Ricky Garni

I suddenly realized–I think this happened when I was on my bicycle near UNC Chapel Hill, North Carolina where the traffic can be rather frisky – that there is a mathematical/statistical component to love, specifically, the odds of love’s success, just as with chocolate and love there is the chemical component through the dear ol’ phenylethylamine phenomenon.*

The mathematical, or perhaps I should say statistical or probability aspect of love is less fun than the chemical one. Here it is:

The probability of falling in love with someone as you
grow older is inversely proportional to your age.

Why? Well, in order to fall in love truly, a couple must learn to intuit one another’s feelings, and become intimate with their experiences, emotions, histories, life stories, quirks, patterns, and all of that stuff. How many of all such do you have at, say, 18? Well, fewer than you have, once could argue, than when you are, say for the sake of argument, 70.

Falling in love at 18 can therefore be what we call a quick study: a conversation, perhaps two, and Bingo! Love is there just like when that guy yells BINGO and you win something that you think that you want, even if you saw it somewhere else and said, “Man, I don’t want that.” And the couple can sit about and stay in love and watch those little tulips of experience and family and quirks and whatnot grow quite slowly over time, loving them more and more and ever so tenderly, although I am not sure if tulips grow slowly.

In any event, and to take the discussion away from tulips, we can safely say that immersing one’s self with someone else at 18 allows a relaxed and patient period of inquiry–say–60 or 70 years. One does not get the bends that way. Or at least it would be a challenge to get the bends that way. And you know when I say ‘bends’ I don’t really mean ‘bends’ but you know what I mean. Onward:

Let’s say that you are 70. I am not, and quite frankly, the idea makes me jittery, but still, well, it certainly does look real to me, and that might be the cause of the jittery. Let’s forget about me and tulips both for a second. Anyway,

Let’s say that you are 70. You go on a date, probably at the local community center. You meet someone very special. You sit down and talk, and find that you can talk so easily and openly that the time just flies by. Now of course when you are 70 the time flies by anyway, and many other horrible and depressing things happen that don’t happen when you are 18 but we’ll talk about that later. In any event, for time that just flies by normally, not that it is downright rocket shippy flying by. Of course, by 70 in our era, you have seen quite a number of rocket ships, and they scare you very much.

But in many ways, the componentry of love at 70 is no different than at 18–you still have to share everything. You simply must. The problem is, there is an awful lot to share, and the sound of the clock on the wall is so loud that sometimes you think somebody is shooting a gun in the kitchen, and at you, a terrible thing to do, and almost as bad to think. Guns scare you very much, too. After all, you are 70. Lots of guns by 70 and you know exactly what they do and that they aren’t kidding.

But love scares you no more than it did at 18. Nor does it excite you any less. Or maybe, it’s the same amount. And so there you are, at the local community center, talking freely and openly and sweetly with someone who just might be the love of your life. And you tell your new love everything–your foibles, your dreams, your loves, your fears, your family, your worries, your passions, your amores, your food preferences, your shoe size, your doctor’s home telephone number, your prescriptions, your aching back, your frequency and content of urination, your mother problems from 1942, your poetry.


Now if you were 18 you could do all of this and look up at the clock and say “Look at the time–it’s already midnight! How quickly it passes when I am with you.”

But at 70, after all of this, you would look up at the clock and say, “My God. We are 97 years old. How quickly the time passes when I am with you.”

My God. My God.

My God.

Jesus Christ.

Of course the best case scenario is that you would look up at the clock at 97.

Of course, there are alternate possibilities:

They might not have clocks by the time you are 97; you might not care for clocks at 97; you might have forgotten your glasses in the first place; you might still be talking and not aware of the time at 97; you might never have been taught how to read time; it might be a small, unobtrusive, barely perceptible digital clock on the wall with weak batteries; you might have stopped talking by 97 and might be making furious 97 year old love on that little green ping pong table at the local community center, and then, other possibilities which I will leave alone and to your imagination for the time being.

Simply put, fall in love early. Before you are 97. I think it’s a good idea. It’s hard to argue against it. In fact, I cannot think of a single argument against it. Just think of the alternatives to not falling in love.

Yes: do it now. Or, if that is not possible, try to do it before you get your wisdom teeth, or thereabouts. Somehow, that seems about right.

*phenylethylamine phenomenon: if you gorge yourself on chocolate, you no longer need to fall in love with someone, because you will simply fall in love, via body chemistry simulation via said phenylethylamine, dopamine, norepinephrine, etc. Keep gorging, though, and you will jolly well die in love, and with no one. Still, as ends go …



Kane X. Faucher

Floating style catalogue of culture, i.e.,
A cloaca-borne galactalogue of failure.
Elvis dropped his pants and laid a gold egg.
You gobbled up yoke of quaintness
And left ironic distance in your other pair
Of disco bellwether bottoms.

