The girls along the river were of flawed beauty, specialty mollomars and apricot jams that ended up in Jack’s 99cent Store, backward-glancing girls too unstable to work at Nails Nails Nails or Costco.
by Mercedes Lawry
Rip rap scree and the eerie wind that wove itself double and back in a high wheeze. There was nothing left of comfort in the black storm, nothing smooth or sweet. The wool and steel and glass were only a puzzle of dust.
by Daniel Coshnear
Based on your Blockbuster rentals of November-December 2010 it’s apparent you enjoyed George Clooney flicks (9) and nearly as plain you had some kind of a thing for George Clooney, but there’s been a spike since the new year in Fassbinder films, notably the 1969 classic, Love is Colder Than Death, and (6) others in ten days. We don’t know how to account for the change. Clooney, we decided, resembles your boyfriend, former boyfriend(?), chin, eyes, and your father, lips, nose, photos on Bing, and we noted an 83% decrease in # of emails from you to your parents shortly after Xmas.
by Tim Kahl
The plum tree’s boughs bend low with the weight of the fruit, and the grass votes once again to be green. From this, we note how obedient nature is and how well its accessories are displayed. Hello, pretty flower. Bonjour, sunset at the beach. Meanwhile the stamen serves the seed. The river is driven into the bay. A whisper exists in the throat of the wind compelling the heather to sway. The rain’s anger evaporates. The clouds array. A column of ass-sniffers at the beach leaves the collie as the caboose. Every day is a parade, every breath a salute.
by Lauren E. Watkins
Two men I have never seen before in my life are sitting in the tiny cockpit a few feet away. The one on the left turns around and looks at me from behind a shock of scruffy blondish bangs.
He scratches the unshaven stubble around his chin. “’Ello my dear.” His voice is young, like Patrick’s, but thick with a Swedish accent. Maybe Bulgarian. Russian?
The plane jerks again and I slide to the back, crashing against the metal siding. “What’s happening? Who are you? If this is kidnapping, you picked the wrong girl. My dad’ll kill you.”
by Scott Jessop
She opened the door wide and motioned for me to come in. The apartment was warmer than the hall so I slid inside. Piles of magazines ranging from Time to Hustler littered the floor and there were hypodermic needles and crack pipes lying about. She must have a drug-addicted grandson, I reckoned. A small, ancient TV sat in the corner with its rabbit ears held together with foil. Cups crusted with the brown remains of Folgers sat on a heavy oak table in front of the sagging sofa that smelled of urine and cigarettes.
by James Russell
“The fuck you waiting for? Go!” the first counselor said. Alex strolled and Pete walked at Alex’s heels, out of their cabin.
They pulled stunts like this at Camp Seminole sometimes. Pete begged his dad to just let him stay home or get a job because of bullshit like this, the games the training counselors played. Three a.m. water balloons, the surprise midnight wedgie contest, and How far can you toss a younger camper, in his underwear, into Tomahawk Lake?
by Donald Dewey
Klein’s pupil in the studio seemed to be trying to erase his presence through sheer aggression. Had Mozart started that way? Till didn’t think so. If Mozart had chafed his tiny fingers the way the student had to be doing, grazing the wood of the adjoining note every time he aimed at the ivory, Wolfgang wouldn’t have had anything left for picking his nose. Genius simply wasn’t nourished under the wing of Edgar Klein.
Which was all right with Till. He had no love affair with Genius and wasn’t even on first-name terms with Talent.
by Nick Sweet
I’m gonna take you to Rio, he told me. We’ll start a new life there, just the two of us. I asked him if he’d told Barbara. He said he hadn’t, not yet. But I needn’t worry about that because he’d tell her all right. That was a month ago. Barbara came to see me yesterday. She was distraught. She said he’d always talked about me and the conversations I’d had with him.
by Duy Nguyen
And there you are with your stupid smile, bad taste in clothing, and just-fuck-me-now looks that have only gotten better since the day I was told that I couldn’t have you anymore. There you are, pushing your cart toward me, and suddenly I’m back where we started, in the back of your car with the skirt of my suit hiked up around my waist and my legs wrapped around your stupid smile.
