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Smells like victory

Archive for the ‘Gravity’ Category

Kip Tobin

The Athiest and the Believer

November 8th, 2009
by Kip Tobin

LA RIOJA, SPAIN

The atheist and the believer walked together on the path that followed the highway, looking for light.

Everything visible was dampened gray, as if some colossal waterlogged blanket was thrown on top of their sky and hung there, dripping. Incessant raindrops had been pricking their faces for over two hours, and the cutting wind foretold the road ahead without visible end. The others had gone ahead, and they couldn’t see anything except for the highway to their right, the miry path directly in front and the snow-quilted fields to the left that were melting reluctantly in the cold rain.

The panorama was muddy, leaden, soppy.

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Irene Zion

The Flying Pedestal

October 17th, 2009
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH,FL-

When my family moved to The Free Territory of Trieste, it was a time when people did not fly across the ocean. Flying was prohibitively expensive and rare. No one really believed that airplanes made with all that heavy metal could actually fly safely when they were full of people. It was counterintuitive. I personally still have trouble believing that those enormous things get off the ground at all. (And don’t even get me started on those helicopters from the mosquito family!)  Back then, everyone had the same reservations. We sailed across the ocean to FTT on the Saturnia. I suppose that if I had thought about it, I also would have questioned how a ship made out of metal that should obviously sink, could float. I’m glad I didn’t think about that at the time, or I would have worried my way all across the ocean.

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Tyler Stoddard Smith

Tyler’s Adventures in Cultural Literacy

October 12th, 2009
by Tyler Stoddard Smith

AUSTIN, TX-

What does it mean to be literate? That one’s pretty easy; it means you know how to read. What does it mean to be cultural? That one’s a little tougher; it means you know that in most situations, it’s unacceptable to put your cigarette out on a dachshund. And so what does it mean to be “culturally literate?” Many have posed this question (Harold Bloom, the Yale professor currently encased in acrylic and preserved for posterity does it a lot.), yet no one has truly come to terms with an accurate answer. My uncle Seamus once remarked that “cultural literacy is for homosexuals,” but he was urinating in a koi pond at the time, so who knows? I suggest we journey together to see if we can’t get to the core of this labyrinthine dilemma. Perhaps the most logical first step is learning how to read (I’ll wait for a few minutes)… Sweet. Our next step is to determine what exactly is “cultural.” Below are a few undeniably cultural items in the realm of architecture, literature and music. Let’s familiarize ourselves with these things, and then we can begin to get a handhold on what it means to be culturally literate. (more…)


Steve Sparshott

Last Train

October 9th, 2009
by Steve Sparshott

LONDON, ENGLAND-

There was a figure on the wrong side of the railing. Hunched, legs dangling over the water, left hand on the edge of the brickwork clutching a smoking cigarette. I kept an eye on him as I passed; he raised the fag to his mouth with a sudden movement, inhaled and put it back down just as abruptly. (more…)


Meghan Elizabeth Hunt

All that Junk, Rattling around My Brain (AKA, the Ramblings of a Constantly Musing Woman)

October 6th, 2009
by Meghan Elizabeth Hunt

COLUMBIA, MD -

I grew up in a small village on the Connecticut River in northern New Hampshire. There were more trees and cows than there were people and up until I was a surly teenager, I loved it.

Then puberty hit and I despised my little hamlet. Outside of my family, there wasn’t a single reason to stay and every day brought me closer to college and escape.

Now I’m 10 years past that day and 4 years past the day I left New England completely behind and every fall my heart hurts. It’s like the ache you associate with an old injury, the kind of pain cold weather and rainy days bring.

Leaving New England was like breaking up with a childhood romance.

I often wonder if I’ll ever get over it completely.

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Kristen Elde

Filling In

September 26th, 2009
by Kristen Elde

NEW YORK CITY-

April 2007

“This isn’t spackle, it’s caulk,” he says, rolling his eyes as I hand over the plastic cylinder. But my oversight has brought him relief, clear in the quick release of his breath, the immediacy of his smile. It’s an error he might have predicted, which brings with it some comfort, and neither of us knows how long we have before these sorts of things stop registering.

As I meet his eyes, comfort is exceeded by disorientation. I can’t navigate my misstep. I don’t want it to mean anything, but I can’t help worrying that it’s somehow prophetic. I scan his face for explanation (I knew what I needed; what happened?) and think I read doubt. Quick, recover: “God, dumb. I’ll run back.”