Cool Hand McLuhan said
The tune is the croon.
And what you waggle on stage once
Is broken watch right twice a day again.

Jazz Fedora Adorno said
We’ve erected an empire of imbeciles
Suckled on the sour tit of witch’s milk progress.
He lived left poste restante, LA.

Peasant-Pod Baudrillard said
A copy by any other name doth not smell the same.
But the Real was smoked up
In Gauloises roll-ups.

So, you see, retro is repro
And Kostabi rubber stamped it for twenty pound sixpence,
On a boat with no rudder
Out toward the romanticist stormscape
Out to sea in search of Pluto.



Michael J. Solender

Black penetrating stares fell on his pasty face, pale from residence far less proximate to the equator than his current latitude. He left the others in comfort found with iced drinks and soft beds.

Navigating the village he weaved through gazes misinterpreted as interest though in fact born of puzzlement at seeing machine stitched clothing, Doc Martins and his Swiss watch. It was quite a contrast to heavy boiled wool ponchos, hand thatched sandals and polished Beetle nut bracelets.

At that very moment he thought about his inbox. He never cared if he read another email again.



Anna Donovan
Plein air

Creased fingers carry
calloused water lily cantatas
in reflective tempos.

Ivy canopies lean
on tentative trellises,
vineyards chaise lounge
uneven on the ground,
and a propped canvas weaves
coarse textures in the nude.

Dog-eared eyes chase
the dark roast and milk
in every leaf and branch,
corner restless ripe light
in the seep fold.

A tree’s gnarled bones shape
the throne of lost
sun and dew,
seed and dawn.

Outward and upward
four corners measured,
and the earth stretches
canvas flat.

Color shells snap
and broken light
seeps deep yellow limoncello
in a flower’s heart.

Petals trace,
curve and crave
for crimson days,
pistils tip
a supernova’s purple larva,
in azure’s fugitive hues.

The underverse
in lightning aligned
open stroke gashes
left to sing.

“In the meantime, let us try and
converse calmly, since we are
incapable of keeping silent.”
-Samuel Beckett



Jack Ohms
Dem Merchant Bankers

maybe it’s divine Nature Himself,
speaking through the wires,
an old friend (well-fed) deigns to offer me
starting with,..

“Well, you haven’t got kids, you see.
If you had kids you couldn’t live like you do,
you know…responsibilities…ties…
mortgage, blah
the cost of
a magimix
tv and remote
coloured balloons…not to mention
the unmentionables,
these days“.

to hell with nature.

sometimes I think
when I finally croak
there’ll be very little to bundle up;
a couple of hundred’s worth
on ebay for my sister
and that’s OK with me –

not that it’s some kind of ideal,
just that I like it this way;

watching still light refract through
the bulb of a broken glass
the corrugated symphony
of the railway tunnel
rusty, slicing in through the train window.

I have to wonder,
as I drift away from the conversation –

“not to mention sending them away to
university – God!”

in the end,
just another defence mechanism.

maybe I’ll have
my affairs in order
by then.



June Nandy
Woman Made

always the same shop of decency
from where my books and dresses are bought.

my nationality is decided by the
identity i hold between my legs.

i have no Pandora’s Box
In whose depth, i can store my fantasies.

It comes swimming to me, his battle ground;
bringing me currencies, carnal, banal.

Other times, my timidity decides
how not to find me left, mid-way.

i flick my pages; a constitution that I’ve become,
placed at the highest pedestal; to be violated
again and again.



Marco Kaufman
Brian Has a Problem

Brian has a problem. He is a character in Dave’s new novel, but he’s only a character in a minor subplot. Brian feels he is more important than to be relegated to a mere subplot. He wants to get Dave’s attention, but Dave is more concerned with Alice and Roger, the romantic leads in the novel. You see, Alice is married to Dan, and Roger is married to Lois, but they work together and they’ve fallen in love. Brian is just a co-worker of Alice and Roger’s. He works in the copy room, where he has seen them have sex while peeking from a supply closet. Brian would like a larger role in the story. Plus, he’d like to be more than just the copy room guy. But Dave is so engrossed with the main story line — particularly the sex parts, which, unfortunately, have taken place in the copy room, at least so far — that the best Brian can get is an opportunity to masturbate in the supply closet while Alice and Roger make love. If only there were some way to get Dave’s attention. Brian considers making a play for Alice himself. He likes her, after all, and having seen her in flagrante delicto, he desires her, but Dave doesn’t see it in the cards, so it isn’t likely to happen. Maybe Brian could kill Roger. That would thrust him into the main plot line. If only he could get out of that closet in the copy room. Brian got himself stuck in there the last time he peeped on Alice and Roger, pulling the door shut and locking himself in. Being a character in the subplot is bad enough, but to be comic relief? Well, this is just too much.



