Amanda Sautbine

I started the war. I won't say what side I was on--Union, Confederate; it doesn't matter. I was in love at the time, with someone, and had gotten no sleep the night before. Maybe that was why I pulled the trigger and fired that first shot. Or maybe I was just plain terrified.

David Levine



I am not a scientist.

All these colder closures, these
sealed hallways you hid,

they are not a threat.


You wanted something tangible.
You would not hold me.


Any other man
would let me breathe sky.

I want wings in my head.


I have crafted this mass
out of tile and hardwood.

I am tired of your flailing paper jet.

Your world will crash into my wall.


You plant yourself in a new back porch
and point out all my trees.

The birches know.


I can't see the agency in your ice.
I burrow into dirt beneath high tension wires.

I am not a scientist.

This must be the right place to hide.

Tim Kercher

Nobody in a Foreign Land

Nobody finds himself in a new country
and wonders if here he is somebody.
People stare, some directly, some
covertly, as he walks down the Cypress-
lined streets dotted with mortar holes.
He hears the whispers:
“Who’s that?” “Nobody I know.”
All the somebodies sipping coffee
in their steel-trellis chairs. Nobody
takes a seat and tries to order his own
coffee. But there’s something about
the way he orders, something about
the way his language dials in—
Zero. Zero. Zero. Goes
through his head like a mantra,
as if his very heartbeat is voicing
why his coffee never comes.

Eric Martin

and i shall howl from babel's tower

radioactive candy corn newsprint
leaves orange glow-in-the-dark ink
on my fish-nibbled, whorless fingers
that do not leave visible or dustable prints
on this volcanic glass-smooth crunch-spire,
upon which i perform mental push-ups
my human presence undetectable except
by monsieur geiger's little clicky box
of wire-wrapped, assorted chocolates
don't eat the round ones; they're gross,
domestic--a product of unrefined oil
scraped from the gulf of mexico's floor
on which i strolled in the slowest of motions,
tethered to a raft of plastic bag-lashed moorings
that floated atop the sea-turned-mercury,
because everyone knows mooring anchors
don't float on water, they sink, they hold
the line of crap oil companies spew like
broken pump-pipes about safety in great
numbers, the safe sex of those pipes entering
drilled earth with no risk of oil baby defects.
that the manufacturer has sand-blasted
its non-existent yet multitudinous hands of,
knowing that purchasers will never read
the operating manual, even though it is
written in 101 languages: xhosa; khmer;
inuit; sumerian; the same manufacturer
of the tainted ink used to print the art scene
newsletter (the publishers, a canary named ty
and his sidekick, joe, bought it for a song)
that i have just consumed and excreted via
reverse osmosis to create this paper-mache
tower that crackles in the cold, quick wind
beneath my bare, frostbitten-black feet
and await the results of my poison-ink mutation
of body, mind, maybe spirit, and, if body,
i can guess what spirit will makes its nest 
in the distorted form once me--a grey wolf,
howling for a careless, candy-ass canary.


The reactor that exceeds
two hearts' tensile strengths
looms in the car's headlights,

as he rehashes the dark
spots, driving under the
gravitational influences

of imposed logic and stifled
emotion on a starlit ranch
road that leads to this hot

vacuum of a house, home
to two suns in wobbling
orbit that flare at close

proximity but cannot pull
or will not break away
from blinding attraction.

It needs to stop, he knows,
this dual supernova in the
making, and he parks his car,

takes a few deep breaths,
puts on polarized shades,
and leaves to cool the fires.

Edward Manzi


There is enough fire in me to burn a box of sixty-four crayons to the ground, to the pavement where little sneakers roam.


Compose in me a circus of giraffes where the tomato is hatching grapefruits and the lumberjack is listening intently to the conch shell at the church where the octopus is giving a sermon.

Jim Bertolino

Bobby's Brain

Before Bobby's brain tumor grew
to the size and shape of a castor bean,

he rode his toy motorcycle down the blue roof
onto the barefoot girl in a bathrobe--

where she was on her knees counting ants.
Luckily aspirin and band-aids were available.

The incident was quickly forgotten,
but not before a pastry shaped

like a mule's ear
issued from Sylvia's oven.

Each of us, including our barefoot neighbor,
got a tasty chunk. It was the last time

we were all together. Bobby's virus
changed everything.

Simon Perchik


You can tell this sink lost interest
though hour after hour you hum
another love song --it doesn't care

lets you shave, take over
half soap, half from that froth
--you are born already worried

and the mirror goes along :drain
is what mirrors do.
It's a little late for promises.

