Muster Magazine #3

June 4, 2016 | Author: say, "Waffle" | Category: Types, Magazines/Newspapers
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Brought to you by The Well-Fed Artists League. [email protected]

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MUSTER MAGAZINE

ISSUE NO. 3



Table of Contents

2 Moments of Silence 3 Not Too Old 4 Simply Complicated 5 Coddling 6 Passing Bell, 1967 7 Suckling Boys 8 Spoondrifting 9 Forresting 10 Pathetic Math 11 Process 14 Untitled 15 Swimming Backwards 16 Last Dance 17 Your Bones 18 No Apologies 19 What Eats Ticks, Part 1 21 Alarms Ring For A Reason 3/3 24 Lying and Dying 25 Paris September 30th 27 What Happens When I Drink Too Many Superior Light Beers 28 You Never Know 29 Unholy Grail 32 What It Feels Like 33 Untitled 34 Untitled

Kevin Belew Kevin Belew Kevin Belew M.E. Brown M.E. Brown M.E. Brown M.E. Brown M.E. Brown Chris Gould Kyle Enright Kyle Enright Barbara O’Neil Barbara O’Neil Barbara O’Neil Barbara O’Neil John Harkins Kevin Belew Sarah Krebs Sarah Krebs Sarah Krebs Sarah Krebs John Costa Barbara O’Neil Kate Burke Kyle Enright

Collected by Chris Gould Co-Edited by Mariana Krambs MUSTER, A Literary Magazine, Issue No.3

Moments of Silence

Kevin Belew

The intensity of the big job is doubled with minute details quantified. The everyday blockage of a successful fruition. Mold and decay blending with the flowering of a morning glory, so engrossed, that climbs and conquers. The reds and the yellows dropping from trees in autumn, the flooding of winter, the restlessness of spring and the shedding of summer. When the big job is finished, I will have no view in concept, I’ll be surrounded by eternal writers block. Words will be said; good and bad. It might be the moments of silence that mean the most.

2

Not Too Old

I’m content. I have the fight. I no longer need to feel it. Getting beat up gets old, and will get you nowhere. The victories now seem, from these days of sustainable nothingness, something to latch onto when beating the system, winning in life are tools used by the unfortunate to fool one wisely. Thoughts of floating and rotating keep me awake. Until the pressure of time Caves my head in with dreams and I am asleep.

3

Kevin Belew

Simply Complicated

Kevin Belew

As I think back, to the excitement of my youth. I feel free. Knowing now, expunged, as I sit, write, drink, smoke and let the thoughts float. That if I died tonight it would be too little too late. And to be okay with this, May seem unacceptable. But measly and stress free I am. You see to be this simple is complicated to some who want it to be.

4

Coddling

erring him dousing the ebullient choir of archives mothering him catching the spindling mare necking breast bottles in the den, agate like looping milk curtains, dark-green living room splashes of us against the brunt-sour walls moor in the flit sheering disuse of appetite on the floor freckled in the dinning canter of dirt licking our acerbic unarmored hands caught gall on the mustard colored deck sewn in Swedish botanical tapestry woven in chocolate floral nouveau living room lawn thrown in rich grassy sod-like veneer opaque rugs lain over hard wooded pastures along the spackle culled wall an overture to our waking our shoulder blades clunk amain the molding.

5

M.E. Brown

Passing Bell, 1967

M.E. Brown

furnish the sweet room, anchor it to callous floors, we dance; splintering the soles of our trampled shoes. nether dusk in the light. Nehemiah’s in the hall, he neglects his limbs, barreling chest contoured and meant only for brawls, expositions of light; the candle tickling the chin of darkness, puff, the starchy afterbirth— curdling in a swarthy dust, lighted out. Lord, for when the bride is in his kindness; The brute is in her kitchen. Akin to himself; wine battering about in belly; his systolic hymn— the mountains hemorrhage at his hands, he lifts us to the trees, with kneeling necks they heel, sallow in pasture, idle in rain; come, come; I swing you, lather you, bathe you in assembly, ensilaged mouth, webbed under tongue cleft that tasted of syrup, I licked, yes clothed, yes, It was a tundra of muscle. You are sick as pining hide He cleared the trees We rejoice together; No buildings there— field full of troughs bed in the cantering decayed flesh of stone pines.

