Miller Lite Runs In The Family

Copyright 2015, J.A. Spahr-Summers

by Sarah Frances Moran

 

He opens the door of his too small apartment and immediately goes to the thermostat.  It’s set to 70 and that’s too warm.  He pushes the down arrow until it rests on 65.  Content, he goes over to the fridge where a 12-pack waits for him.   Pops the tab on a Miller Lite and sits at the dining room table he’s had for as long as he can remember.  He downs that first beer within a minute, gets up for another.

Usually he’d turn on the TV and see if there was anything worth watching.  Baseball, a basketball game, a really bad B movie.  Today his mind wanders.  He glances over at the pictures of children.  They’re grown now and distant.  It’s not a separation he knows how to mend.  He wonders about letting go.  He wonders about his ex-wife and the way he treated her.  He wonders about how his mother died too young and how his father used to hit her.

He’s in his fifties and he still has those memories.  He can vividly remember his father drunk and belligerent after downing Miller Lites.  He figures his children probably have bad memories too.

He’s on beer three now and decides he’d like to check in on his daughter.   He grabs his cell phone and scrolls through the list of names, finds her and hits call.  It always just rings and rings.   Those rings have become more familiar than her voice.  The voicemail picks up and this time he doesn’t feel like leaving a message.  He wishes she’d answer more.  He gets up for a fourth beer and remembers he hasn’t eaten, opens up the fridge again to find it empty except for the Miller Lite, contemplates momentarily ordering a pizza and then shuts the fridge door.  He doesn’t feel like calling anyone again, not even for food.  He resigns to allow the TV to finally give him company.

500 miles away his daughter sits staring at the phone.  It’s 8:00pm.  She let’s it ring.  She doesn’t answer his calls after 6pm when she knows he’s probably already drunk.   She stares down at the phone waiting to see if a message arrives.  One doesn’t and she wishes she’d answer the phone more.  She turns on the TV and settles in with her can of Miller Lite.

 

©Copyright 2015, Sarah Frances Moran

SARAH FRANCES MORAN - [Read Full Bio] was born and raised in Houston, Texas. Her aim is to poetically fight for love and harness the type of tender violence needed to push love forward. She strongly believes that words have immeasurable power. She is the founder / editor of Yellow Chair Review...


[Featured]Digital Art Image Credit: no beer outside by J.A. Spahr-Summers. ©Copyright 2015, Jeffrey A. Spahr-Summers.
 

 

Snapping Twig – Summer – 2015

Vol: May 2015 thru Jul 2015

Phombies

Copyright 2015, J.A. Spahr-Summers

by Catfish McDaris

 

Cell phone madness was driving the world insane. People walking into things, holding phones up to the side of their heads, blue gadgets stuck in their ears, finger stabbing on tiny keyboards. Folks not speaking to one another, only concerned with electronic communications. Families sitting down for a meal, each and every one of them ignoring each other caught up in their own personal world. Quick warned his daughter to slow down with all her cell phone usage. He explained his theory about phones consuming all human intelligence and conquering the world. Quick’s kid, just shook her head like her old man was hopelessly behind the times. A few days later Quick went to wake his child up, her head was covered by sheets and blankets. When she finally struggled to get up, she had no head. From the neck up was a cell phone. He yelled for his wife and they went berserk, they tried to talk to their kid, but got no response. Quick’s wife sent her a text and it appeared on her face phone. They called an ambulance and reported the incident. They were informed that Phombism was a wide-spread virus. There were laboratories and hospitals working on a cure, but all cell phones must be confiscated and destroyed, before a useable vaccine could be developed to treat the Phombies. Quick looked out the window and saw people with cell phone heads stumbling down the street. It was utter chaos, he went to the refrigerator and poured a glass of buttermilk.

 

©Copyright 2015, Catfish McDaris

CATFISH MCDARIS - [Read Full Bio] won the Thelonius Monk Award in 2015. He's recently been translated into Mandarin, French, Polish, Swedish, Arabic, Bengali, Spanish, Yoruba, Tagalog, and Esperanto. His 25 years of published material is in the Special Archives Collection at the Marquette Univ. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin...


