Pen & Marker by Chris Drew



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Fuck It. Who Gives a Shit? Just Drive!

by Keenan Schott

Too drunk to drive 65
We soared into oblivion
Tossing spent airplane bottles of cheap vodka
Into the winter air
And cruise controlling past
Middle American hopes and nightmares and wet, wet dreams.

Blunts were passed like the Eucharist.
Cars were passed like gallstones in unremarkable shits.

With our hair haphazardly thrashing
In the gelid draft
That weaseled its way in
Through windows cracked for cigarette smoke
We listened to casingle after casingle
By bands we were far too young to enjoy sans irony
And belly laughed at the ineffective rhetoric
Of the anti-abortion billboards
That littered the side of the road.

We stopped at a McDonald's for dollar menu delicacies.
I threw up into a toilet paper clogged toilet.
Then I ate an ice cream cone.

With appetites not quite satiated
And cash wads not quite depleted
We hit the road
Like deadbeat dads beating an already battered stepchild
And debated which 'anywhere'
We'd fall in love with next.

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by Jahni Delmonico


Hill Sermon


Following the grey highway, straight as a dog’s tongue, cutting between masses of old, religious hills.

The hills and sky in argument, scraping borders with sharp, wild bushes and irresolute trees.

“When Christ awoke entombed, he pressed himself into the damp & naked earth which swallowed him and became immortal.”

“Buried” synonymous with “renewed.”
He hears the shifting wooden floors, pausing rabbits, cars breathing speed.  He pushes up rocky crosses and weaves together the roots of timeless sprouting billboards.


Imagined Scenario


A shining, jittery piece of blue

Crazy bird from open sky

Flew in, placed its

Ungatherable heartbeat

Right between my facets

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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.


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Three Short Shorts

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.


The Optimist

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.

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