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issue 3.02   ::   fall 2013
Scary Bush

Our bravest contributors have shared with us some of their more earnest efforts from the misty past. Scary Bush should not be reviewed while in the process of drinking liquids, and the reader assumes all risk.


Dawn Wilson

Smoking at Brian's house

Gabe Herron


Carlo Matos

The deck

Kallie Falandays

Wild words are only meant for lovers
and others, much sadder, whisper
them between broken sheets but
there are stories here
that must be uncovered
and one night i saw you
writhing. Head on the ground
splashing on the deck against
cracks. Come back.
Reaching for that one thing
that one string to open
your mouth wide enough
to let the air back in
because you forgot
how to remember that
you were letting go and
I know that wild words are only
meant for lovers and I will
scream them to you in a quiet
voice, quiet enough to allow
the ground to stop pounding
on your ears because
the sound is so deafening
that it will destroy us if we let it.

On Fear Part 1

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens


Charlene Logan Burnett

The Last Great Belching Contest

Lanette Cadle

Paddy, throw that barrel down
and shake that dust and settle down
to hear a tale of trailer town,
and belching lads and bottles.

The story starts at lot sixteen,
the trailer was a workman's dream,
a mobile home fit for a queen,
a fourteen by seventy Skyline.

The queen in question, Gilda Malloy,
lay next to her golden boy—
a hunk of man named Joe Malloy,
a paragon of temperance.

Then, through Joe's gentle, rolling snores,
a clunk hit on the sliding door,
a sound so easy to ignore
until the thirteenth time.

She slid out slow and hunkered spry,
grabbed the pipe wrench with a sigh
and crept out to her deck and spied
a pile of longneck bottles.

The night had a softly summered sheen
that even made the bottles gleam,
but through the air a source unseen
unloosed a mighty belch.

This was no ordinary belch
like a bet that someone welshed,
no dainty urp or excuse-me squelch;
it gushed out like an aria.

She turned and looked towards lot fifteen
and saw bugs hit the buglite screen;
the stack of cases set the scene
for a long night's worth of partying.

This was man's work to be sure;
Joe would tell them that mature
and decent neighbors can't endure
The clank of flying bottles.

What happened next is not quite clear—
Joe drank soda, he drank beer;
it may have started shifting gears
when Joe started belching "Jingle Bells."

It was a friendly gesture, meant to please.
Joe certainly didn't mean to tease
or call his effort an inferior wheeze,
but that's how it was taken.

His neighbor sensed a subtle slight,
but never backed down from a fight
or let a teetotaler top his might
at yodeling eructations.

"Have another," his neighbor said,
and filled his gut with hop-filled lead,
Joe saw the challenge, although ill-bred,
and manfully gulped his soda.

The first round brought on polka songs.
"Beer Barrel Polka" rolled out strong,
but Joe had practiced much too long
To let that ditty scare him.

He made that polka seem absurd
by belching out the chorus words
to "Too Fat Polka"—if you've heard,
you know she's too fat to polka.

Then, followed up with the beguiling
song, "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling,"
and finally set the neighbors dialing
with a rattling high note.

Back and forth, they filled the air;
the last round toppled both their chairs,
caused passing cars to slow and stare,
and children watched from windows.

Just one got up, and it was Joe.
He stretched and took his breathing slow
and easy until he knew his foe
was down and out forever.

That lump of clay, now gray and garish,
a proud neighbor once, but now perished
by the bounty of the booze he cherished,
betrayed by his bad habits.

The neighbor knew that he'd been licked;
he smelled like puke, was feeling sick.
Clearly he wondered why he picked
on a man with temperate habits.

Joe said in passing, to that chump,
that "lot sixteen's not your dump.
You fling beer bottles and I'll thump
you from here to everafter."

So, that's my story, one and all—
if you should ever feel the call
To sing out belches, words and all,
Remember Joe—and stick to soda.

This is a political poem about Doritos

Rich Boucher

A Mold Religion

Alana I. Capria

a mold church rises. it builds its steeples with wispy mold strands born of rotting black emphysema lungs and the stabs of several rusted knives. the baroque monument stands resolute against the mold's pressure, stained glass windows barely buckling against the spores' weight and the deep green mildew only adds to the atmosphere of the biblical men cutting their own heads off to preserve their religion antiquity. ponderous necropolis. the church basin extends out into the sparsely grassed cemetery yard where the mold clusters make quick work of the thin bare trees and the crumbling gray tombstones. we press our fingers against the etched skull and crossbones. there is mold in the air. it twitches in our nostrils, pungent with pickling stench, and our stomachs ache with acidic gagging. we imagine eating fried mold off our knees but our marrow would never agree to ingesting those bacterial things. at the back of the cemetery, the mold finds a half-broken iron fence and winds its filaments around the spokes. the black metal turns a dark textured green and the color does not resemble any sort of lacquer or paint. still, we touch, and our fingers come away black and green. [are we tainted, we ask but we have known refrigerators laced with the mold things and we have rested our heads against pillows that had mold in lieu of stuffing.] the mold sets off the whites of our eyes and they are yellow-red with stress. we might as well have orange eyes. then we would know to avoid silver-plated mirrors that might lead our eyes to tear. our feet sink into the soft molding dirt and there is a wet leaf scent in the air that is similar to fall but has a much violent tendency. moist things leap up and touch our faces. we press our hands against our eyes to block the moisture. [how can we know if there is pestilence, we ask.] we stare up at the towers. they wind around one another, spiraling into the sky, but the mold clings to each step individually and follows the direction upward. the church bell tolls. no, the mold bell tolls and the dull metal chimes in its stained glass box. we take a communion of our mold crackers. we press the mold down upon our hands until it is compacted. we stick out our tongues and the mold melts upon our muscles. the mold tingles on the tips of our tongues. the mold makes us bleed. we seep green. we anoint our foreheads with brown bits. blue cross panes glare down at us, the sharp edges pointing out our anatomical inaccuracies. the mold clings to the edges and drapes across our heads. it fills our scalps. it turns our flesh into the living communion, the only mold colony belonging to the molded religion. we touch the organ keys. mold flies out from the tubes. they drift up in the air like feathers, like small bone scrapings as thin as paper, catching the breeze. the mold pieces pulse with sounds. they lift up and catch the air. wind moves across their bodies, stimulating follicles. mold parts hum. they chime. we turn our ears towards the mold and listen to the songs reverberate in our heads. we catch the organ mold in our hands. we smear the green upon the keys. they drip onto the pedals. they, and their deep tones, their high pitches, catch our hands and fester with their religious spores.