4.10 / October 2009
What if my Father Were a Poet?
I imagine breakfast
he and I ordering the eggs-
gelatinous yolks, pregnant with possibilities,
plopped atop their white rubbery volcano.
Our sandpaper toast brushing the membrane
igniting the slow motion eruption
of hot yellow magma
running rapidly through the hash browns.
We would laugh in iambic pentameter
at the puns and alliterations
on the [...]
I regret having to post this on the mirror, but someone’s dog keeps depositing their material in the handicapped parking spot which—since the unfortunate “ultimate fighting” match during last year’s annual potluck, at which I lost partial rotation of my left hip—is primarily used by myself and my ailing [...]
An Autumn Seurat
Madness to step from the warm house. Still — cold lung-flooding air brings a tinny pain-pleasure, piercing the back of his jaw like the taste of a spoon under ice cream. The forest is dry and cold and ripe for harvest. In the house behind him, girls sing [...]
Our house was a body
cinderblock feet, a gauge for a heart
limbs leading out of the furnace belly
puffing warm air through white
mouths in our bedroom walls
I was afraid of the furnace room
its missing ceiling
a skeleton of wood and wire
I thought the entire world began down there
Eleven years old and I [...]
Neil de la Flor
Ars Magna for Manifold Dimensions of z
listen to this story
‘â€Ã†’ (z) = 1/2
If a boy is no longer z, or is negative z, then what is he?
To heck with z and your negativity but if you really want to know, beg.
I am, you see? I’m on my knees.
“Charlotte wasn’t a good dog for me,” she says.
That’s the name of her dog, Charlotte. This is the first I’ve heard it.
“She was good at first, but lately I noticed that her affection is waning. She just doesn’t love me like she used to. She walked around with her tail [...]
It’s Been Real
I had to find this Jed Skinner, a love-letter-writer, a man of few words, my wife’s first flame. I had time to find this Jed Skinner, fired from my life’s work, told my wife it was job performance, better than the truth. I had some truth balled up [...]
A large gentleman Daniel Barker sat atop his round-cut log and dipped his fingers in a can of baked beans—unbaked—and as such they were merely called beans. Being a man with many winters beneath his belt, his black beard was specked with white hairs, and his brow was thick [...]
TO BE PREGNANT
The winner of the latest contest
“…like chugging nine cups of coffee at once,”
he says, “a lot of words
will pour forth if you allow them.”
This is pleasant and similar
to going to the movies with your mother
on Christmas day,
not quite Jewish,
not quite Christian, you sit
and crying because [...]
—Angle on it:
Honey scorched our lips full fraught with lines and
arguments of love I was not afraid
to tell you of: a lucent hazard I
cannot avoid: unsuspected large blank
spaces. Words go there. And there
the link between ecstasy and ethos shines
with sunshine life. Overnight, many fires
charged the air out into the mild [...]
My Camel Spits in the Sand
My dress, handmade, melts in the heat of a cocktail party. My legs run with turquoise, my hands and arms turn green. The batik dye is made with wax; I’m flammable, warned away from the gentlemen smoking Pall Malls, pretending not to notice my [...]
The Things Which Blind Us
listen to this story
I hated when they made me wear the bear suit in public and hated it more for how comfortable it was when I was alone: a conundrum. The heat had been turned off in my apartment for almost a week. Wearing the bear [...]
If A Tree Falls
If a tree falls in a forest and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound? This is the question my older brother Trey, who was flipping through a psychology magazine that belonged to our father, posed to my six-year-old self in our [...]
P. H. Madore
Bandits in the Afternoon Rain
listen to this story
Naomi and Nadia are outside where nothing’s happening but flowers wilting on the sidewalk marking the end of the world among the shadows of pedestrian waltzing and an esoteric guitar solo. They stain cigarettes with shades of shoplifted Color Girl and say casually [...]
I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the pavement. I see it is there. I fall in — it’s a habit. My eyes are open. I know where I am.
I walk down the street.
Go through the grind, the routine, the humdrum. Keep to the [...]
You have no choice.
It is the thirty-first birthday party for a close girlfriend of your boy’s ex-fiance. As such, you were not exactly invited. But you were all friends in college who had stayed in your college town. The town is small. So, you and your boy were not uninvited, [...]
She sees the little girls in the yard through her front window. They’re as naked as the day they were born, not far from the event itself. They dip backward and forward like pitchers, laughing, balling up their little white fists and shaking them like they’re playing craps. She moves [...]
Daylight belongs to the wives. They stroll about the development swinging canes to demonstrate the doling out of blows. “Dick made a lopsided birdhouse,” says the one named Elizabeth, thrusting her lightweight aluminum like a pool cue to kidneys. “Edgar clogged the toilet twice,” says Isabel, swinging hers like a [...]
Malmoud, the village leader, grabbed Betsy by the hand, the loose skin on his thin arm purple beneath the white glare of the sun. His head was covered in thick shocks of white hair, his obsidian eyes sunk deep within their sockets.
He’d been hovering around her ever since [...]
That light between smoke and wax dripping
So farewell hope, and with hope, farewell fear. —Milton
Often we use the same thing to escape what has gotten us into it in the first place — like punching a face to stop it from bleeding. And that’s how he’d come to see [...]
7pm: Room 71 – Melissa
Erwin Ermine is a schedule, a plan, a timetable that smoothly, relentlessly executes each moment from minute to minute, day to day to day to day.
Every 24-hour schedule carefully written in a graph paper notebook. Every five minutes placed into 288 little blue squares on the [...]
Through the bottom of a beer bottle
the sun appears flaccid,
incapable of fusion,
and, I’m beginning to think,
unworthy of human sacrifice.
I accuse my friend,
my right hand man,
“You’re a puppet,
I cry, a dirty puppet!”
Ashamed, he twists away
a loose thread dangling
from his button eye.
we don’t believe
in your traditional
bond of matrimony,
which some attribute