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Vol. 8, No. 3 Contents

Rental  by MATT DUBE

8 September 2008
fiction, flash fiction

I'd been sent to Florida by my brother and my mother with a wad of cash and a mission to set my dad back on the straight and narrow. He met me at the airport like he'd promised, but he hadn't even taken me to his house yet, and already I felt like we were neck deep in his new life.

Heroes and Delinquents  by JULIE LEKSTROM HIMES

20 October 2008
fiction, short story

Jimbo still met up with a couple of guys from his last stint, a warehouse packing job he'd ditched in January, at McCabe's Bar down near the tracks. He could see them drifting away, their conversations gritted with the names of new asshole clients and sons-of-bitches managers who didn't know shit about running a loading dock operation. Names he didn't recognize though he nodded and drank his beer and listened to them rant. Crandall was the smart one. Sure as hell smarter than those lame-ass managers, he could do any figure in his head faster than someone could punch it into a calculator, only he was cross-eyed and would never get beyond running the forklift. Hood wasn't so bright, but he was big. Like the boy, he'd be a good prop. He told them his idea. Maybe it would stall the drift. Crandall laughed.

Lysis Complete  by SHERRI H. HOFFMAN

8 October 2008
fiction, short story

There was order to the world under my father's microscope. Order that could be plated, identified, and named in 24 hours. Examination, diagnoses, positive verification. Truth alive and well in a Petri dish. I believed it. I followed my father through the hospital, his extra lab coat to my ankles. It was his world—sterile, orderly, familiar.

In my world, I am cleaning my house. The air is pungent with ammonia and Mr. Clean. It reminds me of Mr. Foster at Riverview Medical, his floor buffer spinning back and forth across the tile floors, orange cones dropped behind him, trail of orange cone breadcrumbs. He spread his hands out for me, purple half-moons sunken into his fingertips where he had been treated for a staph infection.

Bob Oswald Stages Peter Weiss's Marat/Sade with a Cast of Elementary School Children and Finally Does Something Right for a Change  by BOB OSWALD

11 November 2008
fiction, short fiction

All my life, as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be a writer, but I'll be the first to admit I've never exactly been a literary flame. Improper use of dependent clauses, run-ons. Sentence fragments. In school I had this professor who would say that in order to be a great author, you've got to have a passion for something other than writing. She did not mention that this passion had to be in addition to a passion for writing, something which I was also conspicuously lacking. I didn't really have strong feelings for anything, but I did enjoy smoking pot and playing video games, just not the cheesy ones where the guys sprayed sweat instead of blood when you punched them out. I received a C+ in Creative Fiction 105. I dropped out of school a few days before the end of my sophomore year.

Enfant Terrible  by TYLER STODDARD SMITH

28 November 2008
fiction, short story

Paul Verlaine gave a hoarse grunt as he woke, rose wearily from his bed, and fell into the Thames. I was walking to my flat, having just returned to London on the early train from Oxford after delivering a lecture entitled "Tropological Monism and the Crumpet," and the sight of this venerated leader of the symbolist movement plunging in to our fine river filled me with dread. Luckily, I remained calm and flung my attaché case into the river, urging Verlaine to "Grab on, old boy!"

The American Scholar  by RALPH WALDO EMERSON

26 November 2008
nonfiction, classic, essay, speech

Man is thus metamorphosed into a thing, into many things. The planter, who is Man sent out into the field to gather food, is seldom cheered by any idea of the true dignity of his ministry. He sees his bushel and his cart, and nothing beyond, and sinks into the farmer, instead of Man on the farm. The tradesman scarcely ever gives an ideal worth to his work, but is ridden by the routine of his craft, and the soul is subject to dollars. The priest becomes a form; the attorney, a statute-book; the mechanic, a machine; the sailor, a rope of a ship.

In this distribution of functions, the scholar is the delegated intellect. In the right state, he is, Man Thinking. In the degenerate state, when the victim of society, he tends to become a mere thinker, or, still worse, the parrot of other men's thinking.

Momentum  by MAUREEN ALSOP

25 September 2008

At the turnpike a doe lies stiff

along a median of dry grass. Over her black

nose and eyes, an occasional fly

stirs. Summer is here.

Craniopagus Parasiticus  by JEN BARTMAN

18 September 2008

In their shared lagoon, the unfinished twin's head

               twisted against the head of the whole twin,

as if her mouth might reach her sister's,

               and there might be oxygen to spare.

Unfinished Fences  by DENNIS BARTON

18 October 2008

Barbed wire feels good sliding down the throat.

Coated in frost, barbs pierce un-gloved flesh, rotting posts.

Wire dangles into snow.

Three Dreams of Waking  by STEVEN BREYAK

27 October 2008

When I woke in our small boat I knew

only the sound of water. His words were

something else the night had changed.

He had not noticed my sleeping

or chose to ignore it. His story, perhaps,

something he needed to release:

the black world holding him close

and alone for his act.

