Apocalypse Anthology

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Apocalypse Anthology

Flying Guillotine Press Doomsday Festival New York, NY 2009


Josh Kleinberg 4, Thom Donovan 5, Brennen Wysong 6, Ben Fama 7, Leslie Anne Mcilroy 8, Robert Ostrom 9, Gregory Bem 10, Toni Browning 11, Brett Price 12, Nathan Logan 14, Nellie Bridge 15, Jefferson Carter 16, Elisa Gabbert & Kathleen Rooney 17, Matthew Everett 18, Stephanie Anderson 19, Francis Raven 20, Melissa Koosmann 21, Douglas Piccinnini 22, Dolan Morgan 23, Paul Siegell 24, Mark Terrill 25, Kate Schapira 26, Kristi Maxwell 27, Christine Leclerc 28, Sommer Browning 30, Adam Roberts 31, Lauren Harrison 32, Tony Mancus 33, Sarah Heller 34, Brandon Shimoda 35, John Ebersole 37, Vincent Zompa 38, Tom Oristaglio 40, Alex Cuff 42, Ally Harris 43, Jeff Hawkinson 44, Steven Karl 45, Jen Currin 47, J. Townsend 48, Eleanor Paynter 49, Dave Carillo 50, Steven Breyak 51, Cate Peebles 52, Nate Pritts 54, Frank Sherlock 55, Estela Lamat & Michael Leong 59, Esther K. Smith 61, Emily Brandt 62, Mathias Svalina 64, Dan Chelotti 68, Michael Rerick 69, Leigh Stein 70, Joe Fletcher 71, Martin Rock 72, Theresa Sotto 73



Josh Kleinberg We broke open leftover antibiotic pills, and snorted them, and watched each other's infections heal in real-time, because it was the rainy season, and there was nothing else to do. We'd burned all the billboards already, for warmth. There weren't enough or there were too many of everything, which is to say that math was obsolete in this place Fork-toothed with old hungers, we'd never found the time to worry, by the wolflight, about "too much" anyway. Then the curtains! The curtains came, stumbling over everything, like time zones, slowly; like metaphors, fast. Culture had started and quit, had failed to catch on, but we still woke in shifts to check obsolete maps. The doom was more peaceful than the movies let on, By the empty-treed night, we would say this and laugh, like something forgotten and found, whispered first but rising, not frightened of betraying our ground.


from Lonely Poems Thom Donovan

I go thru hell Every time I see you And you don't disappear With me The meaning of this Film a ghoulish Europe seeks Its exhausted dead when We were little Universes her gasp Escaped from anywhere A portal in the air Where those who can't Escape from thread Reproduce despair Multiply the survival Of every possible name.


Texas Is the Reason Brennen Wysong

Start great fires with stock issued by bankrupt companies. Find prime numbers among the waves breaking in cadence against the beached electric blanket factories. Your pants pockets are heavy with ducats. Empty vending machines filled with scarab beetles and digger wasps with them. Use the giraffes as ladders. They descend deep into the bird of paradise’s larynx, where petaled glottal stops sleep, waiting to break open a voice, which drones below a handbell’s ringing. The town crier’s voice is hoarse. He seems to have lost his way among the paths beaten through the briars by pilgrims, their supplications turning to stones before them, though they are hungry. Remember? We once held hands, yours made of tidewater, mine made of fur. And my lips were sand, yours oil. I meant organ stops, of course, falling toward the waters beneath a bridge, the stiltwalkers above still tossing them. And, yes, sorry. I forgot to welcome you to the terrordome.


Fireworks in Outer Space Ben Fama

to a.r.m.

The defenestration of the rainbow hill shortarm / longwave society was the last thing we needed, truly. So when Uranus went retrograde, gratefully, we hid. On the first day the cleanse began. The second day held wonderful whites, detached magisterial pronouns. On the the third day, you said the last thing this universe needs is another love poem written with wet eyes staring out the window of a spaceship. I was already lost in morbid cosmic visions, constellations of reverse destinies, of patricide in a mirror maze, of sparklers in zero gravity, of sequins stitched on a butterfly. and later in my sleep, I say aloud: take my word on this, this beautiful shipwreck can never become real. but you wake me up and tell me I'm wrong.


How I Came To Love the Apocalypse Leslie Anne Mcilroy

for Karen Tozzi-Colberg

Her house still smelled like ham and her heart felt like sandpaper. She painted something flowery and hot, and hung it on her wall to remind her of the lips she’d tasted, the drinks she’d poured. She gave the painting away because it spoke too loud and then dreamed that John Cusack stuck her vita on his refrigerator because he wanted to know her. She wanted to know him, too, but the world was ending and she needed to wash her brushes, set the bugs free, and introduce birth and death so they’d recognize each other when they met. (appeared in Liquid Like This, Word Press)


Please Lord, Do Not Hunt Me Robert Ostrom

Some people said that the horses ran into bonfires and wolf spiders ate their mothers. Caged crows were known to mimic the voices of humans; stray cats, in search of food, died trying to cross the harbor. For a while it seemed as if it were all for nothing. For hope, we blended myths with our known truths. We knew the hair of the dead continued to grow, but did buried babies learn to talk? We grew confused. Am I a horse or a crow? My grandfather was a grave so I am a grave. Livestock waited for delivery in pens at the station. You will not be back, they said. Christ, look at the stars, the houses, the child at the stove! Some people ran into bonfires, and some people buried their mothers while others tried to speak but they kept saying the same thing: over and over. (appeared in 42opus)


Less Summer Gregory Bem

All the best headlines the same streets but now new deals this is the big one this time we’re for real carpenter ants colored but nothing but corpses on the carpet space where feet pound geography no more mister nice woman in my doorway blinking lash bats the color sad ants are happy beings collection is a crime but so is fire these bugs don’t sting there is sin afoot here with toe jam and apricot preserving the dainty same thing as crime


State of Grace Toni Browning

My new outfit, my self-assured hat, my guilty conscience walking the gauntlet of the church aisle. Passed unvisited confessionals, unwhispered words of repentance. In last night’s darkness I found a different state of grace. Safety from alienation, damnation for the unspeakable sin of copulation. And now dressed in REM's finery, in shadowy corridors of my mind buildings topple, dogs scream, mouths melt for forgiveness. I find a priest on his knees. His chasuble sweeping the rubble of life, as he believed it. “What about me?” I shake him, a mumble jumble of Latin. In the crush of alien forces. In the spewing of volcanic ash. In the overwhelming power of tsunamis. And me in this silly hat.


