artist opportunities calendar. Awards/Competitions
Deadline: April 1 Print’s 2013 Regional Design Annual. (Graphic Design). Winners will be in the December 2013 Regional Design Annual Issue of Print Magazine. http://www. printmag.com/article/regionaldesign-annual Deadline: April 1 smoking glue gun chapbook contest. Winners will be published as a limited release of 200 handmade chapbooks. smokinggluegun. com/chapbook-contest/ Deadline: April 2 Ploughshares 2013 Emerging Writer’s Contest. Winner in each genre will receive $1,000 and publication in the magazine. www2. pshares.org/submit/
Deadline: April 26 Fringe arts Bath Open Prize. (Art) Prize: entry into the festival. www. fringeartsbath.co.uk/fab-2013open/ Deadline: April 30 BOMB Magazine 2013 Fiction Contest. (Fiction). $500 award and publication in BOMB Magazine’s literary supplement First Proof. bombsite.com/issues/0/ articles/7011
April 5-6 Blue Ridge Writers’ Conference. Blue Ridge, GA. www. blueridgewritersconference.com/ index.html
Deadline: April 2 the open west. (Art). £500 prize. www.theopenwest.org.uk/
April 7 Festival of the Arts. Stevens Point, WI. www.uwsp.edu/cofac/foa/ Pages/default.aspx
Deadline: April 15 The Fresh Meat Gallery Open 2013. (Art, UK artists only). Prize: 3 month group exhibition. www. freshmeatgallery.com/
April 8-14 Writing the Breakout Novel V2.0. Hood River, OR. www.freeexpressions.com/breakout-novel/
Deadline: April 15 The Allard Prize for International Integrity. (Art). CA $10,000 prize. www.allardprize.org/awardcompetition/ Deadline: April 17 Incognito - MINI Space Design Competition. (Art). www.minispace. com/en_us/background/23/ Deadline: April 20 Strawberry Shorts Film Festival 2013. (Film). cinema-shorts.org/
April 9-30 Weaving Words & Women. Peru. www.pagelambert.com/peru.html April 19-21 Pikes Peak Writers Conference. Colorado Springs, CO. www. pikespeakwriters.com/ April 26-28 Poetry at Round Top. Round Top, TX. poetryatroundtop.org/ April 26-29 Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference. Wilmington, VT. colrainpoetry.com/april/
April 10 The Drawing Center 2013 Gala. www.drawingcenter.org/ April 19 BOMB’s 32nd Anniversary Gala and Silent Art Auction. New York, NY. bombsite.com/issues/0/ articles/7032
Deadline: April 30 WordRiot Travel Grants. $100-500 travel grants for small press writers. www.wordriot.us/travel-grants
Deadline: April 1 Artists with Attitude. (Architecture, Fashion, Film, Music, Photography, Performing Arts, Visual Arts). Amsterdam, Netherlands. gogoproject.weebly.com/ Deadline: April 1 European Ceramic Workcentre. (Ceramics). Hertogenbosch, Netherlands. sundaymorning.ekwc. nl/# Deadline: April 1 Flux Factory. (Visual Arts). Long Island City, NY. www.fluxfactory.org Deadline: April 1 I-Park Foundation. (Environmental Art, Landscape/Garden Design, Architecture). East Haddam, CT. www.i-park.org/ Deadline: April 1 John Michael Kohler Arts Center. (Bronze, Ceramics, Glass, Media Art, Multi-Media, Printmaking, Sculpture, Stone Carving, Woodcraft). Sheboygan, WI. www. jmkac.org
artist opportunities calendar (con’t),. Deadline: April 1 Klondike Institute of Art and Culture. (Drawing & Painting, Film, Media Art, Sculpture). Dawson City, Yukon, Canada. www.kiac.org/ Deadline: April 1 Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Paris Residency. (Art, New York residence only). Paris, France. www.lmcc.net/residencies/paris_ residency Deadline: April 1 New York Mills Regional Cultural Center Arts Retreat. (Performance, Audio, Visual, Written). New York Mills, MN. kulcher.org Deadline: April 1 Textílsetur Íslands. (Fashion, Textile). Blönduós, Iceland. www.textilsetur. com Deadline: April 1 Transart Institute. (Architecture, Graphic Design, Film, Curating/ Research, Media Art, Multi-Media, Music, Performing Arts. New York, NY. www.transartinstitute.org Deadline: April 1 Writer on a Hill. (Literature). Zurich, Switzerland. www.artsatrium.ch/
Deadline: April 9 Powerhaus Pair. (Visual Arts, Fashion Design). Denver, CO. powerhausstudio.com/pair/ Deadline: April 13 Bosepacia Transparent Studio. (Art). Brooklyn, NY. bosepacia.com/ news-and-events/call-for-artiststransparent-studio-at-bose-pacia/ Deadline: April 13 maumau (Architecture, Drawing & Painting, Graphic Design, Film, Curating/Research, Media Art, Literature, Multi-Media, Photography, Performing Arts, Printmaking, Sculpture). Istanbul, Turkey. www.maumauartresidency. com Deadline: April 15 Binger Filmlab. (Film). Amsterdam, Netherlands. www.bingerfilmlab. com Deadline: April 15 The Bogliasco Foundation. (Architecutre, Dance, Theater, Drawing & Painting, Film, Media Art, Literature, Music, Visual Arts). Bogliasco, Italy. www. liguriastudycenter.org
Deadline: April 5 Nars Foundation. (Visual Arts). Brooklyn, NY. narsfoundation.org/ application.php
Deadline: April 15 Hambidge Center for Creative Arts & Sciences. (Architecture, Dance, Ceramics, Drawing & Painting, Graphic Design, Film, Curating/ Research, Media Art, Literature, Multi-Media, Music, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, Textile, Woodcraft). Rabun Gap, GA. www. hambidge.org
Deadline: April 8 The Carving Studio & Sculpture Center. (Sculpture). West Rutland, VT. www.carvingstudio.org
Deadline: April 15 Paper Art Village. (Drawing & Painting). Mino City, Japan. www9. ocn.ne.jp/%7Emino-bnk/
Deadline: April 5 Hungarian Multicultural Center. (Art, Design, Writers). Budapest. www.hungarian-multiculturalcenter.com/index.html
Deadline: April 15 Prairie Center of the Arts. (Ceramics, Drawing & Painting, Graphic Design, Curating/ Research, Media Art, Literature, Multi-Media, Music, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, Visual Arts, Woodcraft). Peoria, IL. www. prairiecenterofthearts.org/ Deadline: April 25 halka art project. Istanbul, Turkey. www.halkaartproject.net Deadline: April 26 Galway Residency Programme. (Drawing & Painting, Graphic Design, Film, Curating/Research, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture). Galway, Ireland. www. rockets.ie Deadline: April 27 Alberta Printmakers’ Society 2013 Studio Residency. (Printmaking, Canadian residents only). Calgary, Alberta, Canada. albertaprintmakers.ca/ wordpress/?page_id=841 Deadline: April 30 Proyecto’ace. (Curating/Research, Media Art, Photography, Printmaking, Visual Arts). Buenos Aires, Argentina. www.proyectoace. org
Deadline: April 1 The Alarmist. (Poems, short stories). www.alarmistmagazine.co.uk/ submissions.html Deadline: April 6 The Circle Review. (Art, writing). www.thecirclereview. com/#!submit/ctzx
artist opportunities calendar (con’t). Deadline: April 15 Blackbird. (Writing). www.blackbird. vcu.edu/v11n2/submissions.shtml
Anytime Filling Station. (Art, Writing). www. fillingstation.ca/submit
Deadline: April 15 Bohemia: Saturday Morning Cartoons Issue. (Art, Writing). www. bohemia-journal.com/guidelines
Anytime Fjords Review. (Art, writing). www. fjordsreview.com/
Deadline: April 15 Tin House: WILD Issue. (Writing). www.tinhouse.com/magazine/ submission-guidelines.html Deadline: April 26 The Bitchin’ Kitsch May 2013 issue submissions. (Art, music, writing, video). www.talbot-heindl.com/ bitchin_kitsch.html Deadline: April 30 SpringGun Press: Journal Submissions for poetry and fiction. www.springgunpress.com/submit
Anytime FRiGG. (Writing). www. friggmagazine.com/editors/ editors39.htm
Anytime litbomb. (Writing). www.litbomb. co.uk/#/submissions/4572988060
Anytime smoking glue gun. (Art, writing). smokinggluegun.com/contact/.
Anytime Literati Magazine. (Art, writing). literatimag.com/?page_id=11
Anytime The Speculative Edge (Sci fi, horror, fantasy). sites.google.com/site/ thespeculativeedge/submissions
Anytime Anobium. (Writing). anobiumlit. com/submit/
Anytime Nostrovia! www.nostroviatowriting. com/publishing-opportunities.html
Anytime The Bad Version. (Writing). thebadversion.com/submit-to-thebad-version
Anytime OVS. (Art, writing). ovsmag.com
Anytime Élan Magazine. (Art, Writing). elanlitmag.com/?page_id=6 4
Anytime Silent Things. (Art, Writing). silentthings.com/about/ Anytime Slings and Arrows. (Writing). email@example.com.
Anytime Moonshot. (Art, writing). moonshotmagazine.org/ submissions/
Anytime Diabolique Magazine. (Writing). diaboliquemagazine.com/contact/ submissions/
Anytime Roadside Fiction. (Writing). roadsidefiction.com.
