Love's Dangerous Trance by Lisa M.

(digesthisickness) If it is debased and painful, I suffered it; Heartsick actions that involved degradation. But I did them for love while I hid burning tears. Detached my mind from my body's sensations, Then slowly I realized I wasn't in love. My heart was never taken into account. "Would it bother you, hon, if she joined us?" Hollow concerns that were never borne out. When I grew stronger and left the cruel influences False love, feigned intimacy, fake compassion I realized my intense need to show my love Wasn't valued, but was used as a weapon. How convenient for them that I had been cursed With a childhood that had conditioned me to please. So desperate to believe that I could be loved I sold my soul out of the need to appease. After surviving my past and those so-called loves I'm now suspicious and wary of romance. If you reveal your fears they will use them against you, So I've renounced Love's hypnotic trance.

Delilah

lilgreengal

Spring by lilgreengal

The emperors married their daughters to foreign tribes for peace. Whose peace? Where's home, when that which I've become familiar with, is not my own? I open my veins each time; pick the threads of healing scabs. I wonder if my blood will run dry before life will grow on this soil. Planting. Spring in dust. The season of fecundity used to begin with virgins led out into the fields. But the fragile are not the only ones who bleed. Grasp my pieces. Unbidden, some seeds take root. You, a bittersweet plant, such sharp leaves. Hungry, the child makes the mother bleed afresh. Is this what being alive means? Lick. Desire, sweet wild pale, crushing unwilling blossoms into life. Taste on my lips these violet trysts. And kiss spring.

Delilah

a letter to my childhood backyard on the occasion of earth day, 2008 by Jessica Taylor (Ghost-Girl) do you remember that morning? i padded outside to visit you. the air was sharp; the day not yet day, not yet light enough to burn away the dew from the grass. and all around me was you. no god, just you. no god but the dew on my feet, the subtle retreat of the fog as it ambled back among the pine trees that were also you. for a moment i thought i might become something wild, atoms separated, lost to your overwhelming atmosphere. for a moment i thought, maybe the hummingbirds (so many of them were out that morning!) might take me as their child, might teach me to fly backwards. do you remember it like i do? perhaps you only remember that i got cold and returned indoors to track mud on the carpet.

MacGuffin

To Please by Lisa M. (digesthisickness) With you, I felt like a virgin again. My usual confidence deserted and ran. Every smile you directed at me Confused my body and confused my head, And rushed new blood into parts thought dead. God, save me from this memory. To make it worse and baffle me more Knowledge that we had done this before Should have set my mind at ease. Instead, I shook and made mistakes. I barely moved, not a sound did I make, And you were denied all I can be, I'll never forgive my giving into, Fears of disappointing you. It inhibited me, made me freeze, And greedily stole each caress and kiss, That now I crave and in vain wish. I was unaware that it was my last chance... To Please.

James K (Durentu)

The Dance of the 'Yangtze Barge' by Claire L. (outmywindow) It is a small restaurant, a Chinese hole in the wall which doesn't have any regulars. Every day, though, people trickle in in ones and twos and threes, acting like they know the place, know the menu, know the woman who efficiently takes orders and serves drinks. Whom they are trying to impress, no one can say: perhaps it's themselves, or maybe the casual acquaintances who will be sharing their table and their pot of hot tea. Most likely, though, they aren't impressing anyone at all, but instead simply dancing a subconscious dance made to fulfill the romantic notion that all residents of large cities are 'regulars' somewhere, when in reality, most people never are. There is nothing pretentious or affected about the way the patrons of this particular restaurant go about their choreography, and in fact they'd all likely argue there isn't any choreography at all. It is as if they've been hypnotized by too many quirky films with quirky characters who are self conscious about their idiosyncrasies, and who almost tangibly keep a list of each cliché as they meet the minimum qualifying requirements. At the end of each film, the character with the most ennui wins some touching life lesson and little sliver of the audience's collective desire to be different in exactly the same way. The diners at this restaurant don't intentionally dress up in the suit of mimicry that each of them surely keeps somewhere in the back of a closet, but instead naturally and instinctively go through the steps, getting a few of them slightly wrong the way an almost-perfect accent can be lifted from a few hours' chat with a foreign friend. Nobody ever comes to the Yangtze Barge in crowds. In fact, no one ever really travels there at all; it is a destination in the purest sense of the word, a place at which one arrives with no recollection of the decision or journey to go in the first place. This strange phenomenon has nothing to do with the Barge being a particularly magical place, and everything to do with it being instead, absolutely average. So average, in fact, that it virtually cancels out its own existence in the minds of those who eat there. Once

