Anthony Dirk Ray


Sexagenarian Reptilian

I stayed at my grandparents 
a lot as a young child.
my grandmother was a very
liberal person when it came
to the human body.
she would get undressed
in front of me, and allow me to
look at my grandfather’s 
playboys while he was at work.
she would be in the bed reading,
and I would be at the foot of the 
bed not reading the articles.
at night I slept in between
my grandparents in the bed.

on one occasion, my grandfather
was working the graveyard shift
at the paper mill, and it was 
just me and my grandmother.
we got into bed and I put
my little leg across her leg 
as I usually did at night.
this time something strange happened,
and I said to my grandmother,

“Nana, you make my lizard long”

silence…

she was either thinking that it’s
time he sleeps in another room or,
‘shit, I still got it’

Charles Rammelkamp

Psychedelic

The Canadian psychiatrist, Humphry Osmond,
coined the phrase in 1956 –
over half a century ago, 
but it doesn’t seem that long;
four years after I was born.
Used it in a letter to Aldous Huxley,
the guy to whom Timothy Leary brought acid
on his death bed –
died the day Oswald shot JFK –
so Huxley could die tripping.

Comes from the Greek words
for “mind” and “reveal” –
psykhē and dēlos, the root of which
means “to shine”: dyeu,
which also informs the words “adieu,” “adios,” 
“diety,” “divine” and more. 

Osmond used the word in a scientific paper
only a year later:
“A Review of the Clinical Effects
of Psychotomimetic Agents,”
in which he discussed therapeutic uses
of LSD and mescaline for the mentally ill.

In his 1956 letter,
Huxley had written to Osmond:
“To make this mundane world sublime,
Take half a gram of phanerothyme.”
Osmond wrote back:
“To fathom Hell or soar angelic,
Just take a pinch of psychedelic.”

damion snow

thirst

i’ve been watching cam girls
literally fuck themselves
for weeks now

empty beer cans
decorate the area around me
like some kind of enchantment circle
where i can summon a demon
to devour me

but instead i cry frequently
and boil into evaporating waters
that stain the ceiling
like a rorschach test

something is also wretched
in the turning tides that
encompass all my
personal definitions

and now

“a thunderstorm forever, above me”

these perpetual distractions
that linger like a lust unexplored

that bleed into the banks of
my yet filtered deliberations

i’m surely becoming
someone i hate more
than i thought possible

fuck you

Paul Tanner

the ballad of hollow girl 

she needed the biggest, she needed the best.
the boys in her town were stubs 
and the men of the city were little more.

so hollow girl hiked the globe:
sometimes paying for it, sometimes raping. 
hollow girl went shore to shore
pounced on and bounced on every man she saw
in countries you’ve never heard of.
she passed herself around the few hidden tribes 
whitey hadn’t wiped out yet,
but even they barely scraped the sides 
of the insides of hollow girl 
and as she lay in jungles crying hollow cries
as technicolour beetles scurried over her hollow girl body, 
the satellite picked her up: 
the narcs in secret Lab 47b were surveying the globe
for the next tree glue, the next cancer-curing coconut or whatever, 
when they got wind of hollow girl
and they homed in on her: 
watched her rut and cry and rut. 

a chopper swooped in and got her
and hollow girl was wheeled into shady government clubs 
where:
narcs took turns. 
prime ministers had a go of it. 
royals hopped on. 
powerful men – anonymous and too famous, 
they all plugged her up, 
even all at once at one point
but alas – they still barely met each other 
in her. 
it was no good:
hollow girl was still hollow.

so the important men shot her into space.
the bastards, they shot hollow girl into space. 
hollow girl hurtling through the cosmos in a big phallic rocket
that she could easily take: the irony not lost
as she watched galaxies slide by the window like weird little windy towns. 
hollow girl wishing she could be full. 
wishing she could be a full full-on lesbian, 
as the edge of the universe came yonder 
faster than she ever had

then there was 
nothing

then there was 
something – 
maybe some light?
some white light?

and then
she woke up 
on God’s lap 

who’s your daddy? He said 
and wriggled her up and down His length
but still, STILL
hollow girl was unsatisfied.

that was it. 
she’d had enough
of never having had enough.
it was the literal last straw.
she slipped right off Him,
and He slipped right out of her.
then she leapt up at His face 
and scratched it into a big useless pate.
then she sat panting on Him a while …

finally, she felt good. 
not great, but good enough
there, on God’s dead lap.
still not fulfilled: 
quite the opposite in fact. 
but she was full of unfulfillment, you see?
the agony of hope was gone at last. 
she was choc-full of dreams of vengeance 
as the blood of His face rained down on her. 

a hate 
more powerful than any dick
swelled inside her.
The Hate filled her up, all right. 
The Hate bubbled out of her every chasm orifice, 
on the faceless throne of our baby dick dead God.

on Her throne. 
She was pregnant with vengeance 
as destiny coursed through Her hollow body. 

and Hollow God? 
She looked down at all of us
and now Her work
could begin. 

