Volume 6, Issue 12 December 2015
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. All submissions are due on the 26th for the following month’s issue. Please review the submission guidelines on our Submissions page (www.talbot-heindl.com/bitchin_kitsch/submissions) before submitting your work.
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table of contents.
On the Cover Variations IX Marianic Parra Drawing
On the Back Cover Chandra Andrew Peterson Graphite on paper
20 – Civilization and its Discontents, Martin H. Levinson
31 – Variations II, Jean-Pierre Parra
21 – A Blush is Private, Rose Kinney
32 – Discarded One, Rose HayesDineen
22 – Super-Villain, JD DeHart
33 – The Last Standing, Sy Roth
23 – The Guy with the Screwdriver, John Grey
34 – Nice is Not Enough, Clyde Borg
24 – The Other, Dr. Mel Waldman
35 – Clam, Charlene Ashley Taylor 36 - Donors and Index
In This Issue
37 – Variations VII, Marianic Parra
4-7 – Darling, Miles Varana
38-39 - October Calendar Shot
8 – Daughter, I woke to a possum hissing, Alison Moncrief-Bromage 9 – flowers for the ones you loved, Elena Botts 10-14 – Ingredients & Inspirations, Roo Bardookie & Louis Marvin 15 – Kim Davis as Darth Vader in a Conversation with Jesus, Sarah Frances Moran 16 – i fell for everything & nothing, Elena Botts
Elena Botts - pg. 9
17 – Cyclonic Coping Cocktail, Alexis Danner
25 – Something Sad about Stars, Nate Caines
18 – 2220, Fred Chandler 19 – Untitled, Electrolyte
26-30 – Blue Shot Marilyn (1964, Oil on Canvas), Blaze Bernstein
Electrolyte - pg. 19
miles varana. Darling
By: Miles Varana The morning that the silver minivan came hurtling out of the mist at him like a wild-eyed metal stallion, Jeffrey Karzac went home and got his wife out of bed. “I can’t fuck you anymore,” he told her. While her husband was narrowly escaping death on that pre-dawn road, Stacie Karzac dreamt of swimming naked with a slightly effeminized incarnation of Mr. Clean, who bragged that he was in town to speak at a symposium about his work moonlighting as a Silicon Valley executive. Mr. Clean had just declared his intention to sweep her off to a bed and breakfast in Montreal when her husband shook her awake. “I can’t fuck you anymore,” he told her. His knees were bleeding and the left side of his face was covered in a bruise shaped like South America. The blood was getting on the carpet. Stacie didn’t ask where he had been. She could guess. “What happened?” She asked, her voice still thick with sleep. “I got in a wreck. I’m fine, and also I’ve realized some things. You see-” “Do you need to go to the hospital?” “Not yet.” Jeffrey was pacing now. His hair remained perfectly coifed and his hornrimmed glasses were intact. He took them off and cleaned them with his shirt. “What about the other car? Are they okay?” She sat up and gathered the sheets around her breasts. Jeffrey flipped a limp, impatient wrist in the direction of their street. “They’re fine. Bunch of dumb kids from the high school. I think they were just happy I didn’t call the cops. Darling, we need to discuss some things.” The room was silent for a few long moments as he continued to pace, his face tight with concentration. She rubbed the sleep out of her eyes. “Do you want a divorce?” She asked, feeling her whole life being poured out in five jerky words that wobbled out into the great space between them. He stopped in his tracks at the window overlooking the sea, then swiveled to face her. “Of course not. Never.” “Really?” “Darling.” He came towards her, his features a mask of pained adoration. The dawn light touched his face as he crossed the room, and for a fleeting second, all of South America caught fire.