New Accessories Brett Price The fly keeps tapping the window. Speed taps attention. Ground lost in constant turning. Water rising, the anchor scratches its head of archaic rust. Quotes with false sources spring from the rush, in whose court testimony’s increasing mobility finds no justice. Witness consumes witness. In the dream, he’s given the choice: “your eyes…or his?” It’s not about Love, but a multi-channeled longing for a blind spot, smothered under artificial light. The public explodes. Images miss. This exaggerated sense of hurry as new bling, fashionably sported. Damn, I look good in boundless surface. Purgatory’s stealth infiltration of the green room. Tree, you can’t handle my hunger. Stomach structure, habitual pocket. I see your hydronic floor heat and I smoke it. I see the degree of personal exertion required and I smoke that too. Mistake the apse for a dish. Fiscally running in place on the slick present of a past handshake’s speculative mis-projection. Clouds threaten rain-step. Atmosphere thick with misfire tell me what to do. I need my ZOOMBAK™ personal locator, look at me. No, look at me. Eyes inherently linked. Buy my house and paint it green. Where covert squirrels in the walls, in all potential for wire-gnawing, gnaw not.


Fans cheer. Forethought swatted to the stands. No reins. No ink circle on the wrist to check natural urges’ subconscious billboard lot. Gone in the sensual Braille organs. Inverted dome broadcasting evasive laughter. The population doubled over in thirty years breaks the shadow of approaching high-surf. Be aches or beaches. Dotsam and netsam in tide of new moon. Eye of screen. Pixilated fly’s eye droning.


Good Apocalypse Nathan Logan

Today is National Velociraptor Awareness Day. Are you stocked up on repellent? I have a couple cans and a net gun. The bowling alley had all the laser-activated vests, so zombie crawl participants got facefulls of dyed snowballs. We did not breakout in spontaneous Michael Jackson dance. That's a sure sign of bird flu. I petitioned the university to declare today Phlebotomist Appreciation Day, but it fell on deaf ears. If I had to list my top three fears, it would be: being eaten by a dinosaur, turning into a member of the undead, and dancing uncontrollably to a Michael Jackson song. I know there's a microscopic chance of any of these events, but it doesn't hurt to be prepared. Celebrating Phlebotomist Appreciation Day would at least distract me from that roaring off in the distance.


At the End of the City Nellie Bridge At the end of the city it's predictable. There's a holy chain link fence and some concrete slabs by the river. I'm in the wing of the theater. Daytime rehearsal just ended. I step through the fence to be on set or off set. The stage is utterly physical, not dramatic of a human effort, not beautiful in its abstract forms. When airplane passengers walk down the tunnel and step into the machine parked on the concrete-covered Earth it's not symbolic of a spiritual journey or a spiritual transformation. They're willingly taking the strides to make sure their parts are moved from one place to another.


Tucson Jefferson Carter I board my albino racing camel in one of those self-storage units, grooming him every day, bringing him fresh water. When I leave, he throws himself against the walls. When all this ends, no gasoline, no water, every home a split-level, I’ll unlock the storage unit, saddle my camel & sway past the bodies of the well-to-do hanging upside-down from the telephone lines, their children hunted for their skins.


The Day After the Day After Tomorrow Elisa Gabbert & Kathleen Rooney

It’s the end of the world, friends. These fucked up moths ask the Big Question, & clutch the companion questions to the last chapter of All. Down in the pit of the canyon— careless with the heart, careless with the gun— I perch in the V of a dying tree & set my red dot sight to stun the apocalyptic beast. Counting down—6, 6, 6, then we skip right to zero. I never asked to be a hero, friends, but since when have we gotten what we want? I know there was something I wanted to do before the end, but I forgot. Tell mother I loved her. The sky is green. (appeared in Something Really Wonderful, Dancing Girl Press)


The New Jerusalem Matthew Everett New Canaan replaces Canaan, which was preceded by Old Canaan. Old Canaan had two antecedents; namely, Very Old Canaan and Pre-Canaan. New Canaan will be followed in due course by Future Canaan. There is also the possibility of a Post-Canaan. New York will not be followed by anything. There is of course no such thing as the New Jerusalem.


Should the Old World Last Stephanie Anderson Remaining alpha and omega of human society I remained quiet in my Den Very few of my standing would submit to privations I do Some bold system to titles of distinction As soon as the sleighing was good Respectable phalanx to drive over To permit two small windows placed just below the eaves But all appears convulsed As to require the panacea of Flax Seed Tea With more than the usual anticipation Little furniture except sheepskin sacks Never so hungry as the night we ate porcupine An opportunity for people to strike against privilege Rather turn street-sweeper than return I have slept as an extinct breed of dogs


Queen of Ur Francis Raven

The evidence for such a queen is sparse, but they laid down before her, before the volcano accepted the ash. How do we know this? There would have been no choice. That is meaning. Nothing is loose. A mass grave at her feet extended into the epistemologically challenged future as she swallowed, just swallowed.


