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NEAR RHYME MAR 20 2014 routines issue 1


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DRIVING INTO BOSTON

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KATHERINE OSBORNE

waiting for grieving paper animals careful of different-sized meridians According to string theory David Blaine could be sitting at your kitchen table selling you blood and you buy cases of it and you tell him he has familiar eyes and he motions for your signature I left all the windows open this morning I hope he finds his way in hear the lighter fluid begin into your hands I give myself away by not even wearing my jacket my sister warns me I’m her twin every morning by making coffee just the way I like it


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KARI SCHWARTZ

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Pop a trazodone Go to bed Wake up Let the sun make you feel bad Feel bad for waking up Why are you even awake Feeling bad feels good Feeling too bad is scary Pop a Zoloft Feel your head settle Anna is coming Pop a Xanax Feel like you are four beers in and you are alone at a party Don’t feel like dying Watch your arms

“No, it’s alright. I’m being a dick, let me help you with those.”

Anna comes in with groceries, watch the clock, it’s noon.

How’s your day going? Are you Safer not too, settling all right? Do you need always. anything else?

I got you some groceries she says. “You really don’t have to do all of this, you know that right?” I know, I want to do these things; I like doing these things, for you.

Anna watches you as you put things away, in cupboards, shelves, and the fridge. She steps on eggshells all over your apartment. Always careful about where to sit, stand. What to say, what her words will walk into. Who’s more vulnerable?

“It just started actually. I’ve been living in this apartment for the past year; I think I’m already settled. Do you want to stay? Watch a movie or something?” Okay. She hesitates,

She says. you see, “Don’t do that,” you respond. she sees that you see. What am I doing? “What?” “Making me feel guilty.” That wasn’t my intent, I’m sorry.

Please forgive me for any rudeness but could I see them? You roll up your left sleeve. Three tiny marks at the bottom of your inner fore arm, blood drying,

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Three tiny marks at the bottom of your forearm. She moves a palm across them, the sunlight pouring through your windows onto her hair and her fingers on your mistakes, maybe you could fall in love with her.

Tears, left cheek, then right. “No, no, come on. Don’t do that.” I I I’m sorry. “I really am better, Anna, you don’t have to cry like everyone else.” Don’t tell me what to do. Laugh. She laughs. Are you sure you’re there’s nothing else I can do for you.


These words come out of her mouth but what they translate as, is: Where is your hurt? And how can it not. “You’re company is more than enough.” I worry about you all the time. “So do I.”

“Sometimes.” Sit down Couch is comfy Anna at your side Sun still pouring in Birds singing Birds singing Birds singing Birds singing Birds singing Birds Singing

ALEX TABLON

Are you?

I wish you would stop being so nonchalant. “So do I.” She looks at your arm again. “You we’re expecting something more gruesome?” Can you blame me?

Well, I’m happy you’re here. “Yeah, I guess I am too.”

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PERPETUAL OKAYNESS

“Skin is tough, I think the moment I decided, my body was like ‘No, motherfucker I want to live.’ Don’t you think that’s funny?”


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JAMIE

2. Another dream, another life lived from the inside of a car. Windows for mirrors and mirrors for eyes. There is nothing natural about a motor vehicle. The manual fits in your pocket, but it is not enough to save you. You are moving. You are in constant motion. “If you cease forward motion,” reads the manual, “You will burst into flames.” Like being born into a bad action film. You have been traveling much too quickly. The people around you: also traveling much too quickly. And for too many years. You hold your breath. You wait for a change.

POSTCARDS/LOS ANGELES COUNTY

3.

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I let go of my legs; they sink in the water of the pool. In the water, cold and clear, my legs soon vanish. The sun at noon both with me and without me: it is busy, coaxing mirrors from the waves, petals of color from my flesh. Suddenly, my body is divided in two. I think, “How will I climb the steps to my room, if I am divided in two?” Then the two halves are divided, and again every hour. Until finally, I am no longer there. I think, “I had a problem that was so pressing. At first I could only panic. Now this new problem, even more pressing. I knew nothing in the old days.” It matters a lot. It may not matter at all.


4. Behind the apartment blocks, there are only more apartment blocks: faceless and infinitely tall. I take long walks and I always get lost ­that is the moment when the music cuts out. I open my eyes and find myself among unfamiliar walls lining unfamiliar paths. “I cannot run fast enough,” I think, “to return to my room.” I cannot run fast enough to return to my body; I left it somewhere, I don’t know.