Looking down at his hand: “No, it’s fine–toothpaste should work okay.” (more…)


John L. Singleton

Things I Learned About the Apocalypse Over Labor Day While Vacationing In Palm Springs, California

September 15th, 2009
by John L. Singleton

LOS ANGELES, CA–

So, I’ve been working pretty hard lately. And by working hard, I mean that I’ve been working really hard, for long hours (12 or so of them every single day) for about the last two years. As a reader of this little article, you might wonder what I’ve been working at for all of these hours, but that’s not important. What is important is that at this point, the only thing that really punctuates my working of really long hours is the drinking of highball glasses of Jim Beam, which helps me work more but alas (according to all of the addiction recovery books I seem to be reading lately) doesn’t really relax me. At least not in the way a good vacation would. A good, sober vacation. And what better place to get away from it all (or at least the burning, wood-fired Tandoori oven that is LA right now) than Palm Springs, California, just two hours away!

At first this seems like a great idea, right? A relaxing desert, a pool, room service… All awesome things. However…

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Aaron Dietz

A Thousand Words: I Have a Fear of Heights; I Went Skydiving Anyway

July 26th, 2009
by Aaron Dietz

LONGMONT, CO-

I’m at the airport, confident. I’ve never had vertigo in a plane before, so I’m not worried about jumping out of one.

Besides, my dad is jumping, too, and I don’t want to wimp out on him. Mom is here, too, documenting the whole thing in photos, so if I wimp out, there will be photographic evidence of my cowardice. (more…)


Kip Tobin

The Electrifying Conclusion to One of the Sloppiest International Moves in Recent History, or Everything (Supposedly) Happens for a Reason

June 16th, 2009
by Kip Tobin

MADRID, SPAIN-

“Passport?” At 3 am I jolt upright in bed. “Where’s my passport?” In 12 hours I’m to get on a plane on an international flight back to the US–to move back after living her for six years–and at that instant a something massive and visceral smacks me awake. I hadn’t seen my passport in a few days. Inés wakes up, asks what’s wrong, says she’ll always lucky at finding things and that she’ll help me look for it. From 3 to 4 am we search all three pieces of luggage and every corner, shelf and nook throughout the apartment. Nowhere. It’s gone. A numbness covers me, because as I think about when I last saw it and where it should be, I can only deduce that I most likely threw it away, inadvertently. Because this final move consisted of giving away, disposing of or recycling all the surplus, I conclude that I either tossed it in the trash, gave it to a friend in some heap of a donation, or it went in the paper recycling bin along with hundreds of other papers that didn’t make the cut.

That’s right, I threw away my passport and realize it 13 hours before my flight.

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Erika Rae

Grandma’s Red Bikini

May 18th, 2009
by Erika Rae

BOULDER, CO-

Grandma wanted a red bikini.

She said it was because she wanted to take up swimming again, but I suspect it had a bit more to do with a “sunset-of-life” crisis. And anyway, just because when the rest of us looked at her we saw a wrinkly old woman who looked like she might blow over if you forgot to cover your sneeze…Grandma was a sexy bird.

At some point.

Possibly circa the climax of the women’s suffrage movement.

I’ve seen pictures, anyway.

Before the gray. Before the Depends.

Before “the girls” made a permanent move south.

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Rich Ferguson

Mistake (In Words, Music, and Motion)

April 14th, 2009
by Rich Ferguson

LOS ANGELES -

Author’s Note: I recently completed a new spoken word music video entitled, “Mistake.” To a great degree, I have the extremely talented and gracious Christopher J. Burdick to thank for this. He also directed and shot my last video, “If I Were a Bond Girl.” If you haven’t had a chance to see it, please search it out on You Tube. Lastly, a big thanks needs to be given to Erin Tylski. In both “Bond Girl” and “Mistake” she has patiently put up with so much crap, all in the name of art. Or so-called art.

With that, here are the words to “Mistake.” And right after that, the video. I hope you enjoy!

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Henning Koch

Toilet Notes from Sardinia

February 28th, 2009
by Henning Koch

SARDINIA, ITALY-

This month’s instalment from me has been drafted whilst on the toilet. There’s a reason for this, and the reason is the self-centredness of certain artistic types I know. Most people, when afflicted with the vomiting virus, particularly once it has struck down most of their family and friends, will tend to stay in until the storm wanes. Not artists, though. Artists cheerfully turn up at your front door, kiss you full on the lips, offer you a swig of their bottle of rum and then spend the whole night insisting on games of poker, only occasionally interrupted by hurried forays into the bathroom – emerging pale and trembling. Only then do they tell you:

“Wow, it’s amazing, I’ve been vomiting and crapping myself silly for the last twenty-four hours, and so has my brother, mother, second cousin and nephew. I wonder, could there be something going round?”

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Brad Listi

Hellish Tales from Crowded Cubicles, Etc.

February 11th, 2009
by Brad Listi

LOS ANGELES-

Seeing as everyone’s out of work these days or teetering on the brink of unemployment, I figure it might be appropriate and maybe even therapeutic to tell some tales about hellish jobs to try to soften the blow (or heighten the sense of masochistic nostalgia).