On the Occasion of the End of the World Melissa Koosmann Here you are, still playing. I could destroy your toys, but no. It’s the last moment and I never will. Kiss me, please, and I’ll keep you amused. After all, I’m the failure; I made you. I’ll play the bronze horn, the goosethroat, the glasswater tune to shatter your rabbit hole, wither your castle of leaves. Or I’ll tuck you in and tell you a new adventure. The sun, as a child, scuffed its feet and scorched the people’s gardens, so I tied a hook to its head and hung it decorously. But not you. I would have taught you to heat the earth, to shepherd flocks of starlings like cloth you shook in the wind. I meant to make you better. I meant to make you last.



Douglas Piccinnini The microbe and I are again A fault pushed through lard. A kind of force//phoned-in result Toward un-productivity. Hey, back down. Spread over. Recycling days send a meal To mouth. Look some bent spiritual Plank indicates how each part Bothers raw. Plastic secretions From the electro-organ-wand. This dispassionate foreclosed nap Blooms here, negative morning. The cock(ed) finger, the lodestar.


MM, s2ep12: Meditations in an Emergency Dolan Morgan I walked to Times Square. I had your baby and I gave it away. I try not to think about it. The world continues without us. They're closing the interstate. There are Russian troops off of Key West. Everyone is looking at each other in the street. It doesn't seem real does it? A mob is going to come to the fourteenth floor of this apartment building. One day you're there, and then all of a sudden, there's less of you. Take me off the switchboard.


*Tiger Bridge to Giant Serpent in Space* Paul Siegell Your core: Galactic activity. Blood to blog about. How ’bout 05:11:51 a.m. on 12.21.2012? Sound good? A cuckoo skill, absorbed in experiments of out-of-sight seeing. Tiger heat. A boom shakka lakka spirit beacon, ticket-stub’d. Waiting for my tentmates to wake, wondering why I thought packing Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno’s Slamming Open the Door to Bonnaroo was a good idea, I overheard a Scott Medosis go to a Scott B. Davis, “Got anything crispy to listen to?” Vivid bridge, flower skull, tiger bid. They’re giving a polygraph to the hieroglyphs today. Brahkuna matata? All on a fresh head, Scottie B. goes, “It looks like you’ve got poison ivy in your eyes.” And then a bazillionpiece puzzle of the Milky Way became a fan of realizing that even thinking about applying for a job at the apocalypse is what wrecks the rocket ship. (appeared in Poets & Artists, O&S)


A Poem for the Rear Guard M a rk Terril l Along about the time freedom became a product and war the currency with which that product could allegedly be purchased the gypsies packed up their things and hit the road and the dust kicked up by their horses slowly settled on the tables outside the CafĂŠ des Despotes where this poem was found scrawled on a wine-stained tablecloth in the crepuscular evening of one of the last days on earth. (appeared in Superabundance from Longhouse)


Fragment found in a burn site Kate Schapira

more riotous sicker tremor unhidden undoing longing for someone weaker to calm or eat


As We Know It Kristi Maxwell Apoca-glimpse Apoca-lisp A polka dot ferries a stripe, and so a pattern. A falling apart. A fa-la-la-ing (a part in a song. In a so long. A sojourn to a hell-gate I’ll help get you through. Apoca-lips and the meat a smooch’s wrapped up in. A stack of meat that stakes out a sticking place. Kiss it all goodbye. Apoca-list: done done done We are steaks? Stakes. For whose burning? The drama-tick’s tic tic tic and Count Down.


The Role of the Synapse, or Fall Collection Christine Leclerc I She saw something out of the corner of her eye. She saw it every day. It was trillions of trees snowing through her synapses. She saw something by not seeing. By not seeing the negative space around people, mailboxes, cars. She could sense that something was gone. The people, mailboxes, cars stood out more. And she wished they would stand out less. She imagined a world without hitchhikers. Reflected on how, as a teenager, she had several credit cards. There was her favorite clothing shop, and there was a parking lot close by. Oprah and Gwen Stefani came to mind (from a billboard). She muttered something about branch patterns because she was going places in life and needed a new bag. II She saw some activists in front of the shop. They surrounded her, and said a poem: You are not three hundred twenty one seasons in light chiffon. You are not a poison holder or a fax machine. Quit buying salad bowls. Ciao bella. At the end of the poem she had a floaty feeling. The shopkeeper was there too. She clapped a hand onto the shopper’s shoulder and said a poem:


I used to sell scarves and shoelaces. Now I sell books. But they look like scarves and shoelaces and read apocalypse. When the poem was over the world was different. Like, really different since last time the shopper checked. She’d never checked. But she had paychecks in her pocket. And she sure would’ve gone shopping, with paychecks. When world got different, she forgot to shop III She called her father’s prostate specialist when she got home from not shopping.

SHE Is it true that the world is ending? Ended last week, sweetheart.


Someone on talk radio said it’s only ending in five days.

I don’t know what to tell you, kid.


She wondered if the end of the world was like a permanent mall closure. Either the line was cut, or the specialist hung up. She hoped the specialist would be taken in his sleep. She hoped to be taken too. Thoughts of death mixed with thoughts of sleep while outside, people were marching. And the people-cries quieted her mind.


Revel Sommer Browning I have difficult or painful chest pain. I have difficulty swallowing. I open my eyes. I write open for hope. I write difficult for swallowing. At what point do I wish for swallowing. For difficult or painful chest pain. I open my chest at this point. I write hope for open. I have difficult or swallowing chest pain. My eyes at this point have difficulty swallowing. I have painful difficulty swallowing. For hope or open, my chest at this point. I have painful or swallowing eye pain. At what point do I wish for chest pain. I open my chest. I write difficult eye pain for open.


