A Childless Father Speaks to Himself
“Let us make man in our own image…”Continue reading “Two Poems by Andres Rojas”
PERFECTLY HAPPY WORKERS
Not too much was working these days.
In the passenger seat, Eric was having trouble with his seatbelt. It wasn’t that it was stuck or even disabled. The metal sat coolly in its socket, but Eric didn’t seem to be having a good time.
“Fuckin’ thing,” he said and took the belt off entirely. George frowned. There wasn’t a lot of risk in their job, he reflected vapidly. The day was warm, the air-conditioner was on. Outside the sun shined and now that the morning was done, none of it was getting in his eye.
There was a certain point where George always got an erection coming east of the Mississippi.
“Fuckin’ thing!” Eric put the belt back on. Instinctively, George looked in the rearview mirror. A cop with his lights on was directly behind him.
“Shit!” said Eric as George pulled the car over.
Not a whole lot of risk and not a whole lot working as well, thought George.
George fast-talked the cop. He was a middle age white guy much like George was. Eric had some kind of farmers tan going on but he looked out the windshield, ignoring the cop on his direct right and let George do the talking. It was probably the smartest thing he could do.
So, the cop walked away, befuddled by George’s small talk about going east and all, and don’t mind the trailer in the back, yeah, it was home-made, but the lights worked, why did he get pulled over anyway?
The cop, mumbled something about a description matching them. George kept nodding and smiling. Eric continued to stare straight into the horizon.
“What’d we do?” asked George.
“Ah, nothing, someone pulled a gas run, but no, you fellas look all right…” That was code that they were looking for some black guys or just wanted to get a look at the California plates.
George smiled, letting his heart settle. He didn’t know what Eric was thinking. He mumbled thanks a long time after the officer left and didn’t touch the seatbelt after that. The sun continued its journey across the sky and eventually, as it was setting, they were in Tennessee.
George pulled the car and trailer into the parking lot for viewing the Blue Ridge Mountains, put it in park and got out of it. Eric followed.
They walked over to the fence, stared out at the mist and the view and Eric lit a cigarette and George sucked on his chewing tobacco. A couple minutes later a girl in a trench coat and glasses walked beside him.
“Do you like the Talking Heads?” asked George amiably.
“Oh no, please don’t be like that, darling! Shit, we’ve been all over and you, you with your spy master disguise…”
“You’re going to be all over again. They want you in California.”
“We just came from there! This is bullshit!” Eric walked away then, kicked a rock over the edge of the cliff.
“Regardless, those are the coordinates.”
“All right, all right, but please, take a look at the business and tell me where it needs to go.”
“We’ve got…. Damn it!” A few yards away, Eric got into the car and slammed the door.
It had been going on like this for a month. George didn’t know what was going on. Eric had been dropped off to him in Boston and his surly ass wasn’t the only thing getting sick of the feel of fake leather seats. After they picked up the weapons in NYC, they drove straight to Louisiana, then to Minnesota, then to California and then to Southern California, and now to this southern, stupid, idiotic, fucked up place on the side of a road!
“Hey!” she said, taking off her glasses. Her eyes were blue. “You signed up just like all of us! We’re all hoping this will come off…”
“What’s the point of a revolution that does nothing! Christ! I thought things were ready! I thought it was cool to be radical again!”
Eric honked the horn.
“We just don’t need that kind of service right now,” she said, then walked away. George stared after her.
“Well, excuse me for listening to you when you did!” He yelled. He didn’t care. There were several cartons of bullets and a couple assault rifles under a big camping equipment tool-box in his car’s trailer. Sights and silencers in the trunk.
George didn’t care, why should he? Why should anyone? Why should anyone care about the world and be willing to do something to change it? What the fuck was the point?
George slammed the car door. Eric was all hunched into his seat with his boots on the glove department and his head covered by a cap.
“Where too now?” he asked.
“Nowhere in particular,” he said and started the car. Outside the air was hot and he threw on the air-conditioning again and drove away. Eric whistled something because their radio was broke and it was a long way from L.A.
Benjamin Joe lives in Buffalo, New York where he works as a freelance writer for The Niagara Gazette and IPWatchdog.com. His first novel, Nirvana Dreams, was published by NFB Publishing in November and excerpts from it can be found in the March 2018 Ghost City Review and Issue 14 of Riggwelter Press. A short story can also be found at Aspirant Magazine. Twitter: @benjamin_joeb01
featured image: Bob Modem
Aaand that’s a wrap! Burning House Press would like to thank October’s Guest Editors SHE SPEAKS UK for selecting, curating and presenting an INCREDIBLE array of writing and art on the theme/s GENDER & REVOLUTION – and for all of the endeavour and hard work that has gone into managing the month – THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING, EMERCIANA, AOIFE, & JO!!!
Massive thank you also goes to everyone who contributed to the theme/s and all who continue to send BHP your writing and art – we are so happy and grateful that you entrust us with your work, thank you!!! xX
Here it is, the full GENDER & REVOLUTION EDITION – every selection in one place for you to read/peruse – enjoy!!! xX Continue reading “GENDER & REVOLUTION EDITION – SELECTED/CURATED/PRESENTED BY OCTOBER 2018 GUEST EDITORS SHE SPEAKS UK”
Between your [social] legs
Sometime in the past, B was born..