6

Suckling Boys

gobbled up the row houses after the big-time storm came pouncing in on its bald-heels whiffet comely through the nose with the tar eyed smoke jingles corner of 30th and— volleying legs trample attacks whinnying hiccough crushing tobacco under hoof boys’ black dented chins worn chappy tufted in hairs sticking the gum under their tongues then chewing from the gutters (and) budding from the flange the tips of cigarettes dangle from their speckled muzzles

7

M.E. Brown

Spoondrifting

M.E. Brown

combing through an apiary wearing sweet vanilla tart burnt and mewing cannot hear the clangor of their domesticated feet cannot clothe the noisome shallow then into the barbed wings burrowing remedial plashes etheric only if the fluttering stems curling the tight fist of its leaves or is it a scepter the coronet dropping jewels in spindrift

8

M.E. Brown

Foresting

all then it’s sin waylaying ‘tween two tress blistering brunette shanty back ‘long the water cape wading through bough lapping branch—aureate sail ‘round his neck taut bearded over wind curtailing the banks, the heavy splay of woods feral thicket stalk below the bud swindling leaf bruised appendage of flora twinkling through the grove he was swimming in them

9

Pathetic Math

Chris Gould

That look on the farmers working the market in between sales and during, the farmer is pitting the ways and the means versus the outcome: four dollars here, one dollar there...big sale of 6.75. While the farmer calculates; it’s approximately 18 dollars in gas, money for fees. If I get to the farm at nine, load the truck, drive in to town, set things up, sit there, then break it down, drive back, unload; that’s an eight hour day. So, one day labor costs, then the gas, then the market fees and giving the ‘farm fresh’ people thir cut of the top shelf goods, thats all before the cost of producing all this food, that now sits in a shop window under a red light dancing slowly and with a grace that seems too subtle to notice at first. And so the people walk by unintrigued to the cupcake lady. I, the produce pimp, lean against a handrail in a doorway picking my teeth absentmindedly and cursing under my breath everytime a potential John walks by, “... all that expensive compost, all the tender nurturing, love and affection... and they just walk on by ... gah dam recession.” He contemplates moving back in with his sister until he is distracted by another bite on the line, “ pff. Just another hand-job,” dejected, “I shoulda stayed in bed...” The only solace of the day was found in one of the lady’s peanut butter cupcakes, upon the first nibble of which, I had forgotten everything of my troubles and budgeting crisis, lifted three feet into the air and hovered whilst a warm gentle breeze enveloped me. Easing back into reality as it’s morsels integrate with my morsels, filling some small void or extinguishing some smoldering embers. More relief in the form of distraction when every bird from the adjacent park swooped over the tent and swung three massive laps around the transit mall, banking wide and slow and just missing the treetops. How does that feel to sell people sugar cakes? How would that lady feel if some obese so-and-so came huffing up all by itself and got one dozen cupcakes? Bad? Weird? Obviously she couldn’t be held accountable for anything anyone else does to themselves, and frankly I would never had considered the possibility of any regard whatsoever; we’re all trying to sell stuff to eat to live, but sitting here, working the “retail” end of this food/agricultural sector, I can’t help but to compare this experience, from my end, with similar employments in my past. I can say unequivocally that I - that this exchange that I am mediating is a fair one. Maybe even an important one. Which is different than probably every other time when it had been my job to sell people things. ...... interesting. “All I said ... was that it was int-eresting.” [I swear] Between the wind and the rain and the crazy people; the guy with the headphones who came up and just put his hand on the winter squash for like 30 seconds, the poor sales; it’s a good thing they got pretty girls to look at down here. The people driving trucks; they smoke as they pass - a different kind of job. 10.09.09 12:13p-1:27p Kennedy Plaza Farmer’s Market, Providence, Rhode Island 10

Kyle Enright

Process

its’s 9:45pm i’m sitting in a cold house. It’s so empty, im not even in it. a mechanical hum fills the room. It’s the only thing in the room. Deadlines don’t really serve me well. “i used to be here, i used to be alive” I grab the bottle, stare, think. “you feel so nice in my hands” a comforting reminder. how i miss you when you are away. I take a long hard pull. the mouth waters. chills, sweat, unbearable warmth. the stomach shutters, the body shakes. a hand tightly clasps the throat. back down it goes. relief. A computer screen lights my surroundings. An empty white page. The cursor blinks. It’s never easy. I give it some time, take another drink. there is nothing in my head so i fill it with more brown liquid. fluid fills the void of discplaced grey matter. the internal talk radio programming begins. “there it is” it’s a nightly syndication. endless thoughts, warm discourse. 11

the blood brain barrier penatrated. soft laughter drowns out deafening noise. maybe i can collect myself, give it a purpose. “what does that little voice inside your head tell you?” hands gesture wildy, eyes move about, limbs flail, why am i shouting? “well?” Music plays in the background. my bottle sits next to me. an empty shot glass next to it. It stares longingly. it is suicidal. “if i drink all of your contents then aren’t you dead? don’t i win?” i almost throw up again. fighting off that feeling. vomit rises in my throat. pushing, churning, fire. like a furnace. a last long cringe, then it’s gone. Beautiful. “i will steal your brown liquid soul, you worthless fuck.” I start typing. the words fall from my finger tips. i do not think, i just write. i continue without meaning, i stare at the keyboard with wide eyes. it’s amazing how fast my fingers move. i do not recount what is written. i just keep going. press buttons, words form.

