ISSUE 0

Welcome to our inaugural issue.

Free PDF (coming soon)

Gerry Fabian

Sheila Murphy

Dolls

 

Brad Rose

Over the years, my house grew to be as big as a house. It’s not an either/or question. Needless to say, there is safety in numbers. And letters. Yesterday, Margene asked me, Are you as disappointed in baggy, slouchy trousers as I am Then it rained. I drove out to the doll cemetery; the one by the toy lake. Fortunately, there were no survivors.

In Case You're Interested

 

Brad Rose

Brain injuries are hard to diagnose, but so far, no war crimes, to speak of. Like a phantom limb,
I’ve been secretly selling your location data, but I love you more than I will ever know. Of
course, I’m not a math guy—you can count on that— but once you separate the nouns from the
verbs, it’s easy to put a sentence together. Lucinda says that despite the curvature of the earth,
I’m a missed opportunity for the appropriate use of a straightjacket, although it’s difficult to
teach a new dog old tricks. Over the weekend, I practiced my football hooliganism. I don’t like
to brag, but I’m getting pretty good at counter-intelligence. It’s kind of a back-to-nature thing,
like weed killer. By the way, if there is anything I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to let me
know. I’d sure hate to blow myself up before the police arrive.

Feral Angels

 

Brad Rose

It’s those damn feral angels. They can’t stop themselves; always stalking the innocent and the
cheerful. They don’t like to cook, so they eat everyone raw.


In the past, the future was perfect. Now things are worse. All of my pages are un-numbered.
How many words does a language need?


Those feral angels, again. How do they expect to keep all their incisors, if they refuse to brush
after meals?


My reputation manager blames my drunk car for my astronomically high insurance rates. Bless
his heart.

Psalms

William Cordeiro

 

Psalm 147:

Cybernetic divas at fashion shows
lash out over feudal peasant-wear
while they order cocktails at a swim
-up bar. Nudity is boring. Rock-stars
noodle. Applause bursts like a bomb,
like war. Your double dabbles with
another demo—a winning pitch!—
and greenlights his next multimillion
dollar failure. Bada-bing! the Donald
says. The next candidate (mic-check)
is stepping from his Dada clown car.
You, meanwhile, still sit in lockdown.
Platonic forms are, like, so unnatural.
Swipe left. Swipe right—but only if
you’re down. Depressed, that is.
Rest assured, erection pills should
require learners’ permits just like
liposuction tournaments: truth is, truth
is epidermal. Tank the process while
thanking data thieves for mining
upstart cryptocurrency and dining in
the hipster dives. The Lord is slow to show
Her fury. So whosit’s not a shadow
puppet propped up by waning credit
scores? The deck’s been stacked with
the hands we’re dealt. Big money-guns
helter-skelter crap out cash. It’s smoke
and mirrors in every vape shop’s ash-pit.
The whole economy is run on smack-
talk, by standup guys—i.e., comedians.
Those who moralize you should be ship-
shape themselves are most often apeshit.
Who among you can claim your heart
wouldn’t manifest a map of smattered
stains when held under any blacklight?

Psalm 142:

Salivation. The camera
pans. Half napping, you
open a new tab: a talking
head hacks up a lecture
about the lizard people
who’ll attack. Pivot to
the overlay of outrage
or more virtue signaling.
A 10-minute ab workout.
The genetic code fizzling
in the corporations’ labs.
A strange hum rings over
distant cities, each singing
as semis range the narrow
glimmer of the open road.
A creatrix is everywhere.
Housing developments
crumble down a canyon;
no bureaucrat has malice.
This void’s where a god is
vanishing. Binary: a phallus
= one. The mouth, a zero.
A little umami aftertaste
lingers from last Sunday…
Underground data storage
units maze with little boxes
that contain us. Blip, blip.
That’s the sound of brains
dripping. You’re a zombie.

