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October 2012 Issue | Word Riot
Issues | October 15, 2012

October 2012 Issue

FLASH FICTION Whiskey to Denim by Carly Berg The Second Time I Met Ellie’s Dad by Sean Lovelace King of the Zombies by Richard Peabody A Dictionary of Devotions by Marianne Villanueva Woo-Kyung-Valerie by Esme-Michelle Watkins

SHORT STORIES Ravishing by Kate Scarpetta

POETRY Café by the Ruins by Rina Caparras judas in the city by Séamas Carraher EPITAPH FOR AN AGING BOOMER by Howie Good WISDOM TOOTH EXTRACTION by Brett Elizabeth Jenkins the time i said hello to you, and you thought i was a bear by Paul Jessup In a Study of the Meadow            Ezra Pound reconfigured by June Saraceno

Poetry | October 15, 2012

Two Poems by Chris Toll

Chris Toll wrote several books, including The Disinformation Phase (Publishing Genius 2011) and Love Everyone (Open 24 Hours 2006). He lived in Baltimore, MD where he was an integral part of the poetry scene. He died in September.

Adam Robinson: These late poems from Chris Toll– one of them is a flash fiction, he’d tell you — aren’t that different from early poems by Chris Toll. All the pieces are the same. Like the bluesmen sing, I know Chris, and he don’t never change.

Nicolle Elizabeth: Chris Toll was a brilliant poet and a brilliant, good man. Poetry and

Short Stories | October 15, 2012

Ravishing by Kate Scarpetta

I’d been into the scene for about three months—rolling and heavy drinking—and thought I was getting pretty good at it. I could be out of control and octopus-like, doing forty-five things at once: dancing, dreaming, scheming and drinking—but still sharp, still calm, and full of heavy slowness. Like honey dripping from the prongs of a fork. That’s why people do drugs, if ever you were wondering.     My friend Mark actually lives in the city—unlike the rest of us who are still in fucking Greenpoint, pretending it’s awesome. Manhattan is still ‘New York,’ New York. Don’t let my friends or me

Flash Fiction | October 15, 2012

The Second Time I Met Ellie’s Dad by Sean Lovelace

I was jogging by when he asked if I wanted to pass through his sprinkler, you know, to cool off. I said, yes. Then he offered a beer and I said yes again. We walked into his kitchen. The walls were red to the point of obnoxiousness—it hurt my eyes, but I didn’t say anything. Not two days prior while he was at work I’d lifted Ellie atop the stove and kissed her breasts while thinking, “I sure hope that eye is off.” Later we shared a joint and fell into his couch (also red), laughing. Now her father and

Flash Fiction | October 15, 2012

Woo-Kyung-Valerie by Esme-Michelle Watkins

I come back to the dorms from winter break to find my new roommate dry-shaving her face in a cracked compact mirror. She hums as she scrapes the razor against her cheek, a sad tune I will never know. There is no visible fuzz on her cheeks, no discernible sound as the razor grazes skin. I don’t raise any of these points or ask any questions because I’m trying this new thing where I don’t judge people instantly or clutter conversations with my curiousness. The new roommate tells me she was born Woo-Kyung Cho, but prefers to be called Valerie.

Flash Fiction | October 15, 2012

King of the Zombies by Richard Peabody

The first Thursday in June had started well. Dean dealt with the endless line of painting contractors that began lining up in front of the door of the Sherwin-Williams at 6:30am, mixed and matched colors, sold tarps, brushes, and ladder pads, scrappers, and colored caulk. At lunch he’d skipped out from behind the counter to get a pink aluminum baseball bat for his daughter Tracy’s birthday. He expected his boss to cut him some slack when he came back a half hour late, and was surprised to be fired. Hell, he was too old to be working retail at his

Flash Fiction | October 15, 2012

A Dictionary of Devotions by Marianne Villanueva


Ask. Ask and thou shalt receive.

Assumpta est Maria, you sing every week in the auditorium.

Angels. Angelus. Angelic.

Admit. Admit, this was all your fault.

Against. Must you always — ?







Blood. Precious blood. You tell no one. You stare at the stains at the edges of your white cotton panties. Even the smell of it, faintly metallic, you like.

Blessed. Blessed in purity. Blessed be Thy name.

