An international online magazine that publishes Surrealist poetry in English.
Early morning on Pleasant Street, a burly cop in plainclothes flashed his badge in my face. "Malik Jones, you're under arrest." "I'm not Malik Jones," I answered and attempted to walk around him, but he blocked my path. A women dressed in a work outfit speeded up as she walked past. I took out my wallet to show him who I am, but he grabbed it from me, riffling through it. "You have nine different drivers licenses all with different names," he said. "And your photo is on each of them." "Ten," I answered, "but not one of them has the name Malik Jones." The sun shone in his face. He was a pleasant looking man with blue eyes and husky eyebrows. He didn't have a gun, and his jacket and pants were rather scruffy. "What did Malik do?" I asked. "Plenty," he said. "You should know." The sidewalk was becoming crowded with people. Many glanced at us, but not one of them stopped to see if something was wrong. Shops lit up on both sides of the street. Pigeons poked around for food under the high curbs. He clamped my forearm with a vicious grip and led me to the station. Inside the door, several cops sprang forward. Separating the burly man and me, they cuffed him for impersonating an officer. "Could have fooled me," I said. "We're sorry this happened." When I headed for the door, they stopped me, and one officer took out his gun. "What did I do?" "Nothing," they said, "but you have ten identities." "Since when is that a crime?" I asked. They looked at one another and then back at me, puzzled. "You've got a point," the officer with the gun said. "However, an arrest is an arrest." They locked me up and then they sent out their best men to catch Malik.
Never Look a Horse
The horse gives you a gift—another horse. You open its mouth and look in. Inside the gift horse is another horse. This horse has silvery wings folded against its body. You reach in and pull a horse out of the horse. Now there are three horses, and then you look into the mouth of the horse with wings, and another horse climbs out on its own. "Never look a gift horse in the mouth," they say. So you tell yourself to stop, let it go, but you can't resist opening the next horse's lips, and then you do the same with another horse. You've never ridden a horse or even fed one sugar from the palm of your hand or touched a horse's warm barrel chest, swelling and contracting. You've never even let a horse breathe gently into your face. Soon, a whole herd of horses stands in front of you, their angry faces rising up.
The Boy in the Closet
The boy in the closet squeezes the metal hangers until they no longer resemble large flat birds,
until the bottom wires touch the top. Then he unscrews the hooks, and each hanger becomes a rectangle of wire. When he completes his task, his finger bleed, and there is blood staining everything he touches, for which he will be punished later. The boy closes his eyes and counts to 10, but when he opens his eyes, he's still in the closet. He can see different shades of darkness and the light on the hall floor. He knocks but no one comes to open the door. He thinks he hears voices murmuring, the sound of newspapers beating their wings, people in boats paddling over the windy lake, but the lake is miles away. He thinks he hears a car pulling into the driveway over and over again. "Come back," the boy says, and his older friend crouches beside him. "Open the door," the boy says. "I can't," the friend answers. "But you can pass through walls." "So can you. Just imagine yourself without your body." The boy imagines himself without a body and walks out of the closet, past the witch who locked him in, reciting a spell over a pot of stew, and past her beautiful red-haired daughter with her pearly eyes, who sews the stuffing back into her cloth doll so she can rip it apart again.
Jeff Friedman is from New Hampshire. He is the author of eight poetry collections, including Pretenders (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2014), Floating Tales (Plume Editions/MadHat Press, 2017), and The Marksman (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2020). His poems, mini tales and translations have appeared in American Poetry Review, Poetry, New England Review, Poetry International, Hotel Amerika, SurVision, Flash Fiction Funny, Flash Nonfiction Funny, Fiction International, New World Writing. The New Republic, etc.