!!! !






E ROUSER: Alison Clockwise Cat










Making the Democrats Green With Envy

(AKA Why I Loathe Hillary and Support Jill

Stein (AKA Where I Alienate Many Clockwise Cat

Readers (So Be It) ) )

"The story starts with genocide,

slavery, those terrorized;

Families, cultures torn apart,

this ugly truth only the start.

And it's a white washed pact,

the founding act,

revolution or contract?

To subjugate, to torture, to abuse,

for the few."

Over the weekend (a month ago now), I saw the punk band, Anti-Flag, at The Wrecking

Ball Fest, held at the legendary music venue, the Masquerade, which is being forced to

move due to, in the caustic words of Deerhunter's Bradford Cox, "venture capitalism."

The song, "Fabled World," particularly gripped me for its fiercely anti-imperialist lyrics,

and so I quote them throughout this episode of the Editor’s Scratching Post, as they

complement the thrust of my rant.

Our "fabled" world is a neo-fascist/neo-liberal nightmare. The two ideologies are

ultimately intertwined, even if their connotations are subtly distinctive. And we have the

Democrats to thank for edging the country more toward the right. OBVIOUSLY the GOP

is a nasty entity, but it's the Democrats who are (ostensibly) responsible for counteracting

the audacious authoritarianism of the GOP, bringing it more to the center, so that then the

Democrats can inhabit the true left, rather than the faux left, as they have been doing for

some time.

It was Bill Clinton who forced the Democrats further right. Jimmy Carter and JFK before

that enacted some right-wing policies, to be sure, and even FDR, iconic New Deal

visionary that he was, was totalitarian in his institution of the Japanese interment camps.

But it was Bill Clinton who, for example, is nearly single-handedly responsible for the

mass incarceration of blacks.

"Lock up mass incarcerate,

the new Jim Crow, the new slave trade;

If Doctor King were here today,

he'd fight for much more than a dream."

Clinton enacted legislation that made it far easier to target black criminals, fulfilling the

wet dreams of bigoted Republicans everywhere. According to Michelle Alexander,

author of the must-read article "Why Hillary Clinton Does Not Deserve the Black Vote,"

Bill Clinton actually "presided over the largest increase in federal and state prison

inmates of any president in American history."

And he did this via imposition of far harsher penalties for crack cocaine, the preferred

drug of blacks, than for powder cocaine, the preferred drug of whites, as well as

unabashedly signing a $30 billion crime bill that engendered new capital crimes, urged

life sentences for three-time offenders, and created a $16 billion budget for state prison

and police force expansions. As Alexander writes, "When Clinton left office in 2001, the

United States had the highest rate of incarceration in the world. Prison admissions for

drug offenses reached a level in 2000 for African Americans more than 26 times the level

in 1983."

And Hillary, as first lady, not only supported Bill, but she aggressively touted his policies

in language that was chilling for its thinly veiled racist overtones ("super-predators,"


Furthermore, even though mainstream history tells a different, distorted story,

unemployment rates for African Americans was actually quite high during the Clinton

years. Many blacks were incarcerated at the time of the reporting, which gave a deluded

picture of the true statistics.

"We live in a fabled world,

where the poor and the weak,

are pawns for profit's sake."

Clinton also oversaw a mass dismantling of the federal welfare system, and again, Hillary

was a vocal backer of this disastrous program. Indeed, Clinton cut public welfare

spending by a staggering $54 billion. Is it any coincidence that, as Alexander grimly

notes, "Extreme poverty doubled to 1.5 million in the decade and a half after the law was


"And you should go sign up,

join the fight,

the rich sleep while you kill tonight;

Love thy enemy as thyself,

as you carpet bomb him to hell."

And Hillary Clinton's transgressions don't stop at her brash bolstering of her husband's

policies. As Secretary of State, Hillary promoted a foreign policy program that was

devastating for countries like Honduras, where a far-right government reigns, and Libya,

where Hillary aggressively backed a regime-coup in which Gaddafi was overthrown.

Both scenarios have led to dire consequences for the people of those countries. Ukraine

and Syria suffered similar tragic fates under Secretary Clinton's vile influence.

"We live in a fabled world,

a corpocratic killing field;

where fascist profits are a lock”

Furthermore, Secretary Clinton lobbied relentlessly for mega-corporations like

ExxonMobil, GE, Wal-Mart, Boeing, who then oh-so-coincidentally poured money into

the Clinton Foundation coffers. Clinton, in fact, is well-known for her courting and

coddling of corporations, and in fact is the darling of fascist freaks like the Koch


So yeah. I am not a fan of the Clintons, and to be perfectly clear and blunt, it was the

Clintons who actually opened my eyes to how scammy and shammy the Democratic

Party was and is.

It's for these reasons and many, many more that Hillary Clinton does not have my

support, and that the Green Party does. The Green Party is what the Democrats are

supposed to be: Progressively for the people, not for profiteering.

Not to mention that nauseatingly, the Democratic National Convention was rigged

against Bernie, a far better, more robust candidate to defeat the terror that is Trump. Not

only was massive vote fraud perpetuated during the primaries by the Democrats in places

like California and New York (and many other states), but a disinformation campaign

against Bernie was pushed by the Dems, as revealed in the e-mails leaked just before the


It's not feminist to rig a campaign and claim you got there on your own merits.

Would it be awesome to have a female president? But of course! And Jill Stein would

make a fabulous president: she's smart, she's gutsy, and most importantly, she's a genuine

PROGRESSIVE, the real deal, not some fake-bacon imitation corporation-coddling

pseudo-progressive slimebucket.

It's one thing (as I have repeatedly said to anyone who will listen and not clog their ears

in denial like the whiny Democrats they are) to vote for Hillary strategically to defeat

Tyrant Trump, but it's entirely another to actually defend her or champion her policies.

Her abhorrent record is splattered all over the internet for any naysaying nincompoop to

see, so there's really no excuse for anyone who actually cares about our world to justify

her actions in any way. She and Bill are sleaze incarnated, and that's fact.

Even more abhorrent are Democrats who try to bully and shame Jill Stein supporters into

voting for Hillary. They spout nonsense about the Green Party, flat-out lies about Jill

Stein concocted by the Democratic propaganda machine (for the record, Stein is PR0-

VACCINATION), and menacingly taunt Green Partiers with the insipid line, "A vote for

Jill Stein is a vote for Trump."

Um, no, it's not. A vote for Jill Stein is a vote for...drumroll...JILL STEIN. It's not our

fault the stupid idiotic electoral college gets in the way of a true democratic election

process. If Dem supporters want someone to scapegoat, blame the Democrats and

Republicans for maintaining the electoral college system, which schemes to suppress

third party candidates. No other western power is this ridiculously regressive when it

comes to elections. So stop, I say to Hillary-Dems, STOP, scapegoating someone like Jill

Stein, whom you'd otherwise support if it weren't for the anachronistic electoral college

that BOTH parties strategize to maintain.

Hillary must, after all, earn votes; she is not entitled to them. There is no guarantee that

Jill Stein supporters would vote for Hillary in the event of a Green Party vacuum. It's up

to the Democrats to run candidates that people trust, so as to gain favor with the

electorate. As it is, people are defecting left and right from the Democratic Party, and

with solid reason. The latest fiasco of blatantly shoving that great galvanizer, Bernie

Sanders, under the campaign bus, has pried open many a blind eye to what exactly is

going on within their once-cherished party.

“We live in a fabled world

We live in a fabled world,

These times can break you,

these times can leave you,

torn apart.”

Will I vote for Hillary if it looks like Georgia, traditionally a red state, will become a

swing state? Who knows? But, I repeat, I will not be BULLIED and SHAMED into

voting for her. Such tactics on the part of Democratic supporters are pathetic.

Besides, ultimately the vitriol toward Jill Stein supporters is massively misplaced. The

hostility should be directed toward the Democrats for running an absolute sham of a

campaign, for corporatizing the hell out of their party, and running the worst possible

candidate against Trump. The pugnacious attitudes should be funneled toward the

stubborn and rigid electoral college, whose existence is enthusiastically nurtured by both

Democrats and Republicans. The righteous indignation should be flung toward everyone

in politics EXCEPT the Green Party, who has a right to exist, a right to challenge the

dastardly duopoly, and who has the purest progressive platform this side of UtopiaLand.

Suck on that, suckaz.

Garden of Rain (Le Jardin de Pluie) by Mike




Reviewed by Marianne Szlyk

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


In his most recent collection of poems, D.C.-area poet Mike Maggio continues his

exploration of free verse. This journey begins with “I’ve Forgotten Who I Am,” a

dreamlike, four-page narrative of the speaker’s journey from “quaint shops/[where he]

rummage[s] through abandoned bric-a-brac” to hunger to homelessness to wartime to

political dissidence. The narrative reflects his engagement with politics and

multiculturalism, developing concerns raised in his earlier chapbook Oranges from

Palestine (1996) and his satirical novel The Wizard and the White House (2014).

Beginning at home as the speaker searches through old photographs, the journey soon

expands to scenes that may be in this country or elsewhere, perhaps even within the poet.

However, more importantly for this collection, it initiates a search for intimacy as

Maggio attempts to engage with the photographs, a homeless man, a woman who feeds

the hungry, partisans who have just won a war, and a young boy who “leads [the poet]

across the wasteland/to a wayfaring tree.”

Many of the works in this collection rework the topic of intimacy, starting with the

second poem, “The Prison of St. Desire” that portrays lovers as prisoners. Indeed,

Maggio’s “Ode to Spring” addresses the season as a reluctant lover whose “slender

tongue/ [could] spark a bit of warmth/between these snow-white cheeks.” “You Really

Don’t Love Me” hovers between the possibility of addressing a long-time partner or

perhaps a country whose processed food, TV, and schools show its lack of love for the

speaker. A later poem, “You Came Running,” takes the form of a more straightforward

address to a woman, “a bouquet of roses redolent with wonder/. . ./on that drizzly, drowsy

summer day.” This poem contains an intriguing interlude of formatting worthy of e.e.

cummings, in which syllables drift down the page.

“Brownies” reintroduces Maggio’s social concerns as the woman whose overtures the

speaker rejects is poor, perhaps disabled, and, ultimately, homeless. Years later,

reflecting on her, the speaker recognizes how “the taste of [her] brownies/ continues to

taunt [his] tongue” and how this relationship has shaped him. The reader, in turn,

recognizes the rigor of Maggio’s search for intimacy. It is not simply a plunge into a

warm, scented bath or a gooey chocolate caramel sundae. Instead, the search continues

in fits and starts, encompassing both proximity and distance and lasting the entire length

of the book.

The search for intimacy continues through all three sections of Garden of Rain. The first,

Reflection, begins with “I’ve Forgotten Who I Am” and engages most fully with a

partner, ending with the startling “You Don’t Really Love Me.” It is probably the most

personal section as the poems’ speakers negotiate the dance of intimacy with unnamed

partners. The second, Shadow, is more concrete, bringing the reader to specific locations

such as Vineland Avenue and Los Angeles. Even when places are not named, the details

in these poems ground them. “You Came Running” and “Brownies” belong to this

section. The latter poem, interestingly, is juxtaposed with “LA Central Library,” which is

about waiting with the homeless (or unhoused) for free wireless. The third, A Ghost in

the Garden, transforms the search yet again. This section returns the speaker to the

journey that began with “I’ve Forgotten Who I Am”’s narrative.

Tellingly, though, this collection does not end with “He Came to the Desert,” a more

detached and detailed account of a mystical journey, but with “The Birds Begin at Four.”

