Hey buddy you’re sitting at the death desk
the apocalypse will happen
In over/under a hundred years
a hundred years
I take out my wallet take
a sip of hot coffee bite
of doughnut scratch
a lotto ticket
thought I had a five
got a K-A-R-M-
A cop walks in a circle
Around an abandoned panel truck
With “Juan 3:16”
Written in spray paint
On the back
Flies from the telephone pole to the street
And the street to the telephone pole.
Unfulfilled lust for the unreachable
Screams tearing my lungs apart
This sea of pleasure will never soothe my numbing heart
An incestuous relationship with both parties’ disagreement
Constant struggle for everlasting fulfillment
It’s not sadness my darling, it’s nothing
A moon-sized hole carved into my soul
This lust for something
Something i can’t recognize
Something i cannot fathom
A spider shaped creature pushes me around
Forcing me to submerge in my sins
Am i the one to blame or is it the damned beast?
Give me armies of men
Give me a harem of women
Give me oceans of wealth
Give me something i do desire
Continue reading “‘Autoerotic Asphyxiation’ by iukinim”
My Only Friend
I call it “Puttyface.”
It’s a hominid-shaped protein
Pushing mass up a gradient.
My friend Puttyface was strange around sleep.
The water-glass-bell alarm clock—
Does this imply it looked forward to bed?
Baroque masturbations, two cigarettes
corresponding to its sacred integer.
Yes, Puttyface had his human.
The hobby was movies.
They often advanced the one
with the symmetrical visage
and never failed to succeed
to fail to appreciate what I assume were the
But speaking of Puttyface,
here it is right now
come to tie me up again.
‘A Higher Form of Necrophilia’ (translated by Slava Faybysh)
Ivan and his babushka sat down in a dusty, half-deserted bus. It smelled of exhaust fumes and singed pigskin. Ivan and his babushka were lucky: they had a whole seat to themselves, where some rust-blond foam padding was making its way out of a hole. Ivan was tearing at the foam and putting bitter little pieces in his mouth. Babushka was looking out through the scratched-up window remembering her youth. They were headed to the last stop, which was called “Brick Factory.” Until then, it was traffic jams, red lights, road rage and hundreds of people who weren’t wishing you well.
Just beyond the gloomy factory (which looked like a medieval fort) there was a graveyard. Whenever babushka walked past the concrete pipes and inhaled the scent of burning pitch, she always had the exact same question: “How can anyone work like this?” She had spent her whole life working with biological materials behind closed doors at the state research institute.
Well Ivan was thinking about how he didn’t feel like visiting his dedushka since he could no longer whittle him a pistol and a walkie-talkie out of wood scraps, which the repairmen would leave lying about the driveway after a visit. Ivan didn’t like Chinese pistols in colorful packaging because all the kids had those. The boy just knew that more secret knowledge was within his grasp, so he wanted absolutely nothing in common with anyone else. Babushka did not support this tendency of his, and periodically she told Ivan he was egotistical. The boy didn’t quite know what that word meant, but just in case, he would get angry and try to appear as unhappy as possible.
Continue reading “Two Stories by Andrei Dichenko”
My wife and daughter had left, returned to the city, but I still kept watch over the house. I took a post on the back stoop, behind the kitchen, facing the orchard. The dormant trees had come into a sudden flowering. The garden hummed with returning insects, tiny life among the daffodils and tulips, among the blood currant planted beside the door. Its crimson flowers rustled in the wind.
Across the orchard, through the neat rows of trees, I could see freight trailers. They had been parked along the gravel access road. A team of forklifts were unloading pallets from them. These pallets held stacks of beehives. Vague human figures moved about the heavy equipment: the beekeepers. They wore the baggy suits and veils of the trade. They had been at work for days. There must have been hundreds, perhaps thousands of hives, arranged into a pyramid shaped mound that overlooked everything.
I was growing tired. I looked at my phone log, at all the unanswered calls made, just checking on the family. The night and the morning had passed without incident. But I was afraid of what would happen if I dozed. The beekeepers had stayed to their side of the orchard. I made sure that they did. A shotgun rested across my knees, ready to fire, should anyone come forward with hostile intentions.
Continue reading “‘Blood Currant’ by Matthew Spencer”
The hills sizzle with the sound of the sun striking the surface of solar panels. The ride to Rothko Industries takes you — in a wide sweeping curve — through the San Marcos Mountains East of Santa Barbara. A peculiar feature of the dated roadway is that it stands alone as the last highway in California that runs its course entirely above-ground. Elon Musk’s Boring Company has yet to extend his underground superhighway this far South, but it is not a question of if it will come, but when. Down the coast, San Diego stubbornly held out against the project for years, but now that their new AI-integrated City Management Protocol has determined a new tack, progress cannot, will not stop. The tunnels will come to San Marcos.
My eyes are continually adjusting to glares that I encounter in my periphery from the panels that pockmark the lunar-like terrain. Teslas never have enough tinting. It struck me that the brushfires must have had their way with the land recently. That which isn’t singed is a solar panel, which are all fireproofed. They, of course, cause most of the fires. I resign myself to the fact that I’ll need to put on sunglasses. I grope around for them — they must be tucked away somewhere on top of the sloped dashboard.
