With a beer in one tentacle and a book in another, Paper Darts is taking back the lit scene, one lame pen and quill metaphor at a time.

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Tuesday
Apr222014

Fiction: Jacqueline May

Manual

Congratulations on your buy of new product KFZ6515-33L. Now you enter group of elite. What fantastic tasks you shall do!

KFZ6515-33L is made from materials of highest quality. You can have proud to show KFZ6515-33L to friends.

Many cautions are there for best using of KFZ6515-33L.

1. Do not operate automobiles simultaneous of KFZ6515-33L.

2. Do not touch KFZ6515-33L with mouth or tongue.

3. Do not become translator.

4. Do not tamper KFZ6515-33L with tool of metal.

5. If KFZ6515-33L move without help, destroy quickly. Suggest flamethrower in spring catalog, page 66.

You know the quality of KFZ6515-33L because it come from Swift River Factory, most respected. In such factory translator never pushed into room with no lunch, no original manual, door locked, so hot.

KFZ6515-33L designed by chief engineers with education from universities of so high level, students no longer speak to students of lower universities. Like they are so good now. Like they did not steal answers for entrance exam and not even share with best friend. Engineers who are so smart never must say to parents, "I do not wish university, I wish career of art," and parents say, "No, you must have university even though poor maths and sciences, you will study English now," and you say, "I do not like English, I cannot learn," and they say, "You are lucky with scores so low to have university. You will obey to have good life."

Good life you will have with KFZ6515-33L! Imagine what you will do. Maybe you have large house, good furniture, many fine items. KFZ6515-33L can make house so better than rented room behind train station. Maybe you have wife with pretty smile, chief engineer wanted to marry. KFZ6515-33L can make her smile! She is happy and chief engineer is alone. Maybe you have career in art! You paint beautiful lands and your pretty wife bring fruits on a white plate, and KFZ6515-33L stands near.

All of KFZ6515-33L functions are tested carefully at factory: all the very useful functions and also crushing of head, making of deadly seizure with fume, quick removing of hand or finger. Sound of screaming is sound of productive!

Swift River Factory very productive today.

This is another caution: If chief engineer says, "Old friend, I have job for speaker of English," do not say, "Old friend! I am happy to see you!" Say, "Tell me about job." Say, "Your product, what exact it do? Is it pleasant?" Say, "Do factory get so hot, such noise, crashing and screaming like end of world, until too loud even for afraid?"

New bonus function for KFZ6515-33L: hitting locked door, again, again, until begins to open. Never worry to forget keys! KFZ6515-33L enter your house any way! With KFZ6515-33L, soon you are home, you forget ugly unknowable English, you kiss your wife on her laughing mouth, your paintbrush come to your hand in cool and quiet room.

 

All rights reserved to Jacqueline May.

Illustration by Lydia Fusco.

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Thursday
Apr172014

Poetry: Donna Vorreyer

A group of women

lined up for the bathroom    for the brothel    for the firing squad
huddled around a cell phone    a warming fire    a wad of cash
gathered at the coffee shop    the abortion clinic    the morgue 

waiting for the Vera Wang    the Richard Gere    the new regime
plucking eyebrows    chickens    rice from muddy fields
holding Coach purses    hand grenades    wounded children 

marching in a bright parade    in handcuffs    in the village square
filing affidavits    fingernails    serial numbers from stolen guns
singing at karaoke    a Baptist church    a funeral procession 

serving mojitos    tennis balls    other richer women
living on credit    Ramen noodles    the outskirts of joy
starving to be thin    to be held    starving 

crying over spilt milk    dropped gavels    burning homes
riding horses    subway cars    the tops of trains
picking Lotto numbers    mangoes    ticks from their skin

sitting shiva    in lotus pose    under trees in the dirt
choosing grapefruits    and partners    and sides
missing the mark    front teeth    lost brothers 

carrying debt    water    babies on their backs
crossing intersections    wires    their fingers
dancing in the club    the summer rain    the dark house

