Tuesday, August 31, 2010


By Barry Graham
"You can spend the night beside her, and you know that she's half crazy, but that's why you wanna be there" – Leonard Cohen 
          All months are secretly October. She has that kind of power. She’s all food and drink. Eggplant parmesan and vegetarian nachos and iced tea and diet coke. Gallons of it. The shit can’t fall down her throat fast enough. It’s the pills she pops that causes that kind of appetite. Unquenchable she says while she sweats maple syrup and yanks on my bottom lip when she kisses me and I’m not sure if I like it until I feel my dick get hard against her leg and then I’m certain I do like it, but she feels it too and stops kissing me and pushes my face away like it’s my fault she’s there and the bed bugs are biting through her socks but she can’t leave because her car’s three towns away and I’m holding out on giving her cab fare until she tells me why her skin smells so much like pancakes even though it tastes like aspirin when I lick it. It’s the seizures she says, the goddam seizures and the pills, thirteen pills. She told me all their names but I forgot them. That wasn’t part of her charm. Her charm was consuming things that never belonged to her and reminding you you’re not good enough to be as close to her as you are and all of this is my fault. She promised me it will always be October and I believed her. This story is not about bed bugs.

          I want to keep kissing you all night, but I’m so sleepy. Lay here and don’t do anything to encourage me she says then she pulled her shirt up and flatbacked and her tits were small even when I tried squeezing them together and she smoked three joints and bitched between every hit because only niggers and hippies still roll joints, she says even though she kept rolling them but didn’t consider herself either and her intention was to make me feel like shit because I’m the one who bought the Zig Zags even though I don’t smoke unless I’m peer pressured then I smoke until I’m really high and just pretend to hit it the rest of the time instead of simply saying no. This isn’t me she says, it’s all functional and I pinch her left nipple until she winces, then, I know baby. I know. Even though I have no fucking idea what she just said and I’m not sure if I’m supposed to or if she’s crazy or if its all part of her magic but that isn’t likely because her magic never includes making me feel good. 

          The bill for lunch was fifty-six dollars. Just order it, I’ll pay she said and her Visa was blue and pink and Hello Kitty but she couldn’t find it when the delivery guy showed up and she couldn’t turn the light on or take her panties off or get out of bed to shower. It’s the pills, she says, the goddam pills and I miss her now that she’s gone and she wasn’t gone then but I still missed her. I quit heroin cold turkey, she said, cold fucking turkey. I can do anything. I’m a fucking superhero. And she was and she ate two bites of her sandwich and a handful of french fries and drank three extra large diet cokes one after the other and made me throw away the rest in a small trash can with no bag sitting on the shitty blue carpet beside the TV that wouldn’t change for three days through Cartman and Colbert and Zach Galifianakis and we laughed and kissed and I sucked on her tongue when I caught up with it and clenched it between my teeth until she smacked my face then I did it again and she put my hand between her legs on the outside of her jeans and I wouldn’t rub it because she wouldn’t take them off and she pulled her shirt back down and her neck smelled so good, not just pancakes but buttery pancakes left saturated overnight in generic syrup and she’s not here and I miss her and she wiggled her hips. Lay down bitch, she says. Did you just call me a bitch I say and she ignores me and presses her palms against my shoulders and I look out the window through the mirror behind the TV and the leaves are falling and it’s still October and I get out of bed and chop carrots and zucchini and potatoes and broccoli and add them to the stew already stewing in the crock pot. 

          Come back over here and cuddle with me, she says and I do because the lights are off and she’s a superhero and her car’s still three towns away and I still haven’t given her cab fare. What were you thinking calling me a bitch, I say. Haven’t you ever wanted to do that, just grab someone and roll them over and call them a bitch, she says. I thought about it and wasn’t sure if I agreed or disagreed but her goddam skin makes me hungry and now I know what feeds her appetite. Better pancakes than heroin. At least for her sake and I felt her fill a needle with junk and stick it through her syrupy skin and shoot it into my brain and I saw the spot of blood trickle from my skull onto the pillowcase and felt her soft red hair come to rest against my chest with her ear against my heart. I’m a fucking superhero she said again because my thoughts were too loud and she told me about shooting up orange soda in a bathroom stall at an elementary school in North Jersey a half an hour before she chaperoned her niece’s field trip to the state house and I told her about my father beating a man to death with a tire iron at an intersection during a snowstorm in ’82. I used to write speeches she said and she pulled up her right sleeve and showed me 118 tattooed on her forearm which stood for the number of democratic seats in the state legislature and I pulled up my sleeve and showed her my Corinthian cross tattoo and praying hands and I told her Jesus saved my soul because it’s true and because she’s Jewish and I like saying that to Jewish women. Won’t that number change I said, the 118, doesn’t it change all the time and she hated me for saying it but she kissed me and pushed my face away harder than any of the times before and said yes, but they can never take that fucking minute from me, that one fucking minute and she grabbed my iced tea from the bedside table and drank it in one swallow and the leaves were still falling outside and through the window I watched through the mirror and I flipped her over and called her a bitch and she laughed at me and told me that’s not how it works but she wouldn’t tell me how it does work. 

          I worked for the goddam governor she said. Don’t you remember, that’s how we met? We never met until this morning but I wasn’t sure why she pretended not to know that or who she thought I was or wanted me to be. A friend of mine told me about her and she emailed me out of the blue and asked if she could come see me and I told her yes and we walked right passed each other on the sidewalk and stopped after five steps and turned around and looked at each other and she hugged me like she knew me forever and maybe she did and she kissed me and followed me to the bar even though she wouldn’t drink. It’s the pills, she says, the goddam pills then it made sense why she drove from Trenton to Camden to meet someone she might have just met. I’m having a fucking breakdown. Ice my head down, please baby, please ice my head down and I iced her head down and she told me she knew it was me as soon as we passed each other and that’s why she stopped and she knew that I knew it was her and that’s why I stopped and that’s when she told me it will be October for as long as I wanted it to be and I said I wanted it to be forever and she took a bite of her nachos and licked my top lip and I tasted the salt from her chips and I paid the bill with cash and called a yellow cab that never came so I called Al’s cab and they came fifteen minutes late and she held my hand and asked me for my jacket which I gave her. I kept the ice on her head the whole way home and after it melted I froze it again and put it back on but it came open while we slept and the water soaked our pillows and shirts and blankets and even then she wouldn’t take her clothes off but I didn’t mind because by then I didn’t want her to.

