HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY, READER. I haven’t a piece for the holiday whatsoever.
In fact, a survey of the fiction this month presents a macabre portrait of romance, indeed. To get into the spirit, read Jessica Pishko’s “DDs” and “You Know Now Two Ways,” as well as Amy Dupcak’s “Vacancy” (perhaps my personal favorite this issue). On a slightly more positive note, Eric Bennett contributes “Wish You Were Here.” But even that is pretty grim.
Is this a reflection of my feelings about Valentine’s Day on the whole? Or is it a reflection everyone’s feelings on the whole? Let’s all just have another glass of wine and revel. Anyway, after Valentine’s Day comes Spring! This is very exciting news for everyone not living in Southern California. In honor of SPRING, let me tell you about what else is happening this issue:
First of all, we are very pleased to welcome Jane Hayman as our featured poet. Her four poems make for a quick, but mighty, read. Spend the time... (read more)
CLEO LIVES ALONE, one pea in a pod, not two. Her breath is sweet, her waist thin, and her tiny hands fit neatly into her little lap. Her eyes are apples and her heart a ripe melon, ready to be plucked from branching ribs.
After college, Cleo sold her car and moved to Manhattan. She hopes to find one man among the millions to love her, but that’s not what she tells her left-behind friends... (read more)
BEGIN THE CONVERSATION by baring your throat, a sign of submission. Lower your eyes. Hide your contempt. Think bunny thoughts, mouse thoughts, and small, furry critter thoughts so he doesn’t feel threatened. Let him know he can devour you in one bloodless gulp. This is the way to keep your job... (read more)
DAVID PIKE COULD FEEL himself sinking. His mother lately looked at him as something stuck, not just in a rut, but in a sand trap. She told him that he was too quiet, tried to help him find girlfriends by circling personal advertisements in the paper and leaving them on the kitchen table next to his breakfast. David never answered any of them. Not even the one from an attractive woman named Cindy... (read more)
LARRY SYBORG CUT HIS WOMAN last Thursday. This time bad enough for her to be in the hospital and him in county without bail. Word around town is she—Debbie—is lucky to be alive, but talk always ends up at Larry’s sandwich.
For now, it’s still on the menu. The Syborg. But no one’s ordering it because it would just be eating a name. A bad copy put together by Juan, the dishwasher who got bumped to Larry’s short-order spot. Kid’s having a hell of a time getting the lunch crowd in and out between the two whistles... (read more)
CONCENTRATE ON THE URINE collecting in your bladder.
he looks so serious, so goddamn serious all of a sudden. it’s this dance that kills you.
you offered him a ride back from yonkers because it’s you who has the license and the car, who grew up ten minutes from school and has been driving to and from... (read more)
THE MUSIC IS VERY LOUD and the floor is very dirty. You know that the bathroom is the safest place in the club right now, akin to a bomb shelter, although there are no alarms no flashing lights. You feel like you ought to use a paper towel to open the door, but there aren’t any anyway, and you have had too many rum and diet cokes to care... (read more)
YOU KNOW IT'S TROUBLE when your boyfriend says, “Why don’t you dress like Natalie?”
Natalie is 5’9” with a DD chest and legs up to her neck.
You decide not to get mad because that would be immature. You look in the mirror, pout a little, adjust your hair, and wipe mascara away from under your eyes... (read more)
SHE DREAMS OF ROOMS
rooms lined with silk
a throne room
with hundreds of candles... (read more)
FEATURED ARTIST Claire Stigliani
“MY PRACTICE HAS CONSISTENTLY been occupied with looking at the many and varied myths and icons involving the female body. I look at fairy tales, women in history, the 90s supermodel, and now my own image. I am interested in how women are represented in their most socially idealized form and conversely in their most vulnerable state.”