Trashcan Thoughts

–Pt. 1

I got a hotdog for lunch today since I was stuck at the

airport & felt hungry. They say not to ask what hotdog’s are

made of, but I was curious– always have been– so I asked

the hotdog man, “Hey, man. What are in these things?”

& he said, “Don’t ask” so I dropped the subject matter

completely. I was starvin’ anyway. It could have been made

from a horse’s larynx or Cousin Chuck’s small intestine for

all I cared.

Cousin Chuck died in a vehicular accident 3 years ago. His

wheelchair hit an icy spot on a sidewalk downtown, you

know– that street with the hill– & he slid all the way down

the road, through a glass window, & over a shopping mall

railing, falling 3 stories to his impending death. splat. You

don’t walk away from that.

But ya know? People are falling all the time.  Falling in all

kinds of ways too: falling down, falling in traps, falling for

tricks, falling into folly, falling in love, & falling 3 stories

down a shopping mall.

All people. Everywhere. Are falling.

My vexillologist told me that.

She said Really Everyone: People who wear camo to blend

in, people who go to church on Sundays, people who ride

bikes & collect records, people who sleep in on Sundays, people in

business suits, people in swimsuits, people in hats: (baseball

caps, turbans, top haps, bowler hats, patty hats, skullcaps,

berets, fedoras, yarmulkes), old people without hats to cover their bald

heads, people from other countries who don’t speak like we

do, people from your own house who you barely even know,

& really all the people in your world.

However big or small that may be.

Just like the shoes I bought at Shirley’s Shoe Shop last

Saturday, I told her. Red flag. The left shoe was too big while

the right was too small.

I wrote Shirley a letter:

To Shirley, The Manager, or even Jesus Christ,

            Hello sir & fuck you. I bought some shoes at your

store last Saturday & one was six sizes smaller than the

other. unlike my balls or your wife’s tits, my feet are the

same size. what gives? your shoe store sure shakes. go be

an undertaker or something useful. one size fits all. easy as

gravy. six feet deep, man & I ain’t talkin’ about shoes. If you

don’t trade your shoe laces for cold faces, I’ll shoot & shout

my mouth off so that the talk of the town is how you should

get the boot. kickoff’s about to start. got my chips & beer.

say hi to your wife for me.

   Cordially yours when you’re the last warm body on Earth,

                                   Talon Tate the Talented

–Ted Kendrick

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String Theory

Some people say the Universe is held together by strings.

I don’t have a God-complex, but

If I pulled a certain sequence

Of nanoscopic fibers,

Could I manipulate the stars?

I’m just wondering

If I make Andromeda collapse, or

Push Sirius past the event horizon of

The nearest black hole, or

Force the Eagle Nebula

To birth enough stars

To paint your face on the sky,

Or annihilate the world in a barrage of

Fire and space debris,

Would you notice me then?

Because I’m just about out of theories.

–Alexandra Helms

Submit your work (poetry, short stories, creative writing of any kind, artwork…) to .  Get published!


Don’t Drink the Liquor in Lizard Lick


a funny name—New Bern. Our mayor can trace our history

all the way back to Berne, Swtizerland. Our sister city, you

know. Proudly, we’ll tell you that we used to be the capital

of North Carolina, many moons ago. To New Bernians, the

past is everything.

The future won’t stop haunting me. New car, new

school, new friends. I liked my old ones.

I am lost. My home is an old rusting Mustang, with

memories and victories sewn into the stitching of the leather


The future won’t stop haunting me. Where I’ve been is

no longer who I am. I don’t know what to do about this.

I am lost. I no longer know where my home is.


They say there exists another fearsome little community

in eastern North Carolina that is in love with its history. It is

a place lost in time, where modern technology gives way to

the glory of the past.

The government knows about it, though you may not.

They say cell phone reception is nonexistent, and

people drive Oldsmobiles and station wagons with cherry

wood paneling on the side. They say technology of all kinds

dies a dramatic death when it breathes Lizard Lick air.

Perfectly well-ordered GPSes fall to pieces. Cell phones read

No Signal. Clocks run backwards. They say that time itself

is reversed when you cross the border.

They say that if you get lost anywhere in the continental

U.S.—Frankfort, Carson City, Springfield, Charleston, anywhere

in either of the Dakotas—you just might find yourself

in Lizard Lick, North Carolina.

Don’t Drink the Liquor in

Lizard Lick

Melissa Sibley 103


I am lost. It’s almost nine p.m., and Natasha’s GPS is

all-out malfunctioning, leaving her sputtering and gasping

and recalculating like mad. She’s killing herself trying to

help me, but it is not enough; something is terribly wrong.

Maybe the satellites are down, maybe the magnetic poles

have suddenly switched, or maybe I’ve stumbled into the

world’s shallowest sinkhole, and am now heading straight for

the center of the earth.

Even when going upwards of 50 miles per hour on

some unknown road, Natasha is unnervingly quiet beneath

me. The whole universe is quiet. In the twin blue beams of

the headlights, I can make out the planks of an old-fashioned

wooden fence running alongside the street. In a flash,

I think I see something gleam on the fence, a silvery ripple

of movement. My heartbeat climbs until it overpowers the

blare of the radio. If a world exists beyond the fence, I can’t

see it.