          Quit your fucking snoring she said. It’s my bed I said. You’re bed? You want me to hit you in your mouth? Not really I said, can you make it my nose? I have to use my mouth for work. I’m sorry baby, I wouldn’t really hit you she said, but really, quit the fucking snoring already. I couldn’t stop and she flipped and flopped and grabbed my neck and put me in a headlock and forced my lips against her skin and I tasted heroin and she told me to kiss her all over and I did and she rubbed her hips against my dick then rolled as far over on the opposite side of the bed as she could without falling off. But really, quit the fucking snoring already. She told me her mother made her father sleep alone in the guest bedroom because he never stopped snoring and I told her my father came home from the bar after getting jumped by four bikers and woke my mother up to load his shotgun and when she ignored him and tried to sleep and wouldn’t stop snoring he beat her on the side of the head with the butt of the gun until her left ear stopped working. My mother filed for divorce when I was twelve she said. My father never fucking got it. My father’s in prison and my mother’s dead I said. My father never got it either. She stopped bothering me about the snoring and the bed bugs penetrated her socks and started up her ankles and calves and I kissed her on the top of her hand and she smiled and the leaves were still falling and the stew was still cooking in the croc pot. 

          I don’t want to leave but I have to baby, I’m starting a new job in the morning. I’m working for myself she said. I scooped two bowls of stew and handed one to her and I ran my plastic spoon down the center of her chest and around her nipples and stirred in her sweat before I took a bite and I kissed her when my mouth was full and she turned her head so I let the stew fall from my mouth down the side of her cheek and I licked it off and she put her head back down on the pillow and took off her shirt and unzipped her pants and dumped her stew on her stomach and the juice pooled in her belly button and I slurped it up and she pushed my face further down and she’s a superhero so she pushes me away. Oh, my head baby, please get more ice for my head she said and a drink please get me a drink. I gave her more iced tea and rubbed her head down with ice until it melted and I leaned in close and kept my lips pressed against her skin. I need a fucking shower. Why’d you dump this shit all over me she said. I handed her a small white towel and she asked how long we’ve known each other. Since October I said it will always be October. It’s the pills, she says, the goddam pills and the lights are off and I found her Hello Kitty Visa on the floor beside her purse and she kisses me and pushes me away and her head and her hands start to shake and I curl beside her and pet her hair which is slowly getting sweatier and I turned the TV off and there was only darkness. 

          My parents aren’t really divorced she said. My mother’s not really dead I said and we both laughed and her bangs are wet and I brushed them out of her eyes before I looked at her. My father doesn’t even snore she said. I know I said I’ve met him, remember and she closed her eyes and nodded her head and the bed bugs had her wrists and arms bitten and she scratched the bites until they bled. Come back over here and cuddle with me, she says and I tell her I’m still here. Why can’t I feel you she says and I kiss her on her bottom lip and bite and pull it but she can’t feel and none of us can feel and I’m not sure if we were ever meant to and neither does she and she says so before I do which is one of her charms. What can I do for you baby, what can I do I say. I could really use twenty dollars for a cab she says and I hand her a twenty. I feel like a prostitute she says. Prostitutes take their panties off I wanted to say but didn’t. I kissed her on the cheek and called a yellow cab that never came so I called Al’s cab and they came fifteen minutes late and she held my hand and I kissed it. All months are secretly October she whispered into my mouth and the leaves outside were falling as I watched her walk away. 
Barry Graham teaches writing at rutgers university and he wrote the national virginity pledge. His favorite word is sandwich. Look for him online at www.barrygfunk.blogspot.com

Monday, August 30, 2010


 by Isabelle Gray

I want you to sit in the first row, right where I can see you. Don’t be coy. You’re too smart for that. We both know it. Wear something low cut. I want to see as much of you as possible. Bare yourself for me in plain sight. Give me that. Give me everything. When I look your way, pull your shirt just a bit lower, let me remember the smell of the warm, slightly sweaty skin between your breasts that holds the scent of your perfume so well. I’m going to perform for you. I’m going to look so good doing it. I’m going to deliver the kind of lecture that will keep your classmates buzzing in their seats even after class has ended. That’s the kind of teacher I am. I command attention. Your classmates won’t want me to stop. You won’t want me to stop.  I’m going to step out from behind my podium and I’m going to talk with my hands and I’m going to make charming jokes and I will make eye contact with the frat boy in the back row who is staring at me with bright eyes and the overachiever in the eighth row who is frantically typing my every word into her laptop while fidgeting in her seat because I won’t look at her the way I look at you.

Every so often, I’m going to look at you the way I look at you. You’re going to want to look away but you won’t. You will not look away. I won’t stop talking. I will pace toward you and then I will stop. I will stand so close our knees will touch and I’ll look out toward the rest of the class and I will make an important point. As I move away, I’m going to brush my fingers across your knuckles. My touch will be light but you will feel me.  

When you come to my office I smell you. You always linger. I never allow anyone into my office for hours after you leave. I don’t want them to disturb your absence. We are very good at tormenting each other. We sit across from one another. We say one thing and mean another and pretend we aren’t having two conversations at once. Students stop in to ask questions and I provide them with answers. They are always oblivious to the electricity wrapping itself around and between us as we hide in plain sight because we’re both young and as such, we are sheltered from the cliché we could be under different circumstances.  

Twice a week, we meet in a motel. You always arrive first. The keys are the old-fashioned kind with a large hard plastic diamond keychain bearing the room number.  As I drive to you twice a week, I run my thumb over the firm imprint of the room number until it feels smooth. We stay in Room 33. It is our room. I pay to rent the room year round. The cost is outrageous but the room is a worthy investment. I don’t want anyone to disturb our absence. I often find you watching television, sitting against the headboard, naked, your knees pulled to your chest. When you look up at me, you spread your knees apart. You say, “Teach me something.”  

