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


!!!!!!!!!!!! !





Catatonically Speaking:

Planet Earth is Blue,

and There is Nothing We Can Do

An odd oxymoron of my artistic preferences is that David Bowie is one of

my cherished musical heroes, and yet he doesn't even figure into my top

ten of favorite musical acts.

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

top ten list, such as The Cure, Deerhunter, Bright Eyes, Sleater-Kinney,

and Joy Division, were all heavily influenced by Bowie, either directly or

indirectly. Therefore, you can say that Bowie is the ground that these

bands literally trod and tred upon. Bowie's influence is such that he is

cosmically present in most of popular culture. All bands that came after

Bowie, or began around the time that he became popular, quite patently

built themselves up from the foundation that Bowie lay.

Naturally, of course, many of Bowie's songs would figure into a songlist

compilation of my favorite tunes. His early tunes, especially, are stuck

perpetually reverberating in my head, because it was those songs that

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

Bowie tunes, and when the album began to spin, it sparked a mad

metamorphosis in my whole way of being.

Songs like "Starman," Life on Mars," and "Space Oddity," had a soaring,

otherworldly quality, outerspace symphonies crafted by an alien for the

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

urgency undercut with ironic hippie overtures. Later, there were freshly

funky songs, like "Fashion," "Fame," and "Young Americans." And, of

course, all those songs that are less well known but vibrantly potent.

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

his outlandish, androgynous Ziggy Stardust persona, and transformed into

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

a new wave touchstone, lamented by some as kitschy and commodified, but

ultimately embraced for its smart pastiche of R&B and post-punk.

After the 80s, my Bowie fascination waned a bit, but eventually picked

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

into the Bowie vortex with the albums "Reality" and "Heathen," and ended

up seeing Bowie again on the Reality tour.

It was that first taste of Bowie, of course, that imposed upon me the most

deeply. Bowie's idiosyncratic sartorial sense, his exotic pulchritude, his

quirky, quixotic songs, caressed by a voice that had a futuristic robotic

resonance yet a warm earthy tone, will forever be etched into my own

sensibilities. His creativity fueled my own, both explicitly and implicitly, as

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

Bowie's major progenies.

Bowie's last album, released just before his death, "Blackstar," is another

galactic masterpiece, a fitting coda to his ethereal existence.

The main aim of Clockwise Cat is to present art that is transgressive, art

that surrealistically subverts. David Bowie was the preeminent surrealist

subversive, and we are proud, and very sad, to dedicate this issue,

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

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


FEMME: Jessica Wiseman Lawrence

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

Cease, Cows, I remarked to myself, “Um, she MUST appear in Clockwise

Cat.” The verse had just the right balance of rustic and mystical elements

that titillate my poesie-libido. Thanks to Sarah Frances Moran of Yellow

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

selection of Jessica’s poetry compellingly diverse in theme, tone, and style.

About the author: Jessica Wiseman Lawrence grew up on a working farm

in rural central Virginia, surrounded by hayfields and chickens. She then

studied teaching and creative writing at Longwood University. After a few

years of attempting to create lesson plans based on ridiculous state

education standards, she left a career as a public high school teacher to

pursue more rewarding work teaching creative writing to adults

with disabilities in a day support setting. She has since moved on to the

corporate world. You can find Jessica's recent work upcoming or published

in Stoneboat, Cease, Cows, Acumen, Origins, Blue Collar Review, Dirty Chai,

and The Feminine Divine's upcoming Anthology of Female Voices, along

with many others. One of her poems has earned a Best of the Net

nomination from the editor of the recently-controversial Revolution John.

She continues to live in rural central Virginia with her family. She believes

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,

enjoy, and publish their poetry. Additionally, Jessica was very upset when

she discovered that her local grocery store stopped carrying the Jello

Temptations box mix with chocolate shell topping.


She touches the cross, and where

that finger hits she bleeds

black on her dress,

turned white with

untroubled earthshine.

Her night-lit home is shivering

and silent, waiting

for her healed hands

to guide and shift our full planet –

fragile as an egg,

crawling with carbon –

and littered by diamonds’ glow.


The tires of my feet made fog from dust

at every walk toward the downy yellow.

The sky was a bright

overturned bowl,

and I, beneath it, was singing

to the baby chickens

who pounded against


who peeped at brown grass

who gently tapped my

nails –

across forty acres of

what was possible.

I was surrounded


by erected trunks of time,

with their beds of scattered needles.

Beneath me, crushed mountains

groaned their barrel drum,

preparing worn down parts

for the upward collide.

The spring and balance set by the maker

served as promise of

fossil to green,

while I, domed-under, sang to chickens –

before I know what life was.


Suspended in his first ocean,

layering cells over cells,

becoming tissue.

Building bone and muscle,

building a heart, building

fingers, limbs,

a chest wall and a chest.

He sleeps

with his mouth open

as he will.

He is alive in salinity current,

alive in warm darkness,

and nearly whole –

not yet a fingerprint

or fingernail; he is a downy hair

suspended in the ocean we all know.

Cells over cells

becoming a certain stare that

someone will name, and yes –

A heartbeat.

A heartbeat.

A heartbeat.


Each scream

is a long razor,

slicing the curtains,

shredding the wallpaper.

Each oath

is a hole

through the drywall

The powder –

the glue –

the threads

of what we were,

are scattered and ground

between baseboard and floor.

Nine Lines



and settle.

Nine lines

turn from nuzzle

into laceration

when the back stretches –

when the legs bend and spring –

a living trap and the devouring.

Into the Minds of Dinosaurs

Great ancient creatures lie down to die,

are covered by a foot of soil, and keep their shape.

The rounded pine mountain next to my elementary school

was a dinosaur.

She was an Apatosaurus, and

long ago she had tucked her knees under herself,

put her belly to the ground,

stretched her long neck out, crushed ancient ferns, and died.

On one side of her mountain-head was a light-green clearing

surrounded by forest.

Trees don’t grow over the eyes of dinosaurs.

Roots don’t have eyes, or need them.

I looked out of the classroom window and climbed the mountain in my


Indifferent to eons, I dug, hit skin, and saw her.

She was color of dinosaurs. She felt like one of the snakes

I found in the kitchen.

Then I was at my desk again, where the teacher asked me

if trailer homes have bathrooms, and I wanted to dig

beneath the poverty and the dead snakes and the dirty shoes and the

stolen pencils,

into the past where all was poor, into cold clay on the sides of mountains

next to elementary schools,

and into the minds of dinosaurs.

Dollar Store Lingerie

It’s hard to find a matching bra and panty set

in a dirty wire bin two feet deep

with bargain lingerie, much less a sky-blue,

faux-satin one with pink ribbon there and there,

but I found one,

and once home, I tried it on like religion.

I was at the foot of the bed, standing

in my dresser mirror, looking like me,

and I half-twirled to see myself from the side.

My long, blonde-ended hair skimmed my back

below the bra line, and I shivered beneath

the new boundary that marked me a woman.

Bang! I was a different, just like that.


Wednesday was an exciting day

at Green Pines Medical Center.

The doctors were provided

with a catered lunch.

When they were done eating,

the leftovers were put into the staff kitchen

in flimsy aluminum pans, and the tops of the pans

would be folded and thrown away.

Lasagnas were unrecognizable; burritos were opened

so that Dr. Crient could have extra chicken,

or a browning salad would be mushroomless.

A doctor informed the head nurse –

“There are leftovers in the break room,”

and the nurses lined up for theirs.

When he was sure the nurses were finished,

the office manager sent an e-mail

to the schedulers and secretaries –

“It’s your turn for lunch. Please do not

leave your stations without proper coverage of your area.

Remember, patient care comes first.”

Lisa had been Dr. Howe’s secretary for eight years.

She brought plastic baggies every Wednesday,

to fill with scraps for her dogs.

The Empire of Punk (Movie Review)

By Alison Ross

The decline of Western civilization has been underway for a long time, but

not in the way that some would construe the title of the iconic trilogy of

music documentaries, "The Decline of Western Civilization." Very

conservative, pedantic types would take the title to mean that punk rock is

symbolic of the decline of civilization - that the very existence of the music

means that society has lost its moors and morals.

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

music geeks like myself, punk rock is a glorious thing. Conservatives would

rue the existence of punk rock and feel that all is right with society

EXCEPT punk rock, which is fueling societal decay.

But conservatives, naturally, would be wrong. Punk came about as a sonic

subversion against an authoritarian "values," a screaming banshee against

constricting conformity that straitjackets and terrorizes. Punk was

founded as an unfettered expression to call cacophonous attention to what

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

against that.

Penelope Spheeris, who directed the trio of films , was and is an avowed

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

music scenes in LA.

And actually, one of the documentaries is not about punk at all, but about

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

explosively rebellious as punk, but rather represents a glorying in

hedonistic excess, the apex of corroded values fed by capitalism's amoral


But the first and third documentaries are very much about punk - the first

one being about the burgeoning hardcore scene of 1970s LA, and the third

one being about the resurgence of punk - but even moreso, about the

charming gutter punks that constituted part of this scene. And it's the

third one which achingly resonates with the most pathos. But we'll go

chronologically and build from there.

The first documentary feels as fresh as ever, despite the fact that it was

made in 1979 and features long-defunct punk bands such as Black Flag,

Fear, and the Germs, among others. Indeed, the documentary induces an

extreme case of nostalgia, as I long for the days of more straightforward,

belligerent punk, rather than the half-assed non-mutinous musicians

imposed on us today.

The Germs, perhaps, are the main band standout in the documentary, as

the singer Darby Crash (who died from a suicidal overdose shortly after

the documentary was released) displays a thoroughly offbeat charisma in

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

intellectual whose wayward antisocial behavior garnered him fierce


The seminal LA punk band X is the second standout band in this film, and

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

Exene at the helm, and the band's after-show pranks and antics fully


Black Flag also features prominently, with Ron Reyes, one of two pre-

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

become of the most renowned and innovative of the hardcore bands, an

anarchistic outfit who raged against authoritarianism and poverty, who

also incorporated jazz and other elements into its ferocious, hard-driving


It's the "Lightbulb Kids" who ultimately steal the show, however,

interviewed as they are under a stark lightbulb and imparting their

affinity for the punk scene in a slightly creepy, always captivating fashion.

Eugene Tatu is the most memorable of the bunch, his voice lightly tinged

with surfer-talk tones, and his petite frame threatening to belie his intense

glare and cheerless demeanor.

For me, the second doc in the series, focusing on the Heavy Metal years, is

the weakest of the trio. Not only is the title a misnomer - most of the bands

featured are hair metal bands, who have far less substance than actual

heavy metal bands - but the bands act in absurd and embarrassing ways,

and there is very little enduring value to their music - unlike the bands in

the first documentary, whose music persists in holding sway over some

younger bands.

There are three memorable scenes that nail this home. First, Ozzy

Osbourne is thoroughly engaging as he mumbles through his dialogue with

the director, cooking eggs and spilling orange juice and generally coming

across as a lovable goof rather than the menacing caricature he cultivated

as a solo artist.

Second, Paul Stanley, of Kiss, is hilariously and unintentionally selfparodic,

lying in bed with a bevvy of beauties, and basking in his success as

he attempts to transcend the sorry cliches of his rock stardom.

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

floats in a pool with his mother looking on is finally just cringe-worthy


So yes, those scenes are worth seeing, but they ultimately have nothing to

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

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

in my view.

Part III of the Decline trio, made in the late 90s, is where the

documentaries come full circle.

The documentary was initially supposed to focus on the resurgence of the

LA punk scene, fueled by such bands as Naked Aggression and Final

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

exhilarating, tempestuous update on the punk of the past.

But while the music was interesting, Spheeris' focus soon shifted away

from the bands and more toward the "gutter punks" who constituted the

fan portion of the scene.

Think of the threatening-looking ragtag groups of kids you've seen by

highways or in parks, their tattooed bodies encrusted with dirt, heavy

chains swinging from their army surplus wear, their faces penetrated with

bulky silver hardware, their jackboots ready to stomp out the haters, their

canine companions usually looking alternately dangerous and pitiful.

Kids like that, or some variation thereof, captured Spheeris' heart, believe

it or not, because underneath the raw swagger she found genuine heart.

Most of these kids were runaways fleeing abusive homes. Spheeris even

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

street that she wanted to document their stories, and made the music the

support element. For the music is what the kids congregated around and

what gave their broken lives deeper dimension.

I too became enamored of the kids, and wept for them. Spheeris'

compassionate, relentless focus on them enabled me to understand that

punk, as it was originally conceived, is more vitally necessary than ever.

Since the 70s, economic exploitation has only worsened. Corporatization of

everything has rendered us a horrifically homogenized, severely crippled

society. These "gutter punks" are the sad crystalization of how far society

has regressed.

The decline of Western civilization is nearly complete, and we are in

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


By Sommer Lyn Cullingford

An Inevitable Return

On the numbering of days

the pages fall away

with the peeling of paint,

like flakes of skin that burn


through sand’s narrative;

The girders of nurturing

and buttresses

of summers spent

reviewing the harbour’s

renewing of each tide

distinctly every time,

hold me -

- unevenly

in cozy cusps.

We pitched pavilions

upon the rolling,

rising verdant comforter

at the mezzanine green,

plucked of wilderness -

I sat atop it and sucked in

that steely serenity

of the granite sea;

When a porpoise surfaced,

her silvery skim stretched

into a crescent arc


Back home our dials declined,

the eaves wept

and the gutters were blocked

by weather’s ceaseless motion -

And it cluttered

and it clumped:

the dead blue eggs,

the discarded nest.

The exterior has no time for rest.


She ranged,

she was hastily creative,

she hatched tiny,

expired empires

arranged on whims,

sweet nonsense

and the contraction of ideas;

she said they always split

- rent -

down the stem,

where each divide

was high

or torn a-shred.

A venous mistress,

she approached

the human hustle

not for reproduction,

but the blooded marrow

of connection -

she would cut off the head,

in search of a friend

from the hellion haunt

of hydra-headed


she climbed the walls

- her hair -

shone a mirror for her flaws;

an old reflection

built each new house,

she freaked her borders,

in bondage

she plucked from the perimeters,

and then she fled


to another

immaculate imager

of arch-design.

Author bio: Sommer Cullingford is a poet from Auckland, New Zealand

who is slowly composing an omnibus of her distinctive work; a fiend of

imagery you can reach for, she is always trying to scramble the senses

through a characteristically evocative selection of words to convey

narrative and escape the monotony of the mundane, while delivering

poetry with coherent perspective, tinged with insight.


Observations of the self written in second person

over a 40 hour period between variously

sustained, chemically induced highs

before finally sleeping

by Phillip Quotient

"Morale was deteriorating and it was all Yossarian's fault. The country was

in peril; he was jeopardizing his traditional rights of freedom and

independence by daring to exercise them."

--from, Joseph Heller's "Catch-22"

Chapter 39, p. 405


Awaken from full moon dreams

where ivory pale brides

wear translucent

jelly fish veils;

backdrop extras or life

size chess pieces who become

pawn promoted queens.


Religion for you entails

permeating the blood-brain barrier

with candle bright chemical

wishes god-sped by Tinker Bell

or Hermes or whomever

willingly shares their

lush communion banquet.


Mother's milk-breast embrace

remembered warmly

as those drowsily imagined

lactate white shallows

womb-scented and dawn-domed

beneath God whom you embraced

as a young boy without a single doubt.


Hallucinations where savior newborns

open their small sanguine mouths mistaken

for vibrant, multi-foliet blossoms.


At the downtown art deco bus terminal

impoverished zealots discuss Revelations

with spittle-lip vehement-sincerity

you summarize sardonically: narcoleptic assassins

camouflaged in cloud white outfits angelic

taking aim at make-believe agents.


Standing in line at the "Hope Center"

you watch as pawn promoted nuns

dispense peanut butter and white bread;

alms accepted by prosthetic limbs

received with either drunken

irreverence or solemnly as one

who believes in transubstantiation.


At times you feel nude as Yossarian

because the war between addiction

and daily survival rages on…


Dusk lit nuclear power plant towers

billow plumes in the plentiful green

summer distance mistaken briefly

for colossal bongs smoked

by unknown, lesser deities.


Alien symbols burn in the holy cranium

accompanied by atomic mushroom explosions

still yields away from a 1 to 1 ratio negation

that one day will demonstrate true annihilation

or the realistic promise of intergalactic travel.


Pneumatic pianos play all night

for automaton guests…

Dances at the midnight cabal.


The mind nods while the body wanes.


Peering out my successful ex's window

I witness Tibetan monks wearing vivid orange

robes while practicing golf swings in unison,

truly uncertain anymore as to what's a dream.

Inadequately elucidated reality knocks

hard and loud upon the metaphors.

Author bio: Phillip Matthew Roberts is a 42 year old writer who resides in

the small city of Lexington, Kentucky. He occupies a comfortable, book

cluttered home and spends most of his days revising poems, short stories

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

good food and world cinema.

Two Poems

By John Grey

Author bio: John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently

published in New Plains Review, Perceptions and Sanskrit with work

upcoming in South Carolina Review, Gargoyle, Owen Wister Review and

Louisiana Literature.


Going to the market,

the young girl skipped more than she walked.

The dusty sidewalk seemed as always.

Except the dirt felt fresh.

But then the earth blew out from under her.

Her legs collapsed.

Air fumed blazing white.

She spat out teeth and swallowed dust.

Her dress burned to her skin.

Nails jagged from her knees and ankles.

Blood sizzled on the feverish ground.

In a makeshift hospital,

she turned pale and thin.

She wept in half-darkness.

Her mouth seldom opened.

Something liquid

was sucked in by her pores.

From college,

a daughter phones her mother -

nightmares she says -

the worst kind,

the ones that don't let go.

She says she'd dancing

and the floor explodes.

Or she's walking down a street

and a house collapses on her.

Her mother says,

"I've had worse."

She's at that age -

the surety gives way

to randomness.

It could all end at any time.

It's worse when it doesn't.


The alarm clock-radio

is playing "Stairway To Heaven."

A kid on a rainbow bicycle

rides by my window,

hand whacking horn.

A blue-jay squawks at a

stalking cat.

And that's just the easy part.

Einstein's seated in the chair

in the corner,

explaining the photoelectric effect.

A five foot wide tarantula

clings to the ceiling.

Moses is parting my wife's hair.

There's an albatross

in my pajama pocket.

With this as its beginning,

who knows what kind of day

it's going to be.

My wife will plump

for one like any other.

I'd agree were it not

for the ostrich at the door.


by Annie Lure

Pin-up girls

& opium poppies

I pin to your palms.

The dainty needles your skinny women—

kissy women

& women pining

for the tracery of veins.

A full canvas you fondle with gesso tongue

& prink with acrylic lips.

Tiny seashells you feed me.

Bedroom windows that shred the red

curtain-clothes to bare

their brilliant sex.

A light-bulb perky as my nipple.

Author bio: Annie Lure enjoys poetry, erotica, apparel design,

photography, antiques, traveling, and art collecting. She has been

previously published by Clean Sheets Magazine.

Ice Cream Utopianism

By Matt Duggan

We love all the ice cream round here

over indulging ourselves in the utopianism of mirrors;

Where occasionally we look around

the edges of our own reflections

opening our eyes widely

to see that behind each layer is a sugar coated illusion,

We love all the ice cream round here;

It makes us fat yet our visage thin

the truth is a reflected manipulation

like those twisting mirrors on the seaside pier;

We love all the ice cream round here.

Autor bio: Matt Duggan won the Erbacce prize for poetry 2015. His poems

have appeared in many journals and magazines such as The Seventh

Quarry, Ink, Sweat, and Tears, The New Ulster, Section 8, The

Dawntreader, Roundyhouse, Poetry Quarterly, Illumen, Yellow Chair

Review, Jawline Review, Carillon, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Vagabonds, Lunar

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

The Stare’s Nest, The Cobalt Review, Sarasvati, Expound, Ex-Fic, Trysts of

Fate. Matt created and hosts a spoken word evening at Hydra Bookshop in

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

with Simon Leake of a political poetry magazine called ‘The Angry

Manifesto’. Matt can sometimes be found scribbling poems on bar-matts in

the dark shadows of some Bristol pub or wandering the Quantocks for the

perfect view.

Two Poems By David Mac

Author bio: David Mac is a wino forklift truck driver from the UK whose

words can be found in many sites, zines and mags.

Go Get ’Em F.D.

The gambler tries to beat god

Fuck’s sake baby be lucky

If I take off my hat

dice fall out my head

If I give you a wink

fish live in my cufflink eyelid

If I give you the sign

stick hold red black the 4 th horse is my heart

I only aim to out universe

the universe

I only aim to beat it all

to hell

Les Temps

You’ve never gotten over the rain

And the trees move like strangers to me

Days when you say ‘I think I’m getting

My period’ I pour a glass of wine

When there’s wet on the fence or on

Brickwork washing this town away

‘I think I’ll do some laundry’ you explain

I ponder the sky in the same way I

Ponder the tragic meaning of sex and

Is it vital to our well being?

