Monday, March 1, 2010


Untitled by Nicole

It was the fourth of July in Nederland, CO. One of the biggest days of the year for the town. Every year my husband and I liked to have a party. People always drive from miles away to enjoy fireworks over the reservoir. The reflection provides another view of the spectacular event. We invited Mike to come. He said he would bring the fireworks but we didn’t realize exactly what he meant. The fireworks from our deck were the town’s sideshow. We had a hose to make sure we didn’t burn the house down. Some people were surprised that the cops didn’t come. But it was Nederland on the fourth of July.


Glare by Lyle

The bamboo rustled and glowed brightly. Sean moved quickly to light the second “flare bomb,” a concoction of his own devision (we knew there was alcohol in it and maybe magnesium). We all knew that it would end badly someday, but no one ever even protested his, “All right, check this one out” or its inevitability just before the parties broke up. The flinty flick of the lighter and then the glare. Sometimes they were too bright to look at directly, like life itself. So we watched the bamboo flare up, dance and die down. Someone took a picture. Sometimes we conjectured about our presence at his next party. We hummed and hawed, but always ended up going. For all of its absurdity and repetition, there was a certain allure. I found myself particularly drawn to the tail end of these “experiments.” The ebbing of the experiments, the party, the night. The burning out of our lives always left us quiet, listening to the bamboo rustle, the remnants of color in their leaves.


Measurement by Forrest

Can’t earn bitemarks yet. Magnesium settles that, Bill. It’s only two traps sprung same place. You run off and I search anyway—even if that is your car. When Dina slummed, I’d figure when to stop asking. I got, you realize, moods flouting me. A fucking blue aura taming her. She insisted. Loved hands. What are still called hands. And I know she’d known our Bill grinning easily for us. I think you might pose courageous in the dark as well.


Maker by Bill

Here is how it opens: yawling collapse. Earplugs become necessary. The application of knowledge come round, butts against edge of the pit. Stick your hand in, tip over. This is how it sticks: neo-agent orange. Where would you like it to burn if not in your dreams? Do recover gasping for breath without knowing the shore and wake unsure whose bed you want to be in, sweating, shaking, feverish?


Soon, You Will Have to Worry by Beth

The night has chilled enough for sweatshirts, sweaters, fleece jackets, after a long, cloudless afternoon in which you lay on the grass with Sean and Sam and Mike and Josh, arms spread out and fingers almost close enough to touch.  Mike grabbed one of your flip flops and wedged it beneath his head for a pillow, and you were glad it was new enough to smell more of Wal*Mart than of bare feet.  Looking up at the sky through the high branches tossing in the breeze, you knew how lucky you were.

Now the wind swishes through the pines above the back deck where you are drinking a glass of wine and smoking a clove cigarette so slow that it keeps going out.  This afternoon, everyone was still, and you could imagine that they were imagining their bodies sinking into the grass and the dirt, like you were, and when Josh said, “what was that poem where the bodies become part of the ground?”, you said “Thanatopsis” without even having to think.

This afternoon you didn’t have to think too hard about anything, hold on to anything, but now Mike is doing that thing again, that frenzied thing, and even though you can smell the pines and see the stars overhead when you lean back in your lawn chair, you can also smell the lighter fluid, the hair Mike burned on his arm, you can see the bright flashes of the fire.


Alone in the Woods by Alan

Once upon a time, alone in the woods thought it was alone. Alone in the woods believed that every single thing is alone, ultimately, until it is not. Alone in the woods took this philosophy with it one day to a secluded area in the country of red. It brought some friends with it. Drink was one of these friends. Think, fire, and smoke were the others.

They decided to have a conversation. Alone in the woods suggested that they not use words. This was tacitly approved by all the parties present. On the deck of a state within the country, all the borders were called into question. One by one, they appeared and took the stand. So it went like this for several hours. It was alone and then not alone. Alone in the woods in the woods and alone one moment, then alone in the woods in the woods and not alone in the next. This went on for a very long time. The end.


The Last Bonfire by Johanna

The sky was full of tiny night dust, flaming stars falling to ash. Resounding putter and proceeding puffs before the last gliding cascade into infinite nothing.

After the alcoholic frenzy, after the insane tirades, after the sophomore orgy, after the naked dancing, bodies sprawled about, their consciousness having left them hours before, the fire still burned. The smoke had weakened to a bitter thick and noxious gray, a scent which would stick to our flannel shirts and jeans until laundry day. Someone had to snuff it out. We turned our backs to the struggling flames and began to unfasten our buckles, only slight turns of the neck to ensure we were united, no movements that may suggest doubt. Pants down, bending at the knee as if in a deep bow of reverence, we could feel the dim flames still hot enough to penetrate our skin, imagining the possible singe of hair. Quickly, a mass release of urine, a splashing yellow cascade with the odor of beer, left our bladders causing the fire to scream and hiss as if calling out for help. Dripping dry, we pulled up our pants, turned back to the smothered pit of warm coals and laughed. Dark then, and chilled, we returned to the distant light of the dormitory, hoping not to step on anybody.