Micro Poem 33

A planet for me,

A planet for you,
and another one
so close to mine
and too far from yours
for who still stands in doubt
to stay with me.

–Soodabeh Saeidnia

Soodabeh was born in Iran and received multiple degrees from Tehran University of Medical Sciences. She has being worked as the University researcher, as a professor for 10 years in Japan, Iran and Canada, and has published about 150 scientific papers in prestigious journals as well as books in both English and Persian. Now, she is living in New York with her husband and 9-year-old son. She is interested in writing science fiction and poems in English, and has published a book of her poems in Persian named “Words for myself”, which you can find here, as well as her Facebook and Twitter.

Heart Failure

We’ve done away with straight lines.

We are instantaneous.

I am inside of you now,

and you’re inside me.

We’ve unwritten the question mark;

there are only answers between us.

I’ve been known to hold grudges:

when the Reconquista came for me I led

the battle cry, and even now I do a war dance

on the graves of my enemies.

Our armies are clashing once more, dearest.

But I have the Law on my side; the Long-

Arms will neutralize you soon enough,

and deliver you to me, concentrated.

Our love is undiluted; unfiltered, like

the cigarettes corrupting our lungs.

We built a foundation, our foundation, on

blood: we’ve been using each other up to

keep our city afloat.

I see the sinking in your eyes.

We are not like we were.

The space between us made our

greatest strength a debilitating hindrance.

I am inside you, and you’re in me.

But our bodies are rejecting each other;

the antibodies can’t tolerate our melding

into one.

We’re toxic now.

Our hearts once beat as one.

The beat ever goes on,

but the song is arrhythmic.

We’re at the end of it now, and the pacemaker is unable to stabilize us.

I am in shock now, as are you.

We’re broken.

–Jordan Mazzella

Jordan is an author and assistant teacher living in Brooklyn, New York. His works have been featured in The Brooklyn Review, as well as the Brooklyn College English Majors’ Zine and Hunter College’s OliveTree Review. You can contact him via email at nycstreetpoet@gmail.com, and he can be found on Facebook, as well as on WordPress.

A Party Without much Leg Room

by Soup Martinez

Forrest B. Speck boarded the Tuesday Evening Seven O’ Clock Flight from Dallas to Newark at precisely 6:43pm. The cabin was already half full with Customers. Customers, because, nit-minded as it may sound, the chief concern of the operating entity, with It’s Name pasted, infringing upon the ever-innocent gaze of Terminal 6 patrons, in Shiny Yellow on the starboard side of Airship B-12774, was the money and not the leg room of its everything-but-first-class Customers. 28 inches, to be exact.

Though Forrest had been at times known to occasionally play a humorous video from his full-volumed-phone sans earphones while using a public restroom, the general remark regarding Forrest, of those in his consistent and immediate presence, is that he was ‘perhaps forgettable’, and that ‘you almost wouldn’t notice him if you weren’t paying attention’. He liked it that way, to use a quite Frannyan term, being wholly a nobody. Because nobody bothered a nobody. And Forrest had much more pressing things to do than be bothered, most of the time.

Forrest, like any other red-blooded undergraduate, was only slightly insane in a few minor and irrational ways, but you couldn’t tell by just looking at him. Forrest’s latest insanity came in the form of a letter he was carrying in his sport coat pocket. It was his 28th consecutive hour of carrying and reading with near-religious fervent said letter. This letter signified the apparent end of the one-sided admiration that was his relationship with a girl he met at school, one Catherine Rider of Dallas. He had read the letter so many times that he could nearly recite it, though, to his judgement, it was nearly twice as long as it needed be relating what it will. 28 hours of unbroken, inanimate sadness thinking about things that never were, and probably never will be.

Forrest found his row already inhabited by one other individual. A thirteenish looking girl with straight brown hair, shoulder length. The girl appeared just old enough to board a flight by her lonesome, but not without her Polly Pocket doll, which now occupied all her attention, and covered any possible hint of unconfidence that would normally seize a girl of her disposition. Forrest did not greet her as he placed his bag in the overhead compartment and took his seat.

Forrest sat in 12D with the girl to his immediate right, 12E. The second Forrest sat down three things happened in such a remarkably short time frame that he almost literally jumped as if they had happened at the exact same time. The first two things involved Catherine. The third did not.

First, he retrieved the letter from his coat pocket and re-read it with the sincerity of a five year old.

 

Forrest,

I’ve been sick to stomach aches over you for the past 3 days, it’s not your fault but it is because of you. I am glad you told me how you feel. You have to know I care about you and appreciate you so much, but you’re my friend.  I couldn’t go on a date with you, even if I tried. I want you to know it doesn’t make me feel good to say this, and I don’t want it to hurt.