I look at my progress. dissapointment. “hey mister liquor man, i’m not even close to full. you are so fucking close to empty.” it’s not working. i’m not working. maybe its the moment. maybe it’s not right. or maybe it’s right now. maybe i’m just drunk. a moment passes so quickly how do you even live one? The bourbon continues to pour into my mouth. i do not care, i just drink. i continue without purpose. i stare at the glass with watering eyes. it’s amazing how fast the liquor goes down. i do not realize how much i have had. I just keep drinking for no good reason. pour bottle, thoughts form. I look at my progress. more dissapointment. I guess this moment is over. words stop. no more keystrokes. the bottle sits cold and empty. drained of every drop. i am finished. it is too. “you used to be here. you used to be alive.”

Kyle Enright

Untitled

these pictures surround me they are someone else’s life artifacts of an existance one i did not exist in i wish i could have known her instead of filling in the blanks every single glimpse i take it’s only what she shows me if i was in those photos would we be here now or would i be absent with someone else wondering if i was with you then would it be the same

14

Swimming Backwards

Barbara O’Neil

Since that day on the sand I have lost my faith. It’s lost. The doubt is from the inside out. Since that day swimming backwards I’ve lost my patience. It’s lost. I want it now; want to hide it where you won’t find it. You keep your secrets and I keep recovering from dumb. I sheltered you from your own purpose and it’s already misshaping your idiosyncrasies. You’ve suffered enough. This cookie cutter love kept you blinded and bound to my wiles. Since that day I’ve fancied you like my perception of the sky falling. I tied a knot and watched your squirm. Oh how I wish you could see my heart yearning for your surrender. Counting the seconds till I will be just like you. You keep your lullabies and I keep misreading the writing on the wall. I secluded your glow from daylight and you’re sunburned. You’ve wrecked this space. This guard has fallen down and the carrion smells something sour. Since that day I have gone too far and swallowed my tongue. I pushed too hard and we can barely touch it before it falls apart. The lust is from outside in. The shriveled hopes of yours and mine collide.

15

Last Dance

Barbara O’Neil

I’m sad sick of that decrepit look of hate. Now I’m stuck upon this crucifix and it’s just too late. Yesterday you were full of smiles, Today I’m mad sick of your denial-of truth. Telling myself I should have known better not to let you creep into my dark shadow. Should have put that ladder up against the door kept myself from coming back for more. Currently trapped despite all of my might these wounded wings hindered from any flight bound to sudden fits of laughter-nothing makes sense anymore I don’t want anymore! This is my vacation from constant misery, yet I’m stuck without the key to Freedom of every thought Wish I would have bought that boat when I had a chance Set sail instead of anxiously wait for our last dance.

16

Your bones

Barbara O’Neil

Taking chances. Second glances. I am well beyond you. Your tragedy besieges me. Too underprivileged to notice your defeat. Too defiant to believe anything. Nobody knows me and nobody offers their lies. I benefit from your blows. I can learn from the water in your eyes that life is just a symphony of shattered hopes. I can give you the sunshine if you give me your bones. Built to deny the cataclysmic shared life we are doomed to in destiny. I can take you where nobody sees you and nobody wants to know your twisted spine.

17

No Apologies

Barbara O’Neil

I did a very shitty thing tonight And I have no means to make Any sort of amendments since now Everything has transpired into SHIT. Come to think of it shit has Been spewing out of my life for Quite some time now. Am I so far Detached from reality that I exist on An entirely different plane referred To as SHIT CENTRAL? Am I such a Horrible part of everyone’s lives That I’m known as THE SHIT GIRL? Am I even a girl or am I mere SHIT? A match won’t tame this disaster. Alone, and rightfully so, in my Own home. I never meant to cause this harm Yet I’ve managed to chop off my own arm I tried to feed it to you to prevent me from feeling less blue Another bystander overtaken by this unnecessary destruction. I AM ONE BIG FUCKING COMBUSTION! Of misery and good deeds Pain and neglected needs Shame, Blame, Lame- You name… I never meant to cause this harm NO, I was not raised in a barn; I’m tender and true and Indebted to you. I’m sorry.