This meditation on a woman completes the journey begun with the collection’s first poem

and its “search like Janus/ for one last burning door.” In ”The Birds Begin at Four,” an

intriguingly designed piece, the speaker is alone with this woman at the end of his

journey, yet they also commune with nature, with not only the early morning birds but

also a nearby brook and poppies in moonlight. The poet’s use of repetition adds to this

poem, turning details and phrases into refrains and conveying the couple’s closeness and

unwillingness to part.

On every page of this collection, Mike Maggio makes the poet’s search for intimacy

worth reading. He uses detail judiciously, avoiding what may seem random or limiting

while still grounding poems in worlds that we can comprehend. Furthermore, these

worlds contain politics, religion, and social concerns as well as the search for intimacy,

all of which inform our world as well as depending on each other. The search for

intimacy is an important thread in this collection, binding together geographically

dispersed experiences to create a compelling narrative of a poet during the prime of his


The Charter School Swindle – Selling

Segregation to Blacks and Latinos



Segregation now! Higher suspension rates for black students! Lower quality schools for Latinos!

These may sound like the campaign cries of George Wallace or Ross Barnett. But this isn’t the

1960s and it isn’t Alabama or Mississippi. These are the cries of modern day charter school

advocates – or they could be.

School choice boosters rarely if ever couch their support in these terms, but when touting charter

schools over traditional public schools, this is exactly what they’re advocating. According to the

Civil Right Project at UCLA, “The charter school movement has been a major political success,

but it has been a civil rights failure.”

It’s choice over equity. Advocates have become so blinded by the idea of choice that they can’t

see the poor quality of what’s being offered.

Because charter schools DO increase segregation. They DO suspend children of color at higher

rates than traditional public schools. And they DO achieve academic outcomes for their students

that are generally either comparable to traditional public schools or – in many cases – much


In Brown vs. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is Unconstitutional to have

“separate but equal” schools because when they’re separate, they’re rarely equal. Having two

parallel systems of education makes it too easy to provide more resources to some kids and less to

others. Who would have ever thought that some minority parents would actually choose this

outcome, themselves, for their own children!?

After Bloody Sunday, Freedom Rides, bus boycotts and countless other battles, a portion of

minority people today somehow want more segregation!?

It’s hard to determine the extent of this odd phenomena. Charter advocates flood money into

traditional civil rights organizations that until yesterday opposed school privatization. Meanwhile

they hold up any examples of minority support as if it were the whole story. However, it is

undeniable that large minority populations still oppose their school systems being charterized.

It’s especially troubling for civil rights advocates because black and brown charter supporters

have been sold on an idea that could accurately be labeled Jim Crow. And they don’t even seem

to know it. The reason is two-fold: (1) the success of privatization propaganda and (2) the erosion

of our public school system.

Charter schools are big business. Many of them are managed by huge corporations for a profit.

They are run at taxpayer expense with little to no oversight. As you might expect, this often

results in multi-million dollar financial scandals and worse outcomes for students. But these facts

have not fazed some of the public. Propagandists know how to sell people on things that are bad

for them: Fast food, miracle cures and charter schools.

They’ve marketed corporate McSchools as if these were mostly charitable institutions founded

for the sole purpose of making children’s lives better. Meanwhile, funds that might actually help

kids learn are funneled to hedge fund mangers and investors: Schools don’t open yet tax money

disappears. Student services are reduced below that offered at comparable neighborhood public

schools. Charter students are expelled for low test scores or special needs. Yet the public still

buys the glossy full-color advertisement without bothering about the small print.

One thing corporate education reformers have over advocates of traditional public schools is their

willingness to talk about race. They clothe their arguments in the terms of the Civil Rights

movement. They talk about having high expectations for children of color. They talk about

closing the achievement gap. They talk about understanding the needs of minority children.

It’s all bullshit. Their “high expectations” are really just an excuse for treating brown and black

kids as if they weren’t human. They put these children under intense pressure, berating them for

wrong answers and kicking them out if they don’t perform.

Yet the academic results produced at charter schools are often less than stellar. Sometimes they’re

downright abysmal. Instead of addressing the fundamental inequalities inherent in the

achievement gap – economically and culturally biased high stakes testing, shoddy and

developmentally inappropriate academic standards, etc. – they reinforce that status quo. It’s like

instead of fighting a prohibition against sitting in the back of the bus, they berate black folks for

not enjoying the ride.

I’m sorry. But when it comes to understanding the needs of black and Latino kids, I refuse to

believe children of color need a second-class education system. (Just as I refuse to believe Teach

for America’s claim that all black kids really need are less experienced, less educated and less

committed teacher trainees.)

Perhaps if traditional public schools actually addressed these issues head on, privatizers wouldn’t

appear to be saviors. There are real problems faced by children of color in our school systems.

They have real needs that most of our schools – charter, traditional, private or parochial – just are

not meeting. But while charter schools pay lip service to the problems without fixing them and in

fact often making them worse, public schools pretend these problems don’t exist in the first place.

No wonder some minority parents choose charter schools. At least there they get the illusion that

someone cares about their needs. In fact, privatizers couldn’t sell their substandard products if it

weren’t for what we’ve allowed to happen to our traditional public schools. Segregation is made

worse in charter schools, but it is also prevalent at our traditional public schools – though often to

a lesser degree.

We have allowed traditional public schools to be largely segregated based on parental income.

We have schools for poor kids and schools for rich kids. Thus, we have schools for black kids and

schools for white kids. And guess which ones are well-funded and which go lacking?

This is what people are really talking about when they mention “failing schools.” They pretend as

if the teachers are failing, the principals are failing, the democratic process, itself, is failing. In

reality, it is our state and federal lawmakers who are failing. They have failed to provide equitable

resources that our nation’s children need.

Schools cost money. If you don’t provide the funding necessary to properly educate children, you

will get an inferior result. Meanwhile, pundits play with numbers and make false comparisons to

hide this basic fact – we aren’t providing all kids with the resources they need to succeed. Rich

kids have enough. Poor kids don’t. But we look at national averages, add in unfunded legal

mandates and pretend that tells the whole story.

How does this happen? Segregation. In fact, we’re allowing segregation of place to determine

segregation of school. Instead of counteracting an unfair status quo, we’re letting the way things

are today determine how things will be tomorrow.

Fact: people of different ethnicities tend to cluster together, like with like. Part of this is because

people tend to self-segregate with people around whom they feel most comfortable. However,

this is also a function of social planning. Banks tend to shy away from giving loans to families of

color who want to move into white neighborhoods. Moreover, white homeowners are often

reluctant to sell to families of color. The result is an America made up of black neighborhoods

and white neighborhoods.

In organizing our public schools we could try to overcome these differences, but instead we

amplify them. In many states we insist that schools be funded based on local property taxes. So

poor brown and black people who happen to live clustered together get poorly funded schools for

their kids. And rich white folks who live together in their gated communities get well-funded

schools for their progeny.

Is it any wonder then that some people of color buy into the charter school lie? They’re offered

the choice between an obviously under-resourced public school or a glossy new charter school

that actually offers them less. But they don’t see that far. They’re tired of the indifference behind

traditional public school funding and opt to try something different. Unfortunately, it’s just

another lie and a more pernicious one for several reasons.

First, charter schools take an already segregated population and make it worse. Second, they

weaken the already stumbling traditional public schools by siphoning off their dwindling funding.

And finally, they obscure the fact that it’s often the same policymakers who champion charters

that are responsible for eroding public schools in the first place.

People of color would be much better served by sticking with their traditional public schools and

fighting to make them better. For all their faults, traditional public schools often provide a better

quality education. They have more resources and less flexibility to take away those resources.

They have more well-trained and experienced staff. And since they serve a more diverse

population, they offer the chance for people of similar economic backgrounds but diverse cultures

to join together in common cause.

Dividing people makes them weaker politically. When people band together, they have power.

They can fight more effectively for what they deserve. Perhaps this is the greatest problem with

charter schools – they destroy communities and rob neighborhoods of the collective power that is

their due. In many areas of the country, communities of color know this. Ask them in New

Orleans what they think of their all-charter school district. Ask them in Chicago what they think

of the city’s plan to close public schools and turn them into charters. Ask them in Philadelphia or

any urban district taken over by the state.

They’ll tell you straight out how privatized education is cultural sabotage. They’ll tell you how

it’s the new colonialism, another element of the new Jim Crow. They’ll tell you how important it

is to fight for our system of public schools.

And when privatizers and propagandists try to paint all communities of color as if they support

charter schools, these folks will loudly cry foul. They aren’t buying the snake oil. The rest of us

need to step up and help those who have been swindled to see the truth. Likewise we need to

recognize their truth – that the struggle for civil rights is ongoing.

Because we can’t win the fight against privatization without them. And they can’t win the fight

for equality without us.We need each other. Public school advocates need to recognize it’s not all

about testing, Common Core and privatization. We can’t be so afraid to talk about race. We need

to recognize that racism is not an unnecessary distraction, it’s at the center of our struggle.

We need communities of color. We need our black and brown brothers and sisters. Because only

together shall we all overcome this madness.

Editor’s note: This article is reprinted with permission from Stephen Singer at

More than Marble By Kathrine Yets

He says your body

was chiseled from marble,

but you know better.

You won’t crack so easy.

You aren’t one of The Three Graces.

Euphrosyne isn’t you.

But to him you’re imprisoned within

limestone skin.

He says to you

while he fucks you in the mirror,

Look, you are beautiful,

and pulls your hair tie out.

He don’t know what the mirror

doesn’t show.

He don’t know.

You know your lips

ain’t just for kissing.

Your hands do more than touch.

There’s a Muse inside that body

holdin’ a chisel.





TWO POEMS by Jeff Bagato

Egg Raid on Midtown

flying too low

over the proverbial

henhouse in a biplane—

raising cluck

clucking of orgasmic


a TV-type impulse

overtakes pilot cocker

spaniel, a hound

much known for his derring

do, & his doo wop

doo wop


wop, cause

of course

he also sings

& dances—

now back to swooping

down so low, an easy

target as hens

pelt him with rotten

eggs his soft paws

catch nice ‘n’ easy

‘til he has several dozen—

foul arsenal


for a drop,

which comes up quick

in the first national bank he sees—

an edifice of miming

need, sessile

in its own stink

like cocking his leg on a

holy hydrant he

lets go all eggs at



once: splat


splat splat splat


times ten, at


sulphur like an army of demon

turds in a desert storm,

translucent goo & yellow


oozes across

massive sheets of

glass & tired faces

of hungry


watching their liberation fade

as just another illusion of



& walls

Just to Be a Hobo

just to be a


I need

no other


a thick sycamore gnarled in winter,

giant knot holes, galls &

scabs proving


against the sky

or with the sky,

because who

can fathom

the will of trees

let alone the lady in plaid

pajama pants & thick glasses

throwing peanuts to squirrels

the creator, the god,

the medium—the dimension

above all others,

a breeze becomes

an ocean;

the universe is just

a rock

piled with other rocks,

filling some dark shithole

in time—

time the master,

subsuming all,

ordering mass &

gravity & the laws

of motion—

the conqueror, the devourer

come down to earth

as Death with a pendulum

striking like a scythe,

& the hobo

trips or ducks

or wrangles another smoke,

another heel up’n


to the asteroids,

to the stars

to Venus,

Author bio: Jeff Bagato is a writer, musician and street artist living near Washington, DC. Some

of his poetry has appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Chiron Review, Shattered Wig Review, and local

journals. He has published three books of poetry: And the Trillions, Spells of Coming Day, and

Latest Headlines. He has also published several novels, including The Toothpick Fairy and

Computing Angels. Jeff has recently started blogging about his writing and publishing at

Do touchy touchy apologies gratify us?

