Savage Omnibus #4

July 24, 2008

MORNING by Suzy Devere

A Dollar Bill, Crisp and Falling~ Joel Van Noord

In Sumeria ~ Elizabeth Rose

vuh shit tree by peter wild ~ part one part two part three part four

Savage Omnibus #3


Savage Omnibus #3

July 21, 2008

Fall Out by Melissa Mann

You burn your regrets but leave mine to me by Ben Ashwell

Coward by Steve Vermillion

Waste (for Cliffy) by Chris Major

Three looming cranes in the distance by Lee Rourke

Savage Omnibus #2

July 11, 2008

rapture by max dunbar

restless by elizabeth rose

fuck kafka by joseph ridgwell

words of love by michael keenaghan

dog day afternoon by marquis de chalfont

never lick the floor of a lift by matthew coleman

tourettestial by james quinton

Everywhere was sore.  Sick of the pole, sick of the floor, sick of the cheap, blue-black of the muggy dirty room where I danced, usually alone.  My bruises matched the walls, except when they were fresh.  My heels were at least polished.  I never did like bad shoes.  There was no one in the house, but that’s how those gigs worked.  You just kept dancing and eventually some newbie drunk would wander in and sit down, then jerk off.

Amit, the manager of the place, said I could stop dancing ’til there was “a seat” as he called ’em, but I didn’t like the idea of standing around and performing only “on-demand.”  That gave people the impression that they were important to me. They weren’t.  I was dancing, performing—acting, as I called it—and I didn’t want anyone to think they could dictate where or when my act stopped or started. Power is hard to find so you gotta make your own…

Anyway, it was a day like every other run away day when Fatty showed up to take me home.  I didn’t wanna go.  I’d told him already I was sick of his shit and fat ass and I wasn’t stickin’ around for any more of it.  He’d made me good and restless, ready to get back to the real world and leave the air conditioning and mind numbing CNN behind. What the fuck?  People watch the News like it’s a fuckin’ porn show, with the market tickers in green the cock shots, the red the cunt shots, and the end of the day bell with the arrows up or down the cum shot, the MONEY MAKER.  Idiots.  Don’t know sex from money…

“Fuck Fatty Clinger” I yelled from the stage and kept dancing.

He kept walking towards me, but I could see Amit combing the back of the house.  He was always there to check the scene.

“Get yourself off that stage and put some clothes on” he said, loudly, like I was a child.

“FUCK YOU!” I screamed again, and stuck my tongue out.  Okay, it was juvenile, I admit.  Embarrassing even.  But It was an automatic thing,

I tell you, like screaming when you step on a nail. I just couldn’t fucking help it. How I hated him!

“I’m not coming back, Fatty.  Get used to it.  And by the way, you’re fucking ugly and you’re ruining my show” I said, now that he was up near the stage and his red pudgy face directly in view.  “I told you.  I’m busy.  I’ve got shit to do and it’s not with you.”

At that he grabbed my ankle but instead of stopping I leaned toward him and kicked him in the shoulder with my other leg.  I nearly fell over; it took all I had but it surprised the hell outta’ him.  I’d never hit him before, even though I’d wanted to lotsa times.  He dropped his grip and clutched himself like a disbelieving child, shocked his mama had clocked him.  Idiot. Idiot. Idiot!

“Dinner is at eight. Cocktails at 6.  I laid your clothes out.  The Missoni.  And I added something I think you’ll like…under the pillow…”

“I’m not coming to your stupid fucking dinner party with those piece-a-shits you call friends” I said.

“Yes you are” he said, then pulled out his wallet and dropped a $100 bill on the stage.  He looked at me and quietly said, almost in a whisper, “take a taxi, sweetheart” then turned away fast, so I couldn’t say anything else to his face. But I didn’t need to.  I was quiet.  The $100 was more than I’d seen in days.  He knew I was tired and a little hungry.  He also knew I was sorry to love him, a fat, ugly man, and sorry to be no good.

