I Have a Fake Body Part. Guess What It Is.

Various Contributors


“Same Shirt”
Kevin Sampsell

The homeless man did a
when I walked by

He said
I have that same shirt.
I looked at my shirt
as if something were wrong with it
It was an orange plaid thing
with long sleeves

vaguely cowboyish

It looks better on you
He said

What about these boots?
I asked him.

He considered the boots
on my feet

They’re okay
he said.

Excerpt from
Universal Themes That Anyone Can Relate To
Chelsea Martin

I got horny while I was in the shower and started fantasizing about how I might seduce Ethan once I was finished with my shower.

I imagined jumping onto him from behind and wrapping my limbs around him.

But in my fantasy I sort of hurt Ethan by jumping onto him, and he had also been holding a bowl of cereal that I hadn’t imagined until after I imagined jumping on him, and I made the cereal spill all over the floor, and Ethan seemed tired and looked at me and grumpily asked me if I was trying to seduce him and then he made me clean up the cereal.

By the time my fantasy was over and I left the bathroom, I was noticeably irritated.
Ethan said, “You seem in a weird mood.”

I said, “You always say something like that when it’s actually you who is in a weird mood and you just don’t want to take responsibility for your weird mood because you don’t want to take the time to analyze your own feelings in life.”
He said, “What’s going on?” but I couldn’t say, “I’m really mad and hurt and confused over this hypothetical melodrama I just went through while I was in the bathroom,” so I just said, “What the fuck?”

And he said, “What the fuck?”

And I said, “It’s an interesting question.”

I’ve had a few dreams recently about my exes finally getting the courage to say the mean things I always knew they wanted to say to me. In the dreams I feel so proud of them for finally being funny.

Ethan and I went out to eat Chinese food for dinner, which I was anxious about because I didn’t have much money, but ultimately we would leave without paying.

Ethan is pretty tall. I was actually thinking of describing Ethan as tall way earlier than this, but then I thought “I shouldn’t describe Ethan as tall,” but then somebody asked me if he was tall, so I guess that’s the kind of thing that’s interesting.

Sometimes I feel like I’m in some kind of short break between segments of my actual life, but when I try to think concretely about the future I just visualize myself wandering around Walgreens without a bra searching for a one-day yeast infection treatment.

Romance is a funny term.

Funny as in, “I have a fake body part. Guess what it is.”

The protagonist in my novel is selfish and awful and manipulative and insecure and pathetic, and this is what makes her complex and developed and interesting, and I’m jealous that that’s the way it works out for protagonists in a novels.

And I also want to say that it’s an unrealistic standard and the media should be ashamed of itself for printing books that make people believe that it is okay to be flawed and messy because that’s not the way things work in real life.
People don’t want to understand actual people like they understand protagonists in novels.

People want other people to be stable and secure and okay.

In my novel the protagonist isn’t called ‘I,’ and she doesn’t know that she’s in love with the antagonist (who is French) until the final chapter when she kisses him.

There is moment that foreshadows the kiss in the beginning of the novel where someone asks the protagonist and the French antagonist if they are dating and the protagonist and the French antagonist both say, “No,” at the same time.

Then the French antagonist says, “That was one of those moments where one person is like,” and he shakes his head vigorously, “And the other person is like,” and then he nods his head vigorously.

And the protagonist says, “Were you going,” and she nods her head vigorously.

And the French antagonist says, “No.”

But it turns out that the French antagonist is only French Canadian.

“You’re Southern:”
Aneesa Davenport

You can do the drawl
when you want to,
feign white trash,
deliver Domino’s & six-packs
to shirtless hicks w/ worked tan pecs
summers back from Smith.

Who knew the stereotype’s
so tootin’ true?
you lark, backing
into a parking space
outside the pancake place.

I have the balls to call
your joke classist
to your face
(you hear classless
& agree)
but then I ape you
to our friends très

On the line
gashed deep between
the N——– word
& remote kid gyp,
I find redneck’s
a word I wouldn’t say
but I’d repeat.

