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November 2010 Issue | Word Riot
Issues | November 15, 2010

November 2010 Issue

INTERVIEWS An Interview With Janice Lee by David Hoenigman

FLASH FICTION Goodbye, Wynona by Hunter Choate Heat by Grant Faulkner With Maura by Gary Percesepe Bite History by Eliezra Schaffzin Begin by Cecilia Stelzer And Now This by Michael Wolman

SHORT STORIES Connect the Dots by Amanda Ching Dossiers by Joel Hans

STRETCHING FORMS Airborne Creatures, a story in verse by Jennifer Goldsmith

POETRY condoms on the handlebars of a rusted bicycle by Mark James Andrews American Funeral by John Paul Davis Cardinal Sins by Karen Douglass apples are born by Clara Engel Two Poems by Jack Hodil

Poetry | November 15, 2010

Two Poems by Ashley Strosnider


I saw a man in black glasses and a tan trench coatwith wide eyes and a scarf striped cream and maroonscowling at the clouds.

He made me smile there was nothing to be done about it I bared my teeth I curled my lips I swung my hips I think I scared him He passed quickly, black soles clicking.

And for my communal inclinationthe pavement affirmed me in worn white sprawling spray paint:“YOU   ARE   NOT   IN   A   CAR,”with A’s for anarchy.

Well, I thought to myself, A is foraardvark, academia, arrogance, average,and acts of God—and if I had been an acrobatthis all would’ve turned

Poetry | November 15, 2010

Check Out Justice by Lawrence Kessenich

     When he ran out of jurors for a trial, an Ohio     judge sent sheriff’s deputies to the local Wal-Mart      to issue summonses to surprised shoppers.

I was standing at the checkout counterin the grocery section, my hand extendedfor change, when the deputy slapped the summonsinto it, grinning like a frat boy playinga practical joke. Others were served overwatermelons or along with a poundof burger at the deli counter.

Twenty of us were led to an old school busallowed only to put our groceries in our carsleaving lettuce to wilt in its bag, ice creamto melt into soup. Like criminals, wecould make

Poetry | November 15, 2010

Two Poems by Ashley Maser

The Painter

Our mother lines the dining room with blue painter’s tape,setting the boundaries for new beige walls.Her movements deliberate and even, she unfoldsand arranges plastic tarps, sets our dinner,moves around us as we eat, spackling nail holes and crevices,tending to the clean balance of our liveslike some quiet deity.

But when I’m older god will be a manlike Pollock, arms flailing like an infant’s over a spaghetti plate,paint dripped like wet noodles on the canvassed floor.He’ll stare at the lines converging in a resin of sand and broken glass,body stiff until the last shining filament of metallic paint hardensdry

Poetry | November 15, 2010

Two Poems by Jack Hodil

First Funeral

I remember looking mostly at the grass, the sky, and the coffin.

Everyone wore black,and I must have been too,but I only remember theirs.

Someone was always talking,usually one at a time,but I didn’t understand what they were saying.

I just stayed silent,looking at the grass, the sky,and the coffin.

I didn’t think the people in black even noticed I was there, and I wondered why I wasn’t crying, like them.

But these people were not interesting,talking, staring, and crying, in black,they all just seemed so dark and distant,

not like the grass or the sky,not like

Poetry | November 15, 2010

Cardinal Sins by Karen Douglass

Bomber flies steal honeymeant for bee larvae.

The cuckoo embezzles spacein the warbler’s nest,

shoves out the true eggs. Frigate birds ram into boobies

till they drop their fish andthe muggers fly off with the goods.

In a storm, rose canes beatat my window trying to break in.

Karen Douglass

About the author:

Karen Douglass’s books include Red Goddess Poems; Bones in the Chimney (fiction); Green Rider, Thinking Horse (non-fiction); and Sostenuto, (poems) and The Great Hunger (poems), which is available from Plain View Press (2009).

Flash Fiction | November 15, 2010

Goodbye, Wynona by Hunter Choate

She’d left me a note on the kitchen counter. Neatly printed on a sheet of yellow lined paper, it read: This isn’t working. I’ve moved back home. Goodbye, Wynona. Below her name stretched a ladder of blank lines and finally a red lipstick kiss.      I tapped the note twice and nodded. I went to the fridge and grabbed a beer. I twisted off the cap and dropped it on the linoleum where it bounced and warbled.      I read the note again, said, “Figures.” I balled it in my fist, the paper crackling like a tiny fire in my

