Cover illustration by Michael Kraft Editor – Matt Lewis Editorial Assistant – Anthony Muni Jr. Staff Writer – Brian Krans Review Writer – Sunny Katz Web Developer – Jesse Williamson Printed by Ayahuasca Publishing 3245 University Ave. Ste. 1430 San Diego, CA 92104 is a statement. Every time you read The Radvocate, you are drawing a line in the sand. You are firing a warning shot. You are declaring to the world that mediocrity will not cut it anymore. You are planting a flag of creativity in defiance of the advancing mass that tells you not to think about what you consume. They will give you things to comfort you, to soothe you, to tell you everything is okay. But everything is not okay. You know it, we know it and they know it. The Radvocate is here to spread that message. We are here to embrace the terrible reality rather than let the fear of it control us. We feature stories and artwork of people that acknowledge the state of the world and start there. Read independently, think critically and help us shout to those who would control us: “We are not afraid”. Contact email@example.com to get involved. theradvocateisamagazine.com theradvocatemagazine.bigcartel.com vimeo.com/theradvocate
Song I Sing of Sound/ Waving Rolling Rusted Land By Bruce Bales…………………………………………………..Pg.2 Lesson Learned By Brian Krans…………………………………………………..Pg.4 Anthropoda By Julia Evans…………………………………………………..Pg. 7 Popcorn By Michael Kraft………………………………………………..Pg. 10
The Long Fall By Eric Torres…………………….Pg. 18
Desire ripples down my spine/ I am violent and fickle/ There is no time but heartbeats/ Set our love on fire By Mary Prewitt…………………..Pg. 20
Sacred Geometry/ The Little Finger By Anthony Muni Jr………………Pg. 22
“Self-destruction at 9am” Artwork by Alejoh Candelo
His pocket By Clementine Frye……………………………………………….Pg. 24 Knee Touching By Thomas Martin………………………………………………....Pg. 27 All photographic images used are from the series, The Sun Never Set by Bruce Bales 1
Song I Sing of Sound By Bruce Bales
The song I sing of sound travels around the neighborhood ringing the ears of the poets, musicians, photographers, and artists concentrated in our Bushwick, our Athens, our Haight-Asbury. The sound reverberates loudly pounding eardrums and pulsing hearts. The vibrations unseen, but felt as real.
In Iowa we create our own city-state. Bustling until our eyes can no longer hold the burden of consciousness, but even in dream do we create. The song I sing of sound traveling in the dark from dwelling to dwelling awakening those who have awakened me nudging them from slumber comforting the into spring where the sky moves slowly and the smoke rises and the hangovers are heavy.
Waving Rolling Rusted Land
By Bruce Bales
repeat repeat rolling rusted land a belt for bibles and business commerce construction corrosion rain will wash one and rust another repeat rolling
the waves of grain and crumbles of industry all will be over taken by weeds crumble crumble repeat rolling rusted land waving rolling rusted land
By Brian Krans
A few years ago, I was having drinks with my friend at the Latin America Club in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood. We took one of the few tables outside so we could smoke while drinking toxically large margaritas. Soon we were joined by two women, both in their 20s, at the table next to us. They were so close we could have awkwardly avoided acknowledging each other like everyone does on public transit, but one of them asked for a cigarette, so we interacted. While my friend chatted up the better-looking of the two, I shared the typical small talk that begins great bar debates with the other. She was feisty and direct, a great combination in a temporary drinking buddy. She asked what I did. I told her I was a journalist. She began lecturing me about the duties of the media, a common topic people outside the profession love to give me. She talked about truth, honesty, and exposing the liars. She said so much of what we’re told is downright bullshit and that more people need to closely examine the dishonesty. It wasn’t that I disagreed with her. Too many messages going around are misleading or ignoring bigger issues. Hell, too much of the stuff out there serve as nothing but unnecessary distraction to the bigger stories our ethics professors demand we report. This was, of course, before sites like BuzzFeed began inundating us with necessary information like “24 Signs Your Life Revolves Around Snacks” and “27 Things I Overheard at James Franco’s Pace Gallery Opening” while we silently approved the NSA monitoring our clicks through them. It was also before CNN put Miley Cyrus twerking as the top news story on their homepage. I must confess, however, I was part of that media storm around the spawn of Billy Ray and Alan Thicke. I had one of those corporate writing jobs and my assignment was to report on the health benefits of twerking. It was a direct order from the Yahoo! front page, one of the most trafficked pages on the internet.