18

What Eats Ticks, Part 1

John Harkins

“Eh, you got one on you” “Where, where” “Comer, it’s on your back” “Agh, ah- get it” They were crunching through the underbrush, it grew thick these days. No one burned it no more, everyone was scared of fires, and no one remembered how to do it right anyway. The trees were small, third, fourth, fifth, sixth regrowth within those 360 years. Houses confined to grass cubicles, 9 generations of partitioning pioneers meticulous in their misconceptions. This progress was always looking forward, no time looking back, just prospects and profits. These two children of the woods knee deep in muck were a lost rebellion, plodding along snagging shoulders and shins on the brambles of branches. They went walking everyday, it didn’t matter where, but always through the woods. This roaming romance grew smaller every year, their conversations condensed and concentrated while the forest grew smaller. Invisible box walls of reclusive neighbors encroached, turf sprayed upon graded earth, intruding on their collective commonground of thorns. The two had plenty to talk about, but less to look at so they ended up at the bar. There was a TV in there, always on playing MTI or sports. The Popcorn box popped greasy robot kernels sprayed with candy butter, as the bottle beer brewed with tap water and fear flowed torrents. This was all by design, of course. At the bar the couple usually talked with excitement for awhile, but soon the hum and buzz carried their eyes and ears to contrived lands of mythic reality. Far away places they’d never visit, filled with people looking exactly like them, they’d never see again. “Just get it off me quick please!” “All right, alright I got em.” Crouched in the brush, clutching the creature between his thumb and forefinger he pulled it off her neck. Gently he put the little head slightly over the edge of his right thumbnail. In one sharp movement, the left thumb guillotine mechanically and unceremoniously popped the bugs head off. The blood of a million mammals swelled a small bubble at the top of the body… with a disgusted flick Moody dropped the exoskeleton carcass to the ground invisibly. “I fucking hate ticks. You know I declared war on the little bastards right?” “Really?” she said pretending she had never heard this before. “Yup… when I’m done, there won’t be another one of those little suckers on this island.” The truth was they had this same little dance everyday, and she always pretended this was the first time she had ever heard his decree. The woods were infested, you couldn’t walk a step without a tick waving its little arms and catching a ride. Both of their skin had become sensitive, it was a very particular feeling the little scurry before the bite. Instance and instinct had honed their muscles which involuntarily nabbed the parasite as it made the great scramble. Moody always mutilated them, while Churice usually 19

just flicked them out of sight and out of her mind. Moody would pinch the insect, proclaim his declaration of war, then snap his thumbnails. He did this all the while asking the audience if they thought it possible he could rid the island of this menacing insect. Some nodded yes with encouragement, some were disgusted, some were interested in his proficiency in slaughtering the bug, and most would sincerely say “I doubt it.” Most people now-a-days were infected with the tick sickness, and most of em didn’t want to talk or think about it. This was all by design, of course. Moody and Churice continued on the deer trail, silent for a second as the word momentum gained steam in their throats. “It feels so good in here… I hate looking at that tower all the time out there.” “I know, I think this is the only place on the island I don’t feel it watching me.” The words sunk in as they squeezed through a patch of green briar, then on the other side their conversation picked back up. “I remember as a kid, my pops would tell me bout days before they built that thing.” “Moody, you mean your dad was alive before it got built?” “Oh yeah, it was put up when he was a gradyschooler, they cut down all those acres of big forest and plopped it there the same month.” “I wish I was alive then, before the tower” “Yeah me too… ah well, it’s a different world now-a-days anyways.” They were on the edge of the woods standing upon the precipice of life, they stepped out onto the sidewalk. Shady Lane was familiar with it’s neat green squares terminating perfectly at the chemical crack separating the cement. The sound of a hundred thousand lawncutters, weedwhackers, leaf bellowers and dirt suckers, screamed from the backyards, as they strolled in the sunlight on shady lane. The Mindy Bar sat square ahead, they nodded to the regulars as they passed through the door stepping up to the bar, taking their place. A bowl of popcorn, candy coated, appeared before them and soon they were swallowed by two sterilized jugs of glug. Mean Teen Island was just getting started on the big screen, and everyone settled in to watch today’s episode.