I step out of my shoes and crawl onto the bed. I press the palms of my hands against your inner thighs and spread you wide open. I kiss the inside of your knee and draw my lips toward your cunt. I take my time to teach you patience.  I touch you everywhere but where you want my touch most. I kiss your shoulders and your collarbones, which are sharp against my lips. I drag my tongue along the undersides of your breasts. As I lie on top of you, my body sinking into yours, your hands find mine. Our fingers lace together and I can feel your pulse throbbing into the palm of my hand. I am rough, to teach you humility.  I take your hair in my hand and pull your head back, watch the muscles of your neck stretch and strain. I watch your shoulders drop as you resist then surrender. I slide my other hand beneath your body, push my fingers against your spine. I sink my teeth into your neck and pull at the skin and bite until I taste blood. I make a necklace of red and purple bruises and admire the beauty of your broken skin. When you moan, I teach you kindness. I hold your wrists over your head, and slide two fingers inside you, then three and four and feel how you hold me inside you, how you pulse, how you are hot and wet and whole.  

When you are trembling, and your body is covered in a thin sheen of sweat. When your voice is frightening and low and I can see anger in your eyes. That’s when I teach you about desperation. I tell you to beg. I teach you how I want you to beg, shamelessly, extravagantly. I tell you what terrible names you should call yourself and as you say them, I explain what they mean. I explain you are mine. I still don’t give you what you want. I teach you about what you are able to endure. I tell you to get on your hands and knees. I push you down so your leaning on your elbows. I press a firm hand to the back of your neck to hold you down. I drag my fingers along the backs of your trembling thighs. I teach you about the ugliness of the sounds you can make. I raise my hand high in the air then bring it down on your ass. I teach you about punishment. I make you pay for all those times when you are not with me, for all the things we can never be. I don’t stop until my arm tires and your skin is so hot it burns me. I mark you to teach you possession. You never protest. I never ask about how you explain the memories of me I leave on your body. You never ask about how I explain the memories of you left on my body. When I finally fuck you, I take you from behind. I feel your body open to me. I close my eyes and try to make this last as long as I can. Just before I come, I tell you to get on your back. You lock your ankles against the small of my back and hold me deep inside you and finally I am gentle. We kiss and your mouth is sweet and warm and it breaks my heart. Sometimes, there are tears in your eyes and streaming down your face and taste them. When we come, I teach you about love. I hold you.  

The weekends are the hardest—getting through two days without seeing you in the front row of my class or sitting on my office couch with one leg crossed over the other or smelling you or hearing you laugh in the distance—is nearly impossible. I go for long runs while listening to loud music that makes my ears ring. I push myself until my chest feels like it’s going to break open because my heart is pounding so hard. I stop and stare into the sun until the world explodes into a shower of white light and then I start running again. I try to sweat you out of my skin. You are a drug. When I am not with you, I have no desire to speak to anyone at all. I do not want to disturb your absence. 

Isabelle Gray's favorite word in the English language is not a word but a name and she will not share it with you. Her second favorite word is fuck in both it's positive and negative connotations.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Starting Over

by Robert Vaughan

What the hell is the matter with this town? Nobody ever knows their way. They’re  
all clueless. Better yet, why can’t I leave? Because I have the money, and the  
Mustang. It’s mine, not his. And I have the freedom since the caterer fired me last  
Friday. So, is he the reason I stay?  

I’m not willing to say it’s over. I see them together on the golf course, or at  
Bewley’s Bar & Grill. She glares at me like I’m pathetic, like I’m a piece of shit.  
Fuck her. What she doesn’t know is he still sneaks over here when he’s wasted.  
Tells me he’s addicted to me, can’t quit.  

Aw, screw this. Maybe I’ll leave today. Head south. Start over.

Robert Vaughan’s plays have been produced in N.Y.C., L.A., S.F., and Milwaukee where he resides. He leads two writing roundtables for Redbird- Redoak Studio. His prose and poetry is published or forthcoming in over 50 literary journals. He was interviewed about Flash Fiction by WUWM’s Lake Effect. His work is included in 6S MIND GAMES anthology. He is a fiction editor at jmww magazine and his favorite word is peace. His blog: http://rgv7735.wordpress.com.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

raw, unfiltered 100% totally pure punchline

by Peter Schwartz

laugh with me and I become your silkworm.

laugh at me and I become your poison porpoise.

either way, I’d really like it if you laughed.

Peter Schwartz's poetry has been featured in The Collagist, The Columbia Review, Diagram, and Opium Magazine. His latest collection Old Men, Girls, and Monsters was released as part of the Achilles Chapbook Series. He is an interviewer for the PRATE Interview Series, a regular contributor to The Nervous Breakdown, and the art editor for DOGZPLOT. His favorite word is "YES"; his least favorite is "NO".

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


by Siobhan Glass

    “Come back and get yr water bottle and lets play”.  Text received at 10:19 am the morning after a night of shenanigans.  Lets play.  For some reason the child like deliverance of this sexual invite only makes me fantasize harder about the person who sent it.  I think about the excellent music collection he has, and the dancing that could be done, and the laughing, and the sex.  The incredibly playful and possibly violent sex all over his apartment because the roommates are at work.  I am addicted to these thoughts.  Once they begin, I can’t stop them.  

     At a party one time I grabbed a pair of scissors and jabbed them to his neck and told him I wanted to play with knives.  My friend and I were into knife play at the time.  Or at least the idea of it. He grabbed the scissors from me and gently glided the blade down my face, sending a thrill through my soul.  I thought about this the night before too, at the party.  The party where we locked eyes on the staircase.  The party where he pushed me against the wall on the stairs and kissed me over and over.  The party that his girlfriend was at.  The party I left my favorite water bottle at.  I left it on the roof after letting some girl drink some water.  She was very drunk and very thankful for the water. 

    It's kind of funny to me that I even had a bottle of water on me.  “Water is for FAGGOTS”, I had screamed at a drunk bitch in the past, as I swayed side to side with a giant bottle of Jim Beam clutched in my hands.  I used to pass out in my winter coat and boots because I was too drunk and proud to take them off.  I only would drink water as an afterthought, to heal the pain of the night before.  But I’d still prefer to ease the pain with another beer, or a cocktail, or a few cups of strong coffee.  But that was then.  Now, I carry a water bottle, and I rarely get raging drunk.  I miss it.  That morning I thought to myself, “I miss my old life.”  Then I fantasized more about him.  I thought about 2 years ago when we made out at another party, but how it was ok then because there was no girlfriend. I had sought him out at work.  It was his first week.  I liked his eyes.  They were kind of squinty.  I asked him to keep a look out for a book about gypsy’s for me.  Then I told him to come to the party in Williamsburg later, off the Graham L stop.  At Liz’s friends house.  I was so excited.  I bought a personal bottle of clear Bacardi rum and kept it in my back pocket, thinking it looked cool.  I pulled it out to swig out of it in the kitchen at this party.  I dropped it and it smashed into a billion tiny shards of glass.  The place was covered in glass and rum.  I cleaned it up then marched over to him.  Mike.  We started dancing, which turned to making out all over the party.  We made out all over the party until everyone else was gone.  

