somewhere over the bronco | by Micheal O’Brien

I lazily point towards the remains of the buildings. W/ every fibre, atom, sinew and ounce of meat…. I mea(n)t it, Lord god. I felt their fear and anger a(n)d I wanted to hurt them all in the name of some-other’s big nothing.

                                          Meanwhile W bottles nebulas and plans to smuggle the ghost of T through customs. A wink wink at the security guards. A strange feeling passes through the buildings. Legs tired on the escalator. The milky coming of day.
Continue reading “somewhere over the bronco | by Micheal O’Brien”

The ISTJ | by Derek Owens

     After dinner the conversation swings around to Myers-Briggs. Me I’m an ENTP, says the host. I’m an ISFJ, says the hostess. Is she ever, says the host. One of their friends says, that sounds about right. I could have guessed, she says.

     The others are unfamiliar with the personality test so the three explain. How there are four categories and in each you’re either one or the other. Introverted (I) or Extroverted (E). Sensory (S) or Intuitive (N). Thinking (T) or Feeling (F). Judging (J) or Perceiving (P).

     One woman looks at her husband and says, well it’s sure no secret what you are. What the hell’s that supposed to mean, he says.

     A suggestion is made that everyone take the test and all of them are into it except for one man opposed to the idea. One of the guests pulls out his phone, calls up one of the many personality indicator tests on the internet, reads aloud the questions. The hostess gets paper and pencils for everyone so they can write down their answers. This is way better than charades, someone says.
Continue reading “The ISTJ | by Derek Owens”

Other chances | by Angelita Bradney

I catch my breath when I see the spangled curtain of the night sky. When did I last see stars? With the vicious smog I’d almost forgotten they exist. I want to stand still, stare up, but it’s not safe. I must get back.

The roads are treacherous, more so in the dark. Dwellings loom on each side, hulks of black, for who can afford light, nowadays? The wind blows its warm breath in my face; I taste acid. I clutch my bag closer, with the meagre haul – coarse bread, roots – that will have to last till next week.
Continue reading “Other chances | by Angelita Bradney”

Two Poems | by Jack B. Bedell

[So He Picks This Spot Off I-55]

Traffic north of the spillway peters out
        and the moon offers no light at all,
so he picks this spot off I-55

to drop the bodies he collects
       in the French Quarter. The breeze
coming off the lake cools everything.

He can hear the water moving
         toward shore below the overpass,
can sense the tops of trees swaying Continue reading “Two Poems | by Jack B. Bedell”

Final Girl | by Jessica Berger

my horoscope told me the sun would be returning, cycling back to its eleventh house, that when it came, finally, I could release the meat of my tongue after a month clamped, cut between my teeth, biting back each word I would have spit, if I could, at Annie, to Heather, each fuck you curdled in my mouth, held there with nowhere to go because I’ve forgotten how to swallow, because it’s impolite to curse the dead, because when I try to make a sound I feel something squeeze; a fist with rotting digits, that smell like calf-skin, like a garden shed, spilled gasoline, mechanic’s gloves it found somewhere, stole in exchange for a body, put on though the devil doesn’t leave fingerprints. In each curse I try to spit is a dead thing come to finish a job, a man-sized creature, hungry, wringing tighter until something pops, shatters, until the wishbone sound of my cracking neck is painfully audible to the nosebleed seats and here, now, again is the sensation of waking up still walking, teaspoons of ashes collected in my throat, gasping and pleading and feral, a dirt-fed fairy tale princess who has survived battles only to lock herself away in a second floor tower, donning a cape of twin sheets, stationed by a picture window, forever watching the driveway, watching the neighbors come and go, watching parents come and go, watching you ring the bell, day after day, you, coming, showing up, sitting on the steps, waiting at the curb keeping your own watch in your rust bucket of a car, you waiting for me to – what? –  let down the hair I twist anxiously around nails bitten down to the beds? For me to talk to you? For me to ask to see you when you come to pick up my homework? I am a monk now, a nun, you bring me worksheets and assignments, you collect them all, folders full of endless essays on anything that is not that day, that is not that bullshit moonless night, that is not a homecoming, a Halloween, the crush on you I cannot keep, the safety I once felt in a stranger’s house. You bring me charity case flowers and I pass down to you 5,000 words on a shattered visage, a wrinkled lip, a sneer of cold command, mangled equations, paragraphs of all the fucking nonsense they would have given me shit for, all the work I shouldn’t be doing, all the books I could be forgetting, names, dates, places, a treatise on the Treaty of Versailles, the anatomy of the inner ear, stars and crescents, labeled maps of pieces of our bodies and the ways they are connected; bones that can be shattered, the ligaments and striated muscles too easily sliced, and I touch the scars, the unruly line across my shoulder, my upper arm, the itching nicks on my palms, disruptions of life, fate, head, heart, a palmistry chart of what is lost, of Annie, of Heather, of Brad, even, of what I’ll never prove to them, of the fuck you they deserved minutes, hours, days before I could scrawl, without irony, some half-hearted regurgitation of thoughts on teen angst and body counts. My horoscope told me I’m in team-player mode, drenched in the spotlight of the sun, that my feelings could erupt into a consummation of some romance, some crystal-clear articulation of my desires; but if I called down to you I would want for you to take me somewhere, to help me figure out how to speak the words I haven’t articulated yet, to repeat, to repeat, to say everything but what you wish me to tell you, your wide-eyes, your dumb virgin letterman’s jacket, your stupid good hair, the way you never gave me the proper time of day before and the way even this Cosmo quiz tells me one day I will beg for you to do something, take me back, pull me apart, fashion a crude machine from a wire hanger, to bleed me or make me forget, reverse the spell or, maybe, leave me where they found me, that terrible place, that Laura Ashley guest room, that immaculately organized closet, a place dark as pitch, a place where I dotted every “I” and crossed every “T”, the place where I lived, where I live still, where I will live again, where the logic of the movie says maybe I should stay away from you to save myself.


Continue reading “Final Girl | by Jessica Berger”

Eating Out | by Dan Nielsen

     Sluggo straw-slurped the last drop from his 64oz beverage cup. “Mommy, Daddy, is it true that some people cook their own food?” Sluggo wore an empty fries box for a hat.

     “Daddy, why does Sluggo only eat fries?” Mommy bled from her nose. Daddy thought nothing of this.

     Daddy caught a fly with his hand. “Our son is a humanitarian, Mommy.”

     Mommy tilted her head back. “What, if I may ask, is a humanitarian?”

     Daddy looked around. “A humanitarian is someone who doesn’t eat burgers, or nuggets, or sausage patties.” Daddy liked the feel of a fly in his hand. “Just fries, Mommy.” Continue reading “Eating Out | by Dan Nielsen”