Whatever we do we refuse to discuss

The weather and deny old time

What will be will be and you know

There’s no point dancing on rooftops again

Two Poems

By Jeff Nazzaro

Author bio: Jeff Nazzaro teaches creative writing and ESL at Loyola

Marymount University in Los Angeles. His work has recently appeared in

Flash: The International Short-short Story Magazine, Bareback, Every Day

Fiction, and Rind

Laughter Impossible to Refute

With a gravity that made her

laughter impossible to refute

he said Give me what I need

and I will give you

everything you ever wanted.

She lay back on the bed, and,

raising a foot as if from bubbly bath,

said, Remove this shoe

and then we shall make love.

Not dangling, a slipper,

like a ballerina might wear,

or a princess, unadorned,

as small as rain,

as bare as her other foot.

Kneeling, he removed the shoe,

though beneath it lurked another,

and another:

penny loafer, stiletto pump, Annie Lo Nurse Mate,

ice hockey skate with black Tuuk blade, galosh.

Bright yellow rubber boots

grip the last step of the escalator,

last not first, endlessly cycling,

just the last, looming gone.

The escalator rises, straight up,

not around in endless ellipse,

the little girl in the gold boots

clings, does not leap

to make the train.

She doesn't jump, only rises,

and though he chases, shouting,

gesticulating like a madman,

hairy and distraught,

she elevates up and up out of sight.

He leaps and snatches in the desperation

of sudden death, a goal line stand,

and grasps—not pyritic heel or mikado neck,

but only remainders, cold and sharp—

the tip of an elbow, shoulder blade.

An express train thunders by

in chest-compressing rush,

the labyrinthian web of streets

and alleys of his iron city on the Inland Sea

too insignificant to snare

the grandest of these passing plans.

Sparks of electricity

crackle in the descending night,

leaving quasistellar remnants

in a mist of impossible hope.

The room rocks to and fro

and he stops in the panic

of Is this the Big One?

to fold his handkerchiefs

into neat little squares.

I Flew From Them

I follow from station to store

an ancient stream




inches of former self longing

for the Grand March to join

the salty tears of the last ice age,


y the minutiae of bureaucracy.

It is the slaughtered conscience of ironed out kinks.

It is the ensnarement of dreams.

Benjamin Lazarus apprehends me in the street

to smack me out of the anesthetizing gambit

of myopic derealization.

He wants the time.

He tells me that every eight days

twelve looks like eighteen

and sends me on my way.

My Eureka! moment appears before

me in a Yomiuri Giants

jersey and toenail polish

alternating in coats of orange and brown.

Orange, brown, orange, brown.

I meander away in warm-necked buzz,

Aquarian pets sporting plastic bottles

of unsweetened green tea

strapped to their necks float by.

I never saw them tossed from passing cars.

I never saw them.

A can clinked from a bicycle

into the time travel light tunnel

emptying into the salty-teared

massif-forsaken basin.

I never knew they swam not for me.

They swam. Not for me.

Corporations and Cultures as a

Whole Are Psychopathic

By Edwin Young, PhD

Cultures have psychopaths, often in power or are wealthy, or they are

small time manipulators, con artists, and street hoods. Some of these

types are clever and some just aggressive or persistent.

Then there are their victims who have various forms of neurosis,

psychosis, or other serious in-capacities. Finally, there are those with low

intelligence or who are bereft of cultural knowledge and these groups are

typically the ones who are potential victims.

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

many forms of psychopathic modes of operation that are impossible for the

ordinary person to detect. For instance, grocery stores that sell

nutritionally devoid of anything but beguiling tastes but that promote

obesity and ill health. However, the list of such is very long.

Beginning long ago and for many years I worked as psychotherapist or

institution reformer with these groups. From those early years, I began to

develop an understanding that the structures and systems of civilizations

are such that they shape people into behavioral categories like those

mentioned. Thus I found it impossible to blame any of them. Their

defective behaviors were not derived from bad or ineffective will power.

Themselves, they were not aware that they had been shaped by sick

structures and systems. I, however, was and I set to create structures and

systems in institutions that would promote more mature, more socially

esponsible behavior. I was amazed at how successful these redesigned

structures and systems were in making enduring positive changes.

These experiences provided knowledge to shape my 'Natural Systems

Philosophy and Method.'

Human civilizations, since their beginnings, have perpetuated such

horrible patterns for many millenniums. Consequently, I can only have

compassion for both the victimizers and their victims. I wish I could

communicate my message to any who could engage in restructuring

civilizations. What I find is that my message is so contrary to the

prevailing cultural paradigms, usually an intransigent belief in free will

and personal responsibility, that when trying to communicate my message,

I get indulgent “mmmm hmmms” or blank stares.

Modern Cartoons - A Quiz For Parents

By Kaylea Champion

(A Satirical Review)

A - Under the guise of exploring, a shrill chatterbox with facial

deformities repeated fails to get lost.

B - A rowdy Hispanic boy subverts natural selection with alien

technology, stealing prey from megafauna.

C - Teen anticapitalist club repeatedly thwarts the progress of

anthrogenetic therapies.

D - An emotionally troubled French child behaves badly and goes

largely unpunished.

E - Rodents attempt to dance.

F - The fate of the world depends upon opera-singing classroom pets.

G - Freakishly large dog destroys the economic future of a naive

suburban family.

H - Sparkling horse-people establish an absolute monarchy and throw

lavish parties, expecting universal adoration.

I - Fascist railway magnate manipulates enslaved trains into teaching

one another dubious moral lessons.


A: Dora the Explorer

B: Go, Diego, Go!

C: The Wild Kratts

D: Caillou

E: Angelina Ballerina

F: WonderPets

G: Clifford

H: My Little Pony

I: Thomas the Tank Engine

Author bio: Kaylea Champion is a Chicago writer from Oregon. She cooks

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

competent view of reality through the scribblings linked


Two Poems

By dean allan

I cut the waywrong cocaine

powder came

out. The worldclose

to wash sins in giving Christblood.

My nose pressedmirroragainst


A c C h R e O s S t S

Lazarus W







Suicide Attempt

moonlight of my word shadows

slivers of a golden chest (inside)

i love that {inside (side) myself} youare

black turtlenecks swirls

and berets.

the bare highway til its very end,

both in the passenger seat with no driver.


Author bio: dean allan attempted suicide three times and suffered three

subsequent hospitilaztions. He had bouts of mania wherein he thought he

was the second coming of Jesus Christ and thought other commits to the

mental insitutions were Angels. He writes about these experiences and

other sufferings with bi-polar.

Babes in Toyland:

Riotous, But Not Grrrls (CD Review)

By Alison Ross

I arrived very late to the raucous riot grrrl party. Not fashionably late, but

mortifyingly late. Like, so late that everyone had a hangover already, and

were sleeping in for years to come.

But then, something happened. The party picked up again. The riot grrrl

festivities, in all their gritty anti-glamor, have revived in recent years.

Suddenly, everyone is celebrating the riot grrrls. Bikini Kill frontwoman

Kathleen Hanna came out of hiding to feature as the subject of a

documentary, "The Punk Singer," and form a band called The Julie Ruin.

The women of Sleater-Kinney magically merged paths after a 10-year

hiatus, put out an album of rousing, robust tunes, and launched a highly

successful international tour.

And then, this year, ferocious femmes Babes in Toyland began touring

after a lengthy split.

The problem is, Babes in Toyland, though similar in sound and ethos to the

riot grrrls, never actually considered themselves a part of the movement,

and indeed show a veiled contempt for being associated with it.

The riot grrrls, you see - vociferously feminist - brashly flouted society's

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

impertinently combatted it, incarnating the obverse in the most unfettered

way possible. At Bikini Kill shows, an underwear-clad Kathleen Hanna

would bare her stomach with the word "slut" scrawled across it, and taunt

the men up front, ordering them to move to the back and concede their

places to women. Bikini Kill's fierce sonic tirades would mock men's

narcissistic relationship with their genitalia and attack subjects such as

domestic violence. Sleater- Kinney's melodic punk anthems would skewer

male hegemony and embrace Sapphic pleasures. Riot grrrl zines

would spell out thorny manifestoes against a society suffocating in


But while lyrically Babes in Toyland were less political than the riot

grrrls, physically, with their "kinderwhore" aesthetic (incorporating an

ironic babydoll look), and raw, feral approach to music, they seemed

perfectly aligned with them. In fact, the fearsome threesome perhaps

seemed a better embodiment of the movement than, say, the more

domesticated Sleater-Kinney.

Mostly, however, Babes in Toyland were cited as major influences on the

riot grrrl movement, even as they consciously extricated themselves from

it. Babes in Toyland were also revered by the reigning male bands at the

time, such as Sonic Youth and Nirvana. And, lastly, Babes in Toyland were

infamously imitated by Courtney Love and her band Hole - a legend in its

own right.

On "Fontanelle," the band's sophomore and most critically acclaimed

album, Babes in Toyland mesh an almost robotic tautness with menacing

sneer, showing that unhinged aggression can have a truly ovarian genesis.

The Exorcist-style guttural snarl of Kat Bjelland and a scorching satanic

sound forged from the ashes of 80s metal and hardcore is both bolstered

and belied by poetically misanthropic lyrics:

"I want to live in the smallest corner of the densest mind of the

fuckmost room and sing the stars they swing from the chandelier strings

You know who you are

You're dead meat motherfucker

You don't try to rape a goddess"


"Say violets hang around with toilets and look smack at us and symbolize

everything that is disgust and mistrust

Licorice eyes pin me down thighs"

(Handsome and Gretel)

Elsewhere, self-loathing, corrupted family dynamics, and vindictiveness

toward men all feature rather frighteningly.

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

slasher film and yet has psychological terror at its core.

Babes in Toyland were not explicitly riot grrrls, but they caused riotous

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

refusal to yield to standards of decorousness hypocritically implied for

female artists. They turned the "idealized female" concept on its dastardly

head sartorially, sonically, and lyrically. They toyed with the sexist

expectations of their gender in a landscape littered with provincial


Long reign the Babes.

Editor’s note: This review was first published in Literary Orphans,

Issue 21

Two Poems

By Russ Cope

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

service, janitorial service, and many other jobs. His poems have appeared

in Poetry Super Highway and Eternal Haunted Summer.


zipper's down, what a mind fuck

on a bland otherwise bizarre week day

with the scrabbling grabbling little tykes

running from me in droves like I'm some

dank monster, fangs full of fun times,

spitting venom at them, unzip me further

and you might find a field of flowers or

a delightful promise, unzip me all the way

and you might find Aristotle's prime mover

or a full orchestra about to go into swing,

dancing, what a mind fuck, here they are

laughing in my unzipped-ness and I'm all

-ness and nothing much else and that's

the sad truth of me, unveiled, bare to light.

Sergeant's Version

now listen you ugly bastards, the world's

turning all potatoes on ends, and we're

going to be stuck out here in this blue moon

desert looking at each other's assholes like

they're the girl next door. climb in. climb

aboard. we've got a brand new vessel. this

one packs pounds of ammunition. don't worry

about the skin of the bloke over there. or why

I said bloke. just pull the fucking trigger so we

can go home. remember the feeling of a Coke

bottle on your lip? remember what it was like to

only be worried about making it to the movie

on time? pull the trigger. let's go.

the tank's running.

there is no tank.

This is Me and My Dogbite (Satire)

By Alexei Kalinchuk

It happened in my unfiltered past. Back then I had a habit of telling

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

purposes of their improvement. Only from charity did I single out dinner

companions to tell them about their bad breath or ugly child or how their

taste in clothes made a circus clown’s look modest.

It’s who I was.

And that mattered a lot to me at the time because, unlike anyone

else I knew, I was authentic. As a byproduct of my job, I was that vulgar

man the front office needed when they wanted someone to...handle things.

After the board decided shareholder values were unacceptable, I was

promoted to a job as corporate separation specialist. So after work, it felt

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

couldn’t see myself gardening and jogging when I got home to rid myself of

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


And that’s how it was with me until that summer night.

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

muttered over the glass as I sipped wine.

No one laughed.

I want to emphasize how unimportant that remark was, and of

course I don’t remember it. Maybe it involved someone’s repugnant

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

know or care. You shouldn’t either.

But what I do know is how the world shut itself off to me

immediately afterward. Imagine how if the sun switched off every time you

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

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

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

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

Yes, dogs. I’m picky about dogs. Won’t touch anything but pedigreed, but

one day I was so starved for recognition of my humanity that I approached

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

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

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

tell it to. I’d been abandoned. I saw that now.

It was just me and my dogbite.

But reading between the teeth marks in my flesh, I saw that I needed

to change.

I taught myself the art of an idiot’s grin by visiting the primate house

at the zoo. From the tropical bird exhibit I learned to entrance others by

repeating their stupidities back at them. I was onto something. Oh, I still

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

hair I’d ever seen. Someone DID say the wittiest thing ever said in the

history of saying witty things.

THIS is how I climbed back into polite society; THIS is how I came

into my own importance; THIS is how it all changed.

By the way...have I told you how much I like your haircut?

Author bio: Alexei Kalinchuk writes literary novels, has had fiction

published in Amoskeag Journal, The Bitter Oleander, Foliate Oak and is

Pushcart Prize-nominated. He smells like fennel and likes eating

pomegranates alone.

New Strange Life

By Ally Malinenko

It was my year of magical thinking

of walking backwards thought the bad luck spot

that someone drew on the cement

at 14 th street

trying to undo whatever curse this was

because we already had enough bad luck.

Me only 37

cancer already mushrooming inside

like an old oak tree

ready to leave the forest

instead of a scared girl

in a new strange life,

so in that year, David

I clung to you,

to your star

to your Freak King promise

to all your alien angel power.

You could make me bulletproof.

Because you managed to transcend

the chasm of my life before cancer

and my life with it

because you alone could

stitch up the shredded remains

that this diagnosis ripped through my life

ecause I wore your shirt to my first surgery

and then my second

and then my third

when they couldn’t scrap all that cancer out

because it was 2014

and it was your year of magical thinking too,

David Robert Jones, you mortal man, you


like me,

sat in

a clean white doctor's office one day

and was ushered into a new strange life.

Author bio: Ally Malinenko is the author of the poetry collections The

Wanting Bone and How To Be An American (Six Gallery Press) as well as

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

collection, is forthcoming from Low Ghost Press in 2016. She's

@AllyMalinenko where she blathers on mostly about Doctor Who and David


The Chartreuse Cow

By Cindy Hochman

The chartreuse cow is coy when I wear my loving tattoo

The jade jaguar purrs so sweetly in her sleep

The lavender elephant cries when I pull the lever to the left

The pacifist turns blue when I press the red-hot button

The black dog lies inert in its own dirty pool

The white oyster forgets to turn itself into a pretty pearl

The half-masked cat goes into heat on Halloween

The orange mouse trips on a tangle of computer wires

The blonde canary sings a sensuous hymn

The desert is too hot for the fragile golden calf

The pink pig rolls in mud wearing Rimbaud’s mismatched shoes

The buck-toothed beaver builds a lovely high-rise dam

The azure ant is working hard for the money

The queen bee makes love and then she leaves her honey

Author bio: Cindy Hochman is the president of “100 Proof” Copyediting

Services and the editor-in-chief of the online journal First Literary Review-

East. Recent poems are published (or forthcoming) in CLWN WR, Arsenic

Lobster, Lips, Muddy River Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Monkey Bicycle,

Levure litérraire, Glimpse (Canada), Unlikely Stories, San Pedro River

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

Long Island Light Verse Content in Huntington. Her 2011 chapbook, The

Carcinogenic Bride, has been recommended on Winning Writers. Her latest

chapbook is Habeas Corpus, from Glass Lyre Press.

Review of

Jupiter Works on Commission

by Jack Phillips Lowe





There is a cumulative strength to the poetry in Jupiter Works on

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

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

explore American blue-collar life from the down in the mouth perspective

of the blue-collar, urban male. Frequently jobless, working on painfully

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

moments of black-humour, occasional lightness and some bizarre

surrealism, the sequential narrative of the poems collectively builds to

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

survival of mundane life. Whichever, there is no way out, not

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

meets his dead drinking buddy Lou “sitting upright and breathing”. Lou

admits that, following a quick peek at his Netflix queue,

“ “I snowed the Reaper into refunding me the time

I spent watching Twin Peaks in the 1990s

All of it,” said Lou, chewing ice from his drink. “

Television figures significantly in the drab lives of the men exposed in

these poems and in the poems themselves.

There is Buchman, a character who appears in a number of poems

exploring progressive episodes in his life, who imagines his father putting

his love of the Western TV series Bonanza before his wife’s desire to see

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

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

not-achieved potential that underlines many of the poems in the collection.

Then there is the poem “Multiple Ironies” which explores the live on-air

suicide of American TV presenter Christine Chubbock and the fame and

popularity she achieved only through death. The poem “Godspeed, Myrna”

explores the obsession of the poem’s protagonist with the TV actress

Myrna Fahey when,

“By his fourth month of unemployment,

former magazine fact-checker, Lon Colfax

had discovered a most pertinent truth –

just because you’ve left your job

doesn’t mean the job has left you.”

The British comedian Karl Pilkington gets a poem to himself. “Where The

Wheels Fell Off” is a jaundiced contemplation of where America went

wrong and why it takes someone outside the system to point it out. That

fact that Pilkington’s stage persona is that of a first class idiot serves to

emphasise the irony of the situation.

The poems are overtly narrative and the language of the poems is plain,

conversational and largely unornamented. Despite traditionally structured

stanzas, the poems read more like prose-poetry than anything else. The

cumulative effect of this laconic, conversational tone adds to the gritty,

abandon-hope, feel of the vignettes and brief tales sketched in the poems.

One of my favourite poems from the set is the opening poem, “The

Breadman”, in which the initially mocked Christian charity of


“Calvin the Bibleman,

born-again Christian forklift driver,”

“used to bring loaves of bread

from his church’s soup kitchen

and leave them in the break room

for any and all takers.”

gives way to something more practical and positive when the bread

becomes an essential part of day to day life for his colleagues, following

several rounds of savage pay cuts.

There is also a number thing going on within the poems, with all numbers

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

might be, or whether it is just a formatting quirk.

Amongst the review quotations on the back of the book there is one from

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

like your poetry narrative and reflective of contemporary man-in-the-USstreet

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

quotation is as applicable to Jupiter Works on Commission as it was to

Lowe’s earlier poetry. In my opinion, though, in between times Lowe has

polished his writing and, as a result, Jupiter Works on Commission is a

smoother and more accomplished slice of US poetry compared to the

previous chapbooks.

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

it is plain-talking, narrative, semi-prose poetry, interlaced with moments

of black humour and surrealism, which takes us into the airless,

contemporary existence of the blue-collar man in the run-down, urban, US

street. Yes, it’s a mouthful, but, for me, it says it all.

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

reviews appear in a wide variety of publications in Britain, Canada,

Australia and the States and have been broadcast on BBC and Independent

Radio. Her poetry collection, “Cats and Other Myths”, and multi-award

nominated poetry pamphlet, “Songs of Steelyard Sue” are published by

Lapwing Publications. Her novels “A Darker Moon” - a dark, psychological

fantasy and “Witchlight” – a paranormal tale with a touch of romance, are

published by Vagabondage Press. For further details see:

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


i ain’t nev’a been loved...

i been a lotta thangs

in my life

been somebody’s child

somebody’s wife

taught sundy school

n’ carried a knife

lived in good

and lived in strife

but one thang

i ain’t nev’a been is


had sweet nothin’s

whispered in my ear

even had somebody

call me dear

stayed with one

for more’n a year

‘n once or twice

i shed a tear

but i ain’t nev’a been


oh yeah

i been hugged on

and kissed on

‘n i been loved on

but i ain’t





true blue

through and through

not till now

not till


hey mister…

hey mister

is it my dark brown skin

my matted nappy hair

my ruby red lips

my deep raspy voice

my nose that spreads like wild fire

is it my eyes

my black onyx eyes

these eyes that talk to you

that talk back to you

eyes that see through

yur brittle bones ‘n yur empty heart

them white powdered bones ‘n ice cold heart

is it my long reachin’ arms

arms that reach round this here life

this life without life that you chain me to

arms that reach back to tha’ land’a my cousins

reach back to ancient dreams and soundless screams

reach back to tha’ beginnin’s

of all tha’ beginnin’s

hey mister

is it my big round breasts

breasts floatin’ round like summer clouds

in yur wet dreams of kingdom come

yur kingdom that is

yur kingdom that done come

all over my purty red dress that you bought me

you know tha’ one

that one you said was

tha’ color’a my ruby red lips

yeah big round breasts

now all full’a warm life givin’ milk

milk for this here little baby girl’a mine

this here purty little girl that look jest like her mama

‘n a whole lotta like her pappy

her skin ain’t so purty brown ‘z mine

‘n her hair ain’t so nappy ‘z mine

‘n her arms ‘n legs well thay ain’t so much like mine neither

‘n you say you love the way she look

‘n you say you gonna treat her tha’ same special way

you done treated her mama

hey mister

is it my swaggered walk

my big wide hips swingin’

to tha’ silent chants’a my ancestors in tha’ motherland

you know tha’ land don’chu

tha’ mother land

my mother’s land

that land where you done

gone ‘n stole my mama

wrapped her all up in that

iron clad neckless ‘n them iron clad bracelets

‘n threw her into tha’ pits’a hell

till ya’ll washed yur scrawny asses

upon tha’ shores’a this here promised land

‘n what all this promised land

done promised you mister

seems it promised you

you could jest go on ‘n do whatever

you wanted with whoever you wanted

don’t make no difference who or what

like it din’t make no difference

what you done to my mama

when you rolled all ov’a her

on them long rollin’ nights on that long rollin’ boat

that went ‘n took you to my native land

‘n then brought you back to this here promised land

this here land’a milk ‘n honey

well mister

tha’ only thang ’bout

milk ‘n honey for you now is

you thank that there blood

runnin’ through yur filthy veins

is all nice’n white like milk

‘n that your slitherin’ slimy thang

is all sweet like honey

but that’s where yur all wrong mister

all wrong




‘n i’m wonderin’ jest what part’a me

you thought you could hold hostage

with them there chains’a yurs

cause these here eyes

that see you fur what you are

‘n these here ruby red lips you love ta’ bite

‘n this here nose that smells yur foul stink

‘n this here nappy hair you like ta’ pull

‘n these here arms you bound in hate

‘n these here long legs you like ta’ part

‘n this here heart you thought you could kill

‘n this here me you ain’t nev’a did see

well mister

these here thangs

all put togeth’a make one woman

one mean woman

one mean woman

that ain’t gonna take yur shit no more

no she ain’t


hey mister

jest one more thang

‘fore i go ‘n give you what you need

jest one more little ole thang

i’m gonna go on ‘n call you

by yur right name now

yur special name

jest one time




hey daddy


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

June 2012, and “hey mister” appeared in yareah magazine in December


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

also at Plum Tree Books. Her first two volumes of poetry, Gypsy Woman

Words [2014] and Words Unspoken [2013], are both available at Amazon.