Alarms Ring for a Reason, Part 3/3

Kevin Belew

“Damn Justin take it easy.” Tracy said as she was knocked back by Justin. “Oh shit sorry, sorry Tracy.” Tracy was on her ass, parked, in the parking lot. She shot him a pissed glance, “What the fuck?” Samantha was quick to defend Justin, “Oh shit, Tracy, we were trying to get away from this drunk bitch in there.” Gino looked, dumbfounded, caught in the middle. Tracy was still on her ass, a little buzzed evidently. Gino walked over and picked her up. Tracy looked at Samantha, “Well is this bitch that bad? Because, pretty much, she caused me to get knocked on my ass here and now I feel like knocking somebody on their ass.” Gino a little tickled said, “No, if it’s the girl I think it is, she’s not worth it.” Gino looked over at Justin and Justin nodded to him. Gino looked over at Tracy then back at Justin, “Justin where we going?” Justin by now had Samantha’s arm in his. He felt it would be a good night so he said, “Fuck it. Lets head over to Oscar’s place.” Gino lit up, “Oh yeah I forgot about Arch’s message. Lets do it.” Justin winked at Samantha and led her to the passenger side of the caddy and opened the door. She stepped in as Tracy and Gino took their seats in the back. Gino and Tracy were cool in the back seat this time as Justin got onto the highway. Justin asked Gino, “Hey where exactly is Oscar’s again?” Gino told him, “Its three more exits, then go left back over the highway and follow that till you hit citypark road. Take that right and it’s at the end on the right.” Samantha squeezed Justin’s arm a little, “So what’s going on over at Oscar’s tonight?” Justin glanced at her quickly, “I don’t know exactly? My friend Archie called and left a message that they were having a party over there. And that there would be lots to drink and smoke.” Gino sidebusted in on the conversation, “Ah he knows what’s going on over there. There’ll be a couple bands and a shitload of people.” Justin laughed a little, “Yeah he’s right. That’s most likely what it’ll be.” They got to the end of citypark road and turned right into a gravel driveway. They went past the house where they could see a lit up barn, filled with people, in the distance. They parked shortly after the house where about twenty other cars were parked. Justin backed his car in the spot that was farthest from the barn but the closest to the house. They got out and Samantha asked, “So what’s up with the barn?” Justin answered, “It’s where the bands play and pretty much where to party.” They were walking towards the barn, about halfway there when they started to hear the electric guitars and drums. Samantha turned to Justin, “Hey Justin I forgot my purse, I had a couple joints in it, would you walk with me back to the car?” Justin yelled over to Gino, “Hey Gino did you bring any weed with you?” Gino looked back, “Nah man I just brought some pills and coke.” Justin yelled back, “You guys go ahead I’m gonna walk Samantha back to the car. She left a couple of joints in her purse.” Gino and Tracy didn’t miss a beat as they kept walking. Justin turned toward Samantha and they walked back to the car. “So you’ve never been here huh?” Justin asked Sam. She had her arm in his again. “No. I’ve heard of this place though.” Justin looked down as they walked. They were silent for a while. “Ya know, I don’t really know you at all, I was wondering how old you are.” Samantha smiled and told him, “I’m twenty-four right now.” Justin looked over at her, “What’s that supposed to mean, right now?” Samantha laughed, “It means that in two days I’ll be twenty21

five.” Justin felt relieved. Samantha blurted, “Why how old are you?” Justin still looking at her, “Well, I am twenty-five, right now.” She smiled even larger than before, “Good, it’s nice to be with someone my own age.” They were back at the car. Justin got the drivers door unlocked and let Samantha in. She got in, moved to the passenger seat and motioned for him to get in to saying, “Hey get in here lets smoke one of these joints together.” Justin got into the car. He sat down at the wheel and turned his body right towards Samantha as she put the joint to her mouth and raised the lighter to it. She took a hit and handed him the joint. Samantha stared at Justin as she spoke, “You know I noticed you staring at me at Gino’s.” Justin coughed a bit from the joint and spoke in a wheeze, “No no.” He regained his composure, “No no, I saw you staring at me, besides you offered me that joint remember.” Samantha took the joint between two fingers. “You’re right I did offer you that joint. I thought that it was very nice of you to offer me the beer. No matter what it was, King Cobra.” She took another hit and passed it back to Justin. Justin took the joint and looked at her. “Hey I’ve got a serious question for you.” Samantha started to say something but Justin cut her short without knowing it. “Do you really think that a man and a woman can make it faithfully-” Justin was cut off by Samantha, “ Don’t even worry Justin. I feel very comfortable. Now are you going to hit the joint?” Justin blushed in the night and hit the joint. She declined so he leaned forward and put it out in the ashtray. As he pulled his head up he noticed she had moved a little closer. They stared at each other and she asked him, “Well are you going to kiss me or what?” Justin put his arm around her waist, pulled her in and kissed her … Justin looked at her. She had exceeded any aesthetic expectations. ‘She looks great naked.’ Justin thought. “Hey when was the last time you made it in a car?” Samantha laughed loudly. “I like that,” she said “made it. What, are you from the seventies?” Justin said, “I could have easily asked you, ‘When was the last time you fucked in a car’.” “No I like made it. Its classy.” She said. She didn’t answer the question. He didn’t care anymore. Justin kissed her on the mouth, “Alright lets get back to the party. Someone might think we were fucking in the car.” She responded quickly, “Making it!” Justin and Samantha walked, arm in arm, back towards the barn. As they approached the entrance they saw Gino and Tracy just outside. A crowd inside packed. Bodies were seen jostling one another and occasionally one would fly out of the barn and rush back in. The music, some form of punk or metal, was assaulting. It flared out distorted like buckshot piercing the mallard causing them to slam together and run in circles. A tribal fuck you dance to the U.C. “Hey Gino!” Justin yelled tapping on Gino’s shoulder. “Hey, where you guys been?” yelled Gino grinning. Justin told him, “We got her purse and ended up smoking one of the joints!” Gino looked through the crowd then turned towards Justin, “Lets get outta here! You see those bags of shit over there?” Gino pointed through the crowd towards a couple of guys at the other end of the barn. Justin looked over and recognized the guys. “Ah fuck it Gino, they’re harmless, they’re just a bunch of oblivious assholes!” The music continued to blast and the mallards fell and twisted and got back up. Justin drove back up citypark road took a left then a right and was back

