Winter in New Mexico

The dead slept beneath the rising moon.

In the small house beside the cemetery, the pastor lay awake in bed, moonlight streaming like mist through the window. He wondered whether the dead could dream, and what they might dream about. He wondered if his wife ever dreamt of him, as he did of her, on the nights when he was blessed with sleep.

In the church next door, a woman huddled between the pews, fighting off the desert chill. Moonlight washed the pain off her face, and she gazed numbly at the distant adobe ceiling, reading invisible glyphs. She didn’t think about her husband, his fists, his violent kisses. She didn’t think about anything, really — just willed the sleep to come. It never came.

Down the well-worn dirt road, in the angular adobe with the busted roof, a little boy sat beneath the window in his bedroom, silver threads of moonlight illuminating the text of his favorite book. Heart pounding, eyes wide, he watched a pirate sword-fight careen through the translucent, moon-drowned darkness. Entranced, he heard the clash of cutlasses, the swish of fast-thrust swords. In the morning, his mother would complain that a coyote had gotten into the garbage cans again, and he would wonder how the noise of it hadn’t woken him.

Far, far away—or perhaps quite nearby—beneath opalescent clouds like god-sized brushstrokes, the mountains smiled, because there would be rain tomorrow. The mountains couldn’t sleep from the excitement of it all: their stone faces glowed and rippled in anticipation.

A man with a crooked nose and a camera stood on the edge of town. He couldn’t sleep because the world was too beautiful. The moon shone watchfully like a lens, as though God were taking a picture.

The dead slept beneath the rising moon, while the living, lived

Carly Gordon

(Carly Gordon is a South Florida native in the fourth year of her oboe performance degree at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY. Her classical music blog is here)


February 8, 2016


The titanium staple
the surgeon left in your stomach
is just the beginning:
it’s the strontium-90 in your baby teeth,
in the bones of your parents.
(The dust of New Mexico, the echoes of
tests of implosion triggers
fifty, sixty years ago.)
Note the Americium in your smoke detector.
Note the rate of decay per second.
The trees drink Cesium click click click
The bees weave particles into their nests click click click
The traces around you
of other people’s experiments
linger in your veins, lungs, eggs
linger in your femur and kidney.
Carbon-based structures,
we absorb from the water, from the air,
from our food, from our walls
from our parks and fishing ponds.
We absorb and our body says:
it is good.

Jeannine Hall Gailey

(Jeannine Hall Gailey is a Seattle-area writer whose first book of poetry, Becoming the Villainess, was published by Steel Toe Books. Poems from the book have been on NPR’s The Writers Almanac, Verse Daily, and included in 2007’s The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Her work has appeared in The Iowa Review, The Evansville Review, and The Columbia Poetry Review, among others. She’s an editorial consultant for Crab Creek Review and teaches with the Young Artists Project at Centrum. You can find her website here.)

Will this do...?

Will this do…?

It takes more than a five-second lip-lock to get you in the mood for sex with him. Same holds true for a DIY session. To light your libido, create an atmosphere for arousal: a haven sans distractions where you can say to hell with inhibition. Lock the door so no one bursts in. Disconnect your phone(s). Add ambience with candles and slow jams. Next, tune in to your head space. “If you’re watching CNN and trying to masturbate, it’s going to take a while,” says Rachel Venning, cofounder of the sex boutique Toys in Babeland and coauthor of Sex Toys 101. “In order to reach your peak, you need to relax and focus.” If it takes a glass of wine to block out your boss (buzz kill!) and transition from work to play, cheers. Once you feel mentally uncluttered, fill your mind with sexy thoughts. Picturing Johnny Depp in a loincloth might help. Or do as Liz,* 28, does. “I have a videotape of Top Gun that I keep set to the volleyball scene,” she says. “All that action makes me want to get some.”

*Names have been changed.

One of the most private places to awaken your senses is in the tub. To get started, draw a bubble bath. “As you soak in the warm water, your muscle tension will melt,” says Schwartz. “You’ll be more responsive to touch when you’re relaxed.” Increase the release by massaging your inner thighs and running your hands up your tummy and over your breasts. Now circle your nipples with a sudsy fingertip, then gently tug on them. “If this is an erogenous zone for you, it may trigger tingles down below,” adds Schwartz. Now zero in on your hot spots by getting even more hands-on. “Our fingers are ideal tools for learning what type of pressure, speed, and stroke work the best,” says Sadie Allison, sex educator and author of Tickle Your Fancy: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Self-Pleasure. Let your digits wander south, tracing the sensitive folds of your inner labia. Get playful and draw the alphabet with your pinkie. Or try lightly tapping your clitoris with one finger, speeding up as you become aroused. All the while, note areas and touches that provide the most satisfaction. Bottom line: You’re the master of your own domain. It takes trial and error to figure out what makes you tick. Experiment and you’ll be surprised by the sexy sensations you can provoke. Take it from Sara, 23, who stumbled upon her own tub turn-on (and incidentally hasn’t taken a shower since): “As the tub was filling up, I moved closer to the faucet to adjust the temperature,” she explains. “The running water splashed on my clitoris and immediately felt good. So I wrapped my feet around the faucet and let the water flow over me. The excitement kept building.”