A ridiculous thought spins in my mind: If I still had my

Mustang, this wouldn’t be happening.


Yes, Lizard Lick is famous for its lizards.

They say that the lizards are invincible, but I think even

non-Lizard Lick lizards are in some ways unconquerable.

After all, they can lose huge parts of themselves and still be

able to regrow, stronger and better than before. They say

you can cut off a lizard’s entire tail and it will not bat an eye.

Lizards are special, you see. They have the ability to regenerate

their tails, no matter how many times life—predators,

humans, change—cuts them off.

They say that lizards drop their tails intentionally sometimes,

to distract the predator and lure them away from the

real meal.

Lizards know when it’s time for change……

–Melissa Sibley

Pick up a copy of Headwaters 2014 to read the rest of this award-winning short story, and submit your own work for Headwaters 2015 to !


Pessimism and a Milk Jug (An Ode to Allen Ginsberg)

In a supermarket in California

you once asked that blathering old man

while he ate artichokes, and tasted the psychedelics

of hyper reality for the first time:

what America did you have?

which is something I too think about

when I peek around the loafed breads and

potato chips and see a man just barely hanging on

to the handlebar of an empty grocery cart, bending down

down as far as he can and making the perfect right angle

grasping, grasping, grasping for a single fallen apple.

Misanthropy sits Indian style wearing acid wash

jeans and the sweat that only years of having gut and spunk

and a sturdy pick up truck named Phyllis will give.

A neon fixed gear bicycle rides hi-ho silver and looks real good

with those Ray Bans but shouldn’t be peddlin up those slow

sloping hills,

high speed chasing those rusty Toyota husbands or those

missed connection wives

O Pink girl eating banana

O Nice guy who gave me his yerba mate drink

I too walk with a headache self-conscious looking at the moon,

legs leaned sideways against concrete

half slouched under fluorescent lights transfixed

half in pose for a nude against a backdrop

of the new aesthetic

tip-toeing around distillations of liquid air and

what America did you have and

juxtaposed images of brick walls and egos,

pessimism and a milkjug, multivitamins and monogamy,

distinguishing nothing from nothing.

–Lexie Harvey

Submit your work at!


Some beautiful artwork from Headwaters 2014, out now!


Deborah (Upon seeing her first exhibit in U.S.A.)

Was that you, Arango?

Standing before the hills of your life

you were bare, and on your back: a cross.

There was a place in your eyes:

a child, naked and crying,

still bathed in blood.

There were no mothers,

and the fathers carried

red-cloaked death on their backs.

A fortune teller’s hands

held the silent book of dreams

as her son boarded the final train.

Those who cried your arrival grew silent,

but you were not silenced,

and in your voice, your simple Deborah:

all who died were also alive, rivers bent to your feet,

and finally, a crow rose out of your throat

carrying a snake in its beak.

–Alex Smith


Trashcan Thoughts – Pt. III

…I slipped on my moccasins, put a feather in my hair, &

decided to fuck greatness & fame –

I just wanna be happy.

So I went to work & handed in my 0 weeks notice:

Dear bossman sir,

I went through a metamorphosis today. I’m not

saying I’m a damn butterfly or nothin’ but I’m definitely not

a bug. You can’t squish me no more & I’m mostly talking

about your hand on my ass. Keep my last paycheck. I’m not

coming in to collect it because I don’t need no shiny things.

Buy something nice for that girlfriend you always talk about

but no one’s met or that raccoon I saw out back yesterday.

That trashy little shit would love it.

I put cyanide in the vinaigrette,

Suzy the Savage Server…

–Ted Kendrick

Read “Trashcan Thoughts” in its entirety in Headwaters 2014, to be released this month!


Dignified Sparrow Looking for Weekend Love

A White-Rumped Snowfinch

(Montifringilla Taczanowskii to be precise)

from a fat mother,

from the peak of Beaver Lake’s juniper tree,

where seeds arrive each night at supper

(the depression never struck our nest!)

and from a fine education—

I’ve learned my ways around this town,

I’ve learned the hedges where the crows cackle

By the school, on the mountain roads….

–Mel Holmes

From Headwaters 2014, coming soon to an academic building near you!


Elegy to a Dead Cat on the Side of the Road

You didn’t much chance

now did you little man?

When you ran across the road

and turned back to look,

fish brittle bones

under wheels that crush.

That road you’ve crossed a thousand times,

each crossing, the most dangerous journey

of your life….

–Aaron Romano

Pick up your copy of Headwaters 2014 in Karpen later this month!


Hossanna Americana

In the Deep South, God is a cotton king,

trussed up in plantation whites and powdered over smooth

with a little bit of talcum from Momma’s compact.

He’s the Georgia dust that gets on everything, in everything,

caking the soles of bare feet,

sifting through cracks in church pews,

and catching in your lover’s eyelashes.

In the Deep South, the Devil is a beautiful boy

who swears and cheats at billiards on Sunday.

He is the one who reaches up your skirt,

pulls out the prayers you were saving for someday

and lights them on fire with his tongue.

He will sing hymns while feasting on your forfeit heart,

call you blessed while peeling away dignity like stockings,

then drag you out in front of the church to be stoned….

-Sarah Gibson

Be sure to pick up a copy of Headwaters 2014 later this month, where you can read all of “Hossanna Americana”!

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