“I’m sorry I insisted we go on this route, I did not know it would hurt your eyes…” a feminine voice piped in — pensive, apologetic, from the passenger’s seat. It bled regret, an emotion too human — all too human for my liking.
Continue reading “‘Isla Vista’ by Ryan Silva”
When I started reading this book, I didn’t like Rupi Kaur any more than you do. I think anyone who’s reading this site probably has the same idea of her that I had, an idea that isn’t entirely inaccurate: that Rupi Kaur is a sham writer of trite, pithy poems that aren’t worth the mostly-blank paper they’re printed on. As I sat downloading a copy of her latest book, The Sun And Her Flowers, probably chuckling with self-satisfied irony, I had very low expectations, likely no greater than yours. I had no great awakening while reading this book – none of my troubles were danced away in a field of sunflowers – but this new Rupi Kaur book… it has good parts.
Continue reading “‘The New Rupi Kaur Book Has Good Parts’ by Toom Bucksaw”
after Sylvia Plath & Dolores O’Riordan
It’s the same old theme
When Amy Lowell released
Men, Women, & Ghosts,
Including the fiery line
Her music-kindled love
Crashed on him there.
One hundred & one years
Later it is happening
Again, this time with
An originary feeling
Like bog water—still, &
Studded with blood-
Rusted beads—a sweet
Ocean dream. There is no
Sound on these open seas
& my hands aren’t cold,
They’re just waiting
For a tree to split in half
& spew its resinous secrets
All over. The stone bleeds
In your palm so I am looking
For a hint in your face
That this century hasn’t killed
You, that you still feel love
As a collision-driven song—
Tart, red, possible, & enough.
Continue reading “Four Poems by Tom Snarsky”
You open your eyes. You sit up alone in bed in your shitty beige cell inside the larger, shitty beige cube. You’re accosted by social media pop-ups on your screen, Weibo, Twitter, and the like. It’s all shit; you shovel / scroll to the bottom. Here are the serious notifications, the ones with implications for IRL. They loom ominously near the top of your Gmail, prioritized by Google’s busybody AI Butler. He knows you’re unemployed so he puts the emails related to work toward the top without being asked.
You’re already two months behind on rent. The landlord is threatening to throw you out on your soft ass if you can’t start paying in at the minimum, which dropped again this month. The minimum drops almost every month, lower and lower than the depths of hell. Every time it drops, the interest rises; some fucker’s got this game figured. The landlord’s last correspondence says that if it were up to her, she’d give you more time, but she can’t fudge your payments anymore because of a new accounting system and that you must pay in something.
Lower down the list is loan debt – the GoogleU email glows red like the eyes of some predatory serpent poised to devour you. For a moment of fancy, you imagine a flashback to equatorial Africa where your ape ancestor narrowly avoids being bit by such a snake. It makes you sick in the pit of your stomach. Google requests a “Read” notification; you consent. The text is the usual threatening scree; you owe Google bt4920K and you must start making the minimum payment. Failure to do so will result in automatic enlistment into a mandatory debtor job. This is a relatively new phenomenon, passed by a bipartisan majority of Democrats and Republicans, lauded by businessmen as the best thing since drug testing for welfare. Debtors are moved into Debtor Campuses, where they can work off what they owe – the largest two are administered by Amazon and Google. Inside, you’re put to work based on your skillset and earn credits; you can apply your credits toward improving your accommodations, gaining new skills to get better jobs to earn more credits, and, of course, paying off your debt.
Continue reading “‘Like a Dog’ by Hotline Boca”
Hail fell over the rabbit warrens in the dead, brown field. Metal roofs over the nearby brick outbuildings rattled like gunshots with each impact of the fist-sized balls of ice. No one was around, the buildings themselves abandoned decades ago when the nearby quarry ran out of high quality quartzite. It was a dark and dreary place made no better by the storm.
In the right hand corner of the field a massive bolt of lightning struck a lonely metal pole that was once the host of an electric arc lamp, causing radiating lines of intense heat to run through the soil. Burning tufts of dry grass were extinguished quickly by the ice, and steam rose up from the charred steel remains of the post. It was at this moment that a human figure moved out from behind one of the shuttered storage sheds, a distinctive black and red helmet ensconcing their head, a reflective gold faceplate showing in exaggerated distortion its surroundings. Chunks of hail bounced off of the headgear, and in the time it took for the individual to cross from the opposite side, the storm began to abate. Soon only light sleet fell from the gray skies, coating the person as they stood looking intently at the site of the lightning strike.
The figure’s pose was one of intense observation, watching for something that was expected to happen but was not running on schedule. With the total cessation of the storm the helmet came off. Under it was a grungy looking male, his hair uncut and greasy, his face puffy and strained with a look of total exhaustion. “Fuck it! I can’t believe it didn’t come through with me!” He took a deep breath, eyes closed, seeming to savor the deliciousness of the cold and clean air despite his anger. He thought he knew what was going to happen. It had happened to every time traveler and will continue to happen to every time traveler: The United States government would send him a box of supplies and coordinates for the future retrieval of his research, all bagged and tagged, waiting patiently a century or more. Of course, he realized that his ‘mission’ wasn’t approved, or vetted by any commission or review board. He came here, to this time; to find out the truth with a capital T.
Continue reading “‘The Revisionist’ by Christopher Bollinger”