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M know that some very special, very awkward octopi also have three any people don’t know that octopi have three hearts. Even fewer

heads. The Paper Darts tri-headed octopus is a creature born of deft hands, quick brains, and a large, drooling mouth. We could give you a spiel about how Paper Darts “is meant to serve as platform for emerging artists,” and while it would be true, it wouldn’t truly get at the heart (or three hearts) of our mission. We are based in Minneapolis, but we have contributors from places like Texas, Spain, Italy, and South Korea. Paper Darts is a worldwide publication with a “Minneapolis perspective.” Minneapolis is a thriving center of art, music, writing, film, and everything in between. Paper Darts is sequestered within a state of silos, mills, industrial warehouses, and seven months of the coldest weather in the United States. Because of this, for better or worse, we are attracted to art that repurposes tradition and structure into modernity in the same way that the old, abandoned Midwestern warehouses are being remodeled into something raw and new.

Paper Darts

is meant to serve as a warehouse that exposes the beauty of the bricks, beams, and concrete of our artistic community. We cannot thank you, our contributors, our readers, our volunteers, and all those who have supported and believed in the value of Paper Darts enough. Without you, Paper Darts would be nothing but a beached octopus reaching for the ocean (or the nearest Great Lake) with all eight legs. Thanks, thanks, and more thanks, Regan (the Mouth) Jamie (the Brains) Meghan (the Hands) n page one


What shocked me was that he actually followed through with something: that he began, worked through the middle, and then finished it. And shoved me in the dumpster at six in the morning on a Sunday. I think the coke was wearing off and so he lost some of his touch. Oh, Donny. Donny put me in the dumpster. Dumpster Donny.



There is no time in the dumpster, just a past I faintly recall in short, unseemly bright brain blasts, a jagged flashlight kaleidoscope in my mind. I am sitting in the dumpster and then I am pulling into the parking lot of the temp agency; I am sitting in the dumpster and I am eating dinner with Sean, Sean who smells, wishing I were sailing on an ocean; I am looking at grandpa, so tall before a blue sky, while grandma counts cardinals from the gazebo. I am thinking about abortions at the dinner table, though I’m not even close to needing one; my mom sprays herself with hairspray while telling me to pull my dress down; we’re going to church, and I am crammed in this dumpster, arm stretched over and behind head, legs doing god knows what beneath—salsa dancing, pretzeling, blood tick-tocking the seconds away until it can reasonably flow again. Chitty-chitty bang-bang, Mary Tyler Moore, I’m all crunched up in a dumpster.

“Whore.” “Fucking cunt.” “Bitch.”

Slap. Slap. Smack.


Super Dog n page three

GO! GO! Datsun,


DAVID PETERKA The sky is split open now, hanging thick with anvil clouds.

Way up farther than I can see, the air, it purges indiscriminately, guilty of something tragic and unforeseen, but I’m no stranger to that sort of thing. Darryl yammers on in the passenger’s seat, he’s got girl troubles, and I’ve got troubles of my own. There are no spring chickens in Iowa this morning, and it’s about a six pack to Davenport, in the snow. Go! Go! Datsun, Go! The engine drones on like drums of war, only less dramatic. Muffled by our stocking caps, sound waves break from trough to crest, freezing up and dropping to the floor. Every now and then the piston clanks up against the cylinder head, and I’m reminded of the baby blue Datsun and all of the things that Darryl said to me about his grandmother’s brain turning to mush just enough, her life savings under the bed. Darryl yammers on in the passenger seat, he’s got girl troubles, and I’ve got troubles of my own, like one too many microwaves burning in my brain, confused morals, it’s all the same, in the snow. Go! Go! Datsun, go!

Ow. I don’t even remember what I did, and to be truthful I don’t think I did anything to make him mad. All I remember are the grimy corners in that house, the dirty-carpeted, tancolored bedroom floor with Donny’s dirty white t-shirts and McDonald’s wrappers and nothing else to tie the room together. The only cool thing he ever really did was ride a motorcycle. Oh and he’s a Christian, I guess. Whatever that means. Also he was good at shuffleboard. It seemed obvious I wasn’t really dead. I guess lying on the kitchen floor in a pool of blood sure seems like death. When he left the room I reached back with my hand and felt the pattern of the linoleum underneath the puddle, and I thought of how dirty it was, and how it was even more soiled now with the blood trying to soak down, and the fact that there was a chance I’d never live to clean it up, and then how funny it was that Donny didn’t even know that deep down I am a neat freak, and how good it felt that I had no intentions of ever telling him once I got out of this mess. Something Donny never understood was that my stay in the dirty, awful corner of life he lived in was always meant to be short-lived. Basically there was an invisible sign on my shirt that said “VISITOR,” and then my name underneath. Pam. When I met him at the bar that night I’d decided to go out with him, as a joke, or some kind of journalistic expedition, the results of which had unknown fate. Only we didn’t really go out, we stayed in and watched Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure on VHS,

