StarCat/CatStar is dedicated to the memory of David Bowie, that cosmic subversive who’s returned at last to his ethereal home.

StarCat/CatStar is dedicated to the memory of David Bowie, that cosmic subversive who’s returned at last to his ethereal home.


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!<br />

!!!!!!!!!!!! !<br />

!<br />




Catatonically Speaking:<br />

Planet Earth is Blue,<br />

and There is Nothing We Can Do<br />

An odd oxymoron of my artistic preferences is that David Bowie is one of<br />

my cherished musical heroes, and yet he doesn't even figure into my top<br />

ten of favorite musical acts.<br />

How can that be, you ask? Well, consider this: Bands that do figure into my<br />

top ten list, such as The Cure, Deerhunter, Bright Eyes, Sleater-Kinney,<br />

and Joy Division, were all heavily influenced by Bowie, either directly or<br />

indirectly. Therefore, you can say that Bowie is the ground that these<br />

bands literally trod and tred upon. Bowie's influence is such that he is<br />

cosmically present in most of popular culture. All bands that came after<br />

Bowie, or began around the time that he became popular, quite patently<br />

built themselves up from the foundation that Bowie lay.<br />

Naturally, of course, many of Bowie's songs would figure into a songlist<br />

compilation of my favorite tunes. His early tunes, especially, are stuck<br />

perpetually reverberating in my head, because it was those songs that<br />

nurtured my young mind. In the late 70s, I purchased a collection of<br />

Bowie tunes, and when the album began to spin, it sparked a mad<br />

metamorphosis in my whole way of being.

Songs like "Starman," Life on Mars," and "Space Oddity," had a soaring,<br />

otherworldly quality, outerspace symphonies crafted by an alien for the<br />

alien in all of us. Other songs, like "Suffragette City," flaunted a punk<br />

urgency undercut with ironic hippie overtures. Later, there were freshly<br />

funky songs, like "Fashion," "Fame," and "Young Americans." And, of<br />

course, all those songs that are less well known but vibrantly potent.<br />

I ended up seeing Bowie in the early 80s, when he'd distanced himself from<br />

his outlandish, androgynous Ziggy Stardust persona, and transformed into<br />

a more modish, dapper figure. His seminal 80s album "Let's Dance" became<br />

a new wave touchstone, lamented by some as kitschy and commodified, but<br />

ultimately embraced for its smart pastiche of R&B and post-punk.<br />

After the 80s, my Bowie fascination waned a bit, but eventually picked<br />

back up, as passions are wont to do. In the early 2000s, I was drawn back<br />

into the Bowie vortex with the albums "Reality" and "Heathen," and ended<br />

up seeing Bowie again on the Reality tour.<br />

It was that first taste of Bowie, of course, that imposed upon me the most<br />

deeply. Bowie's idiosyncratic sartorial sense, his exotic pulchritude, his<br />

quirky, quixotic songs, caressed by a voice that had a futuristic robotic<br />

resonance yet a warm earthy tone, will forever be etched into my own<br />

sensibilities. His creativity fueled my own, both explicitly and implicitly, as<br />

I was also heavily influenced fashion-wise and literarily by The Cure, one of<br />

Bowie's major progenies.<br />

Bowie's last album, released just before his death, "Blackstar," is another<br />

galactic masterpiece, a fitting coda to his ethereal existence.<br />

The main aim of Clockwise Cat is to present art that is transgressive, art<br />

that surrealistically subverts. David Bowie was the preeminent surrealist<br />

subversive, and we are proud, and very sad, to dedicate this issue,<br />

Starcat/Catstar, to the memory of him, the most eclectic, enigmatic, titanic<br />

artist of our time. May he travel to Mars, and may he rest among the stars.


FEMME: Jessica Wiseman Lawrence<br />

Editor’s note: When I read a poem by Jessica Wiseman Lawrence over at<br />

Cease, Cows, I remarked to myself, “Um, she MUST appear in Clockwise<br />

Cat.” The verse had just the right balance of rustic and mystical elements<br />

that titillate my poesie-libido. Thanks to Sarah Frances Moran of Yellow<br />

Chair Press, I was able to get in touch with her! Here, we present a<br />

selection of Jessica’s poetry compellingly diverse in theme, tone, and style.<br />

About the author: Jessica Wiseman Lawrence grew up on a working farm<br />

in rural central Virginia, surrounded by hayfields and chickens. She then<br />

studied teaching and creative writing at Longwood University. After a few<br />

years of attempting to create lesson plans based on ridiculous state<br />

education standards, she left a career as a public high school teacher to<br />

pursue more rewarding work teaching creative writing to adults<br />

with disabilities in a day support setting. She has since moved on to the<br />

corporate world. You can find Jessica's recent work upcoming or published<br />

in Stoneboat, Cease, Cows, Acumen, Origins, Blue Collar Review, Dirty Chai,<br />

and The Feminine Divine's upcoming Anthology of Female Voices, along<br />

with many others. One of her poems has earned a Best of the Net<br />

nomination from the editor of the recently-controversial Revolution John.<br />

She continues to live in rural central Virginia with her family. She believes<br />

that poetry does not belong only to an educated elite and that all people,

egardless of education level or economic class should be able to write,<br />

enjoy, and publish their poetry. Additionally, Jessica was very upset when<br />

she discovered that her local grocery store stopped carrying the Jello<br />

Temptations box mix with chocolate shell topping.<br />

Priestess<br />

She touches the cross, and where<br />

that finger hits she bleeds<br />

black on her dress,<br />

turned white with<br />

untroubled earthshine.<br />

Her night-lit home is shivering<br />

and silent, waiting<br />

for her healed hands<br />

to guide and shift our full planet –<br />

fragile as an egg,<br />

crawling with carbon –<br />

and littered by diamonds’ glow.<br />

Epoch<br />

The tires of my feet made fog from dust<br />

at every walk toward the downy yellow.<br />

The sky was a bright<br />

overturned bowl,<br />

and I, beneath it, was singing<br />

to the baby chickens<br />

who pounded against<br />

wire<br />

who peeped at brown grass<br />

who gently tapped my<br />

nails –<br />

across forty acres of<br />

what was possible.<br />

I was surrounded

there<br />

by erected trunks of time,<br />

with their beds of scattered needles.<br />

Beneath me, crushed mountains<br />

groaned their barrel drum,<br />

preparing worn down parts<br />

for the upward collide.<br />

The spring and balance set by the maker<br />

served as promise of<br />

fossil to green,<br />

while I, domed-under, sang to chickens –<br />

before I know what life was.<br />

Remarkable<br />

Suspended in his first ocean,<br />

layering cells over cells,<br />

becoming tissue.<br />

Building bone and muscle,<br />

building a heart, building<br />

fingers, limbs,<br />

a chest wall and a chest.<br />

He sleeps<br />

with his mouth open<br />

as he will.<br />

He is alive in salinity current,<br />

alive in warm darkness,<br />

and nearly whole –<br />

not yet a fingerprint<br />

or fingernail; he is a downy hair<br />

suspended in the ocean we all know.<br />

Cells over cells<br />

becoming a certain stare that<br />

someone will name, and yes –<br />

A heartbeat.<br />

A heartbeat.<br />

A heartbeat.

Domestic<br />

Each scream<br />

is a long razor,<br />

slicing the curtains,<br />

shredding the wallpaper.<br />

Each oath<br />

is a hole<br />

through the drywall<br />

The powder –<br />

the glue –<br />

the threads<br />

of what we were,<br />

are scattered and ground<br />

between baseboard and floor.<br />

Nine Lines<br />

Hunch,<br />

wait,<br />

and settle.<br />

Nine lines<br />

turn from nuzzle<br />

into laceration<br />

when the back stretches –<br />

when the legs bend and spring –<br />

a living trap and the devouring.<br />

Into the Minds of Dinosaurs<br />

Great ancient creatures lie down to die,<br />

are covered by a foot of soil, and keep their shape.<br />

The rounded pine mountain next to my elementary school<br />

was a dinosaur.<br />

She was an Apatosaurus, and<br />

long ago she had tucked her knees under herself,<br />

put her belly to the ground,<br />

stretched her long neck out, crushed ancient ferns, and died.<br />

On one side of her mountain-head was a light-green clearing<br />

surrounded by forest.<br />

Trees don’t grow over the eyes of dinosaurs.

Roots don’t have eyes, or need them.<br />

I looked out of the classroom window and climbed the mountain in my<br />

mind.<br />

Indifferent to eons, I dug, hit skin, and saw her.<br />

She was color of dinosaurs. She felt like one of the snakes<br />

I found in the kitchen.<br />

Then I was at my desk again, where the teacher asked me<br />

if trailer homes have bathrooms, and I wanted to dig<br />

beneath the poverty and the dead snakes and the dirty shoes and the<br />

stolen pencils,<br />

into the past where all was poor, into cold clay on the sides of mountains<br />

next to elementary schools,<br />

and into the minds of dinosaurs.<br />

Dollar Store Lingerie<br />

It’s hard to find a matching bra and panty set<br />

in a dirty wire bin two feet deep<br />

with bargain lingerie, much less a sky-blue,<br />

faux-satin one with pink ribbon there and there,<br />

but I found one,<br />

and once home, I tried it on like religion.<br />

I was at the foot of the bed, standing<br />

in my dresser mirror, looking like me,<br />

and I half-twirled to see myself from the side.<br />

My long, blonde-ended hair skimmed my back<br />

below the bra line, and I shivered beneath<br />

the new boundary that marked me a woman.<br />

Bang! I was a different, just like that.<br />

Scraps<br />

Wednesday was an exciting day<br />

at Green Pines Medical Center.<br />

The doctors were provided<br />

with a catered lunch.<br />

When they were done eating,<br />

the leftovers were put into the staff kitchen<br />

in flimsy aluminum pans, and the tops of the pans<br />

would be folded and thrown away.

Lasagnas were unrecognizable; burritos were opened<br />

so that Dr. Crient could have extra chicken,<br />

or a browning salad would be mushroomless.<br />

A doctor informed the head nurse –<br />

“There are leftovers in the break room,”<br />

and the nurses lined up for theirs.<br />

When he was sure the nurses were finished,<br />

the office manager sent an e-mail<br />

to the schedulers and secretaries –<br />

“It’s your turn for lunch. Please do not<br />

leave your stations without proper coverage of your area.<br />

Remember, patient care comes first.”<br />

Lisa had been Dr. Howe’s secretary for eight years.<br />

She brought plastic baggies every Wednesday,<br />

to fill with scraps for her dogs.

The Empire of Punk (Movie Review)<br />

By Alison Ross<br />

The decline of Western civilization has been underway for a long time, but<br />

not in the way that some would construe the title of the iconic trilogy of<br />

music documentaries, "The Decline of Western Civilization." Very<br />

conservative, pedantic types would take the title to mean that punk rock is<br />

symbolic of the decline of civilization - that the very existence of the music<br />

means that society has lost its moors and morals.<br />

Well, yes, it has, and yes, punk rock is emblematic of this decline. But for<br />

music geeks like myself, punk rock is a glorious thing. Conservatives would<br />

rue the existence of punk rock and feel that all is right with society<br />

EXCEPT punk rock, which is fueling societal decay.<br />

But conservatives, naturally, would be wrong. Punk came about as a sonic<br />

subversion against an authoritarian "values," a screaming banshee against<br />

constricting conformity that straitjackets and terrorizes. Punk was<br />

founded as an unfettered expression to call cacophonous attention to what<br />

was wrong with society. Punk wasn't what was wrong with society; society

was what was wrong with society, and punk was the pugnacious protest<br />

against that.<br />

Penelope Spheeris, who directed the trio of films , was and is an avowed<br />

music lover, and she made her films as an homage to the 70s, 80s, and 90s<br />

music scenes in LA.<br />

And actually, one of the documentaries is not about punk at all, but about<br />

heavy metal - or, rather, hair metal. Which as a genre, really isn't as<br />

explosively rebellious as punk, but rather represents a glorying in<br />

hedonistic excess, the apex of corroded values fed by capitalism's amoral<br />

indulgences.<br />

But the first and third documentaries are very much about punk - the first<br />

one being about the burgeoning hardcore scene of 1970s LA, and the third<br />

one being about the resurgence of punk - but even moreso, about the<br />

charming gutter punks that constituted part of this scene. And it's the<br />

third one which achingly resonates with the most pathos. But we'll go<br />

chronologically and build from there.<br />

The first documentary feels as fresh as ever, despite the fact that it was<br />

made in 1979 and features long-defunct punk bands such as Black Flag,<br />

Fear, and the Germs, among others. Indeed, the documentary induces an<br />

extreme case of nostalgia, as I long for the days of more straightforward,<br />

belligerent punk, rather than the half-assed non-mutinous musicians<br />

imposed on us today.<br />

The Germs, perhaps, are the main band standout in the documentary, as<br />

the singer Darby Crash (who died from a suicidal overdose shortly after<br />

the documentary was released) displays a thoroughly offbeat charisma in<br />

both the interview portion as well as in the music footage. Darby has long

een revered among musicians as one of punk's great pioneers - an<br />

intellectual whose wayward antisocial behavior garnered him fierce<br />

notoriety.<br />

The seminal LA punk band X is the second standout band in this film, and<br />

it's fascinating to witness the band's early years, with matriarchal bad-ass<br />

Exene at the helm, and the band's after-show pranks and antics fully<br />

flaunted.<br />

Black Flag also features prominently, with Ron Reyes, one of two pre-<br />

Henry Rollins singers, as the frontman. Black Flag, post-Reyes, went on to<br />

become of the most renowned and innovative of the hardcore bands, an<br />

anarchistic outfit who raged against authoritarianism and poverty, who<br />

also incorporated jazz and other elements into its ferocious, hard-driving<br />

music.<br />

It's the "Lightbulb Kids" who ultimately steal the show, however,<br />

interviewed as they are under a stark lightbulb and imparting their<br />

affinity for the punk scene in a slightly creepy, always captivating fashion.<br />

Eugene Tatu is the most memorable of the bunch, his voice lightly tinged<br />

with surfer-talk tones, and his petite frame threatening to belie his intense<br />

glare and cheerless demeanor.<br />

For me, the second doc in the series, focusing on the Heavy Metal years, is<br />

the weakest of the trio. Not only is the title a misnomer - most of the bands<br />

featured are hair metal bands, who have far less substance than actual<br />

heavy metal bands - but the bands act in absurd and embarrassing ways,<br />

and there is very little enduring value to their music - unlike the bands in<br />

the first documentary, whose music persists in holding sway over some<br />

younger bands.

There are three memorable scenes that nail this home. First, Ozzy<br />

Osbourne is thoroughly engaging as he mumbles through his dialogue with<br />

the director, cooking eggs and spilling orange juice and generally coming<br />

across as a lovable goof rather than the menacing caricature he cultivated<br />

as a solo artist.<br />

Second, Paul Stanley, of Kiss, is hilariously and unintentionally selfparodic,<br />

lying in bed with a bevvy of beauties, and basking in his success as<br />

he attempts to transcend the sorry cliches of his rock stardom.<br />

Third, you have the singer of W.A.S.P., whose severe intoxication as he<br />

floats in a pool with his mother looking on is finally just cringe-worthy<br />

footage.<br />

So yes, those scenes are worth seeing, but they ultimately have nothing to<br />

do with real music. Ozzy, really, is the only one whose tunes have stood the<br />

test of time, and his association with the hair metal scene is a bit dubious,<br />

in my view.<br />

Part III of the Decline trio, made in the late 90s, is where the<br />

documentaries come full circle.<br />

The documentary was initially supposed to focus on the resurgence of the<br />

LA punk scene, fueled by such bands as Naked Aggression and Final<br />

Conflict. And those bands do feature in the film, their music serving up an<br />

exhilarating, tempestuous update on the punk of the past.

But while the music was interesting, Spheeris' focus soon shifted away<br />

from the bands and more toward the "gutter punks" who constituted the<br />

fan portion of the scene.<br />

Think of the threatening-looking ragtag groups of kids you've seen by<br />

highways or in parks, their tattooed bodies encrusted with dirt, heavy<br />

chains swinging from their army surplus wear, their faces penetrated with<br />

bulky silver hardware, their jackboots ready to stomp out the haters, their<br />

canine companions usually looking alternately dangerous and pitiful.<br />

Kids like that, or some variation thereof, captured Spheeris' heart, believe<br />

it or not, because underneath the raw swagger she found genuine heart.<br />

Most of these kids were runaways fleeing abusive homes. Spheeris even<br />

ended up adopting some of them. She was so taken by their struggles in the<br />

street that she wanted to document their stories, and made the music the<br />

support element. For the music is what the kids congregated around and<br />

what gave their broken lives deeper dimension.<br />

I too became enamored of the kids, and wept for them. Spheeris'<br />

compassionate, relentless focus on them enabled me to understand that<br />

punk, as it was originally conceived, is more vitally necessary than ever.<br />

Since the 70s, economic exploitation has only worsened. Corporatization of<br />

everything has rendered us a horrifically homogenized, severely crippled<br />

society. These "gutter punks" are the sad crystalization of how far society<br />

has regressed.<br />

The decline of Western civilization is nearly complete, and we are in<br />

desperate need of authentic punk to save us from full collapse.


By Sommer Lyn Cullingford<br />

An Inevitable Return<br />

On the numbering of days<br />

the pages fall away<br />

with the peeling of paint,<br />

like flakes of skin that burn<br />

word-by-word<br />

through sand’s narrative;<br />

The girders of nurturing<br />

and buttresses<br />

of summers spent<br />

reviewing the harbour’s<br />

renewing of each tide<br />

distinctly every time,<br />

hold me -<br />

- unevenly<br />

in cozy cusps.<br />

We pitched pavilions<br />

upon the rolling,<br />

rising verdant comforter<br />

at the mezzanine green,<br />

plucked of wilderness -<br />

I sat atop it and sucked in<br />

that steely serenity<br />

of the granite sea;<br />

When a porpoise surfaced,<br />

her silvery skim stretched<br />

into a crescent arc<br />

forever.<br />

Back home our dials declined,<br />

the eaves wept

and the gutters were blocked<br />

by weather’s ceaseless motion -<br />

And it cluttered<br />

and it clumped:<br />

the dead blue eggs,<br />

the discarded nest.<br />

The exterior has no time for rest.<br />

Interloper<br />

She ranged,<br />

she was hastily creative,<br />

she hatched tiny,<br />

expired empires<br />

arranged on whims,<br />

sweet nonsense<br />

and the contraction of ideas;<br />

she said they always split<br />

- rent -<br />

down the stem,<br />

where each divide<br />

was high<br />

or torn a-shred.<br />

A venous mistress,<br />

she approached<br />

the human hustle<br />

not for reproduction,<br />

but the blooded marrow<br />

of connection -<br />

she would cut off the head,<br />

in search of a friend

from the hellion haunt<br />

of hydra-headed<br />

blues;<br />

she climbed the walls<br />

- her hair -<br />

shone a mirror for her flaws;<br />

an old reflection<br />

built each new house,<br />

she freaked her borders,<br />

in bondage<br />

she plucked from the perimeters,<br />

and then she fled<br />

deranged,<br />

to another<br />

immaculate imager<br />

of arch-design.<br />

Author bio: Sommer Cullingford is a poet from Auckland, New Zealand<br />

who is slowly composing an omnibus of her distinctive work; a fiend of<br />

imagery you can reach for, she is always trying to scramble the senses<br />

through a characteristically evocative selection of words to convey<br />

narrative and escape the monotony of the mundane, while delivering<br />

poetry with coherent perspective, tinged with insight.


Observations of the self written in second person<br />

over a 40 hour period between variously<br />

sustained, chemically induced highs<br />

before finally sleeping<br />

by Phillip Quotient<br />

"Morale was deteriorating and it was all Yossarian's fault. The country was<br />

in peril; he was jeopardizing his traditional rights of freedom and<br />

independence by daring to exercise them."<br />

--from, Joseph Heller's "Catch-22"<br />

Chapter 39, p. 405<br />

1.<br />

Awaken from full moon dreams<br />

where ivory pale brides<br />

wear translucent<br />

jelly fish veils;<br />

backdrop extras or life<br />

size chess pieces who become<br />

pawn promoted queens.<br />

2.<br />

Religion for you entails<br />

permeating the blood-brain barrier<br />

with candle bright chemical<br />

wishes god-sped by Tinker Bell<br />

or Hermes or whomever<br />

willingly shares their<br />

lush communion banquet.<br />

3.<br />

Mother's milk-breast embrace<br />

remembered warmly<br />

as those drowsily imagined<br />

lactate white shallows<br />

womb-scented and dawn-domed<br />

beneath God whom you embraced<br />

as a young boy without a single doubt.<br />


Hallucinations where savior newborns<br />

open their small sanguine mouths mistaken<br />

for vibrant, multi-foliet blossoms.<br />

5.<br />

At the downtown art deco bus terminal<br />

impoverished zealots discuss Revelations<br />

with spittle-lip vehement-sincerity<br />

you summarize sardonically: narcoleptic assassins<br />

camouflaged in cloud white outfits angelic<br />

taking aim at make-believe agents.<br />

6.<br />

Standing in line at the "Hope Center"<br />

you watch as pawn promoted nuns<br />

dispense peanut butter and white bread;<br />

alms accepted by prosthetic limbs<br />

received with either drunken<br />

irreverence or solemnly as one<br />

who believes in transubstantiation.<br />

7.<br />

At times you feel nude as Yossarian<br />

because the war between addiction<br />

and daily survival rages on…<br />

8.<br />

Dusk lit nuclear power plant towers<br />

billow plumes in the plentiful green<br />

summer distance mistaken briefly<br />

for colossal bongs smoked<br />

by unknown, lesser deities.<br />

9.<br />

Alien symbols burn in the holy cranium<br />

accompanied by atomic mushroom explosions<br />

still yields away from a 1 to 1 ratio negation<br />

that one day will demonstrate true annihilation<br />

or the realistic promise of intergalactic travel.<br />


Pneumatic pianos play all night<br />

for automaton guests…<br />

Dances at the midnight cabal.<br />

11.<br />

The mind nods while the body wanes.<br />

12.<br />

Peering out my successful ex's window<br />

I witness Tibetan monks wearing vivid orange<br />

robes while practicing golf swings in unison,<br />

truly uncertain anymore as to what's a dream.<br />

Inadequately elucidated reality knocks<br />

hard and loud upon the metaphors.<br />

Author bio: Phillip Matthew Roberts is a 42 year old writer who resides in<br />

the small city of Lexington, Kentucky. He occupies a comfortable, book<br />

cluttered home and spends most of his days revising poems, short stories<br />

and novels he's written over the past 25 years. His other pleasures include<br />

good food and world cinema.

Two Poems<br />

By John Grey<br />

Author bio: John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently<br />

published in New Plains Review, Perceptions and Sanskrit with work<br />

upcoming in South Carolina Review, Gargoyle, Owen Wister Review and<br />

Louisiana Literature.<br />

BLOWUP<br />

Going to the market,<br />

the young girl skipped more than she walked.<br />

The dusty sidewalk seemed as always.<br />

Except the dirt felt fresh.<br />

But then the earth blew out from under her.<br />

Her legs collapsed.<br />

Air fumed blazing white.<br />

She spat out teeth and swallowed dust.<br />

Her dress burned to her skin.<br />

Nails jagged from her knees and ankles.<br />

Blood sizzled on the feverish ground.<br />

In a makeshift hospital,<br />

she turned pale and thin.<br />

She wept in half-darkness.<br />

Her mouth seldom opened.<br />

Something liquid<br />

was sucked in by her pores.<br />

From college,<br />

a daughter phones her mother -<br />

nightmares she says -<br />

the worst kind,<br />

the ones that don't let go.<br />

She says she'd dancing<br />

and the floor explodes.<br />

Or she's walking down a street<br />

and a house collapses on her.<br />

Her mother says,<br />

"I've had worse."<br />

She's at that age -

the surety gives way<br />

to randomness.<br />

It could all end at any time.<br />

It's worse when it doesn't.<br />


The alarm clock-radio<br />

is playing "Stairway To Heaven."<br />

A kid on a rainbow bicycle<br />

rides by my window,<br />

hand whacking horn.<br />

A blue-jay squawks at a<br />

stalking cat.<br />

And that's just the easy part.<br />

Einstein's seated in the chair<br />

in the corner,<br />

explaining the photoelectric effect.<br />

A five foot wide tarantula<br />

clings to the ceiling.<br />

Moses is parting my wife's hair.<br />

There's an albatross<br />

in my pajama pocket.<br />

With this as its beginning,<br />

who knows what kind of day<br />

it's going to be.<br />

My wife will plump<br />

for one like any other.<br />

I'd agree were it not<br />

for the ostrich at the door.

PINCH<br />

by Annie Lure<br />

Pin-up girls<br />

& opium poppies<br />

I pin to your palms.<br />

The dainty needles your skinny women—<br />

kissy women<br />

& women pining<br />

for the tracery of veins.<br />

A full canvas you fondle with gesso tongue<br />

& prink with acrylic lips.<br />

Tiny seashells you feed me.<br />

Bedroom windows that shred the red<br />

curtain-clothes to bare<br />

their brilliant sex.<br />

A light-bulb perky as my nipple.<br />

Author bio: Annie Lure enjoys poetry, erotica, apparel design,<br />

photography, antiques, traveling, and art collecting. She has been<br />

previously published by Clean Sheets Magazine.

