THE PIN - dawn corrigan

The Pin

dawn corrigan

A woman meets a man dressed as the sky: pale blue suit, yellow tie.

She thinks of love, which makes her blush, but he just speaks of how the land around them grew into its shape, of the bland meals he makes for himself to eat alone in his room.

She wants to give him the very ugly pin she found once in the street. She'd brought it home and placed it in a silk-lined box.

She wants to pin it to his cotton shirt, though if she did her hand might slip and make, against the sky, red fireworks.

She wonders which of them will be eaten up first, whether he'll accept her gift.

While she waits for his response, something makes her irritable and hot.

BARELY VISIBLE - jamie lin

Barely Visible

jamie lin

The hours mark the fluctuation of her moods, swinging them, a child trying to push another off. The hands progress; awake to quicken to slow to sleep, continuously. The hands almost give her an ulcer every time the alarm sounds, stiffing her up like a board, pushing her out before she's even ready to consider ready.

The minutes congregate one thought after another frantically, a squirrel trying to catch her tail before the sun begins to bake and forces her to stop. Thoughts being scraped up so fast, the stench of fur burnt in the oven. Words birthed with enthrallment only to be discarded later like outer skin no one needs anymore.

The seconds fly by like flies afraid to be caught by senseless palms, flies like seconds, seemingly so quick they are absolutely insignificant.

The years are the most noticeable, the years that ages her skin from custard white to flaky yellow, the years that leaves her with other people's decayed parts.

At fifteen, time was her body, her moon waiting to be deciphered. At fifty, time was no different, no more interesting, no more mysterious than the sight of her toenails curling.


Bye-bye Miss American Pie

esmaa self

She was the world's most beautiful baby, dressed to impress at tea parties. After she battled unruly extremities in her terrible twos; she grew into a graceful Rock Star Runway Model Superwoman and stood proud upon the world stage. But her manager's insistence on an extensive rider, mixed with her acidic demands, and tarnished her image.

It is difficult to believe such pulchritude can be lost, thus fans, perhaps operating under a sort of persistence of vision, continued to pack every tour: Vietnam. Wounded Knee. El Salvador. Iraq. Fetid, charred money rolled in as patrons over-consumed her merchandise.

Eventually, Bono wrote of her:

'You were pretty as a picture
It was all there to see
Then your face caught up with your psychology.
With a mouth full of teeth
You ate all your friends
And you broke every heart thinking every heart mends...'

Has anybody here seen my old friend Miss America? Can you tell me where she's gone? She's not the country with the ugly face, the one in the corner over there looking faded and played-out, doddering before her time, is she?

Esmaa Self is a bad poet, an award winning journalist and an unpublished novelist. If you are a publisher and would like to see a manuscript about a white girl coming of age on an Indian reservation or a family saga that explores ethnic identity issues, please contact her agent, Janet Grant of Books and Such Literary Agents. Pretty please.

DARVOCET FLAVORED RESILIENCE - misti rainwater-lites

Darvocet Flavored Resilience

misti rainwater-lites

I still haven't filled the prescription because I have a high tolerance for pain and a predilection for Benadryl and Corona. I drive around Houston pulling my hair out strand by strand screaming, "STUPID CUNT!" to the innocent yuppie pulling his SUV into the right lane. I go inside a CVS to load up on Cheetos and a Fifth Avenue candy bar. There are no cashiers. I say, "Fuck this shit" and get in my car and see a Half-Price Books up ahead like a crazy rainbow in the mist. I buy an Anne Sexton biography and console myself by thinking, "I'm almost as hot and some of my poems are better than hers and someday maybe I will take a lover or six and kill myself in a fur coat before the shit really hits the ceiling fan."

Misti Rainwater-Lites writes a lot of books (collections of poetry and novels, mostly) and publishes them herself at lulu. com. She also has chapbooks available from Erbacce Press, Scintillating Publications, and Kendra Steiner Editions. Misti is one of five women poets featured in Sirens, an anthology published by Sisyphus Press. Misti's newest full-length poetry collection, Cuntasaurus Rex, will be published by Tainted Coffee Press this fall. Misti is afraid of spiders, tornadoes, shiny floors and phone calls.