Psalm 144:

The big bang’s reverb is auto-
tuned. You caught it in the faint
static background wrought from
the rotgut down the golden crown
they installed into your molars when
they redid your root canal. What
guarantees that 2+ 2 will = 4, hm?
Gol’ dang noobs in this here chatroom,
uncivil dogs licking up their sickness.
Ain’t right, a dick-ass joke, that broken
vacuum seal on this brand-new value pack
of fun-sized Snickers. Brain-goop might
dribble out were it not for your eardrums. How
come, bud, stale cum’s redolent of fresh
jackfruit? Eyeholes get cut out exactly
where the peepers be: all flesh is but
a specimen of solar music. Within us is
the darkness of outer space. We’re most
fearfully and wonderfully crocheted, yeah.
Growing up, we’re folded into a pretzel;
now get ready for a piledriver. Born wrastlers.
Pucker up. Kiss your tush goodbye. Hackers
are looting your hard drive. You can see ’em
wipe that goofy smile right off your face.

Psalm 148:

You poor slob, get on your knees—
now beg me for a taste of this salad
bar’s rancid coleslaw. I shall tar you
with a never-ending pasta bowl and
its chancy dressing. The darkness shall
sit on your face. Gobble it all down.
Boom-lay, boom-lay! The doom sings.
The doom sings our canceled brethren.
O, fetus shall transform into fetus…
What “heaven” means in the old songs.
The stars gape. There áre no answers.
Neat-o! And hallowed be their astral
bodies, ass-face in your brainpan. Etc.
Desires rain down to be destroyed—
the internet shall always manufacture
another fetching Disney-bopper. Jimmy
the rebar! Tear down these barricades!
Throw the master’s tool in yo trash
compactor! Now—¡híjole, papí!—you’z
lookin’ spiffy. Jewish boy scouts on speed
dates tackle whomever’s touched the pig-
skin, sparing nobody in smear the queer;
shifty lunatics huddle round fickle mood
rings. No subtleties can undo your pickle,
certain as every puddle in the parking lots
of Phoenix shall evaporate in a hot jiffy.

Closet-dramas

William Cordeiro

Blowing Smoke:

 

An empty stage between the acts. A beat. Robert, a 30-something dude, shambles on stage from the audience. He strikes a match, lights a cigarette. A few puffs. He seems lost in a solipsistic trance. Then he looks around, noticing the audience.

Robert: What? It’s cold as frozen donkey-balls outside. Geez! …I figures, if I’m on stage, I’m an
actor, right? —Actors are allowed to smoke.

He finishes his cigarette.

Ghostwriter:

Ghostwriter: (Writes “2 + 2 =” on a blackboard.)

Todd: 2 + 2 =

Ghostwriter: (Writes “Fortune favors the bold.”)

Todd: For-tune favors the bold.

Ghostwriter: (Writes: “Therefore I am.”)

Todd: There-fore…. I am?

Ghostwriter: (Writes “Philosophers must learn not to be frightened by absurdities.”)

Todd: Philoso-phores m-must learn not… to be frightened… by absurdities.

Ghostwriter: (Erases the board until only “2 b or not to be” is left.)

Todd: (Silence.)

Soft Serve:

A penis walks on stage. Slips on a banana peel, tumbling headlong in a pratfall that lands in a split, then springs back up acrobatically. Dusts off. Beams a big smile and does jazz hands.

Penis: (In a Fonzarelli voice.) Heyeee. —What can I say? There was a banana in my pocket. (Cue rim shot.)

Eats banana. Bows.
Keeps taking his bow until there is tentative and sporadic clapping from the audience.

Imaginary Friends:

Maria is under a spotlight in a void.

Maria: So, whatever happened to your imaginary friend, Carrisa?

Spotlight shifts to an empty area of the stage. Long beat. Spotlight shifts back to Maria, but she’s gone. Shorter beat.
Spotlight shifts back to the empty area, where Carissa’s now standing.

Carissa: I dunno, Maria. What happened to yours?

A second spotlight shines on Maria, in the aisles of the audience. Both frozen, confounded, afraid. Eventually, fade out.

How the Cookie Crumbles

Mack—a googly-eyed, fuzzy puppet—is seated at a table with snacks.

