Category Archives: Literary Magazines

run run like a mechanical Velveeta

I went down thar into the hollow I did. Logs the size of Sara. Stairs up and stairs down. Sucky mud. The Eagle Creek Park 15k trail race. I ran that thar 15k over mud and water and weeping skulls of deer. I caterwhomped, I did. I caterwhomped over a log twice and now my L thigh all sore like a thrown crow. CAWWWCK it do so. Ruffled bones.

RESULTS:

Time: 1:01:08

Place: 17th overall.

Post-race meal: nachos.

Thanks Qdoba! I didn’t know Qdoba didn’t suck. I assumed they were blar. The chips are not blar. They were tight, crispy like aspirin tablets, fresh as the smell of corn gasoline. Perfect balance of corn, salt and fat. Yet can they support the weight of serious nachos? I doubt. So, if you stick with salsas, Qdoba chips are glow. I give them a 6.86 on the LOVELACE SCALE.

Trail running is odd the miles flow by because you aren’t thinking miles you are thinking don’t-bust-ass look at that Bald Eagle holy shit hundreds of wet wooden steps was that a bear? don’t bust ass what a pretty blue fern or was that a Mountain Dew bottle?

The trail runs seems to hanker back to when we were chasing something down or being chased. There is something remembered, recollected. The runner is very present and eons old.

Trail runners are simultaneously ugly and attractive. Covered in mud and beauty.

I prefer trail runs that are NOT loops. This was a loop, 3 times. Two laps I had to keep yelling out, “On your left!” or “On your right!” as I passed people. Annoying, and half the time you shout out, “On your left!” and the damn person jumps left!

The trail run offers the instant opportunity to fall. To fall and tumble is a rush, I’m sorry, a rush to avoid but then embrace. A man fell in front of me, a sort of odd, clunk fall, his legs somehow wrapped in a bog, then he sort of collapsed/crumped at the knees and rolled down.

I slowed and said, “You alright?”

He said, “It happens.” He laughed. It was a muddy laugh.

He’s right: It happens.

I have fallen on rocks, down boulders, while crossing mossy streams, etc. It hurt but I am glad I fell. I climbed something as I fell.

*

J.A. Tyler emailed me about his new book and said:

If you don’t like my book I’ll write you another book on the inside of that book. Order it, read it. If you don’t like it, ship it back to me & I’ll write a new book for you on the inside of that book. Yes. This is how much I believe in these words. A MAN OF GLASS & ALL THE WAYS WE HAVE FAILED.

This email made me think several things:

1. Couple years ago I remember when Molly Gaudry challenged J. A. Tyler to a publishing battle, like who could publish the most in one year or something. I think J.A. Tyler published 40012 times and Molly went a tad under 300 or so. Lesson: Never challenge Tyler when words are on the line. He will eat your typewriter.

2. J.A. Tyler could and would write an entire book in the pages of another book. I mean he could do it. The man makes Joyce Carol Oates look lazy.

3. J.A. Tyler is everywhere. Example, I sit at a desk right now. In arm’s reach, the new Broken Plate–J.A. Tyler has three texts inside. Oh look, right here behind my computer, The OFFICIAL CATALOG of the LIBRARY of POTENTIAL LITERATURE. Page 1: J.A. Tyler.

4. I have here a pink booklet with the letters MLP stamped across. Boy & She by Jessica Newman.

5. I need to order this new J.A. Tyler book, me thinks.

*

“We are told, for example, that Ralph Waldo Emerson, while he disapproved of laughter, did occasionally allow himself to smile, but he did so only with his eyes closed.”

Top poem about muffins I’ve read this year: Jeff Alessandrelli brings it a Diagram.

*

This Kyle Minor CNF interest me. The way it collapses and stretches and then goes spiraling out. It has a vast structure, yet folded into a tight steel canister, thus its pressure.

We begin with the trouble, but where does the trouble begin? My uncle takes a pistol and blows his brains out.

Also I just glow Gulf Coast.

Also years back Kyle Minor and I were drinking incredibly dark beer and he told me a story about a rabbit. Then he said, “Don’t steal that rabbit story.”

*

Last week I did a 20 miler on the treadmill while listening to an exhaustive three chapters from a long, long book on Siberia and it just now occurred to me how running 20 miles on a treadmill and Siberia are similar.

*

Teens from around the county spent the night dancing, playing basketball, and eating nachos, all while raising money for community charities. Been digging this cheese lately:

Bake corn tortillas. Add cheese.

Add to your favorite green nacho bowl.

Or even use your backup bowl. (You do have a backup nacho bowl, right? Bought mine a few years back from a BSU student in ceramics. Thank you, BSU student.)

*

I am late to this party but The Human Mind by Angela Woodward is fucking Mondo Glow!

These flashes wind and set piece break apart piece and take us into tunnels and along the edge of Gothic arches. Sort of like philosophical throwing of glass. Ideas sharded into our guts and eye-meat. Victorian prose spliced with birds made of neon pink. Odd, in a great way. A book that you put down, and think a while, then pick up and read, and think a while. A machine, a lovely machine. I will now go find and read more Angela Woodward.

Title story at Elimae.

*

BSU IN PRINT FESTIVAL is next week!!!

Tina May Hall, Debra Gwartney, and Paul Killebrew will read from their recently published books. The event will be followed by a booksigning and reception.

S

Velveeta Damn it!!

I am writing only about Velveeta for the remainder of 2011. Example:

Velveeta, 3 Snapshots

1.

Clouds. 7 Leaves plastered upon

a yellow wheel

barrow

lower back tattoo

stretched by hunger.

 

2.

Where do we put the beer?

Crisper emptied of plums

flung into ceiling fan.

Red crock-pot on Bobby’s head.

Hair drips like eels

lifted from a glazed sea

of RO*TEL.

 

3.

Whirling micro waves

swarm the air.

The apparition of a spoon.

Who double-dipped

their tranquility?

On the beads of the bowl

TV glitters.

*

Here is another at Juked.

I thank you glossily,

S

The Big-Ass Suck-Ass Slaw-Cheek Dutch Oven Lid Over the Sky we Call Winter

Wow check out the nachos. Over there by her bed. In the blood red bowl. I wonder if she has hot sauce. The thing with hot sauce is sometimes they just rely on being HOT, with little sensitivity to flavor. And then sometimes they are FLAVORFUL but not very hot. This causes vexation and melancholic feelings.

As a rule, when eating Thai food or Indian or even when just at some wing place (I don’t eat chicken, period, but do dip fries) I always try to order the HOTTEST or SPICIEST the place has, the NUKE or BLEED-ASS or DEVIL’S GONADS or whatever crazy name they give the sauce. Usually, it’s not that hot. I mean it’s hot, but it doesn’t make my head unhinge or make me want to sing a ghost song or get religion or anything. So then I feel melancholy.

I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve left hot sauce experiences and just walked around the parking lot feeling sad and basically dead. I remember once I found a five dollar bill in a parking lot so that was better. But I mean I want my hot sauce to make me feel alive. In my mouth/brain/stomach. So it’s depressing. I mean it gets metaphorical after a point. These series of dropped expectations. They become our very days.

