Life in The Fast Lane: Snail Vixen

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Life in The Fast Lane: Snail Vixen
By Casey Renee Kiser

***

SNAIL VIXEN

I rise
from this game show garden
Only cheaters get watered here
Still,
I seem to be the only thing
growing

I have invaded the faeries’
beauty
but cannot absorb it-
They can keep that
nonsense
The flowers here are fake,
depending on your brand of sunglasses
All the ‘cool’ fireflies gather
at your third eye,
spies

I’m slow
but I’m gangster
I have risen
and I’m getting the fuck outta here
where paper planes fly
and people still nap
under trees

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***

SERIOUSLY THOUGH

every time I see James Franco
I get bromance crabs.
Fuck James Franco.
Every time he smiles,
a Cheshire cat takes a shit.
Fuck James Franco
and his pineapple express-dick face.
I had a nightmare
that James Franco also wrote poetry.

From Snail Vixen and the Crystal Garden

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***

Yes, James Franco is pretty. But there are surely more intriguing whores out there.
Maybe that’s true. Maybe not.

But one thing is for sure… This book really has nothing to do with Franco.

The Crystal Garden, like Wonderland, is a place where nothing makes much sense.
Or does it??

Depends on which way you decide to go. Never mind the cat. It’s there to confuse you.

My name is Crystal. Join me for a strange and unapologetic trip through the poetry garden.
Is it a dream? Or a nightmare? Depends on you. Actually, it could be a party.
After all, James Franco is there.

BUY A COPY HERE

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***

Photo credit: Jasmyn Taylor Givens

More on SoundCloud

Steven Storrie

From The Wreck Collection, now available from Alien Buddha Press

***

Contemplating the Missouri

So that’s really the deal huh?

Sure. There’s an element of that.

Well I’ll be damned.

Why, don’t you think so?

I dunno. Get the shovels.

The moon was out and there was a bite in the air. Three men stood next to a beat up black Cadillac, its headlamps the only light in the thick of night. One of the men, in a black suit and tie, went to the rear of the car and opened the trunk.

Christ! he exclaimed, reeling back in horror.

You not used to the smell yet? one of the other men chuckled. Get her out of there.

Well come and help me.

Anthony never said anything about that.

Well we get paid the same, don’t we?

Yeh. Why doesn’t he help?

Sam, the man who had opened the trunk of the car, pointed at the third figure, standing adrift from the grisly scene.

Who? Elvis?

The third figure that night was indeed Elvis, or an impersonator at least. However, this was no run of the mill Elvis impersonator. This was the best. Looking as young and handsome as he did when he swivelled into view in the 50’s there wasn’t an ounce of fat or a diamond ring on him. And decked out in a white dinner jacket, ripped blue jeans, black leather boots and a white cotton V-neck vest, all supplied by Dolce & Gabbana, there wasn’t a fucking jump suit in sight. This was no Vegas job. This was the King.

He don’t dig.

Explain to me again why he’s here.

I dunno. Anthony paid for him. He’s meant to sing a few songs. Kinda like a tribute, I guess.

You don’t think that’s a little sick?

If I ever thought about things I’d never get out of bed on a morning. Here, he said, I’ll get her legs.

Elvis stood silently watching the two men as they lifted the woman from the vehicle and laid her on the ground.

Damn shame, the one called Pete said.

Sure is, the one called Mike replied, shaking his head.

She used to be a model, ya know.

I believe it.

22.

Yeh. And now look.

What did Anthony tell you?

That it was an accident.

You believe that?

I dunno. I never thought about that either.

Why him anyway? You rang the place, right?

Yeah. But they said their Sinatra rang in with a hangover and The Beatles were fully booked. There was no-one else any good. Anyway, that’s fucking Elvis. You don’t like the King?

He’s ok, but four limeys digging would have made for lighter work, he’s just a lazy bastard.

Oh, come on…

Mike and Peter took to the task at hand, eliciting groans and grumbles with every spade full of dirt they dug up. Hanging back in the shadows, resting on the hood of the silver convertible that had brought them out there, Elvis happily strummed his guitar until it was time for his big performance. He sound tracked the digging with storming, excoriating versions of ‘That’s All Right Mama’, ‘Viva Las Vegas’, ‘Burning Love,’ and as the sun began to dip and the heat ease off ‘You Gave Me A Mountain’ and ‘Wearing That Loved on Look’. With the end of each song Mike and Peter filled the silence with furious debates and disagreements as to why they were here at this time, what a waste it was that they had to bury a body as beautiful as this, who was going to drive back, and how well The King was doing.

