at the nudist colony in the land of Ya-Man i had dinner with my lover and his wife, and she was a fidgeting little thing with limp black hair, eyes a little too close together, starved pointy shoulders and when he went to the buffet to get the three musketeers, a plate of beef, lamb and shrimp, she whispered that he has affairs, i asked her why don’t you leave she said i have nowhere to go. when she went to the buffet, he looked at me and said how strange it is us having dinner together, and i said what is so strange about it, was there anything between us? he said, well, yes of course, don't you remember just last night i walked you home from the hot tub in the valley of palms completely naked and you laughed like a little girl how none of your dates had ever done that before and then...oh yes, i shrugged, sorry i must have forgotten; that night i wrote in my journal i felt incredible pity for her and still, passion for him


the beautiful eighteen-year old Elena celebrated her birthday at the local disco Red October in Vorkuta, a coal mining city on the tip of north pole. she dropped off her coat and winter galoshes at the coat check, put on delicate cinderellas and danced all night. before closing she was told that the coat check was burglarized and her galoshes along with another guest's fur hat were stolen. the wrinkled little babushka sat in the corner quietly sobbing. Elena waited in the manager's office with Alexander, a twenty-two year old mechanical engineering student who loved his fur hat because the entire political bureau of the union wore them as they waved from the podiums of the Kremlin. the city militia arrived two hours later, questioned all staff, took statements, declared that the crime rate was down by seventeen percent. Elena and Alexander went out into the infamous russian winter, barefoot and hatless. three months later they were married


i had boarded a circle line cruise from sheepshead bay to the south street seaport in hopes of seeing artemius. months ago we had lived one monsoon night together, like husband and wife, brother and sister. i searched the main cabin, the bar, the upper deck, he was not on this ship. like a comatose ghost in a white summer dress i limped through the crowds of tube top girls, muscled boys jumping to ricky martin's she bangs. four hours stranded at sea, i considered every possible option of leaving this party without dramatics. i met an old friend, a cartoonist from the times who couldn't believe he was on this voyage of the damned. staring into the east river i told him i imagine all my lovers in a line-up like usual suspects, he said he dreams of building a time-ship where he can invite all the people he ever loved, still the same age he remembered


vice president of japanese equities, once upon a time my lover invited me out to lunch. between his stir-fried noodles and my beef negimaki he boasted about the pile of cash he amassed in the foreign markets. with a gallant wave of a hand and a fixed-income smile he said sweetheart why don't you pick up the tab and then send me a PayPal request for my share. paypalpaypal with bits of wasabi and ginger fumed in my mouth as i tried to register, through secure servers, reading instructions, verifying passwords, bank accounts, screaming at the technical support. there was no response the next day, or the following morning. like a woman possessed, a prize fighter for principle, an urban samurai i sent the vice president a Reminder PayPal Request, followed by four more requests, an online warning, an angry voicemail and a threatening letter. three weeks later i received a PayPal credit for twelve dollars and forty-six cents from my lunch buddy, but there was no satisfaction in this little victory

© Marina Rubin

BIO: My first chapbook, Ode to Hotels, came out in 2002, followed by Once in 2004 and Logic in 2007, the third book in the trilogy completed before the age of 30. My poetry has appeared in PDQ, Timber Creek, Ilya’s Honey, Pearl, The Skidrow Penthouse, Asheville Poetry Review, Chaffin Journal, The Amherst Review, Urban Spaghetti, 5AM and many more. In 2006, I became an associate editor of Mudfish, a prestigious literary and arts magazine in Tribeca. In 2007, I was nominated for The Pushcart Prize. Currently I live in New York City where I moonlight as a headhunter on Wall Street while writing my fourth book, a collection of flash fiction stories.