Unlikely 2.0

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Editors' Notes

Maria Damon and Michelle Greenblatt
Jim Leftwich and Michelle Greenblatt
Sheila E. Murphy and Michelle Greenblatt

A Visual Conversation on Michelle Greenblatt's ASHES AND SEEDS with Stephen Harrison, Monika Mori | MOO, Jonathan Penton and Michelle Greenblatt

Letters for Michelle: with work by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Jeffrey Side, Larry Goodell, mark hartenbach, Charles J. Butler, Alexandria Bryan and Brian Kovich

Visual Poetry by Reed Altemus
Poetry by Glen Armstrong
Poetry by Lana Bella
A Eulogic Poem by John M. Bennett
Elegic Poetry by John M. Bennett
Poetry by Wendy Taylor Carlisle
A Eulogy by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Joel Chace
A Spoken Word Poem and Visual Art by K.R. Copeland
A Eulogy by Alan Fyfe
Poetry by Win Harms
Poetry by Carolyn Hembree
Poetry by Cindy Hochman
A Eulogy by Steffen Horstmann
A Eulogic Poem by Dylan Krieger
An Elegic Poem by Dylan Krieger
Visual Art by Donna Kuhn
Poetry by Louise Landes Levi
Poetry by Jim Lineberger
Poetry by Dennis Mahagin
Poetry by Peter Marra
A Eulogy by Frankie Metro
A Song by Alexis Moon and Jonathan Penton
Poetry by Jay Passer
A Eulogy by Jonathan Penton
Visual Poetry by Anne Elezabeth Pluto and Bryson Dean-Gauthier
Visual Art by Marthe Reed
A Eulogy by Gabriel Ricard
Poetry by Alison Ross
A Short Movie by Bernd Sauermann
Poetry by Christopher Shipman
A Spoken Word Poem by Larissa Shmailo
A Eulogic Poem by Jay Sizemore
Elegic Poetry by Jay Sizemore
Poetry by Felino A. Soriano
Visual Art by Jamie Stoneman
Poetry by Ray Succre
Poetry by Yuriy Tarnawsky
A Song by Marc Vincenz

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by Bill Berry
Part 14



The next night Rusty jumped in his car and headed down 8 mile to the only party store in the city that would sell him beer at seventeen. He bought a twelve pack of beer and two packs of Kools and drove down to Cork-town by Tiger Stadium where Karl lived. He pulled down the street and parked the car about three or four houses away from Karl's. The house was dark, and it looked like no one was home. Rusty sat with the radio on, drinking beer and looking at the dark structure. Siouxsie's album Ju-Ju played on the tape deck. Rusty sang along: Following the footsteps of a rag-doll dance we are entranced. He knocked off a few beers this way, singing and watching the house.

After about five beers, he took balls and walked up on the porch. He looked in the bay window. It was dark inside. He knocked. There was no one home. He sat on the front porch for a minute, drinking and looking into the dark house. He imagined Karl sitting in the living room watching TV. He saw Karl in the blue glow of the TV light with his hair down staring into the cathode rays blankly. He saw Karl living in this house, getting drunk and doing cocaine. He imagined himself in the back bedroom with Karl, drinking and getting high. Rusty felt something inside himself. He sang "spellbound, spellbound" to himself softly. He turned to the street and looked out into the hollow city. He drank what was left in the can of beer he held and threw it off into the night. It echoed musically in the chilly autumn evening. He lit up a Kool. There were two things happening on Halloween: a party at some loft downtown and some party with some bands at the The Oven. Karl would be at either place. Rusty had a thought. What would he say if Karl came home and found him on the front porch like this? What would he do? Rusty'd act casual—"oh hey", he'd say. He'd play it off, like he was just stopping by to see what was up. Rusty'd just kind of turn it into something it wasn't, and hope it worked.

Thinking on this fantasy for a moment, his mind went backwards in time. There was a girl, Rhonda, who was on the scene for a minute. She was from the suburbs and was rich, and she liked to do cocaine with the punks, so she'd come downtown to hang out. Everyone who did cocaine, which was most of the scene at this time, knew her—including Karl.

One night, Rhonda had a party. Rusty took a girl from his high school who was white-trash trying to be rock 'n roll cool to the party. Jenny, the white-trash rock 'n roll girl, was wasted drunk and sat in front of Karl and Rusty in Rhonda's tiny downtown apartment, which was littered with punks and drugs. Jenny had a crush on Rusty and wanted to fuck him. Rusty didn't want to, and he scrambled for a way to say no to Jenny without looking crass. There was no way to do it nicely, so he told her the truth—sort of. He said he was gay and in love with Karl. It was the only way he could think of to not hurt Jenny's feelings. Jenny understood, but the drunker she got the more intrigued she became with sleeping with Rusty, the gay punk. She'd turn him, she thought. She'd get him to make love to her, and she'd have him, and that would do it, she thought. That would turn him. But it was there, at Rhonda's in front of Karl where Jenny saw her competition, and she got angry. She blurted out, in front of Karl and everyone, that Rusty was in love with Karl, but needed to fuck her so she could change all that. Rusty was oblivious until Karl decided that he'd heard enough and left with half of the party following him. They were asked to leave shortly after Karl.

