'EVE' - bill dunlap



ted powers

In my living room a stranger is dying. She is lying on the couch, using her last fingers to motion me to her. When my ear is the closest thing to her face, she says to me something that sounds like, "Circle of Death."

"You will be fine," I say, rummaging vainly for a pack of gum. I don't know what this circle of death business is about. I do not know why she insists on wearing your face either. It just looks silly on her; it looks pretty good on you.

This is when Jesus walks in and even though I am like, "Woah, it's Jesus," my guest is not surprised. He walks over to her, places one palm on her forehead and turns her to wine. "Jesus," I say later, as we pass the bottle around, "I heard talk of a circle of death before, but really, it's more of a line." This is when a tire flies in through the window and hits me dead in the face. Jesus finishes the wine, heads to the fridge for more.

Ted Powers
Selected Poems
Max Jacob

& (SEVEN) - j.a. tyler

& (seven)

j.a. tyler

This will be the story of people and time. This will be the story of dirt that comes from the ground, laced in worms, thick with mucous and the density of rain, the slickness of dew, and remains on a window sill in the cooling air of fall or early winter. The dirt sitting without purpose, drying in the space of a square and glass. In the sun. This will be the story of it dying, drying, propped and no longer moist, no longer living, the worms having slipped away or dried to the sill, the unpainted graying wood, unliving in crusted loops of earthen paint, spills of once living. This will be the story of that. This will be the story of how that works or happens or does.

JA Tyler
Bob, or Man on Boat
Peter Markus



jac jemc

Listen, I'm ready for you to come right over here, darling, and dance with me. We're pulling in the weight of what we're waiting for. Dance it down for me. Let me see your sequins shimmer and shake. I want the breeze of all those sparkles to blow me right off this tugboat. We're getting down, all dancing equal, mismatched pulses, wanting nothing more than to keep moving and I?

I will be your tugboat king. I will call the do-si-do's, and the skip-to-my-lou's. Hokey Cokey! Shimmy! Whip out a Watusi for me! We have flipped and landed decent. Now is when the crowd forms to clap and keep rhythm. No cardboard laid down, we are skull-spinning because that's what it'll take.

Turn the music up. It's time to move. Shake it out. Warn the neighbors: this'll go late. Ring that bell like pure silver. Swing it around. Here it comes: We're clear out of black and white into Technicolor: Set your eyes up for all this seeing.

Your tugboat king is doing the hustle, the Charleston: I'm ready to boogaloo: I'm foxtrotting: I'm locomoting, twisting, shouting: I'm working out a hully gully here: Do what I do.

Jac Jemc
Attempts at a Life
Danielle Dutton

THE MANY CANYONS OF UTAH - stefanie freele


stefanie freele

She waits a full week at the campsite for the bruises to heal. His body is but a leaning tree at the bottom of the canyon.

Feet dangling far above, she chews salami right from the sausage itself. She bites into the cheddar too. In fact, his body looks more and more like a v-shaped bush than a man, the more she looks at it.

They aren’t due back for a month. Plenty of time to invent explanations.

Anyway, he would have insisted on cutting the salami with a knife, even if it made marks on the top of the cooler.

Stefanie Freele
Mad to Live
Randall Brown



josh olsen

A young blond in denim cut-offs slept with her knees to her chest. Doubting her consciousness, I took my time eyeing the soft skin of her inner thighs. Where is she going? I asked myself. And why is she alone?

I considered excusing myself to the bathroom to quickly jack-off, but KT called to tell me she had a dream about ketchup packets – about a movie about ketchup packets, starring Michael Rappaport and a girl KT and I graduated high school with, a girl whose name I knew but whose face I didn't. At first, I was jealous. I wished that the dream had been mine. Surely, I would have remembered more detail.

Not having noticed that the young blond was awake, I resumed staring at her bared flesh until she awkwardly threw a thin wool blanket over her ass and pretended to go back to sleep.

I had spent the weekend back home in the city that both seduced and disgusted me with her familiarity. When it was time to leave, I stepped onto the train weighing 10 pounds more than when I first arrived. The sun was high and hot. Alcohol and fried cheese seeped through my pores.

Josh Olsen
Dancing in Odessa
Ilya Kaminsky

CAPITAL - bill barr


bill barr

I awoke from an abrupt feeling in a dream of being done with murder. No, I imagine it’s the sound of tapping from the dripping faucet on the handful of silver spoons in the bottom of my sink until I squint through my lids and see a gun barrel softly nudging my brow, almost pulling my left eye completely open, pushing the eyebrow up with each rhythmic bounce. My right eye sees into the rifle as the gun pulls up and back for another tap. Strange that an empty circle moves me so much yet I don’t move a muscle at all.