miles varana (con’t). “Jeffrey.” “Darling,” he repeated, “you’re my person. My true person.” He sat down next to her and ran a thumb across her cheek. It had almost reached her hair before she drew back. She wondered if he was concussed, or drunk, or both. “Now here’s one I haven’t heard,” she said in a soft, brittle voice. “Your person?” “Yes, my person. You’re a separate person from me, an individual ship in a bottle-” “It’s no good to mix metaphors, darling.” “You’re a separate person from me, another living, breathing, thinking, feeling, loving human being. And yet at the same time, you’re a part of me. You belong to me the same way I belong to you.” “Your person.” “Right.” “Does she know that I’m your person?” “Who?” “She.” “She.” He sighed. “No, she doesn’t know that.” “She’s one of your students?” “Yes.” He looked down at his feet, seeming not to notice the blood on his shoes. “Darling, I love you. I do. But if we keep having sex, before long, I won’t.” “Why?” “Because it isn’t sustainable. It’s too much of a strain to pretend that matters to me anymore. I can’t do that anymore, for your sake.” He leaned over and kissed her forehead. She could smell it on his breath. “Oh.” She didn’t speak for a while. Then she said, “You need some water.” He got up and followed her to the kitchen. They passed framed photographs of the two of them holding hands and smiling in places like Istanbul and Oslo and Lake Baikal. She grabbed a tall coffee mug from the cupboard and ran the faucet. She marveled at how abruptly the water arrived at the brim. She brought it to him. “Darling, you’re my person,” he said again, seated strangely at ease in his usual
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miles varana (con’t). dinner chair. “But not your only person.” “Sit down,” he told her. Reluctantly, she sat. “That’s only sex, darling. I don’t care about them. Any of them. Only you. Having that option in our marriage has always given me the ability to love you more.” He sipped his water. He spilled a little. “You’re the only one who ever used that option.” “Really?” He asked, and looked up at her as if he didn’t already know. “Never?” “Never.” “Oh, darling,” he said. “My darling.” Stacie went to the bathroom. She got an aspirin for Jeffrey and a valium for herself. There was an unopened box of tampons in the medicine cabinet. She had forgotten to throw it away. Maybe she could donate it to Goodwill. Did Goodwill accept tampons? Jeffrey’s first book laid on the floor beside the toilet. It was a good book. She had read it many times. She looked at herself in the mirror for a while, then took another valium for good measure. When Stacie returned to the kitchen, he was crying. His face was buried in his hands. Colombia and Venezuela peeked shyly up from behind his left index finger. “I’m sorry,” Jeffrey whimpered between sobs. “Darling, darling.” “Have some aspirin.” She cleared her throat. The coffee mug was on the floor. She picked it up and refilled it. He continued to cry, contorted pathetically in his usual dinner chair. She rarely saw him this vulnerable. It reminded her of the early years. He hadn’t even been published when they first met. He’d been so anxious to please her. “We-we could still adopt. We can always adopt.” “No,” Stacie replied, “we can’t. We could’ve, but we can’t. It’s too late now.” “Can you forgive me?” “I always do.” “I take it all back. I can still fuck you. Of course I can. You’re still quite beautiful.” “Thanks.” “I’m just- I’m just all fucked up darling. All fucked up.” “I know. We’d better go to the hospital soon.” “That’s not what I mean. I- listen. I didn’t mean it. You’re my person. You can even be my only person, if you want. Do you want that?”
miles varana (con’t). “I want that very much,” Stacie answered cautiously. Ignoring the coffee cup still in her hand, he leapt up and embraced her. She stood dead limp for a second, dazed, and then put her arms around him. “Let’s go on a trip next week,” he sang, half-choked by tears. “I hear acid’s making a big comeback.” She smiled in spite of herself. He was still such a boy. “Yes, let’s go away.” “We can go anywhere you want. Where do you want to go?” She thought about it. “Wait!” he exclaimed. “I know where! We’ve never been to Montreal. It’s supposed to be beautiful this time of year, and it’s so very European.” He put a snooty French twist on the word European. It was an old joke. “Montreal?” “Montreal, darling! The Ville-Marie! Mount Royal!” Her smile faded. “No, I don’t think so. Somewhere else.” He seemed taken aback. “What about Seattle? I know we’ve been there a million times, but, it’s still so… Underground.” He was so full of words. She knew that wasn’t all he was full of. “It really has a certain grunge essence I’ve been missing, a way of-” “Seattle would be fine.” “What’s wrong?” “Nothing. You just look pale. We’d better get you to a doctor.” After Stacie bandaged his knees, they walked hand in hand to the bus stop. Across the street from the bench where they waited, a group of carpenters were busy at work remodeling the front porch of an expensive-looking bungalow. While Jeffrey dozed on her shoulder, she watched the men work. The oldest - the one that seemed to be in charge - had a handsome face hardened by years of work in the sun. He gave orders for planks to be set here, for plaster to applied here, for the sander to be used carefully here, like so. He gestured animatedly as he talked. As he worked, his thigh muscles strained against the denim of his jeans. When he saw her looking at him, he grinned and waved. She wondered what kind of person he was.
alison moncrief-bromage Daughter, I woke to a possum hissing
By: Alison Moncrief-Bromage Daughter,
I woke to a possum hissing. The deliberate and scaly pink tail of it uncurling its way down our cedar trunk. I have looked for ticks ferociously in every fold of our bodies, for the headed specks engorging on us, the speckled rings at the wrist and throat. Before I knew anything about you or about how predators keep some prey in check, I was on my back, staring at the ceiling high off fever. Blue jays fought in the corners of our bedroom and circled the door frame. Had I known, Daughter, that these possums, those slow, white, ratlike bodies who nest above our heads, were eating all the ticks heroically in the back yard all summer, I wouldnâ€™t have fallen in love with your father so hard that dusk, when with one one-handed shot he took a big fatty down.