But we still have disc golf, I guess. Once this goddamn snow thaws.

Flash Fiction Chronicle announces an upcoming flash contest, the String-of-Ten flash fiction contest.

I like FFC but I hate writing prompts. I think they are absolute bullshit. Weak. Victorian even. Hey, here’s a writing prompt: Get your fucking ass out of bed and write.

I do like that there is no entry fee.

Here’s a prompt: Imagine you are a crop-duster shack.

Here’s a prompt: Stop watching your neighbors.

Also, at FFC, Aubrey Hirsch argues for plot in flash fiction. She feels this is what separates the prose poem from the flash fiction. I don’t know. I wish she had defined what she means by plot.

She does say, “I need to see something important shift in the course of the story.”

Ok, well a lot of prose poems shift. I wonder if Aubrey is saying she just needs something to happen. Like a conflict. Or possibly a stirring of a theme? Is she arguing for intent? Prose poems often have all of the above.

What if we don’t separate the prose poem and the flash fiction? What will happen?

Her ponderings reminds me a little bit of Lorrie Moore’s “How to Become a Writer.” Moore’s story is NOT about how to become a writer, but it is about plot. The protagonist takes a CW workshop and everyone–including her instructor–comments that she has no sense of plot. That’s her problem–she doesn’t do plots. And this is a bad thing. Pretty much a deal-ender, as far as the workshop is concerned.

BUT, read a bit more closely, or view the protagonist a bit closer, I mean to say. Her father is cheating on her mother. Her brother has returned from the Vietnam war without his leg. Her own personal relationships are a dismal series of nothings. Her life has no PLOT. There is no tidy narrative, linear or otherwise. And now Moore’s story has left character and situation and has become a conversation on the short story form. What story structure represents our daily lives? Is it plot?

Our need for plot possibly because we want to feel we have a narrative, our lives? Some arch? Or, even better, some theme. Would suck if we had no theme, right? Well, I’m going to have language in my life. I’m not sure on the structure part. I push against structure sometimes. And I sure don’t know about theme…

Speaking of this PANK by Hirsch is rather glow here:

“Your dream may not be that far off,” he tells me. “Studies have shown that the human brain makes no interesting distinctions between the past and the present.  If someone looks at a hot dog, or remembers looking at the hot dog, the same parts of their brain light up.”

*

Stymie Magazine Pushcarted me nod-ways and then they interviewed me. I say:

They are sort of embarrassing, an award for writing. But then again I am a professor of creative writing, and, in a practical sense, in a very real sense, my university adores rankings and awards. They like to see these things, and I’d like to be tenured. So.

As an artist, what does it mean? I hope nothing. I hope I smile and say “that’s cool” and can contain a moment of thanks and then get right back to writing. Woody Allen has never seen a film he’s made—that’s the correct idea, yes?

These bastards made Greek nachos. I feel angry today, just at myself naturally. It’s very, very hard to escape your own mediocrity. This is what I’ve found. So I guess you’re not a bastard just because you want to get all cute with nachos. Maybe.

*

JMWW Best of 2010 anthology! Yipee 4 me. When I appear in anything with Ken Sparling, I am happy.

*

At PANK Hannah Miet does a good job wishing it would be.

*

I am reading Thomas Bernhard, the Austrian author. Specifically Wittgenstein’s Nephew, a sort of novel and memoir. This is, of course, HTML Giant‘s fault. I read all the posts over there and end up buying books when I already have too many damn books to read.

It’s like when students try to give me graphic novels. Why do they try to give me graphic novels? I don’t know. But I can’t read them, OK? I’m sorry.

Bernhard impresses me with his absolute confidence. The voice is immediately one you follow and believe. It reminds me a bit of Sebald. The book begins and you are off on the tale, told plainly and clearly and confidently, with declarations all over:

Like all other doctors, those who treated Paul continually entrenched themselves behind Latin terms, which in due course they built up into an insuperable and impenetrable fortification between themselves and the patient, as their predecessors had done for centuries, solely in order to conceal their incompetence and cloak their charlatanry.

Paul never saw beneath the surface; he never saw the whole picture as I did.

A healthy person, if he is honest, wants nothing to do with the sick.

Opinions clearly stated, as if fact. It interests me. So much writing is mushy, or meanders, or rarely states things simply and in such a declarative fashion. It made me admire Thomas Bernhard. And it made me frightened of him. Especially when he says things like:

Most of the minds we associate with are housed in heads that have little more to offer than overgrown potatoes, stuck on top of whining and tastelessly clad bodies eking out a pathetic existence that does not even merit our pity.

Here Bernhard seems to view most of us humans as insects, trifling insects, and I could certainly see him being all for crushing us. There is an undercurrent here that unsettles. I also find great humor, black humor, in this writing, even in this description. But, for me, it is a frightening laugh.

Vouched interviews me. I say:

Connected? Let me tell you something. I have several mistresses and with all of them I have to enter the house through a dog door, a dirty, swinging, hair-sticking, rubber door. On my knees. Every single one of these pitiful women looks as if they came out of the depths of Russia, with their kerchiefs and wide skirts and round faces, with their pale, flabby breasts and foul breaths of paskha and kulich. But I don’t get to stay for dinner. I mean The Man doesn’t even know my address. I am about as connected as a dandelion seed.

*

If we didn’t sin, we’d kill ourselves.

William H. Gass

Last weekend I was deep, deep in a swamp with my uncle. We were deer hunting. And I had this oddest, most pure, most comfortable feeling being in this swamp, and a sort of love for my uncle. The odd thing was we were in this giant swamp of trees and standing water and ice-rimmed black pools and mossy things and owl sounds and dead logs and just this very real place so far removed from a lot of stressors in my life and we were together, my uncle and I, though not really together at all–several hundred yards from each other and totally hid away from one another–but somehow together, like in this vast swamp, and like in this endeavor of hunting, and like breathing this cold air and feeling the cold upon us and just being away from most everything out there. There was a mist and very windy, the trees swaying, and spitting sleet a bit and this was so deep in a swamp you didn’t even see litter or anything stupidly human. It was wonderful, really. And so hard to capture. A giant red-headed woodpecker pounded on this hollow bare-limbed tree. Something shrieked out there! Who knows what? (though my Uncle had seen three bobcats recently). Scuttling low clouds. The wind, the wind. I think if you spent enough time in a deep swamp, especially the way I did, about 35 feet up a tree and swaying in the wind, well I think you would go crazy. But I also think you would go crazy if you never went into the swamp at all.

I am sick of the weary folds of my face.

*

Holy shit. Sometimes I am late in getting things. Like Nicolle Elizabeth (her blog). How have I been missing her writing? Well, once I found it, I found it. And you should find it.

She has four stories at wigleaf. They show her range, I feel. Here is the opening flash:

Telegram
Nicolle Elizabeth

::sorry I missed your call:: was sprayed by a skunk:: crawling around the backyard, looking for something I’d lost::

This anderbo story if pretty damn glow.