twice, after he spent twenty minutes hooking up the VCR, a twenty minutes I spent trying not to look at the dog-chewed couch or touch it with any unclothed part of my body. Then he said something about paying rent, which hit me funny because for some reason I’d assumed he was squatting, or had some other way around it. A conversation outside.I hear high heels on her and he sounds like he’s carrying a heavy object. I imagine a microwave.

“…but I told him not to tell anybody.” “Well do you think he has?” “I don’t know. I don’t really think she knows…” “Do you think he told her? Do you think he’d tell June?” “Would he really do that?” “Maybe…No. I don’t know. I’m just so fucking paranoid. I mean, maybe it’s not a big…” Clip-clip, away they go, free to move their appendages however they damn well please in the non-dumpster world. He fucked me up pretty bad, but if not for my leg jammed against my chest I’d be able to get out of here just fine. Am I bleeding? I cannot tell. It is more than possible that my entire bone structure has fused together in the seconds or days I’ve been inside this dumpster, like those gangly driftwood things I used to pull out of the lake back then. n page five


Piano Player n page seven



I. Hush, moon. A papercut moon, dead as a hangnail—or a door-knocker against which I throw my bones. You say No shadow when everything in shadow then leave me for days. Last winter: the wolves’ teeth for jewels. Something to bury, this—silent, sewn soft with limbs. And the ash fizz in the dark. Home and then no home.

Tank, tank, tank.

I knock to pass the time, hoping that somebody recognizes the noise as human and opens the lid. It’s my only way of staying sane, my only thing to do other than try to estimate how much blood has been lost. It’s dark in here, but not nearly as dark as I always pictured, or as scary. As it turns out, I’m just a woman in a dumpster, just like there are women in dresses and thrift stores and space shuttles. I bang with my left arm, which is surprisingly dry and able—wouldn’t you think it should be bloody? If someone were to walk by and hear the banging and open the thing it wouldn’t be worth the shock and horror or the explanation I’d owe them. My ideal situation would be that somebody hears the bang, stops and opens the thing, tips it sideways, walks away, no questions asked, and then I get out, quietly and swiftly.

I just wish I had a periscope to look around with. Then, when no one was looking, I’d get out by myself: throw my weight around until I had the thing on the ground and could crawl out and walk off like I was just some dirty female, nothing to see here. But I don’t like scenes—I wouldn’t want to tip in front of a moving car, or a blind person, or a person who can see for that matter—I’m not one of those battered women. I’m just a clean woman, temporarily soiled and bloodied with a pop can jabbing my ass for a brief moment. This is a one-time deal.

Folks. Folks, this shit is depressing.

I mean I didn’t even see it coming. And then there he came— Such a surprise,


We had just gotten out of the truck and were going inside the house, through the back gate, and I didn’t have any real immediate plan except for going to the bathroom and I think Donny was on the phone, making a deal, or talking to the dog or something, getting tired and cranky like he always does in the early afternoon. There was a cigarette in his hand. I walked along the broken, dark wood planks of the floor to the bathroom door and put my hand on the handle and had just begun to turn when something came down on the top of my head, the place where it must have been soft right after I was born, the crown, or whatever it’s called. I fell down on the hallway floor, and I could tell that as he looked down on me, his face upside down, that he was thinking of smashing my face with the heel of his boot. Sometimes there is a bit of reverb when I pound, a tink and then a subtink, the bigger tink’s child, maybe it could run off and tell someone. Bam, bam, bam, every knock is a question, not a statement, or even a statement begging a question.


