WHAT WH ITE E LEPHANT

THEHUNGOVERISSUE

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THIS MAGAZINE CONTAINS HIGHLY SATIRICAL JOKES & AMAZING WRITERS; A FANTASTIC VOYAGE ON THE DEEP SEA OF FICTIONAL NARRATIVE. OH, AND THERE’S HOROSCOPES TOO. WE LIKE PRETTY PICTURES, AND WE LIKE PSYCHOLOGICAL SIMILAIRITIES. WE OFTEN USE POOR GRAMMER

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hang·over noun \ˈhaŋ-ˌō-vər\ Definition of HANGOVER 1: something (as a surviving custom) that remains from what is past 2 a : disagreeable physical effects following heavy consumption of alcohol or the use of drugs b : a letdown following great excitement or excess .

Y AWN

whatever
WHAT WHITE ELEPHANT - a subsidiary of BLAMMO!, L.L.C. - a division of STILL SUPER WASTED INCORPORATED You can find this issue and past issues at scribd.com/whatwhiteelephant or even e-mail us at WHATWHITEELEPHANT@gmail.com & we’ll send you a pdf (unless the Mayans have killed us with their calendar system). We’re also on THE INTERNET, and on Twitter @what_elephant (if you’re into those sorts of things). Physical copies are on a first come, first served basis (we’re poor) and can usually be attained by knowing a guy, that knows this other guy that knows someone on our editorial staff. They can usually get you a copy. If we’ve run out of physical copies, shameless begging and undying flattery will always catch our attention. If you’re subscribed to our mailing list, you’re not getting a copy. Have you seen the price of stamps lately? We ain’t running no charity over here. Well, okay, we are-you got me there, but we haven’t mailed anything out since the Politics issue, and until we stop spending all our money on whiskey and cheap women (or stop being so goddamn hungover all the time), we’re probably not mailing out any issues. Sorry. I’m not sorry.

AND TPICALLY A LOT OF MISSPELLINGS TOO (WE FIRED OUR PROOFREADERS) WE LIKE ROAD TRIPS, WOMEN WITH LOOSE MORALS & SUNFLOWER SEEDS. SHIT’S DELICIOUS, YO.

WHAT WHITE ELEPHANT THEJANUARYISSUE

CONTENTS
HOROSCOPES COMPLEX FEELINGS THE DEATH ISSUE

...1 2. ...4 4. ...4 6.

THE BENDS
DON’T USE THIS

7.

Yeah, she was a slut and yeah, she left piles of alcohol induced vomit laying around, but I probably could have gotten over it

HANGOVERS

8.

Not gonna lie to you, ready. I’m pretty crippled by depression or something at this time of year

13

I AM

10.

I’m a constant shifting, transforming, solid; andI won’t be able to breathe until I land on my feet

BE ABOUT LOVE

11. ...17

There’s no way to begin this story where it started, so I’ll tell you its end first

THEN YOU REALIZE

14. ...15

I want to get angry. I want to hate him. I suppose a part of me hates what he’s become

LIMMERICKS & PROSE 17. GERMAN

18.

Friendship with Shelly German, perhaps like friendship with anyone, was the same as eating an overcooked Christmas turkey

FAILED HOPES & DISENCHANTMENT HEADACHE, NAUSEA RATIONAL DENSITY
CONFESSIONAL THINGS OVERHEARD THE GUEST LIST ...18 ...19 ...20

SPONSORED BY HANGOVERS

YOU WANTED HOROSCOPES EVERYTHINGBUT WERE TOOTO KNOW ABOUT THE FUTURE HUNGOVER TO ASK
ARIES - Hey! Shut up, okay? Maybe thats the wrong way to put it. Will you hush, because your lips are so pretty when they sit perked and erect? They’re going to get you in trouble this month. After your father finds out you stole that bicycle instead of paying for it by working a paper route, you’re going to wish could you get away with chewing off your lips. Don’t let others pull on your puppet strings, baby. Unless you have a baby, baby. TAURUS - Yeah, your art is pretty, but nobody knows because you SUCK AT SHARING! Get over yourself so others can get into you. There’s a problem with this. Like Lao Tsu said, “(S)he who grasps more than (s)he can hold, would be better without any. If a house is crammed with treasures of gold and jade, it will be impossible to guard them all.” However, you won’t even read anything this month, so here’s some cliche advice to fall on deaf ears. GEMINI - Wait... I thought you hated shrimp? Didn’t you say they’re disgusting bottom dwellers who eat the dead? You say you’re not a Buddhist anymore? You’ve accepted Jesus as your Lord and savior?! Does that mean you’re not going to Tibet with me? Make up your fucking mind already, twin face. Some of the holiday post trip will become something you can’t drop, so carry on with it in the best way it can work to your advantage. And don’t be a fucking dick about it.
2 HUNGOVERDIVINATIONS

CANCER - Cancer? Oh yeah, those bastards. No one knows who you are. Your eyes are that of a rabbit’s, cold and otherwordly with secrets only you know. You’re plotting something, but no one knows what. Stop whatever you’re plotting, okay Crabbit? Because you’re freaking me out and you’re emotional. Whatever. You can give a moron the opportunity to succeed, but you can’t make their decisions for them. That’s not a prediction, but whatever. Crybaby. Learn to lose. LEO - What time in the month not spent in the woods will be spent at strip clubs & heroin dens. Are we feeling adventurous this month, Leo? Stick to staying cold turkey, and the new year will roll along pleasently. Otherwise you’re facing a month of hard roads, and even heavier living. But it’s not like Krokodil actually killed anyone. Fuck Russia. Learn a new language or something, it’s not like you’re catching anything in Siberia or strip clubs anyway. VIRGO - I like throwing things out there regardless of how people are going to take it, and you’re a deliberate asshole like that too, Virgo. Spend less time this month organizing your baseball cards, and more time cleaning up your community. Actions speak louder than words, and blah blah blah, you know. Hey Virgo, I hear you’re a great baker... wanna bake me something nice? I’ll stop calling you an asshole in horoscopes. Promise.