It was the lowest point in my career, mainly because it was one of our company’s most popular “news” stories. What’s worse is that it confirmed that kind of factabloid journalism only makes money because people fucking love it. Good journalism is telling people something they don’t want to hear. Unfortunately, it is not a good economic model. It’s depressing. And people are depressed enough on their own that they don’t need a daily reminder of how shitty humans can be to one another. I wished I could have debated the subject with her, but she was right to believe most media is dog crap. The best I could tell her is that people get sick of being fed society’s rotten insides and they’d rather fill their bellies with sugar. So then I asked her what she did, and she said she was an actress. That’s when things got interesting. Her latest role was in a reality show based in New Orleans, but she lived in San Francisco. Essentially, she was telling a journalist—someone who told peoples’ secrets for a living—that America’s precious reality shows are closer to The Office than actual reality. Not a smart move. Reverting back to our previous conversation about duties of a journalist, I told her that I was now morally obligated to write about how there was no reality in her show. 5
She immediately flipped her tone, saying if I did, the show would be exposed as a fake. That wouldn’t be good for her career, even though it was the truth. At least she admitted the irony of her earlier comments and could emphasize that doing the right thing doesn’t serve everyone’s interests. When I went home, I checked out the story, just to see if she wasn’t just another San Francisco loon. Sure as shit, there she was on We TV’s “Big Easy Brides.” The network’s slogan is “Life as we know it.” The woman I had met outside that bar was much, much nicer than her character on television. “You know, I’m sure you’re a really nice girl, but you’re kind of lame,” was one of her lines, at bar, to the new photographer, after a mother broke up a wedding between relatives. Another, while decorating a trailer park wedding, “If you died in a trailer park and went to heaven, that was my inspiration.” The show flopped. The moral of this story is that if you want people to tell the truth, you better be prepared to suffer the consequences.
Anthropoda By Julia Evans They were unlikely friends. He the sleek woody mantis, and she the tiny caterpillar. # “Honey?” a girl asked. She tore a chunk of honeycomb from a jar and dropped it into her teacup, tiny with a greyed chip in the handle. She offered the jar across the table. “No,” a boy said. He stared at the chip in her teacup until his eyes turn crazy and bulgy. The girl stirred slowly but the honey didn’t melt out of the honeycomb like it was supposed to. The tea was too cold. They’ve been sitting there for too long. They’ve been not saying anything for too long. “We’re bad for each other,” said the boy. “No. We’re good. We’re so good,” said the girl. “I’m such a burden,” said the boy. “To you.” # She was tiny, larval, but not for long. Under his watch she grew and grew, fat and green, too big for her skin. It wasn’t ever skin at all. Whether he made her feel like her insides were on display, every dark thought pulled inside out, or if someone had truly peeled out the thick, spongy tissue of her heart and sewn it back together, outside of her, a patchwork exoskeleton, she never really knew. # “You’re just going to hurt me,” said the boy. “No, I’m not. I would never hurt you.”
“You could. I could hurt you, too.” “You’d never hurt me either,” said the girl. “I know that.” “I could. I could hurt you and it would kill me,” said the boy. With her fingertips, the girl picked the honeycomb out of the cup and set it down right on the table. Defeated, cold tea oozed everywhere. # She moved slowly across the ferns and orchids. She could not hurry like him. His movements were swift and startling, though he spent much of his time still. Watching her. Every hushed I love you written on her belly was dragged across the rough tropical epiphytes, bleeding her secrets atop the type of symbiosis they could never master. Neither of them would be the canopy, the shady trees doing all of the protecting, night after day, day after night. And neither of them could be the undergrowth, doing all of the nourishing, night after day after night. They both wanted to be it all. # “We’re not supposed to work out, people like us. We’re too different,” said the boy. “You’ll never survive this.” “All I ever do is convince you not to leave me,” said the girl. “It’s all I ever do.” # There was a time, once, she was able to be free of him. Or maybe she was just sleeping. Maybe she was just feigning freedom, wrapping herself up in layers and layers and layers and on the inside of it all, she was just a liquefied, transforming milky mess of Ican’t-have-you and I-don’t-even-know-who-I-am-anymore. It was dawn when she emerged, wings then, massive, soggy, tremendous wings and she dared not tell him she was okay. She dared not tell him to fuck everything else and what they had was perfect just the way it was. 8
She never said a word. Instead, he said, The End. They were unlikely friends. And later, on a dark morning, he pierced the soft flesh of her underbelly (the cells of her heart, inside out) with his raptorial forelegs and he shouted it this time: THE END. She wondered if maybe they’d been like that all along, his predatorial legs clamped around her, just waiting to sink in. It’s not like it was the first pain. It’s not like it was the first cut they’d made in each other. But maybe that day, in the weak May sun, that grasp turned spiny and spiked and she finally figured it out. He needed her so much he’d consume her, and he knew it all along. They both knew all along. # “I think we should spend some time apart,” said the boy. “No,” said the girl. “Please. Don’t.” But the girl thought about all the other boys she watched anyway. She didn’t know what was worse: her heartbreak or her wretchedness. Either way, she would not let him win. “Stay for another cup of tea?” said the girl. She picked up the discarded, defeated honeycomb from the table and bit in to it, chewing until it was no longer sweet, just wax, blank and soft between her teeth. “Okay,” said the boy. # She once read that if the prey does not resist, a mantis will eat it alive. He sunk his face into her belly (her heart, her inked I love yous), mandibles slicing. She did not resist.