Mack: Y’know, us puppets eat like this. (Demonstrates à la Cookie Monster.) We never ingest anything.—It’s a fucking crummy diet.

Beat.

Mack: Miracle is, anything comes out the other end. (Climbs on table, turns around, and pulls down his pants. Squats. A turd lands on the floor. He leaves.)

Man-sized flies enter, swarming the turd.

Mr. Figure Flash Prose

 

William Cordeiro

Mr. Figure Reflects on Time:

Mr. Figure regards his second-grade school photo. The goofy, snaggletooth smile. The bowl cut,
oversized wireframes, and rayon button-down. A cherubic face as smooth as an orchid. The false backdrop of a November sky. His memories of this event might prove just as false. Indeed, maybe he never had a childhood at all. The whole universe could have snapped into creation an instant ago—the earth itself looking ravaged and fragile; and every artifact, such as this photo right here; and, yes, even his internal reminiscence, which is all patches and inklings, vague links and flashes. What constitutes one’s sense of the passing years… the seeming clairvoyance of a glance backward? It’s simply a cinematic effect, spliced and edited. Each piece of the alleged past is based on intrepid guesswork. Yes, the world might have come into existence right now, with all our memories falsified. The future’s an extrapolation of the second order. The present is all we may rightfully conjecture. In this way, Mr. Figure concludes, one has absolutely no evidence for believing in time.

Mr. Figure Uses the Internet

Mr. Figure connected to the cloud. He scrolled through its self-enfolding labyrinth of darkening materials. The internet projected the map of humanity’s collective mind in miniature. Indeed, in myriad ways the internet was like a memory palace, those virtual theaters where Renaissance magicians and astrologers, poets and rhetoricians stored their incalculable wealth of knowledge. The internet: an architecture whereby all of us can walk through the villa of each other’s imaginations—a memory palace dispersed and yet concretized—even if its most extravagant annex contains mere tepidaria and latrines. Guilio Camillo, who wrote a famous treatise on the esoteric powers of such virtual theaters, warned that the “secrets of God” are only revealed “under obscure veils” and that the eyes of vulgar wills cannot suffer the rays of divinity.” A storehouse of Faustian knowledge might be dangerous, for its powers could conjure up nameless evils and temptations. This blazing Aleph contained all space, all time, revolving, as if one’s eyes, turning inward, could explore the mirror of the outward sphere they tread upon. Many hours, many epochs passed as Mr. Figure browsed. Mr. Figure had the premonition that there was nothing beyond the intricate kinship of its intricate web. The depth of the world was rendered into a sensorium, a geometrical figure all surface, in which every point stood adjacent to every other point, and thus any logic became possible.

Mr. Figure and the Temptation of Madness

To think about anything too much could make one crazy. The mind’s preoccupations divert one from reality. So, Mr. Figure considered plugging his ears from the siren-call of madness. But then he surmised that not to think could also make one crazy. After all, every step of logic—of illogic, too—leads one to the same place: the grave. Oh, arguments at cross-purposes, moral trials, and the minutiae of irreconcilable demurrals! How unreasonable, the heart with its reasons which still hammers away, always hammering another nail in the coffin.

Mr. Figure Catches a Cold

Grumpled crows pace back and forth, their intermittent squawks like coughs. They squabble over a dull piece of tinsel. Heavens lug overcast past the gray snow, leaving colorless sludges of ice in the shadows; last week’s snow crumbling in grimy lumps on the lawn. Lo, this is the limit-case of empathy: everything washed-out, out-worn, and limply cobbled together, just hobbling along, begrudging any sentiment but self-pity. Mr. Figure feels sick, heartsick with a bad head cold, bundled-up in a janky threadbare blanket, his little toe poking out from a moth-eaten hole, as he simpers and hugs himself. Barely holding it together. His nose, red-rimmed and runny; his eyes, gummed up with rheum, his throat gone phlegmy with gunk; his brain, vexed and sputtery, blank and insoluble. No wonder some people live their whole lives simply longing for the next world.