flowers for the ones you loved Elena Botts Graphite on paper
roo bardookie & louis marvin. Ingredients & Inspirations By: Roo Bardookie and Louis Marvin
New York City was the anchor. It was not a ball and chain though. The circumstances that one makes the chain out of, the thing that attaches you to somewhere, that is your connection. The links from your ankle are the ones that you forge. The ones that had some sway over your life, those are the ones that have more say when you are younger. The family name, the family money, the family reputation were those links. She was a professional woman that went to the finest prep schools, was groomed to take over the board room when daddy left, along with all the things preordained. It was she that concocted the idea of having sexual affairs with strong men, who had reps just like hers. Anybody else, and it would have been blackmail city. The idea behind the black overcoat came from playacting. She imagined herself a gumshoe from the 50s, or maybe a woman like Lauren Bacall or Kate Hepburn. When she went to work, it was salutes and yes, yes, yes. It was pure luck that they happened to go by the Sweet Bakery, as construction forced them to reroute that morning. She asked please, walked her overcoat, baby blues and maroon lips and nails into Johnny’s life. Her other brothers and sisters were all into the company and the power. She loved NYC, but they loved the power they had in Manhattan and beyond. As her father would put it, she was letting something as trivial as love overtake her senses. That is what love does. Reality settles into the nooks and crannies of the imperfection of it. Reality always wins out. Fuck it. She packed a small bag, grabbed some credit cards and wallet, then headed out the door. “We wanted to add more flavors after the Father Kino collection. So we talked to these women on the ‘Savor the Southwest’ site. The lady we spoke to said to look for chokeberries, wild currants, wild grape, ground cherry, Manzanita, wolfberry, and wild rose.” Johnny was with Dandy and Bahi Wharton out in the desert by their Prescott syrup company. He was excited, but having a hard time negotiating the desert and his not yet broken in boots. When he looked up at the blue sky, or heard a dove or hawk cry, he was going back before the time of the New York City sounds. He would hear great expanses of nothing when he was in space or the ocean. Sometimes he
roo bardookie & louis marvin (con’t). would just stand and let the sun bounce off of him. “You have all those names memorized?” “I know some from when I was a little girl. We cooked with what there was. The old folks used to talk about gathering and hunting, or keeping gardens. No one died of alcohol or strokes from sugar then.” “This is the way they want to run the the Yi-Er-San. Au natural. I am constantly looking for natural fruit flavors or combinations that require less sugar. If I do use some, it is unrefined, and not bleached white.” “So you are going to meet the family in Texas after this?” “I am really partial to your syrups and their nuts. I have tasted others, but there is just something about those walnuts from Ruiz.” The cab pulled up in front of the Sweet Bakery in Brooklyn. She came in and saw Carl. Usually she was in full trench coat outfit. Today she was travelling in Levi’s and a men’s small oxford shirt. She had comfortable walking shoes and her usual dark sunglasses. “Can I help you?” “Carl, you look good behind the counter.” “Wow, you look different today. I got the cupcake. It came in yesterday.” She was alone in the store. The place she would always remember when telling her how I met “him” story. She could easily take a nap on that leather couch. It smelled of leather, aftershave, and cinnamon. Kind of like Santa Claus. “A real special one today.” “Do you know where Johnny is Carl?” “He is visiting the Whartons and then the Ruiz families.” “Where is he now?” “Let me take a look at the computer here.” He goes from the cash-register screen over to his e-mail.
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roo bardookie & louis marvin (con’t). “Today he is in Prescott with the Whartons. Then he is driving to Texas on Friday.” “Thank you Carl.” “Should I tell him anything?” “Bye Carl.” He stands there with his hands on the glass of the counter. The bells ring, he shrugs his shoulders, puts the screen back on register, and wipes his prints off the glass with a dry towel. The Whartons gave Johnny the grand tour. He met the syrup tasters and experts. It was a real kick for him to taste the syrups right from the vats. In the main room of the factory, the spices and fruits, the thin wisps of smoke that would rise up from a popped bubble of syrup were all intermingling. It was fruity, strong, and you could almost taste the pancakes that they were going on. They went into the office and sat around the little table. “We are always trying some syrups so we have microwave pancakes and waffles up here. We figure if they can make the frozen ones taste good, then when folks make their great stuff from scratch, it should taste even better.” “Ok, so with these new flavors from the lady from ‘Savor the Flavor’ told us about, how many do we have?” Bahi takes out a list that says: Saguaro, prickly pear, dates, rhubarb/strawberry, mesquite, peach, quince, pear, apple, pecan, fig, pomegranate, and barrel cactus. “With the new ones that are coming from all over Northern Arizona, it will make an even twenty syrups.” “Wow!” “Now of course you have a knack for playing around with the various flavors, so whatever you come up with is OK by us.” They take out a little cold duck to make a paper cup toast. She is crying and looking at the skyline of her beloved city. Where am I going? What will they say? I will send an email to everybody on the plane. She sees a hotdog cart, and then a pretzel guy next to him.
