been right since.  He is proudest this week of getting through it without a cigarette, but he is tempted for sure right now.  Luckily, there's vodka in the freezer. 


Monday, June 28, 2010

My Mojo Rises While Watching National Geographic

 by Dawn West

 I’m drinking beer and watching a woman split her tongue on TV. She is a modified person, a subversion of trends with her fake tits and designer scars; her brilliantly pale shaved head and bouquet of tattoos. Her eyelids wiggle and the two muscles in her tongue swim like lovers, blood blurring onto her lips. I lay my cheek against your stomach in bed and consider piercing my nipple with a needle, leaving a silver hoop behind. I think about the false eyelashes I wore when I was fifteen. I think about how I lifted up my skirt for a boy that night, batting those lashes with self-filleting efficiency. I watch a woman split her tongue on TV and my shock is becoming distant with the growing weight of my lust for her. I want to shove my face against her silicone chest and listen to the whistles and clanks of her heart. Her tongue looks like shaved pussy lips and I want to rub my clit with the blood-stained ice in her hand.

Dawn West (b. 1987) is a nice young lady and a cheap date. She finds it sad that she's never masturbated anywhere strange. Her work has appeared most recently in Postcard Shorts and is forthcoming in Necessary Fiction.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Love Letter

 by Yohann Teyssier-Verger/Contributed by Chloe Caldwell

you are so exciting

wake up

and go outside

to smoke

Yohann tv is a photographer in Lyon France, you can see his photos here:

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Love Letter: A Messy End

 by Julia Davies

I don't know her name.  Filtered through you I have random snippets of information about her, I know she has three kidneys and is several years younger than I am, I know where her parents live, that her sister has twins that went to the psychologist almost before they went to school.  I know that it is one year since she had to have her wisdom teeth out in hospital, because it shattered our plans to meet, paint the town red and fall into bed; this year, this weekend you go to the hotel with her instead.  I know she is six foot tall, a better match for you there than I am, although it was someone else that told me this, explaining the day after the birth why your newborn girl was such a "long" baby.  You told me that she never gives you blow-jobs, after her first attempt at it many years ago went wrong; now a wicked joke between us that you could be a spit, swallow or snort type of girl.  You told me so, but of all the things you told me I wonder if this last is true, or why would you be with her and not me?

Yesterday you said "Catch you tomorrow?"  Words that should be hopeful, speaking of continuity, speaking of the future; the wish to be talking again then as we were today.  But, but... they are so final for today; from experience I experience them as a turning off, being shelved, put away until it is convenient for you again.

Today you will not say even "Catch you tomorrow," but only that it is best we don't talk.  My heedless optimism in complaining about being switched off for a short time has been well and truly slapped down.  The trust that we can talk through things was broken, apparently by one flippant comment followed by a one word answer.  And even as I typed "whatever" I hated that I said it, such a cliché and now it will be accompanied by the sonorous knell of a relationship falling apart at long last.  This time you say we should not reply to each other, and that time will heal the pain, but you don't know how tightly I can cling onto it.  You says you hope things will go well for me, and that you mean that. But if you have no intention of talking to me again you will never know how things are with me. You mean that you hope I will leave you alone.

It is as if my lips have been sewn together, each time I want to communicate with you I am pulling on the stitches, the muscles around my mouth twitch now in anticipation of the tearing pain; if I carry on I will have short stubby whiskers as the knots come loose.  I can't ask even "how are you?" because my words are so potent, we are so poised over the precipice that to even make polite conversation will start us off on that luge-track again.  I would prefer my words to be a gently bubbling warm jacuzzi, something you would feel both exciting and comfortable; but it seems I am instead a black run, exhilarating but fraught with the danger of crashing out, and in any case there is a sharply defined end.  I would like to be a spicy Merlot, full bodied and tangy, to be anticipated and savoured each time the bottle is broached, there is a ceremony to it's opening.  But it seems I must be a cheap blended whisky, my taste is harsh but acquired, as the patina of adulthood is acquired and sometimes I was just what you needed to get pissed, to blot out any sorrows and be gladly uplifted by the glamorous falseness of "having fun" and I wonder how you are drowning your sorrows now?  And perhaps it is better that my mouth is forcibly closed, who knows what I would pour into it, and then what would pour out?

Julia Davies is a practised reader and practising writer & lives in Germany & this week she is most proud of is getting a stranger ~4500 miles away so excited he had to leave his desk and go to the mens room for some relief...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fictional Love Letter

by Misti Rainwater-Lites

Dear John,
This is candid tape recorder Nova, the Nova I'm not ready to share with you yet since we only had sex one time and you left the next morning without so much as a hastily scrawled "thanks for the great fuck" note with your phone number underneath it. I can't send you this letter since I have no idea where you live but I wouldn't send it, anyway, because this letter is me at my most uncool and unsexy. This letter has morning breath, menstrual cramps from hell and Richard Simmons hairdo.

I'm thinking I probably shouldn't have fucked you five minutes after meeting you. You are only the third man I've ever had sex with. I was date raped by my first cousin Nigel in Las Vegas. Then I had an ill-fated fling with a heroin dealer named Poe. You are obviously the best sexual experience of my life. I fell in love with you when I looked into your eyes at Perry's party. Did you see me shiver? When you blew marijuana smoke into my mouth, that was it. Game over. I was gone. Over the rainbow. You knew I was your fool. You knew my wet pussy was yours for the taking. Fucker. If I ever see you again I'm going to fuck your brains out. I'm going to shove my Buzzy Bumblebee vibrator up your ass. I'm going to beat you up! I'll leave you moaning for mama in a puddle of blood. I will walk away laughing.