[Featured]Digital Art Image Credit: clouds on acid 9 by J.A. Spahr-Summers. ©Copyright 2015, Jeffrey A.
Spahr-Summers.

 

 

Snapping Twig – Summer – 2015

Vol: May 2015 thru Jul 2015

Go

Copyright 2015, J.A. Spahr-Summers

by Dylan Lamberti

 

The music’s pounding. You know the beat, but not the words. What’s this song? You love it. You remember loving it, sometime, when you were sober. This is a good song. You wish you knew the words.

Everyone else knows the words. Just copy their mouths, you think. It’s so loud, but in your head it’s silent. Muffled. No one can hear you think but you, and you like that. That’s always been a strength.

Our man is eliminated. We’re playing stack cup, or flip cup, or cup pong, or some crossover. Does it matter? We’re out. Sing the words. Yell at your man, cheer him on even though he’s out. You get points for cheering. Your throat is raw. His name is Matt, or Max, or maybe it’s Mark. As long as you get the first syllable right, he doesn’t care. He comes up to you, claps you on the back, tells you he did his best, and that he’s sorry.

He’s sorry. Everyone’s upset. He was doing well. We had a chance to get a lot of points, maybe win the night. What does that mean? If we beat the other teams, we get the chance to do this again. Another week long drinking competition, another hundred bucks you have to pay.

You’re sick of it all. You hate it all, all of a sudden. Tap Yannis on the back, tell him you need to leave, you’ve got to sleep early because of your midterm. He wraps his arms around you, chokes you with his forearm. Push him away, laugh as he smiles. It’s all a big joke. He understands. School is important. Your throat hurts.

Leave, saying goodbye to no one. Text Jerry, tell him you’re going. Feel your way to the front door. A girl grinds on you. Push her away, who is she? You don’t want her. You don’t want anyone.

It’s raining. Everyone’s smoking. They look at you, watch you as you walk away. The bouncer is laughing about something. Is it you? Probably not. Turn the corner, they’re gone. Start running, just to get away.

Run through the drizzle. Dodge that car, cut through the parking lot. Jump over that barrier, pretending like you’re Tom Cruise or Bruce Willis, a man on a mission. What’s your mission? Get home, get away, or just get? Who knows, who cares? Just run. Run for the first time in months, run like you’re falling forward. Run away from everyone you love and hate and can’t separate yourself from.

It’s November. In eight months you’ll be 17 hours away. New Zealand, a new start, without the people you know and the person you are. You can be anyone. Will you be you? You hope not, but you think so.

No one knows you’re leaving. No one knows how soon. Run faster, get away from them all. People shy away from you, they can smell the beer. You must look insane, or drunk, or both. You only want to run. You have a direction. You have to get home and write it all. Someone has to feel what you feel, somehow.

Run through campus. Look at the flag of your nation, hanging sullenly in the spitting night. Try to remember what you felt when you came here the first time and saw the buildings, the people, the grounds. Did it fulfill you? Did it satisfy you?

You’re almost home. The last kilometer. Run, run it in, all the way. It’s uphill, and your breath hitches and your stomach aches. You can feel the muscles straining under your shirt. Want it, want the finish line. Push yourself, further and further. It’s there, in the distance, within your reach.

Outside the building now. The steps, the stairs! Launch yourself up them, fit the key in the lock. Struggle into the living room, throw  your clothes aside. Is there apple juice? All you want is a drink. No more alcohol, please. Fill a glass with water. Sit down, turn on the computer. No one’s home. All your friends are a world away. Write. Write it all down, write it until there’s no more. All you can do is write.
 

©Copyright 2015, Dylan Lamberti
"Go" was selected for performance at the McGill Department of English Studies Student Association 
annual event,  Poetry in Performance

DYLAN LAMBERTI - [Read Full Bio] is a second year, English Literature student at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.


[Featured]Digital Photography Image Credit: fire #9 by J.A. Spahr-Summers. Copyright 2015, Jeffrey A. Spahr-Summers.
 