roo bardookie & louis marvin (con’t). “Stop!” “I have to pull over two lanes!” “I want a hot dog and a pretzel.” “No problem.” He maneuvers and finds a spot. Some honking and some, “Where the hell/fuck did you learn to drive?” This makes her smile through the tears. She walks up with some dollars and asks him for some onions, kraut and mustard. She gets mustard on the pretzel too. She grabs a Coke and some napkins. She makes eye contact with the guy, and says thank you. He smiles and yells next. She settles back in the cab. “They got hot dogs and pretzels at the airport.” “Those are for tourists.” He shakes his head and they head to the JFK airport. They are toasting with some cold duck and going over the plans. They each have a different flavor of cupcake. They are all excited for their chance to be in the triangle and these new frontiers. Dr. Wang told everybody that it was the simple stuff like syrup and cupcakes that might be the most important. They were such alien and strange lands that everyone was going to. It would be easy to lose ties with where we come from. The simple and the sweet was what could connect us to home. We always had to remember that we were connected, and not isolated. If something as simple as cupcakes and syrups could do it, then their importance for a community feel and atmosphere was huge. The people in the office drinking from paper cups felt it. “I have my stores back in New York. We are building a shop in each place of the E-R-*. Dr. Wang wants one built in Prescott by the launch site, and in San Diego around the sub launch site. That gives me eight Sweet shops.” “We are supplying all the restaurants. Because of the special deal with the Newman’s Own folks and that restaurant on the Moon, we will talk to them about working that out. We will probably make a couple of flavors that were the favorites of Mr. and Mrs. Newman. Then we are
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roo bardookie & louis marvin (con’t). supplying whatever other restaurants for your Chef T. He was talking about a bistro place on Mars and they already do a big breakfast crowd in the ocean.” “The main thing he will be doing down there will be some seafood based deal.” “You have a store everywhere except Texas.” “They are out in the middle of nowhere.” “Speaking of walnuts, we are going to stay true to the Father Kino syrups and go with Arizona walnut flavor, along with a Texas walnut.” “What is the difference?” “The stuff that Kino brought had different origins. The University of Arizona and Sonora Desert Museum were very keen to bring this up.” “We figure that not every syrup is going to be a top seller. But, we can make the little sellers in little vats, and big sellers in bigger vats.” There were flights into Phoenix Sky Harbor, but nothing direct. Maybe Tucson. It sounded so Wild West for a New York gal. She wiped the mustard from her lips, and walked up to the counter to book a flight into Phoenix, with a couple of layovers. Normally somebody did all this stuff for her, but it felt good to handle some of your own necessities. She settled into a seat at the bar. She ordered a gin and tonic, with some extra olives. She took out her tablet and Googled Phoenix, then Prescott, then Wharton’s Syrup Company. There were mentions of the collaborations between Johnny Sweet and their syrups. All of this, and no real mention by her heart and soul of the fact that he might reject her. He might like her as his baking muse, but maybe not want her as his partner. Maybe he just loved her for her inspiration. What if he loved her for the mystery of the overcoat and dark glasses? What if she created the desired effect, but the real her was a letdown? She ordered another gin and tonic.
sarah frances moran. Kim Davis As Darth Vader in a Conversation with Jesus
(with dialogue distorted from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of The Jedi) By: Sarah Frances Moran Jesus: Hello Kim
Kim: You may dispense with the pleasantries, Lord. I am here to put you back on schedule. Jesus: Kim, the world is good! Love prevails. Kim: Emperor Huckabee does not share your optimistic appraisal of the situation. Jesus: Well… Kim: Lord, and he is most displeased with your apparent lack of progress. Jesus: But Kim… this is progress. Love is *begins choking* Kim: SILENCE! You have failed me for the last time! Senator Cruz is making things worse. He is as clumsy as he is stupid. Huckabee! Prepare your troops for a surface attack. Jesus: *holding his sore throat* God don’t like ugly. He’ll destroy you. Kim: There is no escaping me! Don’t make me destroy YOU. Lord, you do not yet realize your importance. You’ve only begun to discover your power! Join me, and I will complete your homo hate training! With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict, and bring Christianity back to the galaxy. Jesus: But I am Christia *begins choking again* Kim: SILENCE!!! You don’t know the power of the dark side! I must obey my master. Jesus: But I am your mast *chokes again* Kim: I find your lack of hate, disturbing. *hands Jesus over to Huckabee* The force is strong with this one. Destroy him!
elena botts. i fell for everything & nothing By: Elena Botts
this is the part where we give thanks for the strange things the world has given us and walk away, into some gloriously otherworldly setting sun where our skin glows but is not skin any longer and so we donâ€™t have to think anymore. this is the part where the horses forget they are horses and surge their bare muscle into mere oceans of writhing matter and you step off of the stirrups, clutching at a day moon, and you step off, one measure removed from desiring something but you are as still as a buried moon and i am the fixed phrase â€œi love youâ€? but with no emphasis or quotations or anything actually, no language, nothing for the meaning, in fact i was so nearly, for a moment there, nothing at all so i stepped into the sun, and this time it was all real, it was really glorious and you were there, so you know that i stepped off because my day was done and the heavens reached up and i reached up, stepped off the great stirrup of the earth and the raging current, like horses of oceans, i stepped off into the sun, i stepped off and was burned alive. and afterwards, you said to me (this was all you said), all that the world has given us is a beautiful thing.
