Archive for September, 2008

Presenting: Shane Allison

If I Was the Editor of a Literary Magazine

I would reject anything that didn’t have the words dick, tits or pussy in it.
And I don’t mean the Biological terms like penis, breasts or vagina.

Some places don’t take erotica, pornography or gay and lesbian themes,
but I would welcome the shit. I would write the acceptance letters myself

to writers of poems entitled,
Day in the Life of My Big Black Dildo or Brenda’s Fat Cunt Speaks in Tongues.

Give a thumbs up to coming out stories
and leather wearing, whip popping grandmas.

My advice to writers is to send poems
with 12-inch titles, stories dripping wet with smelly plots.

Feel free to send in naked photos of yourself taped to those cover letters.
Double-space if you like to get spanked or like the sensation of titclamps

pinching those rose-pink nipples. Put a real orgasmic feel into your writing.
I want to be able to come with you in your work.

Send religious work only if you have had fantasies about giving God head
or ever wondered how big Jesus’ dick was.

I don’t want sweet, poofy poetry you would give to your mother on her birthday.
I don’t want shit about log cabins and red ribbons in the hair of little girls.

I want stuff about 50’s Hollywood stars doing drugs and twisting themselves in
unusual positions in underground porno films to make ends meet.

I want to read about Marilyn Monroe getting fist-fucked by Humphrey Bogart
or getting her pussy eaten out by Ava Gardner.

Stories about giving your own cousin a blowjob would be great.
I want Non-fiction work about your boyfriend’s semen tasting like macaroni and

cheese or your girlfriend’s cum tasting like lime green jello.
I’m no fickle, vague editor who sugar coats what he seeks.

I get right to the point. If I can jerk-off to it, then I might invite you into
my bathhouse of naughty literature.

I want full-frontal writing that’s not afraid to show me what its got.
The work has to deep throat my interests.

Want to feel like I’m being fucked in the butt with your stories.
It’s gotta jack me off and make me shoot bucket loads.

Want a face full of ejaculate after reading your work.
Simultaneous submitted shit is okay.

A cover letter makes for good foreplay.
Without a self-addressed stamped envelope my mind goes limp.

You’ll ruin that Barry White moment between your manuscript and me.
Don’t be pissed if you get your shit back with the pages stuck together.

Write me some meaty, tender bios.
Come on, be a little nasty. Be creative for once.

Pull up your shirt and let me see your tits.
Zip down those faded jeans and pluck out your prick

I want to know what makes you tick, what drives you to do this.
Give me Homo erotica, Lesbo biographa.

Members of the mile high club have an even greater chance
of getting in.

My advice to beginners and those emerging
from suicidal Goth and love-struck verse, make it stank and rank.

I want to feel the breath of your confessions on my neck.
Show me some nipple, a little pube.

And as for you Robert Pinsky,
good luck submitting your shit elsewhere.



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Lewis Humphries

Mr Martin,
your image crafts a neat visage
of corporate health, dressed as you are
in a starched chemise and light grey suit.
And as your
fingertips school the errant tie
that binds your neck, a time piece shows
the face of eleven o clock.
Whilst bursts of
fitful laughter breach the quiet,
you are unmoved, your gaze upon
the shifting of the blue green glare.
For humility,
and the playful teasing of its words,
only lives to steal a purpose
from the possession of the day.

And maturity,
so wasteful of the gifts that youth
bestows, long since contoured your lips
into the likeness of a frown.
As a sliver
of sunlight, spilt from the cup of summer’s
day, taunts it’s cambered form
into a momentary smile.
But too soon
it disappears as you straighten
in your chair, and your eyes seek refuge
in a patch of slanted shade.
And you curse
beneath the stealth of your breath,
at the folly of aspiration
and its fallacious dawn.


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Alli Sutherland
Quality Street Tower

I awoke up at 7:30 in the morning all bright eyed and bushy tailed and lay there wondering what to do with the day. I wanted to see the cookery programme that started at 10am and had to do a shop and some housework, the house is always a tip after a week of long hours spent at work. Then my new red swing Mac started to call me softly from the wardrobe. It was at this very moment that I realised that the red of the Mac was the very same shade of red as my FMB’s acquired last season. I simply had to go to Tesco’s early. Squeezing on a pair of spray on jeans, red rimmed glasses and the, oh so impractically high boots. I grabbed a cute little white vest top to finish off the look and I was resplendently ready to negotiate the trolley lanes.

I dithered at the door of the supermarket I didn’t need that much in the way of groceries but from where I was standing I could see that they had two tins of Quality Street on offer for £9.00 and that the Andrex deal of 12 for £4.00 was tempting. Ibacked away from the sensible small trolley and headed for the huge ones. I rarely get a big trolley since I got the MX-5 because the boot on it is tiny. For anyone who’s not clued up on their cars it’s one of those little sporty silver numbers with just 2 seats and a floppy top. It also helps if you’ve got good knees as the best way to get out of one is to crawl. But I decided that if I over bought I could pile it into the front seat and the foot well; Xmas shopping’s going to be a nightmare.

