A Perfect Surface by Jon Berger

It was the night after Christmas and we split some acid.

Our shoulders hunched up at the bar.

Robert’s cousin overdosed last week and was gone. The bartender knew us, she knew his cousin, and she knew not to say anything about it.

She was drinking on the job, with long witch hair goth makeup. She knew we were tripping and was cool with it. A psychedelic spirit guide that knew where we were when we didn’t.

I started feeling the warmth kicking in, the draft beer, when tipped back felt like picking up and gulping down an above-ground swimming pool.

The green-velvet pool table had a fake Billiards light hanging above it to keep away the shadows.

I was solids, Robert stripes. Every time the cue ball hit the noise would send out from the crash. I followed it up to the ceiling until it disappeared into the hanging Christmas lights.

She delivered us a pitcher on the house along with an ashtray. It was cold out so she let us smoke inside even though it was illegal now.

Inside the bar felt like a glowing honeycomb.

She fired up the deep fryer and made us chicken tenders and jalapeno poppers. She offered us a ride but I told her we were okay.

The falling snow wasn’t heavy, just a nice powder. Coming down lightly.

Robert had this haggard tuner car like something out of a cyberpunk movie. With AWD and a turbo that lurched when he slammed through the gears.

The street lights and yard decorations swayed across the empty snowy streets and streamlined like going into hyperdrive. We pulled into the vacant parking lot of a foreclosed machine shop. The surface being untouched snow.

Robert drove around slowly like a shark then gave the car hell before whipping the ass end around, tapping the E-brake, shifting down, and counter-steering while working the gas and clutch pedals. The car screamed sideways, shredding the powder. The snow made it so the tires barely burned rubber.

We switched seats. Robert buckled up and cracked a beer. I took the wheel and circled the car back around.

Continue Reading A Perfect Surface by Jon Berger

False Dawn by Garett Strickland

THE NIGHT BEFORE it blacks us out,     that not knowing     where we come from     and this enough for us to say     MOTHER     the sound of our dying     the maelstrom of our information     and the flutter     of a moth     escaping from a drain     in the dream we told somebody     somewhere     on a page     digital or burning     on a screen     or hidden in punctuation     as our tongue turns over     to let out our mouth

so much for the memory illusive that bites     to remind us     of the palace’s shape     a beach in the woods that we put there     beyond quantum     standing at the bottom     of what gave rise to a .wav file     staring up as the snow in reverse     of this bonfyre    and taking to it     like a building blooming up again and again     with this bridegroom

the way the garden of this place reaching thru to touch us as our touching     is the veiling to the veil itself in pure verb     flashes golden     how Parcival is in the Wall     of what’s showing at the midnight matinee     when innocence is love of sin     the occlusion at the center of the mountain     and its noise

how in the Electric Smoke That Speaks In Whispers we’ve time after time to relearn the eternity this takes us as the word      T      I      M      E      itself spreading for us in the grain      of the photo of a boat where our cellphones go to heaven and their pictures recounted aloud

where the hurt we do another in a story does to us its telling in attrition      all the times it does that makes us in this cloud      the good acts      loving-kindness thru the cracks      that seals them      back up      from the murk and silt      of a thousand lakes      to return us to our apex peak

The crying of that which never got a chance and destroyed all else      that arrives us      the horse we aboard      the space between space in the rhythm of the voice that we swam thru      the lethal protection of knowing where we are      released or resurrected      the pill we swallowed coughed out and dissolving in the dispersal of a scene that nailed its take      the romance gotten out of in the memory unmoored      surpassing referent      or the object of vacancy

Continue Reading False Dawn by Garett Strickland


Tsiolkovsky looked like shit under the hab dome. Solarlites circling like flies, waiting for the airport without a busted airlock to clear their landing. Whole city’s been smelling subtly of shit for years, ever since they found some way to cheap out on the filters. Probably it’s poison to breathe.

Nearest we could all figure it was a way to make the offers they had to make to get us into suits and off the planet cheaper. When we took the company dollar and made the oath to reclaim the Earth they fed us like they wouldn’t feed rats, but it felt good to be eating without spending money. They got us drunk on cheap rizzo, the kind that everyone says tastes like drain cleaner or turpentine or something. It was the first time some of us had ever been drunk, and the ones who had been before just said, “Don’t worry about the puking, man, it’s the part that comes after it that makes it worth it.”

