by Molly Kat
The violence enacted on her body has solidified into coal, collected between her lungs, and sits growing hard and dense, trying with all its might to produce a diamond. The hands she loved and the hands she has never met turn into a big lead anchor. Her face is carved of knotted white rope. When the wind blows, the wet coils pull taut against the steal of her jawbone and moan in agony. They twist and cry out into the cold salt water. The ocean doesn’t move. Energy moves, waves move, but the water stays still, stays shrieking at the cuffs of her sleeves, stays static and impartial. She relies on this. Her insides ride the crest of a wave and are covered in foam. Her face is carved out of diamond. Her name sounds like a man’s sob. Her eyes reflect nothing but the cold dead mouths of volcanoes. She has been reduced to ash. She used to be so much fire. She is stolen by suicide the way most young girls are stolen by love. She is singing by the wayside. She wants the hem of her skirt to come undone. She doesn’t want the centuries of corsets to bind her to her hated body. She is imprisoned in the wretchedness of the news corporate media refuses to tell. The bodies pile up, become the known tissue of the hated body. She is nothing but tissue. Sinew, snapping under the violence of memory, of melody, her harmony begs to be forgotten. Sometimes, when she walks down the avenues in alphabet city, the click of her heels and the swish of wiper blades and the squeal of brakes make music, a deafening music, a familiar music. She has her pepper spray and her switchblade but it isn’t revenge she’s after. She walks slower, then faster, then hops or jumps or skips and the city scowls at her cacophony, at her defiance. She finds the pawn shop she’s been after and asks for the sharpest teeth, a guttural moan, three 45caliber bullets, and an old sail. She stops at the door, stares at the sun beaming out from behind dissolving clouds and mumbles inaudibly, “not today, there is god today. I have to wait for it to rain.”
Molly Kat is a graduate student at Binghamton University studying American Literature and Literary Theory. She has had work published in Muzzle Magazine, Pedastal Magazine, Ragazine, and several print anthologies and other literary magazines. She has work forthcoming in Foothill Poetry Journal as well as Corvus.
photo by Phil NZ
by Jason Schenheit
What was supposed to be a little tizzy with the chaps turned in to a god dammed frenzy. Now to that effect, I’m not one with a jest for the imagination, but be aware that your trusting little friend and story teller has been drinking, smoking, and cavorting with all I’ve known, the messed and downtrodden. By way of Jackson St, I’ve walked myself from my digs,downtown, south towards the bridge and it’s junction with Stover St.,on the way to the community college, Go You East Everett Avengers! A twenty minute walk, past the brick bottom high rise apartments, past the new commercial spaces with their visible red painted metal beams, past the Mommies Morning Yoga, past the three major coffee chains and the five local ones, past Ebert’s Sherbet who’s cross-street is McMichael’s, past the stuccoed High, plastered Middle, and trailered Elementary schools, past the tree lined dog park on Trinity Way, past the neo-classical condo-complex trying to butt up family style against the river, and over the walking bridge, adjacent to the cars’ bridge that crosses the river.Smells like piss, but only after my chums and I started the trend of pissing off the bridge in to the river. The August afternoon is sticky, and my shirt and my skin are becoming one, so I peel the cotton off, the sun warming my tanned and tired pores, and the on looking mommy strollers can turn their eyes all they want. They might know what we did, a couple of pals, roommates, Avenger cohorts, Dash and Quest.But the town doesn’t say shit, they never do, and the Jakes, those Everett cops, we think they know too, everyone just looks past me and mine right in to nothing, the town, in to their strollers, always away from us. Sometimes, when we go in to bars or Claire’s Dinner off Jackson, the counter people always dock a few dollars or crack us some free cold ones or gives us a pie and three clean forks.