Ice Cream Utopianism<br />

By Matt Duggan<br />

We love all the ice cream round here<br />

over indulging ourselves in the utopianism of mirrors;<br />

Where occasionally we look around<br />

the edges of our own reflections<br />

opening our eyes widely<br />

to see that behind each layer is a sugar coated illusion,<br />

We love all the ice cream round here;<br />

It makes us fat yet our visage thin<br />

the truth is a reflected manipulation<br />

like those twisting mirrors on the seaside pier;<br />

We love all the ice cream round here.<br />

Autor bio: Matt Duggan won the Erbacce prize for poetry 2015. His poems<br />

have appeared in many journals and magazines such as The Seventh<br />

Quarry, Ink, Sweat, and Tears, The New Ulster, Section 8, The<br />

Dawntreader, Roundyhouse, Poetry Quarterly, Illumen, Yellow Chair<br />

Review, Jawline Review, Carillon, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Vagabonds, Lunar<br />

Poetry Magazine, The Screech Owl, Message in a Bottle, OF/With, IANASP,<br />

The Stare’s Nest, The Cobalt Review, Sarasvati, Expound, Ex-Fic, Trysts of<br />

Fate. Matt created and hosts a spoken word evening at Hydra Bookshop in<br />

Bristol U.K called ‘An Evening of Spoken Indulgence’and is also the coeditor<br />

with Simon Leake of a political poetry magazine called ‘The Angry<br />

Manifesto’. Matt can sometimes be found scribbling poems on bar-matts in<br />

the dark shadows of some Bristol pub or wandering the Quantocks for the<br />

perfect view.

Two Poems By David Mac<br />

Author bio: David Mac is a wino forklift truck driver from the UK whose<br />

words can be found in many sites, zines and mags.<br />

Go Get ’Em F.D.<br />

The gambler tries to beat god<br />

Fuck’s sake baby be lucky<br />

If I take off my hat<br />

dice fall out my head<br />

If I give you a wink<br />

fish live in my cufflink eyelid<br />

If I give you the sign<br />

stick hold red black the 4 th horse is my heart<br />

I only aim to out universe<br />

the universe<br />

I only aim to beat it all<br />

to hell<br />

Les Temps<br />

You’ve never gotten over the rain<br />

And the trees move like strangers to me<br />

Days when you say ‘I think I’m getting<br />

My period’ I pour a glass of wine<br />

When there’s wet on the fence or on<br />

Brickwork washing this town away<br />

‘I think I’ll do some laundry’ you explain<br />

I ponder the sky in the same way I<br />

Ponder the tragic meaning of sex and<br />

Is it vital to our well being?<br />

Whatever we do we refuse to discuss<br />

The weather and deny old time<br />

What will be will be and you know<br />

There’s no point dancing on rooftops again

Two Poems<br />

By Jeff Nazzaro<br />

Author bio: Jeff Nazzaro teaches creative writing and ESL at Loyola<br />

Marymount University in Los Angeles. His work has recently appeared in<br />

Flash: The International Short-short Story Magazine, Bareback, Every Day<br />

Fiction, and Rind<br />

Laughter Impossible to Refute<br />

With a gravity that made her<br />

laughter impossible to refute<br />

he said Give me what I need<br />

and I will give you<br />

everything you ever wanted.<br />

She lay back on the bed, and,<br />

raising a foot as if from bubbly bath,<br />

said, Remove this shoe<br />

and then we shall make love.<br />

Not dangling, a slipper,<br />

like a ballerina might wear,<br />

or a princess, unadorned,<br />

as small as rain,<br />

as bare as her other foot.<br />

Kneeling, he removed the shoe,<br />

though beneath it lurked another,<br />

and another:<br />

penny loafer, stiletto pump, Annie Lo Nurse Mate,<br />

ice hockey skate with black Tuuk blade, galosh.<br />

Bright yellow rubber boots<br />

grip the last step of the escalator,<br />

last not first, endlessly cycling,<br />

just the last, looming gone.<br />

The escalator rises, straight up,<br />

not around in endless ellipse,<br />

the little girl in the gold boots<br />

clings, does not leap<br />

to make the train.

She doesn't jump, only rises,<br />

and though he chases, shouting,<br />

gesticulating like a madman,<br />

hairy and distraught,<br />

she elevates up and up out of sight.<br />

He leaps and snatches in the desperation<br />

of sudden death, a goal line stand,<br />

and grasps—not pyritic heel or mikado neck,<br />

but only remainders, cold and sharp—<br />

the tip of an elbow, shoulder blade.<br />

An express train thunders by<br />

in chest-compressing rush,<br />

the labyrinthian web of streets<br />

and alleys of his iron city on the Inland Sea<br />

too insignificant to snare<br />

the grandest of these passing plans.<br />

Sparks of electricity<br />

crackle in the descending night,<br />

leaving quasistellar remnants<br />

in a mist of impossible hope.<br />

The room rocks to and fro<br />

and he stops in the panic<br />

of Is this the Big One?<br />

to fold his handkerchiefs<br />

into neat little squares.<br />

I Flew From Them<br />

I follow from station to store<br />

an ancient stream<br />

concreted<br />

canalized<br />

cannibalized<br />

inches of former self longing<br />

for the Grand March to join<br />

the salty tears of the last ice age,<br />


y the minutiae of bureaucracy.<br />

It is the slaughtered conscience of ironed out kinks.<br />

It is the ensnarement of dreams.<br />

Benjamin Lazarus apprehends me in the street<br />

to smack me out of the anesthetizing gambit<br />

of myopic derealization.<br />

He wants the time.<br />

He tells me that every eight days<br />

twelve looks like eighteen<br />

and sends me on my way.<br />

My Eureka! moment appears before<br />

me in a Yomiuri Giants<br />

jersey and toenail polish<br />

alternating in coats of orange and brown.<br />

Orange, brown, orange, brown.<br />

I meander away in warm-necked buzz,<br />

Aquarian pets sporting plastic bottles<br />

of unsweetened green tea<br />

strapped to their necks float by.<br />

I never saw them tossed from passing cars.<br />

I never saw them.<br />

A can clinked from a bicycle<br />

into the time travel light tunnel<br />

emptying into the salty-teared<br />

massif-forsaken basin.<br />

I never knew they swam not for me.<br />

They swam. Not for me.

Corporations and Cultures as a<br />

Whole Are Psychopathic<br />

By Edwin Young, PhD<br />

Cultures have psychopaths, often in power or are wealthy, or they are<br />

small time manipulators, con artists, and street hoods. Some of these<br />

types are clever and some just aggressive or persistent.<br />

Then there are their victims who have various forms of neurosis,<br />

psychosis, or other serious in-capacities. Finally, there are those with low<br />

intelligence or who are bereft of cultural knowledge and these groups are<br />

typically the ones who are potential victims.<br />

This is not an exhaustive catalog, but you get the picture. There are so<br />

many forms of psychopathic modes of operation that are impossible for the<br />

ordinary person to detect. For instance, grocery stores that sell<br />

nutritionally devoid of anything but beguiling tastes but that promote<br />

obesity and ill health. However, the list of such is very long.<br />

Beginning long ago and for many years I worked as psychotherapist or<br />

institution reformer with these groups. From those early years, I began to<br />

develop an understanding that the structures and systems of civilizations<br />

are such that they shape people into behavioral categories like those<br />

mentioned. Thus I found it impossible to blame any of them. Their<br />

defective behaviors were not derived from bad or ineffective will power.<br />

Themselves, they were not aware that they had been shaped by sick<br />

structures and systems. I, however, was and I set to create structures and<br />

systems in institutions that would promote more mature, more socially

esponsible behavior. I was amazed at how successful these redesigned<br />

structures and systems were in making enduring positive changes.<br />

These experiences provided knowledge to shape my 'Natural Systems<br />

Philosophy and Method.'<br />

Human civilizations, since their beginnings, have perpetuated such<br />

horrible patterns for many millenniums. Consequently, I can only have<br />

compassion for both the victimizers and their victims. I wish I could<br />

communicate my message to any who could engage in restructuring<br />

civilizations. What I find is that my message is so contrary to the<br />

prevailing cultural paradigms, usually an intransigent belief in free will<br />

and personal responsibility, that when trying to communicate my message,<br />

I get indulgent “mmmm hmmms” or blank stares.

Modern Cartoons - A Quiz For Parents<br />

By Kaylea Champion<br />

(A Satirical Review)<br />

A - Under the guise of exploring, a shrill chatterbox with facial<br />

deformities repeated fails to get lost.<br />

B - A rowdy Hispanic boy subverts natural selection with alien<br />

technology, stealing prey from megafauna.<br />

C - Teen anticapitalist club repeatedly thwarts the progress of<br />

anthrogenetic therapies.<br />

D - An emotionally troubled French child behaves badly and goes<br />

largely unpunished.<br />

E - Rodents attempt to dance.<br />

F - The fate of the world depends upon opera-singing classroom pets.<br />

G - Freakishly large dog destroys the economic future of a naive<br />

suburban family.<br />

H - Sparkling horse-people establish an absolute monarchy and throw<br />

lavish parties, expecting universal adoration.<br />

I - Fascist railway magnate manipulates enslaved trains into teaching<br />

one another dubious moral lessons.<br />

Answers:<br />

A: Dora the Explorer<br />

B: Go, Diego, Go!<br />

C: The Wild Kratts<br />

D: Caillou<br />

E: Angelina Ballerina<br />

F: WonderPets

G: Clifford<br />

H: My Little Pony<br />

I: Thomas the Tank Engine<br />

Author bio: Kaylea Champion is a Chicago writer from Oregon. She cooks<br />

like a fiend and likes to run in the rain. You can explore her vaguely<br />

competent view of reality through the scribblings linked<br />

from: https://sites.google.com/site/kayleachampion

Two Poems<br />

By dean allan<br />

I cut the waywrong cocaine<br />

powder came<br />

out. The worldclose<br />

to wash sins in giving Christblood.<br />

My nose pressedmirroragainst<br />

Held<br />

A c C h R e O s S t S<br />

Lazarus W<br />

I<br />

T<br />

H<br />

E<br />

R<br />

S<br />

Suicide Attempt<br />

<br />

moonlight of my word shadows<br />

slivers of a golden chest (inside)<br />

i love that {inside (side) myself} youare<br />

black turtlenecks swirls<br />

and berets.<br />

the bare highway til its very end,<br />

both in the passenger seat with no driver.<br />


Author bio: dean allan attempted suicide three times and suffered three<br />

subsequent hospitilaztions. He had bouts of mania wherein he thought he<br />

was the second coming of Jesus Christ and thought other commits to the<br />

mental insitutions were Angels. He writes about these experiences and<br />

other sufferings with bi-polar.

Babes in Toyland:<br />

Riotous, But Not Grrrls (CD Review)<br />

By Alison Ross<br />

I arrived very late to the raucous riot grrrl party. Not fashionably late, but<br />

mortifyingly late. Like, so late that everyone had a hangover already, and<br />

were sleeping in for years to come.<br />

But then, something happened. The party picked up again. The riot grrrl<br />

festivities, in all their gritty anti-glamor, have revived in recent years.<br />

Suddenly, everyone is celebrating the riot grrrls. Bikini Kill frontwoman<br />

Kathleen Hanna came out of hiding to feature as the subject of a<br />

documentary, "The Punk Singer," and form a band called The Julie Ruin.<br />

The women of Sleater-Kinney magically merged paths after a 10-year<br />

hiatus, put out an album of rousing, robust tunes, and launched a highly<br />

successful international tour.<br />

And then, this year, ferocious femmes Babes in Toyland began touring<br />

after a lengthy split.<br />

The problem is, Babes in Toyland, though similar in sound and ethos to the<br />

riot grrrls, never actually considered themselves a part of the movement,<br />

and indeed show a veiled contempt for being associated with it.<br />

The riot grrrls, you see - vociferously feminist - brashly flouted society's<br />

expectations of women. They didn't just simply eschew demureness, they

impertinently combatted it, incarnating the obverse in the most unfettered<br />

way possible. At Bikini Kill shows, an underwear-clad Kathleen Hanna<br />

would bare her stomach with the word "slut" scrawled across it, and taunt<br />

the men up front, ordering them to move to the back and concede their<br />

places to women. Bikini Kill's fierce sonic tirades would mock men's<br />

narcissistic relationship with their genitalia and attack subjects such as<br />

domestic violence. Sleater- Kinney's melodic punk anthems would skewer<br />

male hegemony and embrace Sapphic pleasures. Riot grrrl zines<br />

would spell out thorny manifestoes against a society suffocating in<br />

patriarchy.<br />

But while lyrically Babes in Toyland were less political than the riot<br />

grrrls, physically, with their "kinderwhore" aesthetic (incorporating an<br />

ironic babydoll look), and raw, feral approach to music, they seemed<br />

perfectly aligned with them. In fact, the fearsome threesome perhaps<br />

seemed a better embodiment of the movement than, say, the more<br />

domesticated Sleater-Kinney.<br />

Mostly, however, Babes in Toyland were cited as major influences on the<br />

riot grrrl movement, even as they consciously extricated themselves from<br />

it. Babes in Toyland were also revered by the reigning male bands at the<br />

time, such as Sonic Youth and Nirvana. And, lastly, Babes in Toyland were<br />

infamously imitated by Courtney Love and her band Hole - a legend in its<br />

own right.<br />

On "Fontanelle," the band's sophomore and most critically acclaimed<br />

album, Babes in Toyland mesh an almost robotic tautness with menacing<br />

sneer, showing that unhinged aggression can have a truly ovarian genesis.<br />

The Exorcist-style guttural snarl of Kat Bjelland and a scorching satanic<br />

sound forged from the ashes of 80s metal and hardcore is both bolstered<br />

and belied by poetically misanthropic lyrics:<br />

"I want to live in the smallest corner of the densest mind of the<br />

fuckmost room and sing the stars they swing from the chandelier strings<br />

You know who you are<br />

You're dead meat motherfucker<br />

You don't try to rape a goddess"<br />

(Bluebell)<br />

"Say violets hang around with toilets and look smack at us and symbolize<br />

everything that is disgust and mistrust<br />

Licorice eyes pin me down thighs"<br />

(Handsome and Gretel)

Elsewhere, self-loathing, corrupted family dynamics, and vindictiveness<br />

toward men all feature rather frighteningly.<br />

The album, indeed, is steeped in horror; it plays like the soundtrack to a<br />

slasher film and yet has psychological terror at its core.<br />

Babes in Toyland were not explicitly riot grrrls, but they caused riotous<br />

rifts in the male-dominated punk/grunge scene, with their audacious<br />

refusal to yield to standards of decorousness hypocritically implied for<br />

female artists. They turned the "idealized female" concept on its dastardly<br />

head sartorially, sonically, and lyrically. They toyed with the sexist<br />

expectations of their gender in a landscape littered with provincial<br />

misogyny.<br />

Long reign the Babes.<br />

Editor’s note: This review was first published in Literary Orphans,<br />

Issue 21

Two Poems<br />

By Russ Cope<br />

Author bio: Russ Cope is a writer from West Virginia. He's been in food<br />

service, janitorial service, and many other jobs. His poems have appeared<br />

in Poetry Super Highway and Eternal Haunted Summer.<br />

Unzipped<br />

zipper's down, what a mind fuck<br />

on a bland otherwise bizarre week day<br />

with the scrabbling grabbling little tykes<br />

running from me in droves like I'm some<br />

dank monster, fangs full of fun times,<br />

spitting venom at them, unzip me further<br />

and you might find a field of flowers or<br />

a delightful promise, unzip me all the way<br />

and you might find Aristotle's prime mover<br />

or a full orchestra about to go into swing,<br />

dancing, what a mind fuck, here they are<br />

laughing in my unzipped-ness and I'm all<br />

-ness and nothing much else and that's<br />

the sad truth of me, unveiled, bare to light.<br />

Sergeant's Version<br />

now listen you ugly bastards, the world's<br />

turning all potatoes on ends, and we're<br />

going to be stuck out here in this blue moon<br />

desert looking at each other's assholes like<br />

they're the girl next door. climb in. climb<br />

aboard. we've got a brand new vessel. this<br />

one packs pounds of ammunition. don't worry<br />

about the skin of the bloke over there. or why<br />

I said bloke. just pull the fucking trigger so we<br />

can go home. remember the feeling of a Coke<br />

bottle on your lip? remember what it was like to<br />

only be worried about making it to the movie<br />

on time? pull the trigger. let's go.<br />

the tank's running.<br />

there is no tank.

This is Me and My Dogbite (Satire)<br />

By Alexei Kalinchuk<br />

It happened in my unfiltered past. Back then I had a habit of telling<br />

people exactly what I thought of them. Before you judge, it was only for<br />

purposes of their improvement. Only from charity did I single out dinner<br />

companions to tell them about their bad breath or ugly child or how their<br />

taste in clothes made a circus clown’s look modest.<br />

It’s who I was.<br />

And that mattered a lot to me at the time because, unlike anyone<br />

else I knew, I was authentic. As a byproduct of my job, I was that vulgar<br />

man the front office needed when they wanted someone to...handle things.<br />

After the board decided shareholder values were unacceptable, I was<br />

promoted to a job as corporate separation specialist. So after work, it felt<br />

like I’d earned the privilege of a sharp tongue. Maybe that sounds bad but I<br />

couldn’t see myself gardening and jogging when I got home to rid myself of<br />

poisons that had built up in me all day at work. I just wasn’t made like<br />

that.<br />

And that’s how it was with me until that summer night.<br />

In a backyard at a friend’s party was where I said it, something I just<br />

muttered over the glass as I sipped wine.<br />

No one laughed.

I want to emphasize how unimportant that remark was, and of<br />

course I don’t remember it. Maybe it involved someone’s repugnant<br />

mother or the unofficial profession of someone’s sibling. I’m sure I don’t<br />

know or care. You shouldn’t either.<br />

But what I do know is how the world shut itself off to me<br />

immediately afterward. Imagine how if the sun switched off every time you<br />

stepped outside, that you felt the heat, but never got to bask in its rays like<br />

everyone else. That’s how I lived. Weeks and weeks of people closing their<br />

doors, refusing me contact. Those that did speak to me said I’d had this<br />

coming for a long time. To explain my level of isolation, let’s talk dogs.<br />

Yes, dogs. I’m picky about dogs. Won’t touch anything but pedigreed, but<br />

one day I was so starved for recognition of my humanity that I approached<br />

a mongrel on the street. Some cold-nosed, mangy leg-humper no one loved<br />

enough to adopt. I only wanted a wagging tail, a playful lick of my hand.<br />

Instead it bit me. A flea motel of a stray bit me but I had no one to<br />

tell it to. I’d been abandoned. I saw that now.<br />

It was just me and my dogbite.<br />

But reading between the teeth marks in my flesh, I saw that I needed<br />

to change.<br />

I taught myself the art of an idiot’s grin by visiting the primate house<br />

at the zoo. From the tropical bird exhibit I learned to entrance others by<br />

repeating their stupidities back at them. I was onto something. Oh, I still<br />

identified flaws in others, but now I had all of these compliments I wanted

to share. Someone WAS losing weight. Someone HAD the fullest head of<br />

hair I’d ever seen. Someone DID say the wittiest thing ever said in the<br />

history of saying witty things.<br />

THIS is how I climbed back into polite society; THIS is how I came<br />

into my own importance; THIS is how it all changed.<br />

By the way...have I told you how much I like your haircut?<br />

Author bio: Alexei Kalinchuk writes literary novels, has had fiction<br />

published in Amoskeag Journal, The Bitter Oleander, Foliate Oak and is<br />

Pushcart Prize-nominated. He smells like fennel and likes eating<br />

pomegranates alone.

New Strange Life<br />

By Ally Malinenko<br />

It was my year of magical thinking<br />

of walking backwards thought the bad luck spot<br />

that someone drew on the cement<br />

at 14 th street<br />

trying to undo whatever curse this was<br />

because we already had enough bad luck.<br />

Me only 37<br />

cancer already mushrooming inside<br />

like an old oak tree<br />

ready to leave the forest<br />

instead of a scared girl<br />

in a new strange life,<br />

so in that year, David<br />

I clung to you,<br />

to your star<br />

to your Freak King promise<br />

to all your alien angel power.<br />

You could make me bulletproof.<br />

Because you managed to transcend<br />

the chasm of my life before cancer<br />

and my life with it<br />

because you alone could<br />

stitch up the shredded remains<br />

that this diagnosis ripped through my life

ecause I wore your shirt to my first surgery<br />

and then my second<br />

and then my third<br />

when they couldn’t scrap all that cancer out<br />

because it was 2014<br />

and it was your year of magical thinking too,<br />

David Robert Jones, you mortal man, you<br />

who<br />

like me,<br />

sat in<br />

a clean white doctor's office one day<br />

and was ushered into a new strange life.<br />

Author bio: Ally Malinenko is the author of the poetry collections The<br />

Wanting Bone and How To Be An American (Six Gallery Press) as well as<br />

the novel This is Sarah (Bookfish Books). Better Luck Next Year, a poetry<br />

collection, is forthcoming from Low Ghost Press in 2016. She's<br />

@AllyMalinenko where she blathers on mostly about Doctor Who and David<br />


The Chartreuse Cow<br />

By Cindy Hochman<br />

The chartreuse cow is coy when I wear my loving tattoo<br />

The jade jaguar purrs so sweetly in her sleep<br />

The lavender elephant cries when I pull the lever to the left<br />

The pacifist turns blue when I press the red-hot button<br />

The black dog lies inert in its own dirty pool<br />

The white oyster forgets to turn itself into a pretty pearl<br />

The half-masked cat goes into heat on Halloween<br />

The orange mouse trips on a tangle of computer wires<br />

The blonde canary sings a sensuous hymn<br />

The desert is too hot for the fragile golden calf<br />

The pink pig rolls in mud wearing Rimbaud’s mismatched shoes<br />

The buck-toothed beaver builds a lovely high-rise dam<br />

The azure ant is working hard for the money<br />

The queen bee makes love and then she leaves her honey<br />

Author bio: Cindy Hochman is the president of “100 Proof” Copyediting<br />

Services and the editor-in-chief of the online journal First Literary Review-<br />

East. Recent poems are published (or forthcoming) in CLWN WR, Arsenic<br />

Lobster, Lips, Muddy River Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Monkey Bicycle,<br />

Levure litérraire, Glimpse (Canada), Unlikely Stories, San Pedro River<br />

Review, and Kiyi (Turkey). Cindy was recently a grand prize winner in the<br />

Long Island Light Verse Content in Huntington. Her 2011 chapbook, The<br />

Carcinogenic Bride, has been recommended on Winning Writers. Her latest<br />

chapbook is Habeas Corpus, from Glass Lyre Press.

Review of<br />

Jupiter Works on Commission<br />

by Jack Phillips Lowe<br />

!"#$%&%#'())*#<br />

#<br />

#<br />

!<br />

There is a cumulative strength to the poetry in Jupiter Works on<br />

Commission, the latest pamphlet/ small poetry collection by Jack Phillips<br />

Lowe (published by Middle Island Press, 2015). The twenty-four poems<br />

explore American blue-collar life from the down in the mouth perspective<br />

of the blue-collar, urban male. Frequently jobless, working on painfully<br />

reduced salaries or in dead-end jobs, it is not an uplifting existence. Despite<br />

moments of black-humour, occasional lightness and some bizarre<br />

surrealism, the sequential narrative of the poems collectively builds to<br />

create a sense of routine despair and desperation, or perhaps it is just tipof-the-fingers<br />

survival of mundane life. Whichever, there is no way out, not<br />

even via death, as Harry discovers in the poem “Easy Layup”, when he<br />

meets his dead drinking buddy Lou “sitting upright and breathing”. Lou<br />

admits that, following a quick peek at his Netflix queue,<br />

“ “I snowed the Reaper into refunding me the time<br />

I spent watching Twin Peaks in the 1990s<br />

All of it,” said Lou, chewing ice from his drink. “<br />

Television figures significantly in the drab lives of the men exposed in<br />

these poems and in the poems themselves.<br />

There is Buchman, a character who appears in a number of poems<br />

exploring progressive episodes in his life, who imagines his father putting<br />

his love of the Western TV series Bonanza before his wife’s desire to see<br />

Elvis perform, live at Vegas. The fact that his parents had made it to Vegas,<br />

but then had been stopped from achieving his mother’s desire by the

mundane interruption of the TV creates a sense of second rate failure and<br />

not-achieved potential that underlines many of the poems in the collection.<br />

