This week’s artwork is “Dandies” by G.J. Mintz
by Simon Read
The café is full of middle-aged men lovingly stroking their paunches. The girl enters like a tongue in the ear and everything stops. Thoughts vaporize in outbreaths then crystallize and tumble, tinkling softly onto the stripped pine boards. Herman’s job is to sweep up the thoughts quickly and unobtrusively. He sweeps them into a dustpan. He empties the pan into a box and seals it with a special tape emblazoned with the words “private and confidential”. When he’s finished, Herman puts the box on the secret shelf for “collection”. Herman and the girl leave the café hand in hand.
by Wendy Cobourne
I must tell you, the poems are all outside. I left them there… I hear them through my window, exhaling in cool, exquisite blushes. I hear them fondling leaves; I smell them mulchy brown and wet green. Inside poems are humanufactured with the sediment of synthetic ingredients. They are architextured and tend toward right angles. Their luminescence is incandescent, like a margarine sun. I wanted to tell you something important, but like myself boxed inside these walls, my revelation is darkly vaulted. I am musty inside. Dank. My burps taste like basement. I’m sorry. Please love me in absentia.
by Kelsey Maccombs
One minute I’m scrambling eggs and the next I’m crying over the frying pan because I’ve never seen the Grand Canyon. I don’t know if the rocks match the sky when the sun sinks or if shadows descend to shroud the secrets inside. I don’t know how close I can get to the edge. The eggs burn, the smoke alarm shrieks, and I don’t know if my voice would echo back or be swallowed by the silence. I turn off the burner. I’m a state and a half away when I remember I left the egg carton out.
by Maura Yzmore
Sometimes I cut my own hair. I comb each long, wheat-colored strand; I hold it flat between two fingers, look my mirror image in the eye, and cut. But I always cut too much, by an inch—or five—more than I should. I watch the dead locks fall, without sheen, and curled, like in pain, as I grow lighter. I would love being bald, but that would make me ugly and my life hard. Ugly people cannot be carefree; others force them to battle ugliness. For a bit, when I cut too much, I am both ugly and carefree.
On the Spectrum
by James Dufficy
First they said my brother was dyslexic. Only needed that extra bit of help. But he could tell you the name of every player in the Premier League. He could tell you the name of everyone who ever played in the Premier League. So my mother is dying of breast cancer, and one day she reaches up on top of the refrigerator and pulls down the bottle of champagne. She says, “What the hell!” and starts to open it. My brother turns in his seat and says, “No, you can’t. We’re saving that for when you’re dead.”
Art Imitates Death
by Brooks C Mendell
Racing the sundial, Paulo shaped clay as the Prince loomed behind. The challenge—sculpt the Prince—had three rules. Finish in one day. The Prince decides. Do not look at the Prince. This final rule terrified. As decreed at birth, no citizen could look the King’s heir in the face. Nine artists tried and died, failing the challenge. Paulo glimpsed the Prince’s lengthening shadow, presaging the day’s end. In the shadow, he noticed the shape of the hips and caught a floral scent and thought about princesses.
This week’s artwork is “Blue” by G.J. Mintz
by McKenzie Schwark
The sun floods through the doors and washes the train car in amber. He enters with his hair tucked neatly into a grey beanie; his beard auburn and misshapen. He settles into the seat across from me and becomes a silhouette against the mid afternoon sun. I could imagine loving him for a lifetime full of Thursday mornings and red-headed babies. I bless myself for snoozing my alarm and missing my train. He is looking at me. He shifts. We are watching each other and smiling coyly back and forth. He exits downtown, dissipating between State and Lake.
Ship of Fools
by Paul Rogalus
Red-headed drunk guy in a Red Sox hat on the “Ship of Fools” harbor booze cruise gives his “girlfriend” his ATM card, and she tries it at the bank machine fifteen feet away. “Mike, it doesn’t work,” she calls. He smiles stupidly and shrugs, and she uses her card. She turns around with cash, and he asks her for a Sam Adams Summer Ale. She gives him the finger and goes upstairs to dance to “Sugar Magnolia.”
by Jackson Freud
Jason photographs the dead. He keeps a police scanner in his apartment, races the cops, coroners and paramedics to crime scenes. He has photographed jumper-suicides, murdered men and women, car crash victims. The pictures are tacked to a corkboard in his kitchen. “This is sick,” Sam says. She moves out, leaves Jason with his dead friends. He doesn’t mind though; he enjoys the silence. One morning he snaps a faceless man, pins the Polaroid to his board. He studies it for minutes, hours, days. He discovers a lump on his testicle and prays the next vulture captures his good side.
by Hasen Hull
Approached her in the usual club and started with the usual line. We’re both young and beautiful; we talked about ourselves and pop music. To seal the deal, I made her laugh, entertained her like a child. If we were in another world, we could find a hotel with a vacancy. Instead we’re back at mine, loud and lurid as we screw, two strangers at the peak of liberation. After, she gets up and uses the bathroom. Through the wall, I can hear her pissing. It’s the only noise I’ve heard all night I can relate to.
On the Detroit-to-Chicago Line
by Brent Fisk
My uncle, a brakeman for Amtrak who lost a son himself, told this story many times: A young man walking, his back to the train. Between cities at speed, it could take them a mile before they could stop. No horn could make him look back, step off. Firemen cut a path through the trees so they could wash what was left of the man free of the grill. My uncle split a bottle of bourbon with my dad, and he’d wink when he’d notice me listening behind the couch, say, “Get your uncle a few more cubes of ice.”