To The Man Who Killed My Friend

By Aimée Keeble

In memory of Patrick Braxton-Andrew

This is a letter for El Chueco and his gang. For those who were there, and especially for the man who pulled the trigger.

First, I think of the mountains where you live – all treacherous like some hollowed out old moon, dirty with drug dust and blood. You seethe and broil in a landscape that is cartoonish. Forgive me. When I think of the Mexican desert I think of roadrunners and the ponderous skulls of cattle; I am not as well travelled as my friend – the man you killed.

Then I imagine your face and sometimes it is diamond shaped like a rattlesnake, sometimes it is vulpine like a desert dog. I want to hold the frame of your jaw in my hand and check your eyes, I want to know if callous is a color, if your pupils are a different shape because you are a killer? Perhaps they are lazy and staring, like all predatory animals’ eyes.

I wonder if you are short or tall. If you wear white because it throws back light. Maybe you wear a Sombrero or baseball hat. For whatever reason, I picture you in black trousers and high boots. Your clothes are grimy but not unclean; the canyon dust pollinates across your body as you work the valley’s crevices, as you bend your country to your will.

The Love You Had For Boxing

By Anonymous

You had a purpose here, and you were keen to see it fulfilled. You wanted to become a trainer. I was the right height and size so you put all your enthusiasm onto me and it lit my life up.

The love you had for boxing was so pure, as if it was music, something that that had as much depth as any art form. I was having trouble talking at the time, so any means of expression was a blessing and in that sense we became a perfect match.

One time, as I’m warming up, you and Dad are having a conversation, and Dad references someone talking close to him- and you say: ‘Like a close talker, like in Seinfeld.’ And the skipping rope whipped my shins.

‘You know Seinfeld?’

‘Yeah, I love Seinfeld.’

The bridge between a trainer and a friend is very short, and made from sitcom quotes.

Forbidden Love

By Louise Trocchi

     

I wish you had
welcomed wholeheartedly 
   laughter
and a much closer 
    friendship 

No reason to
   hide
our true feelings

dangerously intense
a complex bombshell
  clandestine

but I see in your face
you missing me
    as
       I
         you.

Truncate

By Aaron Menzel

You can watch plenty of movies

On a fourteen-hour flight.

Knock back a few Jack’n’cokes

(You’re sure these are free?)

As you drift off against your seatmate.

Or

You could think.

And fourteen hours is a

Stupendous amount of time

For thoughts to ferment

to stagnate.

(What if there’s snow in Chicago?

The rental agency is closed?

Our bags are lost–

My suit is wrinkled.

They don’t blame me,

There’s no way I coulda known

Once More

By Gary Goodman

By Gary Goodman

I sat outside a café

the dog at my feet

as the sun moved behind a cloud

a thought came to me –

if someone told me I had an incurable disease

all I’d want is

to ask if I could hold you one more time

Punnett Square

By Anonymous

The hue of rage is black not red.

He taught her this when she was six, and he locked her out of her house for being a child, a crescent moon night beat blacker by darkening bruises in the crook of her arm.

He taught her this when she was eight, with a black belt lashed across skin made wet so the nerves would sting and sour, the blood would flow not stymy.

He taught her this when she was twelve, and he drew dark circles over her brother’s eyes, her mother’s wrists.

The Calls

By Claire Wilkins

It was me who made the two anonymous calls.

1988

You denied your ex-husband visitation rights to see his two and four-year-old children. All your siblings came to support you when you had to appear in family court. You were facing a prison sentence and a large fine. We were worried.

Your little ones were taken to a top East Coast doctor who confirmed their father’s sexual abuse.

Your eldest bravely spoke to the child psychologist and, in his limited language, corroborated what his father had done to he and his sister. Your older brothers talked about getting a hitman to kill your ex, others talked about having you leave the country.

Dissident

By Anonymous

Call it what you will; It looks dirty on a page. Sometimes I want to give it an airing – like position it on those double-letter-triple-word Scrabble squares, or adopt a goat and sear its untroubled hide with pathology, or yell it from the seawall, into a forest of anemone and periwinkles. The wind will take it on the chin. The evening will gulp it back, like it is an everyday meal.

I will only squirm softly. I promise I won’t yell it back, into the suburbs, across the tenements, over public swimming baths and over the lawns of people who drink maraschino cherries in their Sunday cocktails. Call it what you might. It is a strange aberration. I am a cowboy and a dissident, in these temperate zone places. I am a bearer of abominable names.

Schizophrenia is a cannibalistic Matryoshka doll; it is innocence without alibi, the final spasms of the yard hen decapitated. It is double-binds and cognitive-dissonance and an invective dinner for one. Your eyeball is not your own.

A Confession

By Aimée Keeble

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

This is a confessional- blue and yellow, cheap and uncheerful. I’ve worn myself dull.

This is an acknowledgement of things ruined:

Hi! I wrote a few thoughts down on things that didn’t matter- bits of receipt paper (I found the one from CVS when you bought me a Plan B pill! Congrats on the new baby btw!), the back of my hand; I wrote a note and fit it between two exposed bricks on the market side of the cafe I work in. It said ‘I love you’ and I was writing for the defunct and the finished. And perhaps for a Serendipity (which is pink and has flippers and giant cow lashes, remember??)

Nah, you were too young to remember that book, eight years too young I reckon. That’s probably the reason we aren’t together- you are culturally premature and won’t remember the music video to Bullet with Butterfly Wings. You’re such a boring cunt.