Sneaky Feels #12

By John Proctor

When you hung out next to the river under the bridge as a child looking at the homeless people, seeing the bed sheets they hung to demarcate territory and make pretense to privacy, running away like a scared animal when they called to you but returning regularly to watch them while pretending to fish, then passing over the bridge on your school bus to junior high and thinking about the people entering and exiting that makeshift liminal space and wanting to quit school and live with them under the bridge, or any bridge really—the bridge is not important. Soon enough the steamboat, the boxcar, the Greyhound bus, and the backseat of a stranger’s car will join it in your freedom-in-mobility mythology, not through lived experience so much as through the stories you read, and you’ll become enmeshed inescapably in Twentieth-Century American self-delusion specifically through your desire to escape it. 

Check out other Sneaky Feels:






Parabolic Path

By David Olimpio

When I threw the stick at Jaime, I hadn't intended to hit him with it. But the moment it left my hand, I knew that's what was going to happen. I didn't yet know any calculus or geometry, but I was able to plot, with some degree of certainty, the trajectory of that stick. The initial velocity, the acceleration, the impact. The mathematical likelihood of Jaime's bloody cheek.

It had good weight and heft, that stick. It felt nice to throw. And it looked damn fine in the overcast sky, too, flying end-over-end, spinning like a heavy, two-pronged pinwheel and (finally, indifferently, like math) connecting with Jaime's face.

Jamie's older sister took me by the arm and she shook me. Why did you do that? What were you thinking? The anger I saw in her eyes. Heard in her voice. The kid I became to her then, who was not the kid I thought I was. The burdensome regret. I knew the word "accident" was wrong, but I used it anyway. If you throw a baseball at a wall and it goes through a window, that is an accident. If you throw a stick directly at your friend and it hits your friend in the face, that is something else.

My throw had been something of a lob and there had been a good distance between us. There had been ample time for Jaime to move, but he hadn’t moved. There had been time for him to lift a hand and protect his face from the stick, but he hadn’t done that either. He just stood impotent and watched it hit him. And it made me angry: That he hadn’t tried harder at a defense. That he hadn’t made any effort to protect himself from me.

What was I thinking? What was he thinking?

I am not a kid who throws sticks at his friends. But sometimes, that's who I've been. And when I've been that kid, it's like I'm watching myself act in a movie, reciting somebody else’s damaging lines.

Like this morning, over breakfast. Your eyes asking mine to forget last night’s exchange. You were holding your favorite tea mug. I don’t remember what we were fighting about. It doesn’t seem to matter any more. The words that came out of my mouth then, deliberate and measured, temporarily satisfying to throw at the bored space between us. The slow, beautiful arc. The spin and the calculated impact.

The downward turn of your face.

The heavy drop in my chest.

The word accident was wrong. I used it anyway.



Why I Don't Want Your Dick There In That Poem

By Laura Warman

  1. I am the poetry editor for Queen Mob’s Teahouse
  2. I am also a reader for jubilat
  3. I am also the editor of my own press, GLASS PRESS
  4. I read submissions a lot
  5. Probably every day
  6. Often I come across images of dicks
  7. These dicks aren’t necessarily connected to a body
  8. These dicks throw themselves on the page
  9. They have no fears, they are not vulnerable
  10. These are very specific dicks
  11. Let’s call them cis-male, white, straight, upper/middle class dicks
  12. Of course that isn’t all
  13. Of course I can’t categorize these dicks in this way
  14. Recently I rejected a poem on the sole basis of what I viewed as a problematic positioning of The Dick in the poem
  15. The Author of the Dick Poem replied saying I was “asinine” and “foolish” for rejecting a poem based on this
  16. Of course I am both of those things!
  17. The Girl
  18. My rejection of the poem was seen by him to trivialize my position as an Editor
  19. As-If editorial choices are made without bias!
  20. Editors are generally white cis-males
  21. These editors are generally treated as if they are without bias and publishing the Best work that gets submitted to them
  22. Because I have never been able to see or write past my body I am the one with the bias
  23. But, we are all working within the hegemonic patriarchy of capitalism
  24. I show you my bias freely
  25. I, the woman, (the Dickless), am at the other end of binary desire in the rape culture
  26. Yes, Literature is reflective of this rape subculture
  27. Yes, I am opposed to poems that support the binary of power, aggression, desire
  28. The dick in the poem is always doing something
  29. The dick in the poem is not static

Originally published at Queen Mob's Teahouse