By Gerard Sarnat

I shared a stale cot with a Russian in Yalta.

Caught in the clouds of her badminton net,

tiring of tetchy metrosexy Buddhist sweat,

this yutz considered throwing in the towel

until he was met with less tasty discomfort

of a forearm shiver which comeuppance

originates from a sage Jew who growled,

G-d gave you rustics no right to punch wives.

Author bio: Gerard Sarnat is the author of four critically-acclaimed collections:

HOMELESS CHRONICLES from Abraham to Burning Man (2010), Disputes (2012),

17s (2014) and Melting The Ice King (2016).Work from Ice King was accepted by over

seventy magazines, including Gargoyle and Lowestoft Chronicle, and featured in Songs

of Eretz Poetry Review, Avocet: A Journal of Nature Poems, LEVELER, tNY,

StepAway, Bywords and Floor Plan. For Huffington Post and other reviews, reading

dates, publications, interviews and more, visit Gerard Go to Amazon to find

Gerry’s books plus Editorial and Customer Reviews. Harvard and Stanford educated,

Gerry’s worked in jails as a physician, built and staffed clinics for the marginalized, been

a CEO of healthcare organizations and Stanford Medical School professor. Married since

1969, he and his wife have three children and three grandkids.

He’s Crazy Everybody


By Andrea Wyatt

He’s crazy everybody said

But I loved your talk, faster and faster and faster, your

fluttering Benzedrine eyes, not able to settle,

never settling on anything,

your eyes flitting from side to side like moths, like flies on meat;

He’s crazy everybody said

But I loved how you spoke French, fast, smoky, your French accent,

like Belmondo, or Godard,

even though you were from Westminster, Maryland;

I loved that you were in Paris in ’68,

your thin shoulders moving up and down

accentuating your babble, babble, babble,

as you described the French police, the battles in the streets,

smoke from your gauloises bleus filling up our basement room,

you couldn’t stay in bed more than an hour or two,

even sleeping, you twitched like a hound

dreaming of a hunt, your hands were cold and you never wanted to eat

which was ok, we had no kitchen and you drank cup after cup of instant expresso

that you made with bathroom tap water;

He’s crazy everybody said

but they never heard you recite poetry,

declaim poetry in English and French, in your, yes, filthy beret, cracked black sunglasses

and extra long silk scarf I think you stole, sitting cross-legged on our mattress;

they never heard you rant about failure and loss of nerve,

about grief and how it never ends, about Les Fleurs du mal and Le Bateau ivre,

about Jean Genet, who Simone de Beauvoir called

her thug of genius and suddenly the Bennies or whatever it was wore off

and it was almost dawn and you slumped against me

and I slid down quietly so you would not wake

and I held you in my arms and buried my face

in your grimy, tousled hair and slept.

Author bio: Andrea Wyatt is the author of three poetry collections and co-editor of

Selected Poems by Larry Eigner, Collected Poems by Max Douglas, and The Brooklyn

Reader. Her work has appeared or will in Copperfield Review, Gargoyle and Gravel. She

is the associate editor of By&By poetry journa.

Two poems by Eva Skrande

Author bio: Eva Skrande was born in Havana, Cuba and grew up in Miami. She earned a

B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, an M.F.A. from Iowa, and a Ph.D. in Creative

Writing from the University of Houston. Her poems have appeared in Clockwise Cat,

Prick of the Spindle, Cortland Review, the American Poetry Review, American Voice,

Iowa Review, Ploughshares, and the Alaska Quarterly, among others. Her first book, My

Mother's Cuba, was selected by Andrew Hudgins for the River City Poetry Series. Her

chapbook, the Gates of the Somnambulist was published by Jeanne Duval Editions. She

lives in Houston, Texas.


Once a stone was my home

like a small earth or language.

There was an emerald for the sea,

valleys for songs, and summer

for prayer. Two birds

evened out my shoulders.

Two butterflies were all I knew

of wisdom. The darkness

was a bouquet of shadows

lit up now and then by stars

who loved beggars and refugees.

In the center, a small fire

led old flowers home. All their hopes

rested on one little fire

trying to make up for the sins

of its cousins: angry boats,

thorn-filled dreams,

all exits into fire.


To scatter the seeds of destiny

in the land of refugees, beside the opening of tents

To forgive the history that tries to lessen us--

bills and debts and the hunger of poor boats--

eneath the eaves of luminous Mondays

Wherever the once-extinct play the piano

alongside the archaeology of mornings

O gospels that are the envy of wind

circling the lips of asphodels

O soliloquies succumbing to the knees of dusk

daffodils whose voices move the moon

toward the dancers on your light-swept brow

and the eternity that effervesces there

to the tune of a thousand roses

breathing your name.

An Animated Sojourn (Movie Review)

By Alison Ross

The animated feature, "The Boy and the World" is a flamboyantly kaleidoscopic trip

across time and space; in some ways it feels otherworldly, even though its concerns are

grounded in this very world. The basic story is that a boy's father leaves home, and the

boy sets off to find him. Along the way, the boy has various encounters that deepen his

understanding of the world around him. The movie does not shy from highlighting the

horrors of modern society (wage slavery and the like), and yet it does so in a palatable

way that also does not diminish the impact of these terrible truths. But as sumptuous as

the imagery is - and it's a full-on feast to saturate the senses - it does threaten to subsume

the plot, with its overwhelming emphasis on variegated styles of animation. The music is

the most balanced element in the production; wending its way through the narrative is a

minimalistic soundtrack of one very linear flute tune that evokes the music native to

Brazil, the film's country of origin. The serpentine song acts almost as a guide to the boy

on his sojourn, and it serves to anchor him when the mysteries of the world elude him.

The Divine Comedy (for Donald Trump)

by Patricia Carragon

You wear many masks,

sit like a flag-waving jester—

throw tacos and spitballs

as we act out our lives.

We’re your deplorable jokers,

alt-right Confederates,

gun-happy rapists,

Mother Earth wife-beaters.

We repeat our mistakes—

use different methods

to kill off each candidate.

As the wreaking ball

crosses the stage,

you and your punch line

can’t find the exit.

Author bio: Patricia Carragon’s recent publications include The Avocet, Bear Creek

Haiku, Clockwise Cat, First Literary Review-East, Panoply, poeticdiversity, The Yellow

Chair Review, among others. She is the author of Journey to the Center of My

Mind (Rogue Scholars Press, 2005) and Urban Haiku and More (Fierce Grace Press,

2010). Patricia hosts Brownstone Poets and is the editor-in-chief of its annual anthology.

Shes an executive Editor for Home Planet News Online.

TWO collages By Oscar Varona

Le Pig


Artist bio: Oscar Varona is a writer and a collagist from Madrid, Spain. Influenced by

transgressive narrative styles and little conventional, he published his first book of stories,

“Tremolo” in 2003. Has written several novels and some of his stories have been included in

various international journals: The New Yinzer, (USA, 2009), Mondo Kronheca

Literature (Argentina, 2009), Metazen, (Canada, 2010), Ascent Aspirations, (USA, 2014),

Argonautas (Spain, 2014) and Groenlandia (Spain, 2009 and 2010). Coordinator and editor of

the cultural journal Delirio, in its ten numbers (2009-2012). He combines his poems, dialogues

and stories with his own artistic creations, mainly collages and illustrations. You can find more of

his work here

the mariner

by Daniel Thompson

half moon pendant

swinging below its everpresent

morning star, one unit of light

glittering atop each wave

throws a net across its face,

spinning yarns as long as

ocean currents, hauled in

dripping with fish

sweat of brine

interrogation mark

casting doubt over ocean sway

everywhere a way in

ten o’clock gradient climbing towards

zenith peak midnight resisting

the whole tug of seasons and tides

all shorelines are like

seashells are alike, sun says

‘nothing that is known to man is unknown to me,

no foreign land’.

soul oil lighting the way

catching sleep between the swells

keeping one eye open for land

while the continents move farther apart.

Usually one can say

that the land stays in the same place

but for him, an island of a man

it’s not always that way.

Out of a desultory nod

the tide deposits him somewhere

along the new shoreline

Author bio: Daniel’s poetry is reminiscent of Black Mountain and New York school

poets with a tone of Romanticism and Metaphysics, the night to his day work of novel

writing. Exploring themes and images more freely and naturally than the conventions of

fiction generally allow, letting form and language guide the content rather than the

content guiding the language. Daniel has an M.F.A. from the University of Victoria and

has been published in a range of literary magazines. He is a reader and contributor to the

Tongues of Fire reading series and has written several books, all currently seeking


High Noon, Texan Badlands.

By John Doyle

The whole town

edges to one side,

blistered light squeezing its frigid day.

In silent depths of space

wind tickles gorse,

where killers sharpen knives, tutoring runaway boys

eyeballing their own ghosts,

running home to ma with teary-eyed tales;

tales to tell that made hair stand up -

filling time wheat specters took

to make dust-embalmed shadows. We must

find a moment's rest from the sun,

denim jacket drifter,

boy who peers around to

spin the roulette wheel once more,

the tin-coffin beans

slashed open,

the frying pan, and coyotes afoot

Author bio: John Doyle is a gastronaut and astronaut, venture capitalist, tennis coach,

international commodities broker, and collector of northern hemisphere wines, with a

penchant for Spanish red. Based in County Kildare Ireland, he opened his first private

detective agency in 1952, and now has branches across the globe including new offices in

San Marino, Bhutan, and that part of Iceland with the tropical beach in it. He is also

world champion bullshitter 5 years consecutively.

Through a Glass DARKLY By Gary Beck

















Author bio: Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art

dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. He has 11 published chapbooks. His

poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue

Scholars Press). Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways,

Displays (Winter Goose Publishing). Fault Lines, Perceptions, Tremors and Perturbations

will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. Conditioned Response (Nazar Look).

Resonance (Dreaming Big Press). His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press)

Acts of Defiance (Artema Press). Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing). Call to

Valor will be published by Gnome on Pigs Productions. His short story collection, A

Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). Now I Accuse and other stories will be

published by Winter Goose Publishing. His original plays and translations of Moliere,

Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and

essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York


Twelve Dreams for Carl:!A Play-Poem!

By Derek Owens

Scene 1

ALL THE ANIMALS IN THE WORLD (played by third graders) stand in a meadow

making grazing noises.


flicking ANIMALS with its tongues. ANIMALS do exaggerated death scenes, don ghost


FOUR-EYED GOD takes his position on the birthing table. ALL THE ANIMALS IN

THE WORLD crawl out from under him casting off ghost robes while punching fists into

the air going "boo-ya" and "that’s what I’m talking about!” etc.

Scene 2

Children ascend to heaven on backs of ROBOTS. Once in the celestial balcony they put

on hippie costumes and do fake African dances. MILKY WAY descends (contraption of

wire, cloth strips, marshmallows, pipe cleaners). Balcony collapses, kids falling to

mattresses below, crying and whatnot. VEGETABLE ANGELS arrive and harass kids

back to health with GOOD DEEDS.

Scene 3

DREAMER (played by “dying girl”) exits the caves escorted by bats and is assaulted by


inflate to the size of Thanksgiving Day parade balloons with crudely painted scary faces

(V's over eyes, pointy teeth). Overcome, DREAMER gets eaten by a skunk or turtle.

Scene 4

Enter FAMOUSE MOUSE holding placards out of sync with his soliloquy. Midway

through his rant WORMS SNAKES AND FISHES played by mothers in black-light body

paint surround MOUSE.

Animated cartoon of FAMOUS MOUSE projected onto a sheet hung on the wall. The

hole in his side expands into a tunnel that WORMS SNAKES AND FISHES drive

through in their little cars.

