'DARK DAYS' - alyssa davis

A BROAD - scott akalis


scott akalis

Only 3 words. All he knows: No habla espanol. Streets smell of diesel smoke like daddy´s old tractor. Why so many stray dogs? No birth control, she says. For the first time he's white and tall. The sun burns his head. The ceiling bumps it. The bed is safe.

Scott Akalis
Straight Man
Richard Russo

EFFIGIES - eric bennett


eric bennett

You collect statues of Jesus. Line them neatly on every ledge in your shrinking flat. You arrange them – rearrange them until the order is right. One Jesus, two Jesus, red Jesus, blue.

You set the plastic sacred-heart Jesus on the mantle next to the-Lord-is-my-shepherd Jesus with bronzed lambs. You shift the three inch high replica of Michelangelo’s Pieta so their spoon-smooth faces capture the ambient light. You position, reposition, and position again until there’s a shape to the silence between you and the icons.

Even though you’re an atheist you believe in God. But you surmise he doesn’t believe in you. So, you gather his images and arrange them throughout the apartment. You require his manifest presence – his eyes on you.

You stand silent in the center of the room. Lift your hands shoulder high, palms out. Listen to the silent thunder of the Lord of hosts and know the statue alignment is ideal. Your mouth rarely smiles but inside your brain, you smile.

All eyes are on you. Reaching deep into your mouth and scooping out a prayer, you speak into the hush. You begin, “Now that I have your attention...”

BEARDED AND BEETLED - henry vauban


henry vauban

I grew a beard to hide the beetle in my mind or the other way around. Black dogs aren’t always lonely and not everything that looks lost is lost. Only $9.99 limited time only always ends up dusty yellowed plastic at a flea market with all the other broken watches.

I wear codeine on my post-surgery foot and beetle to the bathroom.

I dress like Peter Pan hit by a sedan and pincushion my belly against thrombosis.

The neighborhood cats are fat but never allowed indoors. My neighbor bangs and bangs his house green but my utility bills are rising and the windmills keep turning and the coal keeps burning and whatever happens at nuclear power plants isn’t slowing down either.

“Yo can I bum a cig?” some kid asks me on the street.

I am made of money and giving cigarettes to kids is cool.

The audacity of strangers with outstretched arms not even pretending to be broken down and ashamed to beg.

I take stock of my mustard jar drinking vessels. I’d give one to a polar bear for his coat.

I kiss glaciers. We are the same.

Henry Vauban
The Dictator is Drinking Alone
Amber Sparks

CTRL. ALT. RIOT GIRL - melanie williams


melanie williams

Disconnect, conclusion. Her lips an overdue rent check. Her bones the frame of my borrowed futon. Caution tape, her tongue. And green lights. Saying “go,” saying “later.” Saying nothing.

Melanie Williams
We Disappear
Scott Heim

WOMAN OF THE DAY - michael herman


michael herman

I'm a man, and I have needs. Yesterday, I'm walking to work. The sky is blue and looks like the sky. The grass is green, looking like grass. The tress, flowers, and plants—all looking like trees, flowers, and plants. It's early. On my way to work I find a ten dollar bill on the ground, then run into an old friend I haven't seen since high school.

"Hello, old friend," I say. "I haven't seen you since high school. You've aged, but you still look like you—as you should."

"Hello," my old friend says.

My old friend leads me back to her apartment. We talk. She makes me coffee, and we have sex. On my way to work again, I notice that the ten dollar bill is gone and ninety dollars is missing from my wallet. Everything still looking like it should—the sky, grass, trees, flowers, and plants. At work I can't help but think of my old friend. She hasn't changed since high school, but that's okay, because I like her just the way she is—as she should be.

Michael Herman
The Box Man
Kobo Abe

LYZ AND DUNCAN - lavinia ludlow


lavinia ludlow

This morning, my band mates discussed their relationship deal breakers.

“If he lives with his parents,” Joleen said.

“If he smokes,” Ella said.

“If he won’t eat out my ass.” Meet Lyz. She’s captain of her roller derby team. Enough said. Well, not exactly.

Apparently, Lyz used to be fat. Like really fat. Like needing the surgery fat but a few years ago she began puking up everything she ate instead. No one had ever seen her not fat, so after all that fat melted off, she became this hot girl who fronted an East Side punk band, and thereafter, she capitalized on ever opportunity that presented itself, in terms of what she wore, how she posed in pictures, who she hit on, who she allowed to hit on her, who she kissed, fucked, you get the picture.

She’s gone around with my best friend Duncan for months, and I’ve never once disapproved, but since her admission, I haven’t been able to look Duncan in the eye.

Tonight at the bar, he says to me,

“I have a funny taste in my mouth.”

I grip my bottle of Guinness Extra Stout and chug before he can ask for a sip.

Lavinia Ludlow
A Little Love Poem
Tony O’Neil



chelsea hogue

The retard that all of the other retards admired was Janel. She was only a little retarded. At the yard sale they were instructed to all hold hands. Janel picked out a long silver necklace with assorted lockets on the end, a cowboy toothbrush holder and rubber banded Monopoly money. All of the others, instructed to stay together, began asking if there were, perhaps, more cowboys.

Chelsea Hogue
Revisiting everything Barry Hannah