We both knew I would show up, back at home just in time to be a strung-out hostess.  His friends would call me “wacky and irreverent.”  Fatty knew I could eat with the right fork, talk politics and East Hampton Star.  So I’d leave the show—my show—to go home and use the new works he’d put under my pillow. I’d shove some stage make-up on my bruises and have Luisa help me dress and do my hair.  And from all this?  It was like magic.  Voila!  My acting career gave me another night on Park Avenue and another reprieve from myself.



You’re right, the 70’s was pretty much sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll. But goddamn, we were trying to stop a war, y’know. Friends of ours were getting killed. Wild times. Long hair, Nixon, bluejeans full of holes patched over with bits of flag. And we were all young. What I remember, what any of us remember, it was pretty much a constant party. Like “yeah, I was high all throughout the 70’s…but it was cool…I think.”

Blacklights, fluorescent posters, bell-bottoms, and the constant smell of incense. It was always dark. I think maybe slept all day. Like living in a Camden Town record store. I liked it. Music was a big part of it.

Two things mattered, getting high and the music. Every week the next band was like the biggest on the charts. Mott the Hoople, Slade, the Allman Brothers, ZZ-Top, Arrowsmith, Lynard Skynard, Alice Cooper, Mountain, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, West Bruce and Lang, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Jefferson Airplane, Heart, Kansas, Head East, Pink Floyd, Foghat, Humble Pie, Savoy Brown, Blue Oyster Cult, to name a few. (I’m working from memory here, y’know.)

We were poor. It’s hard not to be poor when you don’t have a job. But who had time to work. This was a time to live. And you could always sell some dope to be able to buy some more dope, and maybe a bag of cheetos. Get the munchies something fierce. Local bars had to stock ‘em by the case. I suppose they thought it was odd, this run on cheetos all of a sudden, but business is business. Gettin high and playing foosball with the young vets back from the war.

Everybody wearing green Army jackets, even the school kids. Kinda looking like The Clash. Ratty, wasted. Not even fuckin worried about it. Don’t even realize it. We cool. “He aint no fuckin corporal” says Izzy “I’m gonna kick his ass.” Forget it, I tell him. Get some coffee, chill out. Sittin there in the bowling alley wired to the gills. Smoking a cigarette, can’t find an ashtray. Figure you can just flick the ashes into your coffee. So what, doesn’t really matter.

Alice Cooper at the big auditorium. Feels like you got blinders on. Tunnel vision. Beach balls flying around through the haze. Dodge the frisbees soaring across the arena coming straight at you. Duck! Kids selling dime bags. Joints moving across from one end to the other and then both ends at the same time. We got no acid, just popper. Hard to get the same kinda buzz off popper, but what can you do. Then they turn the lights off. Shit, you mean there’s a show on top of it all?

Next show, Ted Nugent comes out “we’re gonna play the songs from our new album.” Fuck you Ted, I paid to hear Tooth, Fang and Claw. Not this new shit. Motherfucker. ZZ Top was the tightest band I ever saw. Well, only three guys, but damn they’re good. Gracie Slick sings all the songs off their Worst album. “One pill makes you larger…” Very clean, great sound. Decent light show, like sunrise in the desert or something. What the fuck.

Arrowsmith is so fucking loud you can’t hear the music, just feel it from inside out. Ears buzzing for two days coming down. Kansas was good, electric violin, Dust in the Wind. Eyes blinking like shutters opening and closing. Feels normal after a while. Like you’re stopped slow-motion draggin yer ass around when you’re not tripping. Doesn’t feel right. The world’s quit spinning like.

Spirit opens for Bachman-Turner Overdrive. I think I remember Nature’s Way. You can actually see the music like it’s floating across in the dark. Kid behind me shaking so bad he knocks over his co-cola. Funny, watching him is like seeing how my insides feel. Then those crazy Canadians pounding their guitars with big mountain man fingers like it was gonna go on forever. I’d like to thank you, I’d like to thank you… Over and over ‘til you kinda lose track.

