Sally Forth

Hey, remember The Fourth of July, 2003? We don't, but found this in our archives:

Fourth of July Fourthiness.

Independence is on the march, patriots.

& Recently . . .

Kurt Cobain's Ghost with an Invitation to a Fourth of July Picnic and Fireworks by Angela Genusa

"B.L.T.": A Review by Will Layman

Ten Tiny Poems by Brian Beatty

Angry Words from a Gnome Who to This Day Continues to Think the Human Genome Project Was Actually The Human Gnome Project by David Ng

Key Party, N.Y.C., Circa Always by William K. Burnette

A Day on the Phone with Mythological Norse Firewarrior, Bringer of Storms by Aaron Belz

Polish Fact

Local long-form name:
Rzeczpospolita Polska
(The Republic of Poland)

Learn a Foreign Tongue!

Parlez-Vous Français!
Les filles gros-basées, vous faites le monde basculant circuler.
Fat-bottomed girls, you make the rockin' world go 'round.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2003   |    Fiction

On Values and Other Positions

by Karen Ashburner

My room is hot. My room is hot and I have spent the last five minutes staring at my bracelet. My bracelet is old and the chain is made of some kind of metal that is supposed to look like silver; I bought it at an antique store for twenty dollars, I think it is worth about fifty cents. If I had fifty cents in my pocket I would spend it. I would turn my pockets inside out and gather up this fifty cents with all the other pennies and dimes and nickels that are scattered about my hot room and I would run to the store and buy a pack of cigarettes even though I don’t smoke anymore and I don’t own an ashtray. I would buy the unfiltered kind of cigarettes that make your lungs hurt the next morning because my lungs are bad and they need to be punished. My lungs go up and down all day long, they never stop. They are irritatingly repetitive; they are spoiled. I would flip my ashes onto the floor or into an old Coke can that I could surely find shoved underneath my bed along with my old college yearbook, three or four pairs of dirty socks, a worn out portable CD player and my vibrator.

I would light these cigarettes with matches, the kind with the red and white tip that you strike on the side of a box because lighters are for pussies and I always liked the smell of a burning match and the way you have to push those matches out of the box, in their little drawer, as if the box were a tiny chest filled with something important from the past. Then I would inhale deeply because there are lungs in China that would kill for the prosperity and clean air available in my hot room. But my lungs and fingers aren’t satisfied with clean air and prosperity; they want enduring, irrational emotional involvement; they want intellectually progressive and complex joint activity; they want to drag and flip; they want to wheeze and cough and regret the things done in a hot room the night before. They are just like my thoughtless hands, my careless arms and my insensitive wrists, always thinking of themselves; they don’t deserve this beautiful antique bracelet. They don’t deserve this silver-like chain or the iridescent, blue plastic gemstones that sit happily on top and shine like polished marbles. They are irrational and difficult to please, like my mouth, always stealing from strangers, always complaining about the heat.

Karen Ashburner is the poetry editor at Dicey Brown, and she sometimes teaches composition to pay the rent. You can find her work right here on Y.P.R., and also here on Eyeshot, here on Word Riot, here on the Absinthe Literary Review, here on, and some other places you'll have to find yourself.