I tell you, man, that is his best song by some distance.

What is?

That one just then, man. ‘Burning Love’.

Get outta here.

I’m telling you. You should hear the version form Hawaii that he did live, it’s red hot.

I don’t care. I don’t like it, it sounds silly.

Well you should clean your ears out more often, you moron.

Hey fuck you! I don’t have to like it just because you do and so I don’t…

What did you say?

I said it’s a shit song and I don’t have to like it if I don’t want to.

A shit song?

Yeah.

Listen, you. If you don’t shut up I’m gonna dig another fucking hole next to this one just for you.

Whoa, hey! It’s just a song, man. Calm down.

Just stay out of my face.

Hey, I don’t mind Elvis; I just don’t like that one. Why isn’t he playing ‘Jailhouse Rock’ or ‘Hound Dog’?

Because he’s not a jukebox! You dig that hole and let him play the songs. Ok?

Whoa ok, ok.

Right.

The wind whipped between the men, the kind of wind that gets beneath your bones, blows through your ribcage and chills your blood.

You been different lately.

Different how?

I dunno. Just different. Different.

Yeh well.

More tetchy. More questioning.

Yeh well maybe it’s my age.

Maybe it’s more.

Maybe.

Elvis began rehearsing a beautiful, tender version of ‘An American Trilogy.’

So how about it?

How about what?

What’s eating at you?

I dunno. You ever wonder about how things turned out?

Things?

Things, things. Life.

Ah so you do think?

Yeh. It’s gotten to be a bad habit of mine.

Yeh. Do you in worse ‘n whiskey. Quicker an’ all.

I know it. So, do you think about it?

No. I take it day do day. Why? What have you been thinking?

I don’t know. Maybe nothing. He squinted into the night

It’s something or you wouldn’t have brought it up.

I guess, I think… I guess I always felt I was bound for something more.

Something more? Pete began to laugh. Something more than this? This life not all you imagined it would be? Sleeves rolled up, he gestured with his shovel at the hole and the prostrate, greyish coloured body lying next to it. What more could a person want than this?

Very funny.

I’m being serious. You wanna be like some working stiff? Afraid of his shadow and lying to himself just to get through the day?

Ah, he waved him off.

I’m serious. You see em in the club. You know what I’m talking about

Oh, I do huh?

Damn right you do. You see those guys. Those balding, soft around the middle guys. Flabby and haunted. They have that look of desperation on them. They eye up the girls with an ugly hunger as they sink further into their cups. But they don’t do anything about it. They just keep fucking their wives with their eyes closed and go to work on time, all the time. It’s a waste of life.

It’s a steady existence.

It’s a lack of guts.

I was good at school. I was good at sports.

Oh Jesus…

I’m serious.

You should get a drink. Snap out of it.

I amout of it. I see things clearly. Clearer than ever.

Sam dropped his shovel and wiped his brow. He looked at Pete.

So, what are you saying? This is your retirement party?

I don’t wanna do this no more.

Just like that.

No, not just like that. I’ve been giving it some thought for a while now. I’m fifty-one years old.

Exactly. You do know you’ve left it too late for high school football, right?

Why is this amusing to you? Isn’t there something you wanted to do? Something you wanted to achieve?

No. The way I see it this is my lot in life.

Your lot?

My lot. My lot. What did I say?

Alright.

Everyone gets a place in the world. Everyone gets what he deserves.

You think she deserved that?

That’s not what I’m saying.

Look at her. Why don’t you look at her when you talk about her?

I don’t have to do what you say.

You’re a coward, that’s all. You’re a coward.

You better watch your words. We’ve been friends a long time but you better watch your words.

Friends? When were we friends? When were we ever friends?

Just watch your words, that’s all I’m saying.

A silence passed between them as the night breeze continued to swirl. They were about an hour into it, the hole about halfway dug.

A ‘coward’, Mike began, is someone who can’t face what he’s got or who he is. Benedict Arnold. He was a coward.

What do you know about Benedict Arnold?

I know. Alright? I know. You weren’t the only one who was a genius at school.

I didn’t say genius.

