One Hundred and Thirty Nine

A cry of metallic pain and then nothing. A man hangs from the railings of a fifth floor balcony, spanning the brick like poison ivy as a reel of coloured birthday banner floats to the ground to wait beneath him. He wriggles to outdated beats as his fingers squeeze steel in hope. He is going to die to the music of Tom Jones. Strangers are gathering. They wait for him to fall.

One Hundred and Thirty Eight

I shook and shook and shook and finally she awoke, screaming. “It’s okay it’s okay it’s okay” I assured her, the words falling out of my mouth like globs of yogurt. “You were fussing, crying out – you were having a bad dream.” “No!” she said. “I was swimming in the river with God. It was beautiful.” “Where was I?” I asked. “You? You were here, shaking down the walls of my utopia.”

One Hundred and Thirty Seven

My boss’s boss has one of those old man faces that are so fascinatingly disgusting and exotic that no one can listen to what the person is saying. Wondering at his mysterious pustules, ancient teeth, impossible jowls, and great forests of nose hair - all quivering with each word -is removing me from this stupid meeting. If I had Spider-Man powers I could leap out that window and swing myself to you.

One Hundred and Thirty Six

I once made lists of the most glamorous ways to die, followed by graphs plotting those ways versus length of time the people in my life would grieve. For example, my mother would mourn longer if I got struck by lightning than my brother would if I contracted rabies. I believe I would get the most grieving hours (out of anyone) from Andrew if I jumped off a building. He’d feel guilty.

One Hundred and Thirty Five

Would you love me if I were named Astrophil? I asked and you said, no, hell no, and I knew what you meant. You have a chin like a butterfly knife, I said, and wrists like little butterfly knives. Teach me about everything, the loose vice of your tooth on my chin. We tried making love, but you said, yes, yes, and I turned over, apologized. I get it, you said. Clever.

One Hundred and Thirty Four

You could kill me really easily like that, I tell him, and a second later, What the fuck? inside my head. I really should think before I speak. All I meant was, with his arm around my shoulder and his hand cupping my chin, it wouldn’t take much force at all, should he so decide, to snap my neck and leave me dangling, limp and lifeless, in the crook of his elbow.

One Hundred and Thirty Three

That sure was a rough season. Seemed like the pigs wouldn’t eat, the chickens wouldn’t lay, and the seeds just didn’t want to sprout. Even the damn ducks were giving us dirty looks. Unpleasant and unprofitable. That season I went down to the library and borrowed a book and we taught ourselves Wooshlian. Everyone on the farm gets along fine now that we communicate. You can’t just keep things bottled up inside.

One Hundred and Thirty Two

A mosaic of ice rests on the mucky murky water. The river is hair gel, thickgoopy stillness. The tiles are green depression glass found at yard-sales fashioned into pretty pitchers, cake platters, serving plates. But these tiles are broken bits of pitchers platters plates. They are varied, crackledspiky, chunkyfull, splinteredcutting. I use old-time pincers to bite the ice and rearrange them as my bending brain plucks out a dragon’s head, tulip, top-hat.

One Hundred and Thirty One

My skis cross. The snow lifts off the mountain. The sky is the floor. I plow through the air. The aspens are men in suits jotting notes. The forest skates towards me. A voice rumbles like a snowmobile. A red vest lifts me into a tree and drags a cloud over my face. I stretch out on a bed of signposts. I crack like ice and splinter my fingers. I am awake.

One Hundred and Thirty

Did I mention that I am cockroach phobic? We are on a train in Munich. My friend, she is a happy girl; sings a lot. We have cold hands. She is humming 'La Cucaracha.' A German man opposite smiles, says to us in English 'You know what the name of that song means?' We do not. 'The cockroach!'

He's wearing all orange. Ski clothes. He kind of looks like a large cockroach.

One Hundred and Twenty Nine

He’s there, just right there. My mind flashes with images of my first bloody nose, fruit on the floor, awkward wrestling positions, bad hair experiments, and spontaneous caressing of my cars air-freshener at red lights. I have to ask, like puking, the question falls effortlessly from my mouth. “Are we still friends?” He just turns and walks, taking a piece of my heart along with him. I think “what now;” what next?

One Hundred and Twenty Eight

the crow watches her with a suspicion that doesn’t acknowledge boundaries. he plays out scenes in which they marry, he sings to her and then feeds her to the sparrows. a threat to his kingdom; he holds her as close as a bird must hold their enemies in days such as these ones.
he reads her thoughts; scared by their shared daydreams. this girl must be kept within a very tight rein.

One Hundred and Twenty Seven

I am organic. If you were to cut me open right this moment, I would bleed green spiders and patchy brown worms. But I wouldn’t bleed to death. I’d recycle some older skin from behind my ears and maybe behind my knees, too, in order to cover the gash. Then I would go about my business as my body healed itself within every ounce of earth between my hair and my toenails.

One Hundred and Twenty Six

Showing both sides of his smile to prove it is free of strings and magnets he places it over his fangs and swallows, the smile hollowing the flesh of his face, vacuuming his hair, gobbling through his stomach and intestines until you don’t even want to see its inevitable reappearance but before your amused grin slips, it floats in the middle of the stage, smiling with whatever authenticity it stamps him with.

One Hundred and Twenty Five

This Wednesday the woman on the el across from me is reading an Amy Tan novel. She looks up, glances at me with her watery blue eyes, then returns to the page. She does this often, taking me in, as if sipping from a cup of tea. She doesn't seem to notice that I am watching her watch me. I wonder what she thinks she is seeing. I feel seen and unseen.

One Hundred and Twenty Four

As The Atom flew through The Internet, dodging fractions of friend requests and pieces of pornography, he wondered about the mood of his wife and what dinner might be. He popped out of his laptop’s USB port and caught a ride on the cat to the kitchen. Fat , fragrant red spaghetti molecules smacked his face as he peered up from the cat’s back. He knew he was in for a lovely evening.

We Are Thinking About Printing A Book Of 72's

You can hold it in your hand and show it to your parents. The size/contents of the book [print-only 72's? artwork?] will rely on what money we have, which right now, is zero dollars. If you like this website and/or desire a book, please consider donating. There's a button to your right if you scroll down, it's marked KP. Thank you for reading! [This post is still seventy two words.]