For some reason they turn the lights on and you have to go home. You shittin me? Janey helps me down the cement steps from the way up high seats. It was so safe and warm up there in the dark. One at a time Mikey, we gonna make it. She got confidence. But I’m gettin worse. Smile at the old cop at the door. Yeah, we goin. Make our way out to the car.

Janey can tell by the way I’m fumbling at my pocket for the cigarettes. She gets one for me, lights it. See, that isn’t so hard. “We gonna go to the house?” Process that one
word at a time. It must mean, are we going to go to the house. Damn, that would mean driving the fucking car through traffic and all. Can’t we just sit here in the parking lot? No, they might think we’re all fucked up or something. My hands shake in rhythm to the blinking of my eyes. But the car key finds its own way in, so… Jesus fuck, O Street in Lincoln. My friends live on F Street. There must be an alphabetical correlation here. Just process it, slowly.

DISGUST ~ Zack Wilson

October 8, 2007

Just before I was 30 I went out with a medical student. She was 10 years younger than me but didn’t look it. She worked behind the bar in a pub I used to drink in. She used to flirt with me when I first walked in, get really warm and affectionate after I’d had 4 or 5 pints, then cold shoulder me after I’d had 8 or 9. I couldn’t work out who had the problem.

It turned out she was on tranquillisers for some kind of depressive problem. I was never allowed to spend the whole night with her. Her housemates made me feel like an idiot bumpkin, really coarse and thick-accented. Once, she drove me over the Snake Pass in a car bought for her by her parents. We were going to a young farmers’ ball in Chester , where her parents lived. Halfway over the Snake she told me that she had a death wish. After the ball, I began to see why.

Some weeks before this we’d gone out on a Sunday afternoon and had ended up in a pub on Division Street . They had some kind of promotion going for some kind of Belgian lager. They were serving it in tall glasses with narrow bases and wide tops. The rusty yellow beer poured cold into the glasses looked beautiful on the dark wood bar of the shady mid-summer pub. I fell for it and bought myself a pint and I thought it tasted great. She tasted it and made a face similar to the one she made when we were having sex. I think this was a bad thing. She once told me that her ex-boyfriend whose Royal Navy sweatshirt she occasionally wore had used to tear her when they were having sex. She sneered at me when she said this.

I tried to enjoy my beer, but the atmosphere made it go flat and warm quickly. She drank blue WKD through a straw and fidgeted in her red sleeveless Primark top and jeans with no label that were a size too small. I tried to find pleasant things to say about people we both knew and funny things about people she didn’t. She looked contemptuous and only smiled so that she could sneer properly. Every attempt at conversation died. Even her stance, arms loosely at her sides, shoulders slightly hunched, attractive large breasts presented prominently but for derision not admiration sapped all the enthusiasm out of what was already feeling like the kind of day you find dead pets on.

She went to the loo. I downed the half pint I had left and got a replacement pint. I’d drunk almost all of that and was onto my second cigarette when she returned. She sat down and looked pained once more.

“Do you want a drink?” I asked. I really wanted one.

“No…yeah, n…yeah. Yeah…well, just a…yeah.”

“Another one of those blue things?”


I finished the rest of my beer in a couple of swallows and took my empty glass and her empty bottle and straw to the bar. I ordered up and took the drinks back to where we were sitting. I sat down and offered her a cigarette. She shook her head and took one. I lit it for her. During the ensuing silence I got through about a 3rd of my drink. She played with her straw and nearly knocked her bottle over.

“I’ve got something to tell you,” she said.

Oh good, I thought, she’s going to end it.

“But I know you don’t like…talking about…these kind of things,” she elaborated.

“What kind of things? Are y…”

“You know,” she fiddled with her curly hair, she whispered, “Medical.”

“Oh.” I really didn’t know what to say. I felt right thirsty and wanted to kill all the space in my head. “What? Were, well, y…”

“It happened in the loo.”

“Oh. Wha…”

“But you don’t want to know.”

