Concentric Circuits / CODA 𝑏𝑦 Dale Brett

Visions of a ripe split moon. Noxious clouds cleave salient sky. The atmosphere enclosing the city shimmers like a translucent image of ghosts. Reverberations from remembering yet to occur. Ambrose leans on a side-hucked vending machine serving SM-147 tabs to a pretty crag of adolescents. Boots rigid amid the darkening grey of tremulous lines. Acute provisions harbor genuine remorse beneath grids of dripping expressway beams. Tarnished clothes, pockmarked skin. Teeth reem in sockets like an Inuit high on the flesh of baby seal. Just like old times. Would like to ask, would like to try: ‘Could I get a dollar kid? How ‘bout a dime?’ Vaporous pens excite faces. Holographic flames lick subterranean space. Shadows hurl themselves on wet, glistening concrete like invocations of hallucinogenic night terrors. Tough luck endured by the participants at Omni’s radar station. Those unwitting lucky-enough-don’t-you-know-it bystanders tapping wearables against the cold metal interface desperate for a dose of midnight cardinal.

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Scream Queen 𝑏𝑦 Meeah Williams

How many staircases has she been carried down 

how many cold steps of rough-hewn stone

into how many dank cellars

damp dungeons, mad laboratories

underground labyrinths, suburban basement torture chambers

 

transported across how many moonlit moors towards how many castles, cemeteries, ancient mausoleums, abandoned construction sites and midnight back alleys?

 

How many times has she been cradled in the arms of some hulking goon, priapic vampire, lunatic henchman Frankensteinian monster, lifted over how many thresholds like a bride, but always unconscious

always in diaphanous nightgown

always barefoot, head and arms dangling

toes tensely pointed to the floor in orgasmic anticipation step-by-step descending in an embrace

of muscle, bone or moldering flesh

to meet her softcore fate?

How many walls has she been shackled to

drawn up by chains and ropes on tiptoes

how many pagan altars has she been staked out upon

how many times has her blood been drained by some suave bisexual aristocrat,

some Count or Countess Bathory

how many times has she fallen the pretty prey to the overly complicated machinations of a madman from the wax museum?

 

Trapped on uncharted desert islands, in dusty claustrophobic towns cut off from anywhere, stranded in the last motel for miles around with a black storm rolling in from out of nowhere relentless and about to break like all Hell itself.

 

Hopelessly lost, she inevitably finds herself

in the place at the end of every wrong turn

a flat tire,

empty gas tank,

or overheated engine away from every homicidal drifter, lost within walking distance of every ominous house on the hill, dilapidated farm, or Civil War manse that resurrects itself once, every hundred and thirty years, to wet itself with Yankee blood.

For that matter, how many times

has she come upon the ghost of some unhappy ancestor in the attic, stumbled upon the bones in the cellar?

 

How many times has she sat down to dinner at some hillbilly’s table and heard them snicker in their sour-mash when she asks what time the next bus comes

how many times has she thoughtfully chewed some succulent morsel off the elegant fork of the high-and-mighty and asked, “This meat…

why, it has such an unusual flavor.

I don’t think I’ve ever had anything quite like it before. What is it?”

 

only to have some parched and powdered dowager lizard wearing heirloom pearls smile and with withering condescension and haughty amusement answer “Well, my dear, if I’m not mistaken, when you arrived I believe you called it, Tammy?”

 

Laughter and vomiting follow–two sounds not as incompatible as they might at first pass seem.

 

No, quite a bit alike, they are, after all.

 

Hung on iron hooks, repeatedly stabbed,

beheaded with axes and chainsaws,

run down in cornfields by farm combines driven by lunatics wearing shriveled masks of human flesh,

drowned in bathtubs, hung inside elevator shafts, harpooned while sunbathing on honeymoon beaches, dismembered by hacksaws, burned by acetylene torches, liquefied in acid baths,

crucified by nailguns,

garroted with her own still-warm silk stockings.

 

Electrocuted by means of the most improbable accidents, eaten by ants, cocooned by spiders, at the center of the feverishly winged vortex of every inexplicable frenzy of birds.

 

Tied to wagons wheels set afire and rolled down bumpy hills, swallowed whole by enormous snakes, torn to a bloody froth by sharks, nature bursting forth red from inside her, red, as it is often said, in tooth and claw.

 

Gnomes, leprechauns, and fairy folk, things breathing heavily inside walls, things vanishing into closets, things with long tails, horns, eyes like burning brands.

 

Why, he has his father’s eyes, my dear!

 

The world is haunted with such dead presences, even inanimate objects, inspirited, can come alive and start wreaking havoc with malevolent intent.  