Anytime Jiggered. (Art, writing). www. jiggered.co.za/submit
Anytime 491 Magazine. (Art, poetry). www.491magazine.com/ submission-guidelines/
Anytime Barrelhouse: The Comedy Issue. (Writing). www.barrelhousemag. com/submissions/the-comedyissue/
Anytime Retort. (Art, music, writing, video). retortmagazine.com/live/ submission-guidelines/
Anytime Passages North. (Writing). passagesnorth.com/submissions/ Anytime Pithead Chapel. (Writing). pitheadchapel.com/submissionguidelines/ Anytime Poydras Review. (Art, writing). poydrasreview.submittable.com/ submit
Anytime Spilt Magazine. (Writing, video). firstname.lastname@example.org. Anytime Sword and Saga Press. (Writing). www.swordandsagapress.com/ Submissions.php Anytime The View From Here. (Fiction). www.viewfromheremagazinesubmissions.com/ Anytime Word Riot. (Writing). www.wordriot. org/submissions
If you would like to see your opportunity in The Bitchin’ Kitsch next month, please email the details to email@example.com.
the bitchin’ kitsch content april 2013
Bound Up Tight - Zachary Frisch
In This Sea - Tendai R. Mwanaka
Beast Ponders Flight - Jacob Zurawski
The First Seeds to Sprout Immediately Afterward - Holly Day
Artist Opportunity Calendar Eye Show - Andrew Peterson of OVER NIGHT EMPIRE 10 Years After - Eric Krszjzaniek Life Drawing 3, 3/11/13 - Chris Talbot-Heindl
Water’s Slip Upside Down - Timber 9-11 Masterson Maddie - Andrew Peterson of OVER NIGHT EMPIRE
The Theme Song to the Sopranos Eddy Habib The Warrior’s Tale - Danielle Dragona
Alexander Landerman - pg. 18
Polar Bear - Jacob Zurawski
Father Spoke in Code - Donal Mahoney
Untitled - Jan Haskell The World Meets Dr. Wang Robert Allen Beckvall Seven-Day Battles - Sy Roth Jacob Zurawski - Alexander Landerman
You Might as Well Dance Till the Fat Lady Sings - Doug Draime Yesterday - Jason Ford
Sunday Afternoon - Mike Cluff
The Bitchin’ Kitsch Headlines Ron Reikki
Riley Furmanek - pg. 24
Rick - Andrew Peterson of OVER NIGHT EMPIRE
For Wendy Cope - Afzal Moolla
The Misadventures of The Eel and Squid - Gwil James Thomas
Unnatural Selection - Anthony Ward Artifacts - Robert Pino
Lacking the physiological stamina to lift an average object the young m an made excuses which were unflattering - Colin James The Laughing Vagina - Jnana Hodson Life Drawing 1 & 3, 3/18/13 Chris Talbot-Heindl Coming to the East River - Colin Dodds All the Broken People - Michael Ashley Scientific Screen print - Riley Furmanek Meditation - Mandal Bijoy Beg
Lost - Dawnell Harrison
Goth - Lois Mintah
flash drive in a bottle - douglas somers
Monthly Mission Submission
23 23 24 24 24 25
A Walk in the Park - Amy Simons
Walk, Work, Winks - Kenneth Abraham
on the front cover:
White Crucifixion - Howie Good
Jacob Zurawski Ink and marker on paper
kosh - douglas somers
Anything That Stretches You Louie Crew
dust pin up - Andrew Peterson of OVER NIGHT EMPIRE
Beast Ponders Flight
on the inside back cover: heroine brown douglas somers Screenprint
the bitchin’ kitsch video and music issue:
Check out this month’s “issue” link of video and music at www.talbot-heindl.com/bitchin_kitsch.html or www.youtube.comTheBitchinKitsch
Tree Hugger: The Revenge - Bobby 29-33 Fox dust pin up - Andrew Peterson of 33 OVER NIGHT EMPIRE Donors and Index 34
heroine brown - douglas somers
andrew peterson of OVER NIGHT EMPIRE. about b’k:
the bitchin’ kitsch is a zine for artists, poets, prose writers, or anyone else who has something to say. it exists for the purpose of open creativity. if you have something you want to share, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. are you a video or music artist? submit your youtube link or original file to email@example.com. all submissions are due on the 26th for the following month’s issue.
have a seriously bitchin’ idea that could make the bitchin’ kitsch that much better? we want to hear from you. email firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas.
sit down and read the bitchin’ kitsch at our community locations: zest, the smith scarabocchio art museum, epic studios tattooing and piercing, the coffee studio, and noel fine arts center. want to house a community copy? email chris@ talbot-heindl.com.
the bitchin’ kitsch is offering crazy low rates of $5 for a fourth-page ad, $10 for a half-page ad, and $20 for a full page ad. book yours today by emailing email@example.com.
we love our donors. If you would like to become a donor, email firstname.lastname@example.org and make your pledge.
Eye Show Andrew Peterson of OVER NIGHT EMPIRE Digital illustration
eric krszjzaniek. 10 Years After By: Eric Krszjzaniek
I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000. And I would do it again, literally and figuratively. To many, this was a stupid act, albeit an act I have consistently repeated for four presidential elections. My vote hasn’t always gone for Nader, but it has most assuredly never been cast for a Republican or a Democratic candidate for our nation’s highest office. There has been disillusionment in politics for as long as we’ve elected to have others make decisions on our behalf. “A third party will never win,” I’ve been told repeatedly my entire adult life - as if it was some sort of news, as if the proclaimer were privy to some knowledge that had been denied to me. “Then why do it? Why throw your vote away?” I make no excuses and have no grand notion of superiority. It’s because I still need to uphold some ideals, to take part in an act that I believe in. I tell you that story to tell you this one. Ten years ago today, the Iraq War began. Four days before our early morning Shock and Awe campaign began on the Iraqi people, I boarded a bus in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, along with over a dozen other strangers. Some were Democrats, some were anarchists, some were veterans, some were Greens like me, and some had voted for Bush – but all were taking a 16-hour bus trip to Washington, DC to act out against a growing darkness that we all felt powerless against, but knew that we needed to do something, anything, to try and stop what was on the horizon.
others give us humanity. So, no, those protests did not stop that war. But it wasn’t in vain, because something greater came from those gatherings throughout the world. It was evidence that the world is a large place full of people just as scared and lonely as you. If we didn’t come together to fight for something to believe in, fear and loneliness would win. It’s in this fight, it’s our own war, that decides if we can go on and do it again. Holding ideals against the strength of pragmatism isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but sometimes it’s the only thing we have. Of course, this feel good bullshit does not bring the dead back to life. And ten years later and I’ve had too many friends damaged by that war. Friends I knew before and friends I knew after, loved ones who did what they had to do. We, as a nation, have survivor’s guilt, so we hide and ignore the ones we send off and have the nerve to come back. As we boarded that bus back to Wisconsin, we felt as though what we had done would have some effect, some unknown impact. Three days later, American planes bombed Iraq as soldiers crossed the borders. When I was 20 and that war started, I wrote a Letter to the Editor of the local newspaper proclaiming that I did not support the troops, because, as I was 20 and knew everything, supporting the troops was the powers-thatbe’s way of controlling the discourse so that they could assure support for an illegal war. Oh, to be so annoying and cocksure again.
That something and anything, of course, turned out to be the largest worldwide protests in human history. All for a war that hadn’t even started. The two days I spent wandering the streets of Washington, DC with some 30,000 other people was one of the most heartening experiences of my life.
That letter spawned two separate letters to me, both of which I treasure to this day. One was from an angry man in Plover who called me a “Freedom Freeloader” and attacked the liberal agenda of universities, among other things. The other was a postcard from retired English Professor Jim Missey. He thanked me for my “bravery” in taking such a public stance with such an unpopular opinion and said not to give up hope, because right always wins.
We become so isolated in our technologies and ideologies that often it becomes hard to even know what we believe in. In those crowds was a community, a mishmash of idealists, traitors, pragmatists, young, old, rich, poor, and patriots - all heroic in their presence there. It takes others to know who we are and what we are capable of, don’t ever trick yourself into thinking you don’t need people. We alone are humans, but
Being called a Freedom Freeloader was something of a badge of honor to me, mainly because I didn’t exactly know what it meant. I’m guessing it was because I didn’t kill others and not because I gladly paid my taxes and ran for public office on several occasions. Freedom must be killed for, not maintained through civic duties was the message, I believe. But the real honor was that postcard. I was never entirely sure that Jim knew who 7
eric krszjzaniek (con’t), chris talbot-heindl. I was, because I’d see him around town and he’d never say anything, but I knew who he was. He was one of a handful of individuals who would protest the Iraq War on the corner of Main in downtown Stevens Point every Friday afternoon from before the war started until it ended. That’s almost ten years. Roughly 500 Fridays in all types of weather and with all types of popular opinion, standing and holding up a sign, engaging people in conversations, doing what he could do. To me, that’s upholding ideals. His actions never let anyone forget the cost of what our elected officials were doing. And he was just one man doing what he could do. As easy as it is to dismiss protesting, don’t forget one thing: the war ended. It was never a popular war and it was the people who made sure it never became popular. So, yeah, we endured censorship, “free speech zones,” and belittlement, but I really do believe right always wins. It’s only the scale of time that can make us disheartened. Will I go and protest again? Absolutely. Because I still need to uphold some ideals and sometimes enough stupid acts have the most amazing consequences.
