THE WEEKENDERS MAGAZINE
FEATURING: KEVIN RIDGEWAY
+PLUS WRITERS WHO MADE THE FIRST ISSUE, WHO WILL BLOW YOUR BRAINS TO PIECES WITH THEIR BEATIFIC WORDAGE! KICK ASS!
CONTENTS POETRY: 4 FEATURED: Kevin Ridgeway: 6 I Shake to Take off My Shirt for You by Philip Vermaas: 11 Better Cigarettes by Philip Vermaas: 12 Starving Artist by Editor: 15 Back to the Well by John Swain: 18 Intolerance by John Grochalski: 19 The Day Off by Jonathan Butcher: 22 Turtle Distraction by Jennifer Lemming: 23 Slacker by Ross Liskov: 24
PROSE: 31 Special Report by Editor: 32 December in the Railroad Earth by Matt Sailor: 34 Simply Repeat by James Lawless: 37 More Cherries by Bud Smith: 40 Beat of the Alley by Kent L Johnson: 50 CC by Benjamin Allmon: 53
ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: 58 Sarah Hensley
END WORDS: 65 SUPPORT THE WEEKENDERS: 67
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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR I, the editor, am trying to define this magazine once and for all. I’ve spent a lot of time screwing around, half-heartedly posting poems and stories on BlogSpot, managing to keep a Facebook page going—managing to keep some good friends that I’m thankful to still have after all the mess-ups that had occurred during my brand-new-baby stages of editing a blog-zine. When I first started this magazine, for example, it was called Dumb Butt Magazine. If anything says face-palm more than that, I invite you, dear reader, to tell me what. I was stupid, and eventually decided to go on a hiatus after a month and a half of no submissions (that’s how bad I was). Well, a few days went by. I felt like a responsibility had been shirked—I thought: Well, this is good. All I had to do was delete everything from that blog that held various poets’ treasured work, and now I can go back to playing Xbox and being a normal young adult. That week, however, I received a lot of mean and angry emails and blog comments from people who thought a) the name sucked to begin with, and b) that I was a complete douchebag for deleting everybody’s work—for not even keeping an archive. A few months later, I created The Weekenders Magazine (better name, at least), and began accepting submissions. I was able to get a pretty steady following of readers and writers, and was really building a community. Little did I know, the community I was working with was part of the literary underground…and that was when I realized what I’m a part of. It was a beautiful realization, though. I’d grown up reading Kerouac and Ginsberg and Bill Burroughs, etcetera, but never understood what made them different. They were fighting a rotten system of corruption and censorship by merely being angels. They were writing quietly, drugged-up, and blissful in euphoria of Nirvana and love and late-night phone calls and drunkenness. I thought: This is where I belong.
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And right now, I am also starting to think that The Weekenders belongs there, too—underground. Every formulaic letter from the editor thanks the reader for reading their magazine. But honestly: if you’re reading this, you’re welcome as a part of the underground, too. Enjoy the issue—there will be more soon. Sincerely, Ryan Swofford, Editor The Weekenders Magazine (theweekendersmagazine.blogspot.com)
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KEVIN RIDGEWAY’S WORK Kevin Ridgeway sent me his chapbook, Burn through Today, in the mail a while back, and it was perhaps the most important thing ever given to me as a poet. Although it might sound a little sad—and I’m not one for sob-stories, but—I had never been shown as much appreciation as a young writer and editor as I was shown by Kevin. He has such a happy spirit about him that makes you wonder whether or not he’s even human. He’s down with anything, and is good friends, it seems, with everyone I’ve met in my particular literary circle. His poetry is written in snap-shots. With Ridgeway poems, it’s like he’s only giving you a teaser version of something bigger—like a movie trailer, for example. In the end, you feel ripped off—but in a good way, if that makes any sense at all. Another great thing about Kevin’s work is the realness of it. One poem of his, not included in this feature, is called “The Withering Threads.” It’s about a family afghan being destroyed. Here’s an example of the realism in Kevin’s poetry: behind her oxygen mask at the wedding reception, the heirloom became engrossed in nicotine in their post-coital smokes, the fabric becoming frayed from the fight over their drunken delusions of the night crusted by tears of forgiveness Intrigued? In order to fully understand Kevin’s poetry, you should either read the small sample I have prepared for you here, or pick up his chapbook, Burn through Today. He also has an upcoming chapbook from Electric Windmill Press (so be on the look-out). Enjoy.
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4 POEMS By Kevin Ridgeway Sketchers a tingling in my seventeen-year old stomach arises as the angry brute enters the standing room-only subway car he screams in the face of every passenger and waves the bleak shine of his knife feverish sweat dripping to the chicken scratched floor he stops at me hiding my wispy figure behind a pole and Page | 6
looks down at my shoes “Those Sketchers?” “Umm—” the door to the subway opens— “Well move out of the way, Sketch!” and he disappears into the faceless crowds of the tunnel
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Drinking Coffee in the Dark while she sleeps, my head bathes in the glow of the computer screen, the coffee cup collides with the unseen ash tray with a faint ding and the fans still turn rapidly from last night’s heat while my mind enters the conscious universe again with dirty little thoughts struck against this match lighting this half finished cigarette with its stale smoke headed into darkness above
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When Grandma Met Elvis A photograph sits on the fireplace mantel her proud smile beneath her perm side by side with Elvis holding a microphone his mouth agape frozen in time she glanced at the photograph countless afternoons and insisted it was the real King, that he was a nice man and that they had a nice time together, regardless of the large sign behind them that read Movieland Wax Museum we argued over this for many years until I surrendered to the loss of her mind, and I began to tell her Page | 9
yes, Elvis serenaded you that day and took you to Graceland where you fed his pet giraffe and when I told her this she smiled faintly, staring off at her lifetime in the distance
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There’s Nothing Sadder than an Aging Hipster So said the cop, standing over the body of that great hero of a million honest words poisoned by morphine a charred bottle cap lying nearby the syringe sticking out of his forearm his goatee covered in blood the cameras exploding in shattering light as the coroners wheel in an empty black bag, lifting him from the tile floor and zipping it shut, the jazz record skipping in angry beats in the squalid living room littered with paperwork and half-eaten Chinese takeout containers being ravaged by flies he still lives, that so-called hipster hollering from stereo speakers across America forever etched in the grooves of sound and time… Page | 11
I SHAKE TO TAKE OFF MY SHIRT FOR YOU, I KNOW WHAT YOU'LL SEE By Philip Vermaas Ugly in my skin. Scars, hair and hanging balls, a struck clock’s pendulum, have fixed on and seeped in. I want to send a photograph of my cock saluting my shabby skin-sock, a greeting card to she who'd discard her own blue robes and stand before me the same way silly; so she could forget my skin to know me and begin to talk and jiggle laugh. If it's easy, then for a greedy but guileless bumping of veteran guts.
