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December 2011 Issue | Word Riot
Interviews | December 17, 2011

An Interview With Nicola Masciandaro by David Hoenigman

Nicola Masciandaro

Nicola Masciandaro is Associate Professor of English at Brooklyn College (CUNY) and a specialist in medieval literature. Recent publications include: “Decapitating Cinema” (And They Were Two In One And One In Two, co-edited with Eugene Thacker), “Metal Studies and the Scission of the Word” (Journal of Cultural Research), “Unknowing Animals” (Speculations), “Non potest hoc corpus decollari: Beheading and the Impossible” (Heads Will Roll: Decapitation in Medieval Literature and Culture), “Exploding Plasticity” (French Theory Today: And Introduction to Possible Futures), and “Getting Anagogic” (Rhizomes). He is the editor of the journal Glossator: Practice and Theory of the Commentary, co-director

Novel Excerpts | December 15, 2011

Friday, March 28, 1997 by Donald Breckenridge

Part 1      Sarah contemplated his tranquil expression before saying, “I always thought you had,” in a soft voice. Bill pulled the damp condom off his flaccid erection, “that isn’t true.” The pounding in his chest had begun to subside. Sarah possessed a glowing intensity that radiated between them, “A lot of girls in school,” her cheeks were a rosy pink, “said they slept with you,” and her eyes were wide open. Sperm collected in the tip of the condom he held between the thumb and forefinger of his right hand. She pressed her thighs together and sighed. He weighed

Reviews | December 15, 2011

Lily’s Odyssey by Carol Smallwood

All Things That Matter Press, Somerville, ME 2010, 220 pages, $18.99 (trade paper)

Review by Jan Siebold

Some authors use the word “odyssey” to simply represent a journey or a passage of time. In Lily’s Odyssey author Carol Smallwood takes a more literal approach. Just as Odysseus spends years making his way home after the Trojan War, Lily struggles to find her true home in the world.      She has encountered her share of cannibals, lotus-eaters, sirens and monsters along the way, but it is her abusive Uncle Walt and his Cyclopic wife Hester (who turned her one good eye

Flash Fiction | December 15, 2011

Maelstrom by Deirdre Daly

December in Berlin and the girls taste of glühwein and rolled cigarettes. I fix a poinsettia to her hair. She fingers the velvet and runs out into Friedrichstrasse. I follow. The night cusps on her shoulder and we see the last rain of the year turn into the first snow.      I bring her home, parcelled up on a budget flight. She sleeps in my bed, a comma. I wrap myself around punctuation. At breakfast, we eat duck eggs and cake. We begin dinner with dessert.      On the second last day, she says she wishes to see the sea

Poetry | December 15, 2011

26 (more Ann) by John Reed

How is it you would rely upon me? I would lie at your command, relied upon. The words of the promise, I read, writ large, to meet the larger vow to the larger read— and provisos and riders shall rest in peace, assured safe keep, and devotedly prayed upon. Rely upon me and the harder reads with ease, hour on hour shall be reliably free. Rely upon me to honor my wards, to be to you doubly true, or true to none, to undertake the blest and the holy. Rely upon me as if the ice age moaned the vow

Poetry | December 15, 2011

Epithalamion by Jon Sands

for Ben and Wendell on their wedding day October 9, 2011

This man you’ve only met tonight, who is wearing fake glasses and a black tank top in a dive bar in Manhattan, has made you laugh eleven times already. He is teaching you how to download apps on your new iPhone. He is opening one and using his fingertip to scribble his name across the screen so you will remember it, and you are allowing your body to become a song that says, Move closer.

When it first appears, you don’t know how to name love, so it is

Short Stories | December 15, 2011

My Best Move by Mark Jordan Manner

Dad’s finally lost it. He’s been crying a lot lately, and drinking. And wearing his pajamas everywhere. Pajamas at the bank, pajamas at the grocery store, pajamas on dates with people he met online. I try telling him to wear pants like a normal person, but he won’t listen. ‘Pajamas are more comfy,’ he says. ‘They make me feel like I’m wrapped up in clouds.’

Tuesday night means we’re eating dinner at the kitchen table. Dad and I sit across from each other, an empty wooden chair on either side of us. I blow the steam off a bowl of

Poetry | December 15, 2011

Lipstick by Len Kuntz

She applies me in plum. I am there when she speaks, snores, when she gets chapped or cold sores. I reside in her laughter, rest in her frown. I do not protest, not even when she kisses him.

