The blade they will use to remove your face
it can never be sharp enough it will be so sharp
that it’s drawn from a specialized case or drawer
but still they should use lasers for this, blazing
tools from the future. They will cut off your face
only if their tools jam in your sinuses or vessels
burst chaotic but you feel sure they will cut
and toss your face like a slice of fresh pizza
onto a far instrument cart or flatten your face
onto sterilized steel or hang it from a blunt
hook on the table or pile it into a nurse’s close
hands or drape it loose over a green shoulder.
Really if they have to cut and peel your face
they will leave a strip of flesh and will flap
the skin back over your brow to be reattached
later and it will stare eyeless up at the lights.
You will be somewhere far below your face
and you will have it there with you or really
more honestly you will have nothing there
with you. For a short time or a very long time
you will be and feel and fear and know nothing.
Your children will drink coffee in the lounge
while the surgeons work but throughout it you
will be nothing. Everything will be nothing.
TIM DICKS‘s writing appeared most recently in Dark Sky Magazine and matchbook. He contributes to the Uncanny Valley Magazine blog and recently finished a novel featuring a monster that lives on the Moon.
he didn’t even care that his gray sweater had a cross-stitched
picture of two cats playing with yarn.
nor did he care that the “a” in cats was a heart.
all he was concerned with was smelling the begonias
and making chit chat with the filipino proprietor at
the farmers market.
the 30-something knucklehead with visible tattoos and
a social distortion t-shirt who kept bumping into him
and all those in their vicinity
could have learned a thing or two.
RYAN RITCHIE is a 31-year-old writer who will owe someone a lot of money when he finished his MFA at UCR Palm Desert Graduate Center. His work has been published in Haggard & Halloo, Burning Shore Review, Modern Drunkard, Dogmatika and the Freefall Review.
Coyotes and wolves are nearly identical
except the coyotes have developed the ability to adapt,
to learn to eat garbage
and sleep under your shed.
Tom says pigeon parents push
their young off bridges just to see if they are ready to fly.
And if they aren’t?
It is no surprise they are related to the Dodo,
millions of miniature Prince Prosperos leading their people to doom,
tiny Icaruses splashing into seas of New York City taxicabs,
though it is doubtful Breughel would take the time
to illustrate their unnoticed fall
nor Auden or Williams to sit down and illustrate the illustration.
This is hardly a dreadful martyrdom,
but is it an example of evolution, modification,
a malevolent twist of Darwinism,
of how most adaptations are less than beautiful,
far from practical?
The man with a coyote under his shed will most likely say “What is that damn coyote
doing under my shed?”
and not “What have we done to the world that coyotes are relegated
to sleeping under our sheds?”
And that is why,
when Tom tells me about the pigeons,
a girl in the room,
quite possibly with a coyote of her own in her backyard
and obviously unaware of the significance of these tiny birds,
merely says, “What did they do before there were bridges?”
MIKE MAHER is the founder and editor of Sea Giraffe, an online literary ‘zine. He currently reads, writes, edits, and walks his dog in Pennsylvania’s Pocono mountains. His poetry, fiction, and personal essays can be seen in publications like The Smoking Poet, The Ofi Press Magazine, Calliope, and Dr. Hurley’s Snake-Oil Cure. While earning his BA in English from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, he served as the Vice President and Forum Editor of The Stroud Courier, winning the Jim Barniak Award for journalism twice during his time there. He also won the Martha E. Martin Award for poetry while at ESU.
My grandmother, rest in peace,
waited for us down below
while we rode the roller-coaster,
hands raised, screaming at her.
Too sick to go on, she stood
near the exit. The bandana
on her bald head flapped
in the wind like paisley hair.
A wave of her small hand, tears
on her face, though I can’t recall
if they were tears of happiness
or something even more painful.
She should have been made a saint
right there, cheering us while
she rocked and tumbled inside,
raced a thousand miles per hour
in the most terrible of all directions.
JAMES VALVIS lives in Issaquah, Washington. His work has recently appeared in Atlanta Review, Confrontation, Eclipse, Hanging Loose, Nimrod, Pank, Rattle, Southern Indiana Review, and is forthcoming in Arts & Letters, Crab Creek Review, Gargoyle, H_NGM_N, LA Review, Midwest Quarterly, New York Quarterly, River Styx, South Carolina Review, and many others. A book-length collection of his poems, How to Say Goodbye, is due in 2011.
90,000+ mustached, hair-teased
Fanatics sardined into
The Pontiac Silverdome
The biggest event in sports
Hulk Hogan births from backstage
Into electric bedlam
I am a real American, fight
For the rights of every man
Tan, ripped, ball-of-fire Jesus figure
Red & yellow tornado of macho
Flamboyance Coked up, hulked
Runnin’ wild BROTHERRR!
6”8”, 294 lbs of pure American beef
Hard training, vitamins, & prayers
The hopes of little Hulkamaniacs
Harbored in the champion’s
24” pythons A nation at stake
Against the undefeated
Frenchman, Andre the Giant
7’5”, 525 lbs of betrayal
Good vs. evil, Rocky vs. Drago, Goliath vs.
A really intense David
Their gaze fixed, laser-guided
[so much depends / upon]
A scoop slam, an atomic leg drop
CHRIS JOYNER is an MFA candidate at the University of Miami and has poems forthcoming in CaKe. Previously, he’d spent the bulk of his life in Virginia Beach, VA and worked for military brokerage companies out of college. Currently, he’s enjoying the novelty of food trucks and parasols.
She falls on her knees to help him
smash the lid of his suitcase shut.
He pulls the tongue back, tightening
the covering with each tooth
clenched. The motion makes a noise
like the turning of an empty stomach
as if this is the first time they’ve talked
about this moment, a whisper
gasping between them. Before the zipping
completes, a sleeve spills out and she stays
his hand with her hand. He nods,
defeated. Their fingers work the sleeve back in
to zip. His bag rolls behind him and her eyes
have bags holding the luggage he has left.
GREG LYONS, an MFA graduate from University of Alaska Fairbanks, is currently teaching English at his local community college, and looking for publishers for his manuscripts Winter’s Cricket and Pieces. He keeps a blog at www.woodrowlyons.blogspot.com, and believes “We are riding a bicycle and putting it together at the same time”.
Living in the house of women one begins to see
how artfully time is wasted and what little tricks
a woman of a certain age will use to treat
the passing of the hours. Upon a table candlesticks
must move, be moved, and moved again.
Consideration must be paid and proper rank its due.
A fat one is traded out for a thin one and then
traded out once more. A complicated waltz ensues
to measure the fresh effect from every other side.
Why hours can be passed spent in serious contemplation
of whether the vase on the left must now reside
one inch to the right to complete the transformation.
The setting sun sends its rays across the wooden floor.
The lady bustles briskly by to move the vase once more.
A Pushcart Prize nominee in 2009, TERRY ANN WRIGHT has published most recently in amphibius, Redheaded Stepchild, and DIAGRAM. She is currently dedicated to ridding the world of comma splices, one college freshman at a time.