Issue #50

Spring 2014

Four Short Pieces

by Matthew Kirshman


Tons of bugs were in the ship, teeming with species not seen this day, habituating every nook and cranny. Some of the bugs resembled some of the modern era, like the beetle and wasp, but not actually related to these. The boat teetered often, being top-heavy — perilously. Remember, all these animals could talk, not in languages of today, but the gist had a highly-expressive form. Three men stood top deck, though the ship was at that very instant careening. These men fathered the shipping industry. I saw a silver hook through the cheek of the big man. One of the donkeys brayed harmonica-comically. Naawwwwaawwww. Ridiculous, man. I lay there looking at the plank, reading its rings. Novuum Eggum, ark of peace.


Jaguar and the Joking Tree

All of nature is a giving and receiving of signs. The air around the body collects in mosaic fraternity. A wee worm wriggles its way up and gets lost in the Alien World of Creation (AWC). Before the first recorded dream, before the soothsayer and tribe, in the heart of the jungle stood a hard, dark tree, beneath whose limbs crouched a sharp-toothed Thing (T). With infrared KillerVision®, it spied two figures approach, interlopers in the Garden of God's Astounding Desire (GGAD). Try and hide. The jaguar's first slice is fine and light. With no warning, you are TradeMarxed© completely.


Folk Legend

I photographed them get into the car. Have you read my "Manhunt of the Year" (Life May, 1977)? How about that close-call with the law, which might have ended it all? Their escape was a travesty, bought by suitcases of cash from the Narcotics Agency. How ironic, the shootout took place at the Ford Pharmacy. They entered Cincinnati on page 96. With a trunk full of gelatinous explosive, they headed to the Flamingo Motel. From there they followed a well established route. Do you think they looked like newlyweds? I find it difficult to credit. I tailed the Jaguar to Chicago, where a cult following had sprung up overnight. To the journalistic eye, their pop-appeal was transparent: the lore of outlaw lovers, with sirens closing in.


Jack and the Beanstalk

Something is hidden: it may be imaginary but it's the Thing (T) that needs to be revealed. As Jack enters deeper into the dream, he hears a voice telling him he will take part in a "scripting cell." The voice is probably his unconscious; and he realizes this as an absurd piece of information. He is in an Intelligence Control Center, seated deep in the Pentagon. An officer turns to say to him, "You are going to have your security clearance upgraded to Top Secret." Around Hartford other operatives will be following him, evaluating his skill at blending in.

Author Bio


Matthew Kirshman lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife and two daughters. He is an English teacher, but before that has had a varied career — telephone repairman, bartender, and cook, to name a few. Writing since the early 1980s, his publication credits include: Charter Oak Poets, Dirigible: Journal of Language Arts, Helix, Indefinite Space, Key Satch(el), Mad Hatters' Review, Phoebe: The George Mason Review, posthumous papers (NothingNew Press), Vangarde Magazine,, and Z-Composition.