SCRABBLE by Beth Kephart I said it would be nice (look how simple I made it: nice) not to be marooned in the blue-black of night with my thoughts, I said the corrugated squares of the downstairs quilt accuse me, I said the sofa pillows are gape-jawed, I said there are fine red hairs in the Pier 1 rug that will dislodge and drown in my lungs, I said I can’t breathe, I said, Please. It wasn’t hard. But you were asleep by then, west to my east, uncorrupted by the plain and the soft of my imagination, the occasional and wire whipped and cruel: you couldn’t be touched; you wouldn’t stir; you. I broke and I climbed out and I climbed through and I climbed down into the blue black red threads and sat until a fat clack cracked the hollow between the walls and I knew that it … chop! chop! read more!
GIN A JUNIPER SLICK by Katherine Fallon Gin a juniper slick, drain-bound, spilled by the wrist that meant it this time. The glass-floor desert, the sugared rim, glister in cloud-gauze sunlight. To win, to be as cold and lasting as the snow. Sometimes me, sometimes winter. Katherine Fallon lives and writes in Philadelphia. She received an MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence and her work has recently appeared in Sink Review and Snake Nation Review. … chop! chop! read more!
THE ASK SANDWICH by Lynn Levin The TSA lady at Newark Airport had a nice touch, and Josie enjoyed the pat down. The blue gloves slid under her arms, along her sides, down one leg, then the other. They searched, discerned. They pleased with just the right amount of pressure. Josie thanked the TSA lady, who nodded back with very professional brown eyes. In bed last night in Robert’s apartment, it was their sixth time together, Josie had attempted the “ask sandwich,” something she’d read about in a woman’s magazine. First she told him how nice his cologne smelled and trailed her fingers playfully down his arm. That was the first slice of bread. Then she said she’d really love it if he rubbed her back. That was the sandwich filling. She would have praised him and reciprocated generously, which would have been the other slice of bread. Instead he … chop! chop! read more!
DEAR COUCH by Anna Strong Dear Couch, I want to zip myself in a pocket and watch baseball. You say sit down and stop moving the furniture around. A square of light hits my palm from the gap in the curtain teeth and I want it to fill my creases with more than skin. Despite spiders, my name is safe in your mouth. Grain by grain you’re putting salt on your tongue. The game ends, there are questions, outside it’s all purple and traffic. When you’re asleep on my knees and it’s just me and the crushed end of chips and the street below wide awake, I remember my first god was my mother, my second, the light switch. Anna Strong is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania originally from Haverford, PA. Her work has previously appeared in the Penn Review, the Pennsylvania Gazette, and is forthcoming in Peregrine. Currently she is working … chop! chop! read more!
BONES by Rachel Pastan Once, they’d read aloud to each other all the time: letters, menus, fliers posted on telephone poles along the streets. Missing dog, black, one white ear, answers to Shayna. For sale, stereo cabinet, some damage. Telugu lessons, $10/hour. Telugu, they’d said, maybe we should learn Telugu? Now, the sun streams in through the windows onto the stained tablecloth, onto the chipped cups and the tarnished spoons and the damp sugar in the saucer they use for sugar, and they no longer speak to each other even in English. She doesn’t even read him the headlines. ñShe won’t—can’t—read him the words banged out on her personal teletype machine, the banner that runs along the inside of her brain. Baby baby baby baby baby it says. But there won’t be a baby, and even her desire has been burned almost away, bleached down like the corpse of an … chop! chop! read more!
The Rise of the Selfie in the 21st Century by Blake Martin (bio) Click on any photo to see it at full size. Why do we take self-portraits? As someone who has always felt the urge to take pictures of myself, I don’t have a ready answer. For the longest time I felt shame for this urge to see myself through my lens. Blame it on the Christian ethos of original sin that shaped my early life, but this habit of posing for my own camera felt like an exercise in vanity. Up until the Instagram era, I rarely, if ever, shared my self-portraits with others. There is one self-portrait from 2001 that I printed and gave to a friend, but the image is out of focus, blurred and impressionistic like a Monet, and you’d never know I was sitting in the windowsill of the Rodin Museum in Paris basking … chop! chop! read more!
HUMMING by Kathryn J Allwine Bacasmot Listening to Glenn Gould’s albums of Bach’s keyboard music, you will hear a noise in the background: the sound of someone humming. As a child I gravitated toward the Gould recording on the shelf that held my parents’ collection of LPs, everything ranging from the Bee Gees to Schumann, covers worn on the edges. Carefully placing it on the turntable, I dropped the needle on the vinyl, and then dropped myself to the floor where I would press my ear into the soft brown cover of the large speakers that were half my height, hold my breath, and listen as Gould’s voice periodically accompanied the Preludes and Fugues. Interpreting music is a creative process conducted through the medium of the body. It is a strange, mysterious sensation to intellectually conceive the idea of a sound, generate it through the mechanics of muscles and bones, … chop! chop! read more!
issue .5 Art Blake Martin on INSTAGRAM … chop! chop! read more!