on the highway gaining speed. He picked it up to about eighty and the girls got a little nervous. Tracy protested, “Justin slow down a bit, huh?” Justin realized he was speeding and slowed it down to sixty-five. It was easy for him to get lost in the luxury (of his four door Cadillac) that could easily fit eight, with some extra bodies in the trunk. Samantha mouthed thank you to Justin for slowing down. As the Cadillac got closer to Justin’s house, he looked over and saw the crime scene from earlier, he asked, “Hey you guys wanna grab that bottle and go over to that park where that kid got killed?” Everyone agreed that it would be a great idea to do some private investigating. Justin pulled up to his house curbside and parked. He told them to wait outside he’d be back with the bottle in a second. He was in and out and came back laughing, “Sorry guys this is all we got left.” Justin held out the bottle of Old Crow with only the dregs of the bottle left. He laughed again and said, “Don’t worry we can go hit the corner store five blocks down.” They walked to the store and Justin purchased a pint of Old Crow. They walked back towards the house and crossed the street to the park where the murder had been committed. They saw a sign on the entrance to the park. They saw rosaries, crucifixes, wreaths and handwritten signs attached to the fence. There was also an official sign that read, “Crime scene entry denied until clearance has been issued.” Gino, a little fucked up, said, “Fuck it.” He jumped the entrance fence and was in the park. The other three followed suit. They walked past the bleachers and onto the baseball field where they got to what looked like a large dark stain on the infield. They stopped just short of it and had an impromptu moment of silence. They stood silent staring at the stain. Justin spoke up first, “Man I have never been this close to a murder scene before.” He told them of how he had seen the police questioning the kids earlier. Of his imaginings and how they had matched up to Tracy’s recount. “Can you believe this? I mean this kids parents and his family. And tomorrow there will be kids stamping the infield not giving a fuck.” He opened the pint bottle poured a little out and took a good pull. “I mean fuck. I feel nothing at this scene. Not one bit of empathy. People are born, people die and the earth keeps spinning. I feel nothing but …” He trailed off and passed the bottle. Samantha, staring at the stain, saw the bottle peripherally. She grabbed it, staring at the stain, had a good drink and passed it, staring at the stain.

Lying and Dying

Sarah Krebs

I could die tomorrow peacefully trust me I have already swam naked in those blue blue warm waters that you see on your tv (coast of Spain baby) smoked so many joints enough to wipe out one of those grow farms up in mendocino been in love with you long enough even still a phone call from you still sends shock waves through my heart and all that shit after all these years darlin even though I am in love with someone else and there is all that blue blue water separating me and him you on the other hand are not so far away and in my life I have loved you more in my life I have done it all I can die peacefully trust me

24

Paris September 30th

25

and every other day in September goes like this wake no earlier than 11 am although his alarm starts ringing sometimes at 9 “ so what do you do all day in Paris with all your free time?” “nothing does it look like I do something?” the english dj is offended says the french are pretentious says he can’t find any X besides the french snort coke one party after the next all a bad joke go to the atm baddest joke of all didn’t bring enough cash or party only dresses that is why I wanted to drink the tea even with everyone being here so that the nest would fall from the tree we make love against mother nature’s wishes I know I will be the one to pay I start to think this another one of your tests if it is I could care less revision the title of this poem is Paris September 28TH I lost track of the days my lungs revolt the constant inferno in my throat now beween my legs other things transpire I have been made a woman and re-made a woman in Paris you either have rags or you have riches if you know the right people the parties are fun champagne dinners cherries ripe for the picking the mornings not reality really not bills to pay

