Thursday, February 3, 2011


by Wesley Peck

    My heart stopped on a Sunday afternoon but I had been dead since Thursday.  It’s tremendously relaxing, the process of dying – like the point when you decide to fail a class.  It’s nice to stop worrying for a little bit.  The doctors say I died of cancer, but I think I died of depression.  I mean, who wants to live in a rotten body?  I don’t think anybody has ever died of cancer.  They die because, goddamn, it sucks to be alive sometimes. 
    I wonder what it would be like to die a different way.  I can tell you what it’s like to die of “cancer.”  It’s like taking a really huge shit.  A REALLY huge shit, the type where in the middle, you convert to a god-fearing man and start praying and mimicking pregnant woman breathing exercises.  And then suddenly, with a giant slip, you are empty, and light, and I’ll be damned if you don’t nearly shoot through the roof as gravity releases its hold on you.  Of course, you’re not shitting, you’re dead, and I hope that last feeling was a nice one, because it’s the last one you get. 
    My friend bled to death.  He was getting a glass of wine from the basement and tripped and cut his Ulnar Artery in his wrist.  He said it’s like getting really dizzy, but instead of things starting to clear up when you wait, they get more and more blurry.  He was a painter, and so he said it was like someone poured turpentine on the outline of the world.  It must have been awful; he was so dizzy, he said he didn’t know when he stopped living and started being dead.
    I met a chick here that was beheaded (I know, what the fuuuuuck?) in a car accident.  She said being beheaded was the coolest thing ever.  I asked, is it because you get to see yourself after you die?  She said that is cool too, if they don’t stick your head in a sack like those poor guillotine dudes, but the best part is how all of your limbs feel like they’re still attached.  You can move your arms and legs as fast as you want, no longer constrained by gravity, and holy shit that’s pretty fast.  Of course, you aren’t really doing anything.  Your eyes are just rolling back into your head and you’re making a gross face and your guts are pouring all over the pavement.  But it feels pretty cool.

The Almost Arrest of Paul Simon From His Evil Fortress on Double Trouble Island

by Nick Kipley

(part X and beyond will be published in subsequent issues)


(A variation on John Betjeman’s “The Arrest of Oscar Wilde at the Cadogan Hotel”)

 Sea cliffs into which are bore’d innocuous porticoes and balustrades and halls and windows splattered like petro-or-heiroglyphs in reflection to cast dark smudges upon the smooth and shiny sea: the rock bare of lichens and cleanly obscene as if portraying the raised mooning buttocks of a taunting god; but within mysteries a-lie. Within this spectacular cliff dwelling and upon a stone balcony shrouded from salt-spray by an overhang of rock stands Paul Simon, naked and scratching himself just below a prominent dueling scar, sleep still encrusting his watery eyes.


He yells.


To which there is no reply… So affix he does a monocle into the corner of his screwed up eye.

“ROBBIE! Juugo de naranja, pronto! Angale!

There’s a responding screech as into the torchlit and Bauhaus-inspired sleep-chamber swoops a golden eagle on silent wings. In one clenched talon and empty glass, in the other a burlap sack of oranges. The bird alights upon a perch and begins obediently using its verysharp claws to crush the fruit into the glass, its task, the raptor’s master’s thirst to slake and quench.

Paul Simon, unamused, pads the stone floor; his feet damp with sleepsweat picking up crumbs of Moroccan hashish, fragments of peyote buttons, flakes of pure gold…

To his closet he now tarries not, but hurries—hustles and steals away quickly; reappears agleam of face a’smile and pewter-grey musket a’hand. It’s a .60 caliber elephant culling rifle, loaded. Stomping, as if disarming mousetraps in combat boots, across the cool alabaster floor and returning does he now to the balcony and seaview where with one hand on the gun and one eye on the sea, he shakes a final loose cigarette from a stray pack upon a gilded pedestal: Gauloises Blondes.

Through the scope sea-sprites dance staccato tarantellas, myopic to all feelings other than rapturous ecstasy.