Mr. Figure Grows a Beard

One listless summer morning, Mr. Figure lapsed in his routine. He neglected trimming his facial hair. One day soon led to another. A five o’clock shadow at first; then light stubble. Before long he donned full-on whiskers. He put aside his razor and let the shrubbery take its course. People remarked it made him look older, distinguished and wise—that was certainly guff. If he looked down, it scratched his neck; if he lifted his head, it got tangled in the breeze and he worried some prankster would pluck his goat. His chin-bush became thick, tickling, and rough. His bristles pointed one way, his wishes another. Expending no effort, he rapidly prickled with coiling excrescences. O, fecundity and decomposition! It was written in great scribbled thickets on his face. His jawbone coiffed in a jungling perplex. The beard wore the man. So, after many months had passed, he stood on his back deck, naked, and shaved it all off. A chickadee picked up the fluff and tufted sweepings for a nest.

vessel  fire  tree

 

William Cordeiro

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Shuffle

 

William Cordeiro

Screenshot_20221116_075939.png

CIS IN TRANCE ANTICIPATING SHALLOW 60th REUNION DANCE FORMALITIES

Gerard Sarnat

 

i.Simple kouta

Will you still have that wonder

about you like when

we were children and Gerry

very deep in love?

 

ii.More Complex tanka

 Will s/he still have that

bi-trans marvel ‘bout her/him

like when we were kids?

At least I was so smitten

no matter our consequence.

WOMEN IN PAIN

John Grey

 
Screenshot_20221116_080949.png
 

DESCRIBING THE SCENERY

John Grey

Indwe scnbablle and then
fortuitous extreeme that I
sing culture dogs impperiew
when every perdevize iiil
which comes saltusal mnvb
loud crayon jhiyk impure
turtle waste bjgry safety ii -
bumpy beleeagut for all ii
reticculate small tose viadux
lampoon straight jackett mm
Art Carneyt devilmentz choird
niecez prone alabii which
and catharticc blezzed 123
hyacinth magenta luxord

MR NG ON DIACTINIC STREET

John Grey

 

digitalis of the jack-hammer
of the window princeps
of the trained couch
of the praetor sun moustache lactate doors
of the dog-paddling hyoscine
of the indulgent apertures
(jack-hammer here)
of the disintegration of the camarilla
not forgetting the athymy
and the jack-hammer scatter
and the
pearl a
ssignme
nt and
atom ic
prandia
1 decum
bence
and n
ot fo
rgett
ing t
ja
ck
ha
mm
er
9A

EXTRA

 

John Grey

posting specific clearing electronic
associated summary existing additional i i. ^
interface • . f i s analysi•s i complet*e * table ui Joa s . n urcv
sites processing current fields '^ A i'•*-•- li-il ^^'Cnue
technology operations purchase map
core access schedule members roles
definition modification convention work
ticket ledger item configuration
standard offsetting support assigned

Lunchtime Illusions

 

Ben Nardolilli

Everywhere I go it seems things are expanding,
people move away, cities spread, scenes evaporate, my stomach swells,
the center moves, departing without laughter, and I hate it,
I get left behind without the gift of a game, reduced
to stalking reality as my social lattice corrodes into pictures of longitude


Only the papers remain, piles of them generously give me their time,
I try to recall the significance of each sheet,
associates once came by and handed them into my palms,
some of them needed to be filled out, but which ones?
I know there were plenty I authored with fingerprints and coffee stains


Not all my past is available for spacious wandering,
what I gain spreads out only once I relive the history of the world,
my old days arrive and make their point,
the criticism restarts, I am not in a closed system, equilibrium achieved
after some collision with colloids, my fluctuations vindicate me.