Off I trundled and bought lots of ‘two for the price of one’ deals and quite a few bulky items, but I’d manage to get it all squeezed in. I paid for the purchases and pushed the trolley out into the car park. My feet were killing me, those boots look great but they totally knack the balls of your feet. I pressed the little button on the key ring and the Mazda gave me a cheeky flash and a cheery ‘Beep Beep.’ Though quite what it had to be so happy about was beyond me…..there it was… rear drivers’ side tyre was as flat as a proverbial bloody Dodo.

Thank God, I thought, Tesco’s have an air machine at their petrol pumps, I’d inflate it there. The shopping was decanted from the trolley to the boot and the passenger seat…and its floor space…. and the back parcel shelf… and the stretchy string baggy type thingy stuck in front of the speakers…but I got it all in. I ‘flop, flop, flopped’ my way to the petrol station part and pulled the car by the side of the air machine. Neatly Sellotaped to the front of the oxygen giving life force was a hand written notice. “Sorry – Out of Air.” Oh, well, I thought, I’m a girl of the World, changed the odd tyre or 3 in my time I could do it again! The boots had to come off though, tyres can’t be changed in 5 inch heels, unfortunate that I’d been too lazy to look for the other cerise pink sock this morning, purple and black spots had indeed seemed a close match at the time. However, staring at them now, I wasn’t so sure.

So, all the bags of groceries were piled on the pavement and I removed the carpet from the floor of the boot and stared at the spare wheel…it was tiny….no, I mean…TINY! I peaked my head round the side of the car and looked at the incumbent due to be removed….it was MASSIVE! Oh, dear I was in trouble. I looked at the shopping and as my gaze descended on it, a bag slipped over and a bottle of wine rolled under the car… Fabulous!

My very first boyfriend would have been very proud of me, for it was he who had spent a very patient Saturday afternoon with me in the lane at the back of his parents house showing me how to use a jack and all such oily things……I changed it! All on my own, without a man or a mechanic or a boiler suited, shaved headed lesbian. I managed all on my very own! Fair dues, it took me an hour and 40 minutes and I ripped the rear of my jeans whilst bending down, my left buttock was now on full view. Plus there was axle grease down the front of my new Mac but what can I expect it’s a dirty job…no getting away from that. If there are any head teachers reading this, I’d like you to please inform all pupils of the female persuasion that alloy wheels have a security nut on each one, and that you’ll damage your eyebrow tweezers if you attempt to use them to remove the little devils. Thank-You!

All I can say is glory to the heavens that the big tyre was flat, because if it had been full of air it wouldn’t have fitted in my little boot. One carrier bag either side of it and that was the boot crammed. There were still 5 VERY full bags still sitting on the ground. Those of a nervous disposition should look away now. There was no way I was leaving my shop just lying there and I had to get to the tyre fixing place right away, so I took the shopping off the back shelf and put down the roof. I wedged the pack of loo rolls behind my headrest, (it only stuck up by a couple of feet) and the rest just got piled right in there. I balanced it pretty well, it only sat above the windscreen by a few inches and I’d managed to leave a gap for the handbrake and gear stick, well done me. At this juncture, I would like to add that I do not recommend sitting on two tins of Quality Street. Especially not when your buttocks are semi clad, ’tis a bit chilly and a bit high too! Did you know that when your head stands proud of the windscreen you get bugs in your teeth? I do!
You want to see the look they gave me when I rolled my wheel into the tyre fixing centre….don’t think they see many women in there, well not ones as dishevelled as me! So I said to the man behind the counter. “Err, could you fix my tyre for me please?” And he replied “Would you like us to put it back on your car for you?” So I fixed him with the Paddington Bear stare that my son taught me and said “Hell, no thanks, I’m looking forward to another hour and forty minutes repeating the process!”
He smiled at me…and the other men who were waiting to get there cars back laughed. I don’t somehow suspect they were exactly laughing ‘with’ me…but at this point in time I didn’t care, I’d missed James Martin and his cookery skills, the weekend was hardly worth living.

I took a seat and found a very old copy of ‘Good Housekeeping’ among the well thumbed issues of ‘Tyre Weekly’ and ‘Motor Sport.’ Then the chap behind the counter shouts to me “I’m afraid we can’t repair your tyre, because you’ve been driving on it…what sort of replacement would you like?” I looked at him blankly, couldn’t he see that I’d been reading a girls magazine? Had I realised I was supposed to cram up on the finer points of Pirelli, I’d have read the Tyre Weekly! I smiled sweetly (having first placed my tongue firmly in my cheek) and replied “Erm, a round one?” ….. “Or failing that…perhaps black?” He then explained in words of no more than one syllable that he meant by price, so being the cheapskate that I am, I went for the one of least cost.