Love,

Caty

 

The worst part about the letter is that it didn’t help change any of the ways he thought about her, and she really only needed to say ‘Stop talking to me’ to make her point. He wasn’t exactly in love or anything, but he definitely like-liked her. And to know that she still cared about him and appreciated him did nothing to quell that emotion in the least sense. He was going to like her no matter what she said, he already knew that. Exactly how she told him the feeling was not mutual was of little relevance. But there was little use in being pedantic at this stage. All the imaginary conversations he’d had with her in his head for the past 28 hours still went exactly the way he wanted them to, and he still thought about her in all the ways someone ought to think about someone with whom they are in deep, deep like. It’s too bad most things that go on inside people’s heads don’t happen. It probably wouldn’t fix everything, but certain people would be a lot more happy. Something about the letter made him feel like the only soul on the planet. All that remained for him was to read, continue to be lonesome, and read until he forgot what she looked like, sounded like, smelled like, or anything else about her. He was determined to read this letter until she became more like words on paper than a real person in his mind.

This thought was immediately complicated by the second of the three near simultaneous events, a slight buzzing sensation in his left pocket. It was a text message from the same girl.

 

Hi! Guess what song I have stuck in my head.

 

The message, more unexpected than Forrest would readily admit, excited his senses and made him feel immediately less lonesome. In a way it made him feel a sort of hope, accidentally of course, but a real hope altogether. He undid his lousy fold out table, placed the letter on it, and held his phone with both hands, taken by the fresh opportunity before him. He still had a few minutes before the flight attendant came through the intercom and asked all passengers to please turn off all electronic devices, and he could respond before then saying something like his flight was about to take off and he couldn’t wait to hear exactly what song was stuck in her head. Of course, that would require a few minutes of crafting a delicate message. One with not-too-much sincerity to seem as though he still was in deep like, but not too much insincerity as to seem like he was only going through the obligatory motions of feigned interest.

He also didn’t have to respond right then, but the remaining options if he took that route did not have quite the same luster to him. He could respond after the flight, some three plus hours later. Or not respond at all. But is anyone ever okay if you don’t respond to their text? or at least respond within a timely fashion? especially when the issue at hand is something a fleeting as a song rattling around somewhere in the Temporal Lobe?

This thought flood took about 3 seconds to pass through one ear, tickle his Prefrontal Cortex, and exit the other ear. In that time the third and final event of his almost immediate sequence of events happened.

The girl, seated to his right, had now replaced interest in her doll with interest in his letter, laying unguarded on the lame excuse for privacy attached to the seat back in front of Forrest. The worst part was that she was not the only one feasting their eyes on his now unprivate unlove letter. The doll had shifted in her hands, and it too was staring, with an oddly cubic gaze, at his letter. The girl was squinting, the way Forrest’s mother would, examining one of the many cuts he got on his limbs as a youth, apparently trying to make out exactly what was meant by the letter writer’s coupling of the two most puzzling phrases to a teenager. ‘I care about you and appreciate you’ and ‘I couldn’t go on a date with you’.  

“Please turn off all electronic devices”.

Forrest snatched his letter, stuffed it in his pocket, grabbed his bag, and walked, phone in hand off the plane.

He was almost certain he did have that message posted somewhere near him, or at least he must’ve looked like it, because as soon as he read the text message he noticed the girl on his right, in the middle chair of his row, reading Caty’s letter that he had placed on the fold out table in front of him. The contraption was a lousy excuse for privacy. But Forrest was wrong for thinking he would have any privacy on an airplane in the first place. Especially if he was sitting next to a pre-teen girl.

Forrest, without attempt, had been noticed a few too many times on this flight for his fancy. (why had he been noticed?)

Forrest was travelling home, alone, after the spring semester of his second year at the esteemed Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

This was a fact that simultaneously relieved and distressed him.

He was being noticed, which meant in some way he was bothering the otherwise very Tuesday equilibrium of the surrounding passenger’s evening flight. Not to bother, and not to be bothered, was the guiding principal of Forrest’s life. And he was in fact breaking his own cardinal rule.

But his being a perceived bother came as a slight relief to Forrest. It relieved him because it quelled the ever hanging, like the smell of properly baked bread or well popped popcorn, fear of being absolutely and totally forgotten. But it distressed him because it reminded him, despite his years and years of trying, that he was still, indeed, to someone a bother. As his mother remarked semi-annually (OR ‘with a jello like consistency), “Forrest, if you would just quit bothering me about … (the bureaucracy of the College of Liberal Arts and your pedantic English professors, (something more daily, regular, odd ??) … I could get some things done around this home.” Of course it was a well-known fact that he couldn’t just quit, but clearly this bit of knowledge had not yet spread enough to reach the far side of the house. Such incidents occurred no more than once every quarter, and of the few prides left in Forrest’s life to be nearly wholly considered a person-who-is-not a bother was by far his crowning achievement.