inside, however, the patrons begin their dance whether or not they know where they are, or why they've chosen to eat there, and the opening step to their dance involves having an almost clairvoyant knowledge of which table is theirs. Their table, the one at which they've always sat, when in fact they've never sat at any of the tables, much less that one in the corner. Yes, next to the engraving of the dragon. One tells the other that the dim sum is excellent, and the other nods to the one in agreement, and though both are lying, neither feels it. They both insist on hot tea, though neither is especially fond of hot tea, and they both claim to be expert marksmen in the field of chopsticks. Of course, it's been ten years since either has picked up a pair, and had they been eating anywhere else they'd have requested forks immediately upon entering the door. When ordering, they try not to need to sneak a look back at the menu while speaking with the waiter, and the ones who succeed get a little unknown boost to their figurative step. No matter to those who don't; they're simply trying something new this time. At this point in the meal the music changes key and the individual pairs of dancers turn to face the pairs at their sides, and suddenly the audience (which by necessity consists of the dancers themselves) is watching a complex quadrille. In the relative dark of the restaurant, one diner eyes the dish of someone sitting at a different table; two women converse with each other, both of whom are each listening to a conversation taking place at a second and third table, respectively; an old man politely ignores a blunder made by his partner while using the chopsticks, but the misstep is seen by a woman who snickers at a nearby table; a table seating three men all jockeying for a professorship struggles awkwardly to perform dance steps more ideally suited for two. The wait staff attempt to play matchmaker, pairing up the third almostprofessor with a young woman too busy reading to realize the quadrille has started without her -- she is given two salads, and the man none. Unfortunately, neither seems to notice the other, though the woman is puzzled by her extra dish, and the waiter-cum-cupid takes it away in exasperation, wondering why his work should go unappreciated. A pair of conspicuously loud teenagers plops down at an unused table far in the back, threatening to fatally disrupt the dance, but to no avail. Indeed, the quadrille has nearly come to a close, the final frantic sets taking shape while all the participants crack open their fortune cookies and try to hide a childlike pleasure that cannot quite be completely hidden. Even the dejected third professor appears excited to learn that "it's a small price to pay for living a dream," whatever exactly that means. In a closing flourish, all players pay their tab, a few of the more skilled pairs demonstrating a talent for squabbling over the tip. Finally, the dance has come to an end, and just as the last of the will of their collective unconscious exerts itself, the dancers of the Yangtze Barge bow aristocratically to each other as they reach down for their purses and laptop bags. Politely exiting the dance floor in a neat line, each person basks in a warm glow of accomplishment, feeling that they've become That Person, the one who eats at Their Place and is surrounded by Interesting People. If only for a lunch hour. And back in the Yangtze Barge, which is now just a restaurant again, the woman with the book glares through the gloom at the pair of teenagers who are loudly daring each other to drink the soy sauce.