Counting on Yinz

 

Ben Nardolilli

Forward to attention,
I’ve been doing some reflecting
on how to celebrate summer’s end


here is what my whiteboard
says should give me hope,
1) this fresh hell is actually old


2) my bookkeeping experiences
went better than expected,
3) nothing happy was overturned


initial results aside, further
discovery of files reveals old deals
for reenactment scenarios


after page after page of losses,
one central gain in the emails
references kissing in Central Park


why not try to do it again,
on Labor Day, call up REDACTED
for a mirror and a bookend

Winter Wonderland

 

Janis Butler Holm

printer thunder sand

tray wells bling
bar pew twist tin
gin duh pane
show his wrist tin
uh dutiful tight
leer slappy blue fight
squawking gin uh printer thunder sand
brawn astray his duh too nerd
cheer blue whey his uh roux nerd
bee dings uh shove dong
jazz lee foe uh wrong
squawking gin uh printer thunder sand
gin duh said low lee plan tilled uh show pan
when defend mat bee his arson down
beel ray bar pew varied
wheel ray dough pan
gut pew plan loo duh mob
then pure gin gown
crater faun
wheel gone dire
jazz lee scheme thigh duh tire
blue mace one uh jade
duh bans mat leave bade
squawking gin uh printer thunder sand
gin duh said low lee plan tilled uh show pan
hand defend mat bees uh surplus noun
wheel calve shots love pun myth sister show pan
one shill duh mother biddies rock dim brown
then pit shows
paint pit drilling
woe pure pose debts uh spilling
wheel rollick hand neigh
duh press him mow pay
squawking gin uh printer thunder sand
squawking gin uh printer thunder sand
squawking gin uh printer thunder sand

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

 

Janis Butler Holm

pits duh ghost thunder pull grime love duh gear

pits duh ghost thunder pull grime love duh gear
myth duh bids shingle welling
hand rev knee sun selling pew
see love wood smear
pits duh ghost thunder pull grime love duh gear
pits duh slap slappy vest reason love mall
myth toes doll uh fey tweetings
hand way slappy sheetings
then winds plumb blue crawl
pits duh slap slappy vest reason love mall
glare ill see tart ease gore boasting
harsh gallows gore coasting
hand barreling route gin duh show
glare ill see hairy roast Tories
hand sales love duh storeys love
grist fusses wrong wrong uh foe
pits duh ghost thunder pull grime love duh gear
glare ill see clutch thistle beau ring
hand charts fill see knowing
then shoved suns bar beer
pits duh ghost thunder pull grime love duh gear
glare ill see clutch thistle beau ring
hand charts fill see knowing
then shoved suns bar beer
pits duh ghost thunder pull grime
pits duh ghost thunder pull grime
pits duh ghost thunder pull grime love duh gear

Sole Survivor

 

Gerry Fabian

The intent
(You crave the excuse.)
meant to splice
(Touch the breath of dew.
turns into an ice glaze.
(Is it easier to kiss or to bite.)
The first phase of caring
(... or to know the difference.)
is scaring your pride.
(The shadows are more than relatives.)
until inside; the aching,
(Always let go with - not for.)
instead of breaking, fuses
(Trust is the ghost of self.)
the imagined segments between
(Always set captives free.)
the end and a friend.

from October sequence
# 102

 

Sheila E. Murphy

Listen she said when you listen

Quietly you perfectly distil

The silence you eradicate the impulse

To respond in language I admit

Is full and fragrant just try

Not to use it all the time

Instead sit still forget yourself

There is only so much oxygen

Just so much room observe the second hand

Shift until you can’t remember prior moments

Receive what you do not know

Feel the poverty and sadness turn to wealth

As your attention gifts the greater meaning

Of each portion learn the syllables in blend

The voice that signals I am here

Your energy insists that

I keep breathing I keep

Holding the sweet thought of what

You have made true

 

from October sequence
#105

Sheila E. Murphy

The Marionette Hotel with scuffed pickup

Parked out front alongside various

Self-proclaimed nobodies celebrating

Status in reverse

Summer hits up autumn for a loan

And pretty maids hover near a chipped fence

Once the color chalk some gossip chanted

There are things to fix meanwhile

A dusting of wheat rain makes slow motion

Habitable the nest repairs to others’ nests

Mid-morning all month long

The symmetry has lifted and the feat

Of laissez faire has turned

Religion mirroring the billboards housing

Messages that never were warning the populace

Ideas have been dangerous since battlefields

No one mentions or recalls

The impetus for tall letters warning you

To conform and call it something else

 

from October sequence
#106

Sheila E. Murphy

I draw what I don’t see

And close my eyes until it’s there

Then learn another destination

White sand holding still

Rainforest requiring no light

I let go intent to locate

No desire at all

I like predictions of the wind

More than wind itself

Within the seasons and sidewalk seams

I notice the insistent sprigs

That rise a little distance

Revealing higher order

To look at nothing

Spawns the gift of noticing

Another layer of a world

Where routine remains

The closest we come to eternity

G/1tc#!