In the car, a moment later, Rusty suckled Jenny's breasts and Jenny said to him, "You are sucking a woman's tits," before she passed out. Afterwards, Rusty pulled her shirt back down and drove her home.

Rusty remembered, in a moment, the entire night and felt the memory sink into his stomach. He drew from his cigarette heavily. He knew that Karl would be in either one of two places, so he marched to his car and drove to the The Oven. On the way, he drank two more beers and decided that he'd need another twelve pack before the night was over. He decided that if Karl weren't at the The Oven, he'd double back to 8 mile and pick up more beer before heading back again downtown.

Spooky was at the The Oven with a couple of new punks. She invited Rusty to sit and hang out, but he was too busy to hang. Spooky wondered what was up, but Rusty wasn't talking. She looked at him carefully, knowing that he was drunk. Spooky wasn't a drinker, nor was she a drugger, but she did on occasion smoke grass. She asked Rusty carefully if he were okay and Rusty insisted that he was. Spooky didn't push it further. She urged Rusty, once more, to sit, but nothing doing. Rusty said goodbye and left.

After stopping to get more beer, Rusty found his way through the maze of streets and downtown to the party, where, for a brief moment, Karl passed him on the elevator as Rusty got out to go into the loft where everyone was hanging. Karl was leaving and Rusty was arriving—too late. Furious, Rusty left the party and stumbled back to the car. In his drunken rage, he folded inward. More Siouxsie: Into the light, I see it fine. Into the light, our hearts entwined. Remember when. The rage Rusty felt channeled into his drunken sex. He thought of Skin and Six. He thought about Karl and how much he'd like to stagger into a peepshow with him like Six and Skin. He thought of Skin and how badly he loved him. He thought of Six and Six's desire for him—a desire based on pity, Rusty decided. A pity fuck, that was Rusty's doom. Pity. He squinted his way through the tunnel of the city back to 8 Mile, where he decided to stop at The Den—a peep-show that featured booths with glory holes in the walls.

Once inside, Rusty thrust his cock through a hole in the wall while he shoved drunken quarters into the machine that loosed the pornography into the small booth. More Siouxsie: fuck the mothers kill the others. Fuck the others kill the mothers. This was the show that splayed before Rusty as he felt the soft wet of a mouth around his cock. He closed his eyes and stumbled backwards drunkenly. There was some muffled grumbling from the other side of the brown laminate wall. Rusty fell to his knees and set his lips against the hole. A cock thrust through and into his throat. He gagged, but forced himself to stay on it. Siouxsie: I'll put it outta my mind 'cause I'm outta my mind with you. In heaven and hell with you. The cock pumped into his mouth as Rusty's eyes began to water. He felt the cock tighten and release and tasted the abrupt nut of an orgasm. Rusty pulled himself off the cock and spit. The sperm was gross, and he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. The cock snapped back and disappeared through the hole. Rusty zipped up his fly and left.

The phone rang the next morning. Rusty opened his eyes as his mind swirled into his bed. He was fully dressed and sleeping on his stomach. The phone rang again. He scratched for the table next to him, grabbing the receiver. "What?" he cracked.

"What's up?" It was Six.

"I'm still drunk," Rusty rolled over. The last thing he remembered was Siouxsie and the Banshees.

"Where'd you go last night? Skin said he saw you at The Oven, but you were in and out. What's up?"

"I dunno. I was at a party and then I left and came home." Rusty remembered the peepshow and the cock that fucked his mouth. He scowled.

"What time did you get in?" Six asked.

"I dunno. I don't remember."

"We're coming over," Six said flatly.


"Skin and me. We're coming over." The phone clicked and went dead on the other end.

They wound up at Church that night. Spooky was there with Strum, and Gacey made his usual appearance. Skin and Six hung out on the dance-floor while Rusty wandered around, feeling empty and lost. Karl was in the basement of the bar. As Rusty stalked by him, he heard Karl proclaim, "Oh look! There goes that relationship!" Rusty didn't react. He simply walked through the basement and around the corner, up the stairs, into the main bar, and up to Marlene, the bartender, who looked him square in the face.

"You need to get over it," she said.

"Yeah," Rusty muttered. Marlene put a vodka and cranberry in front of him, light on the cranberry heavy on the vodka.

"Six and Skin are by the dance-floor," Marlene said and turned away from him.

Rusty looked towards the dance-floor. He felt like such a dick. He grabbed his drink and left.

The dance-floor was fairly crowded for an off night. Six and Skin were huddled in the corner of the stage smoking and laughing at people. Rusty walked up to them and sat down. Skin put his arm around Rusty and pulled him close.

"He's no good for you, buddy. You know that, don't you?"

Rusty said nothing but looked ahead of himself. Peggy was dancing with Tim. The Cure's new Head on the Door album was playing. She swung her arms in front of her face and threw her hair up over her head with each twist and turn of her body. Her face was contorted with the pseudo-pain of the group's new pop album, and Peggy lip-synched the words to the song perfectly. She danced like she stripped, and neither were very good shows.

"And she's just a coke whore, mother fucker," Skin let his right fist fly into the shoulder of Six, who fell sideways from its impact.

"But she has big tits," Six insisted.

"Titties aren't everything," Skin retorted and laughed.