Meg Tuite

I flinch as the corpulent gremlin next to me starts shooting paranoid shit in to the air all around us. A frontal scan of his brainwaves aren’t even close to waving so much as punching through the night some load of crap about a life never lived as a private dick when anyone can easily see the public dick in him. I listen to the circling map of this flagrant mouthpiece and his mania of political explosives beginning with the Chinese-Walmart pact, which he nicknames the third world war. Displays of plastic poison mark a clear route back to the dollar a day labor of billions who export these packaged time bombs all over the US of A just waiting for the cataleptic stupor of our brainless comrades to suffocate themselves with their own cheap ass-Walmart soaked greed. Save a few pennies, kill continent-masses of brain cells and now I’m starting to like this chronic Randy Quaid on speed, so I buy him a few shots of vodka and narrow in on his tirade as each snowdrift of a hoax blows over me and soon we are blasting through time with Bush senior sending battalions into Africa and the West village in NYC to start the AIDS epidemic, until he’s slapped back each of his shots and sucked us all the way down to his goddamn son of a Barbara. FP



Jerry Ratch

The heart would have unnatural reverence, exalted, bursting with evil, rolling in sloth, if it did not at once reveal its innocence. I saw you again, on the morning of the sun. It was you, or your double, or a son you might have had. Your beautiful blood that the knowledgeable sun has caressed.

The white moon is dangling by a thread tonight, and I close my eyes and listen to it undress, and the full images flow over you from the past with their own white shades of paleness.

I understand that greatness is obtained from random living, and arises from such star sweetness, the wetness coming down, dropping to the ground in utter dark under the starlit temptation night-planned life. In the manner of a lion you looked around you. In the manner of a wolf. I understood how you were from the very beginning, and how the western wind caressed you, playing across your lips, your eyes, your hair.  FP



Jamie Loftus

When Lucia was a little girl, she’d fold a crane every time she dreamed about running away, buying the dance shoes she’d never dared and taking off. Now, she folded one every time she remembered that she could have. 

It was something Dan had found endearing about her room the first time she’d let him in her room, all arched eyebrows and coy laughter. These days, he tip-toed gingerly around them as Lucia would fold another white crane, occasionally trampling one when he was running late. 

“You look nice, Lu,” he said, pecking her on the forehead.

“I look like I belong in a music box,” she responded, letting her fingers trace the thick tulle Miranda had picked out for her bridesmaids. 

He shrugged and headed into the bathroom; it had been easy to correct her early on, but the effort was now wasted.

“I don’t know why you’re such a bitch to her, she gives us front-row tickets to all her shows. Show a little gratefulness, hun.”

“I know.” She could see Miranda’s toes, clad in the shoes she herself had been too afraid to buy up close season after season, quadrupling the cranes in the quiet household. 

Lucia took a drag on her cigarette and picked a thin bird up, letting the ash catch and smolder the crane flailing in the stiff air of the apartment, trailing down the beautiful dress. Tulle smoldered and a crane was crushed underfoot with each and every step. FP



                             Nicolette Wong

She takes a last drag of my cigarette, her eyes squinting at the stranger who has travelled half the globe to walk down her street. As she relishes the last smoke ring, I turn to leave.

Are you sure you aren't coming with me?' she asks, passing me the cigarette butt stained with my saliva and her dark red lipstick. Against the lamp post she looks tall and rough in a faux fur coat, her skin the color of sand. Her eyes speak of an old soul I once met, a girl who crawled on my table like a wild cat.

I throw the cigarette butt into the bin.

‘You're going to be in good hands,' she says.

Does she have vodka bottles hissing on the windowsills too, when the wind blows through the afternoon shadows? I bet this one is too busy to notice anything beyond her bed and nightstand. She must work all day whenever she picks up a customer on the street. I'm not strong enough for that.

Past the entrance to my temporary home, I hear the whirling cry of a possum, out to kill.

‘Has Wesley been out for the day?' I ask my fiance.

‘No, he hasn't. It's not safe for a girl to wander around this neighborhood at night,' he says.