Painted mothers amorously wrestle FAMOUS MOUSE to floor and conduct their

business. From the melee MOUSE rises transformed into A SUIT and launches into a

song mourning the absence of tails.

Scene 5

DREAMER in bed, burlap bags for blankets. As she falls sleep THE DREAM OF THE

DREAMER unfurls in silk banners overhead.

Members of the audience retrieve cards taped under their seats and follow the

instructions, yelling "focus! focus!" with mock impatience. Stagehands and technicians

circulate throughout the auditorium pretending to fix things.

The landscape is revealed to be a DROP OF WATER viewed through a microscope.

EMISSARIES (played by teachers long in the tooth) swoop out on butler cords, Tarzanlike.

Twigs and string fall out of their pajamas catching in the hair of those below.

Scene 6

Spotlight on BAD BOY in the clock tower, squatting like a gargoyle, leering into the

square below at tourists relaxing around the fountain.

He’s pulling walnut-sized balls of mud from a sack and winging them side-arm at the

tourists. At first he can’t hit for shit but his accuracy improves rapidly: daubs smack

passersby on their faces.

Each struck tourist morphs into a WEREWOLF, changing behavior accordingly. BAD

BOY laughs as the population turns feral. A clay bust of BAD BOY floats to the surface

of the fountain, laughs back.

Scene 7

Late night hijinks down by the reservoir: TEENAGERS, played by themselves, acting out

illicit operations.

From the woods stumbles DRUNKEN QUEEN, robes hanging in shreds due to attacks

by wild beasts. She walks into the water, drowns herself, emerges renewed, strolling

around pods of TEENAGERS who are too preoccupied with the mechanics of their

couplings to notice her. In her wake snow begins to fall.

Scene 8

A municipality establishes itself on top of ANT HILL (played by America). Festival

time, culminating in "log roll competition": couples locked in embrace pushed down

grassy slopes. At the base they are beset upon by ANTS. Their cries awaken DREAMER

who, in her own panic, stumbles into a swift-moving river encircling the anthill like a


The river grows twelve copies of DREAMER which emerge to ride the ants like horses,

taming them and bringing stability back to the community.

Scene 9

A family reunion: DREAMER and her choir lounging on the moon. But the legs of their

lawn chairs sink into the chalky effluent and DREAMER and company descend into hell.

On the way down they pass tableaux by turns marvelous and ghastly.

Once in hell CHILDREN (played by themselves and dressed as tulips) taunt DREAMER


Scene 10

The audience is woken by THE DREAM OF THE DREAMER, a mirrored disco ball of

colossal proportions releasing vapors of questionable content.

Clouds blossom in the auditorium. DREAMER’s in her rowboat, center stage. A hot air

balloon weighted with shrunken heads and carrying ASSASSIN floats down to

DREAMER. ASSASSIN cuts DREAMER'S throat releasing red ribbons. Switches places

with DREAMER, cuts loose the heads, and DREAMER rises into the clouds. ASSASSIN

rows away.

Scene 11

Inside THE DREAM OF THE DREAMER: PESTILENCE, in opaline veils, dances in a

ballet studio in front of a wall mirror, her reflection played by DREAMER.

The dance turns salacious: birds emerge from DREAMER'S skin, covering her

completely until DREAMER is all bird.

Scene 12

Enter GNATS, played by DREAMER'S four minds. They swarm, filling the entirety of

the stage, mingling with and eventually obliterating THE FIRMAMENT (played by third

graders, faces peering through holes cut in black backdrop).

STAR (a randomly selected member of the audience) is forced through slit in THE

FIRMAMENT, tumbles out and sinks into DREAMER'S belly. Flutes and whistles etc.,

bottle rockets, curtain.

Author bio: Derek Owens teaches at St. John’s University in New York, where he also

directs the Institute for Writing Studies. Information on his artwork, writing, and teaching

can be found at



ARTIST STATEMENT: Surrealism inspires me because this movement smashed the

rules of classical art and looked past the mundane to dreams and the unconscious. The

images I use for my collages come from women's magazines. The world depicted in those

pages is very interesting: sophisticated, shiny, politically correct, yet tyrannical. I like to

deform those images, that perfection, to create my own world. Beneath the superficiality,

dreams grow wild.”

Derrie!re la vitre

Julie Can’t Ruin the Coathangers (Music Reviews of Julie

Ruin and the Coathangers)

by Alison Ross

When you haven't yet "taken" to a favorite band's latest release, chances are, the new

songs will gel with you if you see the band live. At least, that's been my experience more

often than not. For that reason, and many others, I am glad I saw The Julie Ruin at the

Wrecking Ball Fest 2016. Whereas on the studio album of "Hit Reset" the new songs felt

lackluster, and a pale mimicry of the smashing debut, live the songs rang vivid.

Too, the visual of the band performing the songs provided dynamic resonance. Suddenly,

"Hit Reset" sounded fresh and original rather than a blurry mirror of the previous, more

immediately arresting release, "Run Fast." Singer and punk icon Kathleen Hannah's zigzaggy

dance moves bring feisty fun and her fierce feminist tirades ("We're not here to

suck your dick just because you are in a band;" "A reviewer once told me that at 30, I was

too old for punk; 17 years later I am still proving him wrong") slash through the

patriarchal straitjacket, invigorating an audience hungry for aggressive anti-misogynist


Of course, by now this review has devolved into more of a commentary about Julie

Ruin's live show rather than the new album, but suffice it to say that from here forward, I

will be able to listen to "Hit Reset" with renewed enthusiasm. Songs like the scorching

opener (also the title song) which Hannah declares is about her abusive father, set the

tone for a collection of tunes that offer searing critiques of the naively sexist (see "Mr. So

and So") as well as the blatantly sexist (see "Be Nice"). Of course, to counterbalance the

heavy mood, Hannah also displays an aching vulnerability on a track paying homage to

her mother, "Calverton." The band's playful melding of new wave and punk, along with

Hannah's little girl sing-songy voice that easily bends into a menacing howl, make The

Julie Ruin essential listening.

I've never had a nosebleed, at least as far as I recall (on the cusp of 50,

memory atrophy is more and more my reality). But I have always found

nosebleeds inexplicably intriguing; there's some sort of perverse allure about

a sanguine liquid seeping from one's nostrils. It seems so wrong, and yet it

also seems kinda cool.

The Coathangers have also always been kind of "wrongly cool." They are

absurdistly offbeat, cutsey-girly, and rowdily punk, all at once. What can I

say? Sassy, savvy contradictions are far more appealing than homogenous

mundanity. "Nosebleed Weekend," the band's 5th album in their ten-year

tenure, coalesces all of their colliding contrasts into a tight, neat package. In

some sense, it's too neat, and too tight.

After all, the Coathangers are at their zig-zaggy zenith when they are slightly

sloppy. Of course, "Nosebleed Weekend" was obviously produced with the

mindset of radiating toward a larger audience. So, here, the band's frayed

edges - that sonic equivalent of hole-riddled denim cut-offs - have been

trimmed back a bit, and the sound tailored toward listeners who might

gravitate toward punk, and yet would be put off by a too-rough, too-jagged


Granted, that's oxymoronic, because punk is meant to be rough and

jagged. Too, the shrieky-girl vocals have been muted, and the voices

rendered less distinctive. To some, this would prove an asset, but to my ears,

it's a deficit. The whole point of the Coathangers is their high-pitched

screeches that pinch eardrums and yet manage to evoke tough and tender

tween giddiness.

Again, it's that collusion of incongruities that make the Coathangers who

they are. This is not to say the album is without its merits: It's still uniquely

THEM, with slow burners, and intense screeds, and even their signature

savage silliness on display via "Squeaki Tikki," replete with piercing dog toy


Indeed, the last album, "Larceny and Lace," had taken the menacing side of

the band so far that I had wondered whether the Dada-esque playfulness

would ever return. Thankfully, it has, proving that the Coathangers will

always put feisty fun - in the form of a nosebleed weekend, maybe? - first.


BRAINWASH By Lindsay McLeod

A surgical sneeze against

these outrageous borders

of plastic apathy, a

staggering helicopter course

about the invisible helmet

of my congested clone.

And though the blade prevails

in dancing repair of my

patchwork hypocrisy, it

reveals no tailored baby

surfacing in moonlight

but a punishing mass of

struggling shrink wrapped

malevolent exes

in a mumbling trolley.

The following man emerges

anew in anxious envy to find

with cemented certainty

that a poor story deplores

a mobile dream.

Author bio: Lindsay McLeod trips over the horizon every morning. He has won some

prizes and awards and stuff for poetry and short fiction and published his first coauthored

poetry collection, My Almost Heart, in 2015. He currently writes on the sandy

Southern edge of the world, where he watches the sea and the sky wrestle for supremacy

at his letterbox. He prefers to support the underdog. It is presently an each way bet.

Forgive Me Mr. Trump

By Sergio Ortiz

/ I will not shake your hand

you are not my friend / I

cannot welcome you / no one from your party

is welcomed / .

I want you to say you’re sorry / we are not

rapists (or slobs or dogs or pigs) / we only flee / injustice

I have my hammer. I have tears. I have a backbone.

The only thing / I am giving you / is my

disapproval. I’ll turn my back

and walk away now.

Author bio: Sergio A. Ortiz is the founding editor of Undertow Tanka Review. His

collections of Tanka, For the Men to Come (2014), and From Life to Life (2014) were

released by Amazon. He’s a two-time Pushcart nominee and a four time Best of the Web

nominee. His poems have been published in over four hundred journals and


Book Review: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

By Beverley Catlett

While McMurphy laughs. . . . Because he knows you have to laugh at the things that hurt

you just to keep yourself in balance, just to keep the world from running you plumb crazy.

He knows there’s a painful side; he knows my thumb smarts and that his girlfriend has a

bruised breast and the doctor is losing his glasses, but he won’t let the pain blot out the

humor any more’n he’ll let the humor blot out the pain (Kesey, 250)

Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: it’s the story of an insane asylum

run by the mercilessly tyrannical Nurse Ratched and a crew of obedient coworkers who

together medicate, electrocute, and lobotomize their patients into oblivion. More

importantly, it’s a story about freedom, friendship, democracy, and the restoration of the

individual voice in the face of an institution that seeks to oppress it. In a brilliantly

original microcosmic rendering of American society as the iconoclastic novelist

understood it, Kesey lampoons the irony of life in a country founded upon freedom

wherein free speech and democracy seemed increasingly ineffectual and obsolete. The

ward becomes the dark yet unforgettably original setting for a tale of otherwise

illimitable symbolic proportions. Kesey’s message is as defiant and boundless as is the

charisma of his unseemly hero. It is through the incredibly vivid and intuitive first-person

narrative of the deaf and dumb Chief Bromden (who isn’t actually deaf and dumb – but

does it matter?) that Kesey guides us into a setting wherein he delivers a story that strikes

an emotional chord you’ll be surprised any piece of fiction could possibly reach. One

Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is one of the most dysfunctional, sublimely beautiful

tragedies of modern American literature.

Randall McMurphy is a notorious, gambling conman who feigns insanity to avert

serving time on a work farm to which he was originally sentenced for statutory rape. He’s

also got a knack for humor that leaves his readers and fellow patients in stitches, and a

determination to retain the liberties he loves most in the face of life-threatening odds. As

he proves in his instigation of a full-blown rebellion against a nurse with the power to rob

him of his mind and his life, McMurphy is a mortal with the spirit of a martyr. He is a

hero of epic proportions, and is arguably the most selfless, touchingly compassionate,

charismatically lovable character of his literary era. The moral ambiguity of his past is as

disposable within the larger context of the novel as are our initial prejudices and

inclinations to distrust our paranoid, seemingly delusional narrator along with the rest of

the Acutes on the ward. Some of the men are truly insane; others were committed for

trivial crimes or abnormalities and have since been effectively brainwashed to believe

that they are insane. None of these distinctions matter: these are men with a right to live

and a need for a leader to bring them “out of the fog”, one by one.

