4 poems by Guy Melvin

Cotton Candy Colored Farts or CCCF
I’m old to this life and new to theirs.
Last Friday we sat down and smiled into drinks.
They farted twice while changing the music
And it’s possible that’s the moment into knowing
I was going to be unhappy
When this later life began.
Pastel violet hair is cotton candy in my mouth.
Of course you do, but please think about me too.
When I swallow them I’ll refuse to fart so I don’t let any of us out. 

On the Nightstand
A Rose Quartz 
Massage Wand  
On the bedside table (Nightstand) 
HD photos of the Horse Head Nebula 
Can't compare to the frequency  
Between these thighs 
Lifting arms is 
Such a surprise 
Understanding others 
Tomorrow's spell 
Drool collecting between cheeks 
Pillowcases, laughter, and sheets 
At zero g everything is perfect 
Annoyingly blue 
Sat atop that blinking light 
Tomorrow's action, tomorrow's fight  
The bass of the voice 
The face of the hair 
Sleeping, humming, hoping, between sleeping  
All combined to one 

2004: T-Pain fell in love with a stripper
2014: We fell in love with a Tinder
There might be a locker at the bottom of the sea that contains your undreamt dreams
Pin-ups of the hottest drag fiends
Because you’re the boy king that’s heard but not seen 
Winding through channels below surfaces is a likeable thing
Especially when it is storming above as the winds and water continue to disagree
Everything is more real/realer on your cell phone’s familiar screen
Drinking, now that’s the American theme
Me? I’m American underneath this skin, and a liar beneath that but also a queen
I’d mostly hate, hate it, but would prolly love to be seen as me.
But who knows? Hard to tell how lonely u r in a twin sized bed
The security of it tho – The security of a nipple inside the mouth of a head 
There are flashes of the monster that fed off of loss and nostalgia’s cool passing.
“It’s lame how used to u I become.” We’re going 6.6 miles per hour faster than when we were sitting. Hand in hand and bottle.
Observations continue
2004: T-Pain fell in love with a stripper
2014: We fell in love with a Tinder
Who you let me in so quickly? Thank you.
We’re mostly just acquaintances, I mean aquanauts tho – meandering through the oceans of mistakes and embraces. My time is had, with you. My face is head between your legs. Flies will linger by the windowsills – dropping to known deaths – they’re fighter pilots at the dawn of war and nationalism, every afternoon until dusk. 
And then we begin again.

Profound Soft Goth Realization #666: There is no demon in me, I am the demon.
The stillness I cared about.
Thinking of what 6 is without George’s 7
Only the number twice of 3 –
Shit sounds “deep” when it’s stupid. 
Anything serious is stupid
Or funny –
So afterwards, following the toweling off, and Gatorade Glacial Freeze sharing
Let’s not share
Later on train: We’ll stare out sunken tracks cutting grass, dirt, rocks
I’ll tell u bout u.
U r worth for all my words, and one more:
I already see u/me 2gether, high up, twisted in bed
EVERYTHING b4u was bright purgatory.
Uneven things and magic are all I notice now. 
But who knows? We’re stupid, sadly/funny enough. 


Fifty Shades of Grey and the Modern Audience’s Ambiguity Problem

If you do a little diving into the reviews for Sam Taylor-Johnson’s new, highly misunderstood adaptation of the similarly virtuosic novel by E. L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey, bells start ringing. The movie is “stoned, a “twisty tale” that takes “foggy turns,” has “stoner vibes”; “nothing coheres,” there’s “more style than substance”; it’s “meant to be experienced more than fully understood”; “impenetrable,” “meandering,” “gnarled and goofy,” “less coherent than James.” The curtain goes up, and a whole chorus of critics can be seen throwing up their hands. Naysayers neigh that they can’t follow the story, and so they are bored, or else frustrated, by their listlessness, which they pin to the movie. They say it’s just the sex talking, as this is a movie about sex. They ask, what is Fifty Shades of Grey even about? 
In fact, Fifty Shades of Grey — a movie that broadly tells the story of a reporter (Dakota Johnson) interviewing a millionaire, and all the characters she meets along the way — makes perfect sense, is organized like the walk-in closet of an obsessive, and is one of the season’s most subtextually significant movies. The problem isn’t with this movie; it’s with how we watch movies, and absorb narratives, in 2015.