You promise you'll bring it flowers
that the sink will figure it out
--you say you'll stay all evening

the way one faucet is always rooted
in ice, arrives forever
and alongside carries away

the other and your face
helpless even now to flow
from your hands and bleeding.

Rich Ives


Someone slipped the baby past the door like a letter delivered to the wrong box, and I propped it up against the radiator to try to talk to it. No one seemed to understand how lonely I was.

Then the rice boiled over and while I was attending to the misguided dinner, the baby melted. "Ah yes, childhood flora," said the emergency operator longingly, and connected me to the Japanese Botanical Society. And no, I didn't know the baby's Latin name, so we couldn't be sure, could we, but rice water is good for just about anything, isn't it, and I ran quickly after the baby's mouth as it puddled beneath the dove's bamboo cage and burbled melodically toward the door.

I could hear the neighbors cooing softly in the hallway. My dove, perched now in the youngest living plant in my living room, answered, and the melted baby evaporated like mist from a delicate river.

Nickel Dropped in a Deadman’s Beer

To open the door, you must first create it. It’s the sound the insects make that changes the color of the leaves. A dream in which sparrows nesting in an empty room enter the eyes of a baby and return with a yellow string that doesn’t end.

The entree was fog, the wine no more than a damp sweat on the brow of the victim, who could only smell it until it scared him. (A critic denounces his rival’s poetic endeavors as primitive and the door to the man’s home finally opens.)

They made a copper door and closed it. They made a sky.

I'm well fed.

We don't know these people.

A soldier slapping his hand against a post to feel something yells and then smiles, yells and smiles. (A campfire guiding travelers across the ballroom.)

Light being squeezed from a heated nail. The religious beliefs of a hole in the red clay sit at the table with winter. We can speak but we don’t. It’s not a conversation either of us wants to have.

Summer break

Time to hit the trails and head for the high country. Will be reading again in September when we start Issue 22.

Alan Zhukovski

Sunny Haiku

Sunlight foxes.
Hens of clouds.
Risky business.


Birds in yellow.
Risky dresses
Of the sun.


Sticky birches.
Resin water
In the pond.


The door of light.
The night is locked
Inside the space.


Electric rats
Are licking water
In the storm.


The stream of light
Has burned the valley.
Cruel war.


A tiny lake
Behind the bridge.
Another country.


A future tree
Has dug a tunnel
In the pavement.


The night is gone.
There is no time
To burn the river.

Jeremy Aufrance

Him, 1950
Escape Plan

I’ve said it before but didn’t mean it
and meant it before but never said it—

pack your things, put them in my truck
and say goodbye to this smoke and dust town.

The men down at the diner chuckle
when I come in the door. They aren’t afraid

of me, talk about your kids, call you
“another man’s second helping”

like I don’t know. I try to ignore them,
but how can I? Is there a secret

you’re not telling me? I can’t take the eyes
on the back of my head, my burning ears—

but there’s nothing for us here. Grab your kids
and come with me to Nowhere, Ohio.

This isn’t a life, only a trap you’ve gotten
stuck in. It’s time for you to stop worrying

and come with me. Let them keep talking.
Let’s build ourselves a life we’ll both fit into.

Diane Webster

Parking Lot

Like a mother making sure her child is safe,
like a thief timing comings and goings,
like a child peeking out from hiding
to see if anyone still searches
I sit in the bar’s parking lot.
If I go inside, everyone will know
I look for another for a drink
for a dance for a night.
I just want to talk, find someone I like.
I don’t drink, don’t dance, not
a one-night stand --
I don’t think.
Sit in a booth with a mysterious aura,
see if I radar in to someone.
Wait for her to catch my eye
or could I be so bold as to touch her arm
and say, “Hi. How you doing?”
Could months of getting-to-know-you
pack into an intuitive consent
to demolish my walls?
Could I haul my ass out of this car
and walk inside?

Daniel Gallik

Two Reasonable Adults Discuss a Good Marriage

He was surprised she accepted his idea so readily.
He had a smile on his face when she entered the kitchen.
She asked him if he was feeling comfortable, maybe even hungry.
He did not understand what she meant by that.
She stated that sentence again and waited for a response.
She had been very, very polite lately, and this statement made her smile and smile; feel warm inside.
She had her head raised in an elite fashion, waiting.
He said that he was feeling rather good, that he actually felt good about himself and where he was heading.
She asked again if that meant he felt good about himself.
She said she was also interested in whether he was hungry.
He looked into her eyes and said, that yes, he was hungry.
She told him that supper was soon and that she had planned a rather formal evening of food.