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BETTER CIGARETTES By Philip Vermaas He saw her at the cigarette counter. With a crumpled note she bought the cheapest brand. She was pretty but had the hung head of the long lonely; so he told her he also smoked those, bought his own and asked her if she wanted to come home so they could hold each other, two lame strangers hiding out on a cold afternoon. She tried to smile, thought she should say no but she couldn’t smile and said yes. He went down on her gently, as he would for an old injured friend, and she heaved to keep a tear in which rose as she came. She kissed him in a way which meant she’d not forget, and whispered that no one had ever done that. At the cigarette counter, not long after, he saw her once more and she said she was happy now and pointed to the man buying two packs. With familiar breath Page | 13
she whispered quickly, “he makes me come, you know how.” He made a safe joke at which she laughed, and feeling free she brushed his arm. He said go well and watched the couple leave. She didn’t look back, only took from her man a pack with a fancy brand. He turned to the smiling cashier and had to hang his head to count some coins to see if he had enough for better cigarettes.
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STARVING ARTIST By Ryan Swofford Salty portrait of a poet, so young Yet out of breath Standing under the heavenly stars, hanging blue In the sky, midnight sky Dreaming, but realizing That his dreams are dreams unworthy Of being seen in print With his goddamn name on the goddamn cover Of a book of poetry His words are not pretty enough No matter how he indents the next line Or talks about pretty midnight skies Nobody Cares about his little poesy ass Of poetry and cum and rum, lily-stinking Rummaging through words and words of truth Reading Jack Kerouac every evening in his bedroom Wearing underwear and drinking hot tea from a mug Pretending to meditate to achieve Zen, but Zen He figures this out later Zen is not even a real thing! Yak-yakking to late-night women with ankle tats And big tits to comfort his sleepy poet-head Beneath a field of corn somewhere In rural desolation, having visions and forgetting who’s who And what’s what And is that the moon or is that me? Dreams that can be altered by a single word, not affecting someone The right way, all feel-good, by not giving them goosebumps on their superficial hairless arms
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Of literature and of magazines and of publications publishing only the fuckers Who’ll make them some money, who know the business inside and out, Who don’t know the word “obscene” because oh my god, if you say fuck Fuck fuck fuck Then you’re out of here, you’re not making any money, you’re not making them money Fuck fuck fuck! You’re going nowhere in this business I figured this out a long time ago: While I was writing ten-line poems for non-paying magazines, not concerned With money for college, with my lifestyle, with Jesus H. Christ (whether or not I should please him or myself or neither) While I was blabbering away about how underground I am, how hip, how cool, how ugh Dumb the whole literary scene was, all those pretentious fuckers wearing $300 suits With coffee mugs and nice hair and expensive writing machines, participating in All the poesy events, reading at all the poetry readings, networking, blah-blah, whatever Now I’m done talking about them No, I’m not, because I hate them Mama said if you hate something, burn it to the ground Mama said knock you out—ha!—and you said my poems weren’t clever, just Pretty words meaning nothing with no substance, okay, whatever, but I remember a time when that was all there was: Pretty words written on a rock somewhere in the Nevada desert On Christ’s pillow behind his head Page | 16
Really, when you think about it Jesus was the biggest hipster ever to breathe So who are we? Shining brightly, stapling together paper poetry booklets so our friends won’t be seen as Nasty obscene psychotic What have we become? What has America become? Now we don’t own our own words Or cocks in the mouths of whoever we want Or roach, or rock, or words tripping off the tongue And onto the desk of the FBI on suspicion of being Muslim But they’re just American They’re confusing Buddhist With Muslim With Hindu With Jesus (who?) But either way, we still own our vocal chords, so: Hoot! Ah, but even if I was allowed to say what I wanted to say It wouldn’t matter anyway Because a poem’s a poem, the value of this goddamn thing Is decreasing as we speak So I’m always gonna be a bum, hey
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BACK TO THE WELL By John Swain Centered in the time against us I gained bravery from the woman you are softly in the age of the ignoble cruel who attempted to deprave you. I walked in confidence in the shadow of a golden tree cast across the traveler’s path whose purple fruit is bitter as wisdom and its nourishment. From the throne behind the door of storms, I learned to open into rejoicing and forget the false perfections, basins empty back to the well.
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INTOLERANCE By John Grochalski i wonder when it was that i became so intolerant i can’t even be in the same room with people who talk politics or religion because they disgust me so when they talk art man, i head for the exits deleting old friends left and right from the social network scene changing my seat on the bus to avoid the clatter of mankind i can’t even smile at my neighbors i hate them so much i’ve grown intolerant of endless movie theater commercials of television banter of hip novelists and their heroin prose i even hate waiting in the grocery line so bloody intolerant narrow-minded and bigoted biased against the warm summer sun and blue sky madness there are days when my wife and the cat stay clear out of my way i’m intolerant of time i grab a calendar and flip it impatient for another year to end thinking that maybe the next one will be different i must have a screw loose must be some kind of a dark fanatic because when i watch people together in bars or restaurants lost in conversation with their dull smiles Page | 19
frankly, i’m shocked that they don’t blow each other’s brains out or stick a steak knife in each other’s neck it’s like i can’t see what they see about this world like i’m reading the wrong newspapers or when i step outside i must be in another dimension because i feel as heavy as if i were walking on the bottom of the ocean and it makes me mad intolerant of their happiness jealous maybe i really don’t want to know surely i was exultant at some point in my life sometimes i’ll sit there for hours trying to think of when that was scanning memory after memory in my head letting decades roll by in the sully muck of my mind until i’m empty and exhausted so intolerant that i can’t even stand myself
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THE DAY OFF By Jonathan Butcher A beam of sunlight bends slightly, as my attic window manages to block out the yelling alcoholics and falling dustbins, that create a deafening chorus from below. The dog that's left alone most evenings barks in desperation, preventing what little sleep I can muster, and leaving me with reddened eyes with which to view this landscape. And the teens here play with tyres from burnt out cars, like seagulls unwittingly bathing in oil; a ladder of needles seems their only attempt at escape, as the back to back houses spew out the struggling like a now defunct purgatory, their roof tops point fingers through falling slates and cast shadows over any available space. But for now they conjure up comfort in my makeshift cell, that almost makes me grateful for the dust, that dances on that uninvited sunbeam, but never seems to settle.
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TURTLE DISTRACTION By Jennifer Lemming Looking forward to bringing back clarity after this fog of information delayed our journey on the rundown, sunny in the city, talk here burning through like the wind inside o’ the sun Walking down that dusty, dusty road to nowhere, everywhere here and now, now or never, never never land, Johnny Depp that lovely man, dripping with honey and ice cream excess running down your chin, hoping to get caught. Lapping waves as my feet meet with sand and stone, the earth firmament . Walking like a distracted turtle between an army of frogs laying eggs everywhere No end in sight when the ripe and overwrought are out at night, dreams of friends or not friends with honeycolored hair waiting to wear it all waiting for the event that never happened. How do you say, “Fuck you in French”?
