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the things she wants

By Caterina Lazzara

She wants to write some kind of clever paradoxical symbolic self-referential bullshit that smashes through the fourth and fifth and sixth walls and uses too many pronouns.

She wants to be that girl who implies things about herself but never lets on whether they’re true so you end up watching her and wondering if she could really be that crazy.

She wants to hate that girl, she really does—because that girl acts like nothing is worth her time, like she knows more about the world than you’ll ever know about her and she doesn’t give a damn about you—but she’s just jealous, so jealous she paints her nails green and red and green again.

She wants to run a marathon, not for the marathon itself but for the movement, the knowing she is running toward you and away from you but never with you because that would imply some kind of correlation, some kind of understanding she will never have with a you or an anybody.

She wants to be a martyr and a slut and a suicide, and that is not a lie, but none of those people would fit into her skin and none of them would let her refer to herself in the third person, so she’ll just shut up and watch the girl who’s watching her and wonder what exactly it takes to be larger than life.

She wants to be able to look at the door and say the door is red because she’s upset and it’s cold in here because she’s alone and the blinds are yellow when she thinks deeply about things because her mother used to wear a yellow dress when she went out, because she remembers the leaving and the clacking of those blue high-heeled shoes as she walked out the red door in the yellow dress, because that feeling of leaving and being left is all she ever thinks about anymore.

She wants to watch this mirror talk about the way she talks—how the things she says imply that she has issues with taking herself and her past seriously, so she’s likely in denial somehow—but she just finds herself watching her reflection breathe and wondering if she has somehow managed to become crazier than legitimate crazy people.

She wants to be a mystery and a lost cause and that weird girl with issues because that would write her three damn novels of worth your time, but her nails are painted for Christmas and the marathon is over and the door is white and the heels are gone and she burned the yellow dress, and what she was planning to say before you walked out on her was I’ve never really wanted anything, to tell you the truth.

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The Wednesday Song

By L Wayne Russell

OK It’s Wednesday morning
my daughter and son are at it
again like cats and dogs, fire and
ice, heaven and hell…

I think to myself, “When will this end?”
Will we all be able to look back in
some reflection episode of our lives
someday (like they do on T.V.) and
laugh about it all?

My wife is ready for work, she darts out
the door, like a shot fired from some
high powered rifle, gone in a twinkling
of an eye.

My tween daughter is admiring her beauty
in the mirror again. I suppose that she has
a hard day of Summer vacation ahead,
painting her nails, reading books, and
morphing into the woman that she someday
soon shall be. YIKES!

My son and I depart to the bus stop,
only to smell the rancid odor of M.J.
he doesn’t know what it is and doesn’t
bother asking, he knows this town smells
bad anyway.

By Dan Nielsen

for Sam Kinison

Climbing stairs is a way to lose weight,
But when I get back down—
I’ve gained it again!

The raccoon situation
Became intolerable when—
It let the air out of my tires!

She sent me a text message
With my name in parenthesis—
Knowing I’m claustrophobic!

Butter, which was originally intended
As a lubricant for anal sex—
Is sometimes used for food!

I said something terrible to her
And then I hit her on the head with a hammer—
Hoping to cause temporary amnesia!

Temporary amnesia can last for up to five years
At which point it is considered to be—
Regular amnesia!

I am in tune with my plants,
So when I eat potato chips—
I give them extra water!

I was trying to remember what I was doing
When it occurred to me that—
I don’t know what I’m doing!

Trying to describe an airplane to a bird
Is like trying to describe a submarine—
To a fish!

When I look at clouds all I can see
Are vaginas and penises—
Because I’m bi-sexual!

When salamander eggs begin to hatch
The first male is named—
Sal!

If cars were made of Styrofoam
The worst thing about a crash would be—
The annoying sound!

I was born at midnight on New Years’ Eve
And my dad was drunk and wearing—
A funny hat!

Everyone cheered, and through the window
I saw thousands of people—
And they were cheering, too!

I said,
“Mom—
What’s going on!?!”

Manfred Mann

By Dennis Mahagin

I love the Chopsticks part in “Blinded by the Light,”
one funky break, disguised as mistake, it makes a
great song sound better. Hear it in my head as I try
to write. Especially near the end, when they sing
lines in the round, I want to air-drum, hang, create
cover version, believing each day is mine, a new
phrase taking off, “another runner in the night…”
In this world of fake books, Eskimos, sheer unkind
and minefield, strobe light, they come at you
with calliopes in lieu of insight, same sonic tribulations
of Job, tone deaf, beaten down; and when you finally get
the hang, might wish to sing along … but it’s too late
to catch a second song, gone, gone; ripped up
the charts, breaks the heart like a bell, but Manfred, oh
man, something keeps putting it to me, religiously
bluesy keyboard patch, in vapors, in pieces,
a dream’s imperfection could never know what
it means the thing I see before going blind, pure
puddle, overcast, upside down sky and do I stomp
and buck and risk a splash? there “where the fun is”
the world is a cover, and it’s playing too fast.

Multiple Poems

By Jeremiah Walton

Being human is alright. Never been anything else
There’s a phantom limb in this poem. I hope that says something
Psychologists have been executed by refusal
and fear.
I’m feeling a pain
that I ignore(d)
released from the mouths
attatched to my ribcage.

There is more
than the oyster shell city
I’m looking for pearls in.

Life is full of
shit booze and dirt
beautiful woman and
cars, skateboards
and knives. Dead friends
and dying friends. Heart squeels
and drunk passion, the only
passion I can evoke.

like being on an open mic and not knowing what to do with your hands
like groundings to small children

Being human is alright,
though I think I may
be a little odd. Find justification
for weird kids weirding weird kids out
and move on.

The phantom limb
is in this poem
somewhere. Keep
looking.

Four Myths

By Robert Vaughan

Myth One

Against the fog he was a big man. Against the fire tower he stood out like Paul Bunyon. And there were a great many folks who respected him: firefighter, crusader, bowler of the year. Award-winning spelunker. But we’re his other family. Who would have even known? Not me, not my sister. I try not to remember. I try to tamper down the stink.

Myth Two

Somebody said she did it for kicks. Another said it was all for attention. I thought it was pretty stupid. Christmas day. Hovering over a fence along a country road? Wearing just a gauzy slip? A surefire way to end up in the loony- bin where Aunt Tina is a lifelong resident. My sister has done some fairly idiotic things, and this was just another in the line of icy dumbass dumb-ness.

Myth Three

Let’s play marco polo she said. I’m unsure you can do that in the ocean. The roar of the waves, the salt in your ears. The leadbelly bottom and sandy rewards. I said let’s disappear into the surf, dissolve into foamy crests, creammate our desires into damp, fertile depths. {hold our breaths forever, in unison}.

Myth Four

Another small town filled with cheer. You couldn’t miss the liquor sign. Tallest sign in the county, higher than any billboard, larger than every building. Lit up at night, like my daddy was, mostly. Sometimes, the ‘q’ and the ‘u’ would flicker off, and the rest of the word, ‘lior’ reminded me of what I did after he touched me.

Barbie Survived

By A.J. Huffman

the apocalypse, along with the Twinkies and
cockroaches. A little worse for wear, her clothes
hang ragged, her skin is melted in patches
and she has this bizarre urge to brunch
on brains. The remnants of last week’s paper
exclaims that zombies are suddenly in fashion, and she
always was good at savaging malls . . .