II. Everything, and the violence—lake here was in the distance—before—becomes the fracture— becomes now cold bodies hitting tarpaulin, slap against lake sheen, the tobacco forgotten— burning wetly, the tart flame somehow— the slack clasp of the garment wettened—thicker skin— a looser seal against this pond somehow sucks the ash under— barely remembering to be lipped by the fish. A looser mouth might have saved me. That is why I don’t walk deeper: finding I’ve followed you into me. n page nine


Teeter Teeter n page eleven

fashion for the season Nichole’s collection brings together the best of Bohemian-western for the city girl in all of us. It’s rare that such a contrast of urban and rural works so well. The denim cuts are reminiscent of pre-hippie counterculture-chic, and the dresses create an incredibly sexy silhouette without being unrealistically flattering. Let’s talk patterns. Skirt-and-tights pattern matching is executed flawlessly in this collection. Whether it’s pattern on pattern or solid on pattern, the result is eye-catching and gorgeous. Neckline patterns are elegant and sleek. Paired with the right jewelry, the result is some serious head-turning potential.

III. Can you find me here. Find me inside you, smell of your damp hair, one foot wet from a laughing mouth. Press and I am. Press me for I would tell you what, but the dawn hunts the moon without end, and darling, you have work in the morning. Wake to make eggs anyway, the quilt still warm, the animals in the window basins; outside, the din becomes a wood room full of bees. There is never enough coffee. The papers in the box sit unread. Towards noon, when the keys left next to the pillow, I will feed your mewling cat and name all our children. Their noses surely the dullest knife against my memory’s throat. But my throat must be thicker than the moon’s eggs lost restlessly in the field; deeper than the moon’s heart (for even a dart in jest will graze bone) when the morning gets caught in its veiny throat. Nothing so easily plucked as a stem seeps bitter juice, but the box is the size of the room. I cup every inch of you slowly, so you remember my name. Every day another skin and they fill the chambers of my heart’s rooms, a further tissue to thicken the fat against winter but this time, watch me enter it wisely. How could it not be easy, after the hurt so big I smelt the meat gone bad in the wind; the night the dogs beat a circle frantic round the yard. Your heart’s tears become my skin and the skins on the eggs grow thicker with cold; hang in my belly as I wait by the pond. Mine, I will meet you where I left her, where the box I’ve built catches, smolders thickly into the surrounding grass. Where the body in the earth, and the earth holds still the pond, and the ash becoming

into you.

By Nichole Graf Introduction by Thomas Wendt.

Okay, how about that first, yellow pencil skirt? Maybe it’s the whole ‘sexy librarian’ thing, but pencil skirts really do it for me. Perfect length, perfect pattern, and those buttons down the front bring it all together. Leaving the bottom two unbuttoned (or three or four, depending on how frisky you’re feeling) is a great alternative to a slit. It’s definitely my favorite piece in the collection. I dare you to show me a girl—or an adventurous guy—who wouldn’t want to own this entire collection. n page thirteen

the contortion of your faces

i didn’t watch through neighbor’s picture windows

quicker than happy, blood pressuring too much between pumps. until she, the kids, the animals, moved in nearly forgiving, dogs slobbering, puke piles suprising, rodent pets defecating, heads on banisters cutting—you, showering off chemicals sweated after clearing a path to the woods. everyone did their worst to make house home, slapping color on walls, putting color in your face with kisses lettuce and potatoes instead of hands and ultimatums. But, around the time the doc said your nose would heal itself—the pills actually cause seizures when you quit taking them, Damn—the school said kindergarten starts for your middle child at 8:35 end of summer—she said treatment will be a month—treatment said you can leave when you want—she told you exactly what you’d be leaving if you returned early—she reminded he’ll need rides to school, so will the oldest—your Color Drained like your Bank Account. i was never around for altercations i heard in the background of phone calls. i didn’t watch through neighbor’s picture windows the contortion of your faces, the dampened rattle of motorcycle chain while you hunkered under the half-open garage door instead of riding, too late to call late, so not to wake anyone. i didn’t see twenty some months ago when she was livid, when she threw you out the front door over three cement steps, she wasn’t kidding when she called when she bawled:

pick his ass up i don’t fucking know what to fucking do with him Anymore. i never heard you speak about yourself the way you did home after treatment, or how happy you sounded from a hospital lobby nine months after, first child fat and healthy, things Had altered, n page fifteen