Her poetry has been widely published in numerous literary journals and in

2014 and 2015, she was invited to read her work at the prestigious

Fermoy International Poetry Festival in Ireland. A number of her poems

have been narrated, as well as lyrically arranged and recorded by the

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

working in collaboration with the internationally-acclaimed artist, Ken

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

resides in Shreveport, Louisiana, but divides her time between there and

the East coast as she completes her third book of poetry, Willful Words,

that will be released in 2016. You can link to her work at:

Artist bio: Denny E. Marshall has had art, poetry, & fiction published,

some recently. One recent credit would be Camel Saloon. See more at

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

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


By Devona Sand

my skin was tender

elastic wrinkled experience


the incision that bled

translucent honesty and trust


was no paper cut

in sessions my flow


missing the specific connective

tissue as warmth left


scars widened growing cold

with the projective lashings of adapted

diagnostic regimens leadened


my lifeblood

a psych matter debated

gently poured into vials

a particular strand of genome


a reddish hue mutated

glint reflected from a

light above

my eyes caught the shine

a loose construct and process


smashing the container open

genes with fine-tuned roles

collagen gone spatial


continue to carry the shards

an embedded sting dripping

hypermobile regardless of status


name it disease

own it as evolution

change as a condition is


Author bio: Devona Sand is a midwestern, cloud watching, tangent-prone,

butterfly chasing, studious writer with an --some say, 'overactive' --

imagination and a deep need to express issues both real and dreamed. She

has a BFA in Creative Writing awarded from Hamline University and has

been known to receive paychecks for her work in communications. Sand's

musings have been published in BareBack Magazine, The Fulcrum, The

Paper Lantern, among others. Sand believes reality is an individualistic

experience that is responsive to environmental cues. Heavily influenced at

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

however, she keeps it real.


Lemon-juice truth

burns through a kiss

& your narrative carves

talismans from our bodies.

The skin between my breasts

dissolves with the dregs

of stories we share for the sake

of becoming us; ego

snaps my neck, each whiplash

syllable catches in my throat, until I blow

a joke into your cloud of smoke

& it tickles the cheek

of the secret you hunched

under half-lies, the you sheltered

in untold myth, releasing your ginflushed

regret to the rain.

Author bio: Kate Garrett was born thirtysomething years ago in

southwestern Ohio, but has lived in the UK since 1999. She writes poetry

and flash fiction, and edits other people's poetry and flash fiction. Her work

has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her latest pamphlet, The

Density of Salt, is forthcoming from Indigo Dreams Publishing in 2016. In

real life, Kate lives in Sheffield with another poet, a cat named Mimi, and

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




WAR IS GOD (polemic)

By Virs Rana

God is defined as the Supreme Being, or, god, a supreme being, who is

worshipped. Worship is showing reverential admiration, respect, and

faith, usually toward some deity. A deity is someone who is more powerful

than humans.

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

regular basis, we often feel helpless to accommodate our basic needs and

wants. Though many attend a church, a temple, or a mosque, for, at least

one day of the week, this hardly seems enough to maintain against the

trials and tribulations of our daily sowing. And since most of us are not

educated about who, and what we are, we long to see, in some way, the

manifestation of something greater than ourselves. And what is it that

happens every day, to which we are all witness that appears more

powerful than we are? Death,of course.

And as we are duly informed, most deities from ancient times to the

present sustain because they have conquered death, as we hear and read.

So how do we, mere mortals, participate in this power and glory? Well, we

presume to do as much as we can. And what we can do very well is kill,

because death, ours and others, becomes our affirmation of God, and our

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

major religions where God invokes His believers to protect His name, His

people, and His law. But who gets to decide when a transgression against

these invocations occurs? And what is the appropriate response? These

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

other is purely a defensive action, and, therefore, justified. Thus, curiously,

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

fingers at ourselves.

So whether some god inhabits your family, gang, tribe, nation, religion,

philosophy, science, or what we call the universe, matters not, for we have

erred on the side of entropic power: We are here. We are us. You are there.

You are them. We give cause for us more than for them. We mourn for us

more than for them.

The fact that we choose to participate in only half the equation is

considered irrelevant. For the acquired security and proof of 'might is

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

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

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

Those who would bristle at the above proposition need look no further

than our history books, which do not record times of peace, but of war.

From the Homeric Wars, to the latest war, and just about any other word

you choose to precede or follow ‘war’, Pyrrhic, Punic, Crusaders, Hundred

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

Revolutionary, French Revolutionary, Civil, Crimean, World, Korean,

Vietnam, Of Roses, On Drugs, On Terror, On Poverty, Cold, we delight in

measuring the outcome so we may gain any advantage in our next conflict,

with better weapons and intelligence to prevent what we can never

conquer, God, as doomsday machine. "The quicker we get there, the better",

many fundamentalists proclaim. (Somehow, there's something diabolical

about praying for peace that we neither understand nor incorporate into

our day-to-day living with our families, our neighbors, and ourselves.)

Thus far, death and destruction have been the preferred choice for

salvation, and when we are close to death, most of us appeal to a god to

show us the other half of the equation, immortality. The atheist is not

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

such fettered societies.

While there are fragments of religions and various philosophies that

emphasize 'turning the other cheek' and 'non-attachment', most of us pay

lip service to these concepts, remaining trapped in the cycle where more

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

and resolution to scarcity and oppression. But the scarcity and oppression

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

we tell ourselves from our easy chairs and IT mentality, until we visit some

third world country, which relatively few are wont to do, and experience

first-hand the reality of scarcity and oppression.

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

and wasted their resources, we try to impose our solutions on their

circumstances, forgetting that what we have created as physical comforts

are seriously defective, due to our addiction to Death-dealing, as a power

and force to supplement our godly inheritance.

So the next time you complain about those greedy, corrupt, vengeful

warmongers who want to control others, which, of course, is not you, think

about what, and who you worship, and why, if you can move beyond the

expired words of gods. Selah…

Author bio: Virs Rana is a writer of testamentary proportions. His

deconstruction of de rigueur bastions of propriety begs one question one's

identity and reality. This has been a reflection of his lifelong attempt to

achieve sanity, yet his writing permeates with integrity and logic that

belies his world of chaotic order. He is a published writer of articles,

reviews, and a comic strip in a few free press venues, along with an adult

novelty book, and a just completed children's picture book currently up for


His Beautiful Bones

By Simone Keane

When he died they

kept his skull.

His bone structure was


It would be a shame,

the people said,

to cover it in earth

for only worms and fungi

to play amongst.

So they encrusted the hollows in his divine cheekbones

with rubies, sapphires, diamonds and gold.

With love his skull would never grow old.

People came from all around,

to kiss his perfect, rounded crown.

Upon that kiss -

They understood.

The beauty of their own


Editor’s note:

Simone writes:

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

time. In it, a woman with a tail discovers the skeletal remains of what

appears to be Major Tom. The skull is encrusted with jewels. She takes the

skull to a ritual where only women are present.

This ritual sparked a fantasy which I hope might be real, where David

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

beautiful bone structure. It would be a shame to discard it.

Author bio: Simone Keane is a singer-songwriter from the southwest coast

of Western Australia. She is a WAM Song of the Year recipient and is

currently working on her third CD, a collaboration with writer Giles

Watson. Occasionally Simone dabbles in poetry and writing.

Killer Water (Polemic) by Alison Ross

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

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

and drink all the lead-contaminated H20 your heart desires.

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

demographic for the lead-water-swilling fiesta? You're not privileged

enough to gulp down formerly-clear fluids that are sludgy and reeking?

Hm, you may have a point.

Governor Snyder, of course, loves poor black people. So much so that,

under the guise of saving costs, he cut residents off from the healthy,

treated Lake Huron water and instead allowed untreated water from the

Flint River to flow from Flint faucets. The "plan" was to treat the water

from a source plagued by pollution from the auto industry! But guess

what? The pipes became corroded and the stripped lead deposited right

into water glasses - the same ones that poor black kids were drinking from.

Can I get a collective "Yum!" up here in this motherfucker?

Only 8,500 children were affected. Just a handful, really, suffering from

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

and black. Sure, Synder ADMITS he knew about the lead toxicity beginning

in the summer of 2015. As we've already established, Snyder LOVES

African-Americans, especially ones who are impoverished, with no real

voice in, well, anything!

Never mind that citizens were complaining about the noxious odor and

color of the water. Never mind that doctors were claiming the water was

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

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

Maybe he could make them drink it, too, so that they would develop

learning disabilities and hearing loss, and suffer from vomiting, high blood

pressure, pain and numbness - and best of all, infertility or miscarriage.

That way, they would be prevented from breeding any more evil freaks like


Because, you see, Snyder's blood is already poisoned, and he's passed his

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

drink lead-tainted water from Flint faucets!

The entire malevolent scheme is a ploy to privatize water. Because, you

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

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

immune to gentrification. Only the rich deserve things like clean water.


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

Welfare leeching darkies.

Genocide and gentrify - it's the American way!

Two Days, One Night of Hell

(Film Review) by Alison Ross

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

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

very long time. Its visceral verisimilitude strikes at my very core. Its

progressive, feminist message is hope-inducing, and for cantankerous ol'

me, that's saying a lot.

The story concerns Sandra, a Belgian mother, who is suicidal because she

loses her factory job due to some very cruel circumstances. Basically, her

depression rendered her unable to work for a time, and during her leave,

the company discovered they didn't really need her services. So, instead,

the company lays her off and agrees to pay her co-workers more. Their

salary bonus means she's out of work.

This outrageous scenario is further compounded by the company's

insistence that in order to win her job back, she must convince all 16 of her

co-workers to forego the bonus. She has one weekend to perform this

humiliating feat.

Marion Cotillard, she of "La Vie En Rose" fame (she played Edith Piaf

excruciatingly well), is devastating in her role as Sandra. She plays her in

a straightforward, unembellished manner, to the point where she fluidly

melds with her character. She is stripped of dastardly female stereotypes -

make-up, affinity for child-rearing and homemaking - and imbued with

transcendence usually only granted to men in movies. She is shown to feel

a strong sense of identity and responsibility through her work. She is also

developed as a character who refuses to submit demurely to her

circumstances, and rather shows gritty perseverance in the face of

distressing odds.

The movie, too, is bled of adornment, and shot in a cold, quasi-documentary

style. Not only does that heighten the anguishing reality of Sandra's

situation, but it also serves to make a point that while this story may be

fictionalized, it is not so disconnected from the truth in today's relentlessly

corporatized world.

The ending gives us respite from the tension, adds an unexpected flourish,

and comes full circle in only the way that the best dramas do. Highly


The Case Against Reincarnation

By Marie Lecrivain

There were-at first- the signs

and sighs that escaped her lips

like dissidents from a gulag.

And then there were

those achingly familiar moments

when his warm hand,

draped over the back of her neck,

became a collar

that tightened against

The questions she tried to ask:

Why was she here? And when did

love become a punishment?

At night, his body reeked

of apnea and privilege,

and polluted her dreams

with a fog so dense

that not even dawn

could dissolve from her memory.

Once in a awhile

she'd almost catch it

in the sick smile that spread

across his face

at the sight of her tears…

the cruelty, so dear and forbidding.

Almost - but not quite.

Author bio: Marie Lecrivain is the editor of The Whiteside Review: A

Journal of Speculative/Science Fiction, a Pushcart Prize nominee, and

writer-in-residence at her apartment. She's the author of several works of

poetry and fiction, including The Virtual Tablet of Irma Tre (© 2014 Edgar

& Lenore's Publishing House), and Grimm Conversations (© 2015

Sybaritic Press).

Two Poems By Brian Wright

Reality TV

Jack’s in his cubicle.

Jill’s down the hall

at the coffee machine.

They’re killing me.

Say you understand and you can expect

a knock on your door tonight.

The boy’s downtown

want to have a talk with you.

My bathtub hasn’t worked for years.

That damn body is as bloated

As a toy doll.

But boy I could tell you stories.

Leather pants and patchouli oil.

Oh you kid.

Peer out your window.

Are your eyes burning yet?

Do you shiver when someone walks on your grave

Or is it something else?

The mad bomber opens his mouth for a kiss.

His woman is wrapped in a black curtain.

Paranoid or realist?

Now you can be both. Your vote means

Nothing anyway.

That ball field is so ugly,

they must have a built it just for us.

This could be our year.

The ranting madman ain’t no artiste.

But he knows what he’s talking about.


This is no birth—

but a scalp peeling—

skin, shit and blood—

grey matter spilled

on white sheets.

Remember the dark—

the warmth

The placental joy of

the uterus?

Where is your track

your purpose now?

Why this journey

so late in your day?

Better to pause

at the fleshy threshold

before you have eyes

to see,

or voice

to give—

There is much to decide—

Who signifies you?

What comforts you?

And what if any, Gods,

will worship


Nails can’t

piece this skull


No bandage is

big enough

to hide such a

massive scar.

All you are

is spread out

on a silver tray.

And Salome

will not be tricked

to dance.

Author bio: Brian lives in Ireland with his wife and two sleepy Pit Bulls who were

rescued from a dog pound. All four moved to Ireland from New York about six

months ago. Brian was an advertising executive but found the purposeful deceit

and long hours disheartening. He walked out of what had become a trap and

hasn’t looked back.

Heel (Satire) by Marie Lecrivain

"What do you want?"

"I want us to talk."

"Your attorneys and their cease-and-desist order say differently."

"It's important."

"What do you want?"

"I want you to come back to work for me."


"You heard me. Let's end the strike. I want you to come back to work for me."


"I want to have things between us be the way they were before."

"You think that's possible?"

"I'm prepared to make things right. I've got a contract right here."

"Let's see it."

"Here. Let me know if you need me to explain anything."

"I have a degree in international labor law."

"I didn't know that."

"I've got a wealth of outside interests."

"Then why aren't you working as a lawyer?"

"Shoes are the family business. And I love a good stiletto."

"I see."

"I have a problem with part one, section six, sub-section D."

"What problem?"

"Working days. And weekends. We're nocturnal. And we never work weekends."

"But I need to increase production."

"You'll have to expand the facilities and hire more elves. The overhead will be

cheaper in the long run. Also, you'll save on wear and tear of equipment."


“Then, there's part three, section two."

"That's just boilerplate."

"It needs to be removed."


"Our designs are proprietary, hereditary, patented by our forefathers, and

redefined through each generation. You've no right to our intellectual property."

“They're shoes!"

"Yes and if it weren't for us elves, human beings would still be walking around in

bare feet."

"You can't stop other cobblers from making shoes."

"We can stop innovation. Don't test me on this."

"How can you do that?"

"We're elves... magical elves... need I say more?"


"I like the additions: paid maternity leave, 6.5% cost of living raise over the next

three years, a scholarship program... Profit-sharing? Very nice."

"I'm not unreasonable."

"No, you're greedy."

"I'm not greedy. I'm a businessman."

"Six months ago, you were a broke cobbler with the bank about to foreclose on

your house. We saved your ass!"

"I said thank you!"

"That doesn't make up for the fact that you tried to cheat us in the name of your

bottom line."

"I agreed to every condition you asked for."

"At first- then you went back on your word. "

"I don't understand why you're still mad about that. I said I was sorry."

"That doesn't make up for the fact that you tried to steal from us."

"You said we were partners."

"That didn't mean you could secretly try to film our patented process. You broke

your promise to keep away from our workshop."

"I can't believe you're still angry about that. I gave you the footage."

"Under a court order!"

"I know, and I said I was sorry. What more do you want?"

"I want you to remove part six, section one."


"We're unionized."

"But we're in a right-to-work state."

"EVERY state is a right-to-work state. That doesn't negate the need for a union. In

fact, it reinforces it."

"I can't budge on that point. My attorneys were insistent upon it.”

"You'll not get one elf to cross that picket line. We're ALL unionized, including the


"I miss their shortbread."

“We're not budging. There's another thing. I want some additions made to this


"Like what?"

"Our own bathroom. Yours is too big. We need ladders to use the urinals."

"That'll cost me."

"Empty bladders make for happy workers. And we get our own breakroom. The

alley with the dumpsters is not a designated employee recreational area."


"Also, tell your wife to stop stapling religious tracts to our paychecks."

"She means well."

"Yes, but she's violating our First Amendment Rights."

"How so?"

"Freedom of religion, which includes keeping Jesus fanfic out of the workplace."


"Finally, we want ALL cameras and spyware removed from the workshop."


"Why not?'

"It's my store. I have a right to know what goes on in there. Those cameras are for


"Well, we have a right not to be spied upon, filmed, tracked, or monitored. We

never stole anything, or lagged behind quota."


"Then you can take your contract and shove it up your ass."

"That's uncalled for. Why are you being unreasonable?"

"I'm not. I'm trying to protect what's ours."

"Look, I've agreed to everything, but the cameras have to stay. It's not like you can

see them."

"I don't have to see them to know they're there. And it interferes with our magical

patented process."

"I can't."

"You mean you won't."

"No, I mean, I can't. My wife insisted. She's the majority stakeholder."

"Then we've got no deal."

"Won't you think it over?"

"Nope. Once we compromise our privacy, then we've no room left to feel safe and

to be our magical selves."

"It's a workplace."

"Yes. I understand that, but if you don't put your trust in your employees,

especially those who haven't done anything but right by you, then why should we


“Why did you come in the first place?"

“Excellent question. Unfortunately, our branch of the elf family is cursed with

seven generations of compulsory acts of kindness. It's one of the reasons I studied

labor law. My great uncle ended up an indentured servant for the Rothschilds. For

the last hundred years we've worked carefully not to be ripped off."

"I don't understand."

"Of course you don't. You're a businessman."

"Well, then shouldn't you remember your kindness and come back to work? My

business needs you. I NEED you."

"No, I don't think so. If the kindness is not extended by the recipient, or returned

back to the elves in full measure, we have the right of forfeiture. Therefore, our

partnership is ended."

"But I need you!"

"That need is not mutual. Adios."

Author bio: Marie Lecrivain is the editor of The Whiteside Review: A Journal of

Speculative/Science Fiction, a Pushcart Prize nominee, and writer-in-residence in

her apartment. She's the author of several works of poetry and fiction,

including The Virtual Tablet of Irma Tre (© 2014 Edgar & Lenore's Publishing

House), and Grimm Conversations (© 2015 Sybaritic Press).

Two Drawings by Jay Passer

Artist bio: Jay Passer's poetry and prose have appeared in print and online

publications since 1988. He is the author of 10 chapbooks. This is the first

representation of his visual art online. Passer lives and works in San Francisco,

the city of his birth.


By Ben Finateri

You tell me you have the body of an old street cat.

I look at you next to me on the bed, lying on your back, naked;

"I don't see it," I say.

"No," you tell me, "Look.

My skin is wizened, leathery, tan and tough."

You trace a finger over the scar on your knee,

move your hand over the scars on your legs and stomach and breasts

and the one on your chin.

"My body is worn," you tell me. "Stressed and torn.

I have been hit, kicked, chased, cut, bruised, broken.

I have fallen and not always landed on my feet.

Time, and the elements, have taken their toll."

You roll your shoulders forward and back.

"Look," you tell me. "My injuries have earned me a free-floating clavicle.

Maybe I can squeeze through tiny spaces."

You smile your Cheshire grin and roll onto your stomach.

"You know," you tell me, "the old street cat masks her injuries.

She ignores the paresthesia and pain in her neck;

she forgets the cysts growing around her sacroiliac joint,

the burning down her leg.