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SLACKER By Ross Liskov the mushrooms of lethargy are dragging me down to mind-numbing holocausts of depression where the lark muddies its dying soul where the dead grow their flowers where Sid and Nancy pogo to ska amid the great guru pot dealers of Kingston I’m unemployed dreaming of the psychedelic frog and great big samsaras of butterflies I’m the pot-bellied Buddha of the robins in the yard the great all-knowing know-nothing who stares at the sky remembering the 90s when it was OK to be young smart lazy and worthless when the djs played The Spinanes every Tuesday on the radio.
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A FINGER IN THE DIKE By Catfish McDaris Upon returning from the land of tulips, windmills, canals, legal grass, & Harmenszoon van Rijn Rembrandt I proceeded to get stinking drunk & staggered down Brady Street, the Height Ashbury of Milwaukee I stumbled into a cool hip tavern & squinted around in disbelief, it was packed with women of all shapes, not one woodpecker in the flock Pinching my scrotum to make sure I wasn’t dreaming, I nudged between a blonde & a perfumed set of 38s Ordering cognac & a Schlitz chaser, I pulled Miss America onto the dance floor, I bumped & boogied against her fine booty-licious body
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8 QUESTIONS WITH KEVIN RIDGEWAY By Ryan Swofford 1. Do you prefer print or online (either with publications, books, mags, etc)? It’s wonderful to be published anywhere, in print or online. Of course I get a kick out being in a print magazine or volume. Any avenue is good for me, even if it’s on a flier in a public bathroom. I must say that I was thrilled when my first chapbook got published, which was a nice and slim print book that I could hold in my hands. I guess print wins. 2. Who would you say you look up to the most? I look up to a variety of current writers and poets. To name a few: John Brantingham, James Valvis, James H. Duncan, Frank Reardon, T. Anders Carson, Meg Tuite…and many, many more. People I network with on a regular basis, who are great people as well as great artists, with work that is consistently amazing-those are the people I look up to. People who have been doing this longer than me and offer me wisdom directly or through their work. Like I said, there’s many more people. I’m a lucky guy in that respect. 3. Best piece of literature you read last? Reflections in a Golden Eye, by Carson McCullers. Excellent writer, and as I said, one of my all-time favorites. 4. Favorite classical writer (Hemingway, Ginsberg, etc)? Again, too many to mention! Classical writer? Well…stretching back a few centuries, I suppose Voltaire has always been a favorite. Mark Twain and Walt Whitman. Among twentieth century favorites, I’d have to say Kurt Vonnegut and Carson McCullers. I read a lot of poetry, of course, and am always Page | 28
discovering someone new who becomes my favorite. Poets I’ve gotten really into lately include Scott Wannberg and Gerald Locklin. 5. This is a pretty big question, but: Why do you write? I’ve written since I could hold a crayon in my hand. I’ve always loved telling stories, whether it be through fiction, play writing, creative nonfiction or poetry. Since I mostly write poetry I‘ll admit to this: I started writing poetry to exorcise my demons. I wrote for many years without publishing. I became interested in the craft, in improving my work--I consider it a passion both for the art and for improving the way I communicate with the world. Then I started getting my work published, which I think is another good question. Why do I publish? I’m addicted to writing and it has to go somewhere out there for someone to read, instead of my bottom drawer next to the dust bunnies. I’m grateful that my words have done some traveling. Why stop? It’s a permanent part of my being, this writing gig. 6. Has there ever been any roadblocks during your career? What was the biggest? Aside from several nervous breakdowns in my twenties? I had the tendency to get in my own way for several years of my early adult life. Fortunately, in recent years, I’ve stepped aside and allowed my muse to take hold (most of the time, anyway). I'm a better man and writer for it, constantly growing with a better attitude toward existence. 7. What's your biggest pet-peeve, lit-wise? Exclusivity and elitism. It pisses me off, not just in the literary world, but life in general. Fortunately, there are so many wonderful writers who are wonderful people as well. So, inspired by them, I forge ahead as a young whippersnapper poet and Page | 29
writer, growing as a person and as an artist. 8. Give us some wisdom? Keep writing! Keep submitting! Life is short. Follow your bliss, as Joseph Campbell liked to say. Kevin Ridgeway is a writer from Southern California, where he resides in a shady bungalow with his girlfriend and their one-eyed cat. Recent work has appeared in Underground Voices, Emerge Literary Journal, Gutter Eloquence, Red Fez, The Weekenders Magazine and Curio Poetry. Mr. Ridgeway's chapbook, Burn through Today, is now available from Flutter Press.
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SPECIAL REPORT: THE BEAT ANTHOLOGY By Ryan Swofford If you’re just now getting into The Weekenders, I want to say thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to sit down and read through an issue (the very first issue, that is), and hope you’ve been enjoying what you’ve been reading. But if you’ve been with us for awhile now, and are a fan of the blogzine, then you’re probably aware of our upcoming anthology, Desolation Blues. If you’re not, don’t worry—I’ll get you caught up on what’s happening so you won’t feel out of the loop. First off, I’m saying us because there is, in fact, more than one editor working on the anthology (as in, it’s not just me, like usual!) Instead, we’ve got the fabulous Steven Purkey of what used to be Modus Operandi Fanzine (he cancelled it, for whatever reason—we’re still mad at him), and the prolific Kevin Ridgeway— yes, the same one who’s featured in this issue. I’m very stoked to have these guys helping me out. We’ve been exchanging ideas and opinions (particularly on submissions—the good and the bad, you know how it goes), and have made quite the team. Because, you know, the damn thing got done. So here’s an overview of what the anthology is: I have always been inspired by the Beats. You would think that I, some teenager in the middle of nowhere, would be busy drinking beer and skinning bucks in the middle of June. Nope. That’s not really my crowd. I’ve never had much of a “crowd,” per se, which really is not a problem because I don’t do “crowds.” I’m my own man, dammit. And so were the Beats. They opposed authority and social norms—Jack Kerouac proved to me that it’s okay to be sensitive and in touch with your soul as long as you can put on a tough exterior. Allen Ginsberg taught me how to write long mad poetry. Bill Burroughs showed me how to write junk-head prose about nothing in particular. Of course, I knew going in that none of this crap would ever sell. I would never be famous because I could write remotely similar to Jack Kerouac or Gregory Corso or W.C. Williams—but I
