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NEAR RHYME FEB 13 2014 commitment issue



lick the salt, lollygag tongue. i said tardive dyskinesia. ok? fu(c)k my walls painted red in your bubble wrap dreams. i’ll slowly unzip your body bag: let’s get unestranged. i said let’s skewer. ok? that shiny sweat: can you bump it? i said fall into my belly. ok? let’s puzzle.

Erin Berry



I like metaphysicians. I prefer metaphysicians to medical physicians. I met one some time ago. He had the sight of a waterless Apollo floating fluidly in my dreams. I saw him gazing constant at me in mirrors. I welcomed him. I washed him. I sang a siren of sonatas for him. I said: my dear, let me come to you. He said: my fear, stay. Coercion is a cocoon with no eclose. I told him this but he removed me. I asked for it. He lithotomied me. I asked for it. He removed me. I prefer metaphysicians but their knowledge is a refractory shade of a cat’s yawn.



i wrapped your cloud body in my robot body and did a kind of rain dance like a heavenly spider made of thunder barking at the trees our hands together palms out, like albino plums in a two-way mirror and there was the familiar sound of tear gas rolling in my favorite mug i don’t know what i’m talking about these days, but i know i’m trying to be more earnest i’m trying to wake up slightly earlier, and hide plenty of sunlight in my pores there’s nothing wrong with a little healthy competion between me and you and the ghosts of old high school friends who can’t remember my name who already have two kids and have already lost one down a big stone well and who, by blowing kisses at a pagan monument of pennies, think they can wish him back safely, into his tiny all-digital pickle jar Bob Schofield Opposite- Tate Dorvinen


The shampoo offers some cold. Making sure to scrub extra hard I still feel I cannot reach every hair on my head. I wash it out thoroughly and attempt a second time, more frustrating than the first. I begin to notice the sound of the water being thrown so violently at me for the first time. I stare at the body wash and begin to reach for it, stopped only by the thought that I do not want to touch my flesh.

Reaching into the shower, I twist the hot water to a temperature I know will not be pleasant. There are many clothes spread out on the bathroom floor, few of them mine. As I stand steam begins to fill the small room and cover the mirror, camouflaging the thin lines of makeup that have made their way off of my eyelids and onto my cheeks like little black brushstrokes. As I step into the stream I focus on the burning water droplets and how they bounce off of my body to travel deep down the drain. I’d like to follow them someday. The heat of the water irritates but I enjoy it. My back will be bright red soon, but there is too much on my mind to notice. I should know better than this. I do know better than this. The water has a brief moment of cold that quickly fades away. But I still made the choice. Hot water covers my scalp and tingles. I always make the choice.

If I just tried a little harder things would be different. I changed myself in the right way, just too late. The bodywash stares back at me. I could have been okay if it wasn’t for him. The bodywash stares back at me. Could have. I squeeze too much conditioner into my palm, I used to need more before I cut my hair. It’s soft in my hand and I hold it there for a while, starring. I tell myself that I’m alright in preparation to say so. My skin feels numb against the water as I wash the white lather out of my hair. The bubbles disappear. I reach quickly to twist the water knob all the way around, it stops flowing. I’m draining the wet from my hair as the door opens, letting a rush of cold air in. It feels nice against my warm skin. I want it to stop. You okay? Yeah. Okay. The door shuts. I’d typically be embarrassed of my bare body being so visible, vulnerable. I am un-


sure whether my racing thoughts or numb skin allow myself to be seen so easily. Either way it makes me feel nauseous. I take the brick red towel that now matches my skin and lazily pat it against myself. Much like the shower I am drained. I am too tired to brush my hair, I am too tired to put on clothes, I fall into bed and am too tired to sleep. I reach familiarly to my back and continuously dig my nails into it, scratching off the pesky bumps that bother me so much. This forces some areas to bleed, they were still trying to heal from the last time. *