LIBRA - Did I spit on you, Libra? I’m sorry... that car bomb hit me harder than I imagined it would. Shit. That’s not a horoscope. Um, you’ll tell someone some things, from the outside looking in, and it seems like you’re tearing them apart, but really you’re giving them constructive advice. And not ripping them apart. Whatever helps you sleep at night, Libra. This month you’re going to be in a worked over conversation, either way, you’ll be in a conversation where someone will be worked out. Benefit from that. Slut. SCORPIO - Remember to brush your teeth.

CAPRICORN - You have been questioning whether or not your horse is alive, and no that’s not a blatent drug reference. You’re going to have a heart attack in three years-- that’s why you’re so mean to people now. People will really look back and think, “Jesus, that guy was a fucking prick.” You’re going to run into an old friend at the supermarket and try to avoid them. You won’t succeed. You should smile more. Just because you’re an asshole doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. AQUARIUS - Not to exaggerate anything, at all, but your month is going to be quite a bit less hectic than the last 1-2 marked up in your calender. I’m not mad about something you feel, but I’m intrigued and have questions about soemthing you may have said. But I don’t remember what it was. It was probably something you mentioned, or were talking about, but I don’t know what they were... what were we talking about? Abortions may, or may not be a laughing matter this month... circumstabtially speaking. Use your best judgement. PISCES - You are heading northeast to Conneticut, and who could blame you? I hear the weather is beautiful up there this time of year. You’re dealing with a lot right now, but it’s nothing an emergency root canal can’t solve. You should focus on your diet because a diet of pizza and rum is not a real diet at all. A Gemini in your life isn’t a Buddhist anymore, so feel free to crack all the insensitive jokes you want. You should write your objective bullshit in a journal, and not facebook.

SAGITTARIUS - Are your flu symptoms better? Good because you’re going to catch avian bird flu-- and that’s not just because you’ve been to southeast Asia. I’m losing control of my words. Insert random philisophical statement here that will inspire you to change your perspective in some way. New perspectives are fun sometimes. Or keep talking shit. You beat the hell out of other people when it comes to pop culture, so that’s an achievement right? Sure it is. Remember to take your medication unless you like hanging out in jail.

COMPLEX
FEELINGS
Yeti Detective
I’m having complex feelings don’t really have anyone to talk to about it but you, reader. So I’m going to write some emotional exhibitionist bullshit and bleed my blood out all over these pages for you, you voyeuristic fuck. People like that kind of shit, don’t they? Everything terrible today. Usually it’s just the inside of my head that’s terrible, but I just took a three hour walk to try to find something good in the world, and was sorely, sorely disappointed. There are no cute people out on the sidewalks. The sky is drab. The breeze is chill. I’m not difficult to please. A flower garden, an interesting sculpture or poster, a pretty smile and ½ a second of eye contact in passing is usually all I need to lift my spirits a little. But not now. Maybe not ever again. Drugs aren’t helping, and I’m very peculiarly disinterested in my whiskey flask. “What happened to you, Yeti?” you would say if you were real. “Was it that horrible shooting in Connecticut?” That was pretty shitty, and it didn’t help my mood at all, I’m sure. I have a kid and a nephew who are both about the same age as some of the kids who were killed. I know a shit load of “gun enthusiasts” who are just deluded and insane and willfully ignorant about the small but real roll they themselves play in contributing to a culture that keeps allowing senseless shit like this to happen. It hurts me inside to know that those are normal people with normal lives and jobs and hopes and dreams, and I’m an outsider freak because I question norms and take drugs and have to drink myself to sleep every night so my brain will shut up about all the violence and horror and terrible

shit that’s happening somewhere on the planet every second, and how I’m powerless to stop the vast majority of it, and so is basically everyone else, but if we could all just open our eyes, admit that it’s happening, agree that it’s brutal and unnecessary and set into motion cultural forces to stop it, we could. The world is horrible, and we make it that way, but then we just shrug our shoulders and, “c’est la vie,” (the French among us, anyway. And the French-Canadian, I think. You get the point.) “Hey, man. That’s just how it is. The world sucks, but there’s nothing you can do about it. Just try to be happy,” you would say, completely missing the point. God DAMMIT, reader, that’s exactly the problem right there. This is why I fucking hate you. Maybe I should take a nip of whiskey. I didn’t really keep track of what all pills I was eating. To be honest, I’m not sure I ever knew what some of them were. There was one that might just have been a really regularly shaped pebble. I hope that comes out my bhole and not my my phole... Anyway, no. The profound absurdity and constancy of human violence is something that bugs me every day, just in the back of my head, like a small wasps’ nest inside my skull. I have coping mechanisms for that. No, reader, I’m afraid I may have fallen in love. Not really. That’s nearly impossible, I’m sure, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that I’ve spent probably less than 3 hours out of the last 168 with this person. But something bad is happening. I’ve felt attraction before (all the goddamn time, really. See: the Lust issue) and this is far and away beyond that. Attraction what you feel when you see something beautiful, but you look away and the feeling fades.