He was a coward. He wanted to be a General. No matter what. He couldn’t look himself in the eye, hated who he was. Hated the truth of his being. Nothing made any sense to him without him being a general, so what does he do?

What does he do?

You know what he does. He sells out his own kind because the British promise to make him a General. He betrays his brothers. He’s a traitor. All because he was a coward.

Then he didn’t even get to be a General.

Right.

The Brits sold him out.

Right.

And he killed himself.

Yep.

So, what’s your point?

My point is I can face who I am. I don’t expect any more than this. One day I’m gonna be with the devil, way down in the hole, just like this pretty girl is right now. The worms will do the rest.

You don’t think there’s any more than that?

I don’t worry about it.

Let me ask you a question.

What.

Would you want your kids to do this?

Do what?

This, this life. For a living. Would you want your kids to do it?

I would if they could face themselves in the mirror and sleep at night.

Ah that’s bullshit. That’s fucking bullshit, man.

Then why did you ask? Why did you ask if you weren’t gonna believe my answer?

I’m telling you. I’m done. After this I’m done.

You’re done.

I’m done. I’m telling him first thing tomorrow.

Really? You’re going straight to the top?

First thing tomorrow.

Let me give you some advice.

What?

Don’t.

Cute.

Ok let me give you some real advice, seeing as how you’re set on this.

What?

Do it by phone, do it far away, and do it some place no-one will ever find you.

I ain’t afraid of them.

Well you should be. If you’re smart as you say and you’ve gotten to thinking all the sudden then you should be. You wanna end up like him? Pretending you’re somebody you’re not?

Elvis surveyed the men from the hood of the Cadillac. He was still clean, pristine. They were by now filthy and sweating and covered in mud.

So, what are you gonna do? In the morning, when you wake up unemployed?

Unemployed?

Unemployed. That’s what you’ll be. Unemployed.

I ain’t no bum.

No, you ain’t no bum. But you’ll be unemployed. Just like all those other bums. So, what are you gonna do? With your time? What are you gonna do?

I dunno. I always wanted to do something in sports. Maybe coach ball.

Oh, Jesus now I know this is a dream. Now I know your stitching has come loose.

I got a sister in St Louis I ain’t seen in years…

Missouri? You’re gonna live in Missouri?

I didn’t say live. Did I say live? I said go…

Right.

Anyway, what’s wrong with Missouri?

Let me tell you, I’d rather be where she’s going than in Missouri.

It’s easy for you to say. You don’t have that feeling.

Christ your feeling things now? He’s thinking and he’s feeling. Come on then. What do you feel?

You wanna know?

I asked.

So, you wanna know. Ok. I get this blackness in the pit of my stomach. I dunno. I can’t shift it. I go to the river and can’t seem to do it. I think all of the time about this girl I met for two minutes at a cafe in Paris. I can’t sleep some nights. I sweat and stare at the ceiling. I throw rocks into the water and think of my brother.

I thought you said sister.

I’ve got both. What? I can’t have both?

Have what you want.

I got it wrong, that’s all I’m saying. People make excuses for why their life didn’t turn out like they wanted. I’m not doing that. Ok. I’m saying I know I blew it. I had chances, opportunities.

Hey good for you.

Ok, I’m not talking to you about it anymore.

Talk to Elvis then.

Pete stopped suddenly and looked around. There was nothing but space for miles in any direction. Endless, unspooling space. Nothing but the vast emptiness that fills the desert, fixed with the deathly, hushed silence of all the things it has witnessed and all the secrets it has had to hold.

What’s to stop me putting a bullet in both you and in him and taking off?

You do that you better not miss, friend. You better be swift and true.

Peter stared into Mike’s eyes. He imagined reaching for his gun, drawing and shooting in one swift motion like they did in the movies of his youth. He saw his friend fumbling for his own weapon, a hole dead in the centre of his forehead stopping him still, that look of surprise and disbelief etched into his face as he dropped to his knees, not saying a word, the sentence frozen and halted on the tip of his tongue. He tried to see something in those eyes that he felt wasn’t in his own. He wanted to see a flicker, a sign, something that proved he was right. That things could change. That there was such a thing as redemption. All he saw was a hard, stoic coldness. The hollow look of the haunted man. He knew the look well. He had seen it himself every morning for as long as he could remember.

Ah, what’s the point?