Then there is the poem “Multiple Ironies” which explores the live on-air<br />

suicide of American TV presenter Christine Chubbock and the fame and<br />

popularity she achieved only through death. The poem “Godspeed, Myrna”<br />

explores the obsession of the poem’s protagonist with the TV actress<br />

Myrna Fahey when,<br />

“By his fourth month of unemployment,<br />

former magazine fact-checker, Lon Colfax<br />

had discovered a most pertinent truth –<br />

just because you’ve left your job<br />

doesn’t mean the job has left you.”<br />

The British comedian Karl Pilkington gets a poem to himself. “Where The<br />

Wheels Fell Off” is a jaundiced contemplation of where America went<br />

wrong and why it takes someone outside the system to point it out. That<br />

fact that Pilkington’s stage persona is that of a first class idiot serves to<br />

emphasise the irony of the situation.<br />

The poems are overtly narrative and the language of the poems is plain,<br />

conversational and largely unornamented. Despite traditionally structured<br />

stanzas, the poems read more like prose-poetry than anything else. The<br />

cumulative effect of this laconic, conversational tone adds to the gritty,<br />

abandon-hope, feel of the vignettes and brief tales sketched in the poems.<br />

One of my favourite poems from the set is the opening poem, “The<br />

Breadman”, in which the initially mocked Christian charity of<br />

who<br />

“Calvin the Bibleman,<br />

born-again Christian forklift driver,”<br />

“used to bring loaves of bread<br />

from his church’s soup kitchen<br />

and leave them in the break room<br />

for any and all takers.”<br />

gives way to something more practical and positive when the bread<br />

becomes an essential part of day to day life for his colleagues, following<br />

several rounds of savage pay cuts.<br />

There is also a number thing going on within the poems, with all numbers<br />

highlighted as numerals within the text rather than words. I must admit I

can’t work out if there is a poetic significance to this, and if there is, what it<br />

might be, or whether it is just a formatting quirk.<br />

Amongst the review quotations on the back of the book there is one from<br />

me, taken from my review of an earlier pamphlet by Lowe. It says, “If you<br />

like your poetry narrative and reflective of contemporary man-in-the-USstreet<br />

existence, you might want to check out [Jack Phillips Lowe].” The<br />

quotation is as applicable to Jupiter Works on Commission as it was to<br />

Lowe’s earlier poetry. In my opinion, though, in between times Lowe has<br />

polished his writing and, as a result, Jupiter Works on Commission is a<br />

smoother and more accomplished slice of US poetry compared to the<br />

previous chapbooks.<br />

In terms of Jupiter Works on Commission, I’d summarise it by saying that<br />

it is plain-talking, narrative, semi-prose poetry, interlaced with moments<br />

of black humour and surrealism, which takes us into the airless,<br />

contemporary existence of the blue-collar man in the run-down, urban, US<br />

street. Yes, it’s a mouthful, but, for me, it says it all.<br />

Author bio: J.S.Watts is a UK writer. Her poetry, short stories and book<br />

reviews appear in a wide variety of publications in Britain, Canada,<br />

Australia and the States and have been broadcast on BBC and Independent<br />

Radio. Her poetry collection, “Cats and Other Myths”, and multi-award<br />

nominated poetry pamphlet, “Songs of Steelyard Sue” are published by<br />

Lapwing Publications. Her novels “A Darker Moon” - a dark, psychological<br />

fantasy and “Witchlight” – a paranormal tale with a touch of romance, are<br />

published by Vagabondage Press. For further details see:<br />


Two Poems !"#$+,+(,#-./*)0(1#<br />

#<br />

i ain’t nev’a been loved...<br />

i been a lotta thangs<br />

in my life<br />

been somebody’s child<br />

somebody’s wife<br />

taught sundy school<br />

n’ carried a knife<br />

lived in good<br />

and lived in strife<br />

but one thang<br />

i ain’t nev’a been is<br />

loved<br />

had sweet nothin’s<br />

whispered in my ear<br />

even had somebody<br />

call me dear<br />

stayed with one<br />

for more’n a year<br />

‘n once or twice<br />

i shed a tear<br />

but i ain’t nev’a been<br />

loved<br />

oh yeah<br />

i been hugged on<br />

and kissed on<br />

‘n i been loved on<br />

but i ain’t<br />

nev’a<br />

been<br />

loved<br />

not<br />

true blue<br />

through and through<br />

not till now<br />

not till<br />


hey mister…<br />

hey mister<br />

is it my dark brown skin<br />

my matted nappy hair<br />

my ruby red lips<br />

my deep raspy voice<br />

my nose that spreads like wild fire<br />

is it my eyes<br />

my black onyx eyes<br />

these eyes that talk to you<br />

that talk back to you<br />

eyes that see through<br />

yur brittle bones ‘n yur empty heart<br />

them white powdered bones ‘n ice cold heart<br />

is it my long reachin’ arms<br />

arms that reach round this here life<br />

this life without life that you chain me to<br />

arms that reach back to tha’ land’a my cousins<br />

reach back to ancient dreams and soundless screams<br />

reach back to tha’ beginnin’s<br />

of all tha’ beginnin’s<br />

hey mister<br />

is it my big round breasts<br />

breasts floatin’ round like summer clouds<br />

in yur wet dreams of kingdom come<br />

yur kingdom that is<br />

yur kingdom that done come<br />

all over my purty red dress that you bought me<br />

you know tha’ one<br />

that one you said was<br />

tha’ color’a my ruby red lips<br />

yeah big round breasts<br />

now all full’a warm life givin’ milk<br />

milk for this here little baby girl’a mine<br />

this here purty little girl that look jest like her mama<br />

‘n a whole lotta like her pappy<br />

her skin ain’t so purty brown ‘z mine<br />

‘n her hair ain’t so nappy ‘z mine<br />

‘n her arms ‘n legs well thay ain’t so much like mine neither<br />

‘n you say you love the way she look<br />

‘n you say you gonna treat her tha’ same special way<br />

you done treated her mama<br />

hey mister<br />

is it my swaggered walk

my big wide hips swingin’<br />

to tha’ silent chants’a my ancestors in tha’ motherland<br />

you know tha’ land don’chu<br />

tha’ mother land<br />

my mother’s land<br />

that land where you done<br />

gone ‘n stole my mama<br />

wrapped her all up in that<br />

iron clad neckless ‘n them iron clad bracelets<br />

‘n threw her into tha’ pits’a hell<br />

till ya’ll washed yur scrawny asses<br />

upon tha’ shores’a this here promised land<br />

‘n what all this promised land<br />

done promised you mister<br />

seems it promised you<br />

you could jest go on ‘n do whatever<br />

you wanted with whoever you wanted<br />

don’t make no difference who or what<br />

like it din’t make no difference<br />

what you done to my mama<br />

when you rolled all ov’a her<br />

on them long rollin’ nights on that long rollin’ boat<br />

that went ‘n took you to my native land<br />

‘n then brought you back to this here promised land<br />

this here land’a milk ‘n honey<br />

well mister<br />

tha’ only thang ’bout<br />

milk ‘n honey for you now is<br />

you thank that there blood<br />

runnin’ through yur filthy veins<br />

is all nice’n white like milk<br />

‘n that your slitherin’ slimy thang<br />

is all sweet like honey<br />

but that’s where yur all wrong mister<br />

all wrong<br />

yeah<br />

dead<br />

wrong<br />

‘n i’m wonderin’ jest what part’a me<br />

you thought you could hold hostage<br />

with them there chains’a yurs<br />

cause these here eyes<br />

that see you fur what you are<br />

‘n these here ruby red lips you love ta’ bite<br />

‘n this here nose that smells yur foul stink<br />

‘n this here nappy hair you like ta’ pull<br />

‘n these here arms you bound in hate<br />

‘n these here long legs you like ta’ part

‘n this here heart you thought you could kill<br />

‘n this here me you ain’t nev’a did see<br />

well mister<br />

these here thangs<br />

all put togeth’a make one woman<br />

one mean woman<br />

one mean woman<br />

that ain’t gonna take yur shit no more<br />

no she ain’t<br />

oh<br />

hey mister<br />

jest one more thang<br />

‘fore i go ‘n give you what you need<br />

jest one more little ole thang<br />

i’m gonna go on ‘n call you<br />

by yur right name now<br />

yur special name<br />

jest one time<br />

yeah<br />

one<br />

time<br />

hey daddy<br />

bam!<br />

Editor’s note: “i ain't nev'a been loved” appeared in yareah magazine in<br />

June 2012, and “hey mister” appeared in yareah magazine in December<br />

2014<br />

Author bio: Ms. Gilstrap is a featured poet/artist at Yareah Magazine and<br />

also at Plum Tree Books. Her first two volumes of poetry, Gypsy Woman<br />

Words [2014] and Words Unspoken [2013], are both available at Amazon.<br />

Her poetry has been widely published in numerous literary journals and in<br />

2014 and 2015, she was invited to read her work at the prestigious<br />

Fermoy International Poetry Festival in Ireland. A number of her poems<br />

have been narrated, as well as lyrically arranged and recorded by the<br />

accomplished Aindre Reece-Sheerin, vocalist/musician. She is currently<br />

working in collaboration with the internationally-acclaimed artist, Ken<br />

O'Neill, on a book that will feature her poetry, along with his art. She<br />

resides in Shreveport, Louisiana, but divides her time between there and<br />

the East coast as she completes her third book of poetry, Willful Words,<br />

that will be released in 2016. You can link to her work at:<br />


Artist bio: Denny E. Marshall has had art, poetry, & fiction published,<br />

some recently. One recent credit would be Camel Saloon. See more at<br />

www.dennymarshall.com<br />

Editor’s note: Drawing #1, “Windows To The Soul,” was first published in Pablo<br />

Lennis; Drawing #2, “The Waiter,” was first Published in Pablo Lennis

Bitter<br />

By Devona Sand<br />

my skin was tender<br />

elastic wrinkled experience<br />

and<br />

the incision that bled<br />

translucent honesty and trust<br />

out<br />

was no paper cut<br />

in sessions my flow<br />

hijacked<br />

missing the specific connective<br />

tissue as warmth left<br />

and<br />

scars widened growing cold<br />

with the projective lashings of adapted<br />

diagnostic regimens leadened<br />

while<br />

my lifeblood<br />

a psych matter debated<br />

gently poured into vials<br />

a particular strand of genome<br />

revealing<br />

a reddish hue mutated<br />

glint reflected from a<br />

light above<br />

my eyes caught the shine<br />

a loose construct and process<br />

so<br />

smashing the container open<br />

genes with fine-tuned roles<br />

collagen gone spatial<br />

I<br />

continue to carry the shards

an embedded sting dripping<br />

hypermobile regardless of status<br />

resistant<br />

name it disease<br />

own it as evolution<br />

change as a condition is<br />

incurable<br />

Author bio: Devona Sand is a midwestern, cloud watching, tangent-prone,<br />

butterfly chasing, studious writer with an --some say, 'overactive' --<br />

imagination and a deep need to express issues both real and dreamed. She<br />

has a BFA in Creative Writing awarded from Hamline University and has<br />

been known to receive paychecks for her work in communications. Sand's<br />

musings have been published in BareBack Magazine, The Fulcrum, The<br />

Paper Lantern, among others. Sand believes reality is an individualistic<br />

experience that is responsive to environmental cues. Heavily influenced at<br />

early age by Bugs Bunny and the Velveteen Rabbit, Sand may be a stinker;<br />

however, she keeps it real.

Storytelling<br />

Lemon-juice truth<br />

burns through a kiss<br />

& your narrative carves<br />

talismans from our bodies.<br />

The skin between my breasts<br />

dissolves with the dregs<br />

of stories we share for the sake<br />

of becoming us; ego<br />

snaps my neck, each whiplash<br />

syllable catches in my throat, until I blow<br />

a joke into your cloud of smoke<br />

& it tickles the cheek<br />

of the secret you hunched<br />

under half-lies, the you sheltered<br />

in untold myth, releasing your ginflushed<br />

regret to the rain.<br />

Author bio: Kate Garrett was born thirtysomething years ago in<br />

southwestern Ohio, but has lived in the UK since 1999. She writes poetry<br />

and flash fiction, and edits other people's poetry and flash fiction. Her work<br />

has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her latest pamphlet, The<br />

Density of Salt, is forthcoming from Indigo Dreams Publishing in 2016. In<br />

real life, Kate lives in Sheffield with another poet, a cat named Mimi, and<br />

three too-clever trolls who call her "mum". On the web she lives here:<br />

www.kategarrettwrites.co.uk.<br />

#<br />

#<br />


WAR IS GOD (polemic)<br />

By Virs Rana<br />

God is defined as the Supreme Being, or, god, a supreme being, who is<br />

worshipped. Worship is showing reverential admiration, respect, and<br />

faith, usually toward some deity. A deity is someone who is more powerful<br />

than humans.<br />

Since most of us do not witness the power of God, or some god, on a<br />

regular basis, we often feel helpless to accommodate our basic needs and<br />

wants. Though many attend a church, a temple, or a mosque, for, at least<br />

one day of the week, this hardly seems enough to maintain against the<br />

trials and tribulations of our daily sowing. And since most of us are not<br />

educated about who, and what we are, we long to see, in some way, the<br />

manifestation of something greater than ourselves. And what is it that<br />

happens every day, to which we are all witness that appears more<br />

powerful than we are? Death,of course.<br />

And as we are duly informed, most deities from ancient times to the<br />

present sustain because they have conquered death, as we hear and read.<br />

So how do we, mere mortals, participate in this power and glory? Well, we<br />

presume to do as much as we can. And what we can do very well is kill,<br />

because death, ours and others, becomes our affirmation of God, and our<br />

unique association with him/her/it. Reference various scriptures from<br />

major religions where God invokes His believers to protect His name, His<br />

people, and His law. But who gets to decide when a transgression against<br />

these invocations occurs? And what is the appropriate response? These<br />

are questions lost to the ubiquitous claim that our/my action against the<br />

other is purely a defensive action, and, therefore, justified. Thus, curiously,<br />

no one truly offends. And still there is war. Perhaps it’s time to point our<br />

fingers at ourselves.<br />

So whether some god inhabits your family, gang, tribe, nation, religion,<br />

philosophy, science, or what we call the universe, matters not, for we have<br />

erred on the side of entropic power: We are here. We are us. You are there.<br />

You are them. We give cause for us more than for them. We mourn for us<br />

more than for them.<br />

The fact that we choose to participate in only half the equation is<br />

considered irrelevant. For the acquired security and proof of 'might is<br />

right' is our god-given mandate to affect death, stand beside it, not be<br />

touched by it, except for any wounds and scars that remain as a tribute to<br />

our survival through it all, and if we die, become martyrs to the cause.<br />

Those who would bristle at the above proposition need look no further<br />

than our history books, which do not record times of peace, but of war.<br />

From the Homeric Wars, to the latest war, and just about any other word<br />

you choose to precede or follow ‘war’, Pyrrhic, Punic, Crusaders, Hundred<br />

Years, Thirty Years, Seven Weeks, Six Day, Napoleonic, American

Revolutionary, French Revolutionary, Civil, Crimean, World, Korean,<br />

Vietnam, Of Roses, On Drugs, On Terror, On Poverty, Cold, we delight in<br />

measuring the outcome so we may gain any advantage in our next conflict,<br />

with better weapons and intelligence to prevent what we can never<br />

conquer, God, as doomsday machine. "The quicker we get there, the better",<br />

many fundamentalists proclaim. (Somehow, there's something diabolical<br />

about praying for peace that we neither understand nor incorporate into<br />

our day-to-day living with our families, our neighbors, and ourselves.)<br />

Thus far, death and destruction have been the preferred choice for<br />

salvation, and when we are close to death, most of us appeal to a god to<br />

show us the other half of the equation, immortality. The atheist is not<br />

immune. In fact, it stands as hypocrisy to obey the laws and (im)morals of<br />

such fettered societies.<br />

While there are fragments of religions and various philosophies that<br />

emphasize 'turning the other cheek' and 'non-attachment', most of us pay<br />

lip service to these concepts, remaining trapped in the cycle where more<br />

death equals more power, as if, I will not survive, if you do, an ancient fear<br />

and resolution to scarcity and oppression. But the scarcity and oppression<br />

of today is more psycho-spiritual than it is physical. At least, that's what<br />

we tell ourselves from our easy chairs and IT mentality, until we visit some<br />

third world country, which relatively few are wont to do, and experience<br />

first-hand the reality of scarcity and oppression.<br />

But, that, we will not abide. So instead of looking at how we have abused<br />

and wasted their resources, we try to impose our solutions on their<br />

circumstances, forgetting that what we have created as physical comforts<br />

are seriously defective, due to our addiction to Death-dealing, as a power<br />

and force to supplement our godly inheritance.<br />

So the next time you complain about those greedy, corrupt, vengeful<br />

warmongers who want to control others, which, of course, is not you, think<br />

about what, and who you worship, and why, if you can move beyond the<br />

expired words of gods. Selah…<br />

Author bio: Virs Rana is a writer of testamentary proportions. His<br />

deconstruction of de rigueur bastions of propriety begs one question one's<br />

identity and reality. This has been a reflection of his lifelong attempt to<br />

achieve sanity, yet his writing permeates with integrity and logic that<br />

belies his world of chaotic order. He is a published writer of articles,<br />

reviews, and a comic strip in a few free press venues, along with an adult<br />

novelty book, and a just completed children's picture book currently up for<br />


His Beautiful Bones<br />

By Simone Keane<br />

When he died they<br />

kept his skull.<br />

His bone structure was<br />

perfect.<br />

It would be a shame,<br />

the people said,<br />

to cover it in earth<br />

for only worms and fungi<br />

to play amongst.<br />

So they encrusted the hollows in his divine cheekbones<br />

with rubies, sapphires, diamonds and gold.<br />

With love his skull would never grow old.<br />

People came from all around,<br />

to kiss his perfect, rounded crown.

Upon that kiss -<br />

They understood.<br />

The beauty of their own<br />

Bones.<br />

Editor’s note:<br />

Simone writes:<br />

When David Bowie died, I watched his film clip 'Black Star' for the first<br />

time. In it, a woman with a tail discovers the skeletal remains of what<br />

appears to be Major Tom. The skull is encrusted with jewels. She takes the<br />

skull to a ritual where only women are present.<br />

This ritual sparked a fantasy which I hope might be real, where David<br />

Bowie's skull is kept in a secret location, adorned with gems. He had such a<br />

beautiful bone structure. It would be a shame to discard it.<br />

Author bio: Simone Keane is a singer-songwriter from the southwest coast<br />

of Western Australia. She is a WAM Song of the Year recipient and is<br />

currently working on her third CD, a collaboration with writer Giles<br />

Watson. Occasionally Simone dabbles in poetry and writing.

Killer Water (Polemic) by Alison Ross<br />

Mmmm, lead-tainted water. Aren't you just dying to drink some?<br />

Well, now you can! You and your kids can grab a flight to Flint, Michigan,<br />

and drink all the lead-contaminated H20 your heart desires.<br />

What's that, you say? You're not poor and black and so you don't fit the<br />

demographic for the lead-water-swilling fiesta? You're not privileged<br />

enough to gulp down formerly-clear fluids that are sludgy and reeking?<br />

Hm, you may have a point.<br />

Governor Snyder, of course, loves poor black people. So much so that,<br />

under the guise of saving costs, he cut residents off from the healthy,<br />

treated Lake Huron water and instead allowed untreated water from the<br />

Flint River to flow from Flint faucets. The "plan" was to treat the water<br />

from a source plagued by pollution from the auto industry! But guess<br />

what? The pipes became corroded and the stripped lead deposited right<br />

into water glasses - the same ones that poor black kids were drinking from.<br />

Can I get a collective "Yum!" up here in this motherfucker?<br />

Only 8,500 children were affected. Just a handful, really, suffering from<br />

high lead toxicity in their blood. It ain't no thang at all! Sure, they're poor<br />

and black. Sure, Synder ADMITS he knew about the lead toxicity beginning<br />

in the summer of 2015. As we've already established, Snyder LOVES<br />

African-Americans, especially ones who are impoverished, with no real<br />

voice in, well, anything!<br />

Never mind that citizens were complaining about the noxious odor and<br />

color of the water. Never mind that doctors were claiming the water was<br />

not safe for consumption. Never mind that Snyder claims he would bathe

his own grandchildren in the poisoned putrescence. Well, why doesn't he?<br />

Maybe he could make them drink it, too, so that they would develop<br />

learning disabilities and hearing loss, and suffer from vomiting, high blood<br />

pressure, pain and numbness - and best of all, infertility or miscarriage.<br />

That way, they would be prevented from breeding any more evil freaks like<br />

Snyder!<br />

Because, you see, Snyder's blood is already poisoned, and he's passed his<br />

toxic DNA to his offspring. So yeah, let's make Snyder and his entire family<br />

drink lead-tainted water from Flint faucets!<br />

The entire malevolent scheme is a ploy to privatize water. Because, you<br />

know, access to clean water is not a human right or anything. Ask the<br />

citizens of India! Just because water is a natural resource doesn't make it<br />

immune to gentrification. Only the rich deserve things like clean water.<br />

DUH.<br />

And it's a ploy to kill off black people. POOR black people. Who needs 'em?<br />

Welfare leeching darkies.<br />

Genocide and gentrify - it's the American way!

Two Days, One Night of Hell<br />

(Film Review) by Alison Ross<br />

By far the best movie I saw last year was the Oscar-nominated Belgian film,<br />

"Two Days, One Night." Indeed, it's one of the best movies I have seen in a<br />

very long time. Its visceral verisimilitude strikes at my very core. Its<br />

progressive, feminist message is hope-inducing, and for cantankerous ol'<br />

me, that's saying a lot.<br />

The story concerns Sandra, a Belgian mother, who is suicidal because she<br />

loses her factory job due to some very cruel circumstances. Basically, her<br />

depression rendered her unable to work for a time, and during her leave,<br />

the company discovered they didn't really need her services. So, instead,<br />

the company lays her off and agrees to pay her co-workers more. Their<br />

salary bonus means she's out of work.<br />

This outrageous scenario is further compounded by the company's<br />

insistence that in order to win her job back, she must convince all 16 of her<br />

co-workers to forego the bonus. She has one weekend to perform this<br />

humiliating feat.<br />

Marion Cotillard, she of "La Vie En Rose" fame (she played Edith Piaf<br />

excruciatingly well), is devastating in her role as Sandra. She plays her in<br />

a straightforward, unembellished manner, to the point where she fluidly<br />

melds with her character. She is stripped of dastardly female stereotypes -

make-up, affinity for child-rearing and homemaking - and imbued with<br />

transcendence usually only granted to men in movies. She is shown to feel<br />

a strong sense of identity and responsibility through her work. She is also<br />

developed as a character who refuses to submit demurely to her<br />

circumstances, and rather shows gritty perseverance in the face of<br />

distressing odds.<br />

The movie, too, is bled of adornment, and shot in a cold, quasi-documentary<br />

style. Not only does that heighten the anguishing reality of Sandra's<br />

situation, but it also serves to make a point that while this story may be<br />

fictionalized, it is not so disconnected from the truth in today's relentlessly<br />

corporatized world.<br />

The ending gives us respite from the tension, adds an unexpected flourish,<br />

and comes full circle in only the way that the best dramas do. Highly<br />


The Case Against Reincarnation<br />

By Marie Lecrivain<br />

There were-at first- the signs<br />

and sighs that escaped her lips<br />

like dissidents from a gulag.<br />

And then there were<br />

those achingly familiar moments<br />

when his warm hand,<br />

draped over the back of her neck,<br />

became a collar<br />

that tightened against<br />

The questions she tried to ask:<br />

Why was she here? And when did<br />

love become a punishment?<br />

At night, his body reeked<br />

of apnea and privilege,<br />

and polluted her dreams<br />

with a fog so dense<br />

that not even dawn<br />

could dissolve from her memory.<br />

Once in a awhile<br />

she'd almost catch it<br />

in the sick smile that spread<br />

across his face<br />

at the sight of her tears…<br />

the cruelty, so dear and forbidding.<br />

Almost - but not quite.<br />

Author bio: Marie Lecrivain is the editor of The Whiteside Review: A<br />

Journal of Speculative/Science Fiction, a Pushcart Prize nominee, and<br />

writer-in-residence at her apartment. She's the author of several works of<br />

poetry and fiction, including The Virtual Tablet of Irma Tre (© 2014 Edgar<br />

& Lenore's Publishing House), and Grimm Conversations (© 2015<br />

Sybaritic Press).

Two Poems By Brian Wright<br />

Reality TV<br />

Jack’s in his cubicle.<br />

Jill’s down the hall<br />

at the coffee machine.<br />

They’re killing me.<br />

Say you understand and you can expect<br />

a knock on your door tonight.<br />

The boy’s downtown<br />

want to have a talk with you.<br />

My bathtub hasn’t worked for years.<br />

That damn body is as bloated<br />

As a toy doll.<br />

But boy I could tell you stories.<br />

Leather pants and patchouli oil.<br />

Oh you kid.<br />

Peer out your window.<br />

Are your eyes burning yet?<br />

Do you shiver when someone walks on your grave<br />

Or is it something else?<br />

The mad bomber opens his mouth for a kiss.<br />

His woman is wrapped in a black curtain.<br />

Paranoid or realist?<br />

Now you can be both. Your vote means<br />

Nothing anyway.<br />

That ball field is so ugly,<br />

they must have a built it just for us.<br />

This could be our year.<br />

The ranting madman ain’t no artiste.<br />

But he knows what he’s talking about.<br />

Episiotomy<br />

This is no birth—<br />

but a scalp peeling—<br />

skin, shit and blood—<br />

grey matter spilled<br />

on white sheets.

Remember the dark—<br />

the warmth<br />

The placental joy of<br />

the uterus?<br />

Where is your track<br />

your purpose now?<br />

Why this journey<br />

so late in your day?<br />

Better to pause<br />

at the fleshy threshold<br />

before you have eyes<br />

to see,<br />

or voice<br />

to give—<br />

There is much to decide—<br />

Who signifies you?<br />

What comforts you?<br />

And what if any, Gods,<br />

will worship<br />

you?<br />

Nails can’t<br />

piece this skull<br />

together.<br />

No bandage is<br />

big enough<br />

to hide such a<br />

massive scar.<br />

All you are<br />

is spread out<br />

on a silver tray.<br />

And Salome<br />

will not be tricked<br />

to dance.<br />

Author bio: Brian lives in Ireland with his wife and two sleepy Pit Bulls who were<br />

rescued from a dog pound. All four moved to Ireland from New York about six<br />

months ago. Brian was an advertising executive but found the purposeful deceit<br />

and long hours disheartening. He walked out of what had become a trap and<br />

hasn’t looked back.

