Each time I hear

John Prine sing

“We made love

Every way love

Can be made”

I have to change

The song

“How much were the tickets?”

Sally Mae let out a sly chuckle, knowing what Billy was getting at.

“90 bucks,” she replied.  “Why?  You don’t wanna go now?”

“We got 8 hours to kill and at the rate we’re going it doesn’t look like there’s a point”

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I could find you in each
snag of the ’verse (recognizing the amber
constellating around your pupil’s void)
but I’d have to look
skipping between tripwires)
In this pull distance measures in
lengths of time it takes
to get to me (not
spooling out in searches)
And I don’t give thanks
to careless Clotho or believe
proximity alone (crab claws
scissoring towards a maiden’s skirts)
promises a thing. Instinct urges
avoiding an exegesis
of the lines scrawled across your palm
(cocooned around mine
below my finger’s branches)
but perhaps there is
some Japanese moth (its wings
dipping like calligraphy
against the
of phalaenopsis necks)
that sends a flit of wind
(though it seems
a lion’s roar from most arid depths) to
ruffle the pocket of
space beside
me where you
will be

~ Katherin Fitzpatrick

It’s too cool, how cool you’re all too.

I mean,
ever since like 99′ I’ve been through.
And I’m not waiting for you, or for proof,
but I’ll be here when you do.

Come back down to this earth,
and to me, when you’re through.
We’d be something else,
you and me, in the blue.
Cool as a breeze like leaves let from the trees.
‘ ,
Can’t you see?
We’ll be undeniably new
when you come back to me.

~ Bryan Smith

Pause My Insanity

I can only theorize as to how we always manage to get here—how we consistently battle each other.  And, we enter these battles willingly.  We enter these battles armed and without any reluctance to state the unforgivable.  Go ahead; lay down your suppressive fire.  I can stand in the rain if you can.

Things get bad.  Acidic tears rolled down my face; there was a mixture of mucous and mascara collecting beneath my swollen eyes.  It burned and only intensified the crying.  I was scrunched up into a sad ball against the bed’s wicker headboard, my knees tight against my shaking chest.  My thin shirt felt damp on my skin from cold sweat; the escaping salt scorched the surface flesh and reabsorbed.

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Johnny the Artist

My name is Johnny, and I’m an artist.

We passed on Fifth Avenue and her hair was the color of roses on a wet day, when the sun is dying and the sky cries. She walked past and that was all I saw, that flash of musky blood as it whipped in the wind. I notice things like that, the subtle colors and the way they play in the air. I notice them because I’m an artist. Her hair was blood and roses, the city cloud and stone, my eyes ocean and blue jay. For a tantalizing second the colors mixed and it was heaven and hell, warm apple pie at your grandmother’s funeral. It was such a brilliant display, a splash of splendor in a dull world. I was lost in the losing moment, brought to a literal standstill by the beauty of her color. My neck screamed whiplash as I turned to watch her leave, her color mixing indiscriminately with the wheat and the jade and the plum. And then she was gone.

I saw her again a week later. This time it was in a coffee shop. I was admiring how espresso clashed so nicely with orange peel that I almost missed her roses. It barreled into the corner of my eye and my world was set ablaze as the espresso flowed perfectly into her roses. The far away yells of the other customers lost their form and I was trapped again in her color. But my immunity was stronger now and her poison was weakening. I broke the spell and followed her out the door, trailing behind her as she weaved through the crowd. I had to have that color. To let that rose slip away would be a great sin on my part as an artist. An artist needs his color.

I followed, entranced by her rose, until she wandered into an alley. Her other colors swirled in fury as I stabbed her to death. Her blood didn’t hold a candle, no, not even a match, to the rose of her hair.

Back at my apartment I added her rose to the other colors. Plums, leathers, ravens, gold, and now, roses. My masterpiece was almost complete. Only a few more flowers left now.

My name is Johnny, and I’m an artist.

~ Gabriel Arnold

New Haven Was On Fire

New Haven was on fire. Screams and cries shot out at me from all directions. I ran as fast as I could down the middle of the street, glancing left and right I saw atrocities no man should know. Instead I tried to close my eyes as well as I could without becoming completely blind to where I was going. I felt a burst of heat and light to my left, but I kept running. Occasionally a body would fall from the sky; I’d jump over these whenever I had to. Running, never stopping. Go, go, go! Don’t look around. The wind whipped at me through gaps in the skyline, blind wind fury stirring the fires. Fires that made everything around them dark, pitch black. I began to recognize street names. Asher Street, Foley Street, Declan Ave, Protestant Boulevard. I turn left onto Victoria Lane as soon as I saw it. I stopped short. No fire, pitch dark. I took a deep breath and ran down the street. At the end a door was ajar and a light peaked out. I rushed inside and locked the door.

