Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz
D. C. Lynn
Robbie Q. Telfer
A SHORT HISTORY OF UNUSUAL FISH
Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, Nov 24, 2008
Tiktaalik is a very famous extinct fish,
the first to really evolve arms and legs,
and an old boyfriend has been studying him
for six years. He says they call the Tiktaalik
a “fishapod,” that they love doing research
on it, write papers on it, even reading all
the hysterical emails from creationists
which they receive weekly, though he
declines to share what they say. It’s not
his place to share such things, he says.
I tell him that the only fish I’ve studied
is Albert Fish, mad man of the 1920s,
killed a girl and wrote a letter to her Ma
about how tasty the little girl’s ass was
frying in a pan. When police handed him
over to the doctors, X-rays found he had
a pelvis full of pins: he kept sticking
sewing needles in the soft space he found
between his penis and scrotum. He could
not stop, he liked the pain so much. And
my old boyfriend tells me this is not dinner
conversation. Tells me his new girlfriend
doesn’t talk about stuff like that at all.
At all, he repeats. And all I keep thinking
is that I didn’t even get to the good part,
when they finally tried to put him to death,
all the needles stuck into his pelvis shorted
the electric chair, that they’d hit the switch
again and again, but all they kept seeing
were thousands and thousands of sparks
shooting from Albert Fish’s crotch.
Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz’s work has been published or is forthcoming in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency,
Barrelhouse, Monkeybicycle, Pank, Long Shot, Going Down Swinging, Voiceworks and Bust Magazine, among
others. Her latest book, Words in Your Face: A Guided Tour Through Twenty Years of the New York City Poetry
Slam, was published last year by Soft Skull Press.
J. Bradley, Dec 12, 2008
When you sleep,
your sinuses host
I lose when I miss
the seventeenth “z.”
The consolation prize:
watching your dreams
put on zebra suits
and gallop across
J. Bradley is a poet based out of Orlando, FL. Some of the places his work previously appeared in include
Word Riot, At-Large Magazine, Clockwise Cat, Death Metal Poetry, The Ampersand Review, and will appear in an
upcoming issue of LiteraryMary and Prick of the Spindle. Hear him @
Lub d Bangkok
Terra Brigando, Nov 06, 2008
Arriving groggily, the first things I see
are red stairs and the slight glow
of American computer screens. 3 a.m.
and my feet are swollen, I have no eyes, my stomach
aches with the smell of diesel fuel, fried noodles, a man
behind me yelling in broken English, my backpack
like a fever against the small part of my shoulder blades.
Sleep creeps as a feral cat
across my body and down through my toes. I don’t mean
to run into the boy from Wales who calls me
“lovely” and has eyes as dark as the night, black
as bat wings searing through my clothes. I make him
speak slowly in his strong accent and together
we trace the outlines of each other’s faces
in the hostel bathroom; the water from the shower,
as warm as eastern rain, on my breasts, against
my hips; then him and the slow rising of the red
Thai sun bursting, like a watermelon,
in my mouth.
Soon morning splits open the sky
and I have to go. I’ll think of him now
and then, and how he kissed me, foreign
as that Asian country, sweet as the skin
of an apricot, hard and with passion
on my mouth, an open poppy; how he pressed me
up against the wet cerulean tile.
Terra Brigando recently graduated from the University of Redlands with a BA in creative writing. She was the
fiction editor for the University’s literary magazine, Redlands Review, and has published various works in
the Giraffe, the University’s underground literary magazine. She currently lives in Northern California
where she enjoys yellow days, the sound of words, and her bed when it’s raining outside.
DOLPHIN V. SHARK
Ricky Garni, Dec 09, 2008
I’ve always heard that a dolphin
could best a shark in a dispute.
Dispute! Did you hear that?
It sounds like they are
going to court. Sharks and
Dolphins don’t “go to court”
and they don’t “court” either—
difficult at best for a dolphin
with their long, powerful snouts.
All they can hope for is a little snuggle,
and even less can a shark hope for
since he must continually move forward
in order to stay alive, according
to comedian Woody Allen and
oceanographer, Jacques Cousteau.