I walked in through the front door as Son was bouncing down the stairs. “Whoa, Mum, you look a state…did you go out looking like that?” I took a deep breath, then demonstrated the talent that crowned me the winner of ‘Miss Arse Kicker, 1985’


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Andria Alefhi
Not a Joiner: 3 days at a yoga ashram

I was supposed to stay until Friday but on Wednesday afternoon while everyone was in class, I quietly packed my bags and left.

I volunteered my services as an interpreter for a yoga teacher training course at an ashram. It’s my fault, really. I didn’t fully comprehend what I was signing up for. I thought I was going to a yoga retreat (read: no frills spa). What I went to was a yoga retreat (read: cult).

I’ve yet to look it up in the dictionary but apparently ashram means some kind of monastery for guilty Caucasian people needing of penance in the form of busy work and journal writing. Every morning the mission bell rang across the compound at 5:30am. Folks went off half-asleep to sit cross-legged on the floor and be half-asleep with the others for 30 minutes (well, fine call it meditation if you have to). Twice a day folks did “karma yoga” which were glorified chores such as washing dishes or folding laundry. The chores reminded you that no one was above anyone else. Did I mention the cross-legged sitting on hardwood floors? One computer to share with 60 others with limited hours of operation?

Once I got there and got the picture of Freakville I thought ‘well at least I can take yoga class everyday and get a buff workout’. Even that was a surprising disappointment. Their version of yoga is more holistic incorporating the karmic yoga chores, the meditation, the singing and chanting nightly. The one yoga class they did offer each day didn’t have the exercise flow I was looking for and was mostly lying on the floor breathing.

But here’s the best part. Only I could go to a yoga ashram and find someone to dislike so greatly that I wanted to punch this person in the face and then publicly flog them. This place where strangers offered me chocolate. This person was an instructor (a swami). I remembered her instantly. A real deaf wannabe. This person actually went out with me and a group and refused to use her ability to hear and speak, so greatly did she “identify with being deaf”. She was there, and everything about her reeked of self promotion in the worst way, that kind of overly helpful and nice do unto others way that was so obviously to stroke her own ego but in a way that she couldn’t see but I so easily could. I wasn’t being utilized as an interpreter very much because this person took over and I ended up sitting there (on the hardwood floor!) wondering just what I was doing there. I know I cannot describe in words the degree to which I hated this woman, hated all people of this nature, so fucking clueless and manipulative and skilled at enshrouding themselves in phony bliss. She felt my opposite energy and it sent me out of there.

I had come to interpret, to help out, to do something specific, and leave. If it were compared to helping someone move, it would be to help you move a couch and only the couch because it requires two people, and not to stick around and load boxes in the car. I didn’t join in the singing, the meditation, the chores, and didn’t get up at 5:30am. They couldn’t wrap their heads around the fact that I was just there to interpret. That I wasn’t a joiner: that any group activities, especially those centered around praise, honor and devotion to a speaker, monk, teacher, rabbi or guru send me the other way just like a reflex action.

Why can’t I see the good that can be derived from motivational speakers? I always detest the inspiration that others feel and it makes me blacken inside. A 96-year old rabbi came to preach peace and love and forgiveness. People cried and thanked him for coming. All I could think was, “Who the fuck does he think he is?”

I didn’t enjoy the yoga plus I was cold since I’d gotten there, and I wasn’t being paid. After I told the whack job girl “You’re patronizing. Do you know that?” to which she replied, “it’s all in your mind”, I had to double back and take a breath. I left anyhow, but even before I was back in the real world, I knew she touched a nerve that was partially true.

This place was nutty but she made a point. And this is my never have Paris. This is my thing never meant to be. How much is me and how much is them? Much more than others I end up apologizing to people and backtracking, fast tracking, smoothing over, clarifying, retouching, what I meant was-ing, I’m sorry it came out that way-ing for all kinds on interactions, conversations, altercations, confrontations, interceptions, first impressions, and looks that went the wrong way.

I do something to people. I set them on edge. I give them the look. I can’t go with the flow. Or it’s the opposite. I have great energy. We make a connection right away. We like each other instantly and have nothing but complete trust. Everyone is like this but for turning the knob feels out of my control and happens externally.

Some people have lemons and make lemonade. Some maybe just sigh, too tired to make lemonade, and go to Dunkin’ Donuts for an iced coffee. Me, I run to the nearest person, finger already pointed, screaming, “Do you see this? What the FUCK am I supposed to do with lemons?” I somehow need to prove to anyone within earshot that I saw thru the plot.

I feel guilty because I tire out good friends who know how small my comfort level is. And yet to strangers I come off as laid back and ‘go with the flow’.

