• The Love Edition: First Sight by Kristen Williamson

    It was in the way he introduced himself,
    like he knew he was going to be the love of my life.


    Kristen Williamson is currently a Graduate in English Literature and Creative Writing at Binghamton University In New York, where her fields of study include poetry,and fiction. She has been featured in: Slink Chunk Press, The Stray Branch, The Zine and others.

    Street Art by SacSix.
    Photo by Adam Lawrence.

    Woodes is the work of 24 year-old Australian Elle Graham and "Bonfire" is her latest single.

  • On The Eve of The Inauguration: Hey There Stranger, Come On Over and Hold My Hand by Mary Hamilton

    I am a jet plane. I am a super-sonic sound breaker. I am a magic wand, a crystal ball, a black top hat where doves rise like hologram hallucinations to create a surprise, a start, a whatthehell. I am a magic rock, the kind with a secret space for a key to open the door. I am a skeleton key. I am a shoe horn to make me fit. I am a rainbow. I am a guitar song about trains and thunder with a three chord rhythm and hand claps and background singers. I am a blade of grass, torn from sod and held between two thumbs to create a trumpet sound. A blade of green to play an elegy. A blade of grass to play a funeral dirge. I am a movie star, no I am a cement star. The kind that gets photographed and stepped on. The kind that lies on the street like lox on molded cream cheese and a stale bagel. I don't know.

    I am a long coat, a black duster, the kind that hangs stiff off your shoulders and brushes at the your palm. The kind that nicks the backs of your knees and parts open front and back to allow for movement. The kind of coat that makes you taller, kinder, ghost-like. I don't know.

    I am a razor. The kind to shave just close enough to avoid a cut. I am your favorite song. I am the cracked glass that held the image. I am the ribbon. O! I am a Captain. I am the secret statue on the back of a penny. I am the missed belt loop. I am the magic seed to make the beanstalk grow. I am the rock we threw for hopscotch games. I am the yellow cover to the biography book. I am the tea kettle. I am the weather map. I am the swing in the park. I am blue sky. Yeah, I said blue sky. I am the door to your dressing room with a star. I am your director's chair with your name on the back. I am the hanger that held the shape of your coat, before you put it on your shoulders. I am the shape it took after you put it on. I don't know.

    I am a wrinkle. I am a sunken cheek. I am an arched eyebrow. A hooked nose. A hair comb. A square tie. I am a stranger. I am simply a passerby. I am a doctor who heals. A misfit who breaks things. I am the history of mankind all rolled into one. Rolled into one handkerchief, stuffed in an inside jacket pocket. I am something to fold safe and secure next to your heart. Unfolded to dab the sweat on your brow. Unfolded to comfort the rebel widow when she cries.

    Mary Hamilton is an optician living in Los Angeles, and her work has previously been published in SmokeLong, PANK, the Indiana Review, and Storyglossia.

    Abraham Obama art by Ron English.
    Not My President Street Artist unknown.
    Photos by Adam Lawrence.

    Gal Gun is a new power pop band from Chicago preparing to release their debut album in 2017.

    This piece originally ran on November 3, 2008 and November 10th, 2012.

  • Support System by Sheldon Lee Compton

    I never understood people failing to kill themselves. Rita said she knew a man who shot himself but the bullet wedged under his scalp, traveled around on the surface of his skull, and exited through his scalp. When I decided to commit suicide I knew I wouldn’t have the guts to go through with it, but I was determined enough to figure out a way around that kind of cowardice.

    Roughly five minutes ago I crawled out on the balcony of my apartment and slipped myself down until hanging by my hands. I knew that unless I decided against dying within about the first minute or so then, realistically, the decision would become a permanent one.

    Already my arms are too weak to be of much use. Pulling myself to safety is impossible. To even attempt it would mean cutting my short life even shorter. At this point my hand and arm strength must be nearly spent. I’ll slip soon and that will be the end of Calup Nelson.


    Calup Nelson was one of those guys who held old-style New York artsy parties about once a month. So when his group of friends didn’t get a call from him by early Friday evening, they got in touch with each other and decided to drive to his apartment.