Love & Warm Fuzzy Kisses,

Nova and John are characters from Misti's first self-published novel, Nova's Gone Potty. Buy Nova's Gone Potty at or Misti is proud of herself for not overdosing on Cascara Sagrada.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dirty Laundry

by Dina Mutar

My Love,
I miss you, now that you are so far away. You always used to make me feel exactly the way a real woman should feel in the presence of a real man. You made me want to spread my legs wide open. The connection we had was ancestral, from the time of the Pharaohs and your reign. Without me, you never would have kept your position at the top. I was your favorite to fuck and I still am, thousands of years later. I loved the way you would mark me, because I was yours, we were together through infinity, and every one bore witness to it. Our love, My Love, was a love that transcended the vortex of time and space. I remember how we used to sleep on top of the "Castel" out on the ledge over looking the Atlantic- it was our "special spot" even though plenty of squatters used it for sleeping too. When the sun was high, the stench of boiling piss lingered... we were worlds away from mine.

How I miss "our house," the tent. The humid, stagnant, moldy, love that enveloped us and protected us and kept us warm like the red, glow of the sun coming through the trees. I can still hear the waves rolling up to shore, the chickadees, the call to prayer and children playing. You were romantic in everything that you did. You fed me with your hands, brushed my hair, and looked at my with hungry eyes. I felt like a princess when you would sneak me into the mosque between prayer sessions. You would climb over the wall so you could open the door from the inside. You would stand outside and guard the door so could take a shower or take a shit. Back in those days we were still in love and you would do anything for me, we were obsessed with each other. We didn't even know each other very well when you blurted out that you wanted me to be the mother of your children when we were having loud sex again. And now that I am (the mother of your child), you don't see me anymore, not with the same hungry eyes. You don't grope and grab at me with your desperate hands.

I miss how you would run errands to the boutique; to buy our breakfast and coffee for the morning, cigarettes and mints for later, rolling papers, and laundry detergent; the essentials. I couldn't stand your absence even for a few minutes. You were content to do anything for me, in fact, you didn't let me do things because it was so hot and there was lots of sand, you wanted to keep me safe. You were paranoid that others that might try to take me from you. Oh my God and how we used to make love in the mornings. We used to smoke joints and devour each other in a combustion of ecstasy. It didn't feel dirty, it felt holy. I said I would have you for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with hot sauce on the side. I wanted you to live inside of me. I wanted to walk around with your dick inside me forever. Later, we would take "bucket showers", smoke more joints, make passionate love to one another, drink juice and sleep. Finally we would need sustenance and we'd have to stop and search out food. These were the simple pleasures of our existence.

We sang hymns to Allah praising His greatness. We sat on our roof and watched airplanes over head while listening to our crappy, Chinese radio mumble news of worldwide wars. I knew it was fucked up out there, and even though I was worried about the state of things... I felt so sure of us. I thought we were perfection, a model of divinity... I thought our love was glorious and pure. I thought it was too good to be true. So many times I had thanked God for this blessing, finally, I thought I had gotten what I had been searching for, and I believed that I deserved it this time. I had hoped that maybe I was receiving my karmic retribution for all the other assholes I had loved and tried to help but that always screwed me over in the end. I thought we were the luckiest people to have ever walked this Earth.

My Love, I don't call you "My Love" anymore. We don't wash our clothes by hand and hang them out to dry anymore. We don't ride the ferry to that island off the coast, we don't sit under the baobab and eat fish and rice with our hands, we don't talk about God anymore. I miss you, now that you are so near to me... I can't stand who you've become. Now, it's all about the rat race: tits and ass, money, money, money... institutionalized slavery, mental slavery, physical annihilation... I can't take the beatings that leave us scarred and bruised, and scared. My puffy eyes are sore, my soul is a weight too heavy for my body to encapsulate, my voice is tired of talking in circles with you, trying to be one step ahead of you. I have given you my hand too many times. My Love, you were my Lion King, you were everything I thought was good and right. I wanted to learn how to cook for you. I wanted to impress you with my finesse and beauty in everything I did. I believed you were a modern day prophet, I believed that you were a disciple of Truth. I believed that you loved me and that you wanted me. I became lost in you and the false Paradise we created. My Love, I hate you. I hate what you've put me through. I hate that you tricked me, I hate that you've wasted my time. I hate you for pretending to love me because you were heartbroken and it was convenient. The truth is you're just a pretty, pathological, ghetto child with stars in his eyes and I'm too good for you. So please go back to where you came from, we are going to kill each other here, slowly suffocating each others' life force until we shrivel into darkness. I hate you for making me love you.


Dina Mutar is a world traveler and pacifist except for when she passes her fist into your jaw or shoulder or chest, never the nose, however. She is from here and there, she is an emotional psychic and loves kids. She is proud that she finally got the balls to finish and submit a piece, even if it's a piece of work.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Writer

by Thom Young

The extra large stained tee shirt hung on his gut. It was too small. His shirt and not his gut. It hung on the stretchy boxer shorts, that came with a drawstring. The bags of Zapps jalapeno chips lay strewn on the floor, along with copious amounts of Rolling Rock beer bottles. Their green hue capturing what little sunlight darted through the torn shades. The ashtray sat to his right. It was filled with smoked American Spirit cigarettes, most still good for another light later on. His writing table was nothing more than the cheap folding variety, bought at the local Office Depot.