I’ve become infatuated before, too. I don’t know if I’ve ever written about Raptor Girl in this publication, but she certainly stole my heart even as she stole my boxers. This is different. This is horrible. Infatuation is when a person makes you feel like you’re high on drugs, and that’s an awesome feeling. I feel like I’m overdosing on PCP. (I’m 99% certain none of the drugs I’ve taken today were PCP. I don’t even think you can get PCP in tablet form.) I can’t control my own mind. I can’t stop thinking about this person. Every time my phone beeps an alert, my heart flutters, and then I check it and it isn’t (pronoun), and my stomach clenches. I’m incredibly suave, reader. People fall in love with me all the time. All. The. Time. That’s shitty for me because I end up having to break people’s hearts all the time, but as a dear friend once said, “I’m SORRY so many people find you attractive. That must be REALLY HARD for you.” And now the tables are turned. I’m in love (pathologically infatuated, I don’t even really think love is a real thing,) and there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s the most hopeless feeling I’ve ever felt in my life for a lot of reasons. First reason: it’s unrequited. I’m pretty sure I’m never going to hear from (pronoun) again, at this point. The disinterest is palpable. How could anyone be disinterested in me? HOW? It’s not like I was way too up-front about every single aspect of my horrible life and overwhelmed (pronoun) with all of the putrid, disgusting issue of my shriveled, black heart. Oh, wait. Yeah it is. That’s exactly what I did. I’m terrible at this. Whatever this is. I said I was very suave, and that’s true. I can make you like me, easily. Too easily, often-times. Thus, the randos falling in love with me who’s hearts I have to

break on the weekly. But not by actually letting you get to know me. Not ever. And that’s what I wanted this time. I don’t know what made me want that. I’ve never wanted that. But I met this person, and I wanted to show (pronoun) my insides. And that was completely stupid. Never do that, reader. Or maybe do. Maybe you’re boring and common enough that you can show someone else your insides and they’ll say, “Hey. Those look a lot like my insides,” and then you’ll be best friends forever and touch each others’ dicks or butts or whatever people like to touch on other people. Not my insides, though. They’re rotten from decades of exposure to reality. Like fruit exposed to oxygen. For decades. Rotten and diseased. A horrifying brown sludge that just needs to be hosed off into the sewer. Good night, reader. I’m going to go into my closet now and cry Real Tears because I’m feeling Real Feelings like a Real Person, and it’s horrible. I don’t know how any of you deal with this bullshit, ever. It is the worst.

SUBMIT
ARTICLES, POETRY, STUFF & THINGS, ERRATA, THINGS OVERHEARD, FUNERAL NOTICES, FUNNY LIMMERICKS, UNWANTED CHILDREN, INTERN APPLICATIONS, AND YOUR POETRY TO WHATWHITEELEPHANT@GMAIL.COM, AND YOU’LL BE FEATURED IN AN UPCOMING ISSUE... PROBABLY NOT THOUGH

5

remembering

mr.ficklebritches

Even though we’re meant to revere it in all cases, death gives us different meanings. If the person that dies is close to us or (please protect me) very close, we might walk around in a haze, not wondering what’s “next.” There isn’t a “next” because life no longer has a succession. Part of our present and our past has been severed. We’re no longer who we were, but something else in a world that has changed entirely. I touched on this last month briefly, and despite telling myself to get it out, I really don't want to go into detail. This month was supposed to be the death issue, and coincidentally, I have been surrounded by death lately. I'm starting to think that we should pick... more appropriate themes. It seems like they've been too dark and negative lately. Disappointing armageddon death... gee, you'd think the editorial staff were all sitting around, cutting our wrists and brooding when we came up with these themes. We're really not, dear readers. Well, most of us aren't. I just texted one of our writers. Can you submit your article within a day or two? It's hard waiting on those last articles. Each time I work on the zine and stare at those empty pages I hope that something is coming in... anything. Otherwise I default to put something random in. Remember the pictures of Jesus and Beyonce last month? Waited for an article that never came in. I'm really not bitching-- I promise. I know people have better things to do than to spew a bunch of personal narrative all over a page. I hear sleeping is the new black. So what was I avoiding talking about? Oh yeah death. Death happens. I'm going to be cliche and just chalk it up to that. I think it's worst when it's unexpected than say when someone is getting better, is turning that proverbial corner, and then bam-- an artery bursts and there's nothing that can be done. Yeah, life and death happen all the time. I'd be a liar if I didn't tell you that this death has affected (effected? whatever) me very deeply. She was my... every cliche you can think of. She was (no offense Mom!) my maternal figure in my life. Her words always came from a place of love, a place of wanting to see me shine. I don't think I can adequately put into words how deeply she touched my life and how much of an impact she made on shaping the man I am today. I will miss you so much Virginia.
6 ATOUCHINGNARRATIVE

