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sara chansarkar

NOT FOREVER, SNOWMAN by Sara Chansarkar

You be my Christmas, Snowy. Keep me company this holiday season, that’s all.

No Forevers for me, now.

Forever lasted only four years and 17 days and left me with this I-am-sorry-note on a neon post-it stuck under the coffee machine, this black-and-white check scarf hung between my coats, and a weight pulling me down like dumbbells attached to my body parts.I’d seen that little minx and the sorcery in her mascaraed caramel eyes ─ the liquid ones made to steal ─ as they bore into his. She’d smiled at me wicked as she sized up my full body.

But, she was not the first to have caught his gaze.Soon, my dinners ran cold and I slept, head on the table, waiting. Foreign smells danced in the closet. The succulents on the kitchen windowsill started to wilt.I worried, but not much. Forever had enough sinew and tendon to survive her. But, I was wrong: she was a force and Forever was still a child with brittle bones.

Now, I keep the sorry-note in my size-40D bra, a weighty lesson: never again.

You, Snowy, just be outside my window till New Year’s. That’s all. Watch me undress and dress and brush my long hair and paint my lips. I’ll gouge your eyes out if they stray.

I’ll wrap the check scarf around your neck, and let me take a picture of us to send to the happy folks who keep flooding my mailbox with their arms-around-each-other holiday cards.

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clio valentza

A CATALOGUE OF TEMPORARY OBJECTS by Clio Velentza

One by one they sat for their portraits. Littlest ones first. They stopped at the door and undid their braids. They rubbed their hair with vinegar and pinched their cheeks. The oldest ones were fearsome, they didn’t know how to listen anymore. One pricked her finger and spread the blood on her lips. They rolled up their ribbons and stuck them in their shoes. They spat and brushed their eyebrows. One by one. Littlest ones first, these ones still had hope.

The photographer had one grey eye and one black. He would close an eye to look at them, and then the other. The grey eye was polite and dim. The black one was the one they liked best, because it seemed to tell the truth. Then he hid underneath the cape of the machine. The headmistress thought it looked too much like he was putting his head under a skirt.

The stool was perilously high and had a cushion embroidered in Latin. The littlest ones sat squarely. The oldest ones parted their knees a finger’s width. The headmistress slapped those shut.

“We’re looking for parents, not husbands.”

The photographer took his time. Every now and then he emerged and observed them for a while with both his mismatched eyes. The littlest ones laughed at that. The oldest ones sometimes teared up, sometimes clutched at their chests as if recalling something urgent.

flash

“What are you making?”

“A catalogue of temporary objects.”

flash

“What is an object?”

“What my black eye can see.”

flash

“What is temporary?”

“What my grey eye can’t see.”

flash

“Am I an object?”

flash

“Am I temporary?”

One by one they sat. One by one they stepped off the stool, blinded by the light.

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marc olmsted

ART NAZIS by Marc Olmsted

Spainhammer's gone, of course.  Flattop blond muscleman Viking male stripper and street hustler who wrote for Curtains' ReSurface, grumbling about not getting paid, and mad at Crazy House Press publisher Enoch Poorboy (whom he threatened with a syringe of his own AIDS blood ) - that was the event of Floyd Lice's "ironic" Hitlerian performance rant at the Bijou, where my Japanese friend Tony Amida ran into the famous Satanist's daughter "who was surprised they let Asians in.")  I liked Mick Spainhammer and sat on Tony's back porch 1988, both of us smoking cigarettes, as he discussed the "art nazis" framed within the kitchen door at the party which included Floyd Lice in usual arrogance,  holding the hand of a razor-thin Aryan punkette in a dress with a lowcut back that showed her asscrack, that "new cleavage" that still hasn't quite caught on. Mick was still ready for his close-up, Mr. DeMille, with no sign of the ravages to come, not just to him but to our city, our day jobs, our planet.The most amazing story about Mick Spainhammer was told to me by Tony 25 years later, reminiscing about this old San Francisco that was evaporating before our eyes.  Spainhammer was fisting a trick and Spainhammer was on acid.  The trick farted and a spray of blood went all over Mick's chest.  On acid. It definitely took our hustler to another realm - staring into the Abyss, so to speak. Still, he didn't freak out or go on a bummer. That was something you had to respect.