Last summer, he finally replaced his computer. The old one was infested with trojans and blaster worms, no doubt from too much porn viewing and years of abuse. This was the environment of the important writer. He needed silence and time for ideas. The creative act being too important for needling neighbors and barking dogs. It was always the dogs. Nasty little pests. Mexican pests at that. The children were far worse however, they took away from his art. The little running shits. They yelled all day. They never shut up. How could he get the words down?

The chair was one from his old classroom. It was a blue plastic industrial chair. His ass hung off the sides of it, looking for extra room. It wasn’t comfortable. Fuck comfort. Comfort was for the safe writers. A little discomfort led to better stories and poems, at least in his mind. His girlfriend came in on the weekends.

She kept him going with intermittent blow jobs. It kept the words coming. She had big breasts. Her fiery red hair smelled like Pantene and cum.

“How’s the story?”

“Not now baby. I’m busy.”


She was good to him. More than he deserved. All writers were assholes. All people were assholes. Even the son of god. He had bad days too.

The writer set his cigar down. He wasn’t pleased with what he typed. “Get me a beer!” She came running with a fresh bottle. I guess some things were still alright. It wasn't easy being an artist.

Thom Young is a writer from Texas. His work has appeared in 3am magazine, Word Riot, Thieves Jargon, and many other sundry places. He is proud that he got out of bed yesterday.

Self Vs. Self.*

 by Shannon Barber

I’m watching her in the mirror, Narcissus with her hands around her
own throat. Her legs are spread wide and I can see into her secrets,
wet wanting secrets, secrets spoken in tongue on clit and hot breath
on lips.

I want her.

I hate her.

I love her.

I am her.

One-hand leaves her throat travels familiar terrain, pausing to mark
one breast with sharp fingernails, it is possessive.

She is mine.

She must wait, she must suffer this and watch it play out across her
face and in the shiny reflection of her wanting cunt. She is a
ravening beauty, molten in her rut. I’m a little shocked that the
mirror does not fog and obscure my view of her. The air is clear.

I pause, she pauses and our eyes lock. Burning gaze reflected and
refracted by the mirror, fingers poised over cunt, this moment is
everything. The scent of her pussy is like umeboshi on her tongue.

She wants me.

She hates me.

She loves me.

She is me.

We are merged; we are greedy and too weak to resist our avaricious
desire. We must have satisfaction, fingers plunged deep inside lush
wet heat, lips parted, gaze on gaze on gaze in the mirror. The hand
returns to Narcissus’ throat tightens, squeezes, nails biting into
flesh. We are in the throes of subduction, mighty and flaming.

We fall.

We rise.

We are sated.

And finally spent we are one.

Shannon Barber
is a 33 year old author who resides in the Pacific
Northwest. The strangest place she has ever masturbated was in the
back of a moving vehicle while looking out the back window. Sometimes
the passing lights give her the special tingle. Her writing has been
seen in Sex & Murder Magazine, Frequently*Felt, DiddleDog and The

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

News To My Muse

Here is a response of sorts to the news from you my muse. No editing. This is straight from the vomitous chomp of the horse’s mout.

Mouth. That’s right. If I don’t finish a word I start it again on the next line. Sometimes. I’ve finally come to terms with my typewriter and it’s retarded brother the space bar. 

Let it skip. I think it looks cool on the paper. Like the little bumps on a music box cylinder.

My right hand is killing me all full of scrapes and scratches from a tequila bottle in my kitchen that gave me trouble earlier this evening when I was preparing to sit down and type this missive to you, Chloe, easily the most, the closest woman to who I wish I were myself. To you Chloe, the closest woman to the who I wish I were.

It may not read as romantic but I think it’s more fuck these words I keep tripping over them like logs in the woods at night. Like logs and I’m running through the woods at night.  I know you don’t like my raw stuff so I am thinking too much. That’s why I’ve chosen the typewriter to write to you. I do love you and I want to give you the dirtiest most humiliating brain paralyzed retard truth of my soul and who I am before you when you’re not looking at me through the filter of your mind or your heart or your eyes.

I’m sorry that I don’t always have the fortitude to follow the ultimate truth. It’s new to me and I’m still learning it. We’ve both agreed in the past that that you have a way of dramatizing people, affording them qualities that they may or may not have and may or may not recognize. You’ve come across me at a time in my life where I’ve just started to catch the slimmest glimpse of what I thought the truth was. But you also caught me at a place in the woods where I was coming to grips with the fact that according to my new paradigm about the truth and life and what the fuck was going on here, well according to all that shit, all the years of my life leading up to 11th street some, or maybe my addiction and overdose but all that time those 26 plus years were wrong.

Like I was driving down the highway in a car nearly out of gas while the pressure of piss is pushing pain in my bladder stinging the inner tip of my dick. Only to realize I had been driving in the wrong direction for the last hour and a half and that I’d have to turn around and drive back not only the hour and a half I’d gone in the wrong direction, but an additional hour in a completely different direction, before I would have the chance to relieve myself.

I’m obsessed with myself not because I’m narcissistic, though I’m not denying that I maybe have those tendencies.

I seem obsessed with myself.

