A story by Diana Spechler

We’re happy to continue presenting work from our readers at the upcoming Augury Books & Friends offsite AWP reading/shindig in Seattle. The reading will be at Noble Neon, 3130 Airport Way S on Friday, February 28th from 7:30 until we all feel like going back to our hotels. If you’ll be in Seattle, please join us! In the meantime, here’s a story by Diana Spechler

Diana Spechler is the author of the novels Who by Fire (Harper Perennial, 2008) and Skinny (Harper Perennial, 2011). Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Slate, Salon, O The Oprah Magazine, CNN Living, Paris Review, GQ, Esquire, Glimmer Train Stories, and Southern Review, among other publications; as well as in a number of anthologies, including, most recently, Sex Matters: The Sexuality and Society Reader (W.W. Norton, 2013) and True Tales of Lust and Love (Counterpoint/Soft Skull, 2014). She is the recipient of an MFA degree from the University of Montana, a Steinbeck Fellowship from San Jose State University, a LABA Fellowship from the 14th Street Y, residencies from the Anderson Center and Portsmouth Abbey School, and a fellowship from the Sozopol Fiction Seminars. She is also a six-time Moth StorySLAM winner whose stories have been featured on The Moth podcast and The Moth Radio Hour.

Two new poems by Christopher Hughes


We are very happy to present poetry by Christopher Hughes. For your viewing pleasure, this video clip of “The Sense of a City is War” was filmed at the Spiderweb Salon in Denton, Tx.


For your reading pleasure:


Waves Are The Practice Of The Water.


I went to the grocery store for cat food, litter, toilet paper, detergent and alcohol.  I took my cat to the vet and the vet shrieked when she saw my cat.  People only shriek like that in movies.  Movies are more like reality than our perception of reality.  Wet cat food from now on, she said.  I said, Why?  Because it’s real, she said.  So I stood in the aisle, staring at rows of pastel-colored tin cans, wondering which flavor my cat prefered. It was turning summer and the mosquitos were sucking.  I was eating squash and swallowing vicodan and taking selfies of my wounded face for the district attorney, because he wanted proof of my pain.  I wanted to help myself, but the best I could do was repeat the phrase, This is water. I said it over and over until it didn’t mean anything.  Then I wandered around the square and was hassled by evil teenagers with thin mustaches and mild acne.  In the movies, they overdub cat sounds and it never matches the mouth.  I let the sweat come into my eyes as an excuse not to look.  They asked me to share whatever was in the brown paper bag and the orange prescription bottle.  It made me think of when I was their age, and I’d sit on curbs in convenient store parking lots, sizing up adults as they pulled in, offering five bucks to buy me a pack of Marlboro Reds for two dollars and thirty-seven cents.  Or I’d page my dealer from a payphone and he’d pull around the corner and I would enter his lime green Monte Carlo and we’d drive around the block indiscreetly, probably on purpose.  But now it’s different.  Now, we are the high bidders of ingredients and blueprints on eBay, and we bomb city blocks while everyone celebrates humanity, make first-person shooters out of the last moments of our lives, have no idea how to make reality a thing independent of a smartphone or flourescent screen without twisting wires into fluid.  Maybe death means less when you’ve got a Facebook profile that completes you.  Maybe one day we won’t have a use for movies.  It’ll all just be a series of scenes, disconnected, till the day we decide to thicken our plot.




Christopher Hughes is the author of Selected Tweets, a spoken word project and ongoing collection of prose poems based around the idea of giving context to his otherwise vague Twitter feed. He is the singer, guitarist and songwriter for Texas indie rock band, The Calmative, and he produces other artists as well, out of his studio, Miscellaneous Sound. He holds an MFA in creative writing from The New School, has been published in Pax Americana and Omnia Vanitas Review, and lives in Denton, Texas.