James K (Durentu)

Tim K

Jaime Torres (Hi-meh)

Human W rites b y Jaime Torres (Hi-meh) The poetry An extension of self through the medium of language Like the leaves and limbs of a tree do the words reach out These limbs and leaves ring with a steadfast cry Ringing like the tit tit tit of the grasshoppers as one walks about Growing, expanding, living and resounding As one walks through the dry grass do they write their place among humanity The poetry tit tit tit-tit tit tit tit-tit tit tit tit-tit The Poetry Like the manikin in the window these enigmas are brought forth Do these enigmas yield to the answers that have worth? The Poetry tit tit tit-tit tit tit tit-tit tit tit tit-tit

The Poetry Thwack Thwack Thwing! The grayed machete opens up the jungle of emotion Cutting here and slashing there, the machete spills the soul Valdez falls short, but the soul yells its battle cry Trudging and slogging through the muck it continues to go I am here, it is now, this is me! The Poetry tit tit tit-tit tit tit tit-tit tit tit tit-tit

MacGuffin

Rule 34 by Jessica Taylor (Ghost-Girl) Oh my god. OH. MY. GOD. My childhood is ruined FOREVER. I have just found something so horrible, so intrinsically wrong that it brings a new and terrible realism to rule thirty-four. (#34: "If it exists there is porn of it. No exceptions.") The now ex-friend who sent the link to the story must have been half-mad, high, or sleep deprived. For who in their right mind would actually search for TETRIS PORN? I have seen horrible things in my internets, read questionable tales wherein the characters in no way resemble their original canon characteristics, hurriedly clicked away from photos of Snape and Harry dueling boners, Doctor Who doing who knows what, ...and you probably don't want to know about Jabba the Hutt. But THIS. This abomination is beyond comprehension. Who WROTE this? What drove them to write about anthropomorphized L-shaped Tetris blocks in bondage gear? I don't think that Joseph Conrad had Tetris porn in mind when he wrote:

"The horror! The horror!" but damn, that's how I feel.

Moonbeam Dusted by Camille (Crys) I went out on a rape with a man. He cut coke lines with his nightclub security guard badge. Glass top tables, CD towers in the corner, a black light panther crouching before a dense jungle: among these things he called out my name. I didn't hide behind the cross around my neck. My shoes were by the door. My clothes neatly folded on the chair where I had left them. Besides my father, I had never seen a man brush his teeth before. Before. Between my legs was fastened. My chest, now red raw from the stubble on his cheeks, was moonbeam dusted, tiger-striped, a vision from e e cummings. Let's put an end to this. My nose was wet and finely powdered. My knees were banging against my shoulders. The panther and I were silent. Now cover me with a warm towel. Rub me with hands stretched wide enough that I can feel your touch.

MacGuffin

Manu C.

I Am Like You by Lisa M. (digesthisickness) I ache to be the exception. The one who knows the real you. Devoted sentry of your thoughts and desires. The one you open your heart up to. I am the one who cannot be frightened. I am the one who would never run. An enigma like you; I wear disguises. Vulnerabilities, I too, share with no one. I'm not asking you to reveal completely. That, I would never need, want, or expect. To invade your sublime soul is not my goal. Your mind's bomb shelter demands respect. I only want you to see that I am the one you can trust, With honest freedom of any expression, For you're the only one who could truly know me; Kindred spirits who brave resurrection.

Tim K

Winter by lilgreengal Twisting the flesh, I wonder idly at the absence of pain. I prick my finger as the queens of old did. Snow, blood. Glass. In the cold, tendrils of senses freeze. Mold creeps over the colours, slowly curling into grayness. The edge of consciousness stills its graphite blade. The child dies; his cries lost in the low, keening wind. There is no smell. Full circle. Your death returns me, to me. In the distance, a storm of snow approaches. I lie on the ground, naked as the flakes cover me. White. Colours. In this cocoon of whiteness, I finally feel my heart, beat. It is only in winter that I feel my warmth. Sleep. I close my eyes and fade to nothingness.