B breathes, welcoming the air external to the host person.
A: ‘What is between your legs, little one?’
A: ‘Congratulations, it’s a.. >insert binary pronoun here< .’
B cries, again.
A: ‘What are you going to call >insert corresponding binary pronoun, here< ?’
Sometime later, after B has spent years experiencing on earth..
B: ‘I still breathe, and cry. The questioning human at my birth got the pronoun wrong. It was a mistake to think that my anatomy somehow directly corresponded to a distinctive set of social behaviours. Or, knowingly or unknowingly, any attempts to make that the case. Other determining factors which continue to make me me, were quite underestimated, overlooked or ignorantly bypassed. As were possibility and actuality.’
B: ‘Yes, I have something between my legs, and person/human/homo sapien is my name’
A: ‘What is between your.. social.. legs, big one?’
B: ‘A variety of focal points for questioning. And I may not be one, but many. And why the assumption of ‘I’, anyway? But that’s for another time.’
A jar of paint-thick blood and mire
To wet an oxen’s head
A finger blackened by the fire
And pressed against the red.
A mask of white upon the fool
Who stares up from the feast
A couple fleeing with their mule
But cannot move the beast.
Are you a girl
or a boy?
my nephew would ask me,
I’d smile and try not to answer
for as long as I could.
But he was so persistent, so
needy for reassurance.
My nephew is secure in his boyhood;
no questions, no blurriness
in his mind. He, him,
boy things, boy clothes
But me? An enigma, Continue reading “Poem, Writing & Art by Alix Hyde”
we, the children of this revolution
who came to it all from fields afar
not born beneath a dissident star
of parents dressed in shades of green
but found we belonged only in between
and here we stand, and here we’ll fall
and we’ll die together
or not at all
we, the children of this revolution
who carry our books instead of swords
who taught ourselves, despite it all
who search for truth wherever it lies
and see the world through suspicious eyes
here we stand, and here we’ll fall
and we’ll die together
or not at all
When she speaks, the penny bomb drops,
When she decides to say #MeToo #TimesUp
When she remembers, but doesn’t voice it out loud,
When the Ace woman speaks and says ‘Don’t touch me there’,
When the Bi woman speaks and says ‘Actually I’m happily married’,
When the drag queen speaks and says ‘stop bothering me’
It isn’t a challenge, a threat to your identity,
She’s telling you her boundaries.
They are not up for negotiation,
negation, conquering, obliteration,
her body is not your inclusive space.
She doesn’t need your arrogant attempt at re-education.
When she speaks, the penny bomb drops.
I am a straight ally.
And I choose to make an oath to all that choose to hear it
I will defend the different dissonance, I will stand with
those told who to love and when to love and how to love
those told that they cannot have.
Those told that they are somehow lesser, that being gay is a joke
That being Trans* is just convenient cover for a pervert
Those told that simply being anything other than straight is not normal, Is deviant, is ‘other’
I make this oath because of the things I see
I see forty-nine threads cut short, I see the right to pee safely being ruled by fear
I see the rules of divorce still governed by straight law
I see secure employment being based on your sexual orientation
I see religion twisted into hate, I see corrective rape, I see murder
I see you, queer girl, your slip shed soul constantly bruised from unwanted advances
When a man reeking of arrogance says,
“You’ve never had a real man, bet I’ll give you a good fuck”
I have ten minutes here,
Less than ten in this press of people, before I go through those gates
to tell you that, Berlin was beautiful, a free celebration of all love
The Self-Owners, The Island, The Girlfriend, The Schwanenberg.
Then under the strict shadow of a worded paragraph I am now a number
Scratched into my skin, my name pressed into records,
between pages and pages of names.
Before Berlin was lights and love and music, gay bars and open study
Here is mud obscuring my identity,
photographed from three angles,
in grim stripes and triangles
we become homogeneous herd, corralled into camps.
oh 200 grams of you
today they told me you will be a woman
a girl, a girl
we are having a baby girl
I will be a father
and with this great news
I’m hurt by the privilege
that continues existing
that besides all of the battles
will exist when you are born
you don’t have to be a princess
or wear pink
(unless that be your desire)
Burning House Press are excited to welcome SHE SPEAKS UK as our October guest editors!!! As of today She Speaks will take over editorship of Burning House Press online for the full month of October.
Submissions for She Speaks are open from today – 1st October and will remain open until 24th.
She Speaks Theme/s for the month are as follows
She Speaks have introduced their theme/s for your guidance:
Gender & Revolution
“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”
“No real social change has ever been brought about without a revolution… Revolution is but thought carried into action.”
Emma Goldman (Writer and Anarchist)
What does gender look like to you? If gender is a construct, how would you deconstruct it? If you could re-write or reframe gender norms, would you? What would your world look like? What changes, if any, would you like to see?
What does revolution look like? Why is it important and what changes are needed?
We want you to use words or images to investigate gender, revolution, or both. You could draw on personal experiences, historical / her-storical narratives, imagined environments or cultural commentary. We welcome voices that represent different worldviews, beliefs and geographical locations.
We want art that breaks rules; that challenges patriarchy; that expresses personal struggle; that exposes the impact of cultural norms. Don’t be afraid to break out of your comfort zone and push the boundaries.
We can’t wait to see your submissions.