The ashram was on 77 acres of land and you couldn’t hear the cars from the road. At two days before I turn 37, I have to wonder what happened to the person I was who could sleep on a stranger’s floor and go away for a weekend with a toothbrush, a single pair of underwear and an unwrapped bagel stuffed in a backpack.


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Gary Beck
Drop Out

I sit at my desk
pretending to work
and ponder the passing of time,
as pompous as an ancient sage
and though in near paralytic sleep,
I see the vision of waste.
The unending hours in the office,
the terrible hunger for life,
the moments untempered by patience
that burst a myth on my frenzy,
a somnolent spider of anger
weaving no tomorrows.


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This World, My World #1

Ananya S Guha
Cricketing Memories

The first cricket test match that I saw but could not witness was the famed one between India and the West Indies in 1967. ‘Famed’ unfortunately for all the wrong reasons; far removed from cricketing attributes or skills. The match went down in the annals of cricketing history as one which was abandoned due to riots, as irate spectators unleashing mob fury, went on a rampage, damaged the main pitch and set fire to the stands. Garfield Sobers’ team from the West Indies was left flabbergasted; in fear of course as the Eden Gardens was no longer a ‘garden of Eden’ as tear gassing policemen ruled the roost. I was a tiny speck among the teeming thousands who had come see their icons, whether it be a Wesley Hall or a Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi of Sussex County fame, popularly known as ‘ Tiger’ Pataudi, because of his exceptional cover fielding prowess. Clasping my uncle’s trembling fingers I scampered across the field little knowing that however involuntarily I was a part of history and had come to see as to what turned out to be one of the most infamous cricketing test matches. Later on Mansur Ali Khan was to fable it in his cricketing autobiography A Tiger’s Tale where he recounted that a great deal of the blame was to be apportioned to the organisers who issued more tickets than the stadium stands permitted; with the subsequent result of spectators spilling on to the boundary lines, only to be greeted with cascading hits from baton wielding policemen. The Eden Gardens was a swarm of humanity with most people thanking their very stars to be alive. My ten year old sensibilities of life and death must have been very tenuous. I was only thankful to land safely in the comfortable precincts of my uncle’s house in Calcutta. This also we owed mainly due to the good samaratism of a taxi driver, while most of his associates were not prepared to display such altruism at that point in time. My desire to see my idols in poetic action received a rude setback to say the least, in Shakespeare’s pithy words: ”the unkindest cut of all”. (more…)

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Well now…here’s a Shard written a year ago last April when I was in the hospital for my second operation. I’ve been spending the morning pawing through scrawled Shards, a pile of loose sheets of paper, napkins, coffee coasters. I can’t keep up with it. Some find their way straight into the computer, others get thrown to the wayside and pile up. But they all seem like fresh news when they do find their way into the computer, and that’s a good thing. That’s one of the things that differentiate between news and the eternal booming voice of the universe. I’m saying this now because I’ll be going in for a third operation in about three weeks, and that will most likely spawn another generation of hospital Shards, and I want to give a little heads-up that there is bound to be overlap and backwash and even backlash with these Shards. It may become difficult to know which operation I’m talking about. And, while I’m at it, a few words on Death. Death skips alongside these operations like an excited little girl of seven skipping rope. It’s part of the package. The game. The story. The news that’s fit to print. So relax, kick back, open your arms to any death Shards that come along like you would to an old friend who appears in your dreams. (more…)

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OMG, Click Me! #1

Gloom Cupboard introduces a new column by AV Flox about relationships, sex and the internet. We’ve a feeling you’ll Digg it. (more…)

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Greg Oguss on Pop Culture

“I know Todd Boyd. You’re no Todd Boyd,” a fiftysomething hippie poet named told me last fall, referencing the most quotable professor on the University of Southern California campus, aka the Notorious PhD. The hippie was correct, technically. Unlike the well-known African-American cultural critic Dr. Boyd, I’m a small-time critic, author and low-fi rock musician who was still pursuing my PhD at USC at the time. These days, I’m just another PhD drop-out. I’m still good friends with Todd, who was my dissertation chair and a mentor of mine to the extent I’ve ever listened to anyone’s advice on anything. Todd and I have both dealt with the sort of player-hating represented by the above quote that’s often directed at intellectuals who write for the mainstream. Todd has frequently written of his battles with haters in academia as well as the criticism he gets from African-Americans who accuse him of “selling out.” On the latter subject, Todd is apt to quote Jay-Z who once boasted that he didn’t sell-out but instead “brought the suburbs to the ‘hood.” (more…)

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Lance Curran
The Trouble With Impulse Buying

While I flipped through pages of the
Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices
I came across an entry for bee stings.

Some men like to have their
penis stung so it will swell.

I couldn’t help but think of the
complications that would arise
if I were to take up such a practice

considering my allergies.


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