    I went to his house one night after a heavy pre-gaming session with my best friend.  My lust took me from Greenpoint to Gowanus.  I got lost when I got off the subway.  He came to meet me.  It was cold.  I think it was fall.  We went to his room and drank a huge bottle of Svedka, played records, and made out.  We got naked and rolled around on his air mattress on the floor.  We didn’t have sex.  We never ended up having sex.  It was almost like a game of anticipation.  The desire was so heavy, but it never got to the climax.  I like to think after years of build up that it will be a tsunami that I’m incapable of understanding until it happens.  The imagination can only go so far.  Back to reality.  Not.   I thought about him pushing me into the wall for a few hours as I rolled around in bed, trying to drink enough water to ease my blurred vision. I think about going to pick up my water bottle.

Siobhan Glass lives in New York. Her favorite word is Gowanus.

Monday, August 23, 2010

On The Rocks

by Joseph A. W. Quintela

When Marty spoke the words froze instantly, transformed into tiny white spheres that rained like pebbles onto the hardwood floor with a pleasant atonal flourish.

It wasn’t cold. It was June, in fact. The mercury skyrocketing. Blood coursing at a boil through any given vein. Everywhere, reckless bouts of summer love blossomed. But not here. There was none of that here. Just two once-lovers and a stretch of thick, remorseless butcher’s block table wedged between.

The restaurant was otherwise empty.

Nothing to say here. As the night dragged on, he spoke with the utmost eloquence. Move along. Telling her the tale of the time he’d walked through the hills of Scotland and thought only of her. There’s nothing to say here.

Her face was a mirror. He just wouldn’t shut up.

Lara reached to the floor, taking a crystalline word between her thumb and index finger and holding it up to her eye like a jeweler. But for a moment. Then, she dropped it unceremoniously into her lowball of smoke scented 12 year-oldHighland single-malt. She took a long, slow sip, savoring the flavor of cold stones and fire water. The Scots had done it this way for centuries. A quiet little miracle.

She would fuck him tonight. But it would be the last time.

Joseph A. W. Quintela knows two things: 1.) The hard part is life. 2.) The easiest part is living. He is fascinated by the fact that his favorite word and his least are separated by nothing but semantics. (http://www.josephquintela.com/in-writing)

Always Read The Label

by Vaughan Simons

You get methodical. Get yourself a methodology. Packet open. Always read the label. Strip pulled from packet. Read the label again, just to double check. Try and remember. How did you used to do this? You know? Before? The label will say, the label will tell you, the label will keep you coldly informed. So read. 

Oh, a moment. A fleeting remembrance. It’s coming back. Will there be any side effects? Not that you recall, because this one was at least better than the other one. Suddenly you want to call a fellow sufferer, a fellow swallower, out of the blue, so that you can shoot the breeze about symptoms or sweats, surges or sickness, just to put off the dreadful deed for one unmedicated minute more. 

Read the label, because those objective phrases of medicinal terminology will reassure you. Odd little whites, isolated against corruption and infection by a peeling metallic skin. Push against the plastic to release the foil and then, damn, a cut to the fingertip. How can such a harmless shiny material sting so deeply, drawing blood? Pull yourself together. It’s nothing more than a dot, a spot, a scratch. Shake your hand and clench your fist. Clench and unclench, bent fingers digging into palm. Not now, please. Don’t interrupt this process. Don’t disturb this ritualistic tea ceremony of toxins. 

Tip of the tongue. Here it is, at last, sat on the tip of the tongue. A brief gulp of almost indecision, a gulp downwards, a soothing gulp of cold water. Promise it will be more tranquil, if not entirely tranquilised? Promise it will numb, even if it can never completely deaden? Promise it will just make everything better? 

Not everything, no. You know that’s unrealistic. Only some things. Even one thing. One thing will do. One thing will suffice for now. Could you and your odd little whites come to some kind of agreement, located midway between remarkable panacea and simple crutch? 

You turn the packet over in your hand as your bloodstream pulses a long lost welcome. Read the label one more time, then sit and wait for the promise contained within its emotionless words to take effect.

Vaughan Simons lives in London with a prosthetic limb, which is fortunate as it means he doesn’t have to hop everywhere. He exercises and exorcises his unfortunate imagination at An Unreliable Witness (http://unreliablewitness.com), and he used to edit “writing about writing” site Writers’ Bloc (http://writers-bloc.net). He hates the word “chafe” with a passion, but can’t stop writing it or saying it so that he can screw up his face as he does.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

plan a to plan b

by James Mannix

to start
all these words are
stolen but what
isn't stolen at
this point in the circus?
if you aren't a thief
you are a
shmuck. that doesn't
go to say that i
am not a shmuck.
the point. sunday.
loitering in my mind is
a bug that should not
be here. not today.
the fact
that i am noting it in
poem makes me feel
as art fag as they come.
that doesn't go to say i am not
an artist
or a fag.
losing pace.
she is not worth a spot
in digital type.
so why the spot so big and cancerous
in my rotting melon?
the sex isn't good.
comparable to fucking
a dead cancerous
rotting melon.
i cum in her 2 times sober.
1 time drunk.
i tell her this after.
shes says:
are you trying to have a kid?
i say:
listen you stupid little cunt
they make skittles
you can eat
to evaporate this problem.
it cost me $40 at Rite Aid.
how many have i really
and how many
of those skittles
were eaten in vain?

James Mannix is a graduated art student. He is qualified to wash dishes. He loves whiskey. He loves whiskey so much that he will probably have to stop drinking it very soon. He is very new to writing and reading for that matter. He has had sex with more girls in his life than books he has read from start to finish. This doesn't go to say he has huge fuck numbers, more like he has low book numbers. He does love to fuck  too, if he didn't already mention this. Is this also a dating site? Favorite words: Insinuate, Twat, Azucar. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Little Bitch

by Ryder Collins

These are the things Homegirl remembers from that night; these are not the only things that happened and some of them may not have even happened cos Homegirl’s been so drunk she’s hallucinated from the drink like Toulouse-motherfucking-Lautrec at least twice before that night, so it’s possible some of it’s all made up.