One Hundred and Twenty Three

He took off his helmet, and for a second, seemed like one of us. The same damp tread marks striping his peppery hair could be found on the soft skull of our own quarterback. He blew into his hands and I thought, yeah, that's probably what I'd do if I were throwing a football in December. And we clapped when this man fell. God, should I send him a card or something?

One Hundred and Twenty Two

The old man in the apartment next to mine speaks to me through his coughing. He looks unkempt, like the kind of man who doesn't take care of himself very well. Every night I hear his coughs through the wall, and other than this, we have no interaction. I hear him coughing, and I imagine that he is coughing directly to me, whispering "this is what life will do to you, boy."

One Hundred and Twenty One

Last night I dreamt that Natalie Portman asked for my phone number in a fancy restaurant in Los Angeles in front of everyone. She called me the next day and we went to a Wu Tang concert. And Ol' Dirty Bastard wasn't dead. I was ecstatic. The next morning Ms. Portman called me again and told me she was pregnant. We got married by noon and I was filthy rich by dark.

One Hundred and Twenty

I was flying over the beach the other day when it occurred to me that while I truly delight in being the only human capable of unaided flight, it does get a little lonesome sometimes, way up there in the wild blue yonder, with the horizon close enough to touch and the salt spray of the sea so invitingly fresh, and all the people so far down below. I wave too often.

One Hundred and Nineteen

It was as if the inner circumference of X's vast, spherical head were composed of one long, narrow road snaking, shifting and tangling into a coagulated mass of hopelessly inefficient transport purposed for aiding a tiny bespectacled man on a rusty unicycle, pencil stub behind his tufted ear, peddling fervently through dips, valleys and cobwebs in a desperate attempt to animate X's correct linguistic functions in a relatively timely and inconspicuous fashion.

One Hundred and Eighteen

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” Zeus boomed as he thundered into the room.

Hera held her lover tightly but not very tightly. She also held her husband’s seething stare as the all hairs in the area stood due to ions pouring from Zeus’s gritted teeth and ears.

“Not what,” she said, “but who.” She pinched her frightened mate’s left buttock, which contains his fifty-first fluttering eye.

“Ow,” said Argus.

One Hundred and Seventeen


Secondly, I am interested in the sounds humans produce by placing themselves upon tools and sculpting these sounds so that when presented before an audience, these specific vibrations, collected and organized just so, reveal to other humans humanity, thereby: 1) condensing the abstract into a single digestible unit, 2) effectively articulating a microcosm depicting all things alive, and 3) dispensing with cumbersome language altogether, making this human-composer a form of the future.

One Hundred and Sixteen

It too is alive. It is candy white with bluish eyes, hosting unprecedented abuse and love. With four balding limbs it loyally keeps traction as it snarls around the bends. Changing gears ever so swiftly it pulls away with vigorous confidence and tear shedding acceleration towards the next corner. It only eats premium. With two hundred rampaging German engineered horsepower on tap and race bred suspension it too is alive. My GTI.

One Hundred and Fifteen

He is sitting alone on his sofa in his apartment. His television is on but the sound is muted and he's not paying attention to it. The word "grenade" is stuck in his head. "Grenade," he says out loud to himself. It sounds like a small island in the middle of the ocean made entirely out of sidewalk cement. "Grenade," he says again, and falls through a crack in the sidewalk, drowning.

One Hundred and Fourteen

There are no gestures in the dark. There’s just me, saying, “I’m handing you the lighter,” and you pluck the lighter from my hand and we smoke cigarettes with the lights out, and as we stare blindly around I think, there are no gestures in the dark – I like that, and I tell you and you seem to agree, so I immediately commit it to memory, knowing full well it’s pretentious bullshit.

One Hundred and Thirteen

Or not having lived there, but taken part nonetheless, constructing it from without, at a distance, my idea of the village changing the village, as I am changed by it, but so slowly as to go unnoticed . . . the image changing its image is the idea, but so as to go unnoticed . . . breathing its air, the air of myself, my breath one fog, cursed from no distance.

One Hundred and Twelve

He had no words to explain this place. You had to live there and meet these people. Sure he would be returning home in a few days, but how would he surmise the experience to his friends back at home. He had to say something, this island was different. People were nice, but they all seemed to be hiding their back stories, only reviled slowly like LOST that filmed there on Oahu.

One Hundred and Eleven

Walking down the street, a sweet knish in his hands, Tommy hums. He hums so steadily, with such force, that the molecules that make up the knish fall apart and then reconstruct themselves inside of Tommy’s stomach. Tommy hums in a different, easy-going manner because the knish feels warm in his belly. He begins his molecule-changing hum again and the knish, reconstituted, appears in his hand. His father tells Tommy to hush.

One Hundred and Ten


Firstly, I am interested in the translation of humanity from disorder into form and structure, into vibrations and intermittently, into music, but mostly in the liveliness of some human soul, taking his aliveness in victory and transposing it onto his aliveness in sound; moreover I receive a great deal of pleasure in studying annotated music as the ordered transcription of abstract frequencies onto concrete paper, of whose intimate features I know little.

One Hundred and Nine

Rodeo - The gate exploded. He blasted from the wooden confines. His left arm whipped and whirled above his wrenching head. The dirty knot slivered through his right hand and choked the blood from his veins. A brief air-borne moment ripped the noise from each spectator’s throat. He punched the dirt with his back and the dirt retaliated by stealing his breath. He yelped and the crowd regained control. Without mercy, the bull charged.

One Hundred and Eight

i love you, he confesses.
she shushes him with the motion of reaching for her pack. silly. you've only fallen in love with an idea of me. your human heart is as small as your fist and as big the curve of sky. give it. give it give it give it until you have given everything.
this is how we must live, he says, wryly. in defiance of broken hearts and death.

One Hundred and Seven

Cutting to the bad weather, I could feel the blows; I wanted to say they "rained" on me, but they just drizzled. I was sick, but I dubbed it. I was sick, but I was phoning it in. I was ponying it up. They had ponied me up with all that blame: the wrong weather, I thought. It was the saddest feeling I knew, and I almost had myself to blame, mostly.