She does elimae. I really like the structural pop here, the junk and shard.

She also does a lot of reviewing and etc. but I don’t really give a damn about that. I like her fiction. It’s all over the WEB, too. Just use THE GOOGLE. It will be worth your surf, folks.

When Sarah Carson was born she was freaking awesome.

*

Yo. Every image in this post is Robin Jonsson

S

nachos run all flatmancrooked slim volume of contemporary poetics 14

Barely noon-thirty but it’s been a day. I woke at 5:00 a.m. and drove out to cold, vast, sweeping forest of valleys and ridges. The snow was all thought-provoking. The whisper glow. Moon off the snow is actually blue. I went up, down. I hiked squeaky boots. On the way out I saw a man standing near my car parked alongside the road. He looked like a weathered birdhouse with a snake inside all full of eggs. His eyes had a circus.

(via)

He said, “You better not park round here they been throwing glass bottles!”

I looked around. No glass. Just snow. A few shrubs and my car. Overhead a Canada (not Canadian, a common mistake) goose honked.

He said, “Some dude stole my tree stand out the back of my truck two days ago, I know who it is. Drives a maroon van! He and his wife. If I catch that dude I’m going strip off his clothes and throw him off in these woods naked, I will.”

“Well,” I said. I tried a half smile. The air felt like it was trying to cackle or maybe shrug. I got into my car and drove off and in the rear window watched the man just standing there, side of the road, snow. His head was sort of clicking away.

(mommy, when do we eat junior mints and nachos?!)

Home I shucked off layers of clothes, drank a stupendous coffee, got into my boxers, and ran a brutal 9 mile fartlek on the treadmill. Oh god. I mean brutal. I feel all floaty right now. My knees are red. Taste of metal in my mouth. Lungs like wonderful Mylar. My insides feel hollow and happy. If I had a beer I’d down it, I might, but I don’t have a beer.

Well.

I don’t know what to do. I have work-work to do, but why ruin my glow? I am going to review an anthology of poetry, I will. OK, this is a large anthology. Wait. In a minute I will read and review the first 14 poems of flatmancrooked slim volume of contemporary poetics. I said in a minute.


*

metazen has a Christmas book for charity. I shit you not. They asked if I would write a Christmas thing. I stood and sat down. I said I don’t know, Christmas? I stood, fidgeted, sat down and wrote a Christmas list (well, the first 100) to give to Santa. Here is a sample so you will go buy the book (actually buy it for the other authors, who are glow) and help orphans. 28-38 on my want list:

28. Something to carry in my mouth.
29. Nick, are you lonely up there?
30. Nick, you owe me 14 pink Zippo lighters, as you well know.
31. A device for breaking memory.
32. What kind of name is Gary? I want a spray canister that removes names. Gary as
_________.
33. I will keep the hotel room above my studio apartment and I will go out the window here,
climb up to the roof, and use my swipe card to enter my hotel room. I’ll be needing cable, but
would prefer no internet service. Oh, and a bathtub. I want a bathtub.
34. Teeth contact.
35. Reindeer loin.
36. Shelia, you know Sheila. Fuck, you know everybody. Bring me her gall bladder in a glass
banana. Sort of modern sculpture I can set out and ignore.
37. I pledge the possible Chlamydia to the jet lag….
38. My own contractors. Make the walls bend. Make four taps, I want four silver taps installed
above my toilet, the little toady toilet in my little toady cave in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with
the medi-vac helicopter thumping overhead my hangover-skull, wires of transmission—You,
in the helicopter, oh fucked one, fucked broken stranger, I am sorry to ignore you now (as you
will ignore me later in my time of need)—just four silver flowing taps: codeine cough syrup,
coffee, Pepto Bismol, white wine.

*

Rose Metal Press is having a fund drive. Please give. Seriously. Years ago I stumbled into this whole indie/alt community lit thing and it was refreshing as a snowfall of golden ballet shoes. Different than other aspects of the lit/book/author world. Why? Because we look out for each other. It is actually a community. I notice. All of these authors/publishers/amazing artists of all sort–they always shout and wink and glow about others first. It’s what pleased me about this little world, when I first explored lit-blogs, publishers, authors online. They had balance. It wasn’t just, “Read my book!” It was a little “read my book” and a whale of “Holy shit, read her book! And check out this reading! This interview. And look how this publisher just made a book out of a fishing tackle box. ” It was a medication to me, a good one. To give back. It is the oil of the movement, the windmill, the energy, the horse and wagon, the force that through the green fuse drives the flower, the metal of the rose, I feel.

so give

*

By Lindsay Hunter

“Each tiny, diamond story—precise, comic, poised at the edge of surreal—contains one brutal life force tearing itself off the page. You can hold Daddy’s in your hands and feel it breathing.” —Deb Olin Unferth, author of Vacation

*

BOOM chapbook contest, folks.

*

Glow Luke Hawley at Hobart:

“I don’t know how you run marathons on sugar and diet soda.”

*

FLASH! Mary Hamilton interview at The Short Review.

*

I have a flash/prose poem about babysitters and a postcard about living on a houseboat at wigleaf. (If you are reading this months from now, go to wigleaf archives.)

Look under L, you slaw-cheeks.

*

Ok, here we go: flatmancrooked slim volume of contemporary poetics. The first 14 poems.

1: “Aftermath” by Brian Adeloye is a cut-to-the-bone poem, so I’ll let you just read the thing and brain your own sandwich:

Whether noticeable

Or negligible

It probably

Was measurable

2: Justin Alvarez made me look up the word, alsacienne. It a term referring to a cooking style, origin “Alsace,” a province of northeastern France. Usually it means braised meat, some sausage, big-ass taters. A heavy meal. I could see someone eating in the alsacienne style and then belching before walking out to the woodpile and sprawling on the woodpile in the warming sun, wood sort of poking your back, legs all angled falling out, and maybe a few ants tickling your legs and next thing you know you’re asleep.

3: I don’t know why Joseph Atkins needs a period in the title of the poem, “Rain or Shine.” Could be something, or nothing. He does it here, too, at Shampoo. “Rain or Shine.” takes a stab at bored and medicated we. A good fork-ful stab, shiny sharpened tines of words:

Choking was the sound of progress.

Choking was the sign of progress.

What pleased me was the spin into another, apparently found over the internet, another soul drifting on the flotsam of split pills and television. He took this and made it that. This may be why they put Atkins name in big-ass letters on the back of this anthology.

4,5,6: Three prose poems appear. All by Mr. Atkins. He seems already a “presence” in this anthology. The prose poems are printed sideways on two pages. Atkins as interested in form. As interesting. I preferred the first one, “Plastic Vines Sparking in the Sunlight.” (though I sort of hate the title. It sounds like a Roadiohead song title)

A wash of “I” sentences, but it is the exhaustive “I” being examined, analyzed, alienated, sharded into nothing. It works:

I like things clean but I don’t like to clean.

I enjoy traffic jams for the homogenized goals of the mobile citizen & the unidirectional lack of insight they reveal.