Heel (Satire) by Marie Lecrivain<br />

"What do you want?"<br />

"I want us to talk."<br />

"Your attorneys and their cease-and-desist order say differently."<br />

"It's important."<br />

"What do you want?"<br />

"I want you to come back to work for me."<br />

"What?"<br />

"You heard me. Let's end the strike. I want you to come back to work for me."<br />

"Why?"<br />

"I want to have things between us be the way they were before."<br />

"You think that's possible?"<br />

"I'm prepared to make things right. I've got a contract right here."<br />

"Let's see it."<br />

"Here. Let me know if you need me to explain anything."<br />

"I have a degree in international labor law."<br />

"I didn't know that."<br />

"I've got a wealth of outside interests."<br />

"Then why aren't you working as a lawyer?"<br />

"Shoes are the family business. And I love a good stiletto."<br />

"I see."<br />

"I have a problem with part one, section six, sub-section D."<br />

"What problem?"<br />

"Working days. And weekends. We're nocturnal. And we never work weekends."<br />

"But I need to increase production."<br />

"You'll have to expand the facilities and hire more elves. The overhead will be<br />

cheaper in the long run. Also, you'll save on wear and tear of equipment."<br />

"Fine."<br />

“Then, there's part three, section two."<br />

"That's just boilerplate."<br />

"It needs to be removed."<br />

"Why!?"<br />

"Our designs are proprietary, hereditary, patented by our forefathers, and<br />

redefined through each generation. You've no right to our intellectual property."<br />

“They're shoes!"<br />

"Yes and if it weren't for us elves, human beings would still be walking around in<br />

bare feet."<br />

"You can't stop other cobblers from making shoes."<br />

"We can stop innovation. Don't test me on this."<br />

"How can you do that?"<br />

"We're elves... magical elves... need I say more?"<br />

"Fine.”<br />

"I like the additions: paid maternity leave, 6.5% cost of living raise over the next<br />

three years, a scholarship program... Profit-sharing? Very nice."<br />

"I'm not unreasonable."<br />

"No, you're greedy."<br />

"I'm not greedy. I'm a businessman."<br />

"Six months ago, you were a broke cobbler with the bank about to foreclose on

your house. We saved your ass!"<br />

"I said thank you!"<br />

"That doesn't make up for the fact that you tried to cheat us in the name of your<br />

bottom line."<br />

"I agreed to every condition you asked for."<br />

"At first- then you went back on your word. "<br />

"I don't understand why you're still mad about that. I said I was sorry."<br />

"That doesn't make up for the fact that you tried to steal from us."<br />

"You said we were partners."<br />

"That didn't mean you could secretly try to film our patented process. You broke<br />

your promise to keep away from our workshop."<br />

"I can't believe you're still angry about that. I gave you the footage."<br />

"Under a court order!"<br />

"I know, and I said I was sorry. What more do you want?"<br />

"I want you to remove part six, section one."<br />

"Why?"<br />

"We're unionized."<br />

"But we're in a right-to-work state."<br />

"EVERY state is a right-to-work state. That doesn't negate the need for a union. In<br />

fact, it reinforces it."<br />

"I can't budge on that point. My attorneys were insistent upon it.”<br />

"You'll not get one elf to cross that picket line. We're ALL unionized, including the<br />

Keeblers."<br />

"I miss their shortbread."<br />

“We're not budging. There's another thing. I want some additions made to this<br />

contract."<br />

"Like what?"<br />

"Our own bathroom. Yours is too big. We need ladders to use the urinals."<br />

"That'll cost me."<br />

"Empty bladders make for happy workers. And we get our own breakroom. The<br />

alley with the dumpsters is not a designated employee recreational area."<br />

"Fine."<br />

"Also, tell your wife to stop stapling religious tracts to our paychecks."<br />

"She means well."<br />

"Yes, but she's violating our First Amendment Rights."<br />

"How so?"<br />

"Freedom of religion, which includes keeping Jesus fanfic out of the workplace."<br />

"Okay."<br />

"Finally, we want ALL cameras and spyware removed from the workshop."<br />

"No.”<br />

"Why not?'<br />

"It's my store. I have a right to know what goes on in there. Those cameras are for<br />

security."<br />

"Well, we have a right not to be spied upon, filmed, tracked, or monitored. We<br />

never stole anything, or lagged behind quota."<br />

"No."<br />

"Then you can take your contract and shove it up your ass."<br />

"That's uncalled for. Why are you being unreasonable?"<br />

"I'm not. I'm trying to protect what's ours."<br />

"Look, I've agreed to everything, but the cameras have to stay. It's not like you can<br />

see them."

"I don't have to see them to know they're there. And it interferes with our magical<br />

patented process."<br />

"I can't."<br />

"You mean you won't."<br />

"No, I mean, I can't. My wife insisted. She's the majority stakeholder."<br />

"Then we've got no deal."<br />

"Won't you think it over?"<br />

"Nope. Once we compromise our privacy, then we've no room left to feel safe and<br />

to be our magical selves."<br />

"It's a workplace."<br />

"Yes. I understand that, but if you don't put your trust in your employees,<br />

especially those who haven't done anything but right by you, then why should we<br />

stay?"<br />

“Why did you come in the first place?"<br />

“Excellent question. Unfortunately, our branch of the elf family is cursed with<br />

seven generations of compulsory acts of kindness. It's one of the reasons I studied<br />

labor law. My great uncle ended up an indentured servant for the Rothschilds. For<br />

the last hundred years we've worked carefully not to be ripped off."<br />

"I don't understand."<br />

"Of course you don't. You're a businessman."<br />

"Well, then shouldn't you remember your kindness and come back to work? My<br />

business needs you. I NEED you."<br />

"No, I don't think so. If the kindness is not extended by the recipient, or returned<br />

back to the elves in full measure, we have the right of forfeiture. Therefore, our<br />

partnership is ended."<br />

"But I need you!"<br />

"That need is not mutual. Adios."<br />

Author bio: Marie Lecrivain is the editor of The Whiteside Review: A Journal of<br />

Speculative/Science Fiction, a Pushcart Prize nominee, and writer-in-residence in<br />

her apartment. She's the author of several works of poetry and fiction,<br />

including The Virtual Tablet of Irma Tre (© 2014 Edgar & Lenore's Publishing<br />

House), and Grimm Conversations (© 2015 Sybaritic Press).

Two Drawings by Jay Passer<br />

Artist bio: Jay Passer's poetry and prose have appeared in print and online<br />

publications since 1988. He is the author of 10 chapbooks. This is the first<br />

representation of his visual art online. Passer lives and works in San Francisco,<br />

the city of his birth.

Caroline<br />

By Ben Finateri<br />

You tell me you have the body of an old street cat.<br />

I look at you next to me on the bed, lying on your back, naked;<br />

"I don't see it," I say.<br />

"No," you tell me, "Look.<br />

My skin is wizened, leathery, tan and tough."<br />

You trace a finger over the scar on your knee,<br />

move your hand over the scars on your legs and stomach and breasts<br />

and the one on your chin.<br />

"My body is worn," you tell me. "Stressed and torn.<br />

I have been hit, kicked, chased, cut, bruised, broken.<br />

I have fallen and not always landed on my feet.<br />

Time, and the elements, have taken their toll."<br />

You roll your shoulders forward and back.<br />

"Look," you tell me. "My injuries have earned me a free-floating clavicle.<br />

Maybe I can squeeze through tiny spaces."<br />

You smile your Cheshire grin and roll onto your stomach.<br />

"You know," you tell me, "the old street cat masks her injuries.<br />

She ignores the paresthesia and pain in her neck;<br />

she forgets the cysts growing around her sacroiliac joint,<br />

the burning down her leg.<br />

She must in order to survive.<br />

But look, you'll see."<br />

You place your hands flat on the bed, and push up, lift your chest,<br />

raise up onto your knees. Your joints crack, and yes,<br />

you have a tiny paunch belly,<br />

but you arch your back, let your head fall to your navel.<br />

You breathe, straighten your back, lift your head.<br />

You inhale, exhale, and return to your stomach.<br />

You tell me, "Like the old street cat<br />

I have not lost the desire to run, to jump, to hunt.<br />

Rather than wither and starve, I've kept my body moving, active.<br />

But look: the winging scapula caused by the stretched thoracic nerve;<br />

the bulging discs, the degeneration at C5 and C6,<br />

the seratus weakened from trauma."

You get out of bed and stand in front of the mirror.<br />

You pose, hips turned slightly forward, one leg in front of the other,<br />

knee bent, arms up, showing off your biceps.<br />

You're lean and muscular, the toughest street cat I know.<br />

I watch you posing, look at the body you've built to fight the pain.<br />

I look, and what I see is beautiful.<br />

Author bio: Ben lives in San Francisco with his wife, Gretchen, and their<br />

two cats, Caesar and Loki. Previous poems have been published in the<br />

2014 Poets 11 Anthology and Clockwise Cat, issue #29. Stories have<br />

appeared in Every Day Fiction and Fiction on the Web. Ben also reads his<br />

poetry at various Bay Area venues. When he’s not writing or reading, he<br />

teaches English as a Second Language at City College of San Francisco.<br />

Visit him at benfinateri.com

Two Poems<br />

By Alisa Velaj<br />

Author bio: Alisa Velaj was shortlisted for the annual international<br />

erbacce-press poetry award in June 2014. She was also shortlisted for the<br />

Aquillrelle Publishing Contest 3 in January 2015 and was the first runner<br />

up in this contest. Velaj’s full length book of poetry, “A Gospel of Light,”<br />

was published by Aquillrellle in June 2015. Her poems are translated from<br />

Albanian into English by Ukë Zenel Buçpapaj.<br />


My homeland is<br />

There where I dance<br />

The wind’s shadow dances through trees<br />

It dances to me<br />

It dances to you<br />

My temple is<br />

There where I keep quiet and pray<br />

The wind’s shadow implores<br />

A leaf’s mercy<br />

(Thousands of onlookers walk in city streets<br />

Without knowing why they cry<br />

Without knowing why they laugh)<br />

My repentance is<br />

There where I implore love<br />

The autumn’s embers<br />

Burn the shadows to ashes…


I swiftly caught a bird on the shores of silence.<br />

That rare singer refused to sing me any melody,<br />

Be it the shortest one.<br />

‘Songs let out mute echoes<br />

In the night’s lonely islands,’<br />

It said to me.<br />

When darkness melts into sea glances,<br />

And islands become peninsulas,<br />

Deafness begins to sing a longing song.

Clockmaker<br />

By Michael Lee Johnson<br />

Solo, I am clockmaker<br />

born September 22nd,<br />

a Virgo/Libra mix insane,<br />

look at my moving parts, apart yet together,<br />

holes in air, artistic perfection,<br />

mechanical misfits everywhere,<br />

life is a brass lever, a wordsmith, an artist at his craft.<br />

Clockmaker, poet tease, and squeeze tweezers.<br />

I am a life looking through microscope,<br />

screenshots, snapshot tools,<br />

mainsprings, swing pendulum, endless hours,<br />

then again, ears open tick then tock.<br />

Over humor and the last brass bend,<br />

when I hear a hair move its breath,<br />

I know I am the clock waiter,<br />

the clockmaker listensa<br />

tick, then tock.<br />

Author bio: Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the<br />

Vietnam era. He is a Canadian and USA citizen. Today he is a poet,<br />

freelance writer, amateur photographer, small business owner in Itasca,<br />

Illinois. He has been published in more than 850 small press magazines<br />

in 27 countries, and he edits 10 poetry sites. The author's website is<br />

http://poetryman.mysite.com/. Michael is the author of The Lost<br />

American: From Exile to Freedom, several chapbooks of poetry,<br />

including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night<br />

and Day, and Chicago Poems. He also has over 77 poetry videos on<br />

YouTube as of<br />

2015: https://www.youtube.com/user/poetrymanusa/videos

Livin’ It Up!<br />

By Brad Nolen<br />

we<br />

Goliath's<br />

deluded<br />

minions<br />

and<br />

serfs<br />

do<br />

enjoy<br />

such<br />

dainty<br />

treats:<br />

profiteroles<br />

and<br />

viscera<br />

Author bio: Brad Nolen is a Southern writer currently taking liberties with<br />

words from the shelter of an overturned, glass-bottom boat, in the rainiest<br />

place in the land.

Photography by David J. Thompson<br />

Artist bio: David J. Thompson grew up in Hyde Park, NY, and has been<br />

living mostly in Chapel Hill, NC. He has traveled extensively in Europe,<br />

Asia, and the U.S. His poems and photos have appeared in a number of<br />

journals, print and online. Please visit his website at: ninemilephoto.com.


By Everett Warner<br />

I set this tree on fire in the woods and her cigarettes flared up<br />

and singed her lips, and all of her lovers’ lips scorched and all<br />

of their smiles burned away to wide football grins, to these<br />

wide Chelsea grins. I’d learn some bartenders lift out bottles<br />

from these grins, from these holes where their mouths should<br />

be. They just lean backwards and pull out a bottle like a<br />

dagger. Then their ghosts follow her home from the bar and<br />

their nails grow into long lines pulling her legs away and she<br />

unravels, Eurydice, into a statue looking backward in fear, the<br />

moon silvering the white slivers of their nails, red trailing<br />

down the lines where she has become liquid and in the hands<br />

that hold the nails is the bottle of her that they swallow with<br />

their dislocated jaws to give to another spirit seeking spirit.<br />

Her name echoes distant, bottled. But she is a stone, never to<br />

find home--Eurydice. Her stretching smile is a finger stroking<br />

a broken harp string or a knife unsheathing.<br />

Author bio: Everett Warner is a recent graduate of Berry<br />

College. He lives in Lilburn, Georgia and likes wolves. He can<br />

be found @danielwolfer.

I Don’t Want to Be Sad Today<br />

By Diana May Waldman<br />

I don't want to be sad today. I don't want to linger … I want to be aware and<br />

remember … want to keep my compassion, empathy, cry, then let it go. I<br />

don't want to hear the blare of the television, the noise of the radio ... the<br />

talking heads. Don't want to listen to the arguing - the Republicans - the<br />

Democrats. Should we take the refugees or not? When we fail to remember<br />

when we wouldn't take the Jews and they died. And how we have so many<br />

Vets that are homeless and we seem to always be caught between a rock<br />

and hard space. I don't want to see the memes of people terrified someone<br />

is going to take the Christ out a Christmas or take their fucking guns. I<br />

don't want to judge you, roll my eyes and declare that I see so much fear in<br />

you. That is what scares me. That would you die for being right.<br />

And I hate pretending that I love Thanksgiving ... hate pretending that we<br />

gorge ourselves and forget what really happened. Hate knowing the truth.<br />

I don't want to be in a mall, pushed up against someone else carrying<br />

packages of things we don't need or really want, but feel we should have. I<br />

don't want the "best of."<br />

I don't want to slice an apple and think about Monsanto or fear chewing on<br />

a blade of grass.<br />

I don't like poverty and the children who live in it --and the people who<br />

judge those on food stamps, when kids have to eat.<br />

I don't like that sometimes I say stupid things out of fear. Or that I love too<br />

much sometimes and people don't always love me back. I don't like that at<br />

times - I am this open bleeding wound wanting to fix everything all the<br />

damn freaking time.<br />

I don't like that I trust way too easily and take people at face value and<br />

then feel crushed when they aren't who I thought they were.<br />

I don't like that moms used to be able to stay home and raise the children,<br />

giving them the family values and morals.<br />

Dad or Mom should be able to stay home until kids go to school ... and<br />

young people have to work twice as hard just to afford a home, while<br />

landlords gouge the rent.

I don't like that macaroni and cheese is cheaper than vegetables and then<br />

we complain about obesity in this country.<br />

I don't like that social media and texting have taken over a simple phone<br />

call and we just don't connect anymore –not even with our neighbors, and<br />

nobody borrows a cup of sugar anymore.<br />

The world is in secondary love. We are falling apart. It seems we have lost<br />

our connection to one another .... and I really want it back.<br />

Author bio: Diana May-Waldman is an award-winning journalist whose<br />

articles and poetry have appeared in numerous journals. She was also coeditor<br />

with her husband, Mitchell Waldman (author of PETTY OFFENSES<br />

AND CRIMES OF THE HEART) of the anthologies HIP POETRY 2012 (Wind<br />

Publications, 2012)), and WOUNDS OF WAR: POETS FOR PEACE, and is<br />

Poetry Editor for Blue Lake Review. She is a strong women's and children's<br />


The Joust<br />

By Marie Lecrivain<br />

And who can bear to be forgotten? - Ricochet/David Bowie<br />

She likes to take a walk every day to clear her mind, jump-start the metabolism<br />

and get the circulatory system evened out because hot flashes are a bitch. She's<br />

worn out three pairs of tennis shoes, logged over 400 miles in four months and<br />

lost seven pounds. She's mapped several routes through her neighborhood that<br />

equal up to three miles without having to cross traffic stops. She's peripherally<br />

aware of the growing homeless population, the one entrenched under the 10<br />

freeway. She sees them often as they lounge against the concrete support in the<br />

shade, or set up tents and hot plates, but like most people, she prefers to forget<br />

they exist.<br />

He wanders down Venice Blvd, wipes his brow and wonders when the bus will<br />

come. He doesn't like crowds. To him a crowd is more than five people and there's<br />

15 people cluster-fucked together at the bus stop at Venice and Cadillac. He<br />

wonders when his relief check will come. He forgot it was Labor Day Weekend.<br />

The post office is closed on Sunday and Monday. His stomach growls. He's not<br />

eaten since last night when he spent the last of his money on a pack of cheese and<br />

crackers and a bottle of water. He needs to make it to the beach where there's<br />

sympathetic tourists with food and money.<br />

Anger rests in the pit of stomach and grows larger like a runaway lump of<br />

yeasty dough. He came to L.A. to make music, to make people dream of the notes<br />

he wove together with his guitar. Even now, fingers clutch for that Telecaster that<br />

used to be his constant companion, but along with his brain, was irrevocably<br />

shattered in the car accident from years before. The doctors told him that he<br />

might recover his ability to play - in time - but traumatic brain injury is tricky to<br />

treat.<br />

He can't play anymore. He sees the notes. He hears the music, but he can't<br />

channel the music from his mind into the instrument. He can't hold a guitar for<br />

very long. His left arm was broken in five places. He lost his place in the band, his<br />

apartment, and his sense of purpose. He can't afford the meds he needed to keep<br />

his cognitive functions running. His family are dead, except his brother whom<br />

he's not close to and his friends have vanished into thin air. He can't remember<br />

the last time he had an actual conversation, or when someone would speak to him<br />

directly. People flow around him like water. He's a stone in a creek to be stepped<br />

on or over. His anger deepens as he wanders further east.<br />

She walks along the east side of Venice, and daydreams about people she's<br />

known; in particular, an old boyfriend who's been appearing in her dreams; an<br />

intense man with a yacht full of emotional baggage and an insatiable libido. She<br />

remembers how she put her life on hold for three years to became a bi-weekly<br />

booty call, a sounding board for his problems, and a vessel for his rage. She drifted<br />

out of his life and she's not heard from him for over a decade. She wonders if he<br />

remembers her and why she's dreaming about him now. Does he dream of her?<br />

She likes the idea of connection, of a far away longing simultaneously generated<br />

with the possibility of fulfillment.<br />

She crosses the street at Fairfax, while she keeps an eye out for errant drivers

who believe pedestrians don't matter. Since she started walking she's had at least<br />

one near miss a week with drivers who treat traffic laws as a set of guidelines. She<br />

uses up the first seven seconds of crosswalk time to triple check the traffic flow<br />

before she steps out into the intersection.<br />

As she crosses Fairfax, she wonders if she should call the old boyfriend, but<br />

then she remembers she doesn't have his number. She could do an Internet<br />

search or see if he's on Facebook. She starts to compose an imaginary email: Dear<br />

____, I hope this letter finds you well and happy. I, too, am well and happy. I have<br />

an active, happy life. I'm always on the move. I was wondering; I know it might<br />

sound weird, but I've been having weird dreams lately. You've been in my dreams.<br />

Nothing strange is happening. You just appear in the background a lot. I wonder...<br />

have you been dreaming about me too? Really? Wow, that's great! What am I<br />

doing in your dreams? I'm doing WHAT?! Really? Don't make me blush!<br />

Seconds before, he spotted the woman. She walks fast and with a purpose, her<br />

head held high, her stride confident and almost impudent. As he takes in her<br />

expensive sneakers, Ipod, and chic sunglasses, the ball of anger expands into<br />

rage. Here's was another one, another person who'll walk around him like he's<br />

nothing, a blip on the radar screen of her consciousness. I'm a person,<br />

goddammit! She doesn't own the fucking street!<br />

She's deep in her imagination, having turned her imaginary email into an tetea-tete<br />

as she walks west on Venice Blvd. She doesn't notice the man as he alters<br />

his trajectory to match her exact steps and<br />

SMACK!<br />

BAM!<br />

In front of her is pair of eyes blaze with anger and accusations. She stops,<br />

flustered. He takes another step, closes the space between them and leans<br />

forward. She stands her ground, curious, and also irritated by the interruption of<br />

reality.<br />

“Why won't you talk to me?” he demands.<br />

She pauses. Her mind races. She frantically searches her memory, tries to spot<br />

him in random corners. She wonders where and if they've met, in what context,<br />

but she comes up with nothing. She takes note of his cadaverous frame, ashy skin,<br />

the pronounced veins on either side of his forehead, and the MTA bus pass that<br />

hangs pathetically around his neck. She sees his shoulders underneath a tatty<br />

blanket are tense with rage. She knows he's not going to leave her alone unless<br />

she gives him an answer.<br />

“Hi! Um... Well, I've been busy...” she begins and then tries to dodge past him.<br />

His left arm, a dark steel bar, rises up with the speed of anguish to stop her.<br />

Panicked, her right arm rises up to block his. They connect in combat on Venice<br />

Blvd. For a second, she flashes back to jousting matches at Ren Faires from years<br />

past. He remembers holding his arm up in triumph to adoring crowds at the<br />

Palladium, at CBGB's, at the Hollywood Bowl. For nano-seconds, they look at each<br />

other, and wonder why... why... why…<br />

Author bio: Marie Lecrivain is the editor of The Whiteside Review: A<br />

Journal of Speculative/Science Fiction, a Pushcart Prize nominee, and<br />

writer-in-residence in her apartment. She's the author of several works of<br />

poetry and fiction, including Grimm Conversations .

The Dilemma of Democracy<br />

The Dilemma is That of a Government Trying To Be an Authentic<br />

Democracy with the Populace Not Having the Knowledge or Intelligence<br />

Sufficient for the Task<br />

By Edwin L. Young, PhD<br />

An examination of America’s range of I.Q.s and highest level of education attained<br />

suggest that only a small percentage of the American population would be able to<br />

sufficiently understand the vast and complicated issues that are set before the<br />

voting public. It is a reasonable surmise to say that the illusion of an intelligent<br />

voting public is perpetuated by the corporate owned media giants since these are<br />

the ones who mold the voting public’s opinions on the vital issues put to voters. It<br />

is probably likely that when the general public votes for a candidate whose<br />

‘platform’ is agreeable to them, the reality is that when in office the substance of<br />

the issues upon which they act are extremely remote from what was publicized by<br />

the major media channels during the election campaigns and what the populace<br />

vote for. The substance of the issues that determine actual domestic and foreign<br />

policy and action are unknown to and completely mentally out of reach for the<br />

minds of those who make up the vast majority of the populace. Democracy,<br />

therefore, is a complete and total illusion.<br />

Furthermore, the officials elected by the public are not beholden to that public but<br />

rather to unknown extremely wealthy elites who fund candidates campaigns and<br />

who determine, precisely, how those office holders will vote on major national and<br />

foreign issues. These modern multinational elite billionaires are the ones who<br />

actually run the US and the rest of the world save, possibly, some of the<br />

Scandinavian nations, China, South Korea, Canada and maybe a few others that<br />

are cited in the referenced chart. In the beginning to the US, the leaders were the<br />

landed gentry, most of whom owned plantations and their workers were almost<br />

exclusively Black African slaves. Many of those landed gentry who constructed<br />

the new republic were probably, as was certainly the case with Thomas Jefferson,<br />

not just extremely well educated but had genius level intelligence. However, their

value systems were descended from or, one might say, relegates handed down<br />

from the prior long history of civilizations; the one exception being the ephemeral<br />

Greek City States such as the early Athenian’s version of the first democracy.<br />

If democracy is not the recommended form of government, what<br />

is? Autocracy? Perhaps democracy is not the only problem or even the main<br />

problem. If one considers the histories of civilizations from their earliest<br />

beginnings, haven’t their evolutions been under control and direction of those<br />

men who had the most intense drive to dominate, control and use other men and<br />

women to do their bidding such as fight other countries for them.<br />

This pattern of domination by the few certainly persists today. These men have, I<br />

do not hesitate to suggest, been driven to expand their power over others, to<br />

exploit and insensitively kill, or rather give the command to kill, even<br />

indiscriminately kill other innocents and not just enemy soldiers, and also to<br />

pillage their goods of their enemy nations and sexually use their women. These<br />

dominant leaders of past and present civilizations and nations delegate the<br />

geniuses of their nation to refine weapons, design military strategies, collect taxes<br />

from the populace, manage finances, control resources, and conscript young men<br />

to be their armies. All the while, those armies of men under their command, they<br />

who carried out orders without a moment’s thought of any ethical considerations<br />

regarding whether or not they should carry out those orders. These men never<br />

give thought to what the consequences for their aggression would be. They are<br />

typically oblivious to the vast harm they are inflicting upon enemy<br />

populations. They do not consider that the victimized peoples that were being<br />

decimated were people just like themselves and their own loved ones. The so<br />

called enemies were essentially people just like themselves but who had done<br />

them no harm. That has been the effectiveness of the commands of top leaders<br />

passed down through their military and governmental hierarchies for one<br />

civilization after another.<br />

In the past, there were no democracies. With the arrival of the United States, the<br />

label democracy was given to its government. The phrase “of the people, by the<br />

people, and for the people” may have made ‘the people,’ or a sizable minority of<br />

Americans feel that this new country with its new government was truly a<br />

democracy. In spite of that Native Americans, negro slaves, and women were not<br />

allowed to vote. Only property owners could vote. Not only that, but the framers<br />

of the !Constitution and the new heads of state and governors of the new states<br />

were all among the elite, those few men who were wealthy and had advanced<br />

education. the new rulers who were voted into office in the government came

from the aristocracy. How different was that from the monarchies from all<br />

previous nations from the dawn of civilization to the newly minted United States<br />

of America. In fact, was little difference between US democracy and the<br />

autocracies over countless previous millennia, regardless of how their<br />

governments were labeled.<br />

How then are the people convinced that the US has a democracy? At first in this<br />

new nation the media was limited to the territory surrounding wherever the new<br />

printing presses were located. Readership was a small minority. Much later,<br />

radio came into being and it was soon followed by movie theaters that would<br />

show short news briefs. And whom do you think controlled these new forms of<br />

media? Of course these were almost exclusively controlled by the wealthy elite.<br />

Soon after World War II, newspapers, radio, the movies, and then television were<br />

controlled by a new class of intellectual elites subservient to the wealthy<br />

elite. This new class soon became the masters of propaganda. Edward Bernays,<br />

nephew of Freud, switched from being a populist to an elitist and first major<br />

advocate of controlling public opinion through skillful use of the then emerging<br />

forms of media to propagandize the masses. Propaganda became a vast new<br />

industry which now virtually controls what the people of nations across the globe<br />

will believe about what is going on in the world. There are very minimal sources<br />

presenting alternative news. This is now a new perfect way of controlling peoples<br />

everywhere. They can shape whatever ‘knowledge of the world ’ the these<br />

propagandists allow the nations of the world's’ populaces to access. From the use<br />

of non-disclosure, as in the beginning of the US, to a brief period of having to use<br />

police force to contain huge public demonstrations, to the current omnipresent<br />

televised propaganda, the wealthy elite have found ways to keep the general<br />

public in the dark about real happenings around the world and to control the<br />

belief systems of entire populations using modern media’s masters of the art of<br />

propaganda.<br />

In conclusion, if democracy is impossible in the modern world, what new form of<br />

government could supplant both democracy and various forms of tyrannical<br />

autocracy. As a cockeyed optimist, or rather idealist, I would propose something<br />

resembling a more truly democratic innovation that in some limited sense<br />

resembles the ancient Greek City States.

