PHALLUSES ASIDE, THIS ISSUE of Slush Pile Magazine is a literary bro down. What I mean is, the majority of writing in Issue Sixteen is by men, and collectively portrays many facets of male life. In this issue, there are young men, old men; tough men, sensitive men; crazy men and sane men.
One of my favorite pieces this issue is from Andrew Ellis Bates who has written a story about growing up, growing tough, and scraping by with an element of choosing your family. Then we have Sean Prentiss’ story “Bound for Glory or Albuquerque” which is a kind of fantastical journey through a man’s rumination on his life, his mistakes and his estranged son. As an interesting sort of companion piece, Shannon Deaton has contributed a story about an aged janitor who seems to be losing his handle on reality. So the fantastical element of this piece is really, well, dementia. On the other side of the spectrum is Stephen Bauer’s very sane and subtle piece about a family vacation, and the contemplations it occasions about life, death, and fatherhood... (read more)
DUKE KICKS MY MATTRESS, says there's a mattress out on Masters Road, and we should snag it before it gets light. He calls my name when I don’t move and tells me I’m eating brick for breakfast if I’m not in the truck in two minutes, but he doesn’t mean it. He hasn’t been around long enough to mean it. He hasn’t been around long enough to mean it. He... (read more)
THE BED HAD BEEN NELL'S PARENTS', and somehow the sheets still smelled in a vague and pleasant way of her mother, who had been the last to live in the house. Nearly four years ago, while her mother waited for the ambulance to take her from the hospital to hospice care, she instructed Nell to put the house... (read more)
I ONLY CLEAN ONE HALL since the fog set in. It’s a tidy hall, and the kids this way are bigger, more likely to spit gum in the wastebasket. On Friday afternoons, I mop Mr. Kelly’s tiles the most on account of his Monday morning temper. He said to me once, “Charlie, if you don’t mop those tiles tomorrow I’m going to cut your throat.” I never heard a teacher talk that way before Mr. Kelly. (read more)
AS A SIX-YEAR-OLD BOY, Donnie's suburban bedroom overlooked the rear of a small town City Market grocery store. Late nights, as he slept in the twin bed, eighteen wheelers woke him with their idling engines. He’d stand at his window, his two hands on the glass, and feel the radiant heat of July... (read more)
IT SOUNDS LIKE A TERRIBLE prank call, this call she is going to make to her father—the question, Where is mom? sounding hideous and unnecessary or even abstract, as though he is going to have to explain to a thirty-year-old woman his views on heaven or the afterlife. (read more)
ON OUR FIRST MORNING in Grand Cayman, my mother looks weary, but I expect we all do. She helps load groceries into the condo’s kitchen, after my sister Matty and I walk to a supermarket, and she takes turns with my wife Sharon in calling the airline, trying to locate our lost luggage. After breakfast, with the sun already high... (read more)
THE NIGHT I MET THE TRUMPET PLAYER, my best friend's father lost himself at sea.
“We haven’t heard from him in four days,” the best friend said. The way her voice hung in the air, she knew death was a possibility and that was the torture. (read more)
“IF YOU'RE NOT CAREFUL," I say, "I'll put that in a story.”
She doesn’t even pause. “As long as you call me Nora.”
“But don’t worry: There won’t be a sex scene.” (read more)
“THIS SERIES IS ABOUT LOVE and sex and birth and joy but still with a tiny presence of skulls/death, in keeping with the fact that as soon as we are born we begin dying, and also with reference to the french term ‘La Petite Mort’, where an orgasm is thought of as a small death. (You can’t really escape it, even at the very beginning!)”
Cults, Yma Sumac, Devendra Banhart, Angel Olsen, The Raveonettes, The Delmonas, Au Revoir Simone, Veronica Falls, Lhasa De Sela & Elvis.