7: Another Joseph Atkins poem, another period: “Photo Op.”

Odd poem here. A series of linguistic phrases, similar in structure and state, similar in diction, but then attributed to various personalities, DFW to Obama to Bernie Mac. It is a tri-level juxtaposition, with more depth than a photo op, and possibly one thesis: The systematization of celebrity culture transparent in its intent to transport the underlying assumptions of capitalistic society, AKA: they are puppets, but insidious puppets, and even worse, we love them and have no idea why.

8: James Benton made me go and look up amaryllis. It is a lily. It’s nickname is “the naked lady.” Hey now.

9: I’m getting a little Matthew Arnold feel off “Oceanus Pacificus”

Read both poems yourself.

10: Diego Baez doesn’t waste words. Tight as a thoroughbred, no fat. The title is a bit obvious, so off-putting, but I love how he takes me out with an image, a horse grazing in the bowl of our skulls, a diorama of our days.

11: Baez glows in the line, but continues a pattern of “Thanks for making it clear to me” titles. I wish I was his close friend and he would say, “Would you read my poems?” I would say, “No, I’m fucking busy, but maybe in the summer.” Then he would be patient, and I would read them in the summer. And I would say, “Damn, these are poems. I don’t have much to say, except thank you for writing these, and please, please, please change your titles.”

12: Finally, we have a female poet! That opening was front-loaded with male poets.

13: Amy Bleu has an excellent name. She sings. And writes a poem named “Akimbo.”

I don’t like what you stand for

But I like the way you stand there

Arms akimbo

Dominating

Every space you inhabit

Confident enough to conquer

Every Creature

Who extends a tender arm

Tentative as a tendril

In the vain hope

Of reaching

You.

14: Wow, to the “Fistulated Cow.” Glow words, Katie Cappello. (Here is a review of her book)

Aside: A fistulated cow is a cow with an intentional hole in it for scientific research. In 1822, a Canadian suffered a wound that refused to heal, but the man otherwise was in fine health. His doctor discovered that the digestive process could be observed directly through the hole. The discovery spread, and for over 150 years, fistulation has been used to observe digestive processes in living animals, with the first recorded scientific use on animals dating to 1833.

But back to the poem…

What is the cow thinking? I’m glad that’s asked? And isn’t love the wet undigested grass yanked from the cow’s first, second, third, or fourth stomach?

Indeed.

15. BONUS POEM! BONUS POEM!

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Everybody slap their grandmother! BONUS POEM!

Anna Clarke brings it with “How I never Wanted to Have Coffee with You.”

I’m reading, I suppose, and I notice

Capturing the coffee shop idyll, hardly reading at all, watching, thinking, we as book, sometimes faking, watching…Look, an elderly couple. Talking about silence, the weather, nothing, nothing

nothing but baked goods between them

Love fades. And is ordinary? As a leaf or a chip of paint. Or cold coffee. And the speaker is that couple. And we are that couple. And it is terrifying. And we must thank Anna Clarke for showing us so.

*

 

 

Sean Lovelace Reviews Vintage PANK

pain is a small dog in my lap

1. Support online literature. Bra it. Watch it deviously. Don’t be a sound sleeper. Don’t un-storm. Online literature is a staggering sky of nacho constellations: there goes oyster, there goes cheese or Sara, there goes a hot Thursday night of jalapeno thunder. Like zine-scene issue one. Sean Lovelace with the Introduction.

2. Sean Lovelace reviews Sean Lovelace. Clever fellow.

Thunk! Hold up, just got an email. No, no, that’s not right. My computer makes the sound of rainwater dripping off a man’s nipples when I receive an email, not a simple clunking. Someone is at the door! Thunk! Thunk! Like someone is throwing a bicycle lock into the face of a small goat.

3. Flash Fiction interviews Sean Lovelace.

Busy as a freaking bird, that Sean Lovelace. Busy as a bleeding. Busy as a clattered toad. Etc.

[my eyeball just fell into a jonquil clang of Pringle salt]

*

Got up this morning and arrowed a walking trout–an actual trout walking down the hallway of my home/soul–and knocked it down but it sprung back up like a recycled Liz Taylor and it’s fine now. I saw it later at the local diner. It was eating a big-ass omelet and a tin of apricots. Possibly the trout was a Freudian fish. A phone booth. Everyone is a phone booth. Everyone will be obsolete soon and who cares? Or like you don’t care now and later people won’t care for you, or something…Or the trout everything I am when I pass dark smears of roadkill and thrown beer cans and winter fields on my way into work and I think, “This life can be ghastly/me.”

[fetch two cans of beer! hissing ones! gather round!]

I rubbed my eyes, the trout swimming away into murk, and went about my early morning:

a.m. cold. Wind dead as The Dollar. Me happy. Sucked down oil can of coffee. Shuddered. Stood in creek. Ice lay along the shore, frangible plates fracked up and broken on the mud and small ice-cities whitely all down the drained and frozen flats where delicate Krystal columns of flaky French fries and smiles sprouted from the mire. I took a long and smoking piss in the water. I feel this is good luck. I am sorry. It’s my way.

it

hello

hello

it

Stood in the cool flow throbbing my boots and opened Pank magazine in the flash light darkness. This Pank didn’t seem like the current PANK (big ol’ caps) I read and glow. I got my iPhone Google (weird, wrong light in the inky woods) and found they do indeed relate. Maybe earlier Pank I hold in my hands is father/mother/hawk of online PANK I read late into the floorboards? Maybe this Pank I hold in my hands, here in this smeared gray morning, here in this flowing stream, is the daybed and donned shoes of the present PANK? I dunno. I mean they still have PANK today. What is the difference? Most likely time. Most likely editors. Most likely the size of the letters.

[not actually sure how i got this print pank. it arrived at my stepway. sometimes late at night i just click/click/click things online and then things butterfly to my doorway. things are run by dogs. dogs herd items to my doorway. im saying. everything in this world is chased by a ghost dog.]

This print Pank didn’t seem to be kin to the current PANK, or maybe a distant relative, I mean the words. The online PANK has more neon blood coughing mist. Coughs of mist. THUNKS. Maybe it evolved? Maybe it was born a this and became something red and stretched glowing over flames.

[it’s issue one, Sean!]

We get an EDITOR’S NOTE. I am anti-EDITOR’S NOTE. I don’t want to see the wizard. I don’t want to be spoken to in excited whispers. Editor, go edit. Don’t tell me:

Pank, the word, is a verb. It is possibly…

Wrong! PANK is the sound made when the human eyeball is dropped from an apartment balcony into an aluminum dog dish below. This happened living room/late night post-disagreement, at a semi-kegger, Memphis, TN alleyway, a Tuesday. I can still smell blood and barbecue…

As witness, I remember the sound well: pank

Shall we review?

Competent is a word. The first 2 poems are competent. Poetry done well. As expected. The first two poems are competent. We get the nature swerve road thing that reminds us of the hit-deer poem. We get the mathematical problem poem where you are heading to a hospice. OK. We get that. OK. Sometimes I feel like a dried-off towel full of officer.