Well, it’s good to know that you didn’t get religion.

Peter laughed.

It’s good to know that much at least, Mike laughed.

Finally, the hole was dug. They pulled the body of the young woman in as slowly and respectfully as they could. Pete laid her out straight, her hands rested on her lap. Then they had Elvis pull them out.

Ya know, Peter began, wiping dirt from his hands, when I was a kid, my old man loved Elvis.

Yeh?

Yeh, really loved him. Had a tattoo and everything. Said ‘God bless the soul of the King of Rock n Roll.’ You like that, Elvis? I always liked that.

It’s pretty good.

Yeh it was. My old man was the coolest. Everybody loved him. Ask anyone around town about John Arthurs, they’ll tell you.

Yeh I heard he was a legend.

You’re God damned right. The man was my hero. He was my hero and I never ever told him that. Can you believe it?

Ah, don’t beat yourself up about that too much. None of us ever say the things we really want to. And not enough or not in time.

I could never have been like him. I always wanted to, but I just never could. When I was real little he had all these Elvis records. I remember one of them was a set that made up a picture of the King, like a jigsaw puzzle. I would lie on the kitchen floor and spread em all out, trying to make that picture. My mom would get mad at me and yell for me to move while she made dinner. She didn’t mean nothing by it. I was just in the way. You know how kids get.

Well, no. But I know what you mean.

Right, shit. I’m sorry.

Don’t mention it.

I forgot.

It’s ok, forget it.

Ok.

They had already started filling in the hole. Soon it would be time for a song to be played.

Look, I get it. I liked comics, right? I wanted to be a superhero or someone. But I was just a kid. That ain’t the real world. Besides, it costs too much to be a hero these days.

What are you talking about?

Nothing. I’m just saying I know where you’re coming from. We all wanted to be something when we were kids. But at some point, we gotta accept we are what we are. It gets to a point in life where you’re so far down the road it’s too far to turn back.

Yeh.

Yeh. You become a stumblebum boxer or a bit part actor. You get mud on your boots or blood on your suit. You’re a two bit nobody but you make the best of it. You play the cads you’re dealt.

Maybe.

Trust me.

You really think that’s the deal then?

Count on it.

I dunno…

I do. Not everyone gets to be the champion, Pete…

They stopped what they were doing and looked at the King.

Are you ready then?

He’d better be. He hasn’t done a thing all night…

Elvis moved slowly to the grave and began strumming his guitar. With perfect silence all around him he played a gentle, tender version of ‘Kentucky Rain’. When it was over, he slid back towards the car, to the same place he had stood for hours, and fell back into total, intractable silence.

Beautiful. That was my Mother’s favourite Elvis song. God rest her soul. You don’t think he’ll say anything, do you?

Naw. He knows Anthony too well. Besides, he knows if he does there’s a hole out here for him, too. And he’s only gonna have us to sing for him.

The sun was coming up when they patted down the sand, backs and limbs violently aching. The King had on his shades. Pete looked out at the palm trees that were greeting another rising day, still and calm in the gentle breeze of dawn.

‘Quittin time’ Mike said, packing away the equipment and dusting himself down. Man, I need a shower.

Just think, Pete said quietly, the rest of the world is only just waking up right now.

The pair then turned their guns on Elvis.

The three men stood motionless, two looking at the sun that was slowly climbing over them. Mike finally spoke.

Come on, he said without turning to face Pete, instead looking straight ahead, arms outstretched, putting his finger to the trigger. I’ll buy us both coffee.

You’ll feel differently after you get some sleep.

***

From The Wreck Collection, now available from Alien Buddha Press

Judge Santiago Burdon

I Should Have Known Better

The beer is just as warm as the stale air blowing lazily from the swamp cooler. Cooler my ass, it’s 107 degrees outside at 9:30 in the morning and the thermometer drips upward.

I’m sitting at the Meet Rack on Miracle Mile in Tucson. Safe bar, nobody ever fucks with me. And today would be a bad day to challenge my patience. I haven’t had a fix in thirty-nine hours. The “Heebee Jeebeez” are starting to crawl under my skin. The condition of my stomach comes into question. Here I am like Jean-Paul Satre’s character dealing with Roquentin’s curse.