“Well, I’m concerned.” No I fucking wasn’t. I wanted to get savagely pissed and shout.

She lowered her voice, “I’ve been having some bleeding.”

“Ah, well. Is it to do with…with your…your cycle?” Christ, I felt like a fuckwit.

“No, no.” She shook her head vigorously. “Not from that hole, from my other hole, behind.”

My mouth moved but no words came out. She looked at me like a spoilt doll. I took a big swallow of beer and asked, “Maybe you ate something?” She shook her head. We didn’t say anything else until I’d finished my pint and we’d left. She went home to prepare for her Monday shift at the hospital. I went to the pub where I’d met her and got pissed with only the bar staff for company.

We split up about 6 weeks later, after the ball. I think I’d just got back from Skegness. I’d told her it was over with an SMS. It was easier that way. I didn’t have to look at her.

tourettestial ~ James Quinton

September 19, 2007

bleating out obscenities
left, right and centre
to myself
or when standing in queues
or in the car
or at the endless fucking adverts on tv
madly swearing
falling into delirium
spitting out abuse under my breath
a torrential tirade
of unmitigated hate
i try to count to ten 

COCK-EYED ~ Melissa Mann

September 19, 2007

Annie leans forward on her stick, watching the tiny tumbleweeds of afro hair cart-wheel past the bus stop from OJ’s, the barbers on Wandsworth Road.  She pushes the thick bifocals up her nose with the bunched fist of her hand then leans in closer, eyes squinting. 

“Well I never did,” she says, looking round for someone to tell in the empty bus shelter.  “Like seeing someone’s life passing before your eyes.”  She prods the hair balls with the rubber bung end of her stick.  “Not that I can trust my eyes as far as I can throw ‘em these days,” she says, taking off her specs.  “Nothing wrong with my ears though.  Got ears inside my eyes.”  She breathes a frozen pond on each lens.  “I hear things I’d rather not, private things, like the fella next door with his lady friends.”

She rests her head back against the route map.  “Lovely fella, black.   Not married of course; don’t seem to go in for it much these days.”  She looks up at the speechless grey sky pressing down on the parade of shops opposite.  “Fifty-two years me and Jack were married.  He said to me once, ‘Annie,’ he said, ‘we’ve been happily married haven’t we.’  I answered him of course, squeezed his hand and fed him the rest of his porridge.”

A 77 pulls up at the stop, engine grumbling.  She smiles at the driver and waves him on with her stick, her thin red mouth like jam bleeding out of a cheap Victoria sponge.

“Fifty-two years…,” she says, looking at the watch lashed to her wrist.  For the past four years it has forgotten what comes after three o’clock.  It was Jack’s watch before they archived him in Lambeth cemetery. 

“Yes, ears inside my eyes I’ve got.  He’s at it for hours sometimes, black fella with his lady friends,” she says, gripping her stick.  “Quite acceptable these days of course, putting yourself about a bit.  I wouldn’t’ve minded a change from Jack, I’ll be honest with you.  Wouldn’t’ve minded a black man come to that… you know, just to see.  Just to see how I’d get on…”

She plucks the hair stuck to the end of her stick.  “So dark and wiry,” she says, rubbing it between her fingers.  “Not like mine.  Mine’s all thin and fly-away now.  Used to have a good head of hair once.  Yes, a real looker I was; turned many a young man’s head in my day.”  She fluffs a cloud of pale hair.  “Face like a fairy-tale ending, Jack used to say.”  She presses a hand to her cheek.  “Not now though, not after the stroke.  Face is like someone’s pulled a tablecloth out from under it.”

“Yer say som’ink?”

Annie jumps, turning to see a girl sitting next to her.  The girl pulls out her earphones.  “Can’t ‘ear a fuckin’ thing wi’ these in, yeah.”  She pops a full stop with her gum.  “What yer say?”

“Oh, don’t mind me lovey,” says Annie, taking in the girl’s bare thighs and tight t-shirt.  “I was miles away, talking to myself.  You wanting the 77 cos it’s just gone, and the 87.”