Popcorn By Michael Kraft “There are two kinds of popcorn in the world. Well, there might be more, but we only work with two. You’ll have to memorize them pretty soon.” “Okay.” “This one here is butterfly. To the naked eye there’s virtually no difference between butterfly and mushroom. Sometimes you’ll find yourself needing to cook some mushroom and you won’t know until it’s too late and you’ve got an oven filled with buttery butterfly. It’s usually not a big deal, but sometimes it is. You’ll just have to learn when. They’re virtually identical.” “Okay.” “We keep them here in these three trash cans. They’re metal now. Used to be plastic, but the rats kept getting in. Between you and me, Dusty, we got a serious rat problem here. You‘ll see. They come around every now and again, or you’ll hear ‘em squeaking about in the ceiling or even climbing down the pipes, but they won’t hurt ya’. Haven’t been bit by a rat once yet! Ha! This one here in the middle is mushroom. Remember that. The other two are butterfly. It goes butterfly, mushroom, butterfly. Babies Making Babies, that’s how I remember it.” “Babies making babies.” “Hell yeah, you got it. I use all kinds of pneumatic devices to help me remember. Take right here for example, you see these shelves of popcorn bags? See anything special about these? See how they’re organized? You don’t, do you? I can tell you where every flavor of popcorn on these shelves is. Go ahead, pick any flavor and I can tell you where on the shelf it is without even looking at it. Go ahead.” “Umm.” “Don’t be shy, Dusty. Pick any flavor. Pick a tough one. Pick one you think I could never guess where it is with my eyes shut like this.” “Okay.” “Dusty.” 10
“How about.” “Come on.” “Um.” “Make it a hard one.” “The...” “My eyes are completely shut over here.” “Crunchback of Notre Dame?” “Ah ha! Good one, Dusty! Very good. That’s a top shelf flavor, fifth bag on the left. Am I right? My eyes are closed, Dusty.” “It’s Dustin.” “Of course I’m right. You know how I know? I’ve developed a system. I’ve got systems for everything, all pneumatic. You’ll get there, Dusty. Just takes time. This job is like a lot of other jobs, in that it’s all about details. Here, follow me over here to the mixers. Watch your step, though. These floors are slipperier than a politician. Ha! It’s a total ass-meet-pavement situation working here at first – I’ve seen it again and again: I’ll warn the new guy to tread lightly, to take care in his step, and every time without fail these kids think they know something I don’t know. Try to save time, try to cut corners. Think they can grab the chocolate bowl straight from the microwave. That’s always how it goes, Dusty. They microwave the chocolate for five minutes straight. Five! Can you imagine? Careless. Thoughtless. But chocolate burns! You need to take it out each minute and stir it. You need to set the microwave temperature first to medium and then to low. But do they bother? No. They slop it in the bowl like dog food and rush away. Always rushing. To where? For what? And when it beeps they reach for the bowl with their bare hands - always their bare hands. But tempered glass doesn’t understand shortcuts. Tempered glass just gets hot. They get two steps before they realize they can’t shortcut their way around the heat and glass and hard work and they lunge back to the table, eyes wide, fingertips on fire. But buttery floors are unforgiving, Dusty, and it’s ass-meetpavement plus a scalding, chocolate mess. And who do you think has to clean it up? Who do they call for every time? That’s right. Because Roger’s been around. I know this business in and out. I’ve been in popcorn for eight years, and I don’t 11
and I don’t take shortcuts. I have respect for hard work. I have what you call reverents. And you need reverents in this business because popcorn is more than a snack: popcorn is an art. Popcorn is a science. Whoa now, Dusty. What’s that look on your face? I know that look. Don’t think I don’t know that look. Let me tell you right now Dusty that there’s no what you call margins for disinterest here. If you don’t listen to your superiors, you could end up just like Augustus Gloop or worse. You remember Augustus, right? The German boy in the tube? The chocolate factory? Wonka? Of course you do, because Will Wonka had reverents for his work. Yeah, sure, he was a little strange, a little “out there,” but that’s because he was a genius of his trade like any of them, like Kubrick, like Hershey. He never left his factory just because it was Friday night. He was a lone wolf. No wife, no kids, just him and his chocolate and none of our business with the Loompas. He didn’t need friends. He didn’t even want friends. He had his passion and that was enough. He would never churn out a product like some of the popcorn I see these kids try to pass. God damn it, Wonka had respect for his work! And his legacy will show it. No one can say that about him. No one can say he wasted his life. And you could bet your ass Willy Wonka never had his chocolate microwaved for five minutes straight. Willy Wonka never had to salvage melted chocolate from the swollen face of a burned and screaming teenager with his favorite scraper.” “What in the hell.” “Dusty.” “Wow.” “I know.” “Just wow.” “I know it.” “Jesus.” “Beauties, aint they?” “What?” “The caramelizers, Dusty. You’re going to be using these regularly so pay attention. Are you taking notes? You should probably take some notes. These babies here are how we candy the popcorn.” 12
“Uhh.” “Now, first and for most, we cook to fill special orders. Every day when you come in, first thing you’ll do is put on your face mask –masks are by the way not provided, you’ll have to bring your own face mask, or we can take the cost of one out of your first paycheck, it’s really up to you – and then you’ll walk over to this here corkboard and see what you gotta cook according to what’s due the next day. So, for example, this order here is for a medium Dill’addin. You’ll walk back over here to see if we got that flavor in stock. Dill’addin’s a top shelf flavor and our best-seller online, so we virtually always have it in stock. That one’s easy. That one I’ll bet you can bag without any problems. I’ve got a good feeling about you. But this other order, let’s see… 25 kids Waltermelon. Waltermelon is not a best seller, truly a bottom shelf flavor in my opinion, but we keep it on the middle shelf on a technicality. And it looks like we don’t have enough to fill 25 bags, which is perfect, which is exactly what I was hoping. Everything always has a way of working out, eh Dusty? “These plastic trash cans down here below the shelves are the sugar bins, or the “sweet cans” as I call them, if you catch my drift. Ha! So whenever you have to make a candied flavor, such as Waltermelon, such as Jasmint, you’ll fill up this here silver bowl with sugar from the left can, and then add this here solid state corn syrup powder from the right. Now, this stuff ain’t good to breathe in, or to get on your clothes, or to get wet, or even really to taste. Basically just don’t get it anywhere except the mixer. Pour it in real careful and then mix it with two liters of tap water. Hit “HEAT” and wait for the buzzer. You following all this? “Next you’ll need the FLAVO-RITE concentrated flavoring powder. We keep that right up on that shelf behind you. Don’t breathe this stuff in either or your mouth will taste like fruit flavor concentrate all damn day. This stuff is potent. This is the stuff food wishes it could be. You’ll only need to add a three-quarters cup to each batch. Any less and it won’t dye the whole batch, any more and we have trouble selling it. Some people claim it changes the color of their stool, which, well, apparently more than a couple people have gone to the emergency room after thinking they saw blood in the toilet and it turned out to be Cheer Up Cherry. Personally, I think that’s part of the fun, part of the experience here at POP Culture! - a Walt Disney Inc. Enterprise Adventure, which you have to say the whole name now to the customers, as per the conditions of the buy-out.
