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Archive for the ‘Heaven’ Category

Ryan Day


November 6th, 2009
by Ryan Day


I am, unfortunately, in no position to refuse $75 for one hour of my time, pretty much no matter what the the contents of that hour. They could have asked me to drink six bottles of catsup (ketchup?). They could have asked me to have tea with Glen Beck and soothe his uniquely bruised ego with prefabricated whispers about the peaceful forces at the center of the conservative universe (you are a child of the marketplace… the invisible hand will always lead you towards the light of the DOW…). I would have mowed lawns, bagged leaves (though I imagine the going rate of yard maintenance is somewhat lower), run backwards into the weird smelling basin at the end of the Salt River. But, alas, all they wanted was that I watch some movie trailers and tell them, no matter what I really thought, that the Rock was just the actor to breath renewed life into that excalibur of cinematic roles, the Tooth Fairy. (more…)

Paul A. Toth

My Siamese Twin

November 6th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth


This has been what I call the Year of Ice. Colder than a shaved polar bear. Sayonara 2009. It’s been a year of pills, pills and more pills, until finally I seem to have reached some kind of treaty with bipolar disorder, which barely warrants discussion given that virtually everyone is now diagnosed as bipolar. Still, it’s important to note that when I write “ice,” I mean anxiety, yet when I write “anxiety,” I do not describe all attributes of “ice.” (more…)

Suzanne Burns

Diary of a First Book, Entry 4: Still Loving Morrissey and Shopping at the Gap

October 23rd, 2009
by Suzanne Burns


Don’t ever agree to your book being published if you have a fear of public speaking. I can say that, over the past five months, I have almost completely conquered this fear. I have beaten it out of myself. My husband has stood by, helplessly watching the self-berating, doling out the necessary Kleenex and gelato cups, weighing in on every outfit I’ve tried on. My vain (in more ways than one) attempt at looking just the right combination of serious literary writer and hot-ass bitch has culminated in committing the worst of sins: I bought a black T-shirt from the Gap.


Rich Ferguson

Karma Driving School

October 15th, 2009
by Rich Ferguson


Author’s Note: I want to thank Jessica Larsen for the photo that she took during her recent travels in Varanasi, India.

Let’s go back to the very beginning / get in that car / get behind the wheel / rev the engine to pure devotion / our each and every dream – sparkling motion / relearn brake, gas, and clutch / not so much to speed us through these streets / but to clearly see that our each and every action ripens into results / bad equals bad / good equals good / it’s not some tricky math / nothing like finding the perimeter of all human suffering / what it is is the world coming from us / not at us / karma driving school


Ducky Wilson

The Pizza Hut Massacre

October 5th, 2009
by Ducky Wilson


“Someone lost his mind in there,” I tell my dog Tonya as we walk up the sidewalk to the abandoned Pizza Hut. I want to see inside.

Tonya yips at me as we approach the building then cocks her head low the way she does when she’s nervous about something.

“It’s ok,” I tell her, but I can feel it, too. The air turns heavy as we walk past a shrine for the people who died that September night. I realize that today is September and a chill skitters over me. Tonya gets one, too, for when I look down at her, the hair on the scruff of her neck bristles like a mane.


Ronlyn Domingue

How I Learned to Stop Worrying about Russians (Iraqis, North Koreans, and so on) and Hate War

October 1st, 2009
by Ronlyn Domingue


I confronted eschatology too young. Although benign compared to some beliefs, my Catholic upbringing placed me at the sidelines of Armageddon—strange references to a kingdom come, the Second Coming, Judgment Day. I got queasy at the mention of the Book of Revelations. Sermons and syntactically-strained Bible readings led me to infer a tremendous destructive end to all life, human, animal, insect, plant. There were drawings in books, filled with fire, angels and demons, a sea of the damned. For a child, it’s impossible to reconcile a loving Father with one who will kill every one of his children with wanton violence. Children also don’t grasp metaphor.


Tyler Stoddard Smith

Some Thoughts on a “New Literacy” While Remembering Patrick Swayze

September 29th, 2009
by Tyler Stoddard Smith


Pierre Bayard’s ode to philistinism, Comment Parler des Livres que l’on n’a pas Lus, or How to Talk About Books That You Haven’t Read is a unique experience. Upon completion of Bayard’s work (one wonders if Bayard himself ever read his own book), I found myself first outraged, then confused, and finally, a little constipated. I thought to myself, “How does this boorish Frenchman claim that a perfunctory flip-through of Anna Karenina should suffice for an understanding of St. Petersburg’s high society during that time—or Jasper, Missouri’s, home to the Double Deuce for that matter?” Can this Bayard be serious? Can we really talk—intelligently—about books we’ve never read?


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


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…


Erika Rae

Christian Sex Toys

September 5th, 2009
by Erika Rae


So, I was doing a little “online shopping” the other day when I came upon a Christian Sex Toy site. [Uncertain intention of pun.] Now, I’m as adventurous as the next Sally, so I have to admit I was curious. What could the boudoir of the believer offer to spice up my marriage? What Would Jesus Do?