He again peered into her eyes and said he had a hunger.

Mark Neely

Triple Elvis


Hillock says life is grand-

            fathered in so just
as might spit chew drink rot
close in on any laquered body

you can


Hillock says barn it all

            barn a billion
chickens shitting bingo barn
every hair-sprayed autocrat and

porn star

take your guilt

            your concrete-booted
desire and polish until the holy dog
starts ankling its tethers

take your lead regret

Hillock behind which crouches

            gloom stroking sparks
from its cat hair coat I declare
your shape a dirt mound

dead roil

under declare you

            a masochist by
weight a dandy pushing
a little red up

between your thighs

a road

            hillock burns up
behind us as he fires
toward his untimely

(great) demise

Bill Neumire

Please Understand

It's not the day you've been waiting for. It’s not your biography, but rather the story of the only man who fell through a cumulonimbus & survived. You are not that man & because of this the world is not yours. Please understand, you don't make the rules; Heidegger, after everything else, came to emulate Black Forest peasants.

You have waited in line for hours, but it is not yours. You did not write the book titled Ignore Me yet. It is not that day, which will arrive as a horrible machine much like this. There was once a terrible translator of the great architect's work who corrected blueprint flaws; these buildings became enduring structures in Europe & Asia, squat & tyrannical they stared at their cities like mothers-in-law thinking hideous thoughts. It will not be partly cloudy.

This little girl, why is she alone in the bourbon evening? She calls the machine angel-maker. The man is always is in the theater that repeats the life in the cloud. It tears at his clothes and flesh. He is buckled to himself. When someone else speaks, another cloud emerges. Please understand, the rules are loose & always changing.

Marissa McNamara

Breaking Up: 10 Methods

I. At the table: knife, fork, salt, spoon
and napkins.
Lots of napkins.

II. In the car. Tear a map down the center.
Place one ½ on the driver’s seat.
Forget the keys.

III. The park. Yes. Go there.
Push one empty swing.

IV. Over the phone. Call and hang up.
Do not answer when the return call comes.

V. In bed. Before sleep. Before sex. After sex.
Turn on the overhead fan.
Watch it spin.

VI. The post office. Open the blue metal box.
Drop the letter in. Close the box.
Stand at the box thinking for 5 minutes
or a week.
Bring an umbrella.

VII. Wait for rain.
Let it run down your face.
Listen for thunder.

VIII. Over very hot coffee. With too much sugar.
Speak quickly. Blow the steam.
Burn your tongue anyway.

IX. Write an e-mail. Read it over. Sign it With Love.
Delete With Love. Sign it With Love.

X. Cut off your arm. Offer it up.
Say I’ll never be the same.
You won’t.

XI. Don’t.

James Bertolino

Clown Buttons

When I first began dating Mystique,
the guys at the bar said, “Hey! You goin’
woo-woo on us?” But I knew

they were glad I wouldn’t be whining
anymore about having lost Becky.
Mystique had a wisdom

I couldn’t even imagine. She’d studied
in India with a guru. When I admitted
I didn’t know what a guru was,

she got mad. Not wanting to let her
get the upper hand (like Becky),
I told her not to be pushing my buttons.

“You mean your clown-button chakras?
I’ve been pressing them since minute one!”
I got an image of Bozo, and had to laugh.

Now I consider her the canary in my mind.
She’s there, chirping somewhere behind
my forehead, and I know when she stops,

we’re all going down.

Vadim Vladimir Osadchi

Train Station

"I'm beautiful, aren't I?" - because he can't find the time
Dreamy tracks convey a steam engine
Into a substream where he is the conductor
There, stone sprouts from water
Faceless spirits board the shuttle

But she follows on foot
The sea churns, catches red and yellow - icy sheets
On the other side of nowhere, the caravan pulls in
She can not find him - pairs of mists
Watching her from among the luggage racks

Heather Abner

The Last Cowboy Poem # 52

For months
I’ve thought of nothing
but Stetson hats,
Tennessee whiskey,
and the way your stomach,
so tight with muscle,
makes me want
so much
to touch you.
But this is the last
cowboy poem
I will ever write.
while driving my father’s pick-up
faster than is reasonable
through the switchback
on Bull Run Road,
I change my mind.

