Salt Hill is a literary journal publishing outstanding new fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction and art. Now over 15 years old, the magazine is published by writers affiliated with the Creative Writing Program at Syracuse University.
Fetching killjoy Mavis Wax was probed on the quay.
“Yo, never mix Zoloft with Quik,” gabs Doc Jasper.
One zany quaff is vodka mixed with grape juice and blood.
Zitty Vicki smugly quipped in her journal, “Fay waxes her butt.”
Hot Wendy gave me quasi-Kreutzfeld-Jacob pox.
Jack’s pervy moxie quashed Bob’s new Liszt fugue.
I backed Zevy’s qualms over Janet’s wig of phlox.
Tipsy Bangkok panjandrums fix elections with quivering zeal.
Mexican juntas, viewed in fog, piqued Zachary, killed Rob.
Jaywalking Zulu chieftains vex probate judge Marcy Quinn.
Twenty-six Excedrin helped give Jocko quite a firm buzz.
Racy pics of bed hijinx with glam queen sunk Val.hy Paxil? Jim’s Bodega stocked no quince-flavor Pez.
Wavy-haired quints of El Paz mock Jorge by fax.
Two phony quacks of God bi-exorcize evil mojo.
What joker put seven dog lice in my Iraqi fez box?
From Video Game Hints, Tricks, and Cheats. Lennon’s story “Strawberries” appears in Salt Hill 29.
Our Father has his head in his hands, he is weeping into his hands, he is rubbing his eyes with the back of his gloves riddled with fiber glass and wood splinters and mud mud mud and wiping his hands on the backs of his pants that we cannot tell are jeans until much later when our Mother has to cut them off of his legs because they are melted and singed and gristled on his body and he is laughing laughing laughing and weeping weeping, he is weeping when we enter the room. Mother is holding him like a baby, cradling his head on her chest like a frothy infant, they are a uroboros together, wedded in weeping and laughing, they are both weeping and both laughing and speaking softly and Father is filled with soot and ash and smoke and mud and dirt and stink and now Mother’s dress is filled with soot and ash and smoke and mud and dirt and stink and Father’s hair is standing up on end and matted and there is a smell of burnt hair on everything, burnt wood on everything, burnt garbage, sweet like animal flesh, on everything everything. He is yelling now, he is yelling and kicking the blankets on the bed and the sheets are getting dirty and the comforters are dirty and all of the blankets and he is kicking the blankets off the bed and he is soiling every surface, the only clean part of his person are his eyes where he was wearing goggles that could not withstand heat as evidenced by the warp in the middle of them. We are told to go away and to come back and to go away and to get back here by our Father and we shut the bedroom door and take turns putting on the goggles and making faces in the bathroom mirrors, faces with one side completely black, fried, bubbled, uneven, sunken in and shattered.
Courtesy of Everyday Genius. Katie Jean Shinkle is the 2011 winner of the Calvino Prize, which is printed each year in the spring issue of Salt Hill. Further excerpts of this work—The Show Must Go On—appear in Salt Hill 29.
by Caroline Cabrera
You’re a robot, but I keep trying to fill up your chest.
I hate an empty cage, the way all that space
just rattles around, the way there’s almost enough room
for a garden, a complex system—
that potato is heart-sized;
those roots are growing down just like I’d imagined.
You corrode. You are made of such elements.
I oil your joints with Coca-Cola and you shine
so much I get mad and you get metal.
I laugh and you metal.
I love you, I say.
But I don’t understand, you say.
You zoom around the apartment finishing all my chores.
You let me read my emails from the screen in your belly.
Sometimes you sleep in the storage closet
with my vacuum cleaner,
but you’re no good for cuddling, anyway.
You can make really beautiful sounds
and imitate almost every animal.;
If I pet your head, you coo like a peacock,
and I think this is pretty much like love, anyway.
We are the simplest machines.
You send me pictures of hydrangeas.
You send a message from our operator.
It says I’m a robot too,
programmed not to know I’m a robot.
You encoded the message so I can’t read it.
I polish my face. We’re getting ready for a party.