[hip a glass flask!]

The third poem is rather good. It is by Laura LeHew (so was the 2nd poem. actually both are right here). This one verves (not swerves). This one pops a bit.

Rearing environment?

Do you want to?

She promised.

Me like. Who is Laura LeHew? Don’t know, but she calls herself a crazy cat lady. Meow.

 

Poem # 4, 5 are by Andrew Sage. Now this mag is beginning to moss the color of lightning. It rolls now. I will include one Andrew Sage poem in full here. Will PANK send me a cease-n-desist letter? I doubt.

I have brought everything I need into this place.

There is nothing I need that is not here.

And everything that is here I need. When I leave

I will take with me everything that is here.

And none of it will be needed in the place I go to.

Interesting, odd, subtext. A little fern of something. Thank you, Sage. (Here is another.)

Got up in stand. Sprinkled around some Tinks. Looked around, listened. Milky gray swirls of darkness. Big deer frost-crunched right below my stand, 15, 10, 5 yards. Body a thick, dark trunk of floating dark. Glowing fingers of antler bone. Buck, fer sure. Tough to see exactly how large. BUT I can’t see my bow pins anyway, now can I? No, I cannot. Buck frost-crunches away.

Big deer crosses way off center of corn field. Can’t tell what. Sun comes on up like we all expected. I pulled a novel by Cormac McCarthy out my pack and read a few lines and I thought, “There’s lots of movement today so I better stop reading.” I throw the book high into the air and it lands with a thump in a thicket. I think “But life is short and doing two things at once is the finest glow.”

I redraw my Pank Magazine out of my pack. Good heft, solid magazine.

I glow persona fiction, as you know. Gabriel Welsch brings us “Rove Speaks.” Fucking Karl Rove. Who does that? But it’s done well! Here.

Yes, yes, we get a few of the easy jokes and ideas, Bush as puppet with Rove’s hand up his ass, but Welsch shows us, if you twist things, a formed idea can reform, can ivy and bloom and thorn. Important lesson here–one thing can be done an infinite ways. CREATIVE writing, kids. So Bush runs off the bus, off on his own!

He said, “Wait here. I’m-a take a walk.”

One day something happens. Conflict! On the first page. Writer. Writer. Writer? Are you listening? Dialogue spot on, as you see. And it is funny. This line concerning Bush:

How had he gotten money? Who gave him that?

Next we have poems by Dan Pinkerton. You should read these poems. They are the best poems in this issue of Pank. Why didn’t you put these poems online, PANK? Fuck.

a yo-yo, two Oreos

four oboes, eight elbows

a full pack of lies.

Bonus poem: Drive the interstate with Dan.

Then we get some poems that are competent again. I don’t know. Good plain food. Tablets tilted. That one people write about people in jail, etc. One poem is a sort of memo and I glow organic forms but it felt a bit older yet sitting there. I think my head is high-webbed steel now. A couple more get really close to me writing them here. But I’m not going to write them here. Slaw. Sometimes I feel like the bones of a birch forest, only I’m purple.

A hawk scissored by. A black squirrel hopped along a low branch. Leaves whispered down and fell about me and one small leaf landed on my hat. That was odd. I took the leaf off my hat and smelled it. Then I ate the leaf. Not sure why. Why not?

About 8 am a doe entered the field and skirted the edge. Way out of bow range. I did the bleat can. The bleat can went all rollerskating. The bleat rose and fell/rose and fell. The bleat can sounded like a man handing his car keys to his youngest son.

“Thanks dad.”

“No problem, son. Where you going tonight?”

“Uh, tennis? I’m going to play tennis with my friends.”

“Where’s your racket?”

“Um. I don’t know.”

“You don’t own a racket, do you, son?”

“No.”

“Right. Well, have a nice time.”

The doe came all away across the field to the bleat can!! Well, thank you, Mrs bleat can.

What is with this doe? I didn’t even know does responded to bleat cans. Well, they do. Maybe out of curiosity? Or maybe this doe decided to beat down any other doe in its zip code? Or maybe this doe just had its bedding area foreclosed and credit card debt like bags of boiled gravel and really didn’t feel so sexy this morning, not feeling sexy at all and this the rut and all, feeling rather gritty and bloated like a runover spider crab and really wondering why a big horny buck has to go and judge a doe by external appearance versus this deer’s inward significance, the thing that really matters, what is INSIDE, or maybe just a little smidgen of the doe’s brain was having trouble cycling serotonin levels this early Friday morning, etc.—my point is maybe this doe was just suicidal.

Because it came right to me. 23 yards, quartering away like a November moon.

TWWWACK!!!!!!

Chaka Khan!!

There is a story in Pank told in four parts, with two authors. I have never seen such math. It is a yell of a story, too. Informative and made me take cards of empathy. Impressive. It is by Claire Thomas and Carl Peterson.

What the hell kind of thing is this by David Silverstein? Holy shit, now this Pank is branding up fangs. Now this Pank is rocked and wheeled and slid away. This is more like the current Pank. What is this? I’ll need to take a photo. I’ll take a photo.

Moe Folk (cool name) shows us that most stories should be about work, period. Hey, writers, especially you student-writers, quit writing about apartments and dogs and tables and hardwood floors and kegs and walls and tires and dachshunds and your mother and apartments and cars and zombies and cars drinking bourbon and apartments and elves and elves drinking bourbon and start writing about work, work, work.

Moe’s story online here. Glow.

There’s the sort of black and white photos you get in these magazines. At least they didn’t go cartoon on us, or even worse, cartoons about writing on us. So, yeh, some black and white photos, contrast, grain, rundown houses, people, whatever, blar, you know what I’m saying.

Whoa, whoa, whoa–scratch what I said earlier. Michael Moore has the best poems in this fucking issue. Wow. I mean they do what poetry does–each one a shoebox full of witch fuck. Good work, sir. They are here. Enjoy. I am going to repub one right here, though, because, as I mentioned , it is a witch-fuck of a poem:

A student of architecture
Who doesn’t look up from the ground
Long enough to study any buildings
Carries my future In a black bra.

Pank is pissing me off. How could you not put “Mahalia the Fish” online? Meg Thompson is going crazy right now. She is stalking the streets and gnashing her kidneys and smacking her chops at you, PANK editors. Meg Thompson is fourlegged garfish of hate. Meg Thompson is gonna granite teardrop your ass, PANK!

You fuck-nards.

My toast was misshapen because I hack the crusts off with refrigerator magnets the size of winter melons.

glow. I wish Meg Thompson would publish more online. I’m having trouble finding her work online. It blars me.

There are some more poems, set in a tone and time I enjoyed. They had a controlled hand, a controlled pacing. I trusted the poet, Mr. Randall R. Freisinger.

There is a short story about breasts.

Joe Wilkins has two poems. Here.

I appreciate the contemporary sonnet. Thank you, Mr. Wilkins.

There is a poem about fishing.

Penny Zang (another razor name, wow) writes about work. What did I tell you? WORK. It’s well-done, and there’s a cat named Joan Jett. Glow.