James Schiller

i didn’t want to scare you but listen

what i can’t understand is

how it used to be

in the big ancient chunks of time

when the earth was still

trying to get its shit together

before the engine of speech

tore through our brains

running down stragglers

guzzling everything

that people looked out

at a sky so cut up with stars

and all that colossal black drool

and didn’t just bash their heads in

or set their families on fire

and drive them away

into the goddamned

bloodthirsty jungle

what i can’t understand is

how we were even able to hold on

with the whole planet spinning

like it was trying to make us dizzy

why we didn’t dig up the old volcanoes

after they got bored and shrank away

just so we could cry

and scream at them for leaving us

i didn’t want to scare you but

what i can’t understand is

why there aren’t more fossils

of lonely imploded humans

that simply fizzled out and quit

and hucked themselves

into some random bloated ocean

because everything out there was laughing

that terrible gooey laugh

and we didn’t know

what exactly that meant

but probably it meant

‘i dare you’

James Valvis

Tom’s Final Plan

Fifty years he’s chased Jerry
   and hasn’t caught him.
He isn’t getting any younger
   and Jerry isn’t getting any slower.
So he formulates a final plan.
   No longer will be play dumb cat
to Jerry’s blazing, heroic mouse.
   Instead he’ll spend his days
relaxing by the fire, curled up
   on his kitty pillow.  And wait.
It doesn’t take a year before Jerry,
   fat from unlimited cheese,
can no longer run without wobbling.
   The plan has worked, doing less
had been the solution all along.
   His hour of triumph has come!
So Tom moves in for the kill,
   but he’s put on weight himself.
He can hardly catch his breath,
   feels his chest constricting,
and when Jerry gets stuck
   waddling into his mouse hole,
his round bottom wedged tight,
   Tom dies suddenly, laughing.

Joseph Farley

No Bravado

just tell it like it is
in single breath lines
without exaggeration
or pats to the ego

each language has
its own rhythm:
waltz, minuet.
jitterbug, tango.

let it flow!
let it flow!
a calm mountain stream
turning torrent below.

cloud patter
across dark sky

Nathan Neely

Hear, New Here

If not sleeping sometimes dreaming, it’s the cat’s double tapping of a paw.
Thwacking open a vision into a fat TV still on lull.

That same awakeness wondering: where am I really…where I am.

A here for now being myself.

Then later a someotherthing.

A something else a different someone.

Like light changing actually constantly throughout the day, me.

So Sunday with football switched flatbread foods.



Yesterday nostalgialogy to suit up for this weak week.

Work wins over for a day-times-five. Sloughing off the Zimmerman, Robert. How
it will have to be now.

To say:

The networks are all down by some other hand. Endless banter and demanding
headperson says: do now what will be sillily asked now and probably forgotten not

This all leading into wedingly windnessed dayness here all sudden wednessdays
and customer tripouts.

Cigarette scratch covering the keyboards of confusing technologies to the lagging.

To the madness of seen unknowing segueing into the self unknowing of strangeness
religion life stuff.

People whom younger than our mothers face-crease into a vein of humanity that has
devolved into something that brings us into sadness. Wanting. Thirst

Thursdays. There before the dawn of a short-term new beginning. Or just the typical
new birth.

These Thursday night buttons at my fingertips press like silly putty or landmines.
They are here now. Welcomed. Frying
the things within the scalp. Just there.

Friday it makes us think of sun and fish and chimpanzees on rampage.

Music comes more fluidly. An unclogged i.v. threading uncomfortable. bending over
our past and putting it to it and forgetting until it matters.

She’s pulled off so many times. Many times of putting to it and forgetting both she
and not really i. sat her this day. Shat I at the same time.

Saturday. What do I have to say? What say do I have?

M.P. Powers

A Strangely Isolated Place

Feeling like an open nerve ending
touched by a slight breeze
(or slighted by a touched breeze)...
I am trying to spell out
all the underlying forces at work
in me. The sonic dump
of my grumbling mind, your voice
inside, like trembling petals
of an ancient garden.
You brought me great
jewels yesterday, and the stinging rain.
The faces of fat flowers
that bloomed so
vividly. Was I not sincere
enough? Or were you too true?
Or maybe it was the air
between us,
full of static light and great distances.
The colors streaming
so brightly from your flaming
heart to mine. The colors
of a beautiful sunrise on a beautiful drive
home - rose, lavender, crimson,
scarlet -
all, quickly dying into blue.

Jon Cone


The drunk oxidized one murderous forsythia
out back of the dwarf
I heard harmonica from some dang porch swing.