building skyscrapers    crescendos    a better tomorrow
dialing ex-boyfriends    Chinese takeout    9-1-1
writing sonnets    overdrawn checks    suicide notes 

painting parking stripes    abstracts    henna on their hands
bearing crosses    other women's babies    jugs on their heads
matching funds    and outfits    and mug shots to attackers

burning bras    leaves    the evidence
weaving grass mats    through traffic    stories
driving golf balls    old Gremlins    stakes into the dirt

kissing princes     and princesses    and golden idols
spreading jam    disease    weary thighs
breathing smoke rings    garlic    heavy in the dark

smoothing skirts    frazzled hair    yarn on a loom
drawing comics    weapons    into themselves
killing kindness    spiders    their female babies

sinking ships    dish in soapy water    stones in a holy river
bowing in prayer    to an audience    in obeisance
falling off stilettos    down stairs    into open manholes

pressed into elevators    corners    pages of thick books
promised diamonds    jobs    to men they do not know
scattered by gossip    gunshots    men who care not where they land.

 

All rights reserved to Donna Vorreyer.

Illustration by Meghan Irwin.

 

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Tuesday
Apr152014

Fiction: Amanda Hartzell


17 Nov

Stayed up until morning arguing about whether to destroy our soul machine. Francis Moss, city-born, rich and slender, is adamant the visual projection is harmless and besides only an estimate. Isaac Tsakos sulks. Empty Narragansett keep his knees company. His soul projected from the machine appears as a hermit crab. It scuttles around the door molding for a while then journeys over my shoulders, and in each pinch of claw to my tongue I see another house he lived in during his childhood. "Wicker chairs," I report. "A lot of carpet and AstroTurf porches."

Francis switches off the machine. We remove the earbuds. Isaac is crying, which made the crab flush a seaward shallow orange. "That can't be all," he says. I say, "Well, we can't all be Francis." Francis, whose soul last night appeared as the spinal cord of a whale. I swallowed the vertebrae down like beads of a candy necklace. It was just as sugary, bright and fizzy. With his soul in my throat I could feel the shape of everything he'd ever touched.

29 Nov

The soul responds much like a dog. When I spit his soul back up Francis conducts it via whistles and tongue-clicking back into the machine, where it must return before we disconnect the wires and bulbs from his ears. It's taken a year of trial and error to figure out which bodily entrance and exit the soul prefers. The ears are a small but natural tunnel and the only side-effects are ringing and dizziness. We've tried various techniques: blood-letting, sneezing, birthing. I have scars on my arms tattoos have recently covered up. Isaac complains his nose is more crooked now than when we first began, but when we were lovers I used to tell him his nostrils were fabulously Athenian and he never took offense then. It's all about the context.

An assistant of ours, Gladys Quake, drew the short straw for the birthing test, and she's threatened weekly to leave us after that failed attempt. I buy her lunch in the square. Brattle, JFK, bright cobblestone places where we watch people who do not suspect what we do. Note: All indexed in expense reports. I give her a spare key to my apartment hoping she'll seek me out more, and we can talk, and I can compare the length of our legs on the couch.

10 Dec

Francis, a failed cinephile, is enthralled by the pure visual notion of it. He pulls out his and Isaac's and Gladys' all at once just to watch them gambol around the room. A soul zoo, he calls it. He wants to take this to film, insists on its indie potential at Cannes or at least Coolidge Corner. Isaac meanwhile wants to achieve a traditional out-of-body experience and is depressed the soul does not carry his personal perception along with it—the soul emerges entirely separate, with its own awareness and decisions. This secretly worries me. Note: If the soul isn't me or mine then what is it? What is this stowaway in my bones, drawn out by our machine?

I'm the one to try eating them. Tonight the boys are watching stand-up at the Hong Kong so Gladys and I prepare hers over the stove in a pot of boiled salted water. We try chicken broth, vodka sauce, gravy. Her soul is most interesting to me because it arrives as a parade—tiny creatures dressed in gold, waving instruments and riding animals extinct or unseen. Swirling in soups they taste like ramen but never stay down. I keep a hot mouthful as long as I can, her soul's parade jangling against my molars and causing me sweet headaches.