I’m preoccupied with the fact that I used to be happy and for the last couple of years I haven’t been, not really, and I want to know why. I claw and I dig and I pay some old miner in Croton to help me. I’m sorry for looking inward so often. But again, it is in this season that you came across me. Came upon me.

You’re ahead of me in appreciating books and remembering authors and recommending them to friends. I didn’t used to be into books enough to remember the authors or want to share them with my friends. I read nearly nothing but Stephen King until I was in my early twenties. And I don’t give you books because I don’t give anyone books. I’m too anal for that and you know it. It has nothing to do with your importance to me. You got into Bukowski on my recommendation. But fuck it.

I was, I felt, more myself with you than ever or anyone before. My true, inspired, wandering, lustful and passionate self. And the only reason I felt any of this truth about myself was because of my utter admiration of you. You were like a celebrity to me. I was intimidated by you. You were larger than life. I felt weak in front of you. I never fucked anyone like I FUCKED (accidental caps lock) you because I never wanted to let you down. I wanted to keep impressing you because you were a source I could trust.

It was as if when you told me that you like my writing it was like Bukowski himself or Hunter S. Thompson

Holy fuck a lady just put her face to my window, the one by the stairs, and screamed “MARY!” and I have my headphones on and I’m typing as hard as I can lost in Chloe land and oh my god and holy shit the char hot lighting bolt that is only now dissipating in my chest. Fuck. That scared the shit out of me.

Anyway, you were like a hero to me, the ideas that came to your mind, the things you wrote about were exactly what I thought writing was about. It was like Bukowski or Hunter or Henry Miller rang my apartment buzzer, came in, got drunk with me, told me they loved my writing and then made me fuck them the best I could.

Don’t you understand Chloe? You’re running around in the parking lot crying over the broken bottles you could have recycled for five cents a piece all the while forgetting that you have a backpack full of money on your back. I know the backpack just seems like an annoying weight but if you take the time to open it up you find it’s true worth.

I don’t know. Doubt. I’m full of it. That’s a weakness but that’s me. It sucks. It’s not that you’re not good enough for me. It’s that nobody is. Not even myself.

Do you see that?

Anna was an amazing girl in her own right. She showed me a lot of things. Taught me a lot of things. But I didn’t cheat on her just for some new young tight pussy though I’d be a bald liar—haha—get it? Bald. I’d be a fucking liar if I said that had nothing to do with it. But what it really was and what kept me at you for so long and to this day and whether you want it or not for as long as I’m able to think my own thoughts was that you made me believe in a truer version of myself. One that I was scared to entertain before I met you. But you made me feel this way and I don’t know any other way to say this though I know I’m repeating myself, you made me feel like a truer me than I had ever been and you gave me the courage to admit that I wasn’t that domestic man living on 11th street.

Now you seem to want a piece of that domestic man. I don’t know, this isn’t about arguing. This is about me telling and settling with someone dear to me how I really feel about them because I’ve brought you more pain than I expected. More pain that I would ever want to.

I wish I could call and talk to you right now. I love you. I’ve said from the beginning that I don’t want to be your adversary. I don’t think your writing to me, the news from my muse, which you no doubt surely are, wasn't honest and true to the best of your knowledge. Not that anything you said was wrong but I think it’s okay to see things differently.

I’m sorry you found those underwear, not because you found them but because of how that made you feel. The skinny boring girl is interesting to me in her own way, just like Dave Coconut was to you and whoever else you slept with while I knew you. And just like everyone else you slept with before you met me. In my eyes, the way I see it, everyone is truly their own person, their own experience, and no one person can satisfy all of any other one person’s needs.

But it fucks with the ego. It fucked hard with my ego when you told me that you fucked Danny. I believed you and I thought he was way cooler than me. I knew Dave had a better body than mine and a bigger dick. But I try my best not to be a hypocrite. So I tried to see it from your point of view and mine at the same time.

When I had sex with you did I think bad thoughts about Anna? No, I thought good thoughts about you. Anna wasn’t in my mind. But I didn’t think about you when I was with Anna and I didn’t think about you when I was fucking the skinny girl. Sorry, I’m just using that name because you did.

But we all want to be loved and perhaps my love for you confused you into thinking that I must not have any feelings left over for anyone else. I wish it were true but I doubt that’s true for you either no matter that you say you’re a girl and you’re jealous. I’m jealous too, but it is completely unproductive. Chloe is going to do ultimately what Chloe wants and feels. If she didn’t, I would lose respect for her.

But she’s got to let me do the same.

I don’t know. I just feel like I see things differently. None of which is a comfort to you but I don’t know what to do.

As far as books and other contributions go, well, I’m hesitant to say I’m not as smart as you but I kind of feel that way. But my low self-esteem and shitty self-image is a constant adversary so I’ve got to try to believe that our minds just work differently. Which goes back to how important you are. I’m forced to believe that I have something worth saying because this brilliant and exciting girl tells me I’m brilliant and exciting too or at least that’s how she feels by ‘liking’ me. Fuck. I keep going in circles but I just can’t convey the power you have over me. But I don’t think you see it.

You keep telling yourself that we are friends. That’s what you wrote. Well I hope you keep saying it. I love you. I’m your friend Chloe. And if you ever want it again, I will be your sex fantasy robot. But if you meet a man who is a better and improved prototype, then I will still love you and will still be your friend.

I wish I were with you right now hitchhiking in smush nosed European tractor trailers while you interview and puking in the smurf-ass sized toilet of a canal boat while you pounded on the door for your turn to do the same.