Now to hit your high note, you’ll need to intensify the manual manipulation. “There’s no one method that works for everyone,” explains Allison, “but certain stroking styles are tried and true.” Like a move she calls The Figure Eight. Use one or more fingers to glide up, over and around your clitoral area, tracing the number eight. You’ll cover the clitoris and the inner labia — a lusty locale that has nerve endings within its walls, which some women find even more arousing than the clitoris. Another favourite is The Compass. Hold two fingers out straight, side by side, and run them north to south and east to west over the width and length of your entire pleasure zone. A more advanced method is The Three-Fingers Thrill. Use your index and ring fingers to hold open your labia. This frees up your middle finger to stroke the tip of your clitoris. Ultimately, you’ll know what strikes a chord when a warm, flush feeling starts to set in. “Try not to be super goal-oriented, like, ‘I have to have an orgasm in less than 15 minutes,’ ” says Venning. Just ride the wave of pleasure as your nether regions become more sensitive, your heart rate zooms, your breathing intensifies, and the walls of your vagina begin to contract — all telltale signs you’re bound for bliss.

Missy Elliott is on to something: Toys can be titillating. “Vibrators provide one of the strongest and most consistent forms of stimulation,” says Judy Kuriansky, PhD, sex therapist and author of Generation Sex. Introduce the buzz factor once you’ve prepped yourself for pleasure, and it could make an orgasm a sure thing. But you have to know how to summon the sensations. Begin by working the vibrator over your clitoris, using the same techniques as described previously. (You may want to keep your panties on at first as a buffer; the buzz can be intense.) Then tease yourself by alternating speeds as your desire builds. Just remember to switch up your routine. “Vibrators are great training wheels, especially for the gal who thinks she’ll never get there,” says Kuriansky. A word of caution though: Too much humming can potentially cause your nerve endings to become somewhat desensitized. Pace your usage of this joy stick and let your fingers do the work on the off days. Now that you know what makes your body tick, it’s time to share your stimulating secrets with someone you love…or at least lust for.

Sometimes those Os come from surprising sources. “I was in the hotel’s hot tub when I flipped around to order a drink and inadvertently discovered perfect jet placement. Before I could say piña colada, the water pressure had sent me over the edge.”
–Courtney, 19

“In the car, I keep my cell between my legs. One drive home, I was pissed at my guy so I refused to answer his calls. I guess he was worried — he was pretty persistent. Luckily, the phone was on vibrate.”
–Allie, 26

“I bought my jeans a size too small because they stretch, but I should’ve broken them in before class. Halfway through a lecture, my pants were practically molesting me. I had to excuse myself.”
–Nat, 21

“My waxer moves my panties around as she works. One time, she pulled them up out of the way so she could get to the sides. The friction made me forget that Brazilians are supposed to be painful.”
–Sarah, 32

Lisa Chudnofsky
Guide to solo sex

inpantsscreamWednesday_scream_Virgil Finlay

The Curse of the Werewolf

The Curse of the Werewolf

Phantom of the opera

Phantom of the opera

The Adventures of Sweet Gwendoline

The Adventures of Sweet Gwendoline

you’re the house…

February 8, 2016


You become a house where the wind blows straight through, because no one bothers the crack in the window or lock on the door, and you’re the house where people come and go as they please, because you’re simply too unimpressed to care. You let people in who you really shouldn’t let in, and you let them walk around for a while, use your bed and use your books, and await the day when they simply get bored and leave. You’re still not bothered, though you knew they shouldn’t have been let in in the first place, but still you just sit there, apathetic like a beggar in the desert.

Charlotte Eriksson
You’re Doing Just Fine

kiss your wounds…

February 8, 2016


I’m often difficult to love. I go through dark periods like the moon and I hide from myself. But I promise I will kiss your wounds when they’re hurting. Even if they’re in your soul, I can find them with the light in my fingertips. I will lead you to the river so you can remember how beautiful it feels to be moved by something that is out of your control. And when our dark periods match, we can breathe with the grass and look at the night sky. The stars will remind us of the beauty in our struggles and we won’t feel lost anymore.

Emery Allen


“Pet, so far we’ve been playing at this. I’m going to take you a bit further. A play spanking can be erotic but I am going to take you flying, so high you’ll never have felt anything like it.” He paused and strolled around the kneeling boy. Damian pulled his hands together behind his back and linked the D rings on the cuffs. “Feel how helpless you are, on your knees to me, waiting for me to decide what to do to you?”

Catt Ford
A Strong Hand