The Carefully Constructed Chaos<br />

of Heller Levinson’s Wrack Lariat (Book<br />

Review)<br />

By Alison Ross<br />

Just thinking about writing a review about Heller Levinson’s Wrack<br />

Lariat frankly induces a bit of panic in me. Heller seems to inhabit another<br />

dimension altogether, a frenzied domain where language and ideas trippily<br />

transcend time’s pesky constraints, where they are given free reign to be<br />

as “unhinged” as they were innately meant to be. And although “unhinged”<br />

is perhaps the paradoxical antithesis to the word “hinge,” at least as Heller<br />

means it, the two words seem to have the same connotation.<br />

Because, you see, Heller is the pioneer of Hinge Theory. As I<br />

understand it – and sometimes I think I do, and other times I am sure I<br />

don’t (Heller’s ideas are both elusive intellectually and yet intuitively<br />

sound) – Hinge Theory is a poetics that posits that words and ideas “hinge”<br />

on intrinsic associations, and these associations, once activated, propel a<br />

poem forward. Language acts as an artistic equation. Language is<br />

malleable mathematics, if you’ll permit the oxymoron. With Hinge Theory,<br />

language is both technically precise but also cosmically expansive.<br />

(Of course, Heller may disagree with my flaccid interpretation of his<br />

grand theory, and I’ll just have to live with it.)<br />

Wrack Lariat seems to take Hinge Theory to unfathomed extremes.<br />

When I reviewed Hinge Trio, which was a collaborative work between<br />

Felino Soriano, Heller Levinson, and artist Linda Lynch, my brain felt<br />

mightily befuddled with the labyrinthian language. After reading about

half the poems in Wrack Lariat, it felt as though a category five cyclone<br />

had hurtled through my cerebrum. The frenetic energy, the tumultuous<br />

urgency of the verse – these were sensations not easy to shake off. I had to<br />

take a hiatus.<br />

After my Heller hiatus, I returned more prepared to tackle the<br />

daunting dissection of Wrack Lariat so that I could place it into some sort<br />

of proper perspective. But then I realized, how does one sculpt coherence<br />

out of utter anarchy? And then I had an epiphany as I was finishing up the<br />

book: it’s only anarchic on the surface. Wrack Lariat is actually the product<br />

of deliberate control, where chaos is tightly contained within an orderly<br />

context. A tornado bouncing off the walls of an asylum. Hell, even Linda<br />

Lynch’s cover picture and the illustrations within hint heavily at twister<br />

activity. Elegantly woven whirlwinds.<br />

Okay, so now I can do this.<br />

I think.<br />

Wrack Lariat is divided into ten sections, each with its own milieu. In<br />

the inaugural chapter, “How Much of / wHoosh,” Heller asks a series of<br />

rhetorical anti-questions, some absurd-seeming, but most with pointed<br />

purpose: “How much of commotion is arrangement misconstrued” (a fitting<br />

inquiry for his style of verse); “How much of earth-cunning is dig”; “How<br />

much of tongue is flappable”; “How much of circumstance is<br />

circumstantial”; and so on. These are interspersed throughout the section<br />

that teems with turbulent verse perhaps best epitomized in this poem,<br />

quoted in full:<br />

nevertheless the preposterous has a way of gaining garnering<br />

gathering given the extremities subsequentialities galore glorify in<br />

underweight in the achievement of molasses spaghetti with<br />

marinara sauce sailing at full tide hardly a template to modify so<br />

many concerns alight the brow afflict scowl parsimony is a<br />

declining tautology a life of the mind a sacrosanct search for<br />

signature serious seriously<br />

The rich wordplay in such poems, the alliterative and associative<br />

properties, is staggering to the point of discombobulation. Each poem’s<br />

surface illogic has a Jabberwocky-esque internal rationale, which noisily<br />

declares, “I make sense unto myself!” Each fragment of verse exists as a<br />

screaming statement against stagnation in poetry and art. Hence, the<br />

“whoosh” of each piece.<br />

The next section’s title, “moreover hardly sometimes of if ever<br />

obviously,” recalls the cerebrally whimsical style of e.e. cummings, who<br />

clearly viewed language as his own giant intellectual toybox. Heller, too, is<br />

enamored of language’s perpetual possibilities; he is concerned primarily

with molding his own linguistics, a sort of Chomskian poetics, where our<br />

brains are already hardwired with the template of such a feral vernacular,<br />

and Heller is just teasing it out of us.<br />

Each poem in this section begins with a word from the title, and it<br />

moves sequentially. For example, some of the lines begin, “moreover &<br />

besides furthermore is no longer preposterous bearing deceased<br />

decadence”; “hardly original in his approach to procedure”; “sometimes<br />

you just have to step back a grain gain lawfulness”; “if ever you take a<br />

notion/lubricate with lotion”; “of if as pertaining to equality equidistance<br />

equilateral quasimatter”; and so on.<br />

Each word spawns a new thought which races the poem forward in a<br />

dizzying motion, in a never-ending speed-induced tango across the floors of<br />

infinity.<br />

Sections three through five are titled, “Corner of ____&_____,” “Four-<br />

Play” and “Gerundial Geist,” respectively. The corner poems investigate<br />

intersections between, among other topics, seemingly antithetical ideas,<br />

such as “Corner of Propaganda and Philanthropy,” or related emotional<br />

activities, such as “Corner of Ponder and Brood,” where “gestation” is<br />

“pensive/like/ fish/glued/to a malevolent tide.” The four-play poems are<br />

each – you guessed it - four lines, and explore mundane or minute abstract<br />

matters (parsimony, distances, realism, wilderness) in mock matter-of-fact<br />

or even deadpan ways:<br />

relationships are composed of compromise. compromise entails<br />

giving in or giving up. elasticity is a prerequisite for compromise.<br />

compromise sucks.<br />

The gerundial poems contain gerunds as the instigating lead-ins, as<br />

in “calculating sulk on dismissive freeways,” which imagines “ a drone in<br />

the garden of conspiracy,” and also in “cultivating lachrymal,” whose “in<br />

skeletal Unclutter this Nepenthe” culminates a brief series of inquiries<br />

about underdogs and outlaws.<br />

If all of this is making your head swim in amused bemusement, you<br />

might be relieved to know that the next section, “Accidentals,” proclaims<br />

not to follow any particular pattern, but rather, is a collection of random<br />

“restlessnesses” plucked from the archives of Heller’s documents.<br />

The problem is, these poems ultimately don't provide any respite<br />

from the madness, despite the earlier perceived promise. Indeed, the verse<br />

in this section elevates the sense of lucid lunacy, as epitomized by the<br />

lengthy, restive, tonally capricious, “The Infra-Intra-Ultrapolational<br />

Migration.” This quasi-prose poem not only quotes Billie Holliday lyrics,<br />

but it manages to reference Rothko, children coloring, Zildjian Cymbals,<br />

money markets, cannibalism, suicide-bombing, democracy, ornithology,<br />

verb conjugation, Pound, operas, meter, horses, coupons, laundry, Matisse,<br />

among many many other disparate topics – and yet, they are all credibly<br />

interconnected via Heller’s magical locution.

In the subsequent section, “Wrack Lariat” Heller proclaims the<br />

thesis of his audacious undertaking: "[It] is meant to suggest the Artistic<br />

Mission. A mission that is compelled to reject all that is stale, handed down<br />

- habituated ... intolerant of falsehoods, of the trivially redundant, of the<br />

Uninspired Quotidian." He goes onto state, in a footnote of sorts: "The<br />

authentic artist ... is committed to injecting freshness/new vigor into<br />

Art..."<br />

Heller excels at his own mission, to say the least. The "Wrack Lariat"<br />

chapter features poems that concentrate on several artists, mostly visual -<br />

Van Gogh, Cezanne, Picasso - and one musical (Joan Mitchell), all of whom<br />

he apparently feels infused "freshness" into art.<br />

In "did Picasso strum?" he inquires whether Picasso actually played<br />

the guitar or merely mimicked it in his paintings: "What happened is he<br />

played the guitar - Visually. Compositionally. He eye-strummed, retinally<br />

fingered, optic-nerved."<br />

In the proceeding "The Dot Soliloquies," all verse was inspired by an<br />

artist friends' dot-laden notebook. The poems are meant, I am assuming, to<br />

serve as the individual "speeches" of various dots.<br />

In, for example, "with dot this circumference," Heller asserts the<br />

raison d'etre of dots: "the ground of being a dot is/round surround/this<br />

round surround/this/bound round surround ground/sound sonic like a<br />

circumferential/dot..." A bit later in the same poem, it is stated that it is a<br />

"soliloquy in dialogue," an oxymoronic qualification if there ever were one.<br />

The penultimate chapter in Heller's epic enterprise is entitled, "Linda<br />

Lynch," which is basically an homage to his collaborator, someone who is<br />

clearly his artistic soulmate, a sort of creative twin who serves as his<br />

visual translator. But in this section, Heller acts as translator, "hinging to"<br />

Linda Lynch's presented drawings, and transforming them into words.<br />

The final chapter, fittingly, is called "Aperture." These poems don't<br />

necessarily take Heller's work into new directions, but they do provide a<br />

large "opening" into which we can peer or fall at will, spying on his process<br />

or taking a brisk walk through the "landscape" of our imagining, since "the<br />

landscape plus what we bring to the landscape becomes our point of view."<br />

After all, he cautions us, "Language achieves landscape both<br />

combinatorially and singularly..."<br />

And this, really, is what Wrack Lariat is all about: Language as<br />

landscape. Heller creates landscape through language not just through<br />

how the words appear on the page, aesthetically - in jagged, frenzied lines,<br />

in tidy prose pieces, or in hybrids of zooming lines and neatly cultivated<br />

prose - but in how he curates and arranges words to fit with each other,<br />

like a puzzle constructed by MC Escher, where everything simultaneously<br />

does and doesn't make sense.<br />

Wrack Lariat is the very definition of "controlled chaos," and Heller<br />

Levinson is a word-Cubist.


By James Babbs<br />

Richard Brautigan wrote<br />

The Pomegranate Circus on<br />

the same day I celebrated<br />

my very first Christmas<br />

I got a string of bells<br />

from Mom and Dad<br />

and a dollar<br />

from Grandma Walker<br />

it says so right here<br />

on page 34 of my baby book<br />

Author bio: James Babbs continues to live and write from the same small<br />

Illinois town where he grew up. He has published hundreds of poems over<br />

the past thirty years and, more recently, a few short stories. James is the<br />

author of Disturbing The Light(2013) & The Weight of Invisible<br />


Anne Tammel’s Endless: A Literate Passion<br />

(Book Review)<br />

By Rehan Qayoom<br />

In Endless: A Literate Passion, Anne Tammel has offered poems to the<br />

world that heal through their complex evocative consonantal process. The<br />

poems are intricately woven and depict unique experiences perfectly<br />

matched to individual words that conjure and elucidate in ways that tie<br />

them to every reader’s own subjective experiences with astonishing clarity<br />

and deft:<br />

a crisp pear, fleur<br />

de sel beurre, truffle,<br />

pate, indogo herbs –<br />

milkweed honey,<br />

newly ripened figs – pure<br />

saffron desire…<br />

(‘Moon an Open Book’).<br />

Vivid and visual, Tammell looks past the mortal life in compliance with<br />

Dante’s command in ‘Dante and the Silk Journal’. These poems are deeply<br />

immersed in the experiences of great writers and artists of the past; they<br />

skilfully inhabit spaces that resonate with Genius Loci processing into the<br />

soul almost alchemically with:<br />

unmentionable<br />

words, as if<br />

we could<br />


touch those<br />

dreams.<br />

(‘Proliferate Ashes’).<br />

It is not one of those books that can be read just the once or casually,<br />

rather it is to be kept treasured, to hand and to keep coming back to for<br />

emotional connection and reference points to live by as different poems<br />

would appeal to different times and in different situations.<br />

Endless: A Literate Passion is available through Saint Julian Press.<br />

Author bio: Rehan Qayoom is a poet of English and Urdu, editor, translator<br />

and archivist, educated at Birkbeck College, University of London. He has<br />

featured in numerous literary publications and performed his work<br />

internationally. He has published 2 books of poetry and several works of<br />



By Kathleen Latham<br />

Cubism<br />

I picture you on my bed,<br />

that water-faucet face of yours<br />

dripping<br />

with self-pity.<br />

I can’t remember your eyes,<br />

though I know we argued<br />

about their color.<br />

I can’t remember<br />

the feel of your hands<br />

on the small of my back<br />

or the sound of your voice<br />

with another<br />

excuse.<br />

These things were mine once.<br />

I thought I would carry them whole.<br />

Yet here I am,<br />

seven years on<br />

with only<br />

the<br />

drip<br />

drip<br />

drip<br />

of a<br />

man<br />

to haunt me.

Closure<br />

I would fly three thousand miles<br />

just to stand outside the place<br />

where you get your coffee.<br />

I’d drag my luggage to the market<br />

and duck behind the grapefruit.<br />

Linger outside your work and talk<br />

to the bums. Throw a twenty<br />

on the sidewalk and buy everyone<br />

dinner.<br />

Three thousand miles. Coach.<br />

If only it would show me<br />

that you’ve grown fat and bald<br />

or old and ugly. That you’re mean<br />

to small children or cheat on<br />

your taxes. Anything, anything<br />

to help me get over you.<br />

In the economy of love,<br />

that would be worth the price of the ticket.<br />

Author Bio: Kathleen Latham is a fifth-generation Southern Californian<br />

who upset the family tree by moving to the Northeast and giving birth to a<br />

pack of very pale hockey lovers who believe deeply in social justice,<br />

comedy, and a really good argument. Between raising her brood and<br />

working on a novel that never seems to end, she has won multiple awards<br />

for her short fiction. Her work has appeared in The Southeast Review, The<br />

Lascaux Review, and Alehouse. There would be more, but she gets easily<br />

distracted by computer solitaire and her cat.


(SATIRE) By Martin H. Levinson<br />

Brazil, a nation that has the distinction of having more gun deaths<br />

annually than any other country, recently held a referendum on a nationwide<br />

gun ban. Before the vote, polls indicated more than 70 percent of Brazilians<br />

supported the ban. Then the Brazilian gun lobby began running<br />

advertisements that suggested that if the government could take away the<br />

right to own a weapon it could appropriate other civil liberties. This argument<br />

took gun control advocates by surprise, and on voting day, 64 percent of<br />

Brazilians voted against the gun ban. It turned out that a lobbyist for the<br />

National Rifle Association (NRA) had played a major role in imparting a<br />

“they’ll take away your rights” strategy to local gun advocates.<br />

I say thank God for that NRA lobbyist because if you give the<br />

government the right to take your gun from you, what’s to stop them from<br />

taking away your right to free speech, your right to own property, and your<br />

right to peaceful assembly? If you don’t have a gun it certainly won’t be you.<br />

Let me expound a little on the situation here.<br />

Let’s say you invite the government to your house for dinner and over<br />

drinks you get to talking to them about how you don’t like the fact that they’ve<br />

raised your taxes and that there are too many special-interest groups. The<br />

government, which has been downing vodka martinis as fast as you can pour<br />

them, tells you to shut your trap and mind your own business. You reply it’s a<br />

free country where everyone has the right to speak his or her mind. The<br />

government laughs and puts duct tape over your mouth. Conversation then<br />

ceases and the feds enjoy the excellent food you’ve prepared, while forcing<br />

you to listen to their tirades about how the American people don’t appreciate<br />

Uncle Sam and why President Bush honestly believed that Saddam Hussein<br />

had weapons of mass destruction. After the meal the government leaves your<br />

house, and on the way out they take your TV, sofa, La-Z-Boy recliner, and<br />

collection of Playboy magazines. They promise to bring the Playboys back<br />

when they finish reading the articles.<br />

Here’s another scenario. You and your friends are hanging on the<br />

corner watching all the girls go by. Your group likes the ladies and

appreciative remarks are made like “Hey baby, nice set of legs.” “What a<br />

bodacious booty!” “They certainly look real to me.” Two politically correct<br />

police officers stroll over and tell everyone to cut the crap and move along.<br />

You’d rather stay and make a fool of yourself but because they’re cops, and<br />

they have guns, you and your buddies reluctantly go home and watch porn on<br />

TV.<br />

The examples I have given could only take place in a world where guns<br />

were outlawed, because if you had a gun the government would think twice<br />

about gagging you with duct tape and cops wouldn’t tell you to scram so fast.<br />

The fact is if we all owned guns the world would be a better place. People<br />

would get quicker service at the motor vehicles bureau and individuals would<br />

listen more respectfully to each other in the office. Subway rides would be<br />

great adventures because if someone was accidentally jostled, that person<br />

might pull a gun. (I doubt they’d use it though, since everyone on the train<br />

would be packing.) The meekest among us would feel tremendous selfconfidence<br />

knowing that threats by bullies could be easily handled by firing off<br />

a round or two.<br />

This may be hard to imagine, but there are actually some people around<br />

who actually favor gun control. They argue that every year a number of<br />

children die in gun-related accidents; that guns and domestic violence make a<br />

deadly combination (in the US over half of family murders are caused by<br />

handguns); and that individuals do not have a basic right to own weapons that<br />

shoot. My answer to their arguments is this: kapow, kapow, kapow!<br />

Lily-livered-liberal loons cannot be allowed to take away the<br />

fundamental, God-given right that each of has to own a gun. Hey, if the good<br />

lord didn’t want us to have guns he wouldn’t have given us trigger fingers.<br />

And why do you think human beings are at the top of the food chain? It’s<br />

because we got to the ordnance first, ahead of the chimps, apes, and all the<br />

other beasts. If those guys had gotten their paws on the hardware before us,<br />

we’d be the ones in cages at the zoo. Guns are also good for clam digging,<br />

stirring soup, and they make excellent paperweights. There’s nothing like an<br />

AK-47 to keep one’s documents in place.<br />

Author bio: Martin H. Levinson is a member of the Authors Guild, National<br />

Book Critics Circle, and the book review editor for ETC: A Review of General<br />

Semantics. He has published nine books and numerous articles and poems in<br />

various publications. He holds a PhD from NYU and lives in Forest Hills and<br />

Riverhead New York.


THOUGHT:<br />


(SATIRE)<br />

!<br />

By John Alexander<br />

!<br />

!<br />

Obesity is a big problem in the United States- one-third of adults and 20% of<br />

children are affected- and I have a theory about where it all started.<br />

Now, I’m sure you’ll all agree that except for a handful of old people<br />

hanging around, everyone that we see today is either a descendent of the<br />

baby boomers or a baby boomer themselves.<br />

You see, obesity started with the baby boomers- and this is how it<br />

happened.<br />

Back in the day- when the boomers were little kids- the playgrounds were<br />

pretty simple. There was the swing set, the monkey bars, the slide- maybe<br />

a merry-go-round- and most importantly- the see-saw.<br />

There were also- in each classroom- maybe one or two kids who were<br />

teased because they were overweight. Today, it’s called bullying, but back<br />

then, it was just the way that it was- par for the course. So, not only were<br />

these kids teased in the classroom, but, on the playground, these<br />

overweight kids were at a serious- and significant- disadvantage. They had<br />

trouble climbing the monkey bars; they couldn’t get the swing to go as high<br />

as the other kids; their weight made their trip down the slide absurdly<br />

slow; and they couldn’t run fast enough to get the merry-go-round spinning<br />

in a way that made being on it fun. So, everything on the playground held<br />

the potential for ridicule and derisive laughter- everything except the seesaw.<br />

Yes, once they were on their end of the see-saw, they were both<br />

unmatchable and unsurpassable- and that’s where obesity started, on the<br />


For you see, all the “skinny and fit” kids just hated that they- by<br />

themselves- couldn’t get the “fat” kids up in the air- and keep them there.<br />

So, they doubled and tripled-up on their end of the see saw to try and beat<br />

the “fat kids.”<br />

It was this psycho-emotional-social-schoolyard trauma that was so<br />

profound that it took up “residence” in their psyches and led themsubconsciously,<br />

of course- to take up eating in the excess in order to win in<br />

life- in order to win at the see-saw.<br />

Then, after the boomers had kids, their children- through subtle social<br />

learning and not-so-subtle overt example- became just like their parents,<br />

doomed to obesity.<br />

I know, I know, it seems simplistic- and maybe even unfair- to place the<br />

entire blame for obesity on the see-saw. But, when you think about it- over<br />

time- can there be another explanation for the phenomenon of obesity?<br />

Yeah, maybe. Maybe they can blame it on genes, hormones, emotions,<br />

medications, an inactive lifestyle, fast foods, smoking, cable television,<br />

video games or social media- maybe. But me? I’ll blame it on the see-saw.<br />

That said- and, so- goodbye- until the next time- from the bowels of<br />

unscientific thought.<br />

#<br />

#<br />


The Murderers and Rapists You Hate to<br />

Love: Why the NFL’s Narrative Needs a<br />

Radical Rewrite (RANT)<br />

by Adam Phillips<br />

When Teddy Mitrosilis of FOX Sports says, laudatorily, that Jameis Winston<br />

had “fully embraced his role as villain in college football, and is now feeding off the<br />

animus directed Florida State's way,” you ought to be deeply disturbed, and here's<br />

why: this scintillating aura of villainy can only emanate from one possible source.<br />

Winston didn't tie a lady to the train tracks or hold the president for ransom. His<br />

dastardly reputation stems from the public perception that he's a rapist. That's<br />

the element of his persona that has elevated Jameis Winston from superstar to<br />

folk antihero.<br />

Winston, according to Mitrosilis, not only reveled in his role as reprobate, he<br />

absorbed our Puritanical hatred, distilling it into power on the gridiron. Following<br />

this logic, the accusations of sexual assault have not only bolstered his<br />

reputation, they’ve transformed him into a better football player.<br />

The writer then encourages us to reflect, for a moment, on our diminished<br />

college-football-watching-life-after-Winston, now that we no longer have access to<br />

these off-field “antics” that have produced such “an incredible on-field character.”<br />

He then predicts, with nostalgia and a hint of recrimination, that we’re going to<br />

“miss [Winston] more than [we] realize.” And here we start to feel a little foolish.<br />

With all of our high minded moral objections to sexual assault, we’d lost sight of<br />

the true meaning of rape, which is to generate heightened interest in Seminole<br />

football games.<br />

Apologists frequently return to the spurious idea that athletes exist under<br />

such hot media lights that even the tiniest of indiscretions, unremarkable in<br />

civilian life, tend to imprecate severe punishment upon the superstar. Now, to a<br />

certain point, this reasoning is sound. If I walk through my place of work rubbing<br />

my fingers and thumbs together in a “show me the money” gesture, people might<br />

think I'm an idiot, but crews of fully grown men won't sit around arguing the<br />

morality of it for six months. This rationalization falls apart, however, when<br />

applied to a hypothetical scenario where I've stolen, destroyed personal property,<br />

been accused of sexual assault, stolen again, then sexually harassed and<br />

intimidated everyone within earshot by standing on a table screaming “F**k her

in the p***y.” Similarly, just because I'm Joe Blow doesn’t mean I can drive<br />

around with the blood of two stabbing victims in my car, destroy my presumably<br />

blood-soaked clothing, tell a bunch of witnesses to keep their mouths shut, and<br />

then skate because neither myself nor my buddies (which, when added together,<br />

equals the sum total of anyone who could possibly have perpetrated the murders)<br />

can quite remember just who did what to whom.<br />

After the violence and the canned apology, cue the platitudinal chorus that<br />

“everybody deserves a second chance,” and “everyone loves a good redemption<br />

story.” There’s something distinctly American, we’re told, about a man’s right to<br />

atone for his sins and begin anew. Really? Is that what we genuinely believe,<br />

minus the football? Let’s check.<br />

Let's say a new neighbor comes calling to deliver his court-ordered<br />

introduction as a sex-offender…Let’s say his name is Ben. Big bastard. Seems a<br />

bit slow-witted. Are you going to take him under your wing, offer him that<br />

second-chance job at your small business? Would it assuage your apprehension if<br />

he explained that the sexual predator wasn't actually him, but an alternate<br />

personality named Big Ben? What if he told you that none of it was his fault,<br />

because the rapes only occurred after “Big Ben just kept building up […] kept<br />

taking over […] Superman kept taking over Clark Kent and you just never saw<br />

who [I] was any more.” (Compare Roesthlisberger’s explanation to that of<br />

Roberto Herrarte, who murdered his wife and son while they slept: “I am Otto.<br />