I just went back and read some shit. Fucking typewriter is an unfortunate partner to my mind. They both conspire to skip letters and sometimes words. God damn it, I wish I could talk to you. I wish I could have the balls to quit my job and skip out on my lease to be with you on your adventures. I guess I’ll have to have my own. But as usual, yours seem better to me. Maybe now you can compare this with your enlightened typings and see that I’m just a stoner hack lucky to have been kissed by your wonderment.

I’m sorry about how angry I got about your text revealing your knowledge of my secret writings. I’m sorry I was so quick to say we were done, friends or not. Just now I was petting my cat and thinking about how quick I was to decide that she had to die. Even though she was innocent and depended on me and had been with me through so many experiences. Her needs overwhelmed me so I wanted to run. Cut ties. Hide away. I was really just acting defensive when you sent me that text. I didn't...

Why do these feelings of happy lust and longing turn into pain? They don’t for me. But I remember how happy you were at the after-writing-class-bar when I pressed against your leg when we pressed legs and when I squeezed your ass at the jukebox. Why does time introduce pain? Attachment? Why does attachment come along and punch the truth in the face? I’ll be honest; I am forever fascinated with women. Skinny fat medium boring exciting and lame.

Monday, June 21, 2010

News To Muse

Hello Traveling Muse,
Are you still at large? Your internet silence means you have been far from the internet on your adventures. Here's the scan of the typewritten pages I have for you. Sorry if it's a little incoherent. I thought if I got drunk and high it would be a more honest account. Judge for yourself. It kind of ends without an ending but perhaps there'll be a part two. Also, it may seem a little dated as it's been awhile since I wrote it. But if you re-read your original letters it should make sense. Hope you're well.

Dear Julie Christmas

 By Sean H. Doyle

Dear Julie Christmas,

I’m not sure if you get a lot of letters from fans or not, so I hope this doesn’t come off as awkward as it feels like it might. If you just give me a shot here to explain myself, I think this might be okay.

I honestly had no idea that you existed until a couple of years ago. I was on a date with a woman from one of those Internet Dating Sites. We were having dinner in Koreatown, and she asked me what was inside of the gyoza I had ordered [it was pumpkin]. Me being the smartass that I am, I replied with “they’re made out of babies -- that’s why they taste so fucking good.” Her face lit up and she started to bounce up and down in her seat like an amphetamine-fueled cymbal monkey. “Made out of babies! MADE OUT OF BABIES! I used to work with a guy who was in a band called Made Out of Babies -- he was really cool.”

I was very drunk in that moment, but I did ask my date to send me a text message from right there at the table, reminding me to look up Made Out of Babies. Any band that would give themselves such an awesome moniker would probably fall right into my wheelhouse.

I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me for not knowing about your band at the time. My use of the name was not malicious at all. If anything -- it very well could have been some sort of prescient homage. 

When I got home the next afternoon, I was able to download your first album, Trophy. It only took fifteen seconds for me to hear your voice on the opening cut, “Herculoid.” By the time the song was over -- I hate admitting this so readily, but I cannot lie to you -- I was madly in love with you. I tried to suppress it by smoking a bowl of Brooklyn’s finest cannabinoid offerings, but that only made my love for you grow warmer and squishier with each listen. Your band packed the massive and caustic boom-bap of The Jesus Lizard, coupled with the melodic intentions of bands like Amebix, or even at certain moments -- the counter-melodies of Sonic Youth at their noisiest. Made Out of Babies weren’t just in my wheelhouse, you kooky kids pretty much encompassed the SUM OF ALL THINGS SEAN LOVES ABOUT AGGRESSIVE MUSIC, with the added bonus of having a very intense/beautiful/intimidating woman as the lead vocalist.

So, that’s how it started for me. I don’t know, I figured that maybe if I told you this, everything else will make a little more sense.

Whenever Made Out of Babies were playing locally in Williamsburg, I would debate whether or not it was a good idea for me to come see you guys play. After years of playing in clubs all over the country, and after getting my head kicked in multiple times by thuggish bouncers and overzealous revelers -- the idea of me being in a small room with that many people witnessing a band as aggressive as y’all felt like teasing The Universe to fuck with me some more. I know I missed out on the few times your other band -- the massively under-appreciated Battle of Mice -- played out locally, but that was probably for the best as well. I mean, what with your fucked-up relationship with the guitar player being the inspiration for all of the intense and scary music that band put out. From the internet research I’ve done, it seems like the two of you could have done with some serious couples counseling. I know how that movie ends -- been there, got the restraining order.

Plus, I was pretty sure that if I actually saw you in person, my heart was going to burst inside of my chest.

Julie -- this is serious, now -- you and I have some mutual friends. Well, according to Facebook we do, but that’s not the point -- Brooklyn, at least the part you and I live in, is very small. I’m not telling you this because I am stalking you or anything -- I’m just always on the lookout for you when I am out and about. I thought I saw you coming out of the Penny Licks ice cream place on Bedford one day last summer, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t you, as you do not strike me as the type of woman who is into anything vanilla, you know what I mean? I kind of have you figured for the type of woman who digs Rocky Road as much as I do.

We should go get ice cream some time. I think that would be nice.