“ROBBIE! Sometimes a man’s work in this life is never completed.”

“KRRRAAAA!!!!!!” says the eagle.

“And sometimes, Robbie,” here he pauses to light the cigarette, “ones plans do fall apart.”

“KRREEEE!!!!!!!!” screeches the bird.

A glint of blubber. A flash of fog-colored flesh.

“Liberté toujours, motherfucker…”


Paul Simon fires off both barrels, a direct hit!

A baby humpback whale floats to the surface.

Paul Simon reaches out his hand for the glass of orange juice, sips it, says,

My GOD, Robbie, you truly know how to make a damn-fine glass of orange juice.”

Out at sea, gulls wantonly pick at the floating blob of warm-grey.

Paul Simon finishes his juice with a satisfied “Ahhhhhhh.”


And viciously spikes the Austrian Crystal vessel into the floor.

“Robbie, I’ve written a new song. Just now.”

“KRAAAAAA!!!!!” mutters the eagle, picking up a mandolin, tuning.

Paul Simon picks up a medieval lute.

“It’s in waltz time. Oh, Robbie, you know how I adore waltz time.”

He strums a note, clears his throat:


(Balaenae nobis conservandae sunt!)









I can’t believe

My heart or my li-ver

Will do you any good?

Your head like a sieve,

And I’m all a-quiver.

Cross your fingers! Knock on Wood!






“What do you mean? That’s totally original.”


“There’s no way Brian Eno has a song about killing humpback whales.”


“No. You go look it up on the internet.”


“Fine, fine I’ll change the part about the seagulls.”

Suddenly: the door of aged oak and mahogany splinters karate-chop-inwards: TWO MEMBERS OF THE TRIUMPH TEAM16 WALK IN.

“Paul Simon, your time is up! Your crimes against humanity you must pay!”

“Robbie! Don’t just stand there you fool! Where’s my goddamn shrink-ray?”



Paul Simon looms like a world-wonder, picks up the officers and shakes them like insects or kittens.

“Who sent you! Who sent you!?”

“No one!”

He squeezes ‘till eyes are strained to pop…

“Aggghhhh!!! Algeria! It was Algeria!”

“Algeria….” The monocle drops from his eye, “ROBBIE?”


“Take these Algerians to the slag pit…. I haven’t fed the Komodo Dragons in a while….”

He tosses the Lilliputian spies; the eagle swoop-catches them and disappears from the room like a candle…. blown-up with lots and lots of C4.

Paul Simon, alone now in the quiet thrum of distant surf, rests himself comfortably in a throne of gilded oak-branches from Mt. Vesuvius and weaves a modal vision of lemongrass and upstate New York on an Appalachian dulcimer crafted of fine driftwood and ash-boughs.

“I think I have syphilis,” he mutters to himself.


16. The triumph team is a multi-national police force assembled by the heads of the former world governments after the signing of the Ludwig Papers, Paris, 1971. Their sole goal in life is to terminate the seemingly endless power of former musician Paul Simon after his ascent to world-dictator in the late 1960’s. As a side note, the Ludwig Papers effectively dissolved and merged NATO and The Warsaw Pact against the common threat of “The Maniac Minstrel.”

If We Shall Meet

by Joshua L'Heureux   

I had a dream last night that I had the opportunity to press my lips against your neck while standing next to a magazine rack. I took it and loved it. I’m not sure what the dream means for you and me.

    My first thought is that maybe the magazine rack is a metaphor for all the twisted and turned hours I’ve had, we’ve had, all of us have had. It might be that the magazine rack is some literary sign meaning that magazines will still be around and the tragically-boasted battery powered books will become another reason to fight for global equality and get them all out of the Grand Canyon. I dunno. It could even be something phallic. Maybe I’m gay. No matter, as long as I keep having these dreams. Man or woman… you’ve been hanging out for some time now and I can’t get you to go away. What if I throw some Girl Scout thin mints from my dreams to the house next door? Would you chase them and finally let me sleep without disappointment and a cold half of the bed in the morning?