Better. To aspire always to better oneself.

It is essential.

Blot out. Blot out the blot.

Bring to me. Now!



Flash Fiction | October 15, 2012

Whiskey to Denim by Carly Berg

A speck appeared past where the sand churns in the waves. Past where the whiskey-colored water turns denim.

On the waterfront, my quarter slid tight in the slot of the high-power, pole mount binoculars. The speck his ship—a speck on a speck on the Gulf of Mexico.

A crusty fisherman sailed me out to meet the ship. I paid him with jewelry: hoops, chains, rings and a fistful of gold on fire in the bright orange day, I couldn’t wait.

The captain, having made me promise to give him my sandals, threw down a rope-ladder and called come aboard.

Poetry | October 15, 2012

Café by the Ruins by Rina Caparras

Water runs between the cracks of marble ruins, acts as the filler whenever we rest our strangely cacophonous voices. We talk with the admirable intent of breaking each other. The tea reflects expressionless faces, dull to the point of boring, though with every parting of lips we add more cracks to pillars and deface more reliefs. You tell me it was strange to meet each other here, in the ruins of what we were. I tell you it’s appropriate. We observe the cracks, noting every sign of weariness. I said it was our amateur way of sculpting things, we were

Poetry | October 15, 2012

A Change by Jacqueline Lucile Tiven

Listen to a reading of “A Change” by Jacqueline Lucile Tiven.

I once stayed at the house of a man as he began to go crazy.

Little was said when he returned one evening with a fish tank, though he groaned and struggled to hoist it on the dresser and could barely make sense of the bundles of tubes meant to keep the water fresh.

Then, starting off, there were only four, silver and modest occupants who had nothing in their world but pebbles and the anticipation of a rain of flaked food coming down. Even though he

Poetry | October 15, 2012


As I get older, I get worse.

I would eat a tube of ultramarine,

I love the ocean that much.

About the author:

Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Dreaming in Red from Right Hand Pointing and Cryptic Endearments from Knives Forks & Spoons Press. He has four chapbooks forthcoming: Elephant Gun from Dog on a Chain Press, The Death of Me from Pig Ear Press, Living Is the Spin Cycle from Red Bird Chapbooks, and Strange Roads from Puddle of Sky Press.

Poetry | October 15, 2012

WISDOM TOOTH EXTRACTION by Brett Elizabeth Jenkins

Listen to a reading of “WISDOM TOOTH EXTRACTION” by Brett Elizabeth Jenkins.

Even now I am planning something. I wonder if anyone else has cried in this particular dentist’s chair. Every thought that comes into my head exits moments later. That’s why I must write it all down. Watch me destroy my body. I will fill it up with the kinds of wines she liked. Look at my hair move slight in the wind just before I fall. When I turn my head my eyes get bigger, my sockets recess and get deeper. I can hardly shadow them; it is

Poetry | October 15, 2012

Five Poems by Dillon J. Welch

Listen to a reading of “Five Poems” by Dillon J. Welch.

Read “Five Poems” by Dillon J. Welch [PDF]

About the author:

“Dillon J. Welch is a writer from Southern New Hampshire. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Gargoyle Magazine, PANK, Red Lightbulbs & others. Dillon is a founding editor of the online quarterly, Swarm. Find him at:

Poetry | October 15, 2012

Everything that gets old by Eric Silverman

Gradually forgets Falling asleep in this chair giving way to tinnitus the sound of angels singing through a sprinkler

Fighting age, jogging in the empty OuterSunset Swimming, in the bay, pre-empted by a daily walk

My father’s whiskered shadow from the white room above the bathroom mirror the kind of order that deposits driftwood, along the beach and here, a blanched hue of stone.

About the author:

Eric Jason Silverman is a poet, essayist and novelist. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and daughter.

Poetry | October 15, 2012

the time i said hello to you, and you thought i was a bear by Paul Jessup

Listen to a reading of “the time i said hello to you, and you thought i was a bear” by Paul Jessup.

yesterday i found a pine tree growing in my ribs and everytime i tried to say anything all i did was cough up pine needles & the only time i didn’t hurt was when i wore my bearsuit & so i said hello to you and you screamed and hit me with a parasol & then cut me open with a knife & the pine tree popped out & it was filled with owls and birds and nests