33 Fragments of Sick-Sad Living

Fiction by Brian Alan Ellis

Later you sat on your bed and, mesmerized by the intestinal goop she’d left for you, drank an entire bottle of wine, which is how much wine it took to even consider removing such remnants. Regardless, her mess had to go. So with moth-bitten Sisters of Mercy tour shirt in hand, you attacked, and were struck with the abrupt urge to taste the opaque puddle. (It didn’t smell; the alcohol had impaired your senses, either making you braver or stupider or both.) So you knelt down close—tongue outstretched—looking like some crazy person.


Poetry by Ginger Ko

I was whistling for Mint to drive the goats back to the pen,
Brushing off mud splattered on the back of my legs
When your father called to tell me you were coming home.
Two weeks later I flew in and drove from the airport
To Jefferson and 55th, mounting and dismounting
The freeway clover knots in the warp and weft of the city.

3 Poems

Poetry by Saeed Jones

It Means Something Different in Arabic
for Terrance Hayes

Once, I threw a towel over my head and pretended I was Mary.
My aunt told me that pretending was blasphemy. A burnt cross
lit in my chest that day, but they say my name
first appeared in reluctantly opened love letters .

Neptune Frightens The Children

Fiction by Wythe Marschall

The order went: Rico said he saw it, then Jamie, then Jameel, Malika’s cousin who lived in Maspeth. Over the next month, they talked to each other about it—at Minny’s or the Hacienda or Jamie’s house—and confirmed the details, so they figured it must be true. For one, Rico never lied, not to them, not about paint, and for another, the yard was close to Queens, so it figured Jameel would’ve seen it—he was obsessed with geography, with the good walls and the spots no cops would drive by. They had all just found about this new yard, and Josie hadn’t gone yet. They all wanted to tell Josie about the problem right away, but it was just too hard, because Josie’s whole life revolved around paint. He was like the little ball-bearing inside the can that shakes up the paint, that lives forever in paint. He didn’t just write ZEUS—he was ZEUS.

I sent the doctor a sexy poem

Poetry by Kate Dougherty

Was Katie’s skirt black or blue, and did it fit her
Bananas make Katie gag
when they’re mushy. I should eat every brown
banana. Every brown banana spooning
its partners soft and sweet.

Re: Margaret

by Maria DeLorenzo

The dream was scandalous. She is amazed at her own synapses, sprawling on that surface. It makes her blush. She deletes the dream. Empties the dumpster so no trace can be found of it. But of course there is a record kept somewhere in the master hard drive. Somebody is reading it. She imagines the mechanizations of the brain receiving; maybe her dream has an immediate effect on him. She imagines him, in some dark corner office, the daily toil, and then a flicker, his left eye glitches, he pauses the rapid filing and lingers a moment, imagining the exquisite brain responsible for the transmission. He shifts in his seat, his pants suddenly too tight. She sighs.