Feeling nauseated, trying to hold back my wanting to vomit, and I occasionally gag loudly. Got kicked out of the Pussycat Lounge for puking on a table earlier this morning. It feels like cats scratching at me from the inside. And I have no idea when relief will arrive.

It’s dry. The whole city is dry. I can’t even locate a fucking mandrax or quaalude to take the edge off. The Chicanos on the Southside can’t scare up Xanax and there hasn’t been any decent heroin around in weeks. Swear I’d shoot cough syrup right now if it contained enough Codeine.

She said she’d meet me at the library on North 1st ave at 9:00. I’m late and now a no-show. Just can’t muster the energy or enthusiasm to walk that distance in this scorching, merciless solar torment. Besides, I’m not hard to find. It’s not like I have an active social agenda. I am similar to a homing pigeon. It may appear that I am wandering from my confines, but I always find my way back.

Especially when dope is involved.

She enters the dive bar, gliding across the floor with the grace of a swan. Her tits are like ripened mangoes and easily visible through her sheer summer dress. I was sure she was created by the gods from sea foam, navigating her half shell through calm seas.

Nope, she was born to Jewish parents in New Jersey.

“Hey baby, how ya feeling?” she whispers as she slides her fingers gently through my hair.

“I said  library not libation,” she continues, lecturing me.

“How the fuck ya think I feel?” I say. “I’m  sick from withdrawls and need a bump bad, baby…”

“Okay, let’s get outta here. Did you pay for that beer you didn’t drink?”

“I”ll pay Jimmy later. He’ll be happy just to get rid of me.”

We head out to her MG with the convertible top down. The heat slaps me with intense sincerity and I ask myself why I live in the desert. Almost every plant that grows and survives in this wasteland has some type of thorn or quill-fashioned brier or barb on it as protection from scavengers. There’s a variety of venomous snakes, lizards and insects sharing this ecosystem. These are my neighbors.

I sit down on the black vinyl seat of her MG with the top down. Instantly I let out a scream to rival those which echoed throughout the dungeons of the Spanish Inquisition. My legs exposed from sporting cutoffs make contact with the seat and they are instantly fried, burnt, charred to a crisp. Suddenly I forget about my other symptoms, concentrating solely on the ravaging pain in my legs. I swear I heard the sound of sizzling.

She throws a towel over the seat while giggling, attempting not to laugh. I think, I should’ve known better. She pats my leg affectionately and says… yes, you guessed it.

“Silly, you should’ve known better.”

“Where we headed?” I ask as she starts the engine and puts in gear.

Her dress dances in the breeze, occasionally providing me with a brief glimpse of her trimmed pussy — elegance defined. Sex is the farthest thing from my half mind at this time, however. She smiles, her hand on my shoulder as we drive along.

“Pascua Yaqui reservation,” she finally answers. “Black tar baby, Mexico’s finest just arrived!”

On Grant Road, just east of I-10, is the Indian reservation best known for its fat women in black dresses, Indian fry bread, and incredibly potent heroin. I cringe with anticipation as we race past the Multiplex Movie Theatres and into Geronimo’s neighborhood. A small dust devil sweeps past us as we park near the elementary school. I can feel the souls of a thousand warriors resting their eyes on this Dago kid from the south side of Chicago.

But enough with the mysticism; back to the main theme.

“Okay, give me the money,” she says. “How much ya got?”

She’s not gonna like my answer.

“Fourteen dollars and like sixty four cents,”  I respond, sheepish like a guilty child.

I think, she should’ve known better.

And then, just like it was possibly rehearsed, she grabs at the dollar bills and the CHANGE as well and says, well, what else?

“I should’ve known better! You know it’s twenty dollars! Guess I’ll cover ya again…”

No smile on her now.

“Still love me baby?” I call after her.

“YEAH, LIKE A TOOTHACHE!” she screams over the sound of a ringing school bell.

I hear her mumbling obscenities as she walks towards the brightly painted, multicolored schoolhouse that looks as though it belongs on Sesame Street. She enters the yard where the young braves are gathered. And with the swiftness of Elvis leaving the building, she’s back with the cache.

“Just smell this shit baby,” she giggles in anticipation.

I open the cellophane and inhale the scent of redemption.

She slams the gear shifter into 1st, and we are on our way back to her apartment on North Campbell.

Once arrived, I light a candle, unwrap my kit, and I draw some water from a red Bugs Bunny cup.