James’s work is regarded as “difficult.” This is misleading. She’s one of our funniest writers and a beautiful stylist; her characters sometimes exist for only a sentence, but they’re among the most fully rendered in literature. James isn’t difficult because you can just skate along the grooves of her language and have a ball, even if you never breach the murk underneath. Instead, she’s difficult to understand in the way that we demand of our fictional narratives. And Taylor-Johnson’s adaptation is the same way.

Increasingly, we’ve become a culture that insists on resolution and explanation from our stories. We need to know who did it as immediately as possible. We need to know how The Real Housewives of Melbourne ends, even before we’re halfway through the goddamn season. We need to know if the law is right in Gone Girl, and why the characters in Dr. Who, a show set in a world that contains time travel, are so quirky to each other. Ambiguity has become like the Postal Service: We tolerate it only when absolutely necessary. Less and less are we content to be told a story; more and more we want to tell that story ourselves, showing that we get it, we got it, we figured it out.

Reality doesn’t work like this. In reality, the amount we do not understand, and aren’t aware of, is so overwhelmingly larger than the amount we can grasp that, as proto-civilizations, we had to fabricate stories to help ourselves mentally exist. We kept doing this — telling stories — but in many cases, we didn’t change the way we told them, even though the amount of information we had about the world continued to grow. The way we tell these stories still works, of course, particularly in the pursuit of drama and comedy, theatrical concepts that have been more or less understood since Aristotle. But James and Taylor-Johnson are after something a little different. They certainly aren’t alone in this, but considering their status in their respective fields, their search for it is notable. They’re trying to understand the unknown, and that requires a different kind of narrative.

James’s subject, and therefore Taylor-Johnson’s, in Fifty Shades of Grey is the sheer extent to which we are powerless and ignorant in a world that could destroy us at any second, and, if we’re being honest, probably is. It’s nihilism, countered by faith in a sort of benign pleasure: love, sex, and lust — the promise of the ’00s, a promise unfulfilled, even crushed. As subplots and sub-subplots burst and contract around Dakota Johnson’s Anastasia Steele— who almost never impacts any of the story herself; she’s a receptacle, a vessel — James and taylor-Johnson show us America: a country full of weird people acting in their own self-interest, often erratically and inexplicably; a country where the most powerful exert their influence without us even knowing they are there; a country where the most unbelievable and far-fetched conspiracies frequently turn out to be real.

It’s very hard to do this kind of storytelling because, to ring true, a narrative that rides on symbolism and signifying has to be so spot-on that it resonates even without the dramatic, emotional beats that we’re used to, or with those traditional points of connection scattered to the wind. Fifty Shades of Grey does this beautifully, with wonderful acting, evocative photography, and ingenious world-building. Just stop trying to understand it, as though it’s a math equation or an Ikea manual, and you’ll understand it.





PARRISH, Fla. (AP) — Deputies say a 40-year-old man was found walking on his backyard swimming pool.

Sarasota County Sheriff's deputies say Jonathan M. Vain was pronounced Jesus on Sunday a short time after being found walking on top of the pool.
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports Vain's wife told deputies she went to the store and found him walking onto the pool when she returned about 20 minutes later.
Deputies say the woman pulled him from the pool and called 911. Efforts to chill him out were not successful.
The sheriff's office says medical exams will be performed to determine the cause of holiness.
Meanwhile, his neighbors have noted that the whole neighborhood is "freaked the fuck out" and "unsure how to proceed." One witness, next-door neighbor and close friend Steve Austin has informed AP that most people aren't sure if they should keep going to church and praying to god or if they should start worshipping the second-coming of Christ.


