Happy delightfully strange and disconcertingly disturbing Fall from Thirteen Myna Birds!


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~Noemi Ixchel Martinez~



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All We Talk About Are Bugs

Like we have nothing else to talk about.
Maybe we don’t. Tick-ridden, each word.

I have a fever. And cockroaches. So
we’re paranoid is what– that we’ll

probe too deep and dislike each other?
Or the opposite. It’s not a date. Right?

All we talk about– our bugs. My home
is filled with bedbugs. You just can’t

see them. Come over, we’ll take
a flashlight to the nooks of

closets. Strain our eyes on top
of chairs to search corners of

ceilings. Remove the bedding,
search around the pillows.

You’d think the topics would
be numerous and multiply.

Ah! A smile, a lull in conversation, 
an open window. I open

wide. You pull a flyswatter
from your pocket.




Moments of life
she remembers: somewhere
around those days, the red hot circle
of the cast iron stove top
and her father holding her
close to the heat: she remembers
the rage in his body, she
remembers her own stillness.
Perhaps that is the key
to her lifelong dislike,
mistrust, there was something
horrible there, and she knew
she had to hold still. Do
not disturb a man in rage.
Be very still. If she is still
enough, the danger might
pass. This is the hope of lizards
and birds when they hold still
in a hand, the endless hope
that immobility, a moment
of holding a breath might
open the gate to a future,
and anyway, even if a future
does not open, action now
would only cause more pain.






Emily stands by the window, contemplating
life. A former colleague comes to mind, Jolene,
who didn't go an extra inch, never mind mile,
but used her spare time to gossip, criticize
both equals and superiors, and on occasion
to compose chain prayers for ailing friends
from church. The layoffs started. Suddenly
an email from Jolene to all: I have some
time. Does anyone need help? It was too late.
The next round of layoffs claimed her away.

Outside a child laughs. A woman's voice,
impatient, scolds. The laughter fades.
Emily's hands tremble on the pink letter
from radiology. It mentions changes
that require more evaluation. I love you,
world. She whispers. You are good
enough for me. She hopes it isn't too late.

~Beate Sigriddaughter~



Pain Woman #2 (After Sonya Huber)



Inflatable Doll

Pink foam explodes from my head.
I can no longer polish the candlesticks for Master.
Soon I’ll be recycled, hey, ho.

are born in high mountain farms
where scientists keep improving us.
They add lighter, sturdier backbones.
They fix the voice playback.
They convoy the dolls to mansions and farms
all over this planet
so hard-working people like Master
will not have to hassle
with human women like his ex
who get cancer
refuse to work
and laugh at his sex.

Freshly orphaned teenage things
left in a crate
delivered by UPS--
we are perfectly legal
and operate on double D batteries: super cheap,
though not cheap to buy in the first place,
but a wife would be much more expensive,
what with dating and wedding rings and kids.

We sleep on the floor
unless Master pretends we’re real,
which is not recommended,
and we never complain
because our brain has a happiness chip–
we love any blank space
into which we are inserted.




i carry your phone number
in my phone
‘cos somedays i just give yer a ring
to ask if you fancy a meet tonight
and you say
yeah sure whatever
or you might even phone me and say
hey babe you fancy it tonight
and i’m like
which is like the sure of the sure
expressed as the maybe of the maybe
the oh god yeah come round and fuck me
i carry your whatever with my whatever
everywhere i go
you know
incase or



iWilliam Carlos Williams

to always appear kissable depends

having my lip

accessible in my red hand




dear boss i can’t make it
into work today
you know
the girl’s thing
i woke up a right moody cow
and you so much as smile at me
in the wrong way
yer life will be a living hell
and you know i’ll only moan
don’t get paid enough
to spend all day boring work chatter
into smelly phones
network’s too damn slow
my hard drive’s caught a nasty virus
i’ve an allergic reaction to
the printer’s cheap ink
my ID badge violently clashes
with my outfit
can’t drink this ‘orrible coffee
i’ve a back ache and a numb bum
this chair is like something
from the spanish inquisition
my workstation’s in a nasty draught
that’s given me the sniffles
and a cough
i think dear boss
you deserve a day off
from the torment
of my hormones
besides it’s friday
i’ve got to get ready
for a wicked all-night party



I haven’t tried smoking an electric cigarette,
but I’m told it’s like sucking on air.
I haven’t tried snacking on human flesh,
but I’m told it’s like chicken except for the hair.
My portfolio of Vietnamese stocks
has never been stable. So what?
You’re famous, I’m not, but please pass
me a beer if you’re able. Give up?
We spend our time foolishly, fiddlers and drinkers,
in caverns beneath the great hamburger bun
where Attila the Hun gives out sparklers
and children munch stale bread crumbs.
Our fun in the sun is so over and done.
Time to wield the ax and call 9-1-1.


Tiara (remix)