Monthly Archives: March 2014

Haikus are Easy by Dieter Rogiers

Haikus are easy

as long as you don’t misjudge

the number of syl

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Dieter Rogiers is a 35-year-old writer living in Brussels. This poem originally appeared on his 300 Stories website, which can be found here.

 

 

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The Bingo Sorceress by Justin Grimbol

“Are you wearing a sweat suit?” Bella asked.

“Maybe,” I said.

I was in the kitchen scavenging for crackers. And yes, I was wearing a black sweatshirt and black sweat pants. It was a sweat suit. It was true.

“You are wearing a sweat suit,” she said. “And it’s the creepiest, cutest sweat suit ever. Have you left the house yet today?”

Bella was my wife and she had just come home from work and she looked happy to see me, regardless of the sweat suit and my freaked-out, cave-dweller appearance.

She even gave me a hug.

“I love you,” she said.

“You’re hugging me too tightly,” I said.

She let go and rolled her eyes.

“So, what did you do today?” she asked.

“I worked on stuff.”

“Like what?”

“Writing stuff.”

“What kinda writing stuff?”

“Just stuff.”

I looked at the light in the kitchen.

“Have you been in the house all day?” she asked.

I looked at her face. I loved that face. I loved her big eyes and her dirty blonde hair and her goofy expressions.

I stared at her face awhile.

“Wow. You are really out of it,” she said.

“I’m so out of it right now. I haven’t been out all day and I feel cray cray.”

She laughed. Bella loved the term “cray cray.”

And I usually loved Bella’s bouncy laughter. But it was too much for me right then.

“You don’t get it. I feel like shit. I wanted to ride my bike, but there was too much snow and ice. It’s a snowpocalypse out there.”

Bella laughed. She also loved the term “snowpocalypse.” She thought that she had invented it, but I was the one who had invented it.

“I invented that word,” she said.

“Can we please not fight right now, I’ve had a rough day.”

“You’ve had a rough day. I had a doozy of a day,” Bella said.

She started listing all the things that happened at work. She worked as a recreational coordinator at a neurological center. She worked with the kids. They had a variety of issues. Some couldn’t talk or even move much. Most of them had behavioral issues. Biting and headbutting were fairly normal. So was poop-throwing. One kid liked to swallow shoes. That’s right, whole shoes.

Earlier that day, she had asked this one kid to go to bed. He called her a “fat bitch.” He wanted to stay up eating cookies and watching TV. That was understandable enough. Bella suggested a compromise. Maybe he could have one more cookie and even a chocolate milk, but he had to go to bed. “Fuck your compromise, fat bitch,” the kid said. Then as she was walking down the hall she saw the kid’s little middle fingers poking in and out of his room.

“And then there’s this one kid,” she went on. “He calls me ‘Hairy Armpits.’ And now all the kids call me that.”

I smiled. I liked that nickname. It was a good nickname.

She had hairy armpits cause of me. I thought they were sexy. When we first started dating, I asked her to grow her armpit hair out and she agreed.

Bella kept listing off crazed things the kids in her program had done.

But it all sounded adorable to me. And I could tell she wasn’t really bothered by it either.

Her last job was much rougher.

The kids threw poop at her almost every other day and she got headbutted frequently.

One time a kid right in front of her dug out a bunch of poop and then grabbed her hair. It took five men to pry the kid off of her. She lost a bunch of hair and she smelled poopy for days.

This new job was easy by comparison. And she knew that.

Still, she liked to bitch.

“You need to cut your hair,” she said, switching subjects.

“What? No,” I said. “I want my hair to be long and powerful.”

“Honey, you’re balding. When you have long hair you just look creepy. Plus you need to start looking for a job.”

“I know, you’re right.”

“What do you want for dinner?” she asked.

“Let’s skip dinner and go to Bingo night,” I said.

“Should we?”

“Fuck it, we’ve both had rough days. You got called out on your hairy armpits and I had my wife call me a creepy bald guy.”

She nodded.

“Do we have the money?”

“We’ll take some out of our savings.”

She got excited and started hopping around the house, clapping her hands and making weird noises.

I loved it when Bella got excited like that.

I loved watching her.

She was so goofy. So goofy it went right past clumsy and awkward and became something beautiful.

And she had a good laugh. It was loud and sloppy. It took guts to have a laugh like that.