    The three of them – Dexter, Town, and Crane – took turns ringing the doorbell and when no one answered, Town checked the door. It was unlocked and the three of them piled in, expecting to find their friend asleep on the couch or in the shower.

    Splitting into different directions without finding Calup, they started calling his name. They weren’t panicked. The three of them called out, Hey buddy, where are you? Hey man. Everything was casual.


    The guys’ll come out here soon. I think. They should be quick, though, because I’m close. My fingers feel like they’re splitting apart at the joints. Same for my shoulders.

    “Hot damn, Calup.” It’s Town. He’s leaning over the balcony rail. “Did you fall?”

    I shake my head. “I’m killing myself,” I tell Town, and then explain to him my plan.

    He disappears and returns with Dexter and Crane. All three of them are leaning so I can see their serious faces. They have their elbows propped up on the rail. Town explains to Dexter and Crane the plan.

    “It’s pretty much foolproof, if you think about it,” he says, and the others nod in agreement.


    Sheldon Lee Compton is the author of three books and lives in Kentucky with his wife and two children.

    Photo by Adam Lawrence.

    "Ghosts" comes from Irish ambient folk/pop singer Katie Kim's third studio album, Salt, which was self-released in November.

  • Road Runner by A.J. Huffman

    Your boulders are useless.
    My feathers are much too fast.
    Try your rocket, maybe a sling-shot,
    a good old-fashioned
    rope. If you are lucky, I will lick you
    with a fan of dust and a glimpse
    of my ass.


    A.J. Huffman has published thirteen full-length poetry collections, thirteen solo poetry chapbooks and one joint poetry chapbook through various small presses. Her most recent releases, Degeneration (Pink Girl Ink), A Bizarre Burning of Bees (Transcendent Zero Press), and Familiar Illusions (Flutter Press) are now available from their respective publishers. She is a five-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a two-time Best of Net nominee, and has published over 2500 poems in various national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, The Bookends Review, Bone Orchard, Corvus Review, EgoPHobia, and Kritya. She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.

    This Zine Will Change Your Life previously published I Am Sorry Your Ovaries Are Falling Out by A.J. HUffman. Check it out.

    Street Art by Myth.
    Photo by Adam Lawrence.

    Washer is a Brooklyn-based duo and "Mend" comes from their debut album, "Here Comes Washer", which was released early this year.

  • Zero Gravity by Clayton Smith


    He grinned nervously and squeezed her hand as they stood together outside the smooth, white door. “I’ve never been inside a zero gravity chamber before,” he said, smiling his lopsided smile. “It’s safe?”

    “Perfectly safe,” she reassured him, squeezing his hand back and returning his smile. He couldn’t help but notice how tired she looked. Beautiful—always so beautiful—but tired, too. More tired than usual. The skin beneath her eyes was dark, her cheeks drawn and pale, and the corners of her mouth twitched, as if the effort of holding a smile was a worthwhile strain. But of course she was tired; she’d been working night and day on the zero gravity chamber for quite some time now. She’d skipped more meals than he could count, and most mornings, he woke up to find that she’d never even come to bed, but had fallen asleep on the couch instead—or, on at least three separate occasions, on the floor right outside the entrance to the chamber.

    But now it was complete, and she could finally rest. He tucked a stray wisp of her graying blonde hair behind her ear. “I can’t believe you made this.”

    “I made it for you,” she said. She gave his hand another squeeze, then she pulled it away and placed it flat on the chamber door. “Are you ready?”

    A dazzling beam of blue light blazed to life beneath the white surface of the door, a thin, horizontal bar that moved up, and then down, scanning her palm. Then, with a loudwhoosh, the door pulled itself back and slid to the side, granting them entry to the chamber.

    “Incredible!” he gasped. That this monumental piece of science-fiction actually existed—and in his own basement, no less—was absolutely extraordinary.

    “We’ll program your hand print too, so you can use it if I’m not here.”

    “Thank you,” he said. He took a step toward the opening, then hesitated. “Should I go in?”

    She nodded enthusiastically. “Yes, please! Everything is ready.”

    “I don’t need any sort of suit or anything? An oxygen mask?”