Poetry | November 15, 2010

No Sympathy for Evelyn by Annie Wong

No Sympathy for Evelyn1

Take the money and run Evelyn in the alley,

Vancouver is the template and the lines of an open palm,

Take the drugs, the profit, the gun, Evelyn supine,

Sleeping for the fun and pleasure of going nearly blind,

Wake from Oedipal dreams, Evelyn under red hair,

She will do what she does; Eating men like eating air.2

1 The poetry of Evelyn Lau often focuses on the excruciating emotional states of desire and desperation while working as a young prostitute in Vancouver. Her autographical book, Runaway: Diary of a Street

Flash Fiction | November 15, 2010

And Now This by Michael Wolman

By the time Frank Puckett hit the logjam on I-495, he was already running late. The funeral started in less than ten minutes, and traffic was crawling. Shit. He would have made it too, even after that long lunch, if it hadn’t been for this. Puckett slammed his hands on the wheel and raised his head to see if he could find out what was causing the delay. Had to be an accident. Nothing else could trigger such a mess this time of day. Fuck. It wasn’t the people who crashed who pissed him off as much as the lowlifes

Poetry | November 15, 2010

apples are born by Clara Engel

from the middleofall this honeyapples are bornall these funny namesfor the great beyondgreat bee yawnapples are born from the middleof thundertheir seeds bakein the hearts of wormstheir cores dissolvein nectar and dewand trees flowerin the evening airi want to taste the harvest in your mouththe seeds spitout of darknessand the juice of stars running downthe mountainsevery flowerhas to be born somehowa firecracker diesand the juice runs downthe blood runs downa child runs down the roadwith arms full of applessweet appleswild sour applesare born

Clara Engel

About the author:

Clara Engel is a writer, musician, songwriter, visual artist, and performer, currently

Flash Fiction | November 15, 2010

Heat by Grant Faulkner

She had some spare change left over from a fake disability claim from her last job, and he’d begun to sell his things: an antique table his mother had given him, his CDs, his guitar, and then finally the gold wedding band he found one day in the sand at the park.

I sold someone else’s marriage, he liked to say. Their love bought me groceries.

They somehow managed to pay their rent, but they couldn’t afford the telephone or the air conditioning. Unfortunately, they were living in Tucson, and it was the summer the rains never came.

It didn’t

Flash Fiction | November 15, 2010

With Maura by Gary Percesepe

Downstairs was crowded and too many voices were speaking at once. I lost sight of Maura. Some people huddled in a corner by the stage. The microphone was still on the stage but I did not know where Maura had gone. A couple looked at me as though I should know them.      A woman came up and threw her arms around me. She thanked me. Her voice was hoarse and she coughed into her starfish hand. She apologized for coughing but her perfume was lovely. It hung there between us. I wondered where Maura had gone. The couple by

Interviews | November 15, 2010

An Interview With Janice Lee by David Hoenigman

Janice Lee

Janice Lee is a writer, artist, editor, and curator. She is interested in the relationships between metaphors of consciousness and theoretical neuroscience, and experimental narrative. Her work can be found in Big Toe Review, Zafusy, antennae, sidebrow, Action, Yes, Joyland, Luvina, Everyday Genius, and Black Warrior Review. She is the author of KEROTAKIS (Dog Horn Press, 2010), a multidisciplinary exploration of cyborgs, brains, and the stakes of consciousness, and Daughter (Jaded Ibis, Forthcoming). She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from CalArts and currently lives in Los Angeles where she is a co-curator for the feminist reading series

Poetry | November 15, 2010

condoms on the handlebars of a rusted bicycle by Mark James Andrews

Listen to a podcast of Mark James Andrews’ “condoms on the handlebars of a rusted bicycle.”

three sneakers are dangling from the braided fiber optic line parabola pole to pole in the sky as we crash over pothole craters in the pod of a restored rear-engine Volkswagen Beetle on a back street that looks like Dresden afterWorld War 2 as we disembark into a forbidden quadrant to poke gingerly with salvaged pool cues from a fire bombed corner whiskey bar at burial mounds in this artifact rich free garage and yard salein abandoned homesteads and hulksof chop shopped automobiles recalling

Short Stories | November 15, 2010

Dossiers by Joel Hans

1:      “We’re having a baby,” she said. “You son of a bitch.”      I wanted to reach up inside her, feel for a leg or an ear, just to be sure she wasn’t lying. The women I knew could be duplicitous like that, especially the ones who hated me—despite the previous month’s incessant gamboling, and precisely because that formed some cells called a baby.

2:      “Why don’t we, you know?” I asked her.      “Because I can’t,” she said, Grace. “We’re giving it up to someone who wants it. My gyno said that when you want to give