In high school I didn’t do shit. I showed up for class (usually) and absorbed enough material to pass my tests. I barely slid through what was required of me. I grew up in a horrible little tourist town round here (I think you can guess which one) and our school system was (likely still is) comprised of polar opposites. We were one end or the other of many social spectrums. Genius or absolute moron. Blissfully ignorant bible thumper or mind numbingly egotistical atheist. Avid sports fan or, you know, normal. I was convinced that college would be the same story and so I made my mind up long ago that food service would be lucrative enough to pay rent and buy groceries and that was all I needed. When senior year rolled around and everyone around me was stressing out about taking the right tests and getting the right scores and maintaining their 4.whatever GPA I got to sit back and laugh and say “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.” because, as usual, I was kickin’ back doing whatever the hell I wanted to do in my spare time. At least, that was before my dad insisted that I apply to some schools. Every damn day it was “Apply yourself” “You would just BLOSSOM in a collegiate environment.” “Blah blah school blah money blah blah blah lazy ass.” I appeased him and the results were as follows: My 25 on the ACT wasn’t enough for Drury to excuse my grades, and Wash U? Let’s not even go there. Missouri State, on the other hand, accepted me within a week. I tried to tell myself it wasn’t because of my name. My immediate reaction was to let them know I wasn’t coming, but one day I decided to look at their dorms online, just for shits and giggles (Of course I had to create an official MSU student account). I wondered if I could get a single. I wondered what my roomate(s) would be like if I couldn’t. I deluded myself into thinking that the place would be full of hip peeps walking down the sidewalk carrying sketch pads and discussing the content of

use this, don't use this. whatever.
Shmitty their more interesting classes as opposed to bitching about due dates. I wondered if I’d get a dorm with a community bathroom, or if I’d ever clean my own private bathroom. I started mapping paths between various dorm buildings and the psychology building. I looked at where the meal halls were and how close to downtown it was. I discovered that National Art Shop was up the road a bit. Drury wasn’t far. I could go see my sister. And my uncle. And my cousins. And my mom’s good friend Jack. Suddenly I was going to MSU, and I won’t try to displace the blame onto my father. It was all my fault. I could have lied and said that no one wanted me and not wasted 5 months of my life. But I suppose I’m getting ahead of myself. I did everything at once. I went to orientation and paid my initial fees and bought many a space saving storage device and moved half my crap to Springfield within 2 weeks. I was starting my life over. I was getting my shit together. In the first few weeks I did my homework and wrote my papers and read the material. I loved my religion class. I even gave two speeches in COM. Shit was starting to go right for once. And then, when it got chillier, I noticed a girl wearing ugly tan Yeti boots. Every dude I passed was wearing basketball shorts and a t-shirt for their favorite bootball, faceball, whatever team. And at every intersection of walkways there was a gaggling group of the oblivious ugg boot wearing cheerleader types typing away on their iPhones and bitching about how they have to go, like, learn shit. I started listening to the conversations going on around me and the intellectual deep inside of me screamed. It was like if the kids I suffered through four long years with suddenly fanCONTINUEDONPAGE13 7

HANGOVERS
Yeti Detective

Hangovers, man. Am I right? Not gonna lie to you, reader. I’m pretty crippled by depression or something at this time of year. Like, I don’t even know how other people even feel happiness. I kind of think that the whole of human existence is just a cruel joke to fuck with me. My birthday is at a really unfortunate time of year (November) so I get to embark into new phases of life at the same time as the earth itself is becoming dead and gray and the only birds left in the sky are crows, little flecks of death who’s cry calls your soul to the land of the dead. Some people don’t get hangovers when they’re young. Let’s pretend I used that as a segue to continue to treat you as my therapist. These past few weeks were “The Holidays,” where you get together with family and eat a giant bird for some reason. Twice if you’re American. One of the times is to celebrate genocide. YAY! Genocide! Anyway, my family is horrible. They aren’t horrible on purpose, which makes me feel bad for talking about how horrible they are, but they’re every kind of homophobic, racist, sexist, bullshit you can name. And

8

they’re getting older. My parents’ generation, them and their siblings, are just now being faced with the knowledge that they are not going to be rich or famous ever. And most of their kids are dead or don’t speak to them. My own life is a complete failure in every way you can define that term, and my sister’s on her second domestic abuse shotgun marriage, so it’s not even like they can go, “Well, look what we’ve sent into the future.” It’s really just a house full of people who all have no legitimate reason to not kill themselves, but nobody’s stated it explicitly, so I guess we’ll all just push on, right? And then there’s my own kids. They’re the only reason I can’t just kill myself. Because your dad committing suicide is the ultimate Being Abandoned By Your Dad. You can’t even pretend like he’s coming back ever. So I struggle on through the mundane horror of day-to-day existence. But it just hit me today that they’re going to grow up some day, and they’re going to have to face how terrible the world is. ______________________________ ______________________________ _______________________ HA HA! That’s where the crippling depression turned into blinding depression and I tried to go to bed. I succeeded in falling asleep for a few hours, but as soon as the booze wore off my brain was like, “HEY! HEY!

@HEARTSTOMP.org

WAKE UP! IT’S THREE AM! DO YOU KNOW WHAT A TERRIBLE FAILURE YOU ARE BY LITERALLY EVERY DEFINITION OF THE WORD? BECAUSE I’M ABOUT TO TELL YOU ON A LOOP WITHOUT STOPPING!” So, yeah. I’m better now, though. Marginally. What were we talking about? Hangovers? I don’t really get hangovers. I think those are the things that happen after you stop being drunk, which isn’t a behavior I recommend. Wait, are hangovers the thing where your sober brain screams at you for hours in the dark while you rock back and forth and sob? Or is that called, ‘My God, Yeti, You Are Unspeakably Insane And Probably Need Even More Drugs Than You Already Take Even Though That Statement Defies Human Biology?’ That’s not really true, I don’t do that many drugs. Just a lot of alcohol, some amphetamine, an occasional benzodiazapine, I went on a little codeine bender last week that was pretty awesome, does marijuana still count as a drug? Anyway, I’m not here to impress you. I honestly don’t know why I’m here. The free cookies, probably. Didn’t know about the free cookies? You should probably contribute an article, then. Loser. These cookies are fucking boss.