by Zach Fishel
You want to kill your voice
like mildew smothered
I would rather choke on the
fluid in my lungs,
spitting up blood from the expectorants
chemicals that deteriorate,
going down like a
into a lake, never retrieved
by Ed Hamilton
I couldn’t believe this shit. I was just minding my own business, trying to finish up my shower. But it was rough: The place was damn crowded now, and everybody was laughing and joking around, upperclassmen and freshmen alike, and Coach Abbot more than anyone.
by Laura Grace Weldon
With joyous fervor she started listing houses on the street by the sins of the occupants. That did it. I said something about seeing the light in each person. She swiveled her full attention in my direction, fly swatter in hand, and asked me where I went to church. No middle ground left, I told her that I belonged to a Unitarian Universalist fellowship.
She was shocked. “Oh, you people believe anything goes,” she gasped.
“Not intolerance,” I said.
She kicked me out of her house.
by Paul Alan Fahey
Camilla rose, fetched the candle by her bedside and went out into the corridor. It was late, after Vespers, but she knew she’d find Father in the chapel. Father Dominic with his kind face and strong arms, even his name implied an affinity with the Lord.
Camilla wasn’t alone in these thoughts. No.
by Zach Fishel
Disgust floats from the dressing
balloon animals made
and later pop despite
the given space for tied knots and
by John McCaffrey
“I’m almost done. I’ll send it soon.”
“You better. No excuses. I don’t want to hear that your computer crashed or your mom died.”
“My mom did die.”
“A few years ago.”
“Well, mine’s dead too. And now I have my sister calling to say I should visit her grave. Like I have time to go out to a cemetery and lay flowers on a stone smeared with pigeon crap. Trust me, my mother wouldn’t want me wasting any money on a bouquet she couldn’t see or smell. So you better have it to me today.”
by Kate LaDew
Stephen craned his neck towards the roof. The helicopter was directly over his car. Four ropes lowered down over each tire, tightening as men propelled down them, slim knives in hand.
“Damn you, tires, and your eroding tread! Damn you and the air you will soon expel!”
A man with a bullhorn screamed fiercely, a black helmet obscuring his face. Stephen felt the car sink, tires squealing quietly. “Mother of God. What the—what’d you do that for?”
by Robyn Parnell
At first, Aaron had thought she was joking. But, no. No horses would be changed, not for Emma. It was only last night, and already her simple declaration had been absorbed into the emotional detritus of his family history. Had there been previous clichés for rationale, other clues he hadn’t noticed? Aaron scoured his memory: When she’d declined his offer of culinary support had she also, on the sly, proclaimed that too many cooks spoil the broth?
by Mercedes Lawry
She must stand in front of her mirror and talk, talk, talk cause she need audience. Where she get this notion, we wonder, that she so special? Her mama don’t treat her like a queen, her papa neither plus he workin’ all the time. She not so beautiful she make the stars fall out of the sky. She born that way, born a Big Head, that’s our conclusion.
I am very inspired by Alexander Rodchenko and photographers like Joel Sartore. I’m always looking for that thing that haunts me about everyday life and the urban environment whilst wanting to capture something really special and strange in the natural world around me. I like to get a photo no one else has. Even if it doesn’t win any awards, I don’t mind; it is something I wanted to capture and frame forever.
She held poetry up as the accomplishment without compare. So it was to poetry that I went at the start of my creative writing life. I’d always loved the individual word, the look and feel and taste of each one. Poetry lends itself to delectable language and the choosing of words as if they are jewels. You can hold them up to the light or feel their heft in the dark. Here the emerald, there the agate. But I also loved the narrative that pulls you through difficult terrain. From poetry I began writing stories and from stories gravitated to novels. Short stories are my favorite medium. I like their space restriction and almost poetical compression of image, intensity, and voice.
And there in the midst of this squalor I met this old woman who ranted—quite intelligently—about Ayn Rand and Objectivism for more than an hour. But she lived it. She lived as she believed. Her apartment was pretty much as described in the story: littered in drug paraphernalia, magazines, and longhair political tomes. That was my inspiration. I’m sorry to say she didn’t pluck a chicken during our visit. I added that just to make her creepy.