SATURDAY NIGHT BLUES, OR THAT ONE TIME FRANNY TOOK PATRICE OUT by Bob Raymonda

Patrice walks into her kitchen, opens the cupboard, pulls out a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese, and sighs. She’s wearing a matching set of duck pajamas with a thinly rolled joint clamped between the corner of her lips. She runs the tap to fill a half-washed pot and lights the joint on the stovetop before setting the water to boil. The clock on her microwave flashes twelve. The power went out last Wednesday and she just can’t bring herself to reset it. Her anxiety calms as she smokes and watches the bubbles start to collect at the bottom of…

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FRIENDSHIP WOLFCHEESE by Jonathan Cardew

Slide through the doors of the convenience store. Live a little in your skin. This skin was given to you in about 1975. Friendship Wolfcheese made sure you got the kind of skin that earned you favor. Ask for cigarettes. Carefully enunciate the vowels and the consonants. Friendship Wolfcheese was very particular about sounds. Marlllllborooooo Liiiiiights. Feel the heat in your cheeks. Why the heat in your cheeks? Marllllllborooooo Liiiights. He doesn’t understand you. This boy of fifteen, with the fresh coat of paint on his face. Squints in your direction. He’s speaking, but the speaking isn’t happening in your…

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CORPORATE CLIMATE by Benjamin Niespodziany

Corporate encourages that we ride to work on company pogo sticks. Company bicycles and unicycles are also okay, but everything else is frowned upon. “We can’t force anyone,” the CEO laughs. Sheryl hates to bounce, rides in on a skateboard every morning. Everyone used to adore Sheryl, used to throw morning glories at her in the staff parking lot. Now co-workers spit on her as they pass her new office in the broken elevator full of fax machines. I remain a loyal employee, a pogo commuter covered head to toe in Band-Aids. My bruises and scabs are the only things…

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95 IN QUEENS by KRISTIN GARTH

JONATHAN It’s five past. The bookstore owner with the crooked back eyes me as if I’m a suspicious character. Sinister I wear like a Brooks Brothers suit.  Not suspicious. Six past. If I’d been thinking, I’d have sent these things UPS. If I’d been thinking, I would have dumped her majestic, manipulative ass a year ago. If I’d been … with Lauren, there’s never been a lot of … Nine past. There’s little worse in the world than a three-piece suit and a tie in the middle of a July heat wave in Queens. And women with crooked backs. Ten…

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THAT ABSENCE YOU SEE WAS FORMED BY MY FRIEND’S FATHER by Stephen Mortland

JORDAN To imagine what Jordan’s dad looked like, I pictured Jordan’s face stripped of his mother’s features. It was like clearing away layers of earth to find the remains of some unidentifiable structure. The scavenged and featureless result was the face of his invisible dad. Jordan planned on changing his last name when he got married. The disembodied and scarred face of his father heard about it and showed up in Jordan’s dream the night before the wedding. “The name was fine for twenty-something years,” he said, “and now what, it’s not?” “I learned how to wear your name,” Jordan…

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6:54 by Andrew Miller

I arrive at 6:55. I climb the stairwell to the main lobby, swipe my badge to access the elevators. I wait. I have earbuds in and keep my eyes dipped so that no one acknowledges me. I enter the elevator. I exit the elevator at my floor. I begin my work day in silence. I attempt to spend as much of my workday as possible in silence. I arrive at 6:56. I climb the stairwell to the main lobby, swipe my badge to access the elevators. I wait. I have earbuds in and keep my eyes dipped. I say nothing…

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THE CUPS by Jeff Phillips

Orel Gammon stopped wearing his cup the second day he played in the “majors.” This wasn’t the Major League Baseball. The rec center named their little league for ages 10-12, “the majors.” For all who played in “the minors” before it, this new league was a big deal. It meant kids pitched, and the kids pitched harder than the pussyfoot dads, who were notorious for tossing slow balls to make their kids feel like all-stars when they knocked a homer over the fence. League rules in the majors required that kids wear cups over their crotch, something all the preteens…

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EMPATHY by Vanessa Norton

The man who lived downstairs kept a wooly pig as a pet. Sometimes, he would stab the pig with a kitchen knife until the pig fell over. He insisted that the pig enjoyed being stabbed; in fact, he would come to the door just to get it. Falling over meant the pig had surrendered to the sublime. My boyfriend had a hard time taking care of himself. He was a drooler. He forgot to rinse at the end of his shower, so his body was often covered in suds. He walked around town with his cock swinging from his fly—unintentionally—but…

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SCROTUM NEAT AND TIDY by Marc Olmsted

And so began, at least for me, the first real public event of the piercing phenomena – now performance art 1989 – video cameras providing close-ups of this guy driving nails into the skin of his balls, the pain lashing through him like a visible hot flash of kundalini.  Later I learned I was seeing the piercing hero Bo Flagellant. I looked around me at the packed house, another venture of hipster Curtains who had a real touch for trendy pulse, publicizing his new coffee table dick-piercing book – Skin of the Living. At the entrance, a big b&w nude…

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PSEUDONYM AS DOPPELGANGER by Elytron Frass

“My reluctant author types: I AM,” my reluctant author types. I am evoked: his incorporeal pseudonym. I am manifested from the zeroing incantations of outsideness—drawn into a closed occulted circle, sans apotropaic salts, of his postmodern syllabic construction. He writes my name and binds me to his will as if I am some prostrating Goetic demon, servant, or subordinate. I am an automaton—an object of possession. I’ve not yet differentiated my desires from that of my conjuror’s. My author is a magus; he demonstrates a skillful sleight of hand. He shifts and sets my letters on his page. Although not…

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