10. I write a book and ask my sister to read it. I write another book and ask my other sister to read it. I keep writing books and at the end of my life all of my friends and family have received a different book I’ve written. At the end of my life, I call everyone together. They say, “You kept writing the same book over and over. We didn’t know how to tell you.” Each book was set in a different city. Each book had different people carrying out their different stories. But at the center of each book there was always the same question, which always transformed into another question. On the relation between dreams and reality, on the possibility of ever waking, on being and not being, on the very beginning and the very end of everything. I approached this question in every way possible. I never had an answer.

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GNIVES

take out your little Quasimodo on the yoga mat pink inferno of five twenty eight in the morning and my gut is a grotesque rotunda unhappy about the food you chose last-minute-last-night the oil gem and clogged pipes in the bathroom also ring true to the space in my chest yesterday is not tomorrow and yesterday i was thinking about my foot as a soft sun and the moon screaming out from underneath my legs today is a little changeling, though, feeling like balasana when she was born she was born into a grey cave a creepy kind of public bathroom deal with ultraviolet lighting which is just unflattering, if you ask me. i see you and i’m shaking and we’re shaking in an awkward handstand. looking at too many people at one time on this crowded green vessel makes twenty minutes a pillbug on the concrete. every hominal pocket here carries loud thoughts to swell like a tide when the water decides he’s had enough of this juvenile bullshit i always want to talk about today with you but i am welcomed home a bruise by a candle hiss and my own knee to kiss instead. a string of thoughts

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MASON SCHREVE

I wake up next to my shadow & the idea of fire. I have silence & a banana for breakfast again. I watch a bird fly in the window; this happens a thousand times before noon. I swear really loud. I paint your impossible breasts on the tops of my thighs & try not to masturbate to them. I stare at the ghost of Jesus, from whose head swells four horns & a white pistol. I try on a dozen dresses & a halo. I have a panic attack for lunch. I hide from the lava monster that lives in my chifforobe. I yell at my neighbors for looking at my delicate teeth. I lay in bed & sweat. I put on a second pair of socks. I listen to Why Do Birds Sing? on repeat. I chase my grandmother’s ghost back into the attic. I eat lasagna & another banana for dinner. I make a list of all the names I’ve ever heard. I go outside & climb a telephone pole. I take a bath & watch Jeff Goldblum turn into a lizard. I let my cat bite my face. I lay in bed & sweat again. I touch the wall & close my eyes.

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PAUL RIZZA


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BOB SCHOFIELD

1. You wake up early. It’s midnight somewhere, including this room. Peel the tea leaves off your eyes. Stretch them until they ache. Say to yourself, This machine is automatic. Say to yourself, This machine is the burning heart of a weird antique tiger. Press your tongue against something furry. Scoop it up. That little thermos of daylight. 2. The ritual is like a new bone sprouting from your hand. Pour it in the begging bowl. The red one. The cracked one. Lick the roof of your mouth. Feel tire tracks appear in the snow outside your window. Look past them, for that familiar someone. Look for their light up through the burning trees.

3. Put on your vampire teeth, and know you have no friends. Know that in this moment you are making zero mistakes. 4. The familiar bone is the false bone. Fix your zipper. Go outside. Go back inside. Bite an avocado. Release the cartoon duck. The day is heavier when you sip it from a can. Take the horsehair in your fist. Paint red lines through your apartment. Lie in carpet at the center. The surprise party starts, and you’re right where you need to be.

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7. Go to the couch. Go to the you-shaped hole in your bed. Eyes hurt because they’re full of streetlights. Colors in your head. Those aren’t whales. Those are just tiny, swimming versions of the sun. 8. You are good at explaining things to the young people of this century. Like a gardener, fitting your crooked wisdom between the digital rose petals of their chests.

5. The eye patch arrives at 4 0’clock. Time to sip a bag of maple syrup. Feed the seahorse in your belly. There are boots that go up past the thigh. Someone keeps calling you. A wrong number. The lights in the hall never shuts off. It’s that special something, you remind yourself. The way you scare a paper sailboat from the shore. 6. The trick is carry a joke in your heart. Like a baby against your chest. Everyone’s watching. And no one cares. Take the day off. Feel that weight. Lie in the grass with it. Cry a little. Self destruction is a tool. A way to increase that marginal slice of innate likability.