“Once the buzzer goes off, you’ll walk slowly back over toward the mixer and switch it from “HEAT” to “SPIN CYCLE.” Then you’ll have about five minutes to climb this stepladder, add the FLAVO-RITE, and then slowly empty this here tub of mushroom into the mixer before the caramel begins to solidify. Now, if it solidifies, the engine will keep in trying to mix it and it’ll burn out. If the engine burns out, that’s a big deal because I’m not allowed to fix it myself. Not allowed, Dusty. A grown man. Can you imagine? All because of the new Magnificence Insurance regulations. But so I have to call up Magnificence Repair Co. and they put me on a priority waiting list based on how much state revenue this store contributes to, which, I mean we stay busy, we’re one of the top seven popcorn shops in town, but we’re no chain store, Dusty. We’re not very high on the list. Getting a repairman out here can take a few days, which only leaves us with one mixer and cuts production by 50%. Slowed production means longer hours and less breaks, and night time is when the rats come out, Dusty. Fearless. Hungry. So we don’t let the caramel solidify. Once the popcorn is in here and spinning around, you’ll give it exactly 42 sprays from this bottle of Magnifi-SOY soy bean oil and then slowly tilt the mixer onto the cooling bed. See how I’m doing it? Soft, Dusty. Like a shower. Then grab these pre-greased tongs right here and toss it around for a few minutes. Sprinkle an eighth cup of salt on it and then scoop it all into one of the plastic bags over there under the sink, and hot damn what do you know, Dusty, you’ve made yourself some popcorn! You think you can manage all that?” “I think so.” “You think so?” “Yes.” “You think so or you know so, Dusty?” “Well.” “Because I need someone who’s certain. Someone who knows what he knows.” “Um.” “Now, tell me, Dusty. Are you someone who knows what he knows?” “Well.” “Or are you someone who doesn’t know what he knows?” 14
“Hold on.” “Because maybe you’re the kind of person who doesn’t even know what he knows. The only thing worse than someone who doesn’t know what he knows is someone who doesn’t even know that he doesn’t know what he knows.” “Wait a minute.” “So which is it, Dusty?” “Um.” “Well?” “I guess, um, that I know?” “Ha! I’m just messin’ with ya, Dusty.” “Uh?” “You may not have guessed it from the look of me, but I’m something of a philosopher.” “Hm.” “Yes sir, self-educated. I’ve read all the greats. Socrates, Neechee. All of ‘em.” “I don’t really…” “All that is called Pistomology, by the way.” “Huh?” “About who knows what or how they even know what it is that they know.” “Buhh.” “Now, do you have any questions?” “My head hurts.” “Don’t be shy.” “No.” 15
“Wow me, Dusty.” “Actually…” “I’m here to teach.” “Where does the popcorn in the bucket come from?” “Come from? Hell, it’s about time one of you kids asked me that. Matter of fact, I have a video in the back I can show ya. Director’s cut: it’s a must-see for virtually any popcorn enthusiast, which it sounds to me like you are. I’ve got a very good feeling about you. This seems like your kind of place. It’s the Bernard Trenche film, “Modern Maize: the Complicated History of America’s Favorite Snack,” the most comprehensive documentary about popcorn to date, far as I know. I ain’t actually watched it yet. But I’m sure you’ve heard of it. It’s an industry standard. Truly a staple in the genre. I’ve been thinking it should be mandatory viewing for all employees. Matter of fact, as of this moment, I am hereby declaring it mandatory viewing for all employees, past, present, and future.” “All I meant was where does… like… how do I pop it?” “Do what now? Don’t worry, Dusty. There’s plenty of time to show you that. We’ll get to that. Yes sir, maybe we’ll order some pizza, drag us a couple of beanbag chairs into the back room, just you and me, Dusty, just a couple a guys! How late can you stay tonight?” “Well.” “Because I got a projector in the back I can set up in just a couple of minutes. You don’t mind staying late tonight, do you?” “Actually.” “Good. Because I’m gonna be honest with you Dusty, I know I made it sound pretty easy, but this job isn’t all sugar and spice. It requires sacrifice. Sometimes you gotta do things you don’t necessarily want to do for the good of the team. And we’re a team here, Dusty. Life is made up of sacrifices. And teams.” “Um.” “Dusty, you don’t want to start out here on the wrong foot, trust me. You don’t want your co-workers resenting you, you know what I mean? You don’t want them to think you’re selfish, like you’re not part of the family. We’re a family
here. Team Family, like our shirts say. Did you get a shirt yet? And families look out for each other. You don’t want everyone to think you’re only looking out for numero uno, do you? Oh, heck. I’m not saying they will, Dusty. I’m on your side, believe me. I’m just saying there are certain expectations here. A lot of people come and go. Some don’t last a week. Some don’t make it through the day. But the ones who stay, Dusty, the ones who soar, they understand the importance of giving yourself wholly to the job. They are their job. They eat, breathe, and dream popcorn. We know each other here. We spend basically every holiday together. A few of us have even been to bed together, but don’t go around telling anyone that. Ha! Point is they know what it means to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. You understand what I’m saying, Dusty?” “Well.” “Good. Thought you would, Dusty. But so I need you to be up front with me. Exactly how much are you willing to sacrifice? Are you willing to eat, breathe, and dream your job? Because you will, I guarantee you will.”