I grab our cat and put him on my lap. There are too many ways to be safe.  FP



Diana Ferguson

  The tingling in my arms wakes me; I am bound tightly in the fetal position, enmeshed in the coverings.  If the lack of blood flow had not woken me, my shivering would have.  I burrowed down into the thick comforter, but it was useless. Now that he’s gone, the comforter does nothing to abate the chill.

I must have fallen back asleep, for when I wake, he is there.  Soft, warm, breathing.  I move against him, his back aligning perfectly into the curve of my body.  Touching, connecting, our feet entwine.  I feel the heat emanating from him, slowly spreading over me, penetrating finally.  I begin to relax. His breathing becomes regular, heavy, and deep.  It’s a lullaby.  I press my face into his shoulder breathing deeply of his scent.  Calming.   As I inhale his presence, my mind wanders.  Words drift lazily by as I float into peaceful oblivion:  strength, peace, love, home.  FP



Misti Rainwater-Lites

 I wanted I wanted I wanted I needed I needed I needed. I did not have. I wanted long straight blond hair. I wanted plump round breasts. I wanted a boyfriend named Chris who played tennis and had excellent improvisation skills to fondle and kiss my breasts in his bedroom with his parents in Europe and the Thompson Twins on the radio. I wanted to be a cheerleader with three Swatches on each wrist. I wanted to sit at the cool table in the cafeteria and be in on all the jokes. I wanted a name that no one could make fun of, a safe name like Heather Smith or Michelle Jones. I wanted a closet filled with Guess? jeans and Esprit shirts. I wanted to look in the mirror and not see what I saw.  FP



Cath Barton

I had already been on the road for ten hours, and this was not the kind of thing I wanted to hear.

“Shuttlecock  County is a bit of a drive, lady. I’d say six hours.”

I had to do it. Michael was waiting for me and there wasn’t going to be a second chance this time. I got back in the car, revved the engine and swung out onto the highway.

All along the dusty road I passed the time by playing tracks from back then.  Tears for Fears, The Cure - songs from when we were just babes and didn’t know which end of anything to suck.  Twenty years had passed  in a wash of forgottenness and I was in Texas now, Michael only hours away and nothing  to stop us. Just this goddam road to travel.

We’d not known what we were doing. The quarrel had been so stupid, but I’d pulled myself back into a semblance of shape eventually, met Harry, taken the expected path. Until the unexpected had tripped me up and sent me headlong into this crazy journey.

There were things I couldn’t think about. Like what Harry was doing right now. Feeling too, because he sure as hell had feelings. I turned up the volume. Billy Joel was singing. About me, singing about me and Michael. I stepped on the gas. “That’s if the choice were mine to make....and you can have this heart to break”. Sing out, Billy boy.  FP



Robert James Russell

The cheetah is the fastest land animal.  That’s what he says to her during sex, right before she climaxes, right after she says to him in throaty breaths, “Tell me something.”  The fact is, he doesn’t particularly care for cheetahs, nor was he even aware of said piece of trivia until a few days ago when he heard it on TV, but there it is out in the open, and he doesn’t see anything wrong with his answer, seeing as her request for “something” seemed to be a bit vague.  Now she’s giving him that look of hers, that bewildered look  she does so well, and he can’t understand why, and then she pushes him off her, angry, and grabs her clothes, calling him a jerk as she dresses, telling him not to call her again. He just sits there, watching her dress, thinking about cheetahs, not so much about her, and he tries to picture what they look like, but can’t quite make them out.   FP



Erika Hearken

 I saw you here again…

Tears trembled down your face as the flowers withered in your clenched fist.  You asked me questions I just couldn’t answer; even if I had tried.  I watched as you took my silence in the wrong way.  You threw the flowers down at my feet; you turned away from me to storm off.  I chased you, but couldn’t catch you. 

You paused so suddenly I almost ran into you.  You had stopped to stare at the beautiful tiny child staring up into your questing eyes.  My heart clenched at the sight.  Did you see her?  Did you see her bright, brilliant blues gazing at you adoringly?  Could you hear her gurgling coos that begged for her father’s attention?

