The Desk Lamp


There once was a lamp who could bend in any direction. He originally thought of this as a blessing. But with so many decisions in life, he could never decide which direction to go. Should he look to the curtains? Or should he look to the sky? He turned to everyone for advice.

“What are you looking at the coffee maker for?” A ball point pen asked one day.

The lamp continued to stare vacantly into the eyes of a Cusinart. Maybe he was heading in the wrong direction. The lamp turned its metal spine against the coffee maker.

“Where should I look?” He asked the pen.

“Why don’t you look out the window. That’s where all the happenings are going on,” he pointed his cap to the outside world.

Once again, the lamp shifted its position. Now he could see the ocean. Its waves lapped at the sand, reminding him of a large golden retriever lapping at a dish of water. The lamp hated retrievers. They were too obedient and had such little mind of their own. What if their owners told the dog to sic him? He had no doubt the dog would do it. How could someone be so blind?

The lamp beamed down at the water, content to see its steady pull and push throughout the earth. The lamp began to wonder about the fish and the sharks and the whales that lurked beneath. There was a whole other world, with different organisms and different choices to wade through. The ocean was always changing. Like all of the people, it breathed in and out, never content to stay in one place. The very enormity of change seemed impossible for the lamp to grasp.

“No, no,” a picture frame called out from the other direction. “You don’t want to see the ocean. It’s too big. If you stare at it for too long, you’ll go blind – losing yourself to the vastness of life. You want to stare at me. I’ll never overwhelm you.”

Once again, the lamp changed positions. It now stared at a silver frame with a small child sitting on a miniature sized wooden chair. The chair was made for small children.The picture frame was also small. It was no bigger than the palm of a human’s hand. The photograph – even smaller. Although the details of the picture were pretty and well defined, the lamp knew that his view was too cramped.

“But if I look at the picture, my world is too small,” the lamp protested.

The pen and the picture frame looked at one another and shrugged. “There’s nothing we can tell you,” they said in unison.

The lamp shifted. He stared at the never moving picture. He stared at the ever growing ocean. He thought about the retriever.


The Headphones



Dear Head Phones,

Some people find your personality distasteful. You’re loud. You’re raucous. You block out all others in a desperate attempt to be heard. All of these qualities however, are the ones that make me love you even more than I thought I could.

I remember our first time together. Your frame was bent like a hardened anorexic. Little puffs of black fuzz rested on either side of you, covering my ears from sharp undertones. Together we listened to The Supremes at full volume for an hour and a half. You Can’t Hurry Love made no sense.

Over the years you transformed. Your geriatric curves now bend from opposite directions. Plugs attach themselves to the ends of long skinny cords.  Your body sways and the music bends, but you’re still just the same.

May I never wear you out,

Your other half




The Dollar Bill


I was down. Down further than the ground. I was down so far that I barely heard the promise.

“Hey Bill,” my friend said. “I’ve got a friend, you’ve got to meet him. He’ll help you get out.”

“Get out from under?” I called up. “I’ve been down for so long, I don’t know if I can get up.”

“No, no, trust me. He’s a good guy. He’s the guy. The guy you’ve got to talk to.”

“Will he give me hope?”

“Give you hope?”

“Yeah, you know, will he give me the hope that I need to get up?”

“He’s got hope for you. I’ll set you up. You need to meet him.”


Two days later I was down. Down deeper into the ground. I was so down I was in the earth. Down without sound, I waited. I listened for the guy who was supposed to arrive.

A man with a beard that covered his entire face peeked down into the earth. His eyes were brows and his brows were white. I couldn’t see wrinkles, but I knew his face was a map. Cracked fault lines and desert eyes. Tears evaporated long ago.

“Are you Bill?” He called out.


“You look far down there,” he said, straining to see me.

“I need help. I need to get back up.”

“I have just the thing for you. You won’t feel this way forever.”

“What do you have?”

“Hope. I have hope. Just give me fifty dollars and I’ll show you what I mean. You’ll feel better in no time.”

