Once upon a time on an outskirts bus to center Paris,
I found her rapt in a magazine. She shared with me
a photo: a wooden sculpture, an Afghan treasure,
once stolen, carried place to place,
a beautiful river goddess – flowing skirt, tight waist —
(a noticeable backside crease).
She spoke in slow French, for me, how the stolen treasure
exposed a new opening into Asian mystery.
A perfect piece, 1st century, recovered
intact in a sunken ship off Indonesia.
Ambling along the Seine, she also shared regrets
— her boyfriend killed in war’s affairs.
To make it short, I blurted out, “Je voudrais te baiser,”
meaning ‘to kiss’ her, but the word I used – I learned,
translates to fuck. She corrected my French — laughing
later in my concierge-guarded hotel room.
Maybe it was because when goodbyes came,
and she whispered, Ne m’oublier pas, that I remember
the hunger hard in her taut curves, her stirring
deep as wreckage. The stuff of fairy tales,
when treasure lost then found, rises to the surface.
by McLeod Rivera
McLeod Rivera has four collections of poems: Café Select (Poet’s Choice Publisher, 2016); Noise (Broadkill River Press, December 2015); The Living Clock (Finishing Line Press, 2013); and Buried in the Mind’s Backyard (Brickhouse Books, Inc. 2011). Rivera’s poems have been published in various poetry magazines: Innisfree, Broadkill River Review, The Broome Review, California Quarterly,Gargoyle, Recursive Angel, The Curator Magazine, Third Wednesday, Lit Undressed, Blazevox, 2River Review, Loch Raven, as well as The Nation, Kenyon Review and The Prairie SChonner.
A couple moved into an apartment. They discovered that one of the doors was locked. They called the caretaker who explained to them that the room behind that door had been designed and built automatically. No human being had been involved in the process whatsoever, or had even seen the room, and all data pertinent to its construction had been carefully deleted. It therefore contained each and every possibility – as long as the door remained closed. The couple was happy in the apartment, and often joked about what the room of possibilities could possibly contain. The child that they raised knew for sure: “A swinging rainbow monkey.” At that her parents laughed, but in fact they too entertained different fantasies about what could be in there. Sometimes they shared those fantasies, which made them grow closer, yet other times they kept their thoughts to themselves. Some things deserve to stay secrets. They married and led a simple life, whatever that means these days. But above all, they were happy. However. As the years went by, the man couldn’t help but feel that something was missing. Nothing new and exciting ever happened. Everything was dull routine. Why, for instance, hadn’t they ever opened that door? Was it even locked? He couldn’t remember. Sure, it was fun to play around with thoughts about what was in there, but what if they had forgone a world of riches, pleasure and excitement? One night, feeling particularly weary, the man got up, walked to the door and pulled the handle. The door opened like nothing. It didn’t even make a sound. Pitch darkness in there. He felt the wall for a light switch and found one. A simple lightbulb hanging from a chord gave off a neutral white light and illuminated an empty fucking room. He immediately realized his mistake. The next morning his feet almost touched his daughter’s face. She looked up and saw red eyes, orange skin, yellow hair, a green tongue, a blue face, indigo fingers and, where the chord tightened, a violet neck. All the colors of the rainbow.
by David Olsson
David Olsson is 38 years old, lives in Stockholm with his family. He works as a copywriter and writer and is the creator of the experimental literary initiative “P_R_O_J_E_K_T_E_T,” which currently consists of the Instagram-account @p_r_o_j_e_k_e_t and the blog www.projektet.org. His work has previously been published in Microfiction Monday Magazine and The Esthetic Apostle.
Audio from some movie playing in the next room
You wake up to the sound of it
Without remembering having it on before you fell asleep
Sound of an unfortunate sequel
In an unnecessary series of films
Rom com or dramedy or buddy cop action
It continues in the background of the morning, like wallpaper
You wonder if you can’t understand it because you didn’t see the first one
Doug McClure*’s performance is earnest but unconvincing
*You can substitute the bad actor of your choice
Should have had his lines fed to him, like Brando
Fed to him by Brando might be more effective
Feeding him to Brando might’ve been most useful
More spam than ham, though
You wonder if someone turned it on as a joke
Climbed in the window, or set it on a timer
But it doesn’t seem to matter
Its unbidden endurance fits in the wasted hours
Fills the emptiness of your thoughts
As I fill the softness of my easy chair
Technicolor lack of action clouding your eyes
Charged by the static of stasis
You cannot turn your head away
From the hours that steal you from your dreams.
by David Lawton
David Lawton is the author of Sharp Blue Stream (Three Rooms Press), and has had his work published in numerous journals and anthologies. David is a graduate of the theatre program at Boston University, where he was also a Guest Artist in the graduate play writing classes taught by Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott. For ten years he was a background vocalist in the New York underground band Leisure Class. At the band’s de facto headquarters in the Chelsea Hotel, he befriended Beat godfather Herbert Huncke and San Francisco poet Marty Matz, and was inspired by their embodiment of the written word. David also serves as an editor for greatweatherforMEDIA, and collaborates with poet Aimee Herman in the poemusic collective Hydrogen Junkbox.