Daniel S. Irwin

Holmes Again

“Mister Holmes, I’m glad you’re here.”
“Always warming to be appreciated, constable. Fortunately, Doctor Watson and I were in the neighborhood sampling gutter whores. What have we here?”
“Seems this man, what was lodging here, has met his untimely end, head removed and all.”
“Good Lord, Holmes, what a ghastly mess!”
“Indeed, Watson.  Let’s see….hmm, quite a bit of blood loss, no sign of struggle. Do you notice anything unusual, Doctor?”
“Head’s gone, just as the constable said.”
“Watson! The man’s head is gone! I believe this to be…murder.”
“Great huge knockers! How do you do it, Holmes?”
“Years of training, Watson. We must examine the clues. Look, there’s a brown substance on the floor.  Doctor Watson, what do you make of it?”
“Well, let me peruse a small sample. It’s still warm…interesting texture…pungent aroma…can’t quite place it. Taste always tells more…yuck! That’s horrible tasting stuff! Holmes! It’s horse shit!”
“Just as I suspected. It’s all over the streets of London. We’ve got it on our shoes. The killer came from outside of this building!”
“Amazing, Holmes.”
“Of course. Now for the weapon…the fiend! He used a P.T. Barnum fat lady!”
“But, Mister Holmes, how can that be?”
“I propose, constable, that the killer, in his cunningly crafty plan, drugged a very bulky, huge P.T. Barnum fat lady, brought her here, placed the victim’s head between her massive thighs, and in tickling her with a feather, caused her to contract her fleshy legs, thus snapping the victim’s head clean away from the torso.”
“Egad, Holmes! Not the dreaded fat lady cunt snatch!”
“Watson, must you continually utter those ridiculous remarks of astonishment? There should be a great deal of gold or jewels missing from this flat,”
“But, Holmes, look about you. This man obviously was a pauper.”
“A clever ruse to throw us off, Watson.”
“The killer redecorated?”
“The working of an insane mind, Watson. But, he missed one thing. Do you see the opened book across the room?”
“What about it?”
 “A clue, man, a clue. After the attack, the victim must have desperately struggled to reach the book to leave a clue as to the identity of his assailant.”
“Holmes, the wanker’s head was removed. Wouldn’t that be difficult for him?”
“Yes, Watson. Such determination is to be admired. Aha! Nothing is marked on the pages to which the book is opened. So, the book, itself, being opened is the clue. Opened? Opened? I’ve got it! Watson, what else is opened?”
“The door to your room at the asylum, I hope.”
“Yes, Doctor Watson. And ‘door’ rhymes with ‘stevedore’. Stevedores load trunks onto ships. Trunks are also found on elephants. Elephants live in Africa. Africa has jungles. Jungles have pygmies. Watson, do you see?”
“No, but I haven’t been smoking the same thing you have.”
“He’s telling us that the killer was a small man.”