He would be the new cause of All Nighters on the living room couch. i was outside a tango jamming restaraunt fighting my then girlfriend over horns and drum-sets, when you called. you did well distracting the argument— whatever it was, whatever any of them are, or were. i wondered walking home how they lead us to quit shouting to not pulling out our hair but instead, our wallets in backseats, liquor stores, or pharmacies. how an argument never changes us like a baby reaching to grip our thumb for the first time, or spending ten minutes touching your whiskers, and nose, and ears with fumbling fingers watching with undeveloped eyes quietly giggling and gurgling. pills, liquids, powders don’t stick like bruises to your arms, not like smoke sticks to your wife’s hair locking the door as she comes from gardening, or pulling a birthday cake from the freezer. A House’s silence has been replaced with Home’s tearful tugs of your one-year-old-son on your wife’s robe. you sold the motorcycle, no more Northeast bars ignoring smoking bans sliding sandwich bags of murder over counters under napkins. the step-kids call you Dad standing behind you in the entryway when they ask if i’m leaving. we don’t call them step-kids now. your youngest grabs your pant leg when he wants you to hold him and sizes me up with a YouLookLikeMyDadButDon’tSmellLikeHim look. you flip all except a hallway night-light off. you have a meeting tomorrow, daycare to pay for, leftovers of an almost ruined love to repair for a too good of a cook, too good looking wife, Damn. in this car-seat-cul-de-sac your kids hop off the bus every week day afternoon, you greet them with your youngest sitting clapping on your lap. before supper, you help your second oldest son to his feet after one too many crashes not to cry, and when he cries—feeling too old to cry—you smile hurting for him hand around his shoulder—feeling yourself too old to smile—while your wife one hand on her hip, one hand hanging free clutching a towel biting her lip grimaces watching from the top of the driveway. and you call out to her, “We’re alright.”



your wife calls the new chinchillas crap factories, her eyebrows nudge me after clever jokes the kids don’t catch. she offers me a water glass full of wine, baking or sautéing a meal in the kitchen of a house you can hardly afford when i show up for your son’s (who can’t pronounce acidophilus yet, but tries) first birthday party. your older step-son is missing a few teeth. your oldest, your step-daughter, denies delicate and blushing as tomatoes, hardly able to say out loud, a boyfriend. your wife smokes in the garage after setting a timer. the house almost smells like twenty-some months ago, when empty minus a couch that showed up two-months early, you layed lying on, studying shape of dawn shadows in the living room—dying a bit faster than natural, heart beating




As children, my sister and I one day discovered and fostered an enormous spider we unearthed in our dad’s garage. Despite our caring for him and feeding him regularly, Spidey died one day, unexpectedly. With the memory of the late Spidey in mind and with an awareness of Victorian practices of the memento mori, I have fashioned personalized coffins for recently neglected bug specimens. I created tintypes using liquid emulsion, thereby printing, and immortalizing, the images of the bug and their caskets onto actual tin. I encased these prints of the bugs and the coffins, a la the traditional tintype/daguerrotype case, in decorated mint tins – the perfect resting place for these sugar-loving creatures. n page seventeen

Dreaming oF hot rods


Back when your body was new to me, we dreamed of hot rods beneath an undetermined genus of should-have-paid-attention-in-dendrology shade tree, Midwestern sun burning bright up above, and we swore that we’d never speak the language of our enemies, but all bets were called off when we raked in the enormous lump sum of South Dakota state lottery money, and we finally found the good life. We felt our pants grow tight across our thighs, and peered at each other through the partially hydrogenated substance glazing our eyes, and let me tell ya, we didn’t make a single drop of stupid art when we moved into that brand new Sioux Falls artist loft. Sun ricocheting through a wall of shining glass, bottles of wine stacked and leering seemed to shut out the past, our bodies preserved by the pumping AC, and your body, well it seemed so new to me. let me tell ya that when we grew restless we headed out West with the rest of our cash, and a 1982 Datsun may not be a hot rod, but it sure did its best to get us across the river, where the beckoning fire and brimstone billboards line up all along the interstate, hand painted, the sun bleached bright West River, wrung out and rolling, unwinding straight shot square miles brimming as we forged our great escape. We had a plan that relied on the proper connections, a full tank of gas, and a stockpile of switchblades waiting for us in that Cheyenne, Wyoming warehouse. Illegal in Colorado under state code 18 12 101, trench coat transactions seemed to get the job done, our identities obscured by the waning sun in the alleyways, purveying those shiny things that the government forbade, spring loaded blades, boy have we got it made. The apocalypse will come to Colorado with a banjo on its knee. The apocalypse will come to Colorado all because we won the state lottery ages ago. Hospital beds will overflow exponentially. The Colorado youth will pack the walls of the frozen penitentiary. The apocalypse reign down on Colorado in a blue pickup truck sputtering desperately. The apocalypse will come to Colorado all because of you and me and the South Dakota state lottery. n page nineteen