One Hundred and Six

If I could be an article of clothing, I’d be Warren Beatty’s V-neck sweater. I’d be blue and shrinking and then he’d put me on. Smelling of cigarettes and 1967, I’d reach for his drink and complement his eyes… my threads stretching as he parts his high-rise hair. After scratching at his Oxford button-up beneath, I’d rub his back and kiss his chest, only to wake up used and on the floor.

One Hundred and Five


The victory ring consists of four notes which the doe-ray-mee solfeggi articulates as three does and one fa: the first doe hitting on the down beat, the second and third does claiming the off-beat, and the fa arriving on the next down-beat, so that altogether the ditty sounds a little like the theme song for the television show "Gladiators", which has very little to do with my interest in said ring.

One Hundred and Four

Beside the front entrance a man in a long dark coat watched customers going in and coming out. He threw the remains of a cigarette to the ground and choked out the embers with his shoe. After entering the store he approached the counter. The cashier greeted him as he slowly reached into his pocket.

“This light bulb is broken”, he said.

Moments later he emerged one dollar and forty-three cents richer.

One Hundred and Three

His mind was unnervingly calm for what he was about to do. His mundane gray suit and red tie, camouflaged him in the office. He quietly closed the door behind him. The man sitting behind the desk didn’t look up, merely inquired into the stranger’s business. Upon hearing this, the stranger set down his briefcase, reaching into his jacket. Out came a silenced pistol. Three muffled taps rang out. 72 didn’t blink.

One Hundred and Two

Earl Gray was a man short and stout. He once had a teacup. Gray became angry one day as his chai was not sweet so now eight people will no longer enjoy their cup of tea. The jury found him guilty of eight counts of manslaughter so Earl now spends his days in solitary confinement of the federal penitentiary reading “Herbs and Spices Galore”. Yet these days he no longer drinks tea.

One Hundred and One

Annie likes playing tennis and hanging out with her boyfriend Mitch. They first started hanging out in a corn maze, you know, just for the fun of it. And they were even chased by some creepers carrying axes and chainsaws. He asked her to Homecoming, leaving her a lot of tennis balls in her front yard and mailbox. Other stuff she likes to do is hang out with Havanah.

One Hundred

When I woke up this morning stupid Jay Fischer was lying naked next to me, mewing as he snored. I was on my side, face mashed into a pillow. My hand touched wet sheet, and I noticed that the wetness stemmed from the gentleman snoring peaceably next to me. Jay Fischer had pissed himself after drinking all twelve of my little sister’s Mike’s Hards last night. Jay Fischer had wet my bed.

Ninety Nine


The machine that takes the plasma from my body gives a little victory ring when it has finished collecting the appropriate amount of fluids from my blood and continues to do this until a plasma technician can disconnect me from it, and on a busy day I sometimes listen and find that my little ring is part of a thunderhead murmur of other victory rings diffused through the room, brooding and lovely.

Ninety Eight

He raises his hand in the middle of class. She calls on him, "Yes, what is it?" Indignantly, "Mrs. Alexander, why are we talking about Dinosaurs? They've been extinct for thousands of years." She sells him some bullshit. At the sound of another lie, he sighs. And swallows stiffly. Turning absently toward the window, he catches a glimmer in the periphery- a miniature vessel plunging. A tiny catatonic princess peers back.

Ninety Seven

He realized all too late that some poop had dropped on the floor while he was making his way to grab a shoe to swat the spider which was climbing its way up the bathtub. Silly spider, shoes always win. Silly boy, shit always... well, you know. All he could do was just stand there. Holding onto the shoe, pants around his ankles, the boy watched the small spider glide to safety.

Ninety Six

Sifting through the hotel smells, she found feelings she thought she'd felt all the way through.
But then there they were, waiting for her hidden in a city between sheets and towels and Bible pages.
She’d call the slivers an old newness or lost discoveries or something if she were That Type.
But she felt them like uncomfortable hiding places and mean ghosts.
She went in the bathroom to unwrap the soaps.

Ninety Five

The squirrel had a burger bun the size of its torso. Did you know on Ruibulon "burger bun" is a term of endearment. In our apartment a "bergerbun" is an extreme cuddle position requiring years of training to execute. One day cuddling will be an Olympic sport. I will wear a sequined onesy splattered with official Ruibulonian colors and the cameras will watch me hug myself, shoulderblades protruding, grimacing with competitive fervor.

Ninety Four

She loved making lists. Sometimes she made lists for herself. They kept her feeling busy, even if she didn’t finish them. Sometimes she made lists for her husband, then nagged him until it was done. Once, she made a list for some guy at the grocery store. It began: clean bathroom / mail thank you notes / call Alfred / go swimming / finish novel. She slipped it into his shopping cart while he wasn’t looking.

Ninety Three

Joe feels vaguely superior to everyone he meets. He’s the only one still eating fig newtons. He has quiet seizures and jolts his head against countertops. Joe is a realtor, and doesn’t walk his beagle often enough. One day his ex girlfriend knocks. She barges in to where the dog is sleeping on his bed and kicks it in the face. “I’ve always wanted to do that,” she says, grins, and leaves.

Ninety Two

I forget what I am trying to say, and you look at me like I should be sent away to a foreign country where I do not speak the language and it would be hard for me to get my hair cut or to buy coffee.
Ashamed I turn away and imagine what life would be like if you were eaten by a big angry dinosaur.

I think it would be sad.

Ninety One

A pigeons shadow stretches across the sidewalk in front of the 30 foot blood bus in the middle of the afternoon. The black tar is bubbling underneath its large wheels. A grinning obese man is stepping off the bus while he stuffs 5 cookies and a bag of Cheetos into his backpack. He skips twice down the street until he falls over from exhaustion. Pigeons gather around him and steal his food.


I look at her this woman, see her, smell her, admire her, this idealistic embodiment of beauty, she smells like rain, I can’t explain the way she makes my heart leap. She is simple, simple? Maybe not… She is a test of character. Is she so crafty? Does she love to play games? Does she love me? No probably not maybe I should ask her. Excuse me miss? Where did she go?

Eighty Nine

The PetSmart manager pointed at the beta fish, sitting lifelessly in his cup. "No, he isn't lonely," she said, smiling. "I asked if it was humane to keep fish by themselves in a habitat the size of a Whopper Junior. "I named my fish Titus, like the ancient emperor," she said, dodging my question. "He's my little dictator. Sometimes he acts so mean. I put little Roman columns inside his bowl."