But I have Roberto inside of me who is responsible for everything I did that was<br />

bad.”) Would you let him date your daughter? Would you let Jameis Winston<br />

date your daughter? Would you hire Adrian Petersen to babysit?<br />

Michael Vick is generally presented as the ultimate example of rehabilitation<br />

via the “second chance.” Technically, Vick earned absolution through his<br />

remarkably erumpent moral fortitude, evidenced I guess by the fact that he<br />

hasn't ditched his legion of handlers and snuck into the backwoods to breed and<br />

train and murder some dogs. In reality, of course, we're extrapolating the<br />

resurrection of his dog-slaughtering soul from the fact that he's still okay at<br />

playing football.<br />

And Vick is just one figure within the bizarre equation that success on the field<br />

expiates off-field evil. Which is why the Roethlisbergers of the world rush to<br />

declare a negation of the past, calling everyone's attention back to what really<br />

matters, in the bigger picture, which is football, repeating (and always, bizarrely<br />

enough, with an air of wounded moral superiority) some variation of “I don't<br />

intend to discuss any details […] I'm more determined than ever to have a great<br />

season [...] I'm happy to put this behind me and move forward.” Well no shit. I'm<br />

sure Phil Spector would have preferred everybody just turned up The Ramones<br />

and left him alone, and I'll bet Bill Cosby is more than ready to tell some jokes. In<br />

fact, I'm guessing nearly every rapist and murderer in the history of rape and<br />

murder would rather we forgot about his past. But they have to earn our<br />

forgiveness. Only those who can come back and win are assumed to have passed<br />

through the chrysalis of redemption. Which is why Tiger Woods is still perverted<br />

damaged goods, but Ray Lewis “has washed away his sins...because we<br />

understand that what we all got to watch him do was special.”<br />

Which brings us to the odd recurring insistence that an athlete’s personal life is<br />

sacrosanct, off-limits, and absolutely unrelated to his job. This is completely<br />

hypocritical for two reasons. First of all, the proposition that you can’t be fired<br />

for actions outside of the workplace applies to literally no job in America, from<br />

bus boy to President. Secondly, this supposed right to privacy is only ever

selectively invoked to stave off condemnation and punishment. Athletes enjoy a<br />

great deal of political and cultural sway, which they utilize to great effect.<br />

Immense swathes of the population who wouldn't have given a rat's ass about<br />

Ferguson or Eric Garner were forced to educate themselves after the St. Louis<br />

Rams held up their hands and Lebron wore his “I can't breathe” t-shirt. Michael<br />

Sam and Jason Collins and Orlando Cruz have rendered an entire slew of<br />

homophobic stereotypes inapplicable. Athletes recruit volunteers and donations<br />

for disaster relief and The Boys and Girls Club and children’s hospitals and a<br />

thousand other causes of great merit by modeling the generous behavior that<br />

their fans, thankfully, emulate. But you can’t promote the positive and then<br />

declare the whole forum voyeuristic and irrelevant when somebody does<br />

something disgraceful. The job of “professional athlete” doesn't exist without a<br />

passionately dedicated audience, and every athlete, as a performer, an<br />

entertainer, has signed on for a life in the public eye, like it or not. You don’t go to<br />

work and then selectively choose which duties you will and won’t be discharging.<br />

To insist “I just play football, I’m no role model,” is akin to a landscaper<br />

announcing “I just mow grass, I’m no hedge-trimmer.”<br />

Kierkegaard says, “Once you label me, you negate me.” A fan from Wisconsin,<br />

when asked about Ben Roethlisberger's moral turpitude, says “He's a football<br />

player. His responsibility is to know the playbook and win football games.” And<br />

here we have the root of it. The athlete is supposed to be simplistic and<br />

subhuman, suitable for fast, easy consumption. When we sit down to watch the<br />

game, we don't want to think about Ferguson, and we don't want to evaluate why<br />

we’re wishing health and prosperity on a violent criminal. Can't there be a single<br />

facet of life that isn't complicated by ethical controversy?<br />

And the answer is no. Not a facet of public life, at least. And not when the<br />

pertinent ethical issue is the institutionalized condoning of brutal violence, and<br />

not when the collateral damage includes a generation of young athletes who grow<br />

up thinking sexual violence and domestic abuse are ubiquitous and excusable<br />

accompaniments to success.<br />

The solution is for ownership and the league to stop posturing and fire the<br />

perpetrators. There might be a few “gray area” casualties, but those will more<br />

than justify themselves in the long run, by encouraging a more stringent<br />

unofficial code of personal conduct. It's not as if the Duke lacrosse team or Colin<br />

Kaepernick were blindsided by wild accusations while reading to orphans. If this<br />

new policy forces athletes to choose their company more carefully, or impinges<br />

upon their right to party with strippers, I think we can live with that. Penalize<br />

the team. If tomorrow's newspaper runs a story about a waiter pissing in the<br />

soup, that restaurant's finished. Even the billion-dollar corporate juggernauts<br />

that are NFL teams would be terrified of a one-year post-season ban. If one of<br />

your players is accused of a violent offense, and sufficient evidence exists to<br />

obtain a conviction or a plea-bargain or a settlement, then you're not going to the<br />

playoffs that year. Imagine the hysterical reaction of die-hard fans to their team’s<br />

banishment. Sport is rare, as an industry, in that a hell of a lot more power lies<br />

with the ticket-and-merchandise-buying public than with the oligarchy. When<br />

teams can no longer risk taking a rider on a player who comports himself like a<br />

violent moron in college, pretty quickly we'll have a lot fewer athletes acting like<br />

violent morons in college. And for those players who are too good to pass up, but<br />

too psychotic to corral, the organization could assign a battalion of round-theclock<br />

babysitters. As strange and pathetic as that scenario might sound, there<br />

are quite a few innocent people who would have been a lot better off if Aaron

Hernandez or Ben Roethlisberger would have been contracted under house<br />

arrest, collected only for games and practice.<br />

When this year’s version of Jameis Winston is taken off the draft board, more<br />

than one dolt of a commentator will declare that he’s been “vindicated,” having<br />

“overcome off-field adversity.” He’ll be given a microphone and a moral platform<br />

to call out everyone who has doubted, everyone who has hated. He’ll thank his<br />

family and he’ll thank God.<br />

And another story will come to an inspiring conclusion.<br />

Author bio: Adam Phillips currently splits time between Boise, where he makes a<br />

living teaching and coaching at-risk junior high students, and Rockaway Beach,<br />

Oregon, where he doesn't. Both venues are shared with his all-around impressive<br />

wife and pair of small strepitous sons. You can currently see more of his sportsrelated<br />

work at Blue Monday Review and Blotterature.


By Felino Soriano<br />

The city grieves. The City does not alter.<br />

Outside, death. Something is happening:<br />

lives are contemplating the bordering of notions: prominence<br />

or<br />

erasable symbols of dust. Something is occurring:<br />

gunshots are night’s asymmetrical rhythms—<br />

their wind, calm in what misses bodies—<br />

bass drum-kicks/violent thuds<br />

with those inserting triangular hate<br />

into the lungs, the chest, the thigh, the<br />

temple, used to associate light from<br />

the breathless becoming these bodies’<br />

distance from once-loved warmth and<br />

a worn smile, an advent of decoration.<br />

Something is arising: everyday, winter<br />

the rain/wind/cold of striking hands<br />

creates delineation of life’s informal<br />

philosophy: these sidewalks hold<br />

scolding scars, the bodies are<br />

holed, the bodies of occurrences<br />

left to decide death’s culture of

subsequent behavior. Grief.<br />

When considering presence,<br />

I’ve an algorithm<br />

of purpose, orienting pattern a<br />

practice from the childhood acquired atop the roof<br />

of my stuttering. Alone<br />

or exterior to the moment<br />

momentum awakened, curious—<br />

figurines of an hour’s cultivating<br />

hands assist in forming environment<br />

and the fallible origins unable<br />

to purify air’s philosophy of<br />

prolific meander.<br />

When I speak about your<br />

death I<br />

am<br />

untangling<br />

breath from<br />

the spine of<br />

your cancer. I cannot rename<br />

your steps or faith. And the ache in your<br />

shadow<br />

would never flatten or<br />

fade into the dissipation of acclimated healing.<br />

I knew you I<br />

did not,<br />

know you well (as you know) :<br />

our conversations amid<br />

holiday recreations and<br />

distance shaped and etched

days of birth’s annual visitation.<br />

I saw your breath, the last exit<br />

trilogy of prayer<br />

uprise<br />

into a shaping name<br />

sliding onto<br />

the back of my tongue’s ready and portending surname.<br />

Author bio: Felino A. Soriano’s most recent poetry collections include<br />

Extolment in the praising exhalation of jazz (Kind of a Hurricane Press,<br />

2013), the collaborative volume with poet, Heller Levinson and visual<br />

artist, Linda Lynch, Hinge Trio (La Alameda Press, 2012) and rhythm:s<br />

(Fowlpox Press, 2012). He publishes the online endeavors<br />

Counterexample Poetics and Differentia Press. His work finds foundation<br />

in philosophical studies and connection to various idioms of jazz music. He<br />

lives in California with his wife and family and is the director of supported<br />

living and independent living programs providing supports to adults with<br />

developmental disabilities. For further information, please visit<br />


Four Poems<br />

By P.T. Davidson<br />

Poem 2358<br />

this<br />

poem<br />

has<br />

been<br />

written<br />

especially<br />

for<br />

you<br />

Poem 3614<br />

this<br />

poem<br />

will<br />

melt<br />

in<br />

your<br />

mouth<br />

Poem 3279<br />

this<br />

poem<br />

might<br />

not<br />

be<br />

here<br />

when<br />

you<br />

get<br />


Poem 2249<br />

this<br />

poem<br />

glows<br />

in<br />

the<br />

dark<br />

!<br />

Author bio: P.T. Davidson is originally from Christchurch, New Zealand,<br />

although he has spent the past 24 years living abroad in Japan, the UK,<br />

Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. His poetry has appeared in al dente,<br />

ulcer, Pre-Text and Otoliths. His first book of poetry, seven, is due out soon.

Fading Paradigms?<br />

(CD Review)<br />

By Alison Ross<br />

When I first heard Deerhunter in 2006, I was magnetized by their cerebralpunk<br />

approach to music. I had not been that gripped by a band since the<br />

mid-80s, when I heard The Cure for the first time. Then, when I saw<br />

Deerhunter live at one of their first shows at Criminal Records in Atlanta, I<br />

knew this would be a band that I would end up following closely throughout<br />

their evolution.<br />

Deerhunter's early records were, of course, their most magically<br />

mesmerizing. Eccentric and charismatic frontman, Bradford Cox,<br />

alternately branded the band's style of music as "surrealist punk" and<br />

"ambient punk," and these tags were on-target, as their music harbored<br />

clashing, antithetical features of tranquil immersive atmospheres and<br />

jaded, jagged edges.<br />

Serene and searing: these oppositional qualities colluded to create the<br />

Deerhunter signature sound.<br />

Then along came "Halcyon Digest," which, though not a radical departure<br />

from earlier releases, was still widely considered to be the band's<br />

breakthrough album. Indeed, the songs were accessible and diverse, and<br />

enabled Deerhunter to attract previously unattainable mainstream<br />

success.<br />

After "Halcyon Digest," however, Deerhunter swerved recklessly to the left,<br />

daringly defying expectations, and released an album of visceral and<br />

vitriolic scorchers. Whereas before Deerhunter had tempered their hard-

driving numbers with mellow melodies, now they were simply throwing<br />

temper tantrums and spewing sonic tirades. "Monomania" was brilliantly<br />

bilious and ended up alienating some fans who preferred the band's slightly<br />

softer angles.<br />

If those fans prefer the pillow-smooth, soothing harmonies of Deerhunter's<br />

more sober side, then "Fading Frontier" should resonate well. For me,<br />

it's my least favorite after "Halcyon Digest" (which has some great tunes,<br />

but as a whole it falls flat). I prefer "Monomania's" raw, toxic ear-slammers,<br />

or "Cyptograms' " clever conceit of psychedelic dream-punk.<br />

What's beautiful about "Fading Frontiers," though, is that it sounds like a<br />

true folk album in some regards, highlighting as it does the melodious<br />

contributions of Lockett Pundt, and his lulling duets with Bradford. And<br />

not only does Bradford channel Dylanesque moods, but he manages to<br />

sneak in a 50s-style barbershop number, and he slyly perpetuates the<br />

band's legacy of postmodern indie rock with the first two songs, especially.<br />

The problem with all of it, from the perspective of a hardcore fan, is that<br />

the songs are spare, not lushly layered like the best Deerhunter songs.<br />

The arrangements are simpler, less complex - which is not an innately evil<br />

thing. But in the case of Deerhunter, it certainly saps some of the charm<br />

from the songs. Deerhunter shimmers when their songs are like pyramids,<br />

sounds piling on top of each other until they reach a glorious aural apex.<br />

The standout songs on "Fading Frontier" - the gritty, slinky "Snakeskin"<br />

and the cathartic "Carry On," both of which resemble leftovers from<br />

"Monomania" - should, lighthouse-like, guide the direction of the follow-up<br />

album.<br />

Of course, Deerhunter likes to zag when they are expected to zig, so no<br />

telling what their next album will offer: Perhaps Tejano and Zydeco?<br />

Either way, it's a certainty that the album will be a solid, cohesive<br />

collection, as Deerhunter has ultimately never made a bad album. I just<br />

hope that "Fading Frontier" represents a pretty piece of the Deerhunter<br />

puzzle rather than the band's new paradigm.

Artwork by Allen Forrest<br />

Artist bio: Born in Canada and bred in the U.S., Allen Forrest has worked in many<br />

mediums, such as computer graphics, theater, digital music, drawing and<br />

painting. Allen studied acting in LA’s Columbia Pictures Talent Program and<br />

digital media in art and design at Bellevue College. He currently works in<br />

Vancouver as a graphic artist and painter. He is the winner of the Leslie Jacoby<br />

Honor for Art at San Jose State University's Reed Magazine and his Bel Red<br />

painting series is part of Bellevue College’s permanent art collection.<br />

The Masters Revisited, Michelangelo, Pieta, ink on paper<br />

The Masters Revisited, John Henry Fuseli,<br />

Lady Macbeth Sleepwalking, ink on paper

CD REVIEW:<br />

Good Old-Fashioned Ways<br />

Atz & Bonnie Kilcher<br />

Reviewer: Cindy Hochman<br />

All Roads Lead to . . . Nome (let me tell ya)<br />

It seems fitting that the remote Alaskan city from which this<br />

multifaceted mosaic of music emanates is called Homer, for it was the<br />

Greek poet Homer who wrote The Odyssey, and the compelling Kilcher<br />

history, eloquently and emotionally weaved into these songs, is nothing if<br />

not an odyssey. For those fortunate enough to have discovered Discovery<br />

Channel’s reality show Alaska: The Last Frontier, which depicts the<br />

rugged, off-the-grid lifestyle of patriarch Atz and several generations of<br />

hale and hearty Kilchers, Good Old-Fashioned Ways can be seen as a<br />

companion piece; that is, an homage to legacy, land, and often uplifting life<br />

lessons.<br />

He was a hard man<br />

and it was a hard land …<br />

only one place to begin<br />

so my mama and my daddy<br />

they dug in

For Atz Kilcher, whose catalyst to create is firmly planted in his<br />

DNA, music is tied to survival on many fronts: from the cold climes of the<br />

boondocks, to the punishing domestic happenstance of being raised by a<br />

tough-as-nails father who emigrated from Switzerland and helped settle<br />

the Alaskan wilderness, to his firsthand brush with the bloodshed of the<br />

Vietnam War (tell me, was it right or wrong, to kill those Viet Cong, thank<br />

God I had my guitar along, and I always took time to find my song).<br />

Accompanied by his wife, Bonnie’s, robust but sweetly feminine tones,<br />

Kilcher’s voice, at once gritty and gentle, with not a scintilla of artifice,<br />

accurately portrays the paradoxical puzzle of navigating the tough<br />

topography of the homestead that is his birthright with his father’s<br />

admonition to “be careful but care” (and add to that the ambiguity of a<br />

Sixties sensibility both violent and mellow). While every song imparts an<br />

earnest and grateful thanks to his rough-hewn parents for teaching him<br />

the rudiments of self-sufficiency, he wryly acknowledges that “their very<br />

best still was pretty bad” (a tradition he sadly, and bravely, confesses he<br />

was destined to repeat). At its crux, Kilcher’s stirring storytelling is a<br />

personal and universal search for serenity.<br />

Fourth of July<br />

and I’m feeling high<br />

but there ain’t no booze or drugs around here<br />

so let me tell you why<br />

it’s a Native American secret<br />

I’m burning some cottonwood leaves in my fire<br />

and I’m bathing in that blue Fox River sky<br />

Dark strains aside, a Kilcher campfire is not devoid of its rousing<br />

moments. The observant music lover will appreciate Atz’s genre-jumping,<br />

self-professed rockabilly beat, as well as the delightful Presley paraphrase<br />

of a little green bug who’s “all shook up in his green (yes, green!) suede<br />

shoes.”* But even here there is a subtle subtext of nature’s divine<br />

spirituality, as this tiny creature’s elation earns him a “front-row seat way<br />

up above the ground,” ostensibly to heaven (where perhaps St. Peter will<br />

dye his shoes back to blue so that Elvis doesn’t roll in his grave).<br />

There’s something about watching a river<br />

as she pours herself right down your hungry soul<br />

In “The River Song,” my favorite in a CD full of favorites, the<br />

perpetual flow of the river becomes a metaphor for the life cycle. The<br />

simple yet philosophical profundity of the refrain (are you running away<br />

or are you running home?) is a literal and musical bridge from Kilcher’s<br />

childhood (and, through personification, the river’s) to his (and its)<br />

maturity, conveying the comforting illusion of immortality. Of course,<br />

there’s also a bit of intimate self-reference which is the hallmark of an Atz

Kilcher song, as he asks are you running away or are you running home,<br />

Atz Kilcher? And significantly, the past blends with the future when<br />

Kilcher’s conversation with the river harkens back to his forebears (are we<br />

running away or are we running home, Dear Mother) and to his own<br />

offspring (are you running away or are you running home, my children),<br />

putting a fine point on the eternal progression of our existence.<br />

In the theme song to Alaska: The Last Frontier, Kilcher sings “life is<br />

good when you’re living like you should,” but admittedly, he wasn’t always.<br />

With trademark candor (“I try to shoot straight and keep my word and I<br />

expect the same from you”) and compassion, many of Kilcher’s songs are<br />

saturated with allusions to alcoholism and self-degradation that have<br />

dogged so many veterans (of the battlefields of both war and abuse). This<br />

leitmotif is most notable in the songs “PTSD” (the acronym for posttraumatic<br />

stress disorder) and “Froggy Went to War,” in which a<br />

reworking of the jocular old Scottish folk song “Frog Went A-Courtin’ ”**<br />

takes a somber (but, in the final stanza, hopeful) turn. While the anecdotes<br />

are certainly personal, he touches on the human condition as well, opining<br />

that “everybody’s trying to get here with a little help or on their own; they<br />

have a drink, fill a script, pop a pill, take a trip, thinking all roads lead to<br />

Rome (but they don’t, let me tell ya).” For Kilcher, though, salvation is<br />

found, once again, through his proximity to Mother Earth.<br />

There’s no last call for alcohol here by this mountain stream<br />

there ain’t no ghosts to haunt you here or drag you from your dreams<br />

just silence ringing in your ears, the air is mountain clear<br />

there’s no such thing as being lost when you’re lost out here<br />

“Good Old-Fashioned Ways” is a heartfelt testimonial to continuity<br />

and endurance, with plenty of kumbaya moments amid the demons, and a<br />

dash of Wild West swagger (courtesy of “After the Gun,” which also has<br />

some very cool syncopated sound effects). In the final song, the haunting,<br />

soothing “Clearwater Slough,” Kilcher comes full circle, proving that, for<br />

him, there’s no place like Homer.<br />

Many moons ago, a talented young singer named Jewel (Kilcher,<br />

that is) asked the question Who Will Save Your Soul? The answer is<br />

intrinsically linked to her own roots, because if her papa’s generous<br />

collection of fiercely beautiful songs can’t save your soul, then your soul is<br />

a lost cause.<br />

____________________________________________________________<br />

*“Blue Suede Shoes” was written, and originally recorded, by Carl Perkins.<br />

“All Shook Up” was written by Otis Blackwell.<br />

** Modern versions of “Froggy Went A-Courtin’ have been recorded by<br />

Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen, among<br />


Alejandro Iñárritu’s<br />

“The Revenant” (Film Review)<br />

by Josh Sczykutowicz<br />

Ice walls and avalanches. Lightning storms and snowfall. Thick forests and<br />

skeletal trees. Packed black dirt and frozen ground. Rushing rivers and candlelit<br />

taverns. Terracotta sunsets and porcelain dawns. These are some of the many<br />

stark images that permeate Alejandro Iñárritu’s latest film, The Revenant,<br />

starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Hugh Glass, an 1820’s hunter who is attacked by a<br />

bear and left for dead by Tom Hardy’s partially-scalped, self-preservationist John<br />

Fitzgerald. Suffering extreme physical, personal and spiritual loss, Glass rises<br />

from his wounds intent on revenge, and begins an intense, harrowing journey<br />

through the wilderness that never lets up to the last second.<br />

A follow-up to Iñárritu’s Best Picture-winning Birdman, Iñárritu finds<br />

himself uniting again with acclaimed cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who<br />

more than asserts himself as the finest in his field with this film. A technical<br />

masterpiece, tracking shots seamlessly glide and follow characters, switching<br />

points of view, submerging underwater and lifting back out again, swirling into<br />

the sky and chasing alongside men on horseback before becoming crane shots<br />

that look down at the forest below, taking to the air as cliffs reach their end<br />

without warning.<br />

A nail in the coffin in the film versus digital debate, Lubezki’s stunning<br />

camerawork works exclusively with natural light to achieve the gorgeous and<br />

outstanding shots found within this film. A main criticism of digital filmmaking is<br />

that it lacks the immediacy of shooting on film, with little time limits, yet here,<br />

photographing everything with zero artificial light, every scene depends upon the<br />

position of the sun, of the light of the torches carried through frozen tree lines in<br />

pitch-black nights. That immediacy that the timing of film requires is replicated<br />

here, yet with all of the freedom of technique that digital allow for, as shots seem<br />

to blend with ease into all kinds: close-ups, panoramas, aerial shots, dolly and<br />

tracking shots. While the romanticism of film may be its own virtue, Lubezki’s<br />

unbridled technique and command of the art form seem to prove that<br />

romanticism may be the last defense left in favor of celluloid.<br />

One of Lubezki’s past works, the Oscar-winning cinematography for

Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, managed to do something few films about space have: it<br />

simultaneously conveyed the absolute beauty and profound depth of space, while<br />

still showing the isolating horror and inhospitality of it. Here, Lubezki’s images<br />

manage to much the same for the wilderness, helping to craft a tale of man versus<br />

nature that rivals the greatest films dealing with the subject. We are seeing<br />

photographs made not by just a talented professional, but by a master of their<br />

craft.<br />

Rather than compromise and decide whether to paint the natural world as<br />

perfect and mesmerizing, or as brutal and unflinching, it presents both<br />

simultaneously, with equal skill, leading to a remarkable visual balancing act. We<br />

watch with Glass as a pack of wolves take down a running bison in the evening<br />

light, sharing his expression of disturbed awe. In the coldest days of winter, a<br />

network of ants move as one to collapse a beetle. Flurries of snow rush into frame<br />

and flakes dot the screen. Vivid close-ups get so near to actor’s faces that their<br />

breath fog up the lens, before we pull back and spin around the subject, changing<br />

gaze to look upon the harsh, gorgeous wilderness the entire cast finds itself<br />

surviving in.<br />

And no character survives quite like Glass does, a man whose journey<br />

through complete torture rivals that of almost any other protagonist in film. Few<br />

have had such motive or justification for the vengeance they seek than Hugh<br />

Glass, and Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance makes it so. Largely silent, DiCaprio<br />

expresses every sort of pain possible while displaying the desperation, deep will<br />

and inner growth of Glass through non-verbal expressions and actions, diving<br />

into freezing rivers, climbing inside of dead animals for warmth, taking every<br />

blow with weight and challenging himself as a performer in every scene.<br />

Like a wounded animal, he limps, crawls, and fumbles his way through the<br />

expanse, a frozen wasteland waiting to claim him at any given moment. An<br />

immense amount of effort from DiCaprio manages to communicate a history of a<br />

man given few lines via everything else. His mannerisms, sleeping habits,<br />

expressions and reactions all serve to both tell his own private story and propel<br />

the larger narrative forward.<br />

The character of Hugh Glass undergoes not just a physical journey in this<br />

film, travelling back to the hunter’s camp in his search for Fitzgerald, but also a<br />

spiritual one, grieving and coping with all of his losses. Steam and fog rise through<br />

shots of water like the smoke that plumes off of the burning village that haunts<br />

Glass’ dreams. Images of a dead lover haunt his heart and guide his soul. She says<br />

how a tree in a storm may look like it will fall, if one only looks at the leaves, but if<br />

one looks at the trunk, they know that it will remain. For most of the film, we see<br />

Glass at the leaves. By the end, we are gazing upon the trunk.<br />

He experiences deep physical pain, relentlessly mauled by a grizzly to the<br />

death and hurt through various accidents, attacks and incidents as the film<br />

progresses. He endures intense emotional pain, that of severe betrayal, of<br />

personal loss, of having to see the last tethers to an old life stripped away before<br />

his very eyes. And he suffers spiritually most of all; haunted by the very<br />

beginning by a loss he accrued well before any icy flows of the opening scenes<br />

filled the frame.<br />

Like every character in this film, Glass is defending something; in this<br />

case, the most basic possession: his life. Fitzgerald defends his life and dream of a<br />

plot of land in Texas. The bear that attacks Glass, more a force of nature than a<br />

simple animal, is only trying to defend its cubs which Glass stumbles upon. The<br />

Native Americans that attack, scalp and trample through campgrounds are

simply trying to defend their lands from the white men who have taken<br />

everything from them.<br />

The brutality just mirrors the natural world around it, as every man<br />

operates, ultimately, as a force of nature in their own right. Just as avalanches<br />

topple trees, or wolves dispatch bison, men topple one another just as naturally.<br />