alexis danner. Cyclonic Coping Cocktail By: Alexis Danner
In 2012, there was a hurricane, a great flood ensued. The downstairs was wrecked initially. And the neighbors exclaimed, “You’re so lucky it didn’t reach the top floor.” They were wrong. My upstairs was also submerged. Filled with vodka concoctions and little green olives. With sugar around the chapped fleshy rim from which I spoke. Salt water eroded the electronics in the home office, so I couldn’t work. Ethanol corroded the pink gummy hard drive between my ears, So I couldn’t work. Insurance paid for the drapes, the carpet, and a shiny new red blender. But there is no coverage, for an alcoholic on a trauma induced bender.
fred chandler. 2220
By: Fred Chandler The incessant pounding Pounding Was a feathered knock Opening Two doors with one key
Untitled Electrolyte Ink on paper
martin h levinson. Civilization and its Discontents
By Martin H. Levinson
I bite my lips, pinch my thighs, pray I don’t pound you into the ground or chuck myself off the twenty-second floor terrace we are standing on as you sip your Singapore Sling, munch on a pretzel, pontificate over climate change, feminism, the lack of civility in American society and your aching feet that I’d like to stomp on each time you say “what is this world coming to,” “politicians are liars and crooks,” “bring back the good old days” as if I don’t know I want to disappear and become a Trappist monk obeying a vow of silence with my fellow monks who also don’t talk but love each other because how can you not revere someone who doesn’t bore you to death or make you want to kill them with their washed-out platitudes and monochromatic conversation that tints Technicolor tête-à-têtes drab discussion gray.
rose kinney. A Blush is Private
By: Rose Kinney
The light droops as if it has drunk just enough to turn its tongue pliant and its hands trusting and just enough to drape itself over the smell of baking apples. Out of humility, the clack of a drum machine in the thick of the undulating synthesizer resigns itself to the bottom layer of experience. When the brine of Blue Moon presents the harshest sensation of the hour then will I stretch my fingertips across the air into the threads that garnish any friendly cranium, and unfurl my truths, since a blush looks more private in the evening.
jd dehart. Super-Villain
By: JD DeHart
When I first met him, he gave me a costume and told me to act sinister. I had no idea what was coming off when he scooped me up and sent me to the cell. Soon as I got out, I realized he wanted to play the same game, which I refused to go with until I realized heâ€™d been slipping it to my girlfriend while I was holed up. Now, Iâ€™m resigned to the feeling of the fabric, the utility of the mask, and I am fully ingrained in my role, genuinely wanting to find some way to undo the hero. I have even started coming up with sinister plots for domination.
john grey. The Guy with the Screwdriver
By: John Grey
I clearly remember the night in 1985. There I was under the disco ball, dissolving into its detritus for the last time. So much for the 70â€™s. They left for good sometime in the 80â€™s when I began to settle down with a woman not grab her by the arms to compete with other couples. I turned off the electric drum-beat for the humble throbbing of the heart, tossed the repetitive chorus into the trash along with the tight trousers and the slicked-back John Travolta hair. My body could no longer boogie. It saved its moves for sex and pushing a lawn-mower and, even then, the knees complained. It wasnâ€™t just youth I left behind but the Village People. The cop, the construction worker, the native American, the soldier, and the biker and then there was one.
dr. mel waldman. The Other
By: Dr. Mel Waldman Inside Central Park, within the Wildlife Center, the other watches Japanese snow monkeys from a distance, & embraces his invisibility, cupping it in crippled hands while tourists pass by, oblivious of the tiny man gazing at the Japanese macaques, on their island, through the magical eye of the camera lens; while clutching pain; invisible man, empty, eerie, and alone, & far away, in the sphere of the forgotten but still, floating in the green-brown swirling eyes of the pink-faced mystics of joy, Japanese snow monkeys caressing and holding the other in a celestial womb, rocking him back and forth in a mystical embrace, seeing and loving him unconditionally in the vanishing moment
nate caines. Something Sad about stars
By: Nate Caines
The few lonely stars in the night Flicker like the last illegal fireworks of summer Glowing green then Red then white There’s no one on the sidewalk Running parallel to my porch But I’m sure others are looking at the same Sad stars, The rest hiding behind Rusty florescent lights Pointed towards the sky And everywhere else I wasn’t But from this porch It seems solitary I keep mistaking the same street light In my peripherals As the moon And every time I think “How wonderful” Before I turn And find the same yellow bulb Like waking up in the morning
blaze bernstein. Blue Shot Marilyn (1964, Oil on Canvas)
By: Blaze Bernstein
What is it that makes today’s home so different, so appealing?