It’s possible but I know it’s not made up.

It was supposed to be a special night, so you know Homegirl shoulda known shit wasn’t gonna go down right or that the shit was really gonna go down. I mean, Homegirl’s cried consecutively on all her birthdays, her 1st through her 26th, except her 24th.

She got laid that night; she doesn’t usually get laid on her bday.

The anticipation, the build-up might have led to all this. Or the fact that Richboy is one sick fuck. But, Homegirl’s still kinda in denial on that one. At least until she sees the damage done.

She went to his apartment to pick him up. There was a chick there, in his kitchen, with a big glass of wine and pinot noired lips. Homegirl immediately bristled and immediately tried to hide her reaction; both Richboy and this new chick saw it, tho.

The chick was really thin with straight hips and big big titties; Homegirl was jealous. Homegirl’s tits were more than nice but she was curvy like a real woman and not anorexic or boylike, and Homegirl’d been picking up vibes from Richboy lately about her form. Plus, just who the hell was this chick and what was she doing in Richboy’s place?

Homegirl, Richboy said, meet Roomy.

They shook hands.

She’s my new roommate, Richboy said.

Homegirl wanted to say, Did your trust fund dry up?

Homegirl wanted to say, Where’s the bitch sleeping? But, she said nothing. She was always and always like that around the men she really liked. Anyone else she’d tell to fuck off or wouldn’t give the time of day to; she could ignore a motherfucker so hard it hurt like you got kicked in the nuts. But, if she really really liked someone she’d be all passive and sincere.

It could be a complete turn-off.

I had to give up my office, Richboy said.

These things are the things Homegirl really remembers cos she only had a swig of Jameson’s from the bottle before she went to pick Richboy up. She knew better but she’d gotten nervous picking out the right dress. Everything’d looked so gaudy and tight.

Richboy handed her a tallboy of Hamm’s. I’m trying to get the hipsters to drink this instead of Pabst, he said.

Homegirl should have taken that crap as a sign and left then. Instead, she popped the can open and chugged to show her skills. Roomy took a petite sip of pinot; Richboy opened himself another Hamm’s. It was already his fourth tallboy, but Homegirl didn’t know that.

How do you know Richboy? Homegirl asked Roomy.

Craig’s list.


Yeah, she said. There was an ad for a roommate who drinks and reads. That’s all it said and I was intrigued.

Really? Homegirl looked at Richboy.

Yeah. Richboy rubbed his hairy chest. He was wearing his shirt unbuttoned low like he wanted to be a 70s pornstar and/or Nick Cave.

This convo Homegirl remembers, this and dinner where she ate awkwardly around Richboy and he insinuated something about her curves she thinks and she ended up paying cos it was in celebration of his story getting published, a story in which a character not unlike her has a small part where she masturbates with a blue umbrella under a park bench and all Homegirl could think when she read it was oooh spiny or oooh expandable; he hadn’t described the umbrella so she imagined both an old-fashioned pointy one and a boxy collapsible one, whichever it was way too public and possibly too painful for her masturbatings.

Homegirl has always and forever wished there was a female equivalent to the term “whacking off.” She’s used whacked off in texts to Punkboy, cos she can tell him anything, but it always and always makes her feel kind of butch.

She likes to be the woman, even with other women.

But, like I said, these are the things she remembers.

& she remembers a lame writing workshop party where there was talk of tazing old ladies and there was talk of zombie literature. She and Richboy got the hell out of there quick.

But not before he stopped her in the art deco looking almost The Shining apartment hallway and said, I’m a lone wolf.

She imagined twins on trikes knocking into his shins again and again. Maybe she wanted to be one of them or maybe this memory is flavored by what’s to come.

They went to a bar and they talked and Richboy said he should call his new roommate cos she didn’t know anyone in Miltown and Homegirl said fine but really she didn’t want him to so when he didn’t she was happy that she had him all to herself among the drunks at the bar.

They went back to his place and Roomy was still up, still sipping wine.

Even tho she knew better, Homegirl said, Give me a glass of wine.

That’s when things went a little blurry.

Homegirl remembers Richboy opening a jug of cheap wine and she and Richboy drinking it and getting Roomy to drink it, too, even tho she’s a wine snob, supposedly. She remembers Roomy saying, I’m going to bed. She remembers hanging out with Richboy on his balcony. She remembers looking down and thinking about jumping or not jumping, but not thinking about either option very deeply and not caring either way. She remembers Richboy leading her into his bedroom or maybe she led him in. She remembers making out with Richboy and then she has no panties on and only her merry widow.

She remembers Richboy stopping and saying, The media has conditioned me.

She remembers stopping and almost sitting up and saying, The media has conditioned you what?

She remembers him saying something about how she’s too big for him. Too fleshy or something. She vaguely remembers hitting him and he has his hands all over her curvy thighs and they are scuffling but in a kind of not good way.

It could go bad.

It could go good.

Then he’s kissing her and saying something about joking or at least that’s what she thinks he said for her to let him tie her up after that.

She’s tied up and she lets him do whatever to her.

She’s tied up and he finally puts his big cock in her and they fuck and she cums and she thinks something about him and how she wants to protect him from him and how she wants to protect him and how can she protect him and how can she protect him when she’s got these rope restraints and how can she protect him.

He brings out a nurturing aspect in her that makes her want to punch him in the face.

She should have punched him in the face because that was the good part, the telling her she’s fat and the tying up.

After that it goes bad.

After that, he asks her, at one point, Are you a bitch like all the other little bitches?

That’s one of the few things she can remember. That and some woman, maybe Roomy, shoving something, some kind of plant – weed?, parsley? rosemary? thyme? – up her snatch.

Like she was Thanksgiving turkey.

Then she remembers weird dreams and/or weird chanting and shadows dancing and genuflecting and she’s tied up again and was she ever untied and she tried to give Richboy head and that’s when he said the bitch thing or maybe she tried to give him head later cos he was fisting Roomy and she was jealous but if she was tied up how could she even reach.