Anna Posey Next Page- Yuna Winter



10 this is the worst bucket list i’ve ever read before you had it tattooed to your calf as a checklist we could’ve saved you some ink scrap the lot and just put “bungee jump with dolphins” or fuck knows \ make a  sandcastle on a pebble beach \ red bucket green  bucket blue bucket it’s all good bb suggestion box \ things to do before you die \ stock pile your prescriptions of diazepam and zopiclone  for a few months then take them all at once \ fill a ruck-sack with rocks and jump off a bridge on christmas eve \ get hit by a train in front of your best friend \ it goes on like this...  remember jonny, life’s not complete til your heart’s skipped a beat \ which could be another way of saying a life will often complete itself without your knowing in that interstice of bliss and horror \ and that it will likely happen in whatever follows a friend saying “let’s...” \ not this basic bitch tourist shit Jonathon Vaughan Opposite- Andrea Bjurst



there isn’t anything about you I could scream in a chant at a hock ey game but baby it’s only appropriate love isn’t something someone is that’s impossible theres no way you could be any thing like that (. like. no. ) (.you just. can’t BE the moon! .!!) you can be angry/sad/jealous but you can’t be love you can only become surrounded by it IN IT a swimming pooooool full of: jumping your all overs all over little white kisses in every corner,your handsagainstmine—dream house rooms/matching spoons


ridges in your fingertips sighs and barely lips |||\|||||||||||||||| your glitter palms keep my purples and blues coming back into you I mean woa h woah what what what a way about you—making every champagne bottle pop off the side of a yacht I’m way overboard in your underwater flowers , hoping you fix my oxygen tank because I’m in it & I can’t get out

Amelia Gillis


True she seemed more like a pattern of woven materials than a person. Each strand, each article, from some other place, some other person, or found lying on the ground during a dry season. I began to notice when she searched the gutters but it was much later when I began to understand that it meant she was craving a cigarette, an old habit, from those nights spent in cars, in parking lots, on the coast. When I first met her, or, when she met me, more like, she came on to me, you see… when we met, she served and prepared my drinks only. The extent of our relationship was just that. I couldn’t look at her directly. I ordered tea. Earl grey. I used to want lattes, but began to consider her feelings and became averted to becoming the cause of her effort. The tea alone was enough, too much, even. The whole opening of the bag, the danger of the hot water, the slipping on of the sleeve, plus you have to step away from the register. If there is a long queue everybody sighs. I wanted out of there as soon as possible; it seemed a small ceremony but became overwhelming for me. I needed to concentrate this time. This time that I finally ordered the latte. It had to happen. I used to come to the coffee shop to do work. It changed. I couldn’t work. The need to inverse the circumstances became apparent, by that I mean, if I talked to her for one moment, I could diffuse the situation, gain a latte, and concentration. The need to focus outweighed whatever inconvenience I would be causing her. The inconvenience in not being able to focus was more important than whatever task was at hand. I became arrogant. There was no line, I said hello may I have a small latte and she said sure. There was a transaction of money and looks. I think I used paper money, I don’t think I used credit then, I didn’t touch her hand but noticed I could. We both smiled. I became painfully aware of driving my mother’s car to the shop. The license plate said GODISUS and it

was embarrassing, my mother, is embarrassing. Why was I thinking of the car? Because if I say hello to a girl then I automatically picture every step that comes between hello and copulation, I am almost positive that is the only thing that is possible to think. I guess I don’t say hello to girls, usually. As a senior in high school I finally went to a dance. The reason I went is because someone asked me. Her name was Claire and through the act of noticing me she made me love her. I should not have loved her. It was only a dance. It was the first time for me, dancing, of course. She was genial and kind with cheeks that laughed even when she was not, though, she laughed a lot, and made me smile into my shirt. I felt I could eat a meal with her and not tremble. Dancing was a boring thing, except for the touching which was very different from other kinds of touching. Dancing allows you to touch erotically without the meaning behind it, well, the meaning is behind it, but the meaning is irrelevant. Why she chose me I have no idea, I never noticed her before then. Not because she wasn’t noticeable but because I noticed everything except what I wanted to notice. I stopped allowing myself this indulgence at some point. Not anymore, I even let people know I notice them now. The relief they must feel. Back then I didn’t know being a shadow could force the other person to become the light. Claire ended the night dancing and laughing with someone else. The pain this caused me was blown out of proportion by the mystery of her motives; I wanted to know what she saw in me, who was essentially not even there? She was the only other person I had ever touched erotically before Adriane. I learned her name was Adriane from reading it. I would have rather heard her speak it to me but instead, after I ordered the latte and walked over to retrieve it, she silently gave me a note. Our hands had to touch for this. This was what I was avoiding, I

15 Janel Martinez

realized. I wasn’t trying to cause her less work; I was trying to keep our interactions brief, because I wanted to ensure her no space to come up with schemes. Well I suppose I was trying to cause her less work after all, essentially, less stress, because I was not looking forward to the strain that tough feelings cause upon the nervous system and the mind. I wanted to spare her from it as well, but it was clear she was not concerned with such matters. The note read:

have made love to her if I had known. For whatever reasons, clothes, hunger, something in her insistence made me resist wholeheartedly. She wanted me to love her very badly but she could not have loved me, because I was a shadow. I tried to give her my bones, instead. She couldn’t have sex with those. Several nights she could not stop crying. I didn’t want to do it because I knew that was the only way she knew how to show love.