Anyway, I’m sorry. This article is terrible. I literally have an overdosing junkie resting her head on my lap in between gross choking episodes. It’s forty minutes to New Year’s Day, 2013. I have made one continuous mistake for 30 years in a row. GOING ON 31!

of the month Audience Participation?
cast your vote
What do you do when no one will submit an article and your zine is only half full 5 days after the deadline? 1) Make shit up OR 2) Don’t care-- it’s not like anyone reads this rag anyway

question

UNTITLED
I’m...

Jesus After Easter

IF YOU EVER DID WRITE ANYTHING ABOUT ME, I’D WANT IT TO BE ABOUT LOVE Aging Trembling

If you’d have asked me two weeks ago what i’d be doing for the next week, i’d more than likely tell you that i’d be doing the usual. In reality though, i’ve been doing that which at many times i’ve thought of as unthinkable. It’s funny to think about: I’m unknowingly jaded, or was anyway. I was sure life had no more surprises for me, let alone being surprised by myself. Guess i don’t know myself as well as i should afterall. I’ll just add it to one of my many half written todo lists. I’ve shedded, shedded off 2+ years; And stepping out of the other side of that experience, I’m... I’m...Heavy, but relieved I’m...Hurt, but healing I’m...Scared, but optimistic. I’m a constant shifting, transforming, solid; and i won’t be able to breathe until i land on my feet. which i usually do, this time though..I’m completely alone. What i do know: When it happens, I’ll be unstoppable, And that’s the only thought keeping me going. In the meantime, With the help of my familiars, i’ll re-collect the pieces lost, or hidden, or never discovered at all, til i’m whole again, by myself and as only myself. The potential still exists, and it’s growing as we speak, in one way or another. There’re just higher stakes now, the risks are steeper, and it only me that pays if i fail. high five for growing up.

10

There’s no way to begin this story where it started, so I’ll tell you its end first. It ends with a night when a man – just barely a man, mostly a boy, full of jokes and laughter and passionate opinions – held me down on the thick black asphalt of the parking lot by my neck. It ends with him driving his knee into my stomach, bursting parts of my intestines and telling me he should kill me. When I stood up, he punched me in the side and broke my rib. We said we were in love. I’m not supposed to tell this story; I should keep it private, I should hold it back. But this story, my story with him, has a life of its own. I know this because it’s still alive. Sometimes, when I sleep on my left side, my ribs will ache. If I’m worried that someone will read this and use it against me, somehow, to hurt me, I must remember that my memories already do that. A familiar song, the grass by the Charles River where we once fell asleep draped over each other, the photos of us together – they’re harsher than any person, filled with that living ghost of where he and I stood and slept and kissed. It was Independence Day when we met, and I’ve often thought of this curious timing. After some messages back and forth, I drove from Amherst to Boston and walked up the back steps of his building and there he was, sitting on the balcony. He was twenty-four years old, drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette and reading a book. His shirt was off. He was muscular and unfailingly Italian. I had never seen and will never see anyone so handsome. We began kissing immediately and

went to his room, where the air conditioning relieved the humidity and we had sex and then had sex again. In the hum of the air conditioner, we were sticky and exhausted. We talked about our lives and joked about too many things. From there, it was four months of he and I together; back and forth, a two hour drive. Four months: looking forward, it can seem like forever. Looking back, it can feel like nothing. The black asphalt is like nothing, too. That night, there’s no world, no color. This is what nothing feels like, I think, until I feel his knee push down into my stomach. “I should crack your skull open and leave you for dead.” But before that night we’d walk in the morning with his dogs. They’d charge past us into the fields behind his parents’ house. They’d get lost and we’d have to find them. They’d return to us wet and happy. The mornings were cold and we’d hold hands. Those hands felt so thick. Or sometimes we’d walk without the dogs and there were a hundred things to talk about. Before that night, we fucked on the floor of his parents’ house. He’d just moved back, and I’d helped him pack, carrying furniture down the steps on a hot summer day. Boston was too hard on his own and he wasn’t sure what he’d do. He always thought his life was a mess. Underneath us was the rug of the bedroom floor. We were covered in each other and cushioned by it. “I’m so happy to see you,” he said. And then, “Please don’t ever leave me.” Those words stayed with me. “I won’t,” I said. That night, before he hit me, I started to cry. I knew I was leaving and moving to San Francisco. “Please, I don’t want to go without you,” I told him.