SPOON-FACE JULIA - robert a. dollesin

Spoon-Face Julia

robert a. dollesin

Because Julia Farley's face was concave we made her our buddy.

On Saturdays, after H.R. Puffnstuff, the guys and I would bang on the Farley's door and ask Julia's mother if her daughter could play outside for a couple hours. Of course, Mrs. Farley always agreed, even offered us brownies if we returned our spoon-faced friend by noon.

We laid Julia down on her back, lugged the garden hose over. One of the guys always poked a couple straws into her nostrils so she could breathe. Sometimes we released a dozen guppies, watched them swim the shallows of Julia's sunken face. Other times we whistled stray dogs over and encouraged them to lap up the water.

In the playground, we'd grip Julia by her ankles and use her face to shovel for treasure in the sand beneath the swings. Near noon we took turns, resting our elbows in Julia's sunken face while watching planes trail overhead.

But something sad happened about the time Julia's face filled out. Her breasts and butt filled out, too. Older boys began to drop by the Farley home.

We truly did miss Julia Farley's company; duck-lipped Donna Dixon was nowhere near as willing or fun.

Robert Aquino Dollesin resides in Sacramento, California. Much of his online time is spent at Critters Bar, one of those small back alley writers workshops that speckle the web. They tolerate him there:

RULES OF ORDER - todd michael cox

Rules of Order

todd michael cox

She was sheltered, her father said, but most people didn’t think so. The kind of girl who could fellate a cigarette and make you hard, then tell you she thought being a nun would be cool because you don’t have to waste energy rebelling, you followed the rules of your order and that was that. Most people waste so much time and energy trying to be different, she said.
Remember she told us about the cockatiel?

Remember she told us she spent Homecoming night in the cemetery and we found out later she went to that hotel with Jimmy’s dad? Remember when she used to sit motionless and silent for hours and then out of nowhere tell us she thought we were all silly and yet full of so much wisdom we could never understand it all even if we lived to be a thousand?Remember she was pretty? People forget that.

She used to light cigarette after cigarette and occasionally smiled.

Todd Michael Cox is a writer from the schizophrenic state of Wisconsin. When he’s not writing he’s out in a swamp or forest looking for reptiles and amphibians, or possibly in his basement making what he calls music. He’s also responsible for the noise-and-spoken-word project, Ripe For Shaking, found only at http://www. myspace. com/ripeforshaking Contact him at toddmichaelcox@gmail.

LIVING THE EXHALE - j.r. pearson

Living The Exhale

j.r. pearson

I’m snapping my fingers. I need a hit. I show up at my brother’s house, him and his wife, dressed like fags, they’re looking at my fingers like there is something they want to do with them, all nasty, with their purple scarves. Damn fags.

All I want is the Kawasaki, just give it to me. My fingers kinda hurt. From snapping em too much. His voice is a smoke alarm. I want to tell him: look dude, just give me the bike so I can trade it for drugs. Back at my middle finger. Left. Corner of the counter and a stupid potted plant. If it ain’t pot, what’s the point. Then right. His pictures. Ugliest wife...he could’ve married....someone hot. She’s not....anything & he’s counting something on his hands. Time to nod. O.K. what now? I’m scratching my finger-it’s flaky- he is rambling rambling like he has since the day he found out he was the older brother.

Why he thinks he can take care of me with his tucked-in khakis & tie, princess scarf, and a nickel in his penny loafers. A nickel! If it ain’t a dimebag what’s the- whatever dude, he’s wagging his head. No. My hands are erupting. The pain is coming- like every bone is, is sweeping lava-someone steps on your spine until it’s lodged in your throat like, like that chicken bone he choked on-I saved your life and you’re saying: No, I am a fag, over a crappy bike!

I am screaming. My nails are bleeding, his eyes are whiter. Blood on his tie. I am kicking his door frame, throwing rocks at his car. The mailbox gets pushed down and thrown into the street somehow. I hitch home.