Snapping Twig – Summer – 2015

Vol: May 2015 thru Jul 2015

Bodensee

so do i climb the mountain or no Copyright 2015, J.A. Spahr-Summers

by Barry Basden

 

They come for us just as we are leaving our lakeside villa, sold this morning for cash, a pittance in foreign currency. We escape by boat, all that we cherish in valises and sewn into our coats. We stand in the stern, watching tiny men scurry down the expanse of green to the beach below the house. We see flashes. You touch my hand and say something but it breaks apart in the wind. You lift your arm and wave a fleeting goodbye. I think of your gardens, the swans, our world turning over. Things could be far worse, but we move across the waves toward distant mountains, blue with snow in their afternoon shade. We will take the night train. We will find a place.

 

©Copyright 2015, Barry Basden
"Bodensee" was originally published in Ramshackle Review (defunct), No.3, March 2011

BARRY BASDEN - [Read Full Bio] lives in the Texas hill country. He edits Camroc Press Review and is coauthor of, "Crack! and Thump: With a Combat Infantry Officer in World War II". His shorter work has been published widely, both online and in print...


[Featured]Digital Art Image Credit: so do i climb the mountain or no by J.A. Spahr-Summers. ©Copyright 2015, Jeffrey A. Spahr-Summers
 
 

Snapping Twig – Summer – 2015

Vol: May 2015 thru Jul 2015

The Art of Loving Laura

heorte Copyright 2015, J. A. Spahr-Summers

by Eman Bouras

 

“Let’s go see God,” she said trying to kill us. Foot on gas. See red light. Hear engine purring. Eyes shut. Foot still on gas. Eyes open. See light pole. See light. See lone bird flying away and into traffic. Pray for it. Pray for yourself. Pray for her soul. See darkness. Sink into the metal plates of the car. But before all this, know that Laura Graze is dangerous. Your mother must have warned you about her. Didn’t you hear her?
Just like absinthe, she was half-god and half-reckless. But that didn’t stop anyone from loving her. Not even me. It must have been her bony artist hands, trying to make poetry out of everyone she touched. Wrapping herself around their ankles like seaweed each time she began to think that they would leave, and drowning them in the metaphorical overflowing bathtub of her love, while convincing them they could still breathe.
They could never leave until she had loved them just enough, in the right way, for her to birth a novel in the cervixes of the space between them— this was how she loved.
The truck driver lasted a month with her, and then she threw all the China plates out of the second story window and told him that he was too good at leaving, and her, too good at breaking things. She wrote a book of poems titled, ‘Rest Stops,’ and dedicated it to him.
I got a book out of it too. This time it was longer. This time I was the one doing the drowning.
I was the last one to love Laura before she was committed. It wasn’t my fault that she lost her mind; it wasn’t the alcohol or the poison either. It was all her. Her shoebox full of collected ex-lovers house keys had become so full that she could no longer bare not knowing whether or not she had truly loved the men she’d spent a few months with, written about, and then left.

 

She kissed me, and I could taste the salty Pacific Ocean between breaths. This time, she was not the one pulling ankles underwater.
         “You’re poison, Charles,” she said.
         “I know.”
        “You’re just like me,” she said twisting a strand of her yellow hair that looked silver only under the fluorescent kitchen lighting around and around her pinky finger.
We stood just close enough for our bodies to think they were touching, but just far enough to know that they weren’t. She was waiting for me to turn to her, just like the truck driver would, and take her in my arms. She was waiting to see who’d talk first, as if it was a game where the first one to speak loses.
But it wasn’t a game anymore, and she knew it. This was real.
The realness of whatever it was that we felt was exaggerated, though. It was not to be envied or mirrored, but pitied. We were thirty-something year olds wanting to feel something as deep and intoxicating enough that we’d not have ourselves to blame.
It was when we were driving on I-90 to the farmers market with the simmer of the Californian Santa Ana wind nestled between her body and mine that her lungs filled with water.

         “I love you,” she said. “God, I really do.”