Late at night, when I am sitting here at this desk writing things that nobody else will ever really read, I think about you from time to time. I think about that blood-curdling 911 call spliced into the end of the song “At The Base Of The Giant’s Throat,” and I wonder if I can ever hold you tight enough to make that pain go limp inside of you. The way you shriek into the phone makes me want to bring you breakfast in bed every day. I know that kind of pain, Julie -- I really do. Not everyone does, but they think they do. It’s not like just anyone can appreciate a woman who titles songs “Cave of Spleen,” or even “Mr. Prison Shanks.” Not to mention the fact that I feel like the lyrics you wrote for “Sleep and Dream” were written about me --

In a tiny little cave
A dog is sleeping on his back
Iron chains around his leg
But he's purring loud enough to snap
I see blood around his snout
A smile that's bigger than his mouth
They come to hurt him every day
To stomp him back into a crouch

Some people just aren’t damaged enough for that to make sense to them, Julie.

I can assure you that I am.

Anyway -- I hope this letter finds you well, and that things are how you would like for them to be. If you ever feel like hanging out in the dog run together, or smoking some cigarettes and drinking some coffee, just shoot me an e-mail. Take care of yourself.



PS -- I’m serious about getting ice cream together.

Sean H. Doyle lives in Brooklyn, New York. He is hard at work on a memoir that you probably won't want to read without consulting your therapist first. His writing can be found through a simple Google search of his name, or you can always go check out his site. Sean does his own laundry.

SSF Interrogation

yt sumner of Victoria, Australia

SSF: Okay, so all of your books are going to be lit on fire, and you are allowed to grab ONE. Which do you save?

yt: The Collected Works of Raymond Carver. I would grab that book like it was my only child.

SSF: List everything you have ever been for Halloween:

yt: There are not many I’m afraid, as Australians have never really took to the best holiday on earth. Seriously. Dress ups and Dead People and Sweet, Sweet Candy. What’s not to take to? But I’ve given it a good go a few times…

Queen of Hearts, Tippi Hedren from Hitchcock’s The Birds, Dead Knife Thrower’s Assistant, Zombie Bride, Aristocrat in masquerade suffering from the Red Death, Laura Palmer (wrapped in plastic).

SSF: What are you the most proud of that you have written?

yt: I don’t know if I’m especially proud of any particular piece. I suppose I puff up a bit when one is published. Kind of like, ‘look at my little bird fly’.

SSF: If you could be anyone for his or her looks—who would it be?

yt: Jessica Rabbit.

SSF: At what age did you feel the most sexual?

yt: This age.

SSF: What was the first book you read that you wish you wrote?

yt: Alice in Wonderland. I was a precocious little shit, just like Alice, and I remember thinking ‘I could write a book of nonsense.’

SSF: Describe the process in which you would eat an Oreo:

yt: Break it in half then break the piece again and then eat it in pieces. Although to be fair, I eat most things like this. I use a lot of napkins.

SSF: Do you get better writing done in the morning or at night? Please explain.

yt: Morning for sure. I dream quite vividly and so I usually wake with thoughts and scenes tumbling through my head. I think on my latest piece and if it can be used in some way and it gets the whole ball rolling. I’m also far less likely to be distracted by friends calling for coffee or turning up with wine in the morning.

SSF: What is a day from your life that you would love to re-live?

yt: Arriving in New York for the first time. Meeting friends in Brooklyn. Seeing Les Savy Fav play. Eating giant slices of pizza. Laughing and in love at The Chelsea Hotel.

SSF: What name would you choose for yourself if you were a boy?

yt: Leonardo (after the turtle not the Italian)

SSF: What was the last thing you wrote down on a piece of paper? (Honestly.)

yt: Wm. Farrant’s address on an envelope.

SSF: I wouldn’t be able to write without _____________-

yt: My past.

SSF: What was your favorite toy when you were a kid?

yt: Georgina. A big creepy floppy doll that was nearly as big as me. I dragged her around everywhere and told her stories. I tried to squeeze into her clothes. She had these huge felt, Manga pupils so I cut little holes in the middle so she could see.

SSF: What is your favorite month and why?

yt: January. It’s summer and everyone’s mellow, on holidays, in beer gardens and beaches. And I like that glow of the promise of a new year.

SSF: Thoughts on The Talking Heads:

yt: Wild Wild Life makes me dance like a dork no matter when or where.

SSF: Any last words?

yt: Hopefully not just yet.

Interested in being interrogated? Email me @ Please include a picture of yourself or something that you feel represents you. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I Will Not Love You Today

 by Isabelle Gray

This is what I tell myself every morning. I say it three times as I wash my face and apply my makeup. I click my heels three times and I say it again. I lean against the kitchen counter and eat a bagel or a bowl of cereal. My blouse, somewhat revealing is neatly folded over a chair at the table. I do not want to get it dirty. I chew carefully. I recently read in a magazine that chewing slowly and chewing several times aids in digestion. When I am done, I will wash any dishes because my mother taught me it’s lazy to leave dishes in a sink in an empty or sleeping house. When I drive to work, I will listen to music. play it loud. My ears will ring. I will tell myself I will not look at my phone. I will not check my e-mail. I will not hope to hear from you. I will not need to hear from you. I will not debase myself. I will not love you today.  