Adam Katz is an interesting poet. He uses lists, odd fonts. Odd enjambments. Odd forms. He appropriates and collates. He spins. Honestly, it glow.

Some more poems. A few more. There is another poem. Maybe like I feel alchemical or that my forehead is hung out with the wash or maybe a resting belly.

Deer hit high in the spine and dropped like an albatross struck mid-air by a golf course. Dead as a freaking Pet Rock. I keep shooting high with my new PSE. It annoys me. I practice, shoot high on the stand. I am adjusting to my new bow, I think. My old PSE NOVA was deadly. This new Brute? I hope. Well, I keep practicing. But I digress…

The doe ran zero yards and zero feet.

The doe decided to never run again. The doe decided to swim. The doe is swimming right now in a marinade of soy sauce, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt, onion, brown sugar.

Tonight the doe will swim in butter.

Tonight the doe will swim in wine.

And Marianne Boruch goes:

Here the eye takes

the brain walking.

And I thank you, lit mag, for my eye did indeed take my brain for a walk. And sometimes my eye bulged in its socket. And sometimes–maybe thrice–my eye fell right out my head…out my head!

pank!

braying glass banana machine curves of deliverance glow

Deliverance, the book, is 40 years old. That’s older than Jesus C, in theory. Glow changing water to wine. Glow not-owning-a-damn-thing. [OK, sandals] Glow whitewater and the sound of a boat being sucked away/throat-down like meat from a bone. [Yes, I did almost drown canoeing, but I did return]. Glow spray. Glow eddies. Glow the human-face shape of a rock formed after years of river over its nose.

Glow Deliverance/James Dickey article here.

What do I think?

1. Glow movie. Best movie Burt Reynolds ever made. He could have been a contender, but he fucked it all up. He could have been an actor.

(And don’t give me some Longest Yard bullshit)

2. The James Dickey cameo is OK, but no backwoods sheriff would have that mouthful of crystal white choppers.

[Now they pay the writers to go away. Far away.]

3. The infamous “scene” should be infamous. It is the linchpin to the plot. It is integral and essential. Do you want to look away? Fine, but you must take the next step: why do you want to look away? It is the flame to the fuse to the whole damn explosion.

I actually knew a prof who would not show the rape scene to his class. Why show the damn film? He would pause the film, skip the scene, and then show the film. I did not respect this decision. I found it ludicrous, misguided, wrong. I found it the very thing a teacher should be against.

Yes, the scene is visceral. So what?

The blank face, the cut, the still, the silence, the “let’s skip this.” These are valid responses to life?

4. In the book and movie, the bow hunting deer scene is a contrast/setup later for the bow hunting human scene. It is a marker for change, protagonist change, and a smart structural device.

5. The book is a testament to why EVERY fiction writer needs to write/read poetry before ever starting on prose. The word, the line, the sentence is what writing is all about. Poets know. Fiction writers should. Plot/suspense and beautiful prose are not mutually exclusive.

The Sheep Child disturbing, as in amazing.

People, honest, smart people, keep talking about Deliverance and then saying, as an add-on: “Dickey was also a poet.”

Shows you something. But I digress. I was talking about words.

[To all those who have not read The Sentence is a Lonely Place.

Linking this makes me feel like a prof teaching “The Things They Carried”

Let it go.

But still Lutz...]

6. Deliverance, the movie, kick-started the canoeing boom in this country.

Huh?

That’s:  Jaws making you want to go for a swim. Or

Hey, I just saw The Ring, call me.

*

Robb Todd at PANK.

Seductive. Building to crescendo. Step by step, drink by drink. And next thing you know we are dreaming of Gordon Lish…

Glow.

I think the person-visiting-foreign-country is one of the most cliche lit mag stories in the whole damn galactic volcano world. So I respect this. Todd pulled it off. So dank beers to you, sir.

Here is an interview of Robb Todd.

*

The Boy in a philosophical moment. Moments later he would rod/reel in a clam the size of a thimble. He would say, “I didn’t get skunked, did I?”This clam was the size of a sigh.

[later some dude brought us a pizza we did not order. it was chicken. i would never eat a chicken–that’s cruel. these are life-moments i enjoy.]

The waters were angry that day, my friend. The waters were profoundly urban. Chalky. Plucked on strings of gray and hot lunches of dry erase marker soup. I want to say bar-of-soap sky but I think I ripped that from Annie Dillard. I know DFW would call this sky the color of a faded cotton shirt. Half a million writers would say pearl, but we all would suck.

We mostly all suck.

*

The new semester has started. I am teaching fiction and fiction and graduate fiction. This is a glow life. The students are glow, honestly.

I’ll tell you what: students get quicker, smarter, better. Every year. Any teacher in the world knows quicker/smarter/better is what you want in a class.

And…

We have a new coffee machine at BSU and that makes me believe I am in the future. Feels like Sleeper but less satire, less dangerous. You can’t take the machine that seriously. Although it is taller than Us and impressive enough to see/feel that it could beat your ass in chess. Machine is tall and sturdy and earth-colored and feels like a robot, yes, but a kind, serious robot about to set you up with some quality Joe. So wary. I am wary. It claims to grind/brew the coffee a few seconds after you put in your 50 cents (regular) or 75 cents (premium). And it often does.

Good thing for Us, it often does not. I get what I “order”/punch in  about 17 percent of the time.

The coffee is oily coffee and makes me shiver some. It isn’t dregs, just keen, like turpentine or when you leap out a moving truck. I drink it and my mind is a hamster that has escaped and made its bed in the crinkly green grass of an Easter basket. You reach down and it bites you.

Blood.

If your coffee doesn’t have a narrative inside it’s core/bean, a story wanting to hatch with every sip, why in the hell are you drinking it? Coffee should make you shudder, should kill you as it glows–like any drug.

*

I made an evening of drinking mojitos and googling photos of the world’s tallest man and thought surely this giant will die soon, and he did the following morning.

This is from Steve Stringer’s excellent elimae.

The opening. Sets us up with realism and turns to magical, twists us up, quick. There’s a Murakami story where the man wakes and makes toast and he’s about to head to work and then the author writes something like, “He was on his way to the elephant factory.”

The man worked in the “trunk” division, but I think was later transferred to Ears. Later comes a dancing dwarf.

Stringer catches something here, the fumes/fuel mix of alcohol, and this “giant,” most likely a wound of some sort, most likely one of those ghosts that haunt every hotel and give them layers of glow.

Thank you, Steve.

Hotels can be horny. Or sometimes sad. It’s hard to get my head around hotels. People come and go. For some reason I feel hotels are like graveyards, but that makes little sense. Hotels have lots of clunks and down-the-hall sounds. You can lie in bed and listen all night. Sometimes a headlight will paint the walls. The bed always makes me pause. What a history! If you look behind the headboard, on the floor, you will usually find straw wrappers, bottle caps, child toys, other things…You can open a bottle of beer on the jamb of a hotel door. Any hotel door. There’s a tip for you. Do you tip the sad people who clean the rooms? They talk loudly so you know they are sad. Nothing is more sad than being loud. Sometimes I sit in a hotel and feel like a boulder, but a hollow boulder and that’s called a geode, I think.