THE DREAM WAS CLEAR: Adam Roberts everyone had run out of milk. The gas stations, freezing and empty Trust was breaking apart like a paper balloon I was wandering with a few friends and half-people An old girlfriend kept taking off her clothes but it had nothing to do with the milk I wonder, if at the apocalypse, it will just be getting weird and that people’s response to that weirdness will be a condition of such joy — not even exasperated that sexy flowers will begin to grow up from the sidewalks and milk will gurgle up to our knees and no one will perform intercourse, in it because we will be too busy


My Father Was in the Dream But I’m Not Sure Whether He Was Dead Or Not Lauren Harrison Beneath the concrete vault, beneath the layers of toxic gas, poison torch, spit of fire ash and ambling, we remembered all this from the movies: the plight, Pandora’s box. The lights are always flashing: sea of  bodies undulate  mass against  door whose three saviors wait and argue “They were people could be us out” my father  face of gray, musk of mutt, flesh vacant eyes and could  recognize his only son  epidemic  forgotten me  cerebral succubus, central sulcus, we were  prime once I suppose s uggest that he spits blood and I cease to convenient the child familiarized with scent and voice knows how much of the man must be left much of the brain be  man the body  be the brain, how much body  the man? Where  they go then who are they? We eat potato chips and cans we  live less the man though the man now comethcommon came “will I survive”  “Howend myself when it comes ” “will I see my father I die do I still believe he ever did exist?”


this is how it ends Tony Mancus there’s a priest, two buckets and a canister of laughing gas there’s a muslim (spoken like a cut that happens to the tongue all on down the ‘m’s), a porkpie hat, and a scantron sheet there’s a blonde, a redhead, and a bald eagle .45 revolver beetles at play along the banister one calendar turnips, another blips like a forcefield I can only see the dust. I can only hear the blood pumps rattle in the basement. You make your jokes feel sandy while the best among us enjoy their afternoon naps, their faces lying plastic. They’re bags full of bone and meal. All the brigadiers lick their bandages right off. In the future, certainly. In numbers absolute—they, the re-evolved, the coarse-haired and couch-bound, figure our waste was stockpiled. Great wealth in every shopping bag. A moon, the watered plants. There’s a pirate at the end of the world sipping his parrot’s drink. The bird does the dance better when he doesn’t have time to haggle with the tender. Say you’re driving a buick when it happens— all those years spent wondering why. Blink cotton. Blink astrodome. Blink willfulness, a candied home for birds. Blink recordskip.


The World to Come Sarah Heller On a roof in Istanbul wrapped in a shawl You told me about the return of the first light. Your eyes shining at the thought of him Wrapping his bandages, Elijah rushing to proclaim. The eyes of Istanbul in your eyes The ice melting the Raki to fog. I wrap up one arm with impossible faith And unwrap the other to oozing viscous bitters.


The Girl Without Arms Brandon Shimoda Will this last for more than a flight of membranes on an egg Beneath skewerwoods in hell, Wake up I WAKE As one finding favor within soft crisis A voice in my ear Arachnid book lung growing a grave along the wall I climb at a rate My mind cannot commit to memory I put your body on Your weight rushes through me like a glow of tar Cutting a terminal swath in the sky Understand me strung With bruises elect in a rain of wood A lamentable assembly of liberal laws For a harrowing selfApproving populace I CLIMB THROUGH THE BLACK LINING OF THE SKY Sag the relapsing throat of night Without complement. I want Thousands of people To die At once. I want to watch thousands of people Jump from windows One hundred stories high Glutted with pickled eggs and sparkling wine Out of tinkling windows Thrown up, Then served Again, Thrown up Again Then served Again, A platter of eggs Mirrored splinters of skull Sparkling wine red as worship AND I WANT SOMEONE TO BE PLAYING PIANO In a restaurant two hundred stories high Hunched in the lee of a simple song. There is Someone hiding in the strings, Many someone’s Hiding in the strings, Many Someone’s Hiding in the soundboard Many hammers hammering heads, Missing the rush of the world Velocity closing in Late to be comprehended, Someone Deathly afraid—their heart has stopped—whispering Into the ear Of someone also deathly afraid. I want to spend my life With you, I want to spend my life Inside


An ear what thinks itself An organ of infinite warmth, Glistening Branches of prayer Making branches burn AND I NEVER WANTED CHILDREN, BUT NOW I want children To drop Through skeletal netting Nameless Into black beds As like into potters aglow in generous helpings of children Grant them reprieve, Bend them over the brisk stools of carbon Let us cheer our occupation Proudly into sprays of hazel blood Bacterial bouquets of liquefied nerves Nations of skin slick with tantrum And the simple song Stops—I am stubborn—and the lining of tar Forms a baleful perimeter Around the edge Of the bed—I am stubborn You are standing before me I pull you close, Press my nose to your stomach Slip your underwear down to your feet LET THEM STARVE, LET THEM Drown on convulsing pacemakers Sidewalks of burnt skin Cocked, Unstable Ear-shells Hemorrhaging through the nose If I am going to watch People die in mid-air Accumulating ash before propulsive ceremonies of gas Before slamming their copy into the earth If I am to breathe bowels voided mid-air Congeries of tar flowers Riveted To a burning ear at dawn Give me a sign Hold my hair I will yell down the narrows of an hysteric neck Before the world gathers speed, Equanimity peeking through stirrups If I am to watch The people fall, Refract first spooks of light Spinning through tar on the ceiling I might as well start With my children


Newcomer John Ebersole Two men eat stalks of fennel in silence. You hand them coins. You tell them, “Go rest today”. Deeper into the corridor, the alley has become a latrine. Men and women squat openly. Although you woke to the scent of the season’s first orange trees, the spectacle of seeing them expel their waste so candidly pleases you: unlike you they are immune to respectability. It is no wonder that the stalks of fennel are the stalks of fennel! And shitting is shitting! When they’re done you hand them coins. You tell them, “Rest today.”