Guts and a big butt. My wife had a big butt. A big, warm butt. A stinky butt. I was sure that big butt was linked to her laugh somehow. The secret to that laugh was in there. I just had to find it. With my face.

“Look at my butt!” she said, as she was changing out of her work clothes.

“It’s my butt. Not yours.”

I grabbed it. And squeezed.

She slapped my hand away and ran off, laughing.

*****

We drove to the Ivanhoe, this cozy Irish pub on Main Street in Racine, Wisconsin.

There was barely anybody there. I figured it was going to be easy to win.

We ordered dark, dark stouts and some bingo cards.

The girl reading the numbers was drunk and she was acting belligerent and wild and that wildness made all the unfunny things she said hilarious. Even though she had a weak chin and no hips and tacky highlights in her hair, I wanted to cuddle with her and smell her butt a little.

But I held my wifey close, hoping she could protect my chubby body against this bingo sorceress and her boozy magic.

“O 69,” she called out.

And everyone laughed.

Things got rowdy.

I got rowdy.

Every time I got a number, I hooted and hollered and acted nuts.

But, even though there were only six people in the bar, I didn’t win a single game.

Some old guy bought us shots.

There was a muscle-bound, middle-aged dude at the bar. He grabbed Bella’s butt while she was walking to the bathroom.

I looked at him. It wasn’t a mean look or an angry look. Just a look.

I was thinking, man, this guy looks like a gym teacher.

The guy caught me staring. At first I thought he was going to fight me, but then he apologized for grabbing my wife’s ass. And bought me a beer.

I drank the beer.

Bella came back.

The guy bought her a beer as well.

Bella laughed and rolled her eyes.

Bella, the old ass grabber, and I raised our glasses and made a toast.

“BUTTS ARE AWESOME!” I yelled.

Bella cheered.

The old butt grabber shook his head and turned away from us.

I kissed Bella on the mouth.

Her breath was foul, but I liked it that way.

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Justin Grimbol is the author of THE PARTY LORDS, THE CREEK and THE CRUD MASTERS. He lives in Racine, Wisconsin. He’s kinda stinky.

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Unspoken Consolation by Sean Lynch

This dog is a reincarnation of a reincarnation

of Allen Ginsberg because he’s mystical

and gives me queer looks.

He loves to smell piss and shit, and he’s beautiful

and black and white and if dogs were poets he’d be

the masterful, subversive beta-male.

Ginsberg stares at me thru big brown eyes while wagging

his tail, thinking about absolution.

Now he’s licking his penis and grunting.

Now a cat is sitting on my lap staring at the wall,

since he’s a reincarnation of a reincarnation

of William S. Burroughs, he’s crying on the inside

about murder, but not really feeling guilty. The animals have seen

it all before, but not for forever.

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Sean Lynch is a poet from New Jersey, born in 1992. His poems, essays, and short stories are available on swlynch.com. Lynch’s first poetry collection is the city of your mind (Whirlwind Press, 2013), which Lamont b. Steptoe, CAConrad, and Frank Sherlock call “beautiful and desolate,” “marvelous,” and “clear-eyed & visionary” respectively. Sean Lynch is also the editor of a collection of poems by Rocky Wilson.

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Avant-garde March Madness Bracketology

Avant-garde bracket methods you might look into for next year…

 

1. Choosing a winner according to the team name that sounds better on your tongue

2. Asking your mother who she thinks will win in every game

3. Choosing based on the school with the superior field hockey record

4. Picking the team who’s name appears on top of the bracket matchups

5. Selecting the team with more players using Twitter than the other

6. Opting for the team that more likely has God on their side.

 

— Ian Starttoday

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The House with No Door by Scáth Beorh

Down on Saint George Street

there’s a house with no door.

Outside there’s no chimney,

inside there’s no floor.

Upstairs there’s no attic,

no cellar below,

and if there are bedrooms

they choose not to show.

There once was a kitchen,

but it burned away

and left a huge hole where

raccoons like to play.

You can look for a parlor

‘til you damage your pride.

There is a small bathroom,

but it sits outside.

