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GIRLS LIKE ME
Alexa Joyce
1.20.22

GIRLS WITH BRAZILIAN JEANS AND FAKE NAILS AND CHEAP THONGS FROM FALLAS AND STICKY LIP GLOSS AND HAIR WITH TOO MUCH GEL AND EYES COVERED IN TOO MUCH EYELINER ARE GIRLS LIKE ME. GIRLS FROM FLORIDA WITH OVERLY STRAIGHTENED HAIR WHO OBNOXIOUSLY CHEW GUM JUST TO DRAW ATTENTION TO THEIR MOUTHS AND GIRLS WHO HANG OUT WITH BOYS WHO ARE TOO OLD AND KNOW MORE THAN THEM.A COIN TOSS HAS NEVER INCENTIVIZED
THE RETENTION OF MY SERVICES

FRIEND TO THE JEWS
Z. H. Gill
1.14.22

I THOUGHT ABOUT HOW THE OCEAN COULD USE STREETLIGHTS, RISING UP AND OUT IN COLOSSAL LINES ALL THE WAY TO THE HORIZON, LIGHTING UP THE WATER LIKE A FOOTBALL FIELD. I THOUGHT ABOUT HOW THIS COULD BE DETRIMENTAL TO THE LOCAL WILDLIFE, BUT THAT MAYBE IT WOULD BE WORTH IT SO WE COULD ALL SEE OUT THERE INTO THE WATER AFTER THE SUN QUIT US FOR THE DAY, WHICH IT DID EARLY THAT DAY, FOR DAYLIGHT SAVINGS HAD JUST ENDED. WE COULD ALL USE AN IMAGE OF SUCH SCALE AT THAT TIME OF NIGHT. MAYBE THE WILDLIFE WOULD BE FINE. MAYBE WE COULD REPLICATE WHAT WE LOST IN LABORATORY SETTINGS. WE COULD ALL BE SAVED, MAYBE—A PASSING THOUGHT, WE WOULD NOT BE.

TRAZODONE DREAMER
Liam Cloud Hogan
1.13.22

I SEE ALL THESE THINGS, AND EVENTUALLY THEY’RE TAKING MY VITALS, AND EVENTUALLY STILL I’M SHUFFLING THROUGH THE BREAKFAST LINE. I’M BEHIND MS. ROSA, WHO’S HUNCHED OVER HER WALKER, VIBRATING IN THAT WAY YOU DO WHEN YOU’RE JUST BONES AND MEMORIES AND A NERVOUS SYSTEM.

5 POEMS
Elizabeth Ellen
1.11.22

I’M ALREADY ANTICIPATING ALL THE TIMES
YOU WILL CHEAT ON ME
WITH YOUR EX,
W A WOMAN FROM HIGH SCHOOL,
W A WOMAN FROM A DATING APP YOU HAVEN’T YET
BEEN BANNED FROM

EXCERPT FROM SISSY PROBLEMS
Vodka Vida 
1.10.22

MY MOTHER GREW UP IN A SHIPPING CONTAINER AND DIPPING HER FEET IN A PUDDLE OF MUD AND RAINWATER WAS A FAVORITE PAST-TIME OF HERS. SHE GAVE BIRTH TO MY SISTER THREE YEARS BEFORE ME ON JULY 5 1987. SHE WOULD TELL YOU NOW THAT IT WAS A MISTAKE, A BABY BRAT STRAIGHT OUT OF THE WOMB.

SW
Kidney Stone
1.8.22

DO YOU BELIEVE IN GOD? DO YOU AVOID ANY MEAT PRODUCTS? WOULD YOU ACCEPT A BLOOD TRANSFUSION? I WASH MY HANDS AGAIN. I LOOK HER DEAD IN THE EYE. DO YOU THINK YOU’RE SMARTER THAN ME?
WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF? ARE YOU READY TO DIE?

ADOLESCENTS
Taylor Lewandowski
1.6.22

THE NEXT YEAR A STUDENT DIED FROM AUTO-EROTIC ASPHYXIATION. I DIDN'T KNOW HIM, BUT I PASSED HIM IN THE HALLWAYS. AFTER THE CHAPEL ANNOUNCING HIS DEATH, HIS FRIENDS GATHERED IN A CORNER OF THE BLEACHERS AND CRIED IN THE ARMS OF TEACHERS. A PIECE OF PAPER WAS POSTED ON THE BULLETIN BOARD. IT REMINDED STUDENTS TO REACH OUT IF THEY NEEDED HELP. SUICIDAL THOUGHTS WERE NORMAL, BUT NOT PART OF GOD'S PLAN. FOR THE NEXT MONTH, I WITNESSED A RESTRAINED GRIEF ON EVERYONE'S FACE. I PROBABLY HAD IT TOO. HE WAS WITH GOD NOW, THEY SAID. HE WAS IN A BETTER PLACE, THEY SAID. I PICTURED HIM IN HEAVEN JACKING OFF FOR ALL ETERNITY.