Life Drawing 3, 3/11/13 Chris Talbot-Heindl Graphite on paper www.talbot-heindl.com
timber masterson. Water’s Slip Upside Down
by Timber Masterson www.timbermedia.com
My mind speckled and wandering again...brought on by an agonizing caffeine psychosis, an overdose from all the tea. Had to be revived by a team of Duracell Easter Bunnies. I don’t know what they are, from what demonic serpent egg they’ve sprouted, even what they do in their time off, when not reviving near dead writers who live with their mothers. Were they waiting, prepped and on call down at the station? I am not ready to consider their gossamer web of self-entertaining downtime. Not yet. I hear their approach, with strange sirens and German funeral music announcing the arrival on our front lawn. A ruby red fire truck covered in polka-dots decapitates my mother’s prized azaleas. Rabbits of all ethnicities, sizes and persuasions hang off the vehicle swinging on the ladders, sporting very gay but chic after-shave attaches, maybe their marsupial pouches? A theme from a 60’s maudlin-squadron-cop-show now blasts at an ear bleeding level…none of this making sense, but I have to tell it like it happened, because, I live the truth. Unfortunately. Instead of friendly and inviting looks, their faces are menacing, some, missing entirely. Scowling jowls, dirtied quizzical mugs, matted poohey bottoms. There are freakish gurgling noises, verbal Morse code bubbles through pink noses. They are not unlike burrowing rabid chipmunks, disgruntled, vengeful, cast out to the underlying gunk of an inner city. All this, reminiscent of battles ongoing we’ve all had, with shifty clowns in recovery programs, amusement park carni-folk and mimes with backwards agendas. White faces are disconcerting, painted on smiles, more so. These are not an embraceable people: the bunnies, I mean. E mb r a ce the discontent, I say. Like geese that get screwed, fundamentally-fucked and off-track-winged-critters that don’t make it south for the winter. The tardier ones never arrive at the foul pool before it freezes-over seeing as they missed the boat on flying south; there’s nothing like seeing a goose stuck half-below and half-above. It’s sad, I know. One - even if one is a bird - must be sure to check those
tiny yellow sticky notes placed just so on the ice box, reminders, ‘Important Dates To Remember’ like ‘Packing it in and high-tailing it out of town’, triple underlined deadlines to prevent bone chillingly below-sea-level frozen lakes, currents of a cold stream of unconscious. Geese must overcome the impulse to feather their nests with birds of their own flock that simply bring them down and learn instead, to give and take, to interact in beak-peck alphabet. Much attributed to lack of communication, yet again, and not paying attention to immediate concerns. But the bunnies. They jump with hurried purpose off the rickety Ferris wheel and fall into rescue formation. The windows in the garage are the first to be broken. I yell, “The doors are unlocked. The doors are unlocked!” Stupid rabbits. Tricks are for kids, rabbits strictly for the birds, the frozen ones. I mumble the last part under the little breath I’ve left while wondering which planet I’m inhabiting today and what the minimum level of air is needed in my helium tank to keep me on my feet. There is a clambering in the kitchen, eight of them. In through the out door, the side one in the garage. 3 are left behind in the yard to shovel snow and 2 to practice boxing in the basement with a punching bag they brought along. Why, is anybody’s guess. Perhaps these may be the ultra-violent, ultra-violet squeakyclean rabbits - I’d heard rumours of their visits - though only bedtime story myths when I had teeth knocked out and awaited the crack-cavity fairy who I’d heard was a fox. Not so, it seemed. Lying on the kitchen floor, still weak and shaky from the Earl Grey, but able still to mutter through clenched teeth, “Wipe your feet, would you?” The bastards have ferret-tea nails that ‘clickety-click’, and ruin the lino. Muck is dragged in from the flower beds as I laugh at myself, out loud, while holding my liver in place. One of them, a darker humorless bunny, sticks me with his billy-club. Where Mom is through all this, I cannot recall. Wouldn’t it be funny if she was at The Humane Society contemplating a pet rabbit for the hutch in the backyard? This though, far from the truth. An effeminate rabbit attempts mouth-to-mouth. It’s unnecessary really, but no attention is paid. I guess ‘I doth protest too much.’ She tongues me. Wheatgrass9
timber masterson (con’t), andrew peterson of OVER NIGHT EMPIRE. ish. I pause, confused by the recollection of something ‘fresh squeezed’. Three reinvigorated weekend warriors ferociously wrangle me into the manicure position; I’m subdued, weighed down with pretty paperweights with snowy Citizen Kane-like-scenes in them. They say they are there to get “The Truth” and I don’t know what this means. I, again, swear that in this coming clean, this is my truth, the way it went down. “My tongue is loosened by champagne,” my rabbit says. This presents even more stormy concerns as the only audible English I’ve been able to catch are lines they’ve recited, word for word, complete with Lithuanian accent, from an Eva Gardner film. And what of their drinking on the job? This, all too much to contend with as my visceral reaction takes hold, my heart pounding from the rabbit tongue-lashing just
received. “He certainly acts high and mighty for a Count,” one rabbit jokes with another, this, indicating they had entirely the wrong house. And the wrong man. My alltoo-identifiable low self-esteem and self-deprecating verbal missives making clear, even to rabbits, I am nothing more than a jester who keeps forgetting where the Kafka castle lies. Bewildered, grimacing at the foul stench of unprofessionalism. Me, all amuck. One of them whips out a spray paint tin, magenta, and writes on the icebox, “...W o r k is d o n e Pl a I Noww...”, their call of the wild, I guess. All are assembled now to commence stuffing the silverware from Mom’s china hutch into a soggy potato sack. A neon diner-style sign (which I’m pretty sure wasn’t there before) flashes “…Evrybo ody Reeporrt to ddiniig Ro oOm …OnEE ST O Oo P S HO P IN ggg” “Must clean, must clean”. More muttering. A bunny frenzy. At dedicated play, I guess. Frantic, maniacal, mucousy giggling. These are not the rabbits I know from childhood: Fluffy, Bunny, Wingnut and Hoppy. Or are they? I, now in my own private version of La Femme Nikita, some spooky Jean Reno type fellow and his personalized manner of ‘cleaning’ hoovers over me. A wretched spook-fest occurring right under my whiskers. Why they are downing all my refrigerator-poetry magnets so hurriedly, I intuit, as ‘furry friends wure hear for frolic call me bunny Fourlegg’d fun’ fuel’. I’d not planned for iambic pentameters or painted prose with furried cotton mouth when I stirred this morning. One of them wearing a diaper and baseball hat that reads I KNOW WHAT’S MINE begins rubbing himself furiously against the towel rack by the stove. I can only assume he’s turned on, deliriously excited though still baffled at how slow-dripping-honey seeps from a plastic bear’s head, with not a speckle of blood spilled. I think a couple of them ‘Spray’, but things were sticky by that point. I just wanted it to end.
Maddie Andrew Peterson of OVER NIGHT EMPIRE Ink on paper 10
The excrement excitement is waning. Jaundiced urine, unfluffy bunny tufts have blown into crevices near the recycling carousel as Mom comes in from her
timber masterson (con’t), eddy habib. shopping excursion. She doesn’t seem to be jarred or thrown by the gigantic polka-dot fire truck parked on the lawn, the kitchen in terrible disarray from my “Rescue”; the freshly raked garage, the scattered sweaty-bunny-boxing-gloves, nor the clanging of hundred year old forks, knives and salad spoons rattling ‘round about in sacks, tossed over burly-festeringfurried shoulders. I imagined a furrowed brow. Not even the foul stench of pooh spackled on the chartreuse chemise greeting-mat like jelly reindeer-dispensed brown beans, brought a query from mom. The bunnies pass her as quickly and eerily as they came. An army of fur scuttling off, but not before rifling through her pockets for change, minestrone soup recipes or stray 10 cent stamps. They clamber through the broken window. One after another, stumbling, falling; not the slick getaway I imagined demonstrated in non-union, rabbit academy training films - the ‘Weekend Sessions’- that covered ‘Rapid in and out Procedures’ (also doubling as a racy ‘Birds-and-the-Bees’ primer for inexperienced baby bunnies). All this lacking from their protocol. It was peculiar, and colored the experience, as to me they were little more than rumpled rodents. The first winter back home was getting gruesome, grief-wise. Bunny-wise. Mom, consumed with forlorn affliction triggered by witnessing multiple closings of Zeller’s stores in the area, and realizing that today is her deceased husband’s birthday, the first of many she would now and always spend alone. Downsizing is sad, lonely and all-consuming.
The Theme Song to the Sopranos By: Eddy Habib
tonight I will sleep with my body pillow (slightly shorter than my own length) clasped to my chest and I will touch the top of it and pretend it’s your hair and pet it I will buy things I see on tv pizza cutters that double as forks, devices used to cook hard boiled eggs in a cube shape but wait! if I act now I can get the device and a life time supply of eggs for just two unfuckingbelieveable payments of 9.97 and with this offer I will possess a life time of eggs to cube at my whimsy. I will invite you over for breakfast and you will be amazed at my cubed eggs you will say “finally my eggs have a sense of urgency. these are the eggs of the future. these are eggs that will not fuck around. these are eggs we can depend on forever.” but ketchup will be the same. and salt and pepper will still be salty and peppery. you will cut my fingers off and poke out my eyes with the pizza cutter that doubles as a fork. to stop me from bleeding out, you will order three snuggies: one for me one for you and one for my pizza cutter wounds. you ask me if you should order a fourth, just in case we ever get a cat or something and I say no, that’s really tacky. I have been looking forward to sleeping since I woke up this morning (got yourself a gun).
danielle dragona, jacob zurawski. The Warrior’s Tale By: Danielle Dragona
I have returned from my journey. Battle scars and wounds embellish my beaten body like opulent jewels that illuminate a monarch’s crown. My war cry still rattles in my brain, anesthetizing the senses. I’ve emerged victorious, and have been welcomed home with fanfare fitting for a triumphant warrior.
dissolved like a winter’s snow with the dawn of the morning sun. That was the day I felt the spark of life burrow itself deep inside once again resurrecting me to live again.