She must in order to survive.

But look, you'll see."

You place your hands flat on the bed, and push up, lift your chest,

raise up onto your knees. Your joints crack, and yes,

you have a tiny paunch belly,

but you arch your back, let your head fall to your navel.

You breathe, straighten your back, lift your head.

You inhale, exhale, and return to your stomach.

You tell me, "Like the old street cat

I have not lost the desire to run, to jump, to hunt.

Rather than wither and starve, I've kept my body moving, active.

But look: the winging scapula caused by the stretched thoracic nerve;

the bulging discs, the degeneration at C5 and C6,

the seratus weakened from trauma."

You get out of bed and stand in front of the mirror.

You pose, hips turned slightly forward, one leg in front of the other,

knee bent, arms up, showing off your biceps.

You're lean and muscular, the toughest street cat I know.

I watch you posing, look at the body you've built to fight the pain.

I look, and what I see is beautiful.

Author bio: Ben lives in San Francisco with his wife, Gretchen, and their

two cats, Caesar and Loki. Previous poems have been published in the

2014 Poets 11 Anthology and Clockwise Cat, issue #29. Stories have

appeared in Every Day Fiction and Fiction on the Web. Ben also reads his

poetry at various Bay Area venues. When he’s not writing or reading, he

teaches English as a Second Language at City College of San Francisco.

Visit him at

Two Poems

By Alisa Velaj

Author bio: Alisa Velaj was shortlisted for the annual international

erbacce-press poetry award in June 2014. She was also shortlisted for the

Aquillrelle Publishing Contest 3 in January 2015 and was the first runner

up in this contest. Velaj’s full length book of poetry, “A Gospel of Light,”

was published by Aquillrellle in June 2015. Her poems are translated from

Albanian into English by Ukë Zenel Buçpapaj.


My homeland is

There where I dance

The wind’s shadow dances through trees

It dances to me

It dances to you

My temple is

There where I keep quiet and pray

The wind’s shadow implores

A leaf’s mercy

(Thousands of onlookers walk in city streets

Without knowing why they cry

Without knowing why they laugh)

My repentance is

There where I implore love

The autumn’s embers

Burn the shadows to ashes…


I swiftly caught a bird on the shores of silence.

That rare singer refused to sing me any melody,

Be it the shortest one.

‘Songs let out mute echoes

In the night’s lonely islands,’

It said to me.

When darkness melts into sea glances,

And islands become peninsulas,

Deafness begins to sing a longing song.


By Michael Lee Johnson

Solo, I am clockmaker

born September 22nd,

a Virgo/Libra mix insane,

look at my moving parts, apart yet together,

holes in air, artistic perfection,

mechanical misfits everywhere,

life is a brass lever, a wordsmith, an artist at his craft.

Clockmaker, poet tease, and squeeze tweezers.

I am a life looking through microscope,

screenshots, snapshot tools,

mainsprings, swing pendulum, endless hours,

then again, ears open tick then tock.

Over humor and the last brass bend,

when I hear a hair move its breath,

I know I am the clock waiter,

the clockmaker listensa

tick, then tock.

Author bio: Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the

Vietnam era. He is a Canadian and USA citizen. Today he is a poet,

freelance writer, amateur photographer, small business owner in Itasca,

Illinois. He has been published in more than 850 small press magazines

in 27 countries, and he edits 10 poetry sites. The author's website is Michael is the author of The Lost

American: From Exile to Freedom, several chapbooks of poetry,

including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night

and Day, and Chicago Poems. He also has over 77 poetry videos on

YouTube as of


Livin’ It Up!

By Brad Nolen















Author bio: Brad Nolen is a Southern writer currently taking liberties with

words from the shelter of an overturned, glass-bottom boat, in the rainiest

place in the land.

Photography by David J. Thompson

Artist bio: David J. Thompson grew up in Hyde Park, NY, and has been

living mostly in Chapel Hill, NC. He has traveled extensively in Europe,

Asia, and the U.S. His poems and photos have appeared in a number of

journals, print and online. Please visit his website at:


By Everett Warner

I set this tree on fire in the woods and her cigarettes flared up

and singed her lips, and all of her lovers’ lips scorched and all

of their smiles burned away to wide football grins, to these

wide Chelsea grins. I’d learn some bartenders lift out bottles

from these grins, from these holes where their mouths should

be. They just lean backwards and pull out a bottle like a

dagger. Then their ghosts follow her home from the bar and

their nails grow into long lines pulling her legs away and she

unravels, Eurydice, into a statue looking backward in fear, the

moon silvering the white slivers of their nails, red trailing

down the lines where she has become liquid and in the hands

that hold the nails is the bottle of her that they swallow with

their dislocated jaws to give to another spirit seeking spirit.

Her name echoes distant, bottled. But she is a stone, never to

find home--Eurydice. Her stretching smile is a finger stroking

a broken harp string or a knife unsheathing.

Author bio: Everett Warner is a recent graduate of Berry

College. He lives in Lilburn, Georgia and likes wolves. He can

be found @danielwolfer.

I Don’t Want to Be Sad Today

By Diana May Waldman

I don't want to be sad today. I don't want to linger … I want to be aware and

remember … want to keep my compassion, empathy, cry, then let it go. I

don't want to hear the blare of the television, the noise of the radio ... the

talking heads. Don't want to listen to the arguing - the Republicans - the

Democrats. Should we take the refugees or not? When we fail to remember

when we wouldn't take the Jews and they died. And how we have so many

Vets that are homeless and we seem to always be caught between a rock

and hard space. I don't want to see the memes of people terrified someone

is going to take the Christ out a Christmas or take their fucking guns. I

don't want to judge you, roll my eyes and declare that I see so much fear in

you. That is what scares me. That would you die for being right.

And I hate pretending that I love Thanksgiving ... hate pretending that we

gorge ourselves and forget what really happened. Hate knowing the truth.

I don't want to be in a mall, pushed up against someone else carrying

packages of things we don't need or really want, but feel we should have. I

don't want the "best of."

I don't want to slice an apple and think about Monsanto or fear chewing on

a blade of grass.

I don't like poverty and the children who live in it --and the people who

judge those on food stamps, when kids have to eat.

I don't like that sometimes I say stupid things out of fear. Or that I love too

much sometimes and people don't always love me back. I don't like that at

times - I am this open bleeding wound wanting to fix everything all the

damn freaking time.

I don't like that I trust way too easily and take people at face value and

then feel crushed when they aren't who I thought they were.

I don't like that moms used to be able to stay home and raise the children,

giving them the family values and morals.

Dad or Mom should be able to stay home until kids go to school ... and

young people have to work twice as hard just to afford a home, while

landlords gouge the rent.

I don't like that macaroni and cheese is cheaper than vegetables and then

we complain about obesity in this country.

I don't like that social media and texting have taken over a simple phone

call and we just don't connect anymore –not even with our neighbors, and

nobody borrows a cup of sugar anymore.

The world is in secondary love. We are falling apart. It seems we have lost

our connection to one another .... and I really want it back.

Author bio: Diana May-Waldman is an award-winning journalist whose

articles and poetry have appeared in numerous journals. She was also coeditor

with her husband, Mitchell Waldman (author of PETTY OFFENSES

AND CRIMES OF THE HEART) of the anthologies HIP POETRY 2012 (Wind

Publications, 2012)), and WOUNDS OF WAR: POETS FOR PEACE, and is

Poetry Editor for Blue Lake Review. She is a strong women's and children's


The Joust

By Marie Lecrivain

And who can bear to be forgotten? - Ricochet/David Bowie

She likes to take a walk every day to clear her mind, jump-start the metabolism

and get the circulatory system evened out because hot flashes are a bitch. She's

worn out three pairs of tennis shoes, logged over 400 miles in four months and

lost seven pounds. She's mapped several routes through her neighborhood that

equal up to three miles without having to cross traffic stops. She's peripherally

aware of the growing homeless population, the one entrenched under the 10

freeway. She sees them often as they lounge against the concrete support in the

shade, or set up tents and hot plates, but like most people, she prefers to forget

they exist.

He wanders down Venice Blvd, wipes his brow and wonders when the bus will

come. He doesn't like crowds. To him a crowd is more than five people and there's

15 people cluster-fucked together at the bus stop at Venice and Cadillac. He

wonders when his relief check will come. He forgot it was Labor Day Weekend.

The post office is closed on Sunday and Monday. His stomach growls. He's not

eaten since last night when he spent the last of his money on a pack of cheese and

crackers and a bottle of water. He needs to make it to the beach where there's

sympathetic tourists with food and money.

Anger rests in the pit of stomach and grows larger like a runaway lump of

yeasty dough. He came to L.A. to make music, to make people dream of the notes

he wove together with his guitar. Even now, fingers clutch for that Telecaster that

used to be his constant companion, but along with his brain, was irrevocably

shattered in the car accident from years before. The doctors told him that he

might recover his ability to play - in time - but traumatic brain injury is tricky to


He can't play anymore. He sees the notes. He hears the music, but he can't

channel the music from his mind into the instrument. He can't hold a guitar for

very long. His left arm was broken in five places. He lost his place in the band, his

apartment, and his sense of purpose. He can't afford the meds he needed to keep

his cognitive functions running. His family are dead, except his brother whom

he's not close to and his friends have vanished into thin air. He can't remember

the last time he had an actual conversation, or when someone would speak to him

directly. People flow around him like water. He's a stone in a creek to be stepped

on or over. His anger deepens as he wanders further east.

She walks along the east side of Venice, and daydreams about people she's

known; in particular, an old boyfriend who's been appearing in her dreams; an

intense man with a yacht full of emotional baggage and an insatiable libido. She

remembers how she put her life on hold for three years to became a bi-weekly

booty call, a sounding board for his problems, and a vessel for his rage. She drifted

out of his life and she's not heard from him for over a decade. She wonders if he

remembers her and why she's dreaming about him now. Does he dream of her?

She likes the idea of connection, of a far away longing simultaneously generated

with the possibility of fulfillment.

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

one near miss a week with drivers who treat traffic laws as a set of guidelines. She

uses up the first seven seconds of crosswalk time to triple check the traffic flow

before she steps out into the intersection.

As she crosses Fairfax, she wonders if she should call the old boyfriend, but

then she remembers she doesn't have his number. She could do an Internet

search or see if he's on Facebook. She starts to compose an imaginary email: Dear

____, I hope this letter finds you well and happy. I, too, am well and happy. I have

an active, happy life. I'm always on the move. I was wondering; I know it might

sound weird, but I've been having weird dreams lately. You've been in my dreams.

Nothing strange is happening. You just appear in the background a lot. I wonder...

have you been dreaming about me too? Really? Wow, that's great! What am I

doing in your dreams? I'm doing WHAT?! Really? Don't make me blush!

Seconds before, he spotted the woman. She walks fast and with a purpose, her

head held high, her stride confident and almost impudent. As he takes in her

expensive sneakers, Ipod, and chic sunglasses, the ball of anger expands into

rage. Here's was another one, another person who'll walk around him like he's

nothing, a blip on the radar screen of her consciousness. I'm a person,

goddammit! She doesn't own the fucking street!

She's deep in her imagination, having turned her imaginary email into an tetea-tete

as she walks west on Venice Blvd. She doesn't notice the man as he alters

his trajectory to match her exact steps and



In front of her is pair of eyes blaze with anger and accusations. She stops,

flustered. He takes another step, closes the space between them and leans

forward. She stands her ground, curious, and also irritated by the interruption of


“Why won't you talk to me?” he demands.

She pauses. Her mind races. She frantically searches her memory, tries to spot

him in random corners. She wonders where and if they've met, in what context,

but she comes up with nothing. She takes note of his cadaverous frame, ashy skin,

the pronounced veins on either side of his forehead, and the MTA bus pass that

hangs pathetically around his neck. She sees his shoulders underneath a tatty

blanket are tense with rage. She knows he's not going to leave her alone unless

she gives him an answer.

“Hi! Um... Well, I've been busy...” she begins and then tries to dodge past him.

His left arm, a dark steel bar, rises up with the speed of anguish to stop her.

Panicked, her right arm rises up to block his. They connect in combat on Venice

Blvd. For a second, she flashes back to jousting matches at Ren Faires from years

past. He remembers holding his arm up in triumph to adoring crowds at the

Palladium, at CBGB's, at the Hollywood Bowl. For nano-seconds, they look at each

other, and wonder why... why... why…

Author bio: Marie Lecrivain is the editor of The Whiteside Review: A

Journal of Speculative/Science Fiction, a Pushcart Prize nominee, and

writer-in-residence in her apartment. She's the author of several works of

poetry and fiction, including Grimm Conversations .

The Dilemma of Democracy

The Dilemma is That of a Government Trying To Be an Authentic

Democracy with the Populace Not Having the Knowledge or Intelligence

Sufficient for the Task

By Edwin L. Young, PhD

An examination of America’s range of I.Q.s and highest level of education attained

suggest that only a small percentage of the American population would be able to

sufficiently understand the vast and complicated issues that are set before the

voting public. It is a reasonable surmise to say that the illusion of an intelligent

voting public is perpetuated by the corporate owned media giants since these are

the ones who mold the voting public’s opinions on the vital issues put to voters. It

is probably likely that when the general public votes for a candidate whose

‘platform’ is agreeable to them, the reality is that when in office the substance of

the issues upon which they act are extremely remote from what was publicized by

the major media channels during the election campaigns and what the populace

vote for. The substance of the issues that determine actual domestic and foreign

policy and action are unknown to and completely mentally out of reach for the

minds of those who make up the vast majority of the populace. Democracy,

therefore, is a complete and total illusion.

Furthermore, the officials elected by the public are not beholden to that public but

rather to unknown extremely wealthy elites who fund candidates campaigns and

who determine, precisely, how those office holders will vote on major national and

foreign issues. These modern multinational elite billionaires are the ones who

actually run the US and the rest of the world save, possibly, some of the

Scandinavian nations, China, South Korea, Canada and maybe a few others that

are cited in the referenced chart. In the beginning to the US, the leaders were the

landed gentry, most of whom owned plantations and their workers were almost

exclusively Black African slaves. Many of those landed gentry who constructed

the new republic were probably, as was certainly the case with Thomas Jefferson,

not just extremely well educated but had genius level intelligence. However, their

value systems were descended from or, one might say, relegates handed down

from the prior long history of civilizations; the one exception being the ephemeral

Greek City States such as the early Athenian’s version of the first democracy.

If democracy is not the recommended form of government, what

is? Autocracy? Perhaps democracy is not the only problem or even the main

problem. If one considers the histories of civilizations from their earliest

beginnings, haven’t their evolutions been under control and direction of those

men who had the most intense drive to dominate, control and use other men and

women to do their bidding such as fight other countries for them.

This pattern of domination by the few certainly persists today. These men have, I

do not hesitate to suggest, been driven to expand their power over others, to

exploit and insensitively kill, or rather give the command to kill, even

indiscriminately kill other innocents and not just enemy soldiers, and also to

pillage their goods of their enemy nations and sexually use their women. These

dominant leaders of past and present civilizations and nations delegate the

geniuses of their nation to refine weapons, design military strategies, collect taxes

from the populace, manage finances, control resources, and conscript young men

to be their armies. All the while, those armies of men under their command, they

who carried out orders without a moment’s thought of any ethical considerations

regarding whether or not they should carry out those orders. These men never

give thought to what the consequences for their aggression would be. They are

typically oblivious to the vast harm they are inflicting upon enemy

populations. They do not consider that the victimized peoples that were being

decimated were people just like themselves and their own loved ones. The so

called enemies were essentially people just like themselves but who had done

them no harm. That has been the effectiveness of the commands of top leaders

passed down through their military and governmental hierarchies for one

civilization after another.

In the past, there were no democracies. With the arrival of the United States, the

label democracy was given to its government. The phrase “of the people, by the

people, and for the people” may have made ‘the people,’ or a sizable minority of

Americans feel that this new country with its new government was truly a

democracy. In spite of that Native Americans, negro slaves, and women were not

allowed to vote. Only property owners could vote. Not only that, but the framers

of the !Constitution and the new heads of state and governors of the new states

were all among the elite, those few men who were wealthy and had advanced

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

previous nations from the dawn of civilization to the newly minted United States

of America. In fact, was little difference between US democracy and the

autocracies over countless previous millennia, regardless of how their

governments were labeled.

How then are the people convinced that the US has a democracy? At first in this

new nation the media was limited to the territory surrounding wherever the new

printing presses were located. Readership was a small minority. Much later,

radio came into being and it was soon followed by movie theaters that would

show short news briefs. And whom do you think controlled these new forms of

media? Of course these were almost exclusively controlled by the wealthy elite.

Soon after World War II, newspapers, radio, the movies, and then television were

controlled by a new class of intellectual elites subservient to the wealthy

elite. This new class soon became the masters of propaganda. Edward Bernays,

nephew of Freud, switched from being a populist to an elitist and first major

advocate of controlling public opinion through skillful use of the then emerging

forms of media to propagandize the masses. Propaganda became a vast new

industry which now virtually controls what the people of nations across the globe

will believe about what is going on in the world. There are very minimal sources

presenting alternative news. This is now a new perfect way of controlling peoples

everywhere. They can shape whatever ‘knowledge of the world ’ the these

propagandists allow the nations of the world's’ populaces to access. From the use

of non-disclosure, as in the beginning of the US, to a brief period of having to use

police force to contain huge public demonstrations, to the current omnipresent

televised propaganda, the wealthy elite have found ways to keep the general

public in the dark about real happenings around the world and to control the

belief systems of entire populations using modern media’s masters of the art of


In conclusion, if democracy is impossible in the modern world, what new form of

government could supplant both democracy and various forms of tyrannical

autocracy. As a cockeyed optimist, or rather idealist, I would propose something

resembling a more truly democratic innovation that in some limited sense

resembles the ancient Greek City States.

The Carefully Constructed Chaos

of Heller Levinson’s Wrack Lariat (Book


By Alison Ross

Just thinking about writing a review about Heller Levinson’s Wrack

Lariat frankly induces a bit of panic in me. Heller seems to inhabit another

dimension altogether, a frenzied domain where language and ideas trippily

transcend time’s pesky constraints, where they are given free reign to be

as “unhinged” as they were innately meant to be. And although “unhinged”

is perhaps the paradoxical antithesis to the word “hinge,” at least as Heller

means it, the two words seem to have the same connotation.

Because, you see, Heller is the pioneer of Hinge Theory. As I

understand it – and sometimes I think I do, and other times I am sure I

don’t (Heller’s ideas are both elusive intellectually and yet intuitively

sound) – Hinge Theory is a poetics that posits that words and ideas “hinge”

on intrinsic associations, and these associations, once activated, propel a

poem forward. Language acts as an artistic equation. Language is

malleable mathematics, if you’ll permit the oxymoron. With Hinge Theory,

language is both technically precise but also cosmically expansive.

(Of course, Heller may disagree with my flaccid interpretation of his

grand theory, and I’ll just have to live with it.)

Wrack Lariat seems to take Hinge Theory to unfathomed extremes.

When I reviewed Hinge Trio, which was a collaborative work between

Felino Soriano, Heller Levinson, and artist Linda Lynch, my brain felt

mightily befuddled with the labyrinthian language. After reading about

half the poems in Wrack Lariat, it felt as though a category five cyclone

had hurtled through my cerebrum. The frenetic energy, the tumultuous

urgency of the verse – these were sensations not easy to shake off. I had to

take a hiatus.

After my Heller hiatus, I returned more prepared to tackle the

daunting dissection of Wrack Lariat so that I could place it into some sort

of proper perspective. But then I realized, how does one sculpt coherence

out of utter anarchy? And then I had an epiphany as I was finishing up the

book: it’s only anarchic on the surface. Wrack Lariat is actually the product

of deliberate control, where chaos is tightly contained within an orderly

context. A tornado bouncing off the walls of an asylum. Hell, even Linda

Lynch’s cover picture and the illustrations within hint heavily at twister

activity. Elegantly woven whirlwinds.

Okay, so now I can do this.

I think.

Wrack Lariat is divided into ten sections, each with its own milieu. In

the inaugural chapter, “How Much of / wHoosh,” Heller asks a series of

rhetorical anti-questions, some absurd-seeming, but most with pointed

purpose: “How much of commotion is arrangement misconstrued” (a fitting

inquiry for his style of verse); “How much of earth-cunning is dig”; “How

much of tongue is flappable”; “How much of circumstance is

circumstantial”; and so on. These are interspersed throughout the section

that teems with turbulent verse perhaps best epitomized in this poem,

quoted in full:

nevertheless the preposterous has a way of gaining garnering

gathering given the extremities subsequentialities galore glorify in

underweight in the achievement of molasses spaghetti with

marinara sauce sailing at full tide hardly a template to modify so

many concerns alight the brow afflict scowl parsimony is a

declining tautology a life of the mind a sacrosanct search for

signature serious seriously

The rich wordplay in such poems, the alliterative and associative

properties, is staggering to the point of discombobulation. Each poem’s

surface illogic has a Jabberwocky-esque internal rationale, which noisily

declares, “I make sense unto myself!” Each fragment of verse exists as a

screaming statement against stagnation in poetry and art. Hence, the

“whoosh” of each piece.