“Shutup,” he said. “Stop crying, you’re pathetic.” I feel like it’s important to tell you, this isn’t the “complete” story. I wasn’t innocent of everything, and this is why people get confused: As if you must be completely clean and loving or else maybe you had it coming. People would ask, “Did he hit you before?” Or, “Have you been in other abusive relationships?” The answer to both questions is no. Is it so hard to think that the person who gets hit didn’t do anything to deserve it? They’d ask, “What happened?” Or, more nuanced, “Why did he do that?” What reason would have satisfied them or me? As if someone could even give a reason. Because he was angry. Because he was hurting inside. Because he couldn’t cry and so hated seeing me cry. I don’t know. I wonder if people asked me “why” as a sort of protective amulet for themselves. If they knew why, maybe they could stop it from ever happening. Maybe it would all make sense. But cause and effect lost its value on the asphalt. Nothing links up, nothing makes sense, there’s only feelings and actions as you’re lost to something bigger than yourself. There is no cause. In that way, and perhaps in that way only, it’s like love. Once, I stole his hat. He told me he loved his hat more than he loved most people – a green Boston Red Sox hat that they didn’t make anymore. He came over and when he was drunk, I took it and hid it. I don’t even know why. It was a game or a joke or a grasp for power. I told him I didn’t know where it was, and he was furious. I returned it weeks later, but never told the truth. He knew the truth, he knew I hadn’t

miraculously found it, but I never said so. And in spite of everything that happened after, I’m sorry I stole that hat. Many times I was too upset, I was too dependent, I was too easy to unsettle. I wanted everything to be pure and happy and I shoved it out of balance so often. Before I met him, I’d planned to move to San Francisco, and I asked him to come with me. He said yes, and we started to talk about our apartment together. We imagined a whole different city. The way the light would be different. What our bedroom would look like in the morning. Those images settled into me and they were like breathing. I became used to them and they kept me going, they woke me up. Then a week later he said he wouldn’t come, and I had to imagine something different. I cried and didn’t know where to turn or what to do. We looked at an apartment in Boston together, but it wasn’t the same. The motion of moving west had already seized me. We’d sit at his dining room table and draw funny pictures together and reveal them, laughing. I was on my way, even then. I kept feeling like it was inevitable – I had to go to San Francisco. Please come with me, I asked too many times. I’m sorry for asking so many times. In one letter, he wrote, “If you ever did write anything about me, good or bad, I’d want it to be about love.” And then, like the negative to that image, I see his face, shameful and angry, as he’s holding me down against the black nothingness of the ground. The two are, only now, beginning to be the same person for me. The contradiction cannot be reYOUSAIDYOU’DREMEMBER

solved or changed. “You’ll write about this, and I’ll just be another story,” he said spitefully. “I know you will. You’ll tell everyone.” “No,” I said. “I won’t.”

12

cied themselves “Adults” and were therefore more obnoxious than ever. I was living in a high school on steroids. Again it would be easy for me to lie and blame my roommate for everything that happened between then and the end of the semester. Yeah, she was a slut and yeah, she left piles of alcohol induced vomit laying around, but I probably could have gotten over it. The truth is I became so annoyed with everything going on around me that I withdrew. I didn’t go to class. I slept all day and played minecraft into mid morning. I gained my freshman fifteen before midterms. I failed every one of my classes and left at the end of the semester. It’s been a year and I haven’t paid for my of non education. And, yeah, I guess you could say I was mildly disappointed.

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THEN YOU REALIZE
Hot Tiger
I went for a long run as a last ditch attempt to escape the poisonous thoughts that have again taken over my mind. I lunged past the well manicured lawns, and expensive cars, my ears stinging and my heart aching, wondering if the tears were from the cold or the perpetual sadness inside me. He never loved me, of this I am now absolutely certain. While incarcerated, Daniel’s girl and I somehow became each other’s temporary confidant, each girl anxiously on either end of the phone sharing pieces of stories and truths, secretly hoping that she is the one he really loves. This strange relationship revealed to me what Daniel is like when he’s in love. I never saw it before. Not once in the 3 years we had together. And then he got out. Bailed out by his brother, and it was a shock at very least. Upon his arrival home it was a systematic backlash of excuses and misdirected anger that resulted in one huge shit-storm. Angry gchats between Daniel and myself, supportive texts between myself and Heather, pathetic, pleading emails addressed from him to her, with plagiarized lines he had lifted from my blogs about him… It’s hard to even talk about it. It’s hard to fucking think about it. As if the pain of love gone wrong hadn’t almost killed me, and now all this. I had reached a level of semi-acceptance and had even started to find myself halfway attracted to other guys. But in the Wake of Hurricane Daniel, I am left feeling even more alone, and humiliated than I had in the beginning, and am barely a shell of my former self.

I didn’t sleep last night, or the night before. I finally drifted to sleep after choking back a loose Tylenol PM I found at the bottom of my purse around 6am. Three hours later, I was startled awake by BA calling to me, cheerful as ever, wanting to include me in her Saturday projects. At this point, it’s too late to even be allowed to be sad anymore. How can I explain that I was almost fine until I had one conversation with him? And that the only reason we even had a conversation is because he’s too paranoid to email me anymore because I might forward it to Heather? How do I explain that I just now realized after 3 years that this person never ever loved me and never will and that it makes me want to fucking carve my face off and stab myself in the heart? Please make it fucking stop. I want to get angry. I want to hate him. I suppose a part of me hates what he’s become, but the problem with that is that I can’t completely accept that this is really his personality now. The boy I met four years ago was shy, and sweet, and refreshingly unaware of how beautiful he was. The new model is arrogant, and alarmingly mean, and obsessed with being cool, and I want nothing to do with this person. I guess people would refer to my current state of being as ‘recovery.’ The recovery from benzo addiction is like yesterday’s news though, at this point. The residual depression may or may not have a thing to do with xanax, of that I can’t be certain. The Recovery from Daniel, however, is a slow, and miserable withdrawal that I’m not entirely sure I’m going to walk away from. I assume people do this, that I’m not

