A Game of Spillikins

Jan Windle

With a metallic rattle and a screeching, grinding, roaring rumble like a thousand faulty supermarket trolleys, the train passes within an inch of where my hammock is slung on the station platform. Overnight, it has gradually taken on the contour of the inside of a drainpipe.

I don't need an alarm clock here at the Hotel d'Anna. The first train came through on the dot of seven am. By 7.30 the activity dies down a little, replaced by restless city background noise: clanging metal sounds suggesting a giant game of spillikins being played with RSJ girders somewhere nearby; urgent male voices calling instructions; the roar and nasal hooting of the traffic. Somewhere someone is hammering a nail into a wall and a cleaner has begun to sweep the corridor outside, banging the broom against the walls and, by the sound of it, a metal bucket. The trains arriving and departing every five minutes or so add an unpleasant counterpoint to this rhythmic feast.

You learn - never mind Feng Shui. Just check the orientation of your hotel room to the railway line before you book.

Jan Windle trained as a fine artist at the Central School of Art and Design (1966-9), then went to the London University Institute of Education for a postgraduate course in teaching (1969-70). While working as an art teacher, she enrolled in the British Open University and gained a second, academic degree(BA First Class Honours, mainly in Psychology - 1992). In 1981 she went with her husband to Brunei, and in 1983-5 moved to Bangladesh. Jan took up teaching again in 1988. In 2006 she retired. She began visiting the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento and Naples, Italy, in 2004 and now goes there several times a year, mainly to paint and exhibit her work. She has been writing a blog about her experiences in Italy since 2004 and has now begun writing poetry, also published on her blog and on Poemhunter.com.


10 Most Beautiful Things I Have Ever Experienced

Shayn Nicely

the night sky; knowing that everything underneath it
is everything from which I have ever
felt seperated

the uncanny vector of significance
that is street lamps, parking lots, solitude,
and 4am

petting my sister's head laying in my lap

laughing gas

stealing wildflowers off of private property;
the terror of leaving a letter before you get caught;
it's called live-action love poetry

wandering through rain storms, climbing as close
to the sky as you can, intersections of space and time that seem
to DEMAND god and fate are conciousness

late-night tv

the safety of knowing
there is at least one doorstep left

magic, simple as openings in traffic
or having
exact change

acceptance of impermanence, even just transition,
finally allows you to stop fighting the forces of nature and merge,
which has only truly settled on me in times I thought I was about to
die (in case you're wondering; 2)

Shayn Nicely, ex-sexy Suicide Girl Xip Suicide. has a tattoo that says she's a writer and a complexion that agrees if you won't take her word for it. She's been published in Bound Off, edifice WRECKED, FRiGG (January 08), Eyrie, and DOGZPLOT, which isn't bad for someone who's 21--too bad she's 57.

NON-SELF: LIGHT; DARK - beth thomas

Non-Self: Light, Dark

Beth Thomas

A fire burns in our fireplace while we sleep. The fire casts shadows on the wall, creating silent players from lamps and figurines. Past, movement, fitting into spaces where we cannot follow -- shadows have purpose. They return to their identifiable form by the act of our waking and seeing.

The Morning Glories turn out of their envelopes. Your calmness at the rising of the sun renders the moon silent and ashamed in its withdrawal. The Morning Glories open their mouths, gasping as though nearly drowned. You gather their faces in the palms of your hands and their purple eyes blink, blink, unseeing.

Desert heat creates an optical illusion. The walk to town is two miles. The sun creates wavy wet patches on the pathway that disappear as we reach them, the end of a rainbow. We pass blue-tailed lizards, their fat bodies warming on the rocks. They flick meaty tongues and tell you that their lives revolve around sun and shade. Do you realize in the retelling that the lizards, too, are illusory? That when approached, they move away and can never be touched? You have already forgotten their words, but your eyes are forever open, watching the sky.

Beth Thomas lives in California where she spends all her time writing something or another.

8:30 AT THE BAR - kevin michaels

8:30 At The Bar

Kevin Michaels

Bobby T. is on his second Jack and Coke at the bar while outside the rain continues falling in torrents. Free Bird plays on the jukebox. A handful of the people inside pay attention. None of them worry Bobby; at least not once Eddie Vega shows up. But Eddie is already fifteen minutes late; typical, and waiting makes Bobby tense, but the twenty-two tucked against the small of his back gives him the kind of cool that takes the edge off.

It's supposed to be easy – in and out in less than ten minutes if nobody gets stupid. Bobby just watches the door and waves the gun enough to keep everyone glued to their seats while Eddie hits each cash register. Bobby knows he's about more than an easy score, and could empty the clip inside the bar if he had to - just to make that point. Might be the only thing that gets him respect. It's either the Jack or the twenty-two that gives him that confidence. He's not sure which it is. All he knows is that Eddie's late and he's stuck waiting at the bar.

Kevin Michaels is everything New Jersey (attitude, edginess, Bruce Springsteen, and Tony Soprano). The author of two upcoming novels (BOUNCE and STILL BLACK REMAINS), he has also written a number of short stories and articles. He lives at the Jersey Shore and refuses to leave.

WELCOME - kat castle


Kat Castle

She laughed. A bitter chuckle to start with, but it developed into something. Insanity? This had thrown them off-guard, for a moment, but hadn't distracted them from their task. A brief pause… then… more punches into her weakened stomach.
"Welcome," the sign read when she arrived two hours ago. She hadn't expected to see so many old faces. Home sweet home.

