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April 2014 Issue | Word Riot
Issues | April 16, 2014

April 2014 Issue

FLASH FICTION Beach Sixty-Nine by Jennifer Chardon In the Lake by Gina DiPonio You by Lucy McKee

EXPERIMENTAL impen(ding) by Vanessa Couto Johnson Tendu by Elizabeth Schmuhl

CREATIVE NONFICTION Fool by Rick Bailey Fancy Gap by Spencer Fleury Scrap by Alex Norcia

REVIEWS Romance For Delinquents by Michael Hampton

POETRY Palm-Reader, Fifth Avenue by Kenzie Allen Two Poems by Will Arbery Sex Ed: On Sex and Babies by Andrea Beltran Leda Leaves Manhattan by Emily Rose Cole Two Poems by Dan Encarnacion PSA by Dominic Gualco Two Poems by Alice Ladrick Returning the Artificial Tree by Al Ortolani Two Poems

Flash Fiction | April 16, 2014

You by Lucy McKee

I flunked out of nursing school and you met a guy, moved into his condo and got pregnant; in that order. I hustled tables at the Varsity while you bought baby clothes and ignored my calls.

When you lost the baby and my phone finally rang.

Up to the third floor of the hospital where you were alone, smelling of blood and sweat. Shaking, crying; inconsolable.

My hands awkward on your body, your damp hair. Your face pressed into my palm.

She’s gone, you said. My baby’s gone. Your chest rising and falling, your breath hot on my hand.

Poetry | April 16, 2014

Palm-Reader, Fifth Avenue by Kenzie Allen

As if everything in the world were penetrable we seek out archways, sweet lockjaw of crook and clavicle. Even the ear is a marvel

of vulnerable invention. As if sanctuary, your hand on the trapdoor of my skull where hush, quiet, state-issued boots clip the lintel.

What leaves these lines, haunted rivers parched in the palm. Line of Saturn, Girdle of Venus, that break toward the thumb

a sickness. Someone might have hurt you once or again. I want other hands. Give me freckles. Constellate me, flatten out the creases,

a nebulae whose only clear picture, infrared and cave-like,

Poetry | April 16, 2014

Two Poems by Will Arbery


           for Gail Morse

I’ll tell you exactly how I feel. I feel fine, totally fine, one hundred percent fine, yes, like a hero, like a god, like a pin-up, like frame me in eight different poses looking airbrushed, like oh my god, like what, like seriously, like try not to worry about me because I’m golden, because I’m peachy, because I’m keen on kicking this, because the pain is worse than ever and I feel fine, yeah, absolutely fine, yeah, yeah, yeah, like one more, like two more, like three more, like shut the door

Poetry | April 16, 2014

PSA by Dominic Gualco

Listen to a reading of “PSA” by Dominic Gualco.

Every forty-two seconds a person in the United States purchases a Ford. Last night I highlighted the line “i am paralyzed by the distinct sensation of nothing in particular” and pressed delete.

Do you know where I can get a newspaper around here?

Today I am looking for a newspaper and a sandwich. I will walk somewhere to buy these things.

I might end up at lying in the beach sand or playing the banjo in the mall parking lot. Not for tips, just because I do that

Poetry | April 16, 2014

Two Poems by Dan Encarnacion

Two Poems by Dan Encarnacion [PDF]

About the author:

Dan Encarnacion earned an MFA in Writing at the California College of Arts and lives in Portland, Oregon where he co-curates the Verse In Person poetry series. The bleak of Bela Tarr, the spare of Arve Henriksen, and the spike of quad-lattes will palpitate his palpus. Dan has recently been published in Eleven Eleven, Upstairs at Duroc, Atlas Review, and forthcoming in Assaracus, The Los Angeles Review, Crab Creek Review, Whiskey Island, The Blue Mesa Review and and/or. He was the featured artist for Reconnaissance Magazine’s 2013 issue and is included

Creative Nonfiction | April 16, 2014

Fancy Gap by Spencer Fleury

There is a place in Virginia where you can drive south and north at the same time. It’s right where two interstates cross, cutting through swaths of butternut and red cedar like baby’s first X. For about seven miles the two numbers share the same asphalt, and which direction you’re going depends solely on which highway you think you’re on.      If you think about this for a minute, it will make sense. Draw yourself a map if you need help.      This only works because the asphalt isn’t pointing either south or north. It runs east to west, so