I turned to her, the dangerous girl with dangerous words. I had nothing to say. She looked so beautiful right then. That’s how I’ll remember her, vulnerable and gulping for air.
The hands around the steering wheel were as real as my silence. The words coming out of her mouth were not. And then, her foot slammed hard on the gas pedal, and the car sung, as ghosts would sing if they were real and we believed in them.
         “Laura— this isn’t funny,” I said. My voice echoed in the car. The wind swallowed it whole. She couldn’t hear me. She didn’t want to. “I love you. I love you. I love you.”
It was too late. Laura started to laugh, “Let’s go see God, baby.” And then we both sank heavy into the metal plates of the baby blue Sedan.
There was nothing poetic about our bodies slamming in unison with the force of car to pole, through June air. The keys in the ignition were no longer there. Blood was everywhere, more of hers than mine. Neither of us was sorry. That’s why they took her away.
Laura is still dangerous, but so am I.
 

©Copyright 2015, Eman Bouras

EMAN BOURAS - [Read Full Bio] writes and studies English Literature in Florida...


 
[Featured]Digital Art Image Credit: heorte by J.A. Spahr-Summers. ©Copyright 2015, Jeffrey A. Spahr-Summers
 
 

Snapping Twig – Spring – 2015

Vol: Feb 2015 thru Apr 2015

Hal’s Story

music in the soul can be heard by the universe Copyright 2015, J. Spahr-Summers

by Jeffrey Zable

 

When I was a kid, I remember there was this guy who lived on the next block who was several years older than the rest of us. Today he would be called mentally challenged. He lived with his mother and he used to come over to our block sometimes on the weekend and tell us stories, one of which I remember in particular because Denis would often say to him, “Hal, tell us about the time you fucked that girl in the sandbox.”

So he’d tell the story with that horse face of his, all the while smiling, laughing, and licking his lips as he related how he’d met this girl in the sandbox near 19th avenue in Golden Gate Park. They played around together until it got dark, and when he was sure that no one was around he pulled down her pants and fucked her. She agreed to meet him the next day, but she never showed up. Hal kept going there day after day, hoping and praying she’d return, but she never did.

And when he finished the story, Denis would say, “Tell it again, Hal. Tell it again!” And all the kids would guffaw, except for me because I was tired of the story after the first time I heard it, and the truth is I played in that same sandbox under the watchful eye of my grandmother who’s now been gone for fifty years. Denis has been gone for five.

And if Hal is still around he must be in his 80’s. . .

 

©Copyright 2015, Jeffrey Zable

JEFFREY ZABLE - [Read Full Bio] is a teacher and conga drummer in San Francisco. He has published five chapbooks and has present or upcoming work in Clarion, Coe Review, Toad Suck Review, On the Rusk...


[Featured]Digital Art / Photography Image Credit: music in the soul can be heard by the universe J. Spahr-Summers, ©2015
 

 

Snapping Twig – Winter – 2014

Vol: Nov 2014 thru Jan 2015

 When Someone is Someone

Digital Art by J. Spahr-Summers

by Jeffrey Zable

 

Talking with my cousin about his divorce he informs me that he gives his X-wife $15,000 per month. And seeing the expression on my face, he follows with, California divorce laws. They’re merciless!” And when I ask,  Why did you stay with her so long?” he responds, “For the kid. I didn’t want her to go through what happened in my first marriage.” 

Sensing that he didn’t want to talk any more about it I change the subject to family members most of whom are now gone, yet I’m wondering what it must feel like to have to give that much money away to someone who is someone you no longer love. . .

 

©Copyright 2015, Jeffrey Zable

JEFFREY ZABLE - [Read Full Bio] is a teacher and conga drummer in San Francisco. He has published five chapbooks and has present or upcoming work in Clarion, Coe Review, Toad Suck Review, On the Rusk...


 
[Featured]Digital Art / Photography Image Credit: .love by J. Spahr-Summers, ©2015
 

 

Snapping Twig – Winter – 2014

Vol: Nov 2014 thru Jan 2015