Courtesy of H_NGM_AN, look for more work from Cabrera in Salt Hill 29
“Even though I know better than to trust appearances, especially posed, studio-airbrushed, heathered-backdrop appearances, still: the Gal-Chens had the look of a happy family. Maybe not particularly sophisticated, or good-looking, or fashionable, but still, happy. Even now I do not know if that was, or is, true or not. If they were, indeed, happy. But who can ever really know about anyone’s happiness, even one’s own? And if another woman can have the appearance of Rema, then perhaps I should by now be giving up on appearances entirely. But with that photo it was more than just an appearance, it was also a feeling, a family feeling. A feeling that at least seemed to be responding to something beyond mere appearance, though at times such “feelings”—such limbic system instinctual responses—are the most superficial and anachronistic of all, like the feeling a baby duck must have when it responds more strongly to a stick painted red than to the beak of its own mother.”
-Rivka Galchen, Atmospheric Disturbances
Stay tuned for Danny Magariel’s interview with Rivka Galchen from Salt Hill 29.
Where do you like to start your stories? In scene, with dialogue?
Often I start them in the bath. Oh, I see. I think Sam Goldwyn said you should start with an explosion and build up to a climax. I like to start with a social dilemma and build to an apotheosis.
Does the character of Roy Orbison secretly already know he’s about to be wrapped in clingfilm before it even happens?
No, I do not think so, for the fact is that even I as the author am often surprised when it happens. I set out to explore a situation with strict impartiality, you know, as a scientist might run an experiment, only with characters rather than test-tubes, and I do not know where it will lead. When it leads to Roy Orbison being wrapped in clingfilm, of course, it is always a eureka moment.
What’s the key to a successful fan-fic story?
Truth, a pitiless searing honesty. No one must doubt that that is how Roy Orbison would behave if he was wrapped up in clingfilm or how David Hasselhoff would act if he was a mercenary werewolf or what The Supreme Dalek would say if he went to bed with Erik Estrada.
(Source: Vice Magazine)
Check out Ulrich Haarbürste’s very first Roy in Clingfilm story. Salt Hill 29 features a new installment in the series!
You can also read an interview with Haarbürste over at Vice.
It always starts the same way. I am in the garden airing my terrapin Jetta when he walks past my gate, that mysterious man in black.
‘Hello Roy,’ I say. ‘What are you doing in Dusseldorf?’
‘Attending to certain matters,’ he replies.
‘Ah,’ I say.
He apprises Jetta’s lines with a keen eye. ‘That is a well-groomed terrapin,’ he says.
‘Her name is Jetta.’ I say. ‘Perhaps you would like to come inside?’
‘Very well.’ He says.
Roy Orbison walks inside my house and sits down on my couch. We talk urbanely of various issues of the day. Presently I say, ‘Perhaps you would like to see my cling-film?’
‘By all means.’ I cannot see his eyes through his trademark dark glasses and I have no idea if he is merely being polite or if he genuinely has an interest in cling-film.
I bring it from the kitchen, all the rolls of it. ‘I have a surprising amount of clingfilm,’ I say with a nervous laugh. Roy merely nods.
‘I estimate I must have nearly a kilometre in the kitchen alone.’
‘As much as that?’ He says in surprise. ‘So.’
‘Mind you, people do not realize how much is on each roll. I bet that with a single roll alone I could wrap you up entirely.’
Roy Orbison sits impassively like a monochrome Buddha. My palms are sweaty.
‘I will take that bet,’ says Roy. ‘If you succeed I will give you tickets to my new concert. If you fail I will take Jetta, as a lesson to you not to speak boastfully.’
I nod. ‘So then. If you will please to stand.’
Roy stands. ‘Commence.’
I start at the ankles and work up. I am like a spider binding him in my gossamer web. I do it tight with several layers. Soon Roy Orbison stands before me, completely wrapped in cling-film. The pleasure is unexampled.
‘You are completely wrapped in cling-film,’ I say.
‘You win the bet,’ says Roy, muffled. ‘Now unwrap me.’
‘Not for several hours.’
I sit and admire my handiwork for a long time. So as not to make the ordeal unpleasant for him we make small talk on topical subjects, Roy somewhat muffled. At some point I must leave him to attend to Jetta’s needs. When I return I find he has hopped out of my house, still wrapped in cling-film. The loss leaves me broken and pitiful. He never calls me. He sends no tickets. The police come and reprimand me. Jetta is taken away, although I get her back after a complicated legal process.
There is only one thing that can console me. A certain dream, a certain vision…
It always starts the same way.