August 31, 2010

“Ghosts and the Show” by Dan Vierck

             It’s easy, it’s nice. Gideon lives not far from the store, six city blocks. The pizza place red, the thread place bluish, the bong place black, green, the video store purple, the leather place black, red. Seeing himself in the windows, hunched looking mysterious and cool, brooding – the young man. Hoodie, hat, Zune, shoes and out. Hands in his pockets, looking cool. Walking and brooding, easy and nice.
             The woman begins to sing. That’s how “I Remember” begins. Damien Rice’s “I Remember” from O. He remembers Liz. Lost now, but when he found her it was in the bowling alley. Love for the first time, at Varsity Lanes. Both are sirens, sound and sight. Both are bewitching and irresistible, go ahead and try. Walking, listening, he’s trying to avoid even this, this thing like a trap, the ambush of how he remembers things. Maybe if he skips ahead before, no, it’s too late already. Tricked. Memory strong enough here to distract him from walking in a straight line.
             Gideon to his friend at Varsity Lanes: Is she a model? Continue reading

August 24, 2010

“Sleeping Poorly” by Vanessa Bossard

“Sleeping Poorly; or How Eudora, Warren, and Alice Came to Terrible Disappointment in the East Village” by Vanessa Bossard


             Eudora did not smell like pee.  Nor was she a drunk.  Nor, unfortunately, was she drunk.  Had Eudora been drunk, she probably would have been able to feel her fingers – and might well have smelled of pee.  As it was, the sadly sober Eudora soberly canvassed Indian Row – the twelfth block so canvassed – for a car with an unlocked door.  “Paranoid New Yorkers,” she thought.  “Gimme a Jersey plate.”
             Several cars down she spotted one attached to a silver, convertible Mini Cooper.  The door was unlocked.  Cold and bored with the search, Eudora felt a relief similar, perhaps, to that of one interrupted during a halfhearted suicide attempt – at once, great and grating.  “Fucking Mini,” she said aloud.  “Crunchy, green crap . . . maybe I’ll find some wheatgrass juice.”  She opened the door, pushed the passenger seat forward, and squeezed her 220-pound body headfirst, facedown into the back.  The fit was snug, the door ajar. Continue reading

August 17, 2010

“Lines Overheard at the Spuyten Duyvil” by Danielle Mebert

“I haven’t been really into any other
artist in a long time.  He’s the first
I’ve really been excited about,
the first to be doing something really…”

“…artists in a long line, but he’s the first
to use shit and urine in his work,
the first to do something really
innovative with solid and liquid excrement…”

“…to smear shit and urine on the walls
when he overturned his potty chair?
‘But he used solid and liquid excrement!’
my sister said.  My nephew is headed from…”

“…he overturned his potty chair
and then hit the nurse, giving her a nice bruise,
my sister said.  My father is headed from
his golden years to his dark ages…”

“…hit on the nurse looking at my bruise,
but it turned out she had tufts, I mean,
golden piles of pit hair right out of the Dark Ages.
She turned me down, thank God…”

“…but at the last minute she got into Tufts.  I mean,
this was the girl we wanted, the one
who turned us down suddenly.  Thank God
we found Cindy to care for him instead.

“…it was a girl they wanted.  The one
thing my sister hoped and prayed for was a girl.
She’d have named him Cindy instead
of Sidney.  What a terror he’ll turn out to be…”

“…the thing he hoped for was a hot girl
to be part of his living art.  He found this girl,
Sydney. What a terror she turned out to be;
she refuses to do anything with excrement or blood…”

“…like he’s a piece of living art.  He looks like a girl
in this picture I found.  But his music is so raw—
you’ve seen the album cover where he’s covered in blood—
His music is raw and pure at the same time.”

In this picture I found, the figures are raw.
I’m an observer in the scene; I’m excited about it.
The music of a bar is pure and raw at the same time,
though I haven’t been really into any others.