I think you are great 713-2204 – Adriane

It was evening; I had worked it out. We were standing in the hills behind the shopping centre off of Winchester road. Hills of a blonde wheat color, made of clay and dirt, no grass, with small thick stubborn shrubbery, the kind that looks as if someone grew it in haste, kicked it around a bit, and then expected it to keep growing. I held her as we looked towards the sky for no reason, we had been driving around and there was nowhere to go, it didn’t matter where we were, it was better to be standing on a hill behind a shopping centre than inside a shop inside a shopping center. We wanted to go somewhere without pavement. I was holding her from behind; the incline had me standing a bit taller than normal. I felt at any moment I could lean forward and we’d tumble head over feet down, down, and possibly get up and start telling the truth. We were both experiencing a sort of vague agony in our genitals. I felt her every movement. I could smell her. The fabric between us turned us into two wheat stalks swaying. I asked her if she wanted to go back to the car, she asked me if I wanted to tell her why, and I said no. She said no. I kissed her neck, and she said yes. I led her to the car then because I had figured out the way to love her. We climbed into our separate seats, the car smelt like my mother’s lipstick. The music I had selected turned itself quickly on and then off. I had never had courage in my life but when her hand traveled across the seats, past the center console, and into mine, the car disappeared and I laid her back into the seat, kissing,

We started out studying. At tables, with sandwiches and tea. I found myself often in my kitchen asking her if she was hungry, she seemed to always be hungry. I was studying art history; she had no formal studies but studied everything. I showed her my collection of novels and she read every one she felt interested by, but when I asked her what she thought about them she told me she would rather not talk about it. She filled a journal a month. Different handwriting for different approaches, I wanted to print her, she said no. I read her journal to her out loud and asked her why she was a genius and she told me because she never talks about it. At night we lay side by side touching, kissing, but that is all. I never would have asked her to stay the night; she just seemed to have to stay. We met up some nights after she worked. If she had a day off, she didn’t exist, I couldn’t find her. I felt strange about the clothes. I never knew what her clothes really meant. The problem was I never saw her outside of her work clothes. When I finally did, they were new, she had just bought them. The clothes she chose were grey or dark shades of violet and blue. I remember a dress with a collar, a dress that slid half-way down her back. The clothes she chose matched my clothes. I never knew what the clothes she did not choose for me to see her in, what her real clothes, looked like. Perhaps I could

16 kissing, we had never kissed that deeply. She told me she was wet, it was not the first time she had said this to me, as a way of applying her urgency. I asked to go down on her. More like, I tried to, I led it there, and started to, but she was self conscious. I told her she didn’t have to worry, I love her, I love her and want to show it, I don’t want to take, only give, and she said no, that it wasn’t fair. I had refused her first kiss, too. So in turn, she refused my first sincere one. It made sense. I always wondered where the insistent need came from. Was it because I was the only person to not take her offer up immediately? The concept of sharing a bed without sex was lost on her, which is the concept of love without sex. She told me this outright. The last time I saw her she was wearing a ridiculous coat with faux fur lining and enough of a collar to seem like a hood. It may not have been the coat that was ridiculous; it may have been the man she was standing with. He was standing too close, in a big hunter’s hat that matched her coat, with a crossword puzzle in his hand. It may have been the coat, or the man, or it may have been the look of pure joy on her face that vanished when she noticed me. I was thankful for the negative impression but I still wince when I think of the scene in the dark of the parking lot when I told her I loved her, and she shouted at me that I didn’t even know her, that it was impossible, no one has. I wonder if he knows that yet. I did though; know her, a little I am sure. I don’t think you have to touch a person to know them. Much later I learned that the first night she slept at my house was the first night she’d slept on a bed in weeks. Everything became confusing for a time. I don’t remember how much time. Then, slowly, I remembered, and nothing became lost on me; every detail was highlighted by my inability to understand. Everything became ordered in the sense that I know now that my conflict with myself is what caused her to see the conflict within herself, and hate me. So there, as I said before, I tell people when they are important now. She made us dinner once. I took her to the grocery store and she picked out an assortment of foods that seemingly had nothing to do with each other. She picked out spinach, beets, mustard seed, small red potatoes, ricotta cheese and giant pasta shells. Later I would learn these are supposed to be quite complimentary to each other but I couldn’t imagine how to eat them all together at the time. She prepared salad and also a meal of stuffed shells with beet sauce. It was the most confusing meal I had ever eaten but it impressed my dinner guests more than I could bear. I had never bothered to light the candles on the table, but she had. She probably opened her mouth and lit