At my desk there is no picture of you. I do not have that right. There is only my computer, a plant you gave me that I don’t care for in the manner it deserves and a cup full of pens and pencils and highlighters. An empty desk helps me think. When you come into work, you will stop by my office and stand in the open doorway. You will smile and I will nod politely and I will pretend I don’t suddenly feel warmer. A few minutes later, you will send me an email. I will see your name and I will feel a sharp burning in my chest. I will hate myself for having this response. I will read the filthy things you write and the sweet things you write. I will feel warmer still. Another message will follow where you are cold and indifferent and remind me about a meeting I am leading later. I will want to respond immediately but I won’t. Instead, I will go to the break room and prepare what will be the first of many cups of coffee. I take mine with cream and sugar. You still haven’t learned this. When I get back to my desk, I will hold the warm mug in my hands, enjoy the steam on my face. I will check how long it has been since I received your e-mail. I will wait another three minutes. I will tell myself I won’t talk to you today. I will ignore you and hope you notice, hope it upsets you, hope you care. When I can’t resist any longer, I will compose a breathless response, my fingers tingling as I tell you all the things I’ve wanted to say since I last saw you at work the day before. I will try to be sexy and smart but not too eager. I will think so long and hard over every word, another twenty minutes will pass. After I send this message, I will go back and re-read it several times trying to imagine how you will respond, hoping I have been sexy and smart and not too eager enough to make you still want me.  I will read through every e-mail exchange we have ever had. I will do this for longer than I am willing to admit. I will not love you today.  

I will try to work while I wait for you to write back, wait for you to call, wait for you to stand in my doorway again. Mid-morning, your wife will stop by. She will hold her head high and walk by my office. She will wear a smart dress and high heels. Not a single hair will be out of place. I always forget how tall she is. I hate the size of her diamond. You will close your office door and I will stare at your nameplate until the letters in your name rearrange into something like motherfucker. I will feel more jealous than I ever have because I am a jealous woman. Anytime I even hear your name out of another woman’s mouth, I feel a quiet rage. I do not like to share. I remind myself I will not love you today. 

There will come a time when most of the office is out at lunch, it’s someone’s birthday or a secretary is getting married or everyone just wants to get outside and you’ll stand in my doorway, your tie loosened, your sleeves rolled up. We do this every day. Only the details and the geography change. You will give me that look and I will press my lips together and I’ll feel excitement and loathing and something else too. I will acknowledge I am weak. I am wretched. I will follow you to your office. You will close the door behind us and lock it. You will close the blinds. You will hold me possessively and bury your face in my hair, inhale deeply. You’ll say, “I love the way your hair smells,” and I will hear, “I love you.” I will pull away and say, “I will not love you today.” You will force your tongue between my lips and kiss me and hold me even tighter and I will ball my hands into tiny fists. I will pound your chest and your shoulders but I will kiss you back. You will push me onto my knees and lean against your office door. I will note the fine cut of your slacks, wool, neatly pressed. They will smell like the city. I will unfasten your belt, Italian leather, bought in London. I will take you into my mouth where you fit (are we not meant to be?) and you will close your eyes, sigh deeply. The sound of that sigh will be so arrogant it will nearly upset me but it will also turn me on. You will hold the back of my head and guide me. I will try to please you. Everything I do is to please you, to make you see me, touch me, feel something for me, need me. I will hate myself even more. When you come, you will thrust roughly. You will hold my mouth exactly where you want it, stay buried inside me, near my throat. I will claw at your shirt, bespoke, and you will laugh. I will sink into the panic of not being able to breathe. The taste of you is always bitter.  

You won’t be done with me. You will walk to your desk chair, your finely cut wool slacks around your ankles. Your wife’s perfume will linger. I will wonder how you fit in her mouth. You will sit, your cock half hard, resting against your left thigh. I will try not to marvel at the prettiness of it. I will stay on the floor, kneeling, breathing hard. I will not cry but I will want to. You will say, “Crawl to me, I’m not done,” and I will think about all my diplomas hanging from my office wall and the meeting I will have in two hours where I will stand at the head of a conference table lined with men who will respect every word I say because I am smart, because I know things, because I am exceptional at what I do. I am only nothing when I am with you. I will roll onto my hands and knees in my expensive designer outfit, a charcoal pencil skirt and tight blouse. I will crawl, my knees aching strangely. I will look at the floor, the diagonal pattern of the carpet. When I reach you, I will kiss your knee, feel the bone beneath my lips. I will rest my head against your thigh and when you hold your hand to the back of my neck, I will feel lighter, I will feel like someone better than I am and then you will take that moment from me as you always do. You’ll slap your thighs and I will stand. I will pull my skirt up around my waist. I will pull my panties to the side. I will remove my blouse, my bra, lay them on your desk because you like to look at my breasts while you fuck me, you’ve made that clear.  

I will hold your cock and lower myself onto you. You will hold my ass in my hands and grunt quietly. I will rest my head along the muscular curve from your neck to your shoulder and close my eyes and I will rock my hips slow as you rise to meet me over and over. You will whisper to me, say terrible things that disgust me, that hold me to this place. I will be so very wet. The office will smell like us. We will drown the stench of your wife’s perfume. It will feel like we are the whole of the world. I will breath in short little gasps, ride you harder, faster, my thighs taut and trembling. As you come, you will say, “You do love me today.” You will sink your teeth into my neck and leave a mark. I will hold you tighter.  

When I return to my office, I will still feel you inside me. I will taste you and smell you. I will be sticky with your sweat and seed. I will not love you today. I will try to work. I will stare at a blinking cursor. I will make phone calls and prepare for the important meeting. From the corner of my eye I will watch my email account. I will wait and wait and when you send me another message, I will read it so fast the words blur together. You will say things that make me feel. They will imply we are more than we are. Your words will tempt me to read between the lines and I will. I will have faith in things that are not real. When I respond, I will say too much. I will detail, intimately, the many ways in which I love you today. My hands will shake as I click send. I am weak. I am wretched to need so much from someone who gives so little to so many.  