Tara McDaniel
You Can’t Quit Me Baby: A Poem in Derived Text

When Tara McDaniel wants a cigarette
she tries to convince herself otherwise,
squats like a crouched wooden gnome
on the staircase
for the taste to pass,
waits for hair and moss, feels stabbing
sensations in her toes, concentrates
on a golden goose egg slick against the step
between her feet, is about to resurrect
a castle and put alligators
in the pulpy shamrock moat
when the goat-footed
balloonMan whistles by on his panpipe
and a rusted bell clanks twice
beneath her breast, she’s the Queen
Swallowtail sipping
at edges of mud, or –
in some weather –
sucking on the umbel bloom
of wild carrots. Which reminds her…

Freud could have lectured Tara McDaniel
on oral fixation: while she is on her hands
and knees looking for a lighter
she dreams up Freud’s dusty vest
and the fat curling cigar that was more (really)
than just a cigar, jumping to her feet,
resolving to burn his picture
in the darkest wing of her house, perhaps
castrate him with the rosebushes or choke
him with auntie’s black eyed peas
and put his rebuttal in a secret box
filled entirely by mother’s milk
and the heavy scent
of wind.

Then she thinks twice, she’s fearful
at her own proposal, she’s always alarmed
at boxes and closet doorways
since yellow eyes are sisters to shadows,
attached to furry arms
carrying headaches and bags
filled with children’s teeth. Her usual plan
involves locating paper locks
that burn to smoke and float away
into the sky, but sometimes – sometimes –
she leaves her room and has to find her way home
by night, by bicycle, and it is dangerous work,
she always gets stuck
talking to a woman in a cornflower dress
on the side of a road, in the bend of a gravel alleyway,
before she can wake up
with a tin can tied to a string, the facility
of harvesting light via photosynthesis,
an executive function to halt the desire
to put objects in her mouth, to light a flame.



K.D. Hazelwood
Boobfest on Aisle Four

Okay. Steady now. I know you can do it. Look up. Up! That’s right. Up! Find my neck. Make your way up to my head! My face! My eyes! Yes, yes, they’re right here just above my nose. Look into my eyes. Do you think I don’t see you staring at my breasts?! For Pete’s sake! I’m not even wearing anything tight or low cut. You can’t possibly be that thrilled by my t-shirt and sweatpants ensemble. What gives? Have you been away at sea for a long time or something?

Okay, already. Yes, I’m busty. Big deal! What would you think if I began staring a hole through the crotch of your jeans? Scratch that. No, I mean, forget it.

Oh, no! You’re not going to turn and go down the same aisle and follow me, are you? Please don’t be a pervert ! Maybe if I totally ignore you, you will go away! But it is hard for me to erase your image, for I’ve never seen so many tattoos on one person my whole life, nor have I ever seen so much greasy glop on one’s hair! You’re working that sleazy, slicked back look aren’t you?

Pork chops on sale. Serves 6. I guess I’ll get a couple of packages. Good to have on hand. Have you gone away yet?

Out the corner of my eye, I see you are still staring at me. You have one item in your hands. A jar of vaseline. My God, I really hate to think about it, so I concentrate on a packet of pork chop seasoning, preservative city.

Suddenly, a very well- endowed woman appears on the scene. She is pushing her cart at a fast pace. Your eyes bulge out! This woman is dressed quite nicely, probably just got off work. Her blouse is more lowcut, revealing, but in a tasteful, classy way. Your jaw drops. Ping-pong eyes bounce back and forth between the newcomber and myself. So now you are in Big Boob heaven. Do you not get out much? I find that hard to believe. I can smell your cheap aftershave from here!

The woman with the fast cart is slipping away, too swift for you. What’s that I see, a frown? I’d careen out myself, but I have more shopping to do down this aisle, and I refuse to let myself be intimidated by your salivating self.

You decide to take an abandoned cart to put some beer in along with your vaseline. You seem somewhat more focused on shopping. I sigh in slight relief.

Down another aisle, and then to the vegetable section, hoping this will be the last time we cross paths, I gather potatoes and onions, yams and broccoli and carrots and tomatoes, trying to complete my list.

You have somehow managed to follow my path, and I notice you have put whipped cream, the spray can type, in your cart, but lo and behold, more women have entered the produce section and there’s not a flat-chested one among them. In fact, one of them, a redhead, is especially curvy. She looks a little rough, though, bordering on brassy. You had better proceed with caution.