14

ATALEOFLOVE

the first to have my heart flattened out on the pavement, and then pissed on. But it’s been two months, TWO FUCKING MONTHS, and still no end in sight. In fact, I actually feel worse now, if that is even possible. I came home Tuesday night in a great mood, having spent the entire day like an actual human-I went swimming with Brandon, submitted job applications, and went out to dinner with BA. But anything positive I had done with myself became moot point upon arriving home. There was a gchat message form Daniel to check my inbox, and when I did, the smile was wiped from my face instantly, my heart sank straight to the floor, where it remains to this very moment. It was something of a goodbye letter stating his lover had taken issue with our spotty communication. We hadn’t even exchanged but maybe a 20 line gchat conversation in weeks, instigated by him , not by me. This is fucking crazy. He’s really hers, now. It’s strange how a bevvy of weekly Facebook uploads can’t make the message hit home, how reported sightings from friends doesn’t even do it, but this email…nearly fucking killed me. I got angry, and needed to hide from BA, who still happily chattering, still buzzed from our dinner cocktails. I grabbed my cigarettes, and sat in the furthest corner of the garden, a private little escape covered by big mulberry branches where I could sob freely into the darkness. What followed was an exchange via text between myself and this person he’s chosen to replace me. I kept my temper and simply warned her that trying to own a man will only drive him away, I should know. What followed was relentless antagonizing on her part that left my head spinning as far as why I’d opened the door

to this sort of intimidation in the first place, and exactly what he saw in this illiterate child anyway. But, again, I don’t know him now. My sweet, beautiful Daniel is gone, and in his place stands a man I just don’t recognize. If only I could get angry enough to fall out of love with him, I might have a chance to be something besides a red-eyed waif on suicide watch. But my big stupid heart won’t allow it. For the past two days I’ve been listening to every song that sings the tale of love lost, frantically adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing the factors of our ‘great love’, only to be left with the sum of it’s parts equaling me: alone. It courses through my blood and takes over my body. I can’t move, I can’t speak. I halfway listen as BA cheerfully rambles that I am so lucky to have escaped the poison of Daniel, and of her son. That I will find a great man, that I will have a great future, and I nod, even though I don’t believe any of this. I obediently chew and swallow without tasting my organic chicken and organic collard greens, and organic steamed sweet potatoes, choked back with acai juice. She’s still talking but I zone out and wonder exactly how sad she might be if she were to come home and find me hanging from the mulberry tree. Beautiful. Just when you feel utterly alone and hopeless, the universe will surprise you. In a life that was consumed by the love of a man, and then was consumed by loneliness and fear, it’s easy to want to give up. It’s easy to fall into a void where the only solution in front of you is death. You’re tired. Nobody understands you, and if you try to explain it, you only push people

further and further away. Your friends liked you because you were fun, and now your sad and they don’t want to be around you anymore. Your pain is written on your face, you can’t hide it, nor do you want to. What brings a person to self-harm, anyway? To actually take a razor to your own milky white skin, and let it bleed out? You’re too afraid to really end it, but maybe you hope someone will notice, and throw you that life raft before you drown in your own self pity. Before I came here I was this person. I had a beautiful life with a beautiful boy in a beautiful place, and from the outside looking in, it must have looked perfect. Then the wind blew hard, and it carried him away, right out of my arms and into hers. So completely final, one moment he was there, and the next, I’m alone with fat tears on my cheeks playing Johnny Whoops with a razor blade. I halfway tried to make a go of it alone at the beach. Keep my apartment, keep a job, try and muster the old me for the sake of my friends, but it felt hopeless. There were always more hours at the end of the day to be spent alone in my apartment, no matter how drunk I got it was never enough. And if by chance it was enough, it was actually too much and I’d find myself pleading with a god I barely believe in to bring him back to me. Pitiful. And then, out of nowhere, I did two things right. I gave up on him, and I gave up on xanax. My heart still hasn’t agreed with my head on this one, but for the first time in what’s only been a week but feels like a year, I can honestly say that my head is clear. Just like that. The old dusty light bulb is replaced with a brand new one. I can now say with absolute certainty that coming here was the best thing I have ever done. This wom-

an is the mother I always longed for but never had. In a life of filling voids, and starving for love, I have found it in the most unlikely of places. I feel safe, and though my heart is still broken, it really doesn’t even matter. I chose to live, and I know my heart will eventually follow. He can have his girl and my beach, and our friends. I said all along that I wanted him to be happy, and if I was ever honest, I have to let go. I threw his prison letters away tonight.

UNTITLED
Patches Deville He was a pathetic, pitiful, prick His morals made me very sick Now my fantasy Is to see him bleed As he’s bashed in the head with a brick His minds in a terrible state His heart was consumed with such hate So I shot him dead Then chopped off his head Now the devil finally he’ll debate The devils been dealing his debts Now this bed is so red and so wet With a bad bloodstain I hope he’s in pain As I sit idly by smoking cigarettes He’s sweating in substantial fear The torture should be so severe Dug six feet below That’s where he will go But no one knows, he just disappeared

from a hangover are worse than the ones who don’t drink at all. at least the ones who don’t drink never underestimate the irritability of my hangover’s snarl.