     “No, no, nothing like that. All you need is you.”

    She gestured toward the door, and he gave her one last, nervous grin. “Okay,” he said. Then he held his breath and stepped into the chamber.

    It was shaped like an egg on the inside, an egg big enough to hold a Volkswagen. He stepped gingerly onto the gleaming, sloping surface, afraid he’d accidentally crack the finish. As if reading his mind, she said, “Don’t worry. It’s very sturdy.” She had that way of knowing what he was thinking, sometimes before he knew it himself.

    “Okay,” he said, his voice shaking a little with nervous excitement.  He glanced around the sparkling room. It was truly beautiful. Elegant. It was her work, and wasn’t this way by mistake. “Do I just…?” He bounced a little on his heels, but he didn’t leave the floor. Gravity was still in full swing.

    “Hold on,” she said, slipping into the chamber behind him. He could even hear the weariness in her voice. Every word was a poorly disguised sigh. “I have to close the door.”

    She reached for it, but his hand instinctively shot out and grabbed her elbow. “Wait,” he said, suddenly feeling very claustrophobic. “How much air will we have?” He tried to sound nonchalant.

    “There are air filters. Up there.” She pointed to the top of the egg. “They’re flush with the walls. Totally hidden. But as long as there’s air in the house, there’ll be air in here.” Then she pressed her hand to the inside of the door panel, and with another blue light scan, it slid back into place and locked itself up tight.

    Once they were sealed in the chamber, she turned back around to face him. Her face was brighter now, and her cheeks had flushed pink around the rims. Her smile was easier, too, more solid. More real. She took both of his hands in hers. “What do you think?” Her voice was, at last, the old, cheery song he’d fallen in love with so many years ago.

    “It’s incredible!” His nervousness had evaporated, just like that. “How do you initiate the zero gravity?”

    “It’s already been initiated,” she said with a sly grin. “Don’t you feel it?”

    He laughed. “No,” he admitted, smiling as he bounced on the balls of his feet. “See? Still on solid ground.”

    She blushed a bit then, her eyelids becoming hooded. “It’s not that sort of zero gravity,” she said.

    “What do you mean?” He didn’t feel confused, exactly, by his lack of understanding. Rather, he felt excited at the possibility of discovery. His curiosity was obvious in the wide smile that spread across his face.

    “This room alleviates gravity completely…but not the gravity of physics. The gravity of life.”

    “The gravity of life?” he asked, his voice tinged with wonder.

    “Yes. All of our seriousness. All of our anxiety. All of that useless weight we carry in our words.” She was fairly beaming now. “It dissipates in this place. The chamber makes this a zero gravity zone.”

    He laughed out loud, long and hard. “You can’t be serious!” he said, though there wasn’t a trace of malice in his voice.

    “See for yourself! Talk about something that was weighing on you this morning.”

    He thought for a few seconds, tapping his lips thoughtful with his finger. “Ah!” he said, lighting upon a topic. “My job!”

    “What about it?” she asked.

    “I think I’m wasting my time there,” he giggled. He automatically raised a hand to cover his mouth, turning a bit red from the embarrassment of such a mirthful little laugh. Then his eyes widened a bit, and he tried again. “I’m miserable there!” His voice came out as bubbly as soap. He shook his head in astonishment. “Why don’t I feel sad about that?”

    “Zero gravity,” she said with a Cheshire grin. Her voice took on a game show host lilt. “The latest in relieving life’s little stresses!”

    “Incredible!” he repeated. “It’s almost as if…almost as if…” She raised an eyebrow, a subtle encouragement for him to go on. “Well, it’s almost as if I actually like the fact that my job is destroying me a little more each day!” They shared a long laugh. He took her hands in his and squeezed them tenderly. “What a brilliant invention,” he said through tears of joy. “And what an extraordinary woman you are.”

    She smiled and rested her head on his chest. “Thank you,” she said, closing her eyes and listening to the sound of his heart.

    They stood like that for quite some time, enjoying the restored airiness between them, their collective lightness of being. “Whatever possessed you to manufacture such a miracle?” he finally asked.