“Kiss it,” a gravelly voice breathes.
“I won’t,” I said.

It drops onto my forehead. I hear a quick tiny click then my eardrums rupture from the explosion that blows a hole in the wall through the pillow next to my face. My skin burns where the barrel rests.

“You’re done. Out of the business,” he says. “It’s my way or my way. You pick.”
“Fine. I’ll do it.”

My fingers stretch for the trigger but I can’t reach. A fingernail better be enough. Another explosion, louder than the first and something is dripping in my eyes but my heart beats still.

BOLOGNA NIPPLES - peter cavanaugh


peter cavanaugh

I'm trying to learn the aesthetic of the internet writer. And when he told me he only read my blog for the pictures of pretty girls at parties, I didn't care because I looked over, and my girlfriend was taking off her bra in la vida real. That's la cosa mejor. And letting her fall asleep next to me is another cosa mejor.

I’m trying to learn the aesthetic of the internet writer. I am trying to be earnest. I don't really read blogs. I am only looking for pictures of pretty girls. One time I thought I saw a nipple, but now I'm thinking it might have been an advertisement for Subway. And then there should be a tangent here, and it will pair words that have yet to be paired. I will talk about the bones of your father and toothpicking my teeth with the crack of his ribs. And do I need to feel more alone? Will I have to tell my girlfriend we are not so now? And do I need to drink more? I'm trying to learn the aesthetic of the internet writer.

Peter Cavanaugh


"STRANGE HEAD" - bill dunlap

THE WALK HOME - dawn corrigan


dawn corrigan

At the start of the century you decide to walk home. Snow has been falling and the air makes your face prickle like branches are brushing against it. You shoulder your burden and begin. The packed-down snow has elevated the sidewalk. If you wanted to sit on a bench to wait for the bus you'd have to climb down to get to it. But you don't want the bus; you want to walk. Your pack begins to ache so you shift it to the other shoulder. You could call your roommate and he'd rush out to get you; it's the start of the century and you shouldn't be walking. Out. Alone. At night. Walking. But why would you rush home? At home you're always sitting around waiting for a man to call. Always his name is Tom. So you keep walking. Finally you reach your house. At the back door an icicle has formed, so large it reaches the ground. You think you should tell someone about it, but no one's home. Without going in you pick up your pack and begin again. Even now you're still walking. Perhaps if I look out my window I'll see you.

Dawn Corrigan
The Secret History
Donna Tartt

UNREQUITED - hobie anthony


hobie anthony

Ellis watched the whole thing. Or, most of it. After the diagnosis, after the cancer was declared terminal, a website was built to document Jane's final days. He found it immediately. He'd been searching for her ever since the break-up.

After the police had contacted him to ask that he not call any more, he had no other avenue. He had to keep track. He had to know. That's all. The website's photos reminded him of what had happened, how she'd treated him. She even had the gall to use a photo he'd taken before she returned home to her fiancée.

The women he dated from the internet were all nice. He loved them all and they all left with no trace. He couldn't track them. Myspace pages were blocked; e-mail accounts were deleted; some had used throwaway cell phones and cancelled them. Eventually the numbers were reassigned to strangers, sometimes men.

But Jane was different. She offended his pride and for that she got cancer. Ellis was furious that he could not do more. Yet, he still had to look at the photos from her marriage to that mouth-breathing plumber or whatever that loser was. She was bald, smiling in a white dress.

Hobie Anthony
Selected Stories
Robert Walser

from GRACE - adam moorad

from GRACE

adam moorad

They'll walk home drunk past the church and Grace rolls her eyes, says she can't stand the looks of the steeple, Soo phallic. She won't even call herself a Christian anymore. She chats Randy up to her friends, He's his OWN man – a real rebel (even though he's never worn handcuffs)…and a musician TOO. Randy brags to his guy friends that he's the only one getting regular ass, that she's nice and tight like, lika gal should be, and, MAN - She's got enough tongue for 10 rows of teeth! Grace is more adventurous than Randy in the sack, probably spurned on by years of corked-up sexual energy and a fear of missing out on something, he thinks. On their first "date" she said she wasn't scared but she lied, and just leaned back, unable to participate. It hurt, but she didn't show it, instead she muttered out O-O-O the whole time and squeezed her eyes shut. How are ya? he asked afterwards. Then she didn't respond, but now she tells him to come inside or on her face or in her hair and Randy does neither though this doesn't stop her from asking. He wonders where these ideas come from. She doesn't like to talk when she's being dirty, but moans and groans, almost painfully, and will whisper something about a hairbrush but it's unclear what and – to Randy – this is a relief. When she finishes, she lets out this charged wail of exhilaration and will only allow herself to be embraced after she swabs her gummy crotch with Randy's t-shirt. That was nice, she says.