The officer on duty called us heroes, and we all laughed, and he laughed too. What a crock of shit, and everyone knew it! It felt good to know, you know? It felt good to be in on the joke for once.

Tell us for real that you wouldn’t die for something worse.

You offworlders have never understood the perfect hatred we have for each other, sucking marrow from long bones, chewing and spitting out our own flesh. No greater joy to us than the hunt, terrified singletons making busy tracks under vigilant eyes, glass or otherwise: We will find you, and we will change you, and we will make you part of ourselves.

And you offworlders have never understood the depths of our love. In the crush depths of the ocean our vestigial eyes are only there to see you. In the death zone of heaven our lichen curls to tangle with the wounds in your feet. You have blood, don’t you? By and by it will be ours. You have strength, don’t you? A mind, don’t you? A soul, don’t you?

By and by they will be ours.

K— was in love with Z— so she signed up to stay close to him. It was the stupidest thing and we all knew it, and we told her, “K—, you fucking idiot, you know there’s going to be megatons of Abomination between you and him, best case scenario.” And she was all, “Just knowing we’re looking at that big gross moon together is gonna make it worth it.” True love, you know? There’s a reason they tried to breed it out of us.

What’s there to be so afraid of? Pillars of tumescent flesh in the blistering sun, bristling with incipient melanomas. “This was a forest once.” Big deal! We have become the forest, and we know what the wolves knew when they screamed alone in the dark. What’s there to be so afraid of? No time to mourn trauma anymore but it belongs to us, only time to listen to the little voice inside that says: Rest; sleep. It will be over soon. The machine knew what was best for everyone. We have become the machine, and we know what the sirens knew when they wailed at our approach.

K— didn’t find out about it when Z—’s descent vehicle got scoped by the scoutweb, when he got pulled into a devouring field. Z— got taken the stupidest way anyone could get taken. He was deadass pulling the flare gun out of the first aid kit and about to put one between his own eyes when the voices convinced him not to. You believe that shit? Convinced him not to. Like, what was his endgame? No idea, even now. He walked out with the flare gun and got nerve pithed in seconds. Last thing we can tell that he saw with just his own eyes was what used to be the Guangzhou skyline cresting the horizon, and he couldn’t see the parts of it the Abomination could see, all the burn scars and all the mold and the little molecules of CZ still hanging in the air after all this time. He couldn’t see that yet. He staggered a few steps towards it and stopped being Z— all the way anymore, and then stopped being Z— at all.

No one bothered telling K—. They don’t tell us shit. We wonder if she felt it, or if that true love stuff is bullshit after all.

Your avatar is dying by degrees, blood slowing down in his veins, crackling under the breakbone fever in our gift. Death is a foreign country to us and you are our passport. Your armies are withering under our gaze, little kevlar-coated ants dissolving into retreat, into rout. Every man for himself: isn’t there a better way? Every man inside every other man. Genital intimacy, tendril intimacy, chimeric intimacy.

You will learn to love the children we make of you.

C— and his crew lingered a while over a dry patch in the Arctic on a slow southbound. Fewer photospores, weaker scoutweb. He could have flown that bird all the way to the Hudson, seen the urban canyons knitted together by human flesh, and he might have made it, too, but they set down first – pussies! – and actually got to the recon stage. All the birds were flying wrong, like they tell you. Nothing is afraid anymore and it’s weird as shit. Flocks made up of passerines and great big hawks. C— shot a few of them, more out of spite than anything, and they didn’t struggle as they died. Fucked up, they don’t mention that part. It’s like a fly they gave a neurotoxin, just dropped straight out of the air.

Thing is, though, C— got bad purification tablets. Sure, happens to the best of us, but he should have used more, everyone says to use more and just put up with the rank taste of the iodine or bleach or whatever the fuck else the lowest bidder put in them. But his mouth was too sensitive or something like that, or his teeth hurt or something like that. Whatever.

We have humored you, have wooed you as a nation wooes a nation, with all the roughness of artillery. Thermobaric munitions incinerating useful flesh. When you deployed the last of your nuclear weapons we howled in delight as your frozen fire seared our genes. You thought to terrify us but your terata are our delight, little vessels never meant to grow and thrive. We only think to know ourselves by the ways you twist us.