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We Kissed

We kissed beneath the pine tree’s slender boughs,
we kissed in fields of freshly fallen snow.
When we kissed you swore you didn’t know how
those scarlet marks got on my neck, but you know.
We kissed eyes shut, palms damp, your freckled back
pressed flat against the closet door.  We kissed
on the floor, lost amid the library stacks’
dim dust. We kissed in the station and missed
the late train, what a shame. We kissed late-Spring
under star-specked skies in the steaming rain.
The last time we kissed, you couldn’t explain
what changed between us, like new snow melting
overnight. What more to say? That was before.
That was years ago.  We don’t kiss anymore.

~ Jonathan Wood

Unscheduled Stops

The 5:42 to Belgenhagen left the station without our engineer. He chased it desultorily to the end of the platform waving his pastry in vain at the empty locomotive car as we pulled out from the shed into the icy dawn with certain questions. Among them, since the train had departed early, should we still call it the 5:42, and furthermore, since our destination was no longer assured, could we confidently call it the train to Belgenhagen? What landmarks we might have recognized lay smoothed below a foot of fresh powder and the turnings of the track we had always neglected gave us no clue which way we were traveling. The girl who pushed the coffee cart thought she recognized a barn, but when the train made its first stop beside a frozen lake, she merely shrugged and asked us if we wanted cream. My daughter must have disembarked then from a forward car; I saw her, as we pulled away, standing by the lake with no promise of a return train. There were no platforms where the train made its stops, so those who wished to leave us we helped down into the snow, some alongside deep pine woods, some within sight of distant towns. We passed through Belgenhagen without slowing, right on time, and crossed a bridge I have never seen, and came to rest near the foothills of mountains I know from maps. The snow has piled up nearly to the windows and continues to fall. There are no tracks; but, while it lasts, the coffee is good, my son is still on the train I believe, and the faces of the passengers on passing trains are peaceful as they make their way toward Belgenhagen. Would they seem so unconcerned if there were cause for alarm?

~ Professor David Hodges

Moldy Window

I always wanted to drive by it—the old apartment on South Myrtle, complete with crooked screen door that never shuts and moldy bedroom window with feelings.  I wanted to convince myself it still stood.

“Why can’t you see out of it,” I asked my boyfriend.  He was renting the crummy, converted carriage house with a pot-smoking, horror movie addict for the summer.

“I think it adds privacy,” he said.

“Who cares if you think your room is private?  Instead of a window, you’ve got a spore machine; do you know what this is gonna do to my allergies?”

“I don’t have allergies,” was all he said.  His selfishness aside, he was a good guy and I knew I’d be spending my weekends here for the next few months.  Barrett, my boyfriend’s roommate was twenty-six and had stubby fingers, naturally silver hair, and one of the most pronounced overbites I’ve ever seen.  He picked out the larger of the two bedrooms, painted it blood red, and strung fake spider webs from the doorframe.  Barrett usually hid in his pseudo-cave with stale cookies his mom sent home with him and painted pictures of tits on stolen canvases while he listened to Judas Priest.  The wall his room shared with my boyfriend’s vibrated with the sound of three-thousand pound monsters banging on metal garbage receptacles.

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the more i think about it the more i convince myself to lock the doors and lay in bed, ceremoniously and with purpose, so that the world around me will recognize another one of my self-inflicted removals and become so fed up with me that my existence is forced from the memories of everyone i’ve ever met and everyone who’s ever met me. all at once, in one last magnificent display of upheaval, the doors will slam closed and i’ll be stripped of my clothing, the cable will disconnect and all of the electrical outlets will blow out, my windows will shatter and my tables and chairs will collapse, the pipes will burst, the food in my refrigerator will go bad and all the light bulbs in my apartment will simultaneously explode. i’ll pull the blankets up to my nose, breathe the sigh of relief to end all sighs of relief, close my eyes, fart and embark on the single most glorious string of spectacularly vivid dreams that have ever graced the subconscious of a human being, living, deceased, or imagined.

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