Death and arguments in the spaces of side curtains wash away under the flood of stage lights.
I dress the frame of human life one degree off reality. Stage Center, the candelabrum. A new book of matches on the table. I hope the broken love seat doesn’t cave in, that the door stays closed.
I pull the prop trunk onto set and wait for the cue.
Dirt and oil sparkles on my skin long after the lights go out.
by AJ Pearson-VanderBroek of Nebraska City
Carolina cypress seeps its scent into the unusually thin air today. Some southern shitmouth is shouting, "Say sorry for being rude to me," at an infant.
"You’re sorry for what? For what? Say you’re sorry for being rude to me," she says, over and over again.
by Danielle Blasko of Detroit
Dayglo zinnias, blossoming orange and red outwards from their mottled brown pupils: dad let me design them myself, an of-age present. That's how I know she loves me, even after all we've been through. My sister never changes the flowers in her eyes.
by Kaolin Imago Fire of Acton
Counting days again. Lost track though. Never been good with numbers. Words? They work. So I play with them:
Alcohol Begins Cycles. Dope Eliminates Flaws. Getting High Inspires Jokes. Killer Lines Make Nightly Outrage Palatable. Quitting Requires Stamina. Taxman Unexpectedly Visits When X-rays Yield Zigzags Around Brain Cells.
The ABC's of addiction are pretty straightforward. It's the aftermath that's fuzzy.
by Joe Whalen of Lambertville
Pressed between ferry and pylon, I wish to be unstuck. With one goodbye push I wrench myself free and watch the ferry wearing my boot pull away. I don’t think I’ll see her again, this is what I am thinking. I sit for days within my mind watching myself hop the next boat across the strait. I don’t think I’ll ever see her again. I’m usually wrong, though. Like now, I wish. I wish to be stuck, again.
by A. P. Cohen of Istanbul