VISTA VISION
Jack Paradise
1.4.22

WE EXCHANGED A FEW CURT MESSAGES, SUP HOTTIE? - TY NOT MUCH WBU - SAME. WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR? - LET’S HANG OUT. THEN PRESENTED SEDUCTIVE PICTURES FROM OUR PORTFOLIOS. HIS COMPELLED ME. MADE ME FEEL LAWLESS ANOMIE. I WANTED TO PASS THROUGH THE PHONE AND MAUL HIM. - HOTTTTTT - THEY WERE ALL CHARMINGLY INEPT, MOTION BLURRED, LIT WITH BARING FLASHES, BUT EVEN UNDER UNFORGIVING CONDITIONS, I WANTED WHAT I SAW, EVERY PIXEL.

IF IN A LANGUAGE
Tracy Fuad
12.28.21

NO NEED FOR PARADIGMATIC
GYMNASTICS. DRAMATIC. NOW,
THE AMAZON HAS BURNED OUT,
THERE IS FIVE OF EVERYTHING.
THE COMPACT ELEMENTS ADORNING
THE PLENUM, COMPLAINING
IN HETEROGENOUS FASHION OF INFECTION.

NOCHEBUENA
Esther Manov 
12.24.21

AND AT ELEVEN, PARKED BY THE POOL
WITH THE TINY FLOATING FROGS,
LIKE SHAKING LEAVES, YOUR HANDS,
I WAS COLD AND SURPRISED.
YOU KEPT TALKING ABOUT PETROLEUM, THAT YEAR, 
ABOUT CHAVEZ
WHO DIED OF CIA CANCER,
STILL BEGGING THE HITMEN
TO LIVE TO SEE HIS REVOLUTION.

YOU SEE
Shane Kowalski
12.23.21

I WAS BROUGHT UP IN A CULT. THE RELIGION HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH BLOOD AND LAMBS. I WAS IN LOVE WITH SUE ELLEN. IN THE BACK OF THE PICKUP TRUCK WITH MY HAIR GOING WILD. DARK SUMMER DAYS WHEN WE’D HIDE IN THE WOODS.

LIGHT SWITCH
Sally Sum
12.21.21

MOM ALWAYS HANGS A PADDLE BY THE STORM DOOR THAT SAYS:
“HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS.”
DADDY ALWAYS HANGS A CRUCIFIX IN THE BEDROOM.

GURDJIEFF SMITH
Joshua Hebburn
12.16.21

THE SKY CLOSES UP AND THE HOT GIRL ANGEL LAUGHTER FADES OUT WITH IT. HEAVEN HAS A GOOD SOUND TECH. 'EVERYTHING' IS SO SMALL UP THERE NOW IT COULD BE NOTHING. A SPECK OF DUST BETWEEN HERE AND INFINITELY EXPANDING OUTER SPACE.

2 POEMS
Luke Gopnik-Parker
12.14.21

THE ROOM IS THE ROOM
THE KISS THE KISS
THE CUP THE CUP
THE EYE THE EYE
THE STING IS THIS STING
AND NO OTHER.

ENTERTAINMENT
Robert Lopez 
12.9.21

WEDNESDAYS IT’S CABARET AND SHE’LL DO A STRIPTEASE DOWN TO A G-STRING AND PASTIES. SHE HAS THIS WAY OF PROWLING AROUND THE STAGE ON ALL FOURS, WHICH CAN GET THE CROWD WORKED UP BUT GOOD. ONLY THE BEST PEOPLE ATTEND THESE PERFORMANCES AND THEY DO IT TO SUPPORT SOFIA. EVERYONE KNOWS SOFIA NEEDS HELP AND THIS IS WHY PEOPLE COME OUT. 

THE PROVIDER 
Sophie Kemp 
12.6.21
YOU GOT A LOOK IN YOUR EYES, A GLIMMER THAT SAYS “I AM BETWEEN THE AGES OF 24-27 YEARS OLD, AND I HAVE THE WHOLE REST OF MY LIFE IN FRONT OF ME TO BE A PUBLICIST OR BE AN 100 POUND LITTLE THING IN THE BACK OF AN ARMORED TANK REPORTING ON THE WAR IN IRAQ.”
I LOVE MY COUSIN. AND FAMILY AND GOD AND AMERICA AND THE TROOPS AND FOX’S TRANSFORMER NFL GRAPHICS AND COLD WET BEER AND JET SKIS. MY FUCK I LOVE JET SKIS. I’VE NEVER RIDDEN ONE. I’M SCARED TO LOVE A THING. IT HURTS TO LOVE A THING, ALMOST REGARDLESS.

3 STORIES
Kidney Stone
12.2.21

I GET THE QUESTION RIGHT AND A REVIEW BOX POPS UP WITH A HELPFUL MNEMONIC TO KEEP TRACK OF THE FATIGUE OF THIS CANCER, AND THE WEIRD THING OF THIS CANCER. I DON’T NEED THE HELPFUL MNEMONIC, BECAUSE I ALREADY KNOW, AND BECAUSE I ALREADY HAVE A MNEMONIC, FOR THE TREATMENT OF MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION: OSAMA BIN (OXYGEN, STATINS, ASPIRIN, MORPHINE, ACE INHIBITORS, BETA BLOCKERS, IV HEPARIN, NITROGLYCERIN).