After all but the wild fruit had rotted, and all the people were gone but the ones who’d been out camping or on missions to label the plants and tag animals, I culled the libraries of houses, armed with a blue rocking eye, and a segment of what tree took my parents. The idea was wearing a hole through the ice I’d been consulting, and for a while it wasn’t preaching in a human vernacular— the encoded waves of what spoke through dead cars, in wind that flowed through empty skulls in the shade, were still rhythms I was taught at the local level, telepathically, frozen in that end of summer grammar like a frog buried in a box in my garden by an enemy. Were it limpid in surface, legible in the razor clam shells I had placed on the shoulders of poor Sonia’s coat like epaulettes


she could someday be remembered by, I could have seen what was coming. In my new library’s section on Self-Help and Mutation, I found the volume that had been hunting me while I’d dithered like a reptile in the hills’ abstract abandoned houses, the book on the softness of purpose in organs, the book written by one with the same name as mine, with a picture of a now-dead horse licking a child’s hair on the front dust jacket. And on the back—glamorous, a studio shot of a man, his shirt untucked, an apple on his head, his back facing the camera.


*And the Prepuce Skates the Precipice* Tom Oristaglio And all this rot just to keep the forest fed, The black silt of frowning breasts Stirred by hard dismembered winds, The minty pulp of birch root snapped like thoughts Against our gums, Sad linings, Strips of bark stripped like lint From the screaming belly of a winterless night. Guns returned to the earth. * We stumbled toward the bleak city glow Just to find the sea-bed rolled over on its side Drowning figures along the snaking purple spine, The nature documentaries milked dry, Attenborough’s voice flayed off and draped Along the escarpments as a warning sign, The vapid flush of snow-leopard breath, The fat fucking moths come up home to roost. The vertical ambush. * So starving, clothed in nothing but the husky pelt of that felled narration, we were forced to shovel through the banks of falling God as we crossed the silenced isle, scavenging The Word picking the carcass clean of verbs. * And last, having consumed every concrete action, we were left to sublimate.

Under the friction of our own self-destructive fingers.


The same well-intentioned thumb that presses foreskin to forehead Sealing this raw deal. (appeared in YARNTH)




For the anxiety of premature burial how to detect life in a corpse Ally Harris

Over the river medusoid light greases from the hands of a bottle smasher. Perhaps hastily. The sun bobbing along. Warble of ripe babes gunning from below. I stalk the bottom-drenched rim with uncertain damage like the Chicxulub radiating from my peristalsis. Washed and aglitter from the herring’s last gather children slosh the banks as excess semen. A sort of massacre. Lucid at the water’s ring. A toad amid crickets as ample as an apple with the razor neatly tucked inside. Is what theory says we shouldn’t hear. Some forms are duds. Some outlast others. an opening of throats the glitch birds flopping on down heavy like copper heavy on down is seduction, aperture is mother. Jawless sweetness of delivery, sweetness then of nothing. Ream on the river tongue’s barb. chiclet of sybaritic day. paunch of asphyxiation & a last whisker withers from the maw is song


About the End Jeff Hawkinson There’s no giant death bird swooping, no tectonic tear, no acid rain. (or zombies, either) I’m sorry, it’s just the flying knife in the sky imagining death and doom it’s calling for submissions, so: so just tell the ones who are falling to put their arms up. they’ll be more aero-

dynamic and susceptible to omo plata. I’m sorry, there’s just no death bird swooping.


Once Upon Place Steven Karl

—such flag flapping in dejection ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ then,

crossed-out eyes, blast begat bird butchers oh dear!

oh fuck!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ <<it all>> <<boomboom & boomboom>> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ no longer a part of, just face imagined place puked// then frozen// then +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ but that face

<<a once upon place>>

+++++++++++++++++++++++ larkless, flower-forgotten

shadowless, land load

—one last appendage waving in our inner desolate


bone cacophony song stuttered & us stopped


Chronicle: Being Young Professionals Jen Currin We had been busy writing letters, diaries, and children’s stories. Some assumed we were nuns. None of us proceeded linearly. We came from semi-radical backgrounds, knew how to grow vegetables. Our jobs were common, of the weekday variety. Something had happened/heightened our awareness. An angel painting a boy on the wall dividing our public and private selves. A memory of murdered parents, the false commons of our rented gardens. The pond in sight of the bankruptcy court where we spotted wisdom fish. Such details led us to believe we were living in poverty. We liked to read and needed a job. To think our way out of this drowning dream. We had to do something and we made choices.


from Below, a Slow Ascent J. Townsend —In Corners— The broken apex, shimmering, now feeble movements, misdirected vision, seeing around corners & within, beautiful as suggestion, a young projectile slides into decay, the mountain, kneeling, the city vivisected by vaporous streets at midday, crowds parting to cross, blindspot, a mass disappearance & unveiling , a vortex of faces.


Waves’ Lament Eleanor Paynter Current burns, distorts even our memory of the mouths we came from. A secret, forced into wires, we no longer oscillate between faces: terminus invisible. Throat-birthed song, we’d erupt from cones of silence to dance anywhere there’s dust, but it’s impossible to hide from the black surge of this new lightning.


No Precise Catastrophe Dave Carillo #1 Followed by machines, they Send our children & we theirs Whelping cross orange coals Embers born dreamily crawl The hopscotch sidewalks Star white chalk-lines Beneath chalk-white starlight A stillness Your suitcase #2 Door-to-door Gas-mask salesman Pulls a bed sheet From his stomach Lunchtime alone A suitcase barks At the intersection Red light Gnaws a thighbone Green light Yellow


Late-Stage Freedom (Caveat Ethos) Steven Breyak I want to hold a duck a live duck in the palm of one of my hands either hand is okay though I prefer the left and I don’t want it to be forced or tame or drugged or especially dead I want a wild duck to rest its balsa wood body (no decoys please) in my left palm of its own freewill if such an animal can possess freewill otherwise by chance of course we can can take measures to limit chance but nothing dealing with the duck or the natural unspoiled setting in which this event will take place and please do not tell me what these measures will be I don’t want to know I don’t even want to know when it will happen (though I expect soon) I simply want to find myself unexpectedly in whatever wilderness (Alaska or something like that) with this duck (a Mandarian) in my bare left hand. How much? (first appeared in Softblow)


