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X-R-A-Y ISSUE #5

DOWNLOAD ISSUE #5 JULY 2018 simon graham // jim ruland // jonah solheim // shane jesse christmass // jason teal // jon berger // avee chaudhuri // alistair mccartney // elytron frass // marc olmsted // vanessa norton // jeff phillips // andrew miller // stephen mortland

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tyler dillow

EXCERPTS FROM COOPERSTOWN, ND by Tyler Dillow

I wash my hands, then my face. He carries me in a bag. A brown paper sack, rough and unevenly cut around the edges. It’s dark. He takes me out of the bag and hangs me, right above his headboard. Coffee boils on the stovetop. Snow falls outside as seen through a window. Music plays as heard through ears. Bodies touch hands; hands touch bodies. Altogether naked. Altogether, a mug sits on the corner of a table as held by gravity. All held down by the feet of a person. On the floor, linoleum; on the linoleum, dust. Outside wet,

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joseph haeger

UNCLE POOH’S SECRET RECIPE by Joseph Haeger

The first time I made grits I used water, the same way I made my oatmeal. Granted, I’d never had grits, but was told it was a staple food in the south, so when I saw a two-pound bag for a dollar at the Grocery Outlet it seemed like a no-brainer to give it a shot. I mean, this was a food that helped mold a culture. The red sedan in front of me slows down, or I come up on her too fast. I tap my brakes to keep a comfortable distance between us. My speedometer reads thirty-five exactly.

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dylan gray

RAW LIVER by Dylan Gray

i am eating a bagel as the fucking cat jumps onto the counter and stares me with what i feel is hate. from the first day we met, the cat and i were never close. it was dereck’s cat. we bought it together, but it was more of his idea than mine. the cat and i kept our distance. when we broke up, he left the cat. it started throwing up all around the apartment. whenever i tried to go near, it would start scratching at the carpet. another morning, while i was sleeping, it sneezed in my mouth. i

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sam phillips

BE SCARED OF YOUR YOUNG by Sam Phillips

What if it’s all torn down, she asked me. I thought this was an odd question coming out of such young mouth. I wondered what exactly it was they teaching her at the preschool. We, me and her mother, me and my wife, are giving nearly half of our income to to that place. What if it’s all torn down, she asked again and I had to figure out how to reply. Time was running out. Well what if what is all torn down? My reply was hopeful, I wanted the next words she said to recapture her innocence. The

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s.f. wright

THE PAINTER by S.F. Wright

Lands wanted to be the next Jackson Pollack; his parents and siblings told him he should pursue a field in which he could get a real job. But Lands couldn’t see himself as a professional, and he figured, while he had the chance (his parents would pay for college, even if it was art school), he might as well study what he wanted. Art school was, at times, memorable. Lands didn’t live the promiscuous, bohemian lifestyle he imagined an artist-in-training would, but he did get laid once (a fellow student who later left school to join a religious convent after

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marston hefner

LOOK AT IT RIGHT IN THE FUCKING FACE YOU METH FUCK by Marston Hefner

He was just having a terrible anxiety attack on how this was all going to end. Berry was in the darkness of his room when he realized he was willing to go to any lengths in order to maintain his own personal property and respective riches that no one but himself had earned in his own lifetime with no trust fund or outside help but the sweat off his back and his best faculties put to use and the 20 mg tablets of Adderall he’d been prescribed ever since he burned out and thought everything was coming to an end

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LIL ULYSSES 666 by Paul Curran

It feels weird talking to a camera. I must look like a terrorist or a school shooter. I’ll turn off the light. That’s better. Your music sucks anyway. What makes you say that? I thought it sounded funny. You’re the one who asked me here.  Let’s rape and kill some kid. Do you mean physically or metaphorically? I mean metaphysically. That’s predictable. Many lyrics are worse. Are you taking notes? I heard you faked your own death. Glued on a beard and hitched a boat ride to Indonesia. Killed a backpacker and stole her passport. I’ve got the scars to

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PAYCHECK by Joseph Grantham

Scott had a reading in St. Louis and Julia couldn’t go with him because she had to teach, so I went with him because I lived in their house and was unemployed and Scott needed company. We drove to a gas station and Scott bought cigarettes and then we drove halfway to St. Louis and while we were driving Scott showed me his favorite albums by Nick Cave and we smoked a lot of cigarettes and then we got a room in a hotel in a place called Santa Claus, Indiana. It was late at night and we were hungry

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kevin sampsell

THE RAZOR by Kevin Sampsell

This is the black shirt my ex-wife gave me before the divorce. The one her father used to wear. I have another one just like it, but it has long sleeves. These short sleeves fit me better. I imagine her dad wearing it. Standing outside, on the roof of his house, a cool breeze blowing through the looseness of the cloth, against his sloping shoulders. His arms, freckled and tired at the end. Patches of gray hair, waving. I wonder if he died in this shirt. Probably not. You don’t pick a black shirt to die in. I look in

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