TAKE CARE OF ME FOREVER
Anika Jade Levy
12.1.21

AN EMPTY MICHELIN RESTAURANT ON THE TOP FLOOR OF A MALL IN MIDTOWN. THE WORST PART OF THE JOB IS WHEN THE MEN MAKE YOU EAT SEA URCHIN. THE SPIKY BLACK BALL IS LIKE A MESSAGE FROM OUTER SPACE. THE MAN SCOOPS A SPOONFUL OF THE OCRE COLORED MEAT AND WAITS FOR MY LIPS TO PART. I FANTASIZE ABOUT A BUNCH OF DIFFERENT TERRORIST SCENARIOS: AIRPLANES, INCELS, BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS. I OPEN MY MOUTH AND SWALLOW OBEDIENTLY. THE CHECK COMES TO $2600.

GIVE ME YOUR LOAD
Sam Fishman
11.30.21

I’M WATCHING A LACTATING CAMGIRL RIDE HER PARTNER. SHE’S MOANING, HE’S SWEARING—THEY’RE SWEATY AND HOT AND YOUNG. SOMETIMES SHE DOES THIS TRICK I LIKE WHERE SHE SPRAYS HER MILK AT THE CAMERA. I REACH BEHIND ME AT A PILE OF USED TISSUES AND FIND ONE WITH A LITTLE LIFE LEFT.

POCKET FULL OF POSY
Carliann Madison
11.29.21

MY HUSBAND WAS A SKI RACER, THOUGH I’M NOT ALLOWED TO SEE HIM SKI. I HAVE EVERY REASON TO BELIEVE THAT HE MAKES 13 DOLLARS AN HOUR ON SKI WHEELS DELIVERING PACKAGES—I CANNOT SEE THIS EITHER. THESE RULES ARE MY OWN, FOR I FAIL TO LOVE SPEED THE SAME WAY AS HIM AND SO CONSIDER IT BETTER NOT TO BEAR WITNESS IN THAT CASE.

THE WITCH KING OF WILLIAMSBURG
Arthur Boyle
11.29.21

THE WITCH KING IS EATING BACK TO BACK WHOPPERS IN THE MYRTLE BURGER KING. A CASHWAD IS TUCKED INTO HIS SWEATDAMPED DIAPER AND HE IS DRIPPING DESPITE THE ARTIFICIAL CALM OF CONDITIONED AIR AND HE BITES THREE TIMES THE MEAT IN THE SANDWICH THEN UNWADS A DOLLAR AND SLAMS IT ON THE TABLE.

SOMEWHERE NEW
Caspian Alavi-Flint
11.23.21

“WE’RE GETTING CLOSE!” THE DRIVER SHOUTED OVER THE DIN. HE INDICATED FOR ME TO LOOK OUT THE WINDOW. I COULDN’T YET SEE WHY BUT I LOOKED ANYWAYS. ESTABLISHMENTS HAD STARTED TO CROP UP, PLASTER COATED INNS WITH STACKS OF SALVAGED WOOD AND STONE PILED OUTSIDE, MID CONSTRUCTION, OR DECONSTRUCTION, GLASS CUBES BLUSHING FROM PILOT POWER, UNOPENED SHOP FRONTS AND HALLOWED OUT STRUCTURES, OVERRUN WITH VINES OR DUNES. THE LANDSCAPE EMERGED AS IF FROM A LONG SLEEP.I HEAD FOR THE BATHROOM WITH A BAGGIE ALEX PASSES ME IN HIS PALM. WHEN HIS SKIN TOUCHES MINE, HE TAKES HOLD OF MY WHOLE HAND, LIFTS IT TO HIS LIPS, KISSES. I GIVE HIM A NASTY LOOK. WE BOTH KNOW HE’S NOT SWEET. “EVEN BEFORE SUCCESS, PUSSY WAS NUMBER ONE,” HE WILL ONE DAY TELL BILLBOARD MAGAZINE.

 LOL
John Reed
 11.18.21

JUST LISTEN TO ALL OF THIS CHILDLESS LAUGHTER
NOW WE ARE GONE, AND HERE WE CAN STAY 
YOU AND I, WHO ARE YOU AND I NO MORE, 
WHO TORE APART OUR DAUGHTERS FOR THE BEARS, 
WHO OFFERED OUR SONS TO GOD, LOL 

SATURDAY NIGHT’S MAIN EVENT
Brian Alan Ellis
11.16.21

I THINK ABOUT DRAWING A SHITTY ’80S WRESTLING MUSTACHE ON LO’S FACE WITH SHARPIE. “DON’T WORRY,” I’D SAY, “IT’S NOT AS GROSS AS IT LOOKS ON TV.” THEN I CONSIDER PUMMELING HER WITH A PILLOW, PRE­TENDING IT’S THE BAG WITH JAKE’S PYTHON (DAMIEN) IN IT, BUT I THINK BETTER OF IT, AND TRY FALLING ASLEEP ALSO, EYES ALL-THE-WAY CLOSED, HOPING I DON’T HAVE AN ACTUAL HEART ATTACK.