The next section’s title, “moreover hardly sometimes of if ever

obviously,” recalls the cerebrally whimsical style of e.e. cummings, who

clearly viewed language as his own giant intellectual toybox. Heller, too, is

enamored of language’s perpetual possibilities; he is concerned primarily

with molding his own linguistics, a sort of Chomskian poetics, where our

brains are already hardwired with the template of such a feral vernacular,

and Heller is just teasing it out of us.

Each poem in this section begins with a word from the title, and it

moves sequentially. For example, some of the lines begin, “moreover &

besides furthermore is no longer preposterous bearing deceased

decadence”; “hardly original in his approach to procedure”; “sometimes

you just have to step back a grain gain lawfulness”; “if ever you take a

notion/lubricate with lotion”; “of if as pertaining to equality equidistance

equilateral quasimatter”; and so on.

Each word spawns a new thought which races the poem forward in a

dizzying motion, in a never-ending speed-induced tango across the floors of


Sections three through five are titled, “Corner of ____&_____,” “Four-

Play” and “Gerundial Geist,” respectively. The corner poems investigate

intersections between, among other topics, seemingly antithetical ideas,

such as “Corner of Propaganda and Philanthropy,” or related emotional

activities, such as “Corner of Ponder and Brood,” where “gestation” is

“pensive/like/ fish/glued/to a malevolent tide.” The four-play poems are

each – you guessed it - four lines, and explore mundane or minute abstract

matters (parsimony, distances, realism, wilderness) in mock matter-of-fact

or even deadpan ways:

relationships are composed of compromise. compromise entails

giving in or giving up. elasticity is a prerequisite for compromise.

compromise sucks.

The gerundial poems contain gerunds as the instigating lead-ins, as

in “calculating sulk on dismissive freeways,” which imagines “ a drone in

the garden of conspiracy,” and also in “cultivating lachrymal,” whose “in

skeletal Unclutter this Nepenthe” culminates a brief series of inquiries

about underdogs and outlaws.

If all of this is making your head swim in amused bemusement, you

might be relieved to know that the next section, “Accidentals,” proclaims

not to follow any particular pattern, but rather, is a collection of random

“restlessnesses” plucked from the archives of Heller’s documents.

The problem is, these poems ultimately don't provide any respite

from the madness, despite the earlier perceived promise. Indeed, the verse

in this section elevates the sense of lucid lunacy, as epitomized by the

lengthy, restive, tonally capricious, “The Infra-Intra-Ultrapolational

Migration.” This quasi-prose poem not only quotes Billie Holliday lyrics,

but it manages to reference Rothko, children coloring, Zildjian Cymbals,

money markets, cannibalism, suicide-bombing, democracy, ornithology,

verb conjugation, Pound, operas, meter, horses, coupons, laundry, Matisse,

among many many other disparate topics – and yet, they are all credibly

interconnected via Heller’s magical locution.

In the subsequent section, “Wrack Lariat” Heller proclaims the

thesis of his audacious undertaking: "[It] is meant to suggest the Artistic

Mission. A mission that is compelled to reject all that is stale, handed down

- habituated ... intolerant of falsehoods, of the trivially redundant, of the

Uninspired Quotidian." He goes onto state, in a footnote of sorts: "The

authentic artist ... is committed to injecting freshness/new vigor into


Heller excels at his own mission, to say the least. The "Wrack Lariat"

chapter features poems that concentrate on several artists, mostly visual -

Van Gogh, Cezanne, Picasso - and one musical (Joan Mitchell), all of whom

he apparently feels infused "freshness" into art.

In "did Picasso strum?" he inquires whether Picasso actually played

the guitar or merely mimicked it in his paintings: "What happened is he

played the guitar - Visually. Compositionally. He eye-strummed, retinally

fingered, optic-nerved."

In the proceeding "The Dot Soliloquies," all verse was inspired by an

artist friends' dot-laden notebook. The poems are meant, I am assuming, to

serve as the individual "speeches" of various dots.

In, for example, "with dot this circumference," Heller asserts the

raison d'etre of dots: "the ground of being a dot is/round surround/this

round surround/this/bound round surround ground/sound sonic like a

circumferential/dot..." A bit later in the same poem, it is stated that it is a

"soliloquy in dialogue," an oxymoronic qualification if there ever were one.

The penultimate chapter in Heller's epic enterprise is entitled, "Linda

Lynch," which is basically an homage to his collaborator, someone who is

clearly his artistic soulmate, a sort of creative twin who serves as his

visual translator. But in this section, Heller acts as translator, "hinging to"

Linda Lynch's presented drawings, and transforming them into words.

The final chapter, fittingly, is called "Aperture." These poems don't

necessarily take Heller's work into new directions, but they do provide a

large "opening" into which we can peer or fall at will, spying on his process

or taking a brisk walk through the "landscape" of our imagining, since "the

landscape plus what we bring to the landscape becomes our point of view."

After all, he cautions us, "Language achieves landscape both

combinatorially and singularly..."

And this, really, is what Wrack Lariat is all about: Language as

landscape. Heller creates landscape through language not just through

how the words appear on the page, aesthetically - in jagged, frenzied lines,

in tidy prose pieces, or in hybrids of zooming lines and neatly cultivated

prose - but in how he curates and arranges words to fit with each other,

like a puzzle constructed by MC Escher, where everything simultaneously

does and doesn't make sense.

Wrack Lariat is the very definition of "controlled chaos," and Heller

Levinson is a word-Cubist.


By James Babbs

Richard Brautigan wrote

The Pomegranate Circus on

the same day I celebrated

my very first Christmas

I got a string of bells

from Mom and Dad

and a dollar

from Grandma Walker

it says so right here

on page 34 of my baby book

Author bio: James Babbs continues to live and write from the same small

Illinois town where he grew up. He has published hundreds of poems over

the past thirty years and, more recently, a few short stories. James is the

author of Disturbing The Light(2013) & The Weight of Invisible


Anne Tammel’s Endless: A Literate Passion

(Book Review)

By Rehan Qayoom

In Endless: A Literate Passion, Anne Tammel has offered poems to the

world that heal through their complex evocative consonantal process. The

poems are intricately woven and depict unique experiences perfectly

matched to individual words that conjure and elucidate in ways that tie

them to every reader’s own subjective experiences with astonishing clarity

and deft:

a crisp pear, fleur

de sel beurre, truffle,

pate, indogo herbs –

milkweed honey,

newly ripened figs – pure

saffron desire…

(‘Moon an Open Book’).

Vivid and visual, Tammell looks past the mortal life in compliance with

Dante’s command in ‘Dante and the Silk Journal’. These poems are deeply

immersed in the experiences of great writers and artists of the past; they

skilfully inhabit spaces that resonate with Genius Loci processing into the

soul almost alchemically with:


words, as if

we could


touch those


(‘Proliferate Ashes’).

It is not one of those books that can be read just the once or casually,

rather it is to be kept treasured, to hand and to keep coming back to for

emotional connection and reference points to live by as different poems

would appeal to different times and in different situations.

Endless: A Literate Passion is available through Saint Julian Press.

Author bio: Rehan Qayoom is a poet of English and Urdu, editor, translator

and archivist, educated at Birkbeck College, University of London. He has

featured in numerous literary publications and performed his work

internationally. He has published 2 books of poetry and several works of



By Kathleen Latham


I picture you on my bed,

that water-faucet face of yours


with self-pity.

I can’t remember your eyes,

though I know we argued

about their color.

I can’t remember

the feel of your hands

on the small of my back

or the sound of your voice

with another


These things were mine once.

I thought I would carry them whole.

Yet here I am,

seven years on

with only





of a


to haunt me.


I would fly three thousand miles

just to stand outside the place

where you get your coffee.

I’d drag my luggage to the market

and duck behind the grapefruit.

Linger outside your work and talk

to the bums. Throw a twenty

on the sidewalk and buy everyone


Three thousand miles. Coach.

If only it would show me

that you’ve grown fat and bald

or old and ugly. That you’re mean

to small children or cheat on

your taxes. Anything, anything

to help me get over you.

In the economy of love,

that would be worth the price of the ticket.

Author Bio: Kathleen Latham is a fifth-generation Southern Californian

who upset the family tree by moving to the Northeast and giving birth to a

pack of very pale hockey lovers who believe deeply in social justice,

comedy, and a really good argument. Between raising her brood and

working on a novel that never seems to end, she has won multiple awards

for her short fiction. Her work has appeared in The Southeast Review, The

Lascaux Review, and Alehouse. There would be more, but she gets easily

distracted by computer solitaire and her cat.


(SATIRE) By Martin H. Levinson

Brazil, a nation that has the distinction of having more gun deaths

annually than any other country, recently held a referendum on a nationwide

gun ban. Before the vote, polls indicated more than 70 percent of Brazilians

supported the ban. Then the Brazilian gun lobby began running

advertisements that suggested that if the government could take away the

right to own a weapon it could appropriate other civil liberties. This argument

took gun control advocates by surprise, and on voting day, 64 percent of

Brazilians voted against the gun ban. It turned out that a lobbyist for the

National Rifle Association (NRA) had played a major role in imparting a

“they’ll take away your rights” strategy to local gun advocates.

I say thank God for that NRA lobbyist because if you give the

government the right to take your gun from you, what’s to stop them from

taking away your right to free speech, your right to own property, and your

right to peaceful assembly? If you don’t have a gun it certainly won’t be you.

Let me expound a little on the situation here.

Let’s say you invite the government to your house for dinner and over

drinks you get to talking to them about how you don’t like the fact that they’ve

raised your taxes and that there are too many special-interest groups. The

government, which has been downing vodka martinis as fast as you can pour

them, tells you to shut your trap and mind your own business. You reply it’s a

free country where everyone has the right to speak his or her mind. The

government laughs and puts duct tape over your mouth. Conversation then

ceases and the feds enjoy the excellent food you’ve prepared, while forcing

you to listen to their tirades about how the American people don’t appreciate

Uncle Sam and why President Bush honestly believed that Saddam Hussein

had weapons of mass destruction. After the meal the government leaves your

house, and on the way out they take your TV, sofa, La-Z-Boy recliner, and

collection of Playboy magazines. They promise to bring the Playboys back

when they finish reading the articles.

Here’s another scenario. You and your friends are hanging on the

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

bodacious booty!” “They certainly look real to me.” Two politically correct

police officers stroll over and tell everyone to cut the crap and move along.

You’d rather stay and make a fool of yourself but because they’re cops, and

they have guns, you and your buddies reluctantly go home and watch porn on


The examples I have given could only take place in a world where guns

were outlawed, because if you had a gun the government would think twice

about gagging you with duct tape and cops wouldn’t tell you to scram so fast.

The fact is if we all owned guns the world would be a better place. People

would get quicker service at the motor vehicles bureau and individuals would

listen more respectfully to each other in the office. Subway rides would be

great adventures because if someone was accidentally jostled, that person

might pull a gun. (I doubt they’d use it though, since everyone on the train

would be packing.) The meekest among us would feel tremendous selfconfidence

knowing that threats by bullies could be easily handled by firing off

a round or two.

This may be hard to imagine, but there are actually some people around

who actually favor gun control. They argue that every year a number of

children die in gun-related accidents; that guns and domestic violence make a

deadly combination (in the US over half of family murders are caused by

handguns); and that individuals do not have a basic right to own weapons that

shoot. My answer to their arguments is this: kapow, kapow, kapow!

Lily-livered-liberal loons cannot be allowed to take away the

fundamental, God-given right that each of has to own a gun. Hey, if the good

lord didn’t want us to have guns he wouldn’t have given us trigger fingers.

And why do you think human beings are at the top of the food chain? It’s

because we got to the ordnance first, ahead of the chimps, apes, and all the

other beasts. If those guys had gotten their paws on the hardware before us,

we’d be the ones in cages at the zoo. Guns are also good for clam digging,

stirring soup, and they make excellent paperweights. There’s nothing like an

AK-47 to keep one’s documents in place.

Author bio: Martin H. Levinson is a member of the Authors Guild, National

Book Critics Circle, and the book review editor for ETC: A Review of General

Semantics. He has published nine books and numerous articles and poems in

various publications. He holds a PhD from NYU and lives in Forest Hills and

Riverhead New York.






By John Alexander



Obesity is a big problem in the United States- one-third of adults and 20% of

children are affected- and I have a theory about where it all started.

Now, I’m sure you’ll all agree that except for a handful of old people

hanging around, everyone that we see today is either a descendent of the

baby boomers or a baby boomer themselves.

You see, obesity started with the baby boomers- and this is how it


Back in the day- when the boomers were little kids- the playgrounds were

pretty simple. There was the swing set, the monkey bars, the slide- maybe

a merry-go-round- and most importantly- the see-saw.

There were also- in each classroom- maybe one or two kids who were

teased because they were overweight. Today, it’s called bullying, but back

then, it was just the way that it was- par for the course. So, not only were

these kids teased in the classroom, but, on the playground, these

overweight kids were at a serious- and significant- disadvantage. They had

trouble climbing the monkey bars; they couldn’t get the swing to go as high

as the other kids; their weight made their trip down the slide absurdly

slow; and they couldn’t run fast enough to get the merry-go-round spinning

in a way that made being on it fun. So, everything on the playground held

the potential for ridicule and derisive laughter- everything except the seesaw.

Yes, once they were on their end of the see-saw, they were both

unmatchable and unsurpassable- and that’s where obesity started, on the


For you see, all the “skinny and fit” kids just hated that they- by

themselves- couldn’t get the “fat” kids up in the air- and keep them there.

So, they doubled and tripled-up on their end of the see saw to try and beat

the “fat kids.”

It was this psycho-emotional-social-schoolyard trauma that was so

profound that it took up “residence” in their psyches and led themsubconsciously,

of course- to take up eating in the excess in order to win in

life- in order to win at the see-saw.

Then, after the boomers had kids, their children- through subtle social

learning and not-so-subtle overt example- became just like their parents,

doomed to obesity.

I know, I know, it seems simplistic- and maybe even unfair- to place the

entire blame for obesity on the see-saw. But, when you think about it- over

time- can there be another explanation for the phenomenon of obesity?

Yeah, maybe. Maybe they can blame it on genes, hormones, emotions,

medications, an inactive lifestyle, fast foods, smoking, cable television,

video games or social media- maybe. But me? I’ll blame it on the see-saw.

That said- and, so- goodbye- until the next time- from the bowels of

unscientific thought.




The Murderers and Rapists You Hate to

Love: Why the NFL’s Narrative Needs a

Radical Rewrite (RANT)

by Adam Phillips

When Teddy Mitrosilis of FOX Sports says, laudatorily, that Jameis Winston

had “fully embraced his role as villain in college football, and is now feeding off the

animus directed Florida State's way,” you ought to be deeply disturbed, and here's

why: this scintillating aura of villainy can only emanate from one possible source.

Winston didn't tie a lady to the train tracks or hold the president for ransom. His

dastardly reputation stems from the public perception that he's a rapist. That's

the element of his persona that has elevated Jameis Winston from superstar to

folk antihero.

Winston, according to Mitrosilis, not only reveled in his role as reprobate, he

absorbed our Puritanical hatred, distilling it into power on the gridiron. Following

this logic, the accusations of sexual assault have not only bolstered his

reputation, they’ve transformed him into a better football player.

The writer then encourages us to reflect, for a moment, on our diminished

college-football-watching-life-after-Winston, now that we no longer have access to

these off-field “antics” that have produced such “an incredible on-field character.”

He then predicts, with nostalgia and a hint of recrimination, that we’re going to

“miss [Winston] more than [we] realize.” And here we start to feel a little foolish.

With all of our high minded moral objections to sexual assault, we’d lost sight of

the true meaning of rape, which is to generate heightened interest in Seminole

football games.

Apologists frequently return to the spurious idea that athletes exist under

such hot media lights that even the tiniest of indiscretions, unremarkable in

civilian life, tend to imprecate severe punishment upon the superstar. Now, to a

certain point, this reasoning is sound. If I walk through my place of work rubbing

my fingers and thumbs together in a “show me the money” gesture, people might

think I'm an idiot, but crews of fully grown men won't sit around arguing the

morality of it for six months. This rationalization falls apart, however, when

applied to a hypothetical scenario where I've stolen, destroyed personal property,

been accused of sexual assault, stolen again, then sexually harassed and

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

around with the blood of two stabbing victims in my car, destroy my presumably

blood-soaked clothing, tell a bunch of witnesses to keep their mouths shut, and

then skate because neither myself nor my buddies (which, when added together,

equals the sum total of anyone who could possibly have perpetrated the murders)

can quite remember just who did what to whom.

After the violence and the canned apology, cue the platitudinal chorus that

“everybody deserves a second chance,” and “everyone loves a good redemption

story.” There’s something distinctly American, we’re told, about a man’s right to

atone for his sins and begin anew. Really? Is that what we genuinely believe,

minus the football? Let’s check.

Let's say a new neighbor comes calling to deliver his court-ordered

introduction as a sex-offender…Let’s say his name is Ben. Big bastard. Seems a

bit slow-witted. Are you going to take him under your wing, offer him that

second-chance job at your small business? Would it assuage your apprehension if

he explained that the sexual predator wasn't actually him, but an alternate

personality named Big Ben? What if he told you that none of it was his fault,

because the rapes only occurred after “Big Ben just kept building up […] kept

taking over […] Superman kept taking over Clark Kent and you just never saw

who [I] was any more.” (Compare Roesthlisberger’s explanation to that of

Roberto Herrarte, who murdered his wife and son while they slept: “I am Otto.

But I have Roberto inside of me who is responsible for everything I did that was

bad.”) Would you let him date your daughter? Would you let Jameis Winston

date your daughter? Would you hire Adrian Petersen to babysit?

Michael Vick is generally presented as the ultimate example of rehabilitation

via the “second chance.” Technically, Vick earned absolution through his

remarkably erumpent moral fortitude, evidenced I guess by the fact that he

hasn't ditched his legion of handlers and snuck into the backwoods to breed and

train and murder some dogs. In reality, of course, we're extrapolating the

resurrection of his dog-slaughtering soul from the fact that he's still okay at

playing football.

And Vick is just one figure within the bizarre equation that success on the field

expiates off-field evil. Which is why the Roethlisbergers of the world rush to

declare a negation of the past, calling everyone's attention back to what really

matters, in the bigger picture, which is football, repeating (and always, bizarrely

enough, with an air of wounded moral superiority) some variation of “I don't

intend to discuss any details […] I'm more determined than ever to have a great

season [...] I'm happy to put this behind me and move forward.” Well no shit. I'm

sure Phil Spector would have preferred everybody just turned up The Ramones

and left him alone, and I'll bet Bill Cosby is more than ready to tell some jokes. In

fact, I'm guessing nearly every rapist and murderer in the history of rape and

murder would rather we forgot about his past. But they have to earn our

forgiveness. Only those who can come back and win are assumed to have passed

through the chrysalis of redemption. Which is why Tiger Woods is still perverted

damaged goods, but Ray Lewis “has washed away his sins...because we

understand that what we all got to watch him do was special.”

Which brings us to the odd recurring insistence that an athlete’s personal life is

sacrosanct, off-limits, and absolutely unrelated to his job. This is completely

hypocritical for two reasons. First of all, the proposition that you can’t be fired

for actions outside of the workplace applies to literally no job in America, from

bus boy to President. Secondly, this supposed right to privacy is only ever

selectively invoked to stave off condemnation and punishment. Athletes enjoy a

great deal of political and cultural sway, which they utilize to great effect.

Immense swathes of the population who wouldn't have given a rat's ass about

Ferguson or Eric Garner were forced to educate themselves after the St. Louis

Rams held up their hands and Lebron wore his “I can't breathe” t-shirt. Michael

Sam and Jason Collins and Orlando Cruz have rendered an entire slew of

homophobic stereotypes inapplicable. Athletes recruit volunteers and donations

for disaster relief and The Boys and Girls Club and children’s hospitals and a

thousand other causes of great merit by modeling the generous behavior that

their fans, thankfully, emulate. But you can’t promote the positive and then

declare the whole forum voyeuristic and irrelevant when somebody does

something disgraceful. The job of “professional athlete” doesn't exist without a

passionately dedicated audience, and every athlete, as a performer, an

entertainer, has signed on for a life in the public eye, like it or not. You don’t go to

work and then selectively choose which duties you will and won’t be discharging.

To insist “I just play football, I’m no role model,” is akin to a landscaper

announcing “I just mow grass, I’m no hedge-trimmer.”

Kierkegaard says, “Once you label me, you negate me.” A fan from Wisconsin,

when asked about Ben Roethlisberger's moral turpitude, says “He's a football

player. His responsibility is to know the playbook and win football games.” And

here we have the root of it. The athlete is supposed to be simplistic and

subhuman, suitable for fast, easy consumption. When we sit down to watch the

game, we don't want to think about Ferguson, and we don't want to evaluate why

we’re wishing health and prosperity on a violent criminal. Can't there be a single

facet of life that isn't complicated by ethical controversy?

And the answer is no. Not a facet of public life, at least. And not when the

pertinent ethical issue is the institutionalized condoning of brutal violence, and

not when the collateral damage includes a generation of young athletes who grow

up thinking sexual violence and domestic abuse are ubiquitous and excusable

accompaniments to success.