Continue Reading I KNOW FOR I’VE HAD HEARTACHES TOO // DANIEL 7:5 by Paris Green

Carpet by Colette McCormick

I stared at the fish swimming around their bulging blue tank and wondered if their teeth ever hurt as well. It felt strange still going to a pediatric dentist but I’ve never been one who enjoyed making changes. Besides, I liked the way their office smelled like my grandmother’s old house. It must’ve been a few months since I’d been to my grandmother’s old house. I think she sold it 4 years ago. I never got to say goodbye to it. Goodbye, house. I’ll always remember your smell. I’ll always remember it as it’s the same smell as this dentist office. Other places smell like it too, like doctor’s offices, therapy offices, elementary school classrooms, banks and libraries. All places that I’ve spent a lot of time in. All places where you might find a fish tank and where they generally like to keep the carpets clean.

I’ve been trying to keep in better touch with my grandparents over the years but it’s been hard because my tooth has been bothering me. My grandmother tried to call me today but I didn’t answer. If I did I would’ve had to say sorry my tooth is bothering me and she would’ve started worrying. I think it’s better to keep people guessing than worrying. She could guess that I’m doing fine, school’s going fine, I’m still only 5’2” and no I haven’t put on any weight. She may even guess that my tooth is bothering me but I doubt it as we arent that close. I haven’t spoken to her in 2 years.

There are many things my grandmother doesn’t know that she could be worrying about. That I’ve recently picked up smoking again is one of these things. I used to smoke until I quit and started smoking again. I’m not addicted now like I was before I quit no matter how hard I try to be. I smoke like I’m addicted though, thinking every time I find myself somewhere without a cigarette is a time where I’ll start to panic and worry again. This is the reason I’m now addicted, which is something I can worry about and leave my grandmother out of. This is also why I don’t go to my grandmother’s house, as I wouldn’t want to taint its smell with cigarettes.

I wondered if the fish remembered what their grandmother’s house smelled like. Probably like clean carpets like mine. I guess if I was really curious I could just go up and ask them but I’m a bit of a shy person. I wasn’t always a shy person but as I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten less confident in myself. When I was 5 years old I used to go up to any old person and start a conversation with them just because I was curious. This used to be fine, as I was a kid and all, but as I got older I was told more of the dangers of going up to any old person and starting a conversation. So I became shy.

Another thing I did as a kid was pretend to smoke pencil grips like cigarettes. I was doing this one day when a girl came up to me and told me if I pretended to smoke now I would end up smoking later. Ya right, bitch, I thought to my 6 year old self. Now it is later and I am smoking and I’m angry that that snarky bitch was right. I wonder if she ever picked up smoking as well. I wonder if she gets cavities all the time and worries about the fish. Probably not. She’s probably calling her grandmother right now, scheduling her next visit to smell her house.

Continue Reading Carpet by Colette McCormick

Metaphysical Visual Details of an Assault by Muppoet

after Roger Miller on The Muppet Show

Plymouth rock is one mighty juicer.

3rd time i saw it i saw a European carnivore take one hemisphere
of a stolen pomegranate and gradually and meticulously grate
the center around the rock so as not to miss one single aril
he did the same with the other hemisphere and i saw all
the rich luminous garnet crystals erupt explosions
as pomegranate grinded into the granite
and dark crimson juice poured down
the sides of the rock like volcanic
molten lava mainstreams
and white seeds fell
into Earth’s

2nd time i saw it i saw a North American omnivore from tin pan
alley flower district smash one hearty watermelon against
the granite site and translucent fluorescent magenta
guts dropped painfully slow
drifting down rock
like Antarctic or
Arctic glaciers
until cores found
the thirsty ground.

1st time i saw it i saw a Native American vegetarian take ruby
red grapefruit and slice it right down the middle in order
to squeeze both sides onto the spot as fruit burst and
spurt out cerise extracts all over rock standing
as still as sitting bull cutting sugarcoated
stickiness with its crazy horse acid
and bitter flesh hugged the rock
as big river of seeds wept
down onto land falling
like red cloud.