“Shit!” says the girl in a voice burned black at the edges.  She looks down Wandsworth Road.  “Fuck!”

The girl pulls out her mobile phone and starts barking into it.  ‘How confident she is,’ thinks Annie, fiddling with the hem of her cardigan.  She looks at the swallow tattooed on the girl’s mid-riff and feels suddenly nostalgic, nostalgic for the girl she never was.  ‘Lovely to be able to grow up in your own skin like that, not caring who’s looking, who’s listening, what they might think of you.’ 

“Boyfriend’s gunna come pick me up, yeah,” says the girl, snapping her phone shut.  “Poxy buses, innit.  Never one when you need one.”

“Yes, bit like policemen,” says Annie, nodding her head at the road opposite.  “Though I did see a pair of ‘em over there by the Tennessee Fried Chicken place when I was sat here yesterday.  Looked like they were holding hands.  Yes, you see all sorts sat here…  Pretty,” she says, pointing her stick at the girl’s tattoo.  A hair ball drops off her stick and floats away.  “Did it hurt?”

“Bit,” says the girl, turning to look across the road again.  “Two coppers?  Holding hands, yeah? Fuckin’ weird is that!”

“Oh don’t mind me lovey.  Mind forgets what it thinks sometimes,” says Annie, taking off her specs and rubbing her eye with her fist.  “I envy you, you know. I do.  I envy you young girls today.  It’s like… it’s like your living my share of a freedom I wasn’t allowed.” 

A blue Golf with a suck-me spoiler pulls up at the bus shelter.  The girl climbs in the front seat, takes hold of the man’s face and kisses him violently.  “That’s it, you live your life lovey,” Annie shouts over the sound of the engine revving.  “No-one ever died of being young!”  The car speeds away towards Vauxhall, baseline pulsing out the back window like an ECG.

Annie swallows, feeling words catch in her throat, whole sentences of them buttoned up to her neck.  A gust of wind rattles the shelter.  She cocks her head – footsteps, heavy boots loping along the pavement.  Annie leans forward and looks up the road towards the Beaufoy Bar.  A man is walking towards the bus stop, a black man, skin shiny as patent leather, a woollen hat, red, gold and green nodding to the beat of his steps.  Annie struggles to her feet, squinting right at him.  Her stomach has turned to sand and is falling towards her ankles like an egg-timer.  Eventually a grin like an open wound appears in the powdered folds of her face.

“Well I never did,” she says wiping her mouth.  He is standing in front of her now, smiling down at her from his six feet of tall; smiling down at the frail old lady who is laughing so much she has to sit down. 

“Oh lovey, I nearly fell out my pants!” she says, hand pressed to her chest.  “Thought all my Christmases and birthdays had come at once.” She points at his dreadlocks, which are so long you can see them hanging between his legs.  “I thought it was your cock!”

It’s no big deal. The federales rescued me. I needed them more than they knew. Leslie was out there in the east and we had a dog named Bubbles, imagine that. The dog’s name was Bubbles and it was a little thing some trinket in Hollywood would carry in her purse to a club before passing out and using it as an unwilling pillow. There was a bell on its collar.

There were a utility or two in my name but I was smart. That college flat was hers and I feel bad; it’s expensive. But distance is the same as time.
I moved here and things are different. When the federales were bi-monthy placing a few thousand in my checking account, this woman at yoga said: “and now we’re going to relax our minds because soon the aliens will return and bring with them the fourth dimension.” This women was serious. It known but it was a joke. Now it was a known and serious. This is the type of thing when we say ‘east’ and ‘west’. One of many types of things.

I was practicing the Science then and felt a kin with what I should say, “the fourth dimension’s here. It’s time.” It was like that but she was like the hoof of a deer and that’s it… The people bent and their muscles were lax. I’ll give them that. West is different than East. And Mountains are different than glacially flattened space.