2 POEMS 
Nathan Reinke
11.10.21

WHEN THE BRAIN IS DEPRIVED OF
STIMULI IT CREATES
OVER 4000 DOLLARS PER DAY JUST BY ANSWERING BASIC ONLINE SURVEYS

WELL
Marston Hefner
11.9.21

THE SCREEN ON MY TELEVISION WENT BLACK. I WAS HAVING FUN. BUT THE SCREEN ON THE TELEVISION WENT BLACK AND THEN A SMALL MESSAGE APPEARED WHERE THE “VIDEO 1” SIGN SHOULD HAVE BEEN. AND IT WAS SO SMALL I COULD HARDLY READ IT. I WAS ANGRY AGAIN AND I WALKED UP TO MY TELEVISION SET TO SEE THE ERROR MESSAGE. “WELCOME. DO YOU WANT TO PLAY?”

HOSPITAL
Excerpt from Leave Society
Available in Forever Mag Issue II 
Tao Lin

ANTIBIOTICS WERE INJECTED INTO HIS CHEST ONE DAY TO OBLITERATE HIS PLEURAL SPACE SO THAT HIS LUNG WOULD ADHERE TO HIS CHEST WALL. HE COULDN’T BREATH THAT NIGHT. HIS TORSO AND NECK, THEN PARTS OF HIS LIMBS AND FACE, FELT BOTH NUMB AND SMOLDERING. HE DIDN’T SLEEP. AIR TRICKLED IN SOMEHOW.
WALKING THROUGH EAST VILLAGE A WOMAN ON THE PHONE SAYS “I DIDN’T KNOW HOW BAD IT WAS” AND NO ONE EVER SEEMS TO KNOW HOW BAD IT WAS

THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS FROM MEMORY
Megan Boyle
10.27.21

THE CAMERA ZOOMS IN ON A MUSIC BOX SHAPED LIKE A VICTORIAN HOUSE. A TWINKLY MIDI-FILE OF “STEPHANIE SAYS” BY THE VELVET UNDERGROUND PLAYS, SEEMINGLY FROM THE HOUSE ITSELF. THE MUSIC BOX MORPHS INTO A REAL HOUSE ON A GREENWICH VILLAGE STREET, NEXT TO HOMES OF SIMILAR STATURE.

THE BLACK SHAWL
Blake Butler
10.27.21

NOW MY COMPUTER WON’T TURN ON. I MEAN OR WHEN IT DOES IT JUST SHOWS THIS SCREEN OF GOLD LIGHT AND THERE IS A VOICE LIKE SOMEONE TELLING ME TO CUT MY ARMS OFF OR BASH MY HEAD INTO THE CONCRETE AND IT WON’T STOP TALKING UNTIL I TURN THE MACHINE OFF AGAIN AND HIDE IN THE CLOSET.
 
3 POEMS
Nicola Maye Goldberg
10.21.21

DO YOU CONSIDER LOVE
A.) HOBBY
B.) CAREER
C.) HOLY WAR
D.) ALL OF THE ABOVE?

BLOSSOM
Eric Renee
10.19.21

AND THE FACT IS I AM THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOY WHO HAS EVER GRACED THIS EARTH; I AM CHALAMET, I AM LEO, I AM PHOENIX BEFORE THE NEEDLE PRICK: I AM ALL OF THEM COMBINED, ROLLED INTO ONE,AND THEN SMOKED FOR THE MEDICINAL BENIFITS; AND ALL IS WELL ALL IS HEAVEN.

PEGGY
Montana Thomas
10.14.21

SHE WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN. CERTAINLY NOT BY THE MAILMAN, PANTING BEHIND POLYESTER, HOLDING HIS DELIVERY LOW, BEET RED AND BOTHERED. NOR WILL SHE BE FORGOTTEN BY HER TOILET, OR MIRRORS, OR LOVING PHONE. NOR HER TRUSTY SPATULA—COLD METAL, LONGING FOR A HOT FLIP EVERY NOW AND THEN. REST IN PEACE.

VARIANT
Nathaniel Duggan
10.12.21

NOW I HAVE TO BURN
EVERYTHING I’VE ACHIEVED,
AND YOU MISTAKE MY COLLAPSE
FOR JUST ANOTHER BEACHSIDE CONDO.

MIA’S BIRTHDAY
Brittany Ackerman
10.7.21

SOME CHANNEL THAT ONLY PLAYS MUSIC VIDEOS IS ON THE TV. A GIRL SINGS A SONG ABOUT HOW MEN ARE EVIL AND SHE SITS ON A CHAIR IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DESERT. THE CHAIR CATCHES FIRE AND SO DOES SHE.

THE FISHERMAN AND THE FOX
Matthew Feasley
10.5.21

THE MAN SETS THE POLE DOWN AND WADES INTO THE WATER. WARM AS A BATH. HE CLOSES HIS EYES AND HOLDS HIS BREATH. HE FOLLOWS THE LINE TOWARD THE LAKE’S BOTTOM, WHERE THE DEAD FOX HAS SUNK AGAIN. HE HOLDS THE FOX’S SMALL HEAD IN HIS HANDS. RUNS HIS THUMBS SOFTLY AGAINST THE CORNERS OF ITS EYES AND THEN LEANS FORWARD, WHISPERING INTO ONE OF ITS EARS.