now every copy-that god blessed a whole lot of life with wings that cannot fly and there was dried claret juice of the dang dodo all over the chicken named lingonberry chicken named barberry chicken named blackberry chicken named loganberry chicken named cloudberry chicken named boysonberry chicken named huckleberry chicken named strawberry who illegally changed his name to cherry berry chicken named cranberry chicken named gooseberry and chicken named red globe grape after an ancestor chicken named melon de bourgogne who married penguin named watermelon bearing offspring penguin named sprite melon penguin named winter melon penguin named horned melon aka jelly melon penguin named honey globe melon who resembled her more so he had an affair with penguin named gac melon bearing penguin named sky rocket melon penguin named new century melon and penguin named santa claus melon but they all turned out more like her too and would u believe it one day clear as one god saw it down in southern hemisphere one weasel named peanut egged a penguin on about water and chicken said “is it because I am blackberry?” and watermelon said “no I was not even thinking that.” and chicken said “now you are.”

Plymouth split seeds
into the ground mouth
plied open wide enough
to accept any thing.

how deep do ones that do
not grow go down?
how deep into the heart
of Earth do they nest?
how long before any rise
for a cow to swallow?

man of means by no means
author named Arthur
pulled quill out vermillion
Plymouth convertible
and poked an unripe
papule with it until
clog of oily bacteria
and dead white blood
cells became an angry
and inflamed American
dream tree that’s a rack
for the outbreak of
combed beaver hats
for chickens so they
might expose all their
strawberry combs and rose combs and buttercup combs and upright combs and floppy red combs to rooster with wattles drooping like hanging droplets of juicy tear lobes just about ready to jump
waddling back and forth
     and forth and back
and back and forth


Continue Reading Metaphysical Visual Details of an Assault by Muppoet

Hyper-Deathism by Heath Ison

Black Box. Planet which ends when one meets the walls. Embedded with neon circuity. Black sky exposed due to death of the sun. I continue to push through that defaced place again…


HYPER-DEATHISM [hahy-per deth-iz uh m]

1 Linguistic
a language that has decimated all meaning in itself.


The investigation of truth (or rather untruth), had become more difficult than previously envisioned.


Semiotic happenstance dripping ectoplasmic fuck all over the un-existing circuit. Incomprehensible saliva splattered on the surface of skulls penetrating pores like used gods parasitic means to ends.

“How can you tell?”

“I just can, writer man.”

With that knowledge, I continued to walk past the two men trying to sell me god knows what.

Some form of time had past since I witnessed the Cult of Prosthetic Limbs demonstrating Black Box’s delinquent sacrifice of a once pornographic actress turned goddess gone obsolete. Since then I became lost and re-lost into the labyrinthine of dead dreams and incongruent faded cells. A relapse of former selfs ad infinitum.

VHS Runners were still running rampant—tape smugglers of pornography that primarily featured the now deceased goddess. I was acquainted with a bounty hunter of sort that specialized in tracking and bringing in VHS Runners. Her name was Venandi Quinque.

Quinque was also filling me in on other various information on the inhabitants of Black Box and practices. I was “shadowing” her for investigational purposes.

Continue Reading Hyper-Deathism by Heath Ison

(*). The Son of a Whore that is Not Babalon by AF Collective

There was         , the Many, whom is not a who, and called by either Silence or Noise, but only heard in-between these two fake names.          was created as the reversed agglomeration of a thought, a thought coalescing the Many into a One (place) somewhere, and this happened after everything was already there, as the unmaking of a something. But          could not speak.          was mute – deaf, and blind, and tasteless, and touchless… yearning to see, and hear, and the whole lot,          set out to break both the Silence and the Noise of the Mute Screaming that constituted         ‘s being there.

Travelling what there was, itself, as the what-there-was travelling itself, like food travels through a digestive system by becoming part of the body,          did look like a comet, but one both seen from outside the observable universe and from inside the comet itself, as if one screen showed the comet zoomed-in and the other the gut-shaped ducts of vacuum of which it passed along zoomed-out.

Was          alone? Was          a miracle, and the only one – or one of many, or many, into nothing, or itself the nothing ripped open, ripping open, annihilating the fabric of something that oozes this          by their very passage. If that was the case, how did the Many contain the nothing that made it         ? And how could         get some nothing into something else, to have company for once? A plan began to womb itself inside         .

If that was the key to          it was simple enough: just open a hole into something, and then it will come together. If          came from somewhere, or is the meeting place for many somewheres in one place, it is indeed simple enough: open the gates, lure the many-things here and they shall converge and take care of everything else, two shall be one to the other so that two shall be, we shall be one to the other, two I’s, I shall have a partner to look for. And thus loneliness, a need for reproduction, of sorts, the sheer want, created what may be called differently by many names, depending on when and where, but that here is simply to be called          and its upcoming partner.