After the Blue Oranges Cate Peebles La terre est bleue comme une orange Jamais un erreur les mots ne mentent pas Paul Eluard Falling from the sky one scrap at a time. Coordinates lost. If someone’s looking, they’d better look a little harder. Debris leaves the countryside covered in a sootiness that wishes it was snow. On the one hand contusion, on the other, open wounds. It’s been days since the last word came, and it was cold, a scavenger scouring corpses for gold. All that fit through the bullet-riddled stop sign was: hush-hush. I clenched it near my face and thought of your face. I threw it up high and watched it slice my smolder. Chalked against the bulwarks: You aren’t so darling tucked behind a titanium stronghold. Useless unless stripped down to skivvies cut from unpatterned fabrications along the lines of a nose-dive and ecru tulips sprung from aftermath, crying: Curtain, curtain, curtain! Abort this mapless mission through the interior, dressed and redressed in countless clips of camo and unflattering twigs. Someone toss me across this groundless gulch with a ponytail to cling to, however gnarled and stringy. The orders clearly state: have your happy now, even so mired in impenetrable mire, the hillside erased of picnic tables and banners alike – Boom! Yea, village ablaze, its honeymoons


pillaged, its apples gouged, and weathervanes banished. Bantam apocalypse, have your thorny pie, and I’ll have mine—a bit of shrapnel in my eye only serves to remind me what a sweet, sweet dish you are when mispronouncing lugubrious clobbermonger and eviscerating ladle of doom. Furrowed here a fortnight without sleep I’ve begun to sound out an alphabet of adulterous hand-signals as they appear in rearview mirrors, but they all come out looking like a stutter of me, ripping viciously towards insouciant cumuli, myopia totally intact. Say it five times fast. Say anything at all. I grow so weary of dreary, hearing the same spattered din all pummeled with fingerprints and marked ‘Confidential’. Last week, this red trench coat would have given me away, but now, see, I’m just any old flame in a field that is flanked by pyres of dulcimers that detonate in unison.


Stories to Stagger the Imagination Nate Pritts

You see the sun rise like hurtling fire spread across the edge of your planet & you watch it get closer & closer; you see the giant glass dome of your safe city & the giant finger print smudges approximately the size of all your puny human fears. You see the large footprint. You see people scatter like strafe & shrapnel; you see food uneaten on dinner plates, the candle wick still smoking. There is no one else. There is no one else as you buzz the receiver on your wrist for the fiftieth time, as you trip over the space rocks you were collecting. The glow is gorgeous; the light is perfect. The light is perfect as you realize the death dropping toward you through the field of stars is yours & yours alone.


Unlike the Trees Frank Sherlock This is not exactly there that is not exactly here

Hold my right hand at a table & tell me about my life

Preservatives for the dead destroy the living

the consumption

carries on thicker through the meats


left in the open

in hopes that it'll soon be stolen




The money line short the life line okay the love line thick enough to be read as two

It's getting hot & it's hard to tell if the slave ships are dropping off or picking up or

Fire or not survival or not

the gold teeth will never turn

into rotten investments

In case you can't sense


this along the road

that fed the deer to your bumper

I have become disinterested in designers of practical things

The lifespan of a dollar is 18 months the five the ten is 16 months the twenty gets 2 years the fifty gets 4.5

It's not just the Two that's a devil dollar bill since

I have been receded


& valued currency is still a living pig

Thanks for the reading

Here's a portable window as payment open it a while


de Libro de las Revelaciones según Santa Carolina / from The Book of Revelation according to St. Carolina Estela Lamat translated by Michael Leong Sixth Seal With noise and solemnity, St. Carolina, bottle in hand, addresses the seven corners of the world: In the morning, when the sun opens its jaws of fire, something like a burst of innocent birds will alight on the buildings. Everyone will think that it’s a bird timidly shitting, but an implosion of eggs and feathers will mar the stillness of the morning. A comet with black wings will soar through your head and when a toothless, snot-nosed child screams three times in the park, the sixth seal will suddenly open and then nobody will be able to say that they did not know, that they never knew. The sixth seal assumes the form of an albino rainbow, but we’re colorblind and everything white seems transparent to us. We won’t know that that rainbow, which looks like pigeon shit, is a wounded seal, a rancorous seal, the favorite son of god, deaf and effectual like him. An impure lover, it descends in a tongue of fire, transformed by sheer lust, by sheer divinity and laziness, because in reality it’s impotent. A planet like this enjoys curling up, doubled over, chortling like a cockroach. The seal laughs showing its yellowed teeth. The hours hammer into its cranium waiting for some dog to be overcome by sleep. Beyond this window a park full of cadavers is laughing. Come over here now, when the lambs have not yet roused from their sleep and when no one yet suspects that the night foretells your death. Mine, announced by a single pulverized canine, tends to evaporate right in the center of this putrid city. The stench of vomit slowly closes in and my house now reeks of fish. The intrusive orbit of an intractable star, tethered to the furious muscle of a planet which is also an angel or merely just an ancient stone: with all its might, the great agitator of the waters will sweep across the blue, celestial blood of the earth and drink of it.