GET BORN
Jake McCabe
10.1.21

LIKE  WHEN I WAS A KID, MY MOM WOULD DO THIS THING IN WHICH I WOULD GET COMPLETELY NAKED AND SHE WOULD GET COMPLETELY NAKED. AND SHE DIDN’T MOLEST ME OR ANYTHING. I’M SORRY FOR UNLOADING THIS ON YOU. I CAN SEE YOU GOING PHEW, SHE DIDN’T MOLEST ME, RIGHT? WHAT SHE DID WAS SHE WOULD TAKE THE BLANKETS OFF THE BED AND PUT THIS SHEET OVER HER, AND I’D CRAWL IN THE SHEET, AND SHE’D BE ON HER BACK WITH HER LEGS, LIKE, PROPPED OVER HER, AND I’D HAVE TO CRAWL UNDER HER KNEE, AND WE’D PRETEND I WAS BEING, LIKE, BORN?

ANIME NOVEL SERIES II
JOSEPH CROSS
9.30.21

THEY MEET
THEY BECOME CLOSE
THEY SPEND A NIGHT TOGETHER
ALEX AFTER GRADUATION TRIES TO MAKE IT MORE OR LASTING
THEY DON’T SPEAK AFTER THAT
CHRISTINE INVITES ALEX TO HER WEDDING (?)
ALEX GOES, BRINGING JACK
SHE GETS HER TIME ALONE WITH CHRISTINE
IT’S JUST AS UNRESOLVED AS IT EVER WAS
SHE BREAKS UP WITH JACK
AND DREAMS OF DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF LIFE
THOUGH THESE BEGIN TO FADE.

USE-VALUE SONNET
Eljah Jackson
9.28.21

AT THIS POINT
SEXUALITY HAD BEEN REPACKAGED
INTO A SECRET GROUPING OF COMPLEX
ARITHMETIC GAMES.

VAX SKETCH
Al Jacobs
9.27.21

SO I HEARD HIM OUT, EVEN THOUGH I’M BRAINWASHED BECAUSE I GOT THE VAX. I FELT LIKE VAX DISCOURSE WITH AN ACTUAL DOCTOR WOULD SERVE ME IRL.

EDEN’S BASTARDS
Kelby Losack
9.23.21

WE CROSSED THE BRIDGE WHERE YOU SAID NOT TO LOOK OVER AND I SAID I WOULDN’T, BUT I DID, AND THERE WERE A DOZEN BODIES FLOATING ON THEIR BACKS AND I FOLLOWED THEIR LIFELESS GAZES TO THE SKY, WHERE THEY LAST SEARCHED FOR GOD IN THE CLOUDS, BUT SAW ONLY SMOKE.

3 STORIES
Bella Israel
9.21.21

ANTOINE LOVES ME. HE PIRATES ALL OF MY FAVORITE MOVIES. ONCE HE PIRATED FOX AND THE HOUND AND WE WATCHED IT AT DUSK WHEN THE CICADAS WERE HUMMING AND THE STREET LAMPS WERE BUZZING AND I WAS SOBBING, SOBBING BECAUSE I ALWAYS SOB WHEN THE FOX GETS LEFT IN THE FOREST AND SOBBING BECAUSE I WILL SOON LEAVE ANTOINE AND SOBBING BECAUSE I AM NOT SORRY ABOUT IT.

HOT AS HEAVEN
Gideon Jacobs
9.20.21

[ALEXA] BEGAN BY TELLING ME HOW SHE HAS ALWAYS HAS A THING FOR JESUS. I JOKED THAT THIS MADE ME A LITTLE JEALOUS OF THAT ANOREXIC-HOT NAZAREAN. SHE DIDN’T LAUGH. SHE SAID SHE LOVED JESUS BECAUSE HE WAS BOTH MAN AND GOD, FLESH AND SPIRIT. SHE SAID HE WAS A MIRACLE BECAUSE HE WAS SIMULTANEOUSLY BOTH HERE AND THERE. I KNEW WHAT SHE WAS GETTING AT OF COURSE, BUT WANTED TO MAKE HER SAY IT OUT LOUD, SO I ASKED HOW EXACTLY MR. CHRIST WAS ABLE TO HAVE ONE FOOT FIRMLY PLANTED IN EACH REALM? WAS HIS EXISTENCE SOME KIND OF INCREDIBLE ONTOLOGICAL STRADDLING ACT? SHE SAID, NO, JESUS HAD TWO FEET PLANTED IN EACH REALM. I JOKED THAT JESUS MUST HAVE HAD FOUR FEET THEN, THAT HE MUST HAVE NOT BEEN HUMAN AFTER ALL BUT A QUADRUPED, A CUTE DOG MAYBE, A GOLDEN RETRIEVER PUPPY MAYBE. FRUSTRATED, ALEXA SHOUTED THE ONLY SOLUTION, THE ONLY WAY WE COULD BE TOGETHER, WAS FOR ME TO DIE.

AIR CONDITIONING
Jiv Johnson
9.14.21

DOGS DYING IN THE DRY SUMMER, IN AUGUST I WENT BACK HOME AFTER MANUAL LABOR. SCANNED /POL/ FOR FUNNY DISCOURSE. ALL MY FRIENDS ON DISCORD LAUGHING. JOE BIDEN SUCKS. MONKEY WITH A GUN IN A REBEL ENCAMPMENT, AK BARREL SPINNING, PEOPLE DODGING BULLETS, LAUGH REACT THE GIF. THERE’S NO TALIBAN HERE. NOTHING TOO BIG ON THE MIND. GOD IS ABOVE AND JESUS IS LORD. 

