The Seven Hospitals You Visit When You Die by Todd Matthews

In the first hospital you are shackled to the bars of a rolling bed in an underground catacombs. They remove your clothes, jewelry and wristwatch and draw diagrams on your skin with permanent marker, circling your tattoos and connecting the circles in a constellatory map that covers your body. You know that if you followed the directions on the map it would lead you to your home, but you can’t see the map in its entirety, since parts of it are drawn on your back, shoulders, head, and neck. In any case you do not possess the kind of vehicle that would be necessary to follow such a map. You worry that the map may fall into the wrong hands. You have heard the staff whispering amongst themselves when they thought you were sleeping. They refer to you as “the terrorist.” Many of them glare at you in open disdain. There is only one nurse who treats you with any kindness. At times the nurse appears as a human of Afro-Caribbean descent, but at others she more resembles a large bipedal canid, with smooth black hair and a snout full of sharp fangs. The nurse visits your bed from time to time to ask if you can remember your own name. You feel your mouth open and close, though the motion seems disconnected from any power of will on your part. No sound comes out.

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The Cat And Superstition by Catboy Church

The Catboy Is Deceitful Above All Things

He’s some kind of guy. Imagine a sacred kind of guy, the last kind of guys of his kind, sitting on the curb of streetside Walgreens on a sweaty Friday night. He’s licking his shredded skaterboy elbows with his spiky tongue, stimming off asphalt grime wedged in his teeth. Sadly they’re all fake because he got a septic gum infection in catboy school. He’s walking to Walgreens on a Friday night to buy sugar-free gummy worms for Saturday’s hangover. Some kind of guy, if you can imagine this kind of guy, who tells people to kick him because he’s soft and lacks self-esteem. He’s hates the surveillance cameras stalking him from street lit supermarkets. It starts snowing on the way home. He’s the last catboy and he disgusts everyone.

The last catboy explains to the Walgreens cashier he’s new to the neighborhood. He’s wearing a face mask so no one sees the staph infection serrating his catboyskin a raw sanguine. America’s last catboy simps for the nice lady, with blonde hair like snow from heaven sticking to the branches of dead trees outside. He steps on dog shit staining the concrete sidewalk.

The sugar-free gummy worms cling to metal hooks in the sweets aisle. They make the real-life crinkling noise he hears in ASMR videos. Only he can hear this resemblance with his special catboy ears. The supervisor is watching him. The last catboy stands paralyzed pressed up against the cool plastic wrapping. Sucrosed, eyeless worm faces bulge, sucked into the shredded sphincter of a sodomite spectator. Leave, they whisper, go go.

Wouldn’t it be kind of funny, he sometimes thinks, if the worms had eyes — he thinks it would be funny if he tells the cashier this joke — sugar-free gummy worms should have cartoon googly eyes, the kind you shoplift from craft supply stores. The last catboy shudders. The automatic doors seals shut behind him. This is his stop.

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Blood on the Trigger by Ryxn Kelley

ººHave΄ u accepted JEsüsღ into ̑̑ ͜ ͡¶ ™҉ ͡° ͜ ͡* ͏ jesuƒ grØups ∆

 

in that crushed place within our soul the flowers of.

 

ღ, t҉҉rtug҉r  says we live beneath a perfidious black sun burning cancer upon t҉he ̑world. tortured souls in torment, and the child is-

 

CSB forming in rusty spools of thread (memories and dreams), to be wrapped in ̑grey tarp.

waiting in the wings, waiting. lay with me.

 

the nightmares of mankind.

 

garbage soul ash eternitatii. homeless abuse. no voice but years of’ silence, crawling with hands around your ankles, dragging you down.

 

you wake up on the sidewalk, trembling, caked in blood, surrounded by a dozen bloody bodies all ̑folded over. been ̑2b ̶ hacked by teenagers or something sღḙмere.

 

fantasy is reality and you’ve been bitten by a radioactive ultra-homie. fantasy gacked by reality.