You move as close as you can to her with a cucumber in hand stroking it for all the world to see. Wouldn’t have believed it, if I hadn’t eyeballed it firsthand. Now, MY mouth drops.

You aim the cucumber at the redhead. She takes one look at you and your supplies and that smirk on your face, which is still only focusing on her ample bust, by the way, and she barks, “ What a jerk!” quite loudly. Now everyone, knows who “the jerk” is and the redhead has blasted out of sight.

What a fool you have made out of yourself. But do you even know it? Guys like you amaze me.

Your cell phone rings, with an annoying version of a ZZTop tune. Everyone keeps watching you, as you answer quite loudly, “Yeah, dude! Gettin’ supplies for the party! You should come down here, dude! Never seen so many big tits in one place!”

All the women, as if apalled in unison, roll their eyes at each other.

“Yeah,” you snicker, “I’ll be coming home with a few phone numbers! Heh, Heh, Heh.”

What a dream world you live in.

Out in the parking lot, after the boobman unloaded his goods into the trunk of his car, all the while, still rubbernecking every female that passed, the redhead from the produce section, whistled at him from the back of her big, white van. An invitation he hoped. He looked all around and then walked slowly over to the back of the van, boasting a stride like a gunslinger, not unlike a once selected President of the US .

My car was parked so that through the rear view mirror I could see most of what transpired. I had already loaded my bags into the trunk and was about to pull out, but I waited a moment, to eavesdrop.

Standing right beside the buxom redhead, the boobman kept staring in his usual way, only at her chest. She began to speak.

“Ya got a lot of nerve, don’t ya?” She had a deeper voice than I thought at first, a smoker’s rasp. She plopped both hands on her hips.

“Heh, heh, heh!”

“You like women with big breasts?”

“Love em’!” His smile with electric eyes intensified, seemed to pulsate.

“You should see my girlfriend! She’s got big ones, too!”

“Girlfriend?..Are you..?”

“ Yeah! What of it?!”

The Boobman’s jaw was open. “Nothin’, I-”

“Wanna see my girlfriend?”


“Jump in the back here. We’ll show you our big tits together!”

The Redhead flashed him a little split- second preview , while the boobman began to touch his crotch and was almost stroking himself, when the Redhead said, “Not here! Do that inside!”

The Redhead opened the back door of the van and pushed him in. She followed him, slamming the door behind her.

I couldn’t see through the van windows and make out what was going on after that, but I have an immense imagination.

Due to the location of the van, embedded near the back of the parking lot, probably where the employees cars were stationed, I believed I was the only one privy to what had transpired. And certainly, I was curious enough to hang around a little longer. Five minutes had passed.

Then suddenly, the back door flew open and the boobman found himself kicked out onto the pavement with no pants in sight, as the redhead and a short-haired brunette woman sped off, laughing like truant teenagers having pulled off their first prank.

During my snicker, I heard the boobman call out, “Help! Help! They took my pants!” He moaned in agony as well, holding his stomach.

All the big-boobed women that had seen the jerk from the produce section, kept on loading their bags into their vehicles, ignoring the helpless pleads, barely noticing after awhile, the pitiful cries of the half-naked lone wolf.

I pulled out of the parking lot, slowly, keeping an eye on him through my rear view mirror. He limped as he trotted back to his car, leaping from one car door to the next,(four in all) in the hopes that one of them would’ve been unlocked. Apparently, his keys and cell phone were in the pants he had so happily shed for the well- endowed ladies, still in the van. Now he was left cowering and hunching near his car wheelwells, while several newly arriving shoppers gawked and pointed and whispered among themselves.

“They took my pants!” His expedited explanation only made the customers, almost entirely women, laugh even harder.

I was still proceeding slowly out the parking lot, when I realized, it was getting darker and cooler. I also recalled that I had a blanket in the back seat in a box that was intended for the Salvation Army.

Truthfully, I almost grabbed it, and would’ve tossed it out the window for the bastard, but my cell phone glistened and gleamed from an instant reflection at the same time the tall parking lot lights switched on.

“ Yes, police? Hi. I’m calling to report the discovery of a man exposing himself in the parking lot of the Piggly Wiggly on Prairie View Road .”

It wasn’t all meanness. With no keys, no cell phone, no locksmith to help , and knowing that no one was likely to help out the half-naked man, I believed it was my civic duty to at least provide the boobman with a warm bed for the night, even if it resided within the walls of a jail cell.




Ag Synclair
On A Walk Through Chelsea

are never pretty

at least
not in “that” way.

are damaged goods

in most
every way.

and bars
should be dirty

with scotch

and not so pretty

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