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didn’t care, man. It wasn’t ever about that, and it still isn’t about that. Which is why I wanted to put together a Beatnik anthology full of Beatnik writing. Some of it isn’t completely Beat, but that’s okay. No one can give you a perfect definition of how the Beat style looks, so as editors, we just used our best judgment. Sometimes it was the subject-matter that was Beat. Sometimes it was the word-usage. Sometimes it was the mad long hysterical feeling that Ginsberg had—the long-windedness of breath poetry (a beautiful philosophy with which he wrote Howl and Kaddhish and others). Whatever it was, we, the editors, felt like it belonged, and so we emerged with a small book full of great work. Some details about the book—let’s talk numbers. It’s about 30 pages long. It has a beautiful custom cover, done by Ms. Sarah Hensley, with Steven and Kevin and me sitting around like Beat angels, yak-yakking. It’s in black and white (except for the cover), and is hand-folded and hand-stapled with love, of course. The price is $3. The contributors were paid either $5 or a contributor’s copy (most folks chose a contributor copy), and were whored out by yours truly, in order to give them the best exposure possible (which, sadly, isn’t much because I’m not all that popular around these parts—in a good way, though, don’t worry—my criminal record’s mostly clean). You can get yours hopefully through PayPal. Either that, or you’ll just have to trust me, send me your $3, and I’ll send you a copy. Either way, just know that your money is in good hands, and will be used soley for the purpose of advancing underground literature and its affiliates (which includes, but is not excluded to: suffering literary magazines such as my own; hardcore rock and roll bands that need some cash to buy hamburgers because they haven’t eaten in days and spent all their money on heroin; starving artists (see my poem! I’m such a narcissist, huh?); and/or the contributors of Desolation Blues). Yeah. Anyway, that’s all. And now, back to our feature presentation! Page | 33
DECEMBER IN THE RAILROAD EARTH By Matt Sailor On those long days, when time stretches out and reclines across the length of the afternoon, and the tick of the clock stalls at the same digit, I'll ditch work early and take the train north to the last station to see Jack. At that hour he’s usually just gotten up. Occasionally he’ll still be awake, if it’s one of his famous “long nights" when a girl shows up on his doorstep, or some poet he knows scores some bennies, or some stranger (a fan, a stalker) is buying the booze, or (as happens far less frequently these days) if he is writing. I’ll walk in, tie loosened, carrying a bag of bottles (a jug of port for him, whiskey for me). We’ll sit on the couch and we’ll watch T.V., or he’ll put on some jazz. If it’s good enough jazz, and if he's drunk enough, he’ll stand up, swaying slowly from side to side, cigarette in hand, and start talking, a mad mix of poetry, vulgarity, taunts, and Zen Buddhist dogma. The friends he has left all know he stole this routine from his friend Neal, subsumed part of the man after he died of exposure on a Denver, Colorado railroad track. But we put up with it. Because Jack’s earned it. He’s survived. He’s earned the right to absorb the ghosts of his dead genius friends, devouring their souls to gain their powers like some voodoo shaman. Some nights he’ll stay up until dawn, and the talking will turn into screaming. The names of women, prayers in Quebecois, verses from scripture. Usually I’ll sneak out while he’s in the bathroom, knowing that if I don’t, I won’t be able to escape for days. He’ll have convinced me to drive him down to Miami, or “’Frisco,” and I’ll be missing for a month, wind up in a jailhouse in rural Texas trying to persuade my mother to wire me money for bail. Other nights, he’ll just fall asleep. Tears will run down his cheeks as he murmurs “mother, mother, mother” in his dreams. I will gingerly transfer his head from my shoulder to a pillow, propping him on his side so that he doesn’t Jimmy Hendrix himself, become the last in a long line of dead clichés.
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“I should have died young,” he’ll tell me, gesturing at the parking lot of the Taco Bell where I’m buying him lunch. "What am I doing here?" “That’s stupid," I'll say. But a large part of me will think he is right. Sometimes he’ll need cheering up. Sometimes I will. I’ll finish another whiskey and complain about my job. He’ll turn down the volume on the Home Shopping Network. “I thought you were going to concentrate on your writing this year,” he’ll say. “Yeah,” I’ll answer, “but it’s hard. By the time I get home it’s dark, I have a sink full of dishes and laundry to do, or there’s a game on. I fall asleep by 10:30 most nights.” He’ll scoff, take a glug of port from his jug the size of a piece of Mesoamerican pottery. “Pal, I wrote The Subterraneans in the back of a pickup between Houston and N’Orleans.” “I thought you typed it in three days in a San Francisco motel?” He’ll get cagey, wipe wine off of his lips with the thick hair of his arm. “Yeah, well, I worked off notes." "So much for legends," I'll say, and he'll try to laugh, but things like that get to him. Sometimes I’ll egg him on, just to see what he'll do. “What are you doing, Mr. Paradise,” I’ll say, a bottle of whiskey in my belly and a jealous heart beneath my ribs. “Look at yourself! Look around you!” And I’ll pull the Venetian blinds so hard they break off from the wall. I’m pointing out the window now, where all you can see through the shorn pine trees is the elevated train line, a length of track simply ending, red lights heralding the jut into space. And just behind it, another parking lot. “I like trains,” he’ll say meekly, and even though he sounds like a child, like little baby Ti Jean begging for his mother, I won’t let up. “It’s fucking mass transit, Jack! It takes guys in suits from their huge houses to their corner offices, and it’s in the sky so they don’t have to look at the kind of people we used to be!" Page | 35
He won’t look angry. He'll agree with me. But that makes it so much crueler. “And you’re living at the wrong end! Living in squalor so you don’t have to feel bad about the movie rights and Gap ads!” I'll leave once I’ve finished. He’ll be glugging port on the couch, listening to the ghosts of his past chanting, “Go! Go! Go!” After that I’ll stay away for a few days. I’ll put in overtime at work, get a pat on the back from the boss, and go out with the guys from the office. It’s all single malts, strippers, loosening ties. We talk about the market, the economy, the prick in the White House, the boys on Wall Street. I’ll go home, catch up on the TiVo, sink into my 1,000 thread count sheets, and set the alarm for six. I’ll never be able to stay away for more than a couple of weeks. He won’t call, and neither will I, but I’ll show up at his door, booze in hand, and he’ll let me in with a smile. There may be girls there, or some old hobo he’s met on the corner, or a whole party. We’ll do something crazy, like the time he hurled his television out the window at dawn, convinced the angels would catch it. Or maybe he’ll be alone, writing. He'll ask me to leave. He’s working on a book now. Something new. Something good. He'll be secretive. "It's about parking lots and ghosts," is all he'll say. "But maybe I can grab a bite. I've been at it for hours." "I’m buying," I'll tell him. “I know,” he'll say, giving me that famous, All American football player smile. We’ll go to the pizza place on the corner, or more likely, to McDonald’s. We’ll feel guilty about the burgers, but we’ll sit on the curb outside and drink milkshakes. He’ll improvise a poem about a Big Mac, or start a diatribe about fluorescent lighting. “It’s getting late,” he’ll say eventually. We’ll walk up to the corner, where our ways split. At that time of night, the corner will be deserted. The lights will flash green to yellow to red to green, looking like flashing bulbs in some giant marquee. But they're not. Page | 36
They're just sitting there, waiting impotently for the sleeping traffic, all alone in the darkness of the American night. Jack and I will shake hands, promise to meet up soon. He will walk off, but I will stand there for a minute. For too long, probably. I will check my watch, and ask myself whether I have time to make the last train home. To read Matt Sailor’s story, and more, buy Desolation Blues. You’ll be saving a poet’s life. Bless you, and have a wonderful day.