I fought alone against an invading militia who would’ve stopped at nothing to obliterate me. I fought alone against a realm at war with itself, slashing and shredding itself to pieces. The covert mission was to liberate myself, to recover myself, to set myself free from a selfcreated cell. I fought alone against my only adversary. Myself. Once again, I’m alive. Clarity now caresses eyes that were once blurred and blinded by shame, guilt, loss, rage and induced oblivion. I have joined hands and unified with beauty. I gaze into a child’s eyes, my eyes. We are now one. My captors have ultimately retreated. There’s no need to pretend any longer. Pretending. To be happy when inside I was crying. To be resilient when I was breaking down, my internal world uncontrollable, whirling like a tempest that would never stop. To be tough when I was a terrified child searching for a way out. To love from my dimly lit chamber, spawned out of fear and abandonment. To be unbridled with life while my existence was slipping through my fingers like specks of sand in an hourglass. To be euphoric when that was only an illusion twisted out of an intoxicated, suffocated cerebrum. To be so worldly when my universe was one-dimensional. To be alive when I was dead inside, my soul tucked away cautiously in its coffin, nailed shut. My brain was raging, and I was dying. Crucifying myself, dangling precariously over an abyss larger than life, my arms spread wide as if to embrace heaven while I was living in a veritable hell. But now, since returning from my journey, the grief that would at one time swallow my brain whole has
Polar Bear Jacob Zurawski Ink and marker on paper
donal mahoney, jan haskell. Father Spoke in Code
By: Donal Mahoney
Father spoke in code Mother understood. She would cry once he went to bed. I never understood the code. My sister didn’t either. As we got older, we quit asking Mother what he said. A feral cat claimed our yard. It would leap the fence when anyone appeared. Except, of course, Father. When he came out to walk around the garden after supper, the cat would sit straight up, then rub against his leg and look at him as if it understood what others never could. My sister used to say the two of us were proof
Father and Mother got together twice. I told her I wasn’t so certain. I looked a lot like Mr. Brompton, the next-door neighbor. He used to buy us sugar cones from the ice cream truck. My sister, by the way, didn’t look like anyone in the family either, but that was 40 years ago when I last saw her. I went away to college and she got married. We were never close after that. Not even Christmas cards. Forty years is a long time. Now, we plan to get together for a weekend this summer before one of us dies. I suggested we wait till one of us is terminal. What’s the rush, I said. But my wife told her
I was only kidding, that we’ll be coming and not to make a fuss. Burgers and hot dogs will do just fine. I know what Sis and I will talk about that weekend, the two people we’ll always have in common, no matter how many years and miles may lie between us. Father and Mother have been dead for decades now but they’re still alive in us. I talk in code, my wife says, and my sister cries a lot, now that her husband’s dead. The one thing I want to know is if my sister knows what happened to the cat. It knew the code, may have had some answers.
By: Jan Haskell The storm bore down, encasing the north in a shroud of white. Layer by layer it sown tight against the body, a dormant sleep lay beneath Within the dreams, hope of birth rises, waits, deep within As the mother, bends down, kissing the cold away, a gentle stir is felt Her hands upon the shroud pulls back the sleep Hope rises Colors
robert allen beckvall. The World Meets Dr. Wang
By: Robert Allen Beckvall
I hope to God the Chinese don’t take it as a sign of weakness when I cry out there. Fuck them, I am going to just do it without the stammering. When I see mommy and daddy sitting in the front row, I will cry. She is sitting in the waiting room just off of the main hall of the United Nations. The one and only thing China and the U.S. could agree on was that it was not good business to do it at the White House or Congress. That would be too American, and she agreed. Because it is on our soil in the most metropolitan city in the world, the President does get her brief say, along with the governor of NY. She wanted daddy to say something, but she knew damn well that asshole would cry and probably take credit for the whole project since she was his daughter. Then, the other countries would cry “pussies!” and say we weren’t up to it. Again, fuck them. She put on her headphones with Holst’s Planets, and listened to Venus-The bringer of peace. She remembered when she and dad spread out the parts for her 2nd grade science project. He thought it would be a good idea to have her take part in it because the older kids would win, but the experience counts. Out of thousands of kids from across the country, the “sludge-bot” project was picked. Daddy was so proud when we flew to Seattle’s Science Museum with my honors teacher. He stood on a chair to see me get interviewed in front of tuxedo wearing folks who gave money to events such as this. Dad was on that chair taller than the chocolate fountain. I bounced ideas off mom like, a solar powered remote control and a sensor that told the trailer when it was full of the toxic sludge. When I got old enough, we got funding for the project and I said “how” and “when”. Now the Sludge-Bot is worth millions. The music reminds me of piano recitals and singing in the Carmen show with the opera theatre professionals as a child in Waikiki Elementary School. It reminds me of Diamond Head Theatre and taking viola with my bandmates. When I listen to Mars-the bringer of war, it reminds 14
me of my father’s Hyde side. When it came to his sport of tennis, when he played or coached me, he was like a wild animal with a range of personalities from a panther’s stealth to a rabid grizzly. This Swede was not out to take prisoners. When I played, I had my mother’s Chinese calm and cunning, with his horn blown from the Viking days of plunder. He called me his Chinese Viking. When we played, it was time for the others to say their prayers, as it was either death or slavery. The slavery was our long memories if you did beat us. You were prisoner to our grudge. To this day, if you come to my house to play a game, I am there to kick your ass from one side of the court to the other. After, when we have a beer, tea, wine or Gatorade, we can discuss your ass kicking and make an appointment for another one. Pass the scones or cupcakes. I was lightly shaken on the arm. I blinked and took out the headphones. “Dr. Wang, it’s almost time for your introduction.” I got up and straightened out my business suit and cleared my throat. I made sure my notes were in order. The full length mirror showed a professional for the new world. “I’ll hold open the door, you turn left and walk straight down to the front, then make your way to the seats next to the podium. The Governor will speak first, then the President, then you will actually be introduced by the Secretary General.” “OK. I’m ready.” “Good luck Dr. Wang.” The man held open the door. I saw the folks immediately outside of the door stop and look at me. I walked out and looked over the assembled world. I smiled. One or two started clapping, then more and more of the people looked over. I turned and began a slow, deliberate walk to the front. They knew me. The world leaders all stopped and applauded and those eyes of the world watched me make my way to the chairs and podium. When I got there, my mother and father looked like two angels that were going to lift off the ground. I had to look away pretty quickly or I would cry before it started. I pretended to shuffle through my notes.
robert allen beckvall (con’t). “Ladies and gentlemen, the Secretary General of the United Nations, The President of The United States, and the Governor of New York.” They walked from behind the long, lush curtains in the order announced. We stood and gave polite applause. All three of them shook my hand and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I was in the 4th seat next to the governor. He whispered, “It’s nice to meet you Dr. Wang.” “Thank you Governor.” He got up and approached the microphone. He hesitated in order to give the folks a little extra time to find their seats and headphones, and for interpreters to get ready for precise interpretation on this night. He looked at those ready to speak and gave a slight nod, they gave pursed lip smiles and the Secretary and President each gave a single nod back. He smiled at Dr. Wang, and she raised her eyebrows as if to say, here goes everything. The Governor turned and looked in all directions. “Ladies and Gentleman, Mr. Secretary, Madam President, (he pauses and looks around the world’s faces-then continues), it is with great pride that the great state of New York, along with the most eclectic, cosmopolitan city in the world, welcomes you to New York City and the great United Nations Building.” He waits for the polite applause to die down, and looks down at the Mayor of New York City. “He declined to speak tonight, as he has been through the ringer getting ready for all the heads of state and the security. He has been all over the news in welcome preparation for this event. Mr. Mayor, please stand.” There are polite applause, as he gives a quick wave and nods to the Secretary and President. “I am excited in that brevity is the key for my part. In the face of the great amounts of work that will soon ensue in preparation for what could only be introduced at “The United Nations”, brevity will be the key to my success tonight.” He clears his throat and smiles all around the room. “Let me once again welcome you to New York State and New York City. Enjoy yourselves in your brief or
long visits. Let me introduce the woman that runs our country, and I will remind those states that may not have done so, New York voted in both the popular and electoral votes, for President Williams.” He turns and smiles, while she gives a genuine smile to the governor. “It is my great honor to introduce President Williams.” The Governor quickly steps down and waits to see if she wants to shake hands. She extends her hand and they shake briefly. She leans in and whispers in his ear, while still shaking hands, “Pleasure to make history with you tonight. Great Job!” There is a little louder applause this time. The President looks over the great room. She smiles for the global cameras. “In welcoming the world to this world stage tonight, I see lady leaders everywhere I look. We have men and women getting along to forward a world agenda. I too would like to welcome you to a city that took people from all of your countries, and made them into the world’s greatest city. Is there a country, race, religion or orientation not represented here?” She turns and smiles at Dr. Wang. I am going to cry now if Pat says anything too emotional for her. She smiles back at her friend. “On a personal note, we wanted to bring up the fact that Dr. Wang and I are friends. And on this same note, it is this friendship that has women in power thinking about your children and future children. I marvel as we eat cupcakes and drink tea and she plans out the future worlds in such loving detail. She is like a mother that wants these communities to thrive, without her taking the credit.” Dr. Wang is looking at her mother and father and it reminds her of the time the camera was in her face in Seattle. It was genuinely a family affair, and she thought the poem she was going to read tonight was perfect. “. . .seen her get things done with a warrior’s heart. She does cry sometimes, then she’ll wade in like Wonder Woman. That’s the kind of lady I want in the trenches with me, and that is the kind of woman that that was chosen to lead these world projects.” 15
robert allen beckvall (con’t). “The design of the project is world in scope. For any one country to take credit goes against the very nature of what some have called Dr. Wang’s Utopia. It is the world’s treasures, not just a utopian scheme of one woman. It is now my humble pleasure to introduce the man that leads the United Nations, Dr. Kenneth Ruiz.” “Here is a man that refused to buckle when his country was war ravaged by drugs. He took help when it was time, but his prime objective was to find the other leaders in Mexico that would do the dirty work to restore the country to greatness. He reached into the best archives of Aztec, Spanish and original populations to motivate the country to act.” She turns to the Secretary, and his Latino jaw is set. He nods. “Nobel Peace Prize winner and Secretary General of The United Nations, Dr. Kenneth Ruiz.” They embrace and shake. “Thank you Mrs. President.” She leans in, “Kenny, I don’t have a lot of heroes to look to, but you are one of them.” He leans back and looks at her. “Gracias Patricia.” He is touched. He is clearing his throat. There are great applause this time. “Ladies and gentleman, you are witnessing history tonight as we are like a doctor with a newborn handing it to a mother. Even in conception, the mother is dreaming of the future for this child. These dreams go into the child’s body while they are forming. And this is how Dr. Wang approached this project.”