J.R. Pearson lives in Dalton Gardens, Id with his wife and two pups (he uses the dog angle to publish his work). He wears a single pair of jeans for a week at a time, believes fleas are lucky, & cries every time Jack Gilbert writes about Michiko. In the end he’s just like you or me only smells worse, never shaves & ultimately lives in his own filth. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming online as well as in print from Tipton, Cherry Blossom Review, ditch, The Houston Review, Dogzplot & many more. He is a member of an experimental group of collaborator’s called Orzel Transtextual Poetry which engage in, among other things, combining Flarf with real-time emotions. He was born in Lansing Michigan and still dreams of the Great Lakes.


Mama Mouse, Keep Your Children Safe

lou marin

This morning while out raking dead leaves and grass from the lawn in the warm springtime sun, I came across a discarded Little Debbie snack cake box.

Now, a man bent upon cleaning up, not blessed with curiosity, would have raked it into the refuse pile and gone about his tasks. Not me. I picked up the box, faded, battered from the weight of the snow that held it in place in the corner of the rose bush for the last few months.

Inside, I spied a little nest made of shredded newspaper, bits of cotton, and fallen rose petals. There were little pink baby bodies squirming among the cotton batten and paper. I thought how like heaven it is to be in a cozy home surrounded by loved ones. I reached through the spokes of a steel wagon wheel and placed the box deeper under the rose bushes.

Lou Marin, an Air Force Technical Sergeant, is a native of Maine, who has lived his entire adult life in the prairie town of Minot, ND, with his wife. He has a daughter who resides in Tehachapi, California. He has placed in several contests on and has a book of poetry entitled AWASH WITH WORDS published.

GUESTS - bill barr


bill barr

I awaken by strains of Sinatra’s Witchcraft one keeping time with a wrench on my exposed water pipes the agent used as a retro-selling point to address lines of rust crossing the living room I scraped painted yellow to match our dinner plates. Blinded blood dripping from above running down scalp flapping over my eye inner eye air brushing the wound Why? handcuffed above my head shirt bunched around shoulder blades sunburn? cigarette burns lashes many lashes man wanted to know where the money was Told him told no No! He gave back whiskey burned in into my flesh I Need a drink Lick dregs from the floor I find I like the taste of blood Now Pull knees to my chest rise to a fetal crouch find my love in a heap under the man I crush and crush with the sink I heave from the wall. The other shoots me through the hip I fall to the floor breaking every bone in his foot with my sink my sink Jasmine sweet bashes brains on our hand-woven silk salmon rug an unwanted wedding present from her mother with an iron we had to have.

I LOVED A STRAWBERRY - yu-han chao

I Loved a Strawberry

yu-han chao

North of the Liffey, in an alley of reds and greens, I came upon an exquisite strawberry. She sat blushing, all fragrance, soft triangular ruby tapering to the delicate point of rouged lips, whispering, kiss me, kiss me... Stars shot across the sky when I did. Kisses, her intoxicating juices, how she trembled as I bit her.

Only as I swallowed her last incense did I see: a crown of frail green triangles.

Delirious, I stumbled back between withering plants. The darkened market swept towards me the faint smell of berries: a cart of sagging fruit—dappled white, sad. I asked them if they had seen my darling, if they knew where she was. Silent, their snowy fur wavered, drooped in tear puddles. She was gone. With soft fairy wands of ball-tipped hair, their odor, or magic, drained my last sliver of consciousness.

Be gone with you, drunk! Kicks woke me to the slapping sun. Heavily I crept home, and reaching for her, found a knife. Its sharp steel beckoned, the cool metal that ran dizzily along skin. A pierce and a rush of red--my sweetheart!--under my skin all this time... I drank deeply as she wrapped her rippling waves about me. I knelt content in a pool of red liquid and white.

Yu-Han (Eugenia) Chao was born and grew up in Taipei, Taiwan, and received her MFA from Penn State University. Her forthcoming books include: short story collection, "Passport Baby" (Rockway Press) and poetry collection, "We Grow Old: 53 Chinese Love Poems" (Backwaters Press). She writes about urban life in Taipei and also does drawings and comics in Chinese. Sample her writing and artwork at