Jaime Torres (Hi-meh)

Love Lost, Sanity Gained by Lisa M. (digesthisickness) Get out of my mind! I can't take it anymore. It's come down to emotions. Pain, sorrow, regret, it goes on and on. Grief, as if a death occurred, But there is no corpse to bury, no grave, To visit and throw myself upon. Nothing but silence, Four walls and a planet, Populated with humans who are now Meaningless. Their existence is in vain. I don't want their comforting words. I don't want their shoulder to cry on. They aren't me loving you, so they can't Understand my pain. My tears, too sacred for them to witness. Get out of my mind! Take back every word, every conversation. Take back every time you made me laugh. Take back every touch, sensation and kiss.

The Eye of the Rooster by Eye-In-TiPi When I was a kid, my dad always liked to keep a few chickens in a pen in the back yard. We weren't farmers. I guess dad just needed a hobby and liked the fresh eggs. To keep the hens in line and laying lots of eggs, we kept a rooster in the pen as well. This particular rooster was a Banny, a small but aggressive breed. He had 3 inch spurs on his legs that were quite sharp and pointy. Although it was dad's 'hobby' it was my job to feed the chickens and gather eggs. One day I went into the pen to feed them and the rooster decided that attack me. I was flogged, pecked, clawed and flapped mercilessly for a few seconds before I reacted by kicking the rooster. He flew across the pen, hit the fence, and slid down to the ground. He then stood up, shook himself off, and began to run right toward me. I made it out the gate before he could sink his claws back into me. After that day, there was an uneasy peace between the rooster and myself. I carried a club with me to feed the chickens. Any time the rooster would even look at me funny, I'd shake the club. He would always just look at my club, look down at his spikes, then look back at me like he owned me and I swear he was smiling. Aside from making the task of feeding the chickens hazardous, every day the rooster did what all roosters do at sunrise: he crowed. He crowed loudly right outside my window. With each day my hatred for that rooster grew stronger. It didn't bother me so much during the school year, since I already had to get up early. It was during summer vacation that I really started to wonder what I should do about the ‘rooster problem’. One morning I snapped. The rooster crowed and I jumped out of bed with murderous intent. I grabbed my trusty BB gun and began to fire at the rooster through the window, making several holes in the screen, but missing the rooster completely. I felt better, even though my mother came into the room and yelled at me for putting holes in the screen. Having vented my frustration at the rooster, I felt a sense of peace and satisfaction that I had not felt all summer. This peace, however, would be short-lived. A few weeks passed and the frustration of being woken up at sunrise every day during summer vacation became more than I could bear. I began to seriously plot the rooster's demise. For lack of a better