Sarah Krebs

not cities to bomb just you and me wound up in clouds of covers touching all over you will not tease me till we are sitting properly at the breakfast table so may we stay in bed a bit longer dear? mother nature forgets and forgives she has got more important matters to deal with than what goes on between a woman’s legs

What Happens When You Drink Too Many Superior Light Beers Sarah Krebs

I have one superior light beer by the end of the bottle there is nothing superior about it my momma tells me to rest I think I have been resting then I remember thinking is pure murder I wake up in Paris my french is flawless my thighs are perfect the baby on my hip is not a figment of my imagination out the window goes all the conditions sometimes I forget I am stronger than I give myself credit for my breast were quite the statement now they are silent just teardrops rolling down his cheek we joke about implants I somehow manage to keep my self respect intact shudder at the thought of women who birth babies while they have their tits inflated I look in the eyes of my baby I look in the eyes of my lover one has his conditions the other doesn’t

27

You Never Know

Sarah Krebs

gravity pulls down our inner oceans tuning out the tunings these lessons learned only to be swept under the floor for we have failed anyway give it all the finger if I told you that I know exactly what you are feeling I wouldn’t but I may and you might pull yourself over another ledge and I will not be there to comfort you

28

Unholy Grail

John Costa

“Let’s play a card game,” S. suggested. “Sounds good,” T. agreed. I was hesitant. “What game are we going to play?” I asked. “We’re going to play Egyptian Rat Screw.” S. insisted. The small upstairs apartment was cluttered with books and video games. A TV lay sideways on the carpet amongst the empty food wrappers. The lighting being unusually bright gave off a stagnant heat, and there I was, in a chair at the small round table with two people I thought I knew. So we started playing this game I’d never heard of, I was too distracted to care much and just stared at the deck and the back of the bicycle cards with distant eyes. All the intricate colored lines and the two opposing cherub with the thin white border. I swallowed my phlegm; we’d been smoking hashish all night. The cards had that perfect texture for gripping and sliding across the table, S. shuffled them with ease. The faces of their royal family and the unaffected eyes as they stood on the face of the card in bland primary colors were swiped into a deck divided amongst the three of us. The rules, said to involve piling cards in a set to a particular method and slapping the set upon triggered patterns that just weren’t there. I was stoned and didn’t really care plus I was getting antsy and tired and felt claustrophobic. “Alright, I’m taking off.” I stood up and gave the obligatory peace out then walked out the door closing it behind me. The sky was dark and full of omniscient clouds of doom with a cold fog and crisp breeze blowing electricity through the air; I stepped out to the concrete and let out a deep sigh to the winter night. I went to my car dimly lit under the car port and got in. Crumpled cigarette packs, term papers, books, tapes scattered the brown leather interior, old car smell and stale smoke. I pulled out of the lot and headed home. I turned on the heater and pushed in the cigarette lighter after pressing play on the tape deck. A local band called Desert City Soundtrack; I got the demo tape from the show at the inn of the beginning. Smoking my cigarette listening deeply to the melancholic trumpet sighing over the downed tempo piano melodies, all complimented by drums and crescendos of sound clips from rare independent films. There was no one else lost on the grey freeway, it was late and a weeknight in my hometown, I turned into suburbia and parked across from the house. The white cherub statuette sat there on the picket fence with its baby angel wings and its chipped smile towards me. I turned off the car and just sat there for a second breathing the cold air down my throat and into my lungs, listening to the tape. It faded out to silence and reeled to a click. I didn’t want to go inside. I didn’t want to get out of the car. So, looking for another tape in the center console I found a blank cassette I wasn’t familiar with, it had just one label with chicken scratches of a “Happy Birthday,” a gift? What started out poorly recorded guitar chords cut halfway through a chorus abruptly broken by deep laughter? Then to sounds of a meager party. I jerked my head to the right as a figure appeared directly outside of my passenger window, a giant and darkly translucent praying mantis swaying back 29

