free web
December 2010 Issue | Word Riot
Issues | December 15, 2010

December 2010 Issue

INTERVIEWS An Interview With J.A. Tyler by David Hoenigman

FLASH FICTION WWCND by Steve Himmer Used by Genevieve Hudson Fortune Factory by Peter Kispert Fire Flight by Robert Schladale The Two Lines by Samuel Stoddard Poached Pear Sorbet and Other Seduction Tactics by Dawn West

SHORT STORIES Kayfabe by Chris Lewis Carter Red by Andrea Joyce Water and Salt by Nick Ripatrazone

CREATIVE NONFICTION Memorial Day Weekend by Nathan Graziano

POETRY Early Light: The Aubade Prior to the Elegy by Dan Allawat Easel by Rebecca Bernard penelope, masturbating by Marissa Coon Rose The Smell of Burnt Metal by Alex Odom

Interviews | December 15, 2010

An Interview With J.A. Tyler by David Hoenigman

J. A. Tyler is the author of ten books including the recently released INCONCEIVABLE WILSON (Scrambler Books, 2009) and the forthcoming A MAN OF GLASS & ALL THE WAYS WE HAVE FAILED (Fugue State Press, 2011). He is also founding editor of Mud Luscious Press. For more, visit:

What projects are you currently working on?

I just finished a new prose-poetry book / collection called Variations of a Brother War and am now starting into a new piece that I refer to as Kill Yourself, though that may or may not be the final title. It is a book

Poetry | December 15, 2010

The Post-meal Cigarette by Ben Richardson

Listen to a podcast of Ben Richardson’s “The Post-meal Cigarette.”

The trembling ash of my trembling cigarette falls to the floor of this sky blue back porch, the glowing bits of orange swirling earthward, as if to send some primordial message by smoke and fire that would call you to Kentucky, the intimacy of this moment amongst the symphony of crickets and rattling ice and sweating gin cocktails,

the smoke dispersing into slanted late August light and blanketing my bronzed skin with peculiar and lingering questions better left in a summer that responded with hopeless late evenings and hopeful early

Short Stories | December 15, 2010

Water and Salt by Nick Ripatrazone

Listen to a podcast of Nick Ripatrazone’s “Water and Salt.”

Kathy came back for her mother’s stove. Early on a Sunday, wearing a shirt that showed all of her cream-colored stomach and her deep belly-button hole I never liked. She entered the house as if she still lived here and knocked on the wall while she walked down the hallway. I looked out the window and saw her man standing beside his idling Cheyenne. Muffler smoke rose a few feet and then disappeared.      I locked the bedroom door and climbed out the window. I wanted him to see me

Short Stories | December 15, 2010

Kayfabe by Chris Lewis Carter

Listen to a podcast of Chris Lewis Carter’s “Kayfabe.”

kayfabe n. the showbiz and stagecraft of professional wrestling, including the ring personas of professional wrestlers, especially when maintained in public.

     “Ladies and gentlemen, this next bout is for the No Limits Wrestling championship!“     The announcer’s voice is washed out by hundreds of screaming fans — although ‘fans’ hardly seems like the right word. More like people who’ve spent the last three hours crammed inside a shitty high-school gymnasium, drinking dollar-beers and gorging themselves on snacks. They’ve been growing restless ever since the Wonder Wizards versus the Aztec Assassins ran

Poetry | December 15, 2010

Easel by Rebecca Bernard

As I burrow my chin into my shoulder I realize I’m a frame— A bone formed easel whose skin stretches like canvas from hip to blade while malleable membranes encase the raw chalks and hues of my figure. I paint myself with cuts and bruises scrapes and scars adobe deserts and branches of old oak trees growing  adjacent to now defunct campfires.

Soot smoke decay and debris fall evenly in lines and wrinkles as years pass and I both change and stay the same. A refuge in my fingertips the place where I exist within my skin watching this portrait that

Flash Fiction | December 15, 2010

Used by Genevieve Hudson

I used to think I had my whole life to say the things I wanted to say, to fix the things that were broken. To have sex in public places. To eat bacon, beans. To have children at the right time with the right person, ones that would grow bigger than the size of a raisin. The people I knew then, would not, I was certain, be the last people I would know. They would not be the people holding each other’s clammy hands at my funeral, glancing at their watches, saying awkward goodbyes in the parking lot.      This

Flash Fiction | December 15, 2010

The Two Lines by Samuel Stoddard

1      During the summer of ‘If’s, I was dating a lawyer named Sue – a detail she found far less amusing than I did.      Over breakfast, we’d talk about the miracle of the French Press, the beauty of argyle, and the simple joy of the word haberdashery. We talked about everything except the drug store test and the two blue lines.

