(Photo by Davy Carren)

Don’t you keep thinking things like, “Mutilated catastrophes of less-than-holy spirits randomly counted by an automated conjecturing system.” I mean: “don’t” as a statement starter, not a question’s incipient structure. That’s all. I proclaim my own silence, deduced from crushed sanity’s jeopardized morality.

Perfect. A predilection for remorse goes with your shoes, Sonny Gal. Complicit as always in the measured trusses of thinking’s doing. All itchy with incitement’s immediate furor, the revelers, staunch and purpose-driven, were off to their commiserating devices. Wielding home-made stabbing implements with attached flags, they marauded their way to slicker pavement, as if it were a…


Groucho was left in the middle of cranking out one-liners when Olive Oyl ramshackled in with a few quarts to go in her vocabulary. Something? Sure. Something always left. “Why not right?” “Right.” “Who is?” And then he goes, “You!” with all the self-seeking capacity of a loosed nonvenomous eastern hognose. “Right away, that’s when,” is all Olive can puff out as she sneaks into a fold-up chair and thinks about inhaling a long, luxurious drag of cigarette smoke. Groucho snarls. He does his thing. He chews on his cigar and twitches his eyebrows right along with his smirky mouth…


(artwork by Sarah Tell)

Alice says to me, Alice goes, “Our neighbor cornered me again.” She fiddles with the zipper on her sweater. “This time it was in the laundry room.”

And we both know whom she means. There are about 15 other occupants in this building, but when we say, “our neighbor,” it is tacit that we’re referring to this one guy. He’s a real yapper. A conspiracy-theory true believer. And he doesn’t take nonverbal cues for exiting a conversation.

Alice, she goes, “I kept trying to squirm my way out of there, and he kept taking his mask off.”

I make a…


(Ernst Haas)

The mornings (on how many will I deduce?)

(…gut-wrenching

-ly) rather fondly

the cat dashing at rest on the counter

fingerprint-blotched panes of floury sky

cut to crumbles with fog’s lackadaisical drift

fragile (heat-chilled pirouetting amok) to the gusty phrase

we slice our better fractions into toasted jagged fifths

likely settled (or do we say, “I am leaving now, dear…”?) just enough

to stand sitting’s abiding oath

(brought lengthwise to this)

a scattering of errands between us

in hold (magnets to move) on the surface (each-to-each on the fridge)

to release after lasts and before firsts

become whimpering and jaded…


an excerpt from an interview with Charlie Kaufman

(Artwork by Sarah Tell)

INTERVIEWER- So, you know, I just want to get some of that real Charlie-Kaufman feeling here, to start out with.

CHARLIE KAUFMAN- Like…what…?

INTERVIEWER- Oh, you know. Like I want to get inside your head. What is Charlie Kaufman’s process? How does he approach a subject? How does he make all these intersecting lines connect into a whole? What’s his morning routine like?

CHARLIE KAUFMAN- Bagels and coffee.

INTERVIEWER- Oh. Nice. That’s great! Yeah. Basically, just stuff like that. The internecine struggle of the well-to-do, famous, and revered writer and his craft.

CHARLIE KAUFMAN- God. Internecine?

INTERVIEWER- I’m adlibbing.

CHARLIE…


Marianne Webster was sitting cross-legged on a low-back armchair, anxiously, if not eagerly, awaiting her first MDMA dose of the day. She had on a periwinkle-and-maroon polka-dot cotton-twill face mask with string-tie ear straps. It was a tight fit, and smooshed her nose, making it feel as if she were breathing through dried blood at times, but she rather relished such simple acts of suffering, so much so that she often purposefully partook in things that would make her life more difficult. It hampered her guilt and resuscitated her passion. Her glasses fogged with each breath.

She had a healthy…


Express Yourself

We were bad. That was the point.

The band onstage. The bassist is almost naked; the drummer is shirtless & wearing a balaclava, raising his sticks in the air.
The band onstage. The bassist is almost naked; the drummer is shirtless & wearing a balaclava, raising his sticks in the air.
Shitty, circa 1996. Photo courtesy of Davy Carren

I was in a band called Shitty. It all started at the Huntington Beach Library in Orange County, California — I’d guess around late 1995 or early ’96. I’d grabbed the mic between bands one night, claiming I was going to read a poem to all the emo kids in the audience. Of course, they were very excited to hear a lugubrious poem that would give them a chance to cry. Instead, they got me dashing off a sarcastic bit of dry humor about having consensual sex with a cow in a field. The last line was something like, “And…


A Photo-essay of San Francisco Neon Signs

(San Francisco, Market Street and Mason, 1952)

That good old neon, it just wraps itself in the night, holds steady, if not sincere, in the crust and decay of the city’s interior cavity, and almost seems to bemoan its current state, lost in the showy boring tide of more modern lighting schemes. Neon signage, long out of fashion, bucks no trends, as these relics reside in odd corners and among tiled shadows poking out from and hanging onto the sides of buildings or bound by tree branches — some decrepit and wiry and scabbed with scaly rust like a barnacled prow; some still jaunty and robust, well…


(atrwork by Sarah Tell)

The screen said: “Your Zoom Work Meeting Has Started.”

Kaitlynn said, “They’re killing black people. It’s making me cry. I can’t handle it. I’m so upset!” as she sipped her elderberry Kettle One cocktail and adjusted her flower-print Marchesa Notte V-Neck Embroidered High-Low Dress with her ass just on the edge of a dusty mint accent armchair. “I’ve just got to…do something.”

All Zoom meeting-goers concurred from their layered array of windows on the laptop’s screen. Michelle was tearing up, and Charmie’s voice was failing her, and there was all-around slight sobbing and wiping of noses. Then Charmie piped up…


(Artwork by Sarah Tell)

Harvey and Leslie went up to the roof. It was a hot, windy day, and they thought it would be nice to be up there by themselves, lie back in lawn chairs, drink chilled champagne from a water bottle, and read.

The stairs were heavy with a musty attic aroma. Harvey carried his lawn chair in a large duffel bag over his shoulder as he made his way up. He saw the place where a door should be at the top of the stairs. There wasn’t a door there. There was just a blast of rectangular sunlight from the door…

Davy Carren

The only writer who matters

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