Where does the poet have arguments with a friend who wants the same girl that they both do not love but thinks the future is easy. Where do the lines fall and rise again like a river on which you can float.
Where are horses tamed and dead dogs lost. Where are only three minutes left until the city is circled three times. Where are you behind the point of view.
Where is God swallowed into a swamp and now speaks out of us in the language of cockroaches while we slowly roll down the road, killing animals in the wake of our words making us want to baby talk.
Where did I witness an extraordinary fugue pulsing through a man’s veins his daughter a nurse in a hospital holding their breath pedaling bicycle but never getting there rained upon in the monsoon.
Where does topography turn inward like a peeled sock as a holy scroll wrapped around the bright red peanut of a frog’s heart. Where do they speak Jumanji when they mean sex. Who is made entirely out of arrows an alien with a terracotta time belly.
Where do Byron, Brenda, Fern, Shawn, Patsy, Estelle and Lisa meet over a mystery concoction that doesn’t involve Brenda’s friend Veronica Poplin, who isn’t Jewish, that ends happily on the Ellen Show and features neither Lizzy Borden nor any of the Borgias.
Where does Olivia ask for a plunking pickle and picks up an urn to polish it in the big silent house while the Polish janitor outside sharpens his knives.
Where do all colors become sharp curves and transformative rectangles leaving behind silvery shards split off pieces of atomic rubble without will leading to a collapse of closely observed meaning.
Where can our inner funny man meet another funny man who grows younger as an entire ensemble of elderly licks lips in anticipation of non-remembering coughing men who arrange their loin clothes for the nurses looking at them in humorless disbelief.
Where does Barbie fall hard on the kitchen floor, a mess and a half, our Barbie, the idol of generations, a steely model for the maid who badly cut herself today as I ordered my soup and I almost threw up.
Where are the motions so small that they’re contained in a bread box the size of a lizard head doing you good without you knowing why or what.
Where is your father when you most need him. Is he in India or did he dive and was swallowed alive by a whimsical whale created during a cool cricket match.
Where is 525 South Winchester Boulevard. We must get there on time for the Séance. We’re going to ask Shakespeare about his love life and where he lied.
Where will you find one ring to bind them all, one metaphor to erect a whole city of glass. Where can young and old women and men practice the being-with without writhing stereotyped gender and age.
Where someone rarely leaves the house because she was expected to have been born a boy a boy like Bomber Harris a bomb-proof boisterous boy wonder.
Where does the writer care more about the characters you care about than when he listens to them and tells all that they are and do in long sentences not without heart, soul or hard drinks.
Where did I feel as if Gass was peeking over my shoulder to get a good look at Hamlet’s grave reopened by a guy with a wooden leg not named Smith, wooden and bouncy, a ballad to the King.
Where did linearity itself come to a sudden halt as if shot at with fireflies. Where the air, the sky, the stone. Something about the weight of ceilings there.
Where is the voiceover. Translation ceases to convey Bill Murray on speed, smoking under a tree lightning overhead, Bogart Bill. Film music, a geisha helpless her red hair in turmoil. Over and out Olivia.
Where the clitoral keystone, the satanic rites, still story but culturally filtered, loom large. Filthy piece full of alliterations cautiously shifting towards fire.
Where the ocean curdles heavy clots of colored paint. Paint stolen and spread on Aztec faces. Where death and love meet, in the mouth that eats reality, fed by the cut off hand of a nude naturalist. Now.
Where my neck hurt because I had to bend it back to see the cranes in flight and follow them to the border and across the border and through the land and across another border into yet another land.
Where did she ask herself if her own womb was a wound or a wonderland. Where was the womb a landing patch for black birds and beta blockers. Where was the man to lay all weird worrying to rest.
Where was I in June 1987 while you were brought to your knees by a gun. Where was I when you peed yourself. I know where I was: in the South, holding my mouth with both hands, with a face like yours.
Where will you wear that shirt with your secret name stitched across it. Who will you be under that shirt. When will the piss midgets rule the planet forever.
Now, I tell you where: in > kill author Issue Eleven, named after Raymond Carver. You’ll find 42 pieces of writing here. 42 being a wonderful number if you’re looking for answers and an innocent number if not.
These pieces are authentic – you can see where the writers’ heart is beating in every single one. They breath the seriousness of the craft of writing: no shortcuts via nonsense or needless scatology to the final destination. They are brave: not infected by the epidemic contemporary inability to express anything for fear of being uncool or not awesome/rad/wicked.
They face the fire and now they’re facing you. Enjoy.
Marcus Speh’s daughter calls him ‘Dada’. He is well known for giving into his riffing tendency too easily and often unnecessarily. He blogs at Nothing To Flawnt, curates the One Thousand Shipwrecked Penguins project and currently serves as maitre d’ of the kaffe in katmandu.