English or American for the world to want to come on board for. But, she would time and time again point out what these men had envisioned, and continually adds things from around the world to her cooking. She was very Chinese in that if it could go in the pot, then it would go in the pot. It was she who stirred and added the right spices. She was a master chef.” “But, does she stop at one metropolis? And isn’t the nature of a metropolis to be the chief city? Dr. Wang wanted three communities, all researched and built at the same time. No countries would be marginalized in this process. No people or place too out of the way to look to for ideas and for contributions. If everyone feels that they are a part of this, then they are a part of it. As I have heard her say, “If you treat it like a joke, then it’s a joke. But, if you treat it like it’s something special, then it becomes special.” “This is a leader for the new world. Ladies and Gentleman y amigos, I present to you Dr. Wang.” She stands up and shakes the Governor’s hand, hugs her friend Pat and gives the European double cheek kiss to the Secretary General. He stands off to the side and applauds with the Governor and President. “Please, please.” She is gesturing for quiet, then looks at her mom and dad and the tears start. She gets out her handkerchief and both the Governor and Secretary offer theirs. She takes them and laughs. “I have learned the art of crying and talking. Getting the job done, wiping away the tears and then kicking an ass that needed to be kicked. Madam President and I came up with a saying, ‘Don’t fear the tears’.”
He turns to Dr. Wang and extends his hand towards her while he talks.
She pauses and thinks about what it must be like for women leaders and today’s military ladies. Maybe you are shooting a guy between the eyes, while you cried for taking his life was how it should be. Like a mother, tough and tender.
“It was Dr. Wang that authored the first paper, applying world philosophies, education issues, engineering, science, medicine, and mixing these in what became what many around the world called Dr. Wang’s Utopia.”
“I also like the fact that men sometimes pause thinking tears mean your brain and will to get it done are lost. But, the best women I know are already planning their next moves before that tear has even left our cheek.”
“The devil’s advocate jumps up in all of us when we hear or read about world peace, and getting along and creating a genuine metropolis based on Sir Thomas Moore and Jeffersonian ideals. These would be too
She looks at her mother and father sitting in the front.
“I wouldn’t be here tonight without these two lovely people. Ladies and gentlemen, my mother and father.”
robert allen beckvall (con’t). They turn without getting up and quickly wave behind them and gesture to the dignitaries sitting next to their daughter. “Our American treasure Garrison Keillor reads poems each weekday on the National Public Radio. If you will indulge me, I want to read two poems on World Public Radio. A friend of mine showed me this guy Louis Marvin, and he just happens to live in my hometown of Honolulu, Hawaii.” “These are both dedicated to my parents. The first is from a work called Chinese Calligraphic Impressions, which was published in CHA: An Asian Literary Journal. It is called Courage and Love (Yong Qi Ai).” She reads: There are little earthquakes and rainy floods, there are heated days and shivering cold nights too. We huddle together in courage and love. We are walking up the kid to the heights, where her mother and I will walk back down alone. From this perch she will design her life. With maybe a little tear in her eye as she sees our backs walk down to the low grounds she came from. Sometimes it might be lonely at the top. We don’t stay and bask in the glories from the top. We look from afar, from below, from a place where our love and courage fades. “And this one is from Louis Marvin Lives: Written in Copper Blood. It is called Momma’s Mountain.” She reads: Momma’s gonna push push me up the mountain Push me, so I can see the world I may cry and scream all the way up But, I know she has sure footing behind me She knows the way up and down “I love you mom and dad. Now let’s do this thing!”
sy roth, alexander landerman. Seven-Day Battles By: Sy Roth
Meandering pen, Graceless scribbles, Intangible ink squirts Words splayed Like dissected frogs. Surgeon’s scalpel Peels layers to Expose triflings’ Crabbed walk. Dance dizzily with reality Innards dragging the ground Exposed, to expunge Interrogatives in Cascades of blood. Nerve center of thoughts Oozes ideas, Brutish ramblings Sprung from the cerebrum, they Migrate without rapprochement To do seven-day battles. Create existence templates To provide temporary shade, Oasis from darkling spirits As they inch toward light. Yare spirits that Climb to the tops of towers, Sentient beasts that Fling themselves off in a Twirling jump Arms folded in death pose Sad portraits bedecked in Da Vinci’s lost smiles Struggle for air Fingertips touch bottom Bent and curled push off to the surface. Day six.
Jacob Zurawski Alexander Landerman Charcoal, conte, and graphite on Rives BFK Paper www.alexander-landerman.com
doug draime, jason ford, mike cluff. You Might As Well Dance Till The Fat Lady Sings
By: Doug Draime
Tune in to the tuned out Turn on to the turned off It doesn’t Matter Anyway you work it You can’t please ‘em all Who cares if you’ve written 40, 000 poems Blind folded in a deep dark pit Though you may be the Last poet standing Some poet-ego-enfant terrible Will come along & bomb You when you least expect it All you can do is keep on keep on Pounding those keys like freedom Tune in to the tuned out Turn on with the turned on It can’t Matter Anyhow you work it You can only please yourself Who cares if you’ve written
100, 000 poems Blind folded in a pig stye Though chances are you are the Last real poet standing Some poet-ego-enfant terrible Will come down the road & shoot You when you have your back turned All you can do is keep on keeping on Pounding those keys like freedom ringing Tune out to the tuned in Turn off to the turned on It don’t Matter Any time you work it You can only please the moment Who cares if you’ve written 420, 000 poems Blind folded in a vat of pointlessness Though the fact is you are the Last poet with balls standing Some poet-ego-enfant-terrible Will stick the blade repeatedly into You just as everything seems to be falling into place All you must do is keep writing the truth as you see it. Pounding those keys like freedom singing
A royal song is playing in my head Concerning works of yesterday outlined Along sequence of notes which slowly tread Across a set of memories refined. The joy of seeing girl with eyes so pure, Recurs as thoughts of yesterday endure. This song of beauty’s breath already seems To rise above the empty kind of dreams. Although beauty seen evades my grip Unto an emptiness which stays the same, The song is tracing contours in each lip Which kissed my cheek as she invoked my name. Although the kiss remains so far from sight, The song returns its touch to feel of pure delight.
The Pentecostal cows wavering on entering the stream the days of right thought have flowed away and any unsactioned baptism frightens the herd into inertia just waiting for some bright star to get them across the water towards a hopefully safer land.
By: Jason Ford
By: Mike Cluff
ron reikki, zachary frisch, tendai r. mwanaka. The Bitchin’ Kitsch Headlines
By: Ron Reikki
DREAM WORKS ANIMATION IN THE FUTURE, PLANS LESS SUCKING MAN WHO ADMITS TO MURDER, KEY SUSPECT IN MURDER INVESTIGATION OPINION: HARRY REID’S DEFICIT PLAN STILL ‘BORING AS FUCK’ NASCAR TO BLAME FOR GLOBAL WARMING, STUDY FINDS PAU GASOL OUT INDEFINITELY DUE TO HAIRDO ACCOUNTANT FOR VIVID ENTERTAINMENT FIRED, CAUGHT LOOKING AT EXCEL SPREAD SHEETS AT WORK DARMOUTH STUDY FINDS GERMAN BOSSES TEND TO BE ASSHOLES NYC HIGH SCHOOL SET TO PASS STUDENTS SIMPLY IF THEY CAN SPELL ‘EDGAR ALLAN POE’ CORRECTLY, TRICK IS IN THE MIDDLE NAME DJANGO STILL ACTUALLY CHAINED, STUDY FINDS PASADENA TEEN GOOGLES THE TERM ‘RETROACTIVE LEVY,’ GIVES UP ON CLARIFICATION OF ITS MEANING MAN SHOOTS HIS HAND OFF AT GUN SHOW, NO ONE MINDS FORMER BANK EXECUTIVE SUES PAU GASOL OVER HIS HAIRDO EMILY DICKINSON DEPICTIONS LOOK EVEN MORE DEPRESSED THAN JESUS DEPICTIONS, STUDY SHOWS
Bound Up Tight
In This Sea
I often feel like candle wax; like water treading in a lake. I am the pumping, noxious heart of all empty things carrying time and dwelling in the folds of its constant flow and in that I exist, but barely.
I would swim in the cup of this moon. An ambient sea imaging around me. Toll sighs clinging to my darkling skin. The white-wind neighing above this sea.