GRAVE DIGGER
Cory Bennet
9.13.21

HOW OLD ARE YOU?
I HAD TO THINK HARD.
30.
THAT’S NOT WHAT YOU SAID EARLIER.
WHAT DID I SAY EARLIER?
18.

CAREGIVER
Manuel Marrero
9.8.21

I’M PUSHING WOMEN OUT OF WINDOWS, STARVING MYSELF TO WRITE, TO EAT, DOING EVERYTHING FOR ART, GIVING YOU EVERYTHING. HEROES, VILLAINS, MARTYRS, INSURGENTS.

EXCERPT FROM  KETCHUP
Sam Pink
9.3.21

FRANK LOOKS UP AS THE BLUE SCREEN GIVES WAY TO A SOAP OPERA. AND THE VOLUME IS INCREDIBLY HIGH AS THE THEME MUSIC SWEEPS THROUGH THE BAR. AND FOR A MOMENT, THERE IS THE DEEPEST BEAUTY IMAGINABLE. YES, YOU HAVE NOT EXPERIENCED BEAUTY UNTIL THE THEME SONG FROM A SOAP OPERA PLAYS AT TERRIBLE VOLUME IN AN EMPTY BAR. IN THE DUSY SUNLIGHT. SWEEPING AND COMPLETE.

PHEROMONE DARK AGE
Michael Borth
8.30.21

FORTUITOUS AND FAT, GOUT AND GASTRO, LITTLE KIDS RUNNING WITH FLOWERS IN THEIR HANDS, FRACTAL PEARL, SCALLOPED, AND YOUR MIND RINGS BEFORE THE PHONE DOES. CERTAIN PORCHES OF ILL-REPUTE, THE DAWN IS ORANGE IN TWO CHAMBERS AND EVERY FIFTH TRUNK IS HEAVY WITH AUTOMATIC WEAPON. THE VIDEO OF CORD CUTTING, THE ACID OF THE ER DOCTOR, WALKING STRAIGHT INTO THE WATER LIKE A FALLEN SKY.

ATIVAN WORKS
Myles Zavelo
8.27.21

I AM LIVING WITH OTHER MEN IN LOS ANGELES NOW. THIS IS A STEP-DOWN FACILITY. THEY MAKE DECLARATIONS HERE. THEY SAY THINGS LIKE...ANOREXIC BITCHES ARE BETTER FUCKS THAN BULIMIC BITCHES. THEY DON’T SAY WOMEN.  THEY LIKE RUB-AND-TUGS. THEY’VE GAINED WEIGHT ON ZYPREXA AND SEROQUEL AND CLOZAPINE AND DEPAKOTE. THEY HAVE POOR TABLE MANNERS. THEY HAVE BLOWHARD DADS. SOME HAVE COMPLIANT MOTHERS. THAY ARE SDSU GRADUATES AND USC DROPOUTS. THEY HAVE ACCESS TO THE VERY BEST PORNOGRPAHY. THEY ARE PSYCHOTIC UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF MARIJUANA. THEY SUFFER FROM BODY DYSMORPHIA. THEY DISCUSS THE POSSIBILITIES OF FASTING. THEY LOVE COLLEGE BASKETBALL. THIS IS ALL PART OF MY TREATMENT. WHAT I WANTED, ASKED FOR, AND GOT. BECAUSE I NEEDED SOMETHING... SIFTING THROUGH A PLASTIC CONTAINER OF CHILDHOOD EPHEMERA, I FIND A PHOTOGRAPH OF MY HIGH SCHOOL BOYFRIEND. WE MET WHEN I WAS 14 AND HE WAS 17. HE HAD BLACK HAIR, AND I WAS OVERWEIGHT. TO WOO ME, HE WROTE MY NAME IN THE SAND AT THE BEACH AND TOOK A PHOTOGRAPH OF IT, WHICH I HUNG IN A FRAME ABOVE MY BED. SOMETIMES WHILE I MASTURBATED, I FANTASIZED ABOUT US EATING FRENCH FRIES, THEN FUCKING ON THE SAND. I HAD NOT YET LOST MY VIRGINITY, BUT WE HELD HANDS IN MY HIGH SCHOOL’S BLEACHERS, AND CONTINUED HOLDING HANDS UNTIL HE CHEATED ON ME WITH SOMEONE CLOSER TO HIS AGE. PROBABLY SHE WAS A SLUT WHO HELPED HIM EJACULATE. WHICH, IN RETROSPECT, I WISHED I WAS.

BORN IN BLOOD
Lindsay Lerman
8.23.21

THE FIRST TIME I DID MDMA AFTER HAVING A BABY, I WAS BROUGHT BACK TO THIS NIGHT. OR MAYBE IT WAS DAY. THE LABOR TIME. THE NO-TIME. THE ALL-TIME. THE OUTSIDE-TIME. THE TWELVE PLUS HOURS, THE NOT-KNOWING, THE FEELING TOO INTENSELY.

2 Poems
Sophia Le Fraga
8.20.21

IT WAS A SAD AFTERNOON
BUT EVERYBODY TOOK
A PICTURE.