and forth menacingly staring cold into my eyes, it wanted to eat me alive. Paralyzed by fear I stared into its killer eyes. The tape buzzed to the fear and two high elf voices chattering and laughing indifferent at the situations. “The bug’s not real.” “Huh?” “It is the shadow of the trees.” They were right, it was the shadow of the trees... swaying in the wind, yet still I stared and listened as this foreign ghost surrounded the atmosphere taking hold of the situation. “Move your head left up there.” The machine elves commanded my every move. Bewilderment filled my paralyzed body up and down smeared with relic fears of some demonic force. “Muahahahahahahahaha!” The high pitched elves laughed in hysterical sequence and synchronicity. All my fears were transmitted through the haunted tape. In utter dread I fell into this hypnosis staring into the insect eyes swaying back and forth. I swallowed my fear and got out of the car looking both ways, and slid the tape in my pocket and walked through the door. I tossed and turned in my bed, my body stiff and ancient, crumbling like a statue or a fallen idol, stuck in insomnia. I just lay there eyeballs stared into the ceiling and beyond… I got up and took the tape out and decided to figure it out. I copied it to my computer, slowed down I heard a conversation about foreign policy during world war two and slowed further it drew out to a buzzing sound yet clearly the chant of “Six Six Six.” The mark of the beast… What had just happened? Demonic possession? Suddenly it was freezing cold and I could see my breath. I shut the computer down as my nerves did the same, closing the window I flipped the blinds, and fell asleep. I dreamt I was waiting at the transit; no one was there but me. And everything was grey. A dying wind blew trash down the street. The thought of a girl crossed my mind but only briefly then the thought disappeared like the dust in the gutters. I got up and started to walk; I turned a corner and stumbled up some stairs. It got darker and darker as I followed the steps into the dark, and then it was all black, except in the cement there, a luminescent shining lamp emitting darkness through an enigma of thick ectoplasm smoke radiating shadow as light. Instinctively I reached for the lamp. As I touched it I awoke in bed with my eyes open with a dark mattered translucent demon coming up from my chest flashing a sinister sneer violently choking me against the mattress. Two more pairs of translucent horns poked from either side of me. They grabbed my arms and held me with hellish grins. The one poking his waist out from my chest slammed me harder and I tried to scream but no sound came out.

I shut my eyes in horror and for a moment died inside. Frantically I prayed God make it stop. Just then a blinding light shaped like a bell came spiraling through the window floating down gracefully sucking the demons like a vacuum spinning back out from whence it came. Then I was alone. That’s when the nausea settled. A thick dwelling pit turned in my stomach to what felt like rocks. Vomiting I ran to the toilet. I fell sprawled burning in my throat on my hands and knees in shock. A pair of tentacle insect parasites swam deathly in a pool of vomit and black blood. My eyes through the ceiling I helplessly shouted out save me again and again. My step father broke the door down screaming. “What the hell is going on?!” Vaguely aware of my sister Angel in the next room running water as she banged on the wall. “NOOOOOOOOOO!!!” She shrieked in horror. “Stop! This is how demons manifest.” She cried then wept. “Save me!” Again and again and again. I took a breath in shock agony and despair and flushed the toilet knowing those things, whatever they were, would haunt me for years leaving me suffering in existential despair wondering what had really happened. That year the heat burned out slowly in an Indian summer. A scarecrow in the distance with a purple coat and a pumpkin head hung lifeless above the dry field, wooden bones above the hay. Flies buzzed all mechanical circling it flying through ectoplasm, trails of tetra grams. Landing on your face and skull, through your ears and digging into your nose, prying right through your pores and boring into your flesh, squirming maggots devouring. The field and dead tree and sky and everything fell into red, then faded to a hearty purple. All swelling like a pulping vein then dyed to apocalyptic grey when pitch black silence arose for all eternity.

What It Feels Like

Barbara O’Neil

So you wanna know what it feels like On the inside of this shell, well It feels like a quick drink, Feels like a shattered smile. On this side of denial, feels like a cool breeze. Deep inside this thought, this shove on your shoulder Every minute we grow older. And we don’t stop. We don’t know how to quit. Wasted time in this sports bar. I’d rather rip my nail from skin. But I don’t stop. Even you may quit. A hurried quickness A moment’s sickness. High quality delusion Alone and surrounded by mediocre hopes and lives. What a pity I even tried.

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Kate Burke

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Seven. Before I became a bad      example for myself           and learned the art (lesson) of             falling        down. Before a mind could wrap     around itself fully. Know how cells may malfunction and that           Beasts don’t have to have sharp              teeth, to be deadly. Before loss. Or, realizing the integrity of      a livers purpose.  That there will be no reflection come bottom of         an empty pint glass. Even if you’re looking for it. Before I knew your hands. Tough,      weathered. Like the season we’ve been avoiding. Bruised, often late..         Backwards even. Tasteless.      Before        I          knew                     better.                

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Kyle Enright

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a surfer on a wave crashing into shore water breaks above head hard rocks smashing bone sea water fills the lungs the body sinks to sand a current drags it out now a drowning man you loved the ocean, it loves killing you.

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