Knock, knock

“Hello, what’s all this?”
“Mister Holmes, this is Mister Angus, he collects the rent in this building.”
“Thank you, constable. Mister Angus, you appear to be a small, putrid, cream puff of a man. What’s your business here?”
“What? You can’t hear? I collect the rent. My uncle owns this boarding house. Inherited it, he did, before I was born.”
“There, constable, that’s your man!”
“How’s that, Mister Holmes?”
“It’s all clear as a cow pie in Hereford. Gentlemen we have uncovered a diabolical plan for murder.  Mister Angus arranged for his uncle to inherit this building before his birth, which allowed him to secure the position of rent collector avoiding undue notice, knowing that, one day, his intended victim would be hauling treasure into this very room. What say you to that, Mister Angus?”
“Go stuff yourself! It’s all lies! Lies!”
“Proof positive! The first sign of guilt within a sick mind is denial! Your denial has sealed your doom, Mister Angus. Justice will be served. Constable, take him away!”
“Thank you, Mister Holmes. With evidence as strong as what you’ve given us, he’ll be hanged, without need of a trial, within the hour.”
“Another crime solved, eh Holmes?”
“It feels good, doesn’t it, Watson? It’s starting to rain. We forgot an umbrella.”
“Maybe there’s one in the closet. What? Holmes! There’s a rather large man, covered with blood, in the closet. He has a meat cleaver in one hand and a head, recently severed at the neck in the other. My good man, what are you doing in there?”
“I chopped the bloke’s ‘ead off. I like killing, I do. Kills them where I finds them.”
“Holmes!  Here is the murderer, not Mister Angus!”
“Nonsense, Watson. The poor fellow probably just wandered into that closet by mistake.”
“Holmes, you egotistical fruitcake! They’re going to hang an innocent man. We must tell the police that we were wrong!”
“Steady on, old thing. We could NEVER do that.”
“And, pray tell why not, Holmes?”
“Elementary my dear Watson. To admit we were wrong would be….damned un-British.”
“I say, Holmes! I hadn’t thought of that. You’re right, again.”
“Rue Britannia, Watson.”
“Rue Britannia, Holmes.”
“Now, let’s go do those tarts.”

J.J. Campbell

for the next thirty years

sometimes the neon bleeds
through my soul

she’ll never love me
when i’m dead

i’m not so sure about alive
either

punishment is getting close
enough that her perfume
stays on your mind for
the next thirty years

now, i spend most days
wondering if anyone will
show up to my funeral

another bottle for the floor

thankfully, this isn’t
the first rodeo

the first trip down
choppy waters

lightning in the distance
and you can smell smoke

eventually, you learn
how to swim

how to hold your breath

how to tell a lie so good
you can convince yourself
it’s the truth

Anthony Dirk Ray

Road Dog

John was an over the road truck driver. He had a wife of 15 years named Kim. He would be at home one week out of the month on average. Kim worked part time as a receptionist at the Douglas Firm, and as a server on weekend nights at The Starry Eye Saloon. When they first got married, it was difficult for John to leave out on a run; but now, it’s as if he couldn’t wait to get back on the road. That’s when Kim decided to take a job waitressing on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night at the town’s most popular strip club. 

Kim was getting ready to go into work at the club on a Friday night when she called John. 

He answered in an annoyed tone, as if he was being bothered, “Hello?” 

“Wow, you answered.” 

“Yeah, I’m about to lay down. What’s up?”

“Just wanted to talk to you for a minute before I go in. Where are you at now?”

“Huh? Yeah, umm, I’m outside of Dallas. I have a few stops out here and a few in the city, then I’ll be headed west.”

“Well, okay. The club job is paying well, but Jim is still flirting with me.”

There was silence, and Kim swore that she heard a female’s voice and giggling.

“Hello?” Kim said, in an agitated yet concerned tone.

“Umm, yeah, I’m here. Sorry. What did you say?”

“Jim keeps saying I’m wasting my talents waitressing. That I should be stripping. He said I have too good of a body not to. It’s making me feel uncomfortable.”

“Look, if he thinks you have what it takes, I say go for it. We could use the extra money. But don’t do anything to jeopardize the job you have now. Jesus, Kim. Do I have to hold your goddamn hand through this too?”

“It’s just that I don’t….”

“I need to get some sleep. I’ll call you in a day or two,” he interrupted.

John hung up the phone, laid back on the pillows in his sleeper, and continued getting what was said would be, ‘the best head outside of Dallas’. At that moment, John could not argue with such pristine logic. She was good. Hell, she ought to be, John thought. She’s had enough practice. Plus, the missing teeth never hurt. He worked one up, and blew it right to the back of her throat. John gave her the twenty dollars she requested, and a beer for the road to cleanse her palate. 

Kim was having a rough night. There was a feature dancer in town from Dallas, and the club was packed with horny guys with big cowboy hats and even bigger belt buckles. She was running from the bar to the stage, back to the bar, and to the private rooms all night. A fella named Jimbo in one of the private rooms offered her $1000 to go home with him, which she kindly declined. Kim knew that her relationship was probably past mending, but she wasn’t going to be the villain in this movie. 