DA VINCI!
Shanti Escalante-De Mattei
8.18.21

WHAT PARTS OF YOU DID I GLIMPSE AMONG THESE BOYS? LIKE LOOKING AT THE PROGENY OF A LONG AGO LOVER BUMPED INTO ON THE STREET // SOMETHING SUTBLE IN THE FACE SEARCHING FOR THE PART I CHERISH EXCEPT, MY ABSURD LIFE, THE LITTLE JOKE OF MY EXISTENCE--I AM DOING IT BACKWARDS.

3 POEMS
Excerpt from SUNSHINE AND MOLOTOV COCKTAILS
Cavin Bryce Gonzalez
8.17.21

YOUR TINY HANDS WERE SO DELICATE THAT I FELT THE URGE TO SMASH ALL OF THEIR BONES WHENEVER I HELD THEM. I SHOULD HAVE TAKEN THE OPPORTUNITY WHEN I HAD THE CHANCE. THEY ARE MY FAVORITE THING, YOUR HANDS. IF I TOOK THEM WHEN I HAD THE CHANCE THEN I COULD HAVE HAD THEM FOREVER.

FARTHER, FATHER
Max Tullio
8.15.21

...AND THAT HE WANTS HIS PARTIES TO BE LIKE THAT AND NOT LIKE THIS AND ABOUT HOW THE MOVIE WAS DIRECTED BY THIS GUY WHO ALSO MADE A MOVIE ABOUT CARLOS THE JACKAL WHO WAS “LIKE, THE SEXIEST TERRORIST OF ALL TIME” WHICH ANNIE THINKS IS A HARD CATEGORY TO QUALIFY AND THEN SHE THINKS ABOUT THE SON OF THE BIN LADEN FAMILY SELLING HIS MANSION IN LA THAT LOOKED LIKE THE BEVERLY HILTON HOTEL WHERE THEY HOST THE GOLDEN GLOBES AND THEN SHE DANCES A LITTLE BUT IN A KIND OF FUNNY WAY THAT’S JAGGED AND STILTED AND SHE BECOMES SELF CONSCIOUS THAT SHE’S DANCING LIKE HER FATHER. AND NOW SHE’S THINKING ABOUT HER FATHER.

EXEUNT
Sean Kilpatrick
8.13.21

A GOD THAT LOVED YOU WOULD NUMBER YOUR DAYS MORE OPENLY // THIS PRAYER LETS US SEE IN OUR SLEEP

REFRAME (WORK/HOME)
Crow Jonah Norlander
8.8.21

IT USED TO BE A PET PEEVE WHEN SHE CALLED HERSELF A DOG MOM BUT NOW THAT I’M A HUMAN DAD I’M LIKE SURE EVERYTHING’S MY BABY

WULLAHWAHZOUT
Joseph Grantham
8.7.21

WHEN YOU SMACK YOUR LIPS IT BRINGS ME BACK TO WHEN I LIVED IN NEW YORK CITY NOT FAR FROM THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN

WITIN THE EYE OF THE ENTITY
Blake Butler
8.7.21

NO ONE IN HEAVEN HAS SURVIVED. IF THEY DESERVED TO, THEY’D STILL BE DOWN HERE. AS AM I. OR AT LEAST I’VE WORN ON LONG ENOUGH IT’S NOT UNQUESTIONABLE TO IMAGINE I MIGHT CONTINUE GROWING OLD FOR LONG ENOUGH THAT I MIGHT FINALLY COME BACK AT THE BEGINNING. AND I’D STILL DO IT ALL OVER JUST THE SAME.

PRAY HISTORY
Theadora Walsh
8.1.21

SOME PEOPLE REMEMBER GOD WHEN THEY ARE IN A HOSPITAL BED. THE NURSE TOLD ME THAT MORPHINE WOUL BE JUST LIKE THE FIRST TIME YOU TRIED MARIJUANA. SHE HAD HEARD FROM
PATIENTS. SHE HERSELF HAD NEVER DONE DRUGS AND NEVER WOULD DO DRUGS.

BY THE WATER BY THE SEWAGE PLANT
Terrence Arjoon
8.1.21

FOR YOU LOVE WAS MILK.

SILVER SCREENS
Emmalea Russo
7.26.21

SEEN THE ANGELS. WHEN OTHER FORCES MOVE FROM BLACK AND WHITE TO TECHNICOLOR AWAY BLOWS OUR PAPER MONEY. YOU WRAP ME IN YOUR WINGS OF DESIRE TRENCH COAT.

LOST HILLS
Nick Plett
7.21.21

YES OFFICER, I’D LIKE TO REPORT A BITCH SLAPPING. HE HAD LUNGED FROM THE SEAT OF HIS CLUNKY FORD F350 AND SPUTTERED INSULTS LACED WITH SPITTLE AND VENOM AND DISDAIN FOR YOUNGER GENERATIONS AND SELF-HATRED AND HELPESSNESS AND ALL THE BOILING PARTS OF LIFE SPEWING INTO THE HOT AIR LIKE VOMIT AND THEN HE HAD REACHED OUT AND SLAPPED ME. SLAPPED ME LIKE THE BITCH THAT I WAS.

OBJECTS
Rebecca Teich
7.20.21

THIS ISN’T ABOUT METAPHORS; THIS IS ABOUT OBJECTS.

