by Cleo Nuckels

I am the new $1.29 Nacho Fries. I am the commercial about them on ABC. I am eating them in my car in the Kroger parking lot.

I am Kroger-brand cat litter that only costs a few bucks because it comes in a bag, but it spills…

Cleo Nuckels

Marty is lonely, he’s broke, he’s ugly, he’s mean. He’s the type of guy that you hope you never become. He’s lost in the midwest in an endless purgatory of bland offices, convenience stores and messy basements.

You can either be disgusted or intrigued when he pours Cool…

It was Saturday morning, which meant Felix and I woke up groggy at 9 a.m.

His phone alarm was never enough to wake him up. So, I rolled over in bed and started shaking him real hard. He groaned. I pinched his nose. He sputtered. I slapped him and said…

Joey and Doug. Those were the two guys that shoveled the mud. They did other things sometimes, but today, they were shoveling mud.

It was a simple task, assigned by the boss as he sat at that white round plastic table surrounded by folding chairs, glaring at the cigarettes dangling…

“Dude, there’s this huge sword stuck in a rock behind the Seven Eleven,” said Marlon, always a little too loud.

Arthur inserted a bony finger in each ear. Everything about him was bony. His kneecaps poked through his legs, poorly designed levers that carried his torso around like mechanized bendy…

I knew three police officers by name. Arvin, Dave, and Mark. …

black shoes,

under canopy of four

glowing bare feet:

i’m sorry if i offended you.

my black shoes

left alone,

my safety,

my home!

when will i take

your comfort

again?

my black shoes

still in her bedroom.

i bet you

felt history beneath you.

Other Boys’ Shoes

in your…

The heart of everything

Practiced its averted glances

For my pleasure. I see how

They stare.

These white blood cells attack me:

The Disease That Won’t Stop Smiling.

I weave in and out of drug deals,

The thread tying their whole empire together.

The winners, the ones who look

Ashamed, who turn down their eyes,

Who have nothing but vitamins

In their Coursing-River Urine.

When I enter the bathroom,

Trumpets flourishing,

The mice all make way for Queen Rat, and I

Lift up my skirt to piss all over their

Shiny White Urinal.

The tax collector arrived, a stormy look on his face. He came too close to me.

“How many tickets did you sell?” Brett asked. I may as well have been sitting in a dank fluorescent room with folding chairs and a two-way mirror. Tickets sold: one.

“What the Hell, man…

The slap of concrete, a heel turn.

Ours is a mean garbage scream,

An attack sent inward,

A mess to be cleaned up later,

Left on our dashboards.

An ancestral moan,

Ragged breath and moan again.

We are a footstep,

The slap of concrete,

A heel turn.

We are dead

On apathetic arrival,

Until we live

In those nice apartments

Until we live,

Declared sick

Until we live.

We are living

On each other’s couches

We don’t get off the couch

Until the mailman shakes his head.

Baby, we’re a trash pile

Burning like lungs

& the hallucinations,

Burning until

We remember that it’s

Too hard to live for free

& we aren’t hard.

Baby, we are melting.

We are nothing.

We are garbage.

Why I Cried

didn’t your mama ever teach you how to cry, boy?

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