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

October 2010 Issue

INTERVIEWS An Interview With Richard Thomas by Pela Via An Interview With John Dermot Woods by David Hoenigman

BOOK REVIEWS How They Were Found by Matt Bell We’re Getting On by James Kaelan Monkeybicycle 7 Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart

FLASH FICTION The Waltz by Lisa Aldin The Way to Arizona by Kenneth W. Harmon Frozen by Lacey Martinez Tender by Christina Murphy ITCH by Gary Percesepe Mrs. Peabody by Melissa Scholes Young

SHORT STORIES Have You Seen Me? by Annam Manthiram The Backroom by Edward Mc Whinney

CREATIVE NONFICTION Uncle Boo by Abby Rotstein

Poetry | October 15, 2010

Two Poems by Tara Nicole

A cappella

My father was sick.There was an avalanchebehind his eyelids.

My mother was the slow tickof a grandfather clock.Carved sturdy, carved nervous.

They were a strange symphony.Each hour she was hollow calland he the echoof collapse.

Remorse Code

Having not seen you in a decadeI can only assume your desert skinhas found its rain. Your words look practiced;the combed surface of a Zen gardenon their college ruled tightropes.You always write I’m sorry, your eyes blinkingremorse, it sticking to the page. I tear it off,sew together a sheet and sleep on it.There are tiny slits across my back when I

Flash Fiction | October 15, 2010

Frozen by Lacey Martinez

“Que pasa, Gabby?” my mom asks me. She looks terrible. She’s stopped wearing makeup or caring about her hair since her mastectomy. Now there’s a / over her heart where her left breast used to be, like her doctor was trying to write an X, but gave up halfway.     “Nothing,” I say.      Christmas dinner at mom’s house is moo shu chicken and eggrolls and my mom constantly refilling her wine glass and telling me how much she hates her coworkers at Target. I make a couple jokes but she doesn’t laugh so I give up and just listen to

Poetry | October 15, 2010

Three Poems by Spiel

slow thaw

1. i think i will head out on footinto this blizzardtraipse up a mountainsidefar off the beaten path

until i cannot walkuntil it does not matteruntil i collapse to numbbeneath the crush of snow

2. you will know i am not here whenyou slide your hand across our bed where it should be warmbut you will find it is not warm

you will know that i am gonewhen you no longer wishto slide your handacross this bed

3. oh but first i picture eadweard muybrigere-emerging to capture this in slow-moeach step of the mystery of my demisethen the

Poetry | October 15, 2010

Two Poems by Donavon Davidson

Home Is a Time of Thunderstorms

Ask a child what home means to themand their breath hidesin fallen leaves,candles in rooms of their heartextinguish.Nothing burns. Nothing melts.

They search like refugeesin fountains cloggedwith startled birds.For all they have ever heard,            a mother calling from across a field,            the unmistakable sound of their names            through closed doorscannot fly away.

They search like puppetsin the mountains of dispossessedhands.For all they have ever seen,             a room full of animals that             never run away,             the apple tree in their back yard            blushing with fruit they climb to reach            and ones they never willare paralyzed.

When you ask a child

Creative Nonfiction | October 15, 2010

Uncle Boo by Abby Rotstein

One day my uncle decided to leave the house he shared with my grandmother and get a pack of cigarettes. That’s a routine task for anybody but a schizophrenic. My grandmother called me and asked if I’d search the neighborhood for him. I was unusually calm about the whole affair, and remember driving around in my truck thinking everything would be all right. My intuition was correct. I didn’t find him, but a kind realtor did and brought him back to grandma’s house.      I always marveled at my grandmother’s poise in dealing with my uncle. After all, she was

Reviews | October 15, 2010

We’re Getting On by James Kaelan

Review by Tobias Carroll

The California-based press Flatmancrooked is fond of alternate editions, experimental funding models, and neatly planned deviations from what might be expected from a publisher, small or large. Recent and forthcoming work that they’ve released has included novellas from Alyssa Knickerbocker and Emma Straub, along with Shya Scanlon’s Forecast, a novel originally serialized online. And while the stories told in James Kaelan’s We’re Getting On are compelling, the book has attracted as much attention for its carbon-neutral construction and Kaelan’s tour of the West Coast by bicycle.      What you make of We’re Getting On may well

Flash Fiction | October 15, 2010

Mrs. Peabody by Melissa Scholes Young

Listen to a podcast of Melissa Scholes Young’s “Mrs. Peabody.”