Poetry | April 16, 2014

Returning the Artificial Tree by Al Ortolani

So I hand her my receipt for the artificial tree and I say maybe you can tell me the best way to do this, and she says without taking the paperwork— Let’s see, you bought this tree before the sale, and now you want to return it, and then buy it back at the sale price. And I said yes, I guess you read my mind. She grinned, you’ll save so much, her fingers flying through the numbers. When the transaction was complete and I had pocketed my 20% in crisp bills, I patted her on the arm and said

Poetry | April 16, 2014

Sex Ed: On Sex and Babies by Andrea Beltran

I hand a quarter to the cafeteria lady for a pickle on Popcorn Friday. Its wax wrapper crinkles in my right hand before I sink my teeth into the oversized snack and suck the juice from it.

I don’t kiss a boy while inside the tunnel on the playground OLE because Mom says kissing boys leads to making babies, but, instead, I let him place his hand inside my shorts. His smile makes me think of Elvis, so I don’t care if his hands are dirty or if other kids find us and tell the teachers.

                         I sit on

Reviews | April 16, 2014

Romance For Delinquents by Michael Hampton

Review by Vickie Weaver

Published by: Foxhead Books 2013

Hampton’s characters are the people we choose to not see. We don’t know them, but we want to read about them. Their depravities, their failures, their scrambled brains, their overdone body odor steeped in over-worn tank tops, their disregard for social boundaries, their ignorance of consequences. Romance for Delinquents, a short story collection, satisfies our curiosity about the down-and-out and does so, ironically, with tangibly poetic language that bares the hearts of everyone between its covers, including the reader’s.      The Hampton’s pen is the sparkler from a white trash 4th

Poetry | April 16, 2014

Two Poems by Alice Ladrick


holy fuck this bottle of pink moscato sparkling, natch, is going down the sun over there the window neighborhoods FIREWORKS first date kisses oh sweet bottle oh how the wine talks if this even counts as wine who knows oh love

oh love love me somebody but you know fuck that shit cuz I mean I’m my own bitch                 right right don’t need nobody but Jeff Goldblum predicting the invasion of earthly bodies like

mine oh call me heavenly love all the frontier


just the most repeated most often used just in the middle of everything

Creative Nonfiction | April 16, 2014

Scrap by Alex Norcia

We were all strippers. Three generations of men. My grandfather opened the scrap yard in the Ironbound in the ‘70s. He had seen his boss shot in the forehead and took over the business as a sort of formality. I never wanted to work there, and after my father took his father-in-law’s money and ran, I had more of an excuse to leave New Jersey. I aspired to be a writer, but I hadn’t done much other than aspire. I left college with no idea of what to do, or where to go, or how to start. I didn’t even

Flash Fiction | April 16, 2014

Beach Sixty-Nine by Jennifer Chardon

Listen to a reading of “Beach Sixty-Nine” by Jennifer Chardon.

He sounded just like my dad. I like men who make noise when they come. Nothing weird—the walls were thin in the apartment where I grew up. My parents did a good job at pretending to love each other.      We lived in his van. I say it was for three months but when I sat down and counted it came closer to eleven. Time isn’t real, I mean, it’s just an idea. Lots of people live in vans in Hawaii.      He asked me, once, what my dad would

Experimental | April 16, 2014

impen(ding) by Vanessa Couto Johnson

You have I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter in your fridge. Like it’s still the 1990s. Fabio and the oil of vegetable.

I saw a DeLorean leaving your town. Forthcoming and going back.

College students migrate in. Congrats graduate out. Population scholar shipping. Glide the equator of semester.

We survive the equinox to startle the eve of an eve. Tempt the vesper in your ear. Sun of hot mouth, warm head. Your snuggle under the sum. Weekendings.

Smart assorted. The colors of an Uno game fill your closet. Fabric softener and Scattergories. I lose because I am an associative

Poetry | April 16, 2014

Two Poems by Sam Sax


i take her discarded bone ribbed corset & let it give me all the curves of a hand written poem. pin my black hair up into an arrogant shape. take a pair of hard wood shoes & force each foot inside. i blush & rouge, write sparse rhymed lines, powder my face white, tie a black tippet around my throat, fit three fingers inside deep as they go, each one mine. i turn up the church hymns & dance without moving my hips. my empty room, my audience. yes, the body of the poet, thin