Slipstream Issue 21  I s s u e  2 1

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" This journal has always been a good one, and now it's even better, with high glossy arty cover and seductive photos throughout."
—Mark Spitzer
Exquisite Corpse
From the series Reliquary of Desire, by Frank Miller

Reliquary of Desire #19, photograph by Frank Miller Reliquary of Desire #11, photograph by Frank Miller Reliquary of Desire #22, photograph by Frank Miller


Woodwork Redempton    by James Valvis
The Cashier at Hinky Dinky's Discovers Jesus   by Don Winter
The Dead   by Dancing Bear
Crime Corner   by Sean Brendan-Brown
Backyard Fort   by Laura Oliver

Woodwork Redemption
By James Valvis

I was eight years old
and my father forced me
downstairs to his woodshop
when all i wanted to do
was play baseball outside
like my friends were doing
and he backed me to a corner
this man who whipped me
with a bronw leather strap
that snapped against my skin
leaving welt marks like asps
twirling around the twigs
of my arms and legs
and he grabbed a sheet of pine
looked at me and said,
"this can be anything..."
and i cringed in my corner
as he turned on the electric saw
that squealed like a trapped pup
and he began to slowly chip away
began to hold the wood and turn it
his hands dancing along the grain
while i inched closer to him
this man who drank rubbing alcohol
spat obscenities across the room
his fingers became fragile birds
that flew and darted and laughed
robins maybe they were or sparrows
those hands that gripped my throat
and pinned me against cold walls
i drew even closer to him
his elbows
shifting back and forth
in the dusty light of his shop
this man who woke me up at midnight
with Johnny Cash shaking the windows
as he cried over a bottle for his mama
I was almost on top of him
when he pulled the pine away finished
shut off the electric saw
and handed me a wooden squirrel
"this is for you," he said
and we stood there together
up to our shoelaces in sawdust
the father who failed at almost everything
the son who loved him
the hum of the blade slowing to a stop

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The Cashier at Hinky Dinky's Discovers Jesus
By Don Winter

You tell me when she found Him.
It came sudden like a slammed door.
We knocked but she didn't answer. A tent
of blond hair and two eyes of alien
blue, and a mouth that gospelled
us and the customers. She drove us
to church flapping our jaws
about forgiveness. She sized Jesus-talk
to fit our sins. Jesus this.
The disciples of jesus that.
And prophesy. Frogs and snakes and blood letting
blahblahblah. We sang songs about
hallelujah and shooing our past
sins like flies, and one where you jumped
up and down for Jesus.
She left scraps of scripture
in every nook and cranny of Hinky Dinky's,
in cash drawers and cookie jars and cupboards,
even in a Bible we swore
would explode, until one day geewhillikers her heart
did. We all stood around at Tintop Tavern
drinking beer, pushing one another and cussing.
The good in us run down and left like roadkill.
Us back to good-for-nothings, wrong
since Genesis.

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The Dead
By Dancing Bear

The dead rise in classic form,
Shakespearean and angry,
to touch my body.

Scavengers rattling in attics,
they scratch windows
moan in the old-fashioned way.

The dead are transparent
and naked. I give them soiled
sheets to wear and they wail
like bruised children.

I was dead once too:
swallowed their hemlock;
signed their suicide pacts;
filled the mass graves;
drove off cliffs;
swam to darker seas
impelled by hollow sails.
I was lonely too.
Fuck the unhappy dead
with their drive-bys,
addicted to thoughts
of escape, climbing each other
over knifed backs to lay
their putrid breath on my shoulder.
Fuck their scrawny fingers
as they try possessing my throat.

We were friends once,
the dead below, Where
are you going? We will
find you!
as I burn
the incense, gather
the heirlooms,
build a pyre and write
this exorcism prayer.

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Crime Corner
By Sean Brendan-Brown

I buy cigarettes at the Stop'n Rob
to talk with Marwana, the Bengali
clerk. She's so beautiful, I wish
I had her nose and helical eyes;
but I'm a toad, her husband's
an old toad—how does beauty throw
itself to dereliction: for U.S.
citizenship, a rat & roach
infested Quickie Mart boasting
more porn & beer than food? Some
prize, Marwana.

Outside, the children color in
the dead man's chalked juggernaut;
his name was Willy Beardsly
he was 52, a Vietnam veteran
collecting cans to supplement
his VA disability pension (50%
Service-Connected Undifferentiated
Schizophreniform): caught one right
between the eyes. They said he stared
up, smiling, told the kid to fuck
himself. They said he shuffled
his hips to center his face on the gun.

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Backyard Fort
By Laura Oliver

There is a picture
of my brothers and me
taken in our backyard.
It is summer,
we splash in the
The red top of my
bikini filled with only

To the left,
I can see the two-
story fort my brothers
labored in spring
to build.

On a forbidden visit
to that fort,
I saw my first
Pages filled with
glistening women,
between their spread-winged
legs, a pink like the pumps
on their feet which decorate
glass tables.

I returned to the house,
snuck my mother's
hand mirror,
locking the bathroom door,
to squat in the
tiled corner,
bare skin against cool,
bathtub porcelain,
knees spread.

Making sure it's all
in place,
and hoping it might
match up,
I jutted my hips toward the ceiling
in imitation,
forming my mouth in a perfect, pink

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