My hand leaked
awkward like
into a transistor radio I’d made
from gunny-sack, mud and ear.

The one-eyed girl who swiveled funny
came my way.
I could feel her crawl down the dirty fleece
my skin was.


for Ben Mirov

Where is the museum of prayer flags?
I have an animal of elegant limb.
Which mountain peak would you recommend
for its transcendent view? I have never seen
a lung fish. Have you?
How many kilometers to the nearest embassy?
My father is an embassy official and I am in desperate need
of a dentist. Please have the valet summon
an herbalist. The abscess progresses.
What sports do you enjoy? My uncle
played cricket swimmingly. Does your mother enjoy
the domestic arts? I originate
from a land that is low and flat. We have livestock
abundant, a number. Your coat is very
handsome and your wife is very delightful.
I have only a limited quantity
in funds. I will be leaving tomorrow
for India. I am politically a neutral.
How many sisters do you have?
Is that woman your sister?
I play traditional songs on my mouth organ.
The lung fish is indeed esteemed.
Sweet tea is rampant. Where can one go?
I will visit the monastery this evening
where the Buddha is much beloved.
I have several prayer flags in my valise.
Would you like two? Three?
The attractive tourists are Danish, though my
remembrances might be confused.
I saw one tourist doing deep-knee bends
beside the stream of restorative properties.
She wore athletic apparel.
I would be honored to view further
any attractive incarnation.
Where can I buy a skillet?
I have worn mine out.
Because I have been praying strenuously since my arrival
by plane my tour
has been thus far pleasant. How many
kilometers to the nearest temple?
It has been two months
since I last performed any ritual utility.
I agree kind sir the dead like to be honored.



I revered the murals in your father’s house
Especially the one called ‘The New Boredom’,
When we left no one came to say goodbye
Because even the neighbors kept track of
How many times we left milk on the porch
To sour. On the road arm in arm in arm,
We crawled humbled by the ways and means
Committee of the heart that let us go where
We amused various red faced babies.
So many raindrops, so few teeth.

Laura LeHew

In a Blizzard

between Basin and Butte
chrysanthemums litter the charred sky
pummel our little red Honda
cranking open the window
to ferret out the drowned road—

I could bring you so much pleasure
if you are ready for extinction

A Word Problem, 3

Karen, a serial monogamist, holds a doctoral degree in ministry. Every 30 days Karen purchases 3 pounds of Peets Gaia Organic Blend® coffee at $13.95/lb. for a cost of $41.85. Minus her Peetniks discount of $4.00. Plus $8.00 shipping which is calculated at time of shipment [Ground - Cont. U.S. (3-8 business days)]. There is no sales tax since Karen lives in Oregon. Weekly she purchases a 32 oz carton of RICE DREAM® Enriched Original Organic rice milk. The perfect non-dairy beverage, enriched with vitamins A, D & B12 with the same amount of calcium as milk. It is low fat and all natural and costs $3.70. She drives 2.55 miles to the grocery store.

The cost of gas is currently $3.23 a gallon. Karen’s 1999 periwinkle blue VW Passat with heated black leather seats gets 21 miles to the gallon in the city. It has 105,000 miles on the odometer. Recently Karen went to the car dealer to have the oil changed, mentioning to the service rep that some lights had just come on. 5 hours later the technician informed her that the ABS system had failed, her coolant bottle was cracked and leaking, the cam adjustor and valve cover gaskets were leaking oil on the exhaust manifold and engine block and the motor mounts were leaking hydraulic dampening fluid. The tech suggested replacement. The power steering fluid was dark and dirty; it needed flushing. Brake fluids were due to be changed, the fuel system needed to be flushed and a fuel filter replaced. AC was not working as the system was reaching “high suck” pressures due to the AC fan having failed. They suggested replacement. Estimated cost of repairs: $3,200. Blue book value of the car, if it were in moderate shape: $3,208. The car dealer proposed a trade-in. She declined. Karen did, however, authorize an oil change for $29.99 and paid $185.36 for the diagnosis including labor, parts and miscellaneous. It was the hottest day of the year, reaching 97 degrees. Driving the car home with the windows down Karen adjusted the mirrors. The knob broke off and flew out the window.

The Nissan Leaf a 100% electric car with zero emissions is expected to be priced under $35,000. (Less than the average driver spends on gas over 10 years). MSRP is $33,720 with federal tax savings from 0-$7,500. After tax savings, Karen’s net costs could be as low as $26,220, assuming $1,999 initial customer payment. The Leaf will be available in limited quantities in late 2010. Alternatively, Karen could purchase a 1999 black Mercedes at the cost of $13,999. It has been converted to use bio-diesel and is available today.