She remembers missing Punkboy. She remembers wanting him to protect her, somehow. And she remembers waking up in the morning and she was sick and bruised but free and Richboy and Roomy were nowhere and she knew they were gone; & she knew she was hurt and she knew she was hurting and bleeding and she knew the fetus, his fetus, their fetus, the one she’d told him about earlier this week, the one she was gonna stop drinking for, that fetus was gone.

Ryder Collins is working on a novel entitled Homegirl! Her fave word is still "hairshirt," and she thinks she may need to start wearing one soon to atone for all the people she's cared about that she's pushed or allowed to push her away. She can be found here: http://bignortherngirlgoes.blogspot.com/

Friday, August 20, 2010

Scraps (Writing Prompt: Fiction)

by Kevin Myrick

I sometimes miss the feeling of running my hand across your bare skin as we laid naked together on the futon in my tiny apartment. You used to wiggle under my touch and complain that “it tickles” before holding me down and kissing me lightly on the lips. That was a moment I used to live for when we were together. There are other things I miss too: The smell of your hair from the coconut shampoo you used to use, the way the necklaces you always wore around your neck jingled around the apartment, reminding me of Christmas. The smell of your freshly baked cookies. I especially miss your cooking.

You left because I was a drunk and a fool, unable to see myself in the mirror for who I really am. But you were never an angel yourself, always allowing me to continue further down the rabbit hole until finally I hit rock bottom.

The fight between us was all my fault. I came home drunk from a night out with my friends from work and then vomited in your laundry basket. You woke me up disgusted the next morning and threw the soiled clothes on top of me. “You smell that? That’s what happens when you go out.”

“You have no self-restraint. I honestly don’t know why I still care about you.”

I was hurt and shot back that you were just as irresponsible when it came to liquor and life. It was fine for you to party and get drunk. It was fine that you always come back to me whenever you get yourself into a crisis. You want me to be a shoulder to cry on when things go bad. I am not that shoulder, and if you don’t like it you can go away.

“Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out,” I said as I got up and put on my coat.

“Where are you going?”

“Anywhere but here,” I said.

I stumbled down the stairs and hung over as I was I must have looked like an old man with a broken hip. I ended up in the diner down the street flirting with a waitress and coating my stomach with greasy sausage and eggs. On the way home I stopped by the package store to buy a pint bottle of Jack Daniels to even me out. I drank it on the way home from a crumbled brown paper bag. As I staggered down the block I let my drunken anger get the better of me with innocent pedestrians and blamed them for all my problems.

Once home, I found that you’d left nothing more of yourself than a scrap of paper with a note on it as I fell onto the kitchen table. All it said was “I started to feel like a liar, saying I love you.”

I guess you couldn’t think of any other way to say it was through. And now I’m all alone again, nothing more than the bugs to keep me company as the scurry across the living room floor. I got drunk for two days straight and by the end of it decided that you were never worth it. And now I’m 12 years sober.

Kevin Myrick is a writer and journalist living in Rome, Ga. His work has been featured on 52/250, The Auburn Plainsman, The Auburn Circle and his website. He plans to release an e-book short story collection in October. Myrick’s last purchase was a can of Dr. Pepper from a vending machine.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


by Misti Rainwater-Lites

I do not feel comfortable telling you these things. If my mother finds out she will stop buying me tacos and pedicures. My friends will disown me. My son will Google my name someday and say,"Mommy is quite the whore." Still, I soldier on in my muddy bloody combat boots as this jungle of self-discovery and show & tell is the only terrain I know and trust.

I am addicted to masturbating to pictures of Faith. If you would like to see pictures of Faith simply Google "Faith Big Tits." She is British. She has big real tits and she wears an expression that makes me wish I had a dick.

I am addicted to the process of writing and revising and sharing and self-publishing and submitting to various online and print zines. I am addicted to taking pictures of toys, spiders, myself, garbage, food, murals, buildings, the wondrous world around me. I have asked my husband if I can take pictures of his cock and balls. He says NO.

I am addicted to driving and listening to "I Feel You" by Depeche Mode and fantasizing that the man I feel feels me, too. I know he doesn't feel me like I feel him but I enjoy deluding myself that he does. I am addicted to the words the mind the spirit of the man I feel. I am addicted to loving this man who does not love me back. I am addicted to sending him e-mail and gifts and snail mail. I was addicted to calling him but I deleted his phone number from my cell phone so that I will be less invasive in his life.

I am addicted to sniffing Pine-Sol and Kiwi shoe polish. Whenever I am shopping in Wal-Mart I make a beeline for the shoe section. I open up a tin of Kiwi black shoe polish and aaaahhhh...the angels sing. I do not open up a bottle of Pine-Sol, or haven't lately, as sniffing Pine-Sol gives me a nasty headache. I also enjoy spraying the glaze I used when I was making domino pendants into the air and sniffing the air. I also enjoy sniffing my funky arm pits.

I am addicted to Facebook. I am addicted to finding out which book of the Bible I am (Revelations), which famous dead writer I am (Oscar Wilde), which Peanuts character I am (Snoopy), chatting with Shane Allison, writing on Lara Konesky's wall and imagining that my male friends are in love with me based on my status updates and photo albums.

I am addicted to my blog. I am addicted to coffee. I am addicted to sodium. I am addicted to candy. I am addicted to YouTube. I am addicted to Ezra Pound and Federico Garcia Lorca. I am addicted to books. I am addicted to buying books and cds and dvds at eBay and amazon.com. I am addicted to my fantasy life. Someday I will live in a studio in the Mission district of San Francisco with long straight Cookie Monster blue hair and "How does my ass smell?" tattooed on my left arm in Sinhalese. I will be a burlesque dancer. I will be the darling of the poetry scene. Many people will wish to fuck me but I will not let them. Too, I will picnic in various parks. I will mostly eat Chinese food because I am also addicted to MSG and Chinese cookie fortunes.

Misti Rainwater-Lites encourages you to buy her books at lulu.com, especially Bullshit Rodeo, her most ambitious and fascinating novel to date. Her favorite word in the English language is chlamydia.

