DUMB THINKIN' - kenneth pobo


kenneth pobo

It’s a Saturday night and the sky is a pair of broken glasses.

Dindi listens to old country music. Cal Smith sings about a wife who is guilty of dumb thinkin’. She’s not married. In fact, she’d like to take marriage and feed it so much cotton candy it dies of terminal over-sweetening.

She’s been in 27 relationships, loathes that word. Love should never have more than two syllables. Sometimes she’s full of dumb thinkin’. Sometimes he’s full of dumb thinkin’. Sometimes they’re full of dumb thinkin’. Sometimes dumb thinkin’ gets pregnant and a very intelligent baby is born.

She’s only wanted to murder ten of her ex’s. The rest she wants to be dirty magazines stored in the attic and only discovered when she climbs up to get Christmas decorations. She hasn’t actually killed anybody despite several invitations.

Without glasses, she dopes around. So does the sky. Except it does so with clouds and the sun looks so hot serving pale guests in a bright yellow frock.

Kenneth Pobo
The Bloody Chamber
Angela Carter

THE MUSIC WITH YOU - eric bennett


eric bennett

I put on a chunky gray sweater and stand on my balcony in the cold wind. It’s a purplish evening and I can smell the roasted cashews from the corner vendor and the wool of my sweater. I look across the street and into your window, olden Jew. From this distance I can’t hear the music your bow makes on the strings of the violin but the movement of your plucking and strumming holds my attention, your arms flailing like branches in a gale. I envy your poise, your mysterious movements and tilting grace.

Working late one evening, you come to mind and I worry. I imagine you performing for the furniture in your empty apartment and the dark mouth of your lonely window. And you slumping slowly to the floor, staring blankly – the small movements by which we know someone is alive disappearing altogether, and the music with you.

Eric Bennett
The Bigness of the World
Lori Ostlund

SUN & MOON - howie good


howie good

It’s cold even for January. There’s no one else on the path. The backs of houses hidden the rest of the year are visible through the leafless trees. I feel like I’m looking at something I shouldn’t. Off in the distance a dog begins barking. Snow patchily covers the ruins of a garden the town planted in memory of the dead children, a brother and sister. The most mysterious thing, I read somewhere, is a fact clearly stated. The sun will shine for another six billion years.

The moon enters in a dark overcoat. It’s possible to see the suicide in people’s faces, the slope of their shoulders, the way their clothing is worn, their gait. There are days – many, in fact – fingers drum impatiently on the roof. The stairs that lead up also lead down to an iron bed, rumpled sheets, a photograph of insomnia. And always the same ending. I’m hunched over, tightening a screw with the edge of a dime. It does a bad job.

NOVOCALIEN - walter conley


walter conley

I got this friend named Henry. Calls himself H-Dot. No idea why. Henry is small, dried dead bird shrunken tiny small. 110lbs without his hair cut. But this motherfucker eats more ice cream than my whole fat family put together. Every time he leaves the house, he makes you stop so he can buy 3 or 4 M&M ice cream cookie sandwiches. The thing is, though, Henry's got bad teeth. Rotten-ass bad. So when he bites down into them, he'll scream and cry and shake his head and his knobby little knees will even start to buckle. And you know I'd like to help him. I really would. But I'm scared to speak out against a love that strong.

Walter Conley
John O'Hara

ORCHARD - j. bradley


j. bradley

When I'm alone, I pluck loose skin off my feet. The more mileage devoured, the longer you live; it's why I kiss like the past.

J. Bradley
New Year A Romance
Amy McDaniel

MATTHEW BLASI - beer money


matthew blasi

Hell no he didn't want a Jaeger bomb. Dude just started talking around drink three, a kind of lonely talk that most nights any guy sitting next to him at the bar would have listened to and nodded and been like yeah, I know, man, I know. But he was ten-hour shift tired and Jaeger made him sick every time. He didn't care if it tasted like licorice. He counted off on his fingers. One, he don't drink that shit. Two, he was well along.

I like that, said the guy. We're well along.

The guy's name was Ray, something with A in it, worked somewhere he was fuzzy about. He told Ray about the child support and all the overtime. He said it was quote bumfucking brutal.

Ray nodded like yeah, and said, I got three kids. He showed the pictures in his wallet.

The little one looks like you.


He took out his pictures to show Ray and spilled beer on them. There was his family staring out wrinkled plastic. Beer soaking through the gloss.

Ray said, Shit.

He folded it up soggy and stuck it back in his pocket.


Matthew Blasi
Don Delillo

SWINGS - daniel romo


daniel romo

In third grade I threw Theo Adams off his swing. He soared; beautiful, more bird than boy, flailing limbs romancing gravity, more acquainted with the clouds than any other kid at Kennedy Elementary —His dad was a paraplegic from a stock car-racing accident many years ago, so I just hoped Theo’d be okay. He was really good at ding-dong-ditch, and ringing doorbells, rolling away wildly in a wheelchair didn’t sound as fun. The ground jealous; broken arm when he landed. Theo lost the desire to go on the swings after that, playing dodgeball instead. I think he races boats these days. I lost recess for a week.

Daniel Romo
Shadow Ball
Charles Harper Webb