word, I came up with a ‘plan’. One fateful day, my parents were away from the house, leaving me and the rooster alone with only the other chickens and a few cats for company. It was easy to get the rooster to a secluded place. All I had to do was open the gate and let him out. He chased me in a very enthusiastic attempt to sink his spurs into my skin all the way into the woods. Once we arrived at the chosen place of execution, I stopped and pulled out my club, which previously had been hidden. It took several blows to knock the rooster unconscious and I found that the sound of wood against the rooster's body was a bit sickening. Soon, the rooster stopped fighting and lay on the ground, quite still. I had to make sure the job was done right, though. I had already prepared for the event by stashing an axe at the site. The axe was sharp and the edge of the blade gleamed in the orange glow of the evening sun, when I took it from its hiding place behind a rock. As I took it out, the blade scraped against the rock and made a sound that I found strangely encouraging. Fully believing that my hand was acting as a vehicle of justice, I lifted the axe above my head. I let the blade drop on the stump of a tree that had been felled years earlier. It cut deep into the wood and I was sure that the job would be easy. I lifted the rooster onto the stump and stretched his neck out straight. I then lifted the axe once again, and let it fall onto the rooster's neck. The rooster's neck erupted in blood spray. I couldn't believe how much blood such a small creature could contain. There was blood covering the stump, the axe, and my trembling hands. My face was red with his blood and the blood dripped into my gaping mouth. It wasn't as clean as I'd expected. In fact, I was nauseated by not only the copious amounts of blood, but also by my own actions. I didn't know whether I was more repulsed by what I had done, or that I had done it. I felt like a murderer. I did the best I could to clean up the scene of the crime, the axe, and myself, but I couldn't get the stain of murder out of my heart. I didn't sleep well that night. It was very late before I finally fell to sleep. I was awakened at sunrise by my mother. She had gone into my room to close my windows. "I saw how upset you were about the rooster yesterday, son. I just didn't want you to have to be woken up by that rooster again. Sorry if my plan backfired," she said. I assured her that it was fine and she went back to whatever she had been doing. ‘Nothing to worry about, Mom - I don't think that'll be a problem any more,’ I thought to myself. Then I heard it. My hair stood on end and I was covered with gooseflesh as I once again heard the familiar sound of the rooster's crows. I raced to my window sill and looked out. My mouth fell open at what I saw in the yard. There was the rooster, or most of him. He was still missing his head, but he still walked in the yard below. Terror seized me as the rooster started walking in my direction. I couldn't move as I watched the rooster fly up to my window sill. Every cell in my body was screaming ‘RUN!’ but I couldn't. The rooster perched there on my window sill with his headless neck craning in my direction. Then I saw a sight that made my soul cry. The rooster's esophagus held one of the rooster's eyes. It looked at me as if to say "Why?" I had no answer. I could only look out through the holes in my skull at the surreal sight of the rooster's eye rhythmically disappearing and remerging from the esophagus. The rooster lifted one leg and placed his spur on my window screen. It sounded like a zipper as the spur slowly cut a slit in the screen. The rooster pushed himself through the hole and stepped onto my nightstand. It stood there staring at me, remoistened his eye a few times and flew at me at incredible speed. He hit me in the chest like a bullet and knocked me to the floor. I tried to scream, but I couldn't make a sound. The rooster bent down and pushed his eyeball right up to my right eye and shat on my chest. I felt myself falling, everything became dark, and I knew no more.

Love's Paradox by Lisa M. (digesthisickness) im choking. im panting. im confused. im crystal clear. im floating. im falling. im brilliant. im stupid. im in pain. im orgasmic. im terrified and yet I risk. im falling apart. im complete. im frozen. im on fire. im trapped. im free. i love you. i need me.

MacGuffin

Love in the Rain by Rhu It's late. Maybe it's early. It's hard to tell, these days. You know how time is all wonky and subjective when you start obsessing over specific moments. In any event, I'm a little worried. See, it was raining, and she didn't come home last night. She always comes home to watch the rain with me. She would tell such stories about the rain! One time, she told me that, in some cultures, it is a custom to slap the person standing nearest to you in a thunderstorm--for in this way, those people are imitating the gods. The first four or five times she told this to me, I believed her, until I caught this funny smile and a twinkle in her eye. Yeah, she sure was funny about the rain. There was this other time she told me, she said, "People react to the rain in ways that just don't make sense. They avoid it like it's bad news, like being wet is a curse." she leapt over the porch railing and into a muddy weed-garden, raising her voice above the pattering static that threatened to mute her, "Hiding under umbrellas, dashing from shelter to shelter? It's water!" she roared, "We use it to clean ourselves! It's not like it's going to make people look worse!" I mean to tell you, it was a pouring down sort of rain that day, and to see her standing young and proud and soaking wet... even for trees, it would have been impossible to bend in the wind. I managed to focus mostly on the mental aspect of the interaction. I had an answer for her, that time. "People will drown in too much water," I told her, matter-of-factly. "Rain's not dense enough," she pointed out, illustrating by taking the deepest breath she could in the damp air. I just grinned at her, and played around with the density figures in my head. Springs and summers came and went, and more often than not, we'd be here together here at my place, until one day she showed up with a bag. She came to me, streams of water running down her face on a day that it wasn't raining. We've been together ever since. She grew quieter and quieter as time went by, so I took up the duty and the honor of being the one to tell stories when the rain would fall. "One day soon," I told her on one recent rainy day, "There's going to be an event like no other in the history of this world! The whole of the Earth," at this point I mimed a hugging a big old sphere with my arms for storytelling effect, "Will be covered with a blanket of storm clouds, and every man, woman, and child will be sitting there, like us, contemplating the rain," I smiled broadly at her. I think--and I'll beg your pardon--I might have drooled just a little bit as I asked, "And you know what happens next?" The tiny little napping ball that was her unfurled just a bit, and her little thumb didn't leave her mouth as she stared at me with great, big, curious, bloodshot, red-rimmed eyes. They indicated that she was paying attention, and that was all I needed to continue, "That blanket of clouds will itself be blanketed by spaceships. Each one of those billions of ships is simultaneously going to release a million tons of hydrogen sulphide into the atmosphere. "Now, before you comment, I know--that many ships dropping that big a payload of minerals simultaneously seems a bit ridiculous," I smiled, and practically sang with cheery pride, "But it's actually a bit of theater that I, myself, suggested--one that I hope your people will enjoy in their last moments. We