August 17, 2010

“Odds” by Danielle Mebert

I. Warm Up/Review

If there are five cookies on a plate
and you eat three,
then you
do exactly
what I know you to do
and I
am left with the mouse’s share of cookies.

II. Alternative Methods of Attacking the Problem

I would take one for the team
and offer you
the odd cookie out,
but you don’t give me the chance.
I would suggest
cookie three be halved,
at least.

III. Conditions

In this relationship,
let y be greater than x
and the relationship between y and x
be expressed as

V. Practice Exercises/Solutions

If you have y cookies,
I have x.
If you have six,
I have five.
If you have 145,
I have but a gross.
Let x equal “I.”

VI. Conclusions

X is always at a loss.
X am always at a loss.


Danielle Mebert is currently pursuing her MFA in poetry and teaches Introduction to Creative Writing at Adelphi University where she previously earned her BA and MA.  She is a former middle school English teacher and has been published in or has work forthcoming from Barefoot Muse, Gloom Cupboard and Writers’ Bloc. In addition to her teaching duties and studies, Danielle is an assistant editor at Opium Magazine, maintains a blog for the Creative Writing Program, and oversees Adelphi’s online book club. Danielle lives on Long Island, but dreams of living in any borough but Queens or Staten Island. When nervous, she breathes in dactyls.

August 10, 2010

“Sometimes I’m Happy” by Allen Kopp

             Mabel Gladney had been down to the little market and was on her way back home, pulling her wheeled basket. One of the wheels had developed a squeak that it didn’t have before. In the basket were milk, bread, a one-pound bag of peanuts in the shell, light bulbs, cat food, a carton of Lucky Strike cigarettes with filter tips, and a romance magazine. She would have to hide the magazine as soon as she got home and not let anybody see it.

            About halfway home, she stopped on a corner in the shelter of an overgrown cedar tree to rest for a minute and get a quick look at the magazine. She looked around to see if anybody was coming and, seeing no one, opened the magazine to a random page. There was a story entitled “How to Improve Your Love Life,” with a big picture that covered a whole page. In the picture, a man and a woman were sitting on a couch in front of a fire looking into each other’s eyes.  The woman was wearing a low-cut red dress and had hair the color of a lemon. The man had shiny black hair streaked with gray and an eye patch over one eye, making him look sinister and foreign. If he spoke, Mabel thought, he would have a voice like Conrad Veidt. A few pages over was another story, “I am in Love with My Father Confessor and Afraid My Husband is Going to Find Out.” She read the first few sentences of that story, but stopped reading when she heard somebody coming. Continue reading

August 3, 2010

“An Antique Chinese Red Chest” by Robert Duvall

My red lacquered Chinese chest sits there
older than it was when I bought it
from an asphalt lot made over for Saturday sales,
too big for the room, too red, and not
very useful, except for stockpiled sweaters
including the old red one with a moth hole
that once was my favorite in college,

so running my hand over the smooth surface
as if the lacquer could cover a secret,
I wonder what it was like in old China,
long before Red China, when warlords made
war with bronze axes blood red
then forced themselves for a moment
on diminutive women in bound feet,
while craftsmen fit the wood parts perfectly
obviating any lines or joints, and making
of one block of red a timeless thing,

and I wonder, did those old men dipping
their brushes like quill pens in red ink

for the finish, and their chop, think of growing old,
or of battle, or women they wanted, or only the work.

Robert Duvall is a lapsed professor of English, a passionate opera fan and frustrated tennis player, who lives in New York, where he loves to walk, watch, and write.

July 27, 2010

“The Blizzard” by Rita Buckley

Joan Robinson ran her 35-year-old eyes over Mike, the 21-year-old nephew of her best friend Ennis, and liked what she saw. Very tasty, she thought.  It was an ideal situation, everyone caught in a blizzard, here for the night, in a beautifully restored farmhouse in Vermont, with a crackling fire in the hearth, and plenty of booze and weed to go around.


Roger Robinson ran his eyes over Missy, Mike’s 18-year-old girlfriend, and liked what he saw. The thought that she was too young for a chubby middle-aged sales manager briefly crossed his mind, but he dismissed it out of hand. You’re as old as you feel, he told himself. His dick snickered.”That’s what you think,” it said.


Will and Babette, the ghosts who shared the farmhouse with its new owners, Ennis and Bob Walcott, sat on top of the flat panel TV watching the guests. The restoration had not only saved their drafty old home from a wrecking ball, it kept their long-dead asses off the street and revived their urges for intimate acts with sleeping people. As they watched the group eat, drink, and smoke, Babette took a liking to Mike, while Will, who had a yen for older women, set his one eye on Joan.   Continue reading

July 20, 2010

“Spring at the Norwegian Farm” by Kaite Hillenbrand

Kirsti says she’s sick of eggs,
paid in dozens at the farm,
omelets every day and no money
for much else. She returns to Edinburgh
loving goats, sweet little things,
and smart. She delivered litter
after litter, picked one for a pet.

She smiles and scratches her arm.
Her sweater belonged to John Cleese,
she reminds us in rising pitch.
It hangs on her to mid-thigh,
sleeves rolled to her knuckles,
fingers peeking from woolen caves.
She borrowed it when she dated his stepson,
kept it when they broke up.
That’s her story, anyway.
She stuffs a slice of raw bacon in her mouth.

The dams snubbed an orphan
until the farm vets taught Kirsti
to cut the skin from a stillborn runt
and hang it, uncleaned,
from the shoulders and face
of the hungry kid. Saddled
with the small pelt slimy
with birth, the survivor
smelled enough like the runt
for his adopted dam to nurse him.

Kirsti’s cheeks flush.
The farmer slaughtered her pet
along with the rest.
This will be her job:
keep alive the knock-kneed babies,
agile does and billies,
nurse them meaty and milky.
Accept eggs and cheese as payment.
Be practical, stoic, in an age
when we pretend it’s not death
we crave consuming.

Kaite Hillenbrand is the Poetry Editor of Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, and she teaches English at Waynesburg University in Waynesburg, PA. She earned her MFA in Poetry from the University of California, Riverside, and she earned her MA in Literature from WVU. She feels rooted in West Virginia’s landscape, and her poetry often reflects that. Her poetry was most recently published in Kestrel and is forthcoming in Writers’ Bloc, and a recent interview with her appears online at The Bees Knees.

July 13, 2010

“In Which Her Dad Stops” by Justin Edwards

              Joel didn’t feel like driving anymore, so he stopped the car in the middle of the lane.
             “What are you doing?” his daughter, Cynthia, asked.
             She was a middle-aged woman, and he often thought that her passing years were the very things forcing him into old age.
             “You weigh on me,” he would sometimes say to her.
             “I don’t feeling like driving anymore,” he said to her. Since the stopping of the car, she had yet to look at him, but was, instead, looking around for a physical reason.
             “But Dad, you can’t…” Continue reading

July 3, 2010

Welcome to Buzzard Picnic on WordPress

Because literature cannot and does not exist in a vacuum–rather, it is a reactionary and constantly expanding realm of the human experience–Buzzard Picnic aims to test the boundaries of publishing by experimenting with the myriad platforms that the internet has to offer. The opinion of the editors is that a quarterly, issue-based format can feel stagnant, as it anchors itself to the limitations of traditional print media. Therefore, in our quest to present you with quality writing in a variety of interesting and satisfying ways, we here at BP will henceforth be trying out different formats and visions. As always, we exist to serve you, an evermore sophisticated reading audience. Please let us know what works for you and what doesn’t. Comments, thoughts and feedback are always appreciated.

We invite you to spread a blanket, get comfy and dig in once a week as new content is published for your reading pleasure.