Sexto Sello Santa Carolina, botella en mano, se dirige ruidosa y solemne a las siete esquinas del mundo: Por la mañana, cuando el sol abra sus fauces de fuego, algo parecido a un estallido de pájaros inocentes se posará sobre todos los edificios, todos pensarán que es un ave cagando tímidamente, pero un derrumbe de plumas y huevos romperá el silencio de la mañana, un cometa de alas negras se encumbrará por tu cabeza y cuando en la plaza un niño sin dientes y lleno de mocos grite tres veces, el sexto sello se abrirá de repente y nadie podrá decir entonces que no sabía, que nunca supo. El sexto sello tiene forma de arco iris albino, pero nosotros que somos daltónicos y todo lo blanco lo vemos transparente, no sabremos que ese arco iris que parece caca de paloma es un sello herido, es un sello angustiante, es un sello rencoroso, hijo predilecto de dios, eficaz y sordo como él, amante impuro, desciende transformado en lengua de fuego, de puro caliente, de puro divino y flojo, porque en verdad es impotente. Un planeta como este se divierte enroscándose, partido en cuatro, se ríe como cucaracha, se ríe mostrando sus dientes de sello amarillos, las horas se martillan el cráneo esperando que un perro se rinda al sueño, afuera de esta ventana una plaza llena de muertos sonríe, ven a mi lado ahora, cuando los corderos aún no interrumpen su sueño y cuando aún nadie sospecha que la noche es un presagio de tu muerte, la mía anunciada por un solo colmillo molido, tiende a evaporarse en pleno centro de esta ciudad podrida, el olor a vómito se estrecha suavemente, mi casa huele a pescado. Orbita intrusiva de un astro rebelde, encadenado al músculo furioso de un planeta que también es un ángel o tan solo una piedra anciana, el gran perturbador de las aguas atravesará con su fuerza la sangre celeste de la tierra y beberá de ella.


What to Wear to the Apocalypse Esther K. Smith

I wore an orange and pink paisley cotton shift that I'd bought for $7.99 at a Walmart in North Carolina because it reminded me of a dress my mother had in the early 1960's I had on pink suede open-toed clogs. But when I realized I’d have to walk down the steps— all 21 flights-- I changed into yellow Nikes. (appeared in LIVE MAG)


The end sneaks in Emily Brandt First Day In the folds of the skirt are garden hoes, anvils things I need for the coming ignorance of mother Suppertime triangle clangs a can of carnation a kitten lick a tiny slap bruised nails and flannel We practice dying Here on someone’s lap a lightning bug collides

Second Day There is a flea on the bed keeps me awake scampers with the lost forks layering them under the dirt on top of older bones practicing geology making room for cities But I need those to scratch skin to make feelings A funny time to sleep

Third Day When I dig where I had planted poppy seeds all I find are beetles dying in piles There is no I anymore

Final Day


interment in turn tar.


Destruction Myth Mathias Svalina I. In the end there will be a bowl full of grapefruit seeds on the steps to the Lincoln Memorial. In the end there will be a hat on the top shelf of a musty closet. In the end there will be a suburb drowned in ocean water. In the end there will be a child’s skull filling with ash. In the end there will be a poker hand with five fours of hearts. In the end there will be a broken bike lock sticking out of the ice. In the end the bears will take their bear clothes off & reveal themselves to be animals. In the end the men will chew their own feet off. The end will be a knotted strand of bleached-blonde hair. You will find this knotted strand of hair on your pillow & you will not be able to recall whose hair it could be. The end will come up behind you on the left but tap you on the right shoulder so that you turn around & no one is there. II. Everyone saw the end coming & threw a big party with barbecued sausages & moon bounces & people swung sledge hammers wildly, sometimes smashing a car window, sometimes hitting an old lady sitting in a green plastic chair, sometimes hitting nothing more than a low-hanging elm branch. The ATMs drooled money & children shredded it & baked it into the middle of croissants. III. There are only three more choices available for the general public: 1. A candle stub slowly re-erecting itself until it produces a match 2. The embodied voice of the laser beam 3. A porcelain toilet lacquered with honey There will be a vote to decide which one of these three will be the end. IV. In the end there will be a man standing on the parched earth with a glass bowl of powdered sugar. He will toss the powdered sugar onto his sweaty body & then lie down on the parched earth to wait for the ants. But there will be no ants.


V. It will end in taffy. It will end in pig’s blood. It will end when the bears & the lions fight to the death. It will end a year after the forgers are arrested. It will rain. There will be thunder. There will be saltwater in the pantry. There will be lightning in the shed. Everyone will gnaw their hands & feet off & then desperately try to use their remote controls. Everyone will wear undergarments of cellophane. Everyone will line their mouths with tiny bricks of sugar. The cars will inherit the earth. The power lines will inherit the earth. The barn swallows & ducks will inherit the earth. The unused drawing pads will be given to the thrift stores. There will be a problem with the swimming pool. There will be a disturbance & no one answering at 911. VI. The ending will be in a glass of Kool-Aid. Poisonous Kool-Aid. Either that or we’ll bring back the dinosaurs through genetic tricks & they’ll rampage through downtown Santa Monica. Either that or an asteroid will hit the earth. Or maybe it will just be a nuclear war. Whatever the end will be there will be delays at LAX. There will be old news in the daily newspapers, old wine in new bottles, old teddy bears in the arms of fresh children. VII. The ants will inherit the earth. The Fourth of July will inherit the earth. The monocled villains will inherit the earth. The earth will inherit the earth. There will be ice but no ice cream. There will be grass but no cougars. There will be harbors but no pirates. There will be silk in the top drawer. There will be dishes in the sink.


VIII. You will go out on a date & it will last forever. It will be an episode of Cheers. It will be a river with no bottom. It will be a bridge with no river. They will ride in tiny brightly-colored cars. They will hold their guns to your forehead. It will end with an obligatory greatest hits collection. Bottle flies ribboning out of a cow’s mouth. The actors will have no parts. The grasses will have no seeds. The seeds will have no salt. The salt will have no sea. IX. These are the signs of the end: They launch a viral marketing campaign. They eat the last of the food. They kill one another with bombs. They kill one another with stones. The rich give their money to the middle classes. Music schools allow talented kids to soar. Everyone will sell their names on eBay. There will be fifty different choices of toothpaste. The panthers lie down with the kindergartners. The flies swarm & eat the pedestrians. The oceans become blood again. X. Years later the history textbooks will refer to The End as The Intervention. XI. The priests are excited about the end but the politicians consider it problematic. The bakers continue baking their breads. The librarians stay on the phones too long. The ranch is overgrown with saw grass & timothy. The sun defies the shadows. The mice eat the snakes. The tildes destroy the asterisks. The bloggers post recipes for their last meals. The Dow has dropped abruptly.