also plan to flood your radio transmissions with loud ripping and flapping sounds." I guffawed amiably and walked over to slap her on the shoulder, asking all rhetorical-like, "All of earth will die gasping, asking who farted. Won't that just beat all?"

Her eyes widened. You had better believe—those pupils were as big as saucers. But look, see, she started to curl up again, but thought better of it, stood up, backed up to the rail of the porch where she arched her back to an angle I would have thought impossible. She did this presumably to feel the rain on her face. Now, as I understand it, pupils dilating in such a way is an indication of love. I sure was happy to see that. "I was afraid you wouldn't get the joke," I chuckled to her, and I said, "Really, we're above such crude humor. We'll probably just crash a nearby asteroid into your planet. Again." Again, I socked her on the shoulder playfully, and she did a backflip right back into that weed garden. I haven't seen her since. I sure am worried about her. Why wouldn't I be? Don't you dare doubt that I love that woman! I used to tell her that I was going to take her from this planet, make her my slave, and have her do easy, repetitive labor for the rest of her life, like simple field dynamics problems that can't be solved in polynomial time. Back when she was still talking, she used to always respond to that with a sour face, saying she was an art student. I told her physics is pretty, like art. Yeah, I know. You're going to go on saying that even that last plan is cruel. It was just this little white lie I told. Really, it would be best for me to kill her. There's hardly more than a thousand days left before the masses of humanity start dying, and I mean for her to be the one to die first. So she won't see none of the horror. So the memories from her life could be pleasant. Like me and her, together, just sitting, and talking, and watching the rain.

Excerpt From The Life She Sold by Camille (Crys) I cinched my loneliness into designer blue jeans for you; bartered for acceptance and cheap smiles just to satisfy your soul. You played guitar, eyeing them e yeing me, while I teased Tracy Chapman's voice with my hips. I don't have a sugary flavor. Shopping mall colors don't suit my complexion. I need a backseat where oil jugs leak onto the floorboard and a cassette player in the dashboard ripples tapes. You're all mixed up, not me. You talk me down and press me into a mold. One day I’ll shuck those tight r jeans, spread the deep red creases around my waist with unpolished fingers, and laugh when you hold up my empty pants and sigh. He wants new blue jeans for his baby. He says he used to love the way the denim creased right under my ass, says he misses sliding his fingers into my back pocket whenever we walk together. He takes my hand; certain it will resurrect the addiction I once had for him. The ignored reality is I no longer need to wear tight jeans or lipstick or have to pinch my nipples, braless beneath my silk blouse, in order to feel wanted. Time worked hard to separate us; sending men my way who were strong enough to suck out the poison he left in my mouth, and women who were kind enough to kiss the stretch marks he passed by on his way to between my legs. I slip my hand from his. Not subtle. Not powerful. Impossible to ignore.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful