Hold the body upright and make sure that the orifices on either end are free of obstruction. The carcass should be disemboweled, and the inner cavity rinsed clean with hot water. The mouth should be sewn shut with a coarse thread. Do not let the whimpering deter you. It will soon cease. Thrashing about is normal for a period of up to eight minutes. If it persists beyond this time allotment contact your seller.

The anterior orifice can be stuffed with any number of things: apples, peeled garlic, shame, humiliation, grief, onion and peppers for added heat. Sew it up. Nice and tight. And youโ€™re good to go.

Set your oven to Broil and Preheat to 240 degrees Celsius. Getting a body of this size into the cooker can be a real undertaking so be sure to enlist some help if needed. Cook for 8 โ€“ 12 hours checking halfway through. The skin will pucker and blacken. Once the skin is crispy, and the juice of the flesh beneath runs clear, you know itโ€™s ready. Serve on a flat cutting board. Carve from the neck to groin and remove all bones as you come to them. Garnish with recrimination, coriander, grief, and brine pickles. Enjoy!

Script Kiddie

Stealing faces is an old trade. Revenge is not masked, itโ€™s bald-faced and has a gracious arc to it. For a kid, the dissolution of the self is a tough concept to grasp. You thought you were who you were, but actually you are someone else โ€” and I am you. Vandalism is a form of high praise these days. Especially with an ego as big as yours. You wonโ€™t find my info lying around where just anyone can get at it. Itโ€™s behind several cryptic keyboard strokes. Luckily, there is a carapace of hope built into each breathless interaction. And we all know how fragile that is. โ€œProtect yourself at all times,โ€ is the byword.

Refresh to See

Tell your Hollywood friend it isnโ€™t only about fornication and getting likes. Itโ€™s about the soft tissue and sweet nothings whispered on a sandy beach. Havoc can play out in a second around here, throwing all those starry-eyed dreams awry, and leave us reeling. People donโ€™t consider that when moving out West. Nah, they leave those nearest and dearest behind without ever looking back. Soon their heads are filled with casting calls, liposuction, and child grooming โ€” never considering for a second that the ground is liquid beneath our feet and balance our only friend.

Flutter Boi

The songbirds are back. Flitting about the feeder that we hung in our old cherry tree. Knobbly old arthritic bones bent upward โ€“ folded supplicate for the sunโ€™s warmth and mercy. Winter was a caustic one. All shredded voices full of recriminations and spite. Icy days spent trudging through the park with kids. Their zeal at finding a puddle and cracking it open with the heel of their boots. Youโ€™ve opened me up. My body rent asunder. And when the thaw begins there will be healing for some โ€“ but not for me. My body cavity will wild. Long dirty fingernails reaching up from beneath the ground to pierce my hide, and from forced entry, render a place of fecundity. A place to light. A place of respite from a long migratory voyage. 

Children will run and scream chasing one another over and around me. Shat seeds will lodge and take root in my exposed chest. Animals will frolic and rut before my silent witness. And the songbirds will join in chorus at my demise, singing a cautionary tale of pride and arrogance gone awry. 

The Vogue for Flatness

You’ve got better lips than me but thatโ€™s not an invitation to get fresh young man. Take your chances where you can I guess and plant your flag right smack dab in the middle of this pile of corpses โ€“ even if that makes you a conqueror. We won’t hold that against you, oh no. Your crest rides higher than the others and brings its weight in that sweet gold swag. Sacks and sacks of the stuff spilling out all over the floor and into my bedroom where you lay all resplendent and bronzed in the mid-summer shafts of light, your attention caught up in a gaming loop that Sega could never monetize. But this is a throwback cartridge game, called the Aged, and there is a shock of white hair on the screen as you walk an elderly woman across traffic in a moment of virtual care. The desultory fan canโ€™t dry the sweat beading up on your back any more than I can get any closer to you. The smell of you, the heat coming off of you, and the coming evening with its promise of cold beer and the company of others, our backs against a wooden fence line sharing a red silo cup at a kegger. Then taking the twist and turn of backroads home riding over the crests of these hills, the streets littered with the dead awaiting the morning pick-up. Back home again fucking around smoking a joint in a Conquistador’s helmet and slow dancing to an old one when you lean in, lips first, and the imagined becomes reality.

Judson Hamilton lives in Wroclaw, Poland. He is the author of the books ‘Gross in Feather, Loud in Voiceโ€™, โ€˜The New Make-Believeโ€™ and several poetry chapbooks.

*Image credit: โ€˜Un condamnรฉ ร  mort s’est รฉchappรฉ ou Le vent souffle oรน il veutโ€™, Robert Bresson, 1956.