    I can’t move from my dreams. They don’t just live with my parents but it would appear that you have a sensational ability to be at two places at one time; with me and away. I hate it.

    Just do me a favor and please write back. I’d love to know where you want to go. I’ll buy the national geographic DVD’s of wherever it is and stare at them all day just so when I nod off I will have given us the greatest opportunity to travel. Better yet, we could just show up and skip the lines and body scans. We could go to the moon or even back in time. If time travel is your wish then please, send some photos so I will have some perspective and mental pictures. Thanks to these dreams I can now make your favorite dish. I can do everything with you and for you while lying down doing nothing at all.

    You always liked Kevin Bacon right? Well, this is how I see it. I’m going to go to my Netflix and queue the shit out of that man’s work and get him in that dream with us. Baby, I love you so much I don’t care if the world knows I’m trying to dream of Kevin Bacon. I’m just doing everything I can to make you show up and keep on coming back.

     Actually, tonight I’m gonna go and do me for a bit. Tonight baby, we’s a falling in love in a mall, surrounded by zombies, but I know we’ll make it. And if we don’t there is always tomorrow night.

     Tomorrow night, we are role-playing and I will be Robocop. Zombies can’t kill what is already dead… well… kinda.

     The next night, we will make love in an amusement park with dinosaurs. And I will be so good I will be the one making the park and jeeps shake. And your legs.

     Maybe we’ll go to Toon Town so I can show you how beautiful you are when Jessica Rabbit walks by with a wardrobe malfunction and I keep staring into your eyes. But, my cell phone will be out and ready. The world needs to know.

    What if I beat the shit out of Carey Grant? Justin Timberlake? What if I offer Justin Bieber as a sacrifice?

    What if I threw 75% of my water weight into the ocean so I can find the appropriate currents and find some way to hug you in the summer when you dive under the waves?

    If we really wanted to we could watch the Kennedy Assassination and catch the son of a bitch who did it and have us a trial. And with time not being an option it is my contention Stephenie Meyer killed Kennedy. Oswald was framed. Oswald wrote Twilight first and Bella ended up with Steven, some dejected chess club president who became a priest in a third world country. The sad part of his story though, is that Bella contracts malaria and dies face up on the back of an elephant. In the end, it was one bloodsucker or another that would be her ruin. Stupid bitch.

    But if you decide to move back home and down the street I’m alright with burning the pancakes in the morning and pouring Alta Dena milk inside a dollar cup of coffee. I don’t need the moon. But if you do, let me know.

Signed sincerely and far too eager to fall asleep,

Yours Truly

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    It was an honor seeing you last night but the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos made it difficult to keep you with me. Sporadic sleep is the bane of any social existence in this world and has made me skeptical to the value of sleep seeing as I still get to write about you in the morning. It’s nice. But, sadly the dreams are only shoots and ladders seeing as I have to wake up and head out to class in the morning.

    Since you didn’t write back I think it’s safe to assume you didn’t seem to enjoy the suggestions I made last night so here are a few more.

    What if we could find a way to dream in a time machine and finally see David Lee Roth run the stage as Eddie solos? Maybe even better, maybe we could see Roth right all the wrongs Sammy made. For that matter maybe we could see Miles Davis write with Eddie Van Halen and create the perfect song, “A Kind of Blue Eruption” or maybe even “All Blue Panama.”

    After the show we could catch a glimpse of the Pitt and Anniston wedding and I could steal a multi thousand-dollar floral arrangement to throw your way. The beauty of this is that you can pick which arrangement you want. You can design everything.

    Considering it all though maybe we could see Van Gough dissect the meaning of post-impressionism. We’ll take him in our time machine and generate a new ear for him using stem cell research and let him fall in love again offering another part of him to an ethereal elusive life form we create. Audrey Hepburn would be ideal but I am partial to Judy Garland.