She was out back on her only break of the night smoking a cigarette, when the feature dancer came out and asked her for a light. The two chatted while they smoked. Kim envied her confidence, and the dancer’s curvaceous body made her slightly jealous. The subject of home life and men came up. The dancer told Kim that she traveled so much, that having a normal relationship was out of the question. Kim spoke of John, and how he was hardly ever home. She opened up about his infidelity as well, and the two verbally crucified the trucker. Kim returned to the grind, and the dancer to grinding.

John woke and made the few pickups outside the city and headed to bustling Dallas. He had been there before, and absolutely detested the traffic. John inched and weaved through a web of highways and exits, and made all of his pickups by 6 p.m. He was ready for a shower and a six pack. He had a long haul ahead of him to California. John liked the girls at the truck stops in California. He thought about all the good times he had with the Mexican girls out there. He hoped that he could find his favorite though. She was a stacked black girl, with big tits and a huge ass, that he had seen a couple of times in the past. John loved her enormous ass, and how it completely engulfed his cock in the reverse cowgirl position. He was getting hard just thinking about it.

John pulled into the truck stop around 7 p.m. It was packed, but he finally found a spot near the back. He got his change of clothes, wallet, and toiletries, and headed to the showers. After his shower, he got dressed and went into the main store area to get him some beer. John wanted nothing more than to down a few brews and pass out watching his Gunsmoke DVD.

As he headed to pay for the beer, a sexy blonde in a summer dress caught his eye. She was looking at the roadmap section near the register. While he was in line, they made eye contact a few times and John made his way toward her.

“Well, hey there cutie. You’re looking for a map I see. Are you and your husband lost?”

“Oh, no. I’m not lost. I have GPS on my phone, I’m just looking at these brochures of attractions and places to see nearby. I’m just casually making my way to my sister’s place in Arizona. I haven’t had the problem of a husband in quite some time. Thank God.”

They both laugh and continue small talk about the weather, how terrible fast food is, and the huge statue of a weiner out by the road. John wanted to make a dick joke then, but thought it would be inappropriate, so he put a kibosh on that. She surprised him, when she said, “If you have even half of that, then I’m going with you.”

John gave her a devilishly carnal grin, and said, “You might just have to find out. Hell, what’s your name?”

“Sorry, I’m Liza,” she said, as she extended her hand toward John.

He took her hand in his and said, “Liza. That’s a beautiful name.”

John held her delicate hand and could not get over how soft it was. He looked down at her perfectly painted nails and back up at her flawless smiling face and said, “Hell, Liza. I have all this beer to drink, and no one to drink it with. Would you like to have a few with me and continue this?”

Liza looked around as if she was contemplating saying no, but with a burst of exuberance, she said, “Get that pint of Jack Daniel’s there, and you have yourself a drinking buddy.”

John got a fifth of Jack and they headed to his truck. John walked behind Liza and watched her ass sway with every stride she took. He stared at her sexy golden legs. Her sun-kissed skin shimmered in the brightness of the store’s large overhead lights on poles. John was used to the company of average to below average women, but Liza was leaps and bounds above them all, and most of all, she wasn’t a lot lizard.

They arrived at the truck and John unlocked it and got in. He grabbed her hand to help her up, and couldn’t help but notice the absence of a bra. Her sundress scrunched up in the front, exposing her exquisite, bronzed breasts. Once inside, John showed her around his tiny, traveling apartment. She told him it was quaint and homey. John opened them both a beer and poured some whiskey in his coffee mug. They drank and talked about John’s job, his life on the road, and his failing marriage. John found it easy to talk to Liza. He thought, she’s a beautiful woman, and she actually listens to me.

With the fifth about half empty, Liza turned to John and said, “This whiskey is making me hot.”

“You want me to turn down the a.c. a little?”

“No, that’s alright. I know what I’ll do.”

Liza stood as best as she could in the tiny space, pulled her sundress up over her head and tossed it at John.

“There. That’s better. You don’t mind do you?”

John looked up and down the sexy, bronzed female form in front of him and said, “Hell no. Not at all. Mind if I join you?”

“I was kinda hoping you would. Here let me help.”

Liza moved close to John on the tiny twin bed and began undressing him. As she unbuttoned each button on his shirt, she would kiss from his neck and down his chest. She pulled his pants down and continued her kisses downward. John laid back and Liza bobbed and licked. She crawled up toward him and mounted. Liza’s warm wetness enveloped him completely as she took him all in.

