Friday, November 21, 2008

Smiley Tol Me by Townsend Walker


Smiley tol me way it happened. And he got it from the horse’s mouth, cop on the scene, friend of his. This guy, think Smiley said his name was Jim Cartright, or Carter, or somethin that starts with a C; anyway this guy’s layin out in the middle of the road, spread eagle, on his back, middle of winter, no clothes, not a stitch, big red hole in the middle of his chest. Cop said it was probably a shot gun, double barrel, both fired at the same time. Musta been a big sucker what shot em since a 12 gauge has a hell of a kick. Ah know, tried it once, Smiley dared me, and ah ended up on ma can. But as ah was sayin, this here fella’s in the middle of the road, and right in front of his house. Magine that. Then, and here’s what blows the biscuit, cop goes into the house, all the lights are on, and finds a woman and a man doin it on the couch. Wait a minute, got that part mixed up; it was the house on the other side of the street from where the guy lived. But, turns out the woman is the guy’s wife. His house was all dark, so they didn’t think to go there. Cuz Smiley said that it took em a while even to get to the guy. He was a turning blue when they got there. Seems nobody heard any shots, or nothin. No, don’t think the guy in the house with the wife shot em. Somebody else. But ya know they didn’t seem bit concerned this guy was out there in the middle of the road dead. Smiley said they went up and down the block all night tryin to find somebody heard shots, can ya magine, nobody heard a 12 gauge? Well, seems it took the cops a while but finally they figured the guy musta got it somewhere else and was dumped. That, or what I asked Smiley. What if, ya know, what if the whole neighborhood was in on it, what if that was the deal? Course nobody heard. Here’s how I see it. This guy’s, the dead guy’s a real pain in the ass, neighbors hate em. He ticks em off, up and down the block, nothin’s ever right, “Yur mower makes too much noise Frank!” “Your mutt walks on my lawn one more time Jack, ah’m warnin ya!” “Ya hafta park yur car so close to my driveway? Almost hit it the other day, jerk!” Guy like that, year, two most, has the neighbors fried to a crisp. So way ah figure, the block done it, don’t know who pulled the trigger, but the block done it.” Ya wait, they’ll all be at his funeral, then they’ll have a party, day after, betcha.

Kill and Eat - Teeth Mountain

Townsend Walker lives in San Francisco. His stories have appeared in L’Italo-Americano, Crimson Highway, Static Movement, 971 Menu, The Aggregated Press; Raving Dove, AntipodeanSF, Neonbeam, Amazon Shorts, The Write Side Up, Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal, The Battered Suitcase, Dark Sky Magazine, and are forthcoming in Pequin, Twisted Tongue and Cantaraville. During a career in finance he published three books: on foreign exchange, on derivatives, and the last one on portfolio management. In 2005 he went to Rome and started writing short stories.

Photo by Adam Lawrence.

Street art by

Teeth Mountain is part of thriving music scene in Baltimore. This song appears on the Baltimore Round Robin Tour Compilation that can be downloaded for free

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hey there stranger, come on over and hold my hand by Mary Hamilton


I am a jet plane. I am a super-sonic sound breaker. I am a magic wand, a crystal ball, a black top hat where doves rise like hologram hallucinations to create a surprise, a start, a whatthehell. I am a magic rock, the kind with a secret space for a key to open the door. I am a skeleton key. I am a shoe horn to make me fit. I am a rainbow. I am a guitar song about trains and thunder with a three chord rhythm and hand claps and background singers. I am a blade of grass, torn from sod and held between two thumbs to create a trumpet sound. A blade of green to play an elegy. A blade of grass to play a funeral dirge. I am a movie star, no I am a cement star. The kind that gets photographed and stepped on. The kind that lies on the street like lox on molded cream cheese and a stale bagel. I don't know.


I am a long coat, a black duster, the kind that hangs stiff off your shoulders and brushes at the your palm. The kind that nicks the backs of your knees and parts open front and back to allow for movement. The kind of coat that makes you taller, kinder, ghost-like. I don't know.

I am a razor. The kind to shave just close enough to avoid a cut. I am your favorite song. I am the cracked glass that held the image. I am the ribbon. O! I am a Captain. I am the secret statue on the back of a penny. I am the missed belt loop. I am the magic seed to make the beanstalk grow. I am the rock we threw for hopscotch games. I am the yellow cover to the biography book. I am the tea kettle. I am the weather map. I am the swing in the park. I am blue sky. Yeah, I said blue sky. I am the door to your dressing room with a star. I am your director's chair with your name on the back. I am the hanger that held the shape of your coat, before you put it on your shoulders. I am the shape it took after you put it on. I don't know.


I am a wrinkle. I am a sunken cheek. I am an arched eyebrow. A hooked nose. A hair comb. A square tie. I am a stranger. I am simply a passerby. I am a doctor who heals. A misfit who breaks things. I am the history of mankind all rolled into one. Rolled into one handkerchief, stuffed in an inside jacket pocket. I am something to fold safe and secure next to your heart. Unfolded to dab the sweat on your brow. Unfolded to comfort the rebel widow when she cries.

Run Jump Seek (Zoon van snooK Remix) - Ernest Gonzales
Mary Hamilton is an optician in Chicago where she is also the co-host of the QUICKIES! reading series. You can find links to her other online literary greatness at her rarely updated blog.

All photos by Adam Lawrence.
Vote Here art by artist unknown.
Abraham Obama art by Ron English.

Super Obama art is by MBW aka Mr. Brainwash.

Ernest Gonzales is the founder of the San Antonio electronic music label Exponential Records. This song is taken from his October 21st release, Lullaby, which was written for his daughter back in 2004.