..:: CONTENTS ::..

..:: POETRY ::..
Adam Fieled
  Sarah Israel
Johannes Finke
  Documents etc. do not balance out
  Hardcore angel
  Recording, Melancholy
Dan Fisher
  from Fugue Report
Jenny Gillespie
  Burn
  Personal Forest
Thomas Hibbard
  KOURASAN
  BAD GUY
  RUBBLE
Claudia Keelan
  Little Elegies (Vietnam) 
  Little Elegies (cummingsworth)
  Little Elegies (Self and Other)
David Krump
  The Nine Day Ricochet
  Backsling in the Hickories
  C(harm
Tom Leonard
  suite On the Page
Christopher Mulrooney
  Continental System
Rochelle Ratner
  Date-a-Dog
  Jealous Lover Program Creator Is Indicted
  MUTT AND JEFF AT ALCATRAZ
  Testing
  California Inmate Seeks Release of Stuffed Dog
  Piggy Banks
Dennis Somera
  Earl Lee s. alvation jane=Paterson's curse s.v. Paterson;
  sweet ana lack to es
  Pleas
Stephanie Young
  UPPER MODERATION
  IN TWENTY DAYS I WILL BE THIRTY

..:: PROSE ::..
Douglas Cole
  Ghost
Laura Davis
  Touched
Mandy Kalish
  On the Fourth Pull
William Moor
  Four Robot Recognitions

..:: REVIEWS ::..
Jeremy James Thompson
  Joan Retallack, Memnoir
Sarah Trott
  Stephanie Young, Telling the Future Off
Sara Wintz
  Various, lunapark 0,10

..:: ETC ::..
  Contributor's Notes
  Legals
 

..:: ARCHIVES ::..
  Volume I, Issue I
  Volume I, Issue II
  Volume II, Issue I

 


Touched
Laura Joyce Davis

     

I like art that reaches down my throat and squeezes my breath with commanding fingers. I like writing that makes my chest pound, my face flush. I like being nervous about what people will see when they read my work.

I like confidence like smooth, white eggshells. I am the girl who does not care what other people think, who will go on being because it is who I have become; I am also the girl who is so insecure that I imagine people discarding me like a dirty sock because of something I said.

I like the cool metal of a friendship that is like a reliable car. I will check the tires every other week and try to never let the gas get below a quarter of a tank. I'm willing to get messy and change the oil myself if I know that it won't break down on me when I'm halfway to Tahoe with no stations in sight.

I like the salty dew of exhaustion on my skin. I like running until my breath is sweet and my legs are floating and I finally feel how I wish I looked. When I was eighteen, I ran faster than everybody else I knew, and had clanging medals lining the wall above my desk. My body was wiry, strong, and impervious to injury. I spent afternoons eating generic Lucky Charms and reading newspaper articles predicting my win. The day came, raging with rain and hail storms, and something thundered in my body, cracked open. No one is ever impressed with second place.

I like the chisel of disappointment that forces me to keep recreating myself. I like knowing that something so important to me will mean nothing to most everyone else.

I like starting fresh.

I like the white heat of stage lights. A solo I once recorded won a national award that meant something to me but was forgotten by everyone else within days. Now I play guitar badly just so I can sing along. In another life I'd be a screaming blues singer who could burn up a fretboard like Stevie Ray Vaughan.

I like cities that are underrated, that surprise me with their quiet caress. I prefer Oakland to San Francisco, Minneapolis to Chicago. I like knowing the secrets that are still being kept.

I like the kind of truth that breaks skin, but not bone. I am not thick-skinned but then, is anybody? I like feeling life completely, even if it means enduring pain that threatens to tear vital organs and splinter teeth. I like to think that being able to hurt that deeply means I can love that deeply too.

I like the almost-sticky texture of lipstick that is just a little bold, that keeps me rubbing my lips together. I like being the girl who dances in heels because it's sexier. I like the danger of falling. I like knowing that I am being watched, but I'm the happiest when the one who is watching is already mine.

I like being one of the girls, but I also like being one of the guys. I like pizza and beer and yelling at the opposing team. I like getting my heart broken over a ball game.

I like the uncooked texture of being real, but I also hate it. Real love, the kind that won't walk away when you're a bitch, requires squeezing fingers through emotions like ground meat. I hate being open and then having my soul scraped raw by disregard. Still, I do it every time.

I like bodies hovering, dripping sweat, refusing surrender just a moment longer than I can stand it. I like the kind of sex that makes me think of prayer. I like feeling poured out, washed clean, touched by more than fingers, kissed by spirit. I like knowing that someone is there.

  

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