The novel is an emotional rollercoaster; though it gives its readers considerable

repose in moments of laughter and joy (most memorably on a fishing trip where our hero

leads his twelve haphazard disciples out to sea), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest will,

as we and McMurphy have known all along, end in tragedy. Kesey creates an idol, only

to rob him of a beautiful mind. The redemption of euthanasia bestowed upon a vegetative

McMurphy by his mentee and hard-earned friend barely seems to suffice for the

redemption McMurphy has bestowed upon his ward and upon his readership. Cuckoo’s

Nest will make you laugh; it will make you cry. It will inspire and enrage you.

McMurphy’s death will paralyze you like the loss of a best friend. But the tears his death

will inevitably conjure are the least we owe McMurphy for blessing us with his life; they

are the least we owe Kesey for creating a realistic figure with an imperfect past to whom

we can aspire and relate, who we wish we knew and could laugh with, who we wish we

could bring to life. McMurphy is immortalized and his death is hardly terminal – perhaps

it is the truncation of the ineffable beauty his life provides that makes the novel’s

conclusion so emotionally ravaging. Whatever it is, we wouldn’t trade the glimpse Kesey

gives us into that beauty – that dysfunctional, indescribable beauty - for any price.

McMurphy’s is a lesson of Biblical proportions; it is the creation of a new Christ figure

for a new generation who needed and continues to need an idol who isn’t perfect, and that

makes McMurphy all the more deserving of the worship he commands. One Flew Over

the Cuckoo’s Nest is a lesson in freedom and idolatry; it’s a tough one, but it’s a lesson

that everyone needs to hear.

Author bio: Beverly Catlett is a 22-year old recent graduate of Sewanee: The University

of the South, a tiny liberal arts college on a mountain in Tennessee, where she received a

BA Honors in English and the Andrew Nelson Lytle Prize for Excellence in English and

Southern Studies. She is an incoming first year English MA student in Georgetown

University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She is originally from Richmond,

VA, though she was born and spent the early portions of her childhood in NYC. She

attended the Yale Writer's Conference this summer. She is currently struggling to write a

memoir. She just got finished with an 85-page thesis on madness as a literary trope and

the madman as a prophetic figure, a harbinger of truth to an environment permeated by

lunacy and delusion, that is dealt with in Hamlet, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,

Catch-22, and in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, as well as in the theories of


Then a Switch by Dennis Wheeler


Then a switch is thrown

all the lights go dark and the dull

roar turns to an ocean of noise

and you ride the waves

dancing on, and your feet hurt but you don't feel it.

because this is the moment and this moment


always the same

But lighters turned to LED's and the magic's gone out of the world.

can't light no j with an iphone.

it’s all incense and fog machines and fakery and damn it

nothing is the same at all.

Where’s Lemmy? Ziggy? Or Scotty Weiland?

Lucille is cryin’ for her man, and

I saw a ghost at a corner in Winslow, Arizona.

I'd make a sandwich sign sayin'

The gods are dead. The gods are dead.

the gods are dead....

can't light no j with an iphone.

maybe there's an app for that.

Author bio: Dennis Wheeler has been writing poetry, singing songs, and trying to be a

decent person for a little while now, and thought that it may be time to submit some of

his work to others. In his 34 years on this planet, he’s experienced more than a few hard

times, none of which really need to be enumerated here. He mentions this because so

much of his work comes from his experiences.








ARTWORk BY Unitas Quick

Candy Rush

Artist bio: Unitas Quick is a self-contained recording artist, singer/songwriter and visual



(Red Hen Press, 2016)

ISBN: 978-1-59709-991-2

Reviewer: Cindy Hochman

What works is singing

from the cave of the self

—“Stone on Watch at Dawn,” Brynn Saito

Poet Brynn Saito employs a powerful strategy for coming to grips with some of

the more overwhelming trials of life by starting off with the set-up for a joke: Woman

Warrior walks into a bar … but it soon becomes apparent that this is merely a buffer for

the true subtext of the poems; no Happy Hour at this bar, but, rather, a place where “the

earth is a traffic of broken hearts.” Woman Warrior wanders intermittently through these

poems, her footprints heavy with history’s injustices, love and fear of the land, accidental

ghosts, and a sense of God watching over us. Drawn from the perspective of her

Japanese/Korean heritage, along with a proud eye on the shattering glass ceiling, despite

her initial bravado, Woman Warrior’s biggest strength is her vulnerability—and, for

Saito, there’s a bravery in that.

No History

No history of suicide or insomnia

in my family Histories

of bottles fermenting blues

No history of oil or industry

in my family

History of luck and guns

in my family scribbled in dust

Body-as-country Country-as-promise



a-promise. I begin like an agent

to get it all down

“Getting it all down” is, of course, a poet’s mission and duty (so take up the pen,

press it to the veins), but doing so often means opening up the veins of the past, both

generic and genetic (How does a family learn to fly / like that? How do they know / the

best seasons for leaving?), so this poet gives herself permission to spin toward a less

tragic outcome (You are young again / Your father has not gone to the bar tonight / You

do not have to find him / You do not have to call around / asking for him / You’re a girlspark

firefly). The poems depict a dual desire to remember and a desperate need to forget,

as well as a purposeful altering of memory (how I believe what I can’t remember). But

there is just so much happy rewriting a poet can do, and just so much trauma a woman

warrior can push away. In “Theory of Knowledge,” a series of six short, vivid vignettes,

Saito recounts several grisly scenes: an accident in which a child dies in the middle of the

road; a drunk driver overturning a van and hitting Grandmother, “shattering her face

bones”; another accident involving the poet and her boyfriend, spinning on black ice and

“swallowing 8-balls of fear”; and the recollection of an ancient uncle as “the ghost no one

cries for.” It is no wonder, then, that by the sixth snapshot-scenario, the poet’s

imagination spirits her

off to Paris, where “I’ll think about the stories but I’ll feel them differently. Place them

like quilt patches across my chest and weave them strategically around my body for

warmth … the new testament telling me I’m fine.”


Woman Warrior is thinking about justice.

The moon out

and climbing the sky

reminding her of the slow light of progress …

river of women—women loving men

men loving bottled love

love like a cradle of needles—

mending, mending, mending.

Amid this “river of women” are elegies to two trailblazing female warrior-poets,

Muriel Rukeyser and Adrienne Rich (you tended the earth with your unquiet rage /

waiting for rain the way some women wait / for a man’s dry fist to stop its music / against

the oak door). And, yet, for all their female-centric leanings, the poems bestow equal

reverence on a Male Warrior, Saito’s heroic father (my father’s sudden grip clawing my

left arm so I wouldn’t fall into the glass), whose daughter “wished on lightning she could

be that strong,” while acknowledging that “Camp made Dad unpredictable.”

Displorations in the Desert

Tuesday, late October. We wake at 5a.m. to drive to the Manzanar National

Historic Site—my mother, my father, and I …

In Manzanar, from 1942–1945, the U.S. Government incarcerated approximately

10,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry.

541 babies were born during the wartime incarceration.

In the wake of this, it seems apt that the poet uses stone and ash as metaphors: a

hardened façade co-existing with frailty. Despite having coined the term “disploration”

(exploring despair), Saito claims to be “worn and tired of their histories,” but as a poetdocumentarian,

she cannot deny what has preceded her. By the final poems, “Woman

Warrior” is denoted by only the initials “W.W.” (which, in this context, a keen reader

could just as easily visualize as the acronym for “World War,” along with all the horrors

associated with it), and it is clear that the power that makes Saito swoon is endurance and

survival, making it all the more interesting that, in the end, the girl who once “fought her

way out with words” craves silence.

W.W. On How To Be Free

Go to the ends of the earth / girl / go like a leopard chasing her longing /

go like the grasses grown and cut and blowing / over the valley by autumn

fire-winds / Go away from the valley / girl / go to the city / Go like a fighter

/ with gold ore precision / with penny-like pain / with plenty of power

Brynn Saito reminds us that sometimes there is power in memory, but even more so in

silence. Like ash. Like stones.

Two poems by Tim Lewis

Author bio: Tim Lewis is a fourth year student at Occidental College in Los Angeles;

majoring in Critical Theory and Social Justice, Tim is passionate about finding the

organic moments where Continental philosophy can clarify and/or positively effect the

social justice issues of the present. In his time as the lead student editor/managing editor

of CTSJ: Journal of Undergraduate Research, Tim has published three volumes of CTSJ-

- cementing its place as the national standard bearer in its field.

Sonic Girl (Book Review) by Alison Ross


Sonic Youth has always played music that is rhythmically asymmetrical, so it's fitting

that bassist and singer Kim Gordon's memoir, Girl in a Band, also has that asymmetrical

quality. It's not only that the book is organized in an offbeat, quasi-linear fashion, but that

the details Gordon chooses to focus on, especially early on, are sometimes unexpected,

and don't seem to fit the narrative until much later, when you realize that she was simply

setting up the scenario to discuss in more depth her days with Sonic Youth. For she

needed to lay the groundwork - her beginnings in NY and LA, her family life, her artistic

influences, and so on - in order to more cogently describe her time with her legendary

band, and dissect the dissolution of her legendary marriage with frontman Thurston


The best parts of the book, of course, are those that hone in on the vivid and diverse

albums of Sonic Youth - the milieu in which they were created, and the mindsets which

helped craft them. The hardest parts to read, and that feel somewhat forced, are the pages

where she rants against Thurston. Her feelings of rage are understandable, to be sure - he

did, after all, cheat on her, and they have a daughter together - but her tone has a mildly

disingenuous flavor, as though she felt obliged to confront the situation, but wasn't

exactly comfortable doing so. Who could blame her?

Sonic Youth, of course, is known for its charming collage of cacophonous forces - its

disparate sonic clashes that somehow coalesce into an euphonious, if noisy, whole.

Gordon's memoir, though asymmetrical in its telling, is far from being "noisy," and

instead exists as the quietly fierce document of alternative rock's reigning queen, as she

attempts to make sense of the messy story of being a girl in a pioneering band, married to

the singer whose shocking lapses sundered everything.

Invest In Children!(SATIRE) !


By Martin H. Levninson

Many Americans believe the job of educating children should be shifted to

the private sector to save money and to provide better instruction to children. A

number of localities have already begun to move in this direction and scores of

others are considering the notion. There’s clearly dough to be made in school

privatization and for those interested in getting in on this racket here are a few

ideas on the subject.

The first thing you’ll need to do is to hire some teachers and that shouldn’t

be a problem if the hiring bar is set at the right level. The level I recommend is

anybody who has attended school. This will provide a hiring pool of nearly

everyone in the country. If you want to be more expansive, offer the job to anyone

with a pulse.

In terms of salary, I suggest using the following formula: add the number of

years a person has attended school to the person’s age, divide by the square root of

four, subtract from the number of fish there are in the sea, and multiply by 1. The

result will be a negative integer, which means your employees will have to pay

you for the privilege of working. If they object to this arrangement offer them fifty

cents an hour above the federal minimum wage and if they still complain look for

other people. (Consider recruiting illegal aliens. There are lots of Illegals who

would jump at a chance to take a teaching position and work at the wages you’re


Next you’ll need some students. A good tactic for attracting learners is to

pay them, and you won’t have to pay them much since they’re getting nothing

from the public schools. But make sure you pay them less than their teachers

ecause if you don’t the teachers will quit and enroll as students in your school.