    Without lifting her head, she sighed happily and said, “I made it for you.”

    He smiled, content. “So you said.” He stroked her hair thoughtfully. “Is it because I’m too serious? Does it weigh us down?”

    She nuzzled her cheek in deeper into his chest and clutched her arms around his waist. “I didn’t make it for the gravity you have now; I made it for the gravity you’ll have soon.”

    “And what does that little riddle mean?” he asked with a chuckle.

    “I wanted to tell you, in here.”“Tell me what?”

    “About the cancer,” she said, breathing in the scent of him.

    “Cancer?” he asked.

    She nodded. “It started in my uterus, but it spread…it’s in my liver now, and my bones.” She sighed again. “And my lungs.”

    “What a startling bit of news!” he cried happily.

    She pulled away and smiled up at him, taking his face in her hands. “Isn’t it?” she grinned.

    “How long have you known?”

    “Not so long, in the grand scheme of things,” she said with an easy little shrug.

    “You bided your time before telling me,” he said, amused. “What do you know about that?”

    “I didn’t want to weigh you down,” she said simply.

    “I understand completely,” he said airily. “It’s serious, then?”

    “Yes, extremely.”

    “Any help for it then?”

    “Nothing worthwhile.”

    “What do you know about that?” he said again. “After all this time...”

    “Yes,” she agreed, her eyes shining with tears of joy for the moment unfolding between them.

    “There’s so much we’ll never do,” he said, thoughtfully, but not sadly. Nothing felt sad. Nothing hurt.

    “You’ll have to do them for the both of us,” she suggested.

    “A reasonable idea,” he admitted. He shook his head and grinned his lopsided grin. “Life is strange, isn’t it?”

    “Stranger than fiction.”

    He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. The air inside the egg felt crisp and freshly laundered. The filters were scented with lavender, the room filled with its subtle floral tones. He breathed it in, breathed her in. “What a wonder, to feel such peace about such tragedy.”

    “That’s why I built you this chamber,” she smiled. She kissed him, and her lips were warm, and full. “To spare you the sadness of it.”

    “How does one even know how to begin to make good on a blessing such as you?” he said.

    “You like it, then?”

    “I adore it.”

    “I hoped you would.” She sat down on the floor of the egg and reached up for his hands. “Come here, sit with me.” He did, and his knees popped, a startling sound that sent them both into a fit of giggles. They sat cross-legged facing each other, their fingers intertwined, as the smooth and complex interior of the chamber quietly and perfectly dissipated their despair. “I suppose we’ll have to leave the egg eventually,” he remarked.

    “Everyone has to leave everything eventually,” she retorted with a wink and a smirk. “But not yet. We don’t have to leave yet.”

    He meant to ask her what it would be like when they left the levity of the egg and their gravity was fully restored, but he couldn’t quite make the words. His mouth had no taste for them. “Zero gravity,” she told him, shaking his hands in hers. “Like it or not.”

    He nodded. There would be time for gravity—more than he might care to acknowledge. But this time, in this place, with this woman. It was a gift. Later would come the gravity. Later there would be the tears and the fear and the anger and the screaming and the fights about treatment and the denial of this punishment and the words that couldn’t be unsaid, not once they were lobbed like spiteful grenades, because those words would exist in the world, where they would carry a weight, a crushing, bruising press of sadness and blame and helplessness and regret.

    But later. All of that, later.

    Here, in the egg, there was him, and there was her, and there was a brightness of knowledge and acceptance and a shared familiarity centuries deeper and stronger than mutating cells. He kissed her fingers, and she kissed his fingers back. “I love you,” he said. “I love you,” she replied.

    And they sat in the chamber for a little while longer.


    Clayton Smith is a writer, publisher and teacher. He is the co-founder and Archduke of Dapper Press, and a lecturer in the Business & Entrepreneurship Department at Columbia College Chicago.

    Street Art by konair.
    Photo by Adam Lawrence.

    "Hat Tree" is the first single from the Brooklyn-based Very Fresh's new EP "Hey It's Me!", which is due out November 4th. 