People  (the girl reading) can’t just know about this stuff without asking first. It’s bothersome.

And the worst part about it is, I didn’t even try to become like this, it just happened.

It’s hard to paint a convincing picture.

The less sideways thinking part of Forrest knew that his hope was tainted with spot and blemish. If Forest had a permanent market, and the urge to tell the entire world how he felt in this particular moment by writing a message on his forehead it might have read something like this:

I am an Idiot. Please take advantage of me.

 

Soup is a writer from Austin, Texas. Some of his favorite things are listening to Hamilton and avoiding direct sunlight. Some of his least favorite things are loud noises, and being noticed. His first book, a collection of essays titled ‘Dreams Like Air‘, will be out whenever he finishes it. Maybe this summer. Follow on Instagram, and you can send your questions or comments to wmartinez323@gmail.com

Scars

By Rachael Abrams

The first week that he and I had sex, my boyfriend accidentally rolled off the bed and scraped his back on the corner of my bedside table, leaving a deep gash that eventually became a faint purple scar. The initial pain was pretty bad, I assumed: post-coital, he leaned over to grab some tissues from my table and leaned too hard. He and I looked closely to see his shredded skin, a tiny wrinkled beige strip, hanging from the Ikea table.

Although not noticeable until he takes his shirt off, I know as soon as I see it that he has the scar because of me. I have mixed feelings about that – he has a medical condition and thus has already been scarred up from surgical procedures along his otherwise perfect abdomen since he was a baby, and now here I am, tainting another otherwise perfect canvas, on a guy that I had only just started seeing. Now, regardless of whether or not we stay together, I’ll have marked him in some way. Have I trapped him, in this way? It almost isn’t even fair on my end. But every scar tells a story, and I have plenty of them and stories to match. I suppose it’s only fitting, though, because I want to be a permanent part of his story.
Rachael is a self-hating freelance writer that can bite through most things. She likes comedy writing, is an HBO enthusiast, and master of making inappropriate remarks seemingly on cue. She hates the heat and would probably live in an igloo if it were cold enough. You can find her on most social media, including her Twitter here.

Untitled

Ich liebe dich
I still cannot believe you love me
Wo bist du?
Come be with me.

Te quiero mucho
You’re beautiful
Te necesito
Stay by my side.

Mahal kita
My heart screams your name
Halikan mo ako
Promise me that your love is true.

Ya lyublu tibya
I yearn for you
Padari mne svayu lyubov
You’re near and yet so far.

Je t’aime de tout mon coeur
Say you’ll never go
Tu es ma joie de vivre
You are my muse.

I love you
Take my heart and keep it.
I need you
I am yours.

–Sarah Montenegro

Sarah is an NYC professional by day, a writer by night. She writes horror and tragic stories, and sometimes, about past lives. Recently, she tried dabbling into poetry. You can email her at sjcm1721@gmail.com  and you can check out her short stories at sorenlysander.wordpress.com.

The Morning Pill

By Rachael Abrams

The doorbell rings. I run down the stairs in my robe, stumbling as my ankle decides to twist below me. “Not now,” I think to myself. I had completely forgotten that the plumber was due around this hour. Fuck.

I try to compose my klutzy self as I take a deep breath and open the door. The man standing before me is obviously the plumber, but not the one I had imagined. He is huge and built like a stallion; his arm muscles look deliciously solid and throbbing through his company polo. He smiles at me, a devilish grin that could only mean one thing. “Can I clean your pipes?”

The idiotic one-liner has never sounded so good. He rips off my robe and with one, swift, fluid motion, I am standing before him, naked. He picks me up in his gigantic arms and carries me upstairs to the bedroom.

I am rudely awakened from my apparently deep sleep to the sensation of my golden lab licking the bottom of my foot. I yell at Buster to go away, I was having a good dream. It means nothing to him. He’s a dog.

I groan and stretch out, knowing that Buster never wakes me up unless he’s hungry. He is a god dog. Although I wish we’d named something better. Buster is one of those names that a guy names his dog without thought. Like Buddy. Or Pal. Or Spark. Or Buster. Ugh.

I guess it’s all his fault. As I’m stretching, my foot hits his calf and he kicks me. Hard. I silently scream out in pain. He has kicked the bruise on my leg, which he’d previously formed when he’d kicked me Thursday. Or was it Friday…? Eh, it doesn’t matter. It’s all the same.

I look over at the man lying next to me. He is occupied with whatever dream he is having in the deep slumber that continuously turns him into a monster every morning. I think I live with this man, although he doesn’t seem to be around much. I stopped asking questions a long time ago.  Hell, I don’t even know what day it is. Most days I can only tell the day by whatever my Yaz package tells me. If I ‘m popping the Monday pill, it’s Monday.