“What’s up Doc?” I chuckle sarcastically.

The smoke from cooking the dope wafts off into Heroin Heaven, and I fill the syringe with the remaining brown liquid. I slide the needle under my skin, into a vein that I fondly refer to as ‘the ditch’.

Blood billows into my gun and I push the plunger.

HAPPINESS IS A WARM GUN.
BANG BANG SHOOT SHOOT
WHEN I FEEL MY FINGER ON YOUR TRIGGER.

Quietly I sing along to the Beatles’ song in my head.

I hear her voice faintly in the distance, calling to me from the kitchen.

“Hey asshole, don’t shoot that whole twenty-dollar bag. This is strong shit, not that street dope you’ve been used to!”

My answer, a loud THUD as my body hits the floor.

Guess I should’ve known better.

Irvin Lee

Before That Glint Leaves You

deathly love was always
caught here.
somewhere in the mind.
somewhere between
torn and caged palms.
somewhere the wicked
sinister man shoots.
somewhere the woman punts
another bastard child out
of her pool, and for nothing,
though the earth
has suffered enough.
there is no safe haven.
and the woman murders
with a walk.
and the whore’s ghastly grin.
and the cowboy ups the 6-shooter.
murder was written before that glint
could reach your pubescent eyes, child.
it was all written.
all of the whores
and murderers
and murders
and suicides
and bombings
and stabbings
and rape
and love
and death,
dogging down
the last drip of life.
you see, child,
this world wants everything.
it wants your balls and a kiss
goodbye, and as long as
there’s juice pumping through
your veins, you’d better know
now that it’s gonna get all
it can get
before that glint leaves you.

J.J. Campbell

behind closed doors
 
i enjoy
a woman
with curves
society tends
to only agree
behind closed
doors
i have never
minded being
the freak out
in the open
this society
has already
rejected me
enough
if all that shit
makes you
stronger
i doubt i will
ever die now

Leah Mueller

Warning to Literary Posers

Be careful when you try
to publish your poetry
and be on social media
at the same time. Eventually,
every indie writer in
the herd of literary oddballs
will send you a friend request.

For a while you’ll feel important
when they publish your work
on their Weebly sites.

Suddenly, one of them
will get pissed off
at the other, for being uncool,
or for having different politics,
or for being insensitive
or for a host of other
trumped-up reasons.

(Yes, I said “trumped-up.” Fight me).

They will tear into each other
like rabid weasels, and
it will have nothing to do with you.

One of them will decide
it’s your fault too, since you’re on
the other person’s friend list.
They’ll block you on Twitter,
and you can forget about ever
submitting to their shitty magazine again.

No one bothered to tell you
what the argument was about.

Mind you, these are sensitive folks
who write poetry,
people too blind to know
who the real enemy is.

It’s not me, motherfuckers,
I’m 60 years old and have been
out of high school for 40 years.
You sniveling little tattooed poser
with an MFA in your back pocket,
you don’t even know what pain is.

Perhaps you shouldn’t be so careful.

HSTQ: Spring 2019

HSTQ Spring 2019

horror, adj.
inspiring or creating loathing, aversion, etc.

sleaze, adj.
contemptibly low, mean, or disreputable

trash, n.
literary or artistic material of poor or inferior quality

Welcome to HSTQ: Spring 2019, the curated collection from Horror, Sleaze and Trash!

Featuring poetry by Angelica Arsan, Dave Newman, Tohm Bakelas, Meeah Williams, A. Theist, Gary D. Morton, Irvin Lee , Casey Renee Kiser, J.J. Campbell, David Boski, Megan Alyse, Omar Alexandre, Ingrid M. Calderon-Collins, Mela Blust, John D. Robinson, Winter Zakalwe, Ben Arzate, Robert Ragan, and John Grochalski.

Kindly PayPal 5 USD to arthur.graham.pub@gmail.com,
or download the FREE ebook instead!