    Again, if any of these sound too extravagant please feel free to write. A normal night is only acceptable as long as when I wake, shaking cold with you wrapped in every blanket on the bed, I will be able to lean over and tell you what we did last night. Because now, as far as I’m concerned, love is the ability to dream the extraordinary finding limitless power in where we go, who we meet, and how we live in my dreams and discuss it over coffee as you get ready for work. I’ve grown tired of text messaging. We need it all. But first, you gotta be here. You gotta get here.

    Until then, I’ll settle for what uninhibited little I’ve got. With any luck at all you’ll be at my door in the morning and stay the night and my relationship with your email address will simply cease… except for YouTube videos because that keyboard cat is awesome.

See you tonight,

Yours Truly


Fox Reflection

Curled Bird

Half Peacock

Walking Birds



russian rouletting

by jamie criss

and what could be said?
or what could be heard?
through thin as paper walls,
icy sheets of snow, dark 
distances, blanketed 
telephone receivers with 
no end. staring blankly
at computer screens,
empty; or quite filled
with people staring. dirty 
bedsheets, open books,
cold foggy early morn
air and the air. stolen
bracelets, colored fingertips,
the writing on my arm,
my hand cursing my mouth
and the circled students
saying first impressions
with hats and glasses;
campuses. green jacketed
livres of love poems with 
cute phrases and "oh i miss
thee." come with me. 
internet chats and stifled 
speaking, breathing heavily,
anticipation, waiting,
balancing, concentration,
meditation, mindfully
praying. legs bent, hands to 
heart and sweating.
russian orthodox wedding and
russian rouletting. 
cold and hot fever; february 
receiver. betty friedan sits on 
the bedside table saying,
tiny moving pictures, projections
on a wall. blonde headed children
and memories flashing; blinking,
in super eight millimeter.
packing up portraits, moving 
out of the house on camden road.
the moon coming in my window,
like a good luck charm.
laying and swaying; the void.
i saw the music, like layers of
lace on top of each other.
kneeling by tree stumps,
with bundles of white alysum, 
scuffing my feet, wishing not
to be seen. oh, holy empires,
oh, holy wonders. dark eyes,
configures, confinement
and ultimately freedom.
doing things slowly, opening
lockets, reaching hands out 
of pockets. lemonade stand 
pictures, unfocused, 
remembering home; thyself.
and ultimately freedom.
kool-aid and kisses, sparkles,
scuffed knees and hold me.
collecting small paychecks and
watching time come coolly for
ultimately freedom. 

Winter New England

by D. r. Baker

New England winters
are awkward 
to say the least
with the morning sun 
arriving much too early, 
he murmurs a pink 
flare of warning 
from over the steaming sea
before loitering
self-consciously in some 
corner of the sky
for an obligatory hour or 2
making polite appearances
to pink-nosed somebodies
through their frosty windows
and slips off, almost unnoticed, 
for some place in the West
where the days are long 
and the action heavy.


By D. r. Baker

There are nymphs that float along white 
rivers winding deep beneath the city.
They giggle and blush as they look 
up the skirts of rushing cars through
12 dark feet of asphalt, mud, and concrete,
and hold their breath as they pass by
sewerstreams of shit and cigarettes,
wince in pain as they squeeze up
tight metal pipes diverging in 
tubular mazes and dropping some
out the rusty ends of kitchen faucets
for fine china cups full of boiled and
minty nymphs, while some get lost in
transmigration to watch their friends gush
out the tops of broken sprinkler heads and
rain down the itchy spears of grass below 
as they puddle up where some sink back
to relive muddy lives and others travel
so far they actually reach that fabled land
of great-grandmother, the sea.


by D. r. Baker

Metal worm eating all the space before it
In a matter of minutes, hoarding trash and
Oily rats beneath the electric slide of its 
Hot steel belly and swallowing hundreds of
Hurried lives at once through a series of
Mirrored mouths before spitting them out,
To carry their acts up the stairs and into
A hidden flurry of new stages and scenes.