If the Past Is Not in Your Travel Plans This Afternoon  by JENNY BROWNE

15 November 2008
poetry, prose poem

Then the sky is not in your clouds. And if the wings are not firmly attached to the mind and the armrest grown restless, recline. When the blue-suited voice of reason asks if you want the whole can and ice with that and not if you'd like her back, you can see how nothing is securely fastened.

The Sacrum Speaks of Cheating  by JENNY BROWNE

18 November 2008

Say I'm the bone once believed

to raise our dead up

from the cold or that I believe

in anything but the speed

of each sublimating tumble

when ice moves directly into air

or when we do, weightless

with craving…

Triage for a Pre-Op Transsexual  by ZACH BUSCHER

15 October 2008
poetry, sonnet, rhyme

You croon like Johnny, and you look like June.

To hear your thrilling trill, to take my stress

for one more song, shy son, I'll trade the moon,

your husky voice is best, I do confess.


2 November 2008

All of the crabshacks are burning,

gulls are circling

the open crates of avocados in the snow

out beyond

even the earth's gravity.

This must be the judgment.

The Salt Cedar Fires of '08  by NORMAN DUBIE

8 November 2008

She said in the dark church kitchen

that the moon was on her

and so she put her last clean sock up inside her,

that she slept last night

in an automobile, was sober

but wouldn't be much longer,

that the fires choked her

the smoke, she thought, was greasy

and intolerable like Phoenix itself.

Volcano  by NORMAN DUBIE

5 November 2008

The filling station like a blue can

of sardines edged with rose granite,

rope and wooden ore buckets

at the high-water nest of burning grass

in the baking mud of the palo verde.

You, even now  by KIT FRICK

15 October 2008

At dinner tonight, you put

hot sauce in my water glass, and I thought you were perfect.

You were wearing loafers, which didn't suit you at all.

I was thinking of the war, which I never do, but those tanks

lumbered in my dream, and I am still shaken.

Young Americans  by KIT FRICK

12 October 2008

Even today when every hour latched neatly to the next

(and each seemed to be the start of something) they were there:

your fingers clutching a splintered handrail, the clean crease

of your black collared shirt, your face staring at your face

Lively Dub Yourself  by CHRISTINE HUME

2 September 2008

pigeons startling out

gutted light nor dark

rubble and litter chimes

in the gut

an instance of

infinite idling

Universal Fornication  by CHRISTINE HUME

5 September 2008

One star sharpens

and blindly pours out

all its death, one's pinned

open, a yellow surge

emerges in a slur

of eyes rolling back


15 September 2008

Always said we'd travel, but he's busy

as a dust storm and done already landed

where he's like to stay, the ground

floor a that new fancy store in Hayford

that smells all through like perfume, and sounds

like high heels clackin in circles.


12 September 2008

We spit the sucked off pulp off one side

of the porch, then spit the pumpkin seeds

into wooden bowls while Dad shook spices

in a Ball jar, something secret, something

different than the secret thing for popcorn

he called "Magic," seasons humming into

open drawers and cookie sheets. We wanted

only to carve but did this work for him.

Notes from Petrie's Diner  by JADON REMPEL

24 October 2008

I am buying rifles

from a black & white

catalogue in 1952, outside

a man high up

scrapes years from a

billboard, a candidate's face

and half a Mercedes


2 October 2008
poetry, prose poem

There was something about the way Toland just hung there in the closet that suggested to Harlan she had for him some very good news. Is it my hair?, she asked. Harlan looked at its fetish of brown loops and decided it was not, after all, her hair that made him think she had for him some very good news. Is it my wrists?

The Boy Who Opened Everything  by KIM GEK LIN SHORT

5 October 2008
poetry, prose poem

If you were really dead, thought Harlan about Toland-in-Heaven, I would let you go. Then while I was at it, I would sort into shapes I could understand, all your difficult disguises. There are so many. I would hold your death in my heart and sharpen on it. Where we used to go to be alone, I would hold apart us together.

from Ancient Celebrity Tune-rot  by ELIZABETH TREADWELL

30 October 2008

the self's heavy architecture

acing the wonder quiz

Each Touch Leaves an Imprint  by RUTH WILLIAMS

28 September 2008

His knife plinks the ribs' curve.

Salmon organs spread,

a girl's coral dress come undone.

Overhead, gulls wing against the sky,

angled shapes that collapse as they drop.

Welcome to the Blighted Ovum Support Group  by RACHEL ZUCKER

22 September 2008

I'm here for a second D & C because the first D & C after a missed miscarriage due to Blighted Ovum resulted in heavy bleeding for the past 6 weeks now I can barely stand up and last night thought I am finally bleeding to death and Arielle said, oh God this doesn't sound good, maybe you should lie down, bleeding like that. I mean women have babies when they sit on the toilet… I mean the bleeding might be worse there because of gravity and, I don't know, maybe go to the hospital? and Arielle hates hospitals

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