The solution is for ownership and the league to stop posturing and fire the

perpetrators. There might be a few “gray area” casualties, but those will more

than justify themselves in the long run, by encouraging a more stringent

unofficial code of personal conduct. It's not as if the Duke lacrosse team or Colin

Kaepernick were blindsided by wild accusations while reading to orphans. If this

new policy forces athletes to choose their company more carefully, or impinges

upon their right to party with strippers, I think we can live with that. Penalize

the team. If tomorrow's newspaper runs a story about a waiter pissing in the

soup, that restaurant's finished. Even the billion-dollar corporate juggernauts

that are NFL teams would be terrified of a one-year post-season ban. If one of

your players is accused of a violent offense, and sufficient evidence exists to

obtain a conviction or a plea-bargain or a settlement, then you're not going to the

playoffs that year. Imagine the hysterical reaction of die-hard fans to their team’s

banishment. Sport is rare, as an industry, in that a hell of a lot more power lies

with the ticket-and-merchandise-buying public than with the oligarchy. When

teams can no longer risk taking a rider on a player who comports himself like a

violent moron in college, pretty quickly we'll have a lot fewer athletes acting like

violent morons in college. And for those players who are too good to pass up, but

too psychotic to corral, the organization could assign a battalion of round-theclock

babysitters. As strange and pathetic as that scenario might sound, there

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

arrest, collected only for games and practice.

When this year’s version of Jameis Winston is taken off the draft board, more

than one dolt of a commentator will declare that he’s been “vindicated,” having

“overcome off-field adversity.” He’ll be given a microphone and a moral platform

to call out everyone who has doubted, everyone who has hated. He’ll thank his

family and he’ll thank God.

And another story will come to an inspiring conclusion.

Author bio: Adam Phillips currently splits time between Boise, where he makes a

living teaching and coaching at-risk junior high students, and Rockaway Beach,

Oregon, where he doesn't. Both venues are shared with his all-around impressive

wife and pair of small strepitous sons. You can currently see more of his sportsrelated

work at Blue Monday Review and Blotterature.


By Felino Soriano

The city grieves. The City does not alter.

Outside, death. Something is happening:

lives are contemplating the bordering of notions: prominence


erasable symbols of dust. Something is occurring:

gunshots are night’s asymmetrical rhythms—

their wind, calm in what misses bodies—

bass drum-kicks/violent thuds

with those inserting triangular hate

into the lungs, the chest, the thigh, the

temple, used to associate light from

the breathless becoming these bodies’

distance from once-loved warmth and

a worn smile, an advent of decoration.

Something is arising: everyday, winter

the rain/wind/cold of striking hands

creates delineation of life’s informal

philosophy: these sidewalks hold

scolding scars, the bodies are

holed, the bodies of occurrences

left to decide death’s culture of

subsequent behavior. Grief.

When considering presence,

I’ve an algorithm

of purpose, orienting pattern a

practice from the childhood acquired atop the roof

of my stuttering. Alone

or exterior to the moment

momentum awakened, curious—

figurines of an hour’s cultivating

hands assist in forming environment

and the fallible origins unable

to purify air’s philosophy of

prolific meander.

When I speak about your

death I



breath from

the spine of

your cancer. I cannot rename

your steps or faith. And the ache in your


would never flatten or

fade into the dissipation of acclimated healing.

I knew you I

did not,

know you well (as you know) :

our conversations amid

holiday recreations and

distance shaped and etched

days of birth’s annual visitation.

I saw your breath, the last exit

trilogy of prayer


into a shaping name

sliding onto

the back of my tongue’s ready and portending surname.

Author bio: Felino A. Soriano’s most recent poetry collections include

Extolment in the praising exhalation of jazz (Kind of a Hurricane Press,

2013), the collaborative volume with poet, Heller Levinson and visual

artist, Linda Lynch, Hinge Trio (La Alameda Press, 2012) and rhythm:s

(Fowlpox Press, 2012). He publishes the online endeavors

Counterexample Poetics and Differentia Press. His work finds foundation

in philosophical studies and connection to various idioms of jazz music. He

lives in California with his wife and family and is the director of supported

living and independent living programs providing supports to adults with

developmental disabilities. For further information, please visit

Four Poems

By P.T. Davidson

Poem 2358









Poem 3614








Poem 3279











Poem 2249








Author bio: P.T. Davidson is originally from Christchurch, New Zealand,

although he has spent the past 24 years living abroad in Japan, the UK,

Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. His poetry has appeared in al dente,

ulcer, Pre-Text and Otoliths. His first book of poetry, seven, is due out soon.

Fading Paradigms?

(CD Review)

By Alison Ross

When I first heard Deerhunter in 2006, I was magnetized by their cerebralpunk

approach to music. I had not been that gripped by a band since the

mid-80s, when I heard The Cure for the first time. Then, when I saw

Deerhunter live at one of their first shows at Criminal Records in Atlanta, I

knew this would be a band that I would end up following closely throughout

their evolution.

Deerhunter's early records were, of course, their most magically

mesmerizing. Eccentric and charismatic frontman, Bradford Cox,

alternately branded the band's style of music as "surrealist punk" and

"ambient punk," and these tags were on-target, as their music harbored

clashing, antithetical features of tranquil immersive atmospheres and

jaded, jagged edges.

Serene and searing: these oppositional qualities colluded to create the

Deerhunter signature sound.

Then along came "Halcyon Digest," which, though not a radical departure

from earlier releases, was still widely considered to be the band's

breakthrough album. Indeed, the songs were accessible and diverse, and

enabled Deerhunter to attract previously unattainable mainstream


After "Halcyon Digest," however, Deerhunter swerved recklessly to the left,

daringly defying expectations, and released an album of visceral and

vitriolic scorchers. Whereas before Deerhunter had tempered their hard-

driving numbers with mellow melodies, now they were simply throwing

temper tantrums and spewing sonic tirades. "Monomania" was brilliantly

bilious and ended up alienating some fans who preferred the band's slightly

softer angles.

If those fans prefer the pillow-smooth, soothing harmonies of Deerhunter's

more sober side, then "Fading Frontier" should resonate well. For me,

it's my least favorite after "Halcyon Digest" (which has some great tunes,

but as a whole it falls flat). I prefer "Monomania's" raw, toxic ear-slammers,

or "Cyptograms' " clever conceit of psychedelic dream-punk.

What's beautiful about "Fading Frontiers," though, is that it sounds like a

true folk album in some regards, highlighting as it does the melodious

contributions of Lockett Pundt, and his lulling duets with Bradford. And

not only does Bradford channel Dylanesque moods, but he manages to

sneak in a 50s-style barbershop number, and he slyly perpetuates the

band's legacy of postmodern indie rock with the first two songs, especially.

The problem with all of it, from the perspective of a hardcore fan, is that

the songs are spare, not lushly layered like the best Deerhunter songs.

The arrangements are simpler, less complex - which is not an innately evil

thing. But in the case of Deerhunter, it certainly saps some of the charm

from the songs. Deerhunter shimmers when their songs are like pyramids,

sounds piling on top of each other until they reach a glorious aural apex.

The standout songs on "Fading Frontier" - the gritty, slinky "Snakeskin"

and the cathartic "Carry On," both of which resemble leftovers from

"Monomania" - should, lighthouse-like, guide the direction of the follow-up


Of course, Deerhunter likes to zag when they are expected to zig, so no

telling what their next album will offer: Perhaps Tejano and Zydeco?

Either way, it's a certainty that the album will be a solid, cohesive

collection, as Deerhunter has ultimately never made a bad album. I just

hope that "Fading Frontier" represents a pretty piece of the Deerhunter

puzzle rather than the band's new paradigm.

Artwork by Allen Forrest

Artist bio: Born in Canada and bred in the U.S., Allen Forrest has worked in many

mediums, such as computer graphics, theater, digital music, drawing and

painting. Allen studied acting in LA’s Columbia Pictures Talent Program and

digital media in art and design at Bellevue College. He currently works in

Vancouver as a graphic artist and painter. He is the winner of the Leslie Jacoby

Honor for Art at San Jose State University's Reed Magazine and his Bel Red

painting series is part of Bellevue College’s permanent art collection.

The Masters Revisited, Michelangelo, Pieta, ink on paper

The Masters Revisited, John Henry Fuseli,

Lady Macbeth Sleepwalking, ink on paper


Good Old-Fashioned Ways

Atz & Bonnie Kilcher

Reviewer: Cindy Hochman

All Roads Lead to . . . Nome (let me tell ya)

It seems fitting that the remote Alaskan city from which this

multifaceted mosaic of music emanates is called Homer, for it was the

Greek poet Homer who wrote The Odyssey, and the compelling Kilcher

history, eloquently and emotionally weaved into these songs, is nothing if

not an odyssey. For those fortunate enough to have discovered Discovery

Channel’s reality show Alaska: The Last Frontier, which depicts the

rugged, off-the-grid lifestyle of patriarch Atz and several generations of

hale and hearty Kilchers, Good Old-Fashioned Ways can be seen as a

companion piece; that is, an homage to legacy, land, and often uplifting life


He was a hard man

and it was a hard land …

only one place to begin

so my mama and my daddy

they dug in

For Atz Kilcher, whose catalyst to create is firmly planted in his

DNA, music is tied to survival on many fronts: from the cold climes of the

boondocks, to the punishing domestic happenstance of being raised by a

tough-as-nails father who emigrated from Switzerland and helped settle

the Alaskan wilderness, to his firsthand brush with the bloodshed of the

Vietnam War (tell me, was it right or wrong, to kill those Viet Cong, thank

God I had my guitar along, and I always took time to find my song).

Accompanied by his wife, Bonnie’s, robust but sweetly feminine tones,

Kilcher’s voice, at once gritty and gentle, with not a scintilla of artifice,

accurately portrays the paradoxical puzzle of navigating the tough

topography of the homestead that is his birthright with his father’s

admonition to “be careful but care” (and add to that the ambiguity of a

Sixties sensibility both violent and mellow). While every song imparts an

earnest and grateful thanks to his rough-hewn parents for teaching him

the rudiments of self-sufficiency, he wryly acknowledges that “their very

best still was pretty bad” (a tradition he sadly, and bravely, confesses he

was destined to repeat). At its crux, Kilcher’s stirring storytelling is a

personal and universal search for serenity.

Fourth of July

and I’m feeling high

but there ain’t no booze or drugs around here

so let me tell you why

it’s a Native American secret

I’m burning some cottonwood leaves in my fire

and I’m bathing in that blue Fox River sky

Dark strains aside, a Kilcher campfire is not devoid of its rousing

moments. The observant music lover will appreciate Atz’s genre-jumping,

self-professed rockabilly beat, as well as the delightful Presley paraphrase

of a little green bug who’s “all shook up in his green (yes, green!) suede

shoes.”* But even here there is a subtle subtext of nature’s divine

spirituality, as this tiny creature’s elation earns him a “front-row seat way

up above the ground,” ostensibly to heaven (where perhaps St. Peter will

dye his shoes back to blue so that Elvis doesn’t roll in his grave).

There’s something about watching a river

as she pours herself right down your hungry soul

In “The River Song,” my favorite in a CD full of favorites, the

perpetual flow of the river becomes a metaphor for the life cycle. The

simple yet philosophical profundity of the refrain (are you running away

or are you running home?) is a literal and musical bridge from Kilcher’s

childhood (and, through personification, the river’s) to his (and its)

maturity, conveying the comforting illusion of immortality. Of course,

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,

Atz Kilcher? And significantly, the past blends with the future when

Kilcher’s conversation with the river harkens back to his forebears (are we

running away or are we running home, Dear Mother) and to his own

offspring (are you running away or are you running home, my children),

putting a fine point on the eternal progression of our existence.

In the theme song to Alaska: The Last Frontier, Kilcher sings “life is

good when you’re living like you should,” but admittedly, he wasn’t always.

With trademark candor (“I try to shoot straight and keep my word and I

expect the same from you”) and compassion, many of Kilcher’s songs are

saturated with allusions to alcoholism and self-degradation that have

dogged so many veterans (of the battlefields of both war and abuse). This

leitmotif is most notable in the songs “PTSD” (the acronym for posttraumatic

stress disorder) and “Froggy Went to War,” in which a

reworking of the jocular old Scottish folk song “Frog Went A-Courtin’ ”**

takes a somber (but, in the final stanza, hopeful) turn. While the anecdotes

are certainly personal, he touches on the human condition as well, opining

that “everybody’s trying to get here with a little help or on their own; they

have a drink, fill a script, pop a pill, take a trip, thinking all roads lead to

Rome (but they don’t, let me tell ya).” For Kilcher, though, salvation is

found, once again, through his proximity to Mother Earth.

There’s no last call for alcohol here by this mountain stream

there ain’t no ghosts to haunt you here or drag you from your dreams

just silence ringing in your ears, the air is mountain clear

there’s no such thing as being lost when you’re lost out here

“Good Old-Fashioned Ways” is a heartfelt testimonial to continuity

and endurance, with plenty of kumbaya moments amid the demons, and a

dash of Wild West swagger (courtesy of “After the Gun,” which also has

some very cool syncopated sound effects). In the final song, the haunting,

soothing “Clearwater Slough,” Kilcher comes full circle, proving that, for

him, there’s no place like Homer.

Many moons ago, a talented young singer named Jewel (Kilcher,

that is) asked the question Who Will Save Your Soul? The answer is

intrinsically linked to her own roots, because if her papa’s generous

collection of fiercely beautiful songs can’t save your soul, then your soul is

a lost cause.


*“Blue Suede Shoes” was written, and originally recorded, by Carl Perkins.

“All Shook Up” was written by Otis Blackwell.

** Modern versions of “Froggy Went A-Courtin’ have been recorded by

Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen, among


Alejandro Iñárritu’s

“The Revenant” (Film Review)

by Josh Sczykutowicz

Ice walls and avalanches. Lightning storms and snowfall. Thick forests and

skeletal trees. Packed black dirt and frozen ground. Rushing rivers and candlelit

taverns. Terracotta sunsets and porcelain dawns. These are some of the many

stark images that permeate Alejandro Iñárritu’s latest film, The Revenant,

starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Hugh Glass, an 1820’s hunter who is attacked by a

bear and left for dead by Tom Hardy’s partially-scalped, self-preservationist John

Fitzgerald. Suffering extreme physical, personal and spiritual loss, Glass rises

from his wounds intent on revenge, and begins an intense, harrowing journey

through the wilderness that never lets up to the last second.

A follow-up to Iñárritu’s Best Picture-winning Birdman, Iñárritu finds

himself uniting again with acclaimed cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who

more than asserts himself as the finest in his field with this film. A technical

masterpiece, tracking shots seamlessly glide and follow characters, switching

points of view, submerging underwater and lifting back out again, swirling into

the sky and chasing alongside men on horseback before becoming crane shots

that look down at the forest below, taking to the air as cliffs reach their end

without warning.

A nail in the coffin in the film versus digital debate, Lubezki’s stunning

camerawork works exclusively with natural light to achieve the gorgeous and

outstanding shots found within this film. A main criticism of digital filmmaking is

that it lacks the immediacy of shooting on film, with little time limits, yet here,

photographing everything with zero artificial light, every scene depends upon the

position of the sun, of the light of the torches carried through frozen tree lines in

pitch-black nights. That immediacy that the timing of film requires is replicated

here, yet with all of the freedom of technique that digital allow for, as shots seem

to blend with ease into all kinds: close-ups, panoramas, aerial shots, dolly and

tracking shots. While the romanticism of film may be its own virtue, Lubezki’s

unbridled technique and command of the art form seem to prove that

romanticism may be the last defense left in favor of celluloid.

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

simultaneously conveyed the absolute beauty and profound depth of space, while

still showing the isolating horror and inhospitality of it. Here, Lubezki’s images

manage to much the same for the wilderness, helping to craft a tale of man versus

nature that rivals the greatest films dealing with the subject. We are seeing

photographs made not by just a talented professional, but by a master of their


Rather than compromise and decide whether to paint the natural world as

perfect and mesmerizing, or as brutal and unflinching, it presents both

simultaneously, with equal skill, leading to a remarkable visual balancing act. We

watch with Glass as a pack of wolves take down a running bison in the evening

light, sharing his expression of disturbed awe. In the coldest days of winter, a

network of ants move as one to collapse a beetle. Flurries of snow rush into frame

and flakes dot the screen. Vivid close-ups get so near to actor’s faces that their

breath fog up the lens, before we pull back and spin around the subject, changing

gaze to look upon the harsh, gorgeous wilderness the entire cast finds itself

surviving in.

And no character survives quite like Glass does, a man whose journey

through complete torture rivals that of almost any other protagonist in film. Few

have had such motive or justification for the vengeance they seek than Hugh

Glass, and Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance makes it so. Largely silent, DiCaprio

expresses every sort of pain possible while displaying the desperation, deep will

and inner growth of Glass through non-verbal expressions and actions, diving

into freezing rivers, climbing inside of dead animals for warmth, taking every

blow with weight and challenging himself as a performer in every scene.

Like a wounded animal, he limps, crawls, and fumbles his way through the

expanse, a frozen wasteland waiting to claim him at any given moment. An

immense amount of effort from DiCaprio manages to communicate a history of a

man given few lines via everything else. His mannerisms, sleeping habits,

expressions and reactions all serve to both tell his own private story and propel

the larger narrative forward.

The character of Hugh Glass undergoes not just a physical journey in this

film, travelling back to the hunter’s camp in his search for Fitzgerald, but also a

spiritual one, grieving and coping with all of his losses. Steam and fog rise through

shots of water like the smoke that plumes off of the burning village that haunts

Glass’ dreams. Images of a dead lover haunt his heart and guide his soul. She says

how a tree in a storm may look like it will fall, if one only looks at the leaves, but if

one looks at the trunk, they know that it will remain. For most of the film, we see

Glass at the leaves. By the end, we are gazing upon the trunk.

He experiences deep physical pain, relentlessly mauled by a grizzly to the

death and hurt through various accidents, attacks and incidents as the film

progresses. He endures intense emotional pain, that of severe betrayal, of

personal loss, of having to see the last tethers to an old life stripped away before

his very eyes. And he suffers spiritually most of all; haunted by the very

beginning by a loss he accrued well before any icy flows of the opening scenes

filled the frame.

Like every character in this film, Glass is defending something; in this

case, the most basic possession: his life. Fitzgerald defends his life and dream of a

plot of land in Texas. The bear that attacks Glass, more a force of nature than a

simple animal, is only trying to defend its cubs which Glass stumbles upon. The

Native Americans that attack, scalp and trample through campgrounds are

simply trying to defend their lands from the white men who have taken

everything from them.

The brutality just mirrors the natural world around it, as every man

operates, ultimately, as a force of nature in their own right. Just as avalanches

topple trees, or wolves dispatch bison, men topple one another just as naturally.

Every force of violence is given the unflinching sincerity they command. Arrows,

teeth, bullets, maws, hatchets, knives, claws, fire and water all cause their own

destruction, and no detail is spared.

While the scope and scale of this film is so thematically broad – nature,

spirituality, torment, sacrifice, the cost of vengeance, survival, the beauty and

brutality of the wilderness, man’s place within the world and the way that we act

as a destructive force just like any other –the narrative focus is so contrastingly

intimate, that both seem to only serve one another. Glass’ journey is one of a

private grief, still haunted by visions of his lost village and family, still grappling

with his inner demons.

Everything that occurs within the film is ultimately a framework for Glass

to work through these issues, and yet, by the end of the film, questions are left:

does vengeance satisfy? What does it take to mend a broken spirit, to make whole

again a broken man? When is the deepest pain allowed to heal, and what begins

that process? Are loss and its pain simply natural, and is pain itself a part of the

natural world?

Iñárritu has firmly established himself as a unique and ambitious director

with few peers to stand amongst, and continues to explore the human condition in

his own way. Few directors are capable of communicating so many themes, and so

many thoughts, through almost purely visual storytelling, and let alone make it

so compelling. With the assistance of Lubezki, Iñárritu forms a portrait stunning

in its scale and painstaking in its detail of a wilderness we may never experience,

and of a man who may never free himself of it.

Full of images that rival that of Planet Earth and driven by a performance

of a lifetime from Leonardo DiCaprio, all pulled together by the unparalleled

direction of Alejandro Iñárritu, The Revenant stands as a truly powerful and truly

beautiful film about nature, man’s place within it, personal grief and suffering,

overcoming obstacles and the persistence of the human spirit. Through its wider

focus on nature, it crafts a delicate and intimate personal examination of grief,

loss, and pain. When someone no longer fears death, what do they become? Can

healing happen, once a certain line has crossed? These are answers Hugh Glass

may learn, but not during our time spent with him. Regardless, what has been

achieved here is a towering work of art, one that gives far more than it takes, and

continues to show that Iñárritu is an ambitious and capable artist in a medium

that he has a complex understanding and command of.

Author bio: Josh Sczykutowicz is a young writer from central Florida.

Most of his work can be described as dark, alternative and literary fiction.

