Prose Poetry / Flash Fiction

Soundtrack

Florence Lenaers

In the space between hearing and listening I’m stuck. Imperfect soundproofing hands me half an earful of narrative straight from another kitchen sink. I should listen away. Can’t. Sleety sound effects, trickles of dialogues seep out, soak in my low-quality socks. Downstairs as downstairs neighbors are supposed to be, they lift the lid of their domestic music box, lift it with the very tips of their voices. Humming thrumming drumming. I make out few of their words, high volume helps, & ■■■■ is an easy one. The others wade beyond recognition, end up moving like shadow puppets made with mittens on. Their mouths are not the only ones talking. Their TV set has a loud flush. Their chair legs sharpen their claws on the tiles. Their cigarettes hiss by the window. Huffing puffing. Their trained bed comments upon whatever love they are making. Their doors slam themselves to sleep. Their arguments run in red high heels. Babbling. Their baby girl must question the ceiling every time my pile of books tumbles to the floor.

Dutch Tilt

Jennifer Handley

Dreamed I was in the back seat of a car with Robert Downey, Jr., a big black Packard like in a James M. Cain story. We’re making a movie, we’re making out; we’re being filmed through the side window by two guys crouched behind an old-fashioned camera shaped like Mickey Mouse ears. Robert wears a white shirt. He bends over me as I fall back against the vast upholstery. There is a driver, black suit and skinny tie, half turned in his seat. He gestures, and we look behind us, and framed in the back window is the top half of a huge rising moon, craters visible on its surface, moonlight shining in so that Robert’s white shirt glows and glows, the light nearly shattering the blue glass of my eyes.

Mosquito Logic Three (We the Help)

Jake Edgar

Emerging from your chrysalis, you were welcomed by an ignition of light that caught you and held you there. The warmth of crossed hands, pudgy and sterile. Is this true? Can belief be found in a place full of failed attempts to coalesce?

Peter says that he really just misses his kids and thank GOD for those emergency workers for talking him off that roof. You think sort of less of him each time he says the word God.

You’re waiting for the coloring session to end, to show a blackness sans blackness and then he brings up his kids again, each time he says kids he blinks like a falcon.

Paper Revolution

Lita Kurth

Paper stays with us, black and smoky like the sky above the roofs but behind the trees and there, automatic, it wasn’t, that thing that made me turn the lights on, car alarms buzzing and shouting, a noisy night of mammalian thunder and siren’s arms spilling out of cars. When the bomb hits, it’s only one, and wow, what a brightness and forth of July to a dead revolution, but bombs still burst. Here’s me in my quiet bed imagining blood. If only those soft curls fell on wounds, if only the snow, but why even talk of snow in a San Jose drought? This will be forgotten; an impact arises and grows from ambition, is that right? I doubt it. There’s door-kings of glass to grab, but leave the door closed. All the belts behind the door hide their history and the sky is cracking. Where are the soft hamburgers of pointed pain, a mess, but popcorn helps. It has no edges, only a plaintive mew. The bombs scratch the sky. Did we really do it all on purpose? We bought it, the breaking of many branches.

Neither Sun nor Death

Howie Good

They are beating the cars with metal bats. I think, “Am I supposed to be here?” That thing is on fire in a big way. I don’t get outside as much anymore. An illegal string offset “echo” has disappeared into the archive, to be handled by only people who wear white cotton gloves. I’m left to just cry. You need to be careful in interpreting that. Every day I confront the same choice: stay inside or perish. Somebody grabs Suzanne’s hair and twists her neck. We make eye contact. I know tulips aren’t spelled two lips.

[Interactive Objects]

C. Kubasta

Both place-based and place-less, this is a poem of great disloyalty. These are interactive objects discolored by the touch of people’s hands.

It is time to look at the concentric rings of once-whole wood. Here is the drought that starved us out. Here, the fire that barely killed us.

We contract the disease that killed him —remember which salad dressing to order, but not the man we cherished like a vow.

infanticide in outer space

Dylan Krieger

because the concept of heaven renders us all bygone astronauts. because burning forever would, in my book, be better. because this is my book, goddammit, and your ghost just a character. a character i stone to death over and over, like a piñata whose precious insides turn out to be just blood and water. because i want to show you how even a wordsmith can stumble on mother, the first syllables to stick between the teeth and sift the rubble for relief. a word that even now precedes me, precedes bondage, earth, trees, vaseline and ennui. precedes the need to give myself over to the elements and then, in turn, retreat, tape together my cheeks and terrorize the moon’s sleep with the memory of my confessor banishing me to the basement floor. by four in the morning, she’d awoke and spoke regretfully, but for me it will always be too late to go back to outer space, where the umbilical tethers taunt and chafe and the faraway planets don’t know me by name, but by taste

VIII/XI/MMXVI

Maureen Alsop

Krishnamurti said when the one you love goes, a part of you follows. Typewritten gnats spill greasy birdseed tunnels. For a moment there are two worlds. Spring presses toward me through glass; my garden hallway, a clutter of moths in milky silt. Crocus unpin your breastbone. In all eventual acts, humans compose ghost.

Audio Recordings of Doomed Airliners

Jaime Garcia

What I’m afraid of, because the conquered broadcast their panic and their endless wild as a quarantine of forests. The theory is that sometimes it rains when she died and sometimes it doesn’t, that we invented ourselves from sheer want or stumbled into someone else’s miracle, and every person thrown around your body is a dream and every dream is a bridge and every bridge is a god and every god an invention and a beached planet co-existing and co-exiting.

The Squalling Call

Lorene Delany-Ullman

A black swarm above a fallow field, or they roost in the street trees, and in the groves of eucalyptus along the Metrolink tracks. Are they blackbirds, starlings or crows? For three nights, our neighbors play Death Cry of a Crow to the trees and sky. How frightening, we say, waiting for the branches to empty. How righteous we’ll feel when the throng of birds takes flight, rowing through the air to new colonies.

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