- Published on Thursday, 09 January 2014 18:56
by Josh Cohen
The most remarkable thing about you standing in the doorway is that it’s you, and
you’re standing in the doorway.
Do you remember, not so long ago? When we were young, both in body and
mind, the potential was limitless. You possessed the charismatic pull of a prophet on his
last breath. We were all captivated waiting to see if you’d be damned or saved. To some
you were less than human. A monstrosity condemned to your seated prison, spine bound
by some divine curse. They never saw your beauty. They measured you in the old
conventional ways. You were not to be measured by the old standards. You were not
limited by the conventions of the human body. From your crippled seed your mind grew
into roots that sucked knowledge from every corner of the universe.
We rioted to put your picture in the national portrait gallery. When Congress
refused to acknowledge your brilliance we hurled rocks, bottles, golf balls and our shoes
at them. The bastards had rejected you and, by association, us. The people and the
people’s artist had been cast out of the halls of government. I super-glued one of your
works to a Smithsonian gallery museum. Remember the news story? They played the clip
of me crashing through the crowd over and over again. Everyone could tell it was
bullshit. Sure it looks bad when a man over six feet tall knocks a woman into a Van
Gogh rendering her unconscious, and it doesn’t get any better from any angle, but we
know Van Gogh would have understood. Our passion and our desire was to see your art,
real art, appreciated by the masses. I would have cut my own ear off too, if it would have
- Published on Monday, 21 April 2014 15:45
I was sitting outside the cupcake shop with R.B. The cupcake shop’s me and Virgil the Okie’s regular spot; but I wanted a fucking cupcake . . . so I went on without Virg, and went with R.B. instead. “Fishspit!” said R.B. “You sold out! I remember when you’d drop ten hits of acid and throw a brick through a plate glass window and whoop like a mad-man, and now you’re sitting here eating a fucking cupcake!” “I know R.B. . . . I know. I’ll be the first to admit it. I’m washed up. I’m done. All I gots left is my stories . . . old ones . . . useless ones. I don’t have any magic left. Nothing new to tell anymore. Scared of the cops, scared of the hoodlums, scared of the jails . . . I’m done . . . it’s over. I just want quiet . . . a nap.”
“You used to have such fire!” he continued, “Remember that time you pissed off them twenty or so people . . . and they were chasing you . . . and you came upon some dude’s wood pile and you started hurling logs at them?” “No.” I said . . . “I don’t remember that. You handing me a line R.B.?” “No! It was beautiful! . . . well . . . at least until they gave you a good thrashing.” “OK R.B. if you saw this incident . . . which I don’t remember a bit of . . . which I’m sure you’re making up to show me off as the dumb-shit and the ‘mouth and trousers’ that I was . . . well, why the fuck weren’t you helping stop the beating these thugs were giving me?”
- Published on Thursday, 26 December 2013 23:52
by James Flaherty
He was her oldest. Tyrannical and five, he pointed and directed her like an actress and held the camera of his fist over an eye. Action, he wailed.
He rolled himself up in the rug and screamed, Free me!
It was one of his first haircuts when she snipped the dangle of his ear. It was just a few drops. They’d both see torrents, remembering it later.
She drove to the grocery store, and he listened to the entirety of what she said: The world might be like this or like this. The seatbelt was stretched across his mouth; the weave bulged with his lips. He listened.
He was irritable and wild with temper. She recognized this but was too busy to think about it.
Then he was twenty-two. She was driving him to the airport, where he would board a plane to Texas. Another twenty-two-year-old was in the back seat, making adjustments to their suitcase. She didn’t know this girl; she didn’t know whether he loved her or not. She didn’t know what was in Texas or why he was going or when he was coming back. The decision had not been discussed; whether there was a decision or not, she wasn’t sure. Yet she managed to say things and hug him and allow him to step into the airport with the girl. Leaving, he stood very straight.
- Published on Wednesday, 08 January 2014 17:08
by Tim Schlee
They lived in the shadows, groping in the dark to map the form of the other. Hers was a subtle
research, half caress. His hands, by contrast, could not be contained, leapt from knee to shoulder
or from buttocks to breast, and in their haphazard delight needed constantly to retrace their
manic movements. The way was not easy. When her legs grew restless from sitting or weary
from standing, she shifted, and they started over. He cursed. When at last his scattered probing
mapped a web too loose to remember and his concentration broke, he beat himself, and they
started over. She sighed. He couldn’t bear a distortion, a flaw of any kind in the image he drew
in his mind. She wanted no part of him to go untouched, unmapped, unknown. It was love they
were after, full and complete, and it was love they would find. But just when he felt he was
approaching the end of his research, she moved and spoiled everything. He cursed. She sat down.
They waited for the sun to rise.
- Published on Thursday, 05 December 2013 21:17
by Chris Drew
Tiger’s den of sin pinned between chips of concrete like little plaques, there to remind us of all the donors to this project. Scarred for life. Turning my change over in my pocket. Rifling. Polishing it. Waiting to get busted. Get a whole troop at once. Total streamline light off the slick clouds. Impervious rainbows all over. Really feeling it now. Touching my arm. I am yelling.
Yelling. Don’t communicate. They are screaming at each other. They want to kill me anyway. More are coming. I guess they would have been better off if they had killed me, they could have, and I don’t know if I feel sorry about that, but I do feel happy.
I slam my head into the ground. It triggers the charge. The extra 50 kilos I’ve been carrying around detonates.
In this heat everything looks like it is melting. All the kids faces look twice as melted. How do kids faces get so dirty? When do people start learning to keep their face, in a basic way, I am not asking too much, just like a level of awareness about the face that prompts you to remove things you generally have no need for that get stuck on it, as one might treat a sweater. I guess it comes about the same time kids start caring about their sweaters.
The heat brings them out though. Kids and adults. They know it will be cooler when the sun goes down and even if it is just a few degrees difference, even if it is a temperature they might call hot nine times out of ten, it will feel unimaginably welcomed.
We will have some business tonight for sure. Hopefully some.
I started my stand a few years ago. The summer fair circuit is huge, but the fun gigs are the occasional estate auctions, and farmers markets. I lost a contract to work with the tri-state roller derby league. That would have been lucrative and exciting, but we’ll get them next time. Things are starting to bloom.
People are discovering a secret passion for this type of nostalgia, so much fades so quickly these days. It is important to refocus our attention in interesting ways so that we can really think about our possessions. Just whatever, ya know?
I sell autographed baseballs, old rotary phones, knives, lighters, gameboys, hats, and about anything you could name.
Some people bring their own items. I’m cool with that.
The fryer is plenty big.
Places I Can Walk to
Six concrete steps. A white door. Gold plastic door knob. A metal folding chair. An evergreen. A street that becomes a one-way. A vacant lot. Brand new apartments. A five-story university building. An old armory. Its front lawn. Another university building. A Dorm. Gas station. Accountants. Optometrists. Chiropractors. A bar, a bar; another bar. A pizza place. A court house. A movie theatre. A sushi place. Two chinese places. A sandwich shop. A flower shop. Three banks. Three resale shops. A head shop. Two coffee shops. A post office. A police station. At least one catholic church. At least four different protestant churches. A fire station. At least three lawyers. A psychiatrist. A hospital. A liquor store. An abandoned train bridge. A cemetery. A non-profit community art gallery. A non-profit community music venue. City hall. A basketball court. A park.