 

JP Seabright

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Created from the automated dictation app within Word from an extract of the 2021 documentary A Glitch in the Matrix and then "messed about with" by replacing letters for numbers or symbols.

Triangulation

 

JP Seabright

Triangulation-1.jpg

A 'translation' of the description of Asemic writing from Wikipedia.

Glottal Stop

 

JP Seabright

Glottal Stop-1.jpg

Hybrid visual piece incorporating elements of the physical apparatus of speech. The binary code behind is converted from text describing the Spectogram.

On the other side of life is death but

 

Gale Acuff

death's on this side, too, they're kind of
the same thing, just opposite, even though
that doesn't make much sense and if it did
I'd be the smartest man in the world and
maybe the richest, boy that is, I'm just
ten years old but I'm getting older and
that's one sure way of dying and of course
getting killed is another and croaking
of some terrible disease another
still and my Sunday School teacher's worried
that I'm becoming obsessed with death and
I tell her Well, you're one of the people
who taught me to and last night I dreamt that
you killed yourself but not in sacrifice.

When you die it's the Hereafter and for

 

Gale Acuff

-ever with no coming back is what
they teach at church and Sunday School but I
don't want to die at all unless what comes
is better than what was that now is and
I don't understand God and Jesus, why
they'd create us to let us live, then kill
us off, and forget Adam and Eve and
original sin and the Fortunate
Fall and all, is this any way to run
humanity? That's what I told my Sun
-day School teacher after class today and
she sighed but not happily, then put her
head on her desk like in regular school
when the teacher wants to take a nap but
can't very well get away from us kids
and we can't get away from her, either.

I guess up behind the ceiling of our

 

Gale Acuff

Sunday School classroom are little angels
but I'd need an awfully long ladder
to find out, Jacob's ladder maybe, but
with my lousy luck I'll get up there and
remove a panel of the false ceiling
just to find little devils, or maybe
even Satan himself, so I told my
teacher to be careful in the classroom
alone but she laughed and said I have faith,
Gale, that the Lord will protect me from all
harm and I wish that I'd had a pistol
then, maybe just a squirt gun, I would have
taught her a lesson but I didn't so
I couldn't but God knows I try too hard.

I'm going to die someday and no more

 

Gale Acuff

pizza and tacos and comic books and
baseball and pickup trucks and dune buggies
and Best of BTO and pro wrestling
and Chinese buffets and Father's Playboys
and vacations to my cousins in Rome,
Georgia, and lunar eclipses and dog
shows and the Dog Star and dog days and snakes
and lizards and buzzards and the movies
and grape Tang and chocolate doughnuts and I
mean chocolate on the inside and not just
the outside and passing pop quizzes when
I should've flunked and therefore proving God
but wondering why He would let me pass
a pop quiz yet let me die even so
and getting over the flu and feeling
weak but stronger when feeling stronger is
like real strength. It's like I’m dead already.

Sinners go to Hell but at some churches

 

Gale Acuff

but not ours--they go to Heaven because
Jesus died for their sins and mine to boot
and it doesn't seem fair since at our church
we're glad to go to Hell if we've been bad
whether Jesus died for us or nix and
that's pretty hard when you think about it,
which I try like Hell not to because I
want more fun than religion gives me, I
think a little sin is acceptable
--it makes me appreciate goodness more
is what I told my Sunday School teacher
but she wasn’t buying, she laughed and said
that I'm a pretty smooth talker for 10
and the girls should watch out. Yes ma'am I said.