 

Automobiles with minds of their own, power sanders with attitude, computers with messianic complexes–it’s the kind of world where you don’t dare put your pencil down for fear it will get back up and turn it’s eraser on you.

Every door that’s always locked,

every box that remains unopened,

every floorboard’s hesitant groan and creak,

all the covert glances, vanishing smiles, half-heard conversations—is it paranoia, after all, or its dismissal that you must learn to counteract, and, if so,

how, and how can it make any difference when the script itself calls for you to break the heel of your stiletto pump and stumble while fleeing the retarded son with scissor hands, how can you escape when your doom is written like a genotype right there into Scene 17, how can you even hope to live long enough to see “The End”

when you know damn well that you’re scripted to die at the the 36th minute every single time?

 

Does time repeat itself, then, or just stand still?

Do all the events of our lives come round again (and again) like a merry-go-round where nothing is all too merry?

 

Eternal recurrence, be damned!

 

What we are waiting for, it often seems, is for the sun,

like the glowing tip of the master interrogator’s cigarette

to come down out of the sky and to crush itself  against the earth once and for all

leaving nothing but ashes and a comet trail of bitter smoke, but that, of course, is another movie altogether,

one not given us yet to view, though the coming attractions have created quite a buzz, they’re looking good, oh yes, baby, they are, just you wait and see.

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CULT OF PROSTHETIC LIMBS 𝑏𝑦 Heath Ison

An orgiastic plethora of blinded intoxication. Fish out of water, suffocating in a masochistic dance. These are the occupants of Black Box. A place which can only be described, structurally, as how it sounds: it is a box, it is black.

The planet ends when one meets the walls, embedded with neon circuity fueling its energy. There is not a top surface on Black Box. The sky is exposed and the sky is always black due to the death of a sun. This phenomenon, the sun to ashes, happened on a day when time was realized and defaced.  Its hand dismembered and tossed down a rancid pit. The circuitry is the only source of light.

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Sacrificial Death and School 𝑏𝑦 Yitzhak

“You are not supposed to die at school”—an untrue statement. School kills you, but school kills you slowly. Children come in energetic psychotics, and (if the school succeeds) they come out depressive-neurotics ready to study the liberal arts, perhaps their hair has already been dyed blue: it’s a sad, slow death.

This is biopower: the State commands through its control of life and death, through the giving of gifts which place you in service (and debt) to it. The State was so kind as to gift you an education, itself a form of labor, and in return you give back years to pay off your debt, and for those however-many years, you are not to die—an easy deal, and, as you are told, a good deal! Education gives you the opportunity to perhaps be graced with other gifts, that is, other forms of service.

“[B]efore one signed pacts with the Devil to prolong, enrich and enjoy one’s life. The same contract, the same trap: the devil always wins” (211).

A simple deal, don’t die, and so the monkey wrench is simple: die. Not just any death can suffice, however, for death at this point is hidden in a linear path; death is always over there, always at an ever-increasing-away, pushed further and further down by drugs and doctors, hidden deeper and deeper in the closed rooms of hospitals and hospices and behind the glass window and curtains of the execution chamber—so long as death isn’t immediate, isn’t one and the same as life, the system keeps control.

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FERTILITY BELT 𝑏𝑦 Garett Strickland

 

In Golgotha, Wisconsin in a cabin in the freeze does this one labour over its grandfather furnace on the fate and nature of the fertility belt.

 

 

You better believe it.                        The                  You

 

The use tho that we put belief to in day in day out dynamism reveals its own trap –

can we never have too many pitfalls ? –

in the vanity of applied utility toward what it supposedly protects.

 

The wall that eats itself                      and its offspring.

Paranoia and all its cousins lined up like hor dourves.

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Father Fingers 𝑏𝑦 Guy From Kings Highway

three years had passed since my dad drank himself to death. my mom’s friend’s brother was visiting the United States. for two hundred bucks a month he slept on our couch. this guy snored and wore tight tank tops. they barely hid his gut. it was round but barely jiggled. his face looked wrinkly from years of smoking. there’d sometimes be pieces of drywall stuck to his eyebrows. he came here on a travel Visa and worked off-the-books construction jobs. i wanted him to bang my mom.

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≺/style≻≺/head≻ 𝑏𝑦 John Ebersole

I.

AND so it is the knife
is not a thing of dialogue

but soliloquy—talking believes
from head
and a face

and a man
and someone’s kin
scripted and casted in a saffron jumpsuit, trembling

tulip

or oriole
plumage

reciting transgressions
inside a camera phone:
saw and cut, and saw and cut sky sky

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