     Mrs. Peabody had said ‘no,’ or rather ‘no thank you,’ many times and still Jacob wouldn’t leave her alone. He followed her through the hallways before the first bell as she rushed from the copy room to her classroom. He waited outside her room after lunch when she returned from the teacher’s lounge with Mr. Fiallos. Mrs. Peabody pretended she didn’t know what Jacob wanted. “Oh, Jacob. Have you been waiting for me? Homework help, again? Thanks for that link, Mr. Fiallos. I’ll check it out later.” Then she

Poetry | October 15, 2010

The Companion by Janet Matlock

The demandsof my pooch…His constant rations, poop removal, water in his bowl—It’s enough to get depressed about.I am his slave and he is not my companion.

When I found him, cartoon sad eyesmy heart’s call was answered. I, on the other hand,answered his request for a bath and a treat.For a scratch and a walk…for another treat.

It’s not in good taste to loathe your pet, but he barked three days straightwhen I had the flu.There was no caring, wet nose against my temple,no pacing with worry, no bedridden depression.

Father knows best.I understand that now.He let unruly Gusout the

Experimental | October 15, 2010

Waltz du temps perdu by Gary Percesepe

I cannot remember the hour. The tables were shining with laughter. An orchestra assembled on the wide polished floor, which was dusted with snow. Players sat down in their places. The chandeliers flickered and dimmed. And someone was saying it’s time while others were staring outside, where the street had meandered away. Soon shapes appeared in the shadows where monuments struggled to walk, and the conductor arose from the dark and stood at the podium. When the music started to play I’d thought it would never arrive, but everyone waited to see who would get up and walk to the

Poetry | October 15, 2010

Two Poems by Shannon Salter

the air tonight

is still— a wizardnot a fleck of wind, only cricket fish

chirp sailing, balloon tails waspingout and in, lifting water, smooth

filet of moon between gills

our patio is an aquarium fins and lips eclipsing stucco, drifting leaves

mojave fish crickets invisible—

                        little wizards                         in the trees.

little heartbreak

At the pet store on Tropicana tiny new mouse, eyelids unopened, a little olive lying in the straw. A corner of thistle for his snout and curled tail. The smallest wind for his ribs that press gently from underneath his skin, up and down, and up and—

Experimental | October 15, 2010

Buy a Chuck Norris Tribute Revolver by Matthew Peipert

Be daring. Be brave. Buy a Chuck Norris Tribute Revolver. Be a man. Man up. Sack up. Shoot somebody. Punch somebody in the face. Jizz all over everything. Bros before hoes. Stay harder longer. Support your local Department of Defense. Kill men. Kill women. Bomb them back to the Stone Age. Order an Extreme Pizza from Dominos. Get vigilante. Don’t cry. Don’t even let your eyes sweat. Shock and awe. Disrespect somebody’s mama. Read Maxim magazine. Strap up. Lock and load. Let’s roll. Boo-yah! Yee-haw! Kill ’em all and let god sort ’em out. These colors don’t run. Die for

Poetry | October 15, 2010

Your Name Repeats Like Marching Elephants by William Lusk Coppage


Your middle finger points upso many times it cramps crooked

but all I hearis meat meeting stringsa thrum that shakesthe city block stage


in a dream I watchWilliam Mathews watch youwipe your asswith his poem             you digest literature                          and shit experience

the stage is yoursfire them all


the audience throwscornbread pies


you in whitefaceexcept for your eyes


no one’s left to hear youcall yourself boy

About the author:

William Lusk Coppage’s poetry has appeared in Blue Earth Review and Mikrokosmos. He was raised in the Mississippi Delta, but was lucky enough to travel the globe in the

Poetry | October 15, 2010

You and Them by Changming Yuan

First, they looked but without seeingSo, you began to yell in a yellow voice

Then, they listened but without hearingSo, you cooked according to a Chinese recipe

Still, they smelt but without tastingSo, you melt yourself into spring water

Finally, they touched but without feelingSo, you began to tattoo words on your own chest

About the author:

Changming Yuan, author of Chansons of a Chinaman and twice nominee for the Pushcart Prize, grew up in rural China and has had poems published in Barrow Street, Best Canadian Poetry, Cortland Review, Exquisite Corpse, London Magazine and more than 250 other literary

Flash Fiction | October 15, 2010

Tender by Christina Murphy

Denny puts the pair of blue suede shoes between us on the bed.      “Beautiful, huh?” he says.      “Yeah, lovely.”     “I got them on e-bay. They belonged to Elvis.”      I wonder if this is true or just something people say in ads.     “Wow,” I say.      “Yes, wow.”      Denny is my Shakespeare professor. I am taking “Shakespeare’s Tragedies” this semester, my third course with him. He loves Shakespeare, but his real passion is Elvis. He fancies himself as an Elvis impersonator and has five jewel-studded jumpsuits in Elvis’ honor. He also has slicked back hair and long