The Blog

I Don’t Blame You for Attempting Escape

Parke Haskell

I too did not ask for this skin.

But the land made, like a bug trapped
​beneath a glass, your breathless 

boundary.  Inside, insidious
fish dart and glitter, 

greedy appetite of the dumb—  

these envelopes of bodies
bursting. 

You deserve better
than to disappear  

into a vast and teeming
hunger.

We know our world.

 

Parke Haskelllives in LA, where she directs plays and writes poems.

 

Photo by Jeremy Bishop

Our Favorite Actress

Michael Judge

We are, in a public setting, comforted
by the lack of expectations 

until something awful happens,
an accident, someone choking 

on a peach pit, for example.
Or worse, something intentional 

but entirely unexpected, inappropriate,
the indiscriminate shooting of passengers 

on a train, for example. We get sleepy
in public. We fall asleep in the audience, 

lulled by the comfort of coughs,
laughter, the crowd breathing in and out. 

It all feels so civilized until
our favorite character, played 

by our favorite actress, falls
face-first into the orchestra pit. 

The show continues with no understudy.
Death grants us a private audience.

Team Keep Sleep

Lauren Haldeman

This is my first draft and I join team ‘Keep Sleep.’ 
My number is behind me on my uniform.
On occasion I feel the iron-on plastic’s curve 

and it feels like an eight. I might be an eight.
Our jerseys are off-white; our symbol is a pile
of fingernail clippings, slightly turned 

to the left. A lawsuit requires this.
If shown from above, the pile too closely
resembles the symbol for ‘breath.’ 

Our team colors are tooth white & brain-
white and diamond. Our cheer goes
like gin down our followers’ throats. 

Tomorrow, we play the team ‘Recall of Elephants’
who supposedly compete with their eyes fully closed.
On their uniforms they’ve scribbled 

the text of team movements in layers of grey pencil
on light parchment gear. It is said
they remember. It is said if shucked open 

Diagnosis

William Brewer

I stepped out of the doctor’s office and felt confused.
Or not confused so much as stunned,
and not because she said I was heading straight for death,
which I was already well aware of, and which she knew I knew,
making her telling me anyways irksome, like getting served a drink
that looks like your drink but is the wrong drink, you’re nearly certain of it,
but not completely, so you keep drinking it, knowing it isn’t yours,
each sip further confirming this fact, and this is what you get
for not trusting your instincts, you think, you deserve
to drink this drink that is not what you wanted,
not what you would ever want,
but it’s her job, I guess. 

Stay

Margaret Ross

The heat stank when you turned it on

This was the Desert Star, the Redbird
            Inn, the half-off room at the Rose
            Hotel Casino with coffee vouchers
            you could cross the sunken
            
gaming floor to redeem 

7 a.m. and people with soft collars tucked out
            over sweatshirts drinking Pepsi
            at the slot machines. Wherever you were

was the same place at the Motel 6, an
            orange bedspread. Hairs I pulled out 

would drift into loose webs
            with the others’ underneath the bed. It felt almost

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