  • count on it (artifact) by Panika Dillon



    a cloudy tour: fists of
              rain tower over
                   your foisted




    Panika M. C. Dillon hails from Fairbanks, AK and Austin, TX. She received her MFA in creative-writing poetry from Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has appeared in Oranges&Sardines, Copper Nickel, Borderlands, the Diagram and Breakwater Review. She works as a political organizer.

    Street Art.

    Top: Left Credit - Dee Dee, Right Credit - Dain
    Bottom: Left Credit - Artist Unknown, Right Credit - Myth

    Photos by Adam Lawrence.

    Swedish psych rockers Growth are preparing to release their new EP "Colour, Cut & Clarity" via Lazy Octopus Records on September 16th. "Wait" is the 2nd single off of the EP.

  • Crocus by Alexandra Faye Carcich


    These days of silence

    Lengthen as the grey expanse
    Winter without end.
    A poor thing is the first flower
    The single bud of a wilted mind.


    Alexandra Faye Carcich lives with husband and dog, in upstate NY. She dreams of having a published novel someday. Her work is featured in the Cupid&Psyche issue of Timeless Tale's Magazine.

    Street Artists unknown.
    Photo by Adam Lawrence.

    Zula is a Brooklyn-based Psych-Pop band, and "Lucy Loops" comes from their sophomore album, Grasshopper, which is due out on August 26th.

  • Blue Roses and Orange Stars by Bud Smith



    The other night the sky got green and the wind ripped all the weeds out of the vacant lot by the liquor store. For once the lot looked nice. Lasted eight days before new weeds popped up, glory be.

    I stopped and picked up a bottle of wine. They give you a little card at that liquor store. Get ten holes punched you get a free bottle. So I got the free bottle. You don’t get to pick what kind, it’s whatever they want, but that’s how life works too.

    On the way home, the traffic light was malfunctioning but I was walking and it didn’t matter. Rumbles of thunder and there was a man in a wool cap and color block shirt smashing paintings into the wire mesh trash can the city puts there on the corner by our apartment. He looked sick and inconsolable. He looked typical of this world.

    I’d been fighting with my woman a lot because she said I care more about drinking than I do about anything else.

    So I interrupted the inconsolable man, asking if I could have the last canvases he was about to destroy in the city’s trash can. And you know what he did to me? The maggot, he spit on me, but it started to rain and I didn’t get as upset as I would have if it didn’t start to rain.

    He stepped back with his hands out like an airplane and when I reached down and grabbed the canvas, he shoved me and I fell over onto the concrete. Elbow scraped up and bleeding, but I laughed, I have’t bled like that since I was a child. It felt good in a way. He scooped up the bottle of wine, ran off with it, whatever variety and vineyard and grape it was.

    Inadvertently I used the canvas like an umbrella against the rainstorm that was slamming down on me. Inside the building, my wife was walking down the hallway with a towel wrapped just around her waist. “Should have seen me jump out of that shower when I saw that lightning … What’s that?”

    She meant the canvas, “It’s something some psychopath made.”

    I shook it and sheets of water slopped on the wall paper.

    She tilted her head and grinned. “It’s good …”

    I set the painting down in the hallway and kicked off my wet shoes and pulled my shirt over my head, kept going till all clothes were off, because we pay the mortgage and the electric and the gas and the telephone and I walked with my junk hanging out, to our living room.

    I liked the painting, and not just because she liked the painting. I’d like the painting if I was the only person on Earth. I’d been spit on for it. I’d had my blood spilled for it. I’d been robbed of the very juice that had started up civilization.

    It was abstract art. Blue roses tumbling into orange seven painted stars that were melting. I hung the abstract art in the center of the wall where the TV used to be until I threw away the TV because the shows kept getting better and we were supposedly in the golden age of TV and in the golden age of TV I wasn’t making any art of my own anymore. Neither was she.

    Our apartment is just eight feet above the street, and we don’t own blinds because if we wanted privacy we’d just live in the country and have cows understand? And outside the window, I heard screaming.

    I looked out the window and it was the man in the color block shirt who had been throwing out the painting. His hat was gone now.

    “I see your balls! And you’ve got it upside down!”

    “I’ve got what upside?”

    “The fucking painting, you fuck!” The empty wine bottle sailed through the window, destroying the screen, and the trajectory interrupted by the screen sent the bottle smashing on the hard wood floor.

    My wife rushed into the living room, and in the rush the towel had slipped away, so we were both there naked and she let out a curse as she stepped on some of the broken wine bottle and her foot opened up. Blood and broken glass on the living room floor.

    The man raved down the street, laughing and still inconsolable, but not on our street anymore. And my wife sat in the computer chair, wincing and looking at her cut foot. She pulled the calendar off the wall and used the calendar to stop the bleeding. Outside I saw the wind had ripped down a tree branch and it had fallen on a beautiful new car. Red. Shiny. Just waxed. Good! Fuck that car! Fuck that tree!

    I remember, the sky was bubblegum and there was an inexplicable rainbow I could see bending over the woman’s catholic university. This was all just an hour before nightfall. I pulled the glass out of her foot with tweezers. We drank bottles number nine and ten. Pinot noir grape, probably, this was just after that shitty movie about wine had come out and that was what the people at the liquor store were pushing.

    When the second thunderstorm came at 9pm, we were both done bleeding, and on the couch, according to our hindsight calculations, making our first daughter.

    I don’t know how we lived then.


    Bud Smith works heavy construction in New Jersey. His books are F250, Tollbooth, Calm Face and others.

    Street Artist unknown.
    Photo by Adam Lawrence.

    Mississippi native Dent May recently signed to Carpark Records, and last week he released his first single with the new label.

  • THE MIDNIGHT TRAIN by the Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal


    Welcome to my room. Yesterday you would not feel so welcome. I was in the seclusion room on restraints. I did not even do a thing to warrant such treatment. Some skinny white girl lied on me. I never threatened her. It is not my fault that my voice is booming. I’m not some tiny thing with a little girl voice. I’m six feet tall going on two hundred and fifty pounds. I can’t help it that I have a grown woman’s voice. It is not against the law to speak loud. But today I am back in this room on a bed without restraints. I can walk around and go into the dayroom if I like. But to be honest with you I want to get the fuck out of California. I have never been treated fairly here. I can’t keep a job or stay out of hospitals or jails. I never did drugs or abused alcohol. It is not my fault that Schizophrenia took a hold of my mind. All I did what fall in love right out of a high school with a man who promised me the world. How was I to know he was married with children? I lost my mind. My father, a pillar of the community, shunned me. He could not look at me without calling me jezebel and other choice words. My mother could not defend me because she was afraid of him and loved him more than his own children. All I could do is to get as far away from Georgia so I took a Greyhound to California. I could type pretty well and did some waitressing here and there. With medicine the Schizophrenia was controlled some. But after thirty years it has kicked the shit of out of me more than the times my mind was normal. I am ready to go back now, to Georgia. Perhaps father has forgiven me. My mother has gone to heaven. I want to go back and find what I have been missing all these years. I need an emergency ticket at the Greyhound Bus Station. When I get to Georgia I will sign a paper promising that I will pay back the ticket with interest. I can still type. It used to be 60 words per minute. I am down to 30 something words because the medicine slows me down. I need a bus ticket. I will even take Amtrak. I will go at any time. I’ll even take the midnight train to Georgia.

    Luis works in the mental health field in Los Angeles, CA. He was born in Mexico and has been published in online and print journals for the past two decades. His first book of poetry Raw Materials, was published by Pygmy Forest Press. His other chapbooks and poetry books have been published by Kendra Steiner Editions, Polish Beat Press, Propaganda Press/ Alternating Current Press, Poet's Democracy and Dead Beat Press.

    This Zine Will Change Your Life previously published The Dice by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal. Check it out.

    Street Art by Diana García.
    Photo by Adam Lawrence.

    Tuskha is solo project of Phil Moore (Bowerbirds) and "No Pain" comes from his recently released self-titled debut album.

  • Just Like Piero della Francesca Blues by Spencer Dew


    My parody of insomnia is this tub of ranch dressing, the flakes

    of breading suspended in its thickness, which, with too much time, breaks,

    separating into slick layers, sticky lacquered mill town tavern, everyone

    in coats and hats, doors proper for the smokers, smoke blowing back in, crack

    of cue. You say, Certain faux-fur collars scream for a rough fuck, staring

    at the zippers and elastic on the short jacket of the little butter bodied brunette behind

    the counter. She stands on a rubber mat made out of holes. Denote, you say

    Command. A belt of cartridges, low-slung, and when an old man asked her

    Sweetie, what’s your real name, Sweetie? She said Sweetie without a smile.

    Denote, you say, Command. Her real name’s Amanda and she’s warned you never

    to call or text again, and especially no pictures—I will post them. I will forward them

    to your wife—but the bar’s not hers and she can’t excuse a way to keep you

    out, buying shot after shot, pricey craft beers, tailoring a theory of triggers,

    what necessarily and automatically leads to what. C-cups, you gesture

    toward them. And What I mean is: reducible to components, key attributes.

    That pout, you say, begging, comprehendible only in relation to force, to—She

    throws down a rag, goes out for a smoke. The cook guards the bar. The room

    is only men, most of them mean flirts and drunk, like you, even silent me, agreeing

    that those hips need to be harnessed, gripped, handled, ridden.

    Form and what we make of it. Fried cheese curds going

    cold, nights even the idea of sleep, relentless expanse, with nothing

    but these lumpy fantasies, some bottle-raven girl, in the image of punk,

    some barb of ink visible above her waistline, along the sharp edge of bone.

    The angle there, that diagonal. If only I was an artist, you say.

    Chiaroscuro: her jawline. Clean like Piero della Francesca.

    At the sports-themed bar in the mill town where the college crowd is only

    Sometimes tolerated. Cutting you off, professor, says that little

    masturbation fantasy in knee-high boots. And it is well-timed.

    I have to carry you out into the night, reeling, ranting about the reeling stars:

    Amanda and Amanda, such heavenly glory, to hear your muffled groans

    Form and our memories of it, imagining an image and then its heft,

    the three-dimensionality of her, split open, held in each of my palms

    eating her like a slice of melon, you say, your accent coming back

    not that we aren’t pretending to try to pass as natives, not that you didn’t

    fuck that up plenty with your talk of causation or the Renaissance

    Is it the Renaissance, even? Piero della Francesca: perspective, tiles of light.

    This is the bridge the kid climbed down from, to enter the water between pieces

    of ice. These are the tatters of police line. And there, you say, is the moon. But

    you have some trouble locking it in your sights. Out beyond the beyond.

    You are drunk, and then you are back home, where your wife is waiting up,

    everything like a tv mini-series of itself, except all the rough sex lines, and I am alone,

    first with streetlamps, then the single pointless hallway of my place

    There is no dreaming. Hold this, turn it over, for hours and

    without end, the same phrases repeating, the same memories:

    of a downcast glance, the texture of her mascara accumulated at the very edge.

    A fracture of form: lines bleeding into lines, replaced by some dumb

    sense, some thrusting need for, where your phrases add

    flavor, resistance to the thrust. I think of her and of you watching

    her, think of watching you take her, think of her along a spectrum of

    states, open-mouthed with ecstasy (straddling, for instance, shirtless, armpits

    exposed, hands tangling her hair) and also in fear (tears, but more than tears,

    that hopelessness you spoke of when the only option is to endure,

    bite something, wait, pace. A shadow life, night hissing lukewarm

    from the radiators, the sky, the triggers fingered silently, alone.



    Spencer Dew is the author of the novel "Here Is How It Happens," (Ampersand, 2013) the story collection "Songs of Insurgency," (Vagabond, 2008) and the chapbook "Monte Saint Michel and Chartres" (Another New Calligraphy, 2010), as well as the critical study "Learning for Revolution: the Work of Kathy Acker" (San Diego State University Press, 2011).

    This Zine Will Change Your Life previously published First Things by Spencer Dew. Check it out.

    Street Art by Marlene.
    Photo by Adam Lawrence.

    Stockholm's Magic Potion released their debut album, Pink Gum, on May 27th via PNK SLM Records.