The Long Fall
By Eric Torres
I grew up skating in a perpetual summer evening, or so I remember it. One long, hazy twilight full of cicada noises and the languorous sense of more summer to come, more slow void and freedom, more car trips and accumulated clips, and the steady, unhurried sensation that the thing unfurling in front of me was full of promise. I'm not old now, but I'm older, and enough time has passed for me to be sure that the long season is over and I've entered another. I'm out of school. I work now, often long hours. I feel a vague responsibility. To what, I don't know. I have few close friends who skate. My partner in crime and wry diversion is dead and my heart is broken. My skating has been converted into an elegy. For him, for me, for the long summer. It's delusion, this nostalgia, I know that. Recalibrate or don't, I say to myself. Make this act into the compromise between what you want and the boundaries that you've set and that have been set for you. But skating has always been about spurning boundaries, about choosing to give myself up to a certain kind of incoherence, the un-ironic incoherence of soul grinds and 540s that don't produce, and don't contribute, but rather stave off. That's not to say I've been an aesthetic purist. In my vanity, I've tried to extract things, spent as much time struggling with petty insecurities as I have feeling liberated and embodying the rebellion. No, as much as I like retrofitting ideology to what I'm doing, it's always been mostly ad hoc. So be it.
Now, older, it might be enough to preserve a space where I can go and create without expectation. Move and remove the limits that I find. For that, I need to keep my eyes off of the skate media, which isn't easy. There's a trove of compelling skating being produced regularly, for free, and all in interesting conversation with the present and the past. But its combined effect is as much to stifle as it is to inspire. All that precision, even when it's knowingly imprecise, just highlights the contours of the forms which we etch ourselves into. Give me some formlessness. I guess that's what I want, as I grow older and less able, farther away from the laurels and the best friends and the hypothetical stronger self that I thought greatness might bring me, I want some of the permission to breach that skating first gave me. That, at least, is easily taken.
Poetry Selections By Mary Prewitt Desire ripples down my spine Desire ripples down my spine Like an electrical wire Frayed and spitting Hot, orange sparks Into my erratic heart-Beating, Punching, The softness of my mind Until it pulses in sync With the beat-ba-beat Of this sacred organ, The Time Traveling Guide, Of all our lives. I must feed this feeling With soft touches and Only the tenderest of words. For this love is fleeting, Forever fleeing-Terrified of the light That bore it here-Of moments, when remembered, Are so near As to be realâ€” Enough, at least, to spark the ember.
I am violent and fickle I am violent and fickle, By nature. My instinct resonating, Inspiring, enlightening My entire being To push you away-But I ignore these warnings For the shelter of your arms, Trading Chaos for the pleasure Of my languid desire for youâ€” And relish in being conquered.
Set our love on fire
There is no time but heartbeats There is no Time, but heartbeats, In this family of mine. And this heart beats for its blue brothers Lost, as we are in Time And the coal that veins their broad chests Pumps through my heart in bluishpurple spurts And there is no Time, but heartbeats In this family of mine.
Set our love on fire Watch it as it burns Will it consume me? Leaving scars to discern (mysteries) Or will it soothe me? Keep me safe and warm? Maybe it will simply Burn outâ€” Fade to embers Blown away and Forgotten by all, but Those upon whose Skin your fire danced.
My lungs breathe heavy, sighing breaths For my distant, elvish cousins Stranded, as we are, in Time And the leaves that shade their faces Burst from the very trees I climb And there is no Time, but heartbeats, In this family of mine. Soft, pink skin tingles in the sun Burning for my sisters of the mind Wandering, as we do, in Time And the wind that sways the tree trunks Whispers secrets to you and I There is no Time, but heartbeats, In this family of mine.