“I really like that sofa. Wherever did you get it, Lucy?” Debbie flattens the wrinkles in her dress and tussles her curls. “Well, I was looking through a furniture catalogue and it immediately caught my eye. Something about the design is so enticing, isn’t it?” “Well, I, for one, loathe it. It looks cheap and callous.” “Are we talking about the sofa or your dress, Blue?” Mary reapplies cherry red lipstick. Cucumber and cream cheese finger sandwiches lie on a silver tray in the center of the coffee table. Lucy paints her fingernails verdigris. “No one is making you two stay. Cut the gas or leave.” “Oh, fine. But, in all actuality, I love your nail color, Lucy! It looks like something you would wear to a ball. You aren’t planning to go to any soon, now are you?” “Oh, Debbie, who told you?” Lucy finishes painting her left hand. “Told who, what?” Blue eyes the sandwiches. “I heard from a little birdy that Brad invited Lucy to go out with him to a big bash on Friday evening.” “Who told you that? Is it true? Please tell me it is! That sounds marvelous.” Mary eyes Blue as she reaches for one of the sandwiches. “Well as a matter of fact, he did, but that’s none of your concern, now is it.” Blue’s fingers linger over one of the sandwiches for just a moment, before she reaches for the golden crust. Mary smacks it out of her hand and everyone falls silent. Blue slowly pulls her hand back, glaring at Mary. Apparently, no one else is hungry. “Just trying to help you with your diet,” Mary beams. “If I had the chance, I would slit your throat.” “I love having all of you over to my place.” Lucy picks up the tray of sandwiches and takes them back to the kitchen. Drowning Girl
“I heard that Brad brings girls on fake outs all the time.” Blue crosses her legs. “Stop being so negative. You’re such a god awful bummer.” Mary buffs her nails with a
blaze bernstein (con’t). metal file. “Yeah, well, I heard that he likes to play back seat bingo,” and Debbie bats her eyes. They all giggle. “I loved my night with Brad.” “You’re so lucky, Lucy!” Debbie reeks of violets and pansies. “I wish I was as lucky as you are.” “What happened? Tell us everything.” Mary taps her nails on the sofa cushion and sips iced tea. The ladies lean into the circle, 360 degrees of lipstick and mascara. “Well it was just really swell,” and Lucy tells them of the big bash and the car ride home and her twenty four karat gold earrings and every detail in every nook and cranny of the night. Lucky Strike
“Hey, want a cigarette?” Debbie blows out clouds of smoke and tips the box in Lucy’s direction. “I’m good.” Lucy twiddles her thumbs. “Thanks though.” “Don’t be a cube. They’re Luckys,” Debbie insists. “Yeah, I’m fine. I don’t smoke.” “I’ll take one.” Mary reaches into the carton and pulls out one of the cigarettes. “Last chance, Lucy?” Debbie coughs and hands Mary a matchbook. “Well, I guess I’ll have one. Just this once.” The women sit out on the balcony and schmooze in long frocks and lazy silk. Debbie wears diamonds, Lucy, pearls, and Mary, a shallow grin. Blue sits in the corner sulking. “Oh, Blue, get over the world. You don’t always need to act like such a sour puss.” Mary lights her cigarette. “What choice do I have when the devil walks among us?” Three Machines
“Do you ever wonder if we’ll ever find true love?” Blue smacks her bubble gum.
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blaze bernstein (con’t). “What’s the use, Blue? You’re hopeless anyways.” “My bad, Monroe. I didn’t mean to ruffle your feathers. Maybe next time I’ll just gut you like a fish.” Blue flashes her an oh-so-artificial smile. “What did you call me?” Mary returns the favor with a sarcastic grin. “On a brighter note, how are you and Brad?” Debbie is flipping through Vogue. Lucy lifts her heart shaped sunglasses and places them on her forehead. She sighs. “Cheer up. Things can only get better from here.” Debbie tears out a photo of Evelyn Tripp in a white mink fur coat. “Oh, things are just kind of… you know?” Lucy pulls the shades back over her eyes. “I understand exactly how you’re feeling. Dead inside.” Blue blows a large, pink bubble and pops it with her fingernail. “And outside too by the looks of it.” “You know, your diet really isn’t working. You should try harder” Lucy pulls her Jaguar keys from her clutch. Spoon Bridge and Cherry
“I love a good parfait.”