So, let’s recap what we know:
1) dolphins and sharks don’t dispute
2) a dolphin can best a shark in a, well, a contretemps
3) dolphins yearn to be kissed
4) nobody knows what a shark yearns for
5) Jacques Cousteau’s grandson is struggling to keep
his grandfather’s legacy alive
6) CORRECTION: nobody knows or cares what sharks
yearn for except for Jacques Cousteau’s grandson,
but he is presently too busy preserving his grandfather’s
legacy presently to discuss what sharks yearn for
7) the ocean hides many mysteries, but we will probably
figure most of them out pretty soon
8) when I purchased a blue dolphin and a green shark
squirt gun from Target Drug Store and the blue dolphin
squirt gun shot a stream of water very well and the green
shark squirt gun didn’t shoot at all, I marveled at how
little we truly know about the sea, and yet, how I had
learned a little about the sea even while being on land,
so far from the sea
Ricky Garni is a writer and illustrator living in Carrboro, North Carolina. He has many illustrations and poems
available online as well as at tortillaexmachina.blogspot.com.
Recently when he went to the dentist, the dentist said, “Whoa doggie!” when Mr. Garni opened his mouth. Dentists
in the South often say “Whoa doggie” when their patients open their mouths.
call me kiss the moon
Jamie Iredell, Dec 05, 2008
call me meatloaf & peas
call me a wrought-iron railing
call me mishandled pizza dough
call me the karate kid
call me a lover of mexicans
call me california without the sand
call me a million bottles of water
call me a million bottles filled with diamonds
call me doctor professor sir
call me hundreds of striped polo shirts
call me hamlet juggling laertes
call me desperately seeking a good taco
call me a steinbeck fan
call me mediterranean brome in the socks
call me bling bling bling bling
call me this terrible long novel
call me a french-kisser of german shepherds
call me an excited pig at a luau
call me hundreds of blue shirts & big sticks
call me the opposite of ishmael
call me the clouds elevating pigs
call me a flannery o’connor rip-off
call me this blue buzz of stumbling synaesthesia
call me a streaking moonbeam of guitar licks
call me stalactites of teeth
call me a trickle of god in the gutter
call me shadows dancing on sidewalks
call me casino glitter
call me the space shuttle fart of a lift-off
call me countless diamonds in sidewalks
call me the appetite for construction
call me the lover of lasagna, which is constructed
call me up in praise of the south
call me from the rib-cage of moby-dick
call me the belly of the sierras
call me the opposite migration of an okie
call me don’t call me tonight
call me a moon, my planet
call me an ever-widening orbit
call me a speck of paper on this desert of a table
call me the scribbles on this desert
call me an air conditioner from antarctica
call me a lodestone stopping barfights
call me an angry barfight tequila
call me an artichoke layered with light green leaves
call me drunk from the river of moonlight hung over my skull
Jamie Iredell lives in Atlanta and designs books for C&R Press. He has two chapbooks: When I Moved to
Nevada (The Greying Ghost Press), and When I Moved to Atlanta (Paper Hero Press). His writing has
appeared in many magazines, including The Chattahoochee Review, Elysian Fields Quarterly, Redactions, elimae,
3:AM, Descant, and others. He blogs at
Jac Jemc, Nov 20, 2008
what saintly sadness is it comes clear in little booms of the klieg lights of catacombs
these nippled tombs of bone we wander like chaperones w/ golden shoulders
the brownly speckled habits of big bands steadily molding in humid cellars
destroyed bright young earth clinging close to the worming surface
doors kicked just in windows knocked just
holstered language of descent/ dizzy origin of above/ huge blindness move around/
buzzing clarity of pain/ crisp slaps of chaos
gather up our skirt hems from collecting the ash of the salt light
gather up our laughing macular memory spots gripping eye dark
gather up rascal hours of the waking the lonesome codes of belief
like fistfuls of filth dazzle tock all of them
the catenary course of depression
like italics forced the opposite
if you get depressed remember
you have a body
“The lake will hold still for a moment or a winter depending on the temperature.”
being drained of regret is like leaking crime
you hold off self slaughter w/ the clammering noise of the finite
and while we sit here the entire room seems to exist in silhouette
you take out your 3x5 cards of denial
& motion for truths to be swallowed
sometimes theres nothing to absent ourselves from
stories dont catch until qualified
raise up the masts
pull the cables taut
I stay exactly the same the clocks fizzing up to the hour again & again
in the tight ceilinged basement of the earth the bluebirds wings cant spread
my destroyer friend calms me down
I exhale stories of smoke filled sunlight poverty as general as a pronoun a country incarnating sorrow thumbtacks
pushed in to mark the
time agreements & the obscene shaking of hands
the bluebird begins flapping his wings
their wideness is clipped by the walls a hyphenated jumping jack
“Dance! Vinnie! Dance! You’re an angel!”