May all our giants return, I say.

*

The Third Annual Donald Barthelme Prize for Short Prose ends very soon. So if this is what you do, do it now.

Prize is $1000. Or eighty-three (83) Zombie Undead Jesus Necklaces.

*

A fucking galactic supervolcano erupted a few days ago. This explains a lot of things. Like war, people who don’t tip bartenders, Nicholas Sparks, people who don’t let you play through in disc golf, some lady named Mrs. Rose who opened a CHRISTIAN THRIFT STORE near my house.

What in the hell is a Christian thrift store?

Do I need to worship a Christian god to get in the door? Does an alarm sound? Do I take an oath? Are you going to card me?

What do they sell? Like only Christian things? Like Mary on a piece of burnt toast or old pamphlets or ceramic apples or golf clubs or high heel shoes or tree limbs or dusty church pews?

1. Jesus key chain that makes people think you drive a Lexus (?), $1.95.

2. Jesus air freshener, $1.50.

3. Grow your own Jesus, $2.50.

Maybe they sell peacocks and Flannery O’Connor books. Here is the story where the devil is a hero for being honest and shooting a grandmother, Mrs. Rose.

[Yesterday I found a shotgun shell in a graveyard. Who shoots off a shotgun in a graveyard?]

grenadine?

*

I am in a book with Michael Martone, Jim Daniels, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Daniel Orozco, Kennebrew Surant, Rick Attig, Lolita Hernandez, Michael Martone, Matthew Salesses, Matt Bell, M. Kaat Toy, Billie Louise Jones, Lita Kurth, Anne Shewring, Dustin Hoffman, Tania Hershman, Nick Kocz, Michael Zadoorian, Steve Himmer, Pete Anderson, Pete Fromm.

This book.

I tell my students repeatedly one of the best subjects in the world is work, work, work, so I glow to be in this anthology. To walk the walk. Etc.

BTW, the anthology includes Matt Bell’s infamous Fried Chicken story.

You haven’t read it? Are you an icking fidiot? Here, dumbass.

Lord

Luase

Lollygag, you fucker.

fuck

*

*

I just had a great run. Almost spiritual. And I don’t say that lightly. Runner’s High is a bit of a pop term, and not so accurate, usually. But I did feel high today, floaty, yes, spiritual. So.

So I have no interest in the organized  religions of man. I believe in the religion of Motion. Of river. Of arrow/disc in flight. Of apple tumbling from tree. Of fish. Of the body, running.

Today was some weird flow. Runners know it. Tough to capture. Tough to figure. You feel like the runner and the run. Form=Function. Like you were born running. It doesn’t happen that often. You have to be thankful. You have to hope it happens again…

It felt like this:

corn, corn, golden kernels of hot sauce–my lunch

and

oh my, a mix pack. they do mix packs now, i drank the 6 quickly and my knees soared around the hotel room i was blue but sort of a deep-end blue with a tiny dime shimmering on the bottom

And

J is my mother

And…

possibly i need a haircut a need i possibly

And

dinner on Lake Michigan

And the run went exactly like this:

6:00 mile pace  X 800      6:00 mile pace X 800      5:56 mile (full mile)

5:52 mile (full mile)      5:49 mile pace X 800      5:49 mile pace X 800

5:24 mile pace X 800

Whew. But I felt like I could have just kept on running into South America, or maybe to that former planet, Pluto, poor thing, or maybe right into the heart of all of this confusion we call Our Life.

*

Pay attention to Caren Beilin.

I said pay attention.

I used to make out with the household iron.

I said!

I’d like to trample you in an old fashioned manner. A writer comes along, a writer comes along. You know, sometimes you read something exponential bad-ass:

At the zoo you can buy animal balloons, dead birds on strings given shots of helium into the rectum and they jounce overhead attached by the string for an hour.

Here it is. Go fucking read.

Oh my

S

Quick Fiction 17 Review [sparklehorsemotherfuck!!!]

The cover is a tightrope walker by Laura Niemi Young. The man appears to be holding an open bottle of wine. The clouds are indicative of a breezy day. The man is focused, but a tad bit worried. As far as metaphors for flash fiction, I will give this a Splinter Trumpet and  a Hell Yes! Also an Eat Broken Necklace Award. It is possible the man is about to fall. Or is he wanting his audience to believe so? Maybe he wants the audience to feel something they will never see–like all his internal bruising along the toes. His wife back home and their silent dinners. The sound of a life falling onto the roof. Possibly he owns a stupid, stupid dog. I will let you extend out the remainder of the metaphor on your own.

1. There are four types of stories. Man leaves town. Man comes to town. Man freaks out, steals beer, deploys emergency chute, and leaps out of an airplane. (I vote this one of the most badass job rages ever–I simply love this flight attendant.) Or, in the words of Susan Denning, Man maybe comes to town, forgets own quintessence, lies down in a river. This flash reminds me of when I think it’s Tuesday but it’s really Australia, circa 1999, and I sit up in bed and dress for my job as a spoon salesman and The Smiths on the radio and all my regret not making out more in graduate school and learning to SCUBA around whale sharks. Denning is a runner, and understands that movement is within/without us all, so we love her.

Slept by the river and the rocks sang hopeful

2. Anthony Luebbert writes about Bobby Kennedy. Do I glow persona fiction? You know I do. This reminded me a bit of the classic Robert Kennedy Saved from Drowning. Both are smart, spot-on, a bit of Golden Head Cage. And Luebbert can drop a wonderful, flowing sentence:

Robert Kennedy returned from work, entered the front door of his large white house, Hickory Hill, kicked off his shoes, removed his suit coat, loosened his tie, walked over the black and white tiles of the hallway floor, past the enormous black Newfoundland named Brumus, five children, the governess, a nurse, three maids, past the open doors leading to the rooms all painted in bright reds and greens, unbuttoned his shirt, tousled his hair, walked out the back door past the iguana and the sea turtle, removed his shirt, his belt, his pants, headed toward the swimming pool where a young sea lion sat poolside, and he (in just shorts and socks) and the sea lion dove into the cool water.

Amen. All you kinds might want to learn from Luebbert: the sentence is a wonderful tool. This one escalators us as it informs, as it characterizes, as in engages in serious play. Complete text here.

3. Alexandra Salerno with an “Autobiography.” This felt like a Cheever flash, the hidden worlds, the whispers in the hedges, the hollow cigarettes–all of it drenched in alcohol. It captured the beetles beneath the lawn. Bruise behind the too-red lipstick. Ants in the kitchen of your brain. The swirl/gray pearl of adulthood.

4. Round Midnight is right here. Read it. The language just drifts you away, smoky, hot, beautiful. I liked every single word but sepia. Sepia sounds like someone is writing a goddamn poem.

[A bird has built a house in the bottom of a potted flower I have outside. To save the flower, I have to uproot the bird. To let the bird and its family live, I need to let the flower die. Advice?]

5.