Eighty Eight

The sweat drips as my mind races, searching frantically for the next hit. Nothing too slow or too fast, just something to get my heart pumping. She suggested something new, something I never heard before. I told her that I mainly stick with the old stuff. Sure I've been known to experiment now and then, but can I really take her word?And then it came to me… "Let there be house."

Eighty Seven

“It’s pretty damn dark down here,” she thought as she felt her way along the bottom of the lake, “It didn’t look like this in Looney Toons or The Little Mermaid. How the hell am I supposed to tell where I’m going?”

She felt for the scepter with her toes and fingers and wondered how she could have gone through the trouble of obtaining gills without remembering to bring a fucking flashlight.

Eighty Six

The machine that takes the plasma from my body gives a little victory ring when it has finished collecting the appropriate amount of fluids from my blood and continues to do this until a plasma technician can disconnect me from it, and on a busy day I sometimes listen and find that my little ring is part of a thunderhead murmur of other victory rings diffused through the room, brooding and lovely.

Chicago Friends, Tomorrow [7/23/08] at 7:30

Please join us for an open reading of selected stories, all seventy-two words in length, from this Wednesday at the Loose Leaf Lounge in Lakeview. Please bring your own seventy-two word stories. Any topic. Not one word more or one word less. If you think this number is arbitrary, we'd point out this paragraph is only seventy-two words long. And doesn't that just seem perfect? Not one word too many.

Eighty Five

While the ceiling fan churned the relentless summer heat, she thought to herself, “Would I not be better off standing in front of the refrigerator like an indecisive child looking for a small yet suitable snack?” She dragged her tired heels on the gradually unweaving rug that led to the tile of the kitchen, where she would find her savior for the day. As the fridge door opened she said…”What chilled bliss!”

Eighty Four

Today the adolescent sparrow thought about how wouldn't it be grand if there were a deliciously juicy berry or perhaps the smallest nibble of birthday cake (sans frosting, you know) that could function as a sort of instant coma, a sort of self induced catatonia, why not, and wouldn't it be marvelous if she could just wake up several months from now, dewey-eyed and slender, memories stripped, spreading her wings and yawning?

Eighty Three

If someone asked me about the human condition, I would say make that extra strong, pass me the creamer, and two sugars. Then I would wonder where I could buy a new fringe throw pillow to put on my new sofa that would be sitting in my new living room with cinnamon orange wallpaper. The pillow would accent the wallpaper perfectly, perhaps a textured velvet red pillow, or an exotic teal blue.

Eighty Two

My cousin is seventeen and cannot live without my grandmother. He has a big electric wheelchair that clunks like a robot sometimes. He had black fingertips as a baby.
They watch country music videos and he knows all the words to each song and keeps the beat with a plastic hammer. Later they go out on the steps with a radio and umbrella. They try to get all the cars to honk.

Eighty One

When I go to make coffee I overhear my uncle trying to convince my mum to join a pyramid scheme. It’s a scheme where you contract freelancers to ghost-write self-help books for you, and then you sell those books on the internet. My uncle says that his friends Daryl and John made a million dollars off of the scheme. My uncle says that my mum must embrace the power of positive thinking.


BOOM. He turned to the basement door and made his way down the stairs as fast as he could, fearing the worst as he peered into the greenish pink smoke below.

“Gladys!” he shouted into the clearing fog. Out of the dark silence leapt a ball of fur and teeth straight for Sherman’s saggy head.

“She’s alive!” cried Gladys as an enthusiastic young wombat-corgi hybrid cleaned out a laughing Sherman’s old ears.

Seventy Nine

I invented some shoes that will carry me to you faster than I could ever go on my own. When I’ve got them on, I can move smoother than a song moving through Barry White’s white teeth. I’m thinking as I’m soaring to your place this Sunday morning how I might glide in to see you. I guess I’ll descend from that tree’s branch bend to the sill outside your bedroom’s window.

Seventy Eight

At sunset, Stella and Jordan walked along the edge of the ocean, watching the scuba divers wriggle out of their gear, wet rubber squeaking pugnaciously, gritty with sand and gull doings. Jordan pulled from his breast pocket a tiny kitten-face-shaped book, it seemed like, but no? Stella looked on curiously, glee blossoming, turning this way and that as Jordan unveiled, unfolded, unfurled out and out and out a pink, gleaming, razor-sharp machete.

Seventy Seven

i really hate when people's knees touch (mine sure don't), but i love friendly street cats and ice cream trucks and the shape of your lips around your teeth when you smile without restraint and you say wanna get out of here? and i say yes i do, and we scrape hooves back to your apartment and kiss on the sofa in front of an open window for an hour so carelessly.

Seventy Six

you're salty and satisfying. there in the night when i crave you the most, and there with a drink in the afternoon; you're smooth on my tongue. you're different than most, a tender exterior surrounds a hard innard, a place i only see when i peel away your beautiful Grecian layers. oh, if only i could be your only, your girl, to always taste that olive skin...but sigh, alas, you're a kalamata.

Seventy Five

I was opening all the doors in our new house. I opened one door and a man said, "You can't come in here, this is the rabbit room." There were rabbits everywhere. There were rabbits on tables, rabbits on shelves, and rabbits on swings that hung from the ceiling. Everything was white except the pink noses of the rabbits. I closed the door. There was a blue rabbit next to my foot.

Seventy Four

I put my hands in the bathwater while she was taking her bath. I told her what words she ought to look up. I wanted to tell her how to sit in front of the television at night. She was not rich, but she was not poor, and whatever happened to her once would happen to her again, just in time to make me happy. A curtain of memory would tame it.

Seventy Three

These are terrible things. The grease of my flesh as I rub thumb to index, fingerprints catching partner ridges as they slip another pass; inching closer to the face above the sink, eye level with clogged inspiration, I gain twisted pleasure from expelling the spirits of my flesh; their manifested white cum splattering the reflection of Tahitian tiles and Egyptian cotton towelettes. Ah, thank goodness for honey-suckle-softsoap to wash my sins away.