By: Zachary Frisch
Ink is my brooding malice and paper my dying mirth and at times they whisper to fill one up with bad poetry and malformed verse. Tonight, they say, I am vicarious coffin weight, decaying social grace, and the lungs of a monster, breathing shallow, just before it screams. 20
By: Tendai R. Mwanaka
Returning to haunt me again and again. The luminous flames of my distant past. “No!” They would never leave me alone. I listened to the soothing voice within them. The bell of a wandering cow in winter, Like the moaning toll of a furrowing plough. And it told me only this long story, I am the sound and only soul in this sea.
holly day, andrew peterson of OVER NIGHT EMPIRE, afzal moolla. The First Seeds to Sprout Immediately Afterward
By: Holly Day
It’s not so much that I’ve seen so many horror movies highlighting man-eating vegetation, venomous plants, enraged plants, highly mobile plants brought to life by a immense discharge of radiation. It’s more that I just want to see how far this whole post-apocalyptic gardening thing can go, to see what’s beyond watering and straightforward fertilizing. I urgently yearn to see some magnificent, radical mutant transformation in my garden, to set eyes on snaky vines gesticulating ominously at me from underneath the birch tree, miniscule emerald grass heads nipping at my feet, the tree itself taking a good, solid swing at me as I run back to the safety of my house. I think that’d be really cool.
For Wendy Cope By: Afzal Moolla 1.
I may not have brought you flowers, I know that I was always late, you tolerated my moodiness, and laughed off my ever-increasing weight. 2.
You said that men were like buses, and you had grown weary of waiting, putting up with my madness, my silliness, my inane fusses, though neither of us barely knew if we were even dating. 3.
Ah! But we weathered the storms, your patience has always been saintly, and now that we are old, hunched-over and grey, the silly fights are recalled only faintly, for I love you so much more now, and you are so much more beautiful, than you ever were, on that very first day.
Rick Andrew Peterson of OVER NIGHT EMPIRE Graphite on paper 21
gwil james thomas, anthony ward, robert pino. The Misadventures of The Eel and Squid
By: Gwil James Thomas
Somewhere far out in the Atlantic, a squid was flexing each of his eight arms in turn when he noticed an eel approaching. Despite his ugly face, the eel did swim with style and grace. “Sure, he had eight arms - but why couldn’t he move all cool and slick like that eel?” the squid thought. “Hey eel!” shouted the squid. “‘Afternoon,” said the eel. “What’s it like to chase your tail?” “I don’t know, it’s alright. But hey, you were born with eight arms.” “Just alright?” interrupted the squid. “Okay, I hate braggers normally, but yeah it’s even more amazing than it looks.” “Oh yeah! Why don’t you spin for me?” the squid said, a little envious. “What here? it’s a little on the spot.” “What? You’re worried you’re going to knock into something?” the squid said looking around. The eel agreed and started to twirl around, again and again the bubbles drifting off him. He had it down to a fine art, he’d perfected it nicely - he even chased it in a figure of eight. “Watch me spin mother fu...” were the eel’s last words as the squid grabbed him and ate him alive, tail first. It was a shame. The eel was old enough to know better. He should have seen that one coming and maybe he would if he hadn’t spent so long chasing his own tail. End.
Unnatural Selection By: Anthony Ward
It’s survival of the fattest, As they thin us out, Hoping we’re spent Beneath the facade Emerging like weeds, Writhing amongst their gardensHaving no place for such invasiveness, Of unnatural selection. Robbing them of recourses, Threatening the overall aesthetic Of their nurturing. They prefer to see us wild, Amongst the desolate outskirts, Posing no threat to the idyllic sanctity They’ve spent years cultivating to their liking, Distinguishing and selecting the less common To stand out colourful and proud. While we’re looked upon as ineffectualMerely an unsightly nuisance. Where we were once highly sought, We’re now too much to deal with. Our quantities having reduced our qualitiesSeeding contempt. Yet their futile attempts of weeding us out Make us all the more stronger. Resilient to our roots We stand our ground.
By: Robert Pino Pile your artifacts in the middle of the room in the snarling fire, the floorboard licking fire. Let the smoke and soot of old loved things fill your lungs; the debris will never come free, it buries into your pores and that energy becomes a part of you. Burn your artifacts, and return old memories to the everything.
colin james, jnana hodson, chris talbot-heindl. LACKING THE PHYSIOLOGICAL STAMINA TO LIFT AN AVERAGE OBJECT THE YOUNG MAN MADE EXCUSES WHICH WERE UNFLATTERING
By: Colin James over there, blindfolded. the loser
to be a restaurant?
You see that bedroom I’ll race you to it The winner covering in something suitable. Didn’t this place used
The Laughing Vagina By: Jnana Hodson jnanahodson.net
A pool of virgins in Bosch’s garden forms a laughing vagina encircled by a ceremonial procession of men and beasts anticipating flight into that underworld. Some will emerge from one side of the triptych. Some, from the other.
Life Drawing 1, 3/18/13 Chris Talbot-Heindl Graphite on paper www.talbot-heindl.com
Under her spell, I dreamed of cunt and more cunt, hairy and moist. And eating well. And then: Such intimate strangers bathed in white light turn their backs to the water. The statue of St. Joseph over the front doorway welcomes pigeons.
Life Drawing 3, 3/18/13 Chris Talbot-Heindl Graphite on paper www.talbot-heindl.com
colin dodds, michael ashley, riley furmanek. Coming to the East River
All the broken people
The train rolls in dripping with rain like it had just been born.
screaming “don’t look at me!” they’re all running from something: shadows, shame, or laughter and it looms far behind their eyes in the dark place where our dreams rest and fears dance they don’t want you to see it all the broken people the young man with a bloodied nose “you’re a fucking disgrace” he said, as he dabbed the dirty handkerchief across his face all humans are made from Perspex hard, cold to the touch, see through & every last one of them breakable.
By: Colin Dodds
The land is written in me. I cross Marcy Avenue, cross Havemeyer, Roebling, cross Driggs, Bedford, Berry, Wythe, cross Kent. They advertise it as a river. But it’s only a bit of ocean caught between the thumb and forefinger of a massive city. And the city will not let go. Neither will I.
Scientific Screen Print Riley Furmanek Screenprints
By: Michael Ashley
mandal bijoy beg, dawnell harrison, lois mintah, douglas somers. Meditation
By: Mandal Bijoy Beg the passengers are sleeping a sound sleep, but i am smoking and meditating on sleep
By: Dawnell Harrison Moonlight licks the back Doorstep eaves. Shadows whisper
In the deep dark hole Of the night. Lost in a black space The roses bleed the Backyard red. The night swallows me In a quivering circle.
By: Lois Mintah
flash drive in a bottle douglas somers Screenprint
a pallette of palor. Iâ€™m not sure if Iâ€™m looking at the moon or my own reflection.
monthly mission submission. monthly mission submission
Every month, artists indicate that they would like to submit to The Bitchin’ Kitsch but don’t know what to draw. Now, you don’t have to! Every month, there will be proposed phrase to play around with. This month’s phrase is “The American Government, 42 Years of Fighting a War Against Americans.” submitted by Peter Thomas. Next month’s phrase will be “Wherever you go, there you are.” submitted by John Pearson. If you would like to suggest a phrase for the month of June, simply submit it on Facebook. The suggestions that receive the most likes will be the phrases for June.
42 Years, 42 Million Tears, Zero Humanity By: Franz Wilde
42 Years 42 Million Tears Zero Humanity Puritanism and racism, wrapped up in insanity For profit and tyranny’s vanity Poetry, art with words, a beautiful expression Laced with hatred and anger, it becomes didactic This is the process; let us consider a Drug War tactic Consider this story That leaves Lady Liberty with her throat slit—gory
On a victimless crime While they discharged a weapon in front of a child This police emotional brutality must be reviled This tragic sensation Brought to you by police militarization War on Drugs, a war on the people, perpetrated by the government 42 Years 42 Million Tears Zero Humanity
The No Knock Raid Pigs throwing in a flash grenade 10 false angels charge in, a pornographic crusade Chasing that adrenaline high A bunch of Heroin addicts who know that their re-up is nigh Anyway, the family dog comes out to play These officers of peace, AR-15s high, give the dog a spray Cuff the parents; take them away Putting assault weapons in a toddler’s face Now over half of America is tired of this disgrace This destruction of a loving family Finding only a pipe and some marijuana residue The no-knock raid invaded apartment 23 instead of 22 Tranquility shattered A family battered The pigs have the audacity to charge child endangerment 26
Chris Talbot-Heindl Animation still (Check out the video/music edition for the full animation - www.youtube.comTheBitchinKitsch)
amy simons. A Walk in the Park By: Amy Simons
The ice in Monroe’s untouched whiskey finally started to melt. He sat in a small booth next to the window and away from the other noisy patrons. The condensation slid down the glass and started to pool at the bottom. Outside he could see storm clouds rolling over the mountains toward the bar. He unbuttoned his suit jacket and pulled the revolver out from the inner pocket and rested it on the table. He never paid attention to guns and didn’t care what kinds of things it could do; it didn’t matter. The shiny metal glistened as it caught the dim bar lights. It was loaded and missing a single bullet. Resting his meaty palm on the gun, the cold steel now felt comfortable in his hand. He looked out the window again, the clouds pressing in on the little town. The sun was setting and the sky was painted a soft umber. He turned back, looking at nothing in particular in front of him. With Monroe’s right hand, he rubbed his bald head and then down his face. He grasped the gun and turned off the safety. * * * * For his large frame, Monroe had no problems gracefully getting out of the driver’s seat. The young man in the passenger seat got out at the same time. His wide brown eyes stared at Monroe unblinking. A ring of dry blood was around the young man’s nose, and his lip was split open. His red shirt made the blood on it stand out more and his jeans had quarter sized droplets on the legs. “Let’s take a walk.” Monroe’s tone was uninviting. The young man didn’t move. Monroe unbuttoned his suit jacket and started to reach into his inner pocket when the young man started to walk forward into the woods. Monroe buttoned his jacket and followed behind him. Fall had started early in the little mountain town and the leaves were already crunchy underfoot. The young man stepped gingerly around many of them to try and make as little noise as possible. Owls could be heard hooting faintly as they pushed deeper into the woods.