Peter Schwartz

Faith Isn’t Stupid

September 4th, 2009
by Peter Schwartz


I’ve been noticing with greater and greater alarm that atheism is getting more and more popular in literary and academic circles. In fact, the majority of writers and scholars believe that anyone who believes in God must be naive and stupid. You aren’t smart enough, aren’t sophisticated enough to realize that God doesn’t exist and that life is pretty much shit. As the old saying goes, misery loves company. Now I don’t claim to be some highfalutin intellectual (fingers corn cob pipe thoughtfully for effect) but my great grand-daddy left me with at least this much sense: anything that makes you miserable ain’t all that good. (more…)

Doug Mulliken

If Any Guy in His Mid-Twenties is Qualified, It’s Me

August 28th, 2009
by Doug Mulliken


2:45 AM — In my mind, it’s hard to write about heartbreak at age 26.  It’s one of those intricacies about the writing profession - a musician writing a song about heartbreak at age 26 is rarely questioned, yet a writer writing a piece about heartbreak at 26 is deemed, at least by me, to have not experienced enough.  How can you write about heartbreak at 26?  You’re still a kid.  A 26-year old can’t possibly have enough worldliness to know how truly bad it can get, how painful it really is.  That’s the view I tend to take - writers, unlike mathematicians, improve with age, and the more you live through the more you are capable of writing about.  I suppose it’s a hang-up from being constantly told to “write what you know.”  As a fairly normal suburban white kid, that didn’t make for very interesting writing, but nobody ever told me anything else. (more…)

Brin Friesen

Kamikaze Helmets

August 26th, 2009
by Brin Friesen


I saw a little girl get bit by a dog this afternoon in Central Park. I watched her from a stone bench beside the Esquina Caliente (Hot Corner) crowd of men arguing baseball just down the street from the Capitolio. She tried to pet one of these Goya-nightmare stray dogs and it snapped at her hand. She went off like a car alarm but it was the way she screamed that made the old men give up baseball and rush over to console her. In 30 years it is the solitary bonafide miracle I have witnessed. You’ll have to take my word for it, but if the Hot Corner heard Slim Pickens himself was falling from the sky straddling an atomic bomb, slapping his cowboy hat against his hip and yee-hawing his way down onto their heads—there wouldn’t be a flinch— “We’re talking béisbol here coño.”


Stefan Kiesbye

Get Run Down in K-Town — See Three Saints!

August 22nd, 2009
by Stefan Kiesbye


I run, and I’m pissed that Runner’s World, this Poets & Writers of the running community, this absolutely useless gloss rag which is great to read on the crapper, chose Sarah Palin over me as their “I’m a Runner” of the month. So I didn’t run for VP, but this should count in my favor. I didn’t pretend to know what’s going on in Japan, even though I can practically see it from Long Beach. (more…)

Henning Koch

Greetings from Finland

August 22nd, 2009
by Henning Koch


Wednesday 5th August, 2009.

It is not every day one finds oneself on a train, heading north out of Helsinki. Just such a day is this. Nor is it every day one walks into the restaurant car to find elegant brass railings separating upholstered chairs and tables with tablecloths, and an ice-blond woman smiling coolly behind the counter. I order some meat soup.

“What sort of meat is it?”

“It’s… hmm? I don’t know.”

“Just say it in Finnish.”

She says something strange. Then makes a mooing sound.

“Ah, beef!”

“Yes. Biff.”


Shya Scanlon

I Want to be Famous

August 14th, 2009
by Shya Scanlon


Like most aspiring authors, I’ve read quite a number of interviews with famous writers. One of the things they continually bring up is the following advice: focus on the work, and not on whether or not you’re going to become famous. The obvious but never-discussed subtext of this advice is that aspiring authors spend a lot of time focusing on becoming famous. I’m not going to argue with this.

In fact, in the name of honesty and transparency and of the big blog in the sky, I’m going to air some of my most base, fame-seeking, attention-getting, insecurity-balming, fever-dream ambitions.


James D. Irwin

A Thousand Words: When I Think of California, I Think About Her

August 12th, 2009
by James D. Irwin


Goddamnit woman!’ I remember thinking. ‘SQUEEZE! YES! But for the love of God please shut the hell up!”

I hadn’t travelled all the way out to California to hear a rubenesque Midwestern woman squat out a deuce. We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert, and this, apparently, was log country. I was not sat in a glamorous and expensive convertible — clearly. I was on a coach, heading to Las Vegas. I had the good fortune to be seated in front of the chemical toilet at the back, able to hear the whole dirty performance.

Whilst chewing on cold curly french fries, an ill-advised purchase from a stop at Arby’s, I had an horrific and horrendous thought: What if she’s pleasuring herself?! She’s been in there a damn long time! How can I know for sure? How can any of us know? And will the mental scars ever heal?


Reno J. Romero

I Speed at Night

August 5th, 2009
by Reno J. Romero


I’m a night person. I pull all-nighters. No, I don’t do speed (although I might as well). I simply hit an hour of no return and there I am watching the clock roll into the future. Bringing in the next day. Telling me I made one more.



Usually, if I get to bed before 10:30 then I’m good. But if I pass that time then who knows what’s going to happen.




Patrick Parr

The Book of Drool

July 30th, 2009
by Patrick Parr


Way back, when I was innocent, I sat in the church balcony with my grandmother every Sunday and listened to old men tell me I was going to hell.  At least I felt that way.  They were serious, finger-pointing authorities with heavy robes and they spoke from a big book written by God.  I was twelve, and the authorities I chose to listen to were a boy a named Calvin and a tiger named Hobbes.  


Reno J. Romero

Carmen: My Mom

July 27th, 2009
by Reno J. Romero


I moved back to Vegas from Charlotte over a year ago. The reasons? Too many. But one of them was that my mom (my grandmother actually) was battling cancer and I wanted to be by her side. I spent many sad nights on the east coast thinking about what she was going through. It hurt like nothing I ever felt before. I felt like a horrible son.


Erika Rae

A Thousand Words: Dem Bones

July 22nd, 2009
by Erika Rae


“Collarbone” is not a word one expects a two-year-old to whisper in one’s ear in an underground, candlelit cavern. I blame myself. For not asking questions about what was down there. For exposing her to death at such an early age. For taking her down into the catacombs in the first place.