Seventy Two - The Origin Myth

The King Princess fell to Earth from the lost planet of Ruibulon, an inch and a half tall and ever-so angry. She came to enslave, but a kindly Simian fed her hotdogs and smooched her cheek and, full of offal and love, she sprung to human proportions - so quickly she broke her ship. She fears the Ruibulonians will not recognize her when they come for rescue. Still ever-angry, ever-growing, she waits.

Seventy One

I am the specialist, I am fundamentals. I make assumptions, I do my research, I am flawless, I know it all, everything, and every day I stare and compute and I wonder what lovers past, present, and future, what they would think of her, what would they do. I am the expert. I am her follower. I am the one when her right ear is hot, I am the one clicking Next.


Ernest Hemingway was in the bar that rummy day. When I said “hey” he gave me a dirty look. He always seemed like a bona fide asshole, which made it so rough for me to look up to him. He was wounded in two World Wars; I hadn’t even seen one. His decades were great, didn’t know there were greater to come. He made sentences about Europe – I’m making brains about space.

Sixty Nine

I rode on a bus with two friends through the streets of San Fran, collecting more and more people on the way like a dog collects fleas. The empty bus soon became packed. A homeless man, with a head full of malt liquor, steps on the bus. He takes a seat across from me. I envy the fact his clothes are as mismatched as mine except he looks much better in them.

Sixty Eight

The night was calmer than any that preceded it, that he could remember. He wondered how exactly he had gotten to that moment, how all the events in life had gotten him to that moment out there on the porch. He sat their quietly and remarked to no one in particular about the crisp, cool air that surrounded him: "Nothing this perfect can last forever, but isn't that the beauty of it."

Sixty Seven

I just wanted to tell you how right you were when you guessed incorrectly. It was the phantom overture -- which I don't think you saw. It was the general play -- which I know you did not see. It was some master document -- some white paper or black book -- drawn up somewhere else, and sent to you, from abroad, so that you could see what we were doing here.

Sixty Six

If you find yourself suddenly caught in an avalanche, take a deep breath and hold it. In most cases, you'd suffocate much more quickly than you'd freeze to death. What else. Your first instinct will be to try to dig your way out, but if the avalanche has tumbled you over you a few times, you won't be able to tell which way is up. You could be digging sideways. I'm sorry.

Sixty Five

The place where we almost died is just up ahead, beyond those trees. There are no sharp turns or hidden driveways. There are no unmarked railroad crossings or abandoned quarries nearby. There are no missing warning signs, stolen and hung in a bedroom somewhere. You will not see tire tracks scorched across the blacktop and out into the fields. We didn't scream and it didn't happen in slow motion. There's nothing there.

Sixty Four

So a few days ago I had a dream that I was in Sarah Jessica Parker’s bathroom and her friends really loved me and I had this boyfriend, this perfect boyfriend who was Jerry Seinfeld but not Jerry Seinfeld and I was pissing in her toilet and someone else was there, moving things around and watching me pee. I am sad, I mean it. I am sad and fierce, smelling of tuna.

Sixty Three

They stopped me at the border because my papers, as usual, were not in order. I waited for them to be satisfied with some of these expectations. I had grown in strength and vigor as the months went by. I grew, then, as the months went by. I went at them -- I beat at them like a moth. That was how I felt at night; by day I felt like a dog, maybe.

Sixty Two

Which ocean are we in now? Coral and silt say a good one. Our brief lives at the speed of sound underwater, from shark and whale, being their song, their anger, pulsing through neptune's blood until diluted. We love by hitting the harmonies between attack and surrender. I lost most of myself ping-ponging off deep chasm walls, and my last note of you was a shiver rising to the surface, the light.

Sixty One

The boss's blinker didn't work. He could afford a new one, but never fixed it. Instead it was Ed Yarnell's problem. He had to run the boss's errands. Still, Ed believed he was going to be fired pretty soon. He used to be an amanuensis. He didn't really mind. If the end came he would steal all the office staplers and then attempt to staple down the letter 'q' on everyone's keyboard.


It is a human head, it floats in front of us and looks you in the eyes then it looks me in the eyes. It floats between us. It nuzzles against your jacket bleeding on your jacket. It's brain falls out of it's neck. The head lowers and rests on the brain, looking at us. It asks for our cell phone numbers and it asks what's up and where is the party.

Fifty Nine

Nobody on the crowded train wanted to sit next to Barbara the wombat. Everyone thought about it, independently, but decided against. “For the best,” they thought, not understanding why. People packed in. Women’s bunions pushed against their pointed shoes, pulling the leather taut like tiny painful boobs. Men tried reading standing up, but only stepped on women’s bunions. No one understood the reek of Barbara’s ennui as they quietly stared, inching away.

Fifty Eight

I was so tired of myself; I was tired of everyone else. I was in the car; it was driving. The destination did not matter. In the hills above the ocean -- the Pacific Ocean, I was too exhausted to describe it -- I was in California, and so on. The sun pushed against the horizon -- the western horizon, it compelled me to point out -- and wobbled over the ocean.

Fifty Seven

Somewhere between satisfaction and complacency, 4 things were lost. That night we drove silently hand in hand, sucking whiskied berries, buzzing through stoplights and as I watched the sides of your lips pucker and swirl, feeling my lungs sink deeper into my ankles - heaving - way back behind my eyelids I cried. I've faked it this whole time. We are here, quietly nude, spitting piles of wet sand both waiting, waiting.

Fifty Six

Coach wrote poetry when he was in High School – kept it in a notebook he hid. It was pitiful poetry about whatever girl he sat with that semester. He wrote at the end of every day and went back to read it the next. He cried occasionally and felt feelings - the documentation of it all is hilarious.

Coach wrote poetry back when he was in High School. There’s a book somewhere.

Fifty Five

there is nothing in the dark that isn't there in the light. leave the unknown alone. no one can survive becoming a legend. no one can eat fifty eggs. you can never go fast enough. a man went looking for America and couldn't find it anywhere. the land had changed. they hadn't. the earth had cooled. they came too late and stayed too long. they needed a second chance to finish first.