About the author:

Len Kuntz is a writer from Washington State. His work appears widely in print and also online at such places as The Literarian, Moon Milk Review, PANK, Elimae and others. Every few days he shares his thoughts about writing and life at

Reviews | December 15, 2011

and then there were three by Supriya Bhatnagar

Serving House Books, Lexington, KY 2010, 119 pages, $12.00 (paper) ISBN: 978-0-9825462-9-1

Review by Carol Smallwood

The memoir, and then there were three… has a photo cover of Supriya Bhatnagar, the author as a child with her family. It looks at a childhood in a diverse, changing India beginning with the chapter, Prologue. The three refers to the family loss of her beloved father when Supriya was nine and her mother moves the two daughters from Bombay to Jaipur: “Even though Jaipur was a metropolis where streets had been paved, the city retained the inherent quality of the earth it

Flash Fiction | December 15, 2011

Out at Shellmound by William Lusk Coppage

Listen to a reading of “Out at Shellmound” by William Lusk Coppage.

Before Grandpa died he showed me his scars from fighting demons, then how he’d wrestled one—jumping up and down like the congregation over in Itta Bena when the spirit washes over them. “They almost got me good,” he said, holding his arms out. His wrists chewed up from their teeth. “I got away but they’ll be back. They’re coming back for you.” He made me fear those demons in a way that if I ever saw them, I would have the courage to fight back.      The night

Poetry | December 15, 2011

a garden of arms by Kimberly Ann Southwick

this time, the fennel bulb won’t burn out, i tell you. her name is Naji and her voice is deep.

the aloe doesn’t like the sunshine, but today, it likes her. the gold dots in the air agree,

wheeing and whooping. the rocks in the soil are foundation, not obstacle.

the green leafy sprouting we swore was basil is a purple flowering weed. i hacked down

the dry stalks from last year’s crop and they’re permanently reaching,

taking up space. the wind is supposed to throw seeds

and the plants are supposed to spew pollen and the vegetables

Poetry | December 15, 2011

Forces of Nature by Mark Hage

Have you ever known a man who is a force of nature, and you knew; and you knew that everything you had done, where you are, where you ended up, self-made, accented, where you arrived, reinvented, from willingness, from hard work, from fear, spite, and hunger, clawing, miming effortless. And if you met that man, would you tangle with him? Brave his privileges? Rouse the embedded genius? Test the royalty? Would you dare to teach him? Pretend to? And when you go home, and it seizes your depths, with your plans, every worked out facet of them, every valve of

Novel Excerpts | December 15, 2011

Outgrown Horses by Mia Siegert

About the novel: Outgrown Horses tells the story of Brent, a 20-year-old semi-closeted gay man who saves horses from slaughter at auction, and his relationships with Rusty, a disabled man whose therapy includes horseback riding, Lewis, Rusty’s 13-year-old son who idolizes Brent, and Daniel, a top notch show jumper succumbing to the shady world in the horse show circuit. When Brent starts training Sam, a dangerous horse with grand prix potential, he begins to confront his feelings about Daniel and question Daniel’s motives when he suggests Brent sell Sam to a horse dealer.

It was well into March when Rusty

Issues | December 15, 2011

December 2011 Issue

INTERVIEWS An Interview With Nicola Masciandaro by David Hoenigman

REVIEWS and then there were three by Supriya Bhatnagar Lily’s Odyssey by Carol Smallwood

FLASH FICTION Maelstrom by Deirdre Daly Out at Shellmound by William Lusk Coppage

SHORT STORIES How Jimmy Lost His Filter by Andy Henion My Best Move by Mark Jordan Manner

NOVEL EXCERPTS Friday, March 28, 1997 by Donald Breckenridge Outgrown Horses by Mia Siegert In One Story by Colin Winnette

POETRY It had been banned during the day by Luke Degnan & Rosiere Moseley Forces of Nature by Mark Hage Lipstick by Len Kuntz 26 (more Ann)

Novel Excerpts | December 15, 2011

In One Story by Colin Winnette

In one story, the two sisters were an olive at the bottom of a dirty martini                                                           and were clipped in two by a set of large teeth.

     One sister was the top half of the olive. She imagined herself in the mouth of the old man she was in love with. The other sister, the bottom half, was trapped under the tongue until she slipped out as the large mouth took the shape of laughter. There was something just right about the way she moved in his mouth and she knew he was probably thinking about it