Adam Moorad
Last Exit to Brooklyn
Hubert Selby, Jr.

JACKIE BOY - antonios maltezos



Jackie’s mother used curved scissors to clip away her cuticles, just like the professional manicurists used, the slivers of skin settling in his lap, on the deep blue of his baggy Golden Horse jeans, the cuffs rolled up three times, the perfume from her armpits coming off onto the flesh of his shoulders, and then from his shoulders smeared into his pillow nightly. He’d rub his face in her smell so she was there with him even when she wasn’t.

She’d let him paint her thumbnail from time to time, his favorite because it was thick and yellow after the nail polish remover, and curved like a jungle cat’s. “Momma, you could tear someone’s face open with this,” he’d told her, holding her thumb up as if it was their secret weapon.

And once she’d even slipped her hand in under her blouse, while he was still in her lap, massaged her breasts until the nipples hardened and poked him in the back, and then she told him there was enough hate in the world and that “we beautiful people need only stay beautiful, Jackie boy.”

Antonios Maltezos
Insomnia of an Elderly French Designer
Sean Lovelace

FIRST KISS LIPS - charles lennox


charles lennox

I once knew a boy who’d stolen the lips off the first girl he’d ever kissed. Told me her name was Emily. Said she had lips like sliced Fuji apples and her taste was the same. He met her by the bleachers after fifth period and when they’d finished he asked if he could hold onto her lips for the night. Guess all she saw was promise in that boy’s eyes. She peeled them off like band-aids. That’s how easy it was. Emily never did see those lips again. Soon everyone in school was talking about it, the whole town even. The girl with no lips. Her parents moved her to some other school out of state. She was gone and no one said anything about her again. I asked the boy what he ended up doing with the girl’s lips and he said that he threw them in with the trash one day. Just like that. Never did think of returning them.

Some nights I get to thinking about finding that girl, Emily. I imagine her standing in front of me. The backdrop behind her gray like morning mist. I take her in my arms and she lets me lean in close and press my lips over the naked skin where her apple lips should be. I wonder what that might be like. To happen in real life. Would she feel my passion flooding in? Would she feel anything at all?

Charles Lennox
The Girl in the Black Sweater
J.A. Tyler

A LESSON IN BREATHING - zachary c. bush


zachary c. bush

One morning, when I was nearly ten years old, my father woke me and said, “Son, we’re leaving for the mountains.” And so we left.

Later that morning, as we crossed into the neighbor’s yard, my father pointed to the mountain range that circled the city and said, “Out there will be our new home.” I nodded, and we walked into the mouth of the woods behind our neighborhood. We hiked a few sluggish miles before we came to a frozen lake at the foot of the nearest mountain. We sat down to rest. Not long after my father fell asleep, I tried to masturbate beside the lake, but nothing came out of it, so I listened to the ducks squawking and cursed my penis.

Later that afternoon, when we were three quarters of the way up the mountain, we stopped again for water and rest. My father turned to me, dried his face and said, “Last night I gagged your mother and locked her in the attic.” He asked me if I cared to know why he did it. I looked at him and said, “Indeed, I would like to know why you did such a thing.” He took a quick swig from his canteen before looking out over the city where we used to live. He said, “Because she laughed too much and for far too long at times when she shouldn’t have…”

Later that night, as my father tucked me into my sleeping bag and kissed me on the forehead, I laughed out loud at the thought of my mother’s hot, muffled screams. But I tried not to laugh for too much or for too long, because I am a severe asthmatic.

Zachary C. Bush
Invisible Cities
Italo Calvino

RED - brian a. ellis


brian a. ellis

It felt so good inside Red that Sal came in less than a minute. Red had an amazing body, Sal thought—the kind, he assumed, certain serial killers would cut up into tiny pieces and feed to their pets. But still, he did not want a child with this woman, so he pulled out and sprayed his release into the peach-colored bed sheets. Then he pushed Red aside and turned facing the wall. But Red wasn’t through—she cuddled Sal, whispered into his ear, pecked his shoulder with her teeth, tried reviving his spent cock with her right hand. And knowing that Red’s attempts at reviving his spent cock were in vain, Sal felt bad for her. So with his body still turned towards the wall, he began fingering Red. The angle was exhausting and tricky, however, and before long Sal had given up and fallen asleep. Angry and restless, Red didn’t know what to do. And Sal didn’t care. He couldn’t.

Brian A. Ellis
All My Friends Are Going to Be Strangers
Larry McMurty