Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Two poems from Inertia and Linebreak

"Paper-Thin Hotel" by Alex Stolis, Inertia Magazine, Issue 11.

"This Friday" by Susan Browne, Linebreak, November 22, 2011.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fiction, poetry, and a very short story by Doug Paul Case

This was after I rolled the windows down, hoping rushing wind would rid my clothes of his cologne. This was after I slid into my car, having barely opened the door, as if I were afraid his neighbors would spot me.

From "Driving Home, I Imagined the Man I'd Just Met, Alone in His Apartment, Washing By Hand the Glass from which I'd Just Drunk," a short story by Doug Paul Case, published in Wigleaf (November 3, 2011).

"Daddy?" Jennifer said when he went back to the living room.


"Would you please read us the funnies?"

The shyness of this request, and the sight of their trusting eyes, made him want to weep. "You bet I will," he said. "Let's sit down over here, all three of us, and we'll read the funnies."

He found it hard to keep his voice from thickening into a sentimental husk as he began to read aloud, with their two heads pressed close to his ribs on either side and their thin legs lying straight out on the sofa cushions, warm against his own. They knew what forgiveness was; they were willing to take him for better or worse; they loved him. Why couldn't April realize how simple and necessary it was to love? Why did she have to complicate everything?

The only trouble was that the funnies seemed to go on forever; the turning of each dense, muddled page of them brought the job no nearer to completion. Before long his voice had become a strained, hurrying monotone and his right knee had begun to jiggle in a little dance of irritation.

"Daddy, we skipped a funny."

"No we didn't, sweetie. That's just an advertisement. You don't want to read that."

"Yes I do."

"I do too."

"But it isn't a funny. It's just made to look like one. It's an advertisement for some kind of toothpaste."

"Read us it anyway."

He set his bite. All the nerves at the roots of his teeth seemed to have entwined with the nerves at the root of his scalp in a tingling knot. "All right," he said. "See, in the first picture this lady wants to dance with this man but he won't ask her to, and here in the next picture she's crying and her friend says maybe the reason he won't dance with her is because her breath doesn't smell too nice, and then in the next picture she's talking to this dentist, and he says..."

He felt as if he were sinking helplessly into the cushions and the papers and the bodies of his children like a man in quicksand. When the funnies were finished at last he struggled to his feet, quietly gasping, and stood for several minutes in the middle of the carpet, making tight fists in his pockets to restrain himself from doing what suddenly seemed the only thing in the world he really and truly wanted to do: picking up a chair and throwing it through the picture window.
(pp. 50-51)

From Revolutionary Road, a novel by Richard Yates (Little, Brown & Co., 1961).

You live alone and earn a reasonable monthly sum that keeps you comfortable and with enough free time to keep your literary aspirations hopeful. You have a desk drawer full of story ideas written almost wholly on sticky notes, envelopes, and napkins. You bought a Mac, because you think that’s the instrument of choice for creative people like yourself.

From "Anatomy of Two Artists," a short story by Robert John Miller, published in Fiction365 (October 25, 2011).

My son recounts the plot of a zombie film
from France. He forgets exactly why,
but one day the dead rise up
and shake off the dust--not ghouls,
staggering with stiff arms,
but as themselves.
They head back into the world willing
to do the usual stuff--eat, buy shoes--
but everything's out of synch. . . .

From "Horror" (p. 8), one of the poems in Recurring Dream by Avra Wing (Pecan Grove Press, 2011). "Horror" first appeared in Prime Decimals.