Also, since the kids are being paid, don’t hire custodial staff. Have the children

clean the school as part of their stipend.

There are loads of ways to conserve on food costs. The best way is to have

parents pack meals for their kids. If this is not practical, have the children grow

vegetables and raise beef cattle in the schoolyard. Don’t bother with a school

cafeteria. Have the students and teachers eat in the classrooms. This will provide

an opportunity for them to bond with each other and you won’t have to employ

lunchroom aides.

To save on textbook costs, instruct students to download free educational

material on the Internet when they go home each night. If parents insist their

children receive textbooks do not buy new ones. Purchase them used at

As far as student transportation, ask the parents to bring their kids to

school. In cases where this is not possible have bicycles available for transport and

rent them to the youngsters. Children too young to bike can be picked up by older

students and placed in the baskets of their bicycles. And here’s a bonus: because

biking is such great exercise you won’t need phys. ed. instructors.

Your students will probably have to take standardized tests and your

success, and theirs, will be determined by how well they do on these exams. To

ensure everyone’s chances of succeeding, order the teachers to teach to the tests

and it they are allowed to grade the exams instruct them to change incorrect

answers to correct ones to make sure the scores are high. Tell your educators that

if they haven’t taught the students well enough so that the kids could achieve good

marks on their own, they owe this form of extra help to the children.

Like any private enterprise, there’s always a chance you won’t make it in

the education biz. If that happens do not despair. Your students can always go

back to the public schools and your teachers, if you hired the group I suggested,

can find work in the agricultural field. The important thing is you gave it a try.

You tried to make a buck off the kids, you tried to rip off your staff, and you tried

to scam the system. The robber barons of the nineteenth century would have

envied your efforts to make a profit from education and I’m sure the robber barons

around today would feel the same way. Besides, there are plenty of other ways to

make money. For instance, privatizing the military. I know a great place where

you can buy secondhand weapons and ammunition for a song.

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, New York.






































Two poems by Saira Viola

Anonymous Masses in the Guise of King Dada

I am the book jacket of the automatic

The starling quip of the unconscious

The phonetic parlance of sound

The bobbing tail of Rapunzel the squirrel

The breath of a million workers without labour

A Kubin nightmare

The crowbar to convention

A top hat and flysheet

A sonnet of anarchy

A red roar

An underground skyscraper

Blue mittens

A single , feeble street urchin

A bombtastic blitz of claws teeth and tongue

A half smoked cigarette

A broken pen

An unfinished jigsaw

A neo Bolshevik

The egg of an eagle

Agrippa’s magic

The bones of Caspar, Melchoir and Balthazar

A painted echo

A pink cockatoo

A collage of indifference

Jacque Vache’s goblet of wine

A dance of solidarity

Breton’s hiss

Soupault’s shirt sleeves

Max’s antizymic pictopic

Man Ray’s star

A stuffed dummy in a shopping cart

An old potato on a lavatory chain

A breakfast canvas of weed and marmalade

25 cans of packaged crap

Duchamp’s piss pot

The side slap of rebellion is the garden gnome,

the oppressive chintz of poodle thrones ,

open purses and closed set minds

buy rebel souls dime , after dime , after dime

Bedroom Killing

He woke up in a green sweat

by his side a girl and a gimp mask

she had strawberry crush curls kissing the pillow

and flutter boo lashes fanning

her soft, porcelain face

his mind strangled by intimacy

purple melancholy drowning the room

and satan's veil pickling his tongue

he flipped her on her side

cold sleeted

her back ridged

with vermillion hand prints

sock puppet blue

his ashy tears

roil her anesthetised form

yesterday’s sweetness

has become today’s fetor

a magnum opus of squalid glory.

/0%(1.!2,13!Saira Viola : fiction ball buster, poet, song lyricist and creator of sonic

scatterscript . Widely published on both sides of the Atlantic. Viola's work focuses on

the lives of the disenfranchised, the marginalized, the collaterally damaged, and the rebel

spirits who glitter the cosmos. Publications include: International Times, Dissident Voice,

Tuck, Underground Books, Gonzo Today , The Poetry Times, Artvilla, The Canon

Mouth, Dead Snakes, BecauseEileen, Red Fez, Public Reading Rooms, Stop the War

Coalition, Boy Sl Push, In Between Hangovers, The Kitchen Poet ,Zarph, Literary


The Perpetual DECLINE of Western


and the

Ascendency of PUNK-Dystopia

By Alison Ross

Let's face it: Western "civilization" has always been in decline. In particular, the U.S. was

founded on genocide and slavery, and to this day perpetuates a program of imperialistic bullying,

so one cannot very easily make a rational argument for the purity of the country.

Imagine, however - for fun! - what the founding fathers might have thought about punk rock - the

ultimate protest against a society in incessant decline. Sure, there have always been means to defy

corrupt governments - marches, riots, boycotts, coups, and so on - but punk as sonic dissent is a

relatively new and novel approach.

For regressive reactionaries, punk rock would not simply be a harbinger of a society in decline, it

would be what is actually wrong with society. But for the more incisively insightful among us,

punk rock would clearly signal that society is what is wrong with society, and punk emerged as a

raging response.

Of course, that's the implicit thesis of Penelope Spheeris' (recently reissued) documentary

dissertation, "The Decline of Western Civilization." Punk was the canary in the coalmine, the

cacophonous tirade that ranted against an unscrupulous establishment and foreshadowed further


Late 1970s and early 1980s LA bands like the Germs, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Fear and X,

whether consciously or not, existed as the anarchic antithesis of a mock-normal society, one

which pretended to be well-adjusted but was ultimately steeped in psychosis. Bigotry, greed and

violence were the tenets that reigned and gave tumultuous birth to punk rockers, around whom

coalesced a movement of mangled mirth and marvelous madness.

The first disc in Spheeris' much-vaunted trilogy captures these punk bands just as they were

gaining notoriety - and thus were at their zenith of raw vigor. It's especially rewarding to witness

the ragged intensity of the Germs as their star was beginning to rise - all the while painfully

aware, of course, that Darby Crash would soon crash and burn, like his prophetic namesake. Too,

it's fascinating to observe the band members of the legendary X in their early element, playing

their own beatnik incarnation of punk, and partying in feral fashion. And, of course, there are the

kids who imbue the scene with Meaning, as they flail about chaotically to the crass rhythms and

crude screechings of the punk provocateurs. And let's not forget the charismatic "light bulb kids"

whose nascent nihilism is sharply undercut by their adorable youth.

Fast forward to the third disc. (Yes, I am implying that you can skip "Decline II" - "The Metal

Years." Watch it, but after you have seen the first and third. It really doesn't fit the narrative, and

the title is a misnomer, to boot. Most of the bands in it are more "glam" and "hair metal" in

nature, and most have not crafted enduring, influential music like those in the first disc. Too, the

metal music and scene is more hedonistic, a glorying in capitalistic excess - the apex of a

corroded system, whereas punk (real punk) was a rebellion against that. The disc is only worth

watching to witness the meandering mumblings and inept cooking of Ozzy Osbourne.)

For it is the third disc which evokes the most pathos, and shows how the raucous punk scene of

the 70s had crystallized, by the late 90s, into something even more existentially charged, owing to

a sadistic sociopolitical landscape where poverty had become pervasive and the beatific-seeming

family unit had devolved into a child-abusing entity.

Because, you see, by the time the third disc in the "Decline" series was made (1997-1998),

Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton had colluded to erode the rights of the people and quash the

few democratic ideals that had managed to pierce through to an otherwise quasi-democratic

country. So by the late 1990s, "gutter punks" in LA had become common, and Spheeris aimed to

capture the disconcerting phenomenon.

It turns out, of course, that contrary to popular perception, which held that these punks were antisocial

slackers, these kids were actually products of horrifically abusive home environments.

They were drawn to the punk scene because the music gave vicious voice to a sub-culture of

societal outcasts.

Unlike in the first "Decline," which focuses mainly on the music and somewhat tangentially on

the fans, the third "Decline" focuses largely on the plight of the "gutter punks," while the music

retreats a bit in the background. We do get to know bands such as Naked Aggression, Final

Conflict, and The Resistance, but it's the punk fans themselves who tear holes into our hearts.

Squid, Spoon, Troll - these kids are such a complex mix of tough and tender. Just beneath their

street swagger are squishy sweet souls.

If first film in the "Decline" series is subversive for its daring to capture the shocking social

phenomenon of punk rock in the late 1970s and early 1980s - one that would prompt notorious

LA Police Chief Daryl Gates to attempt to ban screenings of it - then the third one is subversive

for the opposite reason. Spheeris is expected to merely continue her thread of showcasing

emerging, somewhat disturbing bands, but she doesn't. Halfway through shooting, she realized

that the real story for the third "Decline" lay not in the modernized incarnation of punk, but rather

in the distressing conditions of those who populated the surrounding scene. Perhaps fans of the

original two "Decline" movies were disappointed in this decision. Perhaps the director's difficulty

in getting funding for the third "Decline" was based on a presumption was that no one would

want to see a bunch of smelly freak-kids who should just get out of the gutter, clean up, and get a


The economic situation in the United States has surely decayed since the last "Decline" was

made, and one can still see groups of vagabond punk kids with their bulky piercings, filthencrusted

t-shits, scrolls of tattoos, and hater-stomping combat boots, hanging out in large urban

centers at gas stations or in alleyways. Indeed, one can see many more homeless people in

general, thanks to unaffordable housing, lack of jobs, defunding of mental health and drug rehab

programs, and so on.

In "Decline of Western Civilization III," Spheeris doesn't merely paint a sympathetic portrait of

homeless youth; she has produced one of the most compellingly compassionate documentaries

ever made, one that shames anyone who has ever callously dismissed homeless kids as mere

"gutter punks" not deserving of our humanity. That Spheeris later became a foster parent to some

of these hapless youth just proves she wears her heart safety-pinned onto her leather jacket, in

solidarity with her subjects.


BY Lily Tierney

She acquired knowledge

that led to understanding.

Nothing made sense

visuals constantly changed

their form and direction.

A solid bled into a liquid

blood was everywhere

this was a sign of life

on a planet without

dimensions bending light

into our psyche.

Nothing was real.

Author bio: Lily Tierney resides in Florida. Her work has appeared in Dead Snakes, Full

of Crow, Calvary Cross, and Harbinger Asylum.


By Chani Zwibel


Dear Chief Deity,

It is 1989.

Ziggurats go up. Youths who are not yet old wail.

(I am five. I have Go-Dog-Go.)

The birth rate equals the death rate.

A gentle breeze at the highest point

Burns to the touch.

(Its flower, yuppie, is just as relevant!)

It’s 1989. Let’s build a snow house. A proper igloo. The child here will ignite our fire at

dusk. Do not yowl.

The clown keeps a roller-bearing root, and also tends a domesticated ox.

In this clime, you can’t be too careful.

Zombies zigzag through zigzag papers and get zonked with enthusiasm.

They love the Sauce.

What is Sauce?

Yummy, perhaps, but without zip or ginger.

It’s 1989.

Taste the dark stripes of the horse.

Energy, pep, guaranteed.

I hear rejoicing.

Yours truly,

Deity Airship

An abortion. An abstinence.

Constellations circle the belt.

At this angularity, the dirigible

Has no breath.

Zeus has no zip code.


My coworker has drawn

A little doodle man

Reading a little doodle newspaper

Placed just so

In the empty business card holder

So he looks like a tiny, two dimensional being

Sitting on a bench

Waiting for a bus.