He has been published in Flash Fiction Magazine, ExFic, and Polychrome

Ink, among others. You can Like him on Facebook and follow him on

twitter @jsczykutowicz1 and tumblr at

Australia’s Epidemic of Misogyny

by Giles Watson

Between 2010 and 2013, an Australian citizen was subjected to a

vicious, unrelenting public hate-campaign. One popular media personality

(Alan Jones) urged his audience to “shove” this person, along with the

environmentalist Bob Brown, “in a chaff bag and take them as far out to

sea as they can and tell them to swim home”. A Liberal Party member

(Grahame Morris) recommended “kicking” this person “to

death”. Politicians (Steve Ciobo and Peter Reith) advocated slitting this

person’s throat. There were no legal repercussions against any of these

incitements to commit murder. The victim of this constant barrage of

verbal violence was Julia Gillard, the Australian Prime-Minister. Her

antagonists may have disagreed with her politics, but their vitriol was not

political discourse; it was misogyny. These people deemed that she was

worthy of drowning, beating and stabbing because she was a woman who

dared to seek political office.

Our then Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, stood gurning like a

clown underneath a protest banner that read “Ditch the Witch”. Days

before his later election as Prime-Minister, he went on national television

to pimp his two daughters, saying “If you want to know who to vote for, I’m

the guy with the two not-bad-looking daughters”. He winked lasciviously

on a radio talk-show when a woman caller told him that she had been

driven to become a phone-sex worker because of his economic policies. He

openly trumpeted his opinion that women should be at home doing the

ironing. This is the same man who, when he lost a university union

election to a woman candidate in his youth, shoved his face within an inch

of hers and punched the wall on either side of her head, and who once

punched out the man who was to become his Treasurer: a violent man

lauded by a rabidly fascist and misogynist minority of the Australian

public who somehow found it in their hearts to applaud all of these defects

of character on the basis that they were “macho”, and forgivable in the

“Aussie male”.

I was absent from Australia while all of this was occurring, on an 18-

year sojourn in England. I had spent my childhood and youth in Australia,

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

was devastated to discover the hideous morass this country has waded

into. The vile misogynist rantings cited above are not restricted to the

upper echelons of government and the media. They have pervaded

Australian culture, and the most horrifying symptom of this process is an

enormous epidemic of domestic violence against women: gendered violence

committed with impunity behind closed doors. In my state (Western

Australia) alone, there were 10,648 female victims of domestic violence in

2014. I am writing this at 10.43 in the morning, and so far today, it is

estimated that police in Australia will already have been called to respond

to 293 domestic violence incidents. In my small region alone, 16 women

and children were killed by violent men in 2015.

Nor is this a phenomenon restricted to isolated sectors of society. I

live in a comparatively prosperous, “respectable” seaside town, and I know

people whose lives are blighted by domestic violence on a daily basis. The

perpetrators continue to bash, intimidate and terrorise with impunity

because of the toxic cultural conditions which have been incubated by

media and political establishments intent on spreading misogyny. In the

process, newspapers such as The Australian have also employed openly

misogynist female commentators like Bettina Arndt, a “sex-therapist” who

has in the past advised women who do not want sex from their partners to

give in and “take one for the team”, and who now uses her column to

encourage “Men’s Rights Activists” (most of whom are insane wife-bashers

and gaslighters, or apologists for them) to disrupt the activities of antidomestic

violence groups such as the White Ribbon Campaign. This is the

same newspaper whose female fashion columnists contributed to the

Gillard-hating chorus by relentlessly criticising her wardrobe, and whose

extreme right-wing commentator Janet Albrechtsen argued that Gillard

was not qualified to be Prime-Minister because “She has never had to make

room for the frustrating demands and magnificent responsibilities of

caring for little babies, picking up sick children from school, raising

teenagers. Not to mention the needs of a husband or partner.” [sic:


Much of the blame for this utterly toxic cultural climate must fall at

the feet of the Murdoch media empire. How can any journalist dare to

criticise a woman for choosing to not have children in this hideously

overpopulated world, or claim that she is unqualified for political office

because she has exercised that choice which it is the unquestionable right

of every woman to make? How exactly would changing nappies make her a

better politician? How can a newspaper editor seriously contemplate

publishing such unconscionable rubbish, and then go on to publish the

writing of a “sex-therapist” who tacitly condones marital rape?

These things happen because too many Australian people buy the

newspaper, because they vote for a woman-hating Prime-Minister and sit

by whilst he makes himself “Minister for Women”, because when that

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

busy watching the football to take notice. They happen because the

appalling statistics cited above go unreported by the mainstream

media. But they also happen because of a wilful ignorance. One does not

have to look far on the internet to find out the truth. The verbal violence

against Julia Gillard was plain for all to see, and instead of being drowned

out by a chorus of public indignation, it filtered down to the point where

school-children were throwing eggs at her.

The irony of this situation is that I am quite convinced there is a

majority of the Australian public which is appalled by all of this. The

problem is that it is a more-or-less silent majority: silent on the issue of

misogyny as it is on other deeply urgent issues, such as the current

government’s wholesale assault on the environment. We are in desperate

need of individuals who will not sit silently, but who will go on the attack

against a lying mass-media, who will refuse to tolerate the promulgation of

misogyny by public figures, who will have the moral courage to denounce

the perpetrators of domestic violence at the grass-roots level, and perhaps

most importantly, who will work ceaselessly to undermine the roots of the

cancer of misogyny, victim-blaming and violence-excusing in our

culture. We need a vast alliance of conscientious individuals who are

prepared to rewind and reconstruct a whole set of cultural assumptions,

and these individuals need to play an active, not a passive role in this

process. Only then will Australia become the place I hoped it would become

twenty years ago. Only then will the openly murderous rantings of the

Alan Joneses, and the daily sufferings of women I know, become a thing of

the past.


By Amme Broumand

list: parts of an atom, speckled with eyes; the foot

of a disfigured carp which—one summer night—crept forth

from its fountain; the ambered body of an earthworm

that once climbed aboard a bee and rushed

towards the sun—

(my treasures, heaped

before me like so much trash, wrinkle

inwards upon themselves, evanescing with a gleam

into the dark (almost as if they were


Author bio: Amee Broumand is an Iranian American poet from the Pacific

Northwest. She was homeschooled; despite her wariness of academia, she

eventually got a B.A. in English and Philosophy. She loves hiking,

photography, and Finnegans Wake.



The Negative

Spliced entry points equated

to predicted reminiscence.

Lane change hastened the unpleasant

bog of verisimilitude.

Why purport to grow?

If ever there were mathematics,

sentences would slow to store-bought

logarithmic flow,

thus furnish homes hosting

the leek soup served Count Vronsky,

all noblesse oblige on one hand

about to gel to extant plan.

Might one inspect your lungs?

The moment you retreat begins

illegible commencement.

Does it need a speech?

One doubts the penitence

claimed to fog familiar windows.

Is there a past tense in the house?

“Now I lay me down,” to rosaries

and false panache.

The actuarial tableau

contorts a spun reality

we’ve longed to know.

Heretical mimesis gloms on

to a fortune cookie

read aloud by Laureates.

Ensembles learn to get along.

Until we sweep the carpet

with young rakes.

Voila these semitones gathered in memory.

Watch the sweater after shrinkage come alive.

It’s going to be easy giving someone else’s best.

Jury Rigged Composure

The two teetered

on the threshold of one.

Absence of home seams spawned

the concept of young bliss.

Rasping with Caucasian breath,

she posed against the snow

littering the otherwise

soft grass awaiting season change.

He trimmed the impulse to expatiate.

Held close acts of tremor

amid lack of space,

the realm of choice points

constituted the remaining rigor in the house

toward a cold sense of arrears.

Bodies simply being what they were

in concert with a sotto puce.

Digital Art by K.R. Copeland

Artist bio: K.R. Copeland is a widely published Chicago poet/editor, who

occasionally cranks out audio and visual art.


By Bob Carlton

Author bio: Bob Carlton ( lives and works in

Leander, TX.

Say Again

Where you are

symbolic eye

am sin

tactic: only

here in the middle

can we make

cents two

one: an other

Waterbelly Melonbutton

waterbelly melonbutton

upset setup set

scandalize sundial eyes

motes remote reappear picking pears

packing pecks peaking

pressure pleasure leisure leather seizure censure

one won one read read red reed

wed Eden weed

so go floating floes flowing

out to sea to see two

thence to end then hence

a Dios a Dew


By harley lethalm


I won’t slip through your tragedy without first envying you. Lydia? Why,

darling of my deeps, are you not called Lydia? It is settled then, that when

I am horsed to the electric chair I will lick the icicles of falling neon

fingerprints – my fingerprints – that blow downward like typewritten

confetti, touching my ghost who waits in the burlesque spade to accept my

transportive bones. And my tongue will burn Lydia; it will be excavated

from my mouth that does not know aught but Lydia; it will survive as a

globular idol. Its shape will be Lydian. You are Lydia. I have loved Lydia

and at last when the Sun shrieks us all away come billions and billions of

years, there will remain that one important second where I loved you,

where you were Lydia, and the Earth will rattle like a child’s bobbing head,

smiling and shooting out a tongue of my languished Lydian axiom.

Why Are You Genevieve?

We had played in the sorrel mouths of July

Freshets of teeth, noses, the basicness

Of youth

Where we gathered in smallish kingdoms (the tonsils

Of our Christian intellect jammed spiritedly into the


Under trivialized amnesty of rust – for the monarchy is

Sometimes not so precious -

You pleasured yourself with the clenchings of a skirling branch

Which to-day is still wet: fifteen years later, the Prov. Journal construes a


Moralization of your vagina – obit. reads thus: “G., daughter, friend,

Poet, euthanized, Kavorkian dogwood tree in custody.

[Funeral services

Will be held on the


of Rimbaud’s ballsack.”]

Author bio: harley lethalm lives on the fringe of freight-rails, slurping up God

from the febrile syringe of a lonesome cotton dildo; his work has appeared in

Brickplight, The Bacon Review, Beorh Weekly, Fatso Spider Epistle, The Circle

Review (defunct), and is forthcoming (probably) elsewhere.

This is Not Our Circus

By Carly Anne Ravnikar

I was a lavender on your doorstep, you

a broke back mountain of a climbing dude.

You a fretted hijacker, you a sweating

coin rubber. I was a cool drum mumble,

a stick that pattered on canvas, a brush

that stuck in tangles and pulled at the

root. You were tambourine. You were

cussing in a nursery, cussing up a storm.

I was band candy, I was melting makeup

and limping hair. You were fade razor,

you were sharpened to point pencil. I

was a rabid. I was a put down. You

were a lamp shade with a hole in

the seam. A new model on floor. A

hill to tumble down. I was a bucket.

A mold growing on the wall. I was a

hopscotch on the rocks. A race down

the pier. You were a let go. You were

a stand still. I was a renegade duck,

I was a skid street racer, I was a latex

ballgag. You a drool. You a mongrel.

Author bio: Carly Anne Ravnikar currently lives on the outskirts of a

vibrant arts community in South Eastern Wisconsin, where

she occasionally wanders out of the woods to read from her hoard pile of

poetry or to teach yoga classes. She is constantly singing (often as the

front chick of Bedtime Routines), constantly photographing, and

occasionally “doing mom things.” Her book, Housewifery, is available

through Dancing Girl Press (2015). Other samples of her multi-media work

can be found at

The Mobile Proletariat (Polemic)

By Kevin Maus

Hang the one who waits for the revolution. Speak to your brother about it.

I am here to explain .... I am in good company these days. Men of men.

Pathological searchers. Outright lost that are scattered the country over.

Patriots who kneel in the dead grass of motherland scraping in the

smelling muck in disgust and fervor, searching roots. Killers, not by

nature, but at the drop of a hat will have you spitting a fine pitch of blood

and grinders if you say one sorry word against them. As good as men in

Christ as the disciples; missionaries, no—preachers, yes. They leave their

families to dog about the country. Have no family, have no home, just the

Holy Ghost that keeps them at constant odds with the world. My point is

that these are the ones — and I am happy to include myself in their

numbers— to undertake the sacred masterwork of revolution; oh yes, I said

it, you stinkers.

The revolution is the people’s masterwork, masterwork of the nonartist

that makes paltry those of men such as Beethoven or Tolstoy. “The

worker”, as history and bearded crackpots have dubbed him, has been

domesticated: hearth and home is his State, and The State, leaves him this,

with its remedies and comforts; while the trucker, as I’ve said, knows little

of hearth and home, he is “the worker” who has not been “domesticated”.

The game is explained in it of itself, hauling freight of every kind: food,

weapons, fuel and every material creation under the Sun. It could be easily

done to have every metropolis surrounded with a great gleaming shield of

truck trailers counting fourteen deep around an entire city, a thing that

would set you marveling until you realized you had accomplished nothing

in your life. The truck-stops would be our barracks. Trucker communes (I

am uneasy to use the word, cause it calls down right derision, but I must),

would come about and humankind would live the pastoral, playing grabass,

drinking from the fresh water stream, etc., all of that cheery bullshit.

All this coordinated by our friend the CB.

I can imagine the General of such a revolution, paunch and

mustached, the hardest motherfucker out — was an Army Ranger

machinegunner in the ‘Nam. A modern day Kutuzov, eye-patched and with

his frock coat unbuttoned because he would be enough of a sweet-dude to

have a military frock coat lying handy for when the advent of the people's

right, Revolution, struck. A Super-trucker. Who has run mountain grades

and hell-on-earth storms of every kind, each second the while, banshee

screaming all the sourness out of his lungs to howl down death.

The military would have nothing to do with us. A great number of

truckers are former servicemen, many of who have seen combat and have

been eager for their heyday since '75. Now their sons are in the service.

We are people of the people of the people, true enough. We’d only have to

deal with the police and the DOT, who hate our guts, as though they were

exposed and noisy. A trucker reminds a cop of the smell of his last shit; a

cop reminds a trucker of something like an old liquor-sick uncle who used

to beat his wife and threaten his children for fun with a polished bone

straight-razor, and who loved his attack dogs better than he did any

human being. Pigs are evil, more cunning than you think. They have to

keep up appearances unlike the trucker; when at heart, the police would

rather just be dressed with rubber raincoats over their naked skin, and

have nothing with them but their batons; but we would manage them,

because we are Legion, the Devil in a pig’s-eye.

In every truckstop across every state you will find a knife-boutique,

‘cause it is a fact that truckers are steel-junkies. We’d gut many a pig

hand-to-hand, because it is one thing with pigs that you can always entice

them into a fight based on a test to see who has the more ponderous

balls...a fight the trucker will win every time, ho, ho.

The Air Force might try and get at us, as it is in its epoch, a great

destroying machine fun to watch on the tv; the Air Force could wreak hell

on our supply lines, but we are the keepers of their jet fuel and we would

use it to fuel our bonfires as we watched their planes fall from the sky, the

pilots choosing to go that way rather than set foot on the ground and have

to deal with us; they would screech from the skies, sending off their

payload: the Incinerator says his Hallelujah in a craze of rockets that

would be meant to soften the ground, where death-ready pilot would

tumble down in an explosion and Black-Out, impact burial, while the fiftyfoot

bonfire we have set burning for the occasion of the sky-falling would

make we observers sweat like three-strike perverts with the keys to a

cathouse. We would solemnly put our hats over our hearts and spit booze

out in the men’s memories.

The ultra-wealthy would simply just leave the county during all of

this, but, of course, not until after we skinned a few of them and paraded

around in their stalks of flesh like drunken heroes. And the beggar’s

banquet would begin. Wein weib und gesang.

But there is no revolution without the one idea, not without the

weltgeist. There’s not been a one to remake the collective mind since

weary man can remember. As I said, masterworks in the arts are not

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

you….And if it comes to be that the men who had led us on to suffer the

World through its labor-pains after a new Creation had deceived us, and

did not care if the rest of us were merely 10,000,000 heads stuck on

cottonwood pig poles, and they turned out to be egomaniacs as it was with

Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin; Mao, Castro, Pol Pot—I don’t know where the

list ends, so I will stop….We would not become docile and stand to be

murdered, we would have their blood in an instant. Take a man in the

character of Chairman Mao, we would break into his home: whatever

palatial residence he had chosen for himself in the revolution’s aftermath;

we’d snatch him from out of his bed, drag him—in a rough-sewn sack for pig

feed—to a freshly constructed mausoleum in his honor, where we would

enamel his corpse then buckle him into a egg-white centrifuge that would

spin for eternity, the sound of spinning able to be heard outside the

mausoleum walls by bicyclists and strollers.

All of the pieces fit; surprise, truckers are the Elect.

Hear me well, the revolution will be mobile, and there will be no

stopping it.

Author bio: Kevin Maus is a summa cum laude graduate of the University

of Minnesota and an MFA graduate of the New School. He works as an

over-the-road truck driver but is currently expatriated to Mexico City, in

avoidance of the soul hobbling cruelty of another winter OTR. His work has

appeared in Gone Lawn, Dogzplot and other journals.



Author bio: Kenneth Salzmann has been active in literary publishing and

programming for 35 years. His poems appear in such publications as Rattle, The

New Verse News, Home Planet News, The Comstock Review, and many more. He

lives in Woodstock, NY, and Ajijic, Mexico, with his wife, editor Sandi Gelles-Cole.

Stage Directions

Read these poems aloud,

only aloud

on days when you tire of ranting in Brighton Beach beneath

the El and in all-night eateries; read these poems aloud

when you are finally clothed in nothing but a cloudful sky

mountain ocean meadow New Jersey.

When you have stripped true among strangers

sound is meaning ebough.

And when you die die naked upon leaves that collect in

dank piles on the forest floor, on sands where seaweed

and driftwood collect on patches of black ice, and let your

bones be seashells.

No truth: not in things.

And when you live live in fierce nakedness, in naked drive,

live in trumpet solos spun through dingy Manhattan

apartments on scratchy 78s and let your nakedness be

meaning enough.

A man can only be, not mean.

And when you love love fears and flaws with fierce

nakedness, love naked need that collects in lovers’ eyes

and trumpet solos, love imperfection and let your lover’s vow

demand oblivion.

The ice-sharp sound of trumpets

melts like ice.

A self is only equal to, not you.

Read these poems aloud,

only aloud.


black sand in cahuita

sucks back the shadows of the new sun and


slices white flesh

drinking tiny droplets of blood and it

crackles just a bit

beneath the weight of the small ecstasies

of monkeys or flocking parrots dawning

just two dirt roads and a sharp right

beyond miss edie’s patio

where each day

gringas gather

over papaya con leche

to talk of pura vida

black sand and riptides

Editor’s Note: These poems were originally published in Home Planet



By Wanda Morrow Clevenger

bore for the sale barn

by my mother’s age

they are dropping

like chloroformed flies

brothers, sisters, old

good friends

old acquaintances

old school mates

she tells me names

I don’t remember

some I do

by my age

they are dropping

too, one despicable

disease after another

and I was

on that drop list

next but

shimmied free

my mother watches

me for signs of

relapse, she knows

she’s on the drop

list next too

I read it in her eyes

when she tells me


we are

every one

just cattle

dropped, hid out

in remote


bore for

the sale barn

we are all

just meat

on the hoof

my childhood best friend’s mom

it was very bad

her cancer

operable but

not survivable

not tolerable

they would rob her

of eating

of not saying

the word


when goodbye


she chose

the standard


six months

this woman

I’d known

my whole life

my mom’s

best friend

my childhood

best friend’s


and me waiting

these last few days

to hear from

a publisher

about a contract

a possible

probable pass

as luck likes

to have it—

Author bio: Wanda Morrow Clevenger, author of This Same Small Town in Each

of Us. Paypal link: About

Her: Her blog:

Amazon reviews about Wanda Morrow Clevenger:

The Margaret collection

By Mercedes Webb-Pullman

They were neighbours in Systrum Street

Because her daddy

loved her and it hurt

the State took Margaret away.

Her next daddy loved her

the same, his sons as well.

It didn’t hurt as much now.

She left at sixteen and drifted

to Kings Cross, a beat on the street,

a habit; life was brutal

as she’d expected

‘til she fell in love

with Warren

who married her.

They worked together;

she turned tricks, he

was the house bouncer.

They dreamed of Lebanon;

her blue eyes and blonde hair

would provide

a Big Rock Candy Mountain

of easy money

and the world’s best smack.

‘Couples with similar interests

who work together for a common goal

are more likely to have

a stable and enduring relationship’.


Her hands have held so many men

they feel nothing anymore;

to her the world is made of cocks

unconnected to hearts or minds.

She shoots herself up in my kitchen.

Mechanically she works her beat,

turns and returns to the same spot

as if some program permits her

just this distance and no more;

as if invisible bars cage her.

Her gaze, focused on an inner world

slides over faces sightlessly

like the eyes of an ancient statue

empty beyond even death.

Her husband waits at home.


Sunday afternoons he’d bang on our door

Lend us twenty bucks, she won’t get up

and he was off to score a whack,

just to get her moving.

She used to be pretty. Not any more.

It was hard to watch

even when I didn’t really know them.

She could have been my sister.

He robbed someone, bought tickets

to Lebanon, We’ll make big bucks there,

they’ll love you but cashed them in to score

before the plane was due to leave. Someone saw

his picture on a police station

poster. Wanted. For robbery

though, not murder.