Every force of violence is given the unflinching sincerity they command. Arrows,<br />

teeth, bullets, maws, hatchets, knives, claws, fire and water all cause their own<br />

destruction, and no detail is spared.<br />

While the scope and scale of this film is so thematically broad – nature,<br />

spirituality, torment, sacrifice, the cost of vengeance, survival, the beauty and<br />

brutality of the wilderness, man’s place within the world and the way that we act<br />

as a destructive force just like any other –the narrative focus is so contrastingly<br />

intimate, that both seem to only serve one another. Glass’ journey is one of a<br />

private grief, still haunted by visions of his lost village and family, still grappling<br />

with his inner demons.<br />

Everything that occurs within the film is ultimately a framework for Glass<br />

to work through these issues, and yet, by the end of the film, questions are left:<br />

does vengeance satisfy? What does it take to mend a broken spirit, to make whole<br />

again a broken man? When is the deepest pain allowed to heal, and what begins<br />

that process? Are loss and its pain simply natural, and is pain itself a part of the<br />

natural world?<br />

Iñárritu has firmly established himself as a unique and ambitious director<br />

with few peers to stand amongst, and continues to explore the human condition in<br />

his own way. Few directors are capable of communicating so many themes, and so<br />

many thoughts, through almost purely visual storytelling, and let alone make it<br />

so compelling. With the assistance of Lubezki, Iñárritu forms a portrait stunning<br />

in its scale and painstaking in its detail of a wilderness we may never experience,<br />

and of a man who may never free himself of it.<br />

Full of images that rival that of Planet Earth and driven by a performance<br />

of a lifetime from Leonardo DiCaprio, all pulled together by the unparalleled<br />

direction of Alejandro Iñárritu, The Revenant stands as a truly powerful and truly<br />

beautiful film about nature, man’s place within it, personal grief and suffering,<br />

overcoming obstacles and the persistence of the human spirit. Through its wider<br />

focus on nature, it crafts a delicate and intimate personal examination of grief,<br />

loss, and pain. When someone no longer fears death, what do they become? Can<br />

healing happen, once a certain line has crossed? These are answers Hugh Glass<br />

may learn, but not during our time spent with him. Regardless, what has been<br />

achieved here is a towering work of art, one that gives far more than it takes, and<br />

continues to show that Iñárritu is an ambitious and capable artist in a medium<br />

that he has a complex understanding and command of.<br />

Author bio: Josh Sczykutowicz is a young writer from central Florida.<br />

Most of his work can be described as dark, alternative and literary fiction.<br />

He has been published in Flash Fiction Magazine, ExFic, and Polychrome<br />

Ink, among others. You can Like him on Facebook and follow him on<br />

twitter @jsczykutowicz1 and tumblr at<br />


Australia’s Epidemic of Misogyny<br />

by Giles Watson<br />

Between 2010 and 2013, an Australian citizen was subjected to a<br />

vicious, unrelenting public hate-campaign. One popular media personality<br />

(Alan Jones) urged his audience to “shove” this person, along with the<br />

environmentalist Bob Brown, “in a chaff bag and take them as far out to<br />

sea as they can and tell them to swim home”. A Liberal Party member<br />

(Grahame Morris) recommended “kicking” this person “to<br />

death”. Politicians (Steve Ciobo and Peter Reith) advocated slitting this<br />

person’s throat. There were no legal repercussions against any of these<br />

incitements to commit murder. The victim of this constant barrage of<br />

verbal violence was Julia Gillard, the Australian Prime-Minister. Her<br />

antagonists may have disagreed with her politics, but their vitriol was not<br />

political discourse; it was misogyny. These people deemed that she was<br />

worthy of drowning, beating and stabbing because she was a woman who<br />

dared to seek political office.<br />

Our then Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, stood gurning like a<br />

clown underneath a protest banner that read “Ditch the Witch”. Days<br />

before his later election as Prime-Minister, he went on national television<br />

to pimp his two daughters, saying “If you want to know who to vote for, I’m<br />

the guy with the two not-bad-looking daughters”. He winked lasciviously<br />

on a radio talk-show when a woman caller told him that she had been<br />

driven to become a phone-sex worker because of his economic policies. He<br />

openly trumpeted his opinion that women should be at home doing the<br />

ironing. This is the same man who, when he lost a university union<br />

election to a woman candidate in his youth, shoved his face within an inch<br />

of hers and punched the wall on either side of her head, and who once<br />

punched out the man who was to become his Treasurer: a violent man<br />

lauded by a rabidly fascist and misogynist minority of the Australian<br />

public who somehow found it in their hearts to applaud all of these defects<br />

of character on the basis that they were “macho”, and forgivable in the<br />

“Aussie male”.<br />

I was absent from Australia while all of this was occurring, on an 18-<br />

year sojourn in England. I had spent my childhood and youth in Australia,<br />

and had thought that as far as gender was concerned at least, this country

was heading in a very different direction. I returned two years ago, and<br />

was devastated to discover the hideous morass this country has waded<br />

into. The vile misogynist rantings cited above are not restricted to the<br />

upper echelons of government and the media. They have pervaded<br />

Australian culture, and the most horrifying symptom of this process is an<br />

enormous epidemic of domestic violence against women: gendered violence<br />

committed with impunity behind closed doors. In my state (Western<br />

Australia) alone, there were 10,648 female victims of domestic violence in<br />

2014. I am writing this at 10.43 in the morning, and so far today, it is<br />

estimated that police in Australia will already have been called to respond<br />

to 293 domestic violence incidents. In my small region alone, 16 women<br />

and children were killed by violent men in 2015.<br />

Nor is this a phenomenon restricted to isolated sectors of society. I<br />

live in a comparatively prosperous, “respectable” seaside town, and I know<br />

people whose lives are blighted by domestic violence on a daily basis. The<br />

perpetrators continue to bash, intimidate and terrorise with impunity<br />

because of the toxic cultural conditions which have been incubated by<br />

media and political establishments intent on spreading misogyny. In the<br />

process, newspapers such as The Australian have also employed openly<br />

misogynist female commentators like Bettina Arndt, a “sex-therapist” who<br />

has in the past advised women who do not want sex from their partners to<br />

give in and “take one for the team”, and who now uses her column to<br />

encourage “Men’s Rights Activists” (most of whom are insane wife-bashers<br />

and gaslighters, or apologists for them) to disrupt the activities of antidomestic<br />

violence groups such as the White Ribbon Campaign. This is the<br />

same newspaper whose female fashion columnists contributed to the<br />

Gillard-hating chorus by relentlessly criticising her wardrobe, and whose<br />

extreme right-wing commentator Janet Albrechtsen argued that Gillard<br />

was not qualified to be Prime-Minister because “She has never had to make<br />

room for the frustrating demands and magnificent responsibilities of<br />

caring for little babies, picking up sick children from school, raising<br />

teenagers. Not to mention the needs of a husband or partner.” [sic:<br />

grammar.]<br />

Much of the blame for this utterly toxic cultural climate must fall at<br />

the feet of the Murdoch media empire. How can any journalist dare to<br />

criticise a woman for choosing to not have children in this hideously<br />

overpopulated world, or claim that she is unqualified for political office<br />

because she has exercised that choice which it is the unquestionable right<br />

of every woman to make? How exactly would changing nappies make her a<br />

better politician? How can a newspaper editor seriously contemplate<br />

publishing such unconscionable rubbish, and then go on to publish the<br />

writing of a “sex-therapist” who tacitly condones marital rape?<br />

These things happen because too many Australian people buy the<br />

newspaper, because they vote for a woman-hating Prime-Minister and sit<br />

by whilst he makes himself “Minister for Women”, because when that<br />

Prime-Minister is deposed and another takes his place, and promotes a

woman who has no place for feminism to the same position, they are too<br />

busy watching the football to take notice. They happen because the<br />

appalling statistics cited above go unreported by the mainstream<br />

media. But they also happen because of a wilful ignorance. One does not<br />

have to look far on the internet to find out the truth. The verbal violence<br />

against Julia Gillard was plain for all to see, and instead of being drowned<br />

out by a chorus of public indignation, it filtered down to the point where<br />

school-children were throwing eggs at her.<br />

The irony of this situation is that I am quite convinced there is a<br />

majority of the Australian public which is appalled by all of this. The<br />

problem is that it is a more-or-less silent majority: silent on the issue of<br />

misogyny as it is on other deeply urgent issues, such as the current<br />

government’s wholesale assault on the environment. We are in desperate<br />

need of individuals who will not sit silently, but who will go on the attack<br />

against a lying mass-media, who will refuse to tolerate the promulgation of<br />

misogyny by public figures, who will have the moral courage to denounce<br />

the perpetrators of domestic violence at the grass-roots level, and perhaps<br />

most importantly, who will work ceaselessly to undermine the roots of the<br />

cancer of misogyny, victim-blaming and violence-excusing in our<br />

culture. We need a vast alliance of conscientious individuals who are<br />

prepared to rewind and reconstruct a whole set of cultural assumptions,<br />

and these individuals need to play an active, not a passive role in this<br />

process. Only then will Australia become the place I hoped it would become<br />

twenty years ago. Only then will the openly murderous rantings of the<br />

Alan Joneses, and the daily sufferings of women I know, become a thing of<br />

the past.

Scientist<br />

By Amme Broumand<br />

list: parts of an atom, speckled with eyes; the foot<br />

of a disfigured carp which—one summer night—crept forth<br />

from its fountain; the ambered body of an earthworm<br />

that once climbed aboard a bee and rushed<br />

towards the sun—<br />

(my treasures, heaped<br />

before me like so much trash, wrinkle<br />

inwards upon themselves, evanescing with a gleam<br />

into the dark (almost as if they were<br />

angry—<br />

Author bio: Amee Broumand is an Iranian American poet from the Pacific<br />

Northwest. She was homeschooled; despite her wariness of academia, she<br />

eventually got a B.A. in English and Philosophy. She loves hiking,<br />

photography, and Finnegans Wake.



The Negative<br />

Spliced entry points equated<br />

to predicted reminiscence.<br />

Lane change hastened the unpleasant<br />

bog of verisimilitude.<br />

Why purport to grow?<br />

If ever there were mathematics,<br />

sentences would slow to store-bought<br />

logarithmic flow,<br />

thus furnish homes hosting<br />

the leek soup served Count Vronsky,<br />

all noblesse oblige on one hand<br />

about to gel to extant plan.<br />

Might one inspect your lungs?<br />

The moment you retreat begins<br />

illegible commencement.<br />

Does it need a speech?<br />

One doubts the penitence<br />

claimed to fog familiar windows.<br />

Is there a past tense in the house?<br />

“Now I lay me down,” to rosaries<br />

and false panache.<br />

The actuarial tableau<br />

contorts a spun reality<br />

we’ve longed to know.<br />

Heretical mimesis gloms on<br />

to a fortune cookie<br />

read aloud by Laureates.<br />

Ensembles learn to get along.<br />

Until we sweep the carpet<br />

with young rakes.<br />

Voila these semitones gathered in memory.<br />

Watch the sweater after shrinkage come alive.<br />

It’s going to be easy giving someone else’s best.

Jury Rigged Composure<br />

The two teetered<br />

on the threshold of one.<br />

Absence of home seams spawned<br />

the concept of young bliss.<br />

Rasping with Caucasian breath,<br />

she posed against the snow<br />

littering the otherwise<br />

soft grass awaiting season change.<br />

He trimmed the impulse to expatiate.<br />

Held close acts of tremor<br />

amid lack of space,<br />

the realm of choice points<br />

constituted the remaining rigor in the house<br />

toward a cold sense of arrears.<br />

Bodies simply being what they were<br />

in concert with a sotto puce.

Digital Art by K.R. Copeland<br />

Artist bio: K.R. Copeland is a widely published Chicago poet/editor, who<br />

occasionally cranks out audio and visual art.


By Bob Carlton<br />

Author bio: Bob Carlton (www.bobcarlton3.weebly.com) lives and works in<br />

Leander, TX.<br />

Say Again<br />

Where you are<br />

symbolic eye<br />

am sin<br />

tactic: only<br />

here in the middle<br />

can we make<br />

cents two<br />

one: an other<br />

Waterbelly Melonbutton<br />

waterbelly melonbutton<br />

upset setup set<br />

scandalize sundial eyes<br />

motes remote reappear picking pears<br />

packing pecks peaking<br />

pressure pleasure leisure leather seizure censure<br />

one won one read read red reed<br />

wed Eden weed<br />

so go floating floes flowing<br />

out to sea to see two<br />

thence to end then hence<br />

a Dios a Dew


By harley lethalm<br />

Under-TITLED (LYDIA ATTEMPT 1/3)<br />

I won’t slip through your tragedy without first envying you. Lydia? Why,<br />

darling of my deeps, are you not called Lydia? It is settled then, that when<br />

I am horsed to the electric chair I will lick the icicles of falling neon<br />

fingerprints – my fingerprints – that blow downward like typewritten<br />

confetti, touching my ghost who waits in the burlesque spade to accept my<br />

transportive bones. And my tongue will burn Lydia; it will be excavated<br />

from my mouth that does not know aught but Lydia; it will survive as a<br />

globular idol. Its shape will be Lydian. You are Lydia. I have loved Lydia<br />

and at last when the Sun shrieks us all away come billions and billions of<br />

years, there will remain that one important second where I loved you,<br />

where you were Lydia, and the Earth will rattle like a child’s bobbing head,<br />

smiling and shooting out a tongue of my languished Lydian axiom.<br />

Why Are You Genevieve?<br />

We had played in the sorrel mouths of July<br />

Freshets of teeth, noses, the basicness<br />

Of youth<br />

Where we gathered in smallish kingdoms (the tonsils<br />

Of our Christian intellect jammed spiritedly into the<br />

Gardenia)<br />

Under trivialized amnesty of rust – for the monarchy is<br />

Sometimes not so precious -<br />

You pleasured yourself with the clenchings of a skirling branch<br />

Which to-day is still wet: fifteen years later, the Prov. Journal construes a<br />


Moralization of your vagina – obit. reads thus: “G., daughter, friend,<br />

Poet, euthanized, Kavorkian dogwood tree in custody.<br />

[Funeral services<br />

Will be held on the<br />

Underside<br />

of Rimbaud’s ballsack.”]<br />

Author bio: harley lethalm lives on the fringe of freight-rails, slurping up God<br />

from the febrile syringe of a lonesome cotton dildo; his work has appeared in<br />

Brickplight, The Bacon Review, Beorh Weekly, Fatso Spider Epistle, The Circle<br />

Review (defunct), and is forthcoming (probably) elsewhere.

This is Not Our Circus<br />

By Carly Anne Ravnikar<br />

I was a lavender on your doorstep, you<br />

a broke back mountain of a climbing dude.<br />

You a fretted hijacker, you a sweating<br />

coin rubber. I was a cool drum mumble,<br />

a stick that pattered on canvas, a brush<br />

that stuck in tangles and pulled at the<br />

root. You were tambourine. You were<br />

cussing in a nursery, cussing up a storm.<br />

I was band candy, I was melting makeup<br />

and limping hair. You were fade razor,<br />

you were sharpened to point pencil. I<br />

was a rabid. I was a put down. You<br />

were a lamp shade with a hole in<br />

the seam. A new model on floor. A<br />

hill to tumble down. I was a bucket.<br />

A mold growing on the wall. I was a<br />

hopscotch on the rocks. A race down<br />

the pier. You were a let go. You were

a stand still. I was a renegade duck,<br />

I was a skid street racer, I was a latex<br />

ballgag. You a drool. You a mongrel.<br />

Author bio: Carly Anne Ravnikar currently lives on the outskirts of a<br />

vibrant arts community in South Eastern Wisconsin, where<br />

she occasionally wanders out of the woods to read from her hoard pile of<br />

poetry or to teach yoga classes. She is constantly singing (often as the<br />

front chick of Bedtime Routines), constantly photographing, and<br />

occasionally “doing mom things.” Her book, Housewifery, is available<br />

through Dancing Girl Press (2015). Other samples of her multi-media work<br />

can be found at delinquentmom.wordpress.com.

The Mobile Proletariat (Polemic)<br />

By Kevin Maus<br />

Hang the one who waits for the revolution. Speak to your brother about it.<br />

I am here to explain .... I am in good company these days. Men of men.<br />

Pathological searchers. Outright lost that are scattered the country over.<br />

Patriots who kneel in the dead grass of motherland scraping in the<br />

smelling muck in disgust and fervor, searching roots. Killers, not by<br />

nature, but at the drop of a hat will have you spitting a fine pitch of blood<br />

and grinders if you say one sorry word against them. As good as men in<br />

Christ as the disciples; missionaries, no—preachers, yes. They leave their<br />

families to dog about the country. Have no family, have no home, just the<br />

Holy Ghost that keeps them at constant odds with the world. My point is<br />

that these are the ones — and I am happy to include myself in their<br />

numbers— to undertake the sacred masterwork of revolution; oh yes, I said<br />

it, you stinkers.<br />

The revolution is the people’s masterwork, masterwork of the nonartist<br />

that makes paltry those of men such as Beethoven or Tolstoy. “The<br />

worker”, as history and bearded crackpots have dubbed him, has been<br />

domesticated: hearth and home is his State, and The State, leaves him this,<br />

with its remedies and comforts; while the trucker, as I’ve said, knows little<br />

of hearth and home, he is “the worker” who has not been “domesticated”.<br />

The game is explained in it of itself, hauling freight of every kind: food,<br />

weapons, fuel and every material creation under the Sun. It could be easily<br />

done to have every metropolis surrounded with a great gleaming shield of<br />

truck trailers counting fourteen deep around an entire city, a thing that<br />

would set you marveling until you realized you had accomplished nothing<br />

in your life. The truck-stops would be our barracks. Trucker communes (I<br />

am uneasy to use the word, cause it calls down right derision, but I must),<br />

would come about and humankind would live the pastoral, playing grabass,<br />

drinking from the fresh water stream, etc., all of that cheery bullshit.<br />

All this coordinated by our friend the CB.<br />

I can imagine the General of such a revolution, paunch and<br />

mustached, the hardest motherfucker out — was an Army Ranger

machinegunner in the ‘Nam. A modern day Kutuzov, eye-patched and with<br />

his frock coat unbuttoned because he would be enough of a sweet-dude to<br />

have a military frock coat lying handy for when the advent of the people's<br />

right, Revolution, struck. A Super-trucker. Who has run mountain grades<br />

and hell-on-earth storms of every kind, each second the while, banshee<br />

screaming all the sourness out of his lungs to howl down death.<br />

The military would have nothing to do with us. A great number of<br />

truckers are former servicemen, many of who have seen combat and have<br />

been eager for their heyday since '75. Now their sons are in the service.<br />

We are people of the people of the people, true enough. We’d only have to<br />

deal with the police and the DOT, who hate our guts, as though they were<br />

exposed and noisy. A trucker reminds a cop of the smell of his last shit; a<br />

cop reminds a trucker of something like an old liquor-sick uncle who used<br />

to beat his wife and threaten his children for fun with a polished bone<br />

straight-razor, and who loved his attack dogs better than he did any<br />

human being. Pigs are evil, more cunning than you think. They have to<br />

keep up appearances unlike the trucker; when at heart, the police would<br />

rather just be dressed with rubber raincoats over their naked skin, and<br />

have nothing with them but their batons; but we would manage them,<br />

because we are Legion, the Devil in a pig’s-eye.<br />

In every truckstop across every state you will find a knife-boutique,<br />

‘cause it is a fact that truckers are steel-junkies. We’d gut many a pig<br />

hand-to-hand, because it is one thing with pigs that you can always entice<br />

them into a fight based on a test to see who has the more ponderous<br />

balls...a fight the trucker will win every time, ho, ho.<br />

The Air Force might try and get at us, as it is in its epoch, a great<br />

destroying machine fun to watch on the tv; the Air Force could wreak hell<br />

on our supply lines, but we are the keepers of their jet fuel and we would<br />

use it to fuel our bonfires as we watched their planes fall from the sky, the<br />

pilots choosing to go that way rather than set foot on the ground and have<br />

to deal with us; they would screech from the skies, sending off their<br />

payload: the Incinerator says his Hallelujah in a craze of rockets that<br />

would be meant to soften the ground, where death-ready pilot would<br />

tumble down in an explosion and Black-Out, impact burial, while the fiftyfoot<br />

bonfire we have set burning for the occasion of the sky-falling would<br />

make we observers sweat like three-strike perverts with the keys to a<br />

cathouse. We would solemnly put our hats over our hearts and spit booze<br />

out in the men’s memories.<br />

The ultra-wealthy would simply just leave the county during all of<br />

this, but, of course, not until after we skinned a few of them and paraded<br />

around in their stalks of flesh like drunken heroes. And the beggar’s<br />

banquet would begin. Wein weib und gesang.<br />

But there is no revolution without the one idea, not without the<br />

weltgeist. There’s not been a one to remake the collective mind since<br />

weary man can remember. As I said, masterworks in the arts are not<br />

masterworks at all, but merely a lineage to the one idea…ahhh Over-Soul,

ahhh Genius! how we wait for you, how your little masterworkers wait for<br />

you….And if it comes to be that the men who had led us on to suffer the<br />

World through its labor-pains after a new Creation had deceived us, and<br />

did not care if the rest of us were merely 10,000,000 heads stuck on<br />

cottonwood pig poles, and they turned out to be egomaniacs as it was with<br />

Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin; Mao, Castro, Pol Pot—I don’t know where the<br />

list ends, so I will stop….We would not become docile and stand to be<br />

murdered, we would have their blood in an instant. Take a man in the<br />

character of Chairman Mao, we would break into his home: whatever<br />

palatial residence he had chosen for himself in the revolution’s aftermath;<br />

we’d snatch him from out of his bed, drag him—in a rough-sewn sack for pig<br />

feed—to a freshly constructed mausoleum in his honor, where we would<br />

enamel his corpse then buckle him into a egg-white centrifuge that would<br />

spin for eternity, the sound of spinning able to be heard outside the<br />

mausoleum walls by bicyclists and strollers.<br />

All of the pieces fit; surprise, truckers are the Elect.<br />

Hear me well, the revolution will be mobile, and there will be no<br />

stopping it.<br />

Author bio: Kevin Maus is a summa cum laude graduate of the University<br />

of Minnesota and an MFA graduate of the New School. He works as an<br />

over-the-road truck driver but is currently expatriated to Mexico City, in<br />

avoidance of the soul hobbling cruelty of another winter OTR. His work has<br />

appeared in Gone Lawn, Dogzplot and other journals.



Author bio: Kenneth Salzmann has been active in literary publishing and<br />

programming for 35 years. His poems appear in such publications as Rattle, The<br />

New Verse News, Home Planet News, The Comstock Review, and many more. He<br />

lives in Woodstock, NY, and Ajijic, Mexico, with his wife, editor Sandi Gelles-Cole.<br />

Stage Directions<br />

Read these poems aloud,<br />

only aloud<br />

on days when you tire of ranting in Brighton Beach beneath<br />

the El and in all-night eateries; read these poems aloud<br />

when you are finally clothed in nothing but a cloudful sky<br />

mountain ocean meadow New Jersey.<br />

When you have stripped true among strangers<br />

sound is meaning ebough.<br />

And when you die die naked upon leaves that collect in<br />

dank piles on the forest floor, on sands where seaweed<br />

and driftwood collect on patches of black ice, and let your<br />

bones be seashells.<br />

No truth: not in things.<br />

And when you live live in fierce nakedness, in naked drive,<br />

live in trumpet solos spun through dingy Manhattan<br />

apartments on scratchy 78s and let your nakedness be<br />

meaning enough.<br />

A man can only be, not mean.<br />

And when you love love fears and flaws with fierce<br />

nakedness, love naked need that collects in lovers’ eyes<br />

and trumpet solos, love imperfection and let your lover’s vow<br />

demand oblivion.<br />

The ice-sharp sound of trumpets<br />

melts like ice.<br />

A self is only equal to, not you.<br />

Read these poems aloud,<br />

only aloud.

Cahuita<br />

black sand in cahuita<br />

sucks back the shadows of the new sun and<br />

delicately<br />

slices white flesh<br />

drinking tiny droplets of blood and it<br />

crackles just a bit<br />

beneath the weight of the small ecstasies<br />

of monkeys or flocking parrots dawning<br />

just two dirt roads and a sharp right<br />

beyond miss edie’s patio<br />

where each day<br />

gringas gather<br />

over papaya con leche<br />

to talk of pura vida<br />

black sand and riptides<br />

Editor’s Note: These poems were originally published in Home Planet<br />



By Wanda Morrow Clevenger<br />

bore for the sale barn<br />

by my mother’s age<br />

they are dropping<br />

like chloroformed flies<br />

brothers, sisters, old<br />

good friends<br />

old acquaintances<br />

old school mates<br />

she tells me names<br />

I don’t remember<br />

some I do<br />

by my age<br />

they are dropping<br />

too, one despicable<br />

disease after another<br />

and I was<br />

on that drop list<br />

next but<br />

shimmied free<br />

my mother watches<br />

me for signs of<br />

relapse, she knows<br />

she’s on the drop<br />

list next too<br />

I read it in her eyes<br />

when she tells me<br />

names<br />

we are<br />

every one<br />

just cattle<br />

dropped, hid out<br />

in remote<br />

gullies,<br />

bore for<br />

the sale barn<br />

we are all<br />

just meat<br />

on the hoof

my childhood best friend’s mom<br />

it was very bad<br />

her cancer<br />

operable but<br />

not survivable<br />

not tolerable<br />

they would rob her<br />

of eating<br />

of not saying<br />

the word<br />

goodbye<br />

when goodbye<br />

came<br />

she chose<br />

the standard<br />

non-intervention<br />

six months<br />

this woman<br />

I’d known<br />

my whole life<br />

my mom’s<br />

best friend<br />

my childhood<br />

best friend’s<br />

mom<br />

and me waiting<br />

these last few days<br />

to hear from<br />

a publisher<br />

about a contract<br />

a possible<br />

probable pass<br />

as luck likes<br />

to have it—<br />

Author bio: Wanda Morrow Clevenger, author of This Same Small Town in Each<br />

of Us. Paypal link: http://edgarallanpoet.com/This_Same_Small_Town.html About<br />

Her: http://about.me/wandamorrowclevenger/#. Her blog: http://wlcwlcblog.blogspot.com/.<br />

Amazon reviews about Wanda Morrow Clevenger:<br />


The Margaret collection<br />

By Mercedes Webb-Pullman<br />

They were neighbours in Systrum Street<br />

Because her daddy<br />

loved her and it hurt<br />

the State took Margaret away.<br />

Her next daddy loved her<br />

the same, his sons as well.<br />

It didn’t hurt as much now.<br />

She left at sixteen and drifted<br />

to Kings Cross, a beat on the street,<br />

a habit; life was brutal<br />

as she’d expected<br />

‘til she fell in love<br />

with Warren<br />

who married her.<br />

They worked together;<br />

she turned tricks, he<br />

was the house bouncer.<br />

They dreamed of Lebanon;<br />

her blue eyes and blonde hair<br />

would provide<br />

a Big Rock Candy Mountain<br />

of easy money<br />

and the world’s best smack.<br />

‘Couples with similar interests<br />

who work together for a common goal<br />

are more likely to have<br />

a stable and enduring relationship’.<br />

Margaret<br />

Her hands have held so many men<br />

they feel nothing anymore;<br />

to her the world is made of cocks<br />

unconnected to hearts or minds.<br />

She shoots herself up in my kitchen.