Sacred Geometry By Anthony Muni Jr. To think of days long since passed, lying in the fields, those days when you clamped your hand around the back of my neck, because you loved me the way you loved sick and dying animals. You wanted to put me down, to spare me all the suffering, but I wanted it, I swear. I knew not all pain was permanent, that some scars healed, and some stitches dissolved. And even those bruises that remained past their expiration date had reason for being. All purpose adds up over time. Natural mathematics and sacred geometry. Those days when our hands were gnarled tree bark, the friction causing fires in the ribcage of the forest, the clearing where a heart should be, would be, had we not already tossed it in our furnace. The smoke turning to tears, the tears turning to smoke once more. The distress signals of my past became the warning signs of my present, but our love was an American institution, too big to fail, until the day came when it did. You wanted to spare me all the suffering, but I wanted it, I swear. I still do. 22
The Little Finger By Anthony Muni Jr. The floorboards cold beneath our feet, the stretch marks of age litter our home, and I feel the thumping of some living thing, some tell-tale heart in the woodwork, then I feel the needle of your thumbs find the grooves in my throat. My breath stifled, my face blue, I kiss your face as if it is the only face I’ve ever kissed, as if the star bursts in my eyes are not distracting, (even though they are) I trace the veins down your arms, picture myself floating, belly-up, into the crimson of your chest, into the full bloom of all rational decisions. It’s only when you kiss my face, as if it is the only face you’ve ever kissed, I see, that I, too have had my hands around your throat, have had you on repeat, floating down river since the night we first met.
By Clementine Frye
"If you can guess what I have in my pocket, you can have it." Okay, well, that was his first mistake. I'm never going to be someone who, like, closes my eyes and sticks out my hand. It's gross and unnecessary and most of the time I really don't care about what you're going to put in there anyway. Unless it's candy or a gift card to J.Crew, take a fucking hike. But, this guy was cute and, though his attempt to be cuter actually lost points in my book, I'd give him a pass because he has one of those chin dimples and lets me listen to Beyonce, when I know he really wants to listen to CCR or Lady Antebellum, or something insufferable like that. "Um, lip balm, NO! A stick of gum? No, no, no, I got it, I got it, itâ€™s tickets to the monster truck rally, isn't it? You really shouldn't have, but give them to me now, please." I may have forgotten to mention that, though I hate stupid games like this, I'm also incredibly competitive and I also have always wanted to go to the monster truck rally, but no one has ever purchased me a ticket. I had a feeling today was the day. "What? No." He laughs, "That's ridiculous." I should have known to just not participate. I made a mental note to not allow myself to make that mistake ever again. "Okay, put out your hand and close your eyes and you will get a big surprise." Well, now he was baiting me. "Absolutely not. Tell me what's in the god damned pocket or I'm calling a cab." Is what I would've said had this guy been a six. But he was at least an eight. After a few cocktails he evolved into a nine and a half. A solid five myself and only getting older, I could no longer afford to be so selective. Gone were the days of kicking a guy to the curb for liking The Offspring or having one really long fingernail. It was time to get a little complacent. So I closed my eyes and put out my hands like a child and hated every second of it. 24
"I swear to god if you put your penis in my hand I'm leaving" That one I actually said, and I heard him chuckle in response. Take note, fives. Want to bag eights who turn into nine and a halves after three glasses of Viognier? It's easy, just have a sharp sense of humor and a winning personality. It doesn't hurt to keep up on things like current events, either. I don't actually have any idea what is going on in the world, I just paraphrase the first couple of sentences from what seem to me like the most important articles in the Times. Then, let them do the rest. You never really need to have knowledge about anything if you can bullshit your way into making people believe you have knowledge about everything. It's an art, not a science. I have two talents in this world, bullshitting, and I can do that cool bridge thing when I'm shuffling cards. I never said they were useful talents. So I feel him put something in my hand, and I'm cringing, just hoping it's not going to be slimy, or furry, or warm. To my relief, it is none of those things. It's cold, there's a little bit of weight to it, but nothing extraordinary. My head wants to wander to jewelry but I don't want to get my hopes up. Too late. Hopes are way up and I'm starting to plan our culturally diverse wedding. I can't wait to buy some Nigerian babies with this man and have a fabulous home furnished exclusively from Restoration Hardware. I open my eyes and stare blankly at the item resting in my palm. "It's a key." I say, puzzled. "Yes it is, but not just any key. It's the key to my heart." I became physically ill. My body went into fight or flight mode and I broke into a cold sweat. There are some things that, even if you were a ten, would be a deal breaker. Unapologetic cheesy gestures of affection like giving a symbolic key to your heart which, by the way, is not symbolic if it's an actual fucking key - is one of them. Sure, a Katy Perry song played in my head every time he laughed. Sure, he knew exactly where to touch the back of my neck that gave my entire body goosebumps, but at that moment. I knew we could never work. I'm all for the cheese in a Ryan Gosling movie. When I'm eating a loaf of bread while taking a bath and reading Danielle Steele, the more cheese the merrier, in fact, extra cheese please. In my real life however, I'm sorry to say I'm totally lactose intolerant. Like, get me some Immodium because you're semi-autistic behavior is giving me diarrhea. 25
"I'm just kidding." He laughed. I breathed a sigh of relief. I was glad he recovered from that one. Maybe it was that I didn't reply or maybe it was the dark circles on my tee shirt spreading from my underarms but either way, he managed to save face before I could assess where all the exits were and decided which was going to be the fastest, most efficient way to get the fuck out of there. It was then I realized I had asked him earlier that week if I could put some of my pewter statuettes in his storage unit while I moved. I have many hobbies, collecting pewter statuettes of small woodland creatures is one of them. I donâ€™t know how I got an eight. I really should hang on to this one.
