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 .

Continue ReadingError Body Stalled in Void by Jarid McCarthy

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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Detritus by Allen Serafini

ephriam

virile, alone,
knotted hands grasping
at the sinewed cord
of reality,
rope turns
into a tentacle as you haul
the bucket up from the cistern,
a severed head bobbing
in the rancid water,
one eye plucked
by the hooked beak of a seabird.

drunken bell tolls
a hundred headaches,
clanging in the blood
sluggishly circulating,
muscles stiff, water
up to the ankles. tasks
pile up in heaps
like the salt-crusted debris
in the kitchen, stains
seeping down between
the unrepaired shingles.

light screams
through the night,
black as ink,
a blinding blade slicing
the rain apart and singing
deep within the ear, dull
as it is from the klaxon.
vise blares around your skull—

the shriek from the beach that echoes
throughout your dampest caverns,
consuming, confusing the senses—
seaweed, slime, the black rocks
slick with it, groping for a handhold.
the mind softens when trapped, isolated—
moreso in conjunction with astute manipulation.
soon there is no difference between the self,
the other, the nightmare, the fantasy.

wind gnashes its teeth
against the windowpane.
it still carries traces
of the inhuman scream that burst forth
from your mouth when
the radiance touched you,
melding with the voices
of the other departed,
their flesh having long been swallowed by the dirt.
they chorus when the wind changes,
the sudden absence of gulls
signaling the approaching storm.



Spore is an accurate simulation of the evolutionary process

earth shatters around me and I go on watching
my fragmented memories spin before my eyes like
an extra-large laundromat dryer. I call this one
the trauma cycle. it’s where the machine eats
your credit card and the centrifuge never stops spinning.
with each psychic impact I crawl further, more desperately,
away from my body, dissociation a phallic instrument
that cleaves my amygdala. fear now looks
as strange as I do; it is transformed into a cardboard cutout
of a feeling, just as my heart is now an urn filled with ash.
why ask to be lifted from this abyss—what is there
left to save. I become the martyr I have always imitated,
crucified at last. free. then the pin drops and I am
beaten back into myself, peering out from behind
the veil of madness with needles on my tongue. all this
and more just to climb out of the water

Continue ReadingDetritus by Allen Serafini