Fifty Four

The tiny person staring up at me happened to be my 12-year-old self. My little eyes raged. I stopped dicing the yellow onion. I stared back. I remembered. I despised onions at 12. While my little eyes raged my big eyes watered. Our mother used to sneak yellow onions in everything. When we caught her beforehand, she would look down into our raging eyes then kindly put the onions aside. I refused.

Fifty Three

“There’s a fly in my Jell-O cube again,” I say to my stuffed parrot. “I only allow myself one treat a week and I’m not going to let you ruin it.” My parrot, Bobby Happy, refuses to engage me in conversation. He just stares out the window like he sees a bear digging through the garbage, but I know that can’t be true. His eyes are empty glass. I’m the only bear.

Fifty Two

By week's end I will meet the crying lot, their teeth smeared with ostentatious song. And as I breathe in deep as much as can be bought, all the while I'll sense a rotting in my lungs. They'll tell me, "Tread light on that which will be lost," and to "Pussyfoot around the fibs that bond you." But forty years later bearing wands, they'll tell me, "Wands, they ain't so easily forgot."

Fifty One

She had fifteen seconds left to live. She didn't know that but she could tell it was soon. She thought about her mom, and her cat. She wondered if Raul would remember to feed the goldfish. (He wouldn't.) Everything hurt. For the first time ever, she wasn't worried about being fat. She remembered the time she peed in the kitchen and blamed it on the dog. (No one ever knew.) She hoped--


And then we all decided that the best thing for all of our sanity's was that we go and all decide what's best—the best thing—for all our sanity's and we go out there and do that something. Remember when we decided that's what we would do? All sorts of stuff got better after that, I tell you. React however poorly you want to my telling you that, but I'm right. I am.

Forty Nine

When you said, "I wish I knew more interesting people," I knew what you meant. I picked you up and carried you into the street where everyone was waiting. I told you that the thing is that we're all a little like blind cavefish. If you can't see what makes everyone so interesting, stop looking. It won't be found. You walked up to them and opened your mouth. You tasted every one.

Forty Eight

I’m writing this in green typewriter font because it seems fitting-- and because you’re leaving me here. Jerimiah, you are not the peanut butter to my jelly; you’re only my best friend. We’re not a clever movie; we’re nowhere, Ohio. And I will write many chapters in my book about how you kept me alive and thank god for the Jewish black woman in heaven who gave you bass clefs for cheeks.

Forty Seven

I thought today that I do, indeed, sit still. Not even my eyeballs move. I am watching little bits on the surface of my eyes. I am digesting wine. My blood is pumping something sore. A lot of me is aching. If I walk to three separate stores today, only to accompany other people three separate times, does that mean there's nothing much to do in life? For now, it is so.

Forty Six

They seated us front to back by height. It felt like Germany but it wasn't. I don't know what it was. What ended up happening was that all the short people became friends with the short people, and the tall people with the tall people. This eventually led to a new kind of civil war where strategies were based entirely on the size of the opposition. The war lasted a long time.

Forty Five

Listen, as it was, it was a horror. He stood on the rooftops, a literal giant. Cloaked, digits sprawled with a birdcage in each hand, he peered into windows, afraid, and imagined for a moment surprising himself with what it would feel like if those painted walls owned him and not the other way around. Inside, the men gestured wide, hats atop heads, lips spreading sideways, all looking outward, holding their breath.

Forty Four

Somehow, someway, I've been tunneled through time and space and have landed in the Animal House. Four five six I know that I should be embarrassed just to be seen here. Fourteen fifteen sixteen The thing is, I don't even feel that bad about suckling a bag of cheap boxed wine held by some guy I don't know. Twenty-seven Twenty-eight Twenty-nine I'm almost empowered by the chanting. Thirty. By God, I'm a champ.

And the crowd roars.

Forty Three

His mother died a month before we met. I blamed most of his behavior on that; the lying, the outbursts. He was beautiful, but I didn't see it at first. I was no saint to him and he was no saint to me. He wanted to keep me in the dark. I wanted to keep him to myself. He's been gone a lot longer than I had him. I never had him.

Forty Two

"I said don't look." "OK, ok." Giving in, he turns to the wall, allows his sense of sound to guide his imagination. Belt, unhitched. Jeans, kicked off. Lacey, kind of tank-top thing tossed aside. Silence. Then, the dress. That fucking cute yellow summery one. Maneuvering. Zipper. No, attempt at zipper. Second attempt. She doesn't want to but... "Can you help me?"

Now, he wishes he hadn't helped. "Don't go," he should've said.

Forty One

Mariah the marshmallow swam through the sea of melted chocolate searching for her friend. The liquid was mighty hot and she grew weary after only a few minutes of paddling. She paused for a moment to listen. All she heard was distant rumblings of the laughter of giants. As it grew louder, a shadow passed over her treading frame and it seemed to bring such a storm that she nearly drowned. Gulp...


Everyday, Leeza sits at her window waiting for something to happen. She sees squirrels, cheeks full with food, zipping up and down trees. She gazes at chatty women getting in their power walks while strolling their babies. She even spots a dilapidated car whizzing by so fast that its parts tumble onto pavement. Leeza is waiting for something to happen. And while she waits, things are happening. Just not in anything she sees.

Thirty Nine

Thinking about the second side of her experiment, the inside of my stomach started to itch. I looked, unfocused, at a spot to the right of me and then my top lip curled into a crescent, waiting. I'll make you with pulp slurry, Jon, I will compose you. I will drink your nervous twitches while you stare ahead unmoving, I'll watch your lanky body eat hunched over, apologetic, and I will wait.

Thirty Eight

Jerry and Marianne Thompson had been married for forty-three years. One rainy Sunday afternoon Mrs. Thompson came bounding in the front door, very out of breath and dripping on the carpet. "Jerry, you'll never guess what happened to me! I went to see a matinee at the movie theatre and an adolescent boy exposed himself to me!" Jerry did not look up from his newspaper. "When will supper be ready?" he replied.

Thirty Seven

She waited patiently by the phone. "He has to call, he just has to," she said to no one in particular. Watching the clock, minutes passed and hours went on long into the night. There was never a call. She put down the glass of gin she had been drinking. The tonic hd run out, so straight gin had had to do. "I don't want his call," she said sobbing, feeling empty.