15 Jan

The soul machine began as a boy's club. Gladys was the exception, and my way in—but she wears bowties and suspenders when she wants people to listen. Francis sublet briefly with her above the river during graduate school in the small attic of a third-floor Victorian. They hung photos of Bobby Kennedy and had a mouse problem. Tsakos Exterminators was called in last summer and Francis caught Isaac releasing more rodents so he could return to read the stacks of overdue science journals.

Gladys believes Isaac to be a regular con man. Francis finds him charming, and Gladys insists that proves her point. I received an invite in after the three solidified their pursuit of the soul machine, because they heard through campus adjuncts I cannot name that I had successfully created one in early November, although a series of accidents had left me sour and singed and unable to recall much of my findings.

17 Jan

We four sprawled on the floor of my room. My notes have been on Gladys and Francis all night and Isaac's jealousy spins out. "Why don't you do it," Isaac says. He is snappy, petulant. His nose is more crooked. "You've never let us seen your soul. What are you, scared? What are you hiding?"

"Remember," I say, "when we were together I made you take me out to French restaurants just so you'd struggle with the menu?" My plate of beans: ah REE koh VER. I mimic his nasal Southie voice: Hair A Cot Verts. He objects and Francis, hooked to the machine, laughs so hard his vertebrae soul—a lizard's tonight—trembles joyously across the ceiling like the borealis. 

Everyone watches and I feel cold. It gets very quiet. Their silence is a snowfall in me.

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Thursday
Apr102014

Fiction: Angela Stubbs

 

She says yes sometimes when she wants to say no but you hope that this isn't one of those times. It's
cold outside and she has goose bumps on her arms. Out of the corner of your eye you notice how she
wears purple and beige and black all at once. You don't know anyone who can do that and not look
like a bruise. Her shirt fabric is always silky and forward. She makes it look effortless except for that
second where she adjusts her necklace, holding it to her chest. You sigh because nervousness has
entered the car and you don't like it. You swat it away for her. She looks over at you, smiling quietly.
A lady's voice comes through the speakers. You think, "Fancy," but she feels embarrassed. She agrees
with
something you say. You realize if she agreed with everything you said, you'd never want her opinion.
Words fall out like rocks. You keep talking until the sound of your voice sounds like a dull buzz.
She turns to the side and you see long, turned- up lashes touching the inside of her glasses. The blinker
in the car is ticking and you tap your fingers on the top of your leg. When you decide on a moment to
keep, you pick this one. You think about limits, how she walks the line, letting it be her alibi. She pulls
up in front of a house. Are you home? When the door opens, she reminds you of a crater obstructing
your path. You side step that and tell her about building something new. She asks you about handstands. You agree to hold her feet steady, allowing them to waiver ever-so-slightly. She marvels at the view involved
with
upside down.

 

All rights reserved to Angela Stubbs

Illustrated by Meghan Murphy

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Wednesday
Apr092014

Poetry: Dalenna Moser 

First Job, Receptionist at Hair Salon

Donna tells me to shampoo her customer.
The color must come out on the old woman

with black dye lining the brim of her forehead. 
She sits in the shampoo seat.

I test the water: cold, warmer, warm.
She bucks me like a horse, jumps from the seat

painting the linoleum in black dye, screams hot
in a voice that gallops over my abdomen.

This horse tells me how precious hair can be.
The woman: everyone speaks in different temperatures.

 

Losing Hair at 13

Her hair fell out gradually
like pine needles after Christmas 

hit the floor silent sucked
by the vacuum, no diagnosis.

We tried giving her shampoo,
tried using words like alopecia, B-5,

minoxidil, panthenol. To cover the bald spots
and thin slices of darkness

she wore hats. When there was nothing left, nothing to hang
around her face, she bought a wig made of someone's

extra hair. I have to imagine her now a horse,
a mane the color of hot charcoal

galloping through an open field
too beautiful to touch.

 

All rights reserved to Dalenna Moser

Illustrated by Meghan Irwin

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