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Scáth Beorh is a writer and lexicographer of Ulster-Scot and Cherokee ancestry. His books in print include the novels Black Fox In Thin Places (Emby Press, 2013), October House (Emby, 2014), and Blood (Emby, 2015); the story collections Children & Other Wicked Things (James Ward Kirk Fiction, 2013) and Always After Thieves Watch (Wildside Press, 2010); the dictionary Pirate Lingo (Wildside, 2009); and the poetic study Dark Sayings of Old (Kirk Fiction, 2013). Raised in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast of West Florida, and having undergone rites of passage in India and Ireland, he now makes a home with his joyful and imaginative wife Ember in a quaint Edwardian neighborhood on the Atlantic Coast.

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What Should Have Been the Voyage Home by Sean Leonard

The giant white creature glided across the dark blue water, the most intimidating breaststroke the two men had ever witnessed, an equally giant, equally intimidating shadow following along the bottom of the tank. They did not trust the apparent smile across the beast’s face, nor did they have any reason not to. One enormous paw after the other slapped down against the surface of the pool, sending waves crashing against the surrounding walls, two inch thick glass the only thing preventing their heads from becoming volleyballs. The men shuddered in unison, moments away from hugging like spider monkeys. Ignoring the uneven clink and clank of rapidly approaching footsteps, their four eyes remained transfixed on the strange beast.

“Hurley, what are we going to do with a polar bear?”

Captain Steadman gained momentum as he neared the two befuddled officers, then stopped on a dime, picked it up and put it in his pocket. Eventually he was Pisa-towering over Hurley and Watt. His jaw was clenched, his eyes open wide, and if steam suddenly shot from his ears, no one would have questioned it.

Seconds felt like hours as Steadman counted backward from ten, allowing his color by number face to lighten from terror level red to Georgia peach. The daggers of his eyes remained at the throat of Officer Watt even as he addressed Watt’s partner.

“Officer Hurley, what is your current assignment?”

“Engine room, sir.” Hurley coughed nervously, jealous of the protection his cervical vertebrae provided the frog occupying his throat.

“I see. The engine room. Yet you are in the transporter room. And you are in the transporter room because…?”

Steadman’s question remained hanging in the air long after Hurley’s hurried exit from the transporter deck, leaving only the overwrought officer, the curious captain, and the playful polar bear.

“Would you care to explain what we are dealing with here, officer?”

Officer Watt looked down to his left boot, shiny black against the silver steel floor, then over to his right boot, a bit scuffed at the toe. Out of boots, he looked up to his boss.

“We, um, we…we made a mistake, sir.” Watt tried to will the words back into his mouth before they reached the Captain’s ears, but without the powers of telekinesis the effort was futile.

Before Captain Steadman could birth the rage that was conceived by the officer’s words and then gestated inside his rigid, angry body, it was aborted by a roar echoing throughout the transporter deck. The polar bear had climbed up from the cool blue sea and stretched out across the partial ice platform that had appeared with him. He turned his head toward the two men and seemed to ask a low, guttural question that neither of them could answer.

“So let me get this straight, Officer Watt. Do you mind if I call you Mike?”

In a situation like this, someone in the position of Captain Steadman might have lit a cigarette. However, he did not. It wasn’t so much that he had quit as that he had never been a smoker.

“Um, my name isn’t Mike, sir. It’s George.”

“Mike, would you say that we ask too much of you? Would you say that the orders I give you are unjust in any way?”

“No sir, it’s not that…” Officer George Watt tried to answer, but was cut off by the man ten years and five ranks his senior.

“We had enough Zirconian crystals for one transport. One. And we are weeks away from a new supply. Of course Officer, you already know this, don’t you?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And you were assigned the simple task of transporting the Venuvian Ambassador onto the ship. A task that, if I understand correctly, and without getting into the science and back story of it, is as simple as pressing three buttons in succession. A task that you have been properly trained on and have done numerous times over the past few years. Correct?”

“Yes, sir.”

Captain Steadman began walking the perimeter of the enormous glass enclosure, squinting one eye as he watched the polar bear swim toward the floating blue barrel that bobbed up and down in the water. He massaged both of his temples in unison. Officer Watt did not follow him but stood still, hands pocketed, his red uniform shirt darkening to maroon around the armpits.

“The Venuvian Ambassador was the one person who could have ensured peace in our  war-ridden galaxy. The whole reason we are out here, floating above some hostile planet, is to save him. The whole reason I came out of retirement and left my wife at home…did I mention I recently married?”

“No, sir.”

