She’ll break open the world, just a bit, and tell them how they’ll end, how they’ll get there, who’ll wrong them along the way. They’ll drown in it, their fates, choking to take it all in, no matter how certain they’d been they could swim. But she’ll be there, on
I’d been to six flags before and I knew that there was a ride called goliath that you could manually unbuckle the seat belt even after the ride had begun. I don’t fully understand what I was thinking at the time but I don’t think anyone does when you get
The turtleman has dark green skin, a thick, spongey surface, like wet clay. The turtleman lives by the lake. The turtleman has long, smooth legs, and even longer, skinnier arms. The turtleman reads fiction. The turtleman writes screenplays, hoping he will eventually sell one to Hollywood, but he doesn’t let
“All of my hair is leaving me.” But I was the one who’d shaved it all away. To say it left me was a compulsion to attract that rich melancholy self-lovers look for. I knew within mundane choices was the opportunity to feel abandoned. I’d electric razored the whole thing
Cheetah’s mom is dead. So’s his dad. He lives with his almost-deaf uncle Grant. His uncle plays a lot of solitaire and has a lot of different girlfriends. When Cheetah was in fourth grade, Uncle Grant was a volunteer fireman. He laughed a lot. He made casseroles and brought them
The universe is held inside a crunch bar. Everyone knows it. We are all just waiting for the sloppy giant to unwrap that beautiful blue wrapper and take a big bite out of it. And then what? Well, fuck if we residents of the universe know. We’re just here. Will
I’m on my way to mom’s apartment. * I’m at mom’s apartment. Wow, nice. She’s really spruced up the place. Mom? I’m in here! Down the hallway, wood floor, wood walls, wood doors, wood frames around photos (of me as a baby, me at my wedding, none in between); plants.
The chain-store you were employed at made so many bad decisions that you pictured board meetings full of cross-eyed and drooling executives, giving power-point presentations that were actually crude finger-paintings rendered in their own feces. And it was there, at the end of things, that you met Ricky. He first
It was a point of personal identity for Lula that she refer to no plant as a “weed” and refrain from assigning labels of “good” or “bad” to any creature. Her property: a lot which was adjacent to her daughter Valerie’s own house, and on which sat a mobile home
Steven lived alone in a small house on a cattle ranch at the bottom of a hidden valley. He didn’t have city water, air conditioning, or internet. The kitchen stank. Empty beers crowded the table and counters and stovetop. A flyswatter hung on the wall—flies hummed through the air. Dishes
I was walking next to Maureen at a slower pace than usual. She was always walking slowly, mostly because she was usually talking too much. I was actually surprised to hear from her when she had called me the day before. It had been months since I’d heard from her.
After nine days of nights, I went. On each of those nights I hadn’t gathered more than four hours of sleep, adrift still-dressed from the previous day on a bed that used to boast plural ownership. On three or four of those nights, I twisted toward the ceiling and tried
The Hypochondriac Society met every Thursday night in the basement of Knox Presbyterian Church. The church was like a Russian nesting doll: the Presbyterians on Sunday morning, some Mennonites on Sunday night; a children’s Montessori school met in part of the basement during the week or whenever the hell kids
Lands wanted to be the next Jackson Pollack; his parents and siblings told him he should pursue a field in which he could get a real job. But Lands couldn’t see himself as a professional, and he figured, while he had the chance (his parents would pay for college, even
My sister was a Blockbuster Video. She was a happening place. She kept her aisles clean, her shelves organized. Children begged for candy inside her. Families made special trips to see her. My sister was the church of Friday night. She was too inviting. A track-star type took her out,
But I know, it’s my own damn fault. – Jimmy Buffett The lightning bolt lit up the parking lot, fizzing, spitting, then evaporating into the gloom. After my eyes adjusted, I could just make out Dad’s fuzzy supine form across the lot and the man still standing over him. Before
In times of life-and-death, nobody quite grasped the concept of “be quiet.” But for us, it didn’t matter. My peers panicked, whimpered, some nearly hyperventilated—but nothing outclassed the tormenting screams coming from an adjacent room. Nothing could abolish the cackling gunfire, bullets penetrating walls and possibly bodies. Nothing stopped the
Born Under Punches The things I recall, I recall in zip pan, POV, a pullback shot without mise-en-scène. Or in darting moments, a brief flash, a passing scent, transposing and unblinking, and utterly distinct. Yet the whole of history favors similarities and slight anachronisms. The schism of time is in