Writng Prompt: Fiction

by Geoff Munsterman

I took her virginity on my birthday. She took mine too, but never knew it. When I met Diedra, I was nineteen and a virgin but who the fuck would ever admit that. Unlike some, I didn’t invent a random girl or an ex who’d never warrant mentioning again. I had Elisha. She was Jewish, freckled, more outgoing and extroverted than me. Her sensitive nipples shrank from Kennedy dollars to dimes with the slightest flicker of my tongue. We’d been dating for three years after I saved her from a mosh pit at a rock festival. Before that, just friends. She took my virginity on Lundi Gras in the women’s bathroom of The Spellcaster Lounge. For prom, she bought a black single-strap dress and I rented a high-breasted three-piece charcoal tuxedo with a dark mint vest but our poetry teacher called us to go night fishing so we did that instead. I proposed in November, just after being accepted to schools up north. She’d been accepted to those good schools too, but chose the University of New Orleans because her pot dealer went there and gave her good rates. That night, inside the walk-in of the restaurant where she worked, she told me she’d been sleeping with her drug dealer. And his friends. And anyone he told her to sleep with. And there was video. She never held my grandmother’s depression-era ring—the only jewelry my mother’s family kept from then—and I didn’t speak to her until my first week of school in Ohio.

I don’t know why I told this lie. Part of me didn’t want to chase skirts. Part of me knew I could get away with it. Elisha was a good friend, but someone I could easily avoid for four years. Or a lifetime. I don’t know if this story helped make me more attractive to Diedra; it certainly allowed me to relate to women. I’d been hurt by a girl I loved—girls eat that shit up, even on a pudgy kid.

My dad died on October 7th. My first college girlfriend broke up with me on October 4th. We bonded over my sick dad and hers, two years dead. I probably could have fucked her after flying back to school from the wake. I spread my father’s ashes in the beginning of January and started dating Diedra at the end of January. Never took her out. Never cooked for her. We talked a lot, and watched Joe Versus the Volcano. She did visual art and I wrote poetry, so we collaborated on a project. The night I turned twenty, she showed up at my door in heels, a candy necklace, and a dress that fell off her body with the pulling of a string. All the girls in the dorm had massive bushes of pubic hair because the water pressure in the bathrooms were shit. I took her virginity. She took mine. I played the role of the experienced partner.

We dated eight months. I never took her out. I never cooked for her. All we did was fuck, but in a college as small as ours that constitutes a couple. I was grieving my father’s death and not being home for my mother—something my old man swore would happen. I hated all of my friends, who sat around talking about how awful they’d feel if their dad died. Everything was a blur, and to some extent still is. I wrote two books of poetry in four months, had my first real relationship, made the dean’s list, and can’t tell you a single moment from it except that I lost my virginity to a virgin who didn’t know I was a virgin. At some point, I must have said “I love you.” It didn’t even feel like a lie because, who the fuck was I? A dead man’s son? An artful and committed lover? A liar?

The last night before we left for home (she was Minnesotan and I am from Louisiana...fuck did I hate her accent—each ‘o’ was like getting hit in the face with an oar) we pushed my and my roommate’s beds together. It was a sweaty greatest hits of all the fucking we’d done that semester: tit-fucking, fingering, blowjobs, doggy-style, nipple biting, ass-licking, ball-sucking, hair-pulling, fondling, caressing, kissing. And I didn’t cum. In fact, I never came when we had sex. I’d fake orgasm when I felt her pussy drying up and hid the condoms. This last night of fucking I didn’t give up. She had twelve orgasms; and I know she had twelve because her left foot did this involuntary convulsion and the walls of her vagina tightened and pulsated. Virgins don’t know enough to fake that. Orgasm nine lasted ten minutes, and I didn’t cum. At least if I had lost my erection, we could have slept longer than the four hours we got.

There was talk of visiting each other but I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I didn’t care about her enough to show her the places in New Orleans I loved. I went home, which was like visiting a cemetery. I worked at a bookstore in the French Quarter. I edited my two books, which were both messes of raw grief and harsh barbs of verbs. Diedra sent me a letter about her mom and her job. I went to Airline highway and picked up a crackhead who, for sixty dollars and a six-piece chicken tenders with french fries from a gas station, sucked my cock. I came instantly, hard. The next day, I broke up with Diedra via text message. Two weeks later I evacuated to Ohio because Hurricane Katrina was heading up the Gulf. More blur. Another year lost. Diedra invited me to a party to show me how much she enjoyed sticking her tongue down another man’s throat, but instead of feeling jealousy or pity I wondered if the nappy crackwhore in too-tight demin was alive or dead. All the while remembering that she snickered when, with her mouth around my cock, I muttered, “I love you."

Geoff Munsterman is a bitter, lonely man. This story is dedicated to everyone who has accused him of having 'a martyr complex.' He has achieved less than he'd intended, and lives on the wrong side of the Mississippi River in New Orleans. The last thing hepurchased was a super grande mocha with five shots of espresso.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My Older Sister’s Advice

by Holly Jensen

An open relationship is like a game of chicken. There’s a winner and a loser, and losing involves wincing.

Never date your dealer. Hell, don’t even fuck your dealer.

If you return to a ransacked home, don’t think burglar, don’t think poltergeist. Think raccoon.

No, no. An open relationship is like playing tennis, cause love means zero. Cause it’s all about setting something just out of his reach.

Let’s see. Never try to snort anything through a bendy straw.

And never tell a man that you thought he was gay, even— especially— if you mean it as a compliment.

Wait, wait. An open relationship is a good chance to experience sadomasochism for anyone who has no interest in sadomasochism.

The most stubborn stain is a bloodstain. You have to get at them quick with the coldest water.

And, for God’s sake, if you’re going to be an alcoholic, have the good sense not to be a drunk.

Okay. Here. An open relationship is like a game of Russian roulette. The first round, you might make out okay, but, sooner or later, it’ll kill you.

Oh, and hell isn’t other people. Hell is just you.

Holly Jensen’s favorite word is love, and her least favorite word is love. She’s been in Folio (issues 5 and 16) and will be in PANK October 2010.

Monday, August 16, 2010

How To Be Honest

 by Carolyn Nash

Sometimes I say things to myself: That's the truth. Stop it stop it stop it. Or: You're alright. Or: Let it go. Things like that -- things that people are supposed to want to hear. I say them even though I am the only person in the room, even though they aren't things that I particularly want to hear.

If there are words in my mouth, I can't hear the ones in my head. That's the truth. So I say these things over and over again, as though they are prayers, as though the rhythm will mean something when the  words themselves fail.
I have to move, I have to move, I have to move. I'll scream it out loud to an empty bedroom until my voice sounds like cardboard tearing.