Afterwards they laid there, sweaty and exhausted. He told her to stay with him for the night, and in the morning, he would get her contact info so he could keep in touch with her.

When John woke the next morning Liza was gone. He figured she’d just gone inside to get some coffee. He noticed a piece of paper with some writing on it, and hoped she left her number for him. John wiped the sleep from his eyes, picked up the paper and read it.

John, I had a blast last night. Thanks for the drinks. Jack makes me a little wild, so sorry if I hurt you. I have to confess that our meeting wasn’t as random as you may have thought. My dancer friend told me about you. She let me know where you would be, and said that I should show you a good time. I sure hope you enjoyed yourself.

P.S. Your wife wants a divorce. Also, you should never judge a book by its cover. You might want to go get tested. Liza

Hank Kirton

Lydia and the Cluttered Yard

Lydia and I secretly dropped acid on the way to Paragon Park which was an amusement park in Hull, Massachusetts. It’s long gone now. Lydia and I were in the marching band together. She played the flute, beautifully, and I beat the bass drum like a caveman. The whole band got excused from regular classes to spend the day at the park, so in that sense it was a field trip. Lydia and I had already tried acid and we both found it fun. It was a fun trip, exploring our minds in a dazzling new way. Our hallucinations matched; watching things soften and melt, shooting moondrops from our fingernails, etc. The idea was to merge two fun things into one BIG FUN. It seemed like a sensible plan. But when we got to the park and the acid lit up our brains we grew nervous and the two funs conflicted with each other. We were afraid to go on the rides. The crowds grew monstrous. The funs cancelled each other out and we were anxious to go home and let things wear off. The bus ride back felt like a slow-motion emergency.

Lydia’s family moved away the next year and I never heard from her again. I don’t even remember her last name.

There was a long circuitous road in my hometown called Ichabod Lane (yes, really). 27 Ichabod Lane was an old dump of a house that was rotting apart. It had peeling tar paper on the sides and windows with broken, patched-up panes. I always wanted to take a picture of that house because of the stuff in front of it. There was so much furniture in the yard. Enough for three houses. Bureaus and tables. A bed with a sodden, ruptured mattress. A tipped-over stove. A bathtub filled with rusted car parts. A rusted car. That yard went on and on in its strange way.  Crowded and loud and teeming with chaos and confusion.

I never did get around to taking a picture of it and eventually the yard was cleared and cleaned up and the house was torn down. By then it was too late. Today it’s a vacant lot.

Nowadays people take pictures all the time but I never did and still don’t. I’m keeping my yard clean.

***

From: Everything Dissolves

Jeff Weddle

You Say You Want a Revelation? Well, You Know…

God comes up to me on the street. Says, “Hey, pally-pally, how’s tricks?” 
“Tricks is good,” says I. 
God stares off down the street where the rats are eating the corpse of an old woman 
who died walking home from her crummy waitress job. 
“This shit makes me want to puke,” says God. “What a fucking mess.” 
“I don’t mind,” says I. “But if YOU don’t like things, why not fix it all?”
“I didn’t say I didn’t like it. I just said it makes me want to puke,” says God.
“Damn, bro,” says I. “You sure work in mysterious ways.”
“You know it,” says God, giving me a fist bump. “Stay chill.”
“Groovy,” says I. 
God walks down the street and picks the biggest rat off the old woman’s body 
and shoves it in his mouth. Swallows it whole.
“Mysterious ways,” he yells back at me.
And then the whole world ends, just like that.

Brian Rosenberger

The Throne

It’s been called a throne,
Probably dependent on location.
At my office building and on our floor’s restrooms, 
Royalty, or Corporate Executive not withstanding,
It’s just a public toilet.

A means to an end. It does not discrimate.
Piss stains, pubic hairs, unflushed fecal deposits.
Gods and janitors, bums and priests,
pro athletes and carnival acts.

All are equal here.

Today, the asshole in the stall next to mine has gone Nuke.
At best explosive diarrhea, maybe radioactive.
At a Godzilla level.

Does it stink? Like the wet feces of a dead skunk.
Probably worse.  

I struggle not to puke.
My neighbor offers a courtesy flush.
Kudos to him for that. 
And that keeps him out of Dante’s 7th circle of Hell.

I offer him my best wishes and better dietary choices,
And sympathies to the stall’s next inhabitant.
I notice the fucker doesn’t take the time to wash his hands on exit.

No hope for humanity.