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February 2013 Issue | Word Riot
Issues | February 15, 2013

February 2013 Issue

INTERVIEWS An Interview With Rick Rofihe by Nicolle Elizabeth An Interview With Nico Vassilakis by David Hoenigman

REVIEWS My Pet Serial Killer by Michael J. Seidlinger Monogamy Songs by Gregory Sherl

FLASH FICTION Time the Heart Beats by Peter Colwell Speed Ramp by Gordon Highland 3 City Prose Poems by Claudia Serea Baring by Hananah Zaheer

STRETCHING FORMS I am starless by Jackie Cope

SHORT STORIES Jawbone by Catherine Carberry An Extraordinary Case by Kate Leary Rules to Die By by Monica Z. Sage

POETRY Place by Jagannath Adukuri INVITATION TO POETRY by Laurie Barton Letter from Another Place by

Interviews | February 15, 2013

An Interview With Nico Vassilakis by David Hoenigman

Nico Vassilakis works with both textual and visual alphabet. Recent books include Staring @ Poetics (Xexoxial Editions, 2011), West of Dodge (redfoxpress, 2010), Protracted Type (Blue Lion Books, 2009), staReduction (Book Thug, 2008), and Text Loses Time (Many Penny Press, 2007). His

Interviews | February 15, 2013

An Interview With Rick Rofihe

Rick Rofihe sat down with us over email for a chat, (and to tell me how to correctly spell my friend Todd Zuniga’s name). Check out and congratulations to Word Riot’s own Martha Clarkson for winning this year’s RRofihe Trophy.

Word Riot: Hey Rick. Thanks for chatting with us over here at Word Riot. You run the Rofihe Trophy contest and have just chosen our previous Poetry Editor Ms. Martha Clarkson as this round’s winner. We had no idea she had entered and are super psyched for her and think you must have made an excellent choice. Also that

Reviews | February 15, 2013

Monogamy Songs by Gregory Sherl

Review by edward j rathke

Every poem I write starts with fucking or dying.

Gregory Sherl’s Monogamy Songs is a memoir masquerading as novel masquerading as collection of prosepoems or perhaps it is none of those things or perhaps all of them but in reverse. Perhaps it is the first mixtape in his soon to be announced rap career or a mixtape he made from the collected scribblings of a lonely and broken heart meant for friends or new lovers about former lovers. It is a constantly surprising and confounding read, so distinct, even from itself, that there is really

Reviews | February 15, 2013

My Pet Serial Killer by Michael J. Seidlinger

Review by edward j rathke

I am not a fan of serial killer fiction or even, really, transgressive literature. I find that they tend to be done more for shock and the grotesque than for any larger purpose, be it critical or satirical or academic. And so, though I was excited for Seidlinger’s new novel, I had serious reservations, reservations that he quickly shattered by subverting all expectations and invigorating a topic I thought best left to documentarians and forensic psychologists.

My Pet Serial Killer is a psychological thriller as pickup game as college days romance as media study

Short Stories | February 15, 2013

An Extraordinary Case by Kate Leary

I was the only woman left at work who wasn’t pregnant. Colleagues had swollen ankles and dark rings under their eyes, and they walked as if they were carrying greater burdens than the ones in their bellies. None of them glowed. The receptionist, with only a month to go, was inflamed, rashy, and declined my invitations to chew gum together on the loading dock. Even those who had once wanted babies had acquired a bitter look. We no longer bothered with baby showers.


I came home from work to find Dan destroying several of his marijuana plants. He

Experimental | February 15, 2013

I am starless by Jackie Cope

She was a newborn sky; cloudless and starless. Not even a sun—just the faint outline of a moon too shy to sing. She apologized for everything and laughed at nothing. There were days she would stitch and unstitch her lips, the dancing needle and thread like dandelion dust in the wind.     Her smile, though the sides would anchor, was a tidal wave. I loved to drown.     She explained how when beaches catch fire, the sand turns to glass and we can see hell burning below. “I have the blisters to prove it.” I asked if that was why she stared

Flash Fiction | February 15, 2013

Time the Heart Beats by Peter Colwell

Listen to a reading of “Time the Heart Beats” by Peter Colwell.