She was just another

dead junkie.

Author bio: Mercedes Webb-Pullman graduated from IIML Victoria

University Wellington with MA in Creative Writing in 2011. Her poems,

prose and short stories have appeared online and in print, in Turbine, 4th

Floor, Swamp, Reconfigurations, The Electronic Bridge, poetryrepairs,

Connotations, The Red Room, Silver Birch Press, Otoliths,

Cliterature among others, and in her books. She lives on the Kapiti Coast,

New Zealand.

Three Collages by Bob Heman

Author bio: Bob Heman’s collages have been published by Otoliths, Mad Hatters’

Review, Big Bridge, Skidrow Penthouse, Fell Swoop, Key Satch(el), and others,

and are upcoming in Caliban online and Right Hand Pointing. They have appeared

on the cover of the most recent Brevitas event book, and on books by David Mills,

Cindy Hochman, Karen Neuberg, and Evie Ivy. His other art includes “cut-outs”

[participatory cut-out multiples on paper], as well as drawings and drawing

poems. In the late 1970s he was an artist-in residence at The Brooklyn Museum.

Two Poems

By Catherine Zickgraf

Author bio: Catherine Zickgraf has performed her poetry in Madrid,

Puerto Rico, and three dozen other cities—yet homeschooling her

autistic youngest inspires her the most. Her writing has appeared in

the Journal of the American Medical Association, [Pank], Bartleby-

Snopes, and Victorian Violet Press. Find her blog at

Own your own original

Zimmerman painting!

—created by the hand that shot a young man,

celebrate your white right to shoot dead a black kid

who should have run and hid not stood with confidence,

who forgot which system applied to him.

GUNS Everywhere

Georgia’s governor would like you to know that God

in His Heaven gave us the right to carry guns almost

everywhere so we can shoot

1. the tyrannical government

and 2. people who break the

tyrannical government's

rules. Let us pray.


REMORA BLACKWOOD lives and writes in Turnip Junction, Oregon. Her

work has appeared in Dogsbody, Amplified Heat, That Great Literary

Magazine, Stout Timbers, Elsewhere, and elsewhere. This is her first time

in Sow Bug.

LON HARTWICK teaches Creative Writing at the University of Texas, El

Paso. “I live on the range with three dogs and a moribund pickup, and I

play ukulele and keyboards in a Zydeco band.” Good for you, asshole.

ALLYSON DOMBROSKY’S chapbook, Yodeling to Byzantium, received the

2009 Darla May Jenkins Award for Hillbilly Poetry. Her work has

appeared in Swelterfish, Nostril Agony, Cthonic Boom, Gorslava Review,

Hobo News, Saratoga Lyre, and White Spasms.

TOBY FINK is the publisher of Duckburg Press, and wrote the introduction

for their most successful book, R. Crumb’s Cavalcade of Big Fat Asses. His

fiction has appeared in Tawdry Lemons, Short Forest Review, and

Schoolmarm. “Cry of the Shuttlecock,” a one-act play, is forthcoming in

Ooh-la-la. Forthcoming—I love it. Should be out any day now, right, Toby?

The stunningly beautiful LORI LIGHT was the gem of my most recent

poetry workshop, and I am honored that this final issue of Sow Bug

features her work in a folio, which is also her first publication. She has

moved on to the MFA program at blah blah University somewhere in the

northeast. I miss her musical laugh and shining eyes. Come back,

Lori! MFA programs are shit. The profs will turn you into cardboard

copies of themselves, posturing losers who couldn’t hack it in big-time

publishing. The job offer still stands, Lori. Everything is a mess here. I

need someone to look after my affairs, and you can have the spare

bedroom rent-free, and I promise there’ll be no funny stuff like that night

when I ate the pot brownies. Please, Lori. Think it over.

CRAIG CZUGASCH, an MFA dropout at Emerson College, says that the only

reviewer who bothered to read his self-published chapbook, Hairy Palm at

the End of the Mind, called it “a phantasmagoria of scatology and

madness.” Welcome to Sow Bug, Craig!

BRAD STILES writes: “Egoless, I find myself where I am, or am not. Each

poem represents a cellular meltdown, a flowing into Brahman.” Have

another toke, Brad, and put on some Iron Butterfly.

RYAN HALSTEAD used to be a big deal after his book, Daughters of

Tantalus (Wombat Press, 2002), won some dopey prize I can’t remember

the name of. One would hear tales of his sexual conquests on the reading

circuit, where he would prey upon starry-eyed, empty-headed coeds. Not

anymore, though. Saw a recent photo. Too many Big Macs, not enough

Hair Club for Men.

ANNE KERCHNER has published short stories in Lepton, Behind the Moon,

Fire Drill, Floating Spider Review, Quack Quack, Literature My Ass, Dark

Hamburger, and Follow Me Home. She lives way up in Alaska with her

husband and two sons. Stay right there, Anne. I’ve seen your photo, too.

SHANNON CRYER’s chapbook, Revenge of the Meatatarians, actually had

some funny stuff in it. But here she is, alas, drowning with all the other

saps in this sinking ship.

Our token person of color and ethnicity, KEISHA WONG-HERNANDEZ, fits

the bill, and how! And it doesn’t hurt that she’s a chick. Soon as I saw that

name on the MS I started typing up her acceptance letter. Her work has

appeared in Blue Salad, Cuspidor, Tell No One, Fever Cry, Machine Elf

Quarterly, and Uncle Fester’s Sweet Shoppe & Literary Review.

Rounding out the quota is queer theoretician SIMON GREGG, who has

graced us with an excerpt from Men in Nightshirts: Homoeroticism in the

Films of Laurel & Hardy, which Truffle House will publish in 2015. Good

job, Simon. I know things were different back then, but did they always

have to share a bed? And when Stan’s feet ended up in Ollie’s face, what

the fuck was that all about?

MAITLAND CARRUTHERS is Director of the Creative Writing program at

South Dakota College of the Arts. His chapbook, Moth Cantatas, was

shortlisted for the Othella Strange Terwilliger Poetry Prize.

ANDY FEINBERG has published four books of poetry: Godzilla Was Here,

Encyclopedia of Bad People, That Darn Antichrist!, and Zodiacticon, all

available from Ankle-Biter Press.

WENDELL TRUAX has deigned to stoop to our level just this once. A putrid

specimen of his “metafiction,” whatever that is, may be glimpsed within

these sorry pages. Yes, he studied with the legendarily abusive editor

whose name escapes me at the moment, and yes, he’s published his

unreadable dreck in oh-so snooty litmags that pipsqueak writers & editors

coo & crow over on their incestuous blogs. And now here he is in Sow Bug,

and the joke is on him. I solicited the bum thinking his crew might talk up

our humble mag, but now I see that they only care about their stupid

readings and their New York parties. Fuck them all, and fuck you too,

Wendell. I don’t need your kind. My novel will be finished soon, and then

you’ll see.

MARINA SKENK is the editrix of Top Quality Lit and a part-time Bettie

Page impersonator. She lives in San Francisco with her life partner, twelve

cats, and an iguana named Dagmar.

DUANE LEVESQUE’S long poem, One Shoe by the Roadside, won the 2008

Turtle Breath Review Poetry Competition. He resides in Ann Arbor with

his wife and daughter and is pursuing a PhD in Comparative

Literature. He’s had poems in Burnout, Fred’s Magazine, Gegenschein,

Petals in the Abyss, Mood Ring, Dirty Puppy, Carson City Review, Infinite

Pudding, Monkey Bites, Quare Fellow, Karaoke of the Mind, and Too Much

Cake. Yeah, yeah, whatever. Look, Sow Bug is indeed kaput, but I’m

starting a new, even better litmag—it’s called Paramecium Dreams, and for

our first issue we’re having a contest! Send us your best poems & short

stories. The entry fee for each work is $20 (cheap!). Make checks payable

to Cash. Send all MSS to Paramecium Dreams, General Delivery,

Cheesequake, NJ 45802

Namaste, dudes!


By Laura Madeline Wiseman

Author bio: Laura Madeline Wiseman’s recent books are Drink (BlazeVOX

Books), Wake (Aldrich Press), and The Bottle Opener (Red Dashboard).

She teaches in Nebraska. Her collaborative book Intimates and Fools (Les

Femmes Folles) with artist Sally Brown Deskins, is an Honor Book for the

2015 Nebraska Book Award.

Our Life in Catnaps

When we move in together, we sleep on

blankets nested on the floor. We sleep on

pillows lined up like dominos, our butts

falling through the cracks. We sleep on a

camping air mattress you bring home

from the big box. It’s part-time, better

than donating blood. We fill the air

mattress, spread sheets. In the morning

it’s flat. I say, Put it under water. You

take out your phone to learn six ways to

find a leak, watch three videos of people

with nail polish and superglue, spray

bottles and valves that won’t shut, spend

two hours getting the kitchen floor wet.

The electric pump whirls. You say, Maybe

we could plug it in all night. You curse.

You take off your shirt. You carry the

wilting plastic into the shower and fill the

tub. The apartment fills with stream.

Your hair curls. I bring you a beer in in a

pint with a cat pattern. I make myself

coco in a mug with the handle in the

shape of a cat tail. After midnight, I say.

Let’s throw it away, not wanting to wake

surrounded by a plastic puff of failure. I

say, My ex-uncle might know someone

with an extra bed. I don’t say he’ll want

to give us cats, he’ll want to play bridge,

he’ll want to get you job as a nurse, even

though you’d prefer to get a job

catfishing. I kiss your nose, scratch your

chin, and pull you to the floor sleep.


No one is ready for this photo. Not us, not

the cats we adopted on a buy-one-get-onefree

day at the shelter. We sit on the

futon, confettied by cat fur. The tabby

nuzzles my neck, speaks the growling

rumble we think means love, means

friend, means game on. She meets the

camera’s gaze, paw my jugular, some cat

grip that means hers. The calico clutches

your arm, as if to say, Please let me go. I

need to gamble, shout, Hello world, I'm

yours! We’re all waiting for the timer,

fearing one of us will wiggle free, or that

the timer won’t work and we’ll be sitting

there grinning and holding each other

our whole life. If you look closely, you’ll

see I’m leaning into you. If I look closely,

I’ll see how your leg is pressing into my

own. If we both look, we’ll see how the

cats aren’t really looking at the camera,

but at each other, ears pricked as if they

hear something we can’t hear yet,

nostrils pulsing as if they smell what we

could never smell, whiskers feeling a

movement in the air, an impossible

thrumming that has just started, low and




Two poems

By Lana Bella


You no longer feel the urge to

slam the door,


with a casual flick

of your fingers,

you set them loose,


toward their final berth.

Things are simple again,

back then you

couldn't have known

betrayal lurks

in the roundness of her curves,

the shame that makes home

when ill breaths

tug at your lungs,

or the chiasmus of triumph

of her exit

with the defeat of yours.


with one tried breath,

the little red dress slides to the floor,

leaving bare fingers on

skin the color of poached egg,

somewhere near the grooves

of its wordless slither,

the dragon tattoo wraps itself like a boa

around her back,

across the king-sized bed,

breaststrokes of raspy heat turn bubbles

immersed in

pink champagne,

loading her arms

the weight of Plath and good ol' Keats,

she sinks into

the flesh of her bed until

her voice finds enough breaths to ask:

Am I the only one that holds life

like it is words floating in champagne?

Author bio: A Pushcart nominee, Lana Bella has work of poetry and fiction

published and forthcoming with over 140 journals, including a chapbook

with Crisis Chronicles Press (Spring 2016), Chiron Review, Coe Review,

Fourth & Sycamore, Harbinger Asylum, Literary Orphans, Poetry Salzburg

Review, Poetry Quarterly, QLRS (Singapore), Sein Und Werden (UK), Taj

Mahal Review (India), White Rabbit (Chile) and elsewhere, among others.

She divides her time between the US and the coastal town of Nha Trang,

Vietnam, where she is a wife of a talking-wonder novelist and a mom of two

far-too-clever-frolicsome imps.

Llegando by Jack Little

Artist bio: Jack Little (b. 1987) is a British-Mexican poet, editor and

translator based in Mexico City. He is the author of 'Elsewhere' (Eyewear,

2015) and is the founding editor of The Ofi Press:



By Kevin Maus

[Voice Over]

In major cities throughout the US, due to rapid gentrification of inner-city areas

[People shrieking with laughter, dragging a blue, plastic bag of dog shit on a leash

along the ground, while other people sitting at outdoor tables at a cafe shriek with

laughter into their phones.]

...the criminal and poor element...

[A youth in a red baseball cap turned backwards, and in a silk letterman jacket,

spray paints the word “Hood” onto a concrete brick wall while gunshoots and

women's screams can be heard in the background. Nearby, an old hobo with

wrung out lips and a rat-tail necklace smokes a crackpipe and shakes. Police

lights play in super-imposed transparence over the scene.]

are forced out to the suburbs.


“The Suburbs”, in bleeding Warrior's-like spraypaint before an indistinct

cityscape, the sun setting beyond like an inferno.

A synth buzz reaches a crescendo: “There goes the neighborhood”.


A deer is eating grass on the sprawling lawn of a suburban manor, when a

gangster in a pink silk turban, a tooth-pick in his gold teeth, leans out the window

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

shitties on the lawn as people throw McDonald's sacks from the vehicle's


An exterior shot of a suburban mall.

Inside the mall, someone has torn the pants off a man dressed as a Lego figure at

LegoLand; he's sprawled out on the floor, as a woman with a giant ass and in a

hot-pink top and matching sandals daggers him. A man shoots a champagne cork

off her sphincter while she is amid it.

A woman bicycler in Capri pants and a mint green t-shirt, with a matching helmet

that has a shock of pink to it too, comes out from beneath a covered bridge on a

bike path, only to have her teeth pistol whipped out.

The assailant unbuckles his pants and begins to dagger the woman's face as she

lies unconscious on the bike-path...the sound of her helmet knocking and scraping

against the asphalt is heard. Til a goose comes from a nearby pond and

aggressively charges the man atop her; he gets up in a terror and swings at the

goose with his gun, then throws the gun at the bird and runs away while the

woman sits up and wraps her arms around the goose's neck.

Trash-can fires on a soccer-field, in view of children in the middle of a game. A DJ

with silver horseteeth and red chains all over him spins records—DJ Delectable—

while a rapper in silk potato sack shorts, and with a nose-splint on and hypno

glasses, pulls a woman's hair who is listening to him rap, then throws a goblet of

malt liquor in her face. Everyone is daggering each other, including small


Cut to a police HQ war-room. A great, black electronic grid with orange streets

covers the wall behind the men in the room, all paunched and in cheap dressshirts

and ties—worn through old men, by years of devilishness...though there is

also a man in full police regalia and dark glasses, his chest overcrowded with bars

intimating his rank.

One of the men leaning over a map, with giant red concentric circles on it,on a

lighted table, screams, “They're barricading the interstates!! No one can get in or

out of the city!” and backhands a cup of styrofoam coffee onto the floor.

To a shot of an interstate bridge on a grassy plain. It is beautiful sky-blue day,

with only faint clouds seen like a haze in the distance. Heaped upon the roadways

passing underneath the bridge are junked, burnt-out cars stacked high. Men

stand staggered on the heaps, holding carbine sharp-shooter rifles, looking

statuesque and bulletproof; while other men circle around in front of the bridge,

driving atv's and Shriner motorcycles, squealing like indians.

The camera approaches as if by vehicle for the shot, centering on a man who's

dressed like Chocolate Moose, who fires his rifle in the air when the camera comes

fully upon him.

Before and after scenes of the houses: people on the lawns smiling and waving;

then to lawns blowing with McDonald's cheeseburger sacks, and with pitbulls

fighting, men in undershirts whipping them with belts...and another pair of dogs

daggering each other.

A man on a Shriner's motorcycle does a wheelie.

Cars are heaped at the neck of culdesacs as gang-warfare explodes.

An exchange of gunfire leaves a young man lain low. A friend weeps over him and

raises his hands to the heavens.

A hundred story tenement building is seen going up on the horizon.

A greed-head talking to greed-head community organizers. The woman from the

bike-path who had her teeth knocked out is there, smiling ridiculously (teeth still

missing), in a glittering red, low-cut dress, her makeup misapplied to one eye.

A family of five in a station-wagon, “WE'RE JUST GONNA GO FOR IT!! WE'RE

JUST GONNA GO FOR IT!!” driving at full speed into the interstate car barrier,

exploding. Men cheer as the dad crawls out of the car on fire, stumbling and

running, throwing his arms in the air; people run with him, surrounding him and

cheering him on.

A furious looking man with white-dyed mustaches coming from the sides of his

mouth, so that they look like foam dribbling loose, entreating his people: the poor

and the criminal.

“They tried to push us out. Now we've got them trapped in.” He has a little cudgel

raised over his head; at the end of the cudgel is a fist, lit aflame.

“They been movin' us around for generations. This is where we make our last

stand....They're going to have to get rid of us the old fashioned way this time; or

we're gonna make a goddamn trade in their skins that will break the bank!

“We're the gate-keepers to their whole fuckin' world now. Nothin' goes down

without our say-so....

“This is how they meet us; this is how they finally see into our eyes.”

He gives a war-whoop and starts circling the flaming club over his head.

“Annihilate 'em!!” shrieks the formerly composed, aged officer in uniform, black

spit shooting out from between his teeth and dribbling down his chin.

A helicopter descends into the view of an airborne shot, a column of black smoke

rising not far in the distance.

The camera following the grid of a street closely from above, showing street-tostreet

fighting: police shooting tear-gas cannisters; national guard running in

tight formation.

A helicopter passes just under the camera, a police sniper leaning out of its door.

Tanks rolling out.

The interior of a little boy's room, with model airplanes hanging from the ceiling

and dinosaur dolls lined up on a shelf. A man, with swim-goggles and a hare-lip,

suddenly comes into view holding a lighted molotov cocktail; the burning rag in

the bottle gives off a guttering sound. He hurls it down from the window, bombing

out two SWAT officers moving in crouched stances across a backyard basketball


A man with an RPG that says “Ghetto Blaster” on it shoots a helicopter out of the


The outcasts prove to have a secret weapon...

Tanks suddenly turn a glowing blue and burst inward as though crushed by giant

stones. Helicopters disintegrate piece-meal in midair, gently unloading their

occupants into a screaming fall. A SWAT member's head suddenly turns a

glowing blue, and begins shivering like a can in a paint shaker, suddenly

collapsing inward like crushed aluminum, sending streams of white neon spilling

from the officer's face.

A scientist with a hatchet-like, sun withered face and red-blue eyes, a bald head

and wings of stringy, bleach-like blond hair:

“I give the weapon free!” the man says in a German accent, “Only if you promise

to use it,” he says coyly, talking to the gang chieftain, with a bushy eyebrow


The men step back from an anti-matter device that has a little black ball floating

above it, rolling in place and covered in whispy blue flame.


To a shot of the chieftain's sweat-stained face...his glorious eyes hold the vastness

and potency of his people.

He screams, “Tonight we ride for the city!!” and is greeted with a jubilant roar, to

which he raises his club.

The camera lifts upon the chieftain's raised club, showing behind him the old

gussed up police chief, burning at the stake, screaming like an old woman who is a

heavy smoker.

The camera then moves toward the police chief, nearing his red mottled,

screaming head and lifts into the black smoke coming from his burning legs and

torso. ... Traveling through the smoke, the camera comes out above the

continental United States, with more smoke rising from each metropolis to be

counted amid her borders.

Title reappears. Voice-over.

“On [Release Date], Gentrifiers Die!”.

Author bio: Kevin Maus is a summa cum laude graduate of the University

of Minnesota and an MFA graduate of the New School. He works as an

over-the-road truck driver but is currently expatriated to Mexico City, in

avoidance of the soul hobbling cruelty of another winter OTR. His work has

appeared in Gone Lawn, Dogzplot and other journals.

The Living Room

By Christopher Payne

“action figures are pretty cool”

Said the woodpiece to the tool

“and if you have enough to drink they’re almost sidewalk”

Oh, Praise be to the carpet on the ceiling

eliciting sounds in the lightbulbs feeling

Too “shut up i’m finishing my Breakfast” to get anything done

Angels laugh like bowling pins in the fabric above

while The furniture below pushes and shoves

reaching for that thread which clouds them.

to understand

and reprimand those who don’t

shoes pillow what it means to “won’t”

As long as there’s born there’s purple.

Others argue that everyone was manufactured in factories over several

thousand years.

But that’s too…

oh look, here’s mom, elevator music, disco lights with strippers

let’s people the people.

Author bio: Christopher Payne lives in a watch outside a flamingo tent

where you can see him anytime you want by poking your head out the

window. But if you bring your binoculars you could see him flaunting The

Beatles' fifth album. And you can laugh at this. Or look. Either way he

doesn't care. He also does music things: "

Winter Past Integrity by Sheila E. Murphy

Author bio: Sheila E. Murphy composes poetry both in tranquility and

fever with equal fervor. She resides in the desert Southwest, where she

writes, draws, crafts keynote addresses about doing business with power

and grace for conferences and conventions. She is a business author and

teacher, as well.

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines