"DIRTY FISH" - peter schwartz

CICADA - maureen traverse


maureen traverse

The last time the cicadas climbed out of their underground burrows, drunk on sap and eager to mate, Carter was only seven years old. He had pinned the delicate creatures to his shirt like jewelry and declared himself an evil queen until one of the older boys had called him a fag.

Seventeen years later, a cicada crawled up Carter’s arm and whispered in his ear.

“Fag,” the cicada said.

Carter plucked it from his sleeve and stared into its eyes, two red beads like taillights retreating into the dark, the car of his latest ex-girlfriend.

“Quiet,” Carter said and crushed it.

Maureen Traverse recently received her MFA from Ohio State University. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

A MUSICLESS PLACE - drew kalbach


drew kalbach

We believe in the power of the library desk and the way its wooden sections create seconds of privacy. The bike cops keep their pant legs rolled in case of a high speed pursuit.

She decided the engagement was a waste of time; porcelain cups are about as useful as tonguing the garbage disposal.

You are not modern. The three-piece suit is not a symbol of one who professes to eat nothing but bland oatmeal.

We won’t leave this soil. The potatoes are planted, and what else is there but roots sucking moisture from dirt? The people in the other village spit snot onto their barn floors, then cover their roofs with hay.

In other areas, they gather all the singers into a large courtyard. A gunshot makes a perfect E flat, and the sound of a lute breaking against a tree is an A sharp major, though nobody is left to prove it.

Drew Kalbach lives in Philadelphia. He has a blog at:

HOME EUTHANASIA - ross brodie


ross brodie

I assisted the veterinarian with a home euthanasia. It was difficult finding the address amongst the pebble-dashed cubes that contained the underclass, but we found it.

A young dog, the size of a Shetland pony, panted on the plastic kitchen floor, its abdominal cavity full of peritoneal fluid - congestive heart failure; it needed to be killed. I raised the vein, the vet injected green dream. The man stayed in the living room, watching TV, the volume high. The woman was crying, holding the body. The lingering stale funk of cigarette smoke; a cheap mobile phone propped near an ashtray brimful of powder; the desultory fridge magnets; kitchen surfaces crusty; curtains lank; a neighbor’s window with a crucifix on the sill; they absorbed me.

The vet and I carried the monster out of the flat. I returned to the practice. I was asked by a nurse: “Is it a routine cremation or burial?” I had no idea. “What’s the dog’s name?” I hadn’t listened. The dog would remain in limbo, compressed at the bottom of the freezer until someone called and asked the questions.

Ross Brodie is a 30 year old veterinarian living in the North East of England. He has completed a novel, The Krewthedral. With his medical knowledge, voracious appetite for techno, and passion for reading, he is attempting to be a 'pata-physian' – the science of imaginary solutions, but with a turbo charged, megalomaniac energy he hopes will connect with the internet empowered generation.

BLACK LINES - bill barr


bill barr

I saw a jagged black line much like the torn edge of onionskin paper out of the corner of my eye in the kitchen one morning I was preparing the grapes. Rinse one, slice it in half, scoop out the seeds, squish a piece into my mouth when the black tear slipped across my peripheral vision against the backdrop of the sheer lace window dressing. I couldn’t catch one when I looked straight for it and I envisioned a rip in the universe then for a while thought it was the shadow of birds playing across the ground. It rekindled memories of hot summer days in our yard trying to find a happy medium between the melting and brainfreeze while eating popsicles in the sun and jets cruised overhead. We thought it good luck and great fun to catch a shadow of the passing planes so high above. We hear the roar. Look for the sun. Gauge the angle. Move shrieking to intercept it then shiver as the dark streak tore through us. That instant the melting won. We lick the sticky juice from our fingers a nd blink the black lines from our eyes.


"Dangerous Nights" - Peter Schwartz

EATING GLASS - luis c. berriozabal


luis c. berriozabal

You can't predict a patient eating glass, but you can't altogether be surprised when one does. After all, how many times have you read in the medical chart that a patient wants to off himself or herself by any means possible.

When that call comes in from the social worker, Mr. So & So ate a bunch of glass this morning, so he had to be sent to the hospital thirty miles away. You feel bad for the guy, but even worse for yourself. After all, you had plans on visiting Mr. So & So tomorrow. Now you have to spend more money on gas to see Mr. So & So at the hospital 30 miles further than the other hospital. You wonder if Mr. So & So could talk now. You wonder how on earth didn't someone stop him from eating glass. Why didn't they serve him water in a Styrofoam cup or a plastic cup?

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal’s chapbook, Keepers Of Silence, came out on December 20, 2007, from Kendra Steiner Editions. Luis was born in Mexico. He works in the mental health field in Los Angeles, CA. His first book of poems, Raw Materials, was published by Pygmy Forest Press. His first chapbook, Without Peace, was published by Kendra Steiner Editions. His next chapbook, Next Exit, will be the 100th chapbook published by Kendra Steiner Editions and will be co-authored by poet Ronald Baatz.



j.a. tyler

He cut a poem into the shape of a heart and put it where his real heart used to be.

He wears his hat backwards but it gives him headaches so he takes fistfuls of tylenol.

When he walks dryer sheets fall from his pant legs like crumpled rain.

He is in love now with a woman who is not his wife.

Other than that he has no friends or enemies.

But he is happy when the air is cold and blows through the open windows of an empty house.

Sometimes he can be quite charming.

There are times when he feels like maybe he is two or more people.

And those times run counter to the moments when he doesn’t exist at all.

He can be invisible but only to himself.

Everyone else sees him always in the corner or with his eyebrows pulled into a look of disdain.

He can’t control his movements anymore.

He is rapidly dissolving in a world like water to alka seltzer.

Among other publications, J. A. Tyler has recent work in Lamination Colony, Monkey Bicycle, Thieves Jargon, Underground Voices, & Word Riot. His debut novella is forthcoming from Ghost Road Press in 2009 and his prose poetry chapbook will be available soon from Trainwreck Press. He is also founding editor of the literary review Mud Luscious and a recent addition to the online editorial team at Pindeldyboz. Read more at

LEARNING THE HARD WAY - wayne scheer


wayne scheer

Alvin Rothstein thought of his wife. He wished he didn't because he was on top of Corva Glickman at the time.

He lifted himself on his arms so he could get a better look at Corva. The way her oversized breasts flopped and fluttered, shivered and swayed; this, he knew, was sin; this was adultery. The thought excited him.

He pressed harder into her, ready to bring his illicit adventure to its completion. But she was having none of that. Wrapping her legs tightly around him, she pushed and thrust, refusing to let go, even after he released his passion in a quick spasm of pleasure.

Alvin felt like a little boy made to smoke a whole pack of cigarettes so he'd never smoke again.

He tried praying to God for help, but instead he saw his wife's face again, laughing. "This is what you wanted, no?"

"No," he shouted. "No."

"Oh yes," Corva shrieked. "Yes! yes!"

After teaching writing and literature in college for twenty-five years, Wayne Scheer retired to follow his own advice and write. He's been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Best of the Net. Some of his work has appeared in Notre Dame Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, flashquake, Flash Me Magazine, The Internet Review of Books, Eclectica and Skive Magazine. Wayne lives in Atlanta with his wife and can be contacted at

BLUEBERRY - greg gerke


greg gerke

Bill Macam goes to work on a cloudy day and finds when he opens his lunch at noon to be missing the second blueberry granola bar his wife promised to add after they discussed how one would just not do. He complains to his co-workers and goes back to threading screws, burning with hunger. He doesn’t know how he makes it through the day but he does. When he gets home Bill finds his wife in bed with the second blueberry granola bar. She is naked and smoking a cigarette. After Bill, his wife, and the blueberry granola bar enter counseling they come to an agreement that one blueberry granola bar per day should be satisfying enough.

Greg Gerke currently lives in Buffalo. His work has or will appear in Fourteen Hills, Pedestal Magazine, Pindeldyboz, Hobart, Thieves Jargon, Eyeshot, elimae, and others. He is completing a novel set in Brooklyn. His website is