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SIMPLY REPEAT By James Lawless The time in Italy is always in the air. The town's church bell behind me sounded ten o'clock. I rode my bike adjacent the park and entered the road, peddling alongside of the cars. The major highway that separates my house from the library is being moved over a few meters and the construction has created an incredible amount of pollution as well as confusion. Large dump trucks transport rocks and dirt without covering their loads. The minute one leaves the house sand is thrown in one's eyes. Sometimes I wear a bandanna over my face making me feel like a cowboy; my bicycle is my horse, and the cars are buffaloes or cows. As I was peddling at a steady pace a very long trailer truck pulled up in front of me. It was tagged with the label of a famous Italian supermarket. On a yellow background "Freshness" was written in Italian in red letters. I noticed this through the cloud of dust the truck blew in my face just as it turned in front of me and head off in the direction of Milan. I sped through a green light. A bulldozer was squeakily loading a trailer truck on my right. I turned left in the direction of the city library. I'm at the end of my ride at a computer work station in the library. The computer I'm using is on a timer to give everyone a fair chance to use it. So I race to punch my thoughts into the keys of this computer before the machine automatically shuts off. I look out the library window. Breathe. Ideas, put to words, flood my brain. I type. I look out the window. I can see my wheeled horse parked in front of the library. I think of myself as a cowboy again watching the vehicles in a traffic jam on the highway. In the slow traffic I see moping cows. "The herding was successful," I think, "and now that the livestock and wild buffaloes seem to be taking care of themselves, (and I can oversee them from my library window), I'm here to write about this unique Italian roundup.”
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Now my eyes are off the highway and fixed on the computer, my composition. The words become the cows and the buffaloes, the letters their bodily parts. They mope down the page. Italy is always new, even when it's the routine for the Italians. I keep on telling them this: "America might be a good place for you for the same reason Italy is a good place for me" (because it's different). I enjoy living in Italy as I once enjoyed living in Mexico. Living in foreign countries always left me with a strong desire to read English, anything that would associate my mind with my culture without having to take the time and trouble of living there. An inestimable treasure. I am very content in this dusty Italian nest which never fails to give me something to compare things to rather than something to simply repeat.
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MORE CHERRIES By Bud Smith The Ferris wheel was stuck. Gears mashed or severed. Some girl screamed wild and desperate, imprisoned at the top. Her voice shrill, hot panic—as if sentenced to public death for a crime she didn't understand. Not quite a child, not quite an adult, hovering on the fringes of the void. A wax paper soda cup flew down to the boardwalk planks— ice spreading everywhere. There was nothing that could be done. People stood outside Midway Pizza, staring up. Excited. The moon was full and the rollercoaster flashed by—still functioning. One thing was certain. You could look around and you could spot the tourists. They come down here for the spectacle. The girl up on the Ferris wheel, she was one of them, a visitor—and she was the greatest spectacle of all. People need that. Down the boardwalk came the wind—on it, the smell of fried dough, confectioners’ sugar, the music of the carousel. Grits of sand whipped against the rough edge of everything making it smooth. I put my hand on the back pocket of Kate's jean cut offs, tugged her. No use, sensory overload. Wide eyed wonder— transfixed, "Let's go," I commanded. "I'll show you something." My voice broke their spell, brought them back to me. I was there with two beautiful college girls—like I’d just won the lottery. As a result, my feathers were all puffed up like some champion peacock let out on a Saturday parade. I kept myself from floating off up over the Ferris wheel, consumed with an over inflated ego, by reminding myself continuously that this kind of
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thing wasn't a normal occurrence. And that I should treat it like a delicate gift that could be ruined as offhandedly as it had arrived. Mary and Kate. Kate, a north Jersey blonde draped in proper bred blood and money, dressed in a candy striped nautical tank top, tight jean shorts and flip flops. Mary, a southern redhead from Savannah, Georgia—who, like me, had nothing—but used that as a way of lifting herself up, into the realm of the unknown. She didn't have a bra on and wore a gold necklace with a cross for some God that I didn't know a single thing about. Her ass was tighter, better— her cut off shorts were ripped and frayed in well placed patches. Kate had done the ripping. Mary was in love with Kate. Kate liked Mary and the both of them thought I was alright, but I got the impression that it was just because they had no clue where I was coming from. What I was thinking—what I wanted. If I was for real or just some weirdo that would dissipate when the wind normalized. I took whatever opportunity presented itself to show them the depth of my oddness and the way that I belonged nowhere and everywhere at the same time. They took the hint—removed all posturing. Though beneath, a nervous tension throbbed like a nest of baby rabbits exposed under a patch of lawn. These two girls squirmed and seemed to be dreading and pulsing with the possibility of conflict, collision, self-destruction as means of reenvisioning. They liked to drink. I remember that. They’d drink anything you put in the vicinity of their full wet, welcoming lips—they both preferred straws. Thinking it was cute, for some reason, to drink everything with a straw. Even beer. I took great joy in feeding them both drinks, and even greater joy with the warmth and politeness of Mary, who would say—each time, "Thank you kindly." Page | 41
"Call me sugar," I said, sliding a beer in her direction. "Thank you kindly, Sugar." I made her blush and Kate smiled, looked at her girl. "You look best when you're all pink," she said. Neither one of them had seen and been doused in the true filth of the boardwalk; they both seemed eager for an introduction. The line of bars in a strip, flashing lights, stuffed animals more outsized then even the most runaway bloated dream. One Win Choice. Step up, play whatever game you want. No one loses. Come on, win these pretty girls something engorged with blood. I took them to a stand called Frog Bog. You pay for a bucket of rubber frogs, put them one at a time on a catapult, smash the catapult with a mallet—send the frogs soaring into the air. The object was to land the frogs on a lily pad that rotated mechanically. I thought about my cock. Wasn't it just like the rubber frog, soaring into the unknown? Weren't these girls lily pads, rotating around me? My frogs splashed down into the water, vanished. Mary won a massive Rastafarian banana with a Jamaican flag bandana wrapped around its neck, dark sunglasses, a joint hanging out of its mouth. "Your first banana!" Kate said. "Congratulations." "Many more to come," I remarked. There is always the allure of the arcade—it never fades. Kate hadn't been properly introduced to either Mr. or Mrs. Pacman, and was confused about which she wanted to play with more. I explained, “No one wants to admit it, but Mrs. Pacman is better.” "Why?" “More cherries.”
