collaborative work by

Beth Gilstrap & Jim Warner


Dischord No. 35

You wore open toed shoes to a Sleater-Kinney show like you’ve regressed into a fifteen-
year-old and layered black liner over green on top of electric blue and dotted three
spots of glitter evenly to your spiked hairline only to have it drip in your eyes five
minutes after you start dancing. At the 4am bar across the street from the venue, you
gotta single-file it down salted steps, where someone’s puke has started to freeze and
you wish you’d brought more than forty bucks and an id, tucked into the center of your
bra—thin metal wire the only thing holding you together. You hike up your skirt and
spread your legs wide so you can piss standing up, hoping like hell none of the wet
stink puddled on the concrete touches your feet. You’ll have to sand them down to
bone. You know he’s somewhere out there walking around this city, sending out sonar
pulses like a goddamn submarine. He must be popping in and out of the underground,
taking a train here and there and home again and dear god above it makes you crazy,
the way he spoke your future, the way he bit his lip before he sang, the way he didn’t
peel your jeans off when you locked yourself out of your apartment on the hottest night
of the year. There it goes again, that ping, ping, ping. You drip dry and you’re still
standing there exposed, thinking of tucking your fingers under his motivational
bracelets, the softness of his wrists, and letting the rank air do its job when he comes
tumbling in the door wearing mirrored sunglasses, his wife riding piggyback, her red
hair a fucking halo.

pink flag the public restroom with a busted lock


Revelation 022

Last summer the house burned while I sunned myself on the coast. Lightning hit the
chimney leaving singe stripes across the living room carpet. The fire itself didn’t do
much damage, but smoke and water took over. The place swelled with stink. No
warning before a friend dropped me in front of a tarp-covered house. A summer spent
on couches. The suitcase I’d taken with me. The same six t-shirts washed and worn
over and over. Shredded jeans. Browned arms and legs from never wanting to ask
anyone if I could stay over. When we move back in, I can’t shake the smell of ash. Two
hundred morning walks. Crossing the days off the calendar until I can leave, wondering
if you’ve heard what happened, why you don’t call. Each day I make my legs stronger
because I know I’m going to run. The sweat on my knees matters when I can no longer
say your name and mom’s going to marry a man twelve years her junior. Forget about
the sounds coming from their bedroom. Forget about the letters my brother’s other
friends slip under my door—neatly folded and insincere—the room I paint hunter green
in the middle of the night, burning incense, and begging the universe to make me into
something bold and unhinged. I build a shrine to the yet to come with razor blades and
taper candles, sketchbooks and melted crayon. In the back yard, I sow potatoes and
squash into the earth and come twilight, I sit on the deck steps watching the sky darken
into another storm.

drums and shotguns
pouring whiskey on
ballet slippers


Revelation 075

In the closet, you hid behind puffy coats next to your bottle, curling into yourself like
an armadillo. You still saw yourself as a boy playing make-believe. You had patience
for a drunk or you’d nodded off. We could never tell. We tried to learn not to panic
when we couldn’t find you. We tried not searching. Sometimes waiting it out proved
better. If we could make peanut butter and jelly or climb the counter to get the chips
you kept on top of the fridge, we’d fill our tummies and watch Bewitched reruns until
Saturday Night Live came on. Sometimes we couldn’t help ourselves. We’d open the
door and you’d fall out a corpse, laughing like thunder when we tried slapping the dead
off you. A decade, later, when I was no longer wrapped in tulle, I wouldn’t let one boy
kiss me, but I let his closest friend pour me a cupful of Mad Dog, lead me to a tent, and
take my shirt off. A half-peach moon. An acoustic guitar. A fading campfire. I don’t
remember the rest. Though I’d been cast as Bianca, the boy I didn’t choose dragged
me out of rehearsal to call me a whore. In the moment, I pulled a utility knife from my
back pocket and held it to my arm. He asked me what I was waiting for and when the
afternoon sun caught the auburn in his hair and a particular brown-eyed rage, all I saw
was you.

legal guardian angelfuck


Beth Gilstrap is the author of I Am Barbarella: Stories (2015) from Twelve Winters Press and No Man’s Wild Laura (2016) from Hyacinth Girl Press. She thinks she’s crazy lucky to work as Fiction Editor over at Little Fiction | Big Truths. Her stories & essays have appeared in Noble / Gas Qtrly, WhiskeyPaper, The Minnesota Review, Literary Orphans, and Little Patuxent Review, among others.

Jim Warner's poetry has appeared in various journals including The North American Review, RHINO Poetry, New South, and is the author of two collections (PaperKite Press). His latest book, actual miles, will be released in 2017 by Sundress Publications. Jim is the host of the literary podcast Citizen Lit and is a faculty member of Arcadia University's MFA program.

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