Pop(u)lar Issues

The real God lives behind the comic book store that’s down the street from the hospital where the meth heads congregate to count all the crows circling above them. And it’s those very crows that are plotting to murder the fake God that lives in the next town over, who does so because he can’t stand the real God’s fakeness and the cottonwoods there that used to fuck with his hayfever when he was a small child god.

But this story isn’t about any of that. It’s about the aforementioned cottonwoods—those bloody cottonwoods, the bane of my youth! Ask me about the most paranormal things in the world. Bermuda Triangle? Pah! Just a mess of seaweed, plastic bags and used women’s pads fucking boats and planes up. Area 51? I beg you, try taking a peep under my grandma’s bed and you’ll discover a shit ton of extra-terrestrial civilisations that’ve been there from the dawn of time (if you don’t suffocate from the stench of crusty old socks first). But those cottonwoods? Now those were a completely different matter.

The cottonwoods were real mean motherfuckers all year round. Not only would they eat your balls whenever you played with them (no, not those balls—I’m talking about the ones you toss at windows), they’d eat your frisbees and hats, and even umbrellas too. And did you ever get any of that stuff back? Of course not! The upward facing branches of the cottonwoods exercised a death grip more potent than the kite eating tree in ‘Peanuts’. We kids were in a world of hurt that Charlie Brown could have only dreamed of!

But that wasn’t the worst thing about those cottonwoods. Not even their godawful fluff that’d bung up your nose and mouth (and other more unseemly holes) whenever you passed them in the summer. That fluff, at least, had the decency to catch fire easily, burning quickly and amusingly (and that wooden barn was old and abandoned anyway). No, that shit was fine. It was the fundamentalist numbats that had taken up residence in the cottonwoods—they were the worst thing! They should’ve been living out their lives in the gum trees or pubs (or wherever the hell such things live), but decided instead that tediously evangelising far and wide was more important than their evolutionary roots.

Well, actually, you know what? When I come to think of it, I think I could have even borne their endless chittering about the immortal soul and perishable body, and how people who pick their noses and say ‘fuck’ won’t get into heaven, and how one can be best buds with the real God and other such bullshit. But that creaking! Do you know how awfully creaky cottonwoods are? The sound was like two Skeksis mating shamelessly on a pile of jinky bed springs—I don’t know how I know that, but trust me, that’s exactly what it was like! And I hate it! Why were butt ugly Skeksis getting some and not me? I was a pretty enough girl when I was in my teens! Why weren’t guys falling all over themselves to get inside my panties?

Elysium

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2022

what would freud say?

i woke up with the thought
that the letter ‘o’
is a death mask
and that the pathless one
cannot claim me
without it

so, i lay there and looked
at a spot of light
on the ceiling
then did i turn my head
to the window’s
vacant yawn

gazed i through that dark glass
all silent and grim
lo, i shivered
awaiting a fresh hell
from the pit ‘neath
that dank earth

an answer came to me…
if the pit is ‘o’
gaping for me
and the death mask is ‘o’
then needs must they
add to two

i melded the two ‘o’s
infinity ‘fuck’
i girded it
thrust in the pathless face
my loins to mouth
and its shame

then did i fall asleep
like a baby does
with the feeling
of sweet satisfaction
a slaked ‘amen’
so saintly

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2021

GUEST POST // Let Me Fall by Tara Caribou

help [me] overcome
\\myself//
reach }}inside{{
pull me
_out_
let me ~run~ my fingers
down. your. throat.
I want to
________f
_________a
__________ll
into the **magic** of
your •eyes•
while I +ride+ you
into |o|b|l|i|v|i|o|n|

by TARA CARIBOU
© All rights reserved 2017-2020

PERFECTION IN ACTION // Pneuma

The North Wind whispered to the Great Southern Plain, “Let’s breathe until we are no more.”

“Sure, sweetie.” The Great Southern Plain opened wide and breathed the North Wind in… deep and slow.

With the roar of many voices the Falls of the East disgorged over the omphalos of the Great Southern Plain. And the Western Chines straightened its stone shoulders, bristling, thrusting its spiky, serrated nipples at them.

“It’s okay, sugar,” sighed the Great Southern Plain invitingly. You can breathe with us.”

So they hugged together and they breathed together until they were no more.

And then Morning came.

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2020

GUEST POST // Ten Things I Want to Forget by Daniel Serazzi

A calming voice which calls to me through the fog
a hand on my back telling me it will be alright
the warmth of a body as I shiver beneath the sheets
and the smiles, dear God, let me forget the smiles

and the pleasure of listening to her day
and tucking her into bed when she was sick
her tears of terrors past revisited again
most of all, I beg, let me forget

the soft sighs, the feeling
when flesh meets flesh
in a lover’s embrace
the glint of satisfaction
and laughter at the end
please let me forget

by DANIEL SERAZZI
© All rights reserved 2020