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Kate looked at me knowingly. Clicking her tongue off the roof of her mouth. Then they watched—hanging off of each other for support, while I chased ghosts around the electric maze, carefully rationing my power pills and carefully disappearing off screen, to hide and then to reappear as if reborn on the outer edge of the other side. Duck and weave and live forever. When I was finished, caught in a corner by the pink sheeted digital undead, I dumped a new quarter into the slot. I slid away from the machine guiding Mary up to the joystick by placing my hand on the small of her back. It was our first touch, the colorful carpet with its Arabian Night design caused in us a charge of static electricity to pop—both of us jumped. A release. Mary gave me the side eye, her long braided red hair swaying, her ghostly blue eyes flashing at me—as if I held secrets that were about to be revealed to her. Kate pushed me playfully into Mary, "You two are getting along as well as I'd hoped!" Things were headed in a particular direction. Two of us knew it, one was in the dark—unsure. They were both strangers to me. I'd met Mary by odd coincidence. It was summertime. I was building a stone wall at a large house on the ocean; I used to spend a lot of time walking around on the private beaches there, though I wasn't supposed to. Point Pleasant, New Jersey. It was humid, hot, torture, really … but there was no one on the beaches. I came over the dune and there was Kate, all alone. She was spread out on a towel, kicking her feet behind her, as she lay on her belly drumming the sand with her palms. I studied her ass as if it was a cipher that would unravel every code in the universe, making the great mystery of life nothing more complex Page | 43
than a Sunday morning comic strip. I went down, waded out into the surf in my camouflage shorts—floated out there, watching her watch me from just inside the breakers. That's the thing about Kate. She liked to watch. It brought her great pleasure. We didn't talk. We just looked at each other—like two animals in separate but adjoining cages at a vacant zoo. Feeding time—somewhere long off. That night I came back to the private beach, found her again. She was wrapped in a hooded sweatshirt, with a few young stuffed up college guys—no one important. We lit a bonfire, my suggestion—it was illegal and scared away the rest of the kids. They were concerned about the police for some reason—to my great wonder. Visitors. Tourists. Go away, leave me with your nubile blonde. We have much to discuss. Alone; she told me that she was going to Brown University, majoring in nothing. The house belonged to her rich aunt, who owned a sailboat. She kept laughing nervously and talking about drained bottles of wine, her aunt's sailboat and someone named Brent. She started to say something else, but then we were all over each other. Wrapped up. Breath on breath. Very much involved in stopping all the words ever from coming out each other's mouths. Our tongues actively fighting back all conversation. Our bodies colliding together in a mess—slick with sand, her blonde hair in waves smacking me in the face as the wind relentlessly threw sparks from the fire across us. Sparks exploding in the dark night, occasionally burning my back, her neck, my ankles—it didn't matter. I'll never forget, we rolled over and she let out a cry. Her sweatshirt had somehow caught fire. I'd thrown it too close to the Page | 44
embers. We covered it in sand and went back. I recall throwing her clothes off piece by piece, trying to get each thing to land in the fire. For some reason, that was my goal within the goal. Eventually, we drew the police, and they made us put out the fire, dress—return to the land where gravity and other laws of attraction are held as truth—though, on closer inspection, they are not. We saw each other a few more times. I had an old pickup truck. She was landlocked—stranded away from her campus bus system. Her joke was that she sometimes called me Driver. That was funny for a time, until I told her if she said it again, I would drive her somewhere where rich girls are never found once they arrive. She laughed, but knew it was the truth and I continued to take her around. Showed her the area. Lowered her down into the darkness. Took her in the tunnels beneath the abandoned insane asylum. Swung her out, screaming, on a frayed rope hanging over the trestle bridge at the murder scene creek. Brought her to the junkyard, where we drank a case of beer, after hours, crushing things in the compacting machine, while the rabid junkyard dog howled. I still remember when we fucked for the third time and she said to me right after, "I have a girlfriend—this isn't cool what we've been doing." "No?" "And she's coming. That's the worst part. She'll be here tomorrow." I treated Mary and Kate to fifty-cent drafts at the Sawmill and just like whenever there are fifty-cents drafts anywhere, there was a fight that broke out.
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A little man lunging at a meathead, a block of human muscle. The stool flipping over, both of them rolling on the floor— spit, shouts, the bar erupting in havoc and horrible voices. There is a secret weapon though, as in all aspects of war. Always a secret weapon. His name is Boyd, and he is two hundred and seventy five pounds of sheer doomsday. He came rumbling through the crowd, in his canary yellow SECURITY shirt getting in there somehow, pulling them apart—splitting the red faced, veiny-necked men. Shouts. You’ll have to leave. The both of you. Now. They were removed. I thought about the time that Boyd had grabbed me by the nape of my neck and pulled me out onto the boardwalk, telling me, "Be cool." Simple as that, now. Be cool. At the time, I wasn't so easily receptive to instruction. I charged back into the bar and he stopped me, reeled me in by my shirt—broke my left hand. You get what you deserve, though. You can't blame anyone else for the things you do. Desire sets us feral, opening up sacred wildflowers sopping wet with dew. Even if you're intentions are to rip off the petals one by one and swallow them—you can't hope to resist for very long. It's in your nature. The fighters were removed, and the particles and ions settled. The air compressor kicked on. Much needed cool air flooded through the ducks. I looked at Kate: she was sweating. Glistening. I looked at Mary: she was bone dry. Georgia is a different world. She was twirling her braids and chewing on her lower lip. No one questioned what the fight was about. It was about war. Tail. Wet pussy. Tits with hard nipples like antennas receiving signals from the ready to spring dew nectar of nature. Page | 46
Long hair, eyes all done up, shining, searching. Bare midriffs. Hands motioning for you to come over, put your hands anywhere. No holds barred. Sweat running off a peach fuzzed tan shoulder and down the back of a girl in a neon bathing suit. Somewhere, waiting breathless and for the victor, to come fill some void. Kate smoked a cigarette on the bench outside the shop with black-light mushroom posters, concert T-shirts, incense. The shop had some stupid name, in the town, us locals called it something stupider: Bong Depot. Mary wanted to go into the little booth, get her fortune read by Madame Woo the Dead. “I don’t think so,” Kate said coldly, turning her face, exhaling her smoke as the wind tugged it a thousand miles out over the unknown salt ocean. “Why not?” “Not my thing. I don't believe in it.” To me, Kate looked frightened. Not her thing? More like terrified. She was nervous that things were going to be spoiled soon between her and Mary—that she was going to lose her one way or another. She was right to be concerned. Mary, impatient and giddy, took my hand—brought me instead. The miniscule boardwalk booth was decorated to resemble to inside of a gypsy tent. Mystical. Bones and stars on strings, chanting playing from a tape deck hidden behind a curtain. Madame Woo the Dead, herself, was dressed in a loose hanging robe and her eyes were painted up dark, dark green, the color of the unknown ocean. She was not Chinese. Or some sort of gypsy. She appeared to be French Canadian by the way she spoke. Still, we hung on her every breath. We sat down on unpadded steel folding chairs across from the mystic. Page | 47
Madame Woo took both of our palms of our right hands and scrutinized them. “There’s someone else,” she said. “But the two of you will one day get married.” Mary started to laugh. "Married?" A memory consumed me, there. Kate and I laying in bed, still panting, hearts still fluttering quick from exertion, her saying—"I don't think Mary has ever been with a boy … I think she might still be a virgin—in that way." "Really?" "She's innocent in a way that troubles me …" "Yeah." "Can I ask you to do something? You can say no, it won't change anything. I'm just so worried about it. I'm glad I met you." "What do you need?" "Will you fuck my girlfriend?" Madame Woo the dead shifted in her chair, nodded, repeated, "Married, yes. It's a certainty." I paid the three dollars, we left. Kate was gone from the bench. We found her standing on the fringes of the crowd of spectators looking up at the Ferris wheel. There was talk of the fire department coming with a highreach. One of those machines that could extend up forever. Pulling the people out of the sky one by one and introducing them to the ground where they belonged. That girl began screaming again up there. Her voice, horror stricken—but on the verge of hoarseness. It had been some time, but her desperation had not lessened. She wasn't getting any more comfortable with her isolation. She hadn't figured out that isolation can be a gift if accepted and used as a tool. Page | 48
While the crowd thought about whether or not the thunderstorm would arrive sooner rather than later, and whether to fireworks would be canceled. I tuned out the calls for help. It all became a silent hum. It was almost that time of night. My eyes went to Mary. I looked at her tight, ripped cutoffs, and wondered the way that she would taste and smell if we could somehow get alone.