Knee touching By Thomas Martin I was tired and I wanted to take a nap. I woke up about half past ten, drank a few cups of coffee and hadn’t done a damn thing since besides what I always do. No food yet. Nothing but mold was inside the fridge. And even if I could’ve found something salvageable the kitchen was too much of a mess to cook in. There was the Golden Corral around the block. I was prepared to face the cold for it, but I was waiting on Brittney. I wouldn’t have buffet money until she came by. It was taking a lot longer than expected. The girl was my neighbor. She lived damn near within earshot of all the love-induced destruction that went on around here. So I got to thinking. I got to thinking that maybe this girl was prettying herself up for the visit. Maybe she was taking that extra minute in front of the mirror, softening up those hollow cheekbones, hiding those dark bags under her eyes. I was with a woman at the time. And here’s the thing: I assumed the biggest perk of a committed relationship was an all seasons pass to a spread and ready female. But ever since Kim moved in there’d been nothing. No sex. No touches. No sleeping in the same bed. Not that there was a lack of trying. My advances were steadfast as hell. The constant rejection was not a deterrent. After being pushed away a few times the shame was gone. And after that occurs there is nothing to lose. I was going for it at every opportunity. Continuous and relentless groping assuming she’d wear down some day. I just don’t find you attractive, was what she was saying a week into our lease. Quit fucking bothering me, was what she was saying now. We fought. We fought a lot. And make up sex was her locked in our room while I beat off to nude shower photos she didn’t know I had.
THERE was knock. I checked the peephole out of habit and then opened the door. It was Brittney. She said, Hi. She was wearing a down jacket and ear warmers and a hat and a scarf and it all left a lot up to speculation. Women look better in the wintertime. I moved out of the way to let her in from the cold and went to fetch my supplies. When I came back she had shed the layers and I be damned if she hadn’t dolled herself up a bit. Her thin hair was fixed the best it could’ve been. And she had on eyeliner that distracted the gaze away from the harsh angles of her cheekbones. She looked good. Better than I did. Better than Kim did too. I spread out the options. Xannie bars. Roxy 30s. Adderall 10s. And while she was deciding, we talked. I asked her about work and I asked her about her plans for the holidays and then answered my own questions when she regurgitated them back at me. I handed her a bag. A variety bag. And she handed me the money. She thanked me, started gathering her layers but then stopped and paused and said, Since we’re both gonna be around over Christmas we should get together. You know, hang out. I said, Let’s do it. I said, Let’s hang out real soon. She smiled and headed towards the door. Her jacket was still only half on and before even reaching for the other sleeve she turned around. I’m not doing anything now, she said. Well goddamn, I said. And I guess she could have just wanted someone to get high with. Some people need that. But at the time I had decided the neighbor Brittney wanted to fuck me. So I showed the neighbor Brittney into the living room where the WNCW was on as always. I chose my seat. Brittney sat down beside me and ignored the other options. Our knees were touching. She handed me one of the roxys she bought and the small talk began while I crushed the pill under a mason jar. 28
She was from down the mountain. She came up to go to college. She got an English degree and now she worked at the Food Lion up the street. She kept on about how the town had changed over the past five years and how the people moving in just weren’t the same. She was interesting and her ramblings held my attention and then she asked, Do you ever see Lauren around? Lauren? I said. Yeah. Lauren. The girl in number 4. She said she used to come and buy here. Oh yeah. Lauren. I remember. What’s up with her? I took a card from my wallet and started chopping up lines. Ugh, she said. I hate that girl. She fucked my boyfriend. Well, my ex-boyfriend now. Obviously. I smiled as I rolled up a twenty-dollar bill. It was confirmed. This girl absolutely wanted to fuck me. I handed her the twenty and watched while she bent down to snort a line. So that girl I see around here, she rubbed her nose back and forth and sniffed a few times, is she yours? And for some goddamn reason I said, Yeah. She is. And then she said, Oh. And then she said, Well. And then she said, Your girl, she’s cute. The disappointment was obvious. I wanted to yell, No! She’s not cute! She’s a bitch! An evil tease of a bitch! And she doesn’t get off work till five! But instead of saying any of that I lied. I said, Yeah. She’s great. She’s the only woman in the world who could put up with me. And the moment passed.
We snorted up the remainder of the pill and fell back into the couch saying nothing. The radio played. And we both waited for the courage to come but the courage never did and after a few more moments of awkward anticipation Brittney got up. Her leg left mine. She prepared for the still cold outdoors, said goodbye and was gone. KIM came in and woke me up about fifteen minutes after five. How was work, I asked. It was work, she said. And then she dropped a bag of office party leftovers on the kitchen counter. I got up off the couch and went over to give her a hug. She pushed me away and said, Jesus, Thomas. I’m not in the mood for your shit. Look at this place. It’s a fucking mess. What have you done all day? Sleep? Jerk off? You’re so gross. Get your shit together. I’m serious. My shit is together. Are you fucking kidding me? I started to talk but she cut me off. Save it, she said. Unlike you I’ve had a long fucking day. I’m not dealing with this. I’m going to lie down. Leave me alone. For once, please, leave me the fuck alone. She grabbed a pill from one of her own bottles and slammed the bedroom door. I left her alone. Picked at the office party leftovers, crushed up a 30 and passed out on the couch. WHEN I woke up it was late. The bedroom door was still closed. The radio was still playing. Kim slept like a rock especially after a line or two and if she hadn’t locked the door I could go in and do whatever I wanted. Touch whatever I wanted. Take pictures of whatever I wanted. But I be goddamned if I didn’t walk in to find the sheets on the floor and no one in the bed. Fuck, I mumbled and walked back out into the living room. I picked up my phone and almost called her but I figured there wasn’t much use. I figured she wouldn’t answer. So I dialed up WNCW instead and made a couple requests. After sitting around for a few hours and dominating the playlist I heard someone outside the front door fumbling keys. This went on for a while. And I didn’t move off the couch.