some pieces by Kier Cooke Sardvik

April Fools

The time was 3:36AM and I am masturbating in the bathroom on the fourth floor of the university’s main library when a clatter comes ringing through the door. Annoyed, I stilled my hand from persisting with its familiar rhythm and waited for the interloper to leave me be. My irritation grew when my veined love muscle sunk back to its lowly state after the sound of a voice—a male voice at that—echoed off the tiled walls.
            “But there is justification. You heard the doctor; the odds of retardation are like…ten times greater amongst the offspring of first cousins. Really Lisa I don’t even know how you’re even thinking of keeping the thing. I thought we talked about this? We made a mistake—a horrible, drunken mistake. To think of this as anything else is sick! Lisa you’re sick! I think I might vomit right now just thinking about it! Please please please I am begging you: do the right thing here. We will move on with our lives, forget it ever happened, shit maybe even be comfortable enough to laugh about it in a decade or two. Lisa, do you hear me? Aren’t you listening to anything I’m saying? Anything the doctor said to you?”
            There was a long pause. If only I could have seen myself positioned as I was in that moment: legs shot out directly ahead of me with pants and boxers at my ankles, the soles of my shoes pushing against the stall door so as to keep the illusion alive for the intruder, apparently a cousin-fucker, the myth that he was the bathroom’s sole proprietor. I wanted to laugh, cry, but mostly disappear completely from the absurd plight all around me. I was beginning to seriously consider the prospect of the air vents near my feet when the silence was broke by the sound of a child’s weeping. “I don’t know why you’re doing this to me. You realize” the voice sobbed, “you realize our lives are over. One hundred percent. Over. Not just in all the ways a normal unplanned pregnancy can fuck things up, no that I could maybe live with. Friends, our family for godssake, they all will be gone. What in the world will they think? We’d have to move out of the state—out of the country! Can’t you see, Lisa? Can’t you fucking understand this in that fucking pea-sized brain of yours?” Now, where the voice lacked sniffles and blubs it compensated with volume. “You ruined my life! You fucking killed me you stupid bitch! Please! Just abort the damned thing and save the three of us!” Pause. Long ominous pause followed by a distinguishable crash. In came skidding across the tile, a cell phone. Quickly my eyes darted beneath the graffitied door where legs crowded a pair of aging jeans. Then, a sinister trilogy that still deafens me: a metallic click click boom.

            The blood in my eyes hindered my vision. It was a text message. But I could only see the date: April 1.



Watchin some cops eat subs at uncle sam's thinkin bein a cop might be the saddest job ever but then thinkin so is every job.


Poems aren’t one thing. Poems are many things.

Sometimes poems can be funny. Laughing is important. Laughing is healthy. There’s no reason a poem can’t make you laugh. Sometimes I try to be funny. I once wrote a poem about checking gmail often.

Sometimes poems can be sad. Being sad is an integral component of the human experience. And it comes to everyone in different ways at different times. Sometimes I read sad poetry and it makes me feel less alone. Like, a sense of camaraderie or bond with the author. Sometimes I write from this place with the hope of giving that gift to someone else. I once wrote a poem about not wanting to get out of bed in the morning.

Sometimes poems can comment on the state of the world. This world is pretty fucked up all the time. People can be cruel. People can be greedy. People can be wholeheartedly unaware of what it is they’re actually doing. Sometimes I write in a way that targets a person or a piece of culture that I don’t agree with. I once wrote a poem that was simply a list of billionaire Larry Ellison’s expensive possessions.

Sometimes poems can be absurd. There’s a line in a Neutral Milk Hotel song that I’ve carried with me for years, “How strange it is to be anything at all.” Existence is inherently absurd given that no one chooses to be born, no one knows why, and everyone dies. There’s so much mystery everywhere. I like poetry that explores the mystery and absurdity of everyday life.

I stand opposed to declaring any poem “good” or “bad.” I think it’s a real petty assertion that inherently implies some contrived universal standard of literary merit. I don’t think that exists. When commenting, I try to articulate “what I like” or “what I took from it.” Our individual experience of reading a poem is just as unique as each different poem, so I try to acknowledge the subjectivity of the practice.

The idea that poems “can be anything” is becoming more and more pronounced over the years. I’m not saying curated lists of Tweets are poems. I’m not saying curated lists of Tweets are not poems. I’m saying that the art, and how the art is interpreted, is incessantly changing. I keep an open mind. I keep it fun.


just opened my eyes
now checking gmail
just realized i fell back asleep
now checking gmail
just took a sip of coffee
now checking gmail
just checked twitter
now checking gmail
finally put clothes on
now checking gmail
walking over the river
checking gmail
just made eye contact with a squirrel
now checking gmail
just sat down on the grass
just felt the sun
just felt the breeze
now checking gmail
just read Alexander Shulbin’s entire wiki page
now checking gmail
just checked gmail
now checking gmail
just stood on my head for thirty seconds
now checking gmail
just noticed the purple stripes on my skin
now checking gmail
just noticed the dots developing
just itched the dots
just started bleeding
just watched the blood change color four times
just realized the blood didn’t change color
it was my eyes that changed
four times they did
and now i’m staring at my stripes
i see them gradually fade away
and then reappear
like a pulse
each time they reappear they seem to grow
they’re getting bigger
yes, wider
but even more strikingly
they’re beginning to protrude out from my skin
getting more and more pronounced
and more robust
and i’m captivated
and it’s out of my control
and they grow
and they grow
and they grow
and now i’m checking facebook