A D I D A S
Ted Dodson
7.18.21

I TURN AND MY ASSHOLE TURNS WITH ME. AWAY IS MORE CONCEPTUAL THAN BEING HERE WITH YOU.

BLOOD RUN
Leo Johnson
7.11.21

I’M PLUGGING MY EARS. STILL FORGETTING TO REMEMBER. TAUGHT TO LET MY KNUCKLES BLEED. NOW LET THE WAX DRIP. AS I TIGHTEN THE ROPE.

REMORA
Zoe Dubno
7.6.21

WHY IS ALL THIS DUST EVERYWHERE? WHY IS THE ROOM FILLED WITH DUST? WHY HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS TURNED TO DUST? THEY USED TO BE RHODODENDRONS AND WHERE IS MY MOTHER? THERE IS A VASE AND IT IS FULL OF GARBAGE AND THE TOILET RUNS FULL. IT HAS OVERFLOWED AND THERE IS WATER IN MY MOUTH. THE LIGHTS TURN OFF AND I AM SURROUNDED BY SNAILS. HOW COME NO ONE ELSE IS HERE AND WHY AM I STILL COUGHING? WHY AM I BREATHING IN THIS WATER? WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL THE DUST?

FUG
Nathan Dragon
7.5.21

THIS MORNING HE DROVE TO ONE OF THE STRIP MALLS AND BOUGHT A RADIO WITH A PLUG FOR AN OUTLET. IT CAN ALSO TAKE BATTERIES IF AN OUTLET ISN’T ACCESSIBLE. HE THINKS HE SHOULD’VE GOTTEN BATTERIES AND HE MIGHT BRING IT OUTSIDE TO THE FAR END OF THE YARD AND LISTEN TO MUSIC AND BURN SOMETHING.


THE COP RUBBED THE MAN AGAINST THE TOMATO GUTS. THE COP PUT THE MAN IN THE BACK OF HIS CRUISER. THE COP CLOSED THE DOOR OF HIS CRUISER. THE COP DROVE AWAY WHILE FIRING HIS GUN OUT THE WINDOW. AN HOUR LATER A TOW TRUCK CAME FOR THE CAR AND I WENT HOME. I ATE TOMATOES. EVERY TIME I BIT INTO A TOMATO, IT KILLED EVERY COP IN AMERICA. I KILLED EVERY COP IN AMERICA SOMETHING LIKE TWENTY OR TWENTY-FIVE TIMES.

BASELESS STATUE
Skylar Hauge
7.5.21

LIFE IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES. IT WILL KILL YOUR DOG.

GOOD BOY
Madeline Cash
7.5.21

AS THE SEDATIVE WAS ADMINISTERED MY SISTER STARTED TO CRY. THEN MY MOM STARTED TO CRY. I COULDN’T TAKE MY EYES OFF THE DOG MURDERER’S TITS. ONLY THE MORE AROUSING THAT THEY WERE OBSCURED BY SO MUCH POLYESTER. I WONDERED WHAT SHE DID ON WEEKENDS. WHEN SHE WASN’T EUTHANIZING FAMILY PETS. SHE PROBABLY LAUGHED AND DRANK AND DANCED--READ IN A NOOK BY THE WINDOW OR SOMETHING. CASHEW WATCHED HER WITH HIS DROWSY, ALL-KNOWING STARE. HIS ANGEL OF DEATH. PERHAPS THE COMPANY HAD ORCHISTRATED IT THIS WAY. THEY WANTED THE LAST THINGS THE ANIMALS SAW TO BE BEAUTIFUL.


THINK ABOUT YOUR ODDS OF GETTING MURDERED IN THE FIRST PLACE. OK. NOW DIVIDE THAT BY 100. PRETTY GOOD, HUH?

TRANSGRESSIONS
Giulia Bencivenga
7.5.21

MY POETRY IS CARDIOVASCULAR AND VERY GOOD FOR YOU. HEALTHY IN THAT WAY THAT FAILURE IS HEALTHY. CARDIOVASCULAR IN THAT ITS SCOPE IS TO AERATE. THE NEGATION THAT COMES WITH IMMANENCE. THE BEES THAT CIRCLE A ROTTEN QUEEN, THE HEAT OF THEIR WINGS COOKING HER ALIVE.

A VERY GOOPY RENDEZVOUS
David Fishkind 7.5.21

ALEXANDER RETIRED SUPINE ON HIS FEATHERY ROOST, AND I HELD UP ONE OF THE PAPER LANTERNS TO HIS TABLET, ENUMERATING THE MANY IDIOSYNCRASIES AND UNPARALLELED INNOVATIONS OF THE FRESHLY PATENTED WEAPONS TECH. WHEN I LOOKED UP, MY WHOADIE HAD ENTERED THOSE SEIZING THROES DISTINCTIVE TO THE LAND OF NOD. CAREFUL NOT TO MAKE PHYSICAL CONTACT, I COVERED HIS FACE WITH THE GLOSSY BEAM OF THE GESTALT.

A DESPERATE MAN
Jeanetta Rich
7.5.21

IN MY DEFENSE HE WOULD SERENADE ME AT MY WINDOW. THAT WAS THE TIME I FORGAVE HIM FOR STEALING MY LAPTOP.




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