The stranger in my bed is someone I think I used to know. He keeps showing up, night after night. He doesn’t touch me, and I’m glad, because the last thing I need is for a stranger to grab me and try to kiss me. “Don’t touch me,” I think. “I don’t know you. “But I do know the man. He is my husband. I squirm from his grasp and get up to feed Buster. The man grumbles and continues to snore.

When all of the Snausages are gone and Buster is happily chomping away on what I wish I could feed the man in my bed, I gather my things and head to the shower. I turn the water on. Hot. The only way I can manage to take a shower these days. Scalding. Almost as hot as the mail man. I wish he could just deliver me his package one day. I can’t handle this. It’s too much.

The days have become a blur now. For the past four years, it seems like I do everything the same. Every day. I know I used to have variety. The fun of life. It left a while ago.

As the hot water runs down my body I think about how I got here. This house I live in is nice. Big, too. Definitely big enough for me to avoid this man. He could chase me all he wanted and never catch me. I guess it’s not so bad. But it didn’t used to be like this… his high school reunion was fun. So many people gathered around to admire him and his new trophy wife. I stood there and took in the appreciation in the sparkly new dress he bought me. What a fun night. That’s the only time he’s danced with me since our wedding a few months before.

It wasn’t a big wedding. More like a private thing. I found it odd when he told me not to invite my friends or family, though. “I’d prefer if we kept it small,” he told me. But… smaller than just my parents? I don’t understand. But I guess I never will.

The reception was barely anything. He’d promised me my dream wedding. That wasn’t it, let me tell you. He told me he just wanted to get married and he’ll give me my dream reception one day. But it’s been six years and I still have yet to see this reception.

My mind wanders back to the mail man. He is just so perfect. My god. I wish he were here right now, in the shower with me. I’m sure he’d scrub me down real good. But he’s not here right now. He never will be. I don’t have it in me to cheat. ….. You know what? Maybe I do. Maybe if Josh came to deliver something else from Best Buy and asked where Mr. Andrews was, I could say something sexy, like, oh, I don’t know, “He’s not here right now… but MRS. Andrews is so lonely.” And I’d give him that sexy smile that won the guy in my bed over. Ugh. If only that shit didn’t happen in the bar.

I guess the way we met, I was asking for it. I don’t remember the exact details (we were of course a bit tipsy at the time), but I do remember him keeping me there until way after the restaurant was closed. He was the bartender, and seemed to love the low neck line on my dress. He’d waited until everyone had left and he gave me that look. You know the look. Everyone with a kid knows the look. He sauntered over to my side of the bar and cleared off the countertop. I knew what would happen next. He lifted me up and sat me on the bar, spreading my legs and making me feel like a character in a Barry White song. I loved it back then. A man with all that power…

The man knocks on the door. “You’ve been in there for a goddamn hour! Get the hell out!”

His enthusiasm doesn’t surprise me. Or, lack of it. He doesn’t get excited about much. I don’t like to argue though. So I get out. “Sorry babe. Lost track of time.” And I run to the next room where he won’t find me in time. He might try to catch me while I’m in my towel. I don’t want him to, though. Part of me is praying that he’ll take too long in the bathroom and I’ll be dressed by the time he comes looking for me. I gave up on a kid about a year ago. He’s still trying, though. But I can’t, not with him. He doesn’t even know that I’ve been on the pill. He thinks it’s just me. Or him. No, not him. Nothing could possibly be wrong with him. He’s perfect.

I walk around the huge house in search of an imaginary something when I decide that I’ve spent enough time dwelling on this. What’s the point in thinking about it? It’s like I can change anything. I’m just me. The trophy wife. I have no power.  I wander over to my garden window where I stare at the clouds that they pass by. If I wanted my life to change, I probably would have done something about it a long time ago. That’s the thing he told me a long time ago. Maybe he’s right. If I was really that unhappy with my life I would have probably done something about it a long time ago. Maybe. Buster runs over to me and nuzzles his head on my knees. At least I know he’s not going anywhere, even if I do. That’s what I want, I guess. Stability. But then it doesn’t make any sense; the man in my bed is stable. He’s been the same for the past four years. Things don’t change around here.

Neither does my day. I’m feeling a bit ill at the moment. I walk back over to my bed and slump down on the comforter. It doesn’t take long for my eyes to get heavy and soon I am gone.

I wake up once again to the feeling of a chunky, overweight man next to me. He is speaking in a language that can’t even be described as snoring. It sounds like grunting and some form of Hebrew. The man next to me is not my husband. He is once again a stranger who just happens to live here and kick me out of the shower. But I don’t know him, so he won’t bother me, right?

This man can’t be my husband.
Rachael is a self-hating freelance writer that can bite through most things. She likes comedy writing, is an HBO enthusiast, and master of making inappropriate remarks seemingly on cue. She hates the heat and would probably live in an igloo if it were cold enough. You can find her on most social media, including her Twitter here.