He talks to me through the trees. Not through them, like he’s standing on one side of a treeline and I’m standing on the other, but like he is the trees. We will stay together, become taproots, strong and lasting, he says. Or we are both oaks. Discussing trees and
He wants a photograph of the baby in the bath. Or maybe lying on a sheepskin rug. You say you haven’t got a sheepskin rug and the baby’s already had a bath. Your father says, ‘ Well make up your mind, sweetheart.’ He wants a photograph of his grandson before
becomingplateaubecomingmachinebecomingplacebecomingbodybecomingbirdsongbecomingdirectionbecomingstasisbecomingmattressbecomingthinbecomingessencebecomingmaterialbecomingpersonbecomingurnbecominganimal (or No Thank You) There are a thousand plateaus spanning across this plane. Each occupied by strange machines eating each other, who stare at the remains for as long as they can bear to. “What kind of fucking place” is this: somewhere locked within itself. A body that
The plane fulfills its purpose: we are no longer ascendant. The engine winds down smoothly, a game show loss sort of draining. The tarmac is ice-sheathed but our skid in was mild. Men outside in reflective gear gesture meaningfully towards the hull, and we look at them through the ovular
Yes. No. Hand washed. No machine. He was the only man who shined shoes at George’s Shoe Repair. The tiny refuge was located below ground at the 51st and Lexington subway station. Yes. Hand. Wash. Personally. You’ll like. There were two or three ladies of an implacable foreign origin who
One by one they sat for their portraits. Littlest ones first. They stopped at the door and undid their braids. They rubbed their hair with vinegar and pinched their cheeks. The oldest ones were fearsome, they didn’t know how to listen anymore. One pricked her finger and spread the blood
The next day around 6:00 p.m. Jordan drove to the corner store near his apartment and bought a Peach Cisco. He drove down I-95 with the windows down and drank Cisco and listened to Propagandhi. In the song the lead singer sang about sticking an American flag up someone’s asshole.
The girl has created a bubble with 1/3 cup of glycerin, 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup dishwashing soap after her third psychiatrist visit. Years ago she was a perfect baby― a head full of black curls, big eyes and a wide smile. After she turned five, something went wonky
We play this game. You say something nice. I say something nice. You say something mean. I say something mean. We fuck. You aren’t so into it now. Your nice isn’t that nice—beautiful, really? That sounds like a lazy lie to me, but it’s my turn to say something nice.
It feels weird talking to a camera. I must look like a terrorist or a school shooter. I’ll turn off the light. That’s better. Your music sucks anyway. What makes you say that? I thought it sounded funny. You’re the one who asked me here. Let’s rape and kill some
One day I could speak the language hidden beneath my scabs. There were alphabets above the vacuum overhead that revealed themselves to me, but it was like diving after a flea with safety scissors. Almost enough grown to fill a coffin, still using gunshots to count sheep at night, I
Spainhammer’s gone, of course. Flattop blond muscleman Viking male stripper and street hustler who wrote for Curtains’ ReSurface, grumbling about not getting paid, and mad at Crazy House Press publisher Enoch Poorboy (whom he threatened with a syringe of his own AIDS blood ) – that was the event
Another flashbulb blanches the room white. “Smile,” her mother tells the purple, howling baby swaddled in its crib. Everywhere the baby—in picture, on magnets, JPEGs plastered across the internet. Roswell can’t even pull a frozen pizza from the refrigerator without being confronted with its alien face. Roswell flips the channel
He begins to paint. Frescos. No. But layers. Layers. There are faces. Clouds. He paints feverishly. Time is obsolete. His hand is limitless; it isn’t his. His body; not his. He makes love to himself in paint. ~ It is July 4th and he takes the four pieces that are left
That summer I started working at Lexington Home for minimum wage. I spent shifts convincing residents to swallow pills brimming from paper cups. It was a powerful position. Or at least that’s what I told friends. I told them I could’ve swallowed every pill if I wanted. But the only
Here’s a pic of Dad and me marching at the Inauguration Protest, January 20th, 2017, he’s holding the IMPEACH TRUMP sign I duct-taped to his hand. He voted for Trump but that didn’t matter—what mattered, according to his neurologist, was that he get fresh air, sunlight, and exercise, away from
It’s Friday the thirteenth and day number four of your leave. You’re taking some time off work since “the incident.” You’re at the DMV because you’ve been meaning to go for months but you’re always working when it’s open. You’re afraid of seeing your students’ parents in the waiting area.