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BEAT OF THE ALLEY By Kent L Johnson I smell pizza cookin' as we approach the joint. My mouth waters. I push Larry the Gimp along in his wheelchair. Diving accident is no reason not to enjoy life, just watch out the crazies don't take your government money on the third day of the month, leaving you hungry. I remember the hot day swimmin' the east side river; Larry dove in but hit bottom too quick. We been neighbors and friends since grade school. We know each other’s secrets, not all, but enough. Mark D with the Blues is playin' open stage. Great blues voice and not too bad on guitar. He likes Dr. P and Canadian Club. Carries a thermos of pre-made in his stage case, especially on nights when he just plays a beer only joint, like Figaro's. We wheel up near the stage, get us a pitcher of cheap on draft. My foot taps to the beat. Larry can't move his feet. He has no problem lifting a beer though. We say hello to some regulars. "Frankie and Johnny were lovers, They had a quarrel one day..." Mark D says hi over the mic after he finishes his version of the old blues tune. He pours himself a little cup from the thermos, steps down off the stage and comes over to the table. His eyes red and a bit of white dust next to his nostril. "What you two doin' tonight?" he asks. "Nothin', just gettin' beer and a little food," I reply. "I'm ready for something different," Larry the Gimp says. "I got that folded up in a nice bindle. You got some green?" "Pay day was today," Larry the Gimp says. "Larry, be careful, you got to make that last a month. You be eatin' at the Mission again come a week from Saturday. Eatin' with the people with no teeth, man. No shower, no reality ever." I try to warn him. He don't want to hear me. I know he misses his legs, misses dancing, misses basketball on the street court, misses going to the toilet like he once did. It's his life. Page | 50
He flips Mark a Grant and Mark flips him a piece of magazine folded in that special way before he starts up on stage again. The guitar hits a slide guitar riff and the crowd quiets. His raspy deep voice scrapes the dust out of your ears. I gotta pee, and I'm up and gone for a bit. I don't know how they know, but they do: Alley cat Mary is set up next to Larry. She's talkin' and smilin' at him. Larry gets another pitcher of cheap and another glass. She's drinkin' with him. She's got his hand in hers. I know where this is goin'. "Woke up this morning, I looked 'round for my shoes... You know I had those mean old walkin' blues..." They call her Alley cat Mary cause she always manages to land on her feet and get fed. She's nice enough, and she purrs in your ear and rubs you the right way. She takes a drink of cheap and pulls Larry's hand to her chest. I been there before, a year or so back. She can scream like an alley cat too. I don't say nothin'. It's Larry's deal now. "Some people tell me that worried blues ain't bad, It's the worst old feelin' I've ever had..." I sip cheap and watch Mark D. We played street corners together for tips a time ago. I got work, Mark D got the Blues. He motions to me durin' an instrumental filled with the chord changes that make me wonder how a drunk man can play like that. I move up to the stage. He's playin' E, and I pull out my A harp and bend the notes like momma used to bend a switch cross my ass. I'm huffin' and puffin' on that harp and I look up to the crowd. I watch Alley cat Mary push Larry the Gimp out the back exit into the alley. "Minutes seem like hours, and hours seem like days, Since my baby started her low down ways..." Page | 51
We finish the song and folks applaud before pushin' pieces of pizza in their mouths. A group of, looks like college kids, maybe, a dozen of them sittin' at a big table, all guys. Got a guy pullin' a big wad 'a' money out of his pocket and buyin' drinks for a couple single gals sittin' in a booth next to the juke-box. They don't pay him no mind. It's time to teach him somethin' new. I get off the stage and walk to the back, waitin' for Larry the Gimp and Alley cat Mary. They come through the back door, sniffin' and smilin'. I pull up behind them and point out the college kid to Alley cat Mary. Larry can't see me cause Mary's behind him, pushing the chair. I whisper in her ear: "Kids got a grand, I swear. Watch him buy them gals drinks with that wad 'a' cash." I point in the kid's direction. "Why you so interested?” she asks me. "Larry here don't have much," I whisper again in her ear. "What he do have, he needs to live. You just got a good jolt from him. Find another Daddy for tonight." She looks in my eye. I was playin' with Mark D before she was on the scene. She knows I know, cause she did it to me. She pushes the chair to the table and excuses herself to go to the toilet. "How much you got left Larry?" "We snorted most of it, maybe four, five lines left." "Hundred bucks bud. Lot of dough for fifteen minutes." "I got to feel her up between lines. It's been a while since I been with a woman. I can't do much since the accident, but it doesn't mean I don't want to. You know what I mean? I'm gonna see if Mark D got some more." "I don't want no woman, wants every downtown man she meet..." Alley cat Mary stands next to the college boy at the counter. He's buyin' a pitcher for the table. She whispers in his ear and holds his hand. She nods toward Mark D. Mark D nods back. College boy sets the pitcher on the table, turns, and walks out the back door with Alley cat Mary. Page | 52
"She a no good doney, They shouldn't allow her on the street." The music stops and the sound of conversation slowly fills the room. "Where's Mary?" "You didn't know, Larry? She and Mark D are a pair." "A pair?" "Yeah, like dice, snake eyes. They live the low down dirty blues. Got to at least once if you're gonna sing it. Hate to say this Larry, rich kid with a big wad got himself some cat tonight. If he's lucky, that's all he'll get." Songs: Frankie & Johnny song, unknown artist, Walkin' Blues and Dust My Broom lyrics by Robert Johnson, Country Blues lyrics by Muddy Waters.