when the gaping maw refuses to stop its frantic chewing
when each grass-blade becomes uncountable & necessary
its all I can do to lie flat on the floor
& allow the trickles of my sediment to settle to the bottom of myself
then I can live for several moments
sometimes as long as days
while guilt & obligation buzz like crazy electrons above me
but if you do not even understand what this could mean
if you do not know the feeling of an old self being the only weight in your truth
then I congratulate you for being indigestible
& envy your ability to settle the strange Luxor bees of your mind
all which is at stake is
lottery tickets & haystacks
Jac Jemc’s work has appeared in numerous magazines including Caketrain, Opium, Hotel St. George, NO COLONY,
Sleepingfish, A Handsome Journal, Bird Dog, Circumference, Tarpaulin Sky, Zoland Poetry, Thieves Jargon, Why
Vandalism?, THE2NDHAND, The Denver Quarterly, and elimae, among others. Her chapbook, A Heaven
Gone is forthcoming from ml Press. In 2007 she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and in 2008 she placed 2nd
in the Marginalia Contest. You can view a blog of her recent rejections at
Los Árabes, convenience store
Jason Jonker, Dec 04, 2008
Liquor bottles lit up like votive candles
single cigarettes sitting in a jar—
A gluttony of lighters, belt buckles,
knives, and glass pipes.
Behind the counter
a cashier girl is new.
She rings up my six-pack
and bag of Hot Cheetos,
looking only at
the cash register.
Ask him something,
says the skinny guy.
He speaks Spanish.
¿Habla Español, usted?
No, I tell her. Ni una palabra.
Jason Jonker is a family therapist who works with the families of kids caught up in the juvenile justice system.
He enjoys fishing and wearing sweaters, which is too bad because he lives in Phoenix, AZ. His work has been
published in The McGuffin, Lunch, Big Scream, Lily, Ruminate and the November 3rd Club.
Leave me be
Jonathan Kessler, Nov 18, 2008
My natural resignation,
Is every night is just the same.
The girls all take their time to look good. They look good. They always look good.
Men tend to find comfort in stories and well I am not sure...I guess shaving.
Maybe I am not a man.
the streets look like a flowering tree.
light hitting the promise of my reason
leave it leave it leave it all behind
I sold the promise to you for the idea of soon
But I am still sitting here waiting
Waiting on you waiting on it all to end
The girls look good. They always look good.
Jonathan Kessler has spent the past number of years learning, writing and teaching all over the world. Some
locations include rural New Hampshire, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Costa Rica. He currently teaches English at an
alternative high school in Charleston, SC. His poetry and writing have been featured multiple times in The
Centripetal and Kaleo.
The Wine-Dark Waters of R’lyeh
D. C. Lynn, Nov 18, 2008
There’s something that finds me in the middle of the night...a monster, an
It isn’t Cthulhu, although it does seem to live in my own personal
It treads the waters of R’lyeh slumming somewhere
in the Lost Sea of the Damned
‘til it finds me in the wee hours before dawn,
and no matter what I do
and no matter how hard I try,
I cannot escape.
Sometimes, I try to run but it steadily and mechanically stalks me. I run faster
but I can hear its
catching-up, getting closer...
the sound of its putrid, heavy breathing louder and heavier in its obsession
to conquer, to overtake
Sometimes, I can’t see it in the darkness but I feel its presence.
I just know it’s there. I stretch-out my hand and touch its face. The
revulsion moves me beyond the sum total of fear.
Sometimes, I just give-up when I hear it approaching. I just fall. I just
surrender. I just let it sodomize me into the inner-sanctum of pain until the
deep, cold waters take me.
I was first brutalized while going through puberty. I thought puberty was just
indeed what it all was...chemical nightmares.
Now that I’m in the middle-years of my life, I know different. I know the deal.
It’s the Scylla of darkness; the Charybdis of despair.
It’s the Bataan Death March into total consciousness.