A slow day, no customers,

My bored hands shift

The paper figure to the keyboard.

The newspaper reader


His right foot on Power

His left on Wake Up

His hidden, paper genitals swing over Sleep.

The newspaper reader, tiny scrap-paper-doodle-man, peers up with round black eyes.

Author bio: Chani Zwibel is a graduate of Agnes Scott College, a poet, wife and dogmom

who was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but now dwells in Marietta,

Georgia. She is a member of The Southern Collective Experience, and poetry editor for

The Blue Mountain Review. Her poetry has been featured on Dante’s Old South on NPR

WUTC Chattanooga, May 29, 2016 and August 3, 2016.

Dear Nuts

By Edwin L. Young, PhD

To those who think that they are ‘nuts’ for bothering themselves with assailing the

establishment over beers with friends. To the more activist minded who think they may

be ‘nuts’ for thinking they could make a dent in the armor of the mammoth militaryindustrial

complex, their political collaborators, and their unwitting cadre of academic

foot soldiers.

I am just poking a little fun with a little irony since, however small your protestations

may be and however insignificant they may seem to you, you sound eminently sane to

me. I have the deepest reverence for people who dare look for the truth, who have the

willingness and strength to think, and, above all, who dare to say their piece in whatever

forum they choose.

Thinking is an art known only to a very few. Peculiarly, I speculate that few

philosophers, experts in logic, and even few scientists, truly think. They must make a

living and must try to get tenure. They study, learn, memorize, analyze constrained by the

harnesses of their disciplines, and explore within the confines of the small arenas of their

disciplines, but they do not use their imagination as they think; they do not examine their

hypotheses, theories, or the conventions of their academic domain. Academic freedom is

such a befuddled myth! They must submit articles that will be approved by the defense

department that awards them grants or academic journal review boards who check for

adherence to the narrowly acceptable research trend du jour or for political correctness.

They do not examine their domain from levels of perspectives that outsiders might take.

They are like the justice system that is so bound by precedent that they cannot

incorporate the findings and perspectives of science or the implications of the radically

changed contexts and crises of the modern world.

As such, philosophers, scientists, those in the justice system, and other professionals have

no idea how irrelevant they are to the world’s current crises and how utterly absurd and

devoid of significance for the non-professional world are the results of the practice of

their occupations. They would never in a million years think that the manner in which

they are practicing their professions and their disciplines in effect means that they are

actually functioning as enablers of those corrupt corporate, military, and political

destroyers and exploiters of the rest of the world’s population and the earth.

In a documentary about Robert Oppenheimer, he is confronted by an FBI interrogator

who questions him because Oppenheimer had loosely associated with an anti nuclear

bomb organization. Horrors! Oppenheimer was virtually speechless listening to the

babbling ethical madness of the super patriot FBI man. That was during the McCarthy

era. Remember "Good Night and Good Luck" (2005 with George Clooney and David

Strathham) and "Guilty by Suspicion" (1991 with Robert De Niro). Do we watch but not

‘see’? Do we go to such things to be titillated and leave our minds and hearts at home?

Do we walk out and merely share our yeahs and boos with our companions?

The movie industry falls in the category of "they know not what they do" to quote Jesus’

last words. They join with the philosophers, scientists, and academics and professionals

of all stripes as lemmings leading the rest of world in a violent rush over the cliffs of

devastating insanity of power. The movie industry smoothes the path for the masses to

follow over the cliff by presenting violence in such a seductive way and by promoting

war films in such a way that shows war being so glorious, honorable, and manly. Then, of

course, joining up is irresistible. Our young men, and now women, are bound to say, "Let

me go over the cliff too, please!" They ‘all’, brilliant intellectuals and naïve youth

together, are perfect stooges for the military-industrial complex.

I could go on bellowing from my cyber soapbox albeit to the selective deafness of the

mindlessly meandering sheep occupying the churches, universities, halls of justice and

government, and treadmills and wastelands of the corporate world but, now, I may seem

like the one who is "Nuts"!

Well, they say when you think everyone else is crazy, it may be you who are nuts! What

a convenient way to silence lonely voices of the self-doubting whistle-blowers.

Proposed Homelessness

Solution (Letter to


By Alison Ross

Dear Representative Lewis, Senator Vincent Fort, and Councilman

Kwanza Hall,

I have been a homeless advocate for 20-plus years. I have never experienced

homelessness myself, nor am I likely to. At the same time, I am mindful of the fact that

any one of us could conceivably become homeless.

My passion for advocating for homeless people grows out of a strong sense of social

justice, and a nagging conscience.

I am reaching out to you three because I feel a kinship with you all in this way:

Representative John Lewis, for your indefatigable support for civil rights, past and

present; Senator Vincent Fort, for your brave efforts on behalf of poor people; and

Councilman Kwanza Hall, for your admirable sponsorship of the people living in the

Boulevard projects, with your Year of Boulevard initiative.

I have recently been reading about Salt Lake City's and Utah's virtual erasure of chronic

homelessness through a housing subsidy program:

The way that we deal with homelessness in Atlanta is abysmal, as I hope you will agree.

As you know, the main causes of homelessness include a lack of jobs and of well-paying

jobs, a dearth of affordable housing, and poorly-funded mental health and addiction rehab

programs. Other contributors to homelessness include being war veterans, being victims

of domestic abuse, having untreated disabilities, and having criminal records.

Through no fault of their own (owing to the aforementioned causes), people fall into

homelessness, and instead of helping them, the city shames them. Atlanta does not have

plentiful or adequate shelters to assist the staggering amount of homeless in the city. And

then when, because of this lack of shelter, homeless people - many elderly, most of them

black - congregate in parks and sleep under bridges, the city brutally evicts them, often

discarding their belongings, psychologically and verbally abusing them, and breaking

down what little spirit they still cling to. Is this the reputation we really want Atlanta to


It seems to me we could implement something close to what Salt Lake City has done.

As the above linked article points out, chronically homeless people are the most

challenging to re-assimilate into society. They use the most public resources, end up

frequently in jail, and are often hospitalized.

But if, as in Utah (where the governor is considered conservative), Atlanta establishes a

house for each chronically homeless person, then offers each person counseling services,

they might better be able to re-absorb into society. And it certainly would save costs for

the city in the long run.

Imagine battling the freezing cold or suffocating in the staggering heat on a daily basis.

Imagine having to urinate and defecate outside, in public view - or urinate or defecate on

yourself. Imagine being on the verge of starvation constantly. Imagine being denigrated

and belittled by a callous public - all because our city, which has enough wealth to deal

with the problem, refuses to.

A city that deals humanely with homelessness attracts tourism and business and evolves

into a world-class city - not one that is mocked, but rather one that is a model for other

cities. One that is a beacon of compassion for all its citizens.

For the homeless in Atlanta are citizens of Atlanta. WE are the homeless, and they are


Homelessness is one of the great scourges of our time, and can be eradicated or at the

very least, humanely handled so that all people have access to their natural civil rights.

Is the City of Atlanta willing to look into this idea, or at the very least, propose long-term

solutions, ones that are more durable and meaningful than simply building more shelters?

I am willing to do what I can with this, but I am not in public office - I am an advocate,

clamoring for change.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Alison Ross






By Nathaniel S. Rounds


At the end of Dynamometer, Rounds writes:

“If we assume that your mind is made up of toxic substances that stagnate inside a soft

skull, then you cannot recognize nor demonstrate common courtesy. In short: You are

completely bereft of character. Nevertheless, you’ll forget all about it once you snooze in

front of the television tonight with a big bowl of pretzels on your lap.”

This, I do believe, encapsulates Nathaniel Rounds’ philosophy of poetry: Cut to the core

of things using outrageous humor and outlandish insights. Disorient people, but also

ground them in the here and now – and always compel them not only to see the absurdity

of life, but to touch it, and taste it as well.

--Alison Ross, Editor and Publisher of Clockwise Cat

Editor’s note: Please peruse and order this book from either Fowlpox Press

( or Clockwise Cat (






















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Artist bio: Irene Koronas is the author of 7 collections of poetry and collaborative

writing including heshe egregore (with Daniel Y. Harris, Éditions du Cygne, 2016),

Turtle Grass (Muddy River Books, 2014), Emily Dickinson (Propaganda Press, 2010) and

Self Portrait Drawn From Many (Ibbetson Street Press, 2007). Some of her poetry,

experimental writing and visual arts have been published in Clarion, Counterexample

Poetics, Divine Dirt, E·ratio, experiential-experimental-literature, Lynx, Lummox,

Of\with, Pop Art, Right Hand Pointing, Presa, The Seventh Quarry Magazine,

Spreadhead, Stride and Unblog. She has exhibited her visual art at the Tokyo Art

Museum Japan, the Henri IV Gallery, the Ponce Art Gallery, Gallery at Bentley College

and the M & M Gallery. She is the Managing Editor of X-Peri,



AUTHOR BIO: A Pushcart nominee, Lana Bella is an author

of two chapbooks, Under My Dark (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2016) and

Adagio (Finishing Line Press, forthcoming), has had poetry and fiction

featured with over 270 journals, 2River, California Quarterly, Chiron

Review, Columbia Journal, Poetry Salzburg Review, San Pedro River

Review, The Hamilton Stone Review, The Writing Disorder, Third

Wednesday, Tipton Poetry Journal, Yes Poetry, and elsewhere, among

others. She resides in the US and the coastal town of Nha Trang, Vietnam,

where she is a mom of two far-too-clever-frolicsome imps. She can be

contacted at:

EDITOR’S NOTE: Lana Bella’s poetry struck my sensibilities in a most

urgent way. Her poems are luxuriously lyrical, mingling nature symbolism

with tantalizing eros. She has a gift for weaving tangible imagery into the

most eloquent phrasing. Her words ache with nostalgia, but in the most

sublime way, erasing the stark pain and replacing it with swooning

melancholy. !



Dear Suki: Caffè Roberto Cavalli, Italy,

July 13th, to be so easy in your body,

the rose-chill Negroni careened its way

tempering everything but me. There

was an ache and stirring of skin pressed

into the orchestra of summertide's light

coat; the evening was warming up, finely

veined gold on your blossom mouth

chasing the neatly dressed vermouth. I

emerged from your fingers' caress fluent

in spices, and gin and orange slice on

the rocks; breaths digested the balms of

budding fig and cherry like sublimity

professed. Muffled traffic moved with ease

between wisps of gossips everywhere

and around us, while your gaze flecked

with the wildflowers of my heart's tangles,

casting free old relics which would become

any shape the slick-bitten night desired.


as long and drawn as anchor

released to axle-line,

your gangly form escaped

the whispering ash,

flickered smooth and lean

along the lip of the sea--

aqua satin eyes held mystics

in foam, fingers pulled on

weight of secret things,

confident in the strength of

your wrists as they held sharp

on a measure of embrace--

this knowing, sculled instinct,

withheld a moment longer,

until at last, you turned red

immersed in your grit of

wanderlust--and in the distant,

autumn wisteria festooned

with fog, scoured the ocean for

an erstwhile equivalent of self--


The blond is not smiling.

Her slender hands

snake down my sides like

two pale-throated pelicans

sweeping the landscape

of fidelity. Her penscript

a curious river returns

over the spine in an atonal

symphony palpating on

telegraph line. But I cannot

turn back, for only

daring souls build trust

on barrier islands, whereas

I grow weak and sail away

remembering the caresses

I'd failed to hold in

the choreography of her

hidden curves and tartness

near. Now, she is a moving

target, a concentric point

of red, tracing the crescent

of my iced blue veins

with her danse macabre.