A low metal growl rises, and I leap from the bed. Ten… nine. By seven, she’s reached the cornered hill of Fletcher and Fields. Her brakes protest with a tinny squeal. By five, I’m half dressed. At three, the throaty rumble of the eight-cylinder engine grows. By the time I reach
Brad flipped his car after hitting a fire hydrant, right downtown, right on Fifth Street, right near our old apartment, the prefurnished one with the broken window and the red wall and the kitchen that had bookshelves instead of cabinets, he was driving, something happened, who knows, he hit the
At Garron Lake Baptist, all the hands were up in supplication to God as bodies swayed and voices sang “Just As I Am.” In the front, Pastor Charlie Schmidt was laying his sweaty, psoriasis-afflicted hands on Grace Switowski. Pastor Schmidt prayer was heard above the din of chanting, moving bodies.
They were running a charter school out of a city building that stood in a quiet bureaucratic limbo of disrepair. Hanes had laryngitis, but Gutierrez asked him to cover L3 for the teacher whose name he always forgot, a twenty-some boy who was unable to smile without blinking convulsively, as
Which brings me to this afternoon, like many others this summer I hope. How I was out by Lake Merritt, out next to the giant Children’s Fairyland sign and the fountain, out on that hill right there in the sun trying to you know, like, melt into the earth. That’s
A lot of times, after having disgusting sex at her slow nephew’s cabin, we’d just get very sick of each other and begin volleying hurt back and forth. Don’t call my nephew slow, she’d say. I have a cousin who’s slow, I’d say. It’s okay. My nephew’s not slow though,
(According to the National Institute of Mental Health, and also Me) 1) Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating. When I was five, I’d sneak sandwich meat, pudding, cereal—anything quick and easy to snack on—into my room and hide
A cool Sydney night at the beginning of spring. We were smoking a joint on the verandah. The lights on the harbour twinkled and the possums were rasping out their mating calls. He’d been ‘scraping it together’ for a year, he said, to be able to come here. A few
He was just having a terrible anxiety attack on how this was all going to end. Berry was in the darkness of his room when he realized he was willing to go to any lengths in order to maintain his own personal property and respective riches that no one but
What if it’s all torn down, she asked me. I thought this was an odd question coming out of such young mouth. I wondered what exactly it was they teaching her at the preschool. We, me and her mother, me and my wife, are giving nearly half of our income
“She could be one of them.” Matt nodded toward the end of the counter. A Japanese woman of indeterminate age with fuchsia hair and an aqua hoody sat alone with a donut and coffee. Jake had never seen anyone eat a donut the way she did, from the outside surface
On the sixth day, Victor started staring at Antoine’s feet. A pang shot through him every time he saw Antoine’s plump toes wiggle. They were soft, pampered feet that had only walked on the prostrate backs of others. I bet they’re tender, thought Victor, licking his cracked and bleeding lips.
Michael, who stayed posted out front of Walgreens, requesting eats from entering and exiting Walgreens customers, was presently posted out front of Walgreens, requesting eats from entering and exiting Walgreens customers. “Yo what’s good,” I said as I approached, timing this utterance and my gaze, should he choose to reciprocate
I’ve rested my eyes upon the kit cat clock that keeps manic vigil of my darkening apartment. Either this or another video of fish eating birds, and I’ve figured out how all those end. Its eyes shift front door to back door, synchronized with pendulum tail, sixty back-and-fourths to the
The king’s chief of staff flipped the display numbers. The occupants of the blandest room in the kingdom clutched their flimsy tickets, and sucked in a collective breath. Trumpets flared, and a crier bellowed, “Petition the King Day, now serving A377.” A group of well-dressed, barefoot gentlemen rose to their
Adam tells me no one else will be by the water after such a bad snowfall. Edgewater Park should be deserted: just us and the lake, frozen into solid hills. It would be quiet, which I preferred—I kept quiet about a lot. Like the Grindr app I downloaded onto my
I gave my attention to the pause. Angela Carr, Here in There 1. I am downsizing, for practical reasons. I gift my belongings before the choice is no longer mine. Ending six months of aggressive treatment, some small strength returns. Moving through boxes and bins and shelves, I name items
You be my Christmas, Snowy. Keep me company this holiday season, that’s all. No Forevers for me, now. Forever lasted only four years and 17 days and left me with this I-am-sorry-note on a neon post-it stuck under the coffee machine, this black-and-white check scarf hung between my coats, and
One day, Penny woke up with her consciousness in her feet. She could still feel her head, blink her eyes, watch the procession of sunlight from her shutters ripple onto her bed, but it all felt very far away. Closer to her, the flannel blankets cushioned her arches and as