“What am I buying?”

“Hope. Nothing is for free. You pay for this once, you never have to pay for anything in your life ever again. This will work like nothing you’ve tried. You’re going to be okay, my friend. You’re going to be okay.”

My wallet was filled with twenties. Eighty dollars worth of twenties. “I only have twenties,” I shouted up to the man.

“That’s okay. Sixty will do. Trust me, you won’t miss it. This is good. This is what you need.”

I plucked out 3 twenty dollar bills and reached as far as I could toward the man in the sky.

“I can’t reach you.”

“Yes you can. You just have to believe in yourself.”

I reached farther.

“I still can’t reach you.”

“You have to have hope,” he said

I waved my wad of cash in the air, “but that’s what I’m paying for.”

The Microwave


Name: Mike

Birthday: April 1946

Occupation: Making you hot

While not always a self starter, I’m always a self server.

I don’t mind getting down and dirty in some college apartments, but I prefer to have my own space.

Looking for:
Something easy, fast, not too messy.
Idea of a perfect date:

I like to hang out at home. Just about anything can turn me on, so bring on the late nights.

3 things I can’t live without:
1.) Power
2.) Dim lighting
3.) Bagel bites

Do you like pets?
I prefer Furby’s.

Favorite song:

Microwave Boogie by Skip Jackson

Personal Quote:

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the microwave.


Hi everyone,

I recently published a piece with Cleaver Magazine so I thought I’d share here. If you’d like to leave a comment, please do so on Cleaver’s site linked at the bottom of this page.

by Rebecca Lee

“Let’s go downtown.” It’s the chant I hear every weekend. Downtown is where the lights are. It’s where the girls go. The makeup, the short skirts, the pot smokers, and the boomboxes. They’re all there.

“Let’s go downtown.” The teenage guy I have a crush on, Matt, is asking his friends if they’re going. His voice is slow, low, and slick like rain. They sit at the back of the bus and blast Sublime on a battery-powered radio.  I’m twelve. He’s seventeen. It could happen if I wear the right clothes.

“Let’s go downtown,” I say to my neighbor, Laura, later that night. Laura’s four years older and has a license. She can borrow her stepdad’s car. She smokes cigarettes and listens to En Vogue. It’s hot out, and it’s close to summer. We’re getting older. I can feel it.

I grab the black pleather halter top with red lace stitching. Short skorts in spring tease the boys, but make me comfortable. I lace up my boots. Knee high and red leather. Just like the kind I see on MTV.

We go downtown several hours later. I sneak out of my house, and she sneaks out of hers. The suburbs are unnaturally dark with no streetlights or store fronts. The field of tall grass by our houses shivers from a dull wind. It must be coming from downtown. That’s where everything happens.

“Look.”  We get out of the car and instantly see Matt’s friend from the back of the bus. Hacky Sack Boy. He’s the guy that she likes. He’s sitting on the ground playing guitar and singing lyrics he wrote himself. “He’s so creative,” she says. He looks just like Matt. If we each got married to one of them, we could wear matching gowns.

“Go talk to him,” I say.

The clickable comb comes out. She teases her hair up and then mashes her finger into a miniature lip balm container. Cucumber watermelon.

“I’ll be right back,” she says.

Downtown bars with neon lights twinkle across the street. Girls wearing all black with torn tights stand in groups together. A man with long blond hair is selling CDs at a stand across the way. Maybe he has the En Vogue CD Laura plays for us in her stepdad’s beat up Honda Civic. Maybe she’ll think I’m cool for buying it.

“Hi,” I wave to CD Guy. He has wrinkles around his mouth. If he speaks, I bet he will sound gravelly.  When he stares at me, he looks for a beat too long. My pleather halter top.  Bare shoulders in the dark.

“Hey,” his smile stretches. His voice is higher pitched and dented at the end as if lilting slightly upward. Even though he’s older, he has a boyish quality about him. “Those boots are pretty sexy.”