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kevin hatch

RENTAL by Kevin Hatch

My sister was a Blockbuster Video. She was a happening place. She kept her aisles clean, her shelves organized. Children begged for candy inside her. Families made special trips to see her.

My sister was the church of Friday night. She was too inviting. A track-star type took her out, filled her with words and other flesh. Made her too-family. Made her un-happening. Made her un-rewindable.

Her posture changed. Late-fees and rental-rates changed. People tried to be polite. She breathed dust in their face, forced expired candy in their hands until they just stopped coming.

My sister drove her Honda Accord through the divider. The car leapt over the guardrail. Our father and I tried to find her. I climbed into the ditch filled with fridges and trash. I followed the trail of broken glass to the blue-Accord puddle. Father tried to mask my eyes but I saw my sister’s aisles everywhere.

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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 ears.

Friendship Wolfcheese lived on a boat. He hunted for fish with a stick and string, and then he fried the fish in a sea of butter. Fish eyes popped because of the heat. Because of the way they were being cooked.

Marllllllboroooooo Liiiiights.

This boy of fifteen. He doesn’t know you. He doesn’t care for you. He’s got the phone to worry about and the hair to worry about and he doesn’t know you.

Point.

Marlllllborooooooo Liiiiiiiiights.

Point again, hitting the plastic separating you and the boy.

Marlllllborooooooo Liiiiiiights.

Fish eyes popping. More of a melt, really. Friendship Wolfcheese could melt a fish in butter whole. A whole melt.

Marlllllboroooooo Liiiiiiights.

Until the fish was just butter.

Marlllllboroooooo Liiiiiiights.

You could live without. Friendship Wolfcheese could live without. Fish could live without water for nine days. Flipping and flipping. On a chopping block.

You walk back.

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benjamin niespodziany

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 that make my wife laugh. I take a pogo stick to work every morning and my poor balance never wins. I fall four of five times before sunrise and my work is only two blocks from my bed. My boss loves the commitment, adores the blood. Can't stop giving me raises.

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vanessa norton

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 how could he not notice?

I never said anything to him, because he was an orphan and I thought these things were related; besides, I had too much empathy.

The pig owner was not so passive. He liked to invite me downstairs whenever my boyfriend was strung out on the couch. We all used, but he used the most, and the pig owner seemed to know exactly when. He would walk upstairs to our porch and ask if I'd like to play wooly pig and I always did.

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marc olmsted

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 photo of the ubiquitous Revelation T. Orment w/ wife  - both had enough rings through them to carry them home.

Interesting to watch men who tried to look butch as the guy continued to fuck with his own flesh, knitting up his scrotum neat and tidy - a hot dog bun waiting for mustard - some of the guys looked like they were going to pass out or throw up, looking away from the TV screens but with Eastwood-like practiced indifference, though their eyes revealed the repressed nausea and fear, and catching my glance they tried to tough it out and bravely reassess the video monitors.  But I also noticed that some eyes - men's and women's - glistened with a lust as if their own endorphins were responding in empathetic pleasure-pain - and I wondered if these were the same eyes of the Roman Coliseum.

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FOLK SINGERS, SKINHEADS, AND BEARS by Alistair McCartney

Folk Singers

We have never enjoyed folk songs. In fact, we had a profound dislike of folk singing—all that plaintive strumming did not agree with us—that is, until the other evening, when we reluctantly attended a smoky folk club in downtown Los Angeles and the sleepy folk singer with the pair of lips tattooed on his neck sang the lines Ravage me, tattoo me, I’m a window, put your wrist in a soft bag and smash right through me as if he were singing directly to us.

Ever since that evening, we have been huge fans of folk singing, folk singers, and folk songs. We are always talking about it, always thinking about it, always finding ourselves in situations that remind us of the lyrics of our favorite folk songs.

For example, the other morning, when the bus driver was rude to us, and the businessman blew smoke in our face, we sang the lines under our breath, I’m bright and trapped and staunchly unoriginal, a parrot in your cage, and we felt markedly better.