Or if you're all tender warmth beside me in bed, I'll just say NO NO NO. It must be scary to hear that sudden scream, if you have been sleeping next to me, trying to love me. But you never try to decipher "no." It's one of those words you either believe or disbelieve. It's a word that ends itself, like a suicide.

The thing I say most, though, is I love you. When no one's around, when I'm laying in bed alone. When I'm not thinking of anyone at all.
I love you! I'll say suddenly. And what it means is god please stop these thoughts, these terrible thoughts, please let these words that are supposed to change lives be enough to change mine.

There is a ghoul inside me, I told you once. I don't know if it will ever go away.

Now when I look at you in the half-dark and say I love you I don't know if I am saying it to you or saying it to strangle the ghoul, to stifle all those words in my head: the words that make me want to tear out my eyes just to set the voices free. I love you: maybe the sounds and shapes and depths are truly their own or maybe they are just a salve for the parts inside me that have ruptured. I don't know.

But when I told you about the ghoul, that was love.

That's the truth.

Carolyn Nash
is fasting for Ramadan. Her belly feels seared and torn, like an exploded tire. Her last purchase was a box set of Roald Dahl's complete works, translated into Indonesian. She writes here and you can follow her on Twitter here @idontwashmyhair.

Sex Education

by Eirik Gumeny

"Oh, God, Hope, baby, I love you."
      "Oh, God, Danny, Danny, oh God, oh God."
      "Oh, Jesus, baby, oh God."
      "Oh, oh, ohhhhhhhh, Danny, oh God."
      "Oh, baby, I'm coming, I'm coming."
      "Danny, God, so am I, so am I!"
      "God, Hope, Hope!"
      "Sweet fucking Jesus, Danny!  Danny!"
      Samantha clenched the pillow tighter to her ears, her arms twitching from the strain.  She was buried under two blankets, she was humming to herself, she was thinking about anything and everything else in the known universe.  But still she could not drown out the sound of her parents in the next room.
      "Oh, Danny, God, baby, that was amazing."
      "Oh, Hope, baby, I love you."
      "I love you, too."
      "How much do you love me?"
      "Oh, I dunno, about this much."
      There was giggling, Samantha could their bodies moving, rolling across the bed. 
      "Shit, wait, you don't think..."
      A thump, floorboards creaking -- her father walking out of his room.  Samantha could hear every step -- the thud of his heel, the smack of the ball of his foot, each toe that hit the floor amplified like hail on aluminum.  Creak, creak, stop.  A light knock at the door, knuckles barely brushing wood, the handle turning.
      "Sammy?  Honey?" her father whispered.
      Samantha stayed hidden in her sheets, didn't move, didn't so much as breathe. 
      Creak, creak, stop.
      "Goodnight, baby girl."
      Samantha knew her father would have kissed her forehead had he been able to find it.  Through her armor of blankets, she could feel his hand on her side, tender as it passed over her ribs and slipped away. 
      Creak, creak, creak.
      Her father closed the bedroom door and crept back to his room as quietly as a thunderstorm.
      "No worries," he said.  "She's out for the night, babe."
      "You sure?"
      "I'm sure."
      "Well, then, break out the Jolly Green Giant and see if you can't make me scream."
      Samantha twitched and repeatedly prayed for death.
Samantha's parents didn't sleep at all that night.  As a result, neither did Samantha.
      She stumbled out of her room sometime around noon, not entirely convinced her parents weren't simply going at it on the kitchen table. 
      Samantha peered cautiously into the kitchen.  She found her mom wearing her bathrobe and making waffles.  Her father was asleep on the couch in the living room, the Weather Channel muted on the television.
      "Morning, Sammy," said her mother.  "You sleep well?"
      "No," she replied, stepping into the kitchen.  "You and Dad are disgusting."
      "I heard you, Mom.  All.  Fucking.  Night."
      "Watch your mouth, young lady."
      "No God damned way, Mom," said Samantha, grabbing the orange juice from the refrigerator.  "Do you have any idea what I had to put up with last night?"
      "Sammy..." began her mother.  "You'll understand when you're older, honey."
      "I'm sixteen, Mom, I understand plenty.  You guys are just sick."
      "Sweetie, it's a beautiful act..."
      "Maybe at some point it was.  You two, though, you guys are just... just... kinky freaks.  Kinky disturbing freaks."
      "And what's wrong with being kinky?"
      Samantha choked on her orange juice, covered the counter with it.
      "Honey, I told you, you'll understand when you're older.  Sex can be fun.  It... well, it feels really good.  Especially when your father--"
      "Oh my God, shut up, please, Mom, please.  I am so sorry I brought it up."
      "No, no, I'm actually glad you did.  It's better to hear about all the things you can do now, rather than some day in the future when your boyfriend or your husband just springs it on you.  Take your father, for example.  Don't get me wrong, I love urinating on him, but the first time he asked?  I can't say I wasn't taken aback a little."
      "Holy shit, Mom."
      "But that's all part of it, the excitement of trying something new.  The uncertainty itself is kind of a turn-on.  And, over time, you'll learn that certain things feel better than other things, so, sometimes, you need to get creative, experiment, to see what you like best.  Sometimes that means doing things that other people--"
      "Stop, stop, please, Mom, please just stop.  I am so, so sorry."
      "No, don't be sorry.  It's OK.  What exactly did you hear last night, though?  I thought we kept it pretty vanilla.  Was it the 'put it in my ass' part, because I can explain that.  When your father's--"
      "Please, please just fucking stop."
      "Stop swearing, Samantha," replied her mother.  "And, well, no.  Sooner or later these things are going to come up.  Lots of girls your age are having sex.  You may as well know what you're getting into."
      "Oh my God, Mom, I am not getting into anything.  And I mean, like, ever.  You are so totally creeping me out.  Every time you talk, I start picturing you and dad and--"  Samantha shuddered.  "I am not going to be having sex for a very, very long time."
      "Good.  Now finish your waffles, honey."

Eirik Gumeny is the editor of Jersey Devil Press.  He once scaled the Empire State Building, only to be murdered by several bi-planes and a pretty girl. He was not happy about it. His favorite word is undoubtedly "motherfucker."  "Fuck" may be more versatile, but "motherfucker" is a lot more fun to say.