Danny Collier

Elf NYC vs. Elf MFA

By Danny Collier

Prompt, by Matt Perez: Write the two Pushcart poetry nominations from the Peg & Hammer, the number one literary magazine of Santa's (artsiest and perhaps most disgruntled) elves.


Here at the pole we may be far away from the larger enclaves of writers but we are not isolated from the writing life. As we labor surrounded by tinsel and wood shavings, we too feel the burden of striving to achieve both artistry and authenticity. And so, The Peg & Hammer is proud to nominate for the Pushcart Prize two poems which highlight this struggle.


We had a school. It fucked sailors

and ran art galleries

and drank too much

and died famous.

I took drugs and I wrote this poem.

It's about you, not me.

So when I write "I"

I mean "you"

so when you see "you"

or when you read "we"

think of me

and my sailors

drinking and fucking

in a display case

in our famous museum.

Grungelwort McSparkles recently returned from several years in Brooklyn, New York, USA, where he held jobs including shoe salesman, book shop clerk, environmental business consultant, and head shop manager. He maintains the ecommerce portion of our web site and designed our new line of eCigarettes. His work has appeared in The Peg & Hammer, The Cobbler's Cretins, and Burlhouse. Watch for his crypto-memoir, "The Grit & Me," due out in May 2016 from The Peg & Hammer Press.

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It's never daylight.

Snow on snow on snow.

Maybe we'll survive

if we can forbid

the phrase, "I think

there's more to say here."

Elf by elf we drift

back to the workshop.

Humblebug Krinkelbells earned his MFA at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, USA. A regular contributor to The Peg & Hammer, he manages the assembly lines for our therapy dolls and tactile feedback fidget toys. The Peg & Hammer press is proud to announce the release of his libretto for the opera "The Jinglebell Tolls for Thee," the story of a misunderstood elf genius who just won't stop saving Christmas.

*     *     *

The Peg & Hammer is published online monthly and in print annually. We are currently accepting submissions for next year's print edition. The theme will be dismemberment.

Danny Collier earned an MFA in Creative Writing from George Mason University. He created the ongoing web project, An Abbreviated Family Dictionary. His writing has appeared in Everyday Genius, Barrelhouse, Kill Author and The Northville Review. He helps out an unpublished poetry manuscript by typing up its tweets.

God Rest Ye

By Kevin Fanning

Prompt, from Danny Collier: If you're bitten or scratched by a celebrity, you become a celebrity. These are the plague days.



Sometime in the late morning? early afternoon? Rihanna shuffled downstairs, sleepy-eyed and still wearing her head wrap. She emerged into the beach house’s grand front porch and wondered how she had slept through any of this. It looked like Santa Claus had been dragged back and forth across the room by a rabid reindeer. Torn wrapping paper and cardboard boxes thrown everywhere; packing peanuts and shredded bows and crumpled wrapping tissue covering almost every available surface. 

 The sun was coming in across the water and hitting every sparkly ornament on the tree, scattering shimmery light all across the room, like Rihanna was inside a giant, extremely messy disco ball. 

 “Umm, anyone alive?” Rihanna asked. 

 A pile of wrapping tissue on the couch stirred and Kim Kardashian emerged from beneath it. 

 “Yes, we’re here,” she said, sitting up and rubbing her eyes. “Just exhausted. The kids were up before 6.”

 “The kids were up at FIVE,” Beyoncé moaned from underneath a pile of empty toy boxes on the other end of the couch. “I threatened them with no presents if they didn’t be quiet and stay in their rooms for another half hour before they woke you all up.”

 Rihanna shoved a hoverboard off a lounge chair and settled into it. “Where’s Nicki and Chrissy?”

 “I’m here,” Chrissy Teigen said from underneath the tree. “Nicki’s making coffee. I’ll make breakfast, I promise. I’m just so tired I want to die so I will just be dead for a little while longer.”

 Nicki Minaj entered with a tray of mugs. “Finally, everyone’s awake!” she said, putting coffee down in front of everyone.

 “I’m not confident any of these bitches are awake,” Rihanna said into her mug.

 “Don’t have kids,” Kim said, straining to reach her mug. “Like, really don’t.”

 “Speaking of, does anyone know where they are? Should we be worried?” Beyoncé asked.

 “I sent them outside, they were spazzed and tearing up my house,” Nicki said. “They’re down by the water.”

 “Sorry,” Kim said. “We’ll put the house back together, I promise. I’m really good at tidying.”

 “I’m not worried,” Nicki said, shoving Beyoncé’s feet out of the way so she could snuggle in beside her.

 “Thank you for letting us have Christmas at your beach house, Nicki,” Chrissy said, dragging herself over to the coffee.

 “Yes thank you Nicki!,” everyone said.

 “I’m thankful we could all spend the holidays together,” Nicki said. “We’ve been talking about it forever, haven’t we though?”

 “Mmm-hmm,” Beyonce said. “I’m thankful for all you wonderful ladies. You’re my family and there’s no one else I would rather be spending the holidays with.”

 “I’m thankful Chrissy’s going to cook us up an amazing feast in a little bit,” Kim said, nudging Chrissy’s leg with her foot. “Right Chrissy? Right? Food? Soon?”

 “Yes Kim, I will feed you,” Chrissy said.

 “Yay,” Kim said, clapping. “What are you thankful for, RiRi?” Kim asked.

 Rihanna sipped thoughtfully from her mug. “I’m thankful that once we realized that being a celebrity was a virus that was transmitted through human contact, you all agreed with my plan to never touch men ever again.”

 “YES! Cheers to that!” everyone said, clinking their mugs together.

 “I thought it would be weird but I don’t miss having male celebrities at all,” Chrissy said.

 “Same,” said Kim. “Not even the ones we were married to.”

 “Seriously that was a good-ass plan!” Nicki said. “Everything’s so much better now!” Nicki said.

 “For real though,” Beyoncé said. “Merry Christmas, y’all.” 

 “Merry Christmas!” everyone replied, clinking their mugs again. 

 They all settled back into the holiday detritus to relax and enjoy the beautiful day. Except Chrissy, who hopped off to get breakfast started, because she knew what Kim was like when she got too hungry.

Kevin Fanning is the author of the novel Kim Kardashian: Trapped In Her Own Game, and the short story collections Magical Neon Sexuality and Jennifer Love Hewitt Times Infinity. He lives in Cambridge, MA, and can be found on Wattpad at @kfxinfinity and on Twitter at @kfan.