He thinks I’m older. He thinks I’m older. He thinks I’m older. I flash him a smile, the same one Laura wears except with braces. “Thanks,” I say, but I can’t look him in the eye.

“You look like a cool girl. What kind of music do you like?” He is all eye crinkles. Gazing down my shirt. Flat chested. I wish I had stuffed.

“You have En Vogue?” I try to hide the squeak in my voice. The volume gets caught somewhere in the top of my throat until words skitter at a faster pace than I’d like. It’s the thing that always gives me away. When I tried talking to Matt, my voice was so quiet and high pitched he called me a mouse. “Mouse meat,” he said. I thought of road kill.

“Of course. They’re my favorite.” His smile is almost feminine behind his long hair. He brushes it behind his ear. I see flashes of gray tucked to the side. A bald spot is poking out on top. “It’s in my van, a few streets down.”

I nod. That’s that. Moving on.

“Why don’t you come with me, and I’ll just give it to you. A gift.” Maybe that wasn’t it. Maybe we weren’t moving on.

He likes me. He’s old, but he likes me. I stare back at Laura, but she’s talking to Hacky Sack Boy.

“Let’s go to the van.” He is already walking. His hand is outstretched. I’ve never held a guy’s hand before.

The bar lights are flickering. It’s late. Past eleven. I can smell something sour on CD Guy’s breath. I take his hand, and instantly it feels too soft. As if he could dissolve if I touch him hard enough. He smiles and the eye crinkles come back.

“Hey!” I hear a girl’s voice in the background. It’s Laura! She’s running full speed down the street and coming straight for me. “I have to talk to you.” She grabs my arm and whispers loudly into my ear. “Hacky Sack has a girlfriend.”

Laura’s about to cry. Her eyes are glass. I let go of CD Guy’s hand, and his mouth becomes like two tightrope lines strung together at the corners. If Laura can’t be with Hacky Sack Boy, I don’t want to be with anyone either.

“I have to go,” I say to the man. His face closes like a window. He is shut down.

“Do you want to stay downtown?” Laura is now crying, but I can tell she doesn’t want to ruin our adventure. The tears fall freely. Her face is like a peach without the fuzz, and I wonder if she’ll stay soft forever. I look out at the bars and notice a couple in their twenties. She is tilting her head back, exposing her throat. Her voice slides out like butter. Someday that will be me.

“Let’s go home.”


MOUSE MEAT by Rebecca Lee

The Shutters


“What about that lady?”
“She’s in the PTA, it can’t be her.”
“But look at her makeup. She’s wearing cheap gunky mascara and black eyeliner at the same time.”
“It’s not her, I know her son. He’s on the honor roll.”
“What about that one, across from the Whitticker’s lawn?”
“She’s head of the tennis club. It can’t be her son either.”
“I heard she had an affair with the man on Holloway drive.”
“But her son is too old to throw rocks at our window.”
“What about her?”
“The woman walking down our street?”
“I think she has a tattoo.”
“Where? I can’t see it.”
“Does she have a son?”
“Probably.” The shutters shuddered. Their instant reaction banged lightly against the broken window, reminding them constantly of their place in the world.
“I bet her son is the delinquent.”
“I don’t trust people that are so closed off.”

The Mirror


They look to me for reassurance. They want to know that they are still there. That they exist in the complexity that lies within their body. I portray their imperfections, their hardships, and their persistence at beauty. I show them what they want to see.

When they nod, I nod. If they scrutinize, I scrutinize. When they talk, I talk back, perfecting every movement and judgment that they make.

They stare at me, primping their hair and dotting their eyes with mascara. When they are finished, they smile. I smile. We are a team, but only for a moment. Because when they are done, when they have finished staring, when they have found what they’re looking for, they no longer need me. They close their compact mirrors. They snap their medicine cabinets closed. They turn off the bathroom light.

Who am I without them? A blank mirror has nothing to reflect upon.