John Grochalski

jed and ethel

jed and ethel
sleep on a bench
across the sidewalk from
the big supermarket
they sleep while people
complain about cantaloupes
and the cost of pineapple
jed and ethel
have been living on the streets
in the neighborhood
for about two or three years now
right around the time
we were told the economy
was back and full swing
jed and ethel obviously never got the memo
they sleep on the bench
while people walk by
holding wine bags and gourmet vegan wraps
jed wears a green hat
from a nintendo game character
and a free t-shirt from the new hipster coffee shop
who gave it to him
for their ironic idea of free advertising
ethel wears her winter coat
in all kinds of weather
she’s usually pretty quiet
but sometimes she sits on the bench
and screams at the people
complaining about cantaloupes
and the cost of pineapple
sometimes she says to the people
carrying wine bags and gourmet vegan wraps
hey, but do you have a dollar for me?
jed’s still able to sleep
when ethel goes on like this
he’s put up with way more than shouting
sometimes jed and ethel smoke pot
with another guy, maximillian
they sit at the bus stop a block away from the bench
and get stoned
as people walk by carrying lackluster cantaloupes
and over-priced pineapples
complaining about the smell of the marijuana
and saying to themselves
well, if they have money to do that
then why are they living on the street?
as if getting
the occasional life-numbing high from a third party
is the equivalent of them
somehow shunning the rest of us
here in boot strap america
but people like to say dumb shit like that
because they are afraid of homelessness
they see themselves in jed and ethel’s eyes
deep down
they know it isn’t all cantaloupes and pineapples
and wine bags and gourmet vegan wraps
or maybe they are just judgmental assholes
and jed and ethel
are just props
to boost up their own self-esteem
their own sense of value and self-worth as citizens
road signs to prove that we aren’t all random cogs
in an unforgiving capitalist mouse wheel
to be honest
jed and ethel aren’t even their real names
i have no clue who they are
where they came from
why they chose this neighborhood
if they’re married or just shackled together this way
jed and ethel are just names
that i came up with
about a year ago
when i was walking down the street
on some lazy summer sunday afternoon
swinging my bag from the wine store
passing them sleeping on that bench
on my way to the supermarket
for some fresh fruit
a cold six pack of beer
and one of their kick-ass
gourmet vegan wraps.

David Sprehe

Pudding

Fluids secreted. Blood pooled beneath the moistened tissue. Warm turned hot with the pressure. Skull bugs quivered the waveform nuance. Translated proper tremble. Only these chemical geometric skull bug ejaculates emulate the sputter notation. We are nothing, if not instruments. I don’t know if I or died. All I knew was white hot wet slithering. I licked its drip. No breath. Soul forced into small Robot hole. My tits turned jelly. Flesh pudding slopped into the sheet. Tickled my armpits, almost a come in itself. His skin poured over my front. Mixed in all gloppy and stank. My immune system ate. My whole exposure was a tongue. I could taste his soggy flesh at a million points. I uh I started hallucinating (god lord them tingles! I sparked so much I turded). I stabbed a fork into my clit. I was spread out on the kitchen counter bleeding, rubbing whipped cream all over. I puked, but it was really him collapsing. Our bodies fused. I didn’t want to. He was dead. Psychologically speaking, a hollow nothing, even when alive. I was just out to get banged and have a good time, get bullshit off my mind. Took me a freakin’ week to eat his stupid carcass. I had to be careful because if I absorbed to quickly, and mutation occurred, it would probably be cancerous. The dude was a real PTSD, methhead piece of fucking shit. Definition of junk food. I doubt any part was useable. Except, of course, his wiener. I preserved his penis. A simple modification of the secreting chemicals in the uterine wall will create protective placenta for any object within the womb. This can be perfected through careful practice. Simply take a sanitized, smooth object and push it up the vagina while thinking of the object as a baby. After becoming convinced that the object within the womb is a child, proceed to gently coax it out. Soon beautiful feeling will fill the pleasant existence. If placenta is not ejected after the object has exited, please try again. This is an important gift God has bestowed. I jerk off with his dick inside my womb. Honestly, it is better than the sex. I was thinking, maybe, to see if it can combine with my eggs. I’ll turn it into a pet I can fuck or something. A little dick dog. I don’t know. If anything, I’ll eat it too. Dick on the cob. I want my teeth in the shaft. Tear the flesh. Chew the sucker. I want to swallow. The dick should keep for a year or so before it gets all sick and gross. Besides, I like the little bump it makes. I pretend I’m pregnant. I want to get pregnant just to play with myself. Not really. I want kids. Maybe. No I don’t. But I will masturbate while -IF- I get pregnant. A lot. Swollen dripping tits and moon bellies make me giddy. I watch preggo porn on my phone. Makes my toes twiddle.