Walk All Over Me
© 2012 Meredith Fleischer
The First Thing After Church
Following the rules really is so easy, military style; yes drill sergeant, no drill sergeant, all the while thinking: fuck you, drill sergeant. Once you learn how to effectively internalize your response, put on the required face, you have essentially won. I learn this the hard way, in the service, but more importantly is how I unlearn it.
Upon my return from basic training, I am emboldened, straight and taut from 300 sit-ups a day for eight weeks. I have a thoroughly unappealing arrogance about me, an arrogance I mistake for confidence. I am thrilled to see my father again — thrilled but cautious. I did not wear my dress greens or even my BDU’s, but a vintage Chanel dress bought at a Salvation Army in Columbia, South Carolina while on leave. I left my father for the first time in jeans and a Sex Pistols t-shirt, and now I am home, all grown up in an authentic little black dress, fishnets and heels. Read more
by Mark Terrill
Faultlines-XVI copyright by Devin McCawley
Having made one of their rare collective decisions, the travelers opted to stop for a brief respite at a rest stop along the autobahn. They parked between two large trucks, adjacent to a weathered cement picnic table. From the back of the Volvo station wagon, Francine produced a wicker basket and placed it squarely in the middle of the cement table, on which could be seen various stains and residues from previous roadside picnickers. From the basket Francine took out a block of Dutch cheese, a half-loaf of dark German bread, and a dusty, cobwebbed, vintage bottle of Coca Cola. The others looked on in various states of road-weary ambiguity and ambivalence.
From the autobahn came the sudden sound of screeching rubber, metal impacting against metal, and breaking glass. In the spirit of the prevailing ambiguity and ambivalence, Ralf stood up and half-heartedly began to slice the cheese. Nearby in the grass lay the usual empty beer cans, crumpled cigarette packs, and used condoms, all waiting for someone to include them in some redundantly mundane and boring poem.
Excerpt from ‘Uranium City Return’: Edmonton
by Tim Beckett
I hadn’t been back to Edmonton in nearly 20 years, not since I’d passed through with my parents at age 15 on my way back to Vancouver. I took the airport shuttle downtown to the bus station then checked in at the Grand Hotel across the street. The hotel looked rundown, but the wooden awning out front and the cowboy bar on the ground floor lent it a frontier feel, made it an apt jumping off point for the journey that would take me to Fort McMurray and beyond to a North I hadn’t seen since just before I’d last seen Edmonton.
Except for a guy who tried to bum five bucks off me in the hallway, the hotel was empty and quiet. I was tired from getting up at dawn and catching the flight from Montreal, but when I lay down on the bed, I was too agitated to rest. I felt my childhood all around me in the quiet streets stretching out beyond the window, the brilliant blue sky directly in front of my line of vision that just seemed to go on and on. It was more a shock than I’d expected to be back. For most of the time I’d been away, I’d suppressed my memories of Edmonton. Or lost them, I’ve never been sure which. I’d been thinking about Edmonton in a roundabout way, as part of that whole first 15 years of my life that involved the North, rebuilding it all piece by piece in my mind until I felt like I could enter it at will. Now here it was, memory made life. If I shifted position, I could just see the neon red CN logo, atop the hi-rise with the vertical black and white lines running down its sides. The CN Tower had been my favorite hi-rise when we’d lived in the city, and just seeing it again felt like a minor miracle and made me as anxious to walk Edmonton’s afternoon streets as I’d once been, in my drinking days, to hit the bars as soon as possible whenever I arrived somewhere new.
It started with the terrible urge to go—to pee, to piss, what was he, six? to go—to urinate, which awoke him at odd hours, when he wasn’t expecting it (it was a few years early for this, wasn’t it? He was only forty-six, not in his fifties and the I-gotta-go-every-hour situation he’d heard so much about—and at night, after fifty, forget it, four or five times at least, that’s what he’d been told, too), and it shook him up, coming on him all of a sudden.
As a publisher, I have found there to be nothing more gratifying than the opportunity to observe a writer develop, sometimes from their earliest initial publications in which one can see their obvious talents emerge and blossom. Urban Graffiti has published many such talented writers and poets throughout the years who have gone on to have successful careers in their own right, and I am pleased to have played a small role in their success. One such writer and poet is Sonia Saikaley, whose short fiction piece, “A Specimen In A Petri Dish” first appeared in Urban Graffiti #7 in Autumn of 1999. I am pleased to reprint Sonia’s story here, now, for your critical enjoyment. Enjoy.
I look through the peephole, my heart pounding like the drums at a First Nations pow-wow. I quickly stop looking through the hole and comb my fingers through my short, brown hair. “What the hell is she doing at my door?” I whisper to myself.
She knocks at my door again, louder this time. “I’ll be there in a minute,” I call out, frantically shoving the tits and pussies magazine under the chesterfield.