“Four Poems”
Brandon Scott Gorrell

i’m going to crush the internet with my face

with my hand i mean; i will squeeze it

do you know what i’m going to do to the internet

tomorrow i’ll be on the sidewalk

something will happen; my face will do something

with my face, tomorrow

i will be observed

making facial expressions

from a distance of just across the street

a tiny frame will be seen

now i’m doing other, vastly unrelated things

like text messaging

and touching your face really hard

while staring at you.

tomorrow i will expand gigantically

in a week i want to float with you

in a week i am going to crush you

i can’t believe you told me i was fucked

i remembered how you used to say this one thing

“Young Black Brassiere Woman”
Claire Donato

Which is absurd? An envelope containing a pair of knitting needles
Which she treats as symbols, or her stained vagina she
Whips every three seconds.
Widely seen as abetting the D.I.Y. craft movement, the activist
Willfully declares home fabric décor conceptual home fashion design.
Woe, a lion is asleep and the audience is sleeping.  Why
Won’t she draw attention to herself?  Everybody else does.

Wool spun in silence does not equal quiet, nor does she dress in the dark
Wordlessly, every sick body determined to
Work off its every sick ass.
Worlds apart from becoming richer or poor,
Worn, out in amid or near a shapeless mass of absentminded, grief
Worsens its course, worsens.
Worst case, one fights an invisible war.

“The Name Within”
Jeff T. Johnson

You cannot say New England on the wet
wet streets of Providence, Rhode Island
without thinking of

Our haste to be something else. What
if you were faster? Your mother
sings in French, the question
blinking overhead. This morning
trapped inside. If the line is invisible

Pronouns surround the map.
Even our intentions
get away. What we thought was
extraneous was the main idea. When you leave,
leave something to call with.

“God Comes As a Drip in Winter”
Michael Thomsen

There’s a drip outside the window
It’s a good distraction
From the drunk Tibetan cowboys
Clasping each other’s shoulders,
Tumbling down the hallway with
Sinus-clearing hacks.
I gave up on the idea
Of masturbating hours before
When I returned to my room
And found three ripe and leathered
Farmers, smelling of smoky wool and ammonia,
Occupying the previously empty beds
A precarious few feet from my own.

I imagine there is a heaven
That has ordained the systematic release
Of single raindrops, timed to be
Four seconds apart, racing down
From the upper domes of space
Surviving twirled nebulas and wanton
Solar flares to find one distant home
In a small puddle meant to keep
Watch over me through the warping swirl
Of the double-paned window at my head.

So I say to you, sweet God, thanks
For this drip, my heavenly companion
In whose collecting body I see the
Dull shimmer of street lights, which organize
Themselves into private messages
Speaking with whispered urgency
Hope! Love! Charity! Forgive!
I can feel the quickening cold
Touch of your wet words like tiny
Elliptical explosions over the billion points
Of my body, drawing out heat
So the frozen dry air can exalt
In my newly wintering heart and the
Icecycling of my branched veins.

“All before has been illusion,”
Sings my scrotum. “We have no need
Of the dark and humid touch of tongue,
Nor the rounding incongruities
Of hips and hair, mouth and neck.”
Nature radiates God’s splendid call
From the locked ice at the bottom of
The frozen river around which all
The barren plains and hills give up
Their blizzards of indifference
And take up voice as if a choir
Of untold thousands, rejoicing in the
Newfound treasures of ice and solitude
Pulsing, pounding, shrieking
Until the next drop falls.

I approach you, my God, with bowed head
And hands numb from graciousness
I focus all my thoughts to
Lifting each drop of water from
Its quivering puddle and hurrying
It back to your open arms
To spare them from the acrid smells
And hacking slurs of isolation
That jostle and huddle and fumble
In the cold halls
Of a place where the last thing
You say before falling asleep is
Fuck you.