The Navy reps were robots, mechanically shuffling in front of the flag. They played “Taps.” People cried. They fired a couple volleys from M1 rifles. They folded the flag and handed it to the widow. They thanked her for his service—World War II, Korea. They left.      Then a priest, with an unbuttoned white collar and a short-sleeved shirt, approached the cement box containing the ashes. He had a head of white hair and moved like it hurt. He held a booklet but rarely looked at it, not

Short Stories | February 15, 2013

Rules to Die By by Monica Z. Sage

As a child, there were three commandments concerning the ocean.

One: Do not wear a red bathing suit if you intend going into the water.

Two: Do not enter the water during the curse, the crimson tide, Aunt Flo’s visit, being on the rag, or any other miserable AKA for a girl’s period.

Three: Do not go in the water alone.

Number three was common sense; one and two were cited as to avoid shark attack, and they were rules I lived by. Until today, my sixteenth birthday, when I intend to die by them.

Alone on the shore,

Flash Fiction | February 15, 2013

Baring by Hananah Zaheer

Listen to a reading of “Baring” by Hananah Zaheer.

When her husband of twenty years refused to sleep with her, she understood. It was the sort of thing she expected from marriage. But when her boyfriend picked up his clothes and left her naked on the guestroom bed, she was concerned. When he cited discomfort as the reason, she assumed it had to do with her form—and decided to change it. The next morning, she stood naked in front of the mirror, studying herself from all sides. Her breasts were small but firm, having been spared the rigors of breastfeeding.

Flash Fiction | February 15, 2013

Speed Ramp by Gordon Highland

Listen to a reading of “Speed Ramp” by Gordon Highland.

The BB Man was taking aim at that pesky monkey again. That’s what ten-year-old Namesh calls the weathered geezer, because of the air pistol that flies from his waistband at the first sign of annoyance, whether the trespasser is animal or man. No morsel of food would be poached on his watch.     Infrequent meals aside, the shack holds nothing of value, anyway, nor does its curtain offer much sanctuary from the elements: natural or criminal. So poverty-stricken is the railroad town, “even Buddhists are driven to larceny,” the man slurred

Short Stories | February 15, 2013

Jawbone by Catherine Carberry

When we came to this island, my husband’s company had already rented us an apartment, a tall glass building on an unpopular beach. The building is nearly vacant. An airline rents a few apartments for cabin crew, and a Japanese corporation has a timeshare. Sometimes, cigarette smoke curls up from the balcony below us. Once I heard children running up and down the stairs. I opened the door to see a boy, perhaps four years old, peeing on the welcome mat of the apartment next door. From our terrace I can see my husband’s ship as it cuts through the

Flash Fiction | February 15, 2013

3 City Prose Poems by Claudia Serea

The Way Home

It was a strange, dilapidated city that looked a lot like Bucharest, but everyone spoke English. I was trying to find my way home, to find the subway entrance, or a bus stop. You picked me up and drove through rusty rail yards, along mountains of dirt, mangled metal, and machinery parts. I was cold. You gave me your jacket and a poetry book about salamanders. I thought you wanted to save me, but you only wanted to teach me a lesson. Poetry doesn’t save anyone, you said. It only messes with your head.

On A Clear

Poetry | February 15, 2013

Sunken by Shebana Coelho

Listen to a reading of “Sunken” by Shebana Coelho.

a small man full of anger loved me with all the scotch in his soul the rasp of the sea close the sting of the waves closer

we lived in a house empty save for a towel pretending to be a curtain and a curtain pretending to be a home and a man pretending to be flesh

whisky drowned the floors we sank every night we sank

About the author:

Shebana Coelho is new to poetry but has fallen for it, hook, line and sinker. She also writes fiction, makes films,

Poetry | February 15, 2013


There is no correspondent with enchanted sentiments. Delete, as the prospects grow dimmer, summer gone shorter, no glamorous win to report.

I will sip Bud at magic show and pony ring. The frantic psychic will gesticulate, as drips of funnel cake dot the limits of grandiosity.

If the one who loves me is reading this, my luck has finally changed. Someone to wink at the dart game, drink with the traveling barker. Await his song, stung by sound.

About the author:

Laurie Barton lives in southern California where she teaches English to international ex-pats and immigrants. She has received the