Life Cycle

By Dena Rash Guzman

Poem

Faith is the space
between the flesh of a peach
and the knife.
Faithlessness: a slice
of skin, not peach.

Dear Kinsey,

By Jamie Iredell

Essay

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By the time you read this your Dear Old Dad—if I’m lucky—will still live: an oversized raisin clinging to my dusty tomes in a stinking armchair, nodding off with my glasses skiing down my nose. I will begrudge your generation’s shitty music and ridiculous clothing and our leaders’ uselessness, and all of this will annoy you. I’ve felt this way for most of my life and, yes, I’ve pretty much always been insufferable.

51jB6gR4KMLTerror Birds

 

Jack: My mother used to tell me that I was a changeling, born out of an ostrich egg. We lived then on an ostrich farm, so it was not as strange as it sounds. At the age of nine, I went through a monster phase, in which Mom indulged me. She and I would drive to the library and come home with books of real-life horrors, which she would read to me before bed, as though to guarantee I would not fall asleep until dawn. I loved them all: giant squids, alligators, and woolly mammoths, now extinct. But none could touch the majesty and strangeness of the beasts I was accustomed to. 

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Grown-Up Words

By Bethany Cox

Essay

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His name was Jeremiah and he was in my preschool class. He was five years old, tall for his age. His parents were divorced and he had an older brother, which meant he knew words like ass and hell. Once he accused me of saying the f word during story time.

“I said fox, Jeremiah.”

“It sure sounded like fuck,” he countered.

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NICK ANTOSCA:  Okay, normally they do self-interviews here, where the author just interviews him- or herself.  But I didn’t want to do that, so in this case two authors are going to interview each other. We both have books out.  Mine is The Girlfriend Game, a collection of stories which came out last month.  Yours is Threats, a novel which came out last year and was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner.  We both live in Los Angeles.  We both moved here in the last few years.

It seems like a lot of writers are moving out here.  I came because I wanted to write for TV.  Why did you come?  A disproportionate number of serial killers have lived in Southern California.  Why do you think that is?

Bleeding Edge CoverEarly in Thomas Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge, protagonist Maxine Turnow enters into an internet space called DeepArcher.  It’s not exactly a web site, not exactly a video game, but it acts similarly to both.  It is, essentially, a safe space for coders to hide or share information.  Under the guise of avatars, users are able to wander through a variety of digital worlds and communicate with other avatars in attendance.  The pixelated landscape comes into focus slowly for Maxine.  She “recognizes from a thousand train and bus stations and airports… the smoothly cross-dawning image of an interior whose detail, for a moment breathtakingly, is far in advance of anything she’s seen.”  She intuits that the program is pushing her toward boarding a shuttle, but she hesitates, enjoying the complexity and effluvia of the station around her.  “‘It’s all right,’ dialogue boxes assure her, ‘it’s part of the experience, part of getting constructively lost.’”  Maxine drifts deeper into the experience, “after a while interested not so much in where she might get to than the texture of the search itself.”

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When you complete what seems to you like the final draft of a short story, Mr. Barry, do you …

Please, there’s no need to be formal. Relax.

 

Thank you. So when …

By the way, would you care for a drink?

 Dark Lies the IslandERNESTINE AND KIT

Two ladies in their sixties made ground through north County Sligo in a neat Japanese car. The sky above Lough Gill was deep blue and the world was fat on the blood of summer. The speed limit was carefully abided and all the turns were slowed for. There was the carnival air of a fine Saturday in June. A vintage car show had drawn a crowd in 1920s boaters and blazers to Kilmore; the old Fords and Triumphs honked cheerfully in the sun, and the ladies as they passed by smiled and waved. There was a lengthy queue for the ferry ride to the lake isle of Inishfree, there were castles to be visited, and way-marked walks to be hotly trailed. All the shaded tables outside the village pubs were full and tinkled with glasses and laughter, and children played unguarded in the cool of the woods.

‘When it gets a good old lick of weather at all,’ Ernestine said, ‘this is one powerful country.’ 

epperson-0105Please explain what happened.

A dog barked down the street. The tree in front of my window was flooded with early-morning sunlight. The flow of life on our beautiful planet continued.

 

What is your earliest memory?

I was trying to climb up on the back of our car and it was slick with rain and I slipped and gashed my knee on the bumper. Bled like a son of a bitch. Still got the scar. Want to see it?

Daily Commute

By Christopher Locke

Poem

But before I could remember the name
of these angled white birds, the way
they filled the skies above our rented
house in Mexico, I had to first anoint
a camel spider in great chuffs of poisonous
oils, unfair really, being trapped as he
was in the terraza corner writhing like
the possessed I remember from my child-
hood church, when I believed men could
call God down from the rafters. And there
were also the dogs at night to deal with,

688722How about answering the one question you don’t want to answer?  Going on the assumption, that is, that there’s one part of you that doesn’t know what the other part is up to, like the gestalt exercise where you jump from one chair to another, having a conversation with yourself, as if the person who you are in the first chair is completely separate from the person you are in the second.  Or like when you’re talking to yourself and you hear yourself say “If I were you…”

Is your writing more important to you than anything else in your life?

Of course it’s supposed to be—isn’t that one of the ways you can separate the real artists from the phonies?  The truth is, ever since I was a little girl I knew that what I wanted to be was an artist.  It was how I understood who I was; it was how I justified disappointments like not being as pretty as Lynn Cherieci, even though nowadays the young writers are all exceptionally good looking, at least in their photos…

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It was a suburban street, one block long, the houses made of brick and built to last like the third little pig’s. Sycamore trees had been planted at regular intervals along the curb and the curbs themselves sparkled; I think the concrete was mixed with mica in it. I think when it was new the street couldn’t help but draw attention to itself, inviting envy.

think

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