Mechanically she works her beat,<br />

turns and returns to the same spot<br />

as if some program permits her<br />

just this distance and no more;<br />

as if invisible bars cage her.<br />

Her gaze, focused on an inner world<br />

slides over faces sightlessly<br />

like the eyes of an ancient statue<br />

empty beyond even death.<br />

Her husband waits at home.<br />

Warren<br />

Sunday afternoons he’d bang on our door<br />

Lend us twenty bucks, she won’t get up<br />

and he was off to score a whack,<br />

just to get her moving.<br />

She used to be pretty. Not any more.<br />

It was hard to watch<br />

even when I didn’t really know them.<br />

She could have been my sister.<br />

He robbed someone, bought tickets<br />

to Lebanon, We’ll make big bucks there,<br />

they’ll love you but cashed them in to score<br />

before the plane was due to leave. Someone saw<br />

his picture on a police station<br />

poster. Wanted. For robbery<br />

though, not murder.<br />

She was just another<br />

dead junkie.<br />

Author bio: Mercedes Webb-Pullman graduated from IIML Victoria<br />

University Wellington with MA in Creative Writing in 2011. Her poems,<br />

prose and short stories have appeared online and in print, in Turbine, 4th<br />

Floor, Swamp, Reconfigurations, The Electronic Bridge, poetryrepairs,<br />

Connotations, The Red Room, Silver Birch Press, Otoliths,<br />

Cliterature among others, and in her books. She lives on the Kapiti Coast,<br />

New Zealand.

Three Collages by Bob Heman<br />

Author bio: Bob Heman’s collages have been published by Otoliths, Mad Hatters’<br />

Review, Big Bridge, Skidrow Penthouse, Fell Swoop, Key Satch(el), and others,<br />

and are upcoming in Caliban online and Right Hand Pointing. They have appeared<br />

on the cover of the most recent Brevitas event book, and on books by David Mills,<br />

Cindy Hochman, Karen Neuberg, and Evie Ivy. His other art includes “cut-outs”<br />

[participatory cut-out multiples on paper], as well as drawings and drawing<br />

poems. In the late 1970s he was an artist-in residence at The Brooklyn Museum.

Two Poems<br />

By Catherine Zickgraf<br />

Author bio: Catherine Zickgraf has performed her poetry in Madrid,<br />

Puerto Rico, and three dozen other cities—yet homeschooling her<br />

autistic youngest inspires her the most. Her writing has appeared in<br />

the Journal of the American Medical Association, [Pank], Bartleby-<br />

Snopes, and Victorian Violet Press. Find her blog at<br />

http://caththegreat.blogspot.com<br />

Own your own original<br />

Zimmerman painting!<br />

—created by the hand that shot a young man,<br />

celebrate your white right to shoot dead a black kid<br />

who should have run and hid not stood with confidence,<br />

who forgot which system applied to him.<br />

GUNS Everywhere<br />

Georgia’s governor would like you to know that God<br />

in His Heaven gave us the right to carry guns almost<br />

everywhere so we can shoot<br />

1. the tyrannical government<br />

and 2. people who break the<br />

tyrannical government's<br />

rules. Let us pray.

NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS (Satire) By Gael DeRoane<br />

REMORA BLACKWOOD lives and writes in Turnip Junction, Oregon. Her<br />

work has appeared in Dogsbody, Amplified Heat, That Great Literary<br />

Magazine, Stout Timbers, Elsewhere, and elsewhere. This is her first time<br />

in Sow Bug.<br />

LON HARTWICK teaches Creative Writing at the University of Texas, El<br />

Paso. “I live on the range with three dogs and a moribund pickup, and I<br />

play ukulele and keyboards in a Zydeco band.” Good for you, asshole.<br />

ALLYSON DOMBROSKY’S chapbook, Yodeling to Byzantium, received the<br />

2009 Darla May Jenkins Award for Hillbilly Poetry. Her work has<br />

appeared in Swelterfish, Nostril Agony, Cthonic Boom, Gorslava Review,<br />

Hobo News, Saratoga Lyre, and White Spasms.<br />

TOBY FINK is the publisher of Duckburg Press, and wrote the introduction<br />

for their most successful book, R. Crumb’s Cavalcade of Big Fat Asses. His<br />

fiction has appeared in Tawdry Lemons, Short Forest Review, and<br />

Schoolmarm. “Cry of the Shuttlecock,” a one-act play, is forthcoming in<br />

Ooh-la-la. Forthcoming—I love it. Should be out any day now, right, Toby?<br />

The stunningly beautiful LORI LIGHT was the gem of my most recent<br />

poetry workshop, and I am honored that this final issue of Sow Bug<br />

features her work in a folio, which is also her first publication. She has<br />

moved on to the MFA program at blah blah University somewhere in the<br />

northeast. I miss her musical laugh and shining eyes. Come back,<br />

Lori! MFA programs are shit. The profs will turn you into cardboard<br />

copies of themselves, posturing losers who couldn’t hack it in big-time<br />

publishing. The job offer still stands, Lori. Everything is a mess here. I<br />

need someone to look after my affairs, and you can have the spare<br />

bedroom rent-free, and I promise there’ll be no funny stuff like that night<br />

when I ate the pot brownies. Please, Lori. Think it over.

CRAIG CZUGASCH, an MFA dropout at Emerson College, says that the only<br />

reviewer who bothered to read his self-published chapbook, Hairy Palm at<br />

the End of the Mind, called it “a phantasmagoria of scatology and<br />

madness.” Welcome to Sow Bug, Craig!<br />

BRAD STILES writes: “Egoless, I find myself where I am, or am not. Each<br />

poem represents a cellular meltdown, a flowing into Brahman.” Have<br />

another toke, Brad, and put on some Iron Butterfly.<br />

RYAN HALSTEAD used to be a big deal after his book, Daughters of<br />

Tantalus (Wombat Press, 2002), won some dopey prize I can’t remember<br />

the name of. One would hear tales of his sexual conquests on the reading<br />

circuit, where he would prey upon starry-eyed, empty-headed coeds. Not<br />

anymore, though. Saw a recent photo. Too many Big Macs, not enough<br />

Hair Club for Men.<br />

ANNE KERCHNER has published short stories in Lepton, Behind the Moon,<br />

Fire Drill, Floating Spider Review, Quack Quack, Literature My Ass, Dark<br />

Hamburger, and Follow Me Home. She lives way up in Alaska with her<br />

husband and two sons. Stay right there, Anne. I’ve seen your photo, too.<br />

SHANNON CRYER’s chapbook, Revenge of the Meatatarians, actually had<br />

some funny stuff in it. But here she is, alas, drowning with all the other<br />

saps in this sinking ship.<br />

Our token person of color and ethnicity, KEISHA WONG-HERNANDEZ, fits<br />

the bill, and how! And it doesn’t hurt that she’s a chick. Soon as I saw that<br />

name on the MS I started typing up her acceptance letter. Her work has<br />

appeared in Blue Salad, Cuspidor, Tell No One, Fever Cry, Machine Elf<br />

Quarterly, and Uncle Fester’s Sweet Shoppe & Literary Review.<br />

Rounding out the quota is queer theoretician SIMON GREGG, who has<br />

graced us with an excerpt from Men in Nightshirts: Homoeroticism in the<br />

Films of Laurel & Hardy, which Truffle House will publish in 2015. Good<br />

job, Simon. I know things were different back then, but did they always<br />

have to share a bed? And when Stan’s feet ended up in Ollie’s face, what<br />

the fuck was that all about?<br />

MAITLAND CARRUTHERS is Director of the Creative Writing program at<br />

South Dakota College of the Arts. His chapbook, Moth Cantatas, was<br />

shortlisted for the Othella Strange Terwilliger Poetry Prize.<br />

ANDY FEINBERG has published four books of poetry: Godzilla Was Here,<br />

Encyclopedia of Bad People, That Darn Antichrist!, and Zodiacticon, all<br />

available from Ankle-Biter Press.

WENDELL TRUAX has deigned to stoop to our level just this once. A putrid<br />

specimen of his “metafiction,” whatever that is, may be glimpsed within<br />

these sorry pages. Yes, he studied with the legendarily abusive editor<br />

whose name escapes me at the moment, and yes, he’s published his<br />

unreadable dreck in oh-so snooty litmags that pipsqueak writers & editors<br />

coo & crow over on their incestuous blogs. And now here he is in Sow Bug,<br />

and the joke is on him. I solicited the bum thinking his crew might talk up<br />

our humble mag, but now I see that they only care about their stupid<br />

readings and their New York parties. Fuck them all, and fuck you too,<br />

Wendell. I don’t need your kind. My novel will be finished soon, and then<br />

you’ll see.<br />

MARINA SKENK is the editrix of Top Quality Lit and a part-time Bettie<br />

Page impersonator. She lives in San Francisco with her life partner, twelve<br />

cats, and an iguana named Dagmar.<br />

DUANE LEVESQUE’S long poem, One Shoe by the Roadside, won the 2008<br />

Turtle Breath Review Poetry Competition. He resides in Ann Arbor with<br />

his wife and daughter and is pursuing a PhD in Comparative<br />

Literature. He’s had poems in Burnout, Fred’s Magazine, Gegenschein,<br />

Petals in the Abyss, Mood Ring, Dirty Puppy, Carson City Review, Infinite<br />

Pudding, Monkey Bites, Quare Fellow, Karaoke of the Mind, and Too Much<br />

Cake. Yeah, yeah, whatever. Look, Sow Bug is indeed kaput, but I’m<br />

starting a new, even better litmag—it’s called Paramecium Dreams, and for<br />

our first issue we’re having a contest! Send us your best poems & short<br />

stories. The entry fee for each work is $20 (cheap!). Make checks payable<br />

to Cash. Send all MSS to Paramecium Dreams, General Delivery,<br />

Cheesequake, NJ 45802<br />

Namaste, dudes!


By Laura Madeline Wiseman<br />

Author bio: Laura Madeline Wiseman’s recent books are Drink (BlazeVOX<br />

Books), Wake (Aldrich Press), and The Bottle Opener (Red Dashboard).<br />

She teaches in Nebraska. Her collaborative book Intimates and Fools (Les<br />

Femmes Folles) with artist Sally Brown Deskins, is an Honor Book for the<br />

2015 Nebraska Book Award.<br />

Our Life in Catnaps<br />

When we move in together, we sleep on<br />

blankets nested on the floor. We sleep on<br />

pillows lined up like dominos, our butts<br />

falling through the cracks. We sleep on a<br />

camping air mattress you bring home<br />

from the big box. It’s part-time, better<br />

than donating blood. We fill the air<br />

mattress, spread sheets. In the morning<br />

it’s flat. I say, Put it under water. You<br />

take out your phone to learn six ways to<br />

find a leak, watch three videos of people<br />

with nail polish and superglue, spray<br />

bottles and valves that won’t shut, spend<br />

two hours getting the kitchen floor wet.<br />

The electric pump whirls. You say, Maybe<br />

we could plug it in all night. You curse.<br />

You take off your shirt. You carry the<br />

wilting plastic into the shower and fill the<br />

tub. The apartment fills with stream.<br />

Your hair curls. I bring you a beer in in a<br />

pint with a cat pattern. I make myself<br />

coco in a mug with the handle in the<br />

shape of a cat tail. After midnight, I say.<br />

Let’s throw it away, not wanting to wake<br />

surrounded by a plastic puff of failure. I<br />

say, My ex-uncle might know someone<br />

with an extra bed. I don’t say he’ll want<br />

to give us cats, he’ll want to play bridge,<br />

he’ll want to get you job as a nurse, even<br />

though you’d prefer to get a job<br />

catfishing. I kiss your nose, scratch your<br />

chin, and pull you to the floor sleep.

Clowder<br />

No one is ready for this photo. Not us, not<br />

the cats we adopted on a buy-one-get-onefree<br />

day at the shelter. We sit on the<br />

futon, confettied by cat fur. The tabby<br />

nuzzles my neck, speaks the growling<br />

rumble we think means love, means<br />

friend, means game on. She meets the<br />

camera’s gaze, paw my jugular, some cat<br />

grip that means hers. The calico clutches<br />

your arm, as if to say, Please let me go. I<br />

need to gamble, shout, Hello world, I'm<br />

yours! We’re all waiting for the timer,<br />

fearing one of us will wiggle free, or that<br />

the timer won’t work and we’ll be sitting<br />

there grinning and holding each other<br />

our whole life. If you look closely, you’ll<br />

see I’m leaning into you. If I look closely,<br />

I’ll see how your leg is pressing into my<br />

own. If we both look, we’ll see how the<br />

cats aren’t really looking at the camera,<br />

but at each other, ears pricked as if they<br />

hear something we can’t hear yet,<br />

nostrils pulsing as if they smell what we<br />

could never smell, whiskers feeling a<br />

movement in the air, an impossible<br />

thrumming that has just started, low and<br />

steady.<br />

#!<br />


Two poems<br />

By Lana Bella<br />


You no longer feel the urge to<br />

slam the door,<br />

instead,<br />

with a casual flick<br />

of your fingers,<br />

you set them loose,<br />

groaning<br />

toward their final berth.<br />

Things are simple again,<br />

back then you<br />

couldn't have known<br />

betrayal lurks<br />

in the roundness of her curves,<br />

the shame that makes home<br />

when ill breaths<br />

tug at your lungs,<br />

or the chiasmus of triumph<br />

of her exit<br />

with the defeat of yours.<br />


with one tried breath,<br />

the little red dress slides to the floor,<br />

leaving bare fingers on<br />

skin the color of poached egg,<br />

somewhere near the grooves<br />

of its wordless slither,<br />

the dragon tattoo wraps itself like a boa<br />

around her back,<br />

across the king-sized bed,<br />

breaststrokes of raspy heat turn bubbles<br />

immersed in<br />

pink champagne,

loading her arms<br />

the weight of Plath and good ol' Keats,<br />

she sinks into<br />

the flesh of her bed until<br />

her voice finds enough breaths to ask:<br />

Am I the only one that holds life<br />

like it is words floating in champagne?<br />

Author bio: A Pushcart nominee, Lana Bella has work of poetry and fiction<br />

published and forthcoming with over 140 journals, including a chapbook<br />

with Crisis Chronicles Press (Spring 2016), Chiron Review, Coe Review,<br />

Fourth & Sycamore, Harbinger Asylum, Literary Orphans, Poetry Salzburg<br />

Review, Poetry Quarterly, QLRS (Singapore), Sein Und Werden (UK), Taj<br />

Mahal Review (India), White Rabbit (Chile) and elsewhere, among others.<br />

She divides her time between the US and the coastal town of Nha Trang,<br />

Vietnam, where she is a wife of a talking-wonder novelist and a mom of two<br />

far-too-clever-frolicsome imps.<br />


Llegando by Jack Little<br />

Artist bio: Jack Little (b. 1987) is a British-Mexican poet, editor and<br />

translator based in Mexico City. He is the author of 'Elsewhere' (Eyewear,<br />

2015) and is the founding editor of The Ofi Press: www.ofipress.com<br />



By Kevin Maus<br />

[Voice Over]<br />

In major cities throughout the US, due to rapid gentrification of inner-city areas<br />

[People shrieking with laughter, dragging a blue, plastic bag of dog shit on a leash<br />

along the ground, while other people sitting at outdoor tables at a cafe shriek with<br />

laughter into their phones.]<br />

...the criminal and poor element...<br />

[A youth in a red baseball cap turned backwards, and in a silk letterman jacket,<br />

spray paints the word “Hood” onto a concrete brick wall while gunshoots and<br />

women's screams can be heard in the background. Nearby, an old hobo with<br />

wrung out lips and a rat-tail necklace smokes a crackpipe and shakes. Police<br />

lights play in super-imposed transparence over the scene.]<br />

are forced out to the suburbs.<br />

[Title]<br />

“The Suburbs”, in bleeding Warrior's-like spraypaint before an indistinct<br />

cityscape, the sun setting beyond like an inferno.<br />

A synth buzz reaches a crescendo: “There goes the neighborhood”.<br />

[Lead]<br />

A deer is eating grass on the sprawling lawn of a suburban manor, when a<br />

gangster in a pink silk turban, a tooth-pick in his gold teeth, leans out the window<br />

of an Escalade and lets fly with an MP5, obliterating the creature, that whiplashes

its majestic neck and squawks hellishly. Then the Escalade begins to whip<br />

shitties on the lawn as people throw McDonald's sacks from the vehicle's<br />

windows.<br />

An exterior shot of a suburban mall.<br />

Inside the mall, someone has torn the pants off a man dressed as a Lego figure at<br />

LegoLand; he's sprawled out on the floor, as a woman with a giant ass and in a<br />

hot-pink top and matching sandals daggers him. A man shoots a champagne cork<br />

off her sphincter while she is amid it.<br />

A woman bicycler in Capri pants and a mint green t-shirt, with a matching helmet<br />

that has a shock of pink to it too, comes out from beneath a covered bridge on a<br />

bike path, only to have her teeth pistol whipped out.<br />

The assailant unbuckles his pants and begins to dagger the woman's face as she<br />

lies unconscious on the bike-path...the sound of her helmet knocking and scraping<br />

against the asphalt is heard. Til a goose comes from a nearby pond and<br />

aggressively charges the man atop her; he gets up in a terror and swings at the<br />

goose with his gun, then throws the gun at the bird and runs away while the<br />

woman sits up and wraps her arms around the goose's neck.<br />

Trash-can fires on a soccer-field, in view of children in the middle of a game. A DJ<br />

with silver horseteeth and red chains all over him spins records—DJ Delectable—<br />

while a rapper in silk potato sack shorts, and with a nose-splint on and hypno<br />

glasses, pulls a woman's hair who is listening to him rap, then throws a goblet of<br />

malt liquor in her face. Everyone is daggering each other, including small<br />

children.<br />

Cut to a police HQ war-room. A great, black electronic grid with orange streets<br />

covers the wall behind the men in the room, all paunched and in cheap dressshirts<br />

and ties—worn through old men, by years of devilishness...though there is<br />

also a man in full police regalia and dark glasses, his chest overcrowded with bars<br />

intimating his rank.<br />

One of the men leaning over a map, with giant red concentric circles on it,on a<br />

lighted table, screams, “They're barricading the interstates!! No one can get in or<br />

out of the city!” and backhands a cup of styrofoam coffee onto the floor.<br />

To a shot of an interstate bridge on a grassy plain. It is beautiful sky-blue day,<br />

with only faint clouds seen like a haze in the distance. Heaped upon the roadways<br />

passing underneath the bridge are junked, burnt-out cars stacked high. Men<br />

stand staggered on the heaps, holding carbine sharp-shooter rifles, looking<br />

statuesque and bulletproof; while other men circle around in front of the bridge,<br />

driving atv's and Shriner motorcycles, squealing like indians.<br />

The camera approaches as if by vehicle for the shot, centering on a man who's<br />

dressed like Chocolate Moose, who fires his rifle in the air when the camera comes<br />

fully upon him.

Before and after scenes of the houses: people on the lawns smiling and waving;<br />

then to lawns blowing with McDonald's cheeseburger sacks, and with pitbulls<br />

fighting, men in undershirts whipping them with belts...and another pair of dogs<br />

daggering each other.<br />

A man on a Shriner's motorcycle does a wheelie.<br />

Cars are heaped at the neck of culdesacs as gang-warfare explodes.<br />

An exchange of gunfire leaves a young man lain low. A friend weeps over him and<br />

raises his hands to the heavens.<br />

A hundred story tenement building is seen going up on the horizon.<br />

A greed-head talking to greed-head community organizers. The woman from the<br />

bike-path who had her teeth knocked out is there, smiling ridiculously (teeth still<br />

missing), in a glittering red, low-cut dress, her makeup misapplied to one eye.<br />

A family of five in a station-wagon, “WE'RE JUST GONNA GO FOR IT!! WE'RE<br />

JUST GONNA GO FOR IT!!” driving at full speed into the interstate car barrier,<br />

exploding. Men cheer as the dad crawls out of the car on fire, stumbling and<br />

running, throwing his arms in the air; people run with him, surrounding him and<br />

cheering him on.<br />

A furious looking man with white-dyed mustaches coming from the sides of his<br />

mouth, so that they look like foam dribbling loose, entreating his people: the poor<br />

and the criminal.<br />

“They tried to push us out. Now we've got them trapped in.” He has a little cudgel<br />

raised over his head; at the end of the cudgel is a fist, lit aflame.<br />

“They been movin' us around for generations. This is where we make our last<br />

stand....They're going to have to get rid of us the old fashioned way this time; or<br />

we're gonna make a goddamn trade in their skins that will break the bank!<br />

“We're the gate-keepers to their whole fuckin' world now. Nothin' goes down<br />

without our say-so....<br />

“This is how they meet us; this is how they finally see into our eyes.”<br />

He gives a war-whoop and starts circling the flaming club over his head.<br />

“Annihilate 'em!!” shrieks the formerly composed, aged officer in uniform, black<br />

spit shooting out from between his teeth and dribbling down his chin.<br />

A helicopter descends into the view of an airborne shot, a column of black smoke<br />

rising not far in the distance.<br />

The camera following the grid of a street closely from above, showing street-tostreet<br />

fighting: police shooting tear-gas cannisters; national guard running in<br />

tight formation.

A helicopter passes just under the camera, a police sniper leaning out of its door.<br />

Tanks rolling out.<br />

The interior of a little boy's room, with model airplanes hanging from the ceiling<br />

and dinosaur dolls lined up on a shelf. A man, with swim-goggles and a hare-lip,<br />

suddenly comes into view holding a lighted molotov cocktail; the burning rag in<br />

the bottle gives off a guttering sound. He hurls it down from the window, bombing<br />

out two SWAT officers moving in crouched stances across a backyard basketball<br />

court.<br />

A man with an RPG that says “Ghetto Blaster” on it shoots a helicopter out of the<br />

sky.<br />

The outcasts prove to have a secret weapon...<br />

Tanks suddenly turn a glowing blue and burst inward as though crushed by giant<br />

stones. Helicopters disintegrate piece-meal in midair, gently unloading their<br />

occupants into a screaming fall. A SWAT member's head suddenly turns a<br />

glowing blue, and begins shivering like a can in a paint shaker, suddenly<br />

collapsing inward like crushed aluminum, sending streams of white neon spilling<br />

from the officer's face.<br />

A scientist with a hatchet-like, sun withered face and red-blue eyes, a bald head<br />

and wings of stringy, bleach-like blond hair:<br />

“I give the weapon free!” the man says in a German accent, “Only if you promise<br />

to use it,” he says coyly, talking to the gang chieftain, with a bushy eyebrow<br />

raised.<br />

The men step back from an anti-matter device that has a little black ball floating<br />

above it, rolling in place and covered in whispy blue flame.<br />

[Close]<br />

To a shot of the chieftain's sweat-stained face...his glorious eyes hold the vastness<br />

and potency of his people.<br />

He screams, “Tonight we ride for the city!!” and is greeted with a jubilant roar, to<br />

which he raises his club.<br />

The camera lifts upon the chieftain's raised club, showing behind him the old<br />

gussed up police chief, burning at the stake, screaming like an old woman who is a<br />

heavy smoker.

The camera then moves toward the police chief, nearing his red mottled,<br />

screaming head and lifts into the black smoke coming from his burning legs and<br />

torso. ... Traveling through the smoke, the camera comes out above the<br />

continental United States, with more smoke rising from each metropolis to be<br />

counted amid her borders.<br />

Title reappears. Voice-over.<br />

“On [Release Date], Gentrifiers Die!”.<br />

Author bio: Kevin Maus is a summa cum laude graduate of the University<br />

of Minnesota and an MFA graduate of the New School. He works as an<br />

over-the-road truck driver but is currently expatriated to Mexico City, in<br />

avoidance of the soul hobbling cruelty of another winter OTR. His work has<br />

appeared in Gone Lawn, Dogzplot and other journals.

The Living Room<br />

By Christopher Payne<br />

“action figures are pretty cool”<br />

Said the woodpiece to the tool<br />

“and if you have enough to drink they’re almost sidewalk”<br />

Oh, Praise be to the carpet on the ceiling<br />

eliciting sounds in the lightbulbs feeling<br />

Too “shut up i’m finishing my Breakfast” to get anything done<br />

Angels laugh like bowling pins in the fabric above<br />

while The furniture below pushes and shoves<br />

reaching for that thread which clouds them.<br />

to understand<br />

and reprimand those who don’t<br />

shoes pillow what it means to “won’t”<br />

As long as there’s born there’s purple.<br />

Others argue that everyone was manufactured in factories over several<br />

thousand years.<br />

But that’s too…<br />

oh look, here’s mom, elevator music, disco lights with strippers<br />

let’s people the people.<br />

Author bio: Christopher Payne lives in a watch outside a flamingo tent<br />

where you can see him anytime you want by poking your head out the<br />

window. But if you bring your binoculars you could see him flaunting The<br />

Beatles' fifth album. And you can laugh at this. Or look. Either way he<br />

doesn't care. He also does music things:<br />

https://soundcloud.com/christopher_payne/sets/new-stuff "

Winter Past Integrity by Sheila E. Murphy<br />

Author bio: Sheila E. Murphy composes poetry both in tranquility and<br />

fever with equal fervor. She resides in the desert Southwest, where she<br />

writes, draws, crafts keynote addresses about doing business with power<br />

and grace for conferences and conventions. She is a business author and<br />

teacher, as well.

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