“Well, I did. Met a nice lady, decided it was time to settle down, and she said yes. She makes me laugh. A real looker, too. And she loves me for me. Anyway, the whole reason I left her at home alone was to lead the most important mission of my life. And now I’m sitting here with a damn polar bear on my ship while Ambassador Klimek is, at this very moment, no doubt being devoured by the cannibal tribes of Stolar-7.”

Captain Steadman stood frustrated, his back against the glass wall. The polar bear looked on from behind, treading water and becoming Steadman’s giant white shadow. As the captain took a step forward and contemplated the fate of the galaxy, the polar bear pushed himself back to the floating barrel, hugging all four limbs around it. One of the two had a smile on their face.

Steadman walked to where his subordinate still stood staring at the ground and grabbed his collar. Watt was too slow to react, not that he would have even if he had had the opportunity, and so he found himself face to teeth-grinding, brow-furrowed face with his angry boss.

“First, we lose half our crew when we ‘accidentally’ land on SGJ-5, the werewolf planet during their full-moon, because somebody inverted the coordinates. Then your ham-handed approach went all thumbs and, instead of saving the one being that could bring peace to our galaxy, you somehow managed to transport a polar bear from God-knows-where onto our ship, draining our crystal supply and leaving us only enough energy to get home. You’ve gotten us into this mess, now how do you propose that we get out of it?”

Officer Watt thought for a long moment. He thought about the job he worked so hard to attain and now was on the verge of losing. He thought about his accidental role in the forthcoming destruction of the galaxy. But mainly, he thought about all of the late-20th/early-21st century American television he had been bingeing on since he joined the ship’s crew. About his recent discovery that the actress who played the mom in that old horror movie about the killer doll was the same actress who played the mom on that religious family drama that everyone loved. He couldn’t help but wonder if there was any relation. And then, recognizing that he had not thought about the Captain’s question at all, Officer Watt responded with what he honestly thought might be a good answer.

“Maybe the polar bear can help us save the galaxy? Like, maybe it can communicate with the alien life-forms that are threatening us and let them know we are friendly…sir.”

Captain Steadman wanted to slap his colleague.

“Polar bears aren’t exactly known for their communication skills, Watt. This isn’t a goddamned humpback whale.”

“Well, maybe we should just make the best of it, sir. We, um – we could keep him. You know, as a pet. If he’s a boy, we could name him George, and if he’s a girl, we could…”

Captain Steadman did slap his colleague.

“A polar bear on a space ship? Get a hold of yourself, man! That makes about as much sense as a polar bear on a tropical island. Just how the hell do you propose that we explain this?”

Officer Watt found his mind wandering back to all of the television he had been watching, these classic “re-runs” supplying the only knowledge that seemed to stick in his brain anymore. And then it hit him, the answer coming out of nowhere like a sudden cloudburst or a smoke monster.

“Who says we need to explain it?”

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In 1987, after hearing Poison’s “Look What the Cat Dragged In” for the first time, Sean Leonard decided he wanted to play drums. After realizing all rock stars wore leather pants, he changed his mind and traded in those dreams of fortune and fame for 80’s sitcoms, horror movies (which he reviews at HorrorNews.net), and punk rock. Sean’s short stories can be found in Solarcide’s “Flash Me! The Sinthology,” Bizarro Pulp Press’s “Bizarro Bizarro: An Anthology,” Chupa Cabra House’s “Axes of Evil,” and online at Cease, Cows. www.seanofthedead.net

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Welcome to Back Hair Advocate!

Hi there,

Back Hair Advocate is a new humor (web) lit mag. It was started after our team of editors (there is no team) realized that there are a dearth of opportunities for writing funny out there.

Back Hair Advocate would like to fill that dearth with your brilliance. We are looking for poems, flash fiction, cartoons, nonfiction pieces and short stories. All of them must have two things in common: they have to be funny and well-written.

The individual behind this new lit mag is Ian Starttoday. His work is forthcoming or has been published in a number of fine publications you probably haven’t heard of. They include Eunoia Review, Feathertale.com, Foliate Oak Lit Mag, Asinine Poetry, and Miracle E-Zine.

So, think Shouts and Murmurs, but actually funny. And maybe a little more absurd.

The plan is to post a new piece every week, and in time, somewhat more often.

If you’re interested in submitting something, click here. Actually, not there, but here.

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