In the end the void will be stuffed after his third trip to through the buffet line. In the end Larry Bird will decide what he should have had for lunch. In the end the mimeograph machines will begin to produce originals. In the end everything that spoke a language will use a tire iron. In the end the rubber. In the end the coarse. In the end the mountains. In the end the blackberries. In the end the nile monitors. In the end the stink of rotting pelts. In the end the formica. In the end the nickel. In the end the waiting. In the end the waiting room. XIII. Most people didn’t want it to end. But then it was the end. (appeared in Bat City Review)


Doomsday and Cigarettes Dan Chelotti Every preview Foretold the apocalypse, But none were in 3D. I left. I don’t like Movies where people Wave wands at each other anyway. I sat on a curb and spit Between my legs Until my mouth was so dry The tsunami From the second preview, The one after the Aztec Death dance and before The half machine virus, Didn’t seem like a bad way To die. Dead, I could sift Through the muck For a dry cigarette, Seek an angel To light it with its Genderless eyes, And remember I don’t smoke. It’s just that Doomsday and cigarettes Are the peas and carrots Of cool on the other side, So if you do die A horrible death, Grab your sunglasses And sling your gun Over your shoulder. It is a long walk to hell.



Michael Rerick a lost thursday under cargo client carrier last 00/00 /0000 ago no death wedding nap abridged week or arrival over the camouflaged day ocean flickered night traces and solid watches


The Reckoning Leigh Stein

Am I the only one in this who hopes it gets worse? For us at least, the adolescents, the ones who will still be here in fifty years, possibly jobless, but possibly not. I say worse because maybe then my friends and I can buy a farm, or an island with an abandoned asylum, if we pool all the money we've saved from working the jobs we never told our parents about. Not knowing what else to do, the history books will say, some young people moved to the country, bought livestock they made the mistake of naming, spent their days taking turns in the hammock, and grew illegal drugs until they ran out of food. For the first time in history, an entire generation was completely unprepared for absolutely anything. But oh how the stars will show themselves to be such miracles that we will comment nightly upon their arrival, reciting the constellations we learned in a tent set in our elementary school gymnasium, back when we were still impressed with parachute games. Andromeda, Aquarius, Aries, Orion. In the darkness, one of us will clandestinely reach for another. Someone will disrupt the silence to remark on its totality, and in the morning we'll find that he's left with his rucksack and two jars of peanut butter in search of the noise of yesterday. We'll lose more this way, to nostalgia, than famine or disillusionment. There won't be anything left to be disillusioned about. During our first winter, we will come to understand why our ancestors knew so many ways to eat an apple. In spring, whoever owns the tandem bicycle will hold monopoly over our amusement. Historians will see that in the aftermath of the crash the birth rate dropped, we used currency for decoupage, and had to learn to play acoustic instruments by candlelight; that all the childless women went out and renamed the land— Oak Tree Stands Alone, Kristen Loses Her Wedding Ring, Christmas Tree Farm Gone Wild, Pedestrian Turnpike, The Night the Trouble Started, Two Hills Give Us Pause— because we couldn't name our children, because we wanted to be remembered as cartographers of the new earth. (appeared in H_NG_GM_N)


River Reduced Joe Fletcher A hawk traced a ring on noon sky and vanished behind the deathbleached horns of a kudzu-draped oak. It was the South and already the sluice-mud was hot. Beetles burrowed deep to laze in cooler channels. My thoughts felt warped. I shouldn't have splashed to my face that culvert water mantled in a greenish film. A woodpecker beak spiked madly into timber. A man's beard resembled a swatch of Spanish moss and he scratched it with two hands in elliptical motions the way a rat grooms. Silt-congested river. For a quarter mile a muskrat followed us along the banks. I was dazed by waterfunnels spinning from oarblades. The shore: silence, compost piles, two chairs, and two cane poles propped in tin buckets. No one. Sometimes the highway curved close and we sent a scout up, who reported a staggering vagrant with an arm swollen by bloodclot, from whom he filched a frayed blanket we used to wrap the naked baby who raved and chopped the air. One night we pried open a cattle trailer. Made a crate fire. No one had the strength to sing. Sleep ascended to the drum of rain. Later I awoke alone and peered at the moongray landscape through the slits: a stem of smoke rising from a hillock. And the sound of someone running very fast, breathing heavily. But I saw no one. Then the baby died and we pushed it downstream on a little raft of twigs. Before it was out of sight we saw dark shapes sliding out from the banks. We shouldn't have looked. We shouldn't have hoped for the continuation of our line. A tide of strangers will eclipse us.


Red, Black, Blue, and Purple Martin Rock Life is a kind of rust. Here is a vertical future, and buildings rise like sandstone karsts or a cross obscured by the darkness around it. There are no windows and the doors are thin as burlap. Behind them, people are doing terrible things to each other. In one room, a man is dragged across the floor and his head is also the eye of a giant fish. This time your golem is a Cyclops and is unhappy to be so thin. Blood contains too much metal and reacts violently with oxygen. Such is life. A beautiful woman, eyes cast towards the earth, is mourning your loss. The mushroom cloud is also a clown face and there is a skeleton dancing to an invisible marionette.


preparations Theresa Sotto


check for



check with

store them in

listen for

count all

stockpile the

look for

make sure

keep only

look up

surely make

heed all

watch for


avoid the ignore if

watch the watch on a decide whether


create a

clean out


draw a

crawl low

strap on

withdraw from

stay out


plan for

stay in bed


plan for

stay away

do not strain

ban more

move away

do not stand

plan to

move to

do not use

plan a

move fast

do tell

plan as if

tell yourself wash yourself vacate your


sanitize be alert



be aware



take cover



seek shelter


remember the

seal the room




continue as if

bolt down hunker down


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