Dear Suki: Eluwene Place, Maui,

I felt your weight slumped gently

on the mat floor, stitching grease

to cello-soft airfoil of lost requiem.

From this distance, the low beam

of kerosene lamp moved garments

of viola Bach's Prelude and moon

hewing at curious angles, tectonic

plates of the briny hung on tumid

waves. Fingers pinched in sweat

and ached the length of ghostly air

with manic shadows hugging my

chest, offering nothing but stirring

of something ravenous without. Yet,

I lingered, caught on the irritants of

memory, bobbing, weaving, hurling

in economy of lines for the deep red

crinoline of your form, in quiescent

tense so otherworldly from still wind.


Her paradisiacal past

bored into

my desperation

as grades of gunshots

carved my chest,

crowning me

with its freight

of brackish molds.

Granite eyes studied me

like the storm

that crushed

the rock-ribbed walls

of a mountain,

that coaxed my sky to rain.


Mercurial as a lullaby revealed in

a patch of raw, all at once

you couldn't find me, eyes hurled

into the majestic space of empty,

fingers yawned through agitation of

night like a serpentine army.

This sensation of being the only ghost

in our house tossed me about

like a bevy of weeds in storm,

paper-boats in tempest, unforgiving

as the cold brethren sea.

So of course I was moved to sway

to the strokes of your loneliness,

drawing the pales of a hand against

a lock of onyx hair, kindled with

faint dusting of metronome's spindly

stems, so light barely a flutter was

stirred on your chiffon sleeve.


for the rest of June,

he has convinced that

rainbow was what

gave me the idea to knit

psychedelic ribbons

on tight sweaters, and

with the tips of his fingers,

he traced the spirals

of roses in the twinkles of

their brilliant red, thick

with briers of summer

peals, before long,

I watched him sniffed

the myriad blooms,

gnawed off a stem

in despair--


Beyond the Spell of the Senses


The Metallurgist's Bioluminescent Mirror





.%,?%!2,13!Bill Wolak is a poet, photographer, and collage artist. He has

just published his twelfth book of poetry entitled Love Opens the Hands

with Nirala Press. His collages have been published in over a hundred

magazines including: The Annual, Peculiar Mormyrid, Danse Macabre,

Dirty Chai, Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal, Lost Coast Review, Mad

Swirl, Otis Nebula, and Horror Sleaze Trash. Recently, he was a featured

poet at The Mihai Eminescu International Poetry Festival in Craiova,

Romania. Mr. Wolak teaches Creative Writing at William Paterson

University in New Jersey.

Artist’s Statement:

Collage undresses the darkness with a mirror’s secret undertow. It’s a dance

done on burning kites while dreaming at the speed of light. Expectant as

nakedness, collage is a door that surfaces in the shipwreck of your

sleep. It’s a caress with the irresistible softness of a slipknot in a velvet

blindfold. At its best, like poetry, collage is a moan just beyond delirium.

I make collages out of all kinds of materials. Most are made out of paper

engravings. Many collages are digitally generated or enhanced.

Poetry by Peter Davidson

Author bio: PT Davidson is originally from New Zealand, although he has spent the past 25

years livingabroad in Japan, the UK, Turkey and the UAE. His poetry has appeared in Otoliths,

BlazeVOX, streetcake, After the Pause, Sein und Werden, Futures Trading, Snorkel, Clockwise

Cat, Tip of the Knife, foam:e and Your One Phone Call.




It's shameful enough that women's voices were severely marginalized in the Beat Poetry

scene, although the book, The Women of the Beats (which I reviewed in a past issue -

look it up), did wonders to rectify that. But for women to be marginalized in the

Surrealist scene is unconscionable, since Surrealism was founded as a revolt against the

tyranny of war and extreme societal orthodoxy. Literary political revolts should logically

and exuberantly embrace women's voices, not relegate them to secondary status, or

exclude them altogether.

To counter the popular narrative that the Surrealists have marginalized female

contributions, however, Penelope Rosemont, editor of Surrealist Women: An

International Anthology, and herself a part of the modern-day Surrealist scene, pushes the

thesis that the original Surrealists, as well current Surrealists, unlike most literary

movements, have actually vaunted women's voices. To prove her point, Rosemont's book

features 98 prominent female Surrealists from around the world (Peru, Switzerland,

Egypt, France, Iran, and the United States are just a few of the variegated countries

represented), and details the ways in which women have copiously contributed to the

movement - through publications, exhibitions, salon participation, and so forth. Each

feature also showcases samples of Surrealist women's poetry, polemics, scholarly articles,

essay excerpts, visuals - or a combination thereof.

It's a startling document of just how integral women were - and are - to the Surrealist

revolt, and how subversive it was (and is) that women were and are at the forefront of the

movement. Rosemont convincingly makes the case that it is not the Surrealist movement

itself that has excluded women - it has been subsequent anthologies about the Surrealists

that have squeezed them out, making it seem as though the movement as a whole is


Just some of the revelations from this titanic tome (at 516 pages, which encompasses a

juicy and extensive bibliography) range from better-knowns such as Denise Levy, Nadja,

Joyce Mansour, Frida Kahlo, and Toyen, to lesser-knowns such as Anneliese Hager,

Haifa Zangana, Nancy Joyce Peters, Blanca Varela, Eva Sulzer. These are authors whose

work not only merits deeper delving, but who should be just as frequently and

aggressively celebrated and quoted as their male counterparts.

Indeed, here are just a few savory quotes from the essays and poems within:

"Surrealism most emphatically does not signify unreality, or a denial of the real, or a

refusal to accept reality. In insists, rather, on more reality, a higher reality." (Penelope


"What made Surrealism different is that more and more women kept joining it, expanding

it, and changing it, and that the men in it changed too (or dropped out)." (Penelope


"One rainy day, a little mushroom emerged and immediately took himself to be an

umbrella" (Laurence Iche)

"I am in the rain, with black writing. I am in the night with strange hands" (Sonia Sekula)

"I was sitting in my room. A butterfly comes in through the open window and lights on

the wall opposite me. Its wings are painted with a nocturnal landscape: flanked by two

ridges of hillsides, covered by those broad virgin Alaskan forests, a solitary road plunges

into the distance; there's a single deserted house near a crossroads whose signpost wears

only the motto: Life for Rent." (Eva Sulzer)

"Out of the stony jungle grows a cold order - blossoms and decays. Its blue ashes blanket

the streets. I stand and wait - the city rolls by but the blue lies immobile and stares at me.

Does it speak to me? I listen in vain but hesitate simply to climb across it." (Anneliese


"Always familiar, for me surrealism is life itself. Why? Because true life has nothing to

do with what has insidiously been sanctioned by the repressive powers of mortality,

religion, and law. Powers whose end is nothing less than the enslavement of the majority

for the profit of a minority of impostors animated by terrorism of all kinds: churches,

philosophies, ideologies, politics, all representing enslavement or death (which are one

and the same thing). Surrealism is the conscious attempt to restore humanity's true

capacity to be and to desire without moral or physical constraint through unlimited

exercise of the imagination." (Marianne Von Hirtum)

"The hand of the wind's own lover caresses the face of the absent one." (Alejandra


"I will tell you with flowers (why not?)/I will tell you here or elsewhere/I will tell you

that elsewhere or here/I will tell you that the key wants to go home" (Isabel Meyrelles)

"Say it/and peel off that gray iguana skin mask/Say it/and clean out your cockpit of

intoxicated spiders/Say it/and leave it splattered on mortuary of a moon" (Jayne Cortez)

It enrages me, and should enrage anyone who cares about gender equilibrium in literary

and artistic representation, that anthologies centering on Surrealism have often criminally

excluded such vibrant voices of the verse and visual arts. We have Rosemont to profusely

thank for painstakingly proving that we females are the original gangstas of Surrealism.

For the impetus of wild imaginings surely began - and persists - with women.



by Alison Ross

I will be brutally honest: I love being a woman, but hate being bloody. Every month, the

sticky sanguine liquid pours forth relentlessly, and unless I want to squish around in a

pool of crimson goo, I must stem the mad red tide with manmade plugs. This means

walking around with a cotton phallus stuck up my vagina for several days; it's not as

pleasant as it sounds, though it could be worse. And of course, there are the attendant

cramps, bloating, and psychotic mood vacillations, but hey - we're veering off course.

The point is, I do not find periods fun. I am not ashamed of them by any means, but this

mandatory monthly molting of the uterine lining is messy and inconvenient, not to

mention pricy. How many boxes of tampons and pads, how many ruined pair of

underwear, how many washings of stained clothing, how many bottles of Motrin, how

many rolls of toilet paper, how many Kleenex, can one girl go through and still be able to

afford a place to live? It boggles the brain.

Somehow, Jenuine Poetess, in her tome, Bloodstories: A Cycle of 28 Poems, is able to

make the menses monster less, well, monstrous. Indeed, she uses the menstrual event as a

jumping off point to narrate tales of injustice, and as a metaphor and motif for our shared

stories of suffering. Bloodshed is our common thread; history is littered with the corpses

of the oppressed, and such horrors persist to this day. Jenuine Poetess wants us to hear

these stories, as many of them involve females, and she wants us to reflect in particular

on the female experience.

This is not to say that the all the poems are true narratives; some are more meditative,

and not all relate explicitly to oppression. Some, even, have a delightful simplicity, at

least in style, as in, [womanhood]: "Instead/of a/brave beautiful beginning/it/was the

terrifying/end/of the remnants/of her innocence."

This haunting tone wends its way through most of the pieces; rarely are we given space to

breathe (and with good reason). Suicide ("it was the first time I felt anything in so long"),

endless violence ("This poem cannot stop bullets/this page will not shield a bomb blast"),

mistreatment of black youth ('I will never know/the kind of fear/that is deep in the bones

of my Black kindred"), educational brainwashing ("they are unteaching our children/with

hollowed out imposters") - these are just some of the themes deftly, compassionately,

indignantly explored in "Bloodstories."

But there is levity: The more intriguing verses relate to the author's love of writing, her

wonder at having a period and being female, and sometimes, twining the two. [vandall]

manages this fusion well: "It is an endless wonder/what confessions poets murmur/in the

deeps of night/...blood oaths and bloodstories seeping into sheets/...Poetry was

here./scrawled on the walls of our wombs."

Or, how about [born], where Poetess writes: "Poetry hemorrhages from my gaping

flesh/...the eviscerated substance of my thrashing and thriving."

If this cycle of 28 poems has a centerpiece - and a few pieces do compete for that title - it

should be [lifeblood], where Poetess yearns for warm communion with other women: "I

long for the old/rituals of sabbatical/of sisters gathering every 28 days/ and

receiving bloodstories/affirming womanhood/cycling together/


As I enjoy these last years of uterine bloodletting (peri-menopause at least bestows the

gift of erratic periods), I feel more validated in my bloodsuffering than I have ever felt.

Nearly 50 years of being a woman, and about 37 years of menustration frustration, and

yet only now do I feel a certain blood-bond with my fellow female travelers. Thank you,

Jenuine Poetess.

Bloodstories, though, is for everyone who cares about injustice: "it is a collective wail/a

chorus of voices." Of course, it is specifically an homage to women, because: "it is our

howling outrage/a ghostly/ghastly/rasping/...we/the creators/life makers/originators of all

things/belonging no where/owning nothing/save two:/our blood/and/our truth."

Bloodstories yield bloodtruths, indeed.

Art by Michael St. Germain

Author bio: St. Germain is wary of logic in art. His studio practice

alternates between orchestrating controlled accidents and piling up

material to bury the past. Like a happy-go-lucky fool, he goes

wherever his intuition leads.

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