Consciousness, Spirit, Mind, Thought, Gods, Death, Life . . . light, water, air, fire, earth, aether . . . but really just a friend was missing, one was wanted. The more interesting de-capitalized version of these words would come in one name, the name of an equal: *.

Continue Reading (*). The Son of a Whore that is Not Babalon by AF Collective

Not Tomorrow by Kristina Golec

It’s not tomorrow and it’s not happening today. He keeps looking at the calendar and wondering what he’s looking for. What he’s trying to see. He’s not quite sure how things are going and he’s not quite sure how things should be. How they’re supposed to be.

But he does know one thing. Whatever is going on isn’t happening tomorrow, and it most certainly isn’t going on today.

So he continues to stare at his calendar and wait for the inspiration- the knowledge -to hit him. Like an epiphany. Something he thinks he desperately needs. Something he knows he desperately needs.

It doesn’t come to him at all. He still doesn’t know what he’s supposed to be looking for. Or looking at. Other than his calendar, that is. He doesn’t even know why it matters so much.

He just knows that it does.

He feels like the knowledge is purposefully being kept from him. As if some greater power is forcefully stopping the memory or the knowledge from coming to him.

For a moment he entertains the idea that he’s not just being paranoid. Before he laughs and tells himself that he’s being silly. That maybe he just needs to think of the things it’s not, before he can find what it really is.

So, he moves away from his calendar just long enough to pull a chair away from the nearby desk and place it in front of him. He sits down and looks up and tries to recall the previous few weeks and months. Tries to remember what it is that he did to pass the time. Thus, as he thinks on it and thinks on it and thinks on it, he comes to the conclusion that he doesn’t remember what he forgot.

And why is he sitting in this chair? It’s supposed to be for his desk, not for him to just sit around doing nothing in. Nothing but staring at his calendar, anyway.

And why was he doing that in the first place? He can’t really remember. Whatever. If he really forgot that easily, it must not have been so important.

So, he stands up, puts his chair back where it actually belongs and sits down at his desk. Where he’s supposed to be.

Continue Reading Not Tomorrow by Kristina Golec

Map Toward Heaven by Josiah Morgan

i sat waiting for something to happen……….all my books were getting old and only older………..picking things up seemed difficult……..god touched my foot……..his pants were around his knees…….he was eating burnt toast………his bulge was bigger than my entire body………i said i wanted to get to know him better before we did anything……………….he said i already knew everything there was to know…………..i doubted my own ambitions………..god touched my nipple……….he had a whip in one hand and an ATM machine in the other……………god touched my neck…………….god was sitting on a golden throne………………..the room was white and had nothing in it…………………the room was white………………….there was nothing in it…………………..i liked being around nothing……………..i knew what nothing was………………….god touched my hand……………..i posted a photo of myself with god on instagram…………all my friends wanted to know if we were dating……………….i said no at first……………i started saying yes…………god touched my rib………..it hurt me at first…………there was a big ceremony and everybody was looking at my rib in her dress…..it was white and my mother had sewn its sequins……….we were friends………….god was going to marry my rib………i had been invited to the wedding……the marriage banquet was all my favorite food……i said it was a lovely service…….i gave a speech as best man………………………..my rib asked how ya doin……….i said doin alright………………god took my rib away again……………….they disappeared into the bathroom together………………….there was always a line after god…………..nobody knew why he said what he said………..he was not a good listener………god touched my ass………i pretended not to notice…..i took a sip of my champagne……..it tasted like smoke and money………i went to sleep and dreamed about god’s body…….i stole his spleen………went to bed with it………………woke up the next morning next to nothing……i knew what that was……..put the toast in the toaster and fried an egg………it had been poached………..one can make oneself into the owner of a place…..like a bus stop…. like a car…..seat at a cafe…again and again…..it is much harder for the place to shake you off…………..no thing is nothing…….god fingered my heart……the empty space becomes the terrain…….cursor and manifest to move through……god dressed my mannequin….he put it back inside me……in the place of my missing rib………plastic……..a tooth and a claw

Continue Reading Map Toward Heaven by Josiah Morgan