Debbie sits opposite a parfait, Mary sits opposite chocolate cake, and Lucy stuffs her face with apple pie. “Debbie, all you like is the cherry on top.” “That’s not true! I like all of it from the—” “Debbie, don’t take it personally. It’s just Monroe being Monroe.” Blue only has a glass of water. “Knock it off. Stop being bitter. Just because you and Ricky are off the hook does not give you a right to act like that.” Mary hasn’t touched her cake. “You take that back!” Blue turns red in the face. “Make me.” Blue boils over and stabs the table with a spare fork, Eris in her chariot, hair drifting in the breeze. “Ladies!” “Sorry, about that. Monroe and I just got a little carried away.” Blue stares into Mary’s eyes.
blaze bernstein (con’t). Mary scoops up a spoonful of creamy parfait and licks the spoon clean, rolling her tongue on the silver edge. Debbie powders her nose. “You don’t always need to act like that.” Oof
“Lucy, don’t cry,” Debbie consoles. “Lucy, come here, my dear,” Mary soothes. “Lucy, your mascara is running,” Blue remarks. “Again.” Lucy runs straight past Blue and into Debbie’s arms. “Oh, it’s of no use. Now, no one will ever want me. Look at me. I’m all washed up.” She wipes under her eyes and mascara smears across her face in streaks. “Don’t say that! You will always be able to find someone. I mean, look at me and Benjamin. We’re in love. I swear it,” Debbie brags and smirks, all gums and no teeth. “One day, Lucy, one day, we will find you a man.” Mary holds Lucy in her arms, careful not to let any of the dripping eye makeup stain her outfit. “I guess you’re right. Mary, would you fetch me a cigarette? I need a smoke.” Marilyn Diptych
When Debbie and Lucy walk onto the balcony, Mary and Blue are at it again. “My god, not all of us are living la dolce vita, now are we!” “Well Mary, if you’d stop being such a Monroe this wouldn’t be an issue!” “You’re one to talk!” “Blue, Mary, that’s enough. No need to get yourselves in a tussle.” Lucy tends to Mary and Debbie to Blue. “Get the goddamn hell away from me, Debbie.” “Now, Blue, calm down. Don’t be such a primadonna.” “I said get away, Debbie! I swear to god, I will kill you.” “You don’t mean that. Just relax. Breathe.” “I warned you! I warned you!” Blue pulls a revolver out of her purse. Debbie backs off. “Blue—”
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blaze bernstein (con’t). “Could you just shut up and listen? For once? My god, you are all so full of yourselves, with the primping and the—” “Now, Blue, calm down,” lulls Lucy. “No, Lucy. What don’t you understand about the fact that it’s my turn to talk?” Blue turns the gun on Lucy, “Let’s make this nice and simple. Who wants to go first?” Blue points the gun from Lucy to Debbie. “Oh, who will it be? Mink or Morrison?” She move the gun from Debbie to Lucy. “Peter, Paul, or,” Blue giggles and once again turns the gun, “Debbie?” She moves the gun back and forth, her arms still as night. Every time she moves the gun, her kitten heels click and clack against the marble floor. “Blue, there’s no need to do this.” Debbie is shaking and trembling. “Please, put the gun down.” Lucy lets a single tear fall from her duct. “I once read that in Ancient Egypt, they believed that when you died, if your heart weighed more than a feather, you would be doomed to eternal damnation.” Blue moves the gun back and forth faster and faster, “I guess that’s still better than this life,” until she can’t tell either of the girls apart. And finally Blue decides. She puts the barrel of the gun to her temple. She closes her eyes for what should be the last time and waits for the sweet release of darkness. As her finger comes down on the trigger, she looks more seraphic than ever, and she wonders if she’ll find deeper meaning in her next life. “Good riddance.” Blue’s eyes open and the life floods back into her. “Mary! Of everyone here, even myself, I cannot stand you the most. You are so critical of everyone! Everyone!” She points the revolver at Mary. “I am done with the criticism and the critique. You can’t even let me die in peace you— you—,” Blue walks up to Mary and places the barrel of the gun to her forehead, point blank, “—you bitch!” And as Mary’s life comes to a close, she notices the world has lost all of its color. A grayscale mind in a black and white world. Not that there was ever much to see anyways. And then the gun goes off with a pop. “Dear lord. Blue shot Marilyn.”
jean-pierre parra. Variations II
By: Jean-Pierre Parra Without trembling In the vertiginous frenzy you give thoughts diverted the new theater
rose hayes-dineen. Discarded One
By: Rose Hayes-Dineen the first cut, she doesn’t even know it’s coming. feel her shiver as the blade enters slowly. she’s moaning. pushing deeper, watch her tremble. you’ve taken her. her limbs begin to quake. drive it further, harder, now she is yours she is yours she never even knew it, but she’s always been yours. there’s nothing but this blade and her and you. she’s getting weaker, and you have almost conquered her. the other men stand and cheer, but you’re in another realm because she’s finally cracking, screaming, falling down to the dirt where she becomes a corpse amongst her other tree siblings.