THE BASILAR ARTERY
mr.ficklebritches she was 83 just as clumsy as she was brave full of inquisition and curiosity she was my best friend my most trusted ally 11:04 p.m. she taught me about kindness in the world soft cornflower blue eyes the gentlest hands she was so beautiful i love you so much.

NOTES ON A HANGOVER’S SNARL
Daniel A. Jones they say that 25% of drinkers are resistant to hangovers. fuck them. those poor souls haven’t lived, they haven’t felt that razor blade against the pupil. that darkness depression that brings it all into perspective. that withdrawal from love and life. they have one less reason to suicide, and i can’t trust that kind of person. the ones who can’t suffer

LIMMERICK

&POETRY

German
Josh Field

Shelly German of all people introduced Josh to his future husband Ty (Josh’s words, when he asked Shelly to present them to each other: “that boy who looks like Mr Garvey from Little House on the Prairie, except hot”). This took place at the massage therapists’ annual New Year’s Eve party, either the year before or after the Springfield ice storm, Josh couldn’t remember, but it was definitely before the Great Recession. Poor Shelly German. Friendship with Shelly German, perhaps like friendship with anyone, was the same as eating an overcooked Christmas turkey: much basting and sauce needed, otherwise impossible to go through with to the very end. Josh was not the first of his demographic (twink > bear cub > otter, id est, among the Radiohead-listening, marijuana-cigarette–smoking quarters of gay Caucasia, increasingly afflicted by bald spots) to chew through Shelly’s fibrous persona. He knew she had gone through many boys, all of whom she told “Gurrrrl. You’re my best gurrrl.” Perhaps because he knew he was the last one in the series, Josh was—let’s be honest—a little meaner than most of his predecessors, when she vexed him. Her self-absorbed tirades threatened to overwhelm his own, which was not acceptable.”Gurrrl,” said Shelly, launching a litany, during which Josh could only sit there, tongue dry from lack of flapping, throat experiencing a muscular tightness, ears deactivated, the rest of him primed to speak: “But GURRL!” If he didn’t get enough air

time for his broadcasts, if she started playing with all the little spikes of her hair instead of listening, she was no longer entirely his friend. She became Smelly Germannuisance. She became Smelly Germannuisance anyway because she overdosed on the Calvin Klein Eternity before every party and made herself incapable of finding a man by lezbifying her hair and worst of all, she said over and over “I’ll be the prettiest girl in the room!” while engaging in the lezbifying-of-hair process, such that by the time they drove to the actual party Shelly Smelly was so full of herself that she couldn’t keep from saying “I’m the prettiest girl in the room!” all evening long, a hetero-dyke in the middle of a girlheavy party, which was actively bad, in Josh’s view. She was not self-aware. Her gaffes were multiplied and magnified for the very reason that she was actually a very talented woman endowed with intellectual and emotional quotients. Necessarily, he was no more self-aware than she, could not admit the possibility that it might be equally bad to nickname one’s friends so sharply, but then again, he knew she made fun of his bald spot when the massage therapists were alone together, even if Shelly didn’t actively nickname him something like “Prince William the Thinning” because her strengths did not include symbol- and language-play.

18

CONFESSIONALBOOTH

This Pop-Tart sandwich tastes like de- If the cure for AIDS could get you high, we’d figure it out in about a week. pression. You guys know there IS NOT going to be My balls are beautiful, thank you very much! a ‘zombie apocalypse’ right?

Don’t use no tears baby shampoo if the I’m racist in the fact that I think every white person I see has more money than baby is already crying. Doesn’t work. I do and I hate them. Fucking rich crackYou girls and your god damned vaginas, er ass crackers. and boobs, and mouths, and vaginas, and tongues, and eyes, and hair, and Note to self: screaming “I am not being melodramatic!” actually weakens your vaginas and stuff... point. HOW ARE YOU FUCKING MEXICANS I have no idea why this cop is so mad. FEELING TODAY? The Mayans are going to be so embarrassed in 2013.

Carrot Top is at this grocery store smashing jars and bleeding everywhere. Nobody knows what to do. The police refuse to come.

The NFL Draft is exactly how slave A fun way to surprise your girlfriend is to trades would be televised if slavery had leave some pamphlets of a place she’s never ended. always wanted to go around & then I can’t decide what’s lonelier, not having break up with her. cats or having cats. I like to start every conversation with ‘my phone’s about to die’ so we don’t I’m pretty sure Zooey Deschanel has down syndrome. waste time. I just want to be a trophy wife.

27

OVERHEARD

THINGS

My safe word is just kidding no body I don’t need a doctor to tell me I should ever has sex with me. crush up and snort these Vicodin. I wish white girls could enjoy their margaritas quietly without talking about how Sometimes I give my kids koolaid and much they are enjoying their margaritas say it’s “Jonestown juice”, they don’t get it but I laugh maniacally. If they put beer in CapriSun pouches I could fit a lot more in my cooler. Just I could beat any girl in a fight if I got to thought I’d throw that out there, people use a weapon. who invent shit. Nothing brings two people together fastThe amount of time I spend deciding er than the hatred of a third person. what flavor of ramen to have is just plain sad. THINGSOVERHEARD 19

Million dollar idea: Someone give me a million dollars.

THEHUNGOVERISSUE WHAT WHITE ELEPHANT
“yippie-ki-yay motherfucka! i’m a big deal, now i’m having so much fun that i can’t even go to sleep. -YO-LANDI?!

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