9. You have a book you will never finish. Blink slow into the glowing mirror. The opposite of typing is taking a stop-motion cannonball to the neck. 10. The less of you that is a hammer, the better. Go to the park. People always tie leashes to their leashes. Saltshakers dancing in your pocket. Rain comes in a black sedan. Roll up your sleeves. Imagine a submarine. Believe in the weird shapes of the breath moving back and forth through the invisible tubes in your nose. The weather is good. Certain animals are not yet extinct. People are smiling. Laughing. They look less than sad. More than okay with the distance spilling between them, and the fact that the sky has turned into a completely wireless overcast gun.

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ANNA POSEY

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DALTON DAY

CARELESS SUN

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shitty blue car.... sunoco - (w4m)

a slurpee machine a mop bucket half filled with water behind the counter, two computers just collecting dust rubber bands, supper A real book. Nightlife at the Academy of spacious daylight taking notes waiting for permits a chance to say

hi

I might not ever see you after this semester. talk to me about crows the holidays shell casings from a little target shooting in whichever language you want in basic electricity this particular novelty blatant with my stares your made up doe eyes you have a Beethoven tattoo You dont know how to whistle I search for you in every male face instead of being nervous in my car downloading directions. There has to be a place for us. love at arm’s length some kind of trophy Sunday night after the niner game

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JOSH GILLIS

Why am I not noticed? - (w4m)

butch..its trish from florida bolted out to the car balls deep in one of the greatest acid trips of my life in the busy airport departures lane so worn out got me a burger and some water living with the aftermath of the way your brilliant eyes sparkled beneath every single universe All mint and in their box. It was so great seeing you at the Christmas Ball we finaly listened to fusion jazz in that cool bistro puking in the bushes (sexy I know) I gave you a cigarette i was lonely at dinner that night not quite awake Think we could talk and repair things? You still look hot on your Harley even in 30degree weather but as fate would have it that was the exact moment my cousin called ha they were having their baby.

My lighter was yellow and my eyes are blue.

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MISSED CONNECTIONS

openminded widower I miss you kiss me.


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ALEX BROADWELL


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My neighbor the taxidermist. His neighbor the cop. The single woman in the third house, who covers the dash of her car with bundled sage and new age crystals, the items with which she controls the traffic in this town. My neighbor the nude bodybuilder. The outdoor grillers who have so many pets and no children and I sometimes feel bad wondering “is the problem his or hers?” The people in the basement. The ‘No Solicitors’ sign people. The underground gas leak. The morning smokers. The flash mob that is by now routine and with which we gauge the passing of days. The captain of the firing squad and his toothy wife. The way her teeth are so toothy and push against her lips in directions that awkward her smile but then again also make me horny. The power lines that seem to hum loudest in the spot where that kid died. The cats whose sex sounds like a kind of murder. The pianist. The upstairs neighbor of the pianist who is more alcoholic then even the rest of us. The teenage daughter. The college kids and their cheers and their scabies. The curbed La-Z-Boy that nobody will claim, though we all ache to sit in it. The ones who all night burn electric lamps and do not close the drapes. All of the ones I sometimes think of fucking. All of them rolling around in their yards like dogs at the moment I blow my magic whistle.

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JESSE SAWYER

CENSUS

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ALEX BROADWELL


ROSS ROBBINS

The sky darkens over Warm Springs. I am hip-deep in a puddle of pouting. Flood the room in “Woe is me.” For ten days I have felt like salt, my mind a wound: sting. I dissect myself. I panic attack. I squirmed my way, spastic, into the white trash palace of crystal meth sin. I rotted my teeth in trailer parks. Corrugated tin, baggies, cut lengths of red and white straws, needles. I am feeling something like regret. I am feeling something like thirty pounds underweight.

I write: “My existence, the velocity thereof, accelerates like a stone thru the sky.” I write: “Perhaps I am dead instead of here in Warm Springs.” I write: “Perhaps my mind is a melting popsicle.” Cast for the deep still spot. That that is where the fish fishes. Impala-like, race through tall grass. Ampersand bent back on itself. Cut your wrists and pray for rain.

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from “Mental Hospital: A Memoir”

The lines between the tile walls are swastikas. A former professor two rooms down is screaming at his reflection. He doesn’t know he’s him, tells himself to fuck himself.


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Near Rhyme no. 4