“It’s the end of the world,” my father proclaimed at the breakfast table, rising in his bear-checked pajamas. “Not again,” my mother replied, emptying the scraps on the plates into the garbage and putting the dishes into the dishwasher.

I wish I had written that opening. I did not. Jeff Friedman did. There is a domestic paranoia he catches in his words immediately, a tight, sweating fist. I feel the linoleum sagging into a giant black hole.

6. Nicola Dixon knows that every object has an echo, a connotation. Cool name too, BTW. Glass menagerie, indeed, only this time it is soap. Seahorse soap. Cow soap. Soap cleans you but what cleans the soap? Etc. Quirky material, quirky language, undercurrent of anger, or frustration, the type that wonders why can’t humans ever tolerate one another, I mean for very long?

[Every rectangle I have been trapped in, I had the butter knife right there in my hand]

7. Amy Holwerda snags the clarity an illness will force upon us. Everything is brighter now. More violent in its immediacy:

juicy meat from the bones…

Indeed.

8. I get a Peter Markus feel from “Clean Dead Leaves,” the form/function, the layering of words/leaves, the need to clean and the moment you are not cleaning–more dead leaves arrive!! Also, uh, we are walking dead leaves. As you know. Munch. Mulch. Bye.

9. Flash fiction is a biology to capture the blur. Kirsten Rue cocoons illness. Illness is lonely and fantastic and real and odd and very similar to becoming air. Language is amazing in certain hands. Rue bends the words to form caterpillars. See the poison?

Her arm hurt and she could see why: a ribbon of pale green tubing connected to a bottle, dripping jewel by jewel.

10. Anna Anderson has a lyrical name. I just said her name aloud into my orange walls and up sprang an image of hot cocoa. Now sure why. Also lyrical are her sentences.

…tiptoed to the bathroom like a husband

…the bed I lowered to be closer to the ground

This work is tight, it shards off each sentence, each paragraph. It catches the oddness of things. Of objects. I think maybe every image has a bulb inside that glows and whenever we see or think of the object–violin, coat, mail, shoe–the bulb glows brighter.

11. Gary Young is not the founder of Young Living Essential Oils. He did found a press. I’d rather found a press than oils. I suppose you have to press something to get the oils, no? But it isn’t pages. If you drank the oil from pressed pages? I don’t know.

[A lot of weight loss herbal stuff is just straight-up speed]

This flash does what flash is allowed to do–poetry. It is an argument for art. It is an image, a narrative imagining, and I will say no more. I think spoilers are for milk left in cribs overnight.

12. Go ahead, read The Middle Distance.

13. Flare starts like this. It is an atmospheric piece of writing. I find it wonderful when writers can clutch how you feel when staring into flames and then unfold that idea into walls and bicycles. I suppose I mean to say this flash fiction is something that turns night into day into night into that moment before we fall into sleep and we thank your daily genius, Kathryn Scanlan.

[I have actually seen adult men bring acoustic guitars to bonfires. Even the sea groaned that day]

14. Thisbe Nissen uses the sentence, the connectors, the starts and halts of words and punctuation, to form a stuttering, shall we say muttering–death, death, death–sales pitch. Plots for Sale.

Ash.

Ash settled on leaves. Do crematoriums have chimneys?

[There is no fucking way anyone of putting me in a box, period. FUCK BOXES.]

15. Andrew Michael Roberts was or is a Juniper Fellow? What does that mean? I don’t know, but it makes me think he knows Robin Hood and can cast spells by mixing bark, newt tears, chewing gum, and the tail feathers of a dead crow.

sparklehorsemotherfuck is the best word I have read in two weeks of intense reading. It is the best word in Quick Fiction 17, so far. I would like to name my car, my kid, my house, my life, sparklehorsemotherfuck.

16. J.A. Tyler has this head and out this head flows words, daily. It’s like a Pumpkin Walk or a geyser. There must be a lot of pressure inside him, words and sentences and wondrous ideas screaming at his ears, eyes, mouth, ass, penis, fingertips–trying to explode!!

[I have yet to see my use of exclamation marks as anything but shabby]

Dude can write, I’m saying.

“The Mountain Lion” is a metaphor here, and this work gets me thinking: Why does every community claim to have spotted a mountain lion? Even the local liquor store, right up the road from my house, the guy will pull out this crumpled, folded photo of a blurry thing in a vast field of soybeans– “See, a mountain lion!”

[Same guy once said to me, “You look like one of Obama’s boys.” What does that mean?]

Tyler knows we have this deep need to believe in all that might be–like the mythology of family.

17. Anthony Varallo riffs on the word, collect. This is the type of thing you think you could do, and you could, but it’s tough to do well.

Done very well here, and I now have a new assignment for this semester. Give each student one word and let them write a flash riff on that one word. Show them Varallo’s work as an example. Thank you, Anthony. I think I met you once at a museum, but maybe I was drunk and am wrong.

[Sometimes I go to museums expecting to see a Warhol and they won’t have the Warhol and I’ll think Where is the Warhol and then think, Why do you need to see something so ordinary as a Warhol, what is wrong with the gold coins and the bird and the painting with the bathtub and the toaster and the one where they guy painted his wife to look like a wall?]

18.Thomas Cooper shows us that flash is organic. The entire world is a flash.

Interview answer:

I was drawn to flash fiction, honestly, out of frustration and impatience. At the time, most of my longer stories had turned out crappy, and just about everyone rejected the few I considered decent. They wrote notes like, “Why is this so long? What’s your problem?” So I figured I’d spend more time concentrating on smaller things, if only to reign in some of my prolix tendencies.

What in the fuck is a “prolix tendency”? That sounds so badass. I mean that’s damn near close to sparklehorsemotherfuck.

19.

How often do you get to eat a heart?

Add a knife.

I think you want to read the flash by now. So go buy the fucking magazine.

20. Who is Gabe Durham?

I guess a violently erotic reaction would be my top choice.

Gabe Durham, I owe you a beer. I consider “Intake Until You” one of the most glow flashes in this issue. Tight, tight. A camera flash caught in the chest of a live sparrow, I feel.

21. What in the hell is “Landwehrkanal”?

It is important to not Google just because you feel like Googling. It’s like cooking by open flame or opiates or holding a Sartre play in stereo. You should do it occasionally.

22.

A fly and I got on an elevator

This is the type of opening sentence that will lead to hair-snakes or roulette tables or at least a woman leaping from a gondola while aflame. Another lesson for my students? You could begin a universe with that prompt. A fly and I got on an elevator.

23. “The Feather” is one of those flashes that use an object as its core. And Loory does a sweet job with the tone, how a single feather can be meaningless, or the center of the world.

I got a real Danill Kharms from this piece. And that is glow.

24. We end with the essence of flash fiction? What is it?

It was the way the sun hit the stones sprawled across your lawn.

Is that enough for you? It isn’t?

Then you, sir or madam, are a “new Star Trek poster” or “a stray hair on the passenger seat.”

I mean lost.



sparklehorsemotherfuck!

sparklehorsemotherfuck!

Love,

S