 

my name is EYE cღean i wanna be a ̑hundred bibles when i’m a feƒenomena enreddening, slithering between yOur brain and shadle. three cheers for hard vapes. the tƶɑrget’s face flushes with cold blood

 

, ҉frozen. iiaƒage raps at the door of уour brain…

 

push it down, ̑i imagιned …

 

you recalƖ your unconscious pαrts. oh bαby shed y0ur s҉epmpсƖeƖds.

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a butcher’s calm by Michael Mc Aloran

…from the onslaught/ breath of the raw teeth of nothingness the spent laughter of foreign of some death-like pulse given to unshadow as was till never of throughout as if to utter in the collapse of skeletal lights where to having birthed once shattered glass of some ferocity skinning the night to the veins all naught as if to ever echoing throughout a vibrate of exigency shudder blind weight a sudden as if to mimicry to cut to reclaim the maggot tones of what spoken haven to scatter the pelts of long forgotten in the cancerous air as was once so shall it be till rapture ever of closed fist a-bleed sickness to dredge as was once tidal to give sudden reclaim as if to having nothing of the eye’s removal a breakage point a tide of never having before witnessed merely by the reflect of the skyline’s premise as was dragged in the kick & scream of bitter silences where to option is to burn to char a sudden word a semblance etched across the vellum emptily all sung from naught broke shale through the fingers to fall upon where other than no landscape worthy of the winds to clear away the meat of emaciated loveless breaking from fever pitch in sickness & in deathly-like as onward into having no course for the oppress the process lacking in progress cut stone an illuminary absence in the absentee skull as if to say as was in the beginning it has come to end to furrow to nothing more where the silence cannot breath-like in the dead tense the breakage of flesh vibrating in clear dark space it has walked through passageways and sought the exit-tidal pathway dreamt of where a recourse to having nethertheless back steps a motion of this or other than having of the forgotten nothing more to bare/ as if to collide in the weight of it the shadows vane the absolute in terse dislocation of dispel as to be in a rat’s trace a solace emptily as scar upon scar nothing of the having ever been otherwise no vault of which to drag from in the hung light quartered then vast as speaketh from no distance from in elixir of burning as if to longing to begone as if to end were to/ all vast yet no distance to taste/ nothing other than to be nothing of nor to see through cataract skin of the cataract view of dishevelled meat burning throughout as cold spasm taketh from the outstretched skyline in a catascope of wet blood nocturne reek of spent lights of the dim forgotten as circus goes the razor roundelay the bones shattered till obsolete claim upon nothing ever of as was as if to nectar of silenced overtures of the membrane’s kiss upon stone nothingness bludgeoning the gait the shadow formed & frozen upon the wall as in the mirror gazes inwardly into where to final is to lack all manner of which obscure as if to to echo drift what dim in viscid irredeem weightless travail in specious ever as before as dead alone for all time a tidal wasteage of ever of till scarred without longing skinned of ever after all turning from the electrical cable frenzy of scattered orchids

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Misericordia by Z.Q.Z.

It had been approximately twenty-two weeks since Johann had left his room, to the dismay of absolutely no one around him. In fact, even those not around him, those in the general public, the masses, as you might say, were completely unmoved by his anti-social feat. Seemingly no one had took note of Johann’s disappearance besides Johann himself, and yet to Johann and to Johann himself, his recoil from the outside, his so-called “disappearance” was experienced, rather as an appearance of something wholly new, a debut of sorts, an entrance into a new world. It had helped immensely that Johann had already possessed a room before his vanishing; he stalked its rectangular limits regularly from childhood and had developed the most keen mental map of the room. Johann, in the many folds of his brain, had formulated a perfect three-dimensional representation of the location of every corner of the room. In his mind’s eye he saw corner one, located to the left of corner two and directly above corner four, then corner two, to the right of corner one and above corner three, and then corner three, below corner two and to the right of corner four, and then corner four, diagonal from corner two, below corner one, and to the left of corner three. It was with this perfect, platonic representation of his environs that Johann had shed his mortal coils since he knew exactly where to place them (conically spiraled in corner three), and it was with this very same knowledge that Johann had set about traversing his room.