Tonight, I will read in bed until my eyes are dry and heavy. The television will be on in the background. Before I fall asleep, I will open the window on the far wall and lie on top of the sheets. I like to feel cold. I will slide my hands over my breasts and my stomach and between my legs. I will stroke myself and think about how you touch me and fuck me and how you lie to me and encourage me to be this way and how I break every promise to myself. I will think about how you are necessary. After I come, I will feel empty and sad. I will confuse that with happiness. I will curl into the space where you will never sleep. I will tell myself I will not love you tomorrow.  
I loved you today.

Isabelle Gray's writing appears in numerous anthologies including Dirty Girls, Bedding Down, Yes Sir and Please Ma'am. She is proud this week of... not much at all.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

No American Express

 by Robert Vaughan

One Friday afternoon I brought him to my apartment. Before I got out keys,

I turned to face the stranger.  “Still sure you want to do this?”
   The man bit his lower lip. Nodded. “Yup, how much is it again?”

   “Fifty bucks is the starting fee.” I opened the door. Flipped on the a.c.
   “Something to drink?” I asked, peeling off my sweatshirt.

   The stranger stood near the door. “I’ll have some water.”

   “Suit yourself,” I said, fetching it from the kitchen. I smelled my pits, as we’d come

from the gym. Not so bad. When I returned, the guy’d removed his light


   They’re always so passive, I thought. “I’ll hang your jacket. Have a seat.”

I motioned to the couch, noticed his ring. Most guys remove them.

   “I’d rather get right to it,” the man said, trying to crack a smile.

   “Oh!” I said. “Okay, well, first look over that menu on the table. Your friend, Mickey,

he gets the harness, likes the gear. It’s all inside my room. Mick prefers blindfolds,

sometimes whips. But it’s up to you. Customize ahead, or we can roll as we go.”

   “Sounds good,” the man said, staring at the options.

   “Excuse me while I get set up,” I said. I walked toward the bedroom door, then

turned. “Oh. I take Mastercard, Visa, no American Express. Charges are way too hefty

sorry. We can do payment in advance if you prefer. Give me five minutes, then c’mon


Robert Vaughan's plays have been produced in N.Y.C., L.A., S.F. and Milwaukee, where he lives. He leads two writing roundtables for Redbird- Redoak Studios. He has masturbated in the coat room on Metro North. His fiction and poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in: Short, Fast & Deadly, 50 to 1, Heavy Bear, Girls with Insurance, Lesser Flamingo, Clutching at Straws, Thunderclap Press, Blink/Ink and Tryst. He is a fiction editor at jmww magazine, a flash fiction editor at Thunderclap! Press. A is a new proud member of Fictionaut and The Nervous Breakdown. His blog, One Writer’s Life, is at

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sunday You Need Love

 by Jay Macleod

We had volume wars one summer. It was me with my music and them with their fucking. We were only a few inches apart separated by some struts and drywall and insulation.

It was one of those houses downtown which has been converted into apartments by a landlord eager to make some quick coin off university. The original building was probably one hundred years old or more, wood-framed.

You ever hear The Oblivians? They’re a garage band from Memphis.  You want to name their best record I’d say “…Play Nine Songs with Mr. Quintron.”  There are gospel songs on it and everything.

I was working at the call centre.

Let me be more specific: it was year two of four and a half at the call centre. It was month eighteen of fifty-six.I was in between not getting laid for several years and getting married. I don’t know what their deal was. Maybe they were trying to have a child.

I’m assuming it was the landlady’s brother. She was a crone, he was a hick. That was my initial assessment. Let me be more specific: she had a hunched back and wore granny glasses and was probably in her early forties. He drove a huge goddamn pickup truck and wore a red-checked flannel jacket every time I saw him and lived in the apartment overhead. Probably he was in his mid-thirties. 

I was twenty-five. My favourite bands were Leatherface and the Cramps and The Oblivians. Come to think of it that is still pretty much the case.

It was war.

The Mr. Qunitron album is excellent.

I had this great turntable and some OK speakers.

One time they banged on the ceiling. It was a “shut the fuck up” kind of thing. It was twelve thirty. I guess I can understand. Then they started to fuck. I played “Mary Lou” and “What’s the Matter Now”. The next night they banged again except it was only eleven-thirty. I blasted “I Want to Live the Life” at them, and “Repeater” and “Fill Your Boots”.  I’d receive messages from the rental-crone asking me to keep the volume down.  At that point I wasn’t answering my phone much and would get a message from her days after the fact. Hers was one more bill I didn’t need to pay.

I never heard from them upstairs but I heard them. After I heard them I made sure they heard me.
We never discussed it face to face.

I’d like to say there was a big climax or something but there wasn’t. I played Trio and Turbonegro and Rollins Band for awhile. I don’t know if she got pregnant or if they broke up or what. The monster-ass truck never left the parking lot. A few weeks after our war I met the woman who’d marry me.

She can’t stand punk rock.

I’d like to think we didn’t disturb the neighbors when she came over but honestly I don’t care if we did.

Jay MacLeod is from Vernon BC. He drives a Chevy truck most everywhere. This week he celebrated his third year of marriage.