them with her hot breath. I was convinced that the presentation and contrast of colors in the food was really what won them. I don’t remember what any of it tasted like. We all had wine, I never drank but with her. There’s a thin red fog over all of these memories. My friend was fascinated with her. He said her clothes hung off of her like silk couch covers. I told him they weren’t her clothes, they were mine. He wanted to photograph her when she wasn’t paying attention. Instead he showed her his photographs all the time. He said he knew people who knew her, and that they called her a dilemma. He told me she smelled like a gaping wound, fresh, and lovely. I knew what he was saying. There was some pain hidden there that she allowed me to touch but would not own up to. I had no intention of asking because I was doing the same thing.



Matthew Harrison


My soul is old, but my body’s new, My smile is borrowed, and my heart is blue, But a red heart beats insistently within, Informing me of the whens that happen and the wheres I need to be. Whens: When your hair falls, just so, And captures my gaze as it twists against the grass When you move and your shirt pulls just a little tighter and tighter and I start to think about not thinking and other things that are not thinking and fucking fucking fucking fucking When the sunkiss caresses your iris and I see the green in the brown in the amber waves rolling so fascinatingly and singing “hello I love you/hello I want to fuck you” Wheres: Nearer across the room moving, signal with my lips and you remember the color of my tongue as it slides across them Closer my fingers entangling in tangles as we are tangled as I explore with my eyes and my fingers are still tangling and caressing your red oh god so red Lips Next to urgent pleading with motions with sounds that might be words but I can’t tell because we have not stopped kissing kissing lips fingers Lips you are uuuuhhhhhh Under and through and into and into and intointointointointointointoin-FUCK On top of slower and careful and uhhhh mmmm I can feel a trembling eye on me as it rolls back beside shyly like in the movies afterwards and it might have been the best mistake we ever made, you say, and I agree.

A. C. T.


tutorial for kissing and a little bit of putting on lipstick FIRST—————— you must find a perfect boy on campus or on the street and compliment him and tell him to stop whatever he’s doing because you two are gonna kiss example of a compliment to get him to kiss you: listen here hot stuff i think we should kiss within five minutes and then afterwards kiss again SECOND))))))))))))))))))) make sure the pretty boy does not see you while you do this (very important!!): find a beautiful shade of lipstick that matches your hair/skin/ensemble and put it on make sure you only put it on your lips and not your skin boys don’t realize this but this is the key of being pretty THIRD******************

Amelia Gillis

21 the third step’s the charm you both close your eyes and this is where it gets complimenticated i meant to just type complicated anyway BOYS make sure you touch lightly, your lips against hers. it is important that you initiate the kiss because its just better this way, trust me anyway put her head in your hands, your fingers napping in her hair kiss her kiss her kiss her kiss her love kissing her and look at her before you kiss her again GIRLS make sure that if you are blushing that you control the temperature of your cheeks bc you dont want to burn his hands if he touches your cheeks close your eyes and put your hand in the back of his head and feel his hair and his close eyed thoughts as his lips meet yours for the first time kiss him until your lips get tingly„ that is a good sign, that means you should keep kissing important facts: you should never stop kissing ever and ever ever always begin with a soft kiss so you dont startle each other open your eyes sometimes to take mental photos of what their face looks like up that close but make sure they dont see y ou looking i hope this has been helpful, kissing is the greatest thing on earth on this damn ass earth


Talk about washed up chumps sittin’ on edges of stoops; where the truth lies, under the harsh rivers eyes. Caught in hot n’ heavy temporary successes but at nights you undress yourself and find that where real truth lies is the key inward. Unlocking every possibility for new potential, all within your reach. So, be. Be the potential that knows no limits, embrace the sky, take a breath.

Scott Mullen


Grace Millard


Near Rhyme no. 2  
Near Rhyme no. 2