interview with

chastity brown Chastity Brown’s robustly-rooted songs have an irresistible audible nearness, and a striking candor many musicians aspire to but rarely achieve. Jenna Beyer met with Chastity for Paper Darts to discuss her process as an artist as she gears up to release her next album. Jenna Beyer: Do you feel that artists have inherent talents or gifts, or do you believe an artist must simply grow and develop through hard work? Chastity Brown: I think that each needs the other because early on you recognize that you have talent or you desire to play. You know you want to write or to play even if you don’t know how. I feel like it’s in my blood and it is so a part of me…it developed into an obsession... And it has to do with identity. That is how I became myself. I feel a lot, and I can’t cut that off, and this was my only way to filter through things. I went to this play a few months ago and I saw this 11-year-old kid sing “His Eyes On A Sparrow” and I was just blown away. You know that feeling—that child can sing. So I feel that at some point in my early teens I had a realization that I can do this or I have a connection in this way. JB: I ask her about the position of the soul singer in the Amy Winehouse age.

CB: “Soul singer” has become this broad term, because back in the day it was like a black people’s way of singing. And there are all sorts of people I’m listening to right now who are white and have this soul voice, and I’m buying their albums and stuff. But you go into any church in the South and you can find a black woman who has a soulful voice. But someone like Amy Winehouse sells out because she belts it out. Back in the days of Nina Simone, they were singing in response and they were really freaking active with what was going on. So now they are like icons. But soul singers today just do that “ooh” and “ahh.” Seventy-eight percent of blues has always been about relationships and sex and that has always been kind of this common theme and when you have these soul singers today, that theme becomes natural. But someone like Mary J. Blige is the soul singer of our generation because she taps into the emotions of sexuality, getting over drug addiction, et cetera. And the fucking honesty, it is deep. Whereas the media’s market is on R&B relationship stuff.

JB: Do you feel like the new album is not a plateau or a peak, but perhaps a summit on your musical path? CB: Yeah. My last album, Sankofa, was really dark. But my creative process wanted me to be really honest first. It was really about me. There were other stories, it wasn’t all “me me me” [she strums a fake guitar]. But there were some key elements—like race, being a mixed woman, sexual abuse. I completely laid that out and I never want to sing that again, but it was all me. This [new] album is a broader scope and you have these experiences that trigger this one thought and it becomes another piece. I definitely feel like I have grown and I hope that translates.



Hotel Room n page twenty-one

Crazy Like a fox

MAX MOSE n page twenty-three

You are Invited

to Paper Darts’ Writing Workshop

Sponsored by Beach Harbor Resort

When: June 11th & 12th

Where: Beach Harbor Resort, Door County, WI

What: A creative getaway for writers to collaborate with like-minded artists

& find inspiration in one of the most beautiful places in all of the Midwest

Includes: Workshopping, keynote speaker, and live music every night! Accommodations: Affordable rooms or camping packages

Start getting excited!

More details coming soon at

Facebook Hot Flashes is an art and writing competition that takes place every month on the Paper Darts’ Facebook fan page. Post a submission to win fabulous prizes or vote on your favorites. With an amazing 59 votes, Katie McCann’s post swept the first contest!

Nike Pumps with my power-suit on, I stopped at the corner. There was a hunk sitting on a bench near me reading the newspaper. He wore acid-washed jeans, white sneakers, and what might now be referred to as a “Cosby” sweater. I sat on the bench bopping my head to the music as I whipped out my compact and lipstick to reapply. He mouths something. “What’s that? I didn’t catch it.” Pointing at my Walkman, I shrug my shoulders. He says with a southern accent, “They’re fryin’ Pan Am.” “What do you mean they’re frying Pan Am?” “They’re done for, over and out.” I melt with the drawl in each word. Reality kicks in. “What? They’re my biggest client!” “They declared bankruptcy.” My shoulder pads weighed down on me heavily now. It felt as though suddenly my hair fell flat and neither my spirit nor my sneakers felt very pumped. What horrible news to be delivered from this hunk’s lips. However, that soft, sweet, southern accent is why I now have a great love for country music.

PD 1  
PD 1  

PD 1. Rleased in Decemeber.