We constantly fantasize about bashing our number one folk singer over the head with his guitar made out of wood that is paper-thin, taking him back to our house and keeping him prisoner, in a cellar, in chains, and making him sing to us whenever we need a little pick me up. We feel so good it seems like everything is an acoustic guitar and it logically follows that we are all folk singers.

Skinheads

Due to the heat, the skinheads have decided to go shirtless. They are standing in the front-yard, idly gossiping about Hegel. Beware of young white men with shaved heads and a passion for Hegelian absolute idealism. One holds a dog eared copy of Elements of the Philosophy of Right in his left hand.  A flag flutters gently above them.  Can you help me identify the symbols on the flag? Is it the Union Jack or the Stars and Stripes or the Saint George’s Cross or the Confederate flag?  Is it the Nazi flag or the German Imperial Flag or the Italian Fascist party flag or the short-lived flag of the Italian Social Republic or even one of the infinite variants of Neo-Nazi flags? The skinheads are wearing their jeans very low on their hips. One has a small tattoo at the base of his spine, Sein und Nichts sei dasselbe.  Is there any aesthetic affinity between the bald head of a cholo and that of a skinhead? If we were to place two cheap whorish synthetic wigs upon the head of each skinhead, would it lessen the sinister effect of their skulls? If the skinheads were just skeletons they would be less menacing. The skinheads will turn out to be actors in a gay porn flick called Aufhebung featuring all bareback sublation; the actors are from the Ukraine, their Cockney accents are terrible. F(f)ascism of the upper case and lower case variety is once again very popular in the 21st century, it is unclear if we can come up with an effective counter-strategy. The heat is expected to linger for the next few days, the flag has since faded to a state of transparency.

Bears

The bear wanders through the forest, and comes across a young male hiker, lying unconscious on the forest floor. The bear notices the millennial hiker is wearing very short shorts. Those pine needles must be prickly. Let there be no confusion: the bear is an actual bear, one of those large flesh-eating animals that look bigger than they are because of their loose skin and long, coarse hair, not one of the imitative homosexual members of the so-called bear community. The bear thinks to himself: this is my forest and I have these awesome claws, I should probably fuck the kid up. Though there is the question of morality. From our vantage point behind a big tree, it is unclear if this bear is a black bear genus Ursus, species americanus, or a grizzly bear, genus Ursus horribilis. The hiker lies there, or lays there, the bear always trips up on that verb tense, a temptation that is both amusing and dangerous. The bear is suddenly distracted by a beehive dangling from a nearby tree. Unbeknownst to him, the hive is a victim of CCD, Colony Collapse Disorder, most of the bees have disappeared, to who knows where. Helpless and sexy male hiker or beehive, which one to go for? Structurally speaking, there is no difference between the two forms: both are honeycombed, complex, enclosed, exposed. The bear goes for the beehive, it’s more predictable, more reliable, disfigures the dripping thing, totally forgets the hiker who is still unconscious, dreaming of being ravaged by sun bears and spectacled bears and blind bear cubs who got no teeth, the bear gets stung 1001 times, doesn’t care.

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bram riddlebarger

SOY by Bram Riddlebarger

It was when he started drinking the milkshakes that the trouble began. Before two weeks had passed he had ballooned up fifty pounds and was beating the pulp out of every motherfucker that came within an inch of his mind’s eye.

His power, he believed, came from his special method, patent pending, of milkshake making. It had to do with split-second timing between milk added and ice cream stirred, although quick wrist action was as necessary a factor as any. Of course, he didn’t use an electric blender. It was just pure spoon on glass like a junkie and his needle. He needed these milkshakes. They were his rebirth into the realm of the gods and he was their master.

In one sick instance of his depravity, he beat a skinny blond-haired boy to a bloody mess as he recited the current thirty-one flavors of Baskin-Robbins ice cream in 3/4 time: one flavor for every blow to the boy's ever-flattening blond melon. Then he went home for a vanilla milkshake. He needed simplicity in the wake of triumph.

Then, when all the cows died, he was ruined. There was just no room for soy in his life.

He cried about it sometimes, later, but mostly he just dwindled away.

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