2      When the breeze kicked up, we’d turn off the AC and open the windows. We’d lay in bed, our bodies entwined despite the heat.      “Maybe I should go into Family Advocacy,” Sue, her

Poetry | December 15, 2010

Early Light: The Aubade Prior to the Elegy by Dan Allawat

In mornings past I had oftenfound the diffused gray hint of early morning light to be not unlike our warm flannel

sheets sliding down us slowlyin the waking throes of passion; soft warmth between us, falling off of us, settling all around us,

like some gray cloud bank of comfort that selected us after a nation-wide search of potential recipients of love’s ultimate prize.

Alone in bed this mourning, Iwatch the onset of light push our gray so far into the corners thatspiders have nowhere to hide.

Why this threat of rain at funerals? I wonder as I watch

Poetry | December 15, 2010

Iambic Hiccups by Nate Stein

As she walks into my room, I can’t helpbut see an oddity, a limp, in hersmile.

Off come her earrings, insecurities; to the floor fall my shades, pretenses. Istare.

My desk lamp brightens our humanity. Under the light and four watchful eyes weunravel.

My hands don’t tremble, hers don’t hesitate. She sees my tattoos; I see her scars. Welaugh

Nate Stein

About the author:

I have a degree in economics and a sense of adventure. Right now, I live in Shanghai where I spend my days pretending I am an author and my nights pretending I

Flash Fiction | December 15, 2010

Fortune Factory by Peter Kispert

Just after graduating college, I earned a meager wage writing cryptic fates inside fortune cookies. The days were short, the nights boring; the sky an inky smear. After a week, I began to think almost entirely in fortunes, destinies I assigned to my imaginary woebegone. I would type the script along the inside of my forehead, stitching words to my scalp, making and breaking the promises I conjured. Some days I was cute. Other days I was kind. The rule was never to be mean or hurtful, and to churn out as much variety as possible.

The woman who worked

Flash Fiction | December 15, 2010

WWCND by Steve Himmer

When Chuck Norris was born, the only person who cried was the doctor. Never slap Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris never wet his bed as a child. The bed wet itself out of fear.

Some people wear Superman pajamas. Superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas.

Chuck Norris doesn’t sit at the table alone in the dark until he’s eaten all his vegetables, even the beets which make always make him throw up but his mother serves anyway. His vegetables eat themselves because they know his teeth will hurt more.

Chuck Norris doesn’t wait all afternoon on his tenth birthday for his father

Poetry | December 15, 2010

The Smell of Burnt Metal by Alex Odom

Listen to a podcast of Alex Odom’s “The Smell of Burnt Metal.”

– like dust burning off a radiator, a gas grill, scorched earth—permeated the shop, like a thick blanket, like a whip to the back, got in your skin, reminded you where you were, urged you to work on. I never minded the smell, but sometimes the combination of it with the shop sounds were too much for my senses; the grinding of metal, the hiss of a blowtorch, the pop of the welder fused with the sting in my nostrils, and I found it hard to think. But

Poetry | December 15, 2010

penelope, masturbating by Marissa Coon Rose

come midnight, what does this body care that my Odysseus is lost at sea–it bends by the clay of instinct, unfolds anyway, and spreads, my ruffled palm

a seashell. a body born for two sides, the way all women are: our day hips belted to ease aches from stooping hours over the burial shroud, and narrow down to the ankles with death, always with death.

but night hips are mine; hips jarred awake by the shock of how they dilate: if the burial shroud hovers, a taut glare against the moon– my body shrugs and ignores. it wants to live.

Short Stories | December 15, 2010

Red by Andrea Joyce

Listen to a podcast of Andrea Joyce’s “Red.”

My parents, they own a dying parlor. They operate it out of our house. A dying parlor is like a funeral parlor, only instead of people coming here already dead, people come here to die. Then they go to the funeral parlor.      My room is upstairs. The dying happens downstairs.      Tutti, that’s my mother, thinks she’s a great listener. What she doesn’t realize is she only listens for an opening so she can talk. I’ve tried to tell her this but when you’re screaming through a shut door things get