When she came in all she had to say was, What are you doing up? And all I had to say, I’m up cause I’m up goddammit! What about you? Where the hell have you been? I haven’t been anywhere, she said. I’ve just been out. Yeah. Out wrapped up in some tweaker’s bed sheets I’m sure. Oh my god. She rolled her eyes. I was just dancing, she said. Me and some friends were just out dancing. Ah okay. Dancing. So still having sex just publicly and with clothes on. Awesome. And then she slapped me. And then I punched the wall behind her. Just right of her face. And then she slapped me with her other hand. And then I grabbed her by the back of the head and I kissed her. At first she resisted. Her eyes were wide open and she was beating against my chest.
But then her body fell limp. Maybe shame had finally overwhelmed her. Maybe it was guilt. Hell, it could’ve just been the whore in her but for whatever reason she gave in. Her body was pressed against mine. Her eyes were closed. She was running her hands through my hair and biting my lip and breathing hard. I started kissing her chest and moving my hands across her body. Today I held back while she ran wild but at least I was getting rewarded. It was out of sympathy but I was getting rewarded. I was getting to have sex with my own fucking girlfriend. My god. But no. It ended before it could begin. Kim snapped, whether back out of it or back into it I don’t know. She pushed me off of her and she pushed me hard. You are fucking crazy, woman. And then again with the smacking. This time she finished with a closed fist. So I threw her. I grabbed her by the shoulders and I threw her against the wall. And she didn’t stiffen her neck. Asshole! she screamed gripping the back of her head. Her eyes started to water and her voice was breaking. You’re such a fucking asshole. I didn’t respond. She ran into the bedroom and slammed the door. I sat back down on the couch. There wasn’t anywhere else to go. I wasn’t mad anymore. Just disappointed. Nothing had changed. I closed my eyes and her muffled sobs mixed with the radio and before long I was lulled to sleep.
Brian Krans is a journalist and author of four books. He's touring the U.S. this summer to promote his latest book, Assault Rifles & Pedophiles: An American Love Story. He lives in Oakland, CA. Eric Torres is originally from West Hartford, Connecticut. He currently lives in Austin, Texas, where he coordinates an adult education program, skates and writes at intervals, and wonders and wonders and wonders. Thomas Martin drinks canned Yuenglings and resides alongside a rotating cast of nude females somewhere along the NC and TN line. His work has appeared in Kyler Martz's Nightswimmer, several issues of The Radvocate, and McFarland Publishing's forthcoming anthology New Stories From the New River. Julia Evans is a writer and mother of two young children. Julia’s fiction credits include a short story, “Fiddle de Dee,” in Black Candies: See Through and a ten-minute play with The Old Globe Theatre’s Community Voices fellowship. Once in a blue moon she posts new flash fiction to http://writejuliawrite.wordpress.com. Her non-fiction work has been featured in a handful of So Say We All’s VAMP showcases in 2013. All she does in her free time is write and trail run. She is always writing some sort of novel. Alejandro Candelo has been chased by a creative genie since he was born. His Name is "Alejoh" and he uses me (Alejandro) as a channel to express himself on different medias. I’m his paint brush. That's what he calls me. When "Alejoh" is not possessing his mind, he has a trade making signs for businesses and graphic design at mekahdesign.com. Clementine Frye would describe herself as; kind, loyal, light hearted and full of humor. 9 out of 10 other people would describe her as; "you're drunk Clementine, I told you to stop asking me to describe you." Other published works of hers include a poem about his cat dying featured in a book of poems for children. This is her first time being featured in The Radvocate and she would like to dedicate this piece to bagels everywhere, saving mankind one delicious morsel at a time. Anthony Muni Jr. is the author of three books including Honestly I'm Fine, The Seventy-Nine Series, and most recently, Sacred Geometry, all of which can be found online through Lulu Press. Mary Prewitt was born and raised in western North Carolina. She's a single mom with an English degree and a passion for decorating with books. Bruce James Bales is an Iowan who is still unsure of how to write a proper bio. His passions are considered his life. Michael Kraft left home at nineteen to find something. He hasn't found it and has since stopped looking. Correctional Statement: In Issue #10, M. Mannila was incorrectly credited and the formatting of his story was printed inconsistent with his wishes. We apologize for these inaccuracies.
Published on Aug 18, 2016
Issue #12 circa 2014. Cover art by Michael Kraft, Stories by Anthony Muni Jr., Julia Evans, Thomas Martin, Clementine Frye, Mary Prewitt, Br...