It’s the Trail of Tears awareness that all reality is
but brief, passing folly
and that when you really tear it all a part only
to put it all back together, it means nothing but fear of the forbidden
leaving only the solace of the cold and empty waves of
the wine-dark waters of R’lyeh.
D. C. Lynn is originally from Alabama. He holds degrees from Auburn and Pepperdine. He is a university lecturer
of English language and literature. He has lived and worked abroad for many years. His poetry has appeared in or
is forthcoming in The Auburn Plainsman, The Dead Mule, decomP, Origami Condom, and The Battered
I HAVE HER LOVE IT’S TRUE BUT I WANT HER FRIENDSHIP
Anthony Madrid, Nov 18, 2008
I have her love, it’s true, but I want her friendship.
What must I do, what spell cast, to have her friendship?
That we can memorize and recite, that we can see the sun from here,
That water “knows” to go around—let these suffice us.
And let’s have no more Plato, friends. And certainly no more Socrates.
I’m through with all these wise men who smile and condescend.
Castling’s a good move—protects your King. But comes a point
When you must learn to use the King as an attack piece.
The king has bad weather today; he has to pay his taxes. And yóu
Have to pay the tax on being good-looking...
Don’t put on airs with me, Mardud. We are mud from the same ditch.
Take my arm, man. Tonight—let us go intriguing.
Previous publications: New England Review, Exquisite Corpse, Kiosk, Spinning Jenny, Third Bed...others....
Poems out right now (or coming out) in: 6X6, Web Conjunctions, Lit Magazine, Copper Nickel. Title of his
unpublished manuscript: The getting rid of the that which cannot be done without. Anthony Madrid is a
graduate student at the University of Chicago.
Trapper Don’t Look Back
Dennis Mahagin, Nov 10, 2008
In an Anchorage brothel
circa 1986, I sucked
two-fisted with snifter and
rock pipe, the sister
who gifted me
took deep throat
hits followed by semi-
unconscious snuffling fits
to keep the smoke
down, and those sounds were like
Huckleberry Hound having found
something perpetually, contagiously
what I really, really bought
was an 86-hour migraine
laced with cotton mouth
and chlamydia, I fought
to get my kit bag on the home-
bound ferry, traveler’s checks in a stiff
tube sock, one hard month from Seward
to the Ballard Locks, and after that,
for a decade and
a half, every time I puked, the taste
was of lukewarm peach schnapps,
I couldn’t get off
of that Anchorage whore, how
she cackled, with pigeon-toed
Charleston, as long
as the crack held out, it flowed,
with her panties on a Popsicle stick
and flicks of her wrist, as if
to bait the shallows, the little
red-light room in downtown
Anchorage reeking of schnapps,
patchouli and semen:
“I AM A FISHER!” shrieked
the whore, “A FISHER OF FISHER-
MEN!... A FUCKING FISHER-
her skit just wasn’t funny any more,
the crack wouldn’t flow because we
couldn’t get any more, rug burns
on my knee caps, suppurating scabs
where crawlspace met
the killing floor. Listen,
all you young bucks, with a yen
for the Bering Sea, or maybe
Mount McKinley with spyglass
and manly Hemingway flask
glinting in the sun, don’t
go there, my son, to cavort
with the deep throat
Huskies and roll-on
musk, nix the seduction
with extreme unction, say
no, I say, say no, say no,
tastes like yellow snow.
Dennis Mahagin is a poet from the Pacific Northwest. His work appears in periodicals such as Exquisite
Corpse, 3:AM, Frigg, 42opus, Keyhole, Juked, Thieves Jargon, Underground Voices, and Stirring: A Literary
love is ii
David McLean, Nov 14, 2008
love is alpha and that other latter letter—
it smells of socks and shampoo
and it is rather juicy
it tastes quite a lot like salt
it’s a terrible lie and it’s true
love is omega or whatever
and the previous letter,
love smells of salt-cellars and you
David McLean is Welsh but has lived in Sweden since 1987. He lives there in a cottage on a hill with a woman and
five selfish cats. He has two full-length books out. One at
and another, Cadaver’s Dance, available at Alibris or Amazon.com. There is even a third self-published
book of poems at Lulu called eating your night at
lulu.com/content/2756039. Details of chapbooks and round 650
poems in or forthcoming at 270 places online or print over the last eighteen months are at
mourningabortion.blogspot.com. One chapbook, La morte
vivante, is available from Shadow Archer Press. Another chapbook is free online at
He also features in a special issue of Instant Pussy available as a free download at
lulu.com/content/4389526. Two more chapbooks so far are coming
in 2009 from Rain over Bouville and Poptritus Press.