But I drove and started working and we kept in touch and I didn’t love her. It was only circumstance and Steinbeck was the first thing I read, long ago. His California’s dead. So is Kerouac’s. It’s a little sad but now it’s my California, right?

Affluence everywhere. I didn’t have these thoughts then but I had their consequence and Les’ dad is a lawyer and I’m from DC and politics and money. You know? Maybe you don’t… there aren’t too many royalties. Anyone read Kosinski? My California would be like his, I guess. Even though his California was more like a privileged Manhattan.
The Feds, by the way, fired me, or refused to hire me, after they did. And my only guess is that my friend’s are terrible references. I’m sure I passed the drug test. It was the rest of the investigation that failed. Perhaps it was because I lied about never being in jail. I had actually forgotten and I thought that record was purged. So many truths have been ameliorated because of this nepotism.

So what happened? I went in and these people liked me. The secretary gave me a hug and the boss shook his head. It was out of their control.
“Who’s control?” I asked. “No. It doesn’t matter.” I looked out the window
A younger kid had already thought of that. He was excited. “It’s not People. It’s words, written down as laws. It’s LAWS. The PEOPLE have been taken away.” He showed passion.
“It’s ok.”
“I’ll give you a good recommendation.”
“It’s ok.” I said and gave them a hug, left and put in my notice for the rent on my house.

Next. I could have gone out and moved boxes or cut lawns or wrecked body and mind in one way or another. I could have gone back to Les. But shit, there was something different and money is self-perpetuating. It is a faith in others. Mexico is corrupt and this faith is lacking. They have their candles and Virgins, though.

I wandered around with sit-ups and push-ups, running in circles around palm-lined blocks until I was able to think like this: ‘Nothing is here to stay. Even the sun will dry up. We’re all taking advantage of something. We’re all already something else. Infinity is real. Everything is a combination of something. I will become every combination given infinity.’

So I bought a big van and got Mexican plates to fit in with that special breed of hatred down there. Oh, and it’s not hatred, it only looks that way from the glow up here. It’s a beautiful benevolence but the bandit here and there that’ll push a log on the road and rape your dog and rob you as you pass will be more likely to… pass. This is even truer in Guatemala where Reagan and the CIA did what they did. You know?

So I gave it all up and the federales helped me. To put icing on the cake, they allowed me to collect unemployment and that’s the most beautiful piece to the blurred puzzle. I collected, after they refused to hire me. So they stopped me from being able to do the job and then continued to pay me for not doing it. Even though I was willing to do it… is that not great? Those are the things that bring the smile to the face.
It’s hot. Waiting? I don’t know. I’ve stopped and sit. Sit for what? A reason, perhaps. There is no reason but there is desire. There is desire but not explanation. Where does love come from? A silly question. The options lead me to diseases. Morals are sighed away. Without someone to judge… instruct…

I remember a friend (perpetually) cheated on his timecard, took 2-hour lunches and claimed half hour. Brought the night’s party in with him. Left early. I asked him his solution to the jefes and he’d say he’d fill out the timecard once every pay-period and say he couldn’t remember. A planned ignorance. But this is not planned. This is only being alone and comfortable. 

That has nothing to do with anything. This is not about any religion. This is about that great sigh and circumstances that nudge. “Leslie.” See? No response and when I say, “Tecate?” they say viente instead of diez y cinco and I smile at them to let them know I know. ‘Oh, yes,’ my reluctance on the colorful money says as we tug a game with the cash. I watch them feel guilty and they are simple folk (like our fathers) and it’s only circumstance for my rich white face in this shaggy country smothering Latin America (it’s a ladder of smothering, no?). But they tug the money free and I wink. It wasn’t my money anyway, is the point. It’s yours. For sure. It’s yours. Understand? And I give it to them.


August 31, 2007

– If you submit poetry we will print it out and torch it. We like poetry, just probably not yours. If you are absolutely hell-bent on submitting your poems because you think we will be so floored by them that we will bend our usual rules just for you, then fine, do whatever you fucking want. See if we care.