Not unlike an ocean, a room such as his—twenty square meters in size—represents a difficulty, a challenge, something to be overcome—at least, to the layman. Johann instead understood his room as an extension of his self, for what were these corners if not coordinates in his mind; what were these coordinates if not corners, and so on and so on. Johann knew the space before him presented him again and again with empty air, that is to say, with water, and, very quickly, Johann found himself drowning therein. Thus, if it were not for those four eternal corners, he’d be stuck forever at the bottom of his floor, somewhere between the oriental rug and a dirty sock, nearer to whichever of the two Neptune chose to keep him; and yet, it was in his ingenuity, in his incredulity, that Johann fashioned a ship.

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Error Body Stalled in Void by Jarid McCarthy

 

Here the sound of windrush               

garments flapping unmoving .

 

Slick granite unreal below the structure           

this decal abyssal : its failure .

 

My ragdoll lock : my blinking features .

 

See the effort of me piling      

up : see the mechanism at its limit .

 

The field wrong from this angle : lacking what .

Loss of dreams of stamina wheel not reeling .

 

Burning liminal : a shadow of a hinge :

a hallway unfinished in the medical complex .

 

The light on your back a texture away .

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Schadenfreude by Genevieve Davis

It makes her shudder to think of it now, when she walks past that austere Victorian Gothic mansion with its peaked roof, like the Dutch girl’s hat on the can of kitchen cleanser. She used to see him in the big bay window when she walked by at night. He was sitting at his desk with his back to her, in a nicely tailored suit, and she remembered how his tanned hands made a tipi as he studied a case of law. His golden pageboy was curled under, touching the collar of his suit. It was like an Edward Hopper painting, this sexy lawyer sitting alone at a desk, lit by electric lights. Outside on the sidewalk, a young woman peers at him, her breath making a cloud in the gloom. He used to come into the basement nightclub where she worked.

The young woman, Deirdre, was right out of college. And she was still going through culture shock, adjusting to the thin, meager world of reality from the brainy environment she had been in for four years. Deirdre was working at that basement nightclub because she couldn’t find a job that required a college education, though she had applied also to the history museum. The Director, an anthropologist who had once spoken to her Anthro class at the college, told them to drop in anytime. But when she did, her staff gave her the bum’s rush and told her she needed an appointment. She didn’t go back. Waitressing just paid the bills. But the basement night club made such a vivid impression on her. Perhaps because she hated it.

She still had the matter of one incomplete grade at college, an independent study. Then she could graduate. The corpse was stinky and decomposed because it had not been preserved in formaldehyde. Keeping cool in the biology lab fridge when she wasn’t working on it, she dissected it under a ventilator hood because of the smell. It had been gutted for autopsy from this research institute near her college, where they did such things as deprive rhesus infants of their mothers and then discover, lo and behold, they were socially deficient. Actually she applied for a job there. Another job she didn’t get. She felt pretty bad for this monkey, that had bruises under its skin and never got to have any freedom. Plus she was a vegetarian at the time. She never did figure out how she was going to handle that job.

While at school, she had already dissected the musculoskeletal systems of that rhesus monkey. But she had yet to take it down to the bones and give it to the anthropology museum on campus, because that’s how she had designed the independent study course. She kept it out on her porch in the frozen Wisconsin winter. Deirdre did feel a kind of Nazi satisfaction in cutting off his penis. Of course he was dead and eviscerated when she got him, but still it was weird.

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Tea-Bagged by Mark Blickey

 

That idiotic doctor smiling down at me as if I am a Christmas leg of lamb ready to carve into my chest searching for a purse of gold and municipal bonds safely guarded by Margaret’s father cruel old bastard God Forgive me bribing me to marry his obnoxious daughter crying in the corridor afraid I might live and interrupt her carnality and bastardly children dear Lord I am sorry do not treat me harshly why did you plant this Covid-19 have I not suffered through years of archaic gospel and fanatic potbellied evangelists kill Margaret’s father or my bacchanal son not me or that incompetent surgeon ready to claim my wife’s loins along with her insurance oh Jesus remember I am sick I will die today spouting blood making nurses convulse with disgust splattering my fluids onto sterile white aprons disregarded in garbage cans as my flesh is shoved into an incinerator

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