Probably a good time to sit down around the campfire and share some memorable horror stories, many of which defy belief and couldn’t be conjured by even the most fertile creative minds.

For example: I had lunch with a friend a couple of weeks ago, and he was telling me about one of his old jobs. The office he worked at was populated with exceptionally insane individuals, particularly at the executive level.

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Reno J. Romero

Planes, Trains, Porn, and a Man Named Obama: A Year Already

January 25th, 2009
by Reno J. Romero

LAS VEGAS, NV - 

Well, folks, we’re almost a month into 2009 and things are already crazy. Things have happened. A failed president ends his reign of incompetence. A new guy lives in the White House. The Cardinals are going to the Super Bowl. A man in the Philippines took some video of a ghost on his phone. 

And that’s just in the past three weeks. Anyhow, here’s some other natural and unnatural observations:

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Paul A. Toth

I Confess: One Month in the Hole

January 8th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

These masks
that wore me
frightened
no others,
only my

self.

Last night, those words came to me as if spoken in a play meant to enlighten me, the kind of drama I typically avoid.  The words marked the climax of the story I will tell. While I would not consider this story worthy of the higher goals of “tragedy,” it does contain the lower strains. (more…)


Slade Ham

If You Could Ask Just One Question

November 28th, 2008
by Slade Ham
HOUSTON, TX -

It’s the Friday after Thanksgiving. While drones buzz up and down the roads looking for “unbelievable savings” on things they don’t need to begin with, I’ve been at my apartment packing. Maybe it’s the holidays, maybe it’s the music I’m listening to, maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been rereading things I wrote a over a decade ago… I’m not sure what it is, but as I stand here by this balcony swirling my coffee around in circles and looking out across this parking lot, I keep wondering what I’m missing. What do I not know that I wish I did? If it was ever just me hanging out with God, what would I ask? Right now there’s only one question that keeps fighting itself to the front:

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Paul A. Toth

The Green Pill, the Red Pill, and the Blue Pill

October 17th, 2008
by Paul A. Toth

SARSOTA, FL-

Here’s the existential question of our times: Is it better to live in a benzo-induced stupor or paralyzing panic? Through the sleepy eyes, life almost looks the same, not so great, bearable, having its moments, the ups and downs, the collisions, the hospitalizations, the love, the hate, etc. When the blood runs clean as fake spring water, I feel as though a mad scientist planted electrodes in my brain that trigger mega-adrenaline, after which I’m handed a pair of running shoes and a map to hell.  To simplify, why do bad things happen to bad people? (more…)


Greg Boose

Rewriting a Media Guide Is Easier When You’re Both Lonely and Looking Important

October 6th, 2008
by Greg Boose

CLEVELAND, OH -

This is the second chapter following, well, the first chapter I posted in July: In the Beginning There Was an Unpaid Editing Job in Cleveland, a Potential Lawsuit, and a Bunch of Unprovoked Angry Geese

(Short breakdown of the above: I’m writing and editing a totally shitty magazine in Cleveland, The Hip Pocket, which is run by a team of amateurs in 2003. I was almost sued because I said my magazine was to receive a “boatload of money” from the Gravity Games to throw a party for their athletes and I had to write a Letter of Retraction to cover my ass. Our next cover story was to cover the Gravity Games story.)

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Kit Seningen

Slipping into Shadow

September 24th, 2008
by Kit Seningen

CHESTERTOWN, MD-

The sun is shining.

Clear and deeply blue skies are filled with canada geese on their annual pilgrimage to Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Blue crabs are at the azimuth of their season.  Beautiful and full.

Jeans, t-shirts, and flip flops are the fashion of this glorious season.

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Erika Rae

Stairway to Cheez Whiz, Part One

September 15th, 2008
by Erika Rae

BOULDER, CO- 

I come from a family nestled deep within the bosom of the Evangelical church. My parents were academics and argued for faith with conviction and logic.  Before the age of 20, I estimate that I attended church services on the order of 3,120 times.  It took me well into my 20s until I finally found the strength, the courage, and perhaps caught just enough of a glimpse of the outside world to rebel.  Having come out on the other side – still with belief in The Divine I think, although with vastly different definitions and expectations – I find that I am forced to confront my past on a daily basis.  I write this as a sort of therapy.  It’s healing.  And wacky.  Regardless, it’s bound to cause me some embarrassment.  So here goes: Hi.  My name is Erika, and I’m a recovering Evangelical.  Now, let’s get started…

**************************

Despite my parents’ best efforts, I think it’s safe to say that they failed with me.  The thing is, I love rock ‘n roll.  Love hip hop.  Love Elvis clear on through to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Indigo Girls. 

Now, maybe this isn’t a big deal to you, but to my family, this is a whole world of wrongs.  I was not only NOT allowed to listen to the radio when I was a kid, but I was also subjected to the cultural alternative at least daily.  

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