It wasn’t until after eight in the evening that Monroe told the young man to stop walking. They were deep in the forest surrounded by pine and birch trees. “Turn around.” The young man did as he was told immediately, keeping his head bowed. “I won’t tell,” he whispered. Monroe unbuttoned his suit jacket. “It’s not a matter of not telling someone,” Monroe said matter-of-factly. The young man’s chest lifted and fell heavily. “Then what is it?” The young man started to raise his head slightly. There was sweat on his forehead. His eyebrows were neatly groomed and his large brown eyes were cast down still. His small frame heaved again and he looked up into Monroe’s eyes. “Why do you hate yourself?” The young man blinked slowly, licking the area where his lip split. Monroe watched as the tip of the young man’s tongue turned red from the blood and slowly retreated into his mouth. “I don’t hate myself. You don’t know...” The young man’s eyes pleaded with Monroe. “You’re safe...” The young man touched Monroe’s thick left arm. Before he could finish, Monroe pulled out the revolver and shot the young man in the head. * * * * Monroe looked out the window again, still holding the gun. Crows were picking at a dead prairie dog in the street. A car would drive by every now and then making them leave their find. The sun was completely set now and the constellations started shining. Monroe turned back toward the empty booth across from him. He grabbed the whiskey and downed it quickly. The gun was held a little awkwardly in his left hand, but he pressed the barrel against his chin and fired. The glass fell from his hand and shattered on the floor.
“You know you don’t need to…” the young man said softly, not looking back toward Monroe.
kenneth abraham, howie good, douglas somers, louie crew. Walk, work, winks.
Anything That Stretches You
By: Kenneth Abraham
By: Louie Crew
I have so much to do; I just went for a 2 AM January walk, Ahhhhh, the crisp night air, The quiet, The solitude, I used to be quite gregarious; now I prefer the solitude, A perfect pause, this brief night walk, Now, back to the task at hand……and then a few winks.
Robert was rather attractive but didn’t have much between the ears. It became apparent early on that he had little chance of passing without special help.
White Crucifixion By: Howie Good
The man walked away at about 11:15 p.m. with a barbed wire tattoo on his ankle. Someone shrieked somewhere in the future. Police recommended calling them should this happen again, an extinct flower 6 feet tall and locked when not in use.
Bless his heart, he accepted my offer, and in my office we re-wrote every paper. He was there faithfully. His next paper written all by himself wouldn’t be that much better, nor is mine necessarily, but we worked and we worked and we worked. Near the end of the semester, Robert got just enough better to pass that course with a C-minus, which was the best we were going to get, and he earned it. He was able to get out and do the work of the other courses. I was happy, and he was happy too. I didn’t see Robert for maybe a year or year and a half. Spring was on its way and the world was, as e.e. cummings says, “puddle wonderful.” I was jogging around the lake on our campus, trying to miss a puddle here and not slip there. I looked ahead, and Robert appeared, like an apparition, jogging through the wet, cold brightness. I was enormously happy to see him, to confirm that he was still at the University! I brightened and called, “Robert!” Robert spat in my face and said, “Faggot!” Imagine being Robert’s daughter, coming to your father with a need, any kind of need, anything that stretched him. I knew when Robert’s spit hit my eyes: the Roberts of the world are vastly in need of love.
kush douglas somers Print 28
bobby fox. Tree Hugger: The Revenge
“Hello, Johnny,” Andy said.
by Bobby Fox www.foxplots.com
“May I help you?” Johnny asked, in a tone that bridged the gap between confusion and annoyance.
Being tied to a tree for several hours at the age of nine was something Andy Macintosh was never able to completely shake. Today was going to prove that more than anything. Sure, there were many other childhood atrocities committed against him that no doubt contributed to his madness (having his face shoved into dog shit immediately comes to mind) but none haunted him quite like this. For one thing, he was never able to see a tree in the same way (which was really quite a shame, considering his unbridled love for nature).
“I think so … ” Andy said cryptically.
For the past 15 years, Andy had been carefully planning, plotting, and driving himself into perpetual madness while teetering on the edge. The time had finally come to walk off it.
“Why are you here? On my porch? At this time of night?” Johnny demanded to know.
Shortly after midnight, on a crisp fall evening, Andy Macintosh approached the two-story colonial in the cookie-cutter subdivision of Pheasant Meadows. He parked in the driveway and headed up an obscenely long sidewalk littered with brittle, dead leaves. When he reached the door, he reached for the brass knocker with the lion face and gave it three solid knocks, which echoed into the chilly night.
“This is why.”
Moments later, footsteps were heard descending the stairs. The porch light turned on, the door opened, and there he was: Johnny Perkins: the person singlehandedly responsible for everything – standing there in nothing but a pair of black boxers adorned with little red hearts.
“No. Just me,” Johnny said.
Andy had no trouble recognizing his prey. Johnny still had the same, slender, athletic build he had back in high school, where he was the star quarterback, point guard, and rumored school mascot. And he was still just as devilishly handsome. It certainly didn’t help Johnny’s cause that time didn’t punish him. It was still up to Andy, who hadn’t fared nearly as well over the years – mentally and physically. Andy was always out of shape as a child to begin with – mentally and physically. Now, he was even more so. In fact, so much so, Johnny didn’t even seem to recognize his unexpected midnight visitor. He stood there with half-asleep three-quarter confusion, mixed with one-quarter dose of fear.
Johnny’s expression matched his earlier, confused tone. “Who are you?” Johnny asked. “You know who I am,” Andy said. “Are you trying to sell me something?” “Do salesmen come after midnight?” Andy asked.
Andy pulled a 9 mm. out of his pocket and aimed it at Johnny Perkins’s face. Johnny froze in terror.
“Please don’t kill me,” Johnny pleaded after his shockinduced bowel movement had ceased. “I’m not going to kill you,” Andy promised, still pointing the gun at Johnny’s face. “At least not here. Is there anybody else in your home?”
Andy certainly did his homework. Following weeks of nightly surveillance, Andy amassed that Johnny lived alone, but was also prone to bringing home the occasional woman that he picked up at a bar. However, he rarely did so during the week. But Andy had to be absolutely sure. “If you’re here to rob me, take what you want,” Johnny offered. “I don’t want any trouble. Okay?” “I don’t want to rob you,” Andy assured him. “Please. Just tell me what you want,” Johnny said, with tears brimming in his eyes. “I want you to keep your fucking mouth shut,” Andy demanded. “Now, see that car over there?” Johnny nodded, looking toward the old, green clunker of a Buick parked in the driveway.
bobby fox (con’t). “Now what I want you to do is walk towards it with the world’s happiest smile on your face, keeping in mind that I’m right behind you. And I swear to God if you even begin to open your mouth, I will blow your head off before you can finish closing your lips. Have I made myself clear?” Johnny nodded in stunned and frightened understanding. Andy neglected to take note of the instant paradox that was created by expecting normalcy while pointing a gun at someone wearing nothing but a pair of boxers with little red hearts on them. “The passenger door is unlocked,” Andy said, with pure, impassioned relish. Johnny obediently did as told and headed into the car, filled with discarded fast food wrappers, pop bottles, and various crumbs littering every square inch of floor space, along with most of the seating space. A pillow sat the back seat, which had been getting more and more use lately ever since the unemployment checks stopped coming. Of course, in Andy’s mind, it was all Johnny’s fault. Everything was always Johnny’s fault: his failure to finish college. His failure to keep a job. His social failures. And more specifically, one major relationship failure. It all added up to this one, singular moment, retroactive to that fateful day when Johnny Perkins made the boneheaded decision to tie Andy to a tree. Meanwhile, Andy hopped into the driver’s seat, keeping the gun tightly secure in his left hand (he debated for weeks which hand he would keep his gun in once he got into his vehicle, before settling for his left one). He was pleasantly surprised at a.) how well things were going b.) his lack of nervousness and c.) the adrenalin rush of absolute power he was feeling for – perhaps – the first time in his life. He could get used to this, which bode well for his laundry list of an agenda. Not to say he didn’t envision this exact scenario. In fact, he had been envisioning it ever since he started sketching out his plan (in both visual terms, and in print) in his 7th grade English notebook. Over the years, his plan evolved. Revisions were made – additions, along with subtractions. When he ran out of space in his 7th grade notebook, he picked up where he left off in his 8th grade one. And so on and so on, through high school and beyond. Despite the modifications made to his master plan over
time, the core thesis of his plan remained the same. Or, more specifically, the conclusion, which remained his one constant variable, consuming every ounce of his heart and soul with every passing breath, day, and year, until he became nothing more than this exact moment. Despite the gruesome nature of his plan, he never once took pause to re-consider going through it. In fact, he became more emboldened and determined with each passing day, finding refuge from his constant misery in the hope that Johnny Perkins’s day of reckoning would someday come. As far as Andy was concerned, it was never a matter of if. It was always a matter of when. “Buckle up,” Andy instructed his seating companion, still wearing a thick, dual layer of fear and confusion. Johnny complied, as Andy pulled out of the driveway. The car backfired, stalled, backfired again, before finally driving off into the dark of the night. Surely, nobody would notice in a quiet neighborhood like this, Andy thought, dripping with sarcasm and regretting that he didn’t have his problem fixed beforehand. Ultimately, he decided it wasn’t worth spending money he didn’t have on something that only occasionally happened. He should have known better. Oh, well. Nothing he could do about it now. He was confident enough in the notion that fate was on side and that he had nothing to worry about. Accompanying their journey was Mozart’s Requiem, which played on the CD player. This particular musical selection was part of his plan from day one. Andy turned it up and let the music permeate their soul and marinate their senses, before he finally addressed his prey. “You know, it really pains me that you have no idea who I am – considering everything you’ve put me through.” Johnny gave Andy a long look, before recognition filled his face. “Andy? Andy Macintosh?!” “Bingo!” Andy gleefully proclaimed. “How’ve you been?” Johnny asked, as though he had forgotten the context of his current status. “You tell me,” Andy said, forcing Johnny into realizing the ignorance of his question. “Where exactly are we going?” he finally asked.
bobby fox (con’t). Andy raised the volume on Mozart’s funeral music even higher as he pulled into the entrance of a city park. He drove into a secluded area at the park’s edge and parked like a teenage couple on a hot date. “Don’t move,” Andy warned, popping his trunk, before getting out of his car, and sticking his gun into his waistband. He then retrieved a box out of his trunk containing the following items: metal wire, rope duct tape, a can of kerosene, and a box of long matches. He closed the trunk and headed over to the passenger side, setting the box down and clumsily removing the gun out of his waistband. He then opened the door, steadily aiming the gun at Johnny. “See that path heading into the woods?” Andy asked. “Yes, of course,” Johnny began. “We used to play here all the time when we were kids.” “Well, now I want you to pretend it’s the fucking yellow brick road and follow it. I’ll be right behind you. And if you dare scream for help, I will kill you. Fair enough?” Johnny nodded. “Now get going,” Andy demanded, keeping his gun aimed at his prety. “Slowly. And don’t turn around.” Johnny got out of the car and started walking. His pale, white skin illuminated the surroundings like a full moon, as the pleasant smell of autumn emanated out of the woods. Once it was clear to Andy was sticking to the game plan, Andy picked up his box, holding in one hand and his gun in the other, aimed at Johnny’s back, which glowed like a white orb. He maintained a distance of about three feet or so until they arrived at a small clearing with a solitary, dead tree standing in the center.
and screaming in pain. The gunshots and the screaming were the two variables Andy was most worried about. He knew all along that they were probably the most vulnerable part of his plan and no matter how many times he tried to envision an effective way to put the duct tape on his victim before he actually shot him, he couldn’t think of anything more effective than maiming him first. Once he did so, he knew he would have to act quickly, which was precisely what he was doing now, as he tore off two pieces of duct tape. Meanwhile, Johnny continued to twist and moan in pain. As Andy approached him with the duct tape, Johnny shook his head from side to side in protest, which didn’t exactly make things easy for Andy. He finally grabbed Johnny by the neck with one hand, pinning him down. As Johnny gasped for air, he wiggled around even more, making it even more difficult for Andy until Johnny finally submitted to him, allowing Andy to slap the duct tape over Johnny’s mouth in an ‘X’ formation. Andy was annoyed by Johnny’s refusal to fully cooperate, but fully understood the situation and therefore, remained patient. In fact, Andy was actually both grateful and impressed at how cooperative Johnny was being. Sticking to his script, Andy grabbed the metal wire, crouched down next to Johnny, and proceeded to tie his hands behind his back. This time, Johnny didn’t even resist. It’s amazing what the threat of death can do to motivate someone, Andy thought to himself, before grabbing Johnny by the ankles and pulling him toward the tree until they were finally under it. Andy looked Johnny squarely in the eye.
Johnny stopped dead in his tracks, both shivering from the cold and trembling with fear.
“Now, I am willing to negotiate with you if you are willing to cooperate,” Andy began. “I would really like to have a civil conversation with you. And with duct tape on your mouth, that isn’t really possible, is it?”
“Now what?” he asked, his voice cracking.
Johnny shook his head.
Andy dropped his box of supplies to the ground and shot Johnny squarely in the right foot. He collapsed in agony.
“So if you can promise not to scream, I will take the duct tape off your mouth. What do you think?”
Andy grabbed the duct tape and quickly ran over to Johnny, who was writhing on the ground in his boxers
Johnny nodded in compliance. Andy proceeded to remove the two strips of duct tape off Johnny’s mouth. Johnny flinched in pain, but remained as mute as
bobby fox (con’t). humanly possible.
“What you did to me in fourth grade?”
“Now stand up and lean against this tree,” Andy ordered.
“I was just a kid,” Johnny said, grasping for a good excuse.
“You shot my fucking foot!” Johnny reminded him. “How do you expect me to stand—“
“So you do remember?” Andy asked.
“I will shoot your fucking nut sack if you keep bitching about it,” Andy said, punctuating his statement by raising the gun to Johnny’s head. That seemed to do the trick, as Johnny stood up, despite the immense pain Andy assumed he was probably experiencing. Johnny hopped on his one good foot, keeping his wounded foot up in the air as he leaned against the tree, his white, bare flesh contrasting with the black night. “Please, don’t do this to me,” Johnny pleaded. “Relax,” Andy impossibly demanded. Andy ignored his plea. He had already put too much time, energy, and thought into his plan to simply abandon at this point. Like a runaway train, some things can’t be stopped. Besides, as far as Andy Macintosh was concerned, rationality had already left the station long before the train jumped the tracks. There was only one foregone conclusion.
“Yes. And I’m sorry.” “Do you really think that matters right now?” Andy asked in reply. “And if you were truly sorry, why didn’t you ever apologize to me until now?” “I didn’t realize how it affected you,” Johnny said. “Plus, it was never like this.” “Do you think that makes a difference?” Andy asked. “This is a joke, isn’t?” Johnny asked. “You didn’t mean to shoot my fucking foot, right?” Andy then reached for his gun and shot Johnny’s other foot to prove he meant business. “Nope, my bad,” Andy said. “There were others,” Johnny continued in his desperate attempt to save himself. “I mean, I wasn’t the only one there that day.”
Staying on course, Andy proceeded to tie the rope around Johnny and the tree, making sure it was good and tight, just as Johnny and his cronies did to him 15 years before. They were next on the list.
“You were the ringleader,” Andy said. “You were always the ringleader.”
Andy made sure to leave about three feet of slack on the rope, before grabbing the wire, which he proceeded to wrap even more tightly around Johnny. It cut deep into his bare flesh. Streams of blood ran down his torso like strawberry syrup, matching the red hearts on his boxers.
“Bullshit,” Andy retorted.
“Please …,” Johnny continued pleading. “I’m begging you.” “You didn’t exactly listen to me when I was begging you, did you?” Andy asked. “Begging me for what?” Johnny said with genuine confusion. “You don’t remember?” “Remember what?” 32
“Please, I’m sorry! I was stupid. We were just kids. I was just trying to fit in.”
“At the time, it’s how I felt,” Johnny tried to justify. “I could never do that type of thing now. I’m a good person. I’m a teacher. I volunteer at the animal shelter. I have two dogs and a cat. I go to church twice a month. What kind of person are you now?” “I’m exactly what you made me,” Andy said, raising a pointed gun at Johnny’s face. “We can work this out,” Johnny continued to plead. “Let me buy you a drink and we’ll talk. I’m nothing like that now.” Andy wasn’t going to let Johnny Perkins try to persuade him to stop him from achieving what he had hoped and dreamed and fantasized about every day for over 15
bobby fox (con’t), andrew peterson of OVER NIGHT EMPIRE. years. “Remember how you kept trying to light the rope on fire, but the rope wouldn’t light?” “I did that?” Johnny asked. “Yes. You did. And your friends even tried to get you to stop, but you pushed them down and threatened even them. Your own fucking friends!” Andy said, through thick tears that he had been stockpiling since his childhood. He felt like a water heater about toe explode. “I never would have hurt you,” Johnny said. “What if the rope caught fire?” Andy cried. “Would you have put it out?” “I’m sure I never would have let it get that far.” “You tried and you knew it!” Andy was now shaking with an avalanche of building rage, which came from an even deeper well than his tears. “Please,” Johnny pleaded a strained, painful whisper. “I was just a kid,” Johnny added. “So was I,” Andy said in reply, before grabbing the duct tape. Johnny resisted with all his might, but Andy finally managed to place another ‘X’ formation over his mouth.
Johnny attempted to extinguish it with his mangled stump of a foot, but it was too late. Within seconds, he was engulfed in flames. The duct tape melted off and Johnny was no longer a man, but a screaming, melting pillar of fire. Andy shot both of Johnny’s flaming kneecaps for good measure, then his shoulders, transforming Johnny’s screams into inhuman yelps. When Andy couldn’t take the yelping anymore, he shot Johnny in the head. Chunks of brain matter erupted above the flames. A brain volcano, Andy thought to himself and smiled. He then gathered his supplies, threw them into the box, then walked back to his Buick. He threw the box into his trunk, before hopping into the driver’s seat. He removed a spiral, one-subject notebook from his glove compartment – his old 7th grade English notebook. He then thumbed through the pages, until he found a list of several names. He drew a line through Johnny Perkins, then drove away with a smile that could only be brought about by sweet revenge. The Buick backfired, stalled, backfired again, before finally driving off into the dark of the night, as a plume of smoke rose out of the woods behind him. The aroma of dead leaves was now overshadowed by the scent of burning flesh. By the break of dawn, the surrounding forest was gone. But the clearing remained.
“Allow me to let you in on a little secret…,” Andy continued, reaching for the can of kerosene. Johnny looked at him with the fear of a trapped, wounded animal. “This might have helped,” Andy said, proceeding to douse not only the rope, but Johnny’s entire, scantilycald body, including his bloody, mangled feet. Johnny’s muffled scream nearly blew the duct tape off his mouth. It puffed out in the middle of the ‘X’. The precise moment Johnny had been waiting for – the moment he played on a continuous loop in both his conscious and subconscious mind for the past 15 years – had finally arrived as he grabbed the matches and lit the rope. Andy removed a match from the box and lit it, but a gust of wind immediately blew it out. He promptly reached for another one, cupped his hand around it, and successfully lit it.
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