16 oz. rice milk lattes with sugar free vanilla cost $4.25 from Full City Roasters. Full City is 7 miles away from Karen’s home. Which variant gives Karen the smallest carbon footprint: buying her coffee out or brewing her own? Please show your work and don’t forget to add in the cost of tipping the barista.

John Yohe

Individual coming together

The rain
the black oak tree, a rock
the open space in front of it, broken

stillwater, a mirror
whose face the wind destroys
the wind, with its desire to destroy
and on my wrists the long red scars
each erased of its many pictures.
I never believed a body’s mending held
the unknowns of its blindness:
weeds, mud tracks on the floor
a woman pulling away from her husband
across a dusty hotel bed, insulting him
as though his obedience caused it

I never saw them come together
the jagged wind that went out finally
I never dreamed of not watching that
the way we watched the sky on winter days
your foot on my back, the lipstick
the cold air

there is a darkness, and pleasure
the bound wrist changes everything
like wind feeds fire or carves rock
unseen, unidentifiable
except felt on the skin, exposed

my love for you this fire

my love for you this fire
burning in the desert
brighter than the lights of Phoenix
brighter than the moon & stars
in land too thick and steep to contain
I can only wait and try to sleep
while isolated pockets flare in the night —
orange light and crackling

my love for you this fire
these embers staring out of trees
these cat-faced snags
this smoke choking my lungs
blinding my eyes
and the ash covering my skin
the grit on my teeth
the heat on my face
stopping me from getting too close

Joanna M. Weston


stopped at half-past
the New Year
to watch waves of green
pink fading to yellow
cascade the sky
blurring into
an impossible horizon
and taking stars
further into orbit
while we, anchored
to the roadside
heard a distant wind
and a faint voice

Neila Mezynski

Men Who Wait 

Why don’t cha’ sofa soft, hard to get up off for a days work.  Desert. Wasteland. Me, maybe. Suitcase packed. Twenty more years time to practice. Interminable. Tomorrow.

Michael Estabrook

In the old world

I - The old world is different
than the new world,
a more solid texture to things,
more resilience, confidence, timelessness,
everything with obvious purpose and place.
II - Outside my hotel window
I see racks of bicycles,
a woman pushing a baby carriage,
a bus spewing smoke,
the squeal of a train stopping
at the station slices through the dusk.
A black and white image like from a scene
in Casablanca flicks into my mind:
dark-clad people, wearing hats,
clutching themselves tightly pressing forward
into the wind, dirty snow on the ground,
in the background a Nazi car watching
like an untrustworthy gargoyle.
III - And I’m sitting here
in a comfortable chair in my hotel room,
trying not to succumb this early
to the jetlag and I’m thinking, as usual,
about you, at home looking after things,
missing me too, or maybe not.

Christopher Vola

Tonight is Losing Teeth

One evening Uncle spit into your brother and reached for a bowl.

"Snap Crackle and Pop," he said, and you shoved him sense then, for you and your brother, into the corner table next to him until his head hit white bread and you licked the ketchup off and your dad charged in (bellowing through the house with your tee shirts pulled up, fleeing to your room and hidden under your blanket, exposed). You would smack your bellies then.

Instead, things were quiet for hours. You fell asleep being aliens. Afternoons spent you up.

Your brother was fine, screaming at the wall, "We’re not afraid of you," regenerated, grown into two new heads, wormlike as you jumped, punctuating the word "kitchen" and wanting to know if you wanted some and laughing like crazy. At some point your brother’s throat was swallowing mint chips, silently muttering.

The weirdness of childhood. The things that make Rice Krispies (the snapcracklepop), the things that make your chair. You hadn’t considered the sharp things you did. You smeared ketchup on slices cracked open.

Your brother started wailing and left the bread on your plates. You ran around demanding to know what had happened. You, your heads, arms still in the sleeves, stomachs expecting horrible punishment at any moment.

"Oyoyoyoyoyoyoyoyoy!" you thought.

Eventually your dad woke and came in. His head had split in two.

"Oscar the Grouch!" you shouted that over and over.

Uncle was having some ice cream in his “grouch” by landing on your butts instead of feet. You tottered from the kitchen as one expressing displeasure at a given situation. Your dad licked his lips. "Snap Crackle and Pop, the old mouth." One remembers the origin of this phrase.