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CC By Benjamin Allmon Minutes from meeting held; 2:30 p.m. EST, 12/12/2035 In Attendance: Paul Roth, Vice President and Head of A&R, Globalis Corp & Subsidiaries. Lenford Hausmann, Agent. As transcribed by the MON-QMkIII* P. “So, the new album. I gotta say, this has come at the right time, Lenny. Summer was dead for us. I mean, it was a corpse. The old man’s been waiting for this to get us back in the black for the September quarter.” L. “You won’t be disappointed, Paul, this is my man at his finest. Now, I’ll level with you, it’s a bit different from the usual…” P. “Yeah yeah, you agents and the great intellectual elite. Always banging on about new directions, new horizons, revolutions in music…lemme tell you something Len, and I’ll give you this for free: it all sounds the same. All of it. The last revolution in music was the invention of bagpipes, and that was something of a pyrrhic victory, am I right? Sounds like a sack of cats getting sexually molested by a monkey, am I right?” L. “I hear you, Paul, but just wait till you hear this, it’s the next big thing, I’m telling you. Where’s ‘play’ on this heap of junk?” P. “There.” L. “Oh. Thanks. Okay, here goes…” (Audio): “Cunt chops…de do de do de dodooo…cunt chops…de do de do de do dooo…cunt chops…de do de…“
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P. “What the hell am I listening to? Is this a joke?” “…Do dooo…cunt chops…de do de do de…” L. “No joke, Paulie. This is the song.” “…Cunt chops…de do de do de do dooo…” P. “What song? All I hear is a guy with no instruments that’s off his chump. Songs have melody, beats, lyrics that mean something, and while we’re at it; what the hell is that he’s saying?” “…De do de do dooo…cunt chops…de do de do dedo dooo…” L. “What he’s saying isn’t important. It’s open to interpretation. What I’m saying is that this represents a whole new paradigm shift, a bold new frontier in music.” “…Cunt chops…” P. “And what I’m saying is this is the demented product of a lunatic…” “…De do dooo…” L. “Paul. Paulie. This is the guy that wrote ‘The Singing Octopus Lives.’ I mean, hello! He’s a genius. He practically invented skank, and you’ve now got proto-nouveau artists coming out of the woodwork citing him as a seminal influence. He’s got cred with the next gen because of it.” P. “I don’t care what he’s got.” “…Cunt chops…” P. “…Although I’ll grant you, ‘Octopus’ was the goods. But Lenny, come on, listen to this for Christ’s sake. Cunt chops? What the Page | 55
hell is that? I can’t go to the old man with cunt chops. Come on!” “…De do dooo…” L. “He’s sold over a billion albums, Paul. A billion. Only artist to do it. Only artist with all ten of the Top Ten at the same time. He’s going in a new direction, that’s all, it’s what he does, what makes him the best.” “…Dooo…cunt chops…de do de do de dodooo…cunt chops…de do de…” P. “Oh for fuck’s sake, Len, it’s just him saying ‘cunt chops’ over and over with the occasional atonal ‘doo de doo’ thrown in for good measure. Tuneless wreck is what it is…” “…Cunt chops…de do de do de do dooo…” P. “…And can we turn this fucking thing off? It’s driving me nuts...” “…Cunt ch—“ P. “Thanks. Christ, what the hell is wrong with the guy? That isn’t music, that’s just some old rocker—“ L. “—Skanker.” P. “Skanker, then. Some old skanker out of ideas and probably his gourd, too.” L. “Look, Paul, it takes some time, but trust me, the kids are gonna be buying this in droves, they'll buy what we tell them to buy, and the kaffeeklatsch will swoon over it, you know they will, and…” P. “Shh.” Page | 56
L. “Huh?” P. “Just shut up for a second, Len. You may be right. Now that it’s off, I can still hear it…” L. “Oh yeah?” P. “Catchy, ain’t it?” L. “I was just going to say that! See? He’s onto something…” P. “Yeah, I know, I was just sitting here, and I could hear it in my head. Do de do de do dooo…” L. “He’s a genius, am I right?” P. “I think you’re right.” L. “I know I’m right!” P. “All right!” L. “So, can we talk contract?” P. “I think we can, Lenny my man. Damn, I really can’t get it out of my head, you know?” L. “You think the old man’ll go for it? P. “You leave the old man to me, Lenny old sock. But listen, to help me come up with an angle, give that tune another spin, eh? I think I think better with it on.” L. “Brilliant. We’re gonna be rich men, Paulie, and we owe it all to this…” “…Dooo…cunt chops…de do de do de do dooo… Page | 57
ARTWORK BY SARAH HENSLEY Sarah Hensley, underground artist-guru and founder of Scrublightning, has been in the business for awhile now, and has produced some of the best avant-garde artwork I have ever seen with my two eyeballs. Sarah’s work, while grounded somewhat in reality, is often touchable. By touchable, I mean that while it is still off-the-wall ridiculous, it is at the same time grounded in some sort of authenticity, such as some of her nude work, while does not show the figures of Good Old American standard. She will be providing the cover of Weekenders’ first anthology, Desolation Blues (which you can read about just a few pages back). While I shouldn’t give away too much about the cover art, I can say this: it’ll include some familiar faces. You can find her on Facebook (facebook.com/scrublightning) where she regularly accepts commissions (and does them damn well, at that!) The following pages will contain Sarah’s work; with each piece, you can spend about 10 minutes staring at them and will still be hard-pressed to notice something you’d already noticed before. We love Sarah and hope to learn more about her and her work as time flies by. Enjoy. Page | 58
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END WORDS Well, thanks for reading the first issue! I’ve had a great time putting it together and working with everyone. I’ve been wanting to do something like this for quite awhile, and am happy to finally be do it, even if it is online. I would desperately like to one day make this an all-print magazine, once it’s all growed up and folks are familiar with what we’re doing here, and what exactly defines a Weekender—which, hopefully, this issue has helped with. I’ve tried to reflect our mission—to abolish any censorship within the United States—within this issue, mostly through the work the contributors have produced. Now, of course, please know that I do understand that our mission is a tad unrealistic. I know. But I think the fact that we can move forward is the biggest part of the underground movement—not whether or not we can stand at the gate of the White House and demand that we be given full rights, non-amended, and for our voices to be heard from the rooftops of every great building in our nation. See, that’s not really want I want to happen. I want us, as a community, to drive this single literary magazine into something great, something that can at least help to make a difference in the literary community and beyond. I would like us to show the other, “classier” literary magazines that the underground has a say in shit, too. We should be rising to the top. Everyone—you, the reader, and you, the contributor— deserve to be at the top, because the crème always rises. We always rise. On the next page, there’s some support info that you can take a look at. Feel free to just glance at it and pay no mind, or, if you really love us, you could donate some of your hard-earned cash to advance the magazine and pay contributors (which, in effect, would also help to advance the magazine, so, win-win). I look forward to making many, many more issues in the future. Thank you. Page | 66
SUPPORT THE WEEKENDERS If you would like to support The Weekenders, there are a few ways you can do so: By Submitting. The more submissions we receive, the more stuff we can put into issues. It also helps to expand our audience, as writers oftentimes have their own audiences, who then become ours because their work is in our magazine. See? Not to mention that we love reading good writing. Send your submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org. By Buying the Anthology. Our first anthology, Desolation Blues (written in the style of the Beats) will soon be for sale. You may pre-order a copy (or 5!) at $3 by e-mailing me at email@example.com with your full name, address, and “Desolation Blues” in the subject line. I’ll let you know any other information you should know before I send it to you. By Donating. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so! Just send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll tell you where to send your money. Most folks are reluctant to sending their money to some place, and they don’t even understand what it’s for. Well, that makes sense. But I’ll try my best to clear some of the fog up: The Weekenders will only use donations and other monies towards the advancement of the magazine; this may be through paying contributors, printing future Weekender projects, or buying software to help design the magazine. Donations will not be used to any other purpose. The Weekenders hereby will not issue any personal information of the donator’s to third-party persons or companies.
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