Kat has been writing short stories and poems for a few years. She is currently a media student at NWK college, and hopes to join the writing scene after completing her course.

RANDOM PHOTOZ - girls rocking out on guitar

BEYOND SAVING - luis berriozabal

Beyond Saving

Luis Berriozabal

If you ever drop food on the floor, and pick it up to eat it, make sure you kiss it before you do. This will take away the devil's touch. At least this is what I have been told. Yesterday I dropped a slice of sourdough bread, the crust just like I like it. But I felt this bread was beyond saving. It was down there for a while before I could pick it up. My arms and hands did not react quick enough. My heart was shaken. No kiss could take away the devil's touch on this bread. It looked too good and I bet his mitts, his drool, and tail were all over this beautiful piece.

one hundred degrees
in the trashcan
dirty sourdough bread

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal was born in Mexico. His first book of poetry, Raw Materials, was published in 2004 by Pygmy Forest Press. His first poetry chapbook, Without Peace, was published in July 2007 by Kendra Steiner Editions.

MISSING POINT - jimmy chen

Missing Point

Jimmy Chen

First, when my head was severely sunburned, you suggested that I should shave my head every day. This notion, while not absurd, is not completely logical. What does shaving my head have to do with the flakes of burnt skin? I’m interpreting your comment simply as: You were disgusted at the sight of my head, and wished to communicate your derision in some passive-aggressive cryptic way. Third, when your sister and Ben came over, your sister said Ben bought the shirt he was wearing because she asked him to. You looked directly at me with a facial countenance which expressed that Ben was more receptive (and better) of a partner because he listens to her. Ben likes stuff. He is part of a culture which defines itself by stuff. To buy a shirt is not any huge over-extension on his part. I get the feeling you want me to buy some $70 hipster shirt. I will admit, I do have articles of clothing with holes and stains, but when you get someone, you get the whole package. I don’t think that an expensive shirt, or a shirt in general, can embellish a person’s character.

Jimmy Chen's writing has appeared in various print and online journals. More can be found at The Embassy of Misguided Zen www.jimmychenchen.com

ALL TOGETHER - barry graham

All Together

Barry Graham

She said there’d be power tools, but there weren’t; only an old Ford Thunderbird her dad talked about restoring and a rusty yellow refrigerator for beer, so we entered the house through the door inside the garage and headed to her parents’ bedroom for the jewelry. There were a few gold necklaces and a little diamond ring, so we took them, and the vacuum cleaner, the DVD player, a two-liter of Mountain Dew, her little brother’s piggy bank, and the remote control to the TV just for something to laugh at later when we got high.

All together, we got thirty dollars from the pawn shop, used ten of it for gas, ten for a dime bag, and bought eight soft shelled tacos and a nacho belle grande. It wasn’t the best weed we ever smoked, but it served its purpose. Nobody had papers so we dumped out the two-liter, poked holes in the side, and smoked off the bottle, even after it melted and we all knew we were just taking hits of ash and plastic.

She said they wouldn’t testify, but they did. They washed their new car and put on new clothes and showed up at the court house, all together.

Barry Graham is a simple man, who writes about simple things, very simply.

DAWN - gregory heaney


Gregory Heaney

And there was that one night at the 8-ball. We drank Old Style and smoked like 600 cigarettes before you finally started getting into it. I was playing pool while you were talking shit until you almost got me into a fight with these kids that looked just like Crips. I thought I had smoothed everything out, but while I was admiring your hips I got pounced. You put a cigarette between your lips while some bastard kid put his fist on mine. You sighed as you emptied your drink and looked put out while I got bounced out. We sat there on the curb and let 4am sneak up on us like you always sneak up on me. You looked up at the light polluted sky and said that nights like this got you feeling less celibate. We kissed there. Your mouth tasted like an ashtray filled with Coney chips. Mine must’ve tasted like cheap beer and defeat, which to me, tasted like a busted lip.

Gregory Heaney is the author of literally thousands of database entries that have almost no impact on your everyday life. He also writes short stories, is an Arsenal supporter, and likes to smoke.

TOM AND CHLOE - michele matheson

Tom and Chloe

Michele Matheson

Tom appears as a large, dark outline, a faceless shape of a man. As he comes closer Chloe sees he has the condom in his hand, his Levi’s are still undone, and he has taken his undershirt off. He weaves his way to Chloe, holding on to the couch and massaging his crotch. He is less angry now, and the pot is mixing with the whiskey. Standing above her, he throws the condom so it bounces off her ear to the carpet. Chloe lowers her head. Veins rise through the pale delicate skin of his feet. She looks at the blonde tufts of hair on his toes. His skin should be like leather. He should have talons.

“What the fuck is this?” he says.

Chloe looks at the big blue bong she had left on its side, her underwear in two pieces, and the foul water seeping into his thick beige carpet. “I spilled.”

“Fuck it.” Tom sways, twisting his toes into the carpet as his giant frame falls to the floor beside her like a thousand losses.

Michele Matheson is the author of Saving Angelfish, her debut novel, published by Tin House Books. It can be found in book stores, on Amazon.com, Powell’s.com and most online book stores.
www. myspace.com/michelematheson