For Those in the Rough
Zachary Moll, Dec 03, 2008
While the hours bang away on kettles and church bells
& the mice make for the crumbs in the corner
While he promises and she believes
& the dice clank down once more,
While the world turns, the frost bites,
A painting fades in Rome,
While manicured hands join in agreement
Over Mai Tai’s on the green
& a thousand others fall idle
On the coattails of a dream,
While 100,000 classifieds open with a sigh
& scissors cut crisply into Sundays coupons,
While industry sleeps
& crickets flood the factories,
A shot is heard—
& someone in this town has been paid.
Zachary Moll lives in Ohio with his son where he fiddles with pens and cameras when not slinging eggs for dimes.
He’s been published in several online and print magazines for both poetry and graphic design.
We are Devo
Robbie Q. Telfer, Dec 08, 2008
It’s like choking politely down the remainder
of brisket after the dinner party’s host has just
audibly slapped his wife in the kitchen for
embarrassing him. It’s like that, but the dining
room is your identity—the unbearable wreckage
of face. Pretending to be an asshole in high
school was funny but when you weren’t looking
these last ten years, you’ve become a real asshole.
I’ve been pretending to be a poet for just as long.
Look what the platypus got for all her pretending—
electrocuting shit with her MIND—batting a
thousand with her eye lashes. Throwing all
your spaghetti at the wall to see if enough sticks.
Throwing a toaster down the stairs isn’t a
symphony, but it’s definitely got a memorable
beat. I know a boy who calls himself Toaster—
what a beautiful tune he'd make in the descent.
Like Staring into a Freaky Time-Mirror
Robbie Q. Telfer, Dec 08, 2008
my new caveman friend kept trying to rape me.
i didn’t hold it against him.
his heart wasn’t in it anyway.
i asked him questions like he were a pet:
whatcha got there? you chewin on a bird?
you wanna go walkies?
we shouldn’t talk to our friends like pets.
i bought him a sweater and slacks.
i lent him my cologne.
i bought him the new james taylor covers album.
he shit all over them.
he likes to dance but it always ends poorly
like a tickle fight or a pillow fight
someone always screams-laughs-jerks into the TV
someone always gets sliced across the face by the pillow zipper.
he danced the cat into paste.
dancing is a kind of battle.
he teaches me things about myself.
he beat up that census guy with my flute.
music is a kind of battle.
i took him to the museum.
i am not cruel.
he tried to use the display animals like household appliances.
he slid down the tail of the apatosaurus skeleton.
his toes sounded like a piano when he bowled.
i’m just kidding.
we didn’t go to the museum.
Robbie Q. Telfer is a touring performance poet, having been a featured performer/reader in hundreds of venues
across North America and Germany—most recently with the spoken word experience The Junkyard Ghost Revival.
Previous work appears in the American Book Review, Octopus Magazine, and a forthcoming Cream City
Review, as well as several spoken word anthologies and DVDs. He was an individual finalist at the National
Poetry Slam and he co-wrote the video game Ninjatown DS. He lives in Chicago where he curates the
Encyclopedia Show and is the Director of Performing Arts for Young Chicago Authors, a not-for-profit that gives
creative writing opportunities and mentorship to Chicago teens.
apologies to hosho mccreesh as i remember sometimes as a child i would kick a can
for blocks just because and considered it quite an accomplishment that I did not miss and fall
on my ass and when it rained it didn’t matter
Scot Young, Dec 07, 2008
i cleaned out the pile
beside my chair
the one that gets
added to over time
i found a book of
poems a look at life
through hosho’s eyes
I had it on the top pile
one day waiting to review
until it became the
bottom of the deck
there is a child
dreaming of being
a poet but will grow
up under the force
of gravity until
he can’t remember
or the can
Scot Young works in education, writes and publishes a few poems, once sang with Kenny Loggins and wrestler Dirty
Dick Murdoch, but mainly just puts bread on the table.