sy roth. The Last Standing
By: Sy Roth
Armies of them Gluttonous, hollow men, black birds swooping in to scoop the eyes of infidels. Minions of them empty-eyed, Valhallens eyes unfocused resting above empty lips, smirks twisted into rubbery believers. Prevaricators, a scourge on scientific nerds who attempt to placate with silent alternatives â€” to become aliens weakened by fear. The blinded, heedless hunters trust in faith of dropped stitches build a broadcloth of cruelty, miles of unbounded barbarity. A gift of silent gods once trapped in human form â€” four-stomached beings, ruminators of ruination chewing their way through eons Timeless, incomprehensible who aver crimson victories, where they sit awash on their petulant field of stolen spoils in victory of Jukes and Kallikaks spent on a bloody field Silently, they lack wonder who started this who will be the last standing?
clyde borg. Nice is Not Enough
By: Clyde Borg
The Beach Boys once popularized a tune called, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” however; nothing is simply nice because nice is not really enough. Mr.Rogers’ day in the neighborhood was always beautiful, never nice. You can have the good, the bad, and the ugly from a Clint Eastwood movie, but never the nice. In his Dirty Harry movies his famous comment was, “Make my day,” not “Make my day nice.” The dictionary defines nice as somewhat pleasing, agreeable, or satisfactory but it has become something other than what that definition connotes. It has become a catchall word for mediocrity, indecisiveness and hidden meanings; it is used to cover up or camouflage the true intention of what people are saying. Nice cannot be a substitute for any of the following without losing the essence of the event, time, or meaning: Happy New Year, Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, or Happy Anniversary. They are times of tremendous joy and not simply agreeable moments. McDonald’s highly touted Happy Meal could never be heralded as just a nice meal. The bubbly Happy Hour would lose its representation of unbridled social interaction if it were called the nice hour. The popular situation comedy, Happy Days, which featured the extremely cool Fonzie could never be called nice days spotlighting a somewhat pleasing Fonzerelli. Who ever heard of a nice hooker or nice landing? The omission of happy turns the hooker into someone who is sweet and a nice landing connotes a plea for a safe arrival. Jimmy Stewart’s part in the classic movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, could never be labeled nice. In its role of deception, nice screens numerous meanings. Nice try, nice going, nice game, nice time, nice guy, have a nice day, it’s nice, nice to meet you or see you, all imply futility, ordinariness, or meaninglessness. He’s a nice little ball player translates into he is not very good. Sports figures are never called nice; Joe Louis would never be called a nice fighter. The perennial statement, she/ he has a nice personality, is an attempt to change one’s focus away from the person’s poorer attributes. Oprah Winfrey’s program is considered to be very nice because it appeals to soap emotions. There is nothing especially profound or controversial about her television shows. It was the former Dodger and Giant baseball manager, Leo Durocher, who once said that, “Nice guys finish last.” That is probably true today because nice doesn’t mean very much today. The word is so general in meaning that it denotes nothing and is better left unsaid. Nice can never be used as a substitute nor can it ever really be enough.
charlene ashley taylor. Clam
By: Charlene Ashley Taylor Here is Clam, lathering his saline tongue over a rough grain of sand. Savoring this small token of the beachâ€™s love. Never would this creature have experienced such comforting dryness under normal destinies. Yet, here he is; a tiny, crystalline statue inscribed with the details of a life that he would never have known otherwise. Clam reads the Braille with his tongue, smothering and tumbling it around; making love to the ocean in his own way. Just as the ocean cradles Clam in its vast, sinuous arms, Clam envelops his lover. Many twenty-four-hour cycles chased themselves across the earth, and yet for Clam they passed like a few flicks of the tongue. And with fresh taste buds, Clam temporarily stops lapping to realize his lover has metamorphosed without his admission. Here, sleeping in his bed of flesh is this rock, this mature mound silken with age. Rock is impassive, Rock is cold, Rock yields not even a hint of the flavors that used to describe Clamâ€™s world. Clam shudders, shaking off the layers or long-dead guilt. Expelling dust and crumbs and remnants of stale love with every tongue-scraping slide against his shell. All that remains of the relationship are the imbedded lines of old tales sand used to tell. This too Clam would soon shed, for every time he shifted he could feel these tattoos writhing within and throughout him. This gesture, which was intended to dissolve the past, simply made those days more prominent. Just when it seemed that Clam would never feel relief from the daily abrasions, Rock was gone.
donors, index. artists Bardookie, Roo
Moran, Sarah Frances
Levinson, Martin H.
Taylor, Charlene Ashley
Marvin, Louis Moncrief-Bromage, Alison
Varana, Miles Waldman, Dr. Mel
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Variations VII Marianic Parra Drawing
Volume 6, Issue 6 June 2015
b’k bitchin’ kitsch
December 2015 Sunday
Letter Writing Day
New Year's Eve
Notes: This month, we wanted to spotlight our amazing cover art from this year. Thank you everyone who made this one a great one!
Chandra Andrew Peterson Graphite on paper
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...
Published on Nov 20, 2015
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...