Breathless-Erich Michaels

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You left the room

The vacuum you created

Has me raking at my throat

I frantically try to draw in air

I look around and it seems

I’m the only one struggling

The only one who even noticed

That you’ve gone

My hand reaches out

To your point of egress

And all I feel is bitter cold

Biting at my fingertips

I’m losing consciousness

My outstretched hand falls

My now limp arm lies next to me

The warm impression you left

In the couch cushion

Is felt by the back of my hand

Then the smallest of streams of air

Finds purchase in my throat


Erich Michaels describes himself as  “just trying to share the human experience.”  He has a bachelor’s degree in creative writing, but find himself writing SOPs (lather, rinse, repeat) in order to make a living, which can be detrimental to the creative process.  You can find him on the road to recovery at Erich Michaels.  Every journey begins with a single step, right?

Phalanx-Jimmi Campkin

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I should resist, but she has the confident glow of a seasoned drunk, smelling of cheap vodka and cherry gum.  She does handstands and I watch those filthy, unwashed baseball sneakers form an arc; just missing a string to be a devastating bow.  She hovers upside down for a moment and her arms burst with blood and sinew.  She walks on her hands, legs now bent like a scorpion, as I walk slowly and solemnly behind her like an undertaker walking to a funeral.

My friends tell me she is bad news but I like bad news.  I read about murder every day, I slow down for car wrecks, and I love how the spot on her forehead is infected and seething from being picked by grubby fingernails.  I love how she pushes rusty nails under her skin.  I love how she took up my dare to stand under the wasp’s nest in her underwear as I threw rocks at it.  Stung thirty eight times and going into shock, she still demanded I kiss her through the froth.

Maybe we are the people society forgot, or maybe we were a mistake from God – tossed over his shoulder towards the waste basket but bouncing off the rim and crawling, evolving on the floor in our own way; born out of lost bacteria in the gutter, staring up.  For my birthday last year she gave me a dead squirrel, pancaked flat from the road, and shaved my name into its decaying fur.

She finally overbalances and snaps to the ground like a sprung mousetrap.  Nearby is the old bridge, crossing a narrow but steep cut through the land.  The drop is horrible – in that middle distance between survival and death where leg and pelvic injuries are almost guaranteed.  The planks of the bridge have gaps and my challenge is to make my way under the bridge from one side to the other using just my hands and my grip.  She insists she won’t tread on my fingers through the gaps, but she’s a terrible liar.  And I know her well.  My body is raked with red scars from home-made surgeries, so much glue and stitches without anesthetic using her mother’s sewing yarn, all from her challenges.

I make my way underneath the bridge just before it falls away.  It stinks of piss and an old mattress where tramps go to convince themselves it isn’t worth trying anymore.  I put my fingers between the hold ahead of me and allow my feet to dangle beyond the drop.  I see her above, as a break in the sunlight.  And isn’t that an apt simile?  I shouldn’t be doing this.  I’m shit scared.  I should resist.  And as I am thinking these things, I go for the second hold.


Jimmi Campkin is a “Writer, photographer, creator of SANCTUARY. 16bit child, INFP with clinical nostalgia and red wine for blood.” You can enjoy more of his work at jimmi campkin.com.

Two Ten Second Plays-David Lohrey

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Eminent Domain

 

JOSEPHINE

            (SHE’s just entered, still in hat and coat.)

You’re not nearly as tall as I had imagined.

CHRIS

Josephine?

JOSEPHINE

Larry’s always liked big things: St. Bernards, Cathedrals, winter grapefruit. Do you have a big thing?

CHRIS

How did you get in?

JOSEPHINE

Take these doors. When we first moved in, a single entrance stood here leading out to the patio. Larry took a sledge hammer and just knocked it all out. He’s very destructive, you know. I always keep a key in my bag. Larry was very good with his hands. He put these French doors in all by himself. Do you like them? I always liked his fingers. You really should get yourself a purse. They’re very handy. You don’t love him, I suppose?

(Silence)

Then I really do feel sorry for you.


 

Catharsis

 

THELMA

(SHE sits among stacks of books piled on the floor beside her.)

Literature: it’s all bound up in blood and guts and semen and cunts and dicks and gods and meaning. Don’t you think so?

LOUISE

That’s so deep, so deep, like Plato and Aristotle and Aristophanes and Sappho. It’s the Greeks: they’re real big, and then the French and the epics, the poets. They’re all gay and if you like literature, that means you’re gay, too, like me and Thelma. It’s too deep for appreciation. This is passion.

THELMA

I’m Medea. Kill the kids, rip out their guts, this is it, baby. Bash their heads in, fuck their brains out, eat their shit. Why are we the only ones who love literature?


David Lohrey was born on the Hudson River but grew up on the Mississippi in Memphis. He currently teaches in Tokyo. He has reviewed books for The Los Angeles Times and The Orange County Register, has been a member of the Dramatists Guild in New York, and he is currently writing a memoir of his years living on the Persian Gulf. His latest book, The Other Is Oneself: Postcolonial Identity in a Century of War: 20th Century African and American Writers Respond to Survival and Genocide, is available on Amazon.com. He is also the author of Machiavelli’s Backyard from Sudden Denouement Publishing.

Beautiful

My Screaming Twenties

You cry because it is the first thing

the world and its oxygen

taught you to do –

you, a scrunched up ball

of someone’s perfection –

a perfection you have never

seen, never believed.

Even when your mother

made daisy chains to adorn

your crown.

Or when your father cried

the first time you smiled,

not at him nor yourself

but the birds in the sky

and the whistling songs

they sing.

You frown because safety

is your priority,

because saying you are

beautiful, out loud

even to four walls

as if they are a crowd,

is dangerous.

The roses, love letters,

best wishes and mirrors

still say it for you –

beautiful,

but you refuse to believe it –

with tired eyes, errands

and ‘maybe next times’.

You shrink because you

believe the world is too big

and the light in your eyes

stops you from being small…

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the little mermaid #1

lois e. linkens

The blue Danish harbour did sparkle so,

That morn as the Mermaid took her hard seat.

Out on Langelinie in the fierce heat,

The bronzed little fish-girl dullish did glow.

They came at first light, with cameras and such.

She heard the great clamour of feet, and oh!

Here they would come, the red sun bright and low,

English, Americans, Chinese, the Dutch.

They crowded like bees round her grey rock,

A gaggle of geese, a murmur, a flock.

And the Mermaid would sit, faced t’wards the shore,

Hour after long hour. She thought – such a snore

Is this life I must lead in search of my heart,

Who’s ne’er in this crowd. All’s hopeless and dark!

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Chant

erichmichaels

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I think that when I’m picking at self inflicted wounds, channeling the dead, dying and dishonored, feeling the full weight of the world’s apathy upon my chest, and bleeding it upon the page…that I’m at my most sane. In fact, I would say that it is during those periods when I sleepwalk through life, filling a role, swallowing back the acid at the rear of my throat with a smile, and become a living currency, an end to a means, that I’ve slipped into an oubliette of depravity. Sublimating the curses and tics of universal verity bubbling up from the magma of my bones is the original sin, that can only be abated by chanting a prayer older than any Hail Mary’s, or Nam-myoho-renge-kyo’s. I am here for but a moment. Allow me to love you, to be loved by you, and to be remembered. I am here for but…

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