You inhaled deeply and slowly…

You opened your mouth and my heart stopped…

“Damn wind.”

I cried tears that were dry as I collapsed to the cold frost covered earth; through my tears I witnessed you leave here again.  Leaving us behind again in the grass and stone covered hills.  In our own silent, secret hiding place among the cool earth and emotionless winds…FP



Sissy Buckles

Flipping through an old Cha-Cha Charming magazine there's a black and white early Ronettes fan-photo, tough looking street smart homegirls grouped around a parlor grand piano working out 3-part harmony, beehives piled high with Aqua Net hairspray, dressed alike in stylin' empire waist frocks and t-strap kitten heels.  Their exotic dark eyes kohl-lined, babyfaced smiles still innocent before Ronnie's Stockholm Syndrome imprisonment, fighting for her life behind Phil Spector's crazy Wall of Sound and little star Estelle homeless wandering streets of New York in agonized schizophrenic wonder.  

A photo reminding me of visiting my cousins in LA when I was a kid, all of us roadtrip piled into the Country Squire station wagon, my sisters and I wearing pink plaid sundresses that matched our Mom's who'd made them for us on her old Singer sewing machine.  On the way up from San Diego we'd fight with our brother, passing steel mills, orange groves, and miles of Long Beach oil fields and my cousins lived in a neighborhood so different from our quiet lawned homes, louder and more alive, intense colors and spicy smells mingled with concrete and corner liquor stores.  Then we'd go have huge potato salad picnics at  South Gate Park on Tweedy Blvd. where we'd all play, our Dads listening to the Dodger game on the transistor radio.  FP



Samantha Memi

He said,

—Look into my eyes and see a vision of the night.

I looked and saw muggers, drunks, street cats and homeless children.  There was no moon, no hope, no love, nowhere to go. I shuddered back and looked at his mouth, full sensuous lips, he smiled and a glint of white shone through the saliva where his lips had parted.

—Don't you like my night?

—Not really, I dissented.

—Try my day, and he opened his shirt to reveal, inside his chest, a beach with palm trees, sun, rolling waves, bathers and a wide blue horizon.

—Come inside and feel my warmth, and I went and never returned.

 I live here now, I've got used to his beating heart and his indigestion. Of course it wasn't summer for long, winter set in, the sea froze, the beach turned to grit that bit into my skin, and then the inevitable sneezes. In my sleep I have nightmares of drunks and muggers, but I can't say I regret my actions. I have never seen any point in regretting. My dad always said: it you don't like it change it, if you can't change it put up with it, but don't moan.

Todd and I don't go out much anymore, and friends have largely stopped visiting.  We watch TV, eat, sleep, sometimes we argue, but not too often; I'm too cuddled inside him to disagree with him now.  FP



Katie McGuire

It was the 90s, but they hadn’t yet heard of *NSYNC.  There were no Backstreet Boys, no battle for top female vocals.  They were the generation lost, the ones who would be young enough to be forced to debate the individual merits of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Mandy Moore, but too old to really give a shit about any of them.

It also didn’t help that it was 1991 and Sam insisted on love ballads from the past.  They were his guilty pleasure, the songs that had country crooners bearing their heart-broken souls and women wailing about lost causes.  Men and women traded verses, rehashing what went wrong or declaring their eternal flaming passion for one another.  Women were floozies or saints.  Men were either innocent victims or cruel-hearted rednecks with a taste for imported beer and foreign women.

Sam loved that shit.  And anyone that commented on his selection of Whitney Houston over Pink Floyd got their asses handed to them (and usually ran out to buy Whitney’s latest single).  His girlfriend, Mariah, was one who didn’t see the allure.  She was the only one who escaped a physical beating for her take on Sam’s musical tastes, but she had suffered plenty of emotional smackdowns whenever she reached for the radio dial in Sam’s dad’s aging Cadillac.

And that’s how Mariah ended up losing her virginity in the backseat of that car, to the tune of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.”  She hated that song. FP



07/16/2012 13:41

nice post


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