Six months back the LocalObserver’s front pages went from suicide to murder, because Ol’ Ricky was found bumping head first in to the bridge’s icytower foundation in beat with the unfrozecurrent, and the town was still at ease.No one cares about a dead racist. At least not in East Everett. Where there was no room for something so old. Overlooked because Ol’ Ricky LaVarve was a crazy bigot.No sooner did you walk past LaVarve and he went off no matter your hue. You see Dash came home hot headed, about’a half a year ago,in middle of winter. Steam was rising, growing from his sweat soaked skull cap. He said, Ol’ Ricky called me’a spic, followed me a good six blocks from the walking bridge up to McMichael’s, whistle’en, sing’en it behind my back, the son of a bitch.Sick of Ol’ Ricky’s tongue,back we went, my chaps and I, to talk some sense in to Ol’ Ricky. Back down by way of Jackson St., from downtown, south towards the bridge and it’s junction with Stover St., on the way to the community college, Go You East Everett Avengers! A twenty minute walk, past the brick bottom high rise apartments, past the new commercial spaces with the red painted metal beams, past the Mommies Morning Yoga, past the three major coffee chains and the five local ones, past Ebert’s Sherbet who’s cross-street is McMichael’s, past the stuccoed High, plastered Middle, and trailered Elementary schools, past the tree lined dog park on Trinity Way, past the neo-classical condo-complex trying to butt up family style against the river, and under the walking bridge, adjacent to the car bridge that crosses the river. The smell like piss coming soon after my chums and I start our trend of pissing off the bridge in to the river. When we, my knuckle rubbing chums and I, got to the underside of the walking bridge, there Ol’ Ricky LaVarve was in his tattered cord jacket, layers of sweatshirts, newspapers and worn knee denims. He was smoking out a GP that was little, hued black and brown. He yelled out, you dinks coming this way,you want to hear the truth, that you’ll be saved, if you let go, let it go, you lil’ spades.We couldn’t speak, we sprang, my pals and I, to head split, rib slit, and knee crunch. We destroyed Ol’ Ricky’s face, smashed in his teeth, his jaw, pulled out his hair, that ripped up scalp by the handful, tore at his cheek ripping open a long smile to the top of his broken jaw,stabbed out his eyes with our fingers, then we stomped in his chest, kicked in his privates, lit his clothes on fire with him still in ’em, and Ol’ Ricky in between gasps of blood, in a damaged, gurgled whisper, do it, do it, you filth, you curses, kick’n my head, but we, my leg and arm grabbing chums and I, carried Ol’ Ricky back up on to the walking bridge, lifted his dead weight, and shoved him over in to the river. And then we, my lighting up squares, social network and I,started that trend of the smell of piss.
Jason Reinhard Schenheit, is an all sorts writer, and survivor living in San Francisco. After his service in the US Marine Corps he has gone on to become MFA candidate at San Francisco State University, where he works as the Managing Editor of Fourteen Hills: The SFSU Review, and co-coordinates the VelRo reading series. Outside of SFSU, he is an editor and webmaster for thegorillapress.com an online journal representing young talent throughout the US. His most recent work can be found in sparkle + blink.
photo by MA1216
by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
I save my tears for night.
I save them for when it rains.
It does not rain enough.
The tears, they do not care,
if I suffer or if I’m happy.
The rain won’t come soon
enough and when it does
people still ask if I’m all right.
Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal is a California-based writer. He welcomes your comments at cuatemochi[at]aol.com.
photo by MyEyeSees
by Stephen Rosenshein
The sea is an endless sameness interrupted by brief signs of life: coastlines, birds, whales, boat wakes. I sat on the side of the boat reading, watched the five or six-foot swells raise and lower the ship. There were fins and water-spouts in the distance. Or maybe they weren’t really whales but I really wanted to see whales so I saw fins and water spouts in the distance. Either way I saw something.
And I thought, I could lead a life at sea, just focusing on the way the sea was dark and churning out frothy streaks of bubbles that turned white because they were emptied of water and filled with light. I didn’t really think that. I thought I wonder what happens to the bubbles at night.
I forgot the bubbles that night and got salty taking shots out of the cap of a liquor bottle. I screamed at the seagulls resting on the railing of the boat. I danced with and swore at everyone. I punched Steve Perkins so hard in the face that I started to think I could REALLY lead a life at sea.
In the morning the cruise was over. I walked onto dry land holding both handrails. I could still feel the up and down, the side to side.
Stephen Rosenshein studied creative writing at San Francisco State University. He welcomes your comments at stever4204[at]gmail.com.
photo by laura.bell