Thirty Six

Beer bottles bubbled, beefy burgers bled. Colored candles flickered, flinging lights on her head. The date was slow and quiet, the waitress barely there, shiny globs of ketchup sometimes got in her hair. Sharing some sudden smiles with meat in their teeth, the fact it didn’t matter struck him as pretty neat. Their booth blazed as warm as the sunshine seldom seen in their sad Chicago winter, feeling cramped and in between.

Thirty Five

She just didn't get it. He could only explain it so many times. He did not want to continue. Yeah things went one way, but he made it clear. Out of the long term, long distance he wanted sex. And as her friend had so eloquently put it, she had a v-card and was looking to lose it. Mistakes were made, but he did not want her. She just kept clinging on.

Thirty Four

From the first day I missed the big game for a big poop, I knew better. While they were planning their weddings with flowery perfumes, I dreamed of the day when I could fart in your lap. That would be the day we lie there in peace, grinning lazily as the wee howler monkeys in our tummies spoke and laughed and harmonized together. Is it today, my love? I'll hold it in.

Thirty Three

The lamb’s meat was soft and tasty rolling around in his mouth. He visualized the fuzzy baby sheep of a few weeks ago - how he might have petted it. He chewed, thinking of the moment when the promising youngster changed from child to food. The delicious baby might have been a great sheep – a champion bleater or chewer - a follower among followers. He looked to the potatoes, who rolled their eyes.

Thirty Two

The kitten went to the grocery store to score a handle of Seagram's. When he got to the liquor aisle, he saw he was too small to carry the bottle to checkout. He was persistent, shrewd, he had a plan. He stood behind the bottle and pushed with all his might. As the plastic bottle crashed ceremoniously to the floor, a granny put him in her pocket to feed her pet crocodile.

Thirty One

Better you choose. Better you choose your fate. Don't never did say I knew, knew how to leave that mess. But I got's it. I figured all that time I was sliding back that that was just how it was, how it'd always be. Even Bessie couldn't swim out that muck. But I got's it. Paddle in one hand, rifle in another, anointed by the sweat of my ancestry... never looking back.


" you said Sammy, the quitin' ain't done til we rich or we dead." Sam stared at the ground, admiring the cracks in the cement, mirroring the spider veins in his old ladies gams. "You listenin'!?" Carl spat out, dinosaur-farts escaping from rotting incisors. Samuel felt the spit hit his cheek, strangely had him recalling father's dirty hands. That was all he needed. He cocked back the trigger and started running.

Twenty Nine

For some reason this thing only lets me send 72 words at a time. Shit. Now I just have fifty three left. Fifty. Forty Nine. Shit. I hate technology. The delete button on this stupid thing doesn't work, either. I just want to say it wasn't my fault. Well, it was sort of my fault. Okay, just fifteen words left by my estimate. Wait. All I really want to say is. fuck.

Twenty Eight

I entered the building and walked up the stairs. I entered my apartment and walked to the box. I opened the box and took out a book. I opened the book and read a sentence. I finished the sentence and looked at the period. I stared at the period until I got hungry. I walked to the oven and turned it on. I opened the oven door and stuck my head in.

Twenty Seven

They called him the man who had everything. A fine romance of water-cooler tom-foolery and genuine-saccharin envy, the phrase was. He hated the idea of it, but to be fair; he was not above the idea... not at all. He did, indeed, have it all. A self-made 'Pharm' tycoon at 30, and an even better known humanitarian in half that time after; Harold Lark was a man with all possibilities at his fingertips.

Twenty Six

Condors built a bridge, seven miles long, made of rodent bones and twigs. Their wingspan gives them knowledge of advanced structural engineering. Wolves are born able to rip you to shreds; condors are born able to differentiate between load bearing pylons and flying buttresses. The bridge was so strong, low-buzzing news helicopters couldn't budge it. Held fast by this growing, flapping mass, we realized too late what was on the other side.

Twenty Five

I am screaming out and still no one believes me. Not ideal, but it’s alright. Listen, one day staring out at the sky, I saw pin holes in tin foil and a giant glowing provolone wheel. That day I asked him What Do You Mean and he said, You Know The Rest, and even though he is wrong and he is wrong and I probably do not love him, he is right.

Twenty Four

I want storms and tirades and fucking and documentation. I want to live inside a photograph of a box full of letters, every one addressed to me. I want a retrospective on what could have been in a volume of novellas with the theme of Guilt, I want an epic poem in size 72 font laser printed on my foyer wall. I can smell them, and they won't let me have it.

Twenty Three

She is afraid of losing herself. She is afraid of who he wants to be, who he will be. She is afraid of marriage, of connectedness, of losing herself in him. She wants him to love her for who she is, can be and will be. She desires true love, connectedness, equality. She is afraid his truth is disparity, love bears all – deep down, he has you. She is afraid of ownership.

Twenty Two

John woke up, went to bed, woke up again. Nine past three, light blue and scary. John put a pillow on his head. I'm in a forest, John thought. I'm in a forest. Birds. Crunch. Running water. Outside a car alarm. John peeked out from underneath the pillow, the window looked softer. Jump? No, that would be dramatic. Freeze on the patio, instead. And leave a voicemail on Julie's phone. Sleep first.

Twenty One

He ordered a Jack On The Rocks, as always. Tonight he ordered seven of them. He likes the feeling of the Jack softening his brain. He likes the feeling of the Rocks’ slow, cold stabs sinking into his tired, soft brain folds. As he pretended to watch the fuzzy basketball game, an equally tired girl with an equally soft and stabbed brain grabbed his gaze and put it in her pocket.


‘Why are my poops so big?’ I will ask this now. On a good day I can eke by with a double flush, but most days I require my plunger's assistance. ‘I wonder if poop this size is normal or healthy,’ I think. ‘I wonder if excessive whiskey bulks up poop somehow, with its chemicals.’ ‘What is a good plunger,’ I sometimes think about. ‘I should get a travel one, in case.’


I was sitting on my bed looking at my bed. I went out of my room into a store. I bought organic wine. I went back to my bed and looked at the wine. I touched a hoodie. I was confused about where the party was. I put my credit card on my jacket. "There are no girls here," I thought. This happened for a long time. Then I tried to party.


A rabbit was sitting in my front yard. I approached the rabbit. A car drove by slowly, carrying people I did not know. One person stared at me. I stared back and said, "Don't be afraid, rabbit, I will not harm you. I am a messenger of peace and good will." The rabbit stared at me with a concerned facial expression. "What do you want?" it said. "I don't know," I said.


The Bluejay was bored. His name was Paul and he sometimes thought about writing a novel called Asexual and Senile. Paul was 24 in human years. Today he flew in an arbitrary manner two hundred feet above a dirt road in Florida and uninterestedly thought about standing under a tree opposite an eldery bluejay explaining how he often felt asexual and senile because "he felt too emo to be sexual and aroused."


Jessica and Sugar Pie were mice living in a condo in the city. They could be mother and daughter, they could be lovers, they could be just friends, no one knows for sure anymore, least of all them. One early evening, Sugar Pie was smoking a joint on the fire escape when a small streak of sun exploded from between neighboring buildings. She tried hard to keep it in her hands, glowing.


Greg hates the city. It hangs there wet, dark, and unwanted - like a sweat bead in the buttcrack of the state. No one likes being from there. Most people lie about it. Folks like actually being there even less – people lie about that, too. Greg is lying about it right now. He’s on the hotel phone with his wife, who is listening suspiciously in the western armpit of the same state.


Julie was busy hating life and walking home with groceries when she slipped and fell on the ice. A dozen eggs tumbled all over. Julie was filled with apathy and hatred; she kept very still on the pavement staring at the clouds feeling her butt get colder. Meanwhile, a snow fox climbed out of the sewer and snatched up 4 eggs for his wife so she would bake him a pie, already.


“How low could I go?” he wondered aloud. His finger sweated on the trigger of their transmogrifyer. “Amoeba? Bacteria? A virus?”

“Stop being dramatic, Steve.” She was tired of these scenes.

“How about you, Maureen? Think you’d stop cheating on me if you were an urchin or echidna?” The barrel quaked.

“You really don’t know what’s going on, do you?” she smiled meanly . “You’ve not had sex until you’ve had echidna sex.”


A praying mantis is at the strip club tonight with a gopher. They are commemorating the last night before what the gopher considers ‘over the hill.’ Tomorrow is the gopher’s birthday. Tonight they are drinking beers and putting dollar bills into girls panties and butt cracks. These are the only feasible activities on nights like this. For every dollar the gopher puts into a butt crack, the praying mantis drinks another beer.


‘I really like this,’ she imagined everyone saying, and she would be glad. ’This is really interesting,’ some folks might say, ‘This is so interesting we will give you money for it, you are amazing.’ ‘Will you go on a date with me?‘ That is what the boys would say when they saw it. She smiled in her head and continued to brush her teeth, first the top ones, then the bottom.


Once upon a time a kitten had a head cold and she sneezed into her boyfriend’s coffee by accident while he was in the toilet. She felt bad for a moment, then vengeance overtook her and she began to sneeze uncontrollably into his coffee, over and over, wrapping her tail around the circumference of the mug for leverage. She closed her eyes to concentrate and sneezed fitfully again and again and again.


The centipede's new goal was to say sentences he thought no one had ever said before. It was harder than he thought because there was no way of knowing how many other centipedes were having the same idea, trying to say sentences no one had said before and by chance were saying the same sentences he was. ‘Monkeys on typewriters,’ he thought. He quit his new goal and drank a beer instead.


Many cucumbers who say they like sports only pretend they do so they can get drunk with men and hopefully fuck them. These cucumbers often have photos of themselves fake kissing their best girlfriends in matching satin tops instead of wearing clothing that is actually stylish or comfortable. They will look 47 by the time they reach their late 20s. Janice felt superior to these cucumbers in many ways, but not others.


The elderly gnat was sad. He wanted to eat a sandwich but didn't have any teeth. He texted his daughter. She called him. He cried to her about his wish for sandwiches that could never be fulfilled. The daughter was shaken hearing her father cry like that. The next day she went out and bought a set of gnat dentures. When she gave them to him, he was eating a delicious pudding.


The fly was trying really hard to hold in his fart as he watched the couple have sex. Eventually he couldn't hold it any longer and anyway holding farts is unhealthy, he decided, so he let his fart out, trying to do it in a slow steady stream. But the fart thought it would burst out of the fly's butt in a small explosion instead. The man and woman were momentarily startled.


I have lately come to the realization that a shrink ray will be the only thing that will make me happy. I will sit in your hand, you will hand me a corn and I'll make crazy faces. Then I will take a nap in your pocket. Then, after work, you can make me normal sized and I will fuck you, and then we can wipe our genitals and have some tea.


I get excited when I hear a small clang that sounds like the beginning of my ringtone, but it turns out it's just the radiator. I am jacking off and wondering if she is jacking off too since her chat dot went orange, but she is probably not jacking off because she is at work. 'I wonder who she's talking to,' I think while masturbating absent-mindedly. 'Is absent-mindedly one word or two?'


A kitten walked into a bar and got kicked out because he didn't have an ID and he was a kitten. He went home to his leaf pile under the stairs and made a costume out of berries, leaves and sap and when he was done, he glittered like a tiny sticky drag queen. Later on, back at the bar with a stolen ID, he got really drunk on Calvados and tequila.


On Tuesday he wanted to barf but couldn't. It's the same as being emotionally constipated since barfing is like crying in most situations and once you have a good barf, thinking about stressful things gets a lot easier for at least five minutes afterwards. Then you can drink your bourbon and have your bath feeling adequately peaceful and empty. Tuesday he was thinking that he would like to barf, but he couldn't.


I had a dream about your time in Madrid - all foggy technicolor and whitewashed walls. Hundreds of TVs in a gallery, spectators filing in to wrinkle their brows and contemplate the meanings of things - TVs behind doors, on shelves, embedded in the wall. Behind a curtain, under socks and pants and a vinyl glove, I watched the Spanish boy and the wallet and the streetcleaner and you. I awoke humming a tune.

Emergency 72

I have started this blog, a new blog. It's called Seventy Two Words and each post will have seventy two words in it, and those seventy two words will make a story, it will be an experiment. You can count the words